Sunday, December 30, 2012

Believe It

Instead of my melancholy annual post about the end of another trial-riddled year, I'm going to paint a picture of a perfect 2013.

I awaken January 1st and my voice is normal, there's no more stutter. The 45 pounds stay gone, but my boobs have moved back up where they belong and stop falling out beneath my underwire (true story).

I am energetic and nothing hurts. The fog has lifted and I can think again.

The phone rings and clearly it's an agent with a book deal to propose. We negotiate a sum that allows my parents to retire immediately, with me to follow after three more books. The publishing house understands the need to protect their new investment so when I claim I do my best writing while soaking in the Blue Lagoon, we are immediately sent to Iceland, first class, with a waterproof laptop. And an inflatable raft for Gabby so she can come along. To the Blue Lagoon, I mean. Obviously she's coming to Iceland with us.

The first half of the year is spent soaking and writing and due to the excess of hákarl available, I lose even more weight. But in a lean and lithe way from daily swims, not a sick and saggy way.

The second half of the year will be spent celebrating the monster success of the first book and creating inspirational memories for the next book. Mojitos and pools are critical to all brainstorming meetings.

I will buy my husband a motorcycle but only under condition that he wear the supplied helmet, which will be sparkly and pink like those sweet bowling balls. To match the glittering sidecars for me and the cat.

We will move somewhere a bit roomier than our current 610 square feet, but nothing ostentatious. Just some ivy growing up the bricks to shield the pool from the neighbors, since Mark will never put on a bathing suit even though I buy him one with glow in the dark skulls on it. And a small guest house for the relatives when they visit for extended periods, which they will since we move somewhere gorgeous like the Pacific Northwest. Or North Carolina. Or Utah, but that's a tough call because I'm not sure if the Great Salt Lake makes up for all the Mormons.

 
Mornings will be coffee and writing, and begin promptly at 10 AM. Or 11 or so. I'll have the evenings free to spend time with my honey once or twice a week when he leaves his man cave, which is insulated like a recording studio so that no Mortal Kombat grunts shall ever rape my ears again.

A year of writing and water, bonfires and cat cuddles. Long weekends with the husband and family. Strong muscles that do as they're told by my brain and a brain that is as sharp as it used to be.

My wish for 2013 is that at its end, I sit down with a happy sign and say to myself...let's do that again.

Cheers to that kind of year for all of us. Now let's drink champagne. You brought it, right? It's not in my budget. But it will be next year, in magical 2013. And not even Cook's, dude, maybe a good bottle like Korbel.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Honey, Let's TALK

Technically Mark and I are still newlyweds, so shouldn't our conversations be peppered with sweet nothings and an offputting number of terms of endearment?

I know that romance gives way to real life and frankly I'm not into poetry and serenades. But some of the conversations that have snaked their way into our daily lives are just beyond even my wildest visions of married life.

Here's a sneak peek at the 50 Shades of West St Paul pillow talk.


ME (after using new pomegranate sugar scrub in the shower): What do you think of how I smell?

MARK (thoughtfully): I'd say nine days out of ten you smell OK.

ME: Um, WHAT?

MARK: Well, you know, everyone stinks sometimes...

ME (sticking arm in his face): I meant this new bath stuff!

MARK: Oh. That smells pretty good.

          ***

MARK: Want a backrub, honey?

ME (assuming this is not a sincere offer but a barter): That would be great, I have my period.

MARK: Never mind.

ME (harrumphing): I knew it.

          ***

ME (pleased about one of the only two* upsides to being ill, losing weight. This is important because it's Minnesota, it's winter, and I have a profoundly defective internal thermostat.): Look, babe! I can layer my pants three at a time now to stay warm because they're so baggy!

MARK (not even missing a beat): Don't worry, when you feel better you'll plump back up so they fit.

ME (disgustedly): But you aren't listening. I don't want to gain the weight back.

MARK: I don't care how you look, honey. Have I ever complained? (This would mean more had his eyes broken contact with the video game even once during the exchange. And also if he hadn't ever complained. See above story about my BO, when I inquired about my scented body scrub.)

*The only other upside is not being forced to drive during crappy winter weather when required to be somewhere thirty miles away every day, such as work.

           ***

ME: Let's go out to dinner tonight with your brother and sister. We have a $20 Applebee's gift card or $100 in gift cards for Burger Jones - either of those places is right nearby. You can pick.

MARK: OK, let me think.

-tick tock tick tock tick tock -

ME: So where shall we go out to dinner?

MARK: We really shouldn't go out to dinner, we don't have the money to be doing that.

ME (silently fuming over the idea of fourth-time leftovers and wondering how he remembers every line of every movie he's ever seen but cannot recall the conversation we had 47 seconds ago.)

          ***

ME: Don't pee off the porch, that's disgusting!

