Monthly Archives: September 2010

Off To A Terrible Start

I just realized that my first two posts on here are very LiveJournally and boo-hoo-ish, so I felt the need to clarify something:

You guys, I’m not a victim. I am having hot water poison ivy orgasms over here. Be jealous.

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Perpetual Nightmare

I’m covered in poison ivy (well, my right arm is) and the basement has been flooding for two days.

I’ve been pretty depressed for the past two weeks … probably to the point where I would hibernate like I usually do, except I have a boyfriend who wants to see me and 67 year-old roommate I need to escape on occasion. But aside from the lingering sadness, life has been pretty relaxing.

I forgot what it was like to have stuff like this on my mind … to live in this state of permanent anxiety and worry. When you’re in a semi-caretaker role for a year, that’s how you live. You get used to this thing lurking in your thoughts, always hovering over you even when you’re not acknowledging it directly.

These days, I get nervous when I’m too relaxed. For someone with a life like mine, it simply means something bad is coming. I’m almost relieved to be worrying about itching and Benadryl and fans and towels and stuff. Maybe that means I’m ready for parenthood? I’ll bet that’s what it’s like. (Did I just imply that my future children are a perpetual nightmare? Maybe.)

I suppose the point on this entry is, if you haven’t seen me in a while, it’s because I’m hibernating. And if you do see me and I smell like old dirty water and medicine, it’s because I’m covered in it.

Also, did you know that running hot water (not boiling, but the kind that turns your skin pink) over poison ivy feels like an orgasm? Well, it does. How have I never noticed this before? If showers didn’t flood my basement, I would probably still be in there right now. Woooo.

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Filed under Botheration

Why Secretly Stephie?

Secretly Stephie has been my online moniker for years, but there’s a story behind it. But first, I have to tell you the story behind me.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t one of the popular kids, but I was well-liked and pretty confident. Better yet, I was good at everything I tried (except sports and history. Always terrible at those). I won blue ribbons in art shows, had solos in the school musicals, speaking parts in plays, and was usually sent to represent my class in the math and spelling bees. I could play the piano, sculpt, and I even had published poetry in the second grade. My parents and teachers told me I could do anything, and I believed them. I would talk to everyone. Better yet, I’d make them laugh.

Then my dad got sick. My family got poor. I got sent to public school and was mocked from the start. I was the poor dirty kid. I ate to deal with the stress of home and school, and soon I was the fat kid, too. I stopped sleeping. I stopped talking. I was nine. I was miserable.

Being bullied – not the normal teasing and mocking that everyone goes through, but daily shoving and name-calling by 90% of your grade – is one of the most traumatic and damaging things that can happen to a person. I stopped doing anything that could make me stand out. I refused to raise my hand in class – one time I peed my pants because the thought of asking to go to the bathroom in front of all the mean kids was terrifying. I remember very vividly the moment it sunk in, when I looked in a mirror and thought, “Oh my God. I’m that girl.”

I did make a few friends that year, in 4th grade. Two of them are still two of my closest friends to this day. I was myself around these girls, and no one else. By the time I hit middle school, there were 8 of us, and we ate lunch together every day. At least once a month, we’d get together for an awesome slumber party.

One year, a new girl named Jen joined us at our slumber parties. One night we were all at my friend Kristy’s house, and I was my usual self. Joking, singing, making up games – I never shut up when I was around my friends.

“You’re different,” Jen said out of nowhere, staring at me from across the room. “Why aren’t you always like this?” I asked her what she meant. “Well, you’re … cool. And you’re funny. You’re not like this at school.” She looked at me thoughtfully. “You should be like this all of the time, Stephie. Why aren’t you?”

It took me a long time – until I went to London when I was 20 – to figure out how to be myself all the time, and not just around the people I’m close to. These days, I feel like I’m the person I was supposed to be all along. But before that, I was only myself around people who made me comfortable … people who smiled at me, people who seemed to like me, and people who always, for some reason, called me Stephie.

Stephie used to be a secret part of me. It took a long time for me to introduce her to people. But now that I have, I’ve realized that Stephie had a lot to say. In fact, she never shuts up. I hope you like her.


Filed under Botheration

Like Sunbeams

If I ever have a daughter, I’m blowing this up and putting it on her wall, so it becomes one of those childhood things you see so much that it ends up embedded in your brain forever:

I love this so much, even if I can’t remember what book it’s from.

