I just received an e-mail invitation to participate in a summer toe ring event and does no one understand me anymore? I’ve been in a bit of a funk over the past few weeks and I’m sure some of it has to do with Meredith being 185 miles away for eight more nights. (13 down. 8 to go. She is loving every minute of camp, yet the house feels a bit unbalanced without her here.) She texts every night at 10:00, and I’m always laughing by 10:03.
I had forgotten about the existence of cottage cheese until yesterday morning.
While taking piano lessons, the C7 chord was always my favorite. Imagine my delight when I was told that I have a bit of an issue with the C7 nerve in my neck!
Physical Therapist: I think all of your issues are leading straight to the C7.
Me: But I LOVE the C7! The song Coconut by Harry Nilsson is nothing but a C7!
Physical Therapist: Okay! Also, your left shoulder is very depressed.
Me (whispering): I’ve noticed that she hasn’t been been enjoying the things she used to really love. I’ve encouraged her to journal.
Physical Therapist: I don’t mean like that.
I talk too much when I’m nervous and I tend to crack wise at inappropriate times. I laughed at my grandma’s funeral and I’m still feeling weird about it.
I could tell you a story about Graham Cracker the cat, but the story contains the words “I woke up to him vomiting next to the bed” and “it was filled with live worms” and “they looked like flailing spaghetti noodles.” Please know that he’s fine now, yet I’m still a bit scarred.
Meanwhile, we’re thinking Chocolate Chip needs to eat less and move more.
Wait. I really *do* have big news. Do you see the jacket I’m wearing in this CrazySexyCool public bathroom selfie?
I’ve worn this jacket nearly every day for the past two years (I’m not exaggerating. It was 100 degrees two days ago, and I wore the jacket.) and now it’s getting frayed and dingy and earlier this week I pulled on a thread and I heard something that sounded a lot like Defeat. This jacket has been with me at some pretty decent times and the thought of removing it and releasing it to the kidney people was really upsetting my already depressed shoulder.
All of this buildup to say: I found a (hoodless, but acceptable because I can’t have everything) replacement jacket, and I know I wear the hell out of my jackets so I purchased a grey one AND a black one. (I’m getting to know myself very well. Making good choices. Boiling and peeling eggs ahead of time so that I can have one when I’m ready. I smell like lemon, lime, orange, Peru balsam, and ylang ylang which means everyone around me feels delighted and inspired.) I will not be releasing the original jacket to the kidney people. Instead, I may Pinterest it into a memory box creation with David Sedaris ticket stubs and perhaps a book of quirky short stories cleverly (and lovingly) stitched into the pockets. (Cleverly. And lovingly.) I’ll sit the jacket next to a mason jar that has battery-operated Christmas lights in it, because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do.
It has been nearly three weeks since I’ve seen you and a complete rundown would take forever and wouldn’t be worth any of your time.
Highlights of the past several days include:
1. Graham the cat started a three month food trial. Sadly, Chip is the only cat who likes the new (super expensive) food. When someone in your house is going through a food trial, the overall stress level increases by 2.73%.
2. I had a dentist appointment. No cavities. I ate a bunch of broccoli afterwards.
3. Jeff had a colonoscopy. No cavities. Wait. Nevermind.
4. I was called The Great Internalizer by my doctor. As a result, she prescribed physical therapy and massage therapy for my left shoulder. I had a deep tissue massage yesterday and today I feel like Muhammad Ali—the 1971 version after the Joe Frasier fight. I’ve been walking around the house all afternoon wincing and punching things that aren’t really there and whispering clever rhymes and being what I want. (I’ve learned more about Muhammad Ali in the past week than I’ve ever known about him, and I’m so glad I’ve paid attention because he did so much more than butterfly floating.)
5. I continued to grow out my hair, and parts of it are now measuring in at four inches which is almost long enough for braids and exactly long enough for this—a style combination of Yoga Head and My Shoulder Hurts Too Much to Care Head:
We’re leaving soon to take Meredith to a three week camp, and it sort of tastes like packing her for college which is exactly what it IS because the camp takes place on a university campus. She’ll be taking a college level business course and hanging out with other kids who are taking college level courses and I wish I was going to camp. (Please be aware of the fact that Meredith has twenty three t-shirts that advertise her love for My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco, and Twenty One Pilots. Because of this, she will not have to do laundry at camp.)
