10.22.2010

"If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn't be a human being. You'd be a game-show host."

Just got a phone call from Bearer to let me know that another of our aunts has passed away, this time in England. Sadly I'm not torn up about this one, since I never spoke to her and haven't seen her since we visited when I was 5. I feel bad for my cousins, though, since it was unexpected... but since they're overseas how I feel doesn't mean dick to them. So some other family members will go and represent us in the U.K., and for once I get to miss out on a funeral with a woman weeping over a casket clutching a set of rosary beads like a lifeline while wailing over the corpse. By the way, we call those the "professional mourners". It's like the only occupation available to Italian women after retirement. The health plan is amazing, except maybe for the dental.

Bearer tells me that recently she had another relative commit suicide, and she said "Suicide is just a selfish act." Which I agree with, but in a world where everyone is out for themselves, to get whatever they can with no regard for anyone else, what can we expect of people who are desperate and sad? That these people will be the ones to scoff in the face of selfishness and consider the consequences?

We've all been talking lately about the young people who have committed suicide because they've been bullied. Tyler Clementi and Phoebe Prince could not have been more different than one another, and yet met pretty much the same end. It proves to me that kids just don't understand consequences, that what you say or do to someone has a repurcussion. That taking your own life will bring so much pain to others. That it lets the bullies win. That's right -- in the game of life, when you bow out, you forfeit. You lose. They win. If nothing else, that should be your reason to live. IT WAS FOR ME.

I've been there. I've been teased and bullied, both at school and at home. My classmates called me Miss Piggy, my father's nickname of choice was Bubble Butt. Plus, I was smart and that didn't help me in any way to escape ridicule from my peers. Once I had skipped a grade, even the other smart kids teased me, called me a baby. I did have friends here and there, but for the most part I was a pariah -- and like so many other kids, the only way for me to feel powerful was to find other kids to pick on. There weren't many beneath me, but you only need one. I wish I could say I rose above it. I didn't. We are all flawed creatures.

But you can learn. You can find strength. You can look at yourself in the mirror and decide that you will not give any of these people the fucking satisfaction of knowing that they beat you. That was my fire. That's what kept me going. I remember seeing Pretty in Pink as a teenager and hearing Andie say "I just want them to know they didn't break me." I remember saying that to myself so many times, like when a boy said "Do you want to dance?" and I said "Yes" only to hear "How's it feel to want?" I lay in bed at night and thought of every horrible thing anyone might say to me, and thought about how I would respond to them. I started to jump the gun for people who wanted to tease me. I would laugh in the face of their taunts. It made me funny. That earned me respect. My life changed. It wasn't easy, I don't want to make it seem that way; but it was possible, and it happened, and I'm living proof that IT GETS BETTER. That the portion of your life that will suck is a small percentage of all that you can do. That no one -- not your peers, not your parents -- will be making your life hell forever. I used to think I couldn't go through with suicide because I was a coward. I WAS WRONG. Dying is easy. Anybody can do easy. Just ask Staples.

There's not enough selflessness in the world anymore; people have to know what's in it for them before they'll do something. If you read my previous post about my other aunt who passed, you'll know that small things can have such a huge impact. A gesture, a word, a gift. I know in my life I've had the opportunity to give those things to people and didn't take it; I don't do that anymore.

There was a girl in my Women's Studies class one year. She was pretty, but a little strange. I would see her around the campus sometimes, but I never made the effort to get to know her. She, however, made an attempt to befriend me one day in the student center. I blew her off, and I wasn't shy about it. I felt kind of bad about it, too, but I couldn't think of a reason not to be rude. Why should I be nice to her? She was nobody to me.

She committed suicide not long after that. We found out in class. I didn't want to know her when she was alive, and now I can't forget her. Her name was Shoshanna. I wish I had a live friend, instead of a sad memory of a dead girl. Maybe all she needed was kindness. Now I'll never know.

