W — for Why are so many people naked? & Which one is a lie? & What’re y’all gonna order?

On a warm May day in 2006, I met my in-laws for lunch.

I recall this day extremely well, because it was a strange day.

Very strange indeed…

I played the game of Two Truths and a Lie with my in-laws when I got to the restaurant.

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“You will never believe me when I tell you what all I saw on the way here, but let’s see if you can guess. I will tell you three things I saw on the way and you tell me which one is a lie.
1) I passed the park where a toddler boy ran away from his parents — he was naked as a jaybird!
2) I drove by a man who was walkin on the side of the road. He wore only jeans and a snake around his neck!
3) Then when I stopped at the stop sign, I was behind two topless girls makin out in the back of the pick-up truck in front of me!
Can you guess which is the lie?”

They guessed and I gave them the answer.

Would you care to play? I’ll give you the answer tomorrow, no lie.

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Very Vexing V

The SoCs for today is vary/very, which is very upsetting as I had hoped to compose a veracious post about the veritable vocabulary of female genitalia, specifically the villainous overuse of the word vagina.

I’m here to vindicate vaginas everywhere. Some people have already stopped reading, and I know some of you may begin to squirm in your seat, but I will count all likes and comments as a victory.

People seem to think that vagina is a good word for any vague mention of a woman’s sex, but verily I say unto you, it’s no better than “down there.”

Vaginas are virtually unseen. A vagina is specifically the interior muscular channel. There’s a vulva before that, and a cervix along the way, but the purpose of the vagina is to get various stuff in and out of the nearby uterus. Vaginas account for a great deal of human intercourse and resulting childbirths.
All recreation aside, vaginas are vital to reproduction. They are serious places that deal with serious issues.

Vaginas do not get waxed, colored, or bedazzled.

Here are some charming visuals that evoke the same reaction:
— Having my colon tattooed
— Buying new lipstick for my esophagus
— Getting my Eustachian tubes pierced, you know, something small and whimsical

When men make mistaken claims about what vicious things they’re going to do to a woman’s vagina, coupled with their tendency to fail at properly finding the various peaks valleys outside of it, we women need to stand up vehemently for our genitalia, and inform them, “That is not sexy! That is scientifically impossible and your ignorance in this matter voids any desire I previously felt for you!”

hipster-ariel

Those men are bad enough, we don’t need women fueling the fire of ignorance, claiming one word covers it all.

I could go on, but this is not that kinda blog.

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U is for Underwear

The purpose of underwear is right in the word. It’s to be worn under what one wears, under being the keyword.

I’m not going to go into my underwear preferences on my blog, but suffice it to say, I’m not fond of underwear of any sort. It’s right up there with shoes and jewelry and clingy kids and anything else you wanna be free of.

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Unfortunately, I am subjected to the underwear of others on the regular. I’d like to say I only see my family’s underwear, but this is not the case.

Our neighbor, bless his heart, is often outdoors in his robe and a bathing cap. In warm weather, boxers with said robe and cap are optional. Now, he will dress before coming to our door, but he feels perfectly free in walking out into the street to chat to me at 7am. Our dog, being eye-level with his free bits, feels friendly and this may cause the neighbor to crouch and pat the dog. It’s very important to look over his shoulder and focus on the texture of his gravel drive. Best gravel ever. Totally sublime.

Fashion designers believe that women and girls only need a zipper long enough to cover our pubic bones. In reality, not all have a tiny crotch and our sex is known for being round at the back, so as females, our options are limited:
— Buy retro clothes or avant-garde pants, thus attaining zippers longer than our pinkies
— Wear skirts and dresses, avoiding pants entirely
— Wear higher-waisted undies and show them off every time we bend over or sit down
— Wear lower-waisted undies and show our asses every time we bend over or sit down

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There is a curious epidemic spreading. No one seems to know how to stop it.
Men are wearing pants over only their legs.
It’s outlawed from stores, it’s fined in towns and cities, boys are sent home from school, but still, when I am in public, I am forced to see men’s underwear and sometimes their bare bottoms. Apparently this trend started in prison, and now it’s all the rage.
You’d think a belt would solve this problem, but they merely use the belt to fasten the pants below their hips.

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This truly fascinates me. I cannot deny, I am truly fascinated. It’s not sexy, because tacky and often, repulsive. It’s not badass, because clearly any man in this circumstance is one-handed, slow, or pantless during a fight…They say it started as a prison trend. How do we end it?

Women have stopped wearing slips. The last one I wore was on my wedding day. I remember this for three reasons:
1. I just got rid of it last week.
2. The women of my wedding party all watched me put it on as I dressed in my mother’s closet “Joey in a slip. I thought I’d never see the day.” I’m surprised no one took a picture.
3. I have a photo of my husband kneeling in the grass, tugging said slip down after the wedding, because my breasts tried to eat it.
You can still buy slips, but most designers have begun adding a layer underneath skirts, so that’s been quite freeing. I never got the point anyway. “I’m wearing this so no one knows I have legs?”
Used to be, you’d whisper to a woman that it was snowing down south and she’d blush and run off to hike up her slip.

We have women who’ve never been educated about how to properly harness their breasts. Yes, all the cheap, pretty bras are for small breasts. No, it’s not fair.

Also? How about wearing the right bra for the top?
Please allow me to introduce you to a variety of bras which may prevent us from seeing your bra straps for the eyesores that they are.

Strapless bras avoid straps altogether. When wearing something strapless, I recommend a strapless bra.

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Here’s another kind of strapless bra, called a bandeau. A bandeau can prevent side boob and comes in a range of kicky colors, perfect for under those oversized tank tops that are so popular.
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Please note, if you are busty, anything strapless will end up as a mere cantilever beneath your breasts, in which case, the answer is NOT to wear a good, but visible bra under clothes that do not cover them. Instead, you should see a woman about a corset.

And finally, behold, the racerback bra, or T-back bra. This is a magnificent bra which can be worn under a tank top of the same shape, preventing the double-strap party of tackiness you take everywhere you go. These come in a variety of styles.

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If you are a woman who doesn’t know anything about underwear, please go to a specialty store, or find the oldest saleswoman in the lingerie section of a large department store.

If you are a man who doesn’t know how to wear pants and a belt at your waist, any adult can help you, even as they fight back their laughter.

If you are turned-on by the sight of other people’s underwear, congratulations, this is truly your time.

If you are into intentionally showing off your underwear, then please disregard this post.

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Transition for T

Are you in transition?

amazing stuff comes from within this mud...

amazing stuff emerges from this muck…

I am in transition.
I am always in transition.
I love learning and growing and having new experiences. I wish the lessons all came in shiny, happy packages, but they don’t.

We humans are such projects.
Can’t be thinking and saying, “It will all be better when…” and worst of all, “I will be happier when…”
No. Not true. I mean, it might be true, but there will always be something else comin directly.

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As I finished up my most recent kitchen project and had a dinner guest an hour later, I thought I should maybe mention that I don’t usually serve store-bought desserts, but we had been standing on and sanding over the baking counter just hours before, and it’s my understanding that joint compound dust is less than yummy.

The house has got to be the ultimate transition item for me. Yes, I did finally hang all the pictures, but I haven’t gone around and put sticky tack on the bottoms yet. Yes, I have only painted and papered one of nine drawers. No, the back hallway trim is still not done. Maybe I LIKE nail holes and visible nail heads!

It’s too warm for big sweaters and boots, but it’s too cool for tees and flip-flops. It’s the in-between time of year where I dress and undress several times a day. Hair up, sweater off, open a window, drink a cold beer, sweater back on, close the window, let my hair down, find some socks, pull up a blanket, make some hot tea — I can’t be the only one.

My yard is also in transition. Second spring here means, “Hey that wasn’t here last year! What is that? Do I like that? I’m not sure.”

Our grass is tall because my husband used his one sunny day off to take me to lunch. It’s not always tall. Okay, it is always tall in April.

Every Wednesday feels like a tiny marital death, because I miss The Mister so freakin much by then. Ships that pass in the night. Don’t ask me about love on a Wednesday, I’ll tell you a sob story, full of despair and agony. “I miss you. Do you miss me too? Kiss me ferrealiously! You smell fantastic! Do you still like my spaghetti? You haven’t found better spaghetti, have you? Is it Thursday yet?”

Until his semester’s over, we only get ONE WHOLE DAY all week to be a family together. We’re pretty stingy with our one day, so no, we don’t want to do x, y, or z with you. When the semester’s over, we’ll see you. Just hang in there.

As I mentioned to Mark the other day, my body is in its spring stage, just like my dog’s. If I were smarter, I’d schedule both of our physicals for July or August, and not in May. Our doctors always see us in transition. “Let’s get her height and winter noodle intake, please.”

Health must count for a great deal of transition. After being sick for a short time last month, it took me the better part of two weeks to feel like myself again. And I’m never truly well, between the arthritis and the anxiety, but I still like to feel like myself.

These are only small things with small impact.
Big things create enormous change, and huge opportunities for growth.
I don’t blog about my big things, but they’re there.

Aw, look at lil me — I’m so naive and blurry…I have no idea what’s coming…I could say that of every single day, couldn’t I?

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Everyone I know is in a transition with something.
Transition isn’t a stage, it’s a continual renewal.

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All the more reason to stop and reflect upon all the things that are just right.

 

DogMeditation

 

 

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S is for Stretching

Since I am a woman I am the target of every hate-yourself-more marketing campaign. I’ve just watched a program that was recorded on Lifetime television, and as I zoomed through the commercials, I can tell you that THEY think I should be worried about getting fit with special foods and snacks, I presume so that I can wear a bikini, possibly one with a floral motif and a matching jumper. After that, I can focus on my falling cheekbones, or apples if you will, feeling embarrassed about peeing my pants during those “Dear Kitten” commercials, and using the best face serum.
Serum?
Serum?!?
Beyond sunscreen and avoiding deformity, I am not worried about my face. It’s a good face. It never launched a thousand ships and it never broke a mirror.

It’s the loss of elasticity that bothers me.
Not my skin, my muscles!

I stretch daily.
I’m flexible — bendy, even.

Age 41 is apparently the age at which, for my body, performing the most mundane tasks can result in a pulled muscle. Or a muscle spasm. Or a catch. Or maybe a charley horse. Generally, after doing something extraordinarily common, say, stepping out of the tub, or fetching my coffee cup from the cabinet, sudden pain sets in, causing me to swear, leap, spin around, flail about, trying to reverse stretch and unfuck whatever the hell just happened. It’s like a sick dance. Poor unsuspecting me.

Yes, I know my body is slowly deteriorating and I’m in for more fun as the years pass by.
Old muscles are stiff. And mine surround stiff joints.
Last year, I learned I should stretch before shoveling snow or raking leaves.
After a lot of yard work, I feel like The Tin-Man, and I’m okay with that.

This particular issue bothers me because it’s inconsistent and random. Like those times when you get up from the table and your knee didn’t get the memo — this has happened to me throughout my life, but it seems to be increasing with age.

Obviously I am wasting my time with traditional exercise. What I need to be doing is exercise that mimics these actions.
For instance, instead of yoga twist poses, I should be imitating these “difficult” tasks ten to twenty times a day.

“Reach for the shampoo! And one, and two, and three!
Stop and pick up that bag, and left, and right, and left again!
High-step that tub!
Change that lightbulb! Turn it, turn it! And again! And one more!”

Do you also do the sick dance of the unsuspecting?

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R is for …

As I’ve written many times, I spent a large portion of my childhood summers at the lake with my grandparents.
I was permitted to canvas a large area of road and woods, presumably because my grandmother had raised four children and knew what she was doing. No one tried to collect me or report me for being without supervision. I had to beware of idiot drivers, snakes, poison ivy, and that lady at the top of the hill, who Grandma said was “not right in the head.”

It was my sixth summer when I got to take my bike to the lake.

someone has pinned a bicycle identical to my own!

someone has pinned a bicycle identical to my own!

That sixth summer, I was allowed to ride my bike up and down the entire drive, no turns, no stops.
Since my perimeter had been extended, I got a new warning. In addition to idiot drivers, snakes, poison ivy, and the lady at the top of the hill, I was to look out for rapists, who might hide among the shrubs, particularly at night.

As a six-year-old, I had no idea what a rapist was.
At this same age, I believed I was skinny enough to slide down the tub drain with my bath water, that my uncle had grown up near a place called Yonder, that the white dots in my fingernails represented lies I told, that spinach would put hair on my chest — and any number of common childhood truths.

I concluded a rapist was a type of critter, perhaps a large one that came out at night with the raccoon and possums, but one that wasn’t the slightest bit afraid of humans.

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I envisioned a furry critter not unlike Cousin It, but with long, sharp fangs and less personality. Something that would chase a bicycle, and with its fearsome bite, tear my feet off at the ankles.

My fear of the nocturnal, hairy, bush-dwelling rapist meant bike riding was best done between lunch and dinner, no exceptions.

(This post was written with humorous intent. If you did not smile or laugh, if you think I’ve made light of a serious subject, or if you’re feeling critical of my grandmother, then you have arrived at the wrong blog.)

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Q is for Qualified

In last year’s X post, I mentioned that I failed playing every instrument after the recorder, and how The Mister is musically adept. I mentioned it again when I wrote a post about Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.

