The world according to Gina (That's me!)
I get around! (HaHa- that's what she said ;) )
Really, the only stories that eternally belong to us are our own, when it comes down to it. No one can know exactly what a moment felt like for you.
This is what went on in for me.
This is the world according to Gina, regarding specific incidents or otherwise notable moments in my life.
There's really not going to be a rhyme or reason, so don't look for it. I'm going to update this Lens from time to time as I think of other important things I've done.
I used to show up at peoples houses that I "knew" online. They'd freak out like I was delivering a giant check. THAT was awesome. I have road-tripped a few times to some pretty fun places.
I also like putting pictures of myself on the internet - and talking about myself, if that wasn't made obvious before you even started reading.
I have SO MUCH SOCIAL ANXIETY it's hard to leave the house. Sick, huh? I can type really quickly - around 90wpm. That's pretty cool, I think.
All Photos by Gina Blanchard, All Rights Reserved.
Earthquakes and God
How my mother caused Loma Prieta
The mo***r ****ing Loma Prieta Earthquake
On October 17th, 1989, I was six years old. My concept of an earthquake was written into books based on prior experience from something that happened in 1906 and we really only talked about it when we did earthquake drills in classes.
So there I am standing in the kitchen stuffing my face like any respectable six-year-old did back then. There was some arguing going on between my mom and step-dad, when my mom yells into the phone from across the room:
"If I am wrong, may GOD strike me down!"
And I **** you not, the next word out of her mouth was: "EARTHQUAKE!" before she slammed the phone down on the receiver and set for the stairs (yes, she ran towards the stairs).
To this day the family is still up in debates as to whether or not it was my own mother who caused it.
Now, let me tell you, I didn't know what was going on at first, because I'm in the middle of the floor and the pots and pans start doing this little dance - dinner is cooking, so it's busy on top of the stove. My mom has just started yelling, everything is making a horrible rattling noise, and suddenly my tiny wrist is clamped into my aunts gangly fingers, wrenching me towards her with a re-inaction of my mothers "Earthquake!" belt.
All of the world is shaking at this point, and it feels like time has slowed down. My mother has managed to run all the way up the stairs wherein the bathroom door has fallen in and my brother is naked in the bathtub during the goings-on; He's 7. There's really something animal-like in a moms ability to motor around in times like this when her children are in need. So there she was, flinging the door aside as if it were a cloth and grabbing my brother out, who is crying all the while about not wanting to go outside nude. She spares him, wraps him in a towel, and manages to get outside before it's all over.
I'm in the parking lot, watching what may as well be the aliens invading earth. We are in a complex and every car in the parking lot is bobbing up and down. People are rushing outside, mostly confused. My cousins are a little older than us and they're trying to climb up on the fence to "surf with the waves!".
They say that earthquake lasted 15 seconds, at most.
I say my mother caused it.
FACT: Newspapers initially estimated the death toll to be at 300 but lowered it to 63 when 237 less people were dead.
FACT Not all earthquakes result in BAD things - The Santa Cruz Farmers Market sprang forth from Loma Prieta, according to their website.
About the Earthquakes I mentioned
Y'all ready for this? - Just in case.
You have two seconds to think and to react - what do you grab?
Know that answer.
Always have your HOLY OH MY GOD Bug-out kit, whatever you need in it. I know I do. What would you grab if you survived fire, flood, and earthquake?Perhaps a smaller version to leave in the trunk?Just saying, you never know when you might need something to survive with for a couple of days. I've been in all three myself!
I build forts. Adult Forts.
I have a ridiculous obsession with all things from my childhood. If we aren't talking about Ninja Turtles, Spiderman, Gargoyles, Pogs, Gigapets, Marbles and everything else that I was able to experience between 1983 and now, I'm trying to find ways to JUST PLAY
It's good for the spirit.
This takes up about 1/4 of our house and used all of our clean sheets and towels. You have to go through my office (read: cave) to get to the food pantry so I've got snacks on lock-down.
FACT: Not only does a fort totes bring out your inner child, it saves on heating by keeping an enclosed space extra warm!
I feel like a lizard on a cozy rock.
Mood lighting: Pink
I like video games
From the first time my hands could grasp I held the Nintendo Entertainment Center (N.E.S.) and mashed tiny red buttons for hours at a time. As I and the console were both birthed in 1983 you might say we were meant to be together. It wasn't the beginning of the gaming industry - it was the revival.
My father was never to be surpassed by technology. By whatever means he could he always had to have the next big thing and for his children there were presents of Mario Brothers and Toe Jam and Earl, Ecco and Jaws and Duck Hunt.
