Current State of Mind: I’m not busy at all, yet entirely too busy, and it’s making me twitchy. I need a freelance gig. Or a job. Or something that makes me feel a bit of Worth. I don’t want to talk about it.
Where I’ve Been: I recently took a (long overdue and much too quick) trip to attend my nephew’s tennis tournament during which he won every match he played and I was so excited to be there and the whole thing made me think about David Foster Wallace in a very happy/sad way. Also, while visiting, I ate a croissant, a bunch of doughnuts, and a salad (because: Balance).
(The doughnut closest to you was the only one I ate from this particular box. It was a yeast doughnut with vanilla icing, cinnamon sugar, and caramel drizzle. What a brilliantly stupid doughnut. One of the best I’ve had, and I’ve had many.) Also while visiting, I took a nearly three mile walk with my sister (because: Balance). I talked to a woman who was spinning fiber at a farmers market. I purchased some creeping phlox and a citronella plant.
Gardening at Night: The deer ate my Asiatic lilies and ripped my new creeping phlox right out of the ground. I love the deer. I love the deer. I love the deer. (I really do love the deer, and will continue to love them as long as they continue to operate in silence. Sometimes a deer (or a person, or me) opens their mouth and suddenly you’re left wincing just a little.)
Turning Pages: I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and it was exactly what I needed to be reading. I’m now reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, and although I’m less than 100 pages in, I’m In.
I’m feeling the need to make molasses cookies. I miss having something to say. If I make molasses cookies, I’ll tell you about them. I hope you’re well.
When I lived in Nashville, I was an associate editor at a publisher of botanical guides, and the only information I retained is a scattered list of scientific names and a few opinions on trees and plants that seemed pretty. Acer rubrum! Dicentra spectabilis! Echinacea purpurea! All pretty! (I also know that most authors of botanical guides are completely delightful, unless they are most definitely NOT delightful. The same can be said for authors of dental books! These are my opinions only!)
We moved into our house in August of last year, and now it appears that spring has sprung. (I swear I don’t talk like that in real life. I actually don’t talk much at all in real life.) Because more than one neighbor has referred to our house as The House With All The Trees, I figured it might be a good time to wrap my head around what we have and what we need to maintain our horticultural street cred. (I never say street cred. I’m on my third cup of powdered chemical coffee this morning and I have about 35 things that I need to do today. Instead of doing them, I thought I would sit down and type. Because that’s what I LIKE to do. Here I am. Hi there. Hi. Hi.)
Back up to a few weeks ago. A good friend of mine came over to visit, and she brought me a beautiful orchid. It is gorgeous and like the glass punch bowl that we received as a wedding gift, it scared the crap out of me because I didn’t want to screw it up. I conveyed this information to my friend, and she told me that a person is either a plant person or NOT a plant person, and that you can choose to nurture a plant or you can toss it when it’s past the blooming stage. She then told me how simple it is to keep an orchid alive. (Water it once a week. Honestly. That’s it.)
This changed everything. I know I can’t be a master gardener right out of the gate. I also know that flowers and plants shouldn’t be stressful. They’re just like lemon bars. Nothing but trial and error and hosing down the aphids. (They’re nothing like lemon bars, really.)
Anyway. On Saturday, we purchased two Verbena plants, three Asiatic Lilies, a Columbine, and a Lilac. (The Columbine and Lilac weren’t willing to pose for the photo.)
We then weeded and mulched the two big patches of dirt in the front yard (we call them our yard kidneys) and threw those flowers into the ground. (More flowers will be planted as time goes by. My goal is to have blooms from spring to fall.)
I pruned our Blue Chip Juniper.
I bought Gaillardia, Butterfly Weed, and Purple Coneflower seeds.
I learned that a Sand Cherry is NOT a Red Bud.
We’re just getting started.
In the next few weeks, I’m going to introduce myself to our Buckeye, Dogwood, Tulip, Oak, Yoshino Cherry, White Pine, Bayberry, Yew, Burning Bush, Spirea, Liriope, Fringetree, Japanese Red Maple, and Serviceberry. (I will thank the Serviceberry for its service, which is a ballsy move. Sometimes people (and trees) don’t realize I’m just trying to be funny. We’ll see what happens.)
Oh. Wait. The only reason I know we have those trees is because Jeff found the (weird but super helpful) landscaping map from when the house was built in 1996.
I welcome any and all gardening advice!
I would have never said those words three weeks ago!
Someone in my subdivision might be a bit of a jerk, but I have no idea who it is which makes me wonder if perhaps I’M a bit of a jerk (I am. Aren’t we all?), and the past week has found me doing a difficult dance. (Please know that I’m purposefully forcing you to surf on oceans of obscurantism because: 1. I won’t drag you into this, and 2. Everyone has ideas and opinions and so do we and We’re All (Mostly) Fine in (Mostly) Every Conceivable Way and I spent all of last week reading and hearing opinions and ideas, and for now I just want to hear the water dripping from my weird little fountain in the kitchen.)
