I am saddened to announce that my alter ego, Donna, seems to have developed a serious condition called Kitten Madness.
The most obvious symptom of this affliction is bombarding social media with kitten photos, but there are others that are just as annoying. For instance, speaking to it in a high-pitched baby talk as if that will make it understand English.--“You’re a little fuzzy-wuzzy-snuggie-buttpants-cutie-magoomba." And, taking hours of valuable time away from writing and drinking to find the perfect name, then changing it on a daily basis. He was Mario, Fitzy, Enzo, Tiki, Derby, Titus, Mr. Mimosa, and Sawyer before she has finally settled on Huckleberry Finn McCool the Wonder Cat, which is ridiculous,
I have nothing against having an animal sidekick, I just think we could have done better than a domestic shorthair. We need something more dangerous…a pet that makes a statement. The obvious choice was a Honey Badger After all, they're so notoriously vicious they can't even be kept in zoos and can sleep off a cobra bite like it was just one shot too many of cheap tequila, but it seemed like a cliche'.
Also in the running were the hippopotamus, wolverine, giant squid, deathstalker scorpion, and a few other awesomw animals, but I narrowed the field to three.
This flightless bird can easily eviscerate a human with their enormous talons and often attack with no provocation. If they do, don't bother trying to run. They can top speeds of 30 miles an hour. And, they're endangered, so you can't even fight back.
2) Cape Buffalo
This badass bovine is 2,000 pounds of perpetually pissed-off that can charge at 40 miles an hour. They'll take on a lion, Range Rover, killer robot, and "the man."
3) Bull Shark -
Known to be the most aggressive of all sharks, they'll make a meal of fish, dolphins, other sharks, and humans. They sometime eat things just out of curiosity. Ready to be really terrified? They can adapt to bodies of fresh water...let's say, like Herrington Lake.
After much soul-searching and deliberation, I have decided that the Cape Buffalo would make the perfect pet for me. This is my reasoning. I could bedazzle the horns with crystals making it an accessory, as well as a companion; Bourbonista and Buffalo has a nice ring to it; they love the water, so it would take right to lake life; and I could ride it home from the bars if I got drunk like my own personal living Lyft.
As far as Donna goes, I'm in the process of staging an intervention to stop the Kitten Madness. It must stop!
So, tomorrow is my birthday and for the first time in my entire life, I am not really celebrating. Not because it’s my 49th, which is just a necessary evil before getting to have a total blowout for the big 5-0. Not because it falls on a Wednesday, which is a lame day for a soiree. Not because I haven’t reclaimed the splits, which I vowed last year to demonstrate at this year’s party.
But because June 14 also happens to be the birthday of one Donald J. Trump, and I cannot fathom celebrating that sexist sociopath even by coincidence and association. And, it gets worse. Not only is the Donald ruining my birthday, he is also ruining my second favorite day of the year—National Bourbon Day, which is also June 14th. In the past, having these coincide seemed like perfect kismet. Now, it seems like a hateful trick played by cruel fate, who must be a conservative.
I refuse to share my day with Trump, but I also cannot imagine not commemorating the fact that I’ve managed to stay alive this long. So, I’ve found a solution. This year, I’m moving my birthday. Technically, I was supposed to be born on July 1, 1968 but my mother’s OB/GYN had a prescheduled vacation to Hawaii, so they induced labor two weeks early. Side note: this was also the doctor that prescribed my mother Valium to calm her nerves throughout the pregnancy and suggested washing it down with a little white zinfandel.
Also, as opposed to the aforementioned, some really fabulous people were born on July 1, including George Sand, Indiana Jones, Deborah Harry, and Princess Diana. And though, I’m a Gemini through and through, I think I can be a capable and caring Cancer for a day.
So, how will I be celebrating this new and improved birthday? In spectacular style, of course. I’m starting out the day with Goat Yoga at Sunny Acres Farm, then a champagne brunch. Then, shopping—mama needs a new pair of shoes. Late afternoon will entail bourbon, boating, and burgers. That evening, they’ll be shooting fireworks off over the lake, which I’ll pretend are being launched just for me. If you’ve never seen skyrockets exploding over and reflected on the water, you haven’t lived. At some point, I’ll slip in some sex. And cake...no pie...coconut cream pie. Successful solution found.
However, next year, I am taking my frickin’ birthday back. I’ll let him have 49, but by God, 50 is mine! Though entirely selfish, I see this as just one more reason that Trump must be impeached…and before June 2018. Amen and hallelujah.
It's been almost a month since I put out an ad for a nanny and I've not had one serious applicant. Perhaps candidates just need a little more information before committing to my care. So, I filled out this fun Facebook questionairre to help you get to know me.
