Category Archives: In my backyard

Happy October First!

I’m going to skip the part where I make excuses for my long absence and, instead, jump straight into the meat of things: It is time for HALLOWEEN!

That means it is time for stories and this all crept up on me, despite my watchfulness, so my first ghost story is going to be one that is short and sweet, though a little sad.

I’ve mentioned a time or two that ghosts and I don’t exist on the same plane. I can’t see them, feel them, hear them, sense them. They pass right through me (haunted humor – I’m hilarious) and I am unaware.

Except for this one time.

To back up: A couple of weeks before I was born, my grandmother’s Siamese cat had kittens, a whole litter of ’em. After I was born, my mom and I lived with my grandparents so the kittens and I were raised together. No joke.

Because these kittens were made to be sold, they all found new homes pretty quickly. One was kept for me. They named him Chopin. Apparently, he and I got on quite well and the household felt we should grow up together and so we did.

When Chopin and I were around 12, he came down with feline leukemia and was put to sleep. Well, not all in one day, but it happened in a short span of time.

I’d gone to school knowing my cat was sick and I came home to find no cat at all. That was a hard day, probably the worst of my life up to that point. It still rates in the top 10.

I cried myself to sleep that night. I was so lonely. My bed companion, a constant for my entire life, was gone. There was an empty, cold space where he would have slept. It was horrible.

But then, in the wee, dark hours of the morning, I woke up for no reason. The moonlight was seeping in, I could hear my sisters breathing in their part of the room, and I felt Chopin jump onto my bed. I looked for him and he wasn’t there but all the same, he walked up my side, sat down and purred. I pet him, pet where he was supposed to be and I couldn’t feel him but I could feel him. There was no warmth, no fur, no softness but I could trace his outline all the same. He purred. I cried. And then he was gone. Forever.

He came to tell me goodbye.

Not all ghost stories are scary.

Tonight, I am going to start my cider. I will figure out how to put my Halloween costume together. I will revel in the beginning of my most-favorite season and I think I’m going to take a moment to thank Chopin, my cat, for taking such good care of me.

Welcome to October, my friends. The fun begins!

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds

What was I doing while I wasn’t here?

I took a blog break between mid-December and mid-February and I had planned to return with this big, ol’ list of exciting things I did while I was not here. I mean, despite there being no proof on the internet, I was still living and breathing during that time. In fact, I did a lot of stuff! I wanted to tell everyone about it and planned to have it all up on February 19th! And then I never did. However, I have pictures I want to share so you’re getting the condensed version of what would have originally been an awesome post but is now really just filler with fun snapshots.

Yeah, you’re welcome.

To pick up where I’d left off last year:

1) I got my Christmas spirit back and just in time. Thanks to the magic of my old friend, Jack Frost, I was swept up in a winter wonderland the Friday before Christmas and as the day wore on, I became infused with festive tidings. It was awesome.

Seriously, I was going nuts running around town after work, taking pictures, squealing. It was just so beautiful!

2) Gabe & I met up with Susan&Elizabeth, our Best Couple Friends who aren’t a couple (they’re best friends and there are two of them so they are like a couple and we make them do couple things with us because they are our favorite couple friends you know what? Just go with it and let’s move on, ok?) to run amok in the cold! We went to see Denver Botanic Gardens’ Trail of Lights and it was phenomenal!  Then we all went out for drinks and fancy pizza, afterward. Man, we are good at being delightful.

So bright, so happy!

This was my favorite tree

Even the barn is participating!

3) I had holidays. It was all fun and games, per usual, until Noelle got our dad reminiscing about a terrible part of his life and he started getting emotional and Noelle LEFT THE ROOM, abandoning the rest of us to Dad’s tales of woe. Chris felt horrible that Dad had to relive all that, Gabe was alarmed because he had never heard any of it, and I’m pretty sure Chris’ wife was wondering why the hell she agreed to be part of this family. Come to think of it, I was wondering that, too. I owe Noelle a punch in the face for that one. Gah!

a) Gabe and I got each other presents this year because guess what? Gabe is employed now! It is an exciting time in our house!

These are my presents from Gabe. They probably seem odd to everyone else, but these are things I had marked in a catalog many months ago and he remembered! Now I have a cricket for my hearth and two apple bakers (plus the apple corer – SO much easier!) and I was really, super, weirdly excited about these gifts. PS – those apple bakers? They make phenomenal baked apples.

b) I also got presents from my GoodReads BFF in a land far away (New York City, folks!) You can see why we’re friends, right? Because she is AWESOME and gives great gifts. Obviously.

