I am not a neat freak. I’m really not. Yes, I like things clean and tidy and I can’t abide a mess, but I know I’m not a neat freak because I know actual neat freaks. You can read more about that here.

In my townhouse, I had a galley kitchen with some vinyl that didn’t even take me ten minutes to sweep and clean. I preferred to clean it on my hands and knees, because as Cinderella and my mother know, that is the only way a floor is really clean.

Second apartment, same.

First house, dining and kitchen, same. But I wasn’t even thirty yet, so I didn’t struggle, and I made Bubba and Sissy do the area around the table.

Second house, different flooring in most every room. Very quickly we pulled up the CARPET IN THE BATHROOM and I tiled it in a day. Who puts carpet in a bathroom? That is just gross. Sicky, icky, ew.
The Mister broke a Wonderbar pulling up layers and layers of flooring in the kitchen and dining room because there was carpet in the dining room and the tile in the kitchen was beyond ever looking clean EVER and drove me outta my mind.
By then, you see, we had two school-aged kids and two babies, a dog, and two cats. Cleaning floors daily was necessary for basic sanitation.
We tiled those rooms.
I enjoyed my heavily sealed original wood floors in the rest of the main floor. Broom, dust mop, damp mop — voila!
We had some crazy-ass tile floors from 1960 in the basement. They were not in good shape. We had more kids than monies, and thus became fans of rugs.

Then we moved to Georgia, into a very white and light and did I mention white? space.
Then we had two tweens and two toddlers, just one cat, and a serious fire ant problem.
White walls, white cabinets, white trim, and those stupid light-colored floors.
Floors became the bane of my existence.

[I will briefly explain things I barely understood:
When you live on a military base, housing is determined by the size of your family and somewhat by your rank.
We were lucky to get assigned to new, big housing. Old, big housing was available, but The Mister picked our house: new duplex on the corner.
Military housing is not free, or is free, depending on how you look at it. The military pays a Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH. Let’s say it was about $800 a month then. Now, this is tax-free income, additional to taxable salary, used to pay for your basic living expenses. So, if you’re us, you give up your $800, take the huge house on post, and don’t pay for water, or heating and cooling. If you’ve got one kid, you take your $800, get a two-bedroom apartment that costs substantially less, pay your bills, and bank the surplus.
The military doesn’t pay you more for every kid you have, nor do they give you a larger BAH. That’s a weird urban legend. If military families are often larger I think it’s because a) homecomings = sex like whoa b) healthcare is virtually free and c) the tighter the ship you run, the more passengers you can handle.]

As I said, our home was nice and new, in comparison to other homes on base. People envied my flooring. They didn’t know any better.

Oh my God those fucking floors. When I lived in Georgia, when I wasn’t bitchin about the heat and the sun and the sand and the goddamned fire ants, I was bitchin about cleanin my floors. It was an epic battle. More than a thousand square feet of some faux wood stuff. I have no idea what it was, really. It had grooves. All the SAND went into those grooves and gave the floor a dirty, distressed look. I, in turn, was often distressed about my floors.

One of my neighbors told me the floors were supposed to have been sealed. She’d seen many sealed floors. One night, while her family slept, she used two boxes of Magic Erasers, scoured every inch by hand, and put a wax on them. She did this once a month so that she could effectively mop them.
I was amazed at her dedication. I thought if I swept several times a day and mopped after dinner, I’d be fiiine. I was wrong.

Here’s a photo that shows some floor:


this is a game called ‘get daddy before he gets you’

Quickly, I realized mopping was not effective and as soon as I’d drop down to scrub them, I’d see the entire floor was really dirty. The Mister bought me knee pads. This made for lots of dirty jokes.
I became one with my knee pads and my scrub brush.

Here’s a picture of me after scrubbing the back of the house, just the dining room and office, not even tackled the hall or kitchen at this point. No room for vanity here y’all. My deployed husband Skyped me in the middle of the day and this is what he got.


Yes, that is ALL SWEAT.

Subsequently, that same neighbor bought a Hoover Floormate and when my husband came home, he bought me one, too. Little bristles whirring through those grooves, suction pulling up all the dirty water, ah, sweet relief! Then I only had to do the few inches around baseboards and under cabinets on my hands and knees. God love the Hoover people, bless them each and every one.

When we moved out, I was terrified of what the home inspection would reveal about my floors. I was sure we’d be charged nine gazillion dollars for the floors. I swept and collapsed.
When they came to inspect our house, they went on and on about how clean it was. I apologized for the floors, told them I’d been far too tired to clean them properly. They couldn’t believe how clean my floors were.
“Seven years? You’ve lived here seven years? With how many kids? We have people who haven’t even lived here seven months and they’re not anywhere near this clean.”
I felt better, but I knew they weren’t actually clean.

This house has a lot of different flooring, like our other old house. It annoys us for various reasons.

Keeping carpet in the entryway clean is quite a challenge, let alone when you live on a damp, wooded lot. I live in the city proper, but nature is here in a big way. Leaves, all up in my house, for one.

I do not want tan, shaggy carpet in our bedroom. I would prefer something with a low nap in a less golden hue.

I don’t mind my laminate. This being the first laminate I’ve had, I’m actually rather impressed. Knowledgeable people have told me that it’s not just laminate, but cheap laminate. I say, “Hmm. I love it.” Wouldn’t mind more of it.
Do y’all have any idea how easily cheap laminate cleans up? It’s a freakin breeze. It’s like dirt doesn’t even like to lie on it. I swear it’s dirt-repellent. It refuses to stain.
Like I said, I loved my old wood floors, but I prefer this cheap laminate. No lie.

Now, my kitchen floors. They’re gorgeous. They’re porcelain tile, lain on the diagonal. Look like stone. Nice colors, grays and tans and a bit of green-y blue or blue-y green. People come over and they say, “Oh I love these floors! I love this tile!”
Then I say, “Yes, yes, it’s really beautiful. To look at.”


They are awful, awful, awful floors. Just, I mean, I have had two homes on a slab and I’ve spent years working in heels and I’ve worked retail on concrete floors and I mean to tell you, these are the most painful floors I’ve ever encountered. They’re excruciating. Feet ow. Lower back ow.
I finally broke down and bought a coupla memory foam mats and they really help a lot.
These gorgeous floors are also reliably cool. Y’all know I like cold things, but I am surprised I do not get frostbitten when I fetch my morning coffee. It’s the kind of cold that goes right through slipper socks.
Annnd, as if that’s not enough reason to hate the gorgeous floors, anything you drop on this floor shatters into a million tiny pieces. I have kids, so sure, more stuff gets broken, but I am personally responsible for cracking the edge of a Pyrex measuring cup (!!!) as well as breaking a glass and a bottle of maple syrup.
Don’t make me tell you how much I love my pretty, colorful plates. I’m not a materialist (obviously, given my love of cheap laminate) but I do scream things to people like, “Hold that with two hands until you exit the kitchen!” and gasp as I shout, “Two hands! That color is retired!”

What do I want in my kitchen?
Not like what people call linoleum, not vinyl, actual linoleum. Like rubbery, prolly what was in my kitchen in 1920, linoleum.

Neither of the bathroom tiles bother me, but then, I don’t stand in there for hours a day, either.

One day, when we can afford to spend a week elsewhere, while also paying thousands of dollars, we will have the floors re-done. I’ll probably still yell at people to be careful with my dishes, but in a scratchy granny voice.

Thanks for reading all that, if you really did. It’s too long for a blog post and too shallow for therapy, but I really needed to bitch. Do you have any floor issues you’d like to vent about?

Posted in Personally | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and my birthday yesterday. I sure enjoyed it.

I’m going to ramble a bit, a lil nonsense never hurt anyone, right?

So, first of all, my in-laws went to Granny’s and we stayed home. This is all fine and good. I am forced to admit, the problem with not having Thanksgiving with my MIL is that now I hafta wait until our December celebration to eat her stuffing. Also, what I really like is how she usta let me clean out the huge yellow bowl of raw stuffing dregs. I’ve got to figure out when to ‘stop by’ for an ‘impromptu’ visit. I’m wondering if FIL would be willing to secretly telephone me when he’s given the task of tearing up bread…
Sage — Oh MIL’s stuffing, I love you so.
I made Stove Top. Only Sassy and I eat it and we like it any version of gluten fine. “Mmm, herbed bread,” says Sassy. We all know MIL would tell me how to make the stuffing, but we all know I’d rather she just make it.
Next year, maybe I’ll be all “I want raw stuffing for my birthday!” Y’all don’t even know.

I dunno how many turkeys I’ve cooked. I’ve done turkey in a bag, brined turkey, basting the fuck out of the turkey, turning the turkey breast-down for the last hour, and for several turkeys, I’ve done it True’s overnight way. I’ll be honest, I’ve never messed up the turkey. Every year, it’s delicious and every year it leaves plenty of drippings for gravy.
This did not stop me from having turkey ruination nightmares all week.
This year I did my first dry roasted turkey, and I’m sold. I think this is the way I will do turkey forever. Pat it dry, rub it, shove things up its ass, put it in the oven and leave it the hell alone. So nice low-maintenance turkey.


his name was theodore

Now I’ve moved on to having hair color disaster dreams.

No, YOU’RE obvious struggling with reality!

One of my Facebook friends wished me a birthday early, because of time zones, and a bunch of my other Facebook friends freaked out and thought my birthday was the 25th, which it was, in Japan, because time zones, haha, and that was pretty funny.

It didn’t feeeeel like my birthday yesterday. I don’t even feel older. I like to think those new memory foam mats in the kitchen helped with that. And maybe a lil splash of bourbon. Tomorrow might be a good day to write 9000 words about floors.

My birthday cards arrived today, as is the norm.
My mother was all, “That took over a week!” She said Moo’s will probably be late, too. Then we bitched about postal service. When I lived in Georgia (which in case you don’t know, on a map, Georgia is right on top of Florida, because proximity to Florida is directly related to how awful a place can be) I would mail a pile of stuff and inevitably, things arrived to England, Canada, Indiana, and New Mexico before they got to my mother in Florida. I told her today that I believe she lives in a postally challenged environment and she replied, “Well yeah. Our insurance agent didn’t get a computer til 2011, they still dig ditches by hand, annnd they start building footings with batter board! Bunch-o-Cracker hicks. And to think I am one! Lordy me!”
Oh the LOLZ!

I miss my mother.
Dry turkey sammiches taste better at her house.

Someday, not tomorrow, I will write about my USPS Trials & Tribulations. Lawd, that’ll make you say hmm.

Maybe I’ll write posts all day and clog up your Reader or maybe I’ll eat these leftovers and watch Office Space. Hard to say, really. It’s still early, and these jammies are so comfy.

I feel like we should play Mario Kart, too.

Oh. No. Gotta get a tree. But then I’ll totally put these jammies back on. Wait, the trees will still be there tomorrow?

You know what? No! I’m not having an existential crisis and lookin for ways to escape my angst. Now be a dear and make me a cocktail, will ya? It’s already five o’clock in Japan, AmIRight?

Lucy Ricardo

How was your Thursday? How are your nerves?

Posted in Personally, Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Horrible Holiday Traditions

Moms be all, “Dinner is at one. Bring ten pounds of candied yams.”

