rituals (and consequences)

There are certain things that must be done. Rituals, if you will. Certain things have their places, certain activities have a specific order they’re best done in, and some steps on the way to a destination are non-negotiable.

For instance, I have a bedtime routine that involves checking the bed for spiders.

Part of it stems from the fact that I intensely dislike being personally near spiders. Notice I don’t say “I hate spiders”, because I don’t. I totally respect spiders’ places in the ecosystem and I admire their innate engineering instincts.

I just don’t want the creep little fuckers to touch me. Ever.

So, when I go to bed at night, one of my rituals is to check the bed for spiders. I flip the blankets and top sheet off the bed, I shake the pillows, I shake the blankets and sheet, then I put it all back together again. If my husband has already gotten into bed, I’m ok with assuming he’s already gone through this process for me. If I’m the first one to bed, though…everything gets shaken.

The other night, after having gone through the whole shake-and-make process and kind of laughing at myself the whole time, I pulled out my notebook to scribble down my thoughts about it so that I could remember to blog about it later on. The note went something like this:

“Must shake out pillows and blankets before getting into bed because spiders. Problem could be solved by just making bed in morning but what if the spiders get into the bed while I’m gone to work? Better to leave bed unmade then thoroughly check for spiders whilst making it right before getting into it. Fresh bed is safe bed.”

Then, because I realized just how incredibly bonkers it looked having been committed to paper, I actually wrote the following postscript:


Yes Internet, I know I spelled Hughes wrong. It was late and dark and I’m nuts. Don’t judge.

Satisfied that I had effectively put things into context for anyone who might come across my notebook in the case of my untimely demise, I then put the notebook away, picked up my Kindle…

…and felt a disconcerting tickle on my left arm. Glancing down was like a slow motion horror movie and confirmed what I already instinctively knew:


Making a sound somewhere between a steam whistle and a bagpipe, I flung my arm away from my body as though it wasn’t connected and I could somehow fling it and the spider riding on it across the room if I just put enough effort into it. The Kindle went flying, the dog jumped up and started barking, and somewhere along the way I managed to partially squash the spider.

Yes, sorry spider-lovers…a spider WAS harmed in the making of this story. It probably had a thousand creepy 8-legged babies before I killed it though, and they’ll probably all come to avenge its death some night when I least expect it (OH GOD NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN, JESUS FUCK).

After several seconds of hyperventilating I managed to regain control of my faculties and go back to reading my Kindle, but I’ve been rethinking my spider-checking ritual ever since. I mean, clearly either I wasn’t vigilant enough in my shake-and-make routine, or we’ve got some kind of special breed of ninja spiders of doom living in our apartment.

I bet they came in on the grapes.



a twitter rant

Do you ever get a notification from Twitter that someone new has followed you, click through to their profile to check them out and just end up thinking to yourself, “what about my profile and/or tweets could have possibly led you to the conclusion that you would like to read more of what I have to say”?

One guy that followed me the other day has a profile full of tweets with links to articles about crystal healing, for instance.

Another person looked perfectly reasonable until four tweets in when they started talking about how they support Ted Cruz…in a completely non-ironic way.

There was one who was just wall to wall misogynistic body-judgement jokes.

And one who did nothing but promote a Kickstarter campaign that, when clicked through to, was one of the most poorly written things I’ve seen in months. I don’t even actually know what the person was trying to raise money for. That’s how fucking badly their campaign information was written.

Here I am tweeting about anxiety and depression, dumb shit I say to my dog, pictures of the stuff that I make, and derpy jokes about nerdy stuff, and somehow that screams “Hey world, I want to hear about how you think women who don’t fit your ideal of physical perfection are worthless! I’m also super into hearing how you think a pro-life Tea Party crackpot who wants to outsource all our jobs is a reasonable choice for President! You know what I could really use right now? A CHAKRA CLEANSING. Also, I have $10,000 just burning a hole in my pocket, so please send me your completely unintelligible requests for financial backing and I’ll hook you right up.”

I prefer my chakras slightly soiled. It helps me stay grounded when Rodney Yee is trying to kill me via yoga DVDs.





yay, I figured out a thing

I finally figured out how to get my favorite blogs to actually show up as links in the sidebar. HUZZAH! It’s only been, like…a pretty embarrassing amount of months. In my defense, it’s not like WordPress makes it especially evident or anything. It’s kind of hidden under three or four layers of internet WTF’ery.


