The Surprisingly Philosophical Beauty of Spam

Hello, Dear Readers.
Since I first began blogging over a year ago on my other blog, I have learned some very valuable lessons about this whole blogging business. One of the most important things I have learned is to edit. Repeatedly. And even when I do that, I will sometimes go back and read a much older post for some reason, cringe when I find an error, and then fix it, even though no one is probably going to read it ever again. So many times I will publish my post, and then read it through before frantically hitting the edit button immediately.

*Me reading my post*: “Hahaha, this is so good, I’m hilariou- wait. DID I SPELL THEIR AS THEY’RE?!?!”

The second is that blogging takes both time and commitment. Maybe some people, either much more talented or much luckier than I, can post two times on WordPress, get Freshly Pressed, and wind up with 1,000 followers in the span of a week. Disappointingly, this has not happened to me. Currently, on my fashion blog I have 38 followers, and on this blog I have 23, and I have celebrated excitedly every single one of those new followers. But I have had my fashion blog for over a year now, and this blog for half a year, and naturally I had hoped that I would have more by this point. But that’s the thing with blogging– for me, I just have to keep trucking, trying to get better with every post, and hoping that I’ll get more popular with every post.
The third is that, while in one day you may have 323 people read your post about why you’d make a great girlfriend, you can still end up with only two comments and one like (from your mother).

“I’m so proud of you!!!”

The point I’m trying to make is that blogging can be a very discouraging endeavor. Lucky for me, I have recently discovered that I have a whole queue of spam comments that WordPress saves for my consideration. What I have also discovered is that the spam that has been left on my wall is surprisingly philosophical. I have found very uplifting encouragement, strangely lyrical insights, juicy tidbits of news, and some truly existential exploration of the world. Today, I will highlight a few of my very favorite examples from the 87 spam comments currently in my spam queue, and take the opportunity to finally address these burningly relevant remarks and questions.


From Rico (1):
This is the perfect site for anyone who wishes to find
out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).
You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for years.
Excellent stuff, just excellent!
Wow, why thank you, Rico (1)!! It’s always nice to know that I’m such an authority you wouldn’t want to argue with me. I also am glad to hear that I am so talented I was able to put a new spin on an old favorite- aka my post about when a tornado almost hit my house. It’s a crowded genre, so it’s so rewarding to hear I’m standing out.

From Alonso Banwarth:
Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about 6 Reasons I Would Make A Really Great Girlfriend Boots and Cats .
Alonso Banwarth, may I just first compliment you on your amazing name? One would almost think it was made up, it’s so awesome. But as to your question, I believe if you look in my archive you can find my first blog post, and that will hopefully answer for you. And while I am not sure that I would consider a post about being a great girlfriend as something so formal as an “article,” your words certainly made me feel reassured in my decision to switch to my current layout a few months ago.

From discount sheath wedding dresses:
I like this website it’s a master piece! Glad I detected this on google.”
Oh, discount sheath wedding dresses. I am so flattered you broke out the word “master piece.” Well, words I guess. But either way, I too am so glad you detected my blog on google.

From nordstrom formal dresses:
I got what you will, thanks for swing up. Woh I am gladsome to gain this website through google. Thanks For Share Adult web Step into this.”
Can I quickly mention I’m both surprised and excited at the positive attention I am receiving from the dress world? Really uplifting news. As for your comment, I’m guessing that perhaps English is not your first language? I cannot say I am 100% getting what you’re throwing down, but it seems like a compliment, if with a hint of “Adult web” dodginess. But I am just really pumped to see another person gaining this website through google. Woh I am gladsome for google!

From email Templates outlook 2010:
It is not my first time to visit this site, i am visiting this site dailly and obtain nice facts from here every day.”
A daily visitor?! YESSSS. I didn’t even know there were really facts on here, but if you think it’s nice and want to obtain them, then by all means, go crazy! You’ve helped me see what a valid, credible source of facts I am. (I am assuming you’re using them in your emails?)

From powiększanie penisa:
Fantastic items from you, man. I’ve take into account your stuff previous to and you’re simply too fantastic.
I really like what you have received here, certainly like what you are stating and the best way through
which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care
of to keep it wise. I cant wait to learn much more from you.
That is really a tremendous web site.
Gosh, man, you’ve really got me flustered here! This is probably one of the most thoughtful, original compliments I have received on this site. Gosh, I am glad you like what I am stating and the best way through which I say it, though perhaps “best way” is overstating it a little. I will treasure this, Mr. (Ms.?) Penisa.

From impotencja:
Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it.
You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart.
I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a wonderful site.
Aw, shucks, man…. Wait. Does this sound, like, maybe a little bit like the previous comment. I mean, I don’t want to rag on your positive words, but… did you just like copy Mr. Penisa.
Hold on. Penisa. Impotencja. Why does that seem odd to me?

From Under Armour Highlight Cleats:
This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found
something that helped me. Appreciate it!”
I am honored to be of service. I am so glad that you found my post about someone mistaking me as a man and then eating half a pizza to be relevant to the subject of cleats. Or to be relevant to a cleat? Are you a cleat? Or do you just represent the company that makes one? Either way, I would like to suggest that when it comes to the word “relevant’ I do not think that word means what you think that it means. Perhaps you might continue looking for another way to say it.

From chwilowka na dowod:
These are in fact wonderful ideas in concerning blogging.
You have touched some fastidious factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.”
I love these exotic names I’m seeing on here, that must mean I have an international appeal, even to more fastidious readers. It’s reassuring to know I have some factors in my wrinting that people want to see more of.

From najlepsze chwilowki:
Yes! Finally something about chwilowka na dowod.”
Your enthusiasm for my blog increases my enthusiasm! Curiously, however, a search of my blog revealed that I was right when I could not remember ever blogging about chwilowka na dowod. Considering I did not even know what that was, I would have been surprised to find I blogged about. I am desolated to point out that the only chwilowka na dowod on my blog is actually from the commenter just above you there, so perhaps you might check them out instead.

From Biuro rachunkowe Szczecin alfa:
Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!
Thanks! I do not mean to sound condescending, but can I point out that my layout is one of the free ones available to all WordPress users? It might look the same because it is the same. Of course, it could just be a coincidence!


From homepage:
An area around the ground where a cesspool complies underneath
may wind up raised or compressed. Discharge of waste to rivers may be
Almost like a haiku in its concise simplicity, this comment is an elegant and astute observation on the battle between industry and environment.

From car hire manchester airport:
The years of socks, perfume and chocolates have been close to
for some clip and those cars they offer are all readily useable in their website.
An inside look at the world of consumerism from somebody working in the cutthroat industry of car hiring in Manchester Airport.

From Bettie:
No matter if some one searches for his necessary thing, so
he/she needs to be available that in detail,
therefore that thing is maintained over here.”
Whoever this Bettie is, I believe she is wasting a truly existential talent for challenging us to think about what’s inside of us all. So beautifully zen… This belongs in an anthology, not on a WordPress comment.

From quick pay day loans:
Essentially it is intentional to be as mere
as possible for the steadfast job and earning
a level-headed germ of income.
This is a frightening piece that really strikes home to me, the young, new graduate searching for a worthwhile, fulfilling job. To be mere as possible?? A germ of income?! I can only read this as an ironic warning against settling for some steadfast, level-headed job and to pursue my dreams instead, so I don’t end up as being mere!

From Loretta:
Truly no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of then its up to other people that they will help, so here it occurs.
Loretta, you and Bettie should seriously get together and write a book of poetry that addresses finding yourself and learning to be a good, kind human being.


