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The Bang Bang Theories

And So the Story Goes…

Because I’m an idiot adventurous and have awful brilliant ideas, during my first time in Haiti it made very good sense to purchase a set of authentic, handmade-by-a-mystical-grandma voodoo dollies.

Having never researched the potent magic, spell power or ceremonial instructions of voodoo, I dished over a few cheap bucks and brought my his-and-her Voodoo dollies home to America.

My intent was never for ill powers. In fact, I dubbed these dollies The Trixie and Her Mister dollies, and displayed them on a souvy shelf in the living room, and would make them kiss and cast spells on “us” for awesome travel, good fortune and mystical blessings.

I also am taking this opportunity to note that the Trixie dolly is a larger dolly than the Mister dolly, and it basically is an accurate representation of how I overshadow all of his life. I’d like to tell myself that this is for his best interest because all of my ideas and thoughts are better then his and he must defer to my will; however, he was never really a strong proponent of vacation souvies, and he certainly doesn’t buy into any witchcrafterie hocus-pocus garbliegookie.

So the dollies came home, and they sat on a shelf, and I wished them/us great happenings, and great travels flowed to us, and money was abundant, and then we bought a house and moved.

And the magical dollies got shoved in a box and ended up hidden for years and years buried beneath the rubble that came with moving.

And then Trixie lost her big paying job due to restructuring her and a lot of others right out of work.

They still travelled, and sometimes good things happened. But there was also some strife, and it would cross Trixie’s mind that maybe she needed to invest some time in finding those dollies because they were being smothered somewhere without any air and that’s how she started to feel, too.

Life was smothering her, on and off for years and years.

There was strife and struggles and it was hard to be Trixie sometimes.

But then, as is wont to happen, the tides were starting to turn a bit and things were going okay enough.

It was during Times of Corona, when Trixie was in the basement moving some crap around and selling a bunch of junk online when she noticed a box that was labeled “Living Room Shelf,” and she had her ah-ha! that this must be where her missing items were hiding in plain sight all these years.

Lo and behold, the voodoo dollies where right there on the top. Trixie scooped them up, and brought them outside to her deck so they could blow off the stink of being cooped up in a box and get some fresh air before moving them into the living room of Chez Bang Bang. She waited expectantly for all good things to flow her way once more.

Except all the good things that had been going her way started to unravel.

She started to really not like her job because of bad management.

And then she got unexpectedly sick and ended up in the hospital for eight damn days, needing surgery – surgery to which the trauma doctor told her, “I’ve never worked on such a complicated abdomen before, I guess we’ll see how it goes when we get in there.”

Reader. You never want to be the person who stymies an expert trauma doctor at an expert trauma hospital.

She cried as they were wheeling her into surgery, to the point the anesthesiologist gave her a little something extra beforehand to calm her shit down.

And of course the Corona was going on during all this time.

So when she got home, she took those dollies and set them back out on the deck, letting the rain showers and the elements beat the bad out of those dollies.

They stayed there all winter, through the rain and the sleet and the snow.

And then a super heavy snow fell and knocked a giant limb outta the tree and it crashed through her metal railing on the deck, trying to destroy Trixie’s happy outdoor space.

Trixie knew these dollies had to go, but didn’t know how to get rid of them.

Her friendie googled “ways to get rid of bad voodoo dollies” yet came up empty handed.


Trixie had been busy working hard at manifesting. Every day, focused intent on GOOD THINGS and POSITIVE VIBES, manifesting, manifesting, manifesting and launching her Rockets of Desire.  Finding the nicer thoughts when things weren’t going right, turning negatives into positives.

The dollies and their bad juju were no match.

Out of the blue, Trixie landed a dream job. She won an unexpected little jackpot at the casino. Money flowed right to her and continues to do so. She spent her time with happier, positive friendships, set boundaries that made her more content, said yes to new things that piqued her interest, racked up check marks on the “good karma deeds” side of the equation with zero expectations other than it felt good to do them.

Spring finally arrived at Trixie’s place, flush with new beginnings and possibilities,  and she started the clean up work on the deck. Easily repaired the broken railing, restrung her lights. And the voodoo dollies sat on the table, quietly watching it all.  She talked to them and told them, “it’s time to stop being assholes, you are GOOD VIBE dollies and I will destroy you if you try to act otherwise.”

