Tov Lo – Hot Play

Kenna, Chaylee and I walked into Century Link Field adorned with fancy light up wrist bands, ready to experience the joyous mystery of live performance.  The first opening act was your typical young, emerging female artist.  She hardly opened her mouth when she sang and moved around the stage seductively while breathing heavily into every lyric as if it needed to be resuscitated. Sort of a, Lorde meets Lorde, meets an asthmatic with good pitch. We got through it.

Then came Tov Lo…

I gotta stay high, all the time to get you off my mind…  Not the best advice for young people.

She came off like a promiscuous Peter Cetera, post-legalization, with daddy issues and a crop top. (Note: Chicago produced some of the most co-dependent love songs of all time.)

Each song contained copius amounts of profanity, which I don’t usually have a problem with, if the taboo verbiage is well placed and surrounded with quality prose. But these were just F-bombs tossed out into the audience haphazardly–striking children and middle aged women who just really love the song Yellow. It felt cruel.

By the third jam, Kenna was placing actual wagers on how many F words we would have to endure per song.  And these weren’t the angry adverb kind but the literal type. Carnal requests really.  If she would have just dressed it all up in some fun innuendo I wouldn’t have had to ear muff my ten year old for a half an hour. My arms were getting tired.

What’s her next song gonna be called?  I shouted over the applause,  “My Vulva’s Crazy!”? Chaylee laughed hard, then asked me what vulva meant.

Just when we thought the onslaught of sex, drugs, and techno was overTov Lo decided to deliver one last little number.

This last song is my new single. It’s called “Disco Tits”. I hope you like it. 

That was better than my crazy vulva idea.  I cringed and awkwardly placed my hands back over Chaylee’s ears.  Kenna was loving it.  Not the song, but the spectacle of watching her mother squirm as Tov Lo belted out:

“I’m fully charged, nipples are hard, ready to go…”

How could Coldplay do this to us? Did they perform a background check on the Swedish super vixen? Had they heard her new single?  I didn’t want to deliver my daughters from Disney bubble gum pop music only to introduce them to soft porn techno.  Fortunately, we have strategy in our family for handling these kinds of situations–one that has been handed down for generations.  If you can’t make it good…make it memorable.  So I decided to treat Tov Lo and her free love–here have some drugs–message as an opportunity to banter with my girls about femininity, character development and the various anatomical reasons ones nipples may become firm. It was indeed memorable.

The headliner never apologized, but they didn’t disappoint either. By the end of the night I was confident that Tov Lo did minimal damage to our moral fabric and that Coldplay did some good.


What is one of your strangest concert going experiences?

How do you handle uncomfortable parenting moments?

Why I want to be Rick Steves and David Sedaris’ Love Child – even though I am not certain how to use apostrophe’s.

I lied to you.

About the title, I mean.

This blog is not about my aspirations to become the baby of a successful travel writer and legendary storyteller, or my apostrophe issue. It is actually about why I cannot stick to my weekly blogging commitment.  The one I made one week ago. The truth is, that was a stupid promise. Why did I think it was a good idea to challenge myself as Christmas approaches? Why don’t I just go out and get a gym membership while I am at it.

Instead, I am going to post some old entries and go for a nice walk.  I’ll start challenging myself in the New Year

Merry Christmas

Emmanuel: God With Us






A video for the visually impaired. You will see what I mean.

Apparently, to increase blog traffic, one must start posting on a fairly regular basis.  So that is exactly what I am going to do.  Because, who doesn’t love traffic. In keeping with my current theme of vulnerability, I will attempt to create cyber congestion by revealing why it is a challenge for me to write on a regular basis.

