Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Randoms

30 Things For Which I Am Thankful

1. My Mom, Dad, and Sister. No one is as quick to let you know you're awesome as your family. Also, no one is as quick to let you know you're an idiot as your family. These are both necessary.

2. Kristen, Amber, Vanessa, Neha, and Shilo  (and Adam and Justin, too). For the same reasons as the above. (Although for the record? I don't think Shilo's ever actually TOLD me I'm an idiot.)

3. Miss Rhiannon Colleen, aka Beansie Boo, aka Bean aka Bugs. Because, obviously.

4. Coffee. Which powers this and almost every other thing I've ever written.

5. Red wine. Which is responsible for the writing that coffee is NOT responsible for.

6. Warm, toasty slippers. Happy feet = happy Yellie

7. Facebook. (How else would I stay connected with people? I spend every day at home with my CAT, y'all.)

8. Bubble baths. Where sometimes I enjoy a glass of wine. And where I sometimes break wine glasses. Which leads me to ...

9. ... plastic wine glasses.

10. Our political system, which isn't perfect, but which allows me to say whatever I want to, both in this space and in the world.

11. The lessons I've learned in life. Yeah, some of them were incredibly painful, but I'm starting to see that I needed to learn them in order to better help other people. It's ... kind of awesome.

12. The chance for change.

13. James Taylor singing "Up On The Roof" (I'm just saying. This makes me soooo happy.)

14. French fries. Even bad french fries. (mmmmmmmmm french fries.)

15. Friends who check in to make sure I'm okay. I don't want to embarass you, but you know who you are and I LOVE YOU. MWAH.

16. The technology that allows me to have red hair, which I clearly should have been born with.

17. The Stormtroopers, who kindly do me the favour of reminding me what kind of neighbour I do NOT want to be. Thanks, guys. (Now, could you PLEASE MOVE OUT?!)

18. The fact that my Christmas shopping is done.

19. Handwritten letters.

20. My work family. Tess, Peggy, NiTara, Charlene, Sarah, Curtis, Hayley, Desiree, Dana, and Blair. You guys ROCK.

21. Books. Books, books, books. BOOKS. Even poorly written ones. (I'm looking at you, Meyer.)

22. The sudden realization that Shakespeare wasn't, you know, SHAKESPEARE when he was writing but essentially a guy who wrote soap operas, so maybe I could cut myself some slack for not being a literary genius.

23. Jeeves the GPS, who (mostly, kind of) keeps me from getting lost. (And Kristen, again, for her willingness to cart me around because she NEVER gets lost.)

24. The knowledge that love wears a lot of different faces. Just because it doesn't look the way you thought it would doesn't make it less of a treasure.

25. Kenny Rogers, for teaching me the importance of knowing when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, when to walk away, and when to run. Very useful information.

26. My apartment, aka "the coziest place on earth".

27. Days spent at the beach. Oh beach. Sure, I have to wear SPF 1,483 AND a hat, but I love you in all of your glorious beachiness.

28. Hot and Dirty Martinis at the Top of the Chop.

29. Every word Jane Austen ever wrote.

30. All of you, of course, who bother to check in here and see what I'm going on about today. I am giving you all a tremendous hug, if only in my mind. I love you guys.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Well, That Was Awkward

I'm going to assume that, like me, you've had moments of incredible awkwardness. I'm also going to assume that, unlike me, you aren't experiencing this during 95% of your waking moments and 75% of your sleeping ones, because I'm willing to bet that you're much more comfortable in your own skin than I am. It's a guess, though. If I'm wrong -- hello, welcome to our small but dorky family.

Anyway, with the awkward. Here's the thing: there are awkward situations, like when you are in band, sneaking a look at your AP reading materials between songs and having someone say "Hey, what are you reading?" and instead of saying "Moby Dick" you decide to be funny and say, in a normal voice "Moby Penis!" just as the room experiences a sudden bout of silence. (Disclaimer: this didn't happen to me. It happened to someone I sat next to, though.) There is also interpersonal awkwardness, as though there are people who, like magnets, draw out every bit of awkward in your system until you find yourself completely incapable of doing anything that's not horribly horribly dopey.

But if you're SUPER lucky, you'll find yourself regularly immersed in a situation that's both situationally and interpersonally awkward.

Which is what happens to me once a week. Well, that's not true. It happens to me AT LEAST once a week, when I run into an individual who I don't really know, but who, like all good Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravators, exudes cool intensity. This, of course, draws out every ounce of ridiculousness I possess.

Small talk? OH HELL NO. I try not even to make eye contact. I mean, I'm fine with being a buffoon, but I don't really know this person and there's no way -- NONE, ZERO -- that I'm going to risk the randomness that comes flying out of my mouth when the awkward is in full swing.  I can't do it.

This, of course, only makes me seem more awkward.

Typical interaction (if I can't avoid it, which I try to, so I'm sure s/he thinks I am filled with loathing towards her/his person, which IS SO NOT THE CASE):

Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravator: Hey.

Me: Hi.

IAA: So. Um. How's it going?

What my brain wants to say: Oh my God, I'm having the best day ever. Did you know that they're introducing a new line of Jem Dolls? I had one when I was a kid and I don't know what happened to her and now it DOESN'T EVEN MATTER! So awesome.

What I actually say: Good. Um, how are you?

IAA: Good.

What my brain wants to say: That's good. You look like you're having a good day. God, I don't even know what that means. I just -- you seem happy. Not that you ever seem like you're not happy? Because you mostly do. I mean, when I see you. Which isn't that often, because I try to hide when I see you because of the fact that I end up talking like this. Dear God, why won't the ground swallow me up RIGHT NOW SOMEONE SAVE ME?!

What I actually say: Good. So ... um. Bye.

IAA: Smirks.

YES. The Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravator SMIRKS. I don't think it's intentional, but it's definitely a reflection of an acknowledgement of superior social powers. Which I, sadly, will never possess.


This all started as simply interpersonal awkwardness, but now I can't even go to the place where I run into this person because I can feel myself becoming a weirdo the moment I walk through the door. Like every goofy portion of my personality just wants to escape. When you start avoiding a place that you kind of NEED to frequent, just because you are trying to tone down your own levels of oddity? That's not good, y'all. It's just NOT.

So yesterday, after yet another stilted conversation with my own personal IAA, I came to a conclusion. And the conclusion was this:

Why hide the weird? There's NO POINT. I'm pretty sure that by trying not to be as random and ... erm, I'm choosing the word eccentric here, so be kind ... as I normally would be, I just seem like a cardboard cutout who has nothing to say, and we all know THAT'S not true.

Look out, Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravator. I'm coming for you.

You won't even know what hit you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love/Hate Wednesday


Schooner Fare

Video not working? Click here.

I listen to this when I wish I lived closer to my mom. You can't really go wrong with a little Schooner Fare in your day. I'm just saying.


Feeling Useless

This is probably incredibly stupid -- is there anyone out there who read that and thought: "Not me! I LOVE FEELING USELESS. It's AWESOME"? I'm guessing ... no?

Here's what I mean, though. There are people in my world who are sad. And I love them, and I want them not to be sad. One of the things I've learned, though, is that you can't take anyone's burden from them. They will carry what they have to carry. The only thing you can do is put a shoulder under one side of it and walk with them, or lift an end now and again.

It just doesn't seem like enough. It seems like there should be more.

So I feel useless. And I HATE that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I was driving to a friend's house over the weekend.  It's late November in New England, so most of the trees have given up their leaves, and the ones that remain on the branches are a dried-out brown. It was overcast, and I was coming down a back road, singing along with the radio (as usual) and thinking about what you think about when you've been in the car for a while. You know how it is -- part of your brain is all about the driving, the mechanics of it, and part of your brain is keeping up with the radio, and the rest of your brain is with your family, maybe, or at the grocery store, debating the merits of gruyere vs fontina cheese, or at work, dealing with a project.

In my case, my brain was thinking about people I know who are struggling. This time of year can be so joyful and, at the same time, so painful -- and sometimes, the pain is made worse by the fact that the holidays are SUPPOSED to be joyful, so there can be extra pressure to smile and be happy when all you want to do is curl up under a blanket in a dark room and cry for six or seven days -- and pressure isn't what someone who is struggling really needs, usually. Sometimes what someone who is struggling really needs is a clean pile of blankets and someone to stand by and pass them tissues and, when they're ready, to turn on the light.

As I thought that -- and I'm not kidding -- the sunlight pierced through the clouds and filtered through the trees with this amazing orangey glow.

Everyone just needs a little light, I thought. We all just need a little light. My heart -- which is sometimes a little sad and tired, but which persists in being a hopeful little beast -- needs some at this time of year, when sometimes I forget to be glad for what I have. The hearts of some of my friends -- who are ending relationships, or who have lost loved ones, or who are dealing with illness and fear -- they could use a little light. Not a flood of sunlight, mind you. Not a full on noontime glare -- they're not ready for that. They just need a glimmer here and there, to remind them that when they're ready, they can step back outside, where there are people who love them, and warmth, and help if they want it.