One day, Trixie had had enough of looking at them.

She picked them up and turned to Her Mister and said, “Well, I think it’s time to destroy these things. Should we burn them, and be done, once and for all?”

Her Mister’s head swiveled towards her, shocked look on his face and he quietly whispered matter-of-factly, “They won’t like that.”

Trixie, perplexed now, as Her Mister doesn’t believe in such tomfoolery: “Are you serious? Because we should just be done with this, don’t you think?”

Her Mister, still in hushed voice asked, “Are YOU willing to risk BURNING DOLLY US ALIVE?”

The answer to that is no.

No, I am not willing to risk that, Reader.

So if you happen to come over to hang out and notice these hanging out on the deck, well…now you know The Rest of the Story.










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Since it’s April in OH, when I haven’t been too bushed to do stuff, I’ve been working on my bushes.

For a girl (yes, ME, Reader – I’m a young, nubile girl – keep your “she’s an old lady” thoughts to yourself because a/ that’s wrong already because I’m not a lady and b/ remember to be NICE to me, I’m all you’ve got on this bloggy) … let’s continue.

For a girl who really despises yard work, I’ve been busy doing yard work for the past few weeks. I still have leaves to rake up from last fall! This yard, Reader. Let’s just say that it’s a lot to manage for a girl* (see above) who dislikes this part of her life.

Girl Trixie even has an awesome Yard Guy, and she paid for this luxury even when she couldn’t easily afford it, because as she stated, “I’d rather give up hair cuts, getting my nails done, and dining out if I can have someone else mow and trim the yard.” That’s a lot of sacrifices, and I happily made them. Of course, during Times of Corona, it’s wasn’t exactly a trick to stay home and avoid all things entertainment.

My Mister – also known as The Great Indoorsman – feels the same about yard word, which is no surprise to anyone who knows the G.I.

So we have a Yard Guy, yet there’s still a lot of yard to manage. There are two super long flower beds that are fuck-alotta work.

Now, what I’m about to tell you next is going to have you all kindza jealous over Trixie’s Glamorous Life. I spent Friday evening after work digging up bushes and replanting them in various parts of this super-rocky yard. And I wasn’t even drunk. It was a fully-considered decision.

What I’ve learned: Don’t dig up bushes on a slanted yard with a giant hill in close proximity wearing slip-on sneakers.

I almost – almost – dug in, slipped outta my shoe, fell backward and tumbled down that hill.

As I’ve told My Mister, should I fall the ravine behind our house while doing yard work, please put on my tombstone, “She died doing what she hated.”

This is my second close call. The other recent time I was affixing a bungee cord to a tree that’s drooped over, trying to sister it to a neighboring tree to get it to stand upright.

It’s a precarious life I lead over here at Chez Bang Bang, Reader. Don’t let the glitz and glamour throw you.  With great yards comes great responsibility.

You Get What You Get

Well, hello there, long lost friendie! We are totally spending far too much time apart.

Have you ever just been bone-weary tired, Reader?  I mean, the deep kinda tired, that seeps right into your middles?  That’s the tired I have been lately.

Maybe it’s all the extra walking I’m getting, but seriously probably not that. Exercise is supposed to release some endorphins and make you all hopped up. Instead for me, opposite.

And I’m mostly mad about all the steps. Just the other day my friendie asked me how all the walking was going. While we were finishing up a pitcher of margaritas and eating cheesy Mexican food.

Friendie: “So how are you feeling with all that exercise you’ve been doing?”

Trixie: “Mostly, I’m fucking annoyed by it! I march around the neighborhood pissed off about it. I have to take three goddamn walks – and not quick ones – to reach this re-damn-diculous goal I voluntarily put upon myself. I have to spend two fucking hours a day WALKING – which is time I’d much rather spending TV-ING – to reach these step goals.”

Friendie: “You’re such an inspiration.”

However! I recently dug out this cycling thing I purchased when I had more money than sense, and I’ve set it up in front of the tv and I can now PEDAL my way to my goals while I’m watching 90-Day Fiance, so BOOM! Take that, step goals! It’s my new secret weapon.

