I colored my hair yesterday. No big deal. (Read: hahaha.)

I’ve been pretty productive lately, even though I also managed to waste a lot of time yesterday… not due to procrastination, but due to the decision I made to color my hair yesterday morning. It’d been so long since the last time, I did it wrong. The follies I committed in the process dragged the whole operation out beyond the precious time I’d allocated for it.

We’re at the advent of a long stretch of summer; my hair is at its most red by the beginning of October. It gets redder and lighter down toward the ends, which makes it look more fried than usual. I’ll get ahead of it and start this summer with freshly darkened hair, went my thinking. I picked up some “dark brown,” my go-to choice for Mission: Single-shade Hair.

Evidently, I’d forgotten how the process works. I started by putting on an old t-shirt. This would’ve been correct had the t-shirt not been a men’s size XXL with the neckline cut out. Basically, I wore a huge, loose, off-the-shoulder t-shirt dress… for the occasion of coloring my hair… dark brown. (Lest we forget that I’m a brilliant genius.) It wasn’t until after I was finished that I saw the gruesome aftermath on my skin. I’d been so focused on my hair that I failed to notice the color getting everywhere else.

I realized too late that 1). it’s not a good idea to undertake a hair-coloring enterprise when I’d be alone wielding a bottle of hair dye and no clue how to deal with the back of my head, and 2). the answer to the struggle is not to flip my wet, color-saturated hair from one side of my head to the other, or to turn my head around as far as possible so I could pull under-pieces from the back toward the front. If only I could swivel my head around like the girl in “The Exorcist,” I even thought at one point. Someone should start a Rent-A-Demon business.

Since it took so long to finish the color application (45 minutes), the dye on my skin had already dried by the time I noticed it… just when I was feeling proud of myself for getting every single hair. I ended up grabbing at nearby paper towels, leaning over the sink and frantically scrubbing the right side of my face and neck, part of my throat, the back of my neck, and parts of my collarbones, shoulders, and upper chest. And my left wrist, and a few fingers, even though I’d worn the flimsy enormous plastic gloves that came with the dye.

I felt like a murderer in a gas station bathroom. Now I understand why it takes murderers so long to clean up, and why the clean-up scene is usually cut mid-way through and the next thing you see is a pile of bloody paper towels after the successful clean-up job, or the murderer leaving the bathroom all spic and span, or even further, the murderer scrubbing off blood one minute and showing up at someone’s dinner party with a bouquet the next.

Callaghan called me two hours later when I was fresh out of the shower and still faintly splotchy even after all the scrubbing with a Japanese washcloth (rough like a cat’s tongue) my skin could handle. The residual stains on my skin did look like they could be bloodstains.

“I look like I did something heinous,” I told Callaghan when he asked me how my morning was going. “Are you still going to Costco after work? Could you please pick up some nail polish remover?”

“You don’t wear nail polish. What did you do?”

“I colored my hair this morning. And also the side of my face. And parts of my neck and upper chest. Pretty much my entire upper body, plus my left wrist and a few fingers.”

After he stopped laughing, he said, “It will come off eventually. Give it another few showers.”

“But I’m going to the gym tomorrow morning and I don’t want to look like a murderer.”

When he got home, Callaghan said, “I had to go to CVS for this. You know this stuff is mostly acetone, right? There’s nothing in here that’s inoffensive.” (Yes, he said the word “inoffensive.” The man may have a French accent, but he also has an English vocabulary that puts many Americans’ to shame.)

“Did you go to the CVS?” (The CVS where people tend to get shot or otherwise murdered. It’s our friendly neighborhood CVS, aka the murder CVS.)

It took the two of us a good 30 minutes to scrub me down with acetone. We were able to get most of the dye, but not all of it. Altogether, I spent almost three hours of yesterday doing my hair.

A pic of my uniformly dark brown hair, so you know that it happened:


(dark brown)


By the way, my t-shirt reads “My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined” (Reviewbrah quote.) I didn’t choose the shirt on purpose. It was a coincidence. Also, I’m not actually disappointed. I think my hair turned out pretty well.

Possible mid-life crisis sighting: new glasses?! (+ 1st cardio class on new meds!)

I stepped on my glasses yesterday. They were laying on the ground, on the brick pavement part of our back patio, because I’m a brilliant genius. That’s right. Not just any kind of genius. A brilliant genius. Luckily, I was wearing cloth house slippers. The damage could’ve been worse. My expensive progressive lens sat perfectly unharmed – not even scratched – within frames that were bent like a flimsy wire hanger from the dry cleaner’s.

A few hours later, I headed to my optometrist with hopes that the frames could be fixed. While I was there, I did what people naturally do when they’re in a room surrounded by glasses frames: I checked out the glasses frames.

To my dismay, I found a pair that I really, really liked. The entire room, I lamented to Callaghan, is like the cash register lane where they stock things they know you’ll consider buying just because you’re stuck in line with nothing to do but look at them.

I do not need an additional pair of glasses. I just felt like I needed them. My replacement frames were on order (100% covered by the warranty), and I was still sitting there staring wistfully at the unnecessary glasses frames. Callaghan coaxed me away so we could leave. “Allez, allez! On y va!” He said as he walked away from me, leaving me no choice but to follow him. (Classic French husband move.)

So here’s what I’m thinking: I’ve been waiting for and wondering about and anticipating my well-earned mid-life crisis so much that now, every time I get a wild hair up my ass, I think, could this be it?

Maybe this glasses thing is my mid-life crisis, since it fits the cliché: I have this sudden, strong desire to blow a stupid amount of money on something I don’t need. (“Stupid amount of money on something I don’t need ” converted to U.S. currency = anything more than $25.00, maybe $30.00 if you include shipping and tax.)

If this is it, I’m disappointed. The object of my irrational desire should be something more mid-life-crisis-ish. If this isn’t it, then what will it be, and when? Will I reach the end of my natural lifespan and finally realize that I need a Maybach? I do tend to be a late bloomer.

Totally unrelated because I wanted to post a pic and didn’t know what and I wanted to share this small victory with you, anyway: I have a selfie I took yesterday evening when I came back from Body Combat, significant because it marks the first cardio I’ve done in while.

I mean, okay, it’d only been two weeks since my last Combat class, but it seemed longer. Yesterday was the first time in a long time I could get through class without feeling like it was an exercise in dragging myself through wet cement.

Probably not coincidentally, it was my first cardio workout since starting my new medication. It seems that my new treatment plan is working! Despite side effects, I felt much better in class yesterday, and not just because I held back a little on the hardcore. Before the new medication, each Combat class felt successively more impossible; the last one was a disaster.


(02 May 2018 – commemorating my first cardio class since the addition of my new medication! It seems to be working.)


This wraps up my eventful day yesterday. Here’s to a year with improved physical condition… and only one pair of glasses.

Callaghan and the prism of Luc Besson.

Being with Callaghan has taught me to see things in new ways. Like action flicks. If not for him, I’d never think to ask myself: “How bad is this movie on a Luc Besson scale of 1-10?”

As a French person, he’s sensitive to Luc Besson. Or, should I say, he’s not sensitive so much as he’s annoyed by Luc Besson.

I listen for his comments when we’re watching action movies. If he starts grumbling about Luc Besson, I know that he’s annoyed. That’s because Luc Besson is the yardstick Callaghan uses to measure his opinion of the movie’s worth, even if Luc Besson had nothing to do with the movie.

This morning, I asked him to summarize his feelings about Luc Besson. I actually recorded his answer. Verbatim:

“Hmm. Luc Besson. Alors. His movies are too easy. I mean, the stories. The resolution of the problems. It’s always, like, ‘Oh! Everything’s fine now. She turned into an intergalactic f*cking cloud of black matter, so everything’s fine’.”

Some comments I’ve heard from him while watching action flicks, or while talking about them:

10). “Putain, the person who did this movie was influenced by Luc Besson.”

9). “This could’ve been a great movie, but Luc Besson.”

8). “The CGI is cheesy. It’s Luc Besson.”

7). “Luc Besson outdid himself with Valerian!! I had to stop after a half-hour. It was bad, it was SO BAD, it was the quintessential Luc Besson movie.” (Yes, Callaghan knows the word “quintessential.” No, I wasn’t with him when he watched Valerian. He shared this opinion with me afterward.)

6). “Ugh, this movie has that Luc Besson vibe.”

5). “Taxi was ridiculous, and Luc Besson made three of that!!”

4). “You can tell Luc Besson was involved in this.”

3). “Dobermann was good because it wasn’t Luc Besson. If it was Luc Besson doing the same movie, it would be ridiculous.”

2). “The Family. That was a stupid movie. Luc Besson.”

And his #1 general comment, applicable to any action flick that annoys him:


Sidenote: This post is rather a tribute to Luc Besson. Love him or not, he’s an iconic filmmaker. Two of his films are on my list of all-time favorites: The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and La Femme Nikita (1990). Callaghan likes those movies, too, as well as The Fifth Element.


Frosty the Rude Man.

Callaghan was outraged when he read our friend Nick’s FB post the other night. I could tell that something was wrong, because I could see him fuming as he stared at his phone.

He yelled, “Did you see what Nick posted on FB? THIS is what happens when you try to be nice to people now!!!”

Thinking back, I remembered that Nick had posted a joke about Frosty the Snowman earlier in the day.

Before I could say anything, Callaghan ranted: “Seriously! WHAT is wrong with people?!!”

I struggled to hold back a snort. “Uh… Baby, no… read the whole post.”

“I AM reading the post!!!”

I try not to laugh when his English as a Second Language gets in the way of his understanding, or being understood. In this case, though, his lack of understanding came not from a language barrier, but from a cultural one. Callaghan wasn’t familiar with “Frosty the Snowman.”

“It’s ridiculous what this guy did,” he said with great indignation. “HE PEED ON NICK’S FLOOR!!!”

I lost it. “Baby. It’s a joke. The ‘guy’ is a snowman.”

“What?” He stared at the spectacle of me cracking up while he sat on the couch seething with fury on Nick’s behalf.

“Yes, the ‘guy’ they brought in was a snowman!”

He read the post again. “Oh. He was NAKED except for a scarf. I get it now.”

When I stopped laughing, I reassured him. He didn’t get the joke because he was never a child in America, I said. I quoted the pertinent “Frosty the Snowman” lyrics:

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul/With a corncob pipe and a button nose/And two eyes made out of coal

Thus, Callaghan learned another little piece of Americana.

