Fix It

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

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

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

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

I present to you, a broken banana:

bummer, huh?

bummer, huh?

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

They don’t say, “Aw, bummer,” and eat the banana anyway. Chances are they will run to you and say, “Fix it.” You can’t fix it. You say it’s broken, but still yummy, and you pretend to take a bite, because you’re not going to eat banana that’s been on the ottoman, now are you?
Toddler shakes head.
“NO!”
You sweetly explain that the banana is broken and cannot be fixed.
“NO!”
Toddler stomps feet and cries.
“NOOOOOOOOO!”

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

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

no offense, mexican drug lords

no offense, drug lords

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

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

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

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Cherished Blogfest, Cherished Chicken

There are two types of things in my house: useful things and special things. The best things are generally special useful things. I’m a purger. I don’t like to waste energy on things. When it came time to write about something for the Cherished Blogfest, I thought surely it would be simple. It’s not.

When I was small, I had a collection of stuffed animals. Whenever my father brought me a new one, I’d turn all the other stuffed animals around to spare their feelings. With their faces to the wall, they wouldn’t see the extra attention I gave the new one. That’s how I feel about this challenge.

I’d already written about the painting, which is surely my most cherished possession. I’ve already written about our quilts, and the pottery the children made.

I asked Sassy for help. Some suggestions were my pewter measuring spoons, an antique china dish, rare books, Pyrex bowls, a vase I don’t let other people touch…All good suggestions, but without creative spark, until finally she said, “The chicken?”

“YES! MY CHICKEN IS VERY SPECIAL!”

Before I moved back home, I’d had a comforting dream about my grandmother’s milk glass nesting hen, and I’d decided that was something I’d buy myself as a housewarming gift when we finally got settled.

One morning when I opened Instagram, I realized Drew and Beauty Queen had already been out and about thrifting.
In the picture, between their broad smiles, they held up a milk glass chicken together.

@jolenemottern Lookit what we found for Joey! #justforyou #milkglasschicken

I squealed! I hopped up and down a little! My chicken! They found me a chicken! It’s not hard to find a chicken, in the sense that one often stumbles upon dirty ol halves of a chicken, but it’s hard to find a pretty, clean, intact one — in person.

Yes, I cherish my chicken. It’s one of the first things I see when I walk in the door.
It’s precious.

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And useful.

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This was a fun challenge. I enjoyed sharing my chicken story with y’all, and I’ve really enjoyed reading about the cherished belongings of others. If you’d like to read more Cherished Blogfest posts, click here.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Impatient

Moo said to her father, “It’s time to go! Get up! You must brush all your tiny hairs and put on your giant shoes!”

pillowman
One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Shady Ass School Supply Lists

The other day, the girls and I encountered the first of the back-to-school supply displays. Sassy said she wondered when she’d get her list. I said “Middle school is different, you won’t get a list. We’ll send you with the basics and if your teachers ask for anything specific, just let us know.”

I was so wrong.

On Sunday, we got one of those fabulous automated calls of which I’m so incredibly fond. Sassy’s middle school principal had a seven-point audio presentation for us, and one of those seven points was the supply list. The supply list. I fuckin hate the supply list.

Contributing factors:

1. Money.

2. Unexpected Socialism. After spending an hour in the school supply aisles, letting our kids pick out Hello Kitty pencils, orange scissors, and notebooks with ponies on them, they took them to school where they were amassed and then dispersed. My kids didn’t get to use the items they picked out. While this doesn’t bother me on principle, I would have preferred to know, see number one.

3. The sheer insanity of the demands, from the amount to the brand name. Here are some examples of things we’ve been told to buy: Six comp books, 2 packets of college-ruled loose leaf paper, 2 packets of Expo dry erase markers, 2 dry erasers, 3 packages 10-count Ticonderoga pencils, 3 highlighters, one package 2-count Bounty paper towels, 16oz bottle of hand sanitizer, Lysol disinfectant wipes, one box 50-count Ziploc freezer bags, 5 plastic pocket folders with 3-hole centers — red, blue, green, yellow, orange. One teacher’s list included a ream of paper. PER CHILD. Those are all PER CHILD.

The lists grow longer and longer each year. The headlines should not read “School Supply List” so much as they should read “Teacher’s Wet Dream.” Don’t misunderstand me, as a former teacher I’m aware that classrooms are more effectively managed when everything is as organized as it can be, and color-coding helps. The average teacher spends more than $500 a year on classroom supplies from her own pocket and I don’t think they get paid enough in the first damn place, but maybe SOMEONE is a little out-of-touch with the economic demands of families?

Our kids can’t even take all the stuff on the bus. I had to drive the kids to school and walk Sissy’s items in. Bubba could barely carry his. Literally, pre-K Moo could not carry her backpack and three bags of supplies. With only the actual paper and crayons and stuff in her backpack, she walked with a stoop as though she was trekking up a mountainside.

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I’m not about to send my kids to school without pencils and paper and folders.
I’m a snotty person with snotty kids, so I’m one of the moms who sends in Kleenex all year.
I have great affection for Bounty paper towels. I am seriously dependent. But asking for sixty rolls of them…
And what the fuck are you going to do with 1500 gallon Ziploc bags?!?!?

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Over the last decade, I’ve grown suspicious of the school supply list. I like to go to Meet-the-Teacher night with the list on my clipboard and my red pen and ask the teachers directly, “Now, this list is obviously contrived, what does Sissy actually need?” or “Where the hell am I supposed to buy a Kindermat?” Oh yes, I actually say those things.
And do you know how embarrassed teachers get?
“Oh we don’t need all that, that’s just what the township requests,” or “She doesn’t need a Kindermat, we just rest at our desks. Saves time and cuts down on lice.”

Kindergarten Supply List
It changes strangely, too. One-inch binders! No! Three-inch binders! No! Two-inch binders! No! One-and-a-half! Why can’t it ever just be a binder?

I’ve said to the children, “I have surely bought you five rulers by now. Go find one.”

I purchased two recorders for four kids. No, I’m sorry, not everyone will have a recorder in one’s childhood keepsake boxes, oh how sad.

I’ve also hoarded the unused school supplies that come home at the end of the year. “You need six comp books? Well, I happen to have eight of them from when they said Bubba and Sissy needed six but they really didn’t.”

One year, the scissors were kept in the classroom. Forever.

Sassy has had highlighters on her list for the last 4 years. She tells me she has never used a highlighter. Moo says, “I do! I use the highlighters to color!” Oh but Moo, you’re supposed to use the 24 Crayola crayons to color, or is it the 12 Crayola colored pencils, or maybe the 10 Crayola Washable markers? Exactly how much coloring goes on in the fifth grade?!?

I am getting old, but I’m not really old yet. I know this because of many things, not the least of which is that I remember the seventh grade quite well, and in the seventh grade, I went to school with notebooks and pens, the likes of which I used mostly to compose notes to pass to friends.

I can tell you a lot about seventh grade. Who my teachers were (Mrs. Olvey told me I would never be an electrician) where I sat (I was a front-row kinda kid) where my best friends sat (they were back-row kinda kids) and where my locker was. I remember that ice cream sandwiches in the lunchroom were 35 cents, my hair was in style without touching it, that I found dried cumin, boy body odor, and sharpened pencils smell very much the same. And in seventh grade English, the red-headed boy in front of me asked me for paper every damn day, because apparently his mother had gone to school with slate and chalk.

We did not have a school supply list.

A lot has changed in the last thirty years, but I’m pretty sure my kid can still make it through the seventh grade without 40 ounces of hand sanitizer, how bout you?

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The Quiet Room

As all parents know, children are born to remove quiet from the world. Instinctively, people under the age of twelve know it’s dangerous to let their parents read, or heaven forbid, hear themselves think.
It is essential that all children interrupt all conversations, particularly phone conversations. Special attention must also be paid when their parents’ eyes are twinkly and there’s a lot of kissing. That is the window of opportunity in which children must break something or suffer injury.

We’re in the quiet room today.
I started “This is the quiet room,” almost immediately in motherhood.

I’ve recently had to reestablish the parameters of the quiet room, because sometimes three people are in the living room reading and some jerkface beloved family member comes in and turns on the television.

Right now I can hear the clocks ticking. Ahh.

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I miss how I had the quiet room while the kids were in school, but I totally love the sleeping in, but you know, ya take the good, ya take the bad.

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Would You Rather…

Hollie nominated me for this challenge-slash-interview, which makes me smile all emoji-like. Thanks, Hollie!

happy

Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?

I prefer standalones. I snub series reading all the time. Is the series completed? No? No thanks.
The last trilogy I read was The Witching Hour series, and that’s because I didn’t know it was a trilogy when I picked up that first book. I read that series like a maniac. I couldn’t go to sleep, I forgot to eat, then when I remembered to eat, I read while I ate. Oh mercy, those books! I finished the second one at work and that very same day, The Mister slipped the third book into my car before school let out. To be honest, I’m fairly amazed I didn’t sit there and read it overnight, or call in sick to stay home and finish it.
I cannot hang out waiting for completion.
No, trilogies are not safe for Joeys.

Would you rather only read male or female authors?

I’m completely guilty of preferring female authors. That’s not to say that I don’t read male authors, but that the majority of what I love is written by women, about women, for women.

Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

Whose money am I spending? Why isn’t an ancient independent bookstore an option? I go to Barnes & Noble to look around and buy coffee. I sometimes buy bargain paperbacks there, and sometimes gifts, but I buy most books used or from Amazon.com. Seriously, most of the books I read are library lent. Shiny new books are weird.

Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

Movies, I suppose. Although, it always seems to me the people making the movies should probably read the fucking book before making the fucking movie and I may be a tad bit too impassioned about this.

Would you rather read only five pages per day or five books per week?

I’d rather read five books a week.

Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

I’d much rather be an author. I seldom write reviews, and only write positive reviews on books I’ve loved.

Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

I’d say I’d rather be a bookseller, but I saw You’ve Got Mail and I don’t wanna be superstored into falling in love with a corporate nepotist. I’d rather be a librarian. A mean, shushing librarian who glares at you over her readers and judges your choices, but then seduces you with the way she constantly inverts numbers and cries over her inability to use the library’s search feature.

Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?

I’ll be happy to read my favorite genre forever.

Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?

I would rather only read physical books. And smell them. And finger their spines. And brush my thumb across the edges of their thick, crooked pages. And smell them again.

john-waters-books

I’m not nominating anyone specifically. Please help yourself to participation in this challenge-slash-interview.

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Anxiety — When It’s Time to Go

Before we left for vacation, I tried to touch on the angst of anxiety disorder before a trip. I wanted to go into detail about what that’s actually like for so many of us whose brains overshoot the adrenaline. This isn’t a typical post for me, but I got some feedback on that post that made me feel like I had an audience for this.

I can look back now and see that even in my young adult years, I had control issues when it came to my environment. Specifically, coming and going. I set out my clothes the night before school. I made lists. Instead of being picked up, I met most of my dates at the location, I was usually the designated driver when I went out with friends, and I particularly hated waiting for anyone and everyone to be ready to leave, which is why I liked driving — my car, ever ready for my escape.

margaret-summy-quote-ive-talked-to-people-who-wont-go-to-the-dentist

One of the times that anxiety never fails to get me is when it’s time to leave the house. This is pretty much all the time. The exception is when I’m in THE ZONE. If I am working intensely on a project and I need something (twine, bleach, painter’s tape) I will drive to the store and get it, without pause. These moments are rare. I thank distraction.

I will always leave early because waiting to leave and being late are both hellish.

The getting ready to leave the house thing is killer for a lot of people with anxiety disorder. Yes, it’s normal to be anxious because you’re scheduled for root canal or you’re closing on a house or you’re being interviewed for a job. That’s normal anxious. Even if you had a panic attack or threw up before those things, your doctor would check you out and reassure you it’s stress-induced.
Imagine you feel like that before going to school or work every single day.
Or when you’re meeting your best friend for coffee.
Imagine you feel like that before you go to the grocery store.
Imagine it all the time, every time you leave your house.

It’s awful.
People with anxiety disorder often feel like that.

Physiology-of-the-Fight-or-Flight-Response

Then some of us have panic attacks in the shower, nearly throw up in the lawn, drive to the grocery store with tunnel vision, enter the grocery store replete with sensory bombardment, walk around with our hands clutched to our chests, or maybe just one hand on our throats, realize we’ve left the list on the kitchen counter, spill our coupons in the produce section, tremble and cry while we pick them up, hear everything, including ourselves, like we’re outside of our bodies, almost pass out when we pick up a box of oatmeal, pay in a blur of confusion and vertigo, leave the bag of butter at the check-out, drive home with tunnel vision, hands gripping the steering wheel, afraid of every other driver on the road, stumble into the house with the bags, put all the food away, and with every muscle wound tightly, collapse.
I’ve experienced many versions of that.

