Archive | August, 2014

Strangers & Harry Potter [and a Funny Tidbit About a Penis]

30 Aug

About a month ago, maybe a bit longer, I started re-reading the Harry Potter series. I checked the first book out from the public library, but when I went to get the second book, they were all checked out. Little did I know that when I checked out the second book from my university library, that I would find a note with a phone number (pictured above).

Fascinated and quite intrigued, the first thing I did was post it to Facebook asking if I should call it.

The response was overwhelmingly “YES!”

So I decided, sure. I was skeptical, considering this stranger’s name was Seamus, who just so happens to also be a character in the book. It could have very well been some Harry Potter fan’s idea of a little prank or joke.

Once I finished the 2nd book, I decided to text the number. If it was a joke, or if it was an old number, texting would be best either way. Very simply, I texted:

“Hi…this is Michelle and I am looking for a fellow named Seamus”

Indeed, a fellow named Seamus put a note in a book for folks to call him. And it just so happened that he was spending the summer doing organic farming in the south of France, so we moved the conversation over to email, so that it wouldn’t cost so much to chat.

A month and 5 days after I first sent that text message, we met at a local cider bar named Scrumpy’s.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t even slightly nervous. The great thing about meeting strangers is that there is absolutely no expectations to live up to. You go there, you be yourself, and either they like you or they don’t.

I get to the bar (slightly late…one of my fatal flaws) and he is already there, so I awkwardly ask if he is the person I’m looking for.

Luckily, the first person I asked was him (I had done a tad of background research). He was average height, with strawberry blonde hair accessorized with a strawberry blonde beard and brilliant blue eyes. He was wearing rather short shorts with a t-shirt that had a sewn on pocket in a cartoon dinosaur print.

It turns out he has already eaten, so he doesn’t get food, but they have the best cucumber dill dip so I had to get some. He gets the Hopricot and I get a flight, and we turn our conversation from Harry Potter to the south of France to our respective life goals and what we like to do.

I don’t consider it a date, but it very much went like I would expect a first date to go (with someone who I haven’t previously been friends with). Once we got our drinks and my dip, we tried to play Scrabble, but it was seriously lacking in letter tiles. Instead, we decided to play cards.

I asked him “weird or weirder?” He replied “weirder.”

You see…I always carry at least one pack of cards with me, and on this particular occasion I had two. One deck was a standard set of cards and the other, the weirder set, was a deck of Friskies cards with cat breeds on them.

So we played Rummy with the cat cards. He seemed amused.

After playing cards and chatting for a while longer, it turns out that he had plans at 9 o’clock (we got together at 7). I thought this was kind of odd, but who am I to judge. We got up and hugged (as I find customary), and I bid him off. Neither of us seemed to fully want to commit to hanging out another time, but we made the standard ‘oh yeah lets get together sometime’.

And now, the tidbit about the penis.

Immediately once he left, I texted a coworker friend (Brianne*) with a simple “that was interesting” because…well…it was. How can meeting a stranger not be interesting? Her phone was out of commission, though, so I didn’t get a response and went on my way to run a couple of errands.

As I’m getting gas for my car, I get a phone call from another coworker (Cale*) out of the blue. Curious and slightly confused, I answer. It turns out Brianne was hanging out with Cale, and she got my text message, and told him to respond. Our conversation went like this:

Brianne: What does that mean?
Me: What does what mean?
Brianne: Just the tip!
Me: What? Like…just the tip of the penis?
Brianne: What? Did he just whip it out?
Me: What? No?
Brianne: But you said it was interesting and then when Cale texted you what was interesting you said ‘just the tip’.

It turns out that Cale had texted the wrong Michelle, and she had responded back with “Just the tip”.

In all honesty, if you’ve read my stuff for awhile, or known me any length of time, you know that weirder things have happened.

But Seamus did not show me his wiener. He was a perfect gentlemen. He likes to get out of his comfort zone, be outdoors, speaks French fluently, and might want to be a teacher, or go into the peace core, or who knows. I haven’t heard from him, and I haven’t texted him. I don’t know if I will or not but he was quite nice and I thought we got along well enough.

His reason for putting the note in the book: People often recommend books to each other, and this is a way for books to recommend people.

Ever done anything like this? Ever went on a blind date? How did it go? Would you have called or texted the mysterious number? Are you sad that this isn’t yet another penis story? Should I text Seamus back? 