Also, because I love you:


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First And Foremost, I’d Like To Mention You

I used to spend a lot of time on this blog writing about this dude who broke my heart. It’s why I started the blog in the first place, admittedly. I would say hundreds dozens of entries are about how that affected me, and the entire spectrum of emotions that come from a loss like that. (I’m hurting! I’m over it! I’m reflective! I’m empowered! I’m pathetic! I’m hot shit!)

Since I’m moving to a new blog and it will be a while before I transfer this over, there’s a part of me that feels like I’m officially moving on, even if I moved on emotionally 3 years ago.

But I feel like there’s one more thing I have to admit; one regret I really have about that entire relationship: I really wish I had known more about my city when he was here, so I could have shown him why St. Louis is so great. The only places I really showed him were West County and that stretch of Natural Bridge Road where he spent a semester at UMSL. Not the best representation of the Lou, you know?

I don’t regret it because I think he would’ve moved here instead of dumping me for that band. These days, I’m glad he didn’t.

I simply regret it because St. Louis is so fucking amazing. Every day since I moved to the city (and these days, when I spend every weekend downtown) I discover something or someone new and I fall in love with it all over again. The architecture. The history. The revitalization. The diversity. The quirks. The landmarks. The food. The bars. SOUTH CITY. And so on, and so on.

People from the East Coast have such a strange perception of everything below and west of them, at least until they reach California. They consider the rest of us uncultured and ignorant, when they’ve never driven through the rest of the country and interacted with the people (or even acknowledged that underneath the southern accents, they are people at all). This was my chance to show some kid from Connecticut why my city was so rich – why people left his homeland, met up here, and called it expansion – and I blew it.

Some people think it’s sad to live in the same area all your life (and I’m not even sure I will; I would love to migrate north to Michigan or Wisconsin someday, and so would J). But I love how every corner of this area is mapped in my heart, through the various groups of friends who lived in each neighborhood, the people I was with when I explored each street and discovered its haunts. And I love that in the past year, I’ve realized how much of this city I DON’T know and how astonishingly gorgeous it is, despite all it’s faults. Last week, I watched fireworks in the playground where my dad used to play, without even knowing, and I felt him there. Next month, I’ll be able to look out my window and see the building my mom worked at 50 years ago, directly across the street.

So yeah, aside from stories about London, heartbreak in general, or that time he knocked my tooth out (or if Justin dumps me some day and I go on another heartbreak bender), I can’t picture myself writing about him the way I used to. But I had to put this out there. B, if you read this, St. Louis is fucking beautiful, and I’m so sorry I couldn’t show you why.

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Filed under Love Stinks

Balloon Glow

The Balloon Glow is absolutely one of my favorite things to do in St. Louis. Usually I get there pretty late, but this year Justin and I made a point to be early and we got to watch the balloons inflate. Totally the way to go – it’s so exciting!

Here’s my favorite balloon that I mentioned last time:

And here’s my new second favorite:

You can find the full album here . And here’s a video of an actual Glow. I had to swap out the audio to something lame because it was so loud but I don’t know if it’s working so if you watch it here, CHANGE THE VOLUME:

It was so crowded that they had to block people from coming in, and it took some folks hours to leave. I think next year Justin and I are going to get a room at the Cheshire and walk over.

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Filed under Adventures, Picture Pages

How Ghosts Work

Last night, much like two years ago, I watched fireworks from a carnival at Jen and Ron’s church. Having narrowly missed the display last year, I opted to drive to a nearby playground ahead of time instead of meeting at their house and walking there.

I was about 10 or 15 minutes early, so I climbed to the top of the tower with my tiny bottle of wine and nestled on the floor next to the cave-like entrances of two slides. For some reason I started thinking about my dad. I realized it had been exactly two months, and I mulled that over for any meaning. I dangled my feet off the edge, laid on my back, stared at the moon and told my dad about my day. I poured out a tiny bit of wine for him, laughed to myself about it, then tried to recall if I had ever seen him drink wine. I decided that I hadn’t. I wondered why he was so present in my thoughts right then, right there, surrounded by empty swings and wood chips. I bit my lip, tried to absorb the tears back into my eyes before they spilled over, and then I glanced over and saw the silhouettes of Jen, Ron and Nick making their way toward me.

Then: fireworks. Slow but loud, thanks to the chill in the air. I shrieked with joy during the unexpectedly huge finale.

This morning my mom asked me where I was the night before. I described the carnival and the parish school. I said the name of the road and she said the name of the church with surprise. “By the train tracks,” she clarified, not a question. I nodded.

“Did you know that’s where Dad went to grade school?” she asked. I hadn’t.

After the fireworks, we had relaxed in Jen and Ron’s living room and talked about ghosts. They mentioned a friend of Ron’s mom who claims that she summons spirits.

Next year during the fireworks I’ll remember to say hi to my Dad’s kid ghost, who was probably sitting right next to me and not on the moon like I had assumed. And I’ll pour out a juice box instead, or maybe a beer, because my dad was the type of Norman Rockwellian 1950’s kid who would probably sneak up behind his dad Findley and steal a sip or two. That’s obvious to me, now that we’ve hung out and all.

I drove all the way downtown just to tell you that story. Wasn’t that nice of me?


Filed under Sam I Am

The Coffee Isn’t Even Bitter

This song used to make me so sad, but even in my misery, I knew that someday I’d be able to love it.

Yesterday I heard it for the first time in years and remembered, “Oh yay! I can love you now!” I can’t wait to run to this song, even though it’s slow.

A couple months ago, my friend’s wife left him. All his friends kept Facebooking him with bummer things like, “Sorry bro,” and “That sucks dude.” So I left him this: “This is the best time in your life to do cool shit. Travel. Make new friends. Learn what you like now, not what you liked the last time you thought about it. Do all of this and I PROMISE – in five years, you’ll look back on this as the best thing that ever happened to you.” And I meant it.

My favorite running song has a slightly similar theme, and while not entirely applicable to me (it reminds me of TSCoC, though the only reason we don’t talk is because he’s in Myanmar), it’s a far more jammin’ way to end this so here you go:

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Filed under Love Stinks


Justin and I think the Cheshire Bear looks like Angry Charlie.

Charlie was present for our first date – how appropriate! Justin credits Charlie with calming his nerves enough to kiss me.

I forgot to post this a long time ago, but now is a good time – we also think Angry Charlie looks just like the grandpa in 3 Ninjas.

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Filed under Picture Pages, Pop Goes The Culture

Treehouse Upgrade

This place?

Is so much fun!

Justin and I wanted to do something awesome for our anniversary, but we decided to wait until after the hectic week of families, work, and memorial stuff. I’m so incredibly glad we did.

Justin and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary in style, but we’re both poor and we have conflicting work schedules and limited vacation days. During Up in the Air fever, I googled The Cheshire out of curiosity and realized that, like us, they have a treehouse.

It’s one of six themed suites with two rooms and a jacuzzi. The Treehouse at Sherwood Forest was by far the coolest. We had a bar, champagne, crazy lighting, and more.

The best part? The Cheshire itself is the cutest place in the world and it’s fun to just walk around and explore, even if you don’t go in the pub. We’re totally coming back at least once a year.

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Filed under Adventures, Picture Pages

Aunt Stephie FTW

Last night Justin and I introduced my niece to his puppets. My brother’s best friend was there with his 2 year-old, too. Thankfully, the girls were happy instead of terrified. Pretty sure I ovulated during the moment below:

They leave today. I’m happy to have my free-time back – life will be less chaotic without everyone’s family in town, for sure – but whenever my niece leaves, I cry. Especially now, because she does this thing where she puts her forehead on my forehead and grins at me forever. Today is stupid. 😦

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I Threw My Dad Off This Cliff

This is the cliff where I spread my dad’s ashes. It’s the view from the firepit. Below it is our stretch of the Meramec river. My family’s cabin is amazing. I’m glad I insisted on taking him there.

I was going to hike to this place called The Pinnacle. But (a) I underestimated how carsick I would get from the 30 minutes of brutal gravel back roads and (b) The Pinnacle, while only a mile away from the property, is a 3-4 hour hike due to the ridges and detours. So I was all HEY THIS CLIFF RIGHT HERE LOOKS GOOD.

It was a really pretty view overlooking our stretch of the Meramec River and miles of scenic hills (and cows!). HOWEVER when I threw the ashes, this totally almost happened:

Except only some blew back and they only got on my jeans before I dove away. My brother was like, “If that wasn’t dad, I would’ve laughed at you so hard.”

Did you know that ashes are really crushed up bone fragments, and that’s why people prefer to call them “remains”? That there are pebbles in there? And your fillings? And heart stints if you have them? Can you tell I’m not afraid of my Dad’s ashes at all?


Filed under Adventures, Sam I Am

So Far, So Good!

So in order to lose 10 pounds in a month, I have to lose a pound every 3 days. Well, it’s the 3rd and I’ve lost a pound! Hooray!

