Category Archives: mixing medications

It’s (not) Flag Day.

When I was a kid I was assigned “Flag-Duty”, which basically meant that me and a classmate were responsible for raising and lowering the flag at our elementary school.  We were taught the special way to fold it and everything was fine, until one day the wind caught it when we were folding it and a corner of the flag touched the ground and my co-flag-folder lost. her. shit.  Then she confessed to the principal and he got pissy and said that now we’d have to destroy it because it had “touched the ground and been soiled”…which sort of seems like an over-reaction and I was like “Yeah, but it touched AMERICAN soil, so why would that dirty it?  It literally just touched AMERICA. How is that bad?” And then said he was going to have to burn the flag and I was like “You’re going to burn the flag?  Is that even legal?” and he was all “It’s illegal not to, and since you were so careless now we have to buy a new flag.”  But then the next day he gave us the “new” flag and it totally had the same tiny hole in the corner as the last one and it was really obvious that it was the exact same flag, so basically he just made me feel bad for grass existing while he lied about his flag-burning exploits.

I was reminded of all of this because I just saw a painting of Betsy Ross showing George Washington her flag, and she and all of her little child laborers are like “Look at this bad-ass flag we made.  The only thing that would make this better is if we had glitter, except that glitter hasn’t been invented yet.”

Via The Library of Congress, who might be fine with me not crediting them on this one, now that I think about it.

But George Washington is just ignoring all their hard work and he’s glaring at the corner of the flag touching the floor, like “OMG, I can’t trust you bitches for anything” and his compatriots are all “Bitches never have respect for anything.  And, by the way, you’re totally poking your sword into Betsy’s rug.”  And then Washington would be like “WHAT?  I NEVER” and then they’d explain that they meant it literally and not in some weird sexually metaphoric way.  And also, why did the painter purposely paint trash on the ground of her house?  And is that a turtle on a cushion using a cane to turn the pages of a book?  What am I even looking at?

PS. I actually wrote this on Flag Day, but I didn’t publish it then because it seemed like it would be disrespectful.  I mean, not as disrespectful as impaling other people’s rugs while criticizing the work of illegal child-laborers, but close.

In The Library

For those of us with triskaidekaphobia the year 2012+1 will be an entire year of forced behavioral therapy.

It’s a stupid superstition but one I still struggle to shake as (for me) it’s wrapped into a weird layer of OCD-based terror.  In my mind, every time some one says the unlucky number, everything becomes unlucky for everyone who has just heard that number, and only saying it again will cancel the negative effects.  Except that it’s impossible to know exactly if you’re on the lucky or unlucky side of life, and so maybe you say the unlucky number to get you out of an unlucky period but then you get your arm chopped off and then you realize that you were in the unlucky period before, so you say it again and then your leg falls off because you’ve just said the unlucky number too many times and fate is now pissed that you’re fucking with her.  This all makes sense in my head.

That’s why yesterday at my friend Laura’s house I was a bit of a nervous wreck entering the first day of this terribly named year.  And so we decided to change the name.  To “The Library.”  At first I thought this just made me feel immediately better because the booze had just kicked in, but now I’m perfectly sober and I’m in the second day in The Library and I feel so terribly comforted.

(by Johanna Ljungblom)

In The Library you are safe.  It smells of old books and worlds you’ve yet to explore.  It smells of worlds you’ve loved that beckon you back.  It smells of the bacon sandwich the guy in the corner has smuggled in while he devours words and food, not sure which is more filling.

In the library you are prepping.

Everything that happens in the library is just preparation for the next year.  That means if you fuck something up this year it’s fine.  This whole year is just practice.  The library is made for that.  Maybe you spend the year writing a book no one will ever read.  Maybe you spend the year recuperating from last year.  Maybe you burn the Thanksgiving turkey and forget an important birthday.  It’s okay.  It happened in The Library.  It was just practice for next year.  Maybe it’s insanity, or maybe it’s just me, but somehow I think we all need a year in The Library.  A year where it’s safe to make mistakes.  A year where it’s okay to have to escape and stare out the window without someone asking you when you’re going to get back to work and fix your life.  A year where we all whisper quietly about our plans and our wishes and dreams and darkest fears.  A year in The Library.  A year of getting lost in dusty, forgotten corners, and a year of finding the want.  (The want to leave.  The want to play.  The want to shrug off the dreams and walk out in the sunlight.  The want to pounce on 2014 with glee and rapture.)

The Library opened yesterday.  It closes 51.9 weeks from now.

Welcome.

Normal squirrels don’t sit like that. Just saying.

My friend April from Regretsy practically threatened to stab me in the face when she thought I’d outbid her on this insane taxidermied squirrel who is flashing his little squirrel nut-sack at the world.  (Click the link.  You need to see this shit.)  I assured April that she was very off-base, as we were BOTH being outbid on it.  I considered telling her we should pool our resources and just share the squirrel like recently divorced parents, but then I saw this little treasure:

Well, hello there.

And yes, at first I saw what you’re probably seeing….a strangely posed, non-nutsacked, extremely dead squirrel in a very unnatural position.  And then I looked  a little closer and realized that my current cell phone cover is cracked and that this would make a fucking fantastic replacement.  Not just because it would be fuzzyy and ergonomic if I need to hold it against my shoulder, but also because it would hardly ever get lost in my purse, and no one would accidentally pick up my phone thinking it was theirs.  Plus, when I put my phone on the table at restaurants it would just look like a squirrel was hanging out with me, and squirrels only hang out with cool people.  And if I put my phone on vibrate the squirrel would buzz across the table like he was alive and growling.

It’s like the best accessory ever.

me, on my squirrel phone

PS.  I probably should have waited until the bidding was over before I posted about this.  Damn it, Jenny.

PPS.  If you only check my blog once a day you may have missed it yesterday when I promised Simon Pegg that I’d leave Nathan Fillion alone and then my good karma was reward by Wil Wheaton and Jeri Ryan and the whole world sending me pictures of their spatulas.

Just your typical Monday, really.

UPDATED: The post where I make it up to you. And then make things worse. And then apologize again.

Yesterday I went out to the nearby market because we live in rural Texas so we go to all the various country fairs and trade days because that’s what we have instead of a mall.  They are awesome and terrible and I never come home without part of an iron lung, or a 60 year old book about “why naked midgets are awesome”.  Yesterday at one stop I found 100’s of doll heads on spikes. It stretched on for a half-acre.  Also, the doll torsos and limbs were in various buckets around, so it was sort of like Build-a-Bear except that you end up with a misproportioned, evil doll that will probably eat your nose off while you sleep.

Even the demon on the right was having a panic attack:

It's creepy, but sometimes it's just nice to be reminded that there are people weirder than me in the world.

But it wasn’t *all* doll heads on spikes.

Because some were on chains.  

Also, this isn’t even half of the heads-on-spikes and none of them were marked for sale.  It was like some sort of Stephen King art installation had accidentally fallen into the center of a market.  There wasn’t a vendor there but no one shoplifted from him.  Probably because you don’t want to fuck with someone who sticks baby heads on spikes.  And because practically no one wants to steal baby heads on spikes.  Both of these things are true.

I did find several other treasures though from other vendors. I found a children’s book of illustrated corpses, complete with color pictures and when I insisted I needed to have it Victor and I both screamed, “IT’S THREE DOLLARS”.

For different reasons though, apparently.

Then I bought a taxidermied duckling (that died of natural causes) and Victor was all “What the fuck are you going to do with a taxidermied duck?” and I was all “What wouldn’t I do with a taxidermied duck?”  It’s like he’s never even met me.

Then I explained that ducks wearing hats were impossible to turn down and he said that the duck didn’t have a hat and I explained that Martin Van Buren’s hat was invisible, but that I’d already bought it and it was already waiting at home in the dollhouse for him.  That’s how ready I was for Martin Van Buren.  And also I explained that his name was Martin Van Buren.  Then Hailey started begging Victor for Duckie Van Buren and Victor explained that we weren’t going to spend $20 on a fragile ancient duckling I’d probably break immediately and Hailey pointed out that if he got broken “we could fix him with duck tape”.  Then I melted from the cuteness and promised her a (probably taxidermied) pony, and Victor looked at us worriedly and wondered when Hailey had joined my strange alliance.  Then I explained that I would make Martin Van Buren into a vampire hunter and then Victor said he’d buy him if I just stopped talking.  EVERYONE WINS.

Especially Martin Van Buren, who looks like a damn bad-ass in his top-hat, holding a bloody spike he just used to impale a nonsexy vampire.

Proof:

He has a bloody spike under his wing. And a very self-satisfied but shell-shocked look on his face. It's like he was MADE for Vampire-hunting.

The really weird thing is that I already owned everything necessary for this scene. The only thing I was missing was a duck that looks good in a hat.

I showed the scene to Victor and he sighed and agreed that it was very frightening but (he pointed out) not for the reasons I’d intended.

Wow.  This post was meant to make it up to you for being MIA so much but now I think I owe you an apology for making you look at Vampire-hunting ducks and baby heads on spikes.  BUT!  There is one very important part I can’t miss.  Because when we first drove up to the market I screamed “HOLY SHITSNACKS, IT’S A FLOCK OF BEYONCES”.  Because it was.  And Victor glared at me while I haggled for a smallish sort of giant metal chicken who desperately wanted a home and he accused me of having some sort of a metal chicken hoarding problem.  But then I pointed out that I was buying this apartment sized metal chicken for you.  Yes, you.  Because I love you.  But I can’t afford to buy chickens all of you so instead I’m randomly selecting one of you to actually win it.  Granted, your spouse might hate it, but you can point out that at least it’s not towels, which has always worked for me.

I took two pictures, but Ferris Mewler managed to squirrel his way into them so you’ll have to ignore him.  Or use him for scale.

"What? You're taking a picture? Don't mind me. I'll just stand back here in case someone needs me."

Ferris Mewler: "These are my paws, you guys." We've all seen your paws, Ferris Mewler.

Anyway, as a very large thank you for not deserting me while I’ve been busy with book stuff I will randomly select one of you from the comments below to win the mini-Beyonce.  All you have to do is tell me what you would name him if he was yours.

The names “Beyonce” and “Martin Van Buren” are spoken for.

Obviously.

UPDATED:  Holy crap, you guys.  That’s a lot of people wanting chicken.  Also, thank you so much for distracting me from the fact that tonight I’m spending tonight in a hospital so they can see if I’m having seizures in my sleep because apparently I don’t have enough shit wrong with me.  (If they let me have my phone I will -of course - be live-tweeting the whole thing.)  And in appreciation for offering up such twisted names (so brilliant that I’m tempted to adopt an orphanage just to have kids to name) that I’ve convinced my editor to send me a couple of advance copies of my book to give out as well.  The advance copies are soft-cover and have typos and the pictures are low resolution, but you’ll be able to read my book 2 months before it’s available.  Or you can use it to fix a wobbly table.  Either way, really.

PS.  Seriously.  Thank you.  You have no idea how much I needed the laugh today.  I’ll pick the winners this week.

UPDATED X 2:  Holy crap.  That’s a lot of people wanting chicken.  Winners announced over here.

These are just two of my favorite things

Today when I look out onto my backyard, this is the glorious sight that greets me.

For real, y’all.

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE.

PS. I have the best husband ever.

PPS. I just realized that the PS might imply that my husband bought me a TARDIS, but no, of course he didn’t. What he did was not freak out when a giant package arrived at our door and I said “Oh, that’s probably the TARDIS I ordered since the pharmacy wouldn’t give me one for my birthday.” I mentioned it was way cheaper than Beyonce the giant metal chicken and he paled a little and walked away before I could mention that we also need new towels. Then I went off and carried a cardboard TARDIS all over our property to take pictures of it and Victor yelled “YOU KIDS GET OFF MY PROPERTY” in his most cantakerous-old-man voice. When I was done I left the TARDIS in front of his office window and made really loud TARDIS noises. Victor was on a conference call and was very unimpressed, but you can’t deter the furiously happy, Victor. Unless, that is, you go back in time and make me not buy a cardboard TARDIS. You’d need a real TARDIS to do that though. Which would be awesome and I would trade in my cardboard TARDIS for it in a heartbeat. So no matter what, I win. Which is only right since this is my birthday present to me. Happy late birthday, me.

Enjoy your time.

PPPS. I got cactus in my foot getting this picture. It’s not a great one but there’s no way I’m not linking to it since I suffering through cactus-foot for it.

PPPPS. If you don’t watch Doctor Who this whole post is probably very confusing. You should skip it.

PPPPPS. Victor: “That PPPPS. would probably be a lot more helpful if you go back and put it at the top.”

me:  “IF ONLY I HAD A TIME MACHINE.”

Wow.

24 hours ago I published the hardest post I ever had to write.  I’m pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety disorder, but yesterday I finally decided I was ready to write about my issues with self-harm.  I can’t go into details because that’s a trigger for me (and for most people who self-injure) but I’m not sure what I expected.  I think I expected my hard-core friends and readers to say something supportive and then sort of back away slowly out of not knowing how to respond.  Instead, thousands of comments poured in.  All of them supportive, understanding, and so many relieved and hopeful that one day they could come out of the closet about their darkest secrets.  I was flooded with DM’s and emails from people who weren’t ready to come out but suffered from things I never would have imagined.  Many were from friends I’ve known for years, and I found myself wanting to say the very thing that I dreaded hearing myself.  “But you seem so normal.”  And the truth is that they are.  I once sarcastically said that “crazy is the new normal” but it’s not sarcasm anymore.  We’re all different.  Each unique.  But that uniqueness that sets us apart is also what brings us together.  Some people call it “the human condition.”  I call it “amazing.”

I can’t respond to all of the comments and emails and DM’s but I am reading them and I can’t tell you how completely unburdened I feel.  More importantly though, I want you to know what you’ve done for others.  I had a lot of emails telling me how much my post helped them.  I had many, many more telling me how the response to my post helped them.  So many people listened, frightened, in silence to see how the world would respond to something that so many think of as shameful or an aberration.  They waited for the condemnation or the silence but it never came.  Those comments you left changed lives.

Last night an email came in from a woman whose twin daughters had both committed suicide because of depression.  One had died only a few weeks ago and her mother made sure her obituary explained that depression had taken her child’s life, because she wanted people to know that it was okay to talk about it…because the more we admit these things the less we hide them away from the help we need.   Then I got an email from a girl who was contemplating suicide.  She said that after she saw the response to my post she decided that she wasn’t as alone or unfixable after all and she started the process of getting help.  You did that.  You saved someone with nothing more than the power of words.

During the night twitter exploded with #silverribbons tweets and I loved how many people made their own, or painted them on their own bodies to show support.  A lot of people asked me to offer them in my shop, but honestly you can make them for free if you have a nickel’s worth of silver ribbon and a safety pin.  If you do want to buy one though you can buy them here and here.  Any profits will go to donating new red dresses for The Traveling Red Dress Project (A project designed to celebrate women in their strongest and weakest moments).

immortal bird Tomorrow I’m off to New York to do something that terrifies me, but I somehow feel more confident now, and it’s so amazing that that could come out of such vulnerability.  Thank you.  Thank you for not crushing me when you could.  Thank you for making me stronger so that no one else can.  Thank you for saving me and for saving each other.

PS.  This post wants a picture so I’m borrowing one from the fantastic Brooke Shaden.  I don’t know what she meant it to symbolize but it’s how I feel right now.  Still broken.  Still stuck.  Still fighting.  But feeling almost weightless from having this secret lifted off my chest.  Thank you for helping me carry this.

PPS. I promise my next post will be back to sweetly-raunchy and unhinged, irreverent glory.

Tightrope walker

Today I turn 38.

Marc Davis' concept painting for Disney

37 was a hard year, but a good year.  It was a year of hospital beds and wheelchairs, of worry and mental illness, of fear and more fear.  It was also a year of being ridiculous and silly, of finding drugs that helped more than hurt, of laughter and finding my tribe, and of being furiously happy and stepping out onto shaky  limbs I never dreamed I’d reach.

I got this print last week.  It’s the concept art from The Haunted Mansion.  The girl in the final version they used looks very different – wan and bereft and abandoned.  But this one was peculiarly contrary.  It was perfect.  When I saw it in the shop I knew I had to have it because it was the first time I saw a painting that seemed so perfectly “me.”

Victor stared at me, baffled, and pointed out how wrong that seemed.  “It’s a girl on a frayed tightrope about to fall into the mouth of an alligator.  That’s pretty fucking bleak even for you.”

But that’s not what I see.

I see a girl intent on enjoying the sun while it still shines, smiling vehemently,  indignantly, and entirely celebrating a shining perfect moment even as alligators swim underneath.  Victor said she seemed oblivious, but she’s not.  She knows the alligator is there.

The alligators are always there.

They remind her to smile and enjoy those perfect moments whenever they arise, because life without fear is not a life fully appreciated.  She smiles – not because she’s unaware of the alligators – but because she’s aware of them and because she knows how wonderful it feels when they release their jaws from your ankles.

If you look online you’ll find a lot of critics who claim that the original tight-rope walker’s too-open eyes suggest that she’s just bat-shit crazy…too numb with fear to even understand the danger.  Her mind has snapped, and now teeters slowly, detached from reality.  I can’t argue with that, because that fits with my personality a bit too comfortably as well, but I still prefer to see what I see…a girl who has won a battle.  A girl who appreciates those moments between maulings.  A girl who knows all too well the dangers and pain around her but who has made a conscious and complete decision to be furiously happy in spite of it all.

A girl who knows how to wield a parasol like a fucking ninja.

I see me.  Proudly.

Happy birthday, me.

Look out, below.