Category Archives: International incidents

Let’s Pretend This Is Sunday

So yesterday I had a weekly wrap-up to write but I didn’t because I am irresponsible and also I was very busy trying to not get Victor arrested and finding a home for a dead owl.

Let me explain.

Victor is in Japan and he found this adorable, old, tiny taxidermied owl at a flea market and bought it for me because the way to my heart is old dead things.

Obviously.

But my father is here and is a taxidermist and has to know all the rules on birds of prey and turns out that if Victor brings an owl home he might end up in jail.   I considered whether jail was worth it because Owlexander Hamilton already had a tiny place in my heart but Victor is too pretty for jail so instead we needed to find a new forever home for a forever dead flea market owl who can’t leave Japan.

This was a job for twitter…clearly.

And twitter was up for it.   THIS IS WHY SOCIAL MEDIA EXISTS.

Within an hour a lovely family had agreed to accept Owlexander into their home.  And all was right with the world.

Until I realized I forgot it was Sunday and didn’t do this weekly wrap-up but technically I think it’s still Sunday in Japan so let’s just say this counts.

On to the wrap up!

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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 Wild Yonder Botanicals.  From them: “Winter Daze Gift Bundle is here! From the family studio of Wild Yonder Botanicals, an indulgent collection of their most loved botanical offerings for body and soul. A nurturing gift of self-care during the hectic Winter Daze ahead. It includes tons of stuff, including a limited edition Winter Daze botanical perfume, the famous Illuminate face serum with Lotus and Jasmine,  an essential oil-infused Anti Bad Vibe car freshener and more! Use code:thebloggess for $50 off when you pre-order it here (shipping Dec 2nd) and make sure to check out the Grateful Dead TM line!”  You should totally go check it out here because it sounds lovely.

Italy!

Next month Hailey and Victor and I are going to Italy to visit an old friend.  It is the first time we’ve ever been and will probably be the only time since we don’t travel much so we’re going to try to do Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Pompeii in less than a week.  That sounds pretty undoable but technically we’re strange travelers and tend to go to bizarre sites rather than touristy places so maybe we can make it work.

I know literally nothing about Italy so is there anything we shouldn’t miss?

Bonus for creepy, weird, fun.

A few things I have on my list are seeing some of the incorruptible bodies of saints, crypts and catacombs, the Roman Cat Sanctuary where Ceasar was murdered, The Oak of Witches and the Bridge of Sighs.  Where else should we go?

Japan is weird. But so am I so it worked out shockingly well.

I’m dealing with a nasty case of jet lag (which Victor says doesn’t exist and is just an excuse for sleeping until noon and maybe it is but it is a very good one) but it was totally worth it because Japan was totally fucking weird, but in the best possible way.  I documented a bit on twitter and instagram but a lot of you asked me for my full itinerary so you could follow it if you go to Japan so I’m going to plop everything all here.   Pitter patter…

We went to a sushi restaurant where the food comes around on a little electronic sidewalk and it was awesome except that I don’t really like sushi so Victor and Hailey ate octopus and eyeballs and I ate french fries like a child.  They were delicious though.

Victor and Hailey did a lot of exploring while I hid in the hotel room and recuperated from being around people, but I was actually able to so much more than I thought.

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Exploring.

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Japan.

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And then we found a river of flowers.

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Cat Cafe. This is heaven.

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Went to this Cat Cafe in Harajuku and it was sort of awesome because the cats are weird and beautiful but also none of them wanted to be petted because I guess they were all petted out so instead they just hid and honestly, I could totally relate.

Also, this guy wouldn’t stop looking at me:

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Welp. I’ve found my patronus.

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We went to the Kawaii Monster Cafe, which I thought was going to be intimidatingly scary but actually it was like if Chuck E. Cheese and Rainforest Cafe went to Japan and did a lot of ecstasy.

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Japan is a weird fever dream. But in a good way.

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Each of us had one thing we insisted on doing.  For Hailey it was Moosh, a store that sells squishy stuff.

Then we had a day of traveling as we went to Fuji, Lake Hakone and Lake Biwa:

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Greetings from Japan. Wish you were here.

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That was anticlimactic.  Also we were supposed to go to a volcano to eat black sulfer eggs but we weren’t allowed to because the volcano was being volcany.  Instead we went here:

So I didn’t see Fuji that day but I did see it from a bus days later, and it was still worth it because…

We stayed overnight at the Lake Biwa Marriot, and there was a hot spring in our room which basically was just like a bath but with constantly running water.  It was awesome except that I kept waking up thinking that the toilet was overflowing and then I couldn’t go back to sleep without peeing.

