Josh and I spent the weekend roughin’ it in Manistee National Forest in Northern Michigan. Turns out, it’s a really beautiful place and the perfect setting to partake in some of our favorite things – spending our vacation doing things in the most difficult way possible, getting drunk near water, and abandoning deodorant for 4 days.
That’s our campsite and yes, that is an I Love Lucy lawn chair. We actually had quite a few sites to choose from, and out of everything I think we hit the jackpot. The first area we checked out was right on the water as well AND had a vault toilet right up the hill (BONUS) but there were other campers nearby, the site was covered in poop, and there was a dead baby goose in the fire pit. Eww to other campers nearby, amiright?
We’re definitely not in Detroit anymore.
We stumbled onto our spot which was literally in the middle of nowhere and totally perfect, the only downside was that there was no toilet and we had to park the car up a hill and walk everything to our site. We definitely didn’t pack with any sort of “hiking” to our location in mind, but made it work. It’s not like it involved actual hiking anyway, I’m just lazy and will refer to anything that doesn’t involve sitting in a chair hiking. I’ll tell you this, though: carrying a giant cooler of beer up a hill covered in dead leaves will make you appreciate the pesky stairs in your loft building much more. I only fell on my ass once!
The second best decision we made was to pack a bunch of pre-cooked rice and chopped veggies to make stir fry over the fire. No, not just stir fry. BOMB ASS STIR FRY. Everything tastes better when it’s flame-broiled. I kind of want to go back to the site just to get a bowl of my favorite stir fry.
His favorite spot.
Went for a mini hike and explored around the lake. Came across this area that totally looks like a fairy den and kind of reminded me of The Hunger Games. You know, if The Hunger Games included Bud Light cans and toothless dudes asking you if you’re looking for mushrooms.
I’m not naked.
One thing I should have done was write down every song that popped into my head during the weekend. We didn’t have music playing most of the time, so it was like my brain gave me a completely irrelevant soundtrack to go along with everything. First it was Celine Dion Christmas songs because I have no idea why but PLEASE MAKE IT STOP, then Ignition by R. Kelly, then a little bit of Modest Mouse. My personal favorite was “She’s a Lady” by Tom Jones, which would play in my head every time I ventured off into the woods to pee. You’re totally going to get it in your head next time you’re going to the bathroom now. You’re welcome.
Me: “What’s the name of that band that’s all over the radio with the banjos and shit?”
Josh: “Mumford and Sons?”
Me: “Yes! I forgot their name and my brain keeps on playing one of their songs and it’s like “hey, do you remember the name of this band yet?” and I’m like “nope.”
Josh: “So you’re saying you have a hipster troll in your head asking if you remember random band names?”
Josh: “It’s time to go home.”
Oh, and since I knew I would need some way to stay a little bit clean, I decided to go all hard in the paint and make my own body cleansing wipes. I actually like them more than the cheap wipes I’d normally buy at the drugstore, especially because they’re cheaper and made with better ingredients. The recipe is over at Sustainable Sass.
One of my favorite quotes in relation to writer’s block or a lack of inspiration is by Hugh MacLeod.
“Writer’s block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you should feel the need to say something. Why? If you have something to say, then say it. If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts. The noise will return soon enough.”
That’s how I feel right now. Constant obligation to say something, no desire to get on here and say it. Instead, I will provide you with a half-assed list of things I have not been blogging about.
- It’s finally feeling like summer in Detroit and I really wish I had an apartment on the first floor so I could have a redneck barbecue out my back door next to the train tracks.
- I am running Color Me Rad on Saturday and all I can think about is how I will prevent my thighs from chafing like last year.
- I have been using Fitocracy to track my workouts and I really love it. It’s like a social network site for fitness, so there are no updates from your bigot cousin or cheesy quotes written on a faded stolen landscape image.
- I am also reading Ultra Marathon Man. If you want to feel totally incompetent about everything you have ever done while simultaneously getting an uncontrollable urge to run 100 miles, you should read it.
- Yesterday I went to Belle Isle with some friends and we visited the secret hipster beach that I didn’t know existed (not hipster enough). I am probably going to spend the whole summer there. Also, this happened:
- Josh has a week off just about every month this summer which means CAMPING! Can you believe I am excited about camping? I just want to cook things on a fire.
- I keep telling myself to ditch the feeling of obligation to post here multiple times a week and that it is OK to have a personal blog and not be perfectly consistent. I am letting myself slow down and focus on things that need my attention the most. My Twitter and Instagram feeds (and Sustainable Sass) will probably be more active than this blog for the time being.
