Month: July 2017

Confessions of a Sweater

I HATE Oklahoma summers.  Hate them. I spend most of my time bitching and moaning about the heat and the first thing I do every morning is go to my favorite weather app to see what fresh hell the new day has brought.   And it’s not just that I dislike summers because I am mildly uncomfortable, it’s that my physical response to heat is extremely aggressive.  Hence, Confessions of a Sweater.

Me. Always.

I sweat.  A lot.  Not necessarily when I am nervous, so I got that going for me (which is nice),  but anytime my internal temperature or heart rate raises I turn into a liquid.  It’s just the way it’s always been.  I could go for a 20 minute jog and look like I just ran a marathon.  When I was in high school, 15 minutes into basketball practice I would get a round sweat circle in the middle of my shirt and my coach would say to the other players, “there’s your target – pass the ball there.”  It was totally normal and not traumatizing at all for a 16 year old.  So summers for me, are a bit of a challenge.

Heat GIF - HeatWave Spray Blanche GIFs

Blanche gets it.

For my Italy trip (drink),  I only packed in an expandable carry-on,  because one, I don’t have any other sizes of suitcases, and two,  everyone kept telling me I could pack light and re-wear certain items of clothing.  FAKE NEWS.  I couldn’t wear anything more than once because after a few hours of walking around in 88-degree heat, everything on my body needed to be burned.  I was disgusting for like 17 straight days.  I had to do laundry TWICE.   After visiting the Coliseum, I walked into a little sandwich shop in Rome with a male coworker to grab a bite to eat.  The place was small, hot and stuffy with zero A/C.  To make matters worse about 8 people filed in right after me so it was small, hot, stuffy AND crowded.  I immediately started profusely sweating to the point where my arms and face were covered in actual spherical drops.  My coworker (who was cool, calm and collected), looked at my arm and said, recoiling,  “Oh my God, is that sweat?” and then I promptly died of humiliation.  Look, I’m as shocked as you are that I didn’t find an Italian boyfriend.

Oklahoma is even hotter, so it’s more like the surface of Mars.  Or Hell, which is what you would assume if you saw our educational system.   I can’t sit on patios. I can’t walk anywhere unless I am planning on going with the “oh me? I just swam here” look.  My wardrobe is limited to white and black.(NO GREY is allowed.  NEVER grey).  My hair is in a bun by 2:00 every day.  My electric bill is through the roof from the beginning of May to the end of September (BECAUSE THAT’S HOW LONG SUMMER LASTS HERE), and I  have to put ICE in my wine, like some kind of animal. I know, I know, first world problems, BUT SERIOUSLY.

With that being said, in honor of the hottest week of the year so far, I give you the Top 10 Reasons Why Summer in Oklahoma is THE WORST.

10.)  Summer programming means  terrible reality shows on every channel.  For the love of God, please…no more Duggar shows.  19 kids should not equal 19 spinoffs.

9.) Cost of the increase in water usage for excess laundry and showering.  Bonus points if you start sweating FROM taking a shower.  I can’t even talk about using the hair dyer…too many painful memories.

8.) June Bugs – WHY ARE THEY STILL HERE IN JULY???  I really want to understand this.  Somebody ask science and let me know.

7.) Turning into a psycho if I see someone leave a dog/child in the car.

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And when I do, I will Liam Neeson you. And not like in Love Actually.

6.) Mosquitoes – The real punishment for original sin.

5.) The inability of anyone to discuss anything other than Game of Thrones or the weather (although, for the record, I’m fine with the former).

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From your lips to God’s ears, Ned.

4.) SKIN CANCER – One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.  LATHER UP PEOPLE.

3.) Pit Stains.  RIP favorite new LOFT Utility blouse.  I hardly knew ye.

Halle Berry Excessive Sweating

Not all heroes wear capes, guys.

2.)  The excruciating pain of legs stuck to a leather seat.  If you ever need my DNA, that’s where you should start.

And drumroll…..

1.) BOOB SWEAT/BODY-PART-I-WON’T-NAME-BECAUSE-THIS-IS-A-FAMILY-BLOG SWEAT.  But, I hear Gold Bond sales rocket in the summer.

Runners up: Sweaty people smell, when people say, “ladies don’t sweat, they glisten”, water park commercial jingles, wearing clothes, and those summer people who ask you to do things outdoors all the time because it’s “such a pretty day.”

That’s it for my list!  What are the worst – or okay, I’ll allow it – best parts of summer for you?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess?

