Adventures in Blogging: Debbie does Deerfield Beach

This weekend while BlogHer was happening in California, I decided to go visit Debbie from More than Sweet Potatoes. She is awesome and hilarious and fun. She came to see me last time we hung out and besides, she was trying to get me to adopt her found cat.


I kept making a lot of jokes the whole time about getting a cat. Like how it was the first step of becoming a crazy cat lady, etc. But I wasn’t sold on the idea. And then I got there and it wouldn’t stop licking me and being all up on my hands, making out with them. It made me pretty uncomfortable.

Lady has too many cats

One cat may very well lead to this. So. Many. Cats.

We even tried to force it to lick Debbie, but he wasn’t having it. What’s up with my hands being delicious to animals? And how do I get human men to buy into it?


She and I went to see some hurt turtles, because if there is one thing she and I love, as evidenced from our previous adventure, is hurt animals.

It’s a kind of tropical tree down here.

I’m about to tell you guys the biggest un-secret in my life. I fucking love things like this Gumbo Limbo place. It had nature walks with plants and trails and science and learning and pieces of animal poo on display.


I’m sorry, ‘scats.’

First we went to see the giant tanks of fish. An underage volunteer came over and asked us if we had any questions. We were just arriving, looking at fish. I didn’t have a question. He sat near us in awkward silence until I suddenly had a question.


I made Debbie promise to put a sunken ship in the pool at her future house.

“Do you guys eat the fish when they die?”


He looked kind of surprised for a minute. But then he told me ‘no’ which I think is a waste of dead fish, but whatever.


Besides giant squid; seahorses are my favorite ocean animal.

We went to see the injured turtles. They had other tanks of other, more injured turtles hiding in the back tanks. Debbie and I were morbidly obsessed with seeing them. I figured they were some kind of hideous disfigured freaks that the wildlife preserve didn’t want us to see. And we were mostly unsuccessful in seeing them.


So cute! Hurt animals!

Then we saw the baby turtles and they were attached to the most adorable little turtle harnesses. It’s possible that I squealed like a little girl. Several times.


Oh god, the little harnesses.

We also went on a nature walk through a butterfly garden. And climbed up some scary ass giant tower that overlooked both the ocean and the river. At some point I was hanging onto the railing like gravity had suddenly stopped working. Meanwhile, Debbie was posing on the bench like the Statue of Liberty.


We also posed on some giant metal turtles. Note to self: Metal gets very hot in direct sunlight.


And these pictures made me realize how much this shirt does not fit me.

We also played a super fun guessing game that was educational too.

20140727_154946 (1)

She was pretty good too.

So basically, Debbie is the best platonic date ever.


That’s actually fear on my face at the top of that tower.

By Any Other Name

My name has always been a point of contention. It’s unspellable, unpronounceable, and pretty unique. I love it. My name is Gaelic. It means morning. Like, ‘good morning.’ I like to joke that my full name is the most Irish name that ever Irished. But there is a story behind my name.


I’m not even as Irish as my name.


Just over 30 years ago my mother found out she was pregnant with me. Luckily, she had a whole list of names picked out from when she had my older brother, T. It may have even been older than that, now that I think of it. I do have many older siblings. Back then, poor people didn’t do things like know the gender of their unborn child.


There were many name options available to me. Names like Garrick and Joslyn. My mother was also partial to Scarlett and Molly. Not that Molly was a real option due to it rhyming with my last name. But still.


However, I didn’t get named the awful Scarlett Elizabeth (no offense to anyone named that). Because when my mother was about 8 months pregnant with me, she went to an art show.


I’m glad I wasn’t named after this bitch, though.


This was the 80s and it was no surprise that there was a little girl running around with her name airbrushed on her shirt.  I heard tell that it had airbrushed rainbows and clouds and maybe even a unicorn. I always imagined it sort of like the side of a panel van.


Like this. Oh yeah.


My mother took a liking to the way the name looked (on a t-shirt) and stalked the little girl through the crowd and back to her parents. She asked permission to name the baby in her belly Maurna, if it was a girl. Which I was.


A few years later, my parents walked into a Pizza Hut and what should they see but a girl with a name on her name tag. It was Maurna. My namesake.



Do you guys remember Book It?! I still have one of these that I turned into a fridge magnet. Thanks for paying me to read in pizza, Pizza Hut.


Maurna even remembered my mother  and her stalking. They brought me back a few days later and we met. I was 4 and have no memory of this. But Maurna still does.


