The Continuing Saga Of Dumbasses In The Ghetto

Part I

Part II

One upon a January afternoon, three dumbasses walked into the ghetto (click to read the story), armed with bags of costumes and more makeup than a stripper could possibly use in her lifetime on the pole, which was a good thing, because we were on our way to LOOK like hookers – BAD hookers, I should add.

We were on our way to a photo shoot, which you’d think would be something that, as a child who grew up thinking the cameras in her face were actually paparazzi capturing her every blunder, I’d have been excited about, but I as I’d had to retake Yee Old Thanksgiving Family Portraits so often that I’d never learned that turkey was actually supposed to be warm, I wasn’t.

I was dead nervous.

Partially, it was the horrifying outfit I was wearing, so unlike the t-shirt and jeans I’d thrown on in the meantime. After Band Back Together had taken over the Blogger Body Calendar, we were all EYE OF THE TIGER about the 2013 calendar. Which I was in. You can call me “Ms. January, if’n you’d like,” or you can call me “Al,” if you don’t.

I’d ordered the outfit from some dance supply company, and it was too big, which meant my boobs flopped around like oranges in tube socks.

Band Back Together 2013 Calendar

While the jaunty, spangly beret came with the awful oufit, I decided that I didn’t particularly want to wear it, perched atop my head like the world’s most ridiculous acorn cap – although to be fair, it may have made me APPEAR to be smarter – we all know that objects in mirror are stupider than they appear. The hat was no exception.

Even my daughter, who loves a good shiny almost as much as I do, decided it was hideous and refused to pose for a picture in it. Guess she’s got better taste than I do. Plus, it appears that if you wear the hat, you lose your calves and feet, and while I’m not entirely sure that WON’T happen with me one day, I’d rather not expedite that particular process. I’m rather fond of my feet, which do things like ensure I can walk into the kitchen to make ridiculously terrible coffee.

Anyway, I’d been waiting and waiting for the stylist to show up before Dawn and The Guy Formerly On My Couch were all, “Fuck, Becks, come here – let US style you.” So I did. What else could I do? Find some hooker and make her apply makeup more expertly? It was WAY too early in the morning for hookers.

Instead, my two “friends,” armed with a crimping wand and some makeup we found around the photo studio did my makeup in such a manner that I appeared to be a hideously BAD Diana Ross imposter, one of those things you just don’t wake up one morning and say, “today? I will do my BEST (WORST) Diana Ross impression.”

The pictures turned out better than expected, and all was right with the world.

Well, until I had to walk back to the car looking like a half-priced Diana Ross imposter, wishing I could stand around taking photos of the area without someone trying to buy a happy ending for 5 bucks.

I sorta forgot about the pictures because I’ve been a little busy with stuff-n-things, until Dawn reminded me, once again, that I needed to pull my head from my bung and LOOK AT THE DAMN pictures. Am I the only one who loathes looking at pictures of themselves? I can’t be. Because I totally do. I was basically all, *covers eyes* “WOW THAT LOOKS, *squinches up face in what I hoped would look like interest and not horror, * AMAZING!”

I can’t believe anyone puts up with me, either.

Anyway, the 2013, Band Back Together: I Am The Face Of Calendars are both ready and on sale – we’re doing a presale right now because obviously, cheaper is better (OR SO I HEAR).

Front Cover:

Band Back Together 2013 Calendar

Back Cover:

Band Back Together 2013 Calendar

If you’d like a pretty awesome calendar, even if it’s so you can hurl darts at my face, you can totally get one here.


Band Back Together 2013 Calendar

So, um, what are you supporting when you buy this?

Keeping the lights on over at Band Back Together. Why? Isn’t that shit free?

Oddly, no. To handle the volume of work the site does, we rely on donations – often out of my pocket – to keep the servers whirring and clicking away.

Proceeds from the 2013 Band Back Together Calendar will be used for outreach efforts in 2013.

Band Back Together runs as a nonprofit, meaning we do not profit from any incoming funds. All proceeds go directly into Band efforts such as server costs or outreach efforts. As of this writing, we have not received a federal nonprofit status, therefore purchases or donations are (unfortunately) not tax deductible at this time.

