The silver moth

A day ago I was in the pool when this happened:

And then this happened:

And then this happened:

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Now I am a girl who believes in signs and I assumed the first sign was that I now had a new pet.  I was going to name her Mothra but then someone on twitter was like, “Kate Moth” and that was pretty great and then someone on instagram was like, “WING CROSBY” and there’s no way we’re getting better than fucking WING CROSBY but then Wing flew away to a rose bush so it was moot.

The second sign, however, was a bit more concerning.  According to the (never wrong) internet, the moth represents faith.  They are nocturnal creatures that belong to the dark, but they are driven toward the light for some reason.  And I can very much relate to this so I nodded and starting planning my moth tattoo.  Then I read that this specific moth (the sphinx moth) is sometimes considered an omen of death.  And that seemed not so great so I decided to ignore that part.  And then today my mom called to tell me that my grandfather has taken a bad turn and that it might not be long now.


So now my parents are on the way to my house and my sister is flying in at midnight.  And tomorrow we’ll all drive together to Austin to be with my wonderful grandfather.  I don’t think we’ll be able to actually say goodbye.  I don’t believe he’ll regain consciousness.  But we say that we love each other every time because you don’t know when will be the last time so I know he knows he’s loved.

My grandfather is a truly wonderful man.  He’s the most religious person I’ve ever met, but also the least likely to press his beliefs on you or judge you.  He’s the quiet man making furniture for family in his workshop.  He’s the man wearing the “LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE 2020” shirt who is quietly giggling at the grumpy looks he may get from others in the retirement home.  He’s the guy who takes you out for ice cream every time and tells you the same stories over and over but with such love that you want to hear them.  He’s the man who sneaks too much food to the dog and whispers to the dog not to tell anyone.  The man who would never curse but will laugh at your dumb profanity-laced blog and love you unconditionally.  He is a light.  He’s the kind of person who makes you want to be the person he thinks you are.

He’s been struggling for a long time, in rehab after a terrible fall that he never quite recovered from.  He’s been on a vent and I know he’s had a really hard time of it.  So even though I’m sad I know that there will be relief for him in letting go.  And if there is a heaven I have no doubt at all he will end up there.  He makes me believe in heaven, and that is something.  So for now my family will gather will around until we have answers, and we will be there for him and for each other as we wait for the moment when my grandfather will fly away home and when – together – we will move through the darkness and look again for the light.

Positively indecent

So today I had to go get X-rays done and I’m very used to it because I’m always having to get checked for tuberculosis and deformities caused by my rheumatoid arthritis and the nurse who took me back opened the curtain that covers the little dressing room and was like, “You know the drill.  Step in this cubby and take off your dress and your bra and put on a gown and then step back out into the hall and someone will come get you” and I do know the drill so I tossed off all my clothes but then my phone started ringing so I pulled it out of my dress pocket to silence it because you’re not supposed to have your phone on in the hospital and then I heard some guy say, “oh holy shit” and I thought that was a bit of an overreaction but then I turned around and realized that the nurse had not closed the curtain behind me and that I was basically naked and on my phone in the corridor of a busy public hallway.

And that’s how my day has been going so far.  How about you?


So.  The vet at A&M called with Dottie’s test results.  You’ll want to read this.

Her CT scan showed that weird thickening of the bladder but nothing that looked like a mass or lesion and there was no sign of cancer in her bones or lymph nodes other doggie pieces.

The cystoscopy showed a bladder that looked pretty dang healthy.  They did a biopsy of the places that were thickening and they came back negative for cancer.

So what does that mean?  It either means that either the cancer is so early that it’s tiny and that means that we have more time with her…or that the initial cancer test that is almost never wrong was wrong and that she doesn’t have cancer at all.

Either way?  WHOOP!

They’re going to meet with the people who invented the first test this week to get a better idea of whether to keep treating her for cancer or not.

I don’t know about you but I needed some good news this week and I’m certainly counting this as a win.  CAN I GET AN AMEN?



I don’t even fucking know but maybe that’s good.

Remember when my life wasn’t about my dog’s bladder?  ME EITHER.

But I realize that most of you love Dottie enough that you are having a long-distance love affair with her so I don’t feel terribly bad for sharing all of this.  We got back  to town yesterday and we still don’t have the final test results but what I can say is that the A&M vets are amazing and I love them.

They did a CT scan and at first glance nothing looked overtly cancery, which is great.  They also put a camera up Dottie’s lady garden and saw the weird thickening of the bladder but didn’t see anything that looked like a tumor or lesion so they just took biopsies from different areas.  Honestly based on just first looks it doesn’t look cancer but the B-RAF test they did said it was definitely cancer so who fucking knows?  What they think is that either the cancer is so very early (which is good because it maybe hasn’t spread but bad because they don’t know how to treat this early) or maybe the B-RAF test was inaccurate (although it has an extremely high accuracy rate for positives) or that she has some other issue that’s causing the issue and it’s somehow presenting as cancer.  We’ll know more next week but this feels like more good news than bad news so I’m going with that.