1. Who are you named after? Julia Drucilla, the daughter of Caligula. Apropos, if I do say so myself.
2. Last time you cried? This morning, when I woke up and realized Donald Trump was still president.
3. Do you like your handwriting? Hard to tell. I usually only see a smudged version of it on a damp bar napkin after having “my best idea ever” while totally intoxicated.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Pickle loaf, duh.
5. What is your favorite color? Taint Taupe
6. Longest relationship? I’ve had a love affair with bourbon for 30 beautiful years.
7. Do you still have your tonsils? Nope, I lost them in a sword swallowing accident.
8. Would you bungee jump? Seems like a waste of gravity.
9. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Marshmallows Only Lucky Charms.
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Shoes are for sissies.
12. Favorite ice cream? If you thought I was a freak before, check this—I hate ice cream.
13. What is the first thing you notice about a person? Whether or not they’re wearing a badge.
14. Football or baseball? Alligator wrestling, competitive eating, and mechanical bull riding are the only sports I condone.
16. Last thing you ate? A child who wandered up to my gingerbread cottage…just joking, a multigrain waffle.
17. What are you listening to? The beat of my own drummer, and it is loud and erratic.
18. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? I’d be one of those you make by melting all the others and then mushing them back into one.
19. What is your favorite flower? My own Full-Blown Rose.
20. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? Depends, does heavy breathing count as a conversation?
21. Married? Happily ever after, or until we drown each other in the lake.
22. Hair color? Yes.
23. Eye color? Mostly blue-green with rings of bloodshot red.
24. Favorite food to eat? Gizzards. Deep-fried gizzards drenched in hot sauce.
25. Scary movies or happy endings? As long as there’s copious amounts of popcorn and gratuitous violence, I care not.
26. Last movie you watched? The Oscar-worthy classic, “Grandma’s Boy Unrated.”
27. What color shirt are you wearing? Nude with nipples…oh wait, I’m not wearing a shirt…I’m naked.
28. Favorite holiday? National Bourbon Day, of course, which also happens to be the day of my birth, June 14.
29. Beer or wine? Only in a pinch. I like my liquor like my men--hard.
30. Night owl or morning person? Both—no rest for the wicked.
31. Favorite day of the week? The day after Friday, but before Saturday. I like to call it Fraturday, because it’s when I party like a frat house.
32. Favorite season? Season 6 of “Shameless.”
So, I guess you’ve all heard that I, The Bourbonista, am now in charge of this website. And, I’m proud to admit that I've already had complaints mounted, sensibilities offended, and nearly got my alter ego, Donna, banned from a group that literally accepts all women. Brava for me. But, I’ve got a little problem. I’ve realized that with control comes responsibility…and, I hate responsibility. Incidentally, so does Frank. So, in a nutsack, we’re going to need help. We need someone to make sure we eat a vegetable once a month. Someone to tuck us in and sing, “Blister in the Sun“ by the Violent Femmes until we fall asleep. Someone to bail us out of jail. We need a nanny.
Using the employment requirements for Mary Poppins' The Perfect Nanny as inspiration, I’ve prepared a “Help Needed” ad of my own.
Wanted: A Nanny for Two Rambunctious Adults
If you want this choice position,
Have a daring disposition.
Sense of humor, open-mind.
Mix drinks, all kind.
You must be bright, you must be breezy
Not easily startled, or made queasy.
Drive us around, make us snacks .
Fend off grizzly bear attacks.
Never be boring or cruel.
Never judge us for acting a fool.
Love us like uncles and aunts,
Never ask where we lost our pants.
If you’ll not to try to cramp our style,
We won’t give you reason not to smile,
We won’t cut your lines,
So, you can’t brake,
Put poison in your tea,
Or drown you in the lake.
Solve our woes.
Bourbonista and Frank Rose
I, Donna Ison, must bid you adieu. Not because I don’t want to blog to you anymore, but because this website is no longer my property. It now belongs to Drucilla Darkwater, known to many of you as The Bourbonista.
For years, Drucilla and I have been able to coexist in the same body with me primarily running the show. Though, there have been those times when my bourbon-fueled alter-ego reared her rowdy head and I just had to watch in horror. Like the 2014 Fish Fry and Cornhole Tournament when she threw a full-blown-toddler-temper-tantrum because there were no more hush puppies and then hid in the woods for two hours. Or Thanksgiving of 2016 when she kicked a frozen turkey through the Aldi screaming, “Fuck Thanksgiving” at the top of her lungs. Or when she was asked by an evangelical Republican if she believed in killing babies, and she answered, “I don’t know. How we killing ‘em? Shooting them out of cannons or something fun?”
