You just popped in the Kanye West get right for summer workout tape

A. Nobody Wants a Little Tight Ass

WARNING: There’s going to be pictures of my sad leg down this post. Trigger warning for white, Northern hemisphere, middle-aged lady leg, and to a lesser degree surgical incisions and bruising.

I just had minor varicose vein surgery in my left leg on Thursday. It’s kind of unfortunate timing, because I’m set to have my uterus out on Pi Day (March 14th). My veins started blowing out in my legs a couple of years before I got really sick, which doesn’t surprise me. Everything got pretty flimsy and inflamed and messed up then, and I felt like I wanted to put out all the fires but more kept popping up.

There is a PROCESS you go through to get a vein stripped. When I walked in to the clinic a few months ago, both of my legs hurt at the end of the day and sometimes all day, but I can’t see through my skin (YET!) so I didn’t know exactly what was happening. It turns out my right leg has a baby varicose vein going on but the left leg had a whole turnpike situation. Also it was leaking blood into my leg continuously (as they are wont to do) and so it hurt a lot and always looked like some gorilla had squeezed my calves for a minute or ten.

So, as we all know, the insurance companies do not want to pay for an actual existing condition that won’t get better. They want to say, “Here, bite this stick for three months, and in time you will be adjusted to biting the stick and you will love the stick so much you’ll forget you wanted us to pay for something in the system you pay for access to.”

The num-num stick was: support hose. I was supposed to undergo a trial of wearing them and hopefully at the end of three months I would forget all about my pain. That did not happen. In fact, most days the support hose on my left side felt worse, and I still had a lot of deep throbbing pain at the end of the day, even if I hadn’t worked a whole day. So when the nurse called me and asked if I was still having pain and did I want to proceed with the left leg I said YES.

To be fair, my right leg is improved. It doesn’t have pain at the end of the day. The bruising has greatly reduced. I will keep wearing a compression sleeve on that side.

Of course the only day my leg surgeon was available this month was six days before the hysterectomy. I thought about it for a bit because on one hand, I knew it would be hard to have two procedures done in one month, but on the other, I can only take so much time off work and they both involve some resting, so I might as well go for it.

Stripping is what it sounds like. They yank the vein out. For whatever reason they didn’t send me prescriptions for Xanax, an antibiotic, and numbing cream beforehand like they were supposed to, but I never let that hold me back from having a good time. The doctor had me check the ingredients in Versed and then dosed me up with a little of that. It was nice because I was nervous when I came in, and then in about five minutes I didn’t care about the tugging sensations and snapping noises I heard below my knee.

My heart rate went up really high for a few minutes (histamine dump?). I felt myself getting sleepy in the chair as they were working on me. My Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses were kicking in. I had to walk for 20 minutes post-procedure and then I was yawning and barely awake all the way home. I came home and shut the fuck down. My body went NOPE and I went to that really swift mast cell narcolepsy place where I’m asleep in 30 seconds. Minor trauma buys me a 20 minute trip to BuhByeport, but this had me out for an hour and a half. I did not get corned! No hives! Good job leg clinic! It was just regular old trauma that caused me to degranulate and knock out, ha ha.

Hole up and camp? Y

I have eight small incisions in my leg now. I had to wear bandages and thigh-high compression hose for 24 hours, and then I was allowed to take a shower last night. My nurse told me watery blood coming through the bandages was okay, because that was leakage from the saline solution they pump around the vein, but bright, original recipe blood was not. I did have some real deal breakthrough bleeding on one incision that came all the way through the gauze wrap, but it looked like it stopped pretty early. I’m guessing it happened the first afternoon/night when animals were jumping on me before I could stop them.

I’m already making it around okay, but I don’t want to overdo it. Just sitting here, or walking around the house, I’m not in any pain currently. I took the dogs for a short walk yesterday with my sister and it was fine. The nurse told me to “stay on top of pain” by taking pain killers 3x a day, because supposedly the pain peaks today or tomorrow. I am able to take Goody’s powders since they don’t seem to contain corn. Tonight is Strudel’s birthday dinner and I probably won’t be making sushi this year, but I’ll help with the menu.

