In 1996, Tupac got shot.
The Unabomber was arrested.
The number one song was the Macarena.
Cuba Gooding, Jr., won an Oscar.
Prince changed his name to a symbol.
And the Big Bean and I got married.
We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person. -W. Somerset Maugham
That’s me up there, with the Big Bean, and his goatee. Freshly married and completely naïve, all three of us.
I can’t tell you exactly what, in that moment, we expected to happen next. I’m sure we didn’t think the whole of our lives would be a rosy stroll through a beautiful, sweet-smelling paradise (we were naïve, not stupid) – but we never could have foreseen the myriad twists and turns and barrel rolls and loop-di-loops that our lives would take, or the immeasurable changes we’d both undergo as twenty years of experience, hard knocks, happiness, love, parenthood, friendship, mistakes, and age all took their toll.
We’re completely different people now than we were when we got married, each of us. And yet, somehow, we’re still together. Somehow, we’ve held one another upright through each storm – or, at the very least, we’ve found each other again after the worst of the weather has passed.
That’s kind of sweet.
I don’t know that either of us expected that. I don’t know that we expected to make it to an anniversary #20, if I’m honest. Maybe we just thought we’d knock around together until it wasn’t fun anymore, and then be on our separate ways.
I get asked on occasion how the Big Bean and I have managed to stay married this long, and I never have an answer. Even if I did have an answer, it wouldn’t matter one lick – because it wouldn’t apply to anyone else, anyway.
The Big Bean is the Big Bean. I am me. Together we are us. How we interact, prioritize, set goals, create memories, and collectively find things inspiring or weird or funny… these are all completely different for us than they would be for another two individuals who’ve chosen to walk through life together.
Plus, the key to our marriage always changes. Sometimes it’s giving each other space. Sometimes it’s holding hands.
Sometimes it’s the way we both adore our kid.
Sometimes it’s the fun we have with our friends.
Sometimes it’s the fact that he posed for these pictures like 15 years ago on a day trip to Fredericksburg and they still make me laugh.
The one constant, I guess, is this weird determination we share to hang in there for the long haul. There aren’t any guarantees and we don’t expect them – we both know from experience that the second you think you’ve found stable ground, life is gonna come along and yank that rug right the fuck out from under you.
So we try not to take that whole “forever” thing for granted.
But we also both understand that the aging thing, while inevitable, will probably be a whole lot more fun together than apart.
I mean, so far getting old so sucks some serious ass – but I’m guessing it’ll be way easier to bear with someone by my side who, on the regular, makes me laugh so hard that I snort my drink out of my nose.
Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing.
She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.
- Henny Youngman
The Big Bean and I have had a lot of fights in our 20 years. A LOT. Like, a ridiculous number.
Some are big, most are small. The vast majority are bickery arguments over petty stuff like what we’re going to eat (because seriouslyOMGjustfuckingPICKSOMETHINGalready).
One of our biggest fights ended in a screaming match in the middle of the parking lot at JC Penney when we were trying to register for our wedding (irony). That one drew a crowd.
One time we almost broke up over the price of a burrito supreme at Taco Bell.
So many fights. And yet, I’m not kidding when I say that every single one of them – every single one – has ended with us laughing. Inevitably, someone says something ridiculous or stupid or silly. The other one laughs. Then we both laugh. And then it’s over and we move on.
Sure, it’ll come up again later – but now it’s something that’s funny. And together, we can always handle funny.
The day we can’t laugh at a fight is the day our marriage is doomed. I firmly believe this.
So far, it hasn’t happened.
It takes no time to fall in love, but it takes years to know what love is. – Jason Mraz
Yeah, those two kids. 24 and 26. Just babies.
In the 20 years since that picture was taken, I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost pets. I’ve lost several sets of keys, and my drivers license twice. I’ve been hired and fired more than once. I’ve partied hard and fallen down a lot and gotten sick and broken four toes. I’ve traveled to faraway, wonderful places.
I’ve lost and gained both weight and wisdom. I’ve earned a college degree. I’ve burned bridges and built new ones. I’ve had about 50 million different hair cuts and colors.
I’ve been to parades and music festivals and carnivals and zoos and football/baseball/hockey/soccer games and comedy shows and the Renaissance Fest maybe two thousand times.
I’ve given birth to a beautiful son and watched him grow from a happy baby to a silly toddler to an incredibly fun and sweet nine-year-old boy.
I’ve been smart. I’ve been stupid. I’ve been kind, I’ve been generous, I’ve been a complete asshole. I’ve been so happy that I thought my heart might explode, and I’ve been so sad that I wished it would.
I’ve learned more about life and love and family and truth and happiness than I ever could have thought possible.
And I’ve done it all, for better or worse, with the Big Bean by my side.
It has been one of my greatest honors.
In 2016, the number one TV show is The Walking Dead.
The Chicago Cubs finally won a World Series.
Nobody knows who Cuba Gooding, Jr. is anymore, and the Unabomber seems like small potatoes compared to the new President-elect who’s somehow managed to hate his way into the White House.
The Macarena only gets played at some random wedding every now and then.
And the Big Bean and I are still here.
Happy anniversary, Jason. I love you.
HONEY WAKE UP I NEED YOU
HONEY WAKE UP RIGHT NOW
THERE’S A MOUSE GODDAMMIT COME ON
[Big Bean pulls covers off my head]
YOU HAVE TO HELP ME CATCH THE MOUSE
Mmm k gimme a minute
NOW, HONEY. GET UP, HONEY
Ok ok I’m up whatsa mouse what?
THERE’S A FUCKING MOUSE IN THE WINE COOLER WE HAVE TO GET IT
IT’S IN THE WINE COOLER
What’s it doing in the wine cooler?