Then all those things that happened during the adrenaline-induced panic become panic triggers. You cannot avoid them unless you give up living a quotidian life.
You try to adapt.
So you start taking baths.
You go to a different grocery store.
You go when it’s less crowded.
You sign up for electronic coupons instead.
You make your kids pick out the oatmeal.
You compulsively buy butter every time you go to the store until you actually have to tell your friends to remind you that you do not need any more butter.
But it doesn’t stop.
Now you hate driving, because it makes you sick.
It spills over from mundane into your fun stuff.

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You used to love concerts, adventure, travel, drinking and dancing into the night. People say you’re only growing older, but you know how you were and it wasn’t so exhausting before. It isn’t your age, it’s your brain, poisoning you with adrenaline.
Your friends say you’ve grown too introverted, and they stop asking you to join them because they know you’re gonna decline. They don’t understand until they’re around long enough to watch you go and go and go, with the same intensity you had at 20. “There she is! There’s my vivacious Joey!”

It’s visceral. While it’s happening, you look fine, you seem well to others. You just feel like you’re dying. I don’t mean that dramatically, I mean that you’re so fucked up that there’s an instinctual feeling in the depths of you which convinces you your time has come.

I don’t even feel well while writing it.
I can hear my own heartbeat in my ears.
My throat is swelling.
My skull is shrinking.
My shoulders ache.

At the end of pushing through, after the go and go and go — You were having such a wonderful time! Your friends and family see you: broken. Exhausted, a bout of migraines, a fever, an infection, a cold sore, swollen glands, a rash, maybe hives, a pinched nerve in your neck, jaw pain, digestion upset (can you say stomach acid?!?) visibly inflamed joints. You’ve clenched every muscle in your body for far too long. You didn’t get enough sleep. Your doctor says you need antibiotics and steroids. You don’t want antibiotics and steroids. Your doctor says to take it easy. You want to take it easy, but you don’t want to miss out on all the fun.

Fun things aren’t as much fun, and need to be taken with a dose of downtime, not just because you’re an introvert, but because your brain will literally make you sick. Mental health issues highlight all your physical issues.

The-Side-Effects-Of-Anxiety

You go to therapy. You take the benzos. You do the work. You start reading books about balance and zen and setting your own limits. You follow all the advice of anyone who’ll give it. You get rid of toxic people, which for you, are people who push you.

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You don’t schedule an entire day out, you schedule the post office on one day, the grocery on another, appointments early, and on a day you can relax after. You pay careful attention to how you’re feeling. You maybe overfeel, at the risk of going too far at once.

You are fragile and yet, incredibly strong.
That’s a real thing.

I’m better now, not cured. I’m better because I know what it is and how to react. I’m so glad I had therapy. About half of my out-of-the house trips involve anxiety now, but they rarely involve panic. Most of the time I’m fine as soon as I leave the house. The wait is over, the now is now and I get on fine, out there. I’ve found a great deal of go and go and go can be done AROUND MY HOUSE, at my convenience, without a schedule. I love reading, writing, cooking, gardening, sewing, DIY, coloring, games, drinking and dancing, my shows, my laptop.
That is not to say panic can’t find me at home, because that happens, too.

When it’s time to go is a real bitch. When it’s time to stop is a real bitch. Variations on a theme do occur in this respect, and I’m interested in reading about what always gets to you and how you cope.

My favorite avoidance technique coping mechanism has been to marry another control freak who makes me feel safe, and who prefers to drive, and who will be happy to stop and pick up butter on his way home. The Mister, he says to me last night, “It’s not just sex. It’s everything. You have a great appetite for life all around.”

And you would too, if you always had a voice telling you you’re dying.

I find immense gratitude and happiness simply by living in my own version of normal. That’s how I win.
How do you win?
It’s perfectly acceptable to say you win by not having anxiety disorder.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Siri Will Get You Arrested

When arriving at a gated community, Siri said, “You have arrived. Prepare to park your vehicle. You will need to walk to your destination.”

neighborhood+watch15

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill.

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But So Beautiful

Ah, Lido Beach Sarasota.
It could have been anywhere.

We had vacation before our vacation, in-between our vacations, and after our vacation. What we didn’t do was hurry.
Sarasota was lovely, all over, even if I’m not good at sitting around in the sun, I have to admit, there’s a certain appeal. It’s peaceful. You don’t much lift a finger and the scenery is gorgeous, even if it’s not my kinda scenery. People do go on about palm trees…

Yes, part of the time, we submitted ourselves to traditional vacationing by staying in a luxury hotel with a gulf view, because, well, it’s a cliche for a reason!

Get up in the morning, open the curtains, lie in bed for a while, let the view work its wonders on you before waking the children.

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Eat a meal and watch dolphins jump and swim from the oceanfront dining room.

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Go play at the beach.

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Go swim in the pool.

booking.com's photo. mine have people in them.

booking.com’s photo. my pool photos have my people in them.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Is this the kind of vacation you like? I think it’s nice for a day or two, then I get restless. I like to go and do and see.

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All Vacation-y and Stuff

I realize I was vague in my post about conflict and how The Mister and his ex deal with it, but I promise you, the conflict had nothing to do directly with either of them, and no I won’t share details, because on this blog, you will never read about the big things that impact my life in a negative way, because this blog is about anxious me reporting the good stuff, finding gratitude in the small things, bouncing back, moving forward with humor.

I also realize this puts me in the camp of people that many pick on, like I’m pretending to have some perfect life, showing you only sunshine and roses, but if you’re actually reading me regularly, I think you’re aware that there’s no pretense here. You’d really hafta to be a sorta special naive to think my life is without rain and thorns. It’s not my entire life that you’re reading, but rather, the spin I put on bits and pieces of it.

To quote an internet favorite, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE!”
(Unless you’re one of the 12 people who know my life.)

Before I continue with more time spent with the ex, please take into account that even before so much water went under the bridge, all of our children have always had more adults to love them.
Imagine that.
Imagine the ex and I standing side by side, laughing, watching grown Bubba climb up a slide.
“I’m totally laughing, because five-year-old Bubba would so yell at grown Bubba, because that’s not how he’s supposed to do it.”
“I know, right?”
“Hahahaha!”

Imagine us all at hospital bedsides.
Imagine us all at birthday parties and Thanksgiving dinners.
Imagine me calling her about whether I should use the plastic panties for potty training.
Imagine me taking a photo of little Sissy with both of her biological parents. Do you know how rare that is for children of divorce? I DO.
Imagine us sharing countless meals and long chats into the night.
Imagine her holding little Sassy and Moo.
No, it is NOT all fucking sunshine and roses, don’t be ridiculous. But it’s a lot more that than otherwise, because we are mature enough to at least attempt to find common ground.

Now, enough with the disclaimer — Onward! as we visit the home of The Mister’s ex’s parents for an evening of relaxation! Yes, my husband’s former in-laws, you read that right. Tight ball, yes, I know.
This was one of my favorite times on our trip, and you’ll soon see why.

There were homemade mojitos. I’d never had a mojito, but I gotta say, I could drink those all day, every day. Mint grows wild there, and you can smell it in the air. Well, I can.

mojito
There was spicy crab dip. Y’all, I do not even know what’s in that, but if someone offers you some spicy crab dip, you gotta try it. That’s one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth! I say Goddamn!

crabdip
They served low country boil and we had a grand ol time discussing names for crawdads and types of crab and shrimp. Like, do you know how stone crab is harvested? Yikes!

Sidenote on the low country boil:
A waiter asked us pale people where we were from and we said, “Indiana.” Then he asked us what our plans were later that evening and I said, “Low country boil.” He then asked me what that was and I countered, “You dunno low country boil?!? Where are you from?!?”
“Iowa.”
“Ahaha, okay.”
I explained it and he said it sounded good. Good? YUMMY!

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I ate and drank in a screened enclosure while the kids swam in plain view. That is so vacation-y! That hasta be the most vacation-y of vacation-y stuff! Then I swam, too. We talked and laughed and commiserated until late in the evening. I’m just sayin, I had a really, really good time. I had no anxiety, I was not hot, I was blissful.

Do you think if it’s not in the blog, it doesn’t happen? Do you understand how even though it’s unconventional and weird, extended broken family + or – dysfunction x shared love ones to the nth can = happiness? Do you love mojitos? What’re you snackin on?

PS: I am currently munching on a snack suggested by La Sabrosona. Sassy and I are in love with it!

cream cheese, tuna salad & hot sauce on crackers

cream cheese, tuna salad & hot sauce on crackers

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Cheesy Quinoa for Prajakta

Last month I wrote a post that included the menu for when we had some friends to dinner, and Prajakta said she wanted to see a photo of the cheesy quinoa. I didn’t have one. She said, “Next time or else!” I don’t wanna know what else is!

For cheesy quinoa, I cook the quinoa and then when it’s done, I stir in some soft cheese. Just whatever I have: goat cheese, swiss, gruyere, cream cheese, even Laughing Cow.

For Prajakta — don’t else me!

cheesyquinoa

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The Fish Face Laughs No More

If you ask my children, I am the meanest mother in the world for making them wear sunscreen and hats, but especially sunscreen.

While we were in Florida, especially with my parents, I saw many versions of us. You could tell who’d come down to visit their grandmas and papas. Over and over, I saw us. Three generations: the oldest, native, tan, and aglow with love and pride. Their visiting children, pasty, slightly nervous, and desperately seeking shade, water, and/or alcohol. The grandchildren, sporting bright and cheerful clothes and hats, giddy with attention and spoils.

Happiness won’t protect your skin, Little Ones!

Yes, Moo tans, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need sunscreen. I use the spray stuff on her body, but cream for her face.
Everyone gets the special face stuff, because way too much sensitive skin in our family. Skin could be its own blog post, but I’ll spare you.
Sassy is so thin-skinned and fair, she gets chaffed from pool noodles, life vests, or wet socks. I wish I was kidding. She gets this from her father, who wears hats and long-sleeved shirts into the sea. Sassy gets coated like I do. And then re-coated like I do.

On the first day out, Sassy got pink shoulders. And lemme tell you, she complained plenty. And there I was, the wonderful mother I am, “Can you imagine how much pain you’d be in without the sunscreen?!?” She knows.
(Once they’re eight, they know everything. This lasts a decade or so.)
By morning, she was no longer pink.

Moo got pink shoulders on the fourth day, but that only lasted about two hours, and then she became tanner, and none of us were jealous and she didn’t gloat at all, and we didn’t all want to smack her.

The boy one voluntarily applied sunscreen and donned a hat while I beamed with pride.

The Mister broke down and let me apply sunscreen to his neck, and also yielded to my argument that he needed the face cream, since the sun reflects off the sand and sea, even under his hat. You’d think the years he spent in the desert would have made that argument for me, but no…

I was careful about my sunscreen application. I not only burn, but blister easily — and get sun poisoning, and end up quite sick! Sixty-four ounces of prevention is worth not going to the doctor. I put the special face stuff on my face and chest. I put the cream sunscreen on my body, and The Mister coated my back. I pretty much wore hats the entire time.

You know those car sun visors are useless for short people, right? But the brim of my hat can shield a small village.

THIS was my sun exposure:

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I dunno I truly do not know. It was a bit Nemo-ish — Do you see it? Only on one leg. I creamed-up both legs, but obviously this one tried to go tanning. It didn’t hurt much, and faded overnight.

Just in case, I ate a plate of cookies and drank a lot.

Can you see the face of a laughing fish? Do you have any weird sunscreen fails? Do you take sun exposure seriously?

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SoCS — Rings

When it came time to get married, I didn’t wanna wear a ring.
Like, I know it’s a thing people do, but I’ve never been a fan of rings. I’m not really a jewelry person.
I’d met some people who had tattooed wedding rings, and I thought that was pretty nifty, but no one else did. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’m not really a tattoo person, but still, pretty nifty.

I decided to use my mother’s mother’s mother’s ring. It’s white gold and has five settings, the birthstones of her children, and the baby she lost. My cousin’s wife took it in and had one setting changed so that the stones actually represented our birthstones, our children’s birthstones, and Drew’s. I thought that was quite clever. I always say I’m going to go and get the settings changed, add Sassy and Moo and one for the baby we lost. I seldom wear that ring, so I seldom think about it.

At our wedding, my judge friend was supposed to officiate, but his mother passed, so stupid random substitute judge went on about my gold band (uh, white gold, but sure..) and Christ’s bond to the church (why does he think we got married outdoors with a judge?) Did I mention we should’ve eloped? If I have one honest regret, it’s that.

