This is not a product placement situation.

This is me overcompensating because the crud has invaded my nose, ears, throat, and is making in roads on my chest; and I discovered that I only own 3 cough drops! I must have cleansed all the ancient drops in a fit of tidiness.

Tidying does no good if you don’t own cough drops when you desperately need them.

Like going to the store hungry, it suddenly all seemed like a good idea! Will this make my ears go back to normal hearing? Will this one make me able to sleep for more than three hours?! Oh, this was a sad basket of groceries yet no one commented. Professionalism I guess.

I’m hoping the Cloraseptic stuff is the solution to not choking to death on a cough drop in my sleep. Shut up! You know you’ve done it and a cough drop is the only way to hold the aching throat and sleep snot at bay. That and sleeping with a Kleenex shoved up one nostril to plug the “sneaky drip.” I had a cat who would get annoyed with my slow motivation to get up and feed him, so he’d yank out the Kleenex. It worked.

** Not pictured: magnificently large bottle of Jameson for pairing with the tea and honey.

I’m not a park ranger. I know that now. 

Given my human Petri dish status this week (I’m snotastic and sound like an anti-smoking ad “Before you start smoking…”), this may not have been the wisest adventure choice.

However the metro park posted a cool photo of blue herons nesting, and Brain was like “I wanna be a part of that!”

What Brain failed to consider was that I’m not a park ranger who can walk within a reasonable distance to snap a photo

I’m the asshole who has to stand on the other side of the lake squinting at black nest blobs while being pelted by ice balls because even though I slept with the heat off and my window open last night, today it is 30-something and a sleet tornado. Thanks, Ohio.


So cold. Like hands numbed by wind immediately cold. Yesterday it was 78. The fuck?

Here are the nest blobs from a different viewpoint. I’m ASSUMING these are nest blobs. Again, not a park ranger so can’t be sure.


Maybe nest blobs.

Pumpkin Ass Juice

I have pumpkin ass juice all over me. There is a trail of pumpkin ass juice across my living room and out the back door.

I thought I could make it.

I swear that last night my jack-o-lanterns were fine and healthy specimens waiting to transition to the outside world tonight. I hadn’t put them out yet because last night was a damned monsoon.

However when I got home this evening, they had changed… SIGNIFICANTLY!

I glanced up from prepping dinner, and had to pause at what I saw. Both pumpkins looked like they had just stepped away from shooting the Nazi face melting scene in Raiders.

At first I thought,”Oh, they’ve tipped. Silly, nosy cats. ”


Closer inspection revealed that both pumpkins had collapsed in on themselves and that the interiors  were forests of blackish green mold.

 As with any dead body, decomposition was happening and juices were seeping …off the table and on to my carpet.

This pumpkin peed itself.

There were paper towels and plastic gloves in my future. As well as a race against the clock to clean up the mess before trick or treating started and I had to turn the lights out. I’m not in love with trick or treaters.

The littler pumpkin was easy enough. A few paper towels to sop up the puddle of liquified gourd, and a Target bagged slipped under its now pliable, spongy bottom.

Unfortunately, the larger pumpkin was sitting in its own puddle of juices and began to squish and leak even more as I tried to maneuver it off the table.

This called for another Target bag and a two handed grip. A smarter person would have just encased the whole mess in a garbage bag and called it a day, but, no, I had this.

Except for the part where I ran across my living room to the back door as rotted pumpkin ass juice spattered down my front, oozed through my fingers and on to my  shoes and carpet.

Imagine running with, let’s say, an un-diapered baby who has diarrhea and is happily making it rain with the occasional semi-solid plop.

The black spot on the right is mold.

I can only handle one physical/emotional/bodily juices life crisis a night so I really hope this is it for tonight.

I don’t think my squirrel army will even touch these.