In other Great News, “For Secret Santa this year, you need to buy an obligatory $10 gift for your cousin Blarg.” Meaningless gift exchanges are the worst, am I right?
One for each child’s classroom, one for each child’s team, troop, and club. You’ll draw the name of the co-worker you despise the most, the church lady you don’t really know, and inevitably, someone will knit you a toilet paper cozy.
Plus, this year, everyone is chipping in to buy Aunt Bitchy a brand-new chair!

People are arguing over whose family gets Thanksgiving or Christmas, or Christmas Eve vs. Christmas Day. If your mother gets Christmas Day, but you don’t have the kids, you may as well stay your ass home. If she gets Christmas Eve with you and the kids, she’s going to be bitter about the whore who got Christmas Day. Holidays are an excellent time to reflect on how your spawn are the only reason your parents even tolerate you.

People are stressed-out and over-scheduled. They worry about when their year-end bonus is coming, and how they’ll manage getting extra work done while taking time off to see all their kids’ music programs and plays.

Take your mother a fresh turkey, which costs twice as much, so she can put it in the freezer. Will it be turkey twice, or turkey and ham twice, or turkey and goose?
Someone’s made deer chili, so be prepared to hear an hour of arguments about hunting.
“What do you mean you shot this turkey? OH MY GOD YOU SHOT A TURKEY?!?”
There’s always one idiot who feels weird about eating animals that weren’t purchased in a grocery store.
Wait for that one clean and ethical eater to proclaim you’re all murderers. Who’s going to lie and tell Cousin Blarg that the candied yams are vegan?
“Butter? Nooo, Blarg, no butter!”
Will you secretly French-fry the onions in duck lard and smile at Blarg while he eats your green bean casserole? Will you tell him after?

Let’s all make it our business to shame people out of seconds and announce loudly that you’ve made a special sugar-free pie for the diabetics and anyone else who needs to mind his sugar intake, while you stare directly at the largest person in the room.
Remember that time your cousin with five kids told your barren cousin that eating  unpasteurized brie is prolly what’s causing her infertility?
Take pictures of people while they eat, and then tag them on social media later.

Be sure to bring up shit people fought about twenty years ago.
Guilt trip your kids who have to work and can’t stay as long.
Pretend not to notice you’re the only grandchild whose picture isn’t hung on the wall.
Enjoy how spiteful everyone looks when they tell you, “You sound just like your mother.”
Bore people with stories about your work.
Shallowly use the “What are we all grateful for?” time to brag about your lavish lifestyle.

Deck the halls, build a gingerbread house and a snowman, volunteer at the mission, bake 144 cookies, go ice skating, make sure your scrip bottles are full, and get new tires so you can drive over the river and through the woods in inclement weather!
Or maybe you can spend three times more than usual on airfare! Woot!

Take one daughter aside to tell her you know it looks like her sister got more, but that’s only because she’s easier to shop for.
Cry a lot and make everyone uncomfortable.
Try to enjoy the ugly Christmas sweater that your mom did not buy ironically.
Draw straws to find out who hasta provide transportation for the grumpiest man that ever did live.

Yup, the people are packin up playpens and boardin their dogs. With overtired children and fussy babies, they will arrive to spend the holidays with family. This includes all the excitement of banal conversation with that one racist uncle and his new cunt wife, sleepin with some scratchy blanket in a room that smells of mold and Mentholatum, sharin a bathroom with twenty people, weak coffee and no liquor, too hot inside, too cold outside, fakin niceties to little brats whose parents should be beaten liberally and often…Because, Family.

Ah, the heartwarming stories of Family…

Why people continue to subject themselves to the torment of holiday traditions, I will never understand.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 48 Comments

That Time I Held a Chicken Hostage

Because I’m oft inclined to mock trends, I’ve long made fun of the phrase ‘reclaimed wood.’ Mostly, I’m just jealous I never see all this wood that people are somehow claiming. Is there a map to such treasure? Do you hafta know a guy? I dunno.

Shortly after we moved in here, I said to The Mister, “I should like you to build me some shelves over this window in the kitchen.” The Mister said, “Mhm,” which roughly translates to something like, “Pigs’ll be flyin on cold day in Hell when you’re pullin teeth, tryina get blood from that turnip, Missy!” Remind me, why do we buy him tools?

Since no one left unclaimed wood on my front porch, I was left shelfless and sad.

But then, one day, in the midst of one of my DIY projects, I found some wood. I reclaimed some old plywood from myself. It’s real plywood, maybe even birch if its color is true. It was split a bit, off center, pretty much perfect for my needs.
“Just cut it where it splits,” I said. I blathered on a bit about the lost integrity where the split is.
“Then you can adjust the length,” I said. “We’ll use the furring strips to support them,” I said.
“The what?”
“Furring strips.”
Poor man. I do believe The Mister resents my hardware store words. My hardware store words throw more words into the pot of what?-words he needs me to define. I walked to the hall closet, pulled out furring strips, “These.”

We have done a lot of home improvement projects together. We are an awesome team. Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic. However, it takes us awhile to cross the bridge of understanding. I am a visual person and I’m spendy with words to describe my visual. If I can show him or draw him a literal picture of something, he can build it, whatever it is.
Orrr, I can hold the furring strips to the sides of the cupboards and he says, “AHA! I see!”

He said we’d need screws of a specific kind, and I told him to look in the hardware drawer. He did not find suitable screws.

Because I am a woman, I was able to find suitable screws in the exact same drawer where I told him to look.
Because I am a woman, I can find things. I can find anyone’s lost anything. I debate whether this is because I can see with my special woman eyes, or because I can look with my hands in contrast to what I suspect is somethin along the lines of The Mister’s If-I-find-screws-she-will-expect-me-to-drill-them-in mentality.
My son has this same problem. He cannot find things that are blatantly obvious to all women.
My “Water the orange flowers on the porch” text turned into a 20-minute debacle and my sending him a photo of the mums.
(There were three pots out front, two potted geraniums on the steps and one pot of orange mums on the actual porch.)
Children are the same, but maybe not all males outgrow it?


Have you seen the apps and locators you attach to your things? The Mister doesn’t need that, he says, because he has me.
I feel sorry for men, that they cannot see what women see, but then I remember the evils of sexism run rampant in the world and I think, meh, wouldn’t it be worse if they also had the incredible gift of female sight?

Tragically, once I had the wood and the right screws, I did, in fact, expect The Mister to assemble the shelves.
When he seemed unwilling, I held his dinner hostage. I set the chicken on the counter and told him, “I’m holding your dinner hostage. We’re not eating until I have shelves.”

Behold, Hostage Chicken Charlie:


Then I made gravy. Gravy smells really, really good. Smell is an excellent motivator for my husband. This is a man who asked me not to buy any food-scented candles, because he can’t take the disappointment of discovering there’s no apple crisp or cake or whatever. So yeah, smell of roasted chicken, smell of gravy…

And so, he assembled my shelves and then we ate my delicious food and we lived happily ever after. Tit for tat, just like that.

Do you live with a procrastinator? Have you ever had to resort to such manipulation? Do you know where all the unclaimed wood is?

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#Thursday Doors — Original



Using the word weathered almost seems like an insult. This door has seen some shit, hm? Y’all know I love old things, and this door is no exception.

Check out the tiny doorknob, and where it’s placed. Look how narrow.

Instead of me telling you about the door, I find I have a lot of questions about it.

How old is it?

Was it made with glass here and wood there, or were all those cut-outs once glass?

What little dog scratched at the door? Or how many?

When were kickplates invented?

Anyway, I love her. I love the whole house. I’m glad she’s been reclaimed and is on to better days.



#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.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 27 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — On Tools

“Okay, let me grab it quick!”


“OH NO! It’s too long!”

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

Posted in Random Musings, Uncategorized | Tagged | 15 Comments

No, YOU’RE a Turkey!

Last night as we drove home, I said, “I’m getting excited for twinkly lights.” The Mister did not appreciate this comment. He promptly told me to shut my face. Sassy told me I should only be thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. This is easy for Sassy to say, since all she does is eat Thanksgiving dinner. I’m the one who’ll be in the kitchen with stock pots and cutting boards.

I agreed that I do indeed look forward to dry turkey sammiches and punkin pie, but I just love the twinkly lights. I really enjoy takin one holiday at a time, but who doesn’t love twinkly lights? That part of our neighborhood is always lit up for the season, and I love it.

Then The Mister brought up the fact that something else happens on this Thanksgiving day, and Moo shouted, “Daddy’s birthday!” as Sassy shouted, “Mama’s birthday!” which is weird, because Daddy’s birthday is right next to Moo’s…
The Mister said, “Right, because every 45 years, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving!” which had us all in stitches.

My birthday is on Thanksgiving again this year.

“There are two other things your mother loves about Thanksgiving day. She loves that stupid fucking parade and she loves that dumbass dog show. Fuckin Eukanuba, everyone!” We roared with laughter.

Tis true. I love the Macy’s parade and I love the dog show. I do get a little excited thinkin about Black Friday — how I will make that dry turkey sammich and turn that dog show on. I really will enjoy that.

I’m pretty laid-back about my birthday now. Like other people whose birthdays are around a holiday, I never get cards or presents on time, and have come to accept that I get lost in the shuffle. I always feel much worse about the people who must compete with Jesus, and totally get cheated, only getting that one big present for both celebrations. And those poor souls whose birthdays are on September 11th, when everyone’s somber. But then, I’m jealous of those lucky bastards who always get fireworks on their birthdays.

When I was young, I always wanted a summertime birthday. Friends with summer birthdays got bikes and bikinis, went to amusement parks, had sundae bars. Slumber parties and pool parties were definitely preferred. But no one can sleepover when they’re at Granny’s house for Turkey Day and it’s too cold to swim here now.

Do Not Fucking Do This Ever. just no. okay? no.

Do Not Fucking Do This Ever. just no. okay? no.

My parents took me to Disney World for my 18th birthday. My dad let me spend a small fortune and he rode Space Mountain with me.
Then they let me do this to them:

NOT an american birthday tradition

NOT an american birthday tradition

Ah, that was a great day! That more than made up for a childhood without the best birthday parties ever.

Now, at my age, I see my birthday differently. When it falls on Thanksgiving, being grateful for another year of life seems that much more important. Still…
Don’t you dare give me some decorative Santa towels for my birthday, or hand to God, I’ll wrap em up and give em back to you at Christmas!

Do you have a birthday around a holiday? Have you ever had a turkey grace your birthday cake? Have you ever put your parents in a pillory or taken a spin through Space Mountain?

Posted in Personally | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

#Thursday Doors — Autumnal Colors

Back on The Old Northside of Indianapolis, I found a house, that if she could tell you, she’d say, “I’m an Autumn.”

She’s old, she’s beautiful, and just look at her double doors and their casing!

#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.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 28 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — Gentleman Cat

“I’m sure if Catticus could speak English, he would never end his sentences with prepositions.”


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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My Yellow Tree

If you’ve ever thought your WordPress Reader could use more love and light, I encourage you to check out Ramblings From Jewels. She has a perspective that always inspires me to see things differently. She takes beautiful photos and then she writes eloquent verses about them, as if there’s no end to her insight.

Anyway, she posted this photo of a yellow tree the other day and my brain was like, that’s it! we’re takin a photo of our yellow tree!

