Category Archives: why yes I do know how to operate an EMF detector

The Traveling Red Dress

My friend (Sunny) is an artist.  She writes and paints and makes beautiful, whimsical dresses out of found objects and magic.  One of my favorite dresses of hers is the red poppy dress and I wanted it the first time I saw it but I knew I’d never get it.  For one thing, it’s not sensible.  It’s impractical.  It’s bright red and vibrant and shocking and “inappropriate for a woman my age”.  And I have no shoes to go with it.  And I have no place to wear it.

And I want it.

I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies.  I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”.  Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better.  Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.

And I am worth it.

And last week…?

…I got my red dress.

I didn’t have shoes, or a party to wear it to, or even a valid excuse to own it, but I had the dress.

And it was everything I thought it would be.

But here’s the thing…you are worth it too.  Which is why this week the red dress will begin a journey, traveling from city to city so that other people can wear it and love it and feel as special and vivid and dynamic as they already are.  Because sometimes we all need a little red dress to remind us of that.  So today, think about what it is you need and were too embarrassed to ask for.  And then go fucking do it. Wear a ball gown to the grocery store.  Invite the neighbors to have a picnic on the front lawn.  Get that novel out of your sock drawer and publish it yourself.  Stand on a bus stop bench and belt out a song for the waiting strangers.  Find a playground swing and remember how it felt to fly.  Find your red dress. And wear the hell out of it.

The Devil-and-the-Details:  This dress was custom-made by Sunny Haralson of Rubypearl and was specially made for this project.  Photographs taken by the amazing Karen Walrond, a woman who knows me so well that she’s become unfazed when asked to meet me in a graveyard with her camera and bail money.  (She *did* hesitate briefly when I mentioned that I’d be in my pajamas and that I’d have to get naked in the graveyard because I can’t actually put on the dress without someone cinching me up but then she just sighed and nodded and reminded herself to renew her license to practice law.)  Click here for her whole set.  Also, I’m bringing the traveling red dress to Blogher in August so if you’re going to be there and you want to get photographed in it then just come find me.  It’s totally worth it.  And so are you.

Comment of the day (although you should really read all of them because you people are fucking amazing): I can only hope like the “Traveling Pants”, the “Traveling Red Dress” is magic enough to make it fit my size 18 self by mere magic.  Honestly, being able to see it.. to touch it and be near it will be enough to prove I will be living my own Red Dress moment. I’m going to Blogher! I’m going to fly (!!!) to New York in 70 days and I’m completely and utterly terrified. But I’m doing it anyway dammit! This is a nerve-racking trip for most people, but for me? It’s so much more than that. For me, this trip will be a catalyst to take my life back from the ruthless clutches of agoraphobia. Sort of extreme exposure therapy. Today I can’t drive to the next town on my own, I can’t be alone at home, I can’t even take my daughter to the beach. I’m so much better than the housebound puddle I was 10 years ago, but I’m stuck. I’m so tired of CAN’T. In 70 days though (god help me), I CAN and I WILL.

That red dress? Home plate. The finish line. And also new beginning.

Thank you. ~ Karen

Updated:  The red dress has traveled to so many women celebrating miracles and overcoming struggles but this is a favorite. 

Also wonderful?

It’s a good kind of weird.

Wear the hell out of it.

Fighting cancer with friends. No mirrors necessary.

Jami, celebrating an amazing, personal transformation.

A summary.

There are tons of other stories…women bringing the red dress to retirement homes or to dying friends or just wearing it to celebrate life. It’s a good thing. Vivid, wonderful and amazing. Just like the women inside.

UPDATED 2012: The red dress is now years old and is a bit tattered but it’s still filled with magic and is currently on the road visiting people who need some magic in their lives. Ideally, we would have 15 red ball-gowns in various sizes all traversing the globe at the same time but I just can’t afford it. If your company is interested in donating red ball gowns, just drop me an email at advertising (at)

UPDATED: Ghosts are assholes. Ebay’s not that far behind them.

Ghosts broke my camera. True story.  But it was kind of awesome because 1.  GHOSTS, y’all and 2.  Victor can’t blame me for something ghosts did.  I mean, he tried obviously but he couldn’t make it stick. Best. excuse. ever.  And now I’m selling my slightly-broken camera on ebay and you should really go read the listing before they pull it.  Also, I’m throwing in one of my angry cross-dressing legos FOR FREE. I should totally go into advertising.

UPDATED:  Ebay just yanked my auction and not for the understandishable reasons of “You are fucking mental” or “You can’t sell goods that you claim were damaged by the supernatural”.  Instead they cancelled it because they believed I was trying to sell my cat.  And not even because selling your cat on ebay would be shitty.  It was because of the wording:  “PS.  The camera in the picture is the one for sale.  I took that picture for cleavage day.  Camera doesn’t necessarily give you cleavage but it couldn’t hurt.  Cat not included in sale.  Probably.  I guess it depends on how much you want the cat.  Make me an offer.  Hugs ~ Jenny”.    Because (I swear to God) ebay was pissed off that I might sell my cat and not give them a share. No shit, y’all.

From ebay: “We had to remove your listing because the following information violates our policy.  You have stated in your description: ‘Make me an offer.’ We understand that you may not have intended to avoid paying listing fees. However, fee circumvention is damaging to the online marketplace.”

Awesome.  I couldn’t even make this stuff up.  So I’ve relisted, making it very clear that I will accept no offers on cats or dwarves.  I had to add the dwarves part in there because I got paranoid when I was rewriting the description.  I blame ebay for all of this.  Here’s the new listing. You should probably go look at it now because if it gets pulled again they’re threatening to ban me.  Also, I apologize to everyone who bid but at least this is your second chance to rethink bidding on a mostly-broken camera.  To make it up to you, I will send an autographed picture of my cleavage to the winner.  Unless the winner is someone who doesn’t even read my blog and just wants to buy it for the lens.  Then they are going to be in for a hell of a surprise when they open that package.

And in entirely unrelated news…the weekly wrap-up of shit-I-was-doing-when-I-wasn’t-here using semi-colons incorrectly, creating inappropriate national holidays and yelling at Victor about the holocaust

The Vandals-Have-Struck-Again Edition

    This week on my sex column (which is satirical and vaguely safe for work if your boss isn’t a douche-canoe):

    This week on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle:

    This week on the internets:

    • Woman’s Day asked me to contribute a recipe for an article they’re running.  I sent them my recipe for frozen waffles that you eat while they’re still frozen and they fucking ran it, you guys.  Conclusion:  Woman’s Day is completely awesome or is just not paying attention anymore.
    • What I want for Mother’s Day.
    • Comment 271.  I can’t even stop laughing.

    This week on shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

    Nobody cares about your dreams

    One of my friends told me that dead people can visit you in your dreams but whenever I have dreams where all the dead people I know are in one room with me I’m always like “Shit. How much did I have to drink last night?  Am I choking on my vomit right now?” and my grandparents are all “We have something very important to share with you…” and I’m like “Holy shit, am I dead?  Is this heaven?” and then my dead relatives are all “Jesus, pay attention already.   How much did you have to drink?” and I’m like “You don’t get to judge me” and they’re all “Maybe you should stop drinking so much” and I’m like “Well technically I’m still alive so if this is a competition I’m totally beating all of you” and then they’re all “Really?  Because maybe you really are dead.”  Because dead people in my dreams are kind of dicks.  And then all my dead relatives are shaking their heads in disappointment and they won’t tell me whatever secret thing they were going to tell me because “I can’t be trusted” and then I wake up and tell Victor that I had that dream again where all my dead relatives were having an intervention for me and he makes me stop talking.

    I’m pretty sure this is why you’re not supposed to tell anyone your dreams.