No, the bunnies are not playing LeapFrog, but yes, that explanation works well for the under-12 set. This is my official Easter Sweater now, so I’ll be wearing it again, soon!
Thank you, karen. This has brought and will continue to bring great joy to so many!

c) We had an adventure in which we tried the Dryck Julmust we found at IKEA. I’m still not sure what that was all about.

Behold! The festive Dryck Julmust

Gabe drinks more carbonated beverages than do I so he wasn’t quite as weirded out by this.

What the hell is in this??

d) I used the Christmas Ham to make our annual Ham and Beans for dinner on January 1st. It was an excellent batch this year, thank goodness. Not like that tragic swill I made a few years back.

Super close up shot of the beans, which had soaked for 24 hours by this time, onions, carrots, spices, etc. The ham is hidden under this pile of goodness.

4) And on January 2nd, as our Family Christmas Present To Ourselves, we got all the internets installed in our house. That means I now create and post these blog entries AT HOME! We were internet-free (mostly…sometimes we stole it from the neighbors) for two and a half years. It’s been amazing, fabulous, and convenient but also stressful to be back in the connected world as it brings its own kind of worry: I feel like I should check email before bed. I have monsters that sing and I have to gather their money and make sure they’re singing every day. Then there are all the sites we feel compelled to visit at all hours of the day and it gets a bit silly. This pressure to be tuned in everywhere kicked in immediately, the day we went live, and I did not like that. Yes, of course, it’s easy to think, “So just don’t check email, just don’t play games, just don’t…” but you know what? It’s easier to do than not to do. Because I’m re-addicted and stuck to a screen, I don’t read as much as I did before the internet. My house isn’t as clean (ok, that’s actually because Gabe is at work, now, and while I can still leave him threatening messages to mop the floor, I know it’s not going to get done because he won’t be there to read said messages) I’m not doing all the simple, pleasant things I did while we were living the off-grid lifestyle and that makes me feel shallow and a bit hollow. Not enough to stop staring at a monitor for hours on end, mind you, just enough to write about it in a blog post.

5) I took the first week of the New Year off again and got a lot done, mostly cleaning. That’s when I took all my pictures for the How To Oil Wood post from last week. Hooray.

I did other things, as well, but so much time has passed. I should have had this story up as soon as I got back to my blog but I didn’t and now it’s sort of a lame duck of a post. However, I wanted to share all my lovely pictures so I am doing just that and none of us will ever know what I was doing between January 2nd and February 5th. It shall hereforth remain a mystery. Or you can just make up some story in the comments below; that works, too.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, Out & about or abroad

Hey, there, can I polish your wood?

Awww, I’m sorry if you wound up at this post because you were looking for something involving Rosey Palm and her Five Sisters. While today’s topic does center around a job one does with one’s hands on wood and while the sexual innuendo was not an accident, this post is specifically about polishing wood furniture with oil.

You can skip the blathering and go straight to the instructions, if you’d like. You’ll find them under the red sentence below (scroll down…keep scrolling).

Why am I writing a post on polishing wood furniture with oil when I am about as far from being a homemaker as possible and am in no way an expert on this subject?

I’m glad you asked. It all started when my friends began to come up far enough up in the world to need house cleaners. When you are first able to hire help to clean your house, you start out small because that’s all you can afford. Often, you find an acquaintance, someone your co-worker knows or maybe one of the parents in your child’s preschool class, who cleans houses on the side and you strike a bargain with that person. Soon you get used to coming home to a clean house one Thursday out of the month and you look forward to the freshly-vacuumed carpets, the crumb-free countertops, the mirrors in which you can see your reflection, the glistening cabinets. The thing is, those super-shiny wood pieces? Unless there’s a lacquer varnish already in place, they are not supposed to look like that after they’ve been cleaned and polished. Yes, that wet look is amazing and you come to associate cleanliness with high-gloss kitchen cabinets but, really, you’re just creating buildup and asking for dust to stick to all the wood. I have railed against this for years and now I am going to stand up for wood, to shout loudly, to proclaim vehemently: YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!

