Conversations With A Brain, episode 3

You need to write something for the blog.

I can’t.

Why not?

I’m afraid. Nothing I write will be good enough to make up for the huge gap since I last updated it. The last post was about vaginas, for chrissake. How can I top that?

That’s kind of the point. Now that you’re back in the art game, anyone who visits the website will see the vaginismus posts first thing. There needs to be some kind of craft-related post to act as a buffer.

But people LIKED those essays! They got more response than almost anything else I’ve written.

You need to look professional to prospective customers. That means writing something new so your top post has a recent date on it. You need people to think you’re not some flake who abandoned her website for months.

That wasn’t my fault. You know that 2018 sent more shit my way than I could handle. I was perfectly justified in taking some time off.

Whatever you need to tell yourself. Just fucking write something, already!

Okay, fine. How about a piece on my health bullshit—kind of an explanation of my absence?

No one cares.

Maybe something about the new stuff I’ve got for sale at the Corvallis Art Center?

You didn’t take pictures of the jewelry before you delivered it. No one will go there without knowing exactly what your work looks like. And we both know you don’t have the guts to take photographs at the Art Center.

A review of art products?

No one wants your opinion. 

Howzabout a description of my cat’s antics? Everyone likes cats.

Please tell me you’re joking.

I don’t know what you want from me. You insist that the blog needs an update, but you shoot down every idea I have.

This piece has to be PERFECT. It needs to be impressive. It needs pictures, graphics, witty anecdotes, exciting subjects… You need to make up for your absence, remember?

It doesn’t matter WHAT I write, it just needs to be written. No one expects me to be brilliant every single post.


If you wanted perfection, you should have been someone else’s brain.

I will torment you endlessly until you write something that’s up to my standards. Your nightmares will drown you in visions of your failures. I’ll make you too anxious to leave the house. I’ll send you to the depths of despair. Your sobs will echo through your cold and empty soul. Yea, the very heavens will quake with my wrath!

Now you’re just throwing a tantrum.

Do my bidding or suffer the consequences. 

You know what? I’m going to post this conversation. That will teach you to threaten me.

Nooooooo! Spite, my only weakness!

That’s right, bitch. I know your kryptonite. 

You haven’t heard the last of this.

I know. But for now…I win.

It’s Vaginismus Time Again, Folks!

On my last post I promised y’all further details on my ongoing vagina adventures. Today, you lucky sumbitches get to hear about what my first visit to a pelvic floor physical therapist was like.

After making my appointment, the physical therapy center sent me a “patient packet” containing a bunch of forms to fill out. Mostly they wanted to know the standard shit about medical history/medications/ability to pay, but there was also a bladder log where I was supposed to write down details of every piss I took. (When did I pee? How long did it take? Did it hurt? What color was it? Was the toilet clean? Did it contain any scorpions? Were they from outer space? Did they abduct you? Were you probed? Which orifice? Etc., etc.)

This confused me, so I called to ask if I really needed to fill out the bladder log, as I wasn’t being referred for anything relating to urination. Answer: Nope! (Nor did I have to sign the sloppily-worded form that technically said I was consenting in advance to ANYTHING they felt like doing to me, up to and including dissection. I knew what they meant, but I still wasn’t about to put my name on it.)

**Side note: When I met my physical therapist, she was surprised I had filled out ANY of the forms. Apparently most people don’t. This is part of an ongoing theme in my life where rules apply only to me because I assume they’re supposed to be followed. If you tell me I absolutely must or there will be problems oh my gawd do something to access services I need, I do it. Finding out later those “requirements” were actually optional just pisses me off and destroys your credibility. Enforce your rules equally, people! /end rant

On the same call, I grilled the poor receptionist on what EXACTLY was going to happen at my first appointment. (I’ve had a few different gynecologists over the years, and 100% of the time I showed up at my first appointment expecting a consultation while the doctor was planning to give me a pap smear. That’s not a nice surprise.) I had no idea what to expect. “Pelvic floor therapy,” for all I knew, could mean they were going to make me lift barbells with my kegels or something. The nice lady agreed to put a note on my file saying I only intended to talk during the initial appointment, and that I would bolt at the first sign of stirrups. I was reassured enough by her humoring me to actually show up on the day in question.

Turns out I was freaking out over nothing. The doctor was very nice and was willing to accommodate my raging terror of medical settings. She assured me that we would go at my own pace, and she would treat me even if I didn’t let her give me an exam. (For the record, I don’t object to the exam itself so much as having it sprung on me unexpectedly.) We discussed some tests she wanted to give me later, she gave me some breathing exercises to do in the meantime, and I went on my merry way with an appointment for a follow-up in a few weeks.

