Instant (Tickle Fight) Friends

In middle school, a friend of mine introduced me to a friend of hers one day, and I somehow ended up invited to that friend’s birthday party, which was, I believe, the upcoming weekend.

I knew very little about this girl, but I got her some kind of present and showed up to the party.

At the party, I knew few people, but really, really hit it off with the birthday girl – we created our own no-hands cake-eating contest (just the two of us, while everyone watched), and, because we were having such a good time together, turned the birthday party into a birthday slumber party, having girls call their parents (or check with them as they arrived originally to pick up their daughter) to request staying and having a change of clothes delivered.

During the slumber portion of the evening, when everyone was splayed across the TV room floor in sleeping bags and pallets, and the version of “When Harry Met Sally” that has the miniature interviews with old couples interspersed through the film (and therefore adds an extra hour or more to the run-time) was playing, the birthday girl and I were snuggled right next to one another.

I remember my hair being wet still, because we had also turned the party into a swimming party earlier on, and I had swum in borrowed clothes.

Anyway, she and I were watching the movie and chatting with one another off and on, when we came to the topic of being ticklish.

Neither one of us had much of any resistance to being tickled, but we both had the desire to be able to resist the way other people we knew could – mostly people with lots of siblings.

I had (and have) many siblings, so I felt like I was missing out on this special skill that people with siblings seem to have.

And so, by reasoning that it must be a matter of having been conditioned that allowed these people to resist, we agreed to test out our own conditioning.

Therefore, dozing off during the film, we both slowly and gently ran our fingers back and forth across one another’s feet bottoms (yes, the soles), so that we each could practice deep breathing and calming ourselves in the face of being tickled.

Fast forward to today, and I can tell you that our night of tickling practice paid off – most people have no idea that I am at all ticklish (this includes, of course, all the people who actually tickle me – I’m not just saying it because people don’t try or anything).

I can’t resist forever, but I still have a solid thirty seconds to a minute or so that I can resist quite well, even when the tickling is intense.

When the acrobats were hanging with us, we all had a tickle fight (because what’s the point of giving up tickle fights amongst friends, just because we’re adults?)… almost every attempt to send me into crying giggles failed, due to my power of resistance – vive la résistance! – but our fingers grew sore from jabbing at what felt like concrete or brick walls, because the extremely muscled abdomens of the acrobats were also extremely ticklish.

(This went in many different directions… now, back to my original concept with the instant friend in middle school.)

And so, years later, I still recall Sayrah, the girl who became my instant friend that one week in middle school, just about every time I consider and no-hands food-eating contest or event or when I consider my awesome skill at resisting being tickled.

***As a quick note, I totally can be tickled like crazy, and I willingly give in to it instantly when I’m in the mood for a good and deep laughing fit, but it’s nice to be able not to have those when I really just want to be a rock of calm. 😛

Anyway, I miss having that, instant friends… we even mentioned that tonight, missing the social aspect of school, where you get to be surrounded by people of similar age and intelligence at least five days a week, and friends kind of abound… adulting is tough in that respect…

Post-a-day 2019

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Laundry day

Okay, what is my actual deal with doing laundry?

When I lived at my mom’s last year, and had access to the high efficiency units that did wash and dry with a combined total of about an hour, it was no big deal – I did my laundry just about every time I had enough worn clothing for a single load.

I actually really enjoyed it.

Now – as well as just about every year prior to having the HE units last year – I can’t seem to get myself to do laundry until I’m actually about to run out of clothing… or, rather, have run out of something vital.

In high school, my best friend and I would have “swimsuit day” every so often, for which we would wear swimsuits underneath our school uniforms.

She participated, because she actually found her swimsuit top to be as comfortable as, if not more comfortable than, her regular bras.

I participated – and established – because I was out of clean bras and underwear, and so a swimsuit was my only option for undergarments.

Therefore, every couple weeks or so, we’d have a “swimsuit day”, which I could tell her about the night before, while I still didn’t necessarily out on a load of laundry (though I usually put on laundry the night I ended up pulling out a swimsuit for the next morning).

Fast forward to now: as it stands, this will be my third or fourth night of using a dress and t-shirt to dry myself after my nighttime shower…, because both sets of my towels have been used and placed in the dirty laundry pile/s.

I’m thinking it has to do, in part, with the fact that the HE washers are so much safer on the clothes, especially in terms of color transferring… when there’s a high risk of color bleed, there’s a low chance of my carefully organizing out everything to be wash-ready any time soon.

Also, it just takes so much longer with regular washers and dryers – close to an hour for each.

Seeing as how we live in Houston, I definitely don’t want to put on a load to wash, and then leave for more than an hour… and I am definitely not reliable to turn back up in an hour, if I’ve left home – I just get too distracted with other exciting things that are all out there, in the world, not in my house, you know?

