You’re Either Part of the Problem or All of the Problem or You Could Be the Solution. Or a Chemical Mixture. I Never Really Understood Science. Or Math.
So, it’s finally come to this – a bittersweet day on which I have decided to make a confession of a deep, dark secret that I’ve been hiding for months.
I decided to “come out” finally as a service to my readers who may be experiencing this same issue. It helps to know that you’re not alone. At least, it helps if you’re selfish like me and are comforted by the fact that others are suffering along with you. And if there are no readers experiencing this same issue, then I guess I am alone. And that kind of bites, but oh well. I’m sure you have your own ways of suffering.
So, here’s the thing. I now have over 1000 subscribers. Woohoo. I mean, awesome, right?
But less people read my blog per day now than they did a month after I started. Two years ago. A lot less.
Basically, let’s say I used to have 30 or 40 daily readers out of every 50 subscribers.
Now I still have about 30 or 40 readers.
Okay, so, somehow I managed to miss having to take Statistics in college, but I’m pretty sure that a graph of my numbers would look equivalent to one reflecting the success of Lindsay Lohan’s career over the last decade.
And I have way more fun and talent than Lindsay Lohan, so that hardly seems like a fair comparison.
Upon reflection, I’ve decided that the reason for this preposterous report of my readership could have one of the following causes:
Uno.) 99% of my blog subscribers are spammers who don’t actually read anyone’s blog, but apparently make tons of money off of pretending they do.
B.) Jon Stewart is screwing up my blog stats on purpose so I will spend less time blogging and more time
stalking writing love letters to him.
III.) WordPress hates me.
Four.) People read one post, and think that I am fabulous, then realize that my writing sucks and stop reading. But they are too lazy to unsubscribe.
Quintuplets.) The only people who are able to stumble across my blog are the ones who search for it by typing in, “my pants won the spelling bee?” And, let’s face it, usually the shoes win the spelling bee, not the pants.
Obviously it’s B.
Now I have to think of a solution. Certainly, I cannot allow Jon Stewart to completely change my life – unless there is some kind of financial profit involved on my part. In the meantime, I must keep blogging, if only to prove that I can persevere through these difficult and trying times of unsatisfactory blog statistics.
If Jon Stewart is deliberately tanking your statistics, too, then I suggest you look to me as a role model and follow my lead in this. Don’t stop blogging. And don’t devote any more time than usual to
stalking sending him communications of an admiring yet somewhat admonishing-him-for-not-paying-any-attention-to-you nature. Trust me; it doesn’t work.
As Dory from Finding Nemo says, “Just keep blogging and stop looking at your stupid blog stats because either Jon Stewart, the NSA, or terrorists are screwing them up.”
Or something like that.
I blame it all on Jon Stewart. I mean, the man leaves for a 3 month vacation, and of course my newish anti-depressant, which was working just fine for three weeks, abandons me at the same exact time. This can not be a coincidence.
I’m sure my abysmal attitude has nothing to do with my Groundhog Day week of chauffeuring my daughter back and forth from synchronized swimming practice as she prepares to compete at Nationals.
Or with the fact that my hair stylist, who told me in no uncertain terms 5 years ago that he would not give me bangs, inexplicably and with no warning, suddenly gave me a Frankenstein cut yesterday.
My less-than-positive reaction to both of those incidents is a symptom of the problem – not the cause.
No, it’s definitely Jon Stewart’s absence. And even though John Oliver is a worthy replacement, he is not Jon. I mean, for crying out loud, he has an “h” in his first name.
And I’m not the only one effected. The Bloggess is also missing him. Though she didn’t say it in so many words. Actually she didn’t say it in any words. But she’s depressed, too, and I’m pretty sure that’s the reason.
I saw this video on an education blog today, of all places, and because the world revolves around me, I realized the song writer was actually speaking to me when he wrote it, although it appears it was written at least 4 years ago so that would be an amazing example of prescience that should probably be investigated by scientists, or at least by Anderson Cooper.
As I am a generous person, I thought I would share it with those of you who might also be dealing with the gaping hole that Jon Stewart’s dereliction of duty may have left in your life.
