Brass Monkey, That Funky…Pictostorythingy?

My hands hurt. Like a motherfucker. I hope Cinderella didn’t have arthritis; otherwise, scrubbing the floors had to be extra hard work.

So. Me no typey much today. Me piccy. Here, me show you. (Me no know why me talk like Cookie Monster now. But me likey.)

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This bitch is done. P.S. Look at that uglyass TV covering the beautiful windows. I should sell it, but I haven’t played enough video games on it yet. So me keep it.
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My dead birdie friend. Finally figured out how they were getting in, when ANOTHER one flew in. Coming down the damn stove vent. One of the cats instantly caught him in his mouth, but I yelled his name, and he dropped the bird. Got superlucky. The frantic thing fell hit the window (not too hard) and fell down plunk into a trashcan. I covered the can, carried it outside, uncovered it…and he flew away. Happy day. This one, though? Dead as a fucking doornail. And he’s no Jon Snow, so he’s gonna stay dead. LIKE THE HIGH SPARROW. Fuckyeah, my geek is en pointe today.
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Some things I can’t seem to part with, like this olive wood necklace from Israel. Almost all the rest of the crap in the jewelry box was chucked straight into the bin. Anyway. I’ll keep the necklace, even though it now reminds me of a bitchass bitch. OHMYGOSH, this may actually be from my mamaw’s pilgrimage and not my bitchwhore aunt’s trip. I feel better.
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I had to keep these, too. Back when I was teaching, some of my students shared their Mardi Gras beads with me. Oh. But the red and green ones are from Cinco. I should Cinco de Trasho those. Anyway. Also featuring IV bruise. It’s almost gone now. Me sad.
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Contemplating a move to New Zealand. Wanna come with?
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Or Australia. Because kangas. People. People. PEOPLE. AUSTRALIA HAS TREE KANGAROOS. Those are NOT Jim Henson muppets! They’re TREE KANGAS. That is all.
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Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Totoro! And turtle butt.
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Garry and friends, snuggled up in a bundle of scarves.
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Dudes. I cried when I threw this out. I cried. And one of the poor cats still hasn’t forgiven me for tossing it. He’s been going into the bedroom and standing in front of the spot where it used to sit and just staring. I’m a horrible human being.
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Random sunflower popped up in my yard! This kinda shit makes life worth living.
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Random sunflower’s random younger brother. I call him The Usurper.
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And and and! Mushrooms after the rain! Happy dance!
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Azalea joy.
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Happy Little Azaleas. I hope the eventual new owners love these and don’t murder them. I’m gonna miss ’em.
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Another photo.

And now. For the real purpose of this post.

Happy 4th of Monkeys!

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Pluck You

There you sit, all high and mighty.
You think you’re better than me.
Don’t bother trying to deny it.

I see your sneers of derision.
I hear your whispered plans.
I know you would see my end.

What, you thought I didn’t know?
That I’m not one of the chosen ones?
Hand-selected to exist alongside you?

How foolishly blind you are.
Look at how you must coddle them:
The beauty of your haughty friends comes at a price.

You want them to be with you,
But they resist at every turn, don’t they?
They make you work for their charms.

Yet here I stand, so proud and strong,
Weathering the storms of life
And the destruction of man.

You hunt me down, murderously plucking me from existence.
But you haven’t heard the last from me.
I am far stronger and more persistent than you.

I’ll be back, you sanctimonious prick; I’ll be back.
And this time?
This time, I’m coming for you.

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Pluck me, will you?
No, no.
Pluck You.

Parks & Recreaction ft. Stephanie and the Spiky Caterpillar of Doom (AKA Parks and Masturdation: Buddha and Books)

So. About that four-day weekend. I kinda went crazy, y’all. I did a lot of masturdation. And you know something? I’m a damn good date.

Mkay. Let’s see. (I’m putting dates on these, because this was actually the weekend before last. And I did more shit this past weekend!)

Thursday, April 14: Sassy and Pensive

I’ve already told you about the sassy new haircut I got last Thursday. That was on the 14th. So last last Thursday. And then later, I went to the bookstore, too! And bought books!


Friday, April 15: Date with Deadpool

I’ve also already told you about the Deadpool masturdate  last last Friday, so let’s move right along.

The end credits had such cute (and vulgar) graphics. This was one of the only clear snaps I could get.

Saturday, April 16: Please sir, may I have some more…books?