The bad news is that Dottie has been really uncomfortable at times and then with the stress of the last week and the pain she’s probably in from all the procedures yesterday she did what little dogs sometimes do in that she got scared and bit the shit out of me.  And normally I’d shrug it off and be glad that she’s too small to do any real damage but I think the stress of this and of my grandfather being in the hospital with head trauma and my grandmother struggling with dementia and feeling like things were fairly dark I started crying hysterically and couldn’t stop.  Luckily it was late and Hailey was asleep but I think it scared the crap out Victor (and Dottie) and honestly me too.  But there’s something very cleansing about those sorts of cries and today I feel better.  Utterly exhausted and unable to concentrate on all the deadlines I have looming but…I don’t know…cleaner, somehow?

I don’t have an end to this because I’m too tired to pull it all into a coherent thought but I just wanted to say that if you’re struggling right now you are not alone.  And that I’m so grateful to have you listening and to have my family and to live in an age where there is help, even if there aren’t always cures.  Right now my mom is dealing with so much with my grandmother and my aunt is dealing with so much with my grandfather and my grandparents are dealing with very hard cards and I wish that I could send them strength but all I can really do is tell them how grateful I am that they exist and how much I love them.  And I’m grateful for you too.  You, who struggle in ways that are seen and unseen.  You will get through this.  I will too.

Dottie update

Forgive the typos. Writing this on my phone.

We’ve been in College Station since yesterday in hopes that the great vets at A&M can offer us better options with Dottie’s bladder cancer. Tomorrow she’s going to get a CT scan and a cystoscopy so we can have a better idea about what we’re dealing with.  Depending on what they find we may be considering radiology. It’s great that they have that option here, although it would mean a month of treatment and since A&M is about 4 hours from us she’d have to stay here for the month. It also costs as much as my first car but if it worked we’d get another two years with her so…

long story short, I don’t know the answer but we’re in a good place to find all the options. Currently Victor, Hailey and I are holed up a hotel room and although it’s not ideal Dottie is loving the attention and is thrilled that we’re suddenly letting her eat steak and visit dog parks and stick her head out of the window on country drives and other things that normally I’m way too paranoid about. Last night I took her to play pool, went on an hour long walk and watched her as she jumped on the bed.

And it was good.

More soon.

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Nothing better than jumping on hotel beds.

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Last week I had to catch Dorothy Barker’s pee in a ladle 6 different times to get enough for the giant sample I needed to take to the oncologist and two different neighbors drove by and stared at me as they tried to figure out how the lady with a full-sized bear dressed as a wizard in her living room could get any weirder and I was just waiting for the all clear on the test to share that funny story, but.


But unfortunately Dottie does have bladder cancer.

Which sucks.  It’s about the worst cancer dogs can get.  There isn’t really a cure.  Usually dogs live for 6 months or less after diagnosis.  Because we caught it so early our oncologist thinks that with drugs we might be able to slow it down and could possibly have a year with her.

So yesterday I cried a lot.  Then I told Hailey and we cried some more.  Then Dottie looked at us like we were crazy and tried to distract us so we took her swimming in the pool and she had a blast.

And so did we.

A year is a long time.  It’s not long enough, but it’s something.  And at the moment Dottie is still the same crazy dog as ever so we are grateful.  And we will enjoy her and each other and all the fleeting things we take for granted when we think they will last forever.

Hug your pets.  Hug each other.  Remember to enjoy every moment.  And then remind me to do the same.


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Ask a stupid question…

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I have some regrets

A few weeks ago I was in Kansas City and I went to a bunch of antique shops and thrift stores and that’s when I met this fellow:

Squirrel Haggard

My first thought was, “Who hurt you?” and my second thought was that this squirrel was a near perfect representation of me whenever I see someone I know in public while I’m still wearing my pajamas and a plastic banana clip from 1994.

I’m not sure what it was once holding in its arms but it looks almost exactly like me that time I lugged a 5 gallon tub of ice cream out of the freezer at 3am but then Victor walked in and scared me and I dropped it all over the kitchen floor.

When you wave your dripping hands in front of the automatic paper towel dispenser but nothing comes out.

In the end I did not buy it because it was over $100 but I keep going back to the pictures I took on my phone and I’m pretty sure I made a terrible mistake and I don’t remember which store this one was so if you happen to be in Kansas City and see me in squirrel form, please drop me a line and remind me where I am.

Dottie update

Just a quick update on Dorothy Barker.  We were hopeful that the last test would show an infection because that would be a much better reason for the growths in her bladder but the test was negative.  So now we start with the next batch of tests.  But Dottie is very happy and seems healthy and until we know differently we’re going to stay positive.

And in that same vein, tell me something good?  Tell me something happy that’s happening with you.

The science of crotches

So I saw this picnic table/bench that works like a mood ring in that it turns a different color whenever you apply body heat to it.


It’s interesting in theory but in practice it seems sort of gross because typically I think crotches are a higher temperature than the rest of your body so you’d have extreme booty marks on your furniture and I don’t know who wants that.  Plus, if you were wearing a maxi pad the table would totally be like, “YOOOOO THIS BITCH IS TOTALLY BLEEDING OUT HER LADY GARDEN” because I’m pretty sure the pad would deflect the heat and make it look like you don’t even have a vagina.  Once again, you ruin everything, menstruation.

