One-Liner Wednesday — Don’t Argue with Papa

The little boy said he wanted to play soccer. His father told him that soccer was unAmerican, and he should want to play a real sport, like football.
My dad looked up from his paper to say, “Soccer is the most widely-played sport in America,” and then resumed reading his paper.

sassy the giantesse at her first soccer game. she was 7

2010 sassy is front and center 

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Lunchmeat Lady, Who Do You Think You Are?

As many of you know, I don’t eat much meat, and I’m persnickety about it when I do eat it. However, I cook for two rapacious carnivores, so trips to the deli counter are made at least twice a month.
Typically, it’s a pound of whatever turkey is whitest and driest, because even the carnivores turn their noses up at slimy pink turkey. But sometimes I get ham, pastrami, roast beef — always shaved.
I’ve been placing these orders at deli counters at various stores in various locations for, oh, let’s say, 16 years.

I hate going to the deli counter. I already miss the commissary, where often they allow you to scribble down your order and come back for it when you’re done shopping. Without that option, it’s a lot of standing around, wondering why it takes so fucking long. Many times I have been convinced they had to go kill a bird behind the store. I do not pretend to know the intricate details involved in working at a deli counter, but I do acknowledge and express gratitude when I get someone competent.
In my years of trips to deli counters, I have encountered more than my share of idiots and noobs.

But this last time was extra special.

The Mister and I walked up to the deli counter of our local grocer. I told the lady I would like one pound of oven roasted turkey, shaved. She nodded and reached for the big ball of meat.
The Mister and I embraced and kissed and whispered sweet nothings, and the lady STOPPED slicing the meat to interrupt us, “Do you want it sliced real thin or do you want it fallin apart?”
“Fallin apart.”
“That’s shredded.”

We stared at her blankly.

“That’s shredded, not shaved.”

She seemed to be seeking a response from us. We didn’t give her one. So she lectured us about how to properly order luncheon meat. She said, “Blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah, Blah! Blah blah blah, that’s shredded. You want shredded.”
(Or somethin like that.)

I said, “Okay, we’d like it shredded.” I smiled a wry smile.

The Mister and I had a brief conversation about the wtfness of it all. Then the lady gave me a bag of shaved oven roasted turkey, adding, “You want shredded. Next time, ask for shredded.” We resumed our blank stares.

wtfimean

You hafta be like me to understand, but this woman is very unhappy. I mean, she’s the type of miserable that has an aura of funk followin her around like Pig Pen’s dirt.

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This might be a speech she regularly gives customers, I don’t know. But I know this: She didn’t confirm with me until she’d already begun and we were kissing.

JOY ROBBER! My brain points a finger at this lady and j’accuse her like Tituba.

She wants to be petty? Oh, I can do petty!

Now, if I see that lady at the deli counter again, I’m still going to ask for shaved meat. If she lectures me again, I’m going to pretend we have not had this conversation. Over and over and over. She is my elder, so she can give me her lil speech all she wants. I will merely say, “Oh that’s right, I think you’ve told me that before.”

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Did I already tell you I’m a bitch, or did you figure it out on your own? What kinda petty stupid shit have you dealt with lately? If you don’t have a blog, how do you handle wtfness?

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Stuff I Know

The Mister and I have this crazy idea that the goal of rearing children is to create productive adult citizens who help make the world a better place. As people send their kids off to college for the first time and weep about it for days and days, we find ourselves perplexed. We don’t know what’s going on that people are overwhelmed by this. We make a focused effort to understand and be supportive, but it’s really all we can do to wrestle our tongues with one particular thought, “What did you think was going to happen?!?”
We thought that was the goal?

I mean, if they’re not going to college, then they gotta go somewhere, do somethin — trade school, military, fall in love and make babies, find a nice cardboard box, backpack across Europe, rent a crap apartment with five other kids — somethin! Am I right?
I’m certainly not immune to feelings or sentiment, but every milestone a kid passes should be bittersweet — not traumatic.

I’ve done 13 twice. I think 13 is a big deal. A kid who’s 5 years from adulthood should be self-motivated and largely independent. Bubba was neither. He was very typical on the teenage lack of motivation and nowhere near independent.
“Are you doin that walkathon thingy?”
“Yeah.”
“Do you have some paperwork?”
“I dunno. Maybe. Somewhere.” *watches 4,000 loose papers pour from bookbag* I could tell you he was a preemie with developmental delays, and that he had ADD and his social skills suffered, but really, at 13, I’d say he was lazy and petulant, and that his brain probably had a graphics card three sizes too big for his head. His 11-year-old sister could take better care of him than he could. At 13, Sissy was so competent at ‘life-ing,’ we probably could have abandoned her anywhere, and within a week, she’d have a job and a place to live.

My point here is that all kids are different, and parenting is a per-child adjustment.

Sassy’s nearing 13 and as such, her perimeters are growing with her responsibility. She’s incredibly mature. I don’t know why, maybe she’s an old soul.
In the last year I’ve had to do really awful parent-y stuff, stuff that’s bad for my anxiety — let her go and watch her fail.

I don’t mean that with cruelty, but that’s how it goes. They have to fail like the rest of us. To learn. Life is a lot of trial and error, and if we’re always there, they don’t learn nearly as much. As soon as you give them a shred of autonomy, they fuck up. They’re supposed to. Remember young you? I do. I was a good kid, but I still look back and think I was naive, reckless, even stupid at times. My parents were super duper laissez-faire, so I had plenty of time to be an idiot and learn from my mistakes.
My mistakes.
I made them.
They expected me to make mistakes.

We get heartbroken when our children suffer. We suffer with them, we suffer for them. It’s tragic. But I take such great offense at this popular trend to hover over and intervene in every aspect of a child’s life to prevent anything from happening. It creeps me out, like Santa, like puppeteers, like deus et machina.
If we prevent anything from happening, NOTHING HAPPENS.
We’re not trying to protect our children, we’re trying to protect our children so we can protect ourselves. We think we’ve got it all figured out, we know what’s best, so we’ll make all the best choices, and our children will do what we tell them to, want what we tell them to, like what we like — that is not how it works — not even a little bit. On the off chance that your kid does any of those things, you feel pleased, and rightly so. But you can only take so much credit, and you can only accept so much blame, on either side of the pendulum. Did you score that winning point? No? Well you didn’t fail that entrance exam, either. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

So — with Sassy, it has begun. She knows she’s involved in the experiment that is herself. More freedom, more privilege, more responsibilities, trust, expectation, reflection, consequences — these are all discussed. In the last year:

— I let her go to the fallow field to play with her friends, unsupervised. She lay down in the tall grass and immediately got contact dermatitis that lasted for three days. I had to check her and her two feet of hair for ticks.

— I sent her into the grocery for a gallon of whole organic milk. She came back with whole milk. Enjoy the extra hormonal shifts!

— I sent her into the transportation office to claim her own lost bookbag. I don’t think she’ll leave it on the bus again.

— I made her write her own essay on the application for independent study. She got in.

— I let her stay the night with people I don’t know. They walked to a gas station to get snacks and a Redbox at 10pm and she got scared.

— I let her go to the movies at night! with people I don’t know! They didn’t buy tickets early enough and had to go again the next day.

— I dropped her off at birthday parties in crowded public places with people I don’t know. She had a good time.

— I let her go to a pool party with strangers. She did not put the sunscreen on her face. Her face was red and painful for five days.

— I make her carry her own damn cello, and laptop, and bookbag, onto the bus, all at once.

— I let her roam the neighborhood with a group including BOYS.

— I make her go ask for her own things, like packets of ketchup, library books, shoes in her size. People give them to her.

— I leave her home alone.

— I let her join Goodreads and now she’s friends with strangers.

All of these baby-step things terrify me, because I don’t trust the world and at this point, I’m only hoping I can trust her. For her, I’m frightened of everything. I don’t even like to let her walk home alone. What if Stephen doesn’t get off the bus with her? Anything could happen! She could get hit by a car or be abducted and sold into sex trade! I’ve been known to stand in the street and will her late bus to arrive. Yes, I believe motherhood is strong enough to summon 15-ton vehicles, don’t you?
Denial is my most convenient vacation destination, y’all.

But I let go. It’s a leap of faith, and as each of them grow up, I gotta let go more and more and more…
…until leaving is no big deal, because they’ve been treated like and acting like adults for some time now. This has always been the goal.

I’m not some kinda parenting role-model, but I do enjoy sharing what I’ve learned. I like to think I’ve done 13 better every time, but I look at Moo, and I think, at 13 she’ll be like, 10 inside…and I know my greatest challenge lingers still.

Maybe SHE’ll get lucky.

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#Thursday Doors — Liberty Street

This is the door to my favorite bar in Indy — Liberty Street.

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The door itself is old, but who knows how old? Inside, the knob is extraordinarily low to The Mister, and just right for me.
It’s a mellow place. There’s a huge, timeless, wooden bar. There are architectural photos of various buildings in the city. They play music I like, with stuff from my own music library, and a good mix of music I don’t know, but still like.

photograph from the indianapolis star

photograph from the indianapolis star

It’s a magical place. They make amazing cocktails, and I get a lil mesmerized by the craft. It’s a place where I finish a drink and say, “I liked this a lot. What else would I like?” and the bartender says, “Everything,” and I believe him, because he’s a bloody genius.
I wanna say, “Make me all the drinks. I will drink all the drinks now, please.”

I did not drink all the drinks, but when we left, that first step out made my shoes wobble, so The Mister grabbed me, and I said, “Shh, watch your step. Oh hey, that’s kinda pretty.”

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I love this place.
If we had a place like this within walking distance of our home, I’d be well on my way to a drinking problem.
Do you have a great bar where you live? Is it within walking distance of you? Do your shoes get wobbly there? Does it have an interesting door?

#ThursdayDoors is an inspired post series run by Norm Frampton. If you like interesting doors, visit his site and check out what people are sharing today.

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Dimmer. Dimmer Still.

After commenting on Dan’s post at No Facilities today, he reminded me I’ve mentioned the battle of the lights over here at my house. I’ve alluded to it, but never written about it.
About his wife, Dan wrote, “Turning a light on to make her happy is like bleeding in front of a shark to make it go away.” I lol’ed.

The Mister and I both go around shutting off lights, because we have a Moo, and Moos do not care about light bills or natural resources, but The Mister and I do. Hell hath no fury like a Moo during power outages.

For me, I walk around asking what the hell everyone’s so afraid of, and yelling about how we don’t need every light bulb in the house on when God’s light is on! Sassy started calling natural light “God’s light” before she was two, and when I’d go claim her from her crib in the morning, she’d be signing, Light! Light! Light! “God’s light ON, Mama!” Now she’s 12 and she assures me that if God had intended her to get up so early, He’da put the light on for her.

I prefer to read and well, do pretty much anything in natural light.
I like to get up and look at my trees.
I enjoy the southern exposure.
I believe I’ve mentioned my abhorrence for direct sunlight.
When natural light fades, well then I really only want enough light to see.

At night, I drive with my glasses on, because they have anti-glare. Anti-glare is my friend. Otherwise I get a headache, panic, and may or may not shout at oncoming traffic, “REALLY?!? WAS HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE SUN IN HEADLIGHTS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY?!?”

I despise overhead lighting. It’s overbearing. It gives me a headache. I can hear fluorescent lights. I do not like brightly lit places at all.

some version of hell

some version of hell

The Mister likes to turn on lights when the sun goes down. And not just one light, like, all the lights in the room. Meanwhile, I feel like I should wear shades. He actually wants to install an overhead light in the living room, but I will not let that happen! There are three lamps in the living room, and that’s enough! If he wants more light, he should move out.

This gets more interesting with contradiction, because I cannot see in the dark, whereas my husband has apparently been given vampire-like powers of night vision.
Before bed, as I go through the house, he stays behind me, shutting off all the lights as he follows.
This always begs the question, If you can see in the fucking dark, why do you need so many fucking lights on?!? But I don’t ask him that, I’m grateful he’s willing to help me get to bed without a terrible accident.

