The girls’ pediatrician retired in July and then my primary care guy left the practice and then I found a new pediatrician for the girls and then my primary care guy’s office caught on FIRE but I was somehow able to squeak in an appointment with one of his partners, and I love her.
Dr. W: I see you have one sister with thyroid issues and one sister who dealt with endometriosis and one sister who has no health issues at all.
Me: That’s all wrong. I have only one sister.
Dr. W: I can fix it in the computer, unless you want the record to show that you have three sisters. I know I’ve always wanted more sisters.
Later in the appointment we talked about headaches and anxiety, and if you sit down with me for any length of time you’ll learn that headaches and anxiety are two things I can buzz about endlessly. (I can also buzz about seeing both The Commodores and The Beach Boys during the summer of 1981. A woman once accidentally put her cigarette out on my leg during a Helen Reddy show as Helen was singing “Candle on the Water.” I won a national contest for which I designed an eco-friendly Pringles can. I used to have a birthmark on my leg that looked exactly like Africa.)
Dr. W: I think the anxiety is causing the tension that’s leading to your headaches. I’d like you to take an SSRI.
Me: Nope. I don’t want to take pills that make me feel hazy.
Dr. W: Okay. What are you doing right now to control your anxiety and headaches?
Me: Um, essential oils and mind games and magnesium and prayer and avoiding crowds and singing along to Air Supply tunes.
I’ve now been on Celexa for eleven days, and the first seven days were REALLY CRAPPY with haziness and stomach stuff and me thinking entirely too hard about how my BRAIN is being MANIPULATED with a DRUG. But. BUT. I haven’t had even a touch of a headache in three days, and that is worthy of a burrito parade.
The doctor said that it will take four to six weeks to see if the medication is a good fit for me, but because I’m often a fast learner I decided to take my new little buddy Celexa for a test drive last week at a lakeside food truck event.
The parking lot was so full that we had to park in the grass. Normally, this would put me on edge, which is exactly what it did. As we approached the food trucks, I noticed that each truck had a line at least twenty people deep. Normally, this would rattle me, and that’s exactly what happened. Luckily, Jeff knows that I handle myself best when I have some sort of assignment.
Jeff: Why don’t you grab burritos for us, I’ll grab ravioli for Meredith, and we can meet at the hot dog truck for Harper?
Twenty minutes later, the four of us were standing in line at the hot dog truck. As Jeff took the first bite of his burrito, the woman in front of him lit a cigarette and blew smoke all over him. This is the sort of thing that makes me want to eat my own hair and the only way to settle down is to put every bit of my concentration into creating a list of How This Event Could Be Better For Me.
Me: I would really love it if it was maybe twenty degrees cooler. Lightly snowing, even. Or just haystacks and pumpkins. Less halters, more hoodies. That would be good. More dogs, less people. Less flying bugs. Less Meghan Trainor, more something quieter. And it would be dark. And there would be a pit of fire. I need a chai wagon.
I’m still waiting for the Celexa to work all of its magic. Until that happens, I’ll be wandering the streets in these, because I think that’s whatAmélie would do.
Harper has decided to run for student council this year, and one of the requirements for running is to participate in some form of community service for two hours. On Saturday, the four of us went downtown to stand on the street and help hand out food and water to the homeless. (A friend of ours is involved in a foundation that provides meals and clothing to the homeless every month.)
Over 100 homeless people went through our line. Every single one of them was grateful and kind and every single one of them broke my heart—and that wasn’t their intention, it’s just that my heart is easily broken.
One man (I’ll call him Smiley) returned to Meredith and me after he went through the food line.
Smiley: Let me guess. She’s your daughter.
Me: She is! How did you know?
Smiley: Because she looks just like you, except her hair is longer. Do you think she’s smarter than a fifth grader?
Me: I sure hope so, because she’s in the seventh grade!
Smiley: She looks brainy, but I bet I can outsmile her.
Smiley then stood there with the biggest smile on his face until Meredith busted out laughing. He then turned and walked away carrying everything he owns in a dirty duffel bag.
As the line wound down and it was almost time to go, Meredith noticed that she had only three drink packets left, and they were all raspberry lemonade flavored.
