I’m 40 and don’t know how to ride a bicycle.
Mom didn’t know how and never thought to teach me. Then, when I was in elementary school, I sat on someone’s bike and, God only knows why, picked up my feet. Down a hill, off a four foot wall, over the sidewalk and face first into the gutter I went. My bleeding self picked up my fairly new adult front tooth from the street and sobbed my way to my Mom. A quick drive to the hospital left me with lots of bandages and a poorly shaped fake front tooth.
Most of my childhood I refused to smile for pictures. My happy self hated to see my flawed fake front tooth and felt it ruined my smile. Nightmares where my teeth would crumble like sugar cubes were frequent until I was 22 and the guy I was living with gifted me with the best Christmas present I have ever received. A new front tooth. A beautiful cap that gave me back my smile. But I never got back on a bike. Except for that drunken time when I was 16, but that doesn’t really count.
ANYhow, lots of friends have given me crap over the past year or so about my “needing” to learn how. Add to that the fact that I have more than a few pounds I could stand to shed and BOOM, this past perfect Saturday morning my dear friend Jim met me on the Montour Trail to teach me how you ride a bike. As Jim got the bikes down out of the truck I snapped this photo and sent it to Twitter, asking for good luck wishes:
The parking lot lesson went fairly well and soon we were on the trail. Except every group we would encounter I would hit the brakes and stop, heart in my throat, fighting the urge to puke and desperately trying not to hyperventilate. I waited until the approaching people passed, then I would start again. It took forever to make it one mile, but here I am hugging the mile marker for dear life:
I turned around and struggled to make it the mile back. Damn people walking, damn kids loving being outside, damn happy dogs on leashes, damn everybody on the trail that day. They all had me struggling to breathe, keep my hands steady, and avoid puking. Each friendly face caused braking and gasping for air. The fear of biking was strong, but I kept going. The wind in my hair felt great, even as my hands hurt from the death grasp I had on the tread pattern rubber handlebars. I made a stranger take a photo of me and Jim surviving the adventure:
After taking almost two hours to do two and a half miles, we were back in the parking lot. Jim pedaled over to his truck, but I kept going. I wanted to see if I could do a turn in the empty parking lot of a local bar and then come back down the deserted road. Things seemed to be going ok until I hit a flaw in the asphalt where the parking lot met the road. The more my bike got wobbly, the more I felt panic internally. The realization that in front of me was a telepole and beyond that a guard rail so I was about to crash freaked me out. I hit the brakes…while on gravel. It all happened pretty fast, but next thing I knew I was face down in the equivalent of a gutter. First thing I did was check for my teeth and exhale a beautiful breath of relief. The next thing I felt was OUCH. I rolled over and sat up, but just sat there for a minute trying to get my heart and head to relax. By then Jim got to me and I apologized for hurting his bike. Adrenaline was still pumping because I got back on that bike and road that bitch back to his truck. Of course I asked Twitter if road rash was sexy. And I made Jim take a picture of my bleeding self:
We met Jim’s wife Kim and her Momma for lunch. Fortunately I had a little time to clean the dirt and blood from me in the restaurant’s restroom beforehand, but I was still a hot mess. Kim noticed my swollen left wrist, but it didn’t hurt at the time and wasn’t bleeding like my right hand so I ignored it. Then after lunch I stood up and realized how much my entire body hurt, especially my right knee and left wrist. Ice when I got home helped as each got progressively worse. Ibuprofen became my best friend, although there was no way I was going to the ER on a Full Super Moon Saturday that just so happened to also be Cinco de Mayo.
Pain was still pretty rough Sunday morning, but I didn’t want to hit an ER when the Pittsburgh Marathon would have roads closed to my favorite hospitals or worse yet, having bunches of injuries flooding hospitals. Besides, I had plans with some of my favorite women and I really wanted to go play in the perfect day. An Ace bandage and not driving made the day doable.
