LET’S RIDE BIKES


The daisy deadheads are sprouting. That’s a new one.

I told myself I’d wait a week before posting and I barely made it, just to give a little time to let the chemicals start swishing around. I went to the doctor on Wednesday after posting and I got put through the same sized fun factory hole that most people diagnosed with adhd get. Go in as a delectable scented blob that never comes out of carpet, extrude out as Adderall-flavored spaghetti.

She gave me the “this is a controlled substance” spiel so there’s a couple of extra hoops and I guess I’m supposed to be on the lookout for medicine cabinet pirates. (Spoiler alert: keeping the bottle in the ol’ meat wallet because there’s nothing like popping a warm Adderall in the a.m.)

?? I don’t know either.

The good news is that people who actually have adhd are less likely to abuse it. The bad news is that I am now noticing stuff like this everywhere. (TL;DR: Writer chooses to take Adderall without diagnosis, has a bad time, presents self as n=1 study.) I am hearing the NYT generally has a hate-on for Adderall. I guess you can’t sell news about people who are having an OK time. This kind of shit always made me go, “Yeesh, Adderall sounds bad, mkay?”

I had been warned about EUPHORIA. Well. We’re no strangers to love (or stimulants), so Day 1 was more like Mr. Toad’s Moderately-Amusing-But-Home-Before-Curfew Ride. I don’t feel really happy or sad, just calm. If something happens, I do have an emotional response, so I’m not zombie’d out either. I told Pete I felt like I was on wheels, like the alien spy girl in Mars Attacks! I was pretty shocked at what I’ve been putting myself through by self-medicating for so many years, because this is far superior to that. People say Adderall is really harsh and the comedown was a bitch on the first day, only because I wasn’t able to eat on schedule. Once I ate I felt better. I had about three days of new afternoon headaches but now I feel fine. Right now I have to remember to eat and breakfast and lunch tastes like cardboard, but I am told this will pass too.

My doctor said, “Let’s try extended release every day for a month, instead of the weekend breaks some people take.” I am VERY glad about this, because when I’m with friends and family is when I least want to be a confused bitch. Historically, I’ve been most functional at work, since I know people are expecting me to produce something. I can feel it wearing off in the evening, but it’s such a relief to have had many hours of calm, accomplished focus that I think I’m happier at night knowing I’ve had a pretty good day.

Here’s what’s not happening: I am not accomplishing everything that’s been on my to-do list for the last three years. I’m not walking through glass doors. I haven’t plucked all the hairs out of my arm. Guilty as charged: I did write my friend a six-paragraph email this morning. But we DO have some things to discuss, honest.

Here’s what is happening that is surprising. I have realized I get frustrated approximately 7000 times a day. The first day, Thursday, I decided to wear some boots to the noir festival. They didn’t go on quite right and part of the boot turned inside out and went under my foot. I felt a little BZZT in my head. It was like a little placeholder: INSERT TITTY BABY MENTAL TANTRUM HERE. Normally this would really annoy me, to the point where I might swear. Instead I just…fixed it. WHAT. This keeps happening. Maybe someday I won’t get the placeholder anymore?

I drove Franny to school that morning. I have a long, LONG history of hating Seattle driving. It’s terrible. I have even become part of the problem as I find myself going ten under often for no reason. I did not care about traffic Thursday morning. It wasn’t horrendous or light. It was just there, and I drove through it. I realized I wasn’t bored, even though I could reason with myself and say, yes, this driving is routine and boring.

Here’s a funny one: I hate writing, like with a pen. I love typing (CLICKY NOISES! FAST!), but I actually feel a sense of dread if I have to write a card or note. My brain skips around, which causes me to omit letters or words. Somehow it feels like a struggle to even hold the pen and drive it around, like my fine motor skills don’t work quite right. This goes back to being a kid as I tried and failed to keep a journal several times. I really wanted to write about my life, but it was pretty hard (hooray for blogging!). I didn’t start consistently writing fiction until high school when I realized I could use word processing software.

As a result of all this, I have serial killer writing most of the time. On Sunday night I wrote a note for Strudel, and I felt that little BZZT in my brain. “This is going to be frustrating and I am probably going to misspell things.”

