Monday, September 29, 2014

Super Secret Voodoo Fetus

I don't do cute pictures with cakes or chalkboards or other appropriate props. Instead, I give you this. A blog post filled with fetuses and voodoo and questionable Google image searching.

You know those friends? The ones that have a deep, dark weird that is kin to your own? I've always found that when things get overwhelming, I can turn to those friends with my favorite coping mechanism: an abiding sense of black humor. I don't have to explain that I'm really okay -- or that I'm going to be okay -- or that none of my dark jokes are plots I plan to put into action. (Except for the ones that would clearly make genius plots -- the weird people already know which ones those are.)

A few weeks ago when I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly expecting, I was overwhelmed in all possible senses of the word. And the world at large -- at least, the small world of people we shared the early news with -- was excited and congratulatory and squeely before I was ready.

Slowly, I became ready for excitement and congratulations, and one of the small turning points was a Facebook messenger conversation I had with two friends who understand the power of absurd laughter. Two friends who don't even know each other, but who I think would recognize a deep, dark weird kinship if they ever met.

The conversation began when I shared a picture another friend had taken. The picture showed a deer, reaching forward, mouth slightly open, about to snag a bite to eat in the dark of dusk or dawning. The deer's eyes glowed meanly in the flash, and it had an eerie quality.

"I'm fairly certain this is a chupacabra," I messaged my friends, Mabel and Keith.

"A chupavenado," countered Mabel. Venado is Spanish for deer.

"It's probably drawn to our woods by the promise of fresh-born baby flesh.," I told her, "I'm going to have to tell Chris to get a sword to fend off the baby-eating things we'll attract."  By this time, both Mabel and Keith knew about the super secret fetus.

Mabel, who is possibly an expert on Hispanic lore, advised me that I should protect the fetus by wearing chupavenado repellant, such as a necklace made out of habaneros and garlic. That sounded like an awesome wardrobe addition during a vomitty first trimester, but I countered with, "Can I just eat Chipotle and call it the same thing?"

"You'll have to constantly fart in order for that to work. Which is good, 'cause I know from experience that will now be the norm," my lore-master answered, completing her mission of grossing everyone out for the day.

Keith finally chimed in, saying that at least it was an option. I countered again, not caring for any of the fetal-protection options provided, "Chris has a gun. Chupavenado can be killed with regular bullets, right? Have Sam and Dean done this one before?"  (Obligatory Supernatural reference when discussing baby-eating monsters. Or any monsters.)

Mabel said the gun would work if the bullets were laced with hot sauce and garlic. Keith unhelpfully suggested the Colt (Supernatural again), but pointed out the obvious fact that I didn't have it in my possession.

"How about a regular handgun bathed in voodoo and Tabasco?" I suggested.

Everyone agreed that a voodoo-and-Tabasco-bathed gun would kill a chupavenado. But we also agreed there was a problem with that route. What if, in voodooing the gun, I voodooed the fetus as well? The consequences of an accidental voodoo fetus ranged from "super hero" to "chupavenado-fetus hybrid." 

Obviously, the matter called for additional research, which Mabel was happy to begin. As with all good research, she started with a Google image search for "voodoo fetus." 

Is this meant to represent a voodoo fetus, or is this the kind of doll you give the voodoo fetus once it's born?

Either way, how much do I want one of these for my office? Maybe with blue or green stitching instead of pink.

Would it be creepy if I crocheted one of these when the nesting happens and gave it to the baby when it's born instead of a teddy bear?

I quickly joined the important Google image research. Because everyone knows Google image searching is as contagious as the common cold. 

I found this puzzling bit of chocolate that Mabel described as a "demented cake with a pretzel in its butt." I dissented, stating, "That's not its butt, that's its front. Is it a boy choco-fetus blob?"

Irregardless, Mabel declared that we'd found the inspiration for the baby shower cake. For the Voodoo Fetal Shower that would scare everyone away. We discussed the pros of a scary voodoo fetus cake (less hugging at the party?) for a few minutes before I realized Keith was still on the window. 

"I just realized this is the window Keith is on too. I'd apologize, but I suspect whenever he gets round to reading this, he'll be ok with it," I said.