The exercises are pretty easy. I’m to do something called “belly breaths” every three hours and a yoga-style pose every morning and evening. Technically it’s named “happy baby” pose, but I call it “dead frog.” (The version the therapist taught me is slightly different than shown in the link, I assume because it’s easier to do. The general idea is the same, though.) I essentially just lie on my back and grab my ankles, bringing them more-or-less to chest level. We could also call it the “please look at my butt” position.

The night after my appointment I got undressed for bed before I remembered about the dead frog thing. So I lay down on the bed, grasped my feet, closed my eyes, and started concentrating on breathing with my diaphragm. It was actually pretty soothing.

So there I was, lying on the bed naked with my vajayjay waving hi to the world. Also on the bed was a cat. A cat with a cold nose. A cat with tickly whiskers. A very curious cat. Imma just let you imagine what happened next. (Hint: There’s now a dent in the ceiling over the bed where my head hit it.)

Once he stopped laughing, my husband had to come over to haul her away, because she is also a very determined cat once something catches her interest. Now I make sure to wear pants or hide under the blankets while doing dead frog pose. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.

Next appointment the physical therapist is going to stick an electrode to my taint to measure just how taut my pelvic floor muscles are. Maybe I’ll bring party hats! That’ll make it less awkward, right? Right.

Seriously, ladies, if you’re having difficulty using tampons or having sex, see your doctor. Don’t let my griping scare you off. All in all, this whole process is turning out to be a relatively easy fix. It’s mostly just stressful for me because I’m so woefully ignorant about my own genitalia, and because I’ve got a plateful of anxiety disorders. You’ll be fine! Just be aware of your pet’s proximity to your crotch when undergoing treatment.

Coochie Chronicles (Because “Vagina Monologues” Was Already Taken)

Wow, it’s been a hot minute since I updated this blog, huh? Allow me to reward your patience with the saga of my twat adventures!

I’ve been ashamed since puberty of my inability to use tampons. They won’t go in and they hurt like a bitch. I assumed I either had unusually narrow lady bits or was doing it wrong, so I didn’t ever tell anyone. Luckily, I found out recently that not only do I have a fairly common disorder called vaginismus, but that it’s treatable! (You’d think I would have learned this before hitting my thirties, but high school sex ed…blah blah…society teaching girly parts are gross…blah blah…ingrained prudishness…blah blah…white coat syndrome…etc.) As it was explained to me, the muscles surrounding my genitalia don’t know how to relax at all. As Wikipedia explains it, those muscles involuntarily react to the prospect of penetration by yelling “Nope!” and slamming shut. I guess it doesn’t really matter which it is, as the result is the same.

Let me back up a bit: I need exercise (source: my pants that used to fit), but stuff like walking or using weights is too hard on my joints these days, so my doctor recommended water yoga. After much procrastination fueled by my fear of swimsuits, I finally got my gear and was ready to go. All I needed was to wait for my period to be over because of my lack of tamponability. (Totally a word. Spellcheck can suck it.) Unfortunately, I forgot that I have two loooong periods a month, leaving me four days max to go to the pool. See the issue?

So I need to treat the vaginismus so I can wear tampons, so I can work out, so I won’t be so fat, so my rheumatism won’t be so aggravated that I suck down enough painkillers to dissolve my stomach into puddle of ibuprofen. An improved sex life is just a side benefit…depending on if you ask me or my husband.

My doctor—who I used to like—made me buy vaginal dilators and see a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor issues. Actually, I completely forgot we had talked about the latter (probably because I’d never heard of such a thing), so imagine my surprise a few days later when I got a phone call one morning from a nice lady informing me that I had been referred to, essentially, a crotch doctor. I was asleep when she called, so after a long silence I blearily mumbled that I would call them back.

When I was awake enough to be coherent, I called and said, “WHO referred me to WHERE to exercise my WHAT??” The nice lady patiently explained and I ended up with an appointment before I could panic and hang up. More on that later.

But first I had to order vaginal dilators, which are essentially plastic cylinders you stick up your hoo-ha. I did an Amazon search (I’m sorry, but I’m not marching into a pharmacy to ask them where they keep the vagina wideners) and only got a few results. However, there was a “related items” list that had a lot of similar-looking metal thingies. I was confused when I noticed that most of the reviews were by men:
“These are great for sounding!”
“I found them more comfortable for sounding than so-and-so brand.”
“My girlfriend was skeptical about sounding until I got these. Five stars!”

Huh, I thought. Maybe sounding is another term for vaginal dilating? But why would so many guys be interested in them? Thus my doctor’s recommendation resulted in a Google search that I will never, EVER forgive her for. It turns out sounding is the practice of using tools to widen the urethra until you can stick a finger (or whatever) into it, I assume for some kind of sexual purpose. I don’t know—I slammed my laptop shut before my eyeballs could accidentally read details.

Thank the gods I didn’t do an image search.

Listen, you’re welcome to whatever kink turns your little crank. I personally don’t see the appeal of an enlarged pee hole (except maybe for passing kidney stones), but I don’t begrudge anyone their fun with another consenting adult. HOWEVER, I could have lived my life just fine without knowing what sounding is. That’s a mental image I can’t unsee. (Note: If I’m wrong about any of this, I DON’T CARE. Please please please do not contact me in an effort to further my education on this matter.)

Anyway, I finally ordered a set of vaginal dilators, and now Amazon keeps recommending interesting products based on my search history. The fun never ends!

The idea is that you start with the smallest of the set and work your way up as space allows. You lie down, lube up the least intimidating one, put it in, and stay that way for half an hour or so. I did the first treatment while Tim was at work, but it occurred to me that things would be a bit awkward if, say, the cat started throwing up and I had to rush over to push her off the chair. Now I wait until he’s home. Moral: Always have an inserting-things-into-embarrassing-places buddy available to spot you.

I need to go look up more euphemisms for my reproductive organs before I can tell you the rest. That’ll be another fun Google search. Tune in next time for the gripping tale of what my physical therapist is putting me through! It also involves cats.

Conversations with a Broken Brain, episode 2



I just remembered the lyrics to that song you were humming earlier.

That’s nice. Now shut up.

No need to be rude.

It’s four in the fucking morning. I feel like this revelation could have waited until my alarm went off.

I’m just trying to help.

Right. Great. Thanks. Now GO TO SLEEP.

Remember the time you wet your pants at school? Let me play that scene for you in vivid detail.


Here it is from another angle.

Please no.

I bet you can feel the humiliation even now. The white-hot embarrassment creeping up your spine, the tears struggling to escape your closed eyes, the feeling that everyone in the world is staring at you…

Stop it!

Okay, fine. Let’s change the subject.

Please just let me sleep. Please.


What? No they’re not!

Well, if they’re not dead, they will be someday, including everyone who cares about you. Maybe even tomorrow. How would that make you feel?


Maybe they’ll get hit by trucks. Maybe they’ll be poisoned. Maybe murderers are breaking into their house this very second. Maybe you’ll wake up and be all alone. Forever. 


And it will be your fault, because you fell asleep. The only way to keep everyone alive until morning is to stay awake picturing them living another day. And you can’t let your concentration slip for even a moment, or they’ll die. Horribly. Cursing your name.

That’s almost certainly not true.

Yes, it is.

No, it can’t be.

Yes, it–

SHUT UP! I have shit to do in the morning! If you don’t knock it off, I swear I’ll stick you in a blender on the “puree” setting and have a brain smoothie for breakfast.

Okay, jeez. I’ll let you sleep.

Thank you.

Sweet dreams.

Good night.

Hey, what if there are spiders in here?

I hate you so much.


Introducing the Herring Collection

There’s new stuff on my Etsy store! Let me introduce you to my Herring Collection, a series of intricately beaded bracelets made with herringbone stitch. Right now there are four versions for sale with more to come.

(Click any picture to see a slideshow with commentary.)

To celebrate the launch, I’m participating in the upcoming Etsy sale! From August 31 to September 4, these bracelets will be 10% off. You can find the Herring Collection by doing an Etsy search for SkirkbucketStudio (one word) or by using these links:

Blue/Silver Herring Bracelet

Copper/Teal Herring Bracelet

Green/Silver Herring Bracelet

Olive/Bronze Herring Bracelet

Corvallis Art Center Display


Sooo… How are you? Whatcha been up to lately? Mm-hmm. Good, good.

Oh, me? I’m glad you asked. I now have jewelry for sale at the Corvallis Arts Center! Check this ish out:

(Click any picture for a slideshow with commentary.)

Besides my wares, the Art Center and its shop feature some truly amazing art by local artists. Go show them some love!