The Nintendo was upgraded to a Super Nintendo and much to my dismay (as well as my fathers) my mother made my brother and I gift our original system to the poor boy next door.
He said it was the best thing that had ever happened to him and I never forgot it.
The Super Nintendo rolled over into the Sega and we hung up Luigi and Bubble Bobble for Doctor Robotnick and Sewer Sharks. The Sega roared to life with dings and bright lights unlike anything I had seen prior. The first time we played it was Christmas and we were at Grandmas kitchen counter in San Jose.
Like a mighty Transformer the Sega gained 32X's and CD functionality and things that a child such as I could not possibly care to understand.
I got stuck on Ecco the Dolphin for hours in that first level. I was not clever enough to leap over and there was no "Google" or Game Shark just yet.
Nerd Herds and Boogie-men assaulted my childhood beside home schooling and bible study.
Playstation, Game Gears, Dreamcast, if it came out during the course of my growing I played it it. If it comes out now I have to play it.
After all, how did you deal with bitter sibling rivalry if not through Road Rash, Mutant League Hockey, Soul Caliber and Twisted Metal?
FACT: If you are having trouble staying up to play video games you do not have the proper video game ARSENAL.
Drop your Bawls for something with enough caffeine in it to keep you awake for your marathon. Gather these up because they're becoming more difficult to find in my experience. Taste? It's not so bad - just drink it fast. I buy it all the time.
What I'm afraid of...
Everyone has something their afraid - some all encompassing genetic (or childhood induced) irrational phobia that rattles them to their core.
Mine just happens to be police officers.
Whilst others dream of horrific kidnappings, grisly monsters, grim ghosts and goblins and a handful of teeth falling into their own palms, I fear the roar of a siren and the growl of an intercom. The man at my window frightens me so severely I am incapable of driving a car lest there be a black and white in my rear-view.
I had to have a cop talk me down on a road-trip recently. My buddy was behind the wheel and we were in Texas with California plates (I'm already nervous of this fact) when we got pulled over for two reasons -
1.) We were going five miles over the speed limit
2.) We didn't move over for a service vehicle (big no no!)
He took my friend into the back car and approached my side of the window.
"Ma'am, are you okay?"
I'm handing him my license; It's my car. I'm trembling and sweating and I can't even see straight. My voice is a lump in my throat and my heart is wildly trying to escape the confines of its bony prison. I want more than anything to pass out because it's hot and my ears are ringing and I'm forgetting where I am.
"Uh huh...I'm fine... Just nervous. Cops make me nervous."
So he turns over his shoulder to my captive friend and then back to me, leaning in towards my window.
"Ma'am, are you being held captive against your will?"
"Huh? No. "
"What's wrong? I'm not going to give you a ticket. Just a warning is all..."
It doesn't help. I'm worse. I'm about to vomit I just know it and mind you reader there is nothing for me to be afraid of. I have no reason to be this afraid.
"I'm fine. I just... Seriously, it's a joke how nervous I get..."
"Okay, but calm down. We're not all that bad." He takes off his hat and smiles. I feel comforted and start to ease but am reminded quickly not all cops are this bad.
My friend told me I should get a card from the doctor to hand to cops explaining my problem.
Fact: I am also blindingly afraid of that jagged can top left when you use a can-opener on aluminum. You'd have thought they'd have figured that one out by now. I also hate pop tops and easy-pull are even worse.
Photos of Me. - I like pictures of me! #justagirl #ilikewineClick thumbnail to view full-size
I've had Kopi Luwak
This isn't going to be one of those moments where I try to sale you the expensive brew or tell you why you should. It's just my experience with it.
I think it is the most amazing coffee in the world. The idea is that the Civit eats the coffee when it knows the beans are at the lowest state of bitterness and when they ahem dispense of the bean their fecal matter is separated, the beans are washed and processed and you are left with pure Kopi.
"What is this?" It was a 51st birthday celebration for my dad and the most important thing to me was that I bought his coffee aficionado self something he'd not had before. It isn't easy when the man buys everything he wants.
"Cat poop coffee." I didn't feel the need to advertise more than that. He was intrigued enough with those three words.
Later he'd read the certificate and come to understand the actual process and how it had starred in the movie with the two guys and the list with the bucket - or something.
It doesn't matter where it gained its stardom. What matters is when we tried it it was bold and firm, smooth and strong. It reached down into your throat and gripped your stomach in hot, steaming, creamy deliciousness. We found the Arabica to be more delicious than the Robusta (which I actually didn't like at all).
Where I purchase the coffee I now have a customer discount and continue going back almost every year.
What I will tell you is that Melita to Pot, the french roast is the best method for sipping this specialty. Not just any french press, either - I bought this for my dad for Fathers day:
My favorite French Press - I think it's the best
I have tried everything from the basic filter to the vacuum to the pot. I have done everything I could think of but it all comes down to this one french press. I had a glass french press for years and didn't actually know they came in stainless steel until I went out for brunch locally. The solid structure doesn't keep the liquid hot for a long time but It's not supposed to if hot, FRESH coffee is what you're attempting to achieve. So I finally splurged and bought one myself and couldn't be happier with the results!
Broken Bones AND other
I like to break things.
When I was 15 years old, I broke my foot.
I was stepping onto a balcony (onto, not off of) in a senior citizen complex (my mother managed) and I landed funny, twisting off the side of my foot.
I heard it, but it didn't really click, so to say. I hobbled back in and told my mother:
"I am in the worst pain I have ever been in in my life. I may have hurt my foot." As calm as calm could be.
"Oh, well, we should go to the doctor instead of camping then... " Before she even finished her sentence, I was already back up on my foot.
"No, see, it's fine. Probably just bruised." The camping trip only happened once a year, up at Cherry Lake, where the water was too damned cold and the booze ran freely like Niagara Falls.
When we went camping, I could not put my shoe on my foot because of the swelling. Over the course of the three days, I walked around barefoot the entire time. I had one of those grilling grates from the ground dropped on my foot. My mother accidentally stepped on it with her cowboy boots. I wanted to go waterskiing, but everyone advised against it because my foot "don't look good".
Upon return, I victoriously sprinted to the neighboring apartment complex and climbed over the eight-foot fence, landing with another crrrrack on that same foot. My friends mother was a nurse, so she could tell me for sure.
"I'd say that's probably broken." She told me, though she drank a lot of tequila, so I wasn't sure I trusted her.
When my dad picked me up to take me back home to Santa Cruz he ended up driving me to the doctor instead. They told me I had a high pain threshold, then accidentally put me in a walking cast and sent me home for a week. Later, they'd use me as a medical example of what NOT to do with a patient and their horrendously broken bone. Needless to say, they put me under for surgery immediately; As the scientific doctor put it: "Those look like chicken bones!"
They had to use tiny wires to stitch my bones back together and a pin to hold it all in place (the pin came out later). It got infected.
I ended up curled up on a couch with only Vicodin and WebTV.
I also kicked a hedger once - you know, those ones with the crazy a** blades? Each of the blades fit perfectly under my individual toes.
You can ONLY imagine how much you bleed when you jam a blade under each of your toes. No, seriously, you can only imagine it. I've seen it. It's incredible.
I also skidded across the asphalt on my chin and bled for three days - I wore a bandaid that was as big as a diaper on my chin :(
FACT: Fractures (breaks) are common in the fifth metatarsal (aka I don't get cool points for breaking a weird one, just for the doctors not noticing).
Speaking of Cops
Committing a Crime (it's not a good idea, so don't do it!!!)
Once upon a time, I worked in a movie theater, and I was 18 years old. My mother had recently died, I had just found out I had a new little sister, and I was a bored girl with a best friend that had a hankering for less-than-legal activities.
"I'm bored." I told him one night, while sweeping the floor.
"Well, we could rob (Local Smoothie Joint). That's something."
"Okay! Let's do it tonight.
Later, the detectives would say it was premeditated due to the circumstances and that we had spent a minimum of days putting it together. They said the masks, the plot, the breaking into the safe were all pre-planned (though who would pre-plan for such a small amount of money as is had overnight in one of those things?).
Honestly, it really was a spur of the moment, let's do something crazy (stupid) thing. .
There was a problem opening the door: someone had smashed through it the week before and only the door leading to the main street was open.
There was a problem with daylight savings: No one had fixed the clock on the safe
Somehow, we still walked out off there carrying a bag of money and wearing employee uniforms - right down onto Pacific Avenue weekday morning.
We almost got away with it, but we were thrown under the bus by someone who I still run into from time to time. It's probably better - we had used some of the money to rent a hotel room and we were ordering room-service catered alcoholic beverages; A lifetime of crime would not have suited me, and you always get caught if you keep going back.
In the end, the remainder ($1000+) of the money was stolen from us.
Nearly every item I purchased with that money was taken from me.
Karma *does* exist.
Do NOT steal money from places.
Just don't steal.
FACT: It was Jamba Juice
Online Dating and RPG's!!
