A Trip Down Memory Lane

Eight years ago, I took my first trip to the British Isles. It was a graduation gift from my parents (More like a graduation incentive–my mom begged me to finally graduate and going on an-all-expenses-paid trip was my motivation. You can bet your ass I made school my bitch after hearing I’d be sent across the pond after receiving my Bachelor’s).

The fact that my parents literally wrote me a $5000 check (that I had to pry out of my dad’s hands) to have the trip of a lifetime is something I can never adequately thank them enough for. It was a life-altering experience that I relive in my heart time and time again.

Now, forty five years after my mother went to England, herself, for the first time, she gets to go again. We get to go together.

I’m fully expecting a lot of laughs, maybe some tears, and for sure, some annoyances, but I only wish for this trip to be an experience we recall fondly for years to come.

In honor of my last trip, and in excitement and anticipation for the one coming up, I’m sharing some of my favorite pictures from The British Isles 2010.

Be aware that I’m not a photographer in the least, and my photos were taken with a $100 pink Samsung digital camera.

Some will be terrible. A few will be blurry. More than a couple will have random people or strange angles. None have filters. I also took these from my Facebook, so they’ll be terrible quality. But, aren’t semi-terrible photos all part of the fun?

Buckle your seatbelts, baby! Here we go!

Hands down, the coolest plane picture I’ve ever taken. I think this is the southern-most tip of Greenland.

A view of London from the window (that didn’t have a screen) of our hotel room. We stayed in Earl’s Court, which is a gorgeous district in Kensington.

Our hotel in London. It was definitely not a Marriott, but it was perfection.

Our London neighborhood. Those row houses, though.

I still crave Nando’s, and who knew you needed sunscreen in England??

This Maida Vale pub just screamed England to me. It was here we found out what Russel Brand meant when he sang, “Will you come for my bangers, my beans and mash”. Or, maybe he means something else.

I distinctly remember this was the moment I almost pooped my pants. I also recall thinking, “This is how we die.”

We took the train from Birmingham to Coventry, because driving was a big “NOPE” (I eventually got brave and became one of the most proficient American drivers the British Isles has ever had the good fortune to host). This is Coventry Cathedral. It was hauntingly beautiful.

Did ya’ll know Lady Godiva is one of my ancestors? It’s true. I was so excited to visit her statue, but, sadly…

…it’s not quite as grand as Primark.

Wait, y’all have dollar stores too, but everything is a pound (which is like a dollar, but not)? Mind blown.

British motorway rest stops are like freaking palaces!

The Conwy Castle ruins in Wales was my favorite castle. We were there, exploring, for hours.

The flowers growing out of the castle walls were almost too quaint.

I mean, just look at this!

Who knew one could find palm trees in Britain? Llandudno was exquisite.

I.did.not.want.to.leave.

WTF? I ate one. That’ll show them.

This was our one splurge stay. This is the Radisson Blu in Dublin. The grounds were my favorite part. This is where we discovered that Ireland’s air conditioning is not like “our” air conditioning. Hot.as.balls.

Kilkenny was quaint af. We wanted to stay at this hotel. It was way out of our budget, so the Pembroke Hotel was the lucky winner of hosting us for our barf-tastic wild Irish night.

TOO MUCH PRETTY

Y’all think this person likes Elvis?

It’s almost just as romantic as Italy. Except they were laying on the concrete in a pretty sketchy part of town outside an apartment building. Young love.

But, someone left kegs there. I found this way funnier than it really was.

Blarney Castle was awesome. I didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone, because Rick Steves said I’d get the herp if I did.

Eeeeeeeeeeeee

Seriously, I felt like I was on another planet while walking the grounds at Blarney Castle. It was otherworldly GORGEOUS.

The drive to Dingle Town, while poop-your-pants-scary was stunningly beautiful at the same time. It was a conflicting feeling.

Dingle Town! I couldn’t even with the adorableness!

I’ve never seen so much green.

Galway was a lively city full of sounds, smells and so many people. The energy was palpable.

Galway also has weird af people who put their gum on a public railing, that is literally right next people playing Scrabble, to eat their chips. She then just left it there.

Kinlay Hostel in Galway was our first dorm-style hostel and the entire night I was literally sweating profusely from the fear that people would come into our room and I’d have to share a room with…STRANGERS. No one came. THANK GOD.

Some ruins and a rainbow effect. No big

Some more ruins and some dark, foreboding clouds. This is like travel picture porn to me.

Ever been to Newgrange? They are prehistoric mounds that are older than the pyramids. Anyone else use the Egyptian pyramids as a gauge for how old something is?

A super narrow alley in Edinburgh we named “Stab Alley”. Not exactly sure why.