Now, it’s still annoying. But a lot less annoying than realizing I need to go walk around the block in the fucking dark OR ELSE.*

*there is no actual “or else” – just the pressure I put upon myself. 

So at this point you may be thinking

1/ “Gee, I liked it better when she wasn’t writing grouchy, complainy shit.”


2/ ” Surely by now Trixie has to be reaping these exercise benefits! and has toned up and trimmed down with all those miles she’s put under the rubber.”

To which I respond

1/ you get what you get

2/ 93.8 miles. 243k+ steps. Since April 1st.  Same exact fat. Which I’m sure has exactly nothing to do with a pitcher of margaritas and cheesy Mexican food. That’s not how calories work.*

*’it’s exactly how calories work. 

Thank you for joining me on my TED Talk. Stay tuned for the next inspirational message that focuses on why I’m unhappy that my house is always dirty, yet I don’t want to spend any time actually cleaning my house.




Remain Seated Until The Ride Has Come a Complete & Final Stop.

Because I have a million other, more important things nothing better to do with my time at the moment, Reader, while I was out on Day 3 walk of The Million Step March, I stopped and picked up some fallen pinecones.

And then instead of mopping my filthy floors tonight, it was way more fun to start crafting them into pinecone flower art.

Because Pinterest is the Devil’s Playground and has far too many things to distract a person from those dirty floors.

This is the vision, however I only found teensy weensy small sizes, and one pinecone style only so I guess I need to keep my eyes peeled for more variety.

And then actually make this happen one day.

As for the actual walking, let’s just say I have CRUSHED IT, Reader. Well on my way towards the 1,000,000 steps goal, surprising myself with how many steps I’ve actually been able to cram into my day, despite my bad feet and knees and guess what else I’ve recently realized is wrong with me? Bowed legs, Reader. I see myself in mirrors and while I haven’t been crazy about how I’ve looked, I chalked it up to not being … my optimum weight. I figured it was the fat keeping my legs from sticking straight together.

Nope. I decided to look into it a little more and discovered that it’s basically osteoarthritis coupled with lack of hip flexibility compounded by zero exercise and exacerbated by being a Fatty McButterpants.

So all those things have caused me to look re-fucking-diculous in and out of my pants.

While I waited for my pinecone glue to dry, I did some additional searching on Pinterest and Youtube and have found a good half dozen exercises to do to help strengthen the parts of me that are weak and loosen the parts that are uptight all I have to say is if it isn’t one motherfucking thing, it’s something else, Reader, and I mean, COME ON, Life, can’t we just agree at this point that I’ve had my fill of shit sandwiches to eat already? Now I have to contend with not-just-fat-but-bowed-legs-too.

So that’s what’s doing at Chez Bang Bang lately, Reader. I’m going to be doing all sorts of work to loosen up these tight hips, which My Mister will probably appreciate, and strengthen up the calves and do some other crap the Internets said to do and maybe, just maybe, I can stop looking so ridiculous. If it doesn’t help, I’ll take my solace in the seated position creating pinecone art, and no one will be able to see my bendy-outty legs from this position.

It’s always good to have a back up plan, Reader.



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Jokes On Me. Probably.

I realize that this is going to seem like an April Fools Jokie, but believe you me, Reader, it is not.

I’ve made A Plan and Set Goals and have Written Them On Paper, and we both know it doesn’t get more formalized than that: I am committing to healthier eating, and … I’m afraid to type this next part …. logging a million steps by the end of June.

That, Reader, frightens me to even type that number out loud.

My job calls for me to sit. A lot. And also? I like to sit. A lot. And nap. A lot. And watch t.v. A lot.

So I have a lot of A Lots working against this goal.

And for the past several days I’ve had a pain in my back/hip/side area for no reason whatsoever, other than it says it’s time to ouchie me, and so it has.

Today I did a test walk to to see how much ground I’d cover with a planned walk, and I only racked up 8,376 steps today, and that is about 5,000 more steps than my normal stepping day, so to say I’ve got an uphill battle to walk is not an understatement.

I’ve got to Work At This to put in 11,000 steps a day to hit this goal.

