Thursday, January 31, 2013


(click here for the link)

I woke up this morning to wind, rain, and grey stormy skies. Which, since it's January, is not a huge shock. It happens.

This is a month that I won't be sad to be shut of. It's been exceptionally hard. Stuff that I needed to have happen? Didn't. Things that I didn't want to have happen? Did. There have been tears and sickness and anxiety and foolishness and stress.

Did I mention this month has been hard?

At one point, I said to my mother: "I get that this is a lesson? But why does every lesson have to be so damn painful?"

"I don't know, Yellie," she said. "I don't know."

Here's what I DO know: I think I've learned it. I think that what I had to learn from this is that you just have to trust, and then let go. Which doesn't mean you don't work and hustle and do what you can? But it also means you release that which doesn't belong to you (it's not my duck) and learn to believe that things work out the way they're supposed to. Even if that's not what you want, or not what you think you need. Have faith. You'll be okay.

I am, when possible, putting my energy into things other than worry (I have xanax for the anxiety. It helps.)

It might be a stormy day, but I keep seeing a break in the clouds and getting glimpses of blue sky and sunshine.

I call that hope. And I'm going to let go of my fear and wrap my fingers around that instead.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Well This is New

It's a truth universally acknowledged that I do not have a terribly calm personality. Some people are zen and mellow, like sloths (which, by the way? ZOMG WITH THE CUTE) and some people are prickly little hedgehogs.

We've established which one of these I am, right? (Hint: NOT A SLOTH.)

(Hedgehogs are cute, though? Right?)

Annnywhooo. I've been a little ... hahahaha ... stressed out about a million and twelve things. 2013 has not been as kind as I would have wished it to be. To be honest, in many ways, it's been a ridiculous mess.

Which is why, when I sat down this morning and said, out loud, "Hey, you know what? This is totally going to be fine," I nearly looked around to see who I was talking to.

I say this all of the time -- to other people. And I believe it -- for them. I am a firm believer in helping where I can help, in offering assistance when I can offer assistance, in listening when someone needs to talk. All of which are good things to do. But I've noticed that -- oopsers -- I tend not to help myself when I need it, in assisting myself, in listening to myself, and in believing that it will be fine in MY life as much as I believe it for someone else.

It's not fun when you think "Girl is a Hot Mess" and then realize the girl in question is the one you look at in the mirror every day.

But for some reason, this morning? I am still a tightly wound little hedgie, but I'm one cruising in a (tiny, probably soon to be lost) pocket of zen. All of the tension and energy I've spent fretting and freaking out and generally being a lunatic? I'm letting it go -- at least for a second or two. None of it will change what will be, right? Rolling into a spikey ball might be great for my flexibility, but it's not so advantageous if I'm trying to notice the world around me, because all I get to see is my feet. Which, as we've discussed, are not super cute.

I don't know how long I'll be able to nose about in this calmish place, and I fully acknowledge that, on some level? I don't aspire to sloth-hood.

But I could enjoy being a less frantic hedgehog.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Keep It Simple: LISTS!

Once upon a time, I was a married woman (gratuitous Pride & Prejudice reference: "Ah! Jane, I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman.") I was a terrible wife. I know, because CG used to make sure to tell me. Nothing was clean enough. I didn't cook well enough. I wasn't attentive enough. Of course, I was supposed to be cooking and cleaning and everything else when I got home from my job that required me to leave before he even got up in the morning, and from which I got home AFTER him. But whatever. Wife material = fail.

As a result, I now have a list of things that I should/ should not do engraved in my noggin.

Thing #1: Don't marry someone who's an asshole. (Because, really.)

Thing #2: Find a system to make your life less stressful. (First, see Thing #1, in case you forgot.)

So. While I don't have to be anyone's indentured servant anymore (yay me!) I will freely confess that there are things I hate and battle with regularly. One of them is clutter and mess. As such, on my fridge, there is a little magnetic whiteboard of the sort that is always going on sale in the fall to be used in high school lockers with those tiny, useless mirrors and such.

The whiteboard holds a list (yay lists!).

The list looks like this:

Monday: bathroom and floors

Tuesday: kitchen and laundry

Wednesday: living room and dining room

Thursday: office

Friday: bedroom

And yes, it's a schedule. For cleaning.

I'm mentioning it because, well, everyone who sees it mentions it. The place isn't so big that people don't notice the little whiteboard. "You have a schedule," they say. "FOR CLEANING." And then they either make a joke about it or roll their eyes politely, because to know me is to know that there's a schedule for EVERYTHING.

However, the question is not why do I have a cleaning schedule, I don't think. The question is why more people DON'T have one. If you don't? Here's why you might want to consider it.

Notice, please, that Saturday and Sunday are NOT ON THE LIST.

This is actually why the list exists.

I used to find myself super busy on the weekends, trying to do the stuff I wanted  to do (have drinks with friends! Hang out! Veg! Go out to dinner!) and also? Finish the things I HAD to do (launder clothes! Scrub bathtub! Wash the floor!) not because there's anyone here berating me or telling me they need to be done, but because I would like to do them.

Trying to get everything done over the weekend?