Edinburgh was my favorite. I have this one in black and white on my wall. Love.

Edinburgh Castle was too much. Too.much.

The views from the castle are AMAZING AF. Scotland is just the absolute best.

You never know who you’ll find on the streets of Edinburgh.

Loch Ness, my love. TOO BEAUTIFUL. Too.freaking.beautiful.

This path cutting through these delicate wildflowers led to the banks of Loch Ness. It was MAGICAL.

No words needed. Those are words, but, you know what I mean.

I could have stayed on the banks of this river in Inverness FOREVER.

This was taken somewhere between Inverness and Edinburgh. I didn’t realize Scotland was so green.

This was taken from Oxford Castle. Oh, England. You hurt my heart. You’re just too beautiful

Here I am in the haunted Oxford Castle. What haunts me to this day is how I thought I was fat. I wish I were as fat as I was when I thought I was fat, cuz, honey, now I’m fat.

The winding streets of Oxford. I felt studious and smart af in Oxford.

Oh my (said in a George Takei voice).

The River Thames. Le sigh.

The River Hotel was, bar none, the most *interesting* hotels we stayed at. There was the case of the stubborn pube (it was sitting there, on the bathroom floor waiting for us when we checked in and still there after the bathroom was “cleaned”). Then there was the fact every surface in the room had, at least, an inch of dust. Of course, I can’t forget the old lady receptionist who was meaner than a dog shitting tacks. And, of course that we were put in the Annexe, where all of the Americans and other unfavorables get a room. What a trip.

I was speechless the entire time we toured Westminster Abbey. If walls could talk.

When I first saw Big Ben, I knew I was finally in London (This is confusing as my pictures go in order, and I, obviously, was already in London. We started and ended in London. My second set of Big Ben pictures was much better than the ones I took three weeks prior, when I was still a London newbie).

Rick Steves told us not to waste our money on the London Eye, so we didn’t. I’m still not sure if I’m mad at Rick or not.

The only picture I got of the London Bridge.

I think this is Covent Garden. What I do know is we ate at a tiny Italian restaurant in this neighborhood. I had Chicken Carbonara. I never forget food.

One of my London “must dos” was to see a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. That was before a full day of walking. Also, before we realized that why our tickets were so cheap was because our “seats” were in the pit and we had to stand for all three hours of the play. Spoiler alert: we didn’t stay for the whole play.

Now I’m so excited for my trip and ya’ll are probably bored after looking through some random’s pictures.

So, tell me, what’s your favorite “take away” from a trip? Is it a souvenir, new knowledge, pictures, or something else? Tell me in the comments!

Bitty Blog Break

Hey, ya’ll!

Let’s just cut right to the chase.

I’ve been majorly stretching myself too thin. I’ve been trying to plan a huge, five week-long trip while teaching and working a side hustle.

Add trying to keep my home decent-looking, trying to eat healthier, attempting to get my 10,000 steps in everyday (epically failing, btw), running a Facebook group, and trying to have enough passion and energy to write and you have a pretty epic shit show.

Really, I’m managing fine, but I’m not enjoying the writing process and I’ve not felt inspired to write. I’m also not crazy excited with what I’ve put out there.

When this happens (because it happens, ya’ll) I have to just take a step back, recharge, and work on a little self care.

And, if I’m being candid here, I just need plenty of time to sit on my couch thinking about nothing, being a fat piece of poop in order to feel like myself.

I just need a little binge-a-show-I’ve-seen-a-million-times-time

Source

I’m hoping I’ll be able to write some more travel-themed posts before the big trip, but I’m not making any promises.

I hope ya’ll don’t give up on me.

Love and Cupcakes!

The Incidents

The First One

It was totally a gag gift. I swear. The second I got it home, after digging it out from the deepest depths of my purse, I threw it under my bed to never be seen again. I swear.

I’ll just come right out and be frank.

It was a massive pink dildo. It was huge. It was highly detailed, complete with a ginormous pink, wrinkly ball sack.

It was fucking terrifying.

My friend thought it’d be funny to put batteries in it so it’d be raring to go. When turned on, the pink bastard shook my brain three feet away.

So, that terrifying hot pink freak of nature lived under my bed, with the dust bunnies, a random sock, and strangely, a frying pan (so, that’s where it went).

If you ever care to know more about the events that led to what happens next in my story, head over to We Were Stupid AF.

I was at work the day I got that fateful call. I was working at a used online book company. It was, hands down, the easiest job I’ve ever had. The eight or so of us data entry temps all sat in the same room, at our respective computers. It was mindless work, so all we had to do was sit, enter ISBNs and listen to each other’s gossip.

It was nearing the lunch hour when I got a call from my friend on my work phone.