Author’s note: Feel free to turn any mention of my Italy trip into a drinking game, you wouldn’t be the first.

You may have wondered what I did with the cats while I was in Italy* (🍷) since this was the longest amount of time I have been away since I adopted them.  In the past, if it’s just been a few nights, I have a local service that comes in, feed/waters them, changes the litter, and plays with them for a bit.  OKC area people, Savvy Pet Sitters are AWESOME if you are looking for someone to help with your pets.  I cannot say enough nice things about them!  They even let me into my apartment one night at like 12:30 AM,  after I left my keys in an Uber 🤦‍♀️.   For this trip, however, I knew I would need someone to physically be there in the apartment with them during the entire time I was gone (to Italy 🍺).  Cats don’t do well being boarded or going to someone else’s home, because, you know, OTHER SMELLS, and it would have been pretty expensive to hire my professional pet sitter for that many nights, so I started asking around a few months ago to see if I had any friends, family members or coworkers that would offer to stay in exchange for some cash and the use of my pool for a few weeks.  I was getting a little worried because for some reason no one had taken me up on my offer, then a coworker told me she had a friend in grad school who needed a place to live for a few months while she finished her summer school classes.  My coworker had good things to say about her, so I thought, okay why not check out this option.  I texted the girl, who we will refer to henceforth as “cat-sitter” and we made plans to meet up for coffee and go over everything she would need to know about staying with Jules and Gigi.

We chatted several times before meeting up and I stalked her pretty hard on her Facebook, so I was feeling good about the situation.  In addition, I would be helping her out too because she wouldn’t have to couch surf all summer, and at my apartment she had cable, internet and a pool, plus endless cuddles from J.  We met up and she was adorable and sweet and I thought, YES – this is going to be great, I was immediately at ease.  She came over that night and met the cats  and a few days later I took off for Italy* (🍷🍷).

Let me go ahead and spoil part of this story for you – the cats are fine, and my apartment is fine, so don’t worry too much about the ending here, this story is just funny more than anything.  And I mean funny haha AND funny strange.  My flight from OKC took off on a Tuesday, but I didn’t arrive in Italy* (🍻) until Wednesday morning.  Cat-sitter texted when she arrived in the apartment that evening and let me know that everything was all good.  A few days later I checked in again, but didn’t hear back for well over a day.  I was starting to get a little worried that maybe something happened to her, so I called my back up in case I didn’t hear back in the next few hours (one must always be prepared).  Then I checked cat-sitter’s Instagram as any clinically insane person/brilliant genius would do.  Turns out she had gone camping for a night and didn’t have cell service, which was totally fine, but then I noticed in her pictures that she was wearing one of my tank tops.  My first thought was, “hey I have that tank top”  but that quickly gave way to, “wait, is that my shirt?”  I was like, okay fine, whatever, maybe she didn’t have any grubby clothes to take camping.  Weird, but moving on.   I spoke with her when she got home that night, and by that point in time, I had put the whole shirt thing out of my mind.  I spent the rest of my time in Italy* (🍹) without incident and I came home and everything seemed fine.  Cats were great, happy to see me, etc.  BUT, I started looking around my closet, and I couldn’t find that tank top.   A little strange, but I’m thinking maybe she put it back where she found it, which really could have been anywhere – my closet can be described as organized chaos or a total shitshow.  The same could probably be said for my personal life.

I was slowly starting to obsess over all of this, so I looked at her Instagram again a few days later, and upon further review, I find a video blog (or “vlog” for all you social media hipsters) she posted during the time I was in Italy* (🥃)  and in the vlog she’s wearing an entire outfit of mine, including my earrings and an Ann Taylor Loft utility shirt, which I own in about 10 different colors. (They’re just great for work AND play!!!)

Image result for loft utility blouse dark turquoise gem

This girl’s face is like, seriously, get some new outfits.

There’s also another pic with a shirt on the bed behind her, that I KNOW was in a drawer before I left.  Meaning: SHE. WENT. THROUGH. MY. DRAWERS.   Yes, dear readers, I’m assuming even THAT drawer.

This is where I think it gets even more weird.  Cat-sitter is a tiny, tiny girl – there is no way that any of my clothes naturally fit her.  For a visual comparison, I’m Brienne of Tarth and she is Arya.

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A girl is very short.

