Our Raison D’Etre

Two weekends ago, I met a friend for late afternoon drinks at a bar across the road.  When I arrived, he’d been soaking up the sun and cider for a couple of hours already, and was sitting with a cheerful group of people I was invited to join.  This included:  Chester from Newcastle; Chester’s Swedish girlfriend, called Em; the bar’s owner, Dave, who is Irish; Dave’s Polish wife; my South African mate, Sean; and their friend, Gary, who is from Edinburgh.  I mention the hodgepodge of nationalities only because this is one of those things I love about London – Sean also lives with a Ghanaian, an Italian, and two Czech lodgers who were all presumably drinking pints in another patch of sun.

As I was a little bit late to the party, the conversation was relaxed and winding.  A popular topic, however, was what substances could be used to spike Gary’s drink without him noticing.  A range of fluids were suggested, with Gary’s enthusiastic participation.  This was mildly amusing, but a bit weird for a bunch of thirty-somethings to be talking about – with two PhDs amongst them, no less.  It was more the stuff of the fifth-grade cafeteria table.  Because four of the group were bartenders, the discussion covered what noxious liquids could be visually disguised in what ranges of seemingly innocuous beverages.  I finally had to pipe up and ask:  What exactly was the deal?

It turned out that one drunken night four months ago, Gary bumped his head getting into a taxi, and suffered a mild brain injury that had left him without a sense of taste or smell.  The loss of smell is called anosmia, but Gary’s principal complaint was that everything tasted of, well, nothing.  Although likely the hundredth time poor Gary was forced to tell the story, we all sat and contemplated this for a while.  (more…)


Turns out your cat is just as tormented inside his walnut-brain as you always suspected, complete with middling French accent.  I love this video.

On point as usual, The Onion had an article in January called “Cat Refuses to Die” that was both amusing and wince-worthy in its familiarity.  I emailed it to my mom and suggested a blog post recounting our own history of the more ridiculous medical shit we’ve been through with our animals, saying that I thought it would elicit comments.

She wrote back, “Yeah, the comments this will get are that we are crazy people.”

Certainly some people would find the amount of time, money, and energy invested in our pets’ care to be shocking.  Tallying it up is sobering, especially as we’ve only had standard house pets – think about people with horses or exotic animals, who probably spend a fortune in care and maintenance.  With that perspective, our kitty hospice and doggie rehab shouldn’t seem so absurd…

In a house of Responsible Pet-Ownership, we, like many other people, often found our good intentions stretched to extraordinary measures, and often with extreme grossness and expense.

There was our much-beloved Yonkers and the Blood Parasite in the late ‘80s that cost over $2500 to treat (about $4600, according to an inflation calculator).  He spent two weeks in the feline ICU, and we made more than one “final visit.”  Miraculously, Yonkers was eventually discharged with a feeding tube punched through the back of his neck to his esophagus; for feeding, my mother would blenderize cat food, uncork him, and inject it into his neck with a syringe.  He made a full recovery and went on to eviscerate many more lizards, in his day. (more…)

Happy Friday, Hookers!

My Friday did not start out happy, in fact, in started out on the wrong fucking foot.  I caught some of The Crud and had to half-ass sleep sitting up, then when I got up this morning the first thing I read was a shitty ass email from my mother, with an extra helping of holiday guilt, natch.   BUT, it is Friday, Sex Talk Friday, Feel Good Friday, So Over People Who Stress Me Out Friday, whatever as long as it’s GOOD.

Okay?  So, only good things in this thread.  Good dates, good food, good friends, good plans, good movies, good books, good moments, good everything.  My Friday is good because I have a great marriage with a man I dearly love and we will be spending our first Christmas together without the negative rainstorm of my family.  I have a roof over my head and the lights on my Christmas tree work, there is food in the pantry and all my bills are paid.  I have wonderfully supportive friends who know how to enjoy and be thankful for the positive things in their lives which in turn enriches my life as well.  I am in good health, I am 15 lbs lighter, the Packers are securely in the playoff hunt and I have good hopes for the new year.  And I have great hair.  Now tell me:  what’s good with you?

BeggarFriday night, I took the tube home after drinks with some co-workers.  It was kind of an ill-advised evening, because I was tired and I’d had five pints (I know full well – after numerous studied trials and experimentations over the course of many months – that my personal London-drinking limit should be three pints, as the brew here is stronger than our watered-down pish from home).  At any rate, my American friend and I realized we’d surpassed giddy buzziness around the fourth drink, when a discussion as to how hillbillies talk on meth (it involved impressions)* led to ten minutes of giggle-fits and then eventually dissolved into fatigue.

So five pints in, I called it a night and was trudging from my tube stop towards the flat, when I passed a woman begging in front of my local Tesco.  You can’t walk through London without encountering dozens of beggars, especially at the doors of grocery stores, and if you’re standing in front of a bar having drinks, you can reasonably expect to be hit up by three people selling “The Big Issue” and at least one perky young volunteer in a cancer charity tee-shirt, all scrapping for your change.  Basically, you become inured to it after a while.  You learn to keep a pocket full of ten- and twenty-pence pieces, which you’ll hand off to someone or rattle into a bucket with hardly a moment’s thought – that is, if they’re polite.  Plenty of beggars have passed the “thanks and God bless” phase and headed straight into surly entitlement, and those are the people who piss you off.  (more…)


In honor of ButtercupPunch’s one year anniversary, Ms. Gloria Steinem chose to turn 75 as a show of feminist solidarity.  To crib liberally (pun! Okay, by “liberally” I meant “entirely”) from Wednesday’s Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of Gloria Steinem, born in Toledo, Ohio (1934). Her father was an antique dealer and a summer resort operator who traveled all over the country in a trailer, looking for new business ventures. Steinem said, “He was always going to make a movie, or cut a record, or start a new hotel, or come up with a new orange drink.” She traveled around the country, never attending school, until her parents separated, and she moved in with her mother.

But her mother’s mental health began to break down, and Steinem had to take over all the cooking and cleaning and shopping. She said that her mother was “an invalid who lay in bed with eyes closed and lips moving in occasional response to voices only she could hear; a woman to whom I brought an endless stream of toast and coffee, bologna sandwiches and dime pies.” Young Gloria became obsessed with Shirley Temple movies, hoping to be rescued miraculously from poverty, just like the little girl on the screen.

She managed to get into Smith College because she scored so well on her entrance examinations. After college, she went to work as a journalist. She wrote celebrity journalism for a while, but she became more interested in feminism after she wrote an article about the prevalence of illegal abortions, and all her male colleagues tried to persuade her not to publish it. She was a founder of Ms. magazine, whose first issue came out in January 1972.

Gloria Steinem said, “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”


Man, what a year.  From the stoned out, boozed up madness of a group chat came the idea to start ButtercupPunch, and despite the challenges of full time working/living/blogging, I wouldn’t change any of it.  I have learned so much from my co-bloggers and had so much fun along the way.  We collaborate on ideas, we edit for each other and not a day goes by that we don’t talk to each other, despite all being located hundreds of miles apart.  So before I get to my reader picks, I would like to take a moment to celebrate my bitches – holla.

My commie love, after the jump. (more…)

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