Category Archives: love

True adventures with wildlife, ZOMG

I have a very brief period of time to write this. FIRST I have a STORY and then I have a thing I stole from someone else’s blog because I’m like a pirate, yo. Arrr.

This is me, I guess. Arr, matey.

This is me, I guess. Arr, matey.


This weekend, I went to the library. On the way home, I wanted to stop at a place to pick up some lunch, and I thought, hey, I know a back way to get there. So I turned down the back way all pioneer-like.

Well, like the pioneers that ended up in Utah or some such shit instead of California, I realized I had made a terrible mistake when the road, which the last time I went down it led me all twisty-turny to the road with all the restaurants on it, it just…dead-ended. I knew they’d done some construction, but a little sign saying “this is a dead end now” might have been helpful. To add insult to injury, the reason it was now a dead-end was because they’d put a little hill across the street. You could SEE the street right on the other side of the hill where I needed to be. I mean, there was no way to get OVER the hill, but you could SEE over the hill, and the street was TAUNTING me. Dammit.

Curses, foiled again.

Curses, foiled again.

So grumblingly, I turned around and went back up the same street I’d just gone down. Well, at least I now know you can’t go down that street to get anywhere. So I won’t do that again, I suppose. So, la la la, here I was, driving back the way I came.

When all of a SUDDEN, what was THIS?, something was in the road! Something somewhat large and…brown…and…

IT WAS A TURKEY A REAL LIVE WILD TURKEY (no, not the liquor) in the ROAD!

So I laughed and laughed! I’ve seen turkeys in the distance, like at the side of the road, but never up close! (I mean, I’ve also seen them dead and waiting to be roasted. And also I’ve eaten them. Because, delicious, you know?)

I turned down the radio and slowed WAYYYYYY down (and peeked in my rearview and there was a truck behind me and I was all “sorry dude, but TURKEY!” but of course it’s not like he heard me) and the turkey STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! He did not move! That was one cheeky turkey! He made turkey noises (which I GUESS are like “gobble gobble” but are more like a weird underwatery blurbling noise, honestly) and just watched my car coming up and didn’t even move!

Well, I liked that turkey. That turkey had CHUTZPAH. So I watched him for a couple more moments and then felt bad for the truck in back of me so I really slowly went around the turkey and he went “blurble blurble!” and then I drove away. And the truck in back of me totally went around the turkey, too, so I decided he was a nice man who went out of his way for turkeys.

Wild turkeys (NOT THE LIQUOR!) are very funny and very prettily-feathered and this one totally had a wattle. And wise eyes. I liked this turkey very much. But not enough that I’m going to stop EATING turkey. I do very much like poultry. Both when it comes up all unexpected-like in the street, and also with some gravy and stuffing.

I told Dad this story and first he was all, “Maybe that turkey was rabid” which made me laugh, and then he said “Make that turkey noise again. Make it again.” Then he laughed and laughed because apparently I made a very funny turkey noise. Then he said, “Maybe that was a turkey vulture. Do you think it was a turkey vulture?” and I said, “No, Dad, I saw a turkey vulture once. We had one when I worked at the animal shelter. We had to keep it overnight for Fish and Game to come and pick it up and we fed it hamburger and it looked like a dinosaur and it was totally frightening but also fascinating? I kept looking at it in awe.” Dad said, “You are a wonder, daughter of mine. You are a wonder. You love all the animals, don’t you?” and I said, “Yes. But not monkeys or apes, though.” Dad understood because we went to the zoo together that time. He knows I don’t like the monkeys because I hid behind him at the monkey cage most of the time. I don’t trust those wily poo-flinging bastards.

This doesn't even LOOK like a turkey. It looks like a VULTURE. Also like an evil mastermind, a little, right?

This doesn’t even LOOK like a turkey. It looks like a VULTURE. Also like an evil mastermind, a little, right?

Here is part two. I am multitasking this post, yo.

So on Emma Wolf’s blog today (which is like your…um…two days ago or something), she did the Daily Prompt, which was to assume you had time to save five things from your home if it was on fire, assuming all animals and people were safe. What would you save?

Things like this make me think and think. (I don’t know that I’ve ever clicked on that Daily Prompt site. Is that something bloggers are supposed to do? Probably. I never follow the rules, do I? Dammit.)

When my apartment WAS actually on fire, I saved the cats and my purse, which had my phone (back before I had a real phone, it was just a crappy non-smart Tracfone, but at least it was a way to call out) and of course my wallet and things in it. It took a long time to round up the cats. They were all I cared about, to tell the truth. The purse could have stayed. But this is assuming Dumbcat is safe, so he’s out of the picture. Well, that sounded terrible. He’s SAFELY out of THIS picture. Let’s pretend my happy little place is on fire and Dumbcat is safely elsewhere. Where is he? Hell, I don’t know, probably in the car in his carrier or something, let’s not think too deeply about this.

OK, five things, quick like a bunny, I have to call Dad and explain Justified to him for the week.

  1. My purse. It has a lot of things in, my wallet, my cell would be in there, keys, etc. My purse is important. Having to replace all of those cards and such would be a colossal pain in the butt, yo.
  2. My laptop. It has a lot of writing on it. I’d hate to lose that. Yes, yes. I know. I should probably back that shit up on a thumb drive or whatever the kids have today, but I also love to TYPE on my laptop. The laptop has to come with.
  3. Photos. I’m not a huge decorator, but the main thing I have hanging on the walls here are a ton of photos. Most of them are irreplacable. Some of the people in them are long gone; some were gone before wee Amy made the scene. I’m going to assume I have a little bit of time to grab some photos off my wall. It’s my fire; I get to imagine it as I please.
  4. Clothes/shoes/outerwear/etc. I know I won’t have a billion years to be grabbing things, but at least a couple basic outfits. Once, a long time ago, I had to quickly leave my place of residence. I did not have time to grab clothing. Living in the same clothes for days while you try to get the money/time to get some more clothes is not really what you need to be worrying about when you’re dealing with a huge life issue, you know?
  5. My teddy bear. Shh, my house just burned down, I’m going to need my comfort object. Yes, I’m a grown-ass woman. You’re not even allowed to judge. I WAS JUST IN A CATASTROPHIC FIRE.
Yikes, don't do a search for "apartment fire" and expect to get any sleep for the night. Good grief.