ENJOYING A NICE CHARDONNAY, THE HELL DO YOU THINK IT’S DOING
Why don’t the cats get it?
BECAUSE OUR CATS ARE FUCKING WORTHLESS
They are not! Take that back!!
THEY’RE WORTHLESS AND YOU KNOW IT. B-DUBS STOPPED HUNTING SHIT THE MINUTE HE FOUND US SUCKERS AND ANDY DOES NOTHING BUT LICK HIMSELF ALL DAY
Ugh, fair enough
NOW YOU GET THE BROOM AND I’LL HOLD THIS TOWEL AND SHAKE THE COOLER TO MAKE THE MOUSE MOVE, THEN TOGETHER WE WILL DIRECT IT OUT THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR
JUST DO IT
But that doesn’t seem like a very goo–
[mouse runs out like a speed freak, goes in exact opposite direction of sliding glass door]
[Big Bean screams like a woman]
[I laugh and scream at the same time]
[mouse freaks out and hides in bookshelf]
DAMMIT!!! IT’S BEHIND THE CRAZY SUNBURNED DRUNK SOMBRERO PICTURE
[terrified mouse pokes his head out from behind crazy sombreros]
[B-Dubs watches casually from couch]
DAMMIT WE NEED TO GET THIS MOUSE
[we stare at mouse]
Oh my gosh look at him!! He is SOOO cute!!!!
Hi, little mousy! It’s okay, little mousy!
[Big Bean grabs broom and pokes at sweet little mousy]
Stop it!! You’ll scare him!!
I’M GONNA DO A FUCKOFALOT MORE THAN SCARE THAT LITTLE BASTARD
You stop it this instant!
[Big Bean pokes at it again]
Do not hurt that mouse!
[We both scream]
[Mouse scurries up three shelves with lightning speed]
[We both jump]
[Mouse disappears into kitchen]
GODDAMMIT MOTHERFUCKER SHIT FUCKING SHIT
[Andy wanders in]
ANDY DAMMIT WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN
[Big Bean grabs him with non-broom hand and plants him in the middle of the kitchen floor]
[we stare at Andy]
[Andy does nothing]
GET THE MOUSE ANDY
ANDY GET THE MOUSE
[Andy licks himself]
The next day, at Walmart…
WE HAVE TO GET MOUSE TRAPS
Okay but they have to be humane traps
FUCK THAT, I’M GONNA ZAP THAT LITTLE BASTARD
Don’t you even think about it!
WE CANNOT HAVE A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE
Oh look, here’s a peanut butter trap!
WE’RE NOT GETTING A PEANUT BUTTER TRAP
Let’s catch the mousy and make it our pet!
[Little Bean: I want a pet mousy!]
WE CAN’T HAVE A MOUSE AS A PET
[Little Bean: Yes we can!]
WE CAN’T HAVE CATS AND A MOUSE
We can with our cats
[Little Bean: All Andy ever does is lick himself]
I’M KILLING THE MOUSE
IT KEEPS EATING MY BANANAS
You always let them go brown anyway!
WE HAVE TO KILL THE MOUSE
What should we name it?
[Little Bean: I like Mike!]
Mike is great! Mike the mouse!
YOU CANNOT KEEP THE MOUSE, HONEY
You’re not going to kill the mouse, honey
Midnight, 3 weeks later… peanut butter traps still intact…
HONEY WAKE UP
HONEY I NEED YOU
THE MOUSE IS BACK
mmmmrrrr Mousy where?
BEHIND THE CABINET IT’S MAKING NOISES
Okay I’ll get up but we need a better plan than last time
HANG ON I’VE GOT IT
[Goes to garage and comes back with giant cardboard]
OKAY, I’LL PULL THE CABINET OUT AND YOU POKE AT IT WITH THE BROOM WHILE I USE THIS LARGE CARDBOARD TO FORCIBLY DIRECT IT OUT THE DOOR
Ummm… that doesn’t seem like a very goo-
[Shakes cabinet, mouse jumps out, ignores cardboard, speeds in exact opposite direction of the sliding glass door]
[B-Dubs watches, bored again]
GODDAMMIT MOTHERFUCKER FUCKING SHIT GODDAMN!!
[We watch helplessly as mouse disappears into kitchen]
[We stare at kitchen]
FUCK THIS MOUSE AND FUCK THESE CATS AND FUCK EVERYTHING
[Defeated, Big Bean returns giant cardboard to garage]
[I push cabinet back in place]
[Second mouse jumps out]
[Second mouse runs past me with the speed of a thousand demons]
Honey!! Another one! Another one! Mike has a wife!!!
[Big Bean runs back in, hair crazy, wearing boxer shorts]
WHERE IS IT WHERE IS IT
[Second mouse disappears like a ghost into kitchen]
Wife Mouse went into the kitchen! Now there are two in the kitchen!!
[We stare helplessly at kitchen]
Well, at least they have each other
[Big Bean blinks]
[Andy saunters in]
ANDY YOU SUCK
Andy you suck
[Andy licks himself]
To be continued… unless the mice take over and eat our faces while we’re sleeping…
(DUN DUN DUN)
I really hate that my first post back is going to be political, because quite frankly I think talking politics on the Internet is a complete waste of time. No one ever wins. Everyone’s already made up their minds and no one’s actually LISTENING to anyone else – just talking over one another until it gets so loud and awful that everyone hates each other in the end.
Plus, I’m pretty clear on just how many shits other people give about my political opinion – and that number would be hovering right around zero.
I’ve seen this bullshit blog post shared on Facebook at least six times now, in some cases by people – WOMEN! – whom I know and love very much, and I simply CAN. NOT. abide this nonsense for one more fucking second.
So I’m about to waste my time and tell you exactly what I think about that.
Why I’m Voting for Donald Trump
I am a white female. A victim of sexual abuse. A Republican. A Christian.