No, I am not a master woodworker, though I did take a shop class in middle school where I played with a bandsaw and sandpaper.  Really, though, I am not certified in the art of furniture care. I don’t have a degree in oils and waxes. I did, however, apprentice in housewifery under my grandmother who was, as most women of her time, highly knowledgeable and experienced in taking care of household belongings because way back then, people planned to pass their crap down to the next generation since there was no IKEA. I may not have remembered much from those long-ago lessons but I can polish my wood furniture.

Please note: I’m talking about regular, run-of-the-mill (haha), daily-use furniture made of wood (not fake wood or veneer) and not antiquities, not museum-quality pieces, not heirlooms that came over on the Mayflower. If you own things like that, you probably already know how to care for them. If you don’t, you should visit a museum or wood shop or fine furniture store and ask for help.

Ok! Let’s begin!

So you want to polish your wood. But what to use? Endust? Pledge? Sure – though like Coke and Pepsi, all those products yell about how the rival products are sub-par so choosing can get confusing. What about wax? If you have nothing else to do in your life or if you have amazing, costly furniture that will still be in your family when the world comes to an end, then, yes, wax is great. But have you ever waxed your car? Take those basic principles and apply them – and the wax – to all the wood pieces in your house. Mr. Miyagi will be very proud of you.

This is going to take you a long time but will probably build muscles and reflexes for your next karate battle.

I prefer oil, specifically lemon oil because that’s what my grandmother used and I like the way it smells. There are other oils out there: Old English, Tung oil (not tongue oil, we’re not cats), linseed oil, on and on and on. If you don’t want to explore all the different oils and just need to be told what to do: Go get some lemon oil.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR POLISHING COMMON WOOD FURNITURE

1) Gather your supplies

You have to clean the furniture before you can polish it. I like to use Murphy Oil Soap but there are a bunch of recipes out there for making your own cleanser, as well as polish. If you use Murphy’s, you may as well buy a bucket used just for cleaning with this soap because it leaves a tacky residue when you mix it in the kitchen sink. Also, you can keep your whole wood cleaning kit in the bucket and that will make you feel professional and awesome.

Have a toothbrush and a razor blade on hand. You probably won’t need them, but in case you do, they’ll be at your disposal.

Grab some rags. You’ll need one to wash, one to polish, and one to buff. I use cotton rags from old t-shirts or socks from old husbands (ok, he’s not actually that old) A lot of people like to use microfiber dust cloth type thingies and if you have ’em, use ’em but why buy them if you already have cut-up bits of cloth?

My Murphy's, my bucket, my rag

My Murphy’s, my bucket, my rag

I know I just told you I like to use lemon oil and told you to go buy some.  However, I have some dark pieces of wood that sometimes get a bit scratched up and the lemon oil doesn’t hide the scratches nearly as well as the Old English oil that is full of stain or whatever is in there.

Here are my oils and my rubbers. Ha ha, I said "rubbers" This is such a dirty post.

Here are my oils and my rubbers. Ha ha, I said “rubbers” This is such a dirty post.

Ok, ready for the next step?

2) De-grit the flat surfaces

Unless it’s dry and windy out, my furniture just gathers dust. However, toward the end of summer, there are times I have to gently brush the grit off the wood before I clean it. If you don’t do this, you risk putting icky little scratches into your furniture so brush the grit off with a soft brush, a non-scratchy cloth, canned air or, heck, blow really hard on it. Just git rid of that grit!

3) Wash that wood

Make the Murphy’s Oil Soap solution, there are instructions on the bottle. Dunk your cleaning rag into the soapy water then wring the rag out really well because we’re not mopping, here; we don’t need a lot of wetness. A damp cloth is a kind cloth…or something. Anyhow, get your Cinderella on and clean every bit of wood furniture in the house. If there are wax drippings or bits of crusty jam or that white powdery stuff – no, not cocaine – left behind by harsh minerals in your water, you might need to gently scrape it free. Don’t dig it out, just give it a loving nudge with your thumbnail. If that doesn’t work, scrub gently with the toothbrush or use the razor to maneuver the offending substance up and away from the surface of your furniture.

Wash the whole piece – sides, underside, legs, arms, whatever. If it’s wood, wash it. Then go wash the next piece of wood, then the next, and don’t stop until all the wood is clean.