Yikes, don’t do a search for “apartment fire” and expect to get any sleep for the night. Good grief.

I find this curious, because as I was doing this, I didn’t have many things I COULDN’T live without. Honestly, if I had to do without all of these things, I could. As long as Dumbcat is safe, I’m ok. There are a lot of things I need in life, but most of them are replacable. The two things I can’t replace are Dumbcat (I mean, he’s not going to live forever, I’m not insane, I know that, but as long as it’s within my power to do so, I’m going to keep him around) and my loved ones. Doing without the people I love…well, things are just things. You can replace things. Or if you can’t replace them, you can learn to live without them. But my people? Well, living without them is not something I want to contemplate. I’ve had to say goodbye to too many people in my life, and when you lose someone you love, that you truly love, the hole that’s left…well, some of you know what that’s like, and some of you, thankfully, don’t, but everyone eventually does, and will. That kind of loss, I don’t know if that ever leaves you. So, yes, fire, consume all my consumables, if you must. My cat and my people are safe? I’m good. I’m fine. They’re all I need.

For a short post, this is very long. Goodnight, internet. Wait, you’re reading this like at noon or something. Happy…um…lunch break, internet. I’m going to see Company of Thieves with one of my best friends tonight! Hooray!



I Thought It Would Be Funny: A Day of Adventure With The Nephew

I have actual real things to blog about. Real topics. I KNOW SHOCKING. Like, I have them all saved with notes and such. But my brain’s all scattery and I have a million other things bopping around in it so I can’t actually force myself to sit down and concentrate on them.

It’s a day off today for me, which is so nice, I can’t even tell you. Yesterday? I TOOK A NAP. I haven’t taken a nap, other than when I’ve been sick, in probably years. Because when I take a nap, it throws off my sleep schedule. But I didn’t have to get to bed overly early last night, and I was sleepy in the afternoon (even though I totally slept well the night before) and I thought, you know what? I’m going to take a decadent little siesta. And I DID. And it was GLORIOUS. And I still slept last night, too. And had trouble waking up when the alarm went off this morning. So apparently, this long weekend was for sleeping. All the sleeping. Every last bit of it. And it’s been GRAND. I only wish I could bank all that sleep for the days I’m not getting enough.

Aw, look, a little sleep bank. I like that.

Aw, look, a little sleep bank. I like that.

I also finally took down the Christmas decorations (yes, I’m aware Christmas was almost a month ago, I hadn’t gotten around to it yet) and cleaned up the house a little and wrote and watched television and paid bills and petted Dumbcat and baked cookies and talked to my parents and did all good things. It was a very productive day.

And TODAY, I woke up to an email with the best news EVER EVER, which I can’t go into detail about yet, but will as soon as I can (it’s good, it’s SO SO GOOD) and also in fifteen minutes I’m taking off to spend a few hours with The Nephew in his new house. I can’t wait to see him. The cookies referred to above were for him, by the way. I can’t bring him gifts EVERY time I see him, that’d be absurd, right? So in lieu of gifts, I’m bringing him and his mom some homemade chocolate-chip cookies. Not JUST cookies, but my SPECIAL chocolate-chip cookies, which are the best recipe I’ve ever tried and they’re utterly delicious. I think he’ll approve. (I mean, the kid loves his desserts. His face gets all excited when there are desserts involved. Apparently, the last time he was at my parents’ house, he opened the fridge and stuck his finger in a cherry pie “just to see what it tasted like.” Hee!)

So my house smells like baking right now. I’m pretty sure if a man were to come over here, I could woo ’em with the scent alone. Just saying.

And I have another busy week coming up – dinner with friends Wednesday, theater stuff Friday, work Tuesday-Saturday. Plus I really need to start reading those one-acts for the play festival we have in July. It is my job, after all. Sigh. Those aren’t going to be a fun read. They never are.

Also, for no apparent reason, my apartment is like a fridge right now, even though the heater keeps going off. So that’s perplexing. WARM UP, APARTMENT. I AM CHILLY. Like, I’m seriously thinking of purchasing a Snuggie.

ZOMG, look at all the uses. SO MANY USES!

ZOMG, look at all the uses. SO MANY USES!

Now, time has passed since I started this. I know, it’s like the magic of blogging, right? I am home from my adventure with The Nephew. And it was TOTALLY an adventure. Listen, even if things aren’t an adventure, I make them so. That’s the way I am.

So first, I’d never been to either The Nephew’s new house, or the town he currently resides in. So it was GPS time. I popped in the address. All was well! All was good! I got in the car! Yay, yay! I put on loud, cheerful music! Ba-BAM! Ready to go! The town is about half an hour away, so here we go!

About five minutes into the drive I realized something was terribly wrong. TomTom was giving me the silent treatment.

This is the face TomTom would have been making. Had TomTom a face. Which it doesn't. Because it is a machine, sheesh.

This is the face TomTom would have been making. Had TomTom a face. Which it doesn’t. Because it is a machine, sheesh.

I didn’t have it on mute. I had the volume turned all the way up. Everything else was working perfectly. TomTom was just not telling me where to turn. So I could SEE where to turn, but the whole point of TomTom is that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road much. You can mostly listen to it, and every once and a while when it gets confusing, you peek over briefly. Well, I had to peek over ALL THE TIME once I got off the highway, because the rest of the trip was all small roads and traffic circles and such, and TomTom was all “we’re playing the game of who can stay silent the longest” and THAT was disconcerting.