And I am voting for Donald Trump. And I want to tell you why…
I find this post terrifying, because it’s written by a woman who clearly cares. She’s obviously put a lot of thought into this and taken time to express her opinions in a fairly well written post. And the women I know who have shared it are a lot like her. Most of them are middle class, working moms who would consider themselves Christian and patriotic and feel strongly about providing the best possible future to their kids.
But the thing is, if any one of them would just stop for a second and do ONE LICK of homework on any of these issues, they would see that it’s all just plain wrong. The future they envision will simply never be attained by voting for the Republican party – regardless of how slimy the candidate is.
These women are willingly ignoring the facts, buying into a bunch of propaganda from a party whose success depends on keeping them down, allowing it to scare the hell out of them with lies and manipulated half-truths, and choosing to vote against their own self interests.
I am absolutely baffled by this. And angry. And scared. Because, while I do think Donald Trump has pretty successfully assholed himself out of this election, I still think it matters that so many people – WOMEN, especially – are continuing to make these arguments – loudly and vehemently – that are so very clearly wrong.
It probably won’t change any minds, but just for giggles let’s unpack this particular post, shall we?
Hillary wants open borders…
Hillary wants to allow anyone and everyone into our country, regardless of the danger she could be putting her own people in…
First, Hillary has never suggested that we just throw all the doors open to our borders and let “anyone and everyone” in. She supports restrictions and vetting absolutely. She just thinks those restrictions should be a little more complex than a “No Muslims Allowed” clubhouse sign.
She also believes that it is fair and right to offer safe harbor to other human beings who are in desperate need of it, as well as a path to citizenship for families who have come to this country searching for a better life. She believes, as I do, that to turn refugees away categorically, or to separate millions of parents from their children, husbands from their wives, in some mass deportation scheme, goes against every value this country was founded upon.
Fun fact: We are a country of immigrants! Unless you’re a Native American, you came to be here because your ancestors did the exact same thing as the refugees and immigrants that you’re all so determined now to keep out. Our forebears ALL came here looking for sanctuary, freedom, opportunity – and they found it! Now we have a chance to pay that good fortune forward, to others whose very lives are in jeopardy – and the best we can give them is a smirk and a “sorry not sorry” as we slam the door in their faces?
For those of you who consider yourselves Christians, what exactly DO you think Jesus would do in this situation? Do you honestly believe that leaving these people hanging out to dry is WWJD? You don’t think maybe he’d find a way to give at least some of those weary, needy travelers a room or two at the inn?
Plus, that whole wall thing is just dumb. I mean, come on.
…taking guns out of the hands of Americans leaves us completely helpless…
Please, please, please stop with the whole “they want to take away all our guns” thing. Hillary does NOT advocate taking guns away from all Americans – NOR DOES THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM. I’m so tired of this argument I can’t even stand it. It’s simply not true.
Hillary supports reasonable regulation of arms to keep them out of the hands of those who cannot or will not handle them responsibly. You know, like those nutjobs who keep shooting up our schools and malls and offices and such? The ones murdering us and our children randomly? Yeah. Those guys.
After Sandy Hook, I simply cannot BELIEVE that a mother – any mother – could support the NRA-controlled Republican party on this issue. If you vote Republican, you are voting for ZERO regulation. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, ZERO will be done to prevent the continued slaughter of innocent people in our country. How can you possibly be okay with this insane status quo?
And hey, Texas ladies – open carry? You don’t find these looney-tune dudes – men you do not know – roaming around Target legally showing off their tiny penises – oh, sorry, I meant semi-automatic weapons – terrifying? While you’re there shopping with your kid? You’re really okay with that?
Because I totally AM NOT.
Hillary has made lots of promises that sound great, but they all require MORE TAXES. And yes, a lot of them are on the wealthy, which sounds fair…but guess what? MOST of those wealthy people have gotten to where they are because they worked hard and used smart business practices. And also, those wealthy people are usually successful business people who EMPLOY other people. So by penalizing them, you are not helping anyone. You are taking more money out of the hands of American people and putting more money in the hands of the government.
So… economics. Yay.
The economic approach that Trump and the Republican party espouse is called “trickle down economics” – and it DOES NOT WORK. It creates a huge divide between classes, making the rich super rich and leaving the rest of us completely screwed. This has been proven time and time and time again. (For a recent example, just look at what conservative economics has done to Kansas!)
Recessions happen four times more frequently under Republican presidents than Democrats. The stock market performs better under a Democratic administration. And Democratic presidents add more jobs than Republicans – in the case of Obama vs. Bush, that would be MORE THAN TWICE as many. These are all measurable facts.
It might make rich Republicans feel better to build themselves up on the backs of the middle and lower classes, but it is absolutely NOT better for the country as a whole. Hillary’s plan would increase government revenues by $1.1 trillion over ten years, while Trump’s plan would actually lower revenues over the same time period by a staggering 9.6 TRILLION DOLLARS. Where on earth do you think that would leave us?
Now, look. I know you might not like it that someone who is poor and struggling might get some assistance from the government that your taxes paid for. (Personally, I think that’s kind of shitty of you, but whatever.) But just set that aside for a minute and do a little research. Look into the actual economic results of both Republican and Democratic presidencies. Hell, at the very least, educate yourself on how that tax revenue that you hate to give is actually spent in this country. National defense, Medicare and Medicaid, public education, law enforcement… these are all pretty important things that we’d be kind of screwed without, no? And guess what? None of that shit is free.
Please, when it comes to your economic arguments – DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Don’t just believe what the scary rich men tell you.
The ONLY people who would not suffer under a Trump economy are the super wealthy, top 1%. Are you one of them? No? Then when you vote Republican you are voting against your own economic interests!!
