I like jigglypuff, I just dont want to BE jigglypuff.

You know how, in Game of Thrones, everyone’s all “brace yourselves, winter is coming”, and then they gaze with steely eyes off screen, probably looking at a direwolf or a beheading or something? If you watch GoT, you know. If you don’t,  please just smile and nod politely because thats exactly what happens.

For a chunkybutt, “winter is coming” is nothing to be steely eyed about. Its full of cozy nights, and oversized sweaters, covered in a crocheted blanket and a yawning cat, reading some classic tome of forbidden love and the tragedy that invariably follows. “Winter is coming” is the most looked-forward-to phrase of the year.

And it is coming. But you know whats coming first? Summer. Stupid dingus summer, filled with form fitting clothes and bathing suits and outdoor activities that are performed while wearing the aforementioned clothing. Meh.

Ive really needed to stop being such a jigglypuff for awhile, but so much of the exercising realm seems plain unfun and chore-y, and I always seem to find something better to do, like drinking beer on my patio…for example.

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Running makes me sad. See?

Its not that my body isn’t able. I absolutely have no physical reason to get myself out the door. Its all a product of my scumbag brain being scumbaggy, so ive attempted to change it into a nice, helpful brain.

One of my goals is to be able to run a few miles, or more than a few miles, so I looked online to find ways to squash the mental mutiny. The couch to five k program seemed to be successful for a lot of people, so I gave it a go.

I hated it like Sir MixALot hates flat butts.

It was all so tedious and the timing thing didnt work for me at all. I understand the idea behind it, but by the time I figured out how to actually move in rhythm and not just flail horizontally down the street, it was time to stop running and start walking. Gah. Frustration.

In a last ditch effort to not hate running, I decided to talk to my friend La Nuge about it. Shes an experienced runner and a hell of a nice lady. For the record, she is not The Nuge. You can tell them apart by her lack of hit songs from the 70s, and the fact that she doesnt view loincloths as appropriate goin-out clothes.

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This is totally not La Nuge.

She was as awesome as I have come to expect from her, and she basically told me to scrap that whole running for time and distance thing. After the necessary advice to get good shoes and make sure I listened to my body she dropped this knowledge bomb on me:

Run for experience. Run and watch the sun rise. Run in the rain. Run on trails. Run and spy on get to know your neighbors. Run and check out whats going on in everyone’s garden. Run for the sake of running, not for the sake of some numbers that I couldn’t care less about.

Maybe this was incredibly obvious to everyone but me, and that’s why I had never heard it before. Maybe this is like finding advice on how to breathe. But honestly, I had never, ever thought about running as something that could be enjoyed and not simply endured.

Guess what? This applies to literally every other exercise-y thing too. I can do it, and I can actually like it. It can *gasp* be fun.

Thanks, La Nuge. This jigglypuff could have done it without you, but she wouldn’t have.

Summer is coming, and I am ready.

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Rabbit in wine sauce (the zero calorie, vegan version)

There are millions of recipes for rabbit in wine on the web. While they are undoubtedly tasty if you like that kind of thing, they aren’t a good choice for meat eaters or those who are watching their calorie intake. Think of the poor little bunny! Think of the hawt bikini bod Cosmo insists you need! No….those recipes will not do.

This is a recipe, developed for me a few weeks ago, that takes care of all of those issues. It’s a lot of work, but did you expect less from ‘rabbit in wine sauce’?

1. Buy a 5 gallon wine kit. It’s really up to you, but i would suggest gewurtztraminer, because gewurtztraminer is tasty and you should drink it.

2.Sterilize all your equipment, then start mixing your ingredients in the primary fermenting bucket exactly as the kit demands.

3. Place a clean, lint free tea towel over the bucket.

4. Go take a nap. This part is very, very important. You know how watched pots never boil? Watched rabbits never self marinate. Its the same thing.

5. Wake up. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or whatever it is you grab when you first wake up, and notice that your primary fermenting bucket has been tampered with.

6. Get closer to the primary fermenting bucket, and slip in liquid. Curse a couple of times when you notice that at least a gallon of the grape must and yeast and stuff that you so lovingly and carefully combined has been sloshed all over your floor and wall and is drying to a sticky, doghairphilic paste. Curse again, if you need to. Note: you will need to.

7. Start wondering if you have a teetotaller poltergeist that is responsible. Have another sip of your coffee and realize that youre being an idiot. Strike the idea of a poltergeist from your brain’s record.

