Author Archives: heretherebespiders

About heretherebespiders

Ex-pat American living in Ireland. Sarcastic, decrepit. Loads of interests: reading, plants, pets, food, art, writing, drinking, space, quantum theory. Not 'girly' and not interested in being so.

What Scares You?

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I’m scared of large groups of ants to this day because of something that happened when I was about 10 or 11. 

My older sister and I got into a fight when we were home alone (I belive it was about whether Boy George was a man or a woman) and she slapped the HELL out of me. I ran out of the house, around the corner to the next block, and sat on a big lump of dug-up concrete that wasn’t quite on the side of the road but also not quite in someone’s yard. 

I sat there sobbing my little-kid heart out, face in hands, until I felt something bite my right side. I looked down and I was covered from the waist down in gigantic red wood ants.


Aka carpenter ants. Credit embedded in the photo – that is what I looked down on! Those jaws.

I do remember running. I don’t remember screaming.

My sister heard me from a block away (I remember her saying she never heard screaming like it) – from inside our brick, air conditioned house – as I ran for home. She had me strip naked in our back yard and used the garden hose to get the ants off of me. I don’t remember what happened afterwards, but I think our stupid fight was quickly forgotten and I am still grateful that she forgot our silly fight and helped me so quickly and efficiently. Even when I still had her perfect red hand print on my face!

It’s been a few decades since this event, and if I am ever surprised by an ant, or worse a colony of ants, I calmly freak right the hell out. Or at least I think I am calm when falling over backwards to get away…

What scares you, so long after the immediate threat is gone? We likely all have some serious flashback memories – I will never ask for those.  I don’t mean real trauma, but small things like this that have never left you. 

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Peggy’s Friend?

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Maybe friend, maybe a brother, or one of her grown up kittens?


Whatever their relationship is, they do look alike. Except the last few inches of his tail aren’t black, can you see it?


Even when he is in blur-motion, while checking to see if my phone is edible.


She hissed at him a little, and kept her distance as pictured. But he cares not at all about her opinion of him! I think she was a bit miffed that someone else had my attention. And my chicken. 

New boy kitty is very vocal and dirty (you can see here that his white feet aren’t very white). He definitely has ear mites, likely other parasites as well. Looks like I’ll need to buy two doses of Advocate next time we are at the vet! 

Worryingly, he is a lot less afraid of cars and big trucks than he should be; like Piggy Peggy is, and any outdoor cat should be. In a year, I’ve seen two black and white cat corpses in the road in front of where I believe Peggy calls home. 

He is also definitely not neutered, either. Easy to tell with the lads. Dammit. He wasn’t afraid of me one bit after I gave him part of my lunch, and even let me pick him up and put him on my lap. He hung out with me by flopping on the ground beside my chair after the food was gone and he no longer cared to be loved on. Unlike Peggy, who always wanders off to do cat stuff.

There is a third cat around, too. A huge pure white tom who wants nothing to do with me. Likely daddy to most if not all of Peggy’s kittens. Maybe her daddy, too. Yuck. 

Adventures in ‘Adulting’, With Cats.

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1. Walk into room to put away clean laundry.

2. Step in very large, very wet, puddle of cat puke left on a hoodie that was half on the bed, half on the floor. Coat entire sole of foot with moist, chunky, squidgy, barf.

3. Pick up hoodie and hop carefully into the bathroom to wash off foot.

4. Put foot in tub, turn on water, knock shampoo bottle into tub. Sigh. 

5. Wash foot and complain to yourself about the slimy feeling. Wash off shampoo bottle and replace on edge of tub.

6. Look for towel. Realise they are all in the current load of laundry now sudsing away happily downstairs. Sigh.

7. Do a yoga pose called ‘reaching for hand-towel across the room with dripping foot’.

8. Dry foot. Smile with relief that you have two non-slimy feet again.

9. Rinse hoodie. Complain to yourself about how slimy it is and how that shit is gonna stain for sure and who the hell buys a baby-blue hoodie and leaves it on the bed when they have cats?

10. Try to find a place to hang heavy wet hoodie without it breaking anything important or dripping on something else important.

11. Gain a cat audience – in the tub. 

12. Grab wad of toilet paper to remove giant-ass hairball from tub drain.

13. Realise there is also a giant-ass human hairball in plug drain (long-haired people problems). Sigh. 

14. Grab nasty old toothbrush left on edge tub for the sole purpose of removing human hair clogs. Splash a fabulously disgusting concoction of drain water and cat puke on your face. Growl. 

15. Flush that shit down and hope like hell the toilet doesn’t clog – again.

16. Tell cat that is now sitting in the tub that he is about to get wet.

17. Rinse out tub.

18. Watch cat with wet feet do cartoon-skids on the floor as he tries to exit bathroom. Feel bad as it wasn’t HIS puke.

19. Wash slime off of face.

20. Give up on adulting and drink a beer.


One innocent, one guilty! 

“Stapelia gigantea, its smell is terrible”

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And it is.

My carrion flower has bloomed again, this time with some hilarious results.


Monday. About to pop open, but no seams visible. I did warn Himself…


But as usual, he didn’t hear me, somehow. Can’t imagine why not, we’ve only been married 12 years… 

This is his version of the same bloom, with quote: “Went to shut the blinds & was greeted by this! Yes, I shrieked, it wasn’t open this morning! It’s our carrion plant. Smells like death! Yes, really! (You have to put your nose into it, else there’s no scent at all thankfully) HDR photo for scariness ;)”

I don’t really see the ‘scary’ difference, except he turned our white windowsill purple! But I do find it hilarious that it might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been feeding him Stephen King and he actually did make an unmanly sound when he saw it last night. 

For size comparison, the plate that the plant sits on is a side plate; it is not a dinner plate. Maybe what, about 8-10 inches across? I’m not getting close enough to measure the bloom! I’m a super-smeller and to me it smells like bad meaty cat breath. Urgh. Pretty, and pretty strange, however! 

Kingly Gifts

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I probably don’t need to say again that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I think I first read one of his books (either Cujo or Firestarter) at age 8, and I’ve never regretted a moment spent in the company of his characters.

I’ve read everything he’s published, I’m nearly 100% sure of that. Maybe a short story or three have gotten past me. Definitely have read every novel, novella, collection of short stories, and his nonfiction works.

Easy to say, then, that the way to my heart is through Sai King! 

Hubby got me these as a thank you for taking care of him when he was so poorly.


I hadn’t asked for Christine, but she is awesome! 

Then this month, I had a birthday. As you hope to do every year! This one came with my first vinyl ‘toys’ – Funko Pop figures.


Pennywise! Yay! And a small part of my King collection in the background. A very small part!


Roland Deschain and Walter Padick aka the Gunslinger and the Man in Black. My favourite series of books, ever, hands down.

This is King’s year – a remake of IT and The Dark Tower are or will be in theatres near you. The series The Mist has been on for a bit, and Mr Mercedes started last week. I must warn you, Mr Mercedes is NOT for kids or anyone who is sensitive; and we’ve only seen the first episode. It’s a wow, for sure, but horrible and chilling, also. They put on screen much worse things than my imagination cooked up when reading the books. Yikes. Ark – avoid

Anyone else a Stephen King Constant Reader? 

Piggy Peggy

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I finally caught up with her. She isn’t doing well.


She is so skinny.


Really, really skinny. I could feel all of her ribs, and her hip bones were protruding. Her still-nice fur covers up a lot. 


These are mites, and I expect they are the ones that cause mange. I cannot tell you how horrified I was, last Thursday, to see that she is crawling with them – especially as I saw them as I was cuddling her to my chest and giving her kisses. She seemed very tired at the time, but still happy to see me. I wasn’t so happy and scrubbed myself down with alcohol wipes afterwards. And had a major case of the “fleabee jeebies” for hours.

We got Advocate for her on Saturday, but despite looking for her about every hour and a half every day, she didn’t show up until today. And she is not herself at all – not playful, not energetic, and despite her thinness? Not very hungry, slow walking, and very lethargic. 


Bits of cheese from my lunch scattered in front of her. She used to enjoy digging every tiny bit out of the gravel if a morsel went astray. Not today.

I did get the Advocate on her, all of it, but I don’t know what else might be wrong. Worms? No sign of a respiratory illness. But now I’m afraid to touch her as I don’t want to bring anything home to my boys.

I don’t know what to do. She is nearly impossible to find, and when she shows up to see me, she arrives out of nowhere. I don’t want to put a cat covered in bugs into my car, either. I kept hoping someone was caring for her as she tamed so easily…but this is not proper care. I do think she had five kittens, as of last Thursday, but have seen them not at all. I no longer think she is nursing – maybe because she has nothing left to give. And there is a big wild tom hanging around again…

Spheksophobia

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Hope you don’t have it!

Spheksophobia is the fear of wasps. 


I still have strawberries growing – and apparently they are super sweet! I haven’t been able to find out about the last few because something else has been eating them first. 

I knew it wasn’t slugs, or beetles, or birds, or even earwigs. Wasps are eating my strawberries, and loving them! 

Oh well. If they are fat and full they won’t bother sour old me, at least. Not that I’m afraid of them: I’m very much live and let live unless one is in the house and one of the furry ones is about to get stung. Then there might have to be an emergency squishing. 

Tigridia Time Again

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You know I love these. Last summer I meant to post a gazillion of them, but Spot got sick and I haven’t really been the same since, to be honest. It is a hard thing to associate a flower that I love so much with the death of my best boy, but it is now a ‘thing’ for me. 

Keeping with the maudlin theme, I think that if I ever decide to have an actual grave and not ask that my ashes be spread between Ireland, Florida and maybe Cleveland, I would like my patch to be planted in Tigridia. They always begin to bloom around my birthday, and like life itself they are both beautiful and temporary.

I’m actually not depressed, I promise! How could I be with these beauties saying hello every day?