I did consider – and typed it and erased it and typed it and erased it – only committing to a half a million steps – that seems more achievable – but I decided to make it super uncomfortable for myself and just go for the million. I am going to have to take 2 walks a day, even in bad weather and I’m supposed to start in the morning and it’s also supposed to bring a snowstorm just to totally fuck with my plans and measure my commitment. Let me tell you, Mother Nature – I’m easily swayed to stay in bed.  So try not to be an asshole.

That’s all I’m asking.  For the days not be an asshole. By the time July rolls around I will have walked half my ass off. Maybe.

I’ve read that we overestimate what we can get done in a day, but underestimate what we can get done in a year. So I keep setting goals for myself – and even if I fail I may get a little closer to where I want to be. I’m just trying.  To make this year different. To try to be healthier. Happier. Bendier. And take little steps towards something different.

What about you, Reader? Are you making any new quarterly goals for yourself?


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When I was in 7th or 8th grade, there were a of couple guy teachers who palled around together. They were the “cool” teachers, who thought they were hipsters who related to the kids, while teaching us a bunch of stuff I frankly can’t remember any longer. I can’t even rightly remember classes they taught. Social studies? Science. Who knows.

One day during lunch, in the cafeteria that was also our gymnasium and also where we held our school sock-hop awkward social soirees, one of the Cool Teachers walked by me as I was eating an apple and stopped and said in his very loud teacher voice, “LOOK at that HUGE BITE MARK in your apple! That’s a HUGE chomp!” And then, after all eyes at the cafeteria table were upon me and my huge-mouthed-bite-marked apple, he cackled at his cleverness and sauntered away.

Reader. Now sometimes – in the interest of storytelling – I’m known to possibly not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me Garth, or I may engage in a bit of fanciful hyperbole.

But listen to me now and hear me later: THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES.

*he may not have used the word “chomp.” Whatever. It was SOMETHING VERY SIMILAR. And it was forty damn years ago. 

Now, two parts of this story are important. One, pointed out above. It was FORTY DAMN YEARS AGO.

Two. What kinda teacher makes a statement like that to a 7th-ish grade, impressionable, awkward, insecure, bad-teethed, freckled, be-speckled girl who thought she was fat and now her mouth is called into question?

An asshole, that’s who, Reader.

Or maybe just someone who wasn’t “woke” all them years ago, back in 1979 or 1980.

I mean, we thought we were cutting edge and hip with our Sony Walkmans blaring out My Sharona. But really, we didn’t have all sorts of technology to educate us to when our behavior was assholie.

Now, again with Point One. It was FORTY DAMN YEARS AGO.

And that still-awkward, less impressionable, fairly secure, still freckled, fixed-teethed, laser-corrected eyes, now actually fat girl? Still remembers that random comment and can’t help but notice her giant-mouthed bite marks into foods and it’s been taking up space in the back of her thoughts like, “Of course I’ll never be a dainty small girl, I take GIANT bites!” and, “Yes, I’m destined to always be a fat, big mouthed girl because I haveah HUGE mouth that EATS ALL THE FOOD in TWO CHOMPS!”

Literally those thoughts were always just back there in my brain.

Several years ago I went to a new dentist and he repeatedly mentioned it was hard to get to my teeth because I have a SMALL MOUTH!

And I laughed and said, “Yeah, well, tell Mr. Pooper* that!” Except I didn’t say that outloud, but I did think it.

*not his real name, but rhymes with, and so there, haha, I will mock YOU to my dozen fans, Mr. Pooper, like a 12-year old school kid. 

Now, Reader.  They say awareness is the first step to working through your bullshit. I think that’s the exact quote printed on a piece of whitewashed wood that you can buy at TJ Maxx Homegoods for $12.99 and hang on your wall.

So in my last eight months of really working on my mental happiness, I’ve made it my mission to finally release the power of those randomly thrown words and get over some dumbass comment made to 7th grade me by someone who sauntered off and never gave it another thought.

I started taking control of this comment by making it a point to take GIANT bites out of everything.

And then I’d look at whatever it was that I giantly bit into and would study that mark and congratulate myself on having such a big fucking mouth.

And after a few times practicing this exercise, the laughs started to follow.

And then after a little more time, I began to truly feel the absolute absurdity of this situation, that I had dragged that random comment around with me for ALL THE REST OF MY YEARS SO FAR.

And after a little more time, I started to take absolute GLEE in the size of my giant bite marks left behind in all the foods.

One day My Mister watched me open my mouth as wide as possible and cram every last crumb of a whole cupcake right into my cake hole.

He thought it was just another ladylike maneuver on my part.

He was unaware he was witnessing therapy in motion.

I share this story completely realizing that there are so many many truly awful things that happen to kids, and being laughed at by a “cool” teacher for the size of my chomp is certainly probably only a 7 out of 10 on the Awful Things Scale.

Yes, Reader. A solid 7. It’s my made up scale so you can’t dispute me and win.

But in all serious-ish ness, I have been doing some thinking into how randomly tossed comments – even those made by me, I have no doubt – can really latch into someone’s insecurities and take hold and spend years in their brains doing damage that the random comment tosser has no idea that it even hit the mark, let alone landed and took up residence.

I absolutely don’t have any good advice here. If you’ve made it through any years in life interacting with people, there’s probably a 100% chance you’ve tossed someone a comment that still bugs the fuck out of them, and there’s also probably a 100% chance that some bullshit comment is stuck in your head from someone else.

I guess at the end of the day, it’s Peoples fault that we can’t just always say the nicest things to each other. I have no problem whatsoever and every single day telling DJ how he’s the best and cutest and softest cat in the entire world. And he TOOK A SHIT ON ME and still doesn’t get a harsh word in his direction. There has GOT to be a lesson in here, somewhere.

If you find the lesson, let me know.

If someone has made a random comment that now floats in your insecurities, maybe spend a moment thinking about and making up your own therapy to congratulate yourself for being that way in the first place. If it doesn’t work, try cramming an entire cupcake in your mouth just for fun.

Really, every single day, we alone are responsible for the thoughts we allow ourselves to dwell upon. Why let someone else tell you what to believe about yourself?

I’ll tell you why. Because it’s hard not to, after the words have left the mouth and hang out there in the air and swoop into your ears, which directly funnel into your brain.

Except you can retrain your brain not to believe the lies you’ve been told about yourself. If YOU don’t think you’re awesome, why would anyone else?

For me, I’m going to take large chomps out of everything until I’m damn good and ready not to, which may be never, and keep trying to work on being more thoughtful with my own words.  I know My Mister will appreciate this effort because in full disclosure, I’ve said some rather shitty words to him over the years, lashing out at him I’m sure due to my own dissatisfaction with those seasons of my life.

It’s taken a hundred years* to learn that he is who he is. Just as I am who I am. He can’t change me as much as I can’t change him.

*no hyperbole here in this blog, no sirree.

As an aside, I JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE with My Mister and the conversation went down with him trying to tell me what to do, my telling him to stop bossing me, and then my telling him I’m just now writing a blog talking about how I’m trying to use nicer words towards him so DON’T MAKE IT FUCKING HARD FOR ME TO BE NICE TO YOU.

So I think the lesson here that I couldn’t see before, Reader, is to #1/ take responsibility for yourself to not act like an asshole, and #2/ because it makes it harder for people to speak to you the way they speak love words to their pets and finally, #3/ cram as much in your mouth at a time as you want. I’m not here to judge you. Mostly.

There’s probably a point #4 here along the lines of you’re responsible for what you think of you, do some homework to change the negative talks in your brain, figure out a way to release the power someone’s random comment has over you, blah blah. If you’re the asshole commenter, try not to be. If you are the commentee, positive talk yourself until that’s the track on repeat in your mind. Something like that. Take from this what suits you. Or nothing at all. I’m not here to boss you. At least not right now.


Nothing Much

Hello, Reader, and Good Morning-ish!

I’ve been continuing to practice my morning mantras and meditations, despite the cold and snow. Because I’m a warrior.*

*Not really at all like a warrior. I wrap myself in a blanket for about twenty-five minutes drinking hot coffee. 

I enjoy sitting outside, even with the cold. The cacophony of the birds, a splash of that elusive Cleveland sunshine and a deep appreciation for my pretty pretty neighborhood helps to ground me a bit, at least for a little while.

