Category Archives: Surprise

It’s my party and I’ll glare if I want to

I don’t like surprises.

I have NEVER liked surprises.

I know most people say that, but they’re really ok with them. Like, if they woke up and found that their spouse had bought them a new car with one of those ridiculous huge bows on it, like in the Christmas car commercials, or if they showed up at work and right before lunch their coworkers threw a gigantic surprise baby shower for them, they’d maybe shriek a little, but deep down they’d think “oh, my. Am I ever loved” and they’d be secretly so happy.

Me? Nope. I’d shriek a little, then I’d furiously rearrange my face into what I think would pass for happiness because that’s what’s expected, then I’d go through the motions of whatever was required, like package-opening or little-meatball-eating and such, and when it was all over and I could escape from that, I would probably shake like my own private earthquake and be SO SO ANGRY.

"Do you think they know I'm mad? Do I look happy? I do, right?"

“Do you think they know I’m mad? Do I look happy? I do, right?”

I wouldn’t be thinking I was super-loved. I’d be thinking “THESE PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ME AT ALL.”

This all sounds very petulant, doesn’t it? Yeah. Sorry. Can’t help it. I don’t like surprises. I don’t like people leaping out at me, and I don’t like people assuming they know what I’d like (unless they know me really well, in which case, they’d know me well enough to know NOT to leap out of a dark corner and trigger my PTSD) and I don’t like things I couldn’t think around corners about. I know that all seems very not-able-to-roll-with-the-punches of me. I’m not the kind of person that can’t go on a spur-of-the-moment trip, or something. I just don’t like that people were talking and planning and scheming behind my back and coming up with something.

This is a very long intro for what I can only deem THE WORST BIRTHDAY OF MY LIFE.

I don’t know how old I was. I’m thinking probably 6 or 7. Yes, it was a long time ago. Yes, I should probably be over this by now. No, I’m not.

It wasn’t my actual birthday. The weekend before, is my thought. I’m guessing a Saturday.

A thing you have to know about young-Amy is: there was nothing, nothing, NOTHING I loved more than running errands with my dad.

Running errands with my mom was a dull affair. You’d go buy groceries and she NEVER let you get a candy bar. You’d end up at K-Mart having to try on terrible dresses that were on clearance FOR A REASON and she got so mad if you hid in the middle of the clothes racks. (I had such a thing about hiding in the middle of those circular clothing racks. It was like my secret wonderland. Yeah, I don’t know, either.) You’d run into friends of hers and have to stand there and they’d talk about the MOST BORING THINGS. Like, clothes-shopping and grocery-shopping. WE JUST DID THAT. Can we go HOME now?

But! Running errands with Dad was the best best BEST. We went to the coolest places ever. Like NAPA Auto Parts which smelled like motor oil and had a gumball machine that he always gave me pennies for and the guys working there were always nice and funny and would cuss sometimes and say, “Sorry, kiddo!” Or to go buy a new car and we’d have to wear our old clothes and “act poor” so the guy would give us the lowest price. Or – possibly best – just driving around looking at things and and he’d tell me stories like “this is the bridge that your uncle told your grandmother I made him pee off, and he was so scared now he’s scared of all bridges, but if he ever tells you that, it’s not true. IT IS A LIE.”

That day, Dad said, “Amy! Do you want to go to the dump?”

DID I WANT TO GO TO THE DUMP? Boy howdy, did I want to go to the dump!

DUMP!!!

DUMP!!!

Now, the dump was AWESOME. Don’t even be turning up your nose. The dump smelled terrible, sure. This was long before you paid money and had to have things all neatly recycled. This was a pile of willy-nilly GARBAGE. Couches and dolls and food and dead animals and parts of cars and a million seagulls and everywhere you looked, there was a new thing. The dump was ADVENTURE. And Dad would drive in all fast and it was all hilly in there and the truck would bump all over and I would laugh and laugh.

Shush. I grew up in a small town. We took adventure where we could get it.

So Dad and I packed up into the dump-going truck and I put on my little red riding hood (it was the BEST red hoodie, so I was wearing hoodies before they were cool, yo) and we took off to the dump.

I don’t remember exactly what happened at the dump. I’m going to guess just dump-stuff. Dropping off garbage. Dad saying, “DON’T TOUCH THAT! IT IS FILTHY! WE DO NOT NEED THAT!” (I don’t know if I was ever really going to touch anything at the dump, but I wanted a closer look at it. It was like archaeology of castoffs. I was so fascinated.)

We went home. Now, the savvy grownup that I am would probably have picked up that something was going DOWN, you guys. But I was 6-or-7-year-old-Amy in my sassy red hoodie and a VERY successful trip to the dump on a happy October Saturday behind me, and I wasn’t much of a detective then.

I sincerely felt like Supergirl in my red hoodie. I need to get another one of these things.

I sincerely felt like Supergirl in my red hoodie. I need to get another one of these things.

Now, this is where, if I could find it, I would insert a photo that would make you laugh so, so hard, because it kind of perfectly sums up young-Amy in a single picture, but I have torn this place APART and it is not to be found. I have to assume that my mother has it, because I only have one album of young-Amy photos and it’s not in there.

Instead, I am going to include this very-well-executed internet drawing. YOU ARE WELCOME.

I'm pretty sure I'm the next Warhol, yo. Look right out.

I’m pretty sure I’m the next Warhol, yo. I especially like my red hoodie. It’s perplexingly terrible.

