drum roll, please

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We’re officially in business!

And when I say “we”, I mean…me. Which includes the voices in my head, so I can get away with “we”. Are you really going to argue the point with someone who just admitted to hearing voices? I DIDN’T THINK SO.

Anyway. Back on track, Shelby.

I finally got around to making a real cross stitch pattern and opening an Etsy shop yesterday: How Bad Can It Go Designs !

If you’ve been following along on Instagram (@ealachan), Twitter (Alpacalypse5, or check out #howbadcanitgoblog) and admiring the recent pictures of the “Piss Off” piece I was working on, you can now buy the pattern and make one yourself for the low, low price of just $5. Sweet, right?

Here’s the finished piece in all the glory that my crappy fluorescent kitchen light can muster:

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Don’t let the border scare you off. It looks way more complicated than it really is. Says she who stitched most of it in varying states of inebriation. Ahem.

I’ll be putting more patterns up soon – I have one for a cheeky bookmark all ready to go, and I’ve got an ever-growing list of snarky sayings, suggestive song lyrics and nerdy movie quotes that I’m plotting designs for. If you have any specific requests let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with! I’ll eventually start selling finished pieces as well, for those who admire irreverent cross stitch but don’t want to / can’t be arsed to stitch it themselves. I may at some point start offering kits as well, but that’s still kind of a nebulous needs-more-thinking-on-and-probably-requires-more-planning-than-I’m-capable-of-and-how-long-can-I-make-this-sentence-now-that-I’m-on-a-roll type thing.

Wheeeee, commerce!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sometimes a plane is just a plane

Saturday morning Junior was at the groomer getting his hurr did and I had two hours to kill. I knew that if I stayed in town I’d end up living out one of several scenarios:

  1. I’d go to WalMart and spend way too much money on a bunch of shit I didn’t need, including but not limited to make-up that I end up never wearing,
  2. I’d go to Sephora and end up blowing half the rent money on buying all eleventy billion colors of Kat Von D Tattoo eyeliner which is my new most precious favorite thing ever,
  3. I’d eat my way through half the fast food joints on the strip because clearly I hate not only my circulatory system but also my liver, brain and colon,
  4. I’d go to Pier One and spend a small fortune on wooden giraffes (you can TRY to explain to me why I don’t need like seven of those motherfuckers but I will never believe you. NEVER.)
  5. I’d go to SuperCuts and get a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad haircut.

All of these scenarios ultimately end with tears…usually mine. I know because I’ve actually done all of them, with the exception of buying the wooden giraffes.

So, instead of subjecting myself to the clearly unmanageable temptations of downtown West Lebanon, N.H., I decided I’d drive up the hill and hang out at the airport. Not like, the inside of the airport where people are waiting around for flights (though that holds a certain appeal as well, though probably better done in larger airports where more than like six people are in there at any one time and people will get creeped out by the fat lady with no plane ticket doing cross-stitch in the corner for two whole hours), but rather out in the observation…area? Parking lot? Basically, it’s the back side of the airport. There’s a big chain-link fence to keep dingbats like me off the runways, but you can park up and watch the one or two planes an hour take off / land. There’s almost never anyone else up there, at least not in the winter, so I can sit in my car cackling at ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’ and doing my cross-stitch in relative peace.

When I got to the place I normally park up, there was a jet sitting just on the other side of the fence. It was a smallish jet, what I later learned was a Gulfstream 5. I learned that by, out of sheer random curiosity, punching the registration numbers emblazoned on the tail of the jet into Google. Not only was I able to find out what kind of plane it was, but I was able to see who it was registered to and, after a little dicking around, could actually find a cataloging of all the recent flights this plane had taken.

WEIRD, RIGHT?!

This is probably a good time to remind you that my run-away imagination is built for conspiracy theories. I wish it was built for like, writing enormously popular novels or screenplays because that would be way more lucrative and life-improving, but no. It’s pretty much all conspiracy theories all the time up in my ol’ cabeza.

