I’m glad to be with you, here at the end of all things.

Well, here we are at the end of November.

Yep, we’re here all right.

I was hoping I’d have some good news or bad news or big news or any news for my last post of the month so I could end Nano Poblano with a bang, but I realized after a whole day of half-hearted brainstorming that there’s really nothing I can currently write that will live up to to the hype of yesterday’s Big Bang of Supreme Facepalmery.

That said, today was one of those days where I just felt really good for no particular reason, so in honor of the thirtieth day of the month and this rare window of optimism, here are thirty things I’m currently grateful for:

1. Nutty Hubby, for being so fucking awesome and making me feel fucking awesome by association.

2. My incredibly understanding boss, who knows I can’t stand my job and is backing my escape plan every step of the way.

3. The animal shelter, for giving me the opportunity to do some of the most fulfilling and meaningful work of my life, a few hours at a time.

4. The new kitty who climbed right up into my lap today and made herself at home even though it was her first day in a strange, scary place and she had no reason to trust me.

5. Kitties in general.

6. Kitty headbutts.

7. Kitty chin skritches.

8. Li’l kitty toe beans.

9. Rats and other assorted small animals that make me go  “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” with giddy joy from their sheer adorableness.

10. I had to go in for a Pap test today. That wasn’t particularly fantastic in itself, but now I don’t have to go for another one for three years. So yay for that. (BTW I know that was a weird jump in subject matter from rats to Paps, but to be fair, “Oh rats!” is usually my first reaction upon finding out I’m due for a Pap.)

11. Doctors who make sure the speculum is warm so it doesn’t feel like having an icicle shoved up your hoo-ha.

12. The Elimination Diet of Sadness has helped identify several foods that were sneakily making me feel shitty.

13. The Elimination Diet of Sadness has helped exonerate several foods that I thought were making me feel shitty but weren’t.

14. The Elimination Diet of Sadness has somehow made me learn to love sweet potatoes, which I previously couldn’t stand.

15. The Elimination Diet of Sadness is almost over.

16. Cast iron pans, for making everything they touch extra delicious.

17. The grocery store having fresh shrimp again instead of the tasteless “previously frozen” excuse for shrimp they carry when fresh isn’t available. (Yes, I’m a seafood snob. So sue me.)

18. Aurora golden gala apples. Best. Apples. Ever. (I might be an apple snob too.)

19. A hot cup of tea.

20. Warm fuzzy socks.

21. Microwaveable heat packs.

22. Memory foam pillows.

23. Sleeping in on the weekend.

24. Itty bitty birds chirping happy birdie songs outside my window.

25. Finally catching up on my reading and discovering several spectacularly written I-have-to-work-in-three-hours-but-I-can’t-put-this-down new favorites to add to my library.

26. I start Christmas-ifying the apartment tomorrow. MY SOUL IS READY.

27. The smell of holiday baking.

28. The television of holiday baking (Holiday Baking Championship and Christmas Cookie Challenge, anyone?).

29. Holiday music in the key of Bing Crosby.

30. The fucking awesome people who inexplicably still stop by to read this sad excuse for a blog even after it spends occasional eons lying dormant in a pool of its own filth and self-pity. I don’t fully understand why you keep coming back, but I love you for it, you magnificent weirdos.

And with that, Nano Poblano draws to a close for another year. Happy December, my dears. I hope it brings each and every one of you joy, laughter, and at least 31 more things to be grateful for.

And once this bloody diet is done, I hope it delivers me five times my weight in eggnog to suck down my greedy gullet.

This is Nano Nutty, signing off. I promise I’ll try not to be such a stranger around here.

Little rat feet.

My happy thought for the past two weeks has been little rat feet.

We recently took in a transfer of four baby rats at the shelter. They’re teeny and sweet and inquisitive and perfect and my heart just melts into a big puddle of syrupy joy any time I get anywhere near them.

For the general protection of the animals, we’re not allowed to take photos of them, but they basically look like this, white socks and all:

I could watch them scamper around and twitch their bitty whiskers all day. I don’t, because there are dishes to wash and litter boxes to scour and endless mounds of laundry to cycle through, but the temptation is there.

They love to lick my fingers. They nibble at my nails and my rings. And when their curiosity emboldens them enough to step onto my hand with their little rat feet- oh! those little rat feet give me life.

To anyone who’s not a fan of rats or has never handled one, this probably sounds really weird. I myself can’t even really put a finger on why it’s such a neat sensation. Maybe it’s the delicacy of their tiny toes, or the astonishing way they can grip onto nearly anything like Velcro. Maybe it’s the way their feet run slightly cool in contrast to their warm furry bodies. Whatever it is, it’s magical. 5/5, would recommend.

Sadly for me (but happily for the rats), our time together is likely to be short-lived. Two of the four have already found a home, and I’m sure the other two will follow suit in no time. They’re way too adorable not to get scooped up by someone.

I’ll miss them when they’re gone but I’m sure the kitties, who I usually spend the most time with when I’m not distracted by impossibly cute baby rodents, will be happy to have my full attention back in their absence.

And hey, little cat feet are pretty awesome too. I hear those are how the fog gets around, and we all know how I feel about fog.

Walking in a winter wonderland.

Fact: I am still just as excited to wake up and see snow outside my window as I was when I was an itty bitty kidlet.

Only now I have a better camera than when I was an itty bitty kidlet, so it’s possible that these days I’m even more excited.

I left my car at home today. The only thing worse than trying to get up our steep driveway in the snow is trying to get back down it.

Instead I took about fifteen “me” minutes to just walk around in the white stuff and be enveloped by the stillness that came with it as it wafted softly down. I photographed the silent streets and breathed deep breaths of fresh, crisp air until my heart was as light and carefree as a helium balloon.

Then I reluctantly acknowledged the reality that it was Monday and I had places to be.

I joined a line of some two dozen texting and muttering people waiting anxiously for a bus. Approximately three minutes later, we got the word from a kindly couple in a truck that there were five buses stuck down at the bottom of the hill and not to get our hopes up that they’d be heading our way any time soon. At that, about three quarters of the line dispersed. Out of some misguided sense of duty, I decided to wait another ten minutes before giving up.

Exactly ten minutes later, the bus arrived.


Two transfers later I was on a community shuttle, seated directly in front of a bunch of college kids who were just not having it.

“Who was it that told me it never snows in Richmond? Who? Was it you, man?”
“Nope, not me dude. I said it was gonna snow Sunday, remember?”
“Some motherfucker told me it doesn’t snow in Richmond. When I remember who it was, I’m gonna punch him in the face.”
“Heh. I kinda hope, like, class is cancelled, but at the same time I kinda hope it isn’t because I came all this way.”
“Seriously man, I know someone told me it never snows in Richmond. When I remember who, I’m gonna kick his ass. Punch him right in the face. This is bullshit.”
“You should, like, drive over to his place and block his car in. Be all, ‘How do you like it?'”
“And then I’ll pack his exhaust with snow. Freeze his carburetor.”

They got off the shuttle at the first stop, still churning out increasingly outlandish threats to the mystery misinformer. I had to stifle a smile as they passed by.

The silence closed back in around us when they had gone.

We drove onward.

I arrived at work an hour and twenty minutes late. The snow is still falling softly outside the window.

I am happy.







As if the fact that today is Friday weren’t cause enough for celebration, the Boss Lady decided to bring her dog in to visit on her day off. He’s two years old and full of energy, and we all just spent a considerable amount of time chasing him around the office and talking to him in silly voices to watch his head tilt madly back and forth.

This may very well be the closest I ever come to having anything resembling job satisfaction.

*sigh* I need a dog, dammit.


Meet my therapists.

I’m pretty sure today went out of its way to be ALL THE AWFULNESS. Like, just an ongoing wall-to-wall shit show from my arrival at work right up until literally less than five minutes before my departure.

So the second I was out the door I wrote myself a prescription for a couple of good hefty doses of heart-shaped German gingerbread and caramel hot chocolate – both of which are known to be great listeners – and now we’re just chilling and having a nice little group therapy session, and I’m happy to report the urge to kill is slowly fading.

Let’s just hope I don’t run out of gingerbread before it’s completely gone.

#NoMakeup #NoFucksGiven

When I was a teen, I absolutely, positively lived for makeup. We weren’t technically allowed to wear any at Helly McHellerson’s Stuck-Up School For Girls, which I attended up until the end of tenth grade, but that just meant it was that much bigger of a deal for me to be able to wear the stuff on weekends or over the summer.

And when I transferred to public school?  Par-tayyyyy!

My love of everything cosmetic continued up until around second year university, at which point I realized most of the people around me were attending class in their pajamas and wearing last night’s wine as their preferred brand of lip stain. And wouldn’t know you know it, suddenly I didn’t really feel nearly as pressing a need to make a daily fashion statement. Funny how that happens.

Add in the passage of time and a rapidly diminishing number of fucks to give, and we arrive at the present, where how I look when I roll out of bed is basically how I’ll look all day.

I still love makeup; that hasn’t changed. Getting dolled up for a special night out is all kinds of fun. It’s just that I don’t have the patience or the interest in keeping up with it on a regular basis. I work in the accounting department of the tiniest of tiny small businesses – who am I trying to impress? So more often than not, apart from a quick smear of Blistex on the ol’ pout, I head out the door clean-faced with zero regrets.

Sometimes I even have a little fun with it.

Have you ever walked into Sephora sporting not so much as a dot of concealer and just sat back and watched the staff try and hide their horror at your naked mug having the audacity to exist in their carefully primer-ed, primped and pigmented midst? A state which only escalates when they witness you proceed to the cashier with that one lone item you came in for and nothing else, dashing their hopes that maybe you were only sans maquillage because your house had gone up in flames and all your makeup with it and you needed to rebuy your entire arsenal of magic creams and powders?

Like this, but with slightly more desperation.

The hard part is managing not to giggle.











It’s the first day of summer. Feliz Navidad!

Today is the summer solstice. The longest goddamn day of the year.

Maybe I’d be more inclined to enjoy that if I were lying in the sun on a pristine beach somewhere with a mai tai in one hand and a piña colada in the other – and two or three or ten more on the way, ideally served to me by Robert Downey Jr. – but I’m not. I’m stuck in a dreary grey office with dreary grey clouds outside the window and it’s Monday and therefore everything is terrible.

So fuck summer. Let’s have Christmas instead.
Continue reading

50 Happy Nutty Things for 2015.

Today my WordPress reader appears to be a wall of blogs participating in this 50 Happy Things / Flood of Gratitude dealie, which is pretty darn neat and impressive since a) woohoo, positive thinking! and b) you only get 10 itty-bitty minutes in which to think up all your fifty things, so to everyone who pulled it off: You are awesome.

Anyway, since it’s been a while since I jumped on a list bandwagon (and because I can never resist a challenge) I figured I might as well join the party, pretend to be a real adult for a change, and actually take a moment to think about stuff in my life that’s good instead of being my usual fountain of sarcasm about the stuff that bites.

So here goes. 10 minutes, 50 happy things…oh god what am I doing…aaand they’re off!

1. My husband. Because holy crap, how did I find someone so amazing who actually wanted to marry this bucket of crazy?
2. Chocolate. Because chocolate.
3. DSLR cameras. I don’t know how a control freak like me got by for so many years with only little point-and-shoots, but I’m glad those dark days are over.
4. Canon L-series lenses. I finally got my hands on one of those babies this year and can I just say OH. MY. GOD. LOVE.
5. Looking through my photo blog archives and seeing how much my images have improved over the years.
6. Cute animals on YouTube, which are all kinds of necessary when you live in a building that doesn’t allow pets and your soul is suffering for lack of a dog to come home to.

7. Music.
8. A working car horn, which successfully prevented me from getting plowed into this morning by some dipshit who didn’t know how to check their blind spot.
9. Nobody I love got appendicitis this year.
10. Christmas trees.
11. Christmas lights.
12. Mountains, and the act of climbing them. Because nothing helps you feel like you’re on top of the world like actually being on top of it.
13. Bread. Bread is fucking delicious.
14. Geeky friends who not only don’t mind my never-ending pop culture references but actually encourage them.
15. Maraschino cherries. You sugary, addictive, unnaturally red magnificent bastards…
16. My fellow bloggers. Sometimes you guys feel more like family to me than my actual family.
17. Twitter. What did I ever do with my mornings before Twitter?
18. I did two separate month-long blogging challenges this year and didn’t die.
19. My husband landed an awesome job that he loves, where they recognize and reward outstanding work, and I am SO proud of him.
20. My owl hat.

To err is human; to owl, divine.

21. Fluffy sweaters.
22. Every time this year that a stranger didn’t approach me to say something unnecessary or inappropriate.
23. Japan.
24. Japanese convenience stores.
25. Japanese vending machines.
26. Onigiri.
27. Going to Tokyo Disneyland dressed as Joy from Inside Out.
28. Visiting a friend halfway around the world.
29. Being able to breathe again after getting over a cold.
30. NyQuil, for before #29 happens.
31. Oil of oregano, because post-nasal drip can kiss my ass.
32. Getting ID’d more at 32 years old than I ever did in my 20s.
33. Having a doctor who doesn’t suck.
34. Having blood test results that suck less than usual.
35. Books.
36. Forever, which I think ABC was nuts for cancelling.
37. Waffles.
38. Feeling confident that I know what I’m doing at the gym.
39. The whirlpool and sauna at the gym, to soothe my aches away when I get caught up too much in #38 and overdo it.
40. My parents not asking if I’m pregnant this year (so far).
41. My in-laws not asking if I’m pregnant this year (so far).
42. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
43. This hummingbird deciding to nest directly above my in-laws’ deck right when Nutty Hubby and I were visiting at Easter:

Proud Mama To Be © 2015 Glass Half Delicious

Proud Mama To Be © 2015 Glass Half Delicious

44. Squirrels.
45. More music.
46. Seeing Muse live, which was ALL THE THINGS.
47. Snow. Not that we have any right now…but it’s the thought that counts.
48. Hot stone massages.
49. The fact that people are actually reading this.
50. Not being afraid to be my own weird and wonderful self.

Ahem. Okay, so…reviewing these, I kind of feel like they’re part gratitude, part grocery list. But in my defense, it’s hard to be deep on a ten minute deadline even when you’re not hungry.

And bread really is fucking delicious. I’m not taking that one back.

Think you can do better? Do ya, punk? (Calm down, Nutty, it’s not a competition…) Here are the rules if you want to take a plunge into the gratitude pool:

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the very bottom of Tales From the Motherland’s post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2015. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise; I will remove it. Aside from that one caveat, there is no such thing as too much positivity. Share your happy thoughts, your gratitude; help us flood the blogosphere with both!

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.