That burst of sunlight only lasted for a moment. But it was enough.

Sometimes just a glimmer here and there is enough.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What I Did During My Vacation

Hellllooooo! I'm back! Did you miss me? (Please say you did. I'm NEEDY, y'all. Needy-ish. Okay, usually not super needy or high maintenance, but requiring minor doses of reassurance now and again. Plus, I missed YOU! So it's only fair for you to have missed me. Except this parenthetical has been going on for some time, and you're probably thinking, "Oh, I forgot that she's MENTAL. I really didn't miss this AT ALL" and that makes me sad. Wait! Don't GOOOOO I'll start over. Right now.)


I'm back. Pretend I didn't start this out with a bundle of neurosis. We'll all be a little happier if we ignore that bit, don't you think?

You might be wondering what I did during my vacation. Well, wonder no more, because I will TELL you:

I wrote.


I think that people think that writing isn't really work. (I'm basing that on the fact that a lot of people think that working from home isn't really work, or that unless you're in an office for eight hours a day, you're just faking it.) To those people I'd say that not only is writing work, but it's kind of ... hard.

Maybe it's not hard for everyone. But it's hard for me. Because it turns out that I lack discipline. I mean, I manage to crank one of these here posts out every day, and some days that's hard-ish, depending on whether I'm tired or hungover or feeling lazy (not that ANY OF THOSE THINGS ever happen) but mostly? It's not super hard because I don't have to worry about continuity or characters. There's just me. Well, me and Bean. Other than that, it's just what I feel like blathering about on any given day.

Writing a novel?

Oh boy.

I confess that  I've been "writing a novel" (and if you were to read that out loud, it would need to go into air quotes) for, oh I don't know, years? But I've not SERIOUSLY been writing one. I've been dabbling with it, here and there (which is one of the reasons I've never, you know, finished one). I have NOT been working at it on a daily basis.

Which is kind of what you need to do if you're writing.

Last week? I made myself sit down and crank out 5,000 words a day. EVERY DAY. (Well, not Thanksgiving. I did some other stuff on Thanksgiving. Like eat.) And here's what I found out:

1. I am very good at writing in the morning. In the afternoon? Not so much. This may be related to the fact that while writing, I have a tendency to drink a lot of coffee. How much coffee, you ask? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Six. Or seven. Six and a half? It's a lot. I mean, maybe for the course of an entire day it's not a lot (okay, yes it is) but over the course of four or five hours? It's a lot, and it means that when the afternoon hits? There's no writing. There is CLEANING. And DANCING. And then crashing and needing a nap. But no writing.

2. I am easily distracted. Come to think of it, this could ALSO be related to having 2 gallons of coffee sloshing through my person.  At any rate, here's an example: I like to have music when I'm writing, and then I thought, Oh, you know what would be awesome? Playlists! So I started making playlists and THEN I started thinking about making mix tapes when I was younger and how those were challenging (Rewind! Fast forward! Listen! Rewind! And ......... RECORD!) and how making a playlist is kind of not the same thing, payoff wise. Not so much effort. (Although, if someone were to make a playlist just for me? SWOOOOOOON.) And then of course I was hip deep in debating the writing-help-ability of one song over another and -- oh gosh, look at that. I was supposed to start writing two HOURS AGO AAARRGGGGH.


I also read. I read ... um, 10 books. I'm not listing them, though, because I think that would be boring. Unless you want to know what I read, in which case I'll tell you.

I may (ahem) also have watched about 110 episodes of Criminal Minds? (That's an exaggeration, but a mild one.)

That's what I did during my vacation.

And now I'm back to bother you.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Taking a Break. Kind Of.

Hi Y’all – Gone to Carolina is Gone On Vacation. (And making a huge push to finish her novel for NaNoWriMo! WAHOOOO!) I’ll be back on 11/26 – and in case you’re interested in my novel (sweet Mary, I’m going to have a finished NOVEL), I’ll be putting pieces of that here too starting that date.

Have a great Thanksgiving!



Thursday, November 15, 2012


I know that Thanksgiving is not for another week, but I also know that my American readers probably won’t be logging in to see what I’m up to on Thanksgiving because they’ll be busy doing some of the following:



*corralling small children

*watching a parade. Or a football game

*eating and drinking heavily

So, yeah. While I have your attention, let me tell you something.

In October of 2010 I moved to New Hampshire from North Carolina. My entire family lives in the south. I’m the only one who’s up here in New England. While this was the absolute right choice for me (oh, was it ever) , the holidays were uncharted territory for me because I’d never spent them without family (or at least some sort of romantic partner).

