South Lake Tahoe, A Love Letter

Dear South Lake Tahoe,

I didn’t want to meet you. I thought the timing of this trip couldn’t have been worse with so much going on in my life. I just knew that my absence from my regular life would be detrimental TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. I may have over estimated my importance a little, maybe. Surprisingly, the people in my life survived without me and had I not gone, I would never have experienced the splendor of your beauty.

As it turned out, this trip came at the exact right time. While it was a work related trip, I feel as though it was a gift to me for so many reasons. It coincided with a time that my soul needed something. It’s a different kind of hunger when it comes from my soul. I truthfully had no idea what I needed. Maybe a reminder. A reminder of who I am.  A reminder that no matter who or what surrounds me, I am grounded, I am centered and I know what is true. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day and I forget the big picture of my life.

Off I went. Slim Jim’s, check. Playlist, check. Stress, check!

I arrived not knowing what was in store, but boy did you feed my soul.

The last hour of the drive to meet you was worth the trip alone. Oh, hello trees. There are so many of you, you are so green and happy. Why wouldn’t you be? You are hugged every day by beautiful mountains with surprise waterfalls that pour with delight at the chance to nourish you. Lest I forget the streams. They flowed in a way that told me I was headed to a place where peace would abound. Yes, please. That’s one thing I wanted for sure, peace.

My Buddhist tendencies keep me from going into new situations with expectations and I found it quite easy to just take the experience for what it was and be grateful.

Something I’m adamant about when traveling is walking as much as possible. Not only is it great after sitting in a car for so long, but for me it’s a better way to get a feel for my new surroundings.

I learned a few things about myself while in this gorgeous place…

One, I LOVE to travel alone. Being able to explore whatever I wanted and not having to consult another living soul was liberating. I loved driving through the mountains and performing the most amazing car karaoke that the world will never have the pleasure of witnessing. (Some gifts aren’t meant to be shared)

Two, I adore me. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with me. I’m adventurous, fun and might I add, a little easy on the eyes most days. My inner monologue keeps me highly entertained and I am one of the funniest people I know. Did I mention I’m also humble?

Three, the older I get, the more I talk to myself. Not a low mumble, but like regular conversation level volume talk to myself. I think the people in my life have gotten used to it, but go to a new place and all of a sudden you’re “the weird girl who wanders and has an imaginary friend”. All I have to say to that is, DROP DEAD FRED!

Let me take you through a bit of my journey..

Day one, meeting the lake.

Sunshine, but only 83°. It was 106° back home so enjoying the warmth of the sun without feeling like it was trying to murder me was fantastic.

The bluest lake I’ve ever seen..

IMG_20170709_191721_148Music is life. I feel like every situation can only get better when you have some good tunes.

Since I love music so much, I was naturally drawn to the center of town where live bands seemed to be everywhere. I listened to three different bands at various venues. All of them were great. There’s something about live music that makes me surrender to the moment.

I crossed over to the Nevada side for a bit, not as fun in my opinion, but cool nonetheless. I spent so much time walking and exploring the town that I forgot to eat dinner so I grabbed a tasty pizza from Vinny’s on my way back to the hotel. I washed it down with a Tallboy Bud Light because I am nothing, if not classy.

Day two…

Work obligations took half of the day. However, my coworker/friend and I accomplished our goal and graduated from a program we’ve been working on for a couple of years so yay to that!

We also got to enjoy lunch at Heaven’s Little Cafe which was indeed heavenly. The fish tacos were amaaaazing.

With responsibility out of the way, I ran back to the hotel to change and I was gone. I did a little Googling earlier in the day and read about Emerald Bay. I can’t explain it, but I knew I had to go. I wanted to see that view for myself. I just needed to be there so up the mountain I drove.

Along the way I saw 2 beautiful Ravens which I took as a good omen. Most of you probably know that my left wrist is adorned with one of these beauties.

My love of birds has been with me since I was a child. Yes, my last name is Nightengale. No, not like the bird and no, that’s not why.

My Mother always called me a night owl because I never wanted to go to sleep at night. Side Note: I only ever got spanked once as a child because I didn’t want to put on underwear. I guess not much has changed. I still like to be up late and still hate underwear…and pants for that matter.

I think I was a bird in a past life. Imagine the freedom of flying and being able to take a crap on whoever you want. Amazing.