I found myself lying in bed. All. Fucking. Day. Around 7 P.M., I had had enough. I was angry and disappointed with myself. So I got up, took a shower, and went to the bookstore. I didn’t know what else to do or where else to go, but I knew I needed to get my pathetic ass out of the bed and move. Also. It’s always fun checking out the cute geeks in the sci-fi/fantasy/comics section. Sometimes they’re so deliciously yummy, I want to kidnap them (don’t worry; they’re adults) and do things to them. So uhm. I bought more books. Quelle surprise!

Added three more to the TBR stack!

Looking forward to reading this when time allows. Speaking of time, that’s a “pocket watch” on a chain. I wear it around my neck to remind me that time our time on this earth is finite; it is precious and I must Carpe the fucking Diem. “There’s only lifetime. GO!”

Yes, I spent too much money. This is rare for me. But when I do decide to spend on myself, it usually happens in a splurgy burst. But I at least had coupons for books! So I didn’t do so bad at the bookstore.

I also justified it by using “spending money” I had set aside for the trip that wasn’t. I wanted to treat myself after some personal shit went down. And y’all, I ain’t even done. I’m tired of being in the backseat of my life (unless, of course, someone is back there with me) (even then, maybe I want to drive for a while, damnit).

No, I didn’t buy this. But seriously? Trigger Warning? Sex Inside? There’s sex ON THE COVER. But “trigger warning”? Good fucking grief. Overuse of “trigger” shit drives me nuts. And sex? This is Cosmo, people. It’s gonna be like, “10 things to make your husband less likely to fall asleep after cumming in 3 seconds flat.” or “5 tips on how to bedazzle your vajazzle.”

Anyway. Let’s get to the park, shall we?

Sunday, April 17: Parks & Masturdation, or One if by Land, Buddha if by Trees

This dude has been driving me batshit about getting the fuck outside. I make excuses. He tells me to piss off. I make more excuses. He says so the fuck what. I say, but I hate it here. I want to be in the Pacific Northwest! He says, but you’re not in the fucking Northwest. Get out and live now. I say my foot is broken; he says piss off and go hobble.

So you know what? I fucking hobbled my ass to the park last last Sunday. And unfortunately, I have to admit that the smug fucker was right. I couldn’t do much walking. My foot is legit still broken (had new x-rays and it’s finally and slowly healing, though – NO SURGERY! NO PINS!)

Anyhoodles. Park. I got my ass up. At oh…1 in the afternoon or some shit. But I did good. I went straight to the shower then straight to the park (with an intermission for getting dressed – it’s not that kinda park).

I grabbed my book, Buddha in a Teacup (which is bullshit so far – more later), and did a little wandering. Not much, mind you. My foot wouldn’t let me forget it’s broken. I went first through the greenhouse. It was always my favorite part of the park, though they’ve let it go to shit.

Lemme share some lovelies from that day:

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One of the few pretties in the greenhouse.
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Went down here to read first. Until hornets ran me off.
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Somebody wanted to fuck with Buddha. How dare.

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Hornets drove me to this spot. Much lovelier anyway, once I got away from the noisy geese-feeding hordes.
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Met this little fella, too. Don’t worry. I didn’t let that venomous fucker touch me. But we chatted for a while. He’s converting to Buddhism and came to warn me that this book would likely be shite.

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More lovelies.

That was park day numberus oneicus.

Monday, April 18: Parks & Masturdation, or Making Friends and Influencing People, or A Writing Assignment

Because some little shit couldn’t be satisfied, I went to the park two days in a row. (He also says go listen to High Pass Filter right now!) And I mentioned it to someone else…all like I know I should, but I don’t wanna and he was all but you must go! And you must write something while there! No reading! Must write! These demanding asshats, I’m telling you. I did go, and I did write. But I can’t share the writing yet, as it’s to be part of a collaborative something.

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Lemme share a gratuitous amount of flower piccies, and then I’ll tell you about someone I met. It was one of those moments in life when you just know. You just fucking know. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

But first. Flower porn. GASP! New word! FLORN!

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Ahhhh isn’t spring glorious? I fucking love flowers. Can you tell? No? Lemme show you some more.

KIDDING. Just kidding.

Lemme tell you about Anthony now. I had been watching him, you see, crafting the beginnings of a short story based on him. He had no idea, of course. I just saw him and was inspired. I caught a glimpse of him from my table. He was down fishing off this little covered pier thingy. It showed up in the picture up there with my notepad.