Date Rape: Breaking it Down [Infographic]

27 Aug

 

I found the above picture shared on my Facebook feed, and there are a few important points I’d like to share and discuss.

I don’t think that the goal of this nail polish is to end date rape or in its entirety – I think it is just one more tool to keep yourself safe. But, even if it was, this graphic has a good point: there are more important things to focus on about preventing rape.

The first thing that actually caught my eye as interesting was the first bullet point on how to “End Rape”.

1) Address those at risk of committing sexual assault.

Is this common knowledge? Are there people who are predisposed to commit sexual assault? I guess I know the answer is “yes”, but how do we recognize that well in advance of them actually committing sexual assault?

We talk about teaching our boys about consent, just as we teach our girls about protecting themselves, but this statement goes further than that. And if we assume that it refers to males i general, than 4) is hypocritical of itself and this graphic is quite flawed.

As I read further, I found that all of the points under the “End Rape” section are quite interesting.

2) Address the culture that condones and teaches predatory sexual behavior.

This one slightly boggles me. I feel as predatory sexual behavior is not a cultural norm, so I’m at a loss for what it is actually referencing. My personal views on rape are slightly skewed compared to the populous, so there I have an inkling that the predatory behavior she is referring to is simply pursuing someone you are interested in. Of course, if she is referring to what most people consider stalking, then it absolutely needs to be addressed. I do still firmly hold the belief that just because you are a victim, doesn’t mean you don’t hold some responsibility (on a case by case basis, of course). I know…unpopular opinion.

3) Teach sexual consent and respect for women’s bodies from a young age.

This statement should not be in the same set of statements as 4). It should not be centered on women’s bodies, and respect for men’s bodies is equally as important. Men, I feel, can be coerced into having sex just as easily if not moreso than women and its absurd to ignore this. Coercion is not consent. I was never taught that “no means no” except if I’m saying no. Giving the benefit of the doubt, I think the author wasn’t meaning to be biased, and is giving a good message, just in the wrong words.

And the final point caught my eye immediately after 1) did.

4) Address the sexist myth that men are naturally predatory and women are responsible for stopping them.

This actually illustrates a point rooted much deeper in sexism: women are responsible for men. We aren’t. We aren’t responsible for your laundry, or cleaning the bathroom, or keeping you in line. Men are responsible for men, and women need to stop feeling like we should be. Not terribly long ago, I heard a beautiful explanation for Muslim women covering their bodies. The reason they cover their bodies is so that they do not tempt men because being tempted is shameful, and they wish to save them from that shame.

While I like this, and I often feel this way about certain relationships I have, it is not my responsibility.

But on the flip-side, men are not naturally predatory. They have self-control. They have the ability to choose their actions, and I think it is very sexist to assume otherwise. I can’t tell you how frustrated it makes me when we discriminate men solely because they are men.

I’ve already mentioned that my views are slightly skewed, but it’s important to acknowledge that men need help too. For me to deny someone a ride simply because they are a man and not a woman is just as bad as me denying someone a ride simply because they are not white. For me to drive by a person on the side of the road having car problems because they are a man and not a woman is just as discriminatory.

Maybe I don’t feel discriminated against for my sex as much as some women do, but I often feel like we go on about sexism in the wrong way.

I should mention how much I love Laci Green and I highly recommend her videos. We don’t always see eye to eye, but that is okay…I still recommend her videos. I don’t always agree with decisions on how women should be proactive about preventing rape, but the guys who created this nail polish did have a pretty good idea. We already use nail polish, and this type of preventative doesn’t change our routine really at all (which is my pet peeve). I think, especially, if you live in a high crime area or know if you are going to be in an area that monitoring your drink might be difficult, that this is a good idea.

Any interesting stories you’d like to share about date rape or fingernail polish or role-reversal? How do you feel about this new fancy nail polish? Are you a Laci Green fan? What do you think about this infographic?

Poopin’ on the Poudre

24 Aug

It’s been a while since this took place, but I have to share a somewhat quirky story to share with you.

About a couple of weeks ago, I went to the bathroom just before bed, and when I flushed, much to my dismay…nothing happened.

I grabbed the plunger and did what one would expect to need to do.

And nothing happened.

