Birds of a feather and all that

Something disturbing is going on over here. And it’s not just “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2, episode 1 because OMG my husband and I finally watched it and I am traumatized. But I digress.

A couple of days ago, I looked outside into the backyard and noticed a white patch on the lawn. I couldn’t quite make out what it was. At first I thought it was a patch of dandelions that had gone to seed. I walked back there to check it out more closely. I was in no way prepared for what I was about to see because apparently I stumbled upon a CRIME SCENE:

As you can see, there were a mess of feathers scattered all over the lawn. Some of them were bloody. I suppose something–a dog, a fox, a coyote, a thing of EVIL–killed a bird and did it in the most violent way possible. It was just horrible. There was no sign of the bird anywhere.

I was hoping the mess would take care of itself over the next few days, like the wind would blow the feathers away or something. I was wrong. It’s four days later and the feathers are still there. As is the blood.

The only good thing to come out of it was that my kid had to make a traditional Hopi headdress for school and during construction, we realized we should have bought feathers during our trip to Joanne’s earlier in the day. I mentioned that maybe we could grab some from what was left of the deceased bird in the backyard and my kid was all, “Yeah!!!!!” and I was all, “Ugh, now I have to go find some feathers that aren’t bloody; I’ll be right back.”

I picked out two feathers and my kid glued them onto the headdress, so I guess the bird did not die in vain. Yay. Today’s blog post brought to you by Debbie Downer.

I smell a rat

Cleo the Cat, living her best life

I saw the craziest thing in the pet store yesterday. I was there because it was my cat’s 15th birthday and I needed to buy her some gifts for her birthday celebration. I know what you’re thinking and, no, it was not ME who was the craziest thing in the pet store yesterday. If you choose not to have birthday parties for your pets, then that’s your prerogative, but I hope you realize you are missing out on a great excuse to have cake. And that’s sad.

Anyway, as my kid and I were waiting in line to pay for our various gifts, there was a woman at the check-out who had some kind of small animal resting on her shoulder. I pointed it out to my kid, and he screamed, “What is that?!?!” to my embarrassment and horror. Just kidding, I was just about to scream the same thing, but he beat me to it.

The owner of the pet glanced in our direction and replied sweetly, “He’s a rat.”

I screamed, “A rat?!?” and just stared at this gigantic thing perched on her shoulder. I mean…a rat. A GIANT rat. And it was wearing a leash.

Upon further inspection, we saw that the woman had a little carrier for the rat. It was a cat carrier, but for her rat. So it was a rat carrier, I guess.

My kid and I were just staring at the rat, amazed by its size and the fact that it was impeccably behaved. I think I’ve seen rats before on subway tracks. They were not impeccably behaved, as far as I was concerned.

Then something else caught my eye. There, sitting on the cashier’s counter two feet away, was a cat. Looking at the rat. I looked at my kid, he looked at me, and we both kind of panicked.

“Um, is it okay that there’s a cat right there?” I said to the cashier. I mean, how could the cat NOT be going crazy at that moment? Don’t cats hunt rats and mice? Isn’t that how they’re wired? What madness was this?

“Nah, he’s okay,” they said. I let it go, but I couldn’t help but picture the bloodbath that was surely about to happen. My kid would be traumatized. I would be traumatized.

All I wanted to do was scream, “Woman, put that rat in the carrier!!!” But I didn’t because I didn’t want to seem crazy. Yeah, because I was the crazy one in this situation.

It turns out that the woman with the rat left before the cat attacked it, to my huge relief. The rat was spared on that particular day, and all I’m left with are a variety of questions: Why a rat for a pet? Where do you get a leash that tiny? Do you take your pet rat on regular outings? Can you walk it like a dog? And, most importantly, WHAT WAS THE RAT’S NAME? I guess I’ll never know.

It’s on like Donkey Kong

I didn’t have a photo of me from class, but this is pretty much what I look like when I’m doing Krav Maga.

