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Not a Memoir

March 30th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Daily

I’ve been keeping a written journal of college/high school/childhood memory blurbs, and this morning I thought it might be fun to occasionally share some of those entries over here. (To the people in my past who are now nervous: I’ll be using gender specific pronouns, but never names.) Let me know if you like these or don’t like these and I’ll probably keep putting them up anyway because this is MY house.

Here goes.

It was hot and it was humid but most importantly, it was dark. We were walking from a friend’s house back to my dormitory when she suggested that we take off our shirts and walk the remaining few blocks in just our bras and jeans. The streetlights were fairly dim and we hadn’t seen a car in several minutes, so off went the shirts. Less than five minutes later, a car pulled up and stopped when it reached us. It was a carload of friends from the band and we carried on a ten minute conversation during which no one mentioned that we were walking the streets with our shirts in our hands.

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Her Bible has a Bono blurb.

March 27th, 2017 · 3 Comments · Daily

Spring break came and went without any trips or hiccups. People stayed over. Movies were seen. IKEA was explored. Falafel was eaten with friends. Jeff saw Son Volt. I drank a beer and ate cheesecake with a pregnant friend (she did NOT drink beer. put your eyebrows back down.).

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Meredith woke me at midnight to tell me she was going to bed. She held her phone as a flashlight in one hand and her Bible in the other.

Meredith: I’m going to bed. Good night.
Me: What’s with the Bible and the light?
Meredith: Oh. I watched a few too many ghost videos on YouTube and I’m freaking out a little, so I figured I’m safe with the Bible. Unless the Bible could serve as a ghost portal.
Me: Shit! Do you think…?
Meredith: I know. I don’t know!

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This morning on the way to school we talked about high crimes and misdemeanors and our discussion eventually twisted and whirled until we were wondering how many homeless people spent time in medical school and how you can never assume that someone lacks skills or is uneducated or unwilling to bend or learn until you know their full story.

I started reading The Idiot on Saturday, and I’m IN. Definitely recommended. I’ve been reading quite a bit lately (The Nix was incredible. The Family Fang was very much okay.), because I’m trying to figure out my ratio of reader to writer. I went to a writing group a few weeks ago, and I sat at a table with some talented writers who were WRITING. Meanwhile, I sat with a notebook and scribbled out some lines about how I had just eaten my first bit of cream cheese brioche and was feeling sad about the 46 years I spent NOT eating my first bit of cream cheese brioche. I’ve been challenging myself lately. (These challenges have nothing to do with brioche.)

“Moreover, my policy at the time was that, when confronted by two courses of action, one should always choose the less conservative and more generous. I thought this was tantamount to a moral obligation for anyone who had any advantages at all, and especially for anyone who wanted to be a writer.”
-Elif Batuman, “The Idiot”

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Making a Life

March 18th, 2017 · 8 Comments · Daily

Amy Krouse Rosenthal died last Monday at the age of 51 and her death was a punch to my gut and to my head and to my heart, so I did a little bit of this:
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Ah, but then I grabbed a few of these:
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And then I made this list:
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This was one of my favorite moments of the week:
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It’s the first time both dogs napped lion and lamblike