Whoever the next President is will likely nominate FIVE Supreme Court judges. FIVE…
It’s possible that America would NEVER recover from a 7-2 Democratic majority. We NEED to keep Republicans in the Supreme Court who will uphold the Constitution…
While it is true that the next president will likely nominate more than one Supreme Court justice, that number can’t actually be predicted because it depends on so many unpredictable factors. And I would certainly argue that our more liberal justices (justices aren’t classified as “Republican” or ”Democrat,” since they’re supposed to be, you know, NOT ruled by political parties) are just as dedicated to upholding the constitution as their more conservative counterparts – they simply disagree on the best way to go about that in our ever-changing, always advancing modern world.
Still, this is a big and very important part of this election, and should not be trivialized.
The list of nominees that Trump put forth (long before being elected, which was… weird) is a Republican’s wet dream, to be sure. Anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-birth control, anti-everything, as far as I can tell. Except maybe corporations and guns.
But maybe you love that! Maybe you think it’s awesome to strip women of their access to health plans covering contraception. Maybe you love the idea of putting LGBT couples in jail for having sex. Or letting companies discriminate against particular customers or employees because they happen to be gay.
(Maybe you’re a total asshole, too, but hey, I don’t know you.)
So, you think these guys are all great. But what you really need to remember here is this: We are talking about Donald Trump. And just because he says these are the people he would nominate, that doesn’t mean he actually will. I mean, he said a whole bunch of times that he’d release his tax records, and I think we all know how that’s turned out.
So think about that, would ya?
Hillary can talk about other social issues all she wants, but her views on abortion show how little she values human life. Period.
Okay. The abortion thing. Let’s talk about that. Because there seems to be a tremendous amount of misinformation flying around out there, that a whole bunch of people are buying into.
Let’s first dispel the myth that Democrats just LOVE abortion. We don’t. Our ultimate goal is the exact same as the Republicans – no more abortions. We just disagree fundamentally on how this goal is best achieved. That’s it. To continue insisting that we do not value human life is a gross mischaracterization; a cartoonish simplification of a complicated position that is both unfair and untrue.
So stop saying it.
Republicans think outlawing abortion will actually end abortion. Criminalize the hell out of it and it’ll all just stop, they say. Democrats, on the other hand, think this approach is horribly short-sighted and suspect that, instead of stopping abortions, it will just make them incredibly unsafe for the thousands of desperate women who will find ways to have them anyway. We’re talking back alleys and coat hangers, people. We’re talking death or serious injury for thousands upon thousands of women – women who are your sisters, daughters, friends.
(And don’t tell me it wouldn’t happen – because it absolutely would, and we all know it. Didn’t you ever see Dirty Dancing?)
Instead of putting everyone in jail and forcing women to face terrible choices on their own with no medical options, Democrats believe it makes more sense to create an environment where unwanted pregnancies do not occur in the first place.
How do we accomplish this? Well, by giving women – all women, even the poor ones! – comprehensive EDUCATION, ready access to BIRTH CONTROL, and safe and effective HEALTH CARE.
We do not believe that simply telling people to just never have sex will work. We do not believe that restricting access to birth control will work. We do not believe that calling women babykillers or otherwise shaming them will work. And we certainly do not believe that physically forcing a woman to carry a baby to term that she does not want will work – on any level.
While I appreciate that you might believe that life begins at conception, I respectfully disagree. But the fact is, nobody actually knows the truth. And until we do, we should focus on the best, most productive ways to achieve our shared goal of no more abortions – instead of demonizing one another. And certainly we should stop the scorched earth approach to clinics like Planned Parenthood – which provides invaluable education and essential healthcare services to millions of women who have few, if any, other options – that Republicans seem to love so much.
Of course, this woman’s post never touched on the numerous other issues that are crazy important in this election – like the fact that global temperatures are proven to be rising and climate change is NOT a Chinese myth, or our country’s growing $1.1 trillion student loan debt, or the complete absence of any Republican plan to manage the healthcare crisis that would surely occur should the Affordable Care Act be repealed as promised.
She did, of course, throw out some totally unfounded accusations about Hillary and a rapist (please, for the love of Christ, look this up) and, a “cover-up” of Bill’s affairs (which I guess wasn’t too successful, since we’re all here talking about it, 30 years later)… But she never discussed the fact that Trump doesn’t pay taxes, or that time when he suggested that a Hispanic judge couldn’t do his job because of his race, or all the small business owners he fleeced when building his casino, or the African American families his company discriminated against during his slum lord days, or that time he went after the gold star mom who didn’t speak at the Democratic convention because she was overcome with grief for her lost son, or that phase he went through where he was calling reporters and pretending to be a fictional dude to somehow make himself look cool in the press (“That can’t possibly be true!” Oh, but it is, my friend, it is. “But that’s just… just…” I know, my friend, I KNOW), or how awful he is to beauty contestants and the disabled, or how super gross he gets when he talks about HIS OWN DAUGHTER (ick ick ick ick ick).
So I will let all of that go for now.
But what I CAN’T let go is the fact that there are people I know – WOMEN I KNOW, who are otherwise smart, successful, funny, interesting, and way, way better than this – who, for some reason, keep buying into all of this garbage, enough to repost this crap and talk about how worried they are for their children. I am shocked and disappointed – and I just can’t understand how this is so.
I’ve got news for you ladies: you are not the only ones who are worried. I, too, am worried. I’m worried for our future. I’m worried about the country my son will inherit. I worry for my friends and their children who are African American and can’t drive past a police car without being scared of getting shot. I worry for my Hispanic friends whose families might be torn apart. I worry for those who are poor and can’t feed their families despite working two jobs at minimum wage. I worry for those suffering from illness who desperately need universal healthcare to not fucking die. I worry for our country and our planet and our world.