Another few years later and I wanted to get an email account. I figured nobody would have just my first name. I mean, there were like 3 people in the world with that name. But when I registered the email account, it was already taken.


I was pissed! Some bitch had MY email! But then I realized, there were good odds that this was the famous Maurna that I had gotten my name from. So I emailed her.


And it was. And she still had the shirt I had gotten my name from. She found it in her attic a few weeks later and emailed a picture of it to me. It was better than I had ever imagined.



This is the real deal, right here. The shirt that changed my name.

Now she and I are Facebook friends. We talk sometimes. And I wonder, would I have turned out differently with some other name? Would I still be me by any other name?

Boys and Bullies

I think I have mentioned how unfortunate looking I was growing up. I went from a scrawny, lank haired child into a scrawny, lank haired, sallow faced teenager. My mother cut my hair and made my clothes. I had braces, glasses, and special shoes because I have extremely high arches.


I have pictures, but I will NOT be sharing them with the internet. I hear people talk about how ugly they were and then they proudly whip out photos to prove it. But truly ugly people, we keep that shit hidden.


In 5th grade, when I was ten, I had a brief respite from the decades of poor looks. I had gotten my braces off the year before and didn’t get glasses till the following year. And for some reason, my mother had let me grow out my bangs some. I was, miraculously, sort of cute for that year between childhood and the ravages of puberty.



Proof that I was cute, once upon a time.


I was also already taller than all my classmates. I was already 5’9” or so by the time I was 10 (I was 6’0” at 12 and only grew another inch into adulthood). It lead to many, many adult men asking me out beginning when I was 10.  Awkward!


I was somehow also popular for that one single year. Not that I was ever particularly unpopular. I was mostly ignored or regarded as that weird, geeky lesbian girl for my entire life at school. But people left me alone due to my size.


So, in 5th grade, I had my first big crush. R was really good looking. I am sure I’d still find him attractive even now. He had the whitest smile I had ever seen and dark, laughing eyes.


He was the fastest boy runner at our school and I was the fastest girl runner. It was a match made in recess heaven. We spent gym period running together, not even talking, just running.


When I found out he liked me too, I couldn’t believe it. He never asked me out, he was never my ‘boyfriend.’ But we sat together in class and at lunch and spent our gym time together. I don’t even remember us holding hands or kissing.


One day at recess, everyone was playing kickball. I hate kickball and was instead sitting on a picnic bench, reading. I was alone in a secluded corner of the playground. Far from my friends and any teachers.



I seriously hate this game


And that’s when they came up to me. There were 4 girls from the other 5th grade class at our school. Everyone was intimidated by them. The leader of the group was one of the biggest girls I had ever seen.


I can’t remember her name now, let’s just call her, L. She was already a few inches taller than me. She was also about 5 times my width. I was a stick figure compared to her. And she wasn’t fat. She was solid.


L walked up to me, her friends hanging back a bit, watching for teachers. She snatched the book out of my hands and dropped it on the ground. I didn’t understand what was happening but I was used to people being jerks. Plus, I had heard she was a bit of a bully.


I got up and picked my book up, brushing off the dirt. And that’s when she got right up in my face.


“So,” she said. “I heard you like R.”


Now I was really confused. I had seen them talking, of course, but had never thought much of it. “That’s right.”


“I’ve seen you two together.” She took another half step closer.


“Well, we do spend some time together.” I backed away a bit. I had never much liked people in my personal space.


“Listen up you skinny little nobody. R is my boyfriend.” Now her face was inches from mine.


“Oh, does he know that?” I asked innocently.

And I swear to you guys. I was not being a smart ass. I had no idea what was happening. I thought she just had poor boundaries and that we liked the same boy. No big deal.


Her three friends that had been acting as lookouts had unfortunately overheard what I had said. They burst out laughing so hard; one of them literally fell down and was rolling with laughter.


I had a kind of weirdo crush on Hobbes growing up. Who am I kidding, I still do.


L looked so annoyed with her friends that it distracted her from me. And that’s when my friend, M, came over. He was L’s second cousin or something like that. He chased her off and told me that she had been talking about kicking my ass for liking R.


This was actually the most confusing thing I had ever heard in my life. Jealousy and possessiveness is still not a concept I am very good with. I mean, wasn’t it up to R who he liked/dated/whatever it is 5th graders do?


How could someone want to hurt me for being attracted to someone? Did fighting me mean she would win him? I still really don’t get it.


