I’m a murderer. Sort of.

Remember a few weeks ago when I confessed that I can’t keep a houseplant alive, but then somehow managed to accidentally grow a plant in my pantry when a sweet potato went rogue?  And then I gave it googley eyes and a name?

Sam I. Yam in happier times.  Naturally smiley and high in vitamin C.

Sam I. Yam in happier times. Naturally smiley and high in vitamin C.

Well it turns out I can’t even keep a yam alive because – in spite of my care – Sam turned gaunt and withered and started to decompose.  Sam was blossoming just fine when he was lost in the back of the pantry but when I rescued him he started dying immediately.  It’s like my love is deadly.  Like I’m an accidental Black Widow, but for plants and sweet potatoes.

We had a quiet funeral and I buried Sam, but only up to his eyeballs (which I had to remove and reset) because the spoon I was using as a shovel broke.  And also because I read that if you plant the bottom part of a dead sweet potato they’ll sometimes come back to life.

Victor could take a lesson.

Then Victor looked out his office window asked me why a sweet potato was staring at him from the yard and I explained that I was attempting to make a vegetable zombie, which is sort of true.  Then he sighed at me because apparently bringing the dead back to life is another thing on The List Of Things I’m Not Allowed To Do According To Victor.  I didn’t even mention the broken spoon because if he’s this upset about me trying to Frankenstein a potato I figured he was too irrational to deal with silverware issues, so I took the broken spoon and buried it next to Sam because that way Victor won’t find it and also it’s probably a good way to add iron to the soil.

Then Victor was like, “You don’t have funerals for spoiled potatoes  You throw them away” and I was like “You can’t throw away something you’ve named.  Where is your humanity?” and then he said that I needed to stop naming vegetables, which is just insane because I’ve done that ONCE in my whole life, Victor.  Way to focus on the negative while I’m in mourning.  Honestly, Victor could take a lesson from that upbeat potato.

But the good news is that on my way back inside from burying the broken spoon I saw something that made me smile in spite of the grave situation.

I saw a tiny little weed sprouting out of a small hole in our stairs.

shirley

I’m going to call her Shirley.

Lovely ~ UPDATED

My niece Gabi is 15 years old and is sort of my hero.

gabibir

That sounds weird and I can’t really explain myself without telling stories that aren’t mine to tell, but I can tell you that she’s so much like me it’s a bit eerie.  The difference is that instead of retreating from the world, Gabi reshapes the world to work for her. While I was writing dark, angsty poetry at her age, Gabi has skipped forward to look for the light.  I sang in my bathroom so much that it drove my family nuts.  Gabi taught herself the ukulele and performs original songs for strangers in parks.  She sews her own clothes and costumes, and constructs elaborate dragon wings, and makes zombie sock-puppets and is quietly and unapologetically herself.

A few weeks ago I heard a song she wrote and recorded herself and it made me cry…possibly because I’m an extraordinarily proud aunt, but also because the sweet words she said were what I needed to hear…what I needed to remember.  And I’m sharing her song here because maybe you need to remember too.

She didn’t have a video so she just clipped together footage from Skype sessions and homemade videos with her brother and sisters and friends, but it’s a bit perfect.  If you like it, you can check out the website she made this week.  I tried to convince her to sell her stuff on iTunes but she’s content to share it online for free and put out an online tip jar if you want to pitch in for ukulele strings or blank sheet music, or other musical instruments she hopes to buy and learn.

Thank you, Gabi, for reminding me of how lovely things can be.

UPDATED:  I fucking love you people.  Have I mentioned that?  Because it’s true.  Gabi was amazed at your wonderful responses.  She received over $1,000 in tips (which she’s earmarked to pay for a drum kit and actual music lessons) plus help and advice from other artists.   She just updated her site so you can download her music, and she’s currently in the park writing a song about this whole experience.  If you want to keep up with her progress you should follow her page on Facebook right here.  Thank you for being awesome.  All of you.

Zazzle thinks I’m some sort of serial killer.

me: I wanted to make something new for my shop but all I’ve come up with is a shirt that says “This is where I keep my nipples.

Victor:  Hmm. How about “My meemaw can kick your meemaw’s ass.

me:  Maybe.