Here’s the joke in question:

Yesterday it was so cold out that we took a man into our home out of the kindness of our hearts. We felt so sorry for him. Poor thing was trembling out in the cold. But this morning he had just vanished. Not a word … Not even a goodbye or a thank you for sheltering him !!!
The last straw ?!?! When I realized he had peed all over the living room floor !!! That’s the thanks I get for being good to people ?!?!?!
Now I’m going to warn my friends to watch out for this man !!! He is heavy set & wearing nothing but a scarf. He also has a corn cob pipe, a button nose & 2 eyes made out of coal !!! Don’t bring him into your house !!! What a huge mess he made on the floor !!!

One thing about the holidays: they can make it extra fun to be with a European who came to the States as an adult.

Futurizing classic poems.

Thinking of the transience of language and how it correlates with cultural change over time, I wondered, What if classic poems were translated to now? I chose a few well-known poems and took a shot at updating them. If you’re wondering why the poets I chose are all male, it’s because I wanted to go for easily recognizable titles, and for the longest time, only men were allowed to be openly literary and write poems for all the world to see.

Here’s what these guys might have written if their world looked like ours:

1). Robert Frost

  • Then: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
  • Now: Stopping to buy Weed on a Snowy Evening

2). Edgar Allen Poe

  • Then: The Raven
  • Now: The Rain Man (“Quoth the rain man, ‘Nevermore.'”)

3). Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Then: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Now: Rime of the Darth Vader

4). William Carlos Williams

  • Then: The Red Wheelbarrow
  • Now: The Target Red Card

5). William Blake

  • Then: The Tiger
  • Now: The Flesh-Eating Bacteria

6). John Milton

  • Then: Paradise Lost
  • Now: Sanity Lost

7). William Shakespeare

  • Then: “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” (Sonnet XVIII)
  • Now: “Shall I Compare Thee to a Vacation with Pay?”

8). T.S. Eliot

  • Then: “Let us go then, you and I” (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)
  • Now: “Don’t they ever stop migrating?” (The Birds of Alfred Hitchcock)

9). Allen Ginsberg

  • Then: Howl
  • Now: LOL

10). Andrew Marvell

  • Then: To His Coy Mistress
  • Now: To His Sugar Baby


Friendly neighborhood cyclist near my house


Happy October Eve!

50 (no, 41) facts about me. (Meme)

Every once in a while, I’m browsing blogs or social media posts and I come across the “50 facts about me” meme that’s gone around on-and-off ever since the internet was invented. I don’t remember ever doing it. Last night, I revisited a friend’s blog post in which she did this, so today, I’m going to see if I can think of 50 things about me that most of you don’t already know. I’m feeling weirdly self-indulgent just thinking about doing this, so I’ll jump right in.



  1. Pressing lightly on my left eyebrow or running my finger over it sends a tickly-sneezy feeling down through the left side of my nose.
  2. I often sneeze while doing the eyebrow part of my makeup because of that eyebrow-nose nerve connection on the left side.
  3. I believe that I’m addicted to lip balm.
  4. I believe that I’m addicted to peppermint gum.
  5. I don’t think of my wisdom teeth procedure (that I had when I was 17) as a surgery, even though it was (as it is for many of us).
  6. Therefore, I usually accidentally lie when I’m filling out a medical form and I’m asked how many surgeries I’ve had.
  7. I used to drink, and sometimes, I got really, really drunk.
  8. But I’ve never had a hang-over in my life.
  9. I believe I’ve inherited some crazy English drinking genes.
  10. I don’t drink anymore.
  11. I’m uncomfortable to the point of anxiety attack when I’m around people who are drunk.
  12. So I avoid hanging out in bars, unless it’s a sports bar and they’re airing an event I want to watch but can’t watch at home.
  13. I especially avoid bars because not only do I not drink, but I don’t eat bar food.
  14. I always order club soda/sparkling water at a bar.
  15. My club soda is free because I’m the designated driver.
  16. I am a cheap date.
  17. My first job was at a dentist’s office in Honolulu the summer I was 14.
  18. I once tripped on something while walking to work at the dentist’s office.
  19. I thought I tripped on a large rock, but it was a snail the size of a tennis ball.
  20. My roach-phobia started with a terrifying roach incident in Honolulu when I was 12.
  21. I read both The Amityville Horror and Helter-Skelter when I was still in grade school.
  22. Also horror-related, I was probably 7 or 8 when It’s Alive aired on cable, and my parents didn’t want me to watch it, but I low-crawled into the family room so I could watch it while lying on the floor behind some furniture, and they didn’t know.
  23. It’s Alive scared me and I loved it.
  24. Horror has been my favorite film genre ever since I watched It’s Alive.
  25. The most scared I’ve ever been at the movies was during Alien when I was 11.
  26. Alien petrified and traumatized me and had me crying and literally begging to leave the theater.
  27. Horror was still my favorite film genre, and Alien also spawned my love for sci-fi thrillers.
  28. I’m always looking for movies that creep me out, and so far, only The Ring has come close.
  29. I love all forms of entertainment-provoked fear.
  30. But I will not see The Human Centipede.
  31. I don’t understand how I developed a roach-phobia after a traumatic childhood roach incident, but the total opposite thing happened when I had a traumatic childhood movie incident (Alien).
  32. I used to be a republican.
  33. I switched from republican to democrat.
  34. I was a democrat for less than a year.
  35. I switched to “independent.”
  36. I’ve been an independent for more years than I belonged to any political party.
  37. I generally avoid discussing politics.
  38. I strongly dislike the word “ditto.”
  39. My biggest grammar pet peeve is when someone ends a sentence with “at.”
  40. When I hear someone say “where’s it at” I have to physically contain myself.
  41. My thoughts on the Oxford comma are more complicated than my thoughts on politics, and I will not discuss the Oxford comma.

So there’s 41. I would try to think of 9 more, but I’m out of time, so The End for now.

p.s. I guess my mind went to a Halloweenesque place in this post because it’s feeling like fall around here. In Arizona, summer is over when you can open your windows in the early mornings.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

My life without Sex in the City. (My pop culture deficiencies!)

I don’t remember watching much in the way of T.V. series when I was a kid. I know that by the time I graduated from high school, the only channel I liked was MTV. Almost five years later, post-army, I found that something had happened to MTV while I was away. MTV was still there, but it had met with disaster of some sort (I’ll spare you the gory details – if you’re Gen-X, too, you probably remember the trauma of it), and I could no longer watch.

It was 1992. I’d just moved to Phoenix. I was 23. I started watching Beverly Hills 90210 because I heard it was good. I watched it for a year or so, and when Melrose Place happened, I started watching that, too. Then I got into NYPD Blue. (I did enjoy Hill Street Blues when I was in high school, come to think of it.) Somewhere around 1994, I stopped with the T.V. series because college and work and homework and martial arts and grad school and work and etc. in a big, long-running snowball of busy, and there was no room in my life. I did find time to watch boxing and basketball, though. I don’t know if you remember, but the Suns were on fire in the 90’s. And movies. Always movies!

I finally started watching T.V. series again with Callaghan in 2011. We were living in the boondocks of the Alpes in France and needed some entertainment. But guys – I watched no T.V. series at all for almost 20 years. I missed out on almost 20 years of pop culture!

At least my time watching NYPD Blue led to my grasp of the significance of Dennis Franz’ bare ass running into the ocean in the film City of Angels. And thanks to my time watching Melrose Place, I knew who was responsible for the mainstream popularization of ambient-electronic music (I’m looking at you, Enigma). Melrose Place also explained Bohemian-inspired fashion with short, edgy haircuts on women.

The landscape of T.V. changed over the years, as I was well aware due to people buzzing around me in hysterics. High-quality cable series took off, starting with The Sopranos. Someone invented reality T.V., starting with Survivor. People were losing their minds with these developments. I had no sense of FOMO.

Here are some of the popular series I missed while I was away from T.V.:

  • Seinfeld
  • Ally McBeal
  • Friends
  • The Sopranos
  • Survivor
  • The Osbournes
  • Sex in the City
  • Lost
  • Six Feet Under
  • The Office

I’ll probably never see any of these, especially not Lost, as I remember the furor of the general public when the finale aired. Everyone was pissed off at the way the series ended, and that’s enough of a spoiler alert for me. Plus, I was already in therapy. I didn’t need another reason to go.

Callaghan and I did go back to watch/start watching:

  • Arrested Development
  • Damages
  • Dexter
  • American Horror Story
  • Breaking Bad

And perhaps some others. I wrote these lists off the top of my head. Currently, we’re catching up on Parks and Recreation.

The point of all of this? No point, really. This post is brought to you by a Facebook comment (again, you know who you are) that led to musing on my pop culture deficiencies. I guess all of this is to say that pop culture references originating from these series are mostly lost on me.

For more Tuesday randomness, in lieu of an image that makes sense with this post, have this pic of Callaghan with someone’s dog:


Callaghan with dog.


Actually, the pic goes perfectly with this post.

11 signs that you’re a writer.

In case you’re not sure, here are some signs that you’re a writer:

1). Clinical-grade confusion. You’re in the shower and you forget what body part you’ve already washed because you’re lost in your writing, or you’re at the gym and the minute you’re done working out you start thinking about your writing and you accidentally stretch the same side twice.

2). Speculation overload. You see the same white-paneled van crawling around your neighborhood at least once a week, and you become fixated on the narrative you’ve developed around it, which is always serial killers, of course.

3). Belief in magic. You choose the color of your underwear based on a predetermined superstition you have about the day.

4). Hyper-fueling. You operate on a fasting/feeding cycle where you wake up early, remember to have breakfast 4 hours later (ending a 12-hour fast), then eat lunch 3 hours after that, and then you eat every 2 hours thereafter, so by the time 9pm rolls around, you’ve eaten 6-7 times, all because you needed energy for writing, which includes researching and working out complicated problems in your head and so your brain is starving.

(Except on gym mornings when you eat two breakfasts, one before and one after the gym.)

5). Sleep-deprivation. You’re capable of Spartan self-discipline EXCEPT when it comes to your chronic resolution to get more than 5 hours of sleep and “more sleep” has become a unicorn in an undeserving forest.

6). Auto-conversation. You talk to your fur-baby (or finned, feathered, or scaled-baby) all day, except when you’re talking to yourself, which is something like 70% of the time, and if you don’t have a fur-baby, you’re just talking to yourself and your argument is invalid.

