Happy New My Brain Hurts

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The above image is an accurate representation of how I spent New Year’s Eve, so I won’t be writing much tonight. Last night, I poured far too much champagne into my mouth hole, and I’m a tired, tired lady.

But it was worth it because I really like champagne, had a lot of fun, and got to hang out with adult humans who don’t want to talk about Minecraft all of the time. There may have been middle-aged people dancing.

I rang in the New Year feeling very happy, and this bodes well. The old saying is that whatever you’re doing on New Year’s Eve represents what you’ll be doing all year, so I guess I’ll be spending 2018 cheerfully drunk and dancing to songs most people currently attending college wouldn’t recognize. Cool cool cool.

I went to bed after 3 a.m. and honestly can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late. I even managed to sleep in a bit past 9 a.m. and can’t remember the last time I did that either. I do remember the events of the entire night, and made a point of chugging constant water between alcoholic beverages, so I’ve got that going for me, which makes me feel like less of a worthless piece of shit.

I spent the day drinking water, more water, Vitamin Water for electrolytes, eating ibuprofen, and also anything that couldn’t outrun me placed upon on soothingly bland Carr’s water crackers. (Saltines are too salty for me, but you have to give them points for truth in advertising, right? It’s like naming a drink Liquidy or Wetness.)

I was going to be cliché and write about my plans and resolutions for the New Year because I am totally here for that tabula rasa shit and all things fresh start, but I’m too exhausted to do it justice, so I’ll have to be trite and predictable tomorrow. Try to contain yourself, Imaginary Reader.

A promise to write something every day was made, and I’m going to do my best, regardless of how little I have to say.

So, hi. I’m writing. This counts as something. Hi.

I’ll end with a cheesy selfie, below, that I took last night before I got all drunk and sweaty, because I always try to take a few selfies when I actually bother to wear makeup or do something with my hair.

Goodnight.

 

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Last night I looked ready to get into trouble… but today I’m ready to get into bed.

 

 

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The Best Year

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I was playing guitar and singing backing vocals in an all-girl grungy pop-rock band in Warrensburg, Missouri, where we all attended college.

I never fit into the band.

The other three girls were smokers who liked junk food, staying up late drinking beer, and sleeping in.

I was a non-smoking natural early-riser who liked to run to the gym in the mornings, lift weights for an hour or so, and ate healthfully. I was so very not rock and roll.

One night, I let the girls talk me into coming with them to a local bar. This was before indoor cigarettes were banned, so the air was gross and my eyes were burning. I halfheartedly had a beer and left amid protests and playful mockery.

I felt like a loser for not wanting to hang with my band-mates, but smoky bars just weren’t my scene. And no matter how late I stay up, I wake at the crack of sparrow fart, so late nights mean painful mornings. I still do this. Naps are my friends. (Yes, naps, plural. I love every single one of those beautiful little bastards.)

I lived within a mile or so of the downtown area, so I walked home in the dark, alone. This was probably not the best idea, as despite being a 5’8″/5’9″/tallish girl I weighed about 110-115 at the time. I would have been easier to abduct then than I would be now. (Did I just find a bright side to gaining weight with age? Fuck YEAH, I did. Less abduct-able! You’re welcome, everybody.)

I was looking at the stars, like I do, and the moon was shining brightly enough to light the sidewalks. I wasn’t afraid for my personal safety, but I felt trepidation about the future. The band and I didn’t make it, and I think this was an early moment of clarity for me, realizing that our group wasn’t a personality or lifestyle match.

Bands are like having a relationship with all of the people in them, in case you’ve never experienced the phenomenon. It’s like asexually dating a group of people, and if there are personality conflicts, the whole group suffers. Very odd and potentially uncomfortable situation.

I liked the music we were making and was enjoying the creative outlet immensely, but all of the girls came from money and were being supported by their parents, and I’d been on my own since barely 17. We had very different worldviews and coping mechanisms. I didn’t understand their easy existences, and they didn’t understand my neuroses.

You grow into a very different person when you have no parachute to pull on should you suddenly fall down out of the sky.

I didn’t fit in. And you know, honestly–I never do–so this wasn’t surprising. But as I walked home, I looked up at the big, glowing moon and the galaxy of stars, and silently asked the universe (or my guardian angels or whatever I liked to pretend was watching over me at the time to feel less alone) what I was supposed to be doing. What should my next move be?

I wrote the song below in my head as I walked. Upon arriving home, I immediately scribbled down the words, and found the guitar chords via vocal melody line.

Later, my boyfriend, who was a talented recording engineer, was kind enough to immortalize it for me. I’m so grateful for this, still. Having your song recorded is like possessing an auditory snapshot from your life that will never disappear or fade away.

I like to share this song on New Year’s Day because it reminds me that I was once a hopeful 20-something with possibilities, and a seemingly endless future ahead. We don’t get to feel that way our entire lives–opportunities stolen or lost fill in the cracks, escape hatches close, and paths are taken that can’t be undone–so it’s a bittersweet remembrance.

But we have smaller versions of these large choices throughout our lives, regardless of age. It’s important to remember every year we still have futures, possibilities, and opportunities, and paths to walk, even if they don’t loom quite so long and uncertainly ahead of us anymore.

I hope your New Year is the best year you’ve ever had in your whole life.

***

Look at my confused-yet-optimistic 20s represented lyrically below, you guys. Awwww.

I asked the moon tonight for the answers that the stars won’t give me. She said there’s nothing left that I don’t know that she could teach me. This one will be the best year I’ve ever had in my whole life. This one will be the best year, and if it’s not, at least I’ll know I tried. I tried. I know that I can answer my own questions if I only look inside. Sometimes I see the angels protecting me in the corner of my eye. This one will be the best year I’ve ever had in my whole life. This one will be the best year, and if it’s not, at least I’ll know I tried. I tried. So now I look up to the sky and everything is clear. It’s like the light from all the stars has burned away the fear. This one will be the best year I’ve ever had in my whole life. This one will be the best year, and if it’s not, at least I’ll know I tried. I tried. I tried.

The Old Grey Matter, She Ain’t What She Used to Be

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Hello, Imaginary Reader.

You may have noticed I forgot to write yesterday. That’s right. Forgot.

Not only did I forget, but I even got on the laptop, which I don’t really do as often as I used to now that I can watch the world implode in real time on my small rectangle of doom.

Not only did I forget, and get on my laptop, but while I was on the laptop, my son said, “Don’t forget to write, Mom. You promised yourself every day.” Yet I still forgot.

