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Despair Bowels

October 25th, 2016 · 7 Comments · Daily

Did I watch all three presidential debates IN THEIR ENTIRETY?

I did.

Did I reward myself for this beefy feat by making a shirt?

I did.


(Enthusiasm for Such A Nasty Woman will soon die down and the phrase will inevitably be filed somewhere between Eat My Shorts and Where’s The Beef. Until that happens? I’ll be over here voting.)

NaBloPoMo will be kicking off one week from today and I’m already releasing myself from it if it does not serve me and I’m forgiving myself for failing. Yoga and Jesus, my friends. Yoga and Jesus. (That might be my next shirt.)

I’m still pinballing within the bowels of despair about not being able to see mountains in my distance. (My worst grade in high school was my drama grade.) We’ve been back from Colorado much longer than we were IN Colorado, and I like to believe that a part of me broke off there and is currently eating a caprese sandwich and looking forward to a late night breezy cardigan and clog walk. (We should sit around sometime and talk about our parallel lives and where our other selves are hanging out. I have so much to say about this. It fills my daydreams every single day which means I am definitely not living in the present and I apparently need even more Yoga and Jesus.)

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Adieu to disappointment and spleen, Jane Austen.

October 19th, 2016 · 5 Comments · Daily

The second eight-week session of my yoga class started up last night and the teacher pushed me (figuratively, obviously) and I hated myself and then I loved myself and then it was time for shavasana and she put the following music in and tears hopped out of my ducts and dripped off of my ears onto the mat.

Please step out of the room before you start rolling your eyes at the music because I really can’t handle emotional invalidation right now. (You and I are still friends, but please know that *I* don’t roll my eyes at *you* when you’re feeling brittle. Also, walk a mile in my shoes and everyone is struggling with something you don’t really know about. Okay, then. I forgive you. Let’s hug. No. Not like that. Like this.)

Speaking of my shoes, tomorrow these will be arriving and sometimes I feel weird that new shoes are so invigorating for me, but also? I’m tired of feeling weird, so screw it. New shoes!


I have plans for these shoes and those plans involve adventures!

Speaking of adventures (and strained segues), we went to Colorado for four days last week. Some people spend their days dreaming of their next trip to the ocean. For me, the ocean is beautiful, but the mountains are Everything. (With a capital E!) Mountains are enchanting and unachievable and strengthening and everyone looks foxy with a mountain in their background.

(Not Completely Convincing Yet Completely Unfiltered) Proof:


Check it. You might not be able to see the mountains, but you can definitely smell my libidinousness. I’m windblown! I’ve licked my lips so much that all traces of Carmex have vanished! I want to make out with a tree!

(Here are just a few of my coniferous boyfriends.)


As soon as I saw this Aspen, I knew I wanted to be inside of it.


Here I am getting down to clown with a monumental statue (pun weak, but totally intended), and I didn’t even catch his name.



I have so many things I could tell you about this trip. I found a new favorite beer. I smelled marijuana. (I SMELLED it. Shut up!) I touched snow. I was able to spend some time with one of my very favorite people and we focused on Aspirations instead of Remember Whens and I hitched my wagon to a star and Dear Lord I Love Colorado.

Family photo taken inside Red Rocks Amphitheater, where the dazzling beams of contentment inside my head escaped and bounced all around us:


And now we’re back and I’m feeling more than a bit crestfallen. BUT, it is better to have admired mountains and returned home than never to have drunk a sour beer at all.

Also, I bought new socks.


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Listen to the music, Doobie Brothers!

October 8th, 2016 · 2 Comments · Daily

So I guess that whole “Hey! Maybe I’ll write every day in October!” thing didn’t really work out for us, did it?

Since last we spoke, I worked and I ate sushi and I drank coffee and I watched CNN. I’ve been knitting a tunic. I bought an anorak jacket, so I felt the need to do a bit of research on the word anorak. I signed on for the next yoga session. I bought tickets to see The Lumineers, but only because Andrew Bird and Margaret Glaspy are opening for them.

The girls are currently on fall break for ten days. We signed Harper up to get braces on Monday. We signed up to see some mountains before the end of the week. I’ll sneak in a haircut between now and then.

I learned something about myself about an hour ago, and that is this: I am not opposed to wearing an item of clothing called Jeggings, but only if the attached paper tag contains the word Sculpt. I am an adult.

Harper is currently at the mall. Meredith and Jeff are out looking at a Fender Stratocaster. I’m watching CNN because I’m drawn to goat rodeos, and tomorrow’s debate (if it happens) is happening in my town! My lip busted open a few minutes ago and I’m currently tasting blood and I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the despicable waves of negative energy.

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Fists and Books and Meningitis and Mountains

September 30th, 2016 · 1 Comment · Daily

Twice in the past week, I’ve run across a medical question for which the answer is “Insert a fist into the vagina.” Granted, I’m working on a maternal health freelance project, but still! Twice in one week! What could it mean?! (I know what it *actually* means. It’s fairly self-explanatory with a fist and a vagina. I’m talking about *cosmic* meaning.)

I took Harper to the orthodontist on Tuesday and it’s time for braces! The financial side of this is a bit bothersome (!!!), but was made slightly less painful when I learned that the orthodontist feels the same way I do about Dave Eggers. Heroes of the Frontier? Not so great. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? Great, if read at a time when it hits you as great. Timing is everything. Always. Always! (Don’t get me started on Hugh Everett and/or astral projection. Unless you WANT to get me started, Mick Jagger.)

This morning I drove 20 miles south for a flu shot, and I’m afraid it gave me a bit of meningitis. (I’m probably exaggerating.) When I go hard core with heavy medical freelance deadlines, I tend to up my impressionability levels (which are shockingly high even when I’m NOT going hard core with heavy medical freelance deadlines). This afternoon I’ll be working on a chapter about spinal cord injuries, which I think means we need to invest in some bubble wrap.

My family has a big case of the Let’s Get The Hell Out Of Heres. Luckily, the girls have a ten day fall break coming up. All I want to do is lie on the grass and look at a mountain. Bonus if it’s capped with snow. Double bonus if I’m drinking something warm. Triple bonus? Cardigan and no one is crabby and maybe a sandwich or beer float is coming my way.

Wait. Do I need this? And when I say need, what I really mean is want. (I’m pretty sure my answer is Yes.)


While I’ve got you here, let me toss a few more photos at you to prove that I exist!

My yoga buddy knows that I’ve filled our kitchen window with creamers, even though I really hate the word creamer. Because of her kindness, I now have a dachshund in the window!


And because Tempe knows where the cool kids buy their shirts, I now have a Barb shirt!


And because Chip sleeps like this on my side of the bed, I’m not getting more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time.


The makeup app I was using in my most recent post? It doesn’t work on dogs, but it works on creepy doll photos.


Fun fact: The first movie I saw at a drive-in was Westworld when I was four years old, and I really need to see it again.

Now go and enjoy your weekend.

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You wanted way too many photos of me? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

September 22nd, 2016 · 13 Comments · Daily

On September 19 I celebrated my 15 year anniversary at Fluid Pudding. Oh, but let’s get something clear. A quinceañera, there was not. In fact, I didn’t even realize that it was the anniversary until the anniversary date had passed. No parades. No cake. No “Oh, the places we’ve been” post.

I *did* downloaded a free makeup app on the 19th. It’s called MakeupPlus and it started off innocently enough, as most things do. (Brows! Lashes! Weird shade of pink on my lips!)


It didn’t take long for me to peek over the edge of Mount Going Too Far.


Long story shortened: Here I am with a beard.

Also, I drank a drink for the first time in two and a half years over the weekend. The following photo is a huge exaggeration.


(Reality: I don’t believe I finished half of the bottle, and I drank it out of what Meredith called “a Jesus glass,” because we are Team Lord’s Supper 24/7 around here.)

On Tuesday night, my yoga partner and I decided to skip yoga in favor of supporting local businesses. In other words: Out for drinks at VB Chocolate Bar, which is about a ten minute drive from my house!

This is an ice cream float made with homemade salted caramel ice cream and O’Fallon Vanilla Pumpkin Beer. (I had two, because I tend to lose control when I’m skipping yoga and shooting breezes.)


Let’s see. What else? Jeff and I went to a Tuesday morning showing of the latest Blair Witch! (Wait a second. Is that a PERSON in what I thought was an empty photo?! Who IS that?! Could it be THE BLAIR WITCH?!?!?!)


((It’s not the Blair Witch.))
As you can probably imagine, the theater was not crowded.

I’ve signed on (nothing was actually signed) for NaBloPoMo in November, but would you rather I do it in October? You tell me.

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Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.

September 14th, 2016 · 9 Comments · Daily

Disappointing: Finding out that three students from your girls’ middle school brought BB guns into the building today, which was also the day of the active shooter drill. (Let me repeat that. Today was the active shooter drill, where the following announcement is made to the students: “Attention. Attention. This is an active shooter drill. Take immediate action. Lockdown. Lockdown. Lockdown. Again, this is a drill. Please assume your lockdown positions.”) As I was sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and writing e-mails, my kids were pretending that a shooter was in the building, while three POTENTIAL shooters WERE in the building. (With BB guns. I know.)

Also Disappointing: Our school probably won’t make the BB gun kids go through “three minutes alone in a small room with some of the meaner parents whose kids go to that middle school” as a punishment. Also, there will be no Shirley Jackson “The Lottery” reenactment with the BB gun kids playing the role of Tessie Hutchinson.

Clarification: I’m the least violent person you sort of know. I don’t really buy into the eye for an eye thing. Not a big fan of the death penalty. This morning I spent 45 minutes trying to coax a fly out of an open window because he seemed slow and I wanted him to get some fresh air.

Jeff: Did they taze the offenders?
Me: I’m sort of hoping they shot them in the kneecaps with their own BB guns. (But not really. But sort of.)

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

As of last night, my Yoga for a Happy Life class is halfway over. And that’s just fine because sometimes it feels more like Twister than yoga. “Get into a low lunge with your left leg back. Now lift that back leg.” (Try it. It’s impossible. Also impossible? My ability to not laugh when asked to do something like lifting my back leg when I’m in a low lunge.)

This is happening right now.


This was finished while watching CNN and drinking coffee this morning.

Icy Tiller

This is next.


I need to come around here more often. By the way, the fly DID make it out the window. (Some of you were wondering. I just know it.)

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Fragmented ideas are nothing to be embarrassed about.

September 3rd, 2016 · 7 Comments · Daily

As I drank my coffee and ate my Larabar this morning, I realized that I’m interested in buying a set of the breathing Fruit of the Loom boy shorts. (I’m pulling out all the stops over here. I’m also pulling out all of the underpant parts that are currently not breathing.) I tell you this information only because I want to know if you’ve tried them and like them (breathing underpants!), and also: Are we boycotting Fruit of the Loom? The Honduras thing was a really long time ago, right? (Question: Where is Google when you need it? Answer: It’s the third tab on the top of my screen, but I’m so tired.)

This is my new favorite shirt.

Stranger Things, Winona...

It arrived on Tuesday and the seam on the bottom ripped out on Wednesday. I don’t mind the ripped seam. (I purposefully ordered the green version so it looks like I’m bedecked for Christmas when December rolls around.)

(My other Christmas shirt:


I wore it to clean up pancake messes during a Breakfast with Santa event, which is something I hope to never do again. I can eat 4,392 pancakes without dripping syrup onto the floor. Apparently, not many people in my town share this ability. Sticky-faced dribbling monsters.)

You want more photos of stuff? Oh! Okay!

This is the book I’m reading right now:


It’s by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and I was told that she writes like me (or that I write like her) and if that’s true, my heart just grew three sizes because I am enjoying the heck out of this book.

Why I Want to be Friends with Amy Krouse Rosenthal:

1. One of the very first people mentioned in the book is Sei Shonagon. I am obsessed with Sei Shonagon because in my (tiny) mind, she was the original mish-mash writer, which is what I consider myself to be. Zuihitsu! (God bless you!)

2. Amy Krouse Rosenthal (AKR) shares a birthday with Meredith.

3. AKR has a birthmark shaped like Africa. SO DO I.

4. AKR makes me want to write more, because with this book she has taught me that it’s okay to not be able to write a short story. (Wait. I’m positive *she* can write a short story.)

One more thing.
Do you remember when I chased this receipt around a parking lot?


I wonder what ever happened to that guy. I hope everything turned out okay.

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It’s Tuesday night and I’m on a mountain!

August 25th, 2016 · 8 Comments · Daily

Less than two hours before Tuesday night’s yoga class, I decided to pull up the class info to check on the location. It was then that I discovered that the class is called Yoga For A Happy Life.

I was fully prepared for the Yoga part, but I suppose I had overlooked For A Happy Life when I signed up.

1. Dear God, please don’t let the yoga teacher put us in a circle and talk about what makes us happy. I know without a doubt that I will mutter something ridiculous about the perfect bean burrito with a hefty serving of guacamole and then the next person will wipe a tiny tear and say, “I’m so happy I was able to hold my precious Aunt Edith’s hand and tell her that I love her as her soul traveled from her body to Heaven with grace this morning.” and I’ll stare at my feet and feel embarrassed about my burrito for the next few years because that’s what I do.

2. Dear God, please don’t make the class be one of those things where we have to hold hands and pass a secret squeeze to our neighbors. I have never liked that because the secret squeeze always makes me think of touching raw hamburger and not today. Not today.

My friend (let’s call her Kim) and I arrived at the class a little too early and class began a little too late. We down dogged. We did a little Nadi Shodhana, which is one of my very favorite anxiety/headache/relaxation exercises. We held a plank for three seconds. (I know.) We did a few forward folds.

Instructor: Let’s get on our hands and knees. That’s right. Very nice. Now pretend someone has just punched you in the stomach. Shape yourself as if you’ve just received the punch and are saying, “Oomph.” Very good. Now release. Inhale. As you exhale, once again, pretend that you’ve been punched in the stomach.

Me (to myself, obviously): Sucker punch. And ANOTHER sucker punch. Yoga for a happy life.

The class was a little too crowded for me, but I absolutely loved it until it was time for Shavasana and meditation. The lights went down. Everyone went flat to the floor. We took deep breaths. In. And out.


And out.

The instructor told us that she was going to play a guided meditation CD. Suddenly we were greeted by the (slightly too loud) voice of a lovely British woman who told us to find our happy place.

Bang! I went to the top of Mount Rendezvous in Jackson, Wyoming. It’s cold. Lots of snow. I’m drinking a beer. I’m eating a hot waffle. It looked a little something like this:

It has taken forty years for me to be able to say, "I drank a beer and ate a waffle on the top of a snowy mountain in Wyoming!"


Me (to myself): No. I’m still on my mountain and I’m wearing a silk scarf and appropriate shoes and the sky goes on forever and there are little fluffy clouds and they move down and they are long and clear…


If you know me at all, you know that my happy place is never near a pool. (It’s a long story. I’ll keep it.)

Me (to myself): Damnit! Where’s my mountain? Um, let no sadness come to this heart, let no trouble come to these arms, let no conflict come to these eyes, et cetera, damnit to hell.

The class ran about thirty minutes over. We had a little trouble finding the car afterwards. I woke up yesterday morning feeling stretched and clear. I can’t wait to go back.


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It’s a good day for a Wednesday.

August 17th, 2016 · 10 Comments · Daily

I’ve been feeling like the girl who just found out that she was elected Happy Club President and she was never interested in joining the Happy Club, much less leading the damn thing and maybe her t-shirt smells a little sour and perhaps she has dried blood on her sock for no apparent reason. Unpleasant eyeliner. Scowl facial fault lines that appear to be sinking deeper. Sudden intolerance to bread that came on less than an hour ago and is leading her to walk at half mast. Oh, it’s definitely a great night for open house at the middle school. Bonus: Open house for Harper is tonight. Open house for Meredith is tomorrow. Two open houses in two days!

The good news? I’ve been knitting every one of my emotions into this sweater (Like Water for Chocolate!), and I’m 1.75 sleeves away from finishing it. It smells like vinegar, and it might be my favorite handknit cardigan ever. (Knitters: It’s the Dark and Stormy.)


Also, I’m working on a Rainbow Warrior that will eventually be named Dorian Gray is a Sexy MF, because the yarn I’m using is Three Irish Girls “Dorian Gray” and “Sexy MF” and you know what they say about fixing things that aren’t broken. Don’t!


My freelance project was supposed to begin on August 1 and I’m still (mostly patiently) waiting for it. This is good because: KNITTING! This is bad because: Happy Club President refreshes her e-mail 3,291 times each day to see if there is work to be done!

What else is new? I’ve decided to maybe think about giving myself a manicure. I’m enjoying Heroes of the Frontier but reading it way too slowly. A friend and I are going to take a yoga class and it starts next week and I purchased a tie-dyed tank top to celebrate my Yoga in Public burst of courage. Didn’t Matt Damon say something or other about finding twenty seconds of courage? Maybe in the movie about buying a zoo? Anyway, yes. Twenty seconds of courage, give or take 75 minutes every Tuesday for the next eight weeks. I haven’t had any sort of alcoholic beverage in 2.5 years, and my headaches really aren’t that much better so a post-mayurasana martini might be the best idea I’ve had since last Thursday.

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Tell me what you eat. I might cook for you.

August 7th, 2016 · 10 Comments · Daily

If I was the type of person who invited people over, I would invite each and every one of you to my house right now and if you are interested, I will put together some sort of chocolate drink with a Ding Dong hanging off the side and maybe we will have five different kinds of burritos and we will sit and throw our heads back with laughter and I will diffuse something citrusy into the air and This Will Be Our Year will play on repeat.

All of this is to thank you for reaching out after the news I shared last week.

Things are moving along and Jeff is patient, Jeff is kind, Jeff does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud. Jeff always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (Paul could have hung a poster of Jeff in the Corinthian church with a Post-It that said, “Be like this guy.”)

The past week was full of Good. It included Meredith’s final shift as a summer reading volunteer and a clandestine parking lot meeting during which I was handed a box of doughnuts. Jeff and the girls went to a Twenty One Pilots show. I helped one of my very favorite people cut vinyl for her classroom wall. Harper attended a transition day at school to practice walking her schedule and opening her locker. We ate burritos with friends. I joined Tempe and my mom for our annual trip to Stitches Midwest in Chicago.

Let’s stay there for a moment, shall we?

This was our eighth trip to Stitches Midwest, and it continues to be one of my very favorite traditions. Picture a convention center filled with yarn and fiber and sweater and sock samples and a flock of mostly happy knitters.

(It looks a little something like this, with my mom playing the role of the mostly happy knitter.)


I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning smelling yarn and rubbing it against my neck and saying things like “Oooh!” and encouraging strangers to purchase scarf kits and encouraging Tempe and my mom to purchase shawl kits and it’s just all so dreamy and perfect.

The very first thing I touched was the very first thing I purchased. It called to me from across the aisle and when I saw its name, I knew it was meant to be.


It is one of the four Three Irish Girls colorways inspired by Prince, and it is lovely. (This morning I decided to pair it with the Three Irish Girls Dorian Gray colorway to knit a Rainbow Warrier.)

Next up? I fell in love with this sweater.


It’s called Irish Coffee and it will eventually be this color and will be worn with faded jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt while I drink something hot. And maybe it’s snowing. And life is back to normal. And perhaps I’m reading The Mirror Thief. And my hair continues to grow.

I also fell in love with this sweater.


It’s the Simple Tee by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. I touched it. I said “Oooh.” (It’s made of linen and recycled silk!) I mentioned that it’s the sort of thing I want to wear every single day. I held it up in front of a mirror to see if my eyes looked like they were in love. They did.


(It will be Christmas gift from my mom who is always up for early Christmas shopping. I continue to be the luckiest.)

Fast forward through cheesecake and salads and a bit of a migraine and strawberry oatmeal and raunchy jokes with Tempe and my mom and lots of laughs and huge yarn love moments and suddenly we were back on the road and I had only one regret, and that was NOT purchasing the yarn to make this cowl.


It’s perfect. It’s just so perfect, and it will be my Someday.

We drove home yesterday afternoon because I was the liturgist at church this morning. When I read at church, I’m always feeling a figurative hiccup because I often have to say things like “I am a virgin.” or “I am naked.” This morning my only hiccup was the pronunciation of the name Eliezar. After doing a bit of research online, Jeff told me that it’s almost like someone named Ella is a member of Weezer. Ella-EE-zer. AND, done. The sermon this morning was about mental health issues and at times I thought it was written just for me. My favorite moment was hearing everyone reading the following words together: “Create in us a tenderness to the needs of all, an openness to everyone’s gifts, and a commitment to the struggle for justice.” Every time I go to church I’m reminded of why I go to THIS church.

After the service, we bolted to the mall for Tax Free Weekend. As we stood at the Hot Topic register so Meredith could purchase a shirt with a tombstone and a bad apostrophe, a woman introduced herself to me and told me that she reads Fluid Pudding and what an amazing surprise that was! I’ve been smiling about it all day. All day.

So many good things.

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