8 ball, aisle seat pocket.

I was really, really excited for our upcoming trip to Japan.

This morning I had to make a conscious effort not to gloat to my coworkers that it was the last day before I was officially on vacation. (You don’t want to brag to colleagues about stuff like that, because they’re the ones who’ll get the last laugh when your brief fling with paradise ends and you have to drag your sorry ass back to the office.)

I’ve been 99% packed for almost a week.

I’ve got all my travel essentials laid out for inspection, so little anxious me can look over them obsessively and reassure myself that I’m not forgetting anything.

I was fuckin’ pumped, y’all. I was so friggin’ ready to get on that plane.

And then I had to go and ruin it all by going online and checking the airline’s list of restricted baggage items to make certain I wasn’t unwittingly attempting to bring anything confiscatable on board the plane.

Guys, I am so disappointed.

Billiard cues are prohibited in the cabin.

I’m…I’m sorry, old friend. You’ll have to sit this trip out.

I don’t know how they can do this to me. No 8-ball? No 9-ball? NO SNOOKER? WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO FOR TEN HOURS NOW?

Goddammit. I guess Nutty Hubby and I will just have to pass the time having kinky mile-high sex in the lav- oh son of a bitch, I probably can’t bring handcuffs either, can I?

*scans list*



Maybe this whole trip was a bad idea. I mean, if you can’t play pool and engage in a little light bondage on an international flight, then what’s the point?

Oh, wait, they allow ice skates.

Phew. For a minute there I didn’t think I was going to get to have any fun.

Thanks but no thanks for the memories, part 2: Fine, I’ll let this one slide.

Judging by what it decides to show me in my suggested memories, I’m estimating that Facebook thinks 99.9% of my life is devoted entirely to memes. (The other 0.1% is fresh tomatoes.)

Under normal circumstances this irks me more than a little, because when I go look at other possible memories from their selected dates, there’s almost always something far more interesting and personally meaningful available that they could have chosen, but didn’t. Apparently whatever algorithm they use has decided that angry kittens and bad Iron Man puns are more integral to my life’s history than anything remotely original that little ol’ me has to say.

You can’t help but feel a little slighted.

But, as always, exceptions can be made.
The other day they threw one at me that I had to forgive. Because I still can’t stop fucking laughing.

This is the stupidest thing they’ve ever decided I might want to remember, and I love them for it. Because I repeat: I. can’t. stop. fucking. laughing.

I’m sure no one else will find this anywhere near as hilarious as I do. I sat here for a while debating whether or not to post it, because there’s a good chance I’m the only person in the world who thinks it’s even remotely funny.

Of course then I posted it anyway, because this is my blog and you can’t tell me what to do.*

It’s the complete lack of context that got me. There was originally a status update that went with this, but surprise surprise, they conveniently left it off.

So when it popped up in my news feed and I couldn’t remember why the fuck I even posted it those two years ago, my brain went ahead and filled in the missing info with the most ridiculous thing it could come up with, which was the idea of me just casually going around glee-sobbing my way through all of 2013 for no particular reason. And go figure, before I knew it the thought had me laughing so hard I cried.

Is Facebook showing me memories or self-fulfilling prophecies?

*Also I may have had a bottle glass or two of wine and my judgement of what constitutes an acceptable blog post may be slightly impaired.

Then the morning comes.

I pull out of the garage and into the morning light. A veil of chilly condensation is still draped over the sleeping cars and lawns. As I turn onto our street, heading east, the sun is low and golden. The city skyline, bathed in rich copper, looks both formidable and ethereal through the slight October haze. Then I take a right, and the scene disappears.

But on the approach to 41st Avenue, the horizon comes back into view, and I catch my breath. Mother Nature has been busy in the last ten minutes. Very busy.

I am in awe.

This is it, I think; the sky that inspired the Homeric epic “rosy-fingered” dawn. It must be. A cosmic wonder of cloud and light play, fanning out across the eastern heavens in their entirety; a glorious riot of blues and creams and rose gold whose beauty the great artists of the Renaissance would have wept to behold.

The sky is doing its best impression of the swirling bands of Jupiter, crossed with a galaxy viewed side-on. The clouds have maneuvered themselves into an intricate display of translucent scrollwork whose every curve and facet glows with a slightly different shade of pastel radiance.

