Category Archives: can’t make this shit up

The Cough, a horror story.


Warning, this is gross.  Not quite as gross as that time I accidentally Carried my sex buddy, but if this story becomes a stage show, you’re definately going to want to stay out of the splash zone in the first few rows. 

Can I offer you one of my ..... tissues?

Getting over a nasty little cold has left me with a particularly bad Cough.  To understand why I’ve capitalized the C in cough, you have to understand that this is not the bodily function of the politely dying Victorian consumptive, this is more like a pull start motor in the throes of an exorcism.  From flubber demons.

"You're my new mommy!"

My Cough demands attention, and a certain begrudging respect.  Strangers stop and say “Woah.”  And then often cross themselves, scoot away and start googling “death rattle” on their phones.  My cat won’t have anything to do with me, she just hides and dreams of better days when I didn’t hack thunderclaps at her.  A trash truck driver actually stopped his work to look around for what the ruckus was.

"Do you hear something?"

And now that I’m moving through what my friend Helena politely calls the “expecterant phase,” it’s gotten messier.  And she’s pretty much the only person willing to be around me during it, bless her heart.  For her trouble, she and two of her unsuspecting friends got to witness the following this morning.

We’re driving and I start to feel the cough tickle come on.  It sounds and feels like a tick-tick-tick in my chest because I’m breathing through a film of semi-gelatized snot.  Once I start coughing, I have to finish, I have to hack it up or I feel like I’m going to choke on it.  (I did warn you this was going to be gross.)  I start hacking and my leg starts twitching like a dog getting it’s belly rubbed and then it ends with me with a mouthful of demon-snot.  I can feel it’s firmer consistancy floating in my salivia.  I’m out of tissues in my purse, so I try to sidetalk out of one side of my mouth with the debris and various Cough shrapnel floating in the other, “are your windows up back there in the back seat and does anyone mind if I spit out the window?”

They don’t so much agree as realize they have no real good choices here and say, “um sure?”  I roll down my window and wind up for the pitch but get firmly checked by the seatbelt’s shoulder strap.  I recoil and make a second windup but the whole missile launch has already been thrown dangerously offbalance.  In that slow-mo that only bad memories come in, I realize that it lacks the critical OUMPH! but there is no return. 

It's too late to take lessons.

I fall back into my seat with snot and salvia streaming across my right check and tendrils extending into my hair.  “Babies spit up more effectively than that,” I offer feebly.   A hand extending from the backseat, belonging to a girl I’ve just met moments before (and probably never again, now) offers me two crumpled Rubios napkins.  I realize that most of the damage is to the shoulder of my own top, where I’ve Jackson Pollocked a fist-sized green and yellow painting of my viral illness.

Not that I'm suggesting he's anything less than a genius.

I hear the two girls in the back seat discuss the contents of the one girl’s purse, from whence the napkins came, probably because they’re desperate to distract themselves from the horror of what they’ve just seen.

I continue to take stock of the damage.  One ambitious bit of snot has broken my body’s gravity and streaked away like a green comet of nasty across the back passenger side window.  This is now the view of a nice girl named Cynthia, whom I barely know.

But with a daytime background.

 At least I made sure that window was UP?  Small saving graces, I guess.

“That pretty much could not have gone worse.”

We arrive at my destination and I offer goodbyes.  “Ok, thanks and can we not talk about my harffing a snotball all over everything?”

………………. Silence.

“No,” I continued.  “That was so bad that I think it enters the realm of funny and we must joke about it.” 

“Yes,” came the chorus from the backseat, as the final word on the subject.


A Little’s Enough


I wrote fan mail once and I mean like once in my whole life. 

I facebooked Tom Delonge from Angels & Airwaves (also Blink 182) and tried at first to NOT sound like a deranged teenager and then gave up because who cares?  I wrote about what his music had meant to me at an especially wounded time.  I went ahead and threw in a “you saved my life.”  I’d be more ashamed except I really truly meant it.

Secret Crowds

Everything’s Magic

Love Like Rockets

A Little’s Enough


As I was writing a chat window popped up and “Tom” asked me for my info to send me free tickets.  It was obviously a hacker, and I don’t recall whether I bothered to hit send on my email or not.

All that to say that as much as I like to think of myself as someone who holds her shit together around people who are celebrities, Tom Delonge was above and beyond.  If I met him?  Pregnant and out on rape charges.  That’s how that would go down.

This weekend I had a mild inner ear infection.  The kind that make you dizzy, really, really dizzy.  I spent my weekend on the couch crocheting.  I was feeling better today and in yoga pants I’d put on Friday night and never bothered to change, I took my bike up to the corner grocery store.  It’s important to have a visual of my wet hair, sequined tshirt with cat hair, and bike helmet.  I had about 18 items in my cart but since I’m in that store like every third day I know that the express lanes are often waiting and totally accepting of more items.  I have the decency to pretend to care when I start unloading my items onto the counter. 

“I hope they don’t count past 15,” I mutter to the tattooed elbow in the corner of my vision, just so I don’t seem like the bitch who ignores signs.  Rocket ship tattoos, it registers.  Really awesome rocke- HOLYSHIT.




HOLYSHIT.  I know who that is.  I glance at the clock beyond his head.  Yep, that’s Tom Delonge.  I pretend to consult my blank wrist to the time on the clock.  Still very Tom Delonge.  Stop looking at a blank wrist.  Tom is buying groceries with his daughter Ava.  I am melting down while wearing cat hair, sequins and a bike helmet.  He’s attempting to do normal people things.  I’M attempting to do normal people things while watching him do normal people things.  Do not touch him.  DO NOT BURY YOUR FACE IN HIS TSHIRT AND CRY, VJ.  STOP MUTTERING THESE INSTRUCTIONS TO YOURSELF  TO YOURSELF UNDER YOUR BREATH HE MIGHT HEAR YOU.

He turns and looks at me.  I hope I wasn’t making strange strangled noises, I don’t think I was, but who really fucking knows?  His eyes meet mine and my face splits in an enormous smile and there was a moment of I-know-you-know-that-I-know-and-I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know and Ava said “Daddy!  something I didn’t catch.”



The cashier said “cash back?” and I stopped blinking. 
“That was Tom Delonge from Blink-182, you know.”
“Was it?”
“He’s kind of the only person that I don’t know that I totally care about.”
“You should catch him in the parking lot.  I’ll hold your stuff.”
“No ……. I don’t think I could do any better with words.”

You brought a sloth to a wine tasting, don’t look at me like I’M weird.


Valancy Jane – “OMG.  Are you raffling off a live sloth?!?!”

Wine Store Management – “Hahaha!  No.”

Valancy Jane – “OMG.  Can I hold it?!?!”

Wine Store Management – “Hahaha!  No.”

Valancy Jane – “Can I take a picture of it on the raffle table and send it to my brother saying, ‘I WON!!!'”

Wine Store Management – “Hahaha!  Yes.”

(note, my photo didn’t come out, this photo is borrowed)

Playing Ketchup.


I know I’m way behind here.  I’ve gotta tell you about Denmark (amazing), Lacey’s birthday party (drunken and wonderful), the coffin in the attic (mostly empty), and meeting Ruan in London (yay!).

But most of all, I have to tell you about the man I love.  The man that just owns me, wrecks me and utterly delights me.  (And who THANK GOODNESS loves me back.)  He’s no stranger to my loyal readers, except for the fact that I never did really tell you his name or show you his picture.  It’s that same one, the only one.

We’ll get to that. 

It’s an insane story, and coming from me that means a lot.  Bear with me because it’s also an insanely looooooooooong story.  It started when I was five, it covers such topics as in what order  do you put employee mailboxes?  can you expect to win when you’ve broken all the rules?  and remind me again what are the circumstances under which the anti-Christ will be born?

More so than ever, I’m so excited to tell you everything.

I have no doubt that I’ve earned it …. somehow….


Yesterday I got a check in the mail, hand addressed, from the City of San Diego.

No explanation, no enclosed letter, nothing but an invoice number and a staple on the check stub that held a remnant of what must have been an additional page.

It’s not from the parking or traffic services division, sadly I’m familiar with their addresses.  I haven’t done jury duty or anything like that.  I’m not involved in any lawsuits.

I’m left with the conclusion that it was an April Fools joke, an attempt to drive me nuts.  So I’m just going to sit back, cash it, and accept that the city wants me to have these.

I joined a gym.


I signed the papers and handed them over.  This gym was perfectly situated by my work.  It’s a racquetball club, actually.  “Ok,” she scanned them.  I looked around. 

No underemployed gym rats and hardly any women.  Just a bunch of toned executive types paying racquetball while the ellipticals got dusty in the corner, and the fitness class I dropped in on?  I was half the class.  Perfect, I thought.  I can drop in after work, get in, get out.  No crowds, low rates because I have no desire to play racquetball.

The receptionist handed me my membership card.  “Would you like water, juice or beer?”


She pointed to the case.  “Water?  Juice?  Beer?”  She pulled out a Stone IPA, like she knew me. 

I looked around.  A handsome 50-something fella winked at me as he walked past me, out the door to his BMW, throwing another look my way as he put the top down.

“Is this really a gym?”

“Sure” was her answer.

I went back again today.  As I was walking in, juggling a purse and gym bag, a woman, younger and thinner than me, held the door for me on her way out.  “Well aren’t you pretty!” she chirped.

I turned to the receptionist.  “This clearly isn’t a real gym.  It’s some sort of experiment.”

“Sign in here please?”