I actually snuck an excellent shot of him re-baiting his hook. It was the perfect shot of him in his element, but I won’t even show my face on the blog. Not my place to show his.

Anyway, the more I wrote, the more I felt compelled to meet the real man. Not the one I was making up.

This. What I’m about to tell you about is well and truly outside of even the remotest of my comfort zones. But I felt compelled, in the truest sense. I had to meet this man.

So, for what seemed ages, I gathered my courage.
And then I gathered my things.
And then I walked down that pier.
And then, heart pounding, I spoke,

Hi! Mind if I keep you company for a bit?

It’s a public pier in a public park, but he was alone. Serene. And compared to the weekend chaos at that peer, with all the kids and geese, I figured he was probably enjoying his solitude. His communion with nature.

But he turned to me and grinned, telling me “Sure!”

So I put my things down, and he said he’d seen me writing. Asked if I was in school. Hehe. I said no; I was just writing a story. So he told me about his granddaughter. She writes children’s books, but is having fits getting published.

We chatted for a while. He asked questions about me; I answered. He told me about himself. Turns out we work for the same company. He had been retired, but grew bored after a long relationship busted up and went back to work. In his sixties now, he expressed that sometimes he grows weary of having been in the same place all his life.

Only so many times you can see the same ole thing and not wonder what else is out there that you’re missin’ out on. Ain’t much time left, and I’m past retirement age. Got a brother in Minnesota, though. Sure do love it up there. Why not, right? But it’s a scary thing, so I don’t know if I have it in me.

Why not, indeed.

So I shared a bit of my story with him, and my desire to move to the Pacific Northwest. He asked why there, and I told him how I’d been in love with Oregon ever since watching The Goonies as a kid. And then once I visited the region, I fell even harder and knew a life change was in order.

He told me I’m young and should go for it.

So I pointed at the “pocket” watch on the chain around my neck. Held it up for him to see.

Do you know what this is?

He shook his head, “Naw. Reckon you gon’ tell me, though.”

I popped it open and showed him the watch. “And do you know why I wear it?,” I asked. He just looked at me, expectantly waiting.

I wear it to remind me that life is short. I wear it to remind me that our time on this earth is finite. I wear it to remind me that there’s no time like the present time. I wear it to remind me that there’s never a right time. There’s only right now. I wear it to remind me that as long as I continue ticking along with it, it’s not too late. So I’m moving to Oregon. And you’re moving to Minnesota. And we’re going to make it count.

He smiled a winsome smile, tilted his head and cast his line back into the water.

You know somethin’, young lady? I’m gon’ call my brother tonight. See what we can see.

He looked hopeful now, wistful. I smiled and gathered my things.

Then I shook his grimy bait hand, told him it was a pleasure to meet him and to have good luck with his fishing.

And hey, Anthony? Make it count. Let’s make it count.

He grinned back at me and said, “Never too late.”

~

This post brought to you by:

Serendipity.

Synchronicity.

~

Tomàs, for encouraging me to write even when, especially when, I doubt my ability to write anything worth anything at all. For making me feel worthy, writing aside.

~

Stupidityhole for relentlessly pushing me to get the fuck out of bed and the fuck out of the house. Many. Many. Many times now. I am eternally grateful.

~

Dedicated to Anthony and everyone else who thinks it’s too fucking late. Grab life. Pluck it when it’s ripe; carpe the fucking diem.

~

Coming SoonMasturdating at Happy Hour last Friday, complete with photos of old men flexing in their tighty-whities. Perhaps a recap of tomorrow night’s concert – yes, another masturdate, and then my group Happy Hour this coming Friday night!  Oh. Oh yes. And allergic reactions and moronic recruiters and the relocation conundrum. Stay tuned! You know me. I’ll fill you in in a month or so. (Winky Face, bitches.)

And Then There Were Flowers

Last week sucked. I mean it sucked so hard, it choked on King Kong’s dong. Believe it or not, this week is a fuckton worse. But this is about last week, not this week’s special brand of misery.

But you know what? I’m finally starting to see that maybe, just maybe, it’s worth it for me to fight through it. It’s worth it for me to not lose sight of my goals and hopes and dreams. Because I deserve happiness, too. (What the fuck did I just say? For real? Yeah, you miserable bitch, take that! We’re not gonna be miserable forever! So fuck you!)