We traveled to Nara, where the deer were once considered sacred but are now a cross between being adorable and bitchy as hell if you don’t feed them (relatable).  They will bow to you if you give them crackers but maybe don’t wear a dress because this happens.  (Didn’t make a joke about them being horny even though I totally wanted to.)

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How is this real?

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Inside the temple there is an enormous Buddha.  There’s a giant wooden stake with a hole in it that is said to be the same size of the Buddha’s nostril and if you can crawl through it you get enlightenment in the next life but there was no way I wasn’t getting stuck inside that guy’s nose and I’m not into getting fat-shamed by Buddha in front of 100 strangers.

 

Victor: Should we go to a museum?

Me: There’s a place in Tokyo where there are robot wars in the basement each night.

Victor: WTF Jenny.

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Tokyo is weird. But good.

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We went to the Tokyo Robot Restaurant, where I ate churros and french toast and drank Zima and had acid flashbacks and it was like being in college all over again.  But with robots.

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Relatable.

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A bunch of people told me to go to a TeamLab exhibit and the tickets were sold out for the borderless show so instead we went to Planets, which is supposed to be smaller but was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life.

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Pretty sure this is what the afterlife is like.

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It looks like it might be anxiety-inducing but honestly it was so relaxing and surreal.

We went to a cafe where you could hold hedgehogs and I’m not sure why we had to use gloves because I have friends who have hedgehogs and they never use gloves but maybe the hedgehogs are germaphobes.

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Hedgehogs. Why don’t they just share the hedge?

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Aqua Park Aquarium.

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We accidentally went to an aquarium and it wasn’t very English-friendly but it was still lovely.

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Aqua Park Aquarium.

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The one thing I wanted to see in Japan was the Parasite Museum…

I actually have a picture of the world’s largest tapeworm (which was in some guy until he pooped it out and was the length of a school bus) but it was a terrible picture.  (Of me.  The tapeworm looked fine.)

 

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I thought I posted this earlier. (TeamLab planets)

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And on the last day we went to the Oedo Tokyo Antique:

And then we got on a series of planes that were delayed so many times I lost track, but after over 24 hours of planes, we got home.

My depression is still in recession so far so I was able to do so much more than I expected.  I kept thinking that I was going to end up sick and exhausted but it never happened.  I told Victor how lucky people are who don’t have to deal with depression or chronic illness…and how they can’t really appreciate how amazing it is to be able to live without exhaustion.  But then I remembered how lucky I am to have a treatment that is working so far, and to be able to go to Japan at all, and to have you all in my corner.  I guess luck is relative.

JAPAN!

We’re leaving tomorrow to take Hailey to Japan for a week and I’m full of anxiety because I am a terrible traveler but Hailey and Victor are okay with me hiding in the hotel so it’s good that they have low expectations.  That said, I really want to go to the Parasite Museum and watch a robot do burlesque and hike through a volcano and  you should let me know if there is anything else amazingly weird that we absolutely should do/see in Japan.

Since I’m leaving tomorrow I’m doing my weekly wrap-up early and I’m not sure if I’ll have access to my blog in Japan so next week I think I’m going to share some of the best-loved bloggess posts of the last 12 years.  If you have a special request, let me know.

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And on an entirely different subject, it’s time for the Sunday wrap-up!

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 Storyworth.  Remember my post about my dad’s stories? Father’s Day is next Sunday, and a StoryWorth book is the perfect present for your father/grandfather/etc. Once a week for a year, he’ll get an email with a question about his life – asking him to describe his life in high school, or his favorite memory of you as a child. All he has to do is reply with a story, which is forwarded to you and any other family members you invite. At the end of the year, his stories are bound in a beautiful keepsake book you will cherish.  I can’t recommend it enough. Get $20 off at www.storyworth.com/bloggess.

Weird in every language

I don’t how many languages my books have been published in but I am always amazed at the strange and wonderful covers that show up in all the various countries.  Today I got to see the Russian cover for Let’s Pretend This Never Happen and it’s pretty fucking glorious:

Victor had questions about why Russia thinks a rabbit would sell better than a mouse and I have questions too but mainly those questions are about whether this rabbit is available for purchase and whether I should name him Rabbit Downey Jr or David Hasselhop.

