Lynn.In.Juneau

Thursday, August 25, 2016

27 Memories

Britney and I were born four days apart and met when we were three years old in the Chicken Yard, a small park in between our childhood homes in downtown Juneau.




I'd guess that from the age of three to 18, we spent about 85 percent of our time together.  We were very different then, but we were inseparable. Britney was much more studious, organized, and put together.  I was chubbier, bossier, and more apt to get us into trouble.




As we hit our teens those descriptions were still somewhat accurate with the exception being that Britney got hot and I was still deep in my awkward phase, so during those years, Britney took over as trouble maker.



As adults our characteristics have blended, and I'd like to think we've learned a lot from each other. Britney taught me to be more focused and driven and Britney learned how to do the thumbs out hip thrust on the dance floor from me.  In a couple of weeks we turn 30, to celebrate I've put together  27 memories to celebrate 27 years of friendship:

#1 When we first met and Britney convinced me to trade her my jump rope for her small shitty shovel. Britney was always a lot smarter than me, and often negotiated trades that were not to my benefit, while making me think I was getting the better end of the deal.

#2 When Britney was all "hey lets dissect this pig and learn Latin" and I was like "Ummm is it snack time yet? I'm hungry."

#3 When we tried to make our cats best friends too by stealing Britney's cat from her house and locking it in a room with my cat.


#4 When Britney's mom would threaten to beat us with a wooden spoon when we were bad, but we knew she never would.  "Don't make me get my wooden spoon!"

#5 When my dad would time how fast we could set up a tent in the living room and we took it very, very seriously.

#6 When my dad would make us walk up Basin Road alone at the age of eight, before we could have another piece of cake.

#7 When we'd hang our butts out the window and pee from the second story of my house because we were too lazy to go the bathroom downstairs.  Sorry mom.

#8 When I would dig holes in the small wooded area of Chicken Yard and go number 2 and Rachael Peterson told on me and my mom made me go dig it up (!) and Britney helped me. Again, sorry mom.

#9 When I dressed as a witch and Britney dressed as a ghost literally every year of Halloween for our entire childhood.

#10 When Britney hooked me up with a job cleaning rooms at a bed and breakfast, when we were 10 years old and we got paid $4.25/hr and it was probably illegal, and we often had to discard used condoms, but we made up for it by eating the guest's leftovers.

#11 When it was agreed upon that my house had way better snacks -- especially after Costco opened, we're talking gushers, beef jerky, dips bars, you name it we had it -- while Britney's house had weird healthy green shakes and rice crackers.

#12 When Britney was home-schooled and tried to tell me in 6th grade that bright yellow sweatpants and turtlenecks paired with Birkenstocks was a cool look.  In her defense, I was rocking pipe jeans at that time, so I wasn't doing much better.

#13 When Britney bought board shorts in 7th grade and I thought "Oh shit Britney isn't going to be home-schooled much longer..."

#14 When Britney came into her own in 8th grade and gave us all a tutorial on how to booty dance and made us practice in front of a mirror and corrected our form.

#15 When a friend in middle school had a melt down because Britney and I were too good of friends (we may have possibly been leaving this friend out a little) and my response was that that friend should "maybe think about getting therapy" and Britney was like "uh yeah, I agree with Lynn."  We were 13.

#16 When I accused Britney of stealing Jake out from under me (now her husband) when she asked him to the 8th grade dance and she suggested I go with Sungie because he was "more my height."



#17 When I broke my ankle and got the cast off and Britney dutifully shaved my leg for me.

#18 When Britney stopped our sled on a rock with her ass on Death Hill and broke her tailbone and for a moment I thought she was paralyzed and frantically yelled "MOVE YOUR LEGS BRITNEY, MOVE YOUR LEGS!" And she said, "I'm fine Lynn, calm down, I just peed my pants though."

#19 When Britney made elaborate pencil drawings of naked men with erections our freshmen year of high school and we put them in the popular basketball players lockers.  "WHO THE FUCK KEEPS PUTTING THIS SHIT IN MY LOCKER?"

#20 When Britney's sister bought us giant big pink dildos when we were 16 and we pretended like we were totally cool with it -- and I was like "yeah this totally looks fun, I'm totally not a virgin."

#21 When I got jaw surgery and everyone lied and told me I didn't look that bad, and Britney came over to the house to see me and I walked around a corner and she literally jumped back in fear and told me I looked like a monkey.  Spoken like a true friend.