So I finally got there – while beseeching TomTom to please talk to me, what’d I do, baby, please talk to me, don’t do this, you’re only hurting YOURSELF, TomTom, I can’t lose you, DON’T DO THIS TO US, TOMTOM, think of the good times, don’t give up on us, baby! – and there was the house! And I knocked and no one came to the door and I was all, “Oh, well, this is bad, maybe it’s all a dream” but then K. came to the door because The Nephew had been in the bathroom.


He ran into the hallway all happy-faced and big-eyed and said “Aunt Amy Aunt Amy HELLO!” and LAUNCHED himself up into my arms for a big hug and I picked him up and gave him that big hug and he said “I want to show you my room!” and I said, “I want to SEE your room!” and he said, “OK! Let’s go!”

So he gave me a kiddo-tour of his new place. “This is my KITCHEN! This is my LIVING ROOM! This is the BATHROOM! Where you PEE! This is MOMMY’S room! THIS IS MY ROOM! That is the basement, sometimes you have to go down those steps.” He gave that door a very mistrustful look. Can’t say as I blame him. Basements are a frightening affair.

I don't trust you, basement.

I don’t trust you, basement.

“Do you want to play with me?” he said. When your beloved nephew asks you such a thing, the answer is always yes. No other answer will do.

So we played with Thomas the Tank Engine trains, and some Toy Story 3 dolls (Lotso Bear was the badguy, and Buzz Lightyear and one of those little “the CLAW!” aliens were the good guys) and a wrestling playset that had a spinny circle in the middle that launched the wrestlers into the bouncy elastic side of the ring, and that made him laugh and laugh (there was a monster on the side of the ring, and he was very careful to tell me, “this isn’t a real monster, though. It’s just a TOY monster.” I get the feeling someone had to tell him that once or twice.) We also played with some Matchbox cars. Mostly this involved him driving them off the dresser and me catching them as they crashed. “Do they like crashing like that?” I said. “YES! They LOVE it!” he enthused. OK, then, well, it must be true. He also showed me his books (“You could read ALL of these to me!” he said) and his bed (“I sleep there!”) and his Wii (“You can’t bang on this, or it breaks, right, Mommy?”) and he kept running from room to room like a little Tasmanian Devil so I got dizzy. I think parenting might be exhausting. Why didn’t you people warn me parenting is exhausting? Kids don’t sit still very often, is what I learn whenever I see The Nephew. They are always go-go-going.

Lotso is TOTALLY a bad guy. The Nephew and I are in agreement on this one. "He put them in the FIRE!" The Nephew said, in a scowly way.

Lotso is TOTALLY a bad guy. The Nephew and I are in agreement on this one. “He put them in the FIRE!” The Nephew said, in a scowly way.

He also wanted me to participate in “Family Fun Night” which apparently entailed watching movies on Mommy’s bed. “But it’s day! Can we have Family Fun Night during the day?” I asked. “Yes we can!” he said. “Well, it’s like Family Fun Night has no rules!” I told him. He thought about this very seriously. “No, there are rules,” he said. “No hitting, no biting, no lying, and…um…no hitting.” “Those are very good rules, The Nephew,” I said. “I try to live by those rules every day, myself.”

(I didn’t tell him I’m not always successful. He’ll learn that soon enough, why burst his bubble now?)

Then he had one of the cookies I made. “These are EXCELLENT,” he told me. Hee! Excellent. Nice. Also he had some lunch, but mostly he didn’t want that lunch. He doesn’t like eating very much. So instead of eating, he dripped soup all over and put his sandwich in the soup and dripped THAT all over and nibbled his sandwich and apple like a baby bird.

Then he did a thing which made me realize for the billionth time I would be a terrible mother.

He, for no real reason, tore off a piece of sandwich and dropped it in his chocolate milk. Then he tried to retrieve it, but he couldn’t because it was too deep in the cup.

“Well, I can’t drink my milk now!” he announced.

“You shouldn’t have put sandwich in there. Do you want some water?” his mother said.

This was not the answer he wanted. I think he wanted her to replace it with a whole new cup of milk. He got the dangerous pouty lower lip.

“No. Maybe I could get it out with my fingers?” he said, tearfully and doubtfully.

“No, you already tried that. You know that doesn’t work. You could drink the milk with the sandwich in there. It’s ok,” his mom said.

This brought on a full-on toddler tearstorm. “NO I CANNOT!” he wailed.

“Well, The Son, why did you put your sandwich in your cup in the first place?” she asked. K. is a very good mom. She is the most patient. I was standing there trying not to giggle. Because he was SO SAD about that piece of sandwich in his milk. Good gracious.

SO SAD!!! *not The Nephew; dramatic re-enactment only

SO SAD!!! *not The Nephew; dramatic re-enactment only


That’s when I totally lost it and had to turn away so he didn’t see his beloved aunt cracking up. He put a piece of sandwich in his milk because it had comedy potential; the joke backfired, and now he was left with chocolate milk that tasted of grilled cheese sandwich. ZOMG LIFE WAS SO HARD. Also, this seems an apt analogy for a lot of things I do in my life. I’ve had a lot of things backfire that I did because I thought they would be fu-hu-hu-neee.

K., with a totally straight face (I think if you’re a mom you have to probably practice keeping a poker face in the mirror, or something) said “What if I fished that out with a spoon?”

His tears IMMEDIATELY stopped. “I want to do it.”

“If you eat two bites of your sandwich, I’ll let you do it,” she said. TRICKY! And SMART!

He promptly ate two sandwich-bites and then fished the offensive sandwich-piece out of his cup and drained the rest of his chocolate milk. SUCCESS AND VICTORY FOR THE LITTLE GUY!