    And now I’ll never sleep again

    Last night I couldn’t sleep so I got up and posted this on twitter:

    I was prepared for the amount of people who said that it was just me.  I was not prepared for all the people whose night-time phobias put mine to shame.  A small taste:

    Conclusion: You guys are totally weird.  And I know you’re going to point out that I was the one who started all of this with my fear of floating away but technically my fear is a recognized phobia so I’m pretty sure that makes me the normal one:

    Fear of leprechauns is not even mentioned in the whole phobia list.  Conclusion: I’m less crazy than you. Except that I’m never going to be able sleep again because now I can’t stop thinking about the leprechaun axe murderers under the bed. Awesome. I’ve been infected.  But it’s not that big of a deal because I just spent the last two hours cramming all of Victor’s winter clothes under our bed so that there’s no room for anyone to hide under there.  Problem solved.  With science.

    Updated: Victor got all pissy because he couldn’t find a sweater and I told him that he was just going to have to layer up with a bunch of t-shirts if he was cold because I had to use all his heavy clothes to save us from leprechauns and he totally freaked out in a really irrational sort of way.  Probably because he has fear of leprechauns burrowing into his winter clothes to make a cave to hide their axes in, which is not even a recognized phobia.

    That man has issues.

    Comment of the day: Fun fact: Nothing bad can happen to you as long as a PORTION of you is covered. Unless it’s your face. Then you will be murdered. ~ sarah

    I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced “Wesley-Ann”.

    Phone conversation I had with my husband after I got lost for the 8,000th time…

    Me:  Hello?

    Victor:  Where are you?!  You’ve been gone an hour.

    Me:   I’m lost.  Don’t yell at me.

    Victor:  You went to get milk, dude.  You’ve been to that store a hundred times.

    Me:  Yes, but not at night.  Everything looks all strange  and I couldn’t see the signs and I guess I must’ve taken a wrong street and I’ve been driving aimlessly hoping for something to look familiar.

    Victor:   How can you get lost every damn time you leave the house?

    Me:  I don’t even think I’m in Texas anymore.

    Victor:  Motherfu-

    Me:  DON’T YELL AT ME.

    Victor:  I’m not yelling at you. Just turn on the GPS and put in our address.

    Me:  I left it at home.

    Victor:  What the hell is wrong with you?!

    Me:  You said you wouldn’t yell at me!

    Victor:  That was before you left the Garmin at home.  I BOUGHT IT EXPRESSLY BECAUSE OF YOU.

    Me:  Can’t you just tell me how to get home?

    Victor:  How am I supposed to help you get home, Jenny?  I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.

    Me:  Okay…there are a lot of trees.  And bushes.  Or they might be horses.  It’s too dark to tell.

    Victor:  Oh yeah, I know exactly where you are.

    Me:  Really?

    Victor:  No.  You’re someplace where there may or may not be bushes.  How is that helpful?

    Me:  Hell.  I need to find a street sign.

    Victor:  You NEED to remember to put the GPS in your car.

    Me:  No.  I’m not using it anymore.

    Victor:  Why not?!

    Me:  It’s trying to kill me.

    Victor:  *

    Me: Remember last week when I had to go into town and I got the driving instructions from mapquest and you made me take the GPS as a back-up but then halfway there the GPS is all “Turn left now” and I’m all “No.  Mapquest says to go straight” and it’s like “TURN LEFT NOW” and I’m all “No way, bitch” and then she’s all sighing at me like she’s frustrated and she keeps saying “Recalculating” in this really judgey, condescending way and then she’s all “TURN LEFT NOW!” and then I’m all freaked out so I turn left exactly like she says and then she’s all “Recalculating.  Recalculating.” and I’m like “I DID EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID TO DO.  WHAT’S WITH THE TONE, WHORE?”

    Victor:  You’re not using the GPS because you don’t appreciate the tone of the robot?

    Me:  No, that’s just the start.  Because then she told me to turn on West Lion street but there was no West Lion Street so I kept making illegal u-turns and finally I realized that she was mispronouncing Wesley-Ann Street.  Probably on purpose.

    Victor:  It’s “Weslayan Street”.  You still haven’t seen a street sign?

    Me:  Oh.  Sorry.  I kind of forgot I was driving.

    Victor:  You forgot you were driving while you were driving?

    Me:  It’s not like I ran into a cow.  I just forgot I was looking for signs.

