Addiction is a terrible thing

I’ve always said I don’t have an addictive personality.

As it turns out, this is false.

It all started on Saturday night on the original Vegas strip,  at the Golden Nugget – one of the original Vegas casinos. Shiznit is beautiful. Beautiful. Classic lights, all still done up in 1950’s era classy arrogance, just gorgeous – it feels like you’re stepping back in time, to when corporations and casinos actually cared about creating something that might last longer than 15 years.  (i heard someone on the airport shuttle later say it was cheesy and I totally judged her for having no taste and a bad hairdo)

There’s a huge golden nugget inside the casino. Literally. It looks like someone tried to shred a golden presidential bust. It’s huge. Also, across from the mangled golden bust, there is a vending machine.

Vending machine?, you ask. That doesn’t sound very Vegas-y.

Expand your mind, fellow readers. I’m not talking about corn-syrup based vending machines. I’m talking about a Vending Machine of Gold. YES. YOU CAN LITERALLY PURCHASE BARS OF GOLD FROM A VENDING MACHINE INSIDE A HOTEL NAMED THE GOLDEN NUGGET in Las Vegas.

So I sat down to play a little Blackjack, and while my friends lost somewhere around $3000 in thirty minutes, I made $15 bets and won 80 bucks! what! yeah! oh yeah! I stood up giddily a few times when I was up by $50, and then when I was up by $75, and ran around in circles muttering, “i need to stop while i’m ahead stop while i’m ahead,” and then I would run around the slots, trying to resist going back, but I always went back until I yelled at Peter to get up we needed to leave and he said okay okay okay, all in, then he pushed $400 worth of chips in and lost them all at once (OH MY GOD I DESPISE RICH PEOPLE) and then we left and went to this other place that I shall not speak of in a public forum such as this.

Meanwhile, the next morning, I woke up and everyone’s flights had left. I had about 8 hours to kill. I meandered by the blackjack tables on my way out to the pool, even though my room was on the 24th floor and the pool is on the 2nd floor and the casino is on the first floor (meaning i had to go out of my way to meander by the blackjack tables) and I felt that $80 begging to be turned into more, more, more! It was literally burning a hole in my pocket. So I swung by, and circled around, and peered over peoples shoulders, and resisted the call, and resisted, until the dealer started giving me the evil eye, and so finally i sat down. I was just gambling profits, right?

I pushed three red chips into the circle and waited. The card lands on my spot. It’s a 5. Terrible card.  Dealer comes back around, I get a 10. I’m at 15. Not good. Dealer shows a 10. Awful, awful, awful. I stay, out of pure intuition, even though all rules say hit. Dealer flips her other card, its a 2. Yes. Deals another card, its a 2, deals another card, it’s a 10! woo hoo! she busts! I win $15, and it’s all over.

Next thing you know, i’m up $75, and I’m breathing through my mouth because my nose can’t take how much Win Spice I’m breathing, my heart is going a million miles an hour, and I’m feeling SO much better than the old Korean dude sitting to my left who keeps religiously checking his pocket chart (which he is actually wearing on a string around his neck) every time he decides to hit or stay. I think Korean dude is down a few hundred dollars. I wonder if we’re cousins.I get up and leave. Too much is at stake here.

I walk around the casino in circles, feeling invincible, undefeatable, like the luckiest person in the world. I was Evil Knievel, I was that woman who’d won the lottery 20 times, I was the HOTTEST thing that Casino had ever seen!! (Which is hilarious because $155 is literally like the casino throwing pennies in the garbage dump and me diving in and scrounging around for the abe lincolns.) The right side of my mind was saying, go to the pool, go to the pool, go to the pool, and the other part was saying, go back to the table, go back to the table, you can pay for your whole trip! You can spring for Chinese at the airport on your way back! You could order a whole beer (beers are $16 at that hotel)! Reason warred with emotion. The dealers were looking at me strangely as I paced nervously back and forth in front of them, at 11:45 am, looking like a psycho who’d lost everything she owned, rather than a winner struggling to keep her winnings.

I went back.

And lost $135 of the $155 i’d so luckily won. Clutching my last $20 in profits, i went back to the pool.

I took a chair in the shade and hugged my knees and hid underneath a stack of complementary beach towels. I was a loser. Literally. I’d thrown away $135 to feed an addiction i didnt even know i’d had. i was a miserable failure. I had no luck. i was destined to fail at life. i was infertile. grad school was going to call me up and revoke my acceptance. Hell existed and i was going. Then I read the rest of Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour and i felt a little better. The lifeguard was staring at me. i was fully clothed. The day before, my friends and I had just had a conversation about how fully clothed people by the pool in las vegas are creepy. Now I was creepy.

I still had $20.

I went back.

I turned $20 into $350 in about forty five minutes. It was so unbelievably awesome. I tipped the dealer $10. He was annoyed with me because every time it was my turn I’d cry out, “wait wait wait i’m sorry sorry!! hang on!” and then change my bet by $5 or $10, depending on how lucky I felt (SO STUPID).

And then I had to leave to catch my plane. I am so thankful gambling is illegal in all other states. I would so not be able to resist. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strongly about something so terrible before.

I vowed to myself that i’d never gamble again.

Except today at work, when i convinced my office mates to go in on an office pool for the $500 million lottery that is happening on Friday.  Yeah. I did that.


i need help.



(On a totally tangential note, I used to work for this really awful human being until I figured out I wasn’t a slave and I quit. There was this guy who used to work for him before I did, let’s call him Lee, and my boss, let’s call him Jeb, still contacted Lee every once in a while to talk to him about papers and stuff. When Lee quit, he told Jeb that he was going back to China to take the Civil Service exams so he could work for the government, and so Jeb thought he was in China. When Jeb scheduled phone calls with Lee, he always had to work around Lee’s schedule since Lee said he was in CHINA which is approximately 15 hours ahead of us, depending on where you are. So you can imagine there is a very tight window to contact. And every time Jeb got off the phone with Lee, Jeb’d sigh and say, oh it’s too bad that Lee hasn’t passed his civil service exams yet; his parents must be upset, blah blah blah. Everyone thought he was in China. Well, turns out the guy is still in Durham, and has been in Durham since the day he quit!!!! bahahahahha! He was so scared of Jeb that he lied and said he was moving to CHINA, and continued to lie, so that he forced Jeb to schedule phone calls around the fact that he was in China! hahahaha! I love knowing that other people hated Jeb as much as I did.)


time to grow things!!

Mufasa once said something like, “Everything that the light touches is yours. Except that shadowy place. [Insert transition scene] When we die, our bodies become food for the grass, and the grass becomes food for the wildebeest, and the wildebeest become food for us. You see, Simba, we are all part of the Great Circle of Life [insert inspiring Elton John chorus].”

I’m not one hundred percent sure what that has to do with me putting seeds in jiffy pots, but it feels connected, somehow. We’re six weeks away from the last frost date in NC, and that means


time to start tomatoes from seed! woo hoo! I went on a crazy shopping spree over at Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, and added some packets to my collection. I picked up some black krim and some caspian pink tomatoes, and i decided to go for the sugar baby watermelon this year! HIGH FIVE, MOFO! I saw a picture on the internet of some watermelons in slings and I just got drool-y jealous, and I thought, why, there’s absolutely no reason I should be prevented from doing so, and so I added the $2 seed packet to my cart. I’ve also decided to grow some eggplant and some amish beans, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love the amish? (Except for power companies and advertising companies)


Anyway, usually my excitement comes all in a rush, and I couldn’t wait for my seeds to get here before I started some of my other pots. So i started without them.

Last year, I ran into the unfortunate problem of having not one freakin clue what was in my jiffy pots until they started bearing fruit, because I bypassed the part where you LABEL YOUR POTS, and instead opted for the Trusting The Ol’ Noggin Strategy. Needless to say, the Ol’ Noggin is more like a leaky cauldron than an airtight Nasa Rocket Ship, and I promptly forgot what was in the pots.

that simile sucked.

THIS TIME, though, I devised an ingenious strategy of making little flag labels out of toothpicks and clear tape. I was foiled, however, on my search for toothpicks. The kitchen, you see, is filled with cupcakes and brownies and chocolate chip cookies, and my search for toothpicks was quickly replaced by the need to choose between those three delicious goodies. Obviously I opted for chocolate chip cookie, and then I was forced to retreat from the kitchen, lest I gain twenty pounds in my attempt to create ingenious flag labels.

Instead, I opted for the push pin strategy, where each pot gets a push pin, and each color or colors of push pins corresponds to a particular plant.


And so, mix one part potting soil from the shed, one part jiffy pot from home depot, lots of parts water, and two parts Canon point and shoot, and you get the following:










Here’s a little secret: germinating seeds don’t need any light. So shut off your grow lamp until the little green seeds pop their heads up. And make sure your pots are wet. Seeds like water and dirt.