The Doors (and not the groovy kind)

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

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

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

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

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

omg omg omg lemme out!!!

omg omg omg lemme out!!!

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

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

locksmiths charge more after 6pm you know

locksmiths charge more after 6pm you know

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

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

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

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

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

at least we can close ours...

at least we can close ours…

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

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

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

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

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

i guess they had the same floor guy!

i guess they had the same floor guy!

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

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

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

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

wow. okay, ours is better than this one…

Hey! I think the shed doors are good!

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

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

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A Mother’s Love — Spread the Love Challenge

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

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

2. Share your favorite love quote

3. Nominate fellow bloggers

frog in my hand
boy-child impish, charmed delight

thumb in her mouth
caught a soft curl

flap hands, ask why
scrunched, freckled button nose

you can’t catch me
twinkle eyes flicker mischief

grow, grow, grow up
never always lose them

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

I nominate any one of you to participate.

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Not As Bad As I Used to Be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post is part of LindaGHill’s SoCS 

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One-Liner Wednesday — Couples Lunch

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

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

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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One-Liner Wednesday — Okay Then

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

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Docent She Know?

Indianapolis-Museum-Of-Art-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

May2005ArtHoney

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

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

GoldenRule

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

Indiana-300

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

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

The-Art-Lover

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

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

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

Tell me what art you love?

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Happiness Recovery

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

Things I Have Done Lately:

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

TruthAboutBoysAndVideoGames-64724

Things I Have Not Done Lately:

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

when_dogs_get_high_you_get_these_hilarious_memes_640_03

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

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

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I Swallow my Tough Pills Nervously

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

here's a list i made last summer

here’s a list i made last summer

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

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

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

a positive outlook is good treatment, but not a cure

a positive outlook is good treatment, but not a cure

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

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Creative Blog Award

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

Owl Wonder

Breaking the Cycle

Edwina’s Episodes

Ramblings from Jewels

Nortina Mariela

The Zombies Ate My Brains

Idiot Writer

bemuzin

Anything You Like

Eclectic Odds n Sods

Living a Beautiful Life

The Phil Factor

Real Mom of Long Island

An Armchair Perfectionist

Silver in the Barn

My Blog is my Boyfriend

The Rules

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

Okay, so 5 Things About Me:

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

2. I never say coffee is too strong.

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

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

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

creativebloggersaward1

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

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Daydreamy

the-daydreamer-award1

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

The rules for The Daydreamer Award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Complete the challenge they set you.

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

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

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

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

Freedom from responsibilities.

Long days, uninterrupted by children or schedules.

Playing in the surf, walking miles of empty shore.

Raw oysters and cold beer.

Playing rummy.

Laughing and smiling until my cheeks hurt.

Long passionate nights.

Sleeping to the sound of the ocean.

Cheese and olives and wine.

My head in his lap while we read.

*sigh*

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

dontquit

I nominate:

Kimberly

The New Pollyanna

Dan

Sue

Hollie

& Linda

Tell me a daydream!

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Sensitive Everything, Sensitive Gut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cletus the Dog Kitten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old-Dog-and-Cat-Sleepy-Embrace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, you say stuff now.

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One-Liner Wednesday — They Really DO Listen!

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

all better now

all better now

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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I Wonder

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

Why do people wear woolen caps in the summer?

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

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

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

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

Why don’t more people like my Facebook page?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted in Random Musings | Tagged | 38 Comments

Don’t Fuck with My Pillows

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

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

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

no, YOU don't make sense!

no, YOU don’t make sense!

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

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

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

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

pride

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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One-Liner Wednesday — Should I Name Him?

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

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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It Should be Perfectly Obvious

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

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

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

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

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

what? like my most preferred friends lived in order!

what? like my most preferred friends lived in order!

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

and we did not die

and we did not die

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

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

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

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

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

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I answered, “I’m playing!”

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

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Weather is a Relative Issue

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

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

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

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

view from my picture window

view from my picture window today

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

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

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

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

And so warm! Heh!

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

This post is part of LindaGHill’s SOCS

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

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

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Why I Gotta Title Everything? I’m Tired!

“Beep Beep Boop!” says WordPress.

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

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

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

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

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

you don't love me right

wordpress, you don’t love me right

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

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

be quick, mama, i gotta pee!

be quick, mama, i gotta pee!

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

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

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

HardLife1-450x406

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Compulsory Love Post

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

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

zerd

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

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

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Love is inexplicable.

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Finding the Painting

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

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

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

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

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

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

newsflash: our children look like us

newsflash: our children look like us

Then, we recreated this photo with toddler Moo:

totally my kid

totally my kid

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

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

Guess what was behind that unnecessarily large portrait of me?

Behold, THE PAINTING:

painting

It was destined to be mine.

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

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

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

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Happiness

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

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

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

Bliss

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

follow-your-bliss

Happiness

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

Contentment

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

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

*stories that still need to be written

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

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Why I’m Dying First

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

i do

i do

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

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

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

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

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

ie: love them as they are

ie: love them as they are

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

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

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

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

“It’s like she just won’t die.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

what do you mean they left me with debt?

what do you mean they left me with debt?

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

these are my babies now

these are my babies now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It Makes My Skin Crawl, A Metaphorical Rant

We were invited over to The Palace of Rules last night for brownies. No, wait, there was dinner. After dinner, we went into the living room to watch television, and apparently, on Monday nights, MIL watches The Bachelor. How on earth I find this show morally repugnant while my fervently Christian in-laws don’t is beyond me.

Funniest_Memes_the-bachelor-is-the-show-that-answers_13563

If you live under a rock larger than my own, I should tell you that this particular show (I think there are several like it?) is one where a dozen women (or more?) vie for the attention of a bachelor (this one being a farmer from Iowa) who whittles his choices down, one by one, each show, until finally he’s left with the woman of his choosing. As a-drama-on-side-B-bonus, all the women live together like pageant contestants.

Here are my thoughts:

her eyelashes come up to her eyebrows. how can you take anyone like that seriously?

not one of these bitches looks like a promising farm wife.

have these women no sense of their worth? 

maybe dating is harder now.

did she just say she wonders if people in new mexico wear sombreros like they do in real mexico?

lordamercy.

I said, to no one in particular, “I cannot imagine why these women are willing to compete for a man.”
And my FIL said, “To travel, to be on tv.”
“Well that is just sad.”

she’s a widow? she talks about his death so cooly. damn that’s creepy! i’ve grieved more than that over a pen that ran dry.

they all think he might be the one, whereas i think he must be sad and lonely.

I said, “The girls have school tomorrow. We should probably start headin out,” but no one seemed to hear me.

are they undressing one another? this represents what? omaword. well, i never.
gee, i can’t imagine why she feels uncomfortable taking his pants off, since she only recently met him and all!

this is their first date and she’s dry humping him.
and now they’re kissing.
shoulda had the undressing part after the dry humping and kissing.

what the hell is goin on with the eyelashes?!? is this a thing? volkswagon beetles have smaller eyelashes than this girl.

I said things like, “We’ve got to go,” and “I bet the dog needs to pee,” but no one budged.

group dates. not like three guys and three gals, but like one farmer and his harem, are unusual in iowa, i’m sure.

she has hypothermia? shouldn’t she get medical attention? is there no medic with the camera crew?
oh, now this other bitch is pissed that she doesn’t have hypothermia because the farmer isn’t rubbing her feet!

At that point, I decided to go to the bathroom and read a lot of magazines, because I thought my brain would rupture an intake receptor. God only knows what my children were subjected to while I read about how frogs eat their own skin.

Have you ever been the victim of someone else’s television show? Did it make you wanna slide out of your own skin?

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Heat Pumps are Stupid

It’s my second bloggaversary, so I wanted to write a particularly eloquent post with a title whose complexity complimented the wit of its content. I think I’ve succeeded. See also, Why Time Change is Stupid and other groundbreaking discoveries, like, Dogs Don’t Need Porn.

When we were shopping for our house, we had plenty of specifications. Affordable, in our preferred school districts, three bedrooms, not too big, (basically not as big as our last house) safe for run amok kids, single-story living, fencing for the dog. I wanted adequate cabinet and counter space, gas range or hook-up, and good flow. The Mister wanted a newer roof and very few things he’d need to repair or replace. Then we had a bit of a wish list, like fireplace, hard floors, built before 1960, bigger lot, good closet space, garage. We were both hoping for brick and a basement. (Indiana is no stranger to tornadoes.) I was partial to houses with southern exposure, and basketball hoops. (Did I mention we live in Indiana?)
Then there were things we just could not accept, even if all of the above desires were met. Like a heat pump. Heat pumps are stupid.

cold

Because, like I said, we live in Indiana. Despite the apparent shock of our fellow Hoosiers, it does get cold and snow every single winter. When we lived in Georgia, a heat pump was just fine. We didn’t even run the furnace most of the winter. We most often ran only the downstairs heat in the morning, so our children didn’t shiver.

When The Mister was stationed in North Carolina, his house there had a heat pump. Coldest house ever. Everybody walkin around in fleece, never turnin off the coffee pot because hadda have hot beverages all the time. We slept in a shared blanket, huddled, shivering, entwined. Hadda have sex just to generate heat. Brick house may as well been made of twigs, so freakin cold. Stupid heat pump.