Instead I smile at everyone I meet. I say hello. I'm free with compliments and praise, and if I tease people I make sure they know I'm not serious. I listen and try to give advice. I love people, and I tell them so. This is what Shoshanna taught me. What life taught me is that it is never OK for people to treat you as less. To smother you with disrespect. That there comes a point when you can put those people behind you and live your life as yourself -- but do it kindly. Lead by example. Show kindness and love, and if you can't bow out and move on. Don't turn into a bully. Don't turn into a statistic. Live.


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10.13.2010

"Relax, would you? We have seventy dollars and a pair of girls underpants. We're safe as kittens."

You know what I wonder about sometimes? I wonder why we can donate organs, but I can't donate my excess fat to people who really, really need it. I mean, honestly: no one needs this much breast. I could donate one of my breasts to TWO really needy flat chested women and they could each have a decent B cup rack to go home with. I could divide my remaining breast into a solid D cup and move on with my life. How is it possible that in this day and age we can take a male penis, stuff it into the body cavity and make a vagina but I can't donate breasts to the needy? There are women injecting fat from a total stranger into their lips. Do you have any idea how many sets of full lips you could get from my ass? All of Beverly Hills, at least. I don't know why there are all these commercials asking me to send my money to needy cultures, when it's obvious to me that what these undernourished kids need is some body fat. Easiest way to accomplish this is certainly by fat transplant; it's going to take WAY too long to fatten them up by food alone. Those kids look cold!

Um, so anyway... yeah. Just this place my brain went to for a sec. Now... *shuffles papers around on the desk* where are my damn notes? *shuffle shuffle* Crap, I have no idea. Damn, I was gonna talk about something profound, too, I think. Oh well.

9.02.2010

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."

Almost 20 years ago, some distant family of mine came to the states to visit from Australia. As with most of my relatives on the Italian side of things, I couldn't really describe to you exactly how we're related, only that we are. Things are kind of complicated on that side; the cousins closest to me in age are actually my second cousins, for example. Anyway, I was still living at home and so was there the day that these distant relatives stopped by to visit with us: an Italian uncle, his Irish wife, and two of their children who, having grown up in Australia, had accents of their own. Watching all of these people converse with my dad, with his heavy Philly patois, was certainly an entertaining afternoon, one that never left me.

The aunt introduced to me that day was a lovely and kind woman. She gave me a beautiful bracelet, gorgeous green stones in a gold setting. I wore it for years, until it finally went, literally, to pieces. She had made such an impression on me; I was a girl who had not known much sweetness, and had certainly not known a love like she gave her children. I have never forgotten the lilt of her voice, though I never saw her again. Now I never will, for she has passed away.

Her passing says so much to me about how impressions can be made in such a short time. How just being nice to someone can touch them in ways that last a lifetime. How family means not how closely tied you are, but how you affect one another. I wish now that I had cared better for that bracelet in my youth, so I would have something to remember her by now -- but then I realize that I still remember it vividly, just as I remember her. So if I could go back and tell her anything that I never said then, it would be this: I will never forget you, though we shall never meet again.

Death is inevitable. Everything dies. But not everything is remembered. I remember you. I remember.

8.24.2010

"We're sorta like 7-11. We're not always doing business, but we're always open."

Well, hot damn! It has been a LONG fucking time since I posted anything. See earlier entry about not having the urge to write when I'm happy.

You're probably wondering what's been going on in my life in the 16 months since I last posted. Or you're not, and you're only reading this because there's nothing on TV and you've run out of new porn to look at. It makes no difference to me. I've been in both situations, myself. Although I'm always willing to revisit old porn if it's a particular favorite, and that's not actually what I was planning to blog about but sometimes I just never know where this damn brain is gonna take me. It's like a maze!

I was rereading my entry from April and thinking "wow, kind of an angry place, that." It actually took me a minute to remember what the hell it was about, but then I remembered the Smaug Spawn and I just had to laugh all over again. Sometimes I look at the things that happen in my life and wonder if it was actually a movie and I just watched it so many times that I THINK it's happening to me. That's how weird some of my shit is!