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I’m kind of dangerous now. I enrolled in Krav Maga, so you can pretty much bring it on at any time. Just kidding, don’t bring it on because I’ve only attended three classes so far.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Krav Maga is a military self-defense and fighting system developed by the Israeli Defense Forces. It utilizes techniques from boxing, wrestling, Judo, Karate, and street fighting. It’s basically opening a can of whoop-ass on somebody.

Things are going okay so far. One of the problems I’ve encountered though is that I look absolutely hideous in the outfit they’ve given me for class. Everything is way oversized and I have such a small frame that it just does not work on me. I went up to the owner on the second day of class and had a conversation that went like this:

Me: “So do we have to wear the pants you gave us to class?”

Him: “Um…why?”

Me: “Because they’re falling off me.” (This is kind of a lie; the elastic waist is fine, but the rest of the pant is gigantic and extremely unflattering and I really, really cannot be seen in public like this.)

Him: “They’re supposed to be big. It’s so you can move around easily.”

Me: “Okay, but do I have to wear them??”

Him: (looking confused, because I have no doubt that I am the first person who has brought this up to him ever and he has his black belt in Krav Maga and I am positive that he just can’t even with me.) “Well, you should wear them every once in a while.”

Me: “Okay! Thanks!” (skipping into class)

The other problem that I’ve encountered is that I pretty much vacillate between hungering to be the toughest, most brutal student in the class and being scared out of my mind of some of the other students who are giant men.

For example, today we did a drill in which one person holds a bag (it’s like a cushion with handles) and the other person punches the bag. At the end of the drill, I see the instructor handing out Band-Aids. Some guys punched the bag so hard that they split their knuckles open and started bleeding. I was pissed because apparently I did not work hard enough; my knuckles were red and irritated, but not yet cracking. Fortunately, later in the afternoon, I did notice a bruise on my hand, which made me feel slightly better, but I can’t quite let go of today’s subpar performance.

There are also times, however, in which I’m terrified and want to collapse into a fetal position and start crying. Like there are these drills where everyone in the class has to attack you and it is literally a nightmare come true. The instructor also encourages us to look menacing during a particular drill if we are the attacker. When one of the giant man-students that is typically super nice and jokey with me turns into scary attacker man, I kind of have a panic attack. And end up saying something like, “Wow, you look really scary!” or something similar that I’m hoping will cut some of the tension.

Otherwise, I am really enjoying Krav Maga. It’s a great workout and it’s way more fun than doing a muted YouTube work-out video by myself in my house while watching The Golden Girls. I’m hoping my husband reads this post, as he believes all I do in class is run around on mats, putting myself in a fighting stance and screaming, “KRAV MAGA!” at the top of my lungs over and over.

Insult to injury

So my right arm is KILLING ME and unfortunately I’m injured. It must have happened while I was lifting yesterday. I mean, all I was doing was my usual 140-lb. benchpress (10 reps, as fast as I can), but somehow I hurt myself.

Just kidding. I totally hurt myself cleaning. Yesterday I decided that the bathroom floors needed a good scrub. I sprayed some cleaner with bleach in it onto the tile floor and got to work. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed like I was going for an Olympic medal in it and made that tile sparkle. Not to brag, but, yeah, I did the grout. The only problem was that I was scrubbing so hard, I hurt my right arm (my scrubbing arm, obvs).

Sure, at the time I realized I MAY have been working a little too hard as I was panting and sweating and starting to feel lightheaded. But as far as the lightheadedness goes, I chalked that up to inhaling the bleach fumes. I mean, the fumes were already making my eyes burn, but I could still see, so I wasn’t going to stop just because I felt a tad dizzy. My motto is go big or go home and I apply it to EVERYTHING.

Anyway, I noticed the soreness in my arm that evening. I was all, maybe I should take some ibuprofen for that, but then I was all, what kind of wimp takes ibuprofen because her arm is sore from CLEANING? Suck it up, Towbin!

