U is for Umbrella

If, like me, you love the rain, you may also love umbrellas.
It takes a good downpour to force me to use one, though.
I’d rather walk in the rain, and splash in the puddles.

Umbrellas are whimsical.

umbrella7

 

 

Umbrellas are cheerful.
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Umbrellas are useful.

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Umbrellas are iconic.
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Umbrellas are magical.

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Umbrellas are best when shared.

umbrella00
Or maybe they’re better when sacrificed…

umbrella

 

 

“Love is like an umbrella. It can provide protection from life’s storms, or it can poke you in the eye.”

 

 

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The French word for umbrella is parapluie. What a happy word. It’s one of my faves.

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Umbrellas are clever in photography.

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Umbrellas aren’t just for humans.

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Umbrellas stand out.

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If, like me, have a skin tone akin to vampire, you may also enjoy umbrellas on sunny days.
Or, perhaps hats that are so large, they could also easily be used as umbrellas.

 

umbrella000

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , | 2 Comments

T is for Tulips

Tulips are my favorite.
White tulips above all. Tulips in every color are gorgeous, but white ones are my favorite.

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I don’t know when exactly tulips became my favorite, but I had tulip bedding in 1987. The comforter subsequently became my woobie, traveling everywhere with me, to college, on road trips, even to the hospital to have my babies, and I didn’t give it up until 2008. It was threadbare, and the batting so clumped, it was no longer comfortable.

I wanted tulips at my wedding, but I married in August, so I carried sweetheart roses instead. Sweetheart roses are spectacular, but they’re not tulips.

tulips8
In 2003, we bought a house with a substantial yard and many established plants. I added tulips every year.
In 2004, I might have had 100, but by 2006, I know I had over 200 tulips in my yard.
And in 2006, while Sissy, Sassy and I deadheaded the begonias and snapdragons, Moo deadheaded every single tulip in the back yard. I cried. Poor Moo, she was only trying to help.

tulips0
When I lived in Georgia, it was too warm for bulbs, so the only tulips I had were cut in vases.
Ground phlox blooms in January in Georgia. Pansies are a winter flower in the south. It pained me, I swear.
I would be unhappy to live anywhere where I would need to freeze the bulbs in the house before planting them. Along with deciduous trees, my landscape must include bulbs in the spring. This year I will add hyacinth and crocuses, but the tulips were an urgent requirement.

tulips1
Since we moved here in August, and I had plenty of inside work to do, the only things I planted in my new yard last fall were tulips. Just started with 56, here and there, because I wasn’t too sure what was planted where. (Good thing, too, since spring is showing me!)

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My mother joked with me about planting The Back Forty as a field of daffodils. Wouldn’t a field of tulips be better?

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I’m not sure if it was the strange, brutal winter, or my eagerness for tulips, but I did experience Spring Fever this year. My theory is that one cannot possibly enjoy the glory of spring without having suffered through a winter. It’s nature’s reward.

The tulips are all at various stages, due to their varieties and the sunlight conditions. Those that have opened already are mostly closed this morning, because it’s cold, only about 40F. I enjoy watching the tulips open and close. I admire them. I marvel at them. I downright stare at them. They are beautiful. I love tulips.

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S is for So Many Things

I have so many things to do in my yard.

No, really, SO MANY.

yard1

Spring has arrived, and my yard is full of so many neglected plants that need division. So many hostas, for one. Ornamental grasses, daylilies, and lily-of-the-valley, too. I also have an abundance of plants that won’t tell me their names.
“Are you bellflower? I think you might be bellflower.”

I always miss my mother, but it’d be great to have her walk around my yard with me right about now. Would it be selfish to send her a plane ticket for Mother’s Day? I know my dad will miss her, but think of all the golf he can watch! Golf is on now, right? I know if she leaves the beach too early in the season, she freezes to death, but we do have all those quilts…

these are not my parents

these are not my parents

I want to make a walkway. I have pavers. They’re kinda heavy (kinda miss my wheelbarrow) and they’re all over the yard, but I have them. I just need to dig and level and add sand and lay the brick and oh yeah, I need new steps…

Gotta prune the shrubs.

Still pulling out dead organic matter every time I go out.

The grass needs to be mowed.
Hey! That’s not my job! But he doesn’t need to do The Back Forty yet, just the front…

Sadly, building raised beds for my garden is also not my job, so I’ll be nagging reminding The Mister about that.

found out i can't keep goats here *sigh*

found out i can’t keep goats here *sigh*

I’m not saying I have nightmares about a ruined garden, but I have nightmares about a ruined garden. Those nightmares may or may not involve laughing squirrels, snow in July, and White Walkers.

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i’ve seen worse

The peonies are coming up, and I’m terrified they’ll have powdery mildew again this year.

So many things to do.
SO MANY.

Tell me you have a lot of earth to tend, too?

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R is for Ribs

Remove the membrane.

Rub the spices.

Roast.

Rev up the grill.

Render with sauce.

Round up napkins.

Ravage with abandon.

it was cookout night chez nous

it was cookout night chez nous

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 23 Comments

Q is for Quilts

I love quilts. I love strip quilts and wedding band quilts and yo-yo quilts and art quilts and crazy quilts and I have never met a quilt I didn’t like, although I tend to prefer whites and I tend to prefer squares.
I love to look at quilts, I love to make quilts, and most of all, I love to snuggle with quilts. I am a blanket girl. My girls are blanket girls.
A good quilt is soft and cold. The best quilts are the old ones, the ones that are worn-out and tattered, because they are the softest.
I have a fairly serious cotton fetish, since I have sensitive skin. I could easily be a fabric junkie. I have learned to control myself. I struggle to control myself. I fall in love with fabric.

Quilts

Papa Quilts (quilts made by my dad, embroidery by my mother):

mine

mine, repeated block

sissy's

sissy’s, each sunbonnet sue & suspender sam are doing something different, 12 blocks

sassy's (sassy included)

sassy’s (sassy included)

moo's

moo’s, five rows

Quilted pillows gifted to me this winter by Lady Molly Quilts:

quilts 006

Art quilt made also by Lady Molly Quilts:

yes, the lace is real!

yes, the lace is real!

Bubba’s baby quilt, made by Granny:

only the oldest grandchildren have these

only the oldest grandchildren have these

The Mister’s baby quilt:

hand-crafted by MIL

hand-crafted by MIL

Quilt purchased for me by my in-laws at a church auction:

machine quilted

machine-quilted, hand-appliqued

Old quilt:

beach, trunk, dog blanket

beach/ trunk/ dog blanket

Then I have quilts in various stages of work. My one and only completely finished quilt has already been gifted to HME. It was a nine-patch pattern in jewel tones, and I’m not going to search for the photo…

Sassy’s:

baby clothes inserts

baby clothes inserts, top 1/2 done

Sassy’s keepsake baby quilt:

pieced-top only

pieced-top only

Drew’s:

machine-pieced, hand-quilted

machine-pieced, huge & heavy(the mister is behind it) halfway through hand-quilting

I have Moo’s pieces cut and ready to sew. One child at a time, hmm?

Then there are the mass-produced quilts…Still comforting.

From Waverly:

most snuggled quilt in the house

most snuggled quilt in the house

From Laura Ashley:

ours

ours

But here’s me, a few months ago, with a few squares of my favorite project:

psquilt
The postage stamp quilt.

A much beloved, much respected woman in our lives left me a ton of vintage fabric, everything from clothing scrap to calicoes. The fabric is in varied condition. Some of them are remnant pieces from her own quilts, and some are yards. In order to make the most use of all the pieces, the only way to salvage most of it — is to use a tiny pattern.
This one will be mine. This one is 100% hand-pieced and will be hand-quilted, or perhaps merely tacked — I certainly have time to decide. I assume I will finish it when I am an old woman, but I do so love to sit and stitch from time to time, so it’s a labor of love. Each square is one inch by one inch, and it takes 12 inches to make each block…
People often ask me how big it will be. REALLY BIG? I have no idea. One day, I will find myself nearing the end of the fabric pieces, and then I guess I’ll have a better idea.

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P is for Pretty Pussy Cats Perching

About a month ago, I moved a dresser in front of the window and I quickly realized this would be a new perch for my cats.

Catticus, my boy kitty, has a real knack for making space where he wants it. We’ve never seen him in action, but we did find the broken mango bowl on the floor, and Catticus sprawled out where the intact mango bowl had once been. He looked completely innocent, but the evidence supported his belief that the mango bowl did not need sunshine and fresh air as much as he did.

innocent
After watching the cats contemplate the basket, and wedging themselves between pieces, I placed a pillow atop the basket.
It’s become the place to be.

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prettykitties 001
I do believe this makes me the best kitty mama ever.

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O is for Optimism

(And all the pessimists rolled their eyes…)

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I am NOT Little Miss Sunshine.

not me

not me

I’m actually deeply sensitive, empathic, and prone to melancholy. I worry and I fret and I dwell. My heart breaks and aches like everyone else’s. I get frustrated when things don’t go my way, and I get mad when people don’t understand me. I’ve suffered loss, abuse, neglect, grief, separation, chronic pain, abandonment, scary health diagnoses and treatment, and a mental breakdown. I have never had the privilege of being a Pollyanna.

But, I am here to tell you, in most “Shit Happens” situations, it is virtually impossible to stay sad, frustrated, angry, or worried if you stop to take a moment of gratitude, to focus on the positives, to delight in the way things are going. I know, it sounds hard, and it does take work at first, although after a fair amount of practice, you too can be a positive person. I’ve taught myself to look on the bright side.

o
See, you’re allowed to have a bad day, if you really need it. But after one bad day, do you really need another bad day?

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Tomorrow will always be better. And you can let things get you down, because maybe you need a little comfort, or some sympathy, but all the time you spend being upset about something that’s already happened keeps you from enjoying what actually is. And sometimes, you just need to comfort yourself, because only you know what you really need.

By all means, you shouldn’t ignore your troubles. Certain things take longer than others to muddle through. But how you come out of it, and back to yourself, is completely up to you. It really is all in how you look at it.

o1
I know it to be true, because I’ve lived it. Once you start building a negative spiral, you keep going deeper and deeper down, and yes, you will have to climb all the way back up on your own. If you haven’t scared off all your loved ones with your negativity, you may well have some people to help you along the way.

(Those people are keepers.)

It’s crucial to reduce the amount of negative people in your life. Negative people tend to deplete your happiness, and you need all the happiness you can get. Also, many of them are just waiting for something bad to happen to you, so they can feel better about their own lives.
The optimist can shrug off the negativity of others for quite a while, but it’s better to limit the time and energy spent.

o2
Hang out with people who make you feel good. Do things that make you smile and laugh. Count your blessings. Expect joy. Move forward. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

Be optimistic.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 16 Comments

N is for Not Bloggin Big Today

It was my day to get up with the girls and drive them to school.
I woke up with a weird pain that set my anxiety off.
I had a bad hair day.
I did all the grocery shopping.
I broke a nail.
I had no nap, so I drank caffeine.
I had to take Sassy out to dress shop.
Moo needed shiny shoes.
And tights.
The pain went away.
The lady at Kohl’s overcharged me by $30, and then I had to stand in a different line so a different lady could reimburse me.
My pants kept fallin dowwwn.
I came home to a soothing hot bath, put on my pink pajamas, and proceeded to prepare dinner.
Dinner was delicious. It was such a beautiful bounty, The Mister said grace. We had rib-eyes on the grill, iceberg wedges with radish and carrot, steamed broccoli, cantaloupe, and strawberries.
I am full.
I am tired.
I hafta do Sassy’s hair now.
And laundry.
I’ll get right on that O tomorrow, but my N today is Nuh-uh. Nope. Not gonna.

no

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M is for Magical

Magic, like happiness, is where you find it. This morning wasn’t my morning to get up with the girls, so I slept til 9:30. As soon as I woke, I remembered it snowed last night. I might be the only person in North America who was tickled that it snowed last night. Remember, I like to be lured into Spring.

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I rushed to the window to see if it had stuck, and then I went outside to take this photo immediately.

magic

I love being home. Before I lived in Georgia, I don’t think I ever thought so much about landscapes.
I remember asking my husband when he got there, “Are there mostly deciduous trees, or conifers?” and his replying, “What?” So clearly trees were important to me before I left. Now, for me, the glory of all four seasons, with Summer being the shortest, feels necessary. Necessary for my mental health and certainly for my skin.

I was having a lovely morning of reading when The Mister called to say he would be skipping his afternoon lecture, to mail out our taxes and to take me to lunch. We went to our favorite Mexican place, where The Mister actually drank a large beer! At lunch! This is unheard of.

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We had the most cordial, and perhaps the prettiest, waiter that ever there was. As we left, I said I wish we had some cash, and The Mister agreed. (If you’ve never waited tables, you may not know, but your server’s taxes are calculated by income receipts. So when you leave a tip with your card, he hasta claim all that, but with cash, there’s not proof, so maybe the IRS just thinks he’s a crap waiter.) When I get great service, I like to leave a little on the card and more cash on the table.

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Since The Mister drank his giant beer I was more than happy to drive us over to the local Mexican bakery after lunch, where I collected delicious treats for after school. It seemed our waiter had the same idea, because shortly after we arrived, he came in, too. Unfortunately, I had forgotten or never knew, the bakery does not take cards, and once again, we wished we had cash. I told the cashier we would go to the ATM and return.

As we walked back to the van, discussing the nearest ATM, our waiter hollered, “Amigo!” and The Mister turned around to find our waiter, holding our bag of goodies, telling us he paid for them.
That is so delightful! It’s been quite awhile since we’ve been the recipients of such a kindness.

Now I wish I had tipped him even more!

magic1
On the drive home, I went on and on and on, how I do, about the majesty of the scenery.
“I love this weather! It’s glorious! I‘m just so happy to be home! I just don’t think I could ever take it for granted again. I mean, even when the windchill was -40, I’d just think, well at least I’m not in fuckin Georgia anymore!”
“Right. No more fuckin Georgia.”
“Look at this! Sunny skies and snow! Snow! Green grass, blooms on the trees, tulips in the snow…”
“Rain on the scarecrow. Blood on the plow.”

I laughed my ass off, I did.

 

You can take the girl out of Indiana, but you can’t take Indiana out of the girl.
Magical day. *smiles*

 

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L is for Lily

Last summer, my mother-in-law was gifted with a calla lily. She loved it. She has respiratory issues, so not all plants, especially not most flowering plants, are good for her home.
(She has great aptitude for growing African violets, which stay green and lush all year, with or without blooms.)

She lamented to me that she had killed the lily. She asked me if I wanted to rescue it. I looked at it and I smiled, saying, “Sure, I’ll give it a whirl.”

MIL thought she killed her calla lily. Shh, she didn’t.

She’s just not familiar with the dormancy period of flowering plants, tee-hee.

