I ❤ you Herinal

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Did you know they make a urinal for women?!

I didn’t until I went to Oregon Country Fair.

Chances are there won’t be a line to use it.

Chances are most people don’t know it is there or how to use it.

It’s Easy!!!!!!!

Step 1: Find the sign

I haven’t had to wait in line yet to go to the bathroom at an event that has 25,000 + attendees…..

Normally there are 4 to 6 troffs. You can face either way, although most people squat facing the drain. There is plenty of toilet paper and even a place to put the TP.

It doesn’t smell any worse than a port-a-potty / Maybe even slightly better since no one is pooping there.

I have only seen it at OCF and I wish there were more of them around.

Don’t be scared. Don’t be nervous. Don’t be shy. Give the lady urinal a try.

Your bladder will thank you ❤💚💜💙💛.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go.

1995 was a rough year for me. I was 21 years old. I crashed my car, lost my job and found out I was pregnant all in the same day. Time for some big changes.

I grew up between California and Colorado. I was born in San Francisco and lived in the Bay Area, mainly Vallejo, until I was 8 yo. After some serious physical abuse inflicted upon me by my step father, I was shipped off to live in Colorado Springs. I would live with my biological mother’s mother. She was also abusive and I would stop speaking to her at 18 years old.

I would graduate High School in Co Spgs. I wanted to go to college far far away but couldn’t afford to even go to the local community college so just like ever other kid who doesn’t continue their education, I got a job.

114 jobs and counting

Years of working led to years of yearning for something different. Something bigger.

After the worst day of my life insofar as of yet. I decided I was going to move. But to where?

I had spent time on the West Coast already. I had seen parts of the East coast. I wanted to move to a bigger city but not too too big. The Northern part of the states was cold like Colorado. I hadn’t spent too much time in the South. The idea of never having to scrape snow and ice off my car before heading out was awfully appealing.

20190727_120604.jpgI busted out a map and said Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. How bout I go to Austin TX… I’ve heard good things about it from a girl I know named Rebecca. To think that was enough information for me is semi frightening. You wouldn’t catch me doing that now. I would need way more information.

 

 

Austin was bigger than Colorado Springs but not as big as Chicago. My Air Force boyfriend was from West Dundee IL so I have spent a lot of time in the Chicago area. Got my fake ID in Woodstock IL since they turned me down in Elgin. His sister was a nurse and lived downtown Chicago. She came home almost every weekend though to be with her family. She was lonely. I have a lot of gratitude towards my fellow humans for allowing me to get an education, to learn some life lessons ,by observing the details of their lives. Watching her fill her loneliness with her beloved family taught me that when you live in a big city, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. It showed me that just because you have a lot of money doesn’t take away the fact you could easily feel like just a number. I didn’t want to feel that lonely. Not only did I not have any money, I didn’t have any family to lean on. Seriously- if this pretty, smart, successful girl was coming home on the weekends, what was in store for me? I was already going to be alone when I moved. Unless I could find a friend to join me….

The girl I found turned out to be Courtney. We knew each other from high school. She was a fellow friend ready to have a bigger adventure and get out of the military town we grew up in. Colorado Springs is surrounded by Peterson AFB, Fort Carson Army Base and the Air Force Academy. Courtney and I soon spent our days making plans. We would need to rent a truck, map the route we would drive and research which parts of the city were best to live in. It was all very exciting!

Three weeks before we were supposed to leave, Courtney found out she got into college. It’s what she really wanted to do therefore she backed out of the move. I was committed. I would go alone if I had to. Going with a friend sounded much better though. I wasn’t going to know anyone in a city/state I had never been to. It would make life so much easier and nicer to have a pal to explore with.

I decided to hit my friend T up. I have known her since 8th grade. I lived in her house during my senior year in high school. When she graduated high school she moved to Breckenridge to live with her boyfriend. I would move into a downtown apartment with my friend Amy. True Independence at last. I would visit T in Summit County several times. During one of those visits I would mention that Courtney had backed out of the move, that all the plans were in place and I just needed to find someone to join or I would go alone.