So I last wrote in April of 2009. Two. Thousand. And. NINE. Crazy! Since then I bought the condo I was renting (November), adopted a new dog (December), did my first big home improvement (February), my first minor one (May) and another major reno a couple of weeks ago. I have been so busy spending my fucking money that the past 16 months are a blur.

The latest thing I did was replace all the carpet in my house with brand new flooring. Aside from the bedrooms and the stairs, I put laminate throughout the house. I'd been wanting to do it for some time, and it is GORGEOUS. However, if I had known just how goddamn funny it would be watching my dogs walking on it, I would have done it WAY sooner.

First of all, Puppy seems to be completely unaffected by the slippery surface. Well, maybe not unaffected as much as ignorant. He still runs laps around the furniture like a cat on a nip bender, except that now he has trouble taking the corners and so his ass slides way out of his controlled loop and he's scrabbling for purchase with his tongue hanging out looking for all the world like an extra on Ren and Stimpy. Occasionally he will try to get air from the slippery surface and it's just a miserable failure of epic proportions. Baby Girl is not much of a crazy runner, so you would think I'd find nothing amusing about her transition to laminate flooring -- except that every so often she slips and looses her footing going from the couch to the food bowl for no good reason. Seriously. Step step step FUMBLE. It's HILARIOUS.

I've started to realize that Baby Girl, though she's been with me less than a year, is the blood of my blood. Puppy is awake every morning 15 minutes before the alarm goes off at 6, because he wants to be ready for it. Baby Girl is not going to move from that fucking bed until ABSOLUTELY necessary. Puppy is active and can never have enough exercise. Baby Girl loves her walk, but can't wait until it's over so she can lay down, preferably on a cool surface, and not move for the rest of the night. Tripping over her own feet while walking? Yeah, she TOTALLY gets that from me, because I am a klutz of epic proportions. Which is how I dropped a sectional sofa on my own foot, but only managed to severely sprain one of my toes. Klutzy, but lucky as hell!

These days my passion is Zumba. Zumba, zumba, zumba. I never thought I would be crazy in love with an activity that spends an entire hour kicking the shit out of me until I'm dripping sweat like a priest at a choir boy convention. I even bought special sneakers just for Zumba, hot pink Nike crosstrainers. Yeah, baby. Yeah. I think most of the reason I love it is because my instructor is AWESOME. In the early days Short Stack and I went to check out a class in another facility, and it was like Dancing with the Oldies. Nice people, but sheesh. What a drag. It's just not a good class unless the next day I dread going up the steps and have to hold on to the half wall as I gingerly lower myself onto the toilet in the middle of the night. THAT'S when you know that you are burning it up. No more boring hours on the treadmill watching Law & Order for me, wishing my time at the gym was up. Dance, baby. Dance.

5.20.2009

"You are a realist masquerading as a cynic who is secretly an optimist."

So... absent for a while. Yeah. Well, you know. Busy. Busy being really pissed off about a whole bunch of shit that is beyond my power to control so I just decided not to let it get to me anymore. And yeah -- it's that easy.

So, today it has been two months since my grandfather passed away just shy of 85, and he was my last living grandfather. My dad's stepfather passed away a few years ago; I never knew my maternal grandfather either because he died before I was born or my mom wasn't speaking to him up until he died. I'm a little sketchy on that part. In any case -- dead, never knew him, and my dad's stepfather used to scare the living shit out of me. He was just a big, BIG dude. He was, like, eight feet tall. Okay, I probably made that up, but as a kid that's how he seemed, and even as an adult he was way taller than me; and when he stood up his hands hung to his knees. I think he may have been part gorilla. My point is that we weren't close. Fear is kind of an inhibitor to intimacy, if you're me.

