The Centennial

100That is right, this the Captain’s Log #100. 100!

You might have noticed that the website has been spiffied up. I’ve been working on this new look for the past two months now, which is why it has been down for maintenance intermittently, where “intermittently” is a euphemism for for freaking ever . I’m not finished yet; there are likely links that aren’t working and doors that open into other worlds (insert mystical chimes here) but I am working on it and expect to have it all done in about seventy months.

Now then, how to celebrate #100? There is some Fluffy Marshmallow Vodka in the freezer. Brent picked it up to make his favorite drink, the White Russian. Although  I don’t think he’s ever had a real White Russian because Brent doesn’t believe in Kahlua. He says that any drink with milk or a milk-like mixer is a White Russian. Witness the following text from Brent:

2014-04-20-02.56 So gross. Now that I’m getting my fluffy marshmallow drink on, it’s a good time to announce that I was nominated for a Liebster Blog Award! My friend Heather at Heather’s Hurrah nominated me a couple months ago.  Thanks, Heather! This award didn’t come after a bitter competition like the Spring 2013 Meat Container Blog-Off, but one still needs to earn a Liebster. The rules are:

  1. List 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions provided.
  3. Create 11 new questions.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers with fewer than 200 followers and let them know that they’ve been nominated!

I might be a slacker, but I’m pretty sure I can make it through the first two items.

11 facts about me:

1. When I was in 8th grade, I got stuck in some mud, up to my torso, and it took three police officers, the fire department, and a pulley system to get me out. The mud was basically quick sand and it wasn’t like the movies where you pull out your pistol, shoot at an overhead tree so that a leafy bough falls down, and then climb up it. I was wearing my turquoise and purple Umbros and they held up fine under the rigors of getting swallowed by the earth. Umbros, the finest pantaloons man will ever produce.


The picture is of my friend Melissa and me, around the time of the Great Mud Entrapment. Melissa was with me when it happened and in fact saved me from completely sinking or having my upper half eaten by a wild animal before completely sinking. All this happened in a woodsy area off of the Emporia State University campus. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to get out, she jumped in to help, but then she started sinking, too. She scrambled away, but by the time she reached safe ground, she was covered in mud. I remember telling her, rather soap-operatically,”You’ve got to go get help! It’s the only way.” Imagine, a half human growing out of the ground, issuing grim orders at you. Poor Melissa. You should’ve seen the look of dread that came over her face when she realized  that she was going to have to trudge across a college campus looking like a mud monster. What would the college guys think? But she locked her pride and vanity away tight and went forth to bring back help. So yeah, that girl in the picture, the one on the right in the B.U.M. Equipment shirt – she’s a hero.

That was a long one. I guess I could come up with some shorter facts but I think I’ll just skip ahead to the next stage.

Heather’s questions:

1. What is your favourite genre of music?  I’m way into Ipecac Daiquiri, eXema, Ladies who Lunch, and the Purple Cows. Just kidding, those aren’t real bands. Well, Ipecac Daiquiri is the name of our Rock Band® band. I play the skins on Intermediate. Sometimes I can even manage the hard level. Not to brag.

2. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?  I’d want to be green or cornflower, but then I’d feel sorry for the colors that nobody likes, like burnt sienna or raw umber. So I’d probably choose to be one of the overlooked colors. I’d want to be an underdog crayon, for sure.

3. What is your favourite ice cream flavour? Chocolate is the only flavor. Take me to an ice cream shop with 30 different flavors and I’ll choose chocolate every time. Except once Cher got me to try German Chocolate ice cream, and that was pretty good.

4. Do you have any goals that you’re working on right now? Yes. Goals related to writing and fitness are at the front of my mind.

5. Where were you born? South Carolina

6. What is your bank account information?  Just kidding, Heather didn’t ask for that.

6. What is your favourite holiday? Halloween for sure.

7. Do you prefer the mountains or the beach? Mountains

8. What was the last movie you watched? Mama. Creepy as heck. And, like three times when the tension was building, Brent would reach out and go BOO! which would make me scream and jump. So annoying. Mama needs to come visit Brent and teach him some manners.