He also started punching his mom really hard in the leg. “I thought there was no hitting?” I said. “This is not HITTING,” he said. “This is MARKING. It’s like TAPPING but HARDER.” Then he did it a few more times. It sincerely looked like hitting to me. “Marking marking MARKING!” he said gleefully. “I think it’s time for a new rule,” his mom said, with painful-face. “No hitting, biting, lying, or marking.” The Nephew made a VERY sad face at this news. “It is just HARD TAPPING!” he wailed. Aw, kiddo. I think you might be a lawyer someday. You really have a very good answer for everything.

Then it was naptime and time for Aunt Amy to morph back into her alter-ego, “just plain old Amy” and go home.

I got one more launched-from-across-the-room hug and sandwichy kiss and I told him I loved him and I would see him soon. “OK!” he said gleefully. Aw, buddy. In the grand scheme of things and people, I love you more than anyone. Shh, don’t tell everyone else, they’ll get a complex. I also gave K. a hug, don’t even think I didn’t.

Then I got back in the car and guess what? TomTom apparently got over his snit and was talking to me again. What the hell? THAT was weird. When did my TomTom become like a passive-aggressive teen boyfriend?

And now I am back in my strangely freezing apartment and Dumbcat is keeping my legs warm because it’s like a fridge in here still. VERY MYSTERIOUS.

There was my Monday in a nutshell. A very large and long and probably rambly nutshell. Thanks for the day off, new job, you’re the best.

Hope you all had lovely long weekends! Real posts with real content soon. I hope. I think. We’ll see. I have topics and everything. I promise! Really! Would I lie to you? I can NOT lie to you. That would be breaking the rules of Family Fun Night, you see. That’s a total no-no.

I don’t have the breath for that

You know how I kind of sort of halfway resolved to take a breath and do more life-things? Well, today I did some life-things. OK, not *some*, I suppose, *a* life-thing, but it now leaves me with very little time before I have to hit the hay and get some sleep before work tomorrow. No, not actual hay. I don’t have any hay. Also, who’d want to sleep in hay? SCRATCHY.

So today was hang-out-with-The-Nephew day. His mom emailed me Monday and asked if I wanted to do something that day, but I was working. So she said, “how about the movies on Tuesday?” and I said YESIREE BOB. Well, no, I didn’t say Bob. I mean, she’d have been pretty confused about that since her name isn’t Bob. And also she’s not a man.

So today we met at the mall to see Monsters, Inc. It was not a mall I’d ever been to so I was kind of worried I’d be lost. Also, a billion people were at that mall today. I don’t know what they were doing. Seeing movies? Shopping? No idea. But the parking lot was super-full and I had to circle around a lot a lot and finally ended up all the miles away from the entry with the movie theater. SO MANY PEOPLE. And this is why I don’t go to the movies. HOWEVER, The Nephew was going to be there. I’d walk through fire to see The Nephew, you know.

The theater kind of looked like this, only more mall-like. And crowded. SO crowded.

The theater kind of looked like this, only more mall-like. And crowded. SO crowded.

So I went into the theater and waited and peered all around hoping I hadn’t missed them while circling for a spot for eleventy-kajillion years (which was really like five minutes) and then I saw them walking up from the opposite direction and K. said, “The Son! Do you see Aunt Amy?” and he DID! And his little face lit up and he ran toward me and gave me a big leg-hug and totally knew who I was like it hasn’t been five months since we’ve seen each other and I said, “Hello, The Nephew! How are you?” and he said, “Good!” in a very chipper tone and he’s much taller than the last time I saw him and his little winter hat had reindeer on it and my heart totally broke the Grinch measuring-meter. Seriously, I kind of would forgive this child anything. He’s my kryptonite. He makes me go all squishy. He’s my best thing.



So we got movie treats (per The Nephew, “we had to,” so how could we not, you know?) and The Nephew’s lemonade straw was MUCH too long, so he was MUY impressed that Aunt Amy had wee scissors on a Swiss Army knife in her purse so she could make it more manageable for a little three and a half year old. The lemonade was about the size of his head. He drank the ENTIRE THING. And didn’t have to pee. I think perhaps my nephew is a camel.

So The Nephew sat between me and his mom, and here are the things he did during the movie which most likely were naughty but I didn’t even care so I would be a terrible mother, probably:

  • talked in a normal voice, even when he was shushed
  • became entranced with the fact that his seat closed back up all on its OWN, so he popped it up and down a billion times
  • decided he didn’t like where we were sitting, so first asked if we could sit in the seats right near the screen (his mom headed that off at the pass by saying those were “closed,” nice quick thinking, K.! and then said he wanted to go sit up near the top of the theater and became OBSESSED with this so his mom said we could after the movie so he kept saying “is it over now? How about now. Is it over NOW?”
  • stuck out his tongue at me, so I stuck out my tongue at HIM (you know, like an adult does) and he said, really loudly, “WHY DO YOU HAVE CANDY IN YOUR MOUTH” and then I had to explain the ins and outs of a tongue ring with him in hushed tones while the movie played
  • Said, “WHY IS THIS SO LOUD RIGHT NOW?” at a particularly loud part of the movie. When his mom said, “so everyone can hear it, I guess,” he said, “Well, I don’t like that.” Hee!

When the credits started, he decided he wanted to race up the stairs and back down so first his mom raced him up the stairs, then he came back and crawled up on my lap and said it was MY turn and I said, “but I might fall, it’s dark up there” and he said, “no, it’s ok” and so then I had to race up the stairs with him.

(Please don’t think we ruined the movie for all the people. There were about six people in the theater and they weren’t sitting anywhere near us.)

