Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas

I don't have a lot of words right now -- but it's Christmas time, and I wanted to share one of my favorite things with you. (Like Oprah. Only ... not Oprah in any way, lol.)

This isn't really a Christmas song, and it's not especially chipper, but it's beautiful and I love it.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


I was computing away yesterday morning -- lalalalalalaaaaaa -- when the internet decided that it had just plain had enough. Which, okay, that is a thing, but I was in THE MIDDLE of a job application when it went kerflooey. UGH! Which is to say: that's why there was no post yesterday. Which was too bad, because I totally wanted to tell you this:

I had a dream the other night that I was going to a fancy shindig, and I was wearing a super fabulous green dress and killer purple heels. I also had a perfect purple manicure. I was aware that I was dreaming because the shoes were comfortable, and that doesn't happen with stilettos, so that made the whole scenario more interesting, especially when I realized: Apparently, I am taking fashion advice from the Joker. What's that about, brain? What's it MEAN?

Which was when I woke up.


Anyway, I hope that you are not too stressed this holiday season, that you can feel all of the love being sent your way, and that you don't  discover that you have accidentally dressed like a DC villain at any holiday parties you attend.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Look Outside

I live right on a river in New Hampshire. My home is beautiful, but the views outside are really what make it spectacular. Living here has given me the opportunity to see fish, otters, muskrats, the occasional beaver, groundhogs, chipmunks, and SO MANY SQUIRRELS, all up close and personal.

While I love all of those critters, what has really kind of changed my life has been the birds.

So. Many. Birds.

When I first moved back to this area, I was walking outside when I interrupted a covey of quail. (And that, by the way, is your trivia of the day... a bunch of quail are called a covey. Who knew?) They were both extremely cute and unbelievably unafraid.  I stood there and they did their little adorable quail thing around my feet, pecking the ground and occasionally looking up at me to make sure I was still being cool.

On the outside I was being cool. On the inside it was more like this: "LOOK AT THE BIRDIES* THEY ARE AMAZING OH MY GOODNESS I CAN'T EVEN SQUEEEEEEEEE."

It was a moment.

Eventually, they scuttled off on their little feet, and I realized, oh, I am going to become that person.  I mean, I've always loved owls, but ALL birds? Birds were going to be a thing now?


When I moved into this building, one of the selling points (aside from the fact that I was homeless, haha) was this: the property manager pointed out that a heron had a nest just downstream and it was around a lot.  Usually right outside my windows, in fact.

Sold. To the crazy bird lady.

I have herons, gulls, wood ducks, mallard ducks (I once spent thirty minutes watching a momma duck herd her ducklings about, and oh my!), cormorants, phoebes, nuthatches, cardinals, titmouses (titmice?), woodpeckers, chickadees, hummingbirds -- they come to my windows and drive the cat insane, but they always make my day seem better. Always.

For the past few weeks, we haven't had a lot of birds around. I don't know if it's been the weather or what, but it's been very quiet outside of my windows. We had some weather and the birds started to come back -- new birds I hadn't seen before -- so both the cat and I were happy.

This morning, I was a little depressed. Holidays, unemployment, health, blah blah blah. I stayed in bed longer than I usually do, and then finally got up so I could feed the cat. I did our usual routine: stop in the book nook, take a look out over the water --

-- and that's when the kingfisher landed on the window sill.

I've never seen a kingfisher out there. Not once. And I certainly have never had one show up only to stare me down, which it did. It was magnificent. Feathers puffed out in the cold, regarding me patiently.

I, on the other hand, didn't dare to BREATHE. Or move. I didn't want to do anything at all that would scare it away. I felt as though it wanted to check me out, and I wanted to let it.

It cocked its head to one side, made a little bird noise as if to say, "You'll do," and then flew away.

Y'all, I don't know if there's a lesson or a moral to this story. I do know this: looking outside this morning has set what was fixing to be a terrible day on a much better path, and I think I need to do that more often. So maybe, if your day is a problem, and you feel stuck and sad, you could try looking outside.

It might not help.

But it might.

*I had to take a picture of them and email it to my dad to confirm that they were quail. I didn't used to be as bird-proficient as I am now.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chasing the Red Dot

Beansie, my beloved and still mourned cat of very little brain, loved very few things more than a nice long game with a laser pointer. She would chase the red dot tirelessly. She was also, more than once, convinced that she had caught it: she would pounce on it with both of her front paws, thinking she was holding it down, and then slowly, cautiously, lower her head down to the floor and lift one paw away, thinking, "I've got you now, red dot" only to discover that it was --GASP-- gone.

Since she was, as I have mentioned, a kitty of very little brain, all it took to raise her spirits back up was the sudden reappearance of the red dot in another location. One glimpse and she no longer was able to recall that she had a one hundred percent fail rate of catching the elusive dot. She only knew that she must chase it because this time ... this time might be the time! It could happen!

And if it didn't, well, she'd just go to sleep.

I've been thinking about Beansie and the laser pointer because the latest round of American politics feels an awful lot like chasing the red dot. I sometimes used to get the laser pointer out to distract Bean, or to herd her in the direction that I needed her to go. Need to get her into a room where I can shut the door behind her? Get the laser pointer -- she'll be so focused on catching the dot that I can get her to zoom into the bedroom and she'll NEVER EVEN KNOW that she's been hoodwinked.


While there is so much that I am uncomfortable with in America's politics right now, I almost feel as though the president-elect IS our red dot. American politician are doing some increasingly horrifying things and we, as a country, are willfully blinding ourselves to horrific global events and we're just trying SO hard o catch the red dot. We can't look away from it. Oh, the president-elect is meeting with Kanye? KEEP YOUR EYE ON HIM! In the meantime, please don't look at Aleppo. Please don't look at the "qualifications" of proposed cabinet members or notice the laws that states are passing that restrict abortion rights. Instead: CHECK IT OUT. Dude's on TWITTER! What's his latest tweet?

Catch the red dot.  Don't look away from the red dot.

The thing that Bean never figured out (because 1) she was a cat and 2) she was an intellectually challenged cat) was that the red dot didn't really exist. It was not a thing that could be caught. Every time she lifted a paw to gloat over her successes, she found that she was not holding onto a damn thing. 

And I'm afraid that, if we as a people continue to act like my intellectually challenged cat, we're going to be left in the same position. If we continue to chase that red dot -- if we continue to focus on the wrong part of the story, both globally and nationally --we will not notice as we are herded into a place we didn't want to be and that place? Will be morally and spiritually empty.

We need to focus on more than the red dot.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


The Fella is really, really patient. I know because I test the limits of that patience with some regularity. But how can this be? you ask. You seem as though you are the definition of "delightful" and "easy to live with"! Why thank you, but ...


I'm a bit of a neat freak. I'm a perfectionist. I can be a stress ball because of anxiety.

Also -- and this is the super fun one -- I hate being sick. I hate it when I need help or someone to take care of me, so I will run myself into the ground until someone HAS to take care of me because I'm no longer well enough to take care of myself. Yes, I know this is contradictory, but I can't help it. It's part of my charm.

Of all of my, um, charming quirks, it's that last one that probably tries The Fella's patience the most. Having a very neat and clean house isn't so bad. Having your life partner completely in denial about a rampant respiratory infection until she reaches the point where she can't get out of bed? Notably less enjoyable.

