Miffy & Frank

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

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

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

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

scary bunny

frank the scary bunny

 

not scary bunny

miffy, the not-scary bunny

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

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

mad

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

 

 

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Number 1609 – Shay Leigh

joeyfullystated:

This story by Shay Leigh is a kooky cheerful one, right up to the gnarly end!

Originally posted on 13 Stories 'Til Halloween:

ShayThe families living on Wicker Road had an ongoing tradition every Halloween which included best yard decorations, best themed costumes, as well as the best tricks or treats served up to their ghosts and ghouls.

And every year Mrs. Samson at number 1609 won the best yard decorations.

Jealous neighbors whispered that she only won votes because people felt bad for her ever since her husband disappeared five years before, leaving her with two boys to raise on her own.

But in all honesty, she won votes because people were awed by the gory splendor she served up every year, which was followed by a huge bonfire the next evening in which she and her sons burned all of that years decorations.

Each year her yard was filled with a story. Be it a witch trial, Egyptian mummies discovered by an unsuspecting archaeology team, a zombie horde devouring survivors, a…

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Tragedy

“Whoa! How many sad things happened?!?” Moo asked, when she came to find the rest of us crying in a room littered with used tissues.

the-fault-in-our-stars-movie-wallpaper-5

if you’ve read it or seen it, you know

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill 

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Meh — But There’s a Poll!

I’m in a sorta holding pattern, because my family has been home for their fall breaks, and we’ve been enjoying late nights and sleep-ins, neither of which promote productivity, and so, I suppose I’ve been on a fall break, too.
Yes, it has been relaxing and restful for the most part. Certainly much-needed.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Haha! No, not really, but five-thirty sure comes early, doesn’t it?

mornincat

Seven hours where no one asks me for a goddamn thing sounds pretty fuckin awesome. It will be hard for me not to bury my nose in a book all day.

shm

I might crank out a post a day until November, since I definitely plan on participating in National Novel Writing Month. As for what to do during NaNoWriMo, I haven’t decided if I want to share old posts, or just peek in now and again, or if I want to take the month off, or if I want to share snippets, or if I should just go with the flow and mix it up…

Wanna vote?

 

And finally, I really appreciate all of you who subjected yourselves to reading my fiction the other day. Many of you were kind enough to like, comment and share, and I can’t thank you enough for your support.
There will be a new story, by a different author, every day through Halloween, so if you really enjoy the creepy stuff, head on over and read or follow 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween.

 

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Gothic Revival – Jolene Mottern

joeyfullystated:

This is my scary-not-scary story for 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween :)

http://13storiestilhalloween.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/gothic-revival/

Originally posted on 13 Stories 'Til Halloween:

Gothic Revival

Dominic sat in the coat closet amidst the bare bones of his new house, ripping up traces of threadbare carpet. It was the last closet left. He’d started upstairs, and he’d torn carpet out of twelve others. Since the house hadn’t been wired yet, he tried to do the darkest rooms while the sun still shone. If he had been honest with himself, he would’ve been forced to admit he didn’t want to be in the house after dark, regardless of the room or the project.

The first night Dominic had come to work on the house, he’d barely set up his shop light when a millipede scuttled out from the sink’s drain. Dominic stared in awe as it crawled carefully down the side of the pedestal before reducing its body to a sliver and slipping into an invisible slit in the lathe. He’d barely recovered from the sight of…

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The Teaser Trailer that Threatens Terror

Nah, it’s probably not that scary, right? If you’re a lover of scary stories, here’s a teaser trailer for 2014’s 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween:

 

I’m pretty excited for this year’s stories. Really lookin forward to bitin off all my cuticles and peein my pants! Of course, I’ll be readin with my blanket, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS in the daylight!

Look, a cute seasonal meme! Not scary at all!

 

witchcraftkit

 

 

 

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One-Liner Wednesday — Snarky

“Yes, I do like to put my boyfriend away before you come home, if by boyfriend, you mean vacuum.” — Me to The Mister, when he came home early

i-wonder-how-many-of-those-damn-rainbow-loom-rubber-bands-i-have-to-suck-up-with-the-vacuum-before-it-spits-out-its-own-bracelet-rmr-145bb

 

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Commercials: Maybe Part One

Sassy and I were watchin television last night, when a commercial came along to entertain us more than the show. I can’t even remember what show we were watchin, but I’ll never forget the commercial.
In the commercial, a school-aged child is blowing through his straw, making bubbles in his chocolate milk, while the baby sits next to him, sayin, “Again! Again!” The big brother blows more bubbles into his chocolate milk, and the chocolate milk bubbles right over the edges of the cup and onto the table, and down the side of the table, and the mother, she just smiles and unrolls some paper towels.

IN WHAT FUCKIN WORLD DO THESE COMMERCIAL PEOPLE LIVE?!?

I immediately broke into laughter, and I looked at Sassy, whose eyes had grown big, and her mouth had formed a small circle of disbelief.

“Oh, right! Cause moms do that!” she said.

I love paper towels. I have a thing for paper towels. Paper towels are very, very, important to me. But I am not so besotted with paper towels that I hope my children make intentional messes so that I can use more paper towels.

Let alone the waste of milk…
And don’t listen to the baby, for cryin out loud! If we all did what the baby wanted, we’d live in a tent on the beach and eat nothin but s’mores and slushies for the rest of our lives!

Sudden-Clarity-Clarence

“DADDY! Are you going to the Speedy Speedway for gas? I need to go to the Speedy Speedway for slushies, Daddy! They’re only eighty-eight cents for forty-eight ounces!”

I’m sure commercial dads say somethin like, “Yes, Moo, I always go to Speedway for gas, and you can come, too! We’ll have special father-daughter bonding time over great big slushies!” but The Mister says things like, “It’s forty-seven degrees outside, so how about you have some nice hot cocoa, instead?”

Why-does-toilet-paper-need-a-commercial

Today at the store, as Sassy and I cruised the pet aisle, she picked up one of those containers of the lightweight cat litter and pretended to hurl it at me, the way they do in a commercial. Honest to goodness, it’s lighter, but it is not an object I would ask anyone to throw my way. Oh, I’m sure The Mister could throw it, but I can’t think of a single reason I would ask anyone to throw me some cat litter. Ever. In fact, the sheer thought of this raises my ire, as I can only imagine dents in my drywall, and we all know that back hallway is the bane of my drywall finishing, painting, trim-painting existence, so no, no one will be encouraged to throw anything down the hall.

“Toss me that litter!” the commercial mom says, so Sassy said it too.
“Right, and when you break the window by tossing it, I’ll just laugh and shake my head, because I’m so happy we’re havin all the fun. Cause that happens.”

NEVER.

I think Sassy and I are destined to commit many more commercial parodies.

AM-I-BEING

 

 

 

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Como: Growly Scaredy Pitter-Pat Cat

Early last week, I packed up Cletus for his distemper booster, and Como, because I wanted our vet to have a look-see and to give me some advice on the whole why-is-this-cat-so-weird? situation. For over a month now, Como has been living in our bedroom. Sure, she leaves our room to make a quick turn into the laundry room for her litter box, and she’ll venture down the hallway now and again. Several times, she’s been spotted in the kitchen, where she knows food preparation takes place.

People who belong to cats can relate; when a cat is hungry, it rubs all over everything associated with food, and mostly, its person. The rubbing is almost like seduction. “I love you, let me rub myself all over your face, so you will remember I am hungry. Look, I’m so cute, rubbing myself on the door frames. Oh my God, can you even tolerate the preciousness that is me rubbing all over your legs while you open those cans? Let me meow to you. I meow only for you, Human.”

This is what I’ve come to understand about my Como cat, but solely from the gut:
English is not her first language — her first language is one I can’t speak, because I’ve tried a few.
Someone once loved her very, very much, probably a man, because she has claimed The Mister as her person. She perches on him every single night, and sleeps at his feet.
She was a solo cat, who probably lived with a dog. She tolerates the kitten, as most female cats will, but she doesn’t like the other cats at all. She’s okay with the dog, always has been.

como2

What the vet assessed from knowledge and experience:
She’s somewhere between the ages of four and ten.
Her teeth indicate a life without crunchy food. He is glad she eats crunchy food now.
She has allergies, which caused cysts of a sort in her ears, which make her ears too sensitive to touch.
She has chin acne. Tee-hee! Did you know cats get acne? I did not.

When I expressed my concerns about why Como doesn’t socialize, why she hides all the time, and how she basically lives in our bedroom, (what am i, nine?) and how I’m not sure, despite my love for her, that she is in the best possible environment, he seemed surprised that I felt this way. The vet assured me that her life is great.

I hadn’t considered the point-of-view he presented to me. She is adopted, rescued, safe, loved, fed, brushed, taken to the vet, snuggled and she has a whole room to herself, as opposed to a cage.

The vet said it’s not uncommon for cats to prefer singular lives, or to hide all day.
He said she may eventually roam the house and socialize, but this may never happen. He said the fact that she eats and uses the box and purrs is all he needs to know. “She’s happy,” he assured me.

como3

I had only looked at it from the point-of-view of my own expectations.

So much of our reaction to life is based solely on our own expectations.

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You Might Like Marketing

WordPress lists blogs you might like based on posts and bloggers you’ve liked previously. Twitter suggests people you should follow based on who you already follow. Netflix suggests movies based on what you’ve liked, which is great, unless your kids use Netflix more than you do, because the chance that any adult home alone on a rainy day would chose to watch Caillou is none. Goodreads does the same. Pinterest emails you to tell you what’s popular right now. Amazon shows you what other people looked at when they looked at what you’re lookin at, just in case you’re missin out, plus related products. Facebook suggests everything and everyone all the time.

By far, I think Facebook’s suggestions are the funniest, because on Facebook, everything is data. Every word you type and everything you click leads to more suggestions.
You liked that one article on colic, so clearly you would like to read every article about babies, right?
Facebook wants to send you to the beds of hot singles in your area, and to college, and on a 6-day cruise, because you wrote somethin vague about lonely scholars on a schooner. Facebook doesn’t know you’re married, or that you have no interest in earning another teaching license, and that you’re terrified of sea monsters. It only knows the antidote for lonely scholars on schooners. When you really think about it, Facebook is actually trying to make you happy, like any clueless but well-meaning friend.
Speaking of, whether you have 150 friends or 15000 friends, Facebook insists you can never have enough friends, and furthermore, Facebook has a knack for suggesting the people you most want to avoid.

download

Just because you’re 40 years old doesn’t mean you won’t cave to peer pressure, either. “True and 12 other friends like Crochet.” DON’T YOU WANT TO LIKE IT, TOO?!?
“Beefy and Orb are reading Hell House,” DON’T YOU WANT TO READ IT, TOO?!?
So then you just know Pride and Prejudice is bein suggested to Beefy and Orb, and that all of your friends are probably bein told what you like, and they’re makin the same scrunched-up face you make each time it’s suggested you might like somethin you’re absolutely certain you will never like.

mmm, tacos! :P

mmm, tacos! :P

Somehow, my media knows I’m a mom. From my own marketing research, as a target, of course, I’ve concluded that all moms love Jesus, recipes that involve cutting foods into adorable shapes, darling diaper covers, and helpful parenting tips & tricks. Strangely, the moms I know are more into constant prayer to any deity who will listen, getting their kids to eat the food, despite it being shaped as said deity shaped it, crock pot meals, free anything, diapers that don’t leak, and helpful relatives who will take the children away…

Also, my name is Joey, so when I’m not being asked to pin Ten Easy Projects I Can Do While Nursing Hands-Free, my accounts are chockablock full of ads about erectile dysfunction meds and cute chicks who can’t wait to hook up with me.

my youngest is 10, so no i'm not nursing, but i did share an article about nursing...

my youngest is 10, so no i’m not nursing, but i did share an article about nursing…

The coupons dispensed after my grocery purchase tell the story of a woman who buys a lot of dairy products. That’s good marketing.
When I try to order a lipstick that’s no longer available, I like being offered similar choices. That’s good marketing.
When I’m buying a vacuum cleaner and they think I might also like a leather chair, that’s bad marketing.

I’ve accepted that I like a lot of things, and I’m open to a few suggestions, but people are better than bots. Sometimes I even do this old school thing where I say to my friends, “Lemme know if you like it!”

I have eyes and ears which are pretty good sources for what I might like to read, watch, cook, or purchase. Which is why, after not finding Gone Girl in the library the last four times we went, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy it. Imagine my surprise when the receipt included books I might like to read, based on the book I had just purchased.

