dedicated to vulgarity

“I Don’t Care How Much of a Feminist I Am, I’m Not Covering My Face In Period Blood” -Danis Owens — March 9, 2019

“I Don’t Care How Much of a Feminist I Am, I’m Not Covering My Face In Period Blood” -Danis Owens

        I believe all humans are equal. But I don’t want to wipe my face with a used menstrual pad.

         I believe in the unalienable rights of all people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of gender. But I’m not going to take out my Diva Cup, dump it into my hands, and smear it across my money maker.

          I believe everyone has the right to express their gender identity as they see it. But I will never get to the point where I ring out my used tampons into an empty makeup compact and create a facial of period blood.

          I believe menstruation is a fully natural and necessary part of life for women, it is not gross or dirty. But I am not going to reach into the toilet and fish a blood clot out just to paint my face with a masque of uterine lining.

          I believe in educating children using feminist ideals to destroy the patriarchy in future generations. But that doesn’t mean I plan on squatting over a paper plate, bearing down with a healthy valsalva maneuver and squirting out a stream of steaming red sanguineous fluid in order to daub a little ditty of it on my cheeks, forehead, chin and nose.

          There are so many other ways to show your respect for women. As with any blood or bodily fluid, for the love of Christ and all other deities, please just collect and dispose of it in a sanitary fashion.

A Squit of Leisure — October 4, 2018

A Squit of Leisure

Mrs. Kittens sat by the window at her writing desk. She looked at the envelope in front of her and sighed lightly. The breeze wafted through the curtains, bringing along with it the scent of a rabbit and the chirping of birds. Her heart swelled with a deep need for the outdoors… She could only console her desire by answering their chirping with her own special song. She managed to hold back and returned her attention to the matter currently at hand.


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Iddlebiddle,

Sadly, I will not be able to attend your event. I greatly appreciate your kind invitation.


She stopped herself and crossed out her writing on her specially monogrammed stationery with one straight line. She folded it neatly in half and threw it in the embossed metal trash can sitting next to her. She realized it was pointless to attempt turning down the invite to her friend’s soiree. If she did actually write that note and have it delivered by her girl, she would immediately have Mrs. Iddlebiddle standing at her doorway, knocking furiously.


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Snuggly Iddlebiddle, she began again, on new stationary.

        Mr. Kittens and I would be pleased to attend your event. We greatly appreciate

your kind invitation.

Thank you,

    Mrs. Luna Petunia Kittens nee’ Maow Maow.


Mrs. Kittens said her full name aloud to herself, with pride. She enjoyed the way it bounced off her tongue.  Although she had married into a certain station, she was careful to always include her maiden name. She never wished to be a squit of leisure. A tiny sweet baby of substance, that was her goal. Her fund drives for inner city cat shelters were very popular amongst the society widdles. She shuddered to think how those same kitties would react had they known of her own time spent in a shelter.

She was born feral.  She came from a long line of streetwise feral calicoes.  She spent the first few months of her life in a power plant. Dodging the workboots of the humans, snagging human treats from half-empty snack wrappers, chasing after mice and leaping at birds, she missed her carefree life. She knew, however, the trade off for such freedom was survival insecurity. Best not to dwell, she thought, but she couldn’t help herself.

Her entire litter died of failure to thrive when they were babies. Overcome by a deep existential loneliness, she felt a lump forming in her throat. She stood, bending the letter into a small, neat square. She placed it inside the envelope and sealed it with red wax and her personalized stamp. She held it in her paw for some time, tracing the gold etched design.

The stamp, a gift from Mr. Kittens after he returned from a long trip overseas. He always picked up such thoughtful gifts. She was still grateful for his kindness and understanding as, in her youth, she navigated through the social mores of high society.  A dangerous sea of whitecaps that threatened to swell and drown her more than once. She really was a lucky kitty, despite the constant yearning for the sweet nectar of freedom.

a love letter to mine kikibaby — August 31, 2018
Five Things — August 30, 2018

Five Things

This is a list of things I miss. Let’s not dwell on the order.


  1. Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper: What the fuck is this? The brigadoon version of sody pops? It only comes around once every 500 years? That’s some bullshit. Drinking it was the equivalent of having an oiled up, muscular human feed you grapes and fan you with palm fronds. This shit is like watching someone else clean your house. While we’re on the subject of long lost sodas, why the fuck did they change the recipe for Sierra Mist? And Sierra Mist cranberry was the absolute squid’s tits.


  1. Ordering whatever the fuck I want off the gotdamned menu. Now that the little baby Jesus stole all the sugar out of my mouth, I’m stuck ordering these picky bitch meals when I just want to say “I’ll have the #4 combo with cheese.” There is nothing more irritating to me, since I am the opposite of a picky eater. Also, those waitrons having to deal with me… I know they’re internally screaming and rolling their eyes. Damn you ‘Betes!