Later, he chimed back in with, "You were correct in your assumption of my appreciation." (Remember what I said about people with weird that matches your own? You never have to apologize for your crazy to them.)

Google image search never limits itself to innocent topics such as voodoo fetuses, though. Sometime later, I messaged them and said, "You guys. Do not Google image search Fetus King. And by 'Do not,' I mean, 'Do it right now.'"   

"Is that a mummy?" Mabel asked.

No. Pretty sure that's the original voodoo fetus.

It's probably good I didn't move forward with bathing that gun in hot sauce and Tabasco. So far, we've had no chupavenado sitings in our woods. I'm careful when I go out at dawn or dusk.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

In which we take a flute joke much too far.

Part of a conversation Tucker and I found widely entertaining as we ran our errands today.

T: She's into anime, so a lot of times, she acts like an anime character.

Me: Like you. Always walking around playing the flute.

T: What? How is that like anime?

Me: That's so like anime. There's probably an anime character that always plays the flute. Or a comic character. He has secret flute powers.

T: Flute Man?

Me: Super Fluter.

T: The Fantastic Flute.

Me: The Flutastic Four.

T: The Amazing Flute.

Me: The Incredible Flute.

T: Wonder Fluter.

Me: Fluterine.  Flutes come out of his fingertips.

T: His bones are made of flute.

Me: When he runs, it's like an entire symphony.

T: Fluneto can control him.

Me: Fluteman and the Masters of the Symphony.

T: Fluter Parker.

Me: No, Peter Fluter. As in, Peter Fluter picked a peck of pickled flutes, but he couldn't play them.

T: Because they were pickled!  Commander Flutey and the SHEILD Flutercrafter. Imagine the eye patch!

Me: Does he wear a flute over his eye?

T: Yessssss!  Also, Agent Fluteson.

Me: Killed by a Flutesgardian.

T: Darth Fluter.

Me: Lex Flutor.

T: Fluter the Hut.

Me: Darth Flutious

T: Anikan Flutewalker

Me: R-Flute-D-Flute

T: Flutebaca

Me: Flute Solo.

T: Flute SOLO.

Me: We should maybe end it there.

(But we didn't.)

UPDATE: Tucker notes that I forgot to include Doc Flutipus and the Flutiller.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's not meet at the grocery store

When my son was younger, we ran into his former teacher at the grocery store. She chatted for a few minutes, mostly with him, and then wondered off down the aisle.

"Who WAS that?" my son asked once she'd left.

"That was your teacher from last year!" I exclaimed. It's not like he'd only met the woman once or twice. He'd been in her classroom for hours each day for however long a school year is. 180 days? The point is, she was not a stranger.

To my young son, however, she was also not someone that belonged in the grocery store part of his life. And I get that. Unless you're the nice cashier who works the self-checkout stand, then I'm pretty much okay if we never meet at the grocery store.

There's a former coworker I run into from time to time at the grocery. We weren't super close in the office, but we could chat easily and joke. In the grocery store, our conversation is awkward--pushed through a thick broth of grocery store scents and other people's noise and the knowledge that neither of us had planned to see each other and weren't prepared with appropriate grocery-store conversation starters. The second I indicate that I recognize his presence, I begin planning my retreat. Not because I don't like him, but because he doesn't belong there, in the grocery store piece of my life.

Months after we had several awkward encounters, a friend who still works with him mentioned it. "Oh, C. says he sees you at the grocery store," she said.

"Did he say it's super awkward?" I asked.

She laughed. "He didn't have to, of course I knew it was. But yes, he did. I said you're always like that in those situations, and he said that's why he likes you."

The friend who relayed this is actually worse than I am. She saw a former coworker at the end of the aisle once and fled several sections over and completed her shopping secret-agent style, on the look out for anyone she might know and have to hide from.

I have another friend that I mostly converse with online. He sent me a message recently and followed it up with one that said, "Sorry if that was awkward." It didn't seem awkward to me, I said, but I have a skewed sense of these things.

I said: "Not awkward: Any conversation we could have on Facebook, ever. Awkward: If I saw you in the grocery store."

"That's why I trust you," he responded.

