Sharks ate my cat.

Last week my friend Mary mailed me this and at first I didn’t know what it was until it ate Ferris Mewler.

bloggess cat shark

Best cat house ever.

And it made me laugh out loud, which is nice because this week my head has been more of an asshole than normal.  There seems to be a lot of that going around so just know that if you are drained or depressed or feel worthless you aren’t alone, but your brain is just lying to you and this will pass.  I promise.  We’ll feel better soon.  I’d write a whole post about it but I can’t concentrate enough to use my words, because SEE ABOVE.  I recommend applying videos of hedgehogs taking baths as needed, and also reminding yourself that this feeling isn’t real and we’ll all catch back up with the world soon.  It’s gonna be okay.

PS. I went that entire post without making an easy sex joke and now I want a high-five.

Dear stranger who made my whole day:

Dear anonymous stranger in the car ahead of me who paid for my breakfast:

You made my whole morning brighter and you inspired me to pay for the next person behind me.  Which actually made me feel even better, which is the nicest thing ever but it’s also sort of weird because the gift you gave me is basically you giving me a reason to give a gift to someone else.  Now my head hurts from the circularness, but it’s totally worth it.

When I got home I got a small, unexpected box of audio books from my publisher to celebrate winning an Audie award so I’m giving them out randomly to people who want them.  Want one?  Just leave a comment telling me if you want Furiously Happy or Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

bloggessbooks

PS. I love you.

It did get my attention, though.

So I saw this truck driving down the road and I thought, “Wait.  Seriously?  Is it just me?” And apparently it was, because no one else seemed to care.  Victor said that he got it, but that it would really only be funny if it was a plumbing truck.  Disagree.

It's possible I've been watching too much BBC.

It’s possible I’ve been watching too much BBC.

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up:

Inside the TARDIS you'll find Jenny wielding a sonic screwdriver, Neil Gaiman in a monkey hat, Beyonce the giant metal chicken, Hamlet von Schnitzel, Juanita Weasel in a Traveling Red Dress, Nathan Fillion holding twine, A TARDIS in the TARDIS for time traveling when you're traveling in time, Wil Wheaton collating paper, and a Wolf Blitzer at the door.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Stephen Parolini’s new book Stolen Things.  It is full of awesome. Stolen Things is the story of Raspberry Lynette Granby, a 12-year-old girl who moves with her terminally-ill father to her aunt’s hill house in Maine for the last of his days…or some kind of miracle. This is how one Amazon reviewer describes it: “Lyrical, meandering, resonant, nostalgic, sweet, creepy, and achingly suspenseful, this novel is both a paean to the classic kid sleuth mystery genre and a delicate but pointed dissection of impending loss and how we handle it.” Now you tell me who wouldn’t want to read that book?  You can get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  I recommend.

She’s still alive.

I’ve been doing doggie obedience training for Dorothy Barker because she’s insane, and she’s okay with most of the basics now (Come here.  Stop chewing on the cat.  Don’t shit on that) so now we’re moving on to tricks and she’s pretty good at most of them but there’s one that she can’t do, so yesterday I told the dog trainer that I wanted to work on something specific because “The problem I’m having is that my dog won’t die fast enough.”

And he was like, “Mmm.  So.  Wait-what?”

And I said, “You know?  That thing where you shoot your dog?  And then she dies?  But it takes FOREVER for her die and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong?”

And then he stared at me and Victor was like, “It’s called ‘PLAYING DEAD’, Jenny.” And I agreed because THAT’S WHAT I JUST SAID, VICTOR.  But then the trainer repeated what I’d actually said without context and then I understood everyone’s concern and now I can’t go back to obedience school again.

PS.  Here’s a video of her doing tricks.  Today she’s a little faster at dying but she doesn’t stay dead long enough, I think.  Also, I don’t know the command for making her stop playing dead when she just lays there.  Yelling “GO FULL ZOMBIE” is getting me weird looks.  I’m really more of a cat person, I think.

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Don’t drink out of toilets. That’s the lesson I learned on this trip.

First off: This is a sponsored post and I’m telling you now because it seems shitty to read a whole post and then at the end get a “HEY, THIS IS AN AD” but you should read this one because at the end one of you will win a shitload of money because the sponsor is Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen and they want you to get out and have a bad-ass road trip that doesn’t end in cancer.  WHO CAN HATE ON THAT?  No one.  So let’s begin.