  1. I usually only write about embarassing situations.  These happen less often now that I am older and increasingly risk averse, not to mention that all the kids are in school so there are less parenting faux pas to process.  Side note: the French term faux pas is amazing. I don’t like saying it, but I love writing it. It makes humiliation fancy. Only the French can pull that off. I usually say, “fox paw” just for fun though. Similarly, I like to call Brett Favre, Brett FAV-RAY.  Why? Because come on!  How in the world am I supposed to just pretend the “r” comes first, Brett.  I get that you are a football legend, but that doesn’t mean we all have to play along.  Would you be comfortable if I started spelling my last name “Palsey” but asking you to pronounce it “Pasley?” 
  2. I feel like everyone and their mom is a blogger. Or a mom blogger.  Or a blogging mom.  Or a mom who likes reading blogs and is thinking about putting one together. It is being done and done very well by a whole lotta ladies.  To do it right, you have to either know something about home design, or self deprecate just enough to be relatable, then demonstrate ground breaking maturity and wisdom so you are worth “following”.  For example: If you just reveal that you screamed at your child like a she-demon…you have to end it with, but then I learned that she-demons are just fallen angels themselves… trying to raise  little angels as best they can… or some guru shiz like that.  No one ever ends their blog with the she-demon line. It’s the formula that is hard for me to embrace.  I guess I have always rebelled against formula though. That might be why I can’t make pie crust.
  3.  I am afraid of becoming an addict.  This is a very real fear. Cyber affirmation is a drug.  “Likes” are becoming a religion. People are putting their faith in them. A heart emoji literally means love. Really? As a modern day follower of Christ (yeah I said it) I am really, really trying to remember where my value lies. But I have to be honest, when I saw that someone from the Netherlands hit up my site, I got excited. Uncomfortably excited.  Like, Julie and Julia excited. That’s ridiculous. Especially because I don’t even know what they read or how they felt about it. I just knew that I had travelled to the Netherlands for a hot minute. I want to find a balance between appreciating colorful emojis and positive reinforcement without needing them.
  4. Hey world…check…me out. I am not entirely sure that I want anyone to check me out. Is it self indulgent to want that kind of attention? (This is where you leave a comment telling me, I am worth it!)

So there they are. All the reasons I haven’t posted regularly.

Now for the challenge: I realize that the NPR New Years Resolution specialists suggest that you don’t share your goals so as to avoid pre mature pay off and/or disappointment, but I am going to do it anyway!

I will attempt to post once a week. I will not wait for humiliation or parental epiphanies to find me.  Will you help hold me accountable sweet friends and family,
(and guy in the Netherlands).  Don’t let me drop the ball. I need this exercise.

Future title possibilities:

Why I want to be Rick Steves and David Sedaris’ love child. 

The unfortunate musings of Tove Lo 

Spiders and Jive Turkeys


Time after Time


So, what are you going to do now that all the kids are in school?

I would like to officially apologize to every woman I have said this to. I am pretty sure, I tried to funny it up when I asked, but the meta message was still there.

What on earth are you going to do with all that time, I wish I had, but I don’t.

I am not sure what a better question would even be. What are you going to do with all that potential?   How do you intend to use your super powers now? Will you finally get to do all that you dreamed of doing before you became a nurse log? No matter how the inquiry is framed it feels something like: GET A JOB!

Mike calls this season my sabbatical–my golden moment to pursue health and discover my passions.  (Where did I find a man like this, you ask? I had him made. Thank you Ken and Deb.)  Unfortunately, my focus on health has awakened my inner hypochondriac.  I can’t seem to get rid of the sensation that there is something stuck in my throat and am fairly confident that I am at death’s door. I don’t think this is what my dear husband had in mind, but here we are.

The pursuing my passions piece has been interesting, but I confess the pursuit has mostly consisted of random career assessment tests, solo brainstorming sessions and crying spells. I have unsuccessfully submitted one story to NPR, written one blog about being stuck in my own pants,  painted a portrait of Einstein, and researched the voice over industry and how middle aged women can break into the field as painlessly as possible. I coach choir club once a week and occasionally practice long vowel sounds with Mrs. Juhl’s first grade class.  I rock the orca costume from time to time, against my better judgment,  but no longer on the regular.  Overall, I just spend a lot of time feeling like somewhere along the way, the list of things I wanted to do with my life got lost, and now I need to find it.

As a result of my weird, possibly hormonally driven, quasi midlife crisis, I have  required Mike to prepare and deliver weekly pep talks on the beauty, sexiness, wisdom and viability of women in their forties. (I turn forty in three months. The separation is in the preparation.) During these pep talks, I have been encouraged to think outside the box. So here I go. Jobs I would be interested in, if prior experience, education, salary and aptitude were non issues–followed by naysaying.

Astronaut–I am terrible at math, claustrophobic, and have poor vision. Not a great candidate for space travel.

Today Show Host: A little late to the game. The women seem to age out in their forties on that program.  It’s like Dazed and Confused. Lauer keeps getting older… and the girls stay the same age.

Foreign Correspondent:  Family put the kibosh on this option due to safety concerns but I think I would be awesome at it. As long as I am not required to wear pencil skirts. Those don’t sit well with me.

Travel Writer: Waiting for Rick Steves to kick the bucket.

Motivational Speaker:  Might need to nail down my own motivation first, but I do have a stage name on lock down:  Robin Tonies.

Artist: I set up an etsy account to sell paintings, but my “cyber store” remains empty due to a total lack of confidence and a fear of art consumers, who seem naughty by nature and prone to judgy feedback.

Disney Land Tour Guide:  Typically this role is reserved for young people willing to wear safari shorts and tropical button downs.  Not sure if I am willing to relocate the whole family to make that happen.

Diplomat: I AM a push over. So….you know….maybe.

