Friends, Take Heed

Last night one of the scariest things happened to me, and right now, in this moment, the severity of it is hitting me. Mexico works with propane that is to be lit as you go. We’re not as fortunate down here to be able to turn a knob and know that in 10 minutes or so, our oven will be pre-heated. I guess you could say it’s still a learning process for me, and one that almost permanently fucked up my life.

I had some delicious chicken ready to put in the oven, and I was going to deal with the never-ending task of folding my clothes while it was cooking. I opened the oven, made sure the pilot went on, closed it, and went upstairs to my room. I came down 10 minutes later and could smell propane. I thought, “Shit. The flame went out.” Being naive, inexperienced, in a rush, and yes, downright stupid, I clicked the fuego button to relight it, and a huge fireball sent my shirt, arm, and face on fire. Yay! I of course screamed bloody murder, but I scream bloody murder if I drop my phone, so no surprise there. The fire was out instantly, thank fucking god, but the pain was just starting.

The right side of my face, my chest, and entire right arm felt like they were still aflame. I acted on instinct and ran to the sink, dousing myself as best as I could. I called my friend Poppy and told her what happened and she rushed over, because she’s bad ass, and helped keep washcloths wet and instructed me to stay under the water. Well, I was getting impatient with that and felt that I could withstand the pain after a couple glasses of wine. (Again, I know, stupid) Up to the roof we went, where it had already started to get dark, and we tried to talk about anything but the pain. All of a sudden, I couldn’t stand it. I could feel the pain in my bones, and my lips felt like they were pulsing. “I think I need to go to hospital,” I meekly said. Poppy quickly called a taxi, one of the first of amazing things she helped me to do last night.

In the taxi, I felt like I was going to throw up/pass out/die. The driver, bless the man, said in pretty good English, “I drive like Fast & the Furious?”. “Si, por favor,” I answered, actually managing a very small smile. He dropped us off at the front door, where the security guard, seeing there was a problem, ushered us straight to the desk, calling out to the girls that I was in pain, had been burned, and needed a doctor immediately. They handed us some paperwork, and I just shook my head, ‘no, I can’t’, and instead they took me into a room while Poppy Nightingale filled out my info as best as she could. Once in the bed, I had 2 or 3 wonderful nurses applying cold compresses to the burned areas and looking at me with sympathy.

The doctor, ever prepared with his Google Translate app, informed me that they had called the burn specialist and he would be there within the hour. This was around 8:30, but the compresses helped and I could be patient. Poppy soon came in and sat with me. The nurses were busy with other things, and the cold compress on my arm only stayed cool for so long until the heat basically made them warm. Poppy Nightingale, as she’ll forever be known to me, kept the fabric changed and cool for me while the staff did their other jobs. She also got them to give me very much needed pain killers which only helped a fraction. The doctor returned to tell me that I was in danger of dehydration, and they’d need to put in an IV drip. This is where I almost lost it. The last experience I had with that had been painful and horrible, and I couldn’t imagine having to withstand more pain, but the two nurses who gave it to me were as gentle as could be.

The specialist eventually showed up, told me the pain would be bad the next few days, not to go in the sun for a week, no drinking, no smoking, and to see him on Friday. The man was great, even though he was the bearer of bad news. He also told me he wouldn’t know the severity of the burns for a few days either. FML.

Meanwhile, my friend Ozvanny, in a translation miscommunication, knew that one of his friends had been hurt and came to the hospital to see what was going on. In the back, I was soaking wet from all the washcloths, and it was now night time, which is actually quite chilly this time of year, and I knew he’d have a shirt or jacket or something. And he did. He literally gave me the shirt off of his back so I wouldn’t freeze to death on top of almost burning to death (oh the irony). Gracias!

Once again, I’m beyond grateful to know that I’m surrounded by guardian angels in my life. I’m also very thankful to everyone who checked on me to see if I needed anything, and to just say, “Wow! I’m glad you’re ok!”

The truth of the matter is that I’m really not ok today; I’m actually really freaked out. The fear of being burned is real to me, it always has been, and it actually happened. To be honest, I’m quite vain and don’t know what I would do if I was permanently, physically injured. I feel incredibly self-conscious today even though the only real visible damage is at the tip of my nose (how could it not, I mean, it’s right there!). I lost yet another belonging, which I know sounds materialistic but after November, I hold onto my things for dear life. I’ve lost a little confidence in the kitchen, and that is terrible because I love cooking. I feel super dumb for making such a dangerous mistake. I’ve been weepy, and short with people I care about. I just want to sleep until I don’t hurt anymore, but I know I can’t, and that these feelings will all pass. And I know I’m going to have to get back on the cooking horse, which I’m about to do because I’m absolutely ravenous as dinner did not end up happening at all.

Like I’ve been reminded over, and over, and over again in the last year, life is short. We only have the one life, the one moment. It can end in an instant, so live your life with grace, gratitude, enjoyment, unadulterated love, and share that with those around you. You never know when it’ll be over.

*By the way, drugs and alcohol were NOT involved. This was a completely sober accident.


Life Does Go On

Today I’m traveling home, home being San Miguel in Mexico. I’m traveling from one home, to another, with a mix of a heavy heart, a titch of homesickness (though for which one, I’m not sure), and the knowledge that my life is about to continue, with my feet hitting the ground. It’s such a strange feeling of letting myself laugh and plan for the future after someone so goddamn near and dear to my heart doesn’t get to ever do that again. But that’s what he’d want anyways.

It’s never easy to mourn the unexpected passing of anyone, be it friend or family, and unfortunately, I know it all too well. What does make it easier though, is surrounding yourself with the people that were shared in life, and now in death. The last week has been one of the hardest, emotionally, that I’ve ever experienced, but it was also huge in helping me to start healing. Skettio once again has a way of bringing people together, new and old, that he would’ve loved.

The memories that were made over the last week/weekend, and the friendships rekindled, will always hold an extra special place in my heart. I cross my heart that I will stay in touch even more, take moments to reach out to those who might need it extra, and take better care of myself so we never have to go through this again. I promise to pay more attention to those close to me, near and far, and offer hugs and kisses because that always makes me feel better. I vow to live my life to the fullest, and appreciate each experience I have, and be grateful to those who’ve supported me in getting there. I swear to reach out if I ever need a shoulder to lean on, and not take on everything by myself.

Once again, I raise my cup to you, my crazy friend, and know that you’re somewhere with everyone else we’ve ever loved and lost, smiling down on us on this little pebble. I ❤ you big guy.

The Year of ‘Yes’

My thirty-third year of being in existence was a little…. hectic. For those of you that were there for it, yikes, I feel for ya. I also really appreciate you for helping me get through it one way or another. Everyone whose path crossed with mine offered a lesson, tiny and huge, that helped me get out of the shit storm I was in. Many, many thanks.

The moment I turned thirty-four, I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone whenever an opportunity presented itself to me. It happened almost immediately. I treated myself to a trip to SLC to see one of my greatest friends in life (yeah, you’re welcome) and he had some great activities planned for us, one of them being a huge haunted house that offered a couple of thrill options at the end. I started off by telling him I didn’t want to do anything that resembled bungee jumping, I hated that shit. I opted for zip lining, but since he does a lot of that at his job, we decided on what they call the “Free Fall”. Now, I asked the lady to describe this “ride” to me and, bless her heart, she struggled to tell us that you fall, but the cable thing slows down and catches you before you hit the ground. Hm. Yeah, ok. Whatever.

We get through the haunted house, including the part where we were separated, the ONE THING he didn’t want to happen (yet another yes), and I ended up with Freddy, he with Jason. Great costumes, lots of flashing lights, but this was in September for god’s sake, so not a lot of people. We’re then directed to the “Free Fall” and I immediately see it’s pretty fucking similar to bungee jumping. I shook my head, “you mother fucker” (he knows that’s a term of endearment, calm down), and poor guy looked genuinely sorry. In fact, the guy that was up there at the time ended up backing out and disappeared into the building. Not the best motivation, let me tell you. But something snapped in me in that moment. I said “alright, fuck it, let’s do it.” I made the decision and wasn’t going to let myself back out or stall.

We climbed up to the platform where the barely 18 year old’s were sending people to their potential deaths. I made my friend go first to see what was going to happen, but I was too chicken to stand on the platform and watch, so it was all up to me and 3 teenagers. The odds were ever in my favor. The boys could somehow sense my fear. It definitely wasn’t me telling my friend that I couldn’t believe I was up there, about to do this. Or that I was like, “hey, I’m scared shitless,” no, it was all intuition. Anyways, they were actually great and told me to look up, not out, so I wouldn’t get tripped up by my fear of heights. I stepped out to the platform, took a step to the right, then took a deep breath. Looking up and gripping the rope for dear life, I walked off into the abyss. I was free falling, then promptly slowed down before breaking both legs during the landing. Seriously, what a fucking rush. I kinda wish I’d taken a moment to look around and be a little more scared. Anyways, I took that very uncomfortable harness off to find my friend who was telling me I came down too fast for him to get any video. Good!

From that moment forward, I’ve said “Yes” to many situations I’d typically not find myself in. It’s been beyond amazing.

“Wanna go to a concert?”Jamina asked me. Hell yes!!!

“Halloween at my place?” Said Clint. Fuck yeah!!

“How about the Abbey?” Clayton and JoAnna after breakfast. Of course my friends!!

“Let’s go to my place??” asked the cute guy in glasses. Yes please!

So my mind has been blown, my psyche explored different places, got to watch my favorite band (Gogol Bordello) ON STAGE, and finally saw the inside of a tour bus. I’ve been on the best motorcycle rides. Saw James Bond in the theater. Jumped off of buildings. Kayaked in the mountains. And my biggest yes ever?? Let’s move to Mexico!!!

My decision to move came before my year of yes, but I honestly think that I would’ve changed plans if my mind had been in a different place.

Moral of the story? Say ‘yes’. Even if you’re not sure, say it. Do it. You can always change your mind, no? But you’ll regret the no’s that should’ve been yeses. You’ll regret the people you didn’t meet. You’ll regret the personal growth that would change you. And above all, you’ll regret not taking the giant leap into the unknown. Why would you deprive yourself?! I said “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and haven’t looked back.

Whatever is Happening to Me, I’m Starting to Understand Why

*I’m not going to repeat my current situation, so please hop over to other blog to catch up if you haven’t already. 🙂

After weeks of accepting my current fate, moving forward with plans, and getting excited to once again get on the road, I’m finally seeing some of what the Universe, or whatever you like to call it, has been trying to show me.

I’m just going to dive right in here. This weekend, I met a guy who made quite an impact on me, physically and mentally. We met through a mutual friend and got along immediately. I’m not using the phrase “hit it off” because it wasn’t really like that. We had an easy rapport from the start, and shared a morbid sense of humor. Cool, I’ve actually met a lot of people like that. We hung out, let the night take us to none-of-your-business and had a great time in every aspect. It was so great that we agreed to meet up again a few days later.

Second round was as great as the first, but it also involved a little more of the “getting to know you” type of conversation. What I got to know, albeit briefly, was that as a person, I wanted to be more like him.

He is very put together and for all intents and purposes, has his priorities straight. His style is clean, it suits him well, and it’s quality without being over the top. He’s the type of person that doesn’t keep around a lot of “stuff”, but it’s not stark minimalism by any means. Not only does he look and act put together, he actually is. Well-liked by his employers and looked to for direction by his employees, this guy’s obviously going places in life. And I want that.

I want to be put together in the way I look. I don’t apologize for the days I wear sweat pants in public, but I won’t be attracting the right opportunities that way either. It’s time that I start taking a look in the mirror before leaving the house, maybe put some effort into which shoes go with my top, which earrings would look good today, and not keep them in for a month. And maybe, just maybe, see what some of the current trends are. I know I have a good sense of style, but I feel it’s time to refine it.

Next, it’s time for me to stop living like a slob in my home. I’ve been embarrassed by that for years now, but just can’t seem to get my shit together when it comes to cleaning up. When I finally get my place in Mexico, I have to get everything unpacked and put away immediately. It feels so good to have an organized home. I can’t tell you how many times I have dreaded going home because I had a month’s worth of clean laundry taking over my bed, or that my kitchen sink was full of every glass and dish I owned. I can’t even invite people over at times because it’s just too much. What a gross feeling, and I’m fucking 34 for gods sake, get a grip Barbara!

As far as my career goes, I’m grateful that I can always fall back on waiting tables, for work and extra income, but I’m also ready to find my passion. Rarely does anyone do what they love, but a lot of people I know love what they do, or at the very least it doesn’t suck and their paycheck helps. I haven’t felt lost in my life by any means, but I’ve felt unfulfilled in many parts of it and I’m still unsure of “what I want to be when I grow up.” I’m ok with that, I’ve been ok with that, but I’ve been feeling like it’s definitely time for me to figure it out.

I’m getting back in touch with my writing (obviously since I’ve kind of become a blogging fiend lately) and am looking at opportunities to work my passion into earning a paycheck. The Internet is vast and flexible, offering tons of satellite job options. It’s time for me to buckle down and search those jobs out, and start building my portfolio and resume.

Another passion I have, which cracks me up, is the krauting! I’m really good at it. It’s really good for you, and it’s part of a fast-growing food trend. I’m not sure how making fermented foods will fit in with my Mexican life, but I’m going to pull up my big girl pants, ask around, and figure it out.

These realizations are huge to me. A lot of people get to this point because of something terrible in their lives. It could be because they lost jobs, or friends, or both. I’m fortunate that’s not how this came to be in my heart and head. Did something terrible happen? Yeah, it did and it was fucked up. But it led me to meet a few amazing people, one in particular that, unbeknownst to him, has awakened in me the desire to better myself.