To balance out the neighborhood crumminess:
1. I visited a new friend (the mother of one of Meredith’s friends) for lunch and I learned that we lean the same way politically and socially and literarily. (Socially and literarily? Not a big deal. I think people are mostly nice and funny and want to read good books. Politically? Let’s just say this. The things that resonate with me don’t resonate with many folks in this neck of the woods. Finding someone with similar opinions is like reaching into your pocket and pulling out a fresh from the oven oatmeal cookie. Without raisins.)
2. Jeff was out of town for a few days which never doesn’t suck, but a restaurant gave me a muffin while he was gone. AND, that muffin came on the heels of eating some amazing quiche and figuring out a knitting pattern for a friend so she can finish a blanket her mother was knitting for a charity.
3. I learned how to make a bracelet out of parachute cord and then I drank a delicious brown sugar vanilla soy latte.
I’m within 150 pages of finishing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and I don’t want it to end. Ever.
I haven’t been going on many adventures lately. (Quick summary of my most recent adventures: 1. Eating a gutload of cupcakes at a new bakery with one of my favorite people and the company was better than the dessert which doesn’t happen very often, 2. Joining up with seven people from our church for dinner and is it weird that I STILL haven’t met a person that I don’t like at that church?, and 3. Taking Harper to my favorite salon to celebrate our You’re Turning Ten So Let’s Dye Your Tips tradition.)
The woman who cuts my hair (and I love her because she’s an artist and although I cheated on her once I NEVER WILL AGAIN) kicked off the party by bleaching out Harp’s ends.
About two hours later, the color was revealed.
(Is it weird that I’m covering her face with goofy pretend stickers? Harper is almost ten now and is recognizable and I donated all of my mommy blogger hats and shoestrings to the kidney people when we moved. I guess I’ll just do what I want to do, which is what we should ALL be doing. Within reason.)
Harper’s hair is amazing. And, no. Her school doesn’t necessarily allow dyed hair. BUT, that rule has never been written/published and our oral source (let’s call her Addie Bundren) didn’t/couldn’t make direct eye contact As She Lied (About) Dyeing. We have less than eight weeks to go, a perfect attendance record, and a darn good report card. I’m willing to do a little ruffling for the sake of family tradition.
I’m just going to say it. If Madonna ever calls and wants to grab burritos with me, I will turn down the offer. I probably won’t say this to her face, but I really don’t think we’re compatible. And that’s okay. She’s MADONNA, which means she probably has a lot of friends (both genuine and not so much). I don’t have a lot of friends, but I really like the ones I have, and there’s no room for Madonna in my Hyundai. (I also don’t have room for Mariah Carey, Ashley Judd, or Elisabeth Hasselbeck. In fact, it just took me nearly 20 minutes to care enough about the correct spelling of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s name to return to this paragraph and change my original Elizabeth Hasselback.)
On the seventh day of spring break, I put green food coloring into my cashew milk/ banana/ almond butter smoothie. We then met a friend for Mediterranean lunch (falafel salad for me!), we went to the oil change dump for an oil/brake light/wiper hat trick, we grocery shopped for beefless beef and liquid aminos (because we are chemists), and now we’re doing laundry. In approximately three hours, I’ll be eating sushi and then knitting for a bit. Also, I need to search out something that will make my mind sharper, and that is such a long story and it probably wouldn’t interest you at all, so I’ll leave it at that.
This photo was taken 22 years ago, on the day I graduated from college. I told the dean’s assistant to announce me as Angela Farquhar, and when he did, I laughed and laughed but then found out that it sort of confused (and probably angered) my parents and grandparents and the confusion (and potential anger) sort of outweighed the humor which perfectly explains my incompatibility with Madonna.
At 3:23 in the morning, I typed the following note into my phone:
The Trazodone is no longer working, so I believe it’s time to embrace the idea of second sleep. Because life is what you make it, I think I’ll seek out similarly deprived neighbors for semi-regular three in the morning fire pit/harmonica/waffle hootenannies. Babies are welcome. (I’m still a little iffy on the harmonicas. Can it still be called a hootenanny if there is no folk music?)
On the third day of spring break we found a new favorite popcorn place after we ate cookies at our favorite cookie place.
On the fourth day of spring break we went to the zoo. And that’s where I remembered that the zoo makes me sad.
On the fifth day of spring break I baked Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, and it was just as good as it sounds.