A sprawling horizontal tear in the middle of it all allows the sun to peek through like a giant benevolent eye. The effect is otherworldly and overwhelming in its magnificence.

I remember I should be looking at the road, but only just.

As I merge onto the bridge to Richmond, the tableau is already fading. The ornate cloudscape slowly but inevitably coalesces into two formless grey belts, all their careful detail lost. Only the rift between and the eye remain, the latter now appearing somewhat colder and less kindly than before.

I pull into the office parking lot, stare at the featureless white building where I am to spend the next eight hours, and sigh.

The sound of silence.

My dad snores loud enough to wake the dead. Possibly literally. He may very well be the reason zombies are a thing, though nothing’s been conclusively proven.

On childhood camping trips with my family, his lawnmower-like respirations were further amplified, echoing recursively inside the RV as though we were overnighting with an army of determined groundskeepers on an endless field of uncut grass.

My husband grew up with a younger brother. For the sake of his sanity, he quickly learned to sleep through anything.

I was an only child. I did not have that advantage.

My mother had long ago turned to ear plugs and white noise to try to drown out her husband’s schnozz thunder. During our road trip forays down coastlines and through national parks in the giant metal sausage we called a recreational vehicle, I would inevitably beg a spare pair of ear plugs off her after a handful of sleepless nights. She would laugh at the request, reminding me that my few weeks of suffering in a rumbling tin can were peanuts compared to what she had to put up with year-round, but she always took pity on me in the end.

I don’t know why I bothered, though, because just as inevitably, they wouldn’t work.

Most modern ear plugs are shaped, logically, like an ear canal. The ones my mother bought in bulk looked more like obese miniature marshmallows.

Mini marshmallows are not generally known for their soundproofing capabilities. I don’t know what the noise reduction rating was on my mother’s preferred spongy yellow ear confections, but it was never enough to fully mute the sound of my father trying to inhale the curtains.

To make matters worse, for all the squishing and coaxing and maneuvering it took to get them situated just right, I would get only one, maybe two decent hours of sleep before my ears would manage to strategically dislodge them.

I would wake suddenly, bleary-eyed and disoriented, thinking for all the world that I had somehow managed to sleepwalk into an active logging site, and terrified that someone might yell “Timmmberrrrrrr!” at any moment.

Then I would realize it was just the snore factory on the opposite bunk, singing the song of his people.

I would only ever find one of the escaped ear plugs. Without fail the other member of the pair had either snuck out quietly in the night, thumbed a ride, and was halfway to Mexico, or else just spontaneously vaporized out of sheer stress. I hope those vanished plugs found peace, wherever they went, because I sure as hell didn’t.

The year my parents bought me a Sony Walkman, I gave up on the whole ear plug idea for good, because headphones stayed put better and staticky radio was a lot easier to fall asleep to than a large man’s uvular warblings.

Fast forward a couple of decades.

I bought them on a whim. A 12-pack of logically-shaped, attractively colored ear plugs that actually looked capable of fitting in a human ear without the use of brute force and thinly veiled threats.

What the hell, I thought, maybe I actually might get some sleep on that 10 hour flight to Japan.

My husband and I will be jetting off to the land of sushi and weird-flavored KitKats for a long-awaited vacation in the not-so-distant future. By airline law, there will be at least one crying baby on the plane, three passengers with persistent phlegmy coughs which they will make no effort to suppress, a chronic sneezer in the seat directly behind mine, and a chatty couple in the middle of the row who want to be friends with everyone whether everyone likes it or not.

And as I have never successfully slept on a plane while wearing headphones, I figured giving ear plugs another shot couldn’t hurt.

So I took them home, tossed the package on the dresser next to my travel pillow and other carry-on staples I’ve begun stockpiling like a squirrel, and promptly forgot about them.

Then Canadian Thanksgiving happened.

Look, I don’t want to name names or point fingers, but if certain persons decide to invite company over for a holiday weekend involving large number of people in a small space, generally it’s polite to inform your guests that you’ve recently contracted the plague before they’ve taken an overpriced ferry across the Strait of Georgia to come stay with you. Just sayin’.

Everyone, and I mean everyone was sick with the flu when we arrived. It was Thanksgiving at the Virus Factory. Dinner at Typhoid Mary’s. Weekend with the Walking Dead. Apparently they were somehow able to prepare a full turkey feast, but not capable of picking up a phone to let us know that maybe we shouldn’t come over because HYGIENE.

Long story short, giving thanks gave us germs. Everyone who wasn’t already sick when they arrived damn sure was by the time they left.

I got off lucky, landing myself a nagging case of the sniffles and the occasional coughing fit.

Nutty Hubby was not so fortunate. By the time we hopped back on the ferry home, he was feverish and his nose was running like a faucet. His coughs rattled the tempered glass windows.

And that night, the snores began. The obstreperous nocturne of the stuffy-nosed infirm. The Ghost of Flu Season Present, come to haunt me.

It’s not his fault. He’s sick. He can’t help it. I will remain calm. I will remain rational. I will not smother my husband with my pillow. I will not smother my husband with my pillow…

I was one more tortured rumble away from moving to the living room couch when I remembered the ear plugs on the dresser. Why not, I thought. Let’s take ’em for a test drive.

Oh. My. God.

I didn’t even need to get the shit kicked out of me first.

Friends, ear plugs have come a long way. I don’t know what took me so long to give them a second chance, but I never want to take those beautiful pastel bastards out of my ears again as long as I live.

No snores disturb my slumber.

No clunking footsteps or furniture scraping on upstairs floorboards can jolt me back to alertness just as I’m finally starting to doze off.

No sound can touch me, save for the beating of my own heart. It’s like being underwater in a cool, still lake.

How beautiful, the sound of silence.

So I’m more excited than ever for the flight to Japan.  Just lemme at that motherfucking plane. I’m pumped. I’m set. I’m…pretty much deaf, really.


This Bud’s for you.

It’s 2 in the morning. I am sitting on a bench in the shadows of a dark street corner, staring up at the stars and feeling the wind.

It’s been a long day, but thanks to my life partner Insomnia, I’m still wide awake. So I came out here, to let the starlight and the rustling of leaves fill my eyes and ears. To smother my incessant mental background chatter with a blanket of organic calm.

Beats lying in bed staring at the ceiling.

Out of the darkness, a guy in his twenties stumbles up over the curb and makes for the bench opposite mine, shooting me a rueful grin. He’s holding two unopened cans of beer in one hand, which he uses to indicate the bench while forming a question with his eyebrows. I start to nod but end up shrugging awkwardly at the last second, exhibiting my usual tenuous grasp on normal human interaction, but it gets the point across. Beer Guy saunters the last few steps to the bench and flops down with a prolonged sigh.

Although I have said nothing, Beer Guy decides he owes me an explanation as he cracks the first can open. “Hope you don’t mind. Gotta finish these off before…” Except I will never know the reason for his compulsory beer consumption, because he simply trails off there, assuming I understand where he is going with the thought. I suppose this is flattering, as it indicates I’ve successfully passed as someone who knows how today’s after dark society works, but in reality I’m just left unfulfilled. Before what? Before you turn into a pumpkin at 3am? Before catching the bus? Before your 12 step program sponsor sees you? Before the impending zombie apocalypse? Don’t leave me hanging, man.

Beer Guy interrupts my Before what? musings by grunting something in my direction, and I look over to see him holding out an unopened Budweiser. “Want one?” he asks, as casually as if we were hanging out in someone’s living room watching football and not total strangers on a dark street corner. “No thanks,” I laugh, and realizing the absurdity of the question he chuckles sheepishly back and quickly looks away.

Just FYI.

I return to my stargazing, but it’s immediately apparent that Beer Guy does not do well with sitting in silence. He scuffs his shoes against the paving stones and restlessly taps the side of his beer can. He begins looking around absentmindedly, peering down the sidewalks as if wishing someone else would show up. I start to wonder if he sat here hoping I was the talkative type, up for a late night chat. If so, he has chosen poorly.

The frequency of his tapping increases. He graduates to drumming the fingers of his free hand on the bench. He leans forward slightly and rocks a bit on the edge of the wooden seat. And then– we have liftoff! In one swift motion he is on his feet and disappearing down the road, tucking the unopened Budweiser under his arm as he throws his head back and chugs the remaining contents of the other.

I’ll never know if he turned into that zombie pumpkin.

It is entirely possible that I have stolen someone’s underwear.

I just noticed three quarters of the way through the work day that I had my thong on inside out.

This happens more often than I’d like to admit. You would think I’d be more adept at putting on underwear in the dark after all my years of practice, but at the age of 32 I’m fairly sure I actually manage to screw it up more than I ever did as a child. Maybe not. Maybe I was just better at not noticing that my underwear was inside out when I was a kid.

Maybe it’s also a testament to how exhausted I am lately that I briefly considered just leaving it on as is.

But I knew it would haunt me all day if I did.

Plus it’s not like I had this undergarment epiphany on the bus or something. This wasn’t a Mr. Bean at the beach situation. No, I was in the goddamn ladies’ room, a place specifically designed to grant you the privacy in which to be naked from the waist down. HOW LAZY ARE YOU, NUTTY?

So I sighed and began taking off my shoes. Of course I would be wearing the absolute worst clothing for a hasty panty inversion: black skinny jeans and lace-up boots. God forbid I screw up basic lingerie protocol on a day when I’m in easily removable cargo pants and flats.

The skinny jeans, being skinny, took some tugging to get off, so I had a real good long time to stare at my own crotch. And suddenly, a terrible thought hit me.

Is this…is this even my underwear?

I realized I had no recollection of ever buying these panties.


My brain, searching for a logical explanation, went into checklist mode.

Are they your size? Yes, they fit perfectly. That means almost nothing. Do you have any idea how many people wear size Medium underwear?

Is there a tag? No, the tag’s been cut out, which is admittedly something I do with all my skivvies, because I’ve never found washing instructions poking out of lacy knickers to be terribly alluring. So that might potentially be a point in the “I am not a panty purloiner” column. But without the tag, I have no way to check if it’s even my brand. Besides, I can’t be the only one who de-tags all their underthings. I think we can all agree that the human buttcrack is a place where “do not iron” advice  just isn’t necessary.

What about the lace trim? Is it the same lace as you have on your other underwear? Let’s see, off the top of my head, I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA. I’m not a tatting expert. Sorry if I didn’t think to carry a spare pair in case I needed it for a goddamn forensic comparison.

So what we have here is just a plain red thong with no tag and unidentifiable lace that that may or may not have been somehow filched by accident last time you did laundry. Looks that way. It wouldn’t be the first time someone else’s stuff has mysteriously gotten into our dryer. Just the first time I didn’t notice before I actually wore one of the things.

Well, fuck. Yep.

Maybe they are yours and you’re just going senile. Also possible.

I hate to ask, but is this mystery underwear at least clean? Blissfully spotless. Like new.

So. Uhhh…*ahem*…finders keepers then? I want to be grossed out by that, but I’ve already been wearing these all day so it’s a little late. Yeah, why the fuck not. Congratulations, self, on the unexpected acquisition of a new red thong. Or your rediscovery of an old one you forgot you had. Either way, clean, comfy underwear, woo!

Awesome! Let’s never speak of this again. Huh? Oh, yeah, of course…

Let me just quickly tell the whole internet about it first.

Dear Diary

The other night I made a New Year’s resolution to start journaling again.

Okay, so I might be a little late on the New Year’s thing by a month or ten. And as a general rule I don’t really believe in making New Year’s resolutions. Let’s just call this an “October objective”.

Anyway, I realized I really, really need to start keeping a diary.

Although if you want to be literal about it, I’ve technically been keeping lots of diaries. I just haven’t been writing in them. I have an entire shelf of empty hardcover notebooks I apparently bought for the sole purpose of sitting around and looking pretty. I might definitely have a slight major notebook hoarding problem.

It’s not that I don’t want to write in them. I just never seem to find the energy to pick up a pen. Dealing with a massive database clusterfuck and a giant upcoming overhaul of my entire accounting system at work have made me so burnt out and exhausted that even composing a simple tweet feels like trying to write a goddamn novel these days.

But the ideas, man. They just won’t stop coming. A couple of months ago I was strapped for ideas. Now I’m inundated. They hurl themselves at my brain in the silence of my late night strolls around the neighborhood with my old pal Insomnia. They scream “Shotgun!” and pile into the passenger seat of my car as I leave work, and then talk over each other the whole drive home. They make me hopeful. They make me wistful. They make me laugh out loud at their silliness.

99% of them have absolutely no place on this blog, but I need to stop using that as an excuse not to take the time to at least jot them down for their own sake. I used to find that so easy before academia and blogging made me overly analytical of my own writing, and I want that ease back. I need to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and just fucking write, with no pressure to be clever or funny or wise. So I’ve designated October as my official “quit your bitching and just fucking record this shit in a journal already so you’ll stop punishing yourself for letting perfectly good ideas go to waste” month.

That’s a working title, obviously; I’ll see if I can come up with something catchier.

I know this is a long and unnecessary post just to say, “Hey guys, guess what, I’m writing a daily diary that you won’t ever read,” but I have a history of not following through on plans like this (see NaNoWriMo) and experience has taught me that announcing shit publicly is the best way to keep myself accountable. Sorry for using you.

I mentally composed this post on a park bench in the 2:30am darkness after thinking about how diary entries from me now would differ from the diary I kept in my early teens. I found it hilarious and depressing at the same time.

Nutty, age 13:

Dear Diary, do I like Stuart? I think I might like Stuart. Everyone says he’s fat, but he’s not really, he’s just stocky. And he’s nice and he smells good. I think I like him.

Nutty, age 32:

Dear Diary, tonight I finally killed that giant fucking fruit fly that’s been pissing me off for the last two weeks. Got a mosquito while I was at it too. DOUBLE KILL, FUCK YEAH. I am awesome. I am a master assassin. Bring it, vermin.

Nutty, age 13:

Dear Diary, today I finally did a perfect front flip off Katie’s patio railing onto the trampoline, but then Stuart double bounced me when I landed even though I asked him not to and he promised he wouldn’t. Don’t know if I like Stuart that much after all. Boys are kinda jerks.

Nutty, age 32:

Dear Diary, I can’t believe my calf muscle is complaining about basic walking when I used to do things like fucking flips off patio railings onto trampolines.
Me: *walking*
Calf Muscle: Stop it. That hurts.
Me: What hurts?
Calf Muscle: Walking.
Me: What? Why? What’d I ever do to you?
Calf Muscle: You know what you did.
Me: Ohhh no, don’t you pull that stereotypical female “if you don’t know then I’m not telling you” bullshit. Tell me what the fuck is wrong right fucking now.
Calf Muscle: No.
Me: You can’t, can you? Because I didn’t do anything. Admit it, you’re just being a bitch for no reason.
Body: Welcome to your thirties, princess. Go Peter Pan yourself to Neverland if you’re that much of a pussy who can’t deal.
Me: Yeah well according to every person ever my biological clock is supposed to be screaming at me by now too, but that ain’t happening, is it?
Body: Oh come on, do you really want to get knocked up?
Me: Hell no, I’m just sayin-
Body: Do you want to want to get knocked up?
Me: Fuck no, but-
Body: I rest my case. Now leave me be, I have involuntary eye twitches and a random inexplicable pain in your ring finger to schedule.

Nutty, age 13:

Dear Diary, holy crap, I just realized I can do like twenty one-handed push-ups in a row. Katie is majorly impressed. Maybe I should join the army. I feel like an Amazon warrior. I totally rock.

Nutty, age 32:

Dear Diary, I think I slept on my neck funny again. I bet I pinched a nerve or something, because my jaw and ear hurt too. Did I fuck up my vagus nerve? Is that the right nerve? Damn, I’ve forgotten most of that anatomy I learned in intro to neurolinguistics.

Nutty, age 13:

Dear Diary, I desperately need to grow out these hideous bangs.

Nutty, age 32:

Dear Diary, “I hurt myself sleeping” is slowly creeping its way up my list of most-used phrases. I thought my neck was getting better but I must have slept on it wrong AGAIN because now the pain is back even worse than before. Maybe it’s not a nerve. Maybe I have flesh-eating disease like that woman in that program I saw on TLC back when it was actually a channel about learning things. Great. Now they’re gonna fucking have to surgically remove half my face and neck and probably my entire jaw. Wait, could they 3D print me a new jaw? Note to self: check company insurance plan to see if 3D printing of replacement body parts is covered.

Nutty, age 13:

Dear Diary, I wish I was a grown-up already because life would be so much easier.

Nutty, age 32:

Dear Diary, 13-year-olds are fucking idiots.