Meredith: Will you come with me for a second?
Me: Sure, where are we going?
Meredith: That guy sitting on the sidewalk over there told me that raspberry lemonade is his favorite. I’m going to give him the last three.
All of this to say: Our family had no idea what to expect when we drove downtown to help out on Saturday, and as clichéd as it sounds, we were a different family as we drove back home.
Meredith: After working there this afternoon, I almost feel silly complaining about my Windows 10 update not working.
We’ll be back.
(Current thoughts scrambling in my head: Homeless shelters are good, right? Right. BUT, what if a homeless shelter is full of bed bugs and feeds their residents only three bologna sandwiches each day? And what if the bread is moldy on those sandwiches, and the residents are told to just rip off the moldy parts? And what if that same homeless shelter tells its residents that if they accept food from us, they are no longer welcome to stay in the shelter? Despite what many people believe, not all homeless people are addicts who just need to get off the stoop and get a job. It’s too easy to sit back in an air-conditioned house and think that. Or to think nothing at all past the fact that Windows 10 can really suck sometimes or how crappy it is that a football game in overtime might make The Amazing Race run late.)
I’m really looking forward to hot chocolate and clogs with wool socks on a snowy day. I’m so lucky to be able to look forward to those things.
The girls are now in the fifth and seventh grades, meaning we’ve entered the final year of elementary school and also the Wednesday of middle school. Before leaving the house last Tuesday morning, Meredith said, “Well, I’m off to start the second half of my public education!” (She doesn’t count kindergarten, because although she loved it, she doesn’t feel like she learned anything new. “First grade is where the learning started to happen.”) Anyway, I look at the photo above and all I see are legs and potential. It’s going to be a good year.
I’ve walked into exactly 3,492 spider webs in the past week, Henry brought a screaming cicada into the house a few nights back, and yesterday I stepped into the car and noticed that an inch worm was on my leg and getting ready to crawl under my shorts. Enough is enough!
The pest guy arrived today at 11:00 because some living things should live inside and some should live outside. Although none of the creatures/detritus (are webs considered detritus?) I mentioned in the paragraph above are part of our pest scheme (no spiders were harmed, the cicada was returned to the yard, and the inch worm went from leg to index card to leaf on the driveway), our pest guy was interested in hearing about them, particularly the beast that stirred us to make this sign:
Sir Thadeus is a wolf spider who is the size of an actual wolf, and that’s about 2.7 feet shoulder to shoulder, in case you were wondering. I came within inches of walking into his web last week, and I’m still shuddering. Anyway, after I sang my spooky spider song to the pest guy, he cheered me up with his muggy weather song!
Pest Guy: The temperatures aren’t bad out there, but the humidity is terrible, especially since I’m Father Christmas!
Me: Are you serious?
Pest Guy: It’s the reason I’m growing out my beard. Publicity photos are in October, so I have to start growing my beard early. This humidity makes it really rough.
Me: I love that we’re having this conversation. I was raised in a church that has a live Nativity. All of the deacons grow their beards out at the end of the summer, so I totally get what you’re going through.
Pest Guy: I always enjoy giving Bob Cratchit some ribbing when I see him walking around on Main Street. If you see me this year, be sure to say hello!
Me: My best friend was a tiger in college!!!
(I always tend to take things one step too far.)
Our house is protected, I met Father Christmas, I have the worst cold I’ve had in decades, and I had a pinto bean burrito for dinner. Three of these items bust the heck out of the fourth, rendering sneezing and coughing completely unimportant.
Finally, our clematis is vining on the pergola:
Also, I painted a gnome and the girls helped me name him.
I am thrilled to introduce you to Governor Narcissus P. Snickerdoodle. (His nickname, given by Meredith, is Garlic Naan.)
He honors Christmas in his heart and tries to keep it all the year.
I am a blogger without a medical degree, but with OPINIONS on medical topics.
Instead of throwing a bunch of pills at your headache, you need to go get a massage or two. Ask the massage therapist to concentrate on your shoulders, neck, and face. Bonus: If there’s a service dog in the room, you get the added benefit of hearing a dog snore during your massage, and I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing more relaxing. Massage is NOT an indulgence, and should be completely covered by insurance. (It’s not covered by my insurance.) I’ve now gone to the massage place twice in the past three weeks, and my head is improving and that’s nothing but good, mainly because I’m not swallowing a bunch of pills that I don’t understand.
I am a fashion blogger. And also, a makeup blogger.
I bought this shirt last week and I love it because it carries all of my hobbies. (Please know that the paintbrush represents the makeup brush I bought a few weeks back to aid in the illusion of eyebrows, as I’ve reached the magical age when eyebrows start to fade away like powdered sugar in a windstorm or Kristy McNichol in my lifetime. (Where IS she? I LOVED her!)) ((Please also know that I don’t consider makeup a hobby, because if you saw my face you would know…))
I am a health blogger.
Back in May I knocked all processed foods out of my diet, and I decided that bread and I were no longer friends. (Warm bread gives me a headache, and regular bread messes with my stomach.) I don’t exercise beyond walking with a Fitbit on my left wrist, yet thirteen pounds are gone. And here’s the thing: I’m not eating like a jerk, and I still eat doughnuts every once in awhile because I love them. This is not a diet. This is simply no bread (except for doughnuts and the occasional tortilla because doughnuts and burritos are important to me) and nothing from a bag or can with ingredients that are hard to pronounce. Shoot a message my way if you want to talk to the woman who has supported me through this. (Actually, many women have supported me through this, but only one of them actually calls every two weeks to check in and give me Wisdom.)
I am a political blogger.
Hey, did you see that Republican presidential debate? Whoa, Nelly!
I am a DIY blogger.
We’ve been in the house for nearly a year, and the only thing hanging on our walls is a weird painting of a tree that I did last year. (Wait! Maybe the paintbrush on my shirt really CAN represent an actual paintbrush!) COMING SOON! DIY STUFF THAT SMELLS A LOT LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD FIND ON PINTEREST! PROBABLY WITH MASON JARS AND TWINE!
I am a food blogger.
You guys. I picked green beans with some friends a few weeks back, and then we boiled and blanched and froze them and a few nights back I cooked them. We also pickled some green beans because we are hard core and I’m a food blogger! For breakfast this morning, I had a banana dipped in almond butter!
I am a music blogger and a master at not-so-vague life references.
This song has been in my head today for reasons that are no one’s business. “A heart that’s full up like a landfill. A job that slowly kills you…” (You have no idea how smelly and appropriate that landfill reference is, but you do know that the author of this blog is completely responsible for the opinions found within this blog and that these opinions don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else. Also, I know it’s a Radiohead song, but when it plays in my head, it smells more like Regina Spektor.) Anyway, if we had a family crest, this song would play when I press the little red button that is positioned between the cat and the word Guacamole.
I’m a knitting/spinning blogger.
This is on my wheel right now.
Also, this arrived in the mail today.
It will become one of these, and is the same exact yarn I used to finish this today.
I am a vlogger. No, I’m not. Have I thanked you lately for hanging out with me? Dear Lord, I’ve thought about quitting this blog thing so many times over the past few years, but honestly? It’s one of my favorite things, and why would you never watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers again if you really really loved it? Why would you deny yourself a burrito?
School starts on Tuesday, and all I want right now is three more weeks of summer and a long drive to anywhere.
As I mentioned yesterday, I saw a chiropractor on Thursday, July 16th.
She was all, “You’re a DISASTER.”
And I was all, “You don’t even KNOW me.”
And she went, “Do you know what I call people like you?”
And I go, “A disaster?”
And she was like, “Yes! And also? A TURTLEHEAD.”
And *I* was like, “Well, you haven’t seen anything yet, because in two days I’m going to ride a horse for the first time in my life! And that’s probably not the best idea!”
On Saturday, July 18th, Harper and I met half of her Girl Scout troop at a ranch near the airport for a horseback riding session. Because I had never ridden a horse before, I was matched up with Luke, and then told that Luke’s bad habit is stopping for snacks. (SO IS MINE!!!) Helmet on, quick lesson in steering and stopping, and off we went! Into the woods!
(Into the woods without delay! But careful not to lose the way. Into the woods, who knows what may be lurking on the journey?)
Anyway, all of the scouts and the scout leader and the wranglers were in front of me on our ride. The fact that I was last in line and riding on a horse that liked to snack made me a little nervous, because Luke? Luke really did like to snack. Often. Every time he stopped to grab some leaves off of a tree, the wrangler two horses in front of me would yell, “Kick him. KICK him!!!” But I was wearing my suede sneakers and I’m afraid my kicks felt like velvety love pats to sweet Luke, so: No luck.
When you’re me, you tend to take things entirely too personally. And you’re working on it, but you also know that you’re 45 and still completely self-conscious and it’s hard to NOT take “You’re a disaster!” personally, even if “you” is referring to the musculature surrounding your shoulders and neck and not to The Whole You. When you top all of that off with a (very) young wrangler encouraging you to kick a snacking horse, well, it’s taxing for a fragile flower in the wilderness.
Thirty minutes into the ride, the horse in front of me stopped.
Wrangler: KICK him!!! KICK HIM!!!
The Girl Scout on the horse in front of me tried to kick her horse. She tried to steer him. She tried everything. Resting Horse was done. (The mud on the trail was knee high in some places. If I was a horse, I wouldn’t want to slop through it, either. (Sometimes I take three showers in one day for no good reason.)) The wrangler looked back at me and said, “Take Luke up and see if you can smack her horse on the rear.”
Me (in my head): I’ve never even spanked my own children!!!
Me (to the wrangler): Gotcha! Tally ho, then!
So suddenly I’m trying to inch a snacking Luke up to Resting Horse and I’m leaning way over Luke’s head to see if I can touch Resting Horse’s butt and my fingertips barely touch him, but my fingertips clearly feel more like a fly than a command because Resting Horse starts throwing his beautiful white tail into my face and I Quit. I quit, damnit! I’ve never ridden a horse before and I also have no idea how to swim, and I’m so sick of feeling tired and headachey and ugly and unmarketable and my life is halfway over and my brain STILL hiccups when I try to change a halogen bulb and twice in the past week I’ve forgotten to put detergent in the washing machine and I think my eyebrows are getting thinner which means it’s only a matter of time before my bones start breaking and I spend all of my time talking about illnesses and funerals. You know what? If my horse wants to eat and her horse wants to stop, let’s just GO WITH THAT, because how many of us have the opportunity to do whatever the hell we want WHENEVER the hell we want?! Not many of us! More power to the horses! IT’S SNACK TIME!!!
(I’ve always been intrigued with the programs that pair horses with troubled teens. After spending 45 minutes on Luke, I totally get it. Breakthroughs can happen on the back of a horse.)
Quick route to a happy ending: The wrangler did a very impressive U-turn on her horse, grabbed the reins of Resting Horse to get him moving, and then Luke followed along without snacking again for nearly ten minutes, which was just long enough to arrive at the clearing where The End Was In Sight, where The End = My Hyundai.
(Suddenly, the way is clear, the light is good, I have no fear, nor no one should. The woods are just trees, the trees are just wood. No need to be afraid there.)
A few weeks back, Jeff updated my WordPress to the latest version. (I’m hoping that’s the most boring sentence I write today.) As a result? I don’t even want to come over here to figure out the changes that have happened since 2009 (when I last updated my software).
Because I suppose it’s time to adapt (which will involve listening to something other than Ben Folds in my car and figuring out what needs to be considered in the category: New Phone Plan), here I sit. The next few days will be spent catching you up on my adventures. (Please know that you and I probably use the word Adventure differently. BUT, we probably put our pants on the same way (mostly), and I like to think that we both roll our eyes a bit when something like “Bindi Irwin Finds a Wakeboarding Boyfriend!” is a headline on the news.)
I will not be returning to the chiropractor. My doctor, whose building caught on fire earlier this month, wants to see me before I let anyone else put me on a vertigo table and call me names. After that happens (on August 12), I will hopefully be cleared to collaborate with Poppin John and Randm. (I’m going to call myself GrudgeHolda. Because that’s what I do. IT’S MY TRAGIC FLAW!)
Be sure to come back tomorrow! I’ll be on a horse, and his name is Luke!
When I was a senior in high school, our English teacher handed out a list of books. He asked us to look the list over because we would be voting on a book to read and to study as a class. The list held the exact books you would think it would hold: 1984. The Great Gatsby. Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Jane Eyre. To Kill a Mockingbird.
Because I wanted to read To Kill a Mockingbird, I decided to fight for it in the only way a socially awkward college-prep student COULD fight: Wear a cute outfit, sound somewhat knowledgeable, and make everyone believe the book is full of sex.
When it came time to lobby and vote, I’ll never forget how I felt when one of the boys in my class tried to sell The Great Gatsby “because it’s short.” Damnit! The Great Gatsby IS short! Argh!
I raised my hand.
Mr. Brown: Angie?
Me: I want to nominate To Kill a Mockingbird.
Mr. Brown: Okay. Why To Kill a Mockingbird?
We voted, and To Kill a Mockingbird won.
(Disclaimer: Please know that I now cringe at the thought of selling a book in this way. I’m glad 1988 is in the past, and I’m glad I’m no longer the 17-year-old me.)
To Kill a Mockingbird was the first book that actually changed me. Harper Lee inspired me to start writing more than “I had stroganoff for dinner and it splashed on the wall and I am so angry at my family right now.” in my journals. My copy of the book was marked up and often soggy because I felt the need to highlight every single thing Atticus Finch said. Boo Radley and ham costumes and seeing the word Chifforobe for the first time… It was and is my favorite book. (To Kill a Mockingbird is why our dog is named Scout. It is why my youngest daughter is named Harper, and I believe it might be why Harper was actually born on Harper Lee’s birthday. (Okay. That might be a stretch. But still, it’s a great coincidence, right?))
I ordered my copy of Go Set a Watchman on February 3rd, and then I started reading the articles that almost convinced me to cancel my order. (Harper Lee is being manipulated by her lawyer! Harper Lee will sign anything you put in front of her! She’s old! Dementia!) I felt weird and sick about the whole thing, yet I didn’t cancel my order, and this is why: Go Set a Watchman is the book that was submitted to a publisher by Harper Lee and because it was rejected, it was reworked and eventually became To Kill a Mockingbird. I needed to read Go Set a Watchman because I needed to know if I would still have a Harper and a Scout had the book NOT been rejected. (How different would my life be if my daughter was named Carson (for Carson McCullers) and my dog was a Trixie (because she sort of looks like a Trixie)?)
The book arrived in the mail yesterday, and I finished it late last night. I won’t puke a bunch of spoilers onto your shoes because that’s not how I do, but I will say that the book is worth reading if you don’t view it as a sequel. It’s worth reading because Harper Lee has an amazing voice. It’s worth reading because Scout Finch has the backbone that I crave. It’s worth reading because even though it was written in the 1950s, it’s current. It’s terrifyingly current. Am I glad it was rejected in the 1950s? I am. Am I happy it was released in 2015? Yes. The timing could not be more perfect, and it made me feel nostalgic, and it made me very uncomfortable, and it’s not often that I’m stirred the way I’m currently stirred.
This morning I began reading To Kill a Mockingbird for what I believe is the fourth time. After spending all day yesterday reading what it could have been, I need to revisit what it is.
One year ago today we stepped into our house for the very first time, and I still remember how nice it felt to say, “This is our house” after spending months exploring houses that were NOT our house. (I believe it’s very important to be Goldilocks-esque while searching for a place to live. I wore my blonde wig and blue dress very proudly during the three month hunt, and would sometimes not even step into a house before declaring that it was NOT our house. Our realtor was so patient.) Less than six weeks later, we placed an owl on the mantle, smudged some sage to clear out any negative energy (and give off a slight Freedom Rock vibe), and put the blue canary in the outlet by the light switch. All is well, despite the fact that someone left a fresh bag of dog poop in our front yard a few weeks back. Because a neighbor down the street had a similar bag of dog poop in their yard, I wrote the whole thing off as an interesting communication error.
Stop talking about the Harper Lee book! Stop it! My copy will be arriving in the mail on Tuesday and I feel like I need to lie down in an 80% sensory deprivation tank until I’m able to turn the final page. Fingers in ears and eyes and la la la la la la la…
We purchased a set of fabric markers a few weeks back, which means it’s never not time to mark up some fabric. Last night Meredith and her friend marked up some shoes.
Harper and her friend marked up a few t-shirts.
I marked up nothing, but I did accept a freelance job, meaning the job hunt I mentioned earlier in the week can sit in the corner and stew for a little bit longer.
Good things. Lots of good things. And one of them involves dark chocolate with pressurized carbon dioxide and chipotle pepper.
From 1976 until around 1989, I spent a lot of time staring at my shoes. Talking to people was completely overwhelming, so I decided to play the piano instead. In fact, I spent so much time playing the piano and not talking to people that I scored a piano scholarship, which I forfeited a year later after deciding that attending a performance class at 7:40 in the morning was entirely too early for 19 year old me. I then changed my major from piano performance to communication and then I changed it to nursing, elementary education, occupational therapy, and nutrition before finally settling on psychology with religion as my area of concentration. I still spend a lot of time staring at my shoes, but now it’s 25% because I’m afraid of people and 75% because I wear cute shoes. (19% of you would not agree that these shoes (today’s pair) are cute. Individual differences make the world a better place. Last night I watched a lady purchase a box of Raisinets.)
The big lesson for this week is “It’s okay when a friend says no. Everyone has the right to say no. It’s NOT okay when a friend ignores you or denies knowing you. In fact, it’s twisted and weird.” Also, if everyone in the house is cranky and a child expresses a hankering for frozen yogurt? I will jump up and grab my keys and off we will go. Even if it’s raining. I do this not only because I love my children, but because I love cake batter frozen yogurt with pineapple, blackberries, and walnuts dumped on top. (I tend to go light on the pineapple and blackberries and heavy on the walnuts. It’s a pay per ounce sort of game, and fruit can be heavy.)
So, it looks like I’ll be on a job hunt when school starts up, which is in about four weeks. Because I feel the need to utilize my college education, I’m looking for a job that will allow me to perform a Beethoven sonata before talking to children about magnesium injections as we tie socks to laundry baskets, flip through the DSM-5, and pray. Any leads are appreciated.
People are having babies that they don’t want, so it’s my job to find homes for all of the babies. I make a few calls, find some good families who are up for a few new babies, and then take off in my baby delivery car. The problem? The babies slowly turn into puppies during the ride, so I then have to talk the people who wanted babies into taking puppies instead. And I know I’m dreaming after the second baby turns into a puppy, but instead of waking myself up, I decide to keep driving. I eventually have to convince the families that I wasn’t lying about the babies being babies. That part is tricky, and my reputation is suffering.
(Scout was a little bothered by the fireworks this year, so we squeezed her into a tiny pajama hug capsule.)
The Tour de Fleece started on Saturday, and although I’m not officially signed up for any teams, I’ve decided to spin every day through July 26th.
On Day 1, I finished plying some Fairy Yarnmother. It turned out to be a light fingering weight, and I’ve named it River of Orchids.
After that, I pre-drafted Joseph’s Coat, which is a 50/50 silk/merino blend.
On Day 2, I spun two ounces of Joseph’s Coat. (I’m going for a thick and thin mostly bulky weight for a drop stitch cowl.)
Last night I was on a beach with my old church youth group and suddenly I was wearing a bikini and I wasn’t completely bummed out with how I looked in the bikini, which can only mean that this was another dream, because in real life I can’t type, say, or wear the word Bikini without wincing. I spent half of the dream jumping over sand crabs and the other half searching for a purple velour skirt to wear to the restaurant where I was planning on eating spaghetti.
This morning I took four girls out for breakfast and then to a craft store to buy puffy paint so they could embellish the t-shirts they designed late last night. Dawson’s Creek is on the television, because of a mysterious yellow stain on the jacket that I wear every day I am going sleeveless, and the Ann Patchett book I’m reading is inspiring me to create, and then create some more.
(I will not be creating pigs out of pancakes. It has already been done, and I’m not here to reinvent wheels.)