I was close to my pop-pop though, and I never stopped calling him that, even in my thirties; even now, in my head, with him gone. The other day I was cleaning the living room, and as I was dusting the coffee table (handmade by Gorilla Granddad, no less) I knocked out a couple decks of cards that I have in there. One of them is a well-worn Bicycle deck, and I held it for a moment, took out the cards and flipped through them. Pop-pop loved his cards, he loved the casino -- he was a gambling man. I think that's one of those things that will always stay with me, as the years fall away and my life moves in whatever inevitable directions it takes. That and raisin bread.

I heard you just go "what?" in your head. Stop thinking so loud.

When I was a girl Pop-pop worked for Pepperidge Farm, and we always had loads of freebies around: Milano cookies, Goldfish galore; but raisin bread was always my favorite -- toasted, with butter. It's one of those comfort things for me, when I'm down or I feel lost a couple pieces of toasted raisin bread brings back that childhood feeling of simplicity. Of home.

Some people choose to remember the dead with memorials, with flowers, with some god-awful bullshit display that's really about the living putting on a pity show than celebrating the life of a loved one who's died... but not me. Instead, I'm going to go have some raisin bread.

I know you're all thinking about the other elephant in the room. Like I said, you're all thinking too LOUD.

What I will say is this: the universe has a sense of humor and irony. I, like the universe, am laughing my ASS off. And planning a very nice vacation for myself (maybe Mexico, which is pretty crazy cheap right now). I can do that, you know, since I haven't "tied" anyone "down" with "marriage and kids." Shame, that. Good thing that poor guy got away from me and found that "adventurous" chick who was going to travel around the world with him.

Tee hee hee.

Good luck to Smaug and Smaug Accessory -- you will need it, because I know for a FACT that one of you couldn't even handle a dog. A dog! A little furry thing that you can put in a kennel when you travel and let someone else take care of. A dog that doesn't need anything out of life except a couple of walks a day, some affection (preferably in the form of fetch), water, and food (which you don't even have to cook). A sweet little dog who wants nothing more out of life than to please me. A dog who is right now asleep at my feet because being near me makes him happy. A dog that I'm taking on a walk in a minute, because being with me while being outside is like having all the greatest things in his universe converge. So in case you didn't figure it out yet, sweetheart: I GOT THE BETTER END OF THE DEAL.

2.08.2009

"Poor Buffy. Your life resists all things average."

There are some days when I'm literally walking around in a daze because I just cannot BELIEVE how dumb some people are; and there are times when all the stupidity converges into a fine point of ignorance.

Last week was such a time for me, because I had three different men I went to high school with prove that there's just no cure for stupid. First, some history:

Behind door number one we have Spanish Class Loser (SCL). About ten years ago I got in touch with someone by chance who put me in touch with a bunch of other people, and he was one of them. Now, I went to a tiny, tiny high school (there were 62 people in my graduating class, including me) so you pretty much knew everybody. So, when SCL rather enthusiastically emailed me I thought it was awfully nice of him, even though I barely spoke to him in school. And when he started IM'ing me all the time I figured that the passage of time had just served to bring him out of his shell. I really thought it was just friendly banter. One night he kept after me to meet with him for coffee, so to shut him up I finally agreed to meet him at the local diner nearby (R.I.P. Dynasty). We get a booth and start talking about what we've been up to. At least I did. SCL spent most of the time talking about how he was obsessed with me in high school, and how he used to spend all his time in Spanish staring at my ass. Okaaaaay... ewww. I started to realize that he had some kind of idea in his head that now he'd found me after all these years and we were going to ride off into the sunset together. Again, ewww. So you can imagine that when I mentioned my boyfriend, his face just FELL. It was SO obvious. I couldn't wait to get away from him. He actually berated me for coming to meet him when I had a boyfriend that I had never mentioned. I'm sorry -- it was NONE of your business! He spent weeks harassing me via email and messenger. I had to block him, and then he created a new ID for himself so he could harass me some more. I was actually looking into getting a restraining order, it was that bad.

Now, behind door number two we have Basketball Star (BBS). I had an enormous crush on BBS for most of high school. About six years after graduation I had lost a bunch of weight and ran into him somewhere. Suddenly, he was very into me. Some very strange things happened and we never really hit it off. He probably shouldn't have taken my real mom's side in shit he didn't know anything about. I probably shouldn't have slept with his roommate (hey, nobody's perfect). Anyway, time heals all wounds and a couple of years ago he friended me on facebook and we were very civil to each other. I never really talked to him after that, but he was still my facebook friend.

Behind door number three is the real winner, who we'll call Soccer Star (SS). We'll call him my first boyfriend, although I was seventeen and all we did was sleep together for a couple of years whenever he was in for the weekend (he moved out of state after graduation). I fancied myself in love with him. Whatever. I was a kid, what the hell did I know? I thought: sex=love. Still, I was pretty upset when I called him at home one day and he said "I can't talk, my fiancee is here." Um, wow. Didn't even know you had a GIRLFRIEND. Nice.

As you can imagine, our relationship did not end well. Years went by. 9/11 happened. And then, like a couple of other exes, he found me online. He wrote me a very sincere apology, so I wrote him back. I don't think I'd ever really gotten over him; it was one of those things that was always a "what if?" to me. We started talking online a lot, as he was stationed overseas. Most of it was very nice, grown-up conversation. He told me all about his wife and kid, I told him all about me. Sometimes, and I'm not proud of this, but sometimes the conversation went a little... awry. That's the problem with the internet, I guess. It's easy to be naughty. In any case, I never took it seriously. Actually, talking to him occasionally is what made me finally GET over him after all those years. I think I had put him on a pedestal when I was very young, and now that I was much older he was just a guy. So we would email off and on, and thanks to him I got back in touch with a lot more people we graduated with through the infamous Class of 91 blog.

The thing about SS is that he's like a dirty old man. He takes EVERY conversation in that direction. EVERYTHING. It's ANNOYING. Not to mention uncomfortable for myself and any other girl he talks to on the blog or in private. It really started to bug me. He would email you out of the blue with something like "how's it going?" and you'd say "fine, what have you been up to?" and his response would be something akin to "just thinking about your naked body pressed up against me." Okay, again, ew. It would especially piss me off while I was dating Smaug, because he's proposition me and I would be like "how dare you disrespect my boyfriend" and he'd play it off that he was just kidding. Bullshit.

Anyway, as you can imagine his behavior got WORSE after Smaug and I broke up. He came back to my parent's house after my bon voyage party and once he realized they were away he used every angle he could think of to either get me naked (hey, let's play strip pool) or stay at the house so he could jump me later (hey, I'm too drunk to drive the four blocks to my house). I mean, SERIOUSLY. I told him point blank that I don't appreciate him still treating me like I was 17 and stupid. Like I'm just going to drop to my knees and blow you because you think you're cute? PUHLEEZE. I finally got rid of him, and then he tried to insinuate himself in my plans for the rest of the weekend (hello, no one invited you.) He'd given me this whole sob story about him and his wife heading for divorce. Yeah. RIGHT. Told me he'd be haunting me here in Maryland every weekend. Oh joy. I can't believe I even still talk to this person who treats me like a whore at every given opportunity despite being told EXACTLY how much I dislike hearing that shit out of his mouth. Face it, you're MARRIED. And even if you weren't, I'M OVER YOU.

Now, just to update the scorecard we have:
1. SCL, who I've not spoken to in about ten years after getting seriously scared of him and having to finally threaten restraining order
2. BBS, who I've hardly spoken to in two years and then only about very mundane things like weather
3. SS, who I've managed to avoid entirely since I moved out to Maryland

So, a couple weeks ago SS posts on Facebook that he's in DC for a month. So several of us post comments about "where are you taking me on the company dime, ha ha" including me, because for the last several years I've tried hard to stay friends with him on a platonic level. Sometimes I give people WAY too much benefit of the doubt. So I should have expected the text message asking me if I was interested in "me naked with lots of grain alcohol and sex" without provocation. And you know what? THAT WAS IT. That was the FINAL straw for me, and I just let him have it by basically suggesting that he go fuck himself, and that I was done. So his response was the usual "oh, you're in a bad mood and I was just kidding" but you know what? NO ONE is being fooled by that. You're feeling the waters my friend, and believe me, they are fucking COLD. I ignored him. He obviously didn't read my earlier post about not accepting anything less than I deserve. If you want to be my friend and hang out, fine, but you don't. Why else would you suggest that you come here to Hagerstown, where there's NOTHING, when I could come to DC and we could find fun shit to do there? Because you're hoping to get into my apartment where you can wear down my resistance with liquor, that's why. Seriously, do you really think that shit is still going to work almost 20 years later?

This is where shit starts to get weird. The very next day I'm on Facebook and I get a chat request from BBS. Which is weird, because he's never chatted with me before. He starts off with where do you live, are you married, do you have kids, are you dating and moves right into "how about I come out to Maryland and make love to you?"

What?

My response was "thanks, already got that offer from SS and is there some kind of a bet?" He said maybe they could both come, and was that a yes or a no?

Again, what? I mean, I could understand all this if I was some smoking hot broad, but I'm a goofball with a fat ass. What is the attraction here? I know my blowjob is good, but this is RIDICULOUS.

My response to that was "why don't the two of you go fuck each other while I file my nails?" That pretty much got rid of him.

SS was back later that night asking if I was in a better mood. What does it take to get RID of these assholes? I told him to get lost and grow up. THAT got him. He started crying "WTF I thought you were my friend but you can kiss my ass" and did he miss the part the previous day when I told him to fuck off?

So now I'm just shaking my head, wondering how men can be so FUCKING STUPID as to think that what's going to make a woman swoon is to have a married man come on to her with such lines as "let's get drunk and fuck". Wow. I mean, am I still wearing that sign I had on in high school that says "Cheap and Easy"?

You're wondering where SCL is in all this, aren't you? Yeah. The very same day he tries to friend me on Facebook. Twice. ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID???? You creeped me out ten years ago and I couldn't get rid of your ass fast enough -- DO YOU REALLY THINK I'M GOING TO FRIEND YOU? Seriously -- IS THERE A BET ON FACEBOOK ABOUT WHO IS GOING TO FUCK ME FIRST? Ewwww! Ewwww! Go away, you maggots!

And people wonder why I can't find a nice man and settle down. It's because I'm surrounded by little boys who don't know how to grow up, and everyone I meet does nothing except sweep me back onto my feet.

I don't think Maryland is far enough away. Perhaps I should move to Paraguay.

2.01.2009

Cleanse Wars Part II: Attack of the Colon

Boston is one of my favorite places on earth. I absolutely love this city and need to go and spend more time there, since I’ve only ever been on business and your free time is limited. Maybe I love it because when I’m there on the company tab I get to go to all the best places, but so what? Like you wouldn’t?

It’s an old city, but amazingly clean. My first time there I actually saw someone vacuuming the sidewalk on Boylston Street. No kidding. I gave a bum some change outside of Starbucks, and he called me back because I accidentally threw in a ring that was in my pocket, and he gave it back to me. It’s the kind of city Philly wishes it could be. That being said, it’s too fucking cold there and it snows too much for me to consider making it my permanent home. But I still love ya, Boston!

While I was last there I got to go to a great restaurant, Stephanie’s on Newbury Street. If you are ever in Boston, you have to go and order the macaroni and cheese. Get it with the prosciutto and the truffle oil. You will thank me, but I warn you: you will be ruined for any other macaroni and cheese for all time. I can never be satisfied by the blue box again (I mean Kraft, not the Tardis). Oh, get the onion rings, too. Bring an appetite. Listen to the fat girl when she points you towards the food – I’ve eaten plenty, so I know when something's really good.