So Many Ways To Die
so many ways to die
so many ways to stay alive
but if you wouldn’t mind to wait a while
you could give another day a try
you tell me all that you cherished is through
well that’s not true it isn’t true
it isn’t true
i read it in the news it is but really isn’t you
you are exactly who you choose
you’re only lying to you
so many ways to think
how differently we interpret the brink
between the side of life worth living
and the point at which you’re better off to sink
so many ways to laugh
chortle chuckle giggle cachinnate guffaw like william howard taft
science has proven it’s correlated
with the number of days your life will pass
so many ways to die
so many different ways to lie
should a community allow
or should society continue to deny
what could i say where do you go
what could i do what could i know
so many different lives
so many different ways to hide
but if you open your shutters
you might find the joy that only lives outside
so many ways to dance
so many different meanings for glance
but you only get a few if you keep staring at your shoes
you will miss every single chance
three thousand different ways
they could’ve rearranged your dna
but I believe just for today that
you can conquer your affliction of the brain
Yesterday I had to fend off a wild beast with an artificial vagina.
Okay, the beast was not so wild. But she was extremely forward. Apparently, the father of my daughter’s swim coach feeds her from his hand, so she expects the same treatment from anyone else who visits the back yard. Her name is Rhonda.
Oh, and, as you probably suspected, I did not use an artificial vagina. I used my cell phone. And I didn’t really beat her with it. She backed off when she realized it wasn’t food.
These are the kinds of adventures I have in suburban San Antonio.
They aren’t very newsworthy, I’m afraid.
James Herriot, on the other hand, the British country vet who wrote a series of books about his life, really did, apparently, get to repel an angry bull by beating it on the face with an artificial vagina. The bull, not surprisingly, was a bit upset at this man who kept interfering with things each time he tried to “service” a cow.
Comedy gold. This kind of thing never happens to me.
Instead, I find myself in the enviable position of reading the chapter about it out loud to my 10 year old daughter, and explaining the concept of artificial insemination to her. Because I:
a.) have absolutely no memory of reading that particular chapter when I read the book at her age – or even when I read it again a few years ago
2.) am too lazy to read ahead to see if this might be a chapter best skipped
III.) have not enough imagination to “wing it” and make something completely different up when encountered with the sentence, “All you did was wait till the bull started to mount, then you directed the protruded penis into the A.V.”
Quatro.) was so relieved that this chapter did not include the death of any animals that I figured I might as well keep on going.
For her part, my daughter seemed to take the entire thing completely in stride as she folded her clothes while I was reading – although we both lost it completely when the bull slipped during his millionth attempt to mount the cow and avoid the vet trying to grab his penis, and “slid clean under the cow.”
I thought that I had no use for an artificial vagina. Actually, I never thought about an artificial vagina, period. But now that I have seen its potential, I am thinking of looking for one on eBay.
I think it could come in useful as a conversation starter. Plus, our houseguests could use it to fight off our bulldog, Wonderbutt, when he tries to hump their legs.
I’m going to get a story out of this somehow.
So, the summer is almost over and I have gotten absolutely nothing accomplished.
Christmas gifts – none made.
Re-aquaintance with friends I haven’t seen during the entire school year – nope.
Closets – still a mess.
Novel – unwritten.
Weight – not lost.
New recipes – unlearned and uncooked.
On the upside, though…
Christmas gifts – none needed if I don’t ever get in touch with any friends again.
Closets – great excuse to continue to un-write my novel.
Weight – none gained while not eating the new recipes that I didn’t cook.
I blame my lack of productivity on Wonderbutt who, frankly, is not a very motivational presence with his habit of following me into every room, collapsing onto the floor, and snoring and farting contentedly while I try to focus and remember why I walked into the room in the first place before I succumb to the fumes that are partly my fault because I didn’t read the text from my husband that he had already fed Wonderbutt this morning – until it was too late.
Plus, he (Wonderbutt, not my husband) completely ruined my plans for today by yanking my blanket off the bed so he could nap on it, resulting in an unscheduled extra load of laundry and a complicated calculation of what time the blanket could go in the washing machine still leaving me time to run the dishwasher (which, of course, cannot be run concurrently), and what time the blanket would be able to go in the dryer so that I would still have it in time for bed. And when, precisely, was I going to take a shower? Because having a clean blanket would be kind of a waste if I just pulled it on top of my unclean, Wonderbutt-licked-with-affection legs and arms when I went to bed.
You can see what I’m up against. Lucky for you, you can’t smell it…
My school year began and ended with a wooden spoon.
At our first faculty meeting, we each received a wooden spoon. We were directed to think of someone we admired, and a trait that person exhibited that we treasure. On the front of the spoon, we wrote the trait. On the back we dedicated it to the person. Then, we were told to secretly put the spoon in the box of a faculty member who also appeared to exemplify that special quality. The spoons were supposed to be passed on throughout the year.
You can read about the hilariously ironic spoons I received here. I’m new to the faculty this year, so it’s quite obvious that no one really knows me very well.
Yesterday, the end of our school year, we got back our original spoons. To be honest, I had completely forgotten what I had written on mine.
Aside from receiving a spoon, yesterday was also notable because my daughter finished elementary school. To celebrate this distinguished occasion, I gave her a book, signed by all of her teachers, called, Heroes for my Daughter.
Last night, I told her that each night that I read to her, I also wanted to read one of the chapters from the book.
“Choose which one you want for tonight,” I said.
She skimmed through the notable names: Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Gandhi, Lincoln, etc…. She suddenly erupted into what I affectionately call her “Beavis and Butthead” laugh.
“Guess who I picked?” she said.
“Dolly Parton?” I asked, knowing that she was well aware that I’m not a huge fan of Dolly Parton and it would be perfectly in character for my daughter to choose my least favorite person on this list.
“Nope.” She displayed the chapter for me.
“The Three Stooges,” it was titled.
I laughed. Then I remembered my wooden spoon.
“Hold on,” I said. I came back with the spoon, and explained its origin.
“Guess who it’s dedicated to?” I asked.
“The Three Stooges?”
I showed her. ”Dedicated to my daughter,” I had written.
“And guess what trait I admire?” I turned it over.
And so we read about the Three Stooges, and their use of humor to bring attention to the atrocities of Hitler in their film, “You Nazty Spy!” two years before the United States decided to get involved in World War II.
That’s how I ended my first and only year teaching at the school my daughter attended – a year fraught with my struggles with depression, but frequently illuminated by outbursts of laughter, particularly during the times I got to spend with Dimples, my 10 year old hacker with the “Purple Mustache” who thinks it’s perfectly logical to name a female chihuahua “Steve”.
I work at my daughter’s school. At least, I did until today. (Don’t worry. I still work there. It’s just not her school anymore, as she just finished 5th grade.)
One morning, a couple of days ago, we were walking into the school. To the delight of many other students who were on their way in, a chihuahua who had obviously not read the “No pets on campus” signs clearly posted everywhere, was dashing around the entrance of the school.
“I recognize that dog,” my daughter said. ”It’s the one that lives across the street from Gabby’s house. That’s Rex!”
“Hmm,” I said, noting the huge pink color adorning the neck of the chihuahua. ”Uh, are you sure its name is Rex?” And, yes, I am well aware that is sexist. And somewhat unimaginative. I mean, it could be, “R.E.X.” for “Resist Extraterrestrial X-Rays.” Or, maybe, it was spelled, “Wrecks” as in “She Wrecks Every Piece of Furniture We Own.” Perhaps that’s what we should have named our dog…
“Oh, yeah, that’s Rex,” my daughter confidently responded, nodding her head with assurance.
“Because uh, it’s got a pink collar,” I pointed out.
“It’s Rex!” she said, mildly perturbed that I would doubt her canine identification skills.
“O-kay!” I said, not willing to begin the day with a war over the moniker of an animal.
“Or Steve,” she conceded, as I opened the school door. ”It could be Steve.”
You know how you try to save yourself money on a gift, but you tell yourself that it would be more meaningful to make something than buy something and then you proceed to spend more money than you ever would have spent on a store-bought gift as you attempt to make something that turns out crappy and you try to fix it and it turns out crappier and then you think, “Who needs friends who are going to criticize your gifts anway? I’m just going to sit at home and watch The Big Bang Theory by myself for the rest of my life,” and you can’t even find a garbage bag big enough to fit the Giant Pinterest-Inspired Disaster that cost you $200?