- Every time I say something about “oh I won’t be here as often as I used to be blahblahblah” I get the sudden urge to start writing every day nonstop. So uh… maybe see you tomorrow.
The other day I was thinking about my experiences in the online writing business and how I got started. This is how I got started: writing literally anything I could find that would pay me to sling words while sitting at a desk as a bored administrative assistant. Here are a few things I wrote in 2008 and 2009 under a pen name for eHow.com and About.com:
How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
How to draw a horse
How to customize a musical instrument with stickers
Funny facts about Barack Obama
Hollywood stars with eating disorders
How to access the spare tire of an F150
How to carve an eagle out of wood
How to sew a weave in your hair
Amount of body hair by ethnicity
How to take out a nose ring
Haircuts for scene girls
The effect of urine on acne-prone skin
How to gain weight in the face
How to find the density of a glass marble
How to write a thank you letter for a present you hate
Who invented Ziploc bags?
Dog mushroom poisoning symptoms
6 month anniversary gifts for girlfriends
Items needed for a tea party
Hand palm diseases
How to find a career in respiratory equipment management
How to repair a Wii controller
Ski boat safety
Up next: dramatic readings of each of these articles by Morgan Freeman. Assuming he returns my call.
(ETA: Most of these are not up anymore, otherwise I’d consider linking you to my expert opinion on urinating on your face and respiratory equipment management. Sorry to disappoint)
Think about the restless night of sleep ahead if you don’t do something about your brain. Lie down, preferably in the same spot you’ll be sleeping because if you’re lucky, the meditation will end after 8 hours of the best sleep ever. Open the window because it’s hot. Try to focus on the police sirens. BOOM, Cops theme song in your head. Focus on the rattle of the train tracks. Think about that time Josh told you train conductors are some of the most depressed professionals because of train track suicides. Sad. Really sad. Immediately think about everything sad that has ever happened to you. STOP. Think about happy things. But you’re not supposed to be thinking about anything. THIS IS MEDITATION. Pancakes with real maple syrup from Eastern Market.
Open the sleep sounds app. Select “pan flute” because that sounds relaxing. This sounds like Pocahontas playing the Titanic theme song. Grandmother Willow! Draw me like one of your French girls! Damn you, James Cameron Disney. Pan flute fail.
Go for the sound of rain. Choose between “rain,” “urban rain,” “rooftop rain,” rainy day,” “rainstorm,” “heavy rain,” and “thunderstorm.” THE FUCK. If there was only one rain option I would not be dissatisfied with the sound of every single one of these. Combine three rain sounds because you’re ballsy. Sounds like white noise. Too much rain. Have to pee.
Urban rain it is. I wonder if it’s acidic. Who cares. Doze off. Wake up at 7am to a gentle rain on the urban landscape.
That was nice.
I don’t even know what to blog about after this horrible, horrible week. It actually wasn’t so bad on a personal level since I am fortunate enough to not know anyone involved in any of the tragedies going on, but man. Every time I woke up at 4am to pee and decided to check my phone, Twitter was overloaded with information about another awful event taking place. Worst Internet slumber party ever. I am glad April is almost over because it is historically a pretty lame month.
Let’s just be happy that it’s almost May. Who else misses Justin Timberlake’s curly hair?
Here are some terrible photos from Tuesday. Josh had the day off so we went exploring some new trails and spent the evening playing disc golf with friends. It was his first time playing and I had only done it once a few years ago, meaning I am really bad at it. Like, really bad. I don’t think anyone expected me to suck so bad at first. I was like dudes, not even kidding. I cannot kick things, or throw things, or balance things – I was in band (first chair clarinet *fist bump*) which means I was the farthest thing from an athlete. I throw things with the skill of a blind puppy with no hands. After a few holes I got better, of course, but yea. I have no skills.
Anyway, here are a few happy links.
+ Everything about Matej Peljhan’s photography is amazing.
+ These infomercial gifs will probably make you snort. EVERYDAY TASKS ARE HARD.
+ 19 creative ways people have satirized the anti-gay movement.
+ Sex art! (safe for work)
+ 10 reasons why Detroit will prove critics wrong.
+ Coffitivity seems like a weird concept, but it’s so great. Sometimes playing music while working at home is a little too distracting and silence is even worse, but the sounds of a coffee shop are the perfect middle ground, even if it makes you feel like a weirdo who is too lazy to just go in public to an actual coffee shop.
The other day my brother and his roommate told me that if I want to get serious about running this year, I should just sign up for the Detroit half marathon in October. That’s six months away which gives me ample training time, but is also 13.1 miles and I have never hoofed it 13.1 miles for anything in my life.