What I quickly discovered was that there are families, and there are FAMILIES.

The number of people who reached out to me, who invited me to share their holiday celebrations, was overwhelming. The number of people who continue to do so is incredible. Every year, people check in with me to find out if I have plans, if I want to spend the day with them, if I would like to be included in their holiday meal and festivities.

It’s the sweetest, kindest, most loving thing.

And it makes me thankful. It’s what I think of when I get annoyed with political discourse or injustice and decide that people are just no damn good. People ARE good, y’all. We’re all capable of the most amazing, selfless love and acts.

I’d like to take the time to thank each and every person who has made it clear to me that I don’t have to be alone if I don’t want to be, and who have reached out and made certain that I know that they consider me part of their family. I love you guys. And: RIGHT BACK AT YOU.
I'm so thankful.

(If you’re still following along, I’d just like to share this link with you. A local radio station makes a big effort to raise funds and take care of people in need at this time of year. You can check it out here. You can just donate, or you can participate in some very cool auctions. I'm just throwing it out there.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Love/Hate Wednesday



Picture this: high school. My friend Neha is sleeping over. We are in the living room, watching … tennis. (Why? I don’t know why. But I imagine the answer probably had something to do with Andre Aggassi.) And talking. And giggling. And passing a box of Cheez-Its back and forth. A box we had opened that very night.

Until the moment Neha looked down at the box in horror and said, “Um. WE ATE AN ENTIRE BOX OF CHEEZ-ITS.”

How had this happened? We had no idea.

Flash forward twenty or so years. Sitting with CG (Digression: I frequently want to tell stories that involve my ex-husband but which take place during the time when we were married, which creates a bit of a quandary  because – what do I call him? My then husband? My now ex-husband? Mr Not So Very Right After All? WHAT TO CALL HIM? So for the sake of not having everything I write be so VERY VERY awkward, his name now and forevermore will be, um, well, I don’t want to be mean or negative, and those are the things that come to mind first (because hello, EX HUSBAND) so … we will now and forevermore refer to him as CG. BUT WHAT DOES IT STAND FOR, you ask, as I only smirk in response. Just know that it’s not mean) and one of his buddies at a campsite in the middle of the afternoon, drinking beers, shooting the breeze, and passing around a box of Cheez-Its.

Until the moment CG’s buddy looked down at the box in amusement and said …

…wait for it …


One of my many theories in life is that there are sweet snackers and there are savory snackers. I am a savory-snack superwoman and Cheez-Its are my kryptonite. I can’t even have them in the house, EVER, due to the disappearing box phenomenon. Because it’s one thing to split an entire box between two or three people, but for ONE person to eat a whole box?

Well. Not that I’ve ever done that. Maybe. OKAY, there was that one time, but to be fair I was watching Braveheart and it’s a LONG MOVIE, all right? STOP JUDGING.

(And speaking of judging, don’t even get me started about the inferiority of the Cheese Nip. Those are NOT DELICIOUS. I don’t know what’s wrong with them exactly, but Cheez-Its they are NOT.)



We have ALL had this happen. We buy a thing – usually an electronic thing. Say – headphones.  And we’re all excited about the thing, thinking “OH BOY OH BOY I CAN’T WAIT TO USE THE THING!”

But then – then, we try to get the thing out of the packaging. The thick, plastic, sealed more tightly  than a Kardashian’s grip on reality television and impossible to open without a blowtorch, a saw, and several pints of blood on standby for the inevitable moment when we slice through the plastic and plunge our cutting implement directly through our hand, which will cause your friends and relatives to call us SPIKE from that moment on as we look toward the sky and ask, plaintively of the packaging gods, “WHHYYY?”*

And Why is really the question. Is this overly zealous packaging designed to protect the item? If so  -- do you know how likely it is that I might DESTROY the item trying to pry it out of its plastic prison? Is it designed to deter theft -- “I know – we’ll make it so that if they DO steal it, they’ll never be able to use it HAHAHAHAHAHAHA”  -- because that mode of defense also prevents someone who purchases the item legitimately from being able to use the item as well.

So I ask: is there an EASY way to get past these horribly packaged items? I’ve actually gotten so I try not to buy things that I think I would need an engineering degree to pry open.  It’s just not worth it to me anymore.

To recap:

Love: Cheez-Its
Hate: Overly aggressive packaging

Next week: Next week is just going to have to be a surprise, people. 

