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And may your dreams be realized.

July 24th, 2017 · 11 Comments · Daily

I received a call on Friday from a woman who invited me to a special sleepover. In order to attend, I had to sign release forms and promise to not wear makeup or lotion. I was asked to shower before I arrived. I purchased special swanky pajamas for the event, as I normally crash in shorts and a t-shirt and I wanted to look my best for the party.

When I arrived at the venue, I was quietly led to my room and told to take off my clothes and change into something more comfortable.

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When I cracked my door to indicate my consent for adventure, a woman walked in and began attaching me to a box. Less than thirty minutes later, I looked like this.

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So, I’ve been falling asleep more than I should. (Twice while driving and many times during the week as I drink coffee on the couch.) I’m way more forgetful now than I was six months ago. (I called Harper “Oscar” and I often forget my cats’ names.) My short-term memory is shot. I can’t concentrate. My haircut doesn’t seem to be fixing anything. Glittery eyeshadow is not helping, and neither are my dad’s homegrown tomatoes—although they’re quite delicious.

I talked to my doctor and she asked me to take a sleep study test and I put it off because our insurance people are like, “SLEEP STUDY, SCHMEEP STUDY! That will be $3,403,495!!!” Ah, but things took a bad turn last week, so I set up a waffle stand in my front yard (if you know what I’m saying) and it didn’t take long to raise the cash for my wrapped-in-wires fantasy night (WIWFN).

Sleep tech: The sensor I’m attaching here will talk to the right side of your brain, and the one on the opposite side will talk to the left.
Me: Will you be brainwashing me into joining a terrorist organization?
Sleep tech: No. Now, this sensor is one of the several that focuses on your brain activity.
Me (silently thinking very hard): CAN YOU READ MY MIND RIGHT NOW? I’M THINKING ABOUT NEIL DIAMOND AGAIN!

After connecting me to the wires, the tech told me she would be back in an hour to put me to bed. (She also told me that I couldn’t fall asleep to Colbert. I started thinking a few mean thoughts, but I tried to eliminate those thoughts because God (and the tech, I suppose) only knows what was transmitting through those wires.)

After 15 minutes passed, I started feeling paranoid, so I sat in a chair, blindfolded myself, and thought about all of my secrets.

The tech returned and hit the light switch at 1030, and that’s when the games began. The short of it: I fell asleep, she woke me to change a sensor at 200, she woke me to change another sensor at 230, some guy burst into my room and asked if I had said anything at around 400, and at 600 the tech disconnected me from all of the wires and sent me on my way, but not before pointing out the Keurig and the cinnamon rolls in the lobby. (I skipped both, because of the environment and the fact that I like to know where my cinnamon rolls are coming from.)

Final results received in a telephone call less than five minutes ago? I have REM-dependent obstructive sleep apnea, but because REM sleep comprises only 1/5 of the total time spent sleeping, I don’t qualify for a CPAP machine. Next up? Sleep specialist consultation on 9/1 to talk about medication. And I think that sucks because: Medication. (If you see me on the highway, steer clear. Also, don’t expect me to remember who you are.)

The Tour de Fleece ended yesterday as I finished plying African Sunset.
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This isn’t about you. It’s all about me. Insert apology here. And also here.

July 18th, 2017 · 13 Comments · Daily

Last week I took off my glasses and looked like this:
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Today I put my glasses back on and I sort of looked like this:
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I say “sort of” only because a branch of magic is happening in the photo that’s making my arms look like spaghetti. Capellini, even.

Speaking of magic, you may be asking yourself if I’ve experienced any wonderworks since the chop crop. The answer is mostly no, unless you break my life junk down into smaller pieces.

Example: I continue to spin for the Tour de Fleece. That’s not a big thing until you look a little closer and see the yarn I’ve completed so far.
Scottish Landscape

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Today I ate a Mission Taco Joint Portobello Taco while talking to a friend about a book we’ve both read. Had you joined us, you would hear how our conversation quickly jumped into parallel universes and solipsism and never being able to see adequately through someone else’s window. (We also touched on causes that are important enough to blow oneself up over. Or, important enough over which to blow up oneself. Disclaimer: You have nothing to worry about if we find ourselves in a room together. No one needs to worry, really.)

