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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Enrichment Excursion

We’re not cookin out today.
There’s talk of chicken. Although Moo’s hung up on eating at the place of the best homophobic chicken sammiches, I’m leanin toward fried, or maybe tinga (thanks, Sherry.)
I’m makin a simple strawberry dessert. Do we really need actual food?
The Mister wants to show the girls Star Wars 4, 5, and 6.
I desperately want them to appreciate the adorability of Ewoks.

As for Memorial Day, I took the girls out and about yesterday to cover some basics. It was a beautiful day, if too hot for Joeys, to drive all over the city, listening to music and drinking fountain soda.

I took them to the grave sites of my mother’s parents, maybe 15 miles north of the city. I hadn’t been in about 9 years, so I had to follow my instincts when it came to how to find the cemetery and how to find the marker within. My instincts didn’t fail me, and just as I thought I’d make one more lap around the block before I’d check GPS, Sassy cheered me on, “Just follow your gut,” she said. THAT, I have taught her well.
I’d tell you my gramma led me to her, but y’all might not buy into that.

This was my fun gramma. Yes, her name was Willie. Willie Mae. If you know us ferreal, then you know that we have a tendency to give our firstborn girl children unusual, and perhaps manly names. Gramma Willie loved a good time. My memories of her are full of playful moments and fun. Losta board games, adventures, and books.
I don’t remember my mother’s father, although there are many pictures of me with him, and I’ve heard tell he thought I was the best thing since sliced bread.
I’d tell you he hung around preschool Moo, but y’all might not buy into that, either.
I took flowers for my grandmother, and someone else had already gifted my grandfather’s side of the grave with a flag.

gramma
My grandfather was highly-decorated in WWII, but I don’t remember with what. The Mister used to know, and made a big deal of telling me about it, but now he can’t remember either. Anyway, there’s a veteran placard on the back of their headstone.
I took photos for my mother, and I know she was pleased.

granddad
I felt more sentiment standing there yesterday than I’d felt in a long time.

After that, we went to the Indiana War Memorial Museum, which is downtown.
I also drive downtown by a sense of familiarity, rather than directions, which drives my husband crazy, which made us both glad that he stayed home. I know where stuff is, but I know it in terms of northeast or southwest of the circle, or “over by the zoo” as opposed to cross streets, although I do have some of the cross streets memorized, because one-way.
For those of you who think of Indiana as only corn, basketball, and racin, I must tell you, it is not. In the words of my dear friend Tori on Indy, “Holy crap! It’s a thriving metropolis!” Here’s someone’s Pinterest photo of the Indianapolis skyline.

indianapolis-skyline-night
We are the 12th largest city in the US, outranking San Francisco, Atlanta, DC, and even Las Vegas, but you don’t think about it.
Here’s where the War Memorial is:

warmemorial

such a pretty day, i like my own picture!

such a pretty day, i like my own picture!


Our first stop inside the cool marble walls of the War Memorial was the ladies’ room, because hello, Big Gulp. Sorry the photo is blurry. It’s a dark place, and I used my iPhone.

ladies


Once we entered the ladies’ room, an older Asian woman with broken English followed and asked me if it was the bath. I said, “Yes, after I give them this small education on period pieces.” Don’t you know, she stopped and listened to me talk to the girls about the art deco benches and lamps? This cracks me up. I can even be the tour guide of toilets, y’all.

The girls don’t know much about war. I mean, they know things related to war, because they lived on an Army base, and they know a lot of vets, but they don’t have much of a grasp on history yet.
It’s hard to say why they read Anne Frank so young, and teach WWII so old. Last weekend we watched Schindler’s List with Sassy. She read The Book Thief over the winter. Her cousin Simon is an expert on WWII, her daddy’s a history major, and her mother thinks all moments are teachable, so her education is certainly enriched, but still, she’s 12.
When you show her a hallway, up and round and down, lined with the names of the fallen, she gasps in amazement. When you tell her that’s just Indiana, and to multiply that by 48 states, she is overcome.
She’s a mature 12.
Moo is an immature 11, but she preferred non-fiction for years, so her knowledge about war is perhaps less detailed, but better about facts.

I took several pictures, but mostly to share with The Mister who has never been. We agree, when Moo has learned about war at school, we will return and spend a longer length of time.

moo knew this was a cobra. i did not.

moo knew this was a cobra. i did not.



i used to know a lot about this. i've forgotten most of it.

i used to know a lot about this. i’ve forgotten most of it.

Moo likes to climb everything, so we climbed all the stairs that we could climb.
Here’s the view from the balcony in the center of the building.

view

Lovely, hm? That’s Veteran’s Park and the central library. We love the library, so we often see the park from the other side.

pro patria -- for one's country

pro patria — for one’s country

After all the heat, sun, and steps, I did not feel well at all.
I’d planned to visit the mausoleum where my other grandparents are laid to rest, but we stopped to visit at The Palace of Rules instead. MIL and FIL were feeling well, and so I spontaneously invited them to dinner.

I’ll stop by the Packards next week, but I probably won’t tell you about it.

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The Wheels on the Bus Come and Go

I like yellow things, except yellow jackets. And maybe school buses.

Over the years, I have put many a kid on many a school bus, morning after morning.

Before August of 2013, I never, in the history of my mommyhood, had one ounce of trouble getting my kids onto the school bus.
Not one time had I ever failed to get my children onto the school bus. Not once.

Sure, for a few years I drove them to school, because the schools they went to didn’t have buses, but school buses have long been a part of our lives.

Although I have alluded to the troubles here and there, I could not possibly relate all the dramatic school bus stories we’ve gathered since moving here. Suffice it to say we have drawn the short-stick on bus reliability.

For the last school year, the bus number changed three times in two weeks. We’d be at the bus stop at 7:05 and a bus would come anywhere from 7:10 to not at all.

school-bus

Then it changed again mid-winter.

After the new bus driver waved us down and we walked through a foot or more of snow, 100 feet or so from our stop, the idiot bitch driver actually said to me that she could drop them home, but she couldn’t pick them up at their stop because she had to make a left turn adjacent to our street.
I had words with her.
I waved my letter from Transportation at her and said things like, “talk to your boss…your job…Transportation…regulations…well over an eighth of a mile…schedule…four more available left turns…”

One day, while we waited in the ice and snow, a previous bus driver stopped and told me, “Just put em on here, she’s late.”

It actually went that way for quite a time. We’d wait for 5-40 minutes in the freezing temps and eventually, usually, one bus or another took them.
Spring came, but still, we never knew which bus would come from which direction to collect our kids, but it was warmer, so we complained less.

Yes, we spoke to bus drivers, to Transportation, and at times, even the principal. This yielded short-term results.

Fall 2014 changed everything, and the girls had a new bus driver. I’ll be damned if she didn’t show up on schedule every single day, like bus drivers should. Furthermore, she drove through a parking lot to pick them up, as well as the kids down the way, because it was Safer For The Children. I loved her. (Miss Stephanie, if you’re reading this, I LOVE YOU!)
Every time I baked cookies or cupcakes or sweet breads, I took her some. I thanked God for her every day. Good ol’ reliable Miss Stephanie.

There is no more Miss Stephanie.
Now there is whoever can do it.
A lot of times, that’s one driver running two routes.
Now there are a lot of automated phone calls at 6am and 2pm.

“Bus #189 will be subbed by bus #__ and will arrive approximately 20-25 minutes late.”
What it should say is that sometimes no bus will come, or your kids will be home 50 minutes late. You will have to embrace the panic attacks, and maybe call your FIL to come take them.

I’ve since found out that bus drivers in our township are paid $100 a day. While that’s a generous compensation for a few hours of each day, it’s not even close to what someone should earn for dealing with the madness that is the school bus. I suppose, come the bitter cold hours of pre-dawn February, $100 a day does not seem worth it to many people.
Additionally, we don’t have enough power in number. There are only two families on this block, and although the the other family’s kids come home on the bus, they are driven to school by their nana every day.
A lot of winter mornings, I want to flag down their nana, and ask her if my kids can take a fun ride in her trunk…

Four more days.
This coming fall brings with it TWO different buses, one for each girl.

Do you think the third year will be the charm?

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Is That All?

“I’d like an iced venti decaf white mocha, no whip,”
“Will that be all?”
“No, I’d also like an iced venti white mocha frappuccino and–”
“Will that be all?”
“Two grande decaf caramel frappuccinos and a pup cup.”
“Okay, I’ve got two iced venti white mochas, one decaf, one regular and two grande caramel frappuccinos, no whip. Will there be anything else?”
My husbands lips disappear, his jaw clenches, and the vein on his forehead reaches out in attempt to choke the woman through the speaker.
I holler, “Whatever you do, do not mark the cups!”
Moo says, “Oh great. Now we’re not getting coffee.”
“Drive around, I’ll go in.”

Once inside, I inform the barista that I will be ordering four drinks, and that I would also like a pup cup. He nods, puts a tiny cup on the counter, and looks at me in anticipation.
I say I’d like an iced venti decaf white mocha. He grabs a plastic cup, makes an X, then writes WM on the bottom. He asks if I want the whip.
“I do not, thank you for asking.”
He indicates this on the cup and I continue with my order.
All the cups are marked properly, all the drinks are made properly, Sadie gets her pup cup. We drive away. Life is good.

i guess angel is okay with caffeine. lucky bitch.

i guess angel is okay with caffeine. lucky bitch.

“I’d like the salmon with rice and asparagus, please.”
“I’ll have the black and blue burger, with fries.”
“Chicken tenders with honey mustard and broccoli.”
“Ribs, mashed potatoes, and carrots for me.”
“Will that be all?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Our server doesn’t write down a single thing. This only goes one of two ways; either we have an expert or an idiot and you just never can tell — until your food arrives.
Of course, it’s not our server who brings our food, because this is one of those places where all servers run all plates.
Hey, Restaurants? Your servers and your patrons hate this policy. Servers would rather be responsible for their own tables and patrons prefer accuracy over speed.

“Can I have honey mustard?”
“Sure thing!”
“Wait, I’m supposed to have rice, not a potato.”
“Oh!”

Half of our table eats.
The not-our-server server brings honey mustard.
Everyone else eats. I drink and tell everyone how tasty their food looks.
Our server finally arrives with a new plate, with rice instead of potato, and says to me, “Sorry about that, but almost everyone orders a potato with the salmon.”
I smile faintly.
Oh, I see, I am to blame. I should have ordered a potato. I guess almost everyone is happy when their salmon comes. Those who are not happy are less happy when they hafta wait for new salmon with the correct side. The kitchen staff is furious that Salmon with Potato is not a fixed order.
Or could it be because our server didn’t write it down?

Steamed-Salmon-with-Prosciutto-www.bellalimento.com-062-420x630

The thing I dislike most about children is that one must repeat everything. I’ve often thought mothers and teachers could do with mind-reading tape recorders.

“Turn to page 22.”
“Page 22.”
“22.”

“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”
“Wash your hands.”

“Hang up your towel.”
“Hang up your towel.”
“Hang up your towel.”

“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Stop hitting your sister.”
“Fuck it, hit her back.”


is that all?

is that all?


When I give chores to the school-aged children, I give them in a series. Do one chore, come back and I’ll tell you the next. They like to ask, “Is that all?” every time I tell them to do something. After a while, I like to widen my eyes and say, “No, that’s not all. It will never be all. You will never be done, ever.”

Cause they do me like this:

“Go into the big bathroom. Take the rug up by folding it in half. Take it outside and shake it. Empty the trash can. Sweep the bathroom floor, under, around, alongside, behind the door. Put the rug and the trash can back.”

“Okay, next?”
“Did you shake the rug?”
“Yes.”
“Did you put the rug back?”
“Yes.”
“Did you put the trash can back?”
“No. You didn’t tell me to empty it.”
“I did. Because when adults sweep floors, we pick up all the stuff off the floor and since we picked up the trash can, we might as well empty it, because why would you leave trash in a can while you’re cleaning? I mean, why even shake the rug?”

Now, I wish I could say that this was the first time that my child ever swept the bathroom floor, but all of my kids started this chore around the age of six, so really, you would think this would be simple by now, but it’s very, very hard. It’s harder than algebra, harder than remembering to put on deodorant, and like, way, way harder than making flatbread from scratch.

386_20120415_164313_Chrysanthemum
That will be all.
Does anyone listen to you? I bet that’s nice.

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Hoodie Weather in May? Yay!

We had a predicted high of 67F/20C yesterday, although I don’t know how warm it actually got. In the afternoon, I opened all the windows and ran errands. Sometime before six o’clock my family members picked up quilts and gingerly asked if they could close some of those windows.
“ARE YOU COLD?!” I asked, with a mixture of defense and perplexity.
They all nodded.
“Yes, alright, fine.”

Y’all know what they were thinkin, don’tcha?
Is it cold enough for ya, Ice Queen?!?

After dinner, I closed one of our bedroom windows, but I left the other cracked, because you know, I hate to sleep hot.

LOL run, LOL

random lol

I’m pretty sure Indy has had snow in May at least once. I vaguely remember somethin about snow closing the track. I should call my parents to confirm, but maybe I’ll just ask The Mister to call his parents instead. We’ll never know, now will we?

Moo and I went out to cut peonies last night before the sun went down.
I am the idiot who left the dog out back.
Sadie barked from the front porch.
“Is that our dog?”
“Oh my God, yes, that’s our dog. Please let the dog in.”
“Aww, she’s so cold!”
“She’s fine. She’s a dog.”

the peonies began to open yesterday

look! peonies!

When we went to bed, The Mister had already closed that one cracked window. Good thing he did, because there was no chance of sleepin hot.
I slid into bed with the scary cold sheets and asked, “You want I add another quilt?”
“YES!”
Now, it did occur to me that I could turn the heat on. No, I don’t know how cold it was, but it’s May, how cold could it have been?

I slept like a rock.

This morning Moo huddled up on my side of the bed. I wrapped my arm around her, got the shock of her cold nose and noticed her teeth were chattering. I asked, “Would you like to turn the heat on?”
She nodded.

As we left for the bus and the furnace chugged on, it was 47 outside and 57 inside. Isn’t that nice? Aren’t you happy that I’m not livin in Georgia, bitchin about the heat? Surely you wanna know what the temp is where I usta live.