*Are you picturing Nancy Kerrigan now? Because I was, but I thinking I’d be classy and not go there. But then I did. Ooops.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


The trouble with love, she said,  is that you can't keep everything close to you and safe forever. Everything comes to an end. Sometimes, the hard way, with harsh words and thrown vases (okay, that's probably just me, she added) and sometimes the tragic way, with accidents and sudden illness and sometimes just because someone has run out of moments and has to move on, but the reality is that it all comes to an end. It's just a question of when.

Then she frowned and said, But that sounds cynical and I don't think it should. I think it's more like, we don't think about the role loss plays in love. Some people think that love and hate are two sides of the same coin, but I think it's love and loss that hang out together. I think that without loss and its inevitability, you can't really have love. Without loss, there's no risk, she said, and that's what makes love sweet when you hold it in your hand. Like -- the sun on your face on a winter day. You can't have love without loss. It doesn't work that way.

The trouble is, she said, settling back in her chair, is that when we lose, we focus so much on the losing that we forget the loving. Right? When someone goes -- because you've broken up or because they've passed away or because of whatever -- it's like you can't see past the empty space anymore. You stare at the place where they were and all you see is absence. That's what I did, she said softly, I looked around and everything seemed like it had been painted black. All I could see was what was missing.

But one day I realized that it was only missing because I had once had it. You know? The only reason I was so lost and broken was because I'd had the courage to love like that in the first place, and all of my grief was really just kind of being afraid that I'd never love like that again. And I won't. But I'll love differently, and maybe better. So it's okay.

No, it IS okay, she said firmly. Plus, I know I said that you have to lose to love, but I don't really think that you ever lose anyone you truly loved. I think the heart is a locket, and all of the amazing, wonderful pieces of everyone you loved are engraved on the inside, for you to keep. You lose what's out there, she said, waving her hands around the room, but what's in here? and she put her hands over her heart, What's in here you keep for always.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Having What I Want

I am prone to revelatory moments. This probably sounds exciting, but it's not. They're never revelations like "Here are the winning lottery numbers!" or "It's TRUE! George Clooney's life IS empty without me!" and are always more like "OOOOOHHHHH. I'm totally doing this wrong."

Try not to be jealous.

My latest moment of "Oh, right, I'm a bit of a dolt" came as I was standing in the frozen foods section at my grocery store, lamenting the fact that they don't appear to carry a blend of veggies that were readily accessible in North Carolina.

I thought "But they don't have what I want!"

And then, moment of revelation.

(I know, it's weird how they strike.)

Anyway, the revelation is this:

In moments where you're faced with not having what you want, you can:

1) change what you have. Which means, you have to work for it. Maybe I needed to go to a different store. Maybe I needed to explore other options -- could I order the veggies online, somehow? Could I make the veggie blend by combining existing blends?  Was there a way to manifest this in my life?

2) Change what you want. What, exactly, was I looking for? Did it NEED to be that VERY blend of vegetables? Could I use something else? What if I just used ONE kind of veggie instead of a blend? What if I tried something different?

It occurs to me that this is how I need to live my life.

If I don't have what I want, I need to either change what I have (create an environment of possibilty so that having that thing -- whatever it might be -- can become a reality) OR change what I want (examine my desires and determine if what I think I am yearning for is necessary or if it represents -- and can be replaced by -- something else that is obtainable).

In either scenario, however, I have stuff to do, right? Other than whining about not having what I want, which is irritating to other people as well as being a waste of energy and air. the key word in both modes of behaviour is CHANGE. Change what you have, which can be time consuming and requires effort. Change what you want, which can be time consuming (self examination sometimes is) and requires effort.

Change is in the air, I've noticed.

As for the frozen veggies -- I changed what I wanted. Instead of wanting the fancy veggie blend, I realized that I just wanted a couple of the components of that blend, all of which were readily on hand. Problem solved.

Maybe my next revelation could take place in the bakery, though. It's warmer over there.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Randoms


"You know how sometimes you get to the end of the day and you feel like your brain miiiiiight be leaking out your ears, just a little bit?"

"No. I ... NO."

"Oh. Hm. Well, that shoots the rest of this story to hell, then. Nevermind."


"I get all my news from the Daily Show."

"Of course you do."

"I had to stop watching NBC's Nightly News when Tom Brokaw stopped being the anchor."

"Dude. That was FOREVER ago."

"I know. But I love him. It's not the same without him."

"So, instead you watch a fake news show hosted by a comedian?"

"You say that like it's weird."

"I know, what am I thinking?"


"Is Beansie better?"

"Yeah. She's staring at the wall right now. Every couple of minutes, she meows at it."

"Right back to her old self, then."



"So. Finish this sentence."


"All I want for Christmas is..."

"someone else to pay my car registration, and a steak dinner, and a fancy outfit and somewhere to wear it and a fun hat that doesn't make my head look too big. And one of those alarm clocks that slowly floods the room with light, even though I don't think that would actually wake me up. And the first season of Criminal Minds on DVD."

"Oh, is THAT all?"

"And world peace. Did I mention world peace? That would be good too."


"I'm decorating for the holidays. Can I just say that I'm OBSESSED with snow globes right now?"

"Please tell me this isn't going to turn into a gargoyle thing."

"Of course not. It would be odd to have snowglobes everywhere."

"But it's not weird to have gargoyles everywhere?"

"It won't be after I put their Santa hats on them. Hey ... what if I found a gargoyle IN a snow globe. OH MY GOD THAT WOULD BE AWESOME."

"How would you get a Santa hat on it?"

"Oh. Huh. Hey, did you just sink to my level?"

"Yes. And now I'm scared."

Thursday, November 8, 2012


So if you're wondering how NaNoWriMo is going for me, here's the answer:


I've come to realize that the reason I've yet to FINISH a novel is that I ... am an idiot.

Here's what happens: I start a novel. I get into it. I'm liking it. It's working.

And theeennnnn the doubt monsters start talking.

The doubt monsters are big. They are cranky. And they are loud. They say things like this:

"What are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THIS IS SO STUPID!"

"This is lame. You should be writing something more serious."

"Do you think anyone is ever going to read this? Because they're not."

"And if someone DOES read it, they're going to know how dumb you are."


"Maybe you should go do something else. Like watch another episode of Chopped."

"Turn off your computer. You're not getting anything done anyway. Loser."

I know I shouldn't listen to them. They're not my friends. But ...

... I think they might be right.

I'm not giving up. I'm trying to think of ways to lock the doubt monsters out of the house.

But I'm SO FAR BEHIND. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An Open Letter To You If Your Candidate Won (And If S/he Didn't)

Good Morning America,

I am feeling quite well this morning. I went to bed before the election results were in, which might be why I woke up at 1:42 AM from a terrible dream in which my candidate had won the popular vote but lost the election anyway -- in my dream, Rachel Maddow kept patting me on the arm and telling me that it would be okay, but still. So upsetting. This is why at 1:45 in the morning I was online, reading about the presidential election.

I am a nerd.

But at least I was a happy nerd, if only for a few minutes.

Some of you, nerds or otherwise, are happy this morning. Some of you are not. To which I say -- that happens. Those of you who are not happy might be thinking, well, four years from now we'll remobilize and fight again. Those of you who are happy might be thinking, PHEW! I don't really have to do anything else for four years!


I want you to think of a democratic society as, say, a board game. Like Parcheesi. If you place it on a shelf in your closet? It does you no good. There's no point to having it. If you're not careful, it will get buried under other things -- coats and mittens and possibly even other board games.

If you play it only once every four years? It might get damaged, up there on that back shelf. Maybe a wet mitten will get tossed up there and land on the box, warping it and making the board mouldy. Maybe a mouse will nibble away the corners. Maybe the whole thing will be upended without you realizing it and you'll lose some key pieces.

Or maybe you do want to play it a little more often. That's great. But maybe you have a tendency not to pay attention to the act of play. Maybe you wander away in the middle of the turn, so your opponent can cheat. Or maybe you just fail to engage and then -- you lose.

If you voted yesterday, that's awesome. But let me tell you this: voting is not the sum total of your responsibility in a representative government. Too many of us -- myself included -- have treated our political process like a sad old Parcheesi game -- we've ignored it, let it get mildewy and damp, and then, when we take it out and dust it off and really look at it, are astonished that it's not in the same shape it was when we put it away.

If you are unhappy with your government it is your duty to make sure you work to change it. That's the way it works -- and let me tell you this, please, because I think so many of us fail to understand this point: standing beside someone and yelling at them "CHANGE! CHANGE RIGHT NOW" is not actually the most, erm, effective way to bring about change. It requires involvement, work, and sometimes it involves lowering your voice. But understand this: complaining without action is weak, and it's what those who believe differently than you HOPE for: That you will be angry, but you will not act. (Which, I'm afraid, is frequently the role of the American citizen in politics.)

If you are HAPPY with your government, it is your duty to work to PROTECT it. To watch out for it. To keep it on track. Not to sit complacently by because your guy won. To make sure that your goverment stays strong and continues to represent you. Does this sound a bit like policing? That's because it is. The minute you turn your back on your government, the instant you stop watching what it's doing and release your responsibilities, the whole thing can turn. This is a government for the people, by the people. You are the people. You need to work and watch and fight. Again, those who would use political power for their own gain hope you won't. Don't give that to them.

I firmly believe that one of the reasons that this country has become so politically divided is this: the majority of us have relinquished the personal responsibility that comes with this type of government. We believe that we will vote and that we will be taken care of. We're sheep who get to elect our own herders and then, once that's done, happily return to being sheep. Which means, of course, that the herders have to be extreme to get noticed -- the more extreme the herder, the more polarizing s/he is.

 The problem with sheep, though, is that they get sent to slaughter unknowing.  The founders of this country didn't fight the Revolutionary War and write the Constitution so that two hundred and thirty six years later we could all vote once in a while and then wash our hands of the whole deal. They did it so that the citizens of this nation (and I could get started on who was a valid citizen and who wasn't, but that's for another day) could be involved.

So BE INVOLVED. Every day. Hold your government accountable. Watch what it does. Speak up and work for it, whether you're happy OR angry. Because doing otherwise is no longer enough.


Monday, November 5, 2012

The One Where Beansie Goes to The Vet. Twice

Bean is, by nature, a friendly, goofy beast.

That all changes the instant she gets in the car. At that point, she becomes a psycho. A psycho who wants nothing more than to bite the crap out of the first person she sees at the vet.

Going to the vet, as a result, is mildly horrifying. It's traumatic for both of us. For her, because she's scared and so does her best angry dinsosaur impersonation, and for me because -- well, I don't REALLY want her to bite anyone's face off, and seeing her so unhappy makes me rather unhappy.

But sometimes, it has to be done.

Scratch that: Friday afternoon, it had to be done.

I should say here that some cats will not get into a pet carrier without a fight. Not so with Beansie. Here's how I get her in the carrier:

1. Put the carrier on the floor.

2. Open the door

3. Watch Beansie walk DIRECTLY into the carrier.

4. Close the door behind her.

I may have mentioned this a few times, but she's not very bright. She pretty much always gets right into the carrier -- and then, once latch it closed behind her, gives me the look of ultimate betrayal. It never fails to make me feel like a piece of kitty-tricking slime.

She's pretty good in the carrier though. That is, until I put it in the car and then put the car in gear. That's when she would lead me to believe that I have closed Jack the Ripper in the carrier with her and he's trying to KILL HER and I am the mean, horrible woman who doesn't even CARE.

She expresses this through highly emotive yowling. Which, again, makes me feel TERRIBLE. We have conversations like this all the way to the vet:


Me: I know, this sucks, huh?


Me: I think that it's really good that you're expressing your feelings, though. Get it all out! Share!


Me: What? I did NOT run that light. It was still yellow. We're good.


And then she peed on herself in terror, which I don't think is related to my driving skills, but you never know. So now she was unhappy because she was wet, and stinky, and in the carrier in the car.

Finally, with one last YOOOOWWWWLLLLLL we were there.

We waited our turn and people kept ignoring the stench of cat pee that was wafting off her carrier and peeking in. "Ooooh, she's so PRETTY," one lady said while her little girl looked like she wanted nothing more than to stick her hands in the carrier and pat Bean, who was at last sitting quietly.

"Thank you. Uh, I wouldn't do that, sweetie," I said to her daughter. "She's ... bitey ... right now."

The visit was, thankfully, fairly brief. The doctor took one look at a visibly pissed, forcibly restrained Bean and said, "Maybe we'll pass on taking her temperature." It was her last appointment of the day, and wrangling 15.5 pounds of angry, snarling, Beansie-beast was not enjoyable for anyone.

"Okay," I said.

Rabies shot. Done. Distemper. Done. De-worming (because she's managed to get tapeworms somehow). Done. Lecture on overfeeding her. (Which, in my defense, I don't do!) Done.

Back in the carrier.


Me: I KNOW! That went SO WELL!


Me: I am going to go home and drink heavily!


We got home. She bounced out of the carrier and began to wash. I washed out the carrier and had a beer. She got into my lap. We were good.

We were NOT GOOD.

Bean wakes me up EVERY morning. Every one. Like clockwork. She purrs and chews my hair until I get up to feed her.

Saturday morning? She didn't wake me up. When I got up at the ungodly late hour of 7:15, she had puked. Not awesome.

"Poor bug," I said. I got her kitty treats and her food.

She ignored me.

I went into the bathroom and turned on the water in the tub. "Bean!" I said. "Come get it!" This brings her running EVERY DAY.

She ignored me.