But then I thought, wait…is that right or am I justassuming crotches run at a higher temperature?  Because it feels like basic logic that they’re like a heat exhaust vent sent since they have holes in them, but heat rises so technically maybe your crotch heat moves up into your head, which would make your head the hottest part of your body and would explain why people always say to wear a hat because heat escapes most from your head. I don’t know if it’s displaced junk heat but that would make sense and also I think it means we’re sort of checking crotch temps whenever we feel someone’s forehead to check for fever.

I decided to Google if crotches were naturally higher in temperature than the rest of your body but when I typed: “Are crotch” it auto-filled to “Are crotch rockets safe?” and I’m just going to go out on a limb and say “You have to wear safety goggles just to lighta rocket.  Do not attach them to your delicate dangly bitsWhat is even wrong with you?”  But then I clicked on the link and turns out that “crotch rockets” is slang for “motorcycles”.  And that was a small relief because otherwise I think I would have been on the weird side of the internet again (like yesterday when I was looking for sweatpants that have elastic on the ankles because you never see those anymore) and Google images was like, “OH, HERE” and it gave me a bunch of pictures of sweatpants for sale and also this:


And I was like, “WTF, Google?  One of these things is not like the other.”  But in Google’s defense they are listed as “sweat pants” and that sort of makes sense because my first thought was “My God, I bet that’s sweaty.  I can smell that guy’s junk from here and it smells like NOPE.”  Then I rolled my curser over the picture it says: “BRAND NAME MAN PANTIES” and I’m not a big fan of the word “panties”, but the phrase “man panties” sort of sings and is my new go-to phrase for whenever I see something totally fucked up. Like, “Hey did you see that someone invented furniture that lets you finger-paint with your vagina heat?  That shit’s man panties.”

I went back to my original search and googled “Are crotches hotter than legs?” and then Victor walked in and was like, “What in the hell are you doing?” and I was all, “I’m doing research.”  And he looked at me and I added “For science.”  And then I realized that he probably thought I meant “hot” as in “sexy” rather than temperature so I clarified by saying “FOR FURNITURE” and then he was like, “You know what?  Fine.  Don’t tell me,” and he huffed off.

Google knew I was serious though so it took me straight to Webster’s online dictionary which gave me a sneak preview which said something like “bedacause it’s hotter than a crocodile crotch out side!”

And that’s disconcerting because that’s not even how you spell “because” or “outside”, Webster’s. You’re a goddam dictionary for God’s sake.  Sort yourself out.

Anyway, my point is that I have no idea if crotches are hotter than legs because the internet is unhelpful and just brings up more questions than answers.  Like, why would a crocodile have a hot crotch?  Aren’t reptiles cold-blooded?  That metaphor isn’t even scientifically viable.

And this is what it’s like in my head all the time.

PS. In fairness, I just looked at Webster’s and at first I was a bit defensive because it asked, “What made you want to look up crotch?” and I was like, “Don’t judge me.  You’re the one spelling ‘because’ wrong, but then I looked further and apparently the crocodile nonsense was wording from a comment from someone answering why theywere looking up “crotch”.  And then I noticed the comment above it, which read:

“I was talking to my son and told him to place a sheet of paper he was cutting in the “crotch” of the scissor blades. Somehow I got the idea that it meant any place of forking.”

And then I wondered if I was the only person messed up enough to think this was unintentionally funny.  I don’t think so.  It’s forking hilarious.  I left a reply.  “While I agree that most forking does happen in the crotch, I think the word you’re looking for is ‘scissoring’ but I could be wrong.”

(And if you get that joke I apologize.  I also apologize if you don’t get that joke.  Honestly, I think my use of “could be” is a bit too generous.)

PPS.  This is all true.  It’s far too weird to make up.

And then I caught urine straight from a dog’s vagina.

So.  Dorothy Barker has been sick for a bit.  I took her a few weeks ago to the vet who thought it was another UTI.  A week later she came back for a follow up ultrasound and the vet told me that she’d seen a suspicious thing in Dottie’s bladder last time but wanted to see if would resolve.  It didn’t and my vet told me that she’s not enough of a specialist for this stuff so she referred me to an oncologist, who we saw today.

They did a lot of tests and the radiologist says that she has thickening of the bladder in lots of places and one of the places is even thicker than the rest which is what the first vet was concerned with, but the oncologist said that while it could be cancer (and that would bad because bladder cancer in dogs is mostly untreatable) it could just be an infection that just isn’t responding to treatments so for now we’re going to try to rule that out and hope for the best.  They did a clean urine catch (which I now know from personal experience consists of shoving a plate under your appalled dog’s freshly shaven lady garden after they start peeing) and will culture it to see if maybe it’s an infection and I guess for now we just move forward under the motto of “I hope it’s not cancer” which honestly is the motto I think we all live under most of the time anyway.

If you want to send gentle, happy thoughts to my dog’s lady garden they will be received with gratitude.

Thanks for listening, y’all.  Hug your pets.

Dorothy Barker: Not sure why everyone is obsessed with her vagina, but still happy to see you.