The only things written on the calendar for today: Heartworm pills, Migraine pills, Cucumber, Water. Three of the four have been taken care of, and as soon as the dishwasher finishes the Sanitize cycle, I’ll be removing my favorite cup and drinking water. I will drink more water in approximately two hours, and will continue to drink water until it’s time to hit the rack. Water! Drinking it!
We are back from Florida, and instead of singing long American Pie-esque songs about how great it was, I’ll give you the bullet list of superlatives.
Best Meal: The Anything Grows sandwich from The Bubble Room. I would link to the restaurant’s website, but as soon as you go there, terrible music begins to loop and blare and you probably hate that just as much as I do, because: Who doesn’t? Anyway, the Anything Grows holds fresh avocado, basil-garlic marinated mushrooms, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, red onion, Swiss cheese if you want it, and cucumber sauce on a grilled homemade bun. Also, a slice of cake at The Bubble Room is larger than a human skull.
Best Purchase: We didn’t purchase many things during the trip, but after suffering from ridiculous bug bites for the first four days, I finally did a bit of research and bought a bottle of No No-See-Um Spray. I spent the remainder of our trip smelling like a big floppy citronella candle, but it was worth it. Only the strongest of the tiny lint-shaped bugs were able to brave my lemony smell, meaning the bites were reduced by nearly 80%. Bonus Information: My head and neck are STILL all scabby and gross, so although I NEED a haircut, it’s going to be a few days before I feel like I can make that call.
First Runner-Up in the Best Purchase Category: Meredith’s t-shirt.
Most Annoying People in Florida: The people who sat next to us at Cheeburger Cheeburger (where I ate a pretty incredible Portobello Patty Melt) who were reeking of cigarettes and complaining about their “shithole of a Ramada” hotel that “can’t call itself a 4-star hotel if it’s built on a cobblestone street.” I’m all for cursing while around like-minded friends. (I’m very good at strategic F word placement!) HOWEVER, I also vote for filters and class when in the presence of strangers and children (and strange children).
My Favorite Person in Florida: The woman who gave the sea turtle lecture at CROW. She held all of our attention (Did you know that sea turtles have magnetic crystals in their heads that help them return to the exact site where they were born to eventually build their own nests?), and the more she talked about turtles you could see how much she loves turtles and then she actually started LOOKING like a turtle to me. (Sometimes when I look in the mirror for too long, I start looking like Jeff Goldblum.) It was because of her lecture that Jeff (not Goldblum, but my husband Jeff) spent a very rainy morning frantically trying to save the sea turtle nest that had been flooded by the storms. (He’s a gem, that one.)
My Most Conflicted Moment During Vacation: Some of you are thinking SHE ATE FRESH SEAFOOD! No. I did NOT eat fresh seafood. (Nor did I eat stale seafood.) Although I loved being able to talk to the birds who live in huge cages outside of the grocery store in Sanibel, I sort of hated seeing big birds in cages day after day. (We tend to visit the grocery store day after day. For example, yesterday I went to the grocery store. This morning I went to the grocery store. I need to go back tomorrow.) It’s fun to say hello to a bird and hear it say hello back. But then you (meaning I) start saying things like, “What I want is for you to be able to experience life the way it was meant to be. You are a bird who has done nothing wrong to deserve being in prison where your only toys are made of plastic and the nearest like-minded soul is twenty feet away IN ANOTHER CAGE!” and the bird responds by staring into the parking lot. And then it says, “Hello!” and I begin to weep until my mascara creates lines from my astigmatic eyes to my quivering chin.
And what is a blog post if it doesn’t hold photos? Still a blog post, I suppose, but don’t you need (unedited) PROOF that we were on vacation?
The beach was right outside of our condo door, so we often went shelling in our pajamas, which is much different than going to the grocery store in our pajamas, which is something we never do.
One of the three sea turtle nests on our beach.
The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.
-Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”
(I will never pass up the opportunity to share quotes from The Awakening. It’s one of the few books that changed my wiring.)
Because Tropical Storm Andrea has forced us to stay indoors and because I’ve already eaten too much Blueberry Morning cereal and drank a bunch of coffee and killed off some Oreos and read for a bit and stared out the window at the rain, there’s really nothing else to do but play (another) game of UNO, or check in with you! Greetings from Sanibel Island where despite the fact that it has rained every single day since we’ve arrived, we’re still making the most of it. (I am Very Good at UNO.)