For future reference, being too stupid to realize you are being bullied, or hit on, is a fantastic way to get them to stop. You aren’t worth the trouble to most people.


It also worked in another notable situation in which a man in his 40s said, “If I told you that you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?”


To which I replied, “Why would I hold it against you?”


We went back in forth like that for some minutes like some Who’s on first, What’s on second comedy routine until he gave up in frustration. I was 14 and didn’t get it until many months later.


But I digress.


After, that R and M never left me alone at recess or between classes. L never got her chance to kick my ass. Which, I can assure you guys, I might have been able to outrun her, but I would have failed miserably in a fight.


R and I went to different middle schools and I never saw him again. But I still remember his face, that smile, those eyes, and his full name. He was the first boy I had adult feelings for. I guess that is not something I am likely to forget easily.


And that is the closest I ever came to getting in a fist fight with a girl. Stay tuned to hear about the ones I got in with boys, though.

Yes, it is all about me

In case you guys don’t know, Jana over at Stop Me if I Told You This is hilarious and sweet. She also claims to think I am incredibly interesting (that word is being bandied about a lot in my life lately).


And she was kind enough to ask me to answer some questions for some thing she is doing and also to ask  some other people to answer them too, if they want. Unlike Jana, I am totally bossy. But participation is voluntary for my nominees too.


So here it is:


What am I working on at the moment?


That really depends on what you mean. Nothing is ever easy with me. I am writing for this blog and my other blog. I am writing some weirdo poetry and a shit ton of science fiction.


In the non-writing world, I am crafting up a storm of dinosaur jellyfish skeletons, and jewelry and lord knows what else. I also make these comic book decoupage things and have recently commissioned them to a comic book store and a hipster coffee shop/record store. And I am really excited about it!


Check out my Etsy link on the side to see more of my stuff. You may be wondering when I sleep as I also work 50+ hours a week. The short answer is that I don’t. I also don’t have things that the rest of you have, like children, significant others, pets, friends, etc.


How does my work differ from others in this genre?


Hmm… Well, my experiences are truly unusual and my own. Other than that, I guess I am probably not much different. Maybe not as good? Check out my commenters for some very hilarious and interesting blogs.


Why do I write what I do?


I guess I just want to share the shame of my life with others. It does feel good to get these stories out of me. And I love knowing that I am entertaining total strangers all over the world. So, that’s pretty cool. No matter how many posts I write, my list of stories to write never seems to get any shorter.


How does my writing process work?


I know we are in a judgement free zone and I can be honest about that with you guys. I have a super nerdy lapdesk that I use with my laptop. I sit on my couch and always have something playing in the background. I do a Harry Potter movie marathon and a Lord of the Rings movie marathon about once a month.


Don’t judge. I love those movies, the soundtracks are amazing to write to, and I don’t have to pay close attention the way I would with something I’ve never seen. Lately I have been on a real Simon Pegg kick. By the way, writing anything to any movie soundtrack makes you feel fucking epic. Try it. I highly recommend John Williams. He’s the man behind Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Jaws, and Star Wars.


There’s no real other process. I write pretty much every day. Sometimes it is crap and I delete it. Sometimes it is crap and I save it to try to fix later. Sometimes it’s good enough for what I am trying to do. And sometimes, I am so pleased with something that I want to print it out on a t-shirt and wear it around for everyone to know what I wrote. Those are the best days.

I’m going to link to some bloggers that I think really just need to get more play. No matter how much they are getting; it is not enough. Check them out, comment all up in their business, love each other, whatever.


More than Sweet Potatoes


Just Plain Ol’ Vic


Transplanted to the South




The Tattoo Tourist

If you guys want to answer the questions; inquiring minds want to know. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. I’ll still like you all.

My Crafting Adventures: The L Word Birthday Miracle

Let me just get this out of the way first. The time stamp on my WordPress is always all wonky. As I am writing this, I am two hours away from turning 30.


I should explain that the Birthday Miracle part of this is something I stole from my brother. He calls our birthdays “Birthday Miracles.” Last year for my birthday miracle he discovered the cache of dumpster shirts.


There were nearly 100 in all. He was walking through an industrial part of town and came across a dumpster full of shirts. He fished them out and they were awesome. We go back periodically for more and it’s mostly all I wear anymore.


Like that time I met Debbie? Dumpster shirt. Or when I was riding the giant brass piggy bank in Seattle? Dumpster shirt. They are secretly embedded everywhere on this blog.


