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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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Christmahanukwanzaakah is here!

December 18th, 2014 · 9 Comments · Daily

The Ninth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert has gone live at Citizen of the Month, and I’m so proud to be a part of it, and even prouder to be the closing musical act.

I haven’t practiced the piano in years (and it shows), but preparing for this concert reminded me of just how much I love sitting down and punching out music around the holidays.

Enjoy the show, and Merry Christmahanukwanzaakah to each and every one of you.

Merry Christmas from Scout and Henry!

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Rest in peace, sweet Monapants.

December 15th, 2014 · 23 Comments · Daily

Hi there. I'm Ramona. I'm here to stir it up.

Tomorrow would have been Ramona Quimby’s sixth birthday. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to her on Friday evening. I planned on writing a little tribute to her similar to the one I posted about Sid back in July, but you know what? It’s just too much going from being a two cat family to a zero cat family in less than five months, and I’m having a hard time dealing with it. (Wednesday is the five month anniversary of Sid’s death.)

I’ve spent most of the weekend thinking that I hear Mona jumping up on the bed. Last night I mistook Meredith’s black boot for Mona. Scout has been hanging out by Mona’s crate since last Wednesday, just hoping that her buddy will suddenly reappear.

(I apologize for the sad music. Please know that I made the video three years ago when things were far from sad.)

We took Ramona in to the emergency vet clinic on Wednesday evening because she hadn’t eaten in a day, and she was barely drinking water. Chronic kidney disease. Just like Sidney. I could sing songs to you (in a minor key) about my theories, but I know that you would slowly back away as soon as I warbled something about “potential formaldehyde in new carpet and no one warns you that it’s there or that it could kill your animals.”

A few weeks back, I took a photo for Instagram showing how an attempted nap with Ramona Quimby goes down.

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I like to think that she now naps next to her sister.

Sid & Ramona

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Once I had a love and it was a gas. Soon turned out, had a heart of glass.

December 11th, 2014 · 12 Comments · Daily

I left my house yesterday morning at approximately 9:45 to make it to my 10:45 appointment with the heart guy. At 9:53, a police offer pulled out of a subdivision to follow me with his lights on. Because there was no lane in which to pull over yet a gas station was less than a block away, I drove to the gas station. As I drove to the station (about a 20 second drive), the police officer turned on his siren to let everyone in the neighborhood know that the woman in the Hyundai Sonata was raising some law breaking hell.

Officer: I pulled you over because you were going 48 in a 35, and I’m also charging you with failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Me: I’m so sorry. I didn’t see an emergency vehicle!

Officer: The emergency vehicle is me. When an officer has his lights on, you need to pull over immediately.

Me (to myself): But there was no place to pull over, and the QT is right here! We all stayed safe this way!

Me (out loud): Yikes. Sorry.

Please know that I have never received a speeding ticket. Ever. I once received a warning for pulling out of a (frozen yogurt joint) parking lot without my headlights on. I once received a ticket for parking on the wrong side of a residential street. BUT, never a speeding ticket.

SO, anyway. He decided to let me off with a warning on the whole “You drove to QT” thing, but the speeding? I wasn’t charming enough to get out of that. (Because I was speeding. And listening to Fiona Apple. But not texting. Perhaps singing.)

From the QT parking lot, I drove to the doctor’s office, where my strips were pulled and read.

Doctor: I think it’s safe to tell you that you’re going to live.

Me: Best news ever. Any idea what I should do to prevent the flutters?

Doctor: It might be related to caffeine. It might be related to hormones. It might be related to stress. We know PVCs exist, but we don’t really know why. If they start up again and they’re driving you crazy, I’ll give you a prescription for a beta blocker. Please know that there’s a good chance that the beta blocker won’t work.

Me: I’m good with maybes.

In about an hour, I’ll be getting an echocardiogram to make sure my heart is shaped like a fist and not like the hearts you see in cartoons. If all goes well (and it will, because it will), I’ll be rushing home (while not exceeding the speed limit, obviously) because I need to clean up a bit for the dozen Girl Scouts who are coming over this evening to listen to me talk about energy conservation. (I take lots of naps, which means I’m a bit of an expert on this topic.)

Anyway, when I’m done telling them that they should turn out the lights when they leave a room, I’ll show them how to make a candle out of a jar and some olive oil.

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When they leave? I’ll crash on the couch with my current no-brain knitting project.