“We are getting kicked out, dude. You better leave work, because we have until 5 PM to be out.”

“Come again?” I asked, shocked.

“It’s serious, my mom’s here and everything. If we don’t leave by 5, they will call the cops!”

My goody-goody ass didn’t like the sound of that.

“Shit. I’ll have to ask to leave! OMG.OMG.OMG,” I said, trying to whisper my hysteria.

“You better! My mom and I are going to start on our room.”

Seven sets of ears were trained on my conversation. Their eyes were glued to their screens, their fingers flew across the keys, but they were keenly aware of every word I spoke.

Suddenly, my blood went cold.

Her mom. Moving out. Our room. The Pink Dildo.

Her mom is going to see my pink dildo and then I’ll promptly die.

“So, yeah, if you could leave work NOW, that’d be great.”

“Wait. Wait! So, umm. Remember my “Liberated From the Cheating Bastard Party” we had?” I whispered.

“Yes, why does that matter, right NOW?”

“Well, the thing is, I got a thing. You didn’t know about it, because Mary* thought you’d be a prude about it,” I mumbled.

“I hate Mary.”

“I know, I know. Well, there’s something under my bed.” I tried to sign over the phone.

The ears listening in on my private dildo conversation were now complete with judging, edge-of-your-seat eyes.

“OH, MY FUCKING GOD! What is it?!”

“Just please get it and hide it somewhere before your mom sees it,” I breathed.

“WHAT is it?”

“It’s a…dildo,” I murmured.

*click*

My friend was endlessly saving me, preventing me from dire fates, and always felt the need to be my second mother, because I was constantly being a dumbass.

The Dildo Incident almost did her in. She did, however, get to it before her mother (she wore gardening gloves to fling it into a box with my high school yearbooks and a long-dead philodendron.)


The Second One

For some inane reason, I kept the terrifying pink monstrosity for years. I reasoned that all independent, adventurous women needed to own a dildo of their own, even if all it did was live in the back of a closet under a pair of mangy late 90s era Steve Madden sandals.

Circa 2005, my boyfriend at the time and I moved into our first place together. His mom planned to visit as soon as we were all settled.

Now, let me just tell you a little thing:

Before she got to know me, I’m fairly certain she thought I was the (she)devil incarnate.

They were a ranching family from a small cow town. However, after the first year of college, her primed-to-be-a-Wrangler-wearing-Honky-Tonk son came home with black eyeliner, black hair, black band tees, and obviously, a black soul.

Not long after this, he brought home a girl with a lip ring and tattoos. She also happened to be an older woman. That girl was me.

She was pretty convinced I was corrupting her son, but she learned pretty quickly that he had plans to corrupt himself and I was just along for the ride.

So, back to her visit. We had a lovely day out lunching and shopping. When time came to get settled in for bed, she expressed her worry that she’d be a bit chilly with just the one blanket we had provided for her.

We both offered to get her another, but because she’s the kind of independent woman who never needs assistance from someone else (even when she seriously does), she insisted she could get one if we told her where.

We pointed her in the right direction and just when it was dawning on me that something didn’t feel right about the whole thing and flashing, red lights were going off inside my head, we heard it.

A sound like nothing I’ve ever heard before rang out. It sounded like the combination between a screech one might make when attempting to dodge a ball to the head that you know is coming no matter what you do and the long, low, pitiful moan of a dying soul.

Immediately after the most terrifying sound I’ve yet to ever hear in all my life, a thud. Then, a steady, whirring, vibrating that you could feel in your brain.

Finally, silence, as we all three contemplated the meaning of life.

The rest of her time visiting, she didn’t look at us once. Not once.

I guess that’s a pretty tame reaction, because usually the response from one who has been hit over the head** by a flying dildo from the heavens, belonging to a corrupt girlfriend of your only child, is usually so much worse (so, that’s where it went).

*Not her real name

**Years later, she was able to speak of the incident. That’s how I know it hit her square in the forehead.

All images courtesy of imgflip.

Fatty McCupcakes has been nominated in the Funniest Blogger category for the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. If this gave you a chuckle, I’d really appreciate the love! You can vote HERE! Thank you, and as Leslie Knope would say, “I love you and I like you.”