So I know you all want me to shut up and tell you if I pooped my pants; well, I didn’t even have the urge to relieve myself while I was there. Probably because I put a mojito on it. It’s amazing how much shit can be fixed with a liberal application of alcohol (you thought I was done with the puns, didn’t you?). I even managed to get through the worst customer visit of all time the next day without incident. I think it's safe to say that colon cleansing has done nothing more than make shit easy on me (AND I'm done. *rimshot* Okay, I had one left.)

Moving on... so I discovered the most incredible place, and it's only forty minutes from here. There's a town in WV called Berkeley Springs, the site of a natural hot springs that was once frequented by George Washington and other historical figures of note (but now is only visited by hysterical figures like myself, ha ha ha). Mame came in for the weekend and we took a day trip there. The area has four different spas that use the springs, one of which is state run and therefore cheap as hell. If you can live without a lot of ambience, you can get a relaxing soak in the spring water followed by a half hour massage for the bargain price of $45.

Now, when you think spa you probably think: scented candles, fluffy pink bathrobes, soothing tantric music softly playing in the background... ahhhhh. Soothing. Well, I'm too cheap for that crap. That kind of mood lighting costs money. The state spa at the springs has this kind of atmosphere: you walk into the locker area, where they direct you to a little stall with a curtain and direct you to strip, wrap yourself in the sheet provided, place your belongings in the battered locker, and then take the key on the handy rubber cord and place it around your wrist. By the way, if you're in the end stall and happen to be visiting on the COLDEST EFFING DAY OF ALL TIME, it might be wise not to lean your naked ass against the stone wall. It will be extraordinarily cold and clammy. Just a tip.

Now that you are toga'd out in a giant sheet a little old lady will march all of you to your next destination. Mame got the roman bath; I turned down their offer to put us in the same one and chose the relaxing bath. I mean, I'll sleep next to Mame when she visits, but I'm not getting naked with her in a steaming bath.

This is where it helps to not be bashful. Once you get to the bath, your "attendant" will hold the sheet while you step bare-assed into the tub. Let's face it, this sheet is the thickness of tissue paper. They put me into this GINORMOUS bathtub filled with steaming spring water. It was so huge that I could completely submerge myself. I'm a big girl, so in a normal bathtub the top half of me will be completely dry while my back and ass are submerged. I have to flip over and let my butt dry to soak the front of me. Plus, there's always the possibility that I might drown in this position. Well, you get the picture. So huge bathtub with a little inflatable pillow for my head = niiiice. For the sake of propriety the attendant covers the front of me with a little towel that's just big enough to hide your boobs and bush. My boobs, however, are so large that they just flop to either side of the towel anyway, so that part was pretty useless.

After an undetermined amount of time (hey, I'm naked, it's not like I brought my watch), the attendant comes back to take me to my massage. Seriously, she could have left me in the tub for hours. But I stand up while she "hides" me behind the sheet, wrap it around my wet ass (now you DEFINITELY are going to see through this sucker) and pad after her to the massage area.

If you're the type of person who doesn't like to be touched, this is not for you. Despite the decorous way your masseuse tucks the sheet around you and only exposes the part she is massaging, let's face it: you are buck naked under there, and a total stranger is rubbing your exposed flesh. For me however, it was GLORIOUS. Touch-a touch-a touch-a tooooouch me... ahem, sorry, where was I before I burst into song? Oh yeah. Touched By A Stranger. I especially love when they work on my hands. I don't know why, but that relaxes me SO much.

So now that you've been soaked and rubbed like a prize turkey, you can go get dressed and spend your day walking around this adorable little town with its antique shops and galleries. All I can tell you is that I did my part for the American Economy that day. I bought paintings from a local artist. Mame and I ate in this adorable cafe that's also a gallery. I found something for my brother in an antique store, and then Mame and I both fell in love with these abstract prints with phrases on them by another local artist. I bought one mounted under glass that just spoke to me. The abstract is blue and purple, and it says "she built her cathedral from the splinters of her shattering."

And so I have. Welcome to my church.