Monday, July 23, 2012

today's secret word is: motivation

sometimes it's like pulling teeth. It's like ripping off the band-aid, writing here. I don't have anything to say, I tell myself. I don't feel funny. I don't feel like dealing with Blogger. I don't want to wait for my photos to load. I wrote all day. I'm done. I want to read. I'm not caught up with my blogs.  I want to eat cheese and sit on the couch and watch So You Think You Can Dance.

I don't have anything to say. 

That's the real big one: that nothing comes to mind, there's no idea bursting to get out, there's no...passion? No story? Nothing worth reading. Nothing worth saying.

Deep down I know that it's not what I say that matters, but that I take the time to say it. Get it out. Write it down, get the blood flowing, and move on. write a thousand words, then drool over the crazy things that Cat Deeley puts on her body. Set the priorities.

So tonight I'm setting them. I'm here. I'm stubborn. And I'm not leaving until I have something.

Protein Shake People and the Forgotten Art of Bribery

Derrick and I are foodies. This, by nature, causes us to swarm house visitors and insist on making them more food than any one person should eat in a year. It means we have over ten bottles of vinegar in our kitchen and fish spines in our freezer. It means our shelf is filled with cookbooks with titles like Artisanal Cheesemaking at Home.  And it means that we are not Exercise People.

This crazy bitch, who ran up near the FRONT OF THE STAGE and into MIDDLE OF THE CROWD at an OUTDOOR CONCERT to do her squats, is an Exercise Person. 

We like camping and long hikes with our dogs. Derrick has been known to run. I've been known to break out the yoga mat or hop on our inherited treadmill. But we do not Exercise. We do not do Cardio. We do not eat "superfoods" because they are super; we eat them because they taste good. We have a secret dislike of quinoa. We are people who believe in the Holy Gospel of Chicken Fat, and we believe life is too short to swear off beurre blancs for the sake of a pound or two.  Forgive me, Father, for I have cooked pasta in cream and eaten my asparagus with butter.

But that doesn't mean we don't have a deep respect for fitness. We will never be Protein Shake People and we will never plan our diet around nutrient levels. We love vegetables and plan most of our meals around them, and that's as far as we'll go down the Health Nut Road. But we can exercise. And we should.

But we've been shoulding for months. And we've been tomorrowing for months. So I woke up one morning and did what every red-blooded American does when they want something:

I bribed myself.

Physical activity every day. No excuses. No "tomorrows." Even if a hurricane's swooping in and the electricity's out, by golly, you have legs, don't you? Sit-up and push-up yourself to sleep. In exchange, I get cash.

Yes. I am paying myself to exercise. This is how low I've sunk.

Thirty days, thirty dollars. Sixty days, sixty dollars. For me. For whatever I want. A skirt. The pair of earrings I've been staring at in the shop window. Muppets memorabilia. Underwear. Potatoes. Whatever. 

I don't buy anything for myself. Ever. EVER. Guilt complex. It's a bitch.

So I'm going to earn it.

And so far...though LORD knows this is just a drop in the bucket of where I need to be....I've been earning it. 

I will never have muscles. I will never be toned and tanned, and my ass will never look good in workout pants. But it's a start. And I've put it here now, which means you all can shame the hell out of me if I slack off.

Shame away, readers. Hold me to it. Just don't throw the tomatoes, okay? Either I'd be pissed at the waste of a perfectly good tomato or I'd just end up showering myself in vodka to turn myself into a life-size Bloody Mary. Throw turnips. Or celery root. Or beets. No one likes those.


I'm going to shamelessly use my reader base and ask for help. Because Christ knows I need it.

So, readers:

  1. What the hell do you do when you get writers block/don't have anything to say/just aren't feeling the regular update today?

  2. How do you motivate yourself? Especially: how do you con yourself into exercising even though IT BURNS IT BURNS GOD I HATE IT HOW DO PEOPLE THINK THIS IS FUN?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


we've got to stop meeting like this, blog.

these late-night trysts that never come to fruition. this sneaking around. this not making things public, not making us official.

every night. 9 p.m. cocktail by my side, love songs on the radio.

you look sexy, as always. you look a little dated, sure, but I've always loved a vintage gal. so what if you could use a face lift? you'll always look pretty to me. I mean, your color scheme alone - 

jesus, blog, there you go again. stop distracting me with your pretty little layout and your coy headlines. this is serious.


can you be serious for just one - ok, I know asking a blog with a Colonel Sanders fetish to be serious is like asking zooey deschanel to  put down the ukelele and stop being so goddamn adorable -  but blog, we need to talk about your draft folder.