I recently read David Sedaris’s latest book, and I had to laugh when he mentioned that people tend to get bored with stories of other people’s travel woes. Long Story Shortened: Our flight from St. Louis to Florida last Friday was delayed a total of sixteen times before it was finally canceled. Sometime between the fourteenth and sixteenth delay, the terminal was evacuated and we were forced to hole up in a family restroom with a few strangers to wait out a tornado that supposedly hit the airport at some point during the evening. While in the bathroom, Harper chugged a Sprite, and Meredith frantically journaled the adventure.
Because all direct flights on Saturday were booked, we decided to fly into Ft. Lauderdale and then drive to Sanibel. We arrived at the condo at 11:00 on Saturday night, and here we are.
We’ve had a pretty amazing week with sea turtle lectures and incredible veggie sandwiches and we’re currently under a tornado warning and the sea turtle nest next to our condo has been destroyed by the tide and I know I’m sort of all over the place with the happy and the sad, so let me just continue with that. (I just ate a bowl of Doritos! Let the party begin!) On Tuesday afternoon, we took a dolphin and wildlife cruise, and despite the captain’s announcement that “We’re off to hunt dolphins!” we had an amazing time.
(I’ve never been around dolphins before. It was squealworthy. We could learn a lot from dolphins, because despite the fact that they might be really pissed off, they always seem happy!)
One more thing before I try to convince the girls that we’re not going to be sucked up into a tornado: Fuzzbee Yarns is holding a contest on Ravelry, and the winner will score a braid of fiber. To enter, you submit a photo of something that shows colors you would like to see in a braid of fiber. I submitted the Puppy Yin-Yang photo, and I won the first round of votes. BUT, now there is a poll. And I’m LOSING! In order to win a braid of fiber dyed to look like our foster pups, I need to win that poll. (I’m feeling very long-winded and semi-whiny today. I apologize.) If you have a Ravelry account, please consider following this link and voting for whichever photo you want, but please know that I’m offering up virtual hugs and high-fives if you vote for Yin Yang Puppies. Because I would really like to spin up the fiber and knit a hat to remind our family of our first fostering adventure. (We keep our winter hats in one big shared basket. First come, first served.)
Enjoy your Thursday, and thank you for your patience. You’re just like a dolphin, you know.
Guy at Pet Store: It sounds like passive aggression. We offer a Good Citizen class here for dogs, and Henry might be a good candidate. Actually, I’m in training to be a trainer, and I’ll be teaching the good citizen class in July.
Me: You’re training for training?
Guy at Pet Store: Ha! Yes! They have to train ME before I can train the dogs! HA HA HA!!!
Me: If you sit and stay, do they bone you?
Guy at Pet Store: What?
Me: I mean, do they give you treats?! I HAVEN’T YET HAD PROTEIN TODAY AND I’M SO SORRY RIGHT NOW!!!
Guy: That will be $17.46.
According to the calendar, the next time you hear from me I’ll either be on vacation or I’ll be back from vacation. This morning I bought food for the pups and underwear for me, because good citizens do not chew holes in people’s underwear, and our dogs are NOT good citizens. (Yet.) I’ve also placed my new notebook (It’s my first Moleskine! Let’s plan a parade!) and my fountain pen with a few ink samples in my suitcase, and I shall now offer a huge thank you to my friend Lisa who reminded me that liquids on a plane? Not a great idea, and I would be SO ANGRY if an agent walked away with my tiny bottle of J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage, therefore: suitcase instead of carry on! (Another huge thank you goes out to Tempe for fueling my new obsession—fountain pens and fun ink. She knows me better than I know myself.) The house/dog sitters are ready. Us? Not so much.
We’re headed to Sanibel Island, where Jean Shepherd died in 1999. While there, I’m going to wear my new underpants and lazily hunt out a dessert that holds rhubarb, the girls are expecting to fill their pockets with shells, and Jeff will be anxiously looking over his shoulder for Wilfred Brimley. According to my research, Mr. Brimley has a house in Sanibel. Jeff eats Quaker Oats every single morning for breakfast. (It’s the right thing to do.)
School is out for the summer, which means I’m entering Vacation Preparation Mode. It looks like we’ll be taking the girls to see the ocean for the very first time this summer, and although I’m terribly excited, I’m also a little stressed about The Packing of Things and making sure all arrangements have been made as far as pets/house/mail goes. Obviously, I know that if we forget to take something, we can either go without or get a replacement. The only thing I REALLY need to worry about? Pets.
