lizard brain

Apparently I slept in a way last night that caused a muscle or nerve in the back of my neck to seize up. Not hugely uncommon for me – I tend to carry all my tension in my neck and shoulders, plus I type eight hours a day and have relatively poor posture while doing so.

The muscle or nerve in my neck that’s unhappy happens to be right near the base of my skull, so every time I move just right, it sends this pain up into my head and my lizard brain is like ‘WAAAAH, MENINGITIS! WAAAAH, STROKE! WAAAAH, TUMOR! WAAAAH, PARASITIC AMOEBAS EATING MY BRAIN!’

Ten years ago I was a pretty much full-blown hypochondriac and wouldn’t have been able to stop thinking that I was sitting here slowly bleeding out into my brain pan or something. I would have eventually worked myself into such a panic that I’d have made myself physically ill. Nowadays I can identify that lizard brain is the culprit when I start thinking a random ache or pain is Something More Serious. I can’t put lizard brain totally on mute, but I’ve gotten a lot better at not letting it control me.

Or maybe that’s just what the parasitic amoebas want me to think…



Amoeba aliens. In my brain.

When in doubt, apply otters.

There are big blocks of time that it feels like I don’t remember.

I say “feels like” because I know that in reality, you can’t ever remember everything that’s happened to you because that’s not how the brain works. Long-term memory kind of acts like a card catalog in a library. You go to the catalog with a subject in mind – ie: “summer camp”, and that’s like giving your brain-meats the Dewey Decimal Number for what you’re trying to remember. Your brain-meat then acts as librarian, taking that card and running up and down its stacks at lightening speed (or slightly slower for some of us…heh), pulling memories of that thing from the shelves for you to inspect.

In other words, long-term memory isn’t a constant loop of all the moments of your life being played over and over again, just waiting for you to hit “pause” on the one you want to access at that particular moment.

Think what life would be like if that WAS how it worked, by the way. I imagine it would be like the worst possible case of ADHD ever. You’d never be able to get anything done because your brain would constantly be like “Hey remember that one time, at band camp? And Aunt Mildred’s dog? And Easter morning, 1978? And the day you were born, and the 47th time you skinned your knee falling off your bike, and the drive to the cemetery when Grandpa died, and the smell of the lake at night and how your first kiss felt and smoking weed behind the gym between classes and the words to that song from 3rd grade music class and and and…”, but multiplied by literally all the moments of your entire life.

That sounds kind of horrible. I’m pretty glad it doesn’t work that way, now that I think about it.

I should probably take this opportunity to point out that I’m an accountant, by the way, NOT a neurologist. This may actually not be AT ALL how memory works. I didn’t even finish college and I’m also prone to making shit up, so…probably don’t use me as an academic citation on your fancy brain science term paper or whatever. Show-off.


So, it feels like there are these chunks of time that I can’t remember, and sometimes it bothers me. When it bothers me, I start actively trying to recall things from my childhood in order to prove to myself that no, I was NOT in fact just beamed down from the Mothership. Except, then I start worrying about how maybe aliens have the technology to basically pre-populate our brains with just enough memories to make us think that yes, we DID in fact have childhoods and that the idea of being beamed down from the Mothership is preposterous, now be a good drone, keep incubating those trillions of bacteria and stop questioning reality. And really, THAT’S a can of worms I can’t even really handle on a GOOD day, so that’s when I usually start just looking up pictures of baby otters online instead. Two or three good baby otter video clips will put me right back on track.


I would literally pay for this experience.

Well, as on-track as I ever get, anyway.

Pocket Trap

A few weeks back, I went shopping for some summer clothes. I bought, among other things, a pair of white twill capri pants. I have no business owning light-colored pants (or any other light-colored clothing, for that matter) to begin with, but these capri pants wouldn’t quit calling my name while I was wandering around the store (possibly because they actually fit my epic ass, which is a momentous thing. The fitting, not the ass. Well, both actually, but I digress…), so I said fuck it and bought them.

I hung the pants in my closet (only new clothes get hung up. After the first washing it’s laundro-bed all the way), and basically forgot that I bought them until this morning when I realized I was out of clean jeans…aaaand pretty much every other work-appropriate bottom-half covering garment. My options were a) wear the skirt I’m always vaguely uncomfortable in, b) wear the white capri pants, or c) come up with an excuse to work from home so I could just give up on adulting completely and wear yoga pants all day. Since I knew I had a meeting this morning that I couldn’t reschedule, staying home was struck from the list immediately (and sadly. So, so sadly). Vaguely uncomfortable skirt was a total no-go on meeting day as well because I can’t concentrate for shit when I’m self-conscious. So, white capri pants won by default.

Everything was going swimmingly as I got dressed. I even remembered to wear light-colored underpants so that people weren’t pointing and laughing at my shadow-wedgie any time I walked by. ADULT WARDROBING POINTS FOR ME! The capris actually fit even better this morning than when I tried them on in the dressing room, so that was good for a little happy dance. After putting on my shirt, I grabbed my phone and slid it into my pocket.

Except the phone landed on the carpet with a thud.

Because these pants?


Actually, to put a finer point on it, these pants have something worse than no pockets: they have those bullshit totally non-functional faux pockets:


Looks like a pocket, doesn’t it? Well it’s NOT a pocket. IT’S A TRAP. A BULLSHIT TRAP.

Because the fashion industry, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that all women are obviously more concerned with smooth lines on their clothing than they are with ACTUAL FUNCTIONALITY.

So now, instead of a slightly misshapen hip (which was going to be covered by my shirt anyway, fashion police), I have a slightly misshapen TIT because the only place I have to stash my phone is in my FREAKING BRA.

How is the threat of potentially short-circuiting my phone with boob sweat (or possibly more importantly, the idea of irradiating my boob with radio waves) a better idea than having pockets in these pants, fashion industry? I mean, granted, you’re not FORCING me to stash my phone in my cleavage. I COULD technically carry it around in my hand every time I get up and go do anything, thus rendering my hands half as useful as they’d be IF I HAD POCKETS.

And true, purses are technically an option that many ladies use. But I need my phone during the day. Do you know how idiotic it would be to have to carry a purse around the office all god damned day? PRETTY IDIOTIC. People would be side-eying me and saying stuff like “Geez, is she carrying coke around with her in that thing or something? And if she’s doing coke, why is she still so fat?”  And then I’d have to be like “bitch, who needs coke when there’s cheese“, which would a) answer the fatness question and b) confuse everyone, and I’d have to explain to them the article that I just linked, except out loud in my own words, which is WAY more difficult for me because I get easily sidetracked talking about stuff like marmots and existentialism and the pros and cons of different forms of magnesium supplements, and basically at that point everybody loses.

The moral of this story, I think, is that if having actual functioning clothing is important to you, then you need to either a) be a man, b) be willing to wear men’s pants (which I’d be totally fine with if I could find ones that actually fit but apparently my Jessica Rabbit-esque waist-to-hip ratio precludes me from having that option), or c) check for pockets BEFORE you buy new pants. And don’t just check that it LOOKS like there are pockets – make sure you can actually get your hand, phone, vial of coke, marmot, or whatever else it is you want to not have to stash in your bra, into said pocket.

Don’t fall for the bullshit faux pocket trap. Let my suffering be a lesson to you all.


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.



never again, grapes.

I bought some grapes while grocery shopping on Sunday.

It was a mistake.

The grapes themselves are fine – it’s me that’s the problem.

You know those awful memes you see on Facebook where someone buys a bag of grapes and then notices there’s a GIANT FUCKING SPIDER in the bag?


Those things haunt my dreams. I’ve always been vehemently anti-spider (or, anti-spiders-in-my-space, I should say. I have no problem with spiders who respect my personal boundaries), but those spider-in-the-grape-bag memes have fucking scarred me for life.

Except, I forget things a lot (due in large part to the inside of my head constantly being like a freshly shaken snow globe. The snow being thoughts, not cocaine. Just so we’re clear…ish…), so sometimes the things that have scarred me for life kind of take a little while to bubble back to the surface and become Big Fucking Issues…

…which is how I ended up with a 3-pound bag of grapes on my kitchen counter that I subsequently spent quite a lot of time eyeing suspiciously, examining for signs of movement and/or arachnid legs.

THEN I started thinking about how the grapes had been in the house long enough that any spider living in them had probably crawled out by now and made a home behind my fridge or something. MOTHER. FUCKERS. At that point I began contemplating the feasibility of nuking the entire site from orbit. But, nuking would have meant having to move in with my parents until we found a new place which, at 36 years old and newly bankrupt from having bought a nuclear weapon, seemed…less than ideal.

My husband finally saved the day (albeit unwittingly) by breaking into the bag of grapes and eating like half of them yesterday while I was at work. When I noticed he’d been eating them, I told him how I bought them and then couldn’t make myself put my hand in the bag because of the spiders and how the grapes were all too close to each other in the bag so I couldn’t see, like, AROUND the grapes enough to be sure that there wasn’t actually some kind of lethal (or at least super hairy) spider in there, and how I was relieved that he had finally eaten some so now I could see they were safe and eat some too, but also that I felt kind of guilty for thinking that because I didn’t purposefully WANT him to eat unsafe grapes but I appreciated that he (again, unwittingly) took one for the team. So to speak.

I think he probably stopped listening somewhere around “internet memes of spiders”, because he’s known me a really long time and that’s usually where things start going downhill quickly for me.


I managed to nut up and take some of the grapes to work with me for lunch today. They were OK, but they weren’t really worth all the mental turmoil they caused. I think I’ll stick with apples. Or pears. Fruit that I can see completely around and inspect thoroughly before consumption. And if any of you assholes send me memes about spider-infected apples, we’re done. DONE, you hear me?!

Also, side note to any Federal agents who may have been led to this site by Internet bot scanners (don’t lie, it’s a thing. I’m not paranoid, you’re paranoid) picking up the phrase “bought a nuclear weapon” , chillax. If I had that kind of money, I’d be in a secret bunker, covered in puppies, drinking high-end merlot through the longest twisty-straw I could find, and paying a group of scientists to come up with a coating for Cheetos that doesn’t stain your fingers. PRIORITIES, YO.

I don’t get it.


This is my favorite dog in the whole world other than Junior. Just FYI.

You know how sometimes someone shares a link to something, saying things like “OMG, you have to read this, IT’S HILARIOUS”, and then when you click on the link and read the thing it’s…not that funny?

Or worse, you click on the link, read the thing, and find it to be not only NOT funny, but actually pretty dumb and/or ignorant?

And then you sit there thinking back on all the past interactions you’ve had with the link-sender, trying to figure out where things went so wrong in your relationship that they picked up the impression that you would think shit like THAT was amusing?

And because you’re now well down the hyper-analytical rabbit hole, you then start wondering if you even really know ANY of your friends AT ALL, and wondering if anyone truly knows YOU at all, and what’s the point of even trying to interact with anyone socially in a world where it’s technically not acceptable to sit someone down and make them fill out a pre-screening friendship questionnaire because fuckin’ A man, life is short and ain’t nobody got time to waste laughing politely at jokes that aren’t funny?

And further to that end, are all these people who are laughing at YOUR OWN jokes just laughing politely because they’re normal and well-adjusted and don’t get annoyed when things with a build-up of “this is really funny” don’t actually pan out to any amusement whatsoever?

No? Just me? Fair enough. I kind of suspected as much.

Carry on.

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.


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.



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:


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.


But good.

(Like me! Heh.)

pretty sure I just secured my spot on the Guaranteed To Be Abducted list

Prompt for Nov 6th: What was your biggest fear as a child? Do you still have it today? If it went away, when did your feelings changes?

We had this set of Time-Life books called “Mysteries of the Unknown” when I was a kid.

I think they were actually something that I ordered off an infomercial at one point and then my parents were stuck paying for it.  I did that…uhh…more than once when I was a kid.  *shifty look*

Anyway.  These books were actually really interesting, at least to seven or eight year old me.  There was one about Mystic Places, like the Bermuda Triangle and Stongehenge.  There was one about psychic powers, ESP, astral projection and the like – that one was my favorite.  There was one about mythological monsters, one about mind over matter, etc.  There were a whole bunch of them (although I just looked the set up and there were 33 total but we definitely only had like six or eight so apparently my parents wised up and got the subscription cancelled sooner rather than later.  Bummer.  I had no idea I was missing out so much!), including one about aliens and UFOs, which fucking PETRIFIED me…

…but of course I read it…

…and was promptly reduced to a total mess who couldn’t sleep without the light on for months (because aliens can only get you when it’s dark, duh…).  It got to the point where I actually had to hide that book on myself because even seeing it on the bookshelf when I was going for one of the other ones would freak me out.  If the book was out of sight, I could stop thinking aliens were coming to get me and maaaaaybe sleep at night.

At least, until the afternoon my parents put Close Encounters of the Third Kind on the T.V. and then both fell asleep.  I was probably 9 or 10 at the time.  I was so engrossed in the story (because really, it IS a good movie) that I couldn’t really make myself turn it off once I realized they were asleep even though it was scaring me.  That was good for another few months of needing to sleep with a light on right there.

So, as you can see, I already had an excellent base of alien phobia built up over the course of several years by the time the movie Fire In The Sky came out and my mom talked me into watching it with her.  And then…you guessed it…fell asleep.

If you’ve seen Fire In The Sky, you have a pretty good idea of why this was An Issue for me.  If you haven’t, well, take my word for it, it’s FUCKING DISTURBING.  To make matters worse, they made a huge deal about it being based on a true story.  I was probably 14 when I watched it and I was pretty into horror movies at the time – stuff like Poltergeist, The Omen, Friday the 13th – if it was creepy and bloody, my friend Christina and I were ALL ABOUT it.  So it’s not like I was just an all-around wimp about creepy stuff – it really was just alien stuff that truly bothered me.  Fire In The Sky, in particular, is a movie that I still can’t even think about without getting the willies even 20+ years later.  Even looking it up on Wikipedia so I could link you to it just made my brain weasels go into overdrive for a few minutes.  Ugh!

I’m not really sure quite when I started getting over the alien phobia.  It was still pretty strong circa 2002 when Signs came out because I flat-out refused to go see it with a couple different groups of friends even though they said it was really good and assured me that there was very little actual alien content.  Some time after that it started to slowly ease up, though.  I still get kind of creeped out at the idea of human-like aliens, particularly the ones with the big heads and almond-shaped black eyes, but I don’t have a panic attack every time I see a weird light in the sky like I used to and I don’t (generally) have to sleep with the light on anymore.

The thing is, I believe.  I believe even more today than I did as a kid that there has to be SOME kind of other intelligent life zooming around the Universe.  It feels incredibly arrogant to think otherwise.  And not only to I believe, but I find the idea truly fascinating.

So long as no one tries to beam me up.
You hear that, aliens?  I AM NOT VOLUNTEERING!

Dear Internets: WTF is this thing?

There’s a thing growing on the edge of my lawn and it’s kind of freaking me out:

Does it not look vaguely sinister to YOU? It does to me. I mean, most stuff does...but this REALLY does.

Sorry it’s blurry – the light was really bad and I was a (very full) glass and a half of Chardonnay in. Not a good combo, at least for taking nature pictures.

It’s not actually on the lawn proper – it’s growing just past the edge of the lawn where the underbrush and woodsy shit starts.  It has been there for a couple weeks now.  Last night was the first time I actually went and looked at it closely, so I don’t know if this is just one disturbing stage in its metamorphosis into some kind of Mothra-esque creature that wants to suck my brains out or what.

Is it some kind of bonkers mushroom?  There are weird skinny leaves coming off the stalk, so I don’t think so.  There are day-lily plants (now died off, but the bulbs are still there) that grow right next to where this thing came up – I don’t know if that matters, but I thought I’d mention it just in case.  More information is better, right?

The actual berry-looking part is maybe 2.5 – 3 inches tall, and the stalk it sits on is quite woody-looking, and another maybe 3ish inches tall.  You can kind of see the long skinny leaves coming off the stalk in the picture.  The whole thing just looks vaguely sinister to me.  I mean, most stuff does, to be fair…but this REALLY does.

Is it some kind of delicious delicacy that I am fortunate to have found?  Will it give me a rash if I touch it?  Does it mark some ancient Native American burial ground?  A ghost might explain the missing scone, anyway…

Help me, Internets.  I need to know what this thing is if I’m ever going to sleep well again.