During the time in which I broke my foot, it was the middle of the summer and everyone else was off having a blast. I was just getting started on a lengthy bout of healing. So I turned on the trusty old webTV. I didn't really know much about the internet at the time, but I managed to stumble my way into some chat rooms (this was pretty easy with this device).
Bam! I was hooked, lined and sunk! There were people in a room together, and they were all playing these pretend characters, typing back and forth about their actions. That's how I found out about Role Playing Games (this was before Warcraft, kids) and IRC (Internet Relay Chat).
I never did the Match Dot Com or the Cupid or all those specific dating profiles, because I was already 'hanging out with' the type of people I wanted to know anyway. The ones that were geeking out together in that vamppub, or vampirepub, or tyran, or whatever name it went by at that point in time, were all there because we already accepted each other for the ridiculousness.
Actually, then there wasn't really a concept built around this.
Some of the people who hung out in that same room with me then are still married TODAY.
So long story short (I'll cut this by three years) I ended up with one of these fine folks on my doorstep. At this time I was 18, and I was ready to run at the mere suggestion.
She showed up with long blonde hair, skinny, and a stripper -everything everyone on the internet seemed to be pretending to be, except there she was standing before me! We hit it off like a couple of women falling madly in love with each other.
A few weeks later, I packed as much as I could fit into a car and moved to PA to live with her.
Then I had a road trip to run away.
Then I moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon
Then I moved to Vancouver, Washington, to be with another one of those same people from that same group
FACT: Dad... reacted in the way that dads do when you tell them you're going to run away with a stripper you just fell in love because you've known each other on the internet forever.
Adventures by the ocean
Early in the morning before the traffic and just after the sun lazily ventures upward there is a calm over the world. Many folks are tucked away in bed or else readying themselves or their children to go out and face the day.
While life goes on for the rest of you, I love going out to the beach to see what wonderful treasures have washed ashore from distant lands. Just as the tide draws out I dive in, searching between rocks and crevices and along sand-walls where the water flows through.
Some things I have found:
1.) A dinosaur - It is a tiny triceratops made out of plastic. Details from the scales to the horns have been tumbled off from its spin against the rocks.
2.) Shells - Doubtlessly, the sea provides many a decorative seashell; From soft coral-pink and the size of the palm of my hand to smaller than a fingernail, each is unique and tells a tale I wish I could have known all of
3.) Rocks - You know what they say: "One mans trash!". I love collecting the rocks with tiny flecks of formica for the way they sparkle in the light. Sand is natures glitter. Then there are ones with holes in them, perfect for stringing up onto a key-chain or necklace. I like to paint my rocks with nailpolish if they remind me of something.
4.) Creatures! Creatures! Creatures! - Of course you are not allowed to bring an anemone home with you, yet seeking out the different types of crabs and stars in your area is a fun game! From pink to green to orange and even black and white, natures canvas is immeasurably fascinating. Be sure when gathering shells that you don't carry a hermit crab away with it - those tiny babes crawl right up in there to hide from prying eyes!
5.) Feathers - Blue herons, seagulls, pigeons, terns, plovers, pelicans, sandpipers- the list of flying friends is far too long, but each leaves a lovely trail! Feathers are great for crafts; For your next project, don't buy them, dye them!
6.) Gold! - That's right, my buccaneers, there be booty in them piles. Where fresh water runs into the ocean there are little flakes, ripe for the gathering. I have yet to gather enough to be profitable, but I did just order a gold pan (wish me luck!)!
7.) Glass! : This is what I am after. I collect it (though only what I myself find on my own adventures). It's not the type of thing you go to the store and buy. Sure, people sell it, but it takes away the adventure and you might get duped into buying art or craft glass, not to be confused with the well-finished sea-tumbling.
FACT: Shells and feathers can contain PARASITES that are disgusting. Don't get yourself sick while hunting treasures!
FACT: The Ocean can KILL YOU. Do NOT go out into areas where you will be trapped by the current. Do NOT turn your back to the ocean. Respect the immensity of mother nature, people. And DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TRASH. It's really not that hard, people.
How I quit smoking
I started smoking when I was 16 years old. In 2012 when I met my soul-mate, my Ross, my most amazing, I decided I didn't want to smoke anymore. He didn't ask me to and he never would have. I just found something worth living for. I picked up a box of these and handed my remaining cigarettes to a co-worker. I went into the bathroom and put it on and didn't look back. I followed the directions on this one and then the step 3 (I smoked about 15 cigarettes a day at this point because of my infection and didn't see need for the step 1).I didn't tell myself I was never going to smoke again.I told myself I was quitting for now and that if I wanted to I could go back to it later. I haven't had more than a passing desire since.