9. Have you ever met anyone famous? Not only have I hobnobbed with the famous, but I wrote about it here.

10. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?



As we were watching the fireworks on the last night, I was thinking, now how am I ever going to go back to regular life? I tried taking pictures but I couldn’t get it right with my camera, so I jotted down some thoughts.

Right off our balcony is the fireworks show. From here it looks like a toy train is moving around on the monotrail tracks. In the distance, but close enough to be real, is the castle, all lit up. I can see details on the turrets and I can believe that Cinderella is really there.

How earnest of me.

11. Do you prefer hugs or kisses? I prefer sexin’. Oh yeah. But with people that aren’t Brent, I prefer a friendly smile and maybe a high-five. I’m not a huggy person unless we are very close, I’m really happy to see you, or if I haven’t seen you in awhile. And then once we hug, we don’t need to hug again if we’re encountering each other regularly. Or let’s say you save me from getting killed by an evil possessed doll. I’ll definitely hug you. As in, “Whew! You saved me from that chain-saw wielding doll! Thanks!”(hug) But then if it happens again, where an evil doll comes after me and you save me at the last minute by burning it or whatever, I might not hug you. I might wonder if you are the one controlling the doll, just to get free hugs.

Heather, thanks again for nominating me! And happy 100 to my blog!

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Secrets from my diary

My friend Haley had a very funny post today where she shared pages from the diary she kept when she was nine. It is delightful, especially the entry about her dead bird.

I like Haley’s idea so much I am following suit with a page from one of my diaries. It’s about to get deep in here, deep with the tawdriness that is my every day life. Prepare to blush.


Just kidding. Nothing tawdry here, unless you count my grammar. Books I’ve read in ’05? No, me from 9 years ago, it should be Books I read in ’05.

Looking at this list, there are some books that jump out at me.

Catch-22 remains one of the funniest, darkest, most savage books I’ve ever read.

Me Talk Pretty One Day was my first Dave Sedaris book. Years later, he came to our town on his “Evening with Dave Sedaris” tour and Brent and I went to see him. It was a good time, but we had to leave early. Hours later, after the performance and book signing were over, Brent was back at the theater peepin’ and creepin’ on Mr. Sedaris, all to get an autograph for me. Brent may have looked like a stalker/possible murderer to Dave Sedaris, but Brent looked like a wizard-hero to me when he presented me with the autograph.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – ugh, what was wrong with me? I probably wanted to play the Rich Dad Cashflow 101 board game, too. Also, why did I start to write it out again on the right side of the page? It looks like a sad attempt at fancy cursive. While your eyes are drawn there, be sure to note the complex mathematical operations.

American Gods -  I have heard many say that it is Neil Gaiman’s best work. I prefer Coraline and the Graveyard Book myself.

Little Women – I hate you, Amy March.

Truman Capote (biography by George Plimpton) –  an old neighbor of Truman’s and Harper Lee’s tells a story about the real-life Boo Radley! How freaking cool is that. The story was verbatim from the neighbor being interviewed so one could presume the story is at least partially true, but really, who cares. It was a great story.

5 People You Meet in Heaven – in a weird coincidence, I tossed out a Mitch Albom reference just today. It was part of a joke that fell very, very flat. I even chuckled at it myself to try to help it catch on, but that didn’t work.

Jaws – the movie was better.

One last thing, you might have noticed that the page itself has Samantha and Jake from Sixteen candles as a sort of watermark. Diaries don’t get much cooler than that.

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Dog Birthday Party for Humans

The subtitle of this post is The most ridiculous thing I have ever done intentionally. Or, The destruction of dogs’ self esteem

Today, April 1st, is Swoozie Louisa’s 8th birthday.

swooze1You’re probably thinking, dang, Swoozie looks so much like Lassie right here. And you are right.