The reason I’m giggling is because I took the lily home, carefully groomed it, gently pulling its dead leaves off as they withered, stuck it on the highest shelf in the bathroom, where it received constant low light over winter, and last week, I pulled it out, set it in the sun, gave it a little water, and poof! the calla lily knows it’s spring!

sprout!

sprout!

I fed it Monday, and am hoping by the time Mother’s Day rolls around, I will be able to re-pot it in a pretty permanent container, and give it back to her. Then I will explain the magic of dormancy.

This is a woman who tells the children that Jesus painted the pretty fall foliage, so she will no doubt love the resurrection.

In the meantime, I gave her an orchid for Christmas, and explained how easy it would be to care for, if she did x, y, and z. The orchid is still going strong, so I think that’s a good sign. I know it’s a boost for her confidence.

You see, that’s why I didn’t tell her how to do it. MIL would fuss over it and worry about it. And if it didn’t come back, she’d take it personally. They don’t always come back, but the odds are in her favor. If she wants me to keep doing it, I will, but I really think she can manage.

For me, this is one of those things I’m so eager about, I actually get giddy! The anticipation of returning the calla lily to her is intoxicating! I’m getting so excited!

lily

 

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K is for Kitchen

Because I am a person who spends a great deal of time in the kitchen, I need things to function.
So, when the garbage disposal started making sounds like it was going to fly up through the drain and eat my face off, I started researching how to fix it. But then, it stopped making that noise. When Mr. F came by, it started doing it again. He heard it and said it needed to be adjusted. I said how sad it is that we are always having these conversations when The Mister is not home.

The Mister is virtually never home. I mean, this is sort of the crux of our marriage. I wait for that man like no other woman has ever waited for a man. You may remember how much I enjoy my solitude, so it’s not like I’m mad about it, but there are certain things I cannot do on my own.

fix7
I watched videos and read instructions on how to adjust my garbage disposal. Yes, I did push the reset button, and then I did put an allen wrench in there and wiggle it back and forth to make sure the blades were free to spin. And the garbage disposal continued growling and whirring, until eventually it only hummed. No amount of resets or allen wrenching could bring the beast back.

Within a week of the crazy metal-on-metal sound the garbage disposal made, the dishwasher stopped working. I researched that, too, but I was only able to go so far, because I couldn’t get the third trap out, thank you arthritis.

fix5
The concept that the dishwasher stopped draining because of the garbage disposal DID occur to me, and I researched that, too, but I am not comfortable with plumbing. I’m petrified of electricity, but only uncomfortable with plumbing. So I had to wait it out. Wait for The Mister to be home long enough to fiddle. He could take the pipes apart and check for a clog.

fix1
I have lived years without a garbage disposal and a dishwasher. It’s not my favorite, but really, I can cope with scraping and washing dishes with my own hands.

Until the sink goes wonky, too.

The bolts that hold the faucet loosened. The aerator came off the faucet. The sprayer lost power because so much water came out of the faucet.

Doing dishes became a nightmare.

fix2
And when the garbage disposal hummed, it didn’t take any of the water down. I did dishes with the water spraying crazy, getting me all wet, long enough to actually get bored, because the faucet wouldn’t stay where I put it, not allowing me to wash one thing while another rinsed, until the water got too high, so then I’d stop, let it drain, and go back for another shift.

Thursday night, my patience broke.
The water on the left no longer drained at all.

>Cue the freak out<

“I know you’re very busy, and you’re hardly ever home, and you are so tired, and so stressed out, and you really need your downtime, but I cannot live like this! This is akin to people livin through renovations, washin their dishes in the fuckin bathtub! I’m not a princess, I can scrape and wash dishes with my very own hands, but either put in a new garbage disposal, or replace the pipes so that the water drains! I will call a plumber, so help me God, I will!”

mad
The Mister, he nod. He assent. Too tired to fight, bless his heart.

Last night, we had an early dinner and picked up a new garbage disposal on the way home. We also got a new aerator and long tool thing for bolts.

Replacing the garbage disposal was not the most fun we’ve ever had.

The instruction book said we would need one person with basic mechanical skills and one hour.

LIES. ALL LIES! 

What we needed was two people, one with basic mechanical skills, one with expert mechanical skills, and three hours (4.5 if you count getting the putty from the store.)
Additionally, we needed the one person with basic mechanical skills to be as strong as the person with expert mechanical skills.
We also needed lube, a stack of books, and appropriate putty.

We used the wrong putty. In fact, it specifically warned, “Do not use on plastic,” and we did, in fact, use it on plastic. Sorta. I mean, it got on some of the plastic. Hopefully this doesn’t cause a weakness in the space-time continuum or anything…
These things can be avoided when one reads the packaging, but my husband doesn’t do that. He doesn’t read instructions, either. I’m not saying he’s overconfident to the point of arrogance, because that would be unkind. I’m also not saying that I find his arrogance attractive, until it conflicts with the following of fucking directions.

Posted @ Funny-Picks.com
Sometimes I suggested horrible things, like using a wrench to turn the lock, stacking books under the machine to hold it, or inserting the splash guard into the drain flange. He would glare at me with his laser blue eyes, jaw locked, vein popping and I know, I just know, he hated me a little tiny bit. I do believe he hated me more when all those suggestions worked.
The kicker, I think, was when I read, “To open the knock out plug, do not use any sharp metal tools, such as a screwdriver…” and I looked over to him about to shove a fucking screwdriver in the thing.

“Jesus fuckin Christ, what did I JUST say?!?”

fix6
I handle adversity well.
Yes, I know, I’m afraid of many things, and have panic attacks when there’s no reason to, but in the event of actual adversity, I maintain my composure. I keep my ability to be reasonable and even pleasant. It’s terrible for The Mister.

(When the basement flooded in 2003, I was like, “Oh no. Well I guess we should pull out the carpet. Never liked that carpet anyway. Let’s turn on some fans.” The Mister? He was furious! He actually had the gall to ask what else could go wrong, which is very dangerous, because the universe will SHOW you what else can go wrong, which is why seconds later, mother nature created such a wind, that the basketball goal flew right into the windshield of our van. One must never ever ask what else can go wrong. Ever.)

fix4
So yeah, there was a clog in the pipes, from the broken garbage disposal, and it came out, smelling like vomit, but it didn’t make the garbage disposal work again. We ran a coat hanger through the tubing to the dishwasher, no clog there.
We replaced that garbage disposal. And the dishwasher works now, too.

We won.

Us: 2,578,432
Adversity: 0

 

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J is for Jolene

Well it was just obvious, wasn’t it?

Jolene is a woman with flaming locks of auburn hair, ivory skin and emerald green eyes, and you must beg her not to take your man.

My eyes are blue. Greenish grayish blue with flecks of yellow. No one would ever compare them to emeralds. See?

eye
I only know one woman with emerald eyes, and she’s had three husbands. Not only do I lack the powers emerald eyes possess, but to make matters worse, the universe did not endow me with enough patience to deal with men.

Conversations Between Men and Women

“I told the kids to bring you the cups they used. Didja get ‘em?”
“I dunno, Honey, which of these ten thousand cups did they use?”

“There weren’t three cups of sugar left in the jar, so I put the new bag of sugar in the jar for you.”
“Thank you?”

“How about cake? Does cake sound good?”
“Sure.”
“What kind?”
“What kind of what?”

“What kind of cookies do you want?”
“I don’t want any.”
“What kind of cookies do you want, so that you do not eat all of the children’s cookies?”
“Molasses.”

Seriously. Who could tolerate more than one?
So rest assured, my fondness for your man in no way implies that I am out to take him from you.

this

If he talks about me in his sleep, it’s only because that bastard owes me money, and you should tell him to pay me so his conscience lets up.

If you think my beauty is beyond compare, I recommend seeing an optometrist.

jolene

I do have a soft voice, not unlike summer rain, unless I’m upset — then I seem a lot like Julia Sugarbaker, only with more bitchy and less silk. And when I yell? Most unattractive woman on earth, I promise.

“Do what your mother told you to do, before she makes that noise again.”

I do have a nice enough smile, although I would not compare it the breath of spring, because I don’t think the breath of spring involves root canals…

And that’s why I’m Joey, not Jolene.

 

Joeys are the best.

dude-thing-8-1

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I is for I Don’t Think So!

Our house came with this sign affixed to the back gate:

beach
I don’t think so.
As Hoosiers, we’re puzzled. We don’t know what kind of beach the previous home owner had, but so far we’ve only had this kind of water feature:

back 40 -- with ducks!

back 40 — with ducks!

And then later this spring, we plan to get one of these water features:

baby pool for the giantesse and her minion

baby pool for the giantesse and her minion

But a beach? In Indianapolis?
I don’t think so.

It’s quite remarkable how many beach references can be found in Indy. I always get a good laugh when I see apartment complexes, neighborhoods, and streets named after things that clearly do not exist in, nor are related to Indiana in any way.

In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s what Indiana looks like between the downtown sections of every city and town in the state.

but with corn, lots more corn

but with corn, lots more corn!

I, like many Midwesterners, appreciate my native landscape, and I can think of plenty of appropriate names for places just by looking at this picture.

When your surroundings look like this, don’t they just scream words like Provence, Martinique, Seville, Tuscan, and Bordeaux? I don’t think so.
(If it does, I want you to know, I’ve got a charming 1500 square-foot “villa” on over an acre, and I will rent it to you for $1200 USD a week, just like they do in Marseilles.)

And I mean really, Chateau de Anything in Indiana is a ridiculous name for an apartment complex. Chateau? Say “Shithole” with a French accent. I can see how that went wrong, because the 6 square feet of kitchen just scream “castle!”

Aloha? I don’t think so.

Desert Flower? Kodiak? Redwood? Canyon? I don’t think so.

Also? Spinnaker? Tide? Palm? Seascape? Port O’ Call? Seaward? Barnacle? I don’t think so.

Here’s Indiana Beach:

lake michigan, 100 miles from indy

lake michigan, 100 miles north of indy

It’s important to note that many of the people who name streets and abodes are confused about the native wildlife in Central Indiana. Animals which live in the Indianapolis Zoo are not necessarily native, and therefore, should not be on street or neighborhood signs.
Such animals include, but are not limited to dolphins, pelicans, parrots, and sting rays.

If it’s all about imagination, then I’d like to live on Giraffe Lane, thanks!

and we will eat figs and kick people all day!

where we will eat figs and kick people all day!

Anyway, I decided we needed a new sign for the back gate. Something more appropriate to the landscape.

I took into account our natural habitat, as well as our disposition and eating habits, and this is what I chose:

welcome
I tried to find something clever, that might also ward off predators…something like, “Everyone in this house has Herpes Simplex 1 and eczema” or  “Fire Signs and Bad Tempers Within” or “He’s a military man with PTSD and a love for blades, and she’s an Italian bitch with anxiety disorder” or even, “The adults in this house have mental health issues and strong self-preservation skills” but they don’t seem to sell those ANYWHERE!

 

 

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H is for Harebrained

I saw an ad for free plants this morning, so I hurried, groomed and Googled, even leaving with my hair wet.

I was so excited for free plants! Particularly since one of them was 7-8 feet tall, and I have this barren corner in my entryway, which is just screaming for a plant! Hurray!

So I talka Siri. You remember, I checked Google maps before talking to Siri, because sometimes, that Siri is a bit harebrained. She couldn’t find it, but I was thoughtful and typed it in so that she could relate. She gave me the same directions as Google. So off I went down the pike, headed to the interstate, on my journey to free plants.

“In 2.1 miles, take Exit 49 and turn left.”
“Right on!”

(Free plants!)

plants

I took Exit 49 and turned left.

And then, that harebrained bitch told me to turn left to get back onto the interstate I had just come off of!

“Oh, look, a McDonald’s!”
“Continue to route.”
“No. Coke first.”
“Continue to route.”
I muted Siri and called my husband.

I was out of my familiar territories. *slurp*
But! I am not directionally challenged, so I decided if my husband could just confirm my heading north on Post Road, I’d be headed toward Beech Grove. *slurp*

(Free plants!)

Well, he checked the map, and I was right, of course. As soon as I passed that interstate ramp, Siri was suddenly able to tell me to go north on Post Road. And I was thinking, “Good grief, Siri, could we not have taken Post Road south to get here in the first damn place?!?”

Beautiful day for a drive! Sixty and partly sunny. Just glorious.

(Free plants!)

When I arrived, all the plants were gone. I was about 15 minutes too late. Thanks, Siri.

giphyDamn.
No free plants.

I took a lovely scenic drive all over the eastside today. Used only secondary roads, lotsa stop lights and traffic. Stopped at the grocery. Still faster than Siri’s harebrained directions.

Just remember, even though the voice of Siri is a brunette, actual Siri is blonde. A bossy blonde who has never driven a vehicle. If you tell her the address and she can’t find it, do not type it in. Just let it go. The plants are all gone anyway.

Maybe I should ask her where I can get a nice silk fig tree for that corner…

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G is for Geraniums

I have a love-hate relationship with geraniums.

Geraniums are unequivocally bright and cheerful. They’re easy to grow from seed, but cheap when they’re already blooming. They stand out beautifully on sunny days. They’re traditional. They’re the quintessential window box flower. They are so pretty. I love the red ones. My mother always had some geraniums every summer, now she lives in summer, so she has them often.

These are some of my mother’s current geraniums.

geraniums
Aren’t they lovely?

You know what? They smell horrendous. I hate the smell of geraniums. Like really, alawt, the smell makes me gag. Icky, icky, icky. Worse than marigolds, not as awful as vomit in one’s nose.

Here I am, back home again, in Indiana, and I don’t know if I can actually live without some geraniums. It’s one of the worst first-world problems I’ve had in awhile.

While I contemplate my struggle, here’s a really good book for teachers and parents.

geranium1
My ed psych professor gave me this book when I finished my student teaching. He said they were out of print, and he bought them up in old bookstores, so he could dole out copies to promising students.

I love this book, and I read it to my kids every year before they go back to school. It’s a tradition.

And like all old books, it smells fantastic.

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UPDATE

Lil Dog’s name is Hunter, and he was collected by his people just a bit ago.

SO MUCH HAPPY!

happy

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F is for Found

(UPDATE: HUNTER HAS BEEN PICKED UP BY HIS FAMILY! YAY EVERYONE!)

I was alerted to this guy yesterday, when my dog began barking madly. Usually it’s the mail carrier or the fluffy black cat, (Sadie hates that fluffy black cat!) but this time it was Lil Dog.

I watched Lil Dog going from door to door, scratching and crying. Lil Dog was not out on an adventure. Lil Dog was lost. I could see he was well taken care of, and wore a collar. His tail was down between his legs.

I decided to collect him. Someone must love him. If my dog went out and got lost, I’d want someone to keep her safe.

Well, Lil Dog was skittish. He seemed to like my dog, so I used her as a lure. He would stay in the yard, but every time I approached him, he would bark scared and bolt a few feet farther from me.