Blue Lizard (who I love and have used for years) asked if they could sponsor a post and my first response was the same one I always have for that question, which was, “I don’t really do that” but then they said “You can write whatever you want” and I was like “Can I write about ghost hunting?” and they were like, “Sure.  But that seems like something you wouldn’t need sunscreen for since ghost come out at night” and I had to explain that ghosts don’t sleep in the day because they aren’t vampires and it got too complicated so instead I was like, “How about I go on a road trip to fucked up places I never knew existed?” and they were like, “That sounds weird.  But good?” And then I was all, “AND THEN YOU CAN GIVE ONE OF MY READERS A CHANCE TO SEE FUCKED UP SHIT TOO?” and they were like, “Okay.  But, um…define ‘fucked-up‘?” and I was like, “Don’t worry about it, Lizards.  I GOT THIS.”

And I did.  Because it gave me the perfect excuse to do a family road trip weirdo-style.  So I set up a road trip agenda to take us to the world’s largest pistachio nut and then Victor was like, “Or we could actually take Hailey to see something worthwhile, like The Grand Canyon or a National Park” and I was like, “Well, I guess we can do both if big nuts aren’t good enough for you” so we did.  You may have seen some of this on instagram but I saved the best stuff for this post.  Let’s start:

First off we flew to El Paso, which slightly seems like breaking the rules of a “road trip”, but driving from the middle of Texas to the end of Texas takes 480 years.

Photo 1: please prepare for lift-off. Photo 2: ladies and gentlemen, we've run out of rum.

Photo 1: please prepare for lift-off. Photo 2: ladies and gentlemen, we’ve run out of rum.

Then we drove toward New Mexico.

Dust storms: the most exciting thing I've seen in 3 hours is mobile dirt.

Dust storms: the most exciting thing I’ve seen in 3 hours is mobile dirt.

Then we hit Arizona:

Arizona dust storm. Much more exotic than the New Mexico or Texas variants.

Arizona dust storm. Much more exotic than the New Mexico or Texas variants.

That’s when I took control of the agenda and gave Victor directions to see the gravestone of Rex Allen’s famous horse.

Visited a famous horse grave? Check. (Hailey: This is a weird vacation. Me: And we are weird people.)

Visited a famous horse grave? Check. (Hailey: “This is a weird vacation.” Me: “And we are weird people.”)

Then we saw a billion billboards for “THE THING”.  What is “THE THING”?  Excellent question.  And one we asked ourselves for the next several hours as we saw a sign for it every mile.  Victor attempted to not go see THE THING because he’s the kind of guy who never opened up his digital alarm to see if there were squirrels in it (there weren’t) so Hailey and I screamed in protest until he pulled in to the gas station where you buy tickets to see The Thing.

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WHAT IS THE THING?! I’m not telling you.  Because that ruins the mystery. But I will say we got to walk through two separate trailer parks to see it. It was very thingy.

My reaction: “Huh.”

Hailey’s reaction: “Whoa.”

Victor’s reaction: “JESUS CHRIST.  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I WANT MY DOLLAR BACK.”

On the way to see THE THING we walked by 100 gourds carved to look like monsters and also a shocking amount of home-made torture-related displays.  I sort of thought we might get murdered  (spoiler alert: we didn’t).

"Fucked up road trip stuff?" CHECK.

“Fucked up road trip stuff?” CHECK.

Next stop was Tombstone, Arizona, where we made a shitload of movie references that no one else seemed to get.

Tombstone: Cheesy, but fun. Terrible margaritas.

Tombstone: Home of campy fun and the worst margarita I’ve ever had in my whole life.

We did some ghost tours in Tombstone but the only thing that showed up on my camera was this weird orb that I kept getting at Boot Hill, which was either a ghost or a moth.  Or a moth’s ghost.  Can’t rule anything out when it comes to the supernatural.

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The next day I took over the navigation.

Unexpected joys of a road trip. "VICTOR! STOP! VAMPIRE STRIP CLUB!"

Unexpected joys of a road trip. “VICTOR! STOP! VAMPIRE STRIP CLUB!”

Then we stopped at Rooster Coburn’s Ostrich Farm and they had a big wall with holes where goats stick their heads out so it looks like you have live, taxidermied goat heads.  Or like giant glory holes but with goats instead of penises.

This goat liked to eat food out of people's mouths. It's what I imagine a strip club is like, except the goat's lips are like boobs. Or butts. Depends on the strip-club. And on flexibility. Either way it felt dirty but also exciting and later I was worried I picked up a disease. So, a lot like a strip-club, probably.

This goat liked to eat food out of people’s mouths. It’s a little like what I imagine a strip club is like, except replace dollar bills with goat food.  And goat’s lips are boobs. Or butts. Depends on the strip-club. And on flexibility. Either way, it felt dirty but also exciting and later I was worried I picked up a disease. So, a LOT like a strip-club, probably.

Then we saw the ostriches who were all surrounded by “WE’LL BITE YOU” signs and I was like, “Yo, I’ll be careful” but right then this asshole slams his head over the fence, slaps me with his own face, and grabs my whole bag of goat food and shatters my thumbnail.  Like, literally he drew blood.

This fucker just assaulted me and now he's acting like I'M the one who started it. YOU DON'T KNOW ME. I DID NOTHING TO YOU. #RestingTrumpFace

This fucker just assaulted me and now he’s acting like I’M the one who started it. YOU DON’T KNOW ME. I DID NOTHING TO YOU. #RestingTrumpFace

Then on the way to the next stop I saw that there was something pretty awesome a half hour away.

Flaccid penis rock or haunted former asylum in a ghost town? I'M NOT PREPARED TO MAKE DECISIONS OF THIS MAGNITUDE. (But apparently Victor is.)

Flaccid penis rock or haunted former asylum in a ghost town? I’M NOT PREPARED TO MAKE DECISIONS OF THIS MAGNITUDE. (But apparently Victor is.)

So we missed the stone schlong that so we could go to the haunted Grand Hotel in Jerome, Arizona.

I walked in and almost passed out. Probably from altitude sickness though.

I walked in and almost passed out. Probably from altitude sickness though.  I didn’t see any ghosts.

It was a weird town.  Half awesome and half threatening.

In hindsight, it was maybe not the smartest idea to pull over to get a better picture of this sign

In hindsight, it was maybe not the smartest idea to pull over to get a better picture of this sign

Next morning we took off on a train to see the Grand Canyon.  It was one of those trains where old-west train robbers board the train and mug you and I thought that sounded like fun and also that if I stole all the hootch in the booze car I could blame it on bandits, but then it turned out there wasn’t even a booze car and I reminded myself why Victor shouldn’t be allowed to book trains and also I wondered why trains even existed.  But it was surprisingly cool.

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And it ended with a stop at the Grand Canyon, which is basically an enormous hole.  But a pretty hole?  Sorry.  They should have sent a poet.

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The most memorable part of the Grand Canyon though was the toilet.

Why do we need to be told not to drink from the toilet? Why is this sign necessary?

“DO NOT DRINK”  Why do we need to be told not to drink from the toilet? Why is this sign even necessary?

I thought it was just a weird one-off thing, but then further up the canyon trail I saw this:

"WATER TOILET." You're giving mixed messages here, Grand Canyon.

“WATER TOILET.” You’re giving mixed messages here, Grand Canyon.

And it was nice to see something that everyone talks about, but honestly Antelope Canyon was so much cooler and I highly recommend.  It started with an authentic Native American hoop dance in the eaves of a non-functional gas station in front of a Taco Bell.  Then we loaded into the back of a truck like it was the 70’s and when we got there it was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen.  Go there.

I TOOK THIS WITH MY PHONE.

I TOOK THIS WITH MY PHONE.

Then we sent to see a giant meteor crater in Arizona.

Meteor Crater in Arizona. Arizona has cornered the market on big holes, y'all.

Meteor Crater in Arizona. Arizona has cornered the market on big holes, y’all.

We saw the Petrified Forest, which is the least foresty forest ever:

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And the Valley of Fire Lava Fields, which were not on fire and the Smokey the Bear museum where they buried Smokey, and the jail where Billy the Kid shot his way out, White Sands National Park in New Mexico, which is all beach and no giant octopuses.  We stopped on the side of the road to see giant, 10-foot tall zombie hands outside of a cave that sold knick knacks.

Veiny.

Veiny.

And finally we were at the end, as we celebrated the biggest pistachio nut IN THE WORLD.

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And it was magical.  And ridiculous.  And an excellent chance to see the world (or at least a small part of it) with my favorite people.  And none of us got sunburned because we were covered in Blue Lizard.  I highly recommend.  The trip, that is.  And the sunscreen.  They aren’t mutually exclusive.

So here’s the fun part.  Leave a comment about something awesome you’d like to go visit and the best comment will get a $500 VISA card from Blue Lizard to use on your next road trip.  Also, you can use coupon code P20ROADTRIP for 20% OFF orders over $35 at www.bluelizard.net all through 2016.

Leave a comment y’all.  (PS. Use a good email so I can contact you if you win.  I won’t use your email or give it out for anything else so no worries about spam. Also, they can only ship the prize to the U.S.  Just FYI.)

Updated:  WE HAVE A WINNER!

I would love the $500 to contribute to my family’s awesome road trip scheduled this summer! (Also, I have had repeated occurrences of melanoma, so I am basically slathered in sunscreen 24/7 from April thru October.)
Here are the stops on our planned road trip: Orient Mine -to watch hundreds of thousands of bats fly out for dinner at dusk. Colorado Gator Reptile Park (because alligators in Colorado); Great Sand Dunes National Park (sand boarding and sledding, with fantastic views) ; Best Western Movie Manor (drive in movies you watch from your hotel room); River rafting in Durango; Choco Canyon in New Mexico; Roswell, New Mexico to hang out with aliens; Carlsbad, New Mexico (more bats, maybe some ghosts) and then back home (with an overnight stop along the way to visit a cemetery in Pueblo, where my great, great grandfather was buried in 1901). ~ Tracy

Check your email, Tracy.

I love you and your fucked-up pets too.

Yesterday I posted a picture of Ferris Mewler in an awkward position and was quickly flooded with the most ridiculous pet pictures ever.  There were too many to retweet so I put my favorites right here.  Go see them now.  Even if you aren’t an animal person you will enjoy.   Probably.

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You can look at my mentions for more.  Or we could use a hashtag to make it easier to see.  How about #awkwardpets?

My nose is an asshole. But not literally. Thank God.

(My blog ate this post an hour ago. Even the internet is fucking with me. But apparently all is fixed. Trying this again. If it doesn’t work I’m just going to go set fire to the house.)

Yesterday I was talking to some (now estranged) family members and one said that a local indoor skydiving place just opened. Apparently a super-strong wind is blown up from the floor and you float on it, but I wondered aloud how people keep from suffocating when all that wind is blowing on your face and then everyone looked at me like I shit on the floor because apparently most people don’t completely lose the ability to use their nostrils when they stick their face out of the window in a speeding car. I assumed they were just fucking with me but I’ve asked several other people and apparently this is not a “normal” thing. Or it is a normal thing and everyone I know is conspiring to make me think I’m insane. Except that I looked on the internet and found at least 4 people in the world who’ve asked the same thing so I can’t be alone. Unless I’m those four people and I’ve blocked it out. So I’m asking here. Is it just me?

.

My blog is fucked up but it’s not my fault

If you try to leave a comment or even look at comments right now you’ll get a message saying that you’re doing it wrong and should try searching better.  So basically my blog is broken and it’s blaming you.  I’ve heard it’s not just me so maybe this will get fixed by the time I write this and this whole post will be pointless.  More pointless than usual, at least.

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UPDATED:  IT’S FIXED!  Until I break it again, probably.  Now to find the post that was eaten…

Every day is Mother’s Day

I wrote this 10 years ago but it still perfectly expresses how I feel.  Mother’s Day is fraught with all sorts of weird emotions and I’m so lucky to still have my mother, who loves me and a daughter I adore.  Most people don’t get both and so I feel undeservedly lucky each year these two things happen.  I send out love and peace to those who are lucky enough to celebrate with joy, and to those who face the day with bittersweet memories or anger.  Or both.  Because we’re human and complicated and never quite end up with the perfect greeting card life that we imagine.

Originally published Houston Chronicle ~ May 2006

“Don’t buy me anything for Mother’s Day. Every day is Mother’s Day.” ~A direct quote from Nelda Dusek (my mother)

You wouldn’t know it from looking at me but I have a rare blood disease.

It’s called Antiphospholipid Syndrome and there isn’t a lot known about it other than it can cause blood clots, strokes, and miscarriages. I didn’t even know that I had it.

My husband and I had gone to the doctor expecting to hear our baby’s heartbeat and instead were told that it had died. We were devastated and I didn’t leave my house for a week. When my second loss followed in the next year I demanded that my doctor test me for everything in the books. That’s when I found out I had this strange disease which can worsen during pregnancy and makes carrying to full -term nearly impossible without treatment. My doctor recommended baby aspirin to thin my blood but after a third miscarriage it was clear that I needed something stronger to give me more of a chance. They moved me to a blood-thinner that I had to inject directly into my stomach 1-2 times each day. My stomach became a patchwork quilt of bruises. Six months later the pregnancy test finally turned pink. I upped my dosage of daily injections and made fast friends with other sufferers on the high-risk BabyCenter message boards. I cried with them as they continued to miscarry and felt jealous but hopeful as a lucky few gave birth to little miracles. I watched a best friend go through many rounds of failed fertility treatments and watched her support me even though it must have been torture to see my belly grow bigger every day. I had such severe morning sickness that I was put on a drug typically used for chemo patients. When I was about 7 months along the baby stopped moving and I was terrified. I drank sugary orange juice, listened to loud rap music, desperate to get a response. When she finally moved I was so relieved that I laughed and cried at the same time. During labor I didn’t really mind the pain. I was just so scared that she was going to die that it was all I could concentrate on. The moment I heard Hailey cry in the delivery room was the first time I allowed myself to believe that I might actually be somebody’s mom.

People always tell me that the 500+ shots I had to take to have Hailey will one day make great guilt material and that I should demand rubies every Mother’s Day, but I don’t see it that way. I did all of that for me…so that I could be allowed to be Hailey’s mom, to be the one to kiss her boo-boos, to comfort her when she’s teething, to get woken up at 3am and to see that smile that no one else gets from her but me. Every time I check the BabyCenter message boards I’m reminded that I’m one of the lucky ones.

I’ve realized that my mom was right all along. Every day that I’m allowed to be a mom is Mother’s Day.

The first day I met Hailey

The first day I met Hailey

 

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up:

Inside the TARDIS you'll find Jenny wielding a sonic screwdriver, Neil Gaiman in a monkey hat, Beyonce the giant metal chicken, Hamlet von Schnitzel, Juanita Weasel in a Traveling Red Dress, Nathan Fillion holding twine, A TARDIS in the TARDIS for time traveling when you're traveling in time, Wil Wheaton collating paper, and a Wolf Blitzer at the door.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Renee Charytan’s book called If You Give a Mommy a Glass of Wine. a satirical parody for all the imperfect mothers out there who work hard, try hard and occasionally make mistakes.  It’s like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but with more booze.  And who can’t use more booze?  Check it out here.

Neko Atsume will ruin your life. But in a good way.

If you don’t know what Neko Atsume is then just run away now because it is tremendously stupid and I spent months making fun of my sister for playing it until I downloaded it and now I stop what I’m doing multiple times a day to feed the non-existent electronic cartoon cats that live in my phone and take pictures of them and yell with joy when one leaves me a damp, empty matchbox that also doesn’t exist in real life.  What’s the point of this game?  Answer: There is no point.  Unless you’re compulsive like me and must get a picture of every cat and every momento and can’t sleep until it’s done.  It’s almost as bad as Simpson’s Tapped Out, which is the only other game I play but I’ve played it for years and have spent real life money to buy imaginary buildings in an imaginary town that exists only on my phone.  It’s super fucked up and I don’t even have a joke for it but I just logged in to Neko Atsume and Pickles was embodying all of me today and I thought you could maybe relate.

neko atsume bloggess

PS.  This isn’t a well-written post.  I don’t have an end for it.  Sorry.  See above.