My ear looks like this today:
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After taking a friend for a piercing recently, I decided to reopen my ear holes. I immediately asked Jeff if, at 47,  I’ve gone too far. His answer included the word Subtle and he continues to put up with my blerghs and whizzes. Apparently, midlife is playing itself out on me with ink and holes. Why is my ear so red? Me, me, me, me, me. Tiresome, really.

Someday we need to talk about *my* potential sleep study and how *I* have been falling asleep in weird places (LIKE THE CAR) and how *I* think *my* brains may be leaking from *my* nose. (I’ve been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy. Also, my childhood dog (Digger) had CSF rhinorrhea and you never know what you can and cannot catch.)

On the way home from Mission Taco Joint, one of my favorite songs shuffled and it was perfect and it was this.

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Also, I have a spider bite on my back, but it isn’t destroying me.

July 9th, 2017 · 13 Comments · Daily

2016’s end of July kicked off a year of suck for our family that is still pretty much sucking, despite my (admittedly (slightly) weakening) ability to bring a constant lighthearted mustard-swilling dazzle.

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As you (may or may not) know, Jeff’s position was eliminated back in July of 2016 and I’m not here to sing songs about human suffering, because to be honest: We haven’t truly suffered, and because of that I know we are severely lucky. I freelance. He freelances. WE ARE PART OF THE HUDDLED MASSES RECEIVING COVERAGE FROM THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OH MY GOD IT’S TRUE.

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I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone out there to have their position eliminated. It creates a lot of awkward moments that you probably haven’t had to whack-a-mole (verb) in your snug and unplagued existence as a shiny employed person (whose grass is surely greener than mine).

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For example, if you buy a pair of shoes or attend a concert when your previous income isn’t being crammed into your bank account, people will assume that you are squandering, and those vocalized assumptions will really test your tongue. And by “your tongue” I actually mean “my tongue.”

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I do know that when the right opportunities come along, they will arrive at the perfect time because the glass is half full of lemonade with silver linings and really: We can’t handle more than we’re given and so forth, but in the meantime I have to wonder if all of this (patience-testing and frustrating yet unimportant because nobody gets hurt) shit (sorry) keeps funneling down to us (more on that a bit later) due to the current status of my hair.

Photo on 6-22-17 at 12.30 PM

It has been growing out since the morning of 12/21/15. Hypothesis: Shortening my hair will also shorten the year of suck that continues to suck. (Very superstitious, Stevie Wonder.) SO, the hair will be shorn on Thursday because I’m happier when I’m balder and I need a dose or two of Joy right now.

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Real quick on the shit funnel I mentioned two paragraphs back: Two weeks ago, the hinge on our iMac broke. It was a total hardware thing that the Apple Store said is simply an issue of snapping a new hinge on, but “it will take 3 days” and those 3 days quickly turned into 5 days and when the iMac came home, we found the Apple Store had done something that compromised our screen and suddenly those three days became TWO WEEKS. Two weeks of me being unable to freelance, and I should have been happy about a break, but it was difficult to unriddle the thrill. (Because: Shoes! Concerts!) ((<–Sarcasm))

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Today I had one goal: Catch up on the 14 days I missed with the current freelance project. Boring story shortened: I logged in and found that my freelance account had been archived due to inactivity for two weeks. I cannot gain access to my freelance project until tomorrow. (Note: At least I *HAVE* a computer. At least I *HAVE* freelance. At least I *HAVE* spinach in the fridge, et cetera.)

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(Scout likes to watch me eat, and salads can be awkward with a pup on your hip.)

Tour de Fleece started on July 1.

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I’ve been working on an entrelac cardigan:
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I went to Springfield yesterday and stocked up on Bee Raw and Purple Haze honey. I’m within 100 pages of finishing Life After Life. I think we’re all caught up.

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Forever Hopeful for Indigo Girls

June 19th, 2017 · 5 Comments · Daily

On June 8th, Jeff and I went to see Tig Notaro and she was charming and funny and exactly what we needed. And because I always think I need a shirt, I bought a shirt.

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Places I Have Worn My Tig Notaro Shirt:

  • The Delmar Loop (for ice cream! and cheese sticks!)
  • The subdivision, while walking a lap
  • The library to check out Life After Life
  • Pride St. Charles (Photo proof below! It was hotter than the sun and at one point I thought I would die, but I didn’t.)

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Meredith Says I Cannot Wear My Shirt To These Places:

  • Church (although I really don’t think they would mind)
  • School (office, football games, or band concerts/competitions)
  • Her friends’ homes or my home when her friends’ parents might appear
  • Places with potential mourners
  • Daycare facilities

And, really, I can wear the shirt wherever/whenever I want. It’s just that Meredith doesn’t want her teachers or friends (or small children) to picture me like this:

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I can respect that.

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The inking of an inking.

June 2nd, 2017 · 10 Comments · Daily

When last we spoke, I had gone to see Margaret Glaspy with a friend after dropping by a tattoo place and asking about a spiral fountain pen on my arm.

About two hours before the tattoo appointment (which was two weeks ago today and I really need to come by here more often), I started messing around with ideas, and I decided that a spiral fountain pen on the arm with my mountains would not be good. A spiral fountain pen on the arm with my Create makes much more sense.

I took a photo of my arm and then did this:
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(The ellipses were Jeff’s idea. It may be my favorite part.)

Anyway, let’s speed this up. I went to the place, I saw the guy, he showed me his drawing (big long fountain pen that would spiral around my wrist), I showed him my (admittedly shitty) drawing, he liked it, and off we went to the chair where he did this:
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And then he did this:
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And then I asked if we could make the pen nib clear instead of black for now and he was into it, but told me that he could add some grey with white shading later on if I wanted. And THEN he said, “If it’s okay with you, I sort of want to add stippling on the line of ink to give it a little more body.” And because I love anything that reminds me of splatters and sparks, I was in.

SO, he started stinging me repeatedly dotdotdotdotdotdotdotetc. with ink and two weeks have passed and now I have this:
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(You’ll have to ignore the peely parts. You’ll just have to.)

Here’s the top of my wrist. In other words, this is what most people will see.
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I really do love it, and it reminds me that I need to be doing something creative every single day. Because I do.

(Announcement: I’ve been writing a short story and I’m loving the process so much that I’m thinking about participating in National Novel Writing Month in November. Want to do it with me?) (And by “do it” I mean participate in National Novel Writing Month.)

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Last Thursday I was 23. (Or maybe 27.)

May 24th, 2017 · 5 Comments · Daily

On Thursday morning of last week, I drove around town looking for a place where I could get something similar to this.
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I know what you’re thinking, and that’s fine because everyone has a right to think what they think. BUT, I love the idea of a bracelet tattoo and I received a birthday gift of money and I really don’t need a thing, so I may as well drive around town looking for a place where I could get something similar to the photo above. Right? (We all have our joys, and we find our joys in different places and that’s what makes us interesting.)

Guy at Place #1: Yep. I can do that. It will be $280.
Me: How much would it be without the ring at the elbow?
Guy at Place #1: $200.
Me (knowing I was about to lie a little): I’m going to have to think about it and come back some other day.

Lady at Place #2: That tattoo is physically impossible.
Me: But I’ve seen so many similar ones online.
Lady at Place #2: Maybe you have, but it can’t be done. We could do a line across your outer wrist and maybe add circles on the inside, but we can’t do it until walk-in time tomorrow.

I went home and started thinking on paper with the plan of visiting one more place before giving up.
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A few hours later, I put on my best Mrs. Roper outfit and drove to the Delmar Loop to meet a friend for the Margaret Glaspy show.

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Because I got there a little early, I took the time to stop by the third (and final) tattoo joint.

Guy at Place #3: The arm isn’t a perfect cylinder. It can be done, but it’s not as simple as it looks.
Me: Well, then how about instead of a ring we do a spiral and somehow make it into a fountain pen?
Guy at Place #3: We can definitely do that, too. Whatever you want. I have an opening at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon.
Me: In.

That’s when we shook hands and I walked a few blocks up the road to Blueberry Hill. I was still early, so I decided to belly up to the bar and drink an Aunt Sally through a straw while jotting down short story ideas because sometimes good things snowball and riding it is the only way to go.

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When my friend arrived (let’s call her S), we sat down for dinner and conversation about book ideas and could this evening get any better? Believe it or not: It did. Why? Because at 7:45 we made our way down to the Duck Room where Cuddle Magic went on at 8.

I didn’t know much about Cuddle Magic before the show, but I loved them as soon as they got started. About halfway into their set they jumped off of the stage and asked the crowd to circle around them on the floor. And then this happened, and I became the shiniest of superfans. Lots of talent here.


(The video is not from the St. Louis show, but it may as well be, because this is exactly how things went down.)

At 9:00, Margaret Glaspy came on and she was full of heart and angst and bulldog.

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I took several short videos, but this is the only one that would transfer:
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It was the perfect way to spend a Thursday evening. Hanging with S, talking lit stuff and tattoos and life, then Cuddle Magic and Margaret Glaspy. Once again, despite all of the crap that goes on (You don’t know about the crap. I keep the crap away from you.), I really am lucky.

Wait. Did you want to hear more about the tattoo? You’ll have to come back for that. We’re already at 586 words, and no one has time for more. Especially not on a Wednesday.

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I won’t let go at any price.

May 17th, 2017 · 11 Comments · Daily

Questions:
1. I’m sort of bummed about the goings-on in my life. What should I do?
2. All of the news with the impeachment possibilities and the Russia who-knows-whats and the constant this-or-thats is making my blood pressure sky rocket. What should I do?
3. I’m considering learning how to play the oboe, but maybe I should commit to something that takes less time. What should I do?

Answer to all of the above:
Meet an adventurous friend at a mall restaurant for drinks and then TRY ON PROM DRESSES!

I never went to prom. I have no idea what prom is other than an evening where people go out and eat shrimp in fancy clothes (the people are in the clothes, not the shrimp), and then maybe there is dancing and some people might end up at a hotel because of the urge to have high school sex. Admittedly, all or none of these assumptions may be false or true.

Let’s back up.

I turned 47 last Friday. I celebrated a bit on Thursday by meeting a friend for lunch followed by spice and vinegar shopping. I treated myself to these two vinegars and every morning I drizzle a bit of one or the other into my water and suddenly I’m a happy water drinker.

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Celebrating my birthday with the family on Friday was perfect and quiet and exactly what I wanted. My mom came up for lunch and flower shopping. I spent the rest of the day reading and knitting and drinking many cups of hot tea. My life is a good life.

Mother’s Day? Equally good. The four of us did what we always do, which is go out for coffee and then head straight to Home Depot for Mother’s Day plants. (We used to go to church for the pancake breakfast, but we haven’t attended since the year I accidentally hurled a glass of water at a baby.) ((Honestly? That baby deserved it.)) BACK TO THE PLANT: This year I went with a pink Mandevilla named Fran.

I’m hoping Fran decides to vine up the side of the pergola. I’ve had dreams of vining plants on the pergola since we moved in nearly three years ago. Be my special traveler, Fran.

Yesterday morning I met a friend for pizza and a discussion of A Gentleman In Moscow, which is a book every one of you should read. During lunch we experienced a lot of Me-Too!s and So-Do-I!s and it was just so perfect. After lunch I returned home and rested a bit to build up sufficient energy for a formal adventure where Adventure involves a martini and Formal implies a gown.

Tempe and I met at a mall for dinner and drinks at 630 yesterday evening. I had flatbread and a martini. She had a salad and sangria. Less than an hour later, we were ready for Tipsy Prom Night.

Before working our way into the category of Senior Cheerleader in Sequins, we decided to go to Earth Mother Prom.
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Lesson Learned: Wear flesh-colored underpants during Tipsy Prom Night. Also? Do you see that skirt? Well, no you don’t, because it’s NOT a skirt. It’s big wide pants, which are apparently very popular right now.

Next up was this guy.
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If I had kept up with my dream of being a concert pianist (the dream started with a scholarship in 1989  and ended a semester later because I simply couldn’t make it to class at 700 in the morning), I believe I would already own this dress in a size that would actually zip. Wait a second. Picture me in that dress. (It should be easy, because there is an actual picture less than two inches away from where you are reading right now.) NOW, close your eyes and listen to me playing this:

(I once took that Liszt piece to a piano competition and my fingers no longer remember it. Oh, fond memories and parallel universe daydreams…)

Let’s try on more dresses, shall we? We shall!
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The red dress sort of worked, except the flesh-colored fabric over half of my chest kept freaking me out. (I was freaked out for the approximately 23 seconds that I kept the dress on.)

And then we had this one. I toyed with the idea of purchasing it because someday I just might be the mother of the bride. Wait. DO I SORT OF LOOK LIKE A SHRIMP IN FANCY CLOTHES?! I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!!
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Pretty soon it became clear that the mall would be closing in 45 minutes. Time for the final dress.
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Yet another successful Tipsy Prom Night! You’re the meaning in my life, you’re the inspiration. You bring feeling to my life! You’re the inspiration…

(I skipped the hotel on the way home because you can’t take the Baptist out of the girl.)

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Writing and Pills, Doughnuts and Murderers

May 10th, 2017 · 14 Comments · Daily

I’ve talked to three different people in the past week who are feeling inspired to write, and it’s so exciting and contagious. Right now I’m wearing ripped up jeans and a tank top (grey!), which means I should probably put something together about a woman who is going to make taco salad for dinner. (It’s a true story about me! Memoir!)

I visited my doctor yesterday for my final medication adjustment appointment. (Know this: I’m taking two different pills to prevent migraines. Both are anti-depressants, although I don’t have an official diagnosis of depression. After the election, I asked if we could up the dosages a bit. I’m now feeling like I can go back down to the original levels. It’s fun to dabble with your own brain chemistry.)

My doctor: So, how old are your kids?
Me: 10 and 12.
My doctor: They’re really growing up quickly.
Me: Yeah, because they’re not really 10 and 12. They’re 12 and 14. Should I be concerned that I sometimes call the microwave a refrigerator? Last week I called out for Harper by yelling, “OSCAR!!!”
My doctor: That’s odd. Do you know an Oscar?
Me: No. No Oscars.

Once again? Perimenopause! Or maybe? Sleep apnea.

I always have trouble recalling the word Exploit, and yesterday I couldn’t think of Fritter, as in Apple Fritter. “It’s the fried apple thing. Like a cake. Bumpy doughnut apple cake.” Add this to the list of reasons why I could never run for public office. (It’s a very long list.)

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Yesterday I got up and showered at 530 so I could rush out to wait in line for the Krispy Kreme grand opening. Harper wanted doughnuts from opening day, but was up super late on Monday night. I woke her up at 6:45 by handing her a box of warm glazed doughnuts because I try to be a good representative of Kindness at least every other day.