Time To Get The Band Back Together

On Band Back Together, as we reach out to try and work toward our non-profit status, we’re working our asses off on putting together a rad auction. I think I’m donating like 20 things to it.

Here are the details if you want to join us. In exchange, you’ll get some awesome promotion and feel like you did something rad for the community.

Button code is here:

<a href=”http://auction.bandbacktogether.com”><img src=”http://i771.photobucket.com/albums/xx353/designsbyprincessjenn/BB2GAuction.jpg” width=”200″ height=”200″ border=”0″>

And shit, I’ll arm wrestle you for some of the already-donated stuffs.

P.S. If you just want to join in on the auction once it goes live, I’ll be adding details as they come.

P.P.S. If you’d like to simply write a post for us, that’d be great too! We always want moar stories. ALWAYS.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Dear Pranksters,

We’re having a hearts! and love carnival on Band Back Together tomorrow, showcasing broken hearts, heart issues, and, my personal favorite, love. I’ll have a post going up tomorrow over there – I’ll link you.

If you’d like to read, write, contribute, or do a Snoopy dance, go ahead on over. We’re totally getting the Band Back Together.

xoxo,

AB

P.S. Last day to vote for Bloggies. Somehow, I’m up for a couple. So is Band Back Together.

Dear Aunt Becky,

our son is nearly 6-1/2. he was dx’d with autism back when he turned 2. he has a large, flat head, is close to non-verbal, is sensory and cognitively affected, has apraxia, and lots of gut issues… we finally did the mri, looking for craniosynotosis and/or chiari. we got back a 3/8″ encephalocele on the base of his skull. we sent mri disc to ch-boston, they said it was insignificant. we want a second opinion.

who do we go to?

Well, FUCK, Prankster. I’m so sorry. Every time I hear about someone new with an enecphalocele, like my girl, Amelia, my heart drops.

I know we’ve spoken privately, but I’m throwing it out here on my blog so that any of my Pranksters can chime in.

So, Pranksters, do you know anyone in his area that can help his son with his encephalocele?

Dear Aunt Becky,

I feel like a jerk, but there’s this girl that does everything I do online. She signs up for the same sites I sign up for. She becomes active in my communities. She’s nice, but it’s irritating. I feel like a jerk for being irritated. However, she even sometimes takes credit for my work, and even recently landed a pretty big opportunity, mainly just copying everything I do. Again, she’s always sweet. I know I should be flattered and all, but is there anything I can do besides vent? Am I a total jerk?

–Copied from North Dakota 

Sighs.

Prankster, I wish I had any good advice for you. I’d like to offer you some bullshit platitude, but it’s never helped me to hear, “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” In fact, I’d like to counter it by saying that anyone who as offered that as a consolation has never truly been copied when it matters.

Because sometimes it DOES matter.

I don’t give a shit if people take terms I use as their own. I don’t care if people riff off my blog posts. It’s only when it’s something I’ve poured my heart and soul into that I get upset.

And that’s about all I do. Sure, I could run around, doing some sort of weird smear campaign, but in the end, it would only make me look like an asshole. And while I can be a huge asshole, I’d prefer it to be for something else, like kicking kittens or mooning a full moon.

So I’m going to offer you my apologies. And my empathy. Because it really, really does suck.

Any advice for her, Pranksters?

Hi Aunt Becky!

I’ve been a follower for a while now and I have to preface this with the “omgwtfbbq,yer so awesomez!” I know that you are the ringleader here and at Band Back Together, so I have no doubt you’ll be able to answer my question. I have a cousin-in-law who recently tried to commit suicide.

This evening I stumbled upon my uncle-in-law’s wife talking to the cousin and being very awkward because he was talking about actually finishing himself off. I jumped in and tried to help and while I have extracted a promise from him to try the therapist in the morning and call me and let me know what happens,

I am not too sure that is enough.

I, of course, directed him to the suicide prevention hotline and its crazy website, but what else can I do? I told him if he felt that bad he could call 911 and they would bring him into the hospital and said that he should be able to commit himself.

