Tag: humor (page 1 of 2)

Do Pigeons Have Rabies? Asking For A Friend

Last weekend I was sitting in the drive thru of a fast food restaurant (attempting to salvage our weekend after our son hated the South American food we had for lunch) when across the parking lot I noticed a hurt pigeon. One of its wings was stretched out at a weird angle like it was broken and it seemed to be in distress.  Before I knew what was happening, I had my hand on my seat belt and was screaming to my husband, “Do I need to go help that bird?!”

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Am I Willing to Punch a Peacock? Yes.

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, the skies were clear, there was a slight breeze, but the peacocks… the peacocks were angry that day, my friends…

A few weeks ago, my son and I picked up lunch at the grocery store and went to Mayfield Park for a picnic. It’s a popular Austin park known for its historic cottage and brilliant peacocks that wander the grounds. I’d never been, but this seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon with my son. Peacocks are awesome, right?

Wrong. I would soon learn that peacocks are scary and Mayfield Park is full of them.

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20 Inches Under the Sea

When I was a kid, my favorite ride at Disney World was always 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I loved it. There was something wonderful about voyaging under the sea. Maybe it was the water, the colors, the fantastical ruins of Atlantis, or how my heart would race as the giant squid wrapped its tentacles around the Nautilus and all seemed lost before we wrestled free and triumphantly made our way back to the serene beauty of the tropical lagoon.

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9 Favorite Nursery Rhymes With New Clickbait Titles

Clickbait is everywhere. It’s annoying as hell. So, logically, I felt that the best thing to do was to add some myself. I’ve taken the liberty of converting nine favorite nursery rhyme titles into click tempting teasers. Oh, and I added a bonus limerick just because.

(in true clickbait fashion, each title is clickable and will take you to a page to read the nursery rhyme)

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Contemplative Ennui at the Blanton Museum of Art

I am standing in a museum surrounded by marble statues of people from worlds long gone; they are echoes of some other unreal time. History is like that to me, it never feels real.

I pick a bench in a sunny, windowed corner to sit and write. I’ve come here to try to dispel the dark clouds that have been chasing me this week… to try to numb the swollen ache in my heart. I thought the art might help, that it would give me something to look at so I could get out of my head for a little while. Maybe, it would ease some of this ridiculous pain. Instead, I feel every piece. It’s like they’re all playing on the same vibration as this depression; each one feels like a thumb pushing on a deep bruise.

The Blanton Museum of Art - Austin

I am mourning an inexplicable loss, something that doesn’t exist, has no resolution, and I am powerless to make myself feel whole. I’m a control freak, so this kind of thing sucks. All I can do is wait it out.

Is it her? Is that what they like? I compare myself to every woman who walks by and every piece of art. Notice how imperfect I am. I have a thing for perfection, or rather for being perfect.

Recently, I started to people-watch and noticed for the first time in my life how men will stare at certain women. Grown men will slow their cars to watch a young woman in shorts cross the street, a woman in a dress walking past the entrance to West Elm causes a conversation to halt while the three men crane their necks to watch her walk by. It is creepy, this level of unabashed focus that I’m seeing men devote to a woman who is merely crossing their path. I’ve never paid attention to it before, and now I can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere and I feel like I’m losing a competition. I’m pretty enough, but my strong suits have always been humor and intelligence… not the kind of things that random men notice when I walk down the street.

The modern art made me sadder. I can’t really explain why. I stared at the replicated cardboard box, sleeping bag, pack of cigarettes, marble sculpted trash bag. A marble trash bag… that’s what I feel like sometimes… a waste of materials and talent.

I can’t let go. The sky is divided – filled partially with angry sun and heavy, dark clouds. They tease rain, but won’t let it go. It is both sunny and potentially stormy, I’m caught in the tension.

The statue in front of me has no head or arms, and is missing its legs from the knees down. Incomplete or damaged, I don’t know. It’s only a replica, so I feel nothing when I look at it; none of the artistic energy of the real one is there.

I whisper to the universe, If you ever loved me, let the rain fall.

What about that statue, the topless one. I wonder if they prefer the curve of her breasts; if she meets the standard. I wonder how many would turn to look at her in a crowded restaurant or bar.  Even minerals are my competition. I stare at her breasts and feel a sense of loathing for her – for her perfect breasts, their shape and lift, for her look of contentment. I feel an alliance with the male statue across from her: poorly endowed, exposed, and forced to stare forever at her ample perfect chest.

I am not enjoying marble today.

I leave and enter the calm quiet solemnity of the masters – perfect imperfection – ample bodies and vacant empty stares. I stand for a long time in front of a Flemish portrait of a man with a curved mustache. His look is so sad; he’s pale, anemic. He stares at me while I examine his facial hair. It’s so realistic; I can’t even see the strokes. I want to climb into the painting and touch his mustache.