I didn’t know this was a thing — people who can see in the dark. I found out when we took our family to a haunted woods thingy. One HOT October night in Georgia, someone Army decided we should all have mandatory family fun at the freakin campground, in the swamp, after dark. I remember insisting Sissy put a glow stick (Pardon me, Sergeant, ‘chem light!’) in her back pocket so I could see her playing on the monkey bars and stuff. I was terrified that gators would come up from the pond and eat her. Sassy sat happily in the back of a truck, eating candy and being cute. Moo was a very Mooish two: she was hard to contain. I held her most of the night while I watched Sissy like a hawk.
When it was time to go through the haunted woods, of course Moo wanted to go. Since her father was one of the scary things in the woods, I had to take her. You can imagine my excitement.

the_dark_woods_by_mjg

I began on a path through the woods, and was about ten feet in when I realized I couldn’t see a thing. I mean, I couldn’t see the path, I couldn’t see the baby in my arms, I couldn’t see! I was creep-walking like the fucking Pink Panther, and still tripping over branches. This seemed to go on forever.
Suddenly, Moo said, “Daddy!”
“Daddy?”
“Daddy!” she leaned away from me.
“Daddy where?”
“There!”
I could not see anything. I stopped moving and held her close, fearing my child was about to leap into the arms of a bansheegnomewerewolfdryadfairymonster.

dryad_by_sketcheth-d6v4uay

“C’mere Baby,” he said.
The Mister was right there. Right in front of me. I could not see him. He took Moo. I held onto his waist and high-stepped behind him, out of the woods, back to the campground.

Moo can see in the dark, which again begs the question, If you can see in the dark, why are you always turning lights on?!?

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Our Sweet Sixteen Anniversary

As some of you know, Friday was our anniversary, and we spent the weekend CHILDLESSLY celebrating.
Our very sexy anniversary weekend began when The Mister paid two tattooed, sinuous, half-naked men to … mow our lawn.

I keep tellin ya, this is not that kinda blog.

We had an absolutely marvelous time.

We talked a lot, about important stuff and the future. We reminisced some. Like the shock of telling people we were getting married. How some people claim they’d always known, and how other people still can’t get over how we happened to begin with.

You can tell a lot about people by the way they react to, “It’s our sixteenth wedding anniversary!” Many people cannot hide their revulsion. Same kinda people who say, “FOUR? You have FOUR kids? On purpose?”

I live in a state of constant surprise myself. If you’d told age twenty me that by thirty, I’d be married with four kids, I would have laughed and laughed, “Oh yeah, right! And I bet at thirty, I’ll be good at math, too, huh?”
If you’da told me that I’d only grow more in love and more satisfied over time, I woulda said, “Stop it now, you’re scaring me.”
People are always going on about how life is so unpredictable, but too many forget that life is surprisingly good in the most unexpected ways.

My face still lights up when he enters the room. I still get butterflies when he touches me.
Um,  I’ve also never come so close to hating anyone. 

So yeah, we took a weekend to celebrate that — In the car, at Starbucks, at the liquor store, on Mass Ave, on the sidewalks, in restaurants and bars, at the deli, at home, in Broad Ripple, on park benches — we were happily married all over the place. It was absolutely disgusting.

Since it’s not that kinda blog, these are the sexiest pictures I can show you.

When I rolled out of bed at noon today, I took a selfie with my Boston Cream doughnut from Dunkin, but I spared you that one, because it’s really just a tangle of hair and icing. You’re welcome.

Did you do anything wonderful (I presume to celebrate our anniversary) over the weekend?

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State Fair Happiness, Funnel Cakes Sold Separately

I need to give you an impression of the size of the Indiana State fair. It’s 250 acres, a million square feet of stuff. There are many larger state fairs, but Indiana’s is big. One can easily spend the entire day at the fair. Walking miles and miles is part of the gig.

map
I love how this map shows a parking lot. The parking lot is only for special people. People like us have to pay to park in the yards of strangers who are mean and cannot explain how they want us to park at an angle on the edge of their porch.

Attendance at the state fair topped out at about 978,000 people in 2013. Last year they permitted samples of alcoholic beverages and 23,000 fewer people went. That’s right, I live in a place where people are offended by alcoholic intake, even when per person consumption is limited to a total of 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. I do not know. We still have dry counties out there in the boonies.

Still, admission sales brought in $3.5 million last year.

This year, school started before the state fair, and I did not want to go on a weekend. Trying to avoid the massive crowds forced me to go after school, so this was possibly my least favorite trip to the fair. Even on a Tuesday, there were too many times we gripped hand to elbow and pressed through throngs of people.
This experience is different for females, and even less pleasant when coupled with anxiety. I think I did really well, considering.
I still loved going.

I do not have a big appetite in the evening. This is counterproductive to my goal of being fair food fat. The heat did not help — it was 86 and partly cloudy. These things impinge upon the pleasure of eating one’s weight in fried foods, and reduce the desire to consume dairy. I still had to get my enormous $90 Coca-Cola, though. That was our first stop.

Here I am, standing in front of a misting fan the size of the moon. As usual, I am all about a carefully-coiffed head and fashionable clothes.

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Sassy and I shared some jalapeño cheese curds at a table with a couple from Wisconsin. They were pleasant strangers, who chatted with us about where to buy the best long underwear.

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Moo wanted to ride on the swings. I am glad we’re not midway folks, because I’m fairly certain that a day at an amusement park would cost less than a day of riding at the fair. One ride on the swings cost 3 tokens and tokens were sold in increments of 4 for $8. So I paid $8 for my child to take a three-minute spin on the swings, and gave the remaining ticket to the family behind us. They were not from here, because the father said, “No way! People here are so generous!”
Still, Moo loved it, and grinned a weird petrified grin the entire time. Sassy and I couldn’t keep watching her go round and round, we were getting soooo sick!

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Sassy and I also shared a pulled pork sammich, because we neither one thought we could eat a whole one. It was delicious. We found a clean table in the shade and farther from bees. The bees were a little crazy this year. I didn’t photograph the bees, because I was too busy trying to pretend to be calm for the sake of the children. I am so brave.

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Then we meandered into the arts building, where I took very few photos, because the best things are behind glass, and I do not have the patience to deal with that. The quilts were beautiful and I don’t know how one gets a job judging quilts, but I’d like a piece of that pie.

I did take this photo, in the Centennial building, because we all loved this dress. I know you cannot see it, but inside the hem of this dress rests a fine edge of lace.

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We visited a coupla of the agricultural buildings, saw the plastic-perfect shiny eggplants and the largest pumpkin.

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I stopped to buy honey, but this became more of an excursion than I had planned. Four beekeepers swarmed me and had me sampling honey after honey and honestly, I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I simply wanted local honey. I didn’t really want to have a honey-tasting. Still, they were very…helpful.

I had gone into that building because there was a large sign out front about giant cheese. I asked the girls if they wanted to see giant cheese, and of course they did, but there were two young men who seemed to think I was asking them. We found this hysterical, and made jokes about how I make the world’s worst cougar, dressed like a missionary, inviting young men to see the giant cheese exhibit.
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There’s a science center, so Moo was all about that. We went into a tunnel (cell) and looked at its innards. I am very old and do not remember much about cells. Now my cellular focus is on how I gotta drink lotsa water and eat lotsa veggies or my cells will shrink-up and die and this will make me look bad and potentially lead to an early death. The girls know a lot about cells, so that’s nice.

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And then, Animals! We say manimals, but you know.

IMG_5839This topiary photo came with a free toddler. She just wanted to sit. Her parents were doin that thing where they pretended to go on without her.

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We missed the bunnies and chickens. Usually there are nine-gazillion bunnies and chickens.

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Finally, here are some random tidbits I collected:

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Before we left, the girls got henna tattoos, which I suppose is now a tradition for them.

We really wanted funnel cakes and ice cream. We really did. Not one of us was even remotely hungry. Isn’t that sad?

Still, I had a great time, came home exhausted and gross, and with money to spare. That’s how to do the fair.

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#Thursday Doors — Horse Barn

horsebarn

This is one of the many horse barns at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. I chose to snap this particular barn door because it’s much more well-worn than the others. I am a big fan of weathered, painted wood. Look at that overhang. Plus, I think the ferns add that certain somethin familiar and authentic to the photo.

To make it any more real, you’d hafta smell it and get your own splinters. Out of all the horse barn doors at the state fair, this door is, I’m sure, the one y’all wanted to see.

Barn doors have been making their way into interior design for some time now, but this one is the real deal. Notice the tracks that allow it to slide to the left, lock in, and then within its center, a door for people.

The plaque is about Sep Palin.

horsebarn1
You can read more about him here. He’s kind of a big deal, I’ve learned. Here’s a photo of him in all his splendor.

it should be perfectly obvious that i did not take this picture

it should be perfectly obvious that i did not take this picture

#ThursdayDoors is an inspired post series run by Norm Frampton. If you like interesting doors, visit his site and check out what people are sharing today.

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Raising Honest Children

When asked why she poked her brother in the eye, Sissy said, “Because I wanted to.”

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Yankee Doodle Whore Goes to The Damn DMV

In Indiana, we have the BMV. I think it’s because they want you to remember the word bureau, as in bureaucracy, but this post isn’t about Indiana’s BMV, it’s about Georgia’s damn DMV.

I had to become a Georgia resident even though I didn’t want to. Military is allowed to keep their home of record, including driver’s licenses and voting precincts, and depending on the state, spouses can too, but not in Georgia!
So, I had to go get a Georgia driver’s license and become a Georgia resident, rather against my will.
I happen to be one of those people who has a birthday around Thanksgiving, so I had no choice but to go many days before my Indiana driver’s license expired. All that was well and good, except Moo and I had a terrible stomach flu at the time. We both had fevers and I had to carry a trash can when leaving the house. Moo sounds like she is dying when she vomits, so that’s great when you want to go unnoticed. In my driver’s license photo circa 2008, an almost five Moo is actually clinging to my leg and crying hysterically, because the lady said it was okay, and wouldn’t be visible. Moo wanted to be held, and I think the lady was doing her best to accommodate us.

Then, because life is cruel, my Georgia driver’s license was set to expire just as we were moving back home to Indiana. I went back to the damn DMV to get my Georgia driver’s license renewed, and stumbled upon a ridiculous bitch who was power-trippin like you would not believe.

She told me she needed to see my marriage license.

I said the rule posted I only need to present a marriage license if I didn’t have a military ID with my married name. (Which I do, which I presented.)

I made quite a fuss about it. In addition to the military ID with Jolene Mottern on it, I already had a Georgia driver’s license with my married name on it. Why would they issue me a license and then deny renewal? Did they think the first time I was at their damn DMV they did it without documentation? Did they think the United States government issued me an ID in my married name without checking all of the paperwork ever?
My military ID, all of my bills, all of my credit cards, insurance cards, my checkbook, my SS card, everything I had with me — all Jolene Mottern.

None of the other damn DMV people would help me and furthermore, THEY ALL IMPLIED THAT I WAS LYING ABOUT BEING MARRIED!
Other patrons of the damn DMV even got in on it.

“I’ve been married for 26 years and I have the paperwork to prove it.”

“Mhm.”

“My daddy spent a fortune on my wedding, so you can be sure he paid for my marriage license.”

“Mmmhm.”

“Too many women actin like they married and they’s just livin in sin, livin off the government.”

“Mmmmhmmm.”

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Yes, that’s it. Obviously I am a Yankee Doodle Whore.


oh_what_fresh_hell_is_this_note_cards_pk_of_10
I had clearly wandered into some kinda Church Lady circle of Hell.

On another day, I went back to the damn DMV with my marriage license. In fact, I took my entire portable filing cabinet, just in case. I gave all my documents to the lady at the counter, and she slid my marriage license back over, saying, “I don’t need this, Honey. You have military ID right here.”

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The GRUMBLE GRUMBLE and OH YAY of August

It’s too hot. It was sixty-six degrees when I took Moo to her bus stop at seven o’clock, but the air is dense with humidity and my hair frizzed-out before I even left the porch.

humid bunny[1]
In addition to all my other motherly duties, I now also serve as a sorta early hair warning system for Sassy. I opened her door and said, “Button, it’s morning time” and Sassy said, “Oh wow, so I guess I won’t bother straightening my hair today.”

