Tag: humor

You Can Lead a Horse to Wine, but You Can’t Make Him Write a Novel.

Lead a Horse to WaterI’ve been thinking about motivation and the thought occurred to me that perhaps if I only allowed myself wine *when I was writing* – I’d get this next book knocked out PDQ. (That means “pretty damn quick,” for you laymen out there.) But, then again, that would require discipline. And self-control. And saying no to wine. Plus, I have about another 40,000 words to go. And that might be a lot of wine.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I googled “wine” and “horses” (don’t act like you’ve never done that) and I got that dandy picture above. But I also found this:

Horse bottle holderWhich seems kind of inappropriate. But, I actually have this bottle holder except that mine is a moose. Now, I’m not sure if it is the horse that makes it look pornographic, or if I’ve been in denial about the fact that my moose appears to be getting raped by a wine bottle, too. And maybe Steve wasn’t being a pervert when he told me what it looked like my moose was up to.

I linked the picture to a store where you can buy your very own so that if you felt like the only thing missing from your life was a horse deep-throating a bottle of wine – your life can now be complete.

From Hell’s Heart, I Stab at Thee…Fed Loan Servicing.

Khan I would like to claim I knew that line was from Moby Dick…but I just knew it from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. But, in my defense, The Wrath of Khan was way better than Moby Dick.

But that’s beside the point. My current source of wrath is my law school student loans.

It could be that they are more than six figures.

It could be that I’m paying over 7% interest on them. (Thanks, Government! We love your commitment to higher learning! Even though my student loan interest rate is nearly double my mortgage interest rate, you assholes.)

But, truly, the current source of my fury is the Morlocks working for Fed Loan Servicing.

So, here’s the thing.

I signed up for automatic withdrawal for my student loans (so I could save that *amazing* 1/4% interest rate!). They say “keep making your payments – it could take a couple of months for this to get set up. We’ll let you know.” Total lies. They do NOT let you know.

Consequently, I made my NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE DOLLAR student loan payment on MAY 29. But guess what?? They set up my automatic withdrawal (without telling me!) and so on JUNE 4 (6 DAYS LATER), they took ANOTHER $935. Seriously. Six days later. Oopsie. Bastards.

So, I called. They said “Sorry.” Then they said, “How about we credit this toward July?” Grrr, but ok.

Then I got a notice from Fed Loan Servicing saying, “Your next automatic withdrawal will be July 4.” What? You’re supposed to skip a month.

So I called. They said “Sorry.” Then they said, “No really; we really have it set NOT to take another $935 for July.” Okay. Dubious, but I’ll take the leap of faith.

Then I got a bill saying, “No automatic withdrawal this month so be sure to make your payment!” No. It can’t be. How many Fed Loan Servicing agents does it take to screw up one correction? Turns out, one more than I had talked to.

So I checked my online account.

DELINQUENT.

Rage. White-hot, blinding, whiskey-drinking, rage. I shit you not. They never bothered to apply that extra payment forward – they just suspended the automatic payment for a month.

So I called. They said “Sorry.”

I said, “From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!” Okay. Not really. But I did tell him they were making me crazy. In a very sarcastic, hopefully day-ruining, tone of voice.

P.S.

In case I stumped you on the “Morlocks” thing – I direct you to a photo of the night-dwelling, cannibalistic Morlocks from the 1960 classic, “The Time Machine.” Morlocks And now your life is complete.

The Fairy Tale Law Firm – Warning: This Warning May Cause Cancer.

the fairy tale law firm

Long, long ago in a far-away, entirely fictional kingdom called California, there was a lord called ShortSightedLawmakers. This lord really liked to hear himself talk so he summoned his barrister – assuming she’d enjoy listening to him talk about stupid crap as well – and went for an inspection of his kingdom.

Lord ShortSightedLawmakers stopped in many storefronts as he passed through the villages.

“Lady Barrister,” he said, “I am very concerned by some of the compounds being used by the shopkeepers.”

“Such as what, My Lord?”

“Well, the tannery uses tannin.”

“Yes, I believe it is necessary to their work.”

“But I believe it causes cancer. People have a right to know when they are exposing themselves to such dangerous chemicals. I think they should be required to post such a warning.” (I know. This is sounding vaguely familiar.)

“Well, My Lord, I suppose I understand your concern, but how would it be enforced? Our law enforcement officials are overburdened as it is. I’m not sure we could expect them to police tanneries as well – simply to see if they are displaying proper signage.”

“Not just tanneries,” he bellowed. “Any vendor that utilizes frog’s legs! Or aspirin! Or lye!”

“My Lord, are you certain all of those cause cancer?”

“No!” But I’m not certain they don’t! And salt! I don’t think that’s good for you, either! And vinegar! Because I don’t like the smell. And there is something sinister about tea leaves!” And the Lord rambled on and on, naming chemicals he felt were vaguely threatening in some way.

The barrister sighed. “Again, My Lord, I do not see how we can put enforcement of such a law on the shoulders of our law enforcement officials.”

“Then we’ll let the people enforce it!” (Perfect. What could possibly go wrong?)

Lady Barrister’s mouth hung open a moment. “But, My Lord, doesn’t it seem that there are greedy, unscrupulous, self-serving, sleazy individuals that would exploit such a law to the detriment of poor business-owners who do not realize they are violating the law?”

“Nonsense. It will work.”

So the law was passed. And money-grubbing barristers all over the kingdom learned how to exploit the law, finding plaintiffs they could sue on behalf of and bringing lawsuits against business-owners who had no notion that they had done anything wrong. And they sued their pants off –  despite the fact that the “plaintiffs” in those cases had never been harmed by any chemical found at the business. And those “plaintiffs” and barristers made mountains and mountains of gold and business-owners were afraid and so started posting signs in every store stating that they *might* use chemicals that *might* cause cancer, simply to avoid being prey to such a lawsuit.

And all of the people Lord ShortSightedLawmakers intended to protect with his warnings, found the signs, which were now freaking everywhere, utterly useless because (a) they were EVERYWHERE (like I said), and (b) they didn’t know what the chemicals were, how much they were exposed to, or whether they even were actually harmful! Add to this the fact that the lord’s list, which initially had a few chemicals on it when he started, ended up with HUNDREDS of chemicals on it.

So, there are two morals to this story. The first, life causes cancer. Seriously. (Okay, to better illustrate – when you roast coffee beans, a side effect of the roasting process creates acrylamide – all on its own! Not man-made. Just by roasting those little bad boys. And acrylamide is on the list. Consequently, every friggin coffee company YOU know has been sued. So, next time you go into Starbucks, enjoy your warning sign. I’m sure you all stopped drinking coffee as soon as you saw that oh-so-important sign informing you that your coffee may cause cancer (if you drink 37 cups a day, 7 days a week for the next 18 years).)

Oops. Forgot I was at the “Fairy Tale Law Firm.”

Okay, second moral to this story: please, for the love of all that is holy, read laws BEFORE you vote for them. You need to consider more than whether a law would be “a good idea.” Does it have an enforcement vehicle that actually works? Because bounty hunter clauses are making asshole plaintiffs and asshole attorneys into millionaires. And I doubt that was part of what you thought was “a good idea” when you marked your ballot.

Okay. I’m off my soap box. Sorry about that. And not to make this post overly educational, but here is a link to the California Attorney General’s record of Prop 65 lawsuits for 2013 – in case you thought I was exaggerating. 73% of all amounts recovered under these lawsuits went to the attorneys! I’d like to take a moment to thank those attorneys for furthering the stereotype that lawyers are basically bottom-feeding scumbags 🙂  Thanks, guys!

By the way. WARNING: This blog may contain chemicals known to the kingdom of California to cause cancer or other reproductive harm.

Friday Happy List.

It’s Friday so I thought I’d share with you a quick list of awesome things that make me happy.

  • Fridays. I have yet to meet one I didn’t like.
  • The new show, iZombie (which may be further proof that I am actually a 15-year-old girl trapped in a woman’s body). Whatever. It’s a delight.

iZombie

  • Wine. Because it’s amazing. This picture of wine is also amazing. So two for one on this point.

Wine

  • My new bamboo sheets. Seriously. Who knew you could make fabric out of bamboo? And why is it the softest thing in creation? And why have I been having so much trouble getting out of bed in the morning? More questions than answers, really.

bamboo sheets

  • This sign. Because it always makes me picture a little bird with a French fry. And how does that not always bring a smile to your face? ‘Cause that little bird just hit the mother lode.

Bird with a french fry

  • My dogs. Because every time I walk in the door, they act like I’m a combination of Joe Montana, Geddy Lee and Jesus Christ. (My dogs are big Rush fans. I blame Steve.)

Jack & Sawyer

Enjoy your weekend and take your happy wherever you find it.

My Writer’s Streak.

Writer's Streak

Apparently, when you are rep’d by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency, you become a member of the Wolf Pack. And, once my announcement came out, the other members of the Wolf Pack informed me of a Wolf Pack tradition. They told me Michelle’s authors put a streak of color in their hair when Michelle gets us a book deal. Shenanigans, right? Have no fear. I insisted on photographic evidence. Which was happily provided.

And since I have never been one to tempt fate – or miss an opportunity to do something ridiculous with a totally valid excuse – or, frankly, resist peer pressure when I don’t feel like it – here is my new writer’s streak.

And since, as Linda Grimes put it, some judges are lacking in a sense of whimsy, I strategically placed it so that it could be overlooked in court. Unless I meet a super whimsical judge, in which case, game on.

Writer's Streak 2

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

So, this doll over at The Pretty Platform nominated me for an award. No, seriously. Look how cute this girl is.

Elke at the Pretty Platform

Right? Adorable. So, Elke, because you’re too cute to say no to, I accept 😉

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award

Okay. Here are the rules!

As I accept this nomination, the following must be accomplished:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate seven blogs.
I got this.
The Answers
  1. If there was a book written about you, what would it be titled? At Least She Meant Well.
  2. If you could go back to any age in your life, which would it be, and why? Well, I have made splendidly horrendous mistakes at every stage of my life, so I wouldn’t say I had any desirable “stage.” And I’m 42 now but have never minded the journey of getting older so there isn’t a younger age I’d want to be. That leaves the obvious – I would go back to any time prior to December 15, 2014 when I still had my mom and best friend.  That was all the best stage.
  3. What single accomplishment are you most proud of? I’m proud of my three as-yet-unpublished novels. Because I never quit. Even when I came so close the first time only to suffer a huge disappointment – I just moved on to the next book. Full-time job, kids, law school – didn’t matter. A writer writes.
  4. Country living or city living? Suburb living looking to escape to the country. I want chickens. And a goat.
  5. What’s your favorite joke? Do tell. The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.
  6. Are you an ugly or pretty crier? I’ve actually become an expert in the matter. I’ve got the pretty cry, the ugly one, the rogue-tear one, the cry-till-you’re-hoarse one, and the I-swear-to-god-I-seriously-need-to-stop-crying one.
  7. If you could donate money to one cause, to one organization, which would it be? St. Jude’s Hospital. Anything for children. And it was my mom’s favorite.
  8. What do you think should be taught in schools today that isn’t already? I’m not a huge proponent of shock value, but after I saw “American History X,” I thought it should be shown in high schools. With all the language, violence and hard R rating intact. I don’t know that I’ve seen another movie that more accurately embodies the futility and tragedy of hatred more than that movie.
  9. How do you like your steak cooked? I don’t remember. Haven’t had a steak in about 33 years.
  10. What vacation spot did you enjoy the most? That’s tough. I love love love to travel. I guess I would say Blarney Castle in Ireland. Sad that it’s only known for kissing that nasty stone. The grounds are so beautiful, I could have stayed for a year.

The Questions for the Nominees

  1. What are you most afraid of?
  2. Star Wars or Star Trek?
  3. What is your favorite book?
  4. Now what is your real favorite book that that doesn’t make you look as intellectual as your answer in number 3?
  5. If you could trade places with any currently living celebrity, who would it be?
  6. Do you believe in ghosts?
  7. What is your favorite Pixar movie?
  8. What is the most impulsive thing you’ve ever done?
  9. What is your favorite genre of food?
  10. Who is your favorite Disney princess?

My Nominees

  1. Gone Catawampus – love love love these girls. Sorry to be redundant, cause I’ve nominated them for stuff before, but they never disappoint.
  2. Never Trust a Jellyfish – just the name makes me smile. As do most of her posts.
  3. Heather Christena Schmidt – Love her humor and honesty.
  4. The Stay at Home Philosopher – Quirky and clever. And I love quirky.
  5. Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy. – AKA Aussa Lorens. Okay. She’s kind of a big deal and this is not news, but she’s just so damn funny.
  6. Some Offense Intended – because offensive is funny if you’re smart.
  7. Have You Seen My Glass Slipper? – because Kay is way more clever than I was at 18.

So, thanks to the lovely Elke. And I apologize to my nominees for the homework assignment.

Much love.

Erin

Give Me 5 Minutes and I’ll Get You Excited for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Zombie Apocalypse Of course, some of you need no convincing and are probably already stockpiling ammo and bottled water. But for the rest of you…

I’m a fan of zombie movies, new and old, and a huge Walking Dead fan. But what I’ve realized is that there is an emotional component to the draw of the zombie apocalypse that’s driving my desire for apocalypse-themed entertainment lately.

Think about it. It’s all about survival. Nothing strips away the bullshit of our day-to-day lives like a hoard of mindless, flesh-eating zombies. Because that parent-teacher conference you were dreading next week? Pretty sure it’s canceled. Still upset that a couple of your friends checked in on Facebook for happy hour without inviting you? Nope. Just worried about surviving till happy hour. Stressed about losing 10 pounds before bathing suit season? There is no more bathing suit season. Plus, you’ll probable be in kick-ass shape from walking all day and swinging a heavy machete.

The point is, there is no more worrying about your kids grades, their college paths, their life choices. Your new parenting goals? Food, water, no bites. I can get behind that. Plus, no more stressing over your career, your mortgage, your retirement account. Congratulations. Your five-year plan just went out the window. You’re now working on a 24-hour plan with one goal: survive.

This sounds good to me. Because I’m at a point where my threshold for bullshit is microscopic and there’s so much bullshit. The things I worry about in a given day are so insignificant in light of what I’ve lost. But somehow I still have to worry about them. Because life goes on, with all its bullshit intact. Unless we fall into a zombie apocalypse. Fingers crossed.

zombie-horde-the-walking-dead

12-Week Lessons.

Today marks 12 weeks. I thought, perhaps, my next post would not be about my mom. Well, I am happy to say that this post, much like my life, is not all about losing my mom.

So here’s what I’ve learned in the last 12 weeks:

  1. I like lists. They require little cohesion and no organization at all.
  2. There is a very fine, at times imperceptible, line between “grieving” and “crazy.”
  3. You don’t really get it – not really – until it’s you.
  4. I’m stronger than I thought. I lost the one person I talked to more, shared more, listened to more, relied on more, leaned on more than any other person in the world. And I’m okay. Despite my previous concerns, I wasn’t swallowed by the hole she left in the world.
  5. I like cemeteries. You can cry all you want and no one looks at you twice. Cause you’re in a cemetery.
  6. Death is arbitrary. My mom wasn’t even two weeks past her 67th birthday, she had low blood pressure, low cholesterol, ate healthy, didn’t smoke, rarely drank, got all her mammograms, colonoscopies, physicals, etc., stayed active, and took her vitamins. And she was literally gone in a matter of seconds. Be healthy so that you can feel good while you’re here – but all the healthy living in the world isn’t going to grant you longevity if it isn’t in the cards.
  7. The dead apparently do not haunt by request. No matter how much you wish for a visit.
  8. Apparently I don’t need to share every thought that ever pops into my head with someone. I used to have someone I told everything to. Now, I probably share 50% of those thoughts. Which, I guess, means I have a lot of insignificant thoughts. Or just no one that finds significance in them.
  9. Even on dark days, wine makes me happy.
  10. Getting my eye makeup tattooed on a year and a half ago was a sound investment.

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain on Grief. Any Questions?

So this was my brain a couple months ago:

Everything is Awesome

And this is my brain now:

batman-graveyard

Dark, lonely, altogether less awesome. Except for Batman. Why is Batman there? Why wouldn’t he be? Okay, I think you’re missing the point – try to stay focused.

Interestingly, the broad array of emotions my normal brain had are gone. Now, I seem to have two settings at a time. For the last couple of weeks, my options were sad or strange, with really no other arrows in my quiver, as they say. Sad involves much crying and varying levels of hysteria. Strange was impulse driven and unpredictable. I think we should have champagne and Taco Bell for dinner tonight. How many chickens do you think I’m allowed to keep in our suburban backyard? I can’t decide on a movie…I’m torn between Sleepless in Seattle and The Exorcist. What’s wrong with me putting whiskey in a wine glass?

You get the point. You can guess which Steve preferred – and not just because he loves Taco Bell.

This week is different. I’m only crying every few days now, but I’m somehow sadder with my settings now being between anxious and depressed. (We should probably all take a moment to pity my wonderful husband for what he is enduring. Okay. Moment’s over. Moving on.) So in between moments where I feel like I’m verging on a panic attack and the ones where I don’t want to get out of bed, I’m lonely.

In all of my angsty self-reflection, I’ve put my finger on this loneliness. My mom and I talked about the details, the facets, the little things. We would put together that 5,000 piece puzzle to get the big picture – which is what I shared with my husband and my friends…the big picture. But my mom, alone, knew exactly what it was composed of – each thought, each worry, every hope and fear. I have supportive people in my life, but never anyone that cared about all the little things. Sure, partly it was because moms have to listen to your crap – it’s in the job description. But part of it was just who she was. Because she cared about your details like they were her own. So what the hell do I do with all these puzzle pieces now?

And there is no loneliness quite the loneliness you feel when you’re surrounded by people.

In other news, I was a little worried all this doom and gloom would make people stop following my blog. I have this to report: you all are a very dark and twisty bunch. But you’re my dark and twisty bunch. ❤

Time Flies Whether You’re Having Fun or Not.

Time Flies

I have come to realize that the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun” is inaccurate. It’s not untrue – time does fly when you’re having fun. But time still flies when you’re not. So I’m not calling the creator of that catchphrase a liar…I’m calling them sloppy based on their half-truth.

There are undoubtedly periods of time that do not fly. So maybe time flies unless you’re in an internment camp. Or time flies unless you’re at the DMV. Or time flies unless you’re reading Moby Dick. Or you’re in solitary confinement in a state penitentiary. Or stuck in traffic when you’re running late for court. Or sitting through a graduation commencement. This list is not exhaustive and I realize time is relative. You may love graduations. Or solitary confinement.

But, otherwise, time does fly. Regardless of whether you’re having a good time or not. I have noticed that the only days of the week I seem to notice are Fridays and Mondays. Fridays, in that I can’t believe how fast the week went by. And Mondays, in that I can’t believe the weekend went by even faster. So the last eight weeks have been a blur. And yet, it feels like it was yesterday. And I can honestly say I have had little to no fun at all. But time still flies.