So I went and got some ham from the fridge.

Oh, Lil Dog likes ham. In fact, Lil Dog’s tail popped right up and I became his favorite human.
Still, it took Sadie to herd him inside.

No tags.

Yes, I know he could have a chip, but it will be awhile before the stars align so that I have a vehicle while the vet’s office is open.

So, he’s just hangin out with us.
He’s been tweeted, got his own ad on Craigslist, and he’s posted on Indianapolis Lost Pet Alert.
Hopefully his owner claims him today.

My dog has had a wonderful time playing with him, and lounging in the sun with him, and fighting over tennis balls with him.

Sassy tries to convince me he loves her, whereas I know his owner loves him. She asked, “What do you think his name was?” I said, “I’m sure you mean what his name is.”

Moo isn’t fond of Lil Dog, because he chases and barks at the cats, which makes Sadie bark at him, and then they have a big ol’ fight about it, because I guess, like siblings, you can bark at and play bow with your own cats, but no one else can.

The Mister is not fond of Lil Dog, because The Mister goes around saying things like, “No more animals” as if it’s his mantra. (I’m sure chickens and goats have simply slipped his mind…) However, he did invite Lil Dog to snuggle beside him in the evening.

Lil Dog must still be puppyish, because he doesn’t sleep through the night.

She was awake again, at o’dark thirty when she remembered exactly what she hates most about babies, puppies, and kittens — it’s a long time before they sleep through the night.

foundhound1
Let’s all think positive thoughts about Lil Dog’s return, hmm? Lil Dog must have an owner who misses him. Surely he will be claimed today.
RIGHT?!?

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E is for Experience

Our young adult children, and the young adult children of our friends, are finding more and more of their friends getting married, getting pregnant, and shackin up. This makes for lively discussions and entertaining social media banter.

married5

Every time I hear someone is 19 and getting married, I assume someone’s pregnant or those poor kids are saving themselves for marriage, and it’s gettin harder and harder to wait for the sex.
I suppose some people are positively frightened of being alone.
Or maybe they’re afraid no one better will come along.
Maybe they think it will make them a grown-up.
I can only presume weddings seem like the most magical things ever.

married2

I’m going to generalize the fuck out of this post, so if you married young, and had babies right away, and you’re now over the age of thirty and still quite happy, then I commend you, and this post is not about you.
In keeping with generalizations, if you married young, and years later, you still don’t have a baby, because you don’t want a baby, you’re obviously exceptional, and congratulations on living through people asking you daily, “When are you going to have children?” and the even more vicious, “You’ll change your mind when you’re older” comment.
And in the same generalized format, if you’ve reached “a certain age” and you’re still willfully unmarried and/or childless, then I want you to throw really cool parties like this:

married4
I hate weddings.
There, I said it.

I have been to gobs of weddings, and most of them were terrible. Several weddings involved me asking the bride if she was sure she wanted to go through with it.
I know happiness when I see it, and I don’t see it too often at weddings. When I attend a happy wedding, I am damn near euphoric, and eager to drink and dance.

I even hated my own wedding.
As soon as The Mister and I got into the car after the reception, we looked at one another and said, in unison, “We should’ve eloped.”

A good marriage lasts a lot longer than a bad wedding.

married3
See, no one can really define what makes a marriage work. I mean, we throw around words like honesty, trust, communication, and compromise, but the definitions and boundaries of those words vary from user to user, and they change over time.

The thing is, only the people in the marriage can make the marriage, and only the people in the marriage can define it.
Now, I view marriage as a secular thing, so I don’t want to read what your particular god has to say about marriage. Adam and Steve are my family and friends, so your “morality” is of no interest to me.

What the hell do 18-19-20-year-olds know about marriage? Probably not any more or any less than grown-ass people do. They just don’t seem to consider reality…

Young people say really ridiculously cute things like, “She’ll go to school full-time and I’ll work full-time.”
And I ask questions that are equally cute and absurd, like, “Where will the baby be while y’all are doin that?”
They’ll work it out, they say. Then they smile at one another and squeeze their held hands.

Young people say things like, “I don’t know if I’ll ever want children.” Well, that’s pretty vague, yo. I’ve yet to meet any couples who have halfa baby because one wanted a child and one didn’t. Unless something is medically wrong, or people are surgically invested in sterility, babies just kinda happen with sexual activity.

Grown-ass people are liberated from their parents. They’ve dated plenty. They’ve tried on a lot of different people. They’ve experienced the demands of a career. They’ve traveled. They’ve purchased a car, or a property, or an insurance policy. They’ve managed their own money. Maybe they’ve even grown a plant or kept a pet.

They have a life to merge with someone else’s life.

The older you are, the more educated you are, the more likely your marriage will last. Having faith or hobbies or interests in common increases that likelihood.

Getting married right out of high school or college doesn’t leave you any time to be yourself, as one individual. Why would anyone want to miss out on that? Skipping a milestone entirely, there.

Sometimes, my girls want lots and lots of babies. Then some days, they say they’re never going to have children. I tell my girls all the time, “You gotta have that time, where you’re completely independent. When you have a job and a life all your own. You must LIVE. You gotta drink and dance and spend way too much money on shoes and music and books. Once you get married or have children, you can’t get it back.”

you
Here are some clues you may not be ready to get married:

Your parents are still paying on your orthodontia. 
You haven’t graduated high school.
You think FICA is like the SAT.
You still haven’t passed your driver’s test.
You don’t know how you got pregnant.
Your mom still does your laundry.
You aren’t old enough to drink the champagne at your own wedding.
You need a work permit.
You don’t know your social security number.

 
fica

 

My advice to young love is to wait it out and see where life takes you. Be a whole person, ready to commit to another whole person. Make sure what’s offered is a huge improvement to your life, because marriage won’t fix your problems. Marriage will create new problems. Marriage is a lot of work. But then, I really don’t know anything, because I’m not young enough to be completely deluded. I’ve only got EXPERIENCE.

young

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D is for Dystopian

I didn’t know Dystopian literature was a thing until about three years ago when I heard it on the television. I was like: what’s that? anti-utopian?

Why, yes, thank you Google, that’s exactly what it means.

You see, I had been reading and enjoying Dystopian literature without actually knowing it was a genre. I mean, how many times did you masturbate before you learned there was a word for it, am I right?

Ironically, the stories usually seem to take place in a utopia. But when you keep reading, you’re like: Oh, that’s definitely not perfect, and so the intrigue continues.

Here are my favorite Dystopian books:

dysdys1dys2
Yes, I do love Margaret Atwood. I’ve loved Lois Lowry since elementary school.

But, there were books, classics I read and adored early on, that might have introduced me to the concept to begin with.

dys4 dys3 dys5

Yes, I read it in French.

There are so many Dystopian novels, and they are all, as far as I’ve read, really, really good.

Anyway, I’ve come to find that Sassy enjoys Dystopian literature as well, since she read the Divergent series and Matched. I’m enthusiastic about all the hypothetical discussions we’ll be having. *rubs hands together*

Tell me, have you read any of these? Do you have a favorite Dystopian book?

 

 

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C is for Chocolate Chip Cookies

We all know C is for cookie. I mean, I’ve known that since before I could say it, right?

Cookie-Monster

As tempting as it was to go with THE “C” word, I thought it was a tad predictable after B is for bitchy. Quite honestly, I don’t want to Google images for cunt.

So C is for chocolate chip cookies.

I didn’t even need to Google. I took the photos for you, and I am eating the cookies for you.

 

cookie4

cookie1cookie2

 

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B is for Bitchy

The lovely onechicklette (@1chicklette) interviewed me for one of her Twitter Spotlight posts this week.

I breezed through the questions, except when it came to the chief characteristic of myself, in one word.

I like to think I’m too complex and multi-faceted to be summarized in one word.

I asked my Facebook friends for help:
can you characterize me in ONE word? ONE.
is it bitchy?
it’s bitchy, isn’t it?

True seconded my opinion, and my mother was bitchy enough to commend me on knowing myself, and everyone else was nice, even flattering, for some fucking reason.

 

 
bitchy1
You can read the interview here, and you can read about me being bitchy in nearly every blog I’ve written. Although, you could be one of those people who stumbled upon me blogging about squirrels, sewing, and gardening, mistakenly assuming that bitches don’t enjoy some nice lady shit now and again.

 

 

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A is for Anxiety

People ask me all the time how to get rid of anxiety, how to reduce it, and whatnot, so I thought I’d make a big list of everything I’ve done that made a difference to me. I’ve gone from anxiety being a constant part of my everyday life, to anxiety being a constant part of my everyday life, BUT with fewer symptoms and less concern. I’ve accepted it. It’s not easy to accept it. Initially, I really struggled.

First of all, see a doctor. I know you’re too anxious to see a doctor, because what if the doctor tells you bad news? They do that. It’ll be okay. And if it’s not okay, you’ll die, and you won’t be anxious anymore. Besides, he might listen to you for twenty seconds and start writing you a scrip for anti-anxiety meds. “Is your husband deployed right now, Mrs. Mottern?” *scribbles on pad*

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am not even a nurse. At best, I had health classes and nutrition classes twenty years ago. I make no claim to be extending medical advice to anyone who reads this blog. You must see a doctor to make sure you’re not allergic to something, or suffering from a serious condition. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the doctor says you just can’t eat beets anymore, and when you give up beets, you’ll have no more anxiety? Right?!?

Second, find a therapist, so that the therapist can lead you through your worst-case scenario, like, “I can’t die. My husband is in Iraq, and my children need me.” Trust me, you have a worst-case scenario. You won’t die from anxiety, but when you’re riddled with it, you can’t enjoy all the living you’re doing, and that is the suck. Stay with your therapist until one of you decides that’s enough. It could take years, but you’re worth it.

If your therapist or your doctor gives you a scrip for benzodiazapenes, Xanax, Ativan, Valium — take the fucking pills. I know you’re scared shitless to take the pills, because you don’t like to take pills, they’re addictive, and worst of all, they might kill you, but take the fucking pills! On the label, it will read something like, “Take one to two pills daily, as needed.” Cut those bad boys in half, or even into quarters if you need to, but take them. Yes, you will be slightly sedated. You can still function while slightly sedated. I mean, look how well you function while being completely amped! If you take the pill and lie down, you will probably fall asleep, but while you are doing your life, you’ll feel much better. You know how smooth you feel after two glasses of wine? Same feeling.

I started out on quarters of one milligram of Ativan, and one full milligram at bedtime. I did that for months and months. I never did get addicted, and I don’t need them every day now, but I like to know they’re in my purse, because I might need one. I took a half a few weeks ago, and I’m so glad I had it.

Commit to never checking your own symptoms online, or watching medical mysteries, because we all know you’re going to die of whatever disease is revealed.

A4
Instead, join an online support group for people who are just like you. Now that you know you have anxiety, any symptom you get will most likely be anxiety, and when you’re in those forums, you will see, someone else has the same troubles you do.

A1
If you get a strange bodily affectation, like a lump on your wrist or a red spot on your foot, you will say, “If it’s still there in a week, I will see a doctor.” You will not agonize about it.

Every time you experience an anxiety symptom, you will accept and love it. You will go with it. You will tell yourself, “Oh, it’s my anxiety” and go on chopping those potatoes even though you know at any moment, the invisible band around your head will close like a vice and splatter your brain onto the countertop.
You will feel good about the anxiety symptom, because you appreciate your brain letting you know it’s given you way more adrenaline than you need right now. You will respect the anxiety and acknowledge that you need more relaxation in your life.

When you enter into a panic attack, you will find a way to cope. You will count your breaths, you will let it do its work all over you. You will know it’s just a surge of adrenaline, and accept it for what it is. You will still think you’re dying, but you’re not. You will be grateful for the small death that reminds you you’re living. Afterwards, you will drink a glass of water and do a relaxing thing.

You will look for the positives in everything. You will love more, you will accept, not just tolerate more, but really love and accept everything more, because GREAT FEAR is what you need to balance out.

You will leave earlier, and arrive earlier to everything. You need a few minutes before going in there, anyway.
When you leave there, you will stop to breathe and take a moment of gratitude.

Limit your caffeine consumption. Yes, I know, you feel caffeine is completely necessary to your life; I did too. Do it slowly, so you don’t get headaches. Start half-caffing your mornings until you’re decaffed, and don’t consume any caffeine after 3pm, no matter what. When you go out to eat, it will be the suck, but you might develop a taste for orange Fanta or Oh No, start drinking more water. People will think you’re a pain in the ass, like they need another dietary restriction as a hostess, but trust me, water will always be a viable option. If needed, remind your barista or your waitress that caffeine can kill someone with a heart condition, so it’s a health issue they cannot afford to forget. You need to understand that a Venti iced coffee gives you more caffeine than is welcome in an anxious, addled brain.

Untitled-1
You will sleep more and better when you’re decaffed. And taking the benzos will provide a little insurance. Taking one before bed is what most anxious people need, because they can’t slow their brains down to the sleeping level. Then when they sleep, the brain heals.

Sleep whenever you can. People will go on about it. They’ll think you’re lazy and they’ll envy you, but sleep and sedation are the best remedies for an anxious brain.

You will not drink your anxiety away. In fact, if you’re taking the benzos, your drinking is limited so that you don’t have a tragic, gossip-worthy death. Talk to your doctor, because you’ll probably want to have a cocktail here or a glass of champagne there. Personally, if I drink, I don’t need a pill, but not everyone plans their drinking like some sorta control freak.
You maybe come from a long line of alcoholics, and think you’re the only one in your family with anxiety, until your aunt finally dries up and finds out she was using alcohol to self-medicate her anxiety disorder.

Buy Dr. Claire Weeke’s “Hope and Help for Your Nerves” and get that bitch on audio, too. She is magical. Read it like it’s your daily guide to living. Listen to it every time you drive. She knows her shit.

Treat yourself with kindness. If you had a “bodily” ailment, you would cater to it until you are returned to your normal state. Anxiety is no different. If you can manage it, schedule time in the spa. Get a massage regularly. See the foot reflexologist. Have a facial. Get a pedicure. Have acupuncture. Make your children rub your feet. I don’t know what you like.

A2
You will do things that relax you. I don’t know what your things are, but mine are as follows:
Walk outside.
Take baths.
Do yoga.
Meditate.
Listen to classical music.
Laugh.
Keep hands busy.

Play with your dog, brush your cat, stare at your goldfish. Pets are proven to relax us.

Stop worrying about THINGS. Can you change it?
Yeah? Then change it.
No? Then you’ll need to let it go.

And for the love of puppies, don’t worry about your need to be perfect. Perfect is stupid and a waste of time.
No one has ever found you perfect, despite your attempts to be so.
I know! It’s appalling, when you consider how much effort you put into it every goddamned day!
Aim for good enough. I know it will probably kill you. In fact, it will give you anxiety, initially. It’s a good exercise in finding your limits and letting go.