Ahem. And there have been a few very specific people who have been helped me through some of my most recent darkest hours. I don’t want to call out names, in case it would make you uncomfortable. But every fucking one of you know who you are. The emails. The voice recordings. The phone calls. The silly memes. The comforting. The commiseration. And I love y’all for it, I do. Not the I wanna sex you up kinda love (well maybe one of you – maybe). But there are other kinds of love, and I’m feeling this wonderful familial vibe from so many of you. It’s taken me by storm. And you all overwhelm me with your goodness.

And then there were flowers.

Last Friday, my name was called over the intercom at work. “Stephanie Llaneous, please report to the front desk. Stephanie, please report to the front desk.” Whatever. I figured it was time to pony up another buck for the office powerball pool. When I finally get down there, I round the corner and the women up there are grinning at me. There was a bouquet of flowers up there, and they were for me!

I was befuddled. I mean, who would send me flowers? So I looked at the card, and here’s what it reads:

For a Very Special Friend. Have a Good Day.

The fuck?

I don’t have any Very Special Friends. I mean, not outside of the blogosphere. And even if you know where I work, that isn’t enough. I work in a very specific building, so it had to be someone who knew that. And no one in bloggyville does.

So the mystery begins.

The people I share an office with were lovin’ it. And dying to know, right along with me. So then the questions started: are you seeing anyone we don’t know about? Does someone in the office have a crush on you? Duh. Creepy Carl and Panel Van Paco. But neither of them would buy flowers. They’d just chloroform me and stuff me in their trunks. What about outside the office? Crushes who know where you work? Look, people. No one crushes on The Stephanie, capiche?

The only person I could think of would be my ex who, no matter how many years go by, still wants me back. (It’s a difficult story, y’all, and one I’m not ready to talk about here.) So anyway, I call him up.

It wasn’t me. I wish it was, so you’d know you’re never far from my mind. But it wasn’t me.

Then it was like, “Oh my god, Stephanie! What if it’s a woman?!” So then I actually started getting ideas.

First, there is a woman who works in the room with me, and she’s so sweet and fun and motherly. And she knows a little of the fact that I’ve had a very difficult time of late. No details, just generally speaking. Plus she’s witnessed most of the work bullying and has my back big time. So I asked her, point blank.

Nice Lady, did you send these flowers to me?

No way! I wish I had, but they sure are gorgeous! I promise I’d tell you, but it wasn’t me!

Then it hit me. And my sneaking suspicion turned out to be true. It was a woman, someone I’ve had lots of official dealings with during my time at this company. She sends Christmas cards, Halloween buckets filled to the brim with premium candy, King Cakes, etc. For the whole office throughout the year. And when I moved departments, she would make sure that I’d be included by sending me a separate little card or gift. She always missed me when I moved departments, and I missed working with her. She was a bright spot in my days when I’d work with her or talk with her (but oh my god can that woman drone on and on!).

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to clean up messes made by some others (not to imply I don’t make my own now and then), so I’ve been working closely with her again. (She’s outside the company, by the way.)

Later that day, last Friday, she sends me an email to thank me for the most recent thing I had prepared for her. And then she asked…”So, any surprises today?” And my suspicion was confirmed. I was in the middle of doing something else for her, and she wanted to make it clear it had nothing to do with the personal pet project she needed help with. But it was to let me know that I’m much appreciated and how much she appreciates my efficiency, kindness, attitude, and on and on. And then she said,

Also, I just had this nagging feeling that you could use a pick-me-up.

Every time something like this happens, I become more and more convinced of the interconnection of spirits and souls or what have you. I know there’s a word for it, but I can’t word right now. (Fuck you, brainhole.)

And then she offered me a job. Which is straight up poaching, because my current supervisor is the one she works directly with here! I’d take it in an instant, but my choices were between two cities I have no interest in residing in. However, their company does have a big location in the Pacific Northwest. So she could totally be an in for me. I’m gearing up to ask her for a reference. But this all requires a separate post.

Anyway.

Thank you, Awesome Flower Woman. Thank you, Kickass Blogger Buddies. Thank you Synchronicity (ohmygod I found the word! I worded!). Thank you Snuffleupagus.

~

This post brought to you by:

Flowers, because they sure do brighten a day.
The Letter S for Synchronicity. And Snuffleupagus, because he was the bestest.
And Fire, for Fires in the Belly and those who put them there.