It’s 89, feels like 92F/33C, with sunshine, 50% humidity, and a 9 on the UV index.
Mercy! 
(This means Moo’s the only one who could go out to get the mail without sunscreen, because the rest of us are as white as cold, Indiana sheets!)

that cone was yellow, but it didn't wear sunscreen

that cone was yellow, but it didn’t wear sunscreen

We won’t get out of the 50’s here today. That makes me feel warm inside. This hoodie is nice, too.

You wanna talk about the weather? Sunscreen? Escapist pets? Peonies? Go ahead.

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They’re YOUR Parents!

I’ve been close with my in-laws since I was 13.
I’ve called them Mom and Dad since maybe 14 or 15.
They’re those kinds of people. Many people think of them as second parents or at the least, as people you can always turn to for support.
I love them.
They love me.
MIL likes me more than FIL and that’s okay, because I like her better, too. Some people just get on better with one another. When I do connect to FIL it feels wonderful, so there is that.

But they’re not my parents.
They’re The Mister’s parents.

My parents don’t do obligation.
I don’t do obligation.
MIL is big into obligation.
I don’t do obligation.
The Mister doesn’t do obligation.

Generally, we don’t feel obligated. But sometimes, when the stars are all out of order and nothing makes sense, MIL can tell we’re disconnected and this bothers her, she worries, and she begins the inquiry. Her soul can only be soothed by the knowledge of what is keeping us distant.
10% of the time, it’s just us. We are busy. We are caught up in our own lives.
90% of the time, that woman has sniffed out an actual issue and someone is sick, stressed-out, something has gone wrong.
As an empath, I can never fault her for saying she knew something was wrong, and as a mother, I can’t fault her for asking, “Why didn’t you tell us?”
We didn’t want to worry her?
We didn’t think she’d understand?
What’re we, twelve?

haha

All this goes straight out the window when it comes to The Mister’s work. Particularly when he was military and deployed.
I know very little about my husband’s jobs.
We have never talked a lot about work.
Do you think The Mister could tell you what I’ve been planting, or how my novel’s comin along, or what paint color I’ve chosen for the powder room?
I know it sounds strange, but we just have a lot of other, more interesting things to talk about.

birds-and-bees

As a brand new Army wife on post, I learned quickly that people expected you to know what your husband did, his rank, his company, platoon, hell, even now I can’t remember all that crap.
I had no idea.
Me? “Um, mechanical stuff. On like, big stuff with whooshy things, not wheels, like tanks, but not just tanks, people carriers and stuff.”
(If you are knowledgeable in this area, then you know exactly how my ignorance was received.)
Eventually, I was able to say, “E company BSB FSC 3/69 AR” without missin a beat. Seriously, I have no idea.
When I finally got the track mechanic bit down, he told me he was actually working in personnel. Who knew?
It didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter when he worked claims or ran an auto center, and it doesn’t matter now that he’s in finance.

large

But to my MIL, these things matter. Especially when he deployed.
As deployments dragged on, I began to dread the calls from her, because she would ask me stuff that I couldn’t possibly answer, and sometimes, things he wasn’t even at liberty to tell me, not that I thought to ask.

See, I’d say stupid things like, “He’s good. He’s been runnin a lot lately.” And she’d ask me with whom and I’d be all, “Uhhh…I dunno.”
“He didn’t say?”
“I don’t know. It seemed irrelevant.”
“Where does he run? On the base there?”
“I’m guessin so. I dunno.”

But this would go on and on.

“He got his own room and it has its own bath, so he’s pretty happy.”
“How big is it?”
“I don’t know. Small.”
“Does it have a shower, or a sink, or just a stool?”
“I don’t know.”
“Does he have a bed or a cot?”
“I dunno. He did tell me he bought some new sheets.”
“What kind? What color are they?”
“I don’t know.”

I was the most disappointing daughter-in-law that ever there was.
The Mister would email his father about stuff another soldier would understand, but that wasn’t stuff you could tell my MIL any more than it was stuff I wanted to know.

She was upset that she couldn’t find his base on her world map. Of course, I found this positively hysterical. She asked me for longitude and latitude and I was all, “Where the Tigris meets the Euphrates, so I guess The Garden of Eden.”

Awful, awful time.
I begged The Mister to call his parents. He should cover the never ending interrogation, I said. They’re HIS parents, I said.
Which is why, the other day, I alluded to this post’s origin.

Cause this kinda still happens now.
Have I heard from Bubba or Sissy? Guess what? Bubba and Sissy do not reside in a war zone and they have cell phones! She can call them! Isn’t that amazing?!? But I hafta tell her that every single time, because, “Yes, they’re okay” is not enough information. And a lot of what they tell me is too much information for MIL, ya know?

none-of-my-business-tho

A few weeks ago, I asked, “When’s the last time you talked to your parents?”

“You need to call them.”
“You call them.”
“They’re your parents. I call my parents. Hell, I call your parents more than you do. They want to talk to YOU.”

For days and days, I said, “Call your parents.” I said, “You should get off the phone with me and call your parents.”
For days and days, he did not.

enhanced-buzz-14167-1383603838-24

Y’all know what happened, don’t you?

MIL called.
“How is he?”
“Has he finished with his schooling?”
“How are his grades?”
“When are his finals?”
“When does his work class start?”
“Will he get special hours for that?”
“Is that at his work?”

Guess how many answers I had?
ZERO

“Now our friend X from church, her son works there, and he works crazy hours and I don’t know if he’s taking this class…”
“Mmhm.”
“Well tell him we’ve been thinkin about him and prayin for him.”
“Okay.”
“Have you heard from Bubba or Sissy lately?”
“Not lately, Mom, but you can always call them and let them know you miss them.”

Now imagine my MIL texting the big’uns on her fucking flip phone.
4-4-3-3-5-5-5-5-5-6-6-6-

WOMAN-hair-raising-freakout-660x405

So The Mister arrived home, probably well past dark, and I said, “You know how I kept telling you to call your mother? Well guess what? She called.”
Then he laughed and laughed, hearty, nearly maniacal laughter that had his whole body shaking.
Bastard.

Are you the go-between, or does someone else do your dirty work?

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Pressed to Find Gratitude

Years ago, I read several books by Thich Nhat Hanh because the first one was so helpful that I couldn’t resist reading more of them. Soon after, my life was taken over by baby books and then babies. I think I threw Hanh’s books out with the bathwater, so to speak.

Since Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, his books often focus on meditation, gratitude, kindness, mindfulness, acceptance — you know, important stuff that’s super important to the life of neurotics.
The thing that really struck me, and then stuck with me, was this little anecdote about doing dishes. No one wants to do dishes. Everyone wants the dishes done, so they can do whatever comes after the dishes. So we view the dishes as a chore, and we put off doing them, but as they linger there, waiting for us, we cannot properly relax. We give the dishes the power to rob of us our enjoyment, and this causes the dirty dishes to seem malevolent, and this builds our resentment in doing them. We act like washing the dishes will take away the entire evening, when it takes mere minutes.

The key is to do the dishes with joy.
(I’m supposed to do everything with joy, but I haven’t figured this out entirely. How can I learn to have a root canal with joy, or run from yellow jackets with joy, or find joy in tragic events? Gah, I dunno, I’m a work in progress!)

So when I do my dishes, I think about all the things that Thich Nhat Hanh taught me to. The craziest being more dirty dishes are better. Each dirty dish represents bounty. Not just food, taste, and nutrition, but also as an indicator of how many shared that meal with me.
Doing dishes is a prayer of gratitude.
While I do dishes, I am grateful for food, my husband, the job my husband works, our children, our health, our home, hot, running water, a deep sink, my sprayer, my garbage disposal, my Fiestaware, the use of my hands, my sink not being in Georgia, lemon Joy dish soap…

joy

I still do not love to do dishes, but it’s better this way. Doing dishes is the suck if you think about why Sassy uses 3-4 glasses a day, or why Moo left that milk in her room all weekend, or why The Mister screws the travel mug lids on so tight — the answer to that is, “Because they hate you, Joey.”

Yeah, so…

I ironed today.
Ironically, I usta find joy in ironing. I think I enjoyed taking a sloppy mess and making it sharp and crisp. Then suddenly, I had so much ironing to do, that it no longer felt joyous.
Sincerely, there’s a difference between the pleasure of a stiff white shirt for yourself as opposed to a freshly pressed dress that your child will soon cover with watermelon and sweet corn. Don’t even get me started on uniforms or patches. Ugh.

But something happened to me today while I ironed.
An unexpected smile came upon me.
I started thinkin bout The Mister, and how handsome he is in that blue shirt, and how nice it is that he has a job where he wears the nice shirts, and how he does not work split shifts at the goddamned box factory, thank you very much 2002. Instant happiness in gratitude.

My life is rich with beautiful simplicity.

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Casey 1, Mockingbird 0

The other day, I wrote about Casey, my FIL’s cat who lived with us.

As I mentioned, she was often out of doors. One day, we were all on the front porch, (must have been during a Georgia “winter!”) and we watched as Casey sprawled in the garden like a gray tabby sphinx, while a mockingbird flew over her. The mockingbird taunted the cat, which I didn’t think was wise for prey. I know I’d never tease a lion.

The mockingbird swooped over Casey’s head repeatedly, coming ever so close to her head. This taunted and provoked Casey. She flipped her tail and dug her front paws in, ready to pounce. The mockingbird relentlessly whooshed over Casey’s head, making torturous noises at her. I don’t speak bird, but I think it was a lot like, “Nah-nah-nah-ne-nah-nah, you can’t get me!”

Eventually, clawless Casey took that bird from the air and I swear she smiled, as she stood over it and cried. I don’t speak cat, but I do believe she asked, “Fresh mockingbird, anyone?”

I don’t know if they had some sorta unfinished business we weren’t aware of, but from where I sat, it was pretty obvious the mockingbird had it comin.

If you want to read about birds that win, you should check out John Callaghan’s post here.

I rather like this art:

bird

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You’re Safe with a Man in the House

Like a lot of kids, if I woke up scared, I’d head to my parents’ bedroom. Like a lot of parents, they grew annoyed, and began to forbid it. I have memories of them carefully lifting their feet over me, as I lie across the threshold in the morning. Still I felt safe there, closer to them than I did in my own room, which was literally, across the hall.

After my parents divorced, if I woke up scared, I sometimes crept in to sleep with my father. There was plenty of space for me.

My mother remarried, and so, if I woke up scared, and the door wasn’t locked, I could sneak in and lie at the end of bed.

Even as an older kid, I can remember waking up scared and going to their closed door, listening to make sure my dad was snoring.

Because I knew, even then, if there was a man in the house, I was safe.

The years passed by. College took me to the fourth floor, with a nice heavy door and a deadbolt. If I screamed everyone could hear me, except maybe the thrash metal guy below me.
Still, even as a college kid, when my parents began snowbirding, I had trouble sleeping alone in our house. I’d turn on ESPN, and put a body pillow in the recliner with a blanket. This gave the illusion of a man in the house, and I swear, I fell asleep easier.

My first place was a large townhouse, and for the short time I didn’t have roommates, I’d call my not-then MIL when I arrived home late, and she’d stay on the phone with me while I searched the house for Boogey Men.
Eventually, I got a one-bedroom apartment, and it was so small, I slept just fine there. Initially, I worried about my walk-up deck and sliding doors. I had long been told if someone wants in your house, they’ll find a way. Still, I felt like the bar and the glass would at least give me time to jump out the window.

Since The Mister and I got married I’ve always had trouble sleeping while he’s away. Honest to God, I never liked sharing a bed. I need space, air, to breathe. But I got used to him, so the first business trip he took almost killed me. Yes, I missed him, but mostly I thought, omg come home so i can sleep!

We bought our first house, and gave the towhead twins their own room. Sissy couldn’t sleep for about two weeks, because she’d never slept in a room without her brother.
I’d open our bedroom door in the morning, and there she’d be, sleeping at the threshold. She wouldn’t go upstairs or downstairs without me.
As for the boy, well, he suddenly needed a nightlight. Or two. One in his room and one in the hallway and “Leave the bathroom light on!”
Bubba would play alone in his room, but Sissy wouldn’t. Some other kid had to be with her or she wouldn’t go upstairs.

When The Mister reenlisted, he went away in November and came back in June, and I tell you, I’ve never had more insomnia than I did that winter. The winter I tried Ambien. The way the household was set up about drove me crazy. Things that didn’t matter before suddenly did, because there was no man at the house.
I wanted to have the babies in bed with me and the kids on the floor. I wanted them all around me, so I could watch over them and know they were safe. But I’d spent a long time training all the girls to sleep alone…
This is when I let worry and fear take over my life. Sleeplessness and The Baby Daze invited anxiety.

Any noise was surely just a cat. (Or a raccoon.)

I did put a pair of his boots on the front porch, I ain’t even ashamed.

lolbrary.com_16123_1386286409

We moved again, and the girls all slept in the same room for a while. As in, Sissy had her own room, but she’d go in and sleep with Sassy instead. It took her a long time to adjust to a new room in a new place.
While we were in Georgia, on a military installation, there were times when men were rare  in our neighborhood. It seemed like nobody had a daddy. It was during this time when Sassy would tell me she didn’t feel safe.
“If they’re all gone, who’s here to protect us?”
Under threat of hurricanes, a tornado nearby, if the power went out, when our neighbors were robbed — anything small children are scared of — she’d wish her daddy was home to keep her safe. She felt better when Bubba was home, she’d say.
I’d tell her we had Homeland Security, MP’s, and well, I could be vicious if needed. Mother Bear and all that.

Before we left Georgia, once we had all the stuff in Moo’s room packed, she slept on Sassy’s floor until we all slept together in the living room.
Moo had trouble sleeping in her room when we first got here, too.
Moo still sleeps in Sassy’s room a lot. If she wakes up scared, she goes there, or to us, in the middle of the night.

In the winter, when it’s dark early, they both ask when Daddy will be home, and will beg to stay up, so they don’t go to bed without him in the house.