From cash loans today:
When you take all the in a higher place into consideration it is no birthday belt in October and early pics on a unconstipated basis.
new payday lenders Borrowers motive the services provided by visto la mayor?
a de los episodios de la nueva serie de HBO Girls.”
Yep. They said unconstipated. In other news, where can I get a birthday belt? My birthday is in August, not October, so hopefully there’s no problem with availability then. I’m picturing birthday belts as very similar to Batman’s utility belt, except they have like confetti and birthday cake and a different present in every compartment.
….. Dear lord, that’s actually a brilliant idea. I AM TRADEMARKING THAT NOW, DO NOT STEAL MY IDEA.

From online payday loan:
Would like to get the fund throughwithout any dogfight, you
demand to fulfill some at one man’s journey to build a malarky farm off the shores of Mantle Cod. They want responsible for governing body and admirer and a buff at the same fourth dimension so choose one.”
So I was totally with you on avoiding the dogfight, and definitely on the malarky farm thing, even if I’m not sure where Mantle Cod is. I’m just assuming that a malarky farm is a place that produces Peeta Mellarks, and I honestly cannot imagine anything better. In fact, TRADEMARKING THAT TOO, BACK OFF. However, I am very confused with your last sentence and I’m not even sure what my options are and I AM FEELING REALLY PRESSURED AND I CAN’T CHOOSE ONE.

From contract car hire:
assorted studies show that an optimistic believed, believed, believed.
malaga car hire Miletski does not see Accession to fluid email, your telephone set understands German, and “Yip” is a
verb okay, actually Yelping is a verb.”
Okay, I really like this one. I’m not sure who needed a study, much less assorted ones, to discover that the optimistic “believed, believed, believed” since that is kind of the definition of being optimistic. But then you really provided me with some helpful information in telling me that my telephone understands German (I am SO going to try and speak German on my next speech to text message), and then you completely disarmed me with your wry, rueful admittance that it is yelping, not yip, that is actually a verb.

Should Red felons garlic clove and put it in your backtalk.
hire a car neither trice nor Silverlight are currently supported on pages,
and as anyone with an iPhone can offend, it ceases to exist.
“”Censorship reflects a order’s lack of self-confidence in itself.
I honestly cannot stop laughing long enough to talk about this. I really can’t. I am in tears. If you have a problem with that, you just take your Red felons garlic clove and put it right in your backtalk. After all, censorship reflects poorly on us all.

And last, but obviously not least–

From education blog:
Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave
it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but
I had to tell someone!
Honestly, this just speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Whether this is spam, or really just some doting parent stymied from sharing the hilarious hijinks and mishaps of raising children (perhaps for fear of child abuse charges? Hermit crab pinches really hurt), this is still the best anecdote that has ever been surreptitiously and randomly dropped into my lap. And if it is spam, I applaud you. You are clearly the funniest Spambot of all time, and can spam me anytime you like.

Your name is Kommentár Nélkül? Have you possibly been leaving comments on my blog?

Thanks, spam. You have learned me a level-headed car hire lesson about detecting with google my cesspool of prejudice and tendency to judge spam without reading it. Your encouraging, thoughtful financial loan remarks have unconstipated the blinders from my eyes, and I hope a hermit crab pinches my ear if I am ever so shallow again.
Penisa impotencja. 

That Time I Got Stuck in My Pool Steps

Ahhh, summer.
For me, the word conjures up all kinds of iconic images.
Things like riding around in the car with the windows rolled down:


Or enjoying a delicious snowcone with my sister:

“This is not Tiger’s Blood…”

Or I picture myself finally getting that tan my pasty white skin has been crying for since I started putting on shorts way too early in the year because I was so tired of jeans:

I’m using a lot of animal media in this post, aren’t I?

But I think one of the main activities most people picture when they think of summer is, of course, swimming. Whether it’s at the beach, the lake, or at a pool, people quite wisely love to combat the relentless heat by immersing themselves in a body of water. When I was very little, I was terrified of swimming. I insisted on a life jacket, water wings, and constant parental supervision. I would spend the entirety of my time in the pool clutching onto the side and slowly inching my way around. Then, suddenly, I simply decided one day that I loved swimming. Through the rest of my childhood, my father had to bully and threaten me any time I was in a pool because I would refuse to get out. My favorite trick was to simply duck continually underwater and pretend I did not hear him telling me to get out.
Considering how much I loved swimming, the fact that I did not have a pool of my own was a constant, painful ache in my soul. I would pitifully try to worm invitations into the pools of my luckier friends who had one in their own yard. I tried to con people into taking me to public pools, and whenever we were at hotels, the time I spent at the pool was always measured in hours. I was a fish without a pond of her own.
Then, when I was in seventh grade, we moved to a new house that had a lot of land. And my parents finally decided we could have a pool. It was like the fruition of every childhood dream I had ever had, and I finally got my pool.
Nine years later, I must admit my zealous devotion to swimming has waned a bit. Actually owning your own pool has a way of doing that. It’s a sad case of losing interest in something once you have it. Also, pools are a huge pain in the ass. They require a lot of care, guys. And they are really expensive to maintain. And then you have to close them down every fall and reopen them again every summer. For me, the glamour of pools has been swept away in a backwash of wasps and leaves (you’ll understand that if you own your own pool).
My job every year when we open the pool is the ceremonial Cleaning of the Pool Steps, and it is the worst part in my opinion. Each summer brings to me another episode of Inside the Wedding Cake. Sadly, in spite of its misleading sounding name, that is not a TV show about me eating different types of wedding cake (if anyone is interested in making this show, however, I AM AVAILABLE). Now, most people whose pools I have swam in either have an in-ground pool with steps built in, or else they have an above-ground pool with a simple ladder. We, on the other hand, have an above-ground pool with an expandable liner that is partially sunk into our yard. This apparently meant we had to have a unique pair of steps. They look like this:
pool 3
We generally refer to them as the wedding cake. Now, just looking at these steps you might wonder what could possibly be difficult about cleaning them. Well, for the outside part, there’s nothing. But I also have to clean the inside of the wedding steps. And trust me, the inside is always much, much nastier than the outside. Dirt, leaves, bugs, and water all collect inside of the wedding cake, and it’s my job to get them out. Unfortunately, the only way to do so is to get inside of the wedding cake.  And this is the reason I am the one who has to do it every year- because I am the only one who will fit inside.

Nothing a claustrophobic person loves more.

Inside the Wedding Cake; Or, Sadly Not A Show About Me Eating Different Kinds of Cake

It’s a complicated business, cleaning inside the wedding steps. First of all, even if I scrubbed everything inside of it to a perfect bleachy white, it still would not be clean because all the gross, nasty stuff collects at the bottom. You have to tip the steps over so the gross stuff comes out the side.
pool 4
Those holes you see in the bottom are worthless, because that section is raised and all the gross stuff just collects in that little moat running around it until you tip it out over the lip. I also can’t just get inside of it and clean because I will hit my head. You have to lay the wedding cake on its side. And much like Aladdin trying not to be crushed by the giant turret as it rolls off the cliff, I have to be delicately positioned to slip into the wedding cake when we lay it on its side.

Pool maintenance is dangerous work.