I-m-cold-You-re-hot-Let-s-cuddle

The last of my at-home living was done with a heat pump. Now, as you should well know by now, I hate being hot. In the winter, I closed the vent in my bedroom, and often slept with the window cracked. (At least until my dad screwed the window sash shut, because he didn’t care about fire safety, he only cared about burglaries, but whatever.)

Still, preferring to be cold doesn’t mean I want to freeze to death while I eat dinner. And that’s exactly what it was like when we lived there.

10nataliedee

I’m fairly certain vaulted ceilings are intended for warm climates. Vaulted ceilings in the north should all be outfitted with lofts and ladders, so members of the household can climb up to get warm.

Maybe I worked so much and slept around stayed with other people so much when when I lived at home because I didn’t want to freeze to death in the living space and then roast in my bed every night…
Yes, I’m sure that was it!

I complained to my parents, because that’s what parents are for, “It blows cold air! I don’t care if it’s on 72! When you’re in Florida, I sometimes put it on 78 and it’s still never warm!” (Of course, my room was a blazing inferno.)
For some reason my parents didn’t appreciate my complaints or my hijacking the thermostat. now you wish i’d just drunk up all your liquor instead, huh?

But one night, when my dad had already gone to bed, I watched my mother get up, throw her blanket on the couch, pick up a pillow and hurl it at the register. My mother is not prone to fits. My mother is calm. She has the patience of a nun. She’s a Virgo, okay?

put my mother on this couch with a blanket, and you've got the right picture

put my mother on this couch with a blanket, and you’ve got the right picture

I sat in awe (under my down comforter) and upon seeing my face, she hissed, “I am just sick of that cold air blowin in my face!” I could only smile.
“Uh huh. Told ya.”
“I mean, Jesus!”
“Mmhm. I know.”

I bet it’s that heat pump that drove them to sell their house and move to Florida full-time.

Stupid heat pump. And Florida. Florida is stupid, too. is hot, is far, took my parents…

93513d300d53a0dc21577485c3efc8d6

This post is part of Just Jot It January — Did you even jot yet?

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Meat and Me and Moo and Stew

For a long time, Moo never ate meat. I don’t know why. I never asked. Having been a vegetarian for six years, this never bothered me. There are always people who comment about how important it is to eat meat and how the baby needs the protein and blah blah blah.

i took nutrition, bitches

i took nutrition, bitches

I’ve got nothing against meat. I cook it almost every day. I eat a bit of it. Sometimes. Rarely. I sometimes eat toddler portions of meat. I generally prepare four servings of meat. One for The Mister, one for his lunch, one for Sassy, and then one to split between Moo, the dog, and myself. About once a month, I crave a cheeseburger or a chicken sandwich. I assume that’s a request for iron, which yes, I do run low on.
I’m just not a fan of meat. One fried chicken strip, six bites of steak, bits of meat in a soup or stew, coupla strips of bacon or sausage — that’s a week of meat for me. Honestly, I don’t care for the texture of meat and I don’t think cooked mammals agree with me particularly well.

Moo always has liked fish and eggs, as have I. There are always people who comment about how fish is meat, and fish have faces and vegetarians shouldn’t eat anything with a face or how eggs hatch and have faces and blah blah blah.

i eat unborn fish & fowl

i eat unborn fish & fowl

All of my other kids are quite carnivorous. Bubba loves a meatloaf, Sissy will cut a bitch for some pork, and the reason I came to eat meat after those six years is because Sassy cried for meat from the womb. Pregnant with Sassy, I was an indiscriminate meat eater. Pregnant Me once asked Beauty Queen to make me a bologna sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip because hers smelled really, really good (to the baby!) She asked me, “You know bologna’s meat, right?” Yep. I did. I do not eat Miracle Whip, and I only eat white bread and bologna at the beach, but the baby loved that sandwich!

these are beach sammiches -- AND THE CHEESE GOES IN THE MIDDLE SO IT DOESN'T TOUCH THE MAYO!

these are beach sammiches — AND THE CHEESE GOES IN THE MIDDLE SO IT DOESN’T TOUCH THE MAYO!

Four-year-old Moo used to tell people she was a vegetarian except for sausage. And then except for sausage and bacon, and then except for sausage and bacon and turkey, and then we taught her to say, “I’m not big on meat.” There are still people who are irritated by this. I am not one of them.

What I am irritated by is her inability to remember the names of food and dishes. When they were smaller, I understood how they forgot summer squash or how they didn’t remember what scallopini was. But now she’s eleven. Every night is some version of this:

“Whatcha makin?”
“Stir fry.”
“Ugh.”
“You like stir fry. It has lotsa broccoli.”
“I don’t even know what stir fry is.”
“It’s what’s fer dinner.”
“Ugh.”
— Ten minutes later, I add the veggies and put the lid on, she comes into the kitchen and says, “Oh yummy! I love this! With the rice?”
“Not for you, you don’t like the rice.”
“Yeah, I only like rice for sushi.”
“It is the exact same rice, but okay.”

i believe i mentioned moo loves broccoli ferrealiously?

i believe i mentioned moo loves broccoli ferrealiously?

“What’s for dinner?”
“Pork chops, cabbage, carrots, and wild rice.”
“Ugh.”
“What? You love cabbage, you love carrots…”
“Ehhhh…the rice with shiny bits?”
“Yes.”
“I like that rice.”
“Yes, and you love cabbage and carrots.”
— Then an hour later, “Mmm mmm mmm, I just love this cabbage.”

Uh huh.

Finally, around age five, I discovered Moo had a favorite dish and it didn’t have a name. At least, I didn’t have a name for it. Almost everyone in the Midwest eats it, it was a staple meal when I was growing up, it definitely falls into the comfort food category, and it’s always at family reunions and pitch-ins round these parts.
When I would describe the contents of said meal, her face would light up and she couldn’t wait to eat it. “You’re makin my stew! Oh that’s my favorite!”

*cooks dish and photographs it*

moostew1

mmm, steamy!

I’m not a recipe person, but if you’re inclined, I give pretty good instructions. Put in just enough water to cover the bottom of a big ol pot, heat up some diced onions. Add smoked sausage, sliced to your liking. I always give the ends to the dog. People are weird about the ends of sausages.

sadie waits for the okay

sadie waits for the okay

When the onions are soft, add beef broth, green beans, red potatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer.

We call it Moo Stew.

There are variations of this all over the internet. I prefer to make this with fresh green beans and potatoes, but when I was a working mommy, I didn’t hesitate to use bouillon cubes and canned potatoes & green beans, and it was still delicious (and no one died of sodium intake.)

So, do you eat a plant-based diet? Do you like the taste of fish faces? Do your kids claim to hate everything they love?

This post is part of the Just Jot It January series, brought to you by LindaGHill.

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Untimely Desire

I hate hot weather so much, that when I see the vacation photos my friends post, I actually say, “Antigua? Uck!” “Barbados? Oh how dreadful!” “Bora Bora? You poor thing! You couldn’t pay me to go to Bora Bora!” Okay, I’m sure there’s a price at which I’d agree to go to Bora Bora, but no one’s offering.

what a beautiful place to sweat until my skin scorches...

what a beautiful place to sweat until my skin scorches…

We’ve got several friends who live in Hawaii. Most of them are from Hawaii, and all of them love living there. Of course, I’m like, “Oh that Banyan tree is absolutely majestic! There. In the hotness. Is it me or is that orchid sweating?”

already sunburnt, bless its heart

already sunburnt, bless its heart

In order to visit my mother, I gotta endure South Florida, usually in the summer, if you can fathom my misery. Honestly, if I didn’t want to see half the people I love most, I’d be happy never to cross the Mason-Dixon line again. Is it too much to ask that everyone move north?
Like I need one more stop at the top of Jellico? No, thanks.

oh you know, just drivin in the sky...

oh you know, just drivin into the sky…

Right now, it’s 24 and feels like 17, with a bit of snow on the ground, and that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s a toasty 67 in here, and that’s even better.

gods of fire smile upon us

the gods of fire & furnace smile upon us

But *whispers* in the middle of the winter, there are things I miss about summer.
Fresh local produce. Yes, I miss food from our garden, Oh My Green Tomatoes! All Hail The Tender Carrots! but also, I miss not payin five-thousand dollars for a bowl of fruit originating in Chile. I love apples as much as the next girl, but I long for summer’s fruits. At a reasonable price.

mmm, oh yeah, mmm baby

mmm, oh yeah, mmm baby, yes!

What do you miss about summer? It’s the fruit, right? You don’t miss the heat, right?

This post is part of Just Jot It January, but was inspired by my mother, who had the nerve to talk to me about my plans for the garden this year, leaving me with a watering mouth.

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The Least You Can Do

A long, long time ago, we were homeless and living with another family. I bet most of you never read that post, because it only has six likes. At any rate, that was the darkest time of our marriage, a time during which we were least happy with life and least happy with one another.

The darkness fell after I had come home from lunch and maternity clothes shopping with Beauty Queen, to find The Mister sat on the couch, let go from his job.
Occasionally, The Mister comes home earlier than expected and yes, I do freak out, each and every time.
*kiss kiss* “WHY ARE YOU HOME?!?” I scream.

x354

At any rate, during this dark time, I cared for our children, the child of the residence, the house, and our one baby, while The Mister worked to get us out of our predicament. Now and again, I had missed packing him a lunch, which I hadn’t given any particular thought to, since you know, I was caught up in the drama that had become my life.
It seems The Mister noticed the absence of lunches, and I suddenly remembered him thrashing about the kitchen slamming things, once he said, “It’s the least you could do!”

