Tag Archives: Virginia

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#fmsphotoaday Day 12 #fms_text

I feel like I cheated for this one.  Everyone on Instagram seemed to be working with fonts and books.  I took a screenshot.

Today’s Photo Challenge:  Text

 

I thought it was clever but it may get me kicked out of the photo challenge.

Also today on Instagram…

 

I got out of my car and chased down this plastic bag this morning.  I thought I was doing the right thing, you know.  Saving the Earth, keeping our streets clean.  When I got back in my car I noticed that the bag’s logo was not that of a grocery store or a convenience chain.  No.  It was labeled:  Patient’s Belongings.  Oh.  Dear.  God.  What kind of cooties did I just come in contact with.  Bleh.  Oh no.  Oh no!  So much hand sanitizer, folks.

 

 

Residents of Virginia can thank me as the weather returns to normal over the next few days.  All our wacky weather has been a result of my winter flag still being out.  No worries!  Spring flag is flying now!

Tomorrow’s photo challenge:  Mirror

 

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Day 8 : My Sunday #fms_sunday

And we trudge on!  With a week of photo challenge under my belt I come to day 8:  My Sunday.  Today was a busy day with Mother’s Day visiting, yard work, and grocery shopping.  The morning started out with birding!  I have volunteered for the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas.  My mission is to visit my assigned area (my block) for twenty hours between April and October for the next four years.  Two of my visits have to be nocturnal visits.  I’m on the lookout for birds and especially birds who are trying to or have already made a love connection!  I have to keep my peepers open for singing males, birds collecting nesting materials, fledglings and other such suggestions that breeding is taking place in my block.  Not to sound like a total nerd, but it is super exciting!  Today I saw a pair of Northern Cardinals alerting their fledgling of my presence (score!) and a female Carolina Wren moving her fledglings along (double score!)

Day 8 #fmsphotoaday : My Sunday – Logging birds for the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas #vabba2

A post shared by Melanie Jo Moore (@melanie_jo_moore) on

This is an almost enchanting path located in my block.  I have high-fived myself numerous times that the owner of this property has granted me permission to bird here!  Eeeeee!  So much fun!

Tomorrow’s photo challenge :  A sign!

Sweating It Out

Excuse my depression… it’s just that…

Well…

This is the first time in four years that the air conditioners are running in this house before July.

WHY GOD?!?!!?  WHY?!?!?!

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The only reason I agreed to the forfeit is because our older cat, Shamooki, seemed to be tolerating the heat less favorably this year despite the fact I recently shaved her neck and butt.  (Yes, you read that right.)

The first day that it crept into the 90’s here, I stood over the stove checking on the rice and peeking in the oven at the enchiladas.  Needless to say, it was closer to 350 degrees in the kitchen than the cooler 90 degrees outside.  I grabbed the ice pack I had recently used on my injured knees and draped it around my neck.  I could hear the beau in the living room.  “I’m sweating and all I’m doing is sitting on the couch.”

I feel for the beau, I do.  He works in the heat all day long, has a brief and refreshing drive home in his air conditioned vehicle, and then enters our beloved home that respects the changes in seasons.  Back in his bachelor days, he could have made ice in his living room.  Now he melts into our furniture and I know he does this out of love … or maybe insanity … possibly both.

“It’s only natural to experience the change of seasons.  Our ancestors didn’t have air conditioning and they did just fine.  I love hearing the birds singing outside.  With the windows open, we wake up naturally when they start chirping and the sun comes up.  All very natural stuff here.”

I hear a muffled, “This isn’t natural.”  He may have covered his face with a pillow or perhaps a box fan.

As mentioned above, there are the things I love about summer and having the windows open.  Fresh (humid) air, birds singing, jar flies making that crazy buzzing noise all night.  You can see lightening bugs from your window while you drift off to sleep.  Good stuff.  Then there are the other two factors.

Factor One:  Five years ago, my sweet old landlord came to visit.  Her main goal was to see the flowers and trees that she had planted here long ago, but she also wanted to cruise through the house to check if walls needed to be painted and things of that nature.  While inside, she paused in the living and smiled.  “You know, we never had conditioned air when we lived in this house.”