I opened the front door of my house and there was a deafening “SURPRISE!” and my whole family was crammed in there – I mean, all my cousins and aunts and uncles and my mom and my dad was all laughing behind me and you would THINK that would be such a happy surprise for a 6-or-7-year-old kiddo.

Nope.

I did the same thing I do now, when surprised. I froze, then I made the most fake smile ever, and ever single photo of me from that party – every one – is me with this terrible false frozen party-face on, but with gritted teeth and flared nostrils. I did not want to come home to a house full of people (albeit people I did then, and do now, love.) I did not want this terrible surprise. I did not want this thing that had been plotted behind my back.

My parents are totally apologetic now (even though they still think I’m weird.) They know better than to ever, ever have any sort of surprise function for me ever again, as long as I live, up to and including my funeral. (I have that planned to the LETTER. I just have to hope I die before my parents.)

And just so you know, it’s gotten worse – now, when people jump out at me from behind things, my first reaction has become to protect myself with whatever’s handy. Once it was a painbrush, pointy-side out. Once it was a pen. Once it was a cast-iron fireplace poker. So if you need further proof that maybe you should announce yourself before you get into my general vicinity, there’s that. I really don’t want to stab and/or bludgeon you. I have this fight-or-flight reaction…and it’s totally fighty.

So! Yes. I love birthdays. And Christmas. And, in general, all the holidays. And I will always be happy if you think of me!

Just please, for the love of Pete (and your own well-being) DO NOT LEAP OUT FROM BEHIND SOMETHING SHOUTING SURPRISE AT ME.

Thanks. Love your faces.

 

(This post was written for the lovely Emily’s Remember the Time blog hop! Have you visited Emily’s amazingness lately? You should! She’s one of my favorite humans!)


This was meant to be a post about animals but kind of went off the rails.

I have (as usual) very little time to write this but I think it’s very important that we talk about something we have NOT talked about in SOME TIME and that thing is ANIMALS.

Those carnivores would totally eat that flamingo and also maybe that giraffe. What? Just saying.

Those carnivores would totally eat that flamingo and also maybe that giraffe and zebra. What? Just saying.

I know, right? All the animals in the world are probably super-sad I’m not representing them properly. Sorry, animals. I’ve let you down. I feel terrible about this.

First, this is peripherally animal-related: so sometimes if you are a Klout member, you get perks? That’s when they give you random crap. I never get perks. I assume this is because I don’t tweet enough. But a couple weeks ago I got an email that I have Klout in Geico? I know, that’s odd. I don’t know that I’ve ever MENTIONED Geico online. I mean, yes, they’re my insurance carrier – because they’re the cheapest, yo – but I don’t know that I talk about it. I also use them for renter’s insurance. But I don’t talk about that, either. Why? BECAUSE WHY WOULD YOU CARE WHAT INSURANCE CARRIER I USE. I mean, seriously.

SIDE NOTE! Dad hates Geico because he hates this gecko. Why? Don't know. He doesn't like to talk about it.

SIDE NOTE! Dad hates Geico because he hates this gecko. Why? Don’t know. He doesn’t like to talk about it.

So I was all, ok, well, that’s fancy, I have Geico Klout. (I find the new Klout site terrible and I am unable to interact with it and can’t figure out how to give anyone Klout in weird topics anymore so I hate it. Like, back in the day, we could constantly give Ken Klout in things like “Pa, There’s a Goat on the Roof [Game.]” Well! THAT was fun. Or we would give Andreas “typo” Klout and he would say “STOP THAT!” and that was ALSO fun. But now you can’t even SEE what you have Klout in, let alone GIVE people Klout. This is sucktown, Klout.) And THEN Klout was all, we want to send you a GIFT for having Geico Klout! And I said, sweet, I like to get shit in the mail. Wait, no. Not ACTUAL shit. That’d be repulsive.

Then today I got THIS.

Well! This photo doesn’t really do it justice. This thing is like two feet tall and has “Geico” written on its foot. It came in a HUGE BOX. It looked like someone had sent me flowers and I was so excited I had a secret admirer for like 14 seconds until I realized it was from Klout.

(Also, if you zoom in on this photo you can see I have a “Not a Republican” bumper sticker up there on my corkboard o’crap, and that made Dad VERY MAD when he visited. “DID YOU PERHAPS NEED A REMINDER EVERY TIME YOU GO IN THE KITCHEN?” he said in a crankity tone. No, Dad, it just makes me SMILE, ok? Sheesh.)

Everyone on Twitter wanted to know Dumbcat’s reaction to this but I can’t tell you, because he won’t get out from under the tree. He came out for treats, but then he went right back under. That’s his happy place right now. He loves it so much. He doesn’t care much for stuffed animals, though. He ignores them. I don’t know what that’s all about.

Anyway, this has taken up half the post. That’s not all I have to say about animals. I have other things, you know.

SOMEONE HAD SOMETHING EXCITING HAPPEN IN A ZOO YOU GUYS!

At the zoo in Syracuse (I have totally been to Syracuse! I used to have to go there for spelling bees because I was the best speller EVAH. Well, not at all, actually, since I never WON them, but I won the ones in my school that meant I got to go to Syracuse for the fancy one that aired on the television. My fashion sense then was STELLAR. One of the years I had a bowl cut AND a tail that I would braid. Yep. PRETTY. Also, my most favorite cousin and her children live in Syracuse at the moment. Now that I know there’s a zoo, I really should go there and visit them. That is Cousin S., who was one of my best friends growing up and made me laugh until I cried and we had more inside jokes than anyone and I miss her a lot and not too long ago she called me when she’d been drinking to tell me how much she missed me and we hadn’t talked in years and there might have been crying. I love her so much and she is one of my people I would totally stop a marauding cougar with rabies with my bare hands for, no joke. That was a very long parenthetical aside) a woman went to the zoo. And guess what happened?