Tonight, Sassy has a thing, where she goes to school and demonstrates her choice of instrument and sings her scales to see where to place her in next year’s music programs. There will be instrument reps there, as well. She’ll be playing cello and I think she’s an alto. That is the sum of my knowledge.

The Mister is better qualified.

I said to The Mister, “I guess you go in at any point during the fing and they spend 30-45 minutes in a getting-to-know-you sorta way with the musics? Then you can talka the people who provide the instruments about buying or renting or whatever. I’m not opposed to taking her. I will take her. But it’s occurred to me that you might be the best man for the job.”
He agreed, which is good, because I also think her boisterous, confident father probably brings a different dynamic than her nervous mother.

I’m moved emotionally by music.
I mean, I cry a lot at music.
Anywhere, at any time.
Particularly instrumentals, which I believe are supposed to be evocative?
I am a total sap.
I cry at concerts, at musicals, and sometimes at movies, as though the director has said, “Cue the Weeping Joey Music. Annnd check!”
When kids, especially my kids, are involved, I can’t even get through a single song. Even somethin happy. “Oh they’re so precious!” *wipes tears*blows nose*
It’s mildly embarrassing to be so easily provoked. I check out the rest of the audience after, so many unmoved. I assume they don’t feel the music the way I do. Or they’re soulless. Whatever.

So I’m not qualified to stand beside my child as she slides a bow across a cello. Instant feelings and memories will smack me in the face. *wail*
“Oh Sassy, that is so beautiful,” *sob*sniffle*snot*gasp* “You are so incredibly talented and I am so proud to you!” *howl*weep*collapse*

That is what NOT to do to your adolescent child.

Anyone else suffer similarly?

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Around the Yard

It’s not quite 60F and raining today.
There’s a part of me that wants to go out and get into the garden. Weeding and dividing are easier when the ground is soaked. I prefer cool, wet days in general, because I honestly prefer the ache of my joints to the burning of my skin, and also, because yellow jackets don’t seem to like a rainy day.
But there’s another part of me that thinks I need to go to the grocery, because responsible parent…
I could easily convince myself that it’s the perfect day to add some perennials and plant my annuals…
So for now, while I’m not making any decisions, I thought I’d share some photos I took around the yard.

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I’m not a good photographer, but some things are so beautiful, they can’t help but photograph well.

I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday, rain or shine!

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P is for Preposterous

When I was carrying Sassy, Sissy was in the first grade. Sissy came home from school and told me she knew how that baby got in there and how disgusting she thought it was. She said a boy at school told her how babies are made and she could not believe I let Daddy do that to me.
I was intrigued, as you are now, I’m sure.

Sissy was forthright in saying that babies are made when the daddy pees into the mommy’s butt.

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I assured her that no such thing had happened.
I cannot express to you how important it is to answer small people sex questions with the least amount of information possible, but let this serve as a warning, the devil is in the details.

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O is for Options

Not too long ago, someone commented that I hem and haw about doing things, right up to doing them, and then I commit fully. It’s true. I hadn’t noticed this about myself, but I had to agree with the validity of it. I was hesitant to do the A-Z Challenge this year. I didn’t sign up until April first.

I hate commitment.

Commitment removes options, and I love options. Up until I signed up, I could fancy myself with the freedom to not write a blog post every day, and to read the blogs of other A-Z’ers. Then maybe I could focus on finishing the back hallway.
Haha.
Or something.

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I just wanted to keep my options open.
Options are the best!
Until you have too many of them.

oh dear me!

I’m instinctual, so I generally choose the right people. I’m moody, so I don’t struggle with menus. I’ve done my share of cookie-momming and carpooling, and I don’t have trouble saying no, so I never over-commit. My mother taught me the hard thing to do is the right thing to do, so I don’t hesitate to make important decisions.

But mercy me, when it comes time to make a purchase! Oh could you please hold my hand?
I need to think about it. The length of time I think about it is in direct relationship to the amount of the purchase, and how long I expect to have the item. For instance, I can choose a nail polish on my own within two to three minutes, but it will take me two to three weeks to choose a wall color, and I would like the input of MIL, Beauty Queen, as well as several random strangers in the paint department.

Places that are bad for me: book stores, the paint chip area, shoe stores, the scrapbooking aisle, the handbag department, the fabric store, garden centers — I will have it all! I cannot afford it all? I do not have room for it all? Oh Woe Is Me! Let me look at everything for another hour and then I can maybe winnow it down a bit. Oh The Agony!

options

Do you resist commitment? Do you struggle with too many options, or are all your choices easily made?

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N is for Hot Nacho Cheese

N could be for all kinds of things I like, although it took me half the day to think of anything worth writing about, and to some, hot nacho cheese is still a questionable topic for blogging, probably only chosen because it’s lunch time, but I’m goin with it.

When I was a kid, I lived in a small town that had a small town pizza chain.
Did I love pizza then? I don’t remember. I do know that since as far back as I can remember, I have never liked pizza the way other people love pizza. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always eaten pizza, and when I do, I like thin crispy crust and I like it sliced into squares. I know. What I really like on my pizza is Italian sausage, onion, mushrooms, green peppers, and black olives. I know. No one else wants this, so I eat sausage, and since I only ate pepperoni when I was pregnant, I peel the pepperoni off and lob it to the dog. I know. I also prefer it cold for breakfast the following day because I think pizza is better cold than hot. I know. Now you think I’m downright un’Murican.

round-pizza-cut-in-squares-chicago_thumbDon’t even think about takin one of those triangle pieces. Those are all mine!

Anyway, even as a kid, in the small town with the small town pizza franchise, with its pizza cut the way I like, I still preferred their hot ham and cheese sandwich. *wipes away drool*
Imagine it: an Italian roll, sliced open, toasted in the oven, then piled with thinly shaved ham, and nacho cheese poured on top. Not just nacho cheese. Hot nacho cheese. Jalapeno cheese. Spicy-oh-it-burns-but-I-must-have-s’more-cheese. They sliced it in half, and rolled it in foil. The crust was crunchy and flaky and made crumbs everywhere. You had to eat it in the foil and lick your fingers a lot because it was messy good.

Years ago, The Mister and I stopped in my old small town to pick up these sandwiches. Which were nothing like the sandwiches of 1985, and y’all, the cheese wasn’t even hot. Not caliente, not picante.
*sigh*

Our local pizzeria is independently owned. They make nice flat pizzas, with the square cutting, so when I do order, I like to get a giant pizza that can barely fit through the front door.
This last time I called, they had a special, so I also ordered breadsticks and cheese. I don’t eat breadsticks and cheese, but my kids love them. As I was takin Moo’s lid off, I licked my finger and —

ZOMG Y’all! Our local place has the hot cheese! The same hot cheese!

y'all know this is not cheese, right? is cheese-flavored oil, or cheese-flavored product, not actual cheese.

y’all know this is not cheese, right? it’s cheese-flavored oil, or cheese-flavored product, not actual cheese. you know that, right?



I was so deliriously happy about the freakin hot cheese!
omg it’s sooo good! oh my tongue is burning! must drink more soda! omg it’s sooo good!
I dipped and omg it’s so good-ed right down to cheese all gone. All gone cheese.
*sad face*

I have been craving that damned cheese for over a week now. I should not eat that. It’s not even real food…

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But if you know me at all, you know I’ve been thinkin about delicately placing thinly shaved ham on sliced Italian rolls and picking up some hot nacho cheese. You know, just to support local businesses…

Do you have fond food memories that cannot be replicated? Do you want to come over for hot ham & hot nacho cheese night?

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Don’t Play with Matches — Letter M

When you have kids, you spend a lot of time teaching them not to tattle. You hafta be careful with this, because you want to keep them safe, but you also do not want to hear their complaints all the livelong day. You want them to shut up and learn to work out their own conflicts.
Early on, you teach them, “If it’s not hurting anyone, you’re tattling.”

You also say things like, “Don’t play with matches,” and “Don’t put anything metal in the toaster,” but with less frequency than you say, “Stop tattling.”

Sometimes kids are conflicted though, so they come home and they say somethin like, “Um, no one is hurt yet, and I’m not sure this is tattling, buuuuuut, Ginny is playin with matches…and um, I think that…um…”
And you are out the door! Gone to hunt Ginny down! You’re gonna have a chat to Ginny about Smokey the Bear!

Smokey-The-Bear

The twist comes when you reach nine-year-old Ginny, who tells you her mother said it was okay for her to play with matches.
On a military installation.
In the summer.
On grass as dry and brittle as my patience for other people’s children.
You are suspicious of Ginny, and you ask her, “Why would it be okay?”
Ginny’s mom said it was okay, because she was only playing with matches outside.
Gee, thanks Ginny’s Mom. So long as she doesn’t burn your house down, it’s fine. Never mind the rest of us, livin here in the middle of the PINE FOREST!

Now you hafta go talk to Ginny’s mom. This could go either way. Ginny’s probably lyin, and her mom will probably freak out, too. But you know, in the back of your head, that Ginny’s mom could be a real piece of work. She could end up yellin at you, tellin you it’s none of your business, and to mind your own kids.
Then you’ll hafta call the MP’s because it really is not okay for kids to play with matches, anywhere…and, and…
This is really more parenting than you planned to do today! And oh my God, it’s soooo hot outside! Why Ginny lives so far? Why I gotta live in Georgia?!?

As it turns out, Ginny’s mom is a freaker-outter, too. Aren’t you relieved?

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L is for Lazy

Yesterday, I woke up at 10am feeling great and I had an extremely productive day. Go Joey, Go!

I told The Mister last night, “I won’t be doin any housework tomorrow.”
“Okay.” He looked around, “The house doesn’t need to be cleaned.”
“You’re right, it doesn’t. I’m just sayin, those two shirts won’t be ironed, dishes won’t be done, not bakin any bread.”
“Okay.”

Today, I woke up at 10am feeling great, but having a completely different plan.

My plan for today?
Hehe — to be LAZY!

Today, they all went away.
I was all alone.
In the quiet.
For hours and hours.

With coffee and carrot cake.
I baked that last night. Cause I like carrot cake for breakfast. Just scrape the icing off onto the next slice, and it becomes a square muffin.

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I painted my nails a new color, called Ginger Zinger. I like it. It’s coral and springy, but cheerfully subdued.

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I read the draft of a friend’s novel.
I reported this to The Mister, who has been reading Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia for the last four days. I said, “I read a book today.”
“Of course you did.”
“Yes, I read 761 pages, 161,000 words. Took me the better part of seven hours.”
“Uh huh. I hate you,” he said.
I like to brag to him about things I do better or faster than him, because I have low-skills-esteem in comparison.

lazy

I didn’t shower. I did brush my teeth, moisturize, and put on clean pajamas — because lazy, but still a woman.

I dipped my pita bread directly into the hummus container, but I did put the olives in a bowl.

I didn’t do any dishes. Hell, I didn’t even put any clean ones away!

lazy1

I did make the swate tay today, because depriving these people of swate tay is akin to depriving me of soda.
As we all know, that IS how housewives become prostitutes.
“Who do I hafta screw to get a goddamn soda?”

lazy4

Dinner?
I’ll eat bales of shredded wheat, thanks.
The girls will apparently eat fortune cookies, yogurt, oatmeal, bagels, honeydew, bananas, and clementines.
I’m roasting The Mister a bagel sammich while I write this post and drink my Cheerwine.

When’s the last time you had a lazy day?
More delicious than carrot cake, ain’t it?

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K is for Keeping Up

The fact that I’ve already written this post and WordPress failed to save my draft is no help.

I have trouble keeping up with all sorts of things, social media being no exception.

I do best at Facebook, because my family and closest friends are there. I’m connected to fewer than 150 people which means I generally interact with the same 20 people all the time. I love those people. They’re my original Facebook friends, the original cast, you might say, before everyone and their brother was on the Facebook, wanting to friend you for who knows what reason.
Plus, Facebook has word games.
I love word games.

I don’t understand Google+ but I have a page there. That I almost never use. I’d tell you how many people are in my circles or how many people added me to their circles, but for the sake of argument, let’s say I understand the mathematics of actual circles better than I understand Google+ circles.

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I love Twitter, but I fall behind there.
At the beginning, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could expect to develop relationships with strangers through a series of 140-character spurts, but now, if I skip a few days from Twitter, I actually miss people I’ve never met, whose names I do not even know. And y’all, when I log in, I am so glad they’re still there!
I follow about 2500 and am followed by about 2800. It is impossible to read all the tweets of 2800 people. I have a list of about 170 people I like, and who I have a general sense of — I swing by now and again.  I have a list of 18 people I adore, whom I really should read daily.
The other 2600 people? I really don’t have a clue wtf they’re going on about, and I’m not sure they do, either.
On Twitter, I lol and cackle and chuckle and grin and snort and lmao and pmsl, and sometimes tears of laughter stream down my face.
I like to laugh.

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Instagram is a nice, easy, drama-free app, but I struggle with Photo a Day. Sometimes I open the topic of the day, I roll my eyes and say, “Fuck you ‘#4 Inspiration,’ I don’t even feel remotely inspired.” I worked at finding the right thing, but sometimes I couldn’t find the right thing, so I’d take a photo of somethin kinda lame just to have a photo of the day.
Same with tags. Honestly, I do not enjoy taking the #sds (stop, drop, & selfie) on the regular. My #sds pics? Joey generally wears the same ten shirts, (white, blue, pink, or black) wears the same three hairstyles, (messy up, messy down, or straightened) and pretty much goes to the same three places every day (living room, kitchen, and yard.) I don’t change enough to make a daily selfie even remotely intriguing. I enjoy the selfies of others, but I prefer posting pictures that narrate my life.
I like pictures of flora, fauna, and food.

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Which brings me to WordPress, where I follow 366.
Compared to the number of people who follow my blog, that’s really low. But you cannot tell me you read every single post of 100+ followers. I mean, you could tell me that, but I’d think you’re lying. Some people post multiple times a day, and some of those posts are so long! If I read all the blogs of those I follow, I’d be chained to WordPress!
It’s not a matter of “I’ll follow you and then you’ll follow me.” For one thing, anywhere there’s a follow option, that means that people follow solely to get follows. On WordPress, plenty of people read two or three posts, like them, make a few comments, follow you, and you never see them again.
I read people who don’t follow me, and who probably never read me. I find great new blogs regularly, which means I start using my time to read those blogs and spend less time reading some other blogs. I regularly follow and unfollow. That’s how it goes. It only seems right that people pick and choose.

I am a persnickety bitch.
I prolly won’t read your 2000-word post about the joys of pregnancy. I prolly won’t read your re-blog. I definitely won’t read anything particularly gory or erotic. I’m not especially interested in fiction unless it’s flash and I don’t give a fuck about your god.
It’s not personal.
I read what interests me.
You should, too.

Maybe you enjoy my nature posts, but you hate my liberal rantings. Maybe you love my rants, the more profanity the better, but if you hafta read one more boring post about a fat fucking squirrel, you will gouge your own eyes out. Who should I aim to please?
Uh, me, cause it’s my blog.

I am here to enjoy my life.

This post is a metaphor for relationships, occupations, and lifestyles.

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Life is short even if you live to 100.
There’s an abundance of choices.
Act accordingly.

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J is for Jour

Jour means day in French.

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I took French from 7th to 12th grade. My high school French teacher was demanding. She was so demanding that although I was her assistant for my elective as an upperclassman, and she was one of the great mentors of my life, I consistently earned low marks in her class. (Well, low for me.) We had daily verb quizzes. We wrote papers. We read French classics.

Unfortunately, for two years in high school, I had French right after lunch, and much of my French class memory involves Madame saying, “Jolene, levez la tete.” She said my name like Zho-lynn which was tres adorable. She meant for me to raise my head, but my rough translation would be, “Stop zoning out to the lullaby that is my sing-song voice before you drool onto your notes.”

Madame was such a demanding teacher that when I took my placement test in college, I nearly tested out of my minor. Meaning, to earn my French minor, I only had to take six hours (two classes) of French. She was that good.

I took French for seven semesters in college. I wrote more papers, I read more classics, I studied French history, I went to Quebec for immersion.

I was twenty-seven years old and helping my neighbor’s daughter with compound words in English when I realized, for the first time that bonjour literally translated into good day.

bon = good
jour = day

Le duh.

Have you ever been late to discover the obvious?

This post is part of LindaGHill’s SoCS as well as the A-Z Challenge

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I is for Ignominious

Do you recall when or where you heard or read ignominious for the first time?
I do.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter taught me the word ignominious. Sure, it’s scattered here and there in literature, but I’ve never actually heard anyone use the word ignominious. Hawthorne uses ignominious and ignominy throughout the book. They are essential words to the text.

In high school, I had American Lit with one of the most dynamic teachers in the world.
Despite ignominious. And all the other nearly unusable vocab from that book.

I did not know, at 17, that The Scarlet Letter would become a running joke with me, or that the word ignominious would haunt me forever.

You would think that having once read The Scarlet Letter, one would write a paper or take a test and be done with it, as is the case for most high school students. But if your course of study is English Education and your name is Joey, then no, you will suffer The Scarlet Letter endlessly, like catching every illness you’re exposed to in your first few years of teaching.

You must study The Scarlet Letter again as an English major. Maybe even twice, because once in American Lit and again in a writing class, because your prof is obsessed with Puritanism. But perhaps even more, because practicums.

You see, before they hand you a teaching license, they make you practice teaching. I don’t mean the lengthy period of student teaching, which is more like an internship — I mean early on, visiting many schools, teaching gobs of classes in your field, in what feels like a random, haphazard way.
Every time I went to a high school, it was Scarlet Letter time. Fall, winter, or Spring, where I went, I happened into teaching The Scarlet Letter. Sophomore, Junior, Senior, no matter, I would be told “We’re doing The Scarlet Letter.”
It was uncanny. After the second time, I thought, “No no, there’s no way the third time will be The Scarlet Letter.” When it happened the third time, I said, “Third time’s the charm, surely it won’t happen again.” When it happened the fourth time, I questioned God, “Is there something I’m not learning here?!?”

I didn’t even flinch when I got my first high school English sub job and walked into a classroom where the movie poster hung in the center of the blackboard. “Ah, we meet again.”

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And again, and again. A is for AGAIN! 

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I could easily list the vocab in alphabetical order without so much as looking at the book, if that tells you anything.
I think Moo is a lot like Pearl, in case you’re wondering how deeply this book is burned into my brain.
I see Dimmesdales everywhere. They like to send dick pics on Twitter and frequently ask for selfies.

Friends began gag-gifting me copies of The Scarlet Letter. I kept one copy. From MIL, circa 1997. It’s merely a small token of my great burden.

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Have you ever heard this word spoken? Do you like Hawthorne? Tell me without fear of reproach.

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H is for Humor

People are always laughing at me.
I love that.
Then they apologize.
That upsets me.

Duh, I wrote it to be funny.

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Sometimes I think people must think I’m fragile, as they apologize for laughing. You can laugh at me all you want, I sure do. My sense of humor is quirky. If your sense of humor isn’t quirky, or if you stand on the side of the fence where sarcasm and profanity are said to be crude tools for a dull mind, then stop fucking reading me, you dimwit!

Humor heals. If we don’t laugh at our miseries, they win.
I don’t think laughter hides pain, I think laughter is a way to treat pain. It doesn’t take much effort to find the pain in humor, but it takes great effort to find humor in the pain.

I’m not saying there’s humor in every situation, but with the right spin…

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Go Google the health benefits of laughter. Hell, some of us are alive solely because we’ve laughed our way this far!

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G is for Good Morning or…

This morning began before five.
Moo knocked on the door and said she didn’t feel good.
I lifted my covers and invited her in for a cuddle.
She didn’t feel too warm.
I thought maybe she had a bad dream.
Her heart rate wasn’t too fast.
It felt too early to be awake and too late to go back to sleep.
Birds were singing.
I sent Moo back to her bed.
I tried to sleep more.
The Mister’s alarm went off.
The sheets were deliciously cold, how they are when you sleep with the windows open.
He came to kiss me goodbye, but didn’t turn on the light.
The faintest bit of dawn eked in.
I never fell back asleep, but I did lie there, enjoying the sheets.
Got some coffee.
Took Sassy to the bus stop.
Moo is still puny.
I took her a bucket, and some watered-down apple juice.
A storm has come in.
My mother sent me a text, “Batten down the hatches!” she wrote.
I’m a good kid. I shut the windows almost all the way.
Now I wonder if there will ever be a dawn today.

I think the sheets want me back.
They probably want to watch tv with Moo and me.
After I eat some breakfast.
Doesn’t toast with butter sound good?

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F is for Furniture

As I sit here, on my loveseat, I’m fully aware that it’s time to clean the upholstery again. (Like three months ago!) Not my favorite task. It makes me miss our old brown couches. We were idiots then, when we bought a new sofa and loveseat and donated our old brown couches.

Our old brown couches were comfy, even after seven years of abuse, they remained soft and squishy and quite nice on the tushy. They were stain-resistant, super easy to clean. Was the wood trim separating from the fabric? Yes. Had the seams ripped, creating an abyss where things could never be reclaimed? Yes. But oh, so comfy.

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When it came time to replace them we’d planned to buy leather, but we lived so far from a major city, delivery charges were absurd. Actually, local delivery for a mattress was $300, not that I paid it. People with trucks and an hour to spare can be bribed much cheaper, but my point being, we had limited selection when purchasing our new furniture, since we had to stay local.
Then when we went to the local furniture dealers, we never found a single leather sofa that we liked the look and feel of. It was as though you could have style or comfort, but not both. We were sad.
We bought new furniture with cloth upholstery, and we loved it. Briefly.

New furniture isn’t so new anymore. We began to hate the sofa around 18 months after we bought it.  Oh we still love the way it looks, but not how it feels. Although they are a set, made and upholstered by the same company, the sofa just isn’t holding up as well as the loveseat. And while you may be thinking that the sofa gets more use, that’s not it. It’s simply not made as well. It’s not an uncomfortable sofa, and for that we are grateful, but it’s not as comfy as old brown couches were.

I hate shopping hindsight, which often goes with hating shopping in general. If I’d known how well those slacks would wash and wear after two years, I’da bought two more colors. If I’d known how that $30 rug would be utterly destroyed by its first run in the wash, I’da bought somethin else. If I’d known how much we’d regret giving away our brown couches, I’da paid to have them reupholstered.

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You may remember I am all about purging, keeping only things that are useful or beloved. I seldom regret giving something away. Y’all know how I love some good Feng Shui, but those couches…
I can’t get rid of our sofa because it doesn’t spark joy — it seats 3-6 people depending. You know what won’t spark joy? Having my guests sit on throw pillows, or carry around their dining chairs. If anything, I need to add two more chairs to the living room!

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What this experience with the sofa taught us is that we are not good furniture shoppers. If sitting on the sofa, the price of the sofa, and the brand of the sofa are not reliable ways to trust in your sofa purchase, then we have no clue how to shop for furniture.

Here, we have a Furniture Guy. Hopefully one day, Furniture Guy will lead us to making a satisfying sofa purchase. After all, Furniture Guy sold us those brown sofas.

Do you hate shopping hindsight?
What do you regret getting rid of or replacing?

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E is for Enlightenment

No, no, I’m not going to tell you how to become enlightened — like I can even claim to possess such divine knowledge. Do I seem remotely enlightened to you? Am I free from worry? Hah! *cries*

Enlightenment

I am a student of life.
I dunno why we’re all here. I do hold the opinion that there is a purpose for everything, but I wouldn’t go so far as to quote Ecclesiastes.

I’ve had gobs of enlightening experiences and epiphanies, and what I’ve discovered is that they do not transfer.

I can tell you certain truths which may be considered universal, but they only resonate with those who are ready to hear them.

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Until we’re ready, truths remain unknown.

Here’s one right now: Spending just 20 minutes a day in silent contemplation will change you.

I am hesitant to use the word meditation, although I call it that. The word meditation seems to evoke anxiety and confusion for many people. People get hung up on whether they’re doing it right, or berate themselves for inability to focus, or wonder if they need to chant, or have a guide, or listen to specific sounds, which really only adds stress to a situation that should be stress-relieving, and therefore defeats the purpose.

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There isn’t really a right way. There are methods, there are schools, there are types, and you will figure it all out when the time is right. The time will never be right until you begin.

Just be still. Turn off your ringer. Don’t talk. Close your eyes or stare at something beautiful. Think what you like. Don’t push things from your mind. Watch the images in your brain change. The number of scenes, memories, burdens, words, thoughts, and feelings will overwhelm you. Over time, the rapidity of the images lessen. The thoughts and feelings change. The words slow down. You change.

Like anything else you’ve ever done in your life, it might feel challenging and uncomfortable the first time. You may get distracted by the ticking clock, or the dog gnawing on a bone, or that chirping cricket. It may take practice. You may give up.
When you are ready for change, and open to possibility, you will find that 20 minutes of your day is a worthy commitment. Like flossing, or exercising, or prayer, or anything else you do on a daily basis, you might skip a day here or there, and your results will vary accordingly to your practice, as things do when you don’t allot time for them.

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I do not promise enlightenment, or revelation, or even the tiniest epiphany. I can’t say you’ll find any deities or answers. I don’t promise more synchronicity or freedom from your body. I can’t say you’ll reap benefits in terms of spirituality or health. But I do promise people have experienced all of these things because of meditation.

I have struggles like everyone else, some shared, some completely my own.
Ones I share with others are better and worse because there are always people to talk to about them.
Ones I carry on my own are better and worse because no one tries to talk about them.
See how that works?

It doesn’t matter how big or small, universal or personal your struggles are. Meditation is free, it’s self-contained, it’s tidy.

The answers really are within you, and I hasten to add, the answer is often acceptance.

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Did you need to read any of this today?

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Oooookay

Breaking from my tradition of disturbing people with my heathen tendencies on their holy days…

Okay, just one picture…

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…I decided instead to make rude commentary about other bloggers, from a completely secular standpoint.

The blogosphere is weird, y’all.

Since the first of the month, I’ve been perusing the blogs of other A-Z participants. I must have looked at more than fifty new blogs just yesterday.