Victor: What about a shirt that says “My other shirt has diarrhea on it”?

me:  Ooh! And then you get your partner to wear a second shirt and that other shirt just says “Diarrhea.”

Victor:  Um…I think you’ve gone too far.

me: No, it’s like having matching outfits, but less lame. And with more diarrhea.

diarr

Victor:  That’s too much diarrhea.

me:  Can you really ever have too much diarrhea?

Victor:  Yes. Yes, you can.

I decided to just put all of these ideas up for sell and zazzle was like “Hey!  Check out your designs on other products!” and I was like, “I don’t think that’s a good idea” and Zazzle was like, “YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT.”

ohgod

You’re making it weird, Zazzle.

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And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

Sketch by Ray Friesen

(Sketch by Ray Friesen)

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

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Caitlin Sweet’s new book THE DOOR IN THE MOUNTAIN

“We are all monsters . . .”   Lost in time, shrouded in dark myths of blood and magic, The Door in the Mountain leads to the world of ancient Crete: a place where a beautiful, bitter young princess named Ariadne schemes to imprison her godmarked half-brother deep in the heart of a mountain maze, where a boy named Icarus tries, and fails, to fly—and where a slave girl changes the paths of all their lives forever.  If you like awesome Greek mythology then you should check it out here.

Does anyone want an alligator? It’s probably going to be mostly clean.

All week I’ve been hearing this awful noise that sounds like the hurk-hurk-bork of a cat throwing up, and so I’d run through the house to find the guilty kitty so I could put him on tile rather than have him throw up on the harder-to-clean carpet, but each time I’d find all of the cats in the hall, just staring at me like they were totally innocent and wondering why I’d interrupted their meeting.  And then I finally was like, “Fuck this, cats.  I’m just gonna stand here until one of you fuckers tries it again.  I’VE GOT ALL DAY.”   But then they just looked at me, because turns out they have all day too.

And then I heard it again and turns out it wasn’t the cats.  

It was the toilet.

The toilet was gurgling and making noises like a cat vomiting, and I thought that seemed odd because toilets don’t vomit and are more likely vomited into, but that noise was definitely coming from the toilet and that’s when I realized that my toilet is probably haunted.

Seriously.  I can hear it even now.  It’s like the ghost of someone who ate a bad burrito is in there.  Or maybe it’s the spirit of a long-dead dog who is drinking from the toilet,  Frankly, I have no idea how to handle this and I don’t know whether to call a plumber or an exorcist.

I tried to research it and google was like, “Way ahead of you.  Here’s what other people are searching for:”

hauntd toilet

Conclusion:  Toilet poltergeist are fucking everywhere.

It’s getting louder and now I’m officially scared of the toilet.  I’ve just regressed back to age 3.  Awesome.  I blame the toilet.

I told Victor we need to call an old priest and a young priest and he said I was being ridiculous and that “it’s probably  just air in the lines”, which is just as scary as toilet ghosts because if there’s air in the lines that means that toilet snakes and sewer alligators now have the oxygen necessary to crawl up our toilet pipes without drowning.  So now I can’t sit on the toilet without first screaming and kicking the toilet a few times to scare off any snakes that might be near the surface, which is going to be difficult to explain when we have company over.  Thanks a lot, Victor.  

Victor said that if it kept happening he’d call a plumber to “snake the lines” and I just stared at him because that’s the exact opposite of what I want.  If anything I want someone to de-snake the lines.  Then Victor explained that “snaking the lines” doesn’t have anything to do with real snakes but after this summer’s “We need to expand the fire-pipes under your house” confusion I just don’t trust anything.  I’m considering changing out the toilets for small buckets, and now I know why everyone used chamber pots in the Victorian ages.  It was probably because of all the alligators.

These are the things they never cover on the History Channel.

So that’s…disturbing.

There’s this new thing going around where you’re supposed to google your first name and the word “meme” and post the images that come up.  And I thought, we should totally do this.  I’ll go first…

Unknown-1

Aw.  That’s sweet.

images-5

Fair enough.

Unknown-4

Well, that took a turn.

images

Okay.  Feeling a little uncomfortable now.

images-1

What…what is happening?

images-7

No.  Do not like.

a8f43edce981eff4056d1b6034280af7d9f3c0b2bed51c9919275c664a28504a

Am I supposed to feel like I’m being stalked?  Is that how this is supposed to work?

images-6

How did you even get in here?

th

My name is not even on there.

images-2

I get the joke but it still feels weirdly threatening at this point.

Unknown-3

Yeah.  I don’t like this anymore.

images-3

I want to go home now.

PS.  I also looked up “bloggess meme” and it was much less threatening and took me to thousands of pictures you guys made of Juanita, my taxidermied weasel.  Some of the very best are collected here.  I highly recommend it as a palate cleanser.

Check-Out-This-Shit-I-Made-Tuesday

So on Black Friday you’re supposed to go shopping, but for people like me who panic in crowds that’s like saying you can get 20% off a sweater but the sweater is stored in a big box of live spiders.  Then there was Small Business Saturday which everyone ignores because small businesses don’t have enough money to promote themselves.  Then yesterday was CyberMonday when things online go on sale but it’s never what you want.  I don’t know what today is supposed to be so let’s call it Check-Out-This-Shit-I-Made-Tuesday and you can promote anything awesome you made in the comments.  Link to the best thing you’ve ever written, or to your book that needs more eyes on it, or to your art that you sell on etsy, or the taxidermied mice you dress in clothing, or the painting or photo you created but never showed anyone because you weren’t sure it was worth showing.  If you made it, put a link or picture in the comments (with a sentence telling what it is so people will know what they’re getting into).

I’ll go first.  I made a haunted dollhouse filled with allusions to my favorite stories years ago.  It took me a year just to build it and another five to furnish it and it’s still not done.  Some of the stuff in the house is bought but at least half I made myself or broke apart, bastardized, repainted, etc.  I created secret tunnels and tiny books and stitched tiny rugs and learned how to make miniature wigs and sculpt dragons.

dollhousebloggess

Your turn.

PS.  Also, five seconds after I posted this I read on twitter that it’s also Giving Tuesday, so after you check this stuff out then maybe consider giving to a worthy cause.  Or give someone a compliment.  Or give me a fist-bump.  Whatever works for you.  Have you checked out World Builders?  Because it’s awesome and worthy of your attention.  I’m buying a goat in your honor right now.  I don’t know if we get to name the goat, but if so I say we call him “Mr. Pumpernickel” because it’s fun to say.

I think spellcheck just broke up with me.

There’s this girl online named Gemma Correll who draws pictures of cats and pugs and anxiety and stuff, and when I saw her illustrated map of an introvert’s heart I was like “Yep.  It’s just like this.  Except add more twitter.”

gemmacorrell

Then I went on twitter and followed her and tried to send her a tweet

g6

…but spellcheck was like “‘Friends?’  Nope.  I don’t think so.”  And I thought, “Am I spelling ‘friends’ wrong?” so I clicked on it and spellcheck was like, “Maybe you should look up ‘friends’ because you keep using that word and I don’t think it means what you think it means.”  

g4

So then I was like, “Fine, spellcheck.  I don’t what your deal is but if it makes you happy I’ll look it up,” and spellcheck was like, “Great.  Because it means this: It means you’re asking someone to like you who isn’t even related to you.”

g3

…and I was like, “Yeah.  I already knew that.  Why are you doing this?  I can have friends.”  And the spellcheck was like, “Yeah, you’re obviously not getting it.  Why don’t I give you some suggestions?…

g2

  …Did you maybe mean ‘fiends’?  Did you mean that you should be ‘fiends’ with this girl?  Because that makes more sense.”  And I was like “WHAT IN THE SHIT ARE YOU IMPLYING?” and spellcheck was like, “Well, I just…I know you.  And I’m trying to help.  Why don’t you just look up ‘fiends’ just in case?”  

g1

And then I was like “Wow.  Thanks, spellcheck.  I almost asked someone to be my friend when apparently what I really meant to say was, ‘Hey.  Love your work.  We should be  THE  DEVIL.’  Thanks for saving me from that near-catastrophe!”  And then spellcheck was like, “Whatever.  You don’t have to be sarcastic.  I was just trying to help you.”  And then I felt bad.  