So I did. And then at 4 am I woke up in excruciating pain. In my sleepy delirium I decided that first thing in the morning I should definitely call an orthopedic surgeon about this injury because, really, who else could I possibly call for such a serious trauma? Then I started thinking that I’d have to tell the orthopedic surgeon that I hurt myself scrubbing the bathroom floor and my pride would not allow for that, so I just decided I’d have to deal with it, even if it required surgery (which, at the time, it most definitely seemed like it would).

Then I woke up this morning and realized I was insane. My arm is feeling much better and I realized I just gave it a really good workout. Unfortunately, my right bicep is going to be HUGE and my left bicep will be normal sized and I will look like a freak, but them’s the breaks.

The fruit of my labors, part deux

UPDATE: This morning I went outside to find THIS on my front lawn:

If you recall, earlier this week I found a tomato and then an orange discarded in my yard. And now this.

I don’t know WTF is happening. There is literally an entire produce section collecting on my front lawn. Who is doing this? Why? And do they even know how much money they’re throwing away?

One of my blog readers had suggested that some kid is throwing out parts of his or lunch during the bus ride to school. Okay, that might make sense, except for that pesky tomato: whose mom or dad packs them a whole, intact tomato for lunch?

This has now blown up into the hugest mystery I have ever encountered in my entire life. I wonder if I could somehow craft it into a mystery/thriller kind of a situation, Agatha Christie style. Maybe this is a best-seller in the making?

I will DEFINITELY keep you all updated. Theories are welcome and encouraged.

The fruit of my labors

Before I get into the meat (actually, fruit) of this post, I have to come clean: I haven’t felt like blogging over the past few weeks with everything that’s been going on since the election. I’ve been consumed by the news and feeling terribly upset and hopeless on a daily basis. Writing about things like my cat keeping me up at night has seemed, well, pointless.

I haven’t found humor in much lately, and I also haven’t been sure what I should blog about. It feels wrong to ignore the things that are going on in the U.S. right now, but I don’t want to get into a huge political discourse on here either, despite how deep my personal convictions are.

That leaves me very torn.

So I’m just going to say this: Be an active participant. Go to and make phone calls to your representatives. Donate to the ACLU and other organizations that can make a direct impact. As hard as it is to open myself up to criticism on my blog, it’s harder for me to stay silent.

That being said, I’m going to keep blogging about stupid sh*t because it distracts me from the constant onslaught of horribleness. Maybe the blog will distract you for a few minutes, too. Sometimes we all just need a break.

So today’s break is brought to you by this:

For some reason, somebody put a tomato on my lawn a week ago. I left it out there thinking an animal would come it eat, but there’s been no takers. Every day my kids are all, “The tomato’s still there!” and I reflect anew on how weird it is that somebody put a tomato on my lawn.

Then something even stranger happened. Exhibit B:

It’s an orange. Yesterday somebody dropped an orange on my lawn. Right next to the tomato.

WHAT is happening? Who keeps dropping produce in my yard? And why? What does it mean?!?

My kid thinks it’s a message from the Illuminati. But he thinks everything is linked to the Illuminati, so I’m doubtful. He also thinks we’ll find a zucchini there in a couple of days. He may be on to something.

If you have information about WTF is happening in my yard, please be sure to comment below and let me in on the secret.



Achy Breaky Finger


I am very grateful to have my health. So please keep this in mind when I tell you that I am BESIDE MYSELF due to the minor medical problem I’ve been dealing with over the past week.

You see, a week ago Tuesday I decided it would be a good idea to open a package of sausage using a knife and, as a result, I came close to cutting off the tip of my finger. I’m not very good with injuries and blood, so I spent the first 15 minutes after my accident trying not to throw up/pass out/throw up while I was passed out. I lay on my bed for a while, keeping pressure on my bleeding finger that I had expertly wrapped in 15 paper towels. My cat attended to me quite nicely, staying by my side and licking me with concern, but soon I realized I needed a bit more medical attention. And not just because I was panic-sweating through all three layers of my clothing.

After dropping my kids off at their respective evening activities–because come on, like we’re going to miss basketball practice–my husband drove me to the emergency room.

Let me just say that it was not a good time. I was there for FOUR hours. I was the least serious case that night, and so that meant that all the other people there had to be treated before me. Totally understandable, but after three hours of sitting by myself on a gurney in a freezing cold ER, I was kind of done.

I tried to pass the time by live tweeting my experience using the hashtag fingerbooboo. I entertained the idea of snagging one of the “Fall Risk” bracelets hanging on the wall; surely it could help me execute the most hilarious prank. I began to resent the woman behind the curtain five feet away from me that kept talking in detail about her gas. I even mentally lashed out at the woman on my other side who was offered ice water while I was not. I don’t know, nurses, maybe even though I don’t have a catheter and I’m not moaning I might STILL be a little parched for some ice water?

When the doctor finally came, it wasn’t much better. He injected me with some lidocaine to numb the whole finger before he stitched me up. Now, let me tell you, I’ve birthed two babies, and that had nothing on that lidocaine. GOOD. LORD. That was some serious pain right there.

FINALLY at 11 pm I could go home. Unfortunately it was a rough night as my finger was absolutely killing me after the numbing medicine wore off. I could not believe how much pain I was in from a cut finger. It was insane.

The next few days continued to be painful, not to mention inconvenient. You never know how easy life is until one little thing you take for granted is taken away from you, like the use of your left index finger.

My finger started to heal and keeping a bandage on it was annoying, so I stopped covering it and let it all hang out. My kids literally recoiled from me. No joke, my one kid wouldn’t even hug me he was so disturbed by the three stitches in my finger. I started to feel like a leper. It was difficult to cook, to do the dishes, type, you name it.

Yesterday was the day I could get my stitches out. I was so excited and so ready and I couldn’t wait. I went to my doctor and he removed them. I was feeling all good until a couple hours later when I looked down and realized that my finger was A COMPLETE DISASTER. Without getting into too much gross detail, let’s just say it looked just as badly as it did the day I injured it. I don’t know what the hell happened. It hurts all over again and looks totally gross and I tried to cheer myself up by trying a new chocolate cake recipe and instead of making something amazing and delicious I created THIS abomination:


This fingerbooboo has me totally off my game. All I can do now is slap a Band-Aid on it and hope for the best.

By the way, my pride will not allow me to leave you thinking that I bake cakes like the above on a regular basis. If you’d like to see what I was up to over the last year or so, check out my Instagram account (@towbinma) and see my cakes that are not abominations.

Cat call

Yesterday the most heartwarming, feel-good experience turned into a NIGHTMARE in two seconds flat. Here’s how it went down:

Earlier in the week I went through all our old towels and, after putting in some research, decided that donating them to the SPCA would be a good way to put them to some use. I stuffed four trash bags full of towels and washcloths and headed out to our nearby SPCA chapter.

After hauling them all inside the building, I noticed a few cages out in the lobby. I walked over, and to my delight, found that they were full of kittens!!! I watched them frolic and meow their cute little high-pitched meows. I even took pictures and texted them to my husband:


He warned me not to adopt one. I responded by making a video of three of them meowing and wrote back, “You are a monster.”

I was about to leave and took one last peek into one of the cages that held a mom cat and her four kittens:


They must have been only a few days old. I’m standing there watching them crawl all over their mom and literally feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was awesome.

UNTIL I noticed one of them wasn’t crawling all over its mom like the others. In fact, it wasn’t moving at all. I stared and stared, willing it to move, but it didn’t. I went over to the front desk and told the staff. The woman working there came over to the cage and pulled it out.

It was, in fact, dead.

AND I AM TRAUMATIZED. It was so horrible and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. And the most horrible thing is that the woman who worked there said it HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. I can’t even.