I didn’t wear my wedding ring much at all for about a year. Then one day I was out with Bubba, Sissy, Simon, and another child, and I realized that the salesclerk was looking for my wedding ring. To this salesclerk, I realized I looked about 15, with four kids in steps from at least two different baby daddies.
Simon always looks like my love child.
I decided to wear my wedding ring.
Really, I wished I could wear my birth certificate and my college diploma, but what’s a girl to do?

Eventually, I was pregnant, and pregnant again, so I really hated rings, and shoes, and clothes, and anyone touching me. I didn’t swell or anything, but I think my touch threshold was slim. I wore my father’s plain gold band then.

In contrast, The Mister wore his ring faithfully, until he somehow managed to fry it on a car battery, searing his skin and warping his band. I can’t judge him too much, I still get burned while I cook.
I bought him another band, just a cheapy silver thing, but he cleaned it in the gold jewelry cleaner, because man.

When we got to Ft Stewart, wedding rings were this really big deal. (Anything that showed status was a really big deal.) Some other Army wife at a party told me, “He could die, and you don’t even have a diamond from him!” Good gravy. Least of my worries.
The following week, The Mister bought me a diamond ring. It’s lovely. Antique looking, platinum setting, dainty. I wore it religiously for years, God forbid he died without giving me a diamond. I sometimes wear it, even though last year, one of the smallest diamonds fell out and I haven’t had it fixed.

During this time, The Mister did not wear his wedding band, which was okay, because he worked with lotsa mechanical shit. Eventually, in personnel, he began wearing his third band, titanium, and we all joked about his sudden and recent marriage.

In 2008, on our anniversary, The Mister gave me a peridot ring, set in two-tone gold. I love it. I wear it a lot.
That ring was cleverly purchased in a ruse. Per The Mister, True called to ask me about how to determine her ring size. I recall standing in my kitchen, thinking she’d lost her mind, “No your ring size isn’t the same as your shoe size just because mine is. That’s just how I remember it.” It was a bizarre conversation which didn’t make sense for days. You know, until the ring showed up.

I’m still not a ring person. I often go out in public without a ring on, and I no longer care what assumptions people make.
Rings get in the way of gardening, massages, washing my hair, sewing, cooking, especially baking…

I just found out that before our wedding, my evil aunt despised the idea that I’d ever get hold of my other grandmother’s rings and insisted they be returned to her. I guess it should hurt my feelings, when in reality, I could not care less. I think it may have hurt her brother’s feelings, though.
I got the painting, and that’s all I wanted.
I don’t recall my grandmother wearing anything but a plain gold band. I don’t think she cared much for stuff and things.

In our experience, gold, silver, or platinum — rings don’t endure the way a marriage does.

rings

SoCS is a Saturday blog topic run by the ever-inspiring LindaGHill, all are welcome to play along.

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Thursday Doors — McGuire’s Irish Pub

If I could only make one stop in Pensacola, it’d be McGuire’s Irish Pub. I just love this place.

mgp
I’ve been there five or six times now, and it’s always delicious, so yes, the locals eat there, too. It’s Florida, so I always go for the seafood. This last time I ate crab cakes. I’m a bit of a crab cake connoisseur, and I’m a big fan of McGuire’s remoulade. But it should be known that they make a splendid Shepherd’s Pie (which is actually Cottage Pie) and they have enormous, mouth-watering corned beef sandwiches. Moo ordered a pizza with broccoli and orange slices, so even the non-foodies can enjoy a meal there.

More than delicious, it has a homey, casual ambiance with more than its share of whimsy.
It’s decorated with over a million dollar bills, pinned to the wall, hanging from the ceiling. The first time I went there I wrote my name on a dollar and added it to the collection.
Here’s a photo showing you some of the bills. This one happens to be in The Notre Dame Room.

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All of the indoor pictures I took have that fuzzy orange hue, since the lighting was low. Truth be told, I enjoyed the low lighting, and the air conditioning, and the huge cocktail that came with this “free” tee-shirt.

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Crashed is a good word. The drink’s exact contents remain a mystery to me, but the waiter did tell me it has 151, plus spiced rum, and banana liqueur in it. I was pleasantly tipsy when we left McGuire’s, but I was puzzled by how to work our car door handles once we got to the next stop, so I opted to sit in the car and look at all the pretty trees for a while.

Anyway, McGuire’s is a great place, and I hope if you’re ever in Pensacola, you’ll head out that way and try it.

mgp1

Thursday Doors is part of an inspired post series run by Norm Frampton.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Political Water

My dad pointed to the counter and said, “Joey, I think this is your water bottle here — it’s leaning to the left.”

donkey-and-elephant
One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Ft. Pickens

I’d spent quite a bit of time in the Pensacola area, so there were a few places I wanted to revisit, specifically a beach and a pub, which sounds Florida-typical, non? But I promise you this beach and this pub are special.

Pensacola is better than the rest of Florida. For one, there’s always a breeze. It’s a breezy place, so I feel less like I’m dying. Two, there are actual trees, big deciduous shade trees, so I feel less like I’m dying. I still hate Florida, but if I hafta be there, Pensacola is a good area.

Ft. Pickens (click here for geeky-good info) is a beautiful, historic place. It’s most beautiful in winter, while riding a bicycle through it all day, but it’s also very beautiful in summer, while you sit in your air-conditioned car. It is slightly less beautiful outside the air-conditioned car in summer, while you wander around on the white sand, the sun ravaging your body. You knew it would be this way, but you are a good sport. Your face wears SPFkajillion and you wear your large straw hat and your long-sleeve, thin white shirt because the sun is not your friend. You are a trooper. Not only have you upped your water intake over the last week in preparation for this excursion, but you also guzzle water like it’s your job and never, ever mention to anyone that you feel like you’re dying because your throat only seems to work while you’re drinking the water and not so much for breathing. Despite the nagging anxiety that tells you you’re in a Salvador Dali painting, you know that your face has not melted off, because your Rosacea has flared and you can feel the red hot pin-pricks of a thousand angry capillaries rupturing. People begin to ask you if you’re okay, and you say you are, because you don’t need medical intervention. They ask if you’re sure, because your face is red in a way that indicates heat stroke is upon you. You take your sunglasses off and reveal puddles of sweat behind the lenses, and you say, “I’m alright. See? Still sweatin.” They ask if you’re sunburnt and you say, “No, this just happens when I’m hot.” Your youngest child tells everyone about your Rosacea, and how you can’t deal with heat, and how your body is northern, and that’s fine. You wear a wry smile and are glad no one can tell you’re blushing, even if your face just went up twenty degrees.
Your youngest child has your mother’s skin, and got a tan in the car on the way to Florida. You know by the end of the week she will be brown as a bean, and you are glad for her.
Your other little one begs you to sit with her in a tunnel and then asks if she can take off her shirt. You allow that, knowing that it will only provide five seconds of cooling, but she’ll learn. You realize she isn’t just white like you, she’s miserable like you.
It’s not long before your even whiter son joins you both in the tunnel, and asks you what the summer’s like in Indy. He doesn’t remember anymore. You tell him there are very few days like this one, and that summer only lasts three months. You tell him about how cool soft green grass feels underfoot, and how often a good rain brings the temperature from the 90’s into the 70’s. He tells you he’s had enough of the heat and can’t wait to leave. You feel badly for him, but remember he chose his own college, so you tell him that it’s even hotter where Grandma is. He shakes his head. You shake your head, too.

But before all that, before you knew you were going to die in a tunnel with your whitest babies, you walked around and climbed things and explored, taking pictures, because like you said, you think it’s beautiful.

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You regret that you’re not a particularly good photographer, and that you didn’t take a hundred better photos, but in your defense, you were dying, and the sun was so bright you could scarcely see.
Also, scenery, I don’t care who you are or where you are, is never nearly as beautiful when caught by a camera. This is one of the things Moo learned on our trip. She said, “I wish the camera could see things the way I do.”

That water felt better than any water I ever felt. Until the next time I almost died, then that water felt better than any water I ever felt and so on and so forth.

But isn’t it beautiful?
For Florida, anyway.

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When the Bull Runs Wild

The problem with writing about vacation is that it’s hard to organize little vignettes when you’re still processing the trip overall. I think we should start with the bad stuff and get that outta the way.

We had “beautiful weather.” I mean, that’s how people would see it. It was unbearably hot and sunny most of the time. Temperatures ranged from 80’s overnight to highs in the low 100’s. At no point were our plans ruined by bad weather.
Except on the drive Tuesday. I think it was Tuesday.

You can’t possibly think I kept the days straight. Even one day, I thought there might be a magical extra day in June, squeezed in between the 29th and the 30th. Days sneak by on vacation.

But on the day I think was Tuesday, we hit an awful storm. This particular thunderstorm followed us all night. The gusts of wind blowin Bonnie Blue all over the road, the sheets of rain hitting her windshield, dodging the debris in the road while thunder shook us — all metaphorical imagery for the turbulence in the car.

You see, we spent time with The Mister’s ex. The ex and I can actually get along quite well, going back decades. Obviously The Mister doesn’t get on with his ex very well, but they can be amicable for a considerable amount of time. We’re family. We share a lot of people, experiences, and goals. Also, we all share a common enemy, and as everyone knows the enemy of your enemy is your friend. I told you I can’t explain how tightly my ball is wound, hm? Tip of the iceberg.

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It’s been a long time since we had conflicts. But while we were on vacation, conflicts were thrown at us.
Not all of us have gone to therapy and fetched a psychological toolbox for dealing with this sorta conflict, but I have. Unfortunately, my toolbox is useless against a team of people who are determined to revert to their old patterns when they’re together too long. When two brick walls are pushed together, they create tension until one of them crumbles. Been 24 years and ain’t nobody crumbled yet, but the bricks on the top are pretty loose.

I thought we were having a discussion. I was having a discussion. It would take a few hours to realize that for once, I was the sane one.
I said things.
They argued with me.
Then they argued with one another.
I said more things.
Then they argued with themselves.
Lawd.

The Mister continued to argue with me, and himself, across the panhandle, as the storms raged on. It was super pleasant. As a person who feels everything around me, I cannot tell you how frickin pleasant that was.
“Baggage goes in the trunk! Who told you you can keep your baggage in a carry-on? If you can’t keep your negative aura in the passenger seat, I will hafta roll down my window and my hair will get crazy and you don’t want my hair to get crazy!”

crazy
But don’t anyone go to therapy and get a fuckin toolbox, it’s fine. I’m sure these issues only ever surface when you’re together, and other lies you tell yourselves.

Their crazy brought out my crazy. I got this pretty little china shop, where all the fragile tchotchkes are lined up all neatly and I keep the doors closed real tight so everything stays shiny and I can’t be havin bulls runnin through it! Do you see how fucking poetic and ethereal I am? I’m not a delicate fucking flower, but I feel like one when the bull runs wild. I spent Tuesday night picking up pieces of broken china, and nicking away at The Mister until he bled half as much as I.

On the day I think was Wednesday, the skies had cleared. The bull had slept and fed by the seashore, and his aura kept close to his skin. My nerves were unfettered, my drive, free and easy. By the time my mother put the wine in my hand, The Mister was telling my parents how I was right. Like, he said it. Aloud. Where other people could hear him.

Another storm rolled in. The skies sent lightning and hail, but by then we were sheltered.

no-relationship-is-all-sun-but-you-can-share-an-umbrella

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It’s Going to Take a Month

Yes, I am home from vacation.
I am not even close to recovered from vacation.
But we are older now, and wiser, so we scheduled our return early in order to leave three days of staycation to recover.

We got home last night.
Our Catticus was scarcely seen by the housesitter all week, but when we came home, he came to claim the luggage and very clearly told us we cannot leave again for a long, long time.

catticusbags
That luggage is still sitting there, too.
Oh, like you hurry to do laundry when you get home.

No, we came home, people came over, and we hurried downtown to see the fireworks. I was overtired last night and for once, my anxiety did not win, because I was smart enough to realize I was supposed to be exhausted.
I am still quite sleepy today, even though my activity was minimal. I had morning sex. That was probably my mistake, haha, because after that, I could barely muster the energy to pull a robe off the hook and tie it! I made coffee. I read a buncha blogs. I got so tired while reading, I hadda have a lie-down. I walked around tsking at weeds and pulled a few. I put that frozen lasagna in the oven and I even took it out and cut it. I put the plug in the sink and ran water to soak the dishes. Seriously, I am like a zombie.

We had a wonderful vacation. Just wonderful. Won.Der.Ful.

It almost made up for not having a vacation the last five years, heh.

