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The Bang Bang Theories

Living on the Edge

So like a very compelling 1980’s Aaron Spelling tv show, I’ve left you with a cliffhanger:

Will Julie and Gopher find love on the Love Boat?

Will Donna give up her virginity?

What will happen to Blair and Tootie?

My $1 hair color had just as edge-of-your-seat nail-bitting outcome expectations. For both of us, Reader.

So here it is, after the wash out and dry, and I can hear your gasps of awe and amazement from all the way over here.

Yep. Trixie Bang Bang rocks the hell out of $1 hair color.

Now, to be clear, I only did around the hairline and the roots in the front, just the parts you mostly see.

The rest of the color is from various salons and the nice Florida sun.

You’re  not going to get highlighted parts from $1 hair color.

After seeing the moderate success of the $1 color, I decided to just go all helter-skelter and cut my own bangs, because as you may have noticed they are l-o-n-g, long.

So I chopped those up a little bit, too, Reader, and now I’m officially a beautician so make your appointments before all my open slots fill up.

 

Ahem. I mean, before all my appointment spaces are booked.

 

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Some values have been established over at Chez Bang Bang, Reader, and it came as a bit of a surprise even to myself.

So you may or may not care know this about Trixie Bang Bang, but she has spent the last year being somewhat frugal-ish. I mean, not like Sophie* Frugal, but frugal-ish.

*Sophie is Trixie’s grandmama, and she wears the crown as the Queen of Frugal. She wouldn’t buy herself even a piece of pastry from the store unless it was 85 days old and cost no more than a quarter, and for that quarter you’d better be getting a bag of those confections, not just a measly single serving.  Sophie actually convinced me to give ’em a try one time, too, because, as she said, “you just heat ’em up in the microwave for a few seconds and they’re good as new with a cuppa coffee!” Reader, that was a lie. They were not as good as new, unless maybe they tasted like flavorless tough doughballs even when they were new.

So that’s why I say I’ve spent the last year being frugal-ish.  I will still enjoy a freshly baked pastry, because comeon.  However. I have also become quite familiar with shopping at the Dollar Tree, and have been quite impressed with some of their selections, mostly in their toothbrush area (a 2-pack of Colgate toothbrushes for $1!!) and cleaning supplies (the same bleach that costs $3 at Walmart for one whole dollar here!). What I’m saying is, I’ve gotten more savvy with my limited dollars.

Some things aren’t a hit, or even a good deal. But I will say I’ve been intrigued while walking through the personal care aisle and I’ve noticed the hair color. I mean, it’s $1.

On the other hand, it’s $1.

How in the holy-mother-of-hair is this even possibly going to work respectably?

So last night I bought one because I had some very shiny and shimmery silver roots peeking through and those bitches need to be covered, because frankly they are rude for trying to outshine me.

And that’s how it’s happened that this $1 hair color is sitting on my head right at this very moment, for another ten minutes.

And so far I’m not feeling any burning or tingling or noticing any clumps of my tresses falling to the floor.

I had fully expected to get this home and find it was a small sample size of color, but no, it was not.

It was a regular portion size, the same as every other $8 box mix.

The biggest diff I noticed was #1/ it didn’t come with an after-color conditioner (who cares!) and #2/ the gloves where a flimsier material (absolutely no one cares for a $7-$10 price savings).

This morning this conversation happened between me and My Mister:

TBB: “You’re going to be super excited when you see your coffee choices this morning!”

MM: “Did you buy k-cups at the Dollar Tree???!!”

TBB: “Don’t be ridiculous! I would NEVER trust my coffee to come from the Dollar Tree!”

And that, Reader, is exactly when I learned my values of the dollar.

Rewired

Remember that time two weeks ago when I got all high and preachy and said I was going to start a 12-week yoga plan and also go on keto and basically change my entire life in one fell swoop?

Most of that didn’t happen.

Keto is just hard, ya’ll.  Yes, it made me go southern, I guess because basically I love biscuits more than I love being skinny, is the bottom line.

I think I lasted three days, and probably not all in a row, because I LOVE PINEAPPLE AND I’LL BE DAMNED IF I GIVE IT UP, KETO!

Yes, I got all shouty just now. I apologize. ~straightens skirt, clears throat~

LOL, I made myself laugh that I straightened my skirt, because we both know, Reader, I’m sitting around in my pajamas per always.

Anyway. That Keto Thing. I can see how some changes along those lines are beneficial, as in less breads and cakes and such. So I’m making some of those decisions and just saying no. But I’m saying yes to a normal amount of fruits and whatever dang vegetables seem like a good decision, because I don’t want scurvy, so there, Keto.

I know there are a good handful of you out there who say yes to the Keto, and thinks it’s easy, and you’re a stronger will than me and maybe you’re also vampires or superheros, Reader, because I like sweet potatoes and popcorn and don’t want to quit them.

So that was that.

But! On the flip side of that health coin, I’ve been sticking to my little yoga routine. And while those moves may look simple, let me assure you they are fierce. At least on this stiff ol’ body.

It has been a bit of a ….. the word?? I don’t have the word…but it’s well, it’s a struggle to fight against my inherent laziness who would rather just lay about and watch the tv.

But I’ve been fighting the lazy pull to quit and getting up and doing it instead, and I’m happy to say that while I’ve completed 10 days, I am not to the point where I’m suddenly a Nimble Nelly, but I think I may have found some grace.

Not grace in any of my moves; those are all herky jerky and I literally have to muscle myself into them and still use a bed post to help myself balance.

But I’ve found grace in not motherfucking myself while doing the moves.

My internal dialogue was really mean to me.  It was all cussy and disappointed in every single thing I am not able to do, which is mostly all of it except lying on the floor.

Yesterday I found myself saying nice things to my non-bendy knees, when they were doing the best then can. And my entire right side that is sort of froze up on reaching for the sky.  My neck that doesn’t bend easily to the left.

But nice words started talking to me, all out of the blue.  “We’ll get there – we will.  Imagine us one year from now if we just stay steady.” And I literally had no conscious thought to tell myself gentler things. It just happened, and I felt lifted and at ease with myself and I have to say, that feeling carried over all in to today.

Tonight when I did my routine I never once even thought of saying mean things to me.  It was calm and just at ease with doing what I could do.

Maybe that won’t keep up.

Maybe it will.

I just know that today, right now, I’m really liking what we’re doing for me.

It Seems More Fun on Paper

I know I told you this wouldn’t become some high road diet blog, wherein I become An Influencer and talk talk talk-ety talk about my new fantabulous lifestyle, yet here we are.

Day 2.

I’ve been super really almost-can’t-stand-it wanting something sweet in my yaw*.  I’m eating a scrambled egg with fresh mushrooms right now because I sort of skipped dinner, so now this is officially dinner.

*until right now I thought “yaw” was a fun slang word for ‘mouth’ but it doesn’t seem to be, except I think it should be, so I’m committing to it. 

I asked Almighty Google what is a more healthful substitute for sugary goodness that is also low carbs because carbs are my sworn enemy right now, and this is what Almighty Google delivered:

And all I can say is No, Google, I do not think that broccoli is an adequate CAKE substitute. Not if it were deep-fried and covered in chocolate sauce. Vile weed.

I’m almost offended on behalf of cake.

In other news of today, I decided that right now was when I was beginning a 12-week yoga challenge, let’s be clear, it is the simplest, most basic stretchy stuff that anyone should be able to do.

And yet.

I found it quite difficult.

I went through the round of poses, but again, let me be clear: I’m CERTAIN none of my positions looked like these positions. That #7?? Really? I mean. Come on. I had to pull over a chair to balance myself a little and then bend backwards WHILE HOLDING ON THE CHAIR – not my feet behind me.

I made myself a little graph and colored in my day and that is what I shall do every. single. day. for twelve damn weeks, no excuses unless something tragic happens to my body in the meantime, because this little routine can be done anywhere, as long as there’s a chair nearby.

It will be interesting to see if I in fact get more bendy along the way, or if it’s just all too late.

And that’s where we are tonight, Reader. Skeptically optimistic.

 

D-Word

Holy Roller, Reader.  We are sitting here twenty days into the New Year and today I started on some sort of an official Diet Plan, which yuck and also bleck.

I need to make some moves if I wanna walk around neeked all the time, which is what I am prone to do.  Not that the cats are complaining around here, but you know. I just need to be less physically me.  I have a – ahem – blatety-blah-blah-number-of-years high school reunion this summer. Now the good news is, my peeps have all seen the current version of me, so that’s out of the way. But it also seems like a good benchmark time to make some improvements.

Living alone in Florida sure didn’t improvement me physically. I was the exact same. Which could also be considered a win. Because since I’ve been home I think I’ve gained about five solid pounds, and that is not the direction we want to be moving.

Tonight I just had my spinach and pork chop and mushrooms for dinner and it was good, but it’s that dern ol’ sweet tooth that has a-hold of me. So Diet Me made my dessert my – wait for this – my METAMUCIL Fiber Thins Apple Crisp Cookie thing my dessert.

Because that’s how we’re rolling over here.  Just like a badass boss who wants to avoid constipation.

So that’s what’s doing over here.  I promise not to bore you with diet-y details because no one gives any shits about what I’m eating, except maybe you ARE giving some shits about my eating a Metamucil cookie – one of us will most certainly be giving some shits about that – and there you have it.

I should be good and cranky by Thursday, if not sooner.  As if the year hasn’t been angsty enough already, let’s just keep it rolling with a grouchy-making diet plan.

Loss

Our cat Nosey Dots died on Tuesday.

To say we are shocked and sad is not strong enough.

I’ve had to just sit with my sadness since then, saying nothing online and waiting to write a thing. Because he’s worth a thing being written about him.

But I wasn’t ready. I’m probably still not ready.  I cried in bed last night again.

Just the week before, he lumbered up onto the table to help himself to a drink of my water.

The interesting thing about cats is that they have super powers at hiding their illnesses until suddenly it shows up as dire straits.

Nosey was one of the triplets we rescued from the Coal River in West Virginia in 2014, back when we took pool floats to rafting a gol’damn WILD RIVER, and sheewee was that a bad decision.

However, we found three teensy tiny kittens on the riverbank and brought them home, with the intent to save them and find them super loving families.

We did both of those things.  The super loving families we were going to find for them just became one family, though, and it was ours. And that’s how our cat count quickly escalated to eight three.

They were the cutest kittens ever, these triplets.  And I cannot believe I can’t find a picture of the three of them together, back when they were so cute our friends would just drop over just to see and play with the kittens. That’s how cute they were.

No one wants to just stop and see the cats now. Because they are old and big and lazy. Like their mama.

Once they grew up they didn’t always get along with each other, but Nosey favored Gussy and would often pin him down and let him know who was in charge.

Gussy was more in charge, but he was a third of the weight and no contender when Nosey decided to love him.

Our boy was only 5 years old.

Because he was a 26 lb. hulk of a cat, I never expected a super long life from him. But I thought his trajectory would be a 12-year path. In my mind he had 12 good years.

Apparently he had large masses on his insides, and they were squashing his lungs out.

Maybe that’s why he almost always preferred to sleep with his belly up.

We had to give him a bath on Sunday, he had poops all over his cat butt. He struggled against the bath – even though it was more of just hosing down his back end.  We feel guilt, as we may have escalated the situation. He wasn’t the same after his bath.  He was sick on Monday, throwing up. On Tuesday Kenny said he’d keep a close eye on him – we thought maybe he had a cat flu kinda situation. Kenny bundled him up and put him on the couch in front of the fire where he was purring for hours while I was working.

Right before I got home from work he was having a hard time breathing.  We raced him to the vet, and at one point I thought he had died in my arms before we made it.

I did my typical push-myself-to-the-front-of-the-line move when I have a very sick cat, and they whisked him to the back and put him on oxygen. He was turning blue.

The vet asked us, “How long has he been like this?” and I interpreted it as accusatory because maybe I should have known.  Maybe I should have seen some signs.

I don’t think the vet was accusatory. He’s been my vet for 25+ years. I just took it that way because how could I not know how sick he was?  The bath, we asked him if we brought it on with the bath.  He said no, it was just a bunch of huge masses on his insides and his lungs had water in them, but no from a bath.

So I guess he was just really sick and we didn’t know. Why didn’t we know?

He was never much of a cuddler, but we miss his presence in the house.

His brother Wally has started walking around mournfully meowing for the past two days. He’s never done that before.

We are all sad and have guilt – for not knowing, for washing his butt when he didn’t want it, for not knowing. Guilt is dumb. It doesn’t have to make sense. It just is.

When we returned after having him put to sleep, My Mister checked the mail and there was a postcard addressed to Nosey – his “given” name is Jesse, after the character on Breaking Bad (Walter White Ears, Gussy and Jesse are the names we gave the triplets) – from the animal hospital where he was right then.

He’d never gotten a postcard addressed to him before from the vet.  It could have come addressed to any of his brothers, or any of the other three cats we have, because they all needed this same update. 

My Mister felt it was a sign.  To say, “It’s okay, I’m here, you did your best.”

I thought maybe it was a sign that meant, “What the fuck just happened, Mommy.”

Most likely it was just one of life’s super-random, not-so-funny coincidences.

We will certainly miss our 26-lb-life kitty. Our home isn’t the same feeling without him.

 

En-Countered

The other night I came walking down the hallway at Chez Bang Bang, flipped on the light into the kitchen and nearly jumped on up outta my skin at the sight of an unidentifiable black scary thing on my counter.

Now, it was not one of my seven three cats. First, only two of my three cats are black, and since they look alike, I group them together and count them as one item.

I do that same counting method to assess* if I qualify for the 10-items-or-less line at the grocery, too. Forty-eight cans of cat food?? ONE ITEM, PEOPLE.

*I just realized that if you leave one “s” off the end of “assess” you get asses, which is basically fitting in how I’m an asses in the 10-items line. 

It’s Al Gore’s New Math.  I’m not even sure if Al Gore is responsible for that common core situation, but since he single-handedly invented the internet, I feel safe in blaming him.  So if you’re upset with being behind me in the store, Reader, well, take it up with Al. I don’t make the rules. Well, maybe I actually do. But that is neither here nor there, nor relevant to this story. Back to the black scary thing on my counter.

I approached with utmost caution. If my time in Florida taught me anything, it’s that I’ve learned that all sorts of the things from nightmares can be just living in your house with you.

I grabbed a utensil from the counter to poke it as I approached.

And poked it’s fleshy body.

Where I discovered that the Creature of Fright was actually a black olive slice that must have fallen off of the pizza we had cooked earlier that evening.

Now, in my defense of the scary black olive, it was a little on the smooshed side and didn’t have a true olive appearance at this point in the game.

But yes. That is when I realized that maybe I’ve gotten a little jumpy from my time living in Florida, also known as one of nature’s horror stories. I say one of, because Australia. And probably Africa. And certainly the Amazon jungle. Mostly everything south and hot. And east and west and hot.

2020

Whelp, here I sit back at the ol’ Ohio homestead, Reader. Right back at it, amidst the chaos and the cats and let’s not even talk about my bags, suitcases and miscellaneous remnants of a life once lived in Florida. All that? Is STILL strewn about the house.

I know, I know! Stop yelling at me!! I’ve been home a couple of weeks already, landing back up here Christmas Eve night.  I’m going to even go so far as to say that my car may or may not still have several boxes and a wagon that hasn’t been unpacked yet.

I’ve never been this delinquent with unpacking.

I’m still walking around my fully-packed suitcases just lying on the bedroom floor, becoming home to many cat naps.

It’s been just too much to address.

It’s not a simple unpack.  I’ve got to clean out my closets and toss or donate a bunch bunch bunch of stuff, because a/ I just don’t need it and 2/ I just don’t have room for it all. I have six big closets here and they are all cramped up with stuff and it just needs to be culled. So until I make time for that, everything stays cased up and on the floor.

I did throw out one shirt the other day. I would have donated it, but it had a hole in the elbow.  It has always been far too tight and huggy, yet I liked the color. The other day I tried to wear it again, and it was way too intimate with my body and I ripped it off and threw it right in the trash, in a really dramatic fashion.

I’ve got stories to tell, Reader. Many stories. My 2020 resolution is to tell more of them to you, and not just keep ’em all in my head. I’m sorry, and you’re welcome.

My other resolutions involve eating more deviled eggs, because I really like them and decided they shouldn’t be saved for holidays and parties, and also I stole one (a resolution, not a deviled egg, that would be really odd) from Megan Markel, which apparently she resolved to “leave room for magic” one year and then six months later she went on a blind date with Prince Harry, and well, I’m ready for my magic, please. At this point I’ll be happy with Cinderella’s magic of a slew of birds and critters who will clean my house while I’m fast asleep. And leave me a platter of deviled eggs in the fridge.

 

Lessons in Life

I don’t even know where to begin, Reader.

I don’t know if we start the story where we are today or go backwards to the beginning, or just start in the middle.

All that I do know for sure is that I don’t know anything for sure. I cannot predict a damn thing.

Had you told me at the beginning of 2019 that I’d pack up my convertible and be living in Florida, I would have sworn you were on too much of that crack. But that’s exactly what ended up happening, and while I had NO IDEA how it was going to work, what I’ve learned is that each day you just do the things you can to keep moving forward and you get to a point where you look back and see the small things you did and how it piled up into some kind of a life.

I’ve learned that writing down a plan helps turn that plan into a reality. I sirrioulsy do not know why writing it down is so important vs. saying it in your head. But somehow it works out better.

I’ve learned that if I say “Yes” a lot more than saying “No,” oftentimes I’m pleasantly surprised by what comes of it.

I’ve learned I can make new friends, and meet new people who are genuinely just good-hearted and their always-present smile and laughter is the real deal.

I’ve learned I really really needed more sunshine and blue skies and bright smiles in my past year to give myself a mental reset that I’m so desperately holding onto as we stroll into 2020.

I’ve learned that sometimes I really do need to just shut. the. fuck. up.

I’ve learned that I have a whole depth of creativity inside me and what I really want to do is hold classes where people get to make fun things.

I’ve learned that things don’t have to be forever, that “for now” is quite all right.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I say I’m going to write more!, that actually writing more is the only way to write more.

I’ve learned that I can make new habits if I just get out of my own way and do the things I say I want to do.

I’ve learned that Florida isn’t where I’m ready to live just yet, Reader.

It was time to go home.  To my badly behaved cats, and my annoys-the-piss-outta-me-sometimes boyfriend, and my always-something-to-clean house, and grey skies and cold weather and let’s not even discuss the snow yet because I’ve so far successfully avoided it – but it’s coming, as sure as I know anything, it’s coming – and the potholes and the whole damn thing that’s Cleveland.

All of that is my life, and it was time to come home.

My always-reliable boyfriend flew down to Florida to help get me get here. I’m terrified of driving in West-by-God Virginia.

So he came down to help get me home.

I’ve learned that it may not be for good, because I have no idea what the future holds.

But it’s for now.

And while I miss so many things about my time in Florida – my new friends! the pool! the blue skies and no jackets required! – I’m lucky that I had this experience, and got to try out a different life, and can make plans for that life on a more permanent basis one day – but right now, this minute, I’m back where I need to be.

 

No, Florida. Thank you for having me.

Low Places

I just don’t know, Reader.

I mean, anything.

My Cantankerous Older Friend keeps telling me I need to “make a plan.”

While I don’t disagree with the effects of plan-making, I also don’t know what sort of a plan I need to make.

I woke up this morning back in my Minute House in Florida, and the sunlight was streaming in through my window and streaming across the bed, and I could see the bluest of skies outside and it was glorious and made me want to toss off my covers and jump out of bed and GREET THE DAY, which is exactly what I did, but not until 10 a.m.

I’ve been back in Florida for four days now, and I haven’t slept soundly in over a week, so when the sleeps was welcoming me this morning I said Yes to the Dress, wherein the dress in this case was my pillow.

I don’t know why I don’t sleep well sometimes. Well, actually, I do know why. I have a lot of the Worries that toss and turn me, and run around like they own my brain and it’s frankly unwelcomed advances and maybe they’ve listened to Bill Cosby’s methods and they just drug me and have their way with me until the wee hours of the morning, when I’m finally able to sleep out of sheer exhaustion.

Let me just go on the record as saying, it is hard to think creatively at all when I’m sleep deprived. I muddled through the week, and matters were not made better when I agreed to spend the night at My Cantankerous Friend’s house on Thursday.

We had a girl’s night out planned, and she lives a hop-skip-and-a-jump to my workplace, and spending the night vs. a 40 minute drive home and then back at it a few short hours later, well, it just made good sense to spend the night, plus it was a girl’s night so extra bonus points.

The night was fun enough, but the daybed had a hard bar in the center, which of course hit me right at my tweaked-out hip area and so there was a lot of discomforts going on. And it was low to the floor, and when I awoke at 2 a.m. for my clockwork pee, the bed was so low, and my knees were so not participating in their job of bending, and I didn’t know how I was going to get up. I literally – LITERALLY – spent a good five minutes trying to work my way around, first on my back and then flopping onto my stomach and trying to push myself up, but I could not gain any purchase on anything to hoist myself either front or back, and finally just gave up and figured that this daybed was just where I lived now.

I had resigned myself to this being just where I lived now. Trapped in a low daybed.

Her cat came in and licked my chin for a while, and then that must have bolstered my courage to try again, and do I did, and somehow channeling the strength of Jaime Sommers, I managed to hoist up and go pee.

And this, Reader, is basically how my life is going right now.

I somehow bolster the strength, hoist up and keep trying again.

I don’t know what I’m going to do from one day to the next. Am I going back to Dreary Cleveland?? The happy parts of Dreary Cleveland are my peoples, my house and my comforts, which does a lot to offset the drearies.

But then Florida!

Delivers an absolutely stunning Florida day, and why the hell would I go back to grey skies?? I ran errands today with a smile just spread across my face, sipping water and feeling like there was NOTHING I couldn’t accomplish in life. Unless a low daybed is involved, and then my accomplishments are in question.

Reader. I spent this morning reading and writing in a mindfulness journal today, and shopping at the Goodwill for some items for My Cantankerous Friend – she repurposes old yucky things into beautiful new things, so I went scouting for those things to put in a birthday bag of goods for her for next week (which was super successful and cheap-o!) – and I felt really positive and basically in love with life today.

I don’t know where this story –  or my life – is going. I just know that it was a good day, and I keep trying. I hope the same goes for you, Reader.

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