It was a wise Rolling Stone who once said something about not always getting what you want, but getting what you need. The line between want and need is often so blurred that it’s difficult to separate the two, but today it was crystal clear.

It was a beautiful day – one of those perfect sunny, almost 70 degree Saturdays after a week that dropped down in the 30’s. My neighborhood was packed with people desperate to blow the stink off of them after so many months inside. I wandered through bookstores, coffee shops and antique dealers until I finally made my way into the thrift store down the street.

I was just about to leave the store empty-handed when out of the corner of my eye, I caught a flash of something… spectacular. I took a photo and texted my friend Natasha.

“FYI – I’m buying this!”

An immediate response: “Oh no you’re not! You put that down right now!”

“Too late. I just did.”

Let me introduce you to Maude:


Maude is my new green-eyed, cross-dressing rooster marionette. Someone lovingly made Maude out of a cardboard tube for a body, papier mâché head and hands, and rolled up newspapers covered in terrycloth for legs. And then they dressed him in a floral muumuu. How could someone give away such a treasure?

There was a split second where I actually set Maude back on the shelf, worrying that with two cats and my ever-growing collection of vintage Girl Scout memorabilia, I was only a few suitcases full of old National Geographics away from being featured on the next episode of Hoarders. But then I came to my senses and proudly carried Maude up to the cashier.

“Well that’s something you can’t live without,” said the tattooed cashier as he flashed me a smile.

“EXACTLY! It’s like I’ve been waiting my entire life to find a papier mâché cross-dressing rooster marionette, and now I can die happy.”

“Enjoy your chicken!”

So far, Miso is getting along well with Maude. I suspect these boys will become fast friends.



Jasmine, on the other hand, seems indifferent. Maybe she’s jealous of the muumuu, maybe it’s the scent of basement, I can’t be certain. But she’ll come around eventually, because she needs Maude just as much as the rest of us do.

Goddamn 2010 Census

I’ve got to be honest – I really don’t appreciate the tone The 2010 Census is taking with me. I’ll answer my ten questions when I’m good and ready. Yeah, I know… I’ve seen the ads. My lack of participation is screwing things for all the other 39 year old white unmarried childless women out there, but I don’t even care. Just try to take away all our government funding for cat litter and box wine. I f*cking dare you! If anyone so much as thought about cutting our annual funds for retro-chic craft projects and skinny jeans that we knew were unflattering when we bought them but we bought them anyway, my people would rise up like a tsunami and level this country.

I’m *this* close to filing a restraining order against The 2010 Census. The post cards, the letters, the packets, the follow up letters, the second packet, the threats of legal action. What’s next? You gonna send Ed Begley over to my house to haul me off to jail in his solar car? Do you have any idea how many ironic folk renditions of classic pop songs we could have purchased on iTunes with the money you’re spending on postage alone? So many.

Frankly, I think this whole census thing is the reason I forgot to post the March 1960 Girl Scout calendar photo. The 2010 Census is screwing up my whole life! Laundry piling up? GODDAMN 2010 CENSUS! Taxes still due? GODDAMN 2010 CENSUS! Acid reflux? GODDAMN 2010 CENSUS! Computer crashed? GODDAMN 2010 CENSUS!

Well, I can’t let The 2010 Census ruin my life any longer. It’s time I took back control, so please accept these inspiring photos of sisters doing it for themselves as my sincerest apology. Goddamn 2010 census.

March 1960
March 1960
“The Investiture Ceremony is a high moment in a Girl Scout’s life… as she receives her official pin and repeats her Promise.”

April 1960
April 1960
“A spectacular display of poppies on this Arizona hillside makes a wonderful background for picture taking.”

It’s about time…

After weeks of heated debate, violent arguments, hurt feelings, mud slinging, arm wrestling, mud wrestling, arm slinging, apologies, forgiveness, Trojan viruses, and sudoku, the TequilaCon Planning Committee has finally decided on the actual venue for TequilaCon 2010!