Last fall, our nephew Simon went away to college, and his little brother didn’t feel safe anymore. Suddenly darkness was an issue. Since Simon wasn’t upstairs ignoring Ace, he couldn’t go up there. Alone. Drew might be beautiful and demure, but she’s a good shot.
You can guess who’s happiest that his brother is home for the summer.

Almost as happy as I am that my husband won’t be deployed again.

Still, through my back door window, there’s a visible alarm, dog dishes, a baseball bat, what looks like a rifle, a golf club, and Army and Marine Corps photos. If The Mister goes away overnight, you can bet there’ll be a pair of combat boots next to the dog dishes, too.

Do you feel safer with a man in the house? If you’re the man in the house, do you just swell with pride?

(I just know there’s gonna be someone on this thread goin on about how cruel my parents were, or how they always let their four kids sleep with them, or how women can protect just as well as men…They obviously don’t know I’m a bad feminist and a wonderful mother!)

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Being Mean is EXHAUSTING

Hopefully everyone has figured out that my blog battle with Josh was a farce, fake, phony, NOT REAL. I did write faux in the first line
My views were double what they usually are, which amuses me. Given certain unpublished comments, I can tell reading is a struggle for some, and I may have lost followers who cannot read well/misunderstood.
As suspected, Josh is so likable, nearly no one took my side.

In the meantime, yesterday was a Wednesday, which I believe I’ve mentioned are not my best days? I had to drop The Mister off at a training site, run morning errands, pick Sassy up from afters, pick The Mister up from work, then come home to my evening work.
Since driving agitates my anxiety and shopping is no picnic, either, I had planned to do few things between errands and pick up — wash linens, eat lunch, play Mario Kart, and take a nap. I said this to my family, “You know what I’m going to carve out time for today?”
“A nap?”
“Yes! And?”

“Mario Kart! I haven’t played in over a week!”
They laughed and I do not know why.

But instead, I had to have an internet fight.
Internet fights are exhausting, much more than driving or shopping. My last internet fight was with The Mister in 2008. He was returning from Iraq and his parents wanted to come to the airport with me, whereas our idea was that he should come home alone with me, shower, and fulfill his primary duty. He didn’t want to tell them that, he wanted me to tell them.

(ya know, since typing that last sentence, i’ve stared at the wall and eaten twenty-some walnuts and i really think there’s a whole post there…)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to pretend to be upset? To feign feeling indignant? To take things out of context, embellish their importance, and run them into the ground? Just to be mean, petty, and argumentative? It’s exhausting!
(Imagine, that’s the new “journalism.” Heh.)

So no, I didn’t have a nap, and I didn’t play any Mario Kart. I did eat lunch and wash the linens, and once the bed was made, I lay down with Catticus, who likes a made bed as much as I do, only to realize Moo’s arrival was imminent.

Moo was tired yesterday, too, and slept like this on the way to get her daddy, while we waited, and until we arrived at the library, where she staggered out of the van and I passed her off to The Mister for safekeeping.

moo1
She frequently does this with her quilt, and I can only assume, like a bird, she gets overstimulated…
“No quilt? I’ll just use my sweatshirt!”

Yesterday was Sassy’s last student council meeting and The Mister has no Wednesday classes now that the semester is over. Wednedays should resume being happy enough, and for that, I am so grateful.

Last night I was in bed before the sun had gone all the way down. I woke the girls this morning and went back to bed until 9:30. It was awesome. (For best results, you should read awesome in a high pitch near squeal-level.)

I’d thought to berate Josh for fake-provoking me, instead of accepting accountability for my own fake response, but then I remembered how much fun it is to play Mario Kart and thinking meh with a shoulder shrug used almost no energy at all.

Are you good at pretending? What taxes or exhausts you? Do you sleep with your face covered like Moo?

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Drama on a Wednesday

Y’all, Josh is stating obvious things about me even though I told him today wasn’t a good day to stage a faux internet fight.

My caramel macchiato was decaf this morning. I should’ve prepared. I hadn’t taken him seriously. People so rarely do what they say they’re gonna do.
I’m shocked. I can’t believe I’ve been engaging in bloggy witty repartee with Josh all this time, and never even knew he was the kinda person who does what he says he will. Is no one unreliable anymore?

He told me he’d steal my words and I told him that would be plagiarism, and now he’s accusing me of being a neurotic bitch who said something nice about his wife. Okay, I did, but just that ONE time! Are people so sensitive that I can’t say one nice thing about their wives without it turning into a knock-out, drag out fight?

He’s threatened to bring the thunder, and he didn’t even offer any rain for my garden!

Annd, he called me a troll and said I was never a daisy.

Worst of all, some of it is in ALL CAPS, which we all know means he’s pushed the Caps Lock button.

I really don’t know what to do.
He’s not mad at me and keeps typing words of truth and tease.

Right now, he’s laughing and asking me if I think this is over.

I think he’s only doing this to impress Anxious Mom, since she wrote, “Oh please, you two must do a fake blog war. This would make my day. No, my week.”😄😄😄
— with like, really big smiley face emoticons and everything. That’s right, Anxious Mom, I will drag you down with me — you and your big, happy emoticons!

At this point, it seems I need to defend myself before Josh tells the teacher on me.  Should I call him some names? Should I CAP at him? I should probably try to get all my friends to follow him now, but how many people should I drag into this with me?
How do you handle this kind of drama online?
Please advise.

(Right now, I gotta go over to Twitter and randomly @ people with the “You’re not a daisy” comment.)

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Casey Cat

Over the years, I’ve attempted to take in or care for cats when other people couldn’t. I counted the other day, and I’ve tried to take in nine. It doesn’t always work out.
There’s always some self-righteous judgmental person who attacks people like me, “Pets are forever!” Yeah, but no. Sorry, I don’t see it that way at all. I think there’s a huge difference between re-homing an animal or returning it to the shelter because it’s not working out, compared to dropping it off in the countryside or abandoning it because it peed on your bed. Situations vary. Everyone’s different.

Sometimes love means giving up what YOU want for what’s best for another.

This is Casey. I have a pile of pictures of Casey, because we had her from 2007 to 2011.

casey

Casey was one of our accidental cats. She worked out.
We took her in when she was almost a year old. A friend of mine got a sudden onset of allergies with her new pregnancy, and couldn’t keep her, so I said we’d take her.
She is an intrepid kitty.
Here she is, having climbed the pergola, meowing her head off because she can’t figure out how to get down. The Mister had to rescue her.

casey5

Casey is one of those cats who just loves to be outside. She was an indoor-outdoor cat. (People judge that too.) Casey once took a two-day vacation and we were NOT happy about it.
It drove her crazy when the kids went outside and she couldn’t be with them. She roamed frequently, and always came home. She absolutely guarded the children and the house like a dog would. She also played fetch.

casey4
She’s a good hunter. I assume she liked to supplement her meals with fresh game.

If she wasn’t in, I called for her before I went to bed at night, but usually I’d find her as soon as I opened the door. This is Casey telling us she wanted to come back in.

casey1
Quirky things about Casey:
Tattling: This is a cat who will alert you to any number of things, like how another cat is trapped in the linen closet, or how there’s a package at the door, or how water is running in the kids’ bathroom. Seriously.
Bringing down dirty laundry: This is a cat who will drag pieces of clothing into the living room and meow to you about it. If you wait long enough, she’ll bring all the stray socks. With only her six-pound frame and her front teeth, she can even bring a pair of men’s jeans downstairs, and who doesn’t like to see a cat pull a bra out of the hamper and drag it into the living room during a party?
Rubbing herself all over purses, backpacks, and baby bags. She’s especially fond of True’s things, perhaps because lotsa kid and animal smells.

We didn’t decide so much not to keep Casey in 2011 so much as we decided to gift her.  (More judgement.) FIL had such an affinity with Casey. She looked like this cat his father had had, and because of that, he kept calling her Tiger. Whenever he interacted with her, there was something about his face that reminded me of Bubba’s happy five-year-old face, and with each visit, this happiness only grew.

Cats choose their people, you know.
My mother taught me that. You don’t take the cat you want, you take the cat who chooses you. Even still, when you bring them home, they may choose someone else. They claim their humans.

My in-laws had cats before, but since the second one passed, they hadn’t had a cat in over a decade. FIL commented now and again how much he missed having a cat, but MIL was not in favor of another one.
I told him he should take her home. I told them to talk about it and decide. She was spayed, she wasn’t prone to hairballs, never made a mess, she wasn’t a picky eater, and she had her front claws out. (More judgment.)

They took her back to Indiana with them the following day.

Casey is very happy in her ‘new’ ‘fourth’ home. — From kitten in a box, to my friend’s house, to our house, to The Palace of Rules — She’s completely spoiled. She’s got FIL wrapped around her dew claw, demanding her food on schedule, and alerting him to his neglect, how cats do.
“Excuse me. I see you’re reading a book, but I am going to walk on your book and rub my face on you now. Look at meee, I’m so pretty and fluffy! Don’t you want to brush me?”
She was never much of a lap cat at our house, but she loves to be in FIL’s lap.
She is beloved.
She now sports a rhinestone collar with a bejeweled tag.
When they take trips, they always have someone go over to check on and feed Casey. Sometimes us — We enjoy visiting her, for any reason.
She enjoys clicking at the birds from the sunroom and chasing the paths of critters from window to window.

She still tries to escape outdoors. When we arrive, “Watch for Casey!” is yelled out before a hello. It’s almost always our girls who catch her and bring her back in, because it’s almost always our girls who let her out.
She still tattles. MIL told me just last week, Casey told her the phone was ringing. MIL had the ironing out, and her music on. I was calling her cell phone, and Casey cried and cried. She’d look at MIL and look at the plant shelf, back and forth with the crying. Finally, Casey attempted to point to the phone. Tattle tale kitty!

Casey was absolutely the most interesting cat we ever took in.
We were delighted to have her, but we’re also delighted for placing her elsewhere.

Do you want to express your outrage or are you smiling inside?

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For the Love of Caps, Fleurs, Pets, and Toes

I think Mother’s Day is as overrated as any other holiday. I may write about it sometime, only, probably not. I’m generally on my throne, waving my scepter around, demanding things, so it’s no big deal to me. Just lemme sleep in!

BUT! Yesterday was a glorious Sunday!

Any day I wake to The Mister is a good one, but when I wake up to coffee and he wears a cap? Omalord.

y'all don't even know

y’all don’t even know

Sassy was sick half the day. Kinda put a damper on the start.

We had lunch with the whole clan. Bittersweet. Wonderful, but too brief.

It was in the high 80’s yesterday and that’s way too warm for me, but I’ve learned not to complain, because I DON’T LIVE IN GEORGIA ANYMORE!
I know that most people are sick of my goin on about how much I love being home, but I still thank God I’m home at least twice a day. This time of year, I might say it ten times a day and think it a hundred.
It’s part of my recovery from the trauma.
People think I’m bein dramatic and ask, “But did you die?!?” Psh, no, but oh, how I suffered.

I walk around smiling madly. It’s so green and lush here. The smells, oh the smells! On top of all the plants, the scent of rain, damp shade, and dark loam linger here.

catticus maximus

catticus maximus

We sat on the porch for quite some time, takin it in. Sassy’s feet dangled over the side of her chair as she snuggled Cletus the Dog Kitten, Moo did yoga poses while riding her bike, Sadie stood guard, Catticus rolled around on the concrete. The Mister and I took in all the happiness with a shared smile.

i wished my mother's red toes were there, too

i wished my mother’s red toes were here, too

I did some dishes, washed some dog, and fetched some vittles at the market. All of these things were chores, but pleasant, and routine.

The Mister did bring me a bouquet yesterday, and would you believe it included those cheerful green pompom flowers I just mentioned last week? I was told they’re green ball Dianthus. Quite nice. I call them fleurs, he calls them weeds, and that makes his gesture even sweeter.

fleurs

fleurs

I’m glad to say the temps are lower this week. I’ll be avoiding the back hallway trim, neglecting housework, playin hell with my nails, just piddlin my heart out in the yard.

Didja have a nice Sunday? Whatcha doin this week?

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Piddlin’

Last time I wrote that I like to piddle in my garden, I got some giggles, because piddle means pee. Well sure. It means pissin away time, too. If you’re Southern, or I reckon if your mama is, then piddlin is killin time, specifically lookin like you’re workin, when you’re not.
The Fine Art of Piddling is an article by Rick Bragg, one of my favorite authors, who often writes for Southern Living. The article is NOT about urination.
I love the last page of Southern Living like you would not believe. I save them up and mail them to my friend Root Beer, to further extend my joy. Did y’all read the one about old cookware? Omaword, that was some good shit.

Anyway, my mother subscribes me to Southern Living, I assume to secretly bend me to her will, how mothers do, that gentle whisper in your ear, which eventually becomes your own voice. The subtle way your mother makes sure you know you have to cook for people in distress, or never return an empty dish.
“Yes, Joey! You do have to take her a pie, even though she tried to punch you in the face a few months ago. She’s been in a terrible car accident, poor thing! What’s the matter with you?!?”

I love quite a bit of Southern Living, but you can guess that the garden section is not even remotely helpful. Time to cut back my ornamental grasses? Bitch, please, there’s two feet of snow on the ground!

Anyway Again, I’ve been piddlin round my yard a lot lately.
Trees are adamant about growing even though you don’t want them there.
I divided hostas like whoa. Y’all wouldn’t believe the hostaville I live in.

Divided some day lilies, too. I forget where I put those, but they’re somewhere…oh, by the mailbox! Did you know that people used to plant day lilies at the end of the drive like an address marker? Yep. When you’re drivin through rural areas, note how many you see on the side of the road, beyond the easement.

I planted a red Asiatic lily, which I must say, tickles me hot pink.
Added some coral bells, called Plum Crazy, cause obviously my kinda variety.
Put geraniums in my pots.
Then I planted some annuals in the ground, my first time at this house. Planted some blue lobelia, pinks and reds and whites of the nicotiana, and white waxy begonias. Somethin dug up a few begonias, but I put em back. Apparently literal piddling could help, but I’m just gonna throw some dog poo and cat hair at em. (The flowers, not the critters.)

Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, marigolds…

Damned cracks in the pavement, dandelion havens…Eco-friendly bullshit weed killer…

big ol' bee, helpin

big ol’ bee, helpin

sadie, not helpin

sadie, not helpin

Yes, I know I have ground ivy all over my yard. Yes, I know it’s invasive. I like it. I do not care if it takes over. I prefer invasive stuff, really. As long as it stays on our side of the driveway, we’re good. I think I’ve mentioned to a few of you that eventually, I should like to not have a lawn at all. Just paths. That’s the long-term plan. Keep adding and dividing perennials and planting herbs and food until there’s really not a lawn. It’s good for the environment and well, we won’t be “young” forever, you know. Wanna not mow, or mow with an old push mower. Travel lots. Live like sex-crazed childless vagabonds…

Cut some lilac today, as is traditional. In about a week, my neighbor’s bigger, older lilac will bloom and it will perfume the entire block. Mmm!

can you smell it?

can you smell it?

When I sit on my porch, it smells heavenly. Lilac, rosemary, wild onion, Lily of the Valley — oh my nose does love spring!

sadie likes the deep grass, but i prefer an adirondack chair, myself

sadie likes the deep grass, but i prefer an adirondack chair, myself

Googled the hell out of my mystery plant(s). Dunno wtf it is. My mother doesn’t know wtf it is. I now call it Wtfisit. I’ve been on Google images, Dave’s Garden, and GardenWeb (Which is now part of Houzz?) and if I have to read one more time about how it looks like Virginia Creeper or Poison Ivy, I will go batshit crazy. It is not a vine. It has three leaflets, which make it look like it has five leaves, but it is not a fucking vine. It’s a 12×24″ clump, growing in shade and it’s slightly familiar, but it wasn’t there last year.
Here, you look now:

pile of it

pile of it

stem area

stem area

Do you know what Wtfisit is? Grows like Caladium or Dianthus, or plastic aquarium plants, but it’s not.

But look at the Centaurea!
Ooh! Ahh!

if my bff was a flower, i think she'd be this one

zomg, you’re soooo pretty!

Whatcha been piddlin with?
Are ya gonna piddle this weekend?

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Thunder!

I got The Encouraging Thunder award from both Vanessa of Petal & Mortar and Anxious Mom from Blogging for Therapy, so I’m super pleased to be considered by both of them!

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The Rules:

  • Post it on your blog.
  • Grant other bloggers the award.

What you cannot do:

  • Abuse or misuse the logo.
  • Claim that it is your own handmade logo.

What you should do after receiving the Encouraging Thunder Award:

  • Enjoy the award!
  • At least give thanks via comments, likes and/or mentioning the blog that you received the award from.
  • Mention your purpose in blogging.

Ah, my purpose in blogging is my own self-amusement. As we’ve all been told, bloggers are narcissists. Or was that Twitter users? Maybe it’s just people who take selfies….

First, this blog is like conservative employer repellent. Also, I get a public soapbox platform. It also acts as a sort of diary. Annnd, it’s no small thing that my own particular circle includes lotsa people like me, so it’s kinda like having an online support group. I do aim to illuminate that life with anxiety can improve with time and effort, and I know my frequent funny stories do just that for people who suffer similarly. I like to think I’m shaking labels and jump-starting brains, but that’s probably a delusion of grandeur.

In addition to several bloggers I’ve already mentioned this week, along with the two women who gave me this nomination, here are some other brave women bloggers that write about the human condition in terms of how to navigate through “But you don’t look sick,” finding focus, glory through gratitude, baring souls, and thinking out loud.

Deelicious Lady

meAnxietyme

It Goes On

Momof3isnuts

Someone said that blog awards bring traffic, but this is not true for me at all. I’m on day five of blog awards and my traffic is in decline. Still, I loved accepting each and every award, and sharing some of my favorite blogs with y’all.

Next post though? No blog awards. Just some prattling. Or a rant. Maybe some garden photos. Maybe a funny meme. Maybe I’ll say fuck a lot. I dunno.

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Black Wolf

One of the blogs I follow, Our Rumbling Ocean, is that of an amazing photographer and his family. They refer to their blog as “Our Blog.” Perhaps it is the frequent sweetness and light that keeps me reading, but surely anyone would love their photos. The photos are often breathtaking, particularly for this under-traveled American, who oohs and ahhs over the flora and fauna on a faraway continent. It’s a nature geek fix. Did I mention their blog often features an adorable tiny person who toddles about smiling and making dimples? Really, it’s a charming blog.

I am flattered that they have awarded me The Black Wolf Blogger award. This award was maybe more exciting than others, since I’d not seen hide nor hair of it until it appeared there. (more oohing and ahhing)

black-wolf-blogger-award1

Rules for this Award: Thank the person who nominated you for the award. Add the logo to your post. Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs.

I’m picking a rather eclectic set of blogs which are some of my favorites to read. Some are already wildly popular and some are seemingly under-read but I like them all.

Poui Season

Aussa Lorens, Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy.

Cursitivity

Samara Speaks, A Buick in the Land of Lexus

Silver in the Barn

Behind the White Coat

Once Upon Your Prime

The Zombies Ate My Brains

Life in the Boomer Lane

Little Debbie

In the words of those who nominated me, and others before them — It is said the positive attributes of the wolf include sharp intelligence, deep connection with instincts, and an appetite for freedom. The wolf works hard, and usually works within a group, feeling connected to others. The wolf is also a social animal, and deeply connected to the earth. The black wolf in particular is also rare and beautiful.

Have a lovely Wednesday. I always spend my Wednesdays running around, pining for The Mister, wishing it was Thursday and time for Scandal and wine, but I always manage to pull through.

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Zilla Girl

Okay, now this is one is fantastic:

I am one of the premiere recipients of the First Annual Nagzilla’s Star of Excellence Awards.
What is that, you ask?

This.

nagzilla

Just that.
I put the zilla on my page and go about my business.
It’s kinda like getting a gold star on your spelling test and a cyber hug all at once.

Thank you, Nagzilla, I love it so much!

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Part of my April showers experience was being nominated for a pile of awards. Of course, April having been the A-Z Challenge, I’m only catching up now.

Mark Bialczak nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, which is ironic, but we will get to that in a moment.

 

image204
Here are the rules for the Very Inspiring Bloggers Award:

State three things that have inspired you this week.
Nominate bloggers that inspire you.
Inform your nominees.
Three things that inspired me this week:

1) It seems Indianapolis businesses are unofficially sponsoring pansies, or pansies are trending, or on sale, or somethin, cause everywhere I look, I see patches and planters full of pansies. Not just one or two shades though, all of them, en masse: purple, orange, yellow, and white. Pansies are always a common choice, but so much so this year, I barely see any petunias, marigolds, or begonias. After maybe the twentieth booming pansy display, the peer pressure had gotten to me, and I conceded, “Alright, alright! Next year, when it’s time to add annuals, I’ll do pansies in all the colors!”

2) Someone wrote a poem about making love beneath an apple tree which inspired me to think about making love under our apple trees, and to only think about it briefly, because aggressive yellow jackets all day and nocturnally roaming half-naked neighbor all night, but I cannot deny the poem was inspirational, because the smell of the apple blossoms is nothing short of luscious, and the apple trees are throwing down a blanket of silky petals…

3) Someone said mowing the yard gave her a zen feeling, so I put down my 32oz Coca-Cola and frantically word-vomited, telling her maybe I should learn how to mow a yard, and I love zen, and good exercise, and the magic of Flonase. I blathered on about how big our yard is, and how seldom the weather matches The Mister’s schedule, and how hard could it be? The Mister said he will teach all of us. I may one day use a lawnmower, y’all! (It could be a chainsaw next!)

All of the blogs I read inspire me, in one way or another. I can tell I get inspired when I start typing a comment and it turns into an essay. When I get through all these awards, I’ll start writing the posts that other bloggers have inspired. If you are a blogger I read, and you want to accept this award nomination and run with it, please do. If I nominate you and you don’t accept, I totally don’t care and I completely understand.
Special thanks to the Very Inspiring Ramblings From Jewels, LindaGHill, No Facilities, My Friday Blog, and I told you, ironically, Mark Bialczak.

I’m off to work in the garden, planting some chives and sprouts, near the apple trees…

i'm sorry you can't smell our apple trees from there

i’m sorry you can’t smell our apple trees from there

What can I say? Spring fever is full on!

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Real Neat, That’s Me

Another nomination, The Real Neat Blog Award, was passed on to me from Wide-eyed at Finding my Opti in this mist. Thank you, Wide-eyed!

real-neat-blog-award

The Rules:

1) Put the award logo on your blog.
2) Answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3) Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
4) Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
5) Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

The Questions:

  • If there was one moment you could get back—which would it be? Would you do it differently?
    I know I should say that I would do something differently. It’s not as though I don’t have so-called regrets, but honestly, I’m not sure I believe regrets are worth regret. You follow? It seems to me, in hindsight, the choices I made, although initially producing unpleasant results, were important things to do. Those are called consequences and they’re crucial to personal growth. In retrospect, maybe I should never have bit my tongue for two years, or built that house on undeveloped land, or trusted that old boyfriend. It took a long time to see the way it all worked out was actually perfect, and they weren’t actually mistakes. Lots of things happen because they’re (often) inevitable or (almost always) better in the long run.
  • What is the one thing about yourself you’ve always liked?
    I’ve always liked my moxie.
  • Advice to your future self
    Hmm. I have no idea. My advice to my tomorrow self is to work in the garden in the morning, before it gets hot. Feel free to pass that around, I think it’s solid advice.
  • What is one thing you’d like to change about the present?
    Oh! Well, I’m almost out of peanut butter, bananas, Coke, and shampoo. I would like all those things to appear as if from nowhere, so that I could avoid the store!
  • Favourite quote?
    No matter where you go, there you are.
  • Piece of advice for young girls everywhere?
    Only ONE? Use sunscreen.
  • If you could undo one of the most defining moments in human history, which would it be?
    No thank you. I would not like the power. Much like the first question, I think it all happens for a reason.

My Nominees:

Josh at My Friday Blog

Veronica at Owl Wonder

Judwina at Edwina’s Episodes

Sammy at bemuzin

Ritu at But I Smile Anyway

Hollie at My Blog is My Boyfriend

Per the usual, I am not invested in your acceptance of the award nomination, and am merely delighted to share your links (and my joy in reading them) with others.

Questions for any willing nominees:

1. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

2. What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

3. What fictional character did you most identify with when you were a child?

Have a lovely…less than an hour left on Sunday…
Have a tolerable Monday. May it be kind to you.

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Infinity Dreams

This award nomination was passed on to me by the lovely Ritu at But I Smile Anyway…
Thank you, Ritu!

wpid-infinitydreamsaward

The Rules:

Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
Tell us 11 facts about yourself.
Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

11 Facts About Me:

1. I think of myself as a writer, but more than any other title, I think of myself as a teacher. Teaching is natural to me, and words are my medium.

2. I’m an extremely predictable person, and I find contradictions and inconsistencies in others completely fascinating.

3. I’m an impeccable judge of character. This is often accompanied by the banal feeling of watching a train wreck or a tornado approaching.

4. I value integrity, honesty, and kindness above all.

5. I say and write the things that other people don’t because they’re polite. No one has ever accused me of being polite.

6. I like to go for a ride in the car every bit as much as my dog. Even more if there’ll be some iced coffee.

pupcup

7. I always say I love you before I get off the phone. Not with customer service, but you know.

8. I’ve inherited a Not-Me ghost from my parents. The Not-Me ghost does strange things like haul my shovel to the patio, leave the 1/4 measuring cup in the cocoa powder, and steal all my pens.

9. I have a favorite child, and that favorite changes every day, moment to moment, on accounta which are acting as though they have some fucking sense in their heads.

10. I like those bright green flowers that look like dandelions or pompoms. The ones that often come in arrangements? Anyone know the name of those? They’re so cheerful!

ooh, last of my red tulips, barely hangin on

ooh, last of my red tulips, barely hangin on

11. I sit cross-legged, Indian-style, like a pretzel, however you put it, ALL THE TIME. Sitting normally feels unbearable to me. This is awkward when dining out, especially in a skirt.

Ritu’s Questions:

1. What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to learn? I’ve always wanted to take a pastry class.

2. Have you ever had a diary? Yes, most famously, Angry Journal, circa 2003.

3. Do you like horror or comedy movies? I don’t care for horror at all, I like some comedy, but I prefer dramas.

4. What is the last song you listened to? Sassy and I just sang our hearts out to “Talula” by Tori Amos. We are proudly weird.

and I never cared too much about the money but I know right now honey that it's in god's hands but I don't know who the father is

and I never cared too much about the
money but I know right now
honey that it’s in god’s hands
but I don’t know who the father is

5. Which is the one place you’d like to travel to? That question is too hard. Right now, here is very pretty, and I would not like to be anywhere else. After a few days in the 80’s, I might prefer Nova Scotia, Norway, Isle of Man, the arctic circle…

6. Why do you like to blog and what do you love the most to write about? I dunno. It serves me well. I gotta write. I like to write about whatever strikes my fancy. Maybe that’s the great thing about blogging, you can write about whatever, whenever.

7. Who is your inspiration? For what? For who I am? An imaginary woman who is the culmination of all the best of all the women I’ve ever valued?

8. If you had to choose between money or love, what would you? Love. Always love. I’ve chosen love over money a few times in my life. Money is always in flux. Love is constant.

9. What is the one thing you cannot live without? I always laugh at this question. Air? Water? My brain? Gah, I dunno. I really like beverages, the internet, lip gloss, Flonase, fruit…

10. What is the one thing you have to have in your purse? I have a key fob that stores all my identification and my money cards. It is my thing. It’s the perfect thing, unless you lose it, which I have not, because I am obsessive compulsive about it. *knocks wood* (and maybe superstitious)

11. What was the first thing that came up in your mind when you saw you were nominated here? Oh goody. I cannot wait for all the hyperlinks.

My Nominees:

But first, a short rant about award nominations. Accepting awards takes a really long time. Just getting the freakin links for eleven blogs takes a long time. Thinkin of things to tell about yourself takes a long time. Pinging everyone with your nomination takes a long time. Copy and Paste FOREVER, mk? Widgets, y’all.

