Category Archives: here and now

internet emoting: my grandparents and me.

This weekend my grandfather died. 

He had struggled with advanced dementia and rapidly declining health for years.   I think all of us had become so accustomed to his frail confusion that we thought he would live on indefinitely.  But a week ago, he was sent home from the hospital with kidney failure and a hospice nurse.  My mom called to prepare me. “Do you want to come home?  This is it and it could be very soon.”  I briefly despised her for her dark outlook.  Meanwhile my grandmother—clearly cut from the same cloth as me—still believed that he would recover.  She sat next to him, feeding him soup and pudding for days.  She discussed vacations they could take in the spring.  Gifts they ought to buy for the grandchildren for Christmas.  She could see improvement, she told everyone.  I believed her, too.  Because I wanted to believe her.

On Saturday morning, the hospice nurse declared the end was near.  She implored my grandma to allow her to administer morphine, because my grandfather was in terrible pain.  She could not be convinced.   Morphine would mean that he would be less coherent.  And wasn’t he getting better, after all?  Morphine would mean that defeat was being accepted.  Defeat could not be accepted.  And therefore, there would be no morphine.

My mom—who has always been jealous of my ability to charm someone into anything (a skill she swears I’ve inherited from my father)— was unable to reason with her.  So she called my uncle.  And somehow, my Uncle George, a real badass and all around tough guy, was able to calmly and kindly convince my grandmother to accept the reality of the situation.  An hour later, moments after my uncle promised to take care of my grandmother, my grandfather died. 

My grandfather, Lester, was really my step-grandfather.  My grandma, Sandy, had scandalized her entire middle class 70s neighborhood by divorcing my philandering biological grandfather (actually a pretty cool dude in his own right).  She married Les a few months before I was born.   They were the quintessential grandparents.  They took twice yearly cruises, bringing back flower-bedecked dolls and gleaming conch shells for their favorite (and only) granddaughter.   During the years I was in the hospital receiving chemotherapy and radiation, I was able to barter painful medical procedures for fabulous gifts and prizes from my grandparents. Whenever a particularly frightening test was scheduled, my mom handed me the phone to call my grandma.  Smurfette dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, and trips to the National Aquarium:  these were the rewards I received for allowing needles and scalding chemicals.    Continue reading

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self control (this is not a tribute to laura branigan).


The living is easy in Portland.

Or more accurately…finding motivation is difficult in Portland. Imagine an endless series of theme parties, extra-long happy hours, afternoons at the park, meandering bike rides, movie nights, cute boys, thrift store outings, ultra-extended inside jokes, new bars, dive bars, goth clubs (okay, there’s only one, but still), craft projects, sleepovers, friend dates, social intrigue, passive aggressive non-dating, drunk hook ups (followed by awkward-but-tasty brunches), heated classic rock discourse, and committed instagramming.  And oh yeah, conversations about things that have happened on Facebook.

And sooooooo…suddenly you find yourself (let’s just pretend that YOU are ME, Amanda McCarty/McParty) thinking, “Um yeah, so basically I haven’t written anything in two years and so yeah, I kinda have nothing to show for my life (except for some really amazing outfits). Remember when I was miserable/lonely but SO PRODUCTIVE in Philadelphia?”

Continue reading

too many frequent flier miles later…

home sweet home.

Eight years ago, I arrived in Portland. If I close my eyes and listen to Either/Or, I can see it all clearly: I stumbled down the jetway with a tiny Dylan slung on my left hip, my messenger bag strapped across my chest, and a car seat in my right hand. I wore what I called my “Angsty Single Mother Costume”: beat up Levi’s, a flannel shirt, and one of the few pairs of sneakers I kept after dumping most of my Chicago belongings at the Salvation Army near my mom’s house in Central PA. Dylan was gnawing on one of my pigtails as strangers cooed about her cuteness. My mouth tasted like Cheez-its. The day had consisted of three thousand miles, two airplanes, and half a dozen diaper changes. I had a headache and a baby and a couple thousand dollars in my checking account. All I could think was “should I reset my watch now, or wait until we’re all settled in M’s car?” Continue reading


totally feeling like a pro today.

Hi, everyone!  This week my story “Bedfellows” was published on, “thoughtfully curated” by Sarah Lynn Knowles (sarahspy).  “Every other Monday, features one story, one image, and a one-song ‘soundtrack’– each by an underexposed, talented up-and-comer.”  I’m really excited about the artists I was paired with for this week’s issue.  Check it out here.


further ways to get your dose of foolish stories!

Yeah, yeah…things are getting really serious here at FRIGHTENED BY BEES, aren’t they?  Lots of sad stories about really intense situations, right?

You have hankering for a different flavor, something a bit zesty?  With a sweet aftertaste of foolishness and the tang of teen angst?

We here at FRIGHTENED BY BEES WORLD HEADQUARTERS (my bedroom in Philadelphia) have something new and exciting for you:  Swap Meet.  “A journey through space, time, bad haircuts, confusing sexual orientation, big cities, small towns, and many, many record stores.”

Check it out!


Amanda (aka The Heiress)


mission accomplished. or whatever.

mt3-polaHey, everyone!  Yeah, I’m pretty ashamed that my last post was on OCTOBER 19! On the other hand, in the last two weeks, I have moved to a new neighborhood (in Philadelphia), painted/cleaned my old house (“The Ranch”), unpacked most of my ridiculous collection of clothes, fringe, and feathers, AND traveled to Portland for a whirlwind Halloween weekend.  And oh yeah, I’m working on this trip to Argentina (in three weeks).

But now I’m settled.  And I’ve managed to remove most of the white paint from under my fingernails.   The glut of dull menial labor in my life has allowed me to mentally write a few scintillating posts.  That means new content THIS WEEK!  I promise to take some time out from refreshing my Spanish skills and fretting about what to pack for my trip to the “Paris of the South (America)”.    Meanwhile, if you’re feeling bored, perhaps you could help me find/hang some curtains in my new bedroom?

new ways to avoid sunshine/fresh air/socialization!


Have you heard the big news?

Wait…that doesn’t seem to convey the intended level of enthusiasm…

Have you heard the BIG news?

I have a Tumblr now:

Think of it as a a lighter (i.e., more frivolous) subsidiary of the real (and theoretically, more serious) Frightened by Bees…all of the videos, fashion stuff, and internet nonsense that I have felt silly posting here.

And if you also have a Tumblr page, let’s be Tumblr friends (or whatever it’s called), because my “Tumblarity” is a mere 3 (and apparently that makes me a loser).

Yeah! Let’s hear it for the INTERNET!!!