This morning as I was waddling around like Danny Devito’s Penguin, I kept wondering why my left leg was messed up but not my right. What happened in there? Was it congenital? Did I stand and walk unevenly? Probably. It doesn’t matter. I go back in a week for a check in, then 60 days, then on 90 days they do laser cleanup with any bruising that’s still visible. So not only should I have way less pain, but it will also look like the gorilla stopped squeezing me.

After I took off the compression stocking and Coban. Ruh roh, blood.

Top of leg (duh)

Black line is a sharpie road map for the surgeon.

Don’t fight over me, boys and girls, there’s plenty to go around.

B. Give head, stop breathe, get up, check your weave

Surgery #2 rundown: it’s on like Donkey Kong. The plan is sutures, sutures, sutures instead of mesh, which is forever. They are dissolvable and probably made of corn, but it’s unavoidable I guess. So it could be a rocky 3-6 months. Or not. I have no idea! Basically my vagina and bladder are getting Croydon facelifts. They will make about five incisions and fish all the uterine and fallopian tube chunks out through those like a claw machine and the Operation game had a GD baby. My ovaries are staying put.

An amazing thing happened. They are going ahead with the mast cell surgical protocol, which involves Benadryl and Prednisone in the IV. I think we’ve found IV antibiotics without dextrose as well. They want to keep me overnight to observe my reactions to things. I’m bringing my own sheets, gowns, and food. I’m also bringing signs to remind people not to put dextrose in my IV. This is largely thanks to work Corn Allergy Girl has done.

I had my last pre-op call with a nurse and I asked her if I could have a private room to avoid other people’s fragrances, food, and whatnot. She said she would put a request in, but that most of the rooms were private. This of course triggered a nightmare that night where I was in a giant ward with 12 people, including a naked guy who was beating off in his bed when I came to. His dick was nightmarishly large, like an eggplant. WHAT. I tried to get back to sleep, but I realized my bed was covered in glittery powder that looked and smelled like LUSH bath bomb dust. The nurse was mean. Horace was there, but he was trying to stamp on my incisions. HELLO ANXIETY. I SEE YOU.

C. Cover your mouth up like you got SARS

Last weekend I went to California. I had a talk with myself and made a mini-bucket list before surgery. What do Asshole want to do?

1. Rice for dinner three nights in a row
2. Visit Shannon and see Jen if she’s not busy. I also saw Michael and we went to the Columbarium (as you do) and the Legion of Honor.

Tiny Bucket List Achieved!

Shan’s husband was giving Jen a ride home after dinner and I was riding along. She asked me why I showed up just then since I hadn’t visited anyone in, like, four years, and it’s hard (but not impossible) for me to stay with people.

“Uhh…you know, in case I die or something in surgery. It’s unlikely! But I wanted to see Shan.”

“So this is your End of the World Tour?”


“Oh that’s so nice. I want to be someone’s End of the World Tour.”

“Well, you were on my list too,” I said.

California is my place I’m always happy even if I’m a wreck. Which I wasn’t. The plane and airport gave me hives coming and going, but I had a great time at her house.

So if you see me tweeting/gramming on or after March 15th you’ll know I made it. I will also try to blog again soon as I am recovering. I have to recover, because Krumpy and I are planning to do a podcast together (first record tomorrow I hope!) and I HAVE to see that through.

Being 40 is going pretty well so far and I am doing a lot of maintenance and rehab on my broken parts that diet and prayers to Our Dark Lord cannot fix. Dig it: 1. ancient filling replaced with tooth crown finally ; 2. uterus OUT; 3. Painful legs OUT; 4. I’ve been getting my painful face flushy veins zapped, which I don’t think I mentioned, so my face doesn’t hurt 5x a day; 5. therapy ongoing and necessary; 6. Flying to Corvallis to see mast cell specialist later this month.

I’m not going down without a fight.


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

Weeping Vagina Noises Pick a Mix

What, exactly, is happening? A: FUCK ALL, but I am writing you anyway. I have two current obsessions, and a third on the back burner.