Some people don’t accept awards. I follow 369 people, I can’t remember who doesn’t accept awards. If I’ve nominated you for an award and you don’t accept them, PARDON THE HELL OUT OF ME. Some people are too busy to accept. Some people think it’s cliquey. Some people act like you’ve sent them a chain letter, like their dog will die if they don’t nominate more people to accept an award. How dare you burden them with the task! But then, some of those same people wonder why they don’t have more readers, or why they don’t feel the sense of community…well, DUH.
I don’t give a damn if you accept the awards. You do not owe me an explanation. I will not notice if you don’t accept. I like your writing and I am happy to share your words with others.
I’m just glad someone thought of me.
That’s really nice, to be thought of.

Fellow bloggers thought of me six times during the month of April, and I appreciate all of them.

Lisa

IdiotWriter

Fondly Elizabeth

John

christinarose

Prajakta

Isabella

Nortina

Jewels

Mimi

Megan

My questions?

1. What’s your favorite ice cream?
2. What are you drinking?
3. Read any good books lately?
4. Seen any good films lately?
5. How’s your weather?
6. Had any interesting dreams here of late?
7. What’s ailin ya?
8. Do you know The Muffin Man, The Way to San Jose, or what I mean?
9. If you had to choose, would you rather be a cat or a dog?
10. What kind of fries do you like?
11. Do you think five questions would be more than enough?

I have things to do now. I’ll be pingin later. If you get to me first, thanks for saving me the trip. *winks*

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Finally Zipping Through Zee Zed

I do not say zed. To me, zed is a Scrabble word, or a word my English friend uses that makes me pause and realize, “Oh, he means Z.”

I do say zee a lot, especially when I’m Franglais-ing with my husband. We do have more than our fair share of fun around here.
The Mister took French with zee same demanding teacher I did, but he didn’t take nearly as much, and he kinda hated her. Unfortunately, she was such a good teacher that when he later took Spanish, he sucked at that, because he kept Frenching everything up. The Mister can’t understand Spanish, or speak Spanish for mierda, either, but that’s okay, because I didn’t fall in love with him for his words.
He thought taking French would be easier the second go ’round, especially with me in zee house. Sometimes I hear him, listening to his French lessons. Zee computer asks things like, “Bonjour, Pierre! Excusez-moi, mais ou sont les toilettes?” et quelque chose like that, which I guess zee computer really needs to know before she gets on zee train to Belgique departing in dix minutes.
So, I try to ask him simple questions, like, “Qu’est ce que tu fais?” (What are you doing?) or “Ou sont les filles?” (Where are the girls?) et he is such a smartass enorme, he raises his eyebrows and asks, “Que¿”
“Asshole. You know very fucking well que¿!”

french-motherfucker-do-you-speak-it_o_1977355

So no, I don’t think I’m particularly helpful for The Mister’s second round of French.

The other day, I informed him that True has been learning French from an app on her phone. I told him it’s working well for her, we had an entire conversation about fruit. He said, “I hate her.”

With any luck, he will complete zee language requirement for his degree next week, sans knowing pommes from oranges.

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Young Love — Y

My dog, Sadie, barks at all kindsa things.
She’s a sweetheart, she really is.

sadie1
But when she barks, she doesn’t sound like a sweetheart. No, she sounds like a vicious beast.
Visitors beware.

When I get to the door, I tell her to back up and sit and stay, so she does. I always tell the visitor she’s harmless, because once I let them in, she is harmless.
Sometimes people remain edgy, not convinced, and I have to crate her. Most of the time, people say something like, “I’ve got a dog like that, too. Good watchdog,” and they rub her head.

Sadie is a great watchdog.

Last summer, she barked at our open bedroom window in the middle of the night, so I got up to see what the fuss was about. There was our neighbor’s outdoor cat, right under the window. Sadie couldn’t see him, but she could smell him.
TomCat is a frequent cause for her barking. I’m sure she’s jealous that TomCat can go anywhere and he doesn’t even have a leash. She probably wonders why he’s always pouncing bugs in the grass instead of shaking squirrels to death. What a waste of freedom, huh?
We tell her, “That is not your kitty,” and she makes that precious sighing noise that dogs make when they’ve given up.

I’m amazed by what she can smell and hear. For instance, she knows The Mister and our girls are coming when I can’t even see them yet.

She hates the mail carrier, which I suppose is required of all dogs. It doesn’t help that our mail carriers are always on rotation. No matter how excited I am to see the mail carriers or how I tell Sadie we loooove mail, she hates them still.

You’d think the pizza man would be loved, because meat and cheese, but he’s not.

Sadie has certain people she adores. My FIL fersure.
Moo’s little friend Lily is always a hit.
My nephews, too. She’s pretty excited when Auntie Drew comes to the door, but when the boys are with her, the excitement is INSANE!
Whining and hopping at the door…
She redirects herself to her bone and then offers up her tummy.

If only I could teach her to stop licking MIL’s toes…Poor Mamaw.

She hates motorcycles. I suppose they’re like growling mystery machines to her. Probably not unlike the helicopters on post. She’d grab up her bones and run to the house in a frenzy, before those evil birds could get them. Same with the vacuum…

She’s come to know all the sights and sounds of neighbors, their kids and pets. Sometimes she gets riled up about a stray animal, but the one thing we cannot understand?

She hates young love.
I’m not sure if she finds the match unsuitable, or if one of them smells like the death of a thousand dogs, but she absolutely cannot tolerate the sight of teenagers strolling hand in hand.
Our reaction? “Oh yes, young love, how terrifying!”

Does your dog have quirky barking tendencies? Are you afraid of young love?

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Solve for X

Like I’m knowing stuff about equations. Pshaw!

alphabet-in-math

Some day I may write about the math. I have two interesting stories about math, believe it or not. I had a tutor for the last part of algebra in high school, so I could take geometry.
By the by, I don’t think that makes any sense, cause guess what? I’m good at geometry. It makes total sense to me.
*shrugs*
Anyway…

The answer to yesterday’s post on Two Truths and a Lie is #1.
I did not see a naked toddler. But it’s kind of a trick, because the toddler was actually only wearing a shirt and shoes. Perhaps he ran off during his diaper change?

So, for the eight of you who guessed #1, how did you know?

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W — for Why are so many people naked? & Which one is a lie? & What’re y’all gonna order?

On a warm May day in 2006, I met my in-laws for lunch.

I recall this day extremely well, because it was a strange day.

Very strange indeed…

I played the game of Two Truths and a Lie with my in-laws when I got to the restaurant.

ScreenShot20130926at11.25.59AM

“You will never believe me when I tell you what all I saw on the way here, but let’s see if you can guess. I will tell you three things I saw on the way and you tell me which one is a lie.
1) I passed the park where a toddler boy ran away from his parents — he was naked as a jaybird!
2) I drove by a man who was walkin on the side of the road. He wore only jeans and a snake around his neck!
3) Then when I stopped at the stop sign, I was behind two topless girls makin out in the back of the pick-up truck in front of me!
Can you guess which is the lie?”

They guessed and I gave them the answer.

Would you care to play? I’ll give you the answer tomorrow, no lie.

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Very Vexing V

The SoCs for today is vary/very, which is very upsetting as I had hoped to compose a veracious post about the veritable vocabulary of female genitalia, specifically the villainous overuse of the word vagina.

I’m here to vindicate vaginas everywhere. Some people have already stopped reading, and I know some of you may begin to squirm in your seat, but I will count all likes and comments as a victory.

People seem to think that vagina is a good word for any vague mention of a woman’s sex, but verily I say unto you, it’s no better than “down there.”

Vaginas are virtually unseen. A vagina is specifically the interior muscular channel. There’s a vulva before that, and a cervix along the way, but the purpose of the vagina is to get various stuff in and out of the nearby uterus. Vaginas account for a great deal of human intercourse and resulting childbirths.
All recreation aside, vaginas are vital to reproduction. They are serious places that deal with serious issues.

Vaginas do not get waxed, colored, or bedazzled.

Here are some charming visuals that evoke the same reaction:
— Having my colon tattooed
— Buying new lipstick for my esophagus
— Getting my Eustachian tubes pierced, you know, something small and whimsical

When men make mistaken claims about what vicious things they’re going to do to a woman’s vagina, coupled with their tendency to fail at properly finding the various peaks valleys outside of it, we women need to stand up vehemently for our genitalia, and inform them, “That is not sexy! That is scientifically impossible and your ignorance in this matter voids any desire I previously felt for you!”

hipster-ariel

Those men are bad enough, we don’t need women fueling the fire of ignorance, claiming one word covers it all.

I could go on, but this is not that kinda blog.

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U is for Underwear

The purpose of underwear is right in the word. It’s to be worn under what one wears, under being the keyword.

I’m not going to go into my underwear preferences on my blog, but suffice it to say, I’m not fond of underwear of any sort. It’s right up there with shoes and jewelry and clingy kids and anything else you wanna be free of.

hhqCl

Unfortunately, I am subjected to the underwear of others on the regular. I’d like to say I only see my family’s underwear, but this is not the case.

Our neighbor, bless his heart, is often outdoors in his robe and a bathing cap. In warm weather, boxers with said robe and cap are optional. Now, he will dress before coming to our door, but he feels perfectly free in walking out into the street to chat to me at 7am. Our dog, being eye-level with his free bits, feels friendly and this may cause the neighbor to crouch and pat the dog. It’s very important to look over his shoulder and focus on the texture of his gravel drive. Best gravel ever. Totally sublime.

Fashion designers believe that women and girls only need a zipper long enough to cover our pubic bones. In reality, not all have a tiny crotch and our sex is known for being round at the back, so as females, our options are limited:
— Buy retro clothes or avant-garde pants, thus attaining zippers longer than our pinkies
— Wear skirts and dresses, avoiding pants entirely
— Wear higher-waisted undies and show them off every time we bend over or sit down
— Wear lower-waisted undies and show our asses every time we bend over or sit down

ultralowrise05

There is a curious epidemic spreading. No one seems to know how to stop it.
Men are wearing pants over only their legs.
It’s outlawed from stores, it’s fined in towns and cities, boys are sent home from school, but still, when I am in public, I am forced to see men’s underwear and sometimes their bare bottoms. Apparently this trend started in prison, and now it’s all the rage.
You’d think a belt would solve this problem, but they merely use the belt to fasten the pants below their hips.

Bieber-Sags-His-Pants
This truly fascinates me. I cannot deny, I am truly fascinated. It’s not sexy, because tacky and often, repulsive. It’s not badass, because clearly any man in this circumstance is one-handed, slow, or pantless during a fight…They say it started as a prison trend. How do we end it?

Women have stopped wearing slips. The last one I wore was on my wedding day. I remember this for three reasons:
1. I just got rid of it last week.
2. The women of my wedding party all watched me put it on as I dressed in my mother’s closet “Joey in a slip. I thought I’d never see the day.” I’m surprised no one took a picture.
3. I have a photo of my husband kneeling in the grass, tugging said slip down after the wedding, because my breasts tried to eat it.
You can still buy slips, but most designers have begun adding a layer underneath skirts, so that’s been quite freeing. I never got the point anyway. “I’m wearing this so no one knows I have legs?”
Used to be, you’d whisper to a woman that it was snowing down south and she’d blush and run off to hike up her slip.

We have women who’ve never been educated about how to properly harness their breasts. Yes, all the cheap, pretty bras are for small breasts. No, it’s not fair.

Also? How about wearing the right bra for the top?
Please allow me to introduce you to a variety of bras which may prevent us from seeing your bra straps for the eyesores that they are.

Strapless bras avoid straps altogether. When wearing something strapless, I recommend a strapless bra.

r3907-p327528-front

Here’s another kind of strapless bra, called a bandeau. A bandeau can prevent side boob and comes in a range of kicky colors, perfect for under those oversized tank tops that are so popular.
fnbbcl03
Please note, if you are busty, anything strapless will end up as a mere cantilever beneath your breasts, in which case, the answer is NOT to wear a good, but visible bra under clothes that do not cover them. Instead, you should see a woman about a corset.

And finally, behold, the racerback bra, or T-back bra. This is a magnificent bra which can be worn under a tank top of the same shape, preventing the double-strap party of tackiness you take everywhere you go. These come in a variety of styles.

Bra-categories-racerback-bra

If you are a woman who doesn’t know anything about underwear, please go to a specialty store, or find the oldest saleswoman in the lingerie section of a large department store.

If you are a man who doesn’t know how to wear pants and a belt at your waist, any adult can help you, even as they fight back their laughter.

If you are turned-on by the sight of other people’s underwear, congratulations, this is truly your time.

If you are into intentionally showing off your underwear, then please disregard this post.

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Transition for T

Are you in transition?

amazing stuff comes from within this mud...

amazing stuff emerges from this muck…

I am in transition.
I am always in transition.
I love learning and growing and having new experiences. I wish the lessons all came in shiny, happy packages, but they don’t.

We humans are such projects.
Can’t be thinking and saying, “It will all be better when…” and worst of all, “I will be happier when…”
No. Not true. I mean, it might be true, but there will always be something else comin directly.

growth_0

As I finished up my most recent kitchen project and had a dinner guest an hour later, I thought I should maybe mention that I don’t usually serve store-bought desserts, but we had been standing on and sanding over the baking counter just hours before, and it’s my understanding that joint compound dust is less than yummy.

The house has got to be the ultimate transition item for me. Yes, I did finally hang all the pictures, but I haven’t gone around and put sticky tack on the bottoms yet. Yes, I have only painted and papered one of nine drawers. No, the back hallway trim is still not done. Maybe I LIKE nail holes and visible nail heads!

It’s too warm for big sweaters and boots, but it’s too cool for tees and flip-flops. It’s the in-between time of year where I dress and undress several times a day. Hair up, sweater off, open a window, drink a cold beer, sweater back on, close the window, let my hair down, find some socks, pull up a blanket, make some hot tea — I can’t be the only one.

My yard is also in transition. Second spring here means, “Hey that wasn’t here last year! What is that? Do I like that? I’m not sure.”

Our grass is tall because my husband used his one sunny day off to take me to lunch. It’s not always tall. Okay, it is always tall in April.

Every Wednesday feels like a tiny marital death, because I miss The Mister so freakin much by then. Ships that pass in the night. Don’t ask me about love on a Wednesday, I’ll tell you a sob story, full of despair and agony. “I miss you. Do you miss me too? Kiss me ferrealiously! You smell fantastic! Do you still like my spaghetti? You haven’t found better spaghetti, have you? Is it Thursday yet?”

Until his semester’s over, we only get ONE WHOLE DAY all week to be a family together. We’re pretty stingy with our one day, so no, we don’t want to do x, y, or z with you. When the semester’s over, we’ll see you. Just hang in there.

As I mentioned to Mark the other day, my body is in its spring stage, just like my dog’s. If I were smarter, I’d schedule both of our physicals for July or August, and not in May. Our doctors always see us in transition. “Let’s get her height and winter noodle intake, please.”

Health must count for a great deal of transition. After being sick for a short time last month, it took me the better part of two weeks to feel like myself again. And I’m never truly well, between the arthritis and the anxiety, but I still like to feel like myself.

These are only small things with small impact.
Big things create enormous change, and huge opportunities for growth.
I don’t blog about my big things, but they’re there.

Aw, look at lil me — I’m so naive and blurry…I have no idea what’s coming…I could say that of every single day, couldn’t I?

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Everyone I know is in a transition with something.
Transition isn’t a stage, it’s a continual renewal.

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All the more reason to stop and reflect upon all the things that are just right.

 

DogMeditation

 

 

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S is for Stretching

Since I am a woman I am the target of every hate-yourself-more marketing campaign. I’ve just watched a program that was recorded on Lifetime television, and as I zoomed through the commercials, I can tell you that THEY think I should be worried about getting fit with special foods and snacks, I presume so that I can wear a bikini, possibly one with a floral motif and a matching jumper. After that, I can focus on my falling cheekbones, or apples if you will, feeling embarrassed about peeing my pants during those “Dear Kitten” commercials, and using the best face serum.
Serum?
Serum?!?
Beyond sunscreen and avoiding deformity, I am not worried about my face. It’s a good face. It never launched a thousand ships and it never broke a mirror.

It’s the loss of elasticity that bothers me.
Not my skin, my muscles!

I stretch daily.
I’m flexible — bendy, even.

Age 41 is apparently the age at which, for my body, performing the most mundane tasks can result in a pulled muscle. Or a muscle spasm. Or a catch. Or maybe a charley horse. Generally, after doing something extraordinarily common, say, stepping out of the tub, or fetching my coffee cup from the cabinet, sudden pain sets in, causing me to swear, leap, spin around, flail about, trying to reverse stretch and unfuck whatever the hell just happened. It’s like a sick dance. Poor unsuspecting me.

Yes, I know my body is slowly deteriorating and I’m in for more fun as the years pass by.
Old muscles are stiff. And mine surround stiff joints.
Last year, I learned I should stretch before shoveling snow or raking leaves.
After a lot of yard work, I feel like The Tin-Man, and I’m okay with that.

This particular issue bothers me because it’s inconsistent and random. Like those times when you get up from the table and your knee didn’t get the memo — this has happened to me throughout my life, but it seems to be increasing with age.

Obviously I am wasting my time with traditional exercise. What I need to be doing is exercise that mimics these actions.
For instance, instead of yoga twist poses, I should be imitating these “difficult” tasks ten to twenty times a day.

“Reach for the shampoo! And one, and two, and three!
Stop and pick up that bag, and left, and right, and left again!
High-step that tub!
Change that lightbulb! Turn it, turn it! And again! And one more!”

Do you also do the sick dance of the unsuspecting?

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R is for …

As I’ve written many times, I spent a large portion of my childhood summers at the lake with my grandparents.
I was permitted to canvas a large area of road and woods, presumably because my grandmother had raised four children and knew what she was doing. No one tried to collect me or report me for being without supervision. I had to beware of idiot drivers, snakes, poison ivy, and that lady at the top of the hill, who Grandma said was “not right in the head.”

It was my sixth summer when I got to take my bike to the lake.

someone has pinned a bicycle identical to my own!

someone has pinned a bicycle identical to my own!

That sixth summer, I was allowed to ride my bike up and down the entire drive, no turns, no stops.
Since my perimeter had been extended, I got a new warning. In addition to idiot drivers, snakes, poison ivy, and the lady at the top of the hill, I was to look out for rapists, who might hide among the shrubs, particularly at night.

As a six-year-old, I had no idea what a rapist was.
At this same age, I believed I was skinny enough to slide down the tub drain with my bath water, that my uncle had grown up near a place called Yonder, that the white dots in my fingernails represented lies I told, that spinach would put hair on my chest — and any number of common childhood truths.

I concluded a rapist was a type of critter, perhaps a large one that came out at night with the raccoon and possums, but one that wasn’t the slightest bit afraid of humans.

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I envisioned a furry critter not unlike Cousin It, but with long, sharp fangs and less personality. Something that would chase a bicycle, and with its fearsome bite, tear my feet off at the ankles.

My fear of the nocturnal, hairy, bush-dwelling rapist meant bike riding was best done between lunch and dinner, no exceptions.

(This post was written with humorous intent. If you did not smile or laugh, if you think I’ve made light of a serious subject, or if you’re feeling critical of my grandmother, then you have arrived at the wrong blog.)

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Q is for Qualified

In last year’s X post, I mentioned that I failed playing every instrument after the recorder, and how The Mister is musically adept. I mentioned it again when I wrote a post about Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.

Tonight, Sassy has a thing, where she goes to school and demonstrates her choice of instrument and sings her scales to see where to place her in next year’s music programs. There will be instrument reps there, as well. She’ll be playing cello and I think she’s an alto. That is the sum of my knowledge.

The Mister is better qualified.

I said to The Mister, “I guess you go in at any point during the fing and they spend 30-45 minutes in a getting-to-know-you sorta way with the musics? Then you can talka the people who provide the instruments about buying or renting or whatever. I’m not opposed to taking her. I will take her. But it’s occurred to me that you might be the best man for the job.”
He agreed, which is good, because I also think her boisterous, confident father probably brings a different dynamic than her nervous mother.

I’m moved emotionally by music.
I mean, I cry a lot at music.
Anywhere, at any time.
Particularly instrumentals, which I believe are supposed to be evocative?
I am a total sap.
I cry at concerts, at musicals, and sometimes at movies, as though the director has said, “Cue the Weeping Joey Music. Annnd check!”
When kids, especially my kids, are involved, I can’t even get through a single song. Even somethin happy. “Oh they’re so precious!” *wipes tears*blows nose*
It’s mildly embarrassing to be so easily provoked. I check out the rest of the audience after, so many unmoved. I assume they don’t feel the music the way I do. Or they’re soulless. Whatever.

So I’m not qualified to stand beside my child as she slides a bow across a cello. Instant feelings and memories will smack me in the face. *wail*
“Oh Sassy, that is so beautiful,” *sob*sniffle*snot*gasp* “You are so incredibly talented and I am so proud to you!” *howl*weep*collapse*

That is what NOT to do to your adolescent child.

Anyone else suffer similarly?

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Around the Yard

It’s not quite 60F and raining today.
There’s a part of me that wants to go out and get into the garden. Weeding and dividing are easier when the ground is soaked. I prefer cool, wet days in general, because I honestly prefer the ache of my joints to the burning of my skin, and also, because yellow jackets don’t seem to like a rainy day.
But there’s another part of me that thinks I need to go to the grocery, because responsible parent…
I could easily convince myself that it’s the perfect day to add some perennials and plant my annuals…
So for now, while I’m not making any decisions, I thought I’d share some photos I took around the yard.

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I’m not a good photographer, but some things are so beautiful, they can’t help but photograph well.

I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday, rain or shine!

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P is for Preposterous

When I was carrying Sassy, Sissy was in the first grade. Sissy came home from school and told me she knew how that baby got in there and how disgusting she thought it was. She said a boy at school told her how babies are made and she could not believe I let Daddy do that to me.
I was intrigued, as you are now, I’m sure.

Sissy was forthright in saying that babies are made when the daddy pees into the mommy’s butt.

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I assured her that no such thing had happened.
I cannot express to you how important it is to answer small people sex questions with the least amount of information possible, but let this serve as a warning, the devil is in the details.

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O is for Options

Not too long ago, someone commented that I hem and haw about doing things, right up to doing them, and then I commit fully. It’s true. I hadn’t noticed this about myself, but I had to agree with the validity of it. I was hesitant to do the A-Z Challenge this year. I didn’t sign up until April first.

I hate commitment.

Commitment removes options, and I love options. Up until I signed up, I could fancy myself with the freedom to not write a blog post every day, and to read the blogs of other A-Z’ers. Then maybe I could focus on finishing the back hallway.
Haha.
Or something.

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I just wanted to keep my options open.
Options are the best!
Until you have too many of them.

oh dear me!

I’m instinctual, so I generally choose the right people. I’m moody, so I don’t struggle with menus. I’ve done my share of cookie-momming and carpooling, and I don’t have trouble saying no, so I never over-commit. My mother taught me the hard thing to do is the right thing to do, so I don’t hesitate to make important decisions.

But mercy me, when it comes time to make a purchase! Oh could you please hold my hand?
I need to think about it. The length of time I think about it is in direct relationship to the amount of the purchase, and how long I expect to have the item. For instance, I can choose a nail polish on my own within two to three minutes, but it will take me two to three weeks to choose a wall color, and I would like the input of MIL, Beauty Queen, as well as several random strangers in the paint department.

Places that are bad for me: book stores, the paint chip area, shoe stores, the scrapbooking aisle, the handbag department, the fabric store, garden centers — I will have it all! I cannot afford it all? I do not have room for it all? Oh Woe Is Me! Let me look at everything for another hour and then I can maybe winnow it down a bit. Oh The Agony!

options

Do you resist commitment? Do you struggle with too many options, or are all your choices easily made?

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N is for Hot Nacho Cheese

N could be for all kinds of things I like, although it took me half the day to think of anything worth writing about, and to some, hot nacho cheese is still a questionable topic for blogging, probably only chosen because it’s lunch time, but I’m goin with it.

When I was a kid, I lived in a small town that had a small town pizza chain.
Did I love pizza then? I don’t remember. I do know that since as far back as I can remember, I have never liked pizza the way other people love pizza. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always eaten pizza, and when I do, I like thin crispy crust and I like it sliced into squares. I know. What I really like on my pizza is Italian sausage, onion, mushrooms, green peppers, and black olives. I know. No one else wants this, so I eat sausage, and since I only ate pepperoni when I was pregnant, I peel the pepperoni off and lob it to the dog. I know. I also prefer it cold for breakfast the following day because I think pizza is better cold than hot. I know. Now you think I’m downright un’Murican.

round-pizza-cut-in-squares-chicago_thumbDon’t even think about takin one of those triangle pieces. Those are all mine!

Anyway, even as a kid, in the small town with the small town pizza franchise, with its pizza cut the way I like, I still preferred their hot ham and cheese sandwich. *wipes away drool*
Imagine it: an Italian roll, sliced open, toasted in the oven, then piled with thinly shaved ham, and nacho cheese poured on top. Not just nacho cheese. Hot nacho cheese. Jalapeno cheese. Spicy-oh-it-burns-but-I-must-have-s’more-cheese. They sliced it in half, and rolled it in foil. The crust was crunchy and flaky and made crumbs everywhere. You had to eat it in the foil and lick your fingers a lot because it was messy good.

Years ago, The Mister and I stopped in my old small town to pick up these sandwiches. Which were nothing like the sandwiches of 1985, and y’all, the cheese wasn’t even hot. Not caliente, not picante.
*sigh*

Our local pizzeria is independently owned. They make nice flat pizzas, with the square cutting, so when I do order, I like to get a giant pizza that can barely fit through the front door.
This last time I called, they had a special, so I also ordered breadsticks and cheese. I don’t eat breadsticks and cheese, but my kids love them. As I was takin Moo’s lid off, I licked my finger and —

ZOMG Y’all! Our local place has the hot cheese! The same hot cheese!

y'all know this is not cheese, right? is cheese-flavored oil, or cheese-flavored product, not actual cheese.

y’all know this is not cheese, right? it’s cheese-flavored oil, or cheese-flavored product, not actual cheese. you know that, right?



I was so deliriously happy about the freakin hot cheese!
omg it’s sooo good! oh my tongue is burning! must drink more soda! omg it’s sooo good!
I dipped and omg it’s so good-ed right down to cheese all gone. All gone cheese.
*sad face*

I have been craving that damned cheese for over a week now. I should not eat that. It’s not even real food…

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But if you know me at all, you know I’ve been thinkin about delicately placing thinly shaved ham on sliced Italian rolls and picking up some hot nacho cheese. You know, just to support local businesses…

Do you have fond food memories that cannot be replicated? Do you want to come over for hot ham & hot nacho cheese night?

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Don’t Play with Matches — Letter M

When you have kids, you spend a lot of time teaching them not to tattle. You hafta be careful with this, because you want to keep them safe, but you also do not want to hear their complaints all the livelong day. You want them to shut up and learn to work out their own conflicts.
Early on, you teach them, “If it’s not hurting anyone, you’re tattling.”

You also say things like, “Don’t play with matches,” and “Don’t put anything metal in the toaster,” but with less frequency than you say, “Stop tattling.”

Sometimes kids are conflicted though, so they come home and they say somethin like, “Um, no one is hurt yet, and I’m not sure this is tattling, buuuuuut, Ginny is playin with matches…and um, I think that…um…”
And you are out the door! Gone to hunt Ginny down! You’re gonna have a chat to Ginny about Smokey the Bear!

Smokey-The-Bear

The twist comes when you reach nine-year-old Ginny, who tells you her mother said it was okay for her to play with matches.
On a military installation.
In the summer.
On grass as dry and brittle as my patience for other people’s children.
You are suspicious of Ginny, and you ask her, “Why would it be okay?”
Ginny’s mom said it was okay, because she was only playing with matches outside.
Gee, thanks Ginny’s Mom. So long as she doesn’t burn your house down, it’s fine. Never mind the rest of us, livin here in the middle of the PINE FOREST!

