Thursday, March 29, 2012

My MisAdventures in the Third World

That's right. As in Nicaragua.

Last year, I was frustrated. I saw all my best friends taking these amazing yearly trips with their significant others-- Guatemala, Turks and Caicos, Bali...and I was mega jealous. I looove to travel, I finally have the means to do it, and I was sick of waiting for a dude to do it with. Then, S-bomb (fka "Tita Sue") popped up last summer and said, "Yo. Wanna go to surf and yoga camp in Nicaragua next spring?" 
Me: "Yep."
Done and done.
Our awesome friend Ruth had put together the whole thing and, when I'm not in charge, I just go with it. Plus, due to my hectic schedule I just hadn't bothered to do any research other than looking at the packing list [and then forgetting half of it]. I hurtled myself on a plane a few weeks ago and off I went to Managua. With a raging sinus infection, I might add. [Bonus!]
I got off into 90 degree weather feeling kinda crappy but was greeted by my nice driver.  I got into his car and asked "¿Cuantos minutos al Coco Loco?" (how many minutes to hotel Coco Loco?) His answer: "Dos horas y media." 
Umm...2.5 hours??? 
¡Dios mio!
This is where some research would have prepped me for that. Oopsie.
But I slept most of the way there and enjoyed the ride.  I got there at sunset, just in time for the rest of the girls to greet me. I was a day late because I had stayed to go to a wedding with you-know-who. [Good idea at the time.]
S-bomb was there to show me our cabin and the lay of the land.  It was far more rustic than I had anticipated, however, as I adapted, I realized it was a very NICE rustic. Extremely well taken care of, with sprawling grounds and gorgeous views of the ocean.
The biggest shock: 
The outhouse.

But wait- let's back that booty up a sec.
El Coco Loco is a beautiful and unique  
place that is eco-friendly. Which is very intelligent in a country where the power just randomly goes out for a few hours every now and again. Now, I've used an outdoor toilet before. However not one that has no water and doesn't flush. Nope, this baby is straight up COMPOST. 
Yes, kind of a shock at first (once again, lack of research + idiocy on my part). Until you later realize it's the least smelly bathroom you've ever used! 
And how brilliant to feel like your waste is not going to waste! [hee hee]. Plus the staff and people that run the joint are just top-notch. Lovely people who aren't just beach bums-- no no, my friends. This lot is extra-amazing and not just because they're all pretty easy on the ojos. But they are committed to giving back to the community.  Not only can they drive down the dirt road and address all the local neighbors (and their roosters) by name, but they have done amazing things like BUILD A SCHOOL and give the area children a place to play and learn 2x a week, all through their Waves Of Hope program.  Totally awesome. Completely inspiring.
Speaking of inspiring, did I mention that I SURFED??!?! 
Talk about things I filed in the "probably never able to do" category! But when you have an incredible teacher and support crew, I guess anything is possible. 
Enter: Holly Beck
Surf instructor extraordinaire, Holly, is the one who puts the whole enchilada together. Her surf and yoga retreats, Suave Dulce, offer women (and the occasional dude) a unique adventure that allows you to take whatever you want from the experience. Holly is not only funny and California chillaxed, but her calm-yet-thorough style of teaching is undoubtedly what got all of us first-timers (like moi!) up on our boards and actually riding waves. And the chicks who had surfed before saw noticeable changes and improvements in their skills. How could you not from someone who not only teaches but stands on the beach jumping up and down cheering for you when you get up?  I mean really, what could be better than that kind of positive reinforcement?!  Plus, wouldn't you want to take lessons from someone who can do this:
She's got many "circus tricks" as she calls them, but this one was pretty epic to watch. Especially when you're out there trying to figure out how to simply STAND up on the surfboard without breaking your entire body. 
And, even though Holly does pretty much all activities with the amigas, as she refers to us, it's not all fun and games. She takes her role as teacher quite seriously. How so? The first day out, I noticed a video camera set up on the beach. I assumed maybe they took some footage of some good waves for us [assuming we caught them!] and that was part of the whole package. Turns out, Holly  tapes us surfing every day, combs through ALL the video, and then reviews it with each of us individually almost every day at breakfast, so we can see what we're doing wrong, right and areas for improvement. What an amazing tool! That bit of extra effort and care was such an unexpected bonus and greatly appreciated by all. 
Look, Mom! I'm SURFING!
It's Holly, her attitude, the entire vibe of all the staff at El Coco Loco, (shout out to Jamie!) that made this experience so completely unique and wonderful. Oh, and did I mention crazily, epically, FUN?? 
Holly rooting me on as I ride a "giant" in.

Sonny, yours truly, and Holly 

Even our daily yoga class, atop a lofted, breezy cabana with views of the serene ocean just felt like blissful relaxation, as opposed to "exercise." It also helps to have an incredibly rad yoga teacher, like Cydney Gurvich.