7). Full-of-shit syndrome. You have to get used to being asked what you do and when you say “I write” the person looks at you like “Yeah that’s NOT work,” and “You can’t possibly have a schedule, because you DON’T WORK, therefore you must be calling writing ‘work’ in order to have an excuse to not do (xyz).”

8). Other-world desensitization. You watch horror movies for the thrill of getting scared and 95% of them fail, but you keep watching them hoping that one of them will really super scare you, but it’s all good because you like horror, anyway.

9). Bladder resentment. You think wistfully of those times you were in the hospital and you had a catheter and how great it was to drink water all day without ever feeling like you had to pee, and how awesome catheters are and it’s a good thing they’re not accessible or practical for everyday at-home use because if they were, you’d always have one and then you’d never have to get up to go to the bathroom and then you’d develop bedsores.

10). Bermuda Triangle phenomenon. (AKA the unsolved mystery of writing’s impact on time.) You start re-working a paragraph and take a minute to deliberate between using a definite article or an indefinite article and when you look at the clock, an hour has passed and you can’t understand where that time went while you were deciding between the word choices and then you panic that you’ll be late for the gym.

11). Nap dysfunction. You’re sleep-deprived so you try to take a nap with your cat, but you end up staring at each other with starry eyes because you can’t sleep and it’s her fault for being too cute.


Sleep-deprived and confused. Must be a writer.


I hope this helps.

Happy Friday, All!


Nenette’s tale of woe, bird edition. (Kitty update!)

Our yard abounds with two types of birds: doves and grackles. I always liked the doves. I liked their calls. The grackles, not so much.

I noticed the grackles hanging out by the dumpster behind our backyard. I didn’t know what they were, at first. A friend filled me in. I don’t like them, I said. They’re creepy and they sit on our back fence by the dumpster, and sometimes they fly around it and dive in. She said that she liked grackles. We agreed that she could have my grackles if I could have her doves.

Cut to six or so months later, to a few weeks ago. Callaghan and I started spreading wild bird seed across the gravel outside our bedroom window, because Nenette loved to sit on the dresser and watch the doves. There were doves perched on the wire above, doves on the side fence, doves in the neighbor’s mesquite tree, doves everywhere. Nenette had a great view. If we put seeds on the ground, we thought, Nenette would have more birds to watch!

We bought a huge bag of assorted seeds and scattered them around that part of the yard, replenishing the spread every other day. The yard proliferated with birds in the mornings and late afternoons. It was just doves, at first, and then some smaller, brown birds that we decided must be finches.

Then the grackles joined the party. I watched them in dismay, but the more I observed, the more they fascinated me.

Look what they do! I said to Callaghan one day after calling him to the window. They use their beaks to dig and throw rocks aside so they can get to the sunflower seeds.

We noticed that the doves and finches weren’t eating those larger seeds. But the grackles were.

I studied them, transfixed by their methodology. A grackle would dig into the large gravel, picking up the rocks and flinging them left and right. Then he’d grab the unearthed sunflower seed, fly to a patch of dirt on our small lawn, and patiently gnaw at the seed, repeatedly dropping it and picking it back up until the shell gave way. He’d eat the seed, fly back to the gravel, and start the process over again.

We marveled at them. Grackles are interesting! They’re smart! They hunt, make decisions, use their beaks like tools. They eat the sunflower seeds, which no one else in our bird community did. We never saw them bullying other birds. In fact, it was the doves who were territorial and rude. A dove would march toward a grackle, who would then peacefully walk away to a different spot while the dove poked around in the grackle’s hole, even though there was nothing there that he wanted. We also saw the doves bullying each other.

I was wrong, I said to Callaghan. He said yes, it’s the doves who are the bullies.

Grackles aren’t creepy because they hang out by the dumpster, I thought. Don’t judge a book by its cover. My word! I’d been profiling the grackles.

Now a fan of grackles, I looked them up online so I could learn more about them.

I found out that grackles are considered to be PEST BIRDS.

We stopped feeding the birds, afraid that the grackles would start doing all of the Terrible Things. Callaghan was also concerned that with the abundance of doves, some would be sure to nest on our house and wreak whatever havoc that would cause.

And now, poor Nenette has no bird party to watch. This is has been Nenette’s tale of woe. She is bereft.


No more birds for Nenette.


I miss the birds, too. I loved watching them! Are they really that bad to have around? Would the doves wreck our house with their nesting? Does anyone know?

La Fin.

Do I look like June Cleaver?

It’s been a week since I complained about my rat’s nest hair and how it was dropping loose hairs into my face and interfering with my gym experience.

“Nothing works,” I said in that post. “If there’s a solution short of shaving my head, I want to know.”

One friend from BodyPump joked, “A shower cap!”

Another friend supplied a pic of a lady wearing a shower cap, all smiling and done up with makeup and looking like she also had a vacuum cleaner and high heels.

The next time I went to BodyPump, I gathered my weights and came back to my spot to find a shower cap lying on my bench. It didn’t take a PhD in psychology to figure out who put it there.

It wasn’t the friend who first commented, because she lives in another state. It was the guy who posted the shower cap lady. Cue jokes about me wearing the shower cap in class, which will never happen. He declared it himself: “Kristi will wear a shower cap the day I quit complaining about lunges.”

Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

I did a dress rehearsal, anyway, to verify that the shower cap wouldn’t work. And it didn’t. The elastic band wasn’t that elasticky, and my hair is very resistant to staying where I put it.

Do I look like June Cleaver?




I’m pretty sure that’s also my expression when loose hairs fall in my face at the gym. It’s not “I wish I was holding a feather duster instead of a dumbbell.”

(In case you’re wondering, the outside of my right eye is red because I managed to tear my conjunctiva while doing absolutely nothing. It’s fine. My eye doctor prescribed antibiotic eye-drops, cold compresses, and ibuprofen. It will heal itself.)

Remember when I needed a shower cap for real, but couldn’t see shopping for one? Two people gifted me with shower caps after that, three years apart from each other. The first was my sista-from-another-mother, and the second was my sister-in-law. I thought that was a weird coincidence. That’s what sisters do, apparently.

But I digress. The jokester responsible for this post – let’s just call him “Ron” – has been walking a thin line with me at the gym with his antics; this shower cap was his crowning achievement, to date. I should start a petition to double our lunge tracks.

About the rat’s nest on my head. (My gym pet peeve.)

Most gym pet peeves have to do with people being rude: hogging the equipment, leaving sweat on the equipment, resting on the equipment between sets, leaving weights lying around instead of re-racking them, talking on the phone or texting while chilling on the equipment, etc.

None of this is cool in my book, either, but I only have one major gym pet peeve, and that is my own hair. My scalp releases loose hairs that sabotage my workout. Who else has this issue? If there’s a solution short of shaving my head, I want to know.

My hair gets on my nerves more than anything else at the gym. It literally gets on my nerves. I try not to let it, but it’s easier said than done. When a hair falls out and lands on me, it hijacks my sensory nervous system so the strand of hair is all I can feel. It’s hard to ignore.

The problem is that my hair is a rat’s nest, more at the gym than anywhere else. Here’s my hair after my workout yesterday morning:


Post-workout, 8/10/2017


If my hair only looked like a rat’s nest, I wouldn’t care, because I don’t care what I look like when I go to the gym in the morning. I put on sunscreen, lip-gloss, and clean clothing, and I’m good.

The problem is that my hair behaves like a rat’s nest. It doesn’t stay together. It gets pulled apart simply by existing. At some point during the workout, people will see me doing stuff with one hand while I’m frantically clawing at my face with the other hand. Usually, the hair lands in my mouth or in one of my eyes. I sometimes find the hair plastered across my sweaty cheek.

This happens every time I work out. Without fail. No matter what I do. I will spend long minutes beforehand sliding my fingers through my hair and removing loose strands. I’ll do up my ponytail and repeat the process, also removing loose hairs from my bangs and the sides that don’t get pulled up.

Nothing works. Headbands? I wish. I’ve tried. They don’t stay on, and then I have two problems.

I know this is petty and ridiculous. I AM grateful to have any hair at all, but having hair doesn’t make me immune to annoyance when the hairs try to blind or choke me!

So my hair is a rat’s nest at the gym. It gives the term “gym rat” a whole new meaning. Fine. I just need for the nest to hold together until I’m done with my workout.

[/shallow rant of the day]


Sweet nothings.

Things that make me sleepy: being tired (duh); wearing my retainers (weird); being under some kind of cover(s) up to my upper body, if not all the way up to my neck… meaning, my lower body has to be covered. Especially my feet.

If my feet aren’t covered, I feel exposed. Not scared, just not right somehow. This phenomenon of perception is common amongst us, I know. It comes from childhood, maybe from the “monsters under the bed” phase. Not sure. But as far as I’m concerned, “monsters under the bed” is the most amusing of the theories… that, or, “the boogeyman.”

(In all honesty, I don’t remember whether I actually had a “monsters under the bed” or “the boogeyman” phase.)

So if I’m in bed snuggling with Callaghan and my legs are draped over his lap at an angle such that my right foot is sticking out of the covers on his side AND I’m not sleepy, but he is, then any attempt at conversation I strike up about the boogeyman goes awry.

Our “sweet nothings” conversations can easily go something like last night’s:

“My foot is sticking out of the covers. The boogeyman is going to get it,” I said.

“Poor boogeyman.”

I start laughing. He doesn’t, as he’s mostly asleep. But I continue on, because I’m having fun being entertained at his expense. I want to see what he says next.

“What? Are my feet that gross?”

“ALL feet are gross.” (He has a foot aversion.)

“So you’re not a foot guy?” (Knowing full well that he’s not.)

“No, I’m not afraid to die.”

“I didn’t ask if you were afraid to die. I said you aren’t a foot guy…”

“It’s all about the foot.”

“It’s all about the foot?”

“It’s all about the foot.”

This morning, he had no recollection of this conversation. I’ve got it word-for-word, though… because immediately afterward, I got up and sat down here to write it out. And that, my friends, is the danger of living with a writer. Anything you say can or will end up in a blog post.

By the way, some of you are pushing it, even if you don’t live with me. You know who you are.

That concludes this ridiculous post.


Bright morning, blue wash. (12 July 2017)


“The End!”

Incidentally, Callaghan has no idea that I’m writing this. He’ll read it later. That will start a whole new conversation. See how that works? haha!

Scrabble, Callaghan edition. (+ a favorite vintage commercial!)