On not-alarm days, when I wake after the sunrise, I get to lie there and stare at our trees. It makes me happy. One tree is my favorite right now because its yellow leaves contrast vividly against the blue sky.

I still love all my other trees, just at different times — even when they’re leafless, so there’s no need for any of them to get jealous. Of course trees have feelings! I just love trees, Okay?!? It’s probably genetic. Look, here’s Moo huggin a tree:

we usta hafta drive all the way to savannah to see real trees!

we usta hafta drive all the way to savannah to see real trees!

After living without a decent view of anything for seven years, living here is pure eye candy. It’s the difference between ew and ooh.

7 years of yuck




This is what I wake up to when I get to rise after dawn:

He says Good Morning! He wishes you all a very happy Tuesday!

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That Time I Almost Became A Semi-Sandwich

I have often alluded to one of my PTSD incidents, the one regarding driving in the rain at night, but I questioned whether I’d ever write about it publicly. Manee wrote a post that triggered my wretched anxiety about it, and with her encouragement, I’ve decided to post it.

In the spring of 2006, I drove from Indianapolis, Indiana to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to spend a weekend alone with The Mister.

I am confused now, because when I pull up driving directions on my laptop, they do not remind me of the path I traveled via my road atlas then.


I don’t think my route was as depicted. I didn’t have sat nav, and I didn’t post my locations to social media, so I really can’t say how exactly I went. The trip took 11 hours and I enjoyed every bit of it.
I particularly enjoyed my mid-day view from the welcome center in West Virginia. Purple mountain majesties indeed. I stood atop with millions of yellow daffodils spread out in the valley below. Breathtaking. It was one of those things I’ll never forget.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the region, lemme just tell you, I’ve heard it said that if you flattened-out West Virginia, it’d be the largest state, and I think there may be some truth to that.
Of course, I am a biased fan, a lover of Appalachia in general. It’s an extremely beautiful place, where valleys don’t seem long and wide, but rather the valleys always seem to be short peaks to other valleys. (I must stop myself, I could go on for days.)

We had a wonderful long weekend. I sometimes wonder why all my weekends do not consist of eating crab three times a day and sexing my husband…

But the drive home was not the same experience. Several hours in, the skies filled with storms, the sun set, and as I drove up and down the mountains through Pennsylvania, I was almost crushed in a semi-sandwich.

This was the first panic loop I developed as an adult. Neither fight nor flight is an option when you’re about to be a semi-sandwich.

no, YOU don't make sense!

no, YOU don’t make sense!

My car was precariously placed between two semis going down a ‘hill.’ Ahead of me, another semi. On a flat road, I could slow my speed and get some distance. In the incline, I could not get any distance. Behind me, another semi was approaching, all too fast, dangerously fast. The semi got close enough to me for me to see the driver so well, I could, to this day, pick him out of a line-up.

I don’t remember anymore where I was exactly. Reading the words ‘Pennsylvania Turnpike’ still gives me nausea, so I presume I was on or near that — or signage for it.
With great clarity, I remember those few seconds when I knew I was about to die, when I saw the things your brain shows you right before you meet your maker.

They say that before you die, your whole life flashes in front of you, but in my case, it did not. I saw specific images of my children.
Bubba, joyously opening a Christmas present, his eyes big, blue, happy, his smile, contagious. His shirt, so red.
Sissy, a mess of blonde curls and her glasses falling off her nose, as she leaned over the garden tub to clean her feet. She was looking at me for approval.
Sassy, all eyes and smiles of wonder from under a sheet on our bed.  Peek-a-boo.
That’s what I saw in the flash right before I almost died.
I often wonder why I didn’t see Moo, or The Mister, but I didn’t.

It is a miracle that semi stopped in time. It is a miracle. I don’t care if you believe in miracles or God’s grace, divine intervention, or Guardian Angels — It’s a GODDAMNED MIRACLE that semi didn’t crush me like a steamroller over a skateboard.

I was supposed to arrive home that night, but I could not drive anymore. As soon as I could, I exited and checked-in at the first hotel I saw. I don’t remember the town, the exit, the hotel, any of my surroundings. I remember shaking so much that the clerk walked me to my room.


I called my MIL, who had my babies, and let her know I had to stop. I tried to tell her what happened, but she was dismissive. She said I had had a very emotional weekend and to try to get some rest.

I slept the kind of sleep where you don’t know you’ve slept until you wake up.

I have yet to recover from this incident.
In therapy, we talked about how I have successfully driven through many dark and rainy nights, how this isn’t going to happen every time, how this trigger creates a panic loop. We talked about how that semi driver was likely equally terrified. We discussed how my MIL probably didn’t feel dismissive, how she was likely concerned and grateful, but showed it by minimizing the trauma and encouraging rest.

For years, driving was a trigger. I drove pretty much every damn day, so imagine that. It’s still not my favorite. Just last night we had this conversation:
“Gah, I don’t wanna go to the store tomorrow. Maybe my husband will come with me, keep me company, drive me.”
“Maybe if you make a nice enough list, your husband will let you sleep in and have all the shopping done and put away before you even get up.”

I used to love to drive. Right up to this semi-sandwich incident. Now, I’ve come a long way from vertigo and paying people to drive me places, but I’m not recovered.
To this day, I don’t like to drive alone. I make way more stops on long trips. Rain makes it worse, night makes it worse, and driving in the rain at night is me at my most brave. I want to cover my eyes and give up, but I don’t.

I almost died.
I was not highly emotional when it happened; I was highly emotional because I almost fucking died.

My heart is pounding in my ears.
I guess I’m done.
Please don’t try to minimize the traumas other people carry. Please don’t try to one-up them as if it’s a game of surviving horrible events. Please don’t cut them off and tell them you’ve heard it before. All around you, there are people in recovery. Maybe they don’t talk about it or write about it, but they’re there.

Do you understand?

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The Garage: A Rant

The first time we saw our house, we couldn’t actually see the garage. It was jam-packed full.
I have a dad who kept his garage as tidy and organized as the house, even going so far as to park the lawnmower on a rug. (I didn’t just come out like this, you know. My mother’s a Virgo.)


(And I’m not making fun, OCD tendencies are in my chart. I clean as a way to manage anxiety. When my house it at its cleanest, I have usually forgotten to eat despite cooking and baking, I’ve maybe chewed off all my cuticles and the inside of my lips, and I probably can’t sleep.)

Anyway, We’ve had four garages in the timeline of our marriage. Two older detached ones, and two new attached ones. I know I don’t need a clean and pretty garage. I just need function. The Mister has a lot of tools. We have a fair amount of sporting goods and automotive crap. We’ve had a lot of kids, so you know, scooters, bikes, skateboards, sleds


— but we’ve never had a junked-up garage.

Looking at our garage, per the previous owner, I wondered how anyone’s garage could get so bad. I assumed three-generations of stuff would do it. I knew it would all be gone when we took possession.

Um, I hadn’t really considered our downsizing process completely.

I told you I’d tell you stories about the home improvement stuff, and I’ve decided this one is a good one to share for now. I occasionally rant on my Facebook, but people are offended so fucking easily these days.
Here’s my rant status:

If you ever went into a garage and wondered how on earth the people let it get that way, I can explain.

Prolly 26 months ago some people moved in and immediately pulled out the old washer and dryer to make room for theirs. They didn’t know then that their washer was broken.

Then when the movers came, they had everything that didn’t immediately belong somewhere sat in their garage. They saved boxes for their soon-to-move friends.

They survived The Plumbing Fiasco of 2013 and put their not very old washer out in the garage with the washer and dryer that came with the house.

After several months of the wife’s nagging, the husband sorted the garage enough to park in it.

They did not, for the first few months in their home, have the recycling bin or schedule, but they diligently filled boxes and paper bags with their recycling and got 99% of it out when they caught the nice men driving by one snowy morning.

They don’t take yard debris on the recycle truck. Heavy trash goes on another day. Usually the day before the wife remembers she had heavy trash for her husband to put out.

Then, when their kids outgrew things, when they replaced things, they sat the old stuff in the garage, too. They put the ant bait out there, the energy-saving kits, the empty cans of paint, the cat crates…
They took down dangerous sliding doors and put those in the garage.
When they bought a new grill, and some new tools, and a new bike, they put all that in the garage. They bought some lumber for a project and sat the leftovers in the garage. They kept an old dresser and an old mirror for a friend.
They have a futon frame that will never see the light of day. (Live in Indy and need a mission-style futon frame? Contact me!)

They don’t know why they still have a boxy computer monitor, really. Sure, they kept a box each for their kids’ keepsakes. Sure, they hoard fabric and Marine Corps stuff, but they never ever throw tennis rackets, basketballs, or shovels onto the garage floor.
They have Christmas boxes and empty boxes — these people have so many bloody buggery boxes, they don’t even know what’s in each box! 

The wife occasionally digs for treasure, but today, she cannot find her box of vintage cameras and she wants to take a flame thrower to the whole fucking thing. She is not paralyzed by the sight of spiders, their webs, and eggs, but she has to admit to her children that the spiders do seem to have taken over.

She keeps saying they’ll have a garage sale, but the husband is never home on weekends, and she’s had plenty of garage sales by her damn self, and she’s grown old and bitter in addition to being fairly certain she ruptures her kidneys and ovaries every time she moves something heavy.

The husband says the garage is his room and it would look just fine if people stopped putting their things in it. Ironically, the wife wonders which room is hers, and decides on the kitchen and laundry. She concurs that those rooms would also look just fine if people stopped putting their things in them. The wife has a shed, but that’s not her freakin lawnmower in it, Buddy!

She dreams of a tidy, organized garage and she knows the only way she’s going to get one is to do it herself. She puts on her big girl panties, her mom jeans, her hoodie, her do-rag, her gloves, and her wellies and she picks up her trusty broom.
She thinks she needs a shop-vac. WTF happened to the shop-vac? IS IT IN A BOX?


I am happy to report that our garage is now cleaned-out and organized, and that my kidneys and ovaries did not rupture. And I found those vintage cameras, in the very last box I opened.

What about you? How’s your garage? Do you need to have a garage sale? Have you ever downsized? 

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#Thursday Doors — Overgrown

I frequently drive by this house and have for decades, but I actually didn’t notice these doors until just last week as I was parked in front of them waiting for the train to pass.
I’m not sure what’s going on with the house itself. There are signs about apartments, but the signs are too weathered to be current and the whole house seems abandoned. There’s a grocery cart tethered to the right-side door. Next to it lie a pair of shoes and a deflated soccer ball. All the landscaping has gone wild.
For instance, when you walk up to the door on the left, (your only option) there are steps so deeply covered in trailing ground cover, it’s more of a hill than a step.


Let’s face it, the door is old and y’all know I love that, but it’s really all the texture of its architectural features that makes the facade appealing.
I found it appealing enough to park in a lot marked No Trespassing, and then walk down a tiny sidewalk on a busy road just to capture it.

It sure was somethin, wasn’t it? I wonder if it will get to be somethin again?

#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.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 42 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — Clash of Generations

When we stopped at the light, I said to Sassy, “I see you are not rocking the casbah.” She cried out, “I cannot rock the casbah, I don’t even know what a casbah is!”

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Not Fit for Mass Consumption

My WordPress community is so good to me, so understanding and accepting, I almost forgot what a weirdo I am.
But then my in-laws came over to remind me.
I emailed a link to my creepy story to them the other day, so when they stopped in last night, I asked if they liked it.
They didn’t get it.
I asked if it was because they didn’t know what an earworm was, and no, they didn’t, but they got puzzled by the mental health references.

*long sigh*

Fortunately MIL brought me some chocolate-covered coconut which helped some. At least they love me enough to try to understand.

When they left, The Mister asked me why I was upset.
Well, so many things, but basically it boils down to the unsettling feeling of not being understood. That’s a terrible feeling. It reminds me of being that weird girl in school.
The Mister was never that weird girl in school, so he can’t really relate.

Don’t think I was some sorta outcast or something — I wasn’t. I had plenty of friends, dates, and a schedule full of activities. I was just always oddly uncool, as I am now.


Now, here on WordPress, lotsa people seem to understand me. Seem to really get me. I am  grateful for people who really get me. I have a consistent audience, which makes me feel the exact opposite of being that weird girl in school.
I am still her though.
As a writer, I am so much her.

I struggle with how much to tell. As an author, it’s important to make sure you’re readable, but at the same time, you don’t want to insult your reader’s intelligence. Carefully, I clue.

My style simply doesn’t lend itself to short sentences and easy clarity. No, I write with multiple layers of imagery and subtlety. I assume my readers are well-read, and therefore, every bit as knowledgeable as I. I assume they follow my metaphorical trail of breadcrumbs.
See? Can’t even.

I think too much, I feel too much, I see too much, and if prompted, I say too much.


I accepted this early on. No sense pretending. No good dumbing down. Much better to be authentic, attract the right people to begin with. This is who I am. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I will never be, not as a person, not as a blogger, not as a fiction writer. I am unsuitable for mass consumption. I have accepted this, and most of the time, I take pride in genuinely being me.


So let me thank you, Dear Readers, for being so understanding and accepting. Extra special thanks to those of you who read, understood, and even enjoyed my story this last week. It means the world to me.

>insert all the hearts here<

Do you struggle with how much to tell and show? Were you a weird kid? Are you a weird adult? Does your family even get you?

Posted in Personally | Tagged , , , | 83 Comments

Strange, Even for Me

I had the strangest dream the other night. (Whatta cliché!)

The Mister and I were flying through cornfields.
I fly a lot in my dreams. Or rather, I seem to move my body like wind, at will. Do y’all do that, too?

Anyway, that’s not the strange part.

The strange part was, we were chasing The Grim Reaper.
Now, metaphorically, we are all chasing The Grim Reaper, even when we fool ourselves into thinking that we’re running from him — but in this dream, we were chasing him, not with malice, but like children at play.

We stopped briefly to bounce on the back of a black umbrella as though it were a trampoline.

When we reached the edge of the cornfield, we came to a billboard with The Grim Reaper posing, and the sign read, “I’M ON THE OTHER SIDE.”
Clever phrasing, don’tcha think?

The edge of the cornfield loomed over a busy interstate, maybe a hundred feet below.
Directly opposite us, on the other side of the interstate, The Grim Reaper stood, waving and wagging his bottom, as if to say, “Haha! You can’t catch me!”

That’s when I woke up and had a smile to myself. Strange, but whimsical. Kinda Halloween-y!

SoCs is brought to you by LindaGHill

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 32 Comments

Oh No! Not an Earworm!

Today my creepy short fiction piece is posted on 13 Stories Til Halloween. It’s entitled Earworm
If you don’t know what an earworm is, the story won’t make much sense, so lemme help:


But check out Jordan Drew’s art accompanying my story:



Anyway, I hope if you’re into creepy stuff, you’ll pop over for a short, twisted read!

All links lead to me, Mwahahaha!

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#Thursday Doors — Can’t Hide the Lines

This is one of those doors that gives me an impression of who lives inside.
Someone steadfast and orderly seems to live here, don’tcha think?


It’s a bit stately, but not off-putting. The arc, the round stained-glass window, the flowers and their bowed pots — all help soften it, but even still, the curves can’t cover up its seriousness.

This door reminds me of my husband. Of course, he knows Old Glory belongs on the left, and there’d be a Notre Dame flag instead of Butler, and the flowers would be likely be faux shrubs, but this doorscape is totally him — with its black formality and its symmetry.

Anyway, apart from the flag fail, I love it — how bout you?

#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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 38 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — Egg Sweat

Moo said the eggs were wet with exhaustion, so she put them in the fridge to chill.


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Temptation

“I’m a child. I could not resist the temptation,” Sassy lamented.

i don’t think we ever outgrow that feeling, do we?

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Fall Is My Friend

Today, I am mourning the loss of Fall Break.
I could write an ode to Fall Break, if I had had more sleep. I didn’t have more sleep, because Fall Break has ended.

For nine days, I enjoyed the sleeping in and the perfect weather. These two things combined to provide me with great energy to work on home improvement projects. I got so much done. It was wonderful.

I drove The Mister crazy with all my bustling about. In defense of him asking, “Oh my fucking God, does that clock say it’s almost 3am?” I said, “Yes, but when I have all this energy, when I feel this good, I don’t want to stop. I feel normal. I feel like myself.”
If you have more bad-feeling days than good-feeling days, then you know exactly what I mean.

I know a lot of people get depressed this time of year, whether it’s from Seasonal Affective Disorder or merely from the sadness of summer ending. For me, it is the opposite. I don’t like summer. Don’t like the heat, the humidity, the bugs, the allergies, the sweat, the sticky, the sunscreen. Without fail, the cooler weather brings out the best in me. My health gets a boost, and most assuredly, my skin calms down (at least until it’s frostbitten!) Autumn is beautiful here and I do love barn jacket days. I also love sweaters, socks, fleece, and flannel…
Fall is my friend.

Winter’s lack of sunlight does get to me in the form of insomnia, so I empathize with all the sleeping and waking issues others struggle with in the dark winter days. I am very good at hibernating, but I hibernate much more in summer than I do in winter. Winter’s still better for me than spring. When spring comes I usually end up physically ill. In spring, I must pace myself. But fall is a free-for-all. I wish it lasted longer. I wish Fall Break lasted longer.

So anyway, enough of my patterns — I had a week of feel good days and I got a lot done!

it's called Nice Cream, which is cute, because it's the color of vanilla ice cream

it’s called Nice Cream, which is cute, because it’s the color of vanilla ice cream

I won’t bore you with details of what all I’ve done, but I will say, removing the tape from the doors in the back hallway proved to be one of the happiest moments of my life. There’s more to do (Is there ever an end?) but I got a great deal done, and I’m rightly chuffed about it.

Stories did emerge, and I’ll share them another day.

While I’ve been ever so busy, I’ve not been reading a lot of blogs. I subscribe to my favorite blogs via email, and those are pretty much the only ones I’m reading.
I’ll be posting less as we finish this month, because I still have a lot to do. This pattern will continue through November. I’m not doing a new NaNo, but I’ll be focusing on my NaNo novel from last year.

Does autumn revitalize you? What have you been up to? Are you going to add an email option on your blog?

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Thirteen Stories Has Begun

For those of you interested, the 2015 series of 13 Stories Til Halloween is up and running. Each day, for thirteen days, a spooky-scary-creepy story or poem will be posted on the site. If you’re into that kinda thing, you should totally check it out!

I scare myself enough, so I’m not into that kinda thing, but I do read them (in the light of day) because I sometimes write one.


All links lead to the home page  — http://13storiestilhalloween.com/

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In The Weeds, A Rant

The Introduction

It’s the time of year when I add spring bulbs, plant the potted mums, and complain to myself about how much I didn’t get done this summer. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, yadda yadda, but you’d think two full summers here would yield more more, y’know? It’s another one of those times where I force myself to focus on what I have done, to think in terms of accomplishment and gratitude, because it’s way too easy to bitch about what’s still not done, and that escalates into fear those things will never be done, and I could easily overwhelm myself and start flitting about, freaking out, when in reality, these things are of little significance and I just need to chill the fuck out about it and focus more on eliminating these run-on sentence thoughts that scramble through my brain and spill out into my blogs.
Outside, it’s woman vs nature, and nature always wins, y’all know that, right? The unwanted weeds grow faster than the carefully chosen perennials. The apple trees don’t have the forethought to grow in a way that increases their bounty and avoids power lines. The house never rolls so the moss grows. I could go on, but I’m focusing on gratitude: Shut up, Joey! You have a house with gardens and apple trees!

The Transition

It’s also the time of year I turn inward and visualize indoor projects while the earth rests. Like finishing the trim in the back hallway. Ferreal.
Inside, there are also run-on sentences that would chase me and eat me alive if I let them, but at least inside my house it is woman vs herself and I always win.

There’s a lot involved in decorating a house to fit your comfort and style, never mind your budget, but these aren’t serious issues. It’s like saying you’re working on your golf swing or you’re on a quest for the best burger in the city. People get mildly obsessive about those things, and I get mildly obsessive about decor choices. I probably wouldn’t read more than 500 words about golf, and I understand if you don’t want to read 1200 words about home decor, but I simply must write them.

The Body

Oh the woes of paint. Selecting a color palette for unity and repetition. Choosing colors that are livable in the long-term, that reflect the historic value of my home, that suit the light in each room, that fit the mood and boost the chi. It’s hard. Not like enduring a child’s illness hard or removing the behemoth microwave over your range hard, but hard.

I always laugh every time I read, “It’s just paint. If you don’t like it, you can change it.” It’s true. So is, “It’s just hair, it’ll grow back,” but you still have to live with it for a while. Given the amount of time and work it takes to paint a room properly, it’s not somethin I wanna do five or six times, thanks. Also, are you buying the paint?
Buying the paint is not my favorite, either. If the guy I like isn’t at the counter, I get disgruntled. I don’t like engagement in defense of my paint. The Deep Onyx is for Moo’s bow and arrow set, and Flemish Sky at 75% is for my ceiling, not that it’s any of your business, Mr-Who-Died-And-Made-You-Paint-God.
I swear the next time I order paint and some asshole benignly asks me, “Whatcha paintin?” Imma roll my eyes, lose my mind, and tell him, “My other sex dungeon.” Because their questions are not benign, they’re to open a can of worms wherein they tell me what they think I should use or to sell me more stuff, and yes, I know, I look too young to have painted three houses and a fuckton of furniture, but if I wanna paint my kitchen Flemish Sky with Deep Onyx polka dots, it’s really none of his concern.
“All the trim in your house? Wow. I don’t envy you. That’s a lot of work. It took me almost four months to paint all my trim.”
Either he paints as slowly as The Mister, or he lives in a big-ass house. I did all the trim in my last house in two mornings, and I had two little kids to deal with. This house is smaller, the kids are bigger. Paining trim is not climbing Everest, for fuck’s sake.
Gawd I hate small talk.

You know what else I hate? I hate how the entire world is being painted fucking gray. Gray has its rightful places, but the everything gray trend is killing me. Remember how everything used to be tan, beige, taupe and fawn because they’re classic colors? So dated now. Now everything is fucking gray. You simply cannot go wrong with a gray sofa against the weathered gray wall of reclaimed wood surrounded by three other gray walls, in your gray house. Until it’s all dated, anyway.

Right now, someone is shouting, “I love gray!” and that’s fine. Your house should reflect what you love and what makes you comfortable. But I refuse to believe that all that gray is a reflection of personal choice for so many people. To me, walking into a gray house is dreary, as I suspect it is for many, which is why designers are always saying, “add pops of color” and they tell you “yellow and orange” or “gold and coral” because opposite of gray, so people like me don’t feel like we’re dying to leave as soon as we arrive.

If your house looks like Restoration Hardware threw up in it, keep that liquor cabinet stocked. Do you also buy clothes off the mannequin and only listen to new music?

I must say, neither vivid brights nor an oatmeal palette are my thing when it comes to decorating, but I’m always relieved to see a home with notable personality, because let’s face it, layers of white on gray on ivory on bisque on pewter on ebony don’t have any personality. And lemme tell you, I freakin love white. I’m known for asking, “Does it come in white?”
Don’t paint it all white.
Don’t paint it all black.
Don’t paint it all gray.
It all says the same thing: I have no idea what I’m doing.
OH wait! Is it a cry for help?

And for the love of puppies, don’t paint all the wooden pieces. This kills me. KILLS ME. I understand painting furniture. I do it all the time. I get it. But it’s important to understand that certain pieces lend themselves to stain or wax, not paint. When people paint a walnut credenza, replete with inlay, I cry. It’s a fucking travesty. Now it’s not beautiful walnut credenza, it’s mediocre gray desk. Congratulations on ruining an antique. I’m sorry you were raised by wolves.

People with words all over your house, what is that all about? Can you not figure out the room’s purpose without directions? I love words, more than I love white. I’m not sayin a letter here, a word there, a stencil here, a sign there is a bad thing at all. I’m sayin that LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH, BREATHE, EAT, DINE, REST, RELAX, CHILL, WINE, SLEEP, DREAM, BATHE, WASH, DRY & FOLD may have gotten outta hand. I’m waitin for the sign that reads POOP & FLUSH.

I blame Pinterest.
I have Pinterest. I have amassed more than 10 whole pins in two years, and I like Pinterest for the way I get to see other people’s creative ideas. I discover double-sided screws and that someone has taken the time to list all of the current white paint colors with yellow undertones — Yay! But too much of it is the same. I mean, room after room, versions of same. I look at the decor photos and my brain goes numb from lack of interest.

Everything has been ‘updated,’ which loosely translates to ‘Used to be warm, is now cool.’

Dated is a very strange word to me. Dated is old, but so are vintage and antique. Dated is old and undesirable. Can I tell you a secret? If you wait long enough, dated shit becomes cool shit again. If you like it, just keep it. I don’t care if it’s a fanny pack or a macrame plant hanger, if you love it, keep it! Be authentically you. Be cool or uncool. Or be uncool before being uncool is cool again.

(I really want some macrame plant hangers, by the by. I finally have a cat that destroys plants. You can all laugh now. Some macrame plant hangers would really cheer me up…)

When people walk into your house, they should get a sense of who you are. If I walk into your house and all I see is white, gray, and black, hanging words, and painted furniture, I’ll know you are a person who spends too much time on Pinterest, and that you do not appreciate the colorful flowers I’ve brought to your Basic Bitch abode.

It’s never surprising to see a ninety-year-old woman wearing a printed headscarf and bright lipstick. We say that look is dated, it shows her age. It’s true. Yet it’s always delightful to see a nineteen-year-old woman wearing a printed headscarf and bright lipstick. You know why? Style.
Style is real thing. Actual style doesn’t go out of style, it just is.

Hurrah for people who still embrace the sweet curves of their Queen Anne pieces! Hurrah for people who still buy Eichler homes! Hurrah for people who still love their Tuscan kitchens! None of these things are my style, but I honor them all the same.
The Conclusion

Basically, not to sound like some kinda Home Decor Hipster, but don’t take on every trend. Pick the trends you like. Keep them as long as you like them. They’re all going to become dated, but are they still your style?
Do not listen to your contractor when he tells you no one does this, or everyone is doing that. If you’re going to live in it, make it what you want.
Follow the rules, break the rules, enjoy the journey. Abandon popular opinion as needed.
Drive yourself insane with color choices and coordinating textiles and wood grains. Lie awake at night wondering if you should recover that chair in stripes or plaid. If anyone suggests gray everything, just slap them silly.

That’s where I am now, in the weeds, wondering if I’ll ever get anything just right, thinking about Oxford Gray for the master bath…

Still, homogeneous should never apply to your aesthetic.
The Inquiry

Do you have a good sense of your personal style? Do you have a single room that is now perfection? Do you love something uncool?

Posted in Personally | Tagged , , , , | 68 Comments


It’s absolutely beautiful outside today. It’s 63 and sunny. I drove us over to Aldi for a few things, and when we were leaving, we decided to get some White Castle. It’s not our fault they put the White Castle RIGHT next to the Aldi.

Beautiful day for cruisin around, windows open, music playin, “Ah, glorious.” I gladly steered us into the drive-thru line. So happy!

Until the panic came.
Moo was first, “OH MY GOD!”
“No my God, Moo,” I tsked.
“OH MY GOD! I’m gettin out!”
Sassy turned around, “What? OH MY GOD!” and she opened her door and got out.

Do I even need to tell you I got out, too? If it’s makin the children get out of the car, I’m not gonna sit there and die of whatever it is that’s makin them leap from the car and dance around.


Fuckin Yellow Jackets, Man.
I fuckin hate all the fuckin Yellow Jackets.
I’m allergic to their stings and they know it. They are devious, aggressive beasts that try to look like innocent honey bees, all the while plottin my demise.
Wasps in bumblebee clothing, that’s what they are. Fuckers.


I am the adult, right?
I’m supposed to have a plan or somethin, right?
I’m sure you’re right, but my initial plan was somethin like  i really love my car, but we’re only about three miles from home…

Fortunately, a knight in shining truck behind us stepped in to save the day. While I’m sure that all of our blasphemy and hopping around was adorably entertaining, he announced he was too hungry to wait.
In an incredibly brave move, he swiftly threw a hoodie on it and rastled it about. Then he picked up my umbrella and announced that the fucker was no longer in the car.

exactly like this, but nothing like this

exactly like this, but nothing like this

We all thanked him. Profusely. Possibly to a creepy extent.
We got back in the car, rolled up the windows, and sat in silence, grateful for our lives. Fuckin Yellow Jackets, Man.

Then I paid for his lunch when I paid for our snacks.

The man SAVED OUR LIVES, but the employees at White Castle thought I was the nice one for buyin his lunch. Pshaw.
He was shouting, “Thank you!” so I tried to shout louder, “NO THANK YOUUU!”

$6.40 is a whole lot cheaper than a trip to the ER, and the hospital’s more like 7 miles from there.

On behalf of all of us who are terrified of bee stings and epi pens, I salute those of you who would chase away a bee for a crazy stranger.

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#Thursday Doors — Revamp

Back at the Old Northside, where older homes are frequently restored or revamped, I came across this work in progress:


When I first saw these doors, I thought, aha! these people have purchased beautiful new doors!
*whispers* I’m astounded by how many spectacular homes have front doors as dull as the one on my own run-of-the-mill house. Why would anyone take the time, spend the money, endure the headache of rehabbing a home and then just stick some sad, tiresome pre-fab door on it?

Anyway, upon closer inspection of this soon-to-be painted home, the doors appear to be old. Seems like the bottoms have seen better days, don’tcha think?

revamp_door (2)

Either way, I love them! Just look at that doorknob! I can’t wait to see what this old beauty looks like when she’s all made up!
*whispers again* I hope they paint that porch ceiling light blue, don’t you?

#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.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 34 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — On Censorship

When presented with objection to my children listening to certain songs, I said, “If Moo announces her presence by sayin, ‘Yo motherfuckers, what’s up?’ then I may consider censorship.”


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Grandma’s House

My mother shared this meme yesterday, and I had a hearty lol.


But, my first thought was, that’s because your grandparents didn’t have a lake house.

In an instant, the word ‘childhood’ takes me back to the feeling of catching my breath as my chest heaved against the warmth of the wooden dock, water dripping from my pruned fingertips, trees swaying like fans overhead. I’d stay out long enough to get hot, to feel the skin on my nose crisping, and then I’d dive back in.
Quickly enough, that memory leads to others. Fishing, chasing crickets, catching butterflies, fireflies. Snapping beans on the swing. Woodpeckers, ducks, and loons. The smell of burning leaves. Collecting leaves and acorns. Fireplace popcorn. Playing Chinese checkers, rummy, cribbage. Riding on the open tailgate with my cousins. Opera. Chocolate mayonnaise cake, warm apple pie, hot breakfast, chipped beef gravy, small glass bottles of Coca-Cola and cold ham sandwiches, black plums. Perry Mason and old movies. Worn afghans and crisp sheets.
Ah, Grandma’s house.
Grandma’s house was magical.

This time of year, I always miss Grandma’s house. Sometime this month, I will drive over the river and through the woods…I will drive up and down all the winding wooded roads that lead to Grandma’s house. I will scare my family to death taking those curves, which I know like the back of my hand. They’ll forgive me for that, and for waxing nostalgic, because the fall foliage is particularly spectacular there.

browncounty2013 037

It’s bittersweet. The unchanging scenery pleases me and somehow puts me right. The absence of my grandparents pains me. I cannot walk through the door and take my place at my grandmother’s knee. She is not there. It breaks my heart every time.
Still, I feel like my presence is requested. I must pay homage. It is, in a way I cannot explain, a homecoming of sorts.
It makes me so grateful to be home.
I never tire of being grateful to live here again.

Do you have such a place that holds happy memories? Are you called to visit?

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Troll Talk: A Summary of Our Lunch Chat

Everyone’s always goin on about the search terms that bring people to their blogs, and mine are boring. People love pretty pussy and I get a lot of traffic for combating head lice. I got somethin last week about head over ass, but that’s about as interesting as it gets. However, I do get bizarre, mean, and lewd comments and emails. I just don’t approve them or respond.
It’s best not to feed the trolls.

The Mister complains of verbal trolls in his online class forums, “They never pick a battle. They pick all the battles!” he says. I laugh. We commiserate on how some people never do learn not everything is worth a fight, or how it’s okay to let sleeping dogs lie, or rather, to let people walk around thinking what they think like the idiots they are.

The Mister’s perspective differs slightly from mine, because I think about young people from a teaching standpoint.
“Isn’t it nice that life hasn’t beaten the passion out of them yet?” I ask. We laugh.
I think even cynics can agree, no one likes a person who plays devil’s advocate all the time. No one likes a person who will come at you, guns ablazin’, purely on the basis of semantics.
Not everything is a See Something Say Something moment.


When I was little, my father read “Three Billy Goats Gruff” to me with all the voices. I loved it. I had no idea that I would so often encounter trolls as an adult.


The joy robbers, the thunder stealers, the pick-up artists, the one-uppers, the hyperbolists, the martinets, the nit-pickers, the @-ers, the haters, the weirdos — at least they keep things interesting as we cross the bridge to eat the tasty grass. Prolly not a lot of adventure in Utopia…
How many Anonymous Trolls live in a utopia?

Lemme tell you, we’re not livin in a utopia and Anonymous Trolls think the whole damn internet is their bridge.


Anonymous Trolls tell me I’m self-absorbed, illiterate, a dirty whore, nobody, a narcissist, an alcoholic, a shitty mom, a redneck, a precocious child. Anonymous wants to do me on the beach in Sarasota. Anonymous feels bad for my husband, because I am a selfish cow. Anonymous tells me my food looks gross, and that I am the ugliest blogger on WordPress. Anonymous says I lie about my age, have cold sores from sucking everyone’s dick, and that I am an attention whore. Anonymous wants me to know I am exploiting my children and exposing them to immorality, and that I will burn in Hell. Anonymous tells me my eyes are beautiful, my skin the perfect canvas for his ejaculate, sends me links, offers to come to Chicago to photograph my feet.

Sometimes I think Anonymous Trolls know me and use my Contact Me like an honesty box to avoid confrontation. Most of the time, I think Anonymous Trolls are strangers without impulse control. Online, you never can tell. Catfish, you know.

This is how The Mister and I got to the One-Liner that will never be Wednesday’s:
“Oh my God, you’re not one of the guys who wants to see my tits, are you?!?”
“No, I am, I just don’t email you about it!”

Then we laughed and laughed.


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Spooky Author Trailer

Those of you who’ve been reading me a year or more long time know that sometimes I get involved in 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween, which is a once-a-year site where 13 authors write 13 pieces, one per day, in the 13 days ’til Halloween.

Here’s the trailer for the authors this year:

I’m excited!

As usual, the pieces won’t be posted until the 19th, but all the ones from previous years are still there. You could spend a cold autumn day (I’d never read em at night!) reading all those stories and poems. Even if it’s not cold, you might want a blanket to ward off the creepy!

Posted in Personally | Tagged | 11 Comments

Good Job, Friday!

Oh Y’all, this day!
I loved this day!

It started kinda wonky. Moo had shots yesterday and she was puny last night, so I let her sleep in this morning and gave her the option of stayin home. We took Sassy to school and then Moo was bored for about five minutes before she asked me to sign her in late. I’m not sayin she had a fever last night, I’m just sayin The Mister said she was a little warm and he did not use a thermometer, so we have no way of knowing if she ran a fever, and even if she did, she ran it as a result of her shots and not because she is incubating a contagious disease! OKAY?!? (Parents of school-aged children understand.)

Then I ran errands.

It was in the high 50’s and ever so blustery!
I wore fleece! And yoga pants!
I rolled down the windows in Bonnie Blue!
The wind whipped my hair!
The radio station played all the best songs!
The leaves are turnin and blowin all around, y’know!


shameless car selfie

shameless car selfie

Sweater weather has arrived! Time to hang up my big hat, hm?

Did you know McD’s is now serving breakfast all day? I got my fountain Coke and a sausage Mc fing! To the bakery! To the party store! To the vape shop! To the grocery! To the Cracker Barrel (They have Cheerwine!) To the toy store!

I drove all around the northeast side of town. I live in the middle. There’s great stuff all around and nothing is far, but the big things are either north or south of me. Ya’ll, I don’t know where the fuck anything is. I know, it sounds strange, cause I’ve lived here pretty much all my life, but I’m gettin old and stuff moves. Lately I find myself sayin things like, “Well it usta be over there by the big cemetery…” and “Oh my God, when did they go outta business?” and the other day, I asked a man if I could still go inside to get drinks and pay for my husband’s gas. Like, is that still a thing you can do? With cash?

I had the nicest deli lady today. On the chart, the finest slice is called SHAVED.
I held a door for a couple, and the woman told me she was jealous her husband has a walker, and now she wants one, because people always open doors for him.
I had a fascinating conversation with a man from Mississippi. He thinks it’s “cold as balls” outside and thinks maybe he needs to bring that stray cat inside before it freezes to death. I guess no one has told him what winter’s like here, but I wasn’t gonna be the messenger.

Did all the good things, chatted all the nice people, drank all the tasty drinks. I had SUCH a good day!

When’s the last time you had a day like that?

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#Thursday Doors — Twin Tulips and Repeated Arches

I stumbled across this door on my way to lunch in Broad Ripple on Monday. Isn’t it charming? I love the repeated arches. I tried to get it at an angle and distance where you could see the spruces arching over the walk.
Someone would probably try to tell me those aren’t tulips in the stained glass, but I’ll not be having it. I’m me and those are definitely yellow tulips!


#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 — That Wasn’t a Sneeze!

I turned to Sassy to ask what was with all the sloshing noise, “Is Moo doin dishes or givin herself a sink bath?!”
“I dunno.” Sassy sighed and then tilted her head back and barked as loudly as she could, “Moo-Mae!”
“Bless you!” Moo hollered back politely.

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Be With Someone Who Doesn’t Like Your Nuts

Yesterday’s Daily Prompt was about soulmates and it was asked, “Who is the yin to your yang?”

I started writing about it yesterday, but life got in the way. I brought this up with The Mister today. It turns out, we’re on the same page.
I said the word soulmate is abused and never lives up to expectation. He said the term soulmate is overly romanticized.
We nodded and nibbled on our cheese curds.

I said I don’t think he’s the yin to my yang. but that his sister is.
“I think Drew is the yin to my yang.”
“I agree.”
“Do you really?”
“Yes. You’re opposites.”
“We are.”
“And it’s easy.”
“It is so easy.”

Honestly, I have no idea how on earth Drew and I have maintained this friendship for close to thirty years. I guess we both enjoy diversity, learning, and thrift stores, but I cannot, for the life of me, explain how it works.
I am heavy snow and she is desert dry. I am plain white and she is embellished black. I am acerbic and she is sweet. I am clumsy and she is graceful. I am awkward and she is cool. You know how people do — She is Marilyn Monroe and I am Eleanor Roosevelt. She is Elvis and I am The Beatles. I mean, just, pound for pound, could not be any different.
Now and again we find we’ve read the same book or bought the same shoes, and there’s an eerie pause.
And yet, if there is anyone I could be convinced is a soulmate, it’s Drew.
So if you go by the theory of yin to yang, then she’s my yin. And trust me, she’s the yin — she’s far more feminine.


But if you go by Aristophanes per Plato, then The Mister and I are much more likely to be two halves of one. I dismiss this theory on grounds that it’s limiting to sexuality, and he rejects it on the basis that he’s tired of philosophy, but it still fits us better than yin-yang.

We’re very much the same. Way more same than different. Enough same that it is not easy. Enough same that we get plenty of friction, which must surely account for the bulk of our chemistry. Passionate, strong-willed, eager, intense, deliberate, honest, cutting.
On the same side we’re a bit Dynamic Duo, but on opposite sides, we’re volatile and make other people frightened uncomfortable.


I don’t know what the deal is with that, but sometimes we get heated and if we stop long enough to take a breath, we find the room has cleared out a bit and those who remain look stunned. This makes us laugh, of course, and then we resume our discussion.

As a fatalist, I choose to believe The Mister and I were played by kismet. Looking back on us, it seems obvious, although I promise it didn’t at the time. Like, we were just really good friends and then all the sudden we were this.
Still, I don’t think of him as my soulmate.
I was happy without him. I wasn’t walking around in search of my missing piece. I know I personally wouldn’t want the pressure to fulfill someone in every way. That sounds needy, suffocating, and quite frankly, scary as fuck.

Kinda dangerous, we think, all the attention given to The Search For The One True Love. Suggests there’ll be someone who ticks every box and fills all the holes and makes up for everything else. I just don’t know anyone who has this. I know plenty of real love, real marriage, which translates to real work for real bliss.

Don’t get me wrong, The Mister makes up for a lot that I lack. He has strong hands and he can math and pack a car. He can schmooze all the people and reach all the high shelves.
(More importantly, FOOD! He likes the nuts I don’t. He eats the hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews, leaving me pistachios, walnuts, and pecans. He’s always happy to take my frosting, or eat the soft center of brownies. What? A lot of marriage is sharing, y’know!)

We both agreed, the implication that one must find a soulmate is rather limiting to the experience of love and kinship. I have encountered many kindred spirits in my life. Perhaps they were all destined to share my journey for a time. Surely all of them have enriched my life.

aristotle quotes - Copy (18)
What do y’all think about soulmates? You got a yin or a yang? Got a different theory?

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Much man. Very taco.

I was reading about Dan’s youthful chicken-eatin days, and it reminded me of the time I invited a giant to come eat all of our tacos.

I hesitate to say I was once in love with the giant, but I certainly thought I was then (1996). I was deliriously happy, probably insane, whacked-out, on a cloud, just completely deluded. I dunno, when I look back on it, the whole affair leaves me with the faint impression of blind madness. I don’t think love is a blur of skin and heat…
I used to think he smelled like mayonnaise.
It was beer, OKAY? It was so much beer. Like, so much beer that his skin oozed fermentation. I didn’t figure this out until long after I got that 12-Step Call months after he disappeared. The 12-Step Call included, “I’m sorry, but I treated you so much better than the other girls. I really care about you.” I remember thinking it’s not that you were bad to me, you just up and moved to florida. I have since labeled relationships like this as Crazy Love. Crazy Love always ends in the most surreal ways.

Anyway, at some point, years later (1998) I ran into the giant’s dad and asked about him. His dad said he was good and happy and sober and stuff. His dad passed my inquiry onto him and he called. We chatted briefly and he came over. I offered Tori’s leftover taco stuffs. There was enough taco stuff that Tori, little Pie, and I could have eaten on it for the entire weekend.

Until the giant showed up.

He ate all of the taco stuff.
He was a big guy. He was more than a foot taller than me, twice my weight, and not fat at all.
A taco was two-three bites for him.

When I saw this, with some sense of horror, I remembered how he’d eaten cereal from a mixing bowl, how he ordered three cheeseburgers at a time…

He ate all of the taco stuff.
No more tacos.
Tacos all gone.

It was like I invited a giant into our dollhouse, he sat down at Tori’s tiny table, ate all of our tacos, and somehow this surprised me.

Much man. Very taco.

I fear I cannot convey this well enough, and I have ‘Painted’ you a picture.

unless you're my mother, you are really impressed with my picture.

unless you’re my mother, you are really impressed with my picture


This post is part of LindaGHill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays — SoCS

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Stupid Nosy Stuff

I used to love these things. I love the tidbits you uncover about people, especially the things in common — OMG Yellow is your favorite color too!?! or the unbelievable things about others, like, someone actually hates rice?!? Is that even a thing?

Josh did this the other day, and I wanted to have a go.

  • What time is it where you are?
  • What one superpower do you wish you could have?
    Unbreakable Immune System
  • Are you lonesome tonight?
    Today? Ever? No.
  • What are you wearing?
    One of The Mister’s old shirts and jeans. Aren’t you lucky I’m going out today? Hah.

    lookin like my father today

    lookin like my daddy today…

  • Any big plans for the weekend?
    Yes! I’m not going to set an alarm for two whole days! Oh the sleep I will sleep!
  • Are you in love?
    I am. It’s terrible.
  • Do you have a crush?
    No, I have dozens. I have boy crushes and girl crushes and intellectual crushes and voice crushes and music crushes and writer crushes and you just would not believe how crush-y I am.
  • Does that person know?
    No, none of them know. That’s kinda how crushes work.
  • If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
    Someplace colder. Someplace where I wear many layers and clutch hot coffee and the wind whips my hair. I bet Maine is nice right now. Nova Scotia. Argentina. Antarctica. No, not Antarctica, I’ve not heard anything good about the food there…
  • What one book would you most want to read on a deserted island?
    A book about the slow demise of anyone who would ask this sorta question
  • Cats, dogs, or both?
    Both. I am a cat person though. I think I may actually require a cat in order to live. But I love dogs. Especially my dog. My dog is the best dog ever.

    she does not look like her daddy...

    she does not look like her daddy…

  • Favorite time of year?
    I like any time the highs are in the 50’s and the lows are in the 20’s, precipitation is a plus. Fall is nice, but right now it’s still in the freakin 80’s.
  • Favorite hobby?
  • Do you get along with your parents?
    Mostly. The three of them are all very deeply flawed whereas I am perfect.
  • Do you believe in love at first sight?
    Yes and No. I think there’s a soul’s recognition sometimes and sometimes that might lead to romance and even lifelong romance, but I also think sometimes it’s a thunderbolt of attraction, because lemme tell you, people know what they want as soon as they see it.
  • What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
    I slid about six feet down an icy sidewalk at the crowded shuttle bus stop on McKinley Avenue, skirt over my head. Like a skirt bouquet, whoosh!
  • What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
    Survival? I dunno.
  • Are you missing anybody right now?
    Yes. I miss everyone, because no one is here right now.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
    Super old and wrinkly, like white-haired with crosshatch skin, but with clear eyes and capable, if twisted, hands
  • Do you have a celebrity crush?
    Yeah — but not like, screaming, shrine building, obsessive crushes…
Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

Gnocchi for Prajakta

Last month, Prajakta asked for a picture of the gnocchi. Here’s tonight’s gnocchi, Prajakta!


Gnocchi never look like much, do they? You can’t tell by the photo that they taste like dreamy lil pasta pillows.
I only like to make gnocchi maybe once a year, because it takes hours and I make it makes a huge mess. They do not freeze well. They do not reheat well. It’s all about the fresh. Alone, gnocchi have a delightful texture, but they’re quite bland. I like them with butter sauces. Tonight I tossed them into a very simple sauce of butter, tomatoes I gutted and crushed by hand, and fresh basil leaves. I added salt and some grated mozzarella. Om nom nom!

This is a dish that inspires The Mister to make grunt-y man noises, talkin all “Gurrrrl, Oh yeah, Baby, Mmm, Fat Boy Likey.” But it’s not for everyone, I guess; Moo still doesn’t like it.

Do you like gnocchi? Do you make gnocchi? What sauces do you like on it?

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#Thursday Doors — Old Cafe-Curtained Garage

As I mentioned before, the doors around here are quite dull. They’re almost all versions of the same common insulated exterior door, pretty much like my own dull door.

Like any other large city, Indianapolis is divided into communities or neighborhoods. This morning, I found a nifty map of it.

some of these are actually on a real map, and some of them are just spoken titles, but here they are

some of these are actually on the city map, and some of them are just spoken titles, but here they all are. i kinda want one of these…

I ventured away from my own neighborhood and hit the mother lode in one block of the Old Northside. I now have months of doors. I think this neighborhood could easily yield an entire winter of doors. Thank you, Old Northside, for being interesting, diverse, and beautiful.

Of course, I’m me, so which one do I like best? The old, worn wooden doors that seem out of step with the rest of the neighborhood. And just look at those pavers!

The door was unlocked and cracked just a smidge. I am curious, but I resisted.


#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 — Strange Wisdom

When The Mister and I were gettin serious, I asked my friend Mick if he thought I’d do a good job raising children that weren’t my own.
He asked me, “Can you make a delicious baked potato if you’re not gonna eat it yourself?”


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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The Taste of Home

Yesterday, I made this tortellini soup.


The daughter of my old friend, Tori, no longer with us, asked me for the recipe. Y’all know I don’t really do recipes, but I sent her directions.

The power of a good soup is in the fat. This soup would be good with standard chicken broth or bouillon, but it’s delicious because of the chicken drippings from a previously roasted rosemary chicken. Three days before I made this soup, I collected the drippings and placed them in a covered stock pot with herbs and onions and let it all sit for two days in my fridge. I learned that from Fairy Godmother.
In my own words, “It’s in the fridge, gettin all good.”

Anyway, I gave Pie (no that’s not her name) the directions for the soup. She thanked me. Then she said she remembers her mother made pizza soup, which she always loved, and asked if I knew how to make that, too.
I do.
I remember it, too.
Tori wasn’t much on recipes, either. I gave Pie instructions. I told her it isn’t chicken and tomato base, but rather beef and tomato base, and that her mother did not use string cheese, but she tore apart balls of fresh mozzarella.

Tori was a phenomenal cook. When we lived together, we cooked together, and sometimes fought over who would cook, because we were always in foodie heaven competition. We held a lot of dinner parties.
I miss her salad. I think we all miss her salad. I must have watched her make that salad a hundred times, but no salad I make, no matter how delicious, will ever taste as good as Tori’s salad.

I found myself overcome with emotion.
There’s our collective loss of Tori — then there’s Pie’s loss of her mother — vastly different.

I was thinking about how my mother and others are still, to this day, fraught with how to make this one dish my grandmother used to make.

I was thinking I still don’t know how my MIL makes that sweet corned beef gravy…

I was thinking about the revelation I had when I figured out the secret acidic component in my mother’s perfect pot roast.

I was thinking about how even when I make my mother’s perfect pot roast, it isn’t as good as when she makes it. It’s yummy, don’t get me wrong, but I can tell my mother didn’t make it. I suppose one day my kids will make my mother’s perfect pot roast for their kids, and their kids will love it, but it won’t taste like I made it.

This is often the case, isn’t it?
Maybe my family isn’t trying to flatter me when they say I make better sandwiches. Maybe it tastes better not because of how I made it, but because I made it.

I let Pie in on this because I don’t know if she knows. I’d hate for her to sit down to a bowl of disappointment. I told her no one can ever match the taste of their own mother’s food, but eating it always brings back a sense of home.

That’s the way it is with food. The recipes we share and pass down, they connect us to our loved ones. We aren’t just making food, we’re sharing that person with others.

What dish gives you that taste of home?


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En Route — A Rant

If you looked at the texts between The Mister and me, you’d be bored to tears because it’s exactly what you’d expect. Boring married parent stuff, with loving, sexy bits and occasional rants.


You’d find that almost every day, there’s a message from him with the same exact words, en route. Whether he’s at work or school or on an errand with the children, he lets me know when he’s on his way home. That’s so nice.

Except —

You know how when you started using written communication en masse with people, you realized they can’t spell?


Okay, but then there’s the flip side where you’ve read the word, but you don’t know how to say the word?
Well, Everyone In My House Says In Rout And It Drives Me Absolutely Fucking Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I’m still trying to get them to pronounce syrup the same way I do, as well as teaching them they couldn’t care less, because could care less implies they care some, and I don’t need the added pressure of en route!
It’s on root — onrootonrootonroot. Not sometimes, all the time! It’s just on root, and like you don’t get up and pee in the on suit, you are not in rout.

There, I feel better now, don’t you?

Gah, at least they don’t type it out as on root. There is that.

This post is brought to you by LindaGHill and the Stream of Consciousness.


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Learning To Ride a Bike

You know those memes about first kid, second kid, etc?

Here’s one:

People who take care of smaller people all day do like to utilize their intellect for something, and may well perform psychological experiments on the job.
Over the years I’ve observed children, I’m willing to admit to having made harsh and rash judgments about the intellectual capabilities of five year olds based on their ability to play checkers. None of my assessments are wrong, mind you, but they are harsh and rash.
Other times, I’ve simply been the observer of behavior and drawn my own conclusions — as with our kids learning to ride a bike.

Before we were married, FIL taught Bubba to ride his bike. It took some serious time and commitment over many glorious spring afternoons. This seemed to be a sort of rite of passage for him, and my in-laws were so excited! their first grandchild! learning to ride a bike! so big! I’m sure MIL has photos of this and would love to tell you all about it.
At the time, I taught kindergarten, and I thought, pfft, he’s supposed to learn how to ride a bike, not exactly brain surgery! so I didn’t really take the epic drama in, more the nod and smile.
We bought Bubba at least three bikes. We refused to buy a fourth bike, because he took his third bike apart, destroyed it, really, in order to ‘make modifications’ and that is not our fault, now is it?
He rode his third bike everywhere, right up to when he murdered it. Despite my well-meaning neighbor telling me to keep my kids where I could see them, I let him have free rein of the entire addition.
(I remember saying to my neighbor, “They’re 10 and 12: they’re not gonna be happy to play sidewalk chalk and hang out in the kiddie pool all day!”)

We moved to a house in the burbs and bought Sissy a bike. Tired of waiting for her father to put the training wheels on, she learned to ride it without any help from anyone. The Mister jokes that no one wants Daddy to teach anything, cause Daddy’s a mean teacher. He’s not wrong, but I think this was more about independence. Sissy was a tough chick, even at the ripe old age of six, and she was already maxed-out on stubbornness. She came in and announced to me, “I can ride a bike now.” So I went outside and watched as she rode up and down the driveway with ease. That’s how she does. She just does things. Fiercely independent.
Sissy never got into riding a bike, even after we got her the awesome purple bike she asked for. I rode her bike. Her sisters rode her bike. She preferred to walk.

moo, age 7, on sissy's cool purple bike

moo, age 7, on sissy’s purple bike

When Moo was two and Sassy was three, well, Sassy was already size 5/6 — I bought her a bike with training wheels already on it, and Moo a tricycle.
Well, Sassy wheeled around like a lil old lady on a Sunday drive. I walked faster than she rode her bicycle. My Gawd, the patience I had to have. She rode so slowly, she could barely get up the graduated ramps on the curb. I raised her training wheels bit by bit. Every time I raised them higher, she’d get on and say, “Ooh!” and stop when she tilted. She tottered along at a snail’s pace, smiling, with her princess helmet and her sparkly tassels glinting in the sun.
Meanwhile, Moo drove her tricycle like a bat out of Hell. Moo was one of those kids who needed a helmet to ride a tricycle. I’m not kidding. She’d spin around in the garage like Damien and I’d have to tell her to stop, my nerves just couldn’t take it.

When we went out, I’d try to convince Moo it’d be much nicer to ride in the wagon, but she’d have none of that. So I spent a lot of time chasing tricycling Moo. Y’all know I thought about tying a rope to the back of that tricycle, right? “Wait! Stop there! That’s far enough!” Meanwhile Sassy would be half a block behind us, grinning obliviously, stopping to wave. For years this went on.

One day, I watched as Moo, age four, picked up the bike of the girl across the street, hopped on it, and rode it. Just like that.
After that, Sassy asked me to take off her training wheels. Because if Moo could do it, she could, too. Sassy taught herself to ride in a short time, but like Sissy, she never loved it, and Moo took over her bike.

If you’re like me, these bicycle stories tell you a lot about their personalities, and ours, don’t they?

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#Thursday Doors — Woman’s Divorce Castle

This lil stone cottage isn’t too far from my house.
In an area that’s comprised mostly of post-war housing with little variation, this little cottage and its plain white wood door stand out. Around here, any door without a storm or screen door stands out.

I apologize for the blur, but in my defense, the morning sun was unholy bright and Sadie was pulling me toward the squirrels.


Decades ago, in what seems like another lifetime, I delivered pizza to this house and got to see the inside. It was candlelit and cozy, with its stone hearth, stained glass windows, and choppy wood floors. There were books and plants in abundance. The cottage was so feminine and dreamy — throws and pillows and lace strewn about. I could only stare and “Wow.” I told the owner how much I loved it. She thanked me and told me she bought it after her divorce. She said it was her Divorced Woman’s Castle. She said she lived alone and she could do whatever she wanted.

I knew exactly what she meant, and I’ve never forgotten her home or her words. She was, for ten to fifteen minutes on a cold winter’s night, one of the warmest, most authentic, captivating women I ever encountered.

That other lifetime ago, and for many years after, the lawn was impeccably kept. Flowers and herbs surrounded the cottage, and potted plants spilled from every man made surface outside. Every time I drove by, I thought of her and wished her well. She left a real impression on me.

It’s still a lovely home, but there’s no sign of her there. No sign of her green thumb or her joie de vivre. She would never have chosen a plain white door, pretty as this one may be.

#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 — Moo Words

When Moo was seven, she carried a cantaloupe into the living room and asked me to make her some cattermelon.


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Can People Even Find You?

If I were in the habit of giving advice about blogging, I’d write a blog about it. I am not in the habit of giving advice about blogging, but as a reader, there is this one thing you could do to encourage me to read your blog:

 For the love of puppies, LINK YOUR GRAVATAR TO YOUR BLOG!

Your Gravatar is your profile picture, your avi, the graphic that represents you.

Here’s a photo of your Gravatars and what happens when I hover over my own:


Now and again, I make an effort to check out new visitors to my blog, and so I click the Gravatar photo that appears when people like a post. Sometimes someone likes a comment on another’s blog, and I’ll click their Gravatar and see if I might like them, too. Nine times out of ten, this takes me to a page where I can choose various ways to connect to the person behind the Gravatar.

But! sometimes, this goes nowhere.

When I click my own Gravatar, it opens this page:


Now see, there’s my blog at the bottom.

Too many of you don’t have this set up. I won’t name names, but waffle, planet, guitar — so many more. I click your Gravatar, and I get a larger version of your Gravatar with no website link.

Ah, fair enough. Maybe you don’t have a blog.
But you do. You so totally have a blog and I cannot get there without a link.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the blogless were reading me, only to find out much, much later, it’s another blogger.

If I am really speedy about notifications, your blog will appear under your username when you like or comment, but I am not always speedy.

Go to your homepage, copy the browser window and paste it in the website section with your Gravatar. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your readership. Next time I’m in the checking-out-who-checked-me-out mode, I’ll be able to find you and read you! It will be magical!

You forgive me for taking photos of my laptop instead of screenshots. You expect this sorta willy-nilly stuff from me.

I think I’ll wipe down my laptop screen now, and maybe fill-in my eyebrows, but y’all need to check your Gravatars!


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In Your Face, Me!

I let my husband drive my car once a week.
You read that right.
I LET him drive MY car.

Whatever. Yes, I’m a bitch. If you’re not one of the 12 people who knows my life, you’re really not qualified to judge this car issue.

So anyway, a few weeks ago, I was drivin Bonnie Blue around, doin some errands, and I realized that the thingamabobber said I had like 20 miles of fuel left. I thought I’d be nice and fill her up before The Mister took her the following day. He always fills up my car, because I’m a bad feminist and he spoils me.

I knew he’d appreciate a full fuel tank. Plus, I could pick up some ice. It’d be two fewer things for him to do, and I wanted to perform this kindness. Because, you know, doing things for him makes me seem romantic, which I am not, but his love language is what’s important here.

So I stopped at the gas station. There was a line. Moo said stuff about how she thought I was doing it wrong, but in typical Moo fashion, she didn’t have the right words to convey her knowledge. Like any other self-righteous mother would, I reminded her I had a car before, y’know. And also, for all the time her daddy was gone, I filled my minivan up just fine, y’know.
I waited for a very long time to get to the pump. Then I got out, only to discover the fuel door was on the other side. That’s when I realized what Moo had been tryin to say.
Not one to miss out on being right, Moo said, “I told you!”
“Ah, yes. I see now what you meant.”

I pulled forward to back into the other side, but someone else drove right in and took the spot. Well of course they did. Why wouldn’t they? I mean, I got back in my car and pulled forward. There was no way to signal that I was going to the other pump.

I decided to go park and send Sassy in to get ice. Then I would maneuver back to the pumps, this time on the right side to fill up.

Well, unlike every other place ever, this place doesn’t keep their ice in a chest outside. I watched my child exit the building, walk all around, go back inside, walk around, walk back to the cashier, walk around, and finally, emerge with two bags of ice.

I pulled out of the parking space and went back to the pump. There was another fucking line. I waited another really long time. I chose the worst possible side, because the ones on the other side emptied out faster.

It was uncanny. My timing, my choices — Ugh! Acts of service is like, so much harder than “You look hot in those basketball shorts.”

Eventually, I put gas in Bonnie Blue.

I said to The Mister, “I filled the car up and bought ice so you don’t have to do that tomorrow.”
He thought that was sweet and I got a kiss. GOOOOOOOOOOAL!
Of course Moo wasted no time in telling him how she knew I was doin it wrong.

Then I got a lesson.
I love a good lesson.
The gas gauge actually tells you where your fuel door is.
Did you know that?!?

The Mister said stuff about the side the fuel gauge is on tells you and then he said newer cars have arrows. I was all like, “Wha?!?”

This is Bonnie Blue’s gas gauge


Do you see the arrow?
Pshaw, and I think I’m perceptive.

I had no idea.

Now, I know I don’t know a lot. The more I learn, the more I’m aware of how much I don’t know…But honestly, I’ve developed a small obsession for wondering what else I don’t see, literally, right in front of my face.

Did you know about the secret language of fuel gauges? Have you learned anything completely obvious lately?

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#Thursday Doors — Old Towne Hall

I couldn’t find any information on whether this building was a literal old town hall, used to hold town meetings in a Chicago suburb, but I did find it’s now a venue for weddings and other celebrations.

I like the way the mid-day sun cast a shadow on the door, replicating an arc like the brick and transom overhead.


Something about the stuff in the window above betrays the formality of the rest of it, don’tcha think?
Still, what pretty wooden #ThursdayDoors.

#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 — Oh, The Ickiness of Average

I said to Sassy, “Had I censored your reading, you would not be the student you are now.”

“I know, right? I’d be…” she shuddered, “Average.”

sassy's current pile

sassy’s current pile

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Although my social media accounts would lead you to believe I disappeared over the weekend, I really only went up Chicago-Way to visit with HME. The benefits of visiting HME are always too many to list, but I will do my best.

Time escapes me. While I’m forced to admit we’ve been friends for more than 20 years, while I’m with her, I feel 20. Clocks are not a thing. Years merely translate to wisdom and achy joints, they don’t actually exist.

We also schlep around room to room, jammified and braless.
Packing for HME’s is like, grab some comfy clothes, one outfit in case you have to be presentable, and take your pillow, because at some point, your brain and your mouth will exceed maximum usage limits and your eyes will close. Going to a fully-functioning home is the best trip, because you can pack light. Mr and Mrs HME have coconut oil for Moo’s skin and honey for her cough. They have sunscreen and quilts.

Most importantly there are relevant intellectual conversations to be had. If I put all my and my friends’ interests into Venn diagrams, HME and I have the most overlaps. We talk about art, literature, dance, architecture, music, philosophy, depth psychology, religion, food, education, and assorted social issues. I think and learn more in 24 hours of HME than I do in a week.

There is always delicious food. It’s a foodie haven, as Mr HME is one of my favorite cooks. Mr HME assigned me the task of teaching his betrothed to cook while she lived with me in 1998. I didn’t have a lot of success with her, but she’s come a long way from thinking the oven light switch controls the broiler. This weekend’s menu included pulled pork, smoked and dressed properly, pesto & vegetable pasta salad, homemade ice cream and brownies, sausage biscuits with gravy, beignets, banana bread, rib roast, grilled sweet corn, and my favorite — a countertop filled with assorted cheeses, crackers, veggies, hummus, fruit, and prosecco.

I snapped a photo of the rib roast.
You ever cook anything in a way you hadn’t planned, or substituted something because you’re out of what you meant to use, but it turns out to be better than your original method? Cooking serendipity? This is what happens when you run out of propane and end up using the part of your grill that works like a wood stove.
Behold, rib roast ala HME:



I don’t love meat, and I only had one bite of this because Mr HME shoved a fork of it in my face, but it was delicious. It may have been the best bite of beef I’ve ever tasted. I sacrilegiously seared Sassy’s because she won’t eat it so rare, but as I put it on her plate I told her, “These were happy cows and you can taste their happiness.”

I ate two ears of the sweet corn, though. Ate them like my squirrels do — standing up and gnawing quickly, as if some other larger animal might eat it or me before I was done.

This weekend I was introduced to sipping tequila. My initial reaction to this was confusion. You don’t throw it back and feel the burn, which I think is rather the point of tequila. No, you sip it. I asked, “So does that mean I’ll just take my clothes off really slowly?” Sipping tequila is some sorta liquid ambrosia. Your tastebuds are romanced with a rich complex elixir, until a brandy-like heat coats your tummy and sweet blasphemy escapes your lips. I can’t even.

other drinks wish they were this good

other drinks wish they were this good

We took in the view. We toured a little in town. We sampled olive oils and balsamic vinegars. We browsed an antique mall and ogled the candy store. We took all the children to a toy store where yes, we all played and yes, we all wanted a new toy. I got some iced coffee and took pictures of doors. We walked around for as long as I could endure the heat and humidity.

I had a lovely weekend.
Fed my belly.
Fed my soul.
Almost starved my anxiety.

Today I’m so tired all I can do is yawn and swipe at my watering eyes, but it’s a good tired, y’know?

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#Thursday Doors — Vanity

I’m cheating a lil bit on today’s #ThursdayDoors post, but it IS a door…a re-purposed door is still a door. I mean, it has a knob and everything.

This is someone’s 4-H project for the Indiana State Fair.

I think it’s adorable. Both of my girls loved it and wanted one. I can’t blame them, as I would’ve loved to have something like this when I was young.

This reminds me of when Drew and I were schoolgirls. We spent hours and hours on our appearance. Sometimes it’s hard to remember we were actually people, and not just a mass compilation of big hair, makeup, and clothes!

Drew had a vanity, but I sat a few feet away, on the floor in front of the full-length mirror on the back of her bedroom door. Those are fond memories for me. It sounds vapid, but we actually had a lot of great conversations in front of our respective mirrors. I recall a lot of music and red Solo cups fulla swate tay. I can even remember some of the clothes, most of which we left strewn about the floor…but mostly I remember the conversations.

I don’t do that now — sit in front of a mirror for hours and hours, primping. I gave it up before I even left high school. As it turns out, my mother was right, and I didn’t need all that to feel good about myself.

As I looked at this mirror, and listened to the girls ooh and ahh about it, I had a small laugh to myself. They don’t need all that to feel good about themselves, either.

Then I had another lil laugh to myself: My mother bought Sassy a vanity.

Ah, mothers, they are so wise.
Some things never change.

#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.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , | 28 Comments

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

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 32 Comments