Of Tuesday Tunes – I Didn’t Mean It by The Belle Brigade

My song of the week, on a Wednesday sorry, is I Didn’t Mean It by The Belle Brigade.

I’ve loved this song for years, and I go through phases where I rock out to it in my car for weeks on end.

I’m currently deep into one of those phases.

I Didn’t Mean It is reminiscent of classic rock, but it has a fun pop energy. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s from the Twilight soundtrack, or that half the comments on the video are about peoples love of Twilight – cause in reality the Twilight soundtracks are phenomenal.

This is the perfect song for taking a road trip, lounging by the lake, or having an adventure on a sunny summer day. Though I’d recommend cruise control, songs like this tend to make me speed.

Favorite lyric: “So I accused you wrong. Now I’m the guilty one. Hey, give me my sentence. I’ll pay my penance. Nothing kills me more than the pain I have for hurting you.”

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Of the Lunch Book Club

Book Trail

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Today I decided to spend my lunch on a little grass patch known around here as, The Village Green. A small lawn surrounded by the city, where a variety of outdoor events are held during the summer. My sole motivation was to try to lessen the extremity of the tan-line forming on my feet – courtesy of the Saltwater Sandals I wear practically every day. But I had a book, Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw that I’ve been intending to read for ages, and a cold soda – so I was content to sit in the sun.

When I first sat down I was alone on the patch of green.

About 10 minutes later I looked up and noticed two girls sitting on a bench across from me, silently reading side-by-side.

After a terrifying bee distracted me from my delightful book, I spotted towards the end of the row of benches that another girl had just sat down and pulled out a book.

Behind me, a man kicked off his sandals and was opening a book of his own.

As I sat on the grass, almost all the benches were becoming occupied by fellow readers. And a couple of people had joined me on the grass. The only noise was that of the cars driving by, and the soft chatter of two girls who were on a picnic date.

My new reading friends and I remained at The Village Green together for almost an hour, until one by one we got called back to work, or the sun was too intense to handle.

Just call us the Lunch Book Club, I hope we meet again.

Of White Skin and Sunshine

I’m about as pale as a person can get, and I seem to stay that way year round. In the summer, when my friends are showing off their tanned arms, I am just as white as I was in mid-December. I don’t tan easily, and I’m not one to sit around soaking in the sun. For starters, it’s a really boring activity. Just lay there and eventually turn over? Nah, point me towards a hiking trail, ideally in the shadows, so I can open my eyes without squinting.

Whenever I say that people always seem reply with, “You gotta bring a book with you, and read as you lie there.” I get that, it’s a swell idea, except for the fact that reading outside is incredibly distracting – with nature and all those people around, there’s too much to observe! Plus, my brain would start obsessing over shadows from the books pages creating awkward tan lines across my face. I simply lack the ability to relax my mind long enough to lie down and let the sun turn me into leather.

It doesn’t help that I burn hella easy. Observe. This was from being in the sun for roughly fifty minutes at my mom’s concert band performance on Saturday:

My burn

My burn

 

And the truth is, I’m okay with remaining pale year round. Tan lines lost their appeal on me when I watched Holiday In the Sun, a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, as a child. They had these crazy tan lines that looked like someone took white out and drew on their skin. Not cute. I also remember changing out of my swimsuit after playing on the beach all day in high school (with no sunscreen of course), looking in the mirror, and laughing hysterically. I looked ridiculous. Dark arms, face, and legs, pasty white boobs, and my stomach was a very subtle almost beige.

If my whole body was uniformly tan, then I could deal – course then I’d have to buy new make-up, and I’m too cheap for that.

I don’t know if I’ll happen to get tan this summer as I explore hiking trails, canoe out on the lake, and attend the occasional picnic. I do know that before I tan I’ll burn, and 90% of the time that burn fades back into blindingly white skin.

Happy summer everybody!

 

 

 

Of Playing Outside

Lake

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Turns out I’m an outdoors person, who knew? When I was little I would spend hours outside. A tree was my best playmate. I trusted my 12-year-old brother’s rickety forts and sketchy rope ladders with zero fear about 25 feet off the ground. It wasn’t until the sun went down that I reluctantly went inside.