Also, the movie made me cry. Like, actual tears happened. Stupid Pixar with your tear-jerking. You’ve seen this movie, right? It is SAD. Sully the monster falls in love with Boo the little human girl and risks his own life and limb to save her, and then has to send her back home with the understanding he’ll never see her again. Also at one point he accidentally scares her and realizes that’s what he’s been doing to children all these years and it’s a despicable thing and stupid brilliant Pixar makes that cross his monstery face and it’s HEARTBREAKING. It all ends well – it’s a children’s movie, for the most part, they aren’t going to make it end poorly – but I totally had tears twice. And I’ve seen it before. (Well, I rented it and watched the DVD years ago. I don’t remember it very well. It’s a whole different thing in a theater with a big screen.)



After the movie, K. said, “what restaurant do you want to go to, The Son?” and he said he wanted to eat at his HOUSE. So I said, because I am CRAFTY, “Well, The Nephew, do you know what I have in my car for you?” and he said, “Nooooo” and I said, “I have a late Christmas present, and I could give it to you at the restaurant!” and then THAT was ok with him, he was ok with going to a restaurant. I don’t know if this was an evil thing to do or not. Maybe. I think part of being a grownup around children is being TRICKY.

So then we went to Friendly’s. Friendly’s, for those of you who are not in an area with such things, has food like tuna melts and chicken fingers and soup and salads. And then, what they’re KNOWN for, ice cream. The Nephew wanted ice cream. So he was down with Friendly’s.

The Nephew was full of tomfoolery in the restaurant. For a lot of dinner, he pretended he had no bones and kept sliding out of his booth and saying “I need help getting up!” and probably that was annoying but mostly I thought it was intelligent and funny. (I think everything he does is pretty intelligent and funny, to be honest.) He had some soup; when his mom tried to get him to eat some more of it, he said – get this, it is the best, the utter best – “I can’t. I just can’t. I don’t have the breath for that.” I DON’T HAVE THE BREATH FOR THAT. Who even THINKS of such a thing? That is kind of the most brilliant. So then he had some little cheeseburgers that he decided he needed lots of ketchup and pepper on, but he really only wanted a couple of little bites of them. He eats like a little bird, this kid. And he ate a couple of bites of apple slices. And some of his mom’s french fries. And then he fed me his pickle slices one by one on the toothpick that came with his mom’s sandwich and giggled and giggled because THAT was the most funny.

He has my brother’s eyelashes. That made me a little teary. Is that weird? I mean, it’s not like my brother’s DEAD or anything. I just had never noticed that before. They’re beautiful. I have always envied my brother his eyelashes. And there they are on The Nephew. Genetics are a funny thing.

Also he got crayons and he LOVED the green crayon and told me very seriously that green was his favorite color. “Green is MY favorite color, too!” I said. He nodded very seriously. “Yes,” he said. It apparently didn’t surprise him at all. Green, after all, is the BEST color; why wouldn’t it be my favorite color?

Mine too, kiddo. Mine, too.

Mine too, kiddo. Mine, too.

He said he liked the movie. I told him it made me cry. “Why?” he said, very confused. I explained it was very said that Sully had to say goodbye to Boo. “Are you sad now?” he asked, curious. “No, because I am hanging out with you,” I said. “What about when I go home?” he said. “Well, I will be a little sad, then,” I said, “but then I will think about seeing you again and that will make me smile and smile.” He liked that. That made him grin a little Nephew-grin.

While we waited for ice cream (it was the only thing he was looking forward to throughout the meal) he opened the present I bought for him. He was VERY excited. I got him a Playdoh set with a truck so you could make Playdoh bricks and then SQUASH ‘EM with the truck tires and he sure does like to squash things. I showed him if you pushed a little button the truck talked so he merrily pushed that button. “I didn’t know that button was there!” he said. Aw, kiddo. I’ll always point things out to you. That’s what aunts are for, I think.

It was totally this one. Neat, right? I wanted to play with it, too. I used to love Playdoh.

It was totally this one. Neat, right? I wanted to play with it, too. I used to love Playdoh.

He wanted to open the truck right away but his mom told him he had to wait until he got home. He kept trying to all secretly open it anyway. “Not until we get home, The Son,” she said. “I’m just practicing for when we get home,” he said. SO SMART, this kid! VERY tricky!

The Nephew ate his sundae (which looked like a green monster with M&M eyes) with his face, not a spoon. Then he said, “IT IS SO COLD!” “Well, that’s why we usually eat ice cream with spoons,” his mom said, and laughed. He had a ring of ice cream and whipped cream and chocolate all around his mouth. It was adorableness. Sticky messy adorableness.

Rawr. I will eat you with my FACE.

Rawr. I will eat you with my FACE.

Then it was time to go home, and his mom said, “Tell Aunt Amy thank you! Give her a hug!” and he gave me a very hard, very abrupt knee-hug because he wanted to get back to looking at his truck. And K. said we could do it again sometime. OK I WOULD LOVE THAT THANK YOU YES PLEASE.

So far, my 2013 has been just wonderful, thank you. I got to spend part of the first day of it with my favorite little human. And despite not having seen him in 5 months, he remembered me. And was just utterly the most joyous best funniest little guy ever. Sorry, all the other people in the world.

Hope you all had the best new year’s day ever. Or, since I kind of did, maybe the second-best new year’s days ever. Back to work today, with a big old grin on my face. Here we go, 2013. Let’s do this.

Make glorious, amazing mistakes.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” 
― Neil Gaiman

(We’ve had a lot of Gaiman lately. He wins, really, I’m not even going to apologize for it.)

Welcome 2013! I am glad to see your shiny face. 2012 was kind of a long, hard slog through the Fire Swamp, right? What with the R.O.U.S.s and the Snow Sand and all. (You can also call it Lightning Sand like they did in the movie; I’m cool either way.) I have high hopes for you, 2013. HIGHEST OF HOPES!