#22 When I had asked every single friend to go on a bike trip with me from Bellingham to Spokane and every one said no and as a last ditch effort I called up Britney, who had never done any substantial biking, and she said "sure, why not?"  And then she accidentally bought a racing bike instead of a touring bike on Ebay and everything that could go wrong went wrong, including her feet being too big for the bike causing the back of her foot to hit her panniers every time she peddled, but she did the whole 360 mile trip and only had one-bike-throwing-down meltdown.




#23 When I visited Britney in college in California and she took me to her hairstylist and we got our hair done the same way and her stylist told me I went from a "6 to at least an 8" and I didn't know what that meant and Britney had to explain it to me.



#24 When Britney was getting ready to get married and her wedding dress was too small for her chest because she had gotten a great deal on it that she couldn't pass up, and we couldn't get the thing zipped up and she kept telling everyone she just had to "rest into it" and none of us knew what that meant but she kept saying it anyway and we were all starting to panic and Britney's mom yelled "Let Lynn zip it up, she's strong and has tiny hands!" and we got Britney into that dress.



#25 When Britney moved back to Juneau ahead of her husband and we were both in weird places and she slept on a twin bed on my floor for 4 months.



#26 When I went out the night before Thanksgiving and woke up with the worst hangover of my life and Britney offered to come over and give me a B vitamin shot in my butt, and I said yes ok, and she did it.

#27 When Britney moved into her current house in Juneau and needed help removing a cabinet in the kitchen and we thought we were strong enough to take it down and midway through realized it was solid oak, but still convinced ourselves we were strong enough and the thing started to tip over and was about to crush me and Britney got a burst of strength and threw the cabinet over my head and saved me with what I can only describe as the kind of super human strength a mother gets when something is threatening to crush her child.

Cheers to 27 years Britney! Love you!






Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tinder for Townies

So you're thinking about starting a Tinder account, but you live in a small town: proceed with caution.

Small town Tindering should really be its own special subcategory of Tindering, it is rife with unique small town peril. Especially if you live in Juneau, Alaska, where there are literally no roads out. Prepare yourself mentally, you will likely come across the profiles of your high school math teacher, people you had no idea were in an open relationship (wait are they in an open relationship?) and/or your second cousin. The reality of the dating limitations that come with living in a town that you can only escape on boat or plane will come closing in on you and quickly start to feel something like this:

Star Wars Episode Trash Compactor
make funny GIFs like this at MakeaGif


You might find yourself drowning out the sound of your friends discussing what photos you should use for your new Tinder account, gazing off in a thousand mile stare, wondering: how the fuck did I get here?  What great tragedy has lead me to this? The thing is, it doesn't matter how you got here, you're here now and you might as well embrace it and start swiping left on your cousins (although if you get desperate I believe 1st cousins are legal in Alaska) and swiping right on that person you've known most of your life, but never dated -- and there's probably a good reason for it -- but you know, you're almost 30 and your life just imploded, so maybe there's something you missed about that guy's personality during the 20 years you spent in school together, and really, just stop thinking so much.

Once you've decided to take the plunge and create a Tinder account, the first thing you need to do is choose your profile pictures.  It is important that you get this right, it is not as easy as it sounds.  If you're a woman, don't worry about describing yourself in the "about me" section, men aren't going to read it.  In fact most men won't even scroll through all your pictures. If you aren't obviously dying of syphilis, they'll swipe right.  If you're a man, the description can make you or break you, I suggest that you avoid sentences like "Come wander with me. . ." or, "If you don't like me, too bad." 

When choosing my own profile pictures, my friends explained to me that I'd get "more hits" using this picture:
Instead of this picture:



. . . because studies show that men swipe right more when you hit that perfect balance of outdoorsy, but not too hardcore.  And by "studies" I mean an episode of Freakonomics that I heard secondhand.

Personally, I thought the second picture was better.  I mean, look at that form, that jacket gracefully billowing in the wind. On a biological level alone, shouldn't men be attracted to this? Those spandex shorts don't lie... they are showcasing some real-woman birthing hips, who doesn't like sturdy barbie? This picture further illustrates how much of your shit I could carry if we were in some sort of dire situation, while still remaining feminine with a nice blue scarf and pink handlebars. What's not to like?  According to my friends and Freakonomics, a lot.  Although, I suppose I have to agree that the first picture is saying, "hey look, I'm laid-back cool girl, I like to bike, but I'm not about to get too sweaty or concern myself with practical footwear." 