So, it’s the end of the school year. Teacher gift time. Only this year is my daughter’s last year in elementary school, so she has decided to bestow 9 gifts upon the various people who have enriched her life. And, reeling from a Pinterest induced stupor, I suggested a project.
I spent my entire Sunday trying to find the supplies for this project, which included chalkboard contact paper.
There was no chalkboard contact paper to be found. I went to 5 stores.
I would like to take this opportunity to give Home Depot, Walmart, Michael’s, and Target the following advice – if you stocked your stores based on Pinterest boards you would make so much more money. And your employees would not look at me like I’m on crack when I ask for chalkboard contact paper.
The only reason I didn’t go to 6 stores is because Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays. So, I improvised. It turns out that my craft improvisations are just as successful as my recipe ad-libs.
I directed my daughter to use her chalk on the black shelf paper I had purchased. It looked great. Only problem? It smeared like crazy.
“Oh, I know what to do about this,” I said, and went to the bathroom.
To get hairspray.
I sprayed the hairspray on a swathe of chalk designs. They faded into black.
I tried 3 different hairsprays. My daughter was getting a bit panicked as I systematically set about destroying her nine masterpieces.
“Okay, that’s not working.”
The next day, I borrowed some super fancy spray for chalk drawings from the art teacher.
“You’re not going to spray that in the house?” Cap’n Firepants asked.
“I’m just checking to see if it works,” I said as I asphyxiated the two of us.
I told the art teacher, who then recommended chalk markers, which will apparently not smear, but can be removed easily with water. ( I didn’t really pay attention to the water removal option, as I figured, why would anyone want to remove my daughter’s beautiful artwork?)
“Where can I find this miraculous product?”
“Oh, Hobby Lobby should have it.”
So, Dimples and I trekked to Hobby Lobby. Which was open. Because it was not Sunday. We found the chalk markers. Right next to the chalkboard contact paper.
Dimples did not want to re-cover every notebook with chalkboard contact paper, so we opted for the markers. But I bought the paper anyway. For the inevitable next time I will need it. I also threw in some chalkboard paint. You can never have too many chalkboarding options.
She redecorated every notebook using the markers.
She put them on the floor to dry.
I think you can see from the pictures what happened next.
Poor Wonderbutt had no idea why I blew a gasket when all he was doing was chewing on his ball.
But I don’t blame Wonderbutt. I blame Hobby Lobby. FOR NOT BEING OPEN ON A SUNDAY WHICH IS THE ONLY DAY THAT I HAVE TIME TO DO PROJECTS THAT I FOUND AT THE LAST MINUTE ON PINTEREST.
I’m going to buy gift cards tomorrow.
And they won’t be for Hobby Lobby.
So, my daughter graduates from 5th grade this week. I won’t go into my opinion of the ridiculous lengths some schools and parents put into making the exit from elementary school (which is, after all, compulsory, so I am not sure how it qualifies as a major achievement) an event that would rival the Academy Awards.
I’m not going to talk about that because I have my own awards to acknowledge, and since I won them by working my butt off on stuff that isn’t required, (mostly because no one cares enough to require it) I figure they are far more legitimate than the congratulatory certificate my daughter will receive for completing the first phase of her mandatory education.
I should probably apologize to some of you because I think some awards may have fallen by the wayside during the last 6 months. When my medication was not working, I had a tendency to be dismissive of awards because I thought that I didn’t really deserve to live, much less to receive an award. But now that I am back to my old self again, I realize that, of course, I deserve all accolades that are heaped upon me – and even the ones that aren’t.
According to my somewhat incredibly vivid memory, I believe Alexandra microrrelatososhortstories gave me a couple of awards awhile back:
I like these because they are pretty and aren’t on my Awards Shelf yet. It’s nice to have a bit of variety on the Shelf. Plus, the awarder, Alexandra, is internationally acclaimed (she started her blog in Mexico City), so I’m pretty sure I can safely claim now that my blog has gone Global.