“It’s the least I could do?!?”
“THE LEAST!?”

download (1)

Well, I never!
Since the children could not yet cook, being nine and seven, and the baby was still 90% breast-bound, and the house did not clean itself, I could not find any reason in his argument. Furthermore, yes, I had always packed his lunch, but then, I had always had my own kitchen, hadn’t I? He was a grown man, capable of making a sandwich, or putting leftovers into a lunch container. Therefore, after a severe tongue-lashing, I stopped packing his lunch.

For YEARS.

The least I can do. Pfft.

I resumed packing the lovely lunches some time ago.

It’s been long enough ago that we joke about it.

I serve him a late dinner while he studies and I say, “Eat it while it’s hot. I spent hours in the kitchen to prepare this lovely meal for you. The least you could do is eat it while it’s hot. You know, when your paycheck hits the bank, I spend it immediately. I don’t just let it sit there. It’s the least I can do. Because I love you and I care about how hard you work.”

really-its-my-pleasure

This post is inspired from LindaGHill’s SOCS — least

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She said WHAT?!?

Not too long ago, one of my online friends, friend of a friend, asked me if I would mention her friend’s friend’s kid’s fundraiser on my blog.
My immediate thought was “Hell no!” I mean, did she not even read the post about FundingEveryfuckingThing?
I didn’t shout obscenities at her or anything, I simply said I didn’t think my blog was the right platform for that, and then I said I would post the link in a tweet. In turn, she said she thought my blog was the right place, because it’s a mommy blog.

mean-girls-18
A what now?
A mommy blog?!?
Why? Cause I have kids?
What the fuck did she mean, mommy blog?
Silly woman, this blog is about me! Me, me, me, and more me. Me, Neurotic Bitch me, Mother me, Wife me, Writer me, Word Whore me, Foodie me, and General Go-To-Girl, ME!

Sometimes I blog mommy-like things, but if you look at the tags on my blogs, the number one inclusion is The Mister, so I’m much closer to running a wife blog than a mommy blog, thank you very much.

happy-marriage
The tags on my blog also indicate that I spend more time parenting than having panic attacks, so I think that’s good. Phew!

I shared her friend’s friend’s kid’s link on Twitter and then scoured things while thinkin about why being called a mommy blogger bothered me.
I read mommy blogs.
I like mommy blogs.
I don’t only read and like mommy blogs. I read and like daddy blogs, too. Let’s face it, parenting is one of my interests, because it’s part of my life, but I read about not parenting, because I’m a well-rounded person. In fact, motherhood made me more well-rounded. Well, motherhood and ice cream…

http://rebloggy.com/post/drawing-art-sketch-feminism-body-image-body-positivity-art-history-venus-self-po/31342131722

art credit

Being called a mommy blogger is far from an insult.
She probably read one of my mommy posts, and since she’s not a mommy, she was bored to tears, but stored this mommy blog label for a later, more useful time.
Really not any different from people who think I write a nice lady blog because I use words like gratitude, happiness, and joy.
…Or those people who think of me as the cat lady who blogs about giant, fearless squirrels.
…Or those people who think of me as the screaming liberal bitch of blasphemy.
It’s true, I am all these things.

I am a mom.
I love being a mom.
I’m really good at it.

Because-I-said-so-every-mom-ever-commentoftheday-quote-thoughoftheday-true-instatrue-momsoninstagram

Even half of my kids say I’m their favorite mom!
But I’m not a mommy blogger, and the fact that anyone thinks I am is where the sting lies — cause if you think this is a mommy blog, then you don’t read me very often, now do you, Friend?

Are you ever surprised at how your blog, or you, are labeled?

This post is part of Just Jot It January — Jot with us!

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Good Handwriting is a Useless Talent

handwriting1

…When I was in the third grade, I won some of those scribe contests, the prizes for which were shiny ribbons. Useless ribbons for useless talent.

or so they say...

or so they say…

These days, I don’t think I could win any scribe contests, because I’m more of a scribble scrawler, even when arthritis isn’t killin me, which it often is. My writing was much neater when I was younger, but then I wrote more by hand then. I don’t write letters as often as I used to, which I think may be killin my mother, who writes like this:

and this is just her scribble scrawl, y'all

and this is just her scribble scrawl, y’all

See, my mother was a civil engineering draftsman, long before CAD, and she writes everything perfectly.

yes, we do our crosswords with a pen

yes, we do our crosswords with a pen

When little girls are inclined to imitate their mothers, I must have aspired to handwriting greatness or somethin. I also dreamed of being long and tan like her, so at least this handwriting bit worked out for me.

It’s pretty typical that teachers have good penmanship, but even so, not a requirement.

These days, writing by hand just isn’t as common. When I fill out forms, I get compliments, which are perhaps even less useful than shiny ribbons. Can you imagine if compliments were currency?

I have addressed invitations and written recipe cards for people, as favors — like anyone would pay for that!

I could forge my father’s signature by the age of my poorly completed long division, but beyond that, being able to copy the handwriting of others has also proven to be a useless skill.

If I had anything of importance to say about handwriting, it would be that it needs to be taught.
My kids were all taught cursive, but many schools no longer teach it, and as such, students are not permitted to do assignments in cursive, because not all students can read it. As an English major, that seems unfathomable. Can you imagine how time-sucking and painful it would be to have printed out every essay you ever wrote?!? I can. Sounds bloody awful to me. It’s a form of illiteracy, being unable to read anything written in cursive. On a personal note, one day The Mister and I will be gone and I’m pleased that our kids will be able to read decades of our correspondence.

yes the mister has the handwriting of a serial killer, but he isn't one

yes the mister has the handwriting of a serial killer, but he isn’t one

Good handwriting gets you nowhere. Do you have a useless talent? I won’t ask you for a demonstration.
Prolly.

This post is part of Just Jot It January, which is also via LindaGHill, because apparently, I do whatever she tells me to, she inspires me.

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Oh! The Things You Can Do!

In high school, I dated a guy who could play every instrument he picked up. He was some sorta prodigy. He had a music room, and I never tired of his musical abilities. I also never thought much about it, because I was young and there seemed to be an abundance of talented people around me.
I’ve come to realize I’m still surrounded by talented people, but they’re adults, grown responsible adults, most of whom don’t have hours a day to feed their passions.

multiple_intelligences

In college, while learning about how people learn and the various abilities students might possess, I was tested in every way possible. I came to understand that despite IQ, intelligence depends a great deal on the span of a person’s abilities. Meaning, with regards to Gardner’s theory, a better brain wasn’t about the scores, but rather, the range of scores. A person who scores moderately above average in all fields is brighter, and likely to experience more success compared to someone who spikes extremely high scores in only one or two areas. I won’t go into this too much, because you can read about it elsewhere, but suffice it to say, I’m a person with big highs and big lows, and this relates completely to living my life, regardless of occupation or academia.

howard_gardner_pic

Splendid with words, self, and nature — not so much splendid at everything else.
Of course, I take my own abilities for granted, thinking my own abilities are not gifts, really. Articulating my thoughts and feelings is a cinch, and writing them is even easier. I think growing flowers and food isn’t even a skill, more a matter of hope mixed with the magic of science. How can you walk by plants and rocks and not even know what they’re called? Isn’t cooking simply common sense? What do you mean you can’t visualize an imaginary tree? Can I cut you one from the imaginary forest I can’t see through? Why does it take you so long to answer me?!?

sometimes. at certain things.

sometimes. at certain things.

But oh, the things other people can do! Particularly, The Mister. I have a feeling his range of intelligence is a much closer, level range than my own. All of my lows are his highs, which makes him not only complimentary, but downright admirable.

He can hit a ball with a bat — any size ball, any size bat. Even he can hit balls with his hand, or a racquet, or a club, or a paddle, or whatever. Better yet, he can land it where he aims. He can also throw things and catch things. When I throw the remote across the coffee table, everyone ducks, but he always catches it. When he throws me the remote, it touches my hand and then it falls or ricochets because I cannot catch things.