Well. Sunday night I'd be super tired and something would not have been done... and though I would fully recognize that I needed to, say, wash the floor, I could also see Monday morning looming on the horizon in the way that only Monday morning can do, and I would think: "Yeaaaah, that's NOT going to happen."

I finally gave up on the "do everything on the weekend" plan, but (again, as anyone who's ever been in my house knows) -- clutter/messiness makes me, um, TENSE. (And by "tense" I mean: I will consider throwing beloved objects away just to ditch the clutter. And I will also start to wonder if I actually WAS the world's worst wife. I mean, I suppose it's possible...)

So finally, I just made a list. One or two things every day is MUCH better than everything on one day. It's managable. It's doable.

It's also flexible. It's not set entirely in stone. Things frequently get rearranged or rescheduled. However, by the end of the day on Friday? Every item is crossed off.

And then on Saturday and Sunday? I play. And I don't have to worry about cleaning. Or doing laundry. Or anything other than hanging out and occasionally toasting myself as actually a pretty good wifey for myself. Which I TOTALLY am.

What kinds of things do you do to simplify your life?

***UPDATE: For the record? I don't ACTUALLY think I was a bad wife. I think CG had an image in his head of what it meant to be a good wife? And it turns out I was a poor fit for that role -- and I ALSO think that sometimes, people are critical for the sheer pleasure of being critical, because if you've ever been to my humble abode? You'd notice that it's clean and you'd be well fed. However, in the interest of keeping it clean -- and eating well -- I've learned how to manage things in, perhaps, a way I did not previously have managed (not that it would have mattered. Some relationships can't be saved, and shouldn't be).***

Monday, January 28, 2013

Make A Difference Monday -- Milk and Bookies

I am at an age where all of a sudden (it seems) almost everyone has children.

Well, you know, not ME. But everyone else.

As a former English teacher (I've mentioned that, right? RIGHT) you know that I love to read. LOVE IT. It used to make me incredibly sad when I had students in my classroom who did NOT love to read, but regarded doing so as a torment akin to being waterboarded. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I had students who would much rather have been waterboarded.

So sad.

One of the ways to make sure that little 'uns don't regard books as agents of torment and soul stealing? Get books in their chubby little hands when they're little. Read to them. Help them to find as much pleasure in the written word as they do colouring on the walls (or, you know, more. To spare your walls.)

There is a great organization that wants to do just that -- get books to children. Milk and Bookies actually does TWO things. One? It gets books to kids who might not otherwise have access to books. Two? It enourages children to participate and promotes service.

It's kind of awesome, y'all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Randoms


"So what did you guys talk about?"

"You know, the nature of the universe."


"Like, how reality is a social construct that we all agree on to make sense of an otherwise chaotic experience?"

"Because 'Let's have drinks' obviously secretly means 'Let's drink beer and deconstruct the nature of reality'."

"Why is that weird? What do you talk about when you have drinks with someone?"


"Oh. Huh. Oops?"


"I'm sorry I'm such an idiot."

"You're NOT an idiot."

"I'm pretty sure I am."

"This ARGUMENT is kind of idiotic. So maybe you ARE an idiot."

"HEY! Don't call me an idiot."


"See? ... I AM an idiot."


"How's it going?"

"Different day, same level of insanity."


"At least we're consistent."


"You don't like movie theatres?"


"How come?"

"Because they're always cold. And my feet stick to the floor. And someone is always in my personal space. And a box of popcorn costs more than my car. And it's a gigantic germ fest. And the bathrooms are always super busy and there are too many people and they're loud and no one ever actually follows the 'turn off your cell phone' rule."

"You're just a party every minute, aren't you?"


"I think you just need to get serious about what you're doing."


"Okay. I think you need to get less ridiculous about what you're doing."



"You say that like I have other options."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

When Life Hands You Lemons...

1.  Make limoncello. Because it's more fun than lemonade.

2. In your best pirate voice, thank Life for helping to prevent scurvy among your crew. Then find a crew. And a ship. And sail to the Caribbean and open a bar that serves lemony umbrella drinks to tourists and features an in house steel-drum band. License the idea to Jimmy Buffett. Sit back and watch the money rollllll in.

3. Learn to juggle.

4. Play hacky sack. But with lemons.

5. Try the "trade up" route: trade your lemons for something, trade that thing for something else, and so on and so forth until you find that you are now the owner of a professional sports team. When your team wins the big game, stand up at the press conference and announce that you never could have done it without those lemons. Take in the applause.

6. Juice the lemons. Apply liberally to hair. Lay in sun. Streaky!

7. Juice a bunch of the lemons. Put juice in a mug with boiling water, honey, and a shot of whiskey or two. Woooo clear sinuses!

8. Get some googly eyes. Put the eyes on the lemons. Pose the lemons in various places and scenarios. Take photos. Post them on the internet. Become famous as the "googly eyed lemon person" for at least 15 minutes, during which you will have a spot on "Ellen" and get to dance with her.

9. Cut the lemons in half. Stuff into a chicken (the roasting kind, not the live kind. The live kind won't appreciate it and you'll probably have problems with PETA at that point. The roasting kind won't care). Roast chicken. Lemony deliciousness.

10. Make tea. Put lemons in tea. Have a tea party. Speak with British accents and wear fabulous hats because you're ROYALTY, yo.