So, when I was sitting there seeing all these details for the flights of this plane come up (on my PHONE, no less. We live in the future and it’s a magical place, people!), of course my brain was starting to rub its figurative little hands together, going “Yes, I can work with this. YESSSSSS.”  Pretty soon I was Googling the company that the plane was registered to (some kind of crazy hedge fund investment firm thing in Manhattan), and coming up with all kinds of far-fetched reasons why rich Manhattan-ite investment bankers would be flying a private plane to East Desolation, N.H. in the middle of January (which, trust me, is NOT the time you want to be here unless you’re a skier. Or a polar bear. And even then, your judgement is suspect). Everything from shady investment deals to covert extra-marital get-aways to a corporate team-building workshop (‘come survive the wilds of New Hampshire in the middle of January with nothing but the clothes on your back, a book of matches and three tins of Alpo’) bubbled up from the dregs of my imagination and it was altogether entertaining.

Later on when I got home and told Mark about my adventures in low-level phone-based Internet sleuthing, and questioned why all these people on Internet message boards would be talking about THIS SPECIFIC PLANE unless it was A VERY IMPORTANT PLANE, he totally burst my bubble. Turns out plane-spotting is a big hobby, just like train-spotting – people hang around airports and take note of the tail numbers of planes they see on the tarmac, then post the details on the Internet so that other people can “track” the planes. There’s even an app you can buy that lets you input the tail numbers and plot all the plane’s flights on a map.

So, fuck it. Next time I have to wait for the dog to get his hair cut, I’m totally buying myself a wooden giraffe. Maybe two.

 

giraffe

You cannot even fathom the dog-propelled chaos that would ensue if I brought this home. Junior would alternately try to hump it, chew on it, and refuse to come into the room where it resided, out of sheer terror. I need like…three.

 

 

 

 

Mexican candy

The other day one of my co-workers sent an email out to the office saying that there was a bunch of Mexican candy in the kitchen if anyone wanted to try some.

My first thought was, “I wonder if that’s a euphemism for heroin”.

My second thought was, “That’s probably insensitive. Good thing I didn’t say it out loud”.

My third thought was, “Why am I still sitting here talking to myself when there’s free candy?”  And with that, I was off down the stairs like a shot.

Turns out co-worker was being extremely literal – it was actual candy from Mexico that a family member had sent him for Christmas. There were little chocolate chew things, some rolls of fruity gummy stuff, and these quite lovely caramel disc things that were sandwiched between Communion-esque wafers.

There were also some crazy peanut butter marzipan things that looked for all the world like peanut butter fudge, except that really they were just compressed powdered peanut butter and marzipan, so when you’d go to break a piece off it would crumble into a pile of delicious dust in your hand. I completely do not understand the logic.  If you want to sell tons of candy, shouldn’t you make it easy to consume, especially on the fly? There’s no way you could eat one of these peanut butter things on the go. You’d get covered with sugary peanut marzipan dust and everyone would look at you super weirdly when you sat there at a red light trying to lick all the delicious candy dust off you arms on the way home from work. And don’t even get me started on kids trying to eat a candy like this. No sane parent would ever let their kid into the house with loosely compressed clods of sugary peanut butter dust that disintegrate with merely a stern look. You’d be finding thin films of peanut butter dust on every surface for weeks. Which, I guess if no one is around to see you lick it up then you have nothing to worry about, but still.

Anyway. Back on track.

There was one other kind of candy in the pile. These things:

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Mmm, hot and salted. Two qualities I always look for in a candy. And life, really.

The description on the wrapper was so weird that I couldn’t resist it. Like a moth to a flame, I grabbed one and peeled back the wrapper. The texture was something like a less chewy version of fruit leather. I broke a little piece off the corner and sniffed it. Hmmm, raisin-y! I was super skeptical of the whole “hot and salted” thing advertised on the label, but in true How Bad Can It Go spirit, I popped it into my mouth anyway.