Ooh, look what's at the Syracuse Zoo? Sleepy adorable lions. I want to go to there!

Ooh, look what’s at the Syracuse Zoo? Sleepy adorable lions. I want to go to there!

SHE HAD A BABY WHILE SHE WAS AT THE ZOOOOOOO!

On a PATH! Not far from the BEARS! And the zookeepers HELPED!

Oh, this is the best. I want to go to the zoo! I don’t know that I want to have my baby in the dirty dirt or anything, but I’d totally want to GO to the zoo. Also, that kid has the best origin story ever. EVER. Like, other kids will be all “I was a week early” or “I was a week late” or “My mom went into labor on a plane” or whatever and that kid will be all “MY MOM HAD ME ON THE DIRT PATH OUTSIDE THE BEAR ENCLOSURE.” He wins every birth story ever. EVER.

"Ew, what is that woman DOING? GROSS."

“Ew, what is that woman DOING? GROSS.”

Also, I think that’s the kind of kid that becomes a superhero, right? Totally is. Like, he’d become THE BEAR or something, and he’d speak for the animals? And when questioned by a well-meaning and probably kind of sexy female-type person, probably the zoo’s veterinarian who is fixing him up after a minor scrape with some baddies who were trying to steal leopards for their fur or some such nefariousness, he’d be all, “No. NO. I can’t tell you.” And she’ll be all, “Please. You can’t keep this bottled up.” With very serious eyes. And he’d tell how he was born in the zoo, and as he was born, he locked eyes with a bear, and suddenly he KNEW THE ANIMALS’ PAIN, or something, and then they would probably do some PG-level kissing. You know. For the fanboys.

And finally: suck it, haters, having pets is GOOD FOR YOU.

I mean, we all knew that having animals does all kinds of good things for you, like lowers your stress and your blood pressure (well, except for when your unintelligent cat almost falls off the balcony) and your cholesterol (although I have to think this is more for dog-owners who get out and walk their dogs, to be honest) and it also lowers your chances of being depressed and lonely. WELL! You know how people are all “can’t have a pet, it’ll make the kids all allergic?”

Aw, look at the FACE!

Aw, look at the FACE!

NO NO CHARLIE! Kids are now PROVEN to have a 50% less of a risk of suffering from allergies if they live in a pet-owning household. FIFTY PERCENT! You need to get your kiddos a cat or a dog, yo! Or maybe a lizard or some fish, even. I don’t even care. I think every household should have a pet. Even the Lucy’s Football household had animals growing up. We had a fat black cat who looked like a basketball on legs and we had a billion beagles. Nope. Totally serious. Dad raised beagles and sold ’em for hunting dogs for most of my childhood. Which was sad, because they’d eventually be sold, but was HAPPY because when there were puppies, you could let them all out of the pen and then you could roll around on the grass in a pile of puppies and they would lick you and make little puppy-happy noises and if you’ve never been in spring grass with like ten beagle puppies, I’d like to tell you right now there’s a possibility you’ve missed out on one of the best things life has to offer, my friends.

ALL THE BEAGLES!!!

ALL THE BEAGLES!!!

Man, I miss having a dog. Someday someday.

Apparently, the way the animals stop your kiddos from having allergies is from licking them. When your pet licks your kid, their body produces something (Andreas probably knows) that makes the immune system protect against allergies. I like that. That’s animals HELPING us, yo. That makes me happy. (I’m totally one of those people that lets dogs lick their face. I’m not even ashamed of it.)

ALSO, kids with pets have higher self-esteem. HIGHER SELF-ESTEEM! Well, what does Amy love? Kids with high self-esteem. This article says “Kids gain confidence when they have another creature to love who loves them back.” WELL! Who DOESN’T? I like that very much.

Please get your kid a pet. Plus, bonus, YOU CAN PLAY WITH IT TOO.

OK, it’s late and last night I forgot to go to bed. Shh, don’t yell at me, I already know I’m an asshole. THERE. A post about ANIMALS. Sort of. In a weird peripheral way. Happy Wednesday, jellybeans!


A strange and violent place!

There are a lot of things I like in the world.

Dumbcat. The Nephew. The smell of the air in the fall. Watching television virtually with sj. The excitement I still feel every single time right before the curtain goes up before a play starts, no matter how many plays I watch in my life.

A thing I like a LOT a lot?

Virtually travelling with my internet friends.

See, I’m a poor person? As you’re all aware. The farthest I get to travel is to visit my parents upstate. And even that doesn’t get to happen much anymore, due to unemployment and such. Sometimes to New York City but that’s only once every few years or something (which is NOT OFTEN ENOUGH.) I went to Florida this year but only because Dad paid for it because he loves me. This summer, if all goes well, I get to go to Massachusetts for the first time ever. I KNOW! That’s totally exciting, you’re all coming with me. (It’s all on the newspaper’s dime, too. As long as they keep me on over there, they’re sending me there to review shows this summer. To a SWANKY theater. Where FAMOUS people act. I KNOW! Sometimes I honestly pinch myself. OW STOP THAT.)

Berkshire Theatre Festival!!! I MIGHT GET TO GO TO THERE!!!

Anyway, I am lucky enough to know people who live in fancy places and who are VERY patient with me. The second part of that is equally as important as the first part. Just because they live in fancy places doesn’t mean I’d get to virtually bon vivant along with them. The fact that they are the most patient when I say things like “ZOMG WE ARE GOING TO BERLIN?!?!” or “I WANT YOU TO TAKE ME TO THE ZOO RIGHT NOW TO SEE THE PENGUINS” or “TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR VACATION FLAT FOR ME I DO NOT EVEN CARE THAT YOU ARE SLEEPING FROM THE JET LAG.” (Oh, yeah, I use a lot of all-caps when virtual bon vivantery is involved. It makes me very excited. Oh, fine, I can’t even hide it from you, I use all-caps all the time. I AM VERY EXCITABLE I CAN’T EVEN PRETEND I’M NOT.)

Anyway, I am very lucky I have bon-vivanty friends who are ALSO patient friends and find my loud excitement about all things more charming than annoying. THANK YOU FRIENDS.

This week, we had another opportunity for virtual bon vivantery!

ANDREAS WENT TO HELSINKI!!!

OK, so Andreas lives on the Åland Islands. The internet tells me they are an archipelago. ARCHIPELAGO! I think it would be fun to live on an archipelago. When I was a wee Amy I pronounced that wrong and a teacher laughed at me and I was HORRIFIED. Teachers shouldn’t be allowed to laugh at kids who are trying to pronounce hard words. They should be SUPPORTIVE and correct them NICELY. Just because third-grade-Amy thought it was “arch-ih-pell-AH-go” and not “ark-ih-pell-uh-go”  doesn’t mean you get to mock. I WAS A TEENY KID AND THAT IS A BIG WORD WITH GREEK ROOTS YOU JERK.

Here are the Åland Islands in relation to Helsinki.

See? There are Andreas’ islands over there, and then Helsinki off to the right.

Andreas told me his job was sending him to Helsinki for a work-thing. WELL! That is a fancy job, right? They have ice-cream Fridays (no, seriously, THEY HAVE ICE-CREAM FRIDAYS) and then last week they SENT HIM TO HELSINKI. On a PLANE. He didn’t have to get in a company van or ANYTHING. (I’ve never worked somewhere that sent me somewhere on a plane. Once I worked somewhere that sent me to New York on the train a couple times, which was awesome, and once I worked somewhere where part of my job was to go around the state and do these events but I had to go in the company station wagon or van depending on how many other coworkers went with me. NEVER ON A PLANE!)

Andreas assured me it was not a very long plane trip (because, well, I worry, and the whole time planes are in the air I have to send out “STAY UP PLANE!!!” vibes) and that he would totally get to spend the night. THIS IS FUN!

So of course I said ANDREAS ANDREAS ANDREAS WILL YOU SEND ME PHOTOS OF HELSINKI?

And because he is Andreas he said he would. He didn’t even seem annoyed. Isn’t that the best? Yes, it totally is.

Here, I think we’re going to need some background about Helsinki.

First: if you LIVE in Helsinki, you don’t CALL it Helsinki. You call it “Helsingfors.” Well, I like that a lot. Andreas said it was NOT exciting but as you can see, it is.

Well, after I said that, Andreas AGREED it was a VERY fun name. (Or maybe he just pretended he did. Or my infectious joy just amuses him. One of those things.)

Ooh, look at Olivier’s Van Helsing. THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS YO.

If you look up Helsinki on Wikipedia you can find this very funny link that tells you how to pronounce “Helsingfors” and it is AWESOME. No, seriously, click this and listen. “HelsingFORSH!” The guy sounds VERY SERIOUS. I’ve played that ten times in a row and giggled every time.

Helsinki is the capital of the Land of Finns. There is much water and many islands. On one of the islands is a zoo. A ZOO! On an ISLAND! It is called the Korkeasaari Zoo. I like that word because it sounds like bubbles popping in your mouth. Here, the internet tells me these animals are at that zoo:

EUROPEAN OTTERS! I can only assume these are fancier than regular otters, and probably eat croissants for breakfast.

Also, there is an island called Pihlajasaari, which is where the gay people and “naturalists” hang out. “Naturalists” means nudists. So they’re both euphemistically and also literally hanging out, I suppose. I am all for going to the gay island but not as much into the naked island because, well, naked has its place, but all out in public makes the little Catholic girl in me giggle and hide my face behind a hymnal.

ALSO, in the WINTER, the sun only lasts for six hours. SIX HOURS! And in the SUMMER, it lasts for NINETEEN HOURS. What? What is this madness? Andreas, you so didn’t tell me that you lived in a land of the magical sun. Is the sun magical on your islands, too, or only in Van Helsing City?

Helsinki is VERY PRETTY. Look look look:

Isn’t that lovely? YES IT IS.

People in Finland speak Finnish. Well, obviously. But Andreas says – well, here, I’ll let him tell you:

No one says “Suomessa puhumme suomi!” to you if you speak Swedish in the streets anymore, although I’ve been told it still happens in bars sometimes.

Well, I was on my phone at the time, so I tried to make the phone translate this, but the phone was all NO NO AMY. (My laptop has a much better translation program on it. When you have fancy international friends, you need to translate shit all Johnny-on-the-spot. It gets a workout, that program.)

Does that mean something like, “You’re in Finland; speak Finnish?” I’m on my phone & my translate function here isn’t as good as on the laptop.

Andreas’ reply made me giggle.

Yes, it does: “In Finland, we speak Finnish!” It’s a dig against the Swedish speaking minority.
 
…One of my colleagues…told me that he had that happen to him when speaking Swedish with a few friends at a bar. Some random guy came up and said “Suomessa puhumme suomi!” My colleague then replied in Finnish: “I speak what I want. You speak what you can”, hinting at the general lack of Finnish speaking people of being able to speak any other language, including Swedish. A retort like that is usually cause for a fight in Finland, either with or without knives. It’s a strange and violent place.

I told Andreas “Finland! It’s a strange and violent place!” should be the national motto. I just looked online and apparently Finland doesn’t even HAVE a national motto. Well! Finland! Andreas and I just FOUND you one. You are WELCOME. We’ll take our commission in travel vouchers to visit your city, please.

So once Andreas got there, he sent me this:

I was ok with that. I can be patient, if I have to be.

BUT THEN WE GOT PHOTOS YOU GUYS!

Here is what is, according to Andreas, a “typical Helsinki street”:

Look! A train! Or perhaps a tram! Something trainy-trammy! Also the light is pretty and I like the buildings. I am very impressed by Helsinki. Also, I am very impressed that Andreas followed through on his promise to send me photos. MY ANDREAS IS THE BEST ANDREAS.

Then poor Andreas emailed me later in the day that they made him work ALL DAY and he didn’t get to play at ALL and so he didn’t even get to bon vivant. I felt awful. NO NOT FOR ME. I honestly would rather, if given the option, have Andreas have a wonderful time without me getting a single photo than him being in a happy city without being able to play at all. I do these things in my head a lot. Like these tests. “Would you jump in front of a car for this person” or “Let’s say this person was dying of cancer and you had the option of YOU dying of cancer instead of THEM, would you do it?” It’s how I measure how much I love someone. What, you don’t do that? FINE, I never said my brain wasn’t broken, sheesh. I’ve done this since I was a kid. It’s not normal?

Andreas was not fazed by the fact that he didn’t get to play, however. He still sent me photos. This is why Andreas is the best, and if a flaming out-of-control zeppelin was coming right for us, I’d push him out of the way and take the hit. ANDREAS PASSES THE ZEPPELIN TEST.

This is a picture out of the window of his office. Isn’t Helsinki pretty? I told Andreas that when I come to visit someday (BECAUSE I TOTALLY AM GOING TO DAMMIT) we would go to Helsinki and properly bon vivant it.

Then he sent me this, and this is how I know Andreas is meant to be my friend for the rest of my life. Well, I already knew. But this…well, this pushed it right over the edge.

Just because he thought I would find it interesting, he sent me a photo of his hotel room.

Without even KNOWING that I am OBSESSED with hotel rooms. Like, you don’t even know. The other photos were EXCITING – I mean, Helsinki! – but this one made me laugh and clap.

When I was a little kid (Andreas knew NONE of this) I always thought that people that got to stay in hotels were the fanciest and once I got to stay in a hotel, *I* would be fancy. So I went years and years without ever getting to stay in a hotel. Then when I was like, oh, I don’t know, ten or something, we went on a trip and I got to stay in a hotel. And it was, without a doubt, one of the coolest things in the ENTIRE WORLD. Someone else’s bed! With crisp clean sheets! VENDING MACHINES IN THE HALLWAY WITH ALL THE FOODS AND SODAS! Little soaps and wee shampoos and you could HAVE them! A bucket to put ice in, and a machine that dumped ALL THAT ICE in the bucket! A TV you could WATCH from your BED!

I decided I wanted to live in a hotel.

I still get that same thrill about hotels. There’s something so exciting about a hotel. You could be anyone in that room. You could be a killer or a celebrity or a spy on the lam. I only pretend t0 be citified; I’m really only a country girl at heart and things like hotels and tall buildings and trains and fancy restaurants make me very excited and I’m a ten-year-old who hasn’t left her teeny-tiny town ever and is all huge eyes and “ZOMG LOOK AT THAT!!!”

So Andreas showing me his hotel room, without him even knowing it, made me SO EXCITED.

And when I explained this to him, he was cool as ice about it, yo.

I thought you would!

He knows me well, you guys. Not even in the least bit surprised by this Amy-development.

THEN, as an Andreas-addendum (an And-endum?) I got home the other day and I had a PACKAGE from Andreas. I wasn’t even EXPECTING one. IT WAS A SURPRISE PACKAGE! Well, now, THAT’S exciting! I don’t get surprises in the mail!

Andreas asked me to make a video reacting to what was inside the package. So I did. YOU CAN SEE IT TOO! It’s not a secret. And you can see what’s inside the package of SECRETS from FINLAND. Andreas is the best, sincerely.

(The preview picture of this video makes me laugh; it looks like I’m about to teach you a lesson. A LICORICE LESSON.)

Then I told Dad about what I got in the package. His response?

“It’s licorice? But it’s salty? You can take the salt off, though?”

I said, no. It’s all mixed into the licorice.

“What the hell is wrong with Finland. You don’t put SALT in DESSERTS. They don’t know what the hell is going on in that land of the Finns. SALT IS FOR POPCORN OR FRENCH FRIES.”

Dad did not approve.

Andreas, I hope the next time you go to Helsinki, also known as the land of Van Helsing in Amy-speak, you get to play and bon vivant and have the best of times, but don’t get shanked in a bar for speaking Swedish. And if you see your way clear to bringing your crazy-eyed, unruly-haired Merkan blogger friend with you, well, she wouldn’t complain. Not even a little bit.

THANK YOU ANDREAS!


“It didn’t work. AND IT LOOKED WEIRD.”