At least half of them weren’t doing any A-Z stuff. Some of them weren’t even blogs. Some were those ad sites, filled with pop-ups for entries to win free stuff, and sign up here crap. There were others who had a blog like the favorite of all bloggers: “I’m rich and you can be rich, too! Start here to learn this simple four-thousand-step process to getting rich off your blog!” Some were merely links that send you to other sites.

I also found some crazy ass shit. I wandered into Scary Twitter last week. Scary Twitter ain’t got nothin on Scary Blogs. Oh Unholy What!? Insanity. Bizarre, unknowable madness. For those of you who’ve never wandered into Scary Interweb places, count your lucky stars. Scary Interweb is where something is so strange it must be a joke, so you keep reading, waiting for the punchline, or the piece that ties it all together, but it only gets stranger and stranger — not in a poetic, beautiful way, but in the way that frightens you and reminds you that some people are truly tormented by mental illness. As you squirm in your seat, you reconsider whether exorcism might be a valuable tool after all, and how maybe you should never be kind to strangers ever again, in case they think these things you’re reading. *shudders*

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A surprising number of bloggers can’t write. I mean, they can’t string together a coupla coherent sentences. With posts full of misspelled words and an incredibly shocking number of subject verb disagreements, I sought to know if they were not native English speakers. Ah-nope! They all were. And of course, usually American.

Those who could write didn’t necessarily say anything, and reminded me of students who try to make two-hundred words out of nothing. That left me in the position of trying to comment about nothing, to let them know I’d come to read, but then, I didn’t want them following me back here, now did I? They might see you can write and follow you back to your blogs, too. No one wants to be Blogger Zero, the person who brought crappy to WordPress.

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There’s a fine line between weird and boring.

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I did find a handful of great bloggers, and I was sorta like that girl who finally has a good date after ten rotten dates… “OMG I LOVE YOUR BLOG AND YOU’RE SUCH A GOOD WRITER AND LET’S ALWAYS READ ONE ANOTHER FOREVER AND EVER!” (I was usually dating that guy, so I get it.) My enthusiasm for people who can write, and with whom I can make connection is genuinely euphoric.
But you get it, right? Cause that’s why you’re here and that’s why I’m reading you.

Thank you. Sincerely.

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De Bunnehs & De Baskets — Letter D

Mr and Mrs Bunneh had a romantic, fluorescent-lit dinner at the place of the best homophobic chicken sammiches ever. As Mr Bunneh put all of his pickles on Mrs Bunneh’s sammich, and tore open her ketchup packet, she blushed at his chivalry.

Since Mr and Mrs Bunneh were alone, they admired the little bunnehs of others. Mrs Bunneh looked at the screaming kits in the playland and smiled smugly about how she no longer carries kit socks in her purse. She dipped a waffle fry in her ketchup and felt glad that not a single Bunneh was now 54″ or shorter and would evermore be too tall to play in the playland.
Catching sight of a kit in electric blue and neon green Ray-Bans, Mrs Bunneh paused to compliment his taste and then asked Mr Bunneh, “Don’t you think Moo would look good in those glasses? In raspberry and neon orange or somethin?” Mr Bunneh agreed.
“AW! Look her wellies!” squeed Mrs Bunneh, when she saw a tiny kit in light up rain boots!
“Too cute,” chuckled Mr Bunneh.

Mrs Bunneh asked Mr Bunneh to drive around Glendale to capture photos for Grandma Bunneh, but that made Mr Bunneh’s fur stand upright with ire, so Mrs Bunneh did her level best to snap photos as they left, grumbling ever-so-snidely, “I tolerate Jesus shit and rifle through the woodpile of The Back 40 looking for the perfect sticks for your mother, but whatever, my mother asks you to join her in drinking the occasional Bahama Mama, poor guy.”

Mr and Mrs Bunneh donated a box to the Goodwill, and hopped off to Target to collect all the bunneh basket fings.

Having begun motherhood with two kits, Mrs Bunneh is a frugal occasion shopper who enjoys buying items specific to each kit. While she admits that occasion shopping is costly when one has a single kit, most of her occasion shopping has been done for four kits, and so she still carefully assesses each purchase to make the most of things.

Mr Bunneh, high on the thrill of chocolateeverything hurled one confection after another into the cart, shouting with glee, “One for me and two for them and one for you and two for me!” And when asked his opinion on chocolate bunnehs, did say something about buying Reester bunnehs for the kits, and then hoarding all the Reese’s eggs. When Mrs Bunneh reached for the Cadbury mini eggs, Mr Bunneh said he already got those, “SEE?!?”
And Mrs Bunneh did see. That he had been collecting enough candy to satisfy all the kits on the block. As Mrs Bunneh put the Cadbury creme eggs into the cart, she spotted another box of Cadbury creme eggs already in there, so she began to put hers back, but Mr Bunneh shouted, “No! Leave it! Now we can all have two!” The twinkle in his eye both delighted and scared Mrs Bunneh.

Mrs Bunneh enjoys a bit of chocolate as much as the next bunneh, but she is not, at any time in the foreseeable future, going to consume three peanut butter eggs, a quarter pound of mini eggs, ten mini peanut butter cups, and two creme eggs. Mrs Bunneh could puke thinkin about it, really.

Mrs Bunneh prefers her empty calories come in the form of Coca-Cola and ice cream, which is why de Bunnehs went to DQ, and for the first time since they were teenagers, went inside to order. De Bunnehs noted that the DQ looks nothing like it did in 1989, but now it has wi-fi, so Mrs Bunneh commented that she could work on her novel there, and be lifted out via crane when it’s completed. Mrs Bunneh is certain that Hawaiian Blizzards, blue slushies, and hot fudge sundaes are all inspirational and that they would keep her cool through the entire summer.
Mr Bunneh merely said, “Mmhm.”

my mother made these baskets.  no no, i put the stuff in, she literally wove the baskets.

my mother made these baskets.
no no, i put the stuff in, she literally wove the baskets.

Our kits are officially rotten now, and there’s a ton of candy NOT IN DE BASKETS! What do de bunnehs get up to at your house?

This post is both A-Z for April & SOCS for LindaGHill

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C is for Commissary

The dictionary would have you believe that a commissary is a restaurant. That is not the definition for millions of military families. The commissary, or the com, is a grocery store on a military installation.

If you have a military id that allows you access to the commissary, you can shop tax-free. Except, there’s a surcharge, let’s say $7.55 on $150 spent, which feels a lot like tax, hm?

We have commissary privileges until sometime this summer. We’ve slowly increased our shopping at other stores, not just because we can’t shop at the com forever, but also because commissaries are open fewer days and shorter hours than other grocers. Also, we’re not out in the middle of nowhere, we’re in the city.

However, when we lived at Ft Stewart, highly isolated from city life, >hold me< we used the commissary almost exclusively, venturing out to other grocers only when we couldn’t find something at the com. Like black-eyed peas on December 31.

I started using the commissary while we were still in Indy, but our com on Ft Ben is much less used, considering we probably only have a coupla thousand soldiers at the finance center. (DFAS)

While we were in Georgia, there were tens of thousands of soldiers stationed there, not counting retirees who stayed local. This meant that the com was usually crowded, and certain days of the month were to be avoided at all costs. Of course, it takes a few months for this information to register in your brain, and when it finally does, as you stand 30th in line, at the back of the store, holding 80 pounds of toddlers, next to some granddad veteran, makin small talk, sayin, “Sure glad I got paid today. Really didn’t wanna fish for my dinner tonight. Haha! Man, I love fishin. Y’all ever go over to…” the light bulb goes off: OMG WE ALL GET PAID ON THE SAME DAYS. i must never come here on payday. ever. 

that shit is real, yo

that shit is real, yo



And it becomes a thing.
Avoiding the commissary on payday.

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B is for Baby

Moo was an ugly baby.
No, it’s true.
When Ross told Rachel that ugly baby judges her, I’m pretty sure he was lookin at Moo’s picture.

that lil black n' white could be moo. lots of moo's photos were taken in black n' white

that lil black n’ white could be moo ~ lots of moo’s baby photos were taken in black n’ white — or later changed to sepia…

Moo was red, like the red of storybook devils. She had some mean lookin lines on her forehead, like she was permanently pissed off AT YOU. She had enormous black hair that would not lie down, like Don King hair. And I don’t mean that’s how she came out, I mean that’s how she stayed for months and months. It is apparently true that if you birth an ugly baby you will not love it any less, but it’s a lie to say you won’t know it’s ugly. I knew.
Mothers of ugly babies know their babies are ugly, they just don’t care.
Day Two with Moo: omagosh this baby is ugly and no one is going to love her right. i will overly love her. i will love her so much.

The other day while we waited for our ice cream we were cuttin up about it. Moo was giggling and snorting and kicking her leg with laughter, so I assure you, she’s over it.

“I know she looks like an angry sunburnt bear, but she’s actually a tiny human.”
“Why is it so angry?”
She says, “I hate it here! I hate the world! The world is stupid and cold!”
“Your baby needs Botox!”
“Whatever you do, do not take off its hat!”
“The hat is there for your protection!”
“I’m just grateful people think she’s a baby, who cares if they think she’s a boy?!?”

Fortunately, during colic, Moo screamed her crazy hair right out (while I pulled out my own) and around six months, she began to look specifically humanoid and approachable.

Don’t worry about Moo now. She’s got my mother’s Seminole skin. She’s got nice thick lie-down hair, the color of caramel.
She’s vain.
Mothers of beautiful babies know their babies are beautiful, they just don’t care.

Do you have any ugly baby experiences you want to share?

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A is for Anything I Want

Last year’s A-Z was such a pleasure, because I wrote each letter as it occurred to me. Mostly I wrote about my favorite things, like yellow, and umbrellas. According to my search terms, everyone loved Pretty Pussy Cats Perching *achem* yes, yes, or parts thereof. I wrote all about anxiety, and I think that post must have been helpful, because it’s still read often.

This year I thought about a culinary theme, but I didn’t want to write a post about xanthan gum. I thought about a travel theme, but I’ve never been to Zimbabwe. I considered lifestyle, but then I didn’t think I even had twenty-six things to say about lifestyle. So I went with what I do best, personally, which is wing it as I please.

Join me as I plunge ill-prepared into Anything I Want.

Anything I Want today is everything, all the time, forever, which is what I said to The Mister when he asked me what I expected from our marriage.

The Mister always did ask me the worst questions, like “Where do you see this relationship going?” I will follow you to the ends of the earth.
And so I did.

He still asks terrible questions now, like “Where would you like to go eat?” I would like to have eaten at three places we’ve long since passed, so now I’d like to go where they have cocktails the size of my head.
And so we did.

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Does this cocktail look like Anything You Want?

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The Doors (and not the groovy kind)

Some of my fellow bloggers post pictures of beautiful or interesting doors on Thursdays. I’m over here writin about door fail on a Tuesday.
Home improvement bloggers are all, “It’s such a relief to have changed all my doorknobs to oil-rubbed bronze!” and I’m all, “Bitch, you don’t know my pain.”

What can I say, I enjoy not quite fitting in.

Old houses come with quirks. That’s part of their charm.

All of the doors in this house have charm.
All. I’m not exaggerating!

Before we’d really moved in, The Mister and I had been keeping long hours at the house, painting and cleaning. One afternoon, we lay down on our mattress-on-the-floor to take a nap. When I woke up I realized we were locked in our bedroom. IN. As in, the lock is in the hallway!?!

omg omg omg lemme out!!!

omg omg omg lemme out!!!

Huh? So we should ask the kids to lock us in when it’s time to sex? Fortunately, The Mister got us out and fixed that right away, but the door still doesn’t make good connection with the jamb. If we don’t lock it, the wind can open it.

A week or so later, we discovered we hadn’t been given all the keys to all the locks. How did we find that out? Well, we got locked out of our own house, that’s how. And not just any ol time, either. No, we found out we were locked out late at night, and we still didn’t have wi-fi, so finding a locksmith was a real struggle.
We got a new locking doorknob on the front door around midnight that night.
Still doesn’t change the fact that the deadbolt is ridiculously hard to turn, or that the storm door is hung opposite the actual door. That’s right, the handles are on opposite sides.

locksmiths charge more after 6pm you know

locksmiths charge more after 6pm you know

That’s why we often use the back door, where at least the handles agree with one another. Of course, the locks on that door are unbearable to someone with arthritis, and they also turn the wrong way. Or one of them does. I dunno. I struggle. It hurts. I get confused and flustered. Maybe one of them is upside-down, or they’re both upside-down and one is backward. Did I mention it hurts me? Additionally, the tension spring has come off the back storm door, and it’s slightly crooked, so ya gotta kick it — it’s called a kick plate for a reason. Then when it opens, you gotta latch it, or the kitten will run outside. I’m advocating a keyless entry and no storm door.

I’m also in favor of removing our beautiful-but-painful porcelain tile back there, because the door is so flush to the floor, we can’t have a properly-placed rug. Sill the crooked door features a gaping hole in the corner of the frame. It’s great for those days when you need an arctic breeze, or when you want to host a June Bug family reunion.

The pantry doorknob constantly fell out, and I didn’t have a pretty enough screwdriver, so we bought a new doorknob and The Mister replaced it.

About a month after living here, The Mister re-hung the bathroom door and shaved off several crooked slivers from the bottom. It’s so much better. Now it almost opens all the way, and it closes properly. It won’t lock. It gives one the curious impression that it’s locked, but it is never locked. It doesn’t latch properly enough to lock. Talk about a false sense of security! It’s so not latched, that if one of our pets wants to watch you do whatever you’d like to do behind closed doors, you have no choice in the matter.

Door to the master bath has a lock that doesn’t work, either.

at least we can close ours...

at least we can close ours…

It’s a good thing we’re not really a closed-door type of family, especially since most of the time it’s just us girls. We respect closed doors and always knock, but when we do want privacy we often make announcements about it. I’m not even kiddin.

Three-out-of-five sets of sliding closet doors were removed right around the same time, because they didn’t have floor tracks installed to keep them in place and re-hanging them was a bit constant and therefore maddening. Honestly, downright dangerous to Moo, who could easily be injured by heavy falling doors.

Sassy’s door had a crack in the jamb, which I fixed and then The Mister re-fixed, and her lock doesn’t work, either. Additionally, when you open the door, it scrapes across her plush carpet with resistance, because it’s hung a bit low.

Moo’s door has a charming gap under it. Her lock works, of course. Moos love to run to their rooms, slam and lock the door, and cry themselves to sleep before dinner’s done, so that they can wake up at 0430 and try to nap as their sisters get up for school.

The hallway closet also has a large gap under it, which is where the wood floor stops abruptly, with much ugly.

i guess they had the same floor guy!

i guess they had the same floor guy!

The laundry door features the same gap, and is a bit tricky to close. Gotta give it a bit of a slam. This isn’t hard for me as I’m often eager to release some anger when dealing with laundry, cat boxes, the furnace…

In the kitchen, we have a broom closet, and it works properly. Okay, it swells noticeably in the summer, but wood does that, and a lil soap on the edges helps. The cute thing about the broom closet is that it locks from the outside. You know, in case you’ve got one of those brooms or mops that like to sneak out at night and work without you. A girl can dream.

Even our garage doors have charm. By charm, I mean, they need to be replaced.

wow. okay, ours is better than this one...

wow. okay, ours is better than this one…

Hey! I think the shed doors are good!

We’ll probably live with these charming quirks for years to come. We probably won’t ever replace the doors in the back hallway. They’re old, solid wood beauties.

Do you find some quirks more annoying than charming, too? Do y’all have door issues? What home projects are lowest on your list?

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A Mother’s Love — Spread the Love Challenge

It’s not that I do not write poetry, it’s that I do not share my poetry. I don’t write it for anyone, but today I did, per my assignment from Prajatka, at An Armchair Perfectionist, who challenged me to Spread the Love/ Love in Ten Sentences Challenge. I accepted, although, I found proper sentences to be quite a strain, so I used lines instead.
I like rules because I like to break them:

1. Write about LOVE in ten sentences of four words each

2. Share your favorite love quote

3. Nominate fellow bloggers

frog in my hand
boy-child impish, charmed delight

thumb in her mouth
caught a soft curl

flap hands, ask why
scrunched, freckled button nose

you can’t catch me
twinkle eyes flicker mischief

grow, grow, grow up
never always lose them

 
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“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” — Agatha Christie, The Hound of Death

I nominate any one of you to participate.

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Not As Bad As I Used to Be

I’ve been…introverting. Or avoidant. Or busy. Whatever.
I’ve been extremely productive at my house.
I’ve been fairly productive with my novel.
I’ve been adequately productive with my yard.
I’ve been exercising more.
But what I’ve really been doin well is thinkin.
Mullin.
Dwellin.
Ponderin.
Wallerin in thought.

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And that’s why I’ve been a little distracted.
It’s a special kind of neurotic who can hoard mental energy and then eventually harness it into physical endeavors. The trick is to not overthink. And of course, not to think yourself right out of doing things.

It’s a matter of self-preservation, really.
My anxiety has been outrageously high lately. I do not know why. If you’ve read my Oatmeal post, or you have anxiety disorder, then you know it’s both important and impossible not to ask why. When I get like this, I remember how bad I used to be.

You see, I used to be a skosh bit obsessively obsessive. I couldn’t stop moving. If I stopped moving, I might have realized that despite my concentrated efforts, nothing was perfect, not even me. I had to learn to stop tryin to fix. I had to learn to stop cleaning. I had to learn to stop and smell the roses instead of just pruning and feeding them. I had to learn to sit down. I had to learn to sleep. I still struggle with all these things, but I’m not as bad as I used to be.

I always feel better when I’m doing stuff, but it’s equally important to take time to be.

slow_down_72_dpi_large
I’ve been given a lot of food for thought over the last few weeks, and I needed time to chew on it.

Fortunately, Prajakta has given me a writing assignment, which will distract me from myself and allow me to focus on love.
I’ll be workin on that today.
Homework for my soul.

This post is part of LindaGHill’s SoCS 

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One-Liner Wednesday — Couples Lunch

At 10:40 we all agreed to meet for lunch in one hour.
At 11:40 we arrived at the restaurant, and called to ask where they were.

They said, “We’re still at home. It hasn’t even been an hour yet!”

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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One-Liner Wednesday — Okay Then

I said to Moo, “It’s time for your friends to go home. You’re comin with me.”
Moo said to her friends, “My mama wants you to leave now.”

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Docent She Know?

Indianapolis-Museum-Of-Art-6

y’all do know it’s march IN INDIANA, yeah? :P

I volunteered to chaperon Moo’s field trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art today. As I’ve written before, Moo is frequently an errant child, so I do try to accompany her on excursions where other adults might not expect to find her hanging from a skylight or milking a distant goat, whereas when I can’t find Moo, I always ask myself, “Where would Curious George be?”
Does Moo love Curious George? Yes, of course she does.

Also, I love art.
My mother instilled the love of art in me when I was quite small, before she abandoned me for Florida and then unbelievably, I sought it out in classes and studies.  I am not surrounded by art lovers here. Although I was once a frequent visitor of the IMA, I had not been there since we returned to Indiana almost two years ago. Only recently did I mention that perhaps Sassy would like to go. Perhaps Sassy will be my art-loving child?

Moo is not an art lover. At least not yet. She’s currently enrolled in an art class, so I don’t know why we’re payin for that…Maybe she only likes her own art…

robert-indiana-love
At any rate, as the docent showed us around the museum, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated. Our docent was a perfectly lovely person, truly. Nevertheless, my internal dialog was sorta like this, “fuck all, are we seriously discussing richardson’s use of light while we stand right next to a hopper? and why are we discussing three other pointillist works while our backs are turned to the seurat? isn’t she even going to allude to the seurat?”

While we were in the portrait gallery, the docent asked which portrait jumped out at us. All I could think was “are you freakin kiddin me? the bloody rembrandt!” but I didn’t say so, because not ten years old.
Moo asked me if a painting to our right was Queen Elizabeth and I said, “No, but she’s wearing the same fashions, which are since called Elizabethan, and so that’s quite a good guess for someone your age,” and I found the docent listening to me prattle on about the queen’s court, hairlines, eyebrows, and collars.

May2005ArtHoney

Also, just on a personal level, I don’t like Frederick Remington bronzes. I’m sorry. I know I probably should, because American icon, but I simply cannot. They’re fucking everywhere. There are just too many of them. They’re like the Thomas Kinkade of sculpture. I know, I’m terrible. I wouldn’t have stopped to look at one, let alone for five precious minutes.

We spent a fair chunk of time in front of a Norman Rockwell, and to my surprise and dismay, my child claimed to know nothing about Norman Rockwell. Never you mind that there are THREE Norman Rockwell prints hanging in Moo’s house and that one of Moo’s mother’s prized possessions is a Norman Rockwell art book, passed down from her grandma. Clearly she’s not to be a third generation Rockwell lover. My heart bled out in realistic, agonizing detail.

GoldenRule

When we split up to go our own way, I asked the docent, “On which floor is the room that makes you think you’re looking at a painting, but really as you get closer, —?”
Her eyes lit up and she said, “Oh! Shh, don’t ruin it! We’ll go do that now!”
So we did. And that was a big hit with everyone in our group.
(Fourth floor. Unforgettable. I will not ruin it.)

Indiana-300

I didn’t learn a single thing from the docent. I was so sad. I thought it would be super groovy to have an actual tour guide. Then maybe I could call my mother with some interesting tidbit, and then we could marvel together over this new knowledge, or it would lead us to do more learning — but no, it was not to be.

My education came from the lil kid in our group who said, “There’s way too many white people paintings in here.” Yes, I must agree.
That kid loved all the paintings of Jesus, asking, “Is that supposed to be Jesus?” and I don’t think that was a coincidence.

The-Art-Lover

It was hours later, while ranting to The Mister about the fact that the docent seemed to omit how every minute detail of the entire Jesus painting was intricately highlighted in red, saying, “Surely she knew that! Surely she just didn’t want to discuss religious art! Surely she knew! She just had to know! Right?!” that I realized I would have been the docent I wanted.

Kids love installation art.
They love sensory and performance art.
They think mobiles are awesome.
They like to look at modern sculpture and think, “I can do that!”
That’s how to get kids engaged and excited about art.

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As is typical of me, I am completely qualified for yet another unpaid position. Passionate and knowledgeable about art, with a teaching or public speaking background. Check, check, check, check — no paycheck.

Tell me what art you love?

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Happiness Recovery

As few of you know The Boy, Bubba, our son, has been in town for a little over a week. We also had our nephew for most of that time. Then, because we had Bubba and Simon, we also had some other family, because it’s rude to hog all the happiness unto yourself. All deformity and anxiety aside, I’ve been super busy and extremely happy.

Things I Have Done Lately:

Laughed
Smiled
Cried with joy
Listened to the complaints of young adults
Reminisced
Nearly died of pride
Cooked and cooked and cooked
Dishes, and dishes, and more dishes
Drank really, quite a lot of beer
Tried a new whiskey
Drank really, much more than usual
Wore pants and a bra, sometimes for 16+ hours
Closed doors
Laundry, laundry, laundry
Avoided looking into anyone’s bedroom
Liked a new movie I had no interest in
Played games
Starbucks, out the yin yang
Marveled
Said things like, “Put your sister down!”
Spoiled all of the children just a smidge, for just this week
Ate a lot of sushi, but not as much as young men
Contemplated buying more bath towels
Saw what Grand Theft Auto was all about
Questioned the cost of building a loft apartment over the garage

TruthAboutBoysAndVideoGames-64724

Things I Have Not Done Lately:

Mopped floors
Properly exercised
Read books
Paid attention to social media
Taken a long, hot shower

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Today, after yummy lunch, The Mister will see that The Boy gets to his flight. Then we’ll sigh and cry and miss him all over again.
The rest of this week should be quite busy, and hopefully happy enough. Except that One Day. That One Day should simply be quiet and happy. Happy like peaceful. Me all alone in the house — whistle of a tea kettle, the rustle of turning pages, and the soft snores of napping pets and Joeys…Oh yes, I’m looking forward to happiness recovery!

It’s a lot like how you look forward to vacation, and then as much as you’ll miss vacation, you’re eager to wake up in your own bed and walk to your own coffee pot.

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I Swallow my Tough Pills Nervously

My readership drops when I post awards. I don’t mind. If I cared about readership, I’d need to do all sorts of things that aren’t authentic to me. Like almost swearing — dam that $h!t is lame.
People who never swear are not to be trusted. Walkin around sayin, “Golly Gee Willikers!” and whatnot. So offensive!

All this award business kept me busy when I could have been sitting around crying over my facial deformity or combating my sudden desire to Google whether the herpes on my lips can become herpes of my eyes, and wondering about why they have that in so many eye commercials, and why I’ve yet to know anyone who was afflicted, and holy crap, do those infected know they’re infected? and and and…mulling over whether my probiotics will arrive before the antibiotic side effects really hop to.
I got to worry about all those things on Tuesday night. You know, instead of sleeping.

Tip of the iceberg for how freaked out sufferers of anxiety disorder get when we’re actually sick.
It doesn’t matter what we’re sick with. My mental state when dealing with a disease that can actually kill me was not any worse than my mental state when I tore a hangnail, and vice versa.
So sitting on the sofa, fetching links and thinking about how much I love my WordPress community was way, way, way better than hours spent worrying.

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By the by, does anyone know what to do if you don’t close your antibiotic bottle all the way, not because you’re lazy, but because you have arthritis, and then the kitten knocks the bottle over, spills two days of your shiny blue pills, and has a jolly good time chasing them all over the floor and gnawing on them, to the point where they are far too dirty and weird looking to put into your mouth? Anyone?

medication02The greatest irony of my life was being prescribed anti-anxiety medication and then getting home with the Ativan and realizing I was afraid to take the pills.
Anxiety sufferers aren’t big on meds. We hate medication. We don’t want to take pills, and we especially do not want to take new pills. Even those of us who aren’t actually physically sensitive to meds, although, a lot of us are sensitive to meds, because we’re sensitive to everything, feel trepidation and concern over new medication of any kind, for anything.

Also, we are the people who check that the description of the medication on the label matches the physicality of the pills inside. And we read the attached pamphlets. And we keep the tops of those pamphlets in case anything goes wrong.
For too many of us, anything has gone wrong. All it takes is the one medication we had to take to learn that we cannot take it. I have had EIGHT such experiences.

'It's just a side effect of the anti-anxiety medication. Try not to worry your pretty little head about it.'

I also make a list of when I’m taking my medication, as well as lists for when I give my kids theirs. This is really important to me. I can’t handle that whole thing about “Did I take the blue pill this morning?” or “What happens if I accidentally take two instead of one?” and “Did I give her the Motrin before dinner?” Oh, I cannot bear it.

here's a list i made last summer

here’s a list i made last summer

Apparently this has worn off on The Mister, so when he gave me Tylenol Sunday at 4am, he saw fit to add it to my list, and noted my temperature as well.

I am feeling a great deal better. The lymph node swelling has gone down, but more importantly, it doesn’t hurt. As for the cold sore, I do look human now. With the right shade of lipstick, carefully applied, I could appear to be myself from about 6 feet away.

I’ve actually had a really good week, the highlights of which I hope to write about soon, but even happy stress is stress. That’s something people with anxiety disorder do not forget, so we can try to ruin our own fun. If you wanna know who the anxiety sufferers are, we’re the ones weeping with joy over things that merely make other people smile.

a positive outlook is good treatment, but not a cure

a positive outlook is good treatment, but not a cure

I wonder if you can relate to any of this, but then, I don’t write for readership.

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Creative Blog Award

Megan of Megan Has OCD nominated me for The Creative Bloggers Award. I am always honored to get nominated for awards, and I appreciate Megan thinking of me. Thank you, Megan!
I absolutely agree with Megan that all bloggers are creatives, and I hope you’ll take some time to check out My Nominees:

Owl Wonder

Breaking the Cycle

Edwina’s Episodes

Ramblings from Jewels

Nortina Mariela

The Zombies Ate My Brains

Idiot Writer

bemuzin

Anything You Like

Eclectic Odds n Sods

Living a Beautiful Life

The Phil Factor

Real Mom of Long Island

An Armchair Perfectionist

Silver in the Barn

My Blog is my Boyfriend

The Rules

  • Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
  • Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you (very important)
  • Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers
  • Pass these rules on to them

Okay, so 5 Things About Me:

1. I have an ongoing dialogue with two of my friends, wherein we send each other photos of our odd socks. We are the kind of people who do not put odd socks in drawers. We are the kind of people for whom socks must be paired, and we like to document the ebb and flow of the odd sock situation. Our hope is that one day, all socks, including those of our children, will be folded into couplehood.

2. I never say coffee is too strong.

3. I love black licorice, and anything that is flavored with anise. I resent that I actually have to say “black licorice,” because if you knew anything about licorice, you’d know it’s redundant. But I hafta say “black licorice” because otherwise people will think I want red licorice, which I do not. I do not understand red licorice and I have a bad relationship with red food coloring. Giving me red licorice will be treated as an act of hostility.

4. I love listening to the medley of crickets, cicadas, birds, and owls, but I also enjoy the dull roar of the interstate as well as frequent trains chugging by and the occasional plane whooshing overhead. I find common city noise quite comforting.

5. I do not feel shocks from static electricity. I only hear them. People hate that about me, although the cats never complain.

creativebloggersaward1

Okay, so I’m off to verify my links and inform my nominees. Happy Thursday to you all!

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Daydreamy

the-daydreamer-award1

Veronica at Owl Wonder nominated me for The Daydreamer Award. “My paternal grandmother would be so proud,” I think, as I smirk and snort.

The rules for The Daydreamer Award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Complete the challenge they set you.

3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. (The amount of blogs you select is unlimited!)

4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.

(Please include the rules in your post)
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Thank you, Veronica! I’m always pleased to be nominated for awards.

My common daydream lacks imagination, really, since it’s based in memory.
For several years, The Mister and I had a pattern of visiting my parents and escaping childless to a cottage on Sanibel Island.

Freedom from responsibilities.

Long days, uninterrupted by children or schedules.

Playing in the surf, walking miles of empty shore.

Raw oysters and cold beer.

Playing rummy.

Laughing and smiling until my cheeks hurt.

Long passionate nights.

Sleeping to the sound of the ocean.

Cheese and olives and wine.

My head in his lap while we read.

*sigh*

I suppose if I had a better imagination, I’d place my parents seaside, but much further north, and then I wouldn’t be dreadfully hot and sunburnt at the end of it. If I were a better daydreamer, I suppose it could be anywhere…

dontquit

I nominate:

Kimberly

The New Pollyanna

Dan

Sue

Hollie

& Linda

Tell me a daydream!

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Sensitive Everything, Sensitive Gut

“Is it ever a good time to get sick?” The Mister asks me.
“Yes. Last week would have been a better week to get sick, thanks. Not a single important thing happened last week.”

Last night before bed, I felt the beginning of a cold sore. Last time I had a cold sore was right before we closed on our house. I thought it was just stress. Then I woke up one day with considerable lymph node swelling and pain. I was very busy wrapping up house business and did not want to take time to see the doctor. Then, instead of working on our house, I spent an entire day bed-ridden, delirious with fever. At that point, I decided it was time to seek treatment.
Got antibiotics. Healed slowly. Walked around looking deformed for well over a week. It’s a really long post to read, but I recommend you scroll down and see deformed me, with my extra chins made of lumps and bumps under my beak mouth, cause it’s good for a laugh, or a gasp. Besides, it takes a lot of bravery to post that kinda picture of yourself online; I’d hate for you to miss it.

Regarding my cold sore today, I woke up in a fair bit of discomfort, but I went on with my life. I said to The Mister, “I’m so glad this cold sore didn’t come with deformity!” He agreed.
I felt poorly all day.
Now, I tried to be reasonable and logical, and said things like this to myself:
“church was a bit longer than usual, and you aren’t as young as you used to be.”
“you did drink a lot of beer last night.”
“it is daylight savings time.”
“it’s been a very emotional weekend and you have pms.”
“you will feel better when you get out of this bra and these shoes.”

But then, I leaned over and felt the thing.
A swollen lymph node of epic proportions under my chin and some tender ones alongside it. I ran to the mirror, and sure enough, I had a lumpy second chin.

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Now, if you’re not a person with anxiety disorder, this next bit will be highly entertaining.
If you are a person with anxiety disorder, then this next part will be familiar and comforting in a terrible way.

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I immediately began shaking and experiencing the spins, mind reeling with thought bombardment, words like chronic and lymphoma and fuuuuuuuck, tunnel vision, left arm shooting pains, cotton mouth, suffocation — you know, the usual gamut of overreaction and primal fear. Then I started talking too much and trying not to cry.
Mostly because going to Urgent Care was not in my plan for the evening. I wanted to make enchiladas and have lovely dinner conversation with five of my favorite people on the planet. As for after, I had big dreams of sipping hot tea and playing word games until my Sunday night shows aired.
I hadn’t planned for my inevitable lymphoma diagnosis, and my subsequent treatment.

You see, when you have anxiety disorder, you can’t trust how you feel. I felt poorly all day. Achy, tired, impatient.
But if I sought medical treatment every time I was achy, tired, and impatient, well, let’s just say it’d be monthly, and I’d have an entirely different label on my chart.
It is hard, and I mean, virtually impossible, to find your gut when you’re burning, or freezing, with fear.
The only way to do it is to treat yourself as though you’re someone else you love. if my kid had these symptoms, would i seek treatment? yes. especially if my child had the same symptoms before and required medical intervention.

Dont-forget-to-love-yourself.-__quotes-by-Soren-Kierkegaard-81

That’s when we went to Urgent Care. I truly am sick. I already had a fever. I needed two prescriptions. I’m glad I followed my gut.

Now here’s hoping I caught it all before it has a chance to get bad! I still have a lot of plans for this week!

Do you get sick at the most inopportune times? Do you have a reliable gut, even when it comes to illness? Did you ever wait too long to get treated?

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Cletus the Dog Kitten

As many of you may remember, we adopted Cletus the Tuxedo kitten last summer. We did this in part because I thought it would be nice for our dog Sadie to have a little friend. Sadie had long been trying to play with our other cats, and as sensible felines, they’d have none of that.
Cletus is exactly what Sadie needed. Cletus absolutely plays with her. Cletus loves to play chase with Sadie, especially while Sadie’s leash trails behind her. And what kitten wouldn’t want to attack a dog’s wagging fluffy tail?

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But Cletus the kitten spent a great deal of time with Sadie the dog, and he modeled some of her canine behaviors…

Cletus the kitten sniffs and tracks like a dog. When it’s quiet in the house, I can hear him sniffing things in another room. Yes, I’m aware that cats sniff things, too, but not like this. I sit on one end of the loveseat, eating my tuna noodle casserole. Sadie lies on the floor in front of me. Cletus perches on the opposite arm, sniffing. I CAN HEAR HIM SNIFFING. “Whatcha got there, Mama? Lil tuna? Lil noodles? Lil peas? In a white sauce? Mmm, that smells delicious!” Child sits down on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn, and he sniffs in her direction, “That smells good,” his sniffs say, as he saunters over to rub her popcorn-fetching arm.

Like a dog, this cat eats anything. You’d think it’d be okay to leave your chips and salsa on the coffee table while you answer the phone, but no.

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Cletus and Sadie have apparently set up an agreement by which Cletus jumps up onto the countertop and tosses over whatever I’ve left out.
“Sadie, would you like some cornbread?”
“Yes, Cletus, yes!”
“Sadie, would you like a lil hammy sammy?”
“Yes, Cletus, yes!”
“Sadie, would you like some bacon?”
“Oh yes, please, Cletus, please!”

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I have to put everything away now, because Cletus will totally stick his paw into a container of sour cream before rolling it onto the floor for his good pal, Sadie. Now I must always use lids on the cooktop, otherwise there’s to be no more leaving anything on the stove with a low heat, because Cletus will be happy to eat taco turkey meat while it’s still warm, and he’ll be happy to bat some down to Sadie as well.

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Since he apparently imprinted on the dog, Cletus also responds to the chimes of the alarm system, alerting him to open doors and windows, as well as rushing to greet his humans when they come home. He also stands at the door and looks out longingly when his humans leave. When the doorbell rings, he’s right behind Sadie, probably hopeful that someone has brought him a lifetime supply of ice cream, which, no matter how many times you tell him, “This is specifically not for kitties!” he cannot resist, as he sniffs his way to your bowl.

Morning with Cletus is >pounce, pounce, pounce, audibly sniff human nose< “Good morning Mama! Isn’t it a great time for you to put kibble in my bowl?”

Now and again, one of the other cats will tackle him, pin him down, and groom him. I think, like parents would, they tell him, “You are a cat. Be a cat. Stop with all the sniffing and don’t hang around that dog so much, she’s nothing but trouble!”

Old-Dog-and-Cat-Sleepy-Embrace

I’ve had other cats who’ve guarded our children, our house, and our yard in ways you’d expect a dog to do, but I’ve never had such a doggish cat. Have you ever had a cat who acted like a dog?

If you enjoyed the photos here, you should watch this video — which is looped, because who could watch it just the one time?

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I’m So Opinionated — What if my husband could never remarry me?

The other day, I was talkin to my mother about how these people I know got divorced and are getting remarried — not to new people, but again to one another, and she said it happens more than people realize. I assumed one of them thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence, but she said most of the time the couple reaches a point where they disagree too strongly.

My mind was reeling!
The Mister and I disagree almost every day. Last week we fought about a fucking pillow, for cryin out loud!

if-you-live-to-be-100-i-hope-i-live-to-be-100-minus-1-day-friendship-quote

What if one day one of us gets too riled up about the strength of coffee, how much football is too much football, or whether I really do neeeed more Fiesta bowls?
Scary shit.
I try to imagine him shouting, “If you buy that bowl in lilac, I will leave you!” Then I imagine us both bursting into laughter.

So I asked my mother, “Like what? What’s a difference of opinion they can’t get past?” She didn’t give me an example, even though I very specifically said she didn’t need to name names or give details. She said, “Oh you know, those things you don’t discuss because you know it will only lead to a fight.”

No, I do not know.
My husband is not one of those people.

I do have plenty of people like that in my life, people with whom one must always adhere to polite conversation. Or people who really should stick to polite conversation, but they don’t, so I nod along and I pour more wine to soothe my almost-gnawed-off tongue. Generally, I’m loving people who not only have differences of opinion, but are pleased to disagree. The agree-to-disagree group. It’s much more fun to agree, but sometimes it’s nice to be shown a different way of thinking, you know, cause learning.

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I can’t think of anyone I agree with on everything…

On the other hand, I have broken up with people. I may well still care for them, but a person can only take so much. I hid and deleted some people from social media because all they posted was porn, politics, or religion. Mind you, I don’t mind porn, politics, or religion, but if every time I pick up my computer, I hafta deal with an inundation of vulvas, Sarah Palin, and Jesus, well, I do have a threshold!
That being said, I value the right to expression so if you wanna post cartoon pictures of Jesus going down on Sarah Palin then I’ll support your right to do that, even though I do not want to see that. I’m pretty hard to offend, which I’d guess is because I’m offensive to so many.
Too many people are offended by too much. You can read about what offends me here and here, or you can be like, “This post is enough Joey for me today, thanks.”

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I’m quite capable of averting my eyes, scrolling on and nodding, because I’m not into drama.
When people come at me, I’ll first go for cheeky and laissez-faire and hope they let it go (my mother in me.) When people continue, I make them regret it, cause I don’t take shit off anyone (my father in me.)
The Mister is the same way. We don’t start shit, and we let others finish, but when they’re done, we’ll speak our minds without mincing words, and if someone wants the last word, we’ll let them have that, too. But we do come with a reputation for being brutally honest. And certainly with one another.

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This week I had to break up with someone because he was upset that I didn’t agree with him, and he wanted to break up with me, but he was trying to be nice for the sake of a mutual friend. I couldn’t understand why it was important to him that I agree with him, but he felt my disagreeing with him was rude, and I thought that was quite sad, which he thought was rude. I finally said it was okay, we could break up. Our point of no return was pet food, I guess.
Other clear cuts in my life include, but are not limited to: misplaced blame, invasion of privacy, misplaced blame, misplaced blame, crack pipes, lying, bodily threat, invasion of privacy, plaid sofas, and of course, misplaced blame.
But I’d rather know, wouldn’t you? I wanna know where they stand, and what matters to them, and what they’re made of, rather than to have their truths coated in sugar or covered in lies.
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I am grateful The Mister and I have not yet tumbled into divorce over opinions that mattered more than our marriage, but I’m still waiting for someone to give me an example of an opinion that had the power to end a marriage. Because by my way of thinking, it sounds more like the inability to compromise than a matter of opinion.

Okay, you say stuff now.

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One-Liner Wednesday — They Really DO Listen!

Moo’s dresser drawers were overflowing due to lack of organization, so as she rummaged for the socks she wanted, she screamed out, “THIS IS WHY I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”

all better now

all better now

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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I Wonder

WhY DiD TypiNg LiKe ThiS BeCoMe a THinG? Was theRe a PuRpoSe? DoeS It MeAn SOMeTHinG? Am i DoiNG iT RiGHT?

Why do people wear woolen caps in the summer?

Why do we congratulate people when they get married and then again when they get divorced? “Good job finding that spouse!” “Good job getting rid of that same spouse!” Odd, non? Maybe congratulations is why some people think marriage is an accomplishment?

Do the people who think the president controls the gas prices still think that when prices are low?

Why is it hard for people to understand gender identity? Plenty of people color their hair. Maybe she looks like a brunette, but she feels like a blonde, so she sees the colorist and we’re none the wiser. Why does anyone care?

Do blonde jokes still count when you’re a bottle-blonde?

Why don’t more people like my Facebook page?

What the fuck are people doing in those enormous glass showers?

Why does it take some people ten minutes or more to try on a pair of pants?

If people are already proponents of creationism, why is it hard to believe their deity created evolution? Have you seen how humans breed canines, or how humans create hybrid fruits and flowers? Is their deity not capable of that? I wouldn’t want a deity who didn’t understand science.

If people don’t believe in a deity because there’s no absolute proof, why is it so easy for those same people to believe in aliens, despite the lack of absolute proof?

Why is it that we all have that one thin friend who out-eats us and never gains a pound, and we all have that one thick friend who out-exercises us and never loses a pound?

Why don’t men wear painful things to exhibit their desirability? It must be such a burden to walk around with loose breasts and in comfortable shoes, and no, I’m not totally jealous.

Why is it so hard to understand that other people’s addictions make them feel just as good and just as miserable as our own addictions?

If it’s so important that we all go to heaven, shouldn’t heaven sound good to everyone? Is there a less-luxe heaven for those who prefer a more casual eternity?

If there are animals in heaven, that’s gonna be a real bitch for all those people who pretended to have allergies, right?

If summer’s so fantastic, then why the hell is hell hot?

Is caste system reincarnation on a bell curve, a sliding scale, or a standard grading system?

What is the proper spiritual response when a stream of fire ants climb into your coffee?

Those people who are all like, “We keep the romance alive by keeping our bathroom time private,” — Who brings them toilet paper from the other bathroom when the kids let it run out? Who brings them a cold rag when they vomit? Who takes them to the bathroom when their nails are wet?

Why do I always hafta pee when I finish painting my nails?

How long before we can pay per view of anything without contracts? I want a system where I can watch what I want to watch without subscription. I’d be happy to pay a la carte.

How long before everything in our homes becomes wireless? I hate wires. I don’t want to hide them in a tube, I don’t want to tape them to the legs of furniture, I do not want them hidden in the drywall, I just don’t want to deal with wires, EVER.

How is that man on ESPN allowed to wear that dreadful shiny hair-hat, when obviously he’s on television?

Why do we call it football? Obviously soccer is football.

Why is there a long orange extension cord on the streetlight across from me?

Why does so much of the internet read like old Cosmo articles?

Why do people believe everything they read on the internet? Don’t they have Google? AHAHAHA!

For a long time, I thought barely liked anyone else’s children, but then I realized that a lot of the adults I don’t like are actually someone else’s children. Oh, okay, that’s not a wonder…

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Don’t Fuck with My Pillows

On Monday, I was a victim of a great tragedy.
I woke up with a crick in my neck and soon discovered I had been sleeping on The Mister’s pillows instead of my own.
It was all very Princess and the Pea.

You see, on Sunday, in an unnatural turn of events, I awoke before the early bird, and as a result, my husband made the bed.
He swears he didn’t switch the pillows.
I believe he believes he didn’t switch the pillows.
There is no other explanation as to why our pillows were inverted, but he knows it was not his fucking fault and he’s not going to fucking apologize for something that was not his fucking fault.
If he does apologize it’s only in the screaming sarcastic way that implies I am an uptight, know-it-all bitch who never does anything wrong.

You know how it goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
If you’re a neurotic control freak who needs a lot of structure and consistency in your life then you know how crucial this aphorism actually is. You know how I do the type. I’m not saying that my life is filled with rituals and procedures, because I’m not a madwoman, but I have some rituals and procedures because I have anxiety disorder and I believe I cannot trust the world to operate properly without my supervision and intervention.

no, YOU don't make sense!

no, YOU don’t make sense!

So, on Monday, because of the pain in my neck, I also acquired a headache and a lovely panic loop, because as you well know, all headaches are brain tumors and all brain tumors result in imminent death, especially if you don’t worry about them. In fact, if you have anxiety disorder, not obsessing about your brain tumor will actually make it grow.

My social media was all about the pillow tragedy, and the injustice of my husband not apologizing to me. Dramatically relating my pain on the interwebz was great! I had a lot of fun!
It distracted me from tearful woe about how my husband had stopped loving me overnight, as well as preventing me from focusing on the panic loop.

11:50am
pillows are very important to me.
isn’t there enough pain in the world without sleepin on the wrong fuckin pillow?
i may not pull through, y’all.
i’m havin some very princess & the pea moments.

11:58am
marcellus wallace prolly has to wear that band-aid on his neck because mrs mia wallace switched the pillows on the bed.

pride

1:13pm
i bet this new patch of eczema on my arm is from sleeping on the wrong pillow…

1:36pm
True asks, “How’s your pain? You feeling any better? I make you tea?”

1:47pm
i’m off to take a long, hot shower, to see if i can get over this lack of apology, i mean, pain in my neck, i mean, neck ache.

3:14pm
i have a headache, which i’m sure is because of poor pillowing. i may need to lie down. i definitely can’t sweep floors or roast a tenderloin in this condition.

3:20pm Photo of the day: 23. Fix — just make sure the pillows are placed properly before you lie down #‎fmsphotoaday‬ ‪#‎littlemomentsapp‬

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Anxiety hangover is a real thing. Muscles ache, eyes twitch and blur — renders me dizzy, gives me a headache, makes me feel like I’m not really in my body…body all exhausted, senses all heightened…Which is why someone looking at me while I sleep can startle me.

4:45pm
i was resting properly on MY pillows when my husband came in and scared the bejesus outta me with his eyes, so i’m up now, dishes done, dinner’s on…

I eventually recovered, after The Mister gave me a good rub and I got a full night’s sleep on the right pillows. But it was rough goin there for awhile, because I didn’t really wanna start another blog about my life as a single mommy with a brain tumor and all that.

Feel free to vent to me about your neuroses, your spouse’s inability to apologize, your panic loops, how important your pillows are, or how much you love Pulp Fiction.
Please avoid stating the obvious, like how this isn’t a Nice Lady Blog. And don’t fuck with my pillows.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Should I Name Him?

“There’s a strange little man living in my mascara tube.”

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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It Should be Perfectly Obvious

Some time ago, I saw a comedian talking about how going outside to play is utterly frightening once you reach adulthood.
Something along the lines of ‘Imagine how scary it would be to wake up in the morning and leave your house on foot, without keys, money, identification, or a cell phone.’
I rarely do that. And when I do, I call it gardening.

But we did that all the time as kids, didn’t we?
From about age nine to twelve, I lived in a small town, and I mean to tell you, on good weather days, I woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, and spent the entire day outside. I knew it was time to come home when one of two things happened, either my father whistled loud enough to wake the dead >Woo-oo-ooooot!< or the street lights came on.

it's not just a meme, it's an actual warning system

it’s not just a meme, it’s an actual warning system

Sometimes we’d ride our bikes to the park, the pool, or the movies as a group, but there were plenty of times I was on my own — to the library, to the soda shop, to my father’s office, to the baby dress shop — just a little girl on a bicycle, or sometimes on foot. Many times, I left the house making one of those dotted lines all around Robin Hood’s barn just knocking on doors to see who could come out to play.

what? like my most preferred friends lived in order!

what? like my most preferred friends lived in order!

I cannot begin to explain how much fun we had in doing things that are terrifying.
We walked on train tracks for miles!
We knocked on doors and asked for odd jobs!
We sometimes did those odd jobs in exchange for sweets made by people we didn’t know
— and we ate those sweets in those strangers’ homes!
We drank from garden hoses, and not just our own!
We shared food and cans of soda with dirty fingers and mouths!
We made mud pies and got absolutely filthy!
We played in the streets and in, OMG! alleys!
We roamed abandoned buildings!
We jumped from trees, roofs, and bridges!
We picked fruits and ate them straight from the source!
We cut through cornfields and slid under barbed wire!

and we did not die

and we did not die

Adults knew of us, then. They sometimes knew our names, or who are parents were, or where we lived. In turn, we knew which adults would never give us odd jobs, wouldn’t let us cut through their yards, and would call the police if they saw us so much as sniff one of their honeysuckles.
No one stole your bike because everyone knew which bike belonged to whom.
When a horn honked, it was because the neighborhood Great Dane had stopped traffic by napping in the middle of a warm patch of asphalt. We all had to work together to push her out of the way.
No one called social services because we were unsupervised.

        Truth: Warm childhood days in a small town were idyllic.

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Old people like me are fond of talking about how we used to go outside to play. We remember this time when adventure was only limited by daylight, when ideas and resources were pooled, and yes, when the world seemed kinder, safer, and far more generous.

My kids have all played outside, but not with the same fearless wonder we recall. I only have one child like that. She I could really benefit from a tracking device on her body, but other than that, I’m delighted.

When I played in the snow over the weekend, between the hibiscus and the fountain grass, I was building a corridor with fallen branches, when my daughter asked me, “What are you doing?!?”
They stood over me, confused.
I thought it was perfectly obvious that I was building a lair for the snow queen and her beast…

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I answered, “I’m playing!”

It’s something I just don’t do often enough — not enough of the kind of play that uses all of me — how ’bout you?

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Weather is a Relative Issue

We had a couple of those crazy cold days, like -3 feels like -24 and stuff like that. We endured. It’s really important to make sure your scarf is tucked into your coat quite well, or your clavicle may burn all the way up the street to the bus stop. Also, there may be something wrong with the school bus on such a cold day, and twenty-five minutes later than usual, an unfamiliar bus with an unknown driver may stop nearby and ask you if you’d like to put your children on her bus. You would. You know you would, because even the dog cried about the cold.

I like cold. I like snow. Most of winter doesn’t even faze me. When it’s 20 and up? Awesome!

When it’s unreasonably cold, I just think about those seven years in southeast Georgia — my constant red face, sweating, frizzy hair, schlepping my chaffed thighs from one air-conditioned place to another, hissing at palm trees, stomping fire ants, batting away gnats, glaring at crepe myrtles, rolling my eyes at Salt Life bumper stickers — and I instantly feel better about my accelerating frostbite condition.

Then I get back to my house, strip down my layers, make a hot cuppa, rub lotion into my happy, pale, northern skin, look out my picture window and smile. So good to be home!

view from my picture window

view from my picture window today

The Mister always says if it’s going to be cold, there should at least be snow, and I heartily agree. Sometimes it’s too cold to snow. No, really, that’s actually a thing.

Ah, but this weekend it was predicted that we’d have a good, heavy, wet snow and that it’d be warm enough to play out in it!

So this morning, I was ecstatic when I woke up to see snow stacked on our trees!
I made some coffee, and while it brewed, I got back into bed with my furry family. (They waste no time in taking over The Mister’s warm spot.)

When the coffee maker beeped, I shouted, “Sadie, let’s go! There’s snow!” I threw the leash around her neck and I piled on my layers so we could go a-tromping.
There’s about half a foot, and it’s the first big snowfall we’ve had all season. It’s the first snowfall to completely cover the grass, and I mean to tell you it’s beautiful!

And so warm! Heh!

When it’s 21 in southeast Georgia, the people spazz-out, when it’s 21 here, it’s just winter. It’s amazing how warm 21 feels when it’s been so much more frigid for a while!

This post is part of LindaGHill’s SOCS

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One-Liner Wednesday — If It Looks Like a Parrot…

As we strolled through a zoo in Naples, Florida, some parrots said, “Hello? Hello?” so preschool Sassy turned to ask my mother, “Is it a wrong number?”

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Why I Gotta Title Everything? I’m Tired!

“Beep Beep Boop!” says WordPress.

“I’m so glad they’ve updated the entire site,” said no one ever.

I think the new notifications system here is about as helpful as digital toaster. Thanks for takin somethin simple and makin it take twice as long with confused results. Do I get all my notifications? Have I already replied, or do I only think I did? Trust me, I don’t need any help in the did-I-do-it-or-say-it-,-or-did-I-merely-think-I-did-?-department.

Where are the pingbacks? Oh, it says I have them, but if I can’t see them on the post, who knows if anyone else can.
Also, my likers. Maybe 42 people liked it, but when prompted to see all my likers, I get sent to the page, where there are what? a dozen?

And stop askin me why I go to the old stats page, because I’ve voted, “It shows more information” at least a dozen times now.

So Beep Beep Boop to you, too, ya bastard!

you don't love me right

wordpress, you don’t love me right

Anyway, I’m actually in a good mood, despite the unnecessary complications of blog life.

I had Rice Krispies with a sliced banana for breakfast, it’s snowing today, I found out I’m someone’s favorite blogger, and thank Prometheus, it’s warm in my house.

be quick, mama, i gotta pee!

be quick, mama, i gotta pee!

I wouldn’t like to upset any of the New Englanders, so I’ll try to phrase this delicately: Mother Nature has somehow given you our fair share of the snow on top of your own. We’re sorry. We know you didn’t ask for our snow, and we know you would give it to us if you could, but we haven’t even been able to muster up a single snowman this season!

While the snow continues to fall, I’d like very much to sleep under a book teepee lie on my sofa and read…

Unfortunately, I’ve got things to do today. I gotta do a load of laundry. I’ve got to iron a pile of shirts, well, they’re not piled, they’re on hangers, but you know. I need to pay a stack of bills — I bet that’s your favorite, too. I’ll do some dishes. Then I’ve got to figure out what we’re havin for dinner. I’m feelin salad-y. Y’all feelin salad-y? Maybe with some crusty dinner rolls? So yeah, I gotta do stuff, and you won’t believe this, but I just did things yesterday!
I know!

HardLife1-450x406

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Compulsory Love Post

You can read about how I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day here, although I am a fan of love in all its forms, including between a girl and her reptiles.

Love is when you retrace your path through the entire store because your baby left her beloved lizard toy somewhere. “Zerd! Oh no! Zerd all gone!” she cried as I put the groceries into the van.
Love is what I saw when she clutched him to her chest and smiled through her tears. “ZERD!”

zerd

Love wore Zerd’s stripes off, love caused Zerd a tail-ectomy, love took his feet, and eventually love buried Zerd under the begonias.

All that Zerd love was transferred into Gator. She doesn’t carry Gator around in public, but he’s still sought-out when she’s sick.

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Love is inexplicable.

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Finding the Painting

As I wrote in my Happiness post the other day, joy came to me when I found the painting. Vague, huh?
Because it has a story. I’m sure it has a much longer, more interesting story before my section of its story came to be, but no one seems to know it, so here is my version:

In the late 90’s, I took Tori to my grandparents’ lake house, where I spent many a childhood summer. Since we had almost no furniture in our townhouse, my grandmother encouraged us to take some while we were there. The back of Tori’s SUV wasn’t empty enough to snag a sofa, but I mentioned to my grandmother that there was a painting I wanted.
I described the painting, “It’s a little white house on a dirt drive? There’s a bush in the foreground, looks like a man’s coming out of it? It used to hang over my bed? I would wake up to it every morning?” My grandmother was completely puzzled, but she said to try looking in the basement, and to take anything else we wanted while we were down there. Well, yeah, forty years of lake living and never pitching a thing made for quite a search! We didn’t find the painting.
I moped a bit.

When my grandmother passed, The Mister and I made another search for that painting, and turned up empty-handed.
My parents asked me if there was anything else I wanted. I did not want anything else. I wanted that painting.

There was an estate sale the following summer, and my parents set aside a pile of things they thought I might like. Not one of them was the painting, and like I said, I didn’t want anything else.
In the pile of stuff they thought I might like was a large photograph of toddler me, in my overalls and sprouts of ponytails. (It has a story too, but I’m not telling you that one today.)

Why my mother thought I wanted this, I could not fathom. She didn’t even lie to me and say that everyone in the family fought over my incredible cuteness or anything. If she didn’t want it and no one even tried to beat her down and take it, why would I want it?
I did, however, think MIL would like it for her baby wall, and my mother said that was fine.
My MIL wasn’t my MIL then, but I was like her third kid, and it seemed only fair that my cuteness should hang on the baby wall, too.

Years later, MIL took this photo of Sassy and Moo in front of pictures of The Mister and Me, so we could all see how much Sassy looks like her father and how much Moo looks like her mother (in case we were all blind):

newsflash: our children look like us

newsflash: our children look like us

Then, we recreated this photo with toddler Moo:

totally my kid

totally my kid

Isn’t that nice?
It’s no wonder Moo thinks all my childhood photos are of her. Of course, she also thinks that The Golden Girls are people she met at Grandma’s house…

Anyway, my mother used to paint over photos, giving them greater dimension and a bit of a sheen. I dunno, I think it was a 70’s thing, or somethin. I dunno, my mother is ridiculously talented. MIL needed the little me portrait framed in glass to match the other photos on the baby wall, so …

Guess what was behind that unnecessarily large portrait of me?

Behold, THE PAINTING:

painting

It was destined to be mine.

I know, I know, you’re all like, “What’s so special about the painting?” I have no idea. I just love it. Always have. I don’t think it’s valuable to anyone except me. When people ask what I would take from my burning house? This painting.

If the fire was clearly unstoppable, I’d prolly ask the firefighters to throw my dining table out the picture window, too, but I’d for damn sure save this painting.

Have you ever had to hunt down your heirlooms? Do your parents have grossly large portraits of baby you? Do you want to tell me about your prized possessions?

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Happiness

Veronica at Owl Wonder tagged me to write about the happiest moments in my life. I think that would be too lengthy a post for me, since I’m one of those gawd-awful people who thinks happiness is a choice. I have this friend named Root Beer, who maintains a happiness list, and it’s really, really, long. Mine would be, too. But here are some highlights:

Joy 
— the birth of my children
— every time my big kids come “home”
— every homecoming, when The Mister returned from training or deployments
— every time I sit at a table full of food and smiling people
— finding the painting*
— every time someone I love lets go of the shit that weighs them down

quote-wanna-fly-you-got-to-give-up-the-shit-that-weights-you-down-toni-morrison-301091

Bliss

— waking up on the edge of Lake Erie, not having known we’d camped there*
— morning, December 5, 1998
— my first one-bedroom, only-me apartment, 420 square feet of peace & quiet
— the smell of lilacs, old books, and lavender
— good music
— every time I visit the ocean, or take a hike in the woods
— finishing a great book
— sleepy daughters sliding into my bed in the morning
— having a brilliant idea
— foot reflexology
— when the writing just flows
— when The Mister reads my mind
— a hot bath followed by cold sheets
— sex
— the first day the tulips open

follow-your-bliss

Happiness

— seeing other people happy
— drinking a hot cup of coffee while I stand in the snow
— catching up with an old friend
— dancing
— cuddles with my pets
— baking
— moongazing
— helping people
— long walks
— long drives
— a cup of tea when the dishes are done
— coming home after a long trip
— making people laugh
— our skyline at night
— cookin up somethin yummy
— toiling in the soil
— stitching
— a well-made cocktail
— family Friday dinners at our Mexican place
— a crisp fall day in Brown County
— ice cream
— making human connection
— a plate of raw oysters and a glass of cold water with lemon
— taking in a great show
happiness_is_gratitude-407375

Contentment

— gray, drizzly days
— word games
— crossword puzzles
— good hair
— the light in this house
— wearing boots, scarves, hats, and mittens
— sweet, juicy summer fruit
— my white pajamas

75-happiness-quotes
It’s impossible to be unhappy while you list the things that make you happy!

*stories that still need to be written

I’m not going to tag anyone, but I’d love to see your lists of happiness.

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Why I’m Dying First

Oh I know, you think I want to die first so I can escape the pain of mourning my husband. That would certainly be a grand perk, but I told you before, I am not a romantic. I have practical reasons.

i do

i do

Y’ever think about when you’re old and how you’ll live?
I don’t mean the kind of old you are now. I don’t mean a particular age. I mean if you live long enough to outlive your life.

My family members generally don’t outlive their lives. As the proud offspring of my mutt-y heritage, I should like to continue this trend in having the decency to die while I’m still in control of my mind. Unfortunately, I’ve given up smoking and I don’t drink a lot, so I may be forced to live an extra seven to ten years longer than is customary for my kin. Or maybe I’ll die tonight when The Boogey Man comes out of the closet. One can never be too sure.

I’m not being glib. Well, not more than usual. I’ve had a lot of therapy. Anxiety disorder is riddled with fears of death and a complete lack of trust in others, so I realize that you may find this post odd. I think you’ll be alright. “And if you’re not alright, you’ll be dead, and then you won’t care.” (Step 1 in overcoming fear of death, via my shrink)

I have a husband for whom longevity is hereditary, so my plan is to go first. As long as I die first, I’ll have nothing to worry about. STICK TO THE PLAN, MOTTERN!
Although, you should listen carefully, because I might be on the other side, screamin about how he accidentally killed me with medicine interactions or intolerance, or maybe I won’t care, because I’ll be dead, and full of love and joy. It’s hard to say.

I think my kids are great people, but who knows what they’ll be like when I’m too old to bop em on the back of the head and yell at em. Maybe they’ll become sycophantic vultures. We can’t know for sure.

ie: love them as they are

ie: love them as they are

I’ve seen and heard things people’s loved ones do in times of crisis and intervention, and I don’t want any part of that. I’ll give you some honest to God quotes:

“If we put her in a nursing home now, do we inherit?”

“But I have power of attorney.”
“Only for this account.”
“Well who’s got power of attorney for this other account?”
“I am not at liberty to say.”

“Honey, if you want anything, take it now, because when I die they’re gonna fight over it and there will be nothin left for you.”

“It’s like she just won’t die.”

“My son is an asshole. He says he needs the money to pay my taxes. What do I know?”

“She’s just mad because we took away her pills and now we dispense them as directed.”

“How do I know what to do if I can’t see the will until he dies?”

If you’ve lived awhile, I bet you’ve been part of similar discussions. It’s depressing.
The greed and control are disheartening.

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum are the families who do everything they possibly can to enrich their aging parents’ lives, and still wonder if it’s enough.

Still, I think most families have that one imperious person, who simply cannot be trusted to act with integrity.

what do you mean they left me with debt?

what do you mean they left me with debt?

I have a will and a living will and people know stuff about it, but maybe I won’t get to go first and my kids will be all over the country living their lives, and I’ll be unable to live my life well, and they’ll put me in a home, and I’ll be the weird old lady who collages her room with photos from Cat Fancy.

these are my babies now

these are my babies now

Or maybe one of them will swoop in and take over. Maybe I’ll be held hostage and watched like a hawk. Maybe they’ll commit terrible crimes against me, like dressing me in polyester gowns, leaving my toenails unpainted, forcing me to drink weak coffee and watch reality television.
Good gravy, what if they deprive me of the interwebz?
Oh sure, they’re sweet now, telling me they’ll read to me and wash my hair and drive me around, but that’s because they don’t actually have to do any of that, much like the puppies they promise they’ll walk, feed, play with, and bathe.

I figure if my kids turn out awful, I could probably get one of my nephews to sneak me in some hooch…
Hey, that’s yet another obvious reason to spoil the shit out of grandchildren, isn’t it?

the skeleton key is the scariest movie about aging, fucking ever

the skeleton key is the scariest movie about aging, fucking ever

One word: Advocate. Everyone should get an advocate. It should be free. At the first sign of trouble, like someone says, “You’re too old to be eating all this ice cream!” the advocate should appear as if from nowhere. The advocate should be able to bop your kids on their heads, yell at em, shame em, and send them to bed without cocktails. The advocate should be able to throat punch your greedy niece as she reaches for your sapphire brooch. The advocate should make sure your toenails are painted properly for each season, that you’re dressed in comfy breathable cotton, that your coffee is freshly ground Sumatra, as well as making sure that your laptop, wifi and dvr are all in working order.
Your advocate should say things like, “Sassy, get your mother another Valium,” and “Moo, rub your mother’s feet.”

Anyway, I needn’t worry about it, since I will be dying first.
Later.
Likely not today.
I’ll have The Mister check for The Boogey Man.
And I’ll make sure to give the children ice cream and let them stay up late.

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