At first taste, I was screwing my face up and saying I didn’t like it. It was sour and weirdly salty and sweet all at the same time (though I didn’t get any heat from the chile in it at all, and usually I’m overly sensitive to chiles). I totally wasn’t into it. I didn’t spit it out, but I set the candy aside and kept kind of side-eyeing it suspiciously for a while.

However, not one to be bested by a confection, Mexican or otherwise, I eventually broke off another little piece and tried it again.

And now, I might be addicted. These things are bizarrely delicious. There’s something about the sweet-salty-sour combination that ends up giving the impression of savoriness. I mean, it’s not like eating a piece of steak type savory, but all the flavors end up balancing each other out and it’s just…good.

Weird.

But good.

(Like me! Heh.)

potential pork disaster

I’ve explained before why I chose to call this blog, “How Bad Can It Go”. The short version is that, basically, I have two modes:

  • Hyper-analytical super overly cautious mode, where I come up with every completely unfeasible nightmare scenario imaginable and either completely talk myself out of doing everything or just totally paralyze myself with doubt, and
  • Impulsive mode, where I just DO shit (usually weird and/or inadvisable shit), with the mantra “how bad can it go?” playing over and over in my head.

The impulsive side of me is definitely the more creative side. Impulsive me starts a blog, for instance! Impulsive me randomly embroiders rainbow pterodactyls and makes up narratives to go with squirrel pictures. 

When I’m cooking, sometimes the impulsive side of me takes over and I end up creating masterpieces. Other times, I just create messes.

Tonight’s cooking, I fear, could go either way.

I got an Instant Pot for Christmas. It’s an electric pressure cooker, essentially. It does a bunch of other stuff too, but the part with the steepest potential learning curve is the pressure cooking part. Cooking under pressure doesn’t work like regular cooking. There are adjustments to cooking times, ratios of liquids to solids, and all kinds of other happy horseshit that I frankly haven’t bothered to read up on yet (which, if you know me at all, does not surprise you in the least). Point being – you can’t just take a normal recipe and put everything in the Instant Pot exactly like you would a regular pot and expect it to actually, you know, work.

So, tonight when I started just randomly throwing things into the Instant Pot, I may have set myself up to find out just how bad it CAN go.

I don’t think it will blow up. Let’s get that cleared up right now. I also don’t think it will catch fire…definitely another plus.

Am I entirely sure whether the 3lbs of pork I put in there with two cans of tomatoes, half a can of green chiles, a whole bunch of spices and a little water will actually turn into chili in the randomly selected time I set it to cook for, though?

Mmm…not so much.

But like I said, I’m pretty sure it won’t blow up, at least.

 

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“Mahm, don’t wake me up unless it’s edible. For serious.”

 

 

 

things I’ve told myself recently

This is also known as my “some day list”, because most of the time when these things pop into my head they’re prefaced by the phrase, “SOME DAY when I’m (rich / famous / in better shape / truly run out of fucks to give / drunk off my ass / fill in the blank)”.

  • Some day I’m going to hire a maid to come in two days a week and clean my house.  I wouldn’t ask her to do gross stuff like clean my husband’s hairballs out of the bathtub drain or exorcise the science projects out of the back of my fridge, but everything else would be fair game. The problem with this plan is that Junior The Dog would lose his sweet tiny ever-loving mind from stranger danger if someone he didn’t know came to the house while we were gone. Or even while we were here. So basically, if I ever want a maid for real, I’m going to have to figure out how to take my dog to work for a half day twice a week (not happening – last time he went to work with me he shit in my boss’s office), or I’m going to have to start tranquilizing him twice a week (probably also not happening. Probably.)