So, yeah. I enjoy the blogs I’ve linked to off to the right there, and I suggest you give them a look.

FYI, if you comment on my posts I always click through to your blog to check it out. If you’re a non-commenting lurker but you have a blog you want me to check out, let me know! I don’t bite, I promise. I’m more afraid of you than you are of me. Also, I should not be exposed to bright light, fed or gotten wet after midnight. Just…in case


WTF is a Liebster Award?

Hey, I got nominated for an award! Now I can claim to be an award-winning author, right?!

Yeeeaaaahhh. Maybe not.

The “award” I was nominate for is called the Liebster Award. I was nominated by StigmaSayWhat. The Liebster Award is basically a blog version of a networking dinner. Someone links to you and asks you to link back to them plus a few other blogs, theoretically increasing exposure for all involved. Which is cool, I have nothing against potentially increasing my audience…hence my participating.

So, let’s fucking DO THIS.


This may become relevant later on.

According to StigmaSayWhat, there are Rules, and I should post these Rules. So here they are:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you

3. Nominate bloggers who you think are deserving of the award but more importantly promote newer bloggers who have fewer followers

4. Tell the blogger/s you nominated them

5. Give them 11 questions of your own

Thanks, StigmaSayWhat for nominating me. That takes care of number one.

Now here’s the list of questions I was given, with my answers following:

  1. What made you start blogging?  I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for many years and breaking down the stigma attached to mental health issues is deeply important to me. I spent a long fucking time pretending I was OK, pretending I was normal, and all that got me was more screwed up in the head. When I started to acknowledge that I wasn’t “normal” (and that perhaps there really IS no such thing as normal), it became easier to stop blaming myself for the way my brain works. I want so much to help other people find ways to accept themselves and I feel like telling my story honestly and with humor is the best chance I have of doing that.
  2. How has blogging made a difference to your life? It has helped me get back some of the creativity I thought I’d lost as I grew up. It has also given me more confidence to just be myself and not revert back to pretending to be “normal” in order to fit in.
  3. What inspires you on a daily basis?  Funny stuff my husband and dog do. Funny things I see on Twitter and Instagram. People like The Bloggess who are not only brilliantly funny but also incredibly brave in their willingness to be dead honest and completely vulnerable. Also, dinosaurs. OMG, and squirrels! Annnnd giraffes. Ok, I’m done. I think…
  4. What is your favourite food?  Sooo, this may actually be the hardest question to answer, because I love, love, love to cook and to eat and to try food from different cultures. If I had to pick just one super perfect, never-get-sick-of-it, acid-reflux-be-damned food though…it would be pizza.
  5. Who do you aspire to be like? Probably my Nana. She’s super smart, she’s fiercely independent even at 81 years old, and she basically just does what she wants and gives no fucks whether or not anyone likes it. She’s also ridiculously generous.
  6. Why do you want to continue blogging? For all the same reasons I listed in questions 1 and 2, I guess. Plus, who’s going to stop me?
  7. What is your favourite tv show? I have an unholy love for Antiques Roadshow. I’m also obsessed with nature shows and nerdy documentaries – basically anything where I can learn something. I also loved Downton Abbey because the Dowager Countess was my spirit animal.
  8. What kind of music do you like? My musical tastes are pretty varied. I like everything from blues and bluegrass to classic rock, hip-hop, dodgy 90’s dance music, funk, techno, metal, classical…basically the only kind of music I really DON’T like is crazy speed-metal stuff. It makes me nervous. Also, I abhor the song Kokomo by the Beach Boys.
  9. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Probably right here, honestly. I still live in the town I grew up in and I really like this area a lot. Second option would probably be the Pacific Northwest. Somewhere where it doesn’t get super hot, basically. I don’t do hot.
  10. What kind of animal do you think you’re most like?  A SQUIRREL, DUH. Or a dinosaur. Were there dinosaur squirrels? I could definitely see myself as a dino-squirrel. Proto-squirrel? Whatever. You know what I mean.
  11. What gives you courage? Seeing other people be brave.


Now I’m supposed to nominate some other blogs to promote. I’m going to nominate Woolen Diversions (a blog is full of super awesome knitting goodness), and Shove It In My Piehole (a fun and thoughtful food blog), both of which are run by friends of mine and both of which I enjoy immensely. You should definitely visit both of them!

And now, the fun part: I get to make up eleven questions for my nominees to answer! I’ll warn you in advance, these are very me-style questions, not thoughtful / meaningful ones. I kind of figure, if you want to drive traffic to someone’s blog, why not ask them really silly things so that people will click through to see what they answered, you know? Also, anyone reading this that would like to answer these questions in the comments or on their own blogs, please feel free!

So, here goes:

  1. If you had to pick between doing Tom Hiddleston’s laundry or washing Johnny Depp’s windows, which would you choose and why? You’re not getting paid (in cash OR favors…ifyouknowwhatimean andithinkthatyoudo) for either, by the way.
  2. You’re going to be stuck on a desert island for two weeks. What three albums do you take with you for entertainment?
  3. Petite lap giraffe or tame house-trained squirrel?
  4. What is the airspeed velocity of a laden swallow?
  5. You’re having a dinner party and you can only invite Muppets. Which three Muppets would you invite and why?
  6. Which is worse, underwear that constantly ride up or underwear that constantly fall down?
  7. Gin: abomination, or tasty when mixed with the right ingredients?
  8. Who would you pick to hang out with for six hours if your life literally depended on having to pick one: Ted Cruz or Donald Trump?
  9. What’s your favorite dinosaur?
  10. What would your life story be titled?
  11. Would you rather win a million dollars or discover that you had some hidden talent that you were truly amazing at?


Jesus, this turned into a fucking novella. If you’re still here at this point, A+ and extra bonus reader points to you. Also, penis. Why? Because I can randomly say penis if I want.


that’s better

Well, sort of. I found a theme that’s a little more to my liking, at least.

Do you ever do that? Make a snap decision and then find yourself wallowing in regret over it for days?

I am often paralyzed by indecision. When there isn’t a very clear black-or-white, right-or-wrong, smart-or-stupid answer, I go into analysis paralysis mode. The only way to break out of that mode is to finally just say fuck it and pick SOMETHING. Even though I know that 99% of the time the decisions I make aren’t going to have truly life-altering consequences, I still find it super hard to be OK with choosing “incorrectly”. I put that in quotes because really, unless you’re choosing to like, step out in front of a speeding bus or eat gas station sushi or something like that, you’re probably still going to have a chance to go back and try again if the decision you made didn’t have the desired outcome.

Or something. I don’t fucking know, it’s 9:30 on a Saturday and I got like five hours of sleep and haven’t had any coffee yet. Talk about poor decision-making…

Anyway. Tell me what you think of the new page set-up.


You may notice things look a little…different…around here.

They’re going to look even more different-er soon because I am super duper not in love with this theme that I mistakenly ended up applying to the site.

Sooo…yeah. Bear with me while I tear my hair out and try to find a set-up I actually like.

Why do I do these things to myself?




We have this neighbor named Steve.

Well, Steve might not actually BE his name, but that’s what we call him.

He also technically might be a “her” rather than a “him”. It’s hard to tell, honestly…

…because Steve is a chipmunk.

The Steve Saga started back last summer. Our actual human neighbor, Gary, has his mailbox affixed to this antique standing scale. One day last summer I was walking Junior, Professional Harsher of Mellows, down our road. As we rounded the corner by Gary’s mailbox, a chipmunk came barreling out of the underbrush growing along the edge of the lawn and dove straight under the platform part of the scale that the mailbox is attached to.

Ever since then, Junior has been OBSESSED with the platform. He let up over the winter while the chipmunk was hibernating, but this spring when things started thawing out, Junie was right back at it – sniffing, digging and making tiny angry Wookie noises every time he got near the platform.

Mark decided the chipmunk needed a name a few weeks back, so he started referring to him as Steve.

It wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the fact that I have this terrible habit of talking to the dog while I walk him. Not just general guidance like “good boy” and “no, don’t eat poop”, but often fairly extensive one-sided conversations.