One of those “I HAVE AN HOUR TO WRITE THIS I HAVE TO GET TO BED” nights. Job interview early early early tomorrow, work, theater stuff, busy busy, you know the drill. I’m going to be missing from the internet for probably 48 hours or something, it’s going to be kind of terrifying for…well, me. You’ll all be fine. I have blog posts banked. I plan ahead. I’m like the ant preparing for winter. I AM NOT THE GRASSHOPPER!

Ant. But also maybe a lion. Can I also be a lion? Is that allowable in this scenario?

No worries. It’s only a couple days of crazy and then back to…I guess my normal crazy? Things aren’t going back to anything normal anytime soon. Lots going on. Many plans. Many things going on. Attempting to pay the rent and keep my head above water, you know the drill. But but but BUT, I was thinking the other day, you know what I don’t have to do in 2013? What I never have to do again? TAX SEASON. I never, ever have to go through the utter and complete maniac hell of tax season again. And as insane as this is going to sound? That almost makes this shitty past 3 months worth it. This is the time of year for the past 6 years where I’d start dreading January and start stressing out and worrying and thinking “I can’t do that again, I can’t, I just utterly can’t” and this year? I DON’T HAVE TO. Even if I’m still at the answering service working long and weird hours, it isn’t tax season. I can’t even tell you how happy that makes me.

This is going to be me during tax season. SUCK IT HOSERS!

ANYWAY, what are we talking about today? I don’t even know. It’s Sunday? OK, it’s Sunday. I’m in the past, I don’t even know what I’m doing on Sunday right now. Working? I think? Probably? THE FUTURE IS A MYSTERY. Some people might find that fun. I find that worrisome and scary, but then again I’m a planner.

Oh, tomorrow exciting stuff happens! Susie (because she is the awesome) at Insatiable Booksluts set up a blog tour for my book! LOOK HOW PRETTY!

So all next week, there are going to be different blogs all around the blogosphere doing different things related to my book. There will be an interview with me, and me reading my poetry with my MOUTH, and me reading my poetry with my FACE (a NEW poem! One you have not HEARD yet!), and reviews, and a guest post, and some ARTWORK, and many many exciting things. So if you’re not already following Insatiable Booksluts, NOW IS THE TIME. Or follow me on the book of faces where I will post the daily links. Link’s over on the right there. Unless you’re reading this on a reader, or a phone or something. where you can’t see the “follow me on Facebook” link. Then I don’t know what to tell you. Probably you’ll need to get to a computer STAT.

I have no stories for you today. None none none. Too many things on my mind. Last night I had a tossy-turny night full of inability to sleep because of ALL THE THOUGHTS so today I am all at loose ends and all day today I was like, you know, you really should come up with a blog post topic, but it was too busy at work for thinking, and then I was home and I have to get going soon so this is filled with nothingness. Sorry sorry. Too much in my head-area. And I have some more things to do tonight after I finish this. And I was like, “should I make a list?” then I was like “FUCK LISTS” and then I giggled and giggled because me being badass just doesn’t work. I mean, I can TRY, but mostly it’s just laughable. But, seriously, fuck lists. (Shut up, I totally made a list I NEEDED TO MAKE A LIST SO MANY THINGS TO DO BEFORE TOMORROW! It’s one of those I-will-be-gone-for-15-or-16-hours days! In my defense, it was a very short list. A POST-IT list.)

When I did a search for “scattered thoughts” THIS came up. Then I snort-laughed for like a month. HAIR HAIR TALL FLAT MULLETY HAIR!

OK, let’s see. What things do I have to tell you. Oh, I totally watched some of that Hulk Hogan sex tape. What, sometimes things make me curious. Here’s what was the most distressing to me about that sex tape. HULK HOGAN’S HAIR. Seriously, when you’re that bald on top, you don’t let it grow that long in the back. Shave that shit off, dude. It’s embarrassing for everyone.

OMG WHAT IS THIS. This is the best thing ever.

Oh, I wasn’t paying attention to the correct thing on the sex tape? I didn’t care about the sex. Celebrity sex is very seldom all that titillating. Well, the Pamela Anderson sex tape was kind of funny, I suppose, but mostly because I was watching it with someone awesome, and we were giggling the whole time, so it was less creepy and more hilarious. Mostly when I watch these things I think, this is embarrassing. This is just totally embarrassing. Did they want everyone to see this? They couldn’t have possibly wanted everyone to see this. Would YOU want everyone to see your sex tape? No you would not. Or maybe they DID want everyone to see this! That’s even WORSE, who would DO that? So, yeah, pretty much I concentrate on the wrong things in the sex tapes. Which is why I don’t watch them. (SIDE NOTE! When I worked at the video store, we had a John Bobbitt sex tape?

In case you think I’m making this up. Look at the look on Bobbitt’s face. Even HE’S not expecting much from this video. “Eh, whatevs,” Bobbitt says.

Remember him, his wife cut his…um…Bobbitt off? And I didn’t see it, but one of my co-workers did? So I said, “How was that?” and he looked all sad and said, “It didn’t work, Amy. IT DIDN’T WORK. And it LOOKED WEIRD.” And then he walked away shaking his head all ruefully while I giggled at how seriously he was taking it. I don’t know what he was expecting from a video called Frankenpenis.)

Oh, here, here is one more story, which I told to someone last night and I am stealing to tell all of you now that I told him but I’ll edit it a little so it’s not the EXACT same thing because that’d be rudeness. I think he’ll be ok with that. ANYWAY, I was on the phone with Dad last night and there was a knock on the door. “There is someone at the door!” I said. He was all, “hang up, you need both hands.” “Why do I need both hands?” I said. “To fight him off when he tries to murder you! I just laughed and brought the phone downstairs. The whole time Dad’s all “THAT IS A KILLER!” and “DON’T YOU OPEN THAT DOOR!” (IT WASN’T EVEN DARK OUT YET!) and when I opened the door it was the UPS guy with a package from Amazon. (SIDE NOTE: the package said “Call of Duty 4” on it or something and he said, “SOMEONE’S in for a good time tonight!” and I was all, “Um. Someone, maybe. Isn’t me. I don’t have a Playstation. Is that a Playstation game? I don’t even know. Video games confuse me.” and he looked at me like I was insane. If I DID play video games, I don’t think I’d play Call of Duty 4. Isn’t that like a war game? That’d bore me to tears.) So Dad said “WHO WAS IT?!?!?” and when I told him he was like, “Were you expecting that? (side note: I wasn’t) YOU STAY ON THE PHONE WITH ME WHILE YOU OPEN THAT. It’s probably a BOMB. Or WHITE POWDER. Rice! IT IS RICE!” And I said, “Ricin? Probably not ricin. Amazon doesn’t sell ricin” and he was like “YOU WON’T BE SO FLIPPANT WHEN YOU ARE DEAD!” So to assuage his fears I opened it and I laughed and he said, “Are you DEAD?” and I said, “It’s a SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PRESENT. From C. It isn’t a bomb. I’m FINE.” “Well, you could have been dead,” he said. “YOU NEVER OPEN SURPRISE PRESENTS. That’s how they get you, Amy. THAT IS HOW THEY GET YOU.”

“And you’re done.” Well, that’s just proving Dad’s point, isn’t it?

So, from Amy’s Dad to you: that’s how they get you, my favorite jellybeans. With surprise shipments from Amazon. And rice. (Also, THANK YOU, C.!!!)

OK. This is totally short, but I have to do those things I have to do. This is all I’ve got. NO STORIES. I’ll have more after tomorrow’s shenanigans, I’m sure. Many adventures being had tomorrow. Happy Sunday, all! Good things to you all! NO NOT YOU DING DONG JOE.


It’s like when they dip into the mailbag on TV shows, but here, only AWESOMENESS comes out.

Here we are at…what day is this in you-land. Um. Saturday? Guess what I did last night, then. NO, GUESS. Reviewed my first play for my new review-y gig! I don’t know how it went yet, obviously, because I am writing this from the PAST and I suppose anything could happen, including the apocalypse, but let’s hope it went so, so well. The only problem I foresee is that I have to watch the play, then go home and immediately write the review, and then I have work super-early the next morning and I’m going to be EXHAUSTED, because the review’s due on the editor’s desk (well, in her email, this is 2012 after all) by 1pm Saturday, and I’ll be at work then, so I have no option than to write it the minute I get home. So, I predict sleepy-times this morning. PRE-PLANNED YAWN. Also I was just informed I have a job interview at the crack of dawn Friday morning, so both Friday and Saturday are going to be kind of crazy-town.

So today we have to discuss THINGS I GOT IN THE MAIL. I know that probably sounds really boring but I got some awesome things in the mail. I mean, it’s not all like fiber supplement samples and free mailing labels from the ASPCA or something. Which I also got, but I’m not BLOGGING about THOSE. Sheesh, I’m not the most boring.

So today we have two things to talk about that I got in the mail. One I got a while ago but have been SO LAZY about blogging about and one I got TODAY and want to talk about it or else I’ll totally forget.

The first thing is a thing I WON. I know! I’m a total winner.

A blog I enjoy a great deal is Cannibalistic Nerd. Among other hilarious things, she watches old Super Friends episodes and makes fun of them in this totally fantastic snarky way and it always makes me snort-laugh. Also, sometimes the Super Friends do terrible-bad magic tricks – sorry, “magic tricks” and she attempts to recreate the magic tricks but things happen like shattered glass. It’s a very funny blog. You should all pop on over and give her some love. I learned about it from Jim, who knows about good and funny things. That’s why he’s our Minister of Fly-nance, yo.

Anyway, back in July (see how far behind I am? in my defense, I had some bad shit go down in July) she went to the beach and found the best best BEST thing in one of the gift shops.

Then we were all THAT IS THE BEST THING so she decided to have a giveaway for it. Which I entered, but I wasn’t sure I wasn’t going to win, because I never win ANYTHING. Ever ever ever. BUT I TOTALLY WON!

When it arrived, it was kind of in pieces. Shells don’t hold together in shipping so well, even though it was packaged very carefully.

Yeah, that’s my plaid couch, covered in Dumbcat-fur. And a pillow my grandmother made. And some cat toys on the floor.

But Carrie had kindly included glue in with the gift package, so I could fix my shells and make them one piece again.

Well, I am terrible with do-it-yourself projects. So gluing it together took days, and there may have been some cussing. And at one point, I…well, let’s be honest, I was balancing it to get it to dry in the right position, and I dropped it, and MORE pieces fell off. But I was stubborn, and I prevailed. It’s still kind of tippy and precarious. I don’t know that I did the best job gluing it together. I think it will be fine as long as I never touch it again. And you’re not supposed to touch art, anyway. I learned that the time the security guard tried to kick me out of a museum in Oklahoma because I accidentally brushed up against a sculpture because I was dizzy from driving for three days. I SAID I WAS SORRY, SIR!

And now…three months later (and with MANY apologies for the delay!) here is my MOST WONDERFUL SHELL THINGY PIECE OF ART!

(SIDE NOTE! When Mom and Dad were here this weekend, Mom saw this on my table, and said, “Um…what is…this, here?” and I said “IT IS A MAJOR AWARD THAT I WON!” and she said “Oh, because I was thinking…did she BUY that? And it was worrying me.” I don’t think Mom appreciates the wonder of my major award/piece of art.)

Here is a top view. As you can see, these shells are playing some serious poker. Two of them have Diet Coke to drink. Two do not. They are all smoking FAT CEE-GARS. Made of SHELLS.

Here is a side-view, kind of. Still playing all the poker! Drinking the Diet Coke! I think there might be something more going on here than we see, though. What do you think might be happening UNDER the table?

One of the poker players has a SHIV! Oh, this is BAD NEWS. This guy is NOT on the up-and-up. As Carrie pointed out on her blog, the one with the shiv doesn’t have a Diet Coke, so I think he’s just thirsty. The moral of the story is, if you invite shells over to play poker, make sure all of them have beverages.

The other card-player who doesn’t have a Diet Coke is CHEATING! Oh, this piece of very fancy artwork is FILLED with chicanery.

Look how jaunty these things are. They have a lot of verve. I like that a lot.

Dumbcat was intrigued by the shells for about two seconds. He took a nibble.

Then he got bored and stared off into the middle-distance, dreaming of better days, I guess.

Then he fell asleep like the amazing shell-sculpture wasn’t right there, so as you can see, he’s not much of an art-lover. SHUN THE NON-BELIEVER! SHUNNNN! (This photo is crooked because I kind of dropped the camera while I was taking the photo. Please forgive, I never said I was handy.)

A mighty and MUCH-BELATED thank you to Carrie, who made me a winner and then was very patient while I waited months and months to actually blog about it. My most abject apologies. I love my most prestigious prize/piece of art and it is displayed proudly by the most important thing in my house: my television.

Next: a present from THE LAND OF FINNS!

A while ago, our favorite Science Fellow had a fire. Right after his fire, he was moving from the Isle of Man to FINLAND! and he was driving. But all of his CDs had melted in the fire! And I didn’t like the idea that he was driving for days and days and days with no music. So I made him some mix CDs and I sent them to him. Remember? Because my post office was so confused about the Isle of Man and assured me it didn’t exist? Anyway, I was happy happy HAPPY to do it, because Andreas is most sincerely, without the slightest hint of sarcasm (WHAT? Amy? NO SARCASM? You can DO that? Yes, sometimes I can, I promise) one of my favorite human beings on the face of the whole entire earth. Whether he’s on the Isle of Man or in Finland. I like him just that much. Also, the thought of almost losing him in the fire made me so upset. I can’t even tell you. Oh, and I also sent him red Twizzlers because they don’t have Twizzlers there and Twizzlers are a very good road-trip snack because they get you all hepped up on sugar so you don’t fall asleep, and also they’re delicious and non-messy. Well, they’re not so good if you’re diabetic, I suppose.

Then a few months ago Andreas said, “Amy! I want to send YOU some music! Music that I like!” and I said, “That is the nicest thing ever.” And in my head I said, “How do I deserve friends like this?” and then my heart got all full and I might have gotten all weepy. That’s the rumor, anyway. That’s a thing that happens to me sometimes.

Anyway, TODAY, I went to get the mail and there was a package waiting for me and I like getting packages! And it was from…

The Åland Islands! THE HOME OF ANDREAS!!!

Well, THIS is very exciting!

What was in the package from FINLAND, you ask? Well! I will SHOW you!

FOUR CDs! With the prettiest cover art! One for each season! And the most wonderful notes about each CD explaining the music on each one! Seriously, I just hand-wrote tracks on a piece of paper for his CDs. I wasn’t fancy at ALL. (My printer’s broken, I didn’t have much choice. LOOK HOW PRETTY THESE ARE!)

DVDs of Swedish movies! With MORE notes he wrote about them! They all sound WONDERFUL and I am VERY excited about them. Also, how much do I love the title of the bottom one? A lot, is how much. I will like these because I can listen to people speaking Swedish, which we all know I love because it sounds like fish talking all underwater liquid-fast.

So, I knew about the CDs and the DVDs. But I did NOT know about…

FINNISH CHOCOLATE BARS! Don’t these look FANCY?

This one is milk chocolate. Which apparently is also “maitosuklaa.” Hee, that’s a funny word.

Ooh, what’s this one?

Roasted salted cashew nuts! How did Andreas know that these are my favorite nuts? He is a smart cookie, that Science Fellow of mine.

Look, on the back, there are all the fancy foreign words, but then also ENGLISH words. This is very bilingual chocolate. It’s for elite people. LIKE ME.

THANK YOU ANDREAS! I am very excited about ALL of this. You are really wonderful and amazing and phenomenal and all good words. And thoughtful. So so thoughtful. I’m so lucky to know you. I will report back to you about what I thought of everything as I watch/listen, I promise. Not HERE, but probably on Twitter or something. Pretend I’m giving you a huge hug. I was kind of in a crap mood this morning but this really helped lighten things up over here.

And this concludes this edition of THINGS I HAVE RECEIVED IN THE MAIL. Stay tuned for FURTHER installments, which might include “the time I got a mis-addressed postcard” and “once I got a granola bar in the mail and everyone said don’t eat that it might be poison but I was really hungry so I ate it anyway and I didn’t even die a little bit.”


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