Call me competitive, but I realized that if she could survive a summer without air conditioning so could I.  That following year, Presleigh, Shamooki and I sweated it out until the middle of August.  I frequently wandered around the house in a shirt I’d ran under cold water.  Presleigh willingly took cold baths during the heat of the day.  And Shamooki… well she managed.  God bless the person who would put her under the faucet.  When the beau and I started dating, I’m sure he thought it was weird that I would mention during a meal in a restaurant, “It’s really nice not to sweat while eating dinner.”  That August brought a fierce heat wave and even though we were surviving, I was afraid about my critters during the day when I was at work. If I had been the lone tenant, I would have kept going.  I had to think about the furry kids.

Factor Two:  I had a horrible air conditioner experience once.

Go ahead, laugh.  I hear you.

At the time, I was living in Parksley in the house that was once purple.  (That’s what everyone in Parksley called my house.)  My hell raising cousin lived in the next town up.  Her little froo-froo dog was a client of our grooming department.  On his hair days, she would drop him off so he could ride to and from work with me.  No big deal.

One morning, I woke up with the crud and called out sick.  I was feeling gross enough I forgot all about playing puppy limo until I heard a knock at the door.

“Oh my God, you look like shit.”

“Thank you.  What are you doing here?”

“He has a hair appointment.”

“Ugh.  I’m not going to work.  You’ll have to take him.”

I’m sure it began to look like an ugly battle between separated parents on my stoop as Melissa put her unleashed hand on her hip.  “I’m on my way to work.  I don’t have time to take him.”

Feeling like ca-ca, I was in no mood for this game.  “Well, I guess you’ll have to take him back home.”

“I don’t have time to take him back home either.”

I looked down at her Lhasa who had a history of cocking his leg on my furniture.  “Fine, fine.  He can stay here today.  Call my work and reschedule his appointment.  No peeing in the house, JC.”

“That was an accident!”  Melissa yelled as she marched back to her car.

It sucks being sick.  It really sucks being sick in the summer.  It really, really sucks being sick with no air conditioning and three dogs panting on your bed.  It felt somewhere between those raunchy hotel beds that you pay a quarter to jiggle and a small earthquake.

I looked at my two and our day boarder.  “You know, you guys wouldn’t be so hot if you went out in the living room.   All four of us crammed on this bed is making it twice as hot.”

The dogs continued panting and staring at me.  They wanted me to do something.  They wanted me to put the AC unit in the window.

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“Alright, you win!  I’m putting in the air conditioner but I’m just turning on the one in here.  I’m not cooling the whole house.”

My window unit was a classic hand me down unit.  Much like its early computer cousins, this beast was unnecessarily huge in size.  It was heavy and it was incredibly awkward to carry by yourself.  I dug it out of the closet and headed to the window, briefly depositing it on the bed.  It took some fidgeting, but I managed to get the window’s screen pushed up out of the way.  It was going to take a great deal of maneuvering to get the unit to hang out properly and then to get the window down all by my lonesome.  I began the dangerous mission of shimmying the AC out the window.  It made an awful commotion that caused the dogs to pant faster.  I tried to move quicker to ease their anxiety and discomfort, but as I did the air conditioner went too far and almost fell out the window.  I gasped and luckily caught it.  It was precarious; my arms draped over the top of it and fingers desperately clinging to the very back.  I took a deep breath and exhaled.  How the hell was I going to get it back in the window?

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to ponder that question.  It must have been when I was fighting with the screen that caused my demise.  Suddenly, the storm window dropped like a meteor from the sky.  It came down on both my arms and pinned them to the top of the air conditioner.

I cried.  The dogs panted.  My hands lost blood circulation.  All I wanted to do was lay in bed and get better.  I never asked to be stuck in my window.  It was a modern day medieval  stocks.  All I needed now was for the townspeople to come throw vegetables at me.  At least the storm window would protect my face.

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I’m not sure how long I was prisoner to the window.  It felt like years and five thousand dog pants later before I got loose.  With more effort than I thought I could afford at that point, I slowly worked one arm out of its pinning.  Since the storm window had locked in place, it wasn’t as easy as just lifting it with the arm that had received the pardon.  With the free hand I was able to painfully rock the AC back and forth enough to get the other one out.

And because I loved those damn dogs, I still went through with getting the air conditioner up and running.  The remainder of the day was spent in a sleepless coma in a bed of snoozing dogs.  I’ll never forget that day or the way I felt standing there with nowhere to go.  The three souls in that room that I would have done anything in the world for could only help by being a moral support group.

A hot breathed, panting moral support group.