He didn't provide further details, but I'm assuming that he trusts me because I am of the awkward-to-see-you-in-the-grocery-store clan and so is he. Members of the clan recognize each other instinctively. We're the ones that smile awkwardly and nod, or say, "Oh, hi, how are you, nice to see you," in one breath as we pass like ships in the aisles.

Our people don't stop to chat while leaning on baskets. Our people don't strike up lengthy conversations with cashiers or the lady at the deli who slices the meat. Our people are quiet, polite, and efficient. We believe the grocery store is for purchasing food. We will conduct our activities and leave the place to others who are in want of dinner.

Are you of our clan?

Know that we recognize you, and we appreciate the quick smile and the duck of your head as you move on to bury yourself in a fake quandary over frozen peas so we can avoid speaking.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

In which I respond to a potential Facebook stalker

Who can keep up with Facebook's ever changing and complex privacy controls? Apparently not me, because I thought my profile was unsearchable and only those who knew me could make contact. Turns out I was wrong, as I received this hilarious, and possibly creepy, private message earlier today.

Note the picture. Is David Jackson a meteorologist who uses his head shot for his Facebook profile? If so, no wonder they keep getting the forecast wrong. His sentence construction is off; he might mean to say "there will be ice tomorrow," but what comes out is "there has been start ice, but tomorrow has been clear."

I shared this with my sister, who said, "Complimentary, but block him!" Despite an itch to engage David in what one assumes would be a hilarious Facebook conversation, I obeyed my sister. Partly because I've heard stories about stalkers, but mostly because I was concerned with hackers and malware.

So, just in case David of the faux meteorology headshot is actually stalking me, I'm publishing my unsent reply below.

Dear David,
Are you actually Gollum? Because your first sentence sounds a bit "my precious" to me. Just in case there's some sort of confusion, I am not, in fact, a ring. Also, if you reply, can you use the word "hobbitses" in a sentence? That would be awesome.

If you aren't Gollum, did you mean to sound like him? That may be funny. Or creepy. I haven't yet decided. If you didn't mean to sound like him, I don't think we have the same sense of humor, and our friendship is probably doomed to an early end.

I'm also confused by your second sentence. When you say you "have interest in me," are you saying that you've bought STOCK in me? I wasn't aware someone is shilling me as a public entity, and to be honest, I'm not worth very much. You might have been scammed. Unless your interest in me is a vote of confidence in my future success, which is nice. Though I'm not guaranteeing anything, so don't come to me in five years or so complaining about your lost investment.

I'm not sure what "start by been good friends" means. Are we starting a friendship, or have we been friends. OR, are you a time traveler going backwards whilst I'm moving forwards? I'm going to assume it's the latter, which is the only way your statement makes sense. That's pretty cool, but we'll have to be super careful about paradoxes. There are a lot of things wrong in my world, but that doesn't mean I want it to blow up in some time-continuum accident.

And yes, I am married. If you are a time traveler moving backwards on my timeline, it's concerning to me that you would ask that question. But don't explain yourself--remember the paradoxes.


Friday, January 24, 2014

The Sound of Snow Falling

for Stefanie C.

I love the sound of snowfall in the woodland—
the soft hush-hush of a thousand voices
coming to the end of a whisper.

Reverence falling, a brief glimpse of prophecy—
a sliver of Heaven's half-hour silence
and the slow swish of robe arms
as seven raise trumpets to sanctified lips.

In the slow wash of white on world,
worship whispers;
the air is tinged with wonder
and promise
and the aftertaste of terror.

It's the sound of all the babies
sighing in milk-filled slumber.

It's the sound of a single assassin,
stealth ruined by the lush crackle of a high-pile carpet.

It's the sound of millions of eyelashes,
flittering closed in invitation.

It's the sound of thought,
when thought has stretched itself thin to plumb the depth
and may not be strong enough to carry forth
treasures long lost in the turgid well.

I love the sound of snow falling.
It's the tranquil tremor of the world.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Story of the Little Sliver

Sometimes, it's easier to believe that the world is only darkness. Sometimes, it's easier to believe that the good times are over, or never existed, or will never come again. Sometimes, it's easier to lay down in the dark, salty places and cry out salty tears and give up and forget the knowledge that every person, in their very heart of hearts, was given in the beginning.

Sometimes, when darkness seems like the easiest path, I think of a woman I know. I don't know all the details of her life--do we ever, really? But I do know this: She has been through the darkness. Even so, she has embraced and remembered and carried and shone the light. She reminds me of that knowledge I've been given. She reminds me that even in the dark, there is always the sliver of perfect light waiting inside.This story was inspired by her.

The Story of the Little Sliver

Once, there was a little sliver of a thing. It floated, happy, in a great water. Warmth surrounded it and beauty was its home. Above, brightness danced and filtered and cascaded slowly down. Below, shadows slipped and whispered. Bright colors zipped and zagged, darting this way and that.

The little sliver could not imagine a better place to be.

One day, the little sliver caught hold of a current and road it down, down, down. Current riding was a favorite past time, and the little sliver would have screamed with joy had it a mouth.
This time, the ride was different. The little sliver didn't catch the current back up; instead, it tumbled into the soft depths of something new.

The little sliver, being comprised of fairly laidback molecules, was not, at first, alarmed. The new place was warm and salty and dark. It was as good a place as any to settle in for a rest. The sliver rested for a while. It considered leaving, but let security lull it into a longer sleep. There was always tomorrow for current riding and brightness watching.

Soon, the little sliver noticed something was happening. It couldn't move with the current. It couldn't even feel the current. There was something slowly growing, all around it. The little sliver was not happy about the new circumstance, and it railed silently, still, inside the little prison.

Had the little sliver been a timekeeper, it would have marked the passing of days, weeks, years within the dark, salty prison. As it was, the little sliver only knew that it wasn't happy at the changes; it wasn't happy in the prison. It wasn't happy about anything at all.

The little sliver dreamt of bright colors and light dancing. It dreamt of current rides and shadow whispers. The little sliver, who was a philosophical sort, considered that all those good things had only been a dream. Maybe they didn't exist at all. Maybe life was only this dark, salty existence.

More time passed, and the little sliver wanted to begin to believe only in the darkness and salt. It would be easier to exist, just believing those things. But it couldn't shake the wispy memories of color and sun and current. Always, deep down within itself—beneath the shell growing daily—was the memory of something greater. Of something glorious and filled with light.

So the little sliver passed its time, struggling to discover within itself more of that beautiful memory.

One day, a miracle occurred. The dark, wet, salty thing jostled and shook. Current rushed around, washing the round, hard thing that the little sliver had become. Above, a crack appeared. Light bloomed in the darkness. Color crashed in on all sides. The little sliver felt something in itself give way, explode, join with the beauty that surrounded it.

The little sliver could never quite explain—even if it had the mouth and words to do so—what occurred on the journey that began with the crack of light. It understood, only, that it was being changed. It was being remade. Its remaking, which had begun in the salty, terrible depths of darkness, was being completed.

Soon, the little sliver came to rest against something soft and warm. It hung in a line, other remade slivers sitting joyfully next to it. Around them, the world was a wonder of light, of color, of indescribable and perfect sound.

A word bloomed, complete and pure, in the heart of the little sliver; if it had a mouth, the little sliver would have cried, "Home!"  

Friday, January 17, 2014

I'm usually busy breaking stuff

Conversation between Chris and me the other night when he called to tell me he was on the way home.

Chris: Hi, I'm leaving.

Me: Ok. See you in a bit. I'm sort of busy.

Chris: Doing what?

Me: Breaking stuff.

Chris: How often does that go on?

Me: A lot.

Chris: Where's all the broken stuff?

Me: I'm really good at fixing it.

Chris: Fixing it?

Me: Or. . . disguising it.

Chris: What do you. . . ah. . . never mind. I probably shouldn't know.

It's taken nine years for him to come to that wisdom.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That one second when the baby was maybe a demon

There's an awesomely terrifying and hilarious video making the social media rounds today that reminded me of an awesomely hilarious and momentarily terrifying episode that occurred when my son was a few days old.

Here's the video. You are welcome. And also, I'm sorry.

Here's the story.