We seldom have days over 90F/32C, but when we do, they’re mostly in August. August is the month I start sayin things like, “I need me some barn jacket weather!” and “I miss snow!”

But then, look what only happens in August…

11899971_10153554811188236_9024909739708024271_nAt least the bumblebees aren’t afraid of my hair.

The Mister and I are both Sagittarius, so we have a lot of Leo friends, and I love the parade of August birthdays. I love all the Leos. (Shh, Leos are my favorite.)

But August is expensive. For us, August is more expensive than December. The crippling expenses of August are many and include both the OH YAY monies and the GRUMBLE GRUMBLE monies.
For instance, paying for license plates, GRUMBLE GRUMBLE. Back-to-school shopping, GRUMBLE GRUMBLE.

Then there’s the state fair, OH YAY!

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I freakin love the state fair. If it were a holiday, it would be my favorite. I will totally walk around miserably hot for the state fair. And fuck yeah, I will pay a cover charge to eat overpriced, so-bad-for-me fair food. I’ll start with the cheese curds, then a pulled pork sammich, and do I want a basket of fries or should I get an ear of corn dripping with butter? Did you see the size of those onion rings? Fried okra? Fried mushrooms? Fried pickles? Maybe I should just have s’more cheese curds. Ooh, a caramel apple! Are those homemade cordial cherries?!? Oh, what I need is a funnel cake with powdered sugar! And maybe some more cheese curds? Yeah. And let’s find a place to sit down, because my $90 Coca-Cola is so heavy, y’all. It’s hot, we should get some ice cream.

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It’s not just that I wanna be fair-food fat, either. I hate shopping, but I actually have trouble not shopping at the state fair. I love unique, handmade things. I mean, doesn’t it seem like I should already own an intricately burned-out leather satchel? How have I lived without that? Wouldn’t that look great with this wallet made entirely of recycled paper? Why don’t I have a tree house with a deck and a patio set for my squirrels? I know it’s August, but where else could I find hand-knitted giraffe gloves?!? I want a lamp made out of Fiesta ware, so let’s just be glad I don’t have any place to put it! I cry over wooden furniture, but if you offered to buy me a piece, I wouldn’t be able to decide on one.
“Omalord, that is an entire booth dedicated to vintage calicos! Do not look directly at the fabric! You do not need fabric!”
I don’t buy things at the state fair. I suffer in my self-control.

And I’m all about petting and feeding the farm animals, climbing into agricultural vehicles, talking to beekeepers and buying lotsa local honey, studying mind-blowing quilts, learning obscure things, gawking at the art, browsing the antiques, sticking my head into photo holes, people watching, and oohing and aahing at callas that loom over my head. Seriously, over my head.

photo from Dave's Garden

photo from Dave’s Garden

The Mister and I married in August, so when we’re not bitchin about how hot it is or how expensive things are, we like to bask in our bliss this time of year. At the mere mention of August, we display some kinda conditioned response like automatic hand-holding and makin googly eyes. Yes, it is nauseating, and as such, you should amply prepare yourself for the ooey gooey love shit that gets blogged here when that special day arrives.
We try to get away or at least get alone for our anniversary, OH YAY! freeing us to do disgusting things to one another, because lust love, sweet love, dirty, dirty love.

What’s August like for you? Are you a Leo? Which month is your most costly? Do you love gettin fair-food fat?

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We Are Not a Morning People

Part One

Not unusually, The Mister gets up at 5, grooms, makes his travel coffee, picks up his lunch, dials our bedroom dimmer light to one, kisses me, and leaves.
I sleep lightly and dream heavily. I wake up in strange mental landscapes. I wake with emotions right on the surface. I spend my first brain activity trying to piece together fragmented images of dreams.
I say things when he wakes me. I might say “Love you” or “Have good day,” but mostly I moan. Sometimes I might startle or snort, or try to pull him back into bed by his tie. Now and again I don’t know I’m awake so I might warn him that the dog is on fire and needs new batteries. I think we can agree, he’s quite brave to serve as my first warning that morning has arrived.

Rarely, while The Mister’s shaving I get up and bag his lunch, pack him a breakfast, make his coffee. Even less often, I am writing when he wakes.
He does not talk in the morning. It is as important to not talk to The Mister in the morning as it is not to feed Gremlins after midnight. He also wakes up in strange mental landscapes, with emotions on the surface. Although he seldom remembers his dreams, it’s easy enough to determine they are violent. I think he wakes up on THREATCON BRAVO, and as such, I do not wake him like one wakes other people. I poke and retreat. Poke and retreat.

I know couples on television and in the movies wake up with witty banter and cutesy talk, but we wake up like oil and water. I could tell you many stories about how vulnerable I was, and how I spent an hour crying over how cruelly he spoke to me, and then how he called at 9am to tell me he was sorry, but it’s best I relate this to you in terms of our children, who are, it seems, just like us.

“Sissy, I’m makin toast. Would you like toast? Do you want some of this strawberry butter, too?”
“If I want some toast, I’ll make some damn toast! What I do is none of your business! Don’t you think I can make toast without you?!? And no, I don’t want your stupid strawberry butter!”
Bubba puts the strawberry butter back in the fridge, “I was just askin because I could leave the toaster and the bread out for you. Excuse me for being courteous!”
Sissy slams bread into the toaster and mumbles about how capable she is and how annoying her brother is.
Bubba’s eyes water. I pat his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Buddy, but we’ve told you not to talk to it in the morning, haven’t we?”
Bubba nods.

“Do you know where my orange jacket is?” Moo asks Sassy.
“Why would I know where your orange jacket is?”
“I dunno. Cause you have eyes. You might’ve seen it.”
“Your room is a pit. Why don’t you go in your room and look for it! Don’t blame me when you lose things! I can’t even fit in your orange jacket! What’m I gonna do, wear it on one arm?!? Jeez, Moo! Shut up about your stupid orange jacket!”

Yes. We are just like them. They are just like us. Recently this was evidenced by Bubba, Moo, and myself, sitting at the dining table, chatting pleasantly while sharing a watermelon breakfast, while the others sat in the living room in silence, probably secretly hating us and scowling at nothing.

Part Two

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Some people you can sense coming. You can feel them before they arrive. They have a large presence. But, there are few people I cannot feel coming, even at close proximity. They’re just naturally deft and quiet, like ninjas. Those sneaky-ass people are dangerous to me, as I have anxiety disorder and they scare the daylights out of me.

My son likes to come upon me while I’m busy and simply stand beside me and stare at me until I notice him. Then I like to jump and scream. Then he likes to laugh. His eyes dance as he says he’s sorry. He’s not sorry.

I cannot tell you how many times I have stood in the shower, washing my hair, only to open my eyes and discover The Mister standing directly in front of me. Of course, I jump and scream like Norman Bates got in my shower, and The Mister laughs and laughs. I’d told him repeatedly that such a fright is bad for my anxiety, but he didn’t take me seriously. He takes too great a pleasure in scaring me.

janet_leigh___psycho_shower_scene_by_00isabellegarcia00-d58t3b5
Or rather, he DID.

Part Three

Once this last winter, I awoke to the sound of the door alarm beeping, only to realize I’d slept through my morning kiss.
I leapt out of bed and rushed out to the drive to kiss him. He was already pulling away, so I ran around to his door and smiled.
I scared him so badly, he practically jumped into the passenger seat.

Have I mentioned I’m white as a ghost? I am.
Did I mention I was wearing my white pajamas? I was.
Y’all know I had some wild bedhead goin on.
I was like his wife, but I stood out rather spectacularly, specter-ly even, in the cold, dark, loneliness that is 5:30am in our driveway.
Apparently, it’s not funny to scare someone who has PTSD. I guess that kinda fright can really do a number on their anxiety.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I scared him!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

He hasn’t tried to scare me since.

This post was inspired by Aussa Lorens, do you even read her?

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#Thursday Doors — Local

I’d love to have a #ThursdayDoors post every week, but I just don’t see interesting doors around here.
I do look.
I said to The Mister, “Everywhere has the same doors. Oh sure, they’re different colors, or the panels are positioned differently, but they’re all variations of the same damn door.” I can’t complain too much, because we have the same damn doors on our own house.

It’s become obvious to me that I need to plan Door Excursions downtown.

That being said, I noticed this set of doors, on some old apartments nearby. I say old, because they’ve been here since I was a kid, but in terms of buildings, this one isn’t old, even for America.
I was tempted to call FIL, who grew up in this neighborhood, and ask him how old they are, but then I realized I don’t know the name of the street they’re on, and I didn’t want to have a 20 minute conversation about how I don’t know all the names of all the streets in the city and then spend another 10 minutes listening to him argue about it with MIL, who did not grow up here, but probably has a story about someone who knew someone who lived in these apartments.
The building is remarkably unchanged in my lifetime — let’s just leave it at that.

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I wanted to go up to the doors and get a better look, but that NO TRESPASSING sign scared me off a bit, so I tried to be quick.

#ThursdayDoors is part of an inspired post series run by Norm Frampton. If you like interesting doors, visit his site and check out what people are sharing today.

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One-Liner Wednesday — “Come Again?”

Me to The Mister, “You need glasses for your ears.”

Mr.-Potato-Head-Birthday-Party-GameOne-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Truthful Tuesday: Factoids You Never Wanted to Know About Me

If you’re one of the twelve people who know my life, this post will be BORING, but if we’re not well-acquainted, here are some true-life confessions:

  • I treat books badly. I scrawl in them, dog-ear their pages, and often spill food and drinks on them.
  • I am the parent of a child who once threw such a temper tantrum at Cracker Barrel, we did not go back for two years.
  • I do not understand the value of clean floor grout.
  • I’m one of those people who sneezes crazy loud and scares the shit out of people.
  • I seldom check personal email. My Yahoo mail has 1325 unread messages and I am a bad person for not forwarding those messages to everyone I know.
  • I don’t like pepperoni. I’ll eat pretty much anything, including liver and brains, but I give pepperoni to the dog. Smells like dog food to me.
  • I love brussel sprouts.
  • I’m one of those terrible breast-flaunting women who freely nursed in public and did so long after my babies could eat real food.  I also used a disgusting breast pump for years. It’s as though I had no shame.
  • I used breast-feeding to get out of jury duty. Twice.
  • Sometimes I eat cheeseburgers from Mickey D’s.
  • I have been on food stamps. Taxpayers paid for Sassy’s birth and the removal of Bubba’s appendix. I think we were worth it.
  • I go way too long between cleaning my ceiling fans. How long? Long enough that I ask The Mister to clean them.
  • I am the kind of woman who sends naked selfies to her husband. And well, that one time to Shay, because I had a weird rash.
  • I drink white wine at room temperature.
  • I do not believe in censorship. I did not grow up with censorship, and I’m perfectly fucking fine.
  • I hoard fabric.
  • I squeeze the toothpaste in the middle. My husband and I do not share toothpaste.
  • I don’t hand-wash my bras.
  • I go to church fairly regularly but regard most church-goers much like one views lepers. A cross will keep me away like garlic keeps vampires away.
  • I’m infamous in my social circle for being a person who lets dishes soak overnight.
  • I am the kind of slut who not only went to Planned Parenthood for care, but who also did volunteer work there.
  • I never used covers on grocery carts to keep my kids free of germs. My kids gnawed on everything, including pacifiers, thumbs, furniture, each other, and the dog.
  • I only shampoo my hair every 2-3-4 days.
  • I let my cats have a bit of milk or cream, even though it’s probably bad for them.
  • I do not put my dog in a seat belt harness. I even let her hang her head out the window.
  • None of my cats wear collars.
  • I screen calls.
  • I’m one of those pathetic parents who medicated my child for ADD.
  • I don’t wear socks with my trainers.
  • I don’t like hot tubs.
  • I prefer to fly in small planes.
  • None of my wine glasses match. And they are all from thrift shops.
  • I vaccinate my children. We only ever get the MMR on a Friday because of reactions some of us have.
  • I have high-water drapes in the living room. The drywall in the house is positively worn-out where they should hang. One day I will pay someone to repair the drywall, or I will sew borders onto the ends of the panels so that people know I know how to hang drapes, or maybe I’ll have custom panels made. That will happen sometime between when I finish painting the trim in the back hallway and when pigs fly.quote-i-m-not-going-to-change-the-way-i-look-or-the-way-i-feel-to-conform-to-anything-i-ve-always-been-a-john-lennon-110554

Do you ever notice how many people are offended by everything that isn’t the way they do it, the way they want it, or the way they think it should be? Has it ever occurred to you that we are all, every single one of us, THOSE PEOPLE to someone?