Member of an Improv Troop: I hear these cats make like $50 a night and the hours are flexible.

Sea Gal: I could be the lady that all the wives don’t mind.  The Sea “every woman” gal.  The one that helps them decide it’s okay to wear pants.  I would also encourage them to bring an end to the shimmy, shimmy, bend move.  It is tiresome.  Simply bending over is not a viable dance move and adding a couple shimmies before-hand doesn’t make it good.  If I don’t make the cut, I will just promote the drinking game I created years ago, (aptly named) “The Shimmy, Shimmy, Bend Drinking Game”.  The rules are simple. If they double shimmy and bend over, you drink.  I guarantee public intoxication by half time. Go Hawks.

Blogger:  With approximately 3 views a day, I think it might behoove me to seek other avenue for revenue.

Teaching: Not just yet. I want to get my little ones farther along in their own academic journey before I become uninterruptible after school due to a heavy workload. Teaching is no joke man.

Insert suggestion here: __________________________________________________________________

I realize this is a wonderful problem to have. And I completely understand if women with toddlers and or folks working 60+ hours a week want to punch me in the face. But, consider this: there is a degree of additional responsibility that comes with not having as many responsibilities anymore.  For example: When you have four children, people expect you to be late. They are not surprised if you cancel.  Most mistakes can be blamed, at least in part, on children. In general, no one expects much out of you outside of executing your maternal responsibilities. You are a hero for bathing.

So, what am I doing with myself, now that all the kids are in school?  I’ll let you know when I find out.  In the meantime, I am going to take a bath whenever I feel like it.


Questions for my little audience that I love:

  1. I am nervous about turning forty and I am not sure why.  Any ideas?
  2. If you are in your forties, what do you love about it?
  3. Did you or someone you know experience a mild crisis during a similar transition?
  4. Know any good sermons on aging gracefully?



Deliver Me From Material

I get my nails done only when an occasion demands it, and a destination wedding in the tropics was telling me I had to. Because I hate to argue with the tropics, I grabbed the first kid-free opportunity I had and headed straight to BK Nails.

The massage chair is actually my favorite part of the experience.  I am a fan of “kneading fingers” but am also partial to the “swedish massage” setting–even though this tends to annoy the ladies who are carefully trying to turn my fat-Saxon hands into lady fingers. This is not easy to do.  My husband has shared with me that I have tragic farmer hands, since they sort of look like they were stuck in a combine at some point.  His observation is way too funny to be hurtful and completely accurate.  My fingers are noticeably bent and lacking symmetry. My cuticles are unruly. I avoid them. Good thing the wizards at BK know how to pretty them up.  I know they covertly talk about my unfortunate hands in their native tongue but I can also feel their satisfaction when the acrylic magic is applied and my wayward hands become presentable…almost  attractive.

My toes are not noteworthy, but, my ankles are sad and thick.  They really are.  I have grown fond of their sturdiness and have learned to embrace them as hard-working weight-bearing entities worthy of praise. I get the feeling though, that the women of BK nails feel sorry for me when I pull up my pant legs to reveal the ankles and my hefty calves. That is why the leg reveal is always the low point of my visit.

In preparation for the customary soothing foot soak, I tried to pull up my pant legs.  I knew right away I should not have chosen my cozy olive green parachute pants. The opening of the pants was small–very small.  No match for my abundance.  I tugged at the stubborn garment with increasing intensity and began to panic as the pedicurist approached. I was finally able to will the elastic up and over my calf with a sigh of relief, and then regret. The right pant leg didn’t make it that far. It got stuck just half way up my smug little shin. My tenacity had taken an unfortunate turn.

The manicure and pedicure commenced simultaneously, but I was not feeling pampered. All I could think about was the pant situation.

The fabric hugged just below my left knee like a tourniquet. My leg was going numb.  My hands were being manicured and were unavailable for problem solving. How was I ever going to get my pant legs down?  Typically the nail specialist repositions your clothing at the end of the service. The idea of her attempting to deliver my leg from the clutches of my own pants was horrifying. All I could think about was how to avoid that moment and save my leg.

Each time I was left alone for a moment, I would try to convince the depressing green fabric to submit and curse my colossal legs.

FLASHBACK                                                                                                                              Tinglestadt Hall –Pacific Lutheran University                                                                           Circa 1997

I hadn’t worn a dress in months.  I didn’t really like exposing my lower extremities to others, but I found a cute little number worthy of courage.  I put on my Doc Martin boots and my new little black babydoll dress with white flowers and confidently entered the hallway. I had not even made it to the elevator before the sound of a vacuum in use abruptly ceased.

Georgia, the truth-telling housekeeper, approached with purpose.