Dumpster tank top. Also, I look exhausted here.


Anyway, I decided I was going to make this craft project as a birthday present to myself. I always give myself gifts on the corresponding occasions. I am an amazing gift giver. And I always know exactly what I want.


If you read my Twitter, you may have already seen this craft project. But too bad. It’s my birthday and I do what I want.


A few months ago, I was watching The L Word. I really liked the first season but stopped somewhere in the third.


At some point during the The L Word marathon, there was an artist that made these things. They were delicate mobiles covered in ornaments and glass balls and crystals. The real artist is Julia Condon.

I am clearly not, and will never be, at this level.

They actually reminded me of a the skeleton of some strange creature. All shiny metal and sparkling glass. Like what a dinosaur jellyfish skeleton would look like in a dream.


They are amazing!


And I knew I had to make one for myself.


In typical me fashion, I put this project off until this week. I had already bought the ornaments and had plenty of crystals and beads lying around. Plus, I knew I had some copper wire. Somewhere.


I sat down last weekend and patted myself on the back. I was going to cobble this thing together with plenty of time to spare. After all, I am a crafting genius.


I started putting it all together, but shit wasn’t working. My copper wire was too flimsy. I needed something heavy duty enough to handle the crystals. This thing is pretty precariously balanced. It takes finesse, which I do not have.


Yesterday, when I got off work, I headed over to Home Depot for some industrial strength copper wire. When I brought it home, I quickly realized it was way too thick for my intentions.

It felt like this.


I sighed. I was like fucking Goldilocks and the Three Copper Wires. Which I think is a way more realistic fairy tale. I mean, bears don’t even eat porridge. They eat little girls that fall asleep in their beds.


I found the right wire today and got down to business. And it turns out the thing was so much harder than I thought it would be. I hurt myself several times. But after four hours, I finally finished.


I felt so proud of it, I spammed everyone I know with pictures. Including Twitter.


So proud.


This must be how new mothers feel. I wanted everyone to see what I had made. Except my thing wasn’t ever in my vagina.


I did it! I made this thing!


And so, The L Word Birthday Miracle was created. It is currently hanging over my beading table. It has passed the first test of a successful project: It didn’t fall and break immediately.


Birthday Miracle!

The second test is to make sure it doesn’t fall sometime in the night. That test is more important as it gives me a coronary and also makes me think I have poltergeists. So, we’ll see.

Zombie Attack

There is a giant flea market near where I live. We used to go when I was a kid. I had pretty fond memories of Flea World.

Even the sign looks dirty.


I mean, it was kind of skeezy, but what flea market isn’t? It did seem like the kind of place where you would get Hepatitis C from the turtles. Or feline AIDS from the cats. But still…


One day, my ex, A,  my brother, T, and I decided to go back to that flea market. I believe we were on an epic quest to find some cheap, interesting bandannas for T. He had long hippie hair and kept it back with a never ending supply of bandannas.


Like this. In case you were picturing either Bret Michaels or Tupac.


So we pulled into this parking lot. And it’s huge, like the size of an actual mall parking lot. But we were one of only a very few cars.


The place looked run down and seedy. And honestly, kind of creepy. Where were all the people? It was a Sunday!


We walk up to the first row of booths. There were no vendors. And there was nobody around. We did not pass a single other person.


We walked down the row, and there was not even one booth set up. The place was as eerie as a ghost town. The only sign of civilization was some trash blowing in the light breeze.


Actually, a ghost town would be less creepy.


We were all exchanging glances with each other now. What the fuck was happening? This place used to be crammed with people all weekend, every weekend.


We turned a corner to the intersecting row. And again, it was completely deserted. I started to feel like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I was getting a bad feeling by this point.


I turned to A and T and asked if they felt like they were in some kind of post apocalyptic movie. Before they could answer, we all suddenly heard something.


There was a sound system set up in the flea market. I don’t know if it was actually from the 1950’s or if it was just shitty and poor quality. But the music being played on these tinny, scratchy speakers was something from the Depression Era. It wasn’t this song, but something similarly haunting.


I love Depression Era music, and even I thought this was disturbing. At this point the three of us looked at each other. I was positive we were about to get attacked by zombies at any moment.


I started looking around for a weapon. It was too creepy for something really bad to not happen. I felt like I was in a movie. It was a very surreal experience.


I’d rather be dead.