YOU GOTTA LET GO.

Accept your limits. When you feel strong enough, after all your hard work, bring them back slowly. If you’re forced, via your work or lifestyle, to push your limits regularly, take the fucking pill, and try to find a new job, a new grocery store, a nicer husband, a new apartment on a lower floor, whathaveyou.

You will find a place that sells herbal teas specifically for anxiety. You are paranoid about it, and will probably call your doctor to make sure it’s okay, but you’re looking for valerian, lemon balm, or chamomile in some variation, which is what your doctor, as well as your local herbalist will tell you. In terms of tea you can find at the grocer, I like Tension Tamer, green tea (DECAF!) with chamomile and mint, and Sleepytime tea is my go-to. If you don’t like herbal tea, then you’ll need to convince yourself that it’s medicine, and take it with a spoonful of STFU and drink it!

You will eat more good fats. You will find out that your diet does affect your anxiety, and you’ll come to love anti-anxiety foods. In fact, they’re probably some of the foods you like, because they make you feel good and you don’t even know it. Eggs are your best friend. You need some meat, even if you don’t like it, because meat has B vitamins and fat, which your brain likes to use to increase your seratonin levels. Also, being iron-deficient can create an entirely anxiety-like symptom list. Seafood is the best choice because omegas. I don’t like meat very much, but I will eat the hell out of eggs and seafood. Turkey relaxes you. Beans and wild rice FTW! Cheese and Greek yogurt are proven to increase nerve function. Organic dairy is truly important to the anxious brain. And don’t forget how much your brain likes carbs, even though they make you fat, because you’re not getting enough exercise. Eat avocados, walnuts, and pistachios, and for the love, don’t forget dark chocolate!

You will incorporate cooling, relaxing colors and scents into your home. You will throw out that cinnamon candle, donate the red quilt, and choose light, earthy colors and smells. Think sage, vanilla, and lavender, think beach house, think about muted colors and soft scents. Invigorating things are not your friend. You will come to love lavender-scented everything. Spray the linen mist on your sheets, your clothes, your soft furniture, cause you can buy that shit at the Dollar Tree, and it works. Bath & Body Works sells a whole yummy line of Relax stuff. Grow some lavender. You can buy lavender bath soap, hand soap, lotion, hair products, cleaners — including bleach, sachets, air fresheners, candles, and even spray starch.
Go support some local parfumier on Etsy, who makes anti-anxiety scents you can rub on your body.
I smell like lavender. My house smells like lavender. It relaxes your brain — science says. Google it. It’s not girly. It’s medicine for stress.

A5

You will sleep in a cool-colored room, like white, blue, green, gray, or you guessed it, lavender.
You will recognize that the human brain is formulated to know that looking at seascape colors automatically lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and therefore, these are the colors you should place around you.
My favorite color is yellow. There’s barely anything yellow in my house. My house is like, the place where blue and white went to party. I am famous for asking, “Does it come in white?”

You should order one of the many anxiety workbooks.

You will talk about your anxiety. You will not live in shame, you will not hide it from your family and friends, you will not carry this burden alone. You will tell people that a touch or a hug goes a long way, or let them know that you appreciate that time they spent 4 hours on the phone with you when you thought the chest pains would kill you.

Find out your triggers. Talk about your triggers with your therapist and anyone else who’s willing to listen. “When I think about the loser my daughter is dating, I feel like a failure. When I think about it, I feel like I can’t breathe, and my chest aches. I feel like I will never see her again. I even get nightmares about it.” You’ll be surprised at how many people understand, even the silliest ones, “But the mayonnaise was touching the cheese, so I couldn’t eat it, and I couldn’t even bear the thought of other people eating it!”

Have a person you can call or text when you’re at the pinnacle of anxiety. Have several of these people, so you don’t need to panic about the one person not being available.

So yes, A is for Anxiety, but it’s also for Acceptance, Adjustment, Allowance, Agreement, Agenda, Ativan, Alive, Amendment, Aspiration, and Achievement.

A

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Sew Bitchy

I hope you’ve enjoyed the week of Five Drunken Stories.

It’s time to move on.

Sewing Machine Drama

I bought a refurbished sewing machine last week. Yesterday, I took it out, fiddled with it, and in the end, decided that instead of throwing it through the window and then beating it to bits with a bat, I would just box it back up and hope someone buys it in a yard sale.

My struggles were based on the bobbin case. (When aren’t they?) This particular machine had a door that was impossible to get the bobbin in and out of easily, let alone trying to reset the shuttle case. I wish I had played with it while I was there, because there were others to chose from.
Learn from my mistake, will ya?

kenmore1
I have small hands, and I couldn’t get my hand in there to release it. The Mister and Sassy have nice long fingers, but they still couldn’t release the bobbin. After a few minutes with his hand shoved in there, The Mister pulled out in the entire shuttle. *sigh*

The answer was to turn the machine over, opening it up. Hot light makes machine hot!

kenmore2
After that, the machine had to be re-threaded. Every time. After doing that about fifteen times, as well as internet searches for a manual or a video, I nearly lost my mind and decided to buy a new machine. Like, new, right out of the box. I got no argument from The Mister, who said I have a lot more patience than he does.
(Shh, everyone has a lot more patience than he does.)

Some of my friends looked at one photo or another, and tried to say helpful things such as, “pull the hatch and it will come out” or “open the machine up” like I have never used a sewing machine in my life. I should probably have laughed it off, but I cried about it and spent the rest of the night convinced that no one listens to me, and that at least a handful of my friends think I have the dumb. Fortunately, some people understood the issue and rejoiced in my new purchase.

I anticipate at least one person will skim this post and offer me inapplicable advice about sewing machines.

singer

I haven’t opened my new sewing machine yet, but I know it has a horizontal bobbin and an LED light, and that shit makes me sooo happy!

Tomorrow A-Z Blogging begins!

If you’re interested in participating, just click the A-Z icon on the right side of my page, and it will link you to its origin and procedure.

 
Other Exciting News:

I’m being interviewed by another blogger!

Spring Break is here!

It’s going to be 66 and sunny today!

I took a four-hour nap!

I finally found this ice cream, *squee* and I am gonna eat it up!

jamcore

 

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Drunken Story (5)

One night, while we “rocked the Ripple” (what my generation called barhopping in Broad Ripple) we went into one of our favorite places, and I headed up to the bar to fetch our drinks.

I was standing there, waiting for the bartender, when I felt this immense pressure coming from behind me. People so pushy! I had had enough of the pushing, so I pushed back. If you’re not a woman, you have no idea how brave it is to “throw your ass into it” while you’re at a bar, but lemme tell you, I was seriously irritated.
My pushing was met with MORE PUSHING.
Goddamn!
I turned around to see what it was, and there were about fifty men behind me. They were all staring at a point above my head, pushing toward me, ever so eagerly.

cran

Oh, lucky me, I had front row seats to the show. And the girl right over my head, some Amazonian brunette, well, she must have peed through her panties that night, because she sure wasn’t wearing them!

I searched out the faces of my friends. Oh God, why this shit always happens to me?
I didn’t find my friends. What I did find was the face of an old boyfriend I hadn’t seen in years. We’ll call him Dexter, because that’s not his name, and he looks like Dexter. There was Dexter, looking at me with sheer pity. Some asshole behind me offered to lift me up to the bar’s stage, like I’d already drank my twelve shots of tequila. I mean really, I hadn’t even stripped down yet!

Dexter rescued me from the lascivious monsters, and we all partied together. Except that pantieless Amazonian brunette, she tried to start a fight with one of my friends, who was even smaller than I, and somehow it all worked out, really well, to the point that the pantieless Amazonian brunette wanted to go home with my friend, and my friend was not inclined, and for a little while, I thought there might be another fight based on rejection, but they just hugged it out, more or less.

cran1
Leaving the bar, we all walked to Dexter’s house. I took my panties off while walking down Broad Ripple Avenue. I was hot. They were itchy. No one cared.

I realize that you now think I have a panty issue, and you know what? This isn’t about you.

Dexter shared a house with several guys I went to school with.
One of them was quite surprised to wake up and find two women in his bed, one of whom wore his hat. He wasn’t upset by any means, just surprised.

Dexter made us all drinks, which I’m sorry to say, were Blue Bombay and root beer. It tastes exactly as foul as you think it does.
We listened to music, we slept, we might have fornicated in the dark, but no one knows, really, because if anyone did, we were very quiet about it.

Around seven, we said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.

I walked in the front door all sneaky-like. You know how you do. You open the storm door just enough to get in. You rest it on your shoulder while you carefully, quietly turn the lock, and slowly push the door open, so as not to wake anyone.
Whew.

Fuhhhck…
My parents were not only awake, but having coffee at the dining table.

My mother, concerned expression, asked, “What the hell happened to you?!?”
“I was out with the girls, and we ran into Dexter, who shares a house with a buncha guys, so we went back to his place.”
“No, I mean, what happened to your clothes?”
“My clothes?!?”

Surely if I’d left without any clothes someone would have mentioned it.

“Were you in a fight? Who’s blood is that?”

Blood?

cran3

I looked down. I was covered. I mean, covered, with splashes of pink and red. Yes, I had a fight with vodka cranberry, which apparently my friend spilled on me all night.

“Are you packed? We’re leaving in about an hour.”

Packed. Oh fuck again. We were off to family vacation. 

“Yes. I’m packed.”

(Lie.)

I spent the first day of vacation bikini’d and martini’d under the umbrella, because you know what? Hair of the dog is very effective.

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Drunken Story (4)

It was a typical hot summer night. Please remember I don’t do well in heat. Summer clubbing meant people asking me if I was alright. People brought me napkins and asked if I wanted to go outside. One time, stranger men actually rubbed ice on me…

*achem*

Anyway, this particular story, my friends and I were barhopping, but our last stop included a guy with a fishbowl of liquor.

Yes, I said a fishbowl.

fishbowl2

He was my favorite person ever.

No, I have no idea who he was.

He was great though, because he shared his fishbowls of liquor over and over, which was quite a kindness for red, hot, sweaty Joeys.

And we danced all night.

Potty break, fishbowl style:

First, I opened the wrong door, wherein one of my friends was decidedly having the standing-up sex, with the bouncer, in the broom closet of the club. Whoa! Rock on, but I gotta pee!

I found the right door, went into the stall, shut the door, hiked up my dress, sat down, and peed. Ahh.
Somethin kinda felt warm and weird between my legs. Somethin wasn’t quite right.

I reached down to feel…

to feel my peed-in panties…

my peed-in panties still on.
Oopsies!

No big deal. I just shoved them into the sanitary bin and went back to dancing with the fishbowl guy.
Woo-hoo!

fishbowl4
However, once we got in the car to go home, I forgot I didn’t have the panties on. As I sat, sprawled out in the heat, slouched into the backseat, legs straddling the humps, bitching about how hot it was, and why it was stupid that, I, the passenger, could not take a fishbowl of liquor home, my friends turned around to tell me to quit my bitching, and then gasped at the sight of my unpantied who-hah.

I had forgotten. I thought they were laughing at the red-faced sweaty mess I had become. I have terrible friends, most of them are gorgeous creatures who look great when they “glisten” in the hot summer sun. I look more like I am suffering heatstroke and the only thing that holds up is my hair, which gets bigger and stranger as the night rolls on.

“Jolene Michael! Where are your panties?!?”
“Oh. My. God! Close your legs!”


fishbowl3

“What? Oh yeah. I forgot I had panties on. Peed right through em! It’s too hot to close my legs. Don’t look.”

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This is Not a Drunken Story

No drunken story tonight. Trouble typing after cocktails. Typed “forthe beach” and iPhone changed it to “Gorbachev.” But no matter what the iPhone says, I’m not saving those old laundry bags for Gorbachev.

Just responded “LOL hahahaha” because I’m redundant like that.

Tomorrow, perhapsly another drunken dtory. Dtory. Story. Dammit.

PS: Y’all look fantastic!

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Drunken Story (3)

When I was young, I was often the sober person, the designated driver. This is because I am a control freak and I hate depending on other people for transportation, because when I’m done, I’m done. Also I despise drinking and driving.

Therefore, it’s best that drunk is done at home, right? Yeah.

One night, I had some friends and my ex-boyfriend over for dinner. I know you probably don’t spend time with your exes, but I did. The wife of this particular ex was out of town and he was open to the idea of dinner with us.
(Wives, always assume when you go out of town, your husband is dining with his ex-girlfriend and two even prettier women. In fact, presume he calls his ex every time you’re gone, because she’s fun and he likes to feel naughty, even if nothin sexy is goin on.)

I drank a lot of Merlot that night. Apparently excessive Merlot consumption doesn’t make me love everyone and take my clothes off. Apparently excessive Merlot consumption makes me just not give a FUCK!

That night, I insulted my ex-boyfriend so badly, that even the people who usually support my rants gasped and shamed me.
I said to my friend, “Oh I know, you can’t imagine us as a couple, you don’t know how we ever dated, because we’re so different, yadda yadda yadda, and you think that makes him all the more intriguing, but really, he’s boring. It was the most boring relationship that ever there was. Once you really get to know him, he’s even more boring than you thought.”

I know.
And honestly, I think he was the least surprised to hear it. He just rolled his eyes, pursed his lips, and sighed, as if he expected it.

Don’t feel badly for him. Once my friends got to know him, they agreed. In fact, I think they would say much worse things about him.

I also put Drew’s red sweater in the washing machine that night, because I got marinara on it. Drew’s red sweater had been a beautiful, soft, almost knee-length sweater. Drunk bitches do not read care labels. It became a scratchy, waist-length sweater. Due to her loving and generous nature, she thought I should keep it. I like to think it was good for skiing, if by skiing you mean trying it on and finding out you DO have breasts.

snap4I don’t remember any more of the details about what else I did or said, (it was a lot of Merlot) but somehow, my guests determined it was unwise to leave me alone for the sake of my own safety. They began discussing possible options like I wasn’t even there!

“I can’t stay here and she can’t go home with me. I mean, think about my wife!”
“I obviously can’t keep her quiet, and my mother will have a cow!”
“I guess I could take her, but could you come pick her up in the morning?”

“EXCUSE ME! I’M PERFECTLY FINE!”

“You’re smashed. We can’t leave you here.”
“God only knows what you’ll do.”

I protested! What on earth could they have possibly thought I’d do? I do recall having my hands on my hips and yelling at them all that I was perfectly fine, and I did not need a babysitter!

snap1
Unfortunately, my temper tantrum only seemed to illustrate the validity of their opinions.

