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Everybody’s got something to hide, except for me and my monkey lamp.

February 26th, 2015 · 10 Comments · Daily

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.

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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.

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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.

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Sometimes I think I need to change my LinkedIn profile from Freelance Editor to Purveyor of Monkey Lamps. Also: I Am A Monkey Lamp.

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(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.)

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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.)

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The perfume contains notes of pink pepper and suede flower. I know nothing about so many things.

February 20th, 2015 · 10 Comments · Daily

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.)

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Fat Tuesday pancakes are imminent.

February 17th, 2015 · 8 Comments · Daily

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.

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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.

Stone Hollow Mitten

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.

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But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home!

February 11th, 2015 · 17 Comments · Daily

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.

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Yesterday I finished a project that had been on needles since September of 2012.

"It's the Berries!"

Next up? I think I may tackle the scarf that has been taking up needles since September of 2008.

Secret Garden

Would you mind if I sat in your chair?

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I was the leg wrestling champ at a Halloween party in 1996.

February 4th, 2015 · 4 Comments · Daily

James Franco and I walk into an empty artisanal bakery in Philadelphia.

We’re both hankering for something with nine grains.

Who’s more awesome?

Hint: James Franco is NOT more awesome.

Oprah and I walk out to get my mail.

We’re both wearing cabled cardigans.

Who’s better?

Hint: Oprah is not better.

In the past two months, I’ve been told that I’m like Oprah but better AND that I’m more awesome than James Franco. I think it’s time for me to start crosssssssstitching (too many esses and I don’t have time for it) a compliment sampler to hang above my work station that will serve as an Atta Girl when I’m feeling like a knucklehead. (Disclaimer: Please know that I know that one doesn’t have to be better (or more awesome) than someone else in order to achieve fulfillment! I can achieve fulfillment in my car with nothing but a burrito and my own mind! You can, too! Mindful Burrito Wednesday! Go do it!)

As I type these words to you today, I have the components for lasagna simmering on my stovetop, I have a sushi lunch scheduled with a friend, and I’m once again playing with a lazy journal. (Lazily.)

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I finished my freelance project yesterday afternoon and I finished The Hotel New Hampshire the day before and I’ve tidied up my point of view. Enjoy your day.

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More of exactly the same!

February 1st, 2015 · 10 Comments · Daily

At approximately 2:07 this morning, I ordered a bottle of lavender essential oil from Amazon. I have no memory of submitting this order. The last time something like this happened was when I entertained a bit of morphine after my hysterectomy which led to ordering a book about Milton Hershey because I apparently thought it might be something Harper would enjoy. (And she DID, which means that even when I’m on drugs, I KNOW MY KIDS, Officer!)

I haven’t mentioned this, but Jeff has been out of town every other week for the past few months and I HATE IT. He’s out of town today which means it’s not really Superbowl Sunday as much as it’s just Sunday. (The girls and I *did* go to the store a few minutes ago to buy a huge cookie cake and a tray of vegetables to eat during the game. I’m not completely devoid of spirit. (True Story: I have no idea who is playing in the Superbowl. I know.))

The albatross known as Freelance is still underway. This morning I hit the Only Ten Chapters To Go mark, which felt HUGE. The end will come this week. On a related note, Project Don’t Forget to Do the Things You Love is also underway.

This week I turned this:

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Into this:

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And it eventually became this:

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Also, I blocked the Honey Cowl that I finished last week:

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I talked to one of my favorite people from high school a few days back and his fiancée is a knitter so I decided to spin some yarn for her. It’s all bamboo and silk and la la laaaah, which means it’s the perfect yarn for a bride. (You know it’s true.)

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Finally, I’m ready to do the final dance that will turn this asymmetrical vest into the cardigan that it’s meant to be. (Fitting a sleeve into a sleeve hole is terrifying if you’re me. Honestly, that weird heart thing that happened in December? It happened shortly after the first sleeve was installed. I have no idea if the two events are related.)

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I’m a chapter away from finishing The Hotel New Hampshire, and all I want is for Franny to be happy.

It’s all I want for anyone, really.

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Balance.

January 23rd, 2015 · 8 Comments · Daily

One of the worst things about working from home (for ME) is that I feel guilty when I’m doing anything other than working when there is work to be done. I have a freelance project right now, and it is not fun. Because it’s a fairly big project that requires a lot of careful thinking (for ME), I find myself working for a bit and then taking a mental break to circle around the house. I don’t let myself sit and knit or spin or read because those are the things I would much rather be doing and there is WORK TO BE DONE. I finally realized that I was stripping myself of joy last week (I don’t usually talk like this), so I forgave myself for not yet being done with the freelance project and I sat down at my wheel to finish the yarn that has been waiting there since before we moved. The colorway is Seraglio, and I learned yesterday (while watching Jeopardy) that Seraglio is another word for a harem, and now I see the yarn completely differently than I did before I watched Jeopardy, which surely means that television is nothing but good.

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I then finished a few more chapters, and allowed myself to bind off my first Honey Cowl of the year.

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On Tuesday I hit the halfway point of the editing project, so I spun and plied 98 yards of bulky BFL.

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(I’m still not making much progress on reading. I’ve been working through The Hotel New Hampshire for over a month. I love it. I LOVE it. BUT, I never take time to read it because I want to take TIME to read it. The library wants me to stop renewing it. I won’t buy it because I’m over halfway finished with it. Oh, books…)

Anyway. It’s all bird by bird and in with the good to break up the brain stuff and I would do just about anything for a doughnut right now.

I hope your weekend is a good one.

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Trying to get my hygge on…

January 13th, 2015 · 6 Comments · Daily

Welcome to the part of the year that always tends to make me feel bleak!

Christmas? Over. Tree? Down. Lights? Out.

To get me through the hump (Black Eyed Peas reference not fully intended), I’ve been relying on two things.

Hump Reliever #1

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This is my daily smoothie. To make it, I pour eight ounces of dark chocolate almond milk into a cup, place spinach on top, pour on some frozen raspberries, and cram it all down with a banana. I then let my immersion blender (also known as Mama Bird) premasticate everything for me so I can digest it with minimal effort as I lie in my nest of sherpa blankets (these have nothing to do with the people of eastern Nepal and everything to do with something cozy I found at Target).

Hump Reliever #2

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This is my essential oil diffuser. If you need exact information, it’s a ZAQ Dew. Jeff gave it to me for Christmas, and now I’m spending my days inhaling the scent of lemons and peppermint and lavender and rosemary and sweet orange, and it’s really helping me to not hate everything. (As I sit here and type, I am breathing in rosemary and lemon, and my mental energy is fresh and if someone tries to poison me with fish? I AM IMMUNE!!! SUPPOSEDLY!!!)

(Although I hate to say this sort of thing, if you landed at Fluid Pudding because you sell Young Living or doTERRA oils: Good luck and No, thank you. Okay then. Let’s clear our throats and minds and move on.)

A good friend of mine shared the concept of hygge last week, and it has been on my mind ever since because it encapsulates everything I love the most—coziness and candles and positive energy and mittens. Good things. Good people. Baked potato bars inside when it’s snowing outside.  Hot tea and Cary Grant.

My word for 2015 is Hygge.

Hygge.

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Hygge.

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Hygge.

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Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife, Baby, edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my soul.

January 5th, 2015 · 12 Comments · Daily

FRIDAY EVENING, 6:30
Jeff: I think I’m going to build a fire.
Meredith: The first fire in the new house!
Harper: Should we have the chimney swept first?
Me: I think we’ll be fine.

FRIDAY EVENING, 7:00
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FRIDAY EVENING, 7:45
Me: It’s weird. I don’t SEE smoke, but I definitely smell smoke.
Harper: I think it smells good.
Meredith: Me, too!
Jeff: Do you think we should crack a window?

FRIDAY EVENING, 7:50
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Me: A gigantic black butterfly is getting ready to attack me in the kitchen!!! Where did it come from?! WHAT THE HELL?! DO YOU THINK IT’S A BABY BAT?! WHY IS IT HERE IN JANUARY?!?!

(Jeff, using a church bulletin, delivered the butterfly to the back yard, where I’m sure it immediately froze to death. Clearly, the butterfly has nothing to do with anything else that happened on Friday night, but I feel the need to document the sighting, and I’m still feeling guilty about sending it out into the cold.)

FRIDAY EVENING, 8:10
Me: Honestly, I think the smoke smell is giving me a headache.
Jeff: It’s not even like a smoke smell anymore. It smells like plastic or chemicals or something.