When making a Tinder account, my advice is: listen to your friends.  The first photo, along with the image below, are my most successful conversation starters.

  
I'd like to think that the green dress pic sends a "hey, I'm funny, but more importantly, I'm sexy-funny" vibe, but maybe it's more of a "hey, I'm a fun, classy alcoholic from the past" vibe? Either way, it's working.

I've noticed that almost all men on Tinder (that I'm swiping right on -- so this says more about me than them) use the same five images:

1) A photo of them doing something in the snow (skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, or just standing, looking comfortable in snowy conditions).
2)  A picture with their dog (which they will want you to meet, because: yay, dogs are so fucking amazing and everyone who owns a dog has the greatest fucking dog ever).
3) A picture with a group of women (to show that other attractive women find them harmless enough to allow them to be photographed together).
4) A picture with their mom (to show you that they have a healthy relationship with their family, which is important, but who knows if that's really their mom, it could just be some old lady they found on the streets).
5) A photo of them fishing (to show that they can provide for you and maybe teach you something too -- although I've never come across a hunting photo which, if the goal really is to show women that you can provide for them, would be more effective than one fish.  Maybe that's not the goal, though? Maybe these men aren't putting any thought into this whatsoever? Get out of your head, Lynn).

Pictures I'm not swiping right on:
1) Men in front of large vehicles.
2) Shirtless-man mirror selfies.
3) Men chugging large quantities of alcohol, being cheered on by other men.
4) Men attending any sort of desert rave.
5) Men wearing tank tops.


Setting your mileage radius is the final part of the process.  In Southeast Alaska, in the summer, you can set your radius to a reasonable 100 miles. In the winter, you're going to want to crank that thing up to 1,000+ miles. And no, they don't actually allow you to set your radius that high, but they fucking should.

Having conversations and attempting to date on Tinder are where things really start to get interesting.  You'd think that most conversations would begin with something as simple as "hi, how are you?" or "where are you from?"  Nope.  A quick "Tinder dating tips" search on Google provides insight into what kind of advice is out there for men on Tinder, and why you may not be receiving any standard conversation starters:

1) "The best lines trigger emotional responses... Avoid being generic." (You are one of many men jockeying for position, you have one chance to get this right.)
2) "At some point, she'll ask what you do for a living.  Have an answer prepared ahead of time: 'Beginning a new business endeavor soon' sounds better than 'I'm unemployed and unsure what to do next.'" (Lie, lie to them.)
3) "Do not send too many messages, or messages that are too long." (Try to trigger those emotional responses in 10 words or less.)
4) "Reference details in her photos, but avoid complimenting her looks." (Pretend Tinder is not a dating app based solely on physical appearance.)
5) "Present yourself as genuinely interested in her personality." (Again, lie to them.)
6) "Build a rapport so that you can eventually take the conversation off of Tinder" and "Move the conversation off of Tinder as quickly as possible." (Separate her from the herd.)
And my personal favorite, 7) "You will open with a lot of girls, so it's important to make it time efficient.  Focus on a few lines that not only work but are also easily adjustable.  It will take some time to find your best opening lines, choose about five different ones and try each on at least ten girls.  Afterward compare the results and keep testing the best lines even more."

Holy Jesus fuck, you want men to start tracking their Tinder opening line success rate on some sort of chart?  I'm imagining all the men of Tinder doing this:

via GIPHY

Then urgently analyzing the facts and figures, saying fuck it, and going with: "Hi, you're hott? Want to bone?"

After reading all of the shit advice that's out there for men using Tinder, I'm beginning to understand why my own experiences have been so strange.   The two weirdest experiences so far being: 1) a self portrait of one man's fellatio fantasy, while out to sea on his very woman-less fishing vessel -- it included a beautiful rendition of his man-bun; and 2) a hand written, and hand delivered, letter from a man asking if there had been "some sort of glitch" after I deleted my tinder account.  Very awkward -- avoid this type of interaction at all costs. I'd also like to point out that these two things are setting the weirdness bar pretty high, so the other interactions I've had, while better, are still pretty odd, i.e. getting offered a "free" professional massage in exchange for tacos.

I have to admit that number 1 was actually hilarious, the only mistake I made there was deleting that beautiful piece of art from my phone, I truly regret that.  The events that lead to number 2, however, were due to several critical mistakes made on my part. I know that you're thinking telling the person where I work was the first and worst mistake I made, but I would argue that leading this man to believe that: a) I liked dogs; b) I was into mountain biking; and c) I wanted to watch Finding Nemo as a date -- was where things really started to go wrong. In hindsight it all seems so clear, but it's that thing where it's winter and you're trying to date in, not only a small town, but a small town in Alaska, where there are no roads in and out... and the lines start to blur and you tell yourself, "a massage in exchange for tacos is actually just a really good deal," or "you could be a dog person, just work on not flinching so obviously when the dog inevitably jams its face into your crotch and pretend to listen when he tells you its name" or more concerningly, "Finding Nemo was a pretty good movie, I could do a Finding Nemo date."

So if you live in a small town and you feel like signing up for Tinder, all I ask is that you go into this with your eyes open, knowing that successfully avoiding someone is a luxury we small town folks will never know.  Just when you think you've gotten out of something scot-free, the door will swing open, and your stomach will turn as you watch your Tinder match slowly walk towards you, handing you a note, asking you to Tinder him again. Be careful out there and Tinder with caution.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Carrying the Torch

My high school reunion was two weekends ago.  I didn't go to the main event, but I did decide to go out last weekend and unfortunately had to confront those ten year reunion moments that all normal, reasonable people dread:
1. People introducing themselves to you as if they don't remember you.  (Um, yes, I know you, we went to high school together, in a town with one high school.) 
2. "So, did you ever leave Juneau?" (No, what's it like down there?  I hear they have this thing called the world wide web, but it's really just a system of tubes, right?)
3. "That's really great that you're still living here and you didn't just settle down and have three kids before the age of 25.  Good for you." (Oh, yes, thank you for including me in your elitism).

Apparently, and I didn't realize this until last weekend, you have to actually leave Juneau to make it in the world.  You don't have to do anything significant once you've left, you just have to leave and officially rent an apartment in a different zip code to not be looked upon as if you're some sort of sad, unmotivated, done-nothing-with-your-life, townie.  You can still hang out with all Juneau people, you can work at a shitty to mediocre job, and you're doing alright, as long as you are doing these things outside of Juneau.

These conversations all occurred during a game of darts with some male friends from high school, who I was unaware had a fan club of out-of-state female reunion attendees.  In the fan club's defense, I will admit that I was rightfully viewed as some sort of obstruction, a "cock block" if you will, on their path to righting a wrong and finally banging their high school crushes.  I'm not entirely upset by this, I understand that getting me out of the way was necessary.  I am upset, however, with the way they went about it. I think I really could have helped them tactics-wise.  It could have been some sort of fucked up female bonding moment.  I could have given them a little brochure... A Guide For Women: How to Successfully Thwart a Cock Block at Your High School Reunion.

1.  Do not approach cock block and introduce yourself as if you've never met.  The cock block sees through your old trick.  Always remember, you want the cock block on your side. 
2.  Do not follow up your introduction to the cock block with "So, you still live here?"   
3.  Do not follow up "So, you still live here?" with "It's so weird coming back here and seeing people who still live here." 
4. Do not refer to yourself as an "Oregon transplant" if you were born and raised in Juneau, it doesn't work that way.  
5. Tell your friend not to say things like "I never thought I could move back here, because you know, Juneau people..." 
6. Tell your friend not to say things like "But you aren't like Juneau people because you left." 
7. Don't put on the cock block's friend's hat and giggle and twirl around and ask "does it look good on me???" While the cock block is just trying to mind her own business and play darts.  Seriously, just don't do that ever, please graduate to the next level of flirting. 
8.  Do... buy the cock block a drink.  In fact, buy the cock block several drinks.
I don't think I've ever had my Juneau pride tested at this level before, but don't fear my fellow Juneauites,  I defended our humble town with honor! (I did graciously bow-out and abandon my cock blocking duties, you got to know when to quit.) The only thing I'm still trying to wrap my mind around is why I'm considered a country bumpkin for deciding to make Juneau my home, when the men whose attention they so desperately desired, are purebred Juneau folks themselves. Maybe even a purer breed then myself!  I mean, I'm talking, valley through and through.  I'm an open-minded down towner, for Christ's sake.

I suppose we all carry a torch.  While some people carry one for their pre-pubescent crushes, I happily carry one for my hometown and I don't care who knows it.  I'll scream it from the rooftops!  #JUNO4eVer #nevergettingout #youcanthaveourmen


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rules to Surviving a Broken Engagement in a Small Town

Rule # 1, and the most important rule of all: Do not live in a small town.

Just don't do it.  It's really great to be anonymous in these situations.  Going to the grocery store without running into your 5th grade teacher and your gynecologist is a luxury I may never know.  So if you can avoid living in a small town, just take my advice and do so.  It's hard to determine when a life crisis will occur, but if you have any sort of inkling that one is approaching, buy a plane ticket and leave.  Until you hear that someone else is going through a life crisis, it is not safe to come back. If that is not an option for you, continue reading.

Rule # 2: Create your own story.

First off, if you live in a small town, you can't actually allow yourself to get upset by rumors, because, face it, you've probably participated in spreading rumors and/or have gotten some sort of sick pleasure out of them.  It's a sad part of life, but humans gossip, especially in a small town.  I'd suggest that instead of letting rumors upset you, or worse, trying to correct false rumors, start creating your own.  Trying to correct false rumors will get you nowhere, because everyone wants to believe that your life is more exciting then it is, which, if you think about it, is actually kind of flattering.  The reality of your break-up is too boringly "run of the mill" sad for anyone to want to talk about, so they're going to make up their own version.  What you need to do is subtly control the story in a way that makes you look amazing, just remember to always start things off by saying, "Don't tell anyone, but..." 

1. I was too adventurous and open-minded.
2. He didn't want cats...
3. I was, and I know this is going to sound weird, too financially stable and responsible.
4. We actually got along too well? I know, strange.
5. We couldn't agree on the next series we wanted to get into.

Eventually people will become bored and move on.

Rule # 3: Prepare yourself for "pity face."

The absolute worst part about a broken engagement is receiving the "pity face."  It is its own special kind of hell.  You will most likely receive the best and most prolonged pity faces from the women who never really liked you in the first place.  "Oh my god Lynn, I'm sooooo sorry.  Lynnn, oh, god, how are you doingggg?  That is just the worst, most horrible thing that could ever happen to anyone. Lynnnn you poooooor thinggggg."  They will often find ways to bring your predicament back into the conversation, after it has already been addressed.  I like to tackle this head on by saying things like, "Well thank you, but I'm not dying."  Making people really uncomfortable can also be fun, try dead panning things like, "Oh, no. It's great actually.  I've been really wanting to get some alone time and move back into my childhood bedroom anyway."  To those people I say, flip them an inner bird and forget about it.  Life goes on.  

Rule # 4: Game of Thrones

Now is a nice time to become invested in a series that everyone has told you to watch, but you haven't felt like putting the time in for.  Well, you've got a lot of free time now and zoning out can be really helpful.* The show doesn't have to be Game of Thrones, but I'd suggest picking something that is as far removed from real life as possible.  For me that's dragons, people getting their hands chopped off, and zombie armies riding creepy dead horses.  It is great. 

*You can also zone out by exercising, which is both healthier and more productive than watching Game of Thrones, but for the first couple weeks after a break-up you get to be very selfish and self-indulgent.  You can always go on a jog later.

Rule # 5: Don't beat yourself up.

Yeah, you just watched three seasons of Game of Thrones in two days, so what?  You are allowed to go into the dark hole that is your childhood bedroom and have your reflecting time.  Don't let anyone take that away from you.  Eventually though, like pretty quickly actually, you should probably put on your game face and confront reality -- or at least pretend to while slipping in a respectable three episodes of Game of Thrones a night.  You don't want people thinking that you've lost it, because then they'll do the most annoying thing that people who love you are required to do, constantly ask you "how you're feeling" and if "everything is okay" while awkwardly giving you a light one handed back rub/pat.  Avoid that at all costs.


Rule # 6: Embrace your childhood bedroom.

If you are still living in the small town you grew up in, chances are your parents live about three blocks from you.  

Yes, it can feel defeating to move back in with your parents in your late twenties, but stop being a big old whiner about it. Not everyone is lucky enough to have amazing parents that love you unconditionally, and want you around, and make good food, and listen to you tell your boring story about how you cried so hard you gave yourself a stuffed up nose watching a bad Reece Witherspoon movie, but that you can't cry about anything normal and you don't know what that means -- all while crying and stuffing your face with delicious homemade banana bread.  

Yes, they might yell really loudly from the bottom of the stairs, when they could just speak to you at a normal level:

"LYNN, THERE ARE TACOS.  DO YOU WANT TACOS?" 

"No, thanks mom, I'm taking a nap."

10 minutes later:

"LYNN THE TACOS ARE READY..."

30 seconds later:

"LYNN DID YOU HEAR ME?"

"I'm okay, I'm trying to nap, thanks mom."

15 minutes later:

"LYNN YOUR DAD MADE PIZZA, DO YOU WANT PIZZA?"

"God dammit, okay, fine, yes, I'm up."


And yes, after waking you up from your nap to force-feed you, they'll probably ask if "you're feeling alright" because "you've been sleeping a lot" and they are worried that you "might be depressed." You may feel like replying, "I'm depressed Mom, but not because my relationship fell apart,"  but don't. Your parents love you and want you to be happy, they are just trying to help you the best way they know how: pestering you, over-feeding you, and asking you where you are going anytime you get up to move around.  Be thankful, because, as my friend Linda rightfully reminded me (when I was complaining way too much about people being concerned about me) having too many people care is better than no one caring... a good thing to keep in mind. 

Rule # 7: Have amazing friends.

This may be a perk of living and growing up in a small town.  Your friends have known you your ENTIRE life, they remember when you went through that weird Che Guevara t-shirt, no hair-washing phase and they're still around.  They remember when you ate a cow eyeball soaked in formaldehyde in the 7th grade to impress a boy and they brag about it with you.  They remember all your past relationships and remind you that you'll be just fine.  Most importantly though, they know when to tell you to STFU and get back on the horse, when you've been wallowing one day too many in a pile of Cheetos and the many, many, bottles of red wine pre-purchased for the wedding.  And in my opinion, that is the most important thing you can ask for in a friend.  They also come in really handy when trying to implement Rule # 2. 


***

... And more rules to come as I think of them.





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Adventure Shaming

My family seems to have some sort of self-torture adventure gene that I did not fully inherit.  A simple outdoor activity is never enough, some element of "adventure" has to be involved for it to be worthwhile.  This primarily involves hiking on non-existent trails that have been pitched to you as "animal trails," "secret trails," and/or "really cool old mining trails."  What this often entails is: bush-whacking, heights, huge scary piles of bear shit, and what my Dad likes to call, "dancing with the trees."  It sounds fun, but I can assure you, if you are anything like me, it's its own special kind of hell.

When I go hiking, and in life generally, I like to have a plan.  I want a time-frame.  I need an ETA and exact mileage.  So when I'm told that I'll be hiking Perseverance Trail and I get to the end, I don't want to be asked if I'd like to "do a 'short' hike up the side of a mountain to see where that waterfall comes from."  If that had been included in the original plan and I had mentally prepared for it, then it'd be a different story.  But that is the never the case with my family.  Little side hikes are always being tacked on.  What's the ETA? How much extra mileage or we talking?  How many snacks do we have and more importantly, what kind of snacks are they?  The answer is always, "Come on, it'll be fun!"  I'm never provided any real data!  I need a set and finite end to the pain!

The worst part about all of this is that if you protest, if you full on refuse to continue, or even if you say from the beginning, "alright, I agree to this with the stipulation that there will be absolutely no side-hiking tomfoolery,"  it will get you nowhere.  You will literally be stuck between a rock and hard place -- or a rock and a shit-your-pants-scary cliff edge. This is when the "adventure shaming" begins.  "Come on, don't you want to do something different?"  "Get out of your comfort zone, it's good for you,"  or "you know, your sister did this last week and she really enjoyed it."  Well guess what, I'm not my god damn sister.  Did you ever see me taking my hands off the bike handles as a child?  No!  I was the one with the sweaty palms asking everyone to please stand a safe distance from the edge of that look-out point.  

In the rare occasions that you are successful and manage to thwart a side-hike, there is always an underlining current of disappointment permeating the rest of the hike.  Your lack of adventure has pooped on the hiking party and you have let everyone down.   No real danger was involved and thus the hike wasn't a "real" hike.  Yeah, we hiked to the top of Mt. Roberts, but who hasn't done that?  Staying on the main trail, no matter how hard the hike is, is the equivalent of a city dog walk in my family.  

So you'd think I would have known better when my Dad asked if I wanted to hike Mt. Juneau last weekend.  I figured, sure... there's a start and a finish.  I know what I'm getting myself into.  The "really cool old mining trail" is out of commission, and considering what happened the last time he brought me up it -- a mental break down in which I held onto a tree and refused to let go -- I figured he wouldn't bother suggesting anything like that again.  You should be sensing my impending doom at this point. 

Mt. Juneau is not the hardest hike I've ever done, but it is difficult.  It starts in thick brush, with somewhat steep switchbacks that bring you up in elevation quickly.  Midway up the mountain, the trail opens up and flattens out, cutting straight across the side through three waterfalls, that are, if you're talking to my Dad, characterized as "small streams."  I would characterize them as a level 4 hazard (not life-threatening, but not something I look forward to) depending on the level of rainfall that week.  Once you traverse the waterfalls, the climb becomes steep again, with somewhat longer switchbacks, and nothing to grab on to.  The problem with this hike is that if you go too early, and the snow hasn't completely melted, you end up hiking over snow-patches that, if you were to slip and fall, shoot you straight off the side of the mountain.  On a hike up Mt. Juneau in the eighth grade, I famously made my father put me in a harness, and tie a rope to me while hiking over one of these snow-patches -- my sister practically skipped over it.    

Because it has been unseasonably warm this summer, I figured the snow-patches would be at a minimum and I thought it wouldn't be much of a problem.  When we reached the waterfalls -- which usually have some snow covering them -- and there was little to no snow, I thought I was home free.  That did not end up being the case.  About an hour beyond the waterfalls we started hitting the first snow-patches.  If you have any fear of heights, you will know that going across a snow-patch while going slightly uphill, is entirely different from going across a snow-patch while going slightly downhill.  So while I was nervous going up, I wasn't in full-on freak-out mode. In other words, I had not developed Tourettes and lost control  of my limbs at that point.

As you can imagine, going back down the snow-patches did not go well for me.  I got over the first two smaller ones without having to talk to myself, but midway through the third one I started cussing profusely -- never a good sign.  My Dad is an extremely experienced hiker, and he has always been really patient and helpful with me, but if you aren't afraid of heights, you can't fully understand what is happening to a persons body in these moments.  It involves such an intense spike in adrenaline and anxiety that everything in you is telling you to stop, sit-down, hold onto whatever you can grab on to, and never let go -- all while shouting and/or muttering obscenities.  Reason often does not prevail. 

Once we reached the next snow-patch, my Dad suggested I use his ice axe and offered to hike below me so that if I started to slide he could stop me -- my rational mind told me that my Dad was attempting to provide me with a false sense of comfort.  If I slipped, I'd be taking him with me, but I appreciated the gesture and I took the ice axe.  In another attempt to comfort me, my Dad gave me a brief how-to guide on using the ice axe.  He explained, prior to going over the next snow-patch, how I should hold the ice axe and said, "if you start to slide, you can flip your body over onto your stomach and slam the axe into the snow to stop yourself."  Words to avoid when trying to get a person scared of heights over a steep snow-shoot: sliding, flipping, body, slam, axe.  In the 15 minutes that I used the ice axe, I held it so tightly I gave myself a blister.  

Because I'm numbers-obsessed, I had counted the number of snow-patches we'd gone over on the way up and knew exactly how many more I had to get over.  After lots of leg shaking, muttering "don't look down" then looking down, stopping, holding tightly onto things that would easily rip out of the ground, and muttering to myself some more, we made it back to the snow-patchless part of the trail.  While we'd been at the top my Dad had attempted to casually suggest taking the Old Mt. Juneau Trail down -- which, (WHAT THE FUCK?) I thought was no longer hike-able at all.  I stupidly felt comfortable that I had fully squashed this suggestion before our descent, but after the snow-patches, he brought it up again! I said I'd had enough excitement for the day -- and I had. It might sound silly, but dealing with the anxiety and fear of heights is almost as physically draining as the hike itself! My plan was to distract him when we reached the fork that lead to the old trail and hope that he'd just forget about it.  Great plan, I know.

Upon reaching the old trail my attempts to distract failed and my Dad started to veer off towards the right.  You'll recall that this was the trail in which I held on to a tree, refused to let go, and cried and snotted all over myself.  Right now you might be asking yourself, "where does the Old Mt. Juneau Trail start?"  That's a good question. When you arrive at the first look-out point up Perseverance Trail -- the area that is fenced off with two benches -- turn around.  That rock slide is where the trail officially begins.  It follows the edge of the mountain, which means you are hiking alongside a cliff on your left the entire time.  The meltdown occurred at a spot in the trail where there happened to be another cliff to my right.  Sheer panic.  So when my Dad insisted we go down the old trail, I stated in my most stern voice, feeling like a 12-year-old, "I'm not going."  This was met with, surprise, surprise, "Oh come on, it'll be fun," and "It's actually easier on your body than the new trail."  Sensing that I was not winning this battle, I resorted to yelling, "I'M NOT FUCKING DOING IT"  -- to my Dad, who is not someone you want to swear at.  He was unfazed and instead promised that we wouldn't go near the portion of the trail that I loathed the most and that we'd stay further inwards, where we, and I quote, would "dance with the trees."  He went so far as to tell me that it'd actually be "pretty relaxing."

Five minutes later we are on the old trail, "dancing with the trees" and my Dad informs me, after getting on all fours to get through a particularly branchy section of the "trail," that I should be aware of how slick all the dead pine needles can be.  So "dancing with the trees" was not the relaxing fairy tale he made it out to be, but rather a way to avoid sliding down the mountain on a blanket of pine needles.  Needless to say, I somewhat enjoyed this portion of the hike.  I will begrudgingly admit that "dancing with the trees" was actually kind of fun... dammit. 

We got to the very end of the old trail, which again, really isn't a trail at all, it's part tree dancing, part bush-whacking, and I don't think I'd ever been so happy to see Perseverance Trail in my life.  I even allowed myself to think about how cool I'd look if someone happened to be walking down the trail and I just popped out of the bushes, looking all hardcore and mountain-woman like... they would never know about the crying and the snotting and the insistence of harnesses and ropes.  To my delight there happened to be two hikers coming down the trail at the perfect distance.  I decided to take a different path down then my Dad and that's when the pine needles got me.  I slid, hard and awkwardly down the last four feet of the trail, got poked by a small branch in my ass, let out a weird noise, and hit the trail exactly when the two hikers arrived.  They looked concerned and asked me if I was okay, an appropriate end to the hike.  







Monday, April 6, 2015

Join the Movement: Sexualize Male Nipples Now!

Apparently it has been a slow week for ultra-feminists because the free the nipple movement is up and running again.  I am in full agreement that it's weird that men's nipples are not sexualized and women's nipples are, but for some reason -- how do I word this in a way that won't offend people... I don't care.  This is just one of those movements that I don't find exciting at all, which is weird, because nipples are exciting and women's nipples are especially exciting.

I'm all for equality between the sexes, and maybe I'm misunderstanding the movement --  I'm under the impression that it is to desexualize women's nipples. If that's the case, I'm not sure I want to do that.  If women want to show their breasts, then great, they should.  There's nothing wrong with that. I'm on board for breast feeding in public, I'm on board for women embracing their bodies.  I'm on board to take back the night.  I'm on board for all of it! But if women think they are going to desexualize their nipples by posting pictures of them on the internet, I'm concerned that there may be some flawed logic going on there.

In my opinion, women's breasts are never not going to be sexy.  It's just not something that's going to happen. And maybe I'm alone here, but I don't want my nipples desexualized.   I think a better alternative would be to sexualize men's nipples.  Why not add more excitement to an already exciting body part.  Imagine all the wonderful male nip slips that will suddenly be worth talking about.  Frank was talking to me at the gym today and I don't think he realized it, but I could see a little bit of his nipple... and it was wonderful.  #SexualizeManNipples.

Who's with me?!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Three Ways to Not Get Giardia and Have a Healthy Relationship

Yet another advice piece popped up on my news feed today titled: What Makes Couples Successful: Five Ways to Thrive in a Healthy Relationship.  I'm not even going to get into how generic these numbered advice articles are.  I will admit that I haven't read this article, and I don't plan on reading it, but I'm guessing listening and honesty are somewhere on the list.  I'm not going to point out that every relationship is different and that five pieces of advice cannot possibly make all couples successful, and I'm definitely not going to argue that some pieces of advice could actually be detrimental to certain relationships.  What I am going to talk about is the picture they chose to use for this article and the advice I would give this particular couple:

1. First and most importantly, get out of that stagnant water.  And definitely try not to get any of it in your mouth.
2. I'm pretty sure that man-bun is getting in the way of your big spooning, consider cutting it off while he's sleeping.
3. Dress for couples success.  If you changed out of your pilgrim pajamas every day, you might feel more inclined to go out and do successful couples stuff, and less inclined to wade into random ponds.




http://elitedaily.com/dating/makes-couples-successful-5-ways-thrive-healthy-relationship/931294/