I ate and drank my way down the gulf, and if you follow me on Instagram, then you saw a lot of what I ate and drank, but here are some highlights:

smokin oyster brewery ft myers

smokin oyster brewery ft myers

homemade mojito in gulf breeze

homemade mojito in gulf breeze

We had all the good times, and saw all the good people, and I would venture to say, I’ve got enough blog fodder to fill July.
Little by little, I shall.

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Short and Sweet

These little interview thingies have circulated for a long time, but they resurfaced a few weeks ago on my Facebook. They’re pretty fun. You should totally interview people and have a few laughs! The key is to not look for a right answer, but to take in someone else’s perspective.

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My interview with The Mister, June 11, 2015:

1. What is something your wife always says to you?
“I don’t wanna nag you, but…”

2. What makes your wife happy?
When I “cook” — take her out for dinner

3. What makes your wife sad?
When she hasta say, “I don’t wanna nag you, but…”

4. How does your wife make you laugh?
She says somethin funny.

5. What was your wife like as a child?
A pain in the ass

6. How old is your wife?
41

7. How tall is your wife?
5’4

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Read

9. What does your wife do when you’re not around?
Whatever the hell she wants

10. If your wife becomes famous, what will it be for?
Writing

11. What is your wife really good at?
Writing, cooking, educating, enlightening

12. What is your wife not very good at?
Mechanical shit

13. What does your wife do for a job?
Everything, every day, all the time

14.What is your wife’s favorite food?
Seafood

15.What makes you proud of your wife?
She never ceases to amaze me

16. If your wife were a character, who would she be?
I don’t know

17. What do you and your wife do together?
We watch our shows

18. How are you and your wife the same?
We are both strong, opinionated people you don’t want to anger.

19. How are you and your wife different?
I am charismatic, outgoing and charming. She is quiet, reserved, and prefers not to be out in public amongst people.

20. How do you know your wife loves you?
Cause she says so

21. What does your wife like most about you?
My integrity

22. Where is your wife’s favorite place to go?
On a car ride, because she was a dog in her previous life.

 

My interview with Moo (then age 5) June 24, 2009:

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Uh, what to do right now

2. What makes mom happy?
Lovins

3. What makes mom sad?
When people be mean at eachother

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
She tickles me

5. What was your mom like as a child?
She was cute like me 

6. How old is your mom?
23

7. How tall is your mom?
She’s not tall

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Play words

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
She bes bored

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
For loving Daddy 

11. What is your mom really good at?
Makin honeydews

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Wii golf

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Laundry

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
Honeydew

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
She gives good kisses

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
A star cheerleader

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Have a nap

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We’re the short ones

19. How are you and your mom different?
She has more yip glosses

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
When she gives me her lovins

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
To the commissary

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Are you going to play along?

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One-Liner Wednesday — Dog Vocabulary

My FIL came in and said, “Boy, it’s hot out! I had to come in, I was just BAKIN!” Sadie immediately ran to him and sat before him, her eyes pleading, “Bacon? Where?”

sadiebakinOne-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Officer Opie Gets a Date

As I mentioned in my Whorin Myself Out post, I once got out of a ticket by accepting a date with the officer in question. Yes, I’m aware that’s completely sexist. Yes, I know he was abusing his authority. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was a poor college student and he was cute. Maybe sometimes two wrongs make a right.

He pulled me over on I-69 (I’ll give you a few moments to recover…) and I was probably goin about 75, because that’s how fast I drive in the 65, unless I’m in Atlanta, in which one must drive 90mph to stay alive.

The date was kind of a bust. He took me to a very country club type place, heavy on red meat and hunter green plaid. He spent a great deal of time braggin on himself and tellin me how it would be when I got out into “the real world.”

I declined a second date, but I didn’t get a ticket.

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I’ve gotten out of 8 speeding tickets.

Before we were married, The Mister was once my passenger when I got pulled over. I was going 72 in the 65. We remember this event completely differently. He says the cop made excuses for me, and I say a warning was good enough for 7mph over.

I also got pulled over for weaving, because I was trying to get my drinking straw open on eastbound I-70. In my defense, there was no one around me, because it was before 7am on a weekend. I’m sure that’s why I got let off, and it had nothing to do with the little black dress and bedhead from the night before.

I did get a ticket once, in a freakin school zone. I was going 40 in the 25. I didn’t know it was a school zone. I never even saw the sign. Two things; one, I had five little people in the minivan, and two, it was a church school way off the road. I am not the kind of person who speeds on secondary roads, let alone in school zones. I paid my $150 and chalked it up to the end of an era.

The Mister likes to pick on me about my driving, calling me Marietta Andretti and whatnot, but he always likes it when I drive on trips, because I make good time. I make up for all the slow driving and getting stuck that he does.

I kick his ass in Mario Kart, too.

Do you drive? Do you wanna share your traffic violations with me?

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The Trauma of Upcoming Fun

Shopping and gathering, done. Phew!

Tiny cross body purse so no one can make me carry a goddamn thing

So help me God, if The Mister hands me a single receipt, I will imagine shoving it down his throat and I will be ripping it up

Six hundred gallons of dermatologist approved sunscreen so Sassy and I only get a little sunburn

A vat of aloe for when we get a little sunburn

Fifty lip balms with SPF6000

Nine hundred hats so our faces will forever look a decade younger than they are and no one will see our wild and crazy hair

Five thousand hairbands for when we just can’t stand our hair anymore

One tube waterproof mascara so when I sweat I won’t look goth

Some water

Potable_Water_Tank
Twenty pounds of fruit, because like water, but tasty, and with nutrients!

Ice, because frozen water

Goggles so Moo’s eyes don’t dry up and fall out

Sarongs so no one can see the thigh chaffing

Until we’re on the road, a million worries.
How much sleep am I getting? Half of what I should.

I put a lot of hyperbole here in this post, but I am not exaggerating my anxiety or stress level.

The trauma of returning to the south — Ugh.
I truly believe constant heat and sun added to, maybe even doubled my anxiety when we lived in Georgia. I am frightened that the heat and sun will trigger that anxiety. Perhaps some mild case of PTSD exists just below the surface of my freak-out…

I’m so excited to spend time with family and friends, but I’m seriously a wreck.
I realize many people think I’m being dramatic. People who don’t suffer similarly are surely sucking their teeth and thinking how absurd, or even ungrateful, I am. People think I can turn it off for vacation.
I cannot turn it off, ever, that’s why it’s Anxiety Disorder.

I keep telling myself, “it’s just a trip. made this trip a hundred times. not like we’re movin there again.
I shall spend my days in gratitude: I’ll have many of my loved ones, air-conditioning, fans, shade, cocktails, seafood, coloring books, music, the healing powers of the sea…and I do so love a road trip!
As everyone with anxiety knows, I will be feel much better once I leave the house.

In the meantime, while I suppress my fear, I am glad for wine. Everything is so much better with wine, isn’t it? I’m totally not drinking wine at 6am, unless you think that’s fine, then I totally am. No, really, I’m still on coffee, but later, wine.

Are you hot just thinkin about it? Do you suffer from before-I-leave-the-house anxiety? Do you need a nap?

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VACATION!

We haven’t had a vacation since … um… well… 2010. I know! First there were military leave issues and then we hoarded monies to buy our house.
Yay House!

But we’ve been in our house about two years now, and we’d really like to leave it, hm?

So we’ll be off soon, gallivanting around the gulf.
If you need me, I’ll be the one who blends in with the white sands. You’ll just see my big-ass hat and sunglasses, like the phantom of a woman.

me, 2010

2010 selfie, which should cover, “how ya likin the beach, joey?”

The sun is not my friend. The heat is not my friend.
While it would feel good to head south in the middle of February, to warm my bones and remember what the sea smells like, we can never get the schedules to line up until summer.
And why are we going south? Because we love people there. Specifically, half our children, our grandson, and two-thirds of my parents.

Next year, maybe we don’t love them. Maybe next year we spend July in a nice Ice Hotel in Sweden, hm?

oh that looks like good sleepin!

oh that looks like good sleepin!

Anyway, I have a lot to do, so I can’t do too much WP, or we’d never make it out of the house. For some time now, I’ve been using the Schedule feature. It’s okay, but it’s not perfect.

— I gotta shop. I think my shopping list looks like provisions for a person who will spend the next six months stranded in the desert, come home, bake a frozen lasagna and collapse. Oh hey…
— I gotta make a list for the house-sitter. The house-sitter cuts my work in half.
— I gotta do the laundry special, so I have a pile to pack and a pile to put away.
— I gotta pack. Packing for four is a fucking delight. Do you know why? Because I usta hafta pack for six.
— Don’t forget! chargers for everything, first aid kit, snacks, presents…
— I gotta make playlists and sync everyone’s everything.

People have actually created lists to help you in these matters. I don’t trust any of them. This list looks like it was made for a single high-maintenance woman.

long-trip-packing-list
Vacation is a really good time to be a wash n’ go kinda gal.
Vacation is not a really good time to have anxiety disorder and control issues.

Doesn’t seem like too much on paper, but if you’re the one who does all the planning, well, then you know.
You know what The Mister does to prepare for vacation? He checks to make sure he has his wallet about thirty-two times or so.

Do you have any tips? Have you ever forgotten something crucial? Do your loved ones insist on living in America’s penis?

florida-americas-penis

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First Post Challenge

The Fourth Generation Farmgirl, invited me to participate in First Post Challenge. Thank you for thinkin of me, Farmgirl!

Here are the rules:

Copy-paste, link, pingback, etc. your first post.

Identify the post: introduction, story, poem.

Explain why it was your first post.

Nominate five other bloggers.

Here is my first post:

http://jolenemottern.com/2013/01/31/i-can-be-one-of-the-faces-in-the-yellow-wallpaper/

I have blogged since 2006, but Joeyfully Stated is a public blog. I previously had blogs set up to be read by only a few specific people. My disinterest in teaching and subsequent knowledge and relief of rules and regulations regarding teaching license renewal led directly to this public blog. It does aim to explain to the reader where I’m coming from, and if you’re into subtlety, you get a faint description of my style.

The Yellow Wallpaper is worth reading, but basically it’s about a woman going insane.
DING!DING!DING!

I began this blog while I still lived in Georgia, but when I knew I’d be moving soon. My friends read my complaints about heat, sun, humidity and fire ants for years, but I knew that would never fly with strangers.

Here are my Nominees:

LindaGHill

Meg

Hollie

Beefy

Sherry

These are people who’ve been with me longest. As ever, if you don’t care to participate, I don’t mind. I so appreciate the readership and the support I get from WordPress, and it’s my pleasure to share you with one another.

original_giraffes_say_thankyou_1_copy

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Vacation

My mother said it’s really important to her that I have a great vacation and I told her I really wanna have a great vacation, too, but I have kids.

old photo of disenfranchised youth

old photo of our disenfranchised young people

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by LindaGHill

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I Have Whored Myself Out for Less

“I guess you’re alright with him flirtin with me, since I get us all the good deals?”
“Sure.”
“I like him, but not like that. I do get all the good deals.”
“Yep. Well, how do you feel about it?”
“Oh I don’t mind. If I minded, I’d say somethin myself. I wouldn’t need you to do it.”
“Good.”
“I just don’t want you to look over one day, catch him doin it, and freak out on him.”
The Mister grinned.
“Oh no. Why you smile like that? Use words.”
“Why?”
“Because I don’t know what that smile means. That could mean you like him too much to freak out on him, or you don’t care how much you like him, you’ll fre– Oh, okay, I see.”
The Mister laughed.
“I will scare the shit out of him.”
“But gah, then we’ll hafta drive all the way over to Irvington…”

We both like this guy. We have a good business relationship.

Yes, there is a certain store owner who always flirts with me, maybe for the sake of his business, maybe he’s just flirty, I don’t know.
The first few times he said somethin, I shrugged it off. The third time, Sassy was with me and I felt compelled to tell The Mister before she made some comment about it. My husband seemed mildly amused.

The Mister goes in there and talks to all the people. ALL THE PEOPLE. I don’t care if there are three people or twenty people, he talks to them all. “Hey Man!” with manly handshakes and all that. Somehow, he remembers their names. Meanwhile, I do the purchasing and I get *giggle* excellent customer service.

I can only think of one other man who’s hit on me when my husband was in the room, but that almost makes it seem more benign, somehow.

My husband is a flirt.  A big flirt. He always has been. I’m not sure he’s been in a professional position to flirt for business purposes, but he is one charming motherfucker, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
I could see that he may have sold tires or brakes to many a woman, using his charm and concern. I can see him leering over a female driver, “Ma’am, I have a wife and three daughters and I would never let any of them drive home like this.”
I don’t know how flirting would have helped in the armed services…at least not for him. Not without a serious lifestyle change.
Maybe there are sexy finance double entendres I don’t know about.
“She said spread. Haha!”
Hell, I dunno.