I know. I don't like it either. but the thing is that I keep coming here. and I pour my foolish heart out into you. and I cry a little, and you correct my grammar a little, and together we create this little piece of pure, raw, unadulterated nicki in our corner of cyberspace.

and then we delete it. or we save it in a word document we'll never open again. or we leave it to languish in the drafts folder, never to be published.

no, you're right, blog. I delete it. I let it languish in the drafts folder.

but the thing is, blog, we've been writing every night and we've got nothing to show for it. or we read the mounds of beautiful posts piled up in our RSS feeds and think that what we write here is just...not worth It. whatever the hell It is. whatever the hell publishing an online journal for anonymous strangers to read on the internet is.

but blog, we owe you more than that. you're such a pretty young thing. all you need is a fresh coat of paint and some new material. but this - this soapboxing, this publishing, this performing thing - it's hard to get back into.

maybe we just need to get really drunk and stop caring what's good enough.

or maybe we just need to hold our heads high and say, world, readers, Internet at large, with all due respect, fuck it.

this is our space. we're going to write here. and some of it's going to suck and some of it's going to offend and some of it's going to be downright uncomfortable. like skinny jeans on a heifer. that is not an unpleasant euphemism for a fat lady. I'm talking about an actual heifer. think about it.

see? that analogy right there was bad enough to shutter The Loaded Handbag for good. but we're not going to do it, blog. we're going to keep our chins up and keep writing about the fashion choices of cows and what makes us deliriously happy and what we dream of and what we want and what scares us most.

and somewhere in all that clutter - in all that word jumble and funny gifs and Youtube videos - somewhere we'll strike gold. and for that rare flash of sentiment, that flash of meaning, that truth - well, that small truth makes it all worth it.

so you and me, handbag. my best gal. let's be brave.

let's fall from grace together.


let's plunge.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

a small tribute to fishing poles and seersucker suits (and other things)

There was a year or two or five in my childhood where my stepfather worked second shift. As a child it was admittedly every kid's dream - I had one parent all to myself in the mornings and another all to myself in the evenings.

At night my mother would stir spaghetti sauce on the stove while I sat at the kitchen table, telling her -- in  detail - every minute of my first grade existence. Who I sat next to. Who I whispered to on the playground. What my teacher said about my book report. What I had for lunch, and how long it took me to eat it. To her credit, the woman never complained, and for that, my mother is eligible for sainthood.

The mornings, however, belonged to my stepfather, who was in charge of getting me ready for school. Breakfast-eating, clothes-picking, teeth-brushing, book-straightening, homework-adjusting, bus-catching and the obligatory Ninja Turtles cartoon.

Back then I had long hair. Longer-than-any-child-should-ever-have-hair. Hair that covered his clothes, his chair,  his truck; hair that stood up on end with static in the wintertime; unruly ringlets that laughed in the face of mere brushes and combs.

It's the hair I remember most about my mornings with my stepfather: how he'd take the twenty minutes every morning, weary as he was, to run that brush through my hair until all the tangles were out. My mother had little patience for my hair - ripping the brush through the burrs, yanking my head back until it would cooperate long enough for a haphazard ponytail. My stepfather, with his calloused hands, roughened from years of metal and wood, was the one who took the time to brush it 'til it shone. He was far from artful, but he was patient and he was kind. Lost from my world of scrunchies, hair clips, and barrettes, he came up from the garage one morning with a Macgyvered Topsy Tail he'd melted together with scrap plastic.

We used it every day.

When summer came, we had our routine down pat. Yawn and pad out to the living room until the other awakes. Let the dog out. Cereal for me, coffee for him.  Sit and enjoy the morning in silence - something we share to this day, the quiet of the morning, the birds stirring in the trees, the soft creaks of the house he built for us; the deer, silent as the dawn, stalking its way through our trees; the crackle of crisp bacon, the sizzle of eggs; our hands, warming in winter around our coffee mugs.

I'd read. He'd fix things. But at 10 a.m. we met in the living room, he in his chair, me dwarfed in my mother's, and together we'd wait for that whistle.

Every morning. Every day. Opie and Andy and Aunt Bee and Barney and Goober and Floyd, in all their black-and-white Mayberry glory. And we'd laugh. Always, we'd laugh. And then we'd watch Matlock.

Yes. Matlock.

I am well aware that I may be the only 8-year-old in America to ever watch Matlock, but you can be damn well sure I was an 8-year-old that appreciated Mr. Matlock.

The man was a genius. A brilliant lawyer and orator. And a man with damn fine fashion sense.

So today, Mr. Griffith, I know I'm out of your target demographic. I know most Twitter users read of your death today and said "who?" But Mr. Griffith, looking up and playing those two theme songs -- those songs I haven't heard in years, but still, from some darkened place in my memories, could still hum along too, even after all this time - playing those two theme songs today made me cry. And Mr. Griffith, I have to confess, my stepdad and I didn't always see eye-to-eye outside the world of CCR, Led Zeppelin, and your Matlockian suits. We spent more time fighting during my teenage years than I'd care to admit on the public sphere of the Internet. But Mr. Griffith, you remind me of those summers I spent with you and with him, whistling along with your fishing trips, cheering along with every gavel. And for that, Mr. Griffith - for the many laughs and the old memories and the tears I shed today - for that, Mr. Griffith, I thank you.