However, I composed a fine note, and when I sat back I noticed something: my writing was better. It was…kind of fun to write again. I decided to test this a little. Obviously I knew I was testing myself, but I tried to put myself in the frame of mind that I was writing a routine note or a letter.

OK, it’s a little blurry but maybe you can see what I’m getting at. Top is last night, bottom is this morning. The top is actually better than usual, sadly.

I went to the grocery store on Monday, started at one side, and hit every item on my list in order. It was so fast. This is embarrassing: I used to take lists to the store, sometimes grouped by section, and I would STILL miss items. I spent a lot of time in grocery stores, circling around, backtracking, “ONE MORE THING!”

And now, a weird thing, that I’m not sure that I like. My head feels like a huge chunk of ferrous metal and whatever is loudest and most attention-grabbing (the biggest magnet) is going to drag my head towards it. On Thursday I had to go to a mini-conference for work. What a perfect day to start taking a new psychotropic drug, the day you go off to be trapped in a ballroom with 50 new people! Naturally I was dreading this, because normally I suck at people’s names, dealing with the boredom of sitting for long periods of time, and stammering when I speak as I forget words. I can fill up multiple pages with doodles at functions like these, like I did during my week of orientation last month.

A folk singer was part of the programming, which I was not looking forward to. She was obviously talented and had been at her craft for a long time, but generally I just don’t care for folk music. This is normally the point where I look like I’m listening, but I’m actually on a spaceship with Samuel L. Jackson and a unicorn. Escape! My brain is the best at it. It has inbuilt peril-sensitive sunglasses! I was already feeling pretty good, because I hadn’t been wracked with anxiety while talking to people, like I normally am.

However, I could not get away. I tried to count things on the ceiling. I thought about doodling. But I heard every activist-y lyric, every folksy guitar strum. This is what was in my own Room 101, I thought. But I didn’t get irritated, and it ended. Things keep ending, and I can move on, calmer and less exhausted. I’ll be interested to see how I feel after a month of this, and I’ll try to update then. And probably before then, because it’s not currently a struggle to form a sentence.


Wood’s here

Oxtail Enchiladas for no reason really

I know you woke up this morning and were like, “SJ, I have too many hours in the day. I need a dinner that takes at least 4+ of them.” And I’m like, “Yo doggy, I am here for you.”

Sometimes I like to make little cooking challenges for myself, and Saturday’s was, you know what, I have never had enchiladas with oxtails. Let’s makes this happen. I got inspired at the store because I saw one of my favorite things in the world, Hatch chilies. My only bummer is that I feel like oxtails are more expensive in the past couple of years. NUTS. I’m writing this down because I’m sure I will not remember what I did by, like, Tuesday.

So here is what I did, without a million pictures, because I am not Pioneer Woman and I trust you have not been sucking on a tailpipe. However I do like to roll like Chris KimBOLL so let me tell you a wacky story. Oxtail soup is one of the first things I made in my Victorian year. The recipe was so greasy and awful that to this day majorly shitting yourself in this house is called “making oxtails.” Bon apetit and wacky Vermont local color in the hizzle.

OXTAIL ENCHILADAS

Ingredients:
3 lbs oxtails
2 yellow onions
4 oregano sprigs
6 Hatch chilis
2 bell peppers, anything but green
28 oz. can ground peeled tomatoes
garlic paste or 6 garlic cloves, chopped
ground cumin
paprika
8 oz. feta or queso fresco, crumbled or shredded
bunch of cilantro
10 corn tortillas (6-inch size)
olive oil, salt and pepper

1. Set oven to 500. Place oxtails upright in a heavy pan with a lid (like a dutch oven), if possible, or something that foil can be wrapped over tightly. Set oxtails in pan–it helps to have a pan that the oxtails fit in pretty well, since you’re about to make a meat/veg parfait, and you’re going to want to separate part of it later. Slice one onion and scatter over oxtails, then sprinkle half the chopped garlic or about a tablespoon of garlic paste over the onions. Set oregano over the top of the mixture. Pour pureed tomatoes over the top. Even if there is a lid, I recommend a tight foil layer to keep in moisture. Cover and place in oven and immediately turn down to 325. Cook for 3.5 hours.

