I Don’t Know How to Answer That

How was your summer?

I don’t know how to answer that. 

I’ve always hated that line of questioning. How was your weekend? Your break? Your whatever? I’m not completely convinced that anyone really cares how my time was spent. It’s a knee jerk social convention that I am guilty of employing myself. 

The asker just wants the other person to respond with “Good” or “Fine”, or possibly with a short but interesting anecdote. Often the question is a jumping off point for the asker to launch into a story of his or her own. “Oh, well let me tell you what happened to me. You’ll appreciate this!” Chances are good that I won’t, but by all means proceed. 

Much as we may or may not appreciate witty vacation stories, no one REALLY wants to know how it was if it was bad. Unfortunately for others, it is completely within the scope of my personality to stop people in their tracks with exactly how bad it was. 

My beautiful friend died this summer. That’s how it was. 

Yes, I did some fun things and had adventures. I could pull out an amusing anecdote if needed. Heck, I was at the beach with my family for the first time in five years when she passed. I wasn’t there for her alcohol soaked bedside vigil at the hospital with her family, and all our friends and a red wagon full of booze. I could only post photos and memories to the Facebook group from afar, going back as far as possible in my digital archives. So how was my summer?

I hovered around the idea of emailing our school staff and begging them to pinky swear not to ask each other the dreaded question. After all, our friend and colleague’s fight against cancer had been the entire school’s fight for nine months. But my reputation as the person who says the inappropriate thing or the snarky thing stayed my hand. Somehow it would have come across wrong. As school started, inevitably the question was asked even by people who had been directly active in her care. 

So I’ve tried to be a good kid and answer with stories of caterpillars, zip lining, yardsales and the like. But a part of my brain screams about her as I tell those stories. 

Particularly today. Her sister reminded us that it was a year ago today that everything changed. What she had spent most of a year thinking was sciatic nerve pain hobbling her movement, was an insidious creature absorbing her hip bones and building tumors up and down her fragile spine. It was so wretched and evil that doctors wouldn’t be able to identify its source for another six months. 

Running its course, the cancer immobilized her, then teased her and us by letting her build back the strength to walk unassisted again. It took her hair. It took her appetite and stole her taste for favorite foods. She could no longer stand chocolate. That’s a horror story. It played with creating new lesions and growths in different parts of her body just to keep the doctors guessing. For a while it gave her a lazy eye and double vision. And in the end, it sucked up her ability to get enough oxygen on her own, and her dream of seeing her two-year old at Disney. But all through the ridiculous ups and downs, and loss of dignity, she smiled her gigantic Disney princess smile. A smile that had a little bit of the villainess behind it. I couldn’t have loved her as much without a little wickedness being there,and a shrieked “RIGHT!” and cackling laugh in response to my own sarcastic commentary. 

She was a life-long cheerleader, positive but not a Pollyanna. Where I would have been the worst and grumpiest patient, she was gracious to all. She gladly absorbed all the tributes, signs, tshirts, videos, and projects created in the name of keeping her strong; or more likely keeping us strong as we powerlessly watched everything happen. 

There had to be times when she just wanted a private life instead of constant well meant bombardment. Times when she was overwhelmed by the pain and the fear of what was happening. She must have leaned on her mother, sister, and husband’s shoulders in those moments. I only had a few moments like that with her. As always, she worried about other people, not wanting to make them uncomfortable by talking about how she really felt or things like planning her will. She was more often in the role of comforter. 

The first time I visited her after the diagnosis and initial surgery, I cried because all the pain killers made her voice sound strange. Of course, she just kept saying,”I’m sorry. It’s okay.” As if this was her fault. It’s a cliche, but I’ll never feel like I did enough or visited enough or did all that I could for her. But I desperately cling to the idea that she was mine. 

The last time I visited her with a friend, she was groggy and in and out of a very disturbed sleep during the visit, not really aware of us until we were leaving. When I told her I loved her as I kissed her goodbye for the day, she managed to make eye contact and mumble a “love ya” back. 

So that’s how my summer was. 


“Sorry about your vagina” Part 2: Maybe your vagina needs a t-shirt?

I’m not very good at protesting things unless child-like whining or loud profanity counts. Also I’m not very good at understanding why woman have to continue to fight so that their reproductive organs aren’t constantly batted about as political whipping “boys.” I mean if we’re going to be archaic, let’s burn some motherfuckin’ witches while we’re at it! Clearly vaginas are full of witchcraft.

I’m great at sarcasm-see above-, and at imagining evil fantasy plots that I should not put into writing as they may be used as evidence in future court trials.

I’m pretty-okay at making silly, angry drawings for greeting cards. However I am not okay with walking away from the daily news with a sane mind.


No April Fools, March was Women’s History Month. With no sense of irony, Evil Anderson Cooper Impersonator broke that tie for the vote

Fortunately, I have friends who are more politically astute than I. Their arguments do not revolve around “eat shit and die, evil empire!” Yea, I would have wreaked havoc on the Death Star.

My squirrel friends at Squirrel Den Studio have found a way to rise: the Pussyhat Pussycat tee. With every purchase they make a donation to WEDO.


Under that pussyhat, which sidenote I have had for years because…cats, there is all kinds of witchcraft and nasty woman. It’s called hot yoga hair.

The Den made me a racer back version because I’m like their unspoken, unrequested (they did not ask for this post) super model.

Check them out on Etsy for your squirrel, dog, and feline needs.


These shirts help make donations to animal shelters.

Trifflin’ S O B’s

The governor of Ohio wants me to become an intern. I’d love to see him run my classroom as an intern. Trifflin’ ass. 

President Cheeto Skin Butthole Mouth appears to be more incompetent on a daily basis,but no one seems to be stopping him. I wonder what would happen if I tweeted “You are a bad man” at him daily. 

There hasn’t been any REAL snow all “winter.”

Ipads just give the asshole in my class more opportunities to be an asshole and continue to say, “What? I didn’t do it. He he he he” Some children want to be left behind. 

My skin is crawling and I keep dropping everything. Can’t even nap successfully. 

I suspect 3-5 glasses of wine plus sinus medication might even things out… or not. 

Olivia Wigglebothum looks how I feel. 


Bitch, please.

“Sorry about your vagina” and other greeting cards you might need

Back off greeting card industry unless it’s to offer me my own card line featuring this amazing artwork all drawn on the notepad app on my phone while lazing on my couch. The Photogrid app helped to add and adjust text although I think I can do that in the photo editing tools on my camera roll. Plus I just learned how to add a watermark in Photoshop! (It’s a complete pain in the ass. How about nobody steals my shit??? Lets agree to that.)

I like my greeting cards funny, filthy, and sarcastic with a touch of weird. There’s never really a card that reflects what is going on in my brain. Example: “Happy Father’s Day…I guess. Meh.

I mean what card is there for my friend with cancer who has to mentally and emotionally psych herself up for her chemo treatments? I didn’t think about this aspect of chemo until she had to miss a treatment because of test results, and was devastated. It was an emotional kick in the teeth for her.

I’m not going to send her some creepy sympathy or “thinking of you” card with funeral flowers  on it and a sappy poem inside. Not my style. So I sketched up a little something for her next treatment. She deserves (a better artist) beams of sunlight radiating from her bald head. I also sent her cat hair to make a merkin, but that’s a whole other issue.img_5628a

My cards would not be complete without involving my cats!

This is for those of you who have helped your BFF pull the one giant gorilla hair out of the middle of her chest in public. C’mon, she was getting ready to get a portrait taken! Chest hair not welcome.

Or perhaps you’ve helped someone with glasses pluck her “goat hairs” off her chin because she can’t focus on them herself.


This card is threatening. One person interpreted it as uplifting and encouraging “Oh, your cat wants me to have fun”, but it was drawn with threat in mind. If you knew my cat


I anticipate my top sellers would be my “Sorry about your vagina” line.

I don’t like babies, or small children and often I dislike large children, some days I dislike most adults. What the Hell? People suck. More cats please.

So when my friends crap out babies, which they seem to do with great frequency,I’m generally more concerned with the shattered state of their bits and pieces than with the damned baby. (Who does not look like you or your spouse. It looks exactly like all the other wrinkly babies! I cannot see that it has your nose. Ugh.)


Again radiating beams of light.

I don’t like spinning. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it right, but it makes certain things hurt and not in a “Boy, I worked out today type of way!”


For when your down under feels political. I made the mistake of watching part of the live feed of the Women’s March on Washington and reading the comments as they scrolled by. Every other comment called the marchers whiny, sore losers, baby killers, and even Satanists (what?). It would be nice if people would realize that women’s rights and healthcare goes beyond abortion. The caliber of the comments made it painfully clear why this large child was voted into office where he can pick equally large children to be his playmates in a game of “Leader of the Free World.”


To end on a lighter note, we all get old and those crazy gray hairs show up…EVERYWHERE!


I am so psyched about these vagina foxes! Adorable!


Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder

Goodbye, Carrie Fisher.

My Christmas card from 2008, back when I took the time to Photoshop things and torment the cats more thoroughly. Yes, it has been pointed out to me by a number of nerdly, small children that Princess Leia never had a light saber much less a red one. (Yoda and the ewoks weren’t cats in costumes either, but that has not proven to be  a problem.) Look, I’m not a graphic designer or anything. All I know is that the red light saber showed up better against the frickin’ universe.

More to the point, I’d rather be Princess Leia than Princess Barbie. Leia kicked ass, and balanced out the Han/Luke testosterone fest. Plus there was the whole Greek tragedy Darth/Luke/Leia thing happening. She was tough and sexy, but open to falling in love (…sometimes with her brother, but it all worked out).

That tough, sexy, sassy attitude showed up even in small “Hey! That’s Carrie Fisher!” cameo roles, and definitely in my other favorite Carrie Fisher character Joliet Jake’s “Mystery Woman” in The Blues Brothers.

May the sassy Force be with you all.


What the Hell, 2016?? Who’s next on your hit list? (Pssssstttt, I have suggestions.)

Entitled What? WHat?! WHAT!!!

Is it so hard to wait your turn? Where do we get off imagining that the rules don’t apply to us? (I say “we” and “us” because I’m as guilty as anyone.)

Entitled douchebaggery. Insert eye roll here.

I witnessed this on my exhausting day of doctor appointments and re-scheduled madness. There was a section of road with one lane traffic. There was a flagger, huge pieces of construction equipment that would have captivated my nephew, plus neon orange, green, and yellow in abundance. We’ve all been in this scenario: wait patiently while the oncoming traffic uses the safe side of the road then the waiting side gets a turn to go. Simple.

Simple unless the rules don’t apply to you, and your life is way more important than the lives of others around you.

I had already been through this bit of roadway on my way to doctor visit number two and survived the experience. However in my haze of exhaustion  from blood sucking and fat weighing, I went on autopilot and used my normal route home which took me back to the section of road construction.

All was well. It was my side’s turn, but we were abruptly halted midway through the safe side of the road. The problem became evident in slow motion. Another driver had decided that it was HIS TURN. He had bypassed the flagger, huge pieces of construction equipment that would have captivated my nephew, plus neon orange, green, and yellow in abundance at his end of the road and was driving on the under-construction side of the road.

I watched from my car window as he slowly rolled along the road with the entire construction crew marching menacingly behind him. The burliest crew member was walking within reach of the car’s driver side door and repeatedly commanding the driver to stop.

Mr. I Have Places to Be in My Hawaiian Shirt and Pompadour (Seriously, this guy was done up like Ace Ventura Pet Detective. Tone Loc may have been cuddled up in the backseat with a monkey.) had his window down and just kept saying, “What” while shrugging and waving the arm that wasn’t slow motion piloting his car.

But not like “What? I’m a bit deaf in this ear.” Or “What?!! A bunny! Where?”

This was an entitled “What.” The “what” that teenagers use when you call them out on shit that they know they have done,and they know it’s shitty shit, but they don’t feel like admitting to it. Because admitting to it means admitting, “I have been a douchebag and committed ‘heinous fuckery most foul.'” (Thanks, Christopher Moore.)


Let’s all pause to appreciate that I drew this incredibly accurate re-enactment on my notepad app with my fat fingers while waiting to get my haircut.


I got to start driving again, as the lead burly crew member was walkie talkie-ing to someone that “We’ve got a driver who refuses to stop.”

I don’t know how this roadside drama ultimately played out, but as I try to assess the events of the election this week, I fear that entitled douchebaggery and heinous fuckery most foul will be the status quo. I’ve tried all week to get my thoughts together. I had the perfect wording linking my thoughts on the winner to eating my feelings and the Arby’s sandwich that I vomited at 2 a.m., but it was 6 a.m. and I couldn’t pause the getting ready for work process to write anything down. At this point, the entitled driver is the best link I can make.

I’ve backed the losing pony before, but I’ve never felt this disheartened even in the Bush years when I couldn’t listen to the news on my morning drives to work because every day brought new anti-gay rhetoric or another step towards further destruction of the environment. I suspect I’ll be going news-less for the next four years as well. I feel like this election and its results have made it okay to voice whatever evil thoughts are in your head. Americans are now entitled to spew hatred and respond with the entitled “What?!” when somebody calls them on it.

It makes me think of another teen behavior; saying, “At least he’s being honest!” when a classmate cops to the shitty shit that was committed. I so want my response to be, “Being honest doesn’t absolve you from being an asshole 5 seconds ago,” but you know there’s the whole professional thing I’ve got going. Being a halfway decent human means recognizing that you’ve done something wrong and being sorry for it instead of indignant. Or recognizing that some thoughts are evil thoughts and don’t really need to be voiced in the name of “being honest.” (Trust me, there is plenty of evil in my head that I would barely be willing to voice much less document in writing.)

I fear that we’ve elected a large, poorly behaved teenager who has signaled throughout his campaign, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, that we are now entitled to voice our hatred of all that we do not see as “us” as if we live in a live confessional booth on a reality t.v. show. (Did the The Apprentice have a confessional booth? I never watched it because the main character was so deplorable, if you will.) I understand that all who voted for him do not support such rhetoric, but you still made a choice after watching the madness.

Never have I come in to school the morning after an election to emails asking teachers to be present in the halls during class changes because hateful words had already been exchanged between students. One student sobbed off and on all day at the mention of the election results. During a discussion, a Muslim student blurted through tears,”I don’t understand why this country hates me.” There  were chants of  “build the wall.” How do you tell students that this is inappropriate when the President elect is backing it? There were so many conversations among parents and teachers trying to figure out what to say to their own children as well as their classrooms.

The dystopian novels that I love have the common thread of a ruling class sorting people by WHAT they are, and creating hate and division between the groups through media propaganda, privileges, and lack of communication and information. The Hunger Games, Divergent, Red Rising, The Maze Runner, and Ready Player One all hinged on this concept. I love them because they are adventures with strong characters, and fantasies with a message. This post-election week has not been a fantasy and the things that I witnessed at school have been mild compared to other news stories pitting one faction of the population against another. I feel sad. I feel worried. And I keep waiting for the tightness in my chest that feels like grief over what we’ve become to ease.

Here is a therapeutic kitten to help alleviate any sadness or anger you may be feeling as a result of this post. She is not a pussy who likes to be grabbed, but would prefer a gentle cuddle.


Also here is the awesome Kate McKinnon performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” This made me weepy for a good 24 hours, like crying in the Giant Eagle produce section type of weepy. I think the last verse is particularly poignant.