This kind of perfectly sums up my 2012, really.

This kind of perfectly sums up my 2012, really.

I think I’m supposed to do resolutions today. But I don’t like resolutions. Resolutions do nothing but make you look back on them at the end of the year and say, “Nope, didn’t do that. Nope, didn’t do that. Oh, hey, forgot I even resolved to do that. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME LAST YEAR.” So I try not to resolve. If something’s a good idea, I try to institute it immediately. If something’s a long-term goal, I write it on a post-it and I attempt not to lose that post-it. Then I find that post-it all crumply in the bottom of my purse a month later and say, “oh. Whoops, sorry, long-term goal.”

(SIDE NOTE SPEAKING OF POST-ITS. Guess who was put in charge of office supplies for her WHOLE DEPARTMENT last week? That’s right, me. If it was someone else, why would I even be telling you this side note? You don’t know anyone who works there and wouldn’t care if I said, “THE ANSWER IS MY BOSS N.”, now, would you? Anyway, I got to fill up one of my desk drawers with the overflow office supplies no one needs yet, and from now on, if anyone needs office supplies, they email me and say, “AMY! OFFICE SUPPLY ME UP!” A wonderful side-effect of this is that if I run out of post-its, I can just reach into the drawer and grab some. I don’t even have to ask anyone for them. Is that the best thing ever? Yes. Also, I am obsessed with office supplies? So really they couldn’t have chosen someone better for the ordering of them. I’m going to be very good at this.)



Anyway, instead of resolutions, I’m going to just list the things I’m PLANNING in 2013. I like plans and schemes. They might not come to fruition, but I’m still planning ‘em. If I don’t follow through, I won’t feel as bad as I would if I said, “I’m going to lose A HUNDRED POUNDS IN 2013!!!” and then didn’t, you know? Because then you feel like a big fat failure. No pun intended.

Travel. Now that I have enough money that I can actually DO things with it, one of the first things I plan on doing is blowing this pop-stand, baby. I promised R. & A. (and Baby CeeVee!) I would come see them last fall, but that fell through due to unemployment. Well, this year there is not only employment, there is money with which to GO places. And DO things. (And copious vacation time with which to do them.) So first: Baltimore to see R. and A. and Baby CeeVee, who is the most smiley happy beautiful child in all the LAND! I’m not even kidding, this kiddo’s got a smile that would melt a POLAR ICECAP. And she has her mom’s eyes! I can’t wait to see her in person! And to see R. and A., who I haven’t seen in a very long time and I love them to pieces! YAY TRAVEL!

I'm taking the train to see R. & A. I will feel VERY fancy.

I’m taking the train to see R. & A. I will feel VERY fancy.

There will also be a trip home this summer to spend a long, lazy week at my parents’ camp in the woods, if all goes according to plan, and THEN, if all ELSE goes according to plan, I’m going on a REAL trip in the late summer/early fall. It is a trip I am not talking about until it actually gets planned and such, but I will say it is somewhere in MERKA, it is to see someone I love a great deal, and will be VERY bon vivanty. AND THERE WILL BE ANIMALS. That’s all I can say. FOR NOW DUN DUN DUNNNNN.

Technology. My new Kindle (which, sadly, is being held hostage in the office here until Wednesday night, as the office is closed for the holiday, sigh) is just the first step in WORLD DOMINATION VIA TECHNOLOGY IN 2013. Next week, I’m getting a new phone, as the current phone is misbehaving quite spectacularly. The best part of the new-phone plan is that the carrier I’m getting works at my parents’ house, so when I visit my parents, I will finally have internet and phone service. VERY exciting. I am also planning on getting Netflix and that fancy box where I can watch Netflix on my television. I plan on entering the 21st century with a bang this year. It’s going to be very exciting. Well, for me. I have no idea if it’s going to be exciting for you or not, as I’m already online a lot and you’re not going to see MORE of me, or anything. I mean, come on, if you saw more of me, probably I’d live in the internet, and I’d imagine shrinking me down little so I could do that would be painful.

I'm going to enter the FEW-CHER. It's gonna be AWESOME, yo.

I’m going to enter the FEW-CHER. It’s gonna be AWESOME, yo.

Be more adventurous. This one’s kind of nebulous. I want to try and do new things this year. I always love it when I try new things, I always have a good time doing them, and I think if you stop doing new things, and trying new things, you start getting old. And your heart dies. WELL! I certainly don’t want that to happen. So as new opportunities arise this year, I’m going to say yes to them. And see where that takes me, dammit. Maybe sometimes they’ll be mistakes, but at least I’ll have tried them, you know? You never know what will be wonderful unless you are willing to make some mistakes.

And…along that vein…

Don’t be afraid to say no. I need to have a little more time to myself this year. I’ve been running myself ragged for a couple of years now and my cracks are starting to show. (EW NO NOT A EUPHEMISM.) I have to stop saying yes to everything; I have to start only saying yes to things that are amazing and be brave enough to say no to things that will not make my life a more awesome place and will just exhaust me and stretch me thinner than I already am. Guilt does not lead to a good time for anyone.

Don’t take things for granted. I don’t ever want to take for granted the wonderful things in my life. The people I love that love me back and support me every day; the wonderful things and opportunities I have and have been given. I want to remember to be consciously thankful for them all the time – especially my beloved friends and family, who I am so, so thankful for. I want them to always know how much I love them. Always. Every single day.

All the love. Every last smidgen.

All the love. Every last smidgen.

Nephew. 2o13 is going to be the year of The Nephew. I’ve missed the last 3.5 years of him growing up; if I’m making any sort of resolution, it’s to resolve to spend as much time with him this year (and going forward) as I possibly can. And in a “starting-the-year-off-right” way, guess what I’m doing today? Yup. Spending some time with the kiddo. His mom emailed me yesterday and asked when they could see me. I was so excited I bounced right in my chair. I think we’re going to the movies together today. I haven’t seen my little guy in five months, and I can’t – absolutely can’t – think of a better way to spend the first day of a new year than with my favorite person in the world. I’m just all butterflies thinking about it right now. Best first day of the year ever.