I digress….so back to the trip up the mountain. I made it to Emerald Bay and it was breathtaking.

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The presence of other humans was a minor annoyance, but I had plenty of solitude and my earphones so all was well. I think that was exactly the point you were making to me, all is well. There are small matters; stress, conflicts and people who will try to rob me of my joy and peace, but at the end of the day all is well with my soul. I have what matters most in life and I am grateful.

A few fun facts..

Emerald Bay is home to the one and only Island in Lake Tahoe.

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Fannette Island

There are days I would like to be air lifted to this Island so no one can talk to me. I could send a Raven with a message should anything of importance arise, but otherwise I should be left alone.

Then there is this gem. Captain Richard “Dick” Barter made his way to Lake Tahoe in the 1860’s. He was quite the character and would row his dinghy into town to visit the saloons. Captain Dick had a proclivity for Whiskey which only makes him more lovable. There’s a story about him amputating his own toes and showing them to visitors, but we’ll just focus on the positive here.

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Just to confirm that the birds love me right back..

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He was just a little shy.

 

The biggest challenge I face is being present in the moment and enjoying myself when all of the small stuff in life tries to get in the way. It was easy to do when I was with you, none of those things existed. I messaged a friend who frequently visits you and asked him, “Is this heaven?” He replied, “Of course it is”. And that was that.

I may have found my heaven on Earth. I think you’ve stolen my heart from the Ocean who I still hold in high regard and will always visit. However, nothing can compete with the clarity I feel standing under your giant trees and looking at the majestic view of your water and mountains.

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At Inspiration Point

 

Day three, a sad goodbye..

I will miss you. I debated going back to the lake one more time, but since a 5 hour energy drink was already going to be required for the trip home I decided to get on the road.

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Not to worry, I safely drove while the phone was stationary and capturing a bit of my drive. I could drive this road every day and never tire of it.

Until we meet again, South Lake Tahoe. Thank you for the reminders. Thank you for being so welcoming and thank you for the quiet.

There is value is saying nothing at all, in quiet reflection and in a little soul searching.

 

 Anti-Social 

I may or may not be a little anti-social, and by that I mean, I am. Long ago I learned that people are annoying and most lack common sense. 

I was a painfully shy child which I now realize was just me choosing to be quiet rather than tell everyone how stupid they were.

Somewhere in my late teens, I decided that I didn’t have to pretend to like everyone. Nor did I have to pretend that they were even somewhat tolerable. This often translated into me being called “stuck up” or a bitch. I didn’t put bitch in quotations because that’s actually true, but I’m not “stuck up” at all.

I don’t think I’m better than others,  I just don’t like them. Maybe you’re somebody else’s cup of tea, but not mine. Although, I would bet that some of you aren’t even a person’s (who is dying of thirst) drop of water because you’re awful.

Some people like to go through life thinking that humans are mostly good and that’s peachy, but not smart. I think humans are always human which means they can be lovely or terrible, fun or dangerous, intelligent or stupid…it’s a gamble. The truth is you just don’t know until you get to know them a little and that’s where you lose me. 

I don’t really want to get to know them. I’ve got plenty of great friends and my family is the most amazing so, no thanks. 

Please don’t sit near me. Please don’t make small talk with me, I’m not even listening. If I avoid eye contact with you, let it go. This girl doesn’t want to chat. 

As DJ Khaled said, “No New Friends”. 

Also, as the great (and sometimes seizure prone) Lil Wayne said, “I’m too old for new friends, but never too rich for new money”.

There you have it. Maybe I’m not anti-social, but selectively social.

Plus, you probably wouldn’t like me anyway. 

Just kidding, I’m the shit.

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By the way, that corner used to be occupied by another interesting character. I’m pretty sure she took over after beating him in a dance off competition. 

P.S. Hugs not Drugs. 

Moats and Hoes

I’ve been thinking deeply about something for a while now and I’ve come to a decision. It’s time to start making some moves to get what I want in life…

   
What I absolutely want is a house with a moat.

The first reason is safety. Nobody is getting anywhere near me unless I lower the drawbridge which I would only do if they had tasty treats or beer, obviously.

The second reason is that they’re super cool and this puts me one step closer to the Game of Thrones life I was intended to have and getting a dragon (which has always been my ultimate goal).

Lastly, I like to make an entrance and would love nothing more than to have that drawbridge lower and see my dogs come running to me with tails a waggin every day.