And so, instead, I have laundry pile up and pile up… and I’ve been quite tempted (and even have done it with a suitcase from a trip recently) to pack it all up and bring it to my mom’s house – I never did that in college, so maybe now it’s time, at last. 😛

Also, one bit of defense for me: My current washer and dryer are reached only by going outside on the porch first, and so 1)I want to be safe and not go do that late at night (when I actually am at home and have time to do laundry), and 2)I didn’t have a key that could lock that door properly for the first month+ of living here, and it just seemed a terrible idea to leave the room unlocked, so I just didn’t do laundry for the first several weeks of living here.

Now, however, I have a key that works(!), so I can do laundry here.

The question is: Will I actually do it?

Post-a-day 2019

Passion for Fashion

Located at 227 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, is a little shop by the name of St. Hrouda.  Walking inside, one will find a combination boutique / art gallery, managed by the fashion extraordinaire Nicole Bell.  St. Hrouda’s walls are chicly lined with art and clothing from local artists and brands, including, my particular favorite, those made and designed by Nicole Bell herself.

Though I was in Brooklyn this past July, I have not yet seen this wonderful boutique/art gallery, because it has only recently opened its doors.  When Nicole first took over the space this fall, it was a somewhat drab and old-looking little shop.  Within weeks, she and her father, through their combined genius, had put together one of the most classy spaces I’ve ever seen (even in photographs).  The before and after photos of the space showed how true a transformation had taken place, and they actually had me wanting to jump up and down to celebrate the amazing results.  It is now the bea-U-tiful space of St. Hrouda, named for Nicole’s grandmother, and housing brands from New York, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Paris, London, and LA, while featuring, of course, Nicole Bell.  And the gallery portion of St. Hrouda displays art by local New York artists (including, again, art by Nicole Bell herself), all for sale.

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On a regular basis, Nicole hosts a ladies’ night at St. Hrouda – from which I always see photos of wine and fabulous personal styling sessions (Think of what Becky Bloomwood does with her customers in the Sophie Kinsella novels) – as well as a variety of other events and pop-up shops/parties to help integrate St. Hrouda into the beautiful community surrounding it.

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Photos of the Grandmother Hrouda who inspired the name, along one of the walls of St. Hrouda

Now, let’s talk for just a minute about the amazing, spectacularly inspired fashionista behind it all: Nicole Bell.  I recently had the opportunity to visit and interview Nicole in her work studio in Brooklyn, just weeks before she began work on opening St. Hrouda.  Nicole is From Houston, Texas, and, only a handful of years ago, founded her fashion brand Nicole Bell.  Nicole herself is a goofy yet stylishly sassy woman who is taking on the world with long legs and big, brave strides.  She never fails to put a smile on my face when I am with her, and her determined outer self never hides the truth of what it really takes to be successful in fashion – life is hard, and making it in fashion is even harder.

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Nicole Bell of Nicole Bell and St. Hrouda

Nevertheless, fashion is her passion, and so she is going for it with all she’s got (and then some she’s still figuring out)!

Every time I see a Nicole Bell outfit, my inner Lady Gaga whoops with joy and longing – Ooooh! I want! I want! it always seems to shout, over and over, not unlike a little kid begging for ice cream.  Nicole’s designs are impeccable and utterly breathtaking on the powerhouse female front.  When I picture my BA* self taking on the world in heels, she’s wearing Nicole Bell.  And the world is looking on in awestruck astonishment. 🙂

Do yourself a favor, and give my interview with Nicole Bell a listen.  I learned so much about the fashion world, as well as how Nicole comes up with her individual designs and collections/lines.  Her sense of gratitude to those who have contributed to her journey thus far – as well as those who continue to contribute and show their support – is clear, as well as her almost unreal dedication to sharing her eye and inspiration with the world through fashion, despite the many, many hardships that have come with her endeavors and that still lie ahead.  Nicole does not have it all figured out, and that is just part of the beauty of exploration involved in furthering her passion for fashion.

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Nicole and Khaleesi, her baby boxer, @st.hrouda

The talk these days is all about getting to know the people behind our food and our clothing  – Buy local is a regular mantra (alongside Know your farmer and Made in the USA, in efforts to support quality products and fair trade, respectively).  The woman behind this shop and clothing line is definitely worth getting to know.  Especially if you’re in the New York area, give Nicole Bell a solid look – she is local and well worth the visit.  And, even if you aren’t in the area, look her up anyway – she’s that good.

When you find yourself interested in learning about the glories, trials, and tribulations of pursuing a love of and passion for fashion, give our interview a listen.  If you missed the link above, click here to listen to the interview I did with Nicole!

Definitely check out (and follow) her Instagram accounts for St. Hrouda (@st.hrouda) and Nicole Bell (@nicolebelldesigns) – the photos and videos on there inspire me just about every day.

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Notes from the interview:

The photographer Nicole really loved from the skate park is Nico Nordström, found at http://www.niconordstrom.com/

If you prefer regular websites (or want to buy something), check out www.sthrouda.com and www.nicolebell.co.

Check out Nicole’s 2018 New York Fashion Week show here – it’s awesome.  Just scroll down a bit on the page that opens for the video.

*Bad-a**, for those who don’t know

Post-a-day 2019

Birthday Cards

I check one last time to verify that all the ink is dry, and then, since it is dry, I strategically position and carefully slide the talking birthday card into its envelope.

Satisfied with what is left visible, I lick a few fingers and rub them to the bottom edge of the envelope flap, and seal the tip of the flap to the main part of the envelope.

Perfection.

Sure, I take extra care in positioning a card, but that is hardly the weird part of this never-changing process of mine… obviously, the weird bit is where I lick my fingers.

So, why do I do it?

Well, ever since George Costanza’s fiancée died from licking all of their wedding announcement envelopes, it’s just what I’ve done.

I went through a time where I always used a sink to wet my fingers, or even the envelope directly at times, but I usually am too lazy to take the trip and care required for that to go well.

Since seeing that episode, something within me has taken the extra-safe route, and has just forbidden me to lick envelopes anymore.

Perhaps I’ve done it a handful of times since that episode, but we’re talking an actual max of five times, here… in almost 13 years. 😛

I have told myself, on occasion, that I do the finger licking because I don’t want to get a paper cut on my tongue, licking the envelope…, but I know that is false, because I just did it more cautiously after that happened, and I mostly got over the concern – yes, that, too, is a benefit of not licking the envelopes, but it is merely a perquisite of my main intention of not being minutely poisoned by the glue.

And so, thanks to that absurd episode of Seinfeld, and my dad for being my ever-buddy in watching Seinfeld, I have been perhaps forever changed, and hopefully for the better, if not just the sillier. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Chocoholic?

I remember distinctly how Nicholas H—– from elementary and middle school didn’t like chocolate.

We were all so disbelieving about it, it is kind of funny – we had never heard of someone not liking chocolate, let alone known someone… we just couldn’t understand how someone wouldn’t just love chocolate.

The irony still tickles my belly these days, whenever I have to mention nowadays to someone that I really don’t like chocolate, and, quite carefully, I strive not to offend them in communicating this fact.

Somehow, I’m a chocolate convert in reverse, I guess – I used to be all about it, and now I kind of don’t care for it, and I even dislike it at times.

Chocolate malt or smoothie?… hand it over to me, please – yumm!

Hot chocolate and chocolate milk (usually almond milk), too…

But I regularly pass on all, and I pretty much don’t like chocolate in any other form, almost ever.

And I have no idea how I got this way…, because I used to be all about chocolate.

Maybe I just never loved it for myself, but appreciated and attached to it, because everyone else had somehow informed me that that was the way to treat chocolate.

I always loved Butterfinger and Reese’s, but both of those were for the fact that something else was the main focus – the chocolate was secondary, only a coating…. I even made sure I finished the peanut butter cups on the center, not the outside edges of only chocolate.

So, perhaps I never really was a fan of chocolate, but just accepted what I understood to be desirable…

Interesting… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Comfort

At ease….

It’s funny to me, though totally believable, that my kakizome has already begun to do its work in my life for this year.

安心 Anshin

It roughly translates to a combination of the following:

  • Peace of mind, freedom from care
  • Relief, be quite free from care (anxiety, fear)
  • Feel easy (about), feel at ease
  • Feel relieved, stop worrying (about something)
  • Feel reassured, be confident (of, that), be (rest) assured

And, somehow unforeseen by me, 安心anshin has found its way further and further into my daily life these past couple weeks.

I am actually excited about the near future and the present almost every day, even when I wake up in the morning (In case you don’t know, the morning thing is huge for me).

I am not fully where I want to be – not by a long shot – but I am actually moving there now, actively and effectively heading in that wonderful direction, becoming who and how I want to be every day and night (and morning) of my life.

And it feels amazing (including the muscle soreness)…

Thank you, 安心 anshin, for your existence, care, and support in my life… truly, thank you. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

For Tonight

I love theatre, especially the musical kind.

Tonight, after much work on the part of many people, we finally got to sit down and watch an official, real, full performance of the world premier of the musical “For Tonight“.

Throughout its preparation and rehearsal time, I had learned all about the story of the show, and didn’t think anything super special about it…

Upon my actually sitting in one of the final run-throughs to do notes, I heard, for the first time, the music, the songs…

And I spent a good portion of the show, to varying degrees, in tears – it was that wonderful and beautiful.

Tonight, after seeing the whole show, with everything mostly polished and actually in order, I fell even more in love with this show and its music.

Let’s be real here: I want a CD right now, so I can listen to those voices singing those songs over and over (and over) again, until the words ride within me on their own… at the moment, I can feel the music inside me, swirling around, whooshing to the various rhythms and beats…, I just don’t have all the words in there, nor any sort of organization going from one song to another…

After tonight, I have my mental fingers crossed like crazy to have an album recorded, which would be totally awesome, using this cast of voices – I love these voices, both individually and as a whole cast.

Yumm… that’s how wonderful the Romani and all the others sound – you just want to eat them up, but savor them, too, like your favorite food/dessert.

Post-a-day 2019