11. Zest the lemons into a salad dressing. Think about how much you enjoy the word zest. Say it out loud "Zest". Zesty Zest Zest. Have another sip of the drink you made at #7. Realize you're tipsy but, again, with very clear sinuses.

12. Carve faces into the lemons. Make a stop action video with the lemons singing the Lemonheads version of "Mrs. Robinson" and post to youtube. Giggle excessively.

13. Make biscotti because you could use some delicious cookies. Also, realize that the recipes linked to here are all by Giada De Laurentiis.

14. Become a purveyor of lemons of Giada De Laurentiis, because she appears to go through a LOT of them. Open store specializing in lemons and lemon-related items. Start mail order business. Discover there's a weirdly large market for lemons.

15. Think about making a pie. Then remember that you don't like to bake. Offer a baker all of your lemons in exchange for a pie. When the baker agrees, thank him or her politely (your momma raised you to have manners) and then invite your friends over. Eat the pie. Wonder what life might hand you next, and how you can make it work for you. You did pretty well with the lemons, after all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

All Hail The Coffee Gods

I was up late-ish last night,  because I had my hairs did and then I was all “OOOH I look pretty” and then I realized that I needed to do laundry, which isn’t difficult but is time consuming, and THEN I thought I should put flannel sheets on my bed because whoa nelly, it’s cold this week, which meant that I had to chase the cat about the house because she’s pretty sure that “put flannel sheets on the bed” equals “please breakdance and chase your tail on every item of bedding as it goes on the bed and slow down the process as much as possible.”

So yeah. Up late.

Which meant that, this morning, when the alarm went off, I was all “OH I DON’T THINK SO” and instead of just hitting snooze, I took the time to set the second alarm for 30 minutes later.

In retrospect, this may have been an error.

When I staggered into my office, coffee in hand, I saw that I had … a lot of work. I mean, there was my usual work, and then there was a bunch of OTHER stuff that landed on my desk overnight.

I had a minor freak out and could feel myself starting to slide down the slope into anxiety land. But it was at that moment that I heard a voice.  A warm, inviting voice. A sultry, seductive voice. It was coming from my coffee cup. And the coffee said to me, all Barry White-y, “Don’t you worry. We’ve got this.”

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE later, I am all caught up. Tasks appear on my screen like alien spaceships in Space Invaders and I shoot them down: Pew! Pew! Pew!

Also, I am WIRED.

WAY wired. Like, all nerves set on vibrate, all systems going at 150 mph, I think my eyeballs are actually even twitching wired. I’m typing at warp speed.  It’s awesome. It’s also a little bit terrifying. Because I’m totally going to crash at some point and when I do? I’m sure it’s not going to be pretty.

But when the coffee speaks to me? I listen. When it staves off the anxiety monsters? I am thankful.

Even if I DO need a nap later.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And Then I Got Mad (sorta)

I am a very loyal friend. If I am your friend, I will always be your friend. Forever. Even if we haven't spoken in years. So if you're all "Dang, who's going to help me dispose of this incriminating evidence," and you call me at 2 AM, I'll probably roll out of bed, drive over, and debate the merits of a really big hole in the yard or creative use of an abandoned well. I'm that girl. (and also? That was less creepy in my head than it was on the screen. Sorry, I've been writing horror fiction lately...)

What this means is that I may, sometimes, get riled up when people are unkind to my friends.

And I ALSO get riled up when they are unkind to themselves.

So here are some of the things I've been trying to tell some people in my life lately:

* YOU ARE AWESOME. I adore you. So will you please cut yourself some freaking slack? Because if anyone else spoke about you the way you speak about yourself, I would have to have words with them ... it makes me so sad that you do this to yourself. (Seriously, I love you. So please, give yourself a break.)

* If you keep telling me that someone in your life is a jerk and treats you poorly, I'm going to be inclined NOT to like him or her. It's not going to make me happy when someone doesn't value you. It's going to make you unhappy when I don't like the person you like (although why you like someone who's awful to you? I don't know. YOU DON'T NEED THAT.)

* You're beautiful. You're also smart, funny, quirky, and wacky. You are worth more than your pretty face.

* That person that you are pining after? Doesn't care about you. And someone who doesn't care about you? Is an idiot.

* Please take care of yourself. If you need help with that? I will help you as much as I am able, but you deserve to feel well and to enjoy your life. I want you to believe that.

* You? Are not a failure. You're just gearing up to succeed at something entirely different than what you originally aimed for. Anyone who disparages your efforts as being useless or stupid is an asshole.

* You are smart enough/ funny enough/ amazing enough/ talented enough/ whatever enough to accomplish whatever you want. The only thing you don't have enough of is self-belief. I believe in you! You need to as well!

* Yes, you deserve to be happy. No, that person who is professing love for you isn't too good for you. You actually are that awesome. Enjoy it.

Whew, I feel better. Love you all -- MWAH.

(Now if you'll excuse me, I have a demon who's about to do something diabolical and needs my assistance ... heh heh heh ...)

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Have a Dream

If you've never read this all the way through -- you should. The following speech was delivered by Dr King on August 28, 1963.