Harvey Danger. Live. And it all begins with a French horn, which is pretty much how all good things begin.
A week or so ago we noticed a pregnant bird building a room onto the side of our house. (She had a permit, so we were cool about it.)
This morning I saw the new mom standing on the side of the nest and feeding her babies. In three more days, I plan on skewering those babies and cooking them in my new baby bird cooker.
(You know I’m kidding. At least you hope I am. (I am.))
A few weeks back I turned 46 and my daughters gifted me with the Property Brothers Bro Gnomes.
I finished some yarn.
Sometimes when I don’t have a lot to say, I just throw a bunch of photos up and hope you don’t notice. But, wait! I *did* have coffee with a new friend last week, and sitting and talking to her was like reaching into the back of the pantry and finding a can of green beans when you thought you were OUT of green beans, and those beans are cut the way you like them! (Does anyone else get excited about finding kitchen cut green beans in the back of the pantry? I LIVE A SIMPLE LIFE.)
Finally, on the last day of school, Meredith and her friend performed in the talent show. They played “Trees” by Twenty One Pilots, and it went a little something like this:
Today is Meredith’s final full day of school for the year. We’ve spent the past two weeks attending band concerts and choir concerts and field trips and D.A.R.E. graduations. (Clarification: Jeff attended both field trips—one to Six Flags and one to Springfield, Illinois. I cannot do field trips, and he is a hero.)
Can we talk about D.A.R.E.? (We can.) I think we all agree that education is important when it comes to drugs, alcohol, bullying, violence, etc. A lot of kids need to learn about this sort of thing at school, because they might not have great role models at home. Knowledge is power, Nancy Reagan, and D.A.R.E. does a decent job sharing statistics and persuading kids to walk away from things that aren’t helping their brains. Sure, studies have shown that D.A.R.E. isn’t very effective and articles refer to it as “trash psychology.” All I know is that Harper is having positive conversations about peer pressure and self-respect and I’m totally good with that.
Last week I walked into Harp’s elementary school gymnasium to attend her D.A.R.E. graduation. She really loved the program and I loved hearing about it and reading her final essay summarizing the things she had learned. When some of the kids approached the podium during graduation to read their winning essays, I was completely impressed with their spirit and reasoning. Drug Free, You and Me!
Toward the end of the ceremony, each child walked across the stage and received a certificate for participating in the program. The applause was crazy and positive and I’ve never tried cocaine, and I’m going to CONTINUE to never try cocaine! I saw one mom crying and I was thinking, “Oh, man. What’s going on over there?” and a few kids were hugging each other and the emotional build-up was starting to feel a little uncomfortable, and then Total Eclipse of the Heart started blasting over the speakers and suddenly this happened.
I clearly have problems not knowing when things are not supposed to be funny because I was the only person in the gymnasium who started laughing. I quickly recovered and became the only person in the gymnasium who was looking something like this.
(Sometimes I look like an idiot. I promise I’m trying my best to not be.)
((Spoiler: At the end of the song, Cocaine and Violence and their gang of negative influences removed their hoodies and flipped their cards to words like Friendship and Community, and the blonde girl who was starting to get sucked into a potential Hunter S. Thompson novel was saved by her friends. All is well that ends well, although I believe the hoodies shouldn’t have been part of it. Please don’t get me started on this.))
Summer break officially begins on Friday and I then have something like twelve weeks before I have to focus on how to act like an adult in public places.
As much as I am cheering for them to live, part of me knows that I have invited these plants to my house so that I can watch them die.
I need to either figure out how to handle plants, or I need to come up with a horticulturally driven Oompah Loompah dirge so that the passing is more quirky than catastrophic.
At 2:36 in the morning I deleted 267 photos from my phone because I am out of storage and I don’t own an Itty Bitty Book Light to help me make better use of my sleepless nights. Most of the photos were blurry shots of cats or lines from outdated school forms telling me where I need to be and when and something around here needs to change because my phone does not represent who I want to be at this point in my life. Knowing how short our time is on this planet, I no longer feel good about helping the Bubble Witch save her pets.
Do you remember last year when I was wondering if my life would be better if I could change my shape and get rid of my creaky ankles before my nephew’s graduation? I gave myself one year to feel comfortable in my own skin and I hate it when people say things like Achievement: Unlocked, yet here we are. My nephew graduated last Friday which meant I was able to hang out by myself for three hours in a Hyundai Sonata before going sleeveless at a graduation ceremony. The next morning I ate a sweet potato muffin and I didn’t hate myself afterwards. During the drive home I Sondre Lerched like I’ve never Sondre Lerched before with a bag of cashews and some unsweetened tea. I found myself to be 96% delightful.