I kept thinking about it because they are right – if I want to commit to running and do more than just hop on the treadmill or go for a jog on the riverfront, I need a reason to do it. I need a goal that I am excited to reach, and I need to actually do things to reach it. That’s what freaks me out, because when I think about it there are not many goals I have ever set for myself that have forced me to make significant changes in my life and get uncomfortable in order to accomplish them. By the time I get around to accomplishing or trying something, it’s usually a cheap watered down version and not even what I wanted to do in the first place because I was too lazy to get serious and prepare. Signing up for something as big as a half marathon doesn’t really afford me that kind of lazy convenience and I know it is something I want to do someday, so why not now?
The morning after our conversation I was still thinking about it so I went to the gym and did 13.1 miles on the stationary bike just to get a feel for what the fuck kind of mileage we are talking about here. Pretty much nothing I do on the regular is 13.1 miles away (shop local!). The bike was easy, but feet are a whole different story. The Detroit half has an option to run across the Ambassador Bridge, into America’s Hat, and back into the U.S. through the tunnel, which sounds like a hell of an experience for someone’s first half marathon. Sounds like even more reason to do it.
I am trying to come up with reasons not to do it or get people to tell me why I realistically shouldn’t do it. All I can come up with is “what if I die” and “do I really want to spend $100” and “I probably can’t hire someone to chase me with a knife the whole time” which doesn’t sound all that valid to me.
My brother is running his first half on the 27th so my plan is to watch him and then make a final decision, even though I am pretty sure I already have my mind made up. I am already doing two 5K’s this summer so that will also help get my mind where it needs to be.
My shins hurt just thinking about it.
Have any of you ran a half marathon? Full marathon? Ran for a really long time? Please share!
Josh and I like to swap online dating horror stories from before we met, and the other day I remembered a very remarkable one that I wrote about on an old site. I dug it up in my drafts and decided it was time to republish this thing on here for your entertainment. I was 22 or 23 when this happened and I wrote about it as soon as I got home that day. Don’t judge.
There has been a guy contacting me on a dating site wanting to hang out. I first ignored him, but decided to respond since he wasn’t awful looking and seemed mildly funny. I was working at a coffee shop this afternoon when he texted me asking if I’d like to hang out. I ended up telling him where I was and that he was welcome to join me for coffee. This way I could use “work” as an excuse if I had to leave.
So I’m sitting there editing an ebook when I see a handful of chubby fingers snatch my laptop screen and yank it flat against the table. My new line of vision revealed a giant spinning belt buckle in the shape of a car rim. This gaudy spinner belt buckle was attached to the belt that held on the pants being worn by the guy I agreed to meet.
“Whatcha doin? Workin?” He asked me.
“Um, yea…” I said as I tried to comprehend the fact that there was a 28 year old man wearing a spinner for a belt buckle across from me.
A few seconds later he grabbed my planner that was sitting next to me and asked if he could read my diary. When I told him no because that book was filled with personal info and boring work-related stuff, he folded his arms and pouted. POUTED.
He then decided we were going to play 20 questions, and by that I mean he decided to ask me 20THOUSAND questions about myself and respond to each of my answers with “that’s hot.” Questions like “how old are you?” “When is your birthday?” and “What city do you live in?”
I asked him the same questions in return. Here is what I already knew: He’s 28 and just graduated law school. That’s about it. So here is the jist of what he decided to tell me about himself that I did not know from his vague profile but he felt was valuable information:
+ He doesn’t have a job. But he did have an interview at Starbucks earlier that day. Fingers crossed.
+ He lives with his mother. Or as he likes to say in order to make it sound better, “his mother lives with him.”
+ He has a foot fetish.
+ He doesn’t eat grapes or bananas because they have too much sugar.
+ He has a compulsive masturbation problem.
+ He wears his spinner belt buckle everywhere he goes, including job interviews.
That’s when I texted my friend asking her to call me so I could pretend I had somewhere to be.
In the few minutes I gave him before leaving, he decided to ask for information on what I do for a living. Since I was sitting in a coffee shop in the middle of the day he assumed I was also jobless and living at home. I told him I was living with my Dad for the time being, and had just quit my job to start a freelancing career. I asked him if he remembered reading that in my profile, to where he admitted he didn’t read it, he just went for the girl with the pretty face.
This also got him wondering: Since both of us live at home with a parent, where would we have sex?
That’s when I started packing up my things. He decided to help me by picking up my napkin and fork, but before handing over my fork, scratching his head with it. HE SCRATCHED HIS HEAD WITH MY FORK.