I mean, Junie never actually answers me BACK, so that’s a step in the right direction, but it’s still probably somewhat disconcerting for the neighbors to look out their windows at 7am and see me wandering around mumbling in a sing-songy voice about how Steve’s not home and can’t take your call right now but if you leave your name and a brief message…



“Do veef nuff mek mah mouf wook faf?” – Steve the chipmunk



T-rex arms

Last night while I was making the bed (right before getting into it, because I’m at least semi-adult…when it’s convenient…), my husband walked into the room wrapped in a towel. He had just been in the bath and was searching around for a pair of underwear to put on. Once located, he dropped his towel and stepped into said underwear. Then, looking especially thoughtful, he turned to help me make the bed while asking:

“Do you ever find that, when you’re coming up the stairs and the bathroom door is open, you catch yourself doing little mini T-rex arms at your reflection in the bathroom mirror as you walk?”

I stopped and looked at him, one eyebrow raised. Random questions involving dinosaurs are normally my wheelhouse, not his. I mean, it’s not like a private wheelhouse or anything…but, you know.

“Err…no. I can’t say as I’ve ever done that”, I replied, and fluffed the pillows on my side of the bed.

As if I hadn’t said anything, he continued on in his thoughtful tone while straightening the corner of the quilt purposefully.

“And by mini T-rex arms, I mean like, full-on T-rex arms, basically. Like, RAWR RAWR I’M A T-REX.”

In that moment, I had two thoughts.

The first was that every once in a while the Universe reaffirms that I’m spending my life with the absolute right person.

The second was that I was NEVER going to be able to go up those motherfucking stairs again without at least considering doing T-rex arms at my reflection in the bathroom mirror.






This week has been a long mental slog. April showers might bring May flowers, but they’re depressing the fuck out of me in the process. I need to see the sun again – preferably when the wind ISN’T blowing 30mph at the same time, so that I could actually enjoy it.

It’s not just the weather. My brain has a basic pattern of fuckery that I’m fairly used to and can track with relative accuracy, but it also likes to keep things interesting by serving me the occasional giant steaming mental shit sandwich on top of that. 


Mmm. Beefy. Also, pro-tip: don’t Google Image Search “shit sandwich”. Like, ever. I did it for you to confirm that it is, in fact, a very bad idea. You’re welcome.

Unfortunately, sending said shit sandwich back to the kitchen isn’t really an option, so I’m left with either ignoring it or trying to work my way through it.

Ignoring it just makes it stink more, trust me. It’s like a cat-box that needs changing. You keep putting it off and eventually your whole house, all your clothes, everything is going to smell like piss and people are going to start to notice. When the smell of piss starts keeping you from doing your job or keeps you away from people you’d like to spend time with, then it’s probably a problem that merits addressing.

Unless you’re an independently wealthy hermit, anyway. In which case, congratulations on living the dream, my friend.


That leaves me with working my way through the shit sandwich instead.

And so, I slog.










tweets, how do they work?

Twitter is kind of beyond me.

I have an account (@Alpacalypse5), but 99% of my posts are Instagram photos and links to posts that I write here on the blog. Succinctness (is that even a word? Spellcheck says it is, so suck it) isn’t my strong suit to begin with, and that little character-count in the bottom right corner of the Twitter posting screen just fills me with dread. Plenty of people are really good at being very funny and/or profound in 140 characters or less, but my heart probably couldn’t take the amount of Adderall I’d need to be included in their ranks.

Could you imagine, though? Going out in a blaze of Adderall-fueled viral tweet glory? My obituary would be like:

“In search of that one golden moment of virality, Shelby took a whole handful of prescribed ADHD meds, wrote what is now considered the Best Tweet Known To Mankind, then dropped dead of a massive coronary. She is survived by her husband and dog, who are both pretty fucking annoyed that she didn’t stock the fridge with sandwiches before she croaked.”

And then the obituary editor would be like, “Frank, virality totally isn’t a word” and Frank the obituary writer would be like, “Fuck you, Steve. You’re always so negative. You know what? I’m sick of this dead-end job, and that’s not even a pun. I’M OUT.”  And then, in the final cruel twist of irony, Frank’s flouncing would knock my half-written obituary into the recycling bin next to his desk, never to be finished. The author of the Best Tweet Known To Mankind wouldn’t even have an obituary to be remembered by and her memory would fade into the ether as quickly as, well, a non-famous person’s tweets…

…wow, I got kind of lost in that one.


What I came here to say was that I’m going to try to be better at actively tweeting instead of just lurking, so feel free to follow me if you want.

Also, if you’re super confused right now, it’s totally ok. I am too, and I wrote this shit. Sometimes you have to just go with it.


Acid reflux, huh? I feel your pain, birdie.