And the most worrisome part to me is that people I know and care about – former classmates, co-workers, friends – people who should know better are complacent in all of this, and willing to let the worst happen… all because they’re either too lazy to find the facts for themselves, too greedy to let others share in the wealth, or too obstinate to change their minds.
(And by “y’all,” I mean the three people likely to read this, two of whom got here by searching for midget porn and that one pervy guy in Denver who keeps downloading the picture of the slutty girls.)
This blog. It sucks. I know.
I don’t even think you can call it a blog at this point. I haven’t written here in over a year, and even then it was just to humble-brag about a book I don’t even really like anymore. (But by all means you should use that link over there to buy it and judge for yourself.) Before that, I pieced together a few random thoughts I had when stoned out of my gourd at a Slash concert that seemed super funny at the time (but maybe not so hilarious in the sober light of day). And who even knows what came before that?
Who even cares?
Over the last few years I’ve been (mostly) content to just let my little blog hibernate, always with the idea that I’d come back to it someday. It just felt like a given that, at some point, I’d find myself with my panties all twisted up about something and I’d be glad to still have the soapbox.
But Donald Trump has been running his presidential campaign for more than a year now, y’all. If I haven’t lost my ever-loving blogging shit by now, I’m probably not gonna.
I read this thing the other day where two people whose opinions are supposed to matter to me debate the current status of the Mommy Blog. Is it dead? One lady I’ve never heard of says yes, while some guy I’ve never heard of says no.
To me, the very fact that these are the two most interesting people they could find to talk about it seems to answer the question.
The truth is, I don’t really care if the Mommy Blog is dead. Because this was never a Mommy Blog. I mean, yeah, technically I AM a mommy (though no one calls me that anymore) and this IS a blog… but how many Mommy Blogs can you name with posts about pony fetishes and fake vaginas? How many of them get half their traffic these days from clueless pervs looking for dildo helmets?
Probably not many.
The last few years have been filled with soccer games and birthday parties and the day-to-dayness of life. Friendships have been both won and lost. Freelance work and corporate drivel have dominated my days, and a frustrating start/stop creative process has ruled the nights.
I’ve started caring about some new things, and stopped caring about many more. I have a few more wrinkles and definitely more age spots – but I deny their legitimacy by insisting they are just freckles I never noticed before.
I’ve nursed loved ones through sickness and stood witness to loss and heartbreak, and tried my best to offer comfort where I could. Not sure how well I’ve done with that, but the good intentions were there, and sometimes that’s all we have – good intentions.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” – Proverb
My Little Bean is NINE now (hold me) and not so little anymore. He has an occasional attitude these days, which I find equal parts infuriating and hilarious. And his schedule’s gotten more crazy, which means MY schedule has gotten more crazy. But it’s all okay, because he’s still just as awesome as he ever was, just in different ways, and even when he’s acting like a total asshat he still manages to make everything better better better.
In these last few years I’ve washed one million, seven hundred thousand, nine hundred and ninety seven loads of laundry. And re-washed about half that, because I can’t seem to fucking remember to put the fucking wet clothes in the fucking dryer before they get fucking skunked and I have to start all the fuck over again.
Also, displaying a shocking lack of foresight, the Little Bean’s school has named me President of the PTA. This is horrifying on so many levels I don’t even know where to start.
I should be doing work related to that right now, in fact. Responding to emails, or begging for volunteers, or signing some bullshit at the bank or something.
The last thing I have time for is this blog.
Still, I miss writing here.
I’ve never made any money off of this site. I’ve never shilled for a product (naps and eyebrows don’t count), and the one time I tried running ads on the site (because everyone else was doing it) I felt so gross about it that I pulled them almost immediately. The instant the blog became about money, it ceased to feel like my space. It wasn’t free anymore.
I like free. Free is good.
The Big Bean and I were at a restaurant one day when a nursing home group came in. About 15 old folks of varying age and ailment were ushered in, and we watched from the bar as the restaurant staff pushed tables together and got them seated. All of the seniors looked a bit bewildered as their chaperones worked to get the menus passed out, walkers stowed away, soft appetizers ordered.
“That looks awful,” the Big Bean said to me. “Please just shoot me before I get to that point.”
“Really?” I asked, imagining a day free from all responsibility, no list of things to do, other than just waking up and staying alive until bedtime. “To me, it looks wonderful.”
This blog was once a huge part of my life. It was my creative outlet, it was my venting space, it was a place where I could write, untethered. It opened doors for me. It connected me. It made me new friends, and rediscovered some old ones, too.
It was a way for me to be silly and shocking and weird and deep and sometimes all of the above.
A lot of what’s here makes me cringe now, but at the time I really felt it, whatever “it” happened to be at the time. Sure some of it’s bad (bad bad so bad), but some of it still makes me happy, or proud. Some of it still makes me laugh. Some of it still touches me.
It costs nine dollars and thirty cents every month to keep it hosted, but I never worry about the auto-withdrawal.
It’s worth it.
I stopped writing here because of the pressure.
Pressure to get noticed, pressure to be heard. Pressure to be funny. Pressure to make money. Pressure to be popular.
The pressure didn’t come from anyone else. It came from me.
I watched other bloggers I knew, great writers who were a whole lot more motivated, talented, and connected than me, become bigger than big, using their blogging success to springboard into hugely popular best-selling books, nation-wide shows, Fashion Police writing gigs. They deserved every single bit of it and I was (and am) so happy for them but with every one of their successes, I felt a little smaller. A little less worthy. A little more red-faced that I wasn’t better, or bigger, or doing more than I was.
So I quit. Without even realizing it.
Gore Vidal once said, “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.”
I’ve been thinking for a while now that I should start writing here again. It’s a thought that lives in the back of my brain, popping up when something funny happens, or something amazing, or scary, or super annoying (see aforementioned presidential campaign).