But the final straw was yesterday. When on the most sacred of all days in Kentucky, Derby Day, she refused to wear a traditional hat and insisted on a ridiculous turban. Then, once at the party, she ran around drinking out of this gargantuan flask; commandeered the dance floor and clogged; announced to the crowd, “You are not my tribe;” and then came home and passed out in the dog’s bed.
Keeping her in check has gotten harder and harder. Since November, we’ve been in a battle of wits and wills on who is better suited to thrive and survive in this new world order. I want to take up meditation, she wants to take up moonshining. I want to go vegetarian, she wants to go on an expedition to find Bigfoot. I want to organize women to work together for positive change, she wants to organize an army of killer sock monkeys. I want to take up watercolors painting, she wants to take a driftwood club and beat Judge Judy with it. You get the point.
So…we’ve come to an agreement. She gets the blog. She gets her own Facebook page. She’s even starting a YouTube channel. And every now and then, I’ll even give her total control of this body and let her take it out on the town and wreak the kind of havoc that only she can. In order to keep the public safe, I’ll make sure she’s easy to spot, so you can stay out of her way. If you see her in a caftan and turban carrying a bourbon--run--run away. You’ve been warned.
Of course, she’ll disappear the next morning and leave me to nurse the hellish hangover, drag the corpses off the battlefield, and make amends to all those who were insulted and injured. But, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
I know some of you might find it offensive and rudely timed that I have declared a self-diagnosed case of dissociative personality disorder right as Mental Health Awareness Month kicks off, and I apologize if it seems distasteful. However, this was Drucilla’s doing and she doesn’t give a damn what you think. Complain to The Bourbonista if you want, but you’d probably have better luck teaching a honey badger to “give kisses.”
If you have no regard for decorum and decency, you can continue to read this blog. You can also follow The Bourbonista on Facebook, HERE. And, soon you’ll be able to watch her on “Bedtime with the Bourbonista” But, I wouldn’t recommend it—cause bitch is crazy.
So, with deep gratitude, I say good-bye and good luck.
At first, I thought it was just an oil-stained orange rag beneath the souped-up Camaro in the parking lot of the Combs Motel in Hazard, Kentucky. Then, a voice from within urged me to look closer. I did, and realized the oil-stained rag was actually an oil-stained kitten—barely breathing, eyes matted shut, with a stripe of Valvoline from nose to tail. I didn’t know if I could keep him alive, but I had to try. I wriggled under the car, carried him out, and wrapped him in a tee shirt. While washing his eyes out with warm water in the motel bathroom, I decided to call him Oscar, after the trash-can dwelling grouch on Sesame Street.
At this point, I had no intention of adopting him. I already had three other cats and a dog. But, I would do what I could to save him. He was too weak to eat on his own. so I bottle-fed him, which essentially required taking him everywhere I went if I was going to be gone for longer than eight hours. I bought him a fluffy, red teddy bear as a substitute for litter mates. I took him to the vet. After a couple of weeks of tender, loving care, it was obvious he was going to make it…and he was not going anywhere.
It took the oil-stripe nearly a year to grow out. During that time, he developed quite the personality. It could best be described as perpetually-pissed off, earning him the title of Oscar Brown, Meanest Cat in Town. God, but how that little orange tabby cat swatted, growled, head-butted, and hissed his way into my heart. I was never able to look at his grumpy little face without smiling…until he got sick.
Two years ago, while we were residing on a boat at Royalties Marina, Oscar took seriously ill. As I do, I wrote about that horrifying day in another blog, which you can read HERE. After tons of tests, the diagnosis was Pneumocystosis, a serious form of fungal pneumonia caused by Mallard duck droppings, meaning he would need a strict regimen of lifelong meds. Once again, if I was going to be gone for longer than eight hours, Oscar had to go along, too.
Since his diagnosis, he’d had mostly good days…a few bad…a couple really, scary bad. And, we’ve known that the Fluconazole would sooner or later take a toll on his liver. I’d always asked Oscar to let me know when it was time…when he was ready to go…when there were more bad days than good. He did so, beginning last Friday, in the form of a hunger strike. He just stopped eating, absolutely refusing to taste a morsel of even his favorite food.
On Monday, I called our veterinarian.
“What else can we do?” I asked, desperate.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing else. Quite frankly, I’m surprised he’s made it this long.”
“So, we just have to let nature take its course?”
“Or we can opt for euthanasia, which would be the most humane thing to do if he’s in pain or suffering.”
“How do we know if he’s suffering?”
“Only you can decide that. You know him best. It’s up to you.”
And that is the very hardest part of being a pet parent--accepting that you must experience the pain of their death, so they don’t have to experience a painful life.
Yesterday morning, just as I did over a decade ago, I looked at a weak and barely-breathing, now twelve-year-old, kitten and had to decide whether or not I could keep him alive. This time, I knew the answer was no. As hard as it was going to be, I had to let go. For him, it was time. Our veterinarian agreed to come to our house. That afternoon, with Oscar snugged in between Frank and myself on his favorite blanlet, we said goodbye.
And now, there is a gaping Oscar-shaped hole in my heart and an empty place in our family. It is truly amazing what a huge impact a tiny, orange kitten made in all our lives. Oscar Brown, to me, you will forever be the most-missed cat in town.
For all of those,
Who implored of me,
“Where did you get
Such a massive tree?
And, especially, those
Who went on a rant,
About us killing,
Such a majestic plant.
It was Frank’s client...
You can blame her,
She thought she had bought,
A wee “dwarf” fir.
But then the tree,
Grew and grew and grew,
Until it began,
To obstruct her view.
So she decided,
To chop it down,
Right on down,
To the cold, hard ground.
Frank could not stand,
To see it die for naught,
So, into our living room,
It was brought.
At first, I cried,
“That thing is absurd,
We don’t have the lights,
To fill one third.
But the more,
I looked upon the tree,
The more it started,
To grow on me.
So, now I have,
Accepted my Fate,
I will tinsel and trim,
To honor and
The life of this Tannenbaum.
This was the view from the back deck of The Hide-A-Way, a cabin perched in the Smoky Mountains where Frank and I spent several weekends getting back to nature and into mischief in Gatlinburg, TN. This structure and the surrounding forest were completely destroyed by the recent wildfires. I penned this poem after our first stay at this special place.
Embraced by the mountains and sky,
Watched over by the oak and pine,
Befriended by the hawk and owl,
The cabin looks calmly down at the forest below.
A powerful peace resides here,
Always eager for visitors,
Especially the young and the young-at-heart.
Flowers stage a fragrant rebellion and taunt the honeybees.
Laughter plays hide-and-seek with the July fireflies.
Leaves tell stories of mountain men and star-crossed lovers.
Snow keeps secrets told by dreamers beneath handmade quilts.
In all seasons,
The cabin whispers,
“Welcome to the Hide-A-Way,
Make certain to enjoy your stay.”
If you’d told Jane three words would destroy her life, she’d have guessed they might be “You have cancer” or “You’re under arrest” or “President Elect Trump.” She would have never pinned it on this particular trio. Nor would she have thought her demise would occur on Thanksgiving, the most wholesome of holidays.
When the doorbell rang that morning, she’d assumed it was her parents arriving early. Instead, she found her neighbor on the porch with a condescending smile and bouquet of fresh-cut peonies. “I thought you could use some cheering up.”
"Why?" Jane was more curious than concerned.
“You don’t know? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.” Celeste’s twinkling eyes told a different story. “There’s no easy way to say this, but—”
Next, came the three words. Then, Celeste took out her crystal-encrusted cell phone to offer video proof.
Not knowing whether to panic or pray, Jane opted for both.
Why is this happening? I’m a good person. Right, God? I attend midnight mass on Christmas, donate to the ASPCA, and drive a hybrid. Oh Lord, please let my boss never see this…or my mother…or Patrick...especially not Patrick.
The whole thing began the previous day with a coupon, craving, and subpar plastic. Sav-A-Mart was offering turkey for ninety-nine cents a pound and carried her all-time favorite pumpkin pie, so despite it being across town, Jane went.
It was a delightfully uneventful trip, right up until she left the store. That’s when her shopping bag broke sending the turkey on a collision course with her left foot. The initial pain was rapidly replaced by absolute anger—blind fury that Vesuviused in a molten string of obscenities.
Nearby, a woman piling sturdy, reusable totes into the back of a Volvo abruptly stopped, glared, and covered her toddler’s ears.
This only bolstered Jane’s wrath. She reared back and kicked the frozen fowl. It went wobbling across the parking lot. Then, like a deranged soccer star, she booted the Butterball all the way back to her car. But just before reaching the SUV, she miscalculated the turkey’s trajectory, tripped over it, and splayed onto the pavement, dumping her pie in the process. Instead of attempting to get up or regain composure, Jane burst into sobs and began scooping handfuls of gravel-specked, pumpkin custard straight off the ground and shoveling it into her mouth.
By the time she saw the kid filming on his iPhone, it was too late.
“What came over you?”
Jane just gave a silent shrug, but she knew the answer.
Perimenopausal rage. It’s a real condition.
Celeste shoved the flowers in Jane’s direction. “As of an hour ago, the video had been viewed five hundred thousand times.”
Jane didn’t know whether it was the cloying scent of the blooms or immensity of the number, but she nearly vomited on the spot.
“It’ll probably be up to a million by dinner.” Celeste smirked and again uttered those three wicked words, “You’ve gone viral.”
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.