One-Liner Wednesday — On Censorship

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


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Grandma’s House

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


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

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

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

browncounty2013 037

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

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

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Troll Talk: A Summary of Our Lunch Chat

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

Then we laughed and laughed.


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Spooky Author Trailer

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

Here’s the trailer for the authors this year:

I’m excited!

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

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Good Job, Friday!

Oh Y’all, this day!
I loved this day!

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

Then I ran errands.

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


shameless car selfie

shameless car selfie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#Thursday Doors — Twin Tulips and Repeated Arches

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


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

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One-Liner Wednesday — That Wasn’t a Sneeze!

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

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Be With Someone Who Doesn’t Like Your Nuts

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Much man. Very taco.

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

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

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

Until the giant showed up.

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

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

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

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

Much man. Very taco.

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

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

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


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

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Stupid Nosy Stuff

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

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

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

    lookin like my father today

    lookin like my daddy today…

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

    she does not look like her daddy...

    she does not look like her daddy…

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

Gnocchi for Prajakta

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


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

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

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

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#Thursday Doors — Old Cafe-Curtained Garage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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One-Liner Wednesday — Strange Wisdom

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


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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The Taste of Home

Yesterday, I made this tortellini soup.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What dish gives you that taste of home?


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En Route — A Rant

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


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

Except —

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


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

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

There, I feel better now, don’t you?

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

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


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Learning To Ride a Bike

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

Here’s one:

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

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

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

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

moo, age 7, on sissy’s purple bike

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

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

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

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

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#Thursday Doors — Woman’s Divorce Castle

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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One-Liner Wednesday — Moo Words

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


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Can People Even Find You?

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

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

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

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


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

But! sometimes, this goes nowhere.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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In Your Face, Me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eventually, I put gas in Bonnie Blue.

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

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

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

This is Bonnie Blue’s gas gauge


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

I had no idea.

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

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

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#Thursday Doors — Old Towne Hall

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

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


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

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

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One-Liner Wednesday — Oh, The Ickiness of Average

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

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

sassy's current pile

sassy’s current pile

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

other drinks wish they were this good

other drinks wish they were this good

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

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

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

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#Thursday Doors — Vanity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Random Musings | Tagged , | 28 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — Don’t Argue with Papa

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

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

2010 sassy is front and center 

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Lunchmeat Lady, Who Do You Think You Are?

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

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

But this last time was extra special.

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

We stared at her blankly.

“That’s shredded, not shaved.”

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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Stuff I Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— I leave her home alone.

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

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

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

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

Maybe SHE’ll get lucky.

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#Thursday Doors — Liberty Street

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

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

photograph from the indianapolis star

photograph from the indianapolis star

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

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

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

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

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Dimmer. Dimmer Still.

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

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

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

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

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

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

some version of hell

some version of hell

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

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

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


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


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

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

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Our Sweet Sixteen Anniversary

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

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

We had an absolutely marvelous time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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State Fair Happiness, Funnel Cakes Sold Separately

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

I had gone into that building because there was a large sign out front about giant cheese. I asked the girls if they wanted to see giant cheese, and of course they did, but there were two young men who seemed to think I was asking them. We found this hysterical, and made jokes about how I make the world’s worst cougar, dressed like a missionary, inviting young men to see the giant cheese exhibit.

There’s a science center, so Moo was all about that. We went into a tunnel (cell) and looked at its innards. I am very old and do not remember much about cells. Now my cellular focus is on how I gotta drink lotsa water and eat lotsa veggies or my cells will shrink-up and die and this will make me look bad and potentially lead to an early death. The girls know a lot about cells, so that’s nice.


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

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

IMG_5841 IMG_5840IMG_5845IMG_5850IMG_5842IMG_5827
We missed the bunnies and chickens. Usually there are nine-gazillion bunnies and chickens.

Finally, here are some random tidbits I collected:

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

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

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

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#Thursday Doors — Horse Barn


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

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

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

The plaque is about Sep Palin.

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

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

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

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

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Raising Honest Children

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


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Yankee Doodle Whore Goes to The Damn DMV

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

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

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

She told me she needed to see my marriage license.

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

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

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

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


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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

But then, look what only happens in August…

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

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

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

Then there’s the state fair, OH YAY!


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


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

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

photo from Dave's Garden

photo from Dave’s Garden

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

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

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We Are Not a Morning People

Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part Two


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

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

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

Or rather, he DID.

Part Three

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

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

I scared him!

He hasn’t tried to scare me since.

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

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#Thursday Doors — Local

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

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

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


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

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

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One-Liner Wednesday — “Come Again?”

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

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

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Truthful Tuesday: Factoids You Never Wanted to Know About Me

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

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

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

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

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Dirty, Naughty Produce

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


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


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

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

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

Feel free to discuss your cucumber preference.

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Adulthood on a Saturday

Things I don’t wanna do:

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

totally jealous of my dog right now

totally jealous of my dog right now

Things I wanna do:

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

I do what I’m supposed to do.

But I don’t wanna.

You, too?

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As If Time Is Made of Stories

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


What kinda happiness is goin on in your world?


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You’d Think We’d Know More

But we don’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Make a Sammich Like a Bitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Spread the mayotard across the bottom slice.

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

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

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

Press gently on each sammich and set them aside.

Melt butter in the skillet.

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


This takes some time.

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

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

Eventually, all the sammiches will be done.


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


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

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Blue Moon

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

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

We bought the Blue Moon beer.

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

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

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

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

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

Surprisingly, nothing worse happened.

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

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

Have you ever had a similar experience?

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Walk-Ins Welcome

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

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

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

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

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

“My daughter would like her hair cut,” I pointed to Moo.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“We’re all booked up right now.”
“Oh, okay. We can come back later. Do you have anything maybe after four?”
“Okay, when?”
“You’ll need to go online to make an appointment.”
I stared blankly at her.
She repeated herself, “You can go online and make an appointment.”
“I can’t make an appointment while we’re standing here?”
“You can, but online.”
I aimed for clarity, “You cannot schedule the appointment?”
“And if I went outside, called you about a haircut this evening, you would…?”
“I’d tell you to go online and make an appointment.”
“But we cannot schedule an appointment while we’re both here, in the salon, and you with your appointment computer right in front of you?”

I thought I was on Candid Camera or somethin.

“Well that is just absurd!”

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

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

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


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

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

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Anarchy Is Not My Friend

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

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

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

I do not function well in chaos.

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

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

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

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

There were seven lines, and only two of us.

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

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

My anxiety hugged me like the humidity.

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


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

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

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

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

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One-Liner Wednesday — Pensacola Plane Place

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

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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Fix It

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

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

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

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

I present to you, a broken banana:

bummer, huh?

bummer, huh?

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

They don’t say, “Aw, bummer,” and eat the banana anyway. Chances are they will run to you and say, “Fix it.” You can’t fix it. You say it’s broken, but still yummy, and you pretend to take a bite, because you’re not going to eat banana that’s been on the ottoman, now are you?
Toddler shakes head.
You sweetly explain that the banana is broken and cannot be fixed.
Toddler stomps feet and cries.

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

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

no offense, mexican drug lords

no offense, drug lords

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

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

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

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