“Leaving so soon?” he asked.
“Yep. I have uh… stuff happening that I need to deal with,” I lied.
“Are you going to come back? I’ll be here studying.” He followed that with a few huffs, giggles, and a smirk that I still want to smack right off his greasy face.
“Probably not. I have to go to the gym and then I have to write a blog post about what it’s like meeting people from online dating sites. I’m going to be pretty busy.”
“I sure hope you’re not writing about me!!” he said with a wink.
I got new running shoes the other day (these, if you are wondering), which is probably the most boring way possible to start off a blog post. You’re welcome!
I was looking around the running store after I chose my pair and realized how utterly baffling it is that we spend so much money to excel at a thing we are biologically designed to do. We are, at our core, all just bags of meat trying to survive and not get eaten by other bags of meat, and yet we have developed our species and society to a point where we can justify spending $250 on pants that make us run better and $30 on wraps that help get rid of shin splints. I am shocked conservatives are not staunchly against running because we have swayed so far off the traditional running path. We are destroying the sanctity of running!
I may not be trying to outrun a cheetah, but it is still amazing to see and feel my own progress. Of course I feel general discouragement because I have been running semi-regularly-ish for months and still don’t have the ability to run a marathon and THIS IS AMERICA, WHERE IS MY INSTANT GRATIFICATION, but going from someone who could barely run on the treadmill for a full minute to someone who can run at a steady pace for 10 minutes and push out a mile in 13 minutes is pretty fucking cool. Of course the days where I am in love with running and everything about it are carefully balanced within the days where running feels like a heartbroken bitch lover clinging to my thighs, but I have been told that running is as mentally manic as it is physically painful, so I’ll take whatever I can get.
So there is my progress report. I wish I had more to say. Maybe next month.
Now if only I could make it up the 3 flights of stairs from the locker room to the gym without feeling like I’m going to vomit a baby, we’d be in business.
Has your body impressed you lately?
The other day I was on Pinterest trying to find a salty snack I could make with a vegetable and I came across this one for brussels sprout chips. I really love brussels sprouts but was not expecting them to be as delicious as they were. Josh even said they were better than popcorn, which I took as a HUGE compliment because it’s one of my favorite snacks but then I remembered the time he told me he doesn’t really like popcorn so I was like wait… what’s that mean? Either way, I made a second batch immediately because they were delicious. If you like brussels sprouts, check out the recipe here and definitely give them a try.
Here’s a few Sunday reads:
+ One man’s soap nightmare. (Again, gotta thank Rachel for this one)
+ Sarah reached 200 sales on Etsy and shared some things she learned along the way.
+ Nate writes very openly about his wife’s eating disorder. Sad but excellent read.
+ Last week I discovered Dillan DiGiovanni’s blog on Twitter and I love it.
+ Rethinking your diet for the generation who ate marshmallows for breakfast. I never really thought about it, but our generation did grow up on some really shitty food, didn’t we?
+ Of Monsters and Men in Steubenville. I have avoided writing about this controversy but Kristan sums it up very well.
+ Mean Mad Men. This is the best Internet mash-up ever.
While Josh and I were driving to Grand Rapids the other day, a commercial came on the radio for a razor company who claims that 85% of women prefer to kiss a clean-shaven man. I get it, there are benefits to both beards and smooth faces, and I like Josh whether he has a beard or not. Still, this is where I question the ethics of razor company polls because pretty much every woman I know likes facial hair.
Do I even need to add the caption here about how beards will get you pussy? Too easy.
We were trying to picture the scenario in which they polled women to ask them what they prefer. The clean-shaven guy was probably Ryan Gosling, and the bearded side was probably Sasquatch. Like one of those bullshit infomercials where someone is making eggs and the yolk winds up in the bathroom because MAKING EGGS IS SO HARD!, then the Slap Chop guy who got beat up by an escort comes in and is like “NO! You need the magic egg flipper!” And everyone’s teeth glisten and they make perfect eggs. Yolk stays right in the pan! It’s a miracle!
Me: “I want to know who they are polling and what kind of guys they like. This is incorrect. These women probably like it when guys wear a ton of cologne, too.”
Josh: “It has to be Ryan Gosling. He ruins everything. It is also insulting to Sasquatch. Can you picture him when he finds out why he has only been getting 15% of kisses? Devastating.”
Now I need to take a poll. Ladies (and gentlemen, of course) – how do you like your partner’s facial hair? Is this poll bullshit? More importantly, have you ever had your egg yolks wind up in the bathroom because you were using a faulty pan?