Speaking of pets, do you remember the foster puppies (pets by proxy) who are prancing in my pathtub? (Sometimes you try to go for alliteration and you can’t come up with a P word for bathtub and although Pub sounds really good for many different reasons right now, you eventually just need to loosen your shorts and use your license.)
The remainder of today’s entry is all about the puppies. You can skip right over it if puppies aren’t your thing. Also, please know that I’m turning off comments because if even one person says something like, “It’s only a DOG!” I might start feeling my heart beating in my eyes, and I’m not in the mood for that today.
One of the three puppies (Bug aka Brownie aka Pansy) had to go back to my friend less than twelve hours after coming to our house. She was a tiny little bird who never showed much interest in food, and was getting a little wobbly and lethargic. That was Saturday evening. Since then, sweet Bug has had a blood transfusion, has received a unit of plasma, was on an IV drip, and I found out this morning that she passed away yesterday evening.
Here she is (the light brown pup) with her siblings. Her head is resting on S’more, and Beethoven is telling them jokes to pass the time.
Here she is after receiving a unit of blood at the vet office.
One more. Here she is visiting with S’more for a bit after they hadn’t seen each other in a few days. The photo is pretty lousy. What it doesn’t show is how S’more was cleaning her sister’s ears and licking her face and really wanting to play and it shattered my heart.
(Please know that I took the long way home from the vet that night because this song shuffled onto my iPod, and it turned me into one of those people who probably shouldn’t drive due to a pair of leaky eyes. Sometimes I think my iPod Just Knows.)
Argh. We’re entering a three day weekend and I’m the sloppy bummer sitting in the back of the room wearing a dirty t-shirt and holding a tub of maple syrup.
This is Beethoven. Sleeping on the couch like a puppy. Because that’s what he is and that’s what he does.
This morning I went in and told Beethoven and S’more about their sister and then I gave them a plate of cheesy scrambled eggs and we sat for a bit before they conked out. Sad day.
On Friday afternoon, I received a message from the woman who brought Scout into our lives. She asked if we would be willing to foster three 6-week-old puppies for the next few weeks. We are willing.
Sometimes in life you might suddenly end up having a baby in the house and the baby wakes you up at night and it sucks to have to stand up and move but then you see the baby’s face and suddenly the suck fades away. Welcome to our bathtub of puppies and their q4h checks.
If puppies aren’t your thing, please admire my lettuce.
I actually ate a salad from my garden last week, and it wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t bad. Our garden is slowly growing, and someday this summer I’ll be making a batch of guacamole using nothing but ingredients that are hanging out in my back yard.
A few weeks back (May 8th, if you need specifics), I asked Jeff and the girls if they needed birthday ideas for me. They did. I pointed them toward a bracelet that I was loving on Etsy. The next day, Meredith told me that they tried to order the bracelet, but it had sold on May 7th.
Knowing that it was no longer available, I began to obsess about the bracelet. (I tend to do that.) I checked the shop at least once per day and BANG! Last week the artist listed the bracelet again. Less than 24 hours later, as if by fate, I received a birthday check in the mail from my in-laws for around the same amount as the bracelet. (Are you bored with this story? Sometimes I just type and type and the only person who’s really into it is me.) Anyway, I didn’t use the birthday check to buy the bracelet because I had a lunch gig planned with my college roommate on Sunday, and we were planning on going to an art fair. I didn’t want to spend cash on the bracelet and then NOT buy something from a local artist. (I’m like that.) In the back of my mind? “If I don’t find anything at the art fair, that bracelet is mine on Monday.”
Yesterday afternoon, my roommate (who is no longer my roommate, but I like to keep anonymity alive and kicking) handed me a box and said, “There are two reasons why you may not want to keep this, but, Happy Birthday!”
It’s the bracelet. My friend (the one I ran into back in April) found me on Facebook, had somehow followed a few links to find my Etsy favorites, and had chosen the bracelet because it seemed to be my style. She had no idea that I had been thinking about it and visiting the link for over a week. (She was the person who had purchased it on May 7th.) This is the sort of weirdness that I love and the fact that this bracelet has now found its way to my wrist makes me ridiculously giggly, which really isn’t my style. (Have you ever heard me giggle? You have not.) But there you go.
On Wednesday evening, a friend and I volunteered to serve refreshments at the fifth grade graduation. Because we tend to have everything under control at all times, we decided to sit in on a bit of the graduation entertainment. (Kids were dancing and singing and making me cry. Nothing out of the ordinary, really.)
The guest speaker this year was Jahidi White, who attended elementary and middle school in our district and then went on to play in the NBA with Michael Jordan, who just so happened to be Jahidi’s biggest inspiration. Mr. White was a TOWER OF POWER on the stage as he encouraged kids to not give earplay to anyone who discourages them from following their dreams. His most important advice? Dream BIG! (He asked the fifth graders to chant “Dream BIG!” during his speech. I loved that, mainly because when a 6’9″ man stands on a stage and tells you to dream big, you just sort of want to do it. Starting now.)
And that’s when things got confusing and hilarious and I started doing the ugly cry—not because of Fiddler on the Roofesque ruminations about seedlings turning overnight to sunflowers and blossoming even as we gaze, but because our motivational speaker may have just encouraged 65 fifth graders to join the Wu-Tang Clan.
For the past few months, I’ve been eating super healthy foods. The problem is that I’ve been seasoning them with things that aren’t so healthy. I’m not only using too much salt, but I’m also using too many Oreos and Doritos.
A few months back, I scored a position on one of those Top 100 Mom Blog lists. Sadly, in the description of me, it said something like, “Angela is a weight-conscious mom.” A weight-conscious mom.
It’s true. You know it’s true and I know it’s true and now everyone (who reads those Top 100 Mom Blog list things) knows it’s true. (I’m also a knitter and a spinner and I pretend to write by actually writing and sometimes I draw and it’s not very good, but it’s certainly fun.)
My relationship with food is complicated. I love it and then I sort of despise myself for loving it. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. My roommate during my sophomore year in college told me that I was wide. A friend of mine once told me that I didn’t look good in a certain style of pants. Both of those people probably said really nice things to me, too, but what I remember is Me = Not Quite Right.
(Oh! Wait! Please know that I’m not blaming my issues on my old roommate and my old friend! This is no one’s fault but my own. I ALSO BLAME SOCIETY’S HATRED OF WOMEN. (No, I don’t.))
Anyway, in the past several years, I’ve gone on more diets and weird eating binges and “programs” than I care to count. It’s ridiculous, really.
You: But you should just love yourself the way you are! And see yourself the way others see you! And those pants looks just fine! And get some help!
Me: I know and I know and I know (and I know)! Yet, here we are.
On Monday, May 13th (I realize that was yesterday. Please know that I’m speaking with a booming voice right now.) I decided to MAKE A CHANGE. (Because my weight is up into the Almost Too Late to Go Back Home levels. Because I’m 43 now and I need to feel healthier. (Dear Lord don’t tell me to start eating meat again, by the way. Just don’t.) And I KNOW I’m currently at a reasonable weight. I know. I KNOW! But still. I don’t feel right. This is not my house anymore. I need to get back into my house, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your house is, all I know is I Am Not In The Right House.)
Anyway, on Monday, May 13th, I embarked on a 10-Day Cleanse. This cleanse involves eating no processed foods. No granulated sugar. No dairy. No caffeine. (That’s a tough one.) No alcohol. (Not so tough.) Lots of water and herbal tea and raw fruits and vegetables and beans and IN WITH THE GOOD.
Because I want to see if ten days makes a difference, I stood in the family room in my underpants and sports bra and took a series of Before photos. They’re all sort of blurry and weird and they remind me of amateur porn, not that I have any idea what that is.
I realize it’s pretty bold to put this out there, but here it is. The best BEFORE shot.
I realize that ten days does not a miracle make (unless you’re well-versed in miracles, which I am not). BUT, ten days will hopefully create healthy habits. (I will never fully quit caffeine, so I’m prepared for failure with that one.)
And the comments? They are off. Because I know! (I really do. And I’m definitely not fishing for kindness, and I know that You Are Kind. And that’s why I dig you, and that’s why I stay here.)
I turned 43 yesterday, and my family gifted me with tea and bath stuff and a spinning video and a stuffed octopus. It really was a perfect day.
Last night I brought my spinning wheel upstairs for the first time. I had a funny feeling that the dogs would try to attack the wheel, but I felt a need to spin while watching Mad Men. (I’ve had the wheel for nearly two years now, but I rarely get to spin because spinning in the basement isn’t much fun.) After sniffing the wool for less than a minute, both dogs lay down (not lied or laid, according to the website I just visited) and fell asleep as I made yarn.
This morning I stood in the family room and took photos of myself in my underpants. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Last night was the final PTO meeting of the year. Because it was my final meeting as Treasurer, I think it’s now time to reflect on the things I’ve learned about myself in the past 24 months.
1. It’s not completely necessary to take a Xanax before the meetings. (It’s 54% necessary. Sometimes 83% necessary. Last night? Only 17% necessary. It’s fun joking about medication, isn’t it? Not really. I’M JUST SPEAKING MY TRUTH.)
2. I don’t mind the meetings, but what I *really* love is going out for a drink AFTER the meetings. Last night was no exception. One more year in the books, and 8:00 found me drinking a beer (and eating pickle chips) while sitting outside at a biker bar with a few friends who have great stories to tell. Not a bad gig. BONUS: I’m the secretary next year, so this tradition can continue for me! (Note my comma. I’m not the secretary next year so this tradition can continue for me, I’m the secretary (tiny pause) so this tradition can continue for me!)
This evening I was invited to attend a meeting about phone surveys and community concerns and as I drove to that meeting, it occurred to me that there might not REALLY be a meeting about phone surveys and community concerns. It might ACTUALLY be a surprise party for me! And I felt a little nervous, yet super excited because I’m wearing a cute shirt and today’s mascara is waterproof (although my skin is terrible lately. I’m blaming the oranges that I can’t seem to stop eating.). Come to find out, tonight’s event really WAS a meeting about phone surveys and community concerns, and Good News: I managed to say at least five noteworthy things. (Someone was taking notes.) ((I’ve been self-conscious lately about the quality of words that come out of my face.)) Although tonight’s meeting was actually a meeting and I find that MOST events really DO go down the way they were advertised, I still recommend living in a state of ‘What If I’m About to Be Surprised?’. It makes your eyes wider!
This afternoon I went to the grocery store and watched two elderly women dipping their hands into the salad bar stuff and snacking away as if that’s what you do. I said hello and filled my little environmentally stupid container with a glob of quinoa super salad (!!!) and walked away just knowing that I was missing out on something great. (The more talkative lady had at least ten slices of pepperoni in one hand and was using her other hand to grab peas. It made me so happy because you and I both know that we’re taking a risk when loading up at the salad bar. Sometimes it’s sort of nice to see what we’re up against—pee lemons and finger peas!)
That thing you’re going to tomorrow? It’s not really a thing. It’s actually a surprise party for you. Think about that when you’re choosing your outfit for the day. And take a few minutes to practice your “What the…?!” face, because you can’t retake surprise party photos! Open the gates and seize the day.
I asked for fundraiser ideas, and you flooded me. Thanks so much for being who you are. (Burritos. Let’s go eat them.) Not only did I get some great ideas from your comments, but several of you e-mailed with even MORE ideas and details and links and thank you. (I’m being honest with the burrito thing.)
(My Africa birthmark disappeared during my 20s. If transient birthmarks are a thing, I’m really hoping for Argentina on the inside of my wrist when I’m 43, which will occur in approximately ten days.)
This morning my mom and I volunteered to help the kids in the gifted program as they made paper out of pulp and warm water and framed screens and tiny hands and first and second grade levels of enthusiasm. Mom arrived at our house at 8:15. At 8:30, we loaded up into the car, and I backed full speed out of the garage straight into the side of her car. And, may I curse here for a second? Because I felt really shitty. REALLY shitty. I still do. Argh. The good news? I hit my mom’s car and not a stranger’s car. More good news? I hit my mom’s car and not my mom. Even more good news? I don’t think she’s going to press charges. (At least I don’t expect her to press charges. But, honestly? I’ve been told that you never know WHAT to expect when you’re expecting, just like you can’t assume because it makes an ass out of u and me. (A friend of mine once quoted the assume thing on the Oprah show! Really!) (Wait. I’m not EXPECTING.))
After returning home from the making of paper, I drank some coffee and immediately experienced the sensation of spiders crawling on my head and face. Part of me felt scared that I had developed an unexpected allergy to my coffee, which is the same crap instant coffee that I’ve been drinking every day for YEARS. Another part of me (specifically, my right hand) reached up and was able to pull an actual spider web off of my forehead. I then ran to the mirror and saw nothing with legs, but fifteen minutes later I had another wispy web attached to my glasses. Do not click on this link if you’re freaked out by spiders, but do you remember when this happened in my mailbox?! Well, now it’s happening on my head. (You might want to rethink having burritos with me.)
(Side story: I got my hair cut yesterday, and my stylist asked if she could try a fade on the back of my head, and I’m 100% in for trying new things, so now I’m scalped at my neck, and it gradually builds to the top of my head and I love it, yet what a horrible description I provided for you, so I just searched out what a fade looks like, and I came across this. My hair looks nothing like that, but I sort of wish it did.)