Planes, Trains and Automobiles: More Idiot Travel — Part 2

Trains

On the same trip I’ve referenced a million times (because it was the only overseas trip I’ve ever gone on), we took the train only a handful of times. For the majority of our trip, we had a car, but we weren’t crazy enough to drive in London, so we took the train to and from Oxford when we didn’t have our car.

The train trip to Oxford from London was so pleasant. Idyllic even. The train was barely at half capacity, and we were seated across from a friendly couple from Denmark. We had a great time chatting and it made the trip really quick and painless.

The train from Oxford to London was a whole other story.

The train station in Oxford was balls to the walls insanity. It was packed. There wasn’t one seat to sit in and if I’m remembering correctly, you had to pay to use the restrooms. It was not my favorite.

When we finally got onto the train, we saw that, just like the station, it was packed.

I had booked our seats in advance and upon seeing the Mad Max situation that was our train, I was pretty grateful for my forward thinking.

However, when we had finally clawed our way to our seats, dragging our bags with us as there was no more room in the baggage compartment, we saw that an older couple was in our seats.

They were adorable. I mean, gray hair perfectly coiffed, matching linty sweaters, and they totally had Kleenex up their sleeves for later. They were the epitome of what every loving grandparent has ever looked like since the beginning of time. Well, ever since easy wear sweaters came into fashion.

We were in a real conundrum. We had two choices: Kindly ask the couple to move or schlepp ourselves and our bags all over the train looking for two empty seats that didn’t exist.

Even worse, there were people behind us trying to get by and there was nowhere to sidle over to as we discussed our game plan. It was act or be eaten by the angry, over-it people lining up behind us.

“OMG. What do we do?” I asked with a deer-in-headlights look on my face.

“I don’t know! What do we do?” Answered Friend, looking pretty freaked himself.

I don’t know. What should we do?” I repeated with more desperation in my voice.

From somewhere nearby came a voice that said, “If there are people in your seats, bloody well tell them to get out of them!”

We both looked at each other like, “OH GAWD”.

“OK. Go tell them. It’s your turn to do something embarrassing, ” I asserted (It was me who had to ask the cop in Blackpool for directions).

“No way. You’re closer and I don’t want to be an asshole. Look at them. They are Mr. and, the less well known, Mrs. Rogers!” He exclaimed.

“But, I was the one who had to go out of my way to reserve seats so that we would be sure to have seats. It’s your turn.” I proclaimed.

Another phantom voice rang out, “OMG. Sit or MOVE!”

“I’ll just go sit on my luggage by the door,” decided Friend.

Out of nowhere, a voice again, “You can’t do that. You’ll get caught and told to find a seat.”

The people behind us were, at this point, ready to murder us.

It looked like we really had no other viable option as we were blocking the aisle and the man to my left had had enough of having the side of his face smashed into the ten-days-not-washed ass of my jeans.

Just like always I had to be the adult in the situation.

I sheepishly cleared my throat and tapped the woman, who looked just like my grandmother, on her shoulder, prepared to be forever cursed by karma.

They ended up being really sweet, which only made things TEN MILLION TIMES WORSE.

I still, to this day, think of them and hope they found a seat or someone who wasn’t as big of a cunt as my friend and I offered their seats to them.

DON’T HATE ME. I WAS A TRAIN VIRGIN UNDER PRESSURE.

While I was majorly feeling the effects of being a terrible person, my friend seemed pretty lost in his thoughts, too.

Once we were situated, the only place left to put our bags was right next to the exit as this was as close to the baggage compartment as physically possible.

Instead of worrying about what an asshole he was for making me kick grandma and grandpa out of their seats, he was more concerned for our luggage.

“Look at our luggage. The next time the door opens, they’ll all go tumbling out. Just watch.” He ruminated.

“Mmmhmm,” I was too wrapped up in silently chastising myself.

“OK. I’m going to go stand by our luggage. I can’t take the stress anymore,” Friend said, throughly wrought with worry.

I didn’t even care about my luggage, because kicks-old-people-out-of-train-seats people don’t deserve luggage.

“I’m gonna do it,” he said again.

“You’ll get in trouble by the train police, but have at it, dude,” I said totally not caring.

For the first time in my life EVER, I was not the one who was worrying and obsessing.

It felt amazing.

I didn’t give two shits if my luggage full of dirty underwear got kicked out of the train or stolen by someone who would be very, very disappointed by my Target-special clothing.

My friend piled up our luggage, biggest to smallest and leaned on them the whole way to London. If someone walked by, he’d hug his body closer to the tower of American Tourister like he was guarding the secret to the afterlife in between his barf-stained jeans (hang tight for that post) and his questionably clean socks.

When we were nearing Paddington Station, he sidled up to me as I was peacefully resting my eyes (I’d finally accepted my dishonorable deed as a necessary evil of train travel, because the mean train people made me), and whispered in my ear, “I have an idea.”

I almost jumped clean out of my stretched-from-too-many-Magnum-bars-and-cheese-and-tomato-sandwiches skin.

“WTF is wrong with you? Only creeps whisper in people’s ears while they’re resting on trains minding their own business,” I hissed.

My comment didn’t faze him.

“I know how we can both get ourselves and our luggage off the train in one piece.”

“Kinda like how we got on?” I didn’t understand why he thought this needed a game plan. We’d trip over our luggage and our feet like we had getting on like total tourists. Duh.

“No. It’s genius. First, I’ll take my big bag-that’s the size of your small bag, by the way, and your big bag-the one I vehemently swore I’d never help you carry, because you just keep cramming new stuff into it and it already weighs more than a standard-sized car. Then, you’ll grab my small bag and your small-not really small, though, bag and we will all get off this god-forsaken train together,” he said resolutely, but with a noticeably twitching eye.

The rest of the ten or so minutes of the train ride, he kept pantomiming, with overly expressive eyes and wild arm movements, how this “genius” plan of his was going to look. He legit looked like that crazy person every train has.

Crazy person*

Someone even asked, “Who the fuck is that idiot gesturing to? Do you think he’s dangerous? Should we be worried?”

I just sat back and reveled in not being the worried, crazy one for once.

We did get ourselves and our luggage off the train, but I almost didn’t “mind the gap” and our attempt to not look too much like tourists, was wrecked by yours truly.

Looking a lot less psycho-on-a-train

Looking like someone who is happy to not be on a train with a psycho

*I’m not some asshole who posts embarrassing photos of others for my own selfish gain. I was given express permission** to share any photo and/or embarrassing story, because friend-in-story would “probably find it funny too”. That’s a pretty solid assurance if I ever heard one.

**For real, I really have permission!

How to Not Want to Smother Your Travel Partner in Their Sleep

“If I hear her clear her throat one more fucking time…”

“We are sightseeing. Why do we have to sit every ten feet. WHY DO YOU ALWAYS WANT TO SIT?”

“For what purpose do you unpack every single item in your suitcase and inspect it, to then put it right back into your suitcase the same way? WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?”

I don’t care if it’s your nicest, never-been-in-even-the-smallest-fight friend, you’re gonna hate her/him at some point in your travels. The littlest things they do will grate on your nerves extra-rusty-grater-like.

Whenever someone spends every waking moment for an extended period of time with literally anyone, they’re gonna want to throttle them at least once.

It’s basic human nature.

It is possible to minimize and, if you’re lucky enough, eliminate becoming irrationally annoyed with your travel companion(s) with these failsafe tips:

1. Don’t be an asshole, (but if it happens, be a little understanding)

This one sounds pretty simple, but not being an asshole can be pretty hard when you’re sleep-deprived, you have traveler’s diarrhea, and/or you haven’t quite adjusted to your new cultural surroundings.

The best bet here is, if someone you know is always an asshole, don’t agree to spend six days and seven nights with them on a trip where escape is impossible.

If you or someone you know isn’t known for being an asshole, but you/they have suddenly morphed into Kanye West, blame it on the travel diarrhea. It’s not you, it’s the chapped butthole.

ALWAYS BLAME IT ON THE DIARRHEA.

2. Be prepared to battle

It’s gonna happen. Prepare yourself mentally for the inevitable fact that you will annoy each other and that it will likely lead to a nasty and probably public disagreement or argument.

And then, to make up, they’ll make this face to make you laugh and wait until you notice as you are actively avoiding them while waiting for your meal at a crowded restaurant.*

When you’re expecting it that your pal’s incessant throat clearing or tendency to dominate conversations and decisions will eventually annoy you, you can be better prepared to act in a positive fashion.

However tempting, leaving your travel partner alone in the Theatre District in NYC doesn’t do wonders for a friendship. Also, you’ll feel really bad if your friend gets shanked.

3. Be more flexible

This pretty much goes along with the previous two suggestions. No one who isn’t able to adjust and be flexible is fun to travel with. Sorry. It’s fact.

Source

If you have a hard time going with the flow, not only will you miss out on awesome travel experiences, the people traveling with you will want to send you packing.

Despite the fact that snoring and having to use the bathroom right after someone drops a Beijing Bomb is unpleasant, it’s all part of the experience when traveling and sharing a room with others. Embrace it.

4. Plan time apart

The best way to get back to semi-liking your travel friend is to not have to see their face or hear their mouth breathing for a couple of hours.

Plan some dedicated time when you can part ways for a chunk of the day. Maybe you’re into museums, but your friend is more into shopping. Perfect. You can each do what you want and get that much-needed if-i-have-to-spend-five-more-minutes-with-you-I’ll-do-murder-break.

Checked out some awesome Edinburgh back alleys. I swear I wasn’t looking for a place to dump the body.

5. Focus on what’s around you

Don’t get so in a tizzy that you forget what you planned months for and paid out the ass to see. Sure, part of why you planned the trip was to spend time with your friend, but let’s be real, an even bigger reason was to see the Eiffel Tower/Grand Canyon/Great Wall/Loch Ness.

Focus on the sights, smells, and new sensations all around you. Immerse yourself in your experience and ignore the reality that your travel companion feels the need to read to you every sign, banner, billboard, shop window, and names of businesses as you pass by.

This one was amusing, though.

6. Just get drunk

If all else fails, drink.

Bottoms up!

*I think it took a lot longer for me to eventually see his ridiculous face than he had anticipated. The entirety of the restaurant and 20 people walking by gawked and pointed before I turned to look and subsequently threw a breadstick at his stupid face.

Also, I’ve been given express permission to post his image. I’m just not sure he remembers me taking this one…

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.

Zumba, Zumba

You know, I really ought to finally give up on my dream to be a surprise breakout dancer.

I never learn from past fails, because time goes by and I forget all about when I was drunk dancing and thought I was the sexiest, smoothest dancer on the dance floor, but then I see the video one of my asshole friends took and I just look like a meth head really enjoying some fresh meth*.

THEN, I see a movie, like The Greatest Showman, and BAM! I’m determined to be the next America’s Got Talent breakout star.

I’d totally be a viable contender on Dancing With the Stars, too, except:

I’m not a star.

I have as much rhythm as a flag pole.

My body is entirely incapable of quick movements.

Well, since I have dance-shame amnesia, I took a Zumba class with a friend on Sunday. The only saving grace this time was that said friend is just as coordinated as I am.

Not surprisingly, we claimed a spot in the back corner, behind some old mats and a mop bucket. Absolutely not in front of the mirror and definitely not where anyone else could see us.

The class started out promisingly well, because they turned the lights off and added some strobe effects. Even better to disguise ourselves.

As soon as the music came on, the instructor busted out moves straight from a Shakira/Rihanna/J. Lo/Zendaya collaboration music video, choreographed by the dance gods.

Uhhhhh.

Back when I first did Zumba in Elko, the instructor would teach us the steps. I think she figured we were all inept, or maybe Zumba used to be more about actually learning a few moves versus trying to mimic a professional dancer with our strange, not-even-close movements.

Honestly, I think Zumba is now all about the instructors really feeling themselves and not caring that the fat chick in the back is 20 steps behind and looks exactly like Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers.

My friend and I just looked at each other and laughed, like, “NOPE!”

We tried (for awhile). We really did, but my hips do lie and they are never going to be mistaken for the hips of a gay Latin Zumba instructor.

During one of the songs, the group shifted so that half of the room faced the other half. Pretty quickly, I realized that we were taking part in a dance off.

Oh, hell no. Nope. NERP.

Not only did we have to engage in a dance off, the instructor started pointing at people, which meant, “OK, now let’s ALL look at this ONE person while they do a made up move they they come up with RIGHT ON THE FUCKING SPOT.”

I almost hyperventilated and fainted from fright right there.

For self-preservation purposes, I stood right behind a woman who looked like she knew what she was doing. I was literally on her heels and mimicking her every move so as not to be seen. I’m fairly certain a bead of her sweat flew straight into my eye, but it was worth it to not be called out.

Eventually, the asshole instructor was done giving the inept people cardiac arrest and the *dancers* moved back to their original spots.

That’s when I noticed him.

Now, I must preface what I’m about to say with the urging that I’m not making fun of this person. I’m really not. He just looked like the opposite of someone who would be at Zumba on a Sunday. This just goes to show that even when you look like you’d be the absolute worst twerker, you can really surprise people with your expert booty popping.

So, this awesome guy…he had curly, but thin-on-top hair and coke bottle glasses (on purpose). He was chubby, but it looked really good on him. He had on one of those “Straight Outta…” shirts.

I really wanted it to say “Straight Outta Nachos”, but when I finally got a good look, it said “Straight Outta Rehearsal”. That’s not even half as awesome.

He also could move his body in the most amazing way. I was jealous and felt instantly self-conscious. He was truly glorious and I was just a sack of potatoes rolling down a steep staircase.

I think what this all boils down to is that when you’ve got it, you’ve got it. When you don’t, it’s time to quit embarrassing yourself at Zumba.

*I have no clue what being on meth is called. Is it a trip? A high? Help me out, people.

The following are some really blurry stills from a video taken during the wine walk. We were dancing in a cage, if that’s not immediately obvious. It was the direct opposite of talented or sexy. In fact, we’re only allowed back if we promise not to drunk dance ever again.

Aerial Antics

“What’s the weight limit?”

This is the first, most important question when you’re a curvier-than-most kinda gal, and you’re about to suspend your glorious bod on a silk hammock hanging from the ceiling.

I mean, right? That was the very first question that popped into my head when my friend first mentioned aerial yoga. 

Aerial yoga. 

I can’t even type that without chuckling.

Yes, I did aerial yoga. Not once. Not even twice. Three times. I’ve done aerial yoga three times, and for the hesitant, I have yet to yank the silks from the ceiling. That’s winning.

When I asked the instructor (who looked like she was freaking twelve and 100% for sure didn’t have a trace of cellulite any where on her body) what the weight limit was, this was how the exchange went:

Me (whispering): “Oh, um, hey. Uh, what’s, like, the, uh,(voice even lower) weight limit?”

Her: “Oh”

Freaking, “oh”? This chick is trying to give me heart palpitations before we even start doing hard stuff. Bitch.

Me: Just staring, sweating profusely.

If there is a weight limit and I’m over it, I’m just going to go drive my car into a vat of Rocky Road, because, fuck it. 

Her (finally): There’s a weight limit, but it’s like 600 pounds. You’re good.

Could you have maybe led with that, so that I didn’t have to spend 20 excruciating seconds thinking I’d have to leave because I’m too fucking large for hammock yoga?! 

Some people’s kids…

So, I thought I’d, for ease of reading, write three sections, each devoted to my three attempts at aerial yoga. Not only would it be easier to just skip to the part that has the most swear words, thus the more humorous of tries, but each event has been so incredibly different. Each time I was spastic in such varying, unusually interesting (in a I-want-to-study-your-ineptness-because-I’ve-never-seen-someone-not-know-how-to-work-their-adult-body-so-profoundly) ways, it’s almost sad. Except it’s fucking hilarious because it wasn’t you. It was me.

Attempt 1:

A friend from work first asked me to join her and her sister-in-law in aerial (every time I attempt to type “aerial”, my phone autocorrects it to “areola”. What the heck, phone?) three weeks ago. I was totally down, because, at the very least, I’d have great blog material.

Good Lord Almighty. 

I thought my friend would be more like me. As in, ridiculously inept and inflexible. In fact, I’m fairly certain she said she wasn’t very good at being limber on a yoga hammock. Liar! 

For the umpteenth time, I was the fattest, most incapable person in the room. It was OK, though, because I just laughed through the whole thing, so I wasn’t seriously trying to be an agile acrobat. It was all just for the laughs.

I laughed when the instructor modeled some impossible pose that involved wrapping yourself up like a 7 Layer burrito and then flipping yourself over like no big deal.

Ha. Yeah, that’s not happening. 

I laughed when everyone was doing aerial planks, and I face planted.

Ha. I meant to do that. 

I laughed (with relief) when it was finally time to lay in the hammock like an obese caterpillar in its too tight cocoon.

Ha. I made it to the best part of class; the lay down part.

It was a fun class that was spent trying not to look like I was seriously trying to be a real aerial yoga-ist.

Attempt 2:

The second time, I went with another friend from work. This friend has the body of a gymnast and the ass of a Kardashian. She’s uber fit and moves her body like a ballerina. The bitch. I don’t know why I continually put myself in situations where I’m suffocating myself with my stomach fat while she’s glistening gold sweat from her abs. Oh, I know. Because she’s hilarious, and no matter what we do, I get a good ab workout from laughing.

One of the first moves in this particular class involves falling gracefully sideways (while suspended with the silk, obviously), on your tippy toes, as you circle back around.

UH. YEAH RIGHT. 

Little Miss-I-Can-Do-Anything-With-My-Body-and-Look-Fabulous and I both were circling around like drunks trying to look sexy on a stripper pole. It was ridiculous. 

We could not.stop.laughing. I’m fairly certain that I tinkled a tiny bit at one point. Oops.

The rest of the class was actually more success than failure. It was amazing. Some of the poses that I didn’t even attempt the first time, I could almost do. I attempted hanging from my fat this time because I realized halfway through that I was actually a tad bit better than the first go-round. It was at this point I realized that I’d continue, and that this was more than just a stunt to get some good writing material.

My friend, of course, rocked the class like an expert. The bitch.

Attempt 3:

This time, my friends and I made up the majority of the class. I went with the friend who originally invited me, Khloe Kardashian, and another teacher friend (another lithe, surprise yoga star).

This was the class where all sorts of hell broke loose.

First, it was a different instructor. Right off the bat, that made me nervous. I had just begun moving past elephant-on-a-tightrope-graceful, into beginner stage.

This new chick is gonna eff it all up. 

And she did.

The new instructor was way harder. So.much.harder.

Who does she think we are, Cirque du Soleil performers? Come on! 

Not only were the moves she had us do harder, they required way more ab and arm strength than I have in my entire fucking body.

Ridiculousness.

At one point, she had us bent over the silks, hanging from the spot right below the hips. For future reference, this is a tender area. It hurts to hang with all of your body from this area. Maybe I’ll build up some calluses, or something. That’ll be sexy.

Well, it was at this point, I lost all control of my center, my body, my pride.

I don’t know how it happened. Maybe it was because my giant head weighs so much, or what, but somehow I ended up feet over head, and I just started flipping over the silk, like you see young children do on the monkey bars.

One flip that resulted in really no one noticing did not suffice. Two flips that I could have played off as on purpose was not enough. No, I flipped…I don’t even know how many times.

There was a point at which I genuinely thought I would die. Or, at the very least end up seriously injuring myself.

I kept picturing myself finally coming to rest flat on my face, breaking my nose and glasses into my stupid face.

Eventually, I ended up flat on my fat ass, with a large thump. Or was it more a messy schlop? I don’t know.

What I do know is my asshole friends were peeing their pants laughing. Everyone was. Even the instructor felt compelled to laugh before asking if I was OK.

Assholes.

I was totally fine, so I started laughing too. If you can’t beat em, join em (while deviously planning your revenge).

I bumbled through the rest of the class fairly competently until it came time to do assisted handstands.

The last time I could actually do a handstand I was in the 4th grade.

The last time I attempted a handstand was about a year ago when a friend and I accidentally attended an expert level yoga class. We laughed our way through the crane pose, the eight-angle pose, and all the other impossible yoga poses, not being able to do any of them. When it came time to do a handstand, we just flat-out refused and sat on our fat asses, watching the others stand on their hands with ease. The instructor took it as a personal affront and actually dragged our mats to the wall and pointed at them, like a pouty child. We half-heartedly made for the floor with our hands in position, chickened out, and just sat on our spreading asses again. That was my only adult handstand attempt. Until this class.

Somehow I found myself suspended by the silks, my legs high in the air, and my forearms resting on the floor. This was a feat in itself. Then, the insane instructor told us to take it to a handstand.

By pure miracle, I pushed myself up with my weak jelly arms, and I was in an assisted handstand.

Blood was rushing to my head. My arms were shaking impossibly, but I was doing it.

Then.

We were told the way to get out of the pose was to let go of the ground and pull yourself up the silk. 

At this point I’m pouring buckets of sweat onto the floor. Even if I wanted to let go and pull myself up, my hands were far too sweaty and I simply did not have the core strength.

Shaking like a leaf in the wind, I looked around and most of the asshole people in the room had pulled themselves up and they were out of their silks, standing.

Me: “Um. Help?”

Instructor (still laughing at me): “Hun, you’ll just have to kind of fall out of it.”

Wow. Really? How does she fucking figure that? 

Me: “Uh. OK…”

So, with everyone’s eyes on me again, I somehow untangled my sausage legs from the silks, and my behemoth body just schlopped onto the floor for the second time that night.

Ta-da!

And, there you have it, folks! Fatty McCupcakes does aerial yoga!

Despite my utter ineptness, I’m going again. It’s fun. When you’re tired you get to make the silk into a hammock and lay in it. AND my arms and abs are getting stronger.

#win

Straight outta any yoga

Source

Apple Hill Shenanigans 

This is a rant and a dedication. So, buckle your seat belts, people. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

After yet another carb-filled and merrymaking trip to Apple Hill, I’ve learned more than just how far I can push the load-bearing limit of my clothing or exactly how many fruit-filled pastries I can eat before my stomach implodes. I learned this year that:

1. People are assholes, even when they are surrounded by apple pastries, alcohol, and an endless assortment of exciting crap to buy.

2. Surrounded by said assholes, if you’re among non-assholes, you are far richer than the dick in the Tesla who thought it was cool to park in the pick-your-own apple orchard.

This Apple Hill year, I brought along my childhood best friend. We’ve legit been friends since we were two. Some years we’ve hated each other, but, somehow, we always find each other again.

This is the absolute epitome of our friendship over the years. Me, being a complete and utter tool and her, 1000% over my B.S.
This is us totally rocking the thirteen-and-awkward-af stage.
Thank GOD we discovered flat irons and tweezers!

The first time this friend attended our Apple Hill shenanigans, my mom almost lit the motel bathroom on fire trying to light a Hostess Sno Ball turned into a birthday cake fireball from hell. My aunt almost didn’t see her 45th year.

Since, my friend has admitted that her trips to Apple Hill without us are just not the same. 

We left for The Hill in the morning on a sunny, way-too-warm-for-fall Friday. Despite the fact that the weather report said it’d be almost 80, I wore a scarf and ankle boots, because, HELLO, it’s practically a basic bitch law that if you go to a pumpkin patch, you wear a scarf and boots.  Bonus points if the pattern on your scarf is chevron.

Our first lunch was spent at a popular spot, so it took almost an hour to stand in line and get our food. Because it was still early, the wait and the endless people didn’t affect my mood too much. 

I totally had my selfie stick and I wasn’t even ashamed, except I still can’t take a decent selfie. HALP!

Right after devouring a cheeseburger and garlic fries, it was sprinkled caramel apple time! It’s tradition!

SPERNKLES

#sprinklesporn

After I got my sprinkle fix, I was pretty much over walking around in the heat, looking at the same stuff, different farm.

While my mom and aunt looked at every single item, at every single booth, making friends with every single crafter as they went, my friend and I parked ourselves in the shade with an apple cider slushy.

We are sweating our balls off in this picture. Can you tell?
Note to self: apple cider floats > apple cider slushy 😑👎🏻
 

After way too much time in the sun and heat, we decided it was beer o’clock, so we headed to the Jack Russell Brewery. It’s the only brewery in the area, so it is a must-do every time we go to Apple Hill.

Without a doubt, every visit to Jack Russell is memorable, and this time was no different. 

This year, though, we decided that we very much dislike the people who own/run this establishment. They are rude with a capital bitch-eat-a-Snickers. 

Due to the unseasonably warm weather, the umbrellas were a hot commodity. After a table full of college-age girls near us had left, we tried to position their umbrella so we could get some shade. As we were trying (and failing) to make the umbrella grace us with sweet shade, one of the Cave Bitches (their meadery is in a cave-like room and they are serious bitches, thus their apropos nicknames) started going around closing the umbrellas.

Um, are you blind

This incredibly unfriendly lady wouldn’t know customer service or kindness if they each, in turn, smacked her upside her RBF. 

So, after being so kindly assisted with the umbrellas, we decided to just move one over to our table. In the process of doing this, we struggled a bit as the umbrella was awkward and there were quite a few trees. 

From the meadery cave, about 20 yards away, the Cave Bitch started screaming at us. 

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU’RE HURTING THE TREES!” 

This terrible person couldn’t even crawl out of her rotting crypt to speak in a regular voice level or to, gee, offer to HELP US?!

I hope we ruined your tree, Cave Wench. 

I had had just enough alcohol to feel brave, so in order to not make a scene, we moved to the other side of the outdoor seating area and drank an ungodly amount of beer. 

Apple Ale- similar to cider, but not as sweet 😋

The next morning, it was Apple Cider Donut Time. Along with Beer o’ Clock and Cupcake Thirty, it’s one of my favorite times of the day! 

A friggin masterpiece

I was pretty much in heaven as I devoured my fried cake and coffee. But, then, some asshole’s dog wouldn’t stop barking. 

If you know me personally, you know I’m obsessed with dogs. I love the shit out of their drooly, adorable faces, but sometimes dogs can be left at home. 

I know that’s a novel concept for some people.

This particular dog, the one who majorly interrupted my enjoyment of the sound of my gluttony, simply could not handle the sight of other dogs. 

So, one must ask…

WHY THE FUCK DID YOU BRING YOUR OTHER-DOG-HATING DOG TO THE MOST CROWDED RANCH, WHERE OTHER DOGS ARE SURE TO BE FOUND? 

Because I’m an asshole (that’s Asshole speaking). That’s why. 

After this, I had a mediocre apple treat that contained, precisely, one slice of apple, bought a metric ton of fudge, and drank even more cider.

I mean, I love me some pastry, but just pastry is too much pastry.

When we were attempting to leave the 80th farm of the day, a woman, unearthing her child from underneath all of the crap she bought and was storing in her stroller, decided a fine place to do this was smack dab in the middle of the narrow roadway.

At this point, I was still hungover, sweating profusely, and had killer acid reflux from all of the apple I had eaten. 

I couldn’t even. 

After six hours, she was finally done unloading the stroller and we were able to leave. 

I may or may not have rolled down my window to thank her for making us late for more eating.

Don’t keep this fatty from her eighth apple brownie. Don’t even.

Despite the rude and pretentious people we encountered, the bullshit heat, and the unbearable indigestion, being with people who made my food baby bump jiggle from infectious laughter made it all worthwhile.

My favorite part of the trip was leaving the brewery, drunk and laughing obnoxiously at the spaceships we found by the Porta Potties (they were bee catchers). We piled into the car (don’t worry, my aunt was driving and totally sober and capable), excited for impending Chinese dinner (as if we had not had enough). My mom kept yelling, “Look out, Dana, there’s a car!” every time we passed every reflective sign on the road. I was laughing so hard, I could barely breathe, as I sang along (horribly) to Eric Church’s Springsteen, head back, staring at the endless stars in the sky through the moonroof. 

So, take that Idiot Dog Owner, Stroller Simpleton, and Cave Bitch, you were no match for 10,000 calories all from carbs, fabulous, but unnecessary junk, and 100% necessary-for-my-sanity ladies who know how to party. 

Apple Hill 2017 is one for the books. 


I won Apple Hill!

When I think about 17, I think about my best friend. 

21 Minute Survival Challenge

Just in case we needed more proof that I’m inept and would be 100% useless in a survival situation. Happy Flashback Friday, folks! 

It all started with this picture:


Actually, it started with Silver Donkeys at The Depot. Day drinking never, ever makes for a dull time.

Add some binge watching of Naked and Afraid, mix in my crazy friend, Alyssa, and you have our insane 21 Minute Naked and Afraid Challenge in the wilds of Oxbow Park, in the heart of Reno. It was intense. 

In all seriousness, this started with her idea to spoof the above picture. Obviously, the woman above is quite talented and lithe. We are not. We are the direct opposite. She thought it would be hilarious to go out into nature and take ridiculous pictures of our pudgy bodies, attempting to contort into serious yoga positions. It was insanely entertaining. Either we are hysterical, or just really, really immature 30-somethings. Well, here are our yoga spoofs:

 This is Alyssa’s version of the tree pose. It’s called, “Ride Em Cowboy”. 

  This one is called, “Smelly Poop Lip”. 

  I’m becoming one with Mother Nature. I need to work on my “serious face”, because it’s the same as my “pooping face”. 

 

  
 These are called, “We Can’t Believe We Didn’t Break the Bridge!”

  
 These are “The Warrior”, but because it took us 10 minutes to get to the rocks we stood on, these have been renamed, “Take the Damn Picture, I’m Done, and the Rocks Are Burning My Fucking Feet”.

Now, at this point, we are incredibly winded and tired, but we have more poses to do, so we forge on. Along the path, we are accosted by flying insects and there are red ants everywhere. It’s hot, we are sweating, and our mouths are parched. Suddenly…it turns into Naked and Afraid (Except, we didn’t get naked. Getting arrested for public nudity is usually frowned upon amongst the responsible adult crowd I’d like to say I’m a part of).

We decide to make shelter, find weapons, and pretend to make fire, all in the name of survival. We know we would hardly make it an hour in serious wilderness, so we named our wilderness attempt, the “21 Minute Survival Challenge”.

We took photos of our attempt to survive our harrowing journey through a city park. Enjoy.


Just chilling in our shelter. We scored and found a busted guitar. It will provide great rain coverage. Two minutes in and we are really feeling the effects of dehydration. We are sweating too much. It must be 88 degrees, and the walk-in was exhausting. I don’t know if I can do this. 


Attempting to make fire and I break a nail. I was close to my breaking point here, and if it wasn’t for Alyssa’s support, I would have tapped out. It was that close. 


8 minutes in and we are still in search of food. We are dying of hunger. The energy we are exerting in search of nourishment is depleting our fat stores. We can feel our body eating our fat. We also almost died crossing this dangerous canyon. It had to be at least 2 feet down. It was the most terrifying moment of our ordeal. 

 Alyssa’s breaking point. Crotch sweat. Unacceptable! 


We decide to not expend any more energy in search of water and food. We cuddle in our shelter to stay warm. Except, it’s almost 90 degrees, and what was that? Your walking stick? 


Red ant attack! Additionally, cuddling proved awkward. 


Desperate for protein, we shamefully, hungrily consider the used condom caught while fishing. That was our low point. 12 minutes in, and things are bleak. Morale is low. Our stomachs are growling and our lips are cracking from dehydration. 


Success! Alyssa catches a water-logged, half-eaten hamburger encased in its wrapper. It looks to be only a few days old. In desperate times, one must take desperate measures. We still have diarrhea, and we are afraid we have caught a sexually communicable disease from the river. This survival shit isn’t for the weak. 


Weak from exertion and lack of food and water, I cannot make it back up the hill from the river. Alyssa uses her last bit of strength to rescue me. I thought she was a bossy bitch at first, but we have built a bond that can’t be broken through this experience. 


Operation Retrieve Flip Flop was a success. We really needed this win for our morale. 


Silly times! Look! We’re dirty!


Due to vicious red ant attacks, we resort to resting on a log. Lesson learned: red ants live in logs too. Only 6 minutes left. We are running on empty and are motivating each other by reminiscing about our favorite meals. What I wouldn’t do for some ribs! 


My joints are stiff from lack of water, and it takes me almost 3 minutes to exit log. We are almost late to hike to extraction! 

 
 I have never been so happy to hear a train in my life! We are so ecstatic, we cry, and hug, and cry some more! 

After our grueling 21 minutes in the wild, Alyssa and I have learned a lot about ourselves and nature. First, nature sucks, and it messes up your manicures and pedicures. It also makes you sweaty and dirty. Ick. Second, we are both confident that given an opportunity to travel to some remote location as a part of the show, Naked and Afraid, we would survive for precisely 10 minutes. Nature isn’t for the weak or lazy, and we are lazy as fuck.

 The chick at Starbucks acted like we were rabid, or on crack. We forgot we smeared charcoal on our faces. Oops. 

We Were Stupid AF

“Um. Dude. You might want to leave work…”

“Uh…why?”

“Well, we have to be out of the apartment by five tonight, or they’ll be calling the police to escort us out…”

At some point in everyone’s lives they’ve had a stupid-af-era. If you’ve never had one of those, you’re the exception, not the rule. Count yourself lucky, too, because you probably have minimal debt, own an appliance larger than a blender, and you know what an annuity is, and you likely have one.

So, none of the above is me. I’ve had my stupid-af-era, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure I ever left said time in my life.

Back when I moved out of my parents’ for the first time, I lived with two of my best friends.

We were all almost 21, and so idiotic it was a wonder anyone was brave enough to give us our own apartment.

We apartment hunted for a long time, wanting a cheap apartment in a not cheap neighborhood. Finally, we had to settle on a two bed, one bath. Best Friend #1 and I had to share a room, but it was worth not being woken up by my dad banging on my door, looking for the crusted-over bowls hiding under my bed.

Living on our own was better than I had ever dreamed it would be. On the first night, I overflowed the toilet. The second night, our secondhand dryer broke. On the third night, we spilled Sour Apple Pucker on the carpet. Really, we should have stopped while we were ahead. Yet, every moment was magic, because independence was a beautiful thing.

It was simply glorious being footloose and anal-retentive-parent-free.

We stayed up till all hours, drinking Bartles & Jaymes Wine Coolers and watching Santa Clause 2.

No one (Mom) ever yelled at me for hogging up the phone line so I could change my AIM away message twenty times in one day.

If all we wanted in the fridge was a jar of questionable pickles and eight varieties of Boones Farm, so be it.

We were independent ladies, forging our way in the world.

Along with the wild 8-and-up card game nights, we also had nights when we fought.

My two best friends, while being my good friends, didn’t exactly love each other.

One was too over-bearing and motherly. The other left her thongs, crotch up, in the bathroom.

Some nights, we’d throw keyboards, curling irons, or said thongs at each other.

Other nights, we’d drown each other out with loud mariachi music.

During the six months that we lived in the apartment, we never once got a complaint from a neighbor. I’m not really sure how that was even possible. Maybe our downstairs neighbors were as loud and obnoxious as us? Or, they were stone-deaf.

This gorgeous chaos soon came to a head after Best Friend #2 brought home a cat, which was against our lease agreement (it also didn’t help that the little fucker’s favorite thing to do was hide under the couch or behind the bedskirt and then attach itself to our flesh when we least expected it).

Best Friend #1 and I were a lot of annoying, juvenile things, and one of those things was we were big rule followers (I guess that didn’t apply to underage drinking, though). As soon as we could, we returned the cat to the humane society.

Obviously, hijaking someone’s cat and taking it back to the cat store doesn’t sit well with some people (most people).

This single act started an epic war between three extremely petty, passive-aggressive bimbos.

Because living at the apartment was becoming awkward as fuck, Best Friend #1 went back home and I sought refuge at the new boyfriend’s house.

When the portion of the power bill owed by Best Friend #2 wasn’t paid, we snuck into the apartment and removed every single lightbulb. Our not-quite-fully-developed brains figured this was the obvious solution to an issue that could have been handled by simple communication.

Best Friend (or Enemy, at this point) #2, went to management and told them all about our drama.

Turns out, shady apartment managers don’t like dealing with dumb college girl drama.

They didn’t even want to hear it and told us we all had to be moved out before 5 PM that same day.

After quite a few years under my belt, and some serious renting experience, I realize now that what they did was likely illegal.

Well, after the phone call from Best Friend #1, suggesting I maybe come home to completely vacate in less than 5 hours, I called my mom.

(Shamefully, I’m pretty certain that every gray hair and wrinkle on my mother’s body is thanks to my brother and I.)

Her response was: “Well, that’s just fabulous. You better call every Goddamn person you know to help you. You also better call your father, because I’m not. Good luck with that and goodbye.”

At some point during the Great Pack Up, Best Friend #1’s mom was on her hands and knees, in the kitchen, frantically throwing kitchen items into a box while simultaneously yelling about how disgusting we were.

My brother was vacuuming for the first time in his life, going over and over every square inch of carpet like his life depended on it.

My aunt was asking what she thought we should do about the moldy towels in our 6-months-broken dryer.

My mom was yelling orders at all of our family and friends, and even some random people she caught walking down the street.

My cousins were hauling loose items like lamps, throw pillows and towels to our cars, while cursing us under their breath.

Best Friend # 1 and I were throwing belongings into boxes, not caring whose crap it was. I think there’s still some random storage shed somewhere with our priceless Anne Geddes art and plastic blow up lounge chairs.

And, Best Friend #2? What was she doing? At precisely T-Minus two hours, she was still crying in her room.

After attempts by my mom and Best Friend #1’s mom, my dad had to finally pound on her door and threaten her with his dad voice. Eventually, she appeared with 85 garbage bags, filled to the brim with her stuff, ready to be hauled out.

Somehow, we all (Mom, Dad, Brother, Best Friend #1’s mom, dad, and brother, Best Friend #2, a handful of friends, my cousins, and random passerby) managed to leave the place looking spotless (not even a random hanger or a half-used roll of TP was left) with only two minutes to spare.

I learned a lot of lessons from my first time living on my own. Namely, don’t live with friends and don’t leave bitchy notes for your roommates that read, “I love waking up to your bowel movements everyday. Can you please run the fan and courtesy flush? Also, the phone bill is due. K thanks.”

I’m still learning.

I just learned the other day that disposals aren’t made to mash up large quantities of food. They are just for those odd bits. Who woulda thunk?

Also, don’t prop up your feet that have been in your sweaty shoes all day on the coffee table within five feet of someone. Especially when they’re eating.

So, even though I’m doing slightly better than I was when I first lived on my own, somedays, I think I’m still firmly planted in the stupid-af-era. And, some days, I change the batteries in the smoke detector all on my own.

These days, Best Friend #1 is winning at life. She owns her own home and seems to always be jetting off on some trip. The bitch.

Best Friend #2 is married with two beautiful children. I don’t think she owns a cat.


For some reason, this is the only picture I could find of our first apartment. Notice the message board, where super friendly (bitchy) messages were written. I have no idea who the half-naked guy is, but a poster of a wet/greased up/sweaty guy in the kitchen is always a good idea. Also, WTF is happening with my “bangs”?

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.”

Trail Fails

Historically, I have never been the one who is known for her athletic ability, nor have I ever been loved for my adventurous outdoorsmen spirit. Because I do not possess either of those. Never in my life have I been asked, “Hey, want to snowshoe across Siberia with me this winter?” (Who fucking does that anyway?)

Despite this, I have really been wanting to get into walking local trails for exercise. Well, if we are being completely honest, I just really want to marvel at the beauty of nature while I sit my fat ass on a comfortable rock. Doing this while eating something, like a dripping slice of watermelon heaven would really just be the cherry on top.

Because getting anyone I know to just sit in nature with me, without sounding like a total lazy loser, is a hard sell, I have been trying to be adventurous by engaging in hiking.

Well, I can most assuredly say that hiking don’t want my fat ass. Hiking wants me to just stay at home with my Halo Top ice cream and Netflix. Hiking does not play.

I’m going to detail three times I failed on the trails recently. Really, this could also qualify as a “This Is Why I’m Fat” post, because almost anyone would have given up after the first failed attempt. So, I hope the Trail Gods are listening. Ya’ll have some work to do…

A week or so ago (I’m a teacher on summer break, so I have no idea what day it is), a friend and I went on a much-needed girl getaway to the Point Reyes Seashore in California.

I stand or crouch behind all of my friends in pictures to appear smaller!
It was gorgeous, but strenuous. We did a lot of walking, trailing, and huffing and puffing.

1. The Stair Climb of Doom

Our first order of business was almost dying on the stairs to and from the Point Reyes Lighthouse. The climb is equivalent to 30.flights.of.stairs.

30 flights, ya’ll. 

I just thought I’d reiterate in case you missed it the first time.

It’s like the freaking Wall of China!
I’m 1000% sure my friend didn’t let on to that fact beforehand, because she knew for certain that it’d be a hard pass from me.

Despite the fact that an elderly man passed me on the hike up the stairs (do you see him in the picture?), and I had to stop at every rest point, it was actually totally worth the sweat-drenched pits and rat’s nest hair (it was so windy, that my phone almost blew away several times).

Fat Pro Tip: Stop to take a picture of literally anything every five minutes or so in order to catch your breath. They’ll have *no* idea!

2. Cataract Fall-Down-The-Hill-Trail

The day after almost needing to be airlifted from the lighthouse steps, we did some more adventurous trailing. I figured, “Why not? Might as well work on another bunion!”

The first few trails were quite easy, as there was no elevation or climb whatsoever. It was absolutely grand. Because we didn’t have to expend energy on moving our bodies up a steep hill, we had energy to climb trees and crawl into reproductions of Native American dwellings. I felt like an obese kid again (I was actually not obese as a child, strangely enough).

My legs were so sore from the previous day’s adventures, I almost didn’t make it out of that squat.
How I got up in that tree…I still don’t know!
 

It wasn’t until we thought it would be a good idea to try to find the Cataract Falls did we have problems. This is also the part in my story where I’m going to be putting All Trails on blast.

Not only was the following hike not “easy” as it was mistakenly rated, one of the lengths of the “loop” was not a trail at all. It was a grassy hill, and we almost broke our asses more times than I’d like to admit as we stepped/slid at a snail’s pace the whole entire way down. 

(I was also insanely afraid a mountain lion was going to come up behind me. Do you think that was irrational?)

Does this look like a trail to you??
This was a steep mother-effer!
When we made it to the bottom of the hill and the actual trail, we found that our pants, socks, and shoes were positively filled with foxtails and these terrible poky stickers that were absolute bitches to get off of our clothes and shoelaces.

We sat on the ground for a good 20 minutes, plucking shit out of everywhere!
If this wasn’t bad enough, when we got to our first trail marker, nowhere did it say “This way to the waterfall”, and the names of the available trails had nothing to do with the trail we thought we were on. We went the wrong way for 30 minutes before we got service on our phones and could see where we were on the trail.

When we finally found the waterfall, after a huge descent into what looked like middle earth, it was stunning and worth the trials we went through to get there. Well, it was a beautiful experience until I realized that’d I’d have to climb back to the car at some point.

Honestly, at one point during the hot, sweaty, and ugly hike back, I questioned how much it would cost for Search and Rescue to retrieve me from the trail.

It was so bad. And hard. 

The waterfall was a pretty anticlimactic affair, but the surrounding area was beautiful in an otherworldly-way.
3. Jones Creek Loop Trail AKA Call For Help

After being back home for a week or so, I decided that I would try hiking again (Why? Maybe I am a masochist, or I feel I deserve punishment for past transgressions?). So, the boyfriend and I looked up easy trails in the trees. Shade FTW!

We settled on the Jones Creek Loop Trail because it was rated as easy and only 1.5 miles.

We used the All Trails’ directions app, and it took us right to the trail head.

After a little trek that was almost all uphill, we came upon a sign. It said, “Jones Creek Loop”, and it had two arrows pointing to the right and to the left. Considering it was a loop, we figured it didn’t matter which way we went, as it would just bring us right back to where we started.

We seemed to be hiking quite awhile when the boyfriend remarked, “I think 1.5 miles seems longer when we are on a trail, because it’s not just a straight stretch?”

At least the scenery was gorgeous!

At this point, we were getting a little apprehensive. We also realized that our “loop” did not seem to be looping back to where we started whatsoever-we just kept heading further and further away.

We saw a man coming off of another trail (I will get to the myriad off shoots of unmarked trails in a minute…) and we asked him how to get back to the parking lot. He said we needed to go in the direction we were headed in, but for three or four more miles.

HOLD UP.

Somehow we got onto the wrong trail, but we had not taken any of the unmarked trails that veered off of the main trail.

At this point, my stress began causing my asthma to flare up, and I saw images of us, emaciated and half-eaten by mountain lions, in front of my eyes, like a mirage.

We decided to just keep walking and hope the guy didn’t know what he was talking about.

Ten minutes and almost all of our water later, we saw another guy coming off some other trail. I tried to stay calm when I asked him how we could get back to our car. While I was asking him, the boyfriend was off admiring some bark, pretending he didn’t belong to the sweaty girl who was in a near panic.

The guy said he was headed to the parking lot, and we could follow him.

A half mile later, we saw what looked like civilization and our spirits rose. We came upon a parking lot, but we quickly realized, stomachs sinking, it was not our parking lot.

As we were looking at the posted map and trying to look cool, like, “We meant that”, the guy waved us over.

He realized that he had led us to the wrong parking lot. He offered us a ride back to our car, three miles away.

We had somehow ended up on the 9 mile trail called the same damn thing as the 1.5 mile trail.

So, we ended that trail fail crammed into the cab of a tiny truck belonging to a very kind man. The whole way back to our car, I was trying not to reek of sweat and defeat.

We massively failed on the trails again only yesterday, and I was going to write about that fail too, but I have already gone on long enough.

The clouds were epic!

I will say, though, that the most recent fail is not entirely our fault. What in the actual eff is up with All Trails and their “easy” loop trails? Not only are they not easy, whoever is creating trails that feed off of the loop ought to be taken out back and given a stern talking to. In my mind, a loop is just that, A LOOP. Yet, every single trail we have tried is not really a loop, but a maze of deviating trails that go off in every fucking direction.

Really, it is no small miracle that more people do not get horribly lost in the woods on “easy” trails.

Or.

We are just utter idiots, and we need to take a “Trails For Dummies” course.

Tell me: Have you ever gotten lost on trails? Is it just me who can’t seem to find my way on “easy” trails? Help a fatty out! Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

Monday Musings: What Are Your Blog Reading Requirements? 

I was just talking with a friend about the purpose of reading blogs. She’s a devoted reader of mine and, apparently, I’m the only blogger she reads. She was saying that unless she’s friends with or related to the blog writer, she’s probably not going to spend her time reading their personal stories. I can totally respect that some people have to know the blogger/writer to want to read about their embarrassing encounter with the Porta Potty or their personal preference when it comes to stand mixers. 

I totally get that. 

I’m pretty much the opposite of my friend when it comes to online reading preferences. 

I love reading about someone’s awesome vacation to some exotic locale or reading about how they make a mean enchilada casserole with a recipe they got from their crazy Aunt Marge. 

Maybe that’s totally weird? 

Maybe I’m entirely too interested in complete strangers’ fun family stories or how they studied abroad in Ireland (read about one of my favorite blogger’s experiences doing just that here)?

Whatever it may be, I can definitively say that I’m a devoted blog reader, and I appreciate my committed readers more than words can express.

Throughout the last two years and some odd months, I’ve connected with, gotten to know, and enjoyed reading so many bloggers. 

I love you all. I truly do. We are a tribe, and I’m so fortunate to be a part of it.

Just like my friend, however, I have some requirements that must be met in order for me to spend so much of my time reading blogs. 

These are some of them:

1. You’re a real person who responds to comments and engages with your readers. If you never respond to comments, or it takes you far too long to respond, and I’ve long since forgotten about your post, I will grow weary of dedicating time to read and comment. 

2. Posts are well-written and purposeful. We all make grammatical errors (like that one time I made a massive one in the title of a post *cringe*), but if the mistakes take away from the message, this teacher can’t even. 

3. The topic is one in which I can relate to in some way, shape, or form. This is a pretty straightforward one. If you write about something I can hardly come up with a comment for, then your topic is best left to those who can. There’s nothing wrong with that. I write about back fat, rogue chin hairs, and how I have a tendency to inhale baked goods. Those topics aren’t for everyone, either. 

And, that’s it, really. If you respond to comments I spend time crafting, you don’t have grammatical errors every line, and your posts keep me wanting more, I’m hooked. 

So, I’m curious-what are your blog reading preferences and requirements? Let me know in the comments.