And the winner is…

Steamworks Brewing Company
375 Water Street
Vancouver, BC
Ph : 604.689.2739

Saturday April 24, 2010
6:00pm – ?

So – if you’re planning on attending – and I hope you are – just send an email to and let me know two things:

1. Your URL (if you have one – and you don’t need to have a blog to attend)
2. How you would like your name to appear on your lanyard

But now the biggest question remains to be answered: do they serve poutine in Vancouver?

February 1960

I can’t believe I almost let the month slip by without sharing this amazing scene from the 1960 Girl Scout calendar. I wasn’t even planning on earning my first aid badge, but now that I see how useful it can be, I’m reconsidering. If only I could get the cats to come out from under the bed…

February 1960
“Big sister assures him that his pet needs only a bit of first aid, and that the paw will be well in a short time.”


This weekend, I decided to abandon my life of crime. After sporadically breaking the law over the past year or so, I finally decided to go to Best Buy to pick up a new earpiece for my cell phone. I rarely talk on the phone in my car, but when I do, I’d prefer not to kill anyone so I decided it was time to comply with the hands-free law in Chicago.

I asked the salesperson standing next to me where I could find headsets for an iPhone, and she said, “You mean a Bluetooth?”

And I said, “No, I just want a regular earpiece thing, like the kind with the wire that plugs into your phone. And the other part that goes into your ear, you know, so I can talk in the car. Hands-free.”

“So you want to listen to music on it?”

“No, I just want to be able to take a call while I’m driving without running over pedestrians.”

She looked confused and brought me over to another salesperson in the cell phone section.

I told him what I wanted and he said, “Oh, so you want a Bluetooth.”

Apparently, asking for a non-Bluetooth earpiece is like asking for an analog TV or a rotary dial telephone. They don’t seem to make them anymore, or at least no one wants to go out of their way to sell you one.

I desperately did not want to get a Bluetooth, because I am afraid of becoming that person. That person who wears her glowing device everywhere she goes, pressing her ear to pick up calls as she walks down the street, talking to the air as she rides the train, making everyone think she’s completely insane.

While I was browsing through the myriad Bluetooth options, I heard crying coming from behind me. I turned around and saw a little boy standing in the middle of the cell phone section, sobbing. At first I thought maybe he had fallen and hurt himself, but then I heard him say, in between choked sobs, “Where’s… my… dad?”

He looked to be about five years old, had messy brown hair and was wearing a bright blue puffy down coat. He was clearly terrified. In his right hand he held a small red rubber ball and in his left hand, a Ziploc bag of pretzels. He walked tentatively, with his arms bent up at his sides like he was venturing into cold water at the beach.

Several blue polo-shirted Best Buy employees looked at each other for a moment, trying to decide what to do, when two of them knelt down. They were trying to talk to the boy, but he wouldn’t look at them. His eyes were too busy frantically searching the crowd, scanning every pair of legs to find the ones that belonged to his dad.

He just kept crying softly, “Where’s my dad? Where did my dad go?”

The tears weren’t streaming down his face in grubby smears. They were falling out of his eyes in perfect droplets and landing on the floor.

The pony-tailed salesman brought the boy up to the front of the store where the manager made an awkward announcement, “Uh, attention in the store. Will the… will the uh, father of Sam… uh, come to the front of the store? Father of Sam, come to the front of the store.”

Moments later, a panicked Father of Sam came running up to the front of the store and scooped up his son. Sam’s bag of pretzels dropped to the ground as he wrapped his arms tightly around his father’s neck. The rubber ball bounced a few times and then rolled along the floor, eventually coming to rest against a bin of bargain DVDs.

I smiled, and went back to Bluetooth shopping. I tried to find the most discreet model I could: a tiny, black rectangle with no pulsating lights or microphone sticking out of it like that of a drive-thru employee at some sort of futuristic Burger King.