Finally, the one who would take me home crossed the room, took my hands in hers, smiled broadly, and said in a childlike voice, “Wowo,” she called me Wowo, “You know how sometimes you make people give you their keys because they’re too drunk to drive?”
*nodded*
“You know how drunk people always say they’re fine, and to mind your own goddamn business?”
*nodded*
“You know how they’re stupid and belligerent because they’re drunk?”
*nodded*
“Okay. You’re being a stupid, belligerent bitch, and for this reason, I must take you home with me. Okay?”
*nodded*

We had a fire going, and I had to put that out before we left.
So…I took the stock pot full of pasta water and threw it into the fireplace.

It sizzled and fizzled out.

“Whoa.”
“Okay, yeah, she’s totally wasted.”
“I cannot believe you did that.”

I don’t know what they expected me to do. *shrugs*

snowwhitedrink

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Drunken Story (2)

jose1

This is my friend, Jose Gold. I met him on my 21st birthday. I love him. We’ve had an on-again, off-again love affair for 19 years. He doesn’t really fit into my life, because he’s not good with kids, but like every other outstanding man I’ve been with, he will always garner my affections.

One of the guys in my dorm went to Mexico and returned with authentic Mexican tequila as a gift to me. I no longer remember that tequila’s name, but he was not my Jose.
Like any woman about to take her second lover, I was excited.

jose2
And then, disappointed.
Nothing happened.
My new tequila was broken.
Better do two more shots.

jose0
Nothin.
Oh the impatience of youth.
Two more.

jose3Yes, I could feel it then.
Two more, cause it was just starting to work.

jose5YES!
Having fun then, so two more.
Gawd, my friends were so pretty and funny. I had the prettiest, funniest friends. It was really hot in my room, so I decided to strip down a bit, like any reasonable person would.

jose03
What a wonderful time college was. Half naked, three sheets to the wind, playing imaginary games with my pretty, funny friends. I loved those girls so much.

jose8
Lame ass Mexican tequila left me unfulfilled, (because I drank it all) so I had to break open my trusty bottle of Jose.

jose02

Then I had to pee, so I tried, very hard, to walk to the bathroom. The walls in the hallways of my dorm were a good four feet apart. For some reason, I could not walk to the bathroom without bouncing off of them. And I bet my room was only about 30 feet from the bathroom. Like a pinball doing the pee-pee dance, I bounced wall-to-wall to the bathroom.
My pretty and funny friends thought this was hysterical, but I didn’t, because I was trying to make it to the bathroom before peeing, and I hadda yell, “Stop it! You’re gonna make me pee!” but it came out less hateful than intended, and a little bit weepy.

While I was in the bathroom, my head started to spin, and I felt a bit numb. It seemed someone had put trick toilet paper on the spool, and I’ll be damned if I could get it off. I had to lean in and focus, blinking madly and nearly falling off the toilet, to pull off a crumpled wad of paper. College was so challenging.

I think the authentic Mexican tequila is a patient lover. I think it took its time in fucking me up.

jose01

Back in the room, I do not know what the hell we were doing exactly, but the photos indicate we had formed some kinda band. Playing Pixy Stix on pizza boxes is thirsty work, so I had to do two more shots.

jose9

Woot!

“Oh God. Oh no. Oh God no.”
There comes a time when you take the last shot, and you know it’s the last shot, because you have officially crossed from drunk as fuck into sick as a dog.

jose7

My friend Cara was kind enough to take care of me. She was so kind, that while I cried to her about how I couldn’t make myself throw up, she stuck her finger down my throat, God love her heart. She brought me a cold washrag, dragged the trash can over to the bed, told me to keep my face RIGHT THERE *smash, pet, pet* and slept beside me so that I wouldn’t choke on my own vomit and die.
(Choking to death on your own vomit while passed out is a common fear for college kids.)

“You’re such a good friend, Cara. I love you.”

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A Series of Drunken Stories (1)

Our boy one turned 21 this week. He went out, had a great time, and then got sick, as he said, “at the end.” *giggles* We are so glad he stopped when he got sick.

It reminded me of my early drinking experiences.

I don’t really count, because I was allowed to drink at home, and in others’ homes, so drinking was not a novelty for me at 21.

My freshman year of college, my friends partied every weekend. I stayed in. I’d read and write and have such a good introverted time — at least until those girls would bring their drunk ass dramas to me in the middle of the night.
I’d sort out their fights, via my awesome mediation techniques, (or just by being the only sober person in the room.) Sometimes, the drama involved getting busted for underage drinking, which only made my decision to stay in more appealing. At least once a month, one of those three girls got sick.

wasted1
By the time Spring rolled around, they could not wait to take me out and get me, Miss Goody Two-Shoes, positively wasted. They had a great plan. They’d take me to a frat party with guys who would mark us as 21, so we wouldn’t get into trouble with the attending police. They would get me all kindsa fucked up, and they would laugh and laugh, they said.

wasted4
Dancing was great. Dancing was so much better than mingling and making loud small talk.

The beer wasn’t working fast enough, they said. The punch didn’t have enough kick, they said. It was best to get serious, they said. I did shots of vodka, grape syrupy stuff, and jello shots. They thought that’d do the trick.

wasted5
I continued to drink beer.

I went outside to cool off from the dancing, where I found a guy I dated in high school. He shared his flask of Irish whiskey.

More beer.

Sadly, my friends got quite sick. Cindy decided to stay with Michelle, who was passed out on the basement floor. I had to take Abby home before she passed out.

I called a cab, because I couldn’t walk a completely shitfaced Abby for half a mile, and she sure couldn’t walk herself.
When we got into the cab, my dear shitfaced friend turned to me, and shouted, “This was supposed to be YOU! You were supposed to be sick!”
“I know. I’m so sorry.” I petted her hair.
She leaned up and slurred to the cab driver, “What’s your name?”
“Scott.”
“Scott, my name is Abby, and you must never, ever let me drink this much again.”
“Okay, Abby.”
“Thank you, Scott.”

Abby was so drunk she didn’t even remember where we lived.
Abby was so drunk, the cabby had to help me get her onto the elevator.
Abby was so drunk, she was afraid to be alone, because she might die.

Me?

I was just fiiine.

wasted2
It would take another two years and fourteen shots of Mexican tequila to make me sick, and that is a story for another time.

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In a Nutshell? I Am a Nutshell

Yesterday, I committed the late afternoon to hanging out in the back of the house to do laundry. I KNOW! Will the excitement never end?!?

I had a bowl of pistachios.

serving size? until satisfied

serving size? until satisfied

I eat pistachios on the regular, as well as walnuts, because they’re full of the good fats that help an anxious brain.

At some point, one of my pistachios tasted funny. It was sorta floral. In an unpleasant way.

As I continued to munch my pistachios, my mind began to unfurl the potential dangers of a poor tasting pistachio.

Poison was the natural assumption of the anxious brain.

DEATH BY PISTACHIOS.

Panic attack ensued.

ohthehorror
Super.

It had been over seven months since I had one.

I was dying. Everyone who’s ever had a panic attack knows that they knew they were dying. That’s what makes the panic attacks so fucking fun.

I accepted the panic and rolled with it. I did the breathing. It passed in 24 four-count breaths. Pretty long death, compared to cyanide.

When it was over, I walked my dog around the yard, barefoot, as a distraction, and also hoping to get some sense of grounding.

I alerted my friends via social media: while i was doing laundry, i ate pistachios. one of them tasted funny, and i thought i might die, so i hadda have a panic attack about it.
– it’s been about an hour since i ate that poison, and i think i’m alright.
so i’ll just do more laundry…but if anyone asks, it was the laundry that killed me, not the pistachios.

Because it’s good to have a sense of humor about the failures of one’s brain, and because surviving what was obviously a near-death pistachio experience feels like an important update.

I realize I have come a long way in my journey with anxiety. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine a seven-day break between panic attacks, let alone seven months.

I think I’ll celebrate with more pistachios.

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User Error Much?

As is typical, I’ve got a few irns in the far.

Oh, you don’t understand?

irons in the fire

irons in the fire

Years ago, The Mister was like, “Can you not just pick a thing?” No, I cannot pick a thing. I like reading and writing and gardening and cooking and baking and quilting and painting and making collages and scrapbooking and DIY.
Drew was quick to point out that my having several things makes me a more interesting person. Ooh, now I’m interesting?

Interesting or not, I don’t think I could ever be a person who does one thing at a time.

What would I do while the cake cools and the sprinkler runs? Those are opportune moments to do other things!

So, this weekend, I’m painting the interior of my kitchen cabinets. I had planned to remove the cabinet doors for good, which The Mister was not a fan of, and which I discussed at length with Beauty Queen, even verifying with Mr. F about what pieces I could remove. (Like I am understanding of the structural integrity of my cabinets, pshaw!) They’re homemade built-ins.  Most people would probably tear them out and put in some “updated” cabinets. I won’t. They don’t build them like this anymore. The cabinets are sturdy, which is one of the many things I love about my old house, but I grow weary of shelf liner and the look of eighty years of use.

Yes, of course I cleaned them. This is AFTER cleaning!

yes, of course i cleaned them. this is AFTER cleaning!

Despite his aversion to open cabinetry, The Mister took the doors off because he loves me, and two days later, I decided I no likey the way it looks, so he can hang those bad boys back up when I’m done painting.

dirty and dingy and no one likes you!

dirty and dingy and no one likes you!

 

no shelf liner! woot!

no shelf liner! woot!

Oh, the difference a coat of paint makes! I realize you can’t see the difference in the photo, but I assure you, it’s improved. Semi-gloss, thank you very much, because I dunno who would paint kitchen walls and cabinets with flat paint, but people do. Don’t be those people. 

The battle for clean laundry continues, because, if you can imagine, these people I live with seem to think they need to wear clean, warm clothes every time they leave the house, and apparently not everyone has spent the last decade collecting panties. *shrugs*

I did find narrow laundry hampers, and I am so pleased. Three of them fit perfectly in the back hallway, and we can still walk through! Oh em gee, y’all, it’s a laundry miracle!

According to Facebook, one of my friends did a mountain of laundry and people think she’s amazing, which made me jealous. I mean, I do laundry every week! Am I not amazing, too?!? The Mister told me if I do all of our laundry today, he will indeed be amazed. Challenge accepted.

look! one is empty already!

look! one is empty already!

We’re not going to talk about how I still haven’t sanded the back hallway for painting, and how I still haven’t found a suitable material for my message board. Also, it’s totally fine if all the wall hangings for that hallway are resting by the back door.
Tonight, boxes upon boxes will be taken to the curb. Always make sure your packages are delivered right before recycling pick up.
Moo is keeping the biggest box for a bit.

the first thing she did was write, "for moos only" on it

the first thing she did was write, “for moos only” on it

I got my compost container out yesterday, pulled The Mister’s manbag from the closet, removed the drill and spent a good five minutes figuring out how to change the bit. It’s a drill I haven’t used before, and it happens to need a key, and well, I worked it out. Then I attempted to drill air holes into the container, which resulted in a lovely polka dot pattern, but no holes. I could not believe I wasn’t strong enough to make holes! I cursed my hands and left that to The Mister. It took him less than five minutes to put hundreds of holes in it, because he’s a tool god  he didn’t have it in reverse.

meep?

meep?

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Comment Fail

Do you find you’re not being notified of all comments?

Later, someone new reads and comments on an old post, and I see that several people commented. Or, someone hasn’t posted in awhile, so I check their blog, and they’ve actually replied to me, but I never knew. Then I wonder, should I be the blogger who replies six days or six months later? Is it better late than never, or best to let it go?

How do other bloggers handle this?

Please know, I do not intentionally ignore comments or replies, either on my own blog or those of others.

HAPPY FRIDAY

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20 Things I Love Madly

I’m taking this prompt from Aussa Lorens, who took it from someone else, as part of some massive blog trend that I know nothing about because I live under a rock. I decided “madly” was better than “irrationally” for me, because by now, you really should know that irrationality is my friend. Also, I aimed for 21, but I failed.

1. Speaking like the small children who have changed my life. “How you are? What you do? You do fings? Kinda fings? S’at? Mmm, dat mell good. I’un some. I’un poon? Fanks. Dat you yip goss? You siss me? I yip goss too! We eat shushis morrow yesterday laters again? Mow kitty ccchhhkk at me! She say ‘ccchhhhkk’ like that. Why she do like that? She no like it when I pull her tayell?” Stuff like that.

2. Cool, blustery days. Specifically, wind in my hair. A light rain is always a bonus.

blustery

3.  When I begin to think something and my husband says or does exactly what I’m thinking.

4. Words. Duh. Reading words, writing words, saying words, learning new words, word games, crosswords.

5. Schadenfreude. Particularly when irony or karma are involved.

6. Walking through baby sections of stores while smiling and commenting loudly, “Ming-mings? Nope! Nursing pads? No thank you! Diapers? Hell to the no!”

7. Giraffes.

giraffetattoo

8. The smell of my husband when he needs a shower. Not after a day of air travel on a C-130 packed full like a sardine can, just on a regular day.

9. Being quiet and nodding along pleasantly right before launching into a crazy bitch tirade no one expected.

bitch
10. Playing and working outdoors, particularly in dirt, (while it’s windy and there’s a light rain?)

11. Novocaine shots. It’s the one pain killer the dentist will always give you. It always works.

12. Having philosophical, existential, esoteric conversations long into the night.

13. Regular Oreos. Classic Oreos. Not colored Oreos, not dipped in fudge, or white chocolate, or for a limited time only. Not double lard Oreos. No Oreos that taste like something else. Just regular Oreos. With milk. No milk? No plain ol’ Oreos? No thanks.

14. Sleeping after a hot bath, hot tea, opening the window and sliding into cold sheets.

15. Morning sex. “Is that for me?” I’m already mostly naked and completely relaxed, what else would I want?

morning_sex

16. Driving on ramps. Big, long, curvy ramps. My favorite ramp is the one from I-70E to 465N but I also like the new ramp in a tunnel from Shadeland to 465N.

17. Noticing some stranger in public wears the scent of my best friend, my grandmother, an old lover, a favorite teacher. Sometimes that woman who appears to be following you is just in it for the sniffing.

18. Stroking the faces and hair of my daughters, like my mother did with me.

19. Leaves in Fall. Wet leaves, burning leaves, colorful leaves, crunchy leaves, piles of leaves, leaves blowing in the wind.

20. Watching movies with subtitles on. Subtitles enhance my viewing pleasure.

Now, don’t you want to list things you love madly or irrationally? DO YOU LOVE LISTS?

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The Weekend’s Over, Right?

My son came in for his spring vacation, which was splendid. He came with a lot of equipment. Cords and cords and more cords, all over everything.
He asked for curry, so I made curry. He wants something for his upcoming birthday that I can’t even understand, so I wrote him a check.
I told him to wear headphones a lot, because he watches this terrible video series where the man screams all the damn time.
I washed his laundry and made him his very own tiny meatloaf.
It’s very strange when adult children come home. It’s a new stage, and I’m not sure yet how to be his parent and treat him like an adult at the same time. Hopefully I’m doin alright and he’ll keep comin home from time to time.

parents

Over the weekend, I was social. For me, I was extremely social. Friday, The Mister and I ran around like mad, running errands. When the girls got home, we took them for new shoes and then we all had dinner at The Palace of Rules. I’m almost convinced that my in-laws invite us four “kids” over to entertain them, as if we are the jesters at their palace. Not that we mind!