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(A big huge thank you goes out to everyone who took the time to comment on my most recent post. I love hearing that nearly every single one of us deals with weird flutters and palpitations. Cheers for empathy!)

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Join us! Leave your cheese to sour!

December 5th, 2014 · 22 Comments · Daily

Exactly one week ago today, I found myself eating an avocado roll with Tempe at a place called I Love Mr. Sushi. As I chopsticked my roll around in a bath of soy sauce and wasabi, I literally felt my heart grow three sizes.

(Repeat: Literally. I LITERALLY felt my heart grow three sizes.)

Throughout the weekend, I felt flutters in my chest and then my heart would skip a beat. It skipped a beat for hunger, it skipped a beat for injustice, inequality, ebola, the Honda airbag recall… It continued to flutter and skip for various issues until Monday evening when it skipped a beat for Ariana Grande’s inability to enunciate. At that point I decided enough was enough.

My heart: Hear thee, hear thee! This next beat will be skipped for Dick York and the reasons why he had to be replaced as Darren on Bewitched.

Me: Okay, then. Let’s head to the emergency room.

When you go to the emergency room complaining of heart flutters, everyone pays attention to you. It made me feel really crappy for the guy whose arm was clearly broken. He had arrived before me, he was WINCING, yet I was Beyoncé and he was Solange.

During my EKG, I was throwing PVCs that had nothing to do with plastic pipes and everything to do with irregular heartbeats that may be caused by caffeine (I have 2-3 cups of coffee each day.), exercise (I doubt this is the problem. Heh.), and stress (This is where I would say something about being “too blessed to be stressed” but honestly? That falls about a half notch below turning the frown upside down and changing scars into stars.).

I was transferred to a room where they sucked out about six tubes of blood before hooking me up to a monitor and a bag of normal saline. I was then told that it would be about an hour before the labs came back. I quickly kicked off my shoes (I was wearing socks, and I’m not sure why you need to know that, but you do.) and found Elf on the television. (It’s always on, isn’t it?)

I eventually dozed off and experienced dreams of nurses who were trying to steal my magic.

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(If you know me at all, you know that I’m dripping in magic. Fun Fact: My middle name is Pippin.)

Anyway, because all of my labs came back in the normal range, I was sent home. On Tuesday, they called me back for a seven day event monitor, which has nothing to do with the Protestant Christians who observe Saturday as the Sabbath, and everything to do with a cardiologist keeping an eye on my magic.

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I have four leads. White is right, red is heart, green is grounding, and black is back. (The nurse taught me this poorly-written poem so I can remember how to replace my leads. I think it’s in desperate need of a rewrite.) Every time I feel a flutter (which is probably around 100 or so times each day), I have to press a button and then answer two questions on a special Maxwell Smart phone. The answering of the two questions (What happened? What were you doing?) has become exhausting. (Yesterday I accidentally threw the phone across the kitchen floor and it broke into three pieces. Surprisingly (and as if by MAGIC), it still worked.) Also, please know that this photo marks the first and last time that I will show my torso at Fluid Pudding Dot Com. Happy Holidays!

I’ll be meeting with a cardiologist next week. If he asks me to give up caffeine, it’s going to be a Blue Christmas. I’ll keep you updated.

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And with that, November ended.

November 30th, 2014 · 11 Comments · Daily

To Carroll and to Grammy and to each and every one of you, thank you so much for hanging out with me this month during NaBloPoMo.

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When I write every day, it makes me remember how much I truly love writing every day. When people stop by, I realize that despite what I think I think, I DO love having company.

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I’ve told you a million times that I am not a hugger.
With that said, please know that I am wearing a pink fleece jacket and you are a netted Scotch pine.

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We’ll talk soon.

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The future is always beginning now.

November 29th, 2014 · 4 Comments · Daily

We hung some lights and I spent some time reading, but none of it really matters because my poet died.

Admittedly, I don’t know as much as I should about poetry, but I do know that I’ve never read a Mark Strand poem that I didn’t like, and Mr. Strand died today at his daughter’s house.

Back in 2009, I wrote one of Strand’s poems as a handwriting challenge. I’m slapping it back up today. Enjoy.

Mark Strand is a Genius.

 I recommend this book. As soon as I find my copy, I’m going to read it from cover to cover. (Have I mentioned that we still haven’t unpacked?)

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