I went over to her and tried to pat her.

She GROWLED at me.

And then threw up twice more.

To make a long story short (or at least a little less long) I called the vet. I called my best friend who said she'd come with. I got out the carrier.

For the first time in her life, Bean looked at the carrier, looked at me, and gave me a look that said, quite plainly, SCREW YOU.

I grabbed her (ignoring the growling) and stuffed her in. For the second time in less than 24 hours, we were back in the car.

Bean: YOWL.

Even her sad kitty cries were subdued. And then she started panting.

Kristen was talking to her. I was talking to myself. (Okay, Yellie, this is a meltdown free car. No meltdowns. We're allllll gooood.)

The vet decided that Bean was having an allergic reaction to the deworming meds. She took her temperature.

Bean handled that ... poorly.

She gave her an antinausea shot.

Bean did her best impersonation of a rabid wildebeast.

She gave her a Benedryl shot. Before she did, the vet looked at me and said, quietly, "Um. This one stings a little."


Forget yowling. Forget hissing and biting. She was doing the kitty equivalent of screaming, and the whole time she was looking right at me, like, "How could you POSSIBLY let this happen to me?"

That was when I did have a meltdown. The ugly-cry kind too, because I felt terrible. And also, embarassed that I was crying in the vet's office. (The vet was very nice about it and passed me tissues. I guess I'm not the only one who does this.)

I'm happy to say that Beansie and I have both recovered from her adventure. She started eating again on Saturday afternoon. She also stopped growling at me. She decided I was her friend again Saturday night, and spent all day yesterday glued to my person. She is sitting in my lap as I type.

Me: We're good now, right buddy?

Bean: Puurrrrrrrrrrrrr

Best. Reply. Ever.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Randoms


"So, the thing is, I need to make an appointment to bring my cat in? She needs some shots and an exam. Her name is Rhiannon."

"Okay, let me pull her up in our system."

"She weighs about 14 pounds, she's declawed, and... um... she's a little cranky when she's at the vet."

"Oh, I know."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Her file is marked 'Handle With Caution'."

"Great. I have the problem child."


The problem with writing a blog is that people either want to appear in it or they REALLLLLLY don't want to or they'd normally be okay with it but sometimes, something happens and they are horrified that it will somehow end up in here for all of the interwebs to see.

So for those of you -- and you know who you are -- who were afraid I'd write about that thing that happened? I DO have a filter, albeit a tiny and somewhat damaged one. You can relax now. I promise.


"I was flipping through the channels and I heard Morgan Freeman's voice. So I stopped and it was a political ad."

"So basically, it was like God telling you who to vote for?"

"Yep. And you know, I'm not arguing with that guy."


We pause in the middle of Friday Randoms to remind you that you need to go vote next Tuesday, November 6th. Otherwise I will be sad. And you don't want that, right?


"Ooooh! Is that your new coffee pot?"

"No, that's the old one."

"Um. I thought that was broken."

"It is."

"Then why --"

"I can't live in a house that doesn't have a coffee pot on the counter. I just CAN'T. So I have to keep that until the new one comes."

"So your brain thinks that there is the possibility of coffee, even though there isn't?"

"Yes. Wow. You've broken my code."

"And I am now frightened for us all."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Having Your Say

I blather on quite a lot here, mostly because this is my space, and I'll use it for what I want. Mostly, I write about very silly things. But sometimes, now and again, I touch on things that I think are really important, and things I want to share with other people. Not because I think my take on anything is the most brilliant thing you'll ever read, but because I want other people to think about them too. In my dream world, everyone would immediately agree with me (not really, that would be so boring) and recognize my genius (which, okay, wouldn't be boring at all) and life would be grand, tralalalalalala.

I recognize that's never going to happen.

The important bit, I think, is this: having an opinion. Using your opinion. Having a say.

So. Next Tuesday. Go vote. Vote if you agree with my politics. But also? Vote if you DON'T. Vote if you ever thought "Hey, this guy in office is great" or "This guy in office is an idiot" or "I love the idea of this new law" or "I HATE THIS LAW IT MAKES ME WANT TO STAB MYSELF IN THE EYE".

Also, please don't stab yourself in the eye.

Vote so that when you complain about politics, people will listen to you. If there's one thing that drives me insane, it's someone who complains about society and politics and doesn't participate in them. Dude, you couldn't be bothered to vote? Don't complain then.

Vote because of all of the people, all over the world, who would KILL for the right to vote. Who ARE killed fighting for the right to vote.


(Don't know if you're registered to vote, where your polling place is, etc? Find out here.)