As I walked through the parking lot to my car, my mind kept going back to the image of Sam’s white-knuckled fist clenched firmly around that Ziploc bag of broken pretzel sticks, holding tightly to anything familiar. I heard myself say aloud, “That was so sad,” and then realized I was crying.

I shook my head, smiling, as I wiped my eyes and stepped into my car. I no longer worry that the Bluetooth will be the reason people think I am insane.

Random Acts of Kindness

As I met my friend Seamus outside his office last week to go to the movies, he handed me a package, sealed inside a clear plastic interoffice envelope.

“Here,” he said, shoving the envelope in my hands. “I don’t want any part in your illicit transactions.”

“What is this?”

“It’s from my coworker, Robin. He said to give this to you.”

I looked down at the package and my eyes widened as I spied the familiar logo stamped across the brown paper bag.

GS bag

“No way! Where did he get this?! How did he know I liked Girl Scouts? Wait… who’s Robin?”

“I think you might have seen his band play. I don’t know… I guess he reads your blog. Like I said, don’t try to drag me into your world.”

We hopped on the El and headed up to the theater. I carefully pulled the calendar out of the bag and let out a squeal as I saw the cover.

GS cover

It was an original 1960 Girl Scout Calendar in mint condition, and it was just glorious. After flipping through each month, I quickly put it back into the plastic sheath, safe from the grunting, dripping, elbowing savages all around me on the train. They wouldn’t understand.

This is the perfect guide to keep me on task as I navigate my way through the Year of the Badge. Each month, I will be inspired by the smiling faces of my sister Scouts as we all strive to live up to the Girl Scout code.

I’m only going to show you January right now, but seriously, you do NOT want to miss February. It’s so the best. Except for May – that one is totally the best. Ohmigod, I just looked at June again – I don’t even want to tell you what’s going on in June, but there’s a boy and a calf, and some Converse Chucks. And oh, man, I cannot WAIT to do what they’re doing in October. I’m not even sure if that’s legal in the city limits, but holy cats, is that going to be fun!

So stick around, because this year is just getting started. And thanks to the unexpected kindness and generosity of strangers, it’s already off to an amazing start. Thank you again, Robin! You are well on your way to earning your citizenship badge!


GS january
“So proud of their Flag at all times, but especially interested in the placement of the stars in the new Flag.”

The Rural Juror*

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on the entire farce that is the Cook County justice system. That’s right, I said it.

A few weeks ago, I received a summons for jury duty. Or rather, jury service, as it is now called. I was thrilled! After a failed attempt at being selected to serve on a jury a few years ago (Out of court settlement. Bullshit.), I would finally get a second chance at becoming the foreperson I was born to be.

Last Friday was the official day. Just like last time, I was chosen to serve at one of the suburban courthouses. And just like last time, I could tell within an instant that I was the most qualified person to lead the jury to a fair and balanced decision. That sounds like bragging, but trust me, it’s not. Not much, in any case. There were very few jurors in the pool due to a light day of trials, and my closest competition consisted of:

1. Woman who fell asleep 20 minutes after arrival, and remained face down on the table for the next three hours.
2. Creepy skinny man who was staring at me every time I looked up from my laptop, and then would quickly look away and giggle into his hand.
3. Elderly man who spent most of the day picking at something on his ankle.
4. Young woman playing first-person shooter game on her laptop.
5. Woman who sucked her teeth and shook her head during the entire episode of The View.

Seriously. They NEEDED me on that jury! Would you want that motley crew deciding your fate? I should think not. But unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. Around noon, the jury babysitter got on the microphone and said, “And now the news you’ve all been waiting for… you can go home! The only trial of the day just settled, so your jury service is now complete. Please come to the desk to collect your paycheck.”

But didn’t she get it? That wasn’t the news I had been waiting to hear. The news I had been waiting for was, “Based solely on our silent observations over the past three hours, we have decided to make Jenny the foreperson for this trial, one which will be fascinating and full of complex twists and turns and tearful accusations and inadmissible confessions, yet will only require you to miss two days of work.”