We haven’t seen our girl Taco the Outdoor Kitty in two weeks now, and I’m getting a little worried she may never show up again.

I keep setting out snacks for her, but so far I’ve only seen the Feral Black Kitty coming around for a bite to eat. He normally runs off, far and fast, as the slightest movement from people, but the other night it was so cold and he must have been pretty hungry. I spotted him outside and opened up a container of canned chicken for him, and he only stepped away and waited in the driveway for me to fill his dish before coming back to gobble it up.

So now I have a Feral Black Kitty I’ve assumed responsibility for, so he needs a proper name. I have just named him Will Feral.

Weather’s predicting we’re in for a shitshow of a snowstorm starting tonight. I’ve got to fill my bird feeder and ensure Will Feral has a stocked dish. I had a little house for him outdoors, but I think that felt too risky for him to use – stranger danger and all that.

In full disclosure, I started this post on Sunday, but didn’t have any more to say so I held off on posting. I thought maybe something else would pop into my head, but it’s already Monday and nothing more has popped into my head.

We’re going to just leave it here.  Sometimes that’s the best we can do.


Takes The Cake

My friend celebrated a birthday at the beginning of the month. No, you don’t need to know how old he is (sssshhhhh….he’s officially an old man but don’t tell him that! also, I know he reads this so haha).

A few years ago he and I went out for lunch and while we were sitting at lunch, I asked him when his birthday was.

His nonchalant and also smug response?  “Today.”

I mean, who does that, Reader?? Who wouldn’t say, when you’re making lunch plans, “that date sounds great, it’s also my birthday!” to give someone a heads-up to at least get a card.

Someone who gets a pay back some day, that’s who, Reader.

Since his birthday happens to fall on Groundhog Day, I haven’t forgotten it since, which says a lot because basically I have a super tough time planning in advance for birthdays. My intentions are always better than my execution. With a lot of things, frankly. Take today, for example. I had big plans to have a lot of tidying done around here because I’m having a couple of friendies over for dinner tomorrow, yet here I sit with not one finger lifted yet, and at the rate I’m finishing up the wine that was opened, it’s going to be a surprise to myself what I actually accomplish tonight. Again, intentions exceed execution.

Fast forward to his birthday this year.


My car had a flat tire so I set My Mister off on a caking for this birthday – he had errands to run on that Friday and I was busy working –  and I was picking the birthday boy up for lunch the following day.

My Mister was given good direction by Trixie the Cake Expert of what to get from one of my favorite local bakeries.

  • Chocolate.
  • Not too feminine in decoration.

That was basically it. I mean, what else is there to say.

So he found a really good cake.

Do you remember that time where I mentioned I’m doing intermittent fasting?

It’s important to remember that right now.

Because it was Friday night and I was in bed, waiting for My Mister to come home from his job.

And I started thinking about that cake, sitting out there all alone in the kitchen.

Feeling unloved.

And I was hungry, because it was well into my fasting hours. I mean, technically it was only four hours into my 16-hour fasting hours, so barely past dinner, but ssshhhhh….Trixie knew there was cake, so close and yet so far away.

She got up to take a look at it. Arguing with herself that she could always just pick up another one on the way out to pick up the birthday boy. And also, he kinda deserves it if she eats a piece in advance anyway, due to the birthday lunch trickery he pulled on her that one time.

It made total sense.

Trixie stood over that cake for a good minute, her fork poised. Knowing once the first fork went in, we were committed to it at that point.

Guess what happened next, Reader?

“Trixie realized this is not the way to intermittent fast, nor is it acceptable to eat a cake you purchased for your friend! and so Trixie put the fork back in the drawer and went back to bed.”

Or another scenario possibly unfolded.

“Trixie stood over that cake, then began singing softly, “Happy birthdayyyy to you…..happpyyy birthdayyyyyy to youuuuuuuu” as she forked into that cake and shoveled a bite right into her cakehole.”

Need we say more? A picture’s worth all the words or something like that, Reader.

My Mister came home as I was eating this very delicious birthday cake.

Him, asking as he came in the front door and could see the light on in the kitchen, “What are you doing up??”

TrixieBB: “Something I should be ashamed about.”

