Officer Opie Gets a Date

As I mentioned in my Whorin Myself Out post, I once got out of a ticket by accepting a date with the officer in question. Yes, I’m aware that’s completely sexist. Yes, I know he was abusing his authority. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was a poor college student and he was cute. Maybe sometimes two wrongs make a right.

He pulled me over on I-69 (I’ll give you a few moments to recover…) and I was probably goin about 75, because that’s how fast I drive in the 65, unless I’m in Atlanta, in which one must drive 90mph to stay alive.

The date was kind of a bust. He took me to a very country club type place, heavy on red meat and hunter green plaid. He spent a great deal of time braggin on himself and tellin me how it would be when I got out into “the real world.”

I declined a second date, but I didn’t get a ticket.

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I’ve gotten out of 8 speeding tickets.

Before we were married, The Mister was once my passenger when I got pulled over. I was going 72 in the 65. We remember this event completely differently. He says the cop made excuses for me, and I say a warning was good enough for 7mph over.

I also got pulled over for weaving, because I was trying to get my drinking straw open on eastbound I-70. In my defense, there was no one around me, because it was before 7am on a weekend. I’m sure that’s why I got let off, and it had nothing to do with the little black dress and bedhead from the night before.

I did get a ticket once, in a freakin school zone. I was going 40 in the 25. I didn’t know it was a school zone. I never even saw the sign. Two things; one, I had five little people in the minivan, and two, it was a church school way off the road. I am not the kind of person who speeds on secondary roads, let alone in school zones. I paid my $150 and chalked it up to the end of an era.

The Mister likes to pick on me about my driving, calling me Marietta Andretti and whatnot, but he always likes it when I drive on trips, because I make good time. I make up for all the slow driving and getting stuck that he does.

I kick his ass in Mario Kart, too.

Do you drive? Do you wanna share your traffic violations with me?

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The Trauma of Upcoming Fun

Shopping and gathering, done. Phew!

Tiny cross body purse so no one can make me carry a goddamn thing

So help me God, if The Mister hands me a single receipt, I will imagine shoving it down his throat and I will be ripping it up

Six hundred gallons of dermatologist approved sunscreen so Sassy and I only get a little sunburn

A vat of aloe for when we get a little sunburn

Fifty lip balms with SPF6000

Nine hundred hats so our faces will forever look a decade younger than they are and no one will see our wild and crazy hair

Five thousand hairbands for when we just can’t stand our hair anymore

One tube waterproof mascara so when I sweat I won’t look goth

Some water

Potable_Water_Tank
Twenty pounds of fruit, because like water, but tasty, and with nutrients!

Ice, because frozen water

Goggles so Moo’s eyes don’t dry up and fall out

Sarongs so no one can see the thigh chaffing

Until we’re on the road, a million worries.
How much sleep am I getting? Half of what I should.

I put a lot of hyperbole here in this post, but I am not exaggerating my anxiety or stress level.

The trauma of returning to the south — Ugh.
I truly believe constant heat and sun added to, maybe even doubled my anxiety when we lived in Georgia. I am frightened that the heat and sun will trigger that anxiety. Perhaps some mild case of PTSD exists just below the surface of my freak-out…

I’m so excited to spend time with family and friends, but I’m seriously a wreck.
I realize many people think I’m being dramatic. People who don’t suffer similarly are surely sucking their teeth and thinking how absurd, or even ungrateful, I am. People think I can turn it off for vacation.
I cannot turn it off, ever, that’s why it’s Anxiety Disorder.

I keep telling myself, “it’s just a trip. made this trip a hundred times. not like we’re movin there again.
I shall spend my days in gratitude: I’ll have many of my loved ones, air-conditioning, fans, shade, cocktails, seafood, coloring books, music, the healing powers of the sea…and I do so love a road trip!
As everyone with anxiety knows, I will be feel much better once I leave the house.

In the meantime, while I suppress my fear, I am glad for wine. Everything is so much better with wine, isn’t it? I’m totally not drinking wine at 6am, unless you think that’s fine, then I totally am. No, really, I’m still on coffee, but later, wine.

Are you hot just thinkin about it? Do you suffer from before-I-leave-the-house anxiety? Do you need a nap?

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VACATION!

We haven’t had a vacation since … um… well… 2010. I know! First there were military leave issues and then we hoarded monies to buy our house.
Yay House!

But we’ve been in our house about two years now, and we’d really like to leave it, hm?

So we’ll be off soon, gallivanting around the gulf.
If you need me, I’ll be the one who blends in with the white sands. You’ll just see my big-ass hat and sunglasses, like the phantom of a woman.

me, 2010

2010 selfie, which should cover, “how ya likin the beach, joey?”

The sun is not my friend. The heat is not my friend.
While it would feel good to head south in the middle of February, to warm my bones and remember what the sea smells like, we can never get the schedules to line up until summer.
And why are we going south? Because we love people there. Specifically, half our children, our grandson, and two-thirds of my parents.

Next year, maybe we don’t love them. Maybe next year we spend July in a nice Ice Hotel in Sweden, hm?

oh that looks like good sleepin!

oh that looks like good sleepin!

Anyway, I have a lot to do, so I can’t do too much WP, or we’d never make it out of the house. For some time now, I’ve been using the Schedule feature. It’s okay, but it’s not perfect.

— I gotta shop. I think my shopping list looks like provisions for a person who will spend the next six months stranded in the desert, come home, bake a frozen lasagna and collapse. Oh hey…
— I gotta make a list for the house-sitter. The house-sitter cuts my work in half.
— I gotta do the laundry special, so I have a pile to pack and a pile to put away.
— I gotta pack. Packing for four is a fucking delight. Do you know why? Because I usta hafta pack for six.
— Don’t forget! chargers for everything, first aid kit, snacks, presents…
— I gotta make playlists and sync everyone’s everything.

People have actually created lists to help you in these matters. I don’t trust any of them. This list looks like it was made for a single high-maintenance woman.

long-trip-packing-list
Vacation is a really good time to be a wash n’ go kinda gal.
Vacation is not a really good time to have anxiety disorder and control issues.

Doesn’t seem like too much on paper, but if you’re the one who does all the planning, well, then you know.
You know what The Mister does to prepare for vacation? He checks to make sure he has his wallet about thirty-two times or so.

Do you have any tips? Have you ever forgotten something crucial? Do your loved ones insist on living in America’s penis?

florida-americas-penis

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First Post Challenge

The Fourth Generation Farmgirl, invited me to participate in First Post Challenge. Thank you for thinkin of me, Farmgirl!

Here are the rules:

Copy-paste, link, pingback, etc. your first post.

Identify the post: introduction, story, poem.

Explain why it was your first post.

Nominate five other bloggers.

Here is my first post:

http://jolenemottern.com/2013/01/31/i-can-be-one-of-the-faces-in-the-yellow-wallpaper/

I have blogged since 2006, but Joeyfully Stated is a public blog. I previously had blogs set up to be read by only a few specific people. My disinterest in teaching and subsequent knowledge and relief of rules and regulations regarding teaching license renewal led directly to this public blog. It does aim to explain to the reader where I’m coming from, and if you’re into subtlety, you get a faint description of my style.

The Yellow Wallpaper is worth reading, but basically it’s about a woman going insane.
DING!DING!DING!

I began this blog while I still lived in Georgia, but when I knew I’d be moving soon. My friends read my complaints about heat, sun, humidity and fire ants for years, but I knew that would never fly with strangers.

Here are my Nominees:

LindaGHill

Meg

Hollie

Beefy

Sherry

These are people who’ve been with me longest. As ever, if you don’t care to participate, I don’t mind. I so appreciate the readership and the support I get from WordPress, and it’s my pleasure to share you with one another.

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Vacation

My mother said it’s really important to her that I have a great vacation and I told her I really wanna have a great vacation, too, but I have kids.

old photo of disenfranchised youth

old photo of our disenfranchised young people

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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I Have Whored Myself Out for Less

“I guess you’re alright with him flirtin with me, since I get us all the good deals?”
“Sure.”
“I like him, but not like that. I do get all the good deals.”
“Yep. Well, how do you feel about it?”
“Oh I don’t mind. If I minded, I’d say somethin myself. I wouldn’t need you to do it.”
“Good.”
“I just don’t want you to look over one day, catch him doin it, and freak out on him.”
The Mister grinned.
“Oh no. Why you smile like that? Use words.”
“Why?”
“Because I don’t know what that smile means. That could mean you like him too much to freak out on him, or you don’t care how much you like him, you’ll fre– Oh, okay, I see.”
The Mister laughed.
“I will scare the shit out of him.”
“But gah, then we’ll hafta drive all the way over to Irvington…”

We both like this guy. We have a good business relationship.

Yes, there is a certain store owner who always flirts with me, maybe for the sake of his business, maybe he’s just flirty, I don’t know.
The first few times he said somethin, I shrugged it off. The third time, Sassy was with me and I felt compelled to tell The Mister before she made some comment about it. My husband seemed mildly amused.

The Mister goes in there and talks to all the people. ALL THE PEOPLE. I don’t care if there are three people or twenty people, he talks to them all. “Hey Man!” with manly handshakes and all that. Somehow, he remembers their names. Meanwhile, I do the purchasing and I get *giggle* excellent customer service.

I can only think of one other man who’s hit on me when my husband was in the room, but that almost makes it seem more benign, somehow.

My husband is a flirt.  A big flirt. He always has been. I’m not sure he’s been in a professional position to flirt for business purposes, but he is one charming motherfucker, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
I could see that he may have sold tires or brakes to many a woman, using his charm and concern. I can see him leering over a female driver, “Ma’am, I have a wife and three daughters and I would never let any of them drive home like this.”
I don’t know how flirting would have helped in the armed services…at least not for him. Not without a serious lifestyle change.
Maybe there are sexy finance double entendres I don’t know about.
“She said spread. Haha!”
Hell, I dunno.

I once accepted a date with Officer Opie to get out of a ticket. Usually I simply adjust the seat belt in a specific way…
I am guilty of using my feminine wiles.
I assume that’s what they’re there for.
My wiles are gettin old, but they’re still viable, y’all.

I told you I was a bad feminist, didn’t I?

Anyway, I guess if the owner guy thinks me and my red lipstick are sexy and occasionally strokes my ear, we’re both okay with it, because we get excellent customer service, discounts, and free stuff.

Now I expect Robert Redford will show up to offer millions of dollars for one night with me and we’ll find out where The Mister’s line is.

giphy

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Silver Linings List

Some nice things happened last week, and it will be hard to top them with this week, but I will try.

We finally got a second car, and you should see the looks on people’s faces when told that it’s MY car and not The Mister’s. Tsk! People, People, People!
Better than that, the first car dealership called to inquire how our experience with them went, and The Mister told that lady how great the second dealership was. He said, “Penske Chevrolet thanks you for your business,” which tickled me no end!

happiness_bird_65143-1280x1024

Did you know that now that I have a car, I can go anywhere at any time? Isn’t that amazing? I hate shopping, but I smile at the grocery store now. I don’t know how long that high will last, as the joy of it is just now seeping in, but I get to tell myself things like, “it’s okay, joey, you don’t hafta buy two gallons of milk, you can always run out and get another gallon whenever you want.” Good stuff.

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A friend gave the girls three bags of hand-me-down clothes. Half of them were already too small, but the other half were fantastic. Between those and Sissy’s hand-me-downs, I don’t think I need to buy anyone anything this season! Besides, clothes that are too small for Moo always make me happy, since I worried over her smallness for so long. Seriously, the kid was in a size 6 until she was almost ten. Sometimes I think being in Georgia stifled her growth. Maybe her body requires proper winters to complete its metamorphosis.

My doctor called me in some herpes-kickin meds because if you can imagine, my body thought my three recent cold sores weren’t enough! Mind you, I don’t just get the blisters, I usually get the whole gamut of infection: the swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, fever, aches, ugh! My mother and my husband think these outbreaks are caused by the stress of impending vacation, which I can’t argue. If it wasn’t this, it would be some other bodily reaction to stress, along with my relapse back into jaw clenching. Happy stress is still stress, y’all! Anyway, the meds work great, so I’d like to thank my body for starting this particular freak out not on a Saturday night as it were, but on a Thursday morning, when doctors are in their offices. Yay, Body! Yay, Doctor! Yay, Acyclovir!

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We checked in on Casey Cat and collected mail from The Palace of Rules while my in-laws were out of town. I snagged MIL’s newest copy of The Cottage Journal. When I took it to her, I told her, “You really should be more careful about who you let collect your mail.”

i love this mag, but it's $5 and only 5 issues a year

i love this mag, but it’s $10.99 an issue!

I had a dream about my work in progress! Yes, it’s true! I woke up with three new scenes to write!

We had some fabulous friends over for dinner. I made a ham, corn on the cob, roasted turnips with garlic and basil, fried green tomatoes, and cheesy quinoa. Gotta love the splendor of summer’s bounty, and the company was terrific! Sat out on the porch and got mosquito bites all over my feet! What a great night!

We had such a great night that we slept damn near t’noon yesterday. The Mister said he didn’t want anything for Father’s Day, but come evening, he did want some ice cream, so we dragged our lazy asses from the sofas and went out for frozen custard.

happiness_151

I told you, last week will be hard to top!
How’ve you been? What’s goin on in your world?

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Quotes Part III

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Charles-Bukowski-Quotes-38

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite quotes. If not, here’s a cute picture.

cute-animals-pictures-bunny-rabbit-sticking-tongue-out

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Quotes Part II

I’m still not nominating anyone!

Sure the world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild.
— Mary Karr

Without knowledge, there is only the shadow of death.
— Moliere

All good things are wild and free.
— Thoreau

img-thing

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Quotes Part I

C.S. Boyack challenged me in that three day quote thingy, and I just want y’all to know that asking me for three favorite quotes for three days is like asking me for three favorite books or three favorite songs or three favorite foods or three favorite movies.
It’s just too hard. Too hard!
Thank you, Boyack. If I didn’t so enjoy your random tidbits of hyscarical (i made that up just now) fodder, I would completely ignore this nearly impossible task.

quill-and-inkwell

But I noticed that a lot of people, even Boyack, are breaking the rules.

1. Post 3 of your favorite quotes each per day for 3 days in a row. The quotes can be of any other people or it may come straight from your own heart.
2. Nominate 3 bloggers with each post to challenge them.
3. Don’t forget to utter a thankful word to the person who nominated you.

Well, I wanna break the rules, too!

tee-hee-snort-hee

tee-hee-snort-hee

I’m not nominating anyone!

 

 

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CExtNX5WMAAuVoo

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Premio What Now?

Danica Piche at Living a Beautiful Life chose me as a nominee for the Premio Dardos Award. Thank you, Danica. Danica has one of those blogs where you never know what you’re gonna get, which might be why we’re so simpatico in the blogosphere. Also, she posts a lot of good music. I realize that’s all rather subjective, but you never know, you might like it over there.

premio-dardos-award1

What is the Premio Dardos Award?

Premio Dardos means “Prize Darts” in Spanish.  It is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.

(i’m like, so glad she told me that because my spanish is not that good.)

The rules for this award:

1. Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and link to his or her blog.
2. Include the image of the “Premio Dardos” in the post.
3. Pass the award to other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.

My Nominees:

my spanglish familia

Ramblings from Jewels

Our Rumbling Ocean

Nortina Mariela

As ever, if I nominate you for an award and you don’t like awards, or hyperlinks, or me, I do not care, and you should not feel obligated to participate. I am quite happy to share your sites, I promise.

Have a lovely Thursday, y’all!

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One-Liner Wednesday — Dunno, Don’t Care

He told The Mister, “Don’t ever put a Cubs fan and a White Sox fan in the same room.”
I asked, “Why? Do they argue about who sucks more?”

download (1)

I guess the guy was a Cubs fan.

This post is brought to you by LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday — Join Us!

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Negotiating My Freedom

If you’ve ever been car shopping on a lot, then you know how absurd and tedious it is. You surrender to this ridiculous negotiation ritual where you say numbers and the salesman writes bigger numbers and then he goes and talks to some guy and he comes back with newer smaller numbers so you say numbers and this goes on and on until you leave or one of you actually compromises.

I am the negotiator, because as I’ve said, I am a mean bitch woman of words and The Mister is my muscle a man of action. So, I sit there, with my sweet face and my sweet voice and I say audacious things like, “If you were never going to lower that price, then you had no business showing me that car, because I told you from the beginning where I stood.”
I flustered the salesman in a way that can only be described as near decimation of his patience. The Mister felt bad for him.

I’ve noticed that women take no issue when I say, “I’m your customer. He’s just here to pay,” but men, men seem ruffled by it. It doesn’t matter if it’s cars, houses, cell phones, computers — too many of them don’t like to deal with women. And that’s why I don’t feel bad for that salesman.

The third round, that motherfucker came back to me with numbers I liked, BUT ON A LESSER MODEL.

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I walked out.
I explained to my daughters that it’s important to know when to walk away. I don’t settle. I have no problem walkin away from a freakin car. Are you kidding? My attachment ability is extremely limited. I’ve walked away from family, friends, lovers, jobs, opportunities, and even free ice cream — walking away from a car is a non-issue.

I told my daughters the jobs story:

Fresh from college, I interviewed for two local English teaching positions.
The first was at a private high school, and an hour after the interview ended, I was offered the job. For $16k a year. I think it was $16,9. I laughed, out loud, uncontrollably. I said, “I make more than that at the hardware store!”
“But our students are of the highest caliber, with fewer disciplinary incidents and greater —” Blah blah blah, I don’t know what the hell she said after that.

The other offer was like the above car shopping experience.
The nearby township job was described to me during the interview as teaching 6th and 8th grade English, with two prep periods, for $27,8. I was called back for a second interview, and upon completion of that interview, I was offered a job teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English, with one prep period, sponsorship of the French club, and commitment to one sport. That’s right, more work, but for the exact same amount of pay. Did I attempt to negotiate? No. I knew then that contract negotiations would be like that every fucking year and salary increases were tiered regardless.

See, too much like the car negotiation. Insulting.

Today’s negotiations went far more smoothly. I gave the salesman my numbers and he came back asking $7 more a month on a new vehicle.

After nine years of being a one-car family, we are once again a two-car family. I named my car Bonnie Blue. She represents my freedom.

Are you a good negotiator?

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Funky Foodie Takes a Walk

I’ve been in such a funk lately, feeling poorly, fighting off infection, dealing with anxiety’s peaks. My mood has been good, loving, receptive, but my body doesn’t always feel cooperative. When my body isn’t functioning at the level I deem as my own normal, then anxiety settles in all nice and cozy.
OR MAYBE IT LEAPS UP, SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF ME, AND THEN LAUGHS ABOUT IT!

The real signs of wellness have appeared over the last week, as for me, it’s what kind of appetite and how much energy I have. You can see the obvious correlation.

fried green tomatoes

fried green tomatoes

coke float

coke float

om nom nom, the process

om nom nom, half the blueberry pancake process

it took me two days to eat them, but OMFG!

it took me two days to eat them, but OMFG!

quesoeverything

quesoeverything

medium margarita is muy  grande!

medium margarita is muy grande!

poached eggs & toast

poached eggs & toast

pinwheels

pinwheels

tomatoes & mayo FTW!

tomatoes & mayo FTW!

roast n' taters n' turnips n' stuff

roast n’ taters n’ turnips n’ stuff

Someone once asked me if all my days included cookware, which made me laugh. I should photograph everything I make and/or eat, because some people (believe it or not, people other than me) enjoy food porn and I guess people who don’t should scroll on. I’ll work on that.

Then, because I have felt well enough to have cooked and eaten, I get restless and need to burn off some energy.
It is good to have energy to burn.

Despite the oppressive heat (still ain’t Georgia hot!) I decided we should take a nice long scenic walk, maybe at the park or someplace closer than the canal. The Mister said we should investigate a new-to-us area of the city’s walking paths. I dunno what they’re called, but somethin about White River or Fall Creek or somethin. They’re here and there. I couldn’t picture what The Mister was goin on about when he said “trail under the bridge,” but once we got there, the trail did, in fact, go under the bridges, under the roads.
The Mister had an extra pep in his step, because he was happy to have been right.

I love how we have mini forests in the city. All that green does my heart good. Personally, I’d like to walk a lot more of that particular path. Almost as much as I’d like to be wine wasted during a foot rub. Imma work on that, too.

Anyway, you know what was so incredibly pleasant about our walk yesterday?
Clover.
So much clover, I could still smell it on my clothes when I got home.
I asked my girls what they smelled and Sassy said, “Honey” while Moo said, “Hot tea” and I think those answers were precious.

Summer is too hot for Joeys, but the plants make it worth it. Like clover. Fresh tomatoes are great to slice or fry, but also to smell. I bought a hand soap that smells like tomato stems. I love that smell, along with the aroma of fresh herbs on my hands after picking rosemary or chopping cilantro, basil, lavender, wild onion — All those smells are terrific mood enhancers for me.

How’ve you been? Walked anywhere new? Smelled anything delightful?

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On Purpose

As part of Edwina’s Episodes 370, I’ve been nominated to declare what my purpose in life is and what I’ll take home with me when I leave.
Heavy, huh?
Yeah.

I’ve probably said and written a hundred times or more that I am here to enjoy my life. I really do mean that. Life is a gift, and I fully intend to use it as best I can.

lifequotessurrender

My gifts are no greater in number and no more special than those of others, but I did identify them early in life, so I teach and I write and I cook and I grow things and make things and all that’s fine and good. Deeply Satisfying.
But there were gifts I recognized later in life, like the ability to hope. Not everyone has this sorta unshakable hope. I have so much hope, I wish I could smear it on people, pin it to them, dip them in it — I’m sure I’d never run out of hope despite how many people need it.
However much fear I contain, I’ve got a thousand times more hope.
That is no small gift.

The purpose of my life continues to elude me. Although I teach a great deal to many, and I consider myself influential, there seems to be something looming before me…something that hasn’t all come together yet.
I love my current day-to-day life, and am content, dare I say happy, most days? Yet I can still feel whatever it is out there.
In bad moments, I assume it’s the worst —  seemingly unbearable suffering from which I cannot recover.
In good moments, I assume when the student is ready, the master appears.
In moments of quiet contemplation, I question that it’s not this life, but the haunting of an old life, or a future life I can’t live now.

Most days, I just do what I can with the tools I’ve been given, and await further instruction.

i-know-everything-happens-for-a-reason

Perhaps it’s not what we think it is, the purpose of our life. Perhaps instead, there is our own personal fulfillment and our universal contribution.
Perhaps we’re not to know our purpose. Maybe it’s not up to us. Maybe our gifts are specific to others and best decided by the mark we leave on each person whose lives we touch.
Like all the other species, we’re here to survive and reproduce — but aren’t we also here to love? The way humanity loves must surely be a universal purpose. Our acts of love, what we do for one another, so varied in style or magnitude, whether grand or in deference, surely those are more noble than the things we take credit for?

Love is what I’ll take home.
It’s the gift I’ve received the most.
All of me is marked by love.
Love in a million different packages.
It’s eternal, you know.

soft_love

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to share the purpose of your own life and what you’ll take home with you when you leave.
ALL OF YOU ARE NOMINATED.

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How The Mister Learned to Lie

Following the prank The Mister and Sassy pulled on me earlier this week, this is The Mister’s story of how his father taught him to lie.
Your Joey is merely the typist.

During a taffy-selling fundraiser for my school my kindergarten year, I walked around the neighborhood with my father as my escort, lugging boxes full of taffy to sell. We spent the majority of the night out doing this, and by night’s end, we had sold every single bag. 

As we walked back, my father said to me, “Now when we get home, you look as pathetic as you can. No matter what happens, just look as sad as possible. No smiling. Don’t look up, just look down at the ground and be very sad.”

We entered our home and I acted as though I was still struggling to lift the heavy boxes onto the chair.
Mom looked at Dad and asked how we did, to which he replied, “We did not sell a thing.”

lolcat-sad

Seeing her son so sad, she ran off to collect her pocketbook.
She said, “I’ll take one, Son.”
Still looking down at the ground, sad and pathetic, I slowly opened up the empty boxes, revealing that we had sold them all.

Seeing that she had been duped, the shock on her face, brought hysterical laughter to my father and me.

Are you a prankster? Do you teach your kids how to pull pranks?

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So Embarrassing

It’s summer vacation, so I seldom know what day it is, but a couple or three or four days ago, The Mister and Sassy ran out to buy vanilla extract, to pick up some things on hold from the library, and to stop by a Redbox.

When they arrived home, they came into the kitchen to tell me they’d borrowed Fifty Shades of Grey. My husband stood with one hand behind his back. My face burned with embarrassment.
“No. No way,” I shook my head.
“But Baby, I just gotta see it! It’s killin me that I haven’t seen it,” he said.
“Oh my God, I am completely embarrassed to be married to you! I should be ashamed! You should be ashamed! Puttin money into her pocket when she cannot write is such a slap in the face to those of us who can. It’s just, omalord, do you really need to know?”
I leaned on him and gripped his shirt in my fists.
“I shoulda made you read the excerpts. You really should read more books, better books, because then you would know.” I rolled my head back and forth across his chest to release my denial, “No no no no no,” and then paused to reflect on how hitting isn’t nice and I should use my words.
I went back to cooking.
I faced my skillet and hollered long and loud about butt plug training and the unending conversations with her subconscious brain before turning back to him.
“Seriously. I’m so disappointed in you.”

“Baby, why is your face so red? Aren’t you even a little curious?”
“I am so embarrassed to be married to you right now.”

Then he laughed and laughed, Sassy laughed and laughed, and after a lot of their laughing and jumping up and down and knee slapping and hi-fiving, I realized they were teasing me.

“And THAT’S how you pull a prank!” The Mister shouted to Sassy.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll relate the story of how The Mister’s father taught him to lie to his mother, too.

My post was inspired by this post, written by the great Isabella Morgan.

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She’s a Daredevil, Not a Mechanic

Shortly after we moved here, we noticed Moo’s knees were nearing her handlebars, so The Mister took her bike shopping. She picked out a large green retro Schwinn. She rides it all the time. She even asks to, thinks she can, ride it in snow and on ice. To say she loves riding her bike would be an understatement.

that's moo at the top, angry she couldn't go any higher.

that’s moo at the top, angry she couldn’t go any higher.

Our little daredevil quickly learned to do all sortsa tricks on her bike.

Now and again, she reports an accident, but she’s so dramatic, and yet, so vague, we cannot determine the extent of her injuries.

Here’s a prime example:
“My tummy hurts. Look at it.”
“Doubtful I can see your issue with my human eyes.”
I looked. Her upper abdomen had red streaks across it.
With her being Moo, the first thing I thought was hives.
“Does it itch?”
“No, it hurts!”
“Have you been lying on crumpled blankets?”
“No.”
“Did you climb at Lily’s today?”
“No. I rode my bike and jumped on the trampoline and played X-box and chased the dogs.”
She winced as she rubbed cream on it.
“Moo, didja fall off your bike today?”
She nods.
“Didja fall over your handlebars?”
“Uh-huh…OH!”

Then later, something so awful happened, I could actually see her adrenaline. Somethin about somethin with the chain and screaming fury and it really hurt!
She appeared completely unscathed, but I swooped her into a hug and told her to breathe the nice long breaths.

When she’d calmed down, I asked her, “Did your chain fall off or did it break?”
“I dunno! I’m not a mechanic-ic!”

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Sweet, Sweet Gossip

Yes, I can keep a secret. I’m super good at keepin secrets. No one has ever accused me of bein a blabbermouth.
On rare occasion, I realize something I’ve said was not supposed to be said and I apologize and wonder why on earth that’s a secret, but generally, I am the soul of discretion. I told you I’m a safe place to put wayward emotions.

Gossip-girls

But I love gossip.

I mean, the other day, Sammy D. wrote that she hates gossip, and I almost took away her woman card. Say what?!?
I turned to The Mister, “Gossip, love it or hate it?”
“Depends.”
“Gossip about someone you don’t like?”
“OH!” His eyes lit up as the smile spread across his face, “Yes!” He clapped his hands.
Then he was sad I didn’t have any.

Steel-Magnolias
I am the antithesis of those people who tell everyone everything. I mean, if I mention my heavy cramping  and a desire to eat my weight in burritos to Mrs. So-and-So at 9am, by 4pm, half the people I know will know for sure that I am a woman of childbearing age, although by the time that many games of Telephone are played, I may well have had a miscarriage or an abortion or my husband has beaten the uterus out of me for cheating on him with the pretty waiter at Los Rancheros. You just never can tell.

I’m not saying it’s nice to spread gossip, and it’s definitely a virtue to stop lies, but it’s delightful to hear things through the grapevine.

Source is crucial. Gossip is best when it’s from a reliable source and has substance.

Scenario #1
I usta order soaps from a friend of a friend, and one time, the new soap didn’t smell like the old soap and I wanted her to send another soap, but all she was willing to do was refund my soap purchase. She said often times hormones make things smell different. I said my husband and kids smelled the old soap vs. the new soap and it’s not a hormone issue. Still, no new soap for me. I stopped buying her soaps.
Then about two weeks later, because of our mutual friend, I found out the soap lady was expecting.
“Whose sense of smell is outta whack?”
Mmhm, whatever, Soap Cunt.

Scenario #2
I never understood why Jane was so paranoid about her husband, Dick. Could Dick never speak to any female ever? Why so jealous, Jane? Not every woman who speaks to Dick wants him, you know. Some of us already had him…and although we still love him, we have moved on.
Over a decade passed before I found out, via Dick and Dick’s mother, that both Dick and Jane had had affairs. Of course, as soon as Dick told me about it, Jane wrote me an email in which she called me a “hone-wreaker” and threatened to expose me to my husband.

Scenario #3
Those moments when you find out certain people, who are regarded as pillars of self-proclaimed, for-the-Bible-tells-me-so morality, have in fact, been married to others previously, and are actually married to their current spouse because of an unexpected pregnancy.
But don’t marry a divorced person, don’t get a divorce, and under no circumstances should you have sex before marriage.

O-Rly-owls-13509350-282-282
Hypocrisy is so delicious.

Secrets are the missing puzzle pieces. Once you hear the secrets, everything else falls into place.

Now, without a credible source, new information is just a rumor. Rumors are a lot of fun, but they’re just rumors.

My favorite rumors about myself are that I invented my husband for online purposes and he’s not real, that I’m a lesbian, and that I slept with my male EdPsych professor. (Obviously these rumors were generated and spread by different groups of people at different times.) None of these things are true, but they’re exciting, aren’t they? My Gawd, I’m a brilliant, fascinating, complicated person!

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Do you love gossip? Are you the keeper of secrets? What rumors have been spread about you?

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Word Writin, Mood Swingin Freak

The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that you just write and write and write, damn the structure, just keep writing.

The terrible thing about NaNoWriMo is that you just write and write and write, damn the structure, just keep writing.

Free-writing is good for my creativity. The imagery pours in and the words pour out, and sometimes I feel I am not really writing so much as I am channeling. That’s a high.

Free-writing is bad for my project, because I can’t find anything in the mess of words I’ve written.
Formatting, what? Why is it no tab or tab over half the page? Why?!?
Also, Fuck You Word Template! I hate you!

Yesterday, I said to my work in progress, “I’m serious! You will be organized! Your chapters will flow in chronological order and you will like it!”
My loving, supportive husband put the kettle on and brought me my glasses. He even cleaned them. I broke out my big red notebook and I opened my novel and I flipped and fiddled and wrote for several hours.

girl-writing-cartoon

I was pleased, except, why can’t I move things around with ease? I mean, you scroll and you skim and you know it’s there, but you’re so sick of looking at it you really wanna scream.

Writers are always talking about Scrivener. As usual, I’m over here under my large rock all, “Huh? Is that like math?” But, when LindaGHill told me her novel, which I read several months ago, was written in Scrivener, well, you know how I do anything she tells me to she inspires me, so I got Scrivener.

And then I spent several hours trying not to break my laptop in two and slit my wrists. I swore. I read instructions that made no sense. I got a beer. I watched tutorials on YouTube. I struggled. I huffed and puffed. My eyes burned. Fury overtook me. I counted my breaths. I forgot Game of Thrones was coming on. I ignored and then yelled at everyone. Why can’t the world be quiet while I think?!? I almost died.

Then my loving, supportive husband, who watched me have at least ten meltdowns an hour, said to me, “You can do this. You do this all the time. You start something new and you figure it out.”
Contrary me said, “But this is too hard!”
“Did you ever think you’d write code?”
“Well no, and I don’t really, I dabble in it.”
“Still, you figured it out.”

AND I DID! I FIGURED IT OUT!

I have transferred my entire novel into Scrivener, and now I can easily find any chapter, any scene, any ol time I want!
Yes, it did take me about six hours.
I do not doubt those six hours will save me sixty, either.

Now I experience the cork board joy that Boyack showed me! CORK BOARD FTW! Y’all, the note cards correspond to the text and you can rearrange them in a matter of seconds! It is a dream, like dishes that put themselves away or children who follow directions!

scrivener-corkboard-238956

All those scribbles in my notepad? Now on the cork board. Fleeting thoughts and jots of inspiration? Cork board. Character names and settings? Cork board.

What new thing have you learned lately? Are you a quieter, more patient learner, or do you sputter and scream like I do?

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The Booms

Yesterday, I wrote about the noise of the groundskeepers on post, but nothing beats the din of artillery on a military base.

The good news is, compared to the mower guys, blower guys, and weed-whacker guys, artillery noise was not constant.
It only happened when we had people in the field. And it depended which part of the field they were in.
Different soldiers went different places to do different things on different days.

Yes, it was often enough to make me ill-at-ease. It probably wasn’t good for my nerves.
I am not…gun-friendly.

One morning I dropped The Mister off at work, and as I left the motorpool, some snipers appeared as if from nowhere. From a ditch to the right, they simply manifested. I was going less than 10mph, and had not seen them, but slowly, little by little, they emerged before my very eyes, standing up to cross the road before me.
Like these guys:

Ghillie-1
That was an enlightening, frightening experience. I don’t know how to quantify it, really, but it was awesome in the literal sense.

I lived half of my life a few miles from Ft. Benjamin Harrison, as I do now. I was familiar with military personnel out and about in public places, but the fort wasn’t much on booms, so all the racket from field training was new to me.

There were Bradleys.

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There were M1 Abrams tanks.

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And Paladins. Paladins are like tanks, but louder. Can you imagine?

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I arrived at the base in June, and my husband went to the field in September. Some of those September days shook my house like an earthquake. Specifically, it sounded like men landing on the roof and rappelling down the siding. Windows rattled. Cups of coffee stirred.
As strange as it may sound, after a few days, I got accustomed to the sound of artillery. It became common and could often be ignored.
If a mortar woke me in the night, I could relax, knowing that the mortars were not incoming.

this is a mortar thingy

this is a mortar thingy

I could not say the same as I spoke on the telephone with The Mister during deployment. I could hear their incoming mortars, which scared me, but for him, I guess it was the norm.
So yeah, artillery in Georgia, not dangerous to Joeys. Seemingly comforting at times.

Until this one day, around noon.
I went to get my mail. Out the door, to the right, round the corner. I was about halfway home, maybe 50 feet from my door, when a new sound scared the shit out of me. The new sound was so loud and so close, I literally rushed to the ground and lay flat until it stopped. Yes, it’s true. I took cover, using my mail to protect my head.
Funniest Army Wife Ever.

I ran home, and from the corner of my eye, I could see the smoke in the field close to my home. Really close. Like, open my front door, turn right, and walk about 400ft to live small arms artillery.
I called a nearby soldier who wasn’t in the field, “What the fuck is that noise?”
“What’s it sound like?”
“Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat!”
“Lemme see if I can hear it. Oh, that’s a 50 cal.”
“Well that’s too close!”
He laughed.

021108-N-4374S-063 - Central Command AOR - LCpl. Paul Rodas assigned to 22 Weapons Company, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), mans a .50 caliber machine gun as part of the security force during an exercise in the Central Command AOR.  The 24th MEU is on their six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Official U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2(SW) Michael Sandberg; Fleet Combat Camera, Atlantic. Photograph cleared for release by CDR. Jeff Alderson, COMUSNAVCENT/ 5TH Fleet PAO.

021108-N-4374S-063 – Central Command AOR – LCpl. Paul Rodas assigned to 22 Weapons Company, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), mans a .50 caliber machine gun as part of the security force during an exercise in the Central Command AOR. The 24th MEU is on their six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2(SW) Michael Sandberg; Fleet Combat Camera, Atlantic.
Photograph cleared for release by CDR. Jeff Alderson, COMUSNAVCENT/ 5TH Fleet PAO.

(This photo came with a caption. I think it’d be nice if all of Google had photo credits, don’t you?)

Anyway, that was the day I discovered how close I was to the field, and when I realized this would be a steady part of my life.
The rifle ranges were most active in the early hours.
Mornings began with groundskeepers and “Reveille,” followed by the song of the Dog-Faced Soldier.

Apparently my husband does not miss singing that song and wishes he’d stayed a “fancy-pants Marine.”

dfs

Almost every afternoon, Chinook helicopters flew over my yard, causing my dog to drag her bones to the door before those big, scary birds could get em. Most afternoons, still with the groundskeeper noise.
Later in the day, the cannon was fired at 5, with “Retreat.” I don’t care how many times you take visitors to see the cannon fire, it still rattles you, even when you know it’s coming!
“Taps” played at 10. I miss “Taps.” I actually miss it.

But I don’t miss the sound of artillery. Not even a little bit.

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I Can’t Hear Myself Hear!

Pursuant to Sammy’s complaints about the sounds of motorized lawn equipment, I thought I’d share with you the madness that was my life.

When we lived in Georgia, we rented base housing. This meant we had a small fenced-in backyard. I mean small, like a lot of people rolled out plastic grass and called it a day. We sold our lawnmower and either The Mister or Bubba used a weed-whacker on it or Housing mowed it during deployment.

There was a mulched bed in the front, where you could plant something to make your house your own. This is someone’s picture of a house that looks like our old one. We were the right side of a duplex.

June 2012 123
That mulch bed was my small section of nature. Over the years, I planted many plants that claimed to be drought tolerant, but there were only four things that stood up to the constant heat and western sun: juniper, ground phlox, Mexican petunias, and zinnias. Fortunately, those last two brought butterflies and bumblebees.

In addition to these tiny spaces of our own, we had vast green spaces that were public. We had a lot of roundabouts and a few medians, but basically, it was newly-constructed, without shade, in the middle of a pine forest.
Sound reverb is real.

FtSteward_header1

The houses were arranged in rectangles and within the block of homes, there was either a playground, or a field.
All public green spaces were tended by a variety of groundskeepers.
ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, CONSTANTLY, or so it seemed.

i don't even know how these pictures were taken without showing groundskeepers...

i don’t even know how these pictures were taken without showing groundskeepers…

We had mower guys, blower guys, and weed-whacker guys ALL THE TIME.
Add those guys to the trash and recycle collection noise, the motorcycle noise, and the ruckus of artillery. Hell, artillery is its own post. Maybe I’ll write about the booms tomorrow.

It was a loud place to live.

“That’s okay, Weed-Whacker Guy, my toddlers don’t really need a nap. I would love to listen to them fight and cry for the rest of the day.”
“Oh sure, 5am is the perfect time to blow sand to more desirable places!”
“I will never sleep-in, EVER!”
“Yes, I would love to watch television with the volume on 54!”
“I swear they just mowed this same place yesterday!”
“Hey, that’s great, they’re power-washing the house and mowing at the same time!”

And I’ll tell you what, I do believe they enjoyed making the noise. They smugly smiled, with their earplugs and their big trucks, towing their rattling equipment. Vroom, clang, clang, clang, “Here we come to wake the dead! AHAHAHA!”

Here, I hear the interstate. I’m citified, so it may as well be the sound of the ocean. So no, now that I live here in my nice, quiet, largely wooded neighborhood, I don’t get bothered when my neighbors mow. They all wait until mid-morning and they never, ever look happy to be doing it.

Have you ever lived where it’s excessively loud?

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On the Floor

Robin at witlessdatingafterfifty shared this lovely post today, with the prompt of “Are there any similar paths you have taken or places you have chosen to be cuddling up to your loved one? Any memories of dangerous situations which may be written without much embarrassment, to share?”
Since Robin wrote about a steamy summer night, she roused these memories from my brain, and I thank her for inspiring me to write them.

Long ago, when we were kids, The Mister’s big blue house was where I spent much time with his sister, now my sister-in-law, Drew. When we were kids, The Big Blue House wasn’t air-conditioned. It was built in the late 1800’s and it would be the late 1900’s before air-conditioning would be added.
Now, Drew loves the heat, (I dunno, I love her despite her obvious flaws) so she never struggled to sleep in her attic bedroom, which could have been heated by Hell itself for the stagnant inferno that it was. Like me, The Mister did not love heat, and many a summer night, we sneaked down to the living room and lay under the fan. We’d fall asleep there, secretly, until we heard FIL’s alarm and then I’d creep upstairs to Drew’s room, walking on the edges of the steps, the way The Mister taught me. The Mister would go to the bathroom, and my now in-laws were none the wiser.

We often wonder if they ever suspected anything, but they never seemed to.

Now, we did not, as teenagers, fool around. We just didn’t. We loved one another dearly, and were good friends, but we didn’t do anything. We wanted to at times. On my end, I’d never make the first move, and on his end, well, he is three years older than me, and even as a kid, he was made with honor and integrity.

Years passed, things changed, we came and went. We still slept on the floor a lot. Truth be known, we spent a lot of nights in beds together, too. The timing was always off. We always seemed to be involved with other people, or we were worried that we’d ruin our friendship. It was sort of our thing to stay up talking in the dark, cuddling, and even stroking one another, but he didn’t kiss me until we were adults.

September 1997
I was 23, so he would have been 27.
We still took the floor in the living room, because it was still at least ten degrees cooler than the attic.
FIL said something about appropriate behavior, but The Mister laughed and said stuff about how we’d slept together a hundred times. Parenting adults is hard.

I had been kissed plenty well and good. I was no stranger to sparks, weak knees, tingly feelings, butterflies — all that good stuff.
But I am here to tell you, that when he kissed me, I nearly burst from the inability to describe how it felt. We almost set fire to the house. If we had set fire to the house, we probably wouldn’t have stopped.

ix8ehz

At some point, we had to stop, because intensity. Neither of us wanted to be discovered going at it. Sexing in the floor of The Big Blue House was not appropriate behavior.

The events after this remain blurry to me. He’s better with the details. I did a walk-a-thon, there was a pig roast, I think I had a date? He left roses for me at The Big Blue House.

I was me, lacking romantic notions, thinking it was good we got that out of our systems. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.

Letters continued to be written.

Months later, around Christmas, my girlfriends accused me of being in love with him. I continued to live in denial for a really long time.

I should be clear.
I had no intention of getting involved with this gorgeous man, my friend I loved, whose body I knew intimately. I was a commitment-phobe. I was an expert at withholding. I gold-medaled in withholding. I came close a few times, but inevitably, I freaked-out and found a way to ruin any promising relationship.

Letters continued to be written.

It was obvious to everyone that we were inevitable. How long can a person be your person without your own realization of it?

It would be another year before I realized I wanted nothing more than I wanted him, and almost another year before we married. I still don’t know how this happened to me.

And that kiss on the floor…it lingers still.

change-happiness-happy-in-love-Favim.com-597347

I wrote about kissing two days in a row, are you completely repulsed? Have you ever read anything more disgusting? Have you ever caught fire from a kiss?

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Popcorn and Kisses

The Mister said we should have date night, and I said yes we should, and so I called his parents, because they’re HIS parents, and set it up.
It did occur to me to take the children to my in-laws at o’dark-thirty, but it was noon when we gleefully departed.

We went to see Aloha.
We love movies. We don’t go to movies so much as we watch movies, but we love movies. Generally, we love the same movies, although I admit The Mister loves more movies than I do, or more movies he likes are aired with more frequency, or somethin. Gawd, how that man loves Braveheart. I think he’s watched all the action movies, all the westerns, and all the horror flicks. But before you peg him, lemme tell you he loves romances and he will watch The Notebook every single time it’s on.
“Aww, Jeez, again?!” I ask.
“What? Baby, it’s so good!”
“Yes, it’s very good, but it’s also torture. No one should watch this more than once a year, if only for the dehydration concerns,” I say.

Sure, we love some blockbusters, of course we do, but we’re also fans of less popular films, even ones that bomb at the box office. Big FishEnchanted April, The Way, The Astronaut’s Wife, Liberty Heights, Better Off Dead, Office Space — all movies we love despite their lowly statuses.

And Elizabethtown. Oh do we love Elizabethtown. We’ve probably watched that movie ninety-kajillion times and when we’re not watching it, seldom a day passes without listening to music from its soundtrack.

873ELIZABETHTOWN

My love for Elizabethtown is large, y’all.
Big Love.

So, when the critics said Aloha was as bad as Elizabethtown, we were like, “HURRAH!” Some critics even said Aloha is Elizabethtown in another setting. Someone said Cameron Crowe can only do the same film over and over, and I was all, “Well, perhaps as much as anyone, since everyone has a style and there are only so many types of conflict…” Is Fast Times at Ridgemont High like Vanilla Sky? And then I wondered if that critic had ever taken a narrative media class, and what made him a critic…

Anyway, we liked Aloha, but it was no Elizabethtown. It was cute. Yes, the editing was abrupt, absolutely. Did it scream Cameron Crowe? Yes.
I’d watch it again. I wouldn’t buy it and watch it over and over, but it was not a bad film.

I saw it took some flak for casting Emma Stone and not a more Hawaiian looking woman, but then I thought about some of the surprising palettes of real people in my own life, and decided that was a battle with no end. A person can be one-fourth anything and look like anything but.

We were not disappointed, because sharing popcorn and kisses in the dark is always a good time.

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Love-Hate Challenge

Judy from Edwina’s Episodes nominated me to take part in the Love-Hate Challenge, 10 things I love, 10 things I hate, 10 nominees — seems simple enough. I can easily do this with random things from the last few days. I’m not really into hate, and love seems a bit extreme at times, but nonetheless…

Things I Love:

1. the way my cat pushes her face into my neck
2. cool, breezy days
3. the taste of my husband’s lips
4. the light in my living room
5. bookstores
6. sleeping late
7. Flonase
8. fountain Coke
9. the burn of a spicy sauce
10. my kids reading books I love

Things I Hate:

1. dangerous drivers
2. receipts
3. phone calls that wake me up
4. the prices at concessions stands
5. bras
6. shoes
7. junk mail
8. when my dog eats gross things
9. new freckles and moles
10. cleaning a tiled shower

Nominees:

1. Holly
2. Mark
3. Megan
4. Christina
5. Josh
6. Anxious Mom
7. Manee
8. Prajakta
9. Cheryl
10. Sammy

It was very simple, in fact!

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For Best Results, Give

Last week, I sat down to pay some bills, and the bank was all, “Not right now, hit me up later,” or whatever. I haven’t gone back to pay them. They’re not due, and I’ll probably pay them today, or tomorrow, or maybe Tuesday…
Do you have any idea what a blessing it is to be able to pay your bills? Or to be able to pay them on time? Or to not even worry that after you pay them, you’ll be broke?
I do.
I’ve been broke plenty in my life. Most often after paying bills, but sometimes the bills were a joke, like, “Haha! Oh Hospital Bill, you’re so hysterical! Honey, Moo somehow survived after taking $35 worth of Motrin!”

poor-is-when-you-have-too-much-month-at-the-end-of-your-money
There are plenty of people who struggle daily with things I don’t even think about. I like to think I think about those things more than other people think about those things, because I live in gratitude as a way of combating anxiety, and I have been without some of those things.

Money is relative. Everyone earns, saves, and spends differently, but I think we can all agree that any version of our ideal lives involves having what we need and then having a good time.
A good time is also relative, but a good time can be free or cost thousands of dollars. In fact, you can spend thousands of dollars and still have a shitty time.

quote-1-GEm

I’m always telling my kids that lack of money is absolutely the best problem anyone can have. Money can’t create peace, undo betrayal, cure every illness, fix a broken relationship, mend a broken heart, or bring back the dead. You can throw money at any problem, but inevitably, money only fixes money problems.
When things go wrong, and they always do, it’s nice when they’re problems that can be solved with money.

Without money enough to buy solutions, life is desperate, and people despair accordingly. They get beaten down, worn-out, because the world says no, all the time.
No, they can’t buy a single stamp.
No, they can’t buy their kids an ice cream cone.
No, they can’t get a loan.
No, they can’t make payment arrangements at the dentist.
No, there are no second helpings.
No, there is no money for a field trip.
No, they can’t miss work when they’re sick.
No, they don’t have gloves or mittens.
No, they can’t take a job where the buses don’t run.
No, they don’t have the money for the medicine prescribed.
No, they can’t afford to run the heat.
No, they can’t afford a uniform.
No, they can’t pay a traffic ticket.
No, they don’t have a computer at home.
No, they don’t have any canned goods to donate…

Life isn’t fair in any aspect, but those problems SUCK in the land of plenty, and they do get in the way of having a good time.

So my job, as a human being who lives in abundance, is to give.
We give with kindness and compassion.
We will buy a book of stamps for the lady who only needs one and can’t afford twenty.
We will put gas in a stranger’s car.
We will never stand idly by in the check-out and watch as another human being tries to decide whether to put the juice or the paper towels back.
And I don’t mean  we GoFundEveryFuckingThing. It doesn’t cost anything to hold a door, or to help push a car out of the road, to shovel a walk, or to unload someone’s groceries.

Oh we could do more, fersure.
My gramma usta say that you gotta give. What the person does with the money is between him and God, but when you give, you’re right with God.
But there are some people schemin, and I don’t trust those people hangin out with their signs in suburban shopping centers…
If my gramma was right, I hope God understands.

quote-do-what-you-can-with-what-you-have-where-you-are-theodore-roosevelt-158028

We were given so much when we needed help. So much. Over the years, people have sheltered us, babysat for us, fed us, paid a bill for us, helped find us jobs, helped us sell things, bought groceries for us, gave us useful things, like someone sold us a minivan for $50 — and I don’t just mean family and friends; one time, we received five-hundred anonymous dollars. Besides, I’ll never know who put the fresh loaves of bread or bags of apples in the WIC office…

I’ve long delayed writing a post on giving, for fear it would seem like bragging, so I won’t go into specifics, except to say that if you look for ways to help people, you will find it’s quite easy.

It’s even easier with strangers, because it’s indiscriminate. Sometimes humans don’t want to help others because we feel people aren’t deserving. We know what they do with their money, don’t we? But with strangers, you can give easily, because you don’t know what assholes they really are, or any of those judgmental things that keep us from helping people when we should. Even better, giving to strangers allows the advantage of avoiding that awkward tension that ekes its way in when you give to someone you know and they feel like they need to pay you back. No strings attached giving is JOYOUS.

Can you imagine your life if no one thought you ever deserved help? Can you imagine your life without any acts of kindness?

Grace is real. It cannot be bought, it can only be given.

inspirational-giving-quotes-5

Has being the recipient of charity ever changed your life? Do you practice Random Acts of Kindness or Pay It Forward? Do you know where your local food bank is?

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Contrary to My Desires

I thought I’d tell you the bad news first, so the good news seems even better after. That’s how I do, so let’s plunge in, shall we?

I’ve been puny this week. I got one of my infamous cold sores last weekend and the on-call doctor never called me back, so no meds for me. The pharmacist recommended some cold sore medication which worked amazingly. I’m really impressed.
I never got the fever or the deformity that comes with these sores, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Of course, I have anxiety disorder, so without fail, I spent the week worrying about and waiting for the fever and deformity to arrive.
In the meantime, I’ve had low energy, which makes me worry even more. Isn’t that fun?
Now, I didn’t sleep well all week, even though I went to bed early and even took a nap on Wednesday.

For an unknown reason, I got up at 4:40 on Thursday, then I received one of those automated calls that the bus would be 25-30 minutes late, and had 3 panic attacks before 7am.
All that left me in anxiety hangover state, which is where I lived for years and years, so I cleaned the coffee pot, dusted, swept, got laundry done, finished a book, played Mario Kart, and wrote a substantial amount before the girls came home. I’m glad I didn’t have any caffeine in the house, or I coulda easily had 3 more panic attacks by 7pm.

Being sick in any way brings me the worst bouts of anxiety. No matter how well I’ve been functioning, anxiety has a way of convincing me that my arthritis is bone cancer and my weather headache is a brain tumor.

The weather conspired with my energy levels, meaning I didn’t get to what I planned this week, which was planting Sassy’s giant cabbage, cutting back the clematis, and pruning the roses.

The Mister says I’m battling exhaustion, and thinks I’ll feel much better in the coming weeks, since school is out and I can sleep longer. I want to believe him. I’ve had fitful sleep lately, which means I wriggle out of my hairband and spend half the night killing the imaginary spiders that eat my face while I sleep.
Here I am, upon awakening, realizing there’s not a spider circus on my face and that I had every right to scratch.

spiders

But — Look at these roses! Just look at em!

roses roses1

I haven’t done a thing with them yet this year. (Over the winter, I toss them some compost.) When we moved in they were overgrown, without bloom, and there are hibiscus interwoven with them, so JLW told me to hack that sucker back and I did. Last year, I got maybe 20 blooms all season, and I pruned carefully. Wow have I ever been rewarded!
Rewarded for ignoring them, me thinks.

The clematis doesn’t care, either.

clematis

That giant cabbage will not plant itself, though.

Do you suspect my death is imminent? What does your anxiety lie to you about? Do spiders eat your face while you sleep? Are you impressed by my roses and clematis? Do you believe in giant cabbage?

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Nonsense

My mother had this way of speaking with me at home:
“Guess what I drew today?”
“I don’t know, what did you drawded?”

If that hurts your ears, stop here.

We went heels after our toes and we minded our Ps and Qs and other assorted nonsense.

mofo

We had made up words, which I still use, and now my kids use, but I grew up with a lot of intentionally incorrect verbing. Over the years, all the children have added words to this extended vexing vocabulary. Manipulation of language is fun, and fun with language is my favorite!

Surely you have made up words at your house, too?

I dunno, do you actually call your remote control a remote control? We call it a clickie. All the clickies live together in the remote boat, on my table, with the keenex, yes, I mean keenex, and a basket fulla fings. But if you’re lookin for the tiny scissors, they’re in the chicken.
You’re not really a grandma unless you keep sewing stuffs in a chicken, now are you?

We love fings. Some of our favorite fings are squishy fings and comfy fings.

Bedgasm

Maybe everything is pluralized at your house, too? Toeses, for one? Do you give glomps?

Do you have granny bowls and myow kitties? Don’t even get me started on the whatchamacallits and doohickeys.

The Mister and I walk around the house, “Dat you hairband? Dat you snotty keenex? You so gross like that?”
“Dis you tea from three days ago? So hard carry to kitchen? So heavy cup? You grow special mold in bedroom? Grow special next to open lotion? Make mold smell like nilla?”
“Why you so gross like that?”

shirt

Ells and esses are often silent here. DID YOU CATCH THAT? Haha!
So we use yipgoss, yip balm, and yiptick, and we use poons to eat ice cream, pecially Moo, who needs orange pastic poons, cause sensory issues, or we assume, as she screams at her siblings, “Stop craping your fork!”

Some words are just too long or are easier in another language.
Why say flashlight when you can say torch?
Why say you’re on your way when you can say en route?
Why type tomorrow when you can type demain?
We go out for shushi and get carry out Chinois.
We eat brunch, and also linner, but never in the same day.
Who would choose to say down-filled comforter when duvet is so easy?

My gramma always said, “Let’s get the boat on the show!”
My mother says, “Let’s shall, shall we?”
FIL says, “Get a move on!”
I say, “Allons!”
The Mister says, “Hurry the fuck up!”

Drew says the children run around all lakka lakka. And whereas you might clean a child’s pacifier because it gets a build-up of muck or gunk, she says ya gotta clean the ming-mings because mung.
I hadda have a ming-ming fairy come take away Sassy’s ming-mings. Hadda put em on the window sill so other just borned babies could have ming-mings. I never could get Sissy to put her fumb on the window sill…

We say fanks, because fanks is the sound of baby Simon sayin thanks with a ming-ming in his mouth. Sometimes we say gratzi, merci, danke, or gracias, but mostly fanks.

True and I text like this:
no one eat oatmeals in blue bowls, now always lello bowls. too big for blue bowls. not too big to sleep with glowworm.
here two packs. with stuffs and fruit on it. don’t slice my nana cause last time you slice it i throwed up. but peel my apple, cause the red poke my teeth.

Maybe your kids get diarrhea, but my kids get slidy poo and True’s kids get hot poops.

chef

Sassy and I have entire conversations which would be hard for anyone outside the house to follow. I like that. Another generation of nonsense.
Sassy is great with language.
She can even read Moo’s mind.
I mean really, as much as I love words, they aren’t always necessary.

ewok

So, wasn’t that fun? Oh, don’t be a sock wet! How much of this nonsense made sense to you? Do you also have unintelligible conversations?

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#ThursdayDoors — IWM

doors

Ooh, shiny old things are some of my favorite things!

When I took this picture on Sunday, I realized, Hey, I have a door for Norm’s #ThursdayDoors! I always enjoy those posts, but I have the kind of life that pretty much exposes me to the same dozen doors every day.
Sunday’s Enrichment Excursion took me to this door at the Indiana War Memorial Museum.

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If It Looks Sweet and It Talks Sweet, It Might Be a Bitch

Y’ever notice the things that are great about you are also the things that get in your way? I noticed this in my early 30’s. First, with other people, like stubborn people. Stubborn people make it work. Stubborn people don’t give up. They’re hard workers. The stubborn people I know are strong and successful and they almost always get their way.
That same tenacity has them holding onto bad decisions, which gets in their way. They avoid change. They may be reluctant to leave bad relationships or to quit jobs that aren’t challenging them anymore.
Like any good introvert, I wondered how this great trait business worked against me. Of course, I found my toolbox as double-edged as anyone else’s.
Stubbornness wasn’t in my toolbox. I thrive in change, and if anything, I give up too easily.

What really works for me and against me is how I appear, what I seem to be vs who I actually am.

This face I have, this voice I have, they’re authentic, but also, kinda like false advertising. The sweet face and voice get me outta tickets, get me appointed to the care and keeping of small children and animals, get people to let their guard down. You can tell by looking at me that I’m a safe person for house keys and wayward emotions.
I’m not saying I’m not a good person, or that I’m not kind, thoughtful, trustworthy, and generally benevolent, but I’m seriously a bitch. I’m not ashamed of being a bitch, it’s just that people don’t suspect I’m a bitch, when I think they really should. I’m rarely mean, but when I am, I am intentionally, thoroughly mean.
I blindside people.
I’m always writing that this isn’t a Nice Lady Blog, because it’s never my intention to blindside people.

In contrast, I envy my husband’s imperious demeanor, because people are scared of him and they leave him the hell alone, even though he’s actually much, much nicer than I am. Instead of blindsiding people, he gets to surprise them.

I guess it’s another way we balance one another out, but what a handy-dandy self-defense, lookin all mean and stuff. *sigh*

dam
What great advantage also works against you?

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Enrichment Excursion

We’re not cookin out today.
There’s talk of chicken. Although Moo’s hung up on eating at the place of the best homophobic chicken sammiches, I’m leanin toward fried, or maybe tinga (thanks, Sherry.)
I’m makin a simple strawberry dessert. Do we really need actual food?
The Mister wants to show the girls Star Wars 4, 5, and 6.
I desperately want them to appreciate the adorability of Ewoks.

As for Memorial Day, I took the girls out and about yesterday to cover some basics. It was a beautiful day, if too hot for Joeys, to drive all over the city, listening to music and drinking fountain soda.

I took them to the grave sites of my mother’s parents, maybe 15 miles north of the city. I hadn’t been in about 9 years, so I had to follow my instincts when it came to how to find the cemetery and how to find the marker within. My instincts didn’t fail me, and just as I thought I’d make one more lap around the block before I’d check GPS, Sassy cheered me on, “Just follow your gut,” she said. THAT, I have taught her well.
I’d tell you my gramma led me to her, but y’all might not buy into that.

This was my fun gramma. Yes, her name was Willie. Willie Mae. If you know us ferreal, then you know that we have a tendency to give our firstborn girl children unusual, and perhaps manly names. Gramma Willie loved a good time. My memories of her are full of playful moments and fun. Losta board games, adventures, and books.
I don’t remember my mother’s father, although there are many pictures of me with him, and I’ve heard tell he thought I was the best thing since sliced bread.
I’d tell you he hung around preschool Moo, but y’all might not buy into that, either.
I took flowers for my grandmother, and someone else had already gifted my grandfather’s side of the grave with a flag.

gramma
My grandfather was highly-decorated in WWII, but I don’t remember with what. The Mister used to know, and made a big deal of telling me about it, but now he can’t remember either. Anyway, there’s a veteran placard on the back of their headstone.
I took photos for my mother, and I know she was pleased.

granddad
I felt more sentiment standing there yesterday than I’d felt in a long time.

After that, we went to the Indiana War Memorial Museum, which is downtown.
I also drive downtown by a sense of familiarity, rather than directions, which drives my husband crazy, which made us both glad that he stayed home. I know where stuff is, but I know it in terms of northeast or southwest of the circle, or “over by the zoo” as opposed to cross streets, although I do have some of the cross streets memorized, because one-way.
For those of you who think of Indiana as only corn, basketball, and racin, I must tell you, it is not. In the words of my dear friend Tori on Indy, “Holy crap! It’s a thriving metropolis!” Here’s someone’s Pinterest photo of the Indianapolis skyline.

indianapolis-skyline-night
We are the 12th largest city in the US, outranking San Francisco, Atlanta, DC, and even Las Vegas, but you don’t think about it.
Here’s where the War Memorial is:

warmemorial

such a pretty day, i like my own picture!

such a pretty day, i like my own picture!


Our first stop inside the cool marble walls of the War Memorial was the ladies’ room, because hello, Big Gulp. Sorry the photo is blurry. It’s a dark place, and I used my iPhone.

ladies


Once we entered the ladies’ room, an older Asian woman with broken English followed and asked me if it was the bath. I said, “Yes, after I give them this small education on period pieces.” Don’t you know, she stopped and listened to me talk to the girls about the art deco benches and lamps? This cracks me up. I can even be the tour guide of toilets, y’all.

The girls don’t know much about war. I mean, they know things related to war, because they lived on an Army base, and they know a lot of vets, but they don’t have much of a grasp on history yet.
It’s hard to say why they read Anne Frank so young, and teach WWII so old. Last weekend we watched Schindler’s List with Sassy. She read The Book Thief over the winter. Her cousin Simon is an expert on WWII, her daddy’s a history major, and her mother thinks all moments are teachable, so her education is certainly enriched, but still, she’s 12.
When you show her a hallway, up and round and down, lined with the names of the fallen, she gasps in amazement. When you tell her that’s just Indiana, and to multiply that by 48 states, she is overcome.
She’s a mature 12.
Moo is an immature 11, but she preferred non-fiction for years, so her knowledge about war is perhaps less detailed, but better about facts.

I took several pictures, but mostly to share with The Mister who has never been. We agree, when Moo has learned about war at school, we will return and spend a longer length of time.

moo knew this was a cobra. i did not.

moo knew this was a cobra. i did not.



i used to know a lot about this. i've forgotten most of it.

i used to know a lot about this. i’ve forgotten most of it.

Moo likes to climb everything, so we climbed all the stairs that we could climb.
Here’s the view from the balcony in the center of the building.

view

Lovely, hm? That’s Veteran’s Park and the central library. We love the library, so we often see the park from the other side.

pro patria -- for one's country

pro patria — for one’s country

After all the heat, sun, and steps, I did not feel well at all.
I’d planned to visit the mausoleum where my other grandparents are laid to rest, but we stopped to visit at The Palace of Rules instead. MIL and FIL were feeling well, and so I spontaneously invited them to dinner.

I’ll stop by the Packards next week, but I probably won’t tell you about it.

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The Wheels on the Bus Come and Go

I like yellow things, except yellow jackets. And maybe school buses.

Over the years, I have put many a kid on many a school bus, morning after morning.

Before August of 2013, I never, in the history of my mommyhood, had one ounce of trouble getting my kids onto the school bus.
Not one time had I ever failed to get my children onto the school bus. Not once.

Sure, for a few years I drove them to school, because the schools they went to didn’t have buses, but school buses have long been a part of our lives.

Although I have alluded to the troubles here and there, I could not possibly relate all the dramatic school bus stories we’ve gathered since moving here. Suffice it to say we have drawn the short-stick on bus reliability.

For the last school year, the bus number changed three times in two weeks. We’d be at the bus stop at 7:05 and a bus would come anywhere from 7:10 to not at all.

school-bus

Then it changed again mid-winter.

After the new bus driver waved us down and we walked through a foot or more of snow, 100 feet or so from our stop, the idiot bitch driver actually said to me that she could drop them home, but she couldn’t pick them up at their stop because she had to make a left turn adjacent to our street.
I had words with her.
I waved my letter from Transportation at her and said things like, “talk to your boss…your job…Transportation…regulations…well over an eighth of a mile…schedule…four more available left turns…”

One day, while we waited in the ice and snow, a previous bus driver stopped and told me, “Just put em on here, she’s late.”

It actually went that way for quite a time. We’d wait for 5-40 minutes in the freezing temps and eventually, usually, one bus or another took them.
Spring came, but still, we never knew which bus would come from which direction to collect our kids, but it was warmer, so we complained less.

Yes, we spoke to bus drivers, to Transportation, and at times, even the principal. This yielded short-term results.

Fall 2014 changed everything, and the girls had a new bus driver. I’ll be damned if she didn’t show up on schedule every single day, like bus drivers should. Furthermore, she drove through a parking lot to pick them up, as well as the kids down the way, because it was Safer For The Children. I loved her. (Miss Stephanie, if you’re reading this, I LOVE YOU!)
Every time I baked cookies or cupcakes or sweet breads, I took her some. I thanked God for her every day. Good ol’ reliable Miss Stephanie.

There is no more Miss Stephanie.
Now there is whoever can do it.
A lot of times, that’s one driver running two routes.
Now there are a lot of automated phone calls at 6am and 2pm.

“Bus #189 will be subbed by bus #__ and will arrive approximately 20-25 minutes late.”
What it should say is that sometimes no bus will come, or your kids will be home 50 minutes late. You will have to embrace the panic attacks, and maybe call your FIL to come take them.

I’ve since found out that bus drivers in our township are paid $100 a day. While that’s a generous compensation for a few hours of each day, it’s not even close to what someone should earn for dealing with the madness that is the school bus. I suppose, come the bitter cold hours of pre-dawn February, $100 a day does not seem worth it to many people.
Additionally, we don’t have enough power in number. There are only two families on this block, and although the the other family’s kids come home on the bus, they are driven to school by their nana every day.
A lot of winter mornings, I want to flag down their nana, and ask her if my kids can take a fun ride in her trunk…

Four more days.
This coming fall brings with it TWO different buses, one for each girl.

Do you think the third year will be the charm?

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Is That All?

“I’d like an iced venti decaf white mocha, no whip,”
“Will that be all?”
“No, I’d also like an iced venti white mocha frappuccino and–”
“Will that be all?”
“Two grande decaf caramel frappuccinos and a pup cup.”
“Okay, I’ve got two iced venti white mochas, one decaf, one regular and two grande caramel frappuccinos, no whip. Will there be anything else?”
My husbands lips disappear, his jaw clenches, and the vein on his forehead reaches out in attempt to choke the woman through the speaker.
I holler, “Whatever you do, do not mark the cups!”
Moo says, “Oh great. Now we’re not getting coffee.”
“Drive around, I’ll go in.”

Once inside, I inform the barista that I will be ordering four drinks, and that I would also like a pup cup. He nods, puts a tiny cup on the counter, and looks at me in anticipation.
I say I’d like an iced venti decaf white mocha. He grabs a plastic cup, makes an X, then writes WM on the bottom. He asks if I want the whip.
“I do not, thank you for asking.”
He indicates this on the cup and I continue with my order.
All the cups are marked properly, all the drinks are made properly, Sadie gets her pup cup. We drive away. Life is good.

i guess angel is okay with caffeine. lucky bitch.

i guess angel is okay with caffeine. lucky bitch.

“I’d like the salmon with rice and asparagus, please.”
“I’ll have the black and blue burger, with fries.”
“Chicken tenders with honey mustard and broccoli.”
“Ribs, mashed potatoes, and carrots for me.”
“Will that be all?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Our server doesn’t write down a single thing. This only goes one of two ways; either we have an expert or an idiot and you just never can tell — until your food arrives.
Of course, it’s not our server who brings our food, because this is one of those places where all servers run all plates.
Hey, Restaurants? Your servers and your patrons hate this policy. Servers would rather be responsible for their own tables and patrons prefer accuracy over speed.

“Can I have honey mustard?”
“Sure thing!”
“Wait, I’m supposed to have rice, not a potato.”
“Oh!”

Half of our table eats.
The not-our-server server brings honey mustard.
Everyone else eats. I drink and tell everyone how tasty their food looks.
Our server finally arrives with a new plate, with rice instead of potato, and says to me, “Sorry about that, but almost everyone orders a potato with the salmon.”
I smile faintly.
Oh, I see, I am to blame. I should have ordered a potato. I guess almost everyone is happy when their salmon comes. Those who are not happy are less happy when they hafta wait for new salmon with the correct side. The kitchen staff is furious that Salmon with Potato is not a fixed order.
Or could it be because our server didn’t write it down?

Steamed-Salmon-with-Prosciutto-www.bellalimento.com-062-420x630

The thing I dislike most about children is that one must repeat everything. I’ve often thought mothers and teachers could do with mind-reading tape recorders.

“Turn to page 22.”
“Page 22.”
“22.”

“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”

“Hang up your towel.”
“Hang up your towel.”
“Hang up your towel.”

“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Fuck it, hit her back.”


is that all?

is that all?


When I give chores to the school-aged children, I give them in a series. Do one chore, come back and I’ll tell you the next. They like to ask, “Is that all?” every time I tell them to do something. After a while, I like to widen my eyes and say, “No, that’s not all. It will never be all. You will never be done, ever.”

Cause they do me like this:

“Go into the big bathroom. Take the rug up by folding it in half. Take it outside and shake it. Empty the trash can. Sweep the bathroom floor, under, around, alongside, behind the door. Put the rug and the trash can back.”

“Okay, next?”
“Did you shake the rug?”
“Yes.”
“Did you put the rug back?”
“Yes.”
“Did you put the trash can back?”
“No. You didn’t tell me to empty it.”
“I did. Because when adults sweep floors, we pick up all the stuff off the floor and since we picked up the trash can, we might as well empty it, because why would you leave trash in a can while you’re cleaning? I mean, why even shake the rug?”

Now, I wish I could say that this was the first time that my child ever swept the bathroom floor, but all of my kids started this chore around the age of six, so really, you would think this would be simple by now, but it’s very, very hard. It’s harder than algebra, harder than remembering to put on deodorant, and like, way, way harder than making flatbread from scratch.

386_20120415_164313_Chrysanthemum
That will be all.
Does anyone listen to you? I bet that’s nice.

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Hoodie Weather in May? Yay!

We had a predicted high of 67F/20C yesterday, although I don’t know how warm it actually got. In the afternoon, I opened all the windows and ran errands. Sometime before six o’clock my family members picked up quilts and gingerly asked if they could close some of those windows.
“ARE YOU COLD?!” I asked, with a mixture of defense and perplexity.
They all nodded.
“Yes, alright, fine.”

Y’all know what they were thinkin, don’tcha?
Is it cold enough for ya, Ice Queen?!?

After dinner, I closed one of our bedroom windows, but I left the other cracked, because you know, I hate to sleep hot.

LOL run, LOL

random lol

I’m pretty sure Indy has had snow in May at least once. I vaguely remember somethin about snow closing the track. I should call my parents to confirm, but maybe I’ll just ask The Mister to call his parents instead. We’ll never know, now will we?

Moo and I went out to cut peonies last night before the sun went down.
I am the idiot who left the dog out back.
Sadie barked from the front porch.
“Is that our dog?”
“Oh my God, yes, that’s our dog. Please let the dog in.”
“Aww, she’s so cold!”
“She’s fine. She’s a dog.”

the peonies began to open yesterday

look! peonies!

When we went to bed, The Mister had already closed that one cracked window. Good thing he did, because there was no chance of sleepin hot.
I slid into bed with the scary cold sheets and asked, “You want I add another quilt?”
“YES!”
Now, it did occur to me that I could turn the heat on. No, I don’t know how cold it was, but it’s May, how cold could it have been?

I slept like a rock.

This morning Moo huddled up on my side of the bed. I wrapped my arm around her, got the shock of her cold nose and noticed her teeth were chattering. I asked, “Would you like to turn the heat on?”
She nodded.

As we left for the bus and the furnace chugged on, it was 47 outside and 57 inside. Isn’t that nice? Aren’t you happy that I’m not livin in Georgia, bitchin about the heat? Surely you wanna know what the temp is where I usta live.

It’s 89, feels like 92F/33C, with sunshine, 50% humidity, and a 9 on the UV index.
Mercy! 
(This means Moo’s the only one who could go out to get the mail without sunscreen, because the rest of us are as white as cold, Indiana sheets!)

that cone was yellow, but it didn't wear sunscreen

that cone was yellow, but it didn’t wear sunscreen

We won’t get out of the 50’s here today. That makes me feel warm inside. This hoodie is nice, too.

You wanna talk about the weather? Sunscreen? Escapist pets? Peonies? Go ahead.

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They’re YOUR Parents!

I’ve been close with my in-laws since I was 13.
I’ve called them Mom and Dad since maybe 14 or 15.
They’re those kinds of people. Many people think of them as second parents or at the least, as people you can always turn to for support.
I love them.
They love me.
MIL likes me more than FIL and that’s okay, because I like her better, too. Some people just get on better with one another. When I do connect to FIL it feels wonderful, so there is that.

But they’re not my parents.
They’re The Mister’s parents.

My parents don’t do obligation.
I don’t do obligation.
MIL is big into obligation.
I don’t do obligation.
The Mister doesn’t do obligation.

Generally, we don’t feel obligated. But sometimes, when the stars are all out of order and nothing makes sense, MIL can tell we’re disconnected and this bothers her, she worries, and she begins the inquiry. Her soul can only be soothed by the knowledge of what is keeping us distant.
10% of the time, it’s just us. We are busy. We are caught up in our own lives.
90% of the time, that woman has sniffed out an actual issue and someone is sick, stressed-out, something has gone wrong.
As an empath, I can never fault her for saying she knew something was wrong, and as a mother, I can’t fault her for asking, “Why didn’t you tell us?”
We didn’t want to worry her?
We didn’t think she’d understand?
What’re we, twelve?

haha

All this goes straight out the window when it comes to The Mister’s work. Particularly when he was military and deployed.
I know very little about my husband’s jobs.
We have never talked a lot about work.
Do you think The Mister could tell you what I’ve been planting, or how my novel’s comin along, or what paint color I’ve chosen for the powder room?
I know it sounds strange, but we just have a lot of other, more interesting things to talk about.

birds-and-bees

As a brand new Army wife on post, I learned quickly that people expected you to know what your husband did, his rank, his company, platoon, hell, even now I can’t remember all that crap.
I had no idea.
Me? “Um, mechanical stuff. On like, big stuff with whooshy things, not wheels, like tanks, but not just tanks, people carriers and stuff.”
(If you are knowledgeable in this area, then you know exactly how my ignorance was received.)
Eventually, I was able to say, “E company BSB FSC 3/69 AR” without missin a beat. Seriously, I have no idea.
When I finally got the track mechanic bit down, he told me he was actually working in personnel. Who knew?
It didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter when he worked claims or ran an auto center, and it doesn’t matter now that he’s in finance.

large

But to my MIL, these things matter. Especially when he deployed.
As deployments dragged on, I began to dread the calls from her, because she would ask me stuff that I couldn’t possibly answer, and sometimes, things he wasn’t even at liberty to tell me, not that I thought to ask.

See, I’d say stupid things like, “He’s good. He’s been runnin a lot lately.” And she’d ask me with whom and I’d be all, “Uhhh…I dunno.”
“He didn’t say?”
“I don’t know. It seemed irrelevant.”
“Where does he run? On the base there?”
“I’m guessin so. I dunno.”

But this would go on and on.

“He got his own room and it has its own bath, so he’s pretty happy.”
“How big is it?”
“I don’t know. Small.”
“Does it have a shower, or a sink, or just a stool?”
“I don’t know.”
“Does he have a bed or a cot?”
“I dunno. He did tell me he bought some new sheets.”
“What kind? What color are they?”
“I don’t know.”

I was the most disappointing daughter-in-law that ever there was.
The Mister would email his father about stuff another soldier would understand, but that wasn’t stuff you could tell my MIL any more than it was stuff I wanted to know.

She was upset that she couldn’t find his base on her world map. Of course, I found this positively hysterical. She asked me for longitude and latitude and I was all, “Where the Tigris meets the Euphrates, so I guess The Garden of Eden.”

Awful, awful time.
I begged The Mister to call his parents. He should cover the never ending interrogation, I said. They’re HIS parents, I said.
Which is why, the other day, I alluded to this post’s origin.

Cause this kinda still happens now.
Have I heard from Bubba or Sissy? Guess what? Bubba and Sissy do not reside in a war zone and they have cell phones! She can call them! Isn’t that amazing?!? But I hafta tell her that every single time, because, “Yes, they’re okay” is not enough information. And a lot of what they tell me is too much information for MIL, ya know?

none-of-my-business-tho

A few weeks ago, I asked, “When’s the last time you talked to your parents?”

“You need to call them.”
“You call them.”
“They’re your parents. I call my parents. Hell, I call your parents more than you do. They want to talk to YOU.”

For days and days, I said, “Call your parents.” I said, “You should get off the phone with me and call your parents.”
For days and days, he did not.

enhanced-buzz-14167-1383603838-24

Y’all know what happened, don’t you?

MIL called.
“How is he?”
“Has he finished with his schooling?”
“How are his grades?”
“When are his finals?”
“When does his work class start?”
“Will he get special hours for that?”
“Is that at his work?”

Guess how many answers I had?
ZERO

“Now our friend X from church, her son works there, and he works crazy hours and I don’t know if he’s taking this class…”
“Mmhm.”
“Well tell him we’ve been thinkin about him and prayin for him.”
“Okay.”
“Have you heard from Bubba or Sissy lately?”
“Not lately, Mom, but you can always call them and let them know you miss them.”

Now imagine my MIL texting the big’uns on her fucking flip phone.
4-4-3-3-5-5-5-5-5-6-6-6-

WOMAN-hair-raising-freakout-660x405

So The Mister arrived home, probably well past dark, and I said, “You know how I kept telling you to call your mother? Well guess what? She called.”
Then he laughed and laughed, hearty, nearly maniacal laughter that had his whole body shaking.
Bastard.

Are you the go-between, or does someone else do your dirty work?

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Pressed to Find Gratitude

Years ago, I read several books by Thich Nhat Hanh because the first one was so helpful that I couldn’t resist reading more of them. Soon after, my life was taken over by baby books and then babies. I think I threw Hanh’s books out with the bathwater, so to speak.

Since Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, his books often focus on meditation, gratitude, kindness, mindfulness, acceptance — you know, important stuff that’s super important to the life of neurotics.
The thing that really struck me, and then stuck with me, was this little anecdote about doing dishes. No one wants to do dishes. Everyone wants the dishes done, so they can do whatever comes after the dishes. So we view the dishes as a chore, and we put off doing them, but as they linger there, waiting for us, we cannot properly relax. We give the dishes the power to rob of us our enjoyment, and this causes the dirty dishes to seem malevolent, and this builds our resentment in doing them. We act like washing the dishes will take away the entire evening, when it takes mere minutes.

The key is to do the dishes with joy.
(I’m supposed to do everything with joy, but I haven’t figured this out entirely. How can I learn to have a root canal with joy, or run from yellow jackets with joy, or find joy in tragic events? Gah, I dunno, I’m a work in progress!)

So when I do my dishes, I think about all the things that Thich Nhat Hanh taught me to. The craziest being more dirty dishes are better. Each dirty dish represents bounty. Not just food, taste, and nutrition, but also as an indicator of how many shared that meal with me.
Doing dishes is a prayer of gratitude.
While I do dishes, I am grateful for food, my husband, the job my husband works, our children, our health, our home, hot, running water, a deep sink, my sprayer, my garbage disposal, my Fiestaware, the use of my hands, my sink not being in Georgia, lemon Joy dish soap…

joy

I still do not love to do dishes, but it’s better this way. Doing dishes is the suck if you think about why Sassy uses 3-4 glasses a day, or why Moo left that milk in her room all weekend, or why The Mister screws the travel mug lids on so tight — the answer to that is, “Because they hate you, Joey.”

Yeah, so…

I ironed today.
Ironically, I usta find joy in ironing. I think I enjoyed taking a sloppy mess and making it sharp and crisp. Then suddenly, I had so much ironing to do, that it no longer felt joyous.
Sincerely, there’s a difference between the pleasure of a stiff white shirt for yourself as opposed to a freshly pressed dress that your child will soon cover with watermelon and sweet corn. Don’t even get me started on uniforms or patches. Ugh.

But something happened to me today while I ironed.
An unexpected smile came upon me.
I started thinkin bout The Mister, and how handsome he is in that blue shirt, and how nice it is that he has a job where he wears the nice shirts, and how he does not work split shifts at the goddamned box factory, thank you very much 2002. Instant happiness in gratitude.

My life is rich with beautiful simplicity.

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Casey 1, Mockingbird 0

The other day, I wrote about Casey, my FIL’s cat who lived with us.

As I mentioned, she was often out of doors. One day, we were all on the front porch, (must have been during a Georgia “winter!”) and we watched as Casey sprawled in the garden like a gray tabby sphinx, while a mockingbird flew over her. The mockingbird taunted the cat, which I didn’t think was wise for prey. I know I’d never tease a lion.

The mockingbird swooped over Casey’s head repeatedly, coming ever so close to her head. This taunted and provoked Casey. She flipped her tail and dug her front paws in, ready to pounce. The mockingbird relentlessly whooshed over Casey’s head, making torturous noises at her. I don’t speak bird, but I think it was a lot like, “Nah-nah-nah-ne-nah-nah, you can’t get me!”

Eventually, clawless Casey took that bird from the air and I swear she smiled, as she stood over it and cried. I don’t speak cat, but I do believe she asked, “Fresh mockingbird, anyone?”

I don’t know if they had some sorta unfinished business we weren’t aware of, but from where I sat, it was pretty obvious the mockingbird had it comin.

If you want to read about birds that win, you should check out John Callaghan’s post here.

I rather like this art:

bird

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You’re Safe with a Man in the House

Like a lot of kids, if I woke up scared, I’d head to my parents’ bedroom. Like a lot of parents, they grew annoyed, and began to forbid it. I have memories of them carefully lifting their feet over me, as I lie across the threshold in the morning. Still I felt safe there, closer to them than I did in my own room, which was literally, across the hall.

After my parents divorced, if I woke up scared, I sometimes crept in to sleep with my father. There was plenty of space for me.

My mother remarried, and so, if I woke up scared, and the door wasn’t locked, I could sneak in and lie at the end of bed.

Even as an older kid, I can remember waking up scared and going to their closed door, listening to make sure my dad was snoring.

Because I knew, even then, if there was a man in the house, I was safe.

The years passed by. College took me to the fourth floor, with a nice heavy door and a deadbolt. If I screamed everyone could hear me, except maybe the thrash metal guy below me.
Still, even as a college kid, when my parents began snowbirding, I had trouble sleeping alone in our house. I’d turn on ESPN, and put a body pillow in the recliner with a blanket. This gave the illusion of a man in the house, and I swear, I fell asleep easier.

My first place was a large townhouse, and for the short time I didn’t have roommates, I’d call my not-then MIL when I arrived home late, and she’d stay on the phone with me while I searched the house for Boogey Men.
Eventually, I got a one-bedroom apartment, and it was so small, I slept just fine there. Initially, I worried about my walk-up deck and sliding doors. I had long been told if someone wants in your house, they’ll find a way. Still, I felt like the bar and the glass would at least give me time to jump out the window.

Since The Mister and I got married I’ve always had trouble sleeping while he’s away. Honest to God, I never liked sharing a bed. I need space, air, to breathe. But I got used to him, so the first business trip he took almost killed me. Yes, I missed him, but mostly I thought, omg come home so i can sleep!

We bought our first house, and gave the towhead twins their own room. Sissy couldn’t sleep for about two weeks, because she’d never slept in a room without her brother.
I’d open our bedroom door in the morning, and there she’d be, sleeping at the threshold. She wouldn’t go upstairs or downstairs without me.
As for the boy, well, he suddenly needed a nightlight. Or two. One in his room and one in the hallway and “Leave the bathroom light on!”
Bubba would play alone in his room, but Sissy wouldn’t. Some other kid had to be with her or she wouldn’t go upstairs.

When The Mister reenlisted, he went away in November and came back in June, and I tell you, I’ve never had more insomnia than I did that winter. The winter I tried Ambien. The way the household was set up about drove me crazy. Things that didn’t matter before suddenly did, because there was no man at the house.
I wanted to have the babies in bed with me and the kids on the floor. I wanted them all around me, so I could watch over them and know they were safe. But I’d spent a long time training all the girls to sleep alone…
This is when I let worry and fear take over my life. Sleeplessness and The Baby Daze invited anxiety.

Any noise was surely just a cat. (Or a raccoon.)

I did put a pair of his boots on the front porch, I ain’t even ashamed.

lolbrary.com_16123_1386286409

We moved again, and the girls all slept in the same room for a while. As in, Sissy had her own room, but she’d go in and sleep with Sassy instead. It took her a long time to adjust to a new room in a new place.
While we were in Georgia, on a military installation, there were times when men were rare  in our neighborhood. It seemed like nobody had a daddy. It was during this time when Sassy would tell me she didn’t feel safe.
“If they’re all gone, who’s here to protect us?”
Under threat of hurricanes, a tornado nearby, if the power went out, when our neighbors were robbed — anything small children are scared of — she’d wish her daddy was home to keep her safe. She felt better when Bubba was home, she’d say.
I’d tell her we had Homeland Security, MP’s, and well, I could be vicious if needed. Mother Bear and all that.

Before we left Georgia, once we had all the stuff in Moo’s room packed, she slept on Sassy’s floor until we all slept together in the living room.
Moo had trouble sleeping in her room when we first got here, too.
Moo still sleeps in Sassy’s room a lot. If she wakes up scared, she goes there, or to us, in the middle of the night.

In the winter, when it’s dark early, they both ask when Daddy will be home, and will beg to stay up, so they don’t go to bed without him in the house.

Last fall, our nephew Simon went away to college, and his little brother didn’t feel safe anymore. Suddenly darkness was an issue. Since Simon wasn’t upstairs ignoring Ace, he couldn’t go up there. Alone. Drew might be beautiful and demure, but she’s a good shot.
You can guess who’s happiest that his brother is home for the summer.

Almost as happy as I am that my husband won’t be deployed again.

Still, through my back door window, there’s a visible alarm, dog dishes, a baseball bat, what looks like a rifle, a golf club, and Army and Marine Corps photos. If The Mister goes away overnight, you can bet there’ll be a pair of combat boots next to the dog dishes, too.

Do you feel safer with a man in the house? If you’re the man in the house, do you just swell with pride?

(I just know there’s gonna be someone on this thread goin on about how cruel my parents were, or how they always let their four kids sleep with them, or how women can protect just as well as men…They obviously don’t know I’m a bad feminist and a wonderful mother!)

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Being Mean is EXHAUSTING

Hopefully everyone has figured out that my blog battle with Josh was a farce, fake, phony, NOT REAL. I did write faux in the first line
My views were double what they usually are, which amuses me. Given certain unpublished comments, I can tell reading is a struggle for some, and I may have lost followers who cannot read well/misunderstood.
As suspected, Josh is so likable, nearly no one took my side.

In the meantime, yesterday was a Wednesday, which I believe I’ve mentioned are not my best days? I had to drop The Mister off at a training site, run morning errands, pick Sassy up from afters, pick The Mister up from work, then come home to my evening work.
Since driving agitates my anxiety and shopping is no picnic, either, I had planned to do few things between errands and pick up — wash linens, eat lunch, play Mario Kart, and take a nap. I said this to my family, “You know what I’m going to carve out time for today?”
“A nap?”
“Yes! And?”

“Mario Kart! I haven’t played in over a week!”
They laughed and I do not know why.

But instead, I had to have an internet fight.
Internet fights are exhausting, much more than driving or shopping. My last internet fight was with The Mister in 2008. He was returning from Iraq and his parents wanted to come to the airport with me, whereas our idea was that he should come home alone with me, shower, and fulfill his primary duty. He didn’t want to tell them that, he wanted me to tell them.

(ya know, since typing that last sentence, i’ve stared at the wall and eaten twenty-some walnuts and i really think there’s a whole post there…)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to pretend to be upset? To feign feeling indignant? To take things out of context, embellish their importance, and run them into the ground? Just to be mean, petty, and argumentative? It’s exhausting!
(Imagine, that’s the new “journalism.” Heh.)

So no, I didn’t have a nap, and I didn’t play any Mario Kart. I did eat lunch and wash the linens, and once the bed was made, I lay down with Catticus, who likes a made bed as much as I do, only to realize Moo’s arrival was imminent.

Moo was tired yesterday, too, and slept like this on the way to get her daddy, while we waited, and until we arrived at the library, where she staggered out of the van and I passed her off to The Mister for safekeeping.

moo1
She frequently does this with her quilt, and I can only assume, like a bird, she gets overstimulated…
“No quilt? I’ll just use my sweatshirt!”

Yesterday was Sassy’s last student council meeting and The Mister has no Wednesday classes now that the semester is over. Wednedays should resume being happy enough, and for that, I am so grateful.

Last night I was in bed before the sun had gone all the way down. I woke the girls this morning and went back to bed until 9:30. It was awesome. (For best results, you should read awesome in a high pitch near squeal-level.)

I’d thought to berate Josh for fake-provoking me, instead of accepting accountability for my own fake response, but then I remembered how much fun it is to play Mario Kart and thinking meh with a shoulder shrug used almost no energy at all.

Are you good at pretending? What taxes or exhausts you? Do you sleep with your face covered like Moo?

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Drama on a Wednesday

Y’all, Josh is stating obvious things about me even though I told him today wasn’t a good day to stage a faux internet fight.

My caramel macchiato was decaf this morning. I should’ve prepared. I hadn’t taken him seriously. People so rarely do what they say they’re gonna do.
I’m shocked. I can’t believe I’ve been engaging in bloggy witty repartee with Josh all this time, and never even knew he was the kinda person who does what he says he will. Is no one unreliable anymore?

He told me he’d steal my words and I told him that would be plagiarism, and now he’s accusing me of being a neurotic bitch who said something nice about his wife. Okay, I did, but just that ONE time! Are people so sensitive that I can’t say one nice thing about their wives without it turning into a knock-out, drag out fight?

He’s threatened to bring the thunder, and he didn’t even offer any rain for my garden!

Annd, he called me a troll and said I was never a daisy.

Worst of all, some of it is in ALL CAPS, which we all know means he’s pushed the Caps Lock button.

I really don’t know what to do.
He’s not mad at me and keeps typing words of truth and tease.

Right now, he’s laughing and asking me if I think this is over.

I think he’s only doing this to impress Anxious Mom, since she wrote, “Oh please, you two must do a fake blog war. This would make my day. No, my week.”😄😄😄
— with like, really big smiley face emoticons and everything. That’s right, Anxious Mom, I will drag you down with me — you and your big, happy emoticons!

At this point, it seems I need to defend myself before Josh tells the teacher on me.  Should I call him some names? Should I CAP at him? I should probably try to get all my friends to follow him now, but how many people should I drag into this with me?
How do you handle this kind of drama online?
Please advise.

(Right now, I gotta go over to Twitter and randomly @ people with the “You’re not a daisy” comment.)

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Casey Cat

Over the years, I’ve attempted to take in or care for cats when other people couldn’t. I counted the other day, and I’ve tried to take in nine. It doesn’t always work out.
There’s always some self-righteous judgmental person who attacks people like me, “Pets are forever!” Yeah, but no. Sorry, I don’t see it that way at all. I think there’s a huge difference between re-homing an animal or returning it to the shelter because it’s not working out, compared to dropping it off in the countryside or abandoning it because it peed on your bed. Situations vary. Everyone’s different.

Sometimes love means giving up what YOU want for what’s best for another.

This is Casey. I have a pile of pictures of Casey, because we had her from 2007 to 2011.

casey

Casey was one of our accidental cats. She worked out.
We took her in when she was almost a year old. A friend of mine got a sudden onset of allergies with her new pregnancy, and couldn’t keep her, so I said we’d take her.
She is an intrepid kitty.
Here she is, having climbed the pergola, meowing her head off because she can’t figure out how to get down. The Mister had to rescue her.

casey5

Casey is one of those cats who just loves to be outside. She was an indoor-outdoor cat. (People judge that too.) Casey once took a two-day vacation and we were NOT happy about it.
It drove her crazy when the kids went outside and she couldn’t be with them. She roamed frequently, and always came home. She absolutely guarded the children and the house like a dog would. She also played fetch.

casey4
She’s a good hunter. I assume she liked to supplement her meals with fresh game.

If she wasn’t in, I called for her before I went to bed at night, but usually I’d find her as soon as I opened the door. This is Casey telling us she wanted to come back in.

casey1
Quirky things about Casey:
Tattling: This is a cat who will alert you to any number of things, like how another cat is trapped in the linen closet, or how there’s a package at the door, or how water is running in the kids’ bathroom. Seriously.
Bringing down dirty laundry: This is a cat who will drag pieces of clothing into the living room and meow to you about it. If you wait long enough, she’ll bring all the stray socks. With only her six-pound frame and her front teeth, she can even bring a pair of men’s jeans downstairs, and who doesn’t like to see a cat pull a bra out of the hamper and drag it into the living room during a party?
Rubbing herself all over purses, backpacks, and baby bags. She’s especially fond of True’s things, perhaps because lotsa kid and animal smells.

We didn’t decide so much not to keep Casey in 2011 so much as we decided to gift her.  (More judgement.) FIL had such an affinity with Casey. She looked like this cat his father had had, and because of that, he kept calling her Tiger. Whenever he interacted with her, there was something about his face that reminded me of Bubba’s happy five-year-old face, and with each visit, this happiness only grew.

Cats choose their people, you know.
My mother taught me that. You don’t take the cat you want, you take the cat who chooses you. Even still, when you bring them home, they may choose someone else. They claim their humans.

My in-laws had cats before, but since the second one passed, they hadn’t had a cat in over a decade. FIL commented now and again how much he missed having a cat, but MIL was not in favor of another one.
I told him he should take her home. I told them to talk about it and decide. She was spayed, she wasn’t prone to hairballs, never made a mess, she wasn’t a picky eater, and she had her front claws out. (More judgment.)

They took her back to Indiana with them the following day.

Casey is very happy in her ‘new’ ‘fourth’ home. — From kitten in a box, to my friend’s house, to our house, to The Palace of Rules — She’s completely spoiled. She’s got FIL wrapped around her dew claw, demanding her food on schedule, and alerting him to his neglect, how cats do.
“Excuse me. I see you’re reading a book, but I am going to walk on your book and rub my face on you now. Look at meee, I’m so pretty and fluffy! Don’t you want to brush me?”
She was never much of a lap cat at our house, but she loves to be in FIL’s lap.
She is beloved.
She now sports a rhinestone collar with a bejeweled tag.
When they take trips, they always have someone go over to check on and feed Casey. Sometimes us — We enjoy visiting her, for any reason.
She enjoys clicking at the birds from the sunroom and chasing the paths of critters from window to window.

She still tries to escape outdoors. When we arrive, “Watch for Casey!” is yelled out before a hello. It’s almost always our girls who catch her and bring her back in, because it’s almost always our girls who let her out.
She still tattles. MIL told me just last week, Casey told her the phone was ringing. MIL had the ironing out, and her music on. I was calling her cell phone, and Casey cried and cried. She’d look at MIL and look at the plant shelf, back and forth with the crying. Finally, Casey attempted to point to the phone. Tattle tale kitty!

Casey was absolutely the most interesting cat we ever took in.
We were delighted to have her, but we’re also delighted for placing her elsewhere.

Do you want to express your outrage or are you smiling inside?

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For the Love of Caps, Fleurs, Pets, and Toes

I think Mother’s Day is as overrated as any other holiday. I may write about it sometime, only, probably not. I’m generally on my throne, waving my scepter around, demanding things, so it’s no big deal to me. Just lemme sleep in!

BUT! Yesterday was a glorious Sunday!

Any day I wake to The Mister is a good one, but when I wake up to coffee and he wears a cap? Omalord.

y'all don't even know

y’all don’t even know

Sassy was sick half the day. Kinda put a damper on the start.

We had lunch with the whole clan. Bittersweet. Wonderful, but too brief.

It was in the high 80’s yesterday and that’s way too warm for me, but I’ve learned not to complain, because I DON’T LIVE IN GEORGIA ANYMORE!
I know that most people are sick of my goin on about how much I love being home, but I still thank God I’m home at least twice a day. This time of year, I might say it ten times a day and think it a hundred.
It’s part of my recovery from the trauma.
People think I’m bein dramatic and ask, “But did you die?!?” Psh, no, but oh, how I suffered.

I walk around smiling madly. It’s so green and lush here. The smells, oh the smells! On top of all the plants, the scent of rain, damp shade, and dark loam linger here.

catticus maximus

catticus maximus

We sat on the porch for quite some time, takin it in. Sassy’s feet dangled over the side of her chair as she snuggled Cletus the Dog Kitten, Moo did yoga poses while riding her bike, Sadie stood guard, Catticus rolled around on the concrete. The Mister and I took in all the happiness with a shared smile.

i wished my mother's red toes were there, too

i wished my mother’s red toes were here, too

I did some dishes, washed some dog, and fetched some vittles at the market. All of these things were chores, but pleasant, and routine.

The Mister did bring me a bouquet yesterday, and would you believe it included those cheerful green pompom flowers I just mentioned last week? I was told they’re green ball Dianthus. Quite nice. I call them fleurs, he calls them weeds, and that makes his gesture even sweeter.

fleurs

fleurs

I’m glad to say the temps are lower this week. I’ll be avoiding the back hallway trim, neglecting housework, playin hell with my nails, just piddlin my heart out in the yard.

Didja have a nice Sunday? Whatcha doin this week?

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Piddlin’

Last time I wrote that I like to piddle in my garden, I got some giggles, because piddle means pee. Well sure. It means pissin away time, too. If you’re Southern, or I reckon if your mama is, then piddlin is killin time, specifically lookin like you’re workin, when you’re not.
The Fine Art of Piddling is an article by Rick Bragg, one of my favorite authors, who often writes for Southern Living. The article is NOT about urination.
I love the last page of Southern Living like you would not believe. I save them up and mail them to my friend Root Beer, to further extend my joy. Did y’all read the one about old cookware? Omaword, that was some good shit.

Anyway, my mother subscribes me to Southern Living, I assume to secretly bend me to her will, how mothers do, that gentle whisper in your ear, which eventually becomes your own voice. The subtle way your mother makes sure you know you have to cook for people in distress, or never return an empty dish.
“Yes, Joey! You do have to take her a pie, even though she tried to punch you in the face a few months ago. She’s been in a terrible car accident, poor thing! What’s the matter with you?!?”

I love quite a bit of Southern Living, but you can guess that the garden section is not even remotely helpful. Time to cut back my ornamental grasses? Bitch, please, there’s two feet of snow on the ground!

Anyway Again, I’ve been piddlin round my yard a lot lately.
Trees are adamant about growing even though you don’t want them there.
I divided hostas like whoa. Y’all wouldn’t believe the hostaville I live in.

Divided some day lilies, too. I forget where I put those, but they’re somewhere…oh, by the mailbox! Did you know that people used to plant day lilies at the end of the drive like an address marker? Yep. When you’re drivin through rural areas, note how many you see on the side of the road, beyond the easement.

I planted a red Asiatic lily, which I must say, tickles me hot pink.
Added some coral bells, called Plum Crazy, cause obviously my kinda variety.
Put geraniums in my pots.
Then I planted some annuals in the ground, my first time at this house. Planted some blue lobelia, pinks and reds and whites of the nicotiana, and white waxy begonias. Somethin dug up a few begonias, but I put em back. Apparently literal piddling could help, but I’m just gonna throw some dog poo and cat hair at em. (The flowers, not the critters.)

Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, marigolds…

Damned cracks in the pavement, dandelion havens…Eco-friendly bullshit weed killer…

big ol' bee, helpin

big ol’ bee, helpin

sadie, not helpin

sadie, not helpin

Yes, I know I have ground ivy all over my yard. Yes, I know it’s invasive. I like it. I do not care if it takes over. I prefer invasive stuff, really. As long as it stays on our side of the driveway, we’re good. I think I’ve mentioned to a few of you that eventually, I should like to not have a lawn at all. Just paths. That’s the long-term plan. Keep adding and dividing perennials and planting herbs and food until there’s really not a lawn. It’s good for the environment and well, we won’t be “young” forever, you know. Wanna not mow, or mow with an old push mower. Travel lots. Live like sex-crazed childless vagabonds…

Cut some lilac today, as is traditional. In about a week, my neighbor’s bigger, older lilac will bloom and it will perfume the entire block. Mmm!

can you smell it?

can you smell it?

When I sit on my porch, it smells heavenly. Lilac, rosemary, wild onion, Lily of the Valley — oh my nose does love spring!

sadie likes the deep grass, but i prefer an adirondack chair, myself

sadie likes the deep grass, but i prefer an adirondack chair, myself

Googled the hell out of my mystery plant(s). Dunno wtf it is. My mother doesn’t know wtf it is. I now call it Wtfisit. I’ve been on Google images, Dave’s Garden, and GardenWeb (Which is now part of Houzz?) and if I have to read one more time about how it looks like Virginia Creeper or Poison Ivy, I will go batshit crazy. It is not a vine. It has three leaflets, which make it look like it has five leaves, but it is not a fucking vine. It’s a 12×24″ clump, growing in shade and it’s slightly familiar, but it wasn’t there last year.
Here, you look now:

pile of it

pile of it

stem area

stem area

Do you know what Wtfisit is? Grows like Caladium or Dianthus, or plastic aquarium plants, but it’s not.

But look at the Centaurea!
Ooh! Ahh!

if my bff was a flower, i think she'd be this one

zomg, you’re soooo pretty!

Whatcha been piddlin with?
Are ya gonna piddle this weekend?

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Thunder!

I got The Encouraging Thunder award from both Vanessa of Petal & Mortar and Anxious Mom from Blogging for Therapy, so I’m super pleased to be considered by both of them!

1encouraging-thunder-e1427793461525

The Rules:

  • Post it on your blog.
  • Grant other bloggers the award.

What you cannot do:

  • Abuse or misuse the logo.
  • Claim that it is your own handmade logo.

What you should do after receiving the Encouraging Thunder Award:

  • Enjoy the award!
  • At least give thanks via comments, likes and/or mentioning the blog that you received the award from.
  • Mention your purpose in blogging.

Ah, my purpose in blogging is my own self-amusement. As we’ve all been told, bloggers are narcissists. Or was that Twitter users? Maybe it’s just people who take selfies….

First, this blog is like conservative employer repellent. Also, I get a public soapbox platform. It also acts as a sort of diary. Annnd, it’s no small thing that my own particular circle includes lotsa people like me, so it’s kinda like having an online support group. I do aim to illuminate that life with anxiety can improve with time and effort, and I know my frequent funny stories do just that for people who suffer similarly. I like to think I’m shaking labels and jump-starting brains, but that’s probably a delusion of grandeur.

In addition to several bloggers I’ve already mentioned this week, along with the two women who gave me this nomination, here are some other brave women bloggers that write about the human condition in terms of how to navigate through “But you don’t look sick,” finding focus, glory through gratitude, baring souls, and thinking out loud.

Deelicious Lady

meAnxietyme

It Goes On

Momof3isnuts

Someone said that blog awards bring traffic, but this is not true for me at all. I’m on day five of blog awards and my traffic is in decline. Still, I loved accepting each and every award, and sharing some of my favorite blogs with y’all.

Next post though? No blog awards. Just some prattling. Or a rant. Maybe some garden photos. Maybe a funny meme. Maybe I’ll say fuck a lot. I dunno.

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Black Wolf

One of the blogs I follow, Our Rumbling Ocean, is that of an amazing photographer and his family. They refer to their blog as “Our Blog.” Perhaps it is the frequent sweetness and light that keeps me reading, but surely anyone would love their photos. The photos are often breathtaking, particularly for this under-traveled American, who oohs and ahhs over the flora and fauna on a faraway continent. It’s a nature geek fix. Did I mention their blog often features an adorable tiny person who toddles about smiling and making dimples? Really, it’s a charming blog.

I am flattered that they have awarded me The Black Wolf Blogger award. This award was maybe more exciting than others, since I’d not seen hide nor hair of it until it appeared there. (more oohing and ahhing)

black-wolf-blogger-award1

Rules for this Award: Thank the person who nominated you for the award. Add the logo to your post. Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs.

I’m picking a rather eclectic set of blogs which are some of my favorites to read. Some are already wildly popular and some are seemingly under-read but I like them all.

Poui Season

Aussa Lorens, Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy.

Cursitivity

Samara Speaks, A Buick in the Land of Lexus

Silver in the Barn

Behind the White Coat

Once Upon Your Prime

The Zombies Ate My Brains

Life in the Boomer Lane

Little Debbie

In the words of those who nominated me, and others before them — It is said the positive attributes of the wolf include sharp intelligence, deep connection with instincts, and an appetite for freedom. The wolf works hard, and usually works within a group, feeling connected to others. The wolf is also a social animal, and deeply connected to the earth. The black wolf in particular is also rare and beautiful.

Have a lovely Wednesday. I always spend my Wednesdays running around, pining for The Mister, wishing it was Thursday and time for Scandal and wine, but I always manage to pull through.

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Zilla Girl

Okay, now this is one is fantastic:

I am one of the premiere recipients of the First Annual Nagzilla’s Star of Excellence Awards.
What is that, you ask?

This.

nagzilla

Just that.
I put the zilla on my page and go about my business.
It’s kinda like getting a gold star on your spelling test and a cyber hug all at once.

Thank you, Nagzilla, I love it so much!

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Part of my April showers experience was being nominated for a pile of awards. Of course, April having been the A-Z Challenge, I’m only catching up now.

Mark Bialczak nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, which is ironic, but we will get to that in a moment.

 

image204
Here are the rules for the Very Inspiring Bloggers Award:

State three things that have inspired you this week.
Nominate bloggers that inspire you.
Inform your nominees.
Three things that inspired me this week:

1) It seems Indianapolis businesses are unofficially sponsoring pansies, or pansies are trending, or on sale, or somethin, cause everywhere I look, I see patches and planters full of pansies. Not just one or two shades though, all of them, en masse: purple, orange, yellow, and white. Pansies are always a common choice, but so much so this year, I barely see any petunias, marigolds, or begonias. After maybe the twentieth booming pansy display, the peer pressure had gotten to me, and I conceded, “Alright, alright! Next year, when it’s time to add annuals, I’ll do pansies in all the colors!”

2) Someone wrote a poem about making love beneath an apple tree which inspired me to think about making love under our apple trees, and to only think about it briefly, because aggressive yellow jackets all day and nocturnally roaming half-naked neighbor all night, but I cannot deny the poem was inspirational, because the smell of the apple blossoms is nothing short of luscious, and the apple trees are throwing down a blanket of silky petals…

3) Someone said mowing the yard gave her a zen feeling, so I put down my 32oz Coca-Cola and frantically word-vomited, telling her maybe I should learn how to mow a yard, and I love zen, and good exercise, and the magic of Flonase. I blathered on about how big our yard is, and how seldom the weather matches The Mister’s schedule, and how hard could it be? The Mister said he will teach all of us. I may one day use a lawnmower, y’all! (It could be a chainsaw next!)

All of the blogs I read inspire me, in one way or another. I can tell I get inspired when I start typing a comment and it turns into an essay. When I get through all these awards, I’ll start writing the posts that other bloggers have inspired. If you are a blogger I read, and you want to accept this award nomination and run with it, please do. If I nominate you and you don’t accept, I totally don’t care and I completely understand.
Special thanks to the Very Inspiring Ramblings From Jewels, LindaGHill, No Facilities, My Friday Blog, and I told you, ironically, Mark Bialczak.

I’m off to work in the garden, planting some chives and sprouts, near the apple trees…

i'm sorry you can't smell our apple trees from there

i’m sorry you can’t smell our apple trees from there

What can I say? Spring fever is full on!

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