He can pack stuff. Brute force doesn’t hurt, but I have seen him fit luggage into a car, as well as containers into our refrigerator, as though they’re pieces of a puzzle whose image only he can see. I’ve watched him fit a bed into a nook that I believed was smaller than the bed. I’ve seen him choose the appropriately sized plastic baggie, when I was sure he needed a much bigger one. For me, it’s like being a child at the circus. “Daddy, how did they get all those clowns into that little car?”

fuck you

fuck you

Do you know he can do math in his head? He can multiply and divide multiple numbers and even add a series of triple digit numbers! In his head! I can only math money and fractions easily. I assume this is from cooking for a large family and from learning to count back change before cash registers told you the difference. It’s like living with a calculator over here. “Did you just calculate the area of the living room without paper?”

the answer is fuck you

also fuck you

Since I’m awkward and intense and most people don’t like me, I cannot make small talk to save my life. We have these receptions after church, which are like tiny weekly parties from Hell, and inevitably, I can be found on the outskirts of the hall, eating cheese and crudites while The Mister walks from group to group laughing and smiling as people laugh and smile with him. I have nothing to say. I literally have nothing to say. “Isn’t it amazing how peanut butter and raisins elevate this celery from dull into a scrumptious treat?” I don’t know what in tarnation he talks to them about, but I bet it’s not about celery. Everywhere we go is like this, he talks to everyone, and everyone talks to him, and they all seem to like him. I mean, I like him, too, but not for his small talk.

aarontcaycedokimura7
The best one is the music intelligence though. Yeah, yeah, I can read music. Yeah, yeah, I can carry a tune. But I cannot MAKE music. Furthermore, I cannot hear a new song and then immediately imitate its instruments or play its rhythm. Then, once I start singing the melody, there is absolutely no way I can find the harmony.
We have this terrible game we play where I have a song stuck in my head and I mutter out lyrics (because words) and then he doesn’t know the words (because words) so I continue with the words until suddenly, I strike the right note, flipping the switch in his musical brain, and the entire song becomes accessible. I guess there’s an app for that, but I’m married to the live version.
I have never sat down in front of a xylophone, or drums, or piano, or picked up a guitar and just started making phenomenal music, whether it was my own (like I have music to make) or some task put out before me G-A-G-E, G-A-G-E (that’s Silent Night, you know.) I mastered the recorder in fourth grade and failed all the instruments after.
It is unfathomable to me how musicians spontaneously riff and jam. I mean, I’ve seen it, and every time, I’m completely awed.
We watch Jimmy Fallon, and I ask The Mister, “But how does Quest know what to play?” His answer? “When you know music it’s easy.”
I wonder, what’s that like?
I think if I could make music, I would be an egomaniac.

What intelligence do you take for granted, and which do you wish you possessed more of? Do you share your life with someone who balances you?

This post is part of Just Jot It January. It’s never to late to join and jot it!

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My First Crush

Maggie Wilson’s public confession about her affections for Mighty Mouse inspired me to write this post.

My first crush was Kermit the Frog. Specifically, Kermit the Reporter Frog as pictured here:

review_kkermit_3

Clearly, early on, I knew that I would be competing against dramatic blondes with pig faces.

Those formative years are so precious, aren’t they?

Admittedly, with my father, I watched a lot of sports, particularly boxing, on what I thought was “Wild World of Sports” but those half-naked, muscled, weekend men never appealed to me. No, I loved to learn. While my mother took her coffee and her paper, I was in the den with Sesame Street and The Electric Company, who were my everyday companions.

The beauty of my love for Reporter Kermit is that I developed a quirky fetish for newsmen. This led to a significant crush on Peter Jennings, then Anderson Cooper, and well, after that, almost any intelligent man with a high forehead and knack for delivering information in a kindly manner.

Despite the fact that I frequently go to bed with Jon Stewart on my television, lust had nothing to do with these crushes then, and has nothing to do with them now. Lust came much later, in the form of Jon Bon Jovi on my MTV, who, I might add, proved to be a worthy long-term investment.

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*sigh* The Mister will be home soon. Too bad it was too cold for him to wear his trenchcoat today…

This is my third post for Just Jot It January. Feel free to join us in our jotting, and leave all your random crush commentary below.

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New Year, New HVAC Guy

I’m not sure if I can say things are back to normal after the holidays, but we’re gettin there. I had Mimosa Day today, although somewhat delayed by two hours, thank you, Snowfall. As a family, we cleared the snow. It’s some of that powdery, light and fluffy snow. We had quite a good time, despite the below freezing temps.

All this is made much more enjoyable by having a working furnace, which we do, after four days of no heat.
Our previous HVAC guy turned out to be a real dickhead. He’d come, make the furnace go, we’d pay him, he’d leave, it would stop, we’d call him, he’d come, make the furnace go, we’d pay him, he’d leave, it would stop. The last time I called him, he seemed awfully put out at the idea that he’d need to come out again. The Mister grew indignant about paying for results that didn’t last, and eventually HVAC Dickhead told The Mister to call someone else.

That is not a great business model, by the way.

these two seem professional and competent in comparison...

these two seem professional and competent in comparison…

As a result, we have become far more knowledgeable about furnace operation than any two average people need to be. This is the third house we’ve owned and we were previously unaccustomed to anything other than changing the furnace filters.

Every few days, weeks, or months, we’d be in the ugly laundry room, unscrewing the panels, removing any dust, checking the flashing code, cleaning the flame sensor. Resetting the power at the fuse box and turning off our beeping alarm system always made for a good time, especially when doing it five or six times in an hour. We’d hope and pray and shout at the furnace, and sometimes it would light and stay lit, and sometimes it would light and go out, and sometimes it didn’t light at all.

Eventually, it’s 53F in your house and you ask around for a new HVAC guy, because you never, ever wanted to be the mistress of the furnace, and while you look great in hats, you don’t much enjoy wearing them around the clock and you despise using screwdrivers.

I may have begun the relationship with New HVAC Guy as a pedantic, defensive, demanding bitch. These are my natural gifts, and although I try to only share them with people who piss me off, sometimes I need people to know, from the get-go, that I am not as nice as my face and my voice make me seem.

don't care

don’t care

“I don’t give a cat’s crap if you can make the furnace run. We can make the furnace run. I need you to find out why it doesn’t keep running, and then fix that so that it always runs. FOREVERRR.”

Parts places aren’t open on the weekend.
We bought some space heaters and worshiped them.
Yes, I would still rather be too cold than too hot.

Eventually, a new circuit board became available, New HVAC Guy fixed the furnace, and a few hours later, our feet thawed, we hung up our outerwear, and went on with our lives.

I tell you, going on with your life is a sorely underrated joy.

desire to harness fire is primitive.

desire to harness the power of fire is primitive.

If you are in Indianapolis and need a good reference on an HVAC guy, let me know. I’ll tell you who we use and who we shame.

— Tell me how much you hate digital appliances, rude people, incompetence and/or being unable to feel your feet all weekend?

This post is part of Just Jot It January.

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Sometimes, Joy Makes Us Wait

A lot of people were overwrought with holiday schedules and festivities two weeks ago, but ours was just now. We’re a busy, sometimes over-scheduled clan. We only just recently had the big family dinner and gift exchange. In a way, it’s a lot more convenient. We have a later deadline to plan and shop. We experience fewer crowds, less traffic, and better sales. By the time we’re all together, we’ve had the high of our immediate family celebrations, then the lull that follows, and then we are once again rested up enough to give the best of ourselves.

A day spent at The Palace of Rules means beauty and generosity and well, a bit of formality.
My favorite gift this year was a third-generation heirloom. Can you say wow?
MIL also made my favorite meal she cooks. It’s worthy of its own post, and I’ll give it one someday.
But there was this other thing…this small, but incredibly thoughtful gesture…
Years ago, my MIL gave me this well-worn oversized pink top she didn’t want anymore. She couldn’t believe I wanted it, but I am a total sucker for soft clothes. I wore it until it was threadbare, and sorta obscene, then I reluctantly pitched it.
She gifted me a new oversized pink top. I almost cried, I was so touched.
I love the little things that bring big joy, don’t you?

Time with my loved ones is better than any earthly gift.
It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy, but I so love my table full of family. Let me cook and cook and bake. Let’s laugh and tease and play games and laugh some more. Let us be silly. Let’s laugh and smile until our cheeks and bellies ache. Let’s hug and kiss and tickle and chase until we are exhausted of joy. Let’s wear our new pajamas while we toast the new year. Let us stay up late, and reconnect with long, detailed stories that can only be shared while our feet are tucked into blankets and our hands stroke the soft faces of sleeping children.
That’s the best stuff on earth.

As we sit down to the table, crowded with plates, I declare, “This is my happiness!”

Let my nephews stay here.
Let Simon and I puter, music, and cold coffee all day. Let Moo and Ace play together until they’re as sick of one another as two kids can be, until it’s time to go, when sad goodbyes are said, until we’re all together again.
Let our living room throw up quilts, cords, toys, cookie crumbs, and half-empty cups — It’s such a short and sweet time.
Soon enough it will be time to shampoo the upholstery, clean out the fridge, and wash all the extra linens.
Simon’s sleeping bag and Ace’s sheets lie in wait for their makeshift beds.
Life is fuller when we are all together.

A contact high. But from love.

jjj-2015
I’m participating in Linda G Hill’s Just Jot It January. If you’re interested in joining, follow the link to the policies, procedures, and prompts — and jot with us!

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Togetherness, Ferrealiously*

Well you know, I thought after I wrapped up NaNo, I’d be super-blogg-y and there would still be plenty of time to experience all the wonders of yuletide. Of course, I would spend a quiet evening at the table, writing out holiday cards while bobbing my head to twenty different versions of Carol of the Bells. As a family we’d go downtown to see the monument’s Christmas tree all lit up, get some Starbucks, drive up Meridian to enjoy all the twinkly lights. I’d make something simple for the girls’ teachers. I would make hot cocoa and bake chocolate gingerbread to get us all in the spirit. I’d shop online, sure, but also, The Mister and I would take a day to shop alone. Imagine us, hand in hand, a whole day to ourselves, walking around and exploring gift possibilities. We’d have lunch and maybe we’d even have time for broad daylight sexing. I’d go to the post office last week, mail all the parcels out…

Instead, Ferrealiously *:

“What do you mean you sold the roasting pan I borrow every year?”
One wicked bladder infection.
A week without caffeine or alcohol.
Duct tape, because we really should buy a new tree, but not during kittenhood.
Fevered Moo Motrined-up for a choir performance.
“I didn’t know there would be touching!”
“Maybe they shouldn’t share recorders!”
Free hand sanitizer for any child that touched Moo during the performance.
Four doctor’s appointments, blood draw, urine culture, nose swab, plus the phrase, “Women of a certain age…”
Two boxes of sthuper-sthpecial-sthoft tissthues.
“Put the Eucerin on your nose, or I’ll smack it!”
A fucking Pacers game during the lighting of the tree, traffic most unholy.
Drafty window casing.
A murdered Santa, or at the least, a pantsed one.