MARK: How did you know it was me?

ME: You peed an M in the snow.

MARK (indignantly): Well, nobody saw me. It was early in the morning.

ME: WE LIVE IN THE CAPITAL CITY OF MINNESOTA! It's not like we're on a farm in Alabama.

MARK (now irritated with me): Whatever, Mom.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happiness Festivus

Jesus has a long ass birthday party, whew - it was like Jesupalooza here. I guess that's what happens when you're married.

Christmas is no longer a couple hours at the folks then running off to the casino with your brother (What? Like you never...) It's a festivus that runs for days now, with multicultural families, traditions, parties and grievances.

 
 
Here I sit in the silence of Boxing Day, just a dog and a cat for company as I pull down all the sparkling decorations and pack them away and I am, for perhaps the first time after Christmas, full of peace. And snot, but that's Minnesota. I always get a cold this time of year.
 
I am warm. With my new Cuddle Duds and socks and eighty pounds of furry animals to shnoogle, I am definitely warm on the inside and out. 


 
Our first official gathering in the name of our Lord and Savior was on Saturday at the Yost's house. Baby Jesus brought me lipstick, a staple gun and some sweet leopard print pajamas. The turtleneck fleece suit kind, not the acrylic heels and fishnets kind.


On Christmas Eve, we went to Blaine, MN for creole with my white brother and my Indian sister. I had a couple of glasses of Huggy Juice while we were there.


 
 
Neil made jambalaya, dirty beans and rice and cajun cornbread after we ate the limited selection of 47 appetizers that Mama Bird brought to sustain us during the end of the world (the four hours the N'awlins food was slow-cooking).
 
Now Reena may look like an Indian, but let me assure you her palate is that of a caucasian kindergartener in Anywheremerica. Chicken fingers and macaroni, please, and why is that ketchup so spicy?
 
I give her mad props because the food was fairly spicy and she tried so hard to eat it. She knew Neil had literally been cooking all day. I watched as she swallowed the first bite and the response was like a cartoon form but in super 3D. Her huge brown eyes welled up, her nostrils flared, and her lip trembled.
 
"It's good!" She squeaked as the first alligator tear slid down her lying cheek.

 
Below is one of my favorite holiday photos of 2012. You may not have even known I was such an amazing photographer but I caught the micro-instant - the one moment - where Bailey revealed to us all just how sexy she can be with her gooby eye and her tongue lolling out. Even Morgan looks disgusted with her.

 
Christmas Eve night Mark and I spent at home together but bright and early Christmas day we ran to pick up Gabby's present.
 
SURPRISE! We're dogsitting your giant cousin for a couple days! Merry Christmas, cat!
 
At least now I can honestly say that once in my life I got an adorable puppy on Christmas. Rachael and Paul think we're giving him back but I figure everything is negotiable and there's always arm wrestling to settle complex decisions. I'd probably let Mark be the wrestler and I'd be the coach. He's good at being strong and I'm good at being bossy.
 

 
Christmas Day we celebrated the birth of Jesus McSanta with pancakes and presents and then I took a delicious, delightful and reverent nap.
 
I fell asleep almost instantly, slipping into a fog of gratitude and a curled around the dog like a shrimp. Yes, I spooned a dog. It was glorious.
 


There are good things in bad, and one reason I was so excited for Christmas this year was because I've been preparing since September. When you're out of work for nearly five months the hours get very long. I've had a lot of time to make gifts.

Also, I'm feeling really grateful to anyone who has bought a book from me - you guys allowed me to get some fun things for my family. One of my dad's favorite gifts was a stainless steel coffee mug I ordered on Zazzle with a horridly awesome school picture of his from 1960 printed on it. I loved hearing him laugh so hard when he saw it.

Because of the books I sold, I was able to send Christmas love all over the U.S. Necklaces to my Lorntson girls, calendars to the Wares, blankets for the kiddies, and books to the Netherlands and Belgium. I Santabombed 26 strangers over the past few days, hoping to make them smile and luckily not one of them called the police to report they were being harassed by a special needs woman with offensive written propaganda.

Our Christmas was a success, although my mother said I'm clearly trying to be Jewish because Hannukah lasts several days longer. I don't care what we call it. I love my family and our Chrismahannafestivus rocked.

It was just what the doctor ordered for this stuffy nose and sore throat.

And now...another one of those naps. For the dog's sake, of course. My goal is to get the dog and cat to sleep together before Rach and Paul steal him back. In a tearjerking bi-species cuddle kind of way - not in a creepy porn you don't want the police to know about kind of way.

On that note, I'm off to bed with my furries.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Santabomber

I've been Santabombing and it's so much fun.

Except I have to do it silently, which I fear may make it a touch creepy. Yet it's definitely less creepy than if I speak, since I get very excited while Santabombing.

Let me explain.

The world needs laughter and kindness, most especially after recent events. In honor of the 26 beautiful lights that were snuffed out in Connecticut, my goal is to Santabomb 26 strangers before Christmas day. I only have seven left to go.

See, I wrapped up copies my book with notes from Santa. Dunno what you did, but I was told to give this to you. Ho ho hope you don't sue me if you find my humor offensive.

I want to make 26 people laugh. Even if it's at me the weirdo and not the book. Whatev.

I've been giving them out a handful at a time in various places, and I do it stealthily like Batman. Except I'm too slow to be stealthy so instead I just walk up to people, set the gift on the table next to them (coffee shops, stores, restaurants) and turn away.

Sadly we live in a world where people react with immediate suspicion at being handed anything for free, and a 'quick explanation' out of my mouth would take an ow-ow-ow-hour and a ha-ha-ha-half and probably just make them wet themselves a little with nerves.

So I walk out and get on with my day.

And ho-ho-hope that somewhere, someone who got Santabombed, is reading my book right now and maybe - just maybe - getting a much-needed laugh during this stressful season in a sad mean world.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Fail

Since the world was supposed to end last night, I ought to tell you about how I spent the evening comforting AIDS babies and battered animals, but Mark and I paused - literally paused in the middle of a movie - and opened our Christmas presents for each other.

Just in case.

And also it was cold outside and I don't know any AIDS babies or battered animals, except this deer (may he rest) who was clearly beyond comfort anyhow. I assume the cold is what kept Mark on the couch last night instead of spending his last night on earth running naked down the street. He denies that he would do that, but he so would. And he did inform me after reading my hypothesis that he would strap the flat screen TV to his naked back because it is critical and could also be used as a shield.

A shield?

Clothes might be considered a shield (against the elements), no?

But I digress, because here we all are on the 22nd and I'm feeling a tiny bit guilty for opening our presents. I can hear my mother's voice. "She never could wait for anything, that girl..."

Mark and I decided, as adults, that we could celebrate our festivities however we like. God, I can still hear my mother's voice, I can't escape it.

My three-year-old self pops into my mind...you're not the boss of me!

This is ridiculous. I keep thinking of the test.

The Cookie Test.

The one they do on little kids to test their emotional self-control, their ability to delay gratification.

Set a cookie out, tell them to wait until you return and you'll bring them a second cookie if they leave the first one alone. Exit and the results have shown to be a markedly accurate prediction of success or failure later in life.

Some kids wait patiently, knowing the reward is greater that way. Some children examine and fondle and torture themselves with the cookie, but hold out for the ultimate payout. And some have gobbled the cookie before the door shut behind you.

This test is run on preschoolers, three to five. I'm twenty-nine. Ish. Plus half a dozen or so. The only reason I'd pass the test now is because I'm on to the trickery!

Crap.

NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mom, God, Santa, we haven't touched our stockings! Seriously. Haven't touched em. Best for last, that's what we always say...

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Dreaded Holiday Newsletter

The world didn't end and (unrelated) we didn't order holiday cards, so here's your 2012 Holiday Newsletter. I'm sorry.



JANUARY
We ushered in 2012 too sick to celebrate. Mark with a cold and me with the same, but of course mine turned into whooping cough. I'm a trendsetter. You're welcome.

The highlight of January was a hospital bed in the ER. I was coughing so hard I was both vomiting and peeing on myself which was almost too sexy for Mark to bear so I can see why he might have been looking for distraction - which he found, in the form of a built-in scale on the hospital bed.

"Hey, you weigh a lot more than you told them you did!"

He's lucky I was coughing too violently to assault him.

FEBRUARY
In February we ate Valentine tacos and drank margaritas with Leslie and that's all I remember besides work.

MARCH
In March I received an email from my father that my mother was in the hospital and we weren't certain of the details though it sounded like something might be broken. Turns out Mama Bird fell off a curb and broke one ankle in three places whilst spraining the other one.

Seriously? These are my genes, people.

APRIL
April was spent mothering mama and explaining to my dad that in the event of an unknown medical emergency, sometimes a telephone call is preferable to an email.

Also Reena got drunk and rode a shoe. To be fair, it was her bachelorette party, so Neil should really thank us for not taking her somewhere to ride a cowboy instead.



MAY
In May my brother married Reena and we had the most fun weekend of the year. I wasn't aware at the time we were peaking so early.

I'd like to call a party foul on God, though. At the wedding I wore an open midriff sari in which I was professionally photographed next to five girls so small it looked as though I could have birthed them all. Now it's December and I'm forty pounds lighter with no dress to wear and nowhere to go. Not funny.