On the off chance that this dream does not come to fruition…I’ll just take a Southern inspired two story house with a wraparound porch, a walk in closet, lots of trees, a big yard, my dogs, a pig, a goat, an amazing circular library room complete with chaise lounge chairs and a full bar, one secret passage way, and a couple of mischievous, but friendly ghosts who would give Scooby Doo and the team a run for their money. Even though they never had any kind of authority whatsoever and were always out of their jurisdiction, I love them all the same and would welcome them and their mystery machine to investigate anything that seems hinky at my residence.

Well, I’m glad we had this talk.

Remember, I’ll always be here for you…unless you run out of snacks or beer or if you’re in a bad mood, smell unfavorably, don’t pronounce the first R in “library”, drag your feet when walking, keep your toenails too long for my liking, don’t know the words to at least one En Vogue song and/or squeeze the toothpaste from the center of the tube. Aside from that, you can count on me and I can confidently say with an 18% certainty that I would most likely lower the drawbridge for you.

Now, you’ve gotten all the way to the end and there’s been no mention of hoes. I don’t want you to leave disappointed so here you go… Every group of friends has that one girl (or guy) who’s not so fresh and a little sleazy. Think about it. If you can’t figure out who it is, it’s you.

Alright, sleep well!

Xo

Misfits

“I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.”

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately and thinking about all of the people in my life. As I’ve gotten older, I have become increasingly choosier about who I give my time to. I like my people imperfect, a little messy, passionate, clever, and grateful. These are my favorite humans.

When I’m hanging out with them, it hits me that we are the coolest bunch of misfits ever. Feel free to disagree, we won’t give a shit.

Life throws a lot of people in our paths. Some are great and some are their own special brand of awful.

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However, in the end, I believe they all serve a purpose. Even if that purpose is to be a seat filler who laughs too loudly at his own jokes and will probably end up being a Wal Mart Greeter in his old age. Or a mouth breather who drags their feet when walking, thus making me homicidal. That’s their journey so Godspeed, you no common sense having bundles of annoying. I’ll be over here thanking the good Lord that your time in my life has passed. Amen.

It’s crazy how life unfolds and most of the time I like the unpredictability. I’ve learned many lessons so far and have gathered a few truths along the way. Recently, I was chatting with a favorite lady friend of mine about one of these truths; timing is everything…and I mean everything.

I absolutely believe that people come into your life at the exact time they need to and they also exit exactly when they need to. It isn’t one-sided either, they needed you just as much as you needed them.

Trust the timing of your life.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve shouted to the heavens, “What were you thinking, God?! Did I really need THAT experience?!” The answer is always, ” Umm, ya. Duh.” Okay, maybe God is a little more eloquent than that, but who knows.

Of course I needed the hard times, the heartbreaks, the challenges, and the people who seemed to be constant sandpaper, rubbing me the wrong way. Otherwise, life would be easy. I’d have no reason to grow, think deeply, talk about the hard things, be humbled, and forgive when I didn’t want to. Also, I’m fairly certain easy is boring and I’m not about that life.

Find your tribe.

I definitely don’t have it all figured out and I’m glad. I hope I never do. I hope I always question things and feel curious and occasionally still learn the hard way. I also hope I always have these wonderful people who let me know that while I am a bit crazy and weird, I’m not alone.

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Find your people, you will need them. When you find them, lean on them, love them, and be there when they need you…especially when they don’t ask you to be, because that’s probably when they need you the most. And if you’re lucky, your life will be messy, hard, and little painful. You’ll be better off for it and enjoy the fun, easy, happy times even more.

Wisdom for the Week: Stay away from people who don’t drink or dance. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

In closing, Nina Simone. Good for your soul on a Saturday. xoxo

 

Simmer Down a Pinch

“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet” she whispered, posting another selfie.

Ladies, please.

Can we stop with the empowering quotes accompanying your third selfie that week. We get it, being single is your choice. No one can handle you. You look the same as you did two days ago. Thanks for reminding us.

Now, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE a good selfie…but at least I know I’m being a little vain. Embrace it, girls. Hair and make-up are fun. Feeling pretty should be celebrated, but c’mon, people don’t need daily reminders that you’re alive and your camera…err, phone still works. Simmer down a pinch.