Noir festival: in real life (downtown at the art museum) it is almost over. At my house, it was cruelly interrupted by a bad case of The Novembers, sickness, and Work. I would call this my backburnered obsession. I would like to finish, though it got increasingly depressing to try to find subs for the dairy that I had allowed into the recipes before I realized that was not a good idea. Perhaps 1950s French cuisine is not for me at this moment in history. (YA THINK, SJ?)

SPEAKING OF WORK, I am on the countdown to being let out of my contract. As I bleated about previously, I am really short on work in any given day and things get boring after 10:30 a.m. or so. However, I am seated smack in the center of the room with the permanent team, prime real estate for being hit in the head or cleavage with Nerf gun bullets, and drooled on by a really cute lab puppy, but not so good for really sinking into writing. This morning I have turned my patio into a conservatory with a banana, fig, and lemon tree using only the powers of my mind palace, Pinterest, and Houzz.

So bored that I asked myself “Can a conservatory be made to look period on a 1950s rambler?” and even considered bothering the nice people at Retro Renovation about this. And then I didn’t, because that would take this insane, stupid notion out of my head and a tick closer into reality.

Second obsession: really good Thai food at home. Thai food was my very favorite food for many years, and I would say a big plate of phad thai was definitely go-to comfort food at times. I got pickier as time went on and has I have lost most of my sweet tooth in the last few years. Catsup-y or too sweet phad thai started seeming pretty gross, if not inedible.

Sadly, I’ve pretty much crossed Thai restaurants off my list for now, on the principle that the more ingredients any given dish in a cuisine has, the more likely I am to get into trouble by some hidden reagent. I’ve been cooking Thai food at home intermittently since college, but it barely seemed worth it since you cannot throw a wedge of lime without hitting a Thai restaurant here, including really good and “authentic” ones. So I decided to dig in here and do it by scratch. And if I am bothering to do it by scratch, why not do it right?

I found this blog, which I love love love. I have gleaned that her husband helps her edit her writing, so I am not sure if it is she who is very amusing, or if he is being liberal. I suspect it’s the former and it’s pretty true to her spirit, since the tone of the blog seems pretty even. I love a chef who is willing to say, “here are some optional ingredients, but get the fuck out with your substitutes.”

I’ve made her authentic phad thai three times now, and it is delicious, and reminds me of my favorite phad thais in town–tangier, not soupy, with pickles in the base and garlic chives. However, all three times it’s made us sick. The fresh ingredients were perfect, so I strongly suspect that it’s the dried shrimp or the preserved turnip. There’s nothing on the label that says it should be making any of us ill (the turnips read “turnips, salt”) but these are imported items and I don’t know if something was lost in translation, or if there was cross-contamination at the factories. I suppose it could be the sauce, but I got bonkers bobo kind.

I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on this recipe, and I still love the dish, but next time I’m going to go bananas and pickle my own radishes or turnips and just use little panfried bay shrimps. And make my own sauce. From tamarinds I have picked myself.


I made her phad see ew (High Heel Gourmet’s note: “It’s so SIMPLE. It’s beyond simple. To me it’s like posting a recipe for a hotdog!”) It was simple. And it made us feel GREAT. We were not sick one little bit. Again with the simplicity and quantity of the ingredients in a dish. (Of course all bets would be off if I ate a giant bowl of polenta or Cream of Wheat or something.)

As an aside (I think we are about balls-deep in asides by now) it is so awesome to make a dish like that and eat really, obscene amounts of it and lay on the floor after and feel kind of stuffed but not look five months pregnant and have heartburn and the stupids. It’s still novel.

Okay THING THREE is the only thing that is saving my sanity at work right now: Answer Me This! As usual I am about six years behind on everything, but I heard them mentioned on 99% Invisible and I was ripe for some new entertainment.

And entertaining it is. I love the premise, too. Three Brits answering questions about anything they are asked. There’s something charming about answering questions in the age where most people just google it, but of course the actual-factual answers are completely besides the point. I have been listening to 4-6 a day, so it is REALLY permeating my consciousness right now, to the point where I have the theme songs and jingles from the show in my head.

One of my favorite things about the show is how often they are willing to answer questions about American culture, and how they are frequently wrong! I have long suspected that there is a thing with Brits that they disingenuously pretend not to know certain things about America, much the way cool theatre kids in the lunchroom pretend not to even know the names of the dumbest, most popular jocks. And sometimes I think it is true ignorance.