Then Monday just didn’t feel like dealing with doctors. But Tuesday everyone was on me so much that I stopped at an urgent care. X-rays show a bone chip / calcium spot where it should not be. Doctor said I would need a cast. And that is when the tears flowed freely. Tears that wouldn’t stop until I was home and forced myself to get my shit together because I had a volunteer committee meeting soon. The tears were not from the pain that would take my knees out if I moved my wrist the wrong way, they were tears for the thought of not being able to wash my hair or hook my bra or walk my dog or button my jeans or so so many things that I would not be able to do with a cast on. Living alone is something I adore and it became suddenly overwhelming.
So I started praying for no cast necessary. I asked everyone I talked to for no cast prayers. I asked Twitter to pray for no cast. My favorite prayer arrived from a coworker today, before my appointment with the specialist:
As I look upon thy Holy face,
please forget the cast,
But remember the brace,
Bi-psyche-ling ain’t easy,
But it’s also no sin,
Heal Becky quickly,
So she can try it a-ghinn.
If your will is not for Becky to bike,
Then show us the way,
With your heavenly light!
Becky’s a world famous horder,
(Have you seen all her shit?) ,
Why not make her a skate-boarder!
God, please, Just -Do -it!
In Jesus name, AMEN! YAY GOD!
I love that Billy says “YAY GOD!” like I do.
And guess what? NO CAST NECESSARY! The power of my mind’s wishes and hopes, the power of prayer and oh yeah, the power of Orthopedic Doc saying the spot showing on the x-rays might be from an old injury (I fall down a lot and always have), but NO CAST! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay doc for thinking the chip is not from this wipe out. The brace ain’t pretty, but wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee, I’ll wear something I can take off to shower and dress myself!
P.S. For the record, I doubt the part of Billy’s prayer for me where I “try it a-ghinn” will come true. I say fuck bike riding, I’m walking…
Years ago I had a simple little sterling silver German Shepherd charm on a bracelet and lost it. Looked everywhere, and I do mean everywhere for that little guy. I felt silly praying for guidance to find it, but did anyhow. And then I still couldn’t find it. Then September 2004 had the stupid flood hit and my storage unit on Campbells Run Road got submerged under water for days. Problem was I could not even begin to think about it since I was busy throwing away most of my (now sopping wet with sewage water and ruined) possessions, mopping, bleaching, washing and generally trying not to freak the fuck out about no longer having a place to live. So yeah, probably was more like a week or two before I got to the storage facility since other priorities were on my mind.
The garage type door was barely half way on its way to open when BAM!, the stench hit. Sewage water that sits and festers? Not anywhere near a pleasant odor. I took a step back. Regrouped, if you will. Said a silent prayer for strength to get through another day of throwing possessions away. And repeated words I had been saying for days, “It is only stuff. I asked for Reilly and Ludo’s safety during this flood and I got it. My dogs are all I need. Thank you for their safety.”
I threw the door all the way open and backed up again, desperately hoping the fresh air would somehow mix with the awful smell and make it all better. After another strength gathering moment I stepped inside the tiny unit. Thick brown mud was on everything. Most items were unrecognizable as they sat under the disgusting substance. I was about to get overwhelmed and desperate not to lose my composure so I looked down at my feet. An inch in front of them sat a perfect, shiny little silver dog, surrounded by a tiny circle of clean cement.
How could a mud filled room possibly have a two inch perfect circle of clean cement on the floor? How could a totally brown room offer a pristine pup?
All I know is my dogs were safe and then up shows another dog I prayed for. I wholeheartedly believe in a higher being. Always have. Too many things like this happen to me for me to not believe. The timing of these tiny miracles is just the icing on the glorious cake.
[I linked to two old posts within this one. They contain the entire flood story, but are rather long posts. Just warning you!]
The other day Jen, of Run Jen Run (yes, she of TequilaCon fame who doesn’t even know how much the little event she planned has changed my life, but that is another story), wrote about her ebay quests to collect all things vintage Girl Scouts. She never really was a Girl Scout, but the combination of vintage and the hunt of ebay started Jen on a collection. It was truly a pleasure to read her post that day.
Then I started thinking about why I don’t have any memories of Girl Scouts other than of buying too many boxes of their damn cookies (those fuckers are like crack…what the hell do they put in them?).
Turns out if you are in the Brownies and beat up a Boy Scout you will get kicked out of the Brownies and never allowed to join the Girl Scouts.
Elitist scouting bitches.
Quarantining myself for days had me a little stir crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little house, but day after day after day of being cooped up was starting to get to me. All of my dishes are done, my feed reader is empty, laundry monster has been continually cranking and yet I am stir crazy. Not bored enough to really clean this joint, but when I opened the fridge and saw the science experiments gone wrong, I figured I should perhaps get to tossing some stuff out.
Normally my frigid air only contains cheese, salsa, condiments (butter, jelly, mustard, soy sauce) and liquids (water, beer, hard alcohol and mixers). Somehow it had accrued a variety of unidentifiable items. I found stuff from Thanksgiving. I threw entire containers out because they were growing fuzzy green and black life forms. Normally I am all about recycling, but there was no way I was trying to clean some of those things. Glass, plastic…whatever, I didn’t care. Blech. You may thank me now for not posting photos.
Fortunately all the freezer has is glass mugs, ice cubes and vodka. No need to clean that fucker. Yay!
P.S. Does anyone else store stuff in the fridge or oven? Or both? I have my Pampered Chef stone stuff in the over (two and a pizza stone). In the fridge I have two pitchers and several beer glasses. Is this a single girl thing or are there others out there who do this?
I mentioned in Friday’s post that an “interesting” fact about me is that I once walked naked around the block in the rain. A few folks commented or emailed me wanting to know more details. Honestly, the story really isn’t all that big a deal.
My first apartment was not in the best section of town. Not that it was in the heart of Wilkinsburg or anything, but still, I officially had the zip code. (To those of you who know the Pittsburgh area, that means something.) Fortunately I had three of the most incredible protectors living next door: Danny, Denny and Gary. They were at least 10 years older than me, some of the best drinkers I have ever encountered and all around perfect neighbors for a young girl in her very first apartment.
[Side note: their old house was split into three floors so the guys each had their own apartment. My apartment was actually the second floor of an old house. I had two large bedrooms, a huge living room, a massive dining room and kitchen combo, a bathroom big enough for a small family to live in, plus a third floor attic for storage. LOVED the place. Stained glass windows above the actual windows, mantels above nonworking fireplaces...just a great started apartment for next to nothing. So lucky that a friend suggested it for me.]
One midsummer’s night we were all sitting on the guys’ porch, where we had been all day. All we had done was listen to music, drink beer, do shots of George Dickle and eat some grilled burgers. Pretty damn good time, actually.
I don’t know what hour it was when the rain started, but it had been dark for quite some time. Since we had been drinking for even longer it made perfect sense in my head that we should get our lazy asses off the porch and go for a walk in the warm rain. I am fairly certain the word “refreshing” left my mouth a time or two. Gary was having none of it. He was exhausted and too drunk to move. Fortunately Danny and Denny were usually easily swayed by my grand ideas so they agreed to walk with me. We each grabbed two beers and off we went.
We walked down the path to the sidewalk and were completely soaked. About one house away they both took off their t-shirts and whipped them back towards their yard. When I made the comment that the guys were lucky that they could be shirtless in the rain, they did what most grown men would do and told me to just take my shirt off. Seeing an opportunity to perhaps get something out of this for me, I told them I would take my shirt and bra off if they took their shorts off. They said they would take their shorts off if I would take mine off as well.
Which is how it came to be that Gary sat on his front porch and watched the three of us standing on the sidewalk taking off every article of clothing and throwing them into the yard. I felt incredibly safe considering the fact that I had a 6’4″ cowboy on one side of me and a 6’5″ cowboy on the other side of me. (And also? I was extremely intoxicated.)
Considering the time of the night and the pouring rain there were no cars around. About three quarters of the way through our adventure around the block we heard a noise we couldn’t place. We turned around to see a guy on a bicycle approaching. There was no reason to stop; we just kept strolling along. Although when the guy on the bike past us he couldn’t take his eyes from the three crazy white people walking naked.
Which is probably why he didn’t see the parked car until it was entirely too late. Imagine how he must have felt when the naked people laughed at him. Poor guy.
Only problem with the walk around the block was that Danny’s parents lived a few doors down, on the other side of my apartment. In our drunken heads it somehow made sense that they would be looking out the window in the middle of the night. So we abandoned the sidewalk for the grass yards and army crawled, naked, through six or seven yards. The sound of the laughter would have given us away anyhow, but it just seemed like the thing to do at the time.
Eventually we made it back to the house the guys lived in. We were filthy so we asked Gary to go in and bring us a bar of soap. Yes, we stood in the rain in the front yard and washed off. Because it is classy to shower outdoors with two beautiful and hot neighbors while a third neighbor watches.
Ahhhhh, the logic of youth. :beer:
Remember back in February when I was sick and at the grocery store when a guy asked me out and I was questioning his sanity / taste in women? Remember how yinz all lost your shit on me? Well, something similar happened yesterday.
I had major bed hair and didn’t even shower, just woke up late, called Aunt Tinkle Twat to see if she wanted to do breakfast somewhere because I didn’t want to be alone, threw on a black spaghetti strap tank top along with my jean crappie pants and flip flops, then headed out to pick up Tinkle.
Her boyfriend wanted us to run to Lowe’s or Home Depot for some stuff so instead of going to Pamela’s down in the Strip we decided on Cracker Barrel out in Robinson. As we started up 60 I changed my mind and decided I wanted more of a diner so we jumped on 79 and BOOM, there we were at the best place in Pittsburgh (next to Pamela’s) for breakfast. There were even two seats at the counter open! I was all about happy.
Tink and I were talking and loudly laughing, even though outwardly we were both pretty much disasters…her with half of her hair plastered to her face and the other half standing straight out, me with my hair all Medusa like. (And I do mean laughing. The deep, belly laugh that almost causes me to bend over to grasp my sides, but then my face would have been in my S’mores pancakes.).
Then this guy came in with his young son, waiting for a table. Tink thought he kept staring at me, I said who wouldn’t with jacked up hair like mine. I exchanged smiles and glances and all with the attractive older man, then when it came time to pay we were both at the register at the same time. He introduced himself and we had a little chit chat. I blushed when he called me pretty, secretly thinking he must be crazy because HELLO, HAVE YOU SEEN MY HAIR THAT SCREAMED FRESHLY FUCKED OR SLEPT ON??!?! (The higher the hair, the closer to God!) When he said he would like to buy me lunch or dinner sometime, I heard all of you yelling at me about dismissing the guy back in February so I found myself agreeing to go out with him. We exchanged numbers and I practically ran back to Tinkle, all the while thinking this seemingly normal guy must be a freak.
So here is my dilemma. Is he crazy / needy / lonely on Father’s Day / an axe murderer who stares at women until they are intrigued or is he a nice guy who just was out with his son on Father’s Day and saw someone he was attracted to?
And if it is the latter? Well, I don’t trust anyone who is attracted to an un-showered Medusa me. I mean obviously he ain’t right in the head, right?
Ok, I am done rambling. Point is I listened to you fuckers and didn’t tell this dude that he is obviously fucked up if he hit on me Sunday morning. So if I do actually go out with him and I find myself chopped up in little pieces, in his freezer while he wears my hair as a wig? IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT, INTERNET.
Going to see my boyfriend Dwayne Johnson in Race to Witch Mountain, or whatever it is that the movie is called. All I care about is seeing him and trying not to slide out of my chair. Wouldn’t want to embarrass myself in front of my friends.
A wonderful friend has opened a review site and she is kicking it off with a sex toy giveaway. Oh yeah. Mini vibrator, bay-bee. Expensive mini vibrator. Being given away. For free!
Head over HERE to enter.
You don’t even have to tell her I sent you.
I love me some Bug Eyed Earl. The man is funny and smart and all around fucking cool. He has asked me a few questions with strict instructions that I post the answers here and then below offer to ask you questions. So, without further adieu, here goes…
1. I know you were an active commenter on blogs before you started one of your own, and once you did you seemed to have more fun with your blog life than just about anyone I can think of. What’s your secret?
It’s new! Ha! (Sorry, there is no secret. I’m one of those people who genuinely love life and find it way cool to share some of my stories with anyone who stumbles over here. And honestly, the supportive and kind comments or emails that I receive truly bring me joy. I love knowing that there are such phenomenal people out here in the Internet. This blog and all of you guys make me happy. When it stops being fun I’ll stop posting.)
2. The only film I can think of off the top of my head that was filmed in Pittsburgh is Striking Distance. Did it accurately portray life on the Three Rivers? Is there really that much of a police presence on the waterways?
First, there are a ton of films that were filmed here. (Dogma, Zach and Miri Film a Porno, Inspector Gadget, Silence of the Lambs, Mothman Prophecies, Kingpin, Sudden Death, Flashdance, Night of the Living Dead, Wonder Boys, Boys on the Side, Like Bread My Sweet, Dominick and Eugene, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bruce Willis and Striking Distance, but c’mon! DOGMA!) Second, no, Striking Distance wasn’t as accurate as it could have been. We do have cops in boats, though. (Also? Michael Keaton is from Pittsburgh…that has to count for something even if Batman wasn’t filmed here.)
3. You say you do a happy girl wiggle when you are happy. Care to prove it?
Anyone who knows me has seen the wiggle. Imagine a puppy with a happy tail that shakes their entire body. Now you know the happy girl wiggle.
4. Being an Eagles fan, you probably know how I feel about your Steelers. But you probably don’t know that the Pitt Panthers have always been among my favorite college football and hoops teams. Since I know he was born there and went to school there I have to ask if you have ever met one of my man crushes, Dan Marino. If not, then who is the biggest Pittsburgh celebrity you have met?
Fucking hate the Eagles. Like capital H and A. HAte. I’m trying to get past the fact that you are an Eagles fan long enough to answer your actual question. Ok, deep breath.
Yes, I have met Danny Marino. He went to school with my oldest ex step brother. Although he wouldn’t know me from a can of paint today. At a few events I have been introduced, along with a kerjillion other people, to him and he was incredibly patient as well as pleasant and sociable. Gotta tell you though, during a Penguins playoff game last season he was on the elevator when Donnie Van Donnie (regular commenter here) started pointing and hollering “DAN MARINO! DAN MARINO!” Poor DAN MARINO! was scared.
I’ll be honest, I consider Mr. Rogers to be the “Biggest” Pittsburgh celebrity that I have met. I mean, every kid in the damn country knows who Mr. Rogers is/was. I miss him. And now I am sad. Can we go back to me being pissed that you don’t bleed Black and Gold? Or how about we talk Pitt basketball being named #1?
5. Love your HNT feature. You seem very outgoing in posting pics of yourself on your blog, but with your assets what’s not to be proud of? Have you ever regretted anything that you have posted? Maybe a co-worker or family member saw a little more of you than you really wanted, or are you really this fucking cool?
A few family members know about my site. Plenty of friends know about Midnight Cliff. Several coworkers do. Hell, even a few customers and vendors stop by here regularly.
I mean, in person I tend to speak my mind and try to live my life with no regrets. All I am is where I have been. So the true answer is absolutely no regrets. I’ve had fun with HNT. After a solid year of HNT it will probably end, but until then I’m enjoying it. Especially because I have so many people who guest post or want to participate. Cracks me up. There was only one time when I thought of HNT as a “bad” thing…a friend that I met through blogging mentioned how much she hates Thursdays because she can’t necessarily visit blogs she otherwise likes. She made me pause and think about it from her point of view. Not everyone wants to see boobs and butts and feet every week. We talked a little about it and she just steers clear on Thursdays if she remembers or doesn’t want to see what I have posted. Neat part is she was very adamant that this is my site and I should do whatever the hell I want. Totally terrific of her.
Damn, I sure can ramble.
ANYhow, thanks to the fantastic Earl for taking the time to Interview me. I’m happy to return the favor to anyone who is interested. Granted, I doubt my questions will be as good as Earl’s, but we shall see, eh?
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
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I mentioned that The Burgh Baby is promoting a “Christmas crazy” day and that day is today. Photos of whatever the Christmas crazy might be. I haven’t yet had a chance to take a photo of the house belonging to the lunatic down the hill, but I will. Tomorrow I will post their crazy. Today, however, I wanted to share a story from my Christmas crazy past. A different kind of crazy, but still, it counts coz it is about Christmas. Even if there aren’t photos.
Now, on to the story…
My dad was a Pittsburgh k-9 cop who grew up on the rough city streets seeing all kinds of “interesting” things, then went into the military where he saw unspeakable things and eventually settled into the life of a police officer where he daily saw things I can’t even begin to image. The man had one hell of a hard outer shell. Some people considered him a miserable son of a bitch, a guy who wasn’t prejudiced because he hated everyone equally, but you could watch him with the dogs and see that he had a kind and gentle side buried in there. Dad was not a real touchy feely kind of man, but he was a great protector and provider. We never doubted that he loved us kids. He was very hardworking and generous, just not overly outgoing and funny.
Ok, enough background. I think you get the tough guy picture. So imagine a guy around six feet tall who was kind of built like a barrel. Strong, yet not overly muscular. Throw a robe on him and he was close to passing for Uncle Fester, but see him in a uniform or in his jeans and sweater and you instantly knew not to fuck with him.
Since Dad worked nights and wasn’t exactly all about quality whole family gathered together time, we usually decorated the house for Christmas when he wasn’t home. Lights everywhere, fake tree about six feet tall covered in more ornaments than should ever be on a tree, Christmas carols constantly playing, garland over everything that wasn’t moving, icicles where there weren’t ornaments and Mom even giving us fake snow stuff to stencil onto every damn window in the house. Tacky, but wildly wonderful for kids. Some years she would give us some sort of shoe polish and let us draw on the windows like little budding Michelangelos or something. We loved it. And we counted down the days until we were allowed to decorate. Pure joy.
Except one day I came home from school early only to hear blaring Christmas music. Seemed strange so I picked up the pace, racing up the stairs. There I found Dad alone, standing on the arms of the living room chair, gold garland wrapped around his neck as though it were a feather boa, sort of wiggling to the music while he was hammering nails into the wall so that he could hang lights and garland. While drinking Ouzo. I made a beeline to my room to drop off all of my stuff and get changed, then came flying back into the living room. And stopped dead in my tracks.
Dad was trimming the tree. Not trimming with decorations, but cutting the branches in an effort to secure the perfect triangle tree shape. I mentioned the tree was fake, right? Yeah, apparently he didn’t pay attention to the fact that the tips of the branches were color coded to match the holes they got inserted into. White tip? White hole on the “trunk” of the fake tree. Blue paint on the tip of the branch? Blue hole on the post/pole/trunk thingy. Not rocket science for an extremely intelligent man. Put the branches in the correct holes and the tree will look…surprise…like a tree.
Instead, Ouzo clouded his judgment and since there were no directions (not that he ever looked at directions regardless of a project’s scope and size!) he just shoved branches in any way they would fit. Then he went to the basement and grabbed the huge wire cutters. By the time I realized what he had done it was too late. Our full and perfect fake tree was now more than slightly skinnier than it should have been. At least it was tree shaped!
We all had a great laugh over the insanity and the next year we insisted on putting the tree together ourselves to insure that it was done properly. Problem with that brilliant logic was that the damn tree no longer fit the red tip in the red hole, blue tip in the blue hole pattern. When we put it together correctly it didn’t have the shape of a real tree due to Dad’s metal lumberjack skills. Long branches sticking out where short branches should have been. So you know we didn’t run out and buy another tree, right? Of course not! Instead out came the wire cutters. Two years in a row we trimmed a fake fucking tree.
Eventually we got rid of the by then Charlie Brown scraggly tree. But for us kids parting with it was almost, in some warped way, a sad event. To us, that crack skinny tree was a bizarre symbol of Dad’s soft side. The side that wanted to spend time with his family and desired to be a part of our quality family fun. To this day, fake trees make me happy. Even if I don’t break out the wire cutters.
Anyone else have any Christmas crazy they wanna share?