Regardless, there she is, preaching a Sunday gospel vlog in my Ann Taylor Loft utility shirt and the earrings my friend Catherine gave me for my birthday.  Give her the benefit of the doubt, you say?  Maybe she, too, is a lover of functional work clothes at affordable prices?  I thought the same thing for half a second until I saw yet another video – this time she’s wearing my 2014 Ryan Adams concert tee which says “CHOOSE CATS” in huge letters across the front.  The only other person that has that T-shirt is my friend Corey, because we bought them together at the show and she is also a crazy cat lady.  And again, she’s sporting a pair of my earrings.  All of these videos were filmed in my bedroom, by the way.  Where were the cats, you ask?  GOOD QUESTION.  Probably trapped in the bathroom.  I mean, I know Jules wouldn’t miss an opportunity to be on camera.

So, I mention this to a few people at work, kind of all, “sooooo, this weird thing happened while I was in Italy*(🍸), what do I do, etc…” and the immediate response is that I have to confront her, this isn’t normal.  But I hate conflict, and also she still had a key at the time and I didn’t want her to Single White Female me in the middle of the night.   We decided I would go home that evening and check to make sure all my belongings were accounted for and she wasn’t halfway to Mexico with my Kendra Scott earrings and half my wardrobe.

I get home and from what I can tell, nothing is missing (except the tank top), but I start going through my closet and I can tell that she either wore or tried on seven or eight other shirts because they were buttoned all funny, i.e. the sleeves are both rolled up AND buttoned at the bottom, which is just NOT how you wear a utility blouse.  Then it hits me.  She could have tried on or worn ANY piece of clothing I owned, because clearly my size was not a deterrent. YOU GUYS, WHAT IF SHE JOEY’D ME???  I mean, okay, probably not, but see the previous post re: irrational anxiety.

Image result for joey wearing all chandlers clothes at once

Could I BE wearing any more clothes?

I spent the next few days doing several rounds of laundry because it just weirded me out thinking someone else had been wearing my stuff.  I’m also a germaphobe, so the whole thing probably bothered me more than it would a sane person.  The worst part of the whole thing is wondering if there is anything I missed – and if there is anything (else?) she possibly took.  I don’t really believe that this girl is an actual thief, but ever since this happened, if I can’t find something, my immediate reaction is to think, what if?

And I can seriously NOT find that tank top.  Maybe it’s where all my socks and youth went.

Also, my purpose in posting this is not to shame her, or roast her on my blog.  Cat-sitter and I are not connected at all other than through my coworker, who already knows about the whole ordeal.  But since she posted a vlog in my clothes, I feel like it’s only fair that I write a blog post about her doing said vlog in my clothes – it’s really all very meta.  I do not plan on revealing her name or posting any of the screenshots I took – but I will totally show you in person if you ask.  Nor do I plan on confronting her about it, even though I know I probably should.   I just feel like she is going back to her home state in a matter of weeks and it’s now it’s kind of a moot issue.   I did entertain the idea of writing “NICE SHIRT” under  one of her posts, but at the end of the day, I am just happy the cats were safe and well cared for and my apartment is still standing.  Besides, she left a half-eaten jar of peanut butter, 3 eggs, and 2 LaCroix, so maybe at the end of the day we are even?  I don’t know, the ethics are kind of grey here – kind of like the T-shirt she borrowed – while I was in Italy* (🍺🍻🍹🥂🍷🍾)

*By my count you should have at least had 3 bottles of wine by now.  You’re welcome.

Can I-talia about my trip?

I’d like to say that I am sorry for that terrible pun in the title, but… I’m just not 🤷‍♀️.  So, the best thing about secretly keeping up your blog even though you haven’t written anything in two years is when you have one of those experiences that you just cannot wait to get write about, you have a place to do it.  So in other words….I’m baaaaack!  Again.  At least for now.  I miss writing and I miss having a creative outlet, so what that means is YOU are now invited back inside my weird little mind.  I know, I know, don’t everyone get too excited.   My main impetus for blogging right now is to discuss my AWESOME and amazing trip to Italia!  But this is not just a humblebrag, “look at allllll my vacation pics”, post (although you can do that over on my IG @dammitsuzanne – be sure to check it out, and give us a follow while you are at it!),  it’s more of a post about my first true trip abroad and out of my comfort zone, and what it taught me about myself.

Most of you know that this was partially a work trip, and I am forever grateful for the experience I had with the faculty and students I was with whilst traveling about in the most amazingly beautiful country, but other than to say I had an amazing time with an amazing group of students that I won’t soon forget, what I want to focus on in this post is the ALONE TIME I spent for a few days in Cinque Terre.  Alone time.  SHUDDER.  To some of you  this short phrase probably sounds like a dream come true.  You think, “if I just had some alone time, I could get X, Y, and Z done”, but instead you have work, and side gigs, and kids, and a spouse, and all these other things that prevent you from really having that pure unadulterated time to yourself.  And I know that you are all grateful for those distractions, but I also have enough friends who if given the chance for 4 days alone in a country where they don’t speak the language  would sign up yesterday.  BUT, alone time for me is sort of terrifying.  I always think it’s what I want until I get it, and then my little mind starts whirring and instead of thinking about how relaxed I am, I’m replaying a conversation I had with a friend I fell out of touch with 14 years ago and wondering why she didn’t invite me to her wedding.  I think the word on the tip of all our tongues is “ANXIETY.”  I have the type of anxiety that likes to wake me up in the middle of the night to worry about retirement and global warming.  I have the type of anxiety that when I hear “nothing is impossible” I think about zombies coming through my window.  My anxiety is the type that  if someone says “we need to talk” I think they are firing/breaking up with/planning on murdering me (but giving me a heads up).   Or my favorite, my constant worry about slipping in the shower and dying alone in my apartment and then my cats eat my face off and I have to have a closed-casket funeral, which would mean that at the service no one could gaze adoringly at my face before breaking into  sobs and screaming “WHY GOD, WHY?” with their fists in the air.  It’s often not rational, and it even more often borders on ludicrous, but my mind is all about it.  Look, I even included a cute lil’ info-graphic for you.

If you haven’t checked out the Awkward Yeti comic strip yet, please do so here: http://theawkwardyeti.com/

My anxiety is the BEST of the BEST.  It got tops marks in anxiety school, like a little worry laden, hand-wringing Hermione Granger.  I mean I have anxiety about writing a blog post about anxiety, tbh. The bottom line is, when given 4 days to myself with nothing but my THOUGHTS, shit got kind of real.

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I am also an extrovert (ENFP, FTW) so I really need to be around people, but like, also alone, but like, you know alone around people, so solo trips can be kind of a challenge for ENFPers, especially in a country where you don’t speak the local language so you can’t just run around the corner to a local bar and make a friend.  A friend on Facebook posted this article about the ENFP personality the other day and it pretty much hits the nail on the head.  The ENFP personality (if you buy into Myers Briggs/Jungian Theory of Psychological Types) is kind of the hot mess of the personality types – in a good way.  Like your hot mess friend, Charlene, although maybe with better intentions.  (But YES to videos of baby goats, amiright??  Also, that little girl is basically my child if I were to ever have one.)  The ENFP always has about a thousand things going on inside their head and we just want to talk to you about all of them all at once.  Until we are bored with those things and then we want to move on and talk about 500 other things.  And we can go from being perfectly content recharging on our own to being unbearably lonely in about 30 seconds.  So I was really excited about this little solo excursion until about 5 minutes after I got to my first hotel.

Let’s start from the beginning.  Cinque Terre is about 4 train rides away from where I was originally staying in Arezzo.  After extensive research and freaking out and booking 6 different hotels online (decisions, UGH!) I decided to stay the first two nights in Vernazza, and the second two in Monterosso.  I took the train first to Florence and spent about 3 hours walking around, then took 3 more trains to Vernazza to check in to my hotel. I am not a travel blogger but if you ever want to know where I stayed and ate and what I did in detail, let me know and I will happily set up a slide show at my house and go into excruciating detail about it.  The advice I will give now is that if you are a solo traveler, it’s best to make a reservation in person for the first dinner seating at some of the more popular restaurants. Because the villages have become pretty touristy, a lot of the restaurants seemed to view seating only one person as a waste of a table.  And it was hard to explain in my broken Italian that I would probably eat and drink enough for two people.  I was already starting to get a little lonely and homesick for the face-eaters, so the next morning I knew I needed to keep myself busy.  I got up and grabbed a croissant and espresso and decided to go for a hike from Vernazza to Corniglia and back.  I thought because I had been working out and walking all over Italy that I was ready for this hike.  I. WAS. NOT.  It was hard, and beautiful and humbling.  My legs and lungs were on fire for a good part of 6 hours.  But I met a lot of really nice and interesting people along the way, including a few who asked me if I was going to be okay in what I think may have been German.  I arrived back to my hotel exhausted but invigorated and decided to go for a dip in the Ligurian sea off a hidden rock beach close to my hotel.  Again, I thought I was a pretty good swimmer.  I. AM. NOT.  But when I got into the water, I realized pretty quickly I was out of my depth (HA), so I didn’t swim out too far from the rocky beach.  Regardless, by the time I tried to swim to shore, the tide was coming in and I was getting slammed around pretty good.  I saw a woman cautiously watching me from the beach, but I waved her off with a little, “I got this don’t worry” wave and then I finally pulled myself out of the water.  I stood up, proud that I did it, and that’s when I looked down and realized that my swimsuit had come down, and I had popped out a boob.  I covered up and said “mi dispiace” as loud as I could to all the onlookers, but since it’s Italy, everyone kind of looked at me like, “meh.”  Only now that I look back on that moment, I realize it was a bit of an insult.