Worry less. I worry. A lot. About everything. To the point it’s kind of almost crippling. I don’t know exactly how one goes about cutting that down, or even out, but I’m going to attempt to do so in 2013. Even a tiny bit less would be an improvement, sincerely. It might be a process. This worrying thing’s been happening my whole life; it’s not going to stop happening overnight.

Read more. I need to chisel out little chunks of time each day for reading. I’m not sure how I’m going to do this, or where the time’s going to come from, but I’m going to do it. I have to get back to reading regularly. I miss it like a long-lost friend and there are so many amazing books I’m missing out on and I want to start book-blogging again and and and AND. I will start reading again this year, dammit. Regularly. Soon.

Aw, I also want to read with this puppy. PUPPY!

Aw, I also want to read with this puppy. PUPPY!

Change up the blog a little. The blog has been fairly the same since I started; it needs…I don’t know, something. Some plans are in the works for some changes to the look over here. I’m excited about a pretty new look over here. Something a little less what-everyone-else-has and a little more – well, me, I guess. Looking forward to this a great deal.

Relax more. I need a little more loungey-loungey time this year. Not writing; not effing around on the internet. Just RELAXING. Maybe with a book, maybe with friends, maybe just taking a walk, I don’t even know. But I need a little more time to BREATHE, you know?

Get more sleep. I’ve gotten much better about this in the past 6 months or so – I’ve gone from getting 4 to 5 hours sleep to getting a solid 6-8 hours every night, and it’s been really one of the best things in the world. I need to do this consistently, because those 8-hour nights are AMAZING. I wake up the next morning feeling like I could kick about fifteen people’s asses and not even break a sweat. And also solve mathematical equations. And possibly world hunger. In order to do this, I need to – GASP GASP – get off the damn internet in a timely fashion every night, get in my cuddly pjs, and conk the hell out. End of story.

Maybe like this. Except minus the sleep mask. I can't sleep with something on my face.

Maybe like this. Except minus the sleep mask. I can’t sleep with something on my face.

Be less ragey. I come from a loooooong line of ragemonsters. Much like The Hulk, no one likes me when I’m angry. I need to take some deep breaths in 2013. I need to take steps back. I need to react less and think more. I need to breaaaaaathe. In with the blue and out with the red. It’s not healthy for anyone else and it’s sure as hell not healthy for me.

Love myself more (NOT A EUPHEMISM). (No, seriously. NOT AT ALL A EUPHEMISM.) I need to stop beating myself up. I need to surround myself with positive people who love me (this also means people who love me enough to call me out on my bullshit; love isn’t all flowers and hearts and sunshine, it’s sometimes tears, but there’s always the love, that’s why it’s the best thing in the world.) I need to stop doing things that hurt myself; I need to do positive things that will build me up, not negative things that knock me down. I need to forgive and I need to move on and I need to laugh more and cry less (well, sad-cry, anyway, more happy-cries are A-OK with me.) And that forgiving? I need to forgive MYSELF. It’s funny how I’m harder on myself than anyone else I know. And that shit’s gotta stop, because listen, I’m pretty damn awesome. I wouldn’t put up with anyone else treating me like this, so why do I put up with it from myself? No. No, no, no. Be kinder to myself this year. I’m a resolution that’s worth sticking to, dammit.

Happy 2013, my most wonderful readers and friends and loved ones and…who else is reading this? MY MORTAL ENEMIES? Well, even happy 2013 to you, my most mortal of mortal enemies, I guess, if you’ve read all the way to the end of this. That shows SPIRIT. I approve.

I hope you all make your new years as amazing as you deserve; I hope your new years treat you well, and you kick ass and you take names. I hope you take this shiny new opportunity and you don’t waste a single minute of it. It’s a brand new year. It’s yours to do what you want with.

Don’t waste that. Go out and you just CONQUER the new year. You can do this. I have every faith in the world in you. Just be true to yourselves; it’s the only way you’ll make it through.

Love to you all. I wish you so much of all the best that my whole face aches with it.

I’m not broken. It’s SCIENCE.

I read this article the other day, and it was like a light totally went on in my head.


OK, so I don’t date. I have, in the past. Sure I have. Sometimes that went better than other times. Sometimes it wasn’t painful and sometimes it was like Elaine’s favorite mode of evaluating badness and could be measured in Hindenburgs.

Never, however, did it go well. Or was it a repeated event. I’m…um…kind of the worst at dating. That’s really all I have to say about that. You’d think I’d have all these uproarious stories but mostly they range from sad to things that made numerous therapists say “um. That’s not…I don’t know what to say about that” so I don’t go into details. I promise you that you don’t want me to.

HOWEVER! I am very good at falling in love with people. If awards were given out for this? I would win them ALL. Having it be requited, well, no, those awards would not be gracing my trophy case. (SIDE NOTE: no. No, of course I don’t have a trophy case, what would I put in it, my spelling bee awards from junior high? I don’t even know where those ARE. FINE THEY’RE AT MY PARENTS’ HOUSE ARE YOU HAPPY?)  Sometimes it’s a quick thing and sometimes it takes forever but all of a sudden BAM I fall crazy in love with someone and then I’m a stupid giddy schoolgirl and eventually I end up getting my heart broken or I have to tough-love myself and say, “AMY. You stop this RIGHT NOW. This person IS NOT INTERESTED.”