Just in time for Swoozie’s birthday, inspiration struck. I jumped on Pinterest and looked up dog birthday cake. Pinterest didn’t let me down. Imagine it, pictures of adorable dogs staring intently at their very own birthday cakes.

Ah, anthropomorphism, how I love thee.

Naturally, I wanted such pictures of Swoozie, on this, her 8th birthday. Then I thought that the births of Ebby and Baby MertMert should also be celebrated on this day. We don’t know their real birthdays, so we might as well make April’s Fool’s Day a gala. That is how Swoozie’s party came to be known as Pug Birthday.

I scoured the internet to find the perfect cake for the dogs. The company I ended up going with was really great. I even got a text asking me when I wanted my dog cupcakes. My response was something along the lines of “As early as possible, but this is not urgent.” I wonder if there are ever urgent dog cake situations?

My only complaint with ordering the dog cupcakes online was that when they came in the mail, they were clearly marked as such:


I would have preferred the kind of discretion you get when you order other embarrassing items, like sex paraphernalia.

Regardless, the cupcakes turned out adorable. 


Of the three dogs, Ebby was the most stoked about his birthday party.



Mertle was less thrilled than Ebby. She might have been scared of her birthday, actually. I guess she didn’t get the memo that this was a party.




And Swoozie. Swoozie hated her birthday. She wouldn’t even look at her dog cupcake, let alone stare at it intently like the Pinterest dogs. Darn it, Swoozie, stop crushing my Pinterest dreams.



In the picture below, notice how Swoozie, on the left, is turned away from the cupcake, as though she can’t bear the sight of it. Mertle looks completely depressed. At least Ebby is happy.

thethreeAfter I was done torturing the dogs at the table, I moved the party to the backyard.


brentmertBy this point, neighbors were coming out to stare, so we did not decorate Ebby with balloons. Next year, Ebby, next year.

Considering that today is a holiday around these parts, I wish you all a very merry Pug Birthday.







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Pastrami Takeover and Giveway!

Happy birthday to the Pastrami Basket! That’s right, today is a very special day over at the ol’ PB. As you can see, the pugs and Mertle are already over there, partying it up.

pastramidogs_2But this isn’t just a celebration for Brachycephalic dogs.

Jon, master of the PB domain, is here today to invite you to the party and to offer a very cool giveaway. This will be open today and tomorrow only. So read on, and don’t forget to check out Jon’s blog and Facebook page. Happy Pastramiversary, buddy!

Now turning it over to Jon, who has all the details:

Today marks the celebration of the Pastramiversary. What is the Pastramiversary you ask? Well it just so happens that today is the one year anniversary of when I began the cartoon/photo art style you see on the Pastrami Basket. And just how are is this being celebrated on the Baloney Bin? With a contest, that’s how! Ever thought to yourself, “What would I look like pastramified” or “What would my favorite character look like pastramified”? If you have then here is your chance. Anyone who comments on this Pastrami Takeover post at the Baloney Bin or reblogs the Pastrami Basket “Pastramiversary” post will be entered into a drawing to be pastramified. Hop on board folks! This is your chance to be immortalized via cartoon! Or you can at least post it to your Facebook and rub it in your friends’ faces that someone made a cartoon-you.

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A Love Story, Part 2

As I described in Part 1, my mom’s kidneys were failing and the doctors were not sure why. She was moved to a hospital in Topeka, which is about 50 miles from her home and 20 miles from where Brent and I live. For about a week, Brent would drive to Topeka after working his 3rd shift job to hang out with my mom in the hospital during the day, until I got off work at 5:00 pm.

On the fourth or fifth evening, I showed up at the hospital and found the usual scene: Mom was asleep and Brent was reading. Brent said that he wasn ‘t in a hurry to leave, so he and I read our books while Mom slept. Approximately an hour went by in silence. Then, my mom spoke.

“Sarah,” she said. Her voice was faint, no louder than a whisper, hoarse and rough. “Sarah, can you come here.” I jumped up and leaned in close toward her.