I once accepted a date with Officer Opie to get out of a ticket. Usually I simply adjust the seat belt in a specific way…
I am guilty of using my feminine wiles.
I assume that’s what they’re there for.
My wiles are gettin old, but they’re still viable, y’all.

I told you I was a bad feminist, didn’t I?

Anyway, I guess if the owner guy thinks me and my red lipstick are sexy and occasionally strokes my ear, we’re both okay with it, because we get excellent customer service, discounts, and free stuff.

Now I expect Robert Redford will show up to offer millions of dollars for one night with me and we’ll find out where The Mister’s line is.

giphy

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Silver Linings List

Some nice things happened last week, and it will be hard to top them with this week, but I will try.

We finally got a second car, and you should see the looks on people’s faces when told that it’s MY car and not The Mister’s. Tsk! People, People, People!
Better than that, the first car dealership called to inquire how our experience with them went, and The Mister told that lady how great the second dealership was. He said, “Penske Chevrolet thanks you for your business,” which tickled me no end!

happiness_bird_65143-1280x1024

Did you know that now that I have a car, I can go anywhere at any time? Isn’t that amazing? I hate shopping, but I smile at the grocery store now. I don’t know how long that high will last, as the joy of it is just now seeping in, but I get to tell myself things like, “it’s okay, joey, you don’t hafta buy two gallons of milk, you can always run out and get another gallon whenever you want.” Good stuff.

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A friend gave the girls three bags of hand-me-down clothes. Half of them were already too small, but the other half were fantastic. Between those and Sissy’s hand-me-downs, I don’t think I need to buy anyone anything this season! Besides, clothes that are too small for Moo always make me happy, since I worried over her smallness for so long. Seriously, the kid was in a size 6 until she was almost ten. Sometimes I think being in Georgia stifled her growth. Maybe her body requires proper winters to complete its metamorphosis.

My doctor called me in some herpes-kickin meds because if you can imagine, my body thought my three recent cold sores weren’t enough! Mind you, I don’t just get the blisters, I usually get the whole gamut of infection: the swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, fever, aches, ugh! My mother and my husband think these outbreaks are caused by the stress of impending vacation, which I can’t argue. If it wasn’t this, it would be some other bodily reaction to stress, along with my relapse back into jaw clenching. Happy stress is still stress, y’all! Anyway, the meds work great, so I’d like to thank my body for starting this particular freak out not on a Saturday night as it were, but on a Thursday morning, when doctors are in their offices. Yay, Body! Yay, Doctor! Yay, Acyclovir!

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We checked in on Casey Cat and collected mail from The Palace of Rules while my in-laws were out of town. I snagged MIL’s newest copy of The Cottage Journal. When I took it to her, I told her, “You really should be more careful about who you let collect your mail.”

i love this mag, but it's $5 and only 5 issues a year

i love this mag, but it’s $10.99 an issue!

I had a dream about my work in progress! Yes, it’s true! I woke up with three new scenes to write!

We had some fabulous friends over for dinner. I made a ham, corn on the cob, roasted turnips with garlic and basil, fried green tomatoes, and cheesy quinoa. Gotta love the splendor of summer’s bounty, and the company was terrific! Sat out on the porch and got mosquito bites all over my feet! What a great night!

We had such a great night that we slept damn near t’noon yesterday. The Mister said he didn’t want anything for Father’s Day, but come evening, he did want some ice cream, so we dragged our lazy asses from the sofas and went out for frozen custard.

happiness_151

I told you, last week will be hard to top!
How’ve you been? What’s goin on in your world?

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Quotes Part III

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Charles-Bukowski-Quotes-38

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite quotes. If not, here’s a cute picture.

cute-animals-pictures-bunny-rabbit-sticking-tongue-out

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Quotes Part II

I’m still not nominating anyone!

Sure the world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild.
— Mary Karr

Without knowledge, there is only the shadow of death.
— Moliere

All good things are wild and free.
— Thoreau

img-thing

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Quotes Part I

C.S. Boyack challenged me in that three day quote thingy, and I just want y’all to know that asking me for three favorite quotes for three days is like asking me for three favorite books or three favorite songs or three favorite foods or three favorite movies.
It’s just too hard. Too hard!
Thank you, Boyack. If I didn’t so enjoy your random tidbits of hyscarical (i made that up just now) fodder, I would completely ignore this nearly impossible task.

quill-and-inkwell

But I noticed that a lot of people, even Boyack, are breaking the rules.

1. Post 3 of your favorite quotes each per day for 3 days in a row. The quotes can be of any other people or it may come straight from your own heart.
2. Nominate 3 bloggers with each post to challenge them.
3. Don’t forget to utter a thankful word to the person who nominated you.

Well, I wanna break the rules, too!

tee-hee-snort-hee

tee-hee-snort-hee

I’m not nominating anyone!

 

 

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CExtNX5WMAAuVoo

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Premio What Now?

Danica Piche at Living a Beautiful Life chose me as a nominee for the Premio Dardos Award. Thank you, Danica. Danica has one of those blogs where you never know what you’re gonna get, which might be why we’re so simpatico in the blogosphere. Also, she posts a lot of good music. I realize that’s all rather subjective, but you never know, you might like it over there.

premio-dardos-award1

What is the Premio Dardos Award?

Premio Dardos means “Prize Darts” in Spanish.  It is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.

(i’m like, so glad she told me that because my spanish is not that good.)

The rules for this award:

1. Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and link to his or her blog.
2. Include the image of the “Premio Dardos” in the post.
3. Pass the award to other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.

My Nominees:

my spanglish familia

Ramblings from Jewels

Our Rumbling Ocean

Nortina Mariela

As ever, if I nominate you for an award and you don’t like awards, or hyperlinks, or me, I do not care, and you should not feel obligated to participate. I am quite happy to share your sites, I promise.

Have a lovely Thursday, y’all!

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One-Liner Wednesday — Dunno, Don’t Care

He told The Mister, “Don’t ever put a Cubs fan and a White Sox fan in the same room.”
I asked, “Why? Do they argue about who sucks more?”

download (1)

I guess the guy was a Cubs fan.

This post is brought to you by LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday — Join Us!

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Negotiating My Freedom

If you’ve ever been car shopping on a lot, then you know how absurd and tedious it is. You surrender to this ridiculous negotiation ritual where you say numbers and the salesman writes bigger numbers and then he goes and talks to some guy and he comes back with newer smaller numbers so you say numbers and this goes on and on until you leave or one of you actually compromises.

I am the negotiator, because as I’ve said, I am a mean bitch woman of words and The Mister is my muscle a man of action. So, I sit there, with my sweet face and my sweet voice and I say audacious things like, “If you were never going to lower that price, then you had no business showing me that car, because I told you from the beginning where I stood.”
I flustered the salesman in a way that can only be described as near decimation of his patience. The Mister felt bad for him.

I’ve noticed that women take no issue when I say, “I’m your customer. He’s just here to pay,” but men, men seem ruffled by it. It doesn’t matter if it’s cars, houses, cell phones, computers — too many of them don’t like to deal with women. And that’s why I don’t feel bad for that salesman.

The third round, that motherfucker came back to me with numbers I liked, BUT ON A LESSER MODEL.

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I walked out.
I explained to my daughters that it’s important to know when to walk away. I don’t settle. I have no problem walkin away from a freakin car. Are you kidding? My attachment ability is extremely limited. I’ve walked away from family, friends, lovers, jobs, opportunities, and even free ice cream — walking away from a car is a non-issue.

I told my daughters the jobs story:

Fresh from college, I interviewed for two local English teaching positions.
The first was at a private high school, and an hour after the interview ended, I was offered the job. For $16k a year. I think it was $16,9. I laughed, out loud, uncontrollably. I said, “I make more than that at the hardware store!”
“But our students are of the highest caliber, with fewer disciplinary incidents and greater —” Blah blah blah, I don’t know what the hell she said after that.

The other offer was like the above car shopping experience.
The nearby township job was described to me during the interview as teaching 6th and 8th grade English, with two prep periods, for $27,8. I was called back for a second interview, and upon completion of that interview, I was offered a job teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English, with one prep period, sponsorship of the French club, and commitment to one sport. That’s right, more work, but for the exact same amount of pay. Did I attempt to negotiate? No. I knew then that contract negotiations would be like that every fucking year and salary increases were tiered regardless.

See, too much like the car negotiation. Insulting.

Today’s negotiations went far more smoothly. I gave the salesman my numbers and he came back asking $7 more a month on a new vehicle.

After nine years of being a one-car family, we are once again a two-car family. I named my car Bonnie Blue. She represents my freedom.

Are you a good negotiator?

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Funky Foodie Takes a Walk

I’ve been in such a funk lately, feeling poorly, fighting off infection, dealing with anxiety’s peaks. My mood has been good, loving, receptive, but my body doesn’t always feel cooperative. When my body isn’t functioning at the level I deem as my own normal, then anxiety settles in all nice and cozy.
OR MAYBE IT LEAPS UP, SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF ME, AND THEN LAUGHS ABOUT IT!

The real signs of wellness have appeared over the last week, as for me, it’s what kind of appetite and how much energy I have. You can see the obvious correlation.

fried green tomatoes

fried green tomatoes

coke float

coke float

om nom nom, the process

om nom nom, half the blueberry pancake process

it took me two days to eat them, but OMFG!

it took me two days to eat them, but OMFG!

quesoeverything

quesoeverything

medium margarita is muy  grande!

medium margarita is muy grande!

poached eggs & toast

poached eggs & toast

pinwheels

pinwheels

tomatoes & mayo FTW!

tomatoes & mayo FTW!

roast n' taters n' turnips n' stuff

roast n’ taters n’ turnips n’ stuff

Someone once asked me if all my days included cookware, which made me laugh. I should photograph everything I make and/or eat, because some people (believe it or not, people other than me) enjoy food porn and I guess people who don’t should scroll on. I’ll work on that.

Then, because I have felt well enough to have cooked and eaten, I get restless and need to burn off some energy.
It is good to have energy to burn.

Despite the oppressive heat (still ain’t Georgia hot!) I decided we should take a nice long scenic walk, maybe at the park or someplace closer than the canal. The Mister said we should investigate a new-to-us area of the city’s walking paths. I dunno what they’re called, but somethin about White River or Fall Creek or somethin. They’re here and there. I couldn’t picture what The Mister was goin on about when he said “trail under the bridge,” but once we got there, the trail did, in fact, go under the bridges, under the roads.
The Mister had an extra pep in his step, because he was happy to have been right.

I love how we have mini forests in the city. All that green does my heart good. Personally, I’d like to walk a lot more of that particular path. Almost as much as I’d like to be wine wasted during a foot rub. Imma work on that, too.

Anyway, you know what was so incredibly pleasant about our walk yesterday?
Clover.
So much clover, I could still smell it on my clothes when I got home.
I asked my girls what they smelled and Sassy said, “Honey” while Moo said, “Hot tea” and I think those answers were precious.

Summer is too hot for Joeys, but the plants make it worth it. Like clover. Fresh tomatoes are great to slice or fry, but also to smell. I bought a hand soap that smells like tomato stems. I love that smell, along with the aroma of fresh herbs on my hands after picking rosemary or chopping cilantro, basil, lavender, wild onion — All those smells are terrific mood enhancers for me.

How’ve you been? Walked anywhere new? Smelled anything delightful?

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On Purpose

As part of Edwina’s Episodes 370, I’ve been nominated to declare what my purpose in life is and what I’ll take home with me when I leave.
Heavy, huh?
Yeah.

I’ve probably said and written a hundred times or more that I am here to enjoy my life. I really do mean that. Life is a gift, and I fully intend to use it as best I can.

lifequotessurrender

My gifts are no greater in number and no more special than those of others, but I did identify them early in life, so I teach and I write and I cook and I grow things and make things and all that’s fine and good. Deeply Satisfying.
But there were gifts I recognized later in life, like the ability to hope. Not everyone has this sorta unshakable hope. I have so much hope, I wish I could smear it on people, pin it to them, dip them in it — I’m sure I’d never run out of hope despite how many people need it.
However much fear I contain, I’ve got a thousand times more hope.
That is no small gift.

The purpose of my life continues to elude me. Although I teach a great deal to many, and I consider myself influential, there seems to be something looming before me…something that hasn’t all come together yet.
I love my current day-to-day life, and am content, dare I say happy, most days? Yet I can still feel whatever it is out there.
In bad moments, I assume it’s the worst —  seemingly unbearable suffering from which I cannot recover.
In good moments, I assume when the student is ready, the master appears.
In moments of quiet contemplation, I question that it’s not this life, but the haunting of an old life, or a future life I can’t live now.

Most days, I just do what I can with the tools I’ve been given, and await further instruction.

i-know-everything-happens-for-a-reason

Perhaps it’s not what we think it is, the purpose of our life. Perhaps instead, there is our own personal fulfillment and our universal contribution.
Perhaps we’re not to know our purpose. Maybe it’s not up to us. Maybe our gifts are specific to others and best decided by the mark we leave on each person whose lives we touch.
Like all the other species, we’re here to survive and reproduce — but aren’t we also here to love? The way humanity loves must surely be a universal purpose. Our acts of love, what we do for one another, so varied in style or magnitude, whether grand or in deference, surely those are more noble than the things we take credit for?

Love is what I’ll take home.
It’s the gift I’ve received the most.
All of me is marked by love.
Love in a million different packages.
It’s eternal, you know.

soft_love

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to share the purpose of your own life and what you’ll take home with you when you leave.
ALL OF YOU ARE NOMINATED.

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How The Mister Learned to Lie

Following the prank The Mister and Sassy pulled on me earlier this week, this is The Mister’s story of how his father taught him to lie.
Your Joey is merely the typist.

During a taffy-selling fundraiser for my school my kindergarten year, I walked around the neighborhood with my father as my escort, lugging boxes full of taffy to sell. We spent the majority of the night out doing this, and by night’s end, we had sold every single bag. 

As we walked back, my father said to me, “Now when we get home, you look as pathetic as you can. No matter what happens, just look as sad as possible. No smiling. Don’t look up, just look down at the ground and be very sad.”

We entered our home and I acted as though I was still struggling to lift the heavy boxes onto the chair.
Mom looked at Dad and asked how we did, to which he replied, “We did not sell a thing.”

lolcat-sad

Seeing her son so sad, she ran off to collect her pocketbook.
She said, “I’ll take one, Son.”
Still looking down at the ground, sad and pathetic, I slowly opened up the empty boxes, revealing that we had sold them all.

Seeing that she had been duped, the shock on her face, brought hysterical laughter to my father and me.

Are you a prankster? Do you teach your kids how to pull pranks?

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So Embarrassing

It’s summer vacation, so I seldom know what day it is, but a couple or three or four days ago, The Mister and Sassy ran out to buy vanilla extract, to pick up some things on hold from the library, and to stop by a Redbox.

When they arrived home, they came into the kitchen to tell me they’d borrowed Fifty Shades of Grey. My husband stood with one hand behind his back. My face burned with embarrassment.
“No. No way,” I shook my head.
“But Baby, I just gotta see it! It’s killin me that I haven’t seen it,” he said.
“Oh my God, I am completely embarrassed to be married to you! I should be ashamed! You should be ashamed! Puttin money into her pocket when she cannot write is such a slap in the face to those of us who can. It’s just, omalord, do you really need to know?”
I leaned on him and gripped his shirt in my fists.
“I shoulda made you read the excerpts. You really should read more books, better books, because then you would know.” I rolled my head back and forth across his chest to release my denial, “No no no no no,” and then paused to reflect on how hitting isn’t nice and I should use my words.
I went back to cooking.
I faced my skillet and hollered long and loud about butt plug training and the unending conversations with her subconscious brain before turning back to him.
“Seriously. I’m so disappointed in you.”

“Baby, why is your face so red? Aren’t you even a little curious?”
“I am so embarrassed to be married to you right now.”

Then he laughed and laughed, Sassy laughed and laughed, and after a lot of their laughing and jumping up and down and knee slapping and hi-fiving, I realized they were teasing me.

“And THAT’S how you pull a prank!” The Mister shouted to Sassy.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll relate the story of how The Mister’s father taught him to lie to his mother, too.

My post was inspired by this post, written by the great Isabella Morgan.

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She’s a Daredevil, Not a Mechanic

Shortly after we moved here, we noticed Moo’s knees were nearing her handlebars, so The Mister took her bike shopping. She picked out a large green retro Schwinn. She rides it all the time. She even asks to, thinks she can, ride it in snow and on ice. To say she loves riding her bike would be an understatement.

that's moo at the top, angry she couldn't go any higher.

that’s moo at the top, angry she couldn’t go any higher.

Our little daredevil quickly learned to do all sortsa tricks on her bike.

Now and again, she reports an accident, but she’s so dramatic, and yet, so vague, we cannot determine the extent of her injuries.

Here’s a prime example:
“My tummy hurts. Look at it.”
“Doubtful I can see your issue with my human eyes.”
I looked. Her upper abdomen had red streaks across it.
With her being Moo, the first thing I thought was hives.
“Does it itch?”
“No, it hurts!”
“Have you been lying on crumpled blankets?”
“No.”
“Did you climb at Lily’s today?”
“No. I rode my bike and jumped on the trampoline and played X-box and chased the dogs.”
She winced as she rubbed cream on it.
“Moo, didja fall off your bike today?”
She nods.
“Didja fall over your handlebars?”
“Uh-huh…OH!”

Then later, something so awful happened, I could actually see her adrenaline. Somethin about somethin with the chain and screaming fury and it really hurt!
She appeared completely unscathed, but I swooped her into a hug and told her to breathe the nice long breaths.

When she’d calmed down, I asked her, “Did your chain fall off or did it break?”
“I dunno! I’m not a mechanic-ic!”

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Sweet, Sweet Gossip

Yes, I can keep a secret. I’m super good at keepin secrets. No one has ever accused me of bein a blabbermouth.
On rare occasion, I realize something I’ve said was not supposed to be said and I apologize and wonder why on earth that’s a secret, but generally, I am the soul of discretion. I told you I’m a safe place to put wayward emotions.

Gossip-girls

But I love gossip.

I mean, the other day, Sammy D. wrote that she hates gossip, and I almost took away her woman card. Say what?!?
I turned to The Mister, “Gossip, love it or hate it?”
“Depends.”
“Gossip about someone you don’t like?”
“OH!” His eyes lit up as the smile spread across his face, “Yes!” He clapped his hands.
Then he was sad I didn’t have any.

Steel-Magnolias
I am the antithesis of those people who tell everyone everything. I mean, if I mention my heavy cramping  and a desire to eat my weight in burritos to Mrs. So-and-So at 9am, by 4pm, half the people I know will know for sure that I am a woman of childbearing age, although by the time that many games of Telephone are played, I may well have had a miscarriage or an abortion or my husband has beaten the uterus out of me for cheating on him with the pretty waiter at Los Rancheros. You just never can tell.

I’m not saying it’s nice to spread gossip, and it’s definitely a virtue to stop lies, but it’s delightful to hear things through the grapevine.

Source is crucial. Gossip is best when it’s from a reliable source and has substance.

Scenario #1
I usta order soaps from a friend of a friend, and one time, the new soap didn’t smell like the old soap and I wanted her to send another soap, but all she was willing to do was refund my soap purchase. She said often times hormones make things smell different. I said my husband and kids smelled the old soap vs. the new soap and it’s not a hormone issue. Still, no new soap for me. I stopped buying her soaps.
Then about two weeks later, because of our mutual friend, I found out the soap lady was expecting.
“Whose sense of smell is outta whack?”
Mmhm, whatever, Soap Cunt.

Scenario #2
I never understood why Jane was so paranoid about her husband, Dick. Could Dick never speak to any female ever? Why so jealous, Jane? Not every woman who speaks to Dick wants him, you know. Some of us already had him…and although we still love him, we have moved on.
Over a decade passed before I found out, via Dick and Dick’s mother, that both Dick and Jane had had affairs. Of course, as soon as Dick told me about it, Jane wrote me an email in which she called me a “hone-wreaker” and threatened to expose me to my husband.

Scenario #3
Those moments when you find out certain people, who are regarded as pillars of self-proclaimed, for-the-Bible-tells-me-so morality, have in fact, been married to others previously, and are actually married to their current spouse because of an unexpected pregnancy.
But don’t marry a divorced person, don’t get a divorce, and under no circumstances should you have sex before marriage.

O-Rly-owls-13509350-282-282
Hypocrisy is so delicious.

Secrets are the missing puzzle pieces. Once you hear the secrets, everything else falls into place.

Now, without a credible source, new information is just a rumor. Rumors are a lot of fun, but they’re just rumors.

My favorite rumors about myself are that I invented my husband for online purposes and he’s not real, that I’m a lesbian, and that I slept with my male EdPsych professor. (Obviously these rumors were generated and spread by different groups of people at different times.) None of these things are true, but they’re exciting, aren’t they? My Gawd, I’m a brilliant, fascinating, complicated person!

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Do you love gossip? Are you the keeper of secrets? What rumors have been spread about you?

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Word Writin, Mood Swingin Freak

The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that you just write and write and write, damn the structure, just keep writing.

The terrible thing about NaNoWriMo is that you just write and write and write, damn the structure, just keep writing.

Free-writing is good for my creativity. The imagery pours in and the words pour out, and sometimes I feel I am not really writing so much as I am channeling. That’s a high.

Free-writing is bad for my project, because I can’t find anything in the mess of words I’ve written.
Formatting, what? Why is it no tab or tab over half the page? Why?!?
Also, Fuck You Word Template! I hate you!

Yesterday, I said to my work in progress, “I’m serious! You will be organized! Your chapters will flow in chronological order and you will like it!”
My loving, supportive husband put the kettle on and brought me my glasses. He even cleaned them. I broke out my big red notebook and I opened my novel and I flipped and fiddled and wrote for several hours.

girl-writing-cartoon

I was pleased, except, why can’t I move things around with ease? I mean, you scroll and you skim and you know it’s there, but you’re so sick of looking at it you really wanna scream.

Writers are always talking about Scrivener. As usual, I’m over here under my large rock all, “Huh? Is that like math?” But, when LindaGHill told me her novel, which I read several months ago, was written in Scrivener, well, you know how I do anything she tells me to she inspires me, so I got Scrivener.

And then I spent several hours trying not to break my laptop in two and slit my wrists. I swore. I read instructions that made no sense. I got a beer. I watched tutorials on YouTube. I struggled. I huffed and puffed. My eyes burned. Fury overtook me. I counted my breaths. I forgot Game of Thrones was coming on. I ignored and then yelled at everyone. Why can’t the world be quiet while I think?!? I almost died.

Then my loving, supportive husband, who watched me have at least ten meltdowns an hour, said to me, “You can do this. You do this all the time. You start something new and you figure it out.”
Contrary me said, “But this is too hard!”
“Did you ever think you’d write code?”
“Well no, and I don’t really, I dabble in it.”
“Still, you figured it out.”

AND I DID! I FIGURED IT OUT!

I have transferred my entire novel into Scrivener, and now I can easily find any chapter, any scene, any ol time I want!
Yes, it did take me about six hours.
I do not doubt those six hours will save me sixty, either.

Now I experience the cork board joy that Boyack showed me! CORK BOARD FTW! Y’all, the note cards correspond to the text and you can rearrange them in a matter of seconds! It is a dream, like dishes that put themselves away or children who follow directions!

scrivener-corkboard-238956

All those scribbles in my notepad? Now on the cork board. Fleeting thoughts and jots of inspiration? Cork board. Character names and settings? Cork board.

What new thing have you learned lately? Are you a quieter, more patient learner, or do you sputter and scream like I do?

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The Booms

Yesterday, I wrote about the noise of the groundskeepers on post, but nothing beats the din of artillery on a military base.

The good news is, compared to the mower guys, blower guys, and weed-whacker guys, artillery noise was not constant.
It only happened when we had people in the field. And it depended which part of the field they were in.
Different soldiers went different places to do different things on different days.

Yes, it was often enough to make me ill-at-ease. It probably wasn’t good for my nerves.
I am not…gun-friendly.

One morning I dropped The Mister off at work, and as I left the motorpool, some snipers appeared as if from nowhere. From a ditch to the right, they simply manifested. I was going less than 10mph, and had not seen them, but slowly, little by little, they emerged before my very eyes, standing up to cross the road before me.
Like these guys:

Ghillie-1
That was an enlightening, frightening experience. I don’t know how to quantify it, really, but it was awesome in the literal sense.

I lived half of my life a few miles from Ft. Benjamin Harrison, as I do now. I was familiar with military personnel out and about in public places, but the fort wasn’t much on booms, so all the racket from field training was new to me.

There were Bradleys.

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There were M1 Abrams tanks.

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And Paladins. Paladins are like tanks, but louder. Can you imagine?

