The Sounds of Fucking

are all I hear right now at 11:48 p.m. on Friday night.

My upstairs neighbor is getting laid. This will make the third time in Portland that I have lived in a place with walls thin enough to hear people cough. Of course I am going to hear them fuck!

The fact that we are all staying home more due to the Corona virus doesn’t help with the privacy factor. I work from home and I am self isolating at home. Leaving only for food, weed, and the self service station at the post office.

This means I see the patterns of my neighbors lives in a way that would have not been apparent to me pre-Corona virus times.

I don’t mean to be a hater. I’m not jealous even though I can say I wouldn’t mind if it was me getting laid. I will even admit that I watch porn so clearly I don’t mind sex noises ( I like them when I chose to hear them ) ( or make them ). I just don’t want to be in the position where I can’t escape other people’s sex noises.

The first time I couldn’t escape was when I first moved to Portland, Oregon. I moved into a basement apartment. A family had turned the basement of their home into a 3 bedroom rental situation. Only one of the bedrooms had a bathroom in it. Each bedroom had its own locked door. I shared the other bathroom with the third roommate. Otherwise we shared the kitchen and the living room.

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The roommate with the bathroom in his room turned out to be into the BDSM lifestyle. He was a Dom. He had many Submissives. At one point, I think I saw a different girl every day for 5 days in a row. He didn’t discriminate. The women came in all shapes and sizes. Gotta give him credit for that. It was just all the sex noises. How would you like to be constantly woken up in the middle of the night to loud fucking sounds?! I would yell through my wall sometimes – ” for the love of god, please just turn on some music”

I rather be woken up to music than the sounds of his fuck session. One time the other roommate and I sat outside his door at 5:00 a.m. and made loud fake sex noises of our own. That’s was fun! We laughed so hard for months. Another time, I was walking in the door from a long hard day of work, just to be met with the sounds of the Dom at it again. I yelled again for music.

I realize sex is a part of life. It is natural. It is fun. Where does the line get drawn when the walls are thin and it affects the people you live with?

Eventually I moved. Fast forward 7 years later…. I move into a studio apartment- by myself. I am excited to live alone again after not being able to do so for four years. I moved into a building with 8 apartments. I met one of the neighbors right away, a nice younger couple that have been in the building for eight years. I had not had the opportunity to meet the person who lived above me before I “heard” him. One weekend was especially bad. I couldn’t sleep because all I could hear was his music. It wasn’t obnoxious however I could sing along with the words of the song playing. If I am unable to sleep because the music is too loud, we have a problem. Second to bodily pain, nothing makes me grouchier than lack of sleep. It was about 11:30 p.m. when I started banging on the ceiling with a broom. No change made. Around 2:00 a.m. I plugged my Goal Zero external speaker into my cell phone, turned it up as loud as it would go with electronic music and placed it on the highest surface I had facing the ceiling. No change made. Normally I would have a conversation but here it was in the middle of the night, I was naked, I had been banging on the ceiling and playing loud music with no results. I was mad. I couldn’t even entertain the visual of a conversation. When the sex noises came at 5:30 a.m. I found a YouTube clip to play to let them know I could hear them – I rather hear this than the neighbor

Do you think they got the point? I can hear everything. I want you to know that I can hear everything. I really need to replace my earplugs.

I didn’t have to deal with it more than a couple months because he moved. I live in a great location therefore it didn’t take long for a new person to move in. This time I made sure to introduce myself right away. There was a gentlemen helping her move which she said was just a friend. I wanted her to know the walls are thin and if there was ever a time my music was too loud, she could give a friendly bang or text me and I would turn it down. I was wishfully thinking it would translate into her being aware ALL sounds can be heard through the walls.

Everything was going along nicely….

Until the sex noises started. FML. I wasn’t going to play the sex noises in retaliation. I didn’t want to change the dynamic of our friendly relationship. I dealt with it. It started to become more frequent and I found myself in the same situation. I rather hear music than the sounds of other people fucking. This Michael Jackson song is a great distraction – It is six minutes long, which is plenty of time for my neighbors to wrap it up. I really like it which means I get into it and can forget for a few minutes that I am bothered.

After listening to it a handful of times, I think I need to switch up the song. There could be the potential for miscommunication. Wanna be Startin Something? LOL

Do you have a suggestion for me? I need a couple go to songs. In the moment when I am scrambling, my mind can go blank and then I reach for MJ. I have mixed feeling about MJ after watching the Neverland Documentaries.

Do you think it’s rude of me to turn up music to drown out the sex noises coming from my upstairs neighbor? Is it reasonable to say that since I am the only person I can control, that I am making the necessary adjustment for my comfort?

I am not entirely sure which side of the coin I land on. I do know that I just want to get to sleep peacefully. In a nice, dark, quiet, and cold room. Where you will find me naked. Puhlease don’t mess that up for me unless you want to be drowned out with song.

Goodnight everyone.

4 guys & a raft to the rescue

When I worked at an Outdoor Gear store, I went on all the kayaking trips they had to offer and took a couple of safety courses specific to paddling. It is important to know multiple ways to re-enter your kayak if you find yourself in the water for some reason. Most of the trips I went on were on flat water and only once did I go Sea Kayaking. I would consider myself to be an intermediate level kayaker.

One Saturday, I decided to join a couple coworkers on their swift moving water kayak trip for the day. They were going to Husum Falls. Husum Falls is located on the White Salmon River in Washington. It has a 12 foot drop, is a class V waterfall, and is one of the 5 Tallest Commercially Rafted Waterfalls in North America. There is a bridge near by where spectators can watch people “run the falls” – Husum falls Halarity

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Since this would be my first time on fast moving water, I figured it best to let my coworker friend, aka: the outdoor school Tour Guides, pick out my boat. They were the experts after all. To this day, I still have no idea why he chose an inflatable kayak.

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inflatable kayak pictured

No sooner had we walked down to the put in spot and got in the water, we were off. Water was moving fast. I was starting to get the feel of how to maneuver myself in the water using the paddle when the current took me, swept me into this huge right half circle, and into a cove of rocks where the side of the boat scraped along the wall. There was a huge hole torn it the boat and I sunk immediately.
Just like that- it was over. Just a few feet away was a embankment to the right. We hauled ourselves and the deflated boat up on the rocks to come up with a plan. There weren’t many options for us. Since we hadn’t made it very far, it was too far to finish the run. It was logistically impossible to make it back up where we put in. We had to wait. Wait for a person coming down with space enough to carry me and my deflated boat.

We waited on the side of water for hours. Frequently, other kayakers would stop to make sure we were okay or to see if they could help in any way. What a nice community of people to be in community with. Makes me want to paddle more.

There proved to be only 1 option for us that day. I still can’t believe how lucky we were. There was 1 commercial raft coming our way with one free spot and enough space to carry the torn kayak. We flagged them down as soon as we saw them!

4 guys were on a Bachelor party rafting trip. Their buddy was a guide and owned his own raft.

They were such good sports to let me crash. I told them all the Dirty Jokes I knew as we paddled down the river. My buddies made sure to paddle close so we could still be together.

After 20 minutes or so it was time to decide if we were going to “run the falls”. If the answer was yes- we would have to go through some practice exercises in preparation. There is a particular way to crouch down, hold the paddle and the boat, as well as a pep talk in case things go wrong. They all wanted to do it and I certainly wasn’t going to be the chick they were nice enough to pick up to hold them back.

I was nervous. REALLY nervous. I had thoughts of backing out up until the point of no return!

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We did it! I did it! It was fun and it would be the first of many runs for me 🙂

Some guys go to Vegas for their Bachelor Party….

I am so glad these guys decided to raft the Husum Falls.

Calm Down

Does this phrase actually make anyone feel calmer?

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When it is said to me, it evokes the opposite response.

One day the washing machine at the house broke forcing me to go to the Laundromat. I like going to Spin Laundry Lounge because there are video games to play while you wait, their dryers are awesome, the prices are relatively reasonable and depending on which location you choose, there are snack options.

In addition to getting my laundry done, I was on a research mission for information about the Laundromat. My roommates have never been and they would also need to get their laundry done. I located two empty, smaller size washing machines next to each other and put my clothes in them. There is a spin dial to choose water temperature and desired cycle. I am guilty of not reading all the information before getting started with things. Today would be no different. I picked the cheapest cycle and swiped my credit card to pay. Then I realized there were more options. I wanted to wash them in cold water (which cost .25 cents extra). I guess it was too late. When both loads had finished, I took out the hang to dry items and loaded the rest in one big dryer. I went back to the washing machines to take photos to send to the roommates when I noticed there was a balance of .25 on the washing machine I had just used. I was confused by this therefore I located the only employee working to ask her what was going on. She followed me over, asked me a few questions and then said she didn’t know. She wasn’t even sure if they had gotten washed. Hhhhmmmmm that’s odd, they felt damp when I moved them to the dryer. She said it would have just done a prewash which would explain why they were damp. All I know is I needed my clothes to be clean.

It wasn’t worth taking chances so I went over to the dryer to pull that one load out to rewash. I expressed a bit of my frustration with this process and lack of knowledge when she suddenly says to me to ” I’m just trying to help you – calm down.”

The best part about this is: I wasn’t even that upset about it. I was just expressing my emotion. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was maybe a level 3.

I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me. I know myself. I know when I am being “extra” and when I am not. I know how people can react to me when I am acting “extra” and this situation wasn’t even close. Her words didn’t make me feel any calmer, like I said before it has the opposite effect on me. I immediately knew the conversation had taken a turn and we were in a different place now. A place I didn’t want to deal with. It can be a tremendous amount of work to get strangers to a place of real understanding of who you are and what you are communicating. It suddenly occured to me she was taking it personally. All she needed to do was give me the space to express my moment of frustration and we could all move on. So in that moment, the conversation was over for me. I told her, Thank you, I got it, and I didn’t need anything else. She walked away.

Over the years, I have come to realize when a misunderstanding is taking place. I would love it if everyone knew what everyone was saying all of the time. I also know that people are looking through their own lense at life. They can only meet you from where they are. Sometimes I take the time to correct the misunderstanding. Sometimes the moment is happening so quick and there is not time to do all that is necessary to get back on the same page. I made the assumption of how much work it was going to take based on her response of taking things personally and decided to just end the exchange. I wonder if this was the right thing to do.

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Another time I have been told to calm down, recently, was my first day in Spanish Conversation class. I enrolled in class through Portland Community College to solve a parking challenge at work and get more Spanish in my life. I work on the waterfront right in front of the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland Oregon. There isn’t any parking besides two private parking lots for business and one parking lot for a PCC campus. The class I signed up for is non credit evening class that takes me 30 minutes to drive to once a week however I love it.

The semester had been in progress for several weeks when I arrived for the first time. There was homework from the previous week that, understandably, I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t have the book nor did I plan on purchasing it. I was hoping for just conversation. It’s been years since I have taken a class and my Spanish skills were rusty. Midway through the class it was time for everyone to read their homework. Two jokes and a short story. There were only three other people besides myself and the professor. When it would have been my turn, I said with excitement, I don’t have any jokes because today is my first day. The teacher immediately told me to calm down, in a nice calm way a few times. I was immediately offended. Once again, expressing emotion was causing someone to tell me to tone it down. I wasn’t even upset until this phrase was said to me.

It took a few days of reflection and analyzation to figure out what exactly bothered me so much. I think that because she didn’t know me and her reaction to my expression was one of correction. She wanted me to be different. Therefore telling me to calm down felt like a rejection of my personality. When I feel rejected, I go into self preservation mode. I either let the full force of my personality out and I don’t care who likes it or I withdrawal completely. Either way, I am not trying to be likable. I don’t know why I respond this way but I do.

Thinking about that moment in class over and over again led me to this realization.

I am an emotional creature. A very emotional creature. Sometimes I show that emotion when expressing myself verbally.

Maybe the other person is uncomfortable with the level of emotion that I am expressing and saying calm down is their way of trying to control the situation to bring it to a level of comfort for them. (Emotional Contagion). I don’t need to take it personally! I can understand what is happening for the other person and adjust where I can.

I hope I am able to maintain this point of view so that the next time someone tells me to calm down, I won’t feel the need to be so reactive.

Go to Crater Lake if you can

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It only took me eight years and A LOT of effort to get there however it was totally worth it. Therefore, I highly recommend it to you.

It is a very popular spot. Camping spots are taken up months in advance. There are two campgrounds they provide information for on their website. They are very good about keeping the website updated with open spots for reservations.

  • Mazama Campground is the closest to the Lake. This site reserves 10% of the spots for walk-ins. Walk-ins are on a first come first serve basis. Whether you have a reservation or are just walking up, Check-in time starts at 12:00 p.m.
  • Lost Creek Campground is the second closest, doesn’t take reservations, and is a tent only site.

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I lucked out and a spot opened up at Mazama’s two days before my trip. I kept checking back every 30 minutes or so to see the status of open sites.

When we arrived around 11:15 a.m. there were people already making a line for the walk-in spots.

I recommend bringing your own firewood. They sell firewood at the store near the entrance to the campground. It cost $10 a bundle. Since there was a burn ban in effect, I felt so lucky each camping site had a fire ring which allowed us to build a fire. My favorite part about camping!!!

Technically Crater Lake is a caldera not a crater. You can drive 33 miles around the entire thing on the Scenic Rim Drive (since you are there- why not?!) It doesn’t take that long to do…

Elevation of Crater Lake ranges from 7000 to 8000 feet. Portland’s elevation is only 50 feet above sea level. Be mentally prepared for this. I underestimated the effects of this on my body. I figured since I grew up in Colorado that it wasn’t going to be a big deal. I forgot that it has been 20 years since I have been to Colorado and it became apparent real fast. There is less oxygen the higher in elevation you go. My heart was beating so hard after a few steps hiking around.

I would only get to spend 1 day and 1 night at Crater Lake so I wanted to make the most of it. I signed up to take their 2 hour boat tour. It cost $44.

There’s only one place to access the water. It’s the same place you will have to go if you decide to take the boat tour.

We arrived to the check-in spot for the boat tour, only to learn it had been cancelled 💩

They only have 3 boats. One of them had just broken down. They are required to keep one of those boats designated as the rescue boat aka: “the just in case” boat. If for any reason something happens to the boat people are on, they need the just in case boat to rescue everyone.

I wanted to touch the water so I convinced my friend to hike down to dip our feet in it. It is not a recreational lake so activities are limited. You can fish. There is a small area to jump in. No flotation devices, no swimming and no private boats.

The hike is moderately difficult because of the (overall) elevation change. The hike itself only changes by 780 feet. If you already live in a place that is is more than 6,000 feet above sea level, you will be fine. For the rest of us, I again want to mention how it took my by surprise. It took hours to get back up the hike. (Still worth it). I just want you to be prepared ❤

If you have the chance to visit this place- you must go!!!!!

Tips for stress free selling on apps like OfferUp and Letgo.

I sell a lot of things on OfferUp, Letgo, and Craigslist.

If you have sold things on these platforms, you will know how flaky people can be.  It can be quite frustrating. I refuse to have strangers waste my time. I will not be held hostage waiting on anyone ever again.

Here are some tips & tricks I have found to be effective in order to feel less stressed.

Pricing: I like to price things to move. I list it for half of what I paid or I do some research to what others are selling it for and make it a few dollars less.  No matter what price you list your item for- expect people to ask to buy it for less.  It is okay to remain firm in your offer.  The right match will come around once you stand your ground.  Especially if it is a fair price.  If you are willing to accept their offer – go ahead 🙂

Communication: Don’t expect it to be great.  When people message me to ask if something is available- I answer yes and then delete their message.  When people message me to say they will get back to me- I delete the message. I assume that people are going to flake so I just delete all messages. I don’t chase and I don’t follow up after I have provided pertinent information. Just let it go and move on.  The serious ones will come back around. After some time, they become obvious.

**People who are good communicators will get back to you. They will answer your questions. They will set up a specific time to connect with you. They will be responsive and sometimes, just sometimes, even be the one to initiate the details. They will let you know when they are on their way (especially if you have requested they do so).  They show up. Be sure to give them positive feedback about the aspects of their behavior you appreciate ❤

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Location to meet: I like to find a business close to where I am located (this can serve as a reference point for them to map how far it will be from their location). I never give my physical address unless (it works best for my life) / I have gotten a good vibe, the communication has been good and they are ready to head my way.  If the communication hasn’t been great, I just give them a business nearby and ask them to let me know when they are there and then I will come over.  This will save your time.  This way you don’t have to wait at your house for anyone.  I understand that things come up which could change the time they are able to come.  If you just ask them to let you know when they are there then you don’t have to be held hostage.  Sometimes they don’t show up…. makes no difference to you since you aren’t waiting around on them and then a bunch of random strangers don’t have your home address.

I hope that you found these tips helpful.  I hope if you use them, that they work out for you. Feel free to share tips that you find useful!!!  I am always looking to improve…

Happy Selling out there!

 

 

I’m sorry, you must have me mistaken…

Growing up in Colorado Springs, there was competition between civilian and military men to date the local ladies. Many girls wanted to date the Air Forces boys and I was no different. There is something very attractive about the uniform.

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When I was 19 years old, I dated an Air Force Academy Cadet. He was my first boyfriend. He was good looking and so was his group of friends. He would turn 21 years old while we were dating. I was not going to let my catch of a boyfriend start to go out to the bars without me. I wanted to remain his girlfriend.

The night of his 21st birthday, his squadron took him out drinking. I knew where they were going and I talked my way in to give him a surprise. I went with a friend and sat at a table far enough away to see him and not have him see me. I waited for about 20 minutes before I found his waitress so I could send over a drink, along with my house key and a note that said – “Thought you were cute so I bought you a drink, would you like to come to my place after?”

It was great to watch his group of friends surveying the room to see who this girl could be. It didn’t take long for someone to spot me 🙂

His birthday night confirmed that I would need to find a way to be able join him in the future.

I worked with a girl named Carrie McClary. Carrie was cool and understood my dilemma. She offered to let me use her birth certificate and social security card to get a fake ID. I planned to get one in a different state since states don’t share databases. I had plans to join my boyfriend for one of his trips back home. He came to the AF Academy from West Dundee, Illinois. West Dundee is a suburb of Chicago.

He made frequent trips home to visit his family. Once things got serious between us, I started to travel with him. I love Chicago. I have super fond memories of going to Arlington Race Horse Track, Medieval times , shopping in Schaumberg, gambling on the Riverboats in Elgin, and spending New Year’s Eve downtown Chi-town. I figured getting an ID would be easier than getting a drivers license. In Illinois you need 3 things to get an ID. A birth certificate, social security card and proof of address. How was I going to prove residency in a state I didn’t live in with a name that wasn’t really mine?

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I was shocked when my boyfriend ‘s conservative, religious parents agreed to help. They let me use their home address. They owned a manufacturing company so they wrote me a letter to my fake name, welcoming me to my new position with their company. Genius!

Let get fake ID adventure begin. We started out at the DMV in Elgin. I can’t remember why they turned me down but they did so we ended up going to the DMV in Woodstock. It worked. I got my fake ID in Woodstock, Illinois.

At the time I was working for General Meters Corp. General Meters Corporation is a developer and provider of one-card systems for college and university campuses. All I had to do was walk downstairs and scan the universities they had contracts with, find one from Chicago, and convince my buddy that worked in that department to help me create a student ID with my fake name. This would prove to save my ass a few months later.

Having a fake ID meant freedom. The most important freedom for me at the time was the ability to keep up with my boyfriend and his friends.

Frequently our group would go play Blackjack in Cripple Creek, Colorado. One time when we were there, I was sitting at a table playing blackjack when an undercover policeman came over to question me. He wanted to see some ID. I gave him the fake one. He asked me why I didn’t have my drivers license. I am a terrible liar and the only thing I could think of to say was that I had gotten into some trouble drinking and driving therefore I was unable to have a license. I also had a backup college ID to show him. He was satisfied and left me to gamble.

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Once I came really close to having my fake ID taken from me. One weekend night we went to Crocodile Rocks. Crocodile Rocks was a night club in the corner of a strip mall that was “the place to go” for dancing and such. No sooner had I entered the establishment and was making my way across the dance floor towards the bar when I was tapped on the shoulder by a bouncer asking for my ID. I pulled it out and gave it to him. He said ” Looks good to me” but my supervisor wants to see it. He started to make his way to the front of the club so I followed right behind him. Thank goodness my boyfriend noticed and started to follow us too. As soon as we met up with the supervisor I knew I was in trouble. We knew each other from high school.

He looked me straight in the eye and said, ” I know you, your name is Julie ****** and you are too young to be here”. I felt panicky on the inside and was scrambling for a way to not get caught. I looked him straight in the eye back and said, “I’m sorry , you must have me mistaken for someone else”. My boyfriend also started to explain that I was his girlfriend from back home who was in town for a visit. He pulled out his wallet to show his Illinois drivers license along with his military ID. I pitched such a fit, demanding my ID back and the cover charge we paid since we were leaving. It worked. Got my ID and the cover and we were off to another bar. We vowed never to return there until I was really 21 years old, which would just be another year. Plenty of other places to go.

I can’t believe how close I came to getting caught but never did. I’m not a big drinker, never have been. Even with a fake ID I wasn’t. Now that I am old enough to drink and gamble, I look back at that time in my life with amazement. Amazement and Gratitude.

Last year was the first year I stopped getting carded when going to bars. Time flies when you’re having fun! And now that I’m in my forties I guess it’s come full circle. It feels better to live life without having to lie about your age. I haven’t had to for decades now ❤

Covert Operation = Get Nieces back

3 thousand dollars & Karma allowed for the covert operation.

Maybe you have read the other blogs about my journey, maybe you have not. This story picks up at the end of the blog that is linked above.

For those that have not, let me give you the readers digest version: I don’t have a good relationship with my biological mother. My younger sister passed away in 2003 which prompted me to connect with the abusive dysfunctional people from my past in order to attend her funeral and to meet my little nieces, whom were 3 years old and 18 months old at the time. I wanted to help raise my nieces so they moved to Austin TX where I was living in 2004. It didn’t go well and my biological mother lied and said she was going on vacation when she was secretly moving to Oregon about 1.5 years later. She then proceeded to cut me out of my nieces lives. She changed the phone number leaving me no way to contact the little girls that had become such a big part of my heart <3.

When I found out they moved, I made plans to visit. Those plans were met with resistance. I was told I had to do certain things, I wasn’t willing to do. My biological mother doesn’t get to treat me however she wants and then dictate my response to it. This is when she told me not to come. Shortly after that she changed the phone number.

I realized that if I was ever going to see them again, I would need my visit to be a surprise. I didn’t take the trip I originally planned since she had all the details and could have easily left town. This would result in me wasting $3,000.00

Covert Operation = get nieces back began to form. I bribed my boyfriend at the time to come with me with some fun plans in Portland before traveling to Salem to sit in front of their house. I decided going around Christmas time would increase the chances of me being able to find them at home.

In 2006, I got plane tickets for Portland, a rental car to drive to Salem, hotel rooms and massage appointments. I went to the local toy store and purchased Christmas presents for the girls. We stayed two days in Portland before headed off for the drama.

Portland was awesome! The size of the city reminded me of the Austin Texas I moved to the summer of 1996. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go. The nature scene reminded me of growing up in Colorado Springs. Portland has delicious food, cool bridges and nice people. It was becoming clear that I liked it so much that I wanted to live there. I never thought I would see the day I wanted to move from Austin because I loved living there. It’s the place I have lived the longest yet (15 years) Portland was pretty awesome though and I seriously started to think about moving. I would need to finish college first.

After two days in Portland, we drove to Salem, checked into the hotel and went to sit in front of my nieces house. It was completely nerve wracking. The anxiety built with every passing moment. At some point my boyfriend mentioned he was hungry. I didn’t want to leave because Murphy’s Law says the moment I leave is the moment they come home and I didn’t want to miss them. He ended up convincing me to get some fast food for him. We weren’t gone long. When we returned, the lights in the house were on. I knew it! I missed my moment! I was pissed at my BF and pissed at myself for agreeing to leave. Now we have to go to the door. This gives my biological mother more of an advantage.

We crept up to the door and couldn’t really see through the oval circle made of frosted glass that was in the middle of the wood door. I could hear them though. I tried to wait until I heard the girls voices closer towards the front of the house however it was proving impossible. I knocked on the door and she told the girls to go to their rooms because she thought I was going to be someone else that was showing up with something for the girls for Christmas. When she answered the door, it took her a minute to register what was happening. I saw her face change when it clicked. I shoved my foot in the door so she couldn’t close it on me and I started yelling my nieces names. I didn’t overcome the year of sadness and come all this way not to be successful. She let me in…

At first it was very awkward. It took an hour or so for the girls to remember who I was. There weren’t any pictures of me around. I’m 100% sure she didn’t talk about me or say nice things about me or remind them of the good times we had and how much I loved them. She asked if I was there to take them away? My answer was – I’m not you.

I had a hotel down the street and I wanted the girls to come and stay with me. I’m surprised she agreed. I got to spend all the days I was there with them. We went out to eat and had a couple sleepover nights. I couldn’t have been more happy. I got them back!!!!!

After a week, it was time to return home to Austin. I invited each of my nieces to come for 1 week during the summer. The littlest one was too scared to fly so the older one asked if she could have her sister’s week and come for 2 weeks. OF COURSE. It almost didn’t happen because she was very scared to get on the plane. Thankfully a nice couple saw this little girl crying and offered to accompany her during the flight. Words could not express the disappointment I felt at the thought of her not being able to board the plane. I am so proud of her for conquering her fear and making it all the way to Texas. We had a blast. Lots of swimming. Reuniting with old friends. She lost a tooth. She celebrated her 8th birthday while there- We went at Schlitterbahn with friends. Our relationship was back on track. I love her more than I love anyone in the world.

I spent the next 2 years flying to Portland for visits. As my nieces got older, I knew that they needed me to be closer. I wanted to be a bigger part in their lives. I was putting myself through college part-time which would take 10 years to complete. I graduated the summer of 2010 and by the end of December, I moved to Dallas OR, where they lived.

3 thousand dollars & Karma

I can’t remember the name of the dating app or site I was on when I made a connection with a gentlemen.

20190727_115935.jpgWe decided to met at bar called Casino El Camino for drinks and food. This bar is located on the east end of the infamous 6th street in Austin TX. We got cocktails and ordered food while sitting on the back patio. I remember that neither of us wanted to smoke many cigarettes in front of the other person because we were trying to impress each other (smoking is unattractive). Eventually we just had to be ourselves.

I liked him right away. I just wasn’t interested in dating him. I don’t meet many people I want to date so the chances were slim from the beginning anyway.  I will still make effort to engage with the opposite sex since it feels like a numbers game. Eventually I will meet someone to share my life with.

For as long as I can remember, I have been struggling to earn enough money to get ahead of my poor economic situation. Dare I dream to be able to put money into savings.  I always manage to earn enough to survive! I have been working since I was 14 years old- 114 jobs and counting.

The stress of my economic situation revels itself when major changes happen in my life and I’m not able to take care of them how I like.

In 2005, my biological mother took my nieces, secretly moved to another state, changed their phone number and removed me from their lives. I was heartbroken. I cried every day for about a year. I got my first tattoo on the day that marked 1 year since I had seen their faces. Grand stand ideas started to ruminate in my mind as to how to get those little girls back into my life . If only there was a way to do it without having to deal with my biological mother.  The girls were 5 and 3 years old at the time.

I thought of showing up at their house to surprise them. I have their home address.. This surprise plan would require plane tickets, renting a car, gas money, a place to stay, bribing my boyfriend to support me in this drama, and feeding ourselves along the way. I did some preliminary research on how much it would cost to take the time away from work, pay for all those required things as well as doing something fun since I was going to a new city.  It was looking like it was going to cost around $3,000. Shit. How was I going to do that? I only made enough money to cover monthly expenses working  while putting myself through college.

My new friend is a really good poker player.  Plays online all the time. He had a day job working ( I don’t remember where). He had been there for awhile and wasn’t happy anymore.  He liked it the first few years, felt appreciated, received work bonuses but those days seemed to be long gone.

One day when I was at work, we were talking on the phone and I was telling him my grand plan.  I blurted out that I needed $3,000 to accomplish it and I had no idea how to do it.  My heart hurt so intensely it was clouding other aspects of my life.

He mentioned he was playing in an online poker tournament that night and 1st prize was $3,000 and if he won, he would give it to me. Now I know what you are thinking. I know what I was thinking. He can’t be serious. I mean this is too generous of a gift. What would prompt him to do such a thing?  I knew he had feelings for me, (little ones anyways) because we hadn’t known each other that long.  I didn’t want to say no.

After work, I went home to do homework, study and make dinner. He kept calling me to give me a play by play. It was more than I could keep up with.  I told him good luck, I couldn’t talk on the phone all night because of homework and we would see what happened in the morning…

I woke up to a text message with an attached screenshot of the computer screen. HE WON!!!!!

This just became real. We needed to have a serious talk about it.  There would be no way I could accept this gift if he was going to hold it over my head. I couldn’t accept the extremely generous gift if it would come with invisible strings. Our friendship would not survive it. I know plenty of people who use their money for power, control, and to manipulate others. I know myself

He said he wouldn’t and I desperately wanted to believe him. It would take some time for him to get his payout.

20190727_115923_HDR.jpgWe dressed up and went to a Halloween party that year.  Halloween is my favorite holiday. We were sitting around the fire and at some point in the night, he made a hurtful/ manipulative/ power comment about giving me the money. It was the moment I was afraid of. I immediately knew I could not accept his generous gift. I told him so and he instantly felt bad and realized his error. He promised he wouldn’t do that and here he was making a comment before I even took the money.

How was I going to deal with this epic disappointment?! I was super depressed. I was discouraged. I was disheartened by the predictability of people and money. I was sad that I wasn’t going to be able to fly up to Oregon and try to get my nieces back. It took several weeks, several apologies and a couple conversations about his recommitment to being comment free before I would accept his gift.

Eventually I agreed and when he received the money, we made plans to meet.  He would be at La Zona Rosa with a date when I would roll by in my car.  He handed me a small package filled with my dreams. To this day he has never made another comment about it. Thank you with ALL of my being for this mister.

Covert Operation = get nieces back ” was ready to be put in place.

I couldn’t be more grateful. I am truly inspired by his generosity. I’m not sure I could have done the same.  I mean, I am a generous person. I’m always giving things away or feeding people.  I would take the time to help others when and where I can.  Three thousand dollars is a lot of money though.

20181116_233618.jpgThey say you get what you give. This couldn’t be more true in this story.

A few weeks after he gave me all that money, his boss called him into his office to let him know that a couple customers had called in raving about him.  He had received a few positive reviews.  He was a loyal, hard working, nice employee.

He got a bonus that year.

Guess how much…..

You know it.

$3,000.00

Love you friend. You deserve all good things! Happy we still talk and that I got to see you last year after not seeing you for eight years ❤

Update- as of the posting of this blog, he hasn’t returned my phone calls nor called me. This makes my heart very sad and I don’t understand.

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 ❤💚💜💙💛.

#first tattoo

Growing up I thought about getting a tattoo all the time however I don’t have a high tolerance for pain so I never did it . Then one day I found myself with a pain so deep in my heart that the pain of the tattoo needle wouldn’t come close to matching it. Suddenly I was ready to sit in the chair.

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In May of 2006, I would sit for 3.5 hours straight to get my first tattoo. The artist was heavy handed and I cried for several hours while getting it. Not a heavy ugly cry. The kind of cry where the tears well up in your eyes and roll down your face. Technically he wasn’t the artist I originally wanted/talked to. He was just another artist, in the same shop, that was available on the day I desired. There wasn’t enough time to correct the communication mistake with my top choice artist. The day was super important to me because it marked one year since I had seen/spoken to my nieces. I was heartbroken.

The names of my nieces, along with specific symbols, make up the design of the tattoo. The colors and style were inspired by Henna. Henna has been around for centuries and comes with a positive connotation. One of the reasons I like it is because it doesn’t contain any black. That seems to be rare for a tattoo.

It all started when I got the news my younger sister was going to die. I put school & two jobs on pause and got on a plane to face my dysfunctional past. I had not seen or spoken to my biological mother for close to six years. It was a family friend that called me on that random Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. to inform me about my sister. My sister was only 21 years old. She would be leaving behind two little girls, ages 3 and 18 months, whom I hadn’t met yet.

I almost met the eldest one (once) when my sister took a road trip with her boyfriend at the time from Las Vegas to come and see me in Austin TX. They would get two speeding tickets along the way. This would cause them to turn around and head back, not ever making it to Texas.

Attending the funeral would force me to see people that were abusive to me in the past. The “past” being the most important word here. I worked hard to rise above where I came from. When contemplating how I was going to get through these challenging times, I realized that I was an adult. I realized that I hadn’t seen or spoken to any of them in years. I was busy putting myself through college, working, and all around taking care of myself. There wasn’t anything they could do to me now. Their opinions certainly didn’t matter to me. These facts gave me the courage to go. I went to Las Vegas because I wanted to meet my nieces and say goodbye to my sister. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t.

There would be a few things I would need in order to go. I got back in touch with my therapist – she agreed to be on speed dial for me. I am eternally grateful to her for this. I also needed a back-up plan on a place to stay. The first roommate I ever had in life married her Air Force boyfriend and was currently stationed in Las Vegas. She graciously agreed to be my backup plan if things took a downturn while I was there. I am eternally grateful to her for this.

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My sister died within 24 hours of my being there. I was the only one in the family that stepped up to say I wanted to help raise the girls. I wasn’t going to move to Las Vegas to do it though. I had been living in Austin for about 7 years , I was years deep into college and working hard to do it. I didn’t want to live in a state where prostitution was legal. Sin City is fun to visit but not to live.

I could help if they moved to Austin. At the time, my close friend was the manager of the apartment complex I was living at. She would make sure that they would have a place to stay. They moved a few months later.

It didn’t take long for the estranged relationship with my biological mother to turn tense. I even tried family therapy however she was unwilling to talk about the past. She has never offered an apology and my therapist didn’t think she ever would. Without one , there can be no forward progress for me. Correction – I can move on without her. It’s better this way.

They managed to live in Austin for about a little over a year before she would lie to me and tell me they were going on vacation when secretly she was planning to move to Oregon. She didn’t give many details and I didn’t ask for them since I didn’t want to engage with her.

Time passed and it was getting to be towards the end of the week of their vacation. I hadn’t heard from her and she didn’t return my phone call. I started to wonder about the details of their return. Did they need a ride from the airport? Were they getting in late? When would I be able to spend time with my nieces next?

I was having dinner with my boyfriend at a restaurant close to their apartment, so we decided to drive by their place after dinner. To my shock, horror and dismay, after peeking through the blinds, I found an empty apartment. I immediately cried in an inconsolable way and threw up my dinner.

I called her one more time to inform her that if I didn’t hear from her by the end of the next day that I would go to the police department and file missing persons reports on all 3 of them. As far as I was concerned, my family went on vacation and I haven’t heard from anybody since. I was getting very worried. She returned my phone call only to confirm what I already knew. They were gone………

Having children taking from your life is one of the most painful things a heart can handle. I fell in love with those girls from the moment I met them. They taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I helped pick out daycare, attended school plays, went to teacher conferences. I gave up every weekend I could just so I could spend time with them. To have them come over for sleepovers, to play with them, to read to them, to cook for them, to love them. To teach them how to navigate life. To expose them to culture events that extended beyond our own so they may be respectful to all. My heart goes out to anyone who knows this pain ❤

Eventually she changed the phone number, leaving me no way to get in touch with them.

Only through the generous gesture of a new friend would I be able to make plans to travel to Oregon to get them back into my life (for a few years anyways).

Covert operation = get nieces back !!

Until then, I will carry them with me – in my heart and on my right arm. I’m over the fear of the needle now. I have gotten many tattoos since. I like the idea of two 3/4 sleeves. One can’t really predict these things- Just like how heavy handed an artist will be.

Love you mis sobrinas bonitas.

Dealing Blackjack in Las Vegas

When I was 22 years old, I was keeping books for Coppertank Brewing Company in Austin TX. Although working at this place would come with some challenges, I would end up returning to it to deal cards after Vegas. It all started when my car broke down and instead of going to work, I took the day off to figure out how to get it towed from the gas station it was stuck at. I also needed to figure out how I was going to fix it. I am the only person I have in my life to make sure things get done. At that time, I was working at Celis Brewery. My supervisor offered to give me ride the next morning except when she arrived, she had a letter in her hand. They were firing me for taking the time to address my car. Thank goodness a girl I knew (you will hear about later in the story) told me about the position at Coppertank. I interviewed later that day and got the job. The bar business is a male dominated one. I felt pressure to keep up with Texas style grooming; fake boobs, fake tan, fake nails, even fake eyelashes because that’s whats Texas girls do. At times the misogyny was glaring. For example- one of the more popular t-shirts sold there said “Drink until she’s cute” The staff were all having sex with each other , even managers with waitresses. I was not in the mix of any of it.

One evening, they did something that was so upsetting, I quit on the spot. I just stormed right out. I woke up the next day in deep regret. I didn’t have a working car and now I didn’t have a job. I was full of apologies when I tried to get my job back but they weren’t having it. Too bad so sad for me.

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Before I could seriously look for another job, I had a vacation coming up. A long weekend trip to Las Vegas. I love to gamble and have been doing it since I’ve had a fake ID at nineteen in Cripple Creek, Colorado. It suddenly occurred to me I could stay long enough to learn how to deal blackjack, buy a car and return to Austin. I heard rumors about how much money you can make in tips so I figured it wouldn’t take too long to gather the funds. They are pretty much handing out loans to dealers and cocktail waitress because they know they would make enough money to cover it.

I needed to seriously figure out how to do this. The only people I knew in Vegas were my biological mother and younger sister. They moved to Las Vegas when I moved to Austin, the summer of 1996. It had only been about a year that I had started speaking to them again. Things were on shaky ground. Growing up, I experienced so much dysfunction I couldn’t get away fast enough. I left home at 17 and went four years without speaking to them. I decided to try again after the worst day of my life. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go. This Vegas trip would be the final straw to remind me of why I left and I would go another 3 years before speaking with my sister and another 6 years before having to see/speak with my biological mother for my sister’s funeral. I havent spoken to her since January 2011 and I don’t have the desire to ever again. Life became better without her.

I was living in a 2 bdr apartment and everything was in my name. I have had many roommates, none of them stable or good choices. My current male roommate was addicted to drugs and super dirty ( I knew neither of these things before he moved in because he lied) When I went to see his apartment, he had paid someone to clean it. I didn’t know this until after he moved in and we fought about his habits. A couple of times I snuck into his room early morning (because he was always passed out and getting up late) to steal his car keys and use his car to run errands. Guess I’m not the perfect roommate either. Although the only thing I really cared about in a roomie was they paid bills on time and the shared spaces to be kept OCD clean ( I still do) .

I talked to my roommate about my plans for Vegas. I told him I would send money for half the rent/bills each month, just please don’t screw me in any way shape or form. I would only need a few months before I would return. Maybe it would be better to not leave him alone? I really can’t trust this guy. I am taking a big chance leaving for an undetermined amount of time and I’m taking a big chance with where I would be staying in Vegas.

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Last minute, I thought of someone who could take my place in the apartment. The only drawback is that we had broken up not too long ago. We weren’t dating anymore because he was an alcoholic with commitment issues. He was living with a couple who were wanting more privacy because they were planning to get married. They were hinting their desire for him to move out. The timing was perfect. He could pay half the rent and bills. This would allow me to save more money and get home faster. I could also have someone to keep an eye on my dirty cocaine addicted roommate.

We went out for a drink and I laid down some ground rules. I would de personalize my room to make it more comfortable for him. #1 Rule NO sex with other girls in MY bed. Take it to the living room couch (also mine). Better yet, go to her house! He would keep an eye on my current roommate and update me with any information I needed to be aware of. He would make sure the bills were on time. His #1 concern was getting stuck with my things. I assured him if the day came that something happened. I would come home immediately to take care of my business.

I flew to Las Vegas and signed up for dealing school. It was fun, I learned how to deal pitch. I learned how to check the chips. I memorized blackjack payouts from $1-$100. What takes most people 30 days to finish, I did in 7.

 

When you are new, there are only certain casinos that will hire you. They are called Break-In houses. They know you are new and going to make mistakes. I went for my live audition at the Gold Coast. I got the job! They hired me on the spot. I was assigned the night shift. The hours were 7:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.. The Gold Coast works on a 24 hour tip share pool. This means the person working at 6:00a.m. (when no one is playing ) is making the same amount of money as the person busting their ass Friday night at 11:00 p.m.

 

You’re not allowed to have people you know sit at your table to gamble so I didn’t let on when my buddy Joe and his friend drove up from California to play some blackjack. They followed me around to each table I would be stationed at ( since a shift includes working for 40 minutes and breaking for 20) then you get put at a different table. I would end up taking all their money.

 

20190727_115855.jpgThey say it’s all about who you know, which couldn’t be more true in Las Vegas. I made friends with one of the female pit bosses. She nicknamed me Downtown Julie Brown. Do you remember that MTV host? Anyways, this would prove to be beneficial. It would ensure I never got picked for a “random” drug test. I beat a hair test to get the job.

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You know the day the guy I used to date was worried about. Yeah, that day came. He called me one morning, after three months, to let me know the other roommate was moving out. I would need to come back to Austin to take care of my business. I woke up the next day, bought a slightly used car ( light purple Saturn SC1), gave my two weeks notice and started to prepare to return home to Austin. I flew out a girl, whom I thought was my friend, to travel home with me. She turned out to be a frenemy. We then drove 24 hours straight home in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends. This would be the year I would take 13 shots in addition to some cocktails resulting in giving myself alcohol poising. I may have turned 23 while living in Las Vegas however I wasn’t another year wiser.

Upon moving back into my apartment, I would end up having to live with that ex boyfriend for a few months. After a month a so we managed to find ourselves having sex on the couch. This naked time between us would result in another separation. I would end up asking him to move out. Sex on the couch = I known what it means. Coming into my bedroom for sex and then leaving to sleep for the night in your own bed = crossing the line = no commitment = you gotta go…

It wouldn’t take too long before I would see an ad in the paper for dealers wanted. Since gambling is illegal in Texas, it caught my attention. Turns out, there were several companies in town throwing parties with a casino theme. These types of parties are popular during the holiday season. Companies throw their employees parties, feed them, and give them drink tickets. We are the entertainment. Hopefully they offer incentive to play otherwise we stand around doing nothing but watching them eat, dance, and sometimes sing karaoke. They have become my entertainment.

I currently have a job with a casino company in Portland Oregon. I have been dealing blackjack since 1997. I held my gaming license for 10 years and now I teach people how to play. I have a feeling it will be a job that I do until I am old and can’t work anymore.

What starts in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas LOL.

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

 

114 jobs and counting

I have been working for as long as I can remember. It is common for me to have at least 2 jobs, more like 3 or 4 at a time. I work one full time job and then a bunch of part time ones that fill in nights and weekends.

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One day my friend Joe asked me how many jobs I have had in my lifetime. I was in my late 30’s and I decided to give this question some serious contemplation. I decided to make a list. A complete, thorough and accurate list, to the best of my ability. I even dug out old tax returns to remember some places of employment. If I received money for services, I put it on the list. Even if it was just a one time payment. The list was up to 109 places and counting. Then I moved to Oregon at the end of 2010. I have only added 5 jobs since. I am not dead yet and I don’t plan to live out the rest of my days in Oregon so it’s guaranteed the jobs list will grow longer (SMH).

Since I started working at a young age, it’s no wonder I have hit triple digits.

At 10 years old – I remember being motivated to sell the most Girl Scout cookies in my troop so that I could win the grand prize of a trip to Denver. I knocked on doors before and after school. I did it right away to beat the other kids. I used the weekends to go around to businesses in the area. It worked. I won!!

At 12 years old – I started finding ways to make money. I grew up in a poor household and learned early on that I would have to help myself wherever and when ever I could. In addition to babysitting gigs, I would shovel snow out of the neighbors driveways. I caught grasshoppers for the gentlemen on the block that used them for fishing.

At 14 years old – I got a workers permit. Then a very nice elderly gentleman gave me a job at small restaurant. It was called “Your Hearts Delight”. It was a one man show and I became his sidekick. I was the hostess, server, cashier and bus boy. I even learned how to make an open faced tuna melt sandwich. The type of healthy food he served was ahead of his time. After a few months of being open, his restaurant was featured in the local news and I got to be in the commercial.

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At 16 years old – I got a paper route and a job at Taco Bell. I worked for El Pollo Loco where they made me wear the chicken suit to stand outside and wave people in. Working fast food was mortifying. Frequently I saw kids from my High School when they would come through the drive through.

***I will spare you the list of all the places I have worked. There were a lot of fast food places/ restaurants between the ages of 16- 18 years old.

At 18 years old – I started working in offices as receptionists and secretarial work. This would be the start of my 25+ year accounting career. It would also be the time I would learn that working for family owned business can provide extra challenges than regular places.

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At 22 years old – I learned how to deal blackjack in Las Vegas. After returning to Austin, TX, this would be my part time job moving forward. I currently deal blackjack part time at casino parties all across the state of Oregon. I have been dealing blackjack since 1997. I love playing it. I love teaching it. It will be one of those jobs I do until I die.

At 25 years old – I will begin attending college. I am paying for it myself and on the part time plan. it would take 10 years to complete and I will work any random job I can find.

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At 33 years old- I would deal blackjack and Texas Hold Em poker in a titty bar. This would be the funnest job I have had yet. I worked there for a couple of years. It would pay for the last two years of college. I borrowed the maximum amount allowed for an undergraduate degree. I had too much fun dressing up, drinking and gambling all for the sake of work. Some of my best friends will come from working here ❤

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At 40 years old- I become an Airbnb host. This experience has inspired me to write a book and start this blog. I have hosted close to 800 people in just 2.5 years. This experience has also sparked the next dream job.

At 42 years old – I finally get to stop being a bookkeeper. I have a degree in International Studies with a minor in Spanish. I will pick up some transcribing work while figuring out how to make the dream job happen.

So that’s how I have arrived to the present moment. I am amazed when I hear stories from people who have lived in the same city their entire life. Amazed when I hear someone say they have held a job longer than 5 years. That’s the longest I have made it in one position.

They say variety is the spice. Apparently I like it spicy.

Next Stop: Opening up a Bed & Breakfast somewhere in Spain.

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 (ha😜)

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 “just 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!

No-one really likes “every” type of music.

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Whenever the question “What’s your favorite type of music?” comes up and I hear the answer, “I like everything.”

I can’t help to think that’s probably not true!

I’ve been taking a survey (in life) along the way and I bet I can prove that answer untrue with three questions.

  1. Do you like Country Music?
  2. Do you like Death Metal?
  3. Do you like Christian Rock?

These three simple catagories asked in a row lets people know that they really didn’t mean EVERYTHING.

Of course there are 1,264 micro genres of music to list…..

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I am a big fan of music therefore I understand the tendency to say you like it all however in reality I haven’t met anyone that likes it all.

For example- I like Electronic music, Alternative Rock, Salsa music, Afro music, and Pop music. I like Indie Rock and Reggae and Classical music too. I do not like Modern Country, Heavy Metal, or Christian Rock.

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I think a better answer to the “What kind of music do you like ?” question is- almost everything or most everything. You could list your top five favorites.

Saying you like everything just isn’t true. It’s okay to be more accurate and thoughtful with the answer especially for the people who are listening to the words you are saying and taking them at face value . Thanks in advance for considering a more accurate answer. I look forward to continuing my survey!

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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 ❤

 

 

Most embarrassing moment ever!

I am a late bloomer in life.

Even though girls were having sex in 6th and 7th grade, I had not gone to second base yet and I was in 8th grade. My first kiss was in 7th grade. I know.

I got invited to go to camp during my 8th grade year. My home life wasn’t the greatest so any chance to get away was an opportunity I didn’t miss. Sign me up!

I wish I could remember the name of that place however it long escapes me. I do remember when we arrived our first scheduled activity was to divide the boys and girls into two teams for some competition. We were going to play games to see which team would get to sleep in the better of the two cabins. Even though the competition was fierce and we didn’t go down without a good fight. In the end, the girls did not win.

Our cabin contained barely the basics. It was one big room filled with metal bunk beds. The sheets looked scary to sleep on and more sheets doubled as curtains to cover the windows. The showers didn’t have doors and it was generally grimy.

After dropping our stuff off, we were required to meet back up to eat dinner together and discuss the activities for the weekend. The big event was going to be a dance. We all knew there was going to be one so I planned for it.

I wanted to make sure I would look cute. I had a boy to impress. A boy I heard had taking a liking to me and when I found out who he was, I liked him right back. So, I bought this two piece skirt outfit from Merry Go Round in the mall. It was black and gold. The top was just long enough to show 2 inches of skin between the skirt and the top. The skirt went just below the knee and fitted nicely. The top had gold circles down either side that held black ribbon that crossed between them giving it a corset feel. Now that I am a grown up, it was way too sexy for a girl in 8th grade to wear to a dance.

In the middle of dinner I snuck away to get a head start on taking shower / getting ready for the dance. I brought a friend with me to be the lookout. We almost made it through the process.

Since there were no shower curtains covering the shower stall, I moved through the process as quickly as I could. It was cold in there ( in the cabin and in the shower stall). I managed to wash and condition my hair, wash my face and body as well as shave. I was feeling good when an adult came down into the bathroom to scold us and redirect us back up to join the group. We weren’t allowed to be on our own without adult supervision.

I remember feeling a little self-conscious knowing I had to go back to where everybody was and face the group of popular boys. They can be cruel. My hair was still wet and I didn’t have a stitch of make up on.

Sure enough after a few minutes, I saw them glance at each other. There was whispering and giggling. My worst fears were coming true.

Eventually we were dismissed from dinner and given permission to retreat to our respective cabins to get ready for the dance. I couldn’t get back there fast enough to change into my outfit, finish my hair, and makeup.

I went to the dance. I was feeling cute. I danced with that boy Jay as well as a few others. I had a nice time. I don’t remember anything eventful happening at the dance. We were young and it ended early.

The next morning a group of us girls wanted to check out the boys cabin. We ran up there before it was time to get in the van and go home.

That cabin was so nice! It looked like a log cabin inside and out. It had beds that folded out from the wall. Clean looking sheets. It had several rooms. There were curtains. The showers had doors. You get the idea. Nice.

I made it into on of the “popular boys” rooms when I decided to ask him what all the snickering was a bout the day before. Was it because I looked ugly with no makeup? I couldn’t have never guessed what he was about to tell me.

A group of them ( including Jay ) had also decided to sneak away from the group during dinner to explore the grounds. They came upon the girls cabin and were peeking in the windows. It was easy to see through the space the “sheet curtains” allowed for.

When the peeped in, they saw a girl in the shower washing herself and shaving her legs. My backside was to them. I was bent over washing and shaving my legs. Boy did they get an eye full. I was mortified. He continued to say, they didn’t realize it was me until I popped up from the task and they saw my face. They were surprised it was me! I had no idea they were there! This “show” they got would continue to haunt me for the rest of the school year.

Can you imagine what that was like to have a group of the popular boys watch you shower when you haven’t even let a guy touch your boobs? Imagine the delight they took in their secret all night, at my expense.

I was reminded of the event almost every day at school from that moment forward as they took pleasure in looking me up and down with that “look” in their eyes, whenever our paths would cross.

I thought I was going to die.

Lifelong friendships can form in the most unexpected ways.

I have moved around a lot in my lifetime which makes it hard to keep friends. The kind of friends that add value to your life, that you can turn to when you need support or a favor.  You know, not the fake kind, not the acquaintance kind, or the kind that turns out to not really be a friend.  People don’t seem to take the time to keep up with long distance friendships. There are the kind of friends that you don’t see for a while and then you pick right back up where you left off when you connect with them.  This kind of relationship takes time to form.  As the years go by, I feel less inclined to put so much work into the people who don’t put work towards sustaining our friendship.  I used to not mind doing the heavy lifting, since I seemed to be better at than most (thanks to all that moving).  Now, I want the same effort in my direction that I put towards others.  I know it’s possible because I am doing it.

I have known my friend Kim for 23 years now.  We will know each other until one of us dies. We met in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the 1994/1995 when I was a mere 20 year old girl.  Colorado Springs had 3 military stations at that time;  Fort Carson Army Base, Peterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy.

UnknownMost girls growing up in Colorado Springs have an Air Force boyfriend which really bothered the civilian guys in town.  I can imagine how frustrating it must have been to be a regular guy having to compete with the appeal of pilots and the military uniform.

My Air Force Academy boyfriend’s name was John.   John had best friends that were fraternal twins – Jim and Steve.  Steve’s high school sweetheart, Tracey,  moved to Colorado Springs when Steve got accepted into the Academy.  Tracey lived in an apartment with a girl named Stacy.  I became friends with them both.

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One year Tracey moved away.  Turns out she had some kind of bone cancer, went home and passed away within 5 years.

Stacy got a new roommate named Kim.  It seems that every time I called to talk to Stacy, I got Kim.  Kim and I chatted a lot.  One day, we were chatting and I mentioned I was going to the gym.  Kim said she works out and would also come to the gym so I invited her to go with me. We were to meet at my apartment and go from there.

There was a knock at the door and when I opened it up, to my surprise, I didn’t recognize the person standing there. Hi, Who are you?  “I’m Kim” she says.  Wait! What? We have never met?  Nope, she says.  Well alrighty then, let’s go workout!! We have been friends ever since.  Twenty three years and counting…

Kim and I went to Europe together for 16 days despite the fact that we had not seen each other in over a decade.  We were both 40, we both were single, we both had never traveled to Europe.  We had a blast in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and the Amalfi Coast. It is hard to decide where to go next since we plan to see some more countries together in the future!

20180630_175430988211987.jpgI finally went to visit her home in Michigan this year, where she has been living for the last 19 years.  I have talked about coming to visit so many times over the years.  It almost happened (twice) when she was going to marry her son’s father. I was supposed to be a bridesmaid however he ended up marrying someone else and having another child.  Kim lives down the street. They spend Christmas together as one big family.  I like it when people are able to genuinely get along.  Kids benefit from that type of positivity.  Can’t fake it though.

20180630_141924402575061.jpgThe reason for this years visit was because her son was graduating High School. They were having a big party to celebrate – all the friends and family were invited.  It was so great to meet her son, meet her friends from second grade, and meet her mom and dad!  It made my heart so full. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

 

 

Thanks Kim, for being the kind of person you are- Fun loving, generous, sweet, caring, and one hardworking Momma.  I am proud to call you my friend.

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite Vegan Cookbook. You will hardly notice the vegan part :)

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I have not been a big meat eater for most of my life. I dabbled with being a vegetarian one other time and I made it five years before my body asked for a turkey leg. I was at Pecan Street Festival in Austin, Texas, where I was living at the time. There were all these people walking around with them and I couldn’t help myself. Yes, I got really sick after a few bites.

Currently, I am working towards being a vegan. I gave up red meat about 5 years ago. Chicken about 3 years ago. Bacon was the last thing I needed to give up and that happened the beginning of 2017 . I still eat wild caught fish maybe once or twice a month. I gave up dairy about 4 years ago (although I cheat when I’m hungry and it’s too challenging to find dairy free food). I try to make it goat’s milk at least. I know I know. Animal milk is for animal babies. Doctor’s shocking recommendation about drinking Milk!

Eggs seem to be the most challenging to give up. I don’t mind using a flax seed egg substitute or a chia seed egg when baking. There is just no good substitute for eggs when it comes to making French Toast or Breakfast Tacos.

Being Vegan doesn’t mean you can’t eat the most delicious food. I have discovered that the way to maintaining a successful vegan diet it to replace all the things you are giving up with new options. Lots of new tasty options. You will not feel like you are missing out.

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and your heart and soul can feel happy for all the ethical reasons too!

I did not receive any money for this recommendation. I bought the cookbook since I had been following them on Facebook. I had already made several of their dishes and really really enjoyed them. I was stoked to see this cookbook come out! I have already made several dishes and served them to non vegan friends. I have received nothing but compliments. Even the first time you create one of these recipes -it will turn out delicious!!

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You can get this fabulous cookbook for yourself on Amazon for about $20. Click here to go directly there… Bosh Cookbook

I tell everyone I know about this and even people I don’t. If you are already vegan and looking for new dishes to make, this cookbook is for you. If you are already a vegetarian, this cookbook is for you . If you are just starting to explore being vegan, this cookbook is for you. If you like to eat delicious tasty food, this cookbook is for you.

It took them three years to put it together. Get it while it’s hot!

Where are you from? not an easy question for me.

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When people ask me where I am from, I have to put on my happy face and ask some clarifying questions. Like- What does your question really mean? What information are you really looking for?

  • Did you want to know where I grew up?
  • What does grow up mean to you? childhood years or teenage years?
  • Where you looking to figure out where I was born?
  • Where did I move to Portland from?

Each one of these questions has a different answer. Language is important.

Usually I start by saying. I moved to Portland from Austin, Texas. Then they usually say- oh you grew up in Austin.

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Wait? What? I said I MOVED here from Austin.

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I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Then they think I was born in Colorado.

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I was born in San Francisco, California

Spent half of the childhood years and 3/4 of my Senior year of High School in the Bay Area.

I realize this question is meant as a friendly conversation starter however I find it painful.

After all the answers- this question comes.

Did you move around so much because your family was in the military?

oh no… another innocent question is about to open a can of worms….

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No, we moved a lot because I had a dysfunctional family – I say with a smile to ease the tension.

I don’t really have any family per se. I have never met my Dad. Well that’s what it feels like anyway. I did see a picture of him holding me when I was about 18 months, my only half-sister passed away and my biological mother is dangerous to my happy life so I don’t talk to her nor have I for a very long time.

I wish society would come up with some other basic questions to get to know each other. Pronto. It’s quite possible that this question serves to constantly remind me that I am not like everyone else and to be comfortable with that. I can relate to orphans more than anyone else. Next question please.

Airbnb: Please don’t ask me about the money I make from hosting.

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I understand that people are curious creatures. Humans have a natural instinct to understand the world around them. It is fun to travel and see how other people live life. You could find yourself asking questions to help gain a better understanding of the settings around you. Friendly reminder- there is more than one way to gather information, especially when dealing with sensitive topics.

I find my financial details to be sensitive information and private. I am also willing to express my boundaries. I do not feel bad for standing by them either.

When two strangers meet, their respective boundaries are unknown. Maybe something will be said or done to reveal someone’s boundaries. When boundaries are expressed, it is important to respect them.

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Whenever a guest arrives and proceeds to make conversation about what it must be like to be in the Airbnb business, what it must be like to be a host, what it is like to have strangers around, it seems the money question also comes up. What makes people think it is okay to ask a stranger about their financial situation? and make no mistake, you are asking about money and since I can only speak from my experience and I only know the intimate details of my situation and you are asking me- then yes, you are asking about my private business.

Do you know what it seems like. It seems like this……

Hi nice to meet you, how much money do you make?

  • Is Airbnb lucrative?
  • Are you able to cover the mortgage?
  • Do you have to have a second job?
  • How much do you get after Airbnb fees?

The answers to these questions are none of your business. When asked, I am put in the position of verbalizing my boundary, which sounds like….. Sorry, however we just met and I do not discuss my financial situation with strangers.

The gentlemen who asked me the lucrative question followed up my response with- Oh, I am not asking you about your money. We argued a little. Listen guy, yes, yes you are. Here is the definition of lucrative.

Some people feel bad after my boundary response, which puts me in the position of trying to smooth things out because they are guests in my home and I want them to feel comfortable. I have had to work really hard for this- a few times. My honest response brought an awkwardness to the situation that I felt fine about but I could tell my guest didn’t. They overstepped the bounds with their questions and now they feel bad because I responded honestly and shut down the conversation. Now I have to do the hard work to make it comfortable again.

In the future, think about what you’re asking, really think about it. If it requires divulging personal information then think twice asking a stranger about it.

The saying goes “Treat people how you want to be treated”. As much as I understand the lesson being conveyed, I think we should tweek it a bit to say- “Treat people how they would like to be treated.”

Airbnb: Drinking with the Russian Guest – Part 3 The End.

Albert called a truce on Twitter and we got to bottom of our issue. Our issue was caused by a glitch in the app and bad communication. Airbnb Lesson for the Week: Bad Communication will get you nowhere. Turns out, there is a glitch in the Android version of the Airbnb app. The glitch won’t allow you to see the ALL the House Rules for a listing. There are preset options from Airbnb that you have to choose from and there is additional space to put custom rules (the part he could not see). For now, I am just glad we have made peace. I already think communication is challenging enough with people you know, it can be even more challenging when you don’t know them. It is easy to misinterpret their intent based on their style of communication. Ultimately, I still think it wasn’t okay for him to take my personal information and bash me on Twitter to the point where strangers could identify me. I do understand it was his way to vent his frustration.

Yesterday when peace was made, he asked if I would like to meet for dinner. My schedule did not permit meeting so I asked if he would meet me at Box Social for a cocktail at 8p.m. the next day. He said yes.

On his way to meet me, he was in the area of town where a person jumped/ or was pushed off a parking garage into the downtown streets of Portland. Police Investigation is Underway. He is a great photographer and captured the incident with great detail (the body in the middle of the street). The pictures were gruesome however that’s real life so I find it fascinating. He told me in Russia that pictures like that are often sold to the media. Had he headed my way a few minutes earlier, the timing would have put him there to actually witness the event with his own eyes. How terrible.

We hung out for a few hours, drinking and chatting about his world travels, government red tape, being Russian in the United States right now, jobs and logistics. He is well-traveled – I am in awe of it. I have been craving adventure/travel for close to a year now. Life has required my attention be focused other things. Now that I have done my due diligence, I am ready for some fun!

I am such a light weight these days and after two drinks I am feeling saucy therefore it was time to go after that. I am also a bike only girl who has been too drunk to ride her bike home before ( that was a crazy fun night) as well as terribly funny to me when I realized I couldn’t get home by riding my bike. Did you know you can get a BUI in Portland?

One of the reasons I chose the Box Social was because I am a sucker for a fancy vodka cocktail. Their cocktails are bougie.

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I enjoyed a Doc Holiday and a Bleu Apple Fig Panini. For the second and final drink, I ended our time together with a Moscow Mule.

He will be traveling back to Russia in the morning so it was nice to meet before he left. We hugged it out and then parted ways but not before joking that he had a new follower on Twitter.

Thanks for extending the Olive Branch first Albert. Thanks for showing up. Thanks for staying in the conversation long enough to figure it out and for listening to my side.

Peace and Chicken Grease.

Airbnb: Getting Harassed by a Russian Guest Part 2- Twitter

Twitter time.

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I only joined Twitter to talk smack to President Trump. I can’t stand him. He is harmful to our nation. He is harming our nations standing in the world. He is harmful to the lives of women, children, immigrants/brown people, and anyone who isn’t rich. I could shout at him daily. I was good about it at first and then I stopped paying attention since it’s guaranteed that he says crazy things every day and I want to spend my time doing other things.

I was informed a couple of days ago by a very kind stranger that the guest that required kicking out (Albert) had turned to Twitter to bash me and I didn’t deserve it.

Albert claimed to be a famous Russian blogger that was going to destroy me. He actually ignored my request for non communication and continued to send me messages gaining momentum in aggressive language. I feel harassed. You can only call me a Cunt on Twitter so many times before I have something to say. He has great reviews on Airbnb. That guy didn’t show up to my house to stay. I think we see his true colors on Twitter.

The research has shown the following tweets.

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and so it begins.

After getting kicked out, he went to the Inner SE which is close to a homeless shelter and dive bars.

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He sent a message saying he was landing at 11:00p.m. My mistake in thinking he would come straight here to check in around 11:30p.m. or midnight. My check in window ends at 10:00p.m so I was already doing him a favor.

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so he can follow instructions.

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He didn’t read the details in the listing because it clearly states where the space is located. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

and there are lots of signs around for good communication, including an chalk board arrow in the hallway pointing in the direction of the guest room (which is what I wrote on the arrow sign) Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

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I give everyone a fresh start. Fresh sheets, dust, trash, clean mirror, and a 420 kit along with a personalized name on a chalkboard for your room. 3 Top Things Airbnb Hosts Should Do

Drunk Guests are the Worst!

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He doesn’t remember. I came downstairs to see what was happening, I noticed he just arrived since he still had his shoes and was drunk I felt compelled to make sure he knew where the bathroom was and where to get water. I don’t need another guest “accidentally” trying to come in my room while “looking” for the bathroom when the listing states in 2 places the bathroom is downstairs and the bedrooms make up the entire upstairs of the place.

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Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you lie about reading the house rules, show up and violate them, then your stay with me will come to an end.

After giving a mini tour, I tried to go back upstairs to go to bed. I had to be to work early and it is hard to go back to sleep when you wake up too much. He had questions though. Where could he smoke a cigarette? Smoking is not allowed on my property. He made faces and said – I can’t go out front? No. I can’t go out back? No. I reminded him that is states in the house rules (that he agreed to) He said he didn’t see that and gets out his phone to argue about it. I am grumpy from being rudely awoken and know he wants to argue. I shut down the conversation and say we can pick it up in the morning if there are still questions.

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This guy is killing me. Like it says in the house rules, the house is 420 friendly for guests since public consumption is illegal. I guess you lied about reading the house rules since you can’t seem to find them.

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I don’t argue with drunk people. Once I could smell the alcohol on his breath. I stopped the conversation and said we could pick it up in the morning.

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so the drunk guy thinks he is going to take action before I do. He sure talks a big game for someone who didn’t do a thing but complain on Twitter.

Before I went back to bed at 3:00a.m. I sent some messaging through Airbnb to document the situation. see messages here

at one point, I asked him to stop messaging and when he wouldn’t respect my request and wasn’t making sense or responding in an appropriate manner to the things being said, I knew I was going to have to have him leave.

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I called Airbnb first thing the next morning. They tried to call Albert but he didn’t answer. I had to go in the room with my phone. A case manager was going to tell him it was time to vacate the premise. Instead of keeping all his money, I would let them change his reservation to just one night.

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How does he think Airbnb will be on his side when they already told him he was wrong and had to leave?!?!

They already sided with me.

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He sure tweets a lot. I told the case manager I did not wish to pursue the penalty fee. I wanted to be done with him as fast as possible so I made it easy and let it all go. Look at him trying to be all big and egotastic……

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Did he get that refund he was demanding? Nope!

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He is trying to change his story and they are holding him to the agreed upon modification.

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He didn’t get his way and now he is whining away.

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I have worked hard for my Superhost status and he doesn’t have the power to take that away.

I have reported these messages to Airbnb.

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Actions speak louder than words. For the record: I have an Android phone not an iPhone. Get the facts straight.

I got it, he thinks that he can take advantage of my Super host status and their wouldn’t be consequences to his rude behavior.

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I can’t take it anymore and finally I say something.

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My favorite part is where he says Airbnb is not on my side this morning when he is at a crappy motel. He was asked to leave my residence. He did not get a full refund. He got his Airbnb privileges suspended. He has already complained about the situation. Which part do you think is confusing to him?

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I have a lot of gratitude out there for a particular person who gave me a heads up this Twitter bashing was happening. It should give everyone concern that someone can get your information legitimately and then take it to another platform where they intend to do you harm. Put enough information out there that strangers can identify you. I have an angel watching my back! I also am tired of being called a Cunt and the lies he is telling. He wants to sit back and act all big and bad and tell his followers a bunch of stuff that isn’t true. So I am here to give my side to the story and provide evidence along the way.

Twitter banter leads to a resolution..stay tuned for part 3 – meeting with the Russian.

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Portland, OR is the biggest DIY town I ever met.

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and I am smarter for it.

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I was born in San Francisco and grew up between Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Bay Area. At 21, I decided to leave Colorado Springs and move to Austin, Texas, where I will spend the next 15 years of my life (minus a 3 month stint dealing Blackjack in Vegas). I moved to Portland, Oregon from the ATX.  I have been living in Portland for eight years now and counting. I will move again.

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I don’t remember much about the way things worked in the Bay Area or Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs, at that time, was small, conservative, and surround by the military.  People were probably friendly enough in both places.

 

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Living in Austin taught me about “Southern Hospitality”.  There is something to be said for living with constant sunshine and hanging out outside all the time – it makes for friendly outgoing people.  People who are ready to take the time to answer your questions, call someone if they don’t know or let you follow them because they happen to be going in the same direction. I loved it.  Help with a smile.

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Living in Portland has taught me to be even more resourceful. It is not as sunny around here and it makes me wonder if it contributes to the mentality.  Not many people outside and not many people willing to help you do what you could do for yourself. I hope you have access to the Internet.  You need directions some place? … look up the address, and put it in your navigation.  Don’t have that… Use a compass and a map. There is a gear store nearby where you can purchase those items if you don’t have them either. Figure it out. Solve your problems. No one will be phoning a friend or escorting you around here. It forced me to be even more resourceful.  I have an abundance of gratitude for that.  It is a nice skill to have.  Waiting on other people sucks.

Is it easier for people to just tell you every detail of how things work ( insert anything you have questions about)? yes.  What about the long game though? Teach a man to fish…..

I like to say that the lessons hardest learned are the ones not easily forgotten. People don’t learn from other peoples mistakes.  You have to get your hands dirty, get involved with life and learn from your own mistakes. Mistakes are great teachers. Knowledge = Power.

After all, Life is either the greatest adventure or it’s not.  You choose!

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: Sex with guests

Would you do it? Have you thought about it? Been tempted but refrained?

I have thought about it (a couple of times).

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I am a very single girl. I don’t have children. I don’t have any pets and I haven’t had sex in years. Did you read that last sentance? Years!

I am not interested in going out to bars to pick someone up. I am not meeting anyone on Tinder or Bumble or Match or *insert app. I have never used the adult section in Craig’s List nor do I plan to. A few of my friends have and they recommend it. It scares me.

I can hear you now. What’s the difference between going out and going home with someone vs finding them on CL and hooking up? What about meeting online, then meeting in person and having sex quickly?

The answer is : I don’t know. It feels different. I know they will be leaving. They don’t live in town so I don’t have to have some awkward run in at the grocery story if it doesn’t go well.

One time I hosted a gentlemen from Canada who came down to attend a workshop at the Convention Center. He was staying with me for four nights. I was enjoying his company during the times we saw each other at the house. On the third day, very early in the morning, I woke up to a message that was meant for his old co-worker. He accidentally sent it to me before he went to bed.

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He was telling a story about a road trip and a funny suggestion. He wanted her to know that he actually followed through with her suggestion they talked about. He wore lace panties all day to the conference and they kept him” WIDE awake, almost better than coffee.” When he came downstairs that morning, I had to inquire about what these panties looked like. He turned beet red and then became a good sport about it. Telling me about his shopping adventure at Victoria Secret’s-there was a sale so he bought three pair. He planned to try them all out. I suggested a photo shoot so we could send pictures as proof to the former coworker. It was spontaneous, adventurous and funny as hell. I laughed so hard at times. I was rolling on the floor with tears coming out of my eyes. He was such a good sport about it. I asked him to pose in specific yoga poses. Warrior one, Reverse Warrior, and Tree. During one of the poses his penis slipped out and I didn’t notice since I wasn’t wearing my contact lenses. He would later mention he was impressed I didn’t skip a beat when it happened. That was when I told him I couldn’t see that far without my glasses. We played around for about thirty minutes when some sexual tension started to develop between us.

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After the photo shoot, we got ready for the day. He went to the conference and I went to work. When we both happened to be home for the evening, he invited me out to dinner and I decided to go. I took him to Bollywood Theatre . Even though I felt like I was on a date, I was aware of the Host/Guest relationship we had. I wanted to remain professional. I also didn’t know that much about him. I did enjoy his company and I was attracted to his body but I like to know more about someone before I get naked with them.

Nothing ended up happening. Unless me being able to hear him masturbate after the photoshoot counts?! ( The Sounds of Fucking yourself )

I crawled into his room the next morning, the day he was checking out, to acknowledge the tension and admit that I wouldn’t be acting on it. I don’t want to bang and then he leaves. I don’t want to give someone that part of myself if there is only one opportunity to enjoy it. If I do ever have sex with a guest, it will be towards the beginning of their stay so I can enjoy them the entire time they are in town.

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We decided to go to Multnomah Falls with his last few hours in town before he drives home.

The morning after he left, I was thinking about him. I decided to send a text saying hello along with a picture of Multnomah Falls from the day before

I couldn’t have guessed his response in a million years. He was married ?!?!?! He thought that now was a good time to tell me so that I could decide wether to continue to be connected. He wasn’t happy in his marriage. He said meeting me showed him he needed to deal with his current situation. This does not make me feel better.

I was instantly glad I didn’t have sex with him. He lied about quite a few things.

I know this happens all the time in life however it’s not something I’m interested in doing. I broke connection with him immediately.

New Rule: No sex with hot guests.

Im so thankful I didn’t do it. I would have been crushed.

Airbnb: The Bright Side

Fun can happen any minute of any day – if your open to it.

Have you ever seen the Jim Carrey movie where he has to say yes to everything?

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Well that was my life on Tuesday.

What started as a regular day for me, turned out to include spontaneity, cocktails, and new music.  I got up, ate breakfast, prepared food for work and left on my bicycle for the day. There was one guest scheduled to self check in around 3:00p.m and the other room was free.  Of course, I was hoping someone was going to stay…. I just had no idea how awesome she would be and the adventure that awaited me.

 My day changed at 10:21a.m.

This fun girl sent me this message :7685ae60-b366-402c-bd07-03a6a79abb53 “Hola, Julie! Wanna go to Washed Out tonight? I was a bit bummed I missed him in Seattle last night, but there’s no point wallowing in regret when you can move your butt and run down your dreams. My dream is to dance to Eyes Be Closed. With a new bud. Tonight. If it seems suspicious that I’m a new Airbnb member, yes I did make that account 10 minutes ago. But there’s no time like the present. So if you’re down, I will hop on the 2:20 Amtrak and see you a little after 6. PS, long time bicyclist here too, is it worth the extra $10 to throw my roadie on the train to get to your neighborhood (don’t have much of a grasp on Portland’s scale) or better to walk from the train station? Anywho, hope to meet you soon. And not kidding, will totally take you to this show if you got the inclination. ”

How perfect is this message? How could I possibly refuse?  I said yes before I knew anything about it!

Then I began to research.

Turns out Washed Out was playing at The Wonder Ballroom , one of my favorite venues, which is 2 blocks from the house. No need to worry about parking or anything since we can walk.

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The set was exactly one hour long.  They were entertaining, they did a great job with their visuals ( I was impressed). I danced almost the entire time.  I didn’t realize they did the Theme Song for Portlandia!!!!! After eight seasons the show is ending and let me just tell you that the people in Portland are okay with that. portlandia_dvd_release

The band has a new fan.  I have a new friend. Goodbye Portlandia.  My new friend and I have an annual date together to see Washed Out when he comes to Portland and those times she can stay with me for free ❤

Gotta love Airbnb.

Airbnb Lessons are Really Life Lessons

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There have been guests that show up to the house who have never seen a lockbox or they  don’t know how to use it. They don’t communicate their plans or when their plans change.  They haven’t read the listing and all the details provided so they aren’t able to navigate the experience with as much ease had they been prepared. They say they have read the house rules, show up and don’t act like it. People say they will do things all the time they don’t do.

Isn’t this how life works?!?!

This is when you learn that actions speak louder than words.  You learn that knowing is different from doing. You learn when someone is showing you who they are that you should believe them. Unknown

Whenever a guest is having a challenge and I point out the part they missed, like reading the listing or following directions . Their response has been – “It’s my 1st time to use Airbnb”

5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.

Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Can someone please explain to me how not using Airbnb before has anything to do with whether or not you read? What does being new to Airbnb have to do with following instructions? or being a good communicator?

I would genuinely like to know ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: No Good Deed Goes Unpunshined

When I moved into the house, I inherited everything that came with it. The slow filling flapper less system toilet. The creaky wood floors, the ill wired electrical system, the too tiny pipes for the water pressure, etc.

In the bathroom there is an old claw tub with one of those shower curtains that goes all the way around.  It hangs from the ceiling by the shower head and into the wall on the opposite side.  The wall isn’t solid and the screws have worn and the whole system is wobbly.  I have been hard pressed for an aesthetically pleasing fix. 20180502_064317.jpg

My guest this week mentioned he has the same claw tub at home.  He said that he has the same issue and he found a way to make it more stable.  He asked if I had a tape measure however it was late, I was ready for bed and said we could talk about it the next day.

In the morning on my way out the door, I reiterated that I would like to hear about this solution he has enacted before bed that day since he would only be around for another night.  Turns out, I did not see him.  I was in bed before he came home.

The following day I came home from work and was reading a book on the couch in the living room when he arrived.  He had come home earlier than the previous nights. He surprised me with bringing the things to MacGyver the shower.  What a nice gesture! Not many guests go out of their way to do something nice therefore  my heart-strings were being tugged on big time.

How much do I owe you? $15 he says. Hmmm- I don’t have that right now. I wanted to hear about how you fixed it.  I am not sure I would do the same thing. Even if I liked his idea, I wasn’t prepared to fix it before taking care of my tax bill to the IRS AND I was only willing to pay $3-5 to fix it.

He purchased unnecessary parts.  He didn’t measure the length from the curtain rod to the ceiling and bought 4 pieces of chain that were too long, a package of hooks and four metal rings.  I already had a hook for the ceiling and an extra ring for the curtain rod.  The only thing I would have needed is a proper fitting chain.  I am pretty sure that would have cost no more than $320180502_064242.jpg

So now here I am between a rock and a hard place because a guest was kind enough to take action and do a nice deed. It would have been nice if I was in a position to give him the full amount however I would be doing a disservice to myself by doing so.  I wasn’t going to hand over $15 that I didn’t have when all I really wanted to do was honor him in hearing his solution. I ended up telling him I didn’t have the money and I didn’t like how the solution “looked” so I would use one ring and one chain.  He understood and gifted it to me.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Would you have reimbursed him the $15?

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: The Downside to Hosting

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People Lie.

People use your stuff without asking. Airbnb: What is the reason guests use host’s personal things without asking?

People are loud. Loud talkers. Loud TV watchers. Loud walkers.

People keep erratic schedules. Which type of Airbnb is right for you? Shared Room or Private Room or Entire Place.

People are dishonest and try to sneak in other people.  Airbnb Hell: The Worst Guest I’ve Had To Date.

People have left my property unsecured aka: not locking the front door when leaving the house, giving anyone the ability to walk in at anytime while I am at work and can’t do anything about it. Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you lie about reading the house rules, show up and violate them, then your stay with me will come to an end.

People have burned holes in duvet covers- I even found poop once on one ( they flipped it over so it was a surprise when I pulled the covers back).Unknown

People do not read the listing and then access areas not available to them forcing me to lock them up and label everything. Then some people complain about the labels. Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

People don’t read the labels and throw the trash in the recyling. People recycle things that aren’t recyclable.

People create more work for me by not acting with mindfulness and awareness.

People are unwilling to help themselves.

People say they read the rules and then show up and don’t abide by them.  Then when it’s time to be accountable they cancel the reservation and decline the request for payment. Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

People show up with more people than in their reservation. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

People plan poorly. They don’t have time to clean up after themselves. They pack at 3:00 a.m. right before their flight. They wake up 10 minutes before check out time and barely have enough time to brush their teeth.

People don’t respect the check out time and require being rushed out. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time!

People think they can pay their way out of things. The “Hotel Mindset” won’t serve you well when using Airbnb.

People are allowed to leave a review even if they cancel their reservation. Let’s take a side bet on how many of those are going to be positive. Airbnb: Guests who cancel their reservation can still leave a review. How is that reasonable?

I still host because the good outweighs the bad and I can do anything for 24 hours. Just keep swimming, I tell myself as I wait for the jerks to leave and the sweet respectful guests to arrive.

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: Repeat Guests are the Best !!!!!!!

I consider it one of the utmost compliments when people choose to return to my place considering all the options out there.

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Whether or not the trip was the best (for me) the first time around. It will be great the second. Guests are already familiar with the vibe of the house and the way things flow.  They require less managing 🙂

We have gotten past that initial meeting and “stranger” level of conversation. We will get to learn a little more about each other (depending on the length of the stay and schedules aligning.)

Chances are subsequent visits will include food. I’ve been known to make Banana Bread, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Lemon Pound cake, Smoothies, Strawberry Aqua Fresca, French Toast, Breakfast Tacos and/ or extra of whatever I am making.

I have had 7 repeat guests. 4 of them stayed twice and 3 of them have stayed multiple times. 1 guest has stayed five times with me. I love it !!!!!!!

One of the repeat guests moved here (yeah- we’re friends now and hang out from time to time). I met another repeat guest out for drinks when she was in town visiting friends, I have received fresh duck eggs from an organic farm. One girl even told me about a work opportunity… My current job! Another former guest tries to get me to go out with him constantly however I am not interested. That part is tricky….. I make sure all guests feel welcomed and liked when they are in my home. It just puts me in an awkward position, when they invite me out and I don’t want to go.

I am no stranger to awkward positions and if that’s all I encounter to get guests to come back.  Bring it on!

I look forward to seeing you again. It’s a small world.  They need to change that saying – six degress of seperation to four.

 

3 Top Things Airbnb Hosts Should Do

 

  1. Offer Self Check In: Having a lockbox will make your hosting life easier as well as set your guests up for success. It can help alleviate the frustration that comes along with the lack of communication from guests.  People are not always the best at communicating their plans or when their plans change.  Often people who say they will be checking in at 5:00p.m come over at 5:15p.m./ 5:30p.m. or later. Having a lockbox gives you the freedom to carry on with your life and not get held up by guests.  This will also ensure guests have a smooth check in process since they can be  self-sufficient.
  2. Personalize Something: Each guest should have something with their name on it while they stay.  Making dedicated bathroom space or writing a welcoming note are two examples that are easy to do.  I write their name on a chalkboard sign that hangs on their door as well as in the bathroom with the dedicated shelf idea. It makes them feel welcome in your space which means their comfort level increases.  I think it helps guests have a nice experience by making them feel comfortable to be there from the start.
  3. Be Proactive in Communication: Certain aspects of hosting affect you more than others. It is important to take action to get the needed information from people.  Asking about their check in time and check out time will help facilitate the process. Utilize the lockbox.  I like to get confirmation the house rules have been read since they are important to me.  Realize this all could change. Guests don’t typically  update plans ( some do ). I would say at least 65% of my guests have not been familiar with either the check in time or the check out time.   Plan your day with the check out time and if it happens earlier then bonus time for you 🙂