“Girl!!!!  You got some BIG LEGS! Suma gemalema hotdog%!”

To this day…The last sentence uttered by Georgia is a mystery.

Some believe she said, man, I’m gonna get me a hot dog..\                                                   Others contend it was something more like : Damn, they look good. Hot Dog!                                                              I just hope it wasn’t: Man, they look like a couple hot dogs. 

Whatever she declared that day, it was hurtful, and kept me in pants for years.

Return to Present

It was clear that scissors were going to be necessary to escape my own pants.

My nails were dry. It was time to pay . She reached to “assist me”.

Oh no, no…I am way too hot just leave them. 

She looked at me defiantly and made a second attempt.

Oh no please. I am really too hot and I like them like this. 

She wasn’t buying it. Maybe because it was by no means hot out.  She went for the the haphazard pants again.

I get hot. I like them like this. 

She digressed and accepted payment in spite of my weird request.

Now it was time to mosey next door to Desert Tan. This would be my only opportunity to turn my vulnerable legs a tender shade of beige before visiting those bossy tropics. It’s embarrassing enough to feel you need a spray tan in order to be presentable. It’s far worse, when you can’t get one because you are stuck in your own pants.

Hey do you have a pair of scissors? I need to cut off a tag, I lied confidently.

It would not be easy to get my legs out of fabric prison without being detected by the tanning specialist.  I dropped down and frantically tried to work the scissors around the material that held onto me like vice grips.  Another customer walked in. I was done pretending though. All I cared about was keeping my leg. I cut and ripped and pulled until I was free and handed the scissors nonchalantly back to the girl behind the counter. I was free. Sure, I looked like Bruce Banner after a meltdown, but it was better than losing a limb in a bizarre pedicure incident.



Have you ever been stuck in your own clothes? If so, how did you solve this problem?

*Mike and I went on our first date twenty years ago today!  Full of love for him. We wear each other well.





Sparkygate 2017

The Sparky costume lives in Janitorial Closet #2.  It is an uncomfortably small room, but well organized and unsuspicious–like a telephone booth. It’s never easy to put on the 5-piece orca costume, which comes with a faux tummy attachment to make Sparky extra huggable, but it is even more challenging when three of your children are with you asking questions and trying to help.  However, I thought it might bring some levity to an otherwise tumultuous morning of missing shoes, compromised lunch boxes and poor time management to include the children in my part time gig.  It worked. Soon we were laughing and hugging in the snuggly little closet — even deciding on a theme song for Sparky’s entrance. Ki suggested Back in Black.  Finally, we had achieved unity.  Nothing can bring people together like mascots can, except maybe Field Day…

We opened the door and exited “the phone booth” with slow motion swagger like Resevoir Dogs –ACDC playing on my phone in the background, muffled by my fuzzy fin.

Our first encounter was with my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher.  Her enthusiasm was palpable, appreciated and just what I needed to get really pumped up. Pictures were taken. High fives, “or fins” were exchanged. It was time to head outside…

Get ready kids, I thought. It’s Field Day–and Sparky came to play.

The Pasley kids went to their respective lines, proud of their mom and their school.  Abel,  a Pre K graduate, was my handler. We walked lockstep out onto the blacktop, where students mingled in haphazard lines awaiting the bell that would usher in Field Day fun.

The Kindergarteners were the first recipients of Sparky’s friendliness. They gently waved their little innocent hands and requested hugs from the lovable whale with subtle gestures, like outstretched arms, and doe eyed stares. I was in the zone.  Clever dance steps, and strategic fin placement communicated school spirit and tenderness all at once.

Damn, it feels good to be a mascot.


As I moved beyond the lines of Kindergarteners, more and more children approached like a tide coming in. This wasn’t my first rodeo though.  I had a handler.  Sure he was less than four feet tall, and no where to be found, but, I knew he was out there somewhere. Perhaps even surveying the situation and seeking out an adult or two who could help out if things went off the rails.


I felt a dorsal fin pull here and there as the crowd grew, but knew that came with the territory.  I am sure the Mariner Moose has had a child or two test his antlers. It wasn’t until, all the recipients of my mascot merriment were eye level, that I realized the demographic had changed. These were not students who wanted a little Field Day inspiration from their friendly neighborhood whale, these were older kids who were hell bent on discovering Sparky’s identity.

They begin to press their pre pubescent faces against the black screen that protected my personage.  Worse yet, their morbid curiosity became a challenge to one another. I took up defensive position against a thin white pole and looked for an adult while the diabolical boys batted at my head shouting out clues to one another.

It’s a girl!!!  They shouted as they caught a glimpse of my pony tail.

They pushed and pulled at my second skin, laughing maniacally. The heavy whale head bobbing up and down on my shoulders. I was drowning.