It’s cool and dark in here which matches my mood. All around me are paintings of saints and sinners. I’m stuck, standing still in front of The Visitation. I think it’s about the Virgin Mary but all I can focus on is the donkey in the corner staring at me, upstaging everyone else. He’s looking at me as if to say, “Pfft, I know, right?” I nod. I like this room, everyone in the paintings looks like they’re rolling their eyes.

I walk a few steps, but I’m stuck again, this time in front of another portrait of a man with sad eyes and a mustache. Maybe I stop here because he’s looking at me, while everyone else is looking off to one side – like they know they’re in the painting, but want to act casual. This guy though, he looks right at me, and I can feel his hurt or maybe he feels mine… or maybe his collar is too tight.

I leave the dark cool space and find myself in the hallway, assaulted by sunlight. The clouds look like they are giving up and the sun is claiming the sky. I feel heartbroken by the brightness, I turn and give one last look at the donkey who still gets me, scoff warily at the giant reproduction of a milk carton near the entrance, and head towards my car to find that despite the sun, one cloud – one persistent cloud – waited for me, and gives rain to blanket my path.

Video – The Vagina-Mommy Incident – LTYM 2013

Earlier this year, I was chosen to read an essay about motherhood as a member of the 2013 cast of the Listen to Your Mother Show.

It was an amazing night full of wonderful stories by talented writers all celebrating motherhood. I was so honored to be a member of the cast this year.

Here is the video of me reading my essay, The Vagina-Mommy Incident. It’s about the time I thought it would be a good idea to tell Kai the proper name for our genitals and how great that went…

Thank you so much Ann Imig for creating this wonderful event! And, thank you to Wendi Aarons, Liz Mcguire, and Blythe Jewell for producing the Austin show so that I could get up and say the word vagina over and over in front of a room full of people. It is an experience I will always cherish.

The 2013 Cast of Listen to Your Mother Austin

Writer’s Block – Existential Edition

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
Thomas Mann

I love being a writer… most of the time. Here’s an excerpt of the type of conversation I have with myself pretty much every time I sit down to write. And, I’m a professional writer. So, this happens… oh, every day.

Me:  It’s time to update my blog again. Didn’t I just do this?? I need something to write about….You know what? What’s the point? Why do we even write? Everything that needs to be said has already been said by someone, somewhere, at some point in time.

Brain:  Hey. Hey, stop it. You’re doing it again.

Me:  Doing what?

Brain:  Philosophizing instead of just writing.

Me:  Shh, I’m thinking. I mean think about it. Every story has already been told. We just add our own flavor, but is it really necessary? The internet feels like so many people are saying the same thing just to hear their own voices.  Like this morning, I went to find a recipe for baked oatmeal and got 9 billion results for what was pretty much the same recipe.  The only real difference I could see was that this one was made by a stay at home mom with 3 kids who just had a book published about sock puppets, and the other one was made by a lady with blonde hair who has a fancy food blog.

Brain:  How do you know it’s fancy?

Me:  Look at the header, that’s a fancy black and white photo of some cheese. Everyone knows that photos taken just from the side – like you’re sneaking up on the food – are fancy. I think there are whole blogs devoted to sneaking up on pancakes. I should probably go look… Wait. That’s not the point.  What I’m actually saying is that the internet feels so… noisy. What’s the point of writing a blog post and adding more noise?

Brain:  Oh just stop.

Me:  Stop? I didn’t start, how can I stop? We are all born into this spiral of life mid-motion, there’s no way to stop anything is there? We are spinning on a planet that we can’t control. Our lungs, hearts, and brains work automatically. I can’t make the wind stop blowing, or my blood cells stop moving. I can’t “stop” anything. What am I anyway? Where did I come from? Why am I even here?

Brain:  Omg, no… please, not this again, not another existential crisis.

Me:  Don’t be silly. I’m just questioning why I’m even here or the point of my existence.

Brain:  Sigh

Me:  I think the thing is this… Maybe *not* saying anything is really the way to say something. You know? Like a silent protest against noise. Maybe I should just date a blank page and post that on my blog. Like an anti-blog. By saying nothing, I’m really saying that we should all take a minute to stop saying so much.

Brain:  You will do anything to avoid writing, won’t you?

Me:  Yes. Yes, I will.

My Cat is a Jerk, I Have Audio Proof

When you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’re eventually going to talk about cats.   This is our cat, Athens. We adopted him last September, and he is an unabashed jerkface. We got him while kittens were on sale for $20 and have taken to calling him discount cat. As in, “Oh, he’s pushed his water bowl half way across the house spilling massive amounts of water all along the way that he is now playing in? Well, what do you expect from a discount cat?”

Look, just let me have my coffee and I'll bite you in a second, okay?

Look, just let me have my coffee and I’ll bite you in a second, okay?