"bells are jollier," said cletus

“bells are jollier,” said cletus

A Rosacea flare-up.
“You can’t put a hold on this book, I haven’t finished reading it!”
Two tension headaches.
“Look, my pee is the color of a sunset!”
When people tell you what size their kids are, believe them.
One kid with the flu.
One kid with a cold.
Five new prescriptions, but only one sent to a different pharmacy, seven miles farther.
A migraine.
A husband caught up in finals, group projects, and presentations.
Scheduling conflicts.
Canceled date night.
Ran out of postage in the S’s of the address book.
It’s sad that one whole side of my family is in the Y’s, isn’t it?
I gave the girls’ teachers not one, but two puking kids.

Don’t act like you’re not jealous.

Oh now, some good things happened anyway:

Everyone made the honor roll.
The Mister got promoted.
I bought some of those mint M&M candies I liked so much last year.
But most importantly, none of the other six million bad things that could have happened did, leaving us ample time to count those six million blessings.

something-is-afoot

It’s been truly hectic over here.
Which is why I am happy to announce…

>drum-roll please<

IT’S WINTER BREAK!

*cymbals crash*

While some would say it’s been togetherness time all along, I would argue that no one wishes she could spend more time holding back sister’s hair while she pukes, and no one wants to discuss gift ideas through instant messages as the kids hack and snot into their laps…
No, we want some of this. At least until our hips hurt and we can’t feel our feet…

10363133_10152422425923236_1802161835667898828_n

*Ferrealiously is a word Moo invented when she spoke of her love for broccoli.

How has your holiday time been, Ferrealiously?

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“Joey, why did they put the baby Jesus on the cross?”

In case you thought I’d ever run out of stories about how religious education is a tough grasp for children, I won’t.

As I’ve said before, I took care of my nephew Simon when he was a smaller person. As I’ve said before, my nephew Simon is an absolute delight, and one of my favorite people on the planet. Simon was a Why Child. You know, one of those kids who asks why about everything? It only endears him to me more, since I am a Why Adult, and also because it brings out the teacher in me.

One day, when he was four, Simon had a fever. I despise fevers. I freak out when kids get fevers. I just don’t like hot things at all. I wouldn’t let him out of my sight, so we snuggled up for a long day of book reading and Nickelodeon.

At some point, he said we should pray because Mamaw always prays when he’s sick. I’d been praying and told him so, but he wanted to pray aloud. I’m not really a pray aloud person, so I asked him to lead the prayer. He said a sweet little prayer to Baby Jesus, how Mamaw did, and we both said, “Amen.”

Then he asked me why they put the baby Jesus on the cross.
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling heavens.

jesus-take-the-wheel

“They didn’t put the baby Jesus on the cross. When he was on the cross, he was a grown man.”

Apparently, when you’re a preschooler, the span of time between candy canes and chocolate bunnies is literal and cannot be properly charted without a concept of linear time as it passes through the years. The way Simon saw it, Baby Jesus was born in a manger and then he’d only been alive for three short months before they crucified him, and that is a terrifying concept for a child.
Clearly crucifixes have an obvious advantage over crosses, here.

This Christmas to Easter concept is only complicated by Santa, who sees and hears everything and who may not bring you presents if you’re naughty. Or, according to Simon, you could be a very bad baby (Like babies with colic, I presume) and be crucified in a diaper.

I did my level best to clear up this confusion.

A few years later, Beauty Queen called me to tell me she’d seen the most hysterical movie in which grace was said to Baby Jesus.

dear lord baby jesus
I still can’t watch that movie without laughing and snorting my way through the prayer. I always think of Simon, with his wide brown eyes, seriously asking me, “Joey, why did they put the baby Jesus on the cross?”

*shakes head*

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Party-Worthy

I just read a comic strip about how offensive it is to ask people what they do, so I stopped to wonder whether or not it’s offensive, and I can only say it’s boring.

It’s not nearly as polite, and seldom as interesting, as asking what their hobbies are.
In my parents’ house, talking about work was prohibited on the grounds that it was boring.
Unless you’re at a party to network with others in your field, chances are your job is not a fascinating topic of conversation.

Having said that, some people’s jobs are interesting to me.

assasin

Some people have jobs that aren’t easily defined. For almost forty years, my father-in-law worked in jobs that had to do with computers. I’ve no idea what the hell he did.
My son is going to graduate with a degree in a series of words that basically mean something about computers. My nephew will, too, but he was able to tell me specifics about his future line of work, and it sorta made him sound like a superhero, like Simon, The Anti-Hacker!

File illustration of a projection of binary code around the shadow of a man holding a laptop computer in an office in Warsaw

I’ve made friends with Project Manager, Director of Operations, Chief Systems Analyst and several Consultants. Despite having known them for years, I have no idea what the hell they do at work. I understand what Nurse, Editor, and Designer do all day, but we still never talk about it. I admit to sometimes discussing ethics and practices with Lawyer, Teacher, and Banker, but not at great length, and never at parties.

Last winter, I was deeply curious about why an acquaintance was traveling so often in such poor weather, so I finally asked, “What line of work are you in?”
“Sales,” he said.
This did nothing in particular to help me understand the travel. In the hopes of further chatting, I asked how New York was, but he had worked too much to enjoy it, so the conversation ended with a thud.

This also happens when you tell someone the name of the company you work for instead of what you do.
THUD.

I despise being asked what I do. I don’t mind filling out the occupation blank on forms. I always wonder why the dentist asks. I don’t think it’s any more relevant than my sexual history. I suppose if I wrote down, “Tobacco Spitting Champion,” my occupation might be crucial to my oral hygiene, but seriously, whose job affects his dental health?

Me-at-the-dentist

No, it’s in a social environment that I hate to be asked what I do. I actually don’t think I control my eye roll anymore.

Answers I’ve given:

I decorate cookies.
I peddle cookies.
I work at a card shop.
I’m a student.
I’m a tutor.
I’m a cashier.
I’m a head cashier.
I’m an office assistant.
I work in quality control.
I work in accounts.
I’m a hardware ho.
I work retail.
I’m in sales.
I sell candles in one of those awful pyramid schemes.
I’m a bank teller.
I’m a legal secretary.
I write settlement brochures.
I edit the law review.
I work three jobs.
I’m a sub.
I deliver pizza.
I’m a teacher.
I teach kindergarten.
I’m a long-term sub.
I stay home with my kids.
I’m a babysitter.
I don’t work.
I’m a teacher.
I’m a barista.
I take care of the house and the kids.
I’m a volunteer counselor.
I’m a freelance writer.
I’m a dependapotamus.
I do volunteer work.
I have 56 jobs. Which one would you like to hear about?
I’m a housewife.
I work for free.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of gardening.
I try to make just enough money to avoid filing taxes.
Oh, I just siphon from my husband’s income.

what-do-you-do-for-a-living-i-hunt-and-kill-aliens
I’ve reached a point where I can’t even.
And it’s not that I don’t enjoy my life, or that I’m ashamed of my work. I don’t think it’s rude to be asked what I do, but the reactions I get ARE offensive. I can actually see the interest disappear from their eyes. Even when they’re polite enough to feign interest I can see them scanning the rest of the room, ready to move on.

Utter Dismissal.
“Oh.”

Contempt.
“I wish I could stay home all day, but I have bills to pay.”

Confusion.
“Don’t you get bored?”

Deflection.
“Well done. What does your husband do?”

Pity.
“I could never do what you do. I don’t know how you do it.”

Assumption.
“Do you ever think about getting an education?”

Degradation.
“Oh I could never do that. I could never allow myself to be dependent on a man.”

Overall, I would say No, asking what someone does for a living isn’t offensive. Immediately labeling them and pigeon-holing them after their answer is offensive. I always want to lie and say, “I’m really not at liberty to talk about my job.” Then they could imagine I’m a prostitute or a spy or somethin — somethin that proves my value — prostitutes and spies make a lot more money than I do, you know.

What do you think? Do you regret not growing up to do something party-fascinating like royalty, celebrity, or assassin?

tumblr_mhalbbivqJ1qb05aco1_500

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To What End?

Recently, someone from Twitter started following me on Instagram. My immediate reaction was, “So you’re hot.” Wowza! I had no idea he was hot, I just liked his tweets. But you know, I have no intention of offering him anything beyond that, so why would I tell him he’s hot?
But wait! I tell women how pretty they are all the time…and I have no intention of offering anything beyond that compliment, so why do I tell them they’re pretty?
Worse yet, there’s a realization I recently tweeted:

Women tell me I’m pretty and I’m all, “Aw, So sweet! Thank you!”