The next text to my husband: “OMG. ONE OF THE KITTENS WAS DEAD. I am traumatized.” His response: “Wow!” Not really the support I was looking for.

I don’t even know why I’m blogging about it. I’m trying to work through it? It was too horrible to keep to myself? I don’t know.

Let’s try to end this on a happy note:



Deep thoughts

Sometimes I have a deep thoughts, SNL’s Jack Handey-style. It’s actually kind of annoying. I’ll be in a waiting room or hanging at the carpool pickup and just start wondering, “Who am I?” I think and think and when nothing comes to mind, I get myself worked up into quite a state. It usually ends with, “I don’t know who the hell I AM! What is wrong with me?!?”

But the other day I got a fresh perspective. I was chatting with my kid’s friend (who is 10). She was telling me how this girl she knows keeps copying everything she does. And stares at her while she’s sleeping, which I admitted is kind of creepy. Anyway, I told her it sounded like this girl might really admire her and is just trying to be like her.

She thought for a second and said, “She’s not me AT ALL. I like SunChips, turquoise, watermelon, macaroons, other baked treats, and sparkles.”

BAM. Just like that, she summed herself up and was 100% sure of it.

Then I’m all, why can’t I sum myself up like that? Do I have to be all deep and profound and make everything so hard all the time?

So I decided that if someone asks me who I am, this will be my answer: cake, pie, BBC period dramas, pink, Star Trek (TNG, obvs), knitting, books, gelato, naps (with blankets), not being cold, pasta, sweat pants.

Yeah, there’s a lot of food in there, but I like food. And I won’t apologize for it! Woo hoo!

Out of the mouths of babes…

Park it

This was basically what the scene looked like, but way creepier. And with a garbage can.

I’m a little freaked out because of (a) what I just witnessed, and (b) the way I am reacting to what I just witnessed.

This morning I went on my first outdoor run of the season. I like to go to a park near my house and run this one particular loop. So I had just pulled into the small parking lot and was stretching next to my car when this blue sedan with tinted windows turned in. I think I spotted a guy inside, and he drove all the way to the far end of the lot. Which is weird because there was just basically my car and one other in the entire lot and tons of empty spaces. But whatever. I thought he was turning around or something and went on my merry way.

Fast forward to the end of my run (during which two ladies passed me, which always makes me feel like a complete loser, but I ended up passing them later on because they started walking up a hill and I am totally THE CHAMPION). I get back to my car and the blue sedan with the tinted windows is still there.

Now listen here — he’s not parked in a spot, but has positioned his car horizontally over several spots and is idling in the back of the lot right next to a garbage can. I’m like, that’s kind of weird. What is he doing just sitting in his car, idling in a park, for like 25 minutes?

I do my end-of-workout stretching and just as I walk to the driver’s side door THE BLUE SEDAN STARTS MOVING VERY SLOWLY.

It’s at this moment that I start to freak out. A million thoughts run through my head:

  • Was this guy waiting for me?
  • Why is he leaving at the EXACT time I’m going to leave?
  • Did he come up with some murderous plot that involves following me in my car, running me off the road, sticking me in his trunk, forcing me to live my fear of being trapped in enclosed spaces, and then selling me to the highest bidder, who makes me write a sequel to STRAIGHTJACKET using the same tactics as Kathy Bates in Misery?
  • Did he plant a bomb under my car, Robocop style, and he wants to see his dastardly deed completed as I turn the key and my van EXPLODES? Just for the fun of it?!?

Well, it turned out he just drove away. Before I even pulled out. And went in the opposite direction of me anyway.

So I ask you — who’s the crazy one? This guy who on a random Friday hangs out in a deserted park for 25 minutes in front of a garbage can? Or me, who thinks I’m at the center of some big conspiracy that will end with a local news headline of “Local Woman Blown to Smithereens After First Kick-Ass Run of the Season”?

No really, who’s crazier?!? I want to know.