Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Sometimes I hold a gun and sometimes I hold a man. Either way I’m livin’ dangerous-like."

  So as mentioned in my last post, this lil’ Calamity Jane was about to try her hand at a little gunslingin’….live out those Annie Oakley fantasies...

   Last Monday, I met my coworker/ friend Adam at the LA Gun Club downtown. While waiting for him outside, I saw date night, girls night, hipsters, and outsiders come and go…and there was me, my ‘Made in Ohio’ t-shirt wearing a peace symbol on my purse and my Doris Day smile. Huh?!
A 357 magnum, 2 boxes of 50 shells, and 6 targets later we take up residence in stall #6. Without much if any instruction, he puts said gun in my hand and tells me to aim for the chest.  Excited and intimidated I got a little self conscious and made him more clearly and properly explain what the f*&@k I was supposed to be doing. But as soon as he explained ‘sight’ and aim and breathing, I eased right into it and became quite smitten with that revolver. He challenged me with target, distance, and my one handed True Grit ability.

Charlie's Angel circa 2012
What's up bitch?!

And I did pretty well I have to say. I at least always hit the target and almost always hit where he told me to aim…ask to see my targets if you don’t believe me :-)
The way I'm pretty sure it was more than just a one time novelty was how determined I became to get better with each round. The perfectionist in me had me suddenly fantasizing about how good I might be able to get, (hopefully as good as Adam b/c 'Damn son, that boy can shoot!') and the other guns I wanted to try....ahem, a rifle. With Adam so annoyingly good, my competitive streak was raging because when up against a man the mantra in my head usually goes a little somethin' like this;

When the noose is loosened on my budget, mama’s goin back fo some mo’!  Pause for reaction, although I mean are any of you really surprised… this is just one more thing to add to ever expanding list of contradictions that is me!

What IS surprising however is that I apparently did not come to this new obsession completely on my own…. During our Sunday check-in, my dad told me he used to have a bunch of guns at home when I was kid…?!?!? This is something I never pictured for my dad. I actually did know we had some guns in the garage, but I could’ve sworn that they were my uncle’s and we were just storing them for him. Hmmm?? My dad was super excited that this was something I had some interest in. Clearly, the next time I go back to Ohio our activity agenda is set.
This new interest in guns and my fierce, bordering on violent, love for all things Ohio State (in case you didn’t know, we’re in the Final Four – boom!)  has made me the son my dad never had and didn’t know he wanted … I think those two qualities alone make up for all the tattoos I continually acquire. I’m not exactly the daughter either of my parents probably expected; college drop-out, struggling tattooed ‘artist’ with no marriage prospects or desire for children, but ya know… ya gotta deal with the hand you’re dealt, hahaha! Sorry guys!

    While we’re on the topic of all things unexpected, let’s acknowledge our old friend Mercury Retrofuck (when you have friends like Mercury….) who is crashing on all our couches till next Wednesday, the 4th (add a couple days though for good measure).  Yea, yea, yea I hear ya….So some of you may not be as familiar with this astrological, hippie gobbledegook I speak.

Actual definition:
1) When a planet goes retrograde, it appears to be moving backwards, at least from our perspective on Earth. And though it's obviously not really going backwards, this visual phenomenon has proven to have some definite effects on us.
     When retrograde, the normal expression of the planet is delayed or out of sync with the normal progression of events. Consequently, anything initiated or planned during a retrograde period will often be delayed or is more difficult to get off the ground than usual. Matters go back on schedule and flow more easily after the retrograde is over and the planet is once again in direct motion.
     Being the planet of communications, Mercury retrograde often fouls up or delays our communications — especially informal ones like writing, reading, phone calls, letters, e-mail, and the like. There is a greater possibility of miscommunication and misunderstanding each other more often, so it's best to be especially careful to say what you mean and mean what you say during these times.
     Mercury also rules travel, so make sure you allow extra time to reach your destination. Check such things as the gas, oil, tires and battery on your vehicle before you embark on a road trip! If flying, be prepared for more delays than usual and make certain your luggage has your identification on it  just in case!
     If you have to sign contracts during this period, go over them very carefully, paying special attention to the details. It's better if you can delay signing contracts until the retrograde is over. But if you can't put if off, keep in mind you may encounter some delays involving the contract, or you may have to re-do or re-work something in the deal after Mercury goes direct.
     Retrograde periods are an excellent time to review, re-evaluate, re-do, rethink (most any "re" words you can think of), and otherwise regroup, particularly in the areas of life represented by your chart where the retrograde is taking place. Mercury goes retrograde about 3 times a year for approximately 3 weeks at a time.

