A Royal Decree from Princess Chubbila Stinkerton III

Crown baby booties

Hear ye! Hear ye! The following is a Royal Decree from her Majesty Princess Chubbila Stinkerton III on her first birthday. Should any deviation from this decree occur, her Majesty’s discontent will be made known with a loud wail.

  1. Toys are no longer accepted in the presence of the princess; only trash, or items of formidable danger, preferably those shaped like the windpipe. Do not attempt to remove items from the hands of the princess at any time.
  2. Anyone who attempts to remove excrement from the princess’ nether regions shall have their murder plotted forthwith.
  3. Tasks of any importance that do not revolve around the pleasure of the princess shall not be tolerated.
  4. If the princess desires what you have, you shall relinquish it.
  5. The princess desires what you have.
  6. The princess shall utilize the magic of a forest troll to detect any sense of relaxation. Such senses will be vanquished.
  7. The princess’ pinky nail shall never be trimmed under any circumstances. The caretaker shall receive the shame of others who do not allow their charges to look as if they have a drug habit.

If you succeed in holding up these tenants, you will be rewarded with signs of affection. They will be hug-like and kiss-like in nature, and they will be coated in thick slobber and food remnants. Do not offend the princess by wiping said slobber from your face in her presence.

 p.s. Happy birthday Princess Stinkerton. We’re exceedingly blessed by your ridiculous self. Love you to bits.  

Photo credit Funky Shapes on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Buy these booties & other cute stuff at the Funky Shapes Etsy Store


Mother of a Broken Heart

Yesterday, my 4-year-old and I went to an appointment with her cardiologist.

Now, if a 4-year-old has a cardiologist, then you know something rather craptastic happened at some point. For reference, here’s a summary of our crapisode:

Heart EKG painting photo by Leo Reynold

When our first daughter was 2 weeks old, she screamed all the time. She had a hard time eating, and then she started breathing really rapidly. She also looked pretty pale, but we are very white, Casper-esque people ourselves so maybe it was normal…? Being first-time parents, it was impossible to know which things were normal crazy baby things, and which things we should flip out about. Being the judicious people we are, we went ahead and had a tiny bit of panic about most everything.

When the breathing thing started though, we asked ourselves, “Is this crazy crazy, or normal crazy?” Having received no answers from each other’s blank, sleep-deprived stares, we called the advice nurse.

After a couple of “it’s probably fine,” phone conversations, we still weren’t totally convinced and my husband decided he would feel better about going back to work if we had someone look at her again. So in we went.

Enter the Life-Threatening Holy Moses Circus, starring our 15-day-old baby.

Nurses and doctors and EMTs materialized in the exam room. I heard a call to the ambulance. A nurse prodded my daughter’s head with a gigantic needle, commenting, “This looks scary, but it’s okay.” Then they smothered her face with a bag of ice noting again that it looked scary, but it was okay. Somewhere between that, the crash cart, the intubation, the swollen liver, and the blood transfusion I got the distinct feeling that things were not, in fact, okay. We had left the realm of normal crazy, and landed squarely in the vast terrain of crazy crazy.

The next few days were spent with nurses monitoring and logging our daughter’s frequent episodes of tachycardia, while a bunch of doctors tried to figure out why the heck she was having them in the first place. About the fourth day, they figured out that she has an accessory pathway in her heart, which was throwing it off, and rocketing her heart rate to 230+. The fifth and sixth days were spent finding the right cocktail of medications to help her heart regulate and regain strength, and help her body get rid of the extra fluid that had built up under all that stress.

On the eighth of some of the longest days of my life, we were sent home with three bottles of medicinal magic, thus ending the tour of the Life-Threatening Holy Moses Circus. We were not sad to see it go. We administered a slightly complicated schedule of elixirs for six months, and then it was like it never even happened. No medication. No heart beating straight out of a tiny chest. No Significantly less panic.

What do I want to say about all of this anyway?

As I read “Normal,” on the EKG printout, and heard her doctor say to himself, “Perfect,” and, “Strong,” as he listened to her heart, I knew I wanted to write something about this whole wild thing we experienced. But what?

I could talk about how the NICU is strangely frightening and comforting and lonely and communal all at the same time. About how all the parents share fears and hopes and unspoken sadness. How you see parents go home with their babies and you feel such happiness for them, along with a deep pang of jealousy. How you scrub your arms, up to the elbows, for the full three minutes every time you enter the room because each baby feels like the thinnest glass, and you don’t want whatever germs you carry to be the thing that shatters them. How NICU nurses are pure gifts. How when you hear those NICU nurses held your baby in the middle of the night, you want to weep because it wasn’t you.

I could talk about exactly how devastating it is to get a rejection letter from an insurance company while your baby is intubated and unconscious from the morphine, because she—at 15 freaking days old—has a “pre-existing condition.” About how pre-existing conditions are absolute bullshit, and if eliminating their use by insurance companies is all the Affordable Care Act does successfully, it’s still a huge win for all of us. How insurance premiums, and co-pays, and exorbitant charges feel like ransoms when you realize you’ll pay any amount of money to see your kid live another day. And how that—that is just plain immoral.

I could talk about how the gratitude that lives in my bones, in my heart, and in my soul doesn’t keep me—on those normal crazy days that are unbelievably hard—from wanting to run from my family and live in a small wooden cabin in Canada.

I think what I really want to say, though, is that I love her. I love her, I love her, I love her. And her perfect, strong, normal heart brings me to my knees with joy. She is precious, and sacred, and funny, and crazy, and I love her.

Holy Moses.


Photo credit Leo Reynold at FlickrCC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Good Morning, Snuggles

I have about eight—drat, no, seven—minutes to pound this out. Seven minutes to cobble some words together and jam them onto this screen here, and hope they make some kind of sense. Tick tock. No pressure.

It’s been a while. Things in my life are basically freaking bananas all the time. I had another kid last year, (hence the pregnancy post) and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t just suck all time and energy right out of your life. I mean, sucking like a vacuum in a cartoon where all the forest animals and leaves and pine needles and newspapers and old people get sucked into it. Like that.

When this new lil’ babe was born, beneath the torrential avalanche of need, I extended myself a little rope, tied to the boat of sanity. That rope was this: you can’t do much more than this, Melanie. You just can’t. You’ve got two people that need you all the freaking time, the idea of “me time” is laughable, and parenting is about as easy as threading a needle with an invisible worm. So to make it I had to let go of my dream to-do list, and pare it down to something simpler. It turned out about like this:

• Get out of bed

• Survive 10 hours until Stephen comes home

• Do not slap strangers as a result of exhaustion and anxiety

• Hug the girls really and truly at least once a day

• Don’t stress-eat all the food in San Diego

It’s a pretty limited list, but I know it’s within my capabilities, though just barely.

(Crap, I’m out of time, you all.)

So, good morning, Snuggles. I’m still here and alive and I still want to write and I want to hug your blessed little faces with my thought pukes. Even if it’s only seven minutes at a time.

Why You Should Always Give a Pregnant Lady Five Bucks

Next time you see a pregnant lady, you really need to stop and give her five bucks. Why? Well, the short answer is that pregnancy is the freaking worst. THE WORST.

Okay, having your leg chewed off by a bengal tiger is probably pretty bad, too. But pregnancy is freaking awful, and no one comes right out and says that because, well, I think it makes you look like a bad parent or something. But I totally don’t care about that. Let me endure the judgement and describe the terrible catastrophe that is pregnancy. You’re welcome.

Why You Should Always Give A Pregnant Lady Five Bucks

Morning Sickness is a Lie

The term “morning sickness” is about as accurate as “occasional breathing” or “optional heartbeat.” For many, the nausea that comes with your precious bundle of joy happens whenever the crap it wants to, and—blissfully for some—all the live long day. I’ll let you guess which of those things happened to me.

It’s also not some adorable, dainty little queasiness. It’s as if food is now the enemy, and your body will do anything to keep it out of your mouth/stomach/necessary locations for life. I’ve read of women puking 20 times a day. Twenty. Times. Uh, give that lady five bucks.

My nausea was so bad that my doctors gave me a drug that they also give to chemo patients. Because apparently being on chemo and being pregnant have certain similarities. I don’t know why they don’t put that on Hallmark cards. Even that prescription-strength solution didn’t keep this pleasant little conversation from happening in my head several times a day:

I’m going to die. I can’t believe this is how it’s going to end for me. A shriveled, starved mess that can’t get out of bed. Wait, no, you live in California, Melanie. CALIFORNIA. I’m pretty sure there are a few steps between this and death. Right? Of course! They’ll hook you up to IVs and give you nutrients that way! All you need is hospitalization! No. big. deal.

Thankfully it didn’t come to that, though I did ask my husband several times to check into a medically induced coma. I’m still a little mad that he didn’t at least Google it. Right? Right.

“Cravings”? Not Exactly

You always hear those adorable stories of women wanting to eat pickles and ice cream, like that’s the cutest thing ever. The reality? Pickles and ice cream—and other equally absurd food choices—may be the only thing your body will accept. So, if the choice is between the aforementioned hospitalization and, say, shrimp-flavored Cup O’ Noodle and instant mashed potatoes, you kinda choose the Cup O’ Noodle. Turns out, the desire to not die in your bed is pretty strong.

There once was a time when I favored braised beef cheek and chilled grape soup with basil foam—pregnancy reduced my palate to that of a still-drunk frat boy. Thanks for that. Give me five bucks, please. I have no self respect.

I told my doctor about this terrible starvation/inability to eat anything that can reasonably be called food and her was response was, “Luckily, the baby doesn’t need nutrition right now.” Yeah, luckily. And it’s not like need it, right? And where is the baby getting her nutrients? She’s stealing them from your body. Like a parasite. Where’s the greeting card for that?
someecards.com - Congratulations on your acquisition of a small parasite that will steal your essential nutrients.
(Sadly, that analogy doesn’t quite end at birth. Not that I hate my kid. I don’t. I promise. Look, I can prove it.)

“Luckily,” Lots of Terrible Stuff is Normal

If you’ve never been pregnant before, all this crazy stuff will start happening to you and you’ll be like, “Holy shitballs, this can’t be right. This is how humans are made?” and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll say as much to your doctor. And she will say, “Yeaaaaaaaah. I’m sorry.” Because it totally IS right. It’s normal. For your entertainment/education/horrification, here’s a bunch of bizarro stuff that’s just par for the course with pregnancy.

  • Days long headaches that you can’t do anything about, because you can’t take any pain killers when you’re pregnant. A wet cloth on your head in a dark room may be recommended.
  • Bleeding gums. Like you’re a pirate with scurvy. Sweet.
  • Not pooping ever. Someone I know might have thought she was going to die of not pooping. It wasn’t me, because why would I share that? But no one wants pooping to be mentioned in their obit.
  • Nosebleeds. Wha…? Or a constant stuffy nose. Also wha…?
  • The persistent feeling of being kicked in the crotch. This happens because of a chemical that makes your joints loosen. Sometimes your pelvic joint kinda, you know, comes apart. And that process might make you Google “pregnancy kicked in the crotch.”
  • Extra moles. To make you feel awesome about yourself.
  • Chest pain due to: a baby being where your organs are supposed to go; or heartburn; or maybe a blood clot or heart attack. Hard to know. Not that that’ll freak you out or anything.
  • Dark spots all over your skin. To help with camouflage in the wild?
  • Hot flashes. Because why the heck not at this point, right?

There’s totally more than this but…why? (Oh, wait…diabetes! You can get di-a-be-tes just while you’re pregnant. And middle-of-the-night leg cramps! And anemia!!) I mean, does it need to get any worse for you to spot a lady a fiver? If so, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU HORRID FIEND?

I will take one second to address something that might come up in the comments: some people have lovely pregnancies. They say they’ve never felt better, and that it’s such a blessing and they glow and all that crap. Ladies, you owe other pregnant women fifty bucks. Somehow they caught your share of the crappy part while you rubbed your belly and made cooing noises. Not okay.

So there it is. Go forth and procreate you poor bastards. I’ll give you five bucks if I see you.

Problems That Bunnies Don’t Have

It’s been a heavy week around ol’ MelanieCrutchfield.com. Yes siree bob. I’ve been plagued (and have plagued you, dear readers) with lots of thoughts about stuff that just totally freaking sucks. Stuff that, as one might imagine, falls into the category of Problems That Bunnies Don’t Have.

So now in time for Easter, as a gift to you (and myself), I bring you several other problems that bunnies don’t have, along with cutsie pictures. *breathes sigh of relief*

Getting Super Bummed About Rape Trials

Of course bunnies don’t cruise the internet, happening upon story after story about a rape trial that makes them question their ability/desire to remain amongst their common populations. And boy howdy, are those bunnies living the good life.


Feeling Un-Cute

Sometimes you just don’t feel cute. You feel—what’s the word?—turdish. Dudes, some days your hair just looks weird. Ladies, we’ve got some seriously effed up standards to live up to. Bunnies? Not so much.

BunnyDoesntFeelCute-01 BunnyDoesntFeelCuteP2-01

Needing Lots of Lotion and Chapstick

Sometimes my skin is nearly reptilian like that weird commercial I saw once. And my lips? They peel, crack and flake like a piece of overcooked tuna. But bunnies are just soft, fluffy and luxurious no matter what.


Looking Evil with Beady Red Eyes

Wait…that is kinda a problem.

Red eye

Ack! Devil bunny! Photo By petur r @ Flickr

(I could add in here, “Searching for ‘Bunny Red Eyes’ and Instead Getting Nude Pictures of Ladies,” cause that totally happened to me. Really, internet? Sometimes you’re a real a-hole.)

Not Knowing What to Blog About

Sometimes I’m just plain overcome with not knowing what to write about. Is it okay to be serious? And then funny? And then maybe something random about food? I DON’T KNOW!!! (Can I get an amen, writers?) For added fun, I’ll go ahead and hate whatever I do. Oh, bunnies, how superior your life is in this regard.


There you have it. Problems that bunnies don’t have. What plights do you have that bunnies are immune to? And if you haven’t had enough, go check out problems that lions don’t have. And then maybe drink a margarita, just for good measure.

Of Course I’m Afraid of Nuclear Fallout

[220/365] Nuclear Fear (Explored)

Photo by pasukaru76 @ Flickr

I’ve been having weird dreams lately. And sleeping kinda restlessly. Sleep is literally my favorite thing to do, so it makes me a little bit cranky when it doesn’t work out quite the way I want it to. A lot of things make me cranky, though. Like:

  • Bathrooms that don’t have toilet seat covers
  • When you think you have another mango in the fridge, but discover you don’t
  • (Related) Starting a recipe and discovering half way through that you’re missing a key ingredient
  • People that don’t signal
  • Anything sticky

I could go on for some time in this fashion, because I’m essentially an 84-year-old woman in a 33-year-old’s body. I’m fine with that.

Aaaanyway…so yes, I’ve been having cranky-making sleep as of late. And the weird dreams always linger in the morning, so I spend the first couple hours of the day trying to get over the yelling match I had with my non-existent boss while ice skating; or the panic of accidentally marrying some terrible other person, then remembering I’m married to someone great, and now I have some serious paperwork to do; or spilling ALL the milk in the grocery store and trying in vain to clean it up before anyone notices.

This is a piss poor way to start the day, friends. If I was dreaming about flying that crazy dog thing from the NeverEnding Story to a sushi restaurant where I ate some yummy nigiri, the morning would be spent with the lingering memory of tasty fish. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, what happened the other night is WORSE than all those other stupid things. You know those times where you roll over and you’re awake for a little nanosecond and then you fall back asleep again? Well, something happened in that nanosecond. A little noise. Like, a bang or something. I live in the city, so it was probably someone’s cat farting in a trash can. You know, something innocuous like that. It was definitely not, as my sleepy little mind imagined, a nuclear bomb being intercepted high above the city, whose toxic contents were now showering 1.2 million people, all of whom, including myself and my family, were soon to have melting insides.

Yeah, it definitely wasn’t that.

But to a sleepy little brain, whose imagination truly knows no bounds, that didn’t matter one little bit. Nope, because the idea had hatched, like a frightening sharp-toothed alien turtle, and now it was going to rip apart my conscience like a squeaky chew toy. Can I just say that I’m super fun? I mean, like a laugh riot o’ fun.

So the next half hour’s thoughts went like this:

That was probably a nuclear bomb.

Okay, it definitely wasn’t.

But probably most certainly was. *scratches skin* Is my skin coming off? No, not yet. That’s good. But when will it? Or is that even the right test? Do your insides just melt or something? I think I remember reading that once. And that all the DNA in all of my cells is fried now. What happens?

Everyone is going to die. We don’t have enough food in the house to survive nuclear fallout. I’m a terrible parent. Couldn’t I have just donated $50 to NPR? I’m pretty sure one of their contributor gifts would save my whole family, AND keep Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me on the air. What the hell is my problem?!

I should check Google.

You definitely should not check Google, you crazy SOB. Stay in bed. GO TO BED.  Now. Go to bed now. Now. Right now.

I should check Google. Although, would they even put it on Google? The government would probably hide it as long as possible as to not create a panic. But I know already. I’m ahead of the curve.

My poor family. We can’t drink the water now, probably. We have no water or food and our insides are melting.

And THEN…and then. Oh freaking lord, and then. I start thinking how if we’re going to starve, and dehydrate, and our insides were turning to goo, then we should probably figure out a way to commit suicide together.


And that’s when I a) see, in stark relief, that this line of thinking has gone a touch too far and b) beg whatever demented gremlin that has taken over my brain to please, oh please, oh please let me fall asleep.

To my credit, I didn’t check Google. Somehow, I fell back asleep. And in the morning, everyone’s insides were intact, and the fear that had gripped me so tightly in the middle of the night was gone. Like magic. Poof.

I don’t know how this stuff happens, but I know this: I don’t want to live gripped in fear. I hate that fear gets the best of me sometimes. Clearly, it’s a pretty big freaking bummer. The last few months have given us all a thousand things to fear, and it seems like that won’t be letting up any time soon. But fear and worry have never solved anything. So I’m gonna try to do less of that.

Good luck to me. Good luck to all of us.

(p.s. I’ve decided I won’t be watching that new show, The Following. I’m pretty sure it will make me afraid of all humans—even the baby ones. An ounce of prevention…)

What kind of monsters are in your closet?

Problems That Lions Don’t Have

Have you ever had a frustrating moment in your day and thought, “If I were a lion, I wouldn’t have this problem”?

Really? Me too. Those lions. They have it made in the shade. Here are some common people problems that wouldn’t be problems for lions.

Getting “Burn” by Ray Lamontagne Stuck in Your Head

You know when you get a song stuck in your head and it just plays over and over and over and over again, and you sing it in your car, and in the kitchen while you’re doing dishes, and you try to figure out how to bleep out the g-d part because you don’t want your toddler singing that? And then finally you have to look up the guitar chords so you can get the full effect in your living room?

Yeah. Not a problem for lions seeing as they don’t have CD players, and even if they did, Ray Lamontagne might be a little too indie for the average plains-dweller.

Listening to Angry People Talk About Politics

Civility in politics is dead, and if you take the civility out of politics, you’re left with annoyance. If some yammerhole gets all red-faced and absurd about politics while talking with a lion, the lion wouldn’t have to feign interest or try to find an interesting segue to plants or (obviously) Ray Lamontagne. No, the lion has simpler solutions.

Deciding What to Make for Dinner

I’m pretty sure lions just eat whatever’s running by. Sure they probably get bored with zebra from time to time, but their lives are simple; they’re not bombarded with a thousand restaurants, and 400 kinds of soup, and a million new uses for the crock pot which they discovered on Pinterest. See it. Catch it. Eat it.

Yes, the life of a lion: so simple, so bloody. Plus, they look really comfortable when they take naps. Which of your problems could be solved by being a lion? Do share.

Jean and Sofia: A Short Story About a Mostly Sane Woman and Her Duck


Photo By tifotter @ Flickr

One day, after a particularly stressful meeting at the office, a woman stopped at a fruit stand, and purchased a small duck out of a large, cardboard box. Why? She didn’t know. She just thought it was a good day for a duck. A companion duck. A life duck. Sometimes, a small duck seems like the solution to a bad day. Typically, it’s not.

The woman went home with her duck, and put on the kettle to make that kind of soup that you just pour boiling water into.

Her name was Sofia. The duck. Not the woman. The woman’s name was Jean. So Jean and Sofia fixed their eyes upon each other as the water in the kettle began to sound out a low rumble.

Jean was looking for answers. Looking for peace. She was searching Sofia’s black, beady eyes, hoping to reconnect with nature, and the land, and find some sort of mystical power that would make everything make sense. And as the anticipation in her heart grew, and the kettle water rumbled louder, a small, unobtrusive squeak found its way to Jean’s ears.

“Do you have a cigarette?”

Jean’s eyebrows dove inward in disapproval. Not only had she not reconnected with the spiritual guide she had hoped to find, but she was also, apparently, hallucinating.

Ahem. “Sorry. My voice is scratchy and quiet because you can’t just go talking your head off while you’re in that cardboard box because, in general, no one wants to buy a talking duck.” Sofia the duck, while small and fluffy, was very self-assured, and wasted no time making apologies. “How about that cigarette?”

Jean made an about-face to the decorative mirror on the wall. She checked her pupils. The kettle began with a low moan behind her, but rapidly belted out it’s alarm.

“Might want to get that kettle,” Sofia suggested.

“Sure. Yeah. Thanks,” Jean replied. It had already been a long day, and she decided not to fight against whatever malfunction her brain was experiencing. And hey, at least it was just a small, talking duck, and not an old, naked wizard. Things could be worse. “I don’t smoke, actually. Not for several years now.”

“That’s a shame,” sighed Sofia, “I get cranky without the nicotine. I know what you’re going to say, too, but I’ve tried the gum and somehow it’s not the same.”

“They say it’s a muscle memory thing, actually. Like your muscles enjoy the process of lifting the cigarette and taking a drag, and it’s actually just the process that is so satisfying,” Jean proposed, “Maybe you can just pretend to smoke.”

Sofia rolled her eyes. “One of us should be the smart one,” she quipped, “and it probably shouldn’t be the duck.”

“Just trying to help,” Jean replied. “Do you want some soup?”

“Is it vegan?”

“Of course. For the most distinguishing of waterfowl.”

So Jean and Sofia sat at the dining room table, enjoying their vegan soup made from dehydrated vegetables and grains of some kind. Jean, not knowing exactly which utensils ducks prefer when eating vegan soup, had provided Sofia with a small espresso cup from which to slurp. It worked just fine. Jean wondered what they would talk about, assuming that a 30-year-old accountant and a juvenile duck would have little in common.

“Wanna watch some tv?” Sofia offered. Yes. Television would do.

As they flipped through the channels watching a dance competition; a witty political commentary show; more than five variations of a whitening toothpaste commercial; and a very serious scene from a reality television show in which young teens were embroiled in a fierce debate over who should be the leader of their alliance, a kind of comfortability set in between Jean and Sofia. Sofia snuggled into the crack between Jean’s leg and the couch. She caught Jean’s eye and gave a little shrug as if to say, “I am a duck. We tend to snuggle in small places.” Jean let out a long, tired breath as she turned the channel in time to catch a mean pirouette from a girl with pink hair and strong, thick legs.

“I don’t know how you do it,” Sofia admitted softly.

“How who does what?”

“You. Everybody. People. I don’t know how you run, and fight, and work, and do so much on the damn computer, and…and all of it. It’s like you’re set on going crazy. Wait…is that the goal? Is everyone trying to go crazy?” Sofia puzzled, feeling like she might be on to something.

But by this time Jean had started to cry.

“Oh shit,” Sofia grumbled, “Oh shit. Umm…come on, there. There, there.” Sofia rhythmically patted her wing on Jean’s leg like she was keeping time for the world’s most apathetic marching band. Then she spouted, “Oh look! LOOook! That guy with the dreads is back! And look!—he’s so terrible! I can extend better than that and I don’t even have arms!” Sofia flapped her wings at the screen. “Look!”

Jean looked up, even though she didn’t want to. She wanted to grab the little duck and bury her face in its side, feeling the downy young feathers tickling her nose. Had Sofia not been a talking duck, that’s exactly what Jean would have been doing. And Sofia wouldn’t have the ability to protest. But instead, the duck was somehow prodding at Jean’s dark shadows, bringing out the things she’d rather not feel. Things she’d rather not acknowledge.

“It’s just that I don’t know what I’m doing and, at this point, I don’t think I ever will,” Jean sobbed.

Sofia let out a half-quack, half-laugh, “Is that all?!”

Jean frowned and wiped her nose, her sadness swiftly replaced by fierce annoyance.

“Sorry, sorry,” Sofia recovered. “It’s just that…none of you do. Every day that you all pull through is a true and shocking surprise to me and, frankly, all other wild life. Every day we think you’ll probably all kill each other and take us down with you, but you don’t. You’re all surprisingly adept at surviving yourselves.” Sofia shook her tail as she wedged herself back between Jean’s leg and the couch cushion. “You need to relax.”

Jean sighed. She did feel a little more peaceful. Sofia closed her eyes gingerly and smacked her beak a couple of times.

“And buy some cigarettes,” she added as she nodded off to sleep.

Things I Don’t Understand

Not Too Bright

Photo by JD Hancock @ Flickr.

Most of the time, I’m pretty with it. I go around doing things, giving high-fives and fist-bumps like a champ. I can bake like a freaking wizard. I’m decent on the guitar. I taught myself how to write Applescripts. I also framed out and installed a jet tub with my husband.

I’m just saying…I’m no slouch. Yes, I’m supremely lazy, but I actually learn and do stuff on a daily basis. I’m a functioning adult (mostly).

So, that’s why I’m so frustrated (and a little embarrassed) by the following things I don’t understand. They’re not even complicated. I mean, I should be able to just figure this stuff out. Nonetheless, here they are.

I Don’t Understand How to Recycle

OMG. Help me.

Now, we didn’t even have a recycling bin for the first few years we lived in San Diego, and someone told me that when you throw recyclables in the trash, someone sorts it later and it all gets recycled anyway. So I decided I wasn’t lazy or stupid, I was CARING. About the ECONOMY. Yeesh.

But now, we DO have a recycling bin. It has pictures on the outside of what you should put in it. For some inexplicable reason, this is not enough for me. Do I put all kinds of bottles in there? And what about the caps? Where do the caps go? And plastic? It has a 1 and a 2 recycle symbol on the bin. Does that mean the other plastics can’t go in there? What happens if I DO put a 3 plastic in there? Is the recycling person going to fashion it into a shiv and come to my house to gut me like a recycling-ignorant fish? Because that’s basically what I think is going to happen.

So, potential recyclable in hand, my mind flips through these thoughts like a Rolodex of absurdity, then I panic and just put the thing in the trash. And close the cabinet door. Quickly. And pretend it never happened.

I do this multiple times a day.

I Don’t Understand How to Freeze Things

Now, I’m not saying I don’t understand that when you put something in the freezer, it gets frozen. I get that part. Check. The trouble arises when I think about what should be frozen and what shouldn’t. I mean, raw, uncooked chicken, straight from the store? Got it. Yes. Water in the form of ice cubes? Yes. Coffee in the form of ice cubes? Yes. (If there’s anything to be done with coffee, I’ll figure it out. I’m highly motivated there.) Old 35mm film? Yes. And anything you bought from the store already frozen? Yes. Into the freezer it goes.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, that means that my freezer has ice cubes, coffee ice cubes, chicken, frozen peas and old 35mm film. That is it. Nothing else. Because when I think about putting anything else in there, the aforementioned panic sets in and I just can’t follow through.

What happens when you freeze cooked chicken? Does it develop Ebola or something? Or turn into dust? What about cheese? Can you freeze cheese? Is there a good reason to do that? I DON’T KNOW!

There are all kinds of thrifty masterminds out there that cook a month’s worth of food in one day and then freeze it. So then—all high and mighty—they have a month’s worth of home-cooked meals that appear magically like the rainbow out of a Care Bear’s belly. Clearly, those people are better than me. I mean—clearly.

I Don’t Understand Skin Care

Everyone has skin, so it stands to reason that everyone would know how to take care of their skin. Nope. Not me. I just…it’s a lost cause. I wash my face in the shower. That’s it. I know. I KNOW! Sigh. I am who I am. And until they make microscopic robots that clean your pores while you sleep, that’s the way it’s gonna be.

I Don’t Understand Reddit

Do you know what Reddit is? A lot of people do. A lot of people use it. It’s like a link sharing website of some fashion or another and, as an even partially decent blogger, I should know how to Reddit things. (Is is even a verb? Like Google? Or Xerox?) I’m sorry to put this out there Reddit…ers, but the Reddit community is slightly terrifying.

I’ve posted a few of links on there, some of which have been ignored entirely as if they have leprosy. A couple have gotten significant numbers of clicks, as if they have leprosy, but leprosy is really in this season. It feels like sometimes I anger the Reddit gods and sometimes I please them. I dance around every time I share a link, just in case that makes a difference. I use a lot of hip action. It might be making things worse.

The worst part about the whole Reddit thing is that I read a couple of articles on using Reddit and it seems that there is STRICT and very SERIOUS etiquette to be observed. Holy crap. I’m relatively confidant that I’m not observing those things. I mean, I’m reading the sub-reddit rules and stuff (if this is gibberish to you, it’s fine. It’s mostly gibberish to me, and I’m writing it.) but I’m pretty sure I’m effing things up. And if you don’t observe the rules? They excommunicate you! But they don’t even tell you! They just stop allowing you to post any links. And I’m pretty sure they go through your recycling and make shivs of number 5 bottles and then cut out your innards. At least, I think that’s what I read.

If any of you splendid readers understand any of these things, please share. Clearly, I’m not only a danger to myself, but to others. Don’t let me walk around, dirty-faced like a spunky hobo, trying to recycle frozen magazines whilst angering the Reddit hoards.

Please, it’s for all of us.

A Very, Truly, Fantastic Day

Happy birthday!

Today is my daughter’s birthday. Now, not to knock the kids you know and love, but she’s better than those kids. She’s better than all kids. She’s amazing. That might also just be genetics talking, ensuring that I don’t eat my young. I don’t know how all the science works.

Regardless of her ranking on the awesome kid list, I love her to bits and bits. She’s funny and smart and she has these little blue eyes that she will likely use to manipulate her way out of (and into) all kinds of crap. And it’ll work. Yeesh. This little person with unbridled laughter, unrestrained desire, and a growing, She-Ra-like will, is turning 2 today (the big aught-two!) and the last year has been really, really fun.

For any new parents out there, I highly recommend the 1-2 age. Kids are learning all kinds of things, and they say new stuff every day…it’s very entertaining. It’s also a bit infuriating because they start to do things you didn’t think they could do, and thus didn’t safeguard against. Like the time that I learned she could screw tops off by discovering that she had eaten a bunch of mascara. (When this happens to you, the number for poison control in the US is 1-800-222-1222. You’re welcome.)

In celebration of my favorite child ever, I thought I’d re-share my series on kids. I wrote this last year and it all still holds true. Having kids is the best and the worst, all at once. If you didn’t catch it the first time around, I hope you enjoy it.

The Truth About Kids, Part 1: Having Kids Is Not The Best Thing Ever

Some people will tell you all kinds of unbelievably gooey stories about how great kids are, and how they didn’t know the meaning of life until they had kids, and how everything else pales in comparison, et cetera. People say, “I can’t even remember what life was like before we had children!” Oh, really? I do. It was awesome. (Continue reading…)

The Truth About Kids, Part 2: Having Kids Is Not The Worst Thing Ever

True, being a parent is a continual gauntlet of shame, confusion, guilt and frustration. But just when you think you should just let yourself get disemboweled by a swinging battle-axe, you get hit with an unexpected bundle of sweet, amazing, adorable love and ridiculousness. That’s how they get you. (Continue reading…)

The Truth About Kids, Part 3: Is It Worth It?

And now it’s time for the big question…

Is having kids worth it?


Just kidding. The real answer is…

maybe. (Continue reading…)

Happy Birthday, Miss Crutchfield!

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