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.

One more time.

I’ve had the worst luck over the past several years with my garden. In 2005, we were living in military housing in New Orleans. I put a ton of work into my little garden. It wasn’t huge, and I was very inexperienced, but dudes? I loved that little patch of flowers and herbs, and even won an award for it in July of that year.

Then, Hurricane Katrina hit, and ripped all my carefully tended plants to shreds. We moved to Oklahoma, which has a completely different climate. I tried to throw a few things in, but everything croaked. Who knew that plants that thrived in the humidity of New Orleans would find the hot, dry winds of Oklahoma inhospitable? Me. I didn’t know. It was a semi-tropical plant genocide.

Then, I hurt my shoulder quite badly and required surgery. The healing process was long and painful. I could barely get my arm up to brush my own hair, so digging was completely out of the question. I spent that time researching though, so I wouldnt murder any more innocent bedding plants. Yep, for months, I stared out the window, sighing like a 14 year old reading Sylvia Plath, wishing I could actually go out and get dirty. It was not to be, and there went plans for that year’s garden.

I finally figured out what would be good here. I finally had the use of both arms. All systems were go. I ripped up a ton of sod crabgrass, and poured my heart and a good deal of cow manure into the garden. It was good the first year, but I had planted a bunch of perennials that would really only come into their own with time.

Then, we got evicted. For the record, it was nothing we did. As MadameX, star of the fried bull ball story, partner in patio beer drinking and former neighbor can tell you, we were quiet and mostly cool to live near. Anyways, we had been paying our landlord rent, but he hadn’t been paying his mortgage, and long story short, the house was repossessed by the bank.

We moved to a new house a few blocks down, and once again, it was too late to start anything. I decided to wait, again. It was only 8 or so months until I could start digging again, so I figured I could put up with it.

Then, I was running around with the dog in the backyard, about a month before the ground started to warm up enough to be worked. Shes a herding breed, and apparently she decided I was being a rowdy cow who needed correction. She did her herd-y correcting thing, clipped me and blew out my knee. No joke or exaggeration, she caused the unhappy triad (seriously, thats a real thing. Look it up and wince) of knee problems. Surgery was required. My career in the NFL was not going to be, and sadly, neither was my garden that year.

So. This year. I am not hurt, I am not going to be evicted, and I am pretty sure that hurricanes are rare in landlocked states. I started a flat of seeds, which sprouted beautifully, then ended up pushed onto the floor by a jerkface cat. I might have cried, but its only one flat. I could redo it.

I started more seeds–six flats of them. They also sprouted beautifully. Johnny Rotten bought me a cold frame greenhouse thingie, and I put all the little green babies in there to protect them from the stupid a-hole cat. Wouldn’t you know, a freak windstorm happened a week later, which ripped the cold frame to pieces, and blew all of my sprouts over my yard and the yards of everyone a mile downwind. I definitely cried. For real, y’all. Johnny Rotten checked on how bad it was, cameback in, and his face said it all. He didn’t even have to say anything, and I started sobbing. I know, I know. They’re just garden variety tomatoes, pardon the pun. But I was so excited about them, and I was heartbroken when it looked like all of my hard work was for nothing again.

He asked if I wanted to try to replace them. I said no, and my bottom lip quivered. He urged me to try one more time. I pouted and sighed like the drama llama I am. He told me how happy he is when he sees how happy I am when I’m outside, hauling bags of mulch, pulling weeds or breaking hard ground with a mattock. Fine, if it made him so happy, Id try one more time.

I only agreed to get him off my back. He’s tenacious, and I knew he wouldnt let it go. I harrumped, sighed and grumped my way to the local diy store to pick out more plants and seeds, like a gardening Eeyore with a massive chip on his shoulder. But, you guys? Look!

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Confederate jasmine, tiger lily, dianthus, viola

It’s working! This is part of the front bed that I put in. The back is still very much in progress, but Im so happy, and I cant wait to get out there again to work more. Its raining today which is why I am writing instead of digging, but the first break in the clouds? Im grabbing my shovel.

I’m so glad I listened to Johnny Rotten and his optimistic harassment. I do love this. It does make me so happy. This is going to be my year, I can just feel it.

I was aiming for ‘bronze goddess’. I failed.

Spring is here, and with it comes the feeling that I am supposed to be a bronzed goddess. All the women’s magazines tell me so, and who can argue with Cosmo? I mean, they have sex tips about how your boyfriend or husband will totally like it if you touch his penis, and since word on the street is that this info is accurate, I feel that theyre probably right about most things. It stands to reason, y’all.

Anyways, where was I before I started talking about penises? Ah yes, summer beauty. Being a bronzed goddess. Right. I need to point out right now that Im really pale. Im not white as in, thats-the-box-I-check-off-on-the-ethnicity-part-of-a-census-form, but im white as in, my-sister-who-is-both-bronzed-and-a-jerkface-has-gleefully-called-me-Powder-for-years-and-now-I-actually-answer-to-it kind of white.

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This is a portrait of me, if I was a bald guy with psychic powers. Its good to know these things.

This year, things were going to be different. I exfoliated the hell out my poor hide, and slathered myself with some self tanner that promised a “dark and luxurious natural looking tan, without the damaging effects of the sun”. How good does that sound?! That is exactly what I want!

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Did you know that with a $5 bottle of goop and 2-4 hours, you can look like this bathing suit lady's twin?

So, I was all slathered, and I sat down to wait for the dark, natural looking, luxurious magic to happen. Apparently, youre not supposed to move around too much, lest the tanning alchemy grease rubs off and you’re left with very ungoddesslike streaks.

Self tanner smells pretty strange. Its not bad exactly, but oddly strong–like flowers, coconut, and perm solution. The dogs got curious, and started snuffling at my ankles. Just sniffing at it would have been fine, but they decided that it must be tasted too. I bent down to shoo them away from my ankles, and got my arms stealth-licked. This shouldnt have surprised me. As I have pointed out on this blog before, they are sneaky jerks.

I follow the philosophy that all sentient life ought to be sentient enough to know to keep their tongues to themselves, so it would gross me out anyway, but now I was definitely at risk of a streaky tan too. I took evasive maneuvers (ie, running around until i could lock myself in a room away from the hellhounds) and tried to even out the luxurious goop, which wasnt feeling luxurious at all after being mixed with dog spit.

And then, I took a nap.

When I woke up 2 hours later, I expected to see a sexy, summery glow. What I actually saw was something that had me questioning if I had somehow been sleepwalking and ended up in an industrial accident at the Tang factory.

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I think I can see a nose print in there...

I am orange.

I am patchy.

I am an oompa loompa with gigantism and vitiligo.

For the next week, im going to have to celebrate the fact that warm weather is here by wearing clothes more suited for a beekeeper who is terrified to have a bee actually touch her skin.

You know what the worst part is? This has happened exactly this way every spring for as long as I can remember. I think I need to put self tanner in the ‘Not for you, EVER’ category with wax, and embrace my pale, hairy self regardless of what women’s mags say. Its simply too dangerous any other way.

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?

My kid’s birthday is tomorrow. I told her I’ll rename her Batman.

So Munchkin’s 12th birthday is tomorrow.

I teasingly told her I’d rename her Batman for her birthday instead of getting her presents, because she’s getting older and she can handle that kind of responsibility now.

Her response?

This.

It reminds me once again that becoming a mom, especially to someone so hilarious, is one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Happy birthday, Munchkin Batman. You’re awesome.

Just Dance probably turned me into an assassin

When I was about 15, I was home from school sick, and my mom rented some movies to get me to stop my constant whining help me feel better.

I don’t remember most of the titles, but The Manchurian Candidate stood out. To my arrogant teenaged mind, it was the dumbest thing ever, though it was kind of awesome to see Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast and the guy who sang all those songs that other people’s dads sing when they’ve had a couple of glasses of red wine.

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It revolves around a guy who is brainwashed into being an assassin, and his trigger phrase is “go jump in a lake”. Whenever anyone says “go jump in a lake”, he enters this crazy murdery fugue state and all hell breaks loose.

I mean, who would do that? Brainwashing? Is that even a thing? Pffffffft. I was 15 and I knew everything, and I said it wasn’t a thing so it wasn’t.

Fast forward mumblemumble years to a time where I am ever so slightly less arrogant. I was listening to internet radio and Jump came on. The one by Kris Kross, not the one by Van Halen, The Pointer Sisters or almost the one by House of Pain. You know, the one that’s on one of the Just Dance games.

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Without even realizing what I was doing, I started doing this.   Dropped my laundry basket and everything. That’s right, it’s 3 minutes of gameplay that I engaged in without a single reason to do it and plenty of reasons not to, the second most important of which is that I am not a 13 year old with a hit song, but an oldish housewife with no rhythm and even less coordination.

The most important reason–not that I even need to tell you this, because you know where I’m going with it– is that Just Dance obviously has malicious intentions and I’m probably an assassin now and I don’t even know it.

I laughed at “go jump in a lake”.

“I’m the miggita miggita mac daddy” though? That’s the real deal, folks.

Thrift store book reports: Meth = Sorcery

This post is meant to be funny, but addiction isn’t. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, please call the Narconon helpline at 1-800-775-8750. Experienced drug counselors are available 24 hours a day.

If you know me at all, you know that I love the thrift store like Joanie loves Chachi. The book section? Even if a book is so terrible that you wonder if a publisher was somehow blackmailed or held hostage into putting it out, you just can’t beat 10 books for a buck. Mostly. Usually. Not this time.

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Meth = Sorcery has just risen to the top spot in my list of worst books I’ve ever read. In fact, it is so bad that it takes all the spots on the list. That’s right, one book, ten spots. It is just that bad.

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My luxurious fancy cat likes it as a pillow. I must grudgingly give one quarter of a star.

The…hmmm, plot? Thesis? Point? I’m not sure what to call it… of Meth = Sorcery is, in fact, that methamphetamine is made by sorcerors of Satan. We’re not talking figuratively, folks. The whole idea is completely literal. Apparently, Satan comes up from hell and sticks demons in your body like Britney Spears stuck cheetos in her mouth during the dark Federline era. These demons give the meth user and manufacturer special powers of alchemy-full methal alchemists!- because it’s the end times and meth is mentioned in Revelations or something.

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By this definition, baking bread is also considered part of the dark arts. I am now the Sauron of Sourdough.

Okay, are you still following? Good! So then, once there is a belly full of demons and not even enough room for a wafer thin mint, the user is capable of projecting images of themselves through time and space and other forms of witchcraft and spellcasting. There was also something about dog food and trucks and hallucinating 20 ft tall pigs, which im not sure is what happens on meth being that it is generally known as a stimulant and not as a hallucinogen, but as a meth-virgin, I really don’t know.

Good news though. If you get a religious official to hold you down, you can literally barf up these demons. Literally.

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There was no word on if laxatives would work as well as vomiting or how puked demons are on tooth enamel.

Then, scripture, because obviously.

Then, the end.

I really have no idea what to say about this. I’d like to say the you shouldn’t write a book until you know the difference between your and you’re. I’d like to say that capitalization counts. I’d like to say that starting stories in the middle of other stories is bad. I’d like to say that science should be your friend, especially when you’re trying to use it to prove a point. I’d also like to say that alchemy isn’t science. I’d like to point out that meth seems to cause massive brain damage, and this writing might well be evidence.

I can’t say any of that and be really sure of myself though. I read the book twice now, and still have no idea what in the meth-lovin’ hell I just read. Maybe the real alchemy here is turning this 155 page jumble of puked demons and dog food and words into something understandable.

I will be giving this book away to one lucky (?!?) reader on 25 January. Like, comment and share ninevoltcandy’s giveaway announcement on Facebook for your chance to win.