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Ballet and body image

12 Jun

I, like millions of other little girls, grew up dreaming of being a prima ballerina. As soon as I was able, I began checking out the same three books about ballet from the library over and over and over, poring over each page, each photo, each dance step tutorial. My favorite was about a deaf girl who kept the beat of the music by feeling vibrations through the floor. Soon I had every position memorized and began using my dresser as a ballet barre. I begged my parents to send me to lessons – reasoning it was only fair that I take ballet, as my brother took baseball and we should each be allowed to have one extracurricular hobby.

Tutus are rad.

Modern tutus are affordable and come with stretchy waistbands so even non-ballerinas can pretend to be ballerinas in the privacy of their own homes.

I loved everything about ballet: the dancers’ strong, long limbs; their high, tight chignons; the grand pianos in the practice rooms; their romantic performance skirts; their utter fanaticism – skipping high school to study dance, shipping their preadolescent selves off to Russia to become the very best at a dying art, eschewing the pubescent party scene to practice plies and pirouettes.

Little did I know that while Little League is nearly free, ballet lessons are expensive. I took a single year of classes before my parents gave up the budgetary ghost, during which I learned many useful facts:

Pippi

  • Pirouetting to the left is harder than to the right
  • Tights + leg hair = itchy
  • I am more flexible than the average person, but not more flexible than the average ballerina
  • I have a perfect point
  • If part of your Halloween costume as Pippi Longstocking involves wire hangers in your braids, and you don’t have time to change before class, your braids will scrape the wall during your barre work, and probably leave a mark

The most important lesson I learned, though – imparted to me personally by Madame Instructor herself, a wizened old woman and an expedient disciplinarian – was that I simply did not have, and would never have, the “body type” of a real ballerina. It’s hard to fathom how the teacher could have possibly drawn any conclusions about my suitability for – or interest in – an adult career in professional dance based off of my 9-year-old body, but there you have it. And thus one of the many seeds of body hatred was sown in my innocent little mind. I was not thin enough, not rich enough, not good enough for the one thing I wanted more than anything else: to dance, dance, dance.

So, were there any evil grown-ups in your childhood life that tried to squash your dreams for no good reason? And do you remember a particular moment when your self-image (body- or otherwise) was thoroughly cemented in your wee childlike mind?

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Things rich people get for free

27 Mar

I flew first-class a while ago. I figured that it would be the same as regular-class, except with bigger seats. OH NO, my friends, THAT IS NOT SO. There are free things. THEY GIVE THE RICH PEOPLE FREE THINGS. Allow me to regale you with a list of Unlimited Things Rich People are Given for Free While Flying:

  • Alcohol
  • Soda
  • Tiny bottles of water
  • Tiny candy bars
  • Cookies, pretzels, peanuts
  • Hot towels*
  • Dinner**
  • GIANT ARMRESTS
  • Pillows, blankets
  • Seats that recline to a comfortable and reasonable distance
  • First choice of where to put your crap
  • Obsequious service

I’m not kidding about that obsequious service part. After partaking liberally in everything that was free, I passed out in my chair. I woke up at some point to adjust my position in my 45-degree reclining chair (!) and the attendant said, “You know, if your drink goes flat I can replace it for you.” SERIOUSLY.

* I’m still not clear on the purpose of these. I watched the old white men to see what they did with them. One guy wiped his hands, another guy wiped his face. I briefly considered taking a bum bath for lulz (ha!) but just copied the white-hairs, minus the face thing cuz makeup, duh.
** Not just any ordinary plane ride dinner, you guys. It had an entree, a fruit side, a salad, chips, a dessert and actual silverware on a freakin’ platter. A PLATTER. And a cloth napkin.

Time for some fluff

14 Mar

No really, fluff! Check out these faux-furry bad boys:

What do we all think of these boots? I know, I know, they look kinda like Uggs (which, from what I hear, are not waterproof and become stinky after a while), BUT, these are waterproof and snowproof. YES!

I am in need of some rain/snowproof boots because I LIVE IN PORTLAND and the cuffs of my pants are pretty much always soaked. Not to mention my feet. Plus they just look sooooo cozy. ZOMG cozy. I would put them on and feel like a warm furry bear with opposable thumbs in a cozy bear cave next to a roaring bear fireplace drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream and teeny tiny marshmallows. It would be magnificent.