Callaghan and I started playing Scrabble last week. Have you ever played Scrabble with an English as a Second Language (ESL) person?

It’s been fun! It’s been interesting and instructive, and it’s a great way for a non-native speaker to learn how to spell words in whatever version of Scrabble you’re playing. (I would love to have a French version.)

For instance, Callaghan’s first move was “ew,” which, according to Merriam-Webster’s (MW) Scrabble dictionary, isn’t playable. “Maybe because it’s an exclamation,” I speculated. He replied that “ew” is NOT an exclamation. It’s a female sheep. See? Now he knows how to spell “ewe.”

Then I put down “pantie,” which he challenged on the grounds that it ends with a ‘y’. MW said that both spellings were correct.

MW’s Scrabble dictionary is a great resource. We pulled it up on Callaghan’s phone so he could have it at his fingertips. He didn’t like that “pantie” came up on the page when he opened it from his bookmark, but that was easily fixed. He deleted the bookmark, entered a new word in the search field, and re-bookmarked it.

Now his dictionary opens up with “igottaewe.”

“Because I learned that a female sheep is a ‘ewe’,” he said, knowing that I was going to ask. “It’s generic.”

Of course!

We decided that we’ll disregard the challenge rule; we’ll both be able to consult our MW Scrabble dictionaries while playing.

The last time we played was Sunday, and he won.


The game I lost!


On a completely different awesome note, I was thrilled when a reader found this commercial and sent it to me a few days ago. Some of you may remember that I’d been looking for that one Charleston Chew commercial from the 70’s. Thanks to Dirk, here it is!



Callaghan thinks it’s hilarious, too… even more than I do, in fact. Because he’s French.


A little levity, literally. (Height doesn’t work that way!)

If we’re friends on Facebook, you might already know that I went to the doctor recently and found out that I’d lost over an inch in height. Almost two inches, actually.

My whole worldview was shattered.

I’d gone to my mid-day appointment and stepped onto the height-measuring apparatus without thinking about it, because I had no reason to. There was no suspense. My height’s never changed: I’m 65 inches tall. That’s 5′,5″.

But the guy in the blue scrubs said, “Looks like you’re 5′,3″ and just about…” He looked closer at the number lines. “A quarter.”

I shook my head in surprise. “No, I’m 5′,5″.”

“Sorry. It says 5′,3” and a maybe a quarter.”

“There must be something wrong with it,” I said, referring to the apparatus. “I’ve always been 5′,5″.”

He chuckled. “Okay. Here… let’s try it one more time.”

I stepped onto the apparatus again (is there a name for that thing?) and stood as tall as I could.

“Five three and a quarter,” he said. “For sure.”

I thought, This is fake news. 

“Everyone loses height as they age, I’m afraid,” he said, still grinning and chuckling.

I stalked after him to the examination room. His cheerfulness was out of line. It could be that his height-measuring apparatus needed to be recalibrated, but he wasn’t questioning it!

I thought, how could I lose almost two inches?  I was measured at the V.A. – where I usually go – just weeks ago, and their result was the same as always: 65 inches. 5′,5″.

It wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it was wrong.

Later, a friend told me on Facebook that most people tend to measure, on average, half an inch shorter during the day, then spring back to their normal height overnight while they sleep. My appointment had been in the middle of the day, so I thought, that could be it. But still! Almost two inches?

I asked Callaghan to measure me first thing the morning. The result was exactly 65 inches, as it should be. Ha! Then he measured me again in the afternoon, and GUESS WHAT. Still 65 inches. Ha! Ha! Not only am I 65 inches tall, but I’m 65 inches tall all day. My driver’s license is still correct: 5′-05″.


65 inches.


“His apparatus does need to be recalibrated,” I said to Callaghan. I was annoyed. “The guy was totally condescending. He didn’t even consider that his equipment might be faulty. He probably just thought, ‘She’s old, so she’s shrinking, and I’m young, and I’m wearing blue scrubs, so I’m right, and I’m not going to listen to her, ha ha ha’.”

How would this be characterized in the parlance of our times? Did he mansplain my own height to me, or did he youngsplain it? (If he -splained anything by way of not questioning the apparatus.)

“It’s true, two inches is too big of a difference, especially all at once. It doesn’t matter anyway, though,” Callaghan said. “He’s going to die of a moltnoma!!”

“What’s a moltnoma?”

“I can’t believe you still don’t know what a moltnoma is. Over the last seven years you’ve asked me five times what is a moltnoma, and you never remember it when I say that someone will die of it.”

“I don’t know why I can’t remember it. So what is a moltnoma?”

“It’s a county in Portland, Oregon.”

Typical Callaghan.

“…when I was working in California, we worked with this person who lived in Portland,” he explained. “And then I learned that the county was “moltnoma.” That’s where Portland is.”

I was already cracking up when he concluded, “So I was like, it sounds like a disease like “melanoma” so now I just say that someone will die of a moltnoma as a general cause of death.”

I looked it up. “Multnomah County.” Cool.

Anyway, I’m going back to that doctor on Wednesday, and I’m going to inform the guy in the blue scrubs that his machine is off. People probably do shrink a little over time as they age, but I’m not there yet, and I’m probably not going to lose almost two inches all at once, either. Ha.

R.I.P., favorite sweater.

Q: How to tell when it’s time to let go of that favorite sweater?

A: It will tell you. In no uncertain terms.

I had my favorite sweater for over 10 years. I wore it in four different countries and three different states. I wore it in all four seasons, depending on where I was.


The sweater in Casablanca, Morocco

The sweater in Casablanca, Morocco


Like most of my favorite articles of clothing, it was gray. It felt like it was tailored to me. I loved the length of its sleeves. I loved that it was cozy, but light enough to wear comfortably in mild weather. That it had a semi-deep V-neck. That it was fitted, but not too fitted, so it could be layered over or beneath other garments. I loved that it was cut long enough to drape over the upper thighs, and that it had a kangaroo pocket on the front. It had a hood long before the word “hoodie” was invented to reference a sweatshirt cut in that style.

It was soft and fuzzy and thin and cozy. It was just the perfect, all-purpose sweater I reached for more than any other sweater, ever.

I really hate talking about this sweater in the past tense.

On Friday, my dear friends, it finally announced its retirement. It did this by dropping dead, and it was gruesome.


Sweater carcass

Sweater carcass


(I just hung it there for the pic; I don’t actually hang clothing in the hallway)

Half-way through the day on Friday, we were in the car, and I looked down at my bag where it was resting on my lap. The black nylon bag was festooned with pale gray fuzz, and I mean, not even a little bit. It was covered. There’d been a gray fuzz explosion.

At first, I didn’t know what I was looking at. Then, as I was pointing it out to Callaghan, I realized that my bag was wearing sweater bits and pieces. After hundreds of washings in over 10 years, the sweater finally gave up its fuzz.

I didn’t take a picture. It was a violent textile crime scene, and I thought it would be in bad taste. I didn’t want to be opportunistic.

As I was turning the bag over to assess the extent of the carnage, I happened to see that my seat belt, too, was coated in sweater. I looked around at the sides of the seat: more fuzz. The inside of the door: yet more fuzz.

“My sweater!” I wailed.

“Your sweater is dead, Baby!” Callaghan said, sounding too cheerful.

We got to Trader Joe’s and went inside. I stopped to brush something off my cheek. It was a piece of gray fuzz. Callaghan found more fuzz in my hair, which he gallantly removed.

In the store, I picked sweater fuzz from the eyelashes of my right eye.

Hours later, at home, the inside corner of my left eye felt itchy. I reached up to rub it, and my fingertip met with something fluffy. I pinched it and extracted it.

“Look!” I said to Callaghan. “There was sweater fuzz in my eye.” I’d already lint-rolled my bag, and I’d changed clothes, too, so the source of the fuzz was nowhere near.



The sweater with thinning fuzz.


The next morning, we went to the gym for Saturday BodyPump. I was excited; I was feeling well enough to return to Pump after two weeks out with painful medical issues. We got there early, so I attempted to take a gym selfie, which failed, as usual. But while I was trying, I noticed my jacket.


Seat belt pattern of gray fuzz.

Seat belt pattern of gray fuzz.


I’d lint-rolled my bag, but I’d forgotten to do the seat belt.

So it was a sad weekend. I literally wore the hell out of that sweater. It’s not wearable enough to donate, but I can’t bring myself to throw it out, either, so it’ll join the few other articles of clothing stashed away in my sentimental value clothing mausoleum.

R.I.P., sweater.

“Dear Holly Holm:” (a rap in response to UFC 208’s main event)

I wrote this rap so Drake could perform it for Holly Holm.





Dear Holly Holm (aka the REAL Featherweight Champion):

You won that fight, as everybody knows

Everybody saw it when she hit you with the blows

she threw after the bell.

Excuse me, the TWO bells; she did it twice,

fouled you against the ref’s advice.

(Which was bullshit, the ref should’ve dealt with it,

taken points from her score,

“Quoth the Raven, Nevermore” –

to borrow a line from Poe.)

Yeah she was good, but it was you

who threw that stunner of a wheel kick

and dropped her to the floor, schooled her with it.

And it was you who dropped her again

when you caught her with your bomb-ass

straight left punch.

She, on the other hand, never dropped you;

her biggest moments of glory came illegally,

cuz that’s how cheaters do.

Only an amateur gets “caught up in the moment”

as she said she did, seriously,

what a ridiculous excuse, she’s not an amateur, now, is she.

She was out of line,

we all saw her gloat when she walked away

the second time,

elated and proud because she knew

she would get away with it. And she did.

We watched the fight in a crowded sports bar,

not one person wasn’t outraged by the injustice of it.

Her cheap shots were the most damaging of the night,

no doubt they altered the outcome of the fight.

We were all yelling at the referee

because no one could know

how you would’ve fought had she not cheated.

She would have been defeated.

You were doing well, just warming up,

controlling the octagon and clinching, making her grapple

against the cage, totally dominating.

But the ref was against you, unquestionably,

so she was rewarded with a win,

inexcusably –

a championship belt won for the glory of fighting

a dirty fight. You were robbed,

and we hope you get a re-match, regardless,

so we can cheer you on when you show her who the Champ is.


Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208, GLOATING after fouling Holly Holm with punches after the bell

Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208, GLOATING after fouling Holly Holm with punches after the bell



All of Us.

La Fin.


Merry Eve of Christmas Eve and Christmas! (FAMILY PICS)

This is my last post before Christmas, so I wanted to wish you all a joyous celebration, whatever you’ve got going on!

I’m coming at you with a few family pics. News-wise, there’s nothing much to report. The main point of interest this week was that my glasses with my NEW progressive lenses came in… and lo, THEY WORK! I can see everything everywhere! FEAR ME.

Seriously, though, my first try at progressives didn’t go well, as you may recall. I thought it was me, but it turned out that the prescription was wrong and the lenses were poorly made.

Now I have the right prescription on well-made lenses installed in my accidental frames (lab’s mistake they let me keep at no extra cost), and I’m having no problem seeing with them. I love the convenience they offer! I’m so glad I gave progressives a second shot. As usual, I’ll wear the glasses for writing, driving, and looking at far-away screens… I don’t need them for just walking around (unless I’m grocery shopping, when it’s good to be able to read ingredients lists without the constant on-and-off of reading glasses), but I’m wearing them a lot right now for the purpose of “training my brain” to see in them, or some such.

Onward! Happy holidays from us to you. Oh, we put up a tree this year because Callaghan’s sister and her two kids are coming for Christmas and New Year’s. The tree is for them, despite what Nenette thinks.


Nenette taking a break from chewing on ornaments and pawing at presents.

Nenette taking a break from chewing on ornaments and pawing at presents.


Cita on her windowsill, taking a break from laughing at the neighbor cats who can't get to her anymore.

Cita on her windowsill, taking a break from laughing at the neighbor cats who can’t get to her anymore.


Nenette thinking she's hiding under the tree.

Nenette thinking she’s hiding under the tree.


Cita snuggling with her favorite mousie.

Cita snuggling with her favorite mousie.


Then there’s Callaghan and me.


Callaghan handily taking care of the See's scotchmallow situation.

Callaghan handily taking care of the See’s scotchmallow situation.


"You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would you?"

“You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses, would you?”


Then some selfies with the girls. I did that annoying Mom thing and woke them up to take pics.


Selfie with Nenette! She wasn't amused to be woken up for this.

Selfie with Nenette! She wasn’t amused to be woken up for this.


Selfie with Cita! She was resigned. She's used to us waking her up.

Selfie with Cita! She was resigned. She’s used to us waking her up.


Later that day (last night, actually), we thought we’d take some festive holiday pics of ourselves.








General goofing around.

General goofing around.


Merry Christmas!!

Yummyliciousness happened.

All in one breath: We trekked to California for a Thanksgiving extravaganza of riotous family togetherness with long-lost cousins and uncle and I finally came to understand “once removed” as I met some First Cousins Once Removed and yes, I do feel enlightened and very lucky to have learned this, as the lesson came about when I met some awesome relatives for the first time! OH and the extravaganza included cooking shenanigans involving an array of never-before-tried recipes, all vegan, I believe, and all tasty! I wrangled with some heads of cauliflower that predictably fought back by launching bits of themselves at me and the floor, but my helpful cousins noticed and picked the cauliflower out of my hair and eyebrows. I couldn’t help but envision the kitchen as a wintry Japanese hot springs full of snow monkeys engaged in social grooming. If Japanese snow monkeys could laugh, they would sound like us. We’re not as adorable as they are, though.


Japanese macaques (snow monkeys)

Japanese macaques (snow monkeys)


It was just so good to reconnect and laugh with my California first-cousin crew!!!

Back at Mom and Dad’s house, I started to write an actual post for this morning, but it spiraled into oblivion in the direction of something I wasn’t prepared to write at the moment. I’ll save that post for another day, if I pursue it all, which I may not.

So today, in closing, I would like to sign off with this selfie I took while snuggling with my new niece, aka my sister-in-law’s dog. I got to meet her this morning! It was love at first sight.


My niece is cuter than yours. She has soft ears. Your argument is invalid.

My niece is cuter than yours. She has soft ears. Your argument is invalid.


Until next time!

That cauliflower recipe, by the way, is outrageously good. I have it, courtesy of my cousin who brought it to us. I will make that cauliflower dish again… and I will win when the cauliflower attacks.

No snakes on a plane.

When you’re sitting in an airplane and you’re handed a Department of Agriculture declaration form, it’s not a good idea to lie about the animals and/or plants you’ve cleverly concealed in your luggage or carry-on.  In case you were considering it:




Do you see that? Specifically, DO NOT “intentionally smuggle a snake” on a plane. Unless Samuel L. Jackson is on the plane, in which case it would be amusing to hear him yell “I’m tired of this muthaf*cking snake on this muthaf*cking plane!” But it wouldn’t be worth it, because even if it’s amusing… which it might not be… it’ll be too late to realize that you don’t want to share a plane with a snake any more than a snake wants to get on the wrong side of Samuel L. Jackson. Maybe you should avoid smuggling snakes because if you get caught, you’ll get fined a million dollars, or Samuel L. Jackson will kill you, or the snake will kill you. In any case, it would be the end of it all, wouldn’t it, smuggling a snake. Maybe I’m writing this in a sleep-deprived delirium compounded by jet-lag and when I wake up and read this post I’ll delete it in horror. We shall see.

Meanwhile, Happy Friday!

This is me doing dishes.

Doing dishes makes me nauseous. I loathe doing them, so Callaghan does them. I gladly put them away. We never talk about who does what in the house… we just do what we don’t mind doing, and thankfully, there’s nothing to be done that we both dislike. It all evens out. So I unload the dishwasher, and he fills it and runs it. If he doesn’t do the dishes at night, he’ll do them in the morning.

Occasionally, though, the dishes don’t get done at night, and he can’t do them in the morning, either. Totally understandable. But then I’m in the house staring at the dirty dishes in the kitchen. And sometimes on those mornings, the wreckage in the sink is grosser than usual.

These were my thoughts after he left for work yesterday:

Gah. I’ll leave them there so he can do them when he gets home. But it would suck to come home from work and have to do dishes. I should do them. I’m his back-up. *** Maybe if I ignore them, they’ll do themselves. *** They’re still there. I can’t work knowing they’re there. They’re mocking me. I can’t write. I should just do them. It won’t kill me. *** Ugh, slime. How can he whistle and sing while doing this shit? Why do we eat so much olive oil? We should only eat fat-free things so if I have to do dishes, I won’t have to deal with oily water. Gag reflexes activated! *** What is wrong with you? You’ve seen and touched worse things than this. You and your weird hang-ups. Just get over it and do the damn dishes like a normal person. *** FINE. Flatware first, so they’re out of the way. UGH they’ve been soaking in oily water. Run hot water over hands until nerves are dead. Good thing he isn’t here, because he’d tell me to stop wasting water. But if he was here, I wouldn’t be doing dishes. I’m not turning off the hot water. He’ll never know. Ugh. I’m wasting water. I should turn it off. *** What the hell is this? Salad slime and cat food fork bits mixed into the oily water. Don’t throw up. Turn hot water back on, sterilize hands, turn water off. Deep breath. *** At least this is taking my mind off the elections. *** Glasses and mugs, okay, I can deal with glasses and mugs. Immensely satisfying, lining up glasses and mugs by shape and size. *** Aw yeah the top dish-rack is a work of art, all the drinkware lined up to military standards. BEASTMODE IN THE KITCHEN. *** %*#%^& I forgot to check the house for stray drinkware. Turn on water, scald hands, dry on paper towels, patrol house. Two glasses in the bedroom. One in the living room. That wasn’t too bad… I only have to do a little rearranging to fit them into my glorious dish-rack of perfection. DONE. Onto the bottom rack. *** Plates, fine. Bowls. There… there’s one. No, not there. Here. Why can’t I get this bowl to lean forward? Maybe here. No. Why. How does he do it?! Fine, stay face-down on the rack, bowl. I don’t care. *** But now there’s no room on that side for the other bowls. I’ll rearrange. There has to be a way, and I WILL FIND IT. *** Ugh, rearranging is making my fingers slimy again. HE OWES ME BIG TIME FOR THIS. *** I’d rather stick my head in the turtles’ bathtub Grandma and Grandpa kept in their backyard, where the turtles were happy with their slimy armored bodies. The turtles were cute. There are no turtles here. If there were, they would perish in this oily dish slime. *** There. Was. Crud. On. That. Plate. And. I. Just. Touched. It. *** Nothing fits in this dishwasher; we should just buy a new one. No, we should use paper plates and cups and plastic flatware all the time and order take-out so we never have to do dishes. But the environment. And health. And money. *** Why is this Goliath beer stein even in our house? It’s complicating my life taking up a whole quarter of the bottom rack. Oh yeah, we have it because I saw it at the Goodwill on half-off Saturday and I thought it was a great find so I bought it for Callaghan because he’s been wanting one like it and he loves it. I’m the best wife for having found this beer stein. I am the worst wife for my lack of dishwasher-loading aptitude. But I’m SO GREAT at unloading the dishwasher.

And I do laundry like a boss, every step of it, and I enjoy it. He hates doing laundry as much as I hate doing dishes. See? It all evens out.




Callaghan is designing clowns and I don’t know what to do.

Heading into off-season at the amusement parks, Callaghan’s evenings of late have been filled with lots of freelance work. He hung onto a few of his European amusement park clients when he accepted his position as a motorcycle designer, because why not? It’s feast or famine in that industry. He’d only be swamped a few months out of the year.

Now that American Halloween hype has started to gain traction in France, French theme parks want a piece of it in a more major way. So they’ve asked Callaghan to design some clown attractions… because you can’t have spooky, ooky Halloween décor without clowns, of course. If there’s one thing the French have picked up on in their Halloween education, it’s that clowns are essential elements of the fear factor.

Even better, some of this Halloween-inspired design will remain a permanent fixture, so visitors can enjoy the park’s creepy side no matter when they go. Here’s Callaghan’s first design, a rough draft of a horror fun-house-type attraction (with mirrors inside):


Clown mirror house of horror (original design by Callaghan)

Clown mirror house of horror (original design by Callaghan)


You have to have clowns with wide open mouths as entrances, you know.

And there will be more. Oh yes. I’m already imagining waking up at night, shuffling into the kitchen for a glass of water, and noticing a dim screen-light casting vague shadows on the wall. I see that it’s coming from Callaghan’s office. I go in and find that his computer has turned itself on. The clown file is displayed, and it’s flickering.

Thanks, Parc St. Paul. And Festyland (You mean FESTY THE CLOWN-land, I said to Callaghan when he told me the park’s name), and thank you, Parc du Bocasse.

Here’s a draft of his Parc du Bocasse poster, featuring the bee mascot he’s been creating for years:


Buzzy (the bee) the Vampire (original art by Callaghan)

Buzzy (the bee) the Vampire (original art by Callaghan)


He loved my idea of designing a vampire version of the bee. Buzzy the Vampire is made of awesome because Callaghan’s art is kick-ass. It’s great no matter the subject. Even clowns.

Roach milk latte, anyone?

A few weeks ago I was innocently scrolling through my Twitter feed when my eyes were assaulted by a news headline announcing that cockroach milk has superfood potential.

When I told Callaghan on the phone, he said, “You need to stop reading stuff.”

To which I replied: “I need to get off of Twitter.”

I rely on Twitter to bring me breaking news the minute it hits the ozone. I follow two local channels and one national channel and therefore I’m up to date on ALL of the news. But just because you CAN know all the news, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.

You’ve probably already heard about this cockroach milk thing. I myself may (or may not) have jumped onto Facebook that same day to air my angst. I don’t really remember. I could feel the panic attack igniting in my chest cavity and burning away at my rib cage like fire licking at a paper scrap, blackening the edges and curling them inward before culminating in a flame of victory that extinguished itself to leave a trail of smoke and a sad smudge of ash where the paper used to be.

In other words, I felt like I was having a heart attack and I couldn’t breathe. I was practically hyperventilating on the phone with Callaghan.

It’s about time to do something about this ridiculous roach phobia. (“Katsaridaphobia,” apparently.)

Anyway. In case you haven’t heard, it’s been discovered that a certain roach produces milk that might be the elixir of life. And here I thought that would be grapefruit juice.

Let’s break down this article (from http://www.livestrong.com/article/1012179-roach-milk-next-superfood/) and my thoughts as I read it.

Got (roach) milk? A team of scientists do, and they’re developing it for possible human consumption.


Researchers from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India, have been analyzing the “milk” produced by the Pacific beetle cockroach (Diploptera punctata).

Trying to make it sound less horrifying by calling the roach by its flowery Latin name. Diploptera punctata. The string of syllables might sound melodic when you say it out loud, but the second word seems kind of… suggestive, doesn’t it? They’re not fooling me. A roach is a roach is a roach.

Their goal: to create roach-milk-derived protein supplements that can feed the world’s exploding population.

Protein supplements.

Also, what was going on with the person who gazed upon an oily-looking, long-antennae’d, winged demon and mused, “What if I were to crack it open and lick up its roachy milk?”

And who do these lunatics think they are, anyway, thinking about feeding starving people in the world?

Grossed out? We are, too, but there’s a method to their madness.

I don’t care to know the method, thank you.

While researching for this masochistic blog post, I came across a few articles in which it was proposed that roach milk could be used in protein shakes. Never have I been so relieved to be vegan.

The researchers found that the milk protein crystals from Pacific beetle cockroaches contain four times the nutritional value of cow’s milk. These crystals slowly release proteins, fats, sugars and essential amino acids overtime, which can help maintain steady energy levels.

I know another thing that releases a badass energy source slowly over time. It’s called Superstarch; we often blend the chocolate one with peanut butter and half a banana. Voilà… slow-releasing energy with protein, healthy fat, and sugar from the banana. Roach milk unnecessary.

The scientists won’t be corralling cockroaches like farmers do cows, however.

Oh, right! They want the roach milk, but they don’t want to do the dirty work and corral the roaches.

They’ve envisioned a roach milking future that’s far more high-tech: using biotechnology to sequence the genes and reproduce the milk in a lab setting.

AH HA. Unlike cows, God didn’t bestow upon roaches a languid demeanor, adorable sound effects, trendy color patterns, and big, sweet, fluttery eyes. Roaches are therefore exempt from the horrors of factory farming. Only cute animals get to experience terror, pain, and suffering when being used for food! ROACHES ARE SPECIAL SO LET’S LET THEM LIVE PEACEFULLY. God forbid we use biotechnology to reproduce other animals’ milk in labs.

Their findings are found in the International Union of Crystallography Journal.

There’s a whole society of experts here throwing a roach party to celebrate the premiere of this nightmare.

Roach milk. If this milkshake brings boys to the yard, I’ll be like, WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.

I couldn’t bring myself to search for roach pics to accompany this post, so here, have some baby bunnies. Baby bunnies are the opposite of roaches, as everyone knows.








Callaghan models the staggering height of summer fashion for the neighbors.

I believe I owe you an explanation for the teaser I left at the end of my last post.

The evening I found Callaghan in his underwear on the back patio, I’d gone to the gym solo, as he had to work an hour late. He would get home at 6:30-ish. I would return from the gym at around 7:00.

Right on time, I walked into the house with sweat plastering my t-shirt to my body, looking forward to jumping into the shower… but my usual announcement of Mommy is home! was met with unusual silence. Callaghan can be heard before he’s seen, and I didn’t hear any sign of him.

I looked around and spotted Nenette doing her evening cat thing of lounging sleepily, recently woken from her late afternoon nap. She wasn’t behaving at all like a cat whose Daddy was home.

Callaghan had taken his motorcycle to work that day, but before I went to the garage to see if it was there, I checked my phone. No new texts. I walked through the whole house. I didn’t find him.

Then I wandered back into the kitchen area, just as I heard a rapping on the back door leading from the kitchen to the backyard. I went to the door window and looked out onto the patio.

Callaghan was kicking back in the patio chair next to the door. He had his backpack with him, and he was wearing just socks and underwear. When he saw me, he started gesticulating and grinning like a crazy person.

The first thing that struck me was that he had chosen his Gaston LaGaffe socks that day. Gaston LaGaffe is a Belgian comic strip character whose surname means “The Blunder.”


Les chausettes de Gaston LaGaffe.

Les chausettes de Gaston LaGaffe.


The second thing that struck me was that Callaghan was doing something on his tablet, like it was normal to be engrossed in one’s iPad while wearing just socks and underwear – or should I call the whole ensemble blunderwear – on the back patio.

The third thing I realized was that he was locked out, but I was already laughing, so it was too late to feel profound sympathy. (I do feel profound sympathy for blunderwear-wearing-Callaghan now that I’ve gotten the amusement of the spectacle out of my system.)

Something clattered to the ground when I unlocked the door and pushed it open. It was the screen for the door window, all crumpled up. He’d tried to break into the house.

“I forgot my house key, ” he said.

“Oh no! Poor Baby!” I said, laughing harder.

“I hosed off the top of my head to stay cool,” said my bald husband. It had gotten up to 110 degrees that days. “I drank from the hose, too.”

“At least we know that someone would have to make a real effort to break in,” I said, perversely triumphing in this discovery.

Fortunately, he’d only been locked out for a half-hour. I’m pretty sure some of the second-floor residents of the apartment building behind our house got an eyeful of him in his socks and his unmentionables.

(By the way, have you ever wondered why the term “unmentionables” is used almost exclusively for women’s underwear, while it’s fine to “mention” men’s?)

The moral of this story is “have a spare key to your house hidden somewhere outside.” Duh.

Selfie-centered post.

For this post, I’m blaming the Facebook “post a pic of you and your spouse every day for seven days and tag two of your friends to do the same” meme. I was tagged for it and thought it would be fun, so I ransacked my flash drives in search of pics of Callaghan and me over the last six years.

(On June 14, we celebrated six years together and five years married, but we didn’t mention it on FB this year… so if we’re FB friends and you’re wondering whether you missed it, no, you did not.)

Among the plethora of pics I found was my first attempt at a selfie taken in the mirror, the most common type of selfie I see and the type I still can’t manage to take.

I remember this first attempt. We were living in this apartment building in Nice where Callaghan was undertaking renovation work for an extended period of time (the pic was taken in one of the apartments); I had this camera that was an actual camera, and I was frustrated to the point of sweating in my effort to get this ridiculous selfie:


August 29, 2012, Nice (France)

August 29, 2012, Nice (France)


My mirror selfie game hasn’t improved one bit since then. Here’s the latest one, taken in March this year:


March 21, 2016, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)

March 21, 2016, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)


Other people take awesome, effortless mirror selfies. You can see exactly what they want you to see without the camera being in the way. I have no idea how they do it.

I fished out the remaining four of the six mirror selfies I’ve taken in my life:



July 20, 2014, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)



May 24, 2015, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)


June 4, 2015, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)

June 4, 2015, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)


October 15, 2015, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)

October 15, 2015, Tempe (Arizona, U.S.)


See? I looked pissed off in every single one. Or frustrated, at least. The tank top one was sad and frustrated because I was trying to show the Ronnie James in memoriam paw print tattoo I’d just had done on my wrist. It was 10 days after he died.

Honestly, I don’t know how these kinds of selfies work. It’s an art form notably perfected by gym selfie people and Outfit Of The Day people. It’s a genre of contemporary photography that I’m content to admire as an onlooker, because I have no aptitude for capturing my image in the mirror without looking like I’m having a miserable time ranging from “I’m coming for you mo-f*cker” to “WTF am I even doing right now.”


Speaking of Outfit Of The Day, I have a story for you about how I found Callaghan on the back patio in his underwear the other day, but I’ll save that for another time.

“That would never happen in France.”

One of our most frequently used mantras is “That would never happen in France.” We invoke these enchanting words whenever we have a retail transaction/customer service experience that’s particularly brilliant. And every time it happens, Callaghan says, “You should totally write about this in your blog. ‘Things that would never happen in France’.”

These situations “that would never happen in France” occur so frequently, I’d never remember all 100+ of them. I’m finally getting around to relaying a few anecdotes here, because it happened again recently, and Callaghan asked for this post again.

(This post should actually be in French, since Callaghan wanted me to write it for his French friends. Demande-lui et il te dira.)

Below, I’ve got a few situations that would be hits on our “That would never happen in France” mix tape.

1). First time it happened upon moving back to the Land of AZ:

We transported a large, wheeled tool chest from Texas. Callaghan bought it at a Home Depot in Austin (Home Depot is the equivalent of Leroy Merlin in France). We got to Arizona and he decided he didn’t need it anymore. We took it to a Tempe Home Depot WITHOUT A RECEIPT, the guy working there looked it up and couldn’t find it in the system because their store DOESN’T CARRY THAT MODEL OF TOOL CHEST, examined the chest and found OBVIOUS SIGNS OF WEAR (scuff marks and f*cked up wheel bearings) from usage and moving… but he took it, anyway, and gave Callaghan a full refund. $120.00, CASH.

$120.00 in cash and a friendly, humorous exchange for a beat-up tool chest (from out of state, no less) that they don’t even sell there. No receipt.

Callaghan (as we walked through the parking lot): That would NEVER happen in France!!

Me: That’s called Customer Service. IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY.

2). Another time, I went to Target and headed to Customer Service.

Me: I ordered this sports bra online and only wore it twice. It was a sale item.

I showed the Customer Service Girl the strap that was torn almost completely off.

CSG: Oh no! Sorry about that! Do you want to go find a similar one on the sale rack and bring it back here to do an exchange, or do you just want a refund?

Me: I’ll go look for a similar one on sale.

I couldn’t find anything similar in the Active Wear section, on the sale rack or otherwise. I did find another sports bra I really liked, though. It was more expensive than the one I was returning. I took it back to Customer Service thinking I’d just pay the difference.

CSG (looking at her screen): Shoot, I can’t find the sale one. Oh well… I’ll just do an even exchange!

She cheerfully took the damaged item, and I walked away with the more expensive one at no extra cost.

Later, I relayed the story to Callaghan. He was nonplussed.

“No way.”


“That would NEVER happen in France!”

Me: “It’s the American Way.”

We laughed, because by then, both his line and mine constituted an inside joke.

3). Most recently, we went to my eye doctor’s office to pick up my new glasses.

The Glasses Lady went to the back to get my glasses, which had just been delivered from the lab that day. She came back with a pair of glasses and all kinds of apologies.

“I’m SO SORRY,” she repeated. “The lab made a mistake. They put your lenses in the wrong frames. They’re the correct prescription, though.”

She handed me the glasses. The frames were from an Italian luxury brand. I’d ordered a Coach pair from the low end of the available line’s price range, the cheapest I could find that I thought looked decent.

At her urging, I tried on the wrong glasses. The clarity of the prescription was stunning. Also, the frames looked better on me than the ones I’d chosen. I’m not a status symbol inclined person, but if the glasses look better, they look better, and if they feel great and I can see almost perfectly in them, then I really don’t want to hand them back and wait even longer.

The Glasses Lady was still apologizing.

“I feel so bad that the lab messed up,” she said. “What do you want to do? Do you want to hang onto those while we wait for the correct pair to be made? Or do you want to just keep them? They do look better on you than the other ones.”


“It’s so weird that they did that! We don’t even carry (insert name of haute couture house) here.”

“It would take another 10 days for the correct ones to be made?”

“Yes.” She actually winced.

“How much extra would it cost if I were to keep these?”

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll just do an even exchange.”


New glasses, correct prescription, not the frames I ordered, but they work.

New glasses, correct prescription, not the frames I ordered, but they work.


I walked out wearing them. Callaghan couldn’t believe it, and neither could I, to be honest. These frames cost at least a couple hundred bucks more than I’d paid for the Coach frames, and I got them at no extra cost.

Callaghan said, “Okay, this would NEVER, EVER happen in France.”

Now, for you Americans, such anecdotes aren’t all that fantastical. Incidents such as these don’t happen every day, but on a smaller scale, they’re commonplace, and it’s easy to take such customer service for granted. We haven’t kept track of all the times the cashier couldn’t find the price on an item, and either a). Gave it to us for a guesstimated amount that seemed less than it should’ve been, or b). Casually said something like, “Let’s just call it $5.00! That seems about right.”

All the times we returned stuff we’d used for which we had no receipt, refunds with no questions asked. (We don’t do that a lot, but the instances add up over the years.)

In order to fully appreciate our “That would never happen in France” observation/inside joke, you’d have to know, for comparison, about some of our “customer service” experiences in France. But that’s a topic for another post, perhaps.

English Language Colloquial Expressions 101.

Nothing says “I hate my brain” quite like trying to explain English language colloquialisms to a non-native-English-speaking person. I suck at it, anyway.

You could probably spend your whole life learning a second language if you’re after facility with all of its informal expressions. Callaghan made his latest joyful discovery the other day when he wanted to know what’s meant when someone finishes a sentence with, “if I do say so myself,” because, of course, there’s no translation for that phrase in French.

The first time he asked about it – I don’t remember what we were talking about – he cut me off mid-sentence.

“But YOU did it, so why did you say ‘if I do say so myself’?”

I had to stop and think about it, which I’ve never had to do, like, ever.

Expressions can’t be nailed down because there’s usually no logic in such statements, right? After a few false starts, I finally said something to the effect of: “You say ‘if I do say so myself’ in a self-congratulatory context, like when you’re giving yourself credit for something, but you want to be humble about it. It shows that you’re aware that you’re congratulating yourself. A more literal way to put it would be, ‘…if I may be so bold as to display pride in (whatever I did)’.”

By then, I felt like I was babbling, but I forged on to offer an example: “Not a bad job for my first time building an IKEA executive desk, if I do say so myself.”

I felt that this should suffice, but then Callaghan demanded finer-tuned clarification. I was unable to oblige due to the sensation of my brain being beaten with a pointy stick, pointy end first.

“I can’t think of how to explain it better,” I said. “You’ll hear it the next time I say it naturally in conversation.”

Since then, he’s been practicing the phrase with great zeal, inserting it where he sees fit:

“That’s a beautiful-looking moon, if I do say so myself!”

“Very funny.”


I have a lot of patience, I thought. If I do say so myself.

Another time, he proclaimed, “Nice is the most heinous city in the world, if I do say so myself.”

Whereupon I was like,


Consult an online English-language resource.

Consult an online English-language resource.


Later, he assured me that he was just joking when he said “if I do say so myself” about the moon. He said he said it on purpose, to be funny.

Then he told me that he’d had the hardest time learning the whole “Did not!” / “Did too!” argument little kids get into in the backseat of the car while their exasperated parents sitting in the front try to make the road trip a fun time.

“‘Did not / Did too’ made absolutely no sense to me,” he said. “There’s nothing like that in French.”

I was glad I wasn’t involved in that one.

I sleep-ninja. (I have somnambulninja.) (Also, sleep and other unfair advantages.)

The quality of my sleep has improved a lot in the last three weeks. I even slept through my alarm one day. It happened on a Sunday, still the only day of the week I sleep in until 8:30.

My body sensed the height of the sun and the lateness of the morning. Panic brewed before I opened my eyes. It was 9:30. “What happened to my alarm?” I asked Callaghan. “I set it for 8:30!”

“You asked me to turn it off, so I did,” Callaghan said.


I use the alarm on my phone, which I keep next to my side of the bed at night. I’ve never failed to wake up and turn it off. I’ve certainly never asked him to turn it off for me.

“You were awake and we talked for a little while,” he continued. “Then you went back to sleep.”

“I don’t understand… how could I have done that without remembering…”

“But you did.”


He looked at me for a second. Then he changed his story:

“You woke up. You beat me up. You disappeared!” he claimed. “You don’t remember?”

And that would be why we don’t own a gun.

“I disappeared?” I wasn’t about to voice the morbid sarcasm that popped into my head. I was going to pursue the intriguing part of his claim: that I disappeared.

“Yes. You disappeared. You beat me up and then you disappeared.”

I thought about it for a second.


My ninja t-shirt. "Today's Lesson: Division"

My ninja t-shirt. “Today’s Lesson: Division”


“I sleep-ninja’d,” I said. “A sleep-walker is a somnambulist… I’m a somnambulninja.”

“I guess.”

“What other ninja things have I done in my sleep?” I was pleased with my epiphany.

“You texted that one girl and plotted something. I don’t remember what because I was asleep, too, and you sleep-deleted it. But it was sinister.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be you,” I broke in, still thinking about his claim. “I mean, if I was going to beat anyone up, it wouldn’t be you. But I wouldn’t beat anyone up at all unless it was in self-defense. Anything other than that wouldn’t be necessary.”

“Why not?”

“Because what comes around, goes around. If someone does me wrong, I wouldn’t worry about it, because they’d get theirs eventually. I wouldn’t have to do a thing.”

And that reminded me of the folk song “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”… specifically, Johnny Cash’s cover. Have you seen the video?



Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Not sure how I digressed into the laws of moral causation when this was just to mention that I’ve been sleeping well. Sleep is good. It’s good for the sleeper, and it’s good for people who want to claim that you said and did things while you were sleeping. Excuse me while I disappear.

The adventures of a pug (nightshirt).

Last week was eventful in my little world.

I have this nightshirt that I love. It’s a loose white t-shirt, thin, soft, and comfortably cool in hot weather. Functionally, it’s great for summer, but it’s designed around a Christmas theme, which doesn’t make sense in the northern hemisphere.

Callaghan hates the nightshirt… not because of its Christmas theme, but because of its overall unfortunate look. I can see where he’s coming from. The shirt features the face of a pug. The masterminds behind the nightshirt made the pug look unsightly with a “so ugly it’s cute” kind of intention. The pug is wearing a festive red Santa hat, which is how you know it’s a Christmas nightshirt (for someone in Australia, that is, since it’s thin, cool, and ideal in hot weather). There are gold Christmas lights in the background, and below the pug’s portrait, it says #SELFIE in glittery gold paint. The pug is grimacing, presumably because he’s smiling for his picture.

Hilarious, right? Pugs are adorable. A pug in a Santa hat taking a selfie at Christmas is adorable. Pugs were in vogue when I bought the nightshirt, and the word “selfie” had probably just been invented, and it was December, so all three of those things on a summery nightshirt had to be a triple win.

Callaghan maintains that it’s the ugliest and most ridiculous nightshirt in the history of nightshirts.

Really, I can’t blame him. I don’t know how much I’d appreciate getting into bed with a lover wearing that shirt, either. Its pug portrait fails to make sense. It attempts to convey a message, but the message doesn’t match the picture. It strives for an aesthetic, but it doesn’t achieve it. It’s trying to be hip, but the pug isn’t holding a PBR. Overreaching for novelty, the nightshirt’s very ambitions, however admirable, are its downfall. The nightshirt is having an identity crisis caught in a gold-glittered tangle of WTF. The nightshirt might even work as birth control.

Despite its failings, I loved that nightshirt. Then I lost it. It just vanished one day, going into the laundry, but not coming out, like so many socks. It wasn’t the first beloved article of clothing I’d lost, but the disappearance of this particular one made me suspicious.

“You took it,” I accused Callaghan. “You think it’s ugly and you hate it so you stole it.”

“What are you talking about.”

“My pug. You hate when I wear it to bed, so you took it!”