******My stupid ,fucking horrible, neighbors are setting off fireworks! Halloween fireworks????!

Just a Teeny-Tiny Bone

According to my memories, we had a children’s book about a teeny tiny woman who finds a random bone, decides it would make great soup, and brings it home. That night a disembodied voice demands, “I want my bone back.” This keeps happening until the freaked out teeny-tiny woman tosses the bone into the night and shrieks something like, “Here’s your bone!”  After investigating Goodreads, I think I found the edition with the artwork I remember. It turns out that this is a folktale and that in some versions, she finds the bone laying around in a graveyard.

I might be the not so teeny-tiny woman.

Last night something disturbing- mostly to the cats, partly to me- was outside. Birdie let out a moaning yowl that at first I thought was coming from the horror/sci fi show I was watching. She bodily smacked into the front door in a puffed ball of calico fierceness. I reached for the porch light, but was thinking, “There’s something on the other side of the door!”

I saw nothing. The Bird and I looked out the windows together, but nothing materialized. She deflated after much trembling and tenseness. Later something squealed outside which sent Olivia flying to a window after she had spent an hour on the top cat shelf staring at the ceiling.

Shit, we’re surrounded.

I don’t know if our night time visitor was looking for his teeny-tiny bone, but this morning I was greeted to the sound of teeth on bone. The squirrel was busily gnawing on his bone loud enough to hear it inside the house. It’s definitely not a sound to drink your coffee to. Kind of nature’s equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Slightly gag reflex inducing.

"Give me back my bone."

“Give me back my bone.”

I should probably find some ways to curb our nightly backyard visitors who have clearly made entrances for themselves under the fence. They like the bird seed under the feeders, the grubs they seem to think populate my yard, and I am guilty of tossing out things like failed biscuits for the birds and squirrel. However, if they don’t take care of it during the day, it becomes a night time treat.

So this is mostly my fault.

So this is mostly my fault.

In other less appalling backyard business, I caught this sparrow /finch? busily destroying my already crappy hanging basket. At least I’m contributing to a nest.

I blame this bird.

I blame this bird.

Happy Caturday!

Miles and Mommy time. #Caturday

Miles and Mommy time. #Caturday

Tea, Cat Blankets, and Resolutions

I have not had coffee since New Year’s Day.

This is a horrible statement to make and it absolutely is not some kind of New Year’s resolution. I like my warm morning cup of coffee especially on days when I have time to sit and enjoy it with a book and a cat spread over me. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit concerned about what my stomach will do with coffee so it has been green tea and lemons for me. The caffeine withdrawal might partially account for my disoriented state and tendency towards narcolepsy.

On New Year’s Day I woke up with a queasy stomach and did not feel compelled to eat anything until late in the afternoon. I threw that up an hour or so later. When I explain this, I assume people are wondering just how much partying I did on New Year’s Eve. I don’t think that the two Dixie cups of white wine I had can be blamed. I was lucky to stay awake until midnight and then had to drive myself home so no mass quantities of booze were consumed. I did sit around the kitchen table cackling with my lady friends and consuming mass quantities of snackie snacks that I was willing to blame for the queasiness.

However the upset stomach, aches, chills, and lethargy persisted. I will never be one of those triumphant sick people who accomplish all kinds of feats despite their problems; it took two days for me to finally leave the house to go to Target to get something that might make me feel better. I spent my time sleeping in both bedrooms because neither bed was consistently comfortable, taking multiple baths because I was never the right temperature, consequently falling asleep in the bath tub, and getting up at 4 am to take the hottest shower I could because I was sure that was the only thing that would let me sleep. My lower back ached and the hot water seemed to at least help that one symptom.

The epitome of old and out of shape is hurting your back when you throw up. In movies, cartoons, and college etc….people seem to throw up like this:

The Movie Throwup


Head buried in the toilet, hands firmly grasping the porcelain edges. Throwing up is gross enough without using this technique. I don’t touch that much of my toilet directly with my hands when I clean it much less dunk my head in it and hang on. Even if it was sparkling clean and not previously used as a vehicle for bowel evacuation, putting my head that close to the bowl and water would guarantee splash back. I have enough trouble clearing things like bits of toast and asparagus out of my sinuses after vomiting without needing a full facial and hair wipe down.

I throw up like this:

Firmly braced for puke.Away from the bowl, but not so far as to miss. Feet planted and arms firmly braced on thighs. Sharply conscious always -ah to puke and forget- that any vomiting sequence takes 3-4 heaves for completion. This stiff positioning may account for the pulled back muscles. Maybe I need to limber up first. I tried searching the Internet for a medically recommended position for more efficient and comfortable vomiting, but just found some disturbing online chats and how to induce vomiting. I think I’ve got that part covered.

***Side note: the stick people I draw during meetings are much better.

Best meeting ever!

The cats persevered through my ridiculousness, acting as warm, furry lap blankets, and more or less sleeping with me since I had clearly turned into a large cat that was trying to sleep 16 out of 24 hours each day and seemed to lay down whenever and wherever I felt like it. (That was the worst part about going back to work yesterday. I felt awful, and I couldn’t lay down. “Children, I’ll just be under my desk. Learn on your own.”) Miles would contribute absolute dead weight to whatever blankets I was using. It’s lucky that I only had to throw up once because I never would have made it in time, if I had to disentangle myself from the blankets and Miles who refused to move on his own. Maybe he was trying to tell me that he had other resolutions to make and that I should just suck it up.

Cat Resolution #4

Resolve to take care of and snuggle with your companions. (Cat-panions)

My friends don’t respond well to either of these approaches.


Cat Resolution #5

Resolve to play as if the anti-anxiety medication that you willingly take only 50% of the time, is wrestled down your throat by the human about 30% of the time, and is probably eaten by one of the other cats about 20% of the time actually works.

Resolve to play.

Resolve to play.

Thank goodness today was a snow day.



A Thanksgiving Without Strippers and Rockstars…

A Thanksgiving without strippers and rockstars is hardly a Thanksgiving at all, but I guess it will do.

Two years ago on Thanksgiving, my sister and I were battling hypothermia while dressed like tawdry street tarts. Bret Michaels and his band were the only ones who could save us…or that’s what should have happened.

Whoot! Sweet Home Alabama

Whoot! Sweet Home Alabama

Last year on Thanksgiving, my sister’s mother-in-law thought that tickets to a “male revue” would be the best birthday present ever for my sister. So we found ourselves in Conference Room B of a Southern Ohio hotel, sadly under dressed due to our lack of Carhartts and camouflage, watching oily men dance and lip synch badly. I never knew that stripping required so much lip synching.

Each dancer had his own special skit that he got to be banana hammock lead on. For example, there was a Top Gun skit where they all came out in dress-whites. Except that they were tear-away dress- whites, that did not fit any of them, and one guy had, what I hope, was marinara sauce stains on the crotch of his outfit. They’d perform most of a song on stage before just giving up and moving in to the audience to gyrate in people’s faces  for like ten minutes. Rinse, repeat. So bored.

Carmine: he sorta knew the routine and just smiled a lot.

Carmine: he sorta knew the routine and just smiled a lot.

I thought I would do an extended post about this last year, but it just became too sad to even write about.

So this year, we had to settle for mundane mis-adventures.

*The birthday cake cracked and my mom forgot to buy ice cream to go with it. I’m not  a super fan of ice cream AND cake in combination so I was fine with my slivers of pumpkin pie and some pecan pie that may or may not have given us salmonella poisoning.

Crack cake

Crack cake

**Olivia Wigglebothum essentially had kitty tonsillitis and was on too many meds for the cat sitter to contend with, and she was only supposed to eat soft food. The cat sitter does not deal with soft food. I brought Olivia to her grammie’s with me and slept in the spare room with her because she was terrified. She only came out from under the bed when I was in the room and that took some coaxing. Sounds she heard outside the room like my nephew shrieking or my sister simply talking, made her shiver and try to shoot back under the bed. She snuggled up against me when I came to bed which was wonderful until 3 o’clock in the morning when we both woke up to pee. I went back to bed, but Olivia brought mousie back to bed and thought that we should play fetch. At 5 o’clock in the morning, she pooped for the first time in 3 days. I got a very minimal amount of sleep for two nights.