Swipered

You know, I wanted to directly steal this from Allie Brosh, herself, mostly because I am a very bad person, especially on the internet. While I have this particular post bookmarked, I have most of her posts bookmarked which wasn’t helpful in this case and so I did an Image search because that should have brought it straight up, right? And it did, this was the first image, but it’s not from her site. It’s from some other site who stole the picture before I did. The entire internet has stolen this picture before me and most of them have meme’d it up and…*sigh* Ms. Brosh, if you ever see this and want me to remove this hand-me-down theft, just let me know and I will do so. You can tell me in the comments section, I won’t mind because then I can frame the comment…well, after printing it and stuff. This internet is so difficult sometimes.

4) Let the wood dry

The wood shouldn’t have been wet but you did just rub it down with a damp cloth so it needs to dry a bit before it can be oiled.

5) Annie, get your oil

There are a few schools of thought on the oil rag. I’ve recently joined the one that says you should get your rag as oily as possible and when you’re done using it, store it in a sealed plastic bag so you can use it again next time and not have to apply so much oil. I use a sock as my oil rag because I can stick my hand up inside and really get my whole arm into the action.

The first couple of times you polish your furniture, you’ll need to apply tons of oil to your oiling cloth. I don’t know how important it is to put the oil on the cloth instead of directly on the wood, but since that’s how my grandmother did it, that’s how we’re doing it, too. Press the cloth to the mouth of the oil bottle and upend the bottle onto the cloth. Do this two or three times, leaving oily circles in your cloth…or sock, in my case.

That's an oil dot. The table I'm about to oil is nice and clean and dry even though it looks all shiny and wet. It's not. Trust me.

That’s an oil dot. The table I’m about to oil is nice and clean and dry even though it looks all shiny and wet.

6) Polish the wood

I remember learning in my shop class to “go with the grain” and I think that was for staining and finishing but maybe it’s also for polishing? I don’t remember and I don’t actually use that advice anyhow. I rub the oil into the wood using little circles. It’s really easy to see what you’re doing since everything you’ve oiled will be all slick and shining. Oil everything you washed, get it all glossied-up and purty. Again, if you’re using  a new cloth, you’ll have to re-oil it often as the cloth will suck up more oil than the furniture does.

Oooh, so slickery. While it looks nice, the shine does not equal cleanliness. You’re not done yet. Keep going.

7) Buff it out

And here’s the part that always gets left behind, the part that makes me want to yell at the house cleaners who let wood stay wet-looking, the part that spawned this whole post in the first place.

Look. When you put on sunscreen, you don’t just smear it on and let it stay white and sticky on your skin, right? (If you do, this analogy is not going to work for you) You rub it in so as to protect your skin. This is pretty much the same thing.

You’ve got a buffing cloth (also a sock, in my case) and it’s time to put it to use. Return to the first piece of furniture you oiled. The oil should have sat long enough to soak in by now and it’s time to rub it in the rest of the way and take the leftover oil off the surface. You can go with the grain or you can use big circles as you wipe the cloth across the furniture. Rub briskly, press firmly but not like you’re trying to dent the wood or anything, and keep going over the oil until it no longer looks oily. Continue buffing the furniture in the order in which it was oiled.

This sock will rub in and wipe away all that excess oil.

This sock will rub in and wipe away all that excess oil.

8) Stand back and admire your handiwork. Maybe also have a drink, you deserve it, though wash your hands first, otherwise your oily fingers will drop the glass.

Your furniture should now be beautiful, clean and shining but with a matte finish, not glossy. Your house should smell like oil soap and lemon oil. You should feel like a ’50’s housewife. You can put your pearls on, if you’d like. Better yet, make yourself a martini and kick back. Just don’t put your feet on the newly-cleaned wood.

See? It’s shiny but not glossy. This is how your wood is supposed to look after it’s been oiled. Glossy is pretty, yes, but it dries and turns sticky, attracting even more dust and pet hair and small bugs and probably children. You know, now that I think of it, maybe cleaners leave behind a high-gloss shine so that your furniture gets dirtier more quickly necessitating their services more often. If that’s the case: It’s a trap!

Caveats

Remember I said I live in a dry climate? It’s important that we let the oil sit on the wood for a few minutes before buffing it off. I don’t know that this is so important in humid climates. You might be able to get away with oiling the piece and then buffing it right away. I don’t know. Consult someone you trust who knows about taking care of furniture in humid areas. It still needs to be buffed, though.

I don’t wash my oiling or buffing cloths, I store them in a Ziploc bag and reuse them until they can’t be used any longer, which is usually after several years. Then I throw them away because I’m not sure they can be recycled in any fashion.

I should be doing this quarterly, possibly more often, but I don’t. I’m way too lazy. I dust maybe once a month and then oil the furniture twice a year, if it’s lucky. I do oil it every January after I take down the Christmas decorations, though. That happens without fail.

You’ll note I didn’t mention the Old English polish-with-stain. You can read the directions on the bottle if you plan on using something like that. Just remember to match the color of the polish to the color of the wood. For instance, the dark wood polish isn’t good for light pine. Well, I mean, it’s fine for light pine if you want to stain it darker with wood polish but…why would you do that?

If you want to wax your furniture instead, I can’t help you there. I hate waxing anything. However, this website might be able to help.

Remember: I am not a licensed furniture caretaker. It’s hard to ruin your furniture using lemon oil but if you have any niggling doubts about whether or not you should use the process above on your furniture, then don’t. Maybe just go with a damp cloth. Or hire a house cleaner.

Lastly: The table that acted as my model was my dad’s. It had belonged to his parents beforehand and they gave it to him when he moved out. It’s at least fifty years old, was refinished about twenty years ago, and it still looks nice so, obviously, this method works. Others work, too. Find the one that’s best for you but please do not leave your wood all slick and shiny. Thank you.

**The title of this post and all the not-that-hidden innuendo within are dedicated to Julio because he is a perv.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Opinions on STUFF

I have a little onion, it grows within its bed

Guess what?

After a season of psychotic weather, there is hope.
And by “hope,” I mean “plants are coming forth despite the craziness going on around them” and not “the weather might get better soon.”
I’m not stupid.

Egyptian walking onion

Behold! The harbinger of spring: my Egyptian Walking Onion, aka topsetting onion – read more about them here: http://www.egyptianwalkingonion.com/ – is pushing up through the snow, uncaring that it keeps dipping down into the subzeroes, scoffing at the 20 pounds of precip piling up on it every week. It is ready to be green and nothing will stop it!

And look! Down amongst the deadness, sprigs of Greek Oregano burst forth. Even if summer never comes, I will have oregano to season my meals.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard

I was an angelic child – or – Grudge Number One

I attended a Behavioral EQ workshop yesterday where I was once more reminded that I have the emotional intelligence of a hermit crab. At least I’m consistent, I suppose, as these test scores never waver, not in ten years.

You know how workshops go. You build up through the information and then put it all together to get to the pivotal learning moment, which I did. Yay. However, the thing that has stuck with me was one of the beginning questions: “Can you think of an instance in which you became upset and reacted violently?” (not necessarily physical violence, just more along the lines of the Fight part of “Fight or Flight” response). Here’s something neat about me: I tend to get overwrought, upset, hateful, retributional…retributioney? Retributive!…and then I get over it, move on, and typically forget it ever happened. I have three grudges and maybe five regrets for my entire life, thus far. Most everything else that has upset me greatly is now forgotten, though probably never forgiven, knowing me.

Because of this ability to let go of all the things that piss me off, I wasn’t able to think of any recent instances in which I had been so upset that I reacted horribly, fighting instead being receptive to the elements of my situation and reacting accordingly. I thought back, thought back further, continued to think back until I finally settled on probably one of the two most crucial stress situations in my life. The topic? My First Grudge.

Dial back to 1979. It’s January. I’m probably in third grade. Chris is not in school yet; he gets to stay home with our mom all day, doing the things that non-school-attending children do. The holidays are over but I am still basking in the glow of my amazing loot haul. It had been a Christmas like I had never experienced. I got all the things I’d asked for from Santa plus a whole truckload of other great gifts. However, there were two presents that stood miles above the rest in my love and esteem: My beautiful, new, 13-inch Wonder Woman doll and my incredible Barbie Perfume Maker. I adored these toys more than I had ever adored anything else in all my life. They turned me into Gollum.

Are you with me, so far? Good, because here is what happened next:

You know, in my memory, she is much more beautiful. I’d kept the leotard for a long time but it didn’t fit any other doll so I don’t think it survived to my adulthood. However, the pink halter dress is still somewhere in my family. Perhaps Not-Little B has it?
Image swiped from My Toy Collection blog

Look at it! Just LOOK at it! Doesn’t it make you want to grab a powder stick, fill the little reservoir with water, and create heavenly scents? Oh, the longing I feel when I gaze upon this picture.
Image swiped from Sprinkles and Puffballs: Girl’s Toys Of the 80’s

During the holiday break, I had spent hours and hours creating beautiful perfumes, unique scents you would find nowhere else in the world except for maybe the bedroom of another child who also owned this magical maker of aromatic elixirs. I was ever so precise in my eau de toilette masterpieces, bottling them lovingly, arranging everything so that the glory of my art could be understood no matter who viewed it. In retrospect, maybe I made the wondrous little manufacturing station too alluring.