My son was only a few days old. We were living at my mom's house, and no one was yet accustomed to the sounds of the baby monitor. Babies sound weird enough on their own if you aren't used to them--add in some cheap plastic, a bit of static, and an imagination, and it seems like the baby is half the time a wee dragon breathing through rocks and brimstone. You wonder, for a moment, if the cribbing might catch fire.

One day my sister came by after work. She demanded to see the baby, who was sleeping. Both my mom and I, sitting in the living room, threatened her with various ineffective comments such as, "If you wake him up, he's your responsibility!"

My sister made her way to the back of the house, where my brother and a friend were. Seemingly, she took to heart the seriousness of waking the baby.

Several minutes later, once my mom and I were amply distracted by television or conversation, the baby monitor made a sound we'd never heard before.

A voice crackled, low and wispy, at the other end. "Heelllllloooooooooooo," it said. The voice, traveling through the cheap plastic receiver, seemed cast in shadow and smoke and darkness.

I looked up, meeting my mom's eyes. Her face had gone a bit pale, her eyes grown much too wide. I'm sure it mirrored my own face. The fact that I was certain, in that second, that my mom was thinking the exact impossible thought I was just proves that we're related.

For a split second--not even an entire second, really--my heart crashed in my chest as my mind stumbled on the thought. Was THAT the baby speaking? Was the baby--sometimes a dragon, now a demon--greeting us with his mean, gravelly voice through the terrible, terrible invention of a baby monitor?

The thoughts flew through at warp speed, and then I gasped. "It's Alice!" I said, my realization coming at the same time my mother's eyes cleared and she thought the same thing.

It was my sister. Either messing with us through the baby monitor or greeting her nephew with a whisper so creepy she is possibly the Other Mother's sister--the Other Aunt.

Either way, it explains a lot about the kid, now that he's 13-years-old.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Are You Our Kind of Weird?

My friend Mabel and I often say, "They aren't our kind of weird." We say it when someone doesn't understand what we're on about, or when a communication goes awkward, or just in general. "Our kind of weird" has never been defined, so I thought I'd give it a go. 

Now you can use this handy quiz to see if you're our kind of weird. I'm sure you're on pins and needles about the outcome. But even if you aren't, I'm sure you'll enjoy the procrastinatory entertainment. Everyone likes some pointless procrastination.


Take the Quiz
Answer each question as honestly as possible. If you don't understand the question, just go with your gut feeling. 

1. The right response to rabbits in the roadway is to shout "Watership Down!"

a. Sure, that makes complete sense.
b. Doesn't it make more sense to call out one of the rabbit names, like Fiver?
c. What's Watership Down? Why would you shout at all?

2. In the event of the zombie apocalypse, the Fried-Brains-and-Chicken shack is a win-win business proposition.
a. Absolutely. No matter who wins, you've got a popular product to sell.
b. Uh, no. Zombies don't have money. And all the chicken-buyers would just attract killer zombies.
c. Why is everyone always talking about the zombie apocalypse?

3. What is the scariest thing on earth?
a. People.
b. Clowns. Dolls. Anything with a painted-on face.
c. Disease. Car Accidents. Things that commonly kill.

4. The best way to perform a tedious task is:
a. To song. That you made up just now. About the tedious task itself.
b. With liquor or laughter or both.
c. Just get to it and get it done as quickly as possible.
5. When you see someone in a store you used to work with, you should:
a. Hide behind--or within--the nearest rack of clothing until they leave.
b. Nod and do the half smile as you walk by.
c. Stop and catch up--you haven't seen the person in forever!

Score Your Results 
A's are worth 10, B's are worth 7, and C's are worth 3. Total your score and see whether you're our kind of weird. 
47-50 - You're "our kind of weird." No one really knows what that means, but if we were forced to work on a project with you, eat lunch with you, or sit awkwardly next to you at a social event, it would probably be more awesome than terrible.

31 to 46 - You can be a little weird, and you're the type of person we gravitate to in the workplace or social situations--when we are forced to gravitate toward anyone at all. We share a bit of humor with you, although there are times when we forget to filter what we say and you get the look in your eyes that tells us it's time for us to make an awkward retreat.
0 to 30 - You may or may not be weird. We think you're pretty normal, and we try not to scare you with too much information about the inside of our heads.