I wonder if you know what the general laws are regarding being committed versus committing yourself.

I don’t have his address so I’m not too sure I can call the police and have them do anything. I’ve let other members of his family know what happened so they can help too and texted back and forth with him so he knows that I really am willing to talk. So, to recap, what’s the deal with commitment? Is there anything else I can do and if he does do something and tells me, is it possible to call the cops and have them intervene?

Thanks Aunt Becky!

Oh Prankster, you have a heart of gold – you know that, right? Because you do.

Anyway – you’ve done all the right things.

I’m sending you these links, not to pimp my (almost) non-profit, but because there’s more information that may be more valuable than the piddly words I can offer you here.

Suicide Resource Page

Common Motivations behind Suicide

Suicide Survivor

How To Cope With A Suicide

(see, I don’t watch cat videos all day long!)

First things first:

If you are feeling desperate, alone or helpless, or know someone who is, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Listen, really listen to them rather than offer solutions and help. People who are suicidal do not want help, they want a safe place to talk about their feelings. Really shutting your mouth and listening is very hard, but it is important.

Let them know they can trust you.

Let them know that you do care about them very much.

When someone is feeling suicidal, they must talk about their feelings immediately. Sometimes, just letting those feelings out can help.

If someone is actively talking about suicide, offering plans up about suicide, call 911.  STAY with the suicidal person while you wait for help to arrive. This is an emergency. Period.

THIS is what I know about involuntary commitment:

Involuntary Commitment is the act of admitting someone who is a danger to him or herself (or others) to a psychiatric hospital for 3-5 days. Laws for involuntary commitment vary from country to country to state to state.

If, after 3-5 days, the person is still determined to be a threat to him or herself, a court order may be obtained to detain the person.

Let me know if this helps, Prankster. I love you and your big gorgeous heart.

——————–

Pranksters, please fill in where I left off in the comments. And, as always (now that I’m off my ridiculously large ass and back to posting), send me your most important questions. I will answer them as uselessly as possible.

The Dichotomy of Aunt Becky

On days like today, when I’ve woken to a flood of emails, texts, and The Twitter DM’s, all about someone who is desperate and suicidal, only to have to go find the post she’s written for Band Back Together, edit it (or have someone else do it), rearrange the schedule, then beg The Brains Behind The Band to help promote it.

(P.S. if you want to join the Brains Behind The Band, PLEASE email me at becky.harks@gmail.com)

This isn’t, Pranksters, anything new. In fact, this is pretty par for the course these days. Most of my days start and end like this.

In between dealing with the fall-out from the suicidal post, checking to see if we had any other posts that required OMG NAO publishing, it’s already 1:30 and I’m spent. Exhausted. Ready to crawl back into bed, hoping that I’ll be able to bring the funny back tomorrow. Because today, it ain’t happening.

It was with great glee that I watched the Social Network a couple of months ago. I had The Twitter on the ready, prepared to rip Zuckerberg a new pooper, when, right at the beginning of the movie, he said the words that forever won him a spot in my cold, dark heart. When asked what The Facebook would be, he replied, “I don’t know yet.”

That’s precisely what happened on Band Back Together. When I launched it last September, I honestly DIDN’T know what it would be. People asked me constantly what the site was about and I couldn’t give them anything but a canned answer. What it has become is so much more than I’d dreamed. I’m beyond proud. Beyond grateful. Beyond amazed. Beyond honored for all of the brave souls who have – and continue – shared their stories with us.

Everyone has a story.

I hope you share yours with us.

Because even on days like today, when my funny has been banished to the ALOT Island, when I’m frazzled and running around like a zombie chicken, I know that we’re making a difference.

That, Pranksters, is worth all the funny in the world.

Mostly.

P.S. Wasn’t kidding about the offer to join The Brains. Holler at me, please.

P.P.S. For my baby loss mamas, we’re doing a Wall of Remembrance on the site in addition to the one I do each year here. Here’s more information about that wall.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Elevator

I walked into InterventionCon this weekend all puff-chested and proud, like, ‘WHO’S A BAD-ASS-MOTHERFUCKING GEEK? ME!” I was practically humming “Eye of the Motherfucking Tiger,” as I waltzed into the hotel, all ready to get my freak binary on. I was all ready to be all, “WHO’S ALL OPEN SOURCE NOW, MOTHERFUCKERS?!

Imagine the look on my face when I finally opened up my eyes to the strains of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,'” and realized that half of the attendees were in costumes. It was a COSTUME PARTY. And guess who had no costume?

That’s right, Your Aunt Becky.

I was, for the first time ever, somewhere without a spare costume!

Color me Furious George.

They weren’t costumes I wanted or even recognized, and somehow, I was flaming that I did not, in fact, own one. I could’ve been a wicked Britney Spears (post K-Fed) or even an Oompa Loompa. And still, nothing.

Somewhat dejectedly, I moped to my room – on the 7th floor – and threw myself down on the bed, trying desperately to coax some tears out of my eyes. First, I thought of the saddest basket of kitties with no one to love them. Then I thought about how cruel a world it would be if Uncrustables were discontinued. When that made me simply stabbity rather than tearful, I decided a new tactic  was in order. I decided that my next best bet would be to rub them, then poking them until finally, I was able to convince two actual tears to come out of my eyes.

It felt strangely vindicating and utterly unsatisfying.

Next order of business was to get onto the elevator and go downstairs to mope in public. I like to share my misery. I’m a giver like that.

Only an odd thing happened. Even weirder than the full-blown adults in costumes I couldn’t quite place.

Proper elevator etiquette, as explained by my mother is this: you back that ass up while waiting for an elevator to allow exiting passengers to, um, exit. Then, only after everyone who is getting off is off do you board the elevator.

Likewise, once on the elevator, you allow passengers to get off on various floors by moving graciously out of the way WITHOUT BITCHING ABOUT IT, while you wait for your stop.

It’s a simple enough concept that even my pea-brain can comprehend it.

And yet, for the first time in my life, even AFTER living in Chicago and riding 50 floor elevators crammed full of people, I was shocked and horrified by the elevators in MD.

Because, it appeared that the new way of things was this:

Elevator door opens -> stand in a line in FRONT of the elevator doors, ignoring all the empty space behind you -> groan loudly whenever someone dares try to enter the elevator with three goddamed people in it.

On the other side,

Elevator door opens and person behind you wants to get off -> rather than wait for the first in place to disembark -> push your way past the other passengers ALSO attempting to get off.

Because we all know it’s a motherfucking RACE to the fucking FINISH, motherfuckers.

First time it happened, I ignored it. Okay. Fine. Someone was having a grumbly day. Happens.

The second time? Maybe coincidence.

The third? I decided that the non-convention goers were some of the rudest people on the planet and should probably be relegated to the ALOT Island with John C. Mayer.

The moral of this story? ALWAYS PACK AN EXTRA COSTUME. Also? Wear body armor for elevators in Maryland.

P.S. I missed you, Pranksters.

Also, Also: We have an auction up at Band Back Together. You should go visit it.

All That Remains

I stood in my kitchen, momentarily stunned, a vacuum whirring happily in my hands.

The feeling that washed over me was, for the first time, not dread. It was not a migraine either. Nor was I wasted. It was not fear either.

No, for the first time in as long as I can recall, I was calm. At peace. In the moment.

It seemed that for once, I had finally achieved peace.

While I’d not gone into the doctor, anxiously dreading that appointment to talk about my anxiety issues, believing I could actually be fixed, there I was: fixed. No longer broken.

After living, impatiently waiting for the other shoe to fucking drop already, for so many years, I could hardly imagine a world in which I did not wake with my heart pounding loudly, my guts churning painfully, my soul full of impending doom.

And yet, there I was.

I thought to myself, as I resumed vacuuming (no one can keep a good vacuum down, after all), this is the way the rest of the world feels most of the time. How shockingly simple this feels.

And then I tried desperately to kick myself for waiting as long as I did to seek help. (Pro tip: you cannot kick yourself while vacuuming without falling squarely on your ass.)