So you know what? The next time I get called to perform my civic duty, I’m going to let someone else take the reins and be a leader. Why should I put my heart and soul on the line again, only to be crushed? Maybe I’ll just pick at my ankle or play Call of Duty IX: Entrails of Tears or tsk-tsk during Oprah. Let that courthouse just wonder what it missed out on. You can only hurt me so many times, Cook County. I’m on to your game.

*That title will only make sense to the most devoted 30 Rock fans.

2010: Be Prepared

Another year, another theme. It’s amazing how quickly time flies. So we’re already almost one week into 2010, which means it’s high time I decide on my theme for the year, as well as my personal sponsor-slash-spirit guide. Over the past few years, my life has been led by Ann-Margret, Willona from Good Times and Patti Smith. Through their sass, their humor, their talent and their art, these were all women who never failed to inspire me and keep me on the right path, so 2010 has some big shoes to fill.

Typically, I debate over a few different options each year, weighing the pros and cons of each. This year was different. There was one and only one candidate. When I think about what has inspired and, yes, possessed me this past year (aside from photobooths), it has most definitely been my quest to relive my lost youth as a would-be Girl Scout, so it makes perfect sense that my personal sponsor for 2010 should be none other than Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girls Scouts of America.

[via Wikipedia]

I could tell you all about her original vision for the Girl Scouts, but heck, why don’t we just let her tell us herself?

What began as a simple curiosity when my friend Natasha first started talking about Girl Scout badges has now become a full-fledged mission. We have decided that 2010 will be The Year of the Badge, as we intend to retroactively earn the badges I have acquired through the wonder that is eBay. With my trusty 1954 edition of the Girl Scout Handbook at my side, I will work to gain the skills that would make Ms. Low proud.

In fact, I started working on my first badge over the holidays as I spent time with my nephews in Wisconsin. Once they got over the fact that they were doing “EWWW! GIRL SCOUT STUFF,” they completely threw themselves into the project and totally impressed me with their commitment.

I am particularly interested in earning the badges that no longer exist – the lost arts, as Natasha is fond of calling them – so I began with Bookbinding. As our first task toward earning this badge, my nephews and I cut, sanded and designed wooden book covers. In fact, we braved the -16 degree temperatures in Wisconsin to make our way to Menards to buy wood and sandpaper. I am now 1/10th of the way toward earning this first badge and I only ended up with two slivers and one minor burn in the process.







So what do I expect to achieve in this, The Year of the Badge? With Juliette Low as my guide, I know that 2010 will be filled with adventure and knowledge and courage and art and friendship. There will be fire building, knot tying, outdoor cooking, animal husbandry, toy carving and so much more, and I can’t wait to get started!


What do these three things have in common?

1. Blogging
2. Tequila drinking
3. Hockey playing

Give up? All three of these activities are likely to be happening next April when TEQUILACON GOES INTERNATIONAL! That’s right… bust out the passports, pack the Cuervo in your checked baggage, we’re taking a road trip to Canada, people!

Earlier this year, the Official TequilaCon Planning Committee met in Las Vegas to review all the TequilaCon 2010 candidate cities’ application videos and make our final selection.

[Dave, Brandon and Vahid hard at work on official TequilaCon Planning Committee business.]

It was a grueling weekend with a lot of heated discussions over the craps tables. At one point, we thought about letting the roulette wheel make our final decision, but ultimately we knew we couldn’t leave such an important decision up to chance. So it is with great excitement that I get to announce next year’s TequilaCon location:


We will announce more details as we have them, but for now, mark your calendars and renew your passports. We need to help Vancouverites fill the lonely void that will inevitably be left in their lives after Olympics-mania sucks them dry.

[Gorgeous design work by the über-talented Dave from Blogography – thanks Dave!]