About UncontrollableAwesomeness

World traveler, Commercial Fisher-woman, Moving Object.

I’m in love

SUP recap:

29 days

17 stand-up Paddleboarding virgins

4 nationalities (American, Swiss, New Zealand, British)

2 dogs

If you know me, have heard of me, or have seen my Instagram and Facebook feeds, you’ll know what I’m talking about. My new love is stand-up paddle boarding. It started last winter when Toni and I were in the Turks and Caicos. We decided to rent paddle boards and just give it a whirl. We’d never tired it at all. But sweet jesus WAS IT FUN. We didn’t fall despite the wind chop and waves and I knew right then and there that I must have one! I had HUGE plans for the spring. Aaaaaand then I broke the living SHIT outta my ankle while in Guam, in March. What followed was about 6 weeks of being house bound, a surgery, a whole lotta metal in my leg, crutches, a peg leg, months of physical therapy, 25 lbs of gained weight, and a complete and total appreciation of those around me.

When I finally got the go ahead from my surgeon that I could continue on with my life, I was so grateful that I decided that paddle boarding would be a gentle and low impact way to get back on my feet (literally). My physical therapist encouraged me to go for it. So, through my friend, Harmony, owner of UrbanOcean, that I knew from my good ole Mexico days, I ordered some gorgeous SUPlove paddle boards.

When I finally got them in the mail, I could barely wait to get on the water. I ripped into the boxes immediately. And my love affair began.

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It’s like Christmas!!

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My boards’ new home on my mama’s floating home on the Columbia River.

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First wobbly try with my bunk ankle.

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This is the face my face makes every time I’m out paddling…

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My mama, at 64 years young, took to it like a fish to water. A natural!

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Moe showing off his skillz

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The smiles that I’ve seen taking people out has made this the best part of my summer.

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DOGS!!!!

 

 

It’s Shout Out Time

As you all probably know, I broke the living shit outta my ankle in March while visiting my Aunt in Guam. What followed was a truly terrible string of flights home, including, but not limited to: solo standby flying, 36 hours, 4 airports, many tears, and countless wheelchairs.

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Finally home to our famed PDX Carpet.

Once home, my life consisted of bed rest, surgery, pain-killer induced haze, more bed rest and months upon months of limping around and not feeling like my normal self. I lost about 20 pounds of muscle from my leg atrophying.

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We called it Zombie Leg

All in all, it was a tough experience. But one I’m grateful for. Why? It reconfirmed my decision to move back to Portland after a decade of absence. Of all the places I’ve lived, I can’t think of a location in which I would have as much support as I did here.

My mama lived with me for the first few weeks after I came back from Guam. She made sure I ate, bathed, took my myriad of pills on time, coordinated visits, put up with my mood swings and basically wins Mom of the Year award.

My dad dropped everything and drove up after my surgery to give my exhausted mama a break. Having your parents tuck you into bed in your 30’s is a rare and surprisingly wonderful feeling that I cherish.

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Lectures from Pops on taking care of myself, post-surgery.

And the list goes on.

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Heidy flew up from LA for a few days right after my surgery for cooking and cuddles.

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Crystal checked on me EVERY DAY in one way or another. She cooked me food, she stood in line at the DMV to get my Handicap placard, she came to my rescue when I went threw withdrawal when I quite painkillers, she was simply always there for me if I needed her.

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Jason made and delivered a homemade apple pie (still warm, even!!) to me.

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Although my pup allegedly doesn’t read, I’m including her incase she secretly does. Mattie. was always there for a cuddle, never leaving my side. Her health declined as mine did and then subsequently improved as I did. She never left my side.

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Simon kept me laughing, took me to the surgeon with Crystal, made people come over to my house for a party when I needed to be social, but was hiding. Altogether a kick ass friend.

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This green cock and balls that Simon drew made me laugh for WEEKS. Cuz that’s how long that fucker stayed on my foot!!

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My Sister-Of-My-Heart, Miranda, took me on my first outing that was not to a doctor’s appointment. An adventure to Crown Point was just what the doctor ordered.

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The SisCuz, Roxy moved into the house shortly after my mom moved back home. And thank god for that. Although I was ok on my own, it was SO hard to take care of myself those first few weeks. Roxy went above and beyond normal Roomie duties. She made sure I ate, kept the house clean, kept my spirits up. Shit, she helped me shower more times than I can count.

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I went onto my front porch one day to be greeted by a package. In it was this hand knitted pillow that Kris had made and sent to me. She just thought I needed a pillow to prop my foot on. She was so right.

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I hadn’t met my neighbor, Moe, before I flew to Guam. He introduced himself to me as soon as I returned and then proceeded to become a close friend. This 19 year old kid would check on me to make sure I ate every night. If I hadn’t, he would make me food and bring it over. He came over to watch movies and keep me company, tuck me into bed when I could barely make it from room to room and generally make sure I was doing ok.

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Sometimes just coming over and hanging out and reading to me was just what the doctor ordered. Toni would bring me food and keep me company more than she really had time for.

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This chair saved my life for the first month. It made it so I didn’t have to lay in bed ALL DAY LONG. Zak straight up found it for me when I was desperate and then delivered it to my house, in all of it’s automated, comfy beauty.

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Leah cooked me breakfast all by her damned self. Nuff said.

And after all of the above, I KNOW I’m missing so many (the cane sword story gets its own post for instance). That is just a testament to the people I have in my life. THANK YOU ALL.

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A bit of a crappy beginning

My ass was glued to the toilet and my boyfriend of three years, David, was yelling my name, telling me to hurry up. I was 22 and I was running late for my flight to Turkey. At that point I had never left the country. Not once to hop down to Mexico, not even to drive a few hours north from Portland, Oregon to Canada. I would be getting on that plane alone and I would be traveling through the country for 3 months. My stomach was so knotted in fear and doubt that my nerves had gotten the better of me and my bowels were emptying.

David was trying to balance feeling bad that I was such a mess, feeling hurt that I was going on this adventure without him, giving me support in my crazy decision, and trying to get me to calm down sufficiently to part with the bathroom for just enough time to travel to the airport. In light of all this, he was doing a great job.

The year of saving. The doubt of my family and friends about my decision to travel for the first time, alone, to a muslim country, months after 9/11. The thought of leaving my partner and my life to dive into the unknown. These were all the thoughts coursing through my body in waves that I couldn’t ignore. So, I sat there, crying, shitting, my boyfriend banging on the door, the taxi to the airport waiting outside.

What had I done. What was I thinking?!?? When there was finally simply nothing left in my stomach, I shakily got up, gathered myself together and stepped through the bathroom door into the the unbelievingly understanding arms of my boyfriend. And then I stood a little straighter. With every step towards the cab. With every mile toward the airport. I gathered courage. I gathered it from the conviction that I was doing something brave and scary but I was doing it for me and no one else. I gathered it from the sense that even though I didn’t know what I was doing, I was fulfilling a dream. I gathered it from the rebellious part of me that was going against what the people around told me was a dangerous endeavor. I gathered it from a place deep in the core of me that was scared to do something like this and yet was also excited by my fear. As I gathered all of those feelings, I let a tiny smile come to my lips. I humped my backpack on my back, took my boyfriend’s hand and walked out the door to the cab. It was the best decision I could have ever made. Those shaky steps lead me to a love of travel, an obsession with adventure and a confidence in myself I didn’t know was possible.

This pic of Istanbul was taken by a digital camera in 2002. It was huge and it saved the pictures on a FLOPPY DISK you inserted in it.

This pic of Istanbul was taken by a digital camera in 2002. It was huge and it saved the pictures on a FLOPPY DISK you inserted in it.

My Sister’s Courage

My little sister is probably a lot like yours. She is hilarious and open hearted and a complete pain in my ass. She can make me literally pee my pants when we get started laughing about something stupid and can’t stop. She annoys me to no end when she harps on me about something. She will play with my hair for hours sometimes. She insists on talking about and celebrating her birthday for MONTHS. She is rad. She is a scaredy-cat. She has Down Syndrome.

Just your typical Siblings picture.

Just your typical Siblings picture.

She lives with my dad and step-mom for most of the time, but comes to Portland to stay with my mom pretty often. My mom has lived on her floating home on the Columbia River in Portland for 8 years. It fucking rocks.

Serenity on the River

Serenity on the River

In the summer, us kids (*cough* if you call mid-thirties ‘kids’) basically take it over. We barge in on hot days, grabbing the swimsuits we keep there on the way to the back deck and leap in.

Surprisingly, no backs were broken in this picture

Surprisingly, no backs were broken in the aftermath of this picture

Except for Leah. It has taken her YEARS to get over her fear of the steep ramp down to the house. She is terrified of stepping over the small gap between docks. And as we all jump in, cool off and frolic, Leah roasts in the sun. See, Leah LOVES the water. You can’t get her out of it. The hard part is getting her INTO it. On the floating home, the only way to get in, is to jump in. There is no gentle slope to walk down, no stairs to ease your way in. Leah’s love of water has been overshadowed by her terror of jumping in from the dock for all these years.

Until last week. Last week was HOT. My sis-in-law (well not technically, but calling her my brother’s girlfriend of 7 years, just doesn’t get the job done), Mom and I were melting in the sun and in no time at all, were laughing and playing in the water. Leah sat on the dock watching.

And then something changed. All of the sudden Leah got up, went inside and put on her swimsuit. She came outside and put on her lifejacket and decided get in. We all couldn’t believe it. We all go out of the water to help her. She sat on the edge of the dock, her whole body shaking with fear, feet dangling over, flopped onto her stomach and then… PLOPPED RIGHT IN!!!

I might have never seen a girl so happy

I might have never seen a girl so happy

The three of us ladies leapt in after her, laughing with unadulterated joy. We stayed in the water for almost an hour, until we were shivering. Just to soak in every last ounce of this moment.

I’m not sure what was the final straw to make Leah take that last, terrifying leap into the unknown waters. Had years of begging and cajoling, guilt tripping finally changed her mind? I suspect that the scales finally tipped in favor of taking a chance. That the thought of NOT swimming with her family was something finally unfathomable. That the chance for adventure outweighed her fear. I’ve never been more proud of her.

 

Lauren Go Crash

Last you heard from me , I was galavanting around Guam. As you might have suspected, I’m a magnet for misadventure.

Well, the galavanting was just too much fun and I had to do more!! Nancy and David wanted all of us that were on Guam for the wedding to see the Island. We figured the most fun way to do that would be by scooter!! So we went out and rented SIX scooters. I was quite proud of Nancy and David for slummin it on scooters as they are card carrying members of their local Harley club. But they played along and we had sooo much fun!

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These dudes had set up shop at a random lookout. Their set up included a bunch of beer (for themselves) and some coconuts that they were selling to tourists. We bought a few for the sweet coconut water. After we drank all the water they opened up the young coconuts and had us try the fresh soft meat with soy sauce and wasabi, like you would with sushi. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

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Selfies whilst scootering is SMART!

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Roxy looking like a movie star.

We were having a BLAST around the island. Seeing history and culture and the beauty of this small island.

I was enjoying it sooooo much, I wasn’t paying a stitch of attention to the road.

AND THEN I CRASHED!!!!!

It was all a bit of a blur, but I had a few thoughts in rapid fire:

1: Holy living FUCK my ankle’s most definitely broken!!!

2: I have to get off the road FAST as it is in the middle of a corner and someone coming around it would squish me in a hot second.

3: I don’t have insurance!

4: OH wait!! I DO have insurance with Obamacare that I just got approved for last week, THANK GOD.

5: How am I gonna take the scuba lesson we have scheduled?

6: How in the living SHIT am I going to walk down the (sandy) aisle as a bridesmaid?

It turns out a dude that saw the whole thing was an EMT and helped me get out of the road right away, but not until after I had popped my ankle back to some semblance of a normal angle (EWWWWWWWW).

Neighbors came out of their houses and were SO kind. All photo credit goes to Roxy. You all know what a photo whore I am. As soon as I was safe, I turned to Roxy and said, ‘you better get all of this craziness in pics!’

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Laying on the side of the road, shaded by kind strangers.

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The culprit and the savior.

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Janice (David’s sister) telling me a dirty joke to keep me distracted as the EMTs worked on my ankle.

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Getting loaded up! Always with a smile of course 😉

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WEEEEEEE! MORPHINE!!!!

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Thank GOD my beloved tattoo came away unscathed. My hand? Erm, not so much.

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Oh. You want to give me MORE morphine? Um, ok. Sure. I guess so… aaaaaand there I go….

I’ll spare you the SUUUUPER gross pics and just leave you all here for now. The adventure continues next time!! Stay tuned!

LoLo

 

 

A Lil’ Jaunt to Guam

I’ve done a TON of traveling recently, but the most recent was aaaaaall the way to Guam to visit my aunt and attend her wedding there. Honestly, I’d barely heard of Guam until my aunt moved there last year. I hadn’t given it a thought . I ended up loving it. The island has some pretty fascinating, and sometimes sad, history. It is a territory of the United States and a pretty big American military base. The Chamorro people have a long and rich history and it is always interesting to see how that works with any current government.

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Guam is a tiny island. Super far away from me. I flew there. It was far.

What a gorgeous island!! And amazing people. Before I left, I took the beginner’s motorcycle class with Team Oregon and passed with flying colors and walked away with my motorcycle endorsement. All this because I wanted to ride motorcycles with my aunt around Guam!. Which I did! It was amazing and fun and just rad all around!

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My Aunt Nancy was insanely kind enough to ride her baby, a brand spanking new 1200 cc Harley

Yeah, I’m pretty damned badass. And look how safe!!

I was on that tiny island for a little over two weeks. Coincidentally, so was my beloved friend/Wifey Heidy. A lot of you will remember her from such adventures as:  Can’t go to cabo without a run in with the federales and Cabo in a Cave. And we simply can’t forget Dirty Hippie (otherwise known as failed attempts at road tripping across country in a VW bus). Oh wait. Also, Nanny Adventures. As you can see, Heidy is a pretty important part of my life. it was wonderful to have her there and have her meet a new branch of my family. 

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The Wifey sending me off to ride!

My SisCuz (cousin that is more of a little sister) and soon to be roomie, Roxy had been teaching English in some random city in China that we’ve all probably never heard of that has a population of, oh, 2 MILLION PEOPLE. So she was in Guam to be in her mom’s wedding. I was kinda blown away how such a tiny little island in the middle of the Pacific could so much awesomeness.

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The Limitless SisCuz

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Private yoga lesson from Heidy on a tiny island off an island.

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View of my Aunt’s condo from the tiny island

 

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Nancy and her love, David

Stay tuned to see how the Guamanian adventure takes a turn…

OOOOOOO-EEEEE! A response to Hey Dumbfuck!

So, I posted this brief post about a dude that messaged me on OkCupid and pissed me off. I so delicately named it Hey Dumbfuck!

He ALSO found my last post and commented on it:

“Hi, this is Joel. I didn’t mean any harm by reaching out to you and I apologize for an offense that I have obviously caused. I liked your friend’s picture and I thought that I would take a chance. Sometimes good things can happen from taking a chance. In this case, I find that you write about me online in a negative way. In my own defense, I attempted to be nice about my request and I also am not one of these guys that obviously you don’t like in your “Reflections” blog post (you know the shirtless douchebags that oil themselves up and take selfies in the mirror).https://uncontrollableawesomeness.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/reflections-aka-ranting-and-raving/

Now that my profile has been posted negatively about online, I’ll take it down and rethink this whole internet dating thing. Feels like getting bit by just trying to put myself out there. Oh well. jb”

I blog. Mostly about things that I find hilarious, offensive, or ridiculous. The email I received on Okcupid from “Joel” fell into that category. Bitching about internet dating isn’t a novel idea. There are entire blogs and websites devoted to it. Ever see Sex in the City? Carrie Bradshaw started a revolution. I just dabble in internet-dating-bitching. In fact, I barely participate anymore in internet dating at all (that shit is EXHAUSTING). For me, it is one of the things I write about and mostly to the small group of readers I have which rotate between my family, friends, and an occasional share from a Facebook pal. They mostly know me and weird sense of humor. And that when I write things like this, it’s with a bit of satire and a cubic-assload of sarcasm.

I reached out to my readers (family, friends, and occasional friends of friends) to get some help in crafting a response. Like it or not.