The past week has been ridiculous, but I can’t name four things I did that might have kept me away. That whole MRSA thing sort of sucked, but I’m pretty sure I’m over it now. My nephew dislocated his shoulder during a tennis match but I wasn’t there so I can’t really use it as an excuse, although I found myself stress-eating Doritos during his sedation and resetting. (I can’t type and eat Doritos at the same time. Too much residue.) Harper turned 11 last Thursday and Meredith turned 13 last Friday and we lost power for a few hours on Saturday and we went to a Cardinals game on Sunday. I’ve been working and growing my hair and throwing Vinca plants into our yard kidneys and listening to Beyoncé.
I’ve been wanting this mirror for several months, and now we have it:
(Please don’t tell the neighbors we’re Rear Windowing them with Harper’s telescope.)
I had no idea this cat pillow existed, but now we have it:
This thing is solar powered and it’s my first patio yoga station decoration.
I also purchased some chalk, a potential pergola cover, a candle, and some Swedish fish.
Oh, Beyoncé. Here’s the thing. I stopped feeling passionate about music somewhere around 1998. Sure, I’d fall into different albums occasionally, but nothing really held my attention for more than a few months. My iPod is filled with songs that Jeff put on mix tapes for me back in 1996. The radio no longer sparks me. It’s weird because music used to be Everything, but for whatever reason, I hit an 18 year dry spell. (Eighteen years. Dear Lord. My dry spell is graduating from high school this year!)
And then Prince died. When Tempe told me that Prince died, I was like, “Shit. Really? Prince?!” and then I spent the next few days listening to all of the Prince albums that I’ve missed over the years, and why in the HELL have I not been listening to music?! Then Beyoncé released Lemonade, and I can’t stop shaking my head. In a good way.
(This is me actually dancing to Sorry. Unapologetically.)
Beyoncé is angry and gritty and I’m loving every single minute of it because I’m sometimes angry and gritty and Lemonade speaks to a part of me that has been asleep for too long. I love that if I were to invite Beyoncé over for biscotti she would be way too ferocious for it.
A few days back, I received some essential oils in the mail and I told Tempe that I was loving them. She asked which one was going into the diffuser and when I dictated “I’m thinking Sweet Ambiance” to Siri, she heard me like this:
Sweet. I’m Beyoncé. (I’m not really Beyoncé.)
Finally, because I’ve become the middle-aged woman who can’t stop screwing around with iron-on designs, I made the shirt I’ve been wanting to make since I first received my Cricut.
(My next shirt will say, “I’m way too ferocious for your biscotti.”)
I know Bette Davis died in 1989, but I also know that she was at my doctor’s office this morning sitting in a wheelchair and loudly throwing out phrases like “all that and a bag of chips.”
I went to the doctor this morning for a weird thing and it turns out that the weird thing is actually a MRSA infection (who KNEW?!) and if you’ve been around me at all for the past month or so you honestly have nothing to worry about unless you licked my skull. I don’t want to talk about it. (I’ve contacted the skull lickers because I’m a good citizen.)
While I was sitting there feeling all red-faced and infected with Staphylococcus, my doctor decided to check in on my headache preventative.
Dr. W: How is the Celexa working with your migraines?
Me: I think it’s going really well. I’ve taken maybe six headache pills so far this year, and before the Celexa I was taking one or two each week!
Dr. W: Do you have any side effects that are bothersome?
Me: Well, sort of but I don’t know. I haven’t cried since I started the Celexa and I normally cry all the time about weird stuff like animated elephants sacrificing themselves and little kids singing Stevie Wonder songs. The commercial with the tiny horse that needs a dog door because the other horses won’t socialize with him? That commercial would have destroyed me a year ago, but now I’m just like, “Huh.”
Dr. W: Does it bother you that you’re not crying at those things?
Me: It doesn’t BOTHER me, it’s just that it’s weird to not cry so easily.
Dr. W: Well, you could look at it like this. It might not be 100% normal to bust out crying during commercials. I think you had all sorts of hidden stress before the medication and it manifested itself with gastro symptoms and migraines and maybe even the unexpected crying. BUT, you have to ask yourself if NOT crying bothers you as much as the headaches did. The medication is an anti-depressant, but I didn’t prescribe it because of depression.