 

  • Some day I’m going to own a house of my own rather than renting, and I’m going to paint the rooms whatever weird-ass colors I want. To be fair, our landlord is pretty easy-going and he probably wouldn’t balk if I wanted to paint walls weird colors in our apartment – the last tenants had blood-red walls in their bedroom, in fact. When we came to look at the place, everything looked totally normal and chill until we got to the bedroom and then it was like, instant bordello. But not in a good way. If you see what I mean. Anyway, I want my own house for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is usually my desire to have things like a lime green bathroom and blue living room walls and stuff.

 

  • Some day I’m going to live somewhere where the driveway is not an icy death trap of doom every winter. This one is pretty much wishful thinking in New England, honestly – even the nicest, most well-maintained driveways end up with a layer of frozen slush and hate caked to them at some point in the winter here. Unless I want to cough up beaucoup bucks for one of those crazy heated-driveway setups, I’m destined to always be disappointed on this front.

 

  • Some day I’m going to develop good habits, like washing my face before bed, writing every day, not automatically adding “fuck” to every other sentence when I’m speaking aloud, cleaning up after myself as I cook rather than just piling all the dirty dishes in the sink and pretending I don’t seem them for the next three days, exercising on a consistent basis, not drinking as much…they all sound good in theory but none of them are very fun in practice so I’m basically doomed to never achieve any of them.

 

  • Some day I’m going to hang up a coat rack so that we stop just dumping our coats and sweatshirts and other outer-wear paraphernalia on the kitchen chairs when we come inside. This one is probably the most do-able of the whole list, to be fair.

 

  • Some day I’m going to go through all my dishware and silverware, take an inventory, figure out what pieces I’m missing and buy them. I literally have three soup bowls to my name, only two of which match, and one of which is structurally unsound and will some day crumble and dump boiling hot soup all over me. Also, another example of how bad it is: my mom actually bought butter knives and put them in my Christmas stocking this year because when my folks were over for Thanksgiving and mom was setting the table she could only find two butter knives. I replied that yes, we only have two, and she just couldn’t wrap her mind around why we didn’t have a full set of them. I explained that, you know, sometimes things need to be pried out of other things and butter knives get bent and then they have to be thrown away. Or like, sometimes you REALLY need to chip the ice off your windshield and you can’t find your scraper and you’re already late for work and the butter knife is the first thing you think of and then you forget to take it back inside. Stuff happens, and butter knives sometimes pay the price.

 

eye

Some day I’m going to remember to shut the bedroom door before I do my eyeliner so that things like this don’t happen when the dog starts barking at a squirrel out of nowhere, making me jump and stab myself in the eye. And worse, screw up my eyeliner.

thirty-six

Today’s my birthday. I’m thirty-six years old, as of 4:32-ish this morning.

Thirty-six sounds weird to me.

It doesn’t sound bad or scary or anything. Just…weird. It might take some getting used to the sound of it, the feel of the words.

The only “milestone” birthday that has bothered me so far was when I turned twenty-five. You’d think that on the spectrum of possible age freakouts that twenty-five would be way closer to the “foot-loose and fancy-free” end than the “oh god, I’ve wasted my life” end of things, but apparently not in my case. I actually straight-up lost my shit shortly after turning twenty-five. I had a series of panic attacks that got increasingly worse until finally, one night in early February I called my parents around midnight and asked my dad to take me to the emergency room because I was quite sure I was having a heart attack. The ER doc didn’t do a whole lot to comfort me, other than to say that even a severely obese twenty-five year old like me probably wouldn’t be having an actual heart attack unless she’d been doing cocaine or something. That was followed by a very pointed look full of unspoken questions to which I replied, “if I was doing coke, don’t you think I’d be skinnier?”

Anyway – point being, twenty-five pretty much felt like rock bottom to me. While everyone else around me was partying and living it up, having adventures, making new friends, traveling the world, I was spending most nights and weekends (and no small number of days) hiding under the duvet, literally afraid that I’d drop dead at any moment. I got some help in the form of antidepressants and a wonderful dog that friends helped me adopt, and I started to slowly claw my way out of a very deep, very dark hole.