It’s everywhere now.
Everywhere.
May I recommend laughter?

cell-phones-and-fire-hydrants-11

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One-Liner Wednesday — Misspoken

“That hot water scolded me!” — Moo, last week when she used the faucet just after The Mister shaved

hot-water-faucet

 

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill 

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Autopilot

If you’ve never driven a familiar route, letting your mind wander off, singing along mindlessly and suddenly realizing, “Oh look, there’s my exit! How’d I get here so fast?” then you probably won’t relate to this post.
I’ve done that for ages. Or rather, I used to.
Then I had to move to Georgia and think about everything all the time until I developed anxiety disorder and decided my driving time would be better spent in vertigo on the edge of panic…but I digress.

In case you haven’t read me for a long time, I should let you know, when we came back from Georgia, we moved to the community my husband grew up in. My community would be included, since we attended the same high school, but my old stomping grounds are north of an interstate ramp, while where we live and where he lived are south of it.

When he lived here, in the L, he lived in a big blue house. We all call it The Big Blue House. Before his parents lived in it, his grandparents lived in it, so you can imagine it’s one of those places that holds memories. I’m not sayin that we’re all sorta attached to it, but we are. I’m not sayin we all pitched a fit when they sold it and moved to the stupid new house, but we did. I’m not sayin that Drew longs to make it her own, but I am. And I’m certainly not sayin that if we possessed too much money, we would buy it for her, but I am.  If, on Fourth of July, we still park there, and walk over to talk to the unwelcome squatter new owner, and she happens to mention she’s thinkin about sellin, we do not all simultaneously think, “Aw, that’s too bad,” and “Oh really?!?”

is it any wonder that bubba loved that show?

is it any wonder that bubba loved that show?

I could not possibly relate how much time I spent in The Big Blue House. My in-laws have been like my second set of parents for near thirty years, so that should give you an idea.

So, a lot of times I am going to the grocery, the vape shop, the park, the DQ, or the post office, and my brain, on autopilot, takes me to The Big Blue House.

I try to avoid a complicated left turn where railroad tracks meet a hill and a curve, so I turn down a smaller road and suddenly there I am, at The Big Blue House. Truly, strolled down memory lane, out of habit.

memoryln

Of course, when I arrive at The Big Blue House, I realize I have no purpose there, and I grimace and drive on to my destination.

Do you drive on autopilot? Does anything like this happen to you?

 

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Long Week, Date Night

Mercury went into retrograde today…I guess for a change, I was ahead of the trend.

This week was sucky.
Almost nothin went well, and absolutely nothin came easily.
I am happy to report that most of our problems were First World ones, and could be fixed with a little hard work, some try-try-again, or at the very least, money.

But today is a new day.
A new problem arose, of course, but my HVAC guy’s in Florida, so I decided it’s a great day to start chicken stock

noodles tomorrow

noodles tomorrow

and the perfect day to don fuzzy socks.

i'll take them off before our date

i’ll take them off before our date

None of this will matter soon, when I am sitting in candlelight, with a basket of warm bread, and gazing fondly at The Mister from over the top of my wine glass.

PS: Anyone who caught this post before I fixed it, extra punctuation was provided by Cletus the intrepid kitten ^_^

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One-Liner Wednesday — Punny or Naught

“Turning a loaf of challah into French toast makes it even breader.” — things I say when I’m over-caffed and sleep-deprived

challahtoasts

 

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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God and the Leopards

One day, when Bubba was seven, we shared an unforgettable conversation.

While I trimmed his hair, he asked me, “Do you know the story about God and the leopards?”
“No, tell me.”
“I don’t understand it, so I can’t tell you. I wanted you to tell me.”
“I don’t know it.”
“Yes you do. It’s in The Bible.”

Uh.

“Do you mean Daniel and the lion’s den?”
“No. That’s different.”
“Do you mean how God sent the lions to scare and eat people so they would learn to fear Him?”
He looked up at me, wide-eyed with disbelief, “No. Not lions. Leopards.”

I thought long and hard.
“You mean how the leopard cannot change his spots, like man can’t change his skin? Cause that’s really a metaphor.”
“NO.”
I could only think of things like the speed of leopards and scary leopard parts from the monsters of Revelations, which surely they do not cover in Sunday school, even at Mamaw’s church. Right? Right?!?

four-beasts

“I dunno what you’re talkin about. You should ask Daddy. Or like, use the index to find leopards in Bible and then show me.”
(Teacher mommies are always askin people to use indexes and dictionaries like that.)
Well that suggestion only made him mad. Frustrated, he said to me, “God was nice to the leopards, when no one else would touch them or wash them, and they had to live all alone because people were scared of them. God was nice to them and cleaned them.”

I struggled to piece together his story.
Of course, I’m a visual person, so I imagined God with buckets of soapy water and a large sponge, washin leopards like cars…
I thought and thought like mad.

“OH! You mean Jesus and the lepers!?”
“Yes.”
“Okay!” I said, relieved. After a hardy chuckle, I explained leprosy, which pleased him no end, because the story finally made sense.

Someday I’ll tell you about the time my nephew asked me about killing babies at Christmas, which is another fabulous Bible story.

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One-Liner Wednesday — That Wasn’t in the Books!

“You mean you have to burp them every single time they eat?!?” — Incredulous me, to my mother, four days after Sassy’s birth

birthdayrgm

 

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Monday, but with Folly

I had such a day yesterday, Tracey compared me to enacting The Comedy of Errors and I couldn’t argue with the correlation.
Dreams and tossing about made sure I slept poorly Sunday night.
6am did not care.
I walked the dog, picked blackberries, fried green tomatoes, did a bit of laundry…
Sadie escaped the fence again. We don’t know how or where exactly, but about a dozen times in the last year, she’s escaped. She doesn’t always choose to escape the back yard, but then, we don’t leave her there often, because we don’t know when she might choose to escape. We want her to enjoy her yard and watching her squirrels and sniffing all the things, but we don’t want her dead in the busy road near our house.
Fortunately, she came running back home as soon as I blew the whistle.
Unfortunately, she had a smell.
Like the smell of a dog who’d rolled around in a week-old diaper pail, but maybe with a hint of something necrotic.
Gnarly.
After about five minutes of her in the house, I had to lead her out onto the porch, secure her leash to the front door, and spray air freshener all about so I could finish eating my lunch without gagging.
Obviously I had to wash the dog.
Unexpectedly. On a Monday. Because dogs are gross.

pretty, clean puppy

pretty, clean puppy

I decided to go to the store and pick up a few things.
As I left, my still damp Sadie stood far from the door, giving me the sad face.
I said to The Mister, “She knows, too. Just look at her.”
The Mister asked her, “Is Mama mad at you? Aww, Mama mad at the puppy?!?”
Sadie wagged her tail to him.
“Naughty puppy!” I declared.
She licked her lips and gave me the sad face.
This went on for some time.
She knew I was mad at her.

Off to the store I went.
The local chain grocer uses savings cards. I hate that. When you don’t have a card, they still give you the discounts, even when you curl your lips into a snarl and say, “I don’t have a card and I don’t want a card, thank you,” as if not subjecting yourself to their paperwork is one last bastion against the bureaucracy of marketing.
The cashier said to me, “It will save you a lot of money!”
I thought to myself, no, it will not save me a lot of money. going to a bigger store, where flour costs half as much would save me a lot of money, but she was so bloody sincere and cheerful, I couldn’t bring myself to say it.
I guess they’ve realized they can’t win the I-don’t-have-a-card battle, so the cashier told me to pick a PIN and that would be my card. Super. I saved $1.75. Yay me. Now I can afford to buy five more pounds of flour elsewhere.

Got home, put the flour on the counter, put the yogurt in the fridge, realized my Lysol was in a second bag, left behind at the grocer.
Fuck all.
Drove back to the store.

cashier

The cashier of cheer reported that she’d already re-stocked it, but I could go get it. Then she told me a great deal of information about how their computer system operates when things like this happen.
Got my Lysol, drove back home.

As is customary, after shifting emotions through twenty impassioned minutes of the girls blathering on about the dramatic happenings of their days, I gave them chores to do.
They were a bit more hyper than usual yesterday, so I repeated directions several times, and The Mister gave them a powerful speech about minding me.

An important blip in the conversation between Sassy and me:
Me: Put a load of jeans in the washer. Cold–
Sassy: Cold water, permanent press, super load, yeah, I got it.
Me: Don’t forget to put soap in and you don’t need fabric softener, so turn the power rinse off.
Sassy: Right, right, right.

Five minutes later, “What happens if a little bit of bleach goes into a load of jeans?”
Obviously the earth stopped spinning when she asked me this question.

can I not just spray the lysol in peace? shigellosis is goin around, ya know!
I freaked out, pulled a load of wet, potentially bleached jeans from the washer, put them in a basket (flashback to last month’s laundry crisis, also caused by Sassy!) and tossed in white linens instead.

The jeans are all unharmed. I assume the guardian angels of laundry intervened. Sassy’s shirt took a hit though, and had to be thrown away.

Later conversational blip between Sassy and me:
“You are not ready for bleach. Have I ever asked you to use bleach, ever in your life?”
“No ma’am.”
“Notice that as I teach you to do laundry, you are learning one step at a time, and we are still on washing jeans. We will master the art of washing jeans before we move on. One load at a time.”
>nod<

catlaundry

Jeez.
All I wanted to do was disinfect my house, bake yummy things, and make dinner, but nooo, I had to parent. Gah.

Onto baking!
Baking makes me happy.

pie5

And eating.
I like eating what I bake, too.

plum & blackberry galette a la mode

plum & blackberry galette a la mode

So there you have it. Monday, with folly — but also galettes and pies, because I know how to make a bad day better. It’s all in the crust!

 

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Kindergarten-ly

I really am forty. In a two months and a few days, I’ll be forty-one, and hopefully, no worse for wear. I know it’s all the rage to appear to be twenty-nine forever, but I can’t really get down with that. I feel sad for women who think looking young is important, because the undertone of that is that age renders beauty obsolete, whereas I think youth is its own beauty. Old age is beautiful, too. Differently, but not lesser.

Somehow looking young forever has become a desirable goal. I always wonder if the people who think they looked their best at twenty ever considered how much better they looked at age five? Have you seen kindergartners? The whole lot of them, absolutely stunning. Perfect, flawless skin, clear eyes, tiny straight teeth, maybe a dimple here or some freckles there, but always looking well-rested, full of energy, undeniably vibrant.

Having taught kindergarten, it’s obvious to me that each day, we all need to spend two 45-minute intervals outside, running amok and playing. Of course, between those intervals, we need to have some quiet time, where we lie down with blankies and entertain ourselves merely with our own thoughts, be they waking or dreaming ones. We should eat our veggies as if our mothers are watching, and we should do our very best to live our lives as if each task holds the possibility of granting us a gold star.

kindergarten me

kindergarten me

While living kindergarten-ly isn’t always possible, are you even trying?

kinder1

Because you know, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters how you live. You don’t have a lot of control over how you look. Just over a year ago, I was deformed from cellulitis, and two months ago I was in the midst of an atrocious Rosacea flare. Any moment, I could fall victim to some sorta facial burn, crime, or car accident and never look the same again.
So I appreciate my face, at face value.

And I’m GLAD I’m showing signs of age. GLAD. Because 1) I’m still alive and 2) Because I’m tired of being viewed as young.

Let me explain.

At nineteen, I went into my first classroom. I was repeatedly stopped by staff who asked me if I had a hall pass. I wore skirts and blazers with heels, but I looked like I was a middle-schooler.
At twenty-one, I traveled with a family as a nanny. I was repeatedly presumed to be the oldest child of a couple in their thirties.
At twenty-three, a visitor assumed I was the child of my boss.
At twenty-four, I was stopped by a student who offered to sell me some weed. He was mortified to find out I was subbing in his building.
At twenty-four, my date was my father. A lot of them were my father, if you didn’t know better.
At twenty-five, the bartender on the lunch shift delivered all the alcoholic drinks to my tables because she thought I was underage.
At twenty-six, almost every Friday, I was out running errands with two kids and two others I babysat. I was assumed, more than once, to be an unwed teenage mother with at least two baby daddies, and I decided to start wearing my wedding ring.
At twenty-six, the real estate agent believed I was a child bride.

When I was twenty-nine, I went to have my hair done, and the stylist suggested Botox. Specifically, “Bangs or Botox — one or the other,” she said as she pointed to the vertical line running down between my eyebrows. While I could not get over how incredibly rude her comment was, I found myself very pleased. Was this tiny crease between my eyes really making me look older?

When I was pregnant, at twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty years of age, I was constantly asked my age in a way that condemned me for being pregnant at such a young age.
At thirty, I really started getting pissed.

At thirty-three, some Shaggy-lookin 17-year-old at the park asked me out.

No one takes you seriously when you look like a co-ed. You may as well be a kindergartner. 
Not on either side of a parent-teacher conference, not when you’re makin a major purchase, and not even when you’re sure cancer knows you’re 38 and the doctor thinks you’re 25.

me right now

me right now

 

me, right now, but with moo pullin my hair and sayin, "look ugly!"

me, right now, but with moo pullin my hair and sayin, “look ugly!”