I am also delighted about how ungeeky it can be. One of the hosts unabashedly struggled to remember basic plot points of Star Wars on one I listened to recently, and then decided that she really didn’t care that much. There is also a little casual racism on the part of one of the hosts, to which the other two always reply in unison with a horrified “OLLIE!!”

But what makes it really hooky for me, clunkers and blunders aside and forgiven, is the consideration of fine points of etiquette in human relation matters, attention to proper grammar (which I need more of in my life), and of course, a zillion throwaway references to British culture. For those of you who know I kept a Victorian culture blog for a year, it’s probably no surprise I am a huge and unashamed Anglophile, which I make every effort to keep under my hat. There is little that’s worse or more pretentious than an American slinging around uncommon British slang in conversation like it’s nothing.

…Even though sometimes “bellend” is ABSOLUTELY the perfect word for a person. Whooo could I even say this to? At my last job I worked with a completely delightful Brit who I would get into IMs with and found myself translating temps to Celsius like a knob and talking about things like “boot sales.”

Anyway, everyone needs a hobby, right? I have those in spades. I think what I need now is a PAYING hobby, because I have to confess I am so, so weary of the corporate world. I am not weary of cashing the paychecks, though. This isn’t “boo hoo, poor me I have excruciatingly boring marketable skills” (or maybe it is, click away, baby, click away). I just don’t know what to do for the next…40 years. (A: NOT build a conservatory.) I don’t want to wait tables. I don’t want to go back into a sales job. I don’t want to be unemployed. I do want to go back to school, but just to faff around, not to take anything practical.

Last night I sang stupid xmas carols in the car, which normally I am stubborn about and hate, but then I realized that Franny was having a nice time doing it too, and it seemed like a good idea. Family togetherness and all that, since she has finally hit her hermiting from family phase of being in her room 90% of the time (she sent 2000 texts last week; two of those were to me).

P. commented on it in the morning, that he was surprised by the sight of me singing along to Rudolph and never thought he’d live to see me do that. I thought for a moment.

“I just don’t give a shit anymore,” I said. Not enough energy to hate Xmas anymore, and still not enough lifelong ingrained habit to care about it either. Xmas love is not going to just grow in, unless some kind of Saul-to-Paul Donkeybonk Shenanigans occur. P. said something about people caring less about things as they get older, but I don’t think that’s it.

I am having angst–I think I’m back to my midlife crisis again. I feel like I got pulled/pulled myself back from the brink of something after being sick, and now I don’t know what to do with the first day of the rest of my life. Maybe I should start painting again. JUST WHAT I NEED, ANOTHER HOBBY. What color is my parachute? Whining! Argh.

I’m at a party/at Echo Park

Guess what’s back? They call it…breakbone fever. Sinister! It seems unlikely but not impossible. You know you’re in a good situation when they’re testing you for weird tropical shit. I kid you not, they took about a cup of blood today, not just a couple of wee vials.

“Are you lightheaded?” asked the NP.

“Not more than I have been lately,” I said.

They also took pee and a chest x-ray. There are weird spots in my right lung and some fluid. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my past as a huffer delinquent. The NP pushed on my ankle and it left a dent like memory foam. AUUUGH x infinity.

I got tapered off Prednisone and it was awful for a few days, but they gave me more at the urgent clinic today. So I am feeling a lot better already, whew. I kind of made a resolution to go back to living life now that I’m out of paid time off and it’s been a month, but I’m not going crazy. And I’m not really doing anything at night since that’s the worst.

Did you know that you can cook a lot sitting down? I didn’t. Heh.

Strudel helped me decorate Irish whisky cupcakes and I interrogated my sister about how Irish we are. Half maybe? American mutts. My sister knows more than I do, and she remembers more from our mother. She reminded me that a lot of our family is orphans out of burned down orphanages and whatnot. I know nothing about my father’s family except that his father died of something brain related (?) when he was young.

“The Don Drapers,” I joked. I expected to feel a yearn when she told me all this, but really I feel let off the hook. Genealogy is a real rabbit hole. The girls and I buy old timey photos we like and call the people in the “Aunt Helen” or whatever and give them backstories and I hang them up. Close enough.

After dinner, which mostly cooked itself, I lay on the floor and we watched Saturday Night Fever. I’d heard it was campy and dark, but I didn’t know there was a gang rape scene in a car. AY CARUMBA. I just wanted to see some disco dancing after watching Freaks and Geeks with Franny recently.

I also made peppermint patties sitting at the table.

Strudel turned nine last week and I rallied (codeine) and took her to Benihana. She had a nice time.

“I have an electrical kit! It’s from Australia!”

I am delighted and thrilled to say the bathroom is almost done. Last week I was (almost) sleeping through the tile saws, etc. I felt bad because I was making the guys coffee every day, but I fell off when I fell off. These guys are so easy to work with, I love them. What is left is the plumber for fixtures and a couple of little tweaks.

The bathroom’s quite modern but I feel I’ve captured some of the flavor of the upstairs bathrooms. The nice thing about building a dated bathroom is that you don’t have to feel sad that it’s out of date when you try to sell in 10+ years. I realized not too long ago that I have been spending my whole adulthood trying to get back to the happy part of my childhood, which was spent in the houses of grandparents who had a bunch of 50’s and 60’s crap. Bad taste–it’s Freudian, man.

Sniffing Lines Off Your Peter O’Toole

A quick post to say (oh please dark lord let this be a quick post I have a shepherd’s pie in) that Things Are Happening. I know, again, right?

One: promoted at work, which has been sapping my creative energy even more than usual. Interviewing, grinding on new stuff, new team, new tools. I am tired. It’s ok. If I am going to be behind a desk, it’s going to be for as much money as possible. It is fun to get promoted in less than a year. I guess it was kind of an unofficial goal.

Two: going to FogCon this weekend, mostly to visit friends. I have not really written anything properly in like two years. Lame. So I will not be workshopping or anything, but it will be fun to go and soak it up. A long time ago I read a graphic novel about a prostitute and her jobs, and one I remember was how she got hired to stay with this guy who did coke all night and made her jack him off all night and couldn’t get a boner but wouldn’t let her leave. I feel like I’ve jacking my own jock futilely for months to try to get some creative urge back. Maybe FogCon will finally be the boner-kicker-offer. Uhh. I should have pictures from that, anyway.

Three: Court! Did you know you could carry on with court without half of the parties actively participating? I am dying to tell you about the old GAL but I will sit on it for a little while longer. Three words: small claims court. WOW BONUS COURT. SeaFed has kind of wandered off. He was supposed to sign some papers to agree on the new GAL by January 30th, but sort of…didn’t…and then sent an email to my lawyer with his signature attached a month late. Except it was the weirdest thing, there was no signature or anything attached. He was then called several times and did not respond to any of it. And then somehow insisted his signature was attached despite all evidence to the contrary? This sort of reminds me of the dumb ongoing argument we used to have about the lid to the hamster cage in a way I can’t quite explain, except, you know, this is about our kid and in a court of law and such. Long story longer, the commissioner decided to sign off on the new GAL without him. So I guess we are having court without him? For now? I did not know this was possible.

Four: Every weekend that I am home, I am now cooking Indian food. I LOVE IT. I was intimidated for years to really go for it and make ghee and stuff, in spite of the fact that Whippet’s husband was always waxing on about how awesome it was to grind your own curry (okay retired M$ millionaire, I’ll get right on that). But now I am gheeing and spicing and making paneer and shit. Level up! Again, pics to follow soon, and I hope they will be less nauseating than instagram.

The dark covers me and I cannot run now

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: this morning I woke up to GRISLY CHICKEN DEATH. Zsa Zsa, JWOWW, and So-and-So the Easter Egger got the axe. I locked them up at dusk last night and it was quiet outside and they were burbling in their house and everything seemed well. There was a lot of noise at 5 a.m. but I didn’t think much of it. Sometimes they get noisy when the sun comes up. I came out at 6:30 to let them out (I surrender, I am a morning person now, yes I hate myself appropriately) and the first thing I saw was feathers under the coop. Too many feathers. There were three broken and gutted little bodies around the backyard. One of the raccoons had eaten the eggs out of Zsa Zsa’s body, which just made me furious, really.

I walked to the corner of the yard and old lady Veronica was hiding behind the shed, standing upright and eying me warily. A feather was stuck to her head and at first I was afraid that her eye had been poked or something, but she was just sticky. I let her be since I figured she’d get it off herself, and also because after what she witnessed she is probably now Chicken Dexter Morgan and I didn’t want to get too close.

Watching her stand there made me feel really sad. I surveyed the little piles where the raccoons had left the girls laying around the yard half eaten and all I could think of was how scared they must have been in the dark and how terrible I was to have shut the door too early and locked them out. It’s like a horror movie when the door closes too soon and you watch your friend get torn apart by zombies/tentacles/LaRouchies through the porthole. I cried–I couldn’t help it.

The thing about chicken deaths is that I don’t really bond with them the way I do with my cats and now the dog, but they are trusting and defenseless and just kind of generally good animals, I believe. I know chickens peck each other and sometimes they eat eggs and they are stupid, but after ten years I feel that most problems can be prevented with proper conditions and control. You can steer them like a waterway and they do good work for you. And I had let them down.

Once the bodies were cleaned up I opened their door to check on the remaining hens. No one came forward, and normally they burst out like they have been shot from an extremely short range cannon.

“Girls?” I stuck my head in. There was an egg open on the coop floor and Silver Belle’s beak was wet. That was weird. They rarely break their own eggs. I walked around back and the back egg hatch was open. Strudel had done her egg duty yesterday and had left it open.

I was still crying when I came into the house and I sat on the couch. Frannie came upstairs and it’s extremely rare but I feel bad when the first thing the girls see in the morning is me bawling like a big soppy muffin. I told Frannie what went down and she hugged me while I sniffled and felt terrible. After a couple of minutes on the couch, we heard Strudel’s door open and Frannie went down to fill her in on the news.

When Strudel came upstairs she looked stunned. Strudel always has strong notions about justice and responsibility, and spent a few months asking me hard questions about things like police justice and morality. I have NO IDEA what she is going to turn into when she grows up. For a long time the people who were most responsible for breaking and taking things in my house were Not Me and Must’ve Have Been My Sister, but lately she has been coming forward more and talking about how she could handle things better the next time. What a fucking relief.

“I’m sad about the chickens,” she said.

“Yeah. Thanks. Me too,” I said. I waited for her wheels to turn to where I knew they would go next.

“Did someone leave the door open?” she asked, gently.

“Yes,” I said. “The egg door was left open on the back of the house.”

I watched her face flicker through several changes before the needle got stuck on, “Oh shit, this is my fault.”

“Sorry, Mom,” she said, almost inaudibly.

“Thanks for saying that.”

I got a note on a sugar packet.

Today is the last day of first and sixth grades. She was a very quiet cricket on Wednesday.

Horace vs. Mere and Goethe

He is SO LUCKY they humor him.

Tart, melon, and guac.

Cherry Cheese Tart for Father's Day

Oh god please may I have some please

Noooo you may not.


WOW Portland and back again in about 24 hours. I went for a graduation and brought Horace down with me, since I want to be able to travel with a dog some of the time, and because getting it together to have him boarded was too complex considering he just got his rabies shot on Wednesday. Anyway, it went well, and Portland was nice, as always. I saw my pal Trixie and after walking around and being out for two hours yakking Horace promptly tinkled on the floor of her comic studio and I panicked and caught about half of it with my hand. Trixie’s only disappointment with the whole situation was that no one took a picture of me using my hand as a pee bucket.

I realized I had not been down for a year since Strudel’s grandpa’s memorial service. A year marks me realizing I was not spakked out about dogs anymore either. I wanted a dog for yeeeeaars and was researching training and breeds when I found out I was pregnant with Franny, and then about 5,000 things happened after that (which I should really write down some time OH WAIT) and this brings us to the present day I suppose. Eleven years later, SJ gets a dog. Ok.

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the timing, though. I know because I have heard it come out of people’s mouths that sometimes dogs are like practice for kids. I could not be more excited that my babies are very LARGE (132 and 77 months respectively) and that I frontloaded that work. Why not start with the hard part first? There’s one for my headstone. I certainly feel some of my old toddler-management skills coming in. Is the dog 1. fed; 2. pooped; 3. appropriately occupied? I keep snacks in my purse. I bought a baked lamb shank and laid a towel down in the backseat for the drive. Man this dog likes to chew. Also I have lost my mind and bought dog puzzles for him at work so he has to work a few minutes for every mouthful of kibble. I think it’s going well. I’m trying to be uber effort now for pay off later, when he is grown and trained. I am trying to be patient with the people who are giving me dumb unsolicited advice. I am trying to be patient with people who don’t ask and just whoosh and pet him when it is pouring and I am willing him to PEE PLEASE PEE STOP STARING AT THE MAX AND EVERY BLOWING CANDY WRAPPER.

One thing that is nice is that it completely made me realize something was missing in my life: joy. I was happy enough, I wasn’t depressed, but I was kind of out of gas when I took a break at the end of February. 2011 was very tiring and I was running out of things to say, which as you know is completely unlike me. And now I have this little simple creature in my life and I don’t have to worry about what college he is going to go to or who he is friends with at school and who broke my favorite serving bowl? (Answer: Not Me.) Now I laugh and laugh at his dumb doggy ass running circles on the carpet and I feel better and I have more energy and it makes me more patient and happier in other areas of my life. Joy–I have not felt that in a long time. It’s worth finding.

F-Bomb, F-Bomb F-Bomb

Dear MF Diary,

The best thing happened today. Franny POCKET DIALED me while at school. I answered, assuming she was ill or needed something.

“Hello?” Silence. I could hear her laughing. I tried a couple more times. “Helloooo Franny?”

Then I heard her talking.

“Yeah, she’s got WAY better style than Kylie.” More laughter. More gossiping. Everything sounded normal. A boy walked up and greeted them. “Oh HEEEY Michael…” Then: more conversation, punctuated with about 27 f-bombs. More people laughing at something she was saying.

She sounded a lot like she does at home. It was nice to hear her with her friends around her. I took the stance a while ago that I am not going to be a drawer rifler or a diary reader. I was raised like that, and I did not feel like my room was my own. Which, I get it. Technically it’s not, but it’s nice to feel you have your own space.

I am planning to take Franny to the mall tonight alone as a reward for making up the homework she missed on her father’s solid week with her.

Strudel is bummed, since she loves the mall too, but I promised her some special mom alone time on Sunday. She had some good news of her own yesterday–the school has finished examining half of the advanced placement test she took in October, and they saw her in the office and blurted to her that she did very well. She was a smug and beaming Strudel after school yesterday.

My good news is that I am taking the last two weeks of December off work, which will make school break MUCH easier. I think we will all need some cozy nesting.

I have had high highs and low lows in the past couple of days. Seeing my mother’s testimony as evidence on his side saddened me, but did not really surprise me. I felt pretty happy last night, which may not have been conveyed well by what I wrote yesterday. I just feel determined, but there’s not hopelessness. I wish I could show you the court paperwork. It’s very dull but there’s also an elegance that shines through there. I admire economical, persuasive writing.

Me and Franny at Stanley Park, B.C., 2003

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

(Lewis Carroll)

I think I need to wave some sage around for a minute. I am NOT dissolving into a pile of goo. Life is still happening. Today we played Whoonu and Clue and cleaned the house. Last Thursday I went to the doctor for my rosacea. I was actually delighted to be going to this dermatologist, because she has received some reviews on Yelp so horrendous that I assumed she was going to march right out of a Larry David comedy, but she was fine.

I don’t care that I am pink so much. I had a terrible friend who was always pleading with me to get some of that green makeup and cover it all up, but I kind of like being pink, actually. It’s just who I am. I hate it when people try to change things in you that you are okay with and are not hurting anyone. I was getting tired of the pain that came with my cheeks flushing. It turns out that the cream she gave me cannot prevent that. Oh well.

And of course we had Halloween. I took so many pictures that I was dreading sorting through them, ho ho.

We carved pumpkins:


Spider Web

A lot of my pictures turn out blurry with this new camera. Basically, I wanted to get the newer version of my old Canon Elph which I loved. I feel like this one is less point-and-shooty. I need dumber technology. I just do not have the energy for anything complicated in my down time, you know?

P. Pumpkin


Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889


I VAN WENT around like this all day. GET IT??? HA HA HA HA.

Franny as a witchy poof:


Strudel went as an Owl:


But P. did the BEST thing, assuming you have ever seen the show Community.

Get ready…

Get set…


I drew the lines and then shaved him down with a small electric razor I have.


It’s Star-burns!



At the end of the night, there was LOOOOOOT!!!


There’s a few more new unique ones on Flickr, if you’re so inclined.

There is One Red Herring and Zero Lies

HEY GUYZ! Since I am such a gracious hostess I’m going to pretend that you DID NOT crash my photobucket with your rubberneckery of “what is even going on with that asshole character anyhow?” Thanks for checking in. I have not seen my bucket crash since Jezebel linked me for reviewing that My New Pink Bullshit labia dye stuff.

Q: You are ghetto for having all your pictures on Photobucket.

A: HEY THAT’S NOT A Q! I am on to you. Anyway, yes, this blog is old and held together with scotch tape. My tech elf is super busy with school and we never quite got the server/photo issue worked out…soooo. And I cannot be one of those assholes who is all IF YOU REDESIGN MY BLOG I SHALL LET YOU TOUCH THE HEM OF MY GARMENT. I need to pony up and pay an artisan for a new design or something. And umm pics will be back tomorrow and I guess I should sack up and pay for a professional photobucket account. SIGH. Professional photobucket is like dick costumes.

Q: It was your tenth blog anniversary in September, and you DID NOTHING.

A: I’m still alive, does that count? It’s true, I did nothing. I was hoping to roll out an amazing tenth anniversary banner that someone cool was drawing for me, and then it did not happen. So I think I need a new banner. I CAN DO IT MYSELF. Alone alone, Poe in a room by himself and some crap. Weeping ravens and shit.

Q: How are you, anyway, weirdo?

A: Uhhh. This is awkward. I am increasingly annoyed at this Q & A format that I am asking myself. No offense, ok.

I saw my consulting lawyer last week. She and I have a relationship going on years now. It’s sad when you have a savings dedicated to the possibility of being litigated on. Imagine a giant ceramic pig whose side reads “WE DONE GETTIN SUED DOG” on.

Lawyer is never therapist and I always make a point to never waste time with the emotional crap since I have real questions. However, she expressed surprise that I was going back to court with such a positive attitude. “I never like to throw this word around,” she said, “but I know you were justifiably overtraumatized by court the first time.”

It was kind of nice to be validated like that. It did not like, make my day or anything. But it is nice to have a professional opinion of the degree of fuckery. And you know what I realized in the end? When this is done, I will be able to write whatever I want for the first time in a few years.

What else is new is that I got a letter from the school district saying that Strudel should be tested this fall (diagnosis: lazy-eyed psycho-itis) and on Saturday, she was. I spent some time talking to her about it and how important it was to pay attention and do a good job with it, if she wanted to have a chance to get out of first grade, which is boring the peas and carrots out of her. I thought maybe it would be a situation like when I took the GRE where it gets harder until you start fucking up and then it gets easier until you know you have fucked up royally. Anyway, I thought she would hit some kind of ceiling with it like when I did advanced placement testing in the eighth grade and the test ended with a bunch of math they had never even taught me before (uh…maybe, unless I wasn’t paying attention).

“How was it?” I said, when she came out.

“It was TOO EASY!” she said.

“Tell me everything. Tell me every single question. Go.”

“Mom, I am not going to do that.”


“The hardest question was like ‘You have 6 pennies and add 2 more.’ THAT IS NOT EVEN HARD.”

Hmm, no, it is not. Supposedly there will be MOAR testing soon. Stay tuned. I am going to be so proud when she builds her first freeze ray.

And I am going to see my imaginary boyfriend Spank Rock later this week in which I will dance my face off. This is my stress reduction method. I’m ok. Thanks for all your comments.

OH YES, I dyed my hair white on Saturday. Pics when they are back up (very soon).

Asshole Girl