Also on the sixth day (which happens to be today) we joined new friends for lunch at the biggest Chinese buffet I’ve ever seen and then we walked something like 382 miles on the Katy Trail. (I’ve been walking a lot lately. Up until last week, the Fitbit I received for Christmas was cursing her luck at being gifted to such an unambitious good-for-nothing. I’m proud to say that as of this very second, I’ve walked 106,764 steps in the past seven days. Why am I walking after spending so much time not walking? Because a book titled Being Mortal is haunting me. Because I’m sick of sitting on the couch. Because I saw a number on the scale last week of which I wasn’t very fond. Because I have 106,764 things going on in my head right now, and I want to sweat them.)
Our spring break at the new school is ten days long. Two full weeks of nothing but breaking, and it has been amazingly good.
On Spring Break, Day Three (also known as Popcorn and Cookie Day) I bought a pair of navy Converse All-Stars to match the ones I purchased back in 1992. (If the 1992 shoes could talk, they would tell you stories of walking across broken bridges and late-night hiking at a place called Pinn4cles and rooftop turkey parties and my first (and also final) float trip that I attended with Jeff. It was on that float trip that Jeff’s friend (also named Jeff, because nearly all of his friends are named Jeff, and that makes life so easy) proclaimed that I was a keeper because my towels smelled fresh. Also during that float trip, I watched horseflies sucking blood out of a drunk man’s back. The blood was very thin and the flies were very thick and my shoes had never seen anything quite like what they saw on that float trip.)
Here’s to four more adventure-filled spring break days. And then more days. (And more adventures.)
It just occurred to me that Fluid Pudding is nearly 13.5 years old. It’s face is starting to break out, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a lady.
This has been a tricky week for many reasons that I refuse to go into. Many reasons for which going into is refused by me. Of which going into is refused? Anyway. You don’t need to know.
This is what you need to know. (Here I sit on a wooden chair in my kitchen smelling like patchouli oil (because I DO) and determining what it is that you need to know. This is how the world works sometimes.)
I finished the Stone Hollow Mittens last weekend. The designer, Carol Sunday, is the woman who designed the cardigan that I finished a few weeks ago. Her patterns are amazing.
I’m currently reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and on Monday I went to a secondhand store that housed a few dolls who could qualify as peculiar children.
Sometimes a person will go to a garage sale, pick up a monkey lamp that is priced at $15, and then say something like, “I’ll give you $10 for the monkey lamp.” Immediately, the person who priced the monkey lamp at $15 is put in the awkward position of not wanting to seem like a jerk, but come on! It’s a fully functioning monkey lamp, and it’s priced at $15 which is a very competitive price in the world of used monkey lamps! And maybe the person making the low ball monkey lamp offer doesn’t even realize that the offer is slightly offensive and upsetting, but maybe the person SELLING the monkey lamp knows that the person making the low ball offer can’t seem to pay his electric bill to even WORK a monkey lamp, yet somehow manages to spend quite a bit of money on hookers and blow. Something is wrong. The End.
Sometimes I think I need to change my LinkedIn profile from Freelance Editor to Purveyor of Monkey Lamps. Also: I Am A Monkey Lamp.
(I’m once again not sleeping. Can you tell? Did I go too far with the monkey lamp thing? Buckle up. I’m about to mention my dog’s butt problem.)
The best news of the week? One of my favorite people mentioned a Mediterranean restaurant that is located less than ten minutes away from our house. It’s called Mario’s Donuts and Cafe, and on Saturday night I had a falafel. On Sunday morning I had a doughnut. During the Oscars I had baklava. (I’ve been eating my angst. Also, I quit Weight Watchers. Something wicked this way comes, and it just might be baba ghanoush.)
Her: Can I help you find something?
Me: Please! Perfume gives me a migraine, and I’m trying to find the new Taylor Swift rollerball perfume for my daughter’s friend and all I see are the $45 bottles and I really can’t be in this area much longer.
Her: You walked right past it.
(She picks up a rollerball thing and hands it to me.)
Her: It smells very good. Lots of stars go heavy on floral and candy scents, but this has fruity notes. Almost like a grapefruit.
Me (really not doing well in the perfume aisle): Excellent! I’m sure Taylor Swift needs it to smell good, because I picture her walking around smelling like sour cream and onion dip!
Her (suddenly angry, and I’m not imagining it): Ma’am, the stars put a lot of effort into creating their scents. It’s not really a joke.
Me (thinking, for example, that even though *I* can’t/won’t wear dolman sleeves, other people think dolman sleeves are the GREATEST sleeves, and some people treat perfume like a dolman sleeve, and I clearly need to think this comparison through a bit more, but right now I’m feeling lightning behind my right eye): You’ve been very helpful. Sorry about that sour cream and onion thing.