Then something happened, I morphed into an indoors person. It was a slow process. Maybe I started staying inside because of the fancy new technology that eventually took over my life. Maybe it simply stopped being cool to play outside. Maybe because I dress quite girly I came to believe that I could never enjoy the dirt. Maybe my friends were (well, still are) largely indoors people so I stayed inside to hangout with them. Or maybe I went through a phase. No matter what the cause I spent several years avoiding swimming, hiking, and climbing trees.

Till recently.

Now when I sit on the couch with the sun shinning through the blinds I can’t handle it. I start to fidget, squirm, and pray that I find someone to go for a walk with me. Sometimes no one answers, or they (in their anti-go-outside-ways) refuse to do anything but watch a movie. That’s when I go by myself.

But I can usually count on my brother. If he’s not busy he’s always down for a hike, plus he lives in my dream neighborhood – surrounded by trails, rivers, and a large beautiful lake. It must be a family trait to venture away from the maintained trail and traipse through the bushes. For I don’t think we’ve ever gone for a walk without destroying a bunch of spider webs, despite my sister-in-law begging us to not climb up yet another river bed or fallen tree. Where’s the fun and adventure in staying on the path?

Thanks to going off trail I have several cool locations to drag my indoorsy friends to: a cove that looks like it could have been in the Swiss Family Robinson complete with purple sand (yup, purple sand), a fallen tree that sticks up out of the water that provides a wonderful jumping branch, a rope swing that can only be found by canoe, a waterfall hidden behind bushes, a campfire spot next to the river located after the second bridge on an old logging road in redneck territory.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to take my friends to my movie-esque locations, until then I’ll keep exploring through the rough in my Sunday’s best and sandals.

See? It’s true. I’m an outdoors person, don’t let my girly dress fool you.

Of Cliff Jumping and Waterfalls

This is one of my favorite places: a hidden waterfall located near Concrete, WA.

Waterfall

Concrete is an incredibly small town that’s known primarily for meth addictions, a Leonardo DiCaprio movie that I’ve never seen, and the making of concrete. In fact the first thing one sees when crossing into Concrete is a huge slab of, well, concrete.

Concrete

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Despite the regions reputation for drug addicts, red necks, and extreme overall trashiness – the surrounding area is beyond beautiful. As you drive along South Skagit Highway, everywhere you look is fifty shades of green. The main river, wide and mighty with strength, entices fisherman while smaller creeks cross under the road (about every hundred yards or so). I swear the mountains are so close you can almost touch them. The trees, no longer a blur of green, are now detailed individually all the way up to the peak. It’s simply beautiful.

I try to go to the waterfall at least once a year. My Sister had never been to the river. To fix this, my brother and I took her out on Sunday before she leaves for Iowa to pursue her PhD in Physics. Our dad was convinced we wouldn’t be able to reach the waterfall because the rivers have been very high so far this season – we weren’t going to let something like that stop us. As it turned out the water was only a few inches deeper than usual, and definitely still hikeable.

There’s no point in trying to stay dry, it’s best to just embrace the glacier water. For a little while it is possible to balance on top of rocks but eventually it will be necessary to wade in the river. In my experience it’s not until I’ve nearly reached the big waterfall that I slip into a crevice and end up standing in ice water up to my boobs.

We hiked the normal route, from the base of the river all the way up to the rock above the wavy pool of the waterfall. And had my brother not been there that would have been the end. After risking death climbing on slippery rocks to get down after the falls, eventually we would have reached the car, got back on the road, and headed home. But my brother’s a bit more adventurous.

The water is completely clear, which makes it challenging to guess how deep some parts of the river are. There’s a certain spot about half way to the falls where the river pools at the base of an eight or ten foot cliff. When heading up to the falls we climbed around the side on the only dirt path that we used the entire hike. My brother insisted that we cliff jump instead of taking the path down. Apparently, every time he is at the falls he jumps in and then scurries back to the car. I watched as he wet his hair under a mini waterfall, shrug for dramatic effect, and disappear into the pool below.

