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Christmahanukwanzaakah is here!

December 18th, 2014 · 8 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 · 21 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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I took the creamer from the shelf and didn’t have to punch anyone.

November 28th, 2014 · 4 Comments · Daily

Do I go out for Black Friday? I do.

Am I one of those people who are out at two in the morning grabbing VCRs out of other people’s carts? I am not. (I honestly don’t think those people exist, but it’s fun to pretend that they do and then get angry about them! Those damn people and their stinking VCR fights!)

This morning I picked Tempe up at 7:00 and we did what we always do on the day after Thanksgiving—we grab a coffee and find a place to watch people. If, by chance, we see something that strikes us as a good idea, we grab it. (You can never have too many blood pillows!) ((I will never explain the previous sentence to you!)) Today we closed down the adventure with a sushi lunch because avocado rolls are nothing but good.

I did find a few things for myself.

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My feet currently look like they’re sticking out of elephant trunks, and I couldn’t be cozier.

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New purple cow to add to my cows! (The colors in this photo are clearly not accurate, and I’m finding that I sort of like the inaccurate cow.) I don’t really collect anything (other than GRUDGES), but now that I have three cow creamers, I guess I’m on my way.

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Romaine calm and carry on…

November 27th, 2014 · 3 Comments · Daily

This was my Thanksgiving photo from 2010:

Main Street bedecked for the holidays!

My parents paid for the entire family to go to Disney World and it was millions of lights and thousands of people on scooters and in strollers and I think I ate some fudge.

This year? I didn’t take any photos because I was putting together stuffing and green beans and creating a schedule for rolls and bread pudding (and corn) because if I don’t write everything down, I fail.

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When lunch was over and it was time for everyone to pack up their cars, my sister and nephew went outside to unlock their trunk. When they came back into the house, they were laughing so hard they couldn’t speak.

Because the temperature was below freezing outside, we thought it was safe to put the leftovers that wouldn’t fit into the refrigerator in the garage on top of the recycling bin. Apparently, the lid on my mother-in-law’s salad wasn’t quite closed, so my sister reached over to press the lid down. When she did, the bowl slid off the bin and crashed to the floor, the lid went flying, and suddenly my in-laws had no salad.

After everyone left, I pulled the footage from our security camera. Here is a still.

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This evening, as the four of us sat around eating leftovers, we mentioned the things that make us feel thankful.

Me: I’m thankful for the house and for the fact that the girls are adjusting so well to their new school.

Harper: I’m thankful for my family and my friends.

Meredith: I’m thankful for my friends and for technology.

Jeff: I’m thankful that we could get together with the family today and that both sets of grandparents could make it as well as J, C, and J.

Meredith: Also, no one died.

Me: Sidney died.

Meredith: Oh yeah!

Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving was great, you enjoyed some sort of pie, your leftovers remained intact, and that you were able to take time to breathe and remember.

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My thanksgiving is perpetual, Henry David Thoreau.

November 26th, 2014 · 7 Comments · Daily

The girls and I went to Jamba Juice this morning where we learned that our favorite Jamba Juice employee’s parents live less than five minutes away from us. From there we went to the store for bread, to another store for fresh flowers, veggie burgers, chestnuts, and my mom (she met us there), and then back to the house to make tomorrow’s pumpkin pies. As we baked, it started to snow, and suddenly it felt like a perfect day.

To solidify the perfect day, this evening we met up with my sister and her family to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. Despite what you might think, my favorite part of dinner was not the baked potato and asparagus. (It never is.) It was sitting next to my 17-year-old nephew who is The Wittiest.

After heading home, I finished knitting a baby hat and am now getting ready to go to bed because we’re hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow. (We’ve never hosted anything before, so this is huge, although it’s not REALLY huge.) On the menu is turkey and acorn squash bread pudding and cranberry salad and green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and dressing and corn and sweet potatoes and rolls and salad and pumpkin pie and apple tarts. (The only thing I’m responsible for is the green bean casserole.) We are so lucky.

I hope tomorrow is a good day for you. I know quite a few people who have experienced (and who are experiencing) a lot of sadness and loss this year, and I know the holidays can be so hard. Please know that if you were here, I would offer up a metaphorical hug in the form of acorn squash bread pudding. (I’m no hugger, but I can definitely serve up the pudding. (My sister makes it, and it’s my favorite.))

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

Bedecked.

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And let it begin with me.

November 25th, 2014 · 20 Comments · Daily

My intention was to come over here and talk about what’s happening in Ferguson.

I’ve started at least ten different sentences, and everything I write sounds scattered.

Please know that the city is not on fire. Please know that although the media might think that fires make for sexy television, the arson (and the looting) is just a small part of the big (mostly peaceful) picture.

This morning I sat down with Harper and said, “Today you’ll be talking about Ferguson at school, and a lot of the kids will simply repeat the things they’ve heard their parents say, and sometimes those things are very insensitive. Just know that about ten years ago I was feeling angry and hopeless and tired, and I picked up an ottoman and threw it across the room. I then kicked that ottoman and I started crying and it didn’t really help anything, but I was way past trying to control myself. I can only assume that the people in Ferguson who are looting and setting buildings and cars on fire are feeling that same mixture of anger and hopelessness and fatigue. It doesn’t make destruction okay, but we will never say that they’re bad people. They have had enough. A lot of people have had enough. I’ve had enough. And what will come out of Ferguson will hopefully be amazing. Because we all need amazing. We all need a lot of amazing.”

I am a 44-year-old white woman. I have no idea what it’s like to be followed by a police officer while going for a run. I have no idea what it’s like to be a child who has learned to be fearful simply because of youth and blackness. When I go into a store, no one follows me. No one questions me when I flip out and stick a box of spaghetti into my coat pocket so I can get my phone out of my other pocket. I have never been treated differently because of the color of my skin, and because of that, I feel the urgent need to listen and learn.

When Harper got home from school today, she told me that a boy in her class started to talk about Michael Brown, and the teacher stopped him.

The teacher stopped him.

The African American population at the elementary school is 5%. (The school we attended last year has an African American population of 31%, and I miss that school more than words can say.) To me, it is unacceptable to pass on the opportunity to speak about Ferguson, especially at a school where most of the kids have no African American classmates or friends.

Listening and learning is good.

Dialogue is better.

A combination of the three is what we need to kick off our Amazing.

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