This is what I’ve learned so far today, and it’s not even noon:
If you use a stoneware microwave egg maker, you really should clean it immediately after use.
My anxiety/crankiness skyrockets when I don’t have a freelance job.
The stars put a lot of effort into creating their scents.
If you have any opinions regarding Bullet Journals vs. Passion Planners and similar topics, I would love to hear those opinions. Most importantly, may your day include notes of white amber and Haitian vetiver. (You’re welcome.)
In twelve days it will be March and it feels like we just had Christmas and late last week I ate a big silly hummus platter with a salad-eating friend and we reminisced about attending several Love Sucks parties during our college days. It was the 90s and we wore black and gathered at our normal gathering place where we drank cheap beer and celebrated the fact that having a date on St. Valentine’s Day does not make a person interesting or beautiful. The Love Sucks party attendees were ALL interesting and beautiful. Some were adorned with Christmas lights. Some handed out bad poetry on tiny sheets of paper. Some Love Sucks revelers hooked up with other Love Sucks revelers and eventually decided that love doesn’t suck so much at all.
On Saturday afternoon, we celebrated St. Valentine’s Day by inviting both sets of in-laws over for lunch. It was a nice gathering, despite the fact that 78% of the conversation circled around death and illness and how difficult it can be to walk or sit. These conversations always leave me feeling tired and mortal and in twelve days it will be March and it feels like we just had Christmas. Tomorrow my kids will be writing poetry on tiny sheets of paper and I’ll be fighting the inclination to sing songs about the dead people I know and how my bones won’t stop breaking despite all the life-saving chemicals I’m tossing down my throat.
The highlight of the weekend (other than receiving a huge cardboard heart filled with peanut butter cups that I finished off in less than 24 hours) was the craft party that Meredith and I attended on Sunday evening. Seven girls and their moms gathered at 5:00 for dinner, and afterwards each girl presented a craft for the other girls to make. They created decoupage candles, glow in the dark jars, beaded bracelets, cord bracelets, sun catchers, bath salts, and cherry blossom paintings. While the girls were crafting, the moms were hanging out and drawing Zentangles and friendifying each other and despite the fact that my anxiety can reach dangerous levels if I don’t have an end time in mind for each and every social gathering, Sunday evening’s party was perfect. We loved it.
We were all home yesterday and because the house was fairly clean and the snow wasn’t allowing us to drive, I finished the mitten that I started during Saturday’s in-law lunch.
I’ve been knitting like crazy lately, mainly because it’s the time of year that lends itself well to sitting on the couch and wrapping yarn around needles. Also, I don’t have a freelance job right now and I don’t feel like doing abdominal crunches. Knitting it is.
So, I rejoined Weight Watchers a few weeks back because I’m on the edge of 45 and those stinking ten pounds that I gain every year during the holidays somehow turned into fourteen pounds and when Jeff is out of town I tend to eat my anxiety and that anxiety sometimes tastes like grocery store doughnuts and my pants don’t fit.
Anyway, this morning I decided to actually go to a Weight Watchers meeting because I’m paying for this, so why not take advantage of Every Single Opportunity? (Side note: We joined the YMCA over a month ago and I still haven’t gone, mainly because I can’t walk on a treadmill without holding onto the sides, and my Fitbit doesn’t track steps unless my arm is moving, and if the numbers aren’t advancing on my wrist I feel as if I may as well stay home—where I can eat a grocery store doughnut.)
After weighing in (down 2.4 pounds since I rejoined!), I took a seat in the meeting area (back row aisle, as I need to be able to make a run for it because: You Never Know). Less than five minutes later, an older woman and her gentleman friend scooted past me to sit in the middle of the back row.
Older Woman, to her friend: Well, you gotta love new people who sit in your regular seat!
Gentleman Friend: I’m just glad there are enough seats for everyone!
Older Woman: I’m just glad I know that I need to get here earlier next week so I can sit in my chair!
Me, to myself: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle, Plato.
Older Woman: I actually gained four pounds this week because my husband retired!
Gentleman Friend: Is he force feeding you?
Older Woman: HE MAY AS WELL BE! This chair is so uncomfortable.
Me, to myself: Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind, the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind, Henry James. Also, no one has ever become poor by giving, Anne Frank.
Me, to the Older Woman: I’m so sorry. This is my first week here. Am I sitting in your chair? I’m more than happy to move.
Older Woman: My name’s not on the chair. You can sit wherever you want.
Me, to myself: We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars, Oscar Wilde.
On Sunday, I finished a project that had been on needles since July of 2010.
Yesterday I finished a project that had been on needles since September of 2012.
Next up? I think I may tackle the scarf that has been taking up needles since September of 2008.
Would you mind if I sat in your chair?