FRIDAY EVENING, 8:27
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FRIDAY EVENING, 8:35
Fireman: Everything’s checking out down here. I’m going upstairs to check the bedrooms.
Me: Do you think he’s flirting with me?
Jeff: Do you think we should ask him if he’s a fireman AND a lepidopterist?

We have no damage, there is no evidence that anything is structurally wrong, and now we’re looking for this guy.

(The firemen were very nice and they responded very quickly. Most importantly, despite how firemen are often depicted in movies, our firemen kept their shirts on and none of them were carrying a radio cued up to the latest hump music. Stereotype? SHATTERED.)

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John Irving will release “Avenue of Mysteries” in the fall of 2015. It’s going to be a good year.

January 1st, 2015 · 10 Comments · Daily

Happy New Year!

I haven’t been here in a bit, and my plan was to do a Fluid Pudding Year in Review complete with a side tribute to Ed Herrmann (He died of brain cancer yesterday, meaning he missed being placed on all of those Gone But Not Forgotten montages that television loves so much.) and that would surely lead me into live blogging all seven season of Gilmore Girls as I sit on my couch and cry into my crumb cake (My sister made the cake. It’s very good.) wearing nothing but fleece pajamas, a robe, and fluffy socks.

Wasting your time with my melodramatic tales and ruminations from 2014 is pretty pointless, because you were there with me for most of it. Ah, but someone (perhaps it was Merlin Mann?) once said something about how you have to turn around and make amends with the past before embarking on the future.

Instead of a serenade, I’ll simply chirp.

In January of 2014, I injected Scout’s plasma into my own body and Meredith won her school spelling bee.

In February, I drew pictures on my colon.

In March, I shared a bit of my Lazy Journal.

In April, I began the search for a fuzzy coping vest and the girls blew out candles and threw pottery. (By the way, I believe I’ve found my fuzzy coping vest. It involves hot tea and breathing with a bit of attempted meditation. I’m hoping to add yoga to the mix this year. I already have the pants.)

I had all of my lady parts removed in May (except for Leftie the ovary, who is currently holding down the house), and I took a bunch of photos while under the influence of morphine.

In June, we placed a sign in our front yard.

In July, I laughed until I cried, we found our house, and we had to say goodbye to Sidney.

We moved into the house in August and I immediately started bitching about things that really don’t matter, unless a kitchen sink really DOES matter.

In September, we left the old house for the final time and I finished a cardigan.

The world continued to spin in October without much input from me. With that said, I did make a cowl or two.

I participated in NaBloPoMo in November, meaning I invited you over every single day. I gave you a tour of the house, my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary, and many people in St. Louis came together to demand change. (And change is still happening and will hopefully continue to happen so that our children’s children can look back on this time and say, “Thank God we’ve broken that cycle.”)

I threw some PVCs in December and as a result, I bared my midriff. Also, I received my very first speeding ticket and we had to say goodbye to Ramona, which was absolutely horrible and I still leave sinks dripping for her and doors cracked so that she can come into the bathroom while I’m showering. Losing two cats in five months is definitely not recommended.

I participated in the Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Blogger Concert on December 18th.

I was a reader at our church on December 21st, and I absolutely love reading although it scares the crap out of me, Eleanor Roosevelt.

I’m starting to bore you. I can feel it. Please know that I’m trying my hardest to wrap things up, although I’d hang out with you all day if I could.

Christmas morning? Perfection. I was up at 5:00 and had nearly an hour to sit and stare at the tree while breathing and drinking coffee.

On December 30th we headed to a photography place with my parents and my sister and her family. I would share the huge family photo here, but I haven’t yet procured the proper model release forms. Instead, I’ll split the difference and show you the photo taken of the four of us. It’s a good one, although it makes me look like my left arm has more stretchability than the average left arm.

Downing Family 2014

Finally, on New Year’s Eve, my nephew joined us to watch the Saint Louis University basketball team miss a bunch of free throws which led to Vanderbilt taking the win. Afterwards, I made out with a statue named Doug.

Doug Statue Makeout Party

This earned me a Statue Makeout Party Hat Trick, as I canoodled with Patrick Kavanagh in Orlando last year,
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and in February of 2002, while on a practice honeymoon with Jeff, I caressed Harry S. Truman.
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Let’s make 2015 a good one.

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