“What did you do with it? Are you sure you didn’t accidentally… misplace it?”

“Mais non!”

When the conversation goes from English to French, it’s getting serious.

I have to believe him, because marriage is about trust and giving your partner the benefit of the doubt, I told myself.

Going with the assumption that Callaghan didn’t take the pug, I tried to fathom what might have become of it. Of course, I imagined the worst. The pug fell into the hands of Russian mobsters. The pug got eaten by a shark (in Kansas). The pug is being held hostage in a joystick sweatshop in Bangladesh. The pug is smoking weed in the desert. I wondered if I was going to start receiving photographs of the pug in random far-off places, wearing hats other than the Santa hat.

It turned out that the pug had gotten separated from the laundry as it was being dumped into the washing machine. It had been wedged between the washer and the wall all this time.

I found it last week when I was frantically trying to rescue a large, beautiful squirrel who’d been chased into the laundry room by an outdoor cat (who adopted us, but we’re not supposed to admit to that, so she’s ours, but only unofficially, and we named her “Cita” as in Mamacita, but you didn’t hear any of this from me). I’ve lived in the Valley for 25 years and I didn’t even know that there were squirrels here until I found this one burrowing into the folds of my pug nightshirt.

I was elated to have found the pug, but looking at it through fresh eyes that hadn’t seen it in months, I couldn’t remember why I’d been so enamored with it. Its charm had been replaced by actuality. The whole picture of the pug was something nonsensical that confused me. The chaos of it canceled out its comfort value. In fact, it wasn’t even as comfortable as it used to be… it had pilled, and the pilling made the thin fabric more textured than soft. (Making things more disconcerting was the fact that I love actual pugs and find all of them to be adorable.)


Looking possessed in the pug nightshirt, and still trying to figure out how people take mirror selfies.

Looking possessed in the pug nightshirt, and still trying to figure out how people take mirror selfies.


So I don’t wear the pug nightshirt anymore. It’s not as comfortable as it used to be, and Callaghan still hates it. I’ve given it up. I’ve tucked it into a drawer and walked away from it. I just threaten to wear it at opportune times.

You’ve got… the worst thing in the world.

Our weekend started out great. We went to a basketball game. We went to the fights. We went to the gym for Body Combat. We ran errands and went grocery shopping. I relaxed a little on Sunday morning, and then on Sunday afternoon, I did the usual Sunday things… the laundry, a little vacuuming, a little cooking, a lot of preparing things for the upcoming week. I did not work out in the garage because there were too many random things to be done around the house, and I didn’t want my attention diverted from them.

Finally, at the end of the day, I sat down to do some writing. It was hard to do, though, because some unpleasant, cluttering thing was crushing the part of my mind that does creative writing and other things that I like. Something conniving and surly, taunting and smirking. Something obnoxious and potentially dark, but mostly sarcastic in a bad way. Something that laughs at my pain. Something tediously annoying and annoying tedious. It smelled like a scam, a bully, a filthy nickel, a plot to rip people off, a bundle of lies and waste and ecological mayhem and environmental irreverence and an obscene plunder of mind-numbing, time-consuming nothing.

It was the mail.

I had to finally open it. ALL of it.

This is the part of BEING AN ADULT that I do with the least success, simply because I hardly ever do it at all. I avoid it. I’m terrible with it, and so is Callaghan. It gets to a point where it can’t be ignored because suddenly it’s a 500-pound, four-cornered paper beast that exploded into fragments all over the place and won’t go away until I plow into it.

I loathe opening the mail with a terrible passion. It’s a dreary and slightly depressing chore, and I know that if I just do it the day it comes in, it would be a non-issue. I’m aware that it’s a good idea to open the mail on a daily basis. Honestly, I don’t know what my problem is. What’s so hard about opening the mail rather than tossing it somewhere and forgetting about it?

Sometimes, something important in the mail gets missed because of my negligence, like the bill I found buried in one of the piles of mail I finally went through on Sunday. (Yes, one of the piles. There were four piles in different parts of the house. I know. I know.) It was a gas bill, and I’d forgotten to look for it because for months, the gas bills have reflected only a credit and a big NOTHING in the “amount due” field. Evidently the credit finally ran out and this latest bill was an actual bill that needed to get paid, and it was due yesterday… the day after I found it! I put it in the outgoing mail the day it was due. Fortunately, the payment didn’t have far to go. But what if I didn’t decide to get off my ass to open the mail on Sunday?

Here’s a good adult’s system for dealing with the mail:

1). Get the mail. Open it. Sort it and discard the junk.

Here’s my system:

1.)  Extract the bills (I know when to look for them) and toss the rest of the mail somewhere.

2a). Set the bills on the little metal rack thing that sits on my desk, because whenever I owe someone money and they send me a piece of paper to tell me about it, that’s where it goes. At the beginning of the week of “payment due by,” I pay the bill.

2b). The remnants of the bill get stapled together, marked with “PAID,” and left on my desk in the TO FILE pile. Or on top of the file box, itself. (Don’t ask why I can’t just do the extra little step of removing the lid from the file box and putting the bill summary inside its folder. I don’t know.)

2c). (If the gas bill reflects a credit for several months, I forget to look for it in the mail. This is especially easy to do because it arrives out of sync with the other bills.)

3). When the weight of the ignored mail starts to smother me, I seek out the piles and deal with them. It always feels like my legs and hands are made of deadwood and I’m dying a little.

4). After going around the house and collecting all of the mail, I redistribute it into different piles: Callaghan’s mail goes into one pile, and mine into another.

5). I put Callaghan’s pile of mail somewhere in his office/studio, thinking that he’ll notice it one day and do something with it.

6). Begin the irksome task of opening my own mail: First, identify the generic junk and put it in the RECYCLING pile. Then open all the envelopes and find that 98% of the mail… the overwhelming bulk of it… is junk with my name on it.

7). Prepare the personalized junk to be discarded: Open the envelope. Find the part with my personal information. Tear off that part and set it in the TO BE SHREDDED pile. Put the recyclable parts in the RECYCLING pile. Throw the rest into the TRASH pile. Put the items to be filed in the TO FILE pile. (The mail is still in four piles!)

8). Do the things: Gather the enormous pile of recyclable paper into my arms and haul it out to the recycling bin. Throw the trash pile into the trash. Shred everything that’s left. The shredding part adds some mileage to the tedium because I have to EMPTY THE SHREDDER when I’m done, and then that has to go in the trash.

And that’s it. I’m good for the next three months.

(I always vow to start opening the mail when it comes in, but so far, that hasn’t happened.)

Since I didn’t think I would spend Monday night writing this useless rant about the mail, I didn’t take a picture of the mail or the carcasses thereof. So here’s a picture of Callaghan:


Callaghan (blurry in a candid shot).

Callaghan (blurry in a candid shot).


See? It’s male. Har, har. Lame, I know. So is this post. So is the mail. So am I, for not opening the mail. I wanted to write Haiku for today’s post, but I wasn’t about to write Haiku about mail. You’re welcome.

Lopsided eyes and mild panic: A cautionary tale.

Life changes and I’m back to a routine of walking to work every morning. I’m loving the extra little workout every day! I also walk home three days a week. The big change in the equation is that on the other two days, I take the bus home so I can get there fast, change my clothes, and drive to Mesa for Body Combat. Why? Callaghan now works on-site full-time, and the site happens to be in BFE (very far away, in case you didn’t know the acronym). This necessitates me taking myself to the gym. Which is fine. As long as I can get there!

(The adjustment to Callaghan’s new schedule and location has been a learn-as-we-go process in many ways. Our lives are very different now. And on Monday, I did NOT make it to the gym, because I literally had no way to get there. That was the last time that was going to happen!)

On Wednesday, I got to the bus stop early and wondered what to do with the spare 15 minutes. People-watching opportunities were oddly nonexistent at University and Mill. What else is there to do while waiting? Take a selfie. Or twenty.

I don’t take selfies very often. It doesn’t occur to me because I’m always looking for interesting, stationary subjects to photograph, or I’m stalking my cats with the camera. There was nothing of interest from my vantage point at the bus stop, and my cats were selfishly sitting at home, so I thought it would be amusing to capture a rare moment of myself being bored in an unusual place.

All that happened in the end was I freaked myself out, though. A little bit. Just a little.

The selfies I took showed my eyes looking lopsided. They were mismatched. One eye looked larger and different than the other. This alarmed me because I thought I remembered reading somewhere that psychopaths often have in common a noticeable difference between their eyes. While no one’s features are perfectly symmetrical, the eyes of a mentally unstable person can be very obviously unlike each other. (I know I read this somewhere, but now I can’t find anything about it, of course.)

Thing is, I do live with mental illness in the form of clinical depression and PTSD, but I never thought I looked mentally ill. The selfies suddenly made me feel paranoid. Then I became paranoid about being paranoid, and that made me feel crazier. I wondered if my mental health situation was really what I thought it was, only. And very quickly, the whole thought process took off on a continuous, self-perpetuating loop inside my brain.

To stop the merciless cycle, I deleted all of the selfies.

I went about the rest of the evening not thinking about it. I went home, went to the gym, and went out to dinner with Callaghan, and I didn’t think about it at all.

Later that night, I went to remove my make-up and saw that my eyeliner was thicker under one eye than the other, and the two lines didn’t match in shape. All along, it was my eyeliner that didn’t match! That would do it. Eyeliner can change your face dramatically. Of course the eye with more liner would look larger, and the two eyes would look different with different liner shapes!

I looked like that before I went and sweated at the gym, so I’d gone around at work with lopsided eyes. How fun.

Either I was in too much of a hurry when I was getting ready that morning, or the eyeliner wore off unevenly during the day. The result was the same, though: I looked like a Picasso painting at work, and I almost drove myself crazy wondering if I was crazier than I actually am.

Yesterday morning, I took extra care with my eyeliner. In the afternoon, I took a selfie in my office:


(February 18, 2016)

(February 18, 2016)


I came out looking more normal, though the left eye still had slightly more liner than the right. Probably only I would notice it, now that I’m hyper-aware of the thickness and shape of my eyeliner. I may have to just set the camera down and back slowly away. It’s hard to get the two eyes to look exactly the same, and I only allow myself 15 minutes to do my make-up before going to work. It is what it is.

The lighting was surprisingly flattering, too, though. Also, it was a rare day that I put on e.l.f. primer under my foundation. I think I like it, after all.

And Callaghan loves his new job!