8. Start looking for the real culprit. Badger the kids, hunt down the dogs, interrogate the spouse. Someone knows something, Columbo. Its up to you to figure out what happened.

9. When the dogs, the kids and the spouse come up clean, revisit the poltergeist idea for a second. Realize that it’s as bad of an explanation this time as it was last time. Figure that it was probably an earthquake that spilled everything and resign yourself to that fact that your 5 gallon batch will end up being 4 gallons at best.

10. Start wiping everything up. You’ll need to wash it at least three times so your feet no longer stick to the floor. While doing the cleaning,  wonder if you’ve accidentally invented a grape based alternative to superglue. Fantasize about the fame and riches you’ll get once you patent your discovery.

11. Freak out because something furry is touching your feet, as you’re on your hands and knees scrubbing. Draw your knee up quickly, because unexpected furry thing on your feet while cleaning is as scary as a fish touching your feet while swimming. Hit the bucket with your knee and spill more of the baby wine. Realize you now will have 3 ish gallons out of your 5 gallon batch. Repeat step 10.

12. Notice that Batman’s pet rabbit is the UFO (unidentified furry object) and is licking up the grapey sugary liquid faster than you can wipe it. Notice also that she is spikey-furred from the tip of her fuzzy little tail to her neck.

13. At this point, you will have a cascading epiphany.  Curse now, because you realized two things: the rabbit jumped in the wine and you now need to bathe a pissed off bunny with big nasty pointy teeth, and that rabbits poo when they are frightened, so you probably have a bunch of rabbit crap in your bucket of would-have-been wine. Curse again.

14. Bathe the wine marinated, angry, possibly inebriated rabbit. Immediately following this, dress all claw wounds on your arms, then clean up the water she splashed everywhere.

15. Dump the bucket of wine down the sink.

Optional: make a bunny-proof wine making fortress, and try again.

I’d say enjoy, but you won’t.  However, your floor will be sparkly clean, and you’ll be well on your way to toned, fab, Cosmo hot arms from all that scrubbing. Thats….something, isnt it?

Because why wouldnt a kid need to know how to do a tracheotomy?

My Opa passed away when I was about 15 or so. My family lived really far away, and we didn’t see each other often. In fact, I only have a very few memories of him.

Those memories…whew. See, when most people remember a departed grandparent, the memories bring up an emotion. Whether its of PB&J sandwiches with the crusts lovingly cut off or drunken holiday arguments, it all brings up some kind of feeling,

In my case, the feeling is that of complete and utter confusion.

My Opa was an incredibly intelligent man, and was quite skilled in his chosen field of medicine. That isn’t the confusing part, nor is it a strong memory. It is quite simply fact, and to a little kid, all jobs from mailman to neurosurgeon are pretty impressive and grown up.

I get the feeling that he had–probably quite rightly, as that level of education and ability is something to be proud of– a teensy bit of arrogance, or maybe ego, or maybe just enthusiasm about his knowledge. That isn’t confusing either. When people study hard and master something difficult, it is totally understandable. I was going through my own struggles and triumphs with cursive writing at the time, so I totally understood.

The confusing part is that my strongest memories are of him drawing on napkins on our yearly dinners out. Paper, linen, didn’t matter. If it was suitable for wiping one’s fingers, it was also clearly suitable for some learnin’!  He’d get all excited about something, and whoops, out came the ballpoint pen from his shirt pocket, and we were all set to get a lesson, complete with diagrams.

Had I, with recent cursive victories on the dastardly letters “m” and “z”, been allowed to draw on napkins to show everyone, I would’ve done it in a heartbeat. My mom was not having any of that though, and while she couldn’t give my Opa a spanking, she could easy give me one, so I sat there, both attentive and envious.

I remember two of these impromptu lectures.

One was vague, and for some reason, it was about showing my sister and I how to properly draw a bird. It’s a shame that this memory is so vague. Drawing birds comes up surprisingly often in my life, because of course it does.

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This is a bird. You can tell by the label saying “bird”.

The second lecture is something I will keep with me forever. It was a diagram and instructions on how to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a penknife and Bic pen casing. I don’t know why I would do this, like, ever. I remember it being about if someone has something caught in their throat and the normal methods of using your finger to sweep the mouth or doing the Heimlich Maneuver (Heimlich Remover, to a seven year old) just won’t work. He drew it, then said “like so.”, because apparently, this napkin diagram was pretty much self explanatory.

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Like so. If you don’t get it, you’re obviously not trying hard enough.

I think he was showing my dad this, but I took it very seriously. You just never know, right? I felt like I was pretty much ready for anything.

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Relax. I’m almost 12% sure that I know what I’m doing with these.

Our meals came then, and no one ever spoke of it again, but that’s pretty much the one and only thing I remember about him. Kids, the lesson here is twofold:

1)when you have grandchildren, make sure you give them interesting life skills to remember you by.

And 2) if you and I ever go out for dinner, make sure you chew very well. You really, really don’t want to choke around me.

Daily shirt sites, boobs, and bellies…or, can someone please take my money?

This is going to bore 90 % of you. My apologies. Still, if something needs saying, it needs saying.

If you know me in real life, perhaps you know that Johnny Rotten designs tees in his off time. In fact, lots of people I know design, and I love their work. Buzatron, Grrlmarvel, Fishbiscuit Designs, Cubik Designs, Inkone? They’re all excellent, and you really ought to stalk them on Facebook because they have the ninevoltcandy seal of approval stamped on their creative little noggins.

Unfortunately, I can’t do much more than yell congratulations, mazel tov and mabrook at them when they get a print on a daily tee site. As much pride as I would take in wearing something that an awesome friend of mine made, I can’t, because I refuse to wear clothes that make me look really terrible.

It’s not the graphic they’ve made, not at all. The problem is with sizing and flattering cut. To put it as bluntly as possible, I am tall, I am broad shouldered, and I am stacked. As well you know, I am definitely all of these things, but Im not freakishly built. A person wouldnt look at me and automatically think that I am an adult entertainer specializing in big boob fetishes, nor would they see my height and assume that I was once a star player in the NBA. I’m actually fairly average. Like, I could never make it in a sideshow based on my physical characteristics, and would have to rely on skill alone. This makes me kind of sad, because I feel like a dream that I didn’t even know I had was just ripped away from me, but such is life for us average folk.

For you Numberspeople, Im 5’9, 165 lbs, and have a normal BMI. My bust measures 40 inches, my ribcage 33, and my waist 31.

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See, thats me, drinking beer at a hockey game like a boss, or at least like a typical Canadian. My figure is….yes, it’s there. Nothing to write home about, unless you habitually write home about subjects that are duller than plastic butter knives.

So yeah, anyway, the size and design options from nearly every daily site do not work for me. I need a ladies cut to flatter my bust, as mens/unisex shirts are cut differently, and hang off of my broader points in a way that makes me look 30 lbs heavier.

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This is me, again. My actual weight and shape between the first picture and this one is the same. So where’d those extra inches and pounds come from? Not cool, shirt.

That unisex shirt obviously won’t work for me, because ewww. Shall I try a ladies shirt then?

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Oh dear. Thats definitely slimmer fitting, but is unflattering in whole new, trashy, saggy boobed, pot bellied ways. Again, ewww.

The ladies cut is just too tight across my bust with most foundation garments (bras), even in an xl. Sometimes I wear them anyway, but I will assure you that having fabric puckering and gaping lines across my breasts from the shirt makes me quite uncomfortable. Not only is it physically uncomfortable  but the amount of guys blatantly staring at my chest is rather unpleasant.

As a bit of a side note here, there seems to be a school of thought that if women have big breasts, they enjoy showing them off at all opportunities. That school of thought supposes that big breasted women enjoy being valued for two chunks of fatty and glandular tissue, and that their purpose is to decorate the world of complete strangers. That school of thought is bullshit. When I go grocery shopping in a daily site shirt, I am trying to get food, not titillate (ha!) some guy in the toothpaste aisle. More often than not though, thats exactly what happens when I wear a shirt with fabric straining across my bust. If you’re a guy who does this, please please please knock it the hell off. Being eyemolested is not flattering, it’s revolting.

Anyway.

Im sure Im not alone in this. As I said, Im on the bigger side, but Im pretty normal looking. If Im average, there are smaller ladies, and also bigger ones. If I can barely fit into the largest size tee, how many ladies would have no hope of fitting at all? They won’t buy because theres nothing for them *to* buy. Their dollars spend just as well as a smaller persons dollars, so why arent there as many opportunities to spend them?

Alongside that size issue, there is also the issue of flattering necklines. A v neck makes me look my height and well proportioned, particularly if its a bit of a deeper v. It makes me look good, it makes me feel good, and that in turn makes the shirt look good. Having a great looking product that is loved and worn often is quite a decent advertisement, dont you think? Unfortunately, the crewnecks have the opposite effect. They make me look shorter, wider, saggy and because of the straining fabric, trashy. It makes the shirt look poorly constructed and ill fitting, which is (when I wear it, which isnt often) actually going to work against the company. If a friend asks me where I got a shirt that looks crappy on me, and I tell them, its not likely that they will want to shop there. How many women in the history of ever run out to buy clothes that make them look dumpy, lumpy and matronly? The answer is zero, excepting schoolmarms and nuns.

Look at the grey shirt above, then compare to this:

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My bust looks higher, and its just so much more flattering, right? These are the shirt styles I want. These are the shirt styles that I can’t get. The v doesn’t even need to be that deep. Any v is better than a crewneck.

So, yeah, theres that. And fatter people have similar issues. There are so many roly poly folk out there who actually really like gaming and pop culture. A lot of them would buy if there was something in their size, but there isnt, so they dont. Seriously, no guy that wears a 4x will say “gee, they dont have that, so ill just get an xl and hope for the best.” Again, the dollars of a fat person spend just the same as the dollars of a thinner person, but many daily sites seem to be ignoring those dollars.

Why is this happening? Daily tee sites are not exclusive boutiques and their target demographic is not the Rachel Zoes of the world. Or maybe that is the target demographic….but that would be a very foolish business choice, especially considering that more Americans are overweight or obese than ever before.

Before anyone whines about the vastly increased costs of clothing us bigger folk, I am fully and completely aware that a 4x costs more than a sm. You know, people who wear the 4x are aware of that too…and they are aware that plus sizing is usually managed by adding an additional $2 or so dollars, which is still a very good deal considering the total will be $12 instead of the normal $10.

TL;DR on that one. If a shirt site wants a bigger piece of the pie, they’d do well to include people who like bigger pieces of pie. Mmmmmmm, pie.

So yeah. Im not sure where Im going with this, but Im annoyed.  Johnny Rotten has a print tonight that I love, and but I would look like crap, so, instead of spending 10 or 12, I spend 0 and am sad. There has to be a better way, doesnt there?

Nine volt apple pie

This is a note to myself, so that next time I want to make apple pie, I wont hulksmash through the kitchen trying to remember what I did and how I did it. Maybe you’re not a hulksmash baker, but I am. Not remembering how much sugar I need makes me angry, and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Ahem. Back on task.

Nine Volt Apple Pie*

Makes 2 9″ pies.

– 4 pie crusts, ready made, unless you feel like dallying about with making pastry. Making pastry makes me angry and sweary, so I don’t. Judge if you must.

– 10 or so granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and sliced.

– 1/2 cup butter.

– 3 tablespoons allpurpose flour.

– 1 teaspoon (or more, or less, or whatever you feel like) ground cinnamon. Note: paprika and cayenne both kind of look like cinnamon, but really should not be substituted for it 99% of the time. Who knew?

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

– 1 cup demerara sugar

– 1/4 cup water

1. Preheat over to 425F.

2. Put the bottom crusts into the pie tins. Trim off excess.

3. Pile sliced apples into the pie crusts evenly.

4. Slice the other two pie crusts into one inch strips and make a lattice crust. Over, under, over, under….just like that basketweaving class you took in college instead of calculus!

5. Admire your work or vow to learn weaving, as the case may be.

6. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour. Once all the flour has been incorporated, add the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Stir-stir-stir! Burnt sugar smells terrible. You do not want this. It will make you angry and sweary.

7. Pour the sugarbutterflourwater mix over the pies evenly and slowly, so it doesn’t splosh everywhere, because sploshing is messy and gross. Don’t believe? Google it. Filters off, of course, for full NSFW understanding. You don’t want that nonsense in your kitchen.

8. Put in preheated oven for 15 mins. Lower the heat to 350 and allow to bake for another 40 minutes or so.

9. Let cool, and either slice it up if you’re fancy, or just grab a fork.

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*– Please note: while this is called nine volt apple pie, it is not actually recommended to put batteries in it. Cranberries would be okay, as would walnuts or raisins. But no batteries. Thank you.

It’s a three on the pain scale. It is ALWAYS a three.

I hurt my foot yesterday tripping over Olddog. I’m not quite sure what happened to it, but its pretty uncomfy. I’d put the pain at a three on the hospital one to ten pain scale.

I always put pain at three.

Gallstones? That’s a three.

Ripped ligaments in my thumb? Also a three.

Dislocated shoulder? Three. Maybe three and a quarter.

A rusty nail through my foot, which broke inside when I pulled it out, because there is simply no way that I can walk around with a 2×4 attached? Three.

The first time I ever encountered this scale, I was in an emergency room here. I forget what I was there for, but it was probably something to do with tripping over a particularly dense chunk of air and needing to make sure I wasn’t legitimately broken. I know me, y’all, and I have complete confidence in my abilities as a tanglefoot.

Anyway, the nurse showed me the scale and told me to tell her what number my pain was at.

I asked her to define the numbers. She looked annoyed.

“One is no pain. Ten is the worst pain you can imagine.”

Of course my pain level was not a one. One is the level of nothing wrong, and no one shows up to the hospital when nothing’s wrong. I had no trouble with this concept. One equals fine. One equals a good day to maybe work in the garden and have a beer with friends. No one should ever be in a hospital feeling one about things.

Ten though? Wow. The worst pain….I can imagine. That’s a challenge that I accepted, and I got to imagining right away.

I asked the nurse if getting one’s hand caught in a paper shredder would be a ten. She said it might and asked if that was the worst thing I could imagine.

Nope. Not even close. What if you got your hand caught in a paper shredder, then forgot somehow, and used that hand to reach into a gallon jar of pickles to reach the very last one at the bottom? See? That’s way worse and I didn’t even need to think that hard about it.

She looked bored. She asked if that was a ten. I shrugged and said while it would definitely hurt a lot, there’s worse out there. There must be.

I realized that she was just looking for a number to write on my chart, and spared her all of the other scenarios of my “how much would this hurt and could it possibly be worse?” train of thought.

This is not a scale for pain level. This is a test of imagination, people. This is a test to see exactly how dark those little corners of your mind really are. Mine are dark, as it turns out. Really dark.

In the end, I learned three things.

One, the current system of sad faces and numbers cannot possibly be useful.

Two, no matter what happens physically and no matter how badly I hurt, it could always be so much worse because apparently, I am a twisted individual.

And three, the very act of thinking about how much worse it can be can actually make your pain seem less. You can drop at least a half point by imaging that in addition to whatever happened to you, that you also had to walk barefoot in the dark across a floor full of stray lego to get to the hospital.

On that note, my foot? Why, it feels better already. I may even call it a 2.98 today.

The bell

This is not funny. If you’re here for the funny, please feel free to check out the ridiculousness in the archives.

I have had a rough time with the Christmas season for my entire adult life. Sure, there were sometimes deployments scheduled for just after Christmas, or I had to work, or I was six months pregnant with complications and morning sickness that didn’t know it was supposed to vanish after the first trimester or a million other things, but it was always both more and less than that.

Christmas, with all the joy that is supposed to happen, is stressful. There is more cleaning, more food to prepare, more food to eat, more social obligations, more decorating, more shopping, more more more. And of course, more more more also refers to the smiling that is required through the entire thing.

By mid-December, I have usually become a fruitcake scented, festively striped powderkeg, because of how short I fall of the impossible expectations of perfection that I place on myself.

Several years ago, I was trying once again to outdo Martha Stewart, and once again, I was failing miserably. I guess Munchkin was in first grade around then, or maybe she was even a little younger. I was trying so hard to be Merry! And Festive! And Perfect! but I think it was pretty obvious that I was one burnt cookie away from a week long crying jag.

She scurried over to the tree, and pulled out a little tiny box that she had proudly gotten me from Santa Store at school, and insisted I open it.

Guys, no one in the history of any holiday ever wanted to open a present less than I did right then. There was work to do and joy to be forced. Still, she hounded me. Five year olds who insist on things are rather…..tenacious. I opened the clumsily wrapped little box.

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In it was a little keychain, blue with a simple yellow butterfly on it. It jingled softly as I rolled it in my hand.

“It’s like Polar Express”, she said. “Only people who hear the bell can like Christmas. You hear it, right?”

I did hear it.  She beamed. She hugged me.

And things were all better.

Today, I am sick. I had a million things to accomplish before I even get started on my regular tasks.

I was walking to the market by my house to pick up a few stocking stuffers, tripped in a pothole in the road, dropped my purse and rolled my ankle. I wanted to call the whole thing off. Yes, again. Just like I do every year.

I picked up my purse from the middle of the street. Somewhere, between a grocery list and a lipgloss with dog hair stuck to the cap and a half eaten bag of Skittles, the bell on on the keychain jingled just loud enough for me to hear. 

And again, things are all better.