Even now, I get carded by younger waitstaff, I am stopped to be told there is no way these two girls are mine, Why, I could be their sister! I am constantly asked my age.

A few months ago, a woman told me to enjoy my youth.

All this emphasis on youth and beauty really isn’t good for anyone who isn’t profiting from it.
— Like the people who made this software program! So your friend can put your photo into it, and then erase your wrinkles, freckles, and pimples, airbrush you to shiny perfection, add make-up, extend your lashes, whiten your teeth, highlight your hair, shape and fill your brows, and even take the little yellow dots outta yer eyes, until you’re like, “Well she’s pretty, but I don’t even know who she is…” worse than that time you got a makeover at the Lancôme counter.

me with some fancy photoshop stuff my friend did

me with some fancy photoshop stuff my friend did

The people who created this app are surely rollin around naked in a pile of one hundred dollar bills, and most likely, for two 45-minute intervals a day.

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In Other News

I recently became a grandmother. Sissy and the baby are both well, and for that I am extremely grateful. I am also delighted Sissy gave Sassy’s middle name to her son. He’s beautiful, and I’m not even biased, cause I’ll be the first to tell you that Sissy and Moo were NOT pretty babies. He’s chunky and has blonde wavy hair. The Mottern genes are strong in this one. Beyond that, I’m a bit dazed. I don’t feel particularly grandmotherly, but I guess that’s par for the course when you don’t even feel forty most of the time. I’m already sure I’m the bestest Grandma Joey on the planet, because I aim to spoil him rotten, maybe even worse than I do my nephews.

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Like many grandmothers *giggles* I encountered some panic-inducing technical difficulties with my laptop last week. I don’t really know what happened, but it seems better now. My wi-fi wouldn’t work, then I’d get the blue screen of death, then pages wouldn’t load. Tracey thinks my wireless card might be on the fritz, and I’m all like, “I have a wireless card?” I installed a malware destroyer, ran virus scans like mad, and ended up using the Ethernet cable for a few days. It was a dark time, that last Wednesday was. Whew.

Then, the following day, my vacuum cleaner died. I’ve got to take it in for repair. First time in six years, so I’d say I’ve been fortunate, what with all the kids and pets we have. In the meantime, I’ve bought what amounts to a Dustbuster on a stick, and for $20, I can say it helps considerably.

nailedit
The following day, I lost a sock to the dryer vent.
I was sweeping the muck out of the trap with a little broom, when Whoosh! Sassy’s sock fell into the open trap.
The Mister was able to reclaim the sock, and a house fire was prevented.
When I typed, “sock fell” into Google, “into lint trap” popped up immediately. Beware. Household chores are dangerous.

My apple trees didn’t produce this year. Oh, I prolly got a bowl-full, but since they weren’t pruned in I-dunno-how-long before we bought the house, I sorta expected this. Next year should be productive, with pruning and weaning. I am a bit sad, because I so enjoyed my apple pie extravaganza last fall, but then, this leaves me more time to finish painting the trim in the back hallway. (As if I will everrr…)

pie4
The squirrel population is booming around here, which I suppose has led to Mother Nature doing her best to cut it down, sometimes via Sadie and sometimes, by using vehicles. Mother Nature is really into roadkill, right? *scowls* It’s with a heavy heart that I must report —  I have very few familiar squirrels left.

My FIL had his ears flushed. It took several trips to his primary physician and to an ENT, but he can hear again. We’re all so desperately proud of him, we’ve literally applauded him. Yesterday, I remarked that we were in the car together for over a half an hour and I never once had to repeat myself. He’s an excellent role model for my husband and I’m not even gonna pretend that this won’t encourage my loudly nagging The Mister about doing the exact same thing.

 

nag

 

When it comes to enrollment and consent forms, I’m always the parent who fills out paperwork. I have good penmanship and I remember everything. Well, almost everything. I’m actually really bad at remembering Sassy and Moo’s birth dates, because there are too many zeros. It’s too hard 10-03-02, 12-04-03 — too many zeros! The older kids are far easier. Because I am the one who filled out the religious education form, I was the one who was asked to choose what I would do to help serve the youth. Since the choices were so scary and I had to choose two, I picked the lesser of many evils, and last night I was emailed to inquire whether I would work in the nursery one or two Sundays a month. I wrote that I would cover one Sunday a month, and then lamented to The Mister about it. “Why don’t YOU go work in the nursery? You love babies.” They’re his children, too. He should hafta do stuff.

drill_sergeant

Although, prolly not in the nursery, because babies don’t need discipline, and every time he holds one, he falls asleep…
Anyway, I think I’ll bring this ‘woman’s work issue’ up whenever anyone at church gives me the slightest opening.

So it’s been an eventful September over here — how’ve you been?

 

 

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One-Liner Wednesday — On True Love

“This yogurt is my bae.”
(And other things I say to make my children cringe.)

yogurtlove

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Creepy

Y’ever notice how passionate creatives seem linked to one another, despite introversion? I’ll tell you how it happened to me. I had about six writer friends, but they had about six writer friends, who also had about six writer friends and now I have nine kajillion writer friends, because I can’t math. Oh I’ve got cooks and painters, designers and quilters, musicians and photographers, but mostly, I’ve collected writers. They span the genres fairly well, but I’d say most of them love what I call “Creepy Shit.” They’re people who love all the Halloween. They love bats and black cats and creepy castles and everything Gothic. They tell ghost stories and they ask things like, “Do you have anything in a skull pattern?”

hallow

Of course, I own nothing in a skull pattern, and I hate virtually everything about Halloween, so I just focus on how my writer friends understand my love of coffee and I say things to them like, “The twist at the end of your zombie story was extremely effective. I had to change my pants.”
I hate being scared. Good grief, I’m always scared. I don’t even watch the previews of horror movies. I watch scary things rarely, and always with a blanket up to my eyes. Truth? I haven’t read anything substantially long and scary since the early 90’s.

hallow2

Do I ever write “Creepy Shit?” Uh… Once. It’s listed in my Public Writing tab. Why did I write this scary thing? Because peer pressure.
Kinda.
Honestly, I’d just completed some ad work, and I was delighted to do something fictional and challenging, even if it meant scaring myself.

 

hallow1

I didn’t do it last year, because I was all, “I hafta paint my new dining room and wash my hair, y’all,” but 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween is back and I am participating this year. I could use a good challenge, and I’m always honored to be asked, but honestly, who would rather paint the back hallway instead of writing a story? If you delight in “Creepy Shit” you should go have a look-see at the last three years of stories and poems.

hallow3
Or, you can totally stay here with my blanket and me, and you know, keep us safe.

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Text to Talk to Introverts

My mother taught me a long time ago, when people ask you questions that are none of their business, you reply by asking, “Why do you ask?” It redirects them to their own motives.
You should know by now, there is always a motive.

The range of motives varies, and they’re all important.

text1
Who likes being asked, “Do you have plans Saturday afternoon?”
Not me.
Not most introverts.

Do you realize how vague that is?
Why would I confess that I don’t have plans?
My brain wants to hear you say that if I’m available on Saturday afternoon, you’d like to bring a box of kittens and puppies over for a few hours. It is much more likely that you’re going to ask me to attend a party or help you move house, so I will ask you, “Why do you ask?”
“I’m hosting a bridal shower and I could sure use some help.”
“Oh, I’m afraid I’ve developed a terrible allergy to people who don’t understand gift registries and those who make cheesy sexual innuendos that barely passed muster in 1950.”

In face-to-face conversation, this exchange would be met with shock and awe, because I’m incredibly rude. In text, this conversation would end with “Haha. So I guess you don’t wanna help me.”

Why texting is better:  Because there are times when not expressing your motive can practically destroy communication lines or allowing people to access your motive too soon can interfere with the outcome.

text3

I’ll give you a few of my own examples.

Sometimes I realize we’re out of butter. I see that it’s fifteen minutes beyond the time that The Mister should be home. I feel conflicted. I don’t want to text him, because he’s probably driving. So, I hafta call.
“Hello Baby.”
I don’t want him to stop and buy butter if he’s right around the corner from home.
“Hi. Where you at?”
>Pause<
“Why, what’s up?”
“We’re outta butter.”
“I’ll turn around.”
Now, I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he was on our street, or just left work, or has just passed a store, and now I feel guilty for being out of butter, because he hasn’t disclosed his location. I must take it in stride that he’s willing to pick up the butter, regardless.
“Thank you.”

Drew is known for being late. Drew is one of those people about whom it’s said will be late to her own funeral.
Sometimes she’s coming here. She texts me, “On my way xoxoxoxo.”
I have no idea from where she’s coming. You would think it’s irrelevant, but it’s not. She could be three hours away at home, or an hour away at Beauty Queen’s, or fifteen minutes away at The Palace of Rules. So, I hafta call her, cause she’s definitely driving.
“Where you at?”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! You sound like Mom! I just got on the interstate!”
I don’t want her to feel rushed, or as if she’s unwelcome.
“Sorry. I just wondered if I should put this batter in the fridge and get in the shower, or if I should finish up and then shower. About how long til you get here? Have I got more than an hour?”
>SIGH<
“You have time to do whatever!”
“Okies, thank you. DriveSafeLoveYouBye!”

These conversations are totally different in text. And are good examples of reasons introverts prefer text.

“Can you stop and pick up some butter before you come home?”
“Yes.”
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”

“On my way xoxoxoxo”
“Where you comin from? I got muffins in and I need a shower.”
“School.”
“Okies. See you later. Drive Safe and all that. Love you.”

See how that works?
For best results, text to talk to introverts.

text2

Can you relate?

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Bookshelf Tag

I was tagged for this post by Fondly Elizabeth at Breaking the Cycle.  I call her Fondly Elizabeth because the comments she leaves me are these darling miniature letters which begin with Dear Jolene: and end with Fondly, Elizabeth.

I’m supposed to tag people, but I don’t suppose I will. Instead, I hope anyone who wants to will share their answers as well. Inspiration and all that.

1- Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

No, but I must say, after watching Sassy bawl her eyes out after John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, I did move it farther from the top, to be read when I was in a good frame of mind. I bawled anyway, and it was worth it.

2- Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.

I was at Viv’s one weekend and I picked up The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. I had previously been uninterested in Anne Rice and her vampires. Supernatural shit is not for me. Or rather, it wasn’t. Despite the fact that The Mister is a big Anne Rice fan, I could never get into Lestat and the earlier books, but I did become a fan of Queen of the Damned, Pandora, and The Blood Canticle. To me, none of her works top The Witching Hour series because witchcraft is more believable than vampires, right?

reading

3- Find a book that you want to reread.

A book? A? As in one? I look forward to rereading The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes, Amy Tan’s Saving Fish from Drowning, Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club and The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg, but any book on the shelf is a likely target for rereading when the mood to do so strikes.

 4- Is there a book series you’ve read but wish that you hadn’t?

No. I’m not going to reread Anne of Green Gables, Ramona,  Narnia or Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I can’t think of a series I wish I hadn’t read.

5- If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?

My fear of being burned to death far exceeds my love of books. Books can be replaced. I cannot.
(I’m neurotic, what the hell did you think I would say?)
I was recently asked to name my top ten books on Facebook, and it almost killed me.

6- Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver always reminds me of Beauty Queen, because we read it at the same time, and we laughed and laughed over prayin to the chicken coop and worryin about scarecrows that leer. The book is a beautifully woven tale, which comes with some unexpected laughs. It’s a book I don’t loan out, because what if I need to read it and it’s not there?!?

7- Find a book that has inspired you the most.

I know I should say Hanh’s books or some incredible spiritual piece of literature, but no, it’s Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (The movie is not the book you know.) I moved a lot as a child, and could relate to the idea of not having a home, or running away from home, but never being able to escape home while at the same time being unable to find a home. I could relate to breaking norms and defying labels, to the belief in borrowing of others instead of belonging to them, to the idea of people not just as artists, but people as art, and art making people who they are…If you’ve never read it, you should.

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8- Do you have any autographed books? 

Yes, my mother has gifted many of them with love and my name is written in almost all of them.
I don’t really understand book signing. I get it from a value sense, but the only books I want inscribed are those written by my friends, because, well, love.

10- Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?

The very-popular-suddenly-in-a-phase, almost to the point of redundancy romance book The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Having been told I just HAD to read it, and knowing it would only take an hour or so, I did it. And it’s a good book. I’m not an overall fan of romances to begin with, so it didn’t make me swoon or gush, but it was a good story. I just prefer my romances are more like Lolita or Atonement. Something incredibly heart-breaking that leaves you sobbing and choking, unable to carry on. Being in love is devastating, and not the same as having a brief affair with Clint Eastwood.

love-actually-2

Have you read any, some, all, or most of these books? Are you inspired to answer the questions? Have I made your to-read list longer?
I’m sorry. Kinda.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Endearing Dedication

“Mommy’s got to go! go! go! cause if I’m late! late! late! people will die! die! die!”