We love him, don’t get me wrong, but he is a pretty lousy cat. He won’t sit on your lap or climb into bed with you. He doesn’t snuggle. He bites. He wakes us up with yowling at 4:30 am every single day even though he has a self feeder full of food. He attacks his water bowl and spills water everywhere. He randomly attacks the walls and is scratching up the molding on our doorways. Oh, and did I mention that he bites us?

Now, he does do some pretty cool stuff, but it’s dog stuff. It’s like he doesn’t really get the whole “being a cat” thing. He loves to play in water and he LOVES fetch. I don’t mean lame cat fetch where you throw the toy and they just look at you or they go get it and never bring it back. Athens plays real fetch… for hours. He wants you to play with him all freaking day, and if you don’t? Biting time. If he drops his toy next to you and you don’t notice, he will nip you on the leg. Because, as I have stated previously, he’s a jerk.

See, Athens? You are a cat.

See, Athens? You are a cat.

So, why do we keep him? Well, we love him and our son adores him. And, the feeling seems to be mutual. Athens loves his boy and the two are often inseparable.  Kai is gentle, and Athens plays too rough, but they still have fun and look for each other first thing in the morning. It’s like a boy and his really soft, bitey dog.

Sitting in my office writing this essay while hiding from Athens, I started to wonder… why do we even have a cat? Paul and I have always had a cat, never a dog. We say we’re not really dog people, but is there a difference? Apparently, yes. According to Dr. Hal Herzog, a leading anthrozoologist, researchers at The University of Texas found that, “Cat people were more introverted, they were more anxious, they were more interestingly open to new experiences and they were more impulsive.”
Yes, we are anxious because cats are scary.

The other night, Paul and I were in his studio recording some of my poetry for a project. Kai was asleep and I guess the cat was bored so he kept coming in and bothering us. Paul eventually started recording through the outtakes as they got increasingly bizarre. The cat kept sneaking into the room, opening doors, attacking sound foam and falling off of chairs, and eventually biting me because I didn’t know he wanted to play fetch while I was in the middle of recording a poem.

I present to you: Ava being attacked by a cat while reading poetry

 

I better stop writing and go play with Athens. He dropped his toy next to me a few minutes ago. I’ve tried to ignore him, but he just licked my leg and now I’m scared… Such a discount cat.

The Vagina-Mommy Incident

The Vagina-Mommy Incident

** Update: The video of me reading this essay in the Listen to Your Mother Show – Austin is available here: http://avalovehanna.com/vagina-mommy-ltym/ **

Today, I went to use the restroom and through the cracked door I heard my 4 year old saying, “Hey, you’re going potty, but you don’t have a weenie.”

I froze, partially because of my son’s obvious lack of bathroom etiquette, and partially because I could sense there was something serious about this moment. My son was aware that we were different in a fundamental way and that was probably a big deal.

“Yes, you’re right,” I said slowly, trying to decide what to say next. I could hear the mixture of confusion and curiosity in his voice as he pondered the situation and I wanted to help him understand. So, in some delusional moment of over-confidence I decided:

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Poem: Parents

** Update: The audio track for this poem can be heard here: http://avalovehanna.com/spoken-word-parents/

I’m a poet. Well, I used to be…Well, I still am… I’m just writing more essays and less poetry lately. But, I paid a lot of money to study poetry at a private university, completed a 90 page Master’s thesis chock full of poetry, and my work has been published. So there’s that.

My background is in performance and poetry, so here’s a piece that I’ve done at a few readings. I’ll upload an audio track of it soon.

Parents

It’s funny how at parties, those who are parents

will swap stories about their past exploits

and someone will inevitably joke that

life is over when you have a baby –

but, he or she probably isn’t really joking,

and even though all the other parents

in the room laugh, there’s a tiny awkward moment

 

when every single parent in that room

looks down into his or her drink,

breathes in the acrid breath of mourning,

and grieves for youth,

for freedom,

 

for lost sleep, for long, hot showers,

and meals that never ever included macaroni and cheese.

 

Some will remember walking naked through the house,

or drinking too much, or cussing,

or the blissful sound of nothing,

nothing at all, just rare and precious silence.

 

Then they will catch themselves,

racked with guilt, assume they are

alone in this misery, because everyone

else must love being a parent;

 

so to make up for it they share stories

about how Brittany did the cutest thing,

or how Michael is reading at a fifth grade level.

 

Instead of baby showers,

parents should be given funerals

to mourn the death of their freedom,

their youth,

their sanity.

 

And there in the face of the impending change

can there finally be brutal honesty:

 

about how beautiful and horrible it is to be a parent,

about how much energy it takes to grow a person,

about how they will love and hurt, and love and hurt,

that they will feel stronger and

weaker than they ever knew possible,

feel tired, feel old, feel wasted,

 

feel like this is the most important thing they have ever done,

and how it’s okay to sometimes cry and to miss themselves.

 

The eulogy will tell them

they are gone, but not forgotten,

 

and the banner draped across the coffins will read:

their children will be richer for having known them.

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