Which leads us to conversations like we had yesterday:

"Are you not able to breathe?"

"Who, me?" (For the record, this fooled NO ONE. We were the only two people here.)

"Yes, you. Is your breathing not good? I feel like you're having a hard time."

"No, I'm good." (This pronouncement was followed by a facial expression that he describes as the not-smile. It's supposed to look like a winning smile, but my "opposite of a poker face" can't pull it off.)

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

"No, I'm okay. I'm not coughing or anything. I'm just tired."

"And really cold?"

"Yeah... how did you know?"

"You're shivering. Please go to bed."

"But I don't --"


"I don't have time to be sick!"

"When has saying that ever actually kept you from getting sick?"

"This could totally be the first time."

"Go to bed."



I went to bed. I feel better today. But the point is, should he have to ask me to take care of myself? No, he should not. Does he HAVE to ask me because I'm a garbage human and he is super patient? Yes, yes he does.

I feel like I won the lottery and he ... got a shitty door prize.

Monday, December 12, 2016


Yesterday, I asked The Fella, "Hey, what do you want to do today?"

"Well, I have a doctor's appointment," he said.

"No, that's Monday."

"TODAY is Monday."

"No, today is Sunday!"

"Are you sure?"

"... well NOW I'm not!"

I've been trying to build a routine for myself. I get up in the morning. I eat breakfast and have some coffee, and make a list of the things I want/ need to do, like attend to (which you should totally be reading, by the way), and then troll the job boards and find things to apply for, and write a blog post, and snuggle with Lizzie, who inevitably wants to be in my lap, gnawing on the edge of my computer. 

It's the afternoons that get long and start to blend together.


A word about looking for jobs: nothing will ever make you feel like you've chosen poorly in life like trying to find a job, because everything that's going to be posted? Is something you are in no way qualified for. In retrospect? Majoring in English was not, perhaps, the smartest thing I ever did. 

Hindsight. It's a bitch.


So. The list completed, I begin to look for other things to do to fill the time. I play video games. I clean. I make candy (because now I'm obsessed with that). We had a Firefly marathon. I drink far too much Diet Coke. I've been rereading old Nora Roberts books because they all have happy endings and I need that in my life right now. 

And I worry. I try not to, but it's always in the back of my mind, a mouse gnawing away at any semblance of peace I am able to find. I will be engrossed in my book and it pops up: rent? Health insurance? Your meds are going to run out, you know... and then it scurries away. I can be laughing at something that happens during a movie and it runs out whispering, "You have bills and no income" and then it dashes back behind a corner.  It's worst when I'm trying to sleep, because then it can have a party. An "everything is wrong, you are wrong, you are stupid and everything is going to fall apart" party.

I don't believe the worry, mostly. I think worry likes to band together with depression and anxiety and they sing a song of lies, but ... 


But I don't know what's going to happen. And it IS worrisome. So I snuggle down under the covers and try not to listen, but their chorus is very loud.

So I am very tired.


And the days pass, all looking like each other, until I can't remember exactly what day it is. It's just another day on the roundabout, looking for and not finding my turnoff. 

I believe it will come. I believe.

I need it to come soon.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Things I Cannot Teach My Cat

1. It is neither friendly nor loving for you to stick a paw in my open mouth while I am sleeping. And while we're on the subject of my face ...

2. I understand that you want to sleep with me because it makes you feel safe and loved. However, I like to breathe while I am sleeping because that makes me feel like I'm not going to die. Please stop laying on my face. No matter how happily you purr, there is a chance that I will suffocate. If I suffocate, I cannot feed you. This will make both of us unhappy.

3. While I am on the toilet, I would greatly prefer if you did not a) try to get in my lap or b) stand on the counter and put your paws on my head, peering over me as though you are the captain of a ship staring out into the horizon. These are both off-putting.

4. The bubbles in my bubble bath are fascinating to you. I understand. I enjoy them as well. If you put your whole face in them and breathe in, you will sneeze. This will upset you. We do not have to relearn this lesson EVERY TIME I take a bubble bath.

5. Your tail is attached to you. That is actually why it is called "YOUR tail". No matter how sneaky you try to be, no matter how stealthy you are, or how small a space you chase it in, you will never get any closer to it than you already are.

6. Your mortal enemies, the squirrels, are outside. You are inside. You will never get outside. Attempting to tunnel through a glass window will not aid you in your Squirrel Eradication Plan. The squirrels know this. They are taunting you. When they go low, go high.

7. Your humans love reading with you cuddled up in their laps. That is wonderful. Your humans cannot read if you climb between them and their book and bat them every time they try to turn the page. They love this a whole lot less.

8. You may have noticed that you like to change positions as you sleep. I also enjoy doing so. If you are laying on my person and I need to change positions, it is likely because you are cutting off my circulation and I am about to lose a leg. Because I find my legs to be useful, I will likely shift. This is not to be considered a personal insult that involves retaliatory action such as squawking, attacking said leg through the covers, or sticking a paw in my mouth.

9. You do not belong in the refrigerator or the freezer. I understand that you think you do, but you do not.

10. When I am in the kitchen trying to do something like "make a meal for the humans" and you are irritated because you are dissatisfied with the brand new food I just put in your bowl, getting underfoot will only make you angrier because I will inevitably step on you. This will be unintentional, though I know that you do not care. Please stop doing this as it is terrible for everyone.

It's a good thing she's cute.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


You guys.

My hope for you, reading out there -- my Christmas wish, as it were -- is that you live among people as giving and generous and wonderful as the people I do. (Some of you? Are the people that this is about, so ... it's gonna get schmoopy up in here and I just need you to accept it.)

When I lived in North Carolina, I was lonely. I'd put myself in time out (it seemed reasonable) and I got some really good things out of that, like an amazing relationship with my parents which, as an adult, is kind of a big deal. You don't always get the chance to dive into your emotional closet, pull out the ugly and damaged bits, and mend them, but I did; as a result, I don't regret that time in any way. It was amazing and necessary.

But I didn't have a lot of friends, which was strange to me because I grew up with a community of people who were just ... there. Every time you turned around, there they were. All through preschool and elementary school and high school and in some cases? College! And grad school! You were never without your secondary family.  So suddenly finding myself without that was weird. Weird, and unbalancing.

Fortunately, there was Facebook. People who are all "social media is bad blah blah blah" don't know how much it can save you when you feel alone. I didn't have friends that I could go to dinner with, necessarily, but I had people I could talk to in an instant. I could feel like I was a part of things, even though I was nine hundred miles away.

Finally, I decided that I needed to come back to New England, and settle in my neck of New Hampshire. I felt like I belonged here.

And y'all -- you welcomed me. People I didn't KNOW welcomed me. The community embraced me. They didn't have to, but they did. Here, when someone knows someone who knows you? They offer you the shirt off their back.

So maybe I'm crying again (it's the first time today, though, so I'm winning), because ever since I said "Hey, I lost my job" the community here has been falling over themselves to help me. I've had offers of money, I've had people helping me to network, I've had suggestions and job applications and kindness and love and hugs pouring in from every direction that I look.  I anticipated sympathy. I did not anticipate this level of love and assistance and involvement.

I have the best life, job or no job. I have the best friends. And I have the best community, which is mostly right here but also? Spreads down to North Carolina and Florida and Texas. It goes up to Maine.  It extends to Japan.

I can't thank any of you enough for the love and help you have sent my way, so I will just promise to pay it forward.

Thank you, my beloved community.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The First Day

It is a Wednesday. It is snowing gently outside, the radio is on, and there is a steaming cup of coffee by my side. I feel as though I am getting ready.

But for the first time ever I have nothing to get ready for. 

I have been going to school or working since I was fifteen. That's nearly twenty-six years of get up and get ready and go. But as of today, I don't have a job. As of today, I don't have anything to do next.

I would like to be stoic, but I am terrified. The demons of self doubt are perched on my shoulders and whisper in my ears: What if I can't find something else? What if this happened because I wasn't very good at what I do? In fact, do I even know what I do? Will anyone want any of the things I'm good at? 

Then the cat jumps up onto my shoulders and rubs her face against mine and purrs. The demons are chased away by seven pounds of love. Whatever else, Lizzie B thinks I'm pretty awesome. It helps.

The other thing that helps is the amazing outpouring of love and kindness. I worry about the state of the world on a regular basis, but I need to remember how amazing people really are. I have never felt so loved, so cared for, and had so many offers of help and promises of hope. It's positive, and uplifting, and incredibly humbling.

So my plan for today is to clean my house until it's sparkly and shiny. Maybe I'll put out some more Christmas decorations. Maybe I'll treat myself to an extra long bubble bath. I am going to keep busy and get through this first day. Because the first day of anything is the hardest day. I will wear comfy clothes and be kind to myself. There will be tea. There may be wine.

I will stop telling myself that this is failure, that I am a failure. This is a stop on a journey. It is a time to rest and to think. I will rest for a moment and think.

And then tomorrow,  after I've seen that I can do this, I can be this person, I will start to look around and see where my next steps will take me. 

I've got this. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's the Little Things

I sometimes get excessively excited about what are, in all actuality, silly things.  For example:

Target Temptation

Yesterday, The Fella and I went to Target.  I love Target. A LOT. I always go in there for one thing and then come out with a cart full of stuff, and I know full well that I'm not the only person who suffers from this affliction. It's just Target. They have everything I want. (So does Kohl's, to be honest, but Target has MORE of what I want and generally for less.)

But yesterday, when we went to Target? I ... I still can't believe this happened ... but ...

I only bought the things on my list. I needed two things and ... I swear this is true ... I BOUGHT THEM. ONLY them.

We were standing in the checkout line when I realized what I had accomplished. It was like winning an Olympic event, but instead of getting a medal, I was rewarded with my own money instead of the umpteenth bottle of nail polish I didn't need (or socks and a sweater or another Christmas ornament shaped like an owl).


Moana Mania

The Fella and I also went to see Moana this weekend. (By the way, not that Disney needs my personal endorsement, but GO SEE MOANA IT'S AMAZING.)

This was a big deal for me because I've not been to the movies in years. I would have panic attacks in movie theaters.  I would have to wait for the movies I wanted to see to be available on iTunes or Netflix so I could watch them from the well-lit safety of my couch, because even though I love me some Captain America, my love for him could not compete with the terror and inability to breathe of a theater induced panic attack.

The Fella, who likes movies, has been incredibly understanding of my "um, no no no no" reaction to the idea of going to the movies, but he also knew that I ALSO had anxiety about not being able to go to the movies. (Anxiety disorders are so very, very fun, in case you didn't know.) He also knew that I really wanted to see Moana when it came out, because I've been talking about it for ages. 

"You know, they remodeled the theater," he said. "It's a lot different. Some of the things that you find triggering are gone. Look," he said, and got out his iPad to show me how the number of seats in each theater was smaller, how the seats were set up, and that you could reserve seating. He also told me the seats were bigger, and the aisles wider. 

So I agreed to try, knowing that if I couldn't stay through the movie? He would totally understand. (And can I say -- he's just the best, y'all. Everyone's partner should be so supportive!)

I won't lie -- I had a bad moment when the lights went down. An intensely bad, "Oh noo I should not have done this" moment. But then I remembered to breathe, and to close my eyes for a moment, recite the phonetic alphabet to myself, and then spell some things phonetically. Like Mike Ohio Alpha November Alpha. Or ... Yankee Echo Lima Lima India Echo. Tango Hotel Echo Foxtrot Echo Lima Lima Alpha. (By the way, I have no idea why this works for me. It just does.) 

The moment passed. I was okay. And the movie ... well, you need to see it. I want to see it in the theater AGAIN.

Just to revel in the fact that I CAN.

Getting Saucy Up in Here

I like to cook. I've mentioned previously that I not only didn't used to enjoy cooking, but I was also terrible at it. 

Then I got real and remembered that feeding yourself (and others) is something that needs to happen with some regularity, and as long as I followed recipes, I was pretty good. I was afraid to branch out, though. I measured everything religiously, afraid to stray because if I didn't follow the recipe exactly, it might be yucky, and I have perfectionist issues.

I don't know when it was that I realized that cooking is personal. For example? I love garlic. One clove of garlic is how much you put in a recipe that doesn't CALL for garlic. Recipes that call for garlic? Probably need twice as much garlic as the recipe says. I also like things spicy, so I'm going to need more red pepper than a recipe calls for. Also, if there's cheese? Yeah, I'm going to add more cheese because there is NO such thing as too much cheese. 

So I began branching out.

And then I realized that I didn't need recipes anymore for some things, like spaghetti sauce. I have my mom's guidelines for how to make good sauce engraved in my brain, but I don't need to write them down -- and I don't follow them exactly. I like capers. I also like to toss some red wine in there. She doesn't. That's okay -- both of our sauces are delicious.

I made a huge old pot of sauce over the weekend. I froze half, we used some, I saved some for pizza, and I had lunch leftovers.

This made me stupid happy. But when a coworker said, "What is that? It smells DELICIOUS"?

I was even HAPPIER.

May the little things make you equally as happy as they make me!

You Knew This Was Coming...

... if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I'm firmly parked on the liberal side of the political spectrum.  I didn't choose to define myself as liberal. I choose to define myself as firmly on the side of all people and making sure that they have rights, and choices, and are treated fairly, so that makes me liberal.

Because of that, the results of the election hit me hard. I don't feel as though the president-elect is a person who sees people as people. I don't think he sees immigrants as people, I don't think he thinks of Muslims as people, I don't think he sees women as people, and to be honest, I don't even think he sees his supporters as people. It seems to me that he sees the world as a his personal playground, a chessboard, if you will, and the people who live in it are just pawns for him to toy with, move around, and discard at will.

I'm concerned.

I'm concerned because the president-elect has suggested that people who burn the American flag should be stripped of their citizenship and deported.  America is more than its symbols; if the destruction of a single representation of one of our symbols causes someone to become so unhinged that they are willing to trump our fundamental constitutional rights in order to preserve that symbol, I become concerned about not only his understanding of the constitution but also of what it means to be American.

I'm concerned because he seems to have tapped into and released some of the ugliest parts of human nature. He has given people permission to be their worst selves at a time when we most need people to be their best selves. He has normalized sexual assault and sexism. He holds xenocentrism as a value. He doesn't have an issue with racism and is, in fact, racist. He uses language that is inflammatory, outrageous, and offensive.