…and 2 from the Urban Dictionary

2) A three week period in which the planet Mercury to appears to be in backwards motion. during this time human beings experience many adverse effects, such as memory loss, loss of time, loss of items, loss of common sense. As for technology many unexpected glitches occur during this time, such as software crashes and emails getting lost

3) A scapegoat for astrologists to use when shit happens. (for my sarcastic eye-rolling non believers)

 The footprint it leaves on our day to day lives is different person to person. I was born during a Mercury Retrograde so it supposedly doesn’t affect me as strongly. I am always aware of it though, and am still not immune to it’s annoying tendencies…. But generally I do slip through the cracks, knock on wood. My personal experience of this particular one is less disastrous. For example, my laptop powercord didn’t catch on fire right in front me like my friend Jeff. 
I’ve felt more an overall air of weirdness… specific enough? 
The big thing for me was that I had all these bills, taxes included, come down the pipeline at once and somehow despite all my uber organization I absent-mindedly mismanaged my 2 accounts leaving me overdrawn for a few days, panicked, self doubting, defeating and under the covers last Friday. Bleh! The downside is that I’m in a super tight spot financially for the next 4-6 weeks … like 127 hours tight! A sliver of silver lining though is that I’m now riding my bike to work, saving on gas and hopefully getting my thighs in rockin’ shape. 
Of course, there’s been some innocuous email miscommunication at work…. But I have to say that the communication in my personal life during this retrograde has been surprisingly clear and really good with honest, eye opening, and thought provoking conversations ranging from best friends to ex boyfriends to current whatevers (singular), all the way to my niece and nephew….who by the way have taken to iMessaging me daily, well, my niece more than my nephew but still soooo cute and sweet! Let me digress for a moment to say that I cannot begin to describe the joy it brings me to know that I now have a real presence in their life. I feel like I'm building a solid foundation for them to feel safe with me, and know I'm always available to them...especially as they get older. These loins aint producin' any fruit of their own, soooo ...and it takes a village right? Granted I'm probably the idiot in said village, but I'm okay with that. I'm okay being crazy aunt Courtney...I own the crazy! Spending a month with my family in Savannah was unexpected but enormously rewarding -- I love you guys and miss you all!
   Now where were we? "...surprisingly clear,  honest, eye opening, and thought provoking conversations..." Ah yes.
I’m not sure if my contribution to those conversations was as poignant as what I received… in fact I know it wasn’t. And there's the retrograde, I wasn’t always able to say exactly what I wanted or how I wanted. But I was at least able to listen clearly. It’s easy to forget, but it’s in the listening that you find gold. Truth and gold.
The quote of the month has to go to my beloved Andrew who after an 8-9 month overdue lunch/catch up texted me this sage advice,
"Bub, don't fuck it up with your dumb shit.....Luv you" Direct, poignant, and hilariously true....I love it because in the future I could apply this to all kinds of situations, not just the one he was referencing. And coming from a man I spent just under 8 years of my life with and who probably knows me better than I know myself and loves me unconditionally anyway, it's gospel baby! I invite you all to feel free to use this on me if you witness me getting in my own way, omit the 'Bub' though and insert your own personal nickname for me :-) Like I said, truth and gold!
The other quote of the month came during one of those  stoney conversations with equal parts philosophy, creativity and eye misting truthsaying; "...You were devastating..." (I'm trying to intone the delivery... it's all in the delivery) I realize it doesn't offer the same 1, 2, light hearted punch as Andrew's but it was equally important for me to hear...imperative really. So while Mercury seemed to turn me into an inarticulate asshole on several occasions (just ask  Berlin or as he's more commonly referred to now, Mr Smith) it gifted me with fascinating and sometimes hilarious stories of a beautiful soul (his)....listening to friends speak their truth(s), and the above golden nuggets both of which have been tattooed on my heart. Between the frustration of my temporary financial squeeze and all this honesty, I've been humbled and fortified. THANK YOU!!

The other quote options for my headline:

"Ain’t afraid to love a man and I ain’t afraid to shoot one."

"I took to makin’ trouble like most women take to makin’ biscuits."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Travel, Tatts, and Temper Trap

The Rover, Abroad … 
Alex, What is a tough chick who loves to travel?”

     Instead of coming home in between the Italy dance festival and Edinburgh Fringe, we, as in Rina, Kev and I will be stopping over in Holland, where our beloved Kevin is from, and hanging with his family for those 2 weeks. I know where your mind is going, actually where my mind is going, because I’m projecting onto you here… 
So when's my birthday party? (My 32nd, aka Second Sweet Sixteen) Ahhh, so glad you asked because even though, yes, I realize it’s only the second week in March I want everyone to circle in hard pencil, Saturday July 7th for my pre Bastille Day shin dig. (Great minds think alike, because my beloved Muriel is having hers the same day although far far away--Cancer women rule!)  
As you all know, I celebrate the whole month so general merrymaking will begin on the 1st of course but it would be nice to get everyone together for something more official, totally debaucherous, and possibly 80’s themed - I have my eye on a rad tutu at the Hustler store, so I’m just sayin’ …

The other thing you’re probably thinking because people have already asked, “Will my job let me be gone for a month? and When am I going to tell them?”
A)   I don’t know
B)   I don’t care
C)   And probably not till the end of May or very beginning of June
Now let me clarify answer B.  It’s not that I don’t care at all.  I really do like this job. I love the people I work with and they pay me well, so of course I would prefer if they were okay with my absence and would allow someone to cover me for a month. Look, it’s always a pain in the ass having to look for a new job, but at the same time I will NEVER turn down being gifted an opportunity like this, dancing AND travelling, because of an otherwise bullshit day job. I mean right?! If they have to let me go, then I’m not meant to have that job and something better will come along to take its place.  At least that’s the story I’m telling myself, and I’m sticking to it.
Even if that whole ‘meant to be’ part of it is pure crap, I’m still not going to let the fear of lack or losing my job make my decisions for me.   
“…the wings are wide, wild card inside” --Feist

                The Rover, Localor El Rover Loco
     This week’s To Do list included sadly returning the super hot SUV rental car I had all last week, a 3+hour tattoo and some good old-fashioned gun slingin’ with co-workers. Whaa Whaat?
Well to start, if you remember, 2 weekends ago a lady backed into my little Misty Blue in the parking lot while at rehearsal.  Somehow I ended up with a Chevy Traverse, and that thing was awesome!! One of my outgoing texts excitedly read, “ Damn, mama misses sittin’ up high!” In general, my cars have always been big and meaty; Jeeps (3), an Outback, and a Land Rover. And my ultimate dream car of course is a 90’s Ford Bronco, Eddie Bauer edition, black and tan or navy blue and tan. *Swoon and sigh* I feel like such a dude right now, but whatever.  I love me some muscle cars.  Yes I realize that I’m probably going to hell in a handbasket for contradicting my hippie, tree huggin’ ways by even entertaining owning anything that would leave such a weighty carbon footprint. But it’s such a hot car!!! Excuse me while I dab my brow, it’s like car porn for me, pardon me. My friend Adam at work even found one in New Jersey in mint condition, printed out the picture and tacked it to the wall above my iMac so that I could gaze upon it longingly, putting an order into the Universe to send such a one my way.
I will admit to doing a bit of online research for some used Kia Sportages, which actually get really good gas mileage and passed all sorts of hippie appeasing ‘green’ tests. I do love my car though, and its uber petiteness makes L.A parking a snap but with all the driving I do, especially for rehearsal up north, a newer car wouldn’t exactly suck.

    Cut to yesterday, I ran home for a tie dyed tube top, a puff of the good stuff, and the 2 Fat Tires in my fridge before spending the next 3 1/2 hrs  lightly schvitzing with muscles taut and teeth gritted, and at one point my forehead buried into the back of the chair while the outside of my left arm and back was being drilled, I mean decorated, with boot prints, bare feet, swallows and Italian.  At least the perpetrator, I mean collaborator, is one of my best friends, a fantastic artist and inappropriately witty conversationalist. 
**Pause for shameless plug -- L.A is full of tattoo shops, and because of that fact I’m a believer in referrals…so please go see Kevin Hinton at Riptide Tattoo in Marina del Rey.  The shop is comfortably intimate, sleek, and cool. He’s received CitySearch’s ‘Best Tattoo Shop in LA’ two years in a row. He always stays currently certified in Bloodborne Pathogens, Infectious Disease Control and CPR, and only single-use sterilized needles are used each time. Beyond all that though, he’s a fantastic guy and makes everyone who walks through his door feel welcome and immediately at ease. He’s a great artist on his own, but also works really well bringing other people’s visions to fruition. I’ve got the proof on both arms. (XO my luv!) 

As usual, it was well worth the blood, schvitz, and lip biting  (b/c an amazon woman doesn’t cry out in pain)
See for yourself?

The words are Italian for "Not all those that wander are lost"
Thank you Riccardo Duranti for the translation!!

      Tonight was supposed to be devoted to living out my Annie Oakley fantasies, (‘Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better’ -- and Yes, in my fantasy I do actually break into song and dance before blowing the shit out of my target) … 
A lil Annie Oakley, a lil Calamity Jane, and a whole helluva lot of Wonder Woman… swapping the Golden Lasso of Truth for a Golden Colt 45 of “Seriously? You really gonna lie to me right now?!”  
But alas, with a big fitness trade show in town, said coworkers were swamped and we opted to go next Monday night instead… stay tuned next week for that review!

CC Bella, in bloom …

    Maybe it’s the weather or the sweetness of the most satisfying weekend I’ve had in a long time… ya know the kind that feels so full it’s like having had an extra day. Maybe it’s an experience of being taken care of and cared for in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  Maybe it’s the satisfaction that comes from a solid session of writing. Maybe it’s missing someone and resting easy in that, letting it go. Maybe it’s being the object of such a curious, honest, blue green gaze…. and really being seen......Yeeeaaa, that might be it :-)

    I was recently told (and I’m paraphrasing here) that it can be exhausting at times getting me to talk or say what I’m thinking… except of course online, then I have seem to have no problem because I seem to be a bit of an exhibitionist. Moi?! Elusive, tight-lipped, yet big and boisterous and non traditional?? That doesn’t sound like me at all!
Firstly, it’s always been easier for me to express myself in words. Somehow writing gives me the cushion I need to be unabashedly honest. Which is not to say that I can’t be equally honest in person, but especially when I’m still coming out of my shell and testing the water I am hyperaware of the sticky web of my thoughts, thus making me reluctant to share.
And as for the exhibitionist part…. My moon is in Leo. 
Nuff said! I mean I’m a Cancer, Taurus rising with a moon in Leo thus making me a smidge complicated, or layered. Yes! Actually, I prefer layered… a deliciously complex layer cake where you recognize the flavors but still can’t quite put your finger on all the ingredients… 
Uuunnlessssss of course you have a ridiculously adept palette like that of one Colombian German I know. Shit, this dude's got my number!
Here I was thinking I was doing sooo well, in terms of being more open in general but cooly tempering that with an appropriate amount of detachment, but he just put the smack down on my bullshit and apparently those old habits of defensiveness and stonewalling have been rearing their ugly heads more than I realized making me seem like a total weirdo at times... ugh! 
It is true that I am more open than I've ever been, as the people who've all survived my weirdo phase can attest to, and that's lovers, friends AND family because my weirdness does not discriminate. I don't think there's a one of ya that hasn't felt it at some point, lucky you :-) It is also true though that even while being in this new expansive place, there is some kind of psychological muscle memory that calls my defense mechanisms to action when someone new is introduced...  The work is never done, is it? ...sigh
So then how lucky and grateful am I to have aforementioned gentleman be exactly that, a gentle man. (very!) 
Instead of either never saying anything and just up and disappearing OR coming down on me aggressively and judging my freakish faults, it felt like in one hand he was holding up a lovely little unassuming mirror... while holding my hand in the other. 
Pause for reaction... Right?!...
...Whatever, I mean it's kinda nice ... ;-)

"...Your walls are up 
Too cold to touch it  
Your walls are up  
Too high to climb
I know it's hard  
But I can still hear it beating  
So if you flash your heart I won't mistreat it.... "
 -- Temper Trap Love Lost


Till next time my lovelies.... 