  1. Going to bed whenever I feel like it. I remember being a youth and just going to bed when I was tired. Those were the days! Now I’m sitting here, writing this dumb bullshit instead of getting a full night’s sleep. I always seem to find something “super important” to do at the last minute before I hit the sack and then go to bed. But mostly I’m just wasting time on my phone. Candy ain’t gonna crush itself.


  1. All those times I spent fucking around with my friends. Also, they were always free. Nobody used to have plans, ever. We’d just go to each other’s places with nothing particular to do and find some shit to get into. Pranking each other, getting drunk, generally acting super immature. Then everybody got married and had ugly kids and got stupid careers.


  1. My mom. She passed away 5 years ago and I think of her every day.  I always think of shit I want to call her about or text her about. I asked my brother recently what he would say to her if he could contact her. He had a gorgeous answer: “I’d tell her I miss her and I’m sorry and I love her forever no matter what or when.” Meanwhile, my answer: “oh I’d probably brag about stupid shit and tell her about podcasts to listen to!” I’m such an asshole. Got a problem with it? Talk to Mom!
SURPRISE! — August 27, 2018


When we were in high school, my dad fell asleep on the couch in his tighty-whiteys. This feat was not abnormal in itself. Howmever, he fell asleep in a very weird position like a sexy lady laying across a grand piano


^like that.
And my brother and I found it to be HILARIOUS.
So naturally we took a picture.
This was the early days of digital cameras so the pic had to be uploaded onto a special drive and then onto a disc or some other storage device.
Dad had this thing that you could plug directly into the TV.
And he was super proud and excited that this thing was so cool! So he always showed it off to his friends or mom’s friends or my friends or Jym’s friends or ANYONE who entered the house for ANY reason.
So like a month later we had forgotten about the sexy dad pic we took while he was sleeping.
And he had some people over and immediately started showing off this amazing photo sharing thing…
And up popped the sexy undies pic for everyone’s amusement!

ASK UNSAVORY AMBER — July 24, 2018


Dear Unsavory Amber,

I had a longtime friend coming to town to visit me this summer. I took time off work to entertain this guest and her family. I bought special groceries for meals I planned on preparing. When they landed at the airport, she texted me “What’s your address? We’re on our way.” She texted me about twenty minutes later that she would be staying in a different town and her excuse was “Must have been a miscommunication.” Should I be done with this friend forever?

Furious in Fargo


Dear Furious,

I understand being upset. First things first… Immediately prepare all the meals you had planned, plate everything beautifully down to the goddamn garnishes. Then take pictures, add a professional filter, tag her in them, and post them to all forms of social media, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram (duh), Twitter, LinkedIn, Grindr, etc. Make sure to include a shit load of hashtags like #keto #vegan #fitness #farmtotable #foodislife #blessed #lovemylife so that she knows what she’s missing out on. I mean, what is the reason for hashtags other than to make people jealous? #killingit. Dump the contents into the garbage and laugh; it’s the American way. I mean, you could take it to a homeless shelter but that’s just unpatriotic. Enjoy your 4th of July.

Yours truly,

Unsavory Amber


Dear Unsavory Amber,

How old is too old for sexual activity? Thanks in advance,

Horny in Horace.


Dear Horny,

Is that your real name? Is it a family name? If so, that is gross. What is wrong with your family? Also, any age older than 73 is too old. Take a cold shower and do some gardening like a normal granny, fer Christ’s sake. But, if you insist on being a sexy beast, then enjoy Grandparent’s Day safely. Use a condom, I don’t care if you’re postmenopausal. STIs still spread no matter how wrinkly your genitals.

Yours truly,

Unsavory Amber


Dear Unsavory Amber,

I’m the director of human resources for a small firm and I recently heard a rumor that one of the staff in the office has been faking a serious illness in order to do less work. I am unsure if I should confront him. If he is truly sick, he would most assuredly be upset by my questioning, but I can’t let him get away with malingering.  I just don’t know what to do!

Concerned in Casselton


Dear Concerned,

The first thing you should do is stop using exclamation points because it makes you look like a douche! Next, call him and pretend you’re from the local hospital and tell him you’re confirming his upcoming appointment. Now he’s going to react in one of two ways. He’s going to either A) be super confused that someone from the hospital is contacting him, or B) tearfully admit he has cancer. There are no other ways he will react.

If it’s reaction A), hang up immediately. Call an emergency meeting of all your best work friends in the break room. Huddle up and explain the situation. Slam some shots of the peppermint schnapps you keep in your desk drawer. Grab some paper from the printer and roll it into a cone and light one end to make a torch. Grab some pitchforks from the office pitchfork closet. Storm into his cubicle and demand answers. Call him a warlock and demand a pound of flesh.

If he is actually sick, resist the urge to call 911. Just look in his file, find out his emergency contact person’s number. It is your responsibility in human resources to contact that person and give out the information that he is probably not going to make it until the end of the day. On your lunch break, go to the deli and pick up some chicken noodle soup. Bring it to him and just as he reaches for it, pour the soup onto his desk. Tell him “THAT’S FOR MAKING ME LOOK LIKE AN ASSHOLE.” Enjoy boss’s day!

Yours truly,

Unsavory Amber


Dear Unsavory Amber,

Help! I’m seventeen and I’m worried I’ll never get asked to prom. I’ve never had a boyfriend and I’ve never even had my first kiss. Help me land my dream date.

Worried in Wahpeton


Dear Worried,

Listen… I never had a boyfriend in high school and I turned out fine! I work ridiculous hours, live paycheck to paycheck, and my teeth are rotting out of my gums. It’s so overrated. However, this isn’t about me. You’re in the market for a great guy to escort you to the traditional human trafficking auction that is prom.

Start by doing some landscaping of the garden that is your filthy human body… I mean body… I’m human too… I’m definitely not a robot programmed in the future to travel through time and end humanity.  If you were lucky enough to be born with a third arm, try to tuck it into the waistband of your pants but be careful not to cut off the circulation. You may want to buy some bigger pants to accommodate the circumference of the arm itself. Elastic is another option. Use your imagination and have fun with it. If you’re blessed with a vestigial tail, try a skirt with crinoline. A romper is a modern twist on hiding extra appendages.

Next, you can have your unibrow removed. I think the easiest way to go about this is to use a long strip of duct tape, press it against the prominent ridge, and just rip the whole shebang off. After your forehead is clear of any hairs at all, you can use a brow pencil or felt tip marker, whatever is comfortable for you. Whatever you do, don’t chicken out halfway through and end up with a big mess of scraggly hairs dotting your brow ridge. People might think your head is on upside down… scraggly hairs belong on the chin (and in your cleavage).

Now that you’ve got the look which youngsters find desirable, it’s time to get that date.  It’s gonna be as tricky as wrapping a corpse in an area rug, stuffing it in your trunk, taking it to the river, dumping it, going over to your mom’s house to create an alibi, making a show of grieving, and lying to the cops… I heard from a friend. There are several archetypes of last-resort prom dates. To make this easier to understand, I made a little table to help you in your journey.


Cute teenage cousin from a different town
  • Will make people jealous
  • Age appropriate
  • Guaranteed parental approval
  • You will not get laid (unless that cousin is freaky too)
  • Your friends might know this person, therefore blowing your cover
  • Awkward family reunions
Gas station clerk who can buy beer legally
  • Can buy beer/cigs/chew legally
  • Sweet employee discount
  • Not age appropriate
  • Missing teeth
  • Parental approval questionable
Your best friend’s weed dealer
  • Has extra cash to treat you right
  • Boring
  • Has enemies
  • Has too many cell phone numbers
  • May or may not be age appropriate
  • Parental approval questionable
Imported Japanese sex doll
  • Never argues with you
  • You’re always in charge
  • No extraneous conversation necessary
  • Parental approval a non-issue
  • No prophylaxis needed
  • Can’t dance
  • Won’t be able to pay for the meal or pick you up

I think the results of this graphic speak for themselves. Imported Japanese Sex Doll it is!  Enjoy your prom!

Yours truly,

Unsavory Amber

Goals — May 16, 2018


Write daily they say

A little each day


Sounds easy enough

You love doing this stuff


Wednesday went by

Now Sunday is nigh


Not a single thing yet

Just literature debt


No tales or essays

Not a single word stays


Squat diddly jack shit

Down a literary pit


Fifteen minutes at a time

Listen, I’m doing just fine


At least that’s what I’ll tell

Writer’s group

When God Closes a Door — April 3, 2018

When God Closes a Door

Trigger Warning: If you’re saved, save yourself the stress of reading this heathen propaganda. No disrespect intended to those who are believers. It is just not for me.

Prequel: Let the record stand that the defendant is a godless commie.

Prologue: I am not interested in joining any religions. ANY. Not a single fucking one. They are all 100% complete insanity. Mormonism=Catholicism=Islam=Buddhism=Scientology. Invented by madmen to control frightened poor people.