So there I was, freshly home from my first day back to school. I’d brought Wonder Woman with me, of course, and was taking her to my room so I could help her change into after-school play clothes, as we did back then. I walked with my doll in hand, probably talking to her, down the short hallway and could smell the Barbie perfumes I had made rushing to me, greeting me, beckoning me to come mix a new scent, to rearrange the bottles, to sniff the pastel-colored powder sticks. Filled with joy and anticipation, I flung open my bedroom door and found a  nightmare before me. His name: Chris.

My little brother was in my room, a place he was neither allowed nor welcome. I don’t know if he had been drawn to the perfection that was the Barbie Perfume Maker or if he hated me so much, he wanted to crush my dreams while I watched, but he was on my bed, frolicking like an imp, a small, plastic bottle in each hand with several more dancing at his feet. He was sprinkling the last of my hard-won, carefully-planned, beloved perfumes on my bed. He’d already relieved the rest of the bottles of their magic, dousing my throw rug, my stuffed animals, anything he had been able to find.

Rage.

So much pure red rage.

He was laughing. He was jumping up and down, from bed to dresser to desk, knocking things over and destroying my entire life. I screamed. No animal on the planet has ever before bellowed such a yawp, no amount of pain, suffering, or agony in any other being alive could have produced a cacophony as feral as mine was in that moment. I had Wonder Woman by the legs. I charged Chris. In my need to stop his carnage, I brought the doll up, up, up and then DOWN right on top of his hideous little head. My screams of outrage were immediately matched by his of pain and shock and probably fear. Blood geysered from his skull as if he were a whale just up for air. I looked at the red lifeforce gushing forth like my own anger and felt justified in my action until I realized his knobby little noggin had split my beautiful, my treasured, my precious Wonder Woman doll in twain. The upper half of her body dangled lifelessly and would have fallen to the floor had it not been held by her patriotic leotard while her legs remained firmly gripped in my angry fist. My shrieks, monstrous before, ratcheted up another several octaves, gaining volume and momentum as each second passed.

I probably could have forgiven the destruction of my life’s work, especially since the perfumes could have been recreated. Maybe I could have also come to terms with the demise of Wonder Woman; already the back of my mind was tracking down the nearest duct tape. It was not to be, however, because my horrible, terrible, cruel parents made two disastrous decisions that night and my first-ever grudge blossomed. When it comes time for those “people,” and I use the term loosely because it will soon become obvious there is no humanity in the souls of either my mother or father,  to move into nursing homes, they will wish I was beating them with a 13-inch piece of hard plastic.

My parents ran into the room to find the source of the commotion. I know they could smell the mixing aromas of strawberries, lilacs, little boy’s blood, tears, plastic, and hate and do you know what they did? DO YOU KNOW? They took Wonder Woman from my trembling hand but not with the intention of fixing her sad, broken body. They took her and they threw her away followed closely by the entire Barbie Perfume Maker and all its apparatus (except, as I found much later, for one empty bottle, sans lid, and the white trellis that had fallen behind my desk during Chris’ scamperings) My dad took Chris to the kitchen to apply pressure to his goddamned stupid, hard, toy-breaking head and then to feed him ice cream and I…I! The victim of this heinous double crime! I was lectured, probably spanked (who remembers by that point. What could they have done to me to punish me further?) and told to stay in my room for the rest of the night while the two things I loved most in the world were taken from me, put out in the garbage can, and placed on the curb for morning pickup. I had no dinner. No family TV time. No bath. I couldn’t even brush my teeth. I am surprised, in retrospect, that I did not die of dehydration in the night, since I had nothing to drink and I am fairly certain I cried every ounce of moisture from my body. And it’s not like I could subsist on perfume water as it had all been tossed away.

I will never, ever forgive my parents for coddling my evil little brother and punishing me for his misdeeds and while I appreciate the strides his wife has made in recent years to correct his long-ago dastardly acts, Chris is on my shit-list for all of time, as well.

And that is the story of My First Grudge, the first time my amygdala urged me to fight with fury instead of flee with fear.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood