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.)
Although spring has sort of sprung, I find that I’m still filling our bird feeder every few days. My mom believes that I’m doing a disservice to the birds by offering free grub. “They should be searching for their OWN food. It’s a learning experience for them.”
I see it differently. By providing mixed seeds for the birds, I’m saving them some time. Time they can spend playing games with their families or writing poetry (or robbing banks, I suppose, but realistically, I believe there are more good birds than bad birds).
I spent some time this morning researching good fundraisers for elementary schools. I haven’t yet given up my idea of a fun run (donations instead of pledges, kids run during recess so their day isn’t interrupted, top money earner gets a pizza party for their class, final mileage is calculated at the end of the day to see how many miles we covered as a team).
I’ve been in touch with a few people about planning a talent show (so many red flags with students getting feelings hurt and is it really worth the time for the amount of money we would make?).
I thought about an adult spelling bee where kids bring in spare change and if a class raises $50, their teacher gets to participate in the bee. The winning teacher scores some sort of party for their class. Root beer floats, maybe? I don’t know. I’m just making this up as I go.
I’m about to ask a question that will be seen as boring to approximately 78% of you, which is why I threw that bird thing in at the top of this post. Honestly, only a few of you remain at this point. I used to have a birthmark shaped like Africa on my right thigh, but it’s gone now. See what you learn if you keep reading?
Anyway, fundraiser ideas. Have any? My favorite pair of underwear is gray! See what you learn by sticking around?! (Thanks for sticking around.)
Ten years ago today, Meredith was tugged out of my spiral-sliced and well-seasoned uterus. My fearless obstetrician lifted her into the air like a baby lion in a Disney film and announced, “Angela, this is a Buddha baby.” Weighing ten pounds (plus an ounce) at birth, Meredith never wore newborn clothes. When we were in the hospital, other (surprisingly bold) moms would bring their newborns into my room and lie them down next to Meredith for photos. (Seriously. That happened. More than once. Somewhere out there are several photos of fragile spider monkey babies placed next to my larger than life Meredith Claire. (Abbott and Costello will never NOT be funny, I suppose.))
The sad news? Our computer crashed about a year after Meredith was born and we lost her newborn photos. (Let’s never talk about this. Even typing the news nine years later makes something in my throat feel like a tennis ball.)
Although we don’t have baby photos, I have this photo which was taken on my due date. Meredith continued to simmer for five more days…
She’s dedicated. In the past year, she ran three 5K races. THREE 5K RACES!
Meredith is compassionate. She speaks to Scout and Henry in a crazy high-pitched voice, and they think she’s the knees of the bees.
She is developing an incredible sense of style, and her love for the Homewrecker Burrito is unmatched.
I am having the greatest time watching Meredith find her way in this crazy world. She is the perfect blend of sensitive and angry and thoughtful and creative and witty. (She’s SO witty.) Yesterday afternoon, Harper received an American Girl doll for her birthday. As soon as the doll was out of the box, Meredith put her own face inside the box and pretended to be a creepy Just Like Me doll. She then encouraged Harper to act disappointed that the doll looks Just Like Meredith instead of Just Like Harper.
Meredith is a great pianist. She can spell Deoxyribonucleic Acid. She stands her ground, yet she excels at making peace. She is a gem of the highest quality, and I can’t believe I’ve known her for ten years.
The world is lucky to have her in it, for she knows how to make Pavlova.
Her favorite color is orange, but she’s also fond of purple.
Her eyelashes are longer than my hair. (If you tried to count them, you would be whispering numbers for days.)
We have a room full of books in our basement, and she adores announcing that the library is open. She’s the librarian, of course, and she takes this job very seriously. All you have to do is tell her the genre for which you’re hankering, and she’ll take her time finding the perfect book for you. (I typically choose Art, because I want see what she’ll choose for me. Sometimes it’s Degas because she likes the dancers. Sometimes it’s The Art Book because it weighs seven pounds.) She’ll often close the library without warning by hanging a sign that says, “The library is shut down FOREVER.”
She knows all of the words to the Newsies soundtrack, and when she sings Seize the Day, I sometimes feel my lip quivering and my heart can barely take it.
She’s my biggest fan and I’m her biggest fan.
We both love Doritos.
She likes to keep a small notebook with her because she loves to write stories. (Fun Fact: She was first published at the age of five.) ((If you know me at all, you know how perfect it is that she packs a tiny notebook.))
Eight years ago this morning, she winced as she was pulled from a surgical incision made through my abdomen and uterus. (C-sections are often done when they’re not medically necessary, often putting the mother and infant at risk. Sometimes you have to throw stuff like this into a blog entry because you know a few people are thinking it, and you want to show them that you get it. You totally get it. Also, I tend to post the following photo every year on this day, so now it’s YOUR turn to wince!)
Harper Rose was named for both Harper Lee (whose name was actually Nelle Harper Lee) and my grandmother Virginia Rose (whose name was actually Rose Virginia).
The happiest of birthdays to Ms. Harper Lee, who turned 87 today. (Also, a special shout out to my grandma, who ate an orange each and every night after she peeled it with a little plastic stick.) To Harper Rose? May your eighth birthday be filled with cookie cake and friends and books and cinnamon rolls and Newsies and dog kisses and sunshine. You Are Loved.
EDITED TO ADD: Because more than one person mentioned it, here is the infamous rattlesnake video.
Because of the produce co-op, I now have leeks in my refrigerator. (I also have cantaloupe, tomatoes, lettuce, corn on the cob, bananas, oranges, lemons, potatoes, apples, kale, zucchini, a cucumber, and peppers. Finally, I have a 1.5 pound box of banana chips and an insane amount of love for banana chips. Sometimes I come across one that was sliced lengthwise and I squeal with delight—and we all know that’s not a common thing for me.)
Harper has a birthday on Sunday and Meredith has a birthday on Monday and I’ve been cleaning like crazy because I’m letting each of them have a friend over if they promise to NEVER discuss their “parties” at school. The last thing anyone wants or needs is weird birthday party drama and hurt feelings and sociopathic stirrings and had I waited one more month (in both cases) to get pregnant, school would be out by the time birthdays rolled around and we wouldn’t have to live with heads full of Crazy Town Fear.
When I was 23 years old, one of the orderlies at the hospital where I worked asked me if I wanted to accompany him to the morgue because he was eye bank certified and was going to “scoop a donor.” To this day, I regret turning him down. (I (mainly) turned him down because he would occasionally send inappropriate magazines (also known as Porn) to me through the pneumatic tube system, and he thought it was so so funny, and I mostly didn’t. BUT, how many of you have seen a donor being scooped? So many missed opportunities.) ((I suppose I could make a call and be all MIGHTY LIFE LIST MAKE IT HAPPEN WITH THE EYEBALLS, but I know myself better than that. It took me twenty minutes to muster up the courage to order a few dozen doughnuts for Meredith’s class on Monday. I am not a good phone person.))
Speaking of which, some guy called on Tuesday and he told me that he knows that I was on birth control pills and that I had complications that resulted from the use of those pills.
Me: What? Who is this?
The Guy Who Knew Too Much (TGWKTM): You will be handsomely compensated! Did you have blood clots in your lungs or perhaps an aneurysm?
Me: I’m not sure why we’re talking about this.
TGWKTM: How many times have you been pregnant in the past twenty years?
Me: Twenty times. Always pregnant! WHY ARE WE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION?!
TGWKTM: You were pregnant AND taking birth control pills?
And that’s when I hung up on him. Because enough is enough and unless I’ve introduced myself to you as Samantha, I’m not in a position (i.e., sufficiently Tipsy) to talk about pills and babies (and aneurysms!) with strangers.
But I will say this: Happy Anzac Day to You! (And to YOU!)