Men tell me I’m pretty, and I’m all, “I’M NOT SENDING YOU A SELFIE!”

Total Double Standard Me.

funny-comics-instagram-20

Because, I’ve been a woman on the internet long enough to know the order of things. Usually a man compliments you and then he asks what you look like right now, asking you to webcam, facetime him, or kik him, or snapchat, or whatever — and seriously, none of that is going to happen. Usually, I’m called bad names and then I’m blocked. Sometimes men are very persistent and they employ every bit of charm and flattery to get you to give more of yourself. The more effort he puts in, the worse the bad names will be later. Even if you merely say thank you and lol for each message, he will claim you’ve led him on and get mad at you. Simply being a woman means that certain men feel entitled to objectify you and use you for their temporary enjoyment, and when you reject them for any reason, they hate you, you’re a whore, a stupid whore cunt.

online-dating-dog-300x197

The men I like the least are the ones who make openly suggestive sexual comments and then tell me they’re just kidding around, and not to take them seriously, and they don’t mean any harm, they’re actually nice guys.
I disagree.
Nice guys don’t disrespect women.
If you don’t want to get a hotel room with me and fuck me senseless, then don’t offer. You and I both know full well that if I said, “Okay, let’s go!” you’d be down, so take your cowardly sense of humor elsewhere.
I just know these guys are someone’s creepy uncle.

l_892c6500-b059-11e1-9b31-33086b100003

Certain men like to ignore small talk and get the sex requests out of the way immediately.

Hi.
Hi.
How are you?
Pretty good, you?
{insert dick pic}

Fuckin really?!?
Imagine how quickly a sexual encounter with an automatic dick-pic’er would pass…

But, hey, at least they’re honest, unlike the guys who feign interest in your cookware and your ear infection in the hopes that somehow this will turn into you offering pictures of your boobs.

2763292bb9422f14986b545d37874db111

It’s persistent enough that you just don’t even want to open your messages and you begin to ignore your @ replies and you really don’t want to talk to men on Twitter, ever. Even when they might be nice guys, there’s just this risk that ten minutes into a chat about a television show, they’ll start telling you how pretty you are and how lucky your husband is. Ew.
So you start to cling to your online relationships with men who treat you with respect. The ones who may go five years without ever mentioning you’re pretty are especially valuable.

image

So —
A couple of weeks ago, The Mister was talking about a couple we recently met and he was saying to me that he wondered what the wife’s ethnicity is, but how that’s a terrible question to ask someone.
In that moment, I felt really badly for him, because I could walk up to her, and in the midst of pleasant conversation, I could say, “Your cheekbones are just stunning,” and when she says thank you, she might offer me her heritage, or I could ask her, “Is it the Native American in you?” And she’d feel flattered and complimentary and offer me more information than my husband probably wants. I can do this. I’m a woman. I’m inherently non-threatening. Despite the benign motive of curiosity, The Mister cannot walk up to her and tell her how stunning her cheekbones are, or how beautiful her wide almond eyes are, or how her veil of long, ebony hair makes her all the more striking. I can tell her how attractive she is and she won’t question my motives beyond nosiness, but a man saying the same thing to her is another matter altogether. His curiosity is not the first assumption she’d make, and she’s lived long enough to know the odds.

I think all women will relate to this post.  But please, tell me if you’ve had a different experience. Like I’ll even believe you, pffft!

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Letting Go of Como

You may remember that over the summer, I fell in love with this little sweetie at an adoption event?

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A week ago, we re-homed her with a woman we met through MIL. She was ready to love a new kitty and we were ready to let her go.
Okay, I wasn’t really ready to let her go so much as I was ready to free myself from the guilt of her self-segregation. She’s such a beauty, but she’s also a love-bug. She’s just a furry bundle of purring, nuzzling, tail-shakin love.

She’d come down the back hallway for treats, or even venture into the kitchen for food now and again. But as soon as she finished, she ran off to solitary. And although she chose this, it wasn’t the same as when my other cats go off to hide and nap. She wasn’t choosing it because she wanted to do normal cat stuff; she was choosing it out of fear. She simply did not like the other cats. She’d growl and retreat even when they seemed not to notice her.

I hated that she chose to be alone in our room, or alone in the laundry room. I hated that I had to lock up all the other pets to have a brief couch snuggle with her. It made me weepy. I felt guilty and angry too often. I know Dr. S said she was happy enough, and I want to believe him. But I don’t think she was as happy as every beloved pet deserves to be. Better than the shelter? Absolutely. Best scenario? Not even close.

So when MIL mentioned her friend Kay had been thinking about adopting a new cat, I asked her to set up a point of contact, so I could introduce her to Como.
Kay had a cat before, and like many of us, she was so heartbroken, she didn’t think she’d want another one again. But time heals. Kay has no other animals. At Kay’s house, Como is the feline queen. She can own the entire house, demand all the attention, and thrive in happiness.

When I go into the laundry room, I’m still sad not to see her perched on the dryer, but I have to believe I fell in love with her for a reason, even if that reason turned out to be that of playing the middle man.

Have you ever had to re-home or surrender an animal?

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I Won NaNoWriMo!

It’s true, I just wrapped up 50,003 words. It’s not an entire novel. It would be, if you didn’t mind reading things out of order and your imagination could fill in the blank spaces…but for now, it’s a start.

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I love this work more than any I’ve ever done, and so I’m excited about it, like tremendously excited with three exclamation marks!!!

Here are some things I learned during NaNo 2014:

1. While you’re writing fifty-thousand word fiction on a deadline, each day you think of ten blog posts you’d rather write. I will be blogg-y next month. I could easily do EvDaDaDec.

2. How anyone wrote realistic fiction before Google is beyond me.

3. The thesaurus is still my friend.

4. I do not always have twenty minutes to do dishes, but I always have twenty minutes to do The Mister.

5. I wouldn’t need to sell a single book if I had a dollar for every person who’s said they want to read my book.

6. “I can’t wait to read it!” is just like “We should get together!” Few people mean it.

7. There are surprisingly few writing-friendly foods on the market. Popcorn is alright, as are nuts and pretzels, apples, bananas, cookies, chocolate covered raisins, olives…Most food requires both hands, and there seem to be no foods that do not require me licking my fingers. I have since decided that finger food doesn’t refer to food you can eat with your hands, but more, food you will lick from your hands. (Smacking noises optional.) This reminds me of how my filthy laptop is good for my immune system.

8. Writers have crazy hair because hair washing isn’t crucial to good writing. Since my hair was its own entity most of the month, this must surely mean my work is phenomenal.

9. I don’t like the caffeine, the caffeine likes me. Did you hear that noise? *twitch* I stuck mostly to my decaf regimen, but SOMETIMES I HAD TO WRITE A LOT  and *bites cuticles frantically* I did not spend the hour at church praying no one had broken in and stolen my laptop! I WAS ON A DEADLINE so, Is my heart beating in my elbow? Do you think it’s a tumor? What do you mean this Coke is bad for my anxiety disorder? Why don’t you love me right? I NEEDED THE CAFFEINE!

10. Having an assortment of readers is crucial, because we truly do bring our own experiences on our fiction-reading journeys.

Did you NaNo? What did you do with your November?

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NaNo Excerpt

Although the novel I’m writing is primarily a romance, it’s composed of the heroine’s three story lines  — private, public, and artistic. Here’s a scene from her early home life. It’s short and should be safe for all my regular viewers. It is not particularly edited, and not formatted for WordPress.

 

      Rainy days at the lake were some of the prettiest days. A multitude of windows shimmered with beads, fashioning thousands of prisms for what light did come through. The front of the basement had a row of sliding glass doors, which Esther liked to open while she was down there. She liked to read to the sounds of the outdoors, especially to the sound of rain. Many times she’d been scolded for walking away and leaving the doors open. Her father shouted down the stairs at her, “We’re not heating the outside!” or “We’re not paying to air-condition the entire cove!” Her mother snapped at her, “Esther, if one more mosquito bites me, I swear I will board up those doors and you’ll never be able to open them again!” She grew ever more prudent about making sure she closed the doors before she went upstairs. Much to their dismay, by the age of twelve, she still hadn’t perfected the closing of doors and the shutting off of lights.

      The worst times were when she left the doors open and her Labrador, Duff, would get hold of a raccoon or a squirrel. He’d capture them at the neck, shaking them to death and then taking them to Lilach in the kitchen, dropping his kill at her feet, wagging his tail, giving a short, happy bark.

      Lilach always rewarded Duff with a biscuit when he brought his kills. Esther could tell she was completely repulsed by Duff’s natural instinct to kill the local critters, but she said you had to reward any animal who brought his kill to your feet. She said it was a display of loyalty, and loyalty was a rare commodity. After fake smiling at Duff, petting his head, and thanking him for the honor of his loyalty in a sing-song voice, she would shoot a glare at Esther, and tell her sternly, “Take this to the ditch and bury it, and close those goddamn doors on your way out!”