Now you hafta go talk to Ginny’s mom. This could go either way. Ginny’s probably lyin, and her mom will probably freak out, too. But you know, in the back of your head, that Ginny’s mom could be a real piece of work. She could end up yellin at you, tellin you it’s none of your business, and to mind your own kids.
Then you’ll hafta call the MP’s because it really is not okay for kids to play with matches, anywhere…and, and…
This is really more parenting than you planned to do today! And oh my God, it’s soooo hot outside! Why Ginny lives so far? Why I gotta live in Georgia?!?

As it turns out, Ginny’s mom is a freaker-outter, too. Aren’t you relieved?

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L is for Lazy

Yesterday, I woke up at 10am feeling great and I had an extremely productive day. Go Joey, Go!

I told The Mister last night, “I won’t be doin any housework tomorrow.”
“Okay.” He looked around, “The house doesn’t need to be cleaned.”
“You’re right, it doesn’t. I’m just sayin, those two shirts won’t be ironed, dishes won’t be done, not bakin any bread.”
“Okay.”

Today, I woke up at 10am feeling great, but having a completely different plan.

My plan for today?
Hehe — to be LAZY!

Today, they all went away.
I was all alone.
In the quiet.
For hours and hours.

With coffee and carrot cake.
I baked that last night. Cause I like carrot cake for breakfast. Just scrape the icing off onto the next slice, and it becomes a square muffin.

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I painted my nails a new color, called Ginger Zinger. I like it. It’s coral and springy, but cheerfully subdued.

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I read the draft of a friend’s novel.
I reported this to The Mister, who has been reading Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia for the last four days. I said, “I read a book today.”
“Of course you did.”
“Yes, I read 761 pages, 161,000 words. Took me the better part of seven hours.”
“Uh huh. I hate you,” he said.
I like to brag to him about things I do better or faster than him, because I have low-skills-esteem in comparison.

lazy

I didn’t shower. I did brush my teeth, moisturize, and put on clean pajamas — because lazy, but still a woman.

I dipped my pita bread directly into the hummus container, but I did put the olives in a bowl.

I didn’t do any dishes. Hell, I didn’t even put any clean ones away!

lazy1

I did make the swate tay today, because depriving these people of swate tay is akin to depriving me of soda.
As we all know, that IS how housewives become prostitutes.
“Who do I hafta screw to get a goddamn soda?”

lazy4

Dinner?
I’ll eat bales of shredded wheat, thanks.
The girls will apparently eat fortune cookies, yogurt, oatmeal, bagels, honeydew, bananas, and clementines.
I’m roasting The Mister a bagel sammich while I write this post and drink my Cheerwine.

When’s the last time you had a lazy day?
More delicious than carrot cake, ain’t it?

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K is for Keeping Up

The fact that I’ve already written this post and WordPress failed to save my draft is no help.

I have trouble keeping up with all sorts of things, social media being no exception.

I do best at Facebook, because my family and closest friends are there. I’m connected to fewer than 150 people which means I generally interact with the same 20 people all the time. I love those people. They’re my original Facebook friends, the original cast, you might say, before everyone and their brother was on the Facebook, wanting to friend you for who knows what reason.
Plus, Facebook has word games.
I love word games.

I don’t understand Google+ but I have a page there. That I almost never use. I’d tell you how many people are in my circles or how many people added me to their circles, but for the sake of argument, let’s say I understand the mathematics of actual circles better than I understand Google+ circles.

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I love Twitter, but I fall behind there.
At the beginning, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could expect to develop relationships with strangers through a series of 140-character spurts, but now, if I skip a few days from Twitter, I actually miss people I’ve never met, whose names I do not even know. And y’all, when I log in, I am so glad they’re still there!
I follow about 2500 and am followed by about 2800. It is impossible to read all the tweets of 2800 people. I have a list of about 170 people I like, and who I have a general sense of — I swing by now and again.  I have a list of 18 people I adore, whom I really should read daily.
The other 2600 people? I really don’t have a clue wtf they’re going on about, and I’m not sure they do, either.
On Twitter, I lol and cackle and chuckle and grin and snort and lmao and pmsl, and sometimes tears of laughter stream down my face.
I like to laugh.

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Instagram is a nice, easy, drama-free app, but I struggle with Photo a Day. Sometimes I open the topic of the day, I roll my eyes and say, “Fuck you ‘#4 Inspiration,’ I don’t even feel remotely inspired.” I worked at finding the right thing, but sometimes I couldn’t find the right thing, so I’d take a photo of somethin kinda lame just to have a photo of the day.
Same with tags. Honestly, I do not enjoy taking the #sds (stop, drop, & selfie) on the regular. My #sds pics? Joey generally wears the same ten shirts, (white, blue, pink, or black) wears the same three hairstyles, (messy up, messy down, or straightened) and pretty much goes to the same three places every day (living room, kitchen, and yard.) I don’t change enough to make a daily selfie even remotely intriguing. I enjoy the selfies of others, but I prefer posting pictures that narrate my life.
I like pictures of flora, fauna, and food.

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Which brings me to WordPress, where I follow 366.
Compared to the number of people who follow my blog, that’s really low. But you cannot tell me you read every single post of 100+ followers. I mean, you could tell me that, but I’d think you’re lying. Some people post multiple times a day, and some of those posts are so long! If I read all the blogs of those I follow, I’d be chained to WordPress!
It’s not a matter of “I’ll follow you and then you’ll follow me.” For one thing, anywhere there’s a follow option, that means that people follow solely to get follows. On WordPress, plenty of people read two or three posts, like them, make a few comments, follow you, and you never see them again.
I read people who don’t follow me, and who probably never read me. I find great new blogs regularly, which means I start using my time to read those blogs and spend less time reading some other blogs. I regularly follow and unfollow. That’s how it goes. It only seems right that people pick and choose.

I am a persnickety bitch.
I prolly won’t read your 2000-word post about the joys of pregnancy. I prolly won’t read your re-blog. I definitely won’t read anything particularly gory or erotic. I’m not especially interested in fiction unless it’s flash and I don’t give a fuck about your god.
It’s not personal.
I read what interests me.
You should, too.

Maybe you enjoy my nature posts, but you hate my liberal rantings. Maybe you love my rants, the more profanity the better, but if you hafta read one more boring post about a fat fucking squirrel, you will gouge your own eyes out. Who should I aim to please?
Uh, me, cause it’s my blog.

I am here to enjoy my life.

This post is a metaphor for relationships, occupations, and lifestyles.

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Life is short even if you live to 100.
There’s an abundance of choices.
Act accordingly.

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J is for Jour

Jour means day in French.

frenchtoast

I took French from 7th to 12th grade. My high school French teacher was demanding. She was so demanding that although I was her assistant for my elective as an upperclassman, and she was one of the great mentors of my life, I consistently earned low marks in her class. (Well, low for me.) We had daily verb quizzes. We wrote papers. We read French classics.

Unfortunately, for two years in high school, I had French right after lunch, and much of my French class memory involves Madame saying, “Jolene, levez la tete.” She said my name like Zho-lynn which was tres adorable. She meant for me to raise my head, but my rough translation would be, “Stop zoning out to the lullaby that is my sing-song voice before you drool onto your notes.”

Madame was such a demanding teacher that when I took my placement test in college, I nearly tested out of my minor. Meaning, to earn my French minor, I only had to take six hours (two classes) of French. She was that good.

I took French for seven semesters in college. I wrote more papers, I read more classics, I studied French history, I went to Quebec for immersion.

I was twenty-seven years old and helping my neighbor’s daughter with compound words in English when I realized, for the first time that bonjour literally translated into good day.

bon = good
jour = day

Le duh.

Have you ever been late to discover the obvious?

This post is part of LindaGHill’s SoCS as well as the A-Z Challenge

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I is for Ignominious

Do you recall when or where you heard or read ignominious for the first time?
I do.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter taught me the word ignominious. Sure, it’s scattered here and there in literature, but I’ve never actually heard anyone use the word ignominious. Hawthorne uses ignominious and ignominy throughout the book. They are essential words to the text.

In high school, I had American Lit with one of the most dynamic teachers in the world.
Despite ignominious. And all the other nearly unusable vocab from that book.

I did not know, at 17, that The Scarlet Letter would become a running joke with me, or that the word ignominious would haunt me forever.

You would think that having once read The Scarlet Letter, one would write a paper or take a test and be done with it, as is the case for most high school students. But if your course of study is English Education and your name is Joey, then no, you will suffer The Scarlet Letter endlessly, like catching every illness you’re exposed to in your first few years of teaching.

You must study The Scarlet Letter again as an English major. Maybe even twice, because once in American Lit and again in a writing class, because your prof is obsessed with Puritanism. But perhaps even more, because practicums.

You see, before they hand you a teaching license, they make you practice teaching. I don’t mean the lengthy period of student teaching, which is more like an internship — I mean early on, visiting many schools, teaching gobs of classes in your field, in what feels like a random, haphazard way.
Every time I went to a high school, it was Scarlet Letter time. Fall, winter, or Spring, where I went, I happened into teaching The Scarlet Letter. Sophomore, Junior, Senior, no matter, I would be told “We’re doing The Scarlet Letter.”
It was uncanny. After the second time, I thought, “No no, there’s no way the third time will be The Scarlet Letter.” When it happened the third time, I said, “Third time’s the charm, surely it won’t happen again.” When it happened the fourth time, I questioned God, “Is there something I’m not learning here?!?”

I didn’t even flinch when I got my first high school English sub job and walked into a classroom where the movie poster hung in the center of the blackboard. “Ah, we meet again.”

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And again, and again. A is for AGAIN! 

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I could easily list the vocab in alphabetical order without so much as looking at the book, if that tells you anything.
I think Moo is a lot like Pearl, in case you’re wondering how deeply this book is burned into my brain.
I see Dimmesdales everywhere. They like to send dick pics on Twitter and frequently ask for selfies.

Friends began gag-gifting me copies of The Scarlet Letter. I kept one copy. From MIL, circa 1997. It’s merely a small token of my great burden.

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Have you ever heard this word spoken? Do you like Hawthorne? Tell me without fear of reproach.

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H is for Humor

People are always laughing at me.
I love that.
Then they apologize.
That upsets me.

Duh, I wrote it to be funny.

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Sometimes I think people must think I’m fragile, as they apologize for laughing. You can laugh at me all you want, I sure do. My sense of humor is quirky. If your sense of humor isn’t quirky, or if you stand on the side of the fence where sarcasm and profanity are said to be crude tools for a dull mind, then stop fucking reading me, you dimwit!

Humor heals. If we don’t laugh at our miseries, they win.
I don’t think laughter hides pain, I think laughter is a way to treat pain. It doesn’t take much effort to find the pain in humor, but it takes great effort to find humor in the pain.

I’m not saying there’s humor in every situation, but with the right spin…

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Go Google the health benefits of laughter. Hell, some of us are alive solely because we’ve laughed our way this far!

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G is for Good Morning or…

This morning began before five.
Moo knocked on the door and said she didn’t feel good.
I lifted my covers and invited her in for a cuddle.
She didn’t feel too warm.
I thought maybe she had a bad dream.
Her heart rate wasn’t too fast.
It felt too early to be awake and too late to go back to sleep.
Birds were singing.
I sent Moo back to her bed.
I tried to sleep more.
The Mister’s alarm went off.
The sheets were deliciously cold, how they are when you sleep with the windows open.
He came to kiss me goodbye, but didn’t turn on the light.
The faintest bit of dawn eked in.
I never fell back asleep, but I did lie there, enjoying the sheets.
Got some coffee.
Took Sassy to the bus stop.
Moo is still puny.
I took her a bucket, and some watered-down apple juice.
A storm has come in.
My mother sent me a text, “Batten down the hatches!” she wrote.
I’m a good kid. I shut the windows almost all the way.
Now I wonder if there will ever be a dawn today.

I think the sheets want me back.
They probably want to watch tv with Moo and me.
After I eat some breakfast.
Doesn’t toast with butter sound good?

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F is for Furniture

As I sit here, on my loveseat, I’m fully aware that it’s time to clean the upholstery again. (Like three months ago!) Not my favorite task. It makes me miss our old brown couches. We were idiots then, when we bought a new sofa and loveseat and donated our old brown couches.

Our old brown couches were comfy, even after seven years of abuse, they remained soft and squishy and quite nice on the tushy. They were stain-resistant, super easy to clean. Was the wood trim separating from the fabric? Yes. Had the seams ripped, creating an abyss where things could never be reclaimed? Yes. But oh, so comfy.

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When it came time to replace them we’d planned to buy leather, but we lived so far from a major city, delivery charges were absurd. Actually, local delivery for a mattress was $300, not that I paid it. People with trucks and an hour to spare can be bribed much cheaper, but my point being, we had limited selection when purchasing our new furniture, since we had to stay local.
Then when we went to the local furniture dealers, we never found a single leather sofa that we liked the look and feel of. It was as though you could have style or comfort, but not both. We were sad.
We bought new furniture with cloth upholstery, and we loved it. Briefly.

New furniture isn’t so new anymore. We began to hate the sofa around 18 months after we bought it.  Oh we still love the way it looks, but not how it feels. Although they are a set, made and upholstered by the same company, the sofa just isn’t holding up as well as the loveseat. And while you may be thinking that the sofa gets more use, that’s not it. It’s simply not made as well. It’s not an uncomfortable sofa, and for that we are grateful, but it’s not as comfy as old brown couches were.

I hate shopping hindsight, which often goes with hating shopping in general. If I’d known how well those slacks would wash and wear after two years, I’da bought two more colors. If I’d known how that $30 rug would be utterly destroyed by its first run in the wash, I’da bought somethin else. If I’d known how much we’d regret giving away our brown couches, I’da paid to have them reupholstered.

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You may remember I am all about purging, keeping only things that are useful or beloved. I seldom regret giving something away. Y’all know how I love some good Feng Shui, but those couches…
I can’t get rid of our sofa because it doesn’t spark joy — it seats 3-6 people depending. You know what won’t spark joy? Having my guests sit on throw pillows, or carry around their dining chairs. If anything, I need to add two more chairs to the living room!