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Randoms



"You don't look that angry."

"'Angry bear' seemed like a better term than 'slightly irritated bear'."


"So that's my new mantra: This is not my duck."

"It kind of IS your duck, though."

"So that's my new mantra: This is my duck, but this is not my duck farm."

"Again, I am forced to point out that it's kind of like your rented farm space on someone else's property."

"So that's my new mantra: Stop telling you about my new mantras."


"I'm trying to cut back on the cursing."

"How's that going?"

"It's hard. Because I'm GOOD at it."


"So you know what I was thinking?"

"That it's really annoying that Girl Scouts have different names for the same cookies?"

"Wha -- No. That wasn't it. But why is that?"

"Names change depending on who has the baking contract with them for that year."


"Isn't the real question: How much better will you sleep at night now that I've solved this mystery for you?"


"The cat is sleeping in the bookcase."

"That makes sense to me."

"Really? It doesn't look comfortable."

"Dude, if I could climb inside a bookcase and nap, surrounded by books? It would be the BEST."

"You and this cat are both so weird."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Some Days, This Is How It Goes

Sit down at computer. Open appropriate programs and windows. Stare at screen.

Stare at screen some more. Let fingers linger over keyboard. Hesitate. Decide glasses are dirty. Get up. Wash glasses.

Sit down at the computer. Stare at screen.

Pick up pen. Play with pen. Click, click, click. Put pen down. Pick pen back up. Doodle on the notebook that lives on your desk. Hm. You seem to have a penchant for drawing snails today. Interesting.

Draw a mushroom next to the snails. Draw a tree. And a squirrel. And some butterflies and a cloud and a frog. Make incredibly intricate doodle. Hum a little while you're doing it. Giggle at your doodle, which pleases you for reasons you can't define.

Look at the monitor. Still blank.


Maybe you could post a doodle.

Maybe you could NOT post. It's been a bad week. People would understand.

... no, maybe not. Must post. MUST POST.

Type a sentence. Read the sentence. Delete the sentence. Type another one, read it, delete it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Put some good music on. Begin air drumming. Think about the fact that you wish you played the drums. Look around and realize you have NO space for a drum kit. Shrug, think, whatever, dream deferred, and then resume drumming. Realize people can see you through the window. Hunch shoulders and stare at the computer.

Remember yesterday, when the words came. Wonder where, exactly, they go when they're not in your head because you sure can't find them today. Hope they'll come tomorrow.

That would be great.

Are you SURE you can't post a doodle? It's a very nice doodle.



Some Days, This Is How It Goes

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Duck, Duck, Goose

Imagine, if you will, a duck. A white, feathery, duck, with its cute little waddle and webbed feet and fun orange beak. Maybe it's a fattish duck, more squat than anything, and it's not YOUR duck, per say, but a duck that is owned by someone else. A neighbor. (Unless you live in an apartment, in which case it's highly unlikely that your neighbors keep ducks. So you're ALSO going to have to imagine you live in a house, with a yard. Oh, and a pond! That would be fun, wouldn't it? And a willow tree, under which you sit and write in a journal on warm summer evenings! And a fence! And...

oops. Sorry. Go back to the duck.)

So. The duck. The duck is super lovable and likes to hang around, quacking cute little quacks at you whenever you're out sitting by your pond. So you name the duck. You're not quite sure if it's a boy duck or a girl duck, so you go with something appropriately gender neutral, like Quackers. You get kind of attached to Quackers, and think about actually building a shelter for the duck to hang out in when the weather starts to get chilly because, well, your neighbor isn't really paying much attention to Quackers (and probably doesn't even know Quackers has a NAME, which you think is ludicrous) and you want to make sure there is a safe, warm place for Quackers to be when the weather is bad. You also start carrying around oyster crackers in your pockets, because Quackers seems to prefer them to regular stale bread.

And then, one day, Quackers bites your hand when you're writing in your journal. Because Quackers is a duck, and sometimes they do that. It's not a nibble, either. It's an aggressive, "I know you have oyster crackers in your pocket, bitch!" bite.

That's when you realize:


All of the time, money on oyster crackers, effort in building a shelter? All of the worry the day you thought Quackers had been hit by a car (but it was another duck altogether)? All of that? Was for something that didn't belong to you. Your neighbor? Let you do it because you WOULD do it. He didn't have to worry or care about the damn duck because you -- unasked, uninvited -- took over and were doing everything, including letting Quackers waddle all over you, until you and everything you owned were covered with bits of down, cracker crumbs, and duck shit.

So you scoop up the duck (trying really hard not to think of it as Quackers, no, you have to let go of the emotional tie) and take it over to your neighbor. You meet him on his porch and you hand the duck back. "I need you to take care of this duck," you say. "It's not for me to do anymore."

The neighbor says, "But you were doing such a good job."

"I know," you say. "But it turns out that, sometimes? You have to let other people own their own ducks."

The neighbor gives you a dirty look. "Besides," you say, "I'm really more of a cat person."

When you go home, you feel a little sad, and slightly bruised. But lighter. Lighter and unburdened. You can hear quacking in the distance, which is where it belongs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Read It and Weep

... or laugh, or snort, or gasp, or ... whatever.

I decided yesterday that when I do write my memoirs (and you know I will, and you know there's a possibility that if I know you, you'll probably be in them, and you should PROBABLY be slightly alarmed about that) they will be titled what one of my favorite people (you know who you are) called me yesterday:

Bombshell Bibliophile

And yes, okay, I aspire to bombshell-ness, but the bibliophile part? I've got that down. Because, you see, I have a small book problem.

And by "small" I mean: "enormous."

Five symptoms of my book addiction:

1) Intellectually, I understand that there are people who don't like to read. However, emotionally? I don't understand it. It's like they're from a culture that is so different from mine that I can't comprehend it, and I give them the side-eye. I don't MEAN to. But I can't help it. HOW DO YOU NOT LIKE TO READ? It's the best thing EVER.

2) If I love a book and I recommend it to someone, and they don't love it as well? It makes me really sad. As an example, I love Jane Austen. LOVE JANE AUSTEN. I loaned Pride and Prejudice out to someone thinking, "Oh boy, someone else gets to love Jane Austen too now! And we can talk about Jane Austen and it will be awesome!"

She didn't love it. Which is not to say she felt kind of "meh" about it and more to say ... she HATED it.

It made me so sad. I understand this is dumb, and that not everyone has the same tastes, but I get so excited when I love a book that when I share it with someone and they don't like it? I feel like I'm being judged and found wanting because I form an emotional connection with books that I love.

Which brings us to:

3) I frequently like characters in books more than I like people I meet in life. This sounds weird when I say it, but hear me out. Characters in novels are constant. Actual people are shifty. I can trust that when I open To Kill A Mockingbird, Miss Maudie is still going to be awesome and Atticus is still going to be the most sage, amazing, human dad ever. I love that.

4) Getting lost in a book is the best thing ever. When something is well written? I can disappear inside it. That sense of living inside the text is one of my favorite things in the world.

5) I have an e-reader and I love it, but not as much as I love actual, physical books. And oh, do I love books. I love the paper. I love the way they smell (don't judge). I love the weight of them, and the act of turning a page. I love having a shelf (or two, or seven) full of books. One of my favorite words is "library" -- a whole building? FULL OF BOOKS? It's like heaven. (and libraries ALWAYS smell good. Always.)

There's nothing better than a good book. Nothing at all.

What's your favorite book?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hobbit Feet

It's not a secret that I have big feet. Big, wide, ridiculous feet.

This is sad because I love shoes. I LOVE them. But I hate WEARING shoes. Most shoes, anyway. There are some shoes that fit quite well, but they're not super sexy, sassy, fun shoes. They're Chuck Taylors or Birkenstocks. I love my Chucks and my Birks because they're oh so very comfy? But they don't exactly scream "sassy".

Or "professional."

The Birks actually don't scream anything. They kind of ... murmur. And what they're murmuring is this: "Duuuuuuuuude. This is awwwwwweeesssooommmmee." Which is fine, but not with a suit.

And my Chucks?


In the careful words of my mother, who tries not to judge: "Huh. Those aren't the most ... feminine looking ... are they?"

"Not even in pink," I agreed.

But I love them. Even though they emphasize the fact that I have aircraft carrier sized feet hanging out underneath my ankles. I think they're cool. Oh, sure, they don't look good with a dress, per say, but whatever.

It's really hard for me to buy shoes, at any rate. It's always been hard for me to find shoes that I can jam my oversized tootsies into and also walk in. (It's easy to find shoes that look great if I don't have to stand. Or, you know, walk. Or move in any way, really, because OH THE PAIN!)

But I was okay with that. Because I'm used to it.


My mom got me these great fleece socks for Christmas. They're fun colours. They're super soft. They look warm and inviting.

So on a day when my toesies were too cold for nakedness, but too warm for slippers, I thought: "Hey, I'm busting out the new socks."

I tried to put them on.

They didn't fit.

This had never happened to me before. I took the socks and put my hand into them. My HAND fit into the socks.

I tried to put them on again. No go. My foot was too wide to fit through the mouth of the sock.

I felt like a mutant. Like I was one of the X-Men, but my mutation was just really wide feet that had no useful application (you'd think that having planks for feet would mean that I'm extra stable and well balanced. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH wrong) except for rendering me unable to fit into shoes and now, apparently, socks.

It stinks.

But not for Converse, I guess. I saw a sparkly, flashy, FANCY pair of Chucks over the weekend. I think I need to buy them, because this girl needs some dressy shoes, and I'm pretty sure that's as close as I'm going to get.

At least I'll be comfortable?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Randoms


I frequently find myself singing along with a song and thinking "Man, I love this song." And then I listen to the lyrics and think "What the hell am I singing right now?"

Case in point:

(and of course you can listen here. )

I love this song. It makes me happy whenever I hear it.

But SERIOUSLY. "Alligator lizards in the air"?


I got an email from a subcontractor this week. I get many emails from subcontractors. Generally, they'll have a signature line that includes contact information, or the name of their company. This one, however, said simply:


I have to say, this startled me a bit. Because a) I did not realize I was hiring any minor deities and b) I didn't know that astral beings would communicate via email.

THEN I thought, well, she's probably not ACTUALLY a goddess. She's probably just, you know, given herself that title. I guess that's a thing you can do.

So henceforth, please feel free to refer to me as Her Majesty Yellie, Queen of all Things Trivial and Weird. (You can shorten it to "Your Grace" if you like. I'm not picky.)


"I'm sorry to report that there was ... an incident ... with one of the Transformers."

"What happened?"

"He was decapitated in an unexpected battle situation."

"Beansie bit his head off?"

"She didn't bite it per say? But he was not expecting fifteen pounds of floofy kitty to be on his noodle, poor fella."

"The other Transformers better stay on their toes."

"They do seem to be a little nervous, now that you mention it."


Filed under "Things I Could Do Without": I was watching an NCIS rerun, and an entire scene took place with my beloved Gibbs in the loo, having a conversation with another character who's name I can't recall because I realized the following:

I don't ever EVER need to see Mark Harmon at a urinal. EVER. NEVER EVER NEVER.


"That's actually the best thing about fiction."

"What, that you can create these little people and jack up their lives?"

"Um, YEAH. Outside of the book, I can only ruin my OWN life. Inside it? I'm like Godzilla rampaging over an unsuspecting urban setting."

"Sometimes I find you mildly disturbing. You know that, right?"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Mentally Ill. Pass the Carrots.

The stigma of mental illness in this country is so great that I am very uncomfortable with the title of this blog. I feel like it would be easier to say "I have a life threatening illness" mostly because people have sympathy for illnesses caused by germs, viruses, or tumors (and  I don't know why that should be, actually) but don't understand what it means to be mentally ill.

So let me walk you through it.

Mental illness is, very VERY simply (and I can't stress enough that this is a waaaaay simplified definition) a MEDICAL condition (like diabetes, or asthma) that disrupts a person's mood, thinking, ability to relate, and/or daily life.

Here's what it isn't: it's not a choice, it's not a death sentence, it's not a sure sign that someone might be violent, and it's not a reason to kick someone out of your life.

There are, of course, all kinds of mental illnesses. Just like there are about a billion strains of the flu (disclaimer: I don't actually know how many kinds of flu there are.) However, most people don't feel completely embarassed or worry that they will be ostracized when they have the flu.

But admitting you're mentally ill?


Which is why I wrestled with the title of this post. I usually don't say "mentally ill" in reference to myself. I usually say "I have an anxiety disorder." However, in the past week I've had multiple in-depth conversations with people who live with a variety of mental illnesses, and what ran through many of those conversations has been a sense of shame.

Let's face it -- we treat mental illness like it SHOULD be shameful. Insurance companies don't want to cover treatments, for the most part -- and if you've been diagnosed with mental illness, you should see what it does to your premiums (if you can get insurance at all). We also look at the community of the mentally ill askance when there is a tragedy in which mental illness is a factor, as though suddenly we're ALL capable of extreme violence.

I don't have statistics (math, whatevs) but I strongly suspect that many people who are mentally ill go untreated because they don't want to admit that they're ill. They can't talk about what or how they're suffering. I know that it took me years to ask for help, because I thought I should just get over myself and snap out of it. I said as much to my doctor and she said (awesomely, I might add): "You have asthma. Are you just going to get over yourself and cure that too? It's an ILLNESS. We'll treat it. No big."

Of course, the treatments can be expensive and hard to keep up with. (Which is the other problem with treating the mentally ill. Treatments -- long term treatments -- are often not affordable or easily obtained, and medications can be very trial and error and have weird, unpleasant side effects.)

No one who is mentally ill should be ashamed because they have an illness they can't control. I've never been embarassed to be asthmatic. I'm not embarassed to wear glasses.

And I refuse -- REFUSE -- to be ashamed of being mentally ill.

So, yeah, there it is. I'm mentally ill. It shouldn't be a big deal.

If you are also mentally ill -- hugs to you. You're awesome, you're amazing, and your struggles are my struggles. We need to stick together.

If you're afraid to ask for help and want a buddy? Message me. You're not all alone, ever. There are lots of things you can do to help yourself, but the first thing you HAVE to do is ask for help.

If you know someone who is mentally ill, love them. Understand that they may react to things in ways that don't make sense to you. Ask them how you can support them. Don't make assumptions.

If you want additional information, the National Alliance of Mental Illness is a good place to start. You can go here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Eat Your Heart Out, Matthew Wilder

There I was, standing on a windswept coast. My first thought was this: “Did I actually just describe this as a windswept coast? I’ve been reading WAAAAAY too much George R.R. Martin.”

My second thought was, “Oh. This is a DREAM. Cool.”

My third thought, since it was MY dream after all, was to look down and think “DAMN, I look good.” Because, let’s face it, if you can’t look like a goddess in your own dreams, what IS the point?

Now. Having established that I was dreaming and looking like a babe,  I had to wonder, what am I doing here? The coast line – which was indeed windswept – was barren. The beach was made of rocks. They looked angry, and as though they wouldn’t be fun to step on with my bare and chilly (but nicely pedicured – I’m telling you, I looked GREAT – feet). The sky and sea were grey.

“How come I never dream about being in St Bart,” I wondered as I began to pick my way to the nearest sheltering tree. (There were trees. Did I mention that? Big ones.) “Seriously.”

Then out of nowhere, a handsome man appeared.

Well, that’s not quite true.

He drove up in a Jeep. I may have been dressed as a medieval (barefoot) princess, but since I’m afraid of horses, the handsome knights in my dream? Drive Jeeps. Yes, I know it’s weird. Don’t judge. Or, you know, go ahead. That’s fun too.

The handsome man leapt out of the vehicle, ran to me, and said …

… “Did you call me?”


“I think I missed your call.” He showed me the display of his cell phone. I had definitely called him. There was my name, on the missed call readout.  This was amazing for multiple reasons, but mostly because I didn’t have a phone. Or a pocket in my lovely (but I was quickly realizing, useless and chilly) dress in which to KEEP a phone.

“I don’t remember calling you,” I said.

This displeased the handsome fella. “Fine,” he said, and stomped off. He got into the Jeep, which promptly began to slide down a cliff (which, I must say, I hadn’t noticed prior to the sliding and rolling of the Jeep), which FREAKED ME OUT. Because the handsome fella? Is a friend of mine when I’m awake (and usually not that snotty about missed calls, I don’t think.)

“NOOOOOOOO!” I yelled. I started to run after him, which was super difficult in flowing skirts and no shoes.  “I wish I had pants on,” I said, and then remembered – this was MY dream.  Suddenly I WAS wearing pants and shoes. (Of course, since it was my dream, my butt looked awesome in these pants, which fit perfectly and were good for climbing down cliffs, which I then did.)

When I got to the bottom, the handsome fella – we’ll call him Bob – looked sad. “I thought I was supposed to rescue you,” he said. “But you keep rescuing yourself.”

“I know,” I said. “I’m not sorry.”

“But I love you!”

“Oh. Huh,” I said. “You know, I did not see that coming.”

“Really?” he said. “Because … this is YOUR dream.”

That’s when I woke up.

I need to stop reading before bed, I think.
(And I'm embedding this because it's so bad that it's good...)

You can also watch it here

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Big B, little b

I can be a real Bitch. It’s not a secret.  Anyone in my family could tell you: I am capable of moments of true ugliness.

I’m not proud of it, but it’s there.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not ashamed of having strong opinions, and I’m not afraid to assert those opinions.  I like that about me. What I don’t like is that, if I become excessively angry, overtired, or hurt, I will sometimes let go of the things I like about myself and embrace the ugly and aim pointed, stabby words at the softest places of my imagined opponent’s emotional anatomy.

That's ... not okay.

I don’t like it because I think that when I’m verbally going for someone’s throat it is because I have lost my sense of who I am and what I believe in. I’ve become overwrought and upset, and so, feeling destabilized, try to make the person who has knocked me off my base bleed so that they are as off balance as I am. I understand that it’s a defense mechanism – a default to protect myself – but I don’t love it.

I don’t have these moments very often. I used to have them more, but then, I used to be more insecure (as opposed to now, when I’m … less insecure) and insecurity is the BFF of Bitchiness. I also recognize that the moment I go there, I lose. No one is listening to me if I’m just trying to maim them verbally, and no one is going to listen to anything I have to say if they’re waiting for the blow.

I want to say again that I differentiate being a Bitch with being a bitch.  Being a Big B Bitch is not the same thing as being honest, truthful, and sticking to your guns. It’s interesting, though, how often a woman who has strong opinions, is intelligent, and who appreciates her own power becomes a little b bitch when spoken about, as though those things are all negative and derogatory when … and this is important … a woman possesses those qualities. A man with strong opinions, intelligence, and with an appreciation of his worth is a LEADER. A woman …

… well, you know. Little b.

The thing that connects the little b and the Big B is insecurity. When I’m a little b, it’s because of someone else’s insecurities. When I’m a Big B, it’s because of mine. I can't let being called a bitch turn me into a Bitch. I can’t control the insecurity of other people, but I do need to work on mine.

I don’t care about being a bitch.

But I hate it when I catch myself being a Bitch.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Not-So-Holy Grail

A couple of weekends ago (what with the holidays, I can’t remember exactly which one, but I think it was before Christmas? It’s all a blur, folks) I was in a grocery store when all of a sudden I found the Holy Grail.

Now you may be thinking, what constitutes finding the Holy Grail in the grocery store?

The Grocery Grail (as I like to call it) is that thing you remember from another time in your life, that product which makes your brain go to its happiest place, the one that makes your heart melt like it does at the site of a puppy.  It might be a kind of cookie that your nana used to serve (like hermits, which make me have flashbacks to my grandmother’s kitchen, bad wallpaper and all), or the thing that you ONLY used to drink when you were on family picnics (grape soda!), or the gum that your grampa used to buy you when he took you for walks (Yikes! Stripes! Fruit Stripes gum!).

It’s the Grocery Store Grail. And when you find it, it’s awesome.

Well, it CAN be awesome.

But sometimes it’s not.

Because sometimes, in complete disregard of your feelings, your memories, and your happiest of happy places, the company that MAKES the Grocery Grail will … change it.

So of course, that’s what happened to me.

When I spied the Grail there on the shelf, I may have let out a small but super excited “eeeeek!” and done a dance of joy when I put it into my cart. “It’s MINE THE GRAIL IS MINE!” I whispered to myself.  For the rest of my grocery-getting adventure, I kept looking into the cart and squeeing with joy and thinking, “I’m going home, making a cup of tea, and diving into that bad boy and it will be MAGICAL.”

It would have been magical, too, if my memory of the Grocery Grail had been filled with eating spoonfulls of cardboard, lard, and yellow #5. With, of course, a cup of tea.

But they weren’t.

I swallowed that first bite – somehow – and then placed the item down on the plate. It looked at me. I looked at it.

The rationalization began. “Maybe it’s always been that gross,” I thought. “Maybe I just didn’t know it was horrible because I was YOUNG. YOUNG AND STUPID. I mean, this isn’t exactly a health food item here. Maybe I just didn’t understand the grossness.”

“Maybe,” I thought, “I need to take another bite and give it a chance.”

I took a nibble.

Still bad.

I wanted to cry for about 3 seconds, but then I got  mad. Because I’m not a dumb girl. I have an ability to differentiate between gloriously delicious and horribly horribly awful. This was not about me.

It was about the Grail Gone Bad.

I called someone who used to share my love for what formerly amazing Grail. “Have you… tried one of these things … recently?”

“OH MY GOD,” she immediately said. “It’s SO BAD. It’s the worst thing ever. They definitely jacked that up.”

“So it’s not us?”

“It’s NOT us. It’s THEM.”

“I was so sad.”


So today, you get a public service announcement. If you spy the Grocery Grail? You may want to pass it over. Leave it there on the shelf, all shiny and sparkly, for the next person to find.

Otherwise, you might feel sad and betrayed.

I’m just saying.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Randoms


“I ate yogurt for breakfast.”

“You hate yogurt.”

“I know… but I kind of liked it.”

“Dear God. WHAT’S NEXT? Will you start enjoying Nicki Minaj and horizontal stripes and other things you usually hate?”


“And all because of yogurt. Who knew?” 


“What are you doing this weekend?”

“Going mountain climbing.”


“No. I’m wearing sweatpants and fatting on the couch.” (Snort.) “MOUNTAIN CLIMBING. You’re so gullible.” 


“Don’t I know you?”

“Yeah. We went to high school together?”

“That’s what I thought… What’s your name?”

“Apparently nothing memorable.” 


“Dude, they had a gender reveal party.”

“I know what that is? But it makes me think that everyone gets naked.”

“That would be MUCH more interesting than a slice of blue cake, anyway.” 


“So you know the socks my mom gave me for Christmas?”

“Yeah, why?”

“They don’t fit. I can’t get the opening of the sock – what is that called, anyway, the mouth? That’s creepy. Like they’re eating your feet. Anway, I can’t get it over my feet.”

“That’s awesome. You have HOBBIT FEET.”

“Shut up no I don’t.”


“Fine. Then it must be time for second breakfast.”

“I could eat.”

“NOT FOR YOU. You’re not a hobbit.”

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oooops (Sometimes, Silence IS Golden)

I had a dream last night where I confessed to my high school crush that I had, in fact, had an enormous crush on him. But it was an accident, because in my dream I didn't know that he was standing behind me. Also, in the dream? We were both adults. However, the level of mortification was so great that I immediately woke up in complete and utter humiliation.

I think this comes from the fact that I recently said something to a friend that I probably shouldn't have said. You know, not all cards need to be on the table ALL OF THE TIME. Except, you know, I have that problem of getting on a roll and not being able to put on the brakes. I meant what I said. I think I said it in a loving way. But I've really got to work on the "maybe that whole conversation should only be in your head" thing.

Am I the only one who does that?

Well. At least my subconscious makes me feel bad about it. Way to go, Brain. You're awesome.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beansie and the Noms

I’ve been a little bit sick (cold, respiratory, no big, happens all of the time) and as a result I’ve been TIRED. How tired, you ask? Tired like, “You know, making coffee would be a LOT of work right now. Maybe I’ll have some Diet Coke. Except, you know, drinking Diet Coke would be a lot of work right now. Maybe I’ll just go back to sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”


This is how Bean responds to a sleeptastic Yellie:

She still wakes me up at four freaking AM.

It’s AWESOME. WHO DOESN’T LOVE THAT IT’S GREAT  a little bit frustrating.

So when she did it this morning,  I got up. I stumbled into the kitchen. I got out her treats. And then, because hand-eye coordination isn’t exactly my thing when I’m not fully awake, I dropped the bag on the floor.

Kitty cookies EVERYWHERE.

I might have cursed, had I been more fully awake. Instead I just sighed and looked at the floor, and the treats that were everywhere.

For Bean, it was like Christmas. It was BETTER than Christmas. It was like the skies (er, ceiling) had opened up and rained down delicious food. She helpfully began cleaning it up by nomming every treat she could get her paws on.

I just sat on the floor and watched her.  After a few minutes, I started to giggle. She looked so HAPPY. She kept looking up at me and chirping her little Beansie chirps as if to say: THIS? Is the BEST. DAY. EVER.

I leaned against the fridge. She nommed and purred.

There are probably worse ways to begin the day.