Normally, my kind family will move the steps into the middle of the yard and assist me by gently lowering it onto me, giving me time to get situated inside of it without smacking my head or scraping myself going through the too small opening into the inside of the steps. Yesterday, however, my parents had to go and run an errand. I was not too worried, however, because my sister was still there. She was reading when I went to go outside and clean the steps, but I assumed she would be along shortly.
I wander over to the wedding steps, which are resting on our deck, just as they always are when the pool is not open. I look at the steps, which are both larger and heavier than me. Then I look at the path down the steps of the deck, out the narrow gate, and far away to the yard. I decided I can clean the steps just fine on the deck.
Let me foreshadow here and just say, this was my first mistake.
My second mistake was thinking to myself, Oh, Rachel will be along shortly. I’ll just go ahead and pull the steps onto me and start cleaning.
This was a rather difficult and unwieldy maneuver to attempt, and it should have been a clue to me that I was, perhaps, making a poor decision. But I had my bathing suit, I was ready to swim, by god, and the steps were standing (quite literally) in my way of the pool. So I pulled them down over me, scraping myself a few times while trying to wedge myself into it and actually get the steps to lay on their side. When everything was arranged to my satisfaction, I went busily about my work and had the inside cleaned fairly quickly. I scrubbed the last slimy spot and sprayed everything down with the water hose (cleverly threaded through one of the small holes in the side of the wedding steps) and sat regarding everything in satisfaction.
Then I tried to lift the wedding cake off me.
It barely moved. About this point it occurred to me that I had never heard my sister come outside. I tentatively called for her, thinking I had surely just been distracted. There was no answer.
I called again, much more loudly, and heard nothing but the wind in the trees and the chirping of birds.
With more force, I shoved at the wedding cake. It moved, and then slammed to a halt. I tried again, and it lifted to exactly the same spot and then banged to a halt. I realized then, what happened. In all my blind maneuvering inside the wedding cake trying to get it to lay flat, I had managed to wedge the rail of the steps under the rail on our deck.

Like this.

Like this.

I began frantically trying to scoot the whole thing back, but the incredibly awkward angle of my person within the steps made it essentially impossible to get any leverage. Even when I managed to scoot the steps back a ways, they were met by the large pot of plants my gardening mother had put upon the deck. A very heavy pot of plants.
I began thrashing about, panickedly shoving forward and back and up on the pool steps, desperate to get them loose. I also began hollering for my sister, even knowing that there was no hope. She clearly had forgotten to come outside. Tiring quickly, I eventually slumped back, trapped in a world of sharp, dripping wet plastic and shame. Distantly I wondered if I would have to sit there and listen until my parents finally came home and then try and scream for their attention.
It was a low point in my life, Readers.
After sitting morosely in my damp prison for a few minutes, I figured I might as well keep trying to get out. I kept trying to slip the rail out from under the rail while simultaneously scooting the steps back. I don’t know how much time passed before I finally felt the rails give. A little bit more space opened up in front of me, and I decided there was no way I was sitting in there any longer. So I wedged my legs out of the too narrow opening. And then I started scooting. I dragged myself on my back, feet first, inching along the rough wood of my deck through about a handsbreath of space between the steps and the deck.

This much.

This much.

There were leaves and dirt and god knows what sticking to my back, but as I slowly wiggled my way out, all I could feel was the rising, exuberant joy of being free. With a last, great lunge, I threw myself forward and allowed the wedding steps to smash to the ground, as I let out an exultant shout. Luckily, only my dogs were around to see me, dripping water and leaves and dead bugs in my bathing suit, madly punching my fist into the air next to where the steps lay on their side like a conquered beast. I am a heroine, I thought joyously. I rescued myself.

Then I looked at the steps, looked at myself, and realized that I had trapped myself in a set of pool steps.

Ah, summer.
Car rides, snow cones, sun bathing… and self-entrapment. In wedding cake shaped pool stairs.

We Are Never Ever, Ever, EVER Going Back to Zumba

Hello, Readers. I hope you are having a very lovely day. I’ve been a bit lazy about the old blog, which is why my most recent post was an old poem I wrote a couple of years ago. You know, so that way I can post something but I don’t have to do any actual work on it. As I have mentioned recently, I have been very hard at work on my novel. I have been incredibly proud, because I have been writing regularly and actually getting significant amounts of work done. Then, a couple of days ago, I decided to take a break and read a book. It turned out to be an absolutely fabulous book, and this was disastrous. I went back to my own book, and let out a sigh of disappointment. It was nowhere near the same level of quality. I cried to my sister, who pointed out that it was the very first book I have ever written so it was perfectly understandable. I was still desolated. I have tried to not let this affect me and to continue to work on it. However, the past few nights as I was desultorily trying to type on my story, I found myself whispering the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to my hands.

“You and me can write a bad romanceeee…”

So last night, I decided it would be best to go to sleep early. In an effort to do something about our constant complaining that we’re too chubby, my sister and I decided to get a membership to our local community center so we could start working out this summer. We bought it last week and made plans to try out some of the different classes they offer to members. Today, on Monday, the schedule starts over, so we decided this week we would try some of the classes to see what we liked and would try and start doing regularly. I was going to break the cycle of writing late every night and then doing nothing during the day. I was going to EXERCISE!
For some reason, I was super excited about trying Zumba. I had heard from a million people how awesome Zumba was and how much they loved it and how they went every chance they got. Now, being pretty much a boss at Just Dance (1,2, and 3), I thought to myself, This is perfect! I’ll exercise while also showing off my sweet dances  moves!

Just call me Beyonce.

My sister was much more skeptical of it. Now, neither of us traditionally tend to be the best dancers ever, but I got some rhythm when I’m not busy feeling self-conscious in front of strangers and when Rachel commits to it, she commits to it all the way, and she’s got enthusiasm. She was not, however, enthusiastic about Zumba. But I, in my newly motivated pre-workout excitement, was convinced that it was going to be AMAZING.
So we roll up to the room it’s going to be in, and find a small group of women standing outside waiting for the previous class to finish up. As women often do when they find themselves in a group, Rae and I gave our fellow Zumba-ers a quick inspection to see what we would be trying to keep up with. My slight nervousness was assuaged when I saw a lady who was probably in her sixties. Of course, there were a few girls that were so skinny that I found myself grumpily wondering why they were there.

But whatever, I’m going to Zumba, and I’m too excited to care! I thought. Looking back, I really don’t understand where all this enthusiasm came from.
So we finally go in, and everyone seems like they know what they’re doing. Without instruction, they put their stuff up in little cubbies I hadn’t even noticed and then they go and get in lines on the floor, and I begin to get a little apprehensive. My sister and I slinked in at the very back, far away from the brutally clear mirrors at the front, and next to two old ladies who showed up after us.
It’s going to be fine, I reassured myself. You’re going to love it. Then the music came on.
It was fast-paced and hip-hoppy, and everyone else apparently knew the moves but us. I mean, there were some people who struggled or were watching the instructor closely, but I have a feeling we were the only ones there for the first time. There was one skinny girl in front of us who might have also been a first-timer, but she was athletic and seemed like she could keep up pretty well.
I’m athletic, I thought desperately (pretending that playing indoor soccer once a week makes you “athletic”). Maybe I look like her, just a little uncertain.
At the end of the first song, I turned to look at my sister and said, “We are never coming back here again.”
There was jumping. There were hand motions. Hips were gyrated.
I am not a hip-gyrater.


I could just feel  the awkward radiating off myself while I was dancing. I was a step behind, I kept clapping at the wrong moment, and my hands did not seem to be under the control of my brain any longer. My hips were stiffer than Zac Efron’s hair in Hairspray.

That metaphor was really just an excuse for a gratuitous Zac Efron gif.

To put it simply, things went downhill from there. Worst of all, there was some ridiculously fit girl in a peach tank top who DID NOT NEED TO BE THERE. She clearly was a Zumba expert, and was dancing at the very front of the room right next to the instructor. I feel like she probably dedicates at least six hours a day to Zumba. I am not even joking, she was so intense that I legitimately could not take my eyes off of her.

What… what are you even doing?!

Why, Peach Tank Top Girl? Why do you come to basic Zumba and just embarrass the rest of us? GO HOME, PEACH TANK TOP GIRL.

I’m looking at you, Peach Tank Top.

Meanwhile, I’m dancing awkwardly at the back, only to realize that, big surprise, the people outside of the room (which is made of windows) can SEE ME. Out of the corner of my eye I see that some really cute guy is watching us as he holds a door outside for people walking in, and I simply dropped my head in shame.  Suffice it to say, I was very ready for Zumba to be finally over.
The whole experience reminded me of the few times I have gone “clubbing.” There seems to be this strange, unspoken knowledge that everybody has about the appropriate ways to dance that I am not clued into it. People start doing things like “Jersey turnpiking” and “Wopping,” neither of which I have ever seen before.

Is this Jersey turnpiking? Who knows, certainly not me.

And here I am, simply trying to uncomfortably dance with something other than just my hands for once.


Zumba felt just like me trying to dance in a club.
Except it was not dark.
And no one was drunk.
And everyone could actually see how badly I was doing.

In summary, I do not think I was made for Zumba, just as I was not made for clubbing. What I unfortunately did not notice in my haze of humiliation was that my sister was LOVING IT. She adored Zumba, she thought it was ridiculously fun, and she could not believe that I did not have as great a time as her. So as I lay on the couch writing this post, I am feeling very sorry for myself because she is probably going to bully me into going back to Zumba. Now I just keep wondering why I was ever excited about Zumba.
I should have just stuck to writing bad romances. 

Poem: The Quandary

Illogical, irrational idiocy;
Incorrect, improbably indignant me.
Oh,  jealousy.
No claim to the fame of your name.
The defined lines, speckled freckles, sky eyes-
wandering free.
The laughing smile absorbs my whiles,
and I am struck by the luck
that it is something I see.
An hour of talk, coincidental walks,
kind assistance and mild inquiries.
Hope springs eternal,
oh, implausibly.
No right to fury or worry at the sight
of sweet words spoken to thee.
Stupid silly cupid melancholy,
imagining an arrow, straight and true and narrow,
in you buried,
when the bullseye starts in my heart
and ends alone at my extremities.
And yet,
and yet-
I cannot forget the way you smiled at me.

Being a Writer Means Laughing At Your Own Jokes Can Eventually Not Be Lame

As a writer, sometimes you finish writing something and look back on it and just say, Ahhhh. You have this sense of glowing happiness that fills your soul when you know you have written something really well.
Many times, this feeling only comes after putting something off for a long time (well, at least for me, but that could be because I put everything off).

Spongebob knows.

As you may or may not know, I have been involved with a scandalous array of novels since realizing I was a writer, always filled with new ideas and never able to sit down and commit to writing just one. Consequently, I never made any significant progress on any of my half-formed, fledgling works. Instead, I would brainstorm a brilliant idea, then forget by the time I actually got to my laptop to write it.


I always had a dream that I would write some great masterpiece before I even finished school then publish it, and it would become the next Harry Potter. There would be no need to job hunt, no need to agonize over my great purpose in life. It would all neatly be taken out of my hands and I would happily go into my dream job, able to support myself as a writer.

He always know.

A some point towards the end of junior year, and much more seriously during senior year, I realized that this dream was, in fact, futile. I also realized that if I ever wanted to be published and become an author, I actually needed to finish a book first. I finally buckled down and began writing seriously on one of my stories. Then, I became distracted by a shiny new book premise, so I tried to write on that for a bit.
I think graduation sobered me. Since I have been out of school, I switched to a book that Word Document informs me I started on April 13, 2010, at 11:23pm. I have doubled the number of pages I previously had, and at this particular moment I find myself at 63,193 words for a grand total of 115 Word Document pages. Guys. I am super impressed with myself. I have actually been doing really well and making myself write every day, and everything has just been coming along. I have actually felt like a real, proper writer lately.

Like, Shakespeare selfie legit.

A few days ago, however, I came to the point where it was time for me to write a very pivotal scene in my novel. It was a really important part that I had been building up to for a long time. It had to be extravagant, dramatic, and intensely emotional. And I just did not want to write it. So I dawdled around, telling myself each night I would get to it.
I put it off for five days. Last night, when I went to take a selfie in the mirror, I no longer spontaneously turned into sexy Shakespeare. I knew it was time to write the scene.
When I finally emerged from my writing fervor, I felt like I had won the writing Olympics.

First place! Awarded by me to me!

When I posted 6 Reasons I Would Make A Really Great Girlfriend last week, I was excited. After I finished writing it, I got that first-place-Olympic-writing feeling. I would say it is my favorite blog post to date. Two days later, after I had received a combined total of 528 views, I realized there was a feeling better than that. It was the feeling that people might actually agree with my assessment of myself.
I admit I have been procrastinating this post. I did not know how to follow up my most successful blog post to date (the number of views from that first day, 323, was more than the previous record number of views in a day from both my blogs combined.) I wanted it to be funny, and live up to the last one. I wanted it to be extravagant, dramatic, and intensely emotional. I wanted it to be equally as successful. Finally I realized how very unlikely that was.

It's a key to being a writer though, guys.

It’s a key to being a writer though, guys.

So instead, I decided to do the proper thing. I decided to say thank you. I cannot express how much it meant to me to know that so many people looked at my blog. It made my day; heck, it made like three of my days. My amazing friend Skye actually pinned that post to Pinterest, and I know a huge amount of people found it that way. Then there were all my friends who shared it on Facebook, or who clicked on my link and read it. Without you guys’ generosity and willingness to help me out, I never would have been able to write my most successful blog post yet. Without you, I would just be an unemployed college graduate, typing away on a Word Document or an empty blog post and occasionally laughing at how funny I think I am, but knowing how lame that is. It’s only when you laugh with me that I get this sense of triumph:

Complete joy.

So thank you, Readers. It means the world.
Now, I will leave you with a map of what I must navigate through before I bring you another post. It is honestly an utterly, 100% accurate representation of my brain. This is also some explanation for why I go so long without writing at times.

It’s a hard road.

6 Reasons I Would Make A Really Great Girlfriend

I’ve been thinking. (A dangerous pastime, I KNOW).
I know I have talked numerous times about my firmly single state, my trials and travails with boys, and how it’s a tough world out there for a single lady.
What I have also noticed is that girls who are single for a long time kind of get a bad rep. Every year, they get a little older, and the distance since the last time they had a significant other grows larger. For some girls, this time is an endless revolving door of bad dates and shady guys. For others, like myself, this is a meandering journey of cats, novels, and unrequited crushes (generally on fictional characters and celebrities).  But something that all single girls (and possibly single guys? Not being a guy, I don’t know if the experience is the same) tend to have in common is this little niggling voice in their head that says, What’s wrong with me?
I hate this voice. It was especially bad when I was an underclassmen in college. So many people I knew met perfectly nice people who they clicked well with and went floating about in a haze of couple-y bliss.  It seemed so easy for them, and yet I had maybe two guys express clear interest in me in college, and I didn’t know either of them very well. The boys I had a crush on were not among those two guys. Now, I am not saying that since I ended my last relationship at 16 that I have been miserably unhappy from the lack of a boyfriend. I am eternally grateful, actually, that I went through college without a boyfriend. It let me focus on school, enjoy meeting new people, and taught me how to be alone. I figured out who I was without basing it on how a boy defined me.
But the voice is insidious, and every time a guy I kind of liked started dating some other girl, I found myself wondering why not one of the boys I thought were pretty cool felt the same way about me. Did I talk too much? Did I have bad hair? (The answer to that question: yes.) Was I too awkward? (A resounding yes.) Not pretty enough? What was it about other girls that drew boys in that I lacked?
This is not a good place to be in. In fact, I’ll baldly call it a ridiculous and counterproductive place to be in. Now, obviously I’m not perfect, but I’m not awful either. As I grew and matured enormously throughout college, I started hearing this voice less. And when I did hear it asking, What is wrong with me? I started replying back- NOTHING. There was nothing wrong with me. There was nothing wrong with the boys who didn’t like me either. We just didn’t suit. I’ve mentioned before that I am very committed to the idea of soulmates, and it started to become clear to me that mine just wasn’t nearby at this time. I’ve grown to be very happy with myself and my single state, and I honestly can’t imagine myself getting married. If I’m proved wrong, that’s wonderful. If not, I truly believe that I can make a worthwhile, productive, happy life all on my own.
Let me tell you, that’s an empowering place to be in. I don’t hear the voice anymore. Instead, I hear in my head now, Why wouldn’t someone want to date me? So in honor of that new, positive voice in my head, I have compiled a list of just a few of the reasons why I would make a pretty freakin’ sweet girlfriend.

1. I Am Not Bothered By Snoring
How many times have you watched commercials for nasal strips or mouthpieces where a lady kicks a man to the couch because he won’t quit snoring? Well, if you dated me, that would never happen. I sleep every night with a man who snores like Snuffleupagus with bronchitis- my 16 year old cat, Boo.

I am very sick.

I am very sick.

Also, my parents both have refined snoring to an art, and anytime we spend the night in a hotel I’m treated to a masterpiece of sounds that are often hard to believe are produced by humans. So don’t worry, this awesome girlfriend will never call you out. I’ll just whip out my handy earplugs and snuggle up to my snoring cat, who will be sharing any bed I sleep in.

2. I Give the Best Back Massages Ever
No, seriously. My sister will attest to this. Whenever I get her to do me a favor, she always asks for a back massage in return. And, I don’t mean to brag, but there has been serious suggestions from people that I should look into a career in massage therapy. Need I say more?

You’re welcome for this.

3. I Will Never Make You Go Shopping With Me
I am being completely truthful here. I don’t really even like people going shopping with me. Shopping is very serious, especially when I go thrifting. You have to be committed to going through a whooole lot of clothes, and I don’t need someone impatiently standing around looking frustrated as I try on a thousand ugly vintage shirts in order to find one really cute button-up that I buy. I need to concentrate. If I want someone’s opinion on something, I’ll take a selfie in the dressing room and send it to my sister. In the meantime, I would actually hope that you are also interested in fashion, and are involved in working on your own style. Preferably something along the lines of this:

Well hello.

Oooh, I love me a bow tie.

Oooh, I love me a bow tie.

Wooo, and some glasses.

Mmm, and a newsboy cap… Sorry. That was the last one.

So I have distinct sense of style, but I will never make you care about it. Also, a recent revelation- sometimes I don’t know if I have an actual crush on some guys, or if I just have a crush on their clothes. Sounding shallow… moving on!

4. I Am Really, Really Undemanding
I am not the kind of person who loves to go out and club. Like, I really don’t like that. I also have newly discovered that I have a bit of an allergy to alcohol, so I’ll never expect you to buy me lots of drinks. I am seriously happy to spend 9 out of 10 nights at home, reading. Also, I have obviously been single a long time, so I am used to my space. And I would probably be sleeping for at least 2/5 of our relationship. Seriously, though, I could never date a guy who does not respect that I need naps. Lots of naps. Don’t bother me while I am sleeping.

Who DARES disturb my slumber?!

I once fell asleep on the London tube. During the day. While sitting up. I just want to make sure you understand how serious I am about naps.

5. I Am Kind of Obsessed with Sports
I mean, soccer is my favorite, clearly. But I love most sports. I love hockey- I grew up going to CHL games (Blazers I will always love you, JOE BURTON 4EVAAAA). I love the NBA (THUNDERRRR). I love college basketball/football (BOOMER SOONER, BABY!!!). I like the NFL. I love tennis (two years in middle school, BOOM). I love volleyball (played for six years, what whaaat). I also enjoy softball. So if all you want to do is sit around and watch sports, well, I’ll scoot over on the couch. But you better love soccer, though. And you better not expect to watch baseball or golf. Not happenin’.
However, I hope you like mini golf, because I am alllll about that. Golf is only fun when there’s windmills and brightly colored golf balls involved.

This = perfectly acceptable.

6. I Will Make You Look Like a Professional Chef
I don’t cook, pretty much at all, so I’ll never be in the kitchen getting in your way. Instead, I’ll really let you have the chance to shine, showing off your culinary prowess for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll be able to have the opportunity to learn about things like tikka masala sauce, julienning things, and how much difference a good food processor can make. Meanwhile, I’ll be watching Chopped/Sweet Genius in the living room and yelling tips and encouragement at you.
Every once in awhile, I’ll make you an instant cake mix or some Betty Crocker muffins, just to show you that I really could do it all if I chose, but I want to let you have your moments.

You’re welcome.

So there you go, boys. Just a few of my more sterling qualities for your consideration. Honestly, the list goes on, but I don’t want to intimidate anyone.
In fact, you know what? I am so awesome, that maybe I don’t want boyfriend. I don’t need a boy to appreciate all these great things about me, because I already appreciate them so much. I’m not single because there’s something wrong, I’m single because I have such high standards.

Run and tell that, homegirl.

So in conclusion, I am resolved to only accept the very best of boys. I encourage all you other single girls to do the same. I also encourage any girl in a relationship who isn’t happy, or fulfilled, to think about doing the same. Make a list of some of your best qualities, and make sure people are really appreciating them. In all seriousness, it’s important that you love yourself before you can really love someone else. I am making sure I got the first part down, and I want to really make sure any potential boyfriend would do the same.
In that vein, I want to announce that I will be requiring any boy even thinking of dating me to fill out and submit one of these:


So if you ever find yourself with that ugly, nagging little voice inside your head asking, What is wrong with me?? You just tell it, NOTHING! And remember:


Snippet One: Fingerprints

When I graduated college, my friend bought me, among other things, a fancy pen in celebration of my English degree.
The pen is silver and very shiny, though not so shiny as it was before I first used it. Now it is slightly grubby with my fingerprints. I wonder what is says about me that I see my own fingerprints upon my own pen as grubby, instead of a normal mark of ownership.
The middle section of the pen is inscribed with fleurs-de-lis, a motif I have always admired. Perhaps I am drawn to it instinctively—my mother, a dedicated genealogist, tells me I have the blood of monarchs within my veins. Or maybe I am the reincarnation of some peasant’s soul, and am even now awed by a traditional symbol of royalty and my current right to profane it with my touch. Perhaps this is why my fingerprints seem grubby to me.
Either way I wonder how my friend happened to pick it out for me. Did she simply know me so well that she could look at it and identify that I would like it? Or have I mentioned at some point in the misty, murky past of the many years of our friendship that I love fleur-de-lis? They both seem equally likely.
The pen is elaborate, though still a practical ball-point. It is also wider and heavier than a normal pen, and holding it in my hand feels different; weightier. Almost as if it is heavy with all the ponderous, significant things I should write with it. And yet, so far all I have done is describe a pen.
I think the box it came in is worthwhile to mention—it is covered in phrases from great literary classics. Some I recognize instantly from books I love and books I hate; others, I can easily infer the source; still others, I am unsure.
It occurs to me that the box might have been designed with the intent of inspiring whoever would use its precious cargo. At least, I want to believe this, and I smile as I picture some passionate bibliophile like myself painstakingly sifting through literature and agonizing over which beloved words will make the final cut.
When you open it, the pen is nestled in some sort of springy foam, cut so there is a resting place for the pen. Truthfully, wedged is more an appropriate word than nestled. It is a bit of a challenge to get the pen out, and I like that. It’s as if you must truly be committed to using the pen, and again I smile as I picture some erstwhile Pen Box Designer with an earnest adoration of the written word.
I pause, and wipe the fingerprints from my pen again with one hand, even as I hold it clutched in the other. It is patently silly, and almost plebeian in its irony. I ponder that my provincial musings might not be far off. I begin writing again, feeling my fingertips leaving smearing fingerprints.
Briefly, the ink sputters, and I wonder if the Ink Filler was not as dedicated to writing as his fellow hypothetical collaborators, even as I panic. If my pen goes out, I will have to take the time to find a new one, and who knows what thoughts might dissipate forever while I do? What if while I am searching for a replacement pen, the thought that would become my masterpiece slips in one ear and out the other?
It hits me:

So much depends

a silver ink

emblazoned with black

above a white

There is nothing from William Carlos Williams on my pen’s box, and I find myself regretting that. Perhaps that fabled Pen Box Designer also had a peasant’s soul, and he felt he had no right to ruin the poem’s format by putting it on a box lid. Still, I would have done it. I do not think William Carlos Williams would have minded.
Perhaps I am a royal, after all.

Just A Brief Word About “Snippets”

Helloooo, Readers.
I meant to post about this sooner, but I have sadly been without power for four of the past five days thanks to the storms. I was gettin’ reeeal tired of putting on makeup in the dark, but thankfully my power was restored this evening.
Today I would like to inform you of something different I am going to start doing on my blog. Obviously, I really enjoy sharing my life with you guys, and all the silly, random, strange, and wonderful things that happen in it. However, I am also a pretty dedicated writer, and I love to write prose and poetry as well. So starting now, I will be interspersing my regular blog posts with more artistic pieces I am calling “Snippets.” These will be short entries, and they can be either fiction or non-fiction, over any topic under the sun. I am doing this partially for my enjoyment, and partially just to encourage myself to practice more on what I consider to be my chosen craft. I cannot promise they will be interesting, or enjoyable, or even worthwhile. But writing is my passion, and I both want and need to do this.
Each snippet will be titled as such, with a corresponding number, ie “Snippet One”. I plan to categorize them only as snippets.
I am also thinking about doing something similar with some of my old poetry. I used to write it prolifically but rarely do nowadays. I might begin by posting some of my old favorites and seeing what you guys think of them. Then again, maybe I will chicken out and not do it haha.
So look for my very first snippet very soon, it’s already written and waiting. It just happens that I ate three of the brownies my mom made tonight while still standing at the stove, without getting a plate or anything. I need time to digest both the brownies and the shame before I throw an original composition out there, but it will be up shortly.
Hope you guys are as excited as I am, but not as terrified haha.

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod,

PS Oh my god, guys, this website keeps coming up when I search for ways to say goodbye in different languages, and it keeps offering me ways to say “My hovercraft is full of eels” in various languages. I just really hope this is the legit way to say that in Welsh, my language of choice for the evening.

May 31st Was the Scariest Night of My Entire Life

UPDATE: This video is what we were listening to on our weather radio in our cellar. At the beginning of the video (0:05-0:08) he drives by a Taco Mayo. That Taco Mayo is in front of my neighborhood, and my house is barely two minutes from there. He stops in front of the the bank that’s on the corner of my neighborhood, and that’s the building he’s filming over during the video.

Hi again.
In my last post, I described what the May 20 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, was like for someone nearby but not affected. I have never been affected by a tornado, actually, at least not personally.
There’s even like this running joke that the town I grew up in, and the town I live in now, are protected by some Native American blessing from tornadoes. It’s almost easy to believe, because I cannot even count the number of times a tornado has been heading for my house, and then it will abruptly turn and go somewhere else, or barely miss us.
On Friday, I was even joking about this with one of my friends as we discussed how the risk for tornadoes that afternoon and evening was really serious. It was the last day in about a three day period where we were in a serious risk, the second week in a row where Oklahoma was supposed to have bad weather. We were all just grateful that, so far, we had had nothing like the week before with the May 20th tornado.
I went home to make sure we could keep an eye on the weather, and we kept hearing ominous warnings from the news that “the cap was about to break.” This meant that the conditions were about to become perfect for a supercell, which is what produces tornadoes. Finally, it did. Once that happened, things got serious really fast. I live in the central part of the state, just to the southwest of Oklahoma City. To our west, storms started building up and getting violent. Eventually a EF3 tornado broke out near El Reno, the town I was actually born in. It was particularly bad because it seemed to just be following the interstate. Most of the people who died were caught in their cars by the storm. We waited anxiously to see which way the storm would go, but it looked like it was going to go just north of us. As I stood in my yard, we could look to where the tornado was, and there was this constant growling, roaring sound coming from the clouds. Above us, hail clouds were blanketing the sky, but no hail was falling:
I thought we were going to be spared again, and my mounting anxiety began to subside.
Suddenly the storm began to shift to the southeast.
Towards us.
Then, other storms began popping up all around to our west. Very quickly, the weathermen started calling out my town’s name. And all of a sudden, things got very real. We began gathering up our most important things to take to our storm cellar right next to our driveway. Only once before had we put stuff into the cellar, but the storm had turned pretty last minute, before we had to go down. I kept waiting for someone to say, nevermind, the storm has turned. But they never did. It was actually going to happen.
I have grown up in Oklahoma, and I have grown up terrified of tornadoes. A lot of people have recurring nightmares, and I am one of them. My nightmares are always about tornadoes. I have a very staunch respect for how dangerous they are, and I get very stressed about bad weather.
As I ran around my house, I was in a state of utter panic. I was grabbing things and running them outside into the cellar then running back in. I have two cats, as you may know, and I had to get them in the cellar, too. We only have one cat carrier, and Finn has to go in it. There is no way we could carry him anywhere, because he would flip out. Unfortunately, by the time I was putting Finn in the carrier, I was nearly in tears because I was so upset, and Finn could tell. He proceeded to flip out nearly as badly as I was. I’ll go ahead and tell you now, the only injuries sustained by anyone in my family that day were the claw marks Finn left on my legs and hand. Finally, I had to wrap him in a blanket to get him in and pull it off his head only after he was inside. I hurried to take him down to the cellar as he meowed piteously a few times, and then went quiet.
I rushed back in to get Boo, who was casually sprawled on the loveseat watching the proceedings with sleepy interest. I wrapped him in a sheet, listening as I did so to the weathermen telling everyone in my town that they needed to take their tornado precautions. My sister appeared with my nana, who lives next door, and her and I went down into the cellar to wait.
The rest of my family, who don’t have quite the same anxiety as I do over tornadoes, stayed in the house to keep watching the news. I sat with my nana, holding Boo, nearly paralyzed with fear. Some of my friends started texting to make sure I was getting to safety, and I was shaking so hard I almost couldn’t text them back. Then I waited, listening to the thunder growling and the wind blowing and hoping my family would come and tell me it was all a mistake.
I don’t know if you have ever sat in a tornado shelter, but it’s not terribly pleasant. Ours is not particularly big. It’s also damp, musty, and has lots of bugs. I fixedly watched the stairs, waiting for someone to come and tell us something. I was too scared to be above ground, but too scared to sit and wait without knowing.
My sister finally came back and told me that it looked like the tornado was turning and heading towards a town just barely north of us, the town our high school is rivals with. I know a million people that live there, and I was in no way comforted by this. My sister says to wait downstairs, just to be safe. After a little while, she comes down again, bringing some more stuff, and she tells me the same thing. Suddenly filled with restless, frenetic energy, I beg her to hold Boo so I can go in the house and clean the scratches Finn gave me. As I had sat in the cellar, some of the adrenaline from earlier was wearing off, and I was beginning to feel the scratches, especially a particularly deep one on my ankle.

This one.

This one.