This all went awry when Esther’s mother was babysitting a little girl whose mother was having another baby. When Duff wandered into the kitchen with a squirrel in his mouth, the little girl screamed and climbed from her chair to stand atop the table, her shrieks piercing Esther’s ears. Esther stood with her hands over her ears and her eyes squinted shut, until her mother suddenly smacked her bottom. Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Esther registered what was happening as being spanked. It was something she couldn’t remember having ever happened to her before. She opened her eyes to see Lilach scooping the little girl from the table and carrying her away from the kitchen. She turned to Esther and waved her spare arm furiously up and down. Esther knew her mother meant to indicate that she was to give Duff his biscuit, take the squirrel to the ditch, and close all the goddamn doors. She swallowed the lump of disappointment in her throat and swiped her runny nose against the shoulder of her shirt. Through her tears, she made a sing-song voice to thank Duff for his loyalty. From the kitchen, she could see her mother had sat down in her rocker with the little girl on her knee, rocking and shushing her, kissing her tiny red forehead. She saw Lilach held the skirt of her apron, blotting away another child’s tears, and in that moment, Esther had to agree, loyalty was a rare commodity. She gave Duff one of the large orange peanut butter biscuits that her mother reserved for trips to the vet or the groomer. Then she picked up the limp squirrel, its body still warm, and took it outside to bury it in the ditch.

As it often did in summer, the sky had turned sunny before the rain completely abated. The trees made it difficult to ascertain when exactly the rain stopped.  Long after the rain, it still trickled down, limb to limb, recycling drops to an already humid sky. She made her hand into a visor and aimed to find the side opposite the sun. Sunshine had its perks, flitting through the trees, reflecting off the water, creating rainbows. There seemed to be more rainbows at the lake. One could argue that childhood seemed abundant in rainbows, or that children merely had more time to admire them, but Esther truly believed there’d always been more rainbows at the lake.

      Esther never forgot to shut the sliding doors after that day. Forever when she saw a rainbow, she remembered the way her boots sunk into the mud as she knelt over the ditch. She remembered the way she knew her eyes clouded with blistering tears. Rainbows made her brood over the moment she knew her mother, at least temporarily, hadn’t thought Esther was the most important thing in the world.

The end of childhood echoes here, doesn’t it? Do you have a story about markers that now note the end of your childhood?

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I AM The Rock and Paper Beats Rock

While NaNo-ing my fucking brains out, I’ve come to several conclusions, which I will now word vomit all up in this mofo, in no particular order, like I can even think coherently and shit.

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People speak in fragments. Fragments are a reality. Fuck you, Word, you’re not a person, you don’t know!

I had to go have another bloody root canal and lost three days in a haze of pain and pain meds. It’s like NaNo didn’t even give me an extension. Normal people go in, get a root canal, take some ibuprofen and go back to work. Not me! I have complications and infections, and come home with tennis elbow in my jaw, you know how I do. I am just that fucking special.

When I get sick, I ask people to help, but they fuck it all up. My kids end up at Lily’s house after school, chicken is cooked with fear instead of love, and Zoe’s pants get sucked up into the brand new vacuum cleaner. I don’t wanna hear anymore bullshit about how I’m spoiled or whatthefuckever because as The Mister says, I am the commanding officer and he is the first sergeant. That translates to I give the orders and he executes them.

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Without me, it all goes to shit. I am the rock.

In order to do my best writing, I need to live alone. In order to do superior writing, I need to not have children. In order to write well, I need to stay up writing at night, and sleep while the children are at school.

Everything that is not silence pisses me right off.

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*looks at dog*
“I know you do not need to pee AGAIN. Maybe you should slow down on your water consumption.”

Personally, I cannot maintain this level of intensity and still be a good mother. I’m not sayin other people cannot parent well while writing four thousand words a day, I’m just sayin that I am a better mother when I am not writing four thousand words a day.

I’d like to see some stats on which novelists have been the primary caretakers of children while writing their novels.
From three o’clock til now, I have been bothered no less than every fifteen minutes.
I’m going to assume that all blogging mommies and daddies have books inside of them, but they can’t hear themselves think long enough to type them out.

I can’t stand a messy house, and I can’t focus in chaos. Choosing to write prolifically and with dedication means submitting myself to a world where television consoles are dusty enough to write upon, and my husband’s tee-shirts are not folded properly. Eventually, the stress of laundry undone wins, and I cannot write until it’s done.

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I saw this meme the other day about how an organized house is a sign of a boring woman, and I’d just like to say, “Fuck you, the neuroses that make me clean my house are the same exact neuroses that make me interesting. If you find me boring, let me know, and I will no longer visit interesting you in your filthy house.”

I could be more productive if I didn’t have to stop to care for other people. I could quite easily subject myself to a life of living in one room, typing away in a frenzy.  With my twenty-two open tabs, my piles of drinks on my table, my ugly unwashed sweater, my glasses with the smudges, and my ever-so-pleasant disposition.

I’d like nothing better than to guzzle down actual caffeinated espresso drinks and chain smoke actual cigarettes and never, ever sleep, but then I’ll end up back in therapy with all the Ativan and all the homework and all the caffeine headaches and all the panic attacks…

OR maybe it’s better to drink nothing but iced decaf with too much Kahlua and vape my six milligrams of nicotine, until I am author-slash-alcoholic divorcee…

SO I’m just doing the best I can with the brain and the situation I’ve got.

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I have more than met my mark at 28,447 words for today. After this, I’m going to go take a shower and wash my hair like a normal person.

It has always been clear to me that the life of an artist runs counterproductive to a life of normalcy. If we let the craft take over, then the craft is magnificent and the normal structure of life suffers.
Yes, I am saying I think my NaNo project is magnificent. I have no idea if I’m high on laptop fumes or it really is, but it makes me happy in an angsty sorta way.

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Did I mention my hair is dirty? Yeah? Okay then.

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NaNo-NaNo-Boo-Boo

I’m NaNo-ing.
If I’m not around it’s because I’m NaNo-ing.

What is NaNo-ing?

It’s National Novel Writing Month and I am writing a novel. Well, not a whole novel, because I cannot write a novel in a month, and I think fifty-thousand words will barely scratch the surface of this novel.

I”m sorry to say that my novel from 2012’s NaNoWriMo isn’t done, but also, it’s at 89,452.

Last year’s NaNo piece is a fairly good chunk, hanging out around 14k, because I sorta bailed, failed, whathaveyou.

So yes, I have three unfinished novels, and one story I tinker with, as it evolves here and there, and I just don’t know what the hell it’s meant to be.
All I can say about it is that I have excellent initiative — I am really good at starting novels.
Oh, wait! That’s not all!
I am also aware that all of my settings are lakes. I’m personally attached to a lake setting, but I was still astounded when I realized that.

Worst of all, this novel is a fucking love story.
I hate romance.
I gag at romance.
I am about the least romantic person I know. I actually may be the least…I dunno, I’ll think on it.
My husband is romantic, and I endure it, but only because I can make fun of him. Okay, and I love him.

Anyway, I’m writing a fucking romance novel, but it will not, under any circumstances contain the phrases, “taken roughly in the barn” or “pulsating manhood” nor will there be any exposed nipples or windblown hair on the cover.

Fuck All, I can’t believe there’s a love story in me.

I gotta go NaNo s’more.

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It Couldn’t be Fall Without Chubby Squirrel

I didn’t feel like doin a One-Liner today, although if I did, it’d be, “Hang on, there’s a squirrel at the door.”

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Yes, Chubby lives on, although as it turns out, Chubby is a female who wasn’t so much chubby as she was “with squirrel.” I had previously thought that there was nothin more precious than a squirrel in my apple tree, just munchin away, but then I saw baby squirrels. *SQUEEEEEE!* Ohmagerd, Soooo Cuuuuute! *SQUEEEEEE!*

For a few weeks, we’ve had an even chubbier squirrel. Given her size, I assume she will birth a litter of giant squirrels, all of whom will scratch on my door for food.

I’m not composting right now, so the squirrels get all my fruit and veggie scraps, plus popcorn dregs and whatever is stale. I have kids, so there are always plenty of smashed up cracker bits and stale cereal no one wanted to eat after they told me they loved it and to buy it FOREVER.
Anyway, of course I feed the squirrels. The squirrels are clearly grateful.

I fed them goodies all summer, here and there, and when I didn’t, they ate bird seed and corn. In September, they ate my decorative squash. Truth be told, I don’t really buy into decorative squash, but it was a gift, so all the better it was eaten. They are raiding the garden now, but honestly, I can’t complain, because we cannot eat the tomatoes at the rate they’ve grown. I don’t know much about squirrels, really, but I do know as winter approaches, they definitely eat more and get more aggressive.

Anything edible which is left on the porch will be eaten.

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They drive the dog to madness, because they come right up to the glass door. Everyone watches, and I have the suspicion that if I let Cletus the kitten out, he would play with them, and maybe even groom them, which is his new thing to do, and squirrels groom themselves similarly to cats, only it’s ten times as cute because their paws are much more like human hands.

I cannot photograph them well, because I am me, and not a skilled photographer with knowledge of lenses and stuff, and I don’t even own a fancy camera, because why would I, since I dunno anything about lenses and stuff? I do post a lot of photos of them on Instagram, but it doesn’t make me a better photographer.

Yesterday, we thought Cletus the kitten was playin in the window, but it was actually a squirrel climbing down the window. Yes, on the glass, from the roof. It was one of the craziest things we’ve ever seen.

The Squirrels rule here!

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We Can Just Cut It Off

Whenever I post stories of what I think are normal childhood things, there’s always some person who comments about how horrible it is, or how children shouldn’t be exposed to such things, so let me preface this by saying that if you’re one of those people who thinks playing the “got your nose” game is traumatic for small children, you don’t want to read on.