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What this experience with the sofa taught us is that we are not good furniture shoppers. If sitting on the sofa, the price of the sofa, and the brand of the sofa are not reliable ways to trust in your sofa purchase, then we have no clue how to shop for furniture.

Here, we have a Furniture Guy. Hopefully one day, Furniture Guy will lead us to making a satisfying sofa purchase. After all, Furniture Guy sold us those brown sofas.

Do you hate shopping hindsight?
What do you regret getting rid of or replacing?

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E is for Enlightenment

No, no, I’m not going to tell you how to become enlightened — like I can even claim to possess such divine knowledge. Do I seem remotely enlightened to you? Am I free from worry? Hah! *cries*

Enlightenment

I am a student of life.
I dunno why we’re all here. I do hold the opinion that there is a purpose for everything, but I wouldn’t go so far as to quote Ecclesiastes.

I’ve had gobs of enlightening experiences and epiphanies, and what I’ve discovered is that they do not transfer.

I can tell you certain truths which may be considered universal, but they only resonate with those who are ready to hear them.

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Until we’re ready, truths remain unknown.

Here’s one right now: Spending just 20 minutes a day in silent contemplation will change you.

I am hesitant to use the word meditation, although I call it that. The word meditation seems to evoke anxiety and confusion for many people. People get hung up on whether they’re doing it right, or berate themselves for inability to focus, or wonder if they need to chant, or have a guide, or listen to specific sounds, which really only adds stress to a situation that should be stress-relieving, and therefore defeats the purpose.

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There isn’t really a right way. There are methods, there are schools, there are types, and you will figure it all out when the time is right. The time will never be right until you begin.

Just be still. Turn off your ringer. Don’t talk. Close your eyes or stare at something beautiful. Think what you like. Don’t push things from your mind. Watch the images in your brain change. The number of scenes, memories, burdens, words, thoughts, and feelings will overwhelm you. Over time, the rapidity of the images lessen. The thoughts and feelings change. The words slow down. You change.

Like anything else you’ve ever done in your life, it might feel challenging and uncomfortable the first time. You may get distracted by the ticking clock, or the dog gnawing on a bone, or that chirping cricket. It may take practice. You may give up.
When you are ready for change, and open to possibility, you will find that 20 minutes of your day is a worthy commitment. Like flossing, or exercising, or prayer, or anything else you do on a daily basis, you might skip a day here or there, and your results will vary accordingly to your practice, as things do when you don’t allot time for them.

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I do not promise enlightenment, or revelation, or even the tiniest epiphany. I can’t say you’ll find any deities or answers. I don’t promise more synchronicity or freedom from your body. I can’t say you’ll reap benefits in terms of spirituality or health. But I do promise people have experienced all of these things because of meditation.

I have struggles like everyone else, some shared, some completely my own.
Ones I share with others are better and worse because there are always people to talk to about them.
Ones I carry on my own are better and worse because no one tries to talk about them.
See how that works?

It doesn’t matter how big or small, universal or personal your struggles are. Meditation is free, it’s self-contained, it’s tidy.

The answers really are within you, and I hasten to add, the answer is often acceptance.

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Did you need to read any of this today?

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Oooookay

Breaking from my tradition of disturbing people with my heathen tendencies on their holy days…

Okay, just one picture…

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…I decided instead to make rude commentary about other bloggers, from a completely secular standpoint.

The blogosphere is weird, y’all.

Since the first of the month, I’ve been perusing the blogs of other A-Z participants. I must have looked at more than fifty new blogs just yesterday.

At least half of them weren’t doing any A-Z stuff. Some of them weren’t even blogs. Some were those ad sites, filled with pop-ups for entries to win free stuff, and sign up here crap. There were others who had a blog like the favorite of all bloggers: “I’m rich and you can be rich, too! Start here to learn this simple four-thousand-step process to getting rich off your blog!” Some were merely links that send you to other sites.

I also found some crazy ass shit. I wandered into Scary Twitter last week. Scary Twitter ain’t got nothin on Scary Blogs. Oh Unholy What!? Insanity. Bizarre, unknowable madness. For those of you who’ve never wandered into Scary Interweb places, count your lucky stars. Scary Interweb is where something is so strange it must be a joke, so you keep reading, waiting for the punchline, or the piece that ties it all together, but it only gets stranger and stranger — not in a poetic, beautiful way, but in the way that frightens you and reminds you that some people are truly tormented by mental illness. As you squirm in your seat, you reconsider whether exorcism might be a valuable tool after all, and how maybe you should never be kind to strangers ever again, in case they think these things you’re reading. *shudders*

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A surprising number of bloggers can’t write. I mean, they can’t string together a coupla coherent sentences. With posts full of misspelled words and an incredibly shocking number of subject verb disagreements, I sought to know if they were not native English speakers. Ah-nope! They all were. And of course, usually American.

Those who could write didn’t necessarily say anything, and reminded me of students who try to make two-hundred words out of nothing. That left me in the position of trying to comment about nothing, to let them know I’d come to read, but then, I didn’t want them following me back here, now did I? They might see you can write and follow you back to your blogs, too. No one wants to be Blogger Zero, the person who brought crappy to WordPress.

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There’s a fine line between weird and boring.

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I did find a handful of great bloggers, and I was sorta like that girl who finally has a good date after ten rotten dates… “OMG I LOVE YOUR BLOG AND YOU’RE SUCH A GOOD WRITER AND LET’S ALWAYS READ ONE ANOTHER FOREVER AND EVER!” (I was usually dating that guy, so I get it.) My enthusiasm for people who can write, and with whom I can make connection is genuinely euphoric.
But you get it, right? Cause that’s why you’re here and that’s why I’m reading you.

Thank you. Sincerely.

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De Bunnehs & De Baskets — Letter D

Mr and Mrs Bunneh had a romantic, fluorescent-lit dinner at the place of the best homophobic chicken sammiches ever. As Mr Bunneh put all of his pickles on Mrs Bunneh’s sammich, and tore open her ketchup packet, she blushed at his chivalry.

Since Mr and Mrs Bunneh were alone, they admired the little bunnehs of others. Mrs Bunneh looked at the screaming kits in the playland and smiled smugly about how she no longer carries kit socks in her purse. She dipped a waffle fry in her ketchup and felt glad that not a single Bunneh was now 54″ or shorter and would evermore be too tall to play in the playland.
Catching sight of a kit in electric blue and neon green Ray-Bans, Mrs Bunneh paused to compliment his taste and then asked Mr Bunneh, “Don’t you think Moo would look good in those glasses? In raspberry and neon orange or somethin?” Mr Bunneh agreed.
“AW! Look her wellies!” squeed Mrs Bunneh, when she saw a tiny kit in light up rain boots!
“Too cute,” chuckled Mr Bunneh.

Mrs Bunneh asked Mr Bunneh to drive around Glendale to capture photos for Grandma Bunneh, but that made Mr Bunneh’s fur stand upright with ire, so Mrs Bunneh did her level best to snap photos as they left, grumbling ever-so-snidely, “I tolerate Jesus shit and rifle through the woodpile of The Back 40 looking for the perfect sticks for your mother, but whatever, my mother asks you to join her in drinking the occasional Bahama Mama, poor guy.”

Mr and Mrs Bunneh donated a box to the Goodwill, and hopped off to Target to collect all the bunneh basket fings.

Having begun motherhood with two kits, Mrs Bunneh is a frugal occasion shopper who enjoys buying items specific to each kit. While she admits that occasion shopping is costly when one has a single kit, most of her occasion shopping has been done for four kits, and so she still carefully assesses each purchase to make the most of things.

Mr Bunneh, high on the thrill of chocolateeverything hurled one confection after another into the cart, shouting with glee, “One for me and two for them and one for you and two for me!” And when asked his opinion on chocolate bunnehs, did say something about buying Reester bunnehs for the kits, and then hoarding all the Reese’s eggs. When Mrs Bunneh reached for the Cadbury mini eggs, Mr Bunneh said he already got those, “SEE?!?”
And Mrs Bunneh did see. That he had been collecting enough candy to satisfy all the kits on the block. As Mrs Bunneh put the Cadbury creme eggs into the cart, she spotted another box of Cadbury creme eggs already in there, so she began to put hers back, but Mr Bunneh shouted, “No! Leave it! Now we can all have two!” The twinkle in his eye both delighted and scared Mrs Bunneh.

Mrs Bunneh enjoys a bit of chocolate as much as the next bunneh, but she is not, at any time in the foreseeable future, going to consume three peanut butter eggs, a quarter pound of mini eggs, ten mini peanut butter cups, and two creme eggs. Mrs Bunneh could puke thinkin about it, really.

Mrs Bunneh prefers her empty calories come in the form of Coca-Cola and ice cream, which is why de Bunnehs went to DQ, and for the first time since they were teenagers, went inside to order. De Bunnehs noted that the DQ looks nothing like it did in 1989, but now it has wi-fi, so Mrs Bunneh commented that she could work on her novel there, and be lifted out via crane when it’s completed. Mrs Bunneh is certain that Hawaiian Blizzards, blue slushies, and hot fudge sundaes are all inspirational and that they would keep her cool through the entire summer.
Mr Bunneh merely said, “Mmhm.”

my mother made these baskets.  no no, i put the stuff in, she literally wove the baskets.

my mother made these baskets.
no no, i put the stuff in, she literally wove the baskets.

Our kits are officially rotten now, and there’s a ton of candy NOT IN DE BASKETS! What do de bunnehs get up to at your house?

This post is both A-Z for April & SOCS for LindaGHill

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C is for Commissary

The dictionary would have you believe that a commissary is a restaurant. That is not the definition for millions of military families. The commissary, or the com, is a grocery store on a military installation.

If you have a military id that allows you access to the commissary, you can shop tax-free. Except, there’s a surcharge, let’s say $7.55 on $150 spent, which feels a lot like tax, hm?

We have commissary privileges until sometime this summer. We’ve slowly increased our shopping at other stores, not just because we can’t shop at the com forever, but also because commissaries are open fewer days and shorter hours than other grocers. Also, we’re not out in the middle of nowhere, we’re in the city.

However, when we lived at Ft Stewart, highly isolated from city life, >hold me< we used the commissary almost exclusively, venturing out to other grocers only when we couldn’t find something at the com. Like black-eyed peas on December 31.

I started using the commissary while we were still in Indy, but our com on Ft Ben is much less used, considering we probably only have a coupla thousand soldiers at the finance center. (DFAS)

While we were in Georgia, there were tens of thousands of soldiers stationed there, not counting retirees who stayed local. This meant that the com was usually crowded, and certain days of the month were to be avoided at all costs. Of course, it takes a few months for this information to register in your brain, and when it finally does, as you stand 30th in line, at the back of the store, holding 80 pounds of toddlers, next to some granddad veteran, makin small talk, sayin, “Sure glad I got paid today. Really didn’t wanna fish for my dinner tonight. Haha! Man, I love fishin. Y’all ever go over to…” the light bulb goes off: OMG WE ALL GET PAID ON THE SAME DAYS. i must never come here on payday. ever. 

that shit is real, yo

that shit is real, yo



And it becomes a thing.
Avoiding the commissary on payday.

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B is for Baby

Moo was an ugly baby.
No, it’s true.
When Ross told Rachel that ugly baby judges her, I’m pretty sure he was lookin at Moo’s picture.

that lil black n' white could be moo. lots of moo's photos were taken in black n' white

that lil black n’ white could be moo ~ lots of moo’s baby photos were taken in black n’ white — or later changed to sepia…

Moo was red, like the red of storybook devils. She had some mean lookin lines on her forehead, like she was permanently pissed off AT YOU. She had enormous black hair that would not lie down, like Don King hair. And I don’t mean that’s how she came out, I mean that’s how she stayed for months and months. It is apparently true that if you birth an ugly baby you will not love it any less, but it’s a lie to say you won’t know it’s ugly. I knew.
Mothers of ugly babies know their babies are ugly, they just don’t care.
Day Two with Moo: omagosh this baby is ugly and no one is going to love her right. i will overly love her. i will love her so much.

The other day while we waited for our ice cream we were cuttin up about it. Moo was giggling and snorting and kicking her leg with laughter, so I assure you, she’s over it.

“I know she looks like an angry sunburnt bear, but she’s actually a tiny human.”
“Why is it so angry?”
She says, “I hate it here! I hate the world! The world is stupid and cold!”
“Your baby needs Botox!”
“Whatever you do, do not take off its hat!”
“The hat is there for your protection!”
“I’m just grateful people think she’s a baby, who cares if they think she’s a boy?!?”

Fortunately, during colic, Moo screamed her crazy hair right out (while I pulled out my own) and around six months, she began to look specifically humanoid and approachable.

Don’t worry about Moo now. She’s got my mother’s Seminole skin. She’s got nice thick lie-down hair, the color of caramel.
She’s vain.
Mothers of beautiful babies know their babies are beautiful, they just don’t care.

Do you have any ugly baby experiences you want to share?

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A is for Anything I Want

Last year’s A-Z was such a pleasure, because I wrote each letter as it occurred to me. Mostly I wrote about my favorite things, like yellow, and umbrellas. According to my search terms, everyone loved Pretty Pussy Cats Perching *achem* yes, yes, or parts thereof. I wrote all about anxiety, and I think that post must have been helpful, because it’s still read often.

This year I thought about a culinary theme, but I didn’t want to write a post about xanthan gum. I thought about a travel theme, but I’ve never been to Zimbabwe. I considered lifestyle, but then I didn’t think I even had twenty-six things to say about lifestyle. So I went with what I do best, personally, which is wing it as I please.

Join me as I plunge ill-prepared into Anything I Want.

Anything I Want today is everything, all the time, forever, which is what I said to The Mister when he asked me what I expected from our marriage.

The Mister always did ask me the worst questions, like “Where do you see this relationship going?” I will follow you to the ends of the earth.
And so I did.

He still asks terrible questions now, like “Where would you like to go eat?” I would like to have eaten at three places we’ve long since passed, so now I’d like to go where they have cocktails the size of my head.
And so we did.

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Does this cocktail look like Anything You Want?

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