Then it was our turn.

I also wet my hair (he was insisting that it makes the water less shocking after jumping). Sister stood behind me waiting her turn. For about forty minutes we took turns stand on the edge while my brother encouraged us to just do it. I’ve never been so paralyzed before, and I’m not scared of heights. The water was almost to clear, and appeared as though the pool below was only three feet deep. I knew it was deeper, I understood that the fall wasn’t that far, and I am a decent swimmer, but for some reason I could not move my feet. Legs trembling, I stood with my left foot behind my right waiting to take the step forward to propel me away from the rock wall I was currently standing on.

When Sister was in front of me, frozen in fear, I was ready to go. Then when I was standing still on the cliff edge, she was ready to go. It was a never-ending cycle of, yeah let’s do this! Holy shit, that’s high – are you sure I won’t get hurt? Um, how about you go first. Then my brother would groan.

My hair had dried for the fifth time so I went to stick my head in the water again. As I did so I heard my brother yell, “Yesssss!!!!!!” I turned around and saw Sister’s arm’s floating down and my brother standing in a v-shaped victory stance.

Now I had to jump, I had too, I couldn’t be the only one to not do this, I refused to pussy out like that. I was frozen. Stuck in my head, but beyond fear. I was no longer terrified, I was strangely emotionless. I wanted to go, I was ready to get back to the car, but my limbs wouldn’t move. Sister sat below, next to the pool, on a rock that reminded me of The Little Mermaid. After another five minutes she climbed up the dirt path and stood behind me.

Still I couldn’t move, and I don’t know why. I wanted to turn around but my stubbornness made me stay there.

Another five minutes passed and Sister turned around to go back down the dirt path – and, I was falling with style.

I don’t remember actually unfreezing my limbs. I remember plugging my nose (until I was inches from the water when for some reason I let go), and hearing my brother yell, “Yesssss!!!!!!” with enthusiasm.

When I hit the water it wasn’t that bad. In fact, overall the jumping and swimming was the easy part. It was the thinking, over thinking, and letting myself get psyched out, that was the hard part.

Next time, it won’t take me forty minutes to cliff jump. At least now I know the secret – if Sister’s not watching me (and in turn I’m not watching her) we can both jump off a cliff. Weird, huh?

I’m very proud that I conquered my first encounter with cliff jumping. Yet, another reason to love my favorite waterfall.

Of Boobs on Slides

Pink Swimsuit

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I mentioned recently that I was going to a water park, Wild Waves to be more specific. It was awesome – rollercoaster’s and water slides? – yes! And wow, were there a lot of boobs hanging out – I swear I wasn’t just staring at chests all day, I was preoccupied with rides.

Still, a girl notices these things.

Now don’t be mislead, I love boobs, they’re awesome, soft, and sexy. I’m all for a lady rocking some tasteful cleavage (but if your nipple resides barely below the top of your shirt, I’d say you’re showing too much). Let’s avoid being trashy, okay? I’m not normally one to insult someone for showing off their skin. If a woman is confident and comfortable in her body then I’m all for her putting it on display. But there’s a limit.

At the park I saw a lot of boobs that were barely strapped in, with each step they’d jiggle to the point where I became concerned about what should happen if those ladies go on a slide. Sometimes the twins appeared crooked in a cheap swimsuit. A lot of people fashioned themselves in trendy suits that only look good on models and did nothing but make them appear oddly shaped. One lady had chapstick that she attempted to hide under one boob, yeah, it didn’t work. Despite that there were some attractive people, and in turn breasts, at the park. The overwhelming amount of awkward, saggy, over-tanned, wrinkly, and too big for their swimsuits – outrageously overpowered the pretty people.

Most horrifying of all was three girls (I’m going to guess thirteen at oldest) that we had to stand behind in line for 20 minutes. One girl had on a normal two-piece swimsuit. The second girl had a thin black bikini that was a little to big for her (but she was covered). The third girl is the one that my friends and I began whispering about. She had on one of those tub top swimsuits. I get it, no tan lines. Girl three was either excited to show off her skin or she was unaware what she was showing. She had some serious underboob going on. Meaning the spot below the breast where bras and swimsuits usually make contact didn’t exist. Instead we got a not so lovely eye full of a solid centimeter of under boob on a future slutty girl. It was disgusting. Under boob cleavage is not a thing, nor will it ever be a thing, unless we stop wearing normal length shirts.

Sadly that was not my only encounter with under boob. But it was the most appalling considering their age.

Here’s the lesson:

  • Upper boob or cleavage (acceptable, if tasteful).
  • Side boob (depends on outfit and body type).
  • Under boob (never okay).

Of Baking Adventures With Friends

Girls Cooking

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Today I got off work and the sun was actually out! A true rarity in the Pacific North West, a land of gray clouds for miles with little spats of sunshine that tease all of the locals on a daily basis. The only clouds I could see were little white ones hovering over the mountains, and unless the wind changed they wouldn’t reach my doorstep for a couple of days. I mustn’t let this day go to waste, I thought. I’d been spending far too much time inside, and despite my whole four hours of sleep the night before I denied myself the act of hiding in my room and taking a nap. So I called Lainie, one of my dearest friends, and inquired about baking a pie – she eagerly accepted. I smiled, I can always count on her for kitchen adventures.

Yes, on a bright and sunny day, I chose an indoor activity involving a hot stove – who says I don’t make great life choices? In my defense, at least I was inside with another person instead of the usual sitting on my bed watching Netflix.  I’m inherently an indoor person, I’m happy looking at a pretty day through a window while I drink coffee and attempting a task of some kind. In this case the task at hand was baking a pie, ideally a fruit pie – let’s go with an apple pie. It’s classic and American.

I arrived at Lainie’s front door with one of my cookbooks. But here’s the funny thing about baking with friends, you almost never do what you set out to do. It seems once you’re in the presence of your fellow baker something clicks in both your brains and a different recipe sounds way better than the one you initially agreed on. This also means that you’ll probably have to go to the store for ingredients. And it’s guaranteed you’ll make something extra awesome, if for no other reason the sheer spontaneity of it all. So we went to the store and got our ingredients for apple crisp.

I’d nearly forgotten about the crisp until I opened the book, but it certainly is way better than pie. I’d never made it before but I’d watched my mom sit peeling apples at least a hundred times as a kid. Apple crisp was always my favorite dessert. In the way that muffins are like cake you can eat for breakfast, crisp is like pie – only better, with a crumbly topping.

There is no doubt in my mind that the key to a successful baking adventure with friends is to select good music. I suggest something upbeat. The music drives the mood, and in turn the tone of conversation. Without music baking turns into a silent endeavor with the only sound in the room being that of wooden stirring sticks and knives against a cutting board. This is dangerous territory that could bring about serious or negative conversations that may ruin the beautiful day. No one wants that, especially when people are holding knives. 

And so Lainie and I began our baking. She peeled the apples, since I suck tremendously at the task, and I chopped them up into smaller pieces. I marveled at the texture of the apple. It’s so similar to potatoes in everything from the color to how it felt in my hand, and yet it tastes so much better. Gosh I love fruit. Eventually we moved on to the crumbly topping, we tossed in an assortment of cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar (among other ingredients). Lainie, in her bakery genius, was able to figure out how to make our own Allspice as well as a means to make the recipe fit the dish we were using. And lastly, we popped it in the oven.

And that was it.

Thirty-five minutes later we pulled out our delicious dessert but we didn’t eat any. It’s been six hours and we still haven’t cut it up into slices. We just wanted to bake, not necessarily eat the damn thing. That’s the quirky thing about baking with buddies, after all is said and done eating the desert is not the point. It’s cheesy, silly, and a whole mess of shit you’d see a housewife do on a 1950s sitcom. But sometimes, even on an incredibly warm sunny day, we want to grab a cookbook, turn on some music, dance, and make sugary treats that eventually we’ll share with our close friends.

I gotta say, I’m psyched to try our apple crisp.