As I rushed into the house, unable to bear not seeing what was happening while I was down in the cellar, I noted how ugly the sky looked, and what a bizarre color it was. The wind was whistling around me, and I was quick to get in the house. I cleaned the cuts up, but as I listened to the TV the weatherman started talking about how a new circulation was forming that looked like it would head towards my home. I pleaded with my dad to come to the cellar, and he said he would be down soon. I went back down to wait some more.
Eventually my sister and my mother joined us, and very quickly after my dad appeared. We were going to close the door. Our shelter was already in place when we bought the house we live in, and it’s pretty old. The door is partially rotted and pretty rickety. We chained it down taut to the stairs. Then, my dad placed a door that they bought on clearance in front of the stairs, and braced it with with a 2×4 against the walls. We had managed to get our weather radio on by this point, and we anxiously listened. Storms were forming everywhere, so many that the weathermen almost couldn’t keep up, and one of them was coming towards our town. In the confusion of all the storms they were trying to track, we were unsure of just exactly which part of our town it was going to hit.
Tornado shelters are very eerie. Ours has these two little holes in the ceiling that are the ventilation vents up to aboveground. It is bizarre, because it allows you to hear what is happening outside, but it is strangely muffled. We could hear the rain pick up and start hammering the metal door of the shelter. Our house is surrounded by trees, and we could hear them whipping and tossing. Things got louder and then quieter, and we had no idea what was happening. No one had mentioned my town on the weather radio in a while and I began to hope that they were wrong, and it wasn’t going to get to us.
Out of nowhere, the weathermen start talking about my town, and one of the stormchasers starts yelling that there are power flashes at a Lowe’s that was two blocks from our house, and that something is touching down on one of the roads that we live off of. Very shortly after that, the light we had plugged in downstairs goes out, and we have to turn on our lantern.
I spent three hours in that cellar. They were the most terrifying of my life. Honestly, I have never been so scared. It was mostly a haze of absolute terror for me, and I alternated between almost throwing up and almost passing out. Every time we thought about getting out, they would talk about how there was threatening rotation that could potentially hit us. Finally, as it got later and later, it seemed as though things were dying down. We kept waiting for the rain to stop pouring so we could get out, but it never did. Eventually we could stand no more, and we decided to venture out. My dad peeked out from under the lid, and to our relief he confirmed our house was still there. I was the first out, and it was pouring down rain so I was instantly drenched. There was still a little bit of light left,  and I was amazed to find a giant tree branch was blocking most of our driveway:
I rushed to the backyard, my number one concern to check on our four dogs. We have Labs, and they are big and very unruly. There is simply no way to bring them in the cellar and still have room for my family. They also would probably get in a fight. This is probably the worst part for me in regards to tornadoes hitting our house; our shelter is really secure so I was never really afraid for my life. When I got to my backyard, I couldn’t even get to my dogs, who we keep in another part of our yard, because a huge tree branch had fallen on the gate and part of the fence dividing our yard. I splashed through my already flooding backyard to an unobstructed part of the fence and started yelling for my dogs over the noise of the rain and thunder. Johnny and Cash were the first ones I saw, and finally Riley came trotting up, completely unconcerned. But I could not find Sadie anywhere. I called and called, and finally I saw her little head peek out from under our storage building where our dogs love to lay. I called for her to come for me, but she simply laid there and whimpered. I was terrified she was hurt. I had to run to the back part of my yard and squeeze through another gate we never use in order to go around and get to her.
Sadie is a very courageous dog. I would venture to say she is tougher than any of the boys, and we are pretty sure she fought a coyote or something along those lines once. When I got to my poor girl, she was shaking so hard that water was flying off of her, and she was whimpering like I’d never heard her do. I was afraid she couldn’t get out from under the building, but finally she managed to drag herself out. She was scraped up and not putting pressure on her back leg, but she was not seriously injured. I cried because I was so relieved, and I knelt there, absolutely sopping wet with rain and tears and holding Sadie, while my other dogs came and rubbed their wet, muddy bodies on me.
After I knew everyone was okay, things didn’t seem as bad. There were giant tree limbs down everywhere, and our yard was turning into a bog, but there was no serious damage. Somehow, all the tree limbs had fallen just around our cars and our house instead of on them, even though we had parked our cars under the trees to protect them from the hail. We had no power, but we had a home still.
We began carrying things up from the cellar and lighting candles in the house and changing clothes because we were soaked. My uncle, who had drove away from the storm, showed up and told us that the nearby town we thought the tornado had hit was, in fact, essentially fine. He’d stopped and picked up food for himself. We all very quickly became aware of how hungry we were since it was nearly 10pm by this point. We decided to try and drive to the town to see if we could find somewhere to eat since we had no electricity and were too hungry to just eat simple, no-heat food.
We almost did not get out of yard because it was so muddy, and we were afraid if the water got any higher on the roads that we might not be able to make it back to our house. As we drove out of our town, there was no power anywhere that we could see. It was still raining ferociously, and on the way to find a restaurant, it started hailing again, big, ugly hail that beat the roof of our car. Desperately we pulled off at a 7-Eleven and tried to wedge our car in with the mass of other cars taking shelter by the gas pumps under the structure that shielded them. Eventually the hail began to slow, and we pulled out and hurried to find somewhere to eat. We tried IHOP first, but they told us there was a nearly two hour wait. Eventually we made it to Waffle House, who were short-staffed. It tooks us nearly two hours to eat there, but it was some of the best food of my life.
When we drove back home, we decided to look around, and drove through the Lowe’s parking lot that had been reported hit. The little metal sheds and display buildings they had in the parking lot were torn to shreds, and there was debris randomly scattered about. A power line was down along the road in front of it.

Photo credit: Jon Watje

We then drove down the main road we live off of, and the powerlines were destroyed. About a half a mile from our street, one had even fallen on top of a car and into a flood of water on the side of the road. It was nearly midnight, and already there were brave crews working on them. We almost drove onto a downed powerline, and quickly realized we needed to get back home.

Photo credit: Jon Watje.  The road we live off of, the next day.

On the road that crosses ours in our neighborhood, we found the entire road blocked by an entire giant tree that had fallen across it. As we went to go home, a fire truck and a towing truck were arriving to try and move it.
The next day was beautiful, and we spent it cutting and dragging limbs around. I made sure and took pictures of some of the worst damage:
We are fairly certain that the tornado came right through our neighborhood, just skipping around and never fully forming. I could not sleep that evening because there were still thunderstorms coming through, and every time it thundered I got intensely stressed. We had no power, and all of our phones were dying, so it was nearly impossible to check the radar, even though there was not supposed to be anything serious. When I finally fell asleep, I kept having tornado nightmares. It was a long, rough day for all of us.
I can only say how incredibly thankful I am that we were so lucky. 14 people were killed as a result of the storms and the flooding that followed them. Our situation could have been much more tragic, and I am amazed every time I think what might have happened to us. Perhaps we truly do live in a blessed town; the tornado even tried to get us, but pulled up as it went over.
Sadly, I know that my tornado anxiety just reached a whole new level.

I want to say thank you for reading this. The past two weeks have had a profound impact on me, and I needed to write about them. Hopefully you found my story worthwhile.

With my gratitude,

A Vignette of the May 20, 2013 Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma

I know this is going to sound cliche, but it is truly strange to me how much can change in a short period of time.
I had no idea when I last posted that the next two weeks were going to be some of the craziest of my life. When last I left you, I was on the verge of going to my friend Kady’s bachelorette party. Let me just say that we now are nearly certain that I am allergic to alcohol and the doctor agreed, and I will never again drink more than a glass or two at a time (no one mistook me for a man, at least, so that’s something).
That was on a Saturday. The next day, while I was busy being violently ill in reaction to my suspected allergy, I was vaguely aware that in certain parts of Oklahoma, some pretty seriously awful tornadoes were going through my state. A few people even ended up killed. I remember as I was hazily stumbling out of the doctor’s office looking at a tv in the waiting room and being horrified by the destruction I was seeing. That was May 19.
The next day was May 20 which, if you watch national news at all, you probably know was the day that one of the worst tornadoes recorded ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, and killed 24 people.
In Oklahoma, especially in May, people are pretty used to the threat of bad weather. I have grown up with a healthy terror of tornadoes and a intimate familiarity with the steps of taking your “tornado precautions.” Even on Saturday when I was at the bachelorette party, there was risk of bad hail, and it poured down torrential rain on us for awhile. We knew that the next couple of days were high risk for tornadoes and dangerous weather. The problem with living in Oklahoma for a long time is that there’s always risks during the spring for tornadoes, and you eventually just get to the point where you’re ready for them, but try to believe that it won’t end up being too bad. If you believed that every time there was severe weather in Oklahoma it was going to be as bad as May 20, no one would live here. We would have all had heart attacks at some point and moved to Europe.
My dad is a mailman, so he gets off work pretty early in the afternoons generally. My sister and I usually wait for him to eat lunch, and we did so that Monday. We went to a local BBQ restaurant (one that I worked at last summer, as a matter of fact), thinking we had time to eat before the weather got too serious. We were still in the midst of our sandwiches when rain started pouring down. Suddenly, the tin roof of the building was pounding like a bass drum at a rock concert, and we ran to a window to watch in horror as pea to golf-ball sized hail started flinging itself down on our hapless car in the parking lot. People started running out, dodging hail madly, to get to their cars and try to find somewhere to shelter them.
We weren’t going to take that route, so we sat down and quickly finished our food. Luckily, it seemed as though the hail and rain had started letting up, so we decided to try and get to our house, which was not even five minutes away. We had barely pulled out of the parking lot when the first giant pieces of hail started thudding down on us. The truly big ones were only sporadic, thankfully, but that made them particularly startling when they did hit. I kept letting out a little scream, terrified that our window would break out before we got home. To our relief this was not the case, and we managed to get home. We shielded our cars as best we could under our trees, but they were noticeably dinged up.

We were so incredibly lucky that day. The storm that eventually produced the horrible Moore tornado formed over the area we live, dropped that hail on us, and then moved on. We were never in fear, or really in danger. The hail storm lasted probably less than 30 minutes. We lost power briefly but had it back shortly. We spent the day watching Moore be ripped apart, as well as other towns beyond it. It was eerie listening to the weather stations because it was the most awful sense of deja vu. I was seven years old on May 3, 1999, when the worst tornado this state has ever seen ripped through Moore the first time. We were at a hockey game downtown, and I remember we had to leave it to go to a nearby  underground parking garage. We walked outside and I can still see, clear as day, what that tornado looked like. It was enormous, and nearly unbelievably black. It dominated the sky, even from miles away, looking like some sort of elemental monster.
On May 20, 2013, we followed desperately the stories of victims and the search for survivors. I cried when they talked about the schools being hit. My mother is a teacher, my sister will graduate in December with her Early Childhood Education degree, and I spent four years working in daycares. I adore children, and teachers are very close to my heart. One of the teachers from Plaza Towers Elementary is the sister of a girl I played volleyball with in middle school and high school, and for a while they did not know if she was dead or alive, though she survived.
I have talked about my best friend Kasey on here numerous times, and her family is like a second family to me. Her father, someone I consider a second father to me, is a teacher in Moore. The gym and part of his school was destroyed, and his car was totaled. Kasey had to walk two miles to get to the school to even see if he was okay, which by a miracle he and everyone else in his school were. My heart shattered on Monday night when we finally turned off the tv, with reports coming in that the death count could even be as high as 91.
The next day when we heard that the number had been reduced to 24, I could not help being thankful, though I was in no way happy. It’s just that when I watched videos of that storm and looked at the damage, it is amazing to me that more lives were not lost. And the strength and love and dignity my state showed filled my heart with pride. The support we received from the world was overwhelming, and humbling. It seemed almost strange to me, just how much people cared. I saw articles from newspapers in England and Britain talking about Oklahoma, and the Nightly News broadcast from here. When two English Premier League soccer clubs played an exhibition match in St. Louis, they teamed up with the Cardinals to raise money for children affected by the storms. They wore black armbands to honor those lost, and all stood together behind a sign that said “Together in support of Oklahoma.” It was a bit jarring; I am so used to bad weather and the destructive powers of tornadoes that it seemed strange to me that people wanted to help us. It reminded me that perhaps the only good thing to come out of the darkest of events is the wonderful, amazing people who step forth to bring light again, and that those people are everywhere.
Shortly after, one of my best friends, Stephanie, asked me to help her do laundry at a laundromat in my hometown because the water was out in all the ones by her house because of the storms. She is married to a youth pastor, my friend Gavin, and I just assumed they were gathering clothes to donate to people and they wanted to wash them. I rushed over to meet Stephanie, who had a younger girl with her that I had never seen before. Stephanie asked me to go help her bring clothes in from the car while the girl got the washing machines set up. When I got to her car and started sorting through stuff, I realized it was soaked and muddy, just covered with debris. Something clicked in my head, and I asked Stephanie, “Did that girl lose her house??” Stephanie looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “Yes, this is the stuff we could salvage when we all went out there to look.” We had about three or four bags of clothes for an entire family. Three or four bags of clothes for four people.
We carried the stuff back inside, and I suddenly did not know what to say to this girl, this fifteen year old who had lost her home not even 24 hours before. The best I could come up with was telling her how incredibly sorry I was. What amazed me was how gracious she was to me, how calm she was acting. I tried to imagine myself in the same situation, and could not imagine smiling, like this girl was doing. I realized she was wearing some of Stephanie’s clothes, and she had on an old, too-big, holey pair of Stephanie’s husband’s shoes, because Stephanie wore a smaller size and that was the best alternative they could come up with at the moment.
So we did laundry, and it was so surreal. I had to pre-wash a lot of the stuff by hand because it was so dirty with debris that it would have made everything else in the washer dirty if I didn’t. After we got all the washers loaded, I rushed back to my house (which was only about five minutes away) and quickly went through the embarrassing amount of clothes I had to see if I could find anything to give this girl. When I got back, Stephanie and I’s friend Lisa had showed up with literally her entire backseat stuffed with clothes to give, and I felt so proud to call Lisa and Stephanie my friends.
We put the stuff in the dryers at this point, and then sat down to just talk with her. She described what it was like going through what was left of her house afterwards, and she even told me how her brother was asleep when the tornado was coming because he worked nights. His girlfriend got ahold of him just barely in time, and he left about 10 minutes before the tornado destroyed their home. The whole time, she was so calm, making jokes and laughing, and I just didn’t understand how she did it. But finally she said to me, “I think I’m still in shock. I think that pretty soon it’s going to hit me, and I’m going to break down.” I didn’t even know what to say. My heart simply broke for her. I honestly wanted to cry, but if this brave girl was not, then I certainly wasn’t going to.
When the laundry was done, we folded it and divided it up according to which family member it belonged to. It was a humbling experience. Everything this family had to wear fit in three laundry baskets and a duffel bag. When it was time to go, she hugged me and thanked me so kindly for helping her, and I just felt so lacking. I wish I could have helped her more.
That Friday was Kady’s wedding, and it was beautiful and sweet and everything a wedding should be. It was a bright spot in what had been an otherwise very traumatic and heart-breaking few days. Saturday I went with my sister to one of her long-time friend’s weddings, and it was lovely as well. It helped me to remember that even in the worst of times, life goes on, and that happiness and joy come again, even when it seems impossible.
At the end of last week, I was hurting for my state, but so proud to live in it. I was amazed at the goodness of people and the peculiarities of life, yet things were getting back to normal.
But this is Oklahoma. In May. And things rarely stay normal for long.

If you would like to hear about my experiences with the tornadoes of May 31, check out my next post. This one is already way too long, and I should have written it sooner. I just didn’t feel ready to try and sum up something so monumental in a blog post, and now I have even more to tell you. I hope that you’ll want to read it.

Bless your heart,

PS “Bless your heart” is about as Okie a phrase as you can get, so it felt appropriate.