    Victor:  If you ever make it home I’m hiding your car keys.

    Me:  Anyway, then I’m all “Okay, one of us is mispronouncing ‘Wesley-Ann’ and one of us is lost and I think they both might be me” but that’s when I came up with what might be the greatest invention in the history of the world.

    Victor:  Street signs.  Look for street signs.

    Me:  Haven’t seen any.  Feels like I’m on a highway now.  Ask me what my great idea is.

    Victor:  No.

    Me:  GPS for Stupid People.

    Victor:  *

    Me:  I’m totally serious.  Because I’m no good with directions but I’m really good with landmarks so if you tell me to go “North on Main” I’m fucked but if you say “Turn at that Burger King that burned down last year” I totally know what to do so we should build a GPS system that does that.

    Victor:  *sigh*

    Me:  And here’s the genius part: we make it able to learn so it adapts to you personally.  So like if I say “Huh.  There’s a homeless guy masturbating” it’ll put that in it’s data-banks and then when I want to go somewhere later, instead of just naming random streets it’s all “You know where that homeless guy was masturbating?  We’re going there.  Turn left at that Sonic you like.  Turn right at the burrito place you took Sarah to that time she was dressed all slutty.  Yield at the place you gave that guy a hand job.”

    Victor:  What the fuck?!

    Me:  Exactly. See that’s the downfall of this system because really I just gave a guy a hand by telling him how to get a job.  But robots don’t get the subtle intricacies of human languages so there’d be a learning curve.  We’d have to put that in the brochure.  Like a disclaimer.

    Victor: How long do you have to be missing before I can start dating again?

    Me:  I’m just saying this robot isn’t perfected yet, dude.  It’s close though.  I wouldn’t use it with your mom in the car though, just in case.  OHMYGOD I TOTALLY KNOW WHERE I AM!

    Victor:  You’re at the place you gave that guy a hand-job?

    Me:  No. I’m at that abandoned building that looks like it’s owned by Branch-Davidians.

    Victor:  Huh.  The rest of the world calls that “Dallas Street“.  So can you get home now?

    Me: I think so.  Left at that spooky bar that looks like it’s out of Scooby-Doo, left at the place we saw that wild boar that turned out to be a dog, right at the corner where I threw up that one time.  Right?

    Victor:  You make my head hurt.


    Epilogue: I made it home*.  Victor duct-taped the GPS to my windshield and refused to build me a robot.  It’s like he wants us to be poor.

    *Disclaimer:  By “made it home” I mean I got lost again and Victor had to come find me so I could follow him home.  The point is, I made it home.  And that I had no robot.  This whole post is kind of a tragedy.  Victor says he agrees but probably not for the same reasons.

    Comment of the day: My mom would so buy your landmark robot GPS. She gives me directions to things like “Turn left at Bobby McGillicutty’s old house then go past that place where we gave them the dog then turn at the Thriftway and go about how long it takes to walk to Grams and then turn left and you’ll see the house that looks like that house that I like and then one more right and you’re there.”  And I’m all WHO THE FUCK IS BOBBY FUCKING MCGILLICUTTY? And it turns out it’s some guy she went to kindergarten with. Because obviously I would know that. And that dog? Was easily 30 years ago. And the Thriftway burned down in 1983 and is now an LA fitness, and whose walking are we timing here? So then I’m all, lets just drink whiskey for dinner and then she’s all “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY I TRY”. Neither do I, Ma. NEITHER DO I.  ~ Miss Thystle

    The time I got verbally assaulted at HEB *UPDATED*: Never mind.

    Two things that happened to me this morning at the grocery store:

    1.  Victor insulted me by implying that I didn’t know how to use a mop because I called him to tell him I was buying a mop since we can’t afford a maid now that I’m unemployed and I started yelling at him that I did too know how to use a mop and that I’d even bought a bucket and some mop juice and Victor was all “Mop juice?” and I was desperately rummaging through my cart to find it so I could remember what normal people call it and I’m all “You know, that juice for your mop.  It’s like soap” and then Victor just sighed and then I got all freaked out because this shit never happened to me when I had an office job and a maid service and then I realized that now this means my maid was going to be out of a job and I was all “Oh my God, I CREATED THIS RECESSION” and I had a little panic attack in the middle of aisle 3.

    2.  Then when I was checking out the bagger asked me if I was “going to any teabagging parties today”.  Like, WTF?  And the cashier was just looking at me waiting for my response and I was all “Uh…no” because I was too shocked to say anything else and then I got home and thought maybe teabagging means something else now but no, I googled it and it still totally means the same thing.


    Like, I don’t even have a witty ending here to wrap things up.  I’m *that* freaked out.  Teabagging.  I am never going back to HEB.

    UPDATED:  Hi.  I’m an idiot.  Apparently “teabagging” is a truly horribly named Republican rally going on around America today to protest taxes or tea or something.  Teabagging.   Good one, Republicans.  You totally got me.

    Comment of the day: There was probably one guy at the republican meeting that said “hmm, maybe we should call it something else … ” and then the other guys were like “why?” and the only smart guy goes “oh, never mind, it’s nothing … ” ~  CasaRosa

    I weep for America and for the world in general. And for aliens. Please tell me if I’ve left anyone out.

    Some actual comments from this video of a “ghost” looking out from behind a wall that Youtube thinks I want to see:

    omg i am on? a computer


    i think corner’s are scary cause you don’t know what is at the other side

    if that happend to me i would throw a rock at it

    shit!!! i probably thought i was drunk lol!!

    wtf that actually looks real. BUT tell me one thing. why the fuck are all ghosts in black and white. i dont understand. i mean the ghosts would have updated their cameras by now, right? probably because life is colorful while death is nothing but blackness and emptiness… ?

    is that the ghost head that runs?


    its obviously someone pushing a brick out the wall from inside and painting a face on it…

    Oh, that makes perfect since! People die in churches all the god damn time! Idiot.

    Hey has anybody seen this weird video from a guy in England who reckons everybody has disappeared. Can anyone tell me if its? real or not. I live in England and I’m getting freaked out!

    Honestly, I don’t even have a response for this. 


    Clarification:  The video is not baffling.  The video is a fake.  Although I had to watch it 5 times to figure out how they did it.  10 points for Gryffindor!

    PS.  I’m working 12 hour days and I’m on a lot of medication.  That’s probably pretty obvious.

    No one wants to hear about your dreams

    Last night I dreamt a skeleton was chasing was me except it wasn’t totally a skeleton because only most of the flesh had rotted off so it was kind of a zombie and then I was all ‘What the hell is the difference between a skeleton and a zombie?‘  It’s just skin, right?  How much flesh does a zombie have to lose before it stops being a zombie and starts being a skeleton?  Like if a zombie had its face burnt off so its head was a skeleton but the rest of it was still a normal zombie body, then what would that be?  These are the things that keep me up at night.

    PS.  Getting eaten by a zombie would suck but I bet getting eaten by a zombie that was on fire would be really painful.

    PPS.  Writing about what you dreamt last night is tantamount to posting 25 pictures of a dead cat in a row.  I’m terribly sorry.

    PPPS.  Someone please send me a cat for tomorrow’s post.  It doesn’t have to be dead, but you probably won’t want it back.

    Comment of the day: Are you going to feed the cat to the zombie that’s on fire? I need to know before I can put the cat in the mail. I would rather you just feed him to the regular zombie, because the fire zombie would just be mean. ~ HeatherPride

    50 things is 49 to many

    My friend Arianne said I should write 50 things I like about myself  to make myself feel better about having just been totally dissed by all of my friends and several construction workers who just saw me naked which would possibly be really easy to do if I hadn’t just been dissed by all of my friends and several construction workers who just saw me naked.  And actually, it’s not my friends’ fault that they all have lives and can’t just run off with me every time I put multiple posts on twitter and the Houston Chronicle begging people to come see Sex and The City with me and I end up alone in the theater crying at Sex and the Fucking City (WTF, me?!) and eating goobers.  Oh and when I went to the ticket counter and said “One for Sex and the City” the guy in the ticket booth said (fucking seriously, people) “Oh, I could see that coming a mile away”.  Like…what-the-fuck, guy-selling-tickets?  You’re judging me for seeing Sex and the City?  You work in a box, dude. 

    And yeah, I used to sell snow cones in a shack in a parking lot when I was your age but I didn’t berate my customers when they ordered the rainbow cone even though I totally could have.  (Special note to people who order the rainbow snowcone:  There is no such thing as a rainbow cone.  If you don’t specify which flavors you want we just pick whatever colors are closest and that means you might be getting green apple & bubble gum or you might be getting leftover pickle juice & industrial cleaner.  Rainbow is not a flavor.  Be specific.  It serves us all.  Also? you should probably avoid snowcone shacks in general because there’s no air conditioning so when we’d get too hot we’d crawl inside the coolers and lay on the iceblocks.  Sorry, Snow Wizard, I’ve spilled your nasty secret.  Bonus nasty secret:  “Snow cream” is actually just half-and-half.  We just put it in a special bottle so we can charge you extra for it.)

     Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, 50 good things about me:

    1.  I can curse really well.

    2.  Really fucking well.

    3.  When I was 8 month pregnant I screamed “DIRTY C-NT!” at a pushy car salesman.  Even Victor got a little scared.

    4.  I’m taking off all of next week to write my book.  Seriously.  I have a book inside of me and I’m going to get it out if I have to squeeze it through my vagina.  Because that’s what the world needs.  A book squeezed from my vagina.

    5.  I make myself laugh.

    6.  I almost always listen to my brilliant husband when he tells me what to do.  This has served me well.

    7.  I almost always refuse to listen to my brilliant husband when he tells me what not to do.  This has served me better.

    8.  I can put on lipstick in the dark.

    9.  I can play the guitar like a motherfucking riot.  (No, wait.  That’s Sublime who does that.)

    10.  I got married on the 4th of July because of a dream.

    11.  Whenever there’s a dinner party my table is always the most fun because I say something inappropriate and stupid right up front and then everyone feels free to talk about astronaut dildoes because they know that they aren’t going to be the one remembered as being the weirdo at the table.

    12.  My mom is a lunch lady and my dad is a taxidermist and I am immensely proud of them.

    14.  I’m not afraid to embrace my phobias.

    15. I have a genius for choosing friends.

    16.  I can create art with no true artistic value and still be proud of it:

    17.  I survived being attacked by wild(ish) dogs.

    18.  I solved America’s National Deficit Issue.

    19.  I have a rare blood disease that causes fetal death and gave myself over 500 injections in the stomach so my daughter would live.

    20.  I forgave myself for the children that didn’t live.

    21.  I totally just brought down this whole post with #20 and I’m leaving it in anyway because it’s important even if it isn’t funny.

    22.  I’m easily distracted.

    23.  Did I take my meds today?

    24.  I have to go to the bathroom.

    25.  Is that infected?

    25.  Crap.  I accidentally switched to 50 things I was thinking about.

    26.  I’m not afraid of heights.

    27.  I’m not afraid of ghosts.

    28.  I’m not afraid to admit that I’m afraid of giant squid.

    29. I’m not afraid to end this list 21 numbers early.

    Comment of the day: You got married when you did because of a dream. I got married when I did because I thought the Rapture was looming and wanted to have sex before Jesus came back. ~Musing

    And I'm proud to be an American but maybe not so much a Texan. Or an American. Never mind.

    I’ve been on a Texas road trip for the last half week.  Real post coming.  Until then, a view from my car window:


    And while I’m at it, I took some pictures at an abandoned cemetery in Flatonia (shut up) and when I developed them I found no ghosts but I did find this:


    I’m not one to jump to conclusions but I’m wondering if 100% certain this is the spirit of a shrunken circus bear, or possibly a tiny Sasquatch.  Someone call Destination Truth.  Original photo is here.

    Comment of the day: Mini Sasquatches grow up. That’s why we need the guns. ~Robyn