I kept Simon for the weekend, because I just love him to bits, and he’s Bubba’s oldest friend, as cousins often are.
We were that giddy, silly family you saw buying groceries at midnight on Friday.

On Saturday, Drew and Ace spent the day, and Mr. F joined us in the evening. I do not think I have had such a wonderful day since late September. I had the bestest time!

We’ve all become obsessed with the dialogue from this video, which Sassy and I have watched at least eleventythousandtimes:

On Sunday, more of the same, but less energy. By then, we were all on the verge of kaput.
When everyone had said goodbye and I closed the door, I took to my bed, bone-weary, where I remained sluggish all night. I was drained completely.

I don’t know exactly what everyone else did to get all sapped, but I cooked my ass off for two days, never mind lack of sleep, the introversion, and the anxiety disorder. Still, so worth it!

Monday seemed like it would be a great day to enjoy solitude, just me with my laundry and ironing, but when it came down to it, I was still shot, and spent the day online, researching dishware instead. Well, maybe it’s not for everyone, but I had a good time.

turquoise

I could be as blue as the dishes now that it’s all over, but instead I’ll just smile at all the new memories made.

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That Time I Od’d on Cough Syrup

It was a Friday like this, about twenty years ago, when I was wrapping up finals, and I had a terrible cold. (If I don’t check myself, I’ll go and go and go, wear myself completely ragged and then get good and sick. It’s my thing.)
As a long time allergy sufferer, I didn’t have any trouble managing the unending snot that came with my cold, but I couldn’t handle the cough. Since I had to work with the public over the weekend, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment before my shift started.

Drive.Drive.Drive.Cough.Cough.Cough.

My doctor confirmed my cold, said I was probably at the peak of it. He gave me a dozen tiny bottles of purple cough syrup. He said to take two every six hours, and to call back on Monday if I wasn’t feeling any better.

Drive.Drive.Drive.Cough.Cough.Cough.

Once I got to work, I took two bottles and started my shift.

Everything was fine until I went to the bathroom.
I must have blacked-out in the bathroom. When I came to, my head was resting on the wall of the stall, I had actually dripped dry, no need to wipe, and people were asking where I was through my headset.
I pulled myself together and headed out into the store. I felt unbalanced. All of the lights in the store were very, very bright. I mean, I shaded my eyes because oh! the lights were so bright! Also, we had skylights, which I had never noticed before. So pretty skylights.

I decided I was not well. I didn’t actually need to say this to my boss, who took one look at me, and asked, “So you’re really sick, huh?” He drove me home in my car, someone else followed and took him back. When we were in the car, and I was barely conscious, I vaguely remember showing him the tiny bottles of cough syrup, and saying how I am very sensitive to medication.

I went home, blathering to my mother about how I had to sleep, how I saw the doctor, how this cough medicine just knocked me out.

I slept. I slept and slept and slept.

My mother came in off and on. Blurry hand on my face.

Thirteen hours later, I woke up. I felt fine. No cough.

My mother read aloud to me from the bottle, “Take 2 teaspoons every 6-8 hours, do not exceed…”
Two TEASPOONS?!?

And that’s the time I overdosed on cough syrup. With Codeine.

codeine

Cured me completely.

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Don’t Drop By

(Inspired by Unpacked Writer’s post.)

I grew up in a house where visitors were not received without notice. This meant that my friends and suitors often spent their visiting time on the porch with me, or sometimes, in the driveway.

However, with my own household, I am only a bit more relaxed.

I’ll open the door for a few people. If I’m not in the mood for company, I might hide in the back of the house. Really just depends on how the dog reacts to who’s at the door…Yes, my dog makes a lot of my decisions about etiquette.

I opened my door to a policeman the other day, because I think one should, but I was clad only in my towel, with dripping wet hair. Policeman was extremely embarrassed, probably because he looked to be about twelve. He could have called first, couldn’t he?

I’ve often had the house where all the kids hang out and I’m okay with that, because I know where my kids are and I know where my kids are and I know where my kids are. There are a lot of strange people in the world, and they make strange little kids, and it’s just better for me to deal with strange little kids than to subject my children to strange adults. Please note: if allowed, strange adults and their strange little children will come to your house and behave strangely, while saying strange things.
For inside hospitality, we hafta know the kid’s parents, or have come to know the child pretty well before the welcome has been issued. Most of our children are introverts, who really just seem to collect a friend here or there, but Moo brings the entire party home. For this reason, I’m happy to be the mom with boxes of ice pops and plenty of outside toys.

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I lived on an Army base for seven years, and many of my neighbors came to call regularly, which I enjoyed, and did in turn. I had several neighbors who became friends, almost like family, in the way that we were, at times, the only local support we had. Army Wives are extremely independent people, but they are also incredibly vulnerable and no one is an island. With all of our families and closest friends states away, we came together easily. Who will babysit, throw you a baby shower, give you a ride, or make you soup when you’re sick? An Army Wife.
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Seeing the same people day-in and day-out, through all their highs and lows produces a certain level of comfort, I suppose. I didn’t hesitate to leave my children or my house key with the exemplary women I came to know and love.

Now that I am back in civilian world, few people are welcome to drop by my house at any time. No one has my house key.

My schizophrenic neighbor comes by at least once a week, always with a kindly, but completely ridiculous token. He has terrible timing, bless his heart.

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The about six people I welcome to drop in on me do not do so often, because it’s quite a drive, or because their good manners prevent them from doing so, but they really are always welcome.

I’m not much for dropping by. I prefer to call ahead, in case you’re knee-deep in oven grease, or worse, you’re already entertaining a person I can’t stand.

The people who drop by here the most are my in-laws, which ALWAYS happens at the least convenient times: I am barely dressed, I am painting the dining room, I am crazy neem-faced lady, I am giving the dog (and most of my clothes) a bath, I am having a nap, I am wiping out cupboards and all of my items are on the counters while loud, inappropriate music rocks the casbah. *facepalm*

 
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I wish very much that I could tell them always to call first, but it would offend them, I’m sure.

Ironically, when they call me, they always ask me if it’s a good time.

How do you handle unannounced company? Do you let your dog make your decisions, too?

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Pips!

Y’all, it’s still really warm here. Almost seventy degrees. And since I had about twelve hours of sleep and ate pecan pie for breakfast, I felt ready to tackle the yard today. Don’t hate me because my life is so dreadfully fulfilling.

Most of my time was spent pulling leaves from the flower beds. I know there are a few theories about mulching beds, and people get really passionate about leaf removal, blah blah blah, but my own practice is that the last leaves I collect in the fall cover the beds. I think of it like a warm winter blanket. Then, instead of carrying around dry leaves that blow everywhere for another month in the fall, I uncover my beds, bag the wet leaves, and move them to the wildflower bed in the spring.
The reason it’s a wildflower bed is because people built it with treated lumber, which is unsuitable for food. So I think of it as a little wildlife conservatory, where native plants gather, and in late summer, I can cut bits of purple and yellow for vases indoors, but it will still look untouched. Butterflies and birds enjoy it, and I enjoy all of that.

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The best part of spring cleaning outdoors is uncovering the beds, because life returns from under those warm, wet leaves.

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After living in Georgia for seven years, and spending last spring in not-my-house, I was beside myself with happiness today! Just look at all that dark rich earth!

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And behold, the tiniest pip of tulip, which I found here and there.

Once the girls got home, we played pick-up-sticks, the literal game. It’s really only a chore because the sticks are everywhere in the front where most of the trees are, and the bonfire pile is in the wide open space of the back 40. Surely I walked my ten thousand steps today. The stick pile is about the size of … well, we’ll need to call the fire department before we torch it, let’s just put it that way. If I felt more like a pioneer woman, I could probably fashion the limbs into an extensive fence, which I do think about from time to time.

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The big maple in the back is covered in ivy, where bits of green are starting to come through.

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Then, good gravy with all the sweeping! The wind blew the leaves into every possible nook and cranny.
Of course, the snow froze on top of that! Our street was frozen for almost five months straight. It’s only been thawed-out for about a week.
I’ve never had such a winter. We in Indianapolis broke our records for cold and snow this year.
I’m not stupid; I’m a local, so I know that tomorrow’s snow will not be the last of the cold.

This growing year isn’t so much about landscaping for pretty, as much as it’s about growing food. In the weeks to come, I’ll be building my raised beds and starting my seeds.

I’ve started one compost pile, too.

When late summer comes, I know I will plant even more tulips, as well as mums. When fall comes, I’ll be adding hyacinth and crocuses, because can you believe three-generations lived here ninety-four years without so much as a single early bulb?! I know, I’m shocked, too!

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It’s Only an Hour, They Say

If you missed my ever-so-eloquent post on time change from last year that’s okay, I’ll sum it up for you:

Time change is stupid. 

It’s another unusually warm and sunny day. I walked around yesterday hoping to see a pop of crocus or hyacinth, but there weren’t any. I did see plenty of branches, twigs and leaves. I should head outside to tidy up.

Instead, I’m so tired, it’s become the perfect day to lie in bed watching television. This day needs an AbFab marathon. Yes, Sweetie, Darling, it does.

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This day needs nachos. Imma make some nachos later.

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And beer. This day needs beer.

They say I only lost an hour, but I think they lie.

 

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My Bank Account is Full of Creativity

I rearranged our living room, and I have the torn nails and bruises to prove it.

Our living room is a large one, but it’s long and narrow. Three things were terribly wrong with it: one, getting to the seating area was a challenge, two, the bookshelf area was tight, and three, the entryway needed storage, because, “Hello! We’re home! It’s Valentine’s Day! Let us show you how much we love you, by changin into play clothes and wallerin in yer foyer with ALL OF OUR CRAP!”

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So, I divided the long room into three clearly defined sections. Now we have an entryway, with hooks and a bench. I am the only one here now, but you can imagine that just heaping with kip, can’t you?

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I am astounded at the cost of “hooks.” Now, these are some simple stained wood boards with rubbed bronze hooks. They were $20 apiece. I saw some decorative ones which held very high opinions of themselves. A painted board with white hooks for $70 and a rough-hewn board with wooden hooks for $120. I was aghast. I know that for about $20, I could buy or salvage boards and attach hooks. I laughed at the decorative hooks, I did. I said, “Oh hahaha, you’re so pretty, but no, hahaha!” The only reason I didn’t make my own was because we’re having houseguests this weekend, and I wanted it done.

Then I placed the desk and filing cabinets along the back wall, behind the seating area, so that we have a sorta office corridor. It’s not tight anymore. One can actually walk back there with ease, or perhaps even crouch behind the love seat to shoot arrows at one’s sister. Quite nice, I think.

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Opened up the space quite a bit. The flow is much better. I am all about the flow.

And then there’s the gallery wall, or, in my case, the gallery hallway. Isn’t the painted ceiling positively gorgeous? Oh, I knew you’d like it! *winks* It’s nearly done. I need to add a few more frames, but I’m leaving room to add upward and outward.

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You really do need to live in a space to know how you’re going to use it. I am the sort of person who might spend months playing around with things, trying to get it right, but when I feel it’s right, I’m the sort of person who won’t bother with it again. Why is that? Because disorderly things bother me, but I hate change.

Now, the back hallway. *sigh* It’s just…I…Oh man…
Never mind that I need to finish sanding and painting back there, I gotta find a solution to my laundry issue! Winter laundry is the suck. The back hallway is only used by those of us who live here, but still, we’re not keen on walking all over laundry once it’s sorted and being washed. I need to find tall narrow, hampers, or people need to stop wearing clothes. I’m sure either of those choices are cheaper and easier solutions compared to expanding the laundry room. Small, ugly laundry room gets no love, bless her heart.

I’ve got to go spray paint some decorative things now, because metallic ones are twice the price of red ones, and metallic paint is $3.69 a can.

I’m glad I’m creative and crafty, because not being so must cost a lot more! I thank all three of my parents for the ability to DIY.

capitalism
Some people can’t grow or cook food, or sew things, or make anything at all! Meanwhile, my parents are like, “We hafta cut down the azaleas now, they’re visible from the moon,” or “Let me show you these twenty birdhouses I built last week.” While my dad makes furniture and my mother weaves baskets and my father whips out lined drapes on his commercial Husqvarna, they’ve all got somethin cookin.
I don’t know how to live any other way.

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Painted Into a Corner

Well, dammit, I’ve just been busy. And The Mister’s been hoggin my laptop because he values his education or someshit.

Anyway, I patched and painted quite a bit. Spackle, sand, paint. Here and there, all over the house.

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I finally painted the ceiling in the hallway behind the dining room. It’s a tiny hallway, perhaps 6×3. I do not like painting ceilings, and that’s the last one I’m going to paint. I will heretofore pay someone else to paint ceilings, because NO.
I also finished painting the trim in that hall, which is 90% door frames.
Today, I will be hanging one of those overdone gallery walls, not because I’m into trends, but because I have approximately eight thousand framed photos of my family and friends, and yes, I do want to display them all, thanks.
If you come to my house, I will expect you to marvel at that hallway and tell me how incredible it looks. I will believe all of your lies, I will not point out the flaws, and then we will eat and drink with merriment.

I only have about six thousand things left to do in the house, most of which involve painting, so I hope I live to be a hundred…or that it rains capable men who love taking orders…really, either would be fine.

Yesterday, I ran errands all day and night, which always exhausts me. I can work all day in my home or yard without feeling exhausted, but going out/driving gives me terrible anxiety. I coped, and I got it done, but as usual, I went to bed with the spins and slept hard, for close to ten hours.

I.Feel.Incredible.

I know my husband supports my endeavors, because, at the grocery store, he said to me something so romantic, something he has never said to me before, “Why don’t we pick up a frozen lasagna?”
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I am just livin a dream.

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Turnabout is Bitchcraft

Pursuant to my conversation with The Mister yesterday during the water crisis

He phoned me to vent about work today.

I let him vent. I said all the wonderful things people say when life is unjust.
You must understand, he works in the world of math, and I have no idea what he was going on about, but he sounded like he was in a terrible way, so it doesn’t really matter about segues and rates and systems, just matters that I listen and care. He doesn’t complain about work very often, so it must have been awful.

I am a very loving wife. Such an excellent friend. And OMG I am such a bitch.

For about fifteen minutes, he went on and on and I supported his rant.

And then, when I thought he’d calmed down and run out of steam, I said, “Well, I just don’t know what else to say. I suppose were I you, I’d ask ‘What do you want from me?!?’ or ‘What do you want me to do about it?!?’ but I’m me, so I won’t do that.”