Dingle Town

Lately, I have really been feeling the wanderlust. I am a travel blogger, by heart, who does not have the means to travel near as much as is requisite to be an actual travel blogger. Adulting and all that crap… So, when I prefer to be strolling the cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh instead of participating in the usual grind, I take a mental vacation back to the best vacation I have ever taken. Back in 2010, I got to spend three glorious weeks in the U.K. and Ireland (the parts not belonging to the U.K., hence why I said ‘Ireland’ separately-just thought I needed to clarify that). There are days I can still smell the curry take-aways in London, feel the salty Dublin Bay air on my skin, and see the smiling faces of my friends in Edinburgh. In honor of my intense longing to be anywhere but here, I am posting from my first blog, BigCityBetty, a post I made about Dingle, Ireland. I will be writing up a long-awaited review of the hostel we stayed at there, The Rainbow Hostel, because this funky place popped our hostel cherry, and what better way to do that than with stray, mangy cats, nude men, and pooping Frenchmen. Without further ado, my Dingleberry post:

On the way to Dingle. C
On the way to Dingle.
Dingle Town. Gaelic is taught at school as a means to preserve the dying language.
Dingle Town. Gaelic is taught at school as a means to preserve the dying language.
I mean, it is almost too beautiful.
I mean, it is almost too beautiful.

While planning our week in Ireland, my travel friends came upon a most amusing name for a town. This town? Dingle. Yes, Dingle. First thing my boyfriend says? “We HAVE to go to Dingle, so we can pick some berries!” I rolled my eyes and told him there was no way we were going to go clear across the whole of Ireland just because the name loosely referred to a poop crusted piece of toilet paper hanging from butt hairs. Did he think that was a silly reason to go somewhere? Heck no. So, obviously, from the get-go, I was not too keen on the idea of Dingle. Not only did I think of stinky butt crack adornments every time it was mentioned, it was incredibly far from anywhere else we were planning on visiting. Regardless, I had two whiny men simply begging to put Dingle on our itinerary. Just to silence the “picking berries in Dingle” and “shall we make a dingleberry pie” jokes, I caved and Dingle was to be a future destination. The jokes, however, did not stop. Men.After some research on Dingle, it didn’t really sound all that bad. In fact, Rick Steves, himself, calls it, “The epitome of Ireland”. I decided if Rick Steves liked it, I would too.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we almost died on the road to Dingle. Several times. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but the entire time spent white-knuckling it to Dingle, I was growling that it better damn well be worth it. As we passed green, luscious, rolling hill after green, luscious, rolling hill to the far western coast of Ireland, I began to see why Dingle was the epitome of Ireland, and we hadn’t even gotten there yet. By far and wide, the area in the 100 mile radius of Dingle was the most green and gorgeous of all we had seen. It was almost too much. As we drove slowly into the town of Dingle, we saw row upon row of quaint shops and pubs, all squeaky clean and perfect. The town was nestled in the same green, rolling hills we had oohed and aahed over for hours. Dotting the hills were cream and yellow colored homes that looked straight out of a storybook; the entire town looked like one I had seen in one of my childhood fairytale stories. It was dusk and getting dark as deep, gray, foreboding rain clouds kissed the hills. As I exited the car, I could taste the sea and feel the wetness of rain yet to come on my face. We decided exploration of this incredible town was in order. Everything was in Gaelic; people walking past spoke the strange, beautiful tongue. This place was amazing. This place was Ireland. This place was worth it.

Our time spent in Dingle was too short and the hostel we stayed at was, well, let’s save that one for a later blog post…Despite our strange lodgings and the terrifying drive in, Dingle was one of the most beautiful and untainted places I have ever been. If I ever make it back to Ireland, Dingle will be my first stop.

Oh, and yes, there were berries to be picked, but they never ended up in a pie.

I Can’t Be Allowed to Adult Unsupervised

Somehow, someone deemed me fit to be an adult.

WHO APPROVED THIS?

Someone in the Adulting Main Office must have had no more fucks to give the day I was being reviewed. So, when my file came across their desk, they just stamped “ADULT”, without even reviewing it and, thus, allowed my incompetent ass to slide right through into fully verified adulthood.

That’s the only way I can figure I’ve been allowed to adult for this long. I’m wholly unqualified.

If the garbage disposal confusion wasn’t evidence enough (I never knew it wasn’t meant to ground up fully intact foods, like an entire chicken breast), I reckoned they’d figure me out when I failed to ever check my engine oil. On more than one occasion in the not-so-distant-past, the service station attendant has had to deliver the shocking news, “Ma’am, you have no oil. Like, none.”

I knew the Adulting police had to bust me for not owning an ironing board and ruining my kitchen table trying to hastily iron a dress for a wedding I was running late for, because I was playing Words With Friends, instead of watching the time.

Yet, no one has come to revoke my Adulting license.

HOW CAN THIS BE?

Had someone interceded, or, at the very least, monitored my every day Adulting charade, perhaps I’d have learned that leaving a candle burning for too long is not only a fire hazard, but a smoke stain disaster waiting to happen.

HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?

I wanted to get rid of a winter-themed candle from Bath & Body Works that I have in my bathroom, because spring is bound to show itself eventually.

I figured I’d let it burn for an evening and I’d be well on my way to having room for my spring-appropriate bathroom candle (this is a very important thing, obviously).

What I found when I went to brush my teeth for bed was nothing short of shocking.

First, the candle was on fiiiiiiiiiiya. Like, duh, it was burning, so fire. But, it was raging. It was also hot to the touch (and on the top of a cabinet), so I’d have to stand on the toilet to blow it out.

Because I didn’t want to rip the toilet out of the wall, I sort of stood and half-leaned with my right hand on the bathroom counter.

At this awkward position, I couldn’t really get at the top of the candle to blow the son-of-a-bitch out appropriately.

I decided one, quick stand on the toilet to blow it out would have to do the trick. Crossing my fingers for the safety of my toilet, I stood, blew, and was thanked with a splatter of hot wax all over my face (how it didn’t splatter the wall really just explains how things go in my life).

On the way down, I noticed the wall above the candle looked curiously dark.

When I looked closer, I realized the wall next to the candle was also a nice shade of charcoal.

As my gaze widened, my shock went much like this:

First, I was all:

Then, I was like:

And, finally, I went:

(I wanted these all to be gifs, but my WordPress app wasn’t having that for some reason.)

The candle I had burning for hours, spit out a coat of black soot on all four walls and the entire length and width of the ceiling.

The offending candle. My mom says only cheap candles coat entire rooms with soot. Hmmm. What do you have to say for yourself, Bath & Body Works?

In panic mode and since I’ve been binging on Nightmare Tenants and Slum Landlords, I quickly wet a rag and went to town wiping off every square inch of the bathroom walls and ceiling. I can’t ever be confused for the disgusting pigs that destroy other people’s property.

After cursing, re-wetting and wringing-out a now black rag, scrubbing furiously, and basically having a FREAKING heart attack for a good half hour, I felt my bathroom had been returned to its former glory.

I sheepishly went out to the living room, sweaty, covered in soot, and sat calmly on the edge of the couch. I turned to my boyfriend (WHO WAS MERRILY WATCHING TV THE WHOLE TIME) and asked him if I was the only 30-something who didn’t know burning a candle for too long would turn a small, confined room into the inside of a chimney.

He just responded, “Baby….how did you not know that?”

I DON’T KNOW.HELP.I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

If anyone reading this has some pearls of wisdom they think I need, please, share them in the comment section. I need all the help I can get.

From Gaerwen to Blackpool: At Least We Didn’t End Up In the Black Pudding

We left off last time just barely arriving in Blackpool in one piece.

Despite having finally found Blackpool after what felt like 83 years of driving, it was now up to my car sick and useless-with-a-map travel companion to find our B&B.

We knew nothing about the B&B other than it had an available room with two twin beds and it was somewhere in Blackpool. Oh, and I guess we had an address. Duh.

We had no idea if it was near the shore or some other distinguishing landmark that might have served useful when explaining our dilemma to the 20th petrol station attendant we’d spoken to that day.

When we knew we’d be way past check-in time, we used our trusty Samsung Vodafone to get a hold of the woman managing the B&B to assure her we would be arriving, we just weren’t sure in what century.

She was super friendly and assured us she’d “keep the light on”. She even went so far as to ask where we were and tried to guide us that way.

“Oh, you’re by a brick building with white trim? Erm…”

“It’s by a fish and chips take away? Well…”

“What’s the street name? Egg Road? Dearie, I don’t think that’s a road…”

(It was Haig Road.)

After tons of miscommunication and a very poor explanation of our surroundings on our part, she eventually gave up and merrily predicted we’d be arriving in no time.

In no time, we still had no idea where the fuck we were.

When I recall this moment on my trip, I always wonder how we drove around Blackpool for a solid hour like complete imbeciles.

I guess the only real reason is that I have zero sense of direction. When I was in college, I’d leave one of the buildings, just blindly going in whatever direction felt right. My friend would have to run after me and steer me in the correct direction. Even after a year of being at the university, I had basically no idea where I was going every single day.

It comes naturally, as my dad is the same way. Except worse. So much worse. After a prime rib dinner at one of the downtown casinos one night when I was around ten, my dad and I left in his truck and lost the rest of the family convoy. Two hours later, we made it home, but not before circling the city three times and almost driving across the state line. My mom almost called search and rescue.

I’m not sure what my friend’s excuse was other than he must have been sniffing glue or picking boogers when they learned about maps in the 3rd grade, because somehow he was worse than me at directional intelligence, and that is saying a lot.

Perhaps the most stressful aspect of all of this was the fact that we were inconveniencing some poor woman. Had we made arrangements at a hostel, we’d likely have just accepted defeat and slept in the car.

After our 10th orbit in one particular roundabout that we were sure had to let out on the street we were looking for if only we went round enough times, we noticed a police car parked further up one of the streets.

In utter desperation (and I was getting really, really cranky at this point), I decided we should go ask for directions.

“You can’t just drive up behind a police car and get out. It’s like the opposite of what’s supposed to happen. They pull up behind you and they get out to walk up to your car, so…,” replied super-helpful-friend.

“SAYS THE PERSON WHO CAN’T READ A MAP, WON’T ASK FOR DIRECTIONS AND HAS NO OTHER SOLUTIONS.”

I wanted to pummel him.

So, of course, since he was incapable of going into to the last 12 petrol stations to ask for directions, because he’d “for sure barf” if he did, I had to walk up to the police car after pulling up behind them like a total creep.

Turns out, they were very friendly (and pretty amused) and willing to take us in the correct direction as far as the edge of their beat. I totally didn’t feel like a moron asking for police assistance in finding our B&B. Not at all.

After the policemen got us going in the right direction, we very quickly found our B&B. It’s amazing what going in the correct cardinal direction will do for you.

The B&B was completely not what I had imagined. All of the B&Bs I’ve ever seen and stayed in have been older houses, with the rooms converted to accommodate for guests. This place looked exactly like the hotel in Fawlty Towers. I.shit.you.not.

The woman who we had gotten to know so well over the phone welcomed us in her robe, slippers, and, if I am remembering right, she even had rollers in.

She was really excited to see us.

She greeted us like long-lost, beloved family members. I think her overly-excited behavior had everything to do with the fact that she could now finally go to sleep.

I don’t even remember checking in. It was all a whirlwind of, “You both must be exhausted! Here, let me take that. Oh, it’s no bother! We’ll be going up the lift, if that’s all right. Well, not me, but you two. And your luggage.”

All I recall from check-in is her excitedly stuffing us and our four pieces of luggage into the smallest elevator in existence*.

We could barely utter, “Are you sure this is going to work?” before she used her entire body to push the rest of my fat still bulging out as the door tried to close.

Once the door was shut, we couldn’t move at all. I’m not even exaggerating when I say every square inch was taken up by our bodies and luggage. I had an elbow in my back, a suitcase handle in the neck, and a carry on bag somehow balancing on my head.

I risked decapitation by American Tourister to turn my head to get sight of my friend. He looked thrilled, his face smashed into my bright pink floral Vera Bradley carry on.

We were only going up two flights, but the ride TOOK FOREVER. Not only was this rickety contraption barely the size of a fucking refrigerator box, it moved about a millimeter a minute, and it sounded like it was dying a very painful and dramatic death the entire ride.

“WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?” I wanted to scream.

An hour later, the elevator stopped, the door slowly creaked open, and a cascade of bags, arms, legs, and a random shoe fell out of the elevator.

We stumbled, stunned and exhausted to our room.

After a few dazed moments, I asked, “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?”

“Dude, I think this place is creepy as fuck, and she’s totally going to grind us up in her special human-sized meat grinder. We are going be served as black pudding tomorrow for breakfast, ” my friend asserted**.

Normally, I would have totally bought into the fear and would have been like, “OMG NO WAY HOW DO YOU KNOW ARE WE GONNA DIE?” but I was too tired to care that the place was a little off.

I told him he was ridiculous and rude and that was that.

Because we couldn’t even remember the last time we had eaten, we ventured out onto the boardwalk to find anything open at the ungodly hour it was.

I can’t even accurately describe Blackpool, other than to say it was exactly like my experience on the shore in New Jersey (other than the British accents). I’m sure it’s a lovely place, but I really have no idea.

The first open take away restaurant we found, we ordered, ate, and miraculously found our way back to the B&B in our exhausted stupor in short order.

My friend was so out of it, he thought he’d finally found his Irish goddess in all places- a dingy Blackpool fish and chip shop.

On our way up to the room, my friend noted that no one else was about in the B&B and for sure we were her only victims for the night. Or, the others had already been taken.

For once in my life (because I’m always the one who is sure a place is haunted and full of murderers), I was the rational one.

I told him he was crazy and that no one was around BECAUSE IT WAS ONE IN THE MORNING. I then promptly went to sleep while he stayed up, watching out for Norma Bates.

In the morning, after a full night’s rest (for me), all was right again. We saw the other guests (definitely none were murdered in their sleep) during our delicious full English breakfast in the dining room (just like the one in Fawlty Towers). But, we didn’t eat any of the black pudding. Just in case.

Instead of doing any sightseeing along the boardwalk, we decided to see the Irish Sea before heading off to Scotland.