We stupidly continued on in the face of an almost certain horror movie ending.


We turned another corner and finally saw someone. I was what appeared to be actual, living people. It was a band. The people in the band looked like something out of Deliverance. And the closer we got, the better I could hear their music. They were playing weird religious revival music.


You’d be surprised how much of Florida looks like this.


By this point, I could not have been more ready to leave. But T and A were having a great time. They were loving every second of this disturbing shit. I think they play too many video games.


In the end, we did find the bandannas and I did not get Hepatitis C, Feline AIDS. And nobody was attacked by zombies.


Germs and Toilets

I used to carry a wallet instead of a purse. That was before I got all paranoid and girl scout-y worrying that if I were in a plane crash and stranded in the woods like in that book The Hatchet, I couldn’t survive on chapstick and my wallet’s contents. The fact that I rarely fly did nothing to mitigate this fear. Also, I loved that book as a pre-teen.

Gary Paulsen is still the shit.


I traded a co-worker my sensible brown leather wallet for his canvas Velcro wallet covered in skulls. I’m classy like that. And I used that wallet until it disintegrated.


It was basically this in Velcro wallet form.


I loved that wallet. So much that I once was at this bar. My favorite bar ever. This bar is in my hometown and is by far the coolest thing there. It has amazing local bands playing every night of the week. And it shares a building with an antique hardware store.


The hardware store has an entire giant wall of working chandeliers and wall sconces. It also has bins of old skeleton keys, crystal doorknobs, hinges, all kinds of interesting parts and hardware. And so many doors and windows that it is kind of overwhelming.


This isn’t the place, but it is eerily similar.


They also lend statues to the bar which they keep in their courtyard. The bar has a beautiful brick paved courtyard with stone tables and benches. There is an outdoor bandshell and large white lights strung across the loquat trees.


That’s the stuff.


I am normally not very comfortable out in public. Let alone in a crowded bar. But this place makes me feel very comfortable. The inside is pretty interestingly decorated as shown below.



I know at least 40% of the people in any picture taken in my hometown. It’s a small town.


One day, before that velcro skull wallet disintegrated, I was at the bar with some friends and had to pee so bad! I drink a lot of water, like more than a gallon a day every day. And I have the bladder of a child. So, I have to pee pretty often.


I went into the bathroom and did my business, flushed the toilet and, as I was pulling up my pants (I normally pull them up before flushing, but I digress) my wallet fell right into the flushing toilet.


Into the toilet. At a bar. A public dirty toilet.


Yeah… about that…


I was in a real dilemma. I loved that wallet. And I really needed pretty much everything in it. But did I need my identity and debit card enough to put my hand in toilet water. I looked at it for a few minutes, watching as everything I loved got soaking wet and soggy.


I sighed. I tried to tell myself that it was no worse than the time I was up to my elbows in maggots. Urine is supposedly sterile. But who am I kidding. It was worse than the maggots, though it smelled a hundred times better.


I pulled the wallet out and washed it vigorously. I washed it five or six times, but I did not feel like it would ever be clean. I finally went back to my friends. I had just started seeing T at this time and he happened to have a ziploc for me to put it in.


I washed the wallet with bleach, which may have contributed to the disintegrating thing. And put the whole sordid experience behind me.


Until a few months later. I was at work using one of our office bathrooms. This time, I followed the natural order of things and pulled up my pants before flushing. Big mistake.


My work phone fell into the unflushed toilet.


These are the kinds of things they should teach you in economics in school. Is the emotional cost of reaching into an unflushed toilet worth more than the financial cost of “losing” your work phone.


These toilets were marginally cleaner than the bar toilet. And I actually knew the people that befouled them on a daily basis. But still. Unflushed.


I steeled myself, reached in, and pulled out the phone. By this point, I didn’t see how it could be any more damaged by getting wet, so I washed it very, very well.


I took it to my administrator and explained to her that I had dropped it in the toilet. She never asked if it was flushed or unflushed, saving me from having to lie. I suspect it never occurred to her that I would stick my hand in an unflushed toilet. I am a well known germ freak.


But what people don’t realize is, I am obsessed with germs. I love them. I am not afraid of them. I am not a germaphobe. I don’t like knowingly exposing myself to germs, but I do, every time I shake hands with someone. Or kiss them. Or touch pretty much anything in the public sphere.


Want, want, want!

Germs are unavoidable. And sometimes, so is reaching into the toilet to retrieve something valuable.