It looks like summer break is right around halfway over, so we’re celebrating the midpoint by hosting one of Meredith’s friends for a week. Our pantry is stocked with macaroni and Cosmic Brownies, and our camper will arrive any minute now. It’s going to be a good week.
Headache Update: Today is Day 12, and I am not happy. I returned to the headache clinic office for a Toradol/Zofran/Magnesium/DHE IV at 1:40 this afternoon. To prepare for this 90 minute appointment, I loaded my iPad with This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, I wore an IV- and blood splatter-friendly shirt (I tend to spray when stuck), and my eyeshadow was glittery because life is short and Disco Forever. Although I was told I would (hopefully) walk out of the clinic without a headache? I walked out with a headache. I’m frustrated, but I know it won’t last forever. Because that’s a mighty long time.
The woman in front of us at the grocery store this morning spent $367 on groceries for her Independence Day party. She’ll be grilling and putting together an Asian noodle salad. There will be frosted brownies and strawberries dipped in white chocolate. Lots of soda. Vodka. Corn on cobs.
We went to Florida when I was seven years old, and it was an amazing trip. As we drove back home to St. Louis, I told myself that I needed to choose a word and remember it every day for the rest of my life in order to stir up memories of Florida. Right after I came up with that idea, I saw two people jogging on the side of the road. The word Joggers has popped into my head every day since. It always hits me at a random time, yet it always hits me. Nearly 14,000 occurrences of Joggers tripping my brain. I wonder if I should mention this to my migraine doc.
I’ve stopped talking about migraines around here for two reasons. 1. It occurred to me that I don’t really want to hear about migraines from anyone else, so why would you want to hear about mine? 2. My migraines have been under control for the past year or so, meaning any migraine talk would just look like this: Got a migraine. Took a pill. Migraine gone.
But, BLERGH! I’m currently on DAY NINE of a migraine, so I’m no longer playing by anyone’s rules—especially my own. Evidence: Because I decided to hang out in the shower so that the hot water could work magic on my neck and shoulders this morning, I took the time to shave my knees. In other words, it is 2001 once again. (I last shaved my knees in 2001. Marriage. Bang!)
Please know that my doctor is on top of things (steroids! anti-inflammatories! muscle relaxers!). All will be well. (Unless all isn’t well. BUT, all has never not been well before, so the odds really are (ever) in my favor.)
Here is a bulleted list of what happened in the past week! This might bore you!
I cried like a baby during Inside Out and it had nothing to do with kids growing up and everything to do with animals sacrificing themselves for the greater good. I can barely type these words without getting teary. (I’m blaming the headache for so many emotions. Bing Bong!)
Jeff and I attended an amazing birthday party for a friend, and despite the searing pain in my head, it was the best time I’ve had in a long time. (I feel the need to mention the headache in each of these bullet points because it has been an annoying little energy-sucking tick for the past nine days so it deserves a bit of recognition for nothing other than Tenacity.)
I had coffee with the woman who poked the tiny snowball that eventually grew into us buying our current house, and despite the fact that I was all ‘roided up, I allowed all four table legs to remain on the floor and it was one of the best coffee talks I’ve had. I have so many great people in my life.
I left the coffee talk and rushed home to talk to my health coach, and Man! I’m really loving the process of talking about my issues and getting healthy. Without providing specific details, please know that I know that I’m sounding all floopy with the health coach thing. Also know this: I talk to Kathy every two weeks, and she has given me the tools and encouragement that have led to me losing eight pounds. BUT, more important than the poundage? I’m totally feeling healthier. Stronger. (Psst! Let’s not mention the headache in this bullet point. My doctor said it’s 100% weather related and has nothing to do with the fact that I’m not eating sugar and I’m not letting the sense of taste feel more important than the sense of smell, touch, hearing, or sight. By not mentioning the headache, I just mentioned the headache!)
Wait. I can’t just sit here and type type type type about MY week, because this was a HUGE week for a LOT of people! Bree Newsome climbed a pole, removed a flag, and I love her. The Affordable Care Act was reaffirmed! Same sex couples were given a constitutional right to marry! I became deeply offended and hurt when the church in which I was married—the church in which Jeff’s parents have each held the position of president—the church I have attended for the past seven years—the church I truly love—was essentially spit upon and called invalid by MANY people, and two of those people are people who know me personally. What? Huh? Where did that come from? I know! I know. I didn’t attend church this morning (Have I mentioned my headache? I have? Well, okay then!), but I know exactly what I missed. Because of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, I missed a celebration. I missed generosity and understanding and faith and hope and LOVE. (The greatest of these is love, you know.)