 

And I’m Back! Snow in VA

My round trip journey to Orlando, Florida is complete!  Thank goodness!  The blog should be falling back on it’s regular schedule this upcoming Monday.  For now, I thought that my followers would like to know the progress of the winter storm that fell upon the east coast yesterday.  I was hoping these videos were available on YouTube, but you’ll have to use the links for the official Facebook page.  Here’s some video footage from News Channel Steve in Cape Charles.  That’s right, that’s how us Shore folk roll.

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Pre-Storm Coverage:

The flakes started to fall:

Oh yes, it gets better:

And the final evening report:

To join the fun, become a follower of the News Channel Steve Weather on Facebook. 

International Label Day

Have you met Rarasaur?  She’s a fellow blogger who I find amazing.  She seems to always have her creative juices flowing, always posting quirky things on Facebook.  At the end of the day when I am barely functioning enough to take my shoes off, she’s still ticking along.  I try to tell myself that we must be in two very different time zones and that is why she seems so productive when I’m out of gumption.  That may have something to do with it, but I believe there’s a lot more.  She’s a bit of an inspiration for me.  I… must… push… on.

A week ago, she had a Facebook post that caught my eye.  She’s hosting a celebration of International Label Day on her blog.  I clicked on the link for the previous year’s post, Bloggers Celebrate Label Day, and found it pretty nifty.

Urban Dictionary defines International Label Day as a holiday that celebrates the beauty of the words we choose to let shape us, the subcultures that we are proud to be part of, and the surprising meaning of the labels we all choose for ourselves!

I kicked around the idea.  Did I want to participate?

I had just posted a blog about how I’ve hated having my picture taken.  And here I was, thinking about having my picture taken.  Even more daunting than the thought of me photographed was… what label should I use?

I thought about writer … but I have no photos of me writing. Hmmm…

What about the tomboy….

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Or Irish Enough … I’m mean, come on.  Look at that hair!

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Or on that note… Token White Girl

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I could have chosen gangsta …

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Or crazy ass bitch …  That night brought on a whole host of labels!

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What kind of label do you give to a girl beating someone’s ass while she’s barefooted?

I could have been seen as simply the oldest…

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Maybe the tree hugger….

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Or lover of beer.

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I’m a veterinary technician.  Could that be my label?

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Who would I be without the beach?

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And my reign as the Crazy Pigeon Lady!  Is that who I am?

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It finally came to me.  This morning, I had a ton of coffee… traded my jammies for some clothes and headed outside.  This is what I came up with ….

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My ESVA peeps are hooting and hollering right now.  That’s how you’ll be able to differentiate who knows what my label means.

ESVA is home.  The Eastern Shore Of Virginia is where I was born and raised, where I will live and die.  Home.  I’ve been a crazy person in several respects all of my life, but who would I be without the beaches and the farm land?  The bay and the marshes?  The long winding back roads, the quaint little towns.  Shore gossip, either when you are the gossiper or the gossiped.  My wild stories start and end here.  My roots are planted strong.  They stretch out to West Virginia and North Carolina but it all started here.  Where I have made all of my friends, where I met my beau.  Home.

There’s a love to this land.  If you were born here, you may deny it at times.  I can tell you I have seen people go and I have seen them return homesick.  I’ve seen come-here’s become lifers with the rest of us.  It’s quiet, it’s simple, it’s home.  I would not be the same without it.  I would not change it for the world.

Sand And Saltwater

If you were to analyze my DNA, you would see that it mostly contains sand and saltwater.  None of those difficult chains here, 50% ESVA (Eastern Shore, Virginia) and 25% Outer Banks.  I grew up in a family that worked on the water, prepared food from the water and ate that food from the water.  I spent many a childhood day reeling in a line, baiting a crab pot or signing for clams.  The beau is also of watermen decent.  (We have joked it is this heritage that contributes to our amazing tolerance of alcohol… though my remaining 25% is coal mining people… so I say I’m tougher based on that West Virginia breeding.  That’s moonshiners country.)

Dinner last night was like many meals of our childhood.  We had puppy drum that the beau had caught Saturday.  I decided to bake the drum in the oven along with some roasted veggies.  We still had half an hour before that would be ready which left plenty of time to steam up a bag of clams.  Mmmmmmm, steamed clams!

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Soooooooo good!  I love steamed clams, and not to get all Benjamin Buford Bubba Blue on you here, but I love clams in every five thousand ways you can prepare those things.  Chowders, stews, fritters, raw!  I love clams.

I began culling through the bag of them, checking everyone for liveliness before I chunked them in the pot.  I came across one whose shell was slightly ajar.  This could be a sign that the clam is dead, and for you who have never steamed your own clams… lesson number one … a dead clam is a bad clam.  Don’t eat that mofo!

I turned on the faucet and ran a gentle stream over the clam and he quickly closed himself completely.  Yay!  Good clam!  With the pot filled, I put in on a burner and let that heat rip.  It was time to get these guys steamed.

This may seem off subject here for a minute, but being Buddhist does not require you to be a vegetarian.  There are different teachings and one of the beliefs is that it is okay to eat things other than plants as long as you are not wasteful and that you use resources that are available to you locally.  

As a cloud of steam started to rise from the pot and the occasional ‘pop’ of shells started, I peaked in on our appetizer.  I began pulling clams out on a tray.  Suddenly, I was hit by a wave of sadness.  I had just murdered thirty living things, right there in my own kitchen.  They had just spent ten minutes being steamed to death.  Holding tightly to their shells with all the muscle they had until they finally couldn’t fight the inevitable any longer.  ‘Pop’ goes the clam.  Another little soul off to heaven.  

Bah!  What is wrong with me?!  I have spent my whole entire life preparing seafood.  There is a percentage of those creatures that walk the plank to their final moments.  Like crabs for example…

Sometimes, they hold claws like a line of kindergartners on the way to lunch.  

Pan of steamed clams on the table, we start to dig in.  The fish and squash still have a bit more time in the oven, so this gives me the opportunity to discuss my inner turmoil.

“It’s funny how your perspective on death and food changes the older you get.”

The beau dips a clam in melted butter, “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.  As a child, I never gave much consideration to steaming clams.  You just did it and then you ate.  Tonight, I was testing a clam to see if it was still alive.   It was, so I tossed him in the pot.  After the water was steaming away, I felt bad.  You know, I just steamed something to death.  DEATH!”

“And you feel bad about it?”  The beau looks at me as I throw another perfect little clam in my mouth.

“Well, not too bad I guess.”

I just can’t imagine what I’ll be like in another twenty years if I keep going at this rate.  When will I start feeling bad for the tomato, the banana, the lettuce?  I can’t see myself ever giving up meat totally, but boy does it feel bad listening to the hissing sound of a clam about to throw in the towel and wave the white flag.

Well, not that bad.

Mmmmm … clams.

 

Happy Birthday, Tracy!

I was trying to figure out a very special story to tell you guys in honor of Tracy’s birthday yesterday.  There are so many ridiculous tales to chose from, but don’t ask her.  Somewhere along the lines of our early twenties, her brain hit the emergency eject button and dumped all the memories of our childhood.  Do you know how awful that is, laughing about a memory and then having the other person in the conversation say, “Did that really happen?”  You were there, fool!

I’ve picked one that occurred on a cold rainy night.  We were in Tracy’s Ford Tempo (the official cool car of kids everywhere in the 90’s).  I’m thinking that Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People was jamming on the radio.  Tracy’s parents had laid down a strict rule, that car was to stay in town limits.   By the time, Marilyn Manson was saying, ‘you can’t smell your own shit on your knees’, we were already five miles out of Cape Charles.  In our defense, we were only going to Cheapside to see our friend Renee.  It wasn’t really that far away.  It was going to be perfectly fine!

Tracy was driving and was accompanied by Wayne in shotgun.  I was in the backseat with Shannon, my boyfriend of the time.  We were chatting about something, likely some crazy ramble that was coming out of my mouth.  We were not paying a bit of attention to life outside of that backseat.  Shannon leaned over to kiss me and then my world was rocked.

Sorry, Shannon.  Not by you, by Tracy.

Somehow, Tracy had totally forgotten the flow of that road.  (Wait, she was forgetting shit back then, too!)  Instead of squeezing around that corner, Tracy drove that car right into the ditch, into the field, back into the ditch, back on to the road (hang on, I’m not done yet!), and then back into the ditch.  Need that simplified?

Road > Ditch > Field > Ditch > Road > Ditch

It almost looks like a line dance!

As Shannon held his mouth and continued to mumble, ‘My tooth!’, Tracy started into a breakdown that sounded like a siren going off.

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!  My parents are going to kill me!  Oh my God, oh my God, oh my GOD!”

We all shushed her and tried to calm her down, except Shannon who I think was still trying to figure out if my tooth damaged his in the crash.  Wayne turned around to me and said, “What do I do?”

“Don’t they slap hysterical women in the movies.  Slap her!”

“I’m not slapping her!”  Wayne put his hand on Tracy’s shoulder.  “Tracy, calm down.”

“AUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHH!”

Wayne, looking much like a deer in headlights or a person in a scary movie, looked back at me.  I grabbed Tracy’s sleeve and said, “Tracy!  Let’s get out and assess the damage.  Open your door and get out.”

She drew in a ragged breath and grabbed her door handle.  The handle moved, but the door didn’t.  The door was jammed against the ditch wall.  “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!  I’m stuck!  Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!”

Minutes later, we were all crawling out the doors on the right side of the car.  The rain had picked up and we all stood getting soaked, analyzing the car.  We organized together and tried pushing the car.  It was not going to budge with just the four of us.

“My parents are going to kill me!”

In the distance, we could see a car coming.  

“I’m going to catch a ride with that car.”  I started making my way to the edge of the road.

“Mel, what are you doing?”  Poor Shannon, I was always doing things that he did not agree with.

“I’m catching a ride to Renee’s.”

“You can’t get in a car with a stranger.”

“What else am I going to do?”

“I’ll go with her.”  Tracy scrambled over the ditch to join me.

“You two are crazy!”

Wayne, who understood there was no talking us out of a mission, said, “Shannon, is your brother home?”

“Yeah.”

“When you get to Renee’s, call Aaron.  Tell him to get together the guys and bring a rope or chain.”

“You guys are insane!  What if it is a crazy person?”  Poor Shannon, poor poor Shannon.

“We are going to be fine.  This is so much faster than walking.”  I flagged my arms and the vehicle slowed down.

Tracy let out a nervous giggle.  “Uh, Mel.  Isn’t that guy a crackhead?”

“WHAT?”  Shannon started to say more, but I turned around and waved as I jumped in the truck.

“Thanks for the lift.  We just need a ride to Bones’ house.”

“I know where that is.”  

As we walked in the backdoor of Renee’s house, her mom shouted, “What the hell happened to you two?”

Tracy started to relive the story as I grabbed the phone and called Aaron.  I relayed the message.  Boys with muscles and a rope.  We had to get this car out of the ditch.  Within the hour, we were loading up in Brandon’s car with him and Bryan and following Aaron in his truck.  At Tracy’s car, a very patient Shannon and Wayne were waiting.  

Getting the car unstuck was not easy.  The car was too wedged in the ditch to pull it directly onto the road. With much yanking, Aaron was finally able to pull the car with his truck out of the ditch and into the field.  He unhooked the rope and pulled out onto the road.  Our troubles weren’t over though.  The car would not budge in the field.

“You girls get in the car.  Put it in reverse and we’ll push you back some.  See if you can get some traction.”

Tracy put the car in reverse and lightly applied some pressure to the gas pedal.  The boys lined up at the front of the car and pushed from the hood.  The car wasn’t gaining much and one of those boys yelled, “Give it more gas!”

Well, that did it.  The car started to fly in reverse.  The tires became machine guns and started shooting mud bullets.  The boys were pelted with clumps of mud.  As the car wheeled away, we could see them all covering their face.  Tracy pulled onto the road and we waited in silence.  The back doors opened.  Wayne and Shannon climbed in, completely covered in mud.

Tracy and I busted out laughing.

“Ungrateful bitches.”

Back at Renee’s house, Tracy and I battled the increasing wind speeds and rain.  We scrubbed all the evidence off her car.  Thank goodness, this would be something her parents would never find out about.

The next day I called Tracy.  “I’m grounded.”

As luck would have it, Tracy’s parents took her car that morning while she was sleeping.  They were heading K-Mart and experienced a flat tire on the way.  Lucky for them, the blowout occurred right by a service station.  As Debbie and Grover sat patiently in the lobby, the mechanic came in from the shop.

“Have you been four wheeling with that car?”

A confused Grover was escorted to the garage and was struck by an odd sight.  The undercarriage of the car was covered in mud and there were strands of wheat hanging from every nook and cranny.  

“Dammit, Tracy.”

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Happy Birthday Tracy!  I’m so glad you at least remember who I am.  You do, right?

ImageTracy and I, Blazin’ Flippers circa de 1995

 

 

 

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Me and Tracy, circa de 1997

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Tracy and me, 2010

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Me and Tracy, Her birthday 2011.  Boy, I can really muck up a picture!

 

 

 

Waves Of Nostalgia

FLASHBACK: 2007

The music pouring out of the speakers speaks volumes of a time so long ago…

Not of Egyptians, not that of Pilgrims.

1996.

It’s summer. The breeze is blowing just enough on the beachfront to push the mosquitos along and the smell of salt water up your nostrils.

We all might as well have spawned from salt water. It ran through our veins thicker than blood.

Staring off in the horizon. Stars. The moon. Ships traveling up the bay. Nudging each other about one day we’d not be in the ghetto of that town. We’d be big wigs. We’d all be on those ships together. We wouldn’t be here anymore.

And we wished ourselves away.

I really must confess
I’m feeling quite distressed, my stars are always crossed
But I have always taken more than I have given back
And as a matter of fact, I’ve given nothing up

The words spill out, part of those lyrics later to become my senior quote in high school.

I hear the crashing of waves, soft but intense. Then it is all overcome by laughter. Even though I am plagued by the chill of the concrete benches in the heat, I agree to walk to the pier. I weave along, a bottle that is gigantic in my hand swinging along the way. I pull the forty of Colt 45 to my mouth and follow my boys.

We’re nearing the end of the pier. I stop at one of the tucked away benches to pop a squat and pee. I hear one of them ahead yelling back if I need them to come back and hold anything for me while I piss.

I throw up my middle finger.

Pulling up my shorts and stumbling from a puddle, swigging again on my favorite malt liqueur, I stare off again in the horizon and wonder what the world holds for me. Fifty thousand words fly through my head and I giggle. I want to be a writer. I want the world to see this. I want them to see how beautiful my world is. Stevie steadies me with an arm as I stumble to catch up and all I can think is I have friends who love me. I have great beverages. I have a whole month of summer before me to waste the night away. To drink. To giggle. To pee on the pier.

And even now, I close my eyes and I see us. I see the moon. I see the stars. I see everything we had then that we tossed to the gentle summer breeze and lapping waves on the beach.

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Cape Charles Beach 1995

When is it okay …

To fake your sexual preference?

Answer:  To embarrass a sibling.

Example A:

Years ago, my sister and her best friend thought it was super cute to secretly take some of that window chalk and write ‘GHETTO BOOTY’ on my back window.  It is completely true, I indeed have a big ass.  I once had a random man approach me to tell me that I was small framed but big block.  (I guess that was too much to fit on one window.)  Oh, ha ha.  So funny, now everyone I pass will know I have a gigantic butt.  Fantastic.

Lucky for me, revenge will generally present itself.  The day after the window graffiti was performed, that sister and I went to the big city of Virginia Beach to hit up the mall.  As we sat in traffic, a young couple probably fresh out of high school, pulled up beside us on my side of the car.  The guy was sporting his mom’s super expensive vehicle.  The couple looked over at us, laughing and I could only assume it was at the declaration of bottom size on the back of my car.

“Ha, ha.  Mel they are laughing at your ghetto booty.”

“You think so?”  I start rolling down my window.

“Mel, don’t.  Don’t make an ass of yourself.”

“Me?  An ass of myself.  Oh, no.  It seems you’ve already made an ass of me when you decorated the back of my car.”

“Don’t do it, Mel.”

“Hi!  Excuse me.  How are you guys?”  The couple continued to giggle.  “You.”  I pointed at the guy.  “You want to know what’s real funny?  I fucked your bitch last night.”

The couple stopped laughing and perhaps stopped breathing.

“Dear God, Mel.”

I blew some kisses, threw a wink in her direction and the light turned green.

“Mel, that wasn’t funny.”

“Really, I thought it was funny.”

EXAMPLE B:

That sister and I had just come from the beach.  We stopped at a gas station to fill up my car.  I got out and started pumping gas.  A school bus pulled up beside us.  I’m uncertain if it was from one of those schools that go all year round (poor souls) or if it was some sort of summer activity.  The bus was full of boys probably at that age where they were transitioning into puberty and high school.  My sister had always been a lean specimen and the boys were always attracted to her.  People couldn’t believe that squatty full figured me could be her older sister.  She had a habit of not being so modest about these features.

She opened the passenger door and climbed out of the car.  She was only wearing her bikini.  The teenage boys started putting down the windows and hooting loudly.

“Thumbs up, you can attract thirteen year old boys.”

She continued to wear the smile of someone who had obtained great achievement until I cleared my throat.

“What are you doing, Mel?”

Isn’t it funny, that there is this age when boys are starting to figure out they girls aren’t so gross?  Yet, in this time of girl acceptance they haven’t transition to that point of full blown testosterone.  There is a brief stage where boys aren’t attracted to girls kissing girls.  A moment in adolescence when lesbian action is frightening.

“Excuse me?  Do any of you guys have an older sister that’s pretty?  I’m looking for a date this weekend and I’m looking for a pretty girl.”

Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.  All the bus windows quickly returned to their closed position in a chorus of, “EWWWWWWW!!!!! SHE LIKES GIRLS!”

“Do you always ruin a good time, Mel?”

“Pretty much so.  Yes.”

Okay, so it’s not nice to fake your sexual preference.  It may not be right, but it sure can provide an entertaining form of revenge.

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Circa de ‘Faked Lesbian Encounters’  Same pasty white skin, same peachy attitude 🙂

Everyone knows women from Virginia…

Two years ago and some odd months, I was walking through a busy hall between hotels in Las Vegas.  I was with a coworker and we were coming back from that day’s lectures at the Western Veterinary Conference.  A ‘gentleman’ and I use the term loosely, flagged us down to his table of fine products… ooooooh!  Fine products!

“Where are you from?”

“Virginia.”

“Everyone knows that women from Virginia have very dry skin.”

Seriously, you are telling me this in the desert?  I can tell you what women from Virginia have.  Gracious manners to stop and talk to idiots who want to tell us how dry our skin is and how with the right amount of exfoliation and dark circle cream, we’d look more like 25 instead of 75.

 It was at that time that I should have realized that resorts were going to continue to make me overly self-aware for the rest of my life.

This past weekend, I headed to our nation’s capital (Jenny) for the CVC East Veterinary Conference.  The conference is hosted in the lovely National Harbor Gaylord Resort.  This hotel is huge.  It has an atrium, which I kept saying made me feel like I was in a people aquarium.

I understand that I was there for work and not vacation.  This wasn’t a trip that was supposed to make me feel all warm and fuzzy about myself.  However, I do feel with the cost of the nightly rate that I shouldn’t be accosted by this!

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A magnifying mirror that if I positioned just right I could see Mars!  A mirror that made me look like this!

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(Mugshot borrowed from The Smoking Gun)

Good heavens that thing was awful!  It’s bad enough that they have full length mirrors!  I can’t remember the last time I lived in a house with full length mirrors, and the reunion of my full body image to my eyes was not a joyous one!  Dear God, My legs are so short and stubby.  And those thighs!  I never see the reflection of my thighs!

But, back on track with intensifying mirror from hell… I do not need to be reminded that I have my father’s pores (or craters, so the intensifying mirror called out).  Eeek!  Look at those dark circles!  I use one of those fancy rollers gels to help reduce those, why do I look like I got into a bar fight before I got here.  This can’t be true!   It just can’t be!  Is that a blackhead or just a reflection on my oily forehead of a stretched limo in the parking lot!  Are those nose hairs or is there a troll hanging upside down out of my nostril?  I just had my eyebrows done, WHY DO THEY LOOK LIKE THAT?  Thank goodness I use wrinkle cream, or we could start naming the valleys near my eyes.

That damn thing came on a swivel, so I could turn it away from myself.  My five dollar housekeeping tip obviously wasn’t enough because every day whoever was in charge of vacuuming the floor and refilling the coffee supply would wheel it back around so I could be greeted by this!

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The hotel does have a spa and I do think it was a ploy to have you rush downstairs directly, fork over your lifesavings and get a facial that would bring you back to the skin you were born with.  You laugh, but one of the Mother’s Day SPECIAL (which implies it was discounted) was just a bit shy of four hundred dollars.

Did I mention things continued to get worse?  Oh yes, poor me and my country bumpkin skin that is so use to well water (iron and other minerals must be moisturizing) was drying out by the second from the chlorinated water.  So not only was I viewing things that reminded me of the Grand Canyon, the surface of the moon, the black hole… now my skin was flakey and gross.

Oh, if the man from Las Vegas with fine products could see me now.  Dry, flaky skin and a complex, just how a woman from Virginia should be.