2. When oxtails come out, let it cool without a lid for a few minutes. Steam is not your friend. Pick off oregano stems and using a slotted spoon, scoop out as much tomato and onion as possible into a bowl or blender (avoid oxtail grease at the bottom if possible, but don’t go crazy). Use tongs to pull oxtails out onto a plate, spread out to cool slightly.

3. In the meantime, set oven to broil and halve 4 Hatch peppers and quarter one bell pepper. Toss them in olive oil on a cookie sheet, and place them skin side up. Broil for 5-6 minutes 4″ from heat or until they are pleasingly charred. When they are finished, drop them in with the tomato mixture that was spooned off the oxtails. Set the oven to 375. Add about 1/2 c water, 1-2 tsp salt, and some black pepper to this pepper, onion, and tomato mixture and then blend into a sauce (I like an immersion blender for this, but a regular blender or small food processor would be fine). You should have between 2-3 cups of sauce. It should be fairly thick. Eyeball it, don’t panic.


Fire roasted!

4. Wrap the tortillas up in a sheet of foil and put in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. The goal is to make them a bit more flexible.

5. The oxtails should now be cool enough to handle. Separate the meat from the fat and bone to the best of your ability. If you have never worked with oxtails, you should know they are slimy, treacherous, delicious bitches. Shred up larger chunks of tail meat.

6. Chop remaining onion, Hatch chilies, and bell pepper. Saute onions in olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they get semi-translucent. Then add peppers and the rest of the garlic (three cloves, chopped, or another T garlic paste). Saute for another 3 minutes or so. Toss in oxtail meat, 2 tsp cumin, and 1 T paprika, and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and mix in half of the cheese. Salt and pepper this mixture to taste.

7. Spread about 1/2 c. sauce in the bottom of a 5.5 qt rectangular dish. (This is like the baby cousin of the 13 x 9 casserole. If you don’t have this size, you can go larger and leave some room or you might be able to squinch this into a 9 x 9, the world will not end.) Load this filling into the shells, fold up, and place in pan seam side down. I ended up with 2 rows of five. Cover with the rest of the sauce.

8. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, and bake for 10 more minutes to brown the top slightly and crisp up the exposed edges of the shells (so good). Let set up for 5 minutes and then serve with Uncle Tapa, cilantro, and sour cream if desired.

Get these hairs all out of my face/get these bugs all out of my place

HEY GATHER ROUND KIDS and hear a boring tale of medical issues. Dig this, I’m about to become as interesting as Obligation Visit Grandma. I’ll sweeten the pot with pictures.

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Twenty pounds. Trust me.

You may have heard about this yesterday: rosacea is possibly caused by microscopic mites with no anuses. WHAT. I know! I’ve always been pink. That pink kid, who does a couple of laps and gets all flamey-red. I shrugged it off since I come from red peoples. I grew up into that lady whose face would itch and burn for no reason.

I think I was about 26 or so when I thought I was running fevers. My face would burn and I would take my temperature and wonder what the hell was happening. Hormones? A virus? I felt fine otherwise. Finally, I figured it out. The big R. I didn’t really care about my face except to slap on some moisturizer or sunscreen–it didn’t bother me until the pain started. I saw a couple of dermos and was given the usual stuff to quell the symptoms but it wasn’t really working, not really. Maybe a 25% improvement. The weak antibiotics did nothing and the strong ones brought morning dry heaves and annoying limits on when I could eat. The creams…eh.

And now with the discovery that I may have an overgrowth of face lice, I take matters into my own hands. I am very excited. I love root causes. I dove back into the remedy rabbit hole to look around. I was never interested in any of the rosacea diets. I remember one dermo asking me what caused flare-ups for me.

“Wine, coffee, being sad, being mad, being happy, not enough sleep, sex, hot weather, cold weather, sun, hot water, cold water…”

“Well, just cut those things out and you’ll see improvement,” he advised me. Would the pills cut out the burning? No, it was just for the acne. Some message boards say to cut out dairy and fats. Others say gluten. I say I would rather hang myself. If I had a legit allergy and I felt miserable and/or dead eating any of those things, then yes, it would be worth it. Otherwise, no.