And then…

It happened…

Sparky got decapitated.

My sweaty head, and tousled hair sat naked atop the fuzzy whale costume in the middle of the populated playground of stunned children. It was like an episode of Scooby Doo.

A demonic voice came out of me that had previously been reserved only for difficult parenting situations..

“HEY!!!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE BEHAVIOR!” I screamed, Orca head in hand.

My eyes began to fill with tears as I looked around the school yard at all the the horrified faces.  My cover was blown. Worse yet,  I had broken the only hard and fast rule of mascotting (outside the handler height requirement) –never let them see you cry.

I placed the shamed whale head back over my own and walked toward Janitorial Closet #2, leaving in my wake a viral tale that is sure to live in elementary school lore forever.

Where were you when Sparky lost his head? They’ll say.

God knows I will remember where I was…



*Thank you to Ms. H., Kindergarten Teacher of the Year, who let me walk around her empty classroom in a headless killer whale costume venting after the incident. I am sure the simultaneous laughing and crying was a little unnerving. Thanks for the “We Love Sparky” chant too.  It restored my faith in humanity, and made my retirement less traumatizing. 

**Please leave comments that detail what you would have said when your head came off.  I am pretty disappointed in my lack of creativity in that moment. 



Sparky Out

Photos taken by CK Hernandez: Sparky’s 2016 Handler



Truth or Blog Part 1 — Stand up at the Comedy Underground.

“I have never done this before in my life.”

I told myself I wasn’t going to say that.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to lead with it…

The darkness had clearly thrown me. The audience was lost in the black.  A sharp light pointed down at me, causing me to pace restlessly back and forth in front of the iconic brick wall backdrop.  I was trying frantically to connect emotionally with the shadow people. First through a confession or two then with impressions, all the while clutching the mic stand like a safety rail. I thought it might stabilize my nerves and keep me funny till it was safe to depart the stage, but I couldn’t seem to stop manhandling it.  I have held a mic in my hand a thousand times for more musical reasons and never been so attached to the stand itself.

I quickly introduced my go to characters Texas Dance Mom , Ukraine Mom and Delores before being gently nudged off stage by a little musical number they use if you are oblivious to the giant red light, “time is up” signal. I guess I was too busy feeling up the microphone stand to notice.

I have been told there was much laughter, but I could hardly hear it over my howling insecurity. All I could do in the aftermath, was pick myself apart.

Why did I declare myself a novice? Why was I so nervously mobile? Why did I treat the mic stand like a Latin dance partner?  Why did I use the pork chops at a bar mitzvah joke? It’s not good and it’s not even mine.

The head of Four Square Youth Ministry  in the 90’s was a man with a penchant for the theatrical with a scant cache of go to jokes.  My favorite being the one he used whenever he wasn’t getting laughs from the Christian teens he wanted to win over, which was often…

“Well, that went over like pork chops at a Bar Mitzva!” The youth leaders would howl in an effort to  declare their knowledge of contemporary Jewish customs.  The kids never really got it.

It is a solid joke though when used correctly.  Sort of like the Crane.

I did not use it correctly. I used it like a place holder.  A go to that gave me time to think.  It was more like when Daniel Larusso used the crane a second time.  It might work in a regional tournament against Johnny but don’t even think about it if you are fighting someone protecting their honor in Okinawa.

In spite of my uninteresting opening line, the unintended youth pastor plagiarism, the inappropriate touching of the mic stand, the time management problem, and the part where I had too many glasses of wine at the end of the night and ended up crying in the car , I think I would still call it a success. I made some people laugh, mostly family, and I didn’t die trying.  Guess I can knock that one off the bucket list.

Next Challenge:  Date night with Sparky

Fun Fact:  I think I enjoy improv more than  stand up.  It was much lonelier than I thought it would be up there.  Any ideas on where I can test my improv chops?

Question of the Day?  What is something you have always wanted to try? No seriously, I want to know! Tell me all about it.








Bill Me

“I found this on the floor by my bed.”

Chaylee came shuffling down the stairs in her absurd, over sized pajamas carrying a piece of notebook paper with the word SKOR scribbled across the top and a mysterious swirly object in the center. We examined the enigmatic mound and placed our bets on what it might be.  I settled on semi dried acrylic paint of the alizarin crimson variety.  To prove my theory, I gave it a gentle poke.

“That’s not paint!  That’s not paint!”

A trickle of blood poured from the base of the innard.  Whatever organ it was, it was fresh, warm, and licked clean.

I realize that cats are hunters, but this was some next level Dexter nonsense. Not only did Bill drag the carcass of a freshly slain rabbit across the sleeping bags of slumbering children, leaving tufts of fur and bunny blood on their innocent little sleeping bags, but he then set up a coroner station by the shoe bin. I am surprised we didn’t find fava beans and a nice chianti in the toy kitchen.