Now that you know all these wretched things about me, do you have any confessions of your own to make?

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Dirty, Naughty Produce

Cucumber was on the list, so The Mister picked up a coupla cucumbers and Sassy picked another one and told him he was doing it wrong.
He said we’d need more cucumber for all of us.

cuke-japanese

Sassy told him, “I don’t eat cucumber. Mama wrote, ‘cucumber,’ not ‘cucumbers.’ See? She’d put a two beside it if she wanted two. And Mama doesn’t like the long thin ones, she likes em short and fat.”

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The Mister said it was all he could do not to burst out, “YEAH SHE DOES!” He turned his face away and bit his tongue to hold back his laughter.

These are the kind of things you do to protect your children. Then you can exploit their innocence as blog fodder.

But Sassy’s right, it’s true. I only buy one cucumber at a time and I hate when they only have the longer cucumbers, because inevitably, we don’t eat the whole thing and I hate wasting food.

Feel free to discuss your cucumber preference.

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Adulthood on a Saturday

Things I don’t wanna do:

Sit upright
Type things in this box
Plan a menu
Make a grocery list
Take off this chipping nail polish
Straighten my hair
Put on actual clothes and shoes
Grocery shop
Cook

totally jealous of my dog right now

totally jealous of my dog right now

Things I wanna do:

Lie down on my husband
Doze off
Read
Watch television
Drink cocktails
Pet my pets

I do what I’m supposed to do.

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But I don’t wanna.

You, too?

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As If Time Is Made of Stories

According to the stats on my last post, people don’t like it when I blog about Bubba. Heh, he probably doesn’t like it when I blog about him either.
I have a lot of happiness to share today, including that I am still excited for his return to Indy!

Second grandson has been born. Sissy and baby are both recovering well. New grandson doesn’t look Mottern-ly and isn’t anyone’s namesake, but I am forced to admit that I love him anyway. Unlike my husband, I do not long to hold him and change his pants, (Ewww, babies!) but I do look forward to when we can fingerpaint. I hope those boys will like animal crackers. I never get to eat animal crackers anymore.

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The wee ones have returned to school. Long Live The Quiet Room! It is the suck for one reason. Paper. OMFG the paper. I am so sick of filling out paperwork. I am sick of flyers. I’m sure that four kids and years of military bureaucracy only heighten my hatred of paperwork, but I do so hate when my kids give me homework. How many times must I write my address and phone numbers?!? Now the health form asks if we’re homeless, how large our family is, our income, and for student and parent social security numbers. Um, no. For the love of puppies, just put microchips in their fingers and scan them! One day it will all be digital, and our grandkids will be like, “Paper? Made from trees?” Hopefully I’m done with the forms.
Yes, Sassy and I have already chased down and missed her bus, 12 minutes early! So glad I have Bonnie Blue and that I was able to drive her to school.
So…Long Live The Quiet Room!

The Mister is a rockstar at work. ROCK.STAR.

And — Drumroll —
HME came to visit!
We might, on our own, without husbands and children, revert to former versions of ourselves. I maybe went to the store to buy cat litter and soda and bought only soda. I maybe went to the Starbucks and forgot to buy a pound of coffee. It’s simply too hard to think when we never shut up. As would be natural for the younger version of myself, I did not forget to buy anything at the liquor store.

HME asked what we were eating, and I had to say, since it was a spur of the moment visit, we were havin a feast, but nothin fancy. No corn souffles, just some down home fare. I baked a chicken, some cornbread, a cake, mac n’ cheese, and sauteed some summer squash. I threw together a four bean salad. We picked at it and she said, “Add garlic.” I added garlic. We picked again. I asked, “How about some Cajun?” She said yes. I added Cajun seasoning and let it sit in the fridge for several hours. Nom. Oh, and The Mister cut us up some watermelon!

We stayed up into the wee hours. I keep sayin I’m too old for that shit, but I keep doin it. HME and I could totally win a talkathon. We tend to fall back to where we were, as if time is made of stories. I love the company of old friends. I miss her already.

yayomg-good-friends-are-like-stars

It’s rainy today. We don’t need the rain, but I sure do like it. The high today will be 75, which for August, for me, is a lovely reprieve!

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What kinda happiness is goin on in your world?

 

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You’d Think We’d Know More

But we don’t.

In a few days, the boy one will be returning to Indy to begin an internship. He’s planning to stay at The Palace of Rules because they have a lot more space over there. I dunno how long that will last, but I think it’s kinda sweet, since MIL cared for him as a baby. Like a fledgling returning to the nest for a final shove. “Circle Game” and “Comin Around Again” — that sorta thing.

I’m mildly concerned about how long he can go without alcohol, screaming swears at video games, and being chided for not calling when he’s out late, or God forbid, if he forgets to set the alarm! I’m looking forward to MIL’s complaints that his scaredy-cat she’ll never see is up there not affecting her world in any way, but that’s not what this post is about.
Okay, so I totally want him to live in our dining room, or the coat closet, or whatever, but then I think about all the fucking cords, and I think, nah, palace of rules, much mo bettah, is best thing for you, maybe you come adult here on weekends…

His hope is to get a permanent position locally — we’ll all be so pleased.

As I mentioned in this post, my MIL has a knack for asking questions I cannot answer. Lately, she asks questions The Mister can’t answer either. In fact, many people do.

“Where’s the internship?”
“Oh I dunno, some place on the east side.”
“You don’t know?”
“I think it’s off Shadeland somewhere.”
“No, I mean, what company?”
“Oh, I dunno.”
“How did he find out about this job?”
“Some internet site.”
“What’s he going to do there?”
“Computer stuff. I dunno.”

I realize it sounds like we’re not interested, but in all honesty, we try not to pry too much into the lives of our children. If they want us to know things, they tell us. If they want to hide things from us, we allow them privacy. Until we see red flags, we just assume everything is kosher. We prefer not to micromanage and interrogate them, as we do not like to be micromanaged and interrogated. We want them to be independent and resourceful, and we want them to learn to set boundaries. We value freedom. We’re open.
We can only be who we are.

In turn, Bubba can only be who he is, which is a lovely contradiction — Is he open or closed? He’s an all-shut hermit who keeps things to himself, or a hilarious non-stop talker about things he’s passionate about. Translation: Introvert.

We want to enjoy the hell out of our kids, and we’ve learned to choose our battles wisely. We don’t ask a lot of questions of our adult children. The standard, “How are you?” “Whatcha been doin?” “How are your grades?” — that stuff is parent-y enough. I mean, he’s doing an internship, not getting bailed out of jail!

He was hard to raise, I mean really, really hard. I mean there were times I thought I couldn’t keep doing it. He was my squeaky wheel. My biggest challenge. Bright, sensitive children are so much harder. The highs are higher, the lows are lower. Oh, how I fretted over him.
He’s made it easier to raise Sassy. That’s a really big gift he’s given me. Most importantly, he’s made his way through so many circumstances, I’m compelled to trust his judgment.

I wouldn’t let him get on the bus without reciting his room number, his teacher’s name, our names, our address, our phone numbers…but now? Oh how things change.

So no, we dunno where he’s going to work, company or location, for how long, what he’s doing exactly, if it’s paid or unpaid, or if he needs new clothes. We know that if something comes up and he needs help, he’ll ask.

Probably at the last minute.
Because he’s an adult, not a grown-up.

kids-growing-up-too-fast
Do you marvel over the process of parenting, too? Isn’t it amazing to watch people grow in every way?

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How to Make a Sammich Like a Bitch

As I’ve said before, I don’t do recipes for cooking. If you’re a recipe person, that’s not helpful and I’m sorry. But I do give instructions now and again. My friend Lola thinks I should write a cookbook Joey-style, and I think about it every time I type out directions for someone.

Today’s directions are for my mother, who asked me about the Monte Cristos. Yes, my parents read my blog, when tolerable or convenient.

My mother is the person who taught me to make sammiches, but the rest of y’all are questionable, and I take food seriously, so pardon my explicit and perhaps pedantic directions, but do pay attention and don’t fuck it up.

You need stuff, and if this were a recipe, I’d be very specific about what you need and how much you need, but this is not a recipe, so just go put the skillet on a nice steady, low heat for now — whatever you do grilled cheese on. If you don’t know how to set your cooktop for grilled cheese, you have no business attempting this sammich.

If you’re like my MIL, you won’t heat your skillet first, because the skillet will “burn up” and I don’t understand you. If you’re like that, then your first sammiches will all be soggy on one side and that will burn me up.

Slice up a baguette. You want a nice firm, skinny white bread. I happen to have leftover pre-sliced bread from the bakery, so I’ll wait while you slice yours.

Okay, now make a egg and milk base like you’re gonna cook French toast.

mc2

I like mine a little more yolky  so I give a coupla egg whites to the dog.
“Who’s a shiny puppy?!? Oh she’s such a shiny, pretty puppy!”
Again, if you don’t know how to make French toast, or separate eggs, my directions will not help you, please do not attempt to cook this sammich up.

Now make a small dish of mayo mixed with spicy mustard. You don’t like mustard? Why am I even talking to you? Mix well.

mc1

Lay your bread out on the counter in pairs. No, not like that, middles side-by-side, have you ever even made a sammich?!? You do want the crusts to line up, don’t you?

Spread the mayotard across the bottom slice.

Get out the ham. I hope you bought a more savory ham, like a basic Virginia baked ham. You really do not want extra sweet here.

Let me tell you the most important part of making a sammich with cheese: You must nest the cheese inside the meat. You do not want the cheese to touch the mayonnaise. It’s not just my own personal obsession, I’m preventing a tragedy. The mayonnaise is like glue to the cheese, and you will just end up with the top of your sammich stuck to the roof of your mouth, cheese gagging you, and then you’ll choke as you try to suck that down, making unfortunate clucking noises and looking awkward. That is pleasant for no one.
So, layer the ham, with air ripples, then cheese, then more ham with ripples.

mc6Some animal gave its life for your sammich, don’t waste its meat by flopping it down lifelessly.

Press gently on each sammich and set them aside.

Melt butter in the skillet.

Dip each sammich into the egg and milk mixture and then put them in the butter to cook like a grilled cheese.

mc3

This takes some time.

Things you can do while the sammiches get all melty and beautifully golden on both sides:

Wash the dishes, even those muffin tins.
Scour the sink.
Make coffee for the mornin.
Write checks for sports physicals and orchestra camp.
Give your pets lil pieces of cheese.
Kiss and grope your husband.

Eventually, all the sammiches will be done.

mc4

I serve them with strawberry preserves. I suppose you can use any kind of preserves, or heaven forbid, none at all, but strawberry Bonne Maman is our preference.
I seldom serve them.
Generally, people stand around the kitchen and eat them as fast as I make them.

mc5

These keep well in the fridge, and re-heat well in a warm oven.
They’re also pretty good cold at 7am the next day.  I’m just sayin.

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Blue Moon

Mark asks if we like Blue Moon beer.
Let me tell you a story about Blue Moon beer, while the recently seen Blue Moon is still all over social media.

Years ago we had my parents to visit, and we wanted my dad to have somethin yummy to drink. We’d noticed he’d had Blue Moon beer when we’d last visited them, so we decided that’d be nice.

We bought the Blue Moon beer.

blue-moon-summer-wheat-e1397067229252
The men sat out on the porch and drank the Blue Moon beer.
I drank the Blue Moon beer while I made gnocchi.
My mother helped, but since she’d requested Beethoven she spent a great deal of time directing the orchestra and humming. So much laughter, so many smiles, y’all!

Anyway, the Blue Moon beer was fine. It was good. We liked it. However, it had an unfortunate side effect on The Mister and me.

Our stomachs sounded not unlike Moo’s dolphins and whales video.
If you’re unfamiliar with the songs of dolphins and whales, here’s a blip:

The Mister and I had a brief conversation about the possible collateral damage of this beer. It sounded like we were in for a bad night. We felt fine, but the sounds, oh mercy, the sounds!

I opened a bottle of white and proceeded to drink most of it, in the hopes that my, I assumed, many trips to the bathroom later would at least be mildly pleasant.
Also, we left the music on and made sure to talk throughout dinner. We didn’t want any silences, because oh, so much noticeably audible awkward.

Surprisingly, nothing worse happened.

I’m not sure if the starch of the gnocchi saved us, or what, but all that noise was just noise. It never amounted to anything.

Still, we don’t drink Blue Moon beer anymore.

Have you ever had a similar experience?

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Walk-Ins Welcome

Yesterday, I took the girls to Fantastic Sam’s to get their hairs cut. We go to Fantastic Sam’s because it’s close, and because we like the stylist, Jeff.

We weren’t looking for Jeff, but we’re sure glad we found him. Beauty Queen is our preferred stylist, but we miss when she lived right next door.

My girls are like me and plenty of other people who grow out their hair and then cut it off in a predictable cycle, “Well, I’ve had long hair for over a year now, spring is coming…” CHOP! Sassy had over a foot chopped off yesterday.

But anyway, last spring, Moo decided she wanted to chop off all her hair and so on a late Monday morning, we walked into a major chain that advertises quick, convenient and affordable haircuts. I’d been to one several times before; you walk in, you sign in, you wait, you get served, you leave.

That’s how it’s supposed to go down. This is how it went down:

“My daughter would like her hair cut,” I pointed to Moo.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No.”
“We’re all booked up right now.”
“Oh, okay. We can come back later. Do you have anything maybe after four?”
“Yes.”
“Okay, when?”
“You’ll need to go online to make an appointment.”
I stared blankly at her.
She repeated herself, “You can go online and make an appointment.”
“I can’t make an appointment while we’re standing here?”
“You can, but online.”
I aimed for clarity, “You cannot schedule the appointment?”
“No.”
“And if I went outside, called you about a haircut this evening, you would…?”
“I’d tell you to go online and make an appointment.”
“But we cannot schedule an appointment while we’re both here, in the salon, and you with your appointment computer right in front of you?”
“No.”

I thought I was on Candid Camera or somethin.

“Well that is just absurd!”

I looked around the waiting room. It was full of men. My husband shrugged and a stranger man shrugged, and I was all, fuckin really? is this actually happening?
So we left there.

Once I was back in the car, I struggled to remember where any other haircut places are. Beauty Queen has cut our hair for so many years, and we’d been in Georgia for seven years, so I was really struggling to think of any. “There used to be a Fantastic Sam’s in the mall. In like, 1986. That’s still a place, right?” The Mister did not know.
I got online and found the number to Fantastic Sam’s. I called. They are no longer in the mall, but still very close. Jeff said, “Ten minutes! Come on over!”

I noticed the other day, there’s another location, same exact major haircut chain over by our dry cleaners. There’s a huge sign out front that reads, “WALK RIGHT IN.” I swung by there today just to snap this photo.

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There is no fine print on the bottom of the sign, but what they really mean is “Walk in, leave logic at the door.”
I can’t imagine why they’re not getting much business over there.

Have you ever had such a strange experience with a clerk? Do you think she was deranged?

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Anarchy Is Not My Friend

I’ve slept a few hours. Like 11-ish to 2-ish. Ish.
I’m not the kind of person who can spend an evening in a clusterfuck of epic proportion, come home, eat pizza and salad, throw back a few cocktails, and then sleep like the dead. No.
How I wish I was.

Without going into detail, because that would be the dullest 2000 words anyone’s ever written, I’ll just say some things.

You’re never too old to learn.
It’s never too late to decide you won’t do that again.

I do not function well in chaos.

Like an airport without gates.
Like an interstate without signs.
Like a building where the room numbers are random.
Like urgent care without check-in or doors.

Can you imagine if you went to the license branch, but there was no order, and no signage? Imagine line after line of confusion, impatience, and disorder.
Imagine that, but with about 400 people, and the air-conditioning on the fritz.
For three hours.
Standing in line after line after line.

Now imagine people cutting, or holding positions in several lines, making the lines longer for everyone else.

There was a man behind me, maybe 3-4 people back. He’d obviously come from work, and he was noticeably late for Happy Hour. You could just see it in his eyes. When a woman said to me, “We held spots in both lines and sent the kids back and forth,” his whole face burned scarlet with a flash of violence.

There were seven lines, and only two of us.

Some people were kind and helpful, but not enough to ease the insanity of the situation.

People were so…ugh.
“No, you’re the first person to sing that to me. Wow. I did not even know there was a song about my name. Please, do sing the whole thing,” said No One, Ever.

My anxiety hugged me like the humidity.

I love policy and procedure. Anarchy is not my friend.
Oh sure, it has its place, as some kind of ideological construct, but it’s not my friend.

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I will never subject myself to that again.
Okay, so the name thing is inevitable, but the rest of it, I can avoid.

It’s all in how you look at it, so, Gee, what a great learning experience that was!

I cannot remember the last time I was so happy to get into my car and drive home. Stop signs — how nice. Traffic lane demarcation — lovely. My home — so cool and orderly. My family — so compliant to basic social graces. My loveseat — so comfy.

I’m glad I got a few hours of sleep. I only have 65,000 things to do today.
Maybe I’ll start with a nap.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Pensacola Plane Place

“So it’s just like, planes and stuff?” Sassy asked as we entered the National Naval Aviation Museum.

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Fix It

I’m sure a year’s worth of blogs could be written about life with a two-year-old, but I won’t be writing it.
If you don’t have much experience with two-year-olds, the primer is that everything is theirs, especially what isn’t. They want that everything exactly the way they want it, and like crotchety old people, they’ll give you what for until you make it the way they want it, but with lots of crying. The verbal abilities of two-year-olds vary, but communication is key. It’s challenging to communicate with a person who screams and throws things at you and thinks “NO!” is the equivalent of “Please.”

For further illustration, here’s a hysterical link to children crying over these sorts of situations.

During a recent chat with HME, she talked about how one of her people is almost two, and we laughed a bit over how her child’s behavior is right on target.

Two-year-olds bring you things and say, “Fix it” all the time. You are bigger and smarter and stronger and you are usually able to fix it. The child says, “Fanks” and runs off to break other things.
This does not work all the time.
You cannot fix everything.
This does not bode well.

I present to you, a broken banana:

bummer, huh?

bummer, huh?

Now, as adults, we know bananas sometimes break. We can concede that if we carry a banana while ambling through the house like a drunk person, if we take to smashing things and sudden bursts of running, it is likely that our bananas will break.
Toddlers do not know this.
Their banana experience is limited.

They don’t say, “Aw, bummer,” and eat the banana anyway. Chances are they will run to you and say, “Fix it.” You can’t fix it. You say it’s broken, but still yummy, and you pretend to take a bite, because you’re not going to eat banana that’s been on the ottoman, now are you?
Toddler shakes head.
“NO!”
You sweetly explain that the banana is broken and cannot be fixed.
“NO!”
Toddler stomps feet and cries.
“NOOOOOOOOO!”

Now, as a newbie parent, who gives whole bananas to a toddler, you think the obvious answer is to give the child a new, unbroken banana, and no one blames you for that, but this will only lead to replacement expectation in other circumstances. You certainly cannot throw it away, because the odds are high that the child will get the banana out of the trash and bring it back to you for proper fixing.

When you cannot fix it, you must make it disappear. That’s right, you must become a magician. You will enjoy myriad benefits of magic for years to come. Distraction and redirection are essential.
It will be a long time before this person is developed enough to realize that his items are missing.

no offense, mexican drug lords

no offense, drug lords

For several years after object permanence sets in, he’ll be such a slob, you can just say that you’re sure it’ll turn up in that pig-sty he calls a room.
It’s over when you both know that you’ve put his porno mags in chronological order and placed a box of condoms on top of them, but neither of you are going to talk about it.

Find happiness in fixing all the broken things children bring you. Be grateful, even joyful, that they come to you and that you can fix things for them.
There are so many times that you realize the broken banana was only the beginning.

How many times in life do we wish we could fix things for those we love? We say, “My heart breaks for you. I wish there was something I could do.”
Look how often we still plead to something bigger, smarter, stronger than ourselves.
“Fix it.”

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Cherished Blogfest, Cherished Chicken

There are two types of things in my house: useful things and special things. The best things are generally special useful things. I’m a purger. I don’t like to waste energy on things. When it came time to write about something for the Cherished Blogfest, I thought surely it would be simple. It’s not.

When I was small, I had a collection of stuffed animals. Whenever my father brought me a new one, I’d turn all the other stuffed animals around to spare their feelings. With their faces to the wall, they wouldn’t see the extra attention I gave the new one. That’s how I feel about this challenge.

I’d already written about the painting, which is surely my most cherished possession. I’ve already written about our quilts, and the pottery the children made.

I asked Sassy for help. Some suggestions were my pewter measuring spoons, an antique china dish, rare books, Pyrex bowls, a vase I don’t let other people touch…All good suggestions, but without creative spark, until finally she said, “The chicken?”

“YES! MY CHICKEN IS VERY SPECIAL!”

Before I moved back home, I’d had a comforting dream about my grandmother’s milk glass nesting hen, and I’d decided that was something I’d buy myself as a housewarming gift when we finally got settled.

One morning when I opened Instagram, I realized Drew and Beauty Queen had already been out and about thrifting.
In the picture, between their broad smiles, they held up a milk glass chicken together.

@jolenemottern Lookit what we found for Joey! #justforyou #milkglasschicken

I squealed! I hopped up and down a little! My chicken! They found me a chicken! It’s not hard to find a chicken, in the sense that one often stumbles upon dirty ol halves of a chicken, but it’s hard to find a pretty, clean, intact one — in person.

Yes, I cherish my chicken. It’s one of the first things I see when I walk in the door.
It’s precious.

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And useful.

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This was a fun challenge. I enjoyed sharing my chicken story with y’all, and I’ve really enjoyed reading about the cherished belongings of others. If you’d like to read more Cherished Blogfest posts, click here.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Impatient

Moo said to her father, “It’s time to go! Get up! You must brush all your tiny hairs and put on your giant shoes!”

pillowman
One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Shady Ass School Supply Lists

The other day, the girls and I encountered the first of the back-to-school supply displays. Sassy said she wondered when she’d get her list. I said “Middle school is different, you won’t get a list. We’ll send you with the basics and if your teachers ask for anything specific, just let us know.”

I was so wrong.

On Sunday, we got one of those fabulous automated calls of which I’m so incredibly fond. Sassy’s middle school principal had a seven-point audio presentation for us, and one of those seven points was the supply list. The supply list. I fuckin hate the supply list.

Contributing factors:

1. Money.

2. Unexpected Socialism. After spending an hour in the school supply aisles, letting our kids pick out Hello Kitty pencils, orange scissors, and notebooks with ponies on them, they took them to school where they were amassed and then dispersed. My kids didn’t get to use the items they picked out. While this doesn’t bother me on principle, I would have preferred to know, see number one.

3. The sheer insanity of the demands, from the amount to the brand name. Here are some examples of things we’ve been told to buy: Six comp books, 2 packets of college-ruled loose leaf paper, 2 packets of Expo dry erase markers, 2 dry erasers, 3 packages 10-count Ticonderoga pencils, 3 highlighters, one package 2-count Bounty paper towels, 16oz bottle of hand sanitizer, Lysol disinfectant wipes, one box 50-count Ziploc freezer bags, 5 plastic pocket folders with 3-hole centers — red, blue, green, yellow, orange. One teacher’s list included a ream of paper. PER CHILD. Those are all PER CHILD.

The lists grow longer and longer each year. The headlines should not read “School Supply List” so much as they should read “Teacher’s Wet Dream.” Don’t misunderstand me, as a former teacher I’m aware that classrooms are more effectively managed when everything is as organized as it can be, and color-coding helps. The average teacher spends more than $500 a year on classroom supplies from her own pocket and I don’t think they get paid enough in the first damn place, but maybe SOMEONE is a little out-of-touch with the economic demands of families?

Our kids can’t even take all the stuff on the bus. I had to drive the kids to school and walk Sissy’s items in. Bubba could barely carry his. Literally, pre-K Moo could not carry her backpack and three bags of supplies. With only the actual paper and crayons and stuff in her backpack, she walked with a stoop as though she was trekking up a mountainside.

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I’m not about to send my kids to school without pencils and paper and folders.
I’m a snotty person with snotty kids, so I’m one of the moms who sends in Kleenex all year.
I have great affection for Bounty paper towels. I am seriously dependent. But asking for sixty rolls of them…
And what the fuck are you going to do with 1500 gallon Ziploc bags?!?!?

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Over the last decade, I’ve grown suspicious of the school supply list. I like to go to Meet-the-Teacher night with the list on my clipboard and my red pen and ask the teachers directly, “Now, this list is obviously contrived, what does Sissy actually need?” or “Where the hell am I supposed to buy a Kindermat?” Oh yes, I actually say those things.
And do you know how embarrassed teachers get?
“Oh we don’t need all that, that’s just what the township requests,” or “She doesn’t need a Kindermat, we just rest at our desks. Saves time and cuts down on lice.”

Kindergarten Supply List
It changes strangely, too. One-inch binders! No! Three-inch binders! No! Two-inch binders! No! One-and-a-half! Why can’t it ever just be a binder?

I’ve said to the children, “I have surely bought you five rulers by now. Go find one.”

I purchased two recorders for four kids. No, I’m sorry, not everyone will have a recorder in one’s childhood keepsake boxes, oh how sad.

I’ve also hoarded the unused school supplies that come home at the end of the year. “You need six comp books? Well, I happen to have eight of them from when they said Bubba and Sissy needed six but they really didn’t.”

One year, the scissors were kept in the classroom. Forever.

Sassy has had highlighters on her list for the last 4 years. She tells me she has never used a highlighter. Moo says, “I do! I use the highlighters to color!” Oh but Moo, you’re supposed to use the 24 Crayola crayons to color, or is it the 12 Crayola colored pencils, or maybe the 10 Crayola Washable markers? Exactly how much coloring goes on in the fifth grade?!?

I am getting old, but I’m not really old yet. I know this because of many things, not the least of which is that I remember the seventh grade quite well, and in the seventh grade, I went to school with notebooks and pens, the likes of which I used mostly to compose notes to pass to friends.

I can tell you a lot about seventh grade. Who my teachers were (Mrs. Olvey told me I would never be an electrician) where I sat (I was a front-row kinda kid) where my best friends sat (they were back-row kinda kids) and where my locker was. I remember that ice cream sandwiches in the lunchroom were 35 cents, my hair was in style without touching it, that I found dried cumin, boy body odor, and sharpened pencils smell very much the same. And in seventh grade English, the red-headed boy in front of me asked me for paper every damn day, because apparently his mother had gone to school with slate and chalk.

We did not have a school supply list.

A lot has changed in the last thirty years, but I’m pretty sure my kid can still make it through the seventh grade without 40 ounces of hand sanitizer, how bout you?

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Would You Rather…

Hollie nominated me for this challenge-slash-interview, which makes me smile all emoji-like. Thanks, Hollie!

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Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?

I prefer standalones. I snub series reading all the time. Is the series completed? No? No thanks.
The last trilogy I read was The Witching Hour series, and that’s because I didn’t know it was a trilogy when I picked up that first book. I read that series like a maniac. I couldn’t go to sleep, I forgot to eat, then when I remembered to eat, I read while I ate. Oh mercy, those books! I finished the second one at work and that very same day, The Mister slipped the third book into my car before school let out. To be honest, I’m fairly amazed I didn’t sit there and read it overnight, or call in sick to stay home and finish it.
I cannot hang out waiting for completion.
No, trilogies are not safe for Joeys.

Would you rather only read male or female authors?

I’m completely guilty of preferring female authors. That’s not to say that I don’t read male authors, but that the majority of what I love is written by women, about women, for women.

Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

Whose money am I spending? Why isn’t an ancient independent bookstore an option? I go to Barnes & Noble to look around and buy coffee. I sometimes buy bargain paperbacks there, and sometimes gifts, but I buy most books used or from Amazon.com. Seriously, most of the books I read are library lent. Shiny new books are weird.

Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

Movies, I suppose. Although, it always seems to me the people making the movies should probably read the fucking book before making the fucking movie and I may be a tad bit too impassioned about this.

Would you rather read only five pages per day or five books per week?

I’d rather read five books a week.

Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

I’d much rather be an author. I seldom write reviews, and only write positive reviews on books I’ve loved.

Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

I’d say I’d rather be a bookseller, but I saw You’ve Got Mail and I don’t wanna be superstored into falling in love with a corporate nepotist. I’d rather be a librarian. A mean, shushing librarian who glares at you over her readers and judges your choices, but then seduces you with the way she constantly inverts numbers and cries over her inability to use the library’s search feature.

Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?

I’ll be happy to read my favorite genre forever.

Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?

I would rather only read physical books. And smell them. And finger their spines. And brush my thumb across the edges of their thick, crooked pages. And smell them again.

john-waters-books

I’m not nominating anyone specifically. Please help yourself to participation in this challenge-slash-interview.

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Anxiety — When It’s Time to Go

Before we left for vacation, I tried to touch on the angst of anxiety disorder before a trip. I wanted to go into detail about what that’s actually like for so many of us whose brains overshoot the adrenaline. This isn’t a typical post for me, but I got some feedback on that post that made me feel like I had an audience for this.

I can look back now and see that even in my young adult years, I had control issues when it came to my environment. Specifically, coming and going. I set out my clothes the night before school. I made lists. Instead of being picked up, I met most of my dates at the location, I was usually the designated driver when I went out with friends, and I particularly hated waiting for anyone and everyone to be ready to leave, which is why I liked driving — my car, ever ready for my escape.

margaret-summy-quote-ive-talked-to-people-who-wont-go-to-the-dentist

One of the times that anxiety never fails to get me is when it’s time to leave the house. This is pretty much all the time. The exception is when I’m in THE ZONE. If I am working intensely on a project and I need something (twine, bleach, painter’s tape) I will drive to the store and get it, without pause. These moments are rare. I thank distraction.

I will always leave early because waiting to leave and being late are both hellish.

The getting ready to leave the house thing is killer for a lot of people with anxiety disorder. Yes, it’s normal to be anxious because you’re scheduled for root canal or you’re closing on a house or you’re being interviewed for a job. That’s normal anxious. Even if you had a panic attack or threw up before those things, your doctor would check you out and reassure you it’s stress-induced.
Imagine you feel like that before going to school or work every single day.
Or when you’re meeting your best friend for coffee.
Imagine you feel like that before you go to the grocery store.
Imagine it all the time, every time you leave your house.

It’s awful.
People with anxiety disorder often feel like that.

Physiology-of-the-Fight-or-Flight-Response

Then some of us have panic attacks in the shower, nearly throw up in the lawn, drive to the grocery store with tunnel vision, enter the grocery store replete with sensory bombardment, walk around with our hands clutched to our chests, or maybe just one hand on our throats, realize we’ve left the list on the kitchen counter, spill our coupons in the produce section, tremble and cry while we pick them up, hear everything, including ourselves, like we’re outside of our bodies, almost pass out when we pick up a box of oatmeal, pay in a blur of confusion and vertigo, leave the bag of butter at the check-out, drive home with tunnel vision, hands gripping the steering wheel, afraid of every other driver on the road, stumble into the house with the bags, put all the food away, and with every muscle wound tightly, collapse.
I’ve experienced many versions of that.

Then all those things that happened during the adrenaline-induced panic become panic triggers. You cannot avoid them unless you give up living a quotidian life.
You try to adapt.
So you start taking baths.
You go to a different grocery store.
You go when it’s less crowded.
You sign up for electronic coupons instead.
You make your kids pick out the oatmeal.
You compulsively buy butter every time you go to the store until you actually have to tell your friends to remind you that you do not need any more butter.
But it doesn’t stop.
Now you hate driving, because it makes you sick.
It spills over from mundane into your fun stuff.

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You used to love concerts, adventure, travel, drinking and dancing into the night. People say you’re only growing older, but you know how you were and it wasn’t so exhausting before. It isn’t your age, it’s your brain, poisoning you with adrenaline.
Your friends say you’ve grown too introverted, and they stop asking you to join them because they know you’re gonna decline. They don’t understand until they’re around long enough to watch you go and go and go, with the same intensity you had at 20. “There she is! There’s my vivacious Joey!”

It’s visceral. While it’s happening, you look fine, you seem well to others. You just feel like you’re dying. I don’t mean that dramatically, I mean that you’re so fucked up that there’s an instinctual feeling in the depths of you which convinces you your time has come.

I don’t even feel well while writing it.
I can hear my own heartbeat in my ears.
My throat is swelling.
My skull is shrinking.
My shoulders ache.

At the end of pushing through, after the go and go and go — You were having such a wonderful time! Your friends and family see you: broken. Exhausted, a bout of migraines, a fever, an infection, a cold sore, swollen glands, a rash, maybe hives, a pinched nerve in your neck, jaw pain, digestion upset (can you say stomach acid?!?) visibly inflamed joints. You’ve clenched every muscle in your body for far too long. You didn’t get enough sleep. Your doctor says you need antibiotics and steroids. You don’t want antibiotics and steroids. Your doctor says to take it easy. You want to take it easy, but you don’t want to miss out on all the fun.

Fun things aren’t as much fun, and need to be taken with a dose of downtime, not just because you’re an introvert, but because your brain will literally make you sick. Mental health issues highlight all your physical issues.

The-Side-Effects-Of-Anxiety

You go to therapy. You take the benzos. You do the work. You start reading books about balance and zen and setting your own limits. You follow all the advice of anyone who’ll give it. You get rid of toxic people, which for you, are people who push you.

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You don’t schedule an entire day out, you schedule the post office on one day, the grocery on another, appointments early, and on a day you can relax after. You pay careful attention to how you’re feeling. You maybe overfeel, at the risk of going too far at once.

You are fragile and yet, incredibly strong.
That’s a real thing.

I’m better now, not cured. I’m better because I know what it is and how to react. I’m so glad I had therapy. About half of my out-of-the house trips involve anxiety now, but they rarely involve panic. Most of the time I’m fine as soon as I leave the house. The wait is over, the now is now and I get on fine, out there. I’ve found a great deal of go and go and go can be done AROUND MY HOUSE, at my convenience, without a schedule. I love reading, writing, cooking, gardening, sewing, DIY, coloring, games, drinking and dancing, my shows, my laptop.
That is not to say panic can’t find me at home, because that happens, too.

When it’s time to go is a real bitch. When it’s time to stop is a real bitch. Variations on a theme do occur in this respect, and I’m interested in reading about what always gets to you and how you cope.

My favorite avoidance technique coping mechanism has been to marry another control freak who makes me feel safe, and who prefers to drive, and who will be happy to stop and pick up butter on his way home. The Mister, he says to me last night, “It’s not just sex. It’s everything. You have a great appetite for life all around.”

And you would too, if you always had a voice telling you you’re dying.

I find immense gratitude and happiness simply by living in my own version of normal. That’s how I win.
How do you win?
It’s perfectly acceptable to say you win by not having anxiety disorder.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Siri Will Get You Arrested

When arriving at a gated community, Siri said, “You have arrived. Prepare to park your vehicle. You will need to walk to your destination.”

neighborhood+watch15

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill.

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But So Beautiful

Ah, Lido Beach Sarasota.
It could have been anywhere.

We had vacation before our vacation, in-between our vacations, and after our vacation. What we didn’t do was hurry.
Sarasota was lovely, all over, even if I’m not good at sitting around in the sun, I have to admit, there’s a certain appeal. It’s peaceful. You don’t much lift a finger and the scenery is gorgeous, even if it’s not my kinda scenery. People do go on about palm trees…

Yes, part of the time, we submitted ourselves to traditional vacationing by staying in a luxury hotel with a gulf view, because, well, it’s a cliche for a reason!

Get up in the morning, open the curtains, lie in bed for a while, let the view work its wonders on you before waking the children.

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Eat a meal and watch dolphins jump and swim from the oceanfront dining room.

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Go play at the beach.

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Go swim in the pool.

booking.com's photo. mine have people in them.

booking.com’s photo. my pool photos have my people in them.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Is this the kind of vacation you like? I think it’s nice for a day or two, then I get restless. I like to go and do and see.

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All Vacation-y and Stuff

I realize I was vague in my post about conflict and how The Mister and his ex deal with it, but I promise you, the conflict had nothing to do directly with either of them, and no I won’t share details, because on this blog, you will never read about the big things that impact my life in a negative way, because this blog is about anxious me reporting the good stuff, finding gratitude in the small things, bouncing back, moving forward with humor.

I also realize this puts me in the camp of people that many pick on, like I’m pretending to have some perfect life, showing you only sunshine and roses, but if you’re actually reading me regularly, I think you’re aware that there’s no pretense here. You’d really hafta to be a sorta special naive to think my life is without rain and thorns. It’s not my entire life that you’re reading, but rather, the spin I put on bits and pieces of it.

To quote an internet favorite, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE!”
(Unless you’re one of the 12 people who know my life.)

Before I continue with more time spent with the ex, please take into account that even before so much water went under the bridge, all of our children have always had more adults to love them.
Imagine that.
Imagine the ex and I standing side by side, laughing, watching grown Bubba climb up a slide.
“I’m totally laughing, because five-year-old Bubba would so yell at grown Bubba, because that’s not how he’s supposed to do it.”
“I know, right?”
“Hahahaha!”

Imagine us all at hospital bedsides.
Imagine us all at birthday parties and Thanksgiving dinners.
Imagine me calling her about whether I should use the plastic panties for potty training.
Imagine me taking a photo of little Sissy with both of her biological parents. Do you know how rare that is for children of divorce? I DO.
Imagine us sharing countless meals and long chats into the night.
Imagine her holding little Sassy and Moo.
No, it is NOT all fucking sunshine and roses, don’t be ridiculous. But it’s a lot more that than otherwise, because we are mature enough to at least attempt to find common ground.

Now, enough with the disclaimer — Onward! as we visit the home of The Mister’s ex’s parents for an evening of relaxation! Yes, my husband’s former in-laws, you read that right. Tight ball, yes, I know.
This was one of my favorite times on our trip, and you’ll soon see why.

There were homemade mojitos. I’d never had a mojito, but I gotta say, I could drink those all day, every day. Mint grows wild there, and you can smell it in the air. Well, I can.

mojito
There was spicy crab dip. Y’all, I do not even know what’s in that, but if someone offers you some spicy crab dip, you gotta try it. That’s one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth! I say Goddamn!

crabdip
They served low country boil and we had a grand ol time discussing names for crawdads and types of crab and shrimp. Like, do you know how stone crab is harvested? Yikes!

Sidenote on the low country boil:
A waiter asked us pale people where we were from and we said, “Indiana.” Then he asked us what our plans were later that evening and I said, “Low country boil.” He then asked me what that was and I countered, “You dunno low country boil?!? Where are you from?!?”
“Iowa.”
“Ahaha, okay.”
I explained it and he said it sounded good. Good? YUMMY!

lowcountry
I ate and drank in a screened enclosure while the kids swam in plain view. That is so vacation-y! That hasta be the most vacation-y of vacation-y stuff! Then I swam, too. We talked and laughed and commiserated until late in the evening. I’m just sayin, I had a really, really good time. I had no anxiety, I was not hot, I was blissful.

Do you think if it’s not in the blog, it doesn’t happen? Do you understand how even though it’s unconventional and weird, extended broken family + or – dysfunction x shared love ones to the nth can = happiness? Do you love mojitos? What’re you snackin on?

PS: I am currently munching on a snack suggested by La Sabrosona. Sassy and I are in love with it!

cream cheese, tuna salad & hot sauce on crackers

cream cheese, tuna salad & hot sauce on crackers

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Cheesy Quinoa for Prajakta

Last month I wrote a post that included the menu for when we had some friends to dinner, and Prajakta said she wanted to see a photo of the cheesy quinoa. I didn’t have one. She said, “Next time or else!” I don’t wanna know what else is!

For cheesy quinoa, I cook the quinoa and then when it’s done, I stir in some soft cheese. Just whatever I have: goat cheese, swiss, gruyere, cream cheese, even Laughing Cow.

For Prajakta — don’t else me!

cheesyquinoa

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The Fish Face Laughs No More

If you ask my children, I am the meanest mother in the world for making them wear sunscreen and hats, but especially sunscreen.

While we were in Florida, especially with my parents, I saw many versions of us. You could tell who’d come down to visit their grandmas and papas. Over and over, I saw us. Three generations: the oldest, native, tan, and aglow with love and pride. Their visiting children, pasty, slightly nervous, and desperately seeking shade, water, and/or alcohol. The grandchildren, sporting bright and cheerful clothes and hats, giddy with attention and spoils.

Happiness won’t protect your skin, Little Ones!

Yes, Moo tans, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need sunscreen. I use the spray stuff on her body, but cream for her face.
Everyone gets the special face stuff, because way too much sensitive skin in our family. Skin could be its own blog post, but I’ll spare you.
Sassy is so thin-skinned and fair, she gets chaffed from pool noodles, life vests, or wet socks. I wish I was kidding. She gets this from her father, who wears hats and long-sleeved shirts into the sea. Sassy gets coated like I do. And then re-coated like I do.

On the first day out, Sassy got pink shoulders. And lemme tell you, she complained plenty. And there I was, the wonderful mother I am, “Can you imagine how much pain you’d be in without the sunscreen?!?” She knows.
(Once they’re eight, they know everything. This lasts a decade or so.)
By morning, she was no longer pink.

Moo got pink shoulders on the fourth day, but that only lasted about two hours, and then she became tanner, and none of us were jealous and she didn’t gloat at all, and we didn’t all want to smack her.

The boy one voluntarily applied sunscreen and donned a hat while I beamed with pride.

The Mister broke down and let me apply sunscreen to his neck, and also yielded to my argument that he needed the face cream, since the sun reflects off the sand and sea, even under his hat. You’d think the years he spent in the desert would have made that argument for me, but no…

I was careful about my sunscreen application. I not only burn, but blister easily — and get sun poisoning, and end up quite sick! Sixty-four ounces of prevention is worth not going to the doctor. I put the special face stuff on my face and chest. I put the cream sunscreen on my body, and The Mister coated my back. I pretty much wore hats the entire time.

You know those car sun visors are useless for short people, right? But the brim of my hat can shield a small village.

THIS was my sun exposure:

sun1
I dunno I truly do not know. It was a bit Nemo-ish — Do you see it? Only on one leg. I creamed-up both legs, but obviously this one tried to go tanning. It didn’t hurt much, and faded overnight.

Just in case, I ate a plate of cookies and drank a lot.

Can you see the face of a laughing fish? Do you have any weird sunscreen fails? Do you take sun exposure seriously?

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SoCS — Rings

When it came time to get married, I didn’t wanna wear a ring.
Like, I know it’s a thing people do, but I’ve never been a fan of rings. I’m not really a jewelry person.
I’d met some people who had tattooed wedding rings, and I thought that was pretty nifty, but no one else did. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’m not really a tattoo person, but still, pretty nifty.

I decided to use my mother’s mother’s mother’s ring. It’s white gold and has five settings, the birthstones of her children, and the baby she lost. My cousin’s wife took it in and had one setting changed so that the stones actually represented our birthstones, our children’s birthstones, and Drew’s. I thought that was quite clever. I always say I’m going to go and get the settings changed, add Sassy and Moo and one for the baby we lost. I seldom wear that ring, so I seldom think about it.

At our wedding, my judge friend was supposed to officiate, but his mother passed, so stupid random substitute judge went on about my gold band (uh, white gold, but sure..) and Christ’s bond to the church (why does he think we got married outdoors with a judge?) Did I mention we should’ve eloped? If I have one honest regret, it’s that.

I didn’t wear my wedding ring much at all for about a year. Then one day I was out with Bubba, Sissy, Simon, and another child, and I realized that the salesclerk was looking for my wedding ring. To this salesclerk, I realized I looked about 15, with four kids in steps from at least two different baby daddies.
Simon always looks like my love child.
I decided to wear my wedding ring.
Really, I wished I could wear my birth certificate and my college diploma, but what’s a girl to do?

Eventually, I was pregnant, and pregnant again, so I really hated rings, and shoes, and clothes, and anyone touching me. I didn’t swell or anything, but I think my touch threshold was slim. I wore my father’s plain gold band then.

In contrast, The Mister wore his ring faithfully, until he somehow managed to fry it on a car battery, searing his skin and warping his band. I can’t judge him too much, I still get burned while I cook.
I bought him another band, just a cheapy silver thing, but he cleaned it in the gold jewelry cleaner, because man.

When we got to Ft Stewart, wedding rings were this really big deal. (Anything that showed status was a really big deal.) Some other Army wife at a party told me, “He could die, and you don’t even have a diamond from him!” Good gravy. Least of my worries.
The following week, The Mister bought me a diamond ring. It’s lovely. Antique looking, platinum setting, dainty. I wore it religiously for years, God forbid he died without giving me a diamond. I sometimes wear it, even though last year, one of the smallest diamonds fell out and I haven’t had it fixed.

During this time, The Mister did not wear his wedding band, which was okay, because he worked with lotsa mechanical shit. Eventually, in personnel, he began wearing his third band, titanium, and we all joked about his sudden and recent marriage.

In 2008, on our anniversary, The Mister gave me a peridot ring, set in two-tone gold. I love it. I wear it a lot.
That ring was cleverly purchased in a ruse. Per The Mister, True called to ask me about how to determine her ring size. I recall standing in my kitchen, thinking she’d lost her mind, “No your ring size isn’t the same as your shoe size just because mine is. That’s just how I remember it.” It was a bizarre conversation which didn’t make sense for days. You know, until the ring showed up.

I’m still not a ring person. I often go out in public without a ring on, and I no longer care what assumptions people make.
Rings get in the way of gardening, massages, washing my hair, sewing, cooking, especially baking…

I just found out that before our wedding, my evil aunt despised the idea that I’d ever get hold of my other grandmother’s rings and insisted they be returned to her. I guess it should hurt my feelings, when in reality, I could not care less. I think it may have hurt her brother’s feelings, though.
I got the painting, and that’s all I wanted.
I don’t recall my grandmother wearing anything but a plain gold band. I don’t think she cared much for stuff and things.

In our experience, gold, silver, or platinum — rings don’t endure the way a marriage does.

rings

SoCS is a Saturday blog topic run by the ever-inspiring LindaGHill, all are welcome to play along.

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Thursday Doors — McGuire’s Irish Pub

If I could only make one stop in Pensacola, it’d be McGuire’s Irish Pub. I just love this place.

mgp
I’ve been there five or six times now, and it’s always delicious, so yes, the locals eat there, too. It’s Florida, so I always go for the seafood. This last time I ate crab cakes. I’m a bit of a crab cake connoisseur, and I’m a big fan of McGuire’s remoulade. But it should be known that they make a splendid Shepherd’s Pie (which is actually Cottage Pie) and they have enormous, mouth-watering corned beef sandwiches. Moo ordered a pizza with broccoli and orange slices, so even the non-foodies can enjoy a meal there.

More than delicious, it has a homey, casual ambiance with more than its share of whimsy.
It’s decorated with over a million dollar bills, pinned to the wall, hanging from the ceiling. The first time I went there I wrote my name on a dollar and added it to the collection.
Here’s a photo showing you some of the bills. This one happens to be in The Notre Dame Room.

mgp2
All of the indoor pictures I took have that fuzzy orange hue, since the lighting was low. Truth be told, I enjoyed the low lighting, and the air conditioning, and the huge cocktail that came with this “free” tee-shirt.

mgp3
Crashed is a good word. The drink’s exact contents remain a mystery to me, but the waiter did tell me it has 151, plus spiced rum, and banana liqueur in it. I was pleasantly tipsy when we left McGuire’s, but I was puzzled by how to work our car door handles once we got to the next stop, so I opted to sit in the car and look at all the pretty trees for a while.

Anyway, McGuire’s is a great place, and I hope if you’re ever in Pensacola, you’ll head out that way and try it.

mgp1

Thursday Doors is part of an inspired post series run by Norm Frampton.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Political Water

My dad pointed to the counter and said, “Joey, I think this is your water bottle here — it’s leaning to the left.”

donkey-and-elephant
One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Ft. Pickens

I’d spent quite a bit of time in the Pensacola area, so there were a few places I wanted to revisit, specifically a beach and a pub, which sounds Florida-typical, non? But I promise you this beach and this pub are special.

Pensacola is better than the rest of Florida. For one, there’s always a breeze. It’s a breezy place, so I feel less like I’m dying. Two, there are actual trees, big deciduous shade trees, so I feel less like I’m dying. I still hate Florida, but if I hafta be there, Pensacola is a good area.

Ft. Pickens (click here for geeky-good info) is a beautiful, historic place. It’s most beautiful in winter, while riding a bicycle through it all day, but it’s also very beautiful in summer, while you sit in your air-conditioned car. It is slightly less beautiful outside the air-conditioned car in summer, while you wander around on the white sand, the sun ravaging your body. You knew it would be this way, but you are a good sport. Your face wears SPFkajillion and you wear your large straw hat and your long-sleeve, thin white shirt because the sun is not your friend. You are a trooper. Not only have you upped your water intake over the last week in preparation for this excursion, but you also guzzle water like it’s your job and never, ever mention to anyone that you feel like you’re dying because your throat only seems to work while you’re drinking the water and not so much for breathing. Despite the nagging anxiety that tells you you’re in a Salvador Dali painting, you know that your face has not melted off, because your Rosacea has flared and you can feel the red hot pin-pricks of a thousand angry capillaries rupturing. People begin to ask you if you’re okay, and you say you are, because you don’t need medical intervention. They ask if you’re sure, because your face is red in a way that indicates heat stroke is upon you. You take your sunglasses off and reveal puddles of sweat behind the lenses, and you say, “I’m alright. See? Still sweatin.” They ask if you’re sunburnt and you say, “No, this just happens when I’m hot.” Your youngest child tells everyone about your Rosacea, and how you can’t deal with heat, and how your body is northern, and that’s fine. You wear a wry smile and are glad no one can tell you’re blushing, even if your face just went up twenty degrees.
Your youngest child has your mother’s skin, and got a tan in the car on the way to Florida. You know by the end of the week she will be brown as a bean, and you are glad for her.
Your other little one begs you to sit with her in a tunnel and then asks if she can take off her shirt. You allow that, knowing that it will only provide five seconds of cooling, but she’ll learn. You realize she isn’t just white like you, she’s miserable like you.
It’s not long before your even whiter son joins you both in the tunnel, and asks you what the summer’s like in Indy. He doesn’t remember anymore. You tell him there are very few days like this one, and that summer only lasts three months. You tell him about how cool soft green grass feels underfoot, and how often a good rain brings the temperature from the 90’s into the 70’s. He tells you he’s had enough of the heat and can’t wait to leave. You feel badly for him, but remember he chose his own college, so you tell him that it’s even hotter where Grandma is. He shakes his head. You shake your head, too.

But before all that, before you knew you were going to die in a tunnel with your whitest babies, you walked around and climbed things and explored, taking pictures, because like you said, you think it’s beautiful.

fp8fp7fp6fp4fp3fp2fp1
You regret that you’re not a particularly good photographer, and that you didn’t take a hundred better photos, but in your defense, you were dying, and the sun was so bright you could scarcely see.
Also, scenery, I don’t care who you are or where you are, is never nearly as beautiful when caught by a camera. This is one of the things Moo learned on our trip. She said, “I wish the camera could see things the way I do.”

That water felt better than any water I ever felt. Until the next time I almost died, then that water felt better than any water I ever felt and so on and so forth.

But isn’t it beautiful?
For Florida, anyway.

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When the Bull Runs Wild

The problem with writing about vacation is that it’s hard to organize little vignettes when you’re still processing the trip overall. I think we should start with the bad stuff and get that outta the way.

We had “beautiful weather.” I mean, that’s how people would see it. It was unbearably hot and sunny most of the time. Temperatures ranged from 80’s overnight to highs in the low 100’s. At no point were our plans ruined by bad weather.
Except on the drive Tuesday. I think it was Tuesday.

You can’t possibly think I kept the days straight. Even one day, I thought there might be a magical extra day in June, squeezed in between the 29th and the 30th. Days sneak by on vacation.

But on the day I think was Tuesday, we hit an awful storm. This particular thunderstorm followed us all night. The gusts of wind blowin Bonnie Blue all over the road, the sheets of rain hitting her windshield, dodging the debris in the road while thunder shook us — all metaphorical imagery for the turbulence in the car.

You see, we spent time with The Mister’s ex. The ex and I can actually get along quite well, going back decades. Obviously The Mister doesn’t get on with his ex very well, but they can be amicable for a considerable amount of time. We’re family. We share a lot of people, experiences, and goals. Also, we all share a common enemy, and as everyone knows the enemy of your enemy is your friend. I told you I can’t explain how tightly my ball is wound, hm? Tip of the iceberg.

tumblr_nmmgqf942K1s54onlo1_500
It’s been a long time since we had conflicts. But while we were on vacation, conflicts were thrown at us.
Not all of us have gone to therapy and fetched a psychological toolbox for dealing with this sorta conflict, but I have. Unfortunately, my toolbox is useless against a team of people who are determined to revert to their old patterns when they’re together too long. When two brick walls are pushed together, they create tension until one of them crumbles. Been 24 years and ain’t nobody crumbled yet, but the bricks on the top are pretty loose.

I thought we were having a discussion. I was having a discussion. It would take a few hours to realize that for once, I was the sane one.
I said things.
They argued with me.
Then they argued with one another.
I said more things.
Then they argued with themselves.
Lawd.

The Mister continued to argue with me, and himself, across the panhandle, as the storms raged on. It was super pleasant. As a person who feels everything around me, I cannot tell you how frickin pleasant that was.
“Baggage goes in the trunk! Who told you you can keep your baggage in a carry-on? If you can’t keep your negative aura in the passenger seat, I will hafta roll down my window and my hair will get crazy and you don’t want my hair to get crazy!”

crazy
But don’t anyone go to therapy and get a fuckin toolbox, it’s fine. I’m sure these issues only ever surface when you’re together, and other lies you tell yourselves.

Their crazy brought out my crazy. I got this pretty little china shop, where all the fragile tchotchkes are lined up all neatly and I keep the doors closed real tight so everything stays shiny and I can’t be havin bulls runnin through it! Do you see how fucking poetic and ethereal I am? I’m not a delicate fucking flower, but I feel like one when the bull runs wild. I spent Tuesday night picking up pieces of broken china, and nicking away at The Mister until he bled half as much as I.

On the day I think was Wednesday, the skies had cleared. The bull had slept and fed by the seashore, and his aura kept close to his skin. My nerves were unfettered, my drive, free and easy. By the time my mother put the wine in my hand, The Mister was telling my parents how I was right. Like, he said it. Aloud. Where other people could hear him.

Another storm rolled in. The skies sent lightning and hail, but by then we were sheltered.

no-relationship-is-all-sun-but-you-can-share-an-umbrella

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It’s Going to Take a Month

Yes, I am home from vacation.
I am not even close to recovered from vacation.
But we are older now, and wiser, so we scheduled our return early in order to leave three days of staycation to recover.

We got home last night.
Our Catticus was scarcely seen by the housesitter all week, but when we came home, he came to claim the luggage and very clearly told us we cannot leave again for a long, long time.

catticusbags
That luggage is still sitting there, too.
Oh, like you hurry to do laundry when you get home.

No, we came home, people came over, and we hurried downtown to see the fireworks. I was overtired last night and for once, my anxiety did not win, because I was smart enough to realize I was supposed to be exhausted.
I am still quite sleepy today, even though my activity was minimal. I had morning sex. That was probably my mistake, haha, because after that, I could barely muster the energy to pull a robe off the hook and tie it! I made coffee. I read a buncha blogs. I got so tired while reading, I hadda have a lie-down. I walked around tsking at weeds and pulled a few. I put that frozen lasagna in the oven and I even took it out and cut it. I put the plug in the sink and ran water to soak the dishes. Seriously, I am like a zombie.

We had a wonderful vacation. Just wonderful. Won.Der.Ful.

It almost made up for not having a vacation the last five years, heh.

I ate and drank my way down the gulf, and if you follow me on Instagram, then you saw a lot of what I ate and drank, but here are some highlights:

smokin oyster brewery ft myers

smokin oyster brewery ft myers

homemade mojito in gulf breeze

homemade mojito in gulf breeze

We had all the good times, and saw all the good people, and I would venture to say, I’ve got enough blog fodder to fill July.
Little by little, I shall.

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Short and Sweet

These little interview thingies have circulated for a long time, but they resurfaced a few weeks ago on my Facebook. They’re pretty fun. You should totally interview people and have a few laughs! The key is to not look for a right answer, but to take in someone else’s perspective.

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My interview with The Mister, June 11, 2015:

1. What is something your wife always says to you?
“I don’t wanna nag you, but…”

2. What makes your wife happy?
When I “cook” — take her out for dinner

3. What makes your wife sad?
When she hasta say, “I don’t wanna nag you, but…”

4. How does your wife make you laugh?
She says somethin funny.

5. What was your wife like as a child?
A pain in the ass

6. How old is your wife?
41

7. How tall is your wife?
5’4

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Read

9. What does your wife do when you’re not around?
Whatever the hell she wants

10. If your wife becomes famous, what will it be for?
Writing

11. What is your wife really good at?
Writing, cooking, educating, enlightening

12. What is your wife not very good at?
Mechanical shit

13. What does your wife do for a job?
Everything, every day, all the time

14.What is your wife’s favorite food?
Seafood

15.What makes you proud of your wife?
She never ceases to amaze me

16. If your wife were a character, who would she be?
I don’t know

17. What do you and your wife do together?
We watch our shows

18. How are you and your wife the same?
We are both strong, opinionated people you don’t want to anger.

19. How are you and your wife different?
I am charismatic, outgoing and charming. She is quiet, reserved, and prefers not to be out in public amongst people.

20. How do you know your wife loves you?
Cause she says so

21. What does your wife like most about you?
My integrity

22. Where is your wife’s favorite place to go?
On a car ride, because she was a dog in her previous life.

 

My interview with Moo (then age 5) June 24, 2009:

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Uh, what to do right now

2. What makes mom happy?
Lovins

3. What makes mom sad?
When people be mean at eachother

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
She tickles me

5. What was your mom like as a child?
She was cute like me 

6. How old is your mom?
23

7. How tall is your mom?
She’s not tall

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Play words

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
She bes bored

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
For loving Daddy 

11. What is your mom really good at?
Makin honeydews

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Wii golf

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Laundry

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
Honeydew

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
She gives good kisses

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
A star cheerleader

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Have a nap

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We’re the short ones

19. How are you and your mom different?
She has more yip glosses

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
When she gives me her lovins

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
To the commissary

Face-grin.svg

Are you going to play along?

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One-Liner Wednesday — Dog Vocabulary

My FIL came in and said, “Boy, it’s hot out! I had to come in, I was just BAKIN!” Sadie immediately ran to him and sat before him, her eyes pleading, “Bacon? Where?”

sadiebakinOne-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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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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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.

original_giraffes_say_thankyou_1_copy

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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.

98164466848335250_C4DOB4O4_c

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!

Screen-Shot-2012-09-16-at-10.36.58-PM

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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One-Liner Wednesday — Job Too Big

Everyone’s always sharing their blog search terms for a laugh, but how about Contact Me emails?
For instance, “Teach me how to word.”

giraffetilt

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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