“What is it? Are you okay?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I think I’m coughing up blood,” she whispered.

“Oh! I’ll go get the nurse!” I was already moving to the door when she said, “No, don’t.”

I turned around to look at her. She closed her eyes for a long moment and I thought she had gone back to sleep, but then she opened her eyes and said, “Don’t bother the nurse yet. Just check for me.” She wiggled her hand feebly to indicate the bunched-up tissue in her hand.

My stomach turned and my gag reflex howled. My abhorrence of phlegm is well-documented. I believe I have also mentioned how, when I was younger, my mom delighted in approaching me with balled up Kleenexes and telling me to look at what she coughed up, and how she would laugh and laugh and laugh as I stumbled away, gagging. I wanted to run out the door and grab the first nurse I could find, grab this nurse by the lapels and say “Help me! For the love of god help me with the phlegm!” but I also wanted to be able to take care of my mother myself. I wanted that badly enough that I squared my shoulder and gave myself the pep talk of a lifetime. “Sarah, you can do it. You can do this thing that repulses you so much, you want to instantly barf just thinking about it. Just clear your mind, girl (because when I’m giving myself pep talks, I call myself girl). Clear your mind and close your nose. You got this, sister.”

The tissue was in her hand, looking so white and unsoiled. I tried not to imagine the globs of horror that were contained within, but my mind flashed to a childhood memory, the first and last time I willingly looked into her Kleenex and saw her phlegm so green and guacamole-like against the white of the tissue. The memory zoomed in close on the tan-colored cubed chunks floating in the mire, chunks that were gleaming with the luster of clear mucous.

Breathing deeply, I cleared my mind and reached for the tissue in Mom’s hand. I pinched an edge with my forefinger and thumb and pulled on it, expecting to find bloody bile. Instead, something shiny flashed at me, just as Brent said, “Careful!” I grasped the tissue with my full hand and there, peaking out of the folds, was a diamond ring.

When I turned to look at Brent, he was down on his knee, on the hospital linoleum. “Will you marry me?” he asked me.

And that is the story of how we got engaged.

I said yes and we kissed and hugged. Then I told Mom that I couldn’t believe the trick they’d played on me. She just smiled and promptly fell asleep. All the excitement, plus her fine performance, must have exhausted her.

Brent later told me that he had bought my ring months ago, but was waiting for a good time to propose. With the stress of the past week and not knowing what was going to happen with Mom, he thought that happy news would be good for all of us, and that making my mom part of the proposal would bring some much-needed cheer to her hospital room.

The story doesn’t end there, though. The next weekend happened to be my birthday, and Brent threw a surprise party for me. Friends came from out of town and I was showered with thoughtful, wonderful gifts. My good friend Cyndi, who had listened to me cry about mom and stress about money over the past week, gave me with $100.00 – $50.00 from her, and $50.00 from her boyfriend Mark (they ended up getting married because clearly, he was a keeper). My jaw dropped when I opened that card and she just shrugged and told me it should help with the stress. Ryan got me a gift certificate for a massage at a fancy spa, Jason gave me a Best Buy gift certificate, Keri and Melissa gave me Sex and the City Part 1 on DVD, and Toby and Jessica got me the movie Creeps. I was astounded at all the love I was shown that night.

As for my mom – can you believe that she turned out to be completely fine? The kidney specialist was able to confirm that her blood pressure medication was what was causing her kidneys to fail. So scary, but they took her off the medication and gave her one round of dialysis and she was back to her old self. As we were checking her out of the hospital she told me that she had lost 15 pounds on that one round of dialysis. “If only they’d given me a couple more rounds, I’d be really thin right now,” she lamented. I just shook my head and smiled.

My mom and me

So that is my engagement story, which turns out to be a story of many different kinds of love. Friendship-love and Momma-love. And romantic love, too, but more than that: the support and presence that Brent gave me. Is there a word for that kind of love?

Holding hands with my love
Holding hands with my love
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