Jesus. My brain fog has brain fog.

I got sucked into Facebook, dicked around there for too long (LIKE I DO), and decided a nap sounded good. Then a shower. Then dinner at closest, dearest friend’s who conveniently also happens to be our next door neighbor. Then a backyard fire pit and some red wine happened.

I had no idea ten years ago I’d become a fire and red wine girl, but here I am. That’s pretty much a perfect night for me at this point. Absolutely loving the fire pit nights. There’s something so primal and soothing about sitting around a fire in the dark instead of staring at a screen. I mean, we have music playing on a little speaker, and occasionally we each take a moment to look at a phone message, but for the most part, it’s as close to “old school” hang-out time as a person can get nowadays without going completely off the grid.

I like it.

I like off the grid. I like alone. But I do I get lonely because I’m isolated and know very few adult people. I have never talked to myself as much as I do now, and I’m pretty sure this is a sign I’m reaching new and not exciting levels of loneliness. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy my conversations. I get a little tired of the lack of spontaneity, however. My answers are so predictable.

So the fire pit nights are giving me life, as the kids say. Even as a total introvert, I recognize I currently desperately need more adult conversation in my life.

I am a non-church-going liberal-minded person, if liberal-minded is interpreted as believing all people deserve the same human rights, that kindness and empathy for others is good, but also, that if you can work for a living and be a productive member of society, you should do so, rather than sponging off everybody else.

But I am unfortunately located in a state where people are very conservative, if conservative is interpreted as only caring about your piece of the pie, lacking compassion for others, and negatively, hypocritically judging people you assume don’t follow the same moral tenets you claim to believe in–yet don’t emulate or demonstrate within many realms of your existence–simply because they don’t go stand in the same crowded influenza room with you once a week to eat Jesus crackers.

Short version: The first question I’m always asked by another mom since moving here has been, “Which church do you go to?” to which I reply, “I haven’t found one I like yet.” This isn’t technically a lie. It’s mostly a really polite way to say: “I don’t go to church, but hey, if it makes you happy, I want you to have it. To each his or her own.”

And then they try to get me to join their church, or write me off as a human. Or both. The end.

Yay, people!

My son suffers because of this, and it pisses me off. Religion and spirituality are very personal, and the way people here use it as a conversational opener is nothing short of bizarre and rude. You might as well ask me how much my family makes per year. Want to talk about how and when I lost my virginity, too?*

People in my neighborhood with kids have also pulled the “drop-by unannounced” maneuver more times than I can count, which has made me pull away from all attempts at friendship. It fucking freaks me out. My house is my safe space. Do not invade my safe space with your children on a whim because little Connor or Raegan got bored and you’ve decided my child is the solution, thanks.

Am I the only one who understands how rude this is? I may curse like a Quentin Tarantino film character, and prefer to relax at home on Sundays–but I won’t ever pop by your house without calling and setting up a mutually agreed-upon time.

***

I’m feeling a bit grumpy. Sorry. I’d normally call it hormones or allergies because those are the easiest go-to ailments to blame for shitty behavior we don’t want to own, but this time I’m griping and feeling a bit dark inside because a close family member has cancer.

Fuck cancer fuck cancer fuck cancer fuck cancer fuck cancer. Seriously. Cancer, if you’re reading this, go fuck yourself with every metal rod in the world and all the shovels and rakes and every other painfully hard and too-large thing I can think of off the top of my foggy brain. Fuck yourself hard and long, and then walk of shame your sorry ass right back to the depths of hell from whence you came because I’m sick and fucking tired of you coming for so many good people I love.

It’s affecting the person with the cancer, obviously. He’s hurting and I hate it. I want to make it go away and I can’t and this is some bullshit. It’s affecting all of the other people who love him because they also want to fix it, but cancer runs the show. You can’t control a damned thing when it comes to cancer, nor can you predict a damned thing–it can literally go in any direction very fast, very slow, or anything in the middle. Everything is a question mark that starts with the Big C right now, and it’s the shittiest purgatory ever. Dante forgot a level.

So there’s that.

***

A commercial on television in the next room just used the exclamation “Voila!” except the actress pronounced it as “Wa-la!” and I’m pretty sure the person who story-boarded the dialogue probably wrote it as “Walla!” which is a huge pet peeve of mine. So that’s bugging me now.

See? Grumpy.

I should probably go to bed.

Before I go, here’s an animal nerd fact pulled from my childhood spent reading animal encyclopedias for fun:

The horse in the picture at the top of this rambling mess is technically grey/gray (I prefer the “grey” spelling; both are accepted as correct), even though it looks white. The only horses officially considered white are albinos. See the dark eyes and dark muzzle coloration on the otherwise white horse in the picture? That classifies it as a grey horse.

Stop being so fascinated, damn it. At least I kept my promise and wrote something today.

Goodnight, Imaginary Reader.

 

 

*Actually I love talking about sex stuff. I lost it on a bunch of pillows on the floor of the bedroom of the guy I had a mad crush on all through high school who was voted “Most Attractive” by his classmates, age 14. I started kindergarten at 4, so I was a really young freshman and he was a senior–don’t be freaked out. I got my period and boobs at 11 and looked like a woman at 14. Full consent. Also, it hurt really badly and I bled everywhere. Sleep well!

 

 

 

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

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Hi, person I imagine reading this. Imaginary Reader. Stephen King calls his fans Constant Reader (a tribute to Dorothy Parker, perhaps?), so I’m going with Imaginary Reader, because he’s Stephen King, and I’m some weird lady living in the Great Plains of America nobody has ever heard of, currently babbling on the internet. Seems appropriate.

I feel the need to apologize, Imaginary Reader, for I have been remiss. I maintain and pay a small fee for this site, yet I stopped updating it at some point. I have not felt like writing here, or occasionally have felt like it, but haven’t been able to move from the “I kind of feel like like doing this” to the “actually doing this” part for a long time. This disconnect has become a constant source of frustration for me, and I’m trying to do something about it.

I went from writing multiple articles a day for an online company for very decent money, to going down a deep, dark rabbit hole when my mom was fighting Stage 4 cancer. I got out of the writing habit, and never managed to come back from it.

In addition to anxiety, depression, and hypothyroidism (which renders one’s metabolism null and void, making one feel like one has a low-grade flu that never ends, with the “one” in this scenario being ME), I have also developed a frustrating case of the “Why should anybody give a shit what I think?”s that has been keeping me from writing.