JUNE - JULY
Work, work, stress, work, stress. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I went to Book Expo America for work in June, which was OHMYGODTHISPLACEISMECCA kinda cool. I met David Thorne and he blew some smoke up my butt and told me to send him a copy of my book when it came out. I wanted to hear The Bloggess but her keynote was at the end of our part of the tradeshow. After tearing down the booth I was sweating ass-rivers and lugging bags like a sherpa so I skipped her speech.


July 21st it was sunny and hot and we were lucky enough to be visiting friends who live on a lake. We went tubing and as I flew through the water behind that boat I remember thinking that it had been a perfect day, and how rare that is. I remember wondering how to have more days like that, how to capture that forgotten feeling of exuberance and not let it slip away.

Five days later I had The Episode. The not stroke. The day that my brain and body snapped and went on strike.

AUGUST - SEPTEMBER
I took a leave from work until I got my health under control, thinking I'd be out for a week or two, perhaps three.

I spent a good portion of these two months misspelling my name, unable to count and bouncing off of things as I walked. I wondered if I was retarded, if I'd been brain damaged by the not stroke. I cried and hurt and prayed to find a doctor who would figure out what had happened instead of telling me it was depression.

I also printed my book, Confessions of a Recovering Cynic, in early August. I'd planned to have a party to release it, but life makes other plans and life won. It was highly anticlimactic. I'm learning life often is.

OCTOBER
Blessed to be working with both an amazing chiropractor and acupuncturist, we all compared notes and they wrote up their summaries in defense of my not-craziness. I made an appointment with an internist at the U of M.

Neil hiking along the bay in Lake Superior
 
Also, I turned older in October. Officially. Not just the older every day variety. The birthday variety. I think we celebrated by probably doing nothing much, as that's all I would've been up for then.

We spent an unbelievable weekend on Lake Superior late October with the family. As per usual, I attracted all manner of oddity and a couple dozen happy witches prayed over me.

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER

And here we are.

I think we're beginning to correct my health problems and I'm feeling hopeful for the first time in ages and excited for the future. I often have the stamina to make it through a day without a nap. My speech isn't as bad as it was and most importantly, I'm remembering how to feel gratitude for what I do have.

Because the world is so hard. It's just days before Christmas and all I can think of are the poor families suffering in Newtown, and the ripples of grief have affected the country, the world.

So though I'd like Santa to wave his magic wand and restore my health, and maybe throw in a poolside vacation, I already have what I really want for Christmas this year. My family.










Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Muffin Bread

After I wrote a tragically sad and also funny post about baking Leslie's Grandma's muffin bread, fans wrote in to express concern for me.

Had the accidental glue been cleaned up?

Would I survive the lung damage from massive flour inhalation?

Actually, that's a complete lie. Nobody asked

But when I held an exciting contest to give away a special edition of my book (with STICK FIGURES!) more than five people entered and the winner was very excited. Especially because she asked me if I'd write down Leslie's grandmother's muffin bread recipe and I said yes.

So I now know why you readers are here. It's not the witty writings, it's the tantalizing thought of warm toasty bread. The way we real kitchen bitches used to make it.

No cat litter, no tears, no added ingredients to make it my own. It's meant to be made JUST LIKE THIS, her grandmother's way.

LESLIE'S GRANDMA'S MUFFIN BREAD
 
2 packs active yeast
2/3 cup warm water
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons sugar

Dissolve in warm water and let stand for 15 minutes. Add:
4 more tablespoons sugar
2 cans undiluted evaporated milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

6 ½ - 7 cups flour
Blend in the flour a cup or two at a time. Dough should by heavy and stiff but too sticky to knead. Place dough into well greased one pound metal coffee cans, cover with their greased lids.
Let stand in warm place for 45-60 minutes until lids pop off – discard.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes before removing from coffee cans.

To Do Today

It's 12:01 PM and I realized I just wasted valuable time this morning peeing, washing my hands and brushing my teeth.

I am more efficient when I use a list, and in case the world ends tomorrow I want to be sure to get everything done today.