Chapter one: Once, about 10 years ago, I heard a knock on the door of our apartment; a casual knock, a “shave and a haircut, two bits” knock; the knock of a friend. Expecting a visit from a friend, I shouted “come in!” from my cozy position on the couch. The door slowly creaked open and it was a troupe of young adults in suits. Clearly a religious faction of some sort, probably the prosteletizing kind. I shouted again: “Wait! Nevermind! Don’t come in!” and they closed the door… THEY SHUT THE DOOR IN THEIR OWN FACES! Success is a sweet sweet fruit, my friends.

Chapter two: A recent rash of drones have been attacking my neighborhood without heed. They swoop in, ring door bells early in the morning, and expect you to engage in a civil interaction with them about whatever lunacy they’re peddling. Not one person is home on a Tuesday at 0900 unless they’re sleeping. Either they’re night shift people or hungover and either way- Jesus fucking Christ let a girl get some goddamn motherfucking sleep on her day off.

Chapter three: Aaron told me that he had a early morning guest, bible-oriented pamphlet in hand,  It ws a young lady, skittish, like a deer, standing in the middle of the road, with a pamphlet.  He politely told her that he wasn’t interested and implored that she have a good day. He mentioned that we should get a no solitation sign for the doorway. Then we forgot to get one.

Chapter four: The next one showed up at 0930 about a week later. This Jesus lady had the misfortune of ringing the doorbell on my day off. I knew it was one of them Christ peddlers. Nobody else rings the fucking doorbell at that time of the day. Even the postal people have the good goddamn sense to just leave the shit on the fuckin step unless it requires a signature. Braless, hair in a haystack configuration due to swimming the night before, a screeching mandrill of a woman, I stumbled to the door, generic store brand sparkling water in hand. Confronted by the bright sun and a woman dressed professionally with beautifully coiffured hair, I glared a dark, dark, NASTY glare.

Chapter five: This lady gets up at 4:30 in the morning to do a quick cardio workout and then gets the kids up for homemade organic fruit and instant pot yogurt smoothies topped off with freshly squeezed kale juice before they go to figure skating practice. Rink time is at a premium so you gotta get up early! She laughs, wouldn’t trade it for the world! HASHTAG BLESSED.

Chapter Six:

ME: Are you selling something?
ME: Is this some religious bullshit?
JESUS JANET: Yes... well, I was just gonna give you this pamphlet and-
ME: I'm not interested, go fuck off down the road.

Chapter Seven: I really laughed to myself as she said, cheerily “Okay! Have a nice day!” as a response to being told to fuck off. She was turning the other contoured cheek. Walking the Jesus walk… Good job, Janet.

Chapter Eight: I still haven’t gotten a gotdamn “no solicitors” sign. I think I just like yelling at people.

FARGO FLOATS — March 28, 2018


I tried a sensory deprivation thingy, they call it a “float spa.” I joined my friend Wendy (the mother of my stepchild) who loves to float and convinced me that I should try. She said it’s relaxing, promised me that it is good for all those sore bones and muscles that occur as you slide down the spiral into your late thirties, assured me that it wasn’t as intense as it sounds. The people who run this float spa expect their clientele to have the capability of relaxation so I should have known better.

A day or so after the plans were made, my eye became extremely fucked up. I have a recurrent corneal erosion which is fancy eye doctor talk for a hole in the top layer of my eyeball that rips open every once in a while. Seems to happen more in the winter time. It sure fuckin hurts when it happens. Like a ripped open eyeball would. Let that sink in… several times a year the top layer of tissue on my eye avulses open like a picked scab. My eyelids swell up like I got punched, and I can’t stop leaking fat, thick tears. Sometimes it resolves without intervention, sometimes I have to pay $200 *yay capitalist medical system!* to get a bandaid contact put in for a week or two. I tried eye drops at first to prevent dry eye but… i was allergic to all the eye drops… ALL OF THEM. Even the hypoallergenic kind. It was pretty shitty.

So ANYWHOOZLEBEEEEE… that was a long paragraph which was full of feelings… mostly sorry ones… for myself…

My eye became fucked. It was an open sore in my eyeball which had ALMOST resolved on the day of my float.

I wanted to cancel. I got a text from my friend who said she didn’t want to go that night and she was going to cancel. I was overjoyed. It was 100% full on hallelujah choir, sun shining down through a hole in the clouds, cartwheels, party time, disco dance. Moments later, i was on the website looking for the phone number to call and cancel…. THEN!