I don’t shy away from the “unnatural,” because I know herbs can kill you dead also, but I am starting with tea tree oil. Also I am all about the cheap and easy. I understand the mites hide in one’s pores, but I thought it was worth a try. I followed the information I found on a support group page about cutting tea tree oil by half (I used some sweet almond oil I keep around) and swabbed it on my face and left it for 15 minutes. The oil at this concentration did not irritate me at all (I had heard a lot of advice against using it full strength on your face).

So, the next step is to do some thinking. The mites are on a 10-14 day breeding cycle. I know we’re all covered with them constantly, and my aim is to see what beating back an overgrowth does for me, so I’m going to treat daily at first with hopes of catching the population I may be teaming with now and new hatches. And if I am seeing improvement, I will go with a once or twice a week upkeep session. There’s one more thing–I’m also trying permethrin. I know it’s crap for common head lice, but this isn’t head lice. I swabbed some on this morning and let it sit for ten minutes, as the packaging suggested for scalp treatment of lice. I’m going to be very careful with it since it’s very toxic for cats.

There was something I stumbled upon accidentally among all the rosacea stuff I read yesterday as well. There seems to be some kind of correlation between people who have rosacea and people who have stomach problems. I frequently suffer from acid stomach and heartburn. I’m going to make an attempt to increase my stomach acid as well, since if it works I should just feel better overall. And this is probably magical thinking, but who knows, maybe having a more acidic system will repel the extra bugs. We’ll see. I’m starting with a hyrdochloric acid supplement. Oy with the treating of the symptoms, already.

My face doesn’t hurt today. Maybe it’s just clean. HA! I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Ha ha ha, I am eating all the low berries. JOLLY TIMES!

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Process berries for jam!

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Process berries for sorbet!

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Make a buckle!

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WAIT FOR IT

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And NOM

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My New Pink Scam

Well, my constituency has spoken: a majority of you in the past few days voted for me to try out My New Pink Button ($29.95, free shipping), the temporary genital dye as reported about on Jezebel and elsewhere. Well, guess what? Just in time for a wild and crazy Friday night, it is delivered discreetly to my house.

For those of you not yet familiar with the product, My New Pink Button is there for us ladies who feel that their junk needs some pinkening up due to age, hormones, or ethnicity. I have not really thought about the color of my ladyparts, well, ever, and I have probably not done the Our Bodies, Ourselves hand mirror thing since before I had children. I feel that anyone who has an opinion about the color of my junkdrawer can take their disco sticks elsewhere, but I was curious about this product for the sake of SCIENCE.

The kit contains 20 of the cheapest eye shadow applicators you will ever see, the kind where the foam is kind of wonkily glued on to the plastic stem. Also included is a small vial of pink powder, helpfully labeled “Marilyn.” I chose this shade because I felt like my vagina could most identify with her: pill-popping, confused, and crammed into small garments. Someone else would have to be a Bettie or an “Audry” (sic?). My favorite part of the kit was the weeniest, most adorbs shot glass I have ever seen. Perhaps this was a hint that I should drink to steel myself for what was to come.

Next up: the instructions.

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“Occasionally a woman is self-conscious of her Labia since childhood.”

The instructions say to sprinkle a little of what looks like Barbie blow into the shot glass, wet the applicator, and pick the powder up with the wet applicator.

An overpowering sweet smell rose out of the vial as I sprinkled the powder. The ingredients say it is made from about every fruit that has been trendy for the past ten years, and includes cinnamon. There is also an ominous warning in the instructions that “for some, a slight ‘irritating’ feeling may occur upon application and last for about a minute.” An irritating feeling? Like the cosmetics industry telling me I should be self-conscious about yet another body part? Oh, wait, a different kind of irritating.

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Myrrh is misspelled. Should I be concerned?? So is chamomile. Never mind, on with the rejuvenating of my drab baby cannon. I picked up some of the powder, which immediately bloomed with color. Oh dear. What was this, Lik-a-Vagina?

I put the product on and let it sit as the instructions advised. Things were okay for a few seconds, and then…THE BURNING! I have certainly felt worse, but it was very noticeable. The instructions assure me that this burning is “due to the ingredients reacting to your bodies own PH balance which is normal and will go away upon rinsing off the colorant.”

Rinse it off I did, and did I notice a difference? I did not. I will confess to you I took before and after pictures for my own scrutiny. Well hello there my vulva. Long time, no see. Sorry about the burning sensation.

Since I am Irish and turn pretty white in the winter, I decided to do a patch test on my arm, where it did not burn, and I could view it up close to see the staining effect.

During the staining:

After the rinsing:

See that barely-perceptible color change? Yeah. I had a hunch after the way it smelled and how it looked when wet, so I licked my arm before I rinsed it, and it tasted just like unsweetened Kool-Aid.

In summary, I would file this with magic creams that purport to take twenty years off: don’t bother. And don’t think so hard about your vulva, either. Just enjoy it, FFS.

ETA: Hello new visitors. I will be in and out throughout the day releasing new moderated comments. Once you comment once, you’re golden. Thanks for your patience and for the feedback already.

ETA again: Hooray, the Consumerist picked me up!

1/18: Helloooo Jezebelles! I am pleased to become part of my thrice daily reading. Someone mentioned “Betty Beauty,” the pubic hair dye in the comments there. I‘ve reviewed that as well.

Call for Writers/Home Cooks; Dilettantes Preferred

Hello, I am starting a group blog for 2010. It will be a focused project on the subject of cooking a particular cuisine. I will be posting (for certain) weekly the results of my experiments, with pictures added. I may post more often. If you have an interest in cooking and photographing your cooking, writing, and (loosely speaking) Victorian England, this might be for you. You will not be paid, but hey, you cannot get fired, either. You can post weekly (or more) but I hope you will check in monthly at least. Humor’s great, and so is serious historical wankery. Let’s learn something together while we entertain the masses.

Drop me a line for more details if you are interested. I am OOT this weekend, but I will get back to you next week. sj@ this domain. Thanks!

My Ride, Do Watch How I Elegantly Pimp It

Sup suuuup SUP?

I am so psyched, because in this life I never run out of opportunities to dance for you like the dancing monkey I am. I have official poop about the Can I Sit with You? reading that is more than just me shooting my mouth off, a la the other day.

It is April 25 at 8 p.m. at Annex Theatre. Tickets are $5 or $12 (your choice how much you care to donate) and there are only 99 seats! Come and see me and I will totally sign your book. Or come and plug your ears during my part and have me NOT sign your book. Just come! Tell your fronds.


Official Poop about Line up

Buy Tickets through Brown Paper Tickets

And then after buy me a drink because I’m pretty when I’m drunk. Wait, that’s not right. YOU’RE pretty when I’m drunk.

Also today I blobbed about International Women’s Day over at Blogher.

I Would Liveblog My IUD, Wouldn’t I? Yes, Yes I Would

Hey! What did you get up to this afternoon? I had a doctor put in an IUD. I always wondered about what getting an IUD is like, so I thought I’d write about it.

First they made me pee in a cup, of course. You can’t do jack without peeing in a cup.

“Okay,” the nurse said, checking my blood pressure. “We did that to see if you are pregnant.”

“My blood pressure?” Hmm, are you guys Doing it Rong?

“No, the peeing.”

“WELL AM I?” Jeez, don’t leave a person on tenterhooks here.

“I don’t know,” she said. “It’s not done yet.”

“DANG!”

“Do you think you are?” she asked.

Sure I do. Does that make me spazzy that I assume I’m pregnant every month until proven innocent or whatever? I thought every fertile woman thought like this. No? Not so much?

Well, I wasn’t. The nurse said that they couldn’t put it in if I was.

Then they took me into a room that had big evil lights, that somehow reminded me of ED 3000.

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There were mysterious bottles (iodine?) thrown under the sink.

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Then I was asked to strip from the waist down, and the doctor scurried back and forth. She brought in another doctor, who was attending. I always love that look, the naked from the waist down look. At least she gave me a big cover, so I could have a fetching skirt.