Have a great St. Patty's weekend, 
Cheers and Green beers ;-)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Let Yourself Go

    I shared a Paulo Coehlo quote as my Facebook status this morning, “Reality is totally different from fiction. In fiction, things need to make sense.” The truth of this hit me like a kidney punch, and not just for me, I actually think I took the hit for someone else…. Ahem….
We are all guilty of, no matter how desperately we try to deny it, of being married to certain ideals, images, hopes, intuitions, etc. And all those thoughts and ideas make perfect sense (but of course) and they are seamlessly wrapped, and for those who like an added touch of flair, accompanied by a sweet little bow curled just right at the trailing ends. To this and all of you, myself included I say,


My evil laugh of truth just slashed our beauteous wrapping and bullshit bow to bits. The reality of our lives, how things unfold and who shows up generally does not make sense. Yet most of us fight so hard against this ‘anti-ideal’ because damnit we know better, and THIS is soooo not what it’s supposed to look like. Two examples immediately come to my mind.

First, my trip; as you all read it ended up being a complete 180 from the plan I had initially put into place not just as a whole but each individual chapter went really left of center. It tripped me out a few times for the 1-3 days that became my Plan B, C and D adjustment/acclimation time frame. Giving over though to Plan B is what led me to C, D and beyond thus gifting me with more magic than I ever thought possible or imagined could even exist.

The second example is related to relationships and comes from Allison Armstrong, the creator of the workshops “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” I along with most of the women in my life have either taken these workshops or listened to her CDs. I can speak for everyone when I say her work is immeasurably valuable when it comes to relating and understanding men and celebrating how amazing they really are. Right here is where one of my most favorite men would tell me that ‘Nooo, actually all men are assholes’ as he has several times before, but I don’t believe it and his heart and friendship is just one reason why. But I digress. The example comes from her driving the point home that we should actively try and avoid our typical ‘type’ when it comes to dating. She says when women see their usual type and feel that instant animal attraction is exactly when we should fuckin’ hightail it the other direction. She tells her own story of when she was dating her now husband. Yes he was attractive, but was in no way her usual type and so she wrote him off as a really good friend….and she really did love spending time with him. Then one day they were out at dinner and she looked down at his hands, and looked up at him and felt that animal attraction coupled with and fueled by their already established heart connection. Suddenly, a million miles away from the picture she had in her mind, she was right where she wanted to be… in love, and with her best friend. “You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.” –Rolling Stones…. And in my opinion, often times what you need ends up being what you truly wanted in the first place.
And look I am including myself here and not just lecturing aforementioned ‘sympathy kidney punch’. After a healthy dose of clarity over the last couple days, or what I took as ‘clarity’ because a certain situation didn’t match the paint by number picture in my mind, instead of running for the hills, I am surrendering to it because who knows what magic will come of it.

    A bit on and off that topic, one of my favorite things in life is that moment, when like Allison, you look down and then up and suddenly you SEE the person in front of you, really see them, and you fall in love with them, with their soul…at the purest and highest level. It doesn’t have to be romantic at all. I think of all my closest friends, and I can pretty much remember the exact moment I fell in love with each and every one of them…. My heart feeling so full as I thought to myself, “I’m so in love with this person.” Even exes, you can fall back in love with their heart but on another level, in a completely different way… in a clean way. And obviously, it’s not always appropriate to tell said person, even if they are just a friend, that very second because a lot of people may not understand and misconstrue it. …and because sometimes when someone is really open it can happen very quickly so especially then unless you wanna freak that person out, you just savor the moment for yourself ….and maybe hug them a little longer. {And yes,  dear friends -- by now you all know I love you, I probably tell you quite often and if you're really curious I will indulge in the moment I fell for you}  :-)

    I recently had the pleasure of such a moment, of seeing and feeling someone’s heart so clearly that I teared up (behind sunglasses of course)…and aided by the kind of setting and soundtrack that was straight out of a RomCom Indie film that turned my tears quickly to laughter. It's such a heartbreakingly beautiful gift, and like all the others one that I will always cherish and remember.

    In more or less completely unrelated news, I spent the weekend in Big Bear and it was fantabulous! Even though I didn't even need my showshoes once I finally got up to the snow, the hike was spectacular and the weight of my showshoes, boots, and other accoutrement added to the workout. Cougar Crest Trail out of the Big Bear Discovery Center is a must! It reminded me that weekend trips are so easy and delicious, and why don't I take them more often?!
Now who is with me? Where do we want to go....and WHEN?