The Veggie Patch

I’ve never been a gardener, unless the kind I am in my imagination counts. Yeah…didn’t think so. I’ve always wanted to be, but I’m easily intimidated by new and (seemingly) complex ventures. Fear of failure? Check. Fear of the unknown? Check. Fear of success? Check. Fear of fear? Check. Fear of judgment and ridicule? Check. Fear of attention? Check. Fear of memories invoked? Check. Whatever. You get the idea.

I’ve always wanted to garden. Over the years, I’ve collected a handful of ideas. A handful of books. A handful of implements. A handful of dead plants. An even smaller handful of living plants.

My mamaw was a gardener. It was a real passion for her. She was mostly a flower gardener, and she was an expert with roses. She kept quite a variety of flowers, and she had no small amount of herbs. She was a container and raised bed gardener, and my how green was her thumb. She had the touch, the intuition, the love. It was a joy to see the fruits of her labors. Speaking of fruits, she also had fig trees and plum trees and one lone peach tree. One of the things that delighted me most was how she actually took pleasure in sharing the fruit with birds. She didn’t find it frustrating or maddening when she found eaten fruit decaying on the soft ground beneath her trees. Now she would get angry if she found an otherwise perfect piece with one or two peck-holes in it. That would set her right off, the nerve of those arrogant, thoughtless birds to so selfishly ruin fruit and leave it there to rot. If she could have gotten her hands on one of those little assholes, I don’t believe anyone would have accused her of being the bird lover that she was.

Sigh. I miss her.

This summer, I finally took the plunge and began my first attempt at a raised bed garden – a fall garden. I have a few potted plants on my back deck, but this was to be the real deal. And I had the grand idea of trying veggies. The thing is, I’m not even much of a veggie eater. I can be quite veggie averse, actually. But I finally said, to hell with your analysis paralysis. To hell with your fear of everything. To hell with your apathy. Let’s do this thing.

It started off well. And perhaps I’ll give you a play by play soon. I have some lovely photos of the patch in various stages – from laying out the timbers and filling it with dirt and shit and blocking it out, to my first sprouts and squirrel-dug holes and subsequent attempts to set the taste buds of those cute furry little bastards on fire with cayenne pepper.

Unfortunately, through what I suspect is a combination of things, the garden is about half-dead now. This has been our hottest summer on record. And our driest. And it was impossible to keep the soil watered enough. I also had (have) some sort of bug infestation. I don’t know what they are. I need to figure that shit out. But they’re definitely killing some of the plants that did survive. I’ve also become lazy and ceased daily removal of the copious amounts of pine straw that falls from the tree in my back yard.

Here’s what the poor thing looks like now:

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Pitiful, right? The super healthy ivy-looking thingies are sweet potatoes. The pitiful stalks front and center are what’s left of bush green beans. You can also see dead and dying peas, more dead and dying green beans and regular potato vines. Oh. And the green onions, too. They looked amazing, less so now. Are they ready to harvest? Fucked if I know. I’m still learning. Oh and that was my attempt at okra in the pots. Heh.

I lost three pumpkins. Well, one never sprouted. I lost two pumpkins. I lost two butternut squash plants. (I planted four more seeds yesterday evening. It’s probably too late, but I’m gonna try.) Uhm. What else. Oh! I may yet have a few carrots, radishes and maybe even kale and mesclun. The kale and mesclun have been struggling from the start, but they’re finally starting to show signs of growth.

Behold the radish, showing off his flamboyant stalk and struggling to survive.
Behold the radish, showing off his flamboyant stalk and struggling to survive. And oh my God, I swear to fuck those aren’t teeth in the soil behind him.

So we’ll see. I’m disappointed but proud of myself for remaining optimistic and not allowing myself to beat myself up. This is new to me. I’m learning. I’ve certainly made mistakes. And there were problems this summer that have stricken every small time gardener I know at work. So I’ll keep at it, see what happens with what’s left. And hell, I’ll start planning a spring garden, too.

Is it too late to plant garlic now? That’s supposed to be easy. And it’s one of the few things I do like. Maybe I can put some in one of the empty squares and just see what happens!

Oh gosh, the gnomes! The gnomes totally deserve their own post. But for now, here’s a sample:

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That’s Gnorman. Gnorman Gnomkowsky, guarding a much healthier garden in its early days. Hi Gnorman!