OK, so anyway. I don’t date after the failed internet-dating experiment of 2005 (I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT) and I try REALLY REALLY HARD not to fall in love with people who aren’t interested (and honestly, if I fall in love with them, they’re not going to be in love with me, because I can pick ’em. Ooh, can I pick ’em. I have a RADAR for the people who aren’t going to fall in love with me. They’re the ones I want, apparently. You know that song about “I love a parade?” That’s me, only with a CHALLENGE. I love a challege!) I try hard. It doesn’t always work but I try really hard.

But then I found this article and I realized WHY I am broken and choose these people, even though they’re honestly kind of jerks most of the time. And I’m really quite intelligent otherwise.


Here’s the thing that all of these men have in common: they ALL do this same thing. So apparently I have a type.

They act TOTALLY INTO ME and then they act ALL COLD AND WEIRD and then they act TOTALLY INTO ME AGAIN and this goes back and forth and back and forth and I have no idea what to make of it and it’s like a person watching a tennis match until they get all dizzy and fall over. And then get hit by a bus.

You’d THINK that would make someone say, “Hey, this person I’ve hitched my wagon to, they’re an asshole, time to move on,” but NOPE. Not me! I sit around waiting for the crumbs of acknowledgement.

So I THOUGHT it was because I was broken and also quite stupid, until I read that article I linked to above. NOT BROKEN. SCIENCE!!!

It’s apparently the “allure of unpredictable romantic partners.” That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Like a romantic comedy. Possibly starring Ewan McGregor. I’d watch that. Probably while crying.

So the sciency types did this test where they gave subjects fruit juice and water and scanned their brains while doing it. The subjects’ brains lit up like a Christmas tree with dopamine when the fruit juice/water rewards came at unexpected intervals, while the brains just kind of yawned and played another hand of solitaire when the rewards came at predictable 10-second intervals.

Apparently, our brains, going back to CAVEMAN TIMES, are programmed to signal us to pay attention when something unexpected happens. They signal us by releasing dopamine. Dopamine, in case you’re not obsessed with weird-ass shit like I am, is your pleasure chemical. Among many other things, it signals a feeling of bliss. It’s one of the chemicals your body’s stewing in when you’re all stupid-giddy in love.

So being with a partner who’s unpredictable about his/her affection is like being inconsistently given fruit juice – it fires off your dopamine like a shootout at the OK Corral. The smart, thinky part of your brain might be all “THIS IS THE WORST SUCK!” but your animal brain is all “Ahhhhh that’s the stuff! SIGNAL! SIGNAL!” and is filling your brain with DRUGS. Drugs that make you feel PLEASURE.

Your brain is a dark alley on the bad side of town filled with drug pushers. Didn’t your mom teach you to stay away from those places? Tsk.

So our smart brains say “this person is bad news!” and our drugged-up brain lolling around in an opium den is all “NO NO GIMME MORE” so you’re torn and according to science you keep going back to the person, but you don’t even KNOW you’re doing this shit, because it’s happening WAY DEEP DOWN IN YOUR PSYCHE.

This is super-distressing, science.

I totally knew I was doing this, I just didn’t know there was a reason. Other than the brokenness, of course.

This reminds me of the study with the rats and the uncertain results. Our beloved Andreas attempted mightily to find me a link to this and could not, but here, I’ll let him tell you about it, he’s better than a link anyway:

(Ignore where it looks like I’ve repeated the same thing three times, that’s just because he’s responding to my tweet three times. I promise I don’t say the same thing over and over. Well, I *do*, just not that obnoxiously. MOST of the time, anyway.)

So I remember reading about this study, probably in one of my psych classes in grad school. There were these rats. And the rats were in a cage with a lever. The lever could distribute food whenever they pressed it, or the lever could be dicked with so it gave food out at unpredictable intervals.

As Andreas said, the rats that were in the cage where they knew the outcome, they’d stop on by the lever if they wanted a nosh.

The rats in the unpredictable cage would beat their little paws bloody against that lever, hoping against hope that this time, this press, this would be the one. The one that would bring the manna down from the heavens. Because it happened once. IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN.

(I think this is probably the same mentality that leads people to gamble until they lose their homes.)

I’m the rat. I’m the beating-my-paw-bloody-against-the-lever rat.

BUT, according to SCIENCE, we ALL are. It’s not just me! It’s ALL of us! Because of the effing DOPAMINE!

Also, being a person with a screwed-up brain (no, seriously, that’s why they put people like me on antidepressants, because our seratonin and such are all out of whack) I can only assume my dopamine is probably all weird like the rest of my brain chemistry.

SCIENCE! Why are you screwing with me? It’s not bad enough you gave me bad skin, eyes, and frazzly hair? Now you have to make me fall in love with jerks, too? (Well, happy to say, most of that is in the past. Because as an adult, I just decided I’M NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE and refuse to fall in love at ALL. That’ll teach ’em. I just removed myself from the game. WINNER!)

Well, here’s a newsflash, people who think they can just be assholes because science backs you up and therefore you can just treat people’s hearts casually: science might be drugging us up, but our smart brains eventually get fed up.

Like addicts who have had enough, we finally reach a breaking point where we’re tired of waking up on some stranger’s porch wearing poorly-chosen clothing choices with a taste in our mouth akin to used kitty litter and we say NO MORE and we start attending AA. Or we go cold turkey. Or we just say, hit the road, Jack, no more of your stupid games, I’ll find someone who actually gives a shit ALL the time, not just when they feel like it or need something or just for the fun of it all.

Also, you might be a little bit of a psychopath. Just think about that for a minute, ok? If you’re not interested in someone, TELL THEM THAT. Don’t leave them hanging. Just tell them you’re not interested and let them move on, jerko.

BUT, that being SAID, I am just so pleased science has an explanation for why I’m a rat with a bloody paw. Thanks, science. You really came through. Now let’s talk about this unruly hair thing, science. SURELY YOU HAVE A REASON FOR THIS. I am tired of looking like a rooster.

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