Italians, basically.

The next day I took the train to Monterroso to stay at this little refurbished bed and breakfast tucked way up in the hills.  This was going to be “The Time That I Reconnected to Myself Like All Those Wellness Blogs Say To Do.”  I checked in, grabbed my book, found a lawn-chair looking out into the woods, and promptly had a minor panic attack.  It was only noon.  I was suddenly so lonely and homesick and had no idea what I was going to do with myself until I met back up with my group in Rome a few days later.  If you have ever dealt with anxiety, you know the symptoms – restlessness, tightness in your chess, an uptick in your heart rate, the impending feeling of doom, etc.  I can describe it best as feeling like you are a can of soda pop that’s been shaken up, and someone is about to crack it open, but if you crack it open the world ends.  It’s a real gas, let me tell you.

Fortunately, after dealing with anxiety for many years I am well versed in self-care and knowing the things I need to do in order to get out of my head and back on track, like exercising, eating a good meal, and reaching out to loved ones, but I have to admit that despite being surround by the most beautiful scenery I’d ever encountered, there was one day I kind of just wanted to hide in bed.  I guess my point in saying this is that anxiety can hit you no matter who/where you are and at the most unreasonable times, even when you should be happy and relaxed.  And maybe sometimes it even hits you harder because you SHOULD be happy and relaxed, and then your mind is all “UGH just be happy and relaxed already!!!”

It was still too early in the day to call text home, so I chucked the book, and made plans for another hike .  This time I took the train to Riomaggiore and hiked to Manarola.  Again, the fresh air, endorphins, and shocking realization that my heart may give out at any minute were enough to ground me.  I came home that afternoon, took a hot shower and made plans for the rest of my evening.  I decided that while in Italy I was not going to take any cabs or shuttles unless I absolutely had too, so I walked all the way down to the “New Town” in Monterosso for dinner.  By the time I got there, I looked like a hot sweaty mess so much so that another couple sent me over a glass of their sparkling water.  It may have been the same German couple who were concerned about me on the hike, but I couldn’t tell for the sweat in my eyes.  Post dinner I walked home, and then had a rousing conversation about gun control with some Australians that were staying at my B&B (because of course I did) and went to bed, feeling stronger and more emotionally connected to myself than I had in weeks.  The rest of the trip sailed by with more of the same, hiking, eating and talking to Australians – seriously there were tons there, and then I left Cinque Terre and headed back to Rome to meet up again with my group, excited to see them, but also thankful for the time I spent alone, even though it was scary and a little lonely.

I like to very importantly note that this is a pretty minor interaction with anxiety – and I have worked HARD in my life to get to the point where I can handle little panic attacks in this way.  This is by no means a complete description of anxiety, nor should it be taken as a prescription for what will help YOU with anxiety.  This was just an experience I had that I felt like sharing because people are so afraid to talk about anxiety and depression and mental illness and I just think it should be talked about, even in my silly blog.  Because it can happen to anyone at any time in any location, even off the coast of Italy.  Also, I don’t mention medication here because I could write another ENTIRE blog post about that and this one is already too long, but let me just say, one day you will have to pry the Prozac out of my cold, dead hands.  And if you ever WANT to talk to me about this stuff, I am all ears.  I think mental health is no different from physical health and it should be treated with the same importance. Okay, okay, off my soapbox. #mentalhealthisphysicalhealth and #physicalhealthismentalhealth.

Moral of the story – Italy is amazing, anxiety is real, and I’M BACK PEOPLE!!!

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