North Carolina doesn’t deserve you.

Homesickness is a big problem for me this time of year. I don’t even mean the “holiday season” in general, but Thanksgiving specifically. I really, really liked Thanksgiving, growing up. It was a low-key holiday, no extra people, no traveling, just me and my dad watching ridiculous movies, like “A Beverley Hillbillies Thanksgiving”, while my mom cooked.

Wendell, North Carolina is particularly beautiful in late November. A friend from Canada who came to visit me there once said it was like an extra week of October for her. There are sunsets to die for and everything one could desire in the way of leaves. I miss it so much that, true to the cliche, it becomes a physical ache sometimes.


(Downtown Wendell. It’s a small place so we only have the one gazebo.)

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Memo: Don’t Compare Homeless People To Stray Cats, You Will Make Brittany Shriek Like A Tree Monkey


“Homeless people are not animals! Also, feed the damned animals, what is wrong with you?!”

I’ve decided not to write about my epic saga of homelessness or related adventures anymore, or at least not for a little while. While my finances are still terribly precarious, and my PTSD is still quite T, I am a much happier and healthier person than I was when I started this blog a year ago.

It’s easy to get stuck in past traumas. Hyper-vigilant people don’t necessarily stop hyper-vigilating just because they’ve reached safe harbor. Sometimes you have to locate your own off-switch and firmly instruct your brain that it’s time to think about other stuff now.

This is me, doing that. Or fixin’ to do it, as they say in Raleigh.

Before I leave the topic behind entirely, there are a handful of sentiments about homelessness that I need to get off my chest. These are things that I learned while I was homeless, the stuff that surprised me or took me off guard. Stuff that I wished folks understood about people like me, and stuff I wish my friends understood about the homeless people I encounter now.

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She’s warm.

Spring is a good time for new things, right? Spring is a thematically appropriate time to introduce changes into one’s life, and then write about them.

The life I lead here on Crowded Little Street, Southwest Baltimore, is very unlike the life I’ve had anywhere else, and by that I mean, my life is very normal. Astonishingly so. It’s the kind of normal I didn’t think actually existed outside of sitcoms. My roommates and I hang out and play video games. We have Burrito Night. I can walk to the grocery store and the coffee shop. I’ve had a recent uptick in my freelance work, so lately I haven’t had the crushing despair of hanging around an empty house, unable to enjoy the solitude because you’re not allowed to enjoy days off when you’re an unemployed bum. Oh, and I have a cat! If you follow my Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr, you know this already, but here’s a picture anyway.

Mina window

Not pictured: the photographer writhing with glee, because the cat and MouseBear are friends, and she ACTUALLY PULLED HIM OVER SO THEY COULD BE CLOSER AND SNUGGLE, GOD SHE’S SO CUTE I’M GONNA DIE

So I have a house, human beings, a cat, and (brief, temporary) employment. The support group I started in December is getting more members every week. I love the novel I’m writing. My essay about why Ophelia is the most important character in western literature was published on The Toast not long ago! And I just got my contributor’s copies for Companion Piece!

That’s all it takes to make me quite content, apparently. Compared to where I was a year ago, it’s pretty much paradise.

So naturally, in the face of all this goodness, the advent of sunshine and spring weather is making me nostalgic for my childhood. Which, as long time readers of this blog will know, was, occasionally, a barren wilderness full of thorns and locusts, etc.

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Hot Single Celtic Dinosaurs

(Things are a little hectic this week, so while I continue to work on a very exciting post about my cooking history, have a re-post from a now defunct and deleted blog that I remain inappropriately amused by. –BH)



Did you know you can look up your name on Urban Dictionary?

I love UD. I have to use it a lot, because I was taught to read out of the King James Bible, so my slang lexicon isn’t entirely up to date. For instance, just yesterday I heard a line in an old Jay-z song that went, “Mami’s a rider, and I’m a roller.” The only words I understood were “a”, “and”, and “I’m”. Thanks to the UD, I now know that a mami is an attractive young woman, a rider is a devoted girlfriend, and a roller is either a cop on foot patrol, a collapsed vein, or the bass line of a song.

Clearly, the Urban Dictionary is a fantastically useful website that reflects the evolving nature of human language. Excitingly, for me, it has a few things to say about what a Brittany (n.) is.

Brittany: A girl usually born in American in the 80’s or 90’s.

True. I was born in 1982, which makes me one of the older Brittanys I’ve ever met. It was actually a pretty rare name when I was in school. No one could remember it–I usually got called Tiffany or Bethany.

Brittany’s are very attractive, popular, and have good hearts. Everyone wishes to be as cool as the Brittany’s and are jealous when they can’t compare. 


Sometimes Brittany’s are a little blonde, but it’s simply because they love life and laughing.

At 5’10, I hardly think I qualify as a little blonde.

Brittanys can be insecure but they shouldn’t be, people try to bring them down but Brittanys will always end up winning…they need to realize how wonderful they are.

Who wrote this? Where are you? (Are you single?)

Like all good dictionaries, the entry includes an instance of how Brittany (n.) is used in a sentence:

“Wow, I wish I could date a Brittany.”
“Sorry man, she’s WAY out of your league.”

Well. I was an English major. I’m hardly going to argue with a dictionary.

There’s more, though. There are actually five definitions for Brittany. Hardly sufficient to thoroughly encapsulate such a nuanced concept, but at least they make an effort.

2. Brittanys make horrible enemys cause they hold very strong grudges, it is very hard to get on a brittanys bad side but when you do watch out. brittanys will not tolerate being disrespected.

It’s not actually that hard. Flagrant neglect of proper capitalization will get you on my bad side in no time flat.

3. They usually like Taylor Swift songs, like “you belong with me” or “sparks fly”.

The taylor swift, that’s a kind of bird, right?

4. One of the 6 Celtic Nations.

Brittany is the most attractive and popular of the Celtic nations. All the other Celtic nations want to date Brittany. Cornwall was totally checking Brittany out after homeroom the other day.

5. One who was a dinosaur in a previous life. She usually demonstrates her past life through excessive roaring when stressful situations are encountered.

This…this explains so much.

Urban Dictionary also includes a helpful mini-thesaurus at the beginning of each entry. The listed synonyms for Brittany are:

britney slut sex whore awesome funny spears sexy bitch britt cool hot amazing beautiful britany brittney love brit ass boobs

I am forced to conclude that identity is, perhaps, not a fixed concept for anyone. Thanks for reading! Love, Awesome Funny Spears.


Fun With Collective Nouns

a siege of bitterns
a dinner of ducks (The hunter who decided this was either cocky or desperate enough to attempt sympathetic magic.)
a box social of eagles
a charm of goldfinches
a skein of geese
a rasp of guineafowl
a deceit of lapwings
an exaltation of larks
tidings of magpies (When magpies are dispatched in lieu of letters, phone calls, or emails.)
a pandemonium of parrots
an ostentation of peacocks
an unkindness of ravens
a murmuration of starlings


a shrewdness of apes
a drunkenship of cobblers (Oh, surely now they’re just making things up.)
a hastiness of cooks
an observance of hermits
a smack of jellyfish
a superfluity of nuns (Richard Dawkins, is that you?)
a poverty of pipers
a zeal of zebras

I was going to put in “a piteousness of doves”, but apparently that’s ‘fanciful’. Because all the others were decided by logic, obviously.