The Winter Purge

I really like my apartment. It is equal parts industrial and cozy and has a walk in closet, but if we are looking at square footage alone, it is small. I really enjoyed having a small apartment two years ago because I had just moved back from Germany, and didn’t have a whole lot of stuff. I felt free of the trap that is stuff. However, I am very much an American, which means I like stuff. I like owning cute things, beautiful things, interesting things, things, things, and more things. Two years since moving into my cozy apartment with its industrial edge, I started to feel suffocated– overcome with the need for more bedrooms, more space, more stuff. So, I sat down to think about why that might be, considering nothing significant had changed in my life.

While scrolling through my Pinterest page full of decorating tips, furniture ideas, clothes I coveted, I realized I have way more stuff than I had two years ago. Why did I want more? Maybe it is not that I am outgrowing my apartment, but I have crammed too many things I don’t really need into a limited space. So, in an effort to explore this further, I started to pull all of my belongings out of bins and drawers and out of my closet. Some of those things I forgot I owned or haven’t worn since I moved to Oklahoma for this or that reason. It really didn’t matter why I was keeping all these things, the fact was that it was all there taking up room in my home, sitting underneath the stacks of new things I was busy looking at now.

Being surrounded by it all felt like too much to deal with while I was still busy buying Christmas presents, wrapping them, mailing them. I grabbed two fists full of clothes to start shoving everything back into a large blue storage box, and stopped myself. Self, I thought, don’t wait to do this as a spring cleaning project, instead, do a winter purge.

I’m not quite done with this project, but I have boxes full of clothes to donate, and clothes to sell. One highlight includes getting rid of an Anna Sui dress I bought in college more than a decade ago. It is a size two, and I kept telling myself I would fit into it again one day. The truth is, I didn’t look very healthy then, and I started weightlifting five years ago, so it is unlikely I will ever be that small again in a healthy way.

 

Listen, I still like owning things. In fact, I just bought three dresses for work, two for fun, and I have my eye on this fantastic pink chair, but in the middle of this unfinished project I realized that a lot of the panic I’ve had about not owning enough was unfounded. I own too much, or maybe too much of the wrong thing. That realization has made it easy to walk past the 50% off everything sales, which is a welcome feeling.

I say skip your spring cleaning, and instead do a winter purge. What aren’t you using anymore? What is holding space in your life and keeping unhealthy thoughts alive? Get rid of it. After all they are just things, and if you find that you need another pink pencil skirt two years from now, you can just buy another one.

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Don’t Punch Teenagers

I hadn’t had a long weekend in a while. I love my job and the media consumption that comes with it, but after report after report on political craziness, dead people, crime, animal abuse, and statewide financial problems— I needed to unplug. Cue a four day weekend that coincided with N’s spring break. If I could do I back flip, I would have done one.

My excitement translated into social media posts counting down the hours to my mini-vacation. It is, after all, the fastest way to let the world know about my sunny mood, whether or not the world wanted to know. Every time I told someone I was headed to Lawton I was met with confusion. I’m not sure what’s in Lawton, but people’s responses didn’t do a good job of selling the place. To be more clear, I wasn’t going to Lawton, but to the Wichita Mountains near Lawton, and that seems to make all the difference.

In the car on a Saturday morning we loaded supplies, the dogs, and plugged in the address into the GPS. Ninety minutes to nature– not particularly far, but the flashing 90 minute trip estimate took me back to my time in Colorado where I lived 15 minutes away from Pikes Peak and countless trails. I was uninterested in regular hiking trips when they were easily accessible, but now I daydream about it. The whole thing makes me sound like a walking stereotype, but really it’s my dogs’ fault.

The majority of my time in Colorado I had cats. They were happy to just chase lasers indoors, and continue to be. My dog Mila is from Colorado, but I didn’t get her until a few months before we moved away. I do remember my interest in hiking picked up after getting her. Now, we have Magnus, a 100 lb ball of energy, and he only knows how to relax after a long walk or day of sprints at the dog park. I think Mila misses the mountains because she really comes alive when we get to play in Oklahoma’s version.

That Saturday was a really great day. I couldn’t get online much because the service is spotty out there, so relaxing and enjoying the moment was really my only option. The company was good, the weather was crisp, and the bathrooms in the visitor center were clean. No matter how much I’m starting to like being outside, going to the bathroom next to a tree is never my idea of a good time. That day will remain in my thoughts for some time, not just because it was peaceful, but also because it was the same day I almost punched a teenage girl.

Man, that sounded intense, didn’t it? What I mean is that I was filled with the overwhelming urge to punch a teenage girl, though I doubt I ever would. I’m more the ‘wound with words’ type. Besides, she was far too tall for me to actually reach her face, and punching people in the stomach seems like such a waste.

To be fair, at her age I was probably an insufferable jerk too. Here is what happened…

I was wearing a jammy pack. It’s basically a fanny pack with the added cool factor of allowing you to play music from your phone through a little stereo system. I did look ridiculous, but the unbelievable convenience won me over. Also, I wore it backwards because I vaguely remember that being the cool way to do it in the early 90s. Anyway, I was walking into the Visitor Center, and this six foot tall pretty girl wearing skinny jeans and ballet flats to hike looked at the jammy pack and started laughing. We make eye contact, and she walks off with her parents. You might be thinking, ‘Mireya, why would this girl’s minor outburst get in your head?’ Good question dear reader. I don’t think that’s what happened exactly. That brief experience, that was such an unimportant part of my day, remains memorable because I wasn’t sure how to react.

I have few problems with confronting people, and can clearly tell a person how what they have done has made me feel. If that exchange were with another adult I would have likely said, ‘What’s your bleeping problem,” but the person was clearly a minor, perhaps even half my age. In that split second I went with an emphatic eye-roll, and went on my way. The main take away for me is that I have no idea how to act around teenagers. I think there is no world in which I could have told this girl she was rude, and not looked petty. My husband often says teenagers, “are playing at adulthood.” Older teens like to pretend they are grown-up in the way they act and talk, but can really just be snarky jerks. Tip of the hat to those people that have to deal with teenagers regularly, and my apologies to those who had to deal with me at that age.

I find the experience, and thoughts that came after it comical, which is why I’m writing about it, but I sincerely hope that girl, and any other jerk teens, turns out to be a decent human with a good life.

In the hours that followed, I went on to see some longhorns, roadrunners, and even elk. We picked a trail, and explored. Mila and Magnus had the chance to play off leash at the top of a small mountain, and almost had a Looney Tunes moment when they caught sight of some wild animals, and seriously thought about heading off the side of a cliff to catch them.

After all of that, I had a belly full of tacos for dinner, and drove back home with the sleepiest dogs I ever did see.

 

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How Did That Get In There?

I’m messy. I don’t mean emotionally, I mean there is a lot of crap all over my house, in my car, and on my desk at work. It’s not that I don’t mind living in some state of filth, because I really do, mostly I’m messy because I’m lazy.

There does come a point, however, when I can’t stand the mess anymore, and I clean EVERYTHING. That happens like every three weeks in my home, every couple of months on my desk at work, and every year in my car. What I’m getting at is that today was the day I got sick of having a messy car.

The Rio is pretty clean now, and I found a few interesting things in there. There was a lot of paper— stuff I thought was too important to throw away for some reason. It was now sun bleached and useless, so out it went. There were also pens, like 20 of them. If you’ve lost your pen, it was probably in my car.

Then, it got weirder.

There were like 10 water bottles under the seats, and most of them were half full (or half empty— for my pessimistic friends). That’s pretty gross considering I resolved to buy less bottled water, and have been using a glass water bottle for months.

Best of all, I found rocks in my car. Not pebbles— they were rocks. There were a lot of pebbles in there, I guess I drag them in with my shoes, but there were like three or four hand-sized rocks in there. I don’t know where they came from or how long they’d been there, but I can only imagine I’ll be getting better gas mileage now.

The trunk is still a disaster, and full of clothes I meant to take to the Goodwill last year, or the year before that, I can’t remember. The point is, I never look in the trunk, so I probably won’t do anything about it.

 

 

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English: A Eulogy

Did I just witness the death of the English language? Yes, the answer is yes, and it was a sloppy mess.

Now, I make no claims of being a master of the English language. In fact, people that are really well spoken are wildly annoying when I’m hanging out with them at a bar. I’m looking at you Nick— so I used who instead of whom, stop apologizing to the strangers sitting next to us.

Anyway, my ability to string together coherent sentences can be hit or miss, but some young-ens are doing far worse. I’m taking a cross-listed class with a whole mess of undergraduates, and their words would make English teachers everywhere question their career choice.

I’m sure these students are well meaning. Actually, I’m not sure, but I don’t want to sound like an ass. Anyway, let me list for you some of the things that have really boggled my mind so far.

1. I have no problem with curse words (sorry mom), but I do think there is a time and a place for colorful language. One young woman was explaining some of the consequences of not fitting into gender norms in a discriminatory society. One could have said that if a man does something outside of his cultural gender norms others might question his sexuality. Instead, she said, “People will call him a pussy.” Even if I ignore the fact I consider that term wildly sexist, I’m still left surprised and confused.

2. When discussing the importance of breaking the stereotype of the submissive woman, and being appropriately aggressive in a business environment, a young man decided to say, “Yeah that is what I always say about my mom. She is a feisty Latina and she is always barking like a little Chihuahua, and it gets things done, so just keep barking.” I think I don’t have to explain why this is ridiculous, right?

3. Another woman insisted on using the word pecker to describe a man’s genitals. Yeah.

Anyway, this class is an all day thing for the next couple of weekends.

I want to think that many of these students are at the beginning of their college careers, and that it is classes like these that will help shape their minds for the better. And I figure that once they take an advanced public speaking course, English might make a comeback.

So, English might not be dead, but I’m pretty sure it suffered some sort of cardiac arrest last Saturday.

Football: An Anti-Fan Converted (Not Really)

I like a lot of things: stuff, shenanigans, crossfit, karaoke, but most of all I like spending time with people I like—heck, I like spending time with people I think are just alright.

What I decidedly don’t like is football. I just don’t get it. I mean, I get it, but I don’t “get it.” That’s about as clear as I can make it. Here is a visual example of my thoughts on football.

 

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I, however, have found myself in a pickle because almost all of my friends like watching football. Nick likes it too—even though he swears he doesn’t mind if we skip Monday Night Football in favor of sitcom reruns.

I fought the good fight, but finally went with a group of friends to watch a game at a bar and actually —mostly— paid attention. I actually had a fun time, but I’m convinced it had more to do with the company and sweet potato fries than it did with Bronco nation.

Here are some things I learned:

1.  You can tell it’s a replay if there are no scores at the bottom of the screen.

2.  The yellow line isn’t really there.

3.  I totally called something a false start and was right.

4.  Peyton Manning has a stunningly large forehead and likes wearing his helmet really tightly.

5.  Fans get really violent/ happy depending on how the game is going.

So, now I will probably go to your football game watching party/ hangout sesh, and I will likely have a good time—but I will always look at you like you are insane if you start screaming at the television.

Dirty Dash Debacle aka Photoshop 101

I ran a marathon, just last year… and a half marathon the year before that. I have the participation medals and night terrors to prove it. I’m not trying to impress you (maybe just a little), but I think it is important you have this information before you read the rest of this entry, so now you may proceed.

Some amazing people from Crossfit Pandora’s Box and I ran the Dirty Dash in early September. I knew I was going to run this months ago, and told myself that training would be easy, and it would have been if I’d ever gotten around to doing it. Either way, a 5k was totally doable, or at least that’s what I kept singing to myself on the 20 minute drive to the race site.

There is me in the skirt with my team.

 

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Some 25 people from Crossfit Pandora’s Box were broken up into small groups, but everyone talked about staying together since it was a noncompetitive run/obstacle course. I thought, “ Awesome, I’m crazy slow, but no one is concerned with going fast, so, I’m golden.”

Wrong.

Some 400 meters in, I was out. I mean, I kept running, but everyone else just happened to be moving faster. It was somewhat depressing, but I kept my freaking chin up. I found myself treading through mud pits, because I thought it was “cray cray”, if you will, to launch myself into them if no one I knew could laugh with me. I guess I must no longer be a kid at heart, or something?

I fell on my right butt cheek when I was climbing over some giant slippery hurdle. That sucked. What sucked more is that a dude from the gym that was running late and has the, seriously hilarious, inability to say my name, managed to catch up to me and pass me…you know…to catch up with the rest of the group, which he accomplished successfully. What in the world?

 

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The best part, at least in everyone else’s eyes, was the moment some strangers that I managed to keep pace with decided I was too clean…said as much, and then shoved me into a mud pit. Yeah— the even better part: In my shock, I gasped and got a mouth full of mud. MUD IN MY MOUTH!

Anyway, the really horrible part was the literal petrification (not actually literal because I know what that word means) caused by these two giant walls and an even giant-er cargo net I had to scale, jump over,  and climb down. I really think I might not have been able to do it, if a very kind gal from the gym, with running skillz, hadn’t run back after finishing to find me, and encouraged me to conquer some pretty deep rooted climbing and falling fears. Which I did, so suck on that world!

 

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As a result of my all around slowness and distaste for overcoming obstacles, I didn’t make it into any of the freaking awesome pictures that were later uploaded onto Facebook— so I decided to fix them. You’re welcome.

 

 

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Why Does Everyone Make So Much Noise – (aka) That Time I Ate Alone

I had lunch alone today. It was only kind of on purpose.

I was going to be a good healthy lass and make myself some meat and veggies at home, but then looked at the Blue Star lunch menu on Facebook– mistake. My mind was invaded by thoughts of chicken flautas, warm soup, sweet potato fires, and grilled fig salads.

Because I lack self control, my immediate reaction was to call my husband–ring ring ring. The long and short of it is that he couldn’t go. He told me as I walked out the door this morning that he had a lot of errands to run, and I immediately forgot. Don’t worry, I still got mad at him for not dropping everything for me– I mean, how dare he…right?

The only thing that is more impressive after my lovely hair and latina skin is my ability to get people to do things with me so I don’t feel as guilty about them. Alas, like a well trained Olympian, I have my off days.

Sam said no too. She was sitting right next to me setting up interviews for her story and had to “work” or something, instead of sneak away– rude.

I decided to go all by myself. I figured I’d look less creepy since I had my Ipad and could pretend to have come alone to read and not because no one loves me.

The place was full, and I wondered if the hostess was secretly judging me. Not because I was eating alone, but because she had to put me in a booth that seats four and she and I both knew I was spending $15 tops. She and the waitress were nice enough, so it didn’t matter– even though I’m still thinking about it. But seriously, former or current waiter friends, would you have been mad?

I had the chicken flautas and the summer squash soup. Eermagerd.

The initially sad and then excellent thing was that the flautas plate was rather small. When I finished I was full, but not sick.

Sitting alone in a restaurant made me realize, people make a lot of noise– even the quiet ones. Some giant party was talking politics– and I was like, seriously it’s just past noon. A grandfather kept referring to his grandson as “young man,” and I thought it was cute in an old tyme kind of way, until I got sick of it. A middle-aged woman told her elderly mother it was no big deal that she spilled water on her shirt, and I thought it was sweet in a sad we are all aging kind of way.

Anyway, what I am getting around to asking is, when was the last time you did something alone? I might do it more often.

And yes, I did get an order of sweet potato fires with a side of mustard to go. Dinner will be a little sweeter and potato-ier.