I could have spent years – years – not feeling that way, and I decided to tough it out. And for what? For WHAT? A jaw-grind disposition to a panic attack? Migraines? Insomnia? Unhappyness?

Hardly seems like a list of shit to be proud of. I toughed it out so I could break my teeth grinding them to nubs in my sleep. Spend my nights awake, weeping, reliving ghosts that could’ve been put happily to rest many years ago.

Even as we roll into the dog days of summer, it appears that my dog days are, in fact, over.

I couldn’t – haven’t – ever been happier.

———————

When I found out my dear friend, Razing Mayhem, was throwing a blogathon for Band Back Together, I actually cried real tears without the aid of a stunt double or an onion. If you want to read about her efforts to help out a place where we kick stigmas in the vagina, Band Back Together, please go and visit her.

THEN I will give you a cookie.

Or twelve.

She’ll Cut A Bitch For Some Hello Kitty

Thank you to everyone who voted for me yesterday. I feel like a douchebag asking – trust me – but this would be so awesome for Band Back Together.

————

My children follow me around everywhere I go. I think they’re trying to ascertain what it is I’m going to do next, or at least, that’s what I tell myself when all three of them are crammed into my tiny bathroom, clamoring like a basket of wriggling puppies to sit on my lap as I pee. Or maybe they’re just trying to annoy me. Because really, who wants to yell, “ALEX GET YER ELBY-BONE OUTTA YER SISTER’S FACE” while peeing?

Not me.

My daughter is especially keen on following me around, yelling at me to do her bidding, because she’s two and that’s what two-year old’s do.

A couple of weeks ago, I’d wandered upstairs to look for a hot dog or get dressed or see if Rod Stewart was in my bedroom yet and, like a sassy puppy, my daughter followed me upstairs. Perhaps she, too, was wondering if Rod, The Bod, was in my bedroom.

I began to do whatever it was I was doing while Amelia spotted – in the corner – a bag. Not just any bag, mind you, a HELLO KITTY BAG. It had various office supplies in it, as I’m SLOWLY moving my office out of the dining room and upstairs (for better privacy to watch my cat videos) and I’d grabbed some things and hastily shoved them in what had been a birthday bag for me.

Mili, seeing the bag, immediately went nuts. Anything Hello Kitty is, by default, now hers, so before I could stop her, she dumped the contents of the bag out onto the floor, proclaiming, “DIS IS MILI’S HELLO KITTY BAG.”

Fair enough, kiddo. Fair enough.

While I had my back turned, the kid began to rifle through my jewelry box – a mixture of costume and fine jewelery – and delicately, she sifted through it. I remember that being one of my favorite things as a child – my mother’s jewelry box, not stealing my own crap – so I let her go through it, figuring she’d claim some of the more garish pieces as her own.

Nope.

Oh no.

No, my daughter carefully picked out the most expensive bits of jewelry and slowly placed each piece in the Hello Kitty bag. “Mimi’s necklace.” “Mimi’s ring.” “Mimi’s bracelet.”

When she’d thoroughly magpied my collection, she looked at me, smiled impishly, pulled the Hello Kitty bag up onto her shoulder like a purse, and walked happily out of my room and down the stairs. With my diamond collection.

She’s so her mother’s daughter.

I Thought They Meant PERSPIRATIONAL, Not Inspirational

Dear Pranksters,

I hate asking for shit like this nearly as much as I hate John C. Mayer (which, as we know, is a lot), but this is important. Like BIG important. It’s the nomination for Band Back Together (and me as an inspirational – not perspirational – Mom Blogger) and I could use your support.

Just go here and click “Like.” It’s not hard.

And it would mean the world to me if you helped me out. I’d love you bigger than Uncrustables AND hot dogs. Which is saying a LOT.

xoxo,
AB

From Snarkness To Light

I started blogging in 2004 when Moses was my classmate and I wrote a wee dinosaur to school. A Mushroom Print – for those not in the know – is a dick-smack, and that was precisely what my co-blogger Pashmina and I fully intended our blog to be. A verbal dick-smack.

It was.

My first post was something about a) pubic hair or 2) my vagina, something I know because that was generally what we wrote about. You take two youngish-twenty-somethings and you put them together, and you’d expect to hear about how we were trying to be Carrie Bradshaw or something.

Not so, Little Grasshopper, not so. We deliberately wrote about things no hot young thang would, in her right mind, put out there.

Some of the stuff has made it’s way over here, the rest was deleted when I reinvented Mushroom Printing as a snarky group blog for us Pranksters.

In 2007, I started Mommy Wants Vodka*, my less-snarky site. It was here that I wrote my heart out. Turns out, those who want to read about your vagina may NOT want to read about your colicky baby. The name was a deliberate poke at the other mom blogs who seemed to exist in a dream world, where everything was perfect all the time.

Because I am many things, Pranksters, but I am most decidedly NOT perfect. None of us are. Okay, maybe you are. But I’m sure as shit not.

It took me ages to write about the really hard shit. Sure, my kid was colicky and yeah, I never slept, but the first post I recall writing about something a) deep or 2) meaningful was when I wrote about how much I hated Mother’s Day. I wrote my heart out.

It was probably not good, but it was real and it was mine. Which is the only thing I’d tell anyone who “wants to increase their blog traffic.” Write honestly and from the heart and for god’s sake, do it in your own way.

ANYWAY. I digress.

Rather than eschew me for being unfunny that day, I had a number of people who spoke up and said, “you know what? ME TOO. Here’s why:” and they told their stories.

That was the moment that I realized we all had stories.

When Stef died, I wrote about my grief, albeit badly. I’ve never been properly able to write about her, although not for lack of trying. I’ve deleted thousands of words because they weren’t enough.

But once again, my Pranksters spoke up and told me their stories. In comments, in emails, in other posts, I read about how you, too, had lost someone you loved and how it changed you. Your stories made me laugh, they made me cry, and they sparked an idea in the back of my very tiny head.

Then my daughter was born, and she was so, so ill. You’ve all prayed with me, you’ve watched her grow from a very sick girl to Amelia, Princess of the Motherfucking Bells. You’ve told me your stories in emails, blog posts, comments and phone calls. I have an email folder specifically for your stories, did you know that? I read them sometimes and am reminded of how lucky I truly am.

Because I know you all. My Pranksters, I am so fucking lucky to know you.

I launched Band Back Together in September, a place that I envisioned like a library of stories, complete with resources to accompany them. I knew in time, we could fill all those empty shelves and we have. And more.

Yesterday, National CASA posted about Band Back Together. If you don’t know CASA, you should.

I was reminded of the immense power we have. Blogging has turned from a “hobby” into something that means something. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: our words have power. The power to connect, the power to unify, the power to change.

Alone, we may be small blogs, letting others into our lives, glimpse by glimpse, but when we unite, we have the power to change. I’ve learned so much from you, my Pranksters. Stories I’d never have been told on the street, things no one else may know about you, but things I do. Because you were brave enough to sit down in front of a computer screen and type out your words.

That is an act of bravery, you know. Every time you sit down in front of a computer and type out your words, that is brave. No. Let’s try that again, this time for Stef: it’s MOTHERFUCKING brave.

So I, once again, invite you into Band Back Together, a site I run, but a site that is owned by many, to share your stories, let others into your world and tell your truth. To commit an act of bravery.

If we can unite, tell the world we exist, put our stories together and demand change, we can achieve it. That’s not a question.

I look forward to your stories.

Each and every one of them.

And I hope that we can work with other organizations, like CASA**, to show the world that we are unafraid, that our stories matter, that we matter.

Because we do. From the biggest blogger to the person who’s never written a single word, we all matter.

So let’s act like it.

*The original concept was “Mommy Wants Bourbon” but it didn’t roll off the tongue the same way “Mommy Wants Vodka” does.

**if you work with a site like CASA or another blog doing Good in the blog world, we’d love to work with you on The Band. Email me at becky (dot) harks (at) gmail.com and we’ll chat.

***or, if you’d like to work behind the scenes with us at The Band, we’d also love you to do so. Email me. We’ll chatty-chat.