I was asked to put my feet in the stirrups. The doctor said, “I won’t make you use the leg rests, because it reminds some women too much of childbirth.” Well, stirrups remind me of all the horrible experiences I’ve had at the gyno. Where is my consolation prize? Can I get some angels to come and gently hold my knees for me?

Interesting, to me, that some women cannot even put their legs in the leg rests after. Also I was like WTFBBQ women are still laboring on their backs??? She asked me how I did it, and I told her squatting and on my knees, because that’s how we peasants roll, and she said, “Oh yeah, I did it like that for someone once. You have to reverse everything in your head.”

Then the rootling started. MMMPH JESUS GOD. Uterus does not like to be rootled around in. Is not junkdrawer.

She pushed a plastic straw thingie up there to “get a measurement” of my uterus. I stared at the ceiling, labor breathing instantly kicking in, as my uterus spasmed. Apparently it is curved, so they really had to crank it around. I couldn’t get a picture, but I imagine it was something like this.

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Then it was in, and I was done. It took maybe ten minutes. These were not short minutes, but if it lasts five years it will be worth it. And now I have a cool foreign object in my body. As a consolation prize, Liz sent me a song.

What they don’t tell you is that you may possibly bleed like fuck.

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After I was done, I asked her if she would write me a prescription for Viagra. She said she’d check with the pharmacists, and it turns out that it is not approved for women for another 1-2 years, if at all. HELL to the NAW. When it comes out for women, it will probably be recolored PINK and named GENTLE BREEZE instead of “Behold My Rock Hard Clit” ASSHOLES. My words, you must mark them.

Chatz

me: I took a Viagra last night.
Kaijsa: You DID NOT.
me: Oh yers I did.
It was AWESOME
Kaijsa: You are CRAZY
me: Now I cannot rest until I get more.
Kaijsa: Your clit will grow into a tiny penis like Chyna’s.
me: NOOO that is an urban legend.
Kaijsa: BEWARE
me: LOL I am cackling
Kaijsa: No, you’ll just have blurred vision and heart problems.
me: Oh foo.

DOPE

via feministe

Because I Need Something to Do While Listening to Hall and Oates on Youtube

Ice-T’s wife at an auto show or some such.

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Mrs. T, is that you? Coco T? Eh, someone told me once she had a last name. Would you really need one if you looked like this? (NO.)

Something is missing, though. Something like…five minutes of protochopping.

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Ah. The desert, serene and with pyramids and crap pasted in. EVOCATIVE, NO?

Something is missing from the desert, however, which I know because of my arid learnings. Or should I say something is only partly there.

AHA!

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That’s better. Now all the camels and their little toes can be friends.

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Oh well. At least butt cleavage is out of fashion again.

Awesome. She’s a repeat offender. Well, call me repeatedly AMAZED.

An ESL Rendition for the Mentally Ill

PHOK YEAH. I made some pho. It wasn’t like a pho hut’s, which obviously gets a discount on liquid crack. But it was eatable.

It was pretty cool. I had Companion grill the onions and ginger whole on the barbecue first, per the instructions.

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Then it was peanut butter marrowbone time. I didn’t know what to expect. I always see these little guys in the store, jolly and glistening, so I didn’t expect the smell when I opened the package. I felt dizzy, like I was going to pass out or experience an unholy ascension or something. Marrow is godly cow butter.

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Monkeychow IN!

O hay guyz, I have been meaning to tell you that I have a story in this book now. It’s for a good, charitable cause, so don’t worry about the filthy lucre going into my misappropriating mitts to be spent on thigh-high Jessica Simpson boots. Buy for xmas, or I will leave toothmarks in your butter.

FURTHERMOAR, I have been looking for a way to raise some quick dosh for a…how can I say this? ….legal fund (that was hard to type), and I was thinking about collecting unpublished short stories via lulu.

Anyone worked with lulu? Feedbacks? Would you give me money for words and feel like that was a fair trade? Real short stories…not just blob entries, I swear.

And so ends my moment of patheticness for this morning.

Love,

Totie Fields