But then I always think back, “Why? Who cares?”
Who even cares?
I don’t know if I even care. I think maybe I do, but it’s been so long since I wrote here that my voice feels rusty and it’s definitely different, older, more scratchy and worn from all of that work and stress and disappointment.
(Not that I’ve been toiling away in some bad prime time drama, or anything – I don’t want to oversell it. It’s mostly just the daily repetition and constant checking of to-do lists that have taken their toll, with a few little dramas interspersed. But still.)
What I do know is that I’d like to try. I’d like to see if I can pick this thing back up again and maybe have a little fun with it. Or, at the very least, use it to work through my own personal bullshit, which is what I often used it for before.
In a very interesting and entertaining way, of course.
Either way, I can’t kill it now, and I can’t continue to let it lie stagnant. It needs fresh water and oxygen. And maybe a bath.
I hope I can breathe new life into it. I hope I can give it what it needs.
I’m going to try. And if I can’t, well…
At least I had good intentions.
Tags: writing again
Last week my silly little book was named the winner of the Discovery Prize in the Poetry category of the 2014 Book Awards from the Writers’ League of Texas.
This was a total surprise, for lots of reasons. Here are just a few:
- I’d completely forgotten that I’d entered this contest.
- I’d completely forgotten that this contest existed.
- After stumbling upon a couple of painfully bad reviews a few months ago, I’d been doing my best to forget that my book existed.
- These are serious awards for serious authors of serious books. The 2014 winners include Thunderstruck & Other Stories, a collection of short stories that won author Elizabeth McCracken the $20,000 Story Prize last month, and Getting Life, the memoir of wrongfully-convicted-then-fully-exonerated Michael Morton. My book contains poems titled Neil Patrick Harris Gets the Paddle and Hair in My Ass Crack. This math is weird.
- Just this month, I’ve made enough money off of it to buy myself a nice burrito supreme from Taco Bell – but maybe not the combo meal.
But really, here’s the biggest reason:
I wrote, compiled, and illustrated this book during a super shitty time in my life. I’d been through the emotional ringer for lots of reasons, and was left feeling pretty much awful about myself. Luckily, after a few months of tearing myself apart I had the wherewithal to realize the only way I was ever going to feel any better was by shifting my focus completely – and putting together a funny book sounded like a much more pleasant pastime than sitting around asking myself why I was such a pathetic, unlovable loser. So I ran with that.
Humor poetry wasn’t my first choice of genre. I already had a couple of other book drafts in the works, both contemporary fiction novels with dark comedy undertones, and I tried to move forward with each of them first, but just wasn’t feeling it. The more I tried to force it the more frustrated I got, which kind of defeated the whole purpose. In the meantime, I was writing some silly stuff for this blog (yes, I used to write stuff here! Crazy, right?!) and for some reason, short, silly, stupid poems were coming easy. So finally I decided to just go ahead and run with them. And now I’m glad I did.
The announcement letter I received had this to say about the Discovery Prize:
“This is the second year we’ve named Discovery Prize Winners in each category. The directive to our judges was simple: Please nominate a book outside of the Finalists and Winner that you felt warranted a special mention for its fresh voice, inventive story, or some other element that made it stand out. While so many of the national book awards today tend to go to books being traditionally published by the major houses, we think it’s important to shine a light on the wonderful books that are being published by small presses or by authors themselves so we also asked our judges to keep that in mind for this Discovery Prize.”
So basically what they’re saying is, “You totally didn’t win, or even place… but know what? We still dig what you did there.”
Okay, so it’s not exactly a Pulitzer, but in my little world this is still a big deal. I love that this totally weird book, which I created and published – from the words to the illustrations to the cover to the marketing and everything else – 100% on my own and learning most of it from the ground up, can now be considered (on some small level) a success. That makes me feel pretty damned puffy, y’all.
And to have gone from feeling like a dumb, ugly, waste of space to winning an award for being “fresh” and “inventive”? Well, I’m not gonna lie – that’s just a lovely, refreshing, sweet-smelling breeze of all good.
Also – and not to go all Dalai Lama on you, or anything – but I do think it says something about resilience and possibility and all kinds of other new-agey, karma-ish things. At the very least it proves that, with just a little bit of muscle and a whole lot of heart, it is possible to take a truly shitty situation and turn it into something sweet.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is this:
If you’re struggling with depression or deflated self-worth, if your heart’s been hurt and feels like it might never recover… please, please find it in yourself to take one step – just one – in a different direction. Whether it’s writing silly poems, painting pretty pictures, running a mile or volunteering to help someone else in need… just find a new, better direction, point yourself that way, and take that one first step. The next one will be easier, and so will the next, and so on and so forth… until, before you know it, all that other nonsense will be way behind you, and you’ll have created something amazing, or accomplished something new, or made life for someone else a little bit easier – and you’ll feel good and proud and know in your heart that it was all worth it.
At least, that’s what worked for me.
Sure, I’ll have some pot! What could possibly go wrong?
Wow, I probably shouldn’t have smoked that pot.
Oh, dear. I think I might have had too much pot.
Wait, you can’t have “too much pot”! That’s ridiculous! People don’t overdose from pot!
Pot. Pot. Pooooooooooootttttt. Potty Potty POT!
(ducking) SHITWHAT’STHATNOISE??!? Are we being attacked??!? Terrorism!
Oh, it was just the drum intro. Haha whoops
Okay, you can definitely have too much pot. Definitely.
Where is Axl? What are they playing? I don’t know this. Axl’s not here? They’re not playing the Axl songs? What the fuck is this WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME
Wow, I’m stoned. Like, a lot a lot a lottttttt-tuh-tuh-tuhhhhh
Is everyone staring at me? STOP JUDGING ME
Everything about this was a bad idea.
OY THIS CONCERT IS SO LOUD. Why is it so loud? SO LOUD
Why am I so slouchy? When did I get such bad posture? I used to have the best posture. God I’m old.
Can you be too old for pot? If you can, I am. Wait, no you can’t! Willie Nelson is like 112 and he smokes like every day. OHMYGOD I’M OLDER THAN WILLIE NELSON. Maybe not chronologically, but definitely in my heart right now.
Hey, Hawaiian Shirt Guy, what’re YOU looking at? Eyes front, fella, mind your own! You’re here to see Slash and his weird band of people who aren’t Guns ‘n Roses. Not some dried up, weird old lady strung out on pot.
Should I dance? I feel like I should dance. Everyone else is dancing. Is it conspicuous that I’m not dancing? Yes. I should dance. I’ll dance.
Jesus, when did I get so bad at dancing? I need to stop. I’m like 14 unreasonably long octopus arms attached to two awkward, stumpy pig legs. I’m really just insulting Slash, at this point. And myself.
Huh. Now I can’t feel my feet. That can’t be good.
Hawaiian Shirt Guy is staring again. I’ll stick my tongue out at him, I bet he stops. There, that’ll teach him. Wait, now he’s really staring. He really wasn’t staring before, I guess. Whoops.
Why is everyone so tall? I can’t see anything except this dude in front of me, with the Curly Sue hair.
I need to touch the Curly Sue hair. NEED TO. Will he notice? Nah. Okay. Be cool, Beej. Just a quick touch so he doesn’t feel it.
(rubbing fingers through strange man’s hair) This is so fun! I am so creepy.
I want to jump on his back and ride him like a horse, holding his soft Curly Sue curls in ponytails like reins.
IT’S SO SOFFFFFFT, I JUST WANT TO RUB MY FACE ON IT, WILL HE KNOW? (rubs face in strange man’s hair) OH SHIT HE KNOWS ABORT ABORT
(drops hair, looks around innocently)
Why’s everyone wearing top hats? What a weirdly random fashion choice.
OH WAIT RIGHT
Why am I at this concert? I don’t even really like Slash.
Wow, this is a really long guitar solo. Like, uncomfortably long. Loooooooooooong.
I wonder what Axl Rose is doing right now.
I hate the way Axl Rose spells his name. Actually, I just hate Axl Rose in general.
That wasn’t very nice of me, maybe Axl Rose is a very nice person. I need to stop being so judgmental. I’m a terrible person. I really need to work on myself.
Holy shit, is Slash still playing that same solo? My god, man!
Man, someone who gets migraines would be so fucked right now.
I guess these songs are okay but I do kind of wish this was some other kind of music being played by some other band.
Oh, great, the Young Skinny Slutty Girls have arrived to make me feel even shittier! Yes, please post up right there in front of me, young ladies, where I can enjoy watching you dance better than me in skirts shorter than anything I’ve ever worn, in heels I could never wear because bunions. What a pleasure.
Oh, good, here they go with the hair-flippy, twerky dancing now. And that one’s boyfriend has his hand down her skirt. Awesome.
Where are these children’s parents?
Hey, Young Skinny Cute Girls, know what? Someday you’ll be old and haggard and unable to hold your pot, like me. I look forward to that day.
OKAY, SLASH, WE GET IT. You’re, like, the best guitarist ever and can do a guitar solo for, like, a really long time. Congratulations on that.
UGH MORE SOLO
Hawaiian Shirt Guy is judging me again. What an asshole. Who wears a Hawaiian shirt to a SLASH concert, anyway? Nosy fuckers, that’s who.
I have to pee.
I want to go home.
I bet Slash hates wearing that fucking hat. He must be so over it by now.
Know what I’m over? This fucking concert.
Can we go home yet?
I’m not driving.
Today is December 22nd or, as I know it, The Day That Amazon Prime Officially Owns All Our Asses. If you’re a lazy, disorganized fuck like me and now find yourself a slave to the corporate 2-Day Shipping gods, today is your last day to serve your Lord and Master and get that shit here by Christmas Eve so nobody’s crying the next morning because Santa didn’t come.
One of the things Amazon offers while you browse the site for merchandise is the “Customers Also Viewed” feature. This section appears just below any item you view and can offer some great ideas for items that might be more appropriate for you than the one you’re currently browsing. Sometimes (but not THIS time) these items are even better or more interesting than the first thing, and I’ve also found that an extended “Also Viewed” click-thru marathon can provide some fascinating insights into human online-shopping behavior.
Of course, the results of such analysis do often create more questions than answers. Take, for example, the award-winning*, best-selling**, top-reviewed*** book Something Smells Like Pee: and Other Classy Observations. This incredibly touching, hilarious book (currently available on Amazon Prime) would make a wonderfully perfect gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list. However, one glance at the page’s “Also Viewed” list and you’ll see that customers interested in this amazing item are also checking out some seriously weird shit.
Let’s take a look:
Now, I think it’s clear that this book is the item for you. You probably realize it, too, and I bet you’re ready to buy copies for everyone you know, probably right this very second! But just out of curiosity… how about we take a quick peeksie at some of those other items viewed? if nothing else, we might learn some interesting things about the typical audience for this fantastic piece of literature.
So let’s explore.
There are no reviews yet for this gorgeous piece of work, but it should be noted that this is a menswear item and I’m sure some happy male purchasers will be chiming in any day now. At only $63.13, it’s a creepy, corny, unicorny steal!
I’d like to think that the discerning Amazon shoppers who considered spending $699.95 for this gem of a costume were looking for something to wear on Halloween… but given the other items that my fans have shown preference for… well, let’s face it. Their reasons were probably a lot more pervy.
Item #3: Cute Space Kitten Ladies Leggings
An essential component to any complete wardrobe, these kitten leggings will beautifully enhance any thigh. Verified purchaser (size: Large) Shawn says:
At first I was afraid that there would not be enough flying cats, or stars on this pair of pants. Fortunately, my fears were put to ease when my new pants arrived. My wife has grown fond of these pants and has started borrowing them for herself. I will most likely be looking to buy these in bulk, next time.
This is the best beach towel ever created in the history of beach towels and if I do not get one for Christmas I will cry. However, it does lose one star because, as one reviewer pointed out, it is not actually MADE of carbonite.
Who wouldn’t want to dress up their bathroom with this unique addition? It even comes with 12 shower curtain hooks, for your convenience! 10 reviewers so far are giving it glowing recommendations, among them izbaby, who says:
I am so glad to have this hard working girl in the house. She picks the bills up slow but I know she is working to put herself through college and support her illegitimate offspring. Make it rain!
Feeling like this list is a little low on class? Well, skip to the next page and the items start to become a lot more respectable:
To start, the book I Love My Gay Badger Son tells a heartwarming tale of parents adopting and raising a first grader who also happens to be a boy weasel-like mammal who likes other boy weasel-like mammals. Adventures are had, love is shared, and they all learn many valuable life lessons along the way.
The Life-Sized Weeping Angel Cardboard Cutout will add a touch of tasteful whimsy to the home decor of any Dr. Who fan.
And the Tank-Shaped Cat Play House is sure to keep your war-hungry pussy entertained for hours on end.
See? Nothing but class.
Of course, any self-respecting fan of Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson’s New York Times bestseller Let’s Pretend This Never Happened has already purchased their own copy of my book, so her inclusion on this list is only natural. And the Willy Care Kit? Well, that’s just the gift that keeps on giving, y’all. Besides, whose family jewels don’t need a little extra polish every now and then? (Comes complete with grooming brush, shears, tiny ball-viewing mirror, and even a little medallion for when you feel like getting fancy.)
So overall, I’d say we’ve learned a few things from perusing this list, wouldn’t you? Let’s review:
(1) The people who buy Something Smells Like Pee are fucking weird fucking awesome
(B) If YOU want to be fucking awesome, you will buy a bunch of copies of Something Smells Like Pee immediately with two-day shipping and give it to everyone you know for Christmas, and
(iii) Amazon.com has a gift for literally anyone on the planet.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little holiday lesson. Happy shopping, peeps — now go make some MERRY!
* Proud winner of the Best Book Written By Anyone in My House Award, given by me
** Currently ranked #1 in sales on the list of Books Written About Things that Smell Like Pee (children’s books, animal care books, parenting advice books and household maintenance books not included), calculations performed by me
*** By me
If you’re currently growing out your facial hair and considering the Full Beard + No Mustache option — but you’re unsure if this is the right look for you — please ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are you Amish?
2. Are you Abraham Lincoln?
3. Are you a leprechaun?
4. Are you Uncle Sam?
5. Are you a Klingon?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, this look is totally appropriate for you.
If you answered “no” to all of the above, but have already grown your facial hair out to this unfortunate style — Heads up, dude. You look like a garden gnome.
In which of the following situations is a “chin strap” appropriate?
Next Edition: Mutton chops.
AUSTIN, TX—Shoppers used to waiting in long lines at a local Target store’s three open checkout lanes were baffled this Saturday when a fourth register was opened. “We all just stood there, staring at each other,” said Nina Martin, a mom of three who was fifth in line at Lane 26 in the Parmer/I-35 North location when the light for Lane 27 suddenly flashed on. “There were at least three people behind me and we all wanted to rush over there, but none of us did because we just couldn’t believe it.”
Store manager Nicholas Strong made the unprecedented decision to open a fourth register when the three lanes already in use became overrun by long lines of shoppers. “Of course we see a lot of back-up on a daily basis – with only three registers open every day, that’s a given. But today, it felt more congested,” Strong explained. “The lines were so long that carts were blocking other shoppers from getting through, and when two separate customers pulled out their old-timey checkbooks to pay, I knew I had to do something.”
The decision to open an additional register wasn’t implemented right away; it took Strong and his subordinates some time to select one lane from the 42 available. “It was hard to narrow it down,” says one staff member. “We all debated for a while before we finally agreed on the best lane to open.” Ultimately, they settled on Lane 27 because of its convenient place in sequence after Lanes 24, 25, and 26, which were already open per the store’s usual procedure. “Lane 27 just made the most sense, you know?” says Strong. “I mean, why make people walk all the way down to Lane 1 or Lane 45 when there’s a perfectly good register right next to them?”
Once the extra register’s light came on, it took stunned shoppers several minutes to understand that the lane was actually open, and the light’s activation hadn’t been some kind of electronic glitch. “It was mass confusion at first,” said another customer, who wished to remain anonymous. “Some people thought it was a mistake, but I just thought it was some kind of practical joke. I was all, ‘FOUR lanes open at Target? Come on! Where are the reality show cameras?’”
Even some staff members were slightly bewildered by the new situation. Lana Boucher, an employee in the store’s meat department, said, “There was a buzz around the place, for sure. I didn’t even think those other registers worked if it wasn’t Christmastime.”
Despite their initial mistrust, shoppers did eventually grasp the concept of an additional available register; and a new line gradually formed with relatively minimal disruption to business. “There was a little shoving at first, sure, but overall the results were really good,” Strong reports. “Once they understood that the lane was really open and we weren’t messing with their heads, almost all of our customers responded in a very positive way. I’m glad we took a chance and tried it.”
Still, Strong knows he might face some consequences for his decision. “I don’t know what will happen once corporate gets wind of this,” he admits. “New and progressive ideas are always a little scary to some of the higher-ups.”
Calls to Target corporate headquarters requesting a statement were not returned.