Adorable until 3 a.m.

Adorable until 3 a.m.

***My mom’s vintage avocado green hand mixer “broke.” My sister and nephew were working on the mashed potatoes when the mixer stopped. They thought it had given up on life and lumpy potatoes. I questioned whether anyone had checked to see if we flipped a breaker, but no one enjoys the voice of reason.

Mom mumbled something about the mixer being a wedding present (for a marriage that ended some time when I was in the 4th grade) and threw the whole thing in the trash. My sister and I promptly started giving her shit:

“Aren’t you going to take it apart and fix it.”

“Make yard art!”

“Shouldn’t you use the pieces to make  a mobile or something?”

“Christmas present! Shopping done!” (Kohl’s had the same color for $49.99)

Caving to bullying and continuing to mumble to herself,  mom pulled the contraption out of the trash and angrily wiped it off. We called the lumpy potatoes “au naturale.”

C'mon, the mixer's only 30 years old.

C’mon, the mixer’s only 30 years old.

(It did turn out that the little breaker thingy on the plug had tripped and there was nothing wrong with the mixer. I was right.)

****My mom talked me out of the best Black Friday  bargain ever: a $15 possum pelt.

My sister has an irrational yet vaguely entertaining response to possums. She screams a lot and throws things. I envisioned buying her a nice rug, a sweater, maybe a set of towels, then rolling the pelt up inside of the Christmas gift. Christmas morning there would be ear piercing screams, probably some urination, and a projectile possum pelt. Plus $15 seemed like  a steal on possum pelts. Mom seemed to think that this would be the kind of thing that would make my sister stop speaking to me forever.

I maintain that this is a gift that would have kept on giving.

I maintain that this is a gift that would have kept on giving.

Bret Michaels would have brought ice cream, fixed the mixer, de-lumped the potatoes, un-cracked the cake, and healed my cat’s tonsils all while wearing a possum pelt bandana.

Day 6: Blluuuuurrrgghhh

I feel barfy. I’m exhausted. My skull is exploding, one plate at a time. Tonight’s experiment will be NOT taking my new medication that the pharmacist said was such a low dose that I probably wouldn’t notice any side effects. He really does not know my body’s capabilities. He also said that my current medications would ALL exacerbate the new one and any of its side effects. Contradictory statements? Yes.

Don’t worry this is only for cholesterol; my triglycerides were elevated. Oh,no! I feel like an asshole complaining about this. I have  a friend with cancer (what up, grrrl) who is going to start chemo for Christ’s sake. She’ll have  a real reason to feel like shit. I’m just fat, don’t exercise excessively and haven’t ingested enough flax meal lately.

At any rate, I’m going to go sit in my bathtub now. Here are some pictures of cats being awesome to fill the verbal void.

This is Birdie staring at me while I’m in the bathtub. You can see the judgement in her eyes.


                 Miles also wanted in on the bath action. He will get in the tub with me. Things get weird at my house.

Day 4: I am disgusting

***In my defense, I was vile all day long. “Department Chair,” you made the blog but some of this may have been enhanced for what little humor there is.

I am disgusting.

On any given day, I can easily be the foulest thing in the room. Sometimes it stems from humor and sometimes from angry frustration, but my commentary tends to go to the next level of  inappropriateness. I can blend the word “fuck” repeatedly into a sentence as easily as breathing.  I am constantly seconds away from being R-rated all the time. (I am aware of this because I have  a student who is obsessively concerned with the rating on EVERYTHING.) It wouldn’t be a department meeting if I didn’t swear about something or at someone. C’mon, being inside public education is frustrating.