Me n' fave Brit chick, Jinx
If you need further proof, see my all-time fave pic from the trip. That's Holly on the right-- perfect herkie and all. Hollaaahh!
Did I mention that the trip also included a little thing called VOLCANO BOARDING
Apparently, it's #2 on CNN's "bucket list." You basically hike your ass up a 1,000ft volcano, Cierra Negro, whilst carrying your board [think: sled]. Once at the top, dressed like a crazy, shrouded Hazmat scientist, you proceed to sled down. 
Me n' the amigas at the base...
before we knew what we were in for.
Sunday driver.
For some, as fast as possible.  A dude at the bottom is actually holding a radar gun so you can know how fast you're going. The record is 87mph. I somehow got stuck and went a whopping 10mph. [Ugh]. However the ever-adventurous Holly Beck has made several attempts to break the record. Unfortunately, she ended up breaking her ankle instead. 

This is some serious stuff people!
But what an awesome experience. What a view. What a rush. Well, for some people who went more than 10 mph.[Still bitter]. 
The magical week of what I began referring to as "Adult summer camp" was rounded out by getting to ride horses on the beach at sunset. And, even though I'm from Texas and have ridden many a horse, I've never gotten to RUN on a horse. 
Oh man, what a rush! 
Holly said to wear long socks. I took that memo.
It's windy as a mofo!

Pic by Cydney Gurvich
Me & Crazy Eyes Killer
Here I am with my horse. I named him Crazy Eyes Killer. He did not like me. At. All.

So I could keep going on and on about this uniquely special experience, but really--y'all should just go there and experience it for yourselves. I'll leave you with some more pics and a supa' awesome {video} that Holly put together. Too bad vanity has prevented me from posting on Facebook, but I'll let you guys in!

Sonny and her "sturdy" board

The inimitable Holly Beck

Another bit of Cydney's magic!

With mejor amiga, Sue. And, killer dogs.

Amazing French resto, Al Cielo.

Me n' mini Ruth! ummm- Who's pale?

My awesome surf amigas and Coco Loco staff!

Ahhh...Pura Nica!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's Official: The Universe Hates Me.

Or at least it did on Tuesday.

Funny, just when you think you've hit rock bottom, you fall through the creepy trap door and hit the concrete basement floor. 


In re-telling my day to my favorite editor dude his exact words were "You need to blog this."

Ok, here goes.

Tuesday was my 3rd day of complete speechlessness due to laryngitis.  It was also my 3rd day of that horrendous juice cleanse. All things were beginning to take their toll.
Monday night I had been writing to my ex-hubs sister since I saw her post on FB. Their amazing grandma has not been doing well and was going downhill fast. I woke up to a long email from her that made me really sad.
Luckily, I have my pilates session on Tuesday mornings. Although I hate mornings [and working out] I am REALLY loving pilates on the reformer. It's a great way to start the day plus has really helped with many of my body creaks and tweaks.
Luckily also I got there a little early since my ex-hubs called me at 7:45a. I didn't know what to do with the no talking and almost pilates time, but I knew I had to answer. Of course he told me the news that she had passed away, and of course we're both crying on the phone. In my gym locker room. At 8a. Neat-o.
A busy day at work then ensued and entailed dealing with the head HEAD honcho of my agency and trying to solve some copy problems very quickly. Super easy when your only means of communicating is writing and/or miming (aka gesticulating wildly.) 
Finally escaped only to have BFWB drag me to band practice where I obvs couldn't sing [or talk to anyone]. All I could do is play the tambourine and the keys which I have only recently started to do in the band. Guess what that did? Made me realize just how much I SUCK at playing the keys. I am currently trying to fire myself. So far, it's not working.
Left practice feeling pretty low, which is usually the exact opposite of how I feel. Got home and lazily began to look at Twitter, something I rarely do.  Now, I haven't mentioned much/anything about my {former} relationship with E-Blue, which will be his name moving forward.  I will continue not to say much out of respect, but along with him came a whole group of friends, including his brother and amazing friend Bizy whom I was lucky enough to know prior to meeting him. However, Bizy and I have become extremely close girlfriends in the last 6 months, so thus- I am still connected to E-Blue and the whole group.  
While many people have encouraged breaking those ties as well, I see no reason why I have to suffer ALL those losses right now, especially when this wasn't really my decision. It's like he wins that way. Besides, we all know breaking up with a girlfriend can often times be WAY worse than breaking up with a guy. So, Bizy stays! 
Anyway, one thing I love about this friend group is that they are AA [see glossary if confused], successful, and FUN. Just plain freakin' fun. They do activities, make plans and even do FMN, Funny Movie Night. How cute?
So, through Biz I knew they were doing a FMN that night which, of course, made me sad but whatever.  However, when I was randomly looking at Twitter I just happened to see a tweet from E-Blue about it and that it was the Muppets. 
Cue: Lindsey bursting into tears.
Why do the Muppets evoke such emotion, you ask?  
A) the Muppets have long been a part of my history
B) a whole group of us went to see it in the theater together when we were dating and it was an extremely memorable night. E-Blue and I have also quoted the movie quite frequently ever since.
I'm sure he didn't think twice about that tweet and would never intentionally hurt me, but I just found it so insensitive.  I'm sure the not speaking or eating food for 3 days may have had a hand in my emotions as well at that point? 
After I had a good cry, I yelled [in my head, silently] "RECOVER!" to myself and went to put some music on.
Since Bizy and our other friend Chi-chi were coming to my place for din the next night, I wanted to tidy up a bit.  So I reached down to pick up some trash from my kitchen floor. And found myself touching a....
You can bet some audible sounds came out of my mouth then.  I also proceeded to do some sort of "Elaine" dance as I convinced myself I had to Man up and get rid of that sucker.  
I put on sunglasses, so as to see it less (great rationale, right?) and finally scooped it into a bag and ran out the door to the hallway garbage, freaking out along the way.
As I opened the door to my garbage room, for the first time in 3 years, I found that some neighbordouchecanoe had so thoughtfully shoved FLOOR TO CEILING boxes into that tiny room, making access to the garbage shoot impossible.  
I literally looked up to the sky and thought that.  Finally I found a way around them and threw the vile creature down to its burial ground.
I promptly took a Xanax and ended this day that I imagined Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden had contrived somewhere from the bowels of Hell.
So let's recap, shall we?
-7:45a, ex-hubs notifies me of Grandma passing
-Can't communicate at work
-Endless harassment from boss about said lack of comm
-No singing at band practice
-I suck at piano
-No food in 3 days
-Read tweet about Muppets movie. 
-Touch dead baby mouse
-Have to sweep up dead baby mouse
-Troubles disposing of dead baby mouse.


Thank you for listening.

To end on a lighter note, about 3 weeks ago, before all this stuff hit the fan, I took an epic trip to Nicaragua and my next post will be about that, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dating story #71: From Flingtown, USA to Heartbreak Hotel.

Well, everyone. I'm back. 

And, sadly, not with good news.  

Alas, my 6 month relationship has ended.  Actually, it ended about 2 weeks ago and I haven't been able to write...or really do much ever since. 

If you can't tell, I'm pretty sad.  I really thought there was something there and, although he did too, looks like the timing is just not in our favor.  So, here we go with yet another of life's *delightful* setbacks: 

I know I've been married and in another serious relationship. And it was extremely hard when both ended. However, both times were my choice. This time? Well, I don't want to say I got "dumped." But he was the one struggling. And if something isn't working for one person, it's not working for anyone.  
He is definitely "in flux" at this time-- unsure of career moves and also life moves/relocating. My POV is that you can make anything work as long as you're in it together.  But apparently, I'm completely effing wrong. One thing that has helped immensely is a book a co-worker randomly suggested I read a few weeks ago, prior to the breakup even happening.
And--brace yourselves--it's written by Steve Harvey. 
Yes, I too think it odd that I've been running around proclaiming a relationship book written by a black, male comedian to be up there with the Bible in terms of advice, lessons and truth, but there it is. 
The first chapter alone [ps skip the prologue and go right to chapter one] had my eyes bugging out of my head and my head nodding, while trying to keep eyes in.
With real advice such as: "[If a man] hasn't lined up the who he is, the what he does, and hte how much he makes in the way that he sees fit, he can't possibly be to you what he wants to be. Which means that you can't really have the man you want. He can't sit around talking with you, or dream about marriage and family, if his mind is on how to make money, how to get a better position, how to be the kind of man he needs to be for you."
Want a little more? Here's the kicker:
"In my experience, these facts don't always sit well with most women. Many of you figure that if a man truly loves you, the two of you should be able to pursue your dreams together. {Yes! Get out of my head, Steve!!} Stability is important to you, but you'd rather build the foundation of your relationship together, no matter the man's station in life. This is honorable, but really, it's not the way men work. His eye will be on the prize, and that prize may not necessarily be you if he isn't up to where he wants to be in life. It's impossible for us to focus on the two-- we're just not that gifted, sorry."

Are you guys looking at this like- WHOA?

He goes on to say they don't necessarily have to be completely established or at the end of their road, so long as they are on the track to achieving their goals and they feel secure in their position.  You can find this simple bit o' genius {here}.
In hindsight, this makes so much f'ing sense I feel stupid. It's pretty much (in most ways) the reason NONE of my relationships have worked out thus far. Hmm. Maybe someone needs to adjust their picker, huh Lindsey?
Also feeling particularly horribleterrible right now due to total laryngitis which has meant 3 days of not talking. On the upside, I think I may be qualified to enter the convent soon.  This also comes with the unfortunate timing of me starting the BluePrint Juice Cleanse on Sunday--it was a gift from someone. I figured I've never been less interested in eating so why not do this now? GREAT idea, Lindsey.
-No voice.
-No food.
-No dude.
Somebody, hide the razors and STAT!

So, seeing as I'm a) back and b) a heartbreak virgin, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. What's helped you get through? And more importantly, do you know any tall and STABLE men in this city that you'd like to set me up with? 
{just kidding}
{sort of}