Not a Memoir
She worked in a pharmacy, and every few weeks she paid the Amish man who dropped off his homemade candy to be sold at the front counter. When she asked about his candy making process, he invited her to come to his house and check out his shop. Less than 24 hours later, she drove her boyfriend and me to a tiny house nearly 50 miles away from town. We turned off the highway onto a gravel road and drove quite awhile before arriving at the old stone house. We noticed there were no other houses in sight and we admitted to not feeling completely safe, yet we knocked on the door and were greeted by an older man who definitely looked surprised to see three people, and also definitely did not look Amish. He led us through the house to the basement door and down the stairs into a room lit by a single hanging light bulb. He showed us a card table and a few bags of sugar before he started mumbling about needing to go to town. She looked at us and whispered, “I think we need to get out of here.” We thanked him for his time and walked back up the stairs, through the house, and out the front door. He followed us to the car and told us that we owed him a ride. She told him we had plans and couldn’t take him. He became angry, so we jumped into the car and started backing down the gravel driveway as quickly as one can back down a gravel driveway. He chased us and slammed his fists against the car several times before we were able to gather enough speed to get away from him. He never returned to the pharmacy with his candy.

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“My chest bumps like a dryer with shoes in it.” -DFW

May 4th, 2017 · 11 Comments · Daily

So much, yet nothing! Since last we spoke, Meredith turned 14 and Harper turned 12 and we spent 24 hours in Chicago because Meredith and Jeff had tickets to see Frank Iero at Bottom Lounge.

(I love the choices Meredith makes, but please know there’s a lot of blood flying in the video. Could this possibly be the first Fluid Pudding trigger warning? Bring out the baby book!)

As Meredith and Jeff stood outside in the cold rain for two and a half hours waiting for the venue to open, Harper and I went to the pool four times and ordered a pizza and spent three hours watching My Cat From Hell before she went on an Instagram handicapable cat following spree. (As soon as Meredith and Jeff left the hotel, I told Harper she was the boss. I love the choices she makes, too.)

This is the house where David Foster Wallace finished Infinite Jest, and Jeff knows things that amaze me.
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This is not how I feel about Chicago, but it IS how I’ve felt all week for various reasons that I’ll keep inside until my head explodes. (It should happen perhaps sometime next Tuesday, unless I perfect Mindfulness between now and then. Stay tuned.)
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This is Meredith on her 14th birthday and I wish the 14-year-old me had been more like the 14-year-old her.
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The girls are pretty much done with me posting their photos here, so this is what you get of Meredith and Harper enjoying our walk from the coffee dump back to the hotel.
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Last night I took Harper to meet her favorite author. April Henry writes YA mysteries and thrillers, and if you ever get a chance to see her speak, do it. She’s brilliant and clever and not many people can hold the attention of over 100 middle school students, but she did, and Harper was over the moon.

What else? I’ve been incorporating afternoon tea into my routine, and I’m finding it to be very relaxing—a good jump start for the rest of the day. This evening I’ll be finishing A Gentleman in Moscow, and I’m sad because this book should never end. It’s just so lovely.

Meredith told me that I dress like a mom and that dressing like a mom isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it’s better than dressing like a 17 year old when you’re actually in your 40s. All of this to say: On Tuesday night I fell in love with this shirt from Altar’d State, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. (I did not buy it, but I should have.)
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We really should meet up here more often, don’t you think?

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It’s a good day for a deep breath and a nod.

April 21st, 2017 · 5 Comments · Daily

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A few hours ago, a friend gave me the bird, and it was delivered with a burst of inspiration, a side of empowerment, and a cup of tourlou tourlou. Prince died one year ago today. Life is short. Don’t be afraid to use your gifts.

Not a Memoir
I was at a party and things weren’t going my way. He walked over to talk to me and saw that my eyes were wet and my lips were quivering, so he did what any good friend would do in this situation—he asked if I wanted him to pierce my ear. I burst into tears and nodded my head. Less than a minute later, I found myself sitting on a toilet, surrounded by friends, and holding an ice cube to my left ear. He removed the diamond earring from his own ear, made me promise to return it to him someday, and forced it through the cartilage halfway down my outer rim. A few days later I switched his earring out for one of my own and drove the diamond back to his house because I always keep my promises.

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