However, today’s meeting sent me into a spiral of physical foulness and misery. Last night I felt fine. I had high hopes for today. Yes, it’s a daylong meeting, but that equals yoga pants and no students. It also meant that I could get breakfast and coffee at Tim Horton’s instead of my usual peanut butter and toast combo. I would leave the meeting, deliver food to a friend’s home, then head for the gym since I spent the day dressed to go there. Unfortunately, I am highly allergic to professional development  and Ohio’s Common Core standards.

I awoke stuffy and sniffly. A hot shower and an Aleve-D later and I was on my way. Arriving first from my school, I staked out a table for our department and happily went about enjoying the fatty goodness of a purchased breakfast and coffee. Slight nose drippage but no biggie. Anticipation is the best part of Aleve-D. There is that magic moment an hour or two in, when suddenly the world is prettier, more tolerable and there isn’t copious amounts of snot gushing out of my face. All would be well.

All was not well. An hour into the day and a presentation on education double speak called standards later, I was thankful that I had thrown a box (a box, not a packet or wad, but a box) of Kleenex in my bag. I was a fountain of mucus. My pockets were damp with the accumulating soaked tissues. Additionally, I could do no secret under the table grading because my right hand was being utilized to hold part of my skull and eye socket in place. I probably looked like the most attentive but angry person in the room because I did not have the power to do anything but stare, honk into my Kleenex and try to breath. So far the discussion amongst the people around had been whether it was allergies or if I was actually diseased.

And then the sneezing set in.

Oh, the sneezing. Loud, voluminous, incredibly moist. The kind of sneeze where you know that you must strategically look up from it and away because there is a high likelihood of a string of snot that may be displeasing  to those around you. Whereas the nose blowing had prompted smirks, the sneezing started the rounds of, “Are you okay?” No, I’m not fucking okay! I just sneezed a good deal of brain tissue into my elbow (always use the vampire sneeze) and coincidentally onto my neighbor’s travel mug. Oops. And… I may have peed my pants. These types of sneezes are always huge and rapid fire repeats, eventually I lose control of my very being and piddle just a little bit. My apologies to whoever sits in that chair tomorrow; I officially marked it as mine.

By lunchtime it was clear that the Aleve-D happy hour was not coming…ever. I ate, but this only seemed to add nausea to the nose blowing, stabbing in my brain, peeing and sneezing post-lunch activities. The afternoon moved in slow motion. The bed shaped light at the end of my personal urine and snot soaked tunnel was forever away.

Those around me, valiantly moved forward discussing curriculum standards even though I had managed to infect at least two, possibly three of them. My department chair continued to read each standard to us. My aching brain could not fathom the wording;”introduce precise knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim (s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims however if the claimee has made prior claims and the tree did not fall on a structure as described in section 8 as belonging to the claimee then we’re all screwed and you will never meet any standard.”

Convention of Standard English: a. “Apply the understanding that usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested”

Dept. Chair: “This is gay.”

Me: “Whhhaaaaa? Totally, but..”

Dept. Chair:”No, example of usage changes.”

Me: “Oh.”

It is possible at this point that the Aleve-D had kicked in somewhat. My department chair was beginning to look and sound like a far away bobble-head that would not shut up. It was like I was sitting next to Charlie Brown’s teacher: “Wah wah wah wahwah waaaah.” Everybody else was nodding wisely at his words, while I was inwardly debating whether vomiting directly on him or rushing to the enormous trashcan would be a more effective way to exit this Hell.

Dept. Chair: “Wahh wah wah nuances wahhh in context wah connotation wah wah wah denotations.”

Everyone nods and stares, trying to voice some example of connotations and denotation.

Me: “Pussy.”

Dept. Chair: “Weeellllll……”

Me: “Multiple meanings, depending on context, connotation: what I think of all of you right now.”

Professionally developed right here, people!

To wrap the whole day up, one of the people in charge told me that it was really great to see me then called me by another teacher’s name entirely (she’s not even in the English department). So sorry to her as she may be blamed for everything g I did and said today.