Bunny, bird and rodent death had become commonplace. Especially throughout the lower levels of the house. So common, in fact, that over time all four of our children had slowly migrated upstairs to avoid accidentally stepping on bird feathers or fur balls with bare feet in the morning.  That’s what made this gruesome discover even more depressing. It was gutting to see the last bastion of bedtime peace be turned into a bunny morgue. Where on earth would the kids sleep? Would their cousins ever want to stay the night again? It was as if Bill was claiming more and more land and raising a creepy fur pelt flag over each room he deemed his.

This was not the first time I had witnessed a hostile take over of humans by an animal.

It was 1985. We were headed to Mount Rainier with Uncle Kenny and his dog, Sport. Mom and I sat in the back of the sedan with his ill behaved black lab, taking in the Bob Ross painting that had come to life outside our windows. Stevie Wonder serenaded us, via cassette tape and all seemed right in the world.  I think we would have figured out alternative travel arrangements though, if we knew Sport was prone to nausea.

We were about a half an hour into our ascent up The Mountain toward Paradise  when Sport begin to slowly thrust his head back and forth rhythmically, as if he were really, really enjoying the music. He wasn’t. Sport was not feeling  well.  A gutteral utterance was followed by a deluge of dog vomit.  Fumes filled the sedan as his quasi digested Alpo sunk into the carpet.  We rolled the windows down and found a place to pull off and problem solve.  We did away with as much of the regurgitated dog food as we could with Sport’s help. Apparently, dogs are down with with snacking on their own vomit.  Who knew?  His appetite was promising, and we did not want to disappoint the rest of the familial caravan, who were farther up the road, so we continued our journey–windows down.

We turned Stevie back on. The sun was shining. Sport seemed okay.

Until he wasn’t.

Once again, he moved his head back and forth like the Jackson 5. This time I knew he wasn’t just into music. The volume of vomit was extraordinary.  It was as if he had consumed an additional meal without our knowledge during the previous pull over. His aim seemed strategic–blanketing the swatch of carpet adjacent to his previous purging. Not very thoughtful Sport. Not very thoughtful.

We looked for a place to pull off, but without a shoulder, our options were limited. It felt like a sick joke, especially when he threw up again on the last stretch of clean carpet in the back seat and then again on the seat above it.



The stench in the car was no longer tenable. Kenny pulled over at a convenience store and threw up in a rusted garbage can outside the very rural mini mart. My mother,who was born with a overly sympathetic gag reflex, dry heaved vociferously along side him.  The hills were alive with the sound of vomit…I looked on with a churning stomach and visible concern.  The adults no longer seemed in control of the situation.

Once the laughter and intermittent purging died down, we bought a green tree car freshener and returned to the contaminated sedan.  We would clean up the car as much as humanly possible and hunker down on the only seat left in car void of vomit. We were gonna get to Paradise to meet up with the family if we had to go through hell to do it.

We arrived over an hour late, looking shattered and smelling like sick dog. Sport, however was suddenly cured. He frolicked through the wild flowers like a wayward teenager on Spring Break, looking surprising agile and alive after a bender.

Although the K-9 used biological warfare and the feline went the traditional route, utilizing senseless violence, both taught me a valuable lesson. Animals are capable of corralling humans for their own nefarious purposes. You’ve been warned.

Fun Facts: A year after Bill’s passing we discovered an abandoned kitten in some shrubs across the street. Her name is Meridah the Brave.  She is kind.  We got her a buddy named Leonard.  He is weird and orange and uncomfortably into humans. We think he might be one. RIP Bill.

An additional fun fact: This is my last cat blog. I felt I owed it to Bill to complete the blog trilogy about his life. I feel  bad that I ended it with a fascist feline overtone, but to be honest….he deserves it.

Challenge of the Day: I don’t want to be a mom blogger. I don’t want to be a cat blogger. I don’t want to be a mom with two cats blogger. I used to only write about moments of humiliation or awkward struggle.  So, perhaps I should seek out more of those.  If you think of a challenge you would like me to take on, please let me know.


Go out to dinner as Sparky, the Marvista Mascot.  Yes, it’s true. I am the Orca. I mascot on the side as a service to my children.

Try out for the Seagals as Tonya, my Texas Dance Mom alter ego.

Your turn_______________________________________











Wild Bill

I am over it.

I am.

We are in the middle of a hard core renovation and the idea of negotiating dead vermin, night stalking and leg wounds might lead to bad things happening to cats and kids. I am at capacity. Capable of little more than what is currently required of me. But, I keep my promises, and I promised myself and others that I would tell Bill’s story.


She approached me while I was juggling a baby and a toddler in the shallow end of the pool and fielding “Mom watch me!” requests from multiple directions.  I was clearly vulnerable.

“You look like a nice family.”

Dang it. I needed a compliment at that very moment. I should have known she was just grooming me.

“We just got this ADORABLE kitten and my daughter appears to be allergic to him.”  The kids began pleading immediately and out came the pictures.  This woman was good. He was curled up in a ball on a lovely little girl’s lap. It was like a high end cat card.  He looked annoyingly adorable and in need of a home.

It didn’t help that the kids have been pushing hard to get a dog for some time now.  You know, because it is such a good idea to get a dog shortly after you have your fourth child.  The pressure to adopt a K-9 had recently intensified.  “Why we need a Dog” presentations were becoming fairly regular. Typically these presentations included facts, breed comparisons and powerful dog photos with the occasional testimonial and sometimes crying. The pressure was getting to me, but there was no way in hell I was getting a dog anytime soon. But I had not ruled out a cat.  They seemed easier.  Moody and stand offish, but less likely to prevent me from going on vacation.

I told the nice lady we would think about it and we exchanged numbers and niceties.She immediately texted me some sensitive shots of Billy the kitten.

I sent them to Mike.

Bad idea. He replied.

Usually when Mike says something is a bad idea, it is.  In fact, this has been a theme in many of my previous posts.

-I can’t handle a dog. We have kept the goldfish alive for over a year. I think we are ready for a intermediate pet. The lady said we look like a nice family.

You fell for the “nice family” trick?


I am going on record, that this is a bad idea. But if you want to take on a cat, go for it. But you will own this decision. It will be your cat not mine.

I took his naysaying as a sort of challenge. A Marlee and Me, Turner and Hooch  — can you bond with an animal in a cinematic, heart warming sort of way– challenge. In hindsight, it is clear to me that those movies are about dogs and not cats. In fact, I cannot think of a movie about feline bonding…can you?

Bill arrived concerned and skiddish, with a bin of fancy toys, a plush bed,expensive food and name brand kitty litter. The hand-off was awkward. They didn’t seem as sad as I thought they should be.

When they left, so did Bill, down the stairs and to God knows what nook. I had pictured us snuggling with our new little bundle of kitten like the girl in the picture. Maybe some yarn play would go down. Instead, the clearly unstable kitten took off before we could even lay a loving hand on him.   Later, I learned this was my fault.  Apparently, kittens are supposed to be put in a very small room for a week or two to acclimate to their new surroundings.  Being claustrophobic myself, this idea never entered my mind.


The screams came around 2 am.  Startled, I rolled out of bed and smacked my head against the wall.  Mike snored on.  I ran downstairs to assess the danger and discovered Chaylee and Kenna hiding under their covers with the light on.

“What happened?!” I said holding my throbbing head.

“Mom, look out!” They screamed in tandem.

I turned around and there was Billy, crazed, hair on end, back arched, paws pointed, tail erect, side-winding toward me and break neck speed! I ran to the bed and jumped under the covers.

What have I done?,

We peeked out and he was gone. I began my advance toward the door and THERE HE WAS AGAIN!  Halloween cat from hell flying at us sideways!

I was back in bed with the girls.

After several attempts, I was finally able to wrangle Billy, not without injury, and place him in the bathroom with the door shut.  I stayed with the girls till they fell asleep, for they were no longer excited about the cat but terrified.

This event was foreshadowing. Billy continued to terrorize the house utilizing the cat and dog doors that came with the property.  He would attack the children and guests. He was not warm but fearsome. We stopped calling him Billy, for the cutesy, do-gooder name did not suit him. He became Bill, William, and sometimes Chunky the Death Cat (Ki’s favorite).

He would do strange things too, like drink the fish water but not eat the fish. He would just drink their water down  enough to make them uncomfortable and then stare at the poor bastards.

He was weird and maniacal.

Once, we took a little jaunt down to The Cove for some family fun.  As we headed down the hill at approximately 15-20 miles an hour, a neighbor frantically flagged me down.  I slowed to a stop and rolled down the window assuming there was something wrong with my vehicle.

“Your cat is on the roof!”   And he was.  His claws dug into the metal like an Alabama tick.

“Never seen that before.” Said the neighbor.

Bill loved the car. But, usually he only rode on the inside. He frequently accompanied me on trips to the grocery store. He would perch on my shoulders and only relax once I turned up the music. It would have been sort of endearing if it wasn’t so creepy.

My mom had a particularly troubling night with Bill whilst babysitting.  He would not stop leaping onto the bed and attacking her while she slept, so she locked him in the garage and put suitcases in front of the boxy little exit the previous owners cunningly added to the house. He breached the barricade and continued his assault.  She locked him in the bathroom. He scratched and batted at the door all night long.

We arrived home to a shattered and exhausted Grandma, not because of the four children, but because of the cat.  Her calves looked like she had gone traipsing through the brambles.  And she was not the only one to have this experience. After spending a night with Bill, Aunt Leslie simply said, “Fuck that Cat!”

The most frightening incident however is one so unbelievable that it may bring into question my integrity as a story-teller. But, I assure you this is not feline folklore.

Abel was bathing and I was watching a documentary on netflix so as to make the folding of clothes more palatable. Bill liked to sit on the computer sometimes, perhaps to warm his undercarriage.  This was annoying, but not atypical behavior for a cat. I took a break from the laundry and peeked in on Abel, who was joyfully playing with measuring cups in a couple inches of warm water, then returned to my domestic responsibility which included, once more removing Bill from the keyboard.

This time however, netflix had been mysteriously replaced by a google tool bar…and within that toolbar was the text:

@&#@(@%$^&*^killing mice***

W…T…F  Just sit with that for a minute.

Bill googled killing mice.

I looked at the screen in absolute horror and called Mike at work.

He was unavailable.

I left a message.

Mike!  HONEY!  There is crazy shit going on here! *  I am freaked out. Bill just googled killing mice.  Call Me. I am freaking out. Bill is scary. We need to get rid of him.

He heeded my cry for help by circulating my message throughout the trading floor at Russell Investments.

Bill listened to my phone call then turned away slowly and hit up the fish tank for a drank like a G. He had busted a cap in my sanity.

Google had no response to my repeated request for an explanation.

In the words of Spinal Tap, “Some mysteries, are just best left unsolved really.”

Next up:  Bill Starts “Killing Mice”.

Send Me the Bill

I couldn’t stop crying as I entered the Priceless Pet Clinic. Intimate crying. The kind you only let a few people in your life see due to unsightly swelling.  The kind that won’t stop and makes others uncomfortable.

“I think he is done. I think he doesn’t want to do it anymore.  I think he wants to be done now. ” I said between sobs as I approached the desk holding our cat.  Bill writhed and whimpered and took in only hard earned breaths–his bones visible through his fur coat. All the piss and vinegar that made him the cat from hell, our cat from hell, was drained out of him, a fighter without without a ring, only a blanket.

This melodramatic scene would have been perfect for a Marlee and Me cat spin off.  Especially since my tears were dripping with irony. I hated our cat. Not a malicious hate.  Not like I hate suffering or cruelty. More like I hate the 49ers or room temperature milk. He was not likable. He was mean to me, my mother and pretty much everyone else too. He ruined our sleeping arrangements.  He caused me and family bodily harm. He made our neighbors uncomfortable. He was aloof. He hijacked my computer. And then there was his awful habit of murdering local wildlife.

We weren’t exactly his dream humans either.  He came from a wealthy family.  A family that purchased him intentionally and lavished upon him accordingly.  A family without small children and loud music. A family with an organized garage and clearly labeled bins for everything. A family with cat allergies.


“You fell for the you look like a nice family”trick? Don’t do it! You don’t even like cats!  This is a bad idea.  I will let you decide, but if you say yes…he is your cat.”

Mike was right. I am not a cat person.  At all.  I have had several downright traumatic experiences with them throughout my life.

Scritty Palitty the Kitty, our first cat, was an arsonist. He knocked a lamp over on my parents bed that led to the house fire that claimed our home when I was 3 years old Scritty survived by hiding under the house.

As a pre teen I got to know some feral cats who lived among us on the property we rented from my Grandfather. He decided to let them breed at will because they were skilled exterminators, and there was a rat problem. He was a shrewd business man.

Mike had a cat when we first started dating that hated me.  Her name was Cora.  She had a negative attitude and made me feel bad about myself.  I think she also made his parents question my integrity.

Then there was Maggie and Tanner.  Before I married Mike, I lived with his lovely sister, Kate.  The aforementioned cats were hers.  Tanner was socially maladjusted. He ate and hid.  Hid and ate.  He was weird, emotional and orange.  It wasn’t right.  I was always afraid that one day I would come home to him listening to the Cure.  Maggie had a more interesting personality, but was reckless.  She destroyed several of my most precious belongings including a set of teacups that belonged to my great grandmother. She never apologized.

This tumultuous history made it all the more surprising that I fell victim to flattery that day at the pool, when the wealthy family with cat allergies offered us a kitten named Billy.  Maybe I needed affirmation that day. After all, I was a new mother of four and not exactly swimming in confidence. Maybe I just wanted to know that I was capable of loving an animal.   Maybe I just needed a story to tell…