– Single mommy nurse neighbor, as she and her kids ran to the car one morning

heh3

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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One-Liner Wednesday — While Tryin on Moccasins

“You can know how a person feels, but you can never know how it feels to be that person feeling those feelings.”

 

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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When I Was a Child

Remember when you were a child, your parents gave you pennies for the fountain?
Remember the secrets you kept when you blew out the candles on your birthday cake?
Remember the lost eyelashes you swept from your mother’s finger?

What did you wish for?

When I was a child, I wanted my parents to be married to one another.
As an adult, I can’t even imagine why they got married.

When I was a child, I wanted a mother who’d be there when I got home.
As an adult, I value the education my mother paid for.

When I was a child, I wanted a pony and a pool and a big sister.
As an adult, all I see there is potential injury and drama.

When I was a child, I wanted to stay up late.
As an adult, I have frequent insomnia.

When I was a child, I wanted my parents to love me even though I was nothing like them.
As an adult, I am grateful I’m so much like them.

When I was a child, I wanted to keep every homeless cat or dog I saw.
I still do.

So on days where I wake up from a nap, surrounded by five animals — Cletus under my chin, Como on my back, Sadie to my side, Clara between my feet, and Catticus perched at the end of the bed, I realize that was one thing worth wishing for.
Child Me is delighted.

i don't have a camera on my ceiling. sorry not sorry!

 

 

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Sissy is Muffin, Sassy is Button, Moo is Punkin — Today’s One-Liner Wednesday

While showing my in-laws where I would grow pumpkins, a toddling two-year-old Sassy pulled out her pacifier and shouted “NO! NO MORE PUNKINS!”

button holding punkin

button holding punkin

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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As for Me and My House, We Will Serve Ourselves

I am well-read on assorted spiritual opinions and sacred texts, the consumption of which I believe to be as crucial as partaking in a wide variety of foods, or listening to a broad catalog of music, or any number of things that enrich life’s journey with diversity.

We are all beholden to our personal truths.

beautiful art doesn't care what you believe. it doesn't even care if you believe it's beautiful.

beautiful art doesn’t care what you believe. it doesn’t even care if you believe it’s beautiful.

When I started this blog, I wrote a 26 Random Things About Me post, wherein I included that I’m a Unitarian.
For a while now, we’ve been attending services at the Unitarian church I attended long ago, and it’s been wonderful.
Every time I go, I can’t help but marvel that I’m in the right place, “Where reason and religion merge.”

flaming chalice

flaming chalice

I don’t want this blog to be about Unitarianism, but I’ll give you a few reasons I love it. It’s an accepting community. It doesn’t discriminate against race or color, sexual orientation or gender identity. Every version of humanity is welcome and valued. Seeking truth is encouraged, which means it promotes education. There’s a respect for all walks of life, all spiritual searches and experiences.
It’s not a place you put on your Sunday best and pretend to be the holiest person in the room. There’s much more to Unitarianism, and if you wish to learn about it, or find yourself screaming, “SIGN ME UP!” you can read about it at your leisure here.

I was led to this decision, to be a church-goer, to give up lazy Sundays, by one important moment.
Sassy, who was feeling rather blonde at that moment, said, in front of MIL, that she feels better about going to the Unitarian church because they don’t think you can only be a Christian or an atheist, like there are only two things to be.
MIL then said, “There are only two gods to serve, one is Jesus and the other is Satan.”
After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I had to stop her, “So you think there’s no room for any other faith?” I asked. She did not.

HOW TO PISS OFF A SELF-RIGHTEOUS FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN, by Joey
Remind them that their precious New Testament in their beloved book of My God is the Only God, clearly states that one hundred forty-four thousand from the twelve tribes of Israel are definitely going to heaven, as I’ve heard it preached from the very pulpit they subscribe to.
(Never you mind the assorted non-Jesuit meanings behind the concept of 144,000 or the fact that many Christian writers interpret that to mean the Jews will come to Christ, because you know, as The Mister says, that book is not literal unless it suits you, and it’s open to interpretation whenever convenient to one’s own personal feelings.) I don’t even believe in Heaven, despite popular books telling me it’s For Real.

contradiction

After that moment of bad chi all up in my entryway, my conscience told me I had to commit myself to being a regular church-goer. I decided the children would benefit from a community of like-minded people, such as one finds at our church. I feel like my children need a kinda vaccination against thoughts of spiritual exclusion.

Besides, MIL is always goin on about some verse from Proverbs, (I guess people had some good ideas even before Jesus.) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Y’all know how I live to make her happy.

dismeter

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The Inevitability of Us

Today The Mister and I celebrate our fifteenth year of marriage. Fifteen glorious years of love and happiness…or somethin like that!

wedding
The Mister and I have known one another for twenty-seven years, so sometimes it feels like we have been married forever, but it’s an extraordinary feeling, unlike any other.

Not every moment of this marriage has been a pleasant one. There have, in fact, been many rough patches. Trying times for us have been typically stressful ones, like  “These children will be the death of us,” or “Remember when we used to spend time together?” and “Omalord, do we have enough money?” as well as, “Oh, please don’t die from this!”

deployments and unemployments were most terrible, and i no longer care for the word ploy

The defining moments of our marriage seem to be based on enduring. It’s as though suffering is necessary to remind us that we have one another, and often, it feels like we only have one another, and that there is no one else who could possibly understand, and no one else we’d rather have on our side, in what seems to be another batch of IT’S YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD!

“Thanks, Stress, we’re like, super duper good at bein married now.”

The happiness is harder to convey. It’s a bit sickening, I admit, but it is my anniversary, so…
It’s subtle, but completely obvious at the same time. We sorta radiate an aura of ease and intimacy. It’s obvious The Mister and I are still into each other — chemistry, sexual tension, whatever you wanna call it. There’s an honest verve, a no-holds-barred tangibility to our marriage, which I would say is rare.

That vibe between us has been there for as long as I can remember, even when we were kids. We fought then, much more than we do now. But at night, we’d take comfort in the sleeplessness of one another. Most of our relationship was based on nights spent alternating between silently stroking and deep discussions in the dark. Then years of separation, followed by reunion, then years of letters, always followed by those nights, until eventually he was my person and I was his. It took him more than ten years to kiss me. It took a few months after that kiss for me to process the ramifications of said kiss. The Inevitability of Us was clear to others long before it was clear to us.

We didn’t go on a date until our wedding night. Dating is for people who need to get to know one another. We’d been friends for over a decade. This was not love at first sight, this was an evolution.

The Mister and I are both passionate, demonstrative people. We’re both black and white — for us, there is no gray. Our values are shared. We hold integrity and equality high. We both demand freedoms of every kind. We share a love for learning, for personal development, for spiritual growth. The Mister and I don’t actually share many common interests…films, outdoors, travel…
He’s a man of action and I’m a woman of words, so you know, some challenges are built right in!

If you ask me what makes it work, I’ll say “Constant communication. A running dialogue.” If you ask him, he’ll say, “We’re not afraid to work out our fucking problems.” That’s kinda the same thing.
We’re not afraid to work out our fucking problems in front of you, either. We realize it scares some people. We don’t care. We don’t go to bed angry, and would much rather get it over and done with. He who is the most passionate about it wins. Period. Yes, of course someone wins. Neither of us believe in participation trophies.

But after fifteen years, we will gladly accept any and all congratulations, well wishes, etc.

We’re not into crystal, so let’s skip the gifts this year, okay?

 

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HUH?

What exactly are the ramifications of loving a man who’s turning into his father, when I don’t get on too well with his father?

mother

 

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Social Media Troubles

1.My laptop has an extremely sensitive TouchPad. When I don’t push FnF5, it’s on, and it results in my typilike this. ng looking, because it changes the actively moving the TouchPadorder of my cursor as I type, even on purpose!though I’m not Sometimes it deletes things, entire I’ve alreadysections written. I’ve never had a keyboard like this, and after three years, it still catches me, like when I’ve been away from it and it’s gone to sleep. Sometimou’ll es y missing letters or words my comments and on that’s why. It’s not because I’m impaired. Promise. I mean, sometimes I make mistakes, everyone does, but a lot of it can be traced to the Evil TouchPad. Many of you suffer similarly from large thumbs and special phones with a heightened sense of Autocorrect, am I right?
*presses FnF5* WHEW!

preface

2. To do well on social media, I must sacrifice some aspect of my offline life, which is why I take long breaks from WordPress and Twitter, although I always catch up on my favorites. If you have a life where you somehow manage to keep your house clean, your family and friends close, and your personal appearance appealing — while also keepin up with your social media, then I declare you are a liar, or you have hired help, or while I’m meditating, you’re shootin your body up with amphetamines, or you don’t sleep, ever. I hafta DO things. Balance is hard. But it’s cool how doing those things gives me stuff to share…

3. Notification Failure. Sometimes WordPress doesn’t give notifications. I guess about a dozen of you wished me well before my trip to the dentist, but I never saw any of them until today. Thanks, y’all. FavStar fails to give notifications sometimes, too. I’ve missed trophies, and had trophies missed. Facebook fails, too, which I’ve known for some time, but I’m somehow always surprised to find someone commenting on a photo from 3 years ago, and seeing questions I never answered. The best part about Facebook, though, has got to be how it loses messages. I know I had True’s new address, but now I don’t. Fun.

404

4. Check your blog’s spam. There may actually be valid comments in there! Along with that, your Facebook Inbox has a separate box entitled “Other” wherein you may have messages from Not Your Friends. One of them might be your ex, tryin once again to talk to you, but hey, you might have one from that blogger chick you’d like to get to know better.

Tell me your social media troubles? Tell me I’m not alone? 

Posted in Random Musings | 32 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — On Housewifery

“Never ask her what she did all day, because she will tell you, and boy will you be sorry.”

– The Mister’s response to a man who asked his advice

 

housewife

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

 

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The Anti-Bully

Years ago, when the girls were in first and second grade, we sat in the food court of the PX (Post Exchange) and Sassy said she wanted to go get a drink refill, but she wanted to wait til this other kid wasn’t over there. I asked her why she didn’t want to be around him, and she told me, “That’s Eric. No one likes him.”
“Why not?”
“Cause he’s so weird. He’s always roaming around the classroom, talkin to himself. He wears these patch things on his arm and they’re supposed to help him sit down and be quiet, but they don’t work.”

kindness1

How I felt was monumentally affected. Sad for Eric is an understatement. Sad for his parents, too. Grievous might be the better word.
“Sassy. That could be a little version of your brother over there. He had the same troubles as Eric, only he didn’t roam around and talk to himself, he just couldn’t focus the way you and I can focus. He was always thinking about whatever wasn’t happening. He would think about what he’d done before, or worry about what else he would hafta do, so he couldn’t pay attention to what was goin on. He didn’t wear patches, but he took a pill every day so he could focus. It was hard for him to make friends because he was so scatterbrained. He couldn’t pay attention to what his friends were sayin, either.”
“Really?”
“Yes, really. Go over there. Right now. Go smile and be friendly and talk to Eric like he is a smaller version of Bubba. Be kind to him. Show him your kindness. He might be as awesome as Bubba is, and no one has even taken the time to find out.”
Grudgingly, she went. There was some awkward smiling, and some chatter before she bounced back to the table, beaming with happiness.
“How’d it go?”
“Good.”
“Good. Now, when you go back to school, you be kind s’more. You be friendly and warm. Make him feel like you really care about him. You can help him just by doing that.”

Now and again, she would share some Eric information, like Eric also liked soccer and drawing. He had a little brother who drove him crazy, just like her sister drives her crazy. Finally, I heard the news that Eric got a good patch that helped him.

Toward the end of Sassy’s second grade year, I was introduced to Eric’s mother at a school function. She was actually a woman I’d met about a year before. On cold metal bleachers, we had sat together for hours in the dark and rain of spring soccer try-outs. I had liked her. I knew she had two boys, close in age, like my littlest girls, but we had spoken mostly about the trauma of deployments and books we had both enjoyed.
She spoke with accolades for Sassy and what a good friend she’d been to Eric.

Driving home, I asked Sassy, “Does Eric have a lot more friends now?”
“Oh yes!” she said. Said the girls all loved him. Said he was so funny all the time.
I told her how Eric’s mother had raved about her. I told her to remember how Eric’s life had changed, to remember you only need one good friend, to remember how one act of kindness can change someone’s whole life. I asked, “Remember how your teacher said if she can get you to do something, then the whole class will follow suit?”
“Yes.”
“That makes you a leader. Lead other people to kindness. Be the anti-bully.”

A year later, Eric was quite the popular kid. We went to another school function, where Eric sat in front of us, and girls actually fought over who would sit next to him.

My little girl helped that happen, just by being kind when it was unpopular to do so.

I die of pride, and I have only my son’s atypical brain to thank for that.

kindness

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Don’t Be Ridiculous

Today’s prompt for my Photo a Day Challenge is Pet Peeve.
Who doesn’t have pet peeves?

Are yours visually interesting to photograph? I suppose I could snap a photo of your which should be you’re. Fear of seeing one more “Your welcome” makes me not even want to thank some people.

ridiculous1
Most of my pet peeves revolve around other people, but I decided on lids that claim to be sealed for my protection. Sealed for my protection means if I can’t slice it open with a knife, I won’t buy your product anymore. Of course, I won’t buy a product without a seal, because anxiety disorder, sooo…

Coffee creamer is the worst one, because morning stiffness.

ridiculous4

But you know which pet peeve I really wanted to capture?
Ridiculous People who say Ridiculous Things like, “One day you’ll miss ___.”

One day I’ll miss being pregnant. No. Pregnant? Do you mean when I was throwing up and crying about everything, or when I crawled around on my hands and knees for five weeks because I had back labor from bottom-down breech?
One day I’ll miss them being babies. No. Babies? Like pooping, crying, nursing fiends? No. Ridiculous. I missed a lot of sex, sleep, and meals while they were babies.
One day I’ll miss them being so small. No. Small? As in potty training, eating pet kibble, walking at a snail’s pace, getting into everything? No. Ridiculous. I was still missing a lot of sex, sleep, and meals, while also toting around everything but the kitchen sink — and my back was killing me!
One day I’ll miss this >insert random< age. No. This random age of fighting, lying, making messes, back-talking, and conveniently forgetting? No. Ridiculous. I enjoy a clean and quiet house where people are honest and try their best.

ridiculous

I have memories of good and bad, and everything in between. I was present for all of it.

Nursing was wonderful, and surely the best part of The Baby Daze, because I got to rest and snuggle my happy babies and sniff their little heads and hold their little feet. I liked how Sissy would read to us during nursing sessions, but I would not say I miss it. I enjoy sleeping on my stomach. I enjoy dry breasts and I certainly enjoy not having them milked by machinery.

The building and creating times are also fabulous. Blocks, Legos, K’nex, Magnetix, trains, puzzles, finger paints, pottery, stepping stones, plaster of Paris. You would not believe the things Bubba could build! But oh, you should see what he can do now! Sassy drew a person one day, typical of a three-year-old, with four fingers and a thumb, long toes that looked like talons, a belly button and a smile from ear to ear. It was precious. Now I have to fight off relatives who want her art.

Really enjoy the hilarious things my kids say. I expect they’ll always make me laugh. I rather demand it!

So much good stuff has happened; reading stories, and playing games, and showing and teaching and seeing the world through their eyes — all wonderful, all beautiful memories. But you know what? I’m still making them. We’ve gone from Goodnight Moon to To Kill a Mockingbird, from Chutes & Ladders to Scrabble. We’ve gone from announcing every poop to forging some personal boundaries. We’ve gone from asking why Franklin lied to Moose, to why the National Enquirer is not real journalism.
And I like it!

ridiculous2
And there’s no reason to miss the old good stuff when there’s plenty right now.

If you can’t see the world anew through the eyes of your older or adult child, then you need to try harder. They’re still full of insight. I’m not saying wisdom, I’m saying they’re still teaching me. I don’t feel like pining for the past, I just look back fondly. I don’t want to throw them out of the house right now, but I look forward to a job well done.

I like to focus on the positives, like once everyone’s had braces, once everyone’s gotten over acne, once everyone can drive, once everyone has moved out, once everyone has had to shower without hot water…

I’m not going to miss unexpected wet pants, ER visits, suspensions, broken curfews, face cream on the windows, broken crayons, dirty diapers, lost shoes, poorly folded towels, scratched discs, nose suckers, a belly too big to drive, strange substances stuck to the floor, or farting contests.

For some reason, the world does not want you to complain about your children. If your children are drivin you crazy, you should just shut up, because you chose this. It’s peculiar, given that one also chooses lovers, jobs, homes, shoes, glasses — all of which one can exchange. One cannot exchange one’s children. One must endure. Wait and see. Hope it’s a phase.

People tell me, “Oh you’ll miss them when they’re gone.” Well, yes, of course. I miss them often. I sorta don’t ever want to be away from them. Even when I send them away, I know I will miss them.
I’ve not been raising my children to stay home to keep me company, I’ve been raising them to go out into the world and make lives for themselves.

I miss Bubba and Sissy all the time, but you know what? I’ve still got memories, and now and again they tell me good stories or make me laugh or fill my heart to bursting, even though they’re not here.

Another one to get peeved about is “Just you wait!” People are always saying this to parents. I find it odd. Are they competing about fretting over life’s stages? Because I assure you, I have worried my parents at every stage of life, and I think parenting is a frustrating job for anyone regardless of the child’s age. Furthermore, no one would do it if it wasn’t for all the incredible, unfathomable joy along the way.

“OMG Moo’s crawling!”
“Just you wait until she’s walking!”
Yeah? I got three others walking, what am I waiting for? For her to fall down? To trip? To walk faster? To run?

People have got to stop saying Ridiculous Things.

ridiculous3

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A Day in the Life of a Justified Person*

Not too long ago, my friend Meg posted the chronicles of her day as an unjustified stay-home mom, and I was so humored and inspired by it, I decided I would post one of my own days. But back to good intentions, she reminded me I hadn’t actually posted it. So here. Here’s yesterday.

4:59 The Mister checks his phone for the umpteenth time during the night. Having been sleepless for the better part of the night, again I ask him, “Is it 5:00 yet?” Immediately, his alarm sounds. We snuggle briefly, while I contemplate that I am, in fact, tired, and how useless lying in the bed has been.

6:10 I pour coffee into my cup and check my phone. The prompt for the day is Grateful. Coffee seems like a good choice.

coffee1

6:40 Put on yesterday’s clothes. Twist hair into a knot and secure with a clip. Brush teeth. Apply moisturizer. Wonder why my eyebrows are uneven and disappearing, and then quickly remember I am 40 and haven’t groomed them in well over a year.

6:50 Do the girls’ hair. Argue with them about potential hairstyles. Remind them of nit combs, olive oil, and all the hugging they’ll be doing on the first day of school, while their hairs flail about looking for head lice.

6:57 Stare in wonder at Moo, who refuses to wear her jean jacket, because it’s itchy and she’s wearing short sleeves.
“Denim is cotton you know.”
“Too many seams.”
Wait for Moo to get an organic cotton sweater. Briefly question for the one thousandth time whether she has serious sensory issues or if she’s just quirky.

7:00 Head to the bus stop, hoping and praying the bus situation will be better this year.

7:02 Hold Moo, who is cold. Listen to Sassy and Moo’s exchange about gossipy things.

busstop

7:11 Kiss the girls and watch them get onto the bus with a new bus driver. Feel delighted.

7:20 Fill bird feeder, feed dog and cats. Monitor the eating. Pet all the cats. Count blessings.

7:45 Iron all the things while Skyping with True. Run out of starch, curse the blue broadcloth shirt and leave it unpressed.

8:20 Dance and sing like no one is looking.

8:40 Refill coffee and make a bowl of Rice Krispies. Eat while playing Words of Wonder until I run out of energy points. Check all social media.

10:00 Drink coffee and Skype with Orb. Spend most of the time disconnecting, reconnecting, and hating Skype.

11:05 Do dishes. Clean kitchen. Rotate laundry. Water seedlings.

12:00 Contemplate fryin the last green tomato and ultimately decide to eat string cheese and a plum, because no dirty dishes.

12:45 Take dog out, wander around the yard. Smile. Count blessings.

1:00 Undress, unclip hair, climb back into bed, set alarm, call dog to bed, pet and rub dog, fall asleep.

2:44 Awaken to find all of the animals are on the bed, except Como, who is under the bed, but comes out to look at me every few minutes. Sort brain from dreaming to reality and question the meaning behind dreams of floods. Dress, clip hair, make bed, rotate laundry.

3:00 Unlock the door, crack open a Coke, sit in the silence. Count blessings.

3:07 Listen to two overly verbose children at once.

3:25 Assign chores to the children. Check social media. Finish the can of walnuts.

4:00 Make swate tay. Note that it is always time to peel potatoes or make swate tay. Somehow manage to break the tea pitcher with a chunk of ice. Blame everything but myself. Curse The Mister for buying enormous bags of ice. Must remember to remind him I am not She-Ra. Curse stupid side-by-side refrigerator, curse broken ice maker. Make half the tea in the lemonade pitcher.

tea

4:15 Nag the girls about the state of their rooms, the fact that their papers aren’t on the counter, their book bags not on hooks, lunchboxes not put away. Insist on order. Cannot allow them to watch tv, read on the bed, or snuggle a blanket, which will all result in sleeping, and then not sleeping at night. Holler about picking up everything that belongs to them.

4:30 A fight ensues. Take shelter in the shower. Count blessings. Shave legs and marvel at how my feet are no longer tan. Smile.

4:45 Decide the house is in order. Put beans in the oven to bake. Pour a glass of swate tay out of the lemonade pitcher. Lament over broken tea pitcher incident again.

5:00 Debate baking a cake, but don’t want to dirty more dishes. Tell The Mister to fire up the grill for weenies.

5:35 Tell The Mister to pull the baked beans out of the oven on his way out to get the weenies. Tell Moo to get out the condiments and potato chips.

6:00 Eat weenie, beans, and chips while reading and while family watches Castle. Get mustard and relish on my shirt. Stain-treat shirt. Change shirt.

6:45 Kiss Sassy goodnight.

7:00 Tell Moo, who has fallen asleep on the couch, to go to bed.
7:10 Tell Moo, who has fallen asleep on the couch, to go to bed.
7:15 Tell Moo, who has fallen asleep on the couch, to go to bed. Kiss Moo goodnight.

8:00 Rub eyes. Think about tweezing eyebrows. Think about making a hot cuppa tea. Feel too tired to get up to do either.

9:15 Accept random compliments and affection from husband, who has stopped studying long enough to notice he is still married. Get butterflies. Smile.

9:30 Rub eyes. Put on glasses. Wish I had baked the cake. Eat three cookies. Note that the generic chocolate and vanilla cookies from Walmart are not as good as the generic chocolate and vanilla cookies from Family Dollar.

9:45 Tidy up. Pet cats. Begin feeling poorly for lack of sleep.

9:55 Clean up kitchen. Begin to tell The Mister that during our unfortunate time of not having a tea pitcher, one cannot pour hot tea into a glass pitcher…and quickly realize he’s turned the coffee pot back on, effectively heating the tea. Almost cry. Rub eyes. Take glasses off. Make tea in pasta pot. Pour into lemonade pitcher.

10:10 Read papers from school, recycle them, set aside the forms out to be filled in.

10:05 Make a glass of tea, ramble through the house in a ritualistic way, fluffing pillows and gathering all my things, noting that while I have a hundred things to do before bed, and am always out of sorts, my husband is fully efficient. Take one Tylenol and one Motrin, because headache. Put on pajamas.

10:20 Get upset that the dvr didn’t record any Murphy Brown episodes that day. Realize Bridget Jones’s Diary is not on a commercial-free channel. Lie in bed watching Will & Grace until husband falls asleep on me. Get up, tell the dog to stay, drink tea, rotate laundry, peek on sleeping babies, pet all the cats, brush, floss, rinse, moisturize, examine eyebrows, sigh. Look at moon. Get back into bed, only to be upset that I’m in bed before Stephen Colbert is done recording, and I’ll have to suffer through commercials. Pet Como for what seems like eternity. Use spare pillow to wipe cat hair off my face. Fall asleep. Turn off tv. Fall asleep again.

I invite anyone to chronicle a day. I’m pretty sure your days are far more eventful and entertaining than mine!

*I say justified, because I don’t think we need to qualify our lifestyle choices

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Potato Soup

“There are too many potatoes in this soup.” — Moo, age 10

potatosoup

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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On Vaping

I said I would write this post in like, June or somethin.
Of course, I thought I’d have the trim in the back hallway painted before my parents came, too, so you know, road to Hell, good intentions, blah blah blah…

At the time of writing this post, I’ve been smoke-free for two months, twelve days, twenty-three hours, and ten minutes. By the time you read it, it will have been longer, but I’m not lookin at my Smoke-Free app every hour or whatever, because I don’t miss smoking.

I have effectively replaced my addiction to smoking with an addiction to vaping.

If you don’t smoke, and have never been a smoker, you’re probably rolling your eyes, because now all the vaping people will be taking vape breaks at work and smelling of vape and blowing vape into the faces of newborn babies and vaping at concerts and in front of stores and you’ll be waving the vape clouds away and hacking loudly at vapers, so they know how much you hate all the vaping. Mmhm, I know your kind.

chicken

Anyway, it’s an extremely effective “cure” for me. I believe people who enjoy smoking will most enjoy vaping. If someone is merely chained to nicotine, and it isn’t the smoking that they so enjoy, then they maybe wouldn’t like vaping nearly as much.

I’ve stepped down in nicotine, and I don’t even think I’m addicted to the nicotine anymore. If I am, it’s certainly not to the degree that I was addicted to cigarettes. I don’t vape first thing in the morning. I don’t rush to vape after I eat. It’s actually sorta peculiar, because within a few days of vaping, you can easily identify your habits and patterns.

I had a friend who smoked more than me, who started vaping, and after she’d done it successfully for a few weeks, I did some research, presented it to The Mister, and off we went to the vape shop. Initially, it was a little overwhelming. We had to make choices about different sizes and styles of batteries, some with adjustable gadgets, all of which need coils and chargers. Then there were nicotine levels to choose from and literally, hundreds of flavors.

People at vape shops are knowledgeable and helpful.

It is important to note that we had tried the e-cigarettes for some time, with little satisfaction and quite a bit of frustration. Please know that although the two are similar, the personal vaporizer is widely preferred. Do not buy stuff at the gas station. Go to a vape shop.

my black vape. i have a yellow one, too. they come in all kindsa colors and sizes.

my black vape. i have a yellow one, too. they come in all kindsa colors and sizes.

We smoked the rest of that Friday evening, and around 11, I assembled our vaporizers, put the flavors in, and we started vaping. There is no buzz. There’s a throat hit, which smokers love. But there’s no instant hit of nicotine. Eventually your lungs absorb the nicotine, but it’s delayed. I would compare it to caffeine. When you take the first drink, you don’t feel your eyes pop out of your head like a cartoon character, but you know eventually, when you are done, you’ll have a lot more energy. I suppose people who use nicotine gum or patches experience a similar effect. It’s definitely nicotine, which is a stimulant, but it’s merely to compensate for nicotine withdrawal, not enough to make your head spin, even after not vaping for four days, per the instructions of your dentist, who is so glad you quit. (Along with your doctor, who is also thrilled you are vaping instead of smoking.)

It’s enough nicotine, at enough of a rate that smokers don’t feel like they’re dying. If that’s too dramatic, it’s enough to make a smoker feel as though they do not need to slide out of their skin, scream at everyone, hit things and crawl into a hole to die. Oh, right, too dramatic, still. It’s enough to make a smoker feel okay.

The following morning, I took the dog out, made my cup of coffee, and sat down to my computer, where I would normally light a cigarette. ah, but i don’t smoke anymore. i gotta go get my vape. And so I vaped.
And vaped and vaped and vaped.
To say that the first few days I vaped my brains out would be hyperbole, but it’s not far from those days I wish I could have hooked the espresso up via an IV, because I couldn’t possibly drink enough coffee to feel okay.
By the time Monday came, I had settled in. I had figured out how to assemble all the tanks and how to replace coils and I also decided to buy a spare battery. Like my mama always says, “All you need is two of somethin, one in the wash….”
No, wait, that wasn’t about batteries on the charger, was it? but you get it.

I actually did save a cigarette, just in case, but I never did need it, and days later, I realized I’d thrown it away in one of my over-efficient tidiness spells.

Sometime that week, I was watching Moo in the pool, and I yawned — when I swear, an entire section of my lungs opened up. That was pretty spiffy stuff.
Yes, I did experience all the joys of not smoking — like breathing all the air, tasting all the food, being able to run without panting horrendously, holding a longer musical note — all of them, positively delightful.
But the real joy is in not smoking. It’s a certain freedom. A freedom, in my opinion, that non-smokers might even take for granted.

Yeah, maybe I’m addicted to nicotine. Maybe. Don’t know. Didn’t freak out about not being able to vape after oral surgery. Surely do enjoy vaping. Think I might always vape, even when my nicotine goes down to zero. It’s a pleasure. It’s like the pleasure of smoking, only better in so many ways.

I’ll tell you one thing I so enjoy — I never have to finish a cigarette. I know! It’s an odd thing to be so pleased about, but smoking is a timing issue. Once you light a cigarette, you’re committed to it. So sometimes you don’t have enough time to smoke, or people don’t want to stand there as long as it takes to smoke it, you don’t want to waste it, or you have to finish smoking it before doing something else. None of that. The vape, is simply … there.

Within two weeks, most of our smoking friends and family had also quit smoking and started vaping, too. Isn’t that nice?
I still keep an ashtray on hand, since I’ve vowed not to be one of those terrible reformed smokers who hounds people. I will still be a gracious hostess.

There’s really nothin more to it. It’s easy. It’s cleaner, cheaper, and gosh darn it, I like it!

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It Was All a Dream…

Our mostly staycation was delightful, as one would suppose.

I made some notes and took some pictures, in an attempt to record the magical events that transpired while The Mister and I were childless.

Without further ado, I will share the incredible possibilities of a couple childless at home.

1. No one fought. It was truly amazing. Not once did The Mister and I argue over who held the kitten longer, or who last took the dog out. Not once did I accuse The Mister of stealing my hair clip, nor did I claim his drink was my own, when I had, in fact, drunk all of mine.

2. No one rang the bell or knocked on the door.

3. My MIL did not call.

4. No one came into our room at night.

5. Not one single Disney show was watched.

6. Not one single pop song played.

7. Entire conversations of a mature nature were completed without interruption.

8. I never tripped over a toy, a wet towel, or a pair of shoes.

9. No one asked to play my phone.

10. No one asked me where anything was.

Here are some of the lusty pics I snapped for my readers:

an empty dish drainer

an empty dish drainer

a closed shower curtain

a closed shower curtain

a folded hand towel, near a clean sink

a folded hand towel, near a clean sink

empty clothes hampers

empty clothes hampers

Countless times a day, we were allowed the privilege of gazing upon these rarely seen household items. In stunned silence.

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Summer Respite

Shh…*whispers*

I’m not going to be around for a few days. You won’t miss me. You’ll barely notice.

The stars have aligned and we are going to be childless for several days.

This has not happened since 2010.

I will not send you a postcard.

I’ll be back for Back-to-School Mimosa Day.

freakout

Posted in Personally | 8 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — On Flattery

“Daddy, you’re so handsome this morning!” — Moo, right after she asked for Dunkin Donuts at 8:30 this morning

donuts

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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What She Does

I’ve been neglecting my blog again.

What can I say?
What goes on between One-Liner Wednesdays?

Well, LIFE.

care6

I was down for about a week, because my extraction site got infected. I’m fine now, and I would rather have an infection for a year than dry socket for ten minutes, so yes, I do know how to count my blessings.
The girls were helpful and kind during the downtime. Mama’s better now…

kids1
I spend time parenting. Which, lately, seems more challenging than it has for awhile. Something wonderful happened in my living room last night. Something magical and messy. From the looks of things, the girls conjured up a great wind, using an open jar of Eucerin, empty yogurt containers, and Fireball wrappers.
After the children have been in trouble, resulting in Mama-The-Shared-Enemy, they unite for joyous ruckus and mayhem, delighting in the company of one another, and they party like it’s 1999.
Yesterday, among other grievances involving unclean pizza stones and misplaced kitchen mallets, the girls were truly naughty. Sassy did not follow directions, creating a laundry crisis. Moo went the extra mile, taking a joyride in the bed of Lily’s pop-pop’s big red truck, up and down the street, twice. Fortunately, Sadie barked madly, which alerted me to the joyride situation, but the dog doesn’t know fuck all about laundry and was unable to catch Sassy’s laundry error.

dogsong
I’ve been mitigating Como’s adaptation to our home, which seems to involve cleaning up a lot of pee. “Oh hi, I’m Como, I’m scared of everything, so I can’t make it to the litter boxes, I’ll just pee wherever!”
She has days where she’ll come out and be a fairly normal kitty, then it’s back to hiding.
I catered to her for awhile, keeping her and all her things in the bathroom, but I didn’t like the litter remnants on the floor, and the bathroom began to smell not like clean and fragrant humans, but like cat. And cat piss.
I will no longer carry food and water to her location, but rather I carry her to the box and the food, like she’s a kitten. I close off all the carpeted areas.

strep4

Our air-conditioner has a problem with condensation. The Mister cleaned out all the pipes, we cleaned the drip tray, the coils are clean, the filter’s clean — the air works splendidly, but water pours out the overflow, flooding everything about. Friday, I called the HVAC guy we used over the winter, and he can’t come out until tomorrow at the earliest. We’ve not used our air since, so Saturday was a sticky sorta day, and we were a sticky sorta people who were thankful that they don’t still live in Georgia.
Today, I woke up cold and it’s cool enough to enjoy hot coffee again. Splendid!
This week is one I wouldn’t run the air for anyway, with highs in the 70’s and low’s in the 50’s. Excellent! I do so love cool, open-window days, don’t you?

giraffeconfusion

School starts in less than ten days, and now we begin the process of teeth cleaning, shots, eye exams, and shopping. These are not my favorite things to do, but at least when it’s all over, there will be seven hours of silence on a regular basis.
Like most mothers, I hate trading in late nights, sleep-ins, and extra snuggles for 6am and never-ending paperwork. But, like most mothers, I welcome the structure and solitude. I pray the bus stop situation will be better than last year…

Tell me, what have you been doing?

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One-Liner Wednesday — Oh Dad!

“She can only see bugs.” — My dad’s hilarious, but panic-inducing joke, while my mother searched for my gray hairs.

it was smooth and straight when i fell asleep, honest!

it was smooth and straight when i fell asleep, honest!

 

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Control Freaks

New dentist’s office sure was weird about the Halcion.

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First, the dentist agreed that it’d be fine for me to have the Halcion and some shots because I do not like the laughing gas.

I know, I’m weird. I hate to be high.

I prefer pain to bein high. I also prefer pain to feelin like things are crawlin on me.

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No, Halcion does not get me high.
It prolly gets you high, cause you’re not wound tighter than an eight-day clock, but Halcion for me, is like taking the ultimate edge off.

Maybe when gassed, your brain does groovy shit like shut down and go to a happy place, but mine does not. I would describe being gassed with nitrous like lucid dreaming, but in a nightmare, like “Oh my God, I cannot control my body, although I am completely aware of my surroundings.” It’s just too close to those dreams where you run in place, so you can’t escape the monster, or you’re stabbing the monster, but he just won’t die.

I called the day before my appointment, to ask about how the Halcion would be administered. “Will he call this in for me? Will it be at the office? Can you check with him and get back to me?”
She said she would.

The morning of my appointment, I called to ask how that whole Halcion discussion went down, and the lady said, “Come at five and pick up your scrip.”
“I cannot come at five. That’s why I have an appointment at six.”
“What time can you be here?”
[Lordamercy, is this actually happening to me?]
“Six.”
“Pick it up at six, and then we’ll just delay your appointment a bit.”
“And that will be okay?”
“Yes.”
“Okay. Thank you.”

The Mister said he’d pick it up on the way home. I called to let them know. They thought that was a great plan.

The Mister came home, and I said stuff like, “All the dishes are done…Como needs her own box in the bathroom…these jeans can actually be pulled down over my hips if I can’t undo them myself…the girls are clean…your plate is in the fridge…there are cupcakes in the microwave…they can eat all the cupcakes they like…please be sure to talk to them about being angels tomorrow…there’s ham in the drawer if you don’t feel like cookin tomorrow…Sadie just went out…the cats have been fed early…”

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We went to pick up my scrip. The prescription directions? Bring both pills to dental appointment.

wouldn’t it be nice to be sedated when one arrives to the appointment?!? and what do they mean both pills? i’m not takin two halcion! fuck all. they’re gonna drug me, gas me, drug me s’more…
I’m very sensitive to medication!

When I arrived at the office, the hygienist saw my prescription bag and said, “Mrs. Mottern, let me take that for you. For safety reasons.”
“Okay.”
I handed the bag to her.

I sat down next to The Mister. “They’re kinda weird about Halcion here.” He nodded emphatically.

I could actual feel my fear. I was buzzin like an electric fence. I counted my breaths and tried not to contemplate how cruel it was to prescribe the sedative and then to keep me from takin it. I waited for them to call my name. Forever. I think I actually had enough time to fear each and every worst case scenario by the time she called my name.

Once I was in the chair, they took my blood pressure. It was a little high, given the fear scenario.
They talked about me like I was not there, or as though I couldn’t hear them, I could not decide.
“Does someone need to be with her the whole time?”
“Do you think she already took something?”
“What if she already took something? What is our liability?”

I rolled my eyes so hard, I saw 1973.

“Y’all are bein weird.”
Then I got an audience.
“No, I haven’t taken anything. I haven’t taken a single medication since Sunday, when I took a Zyrtec. See, I’m used to taking the pill before I come. So by the time I get here, I’m not 130 over 90 because I’m scared to death.”
“You can’t take this medication without supervision. If you’d asked for a Valium, we could have called that in, but Halcion is different.”
“Next time I will ask for Valium.”
(Either the state laws are different, or my dentist in Georgia was a criminal, heh.)
“Someone would beat you down and take this from you! Do you know what kinda drug this is?”
I lol’d.

I made sure to tell the hygienist that I was not to be gassed, and that I was not to be given any Vicodin, or Lortab, or Hydrocodone, or any of the newest names for narcotic things that make me high, and cause me to vomit, then sleep for ten hours.  I told her I didn’t want to take the other Halcion. I would not need two, and the idea of taking the second one would make me very uncomfortable, and that I just needed to take the one, and I would like to make sure the doctor would not make me take the other one.

My anxiety disorder was surely demonstrated to each member of the staff, when, as each of them made eye contact with me, I would again tell them, “I am not having gas. Just the shots. I do not want any narcotics after.” Then sometimes, I would ask them, “Did I mention I cannot tolerate Vicodin? Do you know I haven’t even taken any of the 800 IB yet? I have plenty of that. Did I tell you I do not want the gas? You’re not going to leave me alone in here, right? I’m pretty frightened.”
One lady talked to me at length about my allergies, even though I told her it was a long list…but she got my blood pressure down to normal doin that, so that was nice. I started to think there was at least one person I could relate to.

Finally, they let me take the pill. I made sure they knew I didn’t want the other pill. Like, five times.
When the Halcion started to kick in, and I began to feel it, I felt compelled to announce the whole thing again, “You know I don’t want any pain meds, right? My husband will give me whatever you tell him to, and I will throw them up and then accuse him of poisoning me, and it will be this whole banana vomit situation, because Lortab is another word for Vicodin, and he doesn’t know that, and he doesn’t even know what NSAIDS are, or what allergy meds can be given together, and it’s very important that you don’t put my husband, or me, into that situation, because throwing up is not good for blood clots. You’re not gonna gas me, right? I mean, you’re not using the sedative to get me so loopy, I’ll agree to the gas, right? No gas. Nope. Not for me. Are y’all gonna numb me up soon? I feel like I’ve been here a long time.”

“We’re waiting for your Halcion to kick in so we can give you the shots, since we know you’re nervous.”

UH.

“The Halcion has kicked in. I am not afraid of shots. Not at all.”
“Oh! Okay, we’ll get that goin.”

Good grief, they even put a local on my gums before the shots. I didn’t mind bein babied, but that wasn’t necessary. I’ve never not felt the shots, always been happy to have the shots, because shots mean NO PAIN!

During my procedure, which involved wiggling and cutting and more cutting and more wiggling, the doctor kept sayin, “You’re doin great!” “You’re a great patient!” Afterward, he said, “I don’t even think you needed the Halcion!” I rolled my eyes. I said, “That’s because I’m ON the Halcion!”

Oh for cryin out loud!

Control Freaks.

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One-Liner Wednesday

“I gotta write a thing, then I’ll lie back down.”

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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All Your Good Juju are Belong to Me

This last week, I’ve been entertaining my nephews. Okay, that’s not really true, because mostly, my nephews entertain my girls, and then no one fights and I win! I love my nephews. They’re probably better than your nephews.

While I type to you, I’m eatin a huge bowl of long grain and wild rice, and in just a little while, I’ll be takin a Halcion and goin to the dentist to have the now-filling-less, now-broken, already root-canaled #15 tooth surgically extracted. You are all cheering me on, despite what I said about your nephews.
I expect to be sedated and sleeping throughout the evening. I expect to be worthless and pathetic tomorrow. However, I’m hoping I will have the inspiration and the moxie to compose a sentence for One-Liner Wednesday, and perhaps even the capability to make my own pudding. I dream big, y’all!

Your job, Gentle Reader (despite what I said about your nephews, and your obvious jealousy about how I get to take a Halcion and you don’t) is to wish me well. It would not be terrible if you prayed to your god, or lit candles, or bound the dry socket deity, or sent healing vibes, or had your voodoo princess put a wicked fast healin on me. The moon already wanes in my favor.

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Oooh, maybe I’ll have a cupcake before I brush…

 

 

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One-Liner Wednesday

“Mama! Look! The hot dogs are growing!”
— Sassy, age 2

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One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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A Theory, Perhaps…

I have this new theory. I ran it by the family on Friday and got a lot of feedback. I’m checkin it out publicly, so lemme know whatcha think.

Men most want to touch women when being touched is the very last thing women want.
For instance, I stand in the kitchen, absolutely furious that I have scalded my potatoes. My husband, being the loving man that he is, thinks a hug will make me feel better. Little does he know, I would rather punch him in the face than hug him. It’s not his fault the potatoes are scalded. I’m not mad at him. I am mad at me, the potatoes, the stove, the water, the pot, and the entire universe — but not him. A hug is not what I want. I want to rage and throw a ginormous fit.
Then, when I begrudgingly hug The Mister, he is offended and goes away in a huff, because he was only trying to help and I’ve rejected his help.
I make cornbread and black-eyed peas. Nothing is scalded. We eat. I feel better. My hugs become real again, because I’m no longer angry.

Women most want to talk to men when talking is the absolute last thing men want to do. 
For instance, my husband comes home quiet. I assume he’s winding down. I think he’s had a hard day, and I give him space. As the night rolls on, he just isn’t talking. He’s not really with us. He’s gone someplace else. Into his nothing box, maybe. Or maybe, he needs to talk. “Is everything okay?” I ask.
“Yep.”
Everything is not okay. I’m not stupid.
This could go on awhile, and it could make me crazy.
Now, we’ve been married a long time, so I stifle my urge to pry and freak out, and instead I ask, “Is it me?” It has never been me. If it’s not me, then I hafta just ride it out. Generally, a few days later, we have some long discussion about what he was mulling over. On his time. On his terms.

Men want to touch women when women least want to be touched and women want to talk to men when men least want to talk.

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What do you think?

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Being Obsessive has its Perks. Like when Dealing with Head Lice.

As a former teacher, I was instructed to look for certain issues. Some examples: Kids who squint, meaning they might need glasses, kids who frequently mix up letters like p and d and b and q, who might be dyslexic, and for kids who scratch their heads a lot, meaning they might have head lice.
How to look for head lice? They said small white bits in the hair, resembling tiny grains of rice.

Commercials on the television show you a special shampoo. They say you use it and it kills all the lice. Easy peasy.

HAHAHAHA. Whatever.

If, like me, you managed to get through a hundred of those grade school examinations by nurses with chopsticks, you probably don’t have a bloody clue what to look for when it comes to head lice, or how exactly to get rid of it.
I sure didn’t.
Until the Head Lice Incident of 2010. Dun-dun-dun! 

One morning, my littlest girls got up and they absolutely could not stop scratching their heads. Sassy actually said, “I think I have lice! My head is so itchy!” I said, “Lemme look.” I didn’t see anything. On and on the scratching went. I checked Moo’s head. “Is that a flea? What the fuck is that?! Omagod, Omagod, Omagod, there are bugs in my baby’s hair!”

All four of my kids got lice. Never did find out from where. Due to the amount of infestation, I was able to determine Sissy was first, then Moo, then Sassy, then Bubba. And it probably traveled head-to-head in that order, because that’s exactly how they pair up and that’s the exact order of how the affection flows between them.

I went next door to ask my neighbor if she knew anything about lice. She did. She was a nurse and an expert on lice, as it turns out.
Nothing I could ever do would be enough to thank my neighbor for her wisdom and guidance. She stood in my kitchen and told me what to do and when to do it and how to do it, and I did it.

It happened in July. In July of 2010 I had 23 different guests in my house. We had house guests and sleepovers and people shared beds. For over two weeks, people were sleepin here and there and with this person and that person, and Sissy had been here and there with her friends, how teenagers do.
I had to call halfa dozen people and tell them to check their kids’ heads.

Now, having been a teacher, watching the dual-six-figure-income parents come pick up their still nannied-for kindergartners with head lice, I did not share the belief that lice were something that belonged to the dirty and the poor. I was, at the time of the lice infestation, a total neat freak. I was, at the time of the infestation, not poor. But I can tell you, without even flinching, that if you are poor or dirty, it will take you a lot longer to get rid of lice, which is why the stigma probably exists.

The head lice take over your whole life. The nit-picking: combing and hunting, takes hours and hours. It can take hours and hours for one kid, if that kid happens to have long hair. Thicker takes longer. Curly takes longer. Blonde hair can make it harder to see the baby bugs, but dark hair makes it harder to see the teenager bugs.

There are a lot of things to look for, on the scalp and in the hair. Three different shapes, sizes and colors of bugs, hatched eggs, which are the tiny white bits, could fit through the eye of a needle, and unhatched eggs, which are black, and about the size of a flake of ground pepper. Basically, the task is to make sure the only thing on the scalp and in the hair, is hair. Every tiny flake of skin from scratching, every tiny dandruff, each grain of sand or dirt — all has to be pulled out.

The lice like the warmest part of the head, which is at the nape and around the ears. That’s where to check.

If there’s a bad infestation, a fine-tooth comb will tear out hair and reveal bugs still in it. Your kid will cry. A lot.
If it’s really, really bad, putting your hands in the hair will feel like your kid rolled around in a sandbox.

After you use the pharmacy product, or the OTC product, or some sort of oil that suffocates the living head lice, you gotta rinse all that out and comb it with a METAL nit comb.

Lice comb isolated on a white backgroundThe cheap plastic ones that come with pesticides WILL NOT DO IT.

The metal nit comb can actually do all the work, but it’s a little hellish when bugs are crawlin out of your kids’ hair, onto their faces, their necks, their ears, their clothes, your clothes, the comb, and your hands. It makes the ewwww factor a lot higher, so I recommend liquid intervention beforehand, whether you choose pesticides or oils. Regardless, you’ll need a bowl of water to trap the finds of your hunt.

I strongly recommend you have a bag with a nit comb, a fine comb, a pile of hair clips or bobby pins (for sectioning the hair), tweezers, hair scissors, good lighting, your eyeglasses and/or a magnifying glass.

If your kid is mildly infested and you hafta hunt for eggs and bugs, I wouldn’t bother with the pesticides. It really is best, no matter what, to treat everyone in the house until no one has had a single bug on their head for 21 days. “An ounce of prevention” and all that.

After comb-outs, you’ll want to wash everything that may have come into contact with the head lice. Their clothes, your clothes, the towels — all in hot water, or on high in the dryer after. If you’re me, BOTH, thanks.
You’ll wanna boil your nit comb between kids, or buy one for each kid. You will need to designate a comb or brush, and maybe hair clips for each child and yourself so you don’t cross-contaminate.

During this time, your head will itch. I mean, The Mister is bald, and his head itches when the kids have lice. EVEN WHEN HE WAS IN IRAQ. It is likely that your head itches right now.
Head lice are psychological terrorists.

I compulsively asked my friends to check my head. This is when my neighbor the nurse told me I had anxiety disorder. She was right. During the Head Lice Infestation of 2010, I was on the verge of collapse, wired for sound, completely edgy and unable to sleep. FOR A MONTH. I was obsessed and it was exhausting. I vacuumed the whole house daily, including the upholstery. I washed sheets and towels like you would not believe. My husband was deployed, so I was not at my best when it started, and by October, I was in the therapist’s office.

It took me about three years to stop obsessing over head lice. I am not kidding.

You can read about how lice don’t like dirty hairs or afro hairs or oily hairs, bleached or dyed hairs or hairs that smell like lavender, coconut, tea tree oil…To some extent, it’s true. They’re less likely to invade a head with a smell that repels them, but they will anyway. They like a nice clean head, the more hair the better, the thicker the better, the smoother the shaft, the easier it is to glue their eggs on.  Oily-headed grungy hipster heads are not immune anymore than coarse hair or hair that doesn’t smell appealing to lice. Moo has used coconut shampoo since she got out of “No More Tears.” Sassy and Sissy use tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner for their curls and I am pretty much made of lavender.

The heat from blow dryers and hair straighteners and curling irons can weaken the glue and kill unhatched eggs or bugs caught in the heat.

Putting a silicone product in the hair, keeping the hair up in braids, buns, and ponytails, and putting in hairspray can all deter them.

None of this is a guarantee, but it’s all worth a shot.

For the Head Lice Infestation of 2010, we started with an OTC pesticide, and we used olive oil every other day for 21 days. We saturated the scalp and hair with olive oil, wrapped the hair with plastic wrap, put a shower cap on, threw a towel over their shoulders, and they had to stay like that for three hours and thirty minutes. If it was late, they had to sleep in it. Then they washed the olive oil out and shampooed. It’s good to buy some cheapy shampoo that strips hair for this, because if you have a nice healthy head of hair like a shampoo model, your hair will retain the oil much more than someone with dry, curly hair.

The oils suffocate the bugs, which breathe through holes in their backs. Water doesn’t kill them. They can hold their breath for three hours, but the oil forces them to speed their respiration. Unlike with pesticides, the head lice haven’t evolved to resist the oils.

During the 21-day period in 2010, I also washed everyfuckingthing in the house, but I’ve since read it’s really not necessary. So this time around, I washed the bedding and the snuggled stuffies. I am not obsessively vacuuming. The Mister vacuumed the upholstery the first night, and we haven’t since. I only used olive oil on Sassy, but I had to start with pesticide on Moo, because a few minutes into the olive oil, I could see that we were in too deep. If you use the pesticide and still see a lot of living bugs, you’re going to need a prescription for serious shit, or do it the old-fashioned manual labor way.

This time around, because I know I am an excellent, over-vigilant, extremely anal-retentive nit-picker, I am only doing comb-outs every other day, and olive oil every three.

I think this has happened in two summers because I don’t do their hair often in the summer. They’re allowed to roam freely, their hair swingin like ropes for lice to attach to. This stops now. When they exit this house, they will have limited rope. We will begin a comb-out ritual one night a week, which is recommended.

I recommend this site and this site for further reading. I also read a fascinating article by an MD who was an entomologist and a specialist in parasite somethin somethin, but I can’t find the link, which sucks because it helped me relax a lot…

I also recommend having short hair or perhaps only having boys who will let you shave their heads…

Anyway, I’m hoping this is helpful to parents who hafta fight this battle, and I am living proof, through this situation right now, that living with anxiety disorder can improve dramatically.

I know, I know, your head itches. I’m sorry.

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Get Up and GO!

At first I wasn’t busy, and then I really, really was. How busy was I? I have been drinking caffeinated soda for over a week! *gasps*

Summer vacation suddenly had too many days with alarm clocks. We kept sayin things like, “We’ll take a nap.” We didn’t. We said things like, “We’ll go to bed early.” We didn’t.

Moo brought home some head lice, which rapidly formed a metropolis on her head. Moo’s head is pretty small, and the lice were forced to expand into the suburbs of other heads in the house. Sassy’s head is much larger, and can provide two feet of curls to hide under. The Mister’s bald and still his head itched. Head lice are psychological terrorists. Does your head itch now? Olive oil days and nit comb nights will not be the highlight of Summer, but the head lice will get their own blog soon.
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Adoption events are held in the morning. You’ll want to get there early.

Cletus the kitten had an upper respiratory infection, so we had to get him some antibiotics and eye drops. It’s not nice to laugh at the suffering of others, but it’s cute and mildly hysterical when tiny kittens sneeze in rapid succession. It’s less cute when you’re picking fleas off of them, so all the cats have to be treated for a few months lest we live in the house of fleas.

Sorry, I just want to make your whole body itch. Apparently.

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Kittens are hard to sleep with, and as it turns out, newly-adopted Como cat might be five, but she acts like a kitten in the night. She also possesses great talent in the I-can-put-all-my-weight-into-one-paw-and-stab-your-internal-organs arena. Como sleeps in the entryway now, behind a chest of drawers, where no one will bother her with any of their adorable purring, drooling, or kneading.

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My parents were in town for awhile. I finally got that walk around the property that I really wanted before we bought the house. My dad kinda knows everything, cause he’s kinda old, and old people are wise. He even knew what the weird black box in ugly laundry room was. A timer. An ancient timer.
I found out that even plant experts like my parents can’t agree on what’s a desirable plant versus an undesirable one. One of my suspected garden weeds is squash, although I didn’t plant any squash seeds. Before they arrived I had been researching “squash-type weeds” and “weeds that look like squash.” Either my tomato seeds were corrupted by squash seeds, or seeds in my compost took the opportunity to sprout. I’m glad those two plants are on the end of the bed, so they have room to sprawl. I’m also glad we love squash and I didn’t accidentally grow beets.
As I feared, I’m gonna hafta dig out all of my ornamental grasses to kill the mulberry seedlings. Bastard mulberries, Man.
Have I ever mentioned my parents wake with the rooster and sleep before nightfall? They do. Without fail. So if you want to have a lengthy visit, you’ll get up at dawn.
We had three wonderful visits, and then my parents returned to the beach. I would prefer that my mother treated our home like sleep-away camp every summer, but it’s like she has a life of her own.

I lost a filling and subsequently broke the tooth, so I had the pleasure of finally finding a new dentist. That tooth had already had a root canal, so the pain was not grueling, but the infection was wearin my whole body down, so I had to get some antibiotics. It’s day three of antibiotics and the lymph nodes behind my ears have already calmed down and my energy has returned. I like to get sick after I go and go and go. It’s my thing.

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Fourth of July parades are held in the morning. If you want to see the parade, you’ve got to drag your ass out of bed and head over before they close the route. Yes, fountain Coke and a bag of pretzels are an excellent choice for breakfast while you wait. Also good? huggin your dog for warmth, cause it was cold in the shade!
We had to have broken a weather record yesterday. It was the coolest Independence Day I can remember. I never even broke a sweat.

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After the parade, we traded Sassy for Ace, but we didn’t really think about how insanely loud Moo and Ace would be after all the parade candy. Duh.

Barbecues with your in-laws are held in the afternoon. If you show up a little late and the food isn’t even on the grill yet, it’s perfectly acceptable to stand behind your hostess’s back and eat an entire peach in five bites. It’s also good manners to join the children on the porch, where you will devour a delicious chocolate cupcake in less than a minute, because littering the patio with black cake crumbs is better than screaming, “I’M FUCKIN HUNGRY, BITCHES!”

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The fireworks are at night, after the sun goes down. It’s not easy to explain the location of your little six-by-six-foot spot in all of downtown Indianapolis. Traffic is crazy. If you don’t know your way around downtown, then traffic is maddening. It’s not easy for people to find you in the dark. We would have watched the show from the roof of a building, but we couldn’t coordinate ourselves with those who offered and the hopes of finding those who were lost.
After the fireworks, we did manage to meet some friends, but there was no way we could direct the lost to join us.
And suddenly, it was midnight!
Don’t you know, The Mister and I got to bed and hadda talk?!?

He managed to get up and go to work today, but all I’ve managed to do is write this blog.

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How to Enjoy Your Facebook in 10 Utterly Complicated Steps

A lot of people on my Facebook complain about how they hate Facebook, but they’re still there. *shrugs*
I assume people who hate their Facebook accounts aren’t using them correctly.
A few days ago, one of my newer Facebook friends said I have great Facebook friends. I do.

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I enjoy the hell outta my Facebook, and I think you can, too.
*whispers* Lemme tell ya how I do it. 

 
1. Give yourself a few hours. Yes, devote a few hours to working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, y’all. The more friends you have, the longer it will take.

2. Check your Privacy Settings. If you are confused about your privacy settings, ask a geek, a nerd, or small child to do it with you.

3. Go through your feed. Any games you don’t play? Click the arrow at the upper right hand side of the box and select “Hide.” Then select, “Hide all from (that game).” It may take days or weeks to thoroughly hide all the games you don’t play.

4. Cull. When you have thousands of Facebook friends, you will miss things you wanted to see. Culling can be difficult, because sometimes, you know you’ll see someone you’ve culled, or you have friends in common with that person, which occasionally means you’re morally obligated to stay “friends.” If you really don’t feel like someone is your friend, and you are not morally obligated to friend them, then unfriend them. We’ll deal with obligation later.

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5. Hide all the obligatory friends whose posts you hate. Like, if you totally never care what Bessie BadNews does, and quite frankly you couldn’t care less if Bessie BadNews finally fell into her half empty glass of tears, then hide Bessie BadNews by choosing any of her posts, clicking the arrow in the top right hand of the box, and select “Hide.” Then select, “Hide all from Bessie BadNews.” This also works for Braggadocious Brad, Coupon Cathy, Dramatic Dolly, Political Paul, and Snopesless Sal.

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6. Restrict. You know how Betty is your mother’s best friend, and she sent you that beautiful Spode platter when you got married, and you don’t wish dear Betty any harm, but sometimes when you post memes with bad words in them, she gets upset, and tells your mother that she wishes you’d wash your own mouth out with soap? Restrict her.
You know how you love your cousin Scott, and the two of you have always been like two peas in a pod, but you can’t stand Scott’s wife? You can’t unfriend your cousin’s wife without having some bad blood, but you can restrict her.
There’s always that one friend who never posts anything ever, and we’re pretty sure he’s not entitled to see your posts, because it’s show and tell, and IT’S HIS TURN. Restrict him.
People who are Restricted cannot see your post unless that post is Public.

Many people from your past are just plain nosy. They want to see how your life is going and then they never speak to you again. Restrict them. Get into the habit of restricting them as soon as you friend them. Some of them have added you to see to whom you might be connected. No one can see who my Friends are, and if you ask me, that’s the best way to be.

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7. Make lists. To make a list, you go to your Friends list, and hover over the box next to their picture. It reads, “Friends,” but that’s where the magic happens. You will place each friend into the appropriate list.
Let’s face it, in real life, if your Facebook friends were visiting your home, you would keep some of them on the porch. Sure, there are some you’d take to bed, or at least hug, but a lot of these people are specifically porch friends.

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You can make as many lists as you want. You can call the lists whatever you like. The people on the lists will never know the names of the lists they’re on.

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You’ve probably got some people who make your Facebook a better place. You love getting together with these people. They post a lot of things you like. You find you miss these people when you don’t see posts from them. These people can be placed in Facebook’s Close Friends option.
Personally, I have a baker’s dozen I trust implicitly. I tell them anything and everything and they’re always understanding and supportive. If I have a problem, I can call these people at any time, day or night. Virtually nothing offends these people, and they never make drama. I would/do invite these people into my home. I share deeply personal things with them. I can disagree with them or even argue with them, and they will still love me. They are my actual friends. “My people.” You need to know who your people are, in case you want to vent about your family, your bowel movements, your struggles with addiction, your never-ending battle with that one long red hair that grows just a little too high on your forehead to be an eyebrow…
The rest of your friends should be left as Friends.

8. Use the lists. Every time you post, the option to choose your audience is available at the bottom right hand of the post. Before you post, make sure the audience is the one you want. Custom Settings are your friend. They’ll allow you to share specific posts with specific people. Your Cat Lovers, Your Bird People, Your Blogger Friends, Your Golf Buddies, Your Antique Hunters.

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If you’re posting about a free yoga class, you might want that to be Public.
If you’re posting about a yoga book you enjoyed reading, you might want all your Friends to see that.
If you’re posting about how while you did yoga, your child counted 18 stretch marks on your thigh, maybe you only disclose that to Close Friends and your mom.
If you’re posting a photo of the stretch marks, you should probably reduce that post to people you’d show your thighs to, like your Super Good Friends and your mom.
If you’re in despair posting about stretch marks while you type drunkenly into your phone from the bar of six martinis after visiting the plastic surgeon’s office, maybe you limit that to your Very Best Friends and your therapist.

Yes, this works. I promise you it works. 99% of my posts, including photos, are shown to Super Good Friends and my parents. And by parents, I mean my biological parents, because children of divorce must carefully tread through social media like they carefully tread through holidays, weddings, and funerals.
If using the audience settings did not work, all three of my parents would be angry about whether I prefer my father’s fried potatoes over my dad’s macaroni and cheese or how my mother’s always trying to make sweets into nutritious food or whatever. Don’t even get me started.

9. Recognize the audience of the posts you like and comment on.

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If you, Miss Goody-Goody-I-only-post-daily-scripture-and-positive-affirmation-memes click Like on a Public meme about sucking dick, WE WILL ALL SEE THAT YOU’VE LIKED IT. The meme will appear in our feed, and it will actually read, “Miss Goody-Goody likes Dick Sucking’s photo.”

If you write a poignant comment about your abuse as a child at the hands of a drunken father on a Public article, all of your Friends will be informed that you have commented on said article, including your drunken father.

If you try to Share a photo that is not Public, you will see a caution blip about the Privacy Settings. You can still share it, but only the people on the original post can see it.
People try to do this all the time with photos. If I post a photo of my daughter, my Friends can see it. If a Friend Shares it, then only our mutual Friends can see it, meaning the Friends I’ve allowed to see it. I’ve explained this to my parents ninety-gathousand times, and I really don’t think they understand. I guess right-clicking is very hard for people over 60.
But think about that…Should you Share a photo of someone else’s child without permission? Should you?

10. Realize that although the Privacy Settings work, there are sometimes glitches, screenshots are a thing, and people can still share your business the old-fashioned way. So if ultimately, you would just DIE if something was seen by the whole world, then it’s best you not post it.

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If none of this works, you should complain about Facebook while using Facebook, or head over to Twitter. Twitter hates Facebook.

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