I want to have empathy for the people who supported him in his run, because I very much believe that they will require that empathy when they realize that the president-elect doesn't actually have them and their interests in mind. He did not run for president to make America great. He ran for president for HIMSELF. He has no political experience, he has no ability to control his temper or his outbursts, and he reacts to criticism with less grace than my two year old niece.

The people who supported him are going to have a difficult time. And so are the rest of us, the ones who did not support him, the ones who were afraid of what his presidency might mean for this country. To me, that means being more liberal than ever because what we need now are MORE people who are deeply invested in people. We need more people who will reach out past ethnicity and religion and gender and sexuality and immigration status and offer love and help.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to speak and hug and help as much as I possibly can, whoever I can, whenever I can. I will not hide. I will not be silent.

What will you do?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Randoms


"That would be HILARIOUS. And by 'hilarious' I mean potentially causing death or injury and also highly illegal."

"Your definitions. They amuse me."


"So then I found out that when you have a tonsillectomy? They BURN THEM OUT. Did you know that?"


"Do you think they use lasers?"

"No, it's probably much more primitive. Like, they knock you out and then a band of villagers bearing torches shows up."


"Dude, when he comes out of there he's gonna be CRANKY."


"He needs carbs. Let's just throw cookies at him until he calms down."


"I've come to realize that my issues with lipstick are really about the fact that I have stupid lips."


"I mean, being a pretty shade of red? Only accentuates their stupidness."


"He needs to calm down. He needs, like a hot bath and a good book and a cup of tea."


"Oh wait, no. That's me. I need that."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

That's It. Period.

I was going to start this post with, "Gentlemen, you may want to look away because I'm going to talk about menstruation" but then I realized that very notion is the impetus for this post. So hang on to your hats, y'all, because I'm about to give some real talk about periods.

As (hopefully) everyone knows, people who are born biologically female will likely eventually have a period. That's a thing. That's how the uterus works. Eggs get released, the uterine line thickens thinking "Oh boy! We're gonna have a baby!" and then the egg doesn't get fertilized so the uterus sheds the lining. It's actually not a huge deal, except for the fact that it can sometimes be painful, annoying, and somewhat messy. Big old whoop, right? A body doing what it's supposed to do.

So why do we treat it like it's secret and somehow shameful? I quizzed some of my biologically female friends* who are also members of the menstruation club and we came to the following conclusions:

  • We have all been at work and needed either a pad or a tampon, tried to make said pad or tampon INVISIBLE upon retrieval and also attempted to tuck it away while walking to the bathroom. 
    • If you have pockets, hide it in the pocket as unobtrusively as possible. Try to look completely innocent while you're doing this by somehow making a face that says, "Why NO, I would NEVER have a tampon in my pocket. What a CRAZY notion!"
    • If you do NOT have pockets, but have long sleeves, try to hide the tampon or pad in your sleeve by squinching your sleeve down over your hand and holding it there, again making the "NOPE, no tampon here" face.
    • You could bring your purse to the bathroom with you, but that's pretty much the same as announcing "GUESS WHAT IT'S PERIOD TIME" and no one wants to do that.
    • If your period is making a surprise visit (and isn't THAT fun), and you have to ask a coworker for a pad or tampon, you will WHISPER your request as quietly and ashamedly as possible.
  • After using the restroom, dispose of your feminine hygiene product of choice in a ninja-esque style by trying to cover it up with paper towels or toilet paper, so no one can see the evidence of your non-crime. 
  • When you are in pain because of menstrual cramps, smile big and try to look pretty. If you cannot pretend that you are not in pain, and someone asks what's wrong, you should lie. Unless it's another period-having person, in which case you may quietly whisper what's wrong and then ask for a painkiller. 
  • You can never, ever, ever tell a non-period having person about your period, because they will then blame all of your emotions on it, as though that's the only reason you ever have emotions. This will make you want to stab them, which will also be blamed on your period and not on the fact that the person you stabbed was being an asshole. 
We also came to the following consensus: this pisses us off. 

Where does it come from? Is it a holdover from separating the boys from the girls and having the sex talk? Why can't the boys and the girls have that talk together, by the way? All separating everyone does is make bodies seem scary, when let's face it: biology is not scary. Biology CLASS was occasionally a bit frightening when it came to things like dissecting an eyeball, but actual human biology, aka your body's going to do some stuff and you need to deal? Not scary. JUST LIFE.

I'm not going to be ashamed because my body is doing something it's supposed to do. So while I'm not going to make a banner for my office announcing my period, I'm also not going to hide maxi pads in my sleeves anymore, either.  It's simply ridiculous. 

That's it. 


*I understand that this is an awkward phrase, but I want to separate biology from gender, which is different.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Damn You, Hobby Lobby

"Have you ever been to a Hobby Lobby," my mom asked. "Is there even one near you?"

"There's one in Rochester," I said, "but you know I won't go there. I disagree with their politics."

My mom sighed. She knows that I will boycott like mad when provoked. Chill-fil-a? I love their sandwiches but I have amazing willpower when it comes to avoiding them. (Although, true story, I live in the frozen North now, so it's hardly difficult not to eat them when the nearest franchise is an hour away.) Wal-Mart? Not if I can help it.

"They have evvvvvverything, Yellie," she said. "Like, everything."

"Oh well," I said.


Fast forward: I had a shopping trip planned with my best friend, but we didn't know where we wanted to go. Out of the blue, she asked: "Have you ever been to Hobby Lobby?"

She hadn't been either.

"No," I said, "but I hear they have everything."

Just like that, it was decided.


Before you decide I'm a total asshole: I didn't buy anything. Before you decide I'm NOT a total asshole, I have to confess: I didn't buy anything because I was broke. I WANTED to buy things. I just couldn't.


Hobby Lobby is like Disneyland (if Disneyland didn't have a lot of small children in it and instead was about four acres of stuff) in that it is magical, but also causes almost immediate sensory overload. The place is neatly organized, but you seriously need a map. They should hand those out. Also, there are SO many things in the store that your eyeballs don't know where to look. I felt like I'd had a triple shot of espresso: completely jittery and unhinged as I was confronted with aisle after aisle of really incredible (and sometimes outrageously tacky) things.  Additionally, the store wears down your resistance in much the same way Disneyland does. As an adult at Disneyland, you may suddenly find yourself wearing mouse ears and posing with an adult dressed like a cartoon character and smiling like a lunatic. As an adult at Hobby Lobby, you might find yourself standing in front of a giant metal octopus, nearly salivating over the idea of how amazing that would look in your bathroom and in complete denial of the fact that it weighs fifty pounds and is, in fact, wider than your bathroom door.

(I can neither confirm nor deny the octopus thing.)

(Also, as I mentioned, I didn't buy anything. Especially not a giant metal, super cool octopus.)

(At least, not yet.)


I have not returned to the Hobby Lobby. Not because I don't want to, but because I do. SO BADLY. I want to go there when I'm not broke and buy all of the really nifty things that I saw ... the octopus! The shelves made out of industrial pipe that will look amazing in my (converted mill building, slightly industrial) apartment! The blown glass cuttlefish! THE THINGS AND THE STUFF!

Unfortunately, I also really REALLY want to hold on to my principles. I need those. They're important.

I just don't know if they're more important than a metal octopus.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This is Forty

I was nervous about turning forty. I can't really explain why, but as my fortieth birthday approached, I became anxious about it. Perhaps it was the memory of my dad's fortieth, where he only received gag gifts and every single one basically said, "Wow, you're old now and your life is over and it's all downhill from here ... sucks to be you! Oh, and happy birthday" and the look of forced cheer on his face as he endured the black cards and "Over the Hill" balloons.

I mean, that miiiiight have something to do with it.

However, now that I've been forty for nearly a year, I'd like to say something to my fellow forty-ers, because I wish someone had said this to me:


Being in your forties is AMAZING. It's actually sort of like marketing slogan for Kohl's department store: Say Yes ... to YOU!

I have spent all year saying yes to me, and it's been great.

YES! I have permission to care for myself first when I am sick.

YES! I can acknowledge that there are things I just plain hate to eat (looking at you, yogurt) and ... STOP EATING THEM. You know what? I can get the important stuff that's in yogurt somewhere else.

YES! I acknowledge some relationships as toxic and then simply let them go.

YES! I can say to a loved one, "You and I don't agree about this subject, and it makes us both angry and sad, so let us STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. We have so many other things! We can talk about those!"

YES! I can say to someone who is being horrible to another human being, "HEY! Stop that!"

YES! I can acknowledge that I am smart and valuable.


YES to all of the things.

Before I turned forty, I didn't feel like I was ... um ... adult enough? I didn't think I deserved to have the authority to say, YES, I'm going to go to bed when I'm tired even if that means I'm going to sleep ridiculously early.  Turning forty gave me the sense that I was grounded on this earth, that I had earned this spot and it was MINE, darn it, and I would give myself permission to live it as I wished.

YES to taking chances.

YES to healthy relationships.

YES to realizing that I'm just doing my best.


This is forty.

And darlin'? It's damn fine.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Take a Break!

Gooooood Morning Blogland!

Do you guys know that I just love you? Because I do. I don't know why anyone comes to see what kind of nonsense I'm writing at any given moment, but you do and I appreciate you so much.

Having said that, I'm going to be taking a break from this blog.

The Fella and I are starting a new endeavor. If you're friends with either of us on Facebook, you probably already know about, our site where we have begun discussing all things books and reading. I am VERY excited about this because it gives us both a site where we can dork out like Whoa, but like every new project, it is taking up time and energy and resources. I imagine that there will be a time when I can do both, but right now? I can't.

So please join us over at Afterwords, won't you? You can subscribe, and interact with us on Facebook (because we have a FB page, obvs) and hang out and talk books and reading and awesomeness.

Eventually, I'll be back here. I'll keep y'all posted.

All the hugs,


Friday, September 2, 2016

Rewind: Love. Story.

This originally posted on 7/25/14, and it's one of my favorite things of everything I've ever written. I just love that Fella. 

The first time I fell in love, I was fifteen. There was a boy -- a lovely, amazing boy -- that I went to high school with who stole my heart.

He had no idea this was the case. He thought we were friends.

We were friends, but I loved him. I loved him in a way that I had never loved anyone before or since; it was wholly unselfish. I just wanted him to be happy. If I had learned that in order for him to be happy I would have to step in front of a moving vehicle, I would have done it. I simply loved him.

To this day, if you said this boy's name to my mom, she'd say, "Oh Yellie. You loved him," and everyone in the room would nod as if to say, it was so sweet and so ... not happening.

Because as it turns out? Life is not a love story.

Except, of course, for when it is.


The good thing about being fifteen (and anyone who's dealt with fifteen year olds on a regular basis will probably agree with me here) is that it's temporary. You grow out of it and move on to other, moderately obnoxious ages like eighteen and twenty-one and thirty.

The better thing about being fifteen -- and every age before or after -- is  that you carry pieces of that self with you. Sometimes those pieces are large and become major portions of your character. Sometimes they're little slivers and mementos that you take out of your pocket and run your thumb over. Either way, you have them.

As we all do, I outgrew being fifteen, but my sliver -- my lovely memento -- was the memory of loving that boy. I went on, of course, to fall in love with other people because that's what you do. Relationships. Breakups. Love, with all of its different faces. It's a thing.

If I occasionally took the time to remember that boy and my fifteen year old self, it was with a sense of amazement, that I had ever thought that love could be that simple, and the wish that maybe somehow? It
could be that simple.

And then? I'd throw myself into the next thing.


That lovely boy and I became friends as adults. Twenty years had passed. Things had happened -- marriages, children, relocations, careers. Twenty years is a long time. He was actually more delightful than I had remembered him being -- funnier, more thoughtful.

This annoyed me a bit, to be honest, because it seemed that my fifteen year old self had more discernment than my adult self when it came to people.

Well, I thought, he's changed some. So have you.

So. Friends. Friends from afar, mostly, via the internet because -- you know, all of the life stuff and busy-ness that comes with it. We saw each other now and again, the way you do, but not often.

The thing was, though, that when I did see him, fifteen year old Yellie would tap me on my no-longer fifteen year old shoulder. "You totally love him," she'd say, flipping back her overly permed hair.

"Of course I love him, stupid. He's my friend."

"Yeah right," she'd smirk.

I'd think, I really can't do this again. Who does this?

Until the day that he told me that he was sorry, this might screw up our friendship, but he was in love with me.

Which, to be honest, made me want to punch him. That only lasted about three seconds, before I confessed to the same, but still.


The last time I fell in love, I was thirty-eight. In an unlikely chain of events, the first person I loved turned out to be the best, most amazing person I've ever loved.

Of course -- and don't think that I don't point this out regularly -- I figured it out when I was fifteen. It just took him some time to catch up.

Life is a story.

Sometimes, it's a love story.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rewind: Home. Work.

This piece originally posted on 10/17/12 when I (obviously) worked from home. Y'all, if you know someone who works from home? Don't say any of the below things. PLEASE. 

There are very few things that send me over the edge faster than the following:

“Oh my GAWD, you work from home? You must get sooooo much done around the house!”




“So you work like, what, three or four hours a day?”


“That would be awesome if you had kids. You wouldn’t even need daycare.”

Can we just discuss this for a minute?

Yes, I do get things done around the house. AFTER or BEFORE work. Because during work hours? I’m WORKING. If you worked in an office building, would you be able to stop what you were doing to clean your kitchen? No? Me either, even though technically the kitchen is only a few rooms over.

Yes, I shower. I get dressed too. One, because I like to be clean and fresh-smelling. Two, because working from home doesn’t mean becoming a slovenly lump of humanity. Thanks though.

No, I don’t work three or four hours a day. I work more like eleven to twelve hours a day, because it’s right there. I am also on call during evenings, on weekends, and on vacations. I can’t walk away from my office. I don’t have a commute during which to unwind.  I just have a room, a computer, and a smart phone. They’re always there. I work more hours working at home than I would if I worked off site. 

I wouldn’t need daycare? Are you crazy? Would you bring your children to your office and try to have meetings and conference calls with clients every day? I don’t have children, but if I did? I would ABSOLUTELY need daycare. In fact, for my employees who have children at home? Daycare is pretty much required. 

I don’t know why people think that working from home isn’t work, or is less work, or is not important work. I don’t know why people think that because I don’t get into a car every day and drive someplace I must have a cushy job where I just kind of cruise along, eating ice cream and watching tv in my pjs. 


And the next person who makes me get on this soapbox? Is probably going to wish they hadn’t.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Rewind: Turkey Day Part Four -- The Reckoning

I am going on vacation in a week and I am BUSY, y'all, so I'm going to be reposting some of my more popular pieces. This piece originally posted on 11/28/13 (and had some companion pieces: Part OnePart Two, and Part Three). Enjoy! I'll be back in a few weeks!

Turkey Day Part Four: the Reckoning


After all of the advice and instruction, I went with... Well, I still don't know for sure. I have roasting bags (in case I go for that) and tinfoil (for tenting, in case I don't) and a baster (which I do or don't need depending on who you ask). I have lemons and onions and rosemary to put in the cavity. I have herbed butter to put under the skin (the idea of which makes me whisper "it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again").

I have four cookbooks, two magazines, and a printout from the Butterball website on my counter.

I woke up at 6:30 thinking about stock. Two recipes (and a friend) said I need it. But I don't have any. 

I've also realized I don't have any dessert-type noms and if you think my brain can cope with the notion of making anything else right now, you are crazy. But then, so am I, because apparently I  am going to the grocery store.


Everything seems more doable when the wine rack is fully stocked. Everytime I walk past it, I swear it winks at me. "Relaxxxx. I can toooootaaallly help you with this." (It sounds like the surfer dude turtles in Finding Nemo.)


I don't feel good about my trip to the grocery store. I mean, the nice people shouldn't have to be at work. That's crappy. But then again, they looked bored, so ... I don't know.

Maybe after I finish my coffee I'll start tackling this beast.


Or I could just order Chinese food.


No, I'm going to cook it. 


Everyone who told me that turkey is easy is a lying asshole.

Here's what happened: I took the turkey out of its shrink wrap and discovered this mystifying bit of hard plastic holding the feet together.

No one had mentioned this, ever. In all of my turkey talk, not one person ever said, "oh and it will be wearing plastic shoes. Like Barbie. Only, you know, not."

However. Everyone and some of their uncles was all "get the neck and gizzards out! That's yucky! Can't cook with those in!" so I thought -- rationally -- that Barbie needed to lose her footwear and got out the scissors. 

Yeaaaaah that didn't work. I don't know how that's attached but, even though the feet were released, the plastic was firmly anchored in.

So -- cursing to myself -- I filled the sink with cold water thinking, I'll thaw it out.


Oh, and everyone who was all "the gizzards and such are in a bag?" YOU LIE. There was no bag. There was what looked like the leavings of a serial killer stuffed into my turkey. I didn't know if I should keep wrestling with that plastic bit or call in CSI. It was nightmareish.

So I did what any rational Yellie would do: I called my mom.

"This? Is a fucking nightmare!" I said, not at all dramatically.


I explained the shoes and the icky. She said, "oh. You just ... Leave the shoes on."

I looked at my turkey. "What? I needed to take the Ickers out because they were in a bag but plastic shoe tie things are okay? I don't understand this and, fuck it, I'm not doing it."

"Yes you are."

"Might as well. Can't suck less."

So I cut off what I could see of the plastic, grimly reached in and yanked out the Ick, and went to work. Quartered lemons, stuffed 'em in the cavity. Chopped up an onion and stuffed that in too. Rosemary sprigs -- in you go. Pulled the skin away from the breasts and slid my hand in. I thought, "It's like a glove!" And then thought "I am going to be in therapy forever."

Under the skin: butter. More lemon. On the skin: olive oil. Rosemary. Salt and pepper.

Poured stock in the roasting pan, added lemon and onion and rosemary to THAT, and picked it up to put in the (preheated) oven.

And that was when my roasting pan broke.

"Fuuuuuuuuuucccckkkkk!" I said to the cat, who was keeping a curious but safely distant eye on the whole thing. And then I just got MAD. "Cook a turkey, they said! It's easy they said!" 

The handle on the roasting pan listed uselessly to the side. Mocking me.

"I was in O.M., pan. Screw you." I got a cookie sheet out and put it underneath. It barely fit but no matter.

TurkeyZilla is in the oven.

And I need a drink.


Note: if you're gonna baste, even though your mom told you not to bother, try not to melt one of your silicone potholders when sliding the oven rack out. 

But if you DO happen to do that? It would be a good time to open that wine.


Second basting. Managed not to fill the house with the acrid smell of melted silicone. Have no idea if the meat thermometer is touching the thigh bone or not (it's not supposed to. I don't think) so I'm hoping the pop up timer is a thing that works? Or something?

I'm also hoping I can get that thing out of the oven without spilling molten lava cooking liquids over myself, what with the "broken roasting pan" issue. That will NOT make for a festive holiday, and I don't want to have to explain my folly in the ER. Next year? I'll buy a real roasting pan.


More wine, anyone?


After four hours in the oven, the juices in the pan seemed like they needed to be siphoned off a bit. Which wouldn't be a problem because I have a baster, but which was a problem due to clumsiness.

That's okay. My entire kitchen needed to be scrubbed down anyway. Probably.

On the other hand? The pan juices smell so amazing that I'm almost sorry that I'm not making gravy. ALMOST.


Is it done?


I think it's done. Maybe?


I'm taking it out.


I hope it's done. 

I hope it's not TOO done.


Holy shit. It's delicious.

I have no idea how this happened, and I have no idea what I'm doing with all of this turkey. 


I do have a notion that I need to thank some people for their advice. So, in no particular order, thanks and big hugs to:

Charlene Hayes, Jodie Coward, Jessica Brodeur, Julie Rowe, Linda Campbell, Kristen Flink, Tricia Finch, Dot Winchell, Helene Harriman, Kelly Tipping, Neha Vanscoy, Shilo Fiel, John Perham, Matt Bemis and anyone and everyone else who offered advice and encouragement along the way (or invited me to eat with them and avoid the horror). 

You guys are awesome. 

And Martha Stewart can kiss my ass.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Randoms


"The word 'engaged' has GAG in the middle of it."


"What? It's TRUE!"


"Why haven't I heard from her yet?"

"Well. She might still be at the doctor. OR... She might be eating a delicious hamburger!"


"I'm just saying. She has options."


"Awww, Townhouse is so funny. Serving size, three crackers. HAHAHAHAHA."

"That's like Ben and Jerry saying there are four servings in a pint. No, there is ONE. Come on boys, get serious. Plus, would I even be spooning this into my face if I was concerned about serving sizes?"


"Ugh. Facebook post: Life isnt about how many breathes you take but about the moments that take your breathe away."


"Apparently, life is NOT about punctuation. Or spelling."


"I would like that guy? Except that he's a terrible person who triggers a reflex in me that makes me want to punch him directly in the junk."

"But except for that?"

"Except for that I would totally enjoy him."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I was feeling super anxious about a thing (because, as y'all know, this is what I do) and working myself into a full-fledged, panic riddled, unable to breathe mess when I suddenly thought:

This is temporary.

It was like flipping a switch.

Since that moment, I have felt something that I can only describe as peace. It's like I have suddenly discovered a giant pool of zen and am just gently back floating in it.

I wish I had figured this out years ago. I mean, I had obviously heard the saying "this too shall pass" but it has never resonated with me like "this is temporary" is.

Because when you start to think about it? Life is temporary. In the grand scheme of things, our time is short. It has a finite stretch. Within that teeny span come and go so many moments. Some will be of great joy. Some will be filled with stress. Some will be so funny that you will laugh until you are crying. Some will be filled with pain. Some will be easy. Some will be incredibly hard.

But they all come ... and then they go.

So if you are sad? Know that it is temporary. It is not forever.

If you are angry? This is temporary. You will move through and past it.

If you are scared? It's just in this moment. Your fear will subside.

If you are anxious? It will go away.

It's temporary.

And it's going to be okay. I promise.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Adulting, Part 8973463746

I'm finally, at forty, starting to get some of this being a grown-up stiff down. For example, I now recognize that Diet Coke is NOT actually the same thing as drinking water. * Also, I totally understand that putting vegetables on pizza does not make it a salad, and that wine is NOT just liquid fruit. I also have gotten better about making a list before I go to the grocery store** and then actually buying the things on the list so that I have things to make meals and not just a random assortment of unrelated foodstuffs and six bottles of wine.


There are, of course, the things I am still terrible at, like throwing away magazines after I read them. What am I keeping them for? I HAVE NO IDEA. But they're still in a big stack in our book room. I'm still afraid of the dentist and bad about going to the doctor; I'm getting better about this, but I'm not super good at it.


Yesterday was grocery day, so I planned out meals and then we went shopping. I was making pasta for dinner (yay gluten free pasta).


Because in the afternoon, The Fella said, "Do you want to get Chinese for dinner? I know that's not the plan, but ..."

Let's see ... did I want delicious Chinese food? Do little birdies chirp in trees? Damn straight I wanted Chinese food!

Oh, but the pasta. It was kind of a complicated thing to make on a weeknight. Humph, what to do.

And that's when the adult-y part of my brain kicked in. "You could make it today," it whispered. "You could make it today and then tomorrow it will be all ready! You'll just have to heat it."

Okay, so here's the deal: I KNOW that this is a thing people do, this cooking things in advance. I believe there are entire television shows devoted to the concept. It's just not a thing I do, because I am organized, but I'm not THAT organized. That's, like, Martha Stewart organized, and I'm only at Yellie-level.

But I did it. I made today's dinner yesterday. It's kind of exciting, like the dinner fairy came, only I'M the dinner fairy. IT'S ME! WOOHOO!

Now if only I could take care of that pile of magazines ...

*What? Weight Watchers used to count it as being the same thing.)


Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Randoms

"What's the word for things that happen weekly?"

"Um. Weekly."

"You're the best!"


"Whatcha doing?"

"Being snarky on the Internet. Why?"

"Never mind. I can't interrupt your life's work."


"I really think that the most important thing here is that we recognize that we are this cat's minions and that we in no way own the house or anything in it."

(Cat meows)

"See? Her majesty agrees."


"Oh, I wanted to tell you..."




"I wanted to tell you some words but I can't remember what any of them were? So I'm going to go now."


"This shoe department is a mess."





"...Odyssey of the Mind nerds strike again."

"Pretty much."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Insomnia Thoughts

I keep hearing that Finding Dory is good. When it's on Netflix or something I will have to see it. If The Fella will watch it again. He saw it in the theater. Remember when I could go to movie theaters? That was ... well, it was bad. Why are they always COLD? Why does someone too tall always sit in front of me? Ugh. But Finding Dory is supposed to be cute, and there's an octopus, and I love those. So yeah. My mom didn't like Finding Nemo, but she doesn't like animated movies and, as she pointed out, "Fish don't talk." Unless maybe they DO and we just don't understand them? But no, they probably don't. Hey, you know what? The fish READ in that movie too. I'll accept a talking fish but a READING fish? That makes NO sense. How would a fish learn to read? And these were ocean fish, not aquarium fish. Aquarium fish reading would make at least a LITTLE sense because they might come into contact with words but OCEAN fish? When would they have books to work from? They would NOT, that's when. Oh, maybe litter. Maybe they are becoming literate by reading trash? God, that's depressing. Not fish learning to read -- everyone should love reading! -- but learning from the trash. That's sad. Although -- what would a fish WANT to read? And how would they turn the pages if they had books? Unless they recruited like, an octopus or a crab or something as their reader-helper buddy? Tag team reading! Go, you aquatic critters, go!

Good grief, I am tired.

Monday, August 15, 2016

When You're Born Broken

...You don't understand what it's like to be healthy.

... You are mystified when people say that they have a head cold. You have never had a head cold. You have had the sniffles, and then pneumonia, but never just a head cold. Ever.

... You hate the doctor. Not because they don't help, but because you're tired of it. The routine. The treatments. The steroids. 

... You are tired of being a burden to your loved ones. You know they worry about you. You know that when they hear you sneeze they brace themselves for the worst. It makes you feel terrible.

... You develop an allergy to everything. This antibiotic. That antibiotic. That other antibiotic. Your doctors get excited when something new hits the market, and maybe you'll only have to take a ten day cycle instead of a fifteen day cycle. You can hope. Unless you develop an allergy to that, and then it's back to the drawing board, AGAIN.

... People ask you about the status of your meds. Are you low? Do you need a new script? When was the last time you talked to your PCP?

... People don't want you to walk, carry things, try hard. Because they are afraid you will die.

... People will ask, "Do you have your meds with you?" Because they are afraid you will die.

... When someone with your condition dies, you will know ASAP. People will remind you, as though you don't remember every day.

... Some people with your condition will challenge you, as though your issues and theirs are exactly the same even though they are not. Refusal to rise to the bait will be viewed as concession. It isn't.

... You will not be afraid of the life you have, because it is the only one you remember. Other people will not understand this ... Mostly people who have bodies that are not broken. You do not have to explain.

... You may do things that aggravate your condition, because your body has never ever worked properly, so what difference does it make? (You eventually decide that this is very stupid.)

... You give up on the miracle you hoped for when you were younger. This is what you get. There is nothing else.

... When you have an episode, you sometimes wonder if this is it.

... You are sometimes so tired that you would be okay if this was it.

... You have experience with people staying by your side for days, watching you. Waiting for you to get worse or better. Willing you to live. So far, they have succeeded.

... You believe in a higher power because you are still here. It's not a complicated belief.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Randoms ... the Writer Problems Edition


"That last thing that you just wrote? I love that!"

"Um. I wrote that months ago..."


"... and it's been live on the site this whole time."

"Welp. Um... nice job?"


"Oh I love this sentence! Good job."

"You wrote that."

"I did??? OH I DID! What do I need you for then?"


"Those two words mean the same thing. So, when you create two headings for them, you basically have two columns that mean the same thing. We should get rid of one of them."

"But there are two."

"But there should only be ONE."

"... but there are two."


"I kind of want this to say all of these other things, like about teamwork and beauty and the nature of work."

"Did you read the whole thing?"

"No, I just read the first sentence. Why?"

"Because the rest of it is about teamwork and beauty and the nature of work?"



"Could you rewrite this so it says this same thing but uses completely different words? That would be better."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

You Know What You Know

I have been making oatmeal for The Fella's breakfast for a while. It is not a complex task: two cups of boiling water plus one cup of rolled oats, cook for fourteen minutes, and voila, oatmeal.

Well, maybe it is a little complex. It took me a while to land on the fourteen minute cook time. You see, the package says to cook them for ten  minutes. You know what you get when you cook oatmeal for ten minutes? No? Me either, but it's not really oatmeal. It's ... a very wet substance that looks in no way like something you should voluntarily ingest.

So I experimented. And after some trial and error, I discovered that fourteen minutes with the oven burner set to four made a perfect bowl of oatmeal. Yay for me!

My mornings were like clockwork: put the water on, empty the dishwasher, pour the oatmeal into the now boiling water, stir, eat my own breakfast, and by the time I was done with my meal, the oatmeal would be done. Brilliant. I love a routine.

The world at large, it seems, likes to screw with my routines. Because The Fella has been instructed to eat exactly half of that amount of oatmeal daily now.

No big, right?

I mean, it shouldn't be a big deal. Half is half. One cup of water plus half a cup of oatmeal, cook for seven minutes, done.

I knew it.

But I didn't believe it.

What if seven minutes ended up being too long? No one wants overcooked oatmeal. I stared at the boiling water and then, poured the oatmeal in and set the kitchen timer for five minutes. Five was probably right, I reasoned. I'd come back and check.

You need seven minutes, my gut said.

But what if I DON'T, my brain argued.

You probably know how this ends. When the timer went off after five minutes, I checked the oatmeal.

It needed ...

... two more minutes.

I KNEW IT. And I knew I knew it, but I didn't trust what I knew. I think a lot of us do this -- we don't believe in our own intelligence or experience or power. We doubt ourselves, and because of this, we make more work for ourselves. We make other people question us when we question ourselves. We are afraid to step up and show what we know. We don't act confidently.

It needs to stop. We are all smart. We have all had experiences that we have learned from. We all deserve to stand tall and proud and lead the way when we know what to do. No one should question you when you say you know how to do this, you know how this works.

Especially you.

And especially me.

Monday, August 8, 2016

2 AM (Just Breathe)

There are some things that my brain does not enjoy. It does not enjoy crowds, or movie theaters. It doesn't like clutter very much. Getting lost makes it freak right out.

There are things that my brain LOVES. Like reading, and cleaning, and singing in the car.

My brain also loves some really stupid things.

Like 2 AM.

My brain LOVES 2 AM. Specifically, it loves to be awake at 2 AM, no matter what else we're up to. It wants to be awake and thinking of things that I could write about and coming up with really funny tweets ... things that I absolutely won't remember in the morning. The other thing it likes to do at 2 AM is take me on an anxiety spiral, which is REALLY fun. There's nothing better than waking up to a panic attack that you can't really do anything about.

While my BRAIN apparently loves 2 AM, the rest of me does not. The rest of me loves sleeping and getting rest so I don't spend the next day looking and feeling like someone punched me in the face. My brain does not care about this so much. In fact, sometimes it's so excited about 2 AM that it doesn't settle down about the joy it is experiencing until, say, 5 AM. That's the BEST. That's a heavy under-eye concealer day right there, because let me tell you -- it's not pretty.

But every morning, like clockwork, 2 AM rolls around and my eyeballs spring open. "Let's play a game!" my brain crows. "Let's write a whole blog post in our head! It will be great!"

So I do.

I don't want to, but apparently my brain does.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Randoms


"I don't know, I just stopped ... believing."

"You are not allowed to do that, according to Journey."


"And then he was all like, you should come over, and I was like ... umm..."

"... I'd love to but I just remembered that you're wicked creepy, so I can't?"



"Tell me again why I'm not a world famous scientist?"

"Because you majored in English?"



"My PMS is demanding a ham sandwich."

"Your PMS is oddly specific."

"It wants what it wants. Don't judge."


"I haven't been to Target in over a week."


"Yeah. I think my bank is going to file a missing persons report."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I know today is a post day and I know I'm super late but a) I have been nonstop all day and b) today is the third anniversary of when I lost Bean.

If you never loved a pet, you probably think that continuing to grieve is stupid. Even if you have loved a pet, you might think I'm insane for still mourning her. To which I can only say, as politely as possible: please piss off. For ten years she was my continual sidekick, and I'll miss her furry little face for as long as I do.

Lizzie B., Miss Elizabeth Bennett, is a lovely companion and I adore her. But she is not my shadow the way Bean was, and I'm actually thankful for that. Lizzie is my adored cat. Bean was my baby. Again, you might think that I'm nuts but you can feel free to take a long walk off a short pier. It is what it is. Bean was with me through marriage and divorce and moving and moving and moving and homelessness and there was never a time when she didn't chirp with joy when I walked through the door or charm the shoes off of anyone she met. She was my familiar, and I loved her to pieces and miss her like crazy.

So yeah. This is a crazy cat lady post and I don't even feel that badly about it. Hug your pets. Hug them tight. Spoil them like mad while you have them. Do it for Bean.

Monday, August 1, 2016

For Your Consideration

I have been thinking -- about thinking.

Sometimes, at my current job, I have moments where it probably looks like I'm not doing anything. My primary function, though, is to write, and in order to write, you have to think. Sometimes thinking looks like doodling. Sometimes it looks like staring into space. Sometimes, for me, it looks like drinking tea and air-drumming along with the radio because I'm an air rock star. (Obviously.) The point I'm making here, though, is that in order to do my job I have to be able to think about what I'm doing, and sometimes thinking doesn't look like very much.

I was considering this in light of one of my previous jobs, where my supervisor thought that you needed to be doing something every moment. This person liked to proclaim, with some regularity, that breaks were at their discretion, and that they would determine if you really needed one. However, this person ALSO frequently complained that none of the people who worked under them was really an independent thinker -- there was no innovation of process or procedure coming from any of the people who worked under them.

I had yet another previous employer who used to like to say that we -- the people who reported to him -- needed to take the time to think about the "big ideas" and that he would give us an hour every day just to think. However, he would change his mind about that and ask us why we hadn't produced this report or answered that email in the hour that was supposed to be spent "just thinking" OR he would tell us that our thoughts were incredibly stupid and that none of our ideas were worth anything. (There's a reason I call him Crazy Boss...)

The thing is, though, that in order to innovate or create, you have to have the time to think. You have to be able to step outside of your process and procedure and think about it: why it functions the way it does. How that function could be improved. Why it SHOULD be improved. In order to be creative, you have to have the time for creative thought. You need a break. You need to be able to air drum or stare into space or whatever getting lost in your thoughts looks like for you, if only for a couple of minutes, so that you can start to put together ideas.

I know that I'm lucky to have a job where not only do I get the time I need to think about how to best complete things but where I'm encouraged to do so. I know that's rare -- but should it be? Shouldn't all employees be encouraged to think about how they can best contribute, and given the opportunity to both do and share that thinking? Is it benefitting anyone if there is no ability for everyone in an organization to have the chance to speak up about how to make it better?

I don't know.

But I'm thinking about it.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Randoms


Text message:




"I have some things figured out. Like, I know a couple of life's rules. I mostly ignore them, but I KNOW them. That's called being a grown up."

"Or a criminal?"

"A grown up criminal. Don't take my adulthood from me."


"I just googled 'how to lace your sneakers so that you don't have to tie them' and then watched several videos on it. I'm lazy, but industrious about it."


"Dairy Queen is donating one dollar from every Blizzard sold to the Children's Miracle Network today. So clearly we need to get ice cream. FOR THE CHILDREN."


"Sometimes I want to go to stuff and then I remember that there will be people there. Lots of people. And only a limited amount of Ativan with which to try to cope with them."