Me: I think I’ll keep taking it and be okay with the fact that heroes keep dying and I feel like a migraine-free David Bowie singing a Pink Floyd song.
So, Prince. I’ve spent the past day reading stories and tributes and feeling weird about the fact that I purchased gum for Harper called Raspberry Sorbet less than an hour before Tempe texted the news to me as I sat in the parking lot of a grilled cheese and tomato soup restaurant. (Harper wanted lemon gum, but I went with Raspberry Sorbet. Because of Raspberry Beret. I had no idea what was happening at Paisley Park as I was pulling out my Target Red Card.)
I don’t have any life-changing Prince stories, and I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been a committed fan since the beginning. What I *will* say is that I purchased the soundtrack to Purple Rain a month after I turned 14 back in 1984 and after listening to it over and over again I hid it in my bottom desk drawer because I knew my parents wouldn’t approve of the lyrics. I also knew that this music was not like anything else I was hearing on the radio in 1984. (In 1984 I also purchased the soundtracks to “Against All Odds” and “Footloose.” Huey Lewis and the News. Night Ranger. Duran Duran. Corey Hart. I loved them all, but they were not Prince.) I received “Around the World in a Day” for my 15th birthday along with Phil Collins’s “No Jacket Required” and Paul Young’s “The Secret of Association.” “Around the World in a Day” made it into my car when I got my license in 1986. I have no idea what happened to the Phil Collins or Paul Young. My 18th birthday found me opening “Lovesexy” and Alphabet St. continues to blow me away.
People are dying and a lot of times it seems like the wrong people are dying and I know that sounds really shitty for me to say, so I’ll stop.
Like I always do when I have no idea what else to do, I made a shirt.
(When I’m 85 years old, I’m sure I’ll have shirts that commemorate all sorts of crazy events. Here’s hoping my great-grandkids know that these shirts could make an amazing time capsule quilt. Maybe.)
I also made a bare bones quiche out of eggs, zucchini, and carrots:
(While preparing the ingredients for the quiche, I cut my finger trying to pick zucchini out of my Veggetti, and that sounds a lot nastier than it was.)
Everything has changed since I started doing yoga. It’s my new favorite doughnut and if that doesn’t make sense, just know that the peace I feel after practicing yoga is the same peace I used to feel after sucking all of the raspberry jelly out of a raspberry jelly filled sugar doughnut. (Also, I’m much nicer now than I was 100 days ago. More mindful. More present. I can hold a side plank for 45 minutes.)
(I’m lying. I can maybe hold one for 45 seconds, though, and that’s a heck of a lot more seconds than zero seconds which was my record 100 days ago.)
((I usually don’t wear shoes when I’m practicing yoga, but you don’t need to see that.))
At approximately 4:37 this morning, I noticed that the toilet was no longer flushing and that the failure to flush resulted from the stopper no longer being connected to the up-down thinger dinger that is normally activated by the external flush lever. I got really pissed about it, but three hours later I drove in the rain past a car that had caught fire on the highway. THAT guy is having a rough day. I can fix a toilet. (I think.)
Unrelated but similarly frightening: Some guy overdosed on heroin close to our old shaved ice place yesterday and drove into a mom and dad who were pushing their two year old in a stroller. The toddler flew something like ten feet, but will be fine. (The weird thing? As Heroin Guy drove over the family, I was ten miles west eating a shaved ice at our NEW shaved ice place. It opened less than a month ago, and my current favorite is a mixture of blueberry muffin and cream soda. The blueberry muffin actually tastes like blueberry muffins!)
I can fix a toilet.
After taking the girls to school, I drove to my haircut place. (While driving, I noticed that the inside of my car smelled like opening a musty board game in the 70s. Nostalgia.) The woman who cuts my hair is smart and funny and talented and I CAN FIX A TOILET! I CAN! (I think I just need a replacement flapper, and the only reason I know Flapper is because I just Googled toilet parts. Also, the hairstyle I’m shooting for could almost be referred to as a flapper cut. I’ve never touched a dolphin, but I want to. (If I had a dolphin for a pet, I would name him (or her) Flapper.))
UPDATED TO ADD: I fixed a toilet. It took less than two minutes, but I’ll be all high from it for the rest of the day because that’s what trying new things will do for you. We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams!