Gritty City Woman

Gritty City Woman
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

This Blog Has MOVED!

This blog has MOVED to it's own dedicated website,! Friends, Bloggers, Followers, pretty please: 

1. Update your feeds. 

2. Follow me/bookmark me on the new site. 
3. Feel free to come back here to peruse vintage gritty city woman. 

Click on the link above, and because I am soooo excited and overzealous, you can click HERE too! 

See you on the other side! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sometimes You Are Who You Surround Yourself With!

Over part of the summer and now into the fall, I've taken a new outlook and it's working for me. I found myself getting sucked into the grind of being a full-time caregiver. Part of it was parenting and being the primary caregiver of my son who is a high functioning autistic. The other part was taking care of everyone else.

I got tired and endured some wake-up calls.

I took good steps to befriend myself again. I focused on my marriage. I moved on with my day as positively as possible if things got hard. I made plans for the present and future. And it's not that long ago, that I uttered aloud to my husband, "Hey, you know what? I'm actually happy."

I wish I could give myself sole credit for getting through some of the and muck mire, but I can't. No, others and the universe intervened to help. I want to share one of my favorite helpers that is one of those friends that you find in the right place at the right time.

I met G at a charity event. Our shared likes and common parenting experiences (she has an older child who has a similar diagnosis as mine) brought about great conversation. And this conversation continued on socially and it's been delightful.

So, there's the friendship aspect but G goes beyond that. She had tough issues like I had endured and some of these issues she had to deal with on her own. But despite that, she remained positive. She has many passions and interests that she pursues. She makes plans to go and do. She draws in people like a magnet. She's forward looking. And she's an amazing advice giver even though she didn't really know she was doing that.

She steers clear of the autism message boards, blogs, and online support stuff, the stuff that I was neck deep in. She said that those kinds of things tended to weigh her down and promote misery. She looks at only materials that help, bolster, and boost. She also told me about her self-taught skills in letting go of some stuff and focusing more on the things that move you forward in better directions. I, who enjoy G's easygoing, laid back grace, smarts, and honesty, became an eager pupil. I thought, why can't I do this too? Not only could I do it, I flourished! (Thanks G!).

It was hard at first because I thought if I dumped everything (particularly the autism blog I was writing for) I thought I'd be irresponsible. Really. But to the contrary! For me it was responsible. I know my kid's condition inside and out. What else did I need to know right now? I felt refreshed when I didn't have that exposure to the venting, bitching and cries of misery. While I understand it's importance, and I totally get it, for me, it just pulled me down in the foxhole deeper. I've been down there enough. And yeah, some days really stink, but I don't let it hook me anymore.

And you know what? I feel better. My relationships with others are better. And my child, is less difficult to deal with--he's better.

So I took this path a step further and went beyond the obvious. I have drawn near those folks who make me feel good about life. Who enjoy the simple pleasures  and dive right into them. Who pursue their passions. Who can see ahead and who can see back, but don't get too caught up in both.

Ah... peace. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

How I Learned How to Dance With My Friends

When I was 13, I befriended a girl on the basis of her having the most beautiful hair I have ever seen. My friend, “J,” had the longest, thickest perfectly curled honey colored hair that cascaded in ringlets down her back. Romantic and old school, J’s hair wasn’t necessarily the cookie cutter 80’s feathered and lacquered hair, so popular at the time (that I tried, unsuccessfully, to emulate with my straight, fine, stringy hair).  So, with a new adolescent boldness, I befriended beautiful hair girl. Of course, I got so much more than that.

J was smart, well-read, witty, and had this wicked sarcastic and delicious humor. We’d go on these rants about how much junior high sucked. I found these conversational gems wildly empowering, and it caused me to think BIG and to, better yet, think beyond. 

Then, alas, there was high school. J and I still saw each other and hung out, but not as regularly, as both of us were in the spirit of different directions. But I still always enjoyed J. After high school, well, off we went into the wildness of the world. 

Fast forward twenty years. 

So, I see my old pal at my high school reunion (which frankly I thought was lame until that point). The hair was the same gorgeous stuff, the wit was spot on, and the kindness oozed out of this woman. She was happy. And she had a very nice man on her arm “B.” B was her boyfriend and they were cool. They came all the way out here together from their home back east. J easily fell into her Washingtonian vibe and B quickly became an honorary one, in my opinion. The evening ended and luckily I found J’s contact information later on after the reunion and now I have a pen pal. It was through these correspondences that we really caught up with each other’s lives. That’s when I found out that J and B were more than just some laid-back, happy couple. They touched my life. 

J revealed to me that B was diagnosed with liver cancer. The diagnosis wasn’t great and the future began to look more finite. So, together they took some steps. B jumped into his condition head on and did what he could do. J loved him and saw him through. 

Life asked both of them to dance; instead of doing a ho-hum slow dance to some painfully dreary music, they decided to tango! Salsa! Waltz! Disco! Break dance! That’s right! They were dancing to the beat of their heart and soul and just got out there anyway, bringing the joy they could with it. And they did in their own way—subtle, classy, and strong. 

They got married. Then they traveled and traveled they did. Egypt. Paris. Prague. New Mexico.  They laughed, they reflected, they dreamed, but most of all, they danced and opened up their eyes to other worlds. All the while, B was getting through treatments, maintaining, and fighting. 

I would hear these stories and see the pictures, and I would stop and feel compelled. Compelled to do SOMETHING! Like go stand in the sun and just soak it in quietly for a few moments. To go to my favorite Czech author’s novels and skim through the delicious prose about Prague. To dream about throwing a dart at a map and simply go to the randomly selected place and engage. To savor time with loved ones. Little did they know, or grasp, the fact that they were moving many people and getting them to stop and think. They just kept dancing and invited family and friends, near or far. For me, I was given a gift. And while I have little in the way to give back to them, I just knew that the universe WOULD.

And guess who came a’callin’? 

Told he was not a surgical candidate in the past, B pursued it again. And lo and behold, the right blend of medical experts, a treatment facility, and hope all swirled together (hello Universe!). Indeed, he was a surgical candidate. Indeed, there was a chance. It wouldn’t be easy, there could be some setbacks. But all and all, things looked good. Another dance had begun. And off J and B went to the next phase.  

Being privileged and honored to be on the e-mail contact list, I have the latest scoop. Surgery happened recently and turned out just fine. There’s another surgery to come, more healing. There will be some precautions I suspect, but for the most part, things are looking great.  In fact, things are looking so good, that, this couple could be dancing with life without worry of a condition trying to cut in. Really! I am so happy for them. 

Thanks friends for teaching me some new steps! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gritty Sage Advice: Wax On, Wax Off

A couple of weeks ago, I solicited friends for questions that I could answer weekly (or more!) right here on this blog. Gritty Sage Advice. Out of all the questions, I chose this one to kick it off:

Tina Bowen writes:

"Brazilians? All the way? Landing strip? Just some sexy people that want to party?"

So, I got a wild hair and decided to write about it (bad pun totally intended, Gritty's mild perv status maintained).

Dear Tina Bowen: 

You pose an interesting question. Why would a women want to essentially and painfully rip out all of her pubic hair? Why do some go "all the way" (Brazilian) or another option (shaping the remaining hairs in a pattern, hence, landing strip)? Are these sexy people that want to party? I would hope so! But I digress....

In essence, some women chose to do this because they look, uh, "unkempt" down there in a bathing suit or some other skimpy attire. For others it's a sexy, body enhancement thing and for some cultures, it's hygiene based and customary. 

Regardless, there are several main types and subtypes of "looks." Wikipedia has an in depth article on the process, types, and techniques (including lots of, er, intimate pictures, that I am frankly too wimpy to put on this little blog). Click HERE to take a peek at the vast array of vee-jay-jays.

And Ms. Bowen, never to be outdone by other advice style blogs, this author took the plunge herself! That's right, wax on, wax off. I have a friend in the biz, and she supported my "research." In the past I've done some "bikini waxing" (a.k.a American Wax) by my lil' ol' self so my bits weren't hanging out of my swimsuit. I wasn't particularly good at this skill and suffered from some irritation and once a mini-wound. One day, I vowed to do it right (or just forget it and be au naturel). 

Well, the vow won out and I decided on the...wait for it...French wax (not the full on Brazilian). The funny part? I was totally comfortable being "exposed." Didn't really think about it actually. I was too busy yakking with my buddy. Then came the rip! 

Right side wasn't too bad. Okay, it stung a bit, but quickly died down. The left side was a bit brutal (according to my pro, this is common for one side to be more sensitive then the other). Blessed be the "cooling cream" that offered sweet relief. That's when I seriously questioned what the hell I was doing--was it worth it? After taking a peek at my "angry" skin, I was a bit freaked. But also, it looked kinda cool too. Weird. 

The skin calmed down pretty darn quickly and I actually  like how it looks. If I choose to keep it up, I can maintain it far less painfully through hair removal systems and not have to endure wax. If I don't, it was an interesting experiment. Jury is still out at this point. 

So, Ms. Bowen, probably far more info than you need, but hey, here at Gritty City Woman we aim for 150%. Please write again! 



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Slip Into Comfortable: Sex in the Gritty City

Okay, let me get this over with right now.

Dildo, vibrator, cock ring, lube, masturbation chamber, bondage, handcuffs, tickle whips, edible undies, and sex games.

Now that I have your attention, let's get busy. No, not that kind of busy. Well, actually YES that kind of busy.

I AM talking about sex. And this writer, in the big picture, got an invitation to celebrate female sexuality. But first, it started with an actual invitation.

My sister- in- law sent me an invitation indicating that she was having a Pure Romance party at her home. I thought it was maybe a lingerie party (yawn). Instead, I'd come to find out this was more than lacy underthings. This was sex toys and aids, the real stuff. A Tupperware style party to get your groove on! Of course I had to be a part of this--I thought it would be a good laugh and give me some fun and racy things to write about. Little did I know, I'd actually come away with an education!

So, I show up at the party, the wine flowed, the laughter was raucous; just  a bunch of women cackling away about their lives. So far, so good--but I wanted to see the dirty bits. NOW.

But then I met June Dewese, Pure Romance consultant.

Pretty and confident, June was our guide for the evening and there to sell products. Well, so I assumed. Really, she was earnest and there to teach too--it went beyond just making sales. I found this curious. So,  I had to ask her, snoop that I am, why do you sell THIS stuff. Why not something else, more, er, conventional? She smiled broadly and said she feels that our bodies were designed specifically and perfectly. We are meant to enjoy our sexuality and embrace it. June said that  loves sharing this knowledge and empowerment with other women and have fun at the same time. I believed her. She had my ear.

And just as we were about to gather around and take look at the, uh, items, in walk two of my sister-in-law's friends. Two attractive women in their 30's strut through the door in short faux fur coats, big, dangling  earrings, hair in a chignons, and sexy high heels. They opened their coats to reveal matching and racy lingerie! One of them, in this adorable Southern accent exclaimed, "You said this was a passion party! Here we are!" Then they proceeded to pull out multiple cans of cold Coors Lights from their coat pockets. The crowd roared. I applauded. Of course I HAD to sit next to these spunky and spirited gals.Now that's the way to live life.

So was June, spunky and living life. She started out with the simpler products at first (lube, lotions, massage) and worked her way into the big guns. We got to pass each item around and June told us exactly how to use it and it's benefits. Sure there was some giggling going on, but for the most part, the ladies were really listening. I did. Frankly, some of this stuff sounded kinda awesome.

There was more than just products just products. There was a story.

I liked the message of the Pure Romance company itself.  Founded by a dynamic woman named Patty Brisben , this company has flourished for over 17 years. Additionally, Ms. Brisben has foundations to help empower women to embrace their sexuality, regardless of age or background. She also works diligently to help women whose libidos have been compromised due to illness, injury, or surgery. I believe that often times women bury their libidos and sex drives for so many reasons--the message from this company is simply, hey there's no shame in this stuff. Talk about it. Enjoy it. Interestingly, when I checked out the company's website, the words, slip into comfortable, were the first images to catch my eye. And that's precisely it--the whole point was for women to slip into being comfortable with their bodies and who they are. 

I thought this was too cool.

So, inquiring minds will want to know--did this gritty author purchase some pleasure items for herself? Hell yeah. Ah, but is the author gonna tell you? Nah. A woman has to have some of  her own secrets!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Happy Warrior Returns

In an event where I was merely going to be an observer, I ended up at the last minute a participant and my life got a jolt.