Once he rounded the corner and assessed the cake damages, he decided to fork into it, too, and we both enjoyed Choo’s birthday cake, a day early.

Well, not just both of us. Kitty Purry had some frosting, too.

I considered bringing a half-eaten cake to the birthday boy.  My Mister told me that was even more unacceptable than eating his cake in the first place.

The following day, on the way out to see him, I picked up another cake.

They didn’t have any chocolate, they had strawberry, which was fine, but I assured the birthday boy that the cake we enjoyed the night before was far better. Just so he knows, I bought him a really good cake.

And this is really how I like to enjoy other people’s birthdays, Reader. Eating their cakes. And then eating their replacement cakes with them. And then taking the remainder of the cake home because the birthday boy is dieting. It was the birthday cakes that kept on giving. To me, Reader. Happy Your Birthday to me. 







In the back of my closet hangs a scratchy old polyester striped v-neck shirt.

I pay it little attention, but I’m aware it’s there when I lean in to get dressed for the day.

The other evening I was pulling out clothes for the donation bin, as we all do at the onset of a new year – time to clean the clutter.

Reaching in deep to get to the stuff I rarely wear, my hands brushed against it and I decided to pull it out of the closet and slipped it on, feeling soft and nostalgic and a little bit lonely.

It was my grandmother’s shirt. One I must have seen her wear hundreds of times – enough to make me want to keep it – but I can barely vision her in it now.

It didn’t look like this on her. My image of her was as hearty Czech woman, but she was tinier than I am now, because I remember this shirt – all her shirts – were much looser fitting on her.

I wore this scratchy shirt around that evening, drinking a little wine, and tidying up while listening to music and just letting myself feel the missing.

I miss the family that belonged to me.

I miss my mom.

I miss my grandmother.

I have only a handful of things of my grandmother’s – due to the way things happened when she died, I wasn’t the first one to get to go in and collect mementos. They were picked through by others before me. But I did get two precious things: this shirt, and her coffee cup, which sits in my cabinet and My Mister has been given stern warning he’s not allowed to use it.

Sitting at her kitchen table while she would ask me, “Dolly Girl, how about some tea or coffee?” And she’d put her kettle on the stove and we’d wait for the whistle.

If we were having tea, she’d make it with warm milk and sugar, and if we were having coffee, we had instant Taster’s Choice, also with milk and sugar and it was always always the perfect blend of both.

I’d listen to her stories of the olden days, or her complaints about the cost of beans, drinking them up along with the beverage. Sometimes, if it were an occasion and her sister Anna was visiting there would be boisterous stories the two of them would tell, along with my mom, and sometimes their friend Jules was also there and, Oh! how I loved being twelve and thirteen and fourteen years old and drinking milk tea and listening to those stories about playing “house” in a chicken coup, or my grandpa letting my mom unwrap all her Christmas gifts one year while my grandma was cooking down at the County Home, and then wrapping them back up so my grandma wouldn’t know.

I feel a little broken inside sometimes, with these women of my family gone, now 25 years for my mom and 11 for my grandmother.

When I go out to my childhood home, it’s just hard to reckon that this house – this house – is the one that grew a family of five, and put home-cooked meals on the table, where I exercised on that living room floor to Susan Powter screaming at me to Stop The Insanity, or lay in bed with my mom in the evenings watching “our stories” on a little 15-inch tv. The home where they hosted card games with their friends, and thousands of stuffed cabbages were made, and tomatoes were canned all summer long, and clam bakes were had every fall and summers were spent reading books on the front porch glider, wiling away the days.

It’s just so empty of all that life now. The atmosphere is missing.

I didn’t know why I took this scratchy old polyester shirt when I was eventually allowed to walk through the house and see if there was anything I’d like to have. I didn’t know why I took it, yet it’s hung in the back of my closet now for 11 years as if some part of me knew that one day I’d need to slip into some sort of physical connection.

I’d like to say I felt some magical, ethereal comfort when I slipped it on, but really I didn’t. There was no lingering scent of my grandmother attached, nothing special that would strike anyone else as a reason to keep this at all, and for anyone not knowing why it’s there, they would seriously question my fashion choices. But it was a touchstone for me – a physical reminder that sometimes you need to reach all the way back 35+ years and remember – who and where you came from, the strength and the brashness and the imperfectness and the lovingness of the women that built me.

My friend wrote a piece on grief at the beginning of the month that has stayed with me. In it she expressed the holes – the ones that remain after our loved ones leave us, are theirs and will always belong to them; but they do not remain entirely empty when we pay attention. It’s then, when we still our minds, we can hear them… see them….connect again.

I hung that scratchy old polyester shirt back in my closet, back where it belongs. With me, close enough to reach in and wrap myself in when I need a touchstone to help me pay attention and make those places inside me a little less empty.

Positive Vibe-ing

Gooooood Morning, Reader! I’m hoping this post finds you feeling just ducky today, which I’m not even sure that that means. How do we even know how ducks feel?

Regardless, here we are, hoping you are feeling excited and inspired today!

You can see right here, from this opening, that my outdoor-cold-AF meditation morning routine DOES, in fact, pay off.

Being as it’s Saturday morn and I have the luxury of time, I sat outside drinking up the few beams of sunshine along with my coffee, breathing in the brisk air and getting my mind right for the day listening to not one, but two morning messages.

I’m going go be honest, I still feel like a nutzo when I’m out there repeating my Stuart Smalley mantras. This morning I found myself kinda half-whispering at first, and then I threw my fuckitz to the wind and started saying them like I mean them because number one, not another single person is out there hanging around because it’s cold. That’s enough reason, there is no number two.

Cake showed up at my door one morning this week, as if I had mantra-ed it right into existence, and maybe I did, because the heart wants what the heart wants, and so does the mouth.

I know that I willed this into my life because the very weekend before this cake magically appeared I put out into the vortex, “I really want to make and eat a Ding Dong Cake,” and then I went to the grocery store and bought all the ingredients.

Except I didn’t make and eat a Ding Dong Cake that weekend, because I was lamenting to My Mister that I’ve gained 6 lbs. since I started dieting in January. His reply?

My Mister: “I have three words to explain why. Ding Dong Cake.”

And he literally Ding Dong Cake Shamed me, so I didn’t make one.

But then! My rockets of desire were already launched into the Vortex, and one showed up at my doorstep:

Yes, that’s officially a single-serving size piece that was eaten right out of the pan, so quickly I didn’t even get a photo of it before it was chomped into. I know you’re reading that without judgement, because we’re a no-judging zone, right, Reader? Right.

My friendie made this cake and it was so delicious she just knew I needed it in my mouf, and door dashed it to my doorstep. It was nice to see a friendie face again, I miss socializing. I miss having activities and cheese and wine at my house. When it’s not just me and the cats. I’m still drinking wine and eating cheese by myself, it’s crazy talk to think that’s stopped, however now I have to finish a bottle of wine myself. Which I frankly rarely do, to be honest, so there’s a lot of wasted wine going on over here, which is a petty crime against grapes.

No, I don’t have that cake recipe, but I do need to get that. Because I also had a virtual appointment with my dr. this past week, and she specifically told me I can have cake if I want it, just be mindful of a portion size, and well, I think I did a good job with that because this cake lasted four whole days before it was gone, so good job, Me.

My doctor is a new doctor to me and we had a good discussion and she recommended I try intermittent fasting, and so I started that. And I can have cake within my 8-hour eating window if I want it, and frankly this is the diet of my dreams. One big change I had to make was learning to love drinking my coffee black in the morning, and that is a small change to make if cake and wine and cheese is able to remain in my mouth.

The coffee thing wasn’t nearly as difficult of a change to make as it could have been, I had weaned myself off of flavored coffee creamer over the past year. I never thought I’d be happy without my Almond Joy Coffee creamer, yet here I am, happy without it. So I was already switched to just cream, and now it wasn’t even a hard switch to black this week. It’s fine. Tastes can change and adapt.

So my four days of 16-hour fasting has resulted in a 3 lb. weight loss, and that’s with eating all the cake. I don’t want to get cocky about it, so we’ll leave it there for the moment, until I have a pattern of results, but I’m hopeful that my rockets have been launched and are allowing me to lose weight while having my cake and eating it, too.

Be careful intentional in what you wish for, Reader.

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