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There’s this thing that parents say, “Let’s just cut it off!” We start this around the age of talking, when children begin to obsess over broken things, or misplaced things, or things that just aren’t fair.

A kid falls down, skins his knee. The parent cleans it, puts some antibacterial gunk on it, applies a bandage and a kiss, le voila!
But it still hurts, so obviously the parent will never hear the end of it, and parents really don’t like whining kids, because life is fulla pain, and skinned knees are really the least of their worries, not that they know that, precious, innocent souls that they are.

“Daddy, my leg still hurts.”
“Want Daddy to cut it off? I’ll get my saw.”
“No. I’m okay.”

“Mama, my knee still hurts.”
“I can cut it off.”
“No. I’m okay.”

I dunno where you’re from, but where I’m from, this is common parental defense.

When Moo was three, she put some hairbands on her ankles.

Moo is always doing things like that. Moo is mayhem. Gets her head stuck in the chair. Climbs to the top of the tree and gets her shoulder stuck. Gets her foot stuck in a sinkhole. Last year, she put my mother’s ring on the wrong finger and it took four broken tools before a doctor pulled out a Dremel and sawed it off.
Really, this hairband incident was one of the earlier Moo moments, when we knew she was more trouble than the others, but we didn’t know it would always be this way.
Unfortunately, Moo was wearing a long nightgown, so until she snuggled up with me, none of us saw the hairbands.
Once I did see them, I helped her pull them off and then I told her not to do that, because hairbands are specifically for hair.

Except, I am a big liar, because as she pointed out, Sissy had hairbands on her wrist.

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Yeah. Okay.

Hours later, a gown-removed, panty-clad Moo came to me in tears, with a hairband over her knee, and a substantially blue leg buckling under her. Her leg had swollen and the hairband wouldn’t move, but every time I tried, Moo cried out in pain. She was hysterical. Obviously, I had to cut the hairband off Moo’s leg.
I called for Bubba, who came to hold the baby down, so I could cut it off.

Sassy didn’t handle this so well.

I mean, there I was, one of many adults who’d offered to cut off an ailing limb, and I had scissors in hand. Sissy was holding Moo’s hand, trying to calm her, Bubba was holding her down, and we were talking about how best to “cut it off.”

Sassy began running in circles, screaming in horror, mostly with her eyes shut.

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Once it was over, I stood Moo up on the kitchen counter, held up the string that was once a hairband, and much to her relief, Sassy saw that her baby sister, her beloved Moomy, still had both of her legs.

So we don’t joke about cutting off limbs anymore.
But then, the grandbaby doesn’t talk yet, either.
Heh.

 

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I’m All About the Little Things

Because I’m a temperamental bitch, I get sick of the domestic bliss I so enjoy. I dunno. I needed a day off like anyone else, I suppose.

I got one.

I got to be a guest.

I hadn’t seen them since June, and I don’t even know when we last had them over. (Must rectify that!)

Being a guest is so nice.

You know that feeling when someone slices you a piece of lasagna you didn’t bake? And then she passes you a bowl of freshly tossed salad, and a basket of garlic bread warm from the oven? Isn’t that wonderful?

Can you imagine what it’s like to be offered a cuppa coffee and then handed a slice of cheesecake and a bowl of sugared berries? I did not see that comin. Gawd, that was amazing.

We talked and laughed for hours and hours and I went home full and happy and unable to stop smiling.

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When you love someone, don’t save up all your kindnesses  — sprinkle little things here and there.
Little things mean so much.

 

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My Terrible Secret

Shhh..I’ll tell you a secret, my terrible secret, but you can’t tell anyone.

We all have secrets, right?

My best secret is that things happen and I don’t blog about them.
But my terrible secret is truly terrible.
Are you sitting down?
Okay.

I write very bad poetry. I know, you’re like, “Share it! It can’t be that bad!”
I’m tellin you, it’s that bad. I know bad poetry when I read it. I did get a bachelor’s in English, you know. And even if I hadn’t, I’ve still read plenty of good poetry in my life. I can assure you, when I die and people discover bits of poetry tucked here and there, it will not be an Emily Dickinson experience for them. Oh, someone might save one or two, but they’re perfectly suited for recycling.

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Badness aside, I don’t share my poetry because my poetry emerges from pain.

I blog with humor, because this blog is about me and my neurotic perspective. Or are my neuroses writing the blog? At any rate, a good sense of humor is essential to living well. Training your inner voice to focus on gratitude and laughter is an important skill in learning to be happy. However, just like this blog, optimism is an effort. I am fiercely controlling what I type, just like I control my mindset.

I put humor in my fiction, too, because art imitates life, or not as much as life imitates art, because maybe you love Oscar Wilde more than tired cliches..but the point being, fiction writing isn’t much good if it doesn’t include a little bit of all that makes up life.

But my fiction humor runs a bit dark.

My poetry is more than a bit dark. I’m perhaps channeling it from the dark side of the moon. My natural melancholy is fuel for fretting and scribbling, but the blogging is much more controlled.

I’m telling you this terrible secret because I had a dialogue about it with another blogger the other day. The answer?
Depends on what I’m writing.

Expression is the main reason. Like most writers, I need to write to get the words out of my head.

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I write this blog as a means to communicate the way anxiety is a constant backdrop in the setting that is my life. I’ve gathered piles of coping mechanisms, I’ve completed my homework lessons, and there’s no point in hoarding all the study aids. I hope I help other people understand that they’re not alone, and that their anxiety isn’t imaginary. I hope I’m providing insight. I hope people come to read a different experience, and ultimately learn the importance of laughter and gratitude. I started this blog as a rebellion against renewing my teaching license and pursuing writing instead. I maintain it because it’s good for my mental health and it serves as somewhat of a diary.
I have no idea why people actually read my blog.
I reckon it’s none of my business.

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I write love notes to spill my heart’s content.

I write thank-you notes with the intent of conveying how much I value generosity.

I write arguments to win.

I write ads to sell.

I write lists to remember and to feel accomplished.

I write compliments and insults because I mean them.

I write tweets out of the narcissistic need to be adored. Apparently.

I write status updates to keep my circle informed.

I write texts because we’re out of butter.

I write fiction to entertain.

I write dialogue to remember it.

I write out forgiveness to let go.

I write poetry because no matter how hard I work to suppress pain, it oozes out here and there.

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To me, poets are the bravest writers, and the good ones are the best.

Do you secretly scribble out bad poetry? Why do you write?

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Miffy & Frank

Earlier this year I came to a realization about dreams: It is not what happens in dreams, but how we feel that determines our reaction.

Maybe you already knew that. Maybe you don’t even remember your dreams. For someone like me, with my non-stop vivid dreams, that was a powerful epiphany.

I had dreamed this ghastly, gory sorta dream, but when I woke up I didn’t feel scared or creeped-out. Given the horror in my dream, I should have been terrified when I woke up, but I wasn’t. I was mildly entertained that I created such a dreamscape, and then humored by the fact that the events of the dream hadn’t even made me flinch. Dreaming me didn’t think it was scary at all, while waking me was rather judgmental and said to dreaming brain, “You are one sick bitch.”

Consequently, a few days later, I had a nightmare about things that are not scary. It’s true. I woke up in a cold sweat, with heart-pounding fear and a sudden desire for my husband to hold me. While I lay there, I recapped the dream and it was so incredibly benign, it could have been television programming for preschoolers, but my feelings didn’t match the content.
In a way, it reminded me of anxiety disorder — the feeling that my adrenaline response is so askew, my brain can’t tell the difference between being chased by rabid dogs as opposed to picking up oatmeal.

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frank the scary bunny

 

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miffy, the not-scary bunny

Once these events happened so close together, I truly came to realize the paradox: there is an importance, and yet an insignificance to dreams. I no longer concern myself with what’s in the dream. I pay attention to the feeling after. Whatever that emotion is, it’s clamoring for my attention, probably being repressed.
And our emotional responses in waking life are similar. Completely irrational, primitive. Triggered often by dramatic events that upset most everyone, sure — and yet, sometimes brought about by mundane events that don’t even bother most people.

People you know are cool as cucumbers, seemingly laid-back, until what? Until they see a clown? Until they lose a game? Until someone calls them the wrong name? Until a black cat crosses their path? Until they misplace something?

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What turns Miffy into Frank? What makes Frank seem like Miffy?
Tell me a story.

 

 

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We Don’t Need No Thought Control

joeyfullystated:

So much this…

Originally posted on A Buick in the Land of Lexus:

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Our kids are in CRISIS.

I work with teenagers in an affluent suburban area.

They don’t comprehend what they read. They use calculators to multiply 10 x 10. The average high school junior has no clue what the word “diligent” means.

They write essays resembling those of a 5th grader. About how Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity.

In tests administered in reading, science and math to 15 year-olds globally, we are behind TWENTY NINE countries in math. And our kids’ performance in reading and science is  not much better. And yet, American investment in education is unrivaled, globally.

Are you scared yet?

We lead the world in the consumption of illegal recreational drugs. And one of the chief sales outlets?

Our SCHOOLS.

Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world.

EVERY DAY there are over 5,400 suicide attempts by kids in grades 7 – 12.

NOW are you scared?

The two places teenagers…

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