Special ladyfriend bought me a proper pair of wellies a couple of Christamasses ago but they don’t fit right and we forgot to exchange them. These are waterproof AND cute, right? Or do we think the faux fur thing is going to go out of fashion really really soon? Or do we hate it in general? Clearly I need your sartorial guidance, internet. So tell me, should I get the bear boots or will I look like a giant dork? (Ha, as if I could help that. I was a mathlete, after all, dorkdom marches through my veins like radioactive rubber pants.)*

*Bonus points if you can name that quote.

Jerks on the internet, jerks in real life

5 Mar

As you might guess, I spend a fair amount of time on the internet. It’s a pretty great medium for curating Important World News, tasty new recipes, and ridiculous makeup tutorials (little known fact: I’m secretly a drag queen). It also works pretty well for meeting new friends who share my interests, as opposed to the IRL version of meeting new people, which mostly involves proximity. Why leave things to chance when you can find new friends who are pre-approved by the internet as awesome, amirite?

As such, I like to host meetups – which are real-life get-togethers for internet people. I do dance ones, and queer people ones, and feminist people ones, and anything else that sounds interesting. Because, despite my misanthropy, I have this irrepressible urge to meet and become friends with people. I can’t explain it, it’s just the way it is. I organize monthly bar crawls, am doing Portland’s first-ever queer bar takeover this Saturday, and throw an obscene number of parties despite the smallness of my house.

This last Saturday I organized a lesbian bar crawl – it was fun as always, and I got to see some familiar faces as well as meet a bunch of really cool new people (WHY didn’t I get everyone’s phone number?! Oh, right – I was busy taking shots.) The night got off to a rocky start, though, and ended on a sour note.

The beginning: A handful of women (who had been confused by the invitation and shown up an hour early [admittedly my fault]) were quite cold to me and others when we arrived. I thought at first they may have been upset at the timing of our arrival – but they seemed to be having a good time talking to one another. After a bit of awkwardness, as we were gathering up to head off to the next bar, this pack of … ladies… announced loud enough for at least one person to hear that they were leaving because there weren’t enough femmes in attendance.

Leaving. Because. Of. Lack. Of. Femmes. Honestly, I think I probably brought enough femme for everyone (red lipstick, 3-inch heels, crinoline dress, checked stockings, flower headband, hairspray’d updo). But that’s beside the point. Here was a group of people who’d knowingly showed up to make new friends, and then decided to leave because some of the people in the group didn’t look as they prefer. They didn’t even TRY to talk to anyone outside their group, despite my frequent attempts at engaging them. Good riddance, I suppose. But I still just can’t fathom why of all the things there are to do on a Saturday night, you’d choose to go to an event designed for mingling with such a narrow mind. What a pack of bitches. And what a shitty switch from the usual “you can’t be in the lesbian club because you’re too femme” crowd. Frying pan, meet fire.

The evening progressed well after that, and everyone else was nothing but charming and lovely. There was much cider-drinking and cheese-eating and general loudness. Special ladyfriend ran into her straight friend on the way to one of the bars, and we had a straight male ally show up, and everyone welcomed both of them as they would any other nice people. Because that is what normal people do! It doesn’t matter what your gender or orientation or gender presentation is, there is a human being underneath all that shit who is probably funny and interesting and smart in ways that are different from you. Or maybe they’re an asshole. Either way you won’t find out unless you talk to them. Why the hell would anyone give two shits about anything else?

When we got to the last bar we split into two groups as there were so many of us. Unbeknownst to me, as I was busy laughing my ass off, someone on the other end of the room who had been with the original group of crankypants people but stayed behind, was going on a cissexist, transphobic rant. As I innocently ogled pole-dancing pictures on my friend’s phone and arranged people into ridiculous poses for photographs, this was happening. I didn’t find out until the next day when my friend who witnessed the rant, messaged me to tell me she wouldn’t be coming to anymore of this type of get-together. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t either.

I’m not really sure how to police people’s behavior at something as casual as a bar crawl, especially when I am likely to quickly become too intoxicated to really notice anything but the fact that everyone is suddenly very interesting and hilarious. Until I figure it out, though, meetups may have to be in a holding pattern.

Except this Saturday’s meetup, of course. That’s already scheduled and is an unstoppable steamroller of queerness. If you live in or near Portland, you should come. Unless you hate femmes, not-femmes, trans people, or any other group of people for no good reason. Then you should just stay home and eat moldy waffles.

Six years of self-involved drivel!

8 Feb

Guess what today is, guys?!?

Today marks the sixth anniversary of THIS BLOG! Amazing, eh? It’s weird to look back on the stuff I was writing in 2006 and think about what was going on in my life then and remember how whatever topic I chose was sort of a proxy for how I was feeling.

It’s rare I discuss actual personal life or stuff of that nature on here, because, well, some of you know me IRL, and as for the rest of you – if you don’t comment, I have no way of knowing whether you’re a real person or actually secretly scary monkeys from 4chan hell-bent on discovering my address and “lighting” crosses in my yard:

Anyway, why not take a little trip down memory lane in honor of this blog’s birthday, eh? It first began waaaay back in the days of MySpace. Everyone had a blog then.

At some point, I killed that blog – I think it had to do with an ex. I transferred all the posts over here, and some didn’t make the cut. Most of the “archives” that didn’t make it were the fashion posts, as I didn’t have the original pictures. Additionally,  all the readers were people I actually knew – so I could post pictures of myself wearing dorky outfits asking questions like, “Does this blouse make me look washed out?” and get responses without wondering if I’d be recognized by psychos and set on fire (or, alternatively, mocked).

Many more posts didn’t make the cut because they were too personal. This space, which started as a creative outlet and personal record, has morphed over the years into a space for political commentary and general whinging. Which is fine. Although sometimes I do miss the bully pulpit of personal offloading.

In any case, here are some posts of note from the Wayback Machine to celebrate the sixth blogiversary of this them thar internet home of ours:

Thanks for reading, you guys make my internet-life complete! <3 <3 <3

Pop hits of the whenever

18 Jan

Here are some random songs with which I’ve been enamored at one point or another in life. Most of them started out as a sort of ironic love, and then at some point the irony left and the love remained. So if you were less awesome than I am, you’d be afraid to admit you like these:

Oh, Phil Collins. I have a factory copy of your Greatest Hits. It was actually among the first CDs I ever bought myself, along with my first real CD-playing stereo (an upgrade from the tape deck boombox and the discman from my little brother). All the boys make fun of you, Phil, but you know what? At the end of the day, you may be short, pudgy and balding, but you’re still a rock star.

I came to Journey late in life. Not too late to realize the AWESOMENESS that is Journey, though. Haters gon’ hate, I don’t give a poopie. STREETLIGHT PEOPLE, you guys. Streetlight people. WERD.

Fleetwood Mac RULES. Everyone knows Landslide (or at least the Smashing Pumpkins cover), and Go Your Own Way, but I didn’t find out about Rhiannon until Steve Jobs invented Pandora. Just kidding, Steve Jobs didn’t invent Pandora. Anyway, Stevie Nicks, woooo!

EDIT to include Peter Gabriel. How could I forget the man who does duets with Kate Bush AND Paula Cole? Hot.

And that’s all you get for today. What are some embarrassing songs you like? It’s notable that embarrassing songs are suddenly cool when sung at karaoke night. Keep this in mind, internet people, next time you’re drunkenly pawing through those giant directories of karaoke songs to sing at the local watering hole. The cheesier, the better!

The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 2

17 Jan

(Read Part 1 here.)

So the couch. It was missing. We had nowhere to sit. Or rather, we had places to sit, but they were not cozy. They were, in fact, hard-backed wooden dining chairs, which are the same hard-backed wooden dining chairs I still have. Although they’re in rather desperate need of a refinish, especially after L and I worked so hard to refinish the dining table, now nothing matches.

In any case, we were couchless. This would make our soon-to-be-scheduled Rocky Balboa marathon viewing session rather uncomfortable. (If I haven’t espoused my love for Rocky here before, let me do so now. I loved those movies, in particular movie No. 1. “Yo Adriennneee!” What a cutie.)

So naturally being of the nonconfrontational sort, I went directly to bed, in hopes the problem would solve itself overnight. The morning revealed lovely rays of sunshine bursting through the Oregon cloud cover. The sunbeams fell, of course, on a large gaping hole in the living room where the couch belonged. (Also, the couch at the curb had disappeared, but that was less noteworthy.) So, I did what any sane postadolescent-posing-as-an-adult would do, I put on some flip-flops and stalked to each of the neighbor’s houses and asked if they’d seen anyone make off with the couch. Each neighbor shook his or her head, admitting that they’d been at work or hadn’t been paying attention, or just hadn’t noticed anyone carting a giant brown behemoth furnishing under their noses and off to Timbuktu.

By the time I got to the last house, the house directly behind ours, I let out a heavy sigh and said, “Well, I suppose I’ll just have to file a police report, then.” I mean, it was worth a pretty penny, particularly in our postcollegiate salad days. I’m sure the cops wouldn’t have rubbed two sticks together to find the missing couch but what the hey, worth a shot, right?

That’s when the tubby, prematurely balding fellow behind the Scotch-taped screen door paused. “Wait,” he said. “I … wait here.” He disappeared into the dank interior of his 1.5-bedroom shanty, which was quite likely larger and posher than our 1.5-bedroom shanty. I stood. I shifted my weight from left to right. Right to left. He reappeared, slowly emerging from black to brown to gray, smelling faintly of clove cigarettes and wet dog hair.

“Well, we have your couch,” he relunctantly admitted.

“Reaaa-he-heeeally,” I remarked.

“Well, you see,” he said.

“Yes?”

“In this neighborhood.”

“I see. Go on.”

“Well in this neighborhood, when a couch is positioned as yours was,” he continued.

“You mean, in a yard?” I asked.

“Well… yes. By the curb.”

“By the porch.”

“In this neighborhood…”

“I see. This neighborhood.”

“Well, we thought it was free.”

“I see.”

Much hemming and hawing later, the truth came out that they had kidnapped our couch, thinking (or at least, pretending to think) that it had been abandoned. They swapped ours for theirs, placing their 70s monstrosity by the curb, where a really real free couch ought to be positioned. Someone had pulled up with a pickup to take that one away, and naturally now they were seatless.

Nevertheless I convinced them to return our couch, explaining that it was not, indeed, free. The end result was that the burly men who lived in the house behind us were able to detach all our various doors and manhandle the couch inside. We did end up having a cozy spot to sit whilst watching Rocky’s 80s workout montages after all. Hooray!

Moral of the story? You can’t trust your neighbors. Or can you?

The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 1

17 Jan

There we were. As if it wasn’t horrible enough to be relocating to a city I hated, it wasn’t even for a decent reason – my car had broken down and getting to and from work was becoming a problem. So it was within-walking-distance-to-the-office we went, and with us came our couch. Leather. Boxy. Huge. Completely un-take-apartable. Definitely not from Ikea.

A2 had decided more than a year ago to divert one of her financial aid checks to something besides tuition, instead choosing to blow that wad of government cash on something ridiculous and bulky. She’d spent three months waffling between a pool table, and this couch. The couch won, seeing as it would serve as something to sit on whereas the pool table could be sat upon, but would be the worse for wear from it.

In the early, halcyon days of our relationship, this seemed like a perfectly logical decision. Now, though, as we stood, sweaty and defeated, on opposite ends of a couch completely stuck in the too-small doorframe of our new, tiny house on the shady side of a shady town, it was revealed for the irresponsible fiscal decision it was.

“I have to be to work in an hour,” I said.

“Stop dropping your end!” A2 said. “Here, try twisting it to the left. No, YOUR left.” She sighed, frustrated with my incompetence.

It’s a well-known fact that I am horrible at moving. Every part of it – from packing to carrying to unloading and unpacking and organizing – I despise it all. Left to my own devices it could take weeks to get fully moved, since I’d probably just tote each item to the car one by one, and stop for iced coffee breaks on the way. I am one of those people who will simply live in a jungle of boxes for six months until I am sufficiently motivated to put things in their various places.

So of course, this couch was literally and figuratively a sticking point for me. We struggled to get it in, then struggled to get it back out, since we certainly couldn’t leave it hanging halfway in the living room and halfway on the porch. I was quite ready to throw up my hands. We called a friend. She came over and tried to help, to no avail. Time was ticking. I had to get to work. A2 decided to throw the couch across the yard, in order to punish it for not fitting in. Didn’t think couch-throwing was a thing that could be done? Well you, of course, are wrong. It didn’t go far, mind you, but the couch’s feathers were certainly ruffled. We decided to leave it be until it could be properly handled. We moved it against the porch to protect it from any rain that could come along, and went our separate ways.

I went to work, and she went back to our other house to tidy up. We both figured we’d return later, with reinforcements and recovered muscles, and somehow get the couch in the house using our brains and possibly some screwdrivers. I regaled my coworkers with my sob story, hoping one or all of them would volunteer to come over and just do it for me. No such luck, of course.

Hours later, I returned from work to my house all a-shamble from unpacking. The lights were on, A2 was home, and the couch was nowhere to be seen. “Hooray!” I thought. “She’s got it inside at last.” Everything was as it should be – the couch inside, and me not having to do a lick of manual labor! I noticed, in the gloaming, that a hulking object was by the curb – not our couch, but someone else’s. A white one, upholstered, with wood trim. Likely from the 80s. “Huh,” I thought. “Someone’s getting rid of a couch, how odd.”

I burst into the living room, excited to flop down on the couch and revel in my newfound comfort. But alas, there was no couch to be found. Only a bewildered-looking A2 standing in a sea of half-unpacked boxes.

A bit of investigation revealed that, upon her return home, the house had been as she left it, but the couch, which if you recall had been residing peacefully in the yard when we left, had disappeared, replaced by the aforementioned curb-bound white whale of a seating arrangement. This, this did not bode well for the new ‘hood. Couch thieves were afoot! Roaming hither! And thither! And more importantly, purloining our prized possessions! (And then replacing them with their inferior couches. Smooth move, robber barons. Unconventional, but smooth).

…to be continued. Cuz I got bored.

On Winning: Magazine Quizzes, Self-Knowledge and Being Bossy

29 Nov

While I was holed up over the Thanksgiving holiday (it is a family tradition to barricade ourselves in a tastefully decorated bunker designed to withstand 9 out of 10 potential apocalypse scenarios for several days while testing the limits of our sanity), I flipped through pages and pages of O, the Oprah Magazine. My mom stashed them under the guest bed so that I’d have some light reading to pass the time after my daily gavage.

Me, on a good day.

In one of the O’s, I found a little magazine quizzie. Amazingly, it was not designed to help you determine your flirting style, or choose which thigh is the fattest. It was supposed to tell you what your passion is, or your life’s purpose, or some such equally ridiculous thing. It starts off innocuously enough, asking you what you wanted to be when you grew up, and then requires you to recruit a friend to figure out your strengths, etc. Naturally, as I was alone in the dark in a room, I skipped all that and went straight to the “what motivates you?” part, where it became immediately apparent that I am insanely competitive.*

Now, this may surprise you, gentle readers, as I seem pretty laid-back, right?** I despise team sports, which are normally a refuge and an outlet for the hypercompetitive. I don’t work on Wall Street or in sales, but nevertheless, my motivate-y quiz’s results don’t lie: my main motivator is not, as previously suspected, forging deep friendships or amassing huge quantities of money, it is Accomplishing Impressive Things and Kicking the Asses of Others. Perhaps it’s tied to my misanthropy. Who knows. I do suspect there is a grain of truth in there, though I am a titch disappointed my results didn’t show that my main motivator is a quest for Truth with a capital T.

In any case, since I’ve been thinking about my List of Doom and motivation in general, I’m now stuck with the task of finding worthy competitive opponents for My Life. Thing is, I can’t compete with just anyone. There needs to be moderate enmity. It’s most effective when tucked behind a façade of friendship. In short, my relationship with my Competitrix needs to be a little… twisted.

Little-known fact: I am obsessed with LiLo.

Example: Back in school, one of my friends and I had a falling out. Before we patched things up, we were in a math class together. I aced the class, in large part due to the fact that I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of seeing me fall behind. Twisted, right? Whatever. This is the internet. Judge if you want, but you’re the one sitting alone in a dark room reading this.

Anyway. I don’t have fights of that caliber with a lot of people – and therefore suffer a dearth of worthy foes. This is probably a good thing, but barring participation in the classic competitive arenas of team sports, sales, high school or foot races, I really have no idea how to compete. There is always the whole “competing with yourself” idea, which seems to have worked out well enough for my burgeoning running habit, but it so far has failed to deliver any brag-worthy achievements – no marathons, no relay races, no real visible notches other than a pretty damn efficient cardiovascular system.

Barring claws-concealed competition with frenemies, one motivator I’ve found no shortage of over the years is The Naysayer: people telling me I can’t or shouldn’t do something. Nothing like proving an a**hole wrong to make you feel alive, am I right? Examples and their results:

     Challenge: “You can’t be a vegetarian in Southern Oregon.”
     Results: Was veg for 10+ years.

     Challenge: “You’re a girl. You can’t run alone on the streets. Especially not when it’s dark out. You will definitely be raped and killed.”
     Results: Ran 8 miles a day at O’Dark-Thirty with no incident for years. Then got a gym membership to continue doing same, but near a heater.

     Challenge: “You can’t get into an Ivy League school.”
     Results: Done.

Some recent/pending challenges:

  • “You’re not built for upper-body strength, and will never do a pull-up.”
  • “Ballet is an impractical skill.” “You’ll never catch up to people who took lessons in childhood.”
  • “Your meetup groups are stupid and laughable.”
  • “You can’t take an aerial class because of your back injury.”

What kinds of things have people told you you couldn’t do over the years? Did it motivate you to do them anyway? Who do you compete against or with?

*Actually, the results were “you are highly motivated by Influence and Accomplishment.” Translation: I’m bossy and I like to win. Duh.
**More likely: I like to think I’m laid back, but in actuality am not laid back at all. Case in point: I once had some roommates that redecorated the living room without consulting me first. I had to be carefully talked down from throttling them with the full force of my lack of upper-body strength.

Day Seven: Gold star for me!

21 Nov

Starting with Friday, I spent the weekend doing Scary and Challenging Things, some of which were on my List of Doom:

No. 56: Take a hip-hop dance class:

After my epic failures at taking dance classes in the past few weeks, it’s understandable that I almost didn’t go to this class on Friday. I had to drag my mopey self out of my safe, safe bed to go out. I posted several apocalyptic tweets about how 100 percent sure I was that it would be a horrifying, humiliating experience. Not so! Teacher lady was super-awesome and friendly and so were the other students. We danced to Michael Jackson. Or rather, they danced, I stumbled around and, miraculously, was mostly able to keep up.

Also: Forcing internet strangers to sign up for stuff with me is, as it turns out, an excellent way to trick myself into doing things that are terrifying. Also it helps with goal No. 38 (below). Although technically I suppose I could cross this goal off my list now, I think instead I will modify it to “go to hip hop class every week until I can dance like a crazy mad dance fiend.”

No. 38: Organize one meetup per month

Above dance class was attended by two shiny new members of my dance meetup group. Yay! One of the people I’ve known for years, the other was a brand-new to Portland beginning dance enthusiast. WOOT! The internet truly is a grand place. Afterward we went to Produce Row and had fancy drinks. Fancy!

No. 72: Go to Barre Method class

On Saturday I got up relatively early and went to a Bar(re?) Method class. It was absolutely divine. Usually I hate the Pearl, but apparently yuppie jerkalopes sleep til noon on Saturdays so I managed to find a parking space easily, and only got hassled by one middle-aged botox victim in a North Face technical jacket with a tiny dog on a leash.

The bar studio was amazing. The people at the front desk were actually friendly and gave me a tour instead of looking at me like I was an alien (which sometimes happens when you are a new person at a fitness or dance studio – go figure). Then I got into the classroom: Plush carpets! Clean mirrors! Personal attention! Very few other people! Amazing workout! Still sore! Going again Tuesday! Seriously you guys – the teacher remembered my name AND that I have a back injury AND remembered to tell me about modifications for stuff that hurt. YAY!

No. 43: Go on 52 hikes

Sunday: I rounded up the Special Ladyfriend and the Roommate and we went trek-trek-trekking. I had to wear three pairs of pants to stay warm and I almost popped my leg fully out of its hip socket, but we made it a full 4/5ish miles through the woods, merrily kicked our way through giant piles of leaves, and only saw three or four other people, all smiling, mostly with adorable dogs. Dogs! Yay! This means I have only 51 more hikes to go…

In conclusion: Go me! Also: Please say nice things in the comments! It will keep me motivated to do other things from The List of Doom. Like visit y’all. And send y’all postcards.

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