I talk about this today so that I can look around myself and more fully appreciate just how much has changed for the better in my life in the last eleven years. I’m not cured of depression, anxiety or any of the other brain fuckery that  started rearing its ugly head when I turned twenty-five. I never will be, and I’m at varying levels of peace with that – but the older I get, the better I become at accepting that this is who I am and that there’s no shame in it. I’ve learned that I don’t have to pretend to be OK just to keep those around me comfortable, and that’s a valuable lesson indeed.

36.

A post shared by Rhubarb Swank (@ealachan) on

 

 

 

when squirrels collide

If you’re not familiar with the Powerman 5000 song, “When Worlds Collide”, the title of this post isn’t going to be nearly as funny to you as it is to me. That’s ok, I’m used to being mostly just hilarious to myself.

Anyway.

Happy 2016! I hope your celebrations were all that you wanted them to be. We’re pretty low-key on the New Years front around these parts. First of all we live in the sticks so there aren’t really any bars or clubs within reasonable driving distance to go to. Second of all, Hubs and I are both pretty antisocial, so the idea of going somewhere where there are a bunch of drunk revelers in close quarters is…unappealing at best. At worst, it makes us run and hide. Or fake illnesses. Or work ourselves into states of ACTUAL illnesses. No matter which way you slice it, it’s not good. So, instead of braving the crowds, we stay home and watch movies or play games. This year we were lucky enough to have some friends over to hang out with, which was great. There was much eating of delicious foods, drinking of booze and laughing until faces hurt. And that was just me! Everyone else had a good time too, though. At least, that’s how it seemed as I polished off an entire bottle of pinot noir. Wine goggles for the win.

Anyway…back to the squirrels.

We had a snow storm the other day, so the squirrels and birds have been filling their faces like crazy lately. Yesterday when I got home I noticed that my feeders in the back yard were empty, but I was on a tear to get a bunch of food cooked before guests arrived so I completely forgot to fill the feeders before it got dark out. This morning as I was standing there waiting for the kettle to heat up, I looked out the window at the feeder and there was a squirrel on top of it, forlornly trying to scrape up some of the cracked corn that had gotten wet from the snow and then frozen to the wood. Wracked with guilt, I turned the kettle off, put my boots on and went straight out to refill the feeders.

After I’ve filled the feeders it takes a few minutes for the birds and squirrels to decide the coast is clear and come back to them. When I put the feeders up I’d been hoping that the critters would all flock to me like a fat redneck rainbow-haired Cinderella, but it has yet to pan out. Anyway – I stood there in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to heat up AGAIN, when the squirrels finally sounded the all-clear and came back to gorge themselves. At first, it was innocent enough:

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“Morning, Bob.”  “Morning, Phil.”  “Sunflower seeds AGAIN?”  “Yeah, that cheap bitch is withholding the suet nuggets, apparently.”

But then, things got heated in a hurry:

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“So Bob, I was wondering if maybe I could be the inside squirrel today.” “No.”

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“But Bob, you’re ALWAYS the ins-” “Did I fucking STUTTER, PHIL?”

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“Maybe we could BOTH be inside squirrel today? Maybe we could share the seeds?” “EN GARDE! I’ll let you try my Wu-Tang style!”

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“Ok, ok, I just think there’s probably enough room for both of us…” “EEEEE-YAAAAHHH! HE, HE, YEEEE-AAAHH! WAAAAUUUGGGGGH!”

 

Phil was summarily evicted from the feeder after that. Whether determined or simply somewhat dim, he remained undaunted though! He came back a little while later for more abuse which I recorded and you can see here (WordPress won’t let me embed the video – apparently I need to pay for that or something).

Poor Phil. I wish I could figure out a way to make him his own feeder so that he could sit in it stuffing his face with suet nuggets while flipping Violent Bob the double bird.

Some day, Phil. Some day.