We had no idea what these booger things were, but my friend had a pretty good guess.

For the end of June, it was really, really cold.

*How I didn’t feel it necessary to photograph said elevator is a total mystery.

**She was adorable. Don’t listen to him.

I Just Want To Make You Laugh

I felt I should, out of respect and because I’m a teacher, mention something about the senseless tragedy last week.

It was and is horrific that these acts continue to plague our world.

But, because this blog is not the platform I would like to use to speak my mind on hot button issues, I’m not even going to go there with a political stance or a statement on what’s happening and why.

(But if you do want to lose friends over a difference of opinion or get in a fight with your childhood best friend’s mom, Facebook is open all day for your convenience.)

This blog space has and will always be a place for everyone, regardless of sex, gender, race, political affiliation, or stance on whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza (it does, in case you were wondering, but I totally still love you if you hate it).

Not only do we have enough of the ugly side of the real world all over our social media, we need some comic relief, even during the darkest of times.

It’s this reason I’m not sharing politically-fueled or potentially segregating posts here and why I’m going to continue spreading my humor.

This can be your place (if I so humbly declare) that you can come to to maybe get a chuckle or to not feel so alone because you realize now that you’re not the only one with overly hairy toes.

So, amidst the sadness and fear I feel for my students and my fellow teachers in the trenches, I feel a need to continue to smile, to find the good, to laugh.*

source

*This doesn’t mean you can’t also fight tooth and nail for what you believe in, because do that too ✊🏻.

The Avocado Incident

You know how when you have a really stressful, crappy day the only thing that will make it better is massive quantities of carbs and a good angry conversation with yourself in the car on the way home?

Well, when you’re on a “diet” and all you have at lunch that even halfway resembles cake is an avocado (and it’s not even close to car convo time), that shit’ll do.

I brought an avocado for lunch with the intention of cutting it up and adding a few pieces to my Mexican-style salad.

After a morning where positively everything went wrong and after hearing some not-so-happy news, my emotions were conflicted and I was HANGRY.AF.

I almost forgot I even brought that damn avocado and didn’t recall my salad’s one saving grace until I had already choked down my plain lettuce and farty black beans.

I also forgot the butter knife I meant to take so I could cut said avocado.

It was almost animalistic what happened next.

I needed that avocado and not a few measly I-have-self-control-look-at me pieces.

I took the end of my fork and I just mauled that avocado like a savage until the skin was ripped to shreds and I could start inhaling the poop green goodness.

I sat and angry ate an entire fucking avocado.

And, it was a big boy, too.

Even when I bring healthy food options, I end up figuring out a way to royally fuck it up.

I need help.

Have you ever eaten a whole avocado in one sitting? Maybe I’m impressed/shocked/disgusted over something that’s not even a big deal. If not an avocado, have you ever eaten an entire *something* and then immediately felt like a fat bastard?

I need to know.

Things My Optometrist Says

My family and I have been going to the same optometrist for decades. My grandma and grandpa saw him for their ocular needs many moons ago and my aunt first started seeing him when she was in high school in the late 70s. I first met him when I was around five and I got a piece of shell stuck in my eye.

We’ve loved him like he… Oh, you want to know how in the heck I got a piece of shell stuck in my eye?

(I’m gonna be really long-winded here, so bear with me.)

Well, so, there’s this lake in our neck of the woods that is all dirt, shells, clay and, of course, water. Not a single tree or bush, save eight billion sagebrush bushes. No matter the season, time of day, or day of the week, it’s windy as a mofo. I’ve witnessed more tents, sleeping bags, water floaties, and coolers succumb to the elements and be dragged out to the middle of the lake to never be seen again than you can even wrap your head around. So, I think you can imagine now how a piece of shell could lodge itself in one’s eye. Thus, my first encounter with Dr. M.

When I turned 12 and was immediately struck nearsighted, (actually, that’s not how it happened. I was probably half blind for a year before anyone realized that why I was so bad at math was that I just couldn’t see any of the equations on the board. Except, that’s TOTALLY not why I’m bad at math. Anyway…), I started going to Dr. M regularly.

My grandpa died when I was a mere babe, so getting to see Dr. M every year for my check up was what I imagined hanging out with my grandpa would have been like.

My entire family and I are truly fond of him, and whenever one of us has an eye appointment, the rest of us wait with bated breath for a new Dr. M story or classic line we can chuckle about for years.

So, without further ado…

Things My Beloved Oldster Armenian Optometrist Says:

“Let me get you some extra sample contact solution, but you can’t tell any of *them*. You have to put it in your purse. Is this going to fit in your purse? Open up your purse, let’s see if it will fit.

“Do you use the good contact solution? No? Do you do lattes? Yes? Well, no more lattes and you can buy the good contact solution. Done.”

“You know *insert really famous actress he actually knows personally here*? She’s a really interesting person, but she is not a looker.”

The optometrist’s assistant *In a keep-this-on-the-DL-way*: “We are going to start in this room, but we will be moving to exam room 1 when it becomes available, because this room is too stuffy for Dr. M.”

Dr. M, leading me out of the too-hot exam room: “Let’s get out of here. This room is too hot. I don’t do hot!”

“I remember walking through the war-torn streets for bread for dinner. I was very young, but reliable enough that my mother trusted me to walk many blocks for our daily meal.”*

Saying to me about the optometrist assistant who was helping me find frames: “I have to ask her before I can leave. Can I leave now?

And, my mom’s favorite story about how he is too cheap/stubborn to get AC in his house, so he walks around his house naked, but his wife won’t let him sit on any of the furniture. He likely told my mom this story to garner some sympathy for his terrible plight.

Whether it’s a story about his famous celebrity friends he made while living in LA or it’s a randomly comical observation about the state of the world today, visiting with Dr. M is never dull or without feeling like I’m being attended to by someone who genuinely cares about my health and latte-buying financial choices.

I just hope that Dr. M knows how much he is revered and loved by all who have been lucky enough to know him.

*I’m not sure I got this right. Or, maybe Dr. M didn’t get it right? Either way, if he was referring to WWII war-torn streets, he lived abroad and he looks really good for his age. He might be referring to another war, or, hell, he’s a really great storyteller. Either way, needing to know more about this man’s fascinating life is a great excuse to make another eye appointment.

A face only a friendly optometrist would love.

How Do I *Make Shit Happen*?

Sometimes, I look at the lives of really successful, happy people and I wonder what I’m doing wrong.

All around me, people are purchasing their first homes, buying appliances and custom cabinets for said home, adopting pets, traveling, investing in IRAs.

And, here I am, buying a coat rack and feeling like that means I’m an adult.

It’s not like I haven’t tried.

I have.

It’s not like I sit around feeling sorry for myself all the time.

Sometimes I do, though. And, when I do, you better believe I really go all out with crying over dog videos in my onesie pajamas.

I tried really hard last year to find an affordable home to purchase that would provide me with the next step: adopting a dog.

I never found that home.

Maybe I was too picky, too hesitant, too scared of a major first step, but I’m going to give myself the benefit of the doubt on this one.

I chose one of the worst times to look for a home to buy in my area, as home prices are at a record high. I also wasn’t comfortable buying an overpriced home in a bad area. I’m no home buying expert, but that didn’t seem a wise investment.

Yet, still, I see people my age buying homes in my area.

What the actual fuck?

I’m planning a trip for this summer to the U.K., while at the same time, I can barely afford the gas to get across town during my monthly “week of poverty” before payday.

How are people, with huge families no less, able to travel so much?

What the genuine fuck?

I wonder sometimes if it’s my outlook. I try to have a positive outlook on things, but that’s hard when you feel like life is constantly beating you at some game you never knew you were playing.

I know a great many people will say that the power of positive thought truly exists. I’m not here to say I necessarily disagree.

But…until positive thought pays off my student loan debt, I’ll probably be a semi-skeptic.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m not a hard enough worker or I lack gumption.

I’ve been looking for a side hustle to help pay for aforementioned trip.

I’ve looked into VIPKID, which is an online tutoring company. You tutor kids in China, so that means I’ll have to tutor with my Flock of Seagulls bed head hair and with sleep crusties still in the corner of my mouth, because the time slots for my time zone are un-Godly-early.

(I’m still highly considering VIPKID. I’ll just be a total sleep-deprived grouch is all.)

I’ve gone so far as to schedule a vehicle inspection with Lyft, but I keep getting this text message:

I’ve rescheduled twice, and Lyft doesn’t like to give out a phone number so one can problem solve using spoken words.

I didn’t even want drunk people puking in my car anyway, Lyft.

I should probably just figure out a way to make a side job happen and quit my bitching, but a very dominant, stubborn part of me knows I already work my ass off as a teacher, so I’m not thrilled at the realization that my career isn’t cutting it in the having-money-department.

So, all this to say, my goal for this year is to learn the secret to making shit happen.

Maybe it really is positive thinking? Maybe it’s not being more concerned about binging on Call the Midwife, but binging on bringing in some Benjamins? Maybe it’s not worrying how old I’ll be when I finally own my own refrigerator?

In fact, my first order of business is to quit worrying about everyone else.

(Maybe I can get this tattooed on my forearm?)

So, do you know the secret to making shit happen? Sharing is caring!