Tuesday was International Women’s Day and I love to celebrate all that we are. I love women! I love them so much that I briefly(45 seconds) considered being a lesbian once. Then, I imagined what it would be like to live with another me. No thank you! Also, I prefer to be the pretty one in the relationship. See, vain.

All of the love for my gender aside, I have a couple of things maybe worth mentioning. Probably not, but I’m going to anyway because I never learn.

What’s with women in their 20’s and 30s getting Botox and fillers?! By the time you’re 40, you’ll have lost the ability to show emotions through any type of facial expressions. Are you mad? Happy? Sad? I can’t tell! I have a hard enough time figuring out who’s eyebrows are real these days. Also, men can hardly read us when all of our facial muscles are working. Simmer down a pinch.

As for me, I’ll stick with resting bitch face. It has served me well and saved me from many possible new friendships.

Let’s talk fashion for a second. Did floral leggings make a comeback? Wait, were they ever a thing? I don’t know, but for some reason I have seen numerous, ahem, ladies sporting these as of late. These skin tight pants/leggings come in a pattern that I can only imagine was ripped off their Nana’s 1992 sofa from her “Formal Living Room” and sewn into two hideous leg prisons. Simmer down a pinch.

The last thing I ever want to be is a woman who shops for a “sensible pant suit”. I’m mostly a jeans and cute top kinda girl, but I think we’ll all be better off if this trend makes it’s way to small town, USA with a quickness. I’d rather see Culottes make a comeback than have to endure these walking rose gardens all Spring. From my lips to God’s ears, please banish them. Amen.

These few annoyances are minor. I think women are amazing. We’re strong, smart, creative, crazy, loving, talented, crazy, beautiful, and some of us even smell good. Keep on keeping on, ladies! You do you. Even if it means having an immobile face, legs covered in chrysanthemums, and posting daily selfies. I will still love you….from a distance.

A parting note: If you’re a woman and are planning on voting for Donald Trump, kindly hand over your ovaries and form a line to the right because that shit’s ridiculous.

Someone wrote yesterday, “You just know Donald Trump is an unsolicited dick pic kinda guy.”

And I thought….yep, that about sums it up.

 

 

Tremors

Last week, I almost fell over while putting on my jeans. Needless to say, I’m not the smoothest of characters. I feel like I’m going to need quite a bit more time on this Earth to become my best self.

I made a step in the right direction today at lunch when I purchased and devoured this bowl of deliciousness..

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Then, the Earth shook…like, 4.8 magnitude shook. I hate to break it to my 3rd grade teacher, but there was no ducking or covering. All that training was in vain because I literally just sat there. My mind flashed back to the conversation I had with God on Saturday after Trump won the South Carolina Primary. It went something like this, “Lord, it might be time to flood the Earth again. Amen.” I not saying my prayer prompted the Earthquake, but I’m not not saying it either.

The second thing I thought was, TREMORS…

One of my coworkers yelled “Shit!” and took cover under his desk, making him my favorite person within a two mile radius.

After the shaking stopped, I did what any normal adult would do. I bought a bag a Funyuns and consumed them immediately. No way in hell I’m letting the last thing I eat in life be fruit. Not on my watch!

It isn’t my time to go, I have so much left to do. I still haven’t mastered the skill of remembering where I parked my car after going into CVS for 10 minutes. In fact, I’m only at CVS because I think having a $2 off coupon justifies me spending $47. I need help.

I have to stop the unnecessary remixing of songs that were just fine as they were. Not every song should be remixed, people!!

Mind you, this is coming from a person who passionately sang along to the song, My Humps, on the way home from my Allergist’s office today where the nurse called me “Sunshine”. Me, Sunshine. She clearly doesn’t know me at all. I can’t leave this Earth being so misunderstood.

Side note, somebody tell Selena Gomez and her adorable chipmunk cheeks to please keep her hands to herself. I’m really uncomfortable hearing a Wizard from Waverly Place sing so seductively on the radio. Stop it.

The point is, unless The Rock will be swooping in to save me, there need not be any more Earthquakes in my neck of the woods. Thank you, kindly.

I feel like you all should know that I’m typing this next to my boyfriend who is watching a Telenovela. El Señor de los Cielos to be exact.

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Aaaannd, he just farted. I’m living the dream. Sleep well.

 

 

 

Say Anything

Some days I think I  have my shit together and some days I seem to have lost my ability to count. I have somehow developed the nervous talking habit John Cusack had in the movie Say Anything which is, evidently, not as endearing on me.

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The following is an account of my lunch hour yesterday because I know you all care so deeply…

I spent a solid 60 seconds trying to remember if I put on underwear. As soon as I figured out that I wasn’t going commando, my thoughts shifted to my dogs. I made a mental note that I needed to get new name tag for my dog. He’s currently sporting the name tag of a dog I fostered last year because, hey, at least it has my phone number on it. This is probably causing him to have some kind of identity crisis and feel like he doesn’t matter as much as my other two dogs. Then, I’m like….dude, you’re worrying about the emotional state of a creature who has chased his own tail for 6 minutes straight. Chill.

I arrived at a gym nearby my work because in a moment of poor judgment I agreed to get a membership so as to join two of my coworkers for lunchtime cardio a few days a week. I know, but this is who I am now. As I’m discussing the deets of this torturous arrangement, the guy asked me what my fitness goals were. I paused and said, “To never check in on Facebook?” Clearly, he’s now going to take me about as seriously as I take myself.

I left and immediately started to scold myself. I was all, “Jesus, Mary & Joseph, can you just act like a freakin adult for 5 minutes?!”

About a minute later, I forgave myself for my juvenile ways and headed toward Panera because nothing starts off a new healthy lifestyle like a cup of Clam Chowder.

On my drive back to work I started eating the French Baguette they always give you. Let me be clear, there is no lady like way to eat a Baguette while driving. I looked like a character out of Game of Thrones who’s been on a long journey and has just gotten her hands on some nourishment. I kept eating it because, bread.

As I’m driving, I think….Have I heard from Pops lately? I try to recall if I’ve gotten any emails from him that day. Listen, if your Dad doesn’t email you weekly about an article that he found interesting, is he even you Dad?! I actually look forward to these emails because Pops is the best thing since chocolate and you know what, maybe I DO want to know how to properly store tomatoes in my kitchen so they maintain their fresh deliciousness!

I arrived back at the office and suddenly remember that at 7 years old, I thought becoming a Librarian would be the bestest thing ever because BOOKS…and I also had a slight obsession with wanting to scan barcodes. A grocery store checkout clerk was a close second to the coolest job a person could have. Whatta weird kid. Anyway, that’s a life long dream that will probably never see the light of day.

In a moment of rare silence, I think, am I the only one pretending to be an adult around here? Am I alone in feigning maturity all damn day?! Is the ridiculous train leaving the station with only me on board??

At that moment, the phone rang for the 73rd time and I shouted, “not it!” because I. Can’t. Even.

 

 

 

Insomnia, Paranoia and The List

Every time I’m going on a road trip with my family, I wake up somewhere around 3am and begin to imagine every possible terrible thing that can happen. Once I’m in tears and have methodically planned out how I will save each member of my family from an almost totaled car, I begin to talk myself down. I also start to negotiate with God/The Universe/Creator/Goddess, basically whoever can hear my thoughts telepathically. If you let my family and I survive this trip, I will be nicer to the stupid people of the world or only curse twice a day….twice an hour. Then I start suggesting a list of things/people that we could do without here on Earth if His/Her “trigger finger” is feeling itchy.

Here’s the list so far:

1. Biker Shorts  –  I mean, really, does anyone look good in those? You can’t unsee it, people.

2. The older white lady in my neighborhood that walks her black Pug every hour on the hour  –  It’s cool that she’s in an interracial relationship, but we live in a gated community with a security guy that patrols all day. The area is secure, go back inside!! Sure, Skippy couldn’t track a three-legged turtle, but he has a siren and a walkie-talkie. Let him do his job, it’s all he has.

3.  Pincher Bugs  –  Those sons of bitches are evil.

4. Close talkers  –  You do not know me like that, back up.

5. Bumper Stickers  –   I don’t give a shit about your kid being student of the month or who you voted for in 2008.

6. Fox News  –  Because I have a functioning brain, eyes and ears.

7. Mouth Breathers  –  For fuck’s sake, get some Breathe Right Strips and wear them 24/7. Trust me, you will look like less of an idiot than you do now.

You will be happy to know that we survived the trip to Los Angeles and back. Please feel free to suggest other things/people for the list. I’m off to take a Benadryl and call it a night.