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I arrived at the base in June, and my husband went to the field in September. Some of those September days shook my house like an earthquake. Specifically, it sounded like men landing on the roof and rappelling down the siding. Windows rattled. Cups of coffee stirred.
As strange as it may sound, after a few days, I got accustomed to the sound of artillery. It became common and could often be ignored.
If a mortar woke me in the night, I could relax, knowing that the mortars were not incoming.

this is a mortar thingy

this is a mortar thingy

I could not say the same as I spoke on the telephone with The Mister during deployment. I could hear their incoming mortars, which scared me, but for him, I guess it was the norm.
So yeah, artillery in Georgia, not dangerous to Joeys. Seemingly comforting at times.

Until this one day, around noon.
I went to get my mail. Out the door, to the right, round the corner. I was about halfway home, maybe 50 feet from my door, when a new sound scared the shit out of me. The new sound was so loud and so close, I literally rushed to the ground and lay flat until it stopped. Yes, it’s true. I took cover, using my mail to protect my head.
Funniest Army Wife Ever.

I ran home, and from the corner of my eye, I could see the smoke in the field close to my home. Really close. Like, open my front door, turn right, and walk about 400ft to live small arms artillery.
I called a nearby soldier who wasn’t in the field, “What the fuck is that noise?”
“What’s it sound like?”
“Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat!”
“Lemme see if I can hear it. Oh, that’s a 50 cal.”
“Well that’s too close!”
He laughed.

021108-N-4374S-063 - Central Command AOR - LCpl. Paul Rodas assigned to 22 Weapons Company, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), mans a .50 caliber machine gun as part of the security force during an exercise in the Central Command AOR.  The 24th MEU is on their six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Official U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2(SW) Michael Sandberg; Fleet Combat Camera, Atlantic. Photograph cleared for release by CDR. Jeff Alderson, COMUSNAVCENT/ 5TH Fleet PAO.

021108-N-4374S-063 – Central Command AOR – LCpl. Paul Rodas assigned to 22 Weapons Company, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), mans a .50 caliber machine gun as part of the security force during an exercise in the Central Command AOR. The 24th MEU is on their six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2(SW) Michael Sandberg; Fleet Combat Camera, Atlantic.
Photograph cleared for release by CDR. Jeff Alderson, COMUSNAVCENT/ 5TH Fleet PAO.

(This photo came with a caption. I think it’d be nice if all of Google had photo credits, don’t you?)

Anyway, that was the day I discovered how close I was to the field, and when I realized this would be a steady part of my life.
The rifle ranges were most active in the early hours.
Mornings began with groundskeepers and “Reveille,” followed by the song of the Dog-Faced Soldier.

Apparently my husband does not miss singing that song and wishes he’d stayed a “fancy-pants Marine.”

dfs

Almost every afternoon, Chinook helicopters flew over my yard, causing my dog to drag her bones to the door before those big, scary birds could get em. Most afternoons, still with the groundskeeper noise.
Later in the day, the cannon was fired at 5, with “Retreat.” I don’t care how many times you take visitors to see the cannon fire, it still rattles you, even when you know it’s coming!
“Taps” played at 10. I miss “Taps.” I actually miss it.

But I don’t miss the sound of artillery. Not even a little bit.

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I Can’t Hear Myself Hear!

Pursuant to Sammy’s complaints about the sounds of motorized lawn equipment, I thought I’d share with you the madness that was my life.

When we lived in Georgia, we rented base housing. This meant we had a small fenced-in backyard. I mean small, like a lot of people rolled out plastic grass and called it a day. We sold our lawnmower and either The Mister or Bubba used a weed-whacker on it or Housing mowed it during deployment.

There was a mulched bed in the front, where you could plant something to make your house your own. This is someone’s picture of a house that looks like our old one. We were the right side of a duplex.

June 2012 123
That mulch bed was my small section of nature. Over the years, I planted many plants that claimed to be drought tolerant, but there were only four things that stood up to the constant heat and western sun: juniper, ground phlox, Mexican petunias, and zinnias. Fortunately, those last two brought butterflies and bumblebees.

In addition to these tiny spaces of our own, we had vast green spaces that were public. We had a lot of roundabouts and a few medians, but basically, it was newly-constructed, without shade, in the middle of a pine forest.
Sound reverb is real.

FtSteward_header1

The houses were arranged in rectangles and within the block of homes, there was either a playground, or a field.
All public green spaces were tended by a variety of groundskeepers.
ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, CONSTANTLY, or so it seemed.

i don't even know how these pictures were taken without showing groundskeepers...

i don’t even know how these pictures were taken without showing groundskeepers…

We had mower guys, blower guys, and weed-whacker guys ALL THE TIME.
Add those guys to the trash and recycle collection noise, the motorcycle noise, and the ruckus of artillery. Hell, artillery is its own post. Maybe I’ll write about the booms tomorrow.

It was a loud place to live.

“That’s okay, Weed-Whacker Guy, my toddlers don’t really need a nap. I would love to listen to them fight and cry for the rest of the day.”
“Oh sure, 5am is the perfect time to blow sand to more desirable places!”
“I will never sleep-in, EVER!”
“Yes, I would love to watch television with the volume on 54!”
“I swear they just mowed this same place yesterday!”
“Hey, that’s great, they’re power-washing the house and mowing at the same time!”

And I’ll tell you what, I do believe they enjoyed making the noise. They smugly smiled, with their earplugs and their big trucks, towing their rattling equipment. Vroom, clang, clang, clang, “Here we come to wake the dead! AHAHAHA!”

Here, I hear the interstate. I’m citified, so it may as well be the sound of the ocean. So no, now that I live here in my nice, quiet, largely wooded neighborhood, I don’t get bothered when my neighbors mow. They all wait until mid-morning and they never, ever look happy to be doing it.

Have you ever lived where it’s excessively loud?

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On the Floor

Robin at witlessdatingafterfifty shared this lovely post today, with the prompt of “Are there any similar paths you have taken or places you have chosen to be cuddling up to your loved one? Any memories of dangerous situations which may be written without much embarrassment, to share?”
Since Robin wrote about a steamy summer night, she roused these memories from my brain, and I thank her for inspiring me to write them.

Long ago, when we were kids, The Mister’s big blue house was where I spent much time with his sister, now my sister-in-law, Drew. When we were kids, The Big Blue House wasn’t air-conditioned. It was built in the late 1800’s and it would be the late 1900’s before air-conditioning would be added.
Now, Drew loves the heat, (I dunno, I love her despite her obvious flaws) so she never struggled to sleep in her attic bedroom, which could have been heated by Hell itself for the stagnant inferno that it was. Like me, The Mister did not love heat, and many a summer night, we sneaked down to the living room and lay under the fan. We’d fall asleep there, secretly, until we heard FIL’s alarm and then I’d creep upstairs to Drew’s room, walking on the edges of the steps, the way The Mister taught me. The Mister would go to the bathroom, and my now in-laws were none the wiser.

We often wonder if they ever suspected anything, but they never seemed to.

Now, we did not, as teenagers, fool around. We just didn’t. We loved one another dearly, and were good friends, but we didn’t do anything. We wanted to at times. On my end, I’d never make the first move, and on his end, well, he is three years older than me, and even as a kid, he was made with honor and integrity.

Years passed, things changed, we came and went. We still slept on the floor a lot. Truth be known, we spent a lot of nights in beds together, too. The timing was always off. We always seemed to be involved with other people, or we were worried that we’d ruin our friendship. It was sort of our thing to stay up talking in the dark, cuddling, and even stroking one another, but he didn’t kiss me until we were adults.

September 1997
I was 23, so he would have been 27.
We still took the floor in the living room, because it was still at least ten degrees cooler than the attic.
FIL said something about appropriate behavior, but The Mister laughed and said stuff about how we’d slept together a hundred times. Parenting adults is hard.

I had been kissed plenty well and good. I was no stranger to sparks, weak knees, tingly feelings, butterflies — all that good stuff.
But I am here to tell you, that when he kissed me, I nearly burst from the inability to describe how it felt. We almost set fire to the house. If we had set fire to the house, we probably wouldn’t have stopped.

ix8ehz

At some point, we had to stop, because intensity. Neither of us wanted to be discovered going at it. Sexing in the floor of The Big Blue House was not appropriate behavior.

The events after this remain blurry to me. He’s better with the details. I did a walk-a-thon, there was a pig roast, I think I had a date? He left roses for me at The Big Blue House.

I was me, lacking romantic notions, thinking it was good we got that out of our systems. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.

Letters continued to be written.

Months later, around Christmas, my girlfriends accused me of being in love with him. I continued to live in denial for a really long time.

I should be clear.
I had no intention of getting involved with this gorgeous man, my friend I loved, whose body I knew intimately. I was a commitment-phobe. I was an expert at withholding. I gold-medaled in withholding. I came close a few times, but inevitably, I freaked-out and found a way to ruin any promising relationship.

Letters continued to be written.

It was obvious to everyone that we were inevitable. How long can a person be your person without your own realization of it?

It would be another year before I realized I wanted nothing more than I wanted him, and almost another year before we married. I still don’t know how this happened to me.

And that kiss on the floor…it lingers still.

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I wrote about kissing two days in a row, are you completely repulsed? Have you ever read anything more disgusting? Have you ever caught fire from a kiss?

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Popcorn and Kisses

The Mister said we should have date night, and I said yes we should, and so I called his parents, because they’re HIS parents, and set it up.
It did occur to me to take the children to my in-laws at o’dark-thirty, but it was noon when we gleefully departed.

We went to see Aloha.
We love movies. We don’t go to movies so much as we watch movies, but we love movies. Generally, we love the same movies, although I admit The Mister loves more movies than I do, or more movies he likes are aired with more frequency, or somethin. Gawd, how that man loves Braveheart. I think he’s watched all the action movies, all the westerns, and all the horror flicks. But before you peg him, lemme tell you he loves romances and he will watch The Notebook every single time it’s on.
“Aww, Jeez, again?!” I ask.
“What? Baby, it’s so good!”
“Yes, it’s very good, but it’s also torture. No one should watch this more than once a year, if only for the dehydration concerns,” I say.

Sure, we love some blockbusters, of course we do, but we’re also fans of less popular films, even ones that bomb at the box office. Big FishEnchanted April, The Way, The Astronaut’s Wife, Liberty Heights, Better Off Dead, Office Space — all movies we love despite their lowly statuses.

And Elizabethtown. Oh do we love Elizabethtown. We’ve probably watched that movie ninety-kajillion times and when we’re not watching it, seldom a day passes without listening to music from its soundtrack.

873ELIZABETHTOWN

My love for Elizabethtown is large, y’all.
Big Love.

So, when the critics said Aloha was as bad as Elizabethtown, we were like, “HURRAH!” Some critics even said Aloha is Elizabethtown in another setting. Someone said Cameron Crowe can only do the same film over and over, and I was all, “Well, perhaps as much as anyone, since everyone has a style and there are only so many types of conflict…” Is Fast Times at Ridgemont High like Vanilla Sky? And then I wondered if that critic had ever taken a narrative media class, and what made him a critic…

Anyway, we liked Aloha, but it was no Elizabethtown. It was cute. Yes, the editing was abrupt, absolutely. Did it scream Cameron Crowe? Yes.
I’d watch it again. I wouldn’t buy it and watch it over and over, but it was not a bad film.

I saw it took some flak for casting Emma Stone and not a more Hawaiian looking woman, but then I thought about some of the surprising palettes of real people in my own life, and decided that was a battle with no end. A person can be one-fourth anything and look like anything but.

We were not disappointed, because sharing popcorn and kisses in the dark is always a good time.

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Love-Hate Challenge

Judy from Edwina’s Episodes nominated me to take part in the Love-Hate Challenge, 10 things I love, 10 things I hate, 10 nominees — seems simple enough. I can easily do this with random things from the last few days. I’m not really into hate, and love seems a bit extreme at times, but nonetheless…

Things I Love:

1. the way my cat pushes her face into my neck
2. cool, breezy days
3. the taste of my husband’s lips
4. the light in my living room
5. bookstores
6. sleeping late
7. Flonase
8. fountain Coke
9. the burn of a spicy sauce
10. my kids reading books I love

Things I Hate:

1. dangerous drivers
2. receipts
3. phone calls that wake me up
4. the prices at concessions stands
5. bras
6. shoes
7. junk mail
8. when my dog eats gross things
9. new freckles and moles
10. cleaning a tiled shower

Nominees:

1. Holly
2. Mark
3. Megan
4. Christina
5. Josh
6. Anxious Mom
7. Manee
8. Prajakta
9. Cheryl
10. Sammy

It was very simple, in fact!

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For Best Results, Give

Last week, I sat down to pay some bills, and the bank was all, “Not right now, hit me up later,” or whatever. I haven’t gone back to pay them. They’re not due, and I’ll probably pay them today, or tomorrow, or maybe Tuesday…
Do you have any idea what a blessing it is to be able to pay your bills? Or to be able to pay them on time? Or to not even worry that after you pay them, you’ll be broke?
I do.
I’ve been broke plenty in my life. Most often after paying bills, but sometimes the bills were a joke, like, “Haha! Oh Hospital Bill, you’re so hysterical! Honey, Moo somehow survived after taking $35 worth of Motrin!”

poor-is-when-you-have-too-much-month-at-the-end-of-your-money
There are plenty of people who struggle daily with things I don’t even think about. I like to think I think about those things more than other people think about those things, because I live in gratitude as a way of combating anxiety, and I have been without some of those things.

Money is relative. Everyone earns, saves, and spends differently, but I think we can all agree that any version of our ideal lives involves having what we need and then having a good time.
A good time is also relative, but a good time can be free or cost thousands of dollars. In fact, you can spend thousands of dollars and still have a shitty time.

quote-1-GEm

I’m always telling my kids that lack of money is absolutely the best problem anyone can have. Money can’t create peace, undo betrayal, cure every illness, fix a broken relationship, mend a broken heart, or bring back the dead. You can throw money at any problem, but inevitably, money only fixes money problems.
When things go wrong, and they always do, it’s nice when they’re problems that can be solved with money.

Without money enough to buy solutions, life is desperate, and people despair accordingly. They get beaten down, worn-out, because the world says no, all the time.
No, they can’t buy a single stamp.
No, they can’t buy their kids an ice cream cone.
No, they can’t get a loan.
No, they can’t make payment arrangements at the dentist.
No, there are no second helpings.
No, there is no money for a field trip.
No, they can’t miss work when they’re sick.
No, they don’t have gloves or mittens.
No, they can’t take a job where the buses don’t run.
No, they don’t have the money for the medicine prescribed.
No, they can’t afford to run the heat.
No, they can’t afford a uniform.
No, they can’t pay a traffic ticket.
No, they don’t have a computer at home.
No, they don’t have any canned goods to donate…

Life isn’t fair in any aspect, but those problems SUCK in the land of plenty, and they do get in the way of having a good time.

So my job, as a human being who lives in abundance, is to give.
We give with kindness and compassion.
We will buy a book of stamps for the lady who only needs one and can’t afford twenty.
We will put gas in a stranger’s car.
We will never stand idly by in the check-out and watch as another human being tries to decide whether to put the juice or the paper towels back.
And I don’t mean  we GoFundEveryFuckingThing. It doesn’t cost anything to hold a door, or to help push a car out of the road, to shovel a walk, or to unload someone’s groceries.

Oh we could do more, fersure.
My gramma usta say that you gotta give. What the person does with the money is between him and God, but when you give, you’re right with God.
But there are some people schemin, and I don’t trust those people hangin out with their signs in suburban shopping centers…
If my gramma was right, I hope God understands.

quote-do-what-you-can-with-what-you-have-where-you-are-theodore-roosevelt-158028

We were given so much when we needed help. So much. Over the years, people have sheltered us, babysat for us, fed us, paid a bill for us, helped find us jobs, helped us sell things, bought groceries for us, gave us useful things, like someone sold us a minivan for $50 — and I don’t just mean family and friends; one time, we received five-hundred anonymous dollars. Besides, I’ll never know who put the fresh loaves of bread or bags of apples in the WIC office…

I’ve long delayed writing a post on giving, for fear it would seem like bragging, so I won’t go into specifics, except to say that if you look for ways to help people, you will find it’s quite easy.

It’s even easier with strangers, because it’s indiscriminate. Sometimes humans don’t want to help others because we feel people aren’t deserving. We know what they do with their money, don’t we? But with strangers, you can give easily, because you don’t know what assholes they really are, or any of those judgmental things that keep us from helping people when we should. Even better, giving to strangers allows the advantage of avoiding that awkward tension that ekes its way in when you give to someone you know and they feel like they need to pay you back. No strings attached giving is JOYOUS.

Can you imagine your life if no one thought you ever deserved help? Can you imagine your life without any acts of kindness?

Grace is real. It cannot be bought, it can only be given.

inspirational-giving-quotes-5

Has being the recipient of charity ever changed your life? Do you practice Random Acts of Kindness or Pay It Forward? Do you know where your local food bank is?

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Contrary to My Desires

I thought I’d tell you the bad news first, so the good news seems even better after. That’s how I do, so let’s plunge in, shall we?

I’ve been puny this week. I got one of my infamous cold sores last weekend and the on-call doctor never called me back, so no meds for me. The pharmacist recommended some cold sore medication which worked amazingly. I’m really impressed.
I never got the fever or the deformity that comes with these sores, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Of course, I have anxiety disorder, so without fail, I spent the week worrying about and waiting for the fever and deformity to arrive.
In the meantime, I’ve had low energy, which makes me worry even more. Isn’t that fun?
Now, I didn’t sleep well all week, even though I went to bed early and even took a nap on Wednesday.

For an unknown reason, I got up at 4:40 on Thursday, then I received one of those automated calls that the bus would be 25-30 minutes late, and had 3 panic attacks before 7am.
All that left me in anxiety hangover state, which is where I lived for years and years, so I cleaned the coffee pot, dusted, swept, got laundry done, finished a book, played Mario Kart, and wrote a substantial amount before the girls came home. I’m glad I didn’t have any caffeine in the house, or I coulda easily had 3 more panic attacks by 7pm.

Being sick in any way brings me the worst bouts of anxiety. No matter how well I’ve been functioning, anxiety has a way of convincing me that my arthritis is bone cancer and my weather headache is a brain tumor.

The weather conspired with my energy levels, meaning I didn’t get to what I planned this week, which was planting Sassy’s giant cabbage, cutting back the clematis, and pruning the roses.

The Mister says I’m battling exhaustion, and thinks I’ll feel much better in the coming weeks, since school is out and I can sleep longer. I want to believe him. I’ve had fitful sleep lately, which means I wriggle out of my hairband and spend half the night killing the imaginary spiders that eat my face while I sleep.
Here I am, upon awakening, realizing there’s not a spider circus on my face and that I had every right to scratch.

spiders

But — Look at these roses! Just look at em!

roses roses1

I haven’t done a thing with them yet this year. (Over the winter, I toss them some compost.) When we moved in they were overgrown, without bloom, and there are hibiscus interwoven with them, so JLW told me to hack that sucker back and I did. Last year, I got maybe 20 blooms all season, and I pruned carefully. Wow have I ever been rewarded!
Rewarded for ignoring them, me thinks.

The clematis doesn’t care, either.

clematis

That giant cabbage will not plant itself, though.

Do you suspect my death is imminent? What does your anxiety lie to you about? Do spiders eat your face while you sleep? Are you impressed by my roses and clematis? Do you believe in giant cabbage?

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Nonsense

My mother had this way of speaking with me at home:
“Guess what I drew today?”
“I don’t know, what did you drawded?”

If that hurts your ears, stop here.

We went heels after our toes and we minded our Ps and Qs and other assorted nonsense.

mofo

We had made up words, which I still use, and now my kids use, but I grew up with a lot of intentionally incorrect verbing. Over the years, all the children have added words to this extended vexing vocabulary. Manipulation of language is fun, and fun with language is my favorite!

Surely you have made up words at your house, too?

I dunno, do you actually call your remote control a remote control? We call it a clickie. All the clickies live together in the remote boat, on my table, with the keenex, yes, I mean keenex, and a basket fulla fings. But if you’re lookin for the tiny scissors, they’re in the chicken.
You’re not really a grandma unless you keep sewing stuffs in a chicken, now are you?

We love fings. Some of our favorite fings are squishy fings and comfy fings.

Bedgasm

Maybe everything is pluralized at your house, too? Toeses, for one? Do you give glomps?

Do you have granny bowls and myow kitties? Don’t even get me started on the whatchamacallits and doohickeys.

The Mister and I walk around the house, “Dat you hairband? Dat you snotty keenex? You so gross like that?”
“Dis you tea from three days ago? So hard carry to kitchen? So heavy cup? You grow special mold in bedroom? Grow special next to open lotion? Make mold smell like nilla?”
“Why you so gross like that?”

shirt

Ells and esses are often silent here. DID YOU CATCH THAT? Haha!
So we use yipgoss, yip balm, and yiptick, and we use poons to eat ice cream, pecially Moo, who needs orange pastic poons, cause sensory issues, or we assume, as she screams at her siblings, “Stop craping your fork!”

Some words are just too long or are easier in another language.
Why say flashlight when you can say torch?
Why say you’re on your way when you can say en route?
Why type tomorrow when you can type demain?
We go out for shushi and get carry out Chinois.
We eat brunch, and also linner, but never in the same day.
Who would choose to say down-filled comforter when duvet is so easy?

My gramma always said, “Let’s get the boat on the show!”
My mother says, “Let’s shall, shall we?”
FIL says, “Get a move on!”
I say, “Allons!”
The Mister says, “Hurry the fuck up!”

Drew says the children run around all lakka lakka. And whereas you might clean a child’s pacifier because it gets a build-up of muck or gunk, she says ya gotta clean the ming-mings because mung.
I hadda have a ming-ming fairy come take away Sassy’s ming-mings. Hadda put em on the window sill so other just borned babies could have ming-mings. I never could get Sissy to put her fumb on the window sill…

We say fanks, because fanks is the sound of baby Simon sayin thanks with a ming-ming in his mouth. Sometimes we say gratzi, merci, danke, or gracias, but mostly fanks.

True and I text like this:
no one eat oatmeals in blue bowls, now always lello bowls. too big for blue bowls. not too big to sleep with glowworm.
here two packs. with stuffs and fruit on it. don’t slice my nana cause last time you slice it i throwed up. but peel my apple, cause the red poke my teeth.

Maybe your kids get diarrhea, but my kids get slidy poo and True’s kids get hot poops.

chef

Sassy and I have entire conversations which would be hard for anyone outside the house to follow. I like that. Another generation of nonsense.
Sassy is great with language.
She can even read Moo’s mind.
I mean really, as much as I love words, they aren’t always necessary.

ewok

So, wasn’t that fun? Oh, don’t be a sock wet! How much of this nonsense made sense to you? Do you also have unintelligible conversations?

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#ThursdayDoors — IWM

doors

Ooh, shiny old things are some of my favorite things!

When I took this picture on Sunday, I realized, Hey, I have a door for Norm’s #ThursdayDoors! I always enjoy those posts, but I have the kind of life that pretty much exposes me to the same dozen doors every day.
Sunday’s Enrichment Excursion took me to this door at the Indiana War Memorial Museum.

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If It Looks Sweet and It Talks Sweet, It Might Be a Bitch

Y’ever notice the things that are great about you are also the things that get in your way? I noticed this in my early 30’s. First, with other people, like stubborn people. Stubborn people make it work. Stubborn people don’t give up. They’re hard workers. The stubborn people I know are strong and successful and they almost always get their way.
That same tenacity has them holding onto bad decisions, which gets in their way. They avoid change. They may be reluctant to leave bad relationships or to quit jobs that aren’t challenging them anymore.
Like any good introvert, I wondered how this great trait business worked against me. Of course, I found my toolbox as double-edged as anyone else’s.
Stubbornness wasn’t in my toolbox. I thrive in change, and if anything, I give up too easily.

What really works for me and against me is how I appear, what I seem to be vs who I actually am.

This face I have, this voice I have, they’re authentic, but also, kinda like false advertising. The sweet face and voice get me outta tickets, get me appointed to the care and keeping of small children and animals, get people to let their guard down. You can tell by looking at me that I’m a safe person for house keys and wayward emotions.
I’m not saying I’m not a good person, or that I’m not kind, thoughtful, trustworthy, and generally benevolent, but I’m seriously a bitch. I’m not ashamed of being a bitch, it’s just that people don’t suspect I’m a bitch, when I think they really should. I’m rarely mean, but when I am, I am intentionally, thoroughly mean.
I blindside people.
I’m always writing that this isn’t a Nice Lady Blog, because it’s never my intention to blindside people.

In contrast, I envy my husband’s imperious demeanor, because people are scared of him and they leave him the hell alone, even though he’s actually much, much nicer than I am. Instead of blindsiding people, he gets to surprise them.

I guess it’s another way we balance one another out, but what a handy-dandy self-defense, lookin all mean and stuff. *sigh*

dam
What great advantage also works against you?

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