Then we laughed and laughed!

bitchcraft

Good times, y’all! Good times!

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Aitch-Two-Oh-No!

I had a few ideas about what I wanted to do with my day. I thought I could write, paint, quilt, or bake. Maybe I could do two but not more than that.
Oh, I should tell you my days, all my days, involve other tasks that are even more boring to read about than writing, painting, quilting and baking. (Unless you are a writer, painter, quilter, or baker.)

Once Moo went down to a friend’s house and Sassy was caught up in a movie in the other room, I decided on writing. Nice quiet space I had.

At three o’clock, it was time to roast the chicken. I opened the chicken up, took out his bits, and lifted the faucet handle to rinse him. Faucet no work-y? No water? Hmm. Well, dammit, I had chicken goo all over my hands, didn’t I? Had to wash my hands in vinegar, and then use more vinegar to clean the vinegar bottle.

No water in all of house.

Pipes musta froze, I thought. Strange, since it’s been warmer here, but maybe the crazy winds did it in the night.

Put heating pad under the kitchen sink, took blow dryer to pipes under the main bathroom sink.
Went outside to see if I could use the blow dryer on the spigot…You know, it was awfully warm out there…

Hmm.

Look up weather. 48F. Uh…

Text husband, “Call.”

Took the blow dryer to the master bath. Nothin.

Didn’t we just pay our water bill? Like, Wednesday?

Hmm.

Looked up number for the utilities. It is the worst website, ever.

Husband called.
“We have no water.”
“Whaddya mean no water?”
“No water. Not in any of the faucets or the tub.”
“Well I had a shower this morning.”
“Really?”
“Yes.”

All I had done was use the bathroom and wash my hands, and that had only been once. But if he had a shower, then that means the pipes didn’t freeze in the night.

“Did we pay the bill?”
“Yes.”
“Was it late?”
“No.”
“Was it past due?”
“No!”

(Apparently husbands don’t like it when you ask that question, because the “No!” actually sounded more like, “No, you stupid fucking bitch!”)

“Well I’m just checkin, since you went in and I did not, and maybe you meant to pay the bill, but you picked up the recycling schedule and talked to the lady and forgot to pay the bill, how we humans do sometime.”
“No, Joey, I paid the bill. Call them!”
“K, well I was lookin up the number. Can’t find it, but I’ll call them.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you want from me?!?”

 
“Nothing? I don’t know what you mean? Why are you yelling? I’m trying to figure it out.”
“Well I don’t fuckin know!”
“Well what could it be?”
“Look for water around the house.”
“Like where, exactly?”
“All around the perimeter.”

*tromp, tromp, tromp*

“Looks all dry.”
“Go under the house and see if you see anything.”
“You mean in the crawlspace?”
“You don’t necessarily hafta go in, just shine the light around and see if you see any puddles or spraying.”
“Okay.”

I guess this is what I wanted from him? He has experience in residential claims. He knows things I don’t know.
I can’t imagine if I didn’t tell him. I try to envision it. He comes home, we’re all hectic lookin, the dog’s dehydrated and panting, there’s no swate tay, there’s no dinner cooked, and he tries to wash his hands, “WHAT THE FUCK?!?”
“Oh I’m sorry Baby, did I not mention the water’s been off since three? Would you like a Co-Cola?” 
OH THE LOLZ!
You know what he’d say, right? “What the fuck?!? Why didn’t you tell me!?!”

So I’m walkin through the yard, takin the torch to the crawlspace…
“Hey! I see a utility truck. Hang on. Oh yeah, it’s a utility truck. Imma see what this is about. I really wish I was wearing a bra.”
“Haha, yeah, I bet.”
“Well I don’t look very pretty, maybe they won’t even notice.”
“Haha, okay.”

*tromp, tromp, tromp* Oh yeah, lookin so gorgeous in polka-dotted capri pajama pants, bra-less in a tee shirt, with big ol’ winter boots…*tromp, tromp, tromp*

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Walked up to worker men around big hole in the ground.  Had flashback to the plumbing disaster of Labor Day 2013.
“Is this why we don’t have water down there?”
“Yep.”
“Are you fixing it now?”
“Yep.”
“Main burst?”
“Yep.”
“You fix a lot of these?”
“Oh yeah, all the time.”
“How long do you think it will take?”
“About an hour.”
(Because of the plumbing disaster of Labor Day 2013, I speak plumber, so about an hour is three.)
“Alright. Thanks.”

Hung up with husband. So relieved not to have plumbing issues in our house! Yay for busted water main!

Oh look, our neighbors have a new water feature! How pretty. Really, I think it’s kinda pretty.

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I love puddles.

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Honestly, this was an ironic day.
The neighborhood was already partially flooded due to the snow melting. About the last thing we needed was more water.

Moo called me and tried to tell me she couldn’t make it through the water at her friend’s house to come home. “Come outside Mama! Look at all the water! It’s like a moat!”
“Yes, I see it. Do you see how Lily’s little brother just hopped the fence on the porch? You can do that, just like him. You’ll walk through that moat and be back before 5 o’clock, or I will come over there to bring you back.”
“Yes Ma’am.”

I ordered pizza because I couldn’t cook, and when the pizza got here, the water came back on. Go figure!

Can I just say how glad I am that I didn’t choose painting today?

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In Gratitude for The Baby Daze

I posted this photo on Facebook for Throwback Thursday. Me, two (step) kids, two babies and an obvious daydream about bubble baths. I don’t know if my mother was trying to capture my demeanor when she took the picture, but she nailed it.

In this photo, I am 30 and had just had my last baby.

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I did spend about three years in sweats, a crazy bun, and a generally glazed-over expression, due to the surreal life I led.
I refer to that period of time as The Baby Days (Daze).

There are things you should know about me while you look at this photo:

1. I was always the babysitter, the teacher, the mother in mother-may-I. I always had a life which included children. I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT BABIES. I was that woman, who, when asked to hold someone’s baby, replied, “Oh, no thank you,” while thinkin, “Bitch, if I wanted to hold a baby, I’d have my own.” Babies always seemed to me to be crying, flailing entities who were clearly emotionally unstable and unpredictable.
They are.

2. I am an emotional, intellectual, artistic person and was completely unprepared for the manual labor of babies. Babies are heavy when you schlep them around close to 20 hours of a day. You can hold them, wear them, push them, or pull them, but you’re still schlepping them, usually with laundry baskets, groceries, dog leashes, what have you. They only grow heavier, and in the case of my Giantesse, at a rapid rate. They are slippery when wet, faster than a speeding bullet, and if you even think about doing something without one in tow, they pull on your pants and shout out, “Hoed You!”

3. I don’t much like people before the age of 13-15 months. The older they are, the more I like them.

4. Being a mother amplifies your neuroses. Motherhood actually takes your neuroses to the nth power. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure the number of children is the exponent.

5. Like a circus audience, everyone I know was fascinated and entertained by my becoming a mother to babies. Sometimes with empathy, sometimes with sympathy, sometimes just mesmerized by the sheer chaos, and often hysterical with laughter at my expense, but always, always entertained.

It’s all a part of the chapter in The Baby Days. During The Baby Days, my husband worked 70-90 hours a week. At one point, he worked 27 days straight, from 7am to 8pm, minimally. You would think that would have helped prepare me for deployments, but the truth is, nothing can prepare you for deployments.
That 2% he did on the daily was still a much needed 2%.
There is nothing sexier than a man with a dishcloth on his shoulder, or a feeding spoon in his hand, except maybe when he brings home a case of caffeinated Coca-Cola and says he has Saturday off.

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Our generation was supposed to avoid stay-home parenting. We didn’t need a man or typing, because we were going to be astronauts, doctors and CEO’s, not mothers or secretaries, duh. >Flash to us typing and wiping tails on the daily< No one ever suggested that we might actually want a man or his babies.

I have several friends who have more children than I do. They are the best friends to have, because they KNOW. They know how it feels, how it looks, and best of all, they know what to do. Without their wisdom and support, I would be a terrible mother, or at the very least, my children would have driven me into a bottle of lithium.

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No you won’t sleep when the baby sleeps: You have anxiety disorder and you will therefore spend the first six months getting up every five minutes to make sure she’s still breathing. Oh, no, I’m sorry, you will not do that differently with the second baby.

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In addition to my own kids, I picked up Simon after school and kept him til Drew came home from work. Simon did not have a volume control feature. I don’t know if you know any kids like that, but he was one who had no indoor voice. He grew one, and is now rather soft-spoken, but at the time, I did a lot of hushed yelling through my teeth like this, “Simon, if you wake that baby, I swear I’ll make you nurse her!”

Drew would come from work, all polished and poised how working mothers do, and she would be glomped with hugs and kisses, inundated with information, and overwhelmed by chaos. I could actually see her trying to take it all in. The boys would romp and fence and holler how boys do. Sissy would be helping with dinner, telling me all her little girl drama, “And then Tynique said Hailey was not the boss of her!” Sassy would be on my hip, talking constantly and pointing at everything, “Blue? Blue. Cawwots? Cawwots orng,” while Moo threw a tantrum from her high chair. Moo did not use words much, and while I tried to sign with her the way I had with Sassy, she preferred to point, grunt, scream and kick. Moo was only happy while nursing or asleep.
(Some people might suggest that Moo should have been held while Sassy was in a highchair, but those would be people who have never nursed while cooking, or had a giant toddler who could escape her highchair and wreak havoc all over the house in less than a minute, let alone both.)

Sometimes Drew would stay for dinner, and I would be ever-so-grateful for adult companionship, not to mention two extra capable arms. One night, she wanted to stay for breakfast dinner, but I said, “If you want to stay, you’ll need to stop and get more eggs.” She was put off, until I said, “We are a family of six, we are a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon and halfa loaf of bread.”
“Oh.”
Yes, oh.
*giggles still*

Motherhood changes people, and it changed me, of course. Why, I’ve got breasts now, and a pouch that resembles that period of pregnancy where no one’s sure you’re pregnant, or if you’ve just been hittin the ice cream hard.

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I can no longer just stand. In my youth, I stood in first position, now I can’t stand without rocking my imaginary baby.
I can rock any baby now. For hours. In fact, I’ll put that baby to sleep in no time flat, because it’s not my baby, and I am not thinking about how I need to do six million things before dinner.
I’ve gone from a person who spent six months obsessing about dropping the baby on a hard floor, “OH MY GOD, DON’T BRING THE BABY IN THE KITCHEN! BE CAREFUL! OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD! JUST TAKE HER BACK TO THE CARPETED AREA!” to being a person who only worries a little about hard floors, “Wouldn’t you be more comfortable holding the baby on this nice, soft sofa?”

I emerged from the cloud of baby powder, the funk of diapers, (no, really, I smelled like shit a lot) and found I survived, thrived even, in the challenges my family brought me. Love, affection, laughter, joy — so much it cannot be quantified.

But at 30, I didn’t know that.
I only knew blips of happiness that crossed my vision.
The way the boy’s face lit up when he was happy. (Still looks five when he’s thrilled.) The way he leaned over us during nursing, gingerly kissing his sisters and me goodnight.
The way Sissy looked running through the sprinkler with wet curls and an unshakable grin. The way she came to snuggle and suck her thumb in the morning, without interruption, without words. How pretty and proud she looked in her new glasses.
Three girls in the tub, pouring water over one another’s heads, laughing so hard it made me laugh.
The look on Sassy’s face when we built our first blanket fort.
The way it felt to have Moo slap wet kisses on our faces before we put her in the crib after a grueling baby day.
The way they all fit on a blanket in the backyard, looking up at the trees blowing in the wind; blonde, barefoot, and sweet.

At 30, I was merely building my capacity to love. My anxiety made sure I was often blinded and even ungrateful for what blessings were bestowed upon me.

How much better it is to be 40 and to recognize the blessings as they’re happening.

That’s the Daze I’m proud to be living in now.
(With my pink pajamas and my hair in a knot, thank you very much!)

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Lady and The WHAT.IS.THAT?

I’m one of those people who thinks loving relationships are hard enough to find, without discriminating based on gender, age, color, religion, etc etc etc.
But maybe something as shallow as how we present ourselves should be a factor when we pair up.

I’ve seen a lot of date photos for the last several days. They went to dinners, clubs, shows, theaters, and Sweetheart dances, so the pictures are all over social media.

I keep noticing women decked-out in gorgeous dresses, their faces beautifully made-up, hair picture perfect, shoes impeccable — so foxy lady.

to the nines

to the nines

And then there’s the fella, lookin all slovenly. He grudgingly left the sofa, threw on some clothes, slipped on his shoes, slapped on some cologne and went to pick up his foxy lady.

what? i'm wearin a tie!

what? i’m wearin a tie!

I sneer.

 

It’s like this, but not as cute.

no1
Make an effort, Fellas. Some suggestions? A shower, an iron, a trimmer, a jacket, a haircut, a shoe shine: One or all might have been time better spent than that trip to the florist.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 25 Comments

From There to Pears

Long ago, I rented a townhouse close to the happening area of the city. This year of my life is what I refer to as “The Good Ol’ Days.” High school years were not the best years of my life. I don’t know why anyone would say that, ever. College was the opposite of high school, and for me, it certainly beat the pants off high school ten ways to Sunday. Nothing in my youth was better than The Good Ol’ Days of Townhouse Life.

Initially, I took the apartment with my friend Tori, and her toddler daughter. This period of my life is known as my first marriage. No, we weren’t a couple. We’ll talk about that first marriage some other time. She made amends with her husband, and left me just before summer, but not without leaving me her cookware. I spent the summer alone, until HME came to Indy to do her internship. My friend Mick came then, too, because he wanted to go to back to school, but he didn’t want to live at home. By Thanksgiving, he was off to the Marine Corps, leaving me his kitten and Ye Old Barn Jacket. Just before Christmas, as I was about to lose HME to marriage, I got a new roommate, Ms. Keith, who also left to get married before my lease was done. (But not before buying me a dozen stainless steel mixing bowls.) Drew only lived two buildings away from me.

In the townhouse time, we were all so young and free, with minimal responsibilities. Also? Minimal furniture. Secondhand bits, makeshift sorts. We shared books, music, clothes, and friends. We partied pretty hard, how young people do. The influx of guests was constant. More events and stories took place in that one year than did any other year of my life. HME says those days are also her good ol’ days.

Even then, I was the structure, the launch pad, you could say. Rent included utilities, dinner, and for an additional cost, laundry. I was a terrible housemarm who insisted on tidiness, and said things like, “Don’t call any 1-900 numbers!”
Although weekends were fend-for-yourself days, I served brunch every Sunday at noon, wherein I wore the same holey gray sweatpants (belonging to my middle school boyfriend, no lie) served the same cheesy egg bread while playing the same Tori Amos tracks. Despite the obvious similarities, no two brunches were alike.

townhouse
Lemme just say, brunch was THE. BEST.