My last entry was so emo I cringed re-reading it. Ugh. No, actually, scratch that. I mocked myself in my head for a little while, made poor widdle baby pouty faces at myself, and then I cringed. Poor you and your First World problems, Tawni. Poor you. Your life is so hard. Would you like some French cries with your wahhhmburger?

See how mean I am to me? I don’t feel that way when other people write. I like reading other people’s thoughts. I enjoy their writings, emo or otherwise, so I don’t understand why I’m harder on myself than I am on anyone in the whole wide world. I wish I could figure out how to knock that shit off, because it’s really harshing my mellow, Imaginary Reader.

But are middle-aged people even allowed to be emo? (Bonus: You can tell I’m middle-aged because I’m using the word “emo.”) I once knew a woman 5+ years older than me on Facebook who used to constantly post vague-bookish statuses that read like the pubescent poetry section from Seventeen Magazine, and I always thought upon reading them, Please don’t let me ever be the middle-aged lady posting emo statuses.

So I’ll do it here instead! Hahahahahahahahahahaha! *sobs*

As a person I enjoy recently said on Twitter:

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(Follow @MollySneed. She’s funny. You like funny.)

Because seriously. This site/blog feels so Dear Diary-ish and lame to me sometimes, and I get embarrassed and insecure. I used to just fucking write. I’d just shit the words out of my brain via keyboard and not worry about it. But now I do. I worry. I feel uncomfortable right now. And scared. I hate this.

I don’t know when or why I became self-conscious, but here it is, and it’s really starting to piss me off, so I’m writing, damn it. And I’m not going to take it down. I’M NOT.

I have never in my life cared what anyone thought of my creative output, and it’s stupid for me to start now. I’m getting back up on that old inner horse named FuckThem that I used to ride onto a stage when I played guitar and sang in bands. When I was the misfit kid in high school voted “Most Revolutionary” at the end of senior year. When I used to write a dumb piece like this, and post it, and move on. I am creative for me, and nobody else. That’s how creativity works, damn it. So away we go, FuckThem. Off into the motherfucking sunset with us, old girl.

Oh, I’m not worrying about cursing anymore either. Did I mention that? I kind of tried to clean things up around here for a while, and it felt weird. False. I am not for polite company. Deal with it. Or don’t… no hard feelings. But I’m sassy. And I like my sass.

I recently got a bit too drunk after a wine tasting, because I have the alcohol/medication/drug tolerance of an 11-year-old girl (natural redhead), and I didn’t remember what I said the next day. I was horrified by this. I hate feeling out of control. Hate hate hate it.

When asked how I behaved whilst off my tits, which is always a not-humiliating-at-all question for a middle-aged woman to ask of the person who tucked her drunken ass into bed the night before, my husband said, “You seemed happy, funny, and every other word out of your mouth was ‘fuck’ or ‘fucking.'”

I was mortified at first. But then I thought about it, and I don’t know if my true self is happy or funny, but it sure as fuck has a potty mouth. So back to the docks with me.

Anyhow.

I used to write songs for years in a city where my guy musician friends would tell me about how other guy musicians made fun of me and my simple little pop rock songs.

But I didn’t know how to write any other way, and most importantly, I wasn’t writing music for anyone else–I was getting things off my soul, and writing for me–so I didn’t care. I honestly didn’t. The songwriting was cathartic and came from my heart, and as long as I was being true to myself, I was proud of what I did. The end. No shame in the earnest game, man.

So I need to find that version of me again. To attempt this, I’m forcing myself to write every day.

No, wait. Not forcing. That makes me psychologically balk. I have a bad habit of doing the opposite when told what I’m going to do, so let me put it differently; I’m challenging myself to write daily. Yes, that’s better. Challenging. A competition with me. (It’s me versus me! Only one can win! Go… me!)

I may write fiction. I may write old-timey Seventeen Magazine puberty poetry. I may write interesting facts about a topic of interest. (Nerd alert: I absolutely love researching and writing about things that fascinate me.) I might review a book I’ve read recently. Open letters are a favorite. Lists are fun. I might share a song I wrote in my younger days and tell you the story behind it like a boring old aunt reliving her glory days. I could even use a random writing prompt of some sort and go all stream-of-consciousness on your ass. But I’m going to write something here every day. Because I need to get back into the daily writing habit and find the self-discipline I’ve lost.

Please bear with me while I bare with me, Imaginary Reader.

(See what I did there?)

(Sorry. I’ll try harder.)

(That’s what she said.)

(Help. I’m addicted to parentheses.)

(I don’t know how to end this.)

(I know! Here’s a picture of a chicken who’s tired of my shit. Perfect.)

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World weary, wrinkly, and full of eggs. I know how you feel, side-eye chicken. I know.

 

Hold Your Own Hand: A Bedtime Story

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I’ve felt alone for as long as I can remember. It doesn’t matter how many humans are around, whether I’ve excused myself from the crowd, have a close interpersonal relationship, or not; I am always alone. One hundred people or zero, it feels the same. Rather than a physical manifestation, it’s more a state of mind.

Different, odd, strange–call me what you like–I have existed as an outsider my entire life, sometimes looking in, sometimes feeling trapped and looking out, sometimes not looking at all, but always alone.

It is often said that we are born alone and we die alone, but for some strange reason, people who say that leave out the middle. Perhaps it’s too painful to face the truth. Because the truth is, we’re alone for the middle, as well.

Some fill their time with activities, and their lives with people; surrounding themselves with things they believe to be the opposite of alone to numb the sensation of solitude.

Some stay in relationships that don’t make them happy to avoid loneliness, never realizing that feeling lonely in a relationship is the most painful kind of lonely there is.

I felt alone as a child, during my teenage years, during my young adulthood, and the feeling remains as I enter middle age. I thought by now I might have shaken it, that I might have discovered the secret to finally shedding the cloak over my soul that seems to be keeping me at a distance, but it never happens.

I wonder if I’m the only one who feels alone. I also recognize the glorious absurdity of wondering if I’m alone in my feelings of feeling alone.

As a little kid, I would sometimes clasp together my hands while feeling scared in bed at night, pretending someone else was holding my hand, because it (falsely) made me feel safe.

But as pathetic as that sounds, there’s beauty and truth in holding one’s own hand.

Beauty, because even when truth may look ugly on the surface, it’s real and pure inside, and that’s beautiful.

Truth, because even when a different person is holding your hand, you can still feel lonely–you can still be alone.

I sleep alone every night now. I somewhat sheepishly admit to occasionally holding my own hand to self-soothe, but more often, I pretend someone is hugging me as I fall asleep. It helps me fall asleep faster because I pretend I’m safe. I pretend I’m not alone.

I pretend.

We all pretend.

Sleep well.

 

This Is What Happens When I Take Facebook Quizzes

  1. Do you like blue cheese?

No, I loathe blue/bleu cheese, and not only because I never know which blue/bleu to write, which is irritating. My parents promised me I’d “love it when I grew up,” so I try it every few years, and I still have to scrub my tongue with a paper towel to remove the taste of Satan’s ball sweat afterward.

  1. Last concert?

My last concert was to see Old 97’s at Cain’s Ballroom. My next concert is going to be Joan Jett later this month, and I’m probably going to sit in stunned silence the whole time because she’s one of my idols. She paved the way for female musicians, and my first band was an all-girl rock band. We had to endure so many guys yelling dumb shit like “Take your shirts off!” while we played—but that was nothing compared to the crap through which Joan Jett had to slog. Sexism is a big load of bullshit, and the fact that music, or any creative outlet, has ever been a ‘boys club’ boggles my mind, because women are some of the most creative beings I’ve encountered on the planet. Stop trying to manage all the creative endeavors, boys. (I say boys, because real men value women as humans and equals.)

  1. Do you own a gun?

As someone diagnosed with anxiety disorders, I’m exactly the type of person who shouldn’t own a gun, so I don’t, but I love to go to the shooting range, and tend to be a naturally good shot.

  1. What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is artichokes. Yes, I enjoy dipping artichoke leaves in lemon-butter and scraping them with my teeth like a large rodent. It’s a living.

  1. Do you get nervous before Doctor visits?

If you randomly capitalize the word “doctor” like that, I’m going to wonder if I need to be nervous. But to answer the question, yes, I get nervous any time I have to talk face to face with a human I don’t know well.

Caveat: I never get nervous about seeing my gynecologist. I’ve been seeing him for a decade, he performed one of my abdominal surgeries, and he has a great bedside manner. I recently told him about my fibrous breast warning after a mammogram, for example, and we felt me up together for about ten minutes to make extra sure my breasts had no solid lumps. I’m so comfortable with him, I actually worry he thinks I’m weird, but he’s cut adhesed organs off of my intestines and abdominal wall, so I think we’re past the “getting to know you” phase of our relationship.

  1. What do you think of hot dogs?

No nitrates or nitrites, please.

  1. Favorite movie?

Sunset Boulevard.

  1. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

Coffee or English breakfast tea. I vacillate back and forth, desperately trying to reap the health benefits of both until the next article I read tells me they’re back to being horrible poison. I think maybe if I drink a cup of coconut oil with turmeric and kale blended into it, I’ll probably be able to cure cancer, ride chemtrails, and taste colors, but I’m not sure where I read that. I also think I’m supposed to eat a stick of grass-fed butter for breakfast every morning, but I’m suspicious, because how are they feeding grass to butter? I mean, what kind of fucked-up mutant butter are we talking about eating here? No thank you, hippies.

  1. Do you do push-ups?

The post-pregnancy girls are a wearing a 34E bra, so no, but I do strength training with arm weights. I do air push-ups.

  1. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?

A necklace my husband got me for Xmas. It was made in Ireland with green marble only found there that matches my eyes, and a silver pendant of a tree that’s considered bad luck to cut down because the fairies prefer them, and that makes me happy to think about.

  1. Favorite hobby?

Writing. Or creepy dancing and making up songs about banal things around the house. One or the other.

  1. Do you have A.D.D.?

“A.D.D./ADD” is an outdated term for the inattentive type of ADHD. The “H” stands for hyperactivity, which can mean mental hyperactivity (instead of physical), leading to trouble with focus/easy distractibility. And yes, I’m diagnosed with combined ADHD (inattentive AND hyperactive/impulsive), in case that’s not obvious at this point.

  1. What’s the one thing you dislike about yourself?

There’s more than “the one,” but a recurring issue is how I place too much value on integrity. I always trust that people are going to be honest, kind, and do the right thing, and I’m often disappointed. I’m a frustrating and perplexing blend of completely naïve and horrifically jaded.

  1. What is your middle name?

Leighanne. Like this T-a-w-n-i train wreck needed to be harder to spell, then came “L-e-i…”

  1. Name three thoughts at this moment.

Nobody cares about you. Why are you answering these questions? You must really think you’re something, eh, missy?

Shut up, Mean Inner Voice. You write because you like to write, and that’s enough. Who cares if anyone reads or not? Fuck it. Stop taking life so seriously.

I want another cup of tea. I think I’ll go get one.

  1. Name 4 drinks you drink regularly?

Water, hot tea, coffee, and the magic potion that allows me to remain in this human form.

  1. Current worry?

My son just started public middle school, and I’m desperately trying to remember that giving him independence will help him grow up, and also if anyone bullies him I will have to rip their faces off, and that’s going to suck for everybody.

  1. Current annoyance right now?

My son once again hacked through the parental controls on his reader-only Kindle, and was sneaking the internet at night. This may seem benign, except he was on the “omegle” and “e-chat” sites, both highly inappropriate for an 11-year-old, talking to strangers who now have our IP address, and kept asking for his “asl” (age, sex, location). So, probably perverts.** We have once again removed all forms of technology from his life, which sucks, because it makes things harder for me (no break for The Mommy), and he doesn’t get to participate in many fun forms of technology. My love/hate relationship with the internet rages onward.

19. Favorite place to be?

Alone. If you don’t understand this, have a child while testing as a 98% introverted INFJ who prefers cats because they’re “less needy than dogs” and you’ll get it.

  1. How do you ring in the new year?

I spent the last New Year properly capitalizing New Year, drinking champagne, wine, and I vaguely remember some singing and dancing to music, but I’m fuzzy. Sorry, liver!

  1. Where would you like to visit?

All of the UK, and anywhere Scandinavian.

  1. Name three people who will complete this?

I have a lot of writer friends, so anyone who feels like writing, I’m sure.

  1. Do you own slippers?

Yes, I love the UGG knock-off boots. I have a few pairs. They make my feet feel like they’re being hugged by warm clouds, and I apologize for nothing.

  1. What color shirt are you wearing right now?

A gross blue cotton house dress I’ve owned for over 5 years. When I come home from public, the first thing I do is take of the restrictive clothing and change into an ugly, loose house dress. My husband is a lucky man.

  1. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?

No. They feel strangely cold and wet and I hate them. If there is a hell, I will sleep for eternity next to Ann Coulter in a bed made of regrets and clammy satin sheets.

  1. Can you whistle?

Only well enough to frighten my son because he thinks it “sounds like scary movies.” He’s a special boy.

  1. What are your favorite colors?

My favorite color is a shade of lagoon blue with green in it that I like to call Mermaid Blue.

  1. Would you be a pirate?

No. I went on one (free) cruise, and realized the vast endlessness of the ocean terrifies me. I don’t even like to stand on a beach. I keep waiting for all that water to decide it doesn’t want to stay back, and come swallow me up. Also, sharks live there. I may have some issues.

  1. What song do you sing in the shower?

I’m more of a car singer. I don’t really enjoy bathing, plus one of my cats becomes either worried about me or enraged if I sing in the house. She once leapt up and bit me on the thigh for singing, so she’s trained me to stop. Now I live in fear. Stinky, rarely-bathing, never-singing fear.

  1. Favorite girls name?

My son was going to be Ruby Jane if he was a girl. If we’d had a girl after him, her name would have been Margaret May–Margaret in honor of my husband’s late mother, and two names that start with ‘M’ so she could have the same initials as our son, Miles Matthew. We would have called her May. I love the classic simplicity and strength of the name May. I have “OCD tendencies” according to my psychiatrist, however, so I would have had to plan my pregnancy/due date for mid-May because I couldn’t set up my poor future daughter to have to explain that yes, her name is May but no, she isn’t born in May for the rest of her life. Because I’m not a monster, and also, I like a challenge. Especially one that involves sex. A sexy challenge.

  1. Favorite boys name?

Kai. I wanted to name our son Kai, but my husband didn’t like it. We lived in Los Angeles at the time and I wanted something beachy-sounding to honor that, but my husband said it sounded redneck, and also it rhymed with the name of one of my ex-boyfriends. I think it was mostly the ex-boyfriend-name-issue that bothered him most, but he won’t admit it.

32. What’s in your pocket now?

Unless you’re referring to my vagina, I have no pockets. Or bra. Or underwear. Just me and my incredibly attractive stretched-out old house dress.* Try to control yourself.

  1. Last thing that made you laugh?

Watching my husband tell my son that as consequences for hacking onto the internet for the umpteenth time he would have to either write about how he can work on controlling his impulses in the future -or- pick up dog poop in his uncle’s backyard. The kid cried equally over both consequences, and I had to turn my head so he wouldn’t see me laughing. Because I love to write, and my son equates writing with touching feces, and that’s some funny shit right there, folks, pun intended. In his defense, there are three dogs currently living at his uncle’s house, and that’s a lot of poop.

  1. Best toy as a child?

Nature.

  1. Worst injury you have ever had?

I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I have been called “dramatic” for finding it unacceptable for a grown man to beat in the face of a fifteen-year-old girl with his closed fists, so I’ll shut up about it, and the violent asshole wins. But really, he doesn’t win, because he still has to live his life being a loser asshole who beats up teenage girls, and I don’t, which is actually pretty sweet.

  1. Where would you love to live?

In a house surrounded by at least 5 acres with many evergreens. If I never hear a large compensating-for-a-tiny-penis vehicle or Harley rev loudly in front of my house again for the rest of my life, it would be marvelous. Heavenly, even.

  1. How many TV’s do you have?

We have three TVs in our house, and one extra apostrophe on this page.

  1. Who is your loudest friend?

I recently learned my husband can drill sergeant scream-shout: “LEAVE IT! LET’S GO!” when there’s a tornado in our neighborhood, and I stupidly try to stop en route to the shelter for my thyroid meds. It was impressive. I think I stopped shaking after two or three hours. The tornado was nothing compared to a 6’5” man scream-shouting at me in a state of raw panic.

  1. How many dogs do you have?

Two cats. I feel about dogs the way child-free people sometimes feel about other people’s children; nice to visit, but not presently for me. I prefer cats because they give me space. I like my pets like I like my men: not following me around and needing things all of the time.

  1. Does someone trust you?

Yes. Oh, do you want to know who trusts me? Too bad. I don’t trust you enough to tell. My trust issues have trust issues.

  1. What book are you reading at the moment?

I’m finishing the last in the 5th Wave trilogy, and then I’m going to read the book Mayte Garcia wrote about Prince. I’m pretty excited to read it, but hesitant because it’s going to make me sad.

  1. What’s your favorite candy?

Vanilla meringues from Trader Joe’s. Occasionally. I stopped craving chocolate and excessive sugar when I got on anti-anxiety meds years ago.

  1. What’s your favorite sports team?

I can’t honestly say I have one, regardless of what I’m supposed to say. (Sorry, husband who loves all sports.)

  1. Favorite month?

October, because at the end of the month, both my birthday -and- Halloween candy happen, and that was a really magical thing growing up. I don’t really get excited about either as an adult, but the happy feeling about October from my childhood remains. Nice when that happens.

 

*My hideously comfortable housedresses are from Walmart, and the brand is called “Faded Glory” which is painfully on-the-nose for both the clothes and most of the people who wear them, as my husband once pointed out to me. This comment has haunted me ever since by making me acutely aware I’m wearing the garment equivalent of my lost youth around the house every day.

**Probably Perverts will be the name of my next improv troupe.

 

If you made it this far, you deserve a gift, so here’s a picture of either a hamster or a gerbil sitting next to some cheese underneath a paper drink parasol. You’re welcome.

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How Planned Parenthood Helped Me Plan Parenthood

 

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Note: The below words were partly written because I am told to “move to Canada” or sent images of aborted fetuses if I show support for PP on Twitter. This shows a lack of understanding (at best), and I often wonder if shared personal stories might bridge the black and white walls often placed by pro-choice and pro-birth reasoning.

My comment sections are always closed because I write for myself, and if I want trolls, I’ll post publicly on social media. So if you appreciate my words, please follow my blog. 

***

I was 11 and at a Kansas City Royals game when I got my first period. My first baseball game and the realization that I was physically able to become pregnant happened on the same day.

If you know any 11-year-old children, male or female, please pause for a moment and picture them taking care of a baby.

You can’t, right? I can’t either. My son is presently 11, and he can’t even remember to brush his teeth. At the same age, had there been a rapist/molester/older boy in my life, I might have been able to carry a baby… 10 years before I could legally drink alcohol.