And then I wrote this blog post and it’s basically one terrible run-on sentence but spell-check isn’t saying anything about it so I’m pretty sure that means spellcheck isn’t speaking to me anymore.  I think we’re in a fight and I suspect spellcheck is breaking up with me.  Hopefully we can still be friends fiends.

 ******************

And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

SID3

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

Shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-awesome:

Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:

This week‘s wrap-up is brought to you by the fantastic Kelly Exeter at A Life Less Frantic. If 2014 hasn’t treated you very well, then her short and sweet little book Your Best Year Yet can help turn things around for you in 2015.  She’s so confident of this, she’ll give you your money back if it doesn’t happen.  I bought a copy myself this afternoon and I’ve already underlined a few parts that I really needed to hear.  You should check it out here.

It takes a surprising amount of intelligence to be this stupid.

Victor and I are both giant fans of all things sci-fi but it drives him nuts that I once *cough*  mixed up the names of Star Trek and Star Wars, so now I do it on purpose.  This lead to a series of text messages I sent him today which he did not think were funny.  I disagree.  I think they are very funny but only if you get all of the weird, mangled references to Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek, Buck Rogers, etc.  If you don’t watch these shows then you won’t find this funny because you won’t understand it.  If you do watch these shows you probably won’t find this funny because you’ll be screaming at me for fucking them up so badly.  Either way, everyone loses.  But it makes me laugh so I’m posting it.  I’m so, so sorry.

*****

textbloggess

Just get through Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws.  I never cook anything because I can’t operate a stove without the smoke alarm going off but I did offer to make the turkey this year just so I could make this:

cthurkey

It’s a Cthurkey and it was invented in Texas, because ofcourseitwas.

My offer was declined for some reason.

Another year of not cooking.  Everyone wins.

 

Compassion is painful. That’s how you know it’s working.

I’m sad about last night for a lot of reasons.  And if you are human, and allow yourself to be so, then you probably are too.  Maybe it’s the verdict that upset you, or the destruction afterwards, or the long and difficult path that has led us here and has shown us we have so much further to go before we get to the place where we want to be…a place where kindness and compassion and vulnerability are the things which can be lauded and seen and encouraged and felt.  Or maybe, like me, you’re upset about all of those things and you feel too defeated to want to care anymore.

But if you’re like me, you can’t switch those emotions off.  It’s so much easier to turn those feelings of vulnerability and hurt into a shield of rage.  Rage feels powerful and strong.  It feels good.  And rage is important.  But not at the cost of compassion.  If, like me, today you woke up weary and wanting to become numb, or turn away, or lash out angrily at everyone involved then I feel you.  But I encourage you to keep compassion at the forefront.  Remember humanity.  Remember that your words and actions make a difference.  Remember that the majority of us are so much better than the worse things we see in the news, and that so many of us are leading a quiet revolution to be kind, and compassionate, and to listen to the hurt, and amplify the things that will make a positive difference in our world.  It’s a quiet revolution that will never be covered on CNN.  It’s a movement of people who redirect anger to kindness.  Who listen even when it’s painful.  Who take the hurt of others on ourselves and feel it so that we can become better people.  Who wade into horrible online threads and inject compassion and reason because we know that it can become contagious if done the right way.  Who hope that reason and empathy will somehow lead to a place which is safer for our children and grandchildren.

Yesterday someone sent me this photo and it’s stayed with me, and it helped.  If you’re like me, maybe it’ll help you too.

hope

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? ~ Henry David Thoreau

I don’t usually write about serious things like this because I think of this blog as a place for us to get away from the crazy bullshit of the world.  A place to laugh and heal and be ridiculous.  But sometimes healing comes in different ways and I need to write this so I can let go of some of this angst and refocus on what positive things I can do next.  Like donating to the Ferguson Library, which has served as a quiet sanctuary for so many children and adults.

Tomorrow we’ll be back to ridiculous cat pictures and possibly a story about an alligator in my toilet.  And tomorrow we’ll still feel compassion for the people who are struggling, and will continue to do our best to enact positive changes in our own ways.

I hope to God both of those things are true.