T was born and raised Colorado. All her family lived in Colorado. She is close with her family. She said she would join if I could help convince her parents to get on board. I agreed. I had the talk with her parents, it worked and suddenly I was back on track with a friend to move with.

 

 

I was going to drive a 15 foot truck with all our belongings. Behind that truck I would tow my car that broke down the night before. It broke down in the Rocky Mountains on the way home from gambling in Cripple Creek. One last hoorah. There would be no time to fix it before I moved.

It took 2 days to make it from Colorado Springs to Austin TX. I had set up an appointment with an apartment Realtor to show us around. I decided I wanted to live close to downtown. Downtown is where you go when you don’t know where to go. He showed us good options.

20190711_214204-1.jpgWe picked a two bedroom at Riverside Place apartments and moved in later that day. I picked up the Sunday paper, found an office manager position to apply for with Celis Brewery. Even though I don’t like beer, I knew it would be a fun atmosphere. I was just 21 years old after all.

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So we arrived on a Friday night, found an apartment on Saturday- moved in, picked up the Sunday paper and had interviews for jobs we would both get by Monday. This is how you know you are where you are supposed to be when life works out so effortlessly ❤

 

 

Before I moved, a girl I worked with gave me someone to connect with in Austin. His name was Scott Crossett and he threw an annual 4th of July party on his boat. We would get to go if I called. Little did I know how much of a gift this guy would be in my life. He was the owner of Apple Leasing and he would be the reason I had transportation for over a year which allowed me to obtain work. That deal worked out for some time however I would end up selling my 55 gallon fresh water fishtank to put an engine in the broken car I towed with me.

Turns out I lived in Austin for 15 years. It is the longest I have lived anywhere. Austin holds so many memories for me:

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I would put myself through college (it would take ten years). I would move to Las Vegas, deal blackjack for 3 months, return home in time for New Year’s Eve (to give myself alcohol poising) in a light purple Saturn SC1 with a spoiler (joined by a friend turned enemy) that an Office Supplies truck would crash in to (totaling it) and (leaving me to go to the hospital on a backboard by ambulance).

 

 

Photo 2It’s the city where I would learn my younger sister was going to die, leaving me to rise up and face my dysfunctional past, in order to attend her funeral. Shortly after her death my biological mother and nieces would move to Austin. A few years later I would be lied to. I would be told they were going on vacation. In reality they were secretly moving to Oregon. My nieces would be 5 and 3 at the time.

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Austin is the place where I will sell weed (to pay for the last year of college) since I borrowed the maximum amount allowed for an Undergraduate degree.  I would go to jail for possession of marijuana and get robbed twice before I decided to change the trajectory of my life. It’s the place I will fall in love with two men and be cheated on and lied to therefore I will walk away from both. I could list so much more but I will keep some for myself.

 

In December of 2010 I will walk away from it all. I will move to Oregon after graduating college to be closer to my nieces. I want to be a part of raising them. I don’t have kids of my own. I love kids. I have finished school and it’s time to leave Texas.

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Portland Oregon was calling my name….

“It’s a great day for chili”

I bought a pair of Keen water shoes in 2010 to go to Lollapalooza with my friend Alex.  They were the nicest pair of water shoes I have owned yet.  I have enjoyed using them often since I am living in Oregon now. They have been my go to shoe for all the kayaking trips I get to go on working as the Full Charge Bookkeeper for Next Adventure   This job has a lot of adventure perks. I plan to go on them all. So far I have being skiing on Mount Hood, taken every guided hike and I have taken every guided kayaking trip they have to offer.

I have been out to Ross Island, several times- it is on the Willamette River. I have been out to Rooster Rock which is on the Columbia River Gorge.  I have been to Sauvie Island which is in the state of Washington but feels like really far north Portland.  I have come to expect some kind of challenge to happen during the trips because so far every trip has had something happen to make it a somewhat difficult experience.

Off all the challenges I have dealt with, the trip to Sauvie Island sticks with me the most.

Our group started off having a good time, we were moving along, taking in the nature when we encountered water only 2 inches deep.  This would take hours and hours to get out of.  The mud underneath was so soft we were unable to get out and stand in it to pull the boats.  I tried and the mud went up over my knees to mid thigh.  We turned our paddles into oars and inched our way along.  It was miserable but there was no other way around it. Not everyone was going at the same speed. It is important to stay together as a group.  After a considerable amount of time pulling ourselves along it was time for a break.  I hitched up with the high school girl.  She had just had surgery on her foot. Under no circumstances should her foot get wet.  She came on this trip because it had already been paid for. Not only was it her Aunt’s birthday, it was also her Mom’s weekend to be with her.  She sang Journey songs with me and taught me the new slang way the kids say “bitch”  = “batch of cookies”  I think it’s cute! I’m going to start using it. We also played silly games and asked each other fun get to know you questions.  Thank Jah this group was awesome to be stuck with!

P1020944After an hour of chillin’ in the mud, waiting for the other people to catch up, everyone voted to move inward and go from there.  It would take another 30 min of inching along just to reach the shore.  I am going to need to get out of my boat to help the high school girl get her boat the closest to shore as possible so she could get out while keeping her foot dry.  I’m going to have to pull her boat which will require me getting into the mud. The mud was soft like gray clay. The minute I stepped into it, it came to above my knees . I lifted my leg up to take a step and bloop..my shoe came off 2 feet under the mud.

Oh Fuck!  I turned right back around and plunged my arm in that crap to find my $100 pair of shoe.  Seriously, it was not to be found anywhere.  I plunged and plunged my arm around, it was hopeless.  I pulled that girl to shore and the sweetest gal that was on our trip came back out in the mud to help me look.  We crawled around on all fours…. both of us grossed out – words can’t express the feelings we had.  After a solid 10 minutes of trying, we didn’t recover the shoe.  I would have to spend the next 5 hours with one shoe only.

 

The mud proved too much for the group to get through so our guide decided the next course of action. We would pull our boats across a cow pasture which had stickers galore on the ground before making our way closer to the river to drop back in and paddle back to where the van was.  We were tired and the tour guide ended up having to pull some people for awhile.  We were also out of drinking water.  Thankfully a boat had noticed how long we were stuck and tossed us some bottled water.

Finally we make it to shore.  Loaded up the van and headed back to town. We didn’t make it back to the shop until 7:30p.m. (2.5 hours later than planned).

I stayed to help the tour guide wash the mud off the boats before putting them back.  Then I gave her a ride home since she needed one.  Dang. What a trip.

Three days later I received an email from the Willamette RiverKeeper asking for volunteers.  The Willamette RiverKeeper is the only non profit organization here in Portland dedicated to clean up of the Willamette River. The river is large and dirty.  It divides Portland into east / west sides. It’s the reason we have twelve cool bridges. I’m glad someone cares enough to keep it clean. Especially now that they try to market it as safe to swim in during the summer. They were offering a Keen shoe gift card worth $150 in exchange for a four hour shift.  Whoa- just what I needed and just in time.  It’s like the universe stepped in right away to support me ❤ Therefore- Sign me up and put me wherever you need me.

New Seasons 1They signed me up to be stationed at a New Seasons Market in Beaverton. I was tasked with selling chili outside the store.  It cost $5 and the money would go towards keeping the river clean ( and I get my shoes back )  I stood outside for 4 hours.  For 3 of those 4 hours I shouted at people walking by  “It’s a great day for chili” .  It was indeed a great day for it.  It was cloudy with the feel of rain in the air. I am a vegetarian and so was the chili.  I had it for lunch, it was delicious.

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I got my shoes back as well as a pair of much needed rain boots.  It rains in Portland 8 to 9 months out of the year.  Maybe not all day everyday but often enough to use rain boots.

 

I can’t believe it worked out.  What a crazy way to loose my shoe and then get them back plus some.  I wouldn’t trade this story for anything. I have learned that painful moments end up making the best memories when you get to look back upon them.

Thanks Earth School.

 

Providence Bridge Pedal- Cheaters Never Prosper

Portland Oregon goes by many a nickname.  One of them is Bridge City.  Portland has 12 bridges that span the Willamette River.  Each with their own unique design and purpose.

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I have lived by the Broadway Bridge since I moved here in 2011. Once over this bridge, you will continue to be on Broadway street which runs through the heart of downtown to the south part of the city.

 

The first year I arrived my co-worker’s husband told me about a fun annual event in town. Once a year they close the bridges and only allow bikes to utilize them.  Normally cars dominate (there are tiny bike lanes ) . Once closed, the entire space is available to bike riders. There is an option to walk however that only includes one bridge – the Marquam Bridge. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still cool.  The Marquam Bridge gives you the best view of the city.  Calling it a bridge is a bit deceiving. Its more like a highway ramp/ overpass. That’s how you get the good view 🙂

The event is called Providence Bridge Pedal and I am definitely going to check it out.  Portland is such a cool city!

Research showed I was late to the game.  I didn’t have time to register and pay.  I didn’t have time to get any gear.  I barely had time to think of what I would need.  I haven’t done anything like this is so long. It has to be at least 15 maybe 20 years since I have been on a bicycle.  Ooops

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I called some bike stores around town and found a place downtown on the west side that had a single speed bike left (with a basket).  I will take it 🙂

 

I found the route online, determined I could sneak in behind a business that was just a few blocks away from where my full time job was. Only because I knew a bit about the area that I figured it would be a less risky spot to slip in. This way if I needed to exit quickly, I would be somewhat familiar with my surroundings. It doesn’t feel good to cheat. Being poor sucks. Being unprepared sucks. I vow to pay next year ( and do ).

I didn’t blend in at all. I didn’t have proper biking riding attire. I had some random snacks and a water in the basket of the bike. I was the only person as far as the eye could see that was not wearing a helmet. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of people who participate in the event.  It bears repeating. I was the ONLY person without a bike helmet. As I moved along with the crowd, no one spoke to me.

As I rode along, having a great time, there was a moment it occurred to me were getting further and further from the city.  The road I was on started to have a lot of space between the random businesses. Mind you, I have only been living here for a few months and I have no idea where things are.  All I know is that I was riding my bike down the side of a long road so far that I started to have dreams of calling a taxi. After a few minutes , serious cyclists started to pass me.  They had proper gear and signs on their backs with the number 10. I had plenty of time to think about what that could mean.  Suddenly I remembered some information I had glimpsed at since I didn’t technically pay to register.  There are options for the event.  You can walk, or ride over 3 bridges, 5 bridges or 10 bridges.  The 10 bridge option is about 25 miles long.

What the heck have I gotten myself into?!?!?!  Here is just another example of how Cheaters Never Prosper. I had no choice but to continue. I was tired and the taxi dreams were getting stronger.

Turns out we were headed to the St. Johns Bridge.  The furthest bridge North. Fun fact: it is the only suspension bridge out of the bunch. They had closed the on ramp for the bridge which made it convenient to access. At some point, I got off my bike to walk up the on ramp. It was a steep incline okay, I was tired and soar already. I had a fixed speed bike.  I didn’t even know what that meant before I had this adventure LOL

Then another shameful thing happened. I saw a man peddling fast going up the ramp, passing me by with not one, not two but three individual kid pod carriers behind him. Whoa, new goal.  I had come so far, I was so unprepared, I was so tired that it wasn’t motivating enough to get back on the bike.  I did stand there in awe of his moment.  I silently gave him praise and wished that I was in better shape.  The moment has stayed with me 7 years later.

I got back on the bike at the top of the ramp, rode over the bridge, headed back down towards where I started and couldn’t have been happier to be heading back. The ride back was fantastic.  They closed part of the Highway 405 which is a major thorough fare.  The event starts at 5:00 a.m. because they want to start opening back up the bridges at 11:00 a.m. You can imagine the delays in traffic this event causes once a year. It’s a big deal and I really wanted to do it. I was doing it.  Even if it meant sneaking in with my rented fix speed bike.

I started at 8:00 a.m.. It took me 3 1/2 hours to finish from where I snuck in ( rental due back by noon). I ended up riding over 6 of the bridges. In no particular order (corresponding pictures ) the Marquam Bridge, the Broadway Bridge, the Steel Bridge, the St. Johns Bridge and the Freemont Bridge, and the Burnside Bridge.

 

 

I never want to ride my bike to the St. Johns Bridge ever again. Kuddos to you if you do.  I would however do the Family ride which includes 6 bridges and the 405n Highway.  Be safe out there!  Bridge Pedal

 

Stop thinking with your penis and be my friend.

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Why? Why? Why? is it so challenging……

It’s the age old dilemma.

Can straight cis men and straight cis women just be friends?

I say yes, yes they can.

As soon as men think past their dicks. 

I have met some men recently that I like.  I like who they are. They are Reliable, Generous, Hard Working, Thoughtful men.

I am not attracted to them sexually. I just enjoy their company and it shines through my eyes.

Men tend to mistake nice for interested. Letting them know you aren’t interested means you run the risk of loosing potential friendship.

Once they realize that I’m not interested, I think they feel rejected and have a hard time continuing to hang out.

Age doesn’t seem to matter for this dynamic.  I am going to be 45 this year and I have been experiencing this situation since I was 12.

I’m tired of it.  When will it end?

I just want to be able to be myself. The nice, supportive, funny, charming, good listening, positive, adventurous side of myself.  I want to be able to let someone of the opposite sex see the entire me and enjoy the parts they like without giving me a sexual vibe or entertaining sexual thoughts. Is it really that hard to think with the head on your shoulders and only that head?

It must be considering how often men cheat, try non monogamous relationships and talk about spreading their seed. Variety is the spice of life. I am willing to seriously attempt to understand the science behind the bio physical responses that your dick has.  Can I say dick this many times?!  I guess so, it is my blog LOL

I have also heard the only way men and women end up as friends is because one of them isn’t returning the others attraction. That one person ends up settling for the friendship. Sometimes the flame is still there and they are waiting it out, sometimes the flame dies and friendship can remain.

I have a dear male friend that I have known since college.  I have dated his friends and he has dated mine.  We have a great time together. He has added so much value to my solitary life that I can’t say enough good things about him.  Of all the things I have learned from him, the feeling of being included and how to be hospitable stand out the most.

One time we were out drinking in Austin TX and I decided to share with him the theory I heard about how men and women become friends.

After I explained, we both said, so you were the one who was into me?

Then we laughed and laughed and went back to salsa dancing.

This is how I know it’s possible.  Not one time did I ever think about wanting to be with him.  I have nothing but nice things to say about him too.  He is married now with a son, caring for his aging parents, working to get his company off the ground and just all around being a good human.

I hope we stay in touch and remain good friends until one of us is no longer on this earth.

I also hope that I will be able to make more male friends.  I like men. I like gay men, trans men, cis men, Drag Kings, straight men- ALL the men.

I could also use more friends.  Julie party of one is fun. Life is more fun with friends! 

Life is more fun with friends and if they don’t show up….

969205_10151468021046033_616595444_nYou go out and do things alone. Yes, all by yourself (with other people) (that you don’t know) so it’s like you are by yourself anyways.

Is it awkward at first? Yes

Does it make you interact with the world in a way that you wouldn’t if you had a friend with you? Yes

Do you get used to it? Yes

Will it eventually be something you look forward to? Yes

This alone thing is liberating!

I started small by :

  • going to the movies
  • shopping
  • Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camp, Boxing, you name the workout class
  • Then I worked my up to eating a meal in a restaurant alone instead of ordering it to go and eating at home.
  • After that came having a cocktail at a bar.
  • I have managed to go see live music by myself.

Why should I have to miss out on all the adventures I want to have because I can’t find anyone to come along?

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Recently I went white water rafting alone. It was such a fantastic Saturday that I feel inspired to plan more adventures to do by myself. Next will be the Downwind in Hood River on a SUP board.

 

Doing things alone this year is easier than it has ever been before.  Many events and meditations have brought me to my current understanding and comfort level for solo adventures.  In 2013 I had a major realization while I was in Maui, Hawaii.  I went to visit a new friend that was going there for the season to work on a boat.  The boat would give whale watching/snorkeling tours.  I would get to be on the island for 10 days. I had never been to Hawaii before and I was very excited!!

What I did not realize about this vacation was that she was in the beginning passionate throes of a relationship and I would be the third wheel. I am no stranger to being odd man out however I was not very practiced in the art of doing things alone and I was looking forward to some quality time with a girlfriend.  She had to work a lot during my time there. When she wasn’t working, she was hanging out with her boyfriend and me.  I did not like her boyfriend which added to the disappointment.  My first day there, I did get to go on the boat she was working on for a whale watching tour. I saw so many whales. Everytime someone had a sighting they would yell it out so we all could catch a glimpse.  Breach- 3 o’clock Jumping_Humpback_whale

Before the boat trip started, I should have followed my friends lead with the sunscreen. I figured I lived in Texas for fifteen years and I don’t normally burn so I didn’t need to slather it on. Hindsight revealed living in Oregon for 2 years was enough time for my skin to turn pasty white effectively making it sensitive to the Hawaii sun.  I did not apply enough sunscreen and got the worst sunburn EVER.  I was miserable for a week easy.  Being so burned made sleeping difficult. I had to take Oatmeal baths several nights in a row and by the time it went away there was only three days of vacation left. I was in paradise and I did not want to spend anymore time in the sun.

Maui is a small island and I did the typical touristy things.  Whale watching, snorkeling, Lunch in Lahaina where the Banyan Tree is,  Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area for disc golf, watching the fire dancers on Little Beach, the Road to Hana where we camped at the end to visit the Seven Sacred Pools.

My life changing realization happened the night we went camping, when we were at the end of the Road to Hana.  We decided to stay so we could explore the Seven Sacred Pools in the morning. I am an early riser, waking up between 4:30a.m. to 6:30a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Since there was a two hour time difference between Oregon and Hawaii at the time, I was up way too early.  Wide awake at 3:30 in the morning.  My friends were on Hawaii time and liked to sleep late. I would be up a full seven hours before they would rise.  What was I going to do with myself? I layed there for a bout an hour before I got up and went to explore. I knew I couldn’t go too far on the off chance my friends woke up early.  My exploration led me to discover a beautiful waterfall.  I spent some time here taking a bunch of selfies.  At some point, a small group of people came into the area.  They asked if I was alone.  That is when it occurred to me! Even though technically I was with other people, in reality I was alone. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.  I was just hyper aware of my aloneness.IMG_20130131_094657.jpg

Aren’t we always alone I replied? ( Lightbulb moment) I mean we are born alone, we die alone and the time in between we walk the path of our lives alone.  Here I was on this beautiful island for vacation, I had come to meet a friend and spend time with her but she was busy working and being with her boyfriend.  Technically I was with people. In reality I was alone.  I was on my own, even when they were around.

I could tell you many stories where I have found myself in a similar position.  It wasn’t always easy to be there.  Now I don’t mind.  I frequently choose it.  I also look forward to having it all my way since there isn’t anyone else to take into consideration.  Who doesn’t love that?

One of my favorite sayings is an African saying.

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together

I would like nothing more than to go far in life so until friends show up and stick around and until friends commit to joining me, you can find me on some adventure by myself having a great time ❤