HOWEVER, I have to go drinking with Justin’s siblings tonight, go to a baseball game with his family tomorrow (Cards vs. Reds … and his brother-in-law is a Reds fan. Awesome.), and go out to lunch with his dad, stepmom, and my mom on Sunday. Plus a Labor Day BBQ on Monday, I’m sure, and then some sort of celebration with my brother before he leaves on Wednesday. SOOO the next two pounds are going to be pretty hard to get to. We’ll see.

I’m still doing the Insanity Workout … 4 days out of 6 this week. Plus, I remembered that I did a full workout on Sunday instead of the Fit Test, so I’m still on track even though I skipped Tuesday’s workout. Yeah buddy!

I’ve also been eating avocado every single day … a half or a whole, depending on my activity and meals on a given day. Avocados are high in calories and fat, but it’s the good fat and the health benefits are insane. They literally help every inch of your body. Plus, they keep you full longer. A big problem I have is eating at night, and I’ve found that by eating an avocado with some diced tomatoes around dinnertime, I’m still full by the time I go to bed. No lie, I get as excited about my post-work avocado as I used to about my post-work cigarette.

I’m sleeping better than I have in years. I’ve been taking melatonin to sleep for the last 3 weeks. This is the longest I have gone without pharmaceutical sleep aids in over 5 years. It feels amazing. The funniest part? I think 5mg (maximum strength) of melatonin is actually too much for me, so I’m going to try 3mg when I’m done with this bottle. And when I move into the loft and can develop an actual stable routine, eventually I’ll try to sleep with nothing at all.

The plan for this weekend is tons of water, plenty of sleep, daily Insanity workouts, and avocado. Then maybe I will make it to one hundred and (redacted)-eight pounds by Tuesday. Cross your fingers!

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Filed under The Year Without

September Without: No-Smoke Squish

My September Year Without Goal is more involved than my usual monthly goals. Usually I give up one thing or try to do one thing.

This month, I have to do/give up several things because my goal is to GET RID of something. Ten things, in fact.

This September, I’m going to lose the 10 pounds that I gained when I quit smoking. Dammit. I am!

To do that, I have to combine a lot of my past goals:
– Insanity Workout every day
– No pigging out
– No drinking (Sunday – Friday)

It’s kind of a lame goal, but y’all, I’ve been carrying these 10 pounds around for a year and a half (and they’ve made friends – I gained even more when I met Justin). I am over this shit. Maybe if I focus all my energy into losing just 10 (as opposed to the 35 I probably should get rid of) I can do it.

To demonstrate how significant 10 pounds can be, I wanted to show you that old weight loss commercial starring The Beav, where he likened that extra 10 pounds to carrying around a bowling ball. I always liked that commercial, but surprisingly there are some things you can’t find through Google.

I think Justin and my mom are on this mission to keep me fat and to be honest, it’s seriously starting to piss me off. I literally beg them to stop shoving food in my face, and they instantly appear with a piece of pizza or guilt trip me into going out to dinner or act all hurt and offended when I want to work out. I even skipped my workout yesterday to hang with Justin and he still got annoyed with me. I’m losing weight whether those jerks fucking like it or not.

Current Mood: Angry. And fat.

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Filed under The Year Without

Funky Bunch 4 Eva

(Gang is now launching home invasion to get revenge on Gil/Stephen for ruining their already shitty house. Confident in their security system, they try to set the code. Reese: “Dad. David’s got the code.”)

Stephie: Should’ve watched Battlestar Galacticaaaa…

(The Bear is battering down the door with a log.)

Erin: Did he cut down a tree?

Christy: (as stepmom) Stephen, did you fuck up their house?

Last week, Erin had the awesome idea to drunk blog the Marky Mark Masterpiece Fear. This was the first R-rated movie I ever saw in the theater illegally. (I exclaimed, “I can’t believe she didn’t card me!” literally 1 second after I bought the ticket. The theater employee was either extremely cool or extremely lazy.) I love this movie. I also love drinking, blogging, and hanging with Erin and Christy. Clearly I was down.

The result? Hilarity. Well, hilarity, typos, and oversharing. Want to read it? You’ll have to go to Erin’s blog. It’s just one click. Don’t be scared. Marky Mark is too busy stalking Nicole to snap your neck. Maybe. Probably best to not draw attention to yourself, though.

Watch the trailer below. Then CLICK HERE!

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Filed under Conversations, Pop Goes The Culture