My periods were heavy, difficult to manage at school, and the cramping was intense, so I got on birth control pills at age 16, thanks to Planned Parenthood. What previously stopped everything in my life for a few days a month was now mild and predictable. Manageable. Many women take birth control pills for this reason.

I also decided to get on birth control pills because I became sexually active as a teenager, and realized I could never get an abortion because of my psychological makeup. However, I refuse to infantilize humans, and believe whether or not to procreate is a decision every woman must make for herself.

Every person and situation is different, and I am in no position to judge anyone else. This is the main reason I have always been, and remain, strongly pro-choice.

I was one of the youngest in my class, plus I graduated early from high school, so I am 16 in my college ID picture. I started college, and moved into an apartment, working multiple food service jobs to pay for tuition, rent, and bills at 17. I couldn’t afford health insurance. I couldn’t even afford a car.

I remained among the working poor until my early 30s, when I got my first job with healthcare. I never needed government assistance, although I definitely qualified financially during many years, but I had no children to feed, so my pride kept me from seeking help.

There were times I couldn’t afford to buy food, and yes—to stay on topic—tampons. I remember rolling up toilet paper in my underwear to create a poor person pad during that time of the month, praying it would stay in place. You do what you have to do.

I also remained on birth control pills the entire time. The reasonably priced well-woman care offered by Planned Parenthood allowed me to not become pregnant with a child I wasn’t emotionally prepared to raise.

Planned Parenthood enabled me to not need government assistance (i.e. taxpayer money) to support a child I couldn’t afford.

Planned Parenthood gave me the pills that kept my naturally-heavy periods predictable and light enough that I was able to consistently stay in the workforce—what might be labeled a productive member of society—rather than needing to call in sick every month.

When I met my husband at age 33, we decided to get married and have a child, and for the first time in my sexually active life, I stopped taking birth control pills. I became pregnant with my son almost instantly.

While my husband likes to brag that this faster-than-anticipated pregnancy was the result of his supernaturally strong sperm, I believe birth control pills are what kept me from becoming a mother before I was ready.

This was confirmed when my son was older, and after my husband’s vasectomy, I was able to get off the pill once again. My ovaries became covered with cysts—the left completely engulfed by one—and I had the most brutal period of my entire life. I had been bleeding harder than ever before, nauseated and unable to eat, for 90 days when my doctor performed the abdominal surgery to remove my left ovary, uterus, and cervix.

I had lost 30 pounds in 6 months and was subsisting on bits of saltine crackers and ginger ale before the surgery. I could only perform my motherly duties in short bursts, stopping between tasks to sit on the couch in a cold sweat as I tried not to vomit. It felt like having a stomach flu for nearly a year, and all symptoms ceased immediately post-surgery. I was given my life back.

I once again started to feel the symptoms after a year, and a sonogram revealed my remaining ovary was covered with 6 cysts, which sometimes happen when a women ovulates, but the ovary doesn’t release the egg. I was put on birth control pills to shut it down, and the cysts disappeared, saving my remaining ovary.

Even though I didn’t realize it, birth control pills had been necessary to prevent cysts my entire life. For many women, they perform this same function.

Sometimes birth control pills allow women like me to shut down their ovaries so that rather than having them removed, they can one day use them to have a child. Or they can continue to function and work. Especially for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, birth control pills are a medicine.

Birth control pills should be covered by health insurance.

Birth control pills are not “abortion pills,” and work by eliminating the need to ovulate. They prevent the female piece of the pregnancy puzzle from entering the picture. If you are male and consider not ovulating to be the same thing as killing a potential baby, I certainly hope you don’t masturbate. (All of those potential lives lost… you monster!)

For women like myself, Planned Parenthood has been the only affordable way to have a yearly screening for cancer, STDs, and receive birth control in whatever form to prevent pregnancy. I have never once been offered an abortion, or had it discussed in my presence at Planned Parenthood, and I visited them in 4 different cities over the span of 16 years.

I recently found out the Kansas City Royals are in a partnership with the anti-choice Vitae Foundation, and I couldn’t be more disappointed with the first baseball team I ever saw. The fact that I had my first glimpse of fertility at a Royals game struck me, considering that they are partnered with a group that would have expected me to have a baby, had I become pregnant at age 11.

If you would like to sign the petition asking the Kansas City Royals to cut ties with an organization that demeans Planned Parenthood, an invaluable resource for affordable women’s health and family planning—please sign the petition here.

In summation; Planned Parenthood gave me affordable well woman check-ups and birth control when I couldn’t afford healthcare. I will forever be grateful to and support their organization for this reason. Thank you for listening.

The Outcome Was Not Hilarious

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There‘s a Facebook “ask your child these questions and post the results” quiz going around, and on a whim, I decided to ask my son for his answers. I thought it would be funny. A lark.

He was crying by the second question.

I really feel like I’m cocking up this parenting thing 98% of the time. Am I the only one who feels this way? I always feel like I’m failing at parenting, no matter how hard I try.

 

My son is diagnosed with ADHD. I am also. I’m his genetic link. This feels great, by the way—passing on a brain type to one’s child that makes life harder. No guilt associated with this at all. Nope. Nada. (Also, I’m sarcastic. Did I mention that sarcasm is my favorite defense mechanism?) So basically, I failed my son from the second he was conceived. I failed him in utero. Off to a great start.

Today, I started the meant-to-be-funny test verbally to see what my son would say. Here’s how it went.

 

WITHOUT prompting, ask your child these questions and write EXACTLY what they say. The outcome will be hilarious. 😂

Interviewed: M, 10.

 

Me: What is something I say a lot?

Him: I love you.

 

(Okay, we seem to be off to a good start. I am such a loving mother. Yay, me!)

 

Me: What makes me happy?

Him: When I do the right thing.

 

I looked at him sadly. His answer broke my heart.

My son then started crying. Tears rolling down his face. Because this is what it feels like to be a kid with ADHD.

This is also what it feels like to be an adult with ADHD.

You feel like your inability to control impulsive behavior, your easy distractibility, and your problem finishing things (on which you aren’t hyperfocusing) all make you a bad person.

Because your behavior is corrected constantly, you also feel like you’re failing all of the time. At everything.

 

Eventually, if you’re like me, you may become chronically anxious, overthinking and hesitating before every decision, because you’re so used to making the wrong choices.

You may often freeze from indecision and fear, lest you fail the people counting on you to do the right thing, one more lousy time.

You may worry they will stop loving you, or leave you, because you can never seem to make people happy, no matter what you do.

You may grow up feeling alone in the world, and unable to trust anyone, because nobody ever stays. You will then blame, berate, and emotionally beat yourself up for not being able to maintain a healthy relationship with another human.

 

It really sucks.

 

We try so hard to choose our battles and be gentle with our son, but the reality is that when someone is constantly impulsive—to the point of being a danger to themselves, or an annoyance to others—you have to say something.

Present parents teach their children how to behave appropriately. If these teachable moments are happening all… day… long… the emotionally immature recipient of your “life lessons,” no matter how gently you present them, starts to feel like a failure. Quantity trumps quality eventually.

And being human, you’re sometimes not as kind or patient as you should have been—especially when you’re correcting the same poor choice for the 100th time, and that behavior is something your child should have mastered years earlier.

Sisyphus has nothing on the parents of an ADHD-brained kid. We wish we were only rolling a damned rock up a hill all day. At least then we’d have the luxury of not worrying about how we’re making the rock feel as we roll it over and over again, and what kind of a rock it’s going to grow up into because of our ineptitude.

Having a child with a developmental delay is like having a toddler for 3 times longer than you should, and you will want to punch yourself in the face. Often. Sometimes a pillow in a bedroom behind a locked door will have to do, because we need faces to see, eat, communicate, and other important crap like that.

 

When I’m handling it well, I feel like there is nobody as patient as me in the whole wide world. I am the Queen of Patience. I am an angel in the form of a middle-aged woman, sent down to guide this child to adulthood with love and light and also a lot of laundry.

When I’m not handling it well, and I lose my temper, I feel like the shittiest human who ever walked the planet. I am the Queen of Shit. I am Satan in the form of a middle-aged woman, sent down to ruin the life of an innocent boy with snappish remarks and nagging and also a lot of laundry.

I know he’s just a kid, without the life experience or perspective I have, and of course he’s not going to inherently understand everything. He deserves the same chance to make mistakes and learn from them the rest of us received. So unfortunately, when I am not at my best, “Queen of Shit” is written on the sash I wear to complement my gown made from the tattered fabric of parental shame. I don’t deserve a tiara.

 

It’s a frustrating cycle, and it kills me because I was the same kid; misunderstood and angry all of the time. I still lack self-esteem. I still have a chip on my shoulder that flares up if I feel I’m being treated like I’m stupid—a bitchy, defensive chip that my husband “enjoys” dealing with on the reg. I still feel like I’m failing all of the time. And I so desperately want life to be better for my son.

God, I don’t want him to feel like I do. I don’t want anybody to feel like I do.

 

I asked why he was crying, and he said, “I’m crying because I don’t know what makes you happy.”

 

Oh, my heart. Ouch. And then I started crying. I opened my arms and he came over to the couch and jumped into my lap like we do at the start of every day.

I hugged him for a long time. I told him that he makes me happy because he exists, and not only when he’s doing the right thing. That I am trying to teach him how to be a good person when I correct his behavior, and making mistakes is normal because that’s how we all learn to do the right thing.

I told him I will always love him, and that even when he’s doing something that doesn’t make me happy, I love him just as much then. I told him I’m only trying to help him learn to make good choices, and that I will never love him any less, no matter what he does.

I told him he makes me happy just by being here.

 

I’m trying. I’m trying to make sure my son doesn’t feel like a failure. I feel like I’m failing at parenting while I try to make sure my child doesn’t feel like he’s failing at being a human.

I recognize the duplicity of the above process, but I don’t have a better solution.

 

Failing. Failing, failing, failing.

 

*****

 

After I dried his tears and told him the test was supposed to be fun, we continued. I wanted to salvage this moment. I wanted to lighten it.

 

Me: How tall am I? 

Him: 5’9″

 

(Correct!)

 

Me: What’s my favorite color? 

Him: I don’t know? Blue or purple or something? 

 

(Close. Blue-green.)

 

Me: What is my favorite thing to do?

Him: Write on the computer?

 

(Correct!)

 

Me: What makes you proud of me? 

Him: That you do everything for me. You’ve kept me alive for the last 10 years!

 

(Jesus. It’s nice to be appreciated, but keeping you alive is my job, kid. I feel kind of bad about his answer. I am officially promising Future Me will never guilt trip my son. Do you hear that Future Me? He appreciates you. Like, biologically. No guilt trips.)

 

Me: What is my favorite food?

Him: Burritos?

 

(Correct! Well, actually, my favorite food is artichokes, but they’re expensive, so bean burritos with cheese and green sauce are my number one comfort food. They have been since I was a kid in Phoenix.)

 

Me: Do you think you could live without me?

Him: No! I couldn’t!

 

(I smiled and kept it light, but seriously. What kind of a needy, Disney-movie-moms-must-die kind of question is this? My son freaked out recently, when, at almost-11, he saw the REAL beginning to “Finding Nemo” on TV. It was his first favorite movie, and I skipped past the “mom dies” beginning every time. Because damn, Disney. That’s some heavy shit to drop on toddlers. Stop it.)

 

Me: If I could go anywhere, where would it be?

Him: I don’t know? An island?

 

(Wrong, unless the island was never sunny and not surrounded by water, which would make it not an island. The vast endlessness of the ocean freaks me out, and I am extremely photosensitive. He got the solitude part right, though, if that’s what he meant.  I’d love a cloudy, cool climate and a house alone in the forest.)

 

Me: What is my favorite show?

Him: Your medical shows.

 

(Correct! I love all medical shows. If I could go back in time and change my college major, I would choose nursing instead.)

 

*****

 

This was the end of the test.

My son is a volatile, high-strung, emotional and extremely empathetic human, just like me. We feel everything in the world. It’s exhausting. The ADHD brain type doesn’t help.

So I should probably mention that I’ve also made him cry over his pancakes by jokingly making the Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup bottle exclaim, “No! Don’t drink my lifeblood, little boy!”

He’s run crying over to me after a group of shitty kids stomped a cool bug he was watching.

He cries over sad shows on television. He’s a sensitive soul. But still. Today was a reminder to be as gentle as possible with my son, as often as I can muster it.

 

What a hilarious outcome. Thanks, stupid Facebook quiz.

 

 

 

 

Top Wine and Cheesecake Pairings for the Holiday Season

 

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Pairing desserts with wine isn’t easy, but when it’s done well, this combination can be a deliciously decadent treat that can make your holiday party or family gathering an instant success.

A general rule for finding the right wine to complement a cheesecake is to make sure the wine is a bit sweeter than the dessert in most cases, but not in all. Sometimes a crisp, dry wine can be just the thing to offset a particularly sugary flavor in the best way possible. As with pairing drinks and other foods, when pairing wine with desserts, it’s important to strike a balance between acidity and sweetness.

 

Below is a list of 8 flavored cheesecakes and complementary wines you might serve to bring out the best in both:

 

  1. Classic Cheesecake—

The rich, creamy texture of a plain cheesecake works great with sparkling wines, champagne or nice sauternes.

Depending on the flavors you choose to add to your cheesecake, such as different types of fruits, you may want to go in a different direction with your beverage, but with a plain cheesecake, a simple wine is a great complement to the classic flavor.

 

  1. Apricot-Glazed Cheesecake—

An orange muscat wine would be a lively pairing with any dessert featuring apricots, as the citrus can brighten the potentially heavy honey-like qualities of the glaze, as well as enhancing the fruitiness of the apricots.

 

  1. Chocolate Cheesecake—

A vintage port is the go-to wine for any chocolate and vino partnership, but don’t write off the lighter reds, as a late harvest zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon can also serve as a good match.

Generally, as the desserts get darker and richer, so do the wines, and with something as light as a chocolate-flavored cheesecake, you can get away with a lighter wine.

 

  1. Caramel/Turtle Cheesecake—

To properly balance the buttery decadence of caramel, a red wine is definitely your number one choice.

A pinot noir or nice shiraz would be light and sweet, allowing the rich caramel to shine while still keeping the balance between acid and sugar.

 

  1. Pumpkin Cheesecake—

Popular around the holidays, the spicy, cinnamon notes of a pumpkin cheesecake are beautifully brought out by a white wine, pink champagne, or a riesling, which can soften the spiciness, allowing the flavors to be appreciated without overpowering the taste buds.

White wine, pink champagne or a riesling will also go well with a slice of pumpkin pie.

 

  1. Strawberry/Blueberry/Raspberry Cheesecake—

A light sparkling white wine, such as a moscato d’asti will enhance the sweet and dynamic notes of the berries on your cheesecake, but if you’d prefer something less sweet, a light rosé will work as well.

 

  1. Almond, Pecan or Walnut Cheesecake—

If your cheesecake recipe involves nuts, or perhaps a glaze involving fruit and nuts, remember that nuts pair wonderfully with a light madeira or a sherry with nutty undertones.

If the cheesecake’s nutty glaze involves apples, a pinot gris, blueberry or even an anjou wine can also be a good match.

 

  1. Lemon/Key Lime Cheesecake—

As with the apricots, citrus fruits are also best served with a muscat, sparkling white wine, or champagne to keep the flavors light and refreshing.

Remember; bubbles bring out the fresh, bright flavors and zing of all things citrus.

 

Don’t forget that pairing desserts like cheesecakes with wine doesn’t have to be an occasional after-dinner activity; you can even have a “wine and cheesecake” theme party to try new wines and desserts with your friends. With the holidays coming up, you can use the helpful wine and cheesecake pairing tips above to plan a perfect party with pals or a family get-together full of sweetness, drinks and delicious desserts.

Vet Exam Etiquette: 5 Tips to Keep Pets Calm

 

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When taken out of their usual environment, driven to a new place, and then handled by a stranger, most creatures—even humans—may become a bit agitated or frightened. Because we don’t speak dog or cat well enough to explain to our fuzzy family members what’s happening, a trip to the veterinarian’s office for an exam can be quite a harrowing experience.

Fortunately, there are ways we can prepare our pets for vet visits that will take much of the stress out of the experience for them, making life easier for everyone involved. Below are 5 tips any pet owner can use to keep cats and dogs calmer during vet exams:

 

  1. Demystify the Pet Carrier—

For cats and smaller dogs that must ride in a carrier for car trips, much of the tension they’re feeling is because they’ve suddenly been placed into an unknown and highly restrictive new environment. For free-roaming animals, being shoved into a small cage can be a very scary experience.

To take the fear out of the crate, place the carrier inside the home for weeks before the vet exam with the door open. Place soft blankets, treats and favorite toys inside, and feed the pet in the crate once they realize nothing bad is going to happen.

Your goal is to make the pet crate a safe and friendly little room they will feel comforted by (rather than frightened of) when exam day arrives.

 

  1. Go to a Happy Place—

Once smaller animals are reassured enough by the carrier to be moved, take a trip to the vet with them on a day they don’t have an exam. (If you have a larger dog that doesn’t ride in a crate, but is comfortable in the car, take them to the vet on non-exam days as well.)

Go into the vet’s office and allow your cat or dog to become familiar with their surroundings. Reward them with treats and introduce them to staff members if they have a moment so they won’t be complete strangers the next time you visit.

By soothing your pets and giving them treats at these non-invasive visits, you will be creating positive associations for them that will make them less fearful during the actual exam.

 

  1. Don’t Book During Busy Times—

If you have the wiggle room in your life and work schedule to set up exams during slow periods at the vet’s office, this is highly recommended for those with anxious animals.

Booking during off-hours will ensure the office is as quiet as possible for your exam, and that your visit proceeds quickly and efficiently.

 

  1. Soft is Soothing—

Give your pet a soft blanket to lie on in the pet carrier to make them feel more relaxed and at-home. Pets have excellent senses of smell, and sometimes the scent of a familiar place can soothe.

Be sure to pull the blanket out during the exam and cover the hard surface of the table, as this will make dogs feel less like they are slipping, and give cats something to grab onto with their claws for security.

 

  1. Distractions are Delightful—

Your vet will really appreciate your assistance during the actual examination, so if you can bring things to distract your cat or dog while they’re being inspected and manipulated, this is highly recommended.

Dogs are often easily distracted by food, so consider bringing a treat or new toy to introduce that will really captivate them. Cats can be harder to distract, so treats will need to be novel enough to keep their interest. Favorite toys are also great choices for diverting attention, such as feathers and catnip mice.

If your cat likes to hide under blankets or feels safer inside the carrier, many vets will work around these minor obstructions if it keeps kitties calmer.

By helping your pet to remain relaxed at the vet, you are not only making sure they have a less anxious visit to the pet doctor; you are making the experience better for yourself, your veterinarian and staff, as well as for the other pet owners waiting in the reception area. Use the tips above to give your beloved cat or dog the most pleasant and fear-free trip possible during every vet visit.