Well, it took days (yes, days) to get the problem fixed. Just prior to this, I had folks over camping in the yard and my landlord thought one of the ladies might have flushed something inappropriate for flushing with a septic tank. I was mortified that it might have been my fault if the septic system was messed up.

But of course, I had no where to use the bathroom in these few days, which is where the real fun was.

I found myself going just up the road a little bit to a pull off where you can access the river that had an outhouse. Yup. I was using an outhouse to go to the bathroom because I couldn’t use my own. Not something everyone can say they’ve done.

It turns out that the sub-pump just stopped working, and I didn’t actually break anything. Relief.

What happened to you that you had to improvise with what you had at the ready? Ever had your only toilet go out of commission for days, and what did you do about it? 

Faith: A Desperate Man’s Prayer

23 Aug

As I’ve grown older, I’ve almost completely stopped telling people about major events in my life that might garner some sort of sympathy. This is one of those times, but I find that it would be out of character if I didn’t make a point out of life events. It’s kind of my thing.

So, I regret to inform you that my dad has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer.

I don’t know the type or the prognosis or really much of anything, but my mom says that, while the doctor didn’t say much, it sounds like its terminal. If she is correct, she also didn’t give me a time frame to consider.

I’ve only actually disclosed this to 3 friends, and it was because I knew they wouldn’t have much to say on the matter. No amount of “I’m so sorry” will do anything. Nothing. My situation is not unique. And knowing that my friends are “there for me” doesn’t really do anything for me either (the only thing that might make me feel better is having a man in my life, but oh well).

Death is a fact of life, and I plan to treat is as thus.

It’s almost like a clean slate when you might be dying. You can do whatever you want. Even be reckless if you so desire. Maybe its even liberating.

But, of course, I don’t want to lose my father. I assumed I had at least 10 more years with him, but remarkably, I’ve been preparing myself for the loss of my parents since I was a small child. One night when I was probably 6, I woke up from a nightmare that both my parents had died. I told my mom, through tears, about the dream. She comforted me about this plan God had that one day, he will save the world and people will live forever again as they were once meant to.

I held onto that for years.

Unlike the rest of my family, I have not held onto that faith in a higher power. There are moments when I wish that if I prayed a miracle would happen, and being agnostic makes it even more difficult. And that is how I feel about faith in religion. Desperation. So I hold my faith in science and medicine, as I should. There have been remarkable advancements in cancer treatment, and I think that even if God did exist, he would have given us these tools for us to use.

While I hope that something amazing happens and his cancer goes into remission, I hope, too, that my father is proud of me. The two things I wanted my dad to still be here for were to walk me down the aisle of my wedding, and to see me graduate from vet school. Unfortunately, I’m not close to accomplishing either of those things and I do feel some degree of failure because of that, but deep down I know he is very proud of me (all I really have to do is ask and he’ll boast).

I love him very much, and I hope that if it’s time, I’ll at least be able to get the most knowledge I can out of him before then. Because goodness knows, I feel like I call him every other day asking him how to change or fix or make things.

I Need Your Help in a Way I’ve Never Asked Before

22 Aug

Hey, readers!

I ask for your help quite a bit…whether its just passing a message along by sharing a post, or by giving me suggestions of things to do or read or try.

Now, I have something a little different to ask you.

I want your potholders.

Yes, potholders.

I’m trying to work on being better at up-cycling and reusing things, especially for other things. I know everyone has at least one or two potholders lying around that have seen better days.

So here’s what you do…you go out, buy a new set of potholders, then let me know you want to send me a potholder, and I’ll give you my address. Then you can send them to me, and I will be super excited.

The only requirements is that they can’t have holes or large, obvious stains and are of the square/rectangle variety (and cloth). I can dye them to cover up fading (yes, even if they are patterned).

Soooo…are you going to help me? And you Xangan folks out there…spread the word to other Xangans cause I know we are all pretty great about helping each other out when we want to.

Thanks!!

My Secrets: A Challenge

21 Aug

I tell you all so many times that I try to be open and honest, that I don’t lie, and that I have nothing to hide. Well, I was listening to the radio the other day and this wonderfully somewhat unrefined song came on by Mary Lambert. All she had to do was sing “I’m overweight. I’m always late.” and I was hooked. Because damn. Am I.