And, a bit more recently, Monica at A Day in the Life awarded me the very interesting “Interesting” Award. Another award that had not graced my shelf until now. What’s even more significant about this award is that Monica is a Blogger Blogger, not a WordPress Blogger. Which is like giving an Oscar to The Wheel of Fortune. So now I just need to get an award from a TypePad Blogger and I’ll have a Blogging Triple Crown…
Monica’s award comes with a bunch of terms and conditions. Usually I ignore this part of blogging awards. I mean, does the Academy require Clint Eastwood to agree to stand on his head for twenty minutes while juggling fish with his feet and then pass his trophy on to someone else? I think not. But Monica is one of my number one commenters (plus, she lives in my town, so we might run into each other one day), so how can I refuse to at least answer some of her very creative questions?
- Have you ever had a hernia? Just a his-nia.
- Scorpion bite or brown recluse bite? Are you asking me if I had either or are you asking me which I would rather have? Or, are you asking me what is the best way to kill the neighbor down the street who has been driving me crazy by coming home at 2:17 a.m. every night and standing outside talking loudly on his cell phone making my dog bark frantically at the person who dares to encroach upon his territory which apparently includes anywhere within hearing distance even though it’s not on our property deed?
- Scorpion song or Justin Bieber song? Um, same answer as above? Or can I just use the scorpion to kill Justin Bieber? Not that I would do that…
- If you could put two pop star singers together to make a hit record (that, frankly, just frightens everyone), who would it be? Well, since you mentioned him in your post, I must say that Barry Manilow would be Pop Star #1. #2 would be Ozzy Osbourne. Even though I don’t think he actually qualifies as a pop star.
- If you don’t know the answers to any of the above, what do you know? Well, obviously, I know all.
So, thank you to Alexandra and to Monica for recognizing my awesome talent and having the sense to wait until my new medication started working to declare their admiration of my amazing blog. Right back at ya, ladies
I swear on my bulldog, Wonderbutt, that this conversation occurred in our teachers’ lounge during lunch a couple of weeks ago:
Amy: So, how do you like that burrito from Habanero’s?
Penny: It’s okay. I’m not too excited about the rice, though.
Amy: Oh? Why?
Penny: Well, I’m just not a big fan of white rice. I like brown. You know, like, uh, Mexican.
Me: Isn’t that some kind of reverse discrimination?
Leonard (as he lifts a fork to his mouth): Yep. Otherwise known as “rice-ism.”
I’m going to be perfectly honest here and tell you that plants scare me. Between watching some sci-fi show where rutabagas screamed if you pulled them out of the ground and wincing through 15 minutes of The Little Shop of Horrors, I am absolutely convinced that plants are just biding their time until they take over the earth. This was difficult when I became a vegetarian for about 5 years, and the only reason I didn’t give up eating plants as well as animals was because the only other option available in my limited imagination was to become a vampire. And Twilight hadn’t come out yet, so that wasn’t really the fashion at the time.
So when my daughter came home from a trip to the nursery (plants not infants) with my husband, I was fine with not knowing what purchases had been made. Dimples, though, loves to share.
“Guess what I got!”
“Ladybugs?” I asked, hopefully. To me, those are the only benign living things available at the nursery.
“Nope. A Venus flytrap!”
Yay. Please don’t put it anywhere near the vicinity of my bedroom.
Since I wasn’t very encouraging when Dimples made the initial announcement, mostly because I was convinced that the Dusty Miller I killed in my classroom last week had ordered a hit on me and that her plant was a “plant”, I decided to try again at dinner time.
“So, what are you going to name your plant?” Thinking that giving it a name might de-creepify it somehow. Although that didn’t really help with Dusty Miller.
Dimples is not big on putting a lot of effort into names. Her blue fish is named, “Sky,” for example. And her stuffed dog has never even had a name. She’s had it for 7 years.
“Afro,” she declared immediately.
Great. So now plants and African-Americans will hate me.
“Uh, why?” That seemed a better response than, “Are you the only person in the world who sees naming a plant as an opportunity to be politically incorrect?”
“You know. Venus. Aphrodite. Aphro.”
“Oh,” my husband and I both breathed audible sighs of relief.
So, it seems I’m safe. Even safer now that she moved Afro outside after trying to feed it hamburger meat and attracting a bunch of ants to its strangely disinterested (because it only wants human blood) trappy little mouths.
Until she goes outside to check on it, and yells for the whole neighborhood to hear, “Mom, I think my Afro caught some bugs!”