(Coming in at a close second, cold beer and cigarettes on the back patio after work.) *nods*

Mick’s mom would supply him with groceries here and there; meats mostly, because I didn’t buy meat, since I didn’t eat meat.
One day, he stopped me at the door, shoved a fruit in my face, and said, “You gotta try this!”
*bites*
“Oh my God, so gooood!”
“I know!”
“What is it?”
“I dunno! My mother brought them.”
“It’s like a giant apple, made of honey!”
“I know!”

We shared the rest of that one, and ate another. Apiece.

pears1 pears2 pears
They’re Asian pears, apple pears, Chinese pears, Nashi pears, depending on your region and where you shop. They cost a dollar or two a pear. They are cheapest in winter, and in my opinion, are best eaten off the knife, with a towel in your lap and a chunk of cheese at your side. They are also best eaten alone, or your children will come at you like little birds.

One Asian pear provides 39% of your daily fiber intake. Which is good if you like cheesy egg bread. People from those days randomly ask me how I made the cheesy egg bread? and will I make the cheesy egg bread? They are pleased to find that it’s easy. I apologize for not being a cook who uses measurements in recipes, but I can still give clear instructions.

cheesy (2)

I incorporated items from Townhouse Time into my permanent life: the roommates are still my friends, of course — but also Tori’s cookware, Ms. Keith’s gift of mixing bowls, Mick’s barn jacket, the Asian pears…
I’d like to bring back brunch, but I still make cheesy egg bread now and again, and I’ll never give up Tori Amos.
I wish I’d kept those holey gray sweat pants. I don’t care if they became “obscene.” Pshaw!

What were your Good Ol’ days? Did you keep tangible memories? And are there any recipes?

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In Defense of Southern Snow

In 1993, I got stuck in a hotel in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile is located on the southern coast of Alabama, situated on the Gulf of Mexico. The hotel waitress had said some bad weather was coming through, and although she was nervous about it, we didn’t pay her any mind.
In the middle of the night, the power went out. I walked to the balcony, opened the blinds, and saw snow. Snow, in Mobile, Alabama! Ya don’t see that every day! Alabama declared a State of Emergency, preventing anyone from road travel. They don’t have plows or salt trucks in Alabama.
Generators provided limited heat, so that it was about fifty degrees in the hotel, and emergency lights in the hallway were lit. The rooms had no power at all. The hotel could not provide enough blankets to keep everyone warm.
We walked to the grocery, but there was nearly nothing left to buy. The Waffle House across the highway had a generator and gas burners, so they were able to cook certain foods. Since they weren’t going to get any trucks in, food was rationed.
The hotel couldn’t kick all of its guests out that first morning, but that meant they also couldn’t check new guests in. Some people were kind enough to let strangers share their rooms, but dozens of people slept in the lobby, and in the hallways, and in their cars.

Dag 351. MoMA II
But there were other crises included: no hot water anywhere, people in wheelchairs stranded without elevators, screaming babies, people without essential meds, flight cancellations, people without cash and ATM’s not working.

SO…I think it’s time to stop making fun of the winter storms in The Deep South. People down there have been injured and killed in weather-related incidents. People have been unable to get to work, which means they’re losing income. They’ve lost power. They’ve wrecked their cars. People who think it’s chilly when it’s 70F are living without heat when it’s 20-30 degrees outside.

While I am a Yankee bitch, and one who likes winter, you gotta understand, they do not have real winters there. They have cold snaps. Their cold snaps are like those days in a northern fall, where the wind blows to let you know winter is on its way.

I will never forget the night it snowed in southeast Georgia, while I lived there. I will never forget the grown man outside, begging for someone to come pick him up because he couldn’t drive in the snow. It wasn’t even sticking! Still, he was terrified.

I can drive in the snow, because it’s a skill I learned and used most of my life, because winters without snow do not exist in Indiana.
Drivers in the south do not need that skill. They also don’t pay attention to their tire treads the way northerners do.
They don’t all drive around with jumper cables.
They don’t need wiper fluid the way we do. They don’t need the kind that doesn’t freeze, and they certainly don’t have a bottle in the trunk for frequent refills. I lived in Georgia for seven years, and I used my windshield wipers so rarely, I’m still not confident with all their speeds, and I still hafta look at the knob to figure out where my rear one is. I am not exaggerating. In those seven years, we did not even replace our wiper blades.

Drivers in The Deep South don’t have bags of sand or kitty litter in their trunks, either. If they have blankets back there, it’s only because of the beach. They do not own ice scrapers, snow shovels, or clothing with Thinsulate.

asnow2
Most kids in southeast Georgia have winter coats that are made like comforters. We call them “puffies.” They’re warmer than a jacket, but they won’t see you through a northern winter. Mittens and gloves are not ubiquitous, but rather, must be hunted down or ordered online. No one in The Deep South cares about warm linings.

Schools in The Deep South do not teach the dangers of hypothermia, frostbite, or how to survive if you fall into frozen ice.
They are not familiar with icicles. They do not know that snow is an insulator. They have not been taught to alternate the layers of clothing they wear, or that hydration is equally important in cold weather.

southern icicles

southern icicles

northern icicles

northern icicles

They live in a nearly permanent summer. They have sun hats, coolers, and as many beach blankets as bath towels. They’re stocked up on insect repellent, sunscreen, and ice. Insulated cups are not a seasonal item, and neither is patio furniture.

asnow1

Outdoor showers. Misting fans. Sleeper porches.

They grow oranges, lemons, peaches, pecans, and bananas in their yards.

NOT NORMAL

NOT NORMAL

I feel like I cannot possibly convey how different the lifestyle is from there to here. Snow and ice are anomalies for them.

Just think of it this way: If you go there in March to enjoy warm weather, palm trees, daiquiris, and naked feet, then you must understand snow and ice hold no position in that landscape. It’s a snowball’s chance in Hell.

asnow
While northerners chuckle at those southerners who race to fetch bread and milk at the first mention of snow or ice, I don’t think we’d prefer to swap locations during a winter storm.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

We Do It Like Bunnies

For the better part of our marriage, our mornings have been spent in silence. Now and then, morning starts with screaming and cursing before coffee.

bunnies6
But, sometimes, after alarms, before first light, The Mister and I, with languid bodies and barely lucid minds, find one another in bed. I slide my bottom toward his hips and he scoops me in until I am burrowed in the heat of his body. We mesh easily. I skim my feet across his calves and against the soft, warm sheets. He clutches me in intervals with heavy sighs, breathing me in.

Kids are waken, trips to the bathroom are made, cats cry for food, the dog beats her tail against the floor until someone opens the door.

We return to bed. “Ahh.”
I rest my head in the crook of his arm, he kisses my hair. We nuzzle and stroke one another, finding familiar textures in each reach. We lie there as long as we can, coaxing our bodies into rising.

Yes, like bunnies.

bunniesCuddling, that is.

It’s a kind of intimacy that fills the gaps between sex. It’s a demonstration of devotion and belonging. On a lazy day, those tender moments might turn into more, but today it was a happenstance that turned random Tuesday into special Tuesday.
“Would you like me to make coffee?” I asked on special Tuesday.

Cuddles so good, your wife volunteers brewing coffee? Yes, it’s possible.


bunnies3                          “Have a good day, Baby!”

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Feeeeeelings! *sings, sways arms*

Control How You Feel_BTB
All these internet memes about how you are responsible for your own feelings, about how you’re in control of your own feelings, and you must own them, be responsible for them? Well, I just think they’re all crap. I’ve actually thought about this since early November, and had two drafts written, but tonight, I’m committing.

It. is. all. shit.

I suppose in an ideal world, we’d all feel really great about ourselves, seeing our talents, abilities, and contributions before our flaws and inadequacies, but I have yet to be invited to the ideal world.
I’ve got a good healthy sense of self and a strong personality. I speak my mind, I’m full of piss and vinegar, and while I am often hated on, I’m also very well-loved by the people I love, who are, let’s face it, the best people in the world.
So yeah, I love myself very much.

(I love myself much less when I have hit my head on the same thing for the umpteenth time, or when I scald the sauce, or when I can’t get my hair to lie down.)

Despite my obvious awesomeness and seemingly unbreakable spirit, sometimes people hurt my feelings. I know! Can you imagine? I bet it never happens to you!

I read The Four Agreements about twelve years ago. It’s an amazing book. I struggled with Agreement #2. I still do.

feelings5

When I was working in management (where I do not belong) my boss told me to not take things personally. My response? “How can I not take it personally when I’m a person?”
I’ve gotten better, but I’m still workin on it. Oh, Don Miguel — Immune? Hardly. Suffering? Never.

After my feelings are hurt, my job, as a healthy emotional human, is to stop to acknowledge the feeling. I am entitled to feel my feelings. I don’t need a book to tell me that. I’m too sensitive, artistic, and intuitive to be all, “Oh feelings are stupid.” No, feelings are not stupid. Feelings motivate most of my choices.

But, if you think that I must own all the feelings others try to pin on me, you can peddle that crazy somewhere else. I’m not going to internalize all those words from the source.
If you think words don’t matter, then why the hell are you reading?

After identifying the feeling and letting it settle, then I must determine why I’m feeling hurt. This is where it gets tricky.
99% of the time, I’ve determined that the person who hurt my feelings has actually tried to hurt my feelings. Bully!
I don’t do that. I hurt people’s feelings on accident. It’s worse, because it’s how I really feel, which is much more scathing than just blurting random insults out in anger. Truly, I don’t intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings.

feelings2
I may not be graceful, but I am gracious.
I’m not nice. I’m not sweet. I’m kind. I’m benevolent.
Which makes it awfully hard to understand why people are mean.

But they are, and that has nothing to do with me. There is no healthy reason to insult someone. There just isn’t.
feelingsWriters spend a lot of time examining motivation. We mastered motivation at an early age, because we read and we observed.

The 1% of hurt matters, because as it turns out, we are less than perfect, and we need people who love us to point it out, and say, “Hey! Work on this!” Just a tiny percentage comes from constructive criticism. Most of the insults come from angry people looking for a fight.

“If you’re upset by my saying it, it must be true.”
Uh, no.
If you’re this upset about it, it’s likely because the person saying it meant to hurt you. Why do they want to hurt you?

“I’m sorry you took it that way. That’s your problem.”
Uh, no.
Maybe you shouldn’t say mean stuff to people like they’re inanimate objects. I question the friendship of those who insult me, and you should, too.

Our feelings are not in our control. Our feelings are easily manipulated by others, or there wouldn’t be such a thing as verbal abuse, art in any of its forms, or analysis.

So, after I’ve determined the motivation of the speaker, I decide how I will react.

feelings6
This is where I think the Drama Kings and Queens fail. This is when I often choose to walk away, say goodbye and hang up the phone, or say I’m agreed to disagree. The point being we’ll never reach a resolution, and as much as I enjoy being right, I’d rather let it go and move on. Maybe they follow me, maybe they call me back, but I refuse to participate further. Online, this translates to me reading countless posts continuing the same argument, each one more desperate than the last, in an attempt to draw me in and make me feel bad about myself.

Well, I’m just not gonna.

feelings3
We are entitled to our feelings, the best of which is joy.

I have said it before, and I shall say it again and again, I am here to enjoy my life.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

So Many Tomatoes, So Many Questions

Am I excited about some vagabond tomatoes? YES.

Are they really vagabonds?

Well…you tell me.
When I bought them, I saw that they were greenhouse grown, in Mexico.

tomato2
They were beautiful tomatoes, nearly impossible to find here in the Midwest in the middle of winter. A little pricey, but if they taste as good as they look, then yay for food grown in Mexico!

It’s just a small part of my brain, which reads in English and French, and even quite a bit in Spanish, wonders why I didn’t catch on to how odd it was that there were no Spanish words on the container.
You see, it’s somewhat a curse, because when one reads words, one doesn’t much think about which language.
I’m known to begin reading instructions in French or Spanish, only to hit a word I don’t know, and stop to sound it out like a six-year old before I catch myself, “Hey, maybe this would be easier to understand IN ENGLISH.”

While I waited for the girls to unload the dishwasher, I saw that the company presented a Kingsville, Ontario address. I peeled back the film on the top of the container, only to discover more French.

tomato3
Lavez avant de manger. Mais bein sur!

They’re delicious. I mean, moaning foodie here, Oh my God, delicious! The dark red ones are just incredible!

I presume Mexicans grow the tomatoes and then the Canadian company handles the packaging, distributing, etc.

Are the tomatoes outsourced, then?
Does the revenue go back to Canada?
Why do my tomatoes have a political agenda?
Are there American companies growing greenhouse tomatoes in Mexico?
Can the southwest United States not be bothered to grow tomatoes for Northerners?
Where are all the hydroponic tomatoes?
They must seem Anglo or no one will buy them?
Why must my Mexican tomatoes pretend to be anything but what they are?
I doubt they’re pretentious when no one’s looking.

Poor gypsy tomatoes, your Joey loves you.

And she wants a greenhouse.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 11 Comments

It’s Snow, Not Magic Glue

We’re getting arctic winds from western Canada.
I like winter, but I am no Canadian. Brr! Western Canada can keep its wind!

I drove out into the snowstorm last night.
Fetched groceries.
Drove home in it, too.

here's me leaving the store...

here’s me leaving the store…

Thought I might die of stress.
The problem with sedatives is that sometimes when you feel your anxiety-ridden ass needs one, you can’t afford to be impaired.

Hafta have a lot of prudence to drive in a snowstorm when you’re eight years out of practice. I guess I’ve still got it.

Bridges are scary, but mostly other people scare the shit out of me.

There’s always some idiot flyin by, fishtailing and whatnot. Usually these are people in SUV’s and trucks. The more expensive their vehicles are, the larger their vehicles are, the faster they drive.
I’m sorry if no one’s ever told you, but a larger vehicle does not a better driver make.

Fortunately, my ego matches my soccer mom minivan, and I drive slowly in the snow, as if I value life.

bigger does not mean indestructible...

bigger does not mean indestructible…

Even if you have four-wheel drive, it doesn’t mean you should speed through the snow, weaving in and out of traffic like a maniac. When you take the snowy right turn quickly and crash into the median on your left, I say a quick prayer for you. It sounds like this, “dear god, please watch over that reckless asshole in the navigator and keep the rest of us safe from him. amen.”

it was a truck...

it was a truck…now, it’s art…

When you are doing 50mph in the snow, it takes longer to stop, which is why your Blazer ended up facing those of us you’d blown by. I’m grateful for the policeman on site, who blocked the intersection and stopped to speak to you about your ignorance.

oopsies!

oopsies!

With The Mister working and going to school, I don’t have as much opportunity to get out. I wouldn’t mind so much, if I had a grocery delivery service.

Or a snowmobile.

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments