Vinny’s Neighborhood Italian

We rounded the corner on what felt like 2 wheels, headlights cutting a path down the mountain road.

“I swear to god if I don’t find a bathroom soon I’m just going to pee all over your car. And I won’t feel bad about it.”

I laughed, knowing she meant it.

We’d just left the top of Jump Off Rock, a 45-minute drive made in an attempt to see the sunset one last night in the mountains. After a day of house tours, wines and beers, the sun setting over the mountain tops seemed like the perfect end to a much needed girls-trip weekend.

But then the wine and beers caught up to us (specifically her), and unfortunately mountain-tops aren’t equipped with bathrooms. So we made it to the top, snapped a few mediocre-at-best pictures, and were now travelling back down the mountain in a desperate attempt to find anywhere to pee.

“What do we want for dinner?”

“I don’t care, I just need to pee,” she responded.

I pulled up Trip Adviser.

“I want Italian, I could really go for some spaghetti.”

“That’s fine, whatever.” Clearly a near soil-your-pants-and-my-car moment was more important.

We finally find a gas station, whip into what might have been a parking spot, and make our way to the glorious gas station bathroom (a flickering light, cold toilet, and trickling sink faucet: the whole package).

“How about Vinny’s Neighborhood Italian? It’s rated the #1 Italian restaurant in Asheville,” I mentioned once we were back in the car.
“Sounds good to me,” she said, setting the GPS.

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She’ll Be Fine [11.07.18]

Her hair is a dark brown, the kind of dark brown you can’t have naturally. It’s laced with reds and caramels and shades of brown, all the result of years of indecisiveness. Why have one hair color when you can try them all? Why not just see what it’ll look like? It’s not permanent anyway.

And that’s just a minute example of her life as a whole. Indecisiveness swarms around her thoughts like a mob of angry bees. No thought is born without a second, smaller yet persistent “what-if” thought. A decision translates to permanence and heaven forbid she let anything in her life give her a sense of security.

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Love, Loss, and Letting Go: A Series (Part 1)

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One of my favorite quotes comes from poet Paul Thomas Berkey: “I can say with great certainty and absolute honesty that I did not know what love was until I knew what love was not.” It’s a favorite because it’s a few words that you can think on and dissect and make your own (the same reason that the entire book of Milk and Honey is my favorite (still not over that)). It’s simple: you cannot understand or experience love if you don’t know what makes love, love. In other words: You have to lose in order to win. While this post is not exclusively about romantic relationships it’s easier to understand this with that in mind: think of all of your ex-boyfriends or girlfriends. The temporary ones, the ones you were sure were your husbands. The ones you went to dinner with, the ones whose families you met, the ones you cried for. Think about that first break-up, and that end-all feeling; think of your teenage world crumbling.

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Resolving to Have Actual Resolutions in 2018

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Every year I’m the one that has no resolutions and thinks they’re dumb, or tries to make one broad one and doesn’t accomplish it/never believes I was going to in the first place. This year, however, I’ve caught the resolution bug. Not only am I making resolutions, I’m asking people what their resolutions are AND NOT ONLY THAT, I actually care about other people’s resolutions (who am I). For some reason, 2018 just seems like a really promising year for me and everyone around me. That being said, I’m also all of the sudden a firm believer in writing things down to accomplish them (see my love for lists in the last blog post) and therefore I am here to share my goals and resolutions with you all in hopes that I’ll feel even more obligated to accomplish them (and also in hopes that you’ll share yours with me).

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Escaping Captivity: A Short Story by Brooke Lohnes

 

I should preface this story with a disclaimer: I am a cat. This may cause you to disregard my missions and desires in which case I should preface said disclaimer with another disclaimer: I am not an idiot. While my current captors seem to think otherwise, I am an intellectual with one goal in this present moment, and that is to get the hell out of here.

My current situation starts as such—I was born and raised on the streets of rural Ohio. My mother was a bodacious woman and I had 14 siblings from two different fathers when I decided to leave home. I wanted to start a life for myself and separate myself from a long line of milk-hungry kittens that would eventually become sluts and man-sluts like my ancestors. I wanted more for myself; I still do.

Three days into my sweet, sweet freedom I came upon a house. I was on my way to an urban life among the well-paid and well-respected humans, but the journey was long and my stomach began to ache from lack of milk and mice. This house was different from the others I had passed, as I could smell the kibbles and bits from 100 feet away. I lost control of my legs as I wondered toward said house and began to munch alongside my fellow felines who had already claimed territory among the land. I had no intentions of staying, I simply wanted a warm meal before heading on my way, and they didn’t seem to understand. They batted at me and as I prepared myself for the brawl (two-to-one, mind you) that was about to breakout, a human appeared from the dungeon on the land.

Now it should be noted that I do not like humans, even back then. I was raised with a taste of distrust and defensiveness toward them and I’ll be damned if my mother ever saw me do what I was about to do next: I acknowledged the human. I purred—a sign of anger—so the other felines knew I was unhappy with their behaviors and rubbed along the human’s legs to make it known that I was fearless and they were picking a fight with the wrong man. What happened next still baffles me: said human had the nerve to pluck me off of the ground like I was a piece of garbage to be tossed and shoved me into some sort of barred-crate.

I pleaded and threatened and cursed to high heavens the entire time I was in the cell of captivity and all I got in return was “oh my goodness someone is upset,” and “don’t worry we’ll be there before you know it.” The ignorance of the human to not understand my cries for help that night is something I will not forget. If anything, the human’s ignorance has only grown more and more with each passing day.

When I finally arrived to captivity I was forced out of my crate, right in front of a different human. I again made my threats and battle cries very clear and again I was ignored. I was promptly shut in a room with a toilet while the humans left captivity. While trapped in said room I began to plot my escape. I tried the door handle: locked. I tried to signal for assistance from anyone nearby from under the door and again I was unsuccessful. It appeared that other than the two humans residing alongside me in captivity, I was alone.

When they finally arrived back from the outside I was released from my room and immediately greeted with a wire brush raked through my fur. I had massive tangles from my days in the wild without my mother’s baths but I considered the tufts battle scars and preferred to keep them. Upon seeing that the brush couldn’t detangle me, I began to feel victorious. “They are not in control here, I am,” I thought to myself. I was then whisked into a bathtub, drenched in shampoo and forced to stand in the devil’s liquid while they again pulled at my fur.

“DO NOT TOUCH ME I SWEAR I WILL KILL YOU ALL IN YOUR SLEEP AND YOU WILL RUE THE DAY YOU EVER MET ME,” I belted out but again I was ignored and instead greeted with giggles and a towel. I was enraged. I was released onto the floor once again and promptly began scratching at the door. I was determined to get out of this hellhole if it took me all night. After continuing to ignore their requests to leave the door alone I was whisked back into my room and forced to sleep among the toilet, two bowls of food and water, and a litter box in which I have been instructed to urinate and shit in (I do so only because I can bury the evidence of me being there and the smell is pleasant).

The next morning I was released from my room and was granted permission to roam among the prison. I climb the stairs to find two locked doors and another bathroom; I will be back to inspect the rooms on my own terms. I return to the first level and try the back door and windows—still no luck, the prison is sealed shut with admission to the outside world that only the humans can access.

The human that captured me is short and walks with a limp. She looks weak and fragile; I try to use that to my advantage. She also won’t leave me alone and continues to pick me up and scratch me even though I have told her repeatedly not to. The other human that resides here is long and seems to be the stronger of the two. While she intimidates me, she also respects me more. I consistently purr to make it clear that I am upset and want to be left alone and they continue to ignore my wishes. They have named me Oliver and have nicknamed me Ollie and Mister—I respond to Mister, as it is a sign of the respect that I deserve.

Later that day I am forced back into my crate and taken to a place of torture; on the door I read the word “vet.” I was taken into a room with the limping human and got an examination on my well being (I was fine). After excruciating hours of picking and prodding the human leaves; it seemed she had finally gotten the message that I do not want anything to do with her or her fellow captor. What happens next is a bit blurry to me: I am telling the human that now has possession of me that I want to be returned with the wild and then the room begins to go dark and I am gone.

I awake in my crate next to a dog that won’t quit yapping about missing his human; he is clearly retarded. I notice two things immediately: my legs seem to be closer together than before and I am very cold. I am about to investigate when I am placed in the hands of the longer human and transported back to prison. I later learn that I have been shaved except for my head, legs and tail and they have taken away my manhood (how f$%king embarrassing). I have since then been a disgrace to felines and men alike.

My days are as follows: I awake enraged and cannot help but make my appeals and requests for freedom very clear. I scream my frustrations at them as they put things on their faces in the morning. After being ignored per usual I take advantage of the humans and force them to scratch my head when they are on the toilet, making it clear that there are no boundaries and I will be respected and treated as an equal. I then demand they fill my food bowl, as they are my only source of sustainable energy in this prison. I will need copious amount of kibbles if I am planning to survive my kidnapping sentence.

On most days they both leave the prison and I promptly begin to ruin their belongings. The stack of mail frustrates me as it comes in from the outside, a place that I can no longer enjoy—I rip it to shreds. I take my upsets out on the paper-towel roll; this angers the humans and therefore I continue to do so. I dislike their trashy rugs and make it a point to ruin them and move them daily; this also displeases the humans. I enjoy watching them undo my mess knowing it will happen again tomorrow.

When they come home I am beyond pissed. I have had a tireless day of attempted-escapes and I want nothing more than to tear them apart when I see them again. I berate them with insults when they return to captivity and in return I am petted and laughed at. They think this is a joke, I continue to make it clear that it is not. I stake out by the stairs and the window, refusing to fall asleep or take my gaze elsewhere as I do not trust them. Once they are in bed I begin to, once-again, tear apart their living quarters. They will be infuriated in the morning and again, this pleases me.

The short one does her best to keep me out of her room and in return I do my best to enter said room. I am convinced it has access to the outside world. Both rooms on the upper level have plants that I choose to destroy at any given chance, as they are a reminder of a land I am no longer apart of. I have repeatedly made attempts to destroy their possessions kept locked away and they still refuse to release me. They are being stubborn but luckily I am also stubborn.

They have invited copious amounts of humans into the prison and I refuse to let my guard down. I torture them when they are asleep downstairs with my claws and do my best to keep them awake, as this frustrates them. I play with their hair although they repeatedly tell me not to—it must be infuriating to have your frustrations and requests ignored. They have also brought dogs into captivity to rattle me but I stand my ground; I know that dogs are human-pleasing rodents and I refuse to let them deter my stance that I have worked so hard to maintain. As far as I am concerned, the dogs can fuck off.

I am writing this so that there are written records of my capture. I want it to be known that, in hopes that this gets out to the right hands, I am still alive and need to be saved. You now have a good idea as to what I am suffering through here and I am confident that, once read, this message will encourage someone to do his or her best to release me. Until then, I will continue to insult, continue to threaten, and continue to attack until my freedom is granted.

Stream of Consciousness 7.26.17

One of the hardest things about blogging for me is having things to write about, especially when the blog has no direction whatsoever (i.e. www.happinessandhairpins.com). I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a topic for days and I come up with things like: one of my favorite things about people  is the fact that if you ask them how long it takes them to get to (blank) they say something like “about 20 minutes” but if that blank is their job then they know how long it takes to get there down to the exact minute. And while these thoughts are common and very entertaining to put to the test (seriously, ask anyone) they don’t suffice as blog-post topics. Therefore instead of just not writing anything I have decided to start writing everything that’s in my head at the moment and make this a Stream of Consciousness, a fancy title for a post that’s a dumpster for my brain (if this scares you away I hope you at least enjoyed your visit).

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Saving Myself From Myself For Myself

I’ve been really trying to focus on myself lately which is something I’m coming to realize that I’ve never done. I like to have my alone time and I get it regularly but I’ve begun to notice that my me-time is spent doing things for other people. I’m doing homework for class, I’m cleaning the apartment for my OCD, I’m making phone calls for work for the upcoming week, and I’m taking time to just lay on the couch and be a bum for an hour and then being annoyed with myself for it (I know that makes me sound crazy but I mean, if the shoe fits…). But guess what? It may come as no surprise that I don’t like doing homework, cleaning annoys me, and my job can wait until I’m at my job. And if I’m spending my me-time on other people and things then what the hell is the point?! I understand that things need to be done like homework and cleaning but why am I incorporating those things into the time I want to spend on whatever I want to do?

What I’m trying to say is that I can’t just relax and be okay with not being super productive for a few hours out of a Monday. I can’t just go get lunch by myself when I have the day off to try that new restaurant downtown because that would take up at least an hour that I should be spending doing god knows what for god knows who AND HEAVEN FORBID. I used to think I was so productive and just better than everyone else when I got my homework done before the due date (rare) or had a clean apartment to come home to or could report back to my boss that I did the work that he didn’t want to do and passed off to me out of sheer laziness but I’ve come to realize that productivity isn’t synonymous with happiness; and I know that may sound like a no brainer to you but for someone that spends a lot of time and energy on being productive, that’s one hell of a wake up call.

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RANT: The Dirty P Word

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Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife! Cover the children’s ears and brace yourselves because I’m going to say it… Politics. Let me start this by making one thing clear: I do not give a f$#k about politics. Hillary, Donald, Kanye 2020; whatever happens we’re screwed. I couldn’t care less about the presidential candidates or what’s going on with them because let’s face it, no matter how much everyone tells you “your vote matters!!!!!”, it doesn’t. And before I get balls deep into this post I want to make one more thing clear: I do not want to hear your opinions or views or anything out of you. I am here to rant and that is what I’m going to do and you are going to LIKE IT OR LEAVE.

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It’s Time To Waste Your Time | 10.5.16 WVW

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Read that last paragraph again.

And again.

ONE MORE TIME FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK.

I think about time a lot. It’s something I try not to dwell on because it’s hella depressing but when it sneaks past the barrier it comes in full force. For the sake of the rest of this post, I’ll let myself go there. We all have very limited time on our hands. In the aspect of life as a whole, our time is minuscule. We’re born, we struggle through some hard times and embrace some good times and then we die. It really is that simple. All of these fancy outfits and makeup trends and billion-dollar jobs won’t mean a damn thing when time runs out, and it’s easy to get sucked into that “life is pointless” black hole.\

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#sorrynotsorry 9.28.16 | WVW

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Welcome Friends! I’m starting a new series on here (series (n.): Brooke’s way of forcing herself to post at least once a week) that I’m calling Word Vomit Wednesday, or WVW (because acronyms raise curiosity to read more and also, would you click on something that says Word Vomit Wednesday? idk). Because of the fact that I could/do sit on the internet and look at quotes/people’s writings all damn day, I’ve decided to share some of the good ones, and now I can justify the hours I spend online doing exactly that; it’s for the blog it’s for my people.

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