So I sat down tonight, after thinking about myself for a long while, and made my best attempts to alter her song to fit me. Some of the lines I kept (like the ones I just quoted) because they fit me so well. Some I altered only slightly because they are good lines, and kind of rep “me”. And then others I took out completely, because sorry, but the last time I checked (which honestly, was never), I’m not bipolar. Nor am I afraid of the dentist.

Please read. Please enjoy. Song-writing is not my strong suit, so I’m sure its even rougher in places than it was to start with (I liked that quality about this song). And I challenge you to make your own version and share it with us.

Because, as Mary Lambert says about hiding ourselves: I’m over it.

Here is a link to her music video: Mary Lambert – Secrets

I’ve got no money to speak of
I can’t get enough love
I procrastinate
I’m always late
I’ve got too many things to say

I rock bikinis
skinny jeans
Try to suppress my feelings

my motives are questionable 
but my friends and I are there for each other

They tell us from the time were young
to hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
inside ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long
attempting to be someone else
well I’m over it

I don’t care if the world know what my secrets are, secrets are
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are, secrets are
so what
so what
so what
so what

I’m a fat kid
I like cake
sometimes I hide
my mistakes
Too sensitive
Do my best to live
And never know what I’ll miss

and I’m passive aggressive
I’m scared that my future’s horrendous
I love my butt; you can’t make me shut up
and I’ll never really give up

They tell us from the time we’re young
to hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
inside ourselves
I know I’m not the only one
who spent so long attempting to be someone else
well I’m over it

I don’t care if the world know what my secrets are, secrets are
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are, secrets are
so what
so what
so what
so what

I don’t care if the world know what my secrets are, secrets are
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are, secrets are
so what
so what
so what
so what
so what
so what

Please join in this challenge. Comment your song (or link to it). And if you’re brave enough to sing it, I will gladly listen.

Secrets can destroy us from the inside out sometimes, and the best way to get rid of that power they seem to have over us is to scream them to the world and either embrace them, or to free them.

OH!! And share this. Because I really would love if everybody took a moment to think about the things they may hide or alter and realize how silly it may be. 

That Time I Went Hitch-hiking

19 Aug

Remember those times I picked up hitch-hiking kayakers in Poudre Canyon? Well, during this adventure, the tables were turned (and what an adventure, indeed!).

Saturday started out well enough. I met a friend and we ate at this little dive bar and restaurant in the canyon. As always, it was delicious. Then, we set off to go tubing, which was where the days real excitement lay.

We got our cars positioned. Mine was at the get-in point, and hers was at the get-out point. She bought a fancy little stretchy key ring so that we could keep our keys on us without losing them in the river. I was reluctant, mostly because I never lock my car anyway, but we went ahead and put both of our keys on the key ring and she put it on her wrist for safe-keeping.

Bad decision.

Not even 10 minutes into the hour-long float, we hit some rapids and as she was paddling and off slipped the keys.

Gone forever.

The rest of the float was, of course, super fun and I had a fabulous time. Once we got out, our only option was to start walking toward the nearest gas station, which was probably about a couple of miles away. We didn’t have our cell phone, as they were locked in our cars, and we didn’t have service until that gas station, anyway.

Mind you, we are in bikinis. I’ve never been that naked in public for that long.

We thought about hitch-hiking but were a little nervous about it and didn’t want to get into anyone’s car wet. With the long walk ahead, however, we decided that if a pickup came by we would put a thumb out and just climb in the back.

A little while later, we finally spot a truck driving solo, and I immediately put my thumb out. At first, I thought they passed us, but they did stop (I was kind of surprised it was that easy).

It was a couple of college fellows named Carter and Dawson who had a huge white truck covered with mud, even on the inside. In hindsight, it was probably a poor choice of people to ride with, as they invited us in the cab, the back doors only opened if the front doors were open, and they had just been shooting so my friend actually had to climb over the gun in the backseat.

And we were basically naked.

But we were thankful, regardless.

Once at the gas station, we made the calls, and the nice attendant gave us something to drink. I drove in the back of the AAA vehicle, which had no seats. My friend was nice enough to drive me to work the next day, and pay for the re-keying of my car (because the key that was lost was the only key to my car). She was so much more helpful than I ever could have expecting, and the entire adventure was one that I won’t forget any time soon.

Moral of the story: don’t expect those key ring things to stay on when you’re swimming in a river

Have you ever hitch-hiked? Was it easy? What happened (before and after)?