On Sunday, September 12th, on the eve of my 42nd birthday, I competed in the Warrior Dash in the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. This is a 5K running race with obstacles to complete scattered throughout the race terrain. Examples of obstacles included traversing through chest high water and hoisting your body over large logs, climbing through rope mazes, up and down steep ladders, crawling through dark tunnels, climbing over broken down cars, jumping over a fire pit, and slipping about on slick dirty, squishy, muddy paths in soggy shoes and clothes. The crescendo? A massive slide in the mud that covers one from head to toe. And when your race was complete, the only way to clean yourself off was to dip into muddy and ice cold pond. Sounds a little miserable and maybe a task for the young and/or foolhardy, right?

Oh hell no. This event had my name written all over it. This middle-aged, wife and mom of two, little writer from Tacoma, Washington kicked booty, met the challenge (even though parts were pretty darn hard), and had a ball despite it all.

Like many others, I was dressed in costume. Here's what I wore. And that mask stayed on the WHOLE time!

Admittedly, when I started running, I had trepidation. I felt like I was running on fumes and dehydration immediately set in. The uphill start was really hard for me and I panicked. That was,  until I hit the first obstacle--chest deep, cold muddy water, and scrambling over large logs.

Something clicked in my brain and I went right into the water,  no hesitation. I moved fast and efficiently. I didn't think, I DID. I found myself forging past women (and men) half my age and not only did the spirit of all my years of athleticism come to the fold, but I was in this zone of CAN DO, WILL DO.  I don't care for heights or climbing, but wouldn't allow it as a barrier. I kept going.

The best part? I've been suffering through various health problems and some stress, and while I probably wasn't in the best shape ever, I pushed through the elements anyway and got to suspend my daily life and issues and do something new and extraordinary. And that is one powerful elixir, a healing salve, and one heck of rush.

Here's some more pics, pre and post race!

Our happy group readying for competition

Children of the mud! Post race. We are now Warriors.
Me and Gritty Husband, Post Race, Now Clean, Enjoying Sun, Suds, and Grub

Warriors in Celebration! 

 So, now I am hooked.

My sights are now set on the The Winter Pineapple Classic, right here in Puget Sound.

Here's to playing in the mud and finding your inner warrior! It's good for you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mud, Cats, Beer, Warriors: Birthday Eve

Okay, so on Sunday, on the eve of my 42nd birthday, I am traveling to Portland, Oregon to race in what is called The Warrior Dash. It's a 5K run with 11 obstacles (repelling, mud sloshing, climbing, jumping over fire and all the normal stuff like that). There is beer at the end. I suspect there will be meat. Originally, I was planning to go to document and take pictures to write about it and laugh with friends. However, instead, due to a last minute change in circumstances (or the universe calling me), I am actually in this race. I am in okay shape at the moment (eh, could be better) and have a sore ankle off and on.Guess I'll need to don my superwoman persona to compete. Well, warrior mode I guess is better to say.

Many folks are going in costume as, uh, well, warriors. At first, I didn't really think about that. I thought I'd just throw on my cool Spokane zombie T-shirt and a wig and call it good. But someone pointed out to me that being a "zombie" didn't send a good message and I needed to capture my "inner warrior." They suggested Venus Rising.

Cool idea.

I don't think I could race like THIS though. And with 24 hours left, how the hell I would find this in T-shirt form, I don't know.

So, in my travels yesterday I found a cheap leopard print t-shirt. I got it and got my answer. I was going to be a leopard. Stealth, sleek, fast--maybe a little cute. I picked up a cheap, snug, but very easy to see out of cat like mask. My husband said I missed the point--I need to accessorize warrior style.

I really don't give shit.

I don't want to be like everyone else first of all. I am really burned out with that whole program at the moment. And yes, yes, some may argue that maybe I am not "ready" to be a warrior or I've got some inner fucked up issues. I think that argument is universal for everyone (READ: we all have those issues from time to time). Boring.


I am going to dress like a leopard because I can and I can do whatever I want. I am going to hit this course and do some crazy shit.Warrior is all about the 'tude, not what you wear. I could dress as Santa Claus and still be as fierce as the rest of these nut jobs doing this race.

So, you'll see my report Monday, the day of my 42nd birthday. Any guesses on the outcome?