I read those hated words, feared by all flakes worldwide…

“24 hour cancellation policy”

What in the shit is this shit? I would be charged the full price if I canceled, whether I floated or not because it was past the time limit. Beautiful. I had no choice. I cannot waste money like that, it hurts my soul. I come from a long, proud line of tightwads. My grandpa routinely brought home goodies he found in the grocery store dumpster. This is also referenced in the following piece of fine literature: https://unsavoryamber.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/papaya-no-please/ My great uncle Tom rinsed and reused coffee filters and when he went to auction sales, he’d leave a pack of $0.25 hotdogs on the pickup truck dashboard to slow cook, and eat those for lunch rather than spend the $3 on a sack lunch from the local 4H.

I texted Wendy back, explaining the situation, and she said she’d join me afterall. When we got there, I had a little chuckle at the location; it was in a little industrial zone office park close to the county jail.  Upon entering the establishment, I will admit I was kinda whisked away. The inside of the facility did not resemble the outside whatsoever. It was clean, bright white, with an extremely minimalist seating area and a small reception desk. Ambient noise was piped through hidden speakers. On one wall was a rack with bottles of nutritional supplements, all packaged in deep blue bottles with labels full of fine print. I had never been to a spa before in my life but I have seen movies about rich people. So this place looked just like what I assume a spa would look like. It was just smaller. The receptionist was the owner. This is something I appreciate deeply, not only because that’s the definition of a small business but also because I have a sincere love of people who work hard.

He was neatly dressed, pleasant, and just uptight enough for me to feel safe in his care. He knew my friend well as she was a regular customer to the float spa. They were on a first name basis and spent some time discussing various nutritional supplements. Then, after the pleasantries of customer service were completed, the payments were made, and a short explanation of the proposed health benefits of floating, we were escorted into a darkened hallway. The lighting was a deep, soothing blue, spa blue, I guess, I DON’T KNOW! I’M NOT FANCY!

Wendy went to “her cabin” and I went to mine. The owner came with me to show me how to start the process.prefloat

1) get undressed (NAKED! Fuckin hippies!)

2) use the shower which was located next to the float tub and wash everything with the “nutrient rich, salon quality” body wash, shampoo, and conditioner supplied.

3) dry off paying special attention around your hairline

4) enter the enclosed float tub

5) relax, use the floating crown thingy for neck support (optional)

6) float for approx 60 minutes

7) when the voice goes over the intercom, get out

8) rinse in the shower

9) dry off

10) get dressed

11) GTFO

Once he went through the procedure, step by step, I explained the eyeball situation to him. My friend had told me en route (we drove together… remember that) that the salt from the water could get into the eyes. That sounded pretty fuckin horrid. It would be the equivalent of pouring soy sauce on an open sore… if the sore was your eyeball. So I told him “I have an eye problem, it’s an open sore ON MY EYEBALL.” I paused for the scrunched up face people make when I try to explain this shit. “Don’t worry,” I went on, “It’s not pink eye or anything like that. It’s not contagious. I just REALLY don’t want to get salt in it.” He said “well if you make sure to dry your hairline with a towel after the shower, you probably won’t have any issues with the salt water.”

I followed his advice, drying off after the shower, taking special care to dry my face and hair, the kind of special care reserved for medical procedures. I stepped into the float tub, sat down, and settled back. The water felt slipperier than regular water, had a strange, slick texture against my skin, like laying in a tub of… bodily fluids? I did float, though. I was more buoyant in this tub than in swimming pool water or the lake, which were my only reference points. The tub was slightly larger and slightly deeper than standard bathtubs. It was a similar color to the dark blue supplement bottles in the lobby. More “spa blue.”

Sensory stimulation at this point: just enough light to see the dimensions of the tub and soft ambient music which wafted about the cabin. I closed the door and slipped deeper into the water, taking note of the location of the emergency light. Once settled, I shut off the soft illumination and attempted to relax. The idea is to let yourself go and just float, clear your mind, and relax. That’s the idea.

That’s the idea behind savasana. That’s the idea behind guided meditation. That’s the idea behind prayer. That’s the idea but can I accomplish this? Oh, fuck no! I’ve never been able to relax. I am not “high strung” in a classical sense as in organized, neat, high performing. I’m high strung in a very “I don’t know what the fuck’s going to happen next so I’ll just freak out over everything!” sort of way, a disorganized, anxiety ridden sort of high strung. I can’t even lay still through 4 minutes of savasana or “Corpse pose” at yoga class. (If you’ve never done yoga: savasana consists of you laying still for 4-5 minutes in a comfortable pose.) As a youth, I spent quality time in Catholic Church attempting to soothe my inner demons with prayer and meditation which was completely useless for me.

As I lay in the tub, I thought of all the things but mostly I focused on my incapacity for calm, quiet contemplation with a dash of “what if I get this salt water in my eye?” As the time ticked on, the dash of what if started to grow into a tablespoon, then a jigger, a cup, a pint, a jug, a magnum, a 2 liter bottle of Doctor Thunder (™). As I was so concerned about the salt water dripping into me eye holes, I tried to use the little head “pillow” thing that the guy had pointed out; an inflatable little ring. One ring to rule them all. It worked to keep my head afloat but gave me no peace of mind. It was not my precious. So I’m done with those references now, sorry, they had to come out somewhere.one-ring.jpg

This was the point where i could feel my R) eye, the holey one, starting to sting. I closed my eyes and that hurt my eye, I opened my eyes and that hurt my eye. It was starting again. The epithelial cells of my cornea which were barely afixed, again peeled away from the bed. As this occurred, the salt that was present in the hyper-humid atmosphere inside the float cabin found its way to the sore spot and created the kind of searing eye pain reserved for Hollywood horror movies and torture porn. It felt like a disc made of half sand and half salt had been carefully placed under my eyelid and then lit on fire with a tiny flamethrower. Slightly uncomfortable. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain ever, I rate this pain at a solid 7, ALMOST call-in-sick-to-work pain. More like go-to-work-anyway-but-bitch-the-whole-time-pain.

I remembered the placement of the emergency light in the tub and tapped it. Carefully, slowly, and as smoothly as possible for me, I lifted my head out of the water, keeping my forehead tilted back to avoid any water from my hair dripping down my face. Eyes closed, I groped for my towel and pressed it gently to my sockets, sending a SHOOTING PAIN throughout my R) eye from even the lightest pressure. I stepped out of the tub and got under the shower head, letting all the salt water rinse off. Blinking, I felt the thick, hot tears pouring down my cheek, my eye was sending healing growth factors to my eye once again attempting to heal that torn area on my cornea. I wanted to cry from emotional pain as well. God damn it, not again. Not a-fucking-gain. I am so sick of my fucked up eyeball. Is this what happened to Kano from Mortal Kombat? Because if so, I see why he became a villainous martial arts expert. I stepped away from the shower, tied my hair up in another towel and put on the clean, white robe provided.


I grabbed my phone to check the time. Surely I float/panicked for almost an hour. It certainly felt like almost an hour. I entered the cabin at approximately 7:10pm so by my calculations I gave up at approximately 8pm…AAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDD! It was 7:25. I lasted 15 minutes. Fifteen fucking minutes for fifty bucks, a panic attack, and soul wringing agony. Disappointed, I sat down on the gorgeous cedar bench on the opposite end of the room. I failed. Slowly, it dawned on me that my compatriot, Wendy, was still floating in the room next to me. While I stared down the barrel of 40 minutes of waiting in this place, I also gained awareness of my limited phone battery. I crossed my pruney fingers and snapped some pics so that I could attach them to this blog which I outlined in my head as I lingered in the cozy robe, trying to ignore the burning and leaking coming from my R) eye.  The drainage from the slowly inflating damaged eye started to drip on my phone case. Disgusted, I checked the time again. I dressed and dragged myself to the lobby where I asked for a tissue and sat waiting sullenly but patiently for my buddy to finish her float. OOOH I hate to fail.fucky eye

The owner came out and asked me how I liked it. I explained to him that salt presented itself in the humid vapor of the cabin’s atmosphere so my eye got all fucked up again. He looked at me with true sadness and offered me a free float to try again once my eye had healed. Seriously impressed with the customer service at this place. Seriously, I will try it again when summertime comes around. I want to make 100% certain that my eye is healed first.

Papaya? No please. — December 23, 2017

Papaya? No please.

When I was a kid, my mom used to do all the grocery shopping for our family. It was an hour long drive to a more populous town. This drive was usually a bimonthly affair, even more rare in the winter.  There was a grocery store in my hometown. It was a depressing place, where the owner looked like Hitler and had the same cheery disposition. Actually, there are more pictures of Hitler smiling. Overworked, underpaid, his wife gave mantis-like, insincere hugs with her spindly arms moments before berating you in front of the customers. Both my brother Jym and I had the delirious pleasure of working for these maniacs. They made him CLOCK OUT to take a shit and one time they made him go to their daughter’s home to take a trapped mouse to the garbage can on his break. They expected me work as a waitress, cashier, and clean up after a banquet at the same time and became irate that I couldn’t be in three places at once. Imagine if Grant Wood painted a portrait of Hitler and Big Bird standing side by side. (Oddly, I would later work for another Big-Bird-like lady with an equally bad temper and love of intimidating those in her employ). Gawd bless’m, their produce section was dismal. Often, the only fruits we could get would be bananas, apples, oranges, and raisins. The apples were mealy with a thick wax coating on the outside, the bananas were speckled with brown, and the raisins were stuck together in hard little clumps resembling sheep shit.  Grandpa Breitbach considered these raisins and bananas salvaged from the dumpster “treats” for his grandchildren. Strangely, his grandchildren did not consider these treats AT ALL.

Jym and I would usually ride along in whatever vehicle we were driving at that time, choking on clouds of second hand smoke, excited to get to the one department store that carried toys.  We would save our allowances for the upcoming weeks to drop the whole wad on a new Barbie Doll and a Lego set.  I always felt bad for my brother because the Legos he bought for himself were always so measly compared to the Barbies I could get for the same amount of money.  Those damn bricks hain’t changed in neigh on 20 years! They’re still way too expensive for what you actually get.

On one of these trips, my brother  bought his customary set of bricks, a pirate set that came with a buccaneer-clad mini-figure with two flintlock-style pistols, a monkey, and treasure. While mom ran in the drug store “real quick” (my ass) we waited outside in the car and released our toys from their packaging. Jym exclaimed with glee “look! It came with a chest!” I looked at my Barbie doll for a second and said “Mine does too!” The rimshot heard ’round the world. It was at that moment that I realized the power of a one-liner and how quickly your joke can fail if you keep repeating it and laughing at it more than anyone else. The lesson may have implanted in my brain but I have never really put it into practice.

Sometimes, on these trips, rare or exotic fruits were on sale and Mom would purchase one for us to try. It was almost more exciting than buying a new toy! All the way home, I would look forward to cutting into that thing and trying it out. We’d had plenty of canned fruits and dried fruits but there was something about getting to taste something raw, sweet, and real! That must have been how people felt about oranges during the industrial revolution.  It’s hard to imagine now, as an adult living in a city where there are numerous grocery stores, Asian and African markets, and European imports stores.

Pineapple was the first one.  The first fruit she bought that wasn’t some run-of-the-mill melon or berry. The center was tough, rough on your tongue and caused some amount of discomfort; almost a burning sensation. The outer layers of the pineapple were hard and pokey and seemed extremely peculiar as most fruits either had a peel or a rind of sorts. In between the hard core and the hard brown layer of prickly bark was the softest, sweetest of golden meats. I mean… everyone has had canned pineapple either on top of a ham in salty and somehow still cloying rings or as filler in fruit cocktail, eating the pale, syrupy triangles only after scooping out the “cherries” first. This fresh, real, top of Miss Chiquita’s hat version of pineapple seemed to me and my brother to be manna sent directly from heaven. Still to this day, I have a problem with pineapple, like how William S Burroughs had a problem with heroin. I recently grilled a pineapple and my guests and family members received 2 pieces and I slammed the rest into my gullet at lightening speed.

There was one cold Montana Christmas that we convinced Mom to pick up a coconut. We begged Dad to drill three holes into the the shell so that we could pretend it was a bowling ball, which he did without hesitation. Prior to the pretense of  bowling, we drank the sweet milk locked within. After which Dad had to smash that fucker open with a hammer, which got Jym and I all shades of riled up! Nothing can be better than using a Gotdamn hammer to get into a fruit! Imagine trying that with a banana… it wouldn’t turn out. We delighted at the chance to sample the juicy and nutty flesh stored in this strange, hairy capsule. It seemed otherworldly like something invented by Warner Bros cartoonists. I was a touch disappointed, even as a young girl, that the shell was smashed open because I wanted to turn it into a super cool bra like a “Hawaiian Lady” who would wear a grass skirt and dance on your dashboard. This was nothing like the weird, sugary, snowy flakes that ended atop those lamb shaped “coconut cakes” that Grandma Breitbach made at Easter. (Don’t get me wrong: FUCKIN CHRIST ON THE CROSS THEM WERE GOOD!) It was, and still kind of is, hard to fathom how the fresh coconut can be processed into the sugared flake form.

Another great hit in our education on the subject of unfamiliar fruits was that fateful early spring day wherein we attempted to unlock the secrets of a pomegranate. It was the afternoon on a Saturday. I remember because I had just spent the morning reluctantly cleaning my room. When I say “spent the morning… cleaning” I mean, spent most of the morning getting yelled at, being alternately silly and furious, and then buckling down for an hour and actually getting some shit done. Mom had purchased one pomegranate for Jym and I to share. We cut it open, not sure how to go about the process of consuming this stupid fruit. This a decade before pomegranate became used as a topping on salads and the juice was readily available at all grocery stores. We had one grapefruit spoon that came in handy for scooping out the seeds. We were not pleased with the payout of what amounted to a couple of tablespoons of juicy, crunchy little seeds. Years later, when in high school, I became enthralled with the story of Persephone and Hades and hearkened back to my early exposure to delicious yet disappointing pomegranate seeds. The flavor is sharp but luscious and the crunch is magnificent but it is definitely not a fruit to share with your shithead little brother.

As an adult, with my very own redheaded stepchild to introduce to new and exciting fruits which neither of us have tried, I have made a point to purchase different fruits that are not standard grocery store fare. We frequent the local Asian markets which are a valuable resource for finding strange new tastes to explore.  Henry, the child in question, is an adventurous eater, a personality quality for which I am grateful. It took some training and some “too bad, this is what we’re having for supper”s but now he will try almost anything that is presented at least one time. The deal at our house is: try it, if you hate it, don’t ever eat it again. Over the years, he has developed a serious level of vitriol leveled at picky eaters. Periodically, Henry will say things like “remember when I didn’t like beans? Why was I such an idiot?” Just this morning, he said “people who don’t like avocados are dumb. It’s basically the socially acceptable way to eat butter with a fork.”  I don’t know where he picked up this anger but it sure is hilarious!

Join me for a trip through the cornucopia of tasty treats that have been supped upon sur le table d’Amber…

The pink and spiky dragon fruit, it turns out, is not only visually stunning with its white and speckled flesh, but is also floral, mellow, and succulent. It is fantastic as an addition to a fruit salad or sliced and eaten alone. This is a fruit that just looks so goddamned rad, you should always keep one or two in a bowl on your counter to show what a worldly and sophisticated twat you are! It’s will add a certain je ne sais pas to your sparkly real marble counter top and subway tile back-splash and fingerprint-free stainless steel appliances.

Kumquats, with their citrus exterior and tart innards, make you feel healthier just snacking on them. We weren’t sure what else to do with them other than pop them whole into our mouths… nature’s candy indeed. My kumquat recipe: buy a carton of them, let them sit on the kitchen table and forget about them until there are only a couple which aren’t brown and soft with a light dusting of mold. Eat those two and throw the others away, grumbling under your breath about wasting food.  I fucking hate wasting food.

Persimmons, besides being a great name for a hardcore rap group, have that insane, mind bending flavor of cinnamon and cloves like baked goods or eggnog with the unfortunate waxy, hard texture almost like a green pepper. Apparently,  there are other types of persimmons that are gelatinous in texture which might be completely delicious or completely horrifying, depending on your feelings about gelatin. I am on the fence about it. The only persimmons i have been able to find in this city are the hard-fleshed kind.  If anyone out there (of my six readers) finds the gooey kind, LET ME KNOOOOOW!

Cape gooseberries/ground cherries/husk tomatoes/golden berries… Listen… I do not know what the fuck these little yellow bastards are called. They’re bizarre berry/tomato type fruits covered in a dry husk which make me suspicious that they’re actually alien overlords. Maybe that’s because I have been watching hours and hours of alien conspiracy programming in the last two weeks? Aaanywhoozlebee… they taste like all the contents of an amazing cheese plate combined into one small bite covered with a modest papery wrapper. They have the flavor of chocolate, citrus, and tomato with an earthy finish like a really great, stinky ol’ cheese. FAWK, I love them.  I’ll just eat them until i’m sick to my stomach; tossing one dry, diaphanous leaf-envelope after another on the floor like the filthy animal that I am.

Not every new fruit we’ve attempt is a winner. A notable disaster in experimentation was the papaya. It could be that we did not buy a papaya that was at the proper level of ripeness. How does a woman from the upper midwest ever find out a way to choose an appropriate papaya? If only there was some form of information conduit which was easily accessed by a simple hand held device which could be transported along everywhere a person would go. Someone should invent that so that we could avoid the following scene… I picked up what I assumed was a prime papaya with nary a thought toward researching exactly what to look for when choosing this exotic fruit. When I got home, I sliced it in half and scooped all the seeds out which I promptly tossed into the trash (only to find out later that they are supposed to be delicious in salads). The flesh was tender and slightly slimy. The texture reminded me of a melon crossed with a mango. I handed bite sized pieces to Henry and his dad and kept one for myself. We all tasted simultaneously and we all looked at each other to gauge the reaction to this new taste. The guys’ screwed up faces, mouths slanted to the side of their faces, eyes scrunched up and pointed to the ceiling, indicated to me that this was not a culinary success. The flavor was putrid, as if it were already half-rotten, and the slick consistency made me imagine what it would be like to chew up a slug.

Henry was the first to blurt out his review: “It tastes like a SLICED FART!”

And we all laughed our asses off and threw that fucking shit in the garbage.