  1. Craft Baby Bjorn style cat carrier.
  2. Sedate Gabby. Yes, I realize she sleeps 23.4 hours per day, but trust me, when she goes on this adventure she's going to flip her shit. And I need her with me in the final hours.
  3. Stuff sedated cat into carrier.
  4. Kiss photos of dead loved ones.
  5. Kiss live husband and grab him so we can make a run for it.
  6. Pause to yell at him that PS3 game console is not part of our critical load. Just the clothes on our back (don't worry, I wear 4-5 layers so we should be set for any weather) and the cat.
  7. Use inexplicably newfound superpower to teleport myself to Reykjavik, along with everyone I love and like. The rest of you asshats can stay here.
  8. "Ahhh....." I say, as we sink into the blue lagoon. "This is heaven" And I don't even stutter.
  9. Dry off angry cat who did not enjoy the blue lagoon.
  10. BLINK. Now we're in Costa Rica at the top platform of a zip line, raising shots of something fiery. "Cheers!" I will yell before flying down the line through the jungle. Gabby is sleeping, she doesn't even notice the toucans and birds of paradise, though the wind makes her open one eye long enough to glare at me before squinching it shut again. Mark flies naked down the zipline, of course, because...well, because you just know he would.
  11. BLINK. Now we're underwater in Fiji and can hold our breath indefinitely. Gabby is standing guard on the boat, along with my sister-in-law Reena. Not because Indians can't swim, but because Reena was almost drowned in Cancun by a crazy Mexican. True story. Also, I sink easily even though I'm really, really white but since this is salt water I can float for once and it freakin' rocks. We see starfish and seahorses and sea anenome and brilliantly colored coral but nothing grody like a snake or an eel.
  12. BLINK. Santorini is a good place for a last meal, yes? Olives and cheese and thiamine-rich nuts. Spanakopita and cucumbers and champagne overlooking the Aegan sea as the sun sets. Gabby rejects the spinach pie and Mark asks how to get to the nearest McDonalds.
  13. BLINK. We're in Australia, on a nude beach with both a McDonalds and Taco Bell. Just Mark and me, we left everyone else in Santorini. You're welcome. This is a quick stop, purely made out of wifely love. Mark eats his last meal while randomly seeing a shark devour a woman with gigantic breasts in slow motion and feels strangely fulfilled and ready to accept the end of the world.
  14. BLINK. We're back in Santorini with everyone. They probably just thought we sneaked off for a quickie.
  15. BLINK. We're all at the bay, a cove nestled in the southwestern tip of Lake Superior. It's autumn weather and the bonfire is roaring. I cuddle with my husband and my family and my friends, and Gabby purrs at my neck. We reminisce. We talk. We laugh.
  16. BLINK. We're in Nashville. The Full Moon Saloon, and it's the motliest damn dance party you ever saw. Everyone is there, singing and fiddlin' and playing the git'tar. Everyone I brought along on my last day, and here are Glen and Conrad and Sue and Josh and Chris and Jason and Mike and Karen and Stoney and Sandra and Christine and everyone whose earthly voice has been taken too soon. So many singing together the place just implodes into a ball of light that disappears like a shooting star.
I'd better take myself a quick nap. This is a long list, dudes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Special Ed Bread

I am trying hard to build up the fortitude to function like a normal person. This is important as in order to return to work I must stay awake all day and be able to follow instructions, such as how to read a recipe.

Yesterday was a rare day without any appointments so I had big plans for myself. I was making homemade bread for the first time. Baking involves reading comprehension, mathematics and physical stamina.

Yes, it does.



STEP ONE
Procure bitchin' Kitchen Aid stand mixer from husband who says he's too lazy to wrap it but is secretly so excited to give it to you that you get your Christmas gift on December 9th.

Borrow Leslie's grandma's sacred muffin bread recipe. The only muffin your grandma was interested in was the one in your pants.

Decide to make tiny change to recipe so as not to defile her family's tradition after having previous thought. Adding thiamine-rich pecans will do the trick - your own personal touch AND it will help with your third-world malnourishment.

STEP TWO
Hike to market to buy can of evaporated milk. Your driving privileges have been revoked and it snowed 16" on Sunday. Store is three two blocks away. Take 50 minutes to make this trek as you are taking tiny shuffling steps on shaky legs on icy sidewalks.

Return from store. As muscles warm up, cramps set in and you begin the T3, a patent pending dance move called Tricia's Tard Twist. What happens is it feels as though your muscles and tendons are the wrong size for your bones and everything twists and cramps and you dance like MC Hammer in slow motion.

Decide to lay down and rest muscles, which results in horizontal T3 and the onset of tears (T4?).

Cry for thirty minutes.

Get back up to bake bread.

Grab plastic flour container and stumble, and with your shaky arms send the container flying in Supermannish slow-motion horror movie scene.

STEP THREE
Cry off and on for ninety more minutes while cleaning flour from every surface in an eight foot radius - kitchen counter, all the previously clean and drying dishes, the dining room floor, the top of the cat box, all over the end table covered with paperwork.

Feel sorry for yourself for not having your own grandma to hand down recipes.

Realize that is totally irrelevant to the situation and chastise yourself.

Stop crying and take break two thirds of the way through to photograph the crime scene.

Wish you would have taken picture sooner but not at all willing to perform a reenactment for the sake of a photo op.

 
 
STEP FOUR
Realize you have enough flour left to continue without recycling any of the flour from the top of the litter box.
 
Bake bread.
 
Clean up bitchin' Kitchen Aid mixer, which is a breeze, especially after the Flour Incident. You know how they make GLUE in kindergarten? Flour and water, that's how, assholes.
 
Eat slice of warm bread studded with thiamine bombs and slathered with butter.
 
Cry a little because it's so good.
 
 
STEP FIVE
Give most of bread away so you don't consume three loaves in the next 36 hours. Fresh bread has no preservatives. Also, you want your friends to eat it before they read this.
 
But you promise none of the flour was recycled.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Reasons to Buy My Book on 12-12-12

1. If the world ends today, you can say you helped a starving artist on your last day on earth. Literally. Apparently my blood is malnourished. I live in third world West St. Paul. (WTF?)

2. I am super lucky. Like, creepy lucky. Healer witches find me in tiny backwoods towns. So if you buy my book on such as auspicious date, certainly you too will be showered in good luck. Just this week I'm so lucky we only had dead animal parts left on our doorstep once.

3. I support independent artists, too. Many of the gifts I'm giving this holiday are handmade by friends from all over the world. It's a pretty cool feeling connecting with someone twelve zillion miles away over something one of you creates.

4. I'm fairly certain you'll laugh at least twelve times whilst reading the book so your worst case scenario is about a buck a yuck.

5. It's just twelve days until Christmas Eve. Give Santa a hand, will ya? The man is obese and that rosacea whiskey nose can't take the cold much longer. He's old, dude.

6. My book is like a helpful twelve-step program on how not to live your life. It should probably be handed out in colleges during freshman orientation along with the condoms and pepper spray keychains.

7. The book has about 24 pictures in it, probably half of which are entertaining, so that's twelve funny pictures as a bonus in addition to all the words.

8. It's set in 12 pt type with spacing that makes it easy on the eyes. This means my book can appeal to readers age 18 to 120. Anyone older than that would probably be a world record holder for age and might die of a stroke reading one of the stories. I can't have that kind of weight on my shoulders.

 
9. There are probably at least twelve stories in there shameful enough to make you feel smug about yourself and your own (suddenly seeming) wise life choices.

10. At least twelve people unrelated to me have read it and reported back to me positively.

11. For ONE DAY ONLY, until midnight tonight, books are $12 + $1.20 shipping in the US, for orders placed through PayPal. (See upper right corner!)

 
And the twelfth reason to buy my book on 12-12-12?

12. Tomorrow I will select a random winner from everyone who leaves a comment on this post that isn't a troll leaving links to sites about Bear Grylls, the Malaysian economy or sex toys. This lucky winner will receive the customized 12-12-12 End of the World Stick Figure Edition of my book. It's like Christmas and your birthday rolled up into one, with New Year's Eve frosting. Actually it's just a free copy with a stick figure I drew on it, but you can say it's custom. Or limited edition. Or whatever sounds coolest.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lucky 13

Perhaps the 13 vials of blood were worth sharing, despite feeling woozy afterward. A doctor may have cracked the code.

Yesterday she called to inform me I have severely low vitamin levels, indicating that I am a chronic late-stage alcoholic, an anorexic, an Asian 100 years ago who ate nothing but white rice or there is an underlying condition that prevents my body from absorbing nutrients. Blood levels such as mine fully explain nearly every symptom I've struggled with since July and the second brain MRI I had done yesterday may help confirm or deny her opinion.

Houston, we have a launch point!

By golly, after nearly five months this is what we've figured out. If this doctor at the U treats me with vitamins and cures me after one appointment, I will be using my newfound strength and vitality to make it rain beatdown on Park Nicollet for taking 27 appointments to tell me it's all in my head and have the nerve to bill for that.

So now I will sit here gobbling prescription supplements and baking marmite tahini sunflower seed pork pine nut pistachio fish pecan cookies while I await the results of my MRI to find out if I am brain-damaged from the vitamin deficiencies, and I don't wanna hear any shit about underground betting rings laying odds on whether I'll come out of this permanently retarded.

And the best news is that if I am an alcoholic anorexic Asian, the megavitamins work even faster - sometimes within a matter of hours. So let's vote for that versus the whole underlying condition thing. If I am an AAA, I could be swinging from the chandeliers by this weekend!

Although come to think of it, I'd never swing from a chandelier unless I was really drunk and even then I wouldn't because I'm way too heavy. At 5'8" with the shoulders of a man, I don't look particularly Asian, either.

Hmm....

Let's just await the MRI results.













Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Secret Can Suck It

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?
Maybe you've heard of a little book called The Secret that's sold - ohhhhh - a hundred billion copies? The entire premise is that you can have everything you desire in life if you believe in it wholeheartedly because of the law of attraction.

Like attracts like, just as with a magnet.

Therefore, if you envision yourself and feel yourself being healthy, you will become healthy. Or wealthy. Or wise. Or whatever.

But save your $23.95* and know this:

Either this voodoo don't work or I am crazier than a shithouse mouse because I SWEAR TO GOD I AM NOT ASKING THE UNIVERSE FOR THIS STUFF!!

During my acupuncture treatments and stretching exercises, I practive positive visualization, picturing my world as I want it to be. Happy, healthy family, successful writing career, a house with...a closet. And an insulated bathroom. I breathe deeply and feel myself having those things. I believe it in my heart and I wait patiently to receive it, knowing that it is coming because I have asked for it with my internal magnet of attraction. I know my magnet must be powerful because on Friday, I ejected some of the needles during my muscle spasms.

Here is what I've attracted to myself in the past few weeks:
  • 25 random witches healers praying over me and burning sage in Beaver Bay, MN, a town with a population of 181 people. I'd say the odds of a couple dozen of them being there at once were slim, so I thought 'well, this can't hurt' and made myself a necklace with healing stones I found on the shore of Lake Superior that day. My healing necklace gave me an infected boil.
  • 20 blood tests for every infection from Cat Scratch Fever to AIDS. Now I wait. Some tests take days, some take weeks.
  • Another MRI on Monday to examine my brain. Since I'll be in a highly magnetized tube, I assume my law of attraction magnet will be sucked right out of my head through my nostrils and I'm OK with this.
  • A lawsuit and a partridge in a pear tree. Actually, not a partridge in a pear tree at all. A severed foot on my doorstep.
No, I'm not kidding.

A SEVERED deer foot on the porch. Left there for me as a gift and not by a proud dog who found it in the woods, but by a person who (I am seriously praying that he only misguidedly) thought it was funny. I write of the incident only to illustrate how unfunny it is and to point out that should I go missing, Leslie and Mark know where to look.

And I include the photo only as proof, because if I read this post I'd think I was a lying, crazy loon, too.


I did sell three books today. So in order to try to end this horrid post on a more positive note, I will visualize more of that for tomorrow and less of whatever the heck I might have visualized that brought me dismembered limbs as karmic payback.

And to steal a highly appropriate line from my cousin...."WHICH OF OUR ANCESTORS PISSED ON A GYPSY!?"

*Also, my book costs several dollars less than The Secret and I won't lie to you and tell you that reading it will allow you the life that you want. I'll just tell you I'm selling you something to read on the shitter.




Friday, December 7, 2012

Anniversaries

Today is my seven year anniversary of not getting married in Las Vegas.

While a Vegas wedding may have been the first red flag, the second ought to have been scheduling a wedding on the anniversary of a tragic national disaster.

And, no - we didn't schedule a Pearl Harbor day wedding for discounts - there weren't any. I had to work around X's packed schedule of hunting, fishing, baseball, football, boys night and basketball seasons.

Mere weeks before the wedding, though, X decided that a marriage would greatly impede the aforementioned seasons and left me. With a planned-out, scheduled and mostly paid-for and nonrefundable wedding. In Vegas.

So after throwing his belonging in garbage bags over the balcony for his friends to pick up (and no - I didn't pee in the bags, despite the emphatic suggestion of a friend who shall remain nameless), we set off for Vegas.

The trip was paid for, might as well party, right?

Right?

Wrong.

Drinking in Las Vegas on the night of your collapsed wedding is a minefield. A minefield of boobs you will flash, gay men you will cry on and also kiss, and outrunning the police.

Do you know how drunk you have to be to have the police called on you in Las Vegas!?
  • Drunk enough to believe you can sing Alanis Morrissette karaoke
  • Drunk enough to believe that just one more Red Bull vodka is what you need
  • Drunk enough to believe the worlds deserve to see your boobs (incidentally and unfortunately, the world included my brother, who informed me that if I didn't put those things away immediately, he had a right hook with my name on it)
There's more to the story (there always is), but I won't rat out the others. Suffice to say we were a hammered and motley crew and sometime after 4 AM, police were called.

We raced out of the Subway where The Incident took place (I know, right? Subway. Gross.) and in an act of divine intervention (or more probably a wink from Lady Luck) we got away in the crowd.

I then inserted a $100 bill into a slot machine and hit max bet twice. Gone.

It wasn't a nickel slot, it was a five-dollar slot. I couldn't read.

My friend put me to bed and in the morning I woke up curiously thirsty and delighted to see a paper Subway cup on the nightstand. Who went there? I'd have to thank them because I sure needed a drink.

I picked up the cup and took a hearty slug of warm vodka laced with flat fountain Diet Pepsi. I can't recall for certain now, it's been seven years, but I think I made it to the bathroom.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tick Tock: A PSA

I've been home for four months. Four months of appointment after appointment with dead lulls in between. That's a lot of time to try to entertain oneself in manners that do not include strenuous physical or mental exertion, driving or money. In that time, though, I have figured out (yes, the hard way - duh) several things not to do.

So as a public service in case any of you find yourself in my shoes someday (consider that...just for a moment...gave you the heebies, didn't it - thinking of being me?), here are ten things not to do while home alone ill but stir-crazy.

10. Do not stutter-yell at people on the street out in desperate need of interaction (with their dog). It scares them and they will think you are retarded.

9. Do not worry about whether or not a doctor says you can drive. Let your body and brain be your guide, it contains all the answers you need. You are wise and sage and you know darn tootin' whether or not you should be behind the wheel.

8. Do not use industrial adhesive indoors. This might not have helped matters, cognitively speaking.

7. Do not forget that doctors are people, too. This means that they all make mistakes and are learning every day just as we are. Do not feel resentment toward the doctors who promptly bill you $27/min for their sacred time whilst slowly fixing nothing. Resentment, as we know, is like swallowing poison and waiting for the doctor to die. This would not be fruitful, as then we'd be back at square one.

 
6. Do not shower only prior to appointments. Come on, you know that sometimes there are three days in a row without one. Gross.

5. Do not succumb to the siren song of sweatpants. Once they are on, they don't come off. Seriously, I have three pairs on as we speak. (True story. I'm cold.) I fear that when I go back to work, I'll have forgotten how to zip pants or match a shirt to its next layer.

4. Do not submit to the cat. We run on her schedule now and suddenly I have another boss. When we're at home I'm forced to adhere to lots of rules.
  • This lap is hers and no computer shall violate the space. Computers are to be balanced cockeyed on the chair      arm whilst typing with pretzeled arms, so as not to disturb her current nap.
  • I shalt not eat anything with butter without sharing.
  • I shalt not close the bathroom door for privacy.
  • I must massage the queen with both hands a minimum of one hour per day, timing to be at her discretion.
3. Do not bake three batches of cookies per week. This is excessive. There are two of you living there and your neighbor doesn't like sweets. This metabolic anomaly will not last forever, don't push it.

2. Do not, I repeat, do not tell any friend kind enough to drive your ass around town to your appointments that this will be quick. There is no such thing as quick in doctor-land and any friend willing to enter with you should pack accordingly with light snacks, hydration and camping gear. Think Boy Scouts and by that I mean be prepared, don't diddle a kid in a tent.

And the number one thing nobody should do while home ill?

1. Google every single symptom, blood test and procedure they are doing. Just don't.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fine, I'll Trade My Butt for a New Brain

I met with a new internist at the U yesterday and I'm feeling...dare I say it?

Hopeful.

I brought her twenty pages of reports and in exchange she took thirteen vials of blood, which incidentally is nearly the number of brownies I ate last night in the name of replenishing my blood sugar. They were small, though. The brownies, not the vials of blood.

This doctor appears to be determined to figure this out. She ordered over twenty types of blood tests and I have another brain MRI next Monday, quite possibly to make certain it's still there. My thought processing of late would indicate that it may not be, so it's a valid test.

In one of life's ironic twists, she actually appeared most concerned with my weight loss. I gave her a three page list of my symptoms and she's focusing on the only one I like. Drat. I've been choosing to believe my smaller ass is the bone God's throwing me during this trying time.

Well, my dear, if you have to stutter and walk like a drunk chicken and hurt all the time, I suppose it's not fair if you're fat, too. Shazaam! 35 pounds gone. You're welcome.

The internist didn't appear to agree with this logic, so in addition to more neuro tests, I'll be carted off to GI as well.

At this point, though, any battery of testing is worth it if I can get the Christmas gift I really want this year.

I want ME back. My brain, my voice, my speech, my thoughts, my body healthy.

But I'll keep the smaller butt, Dr. Santa.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Cat and My Butt

Let me start by saying that I didn't give birth to a cat.

After seeing my illustrations you may understand why I didn't complete my graphic design degree. Generally my artistry is restricted to stick figures but I figured you'd need clearer visuals. It's unfortunate that my representation might lead you to believe there is a cat in my womb. Or my bowels.

The point of this post is that I'm being grateful for possibly the only benefit of being sick with whatever the motherlover is wrong with me. I have no appetite and the weight is dropping like college panties.

I don't care for scales as they clearly lie and I've devised other methods for knowing when my weight is reasonable.

Black men.

I am thin enough when I do not get the roundhouse Sup, Girrrrrrl as I walk down the street.

Since I don't go anywhere though, and my husband disapproves of me having random black men over while he's at work, lately I've had to judge by the fit of my clothes. Now I can get two pair of sweatpants on underneath my jeans. (I smell a warm winter coming!)

But last night came the moment of glory - Gabby fell off my butt.

This means it's no longer large enough to comfortably house a 13-pound cat on one ass cheek.

Silver linings, people!

Though I did feel bad when I heard her hit the floor.

And then I questioned my excitement over my newfound smaller butt when I watched Gabby fall off the radiator this morning.

A radiator that's four feet long by a foot and a half wide.

FML.

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