Anyway, you might not agree with me or the way I worship on Sundays and beyond. You might take time out to criticize how I carry on or you might try to school me on why your style is better or “more legit” than mine. I’ll try really hard to be okay with that (really hard, but it’s REALLY HARD, but I’ll try. I will. I’m trying! I’m trying.). But, Hhhhhh. It’s hard.
Here is my promise to you: I’ll never criticize your church or the way your mind works. Furthermore, I promise to hold an umbrella for you in the rain and I promise to give you food if you’re hungry and I promise to celebrate your victories and I’ll try my hardest to lift you up when you’re feeling not so great.
I promise to never use my words to make anyone feel not so great. I’ll be careful. Sometimes it’s so important to be careful.
Also, please know that I spend more time feeling hopeful than afraid, and I sort of love feeling my feelings, so there’s that.
I believe it’s time to take a break and knit on my current pair of socks. Comments are off because I have a headache. (Did I mention that earlier?)
I spent several hours last week going through the Fluid Pudding 2001-2008 archives and cutting and pasting entries into one big 650 page document. In other words, I’ve written a book. Like many books, it’s not very interesting. It’s entirely too heavy on the I Hate How I Look and entirely too light on the What Can I Do to Help You.
I’ve read more than 100 news stories and blog entries and tweets about last week’s attack on the members of the Emmanual AME Church in Charleston, and I feel sick. I’ve heard the victims’ family members offering forgiveness to the monster who killed their loved ones, and the funny thing that’s actually not so funny at all? I would not be able to forgive. I wouldn’t. I can sit here on my big blue corduroy couch and twist my WWJD bracelet around (I don’t really have a WWJD bracelet, but I DO have one of these, which is certainly close) and tell myself that I’m doing my best, but: No. I can’t forgive a killer and I can’t forgive my own silence. (What would Jesus do? I bet he wouldn’t make a fruit fly trap with vinegar and a mason jar. I bet he wouldn’t color his hair out of a box labeled Natural Black Natural. I bet he wouldn’t treat himself to an iced caramel macchiato. These are the things I’ve done in the past week. Business as usual for a middle-class white lady with edgy peaches, stubborn greys, and a lingering headache.)
Sadly, I’m like a child when it comes to sorting out my thoughts. I can see my big picture want list, but I can’t articulate my strategies on mountain climbing. (If you’ve been coming to this website for very long, you know that I’m speaking the truth.) I often have to look toward my heroes for help and guidance, and for the past several years, two of those heroes have been Kelly and Karen.
Please read these two articles and then read them again and then love thy neighbor. Radically. Actively. Even that neighbor down the street who you’re not so sure about. Feed them. Literally and figuratively. Express your fears and then ask if anyone needs help. And then help. And then twist your own bracelet and then do it all again. And again. Until it becomes your life. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Never be afraid to ask for help.
I hate feeling that things aren’t getting better. I hate it on a small scale, like when I have fruit flies hovering around my peaches. I hate it on a medium scale, like when I’m struggling to find freelance work. Most of all, I hate it on a hugely vital scale, like when I see people being treated inhumanely and killed for no reason other than the way they look. The color of their skin. And because I’ve walked only in my own shoes (clichés are rattlesnakes, yet I dance with them), even saying something like “I hate feeling that things aren’t getting better” feels so wide-eyed and unconscious.
This morning the television told me that a jumpsuit must be paired with heels. The models wearing the jumpsuits expressed their fear about jumpsuits, and shortly afterwards I prepared Tamarind Ginger Lentils, although I had no tamarind or ginger. (I was unafraid.) If I EVER purchase a jumpsuit (and I most likely will NOT, although I’m not necessarily spooked by them), I will also not wear the unlikely jumpsuit with heels because heels make my elbows hit the sidewalk. (The lentils didn’t need tamarind or ginger.)
This week has been my favorite summer break week. I’ve managed to spend at least an hour with four of my favorite people, Meredith attended a seven hour birthday party at a friend’s house, and Harper has two days planned with her best friend from the old school. Meredith is enjoying her job at the library, I’ve now finished spinning three different braids of fiber in less than a month, Jeff plays the guitar and makes us laugh every evening, and Harper is creating material for a potential YouTube channel.
That is the 17%.
If I grabbed a fork from the remaining 83%, we would have to discuss the migraine that forced me into bed yesterday afternoon and how I’ve been a huge emotional jar of goo since November. I would also whisper the fact that I haven’t had a decent freelance job in nearly three months and how the girls constantly yelling “Stop!” at each other is going to drive me straight to Mom Loses Her Shit Avenue.
In other words, despite how I tend to sing, we still trudge. And no one can begrudge a trudge, so trudge we do.
When I pull into the garage, I drive until I make eye contact with Einstein. A few inches past eye contact will find me running into the lawn mower.
This afternoon we’ll be having lunch with my mom and my nephew. I’ll be enjoying a baked potato with steamed broccoli and will then eat a bowl of lentils when I get back home. 4:30 will find me yelling questions at Alex Trebek. I’ll be in bed by 10:00, and will try to stay awake by reading until Jimmy Fallon comes on, but I probably won’t make it.
Now that we’re getting ready to shake hands with the hottest part of the year, it’s time to start thinking about heavy cardigan sweaters.
I have this yarn.
I’m thinking of using it to make either this or this. (I’m leaning toward the Iba.)
(The quality of the yarn is slightly compromised because I was using it for a cardigan back in 2011 and when I sat it down to answer the phone, Henry destroyed my progress. Thank God he now has an eggplant.)
Jeff was in Boston for the first part of the week, so instead of eating everything in the house (my normal response to his car being at the airport), I spun.
Above is a merino/silk/bamboo blend called Salt Marsh by Lisa Souza. It has been on my wheel forever, which is an exaggeration. Below is merino (Belly Beans by Lisa Souza), and it was on my wheel for less than 24 hours because I was all stressed out and emotional so spin, Spin, SPIN! It’s currently hanging to dry in our office, and it’s possibly the happiest yarn I’ve made.
I started a Tiller Scarf in May, and the goal is to add one skein of yarn each month until it’s finished. (It takes five skeins of Cascade 220. The photo below was taken after one skein was used up.) Imagine how warm this thing is going to be once it finally starts snowing again. I wish I lived in Wyoming. I wish I was Lenny Kravitz.
What else? Adventures with the Health Coach are going very well. As I mentioned before, I’m currently eating low carb/high fat/high protein, and although the pounds aren’t dropping quickly, they ARE dropping. PLUS, this morning I saw a glimpse of myself getting into the shower and it seems that I may be changing shape a little. Maybe. I’m eating a lot of avocados. And eggs. And fermented sauerkraut. No sugar (except for in my powdered chemical coffee). No processed foods. (Confession: I *did* have a blueberry doughnut last weekend, but one doughnut in three weeks is a world record for the world in which I’m the only person, so I’ve forgiven myself and will probably have another doughnut in a few weeks because life is short, so why in the hell wouldn’t I have a doughnut in a few weeks? I would much rather worry and stress about finding strategies that will enable me to remain patient until September 8th. (Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day.)) Eating healthy feels good. I love baked sweet potatoes almost as much as I love painless dental appointments.
This morning my mom met us at the mall, and she let the girls pick out a pair of shoes for the summer. Meredith went with these, and Harper went with these, and I’m going to spend the afternoon watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
I’ve once again become very bad at responding to comments and e-mails, and I apologize. Also, the person who had our telephone number before us is named Ellenbach. You have no idea how often I walk around the house chanting “I ain’t no Ellenbach girl…” (It’s often. Now you know.)
When I was in the third grade, my Sunday school teacher told me to not get too close to people who didn’t practice our religion, because I wouldn’t see them in Heaven. I had many friends who were Catholic, and as a nine year old, I felt so bummed for them.
When I first started hanging out on the internet nearly two decades ago, I became obsessed with the journals written by people who were planning to amputate an arm or leg. I had no idea that amputation planning journals were a thing and I loved following along as these people I had never met were researching and planning ways to cut off their own limbs. (I know!)
Did you know that there is more than one artist collective made up of women who create paintings using their monthly blood?
Sometimes I get really bummed that I’m 45 years old and I still have so many books to read and so many people to hear about and see!
I once knew a guy who stuttered only when he wasn’t high. I knew another guy who would attend parties as The People’s Poet, meaning he carried little pieces of paper around and delivered on-the-spot poems to anyone who inspired him. A friend once wrote my name on Jim Morrison’s grave when he left college for a semester to see Père Lachaise.
I once took a Wicca class with my best friend where we vocalized our energies and then ate mint chocolate chip ice cream served to us by a woman with a Vulcan haircut. I once acted as a bodyguard for that same friend as she ambled around in a big tiger suit during a fraternity street party.
People. So many wonderful weirdos and reluctant wizards and I hate how often I don’t leave the house.
We all need to create more good adventures. It’s June 1. Let’s get on it.
I made a crustless asparagus quiche, and although it needs some tweaking (I roasted the asparagus a little too long), it’s my new favorite thing. Even better? We had family in town for dinner last night, and they helped eat the quiche. (I’m not terribly keen on the idea of snacking on quiche for a week.) ((The secret ingredient? IT’S MAYONNAISE. And by putting mayonnaise in a quiche, I have officially stepped out of my box/wheel house/cliché tent. Proof? I’m making nut milk this weekend, and it has everything to do with cashews and nothing to do with what YOU’RE picturing right now.))
We walked to the library last week and Meredith checked the job board while we were there. (I believe it’s her dream for me to work at the library.) She was really excited to see that they were accepting applications for teen volunteers over the summer, so she filled out an application, wrote a really great cover letter, and crossed her fingers. Last night we received word that she got the job. Suddenly, Meredith is living the dream for three to six hours each week until August.
The side of our house is being eaten by roses.
The health coach adventure is going very well. Briefly: I’m currently focusing on keeping carbs lower than proteins and fats. Avocados blended with tomatoes and a little olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, and pepper? I’ll eat lots of it. Cashew milk? I’m going to make some. Exercise? I’m doing it (10,000 steps per day and my butt challenge, which I haven’t talked about.) Weight loss? Four pounds in three weeks which is Just Fine.
This morning I was walking and this song shuffled and suddenly I was blinking back a few tears. In the mall. The good news? I didn’t drown my sorrows in a big stupid pretzel. (With that said, drowning sorrows in a big stupid pretzel is definitely a choice. It may not support my health goals right now, but nevertheless. It is a choice. And so is whiskey. And so is crustless quiche.)
If I was one of those people who planned big gatherings for internet friends, I would invite each and every one of you to my house right now. All of your comments and support from my most recent “I’m ready to be healthy” post has floored me. I keep sitting down to respond to everyone and then I get all whooshed with happy thoughts. I’m the luckiest.
Oh! If you *did* come to my house right now, you would be greeted with a climbing rose that I didn’t even know existed six months ago! It bloomed this morning, and I keep going outside to check on it. (It’s always okay. I think it will be fine.)
A few years back, my parents gave me a rose bush for my birthday, and although it never really thrived (throve? was thriven?), I worked with it every year until it pushed out a few blooms.
When we moved away, I really considered digging it up and taking it with us, but that seemed like something a normal person wouldn’t do. (A rose bush is not a child or a pet, right?) Anyway, I’m really excited about the new red roses, and if you came to my Fluid Pudding Internet Buddies Gathering, I would let you clip one of them and wear it in your hair if that’s your sort of thing. And then we would dance, and by “we” I mean “you” because I haven’t had a drink in over 14 months.
This morning I melted some dark chocolate and threw in some crushed up macadamia nuts.
I then poured it into a parchment-lined dish and sprinkled it with sea salt.
After refrigerating it for about an hour or so, I stabbed it repeatedly with a butter knife.
And now I have a snack.
One last thing. Jeff and the girls took me out to choose a plant for Mother’s Day yesterday.
I went with an Ivy Geranium.
I’m proud to say that my newfound love of plants and flowers is starting to rub off on Meredith. She found a black petunia hidden amongst the pinks and purples, and she couldn’t leave without it.
Truth: Since my hysterectomy last year, I have gained 20 pounds and I’m not happy about how I feel.
If you know me at all (and by now, I think you do), you know that I struggle with the whole weight thing. In high school, someone called me Thick. In college, one of my roommates called me Wide. (Although I appreciate honesty, please know that these people have been eliminated from my circle.) I gained 80 pounds with my first pregnancy, and then I lost 93 pounds by combining Weight Watchers with lactation. I’m back up 40 pounds since then and most importantly: I used to own a Duncan Butterfly Yo-Yo, so I’m a bit of an expert.
You’re bored. I know you are. Here. Let’s speed things up a little: I’ve now reached the point where I don’t even want to leave the stinking house (it doesn’t really stink) because my clothes don’t fit and I’m constantly tired and my ankles feel creaky and unless I do something NOW, I’m going to go too far to get back home. (Figuratively. See sentence 4 of this paragraph. By the way, while I’m not leaving the stinking house, I would appreciate any advice you can offer on killing weeds that grow in flower beds. I’d prefer to go the natural way if possible, as long as the natural way doesn’t involve me bending over for six hours each day pulling dandelions and clover out of the ground, which is probably something that I SHOULD do, as evidenced by the very first sentence of this post.)
A few days back I reached out to a friend who is a certified holistic health coach. She sent a questionnaire to me and I filled it out and this morning we had a conversation via Skype. One week from today I’ll be kicking off a new routine and I’d like to take you with me. In other words, for the sake of accountability, I’d like to check in and let you know how it’s going for the next six months. Is that okay? (If it’s not okay, we need to figure some things out.)
This will not be a diet.
This will not be a hard core exercise adventure.
This will be me climbing a ladder and Kathy holding the bottom of it to make sure I don’t fall off. (That’s how she described it during our call, and I loved the image it conjured.)
This is me when I was in really good shape.
The adorable baby in that photo is my nephew, and he’ll be graduating from high school next year. (The photo was taken in 1999. He has doubled his height and can now speak in full witty sentences!) Anyway, my goal is to be comfortable in my own skin at his graduation, and that probably seems like a silly goal to you, but for me? It’s huge. (Disclaimer: Please know that I plan on wearing clothing to his graduation. As far as I know, being comfortable in JUST my skin wouldn’t be socially acceptable at a high school graduation ceremony. Some day I’ll tell you about the night of my own college graduation.)
Tuesday was Harper’s birthday and Wednesday was Meredith’s birthday and I’m not sure what happened Thursday, but Friday found both girls surrounded by their friends from the new school at our birthday grill party. (12 kids running around the back yard and screaming and making s’mores and I’m so glad the girls are doing well at the new school.)
On Friday evening, I was invited to a party that I couldn’t attend because we were HAVING a party. Suddenly, I don’t even know myself. Clearly, I need more fancy skirts.
On Saturday, we had a birthday lunch with my parents and that led into a couple of the girls’ old school friends spending the night.
On Sunday morning Jeff took the friends home and we headed to the Cardinals game because Harper was singing God Bless America with her school choir before the game. She even made it onto the Jumbotron. (Do I need to hide her friends? They were on the JUMBOTRON, so 14,000 people might have this same photo and I don’t see THEM placing strategic stars!) Anyway, the Cardinals finally won during the 14th inning, and we watched that win from our family room, because we left the stadium at the bottom of the 9th.
While we’re hanging out and talking about Sunday, check out the sunburn I’m sporting as a result of thinking I’m too good for sufficient sunscreen.
What else? I finished a shawl.
(It’s Rock Island by Jared Flood and I’m getting ready to make another. You should make one, too.)
I started an herb garden.
And, yeah. It looks cute, but it didn’t take long for one of my smart gardening friends to gently tell me that it probably won’t live long because roots don’t like to see the light. Damnit, Pinterest! (The next herbs I buy will be planted in a garden bed because Cute is not Important.)
I started another Honey Cowl, and this will probably be my final car knitting project because school is out in just a few weeks!
Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my Cinco de Mayo Hysterectomy, and I have never loved a surgery as much as I loved that one. (Well, except for the two that resulted in babies coming out of me. Those were good ones, too. Appendectomy? Not good. Wisdom Teeth? The suckiest! Tubal ligation? Fun, but only in an Eating Funnel Cake Outside During a Wind Storm sort of way.)
Finally, I’ll be turning 45 (45!!! Please know that I wish numbers could be capitalized because FORTY FIVE!!!) in a week and a day, so I think it’s time to start thinking about health and happiness, as I am not very healthy and it makes me very unhappy. First step: I just bought a bag of avocados. Also, I’m thinking of working up my résumé because if I was living off of my freelance gigs, I probably would have died a few weeks ago. (Wilbur Wright died at age 45. I learned that yesterday.)