Finding light

I got distracted by my dog’s vagina (if I had a nickel for every time that’s happened, right?) but I’m back to sum up the final part of our week in Europe.  If you missed the first two parts they’re here and here.

PARIS

We took a train from London to Paris and went through the chunnel (the tunnel under the English channel) but it’s only cool in theory because it’s not made of glass so basically you’re just in the dark the whole time.  Have you ever traveled with your eyes closed?  That’s pretty much what the chunnel is like.

Also there was a lack of sasquatches:

We ate a lot.

The one thing I really wanted to do in Paris was to see the catacombs so we did that first just in case my anxiety hit and I had to miss everything else and it was amazing if for no other reason than this sign:

No eating. No flash photography. No molesting the corpses.

Also, we went visited a bunch of haunted places during our vacation because I’m a dorky ghost hunter but the only possible ghost picture we got the entire trip was in the catacombs and fucking Victor took it:

If you click on it you can see it larger. It sort of looks like the ghost is wearing high heels and skinny jeans but it’s Paris so I guess even the ghosts are fancier than us.

We went to the Paris Flea Market and I didn’t buy any of these things even though I really wanted to:

I was worried that the taxidermy would get stuck at customs but I did consider buying the girl mannequin. She’s LIFE-SIZED though and Victor refused to buy another plane ticket home and also she looked so real and unsettling that I was a little concerned that she was an actual demon.

We took our kid a show at the Moulin Rouge. There were a lot of nipples but she owns nipples so I think it was probably okay even though Victor kept whispering “YOU’RE A BAD MOM” every time someone took a top off. Also, the show was for “ages 7 and up” so things in Europe are a little different.

We took a boat ride down the Seine and I have a lot of beautiful pictures on instagram but this was a favorite:

Truth.

We saw the Eiffel Tower and it was very bizarre because it’s one of those things that you don’t think really exists until you see it.  We didn’t go inside because there was a line and it was expensive and I hate elevators and stairs, plus if you go to the top of the Eiffel Tower you can’t actually see the Eiffel Tower, so I’m not sure what the point it.  But we ate crepes from a street vender outside and they were so good I screamed “ALL CLITORISES ARE BEAUTIFUL!” but only in my mind because my mouth was full.  (Of crepes.  Not clitorises.)

We wandered the streets and caught glimpses of the person our daughter is becoming:

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Paris.

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And in the evening the light turned golden – literally – and I suddenly saw why they call it the City of Light.

I tried to find an empty space to see the sun but it just wasn’t possible, so I stood in the deep shadows of the streets and I looked up to watch the light creep in and touch the tips of the buildings.  And I cried a little.  Because for so many months it seems all I seemed to write about was the dark depression I was in…how I was looking for the light.  And I found it.  Maybe just glimpses, but sometimes that’s enough.

It was enough for me.

And I’ll keep these pictures to remind myself that there is always light coming, even if you can’t always see it.

London is beautiful…but a little too peoply.

(Click here for part 1)

SO…where were we?  Oh, we were in Scotland at the train station and I was thinking that Scotland would always be my favorite vacation spot and then someone told me that the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn (true story) and also that Scotland recently had to shut down part of a castle after a “very angry badger” took up residence there and refused to be lured out with peanuts and cat food and then I realized that Scotland was made for me and probably I should go live there.  And I’m fine with angry badgers because Victor travels all the time so it’d be like he was there even when he wasn’t, plus badgers eat snakes so it’d be like I had a personal snake security guard with me.  EVERYONE WINS.

We planned to take a sleeper train from Scotland to London and it seemed very smart because not only do you travel at night so you sleep through the travel but also you don’t have to spend money on a hotel because you sleep on the train, and it was awesome.  Mostly it was awesome at teaching us how much we never want to take a sleeper train again because as soon as I squeezed into the tiny room with all our suitcases I had the first bout of claustrophobia I’d had in 10 years and I had to tell Victor and Hailey to stop breathing because they were using up all the air and also the room was so tiny it smelled like feet and farts and fear almost immediately.  It was exciting though to see the country from the window and I enjoyed the booze part of the dining car once I stopped hyperventilating.

Also, people on twitter told me I needed to eat “neeps & tatties” so I asked for them but I forgot the name so instead I was like, “It’s Scottish and it goes with haggis?  I want to say ‘nipples and titties’ but I’m pretty sure that’s not it” and they agreed hardily.  Turns out it’s “neeps & tatties” (shorthand for “turnips & potatoes”) but I think I was pretty close.  Not close enough for the dining car people though, who were very confused, but in my defense this is a country that also sells “pasties” and they aren’t what you think they are either so I’m pretty sure none of this is my fault.  Victor disagrees.

But he did agree that the sleeper train was not a great fit for us (literally) but was excellent practice for prison.  I asked Victor to order 50 hard-boiled eggs and a harmonica but the dining car was out of both, I guess.

At the time, this night was one of the most uncomfortable of the vacation but looking back it was one of the best and I laughed myself a little sick. So never mind, I’ve decided I like the train after all.

Jesus.  This is supposed to be about London and I’m still on the damn train from Scotland.  Let’s hurry this up.

We got to London and were the last people on earth to see Hamilton (although Hailey and I already knew all the words by heart and I want a medal for not singing along) and I cried so much I gave myself a headache.  Also it was weird going to London to see a play about America but it worked.

#ANDPEGGY

We went to Dennis Severs’ House and it was an introvert’s dream because basically you’re going to a party where you’re not allowed to speak, the other guests are invisible and also Dennis Severs’ is dead so literally you get to enjoy an amazing (probably haunted) time capsule art installation house in absolute silence.  I can’t explain it well and I wasn’t allowed to take pictures but if you’re ever in London you should totally go.

We went to the Tower of London and saw the crown jewels and the torture chambers and the ravens and the weather was miserable but it matched the mood of the place so I give it points for accuracy.

Then we did the cheesy touristy London Dungeon, and I’m aware that it’s a terrible waste to go to the country where history comes from and spend hours at a semi-horror amusement part but we know who we are and we are the kind of people who love cheesy horror and ridiculousness and being chased by Jack the Ripper.  Part of traveling is learning who you are.  Turns out we are those people.

There were a lot of other things we wanted to do but I had a small panic attack at the bus station that left me needing to hide in a hotel room (but only for a few hours and this is what progress looks like for me) and Hailey sprained her ankle so we skipped all of the other stuff and just took our kid to a bar.  But it was a bar that had a full replica of Sherlock Holmes’ flat so I can’t be blamed.  Also, I was told that kids go to bars all the time in London so I guess in that way it’s a lot like Texas.

We wanted to do high tea but we couldn’t get in anywhere since we waited too late and honestly that was fine because I didn’t even know what high tea was.  Turns out it’s just tea, but sitting up high at a table rather than a couch, so I’m not sure what the draw is.  “Low tea” is drinking at a low sofa which seems better to me.  Personally I prefer “Super-low tea” which involves having wine coolers and cupcakes in your bathtub and which I just made up.

Then we went to Trafalgar Square where I half fell in the fountain getting this picture:

Worth it.

We watched the sunset and scraped our elbows climbing onto the giant lion statues and for a moment everything was golden.  I breathed.  I felt.  I soaked it in.  I stopped, and all was good.

I love this picture of me and Hailey. Are those guy unveiling a giant metal nipple? Just asking.

And then we got on another train for France.  Let’s take a break, okay?  I need some super-low tea.

PS. Everywhere in Scotland I kept seeing these signs that said “TO LET” and I was like, “They spelled ‘TOILET’ wrong” but apparently ‘letting’ is like ‘leasing’ and that makes more sense but also I was very impressed with the children of Scotland for not graffitiing an “I” into every sign because apparently they have much more self control/class than I do or possibly they just aren’t tall enough to do what all of us are thinking.

Someone get me a white paint pen and a ladder.  And bail money.  I’m gonna need bail money.

And then everything changed. #Scotland

If you’ve been reading here you know that I’ve been dealing with a rather severe depression for more than a year.  A few months ago I had 36 transcranial magnetic stimulation sessions to try to snap out of the anxiety and depression that were making me a prisoner in my own head.

And it worked.  Not entirely, I mean.  I still deal with depression and anxiety and I’m still on medication but it reset my head enough to let me leave the house.  In fact, the week after my treatment was over we spent a week in Europe, something I never would have imagined was possible for me before.

I probably didn’t do as much as most people do and certainly I missed lots of things that I wanted to do but I got out there and I only had one day of anxiety severe enough to make me hide in my room.  I can’t even tell you how impossible that would have sounded to me only a few months ago.

I’ll tell you more about the trip in my next book (BECAUSE I’M WRITING AGAIN) but so many of you asked me to share some of our itinerary so today I’m doing a photo essay of the trip.  If you follow me on all the social medias you can totally skip this:

Day one:  A new Pope was elected on our first plane.

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Video: This seems like an ominous sign.

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Our second plane ride was a bit better:

WE GOT UPGRADED FROM ECONOMY TO BUSINESS. WHAT.

Landed in Glasgow.  Tried to go to the Necropolis but it was scary as shit driving on the wrong side of the road in heavy traffic and suddenly A PARADE BROKE OUT so we just drove away.  So, we started with fear and failure and less corpses than anticipated but at least the corpses weren’t our so it’s a fair trade.  Plus we had breakfast:

Beans on toast, haggis, blood pudding, lorne sausage, tattie scone. All weirdly delicious.

 

ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

 

We’re staying in the 800 year old super haunted Dalhousie Castle. It’s beautiful but there are 8 live spiders in the bathroom and now Hailey refuses to open it again so we’ll be pooping out the window like the classy people we are.

Is that a goddam owl? Yeah. It is.  YOU’RE A WIZARD, HARRY.

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Made an unexpected friend. #scotland

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That tiny owl? It’s called a “little owl” and it’s adorable but also we had to keep it away from any other little owls because IT EATS OTHER OWLS. Cutest cannibal I’ve ever snuggled in my life.

Pretty much every building in Scotland looks like Hogwarts but this is Rosslyn Chapel. There’s a black & white cat who sort of owns the place and I spent time snuggling him on a pew today. If more stray cat snuggles happened in random churches I might actually go.  Get your shit together, Christians.

Day 2:

Spending a few days at Neil Gaiman’s house in Scotland and thinking that young me would never believe this is real. Sadly, Neil and Amanda aren’t here but when I was in the library after midnight a crow tapped on the window to come in and I’m pretty sure I’m in a short story now.

Day 3:


 

But turns out the everyone not Scottish pops all their tires in Scotland so the mechanic had a ton of spares on hand and was able to fix it.  SUCCESS!

We explored Isle of Skye, which feels haunted but in the best possible way.

We walked The Quiraing, which was breathtaking and watched out for Highlanders.  We didn’t get to the end because it was long and Hailey sprained an ankle and I’m lazy but it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced in my life.  Also, there were sheep.

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The Quiraing. #scotland

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Here’s where I almost fell to my death. #WORTHIT

We went searching for ruins. We found cows. Probably they ate the ruins. I don’t know how Scottish cows work.

Also, all the ground in Scotland is so crazy soft you sink into it when you walk.  It’s like standing on cats.

I stole fruit.

Saw the countryside. Stepped in feces. (Probably not human.)  Spent time with family.

Day 3:

Eilean Donna Castle. Everything looks like a movie here.

Loch Ness. The monster did not show herself. DEEP SIGH. SCOTLAND.

But we stopped at Loch Lochy (which seems a bit too on-the-nose and I assume was named in an internet contest) and totally found something:

Then I found another monster.

Caught a Mr. Mime. I screamed a little. Don’t judge me.

Found a giant castle knitted out of yarn in the mall. You can’t get away from castles in this country, y’all.

Overall, it was amazing.  I actually miss Scotland and usually when I leave a place I feel relief that I’m gone.  I cannot recommend it enough.  But maybe bring a raincoat.  And a spare tire.

Holy shit, this post is getting long.  Let’s do London next, okay?

Honestly I might be better mistranslated.

Furiously Happy continues to find an audience in China and that means that I get tagged in a lot of weird things that possible don’t translate well.  Mostly they’re reviews but when I use google translate it’s wonderfully entertaining:

Makes you wish she was your super super good friend. – Entertainment Weekly

She will let you spray coke out of her nose. – Parade

Jenny’s story will make you laugh, but in fact you know that you shouldn’t laugh so arbitrarily, otherwise you may laugh all the way to hell, so perhaps you shouldn’t read this book. You have to think about your personal safety. It would be wise. – Neil Gaiman, author of The American Gods

I can’t express how deeply Jenny poked me.  – American Reader’s Review

Her sunny vernacular became a chicken butt soup….Fun angle. Interesting soul. ~ Amazon top review

I want all of these blurbs on my next book.

Dead Happy World’s Brightest Leopard Depression Sufferer

Yesterday I shared the bizarre news that Furiously Happy is a bestseller in China and then I asked if anyone could translate the billboards and posters advertising Furiously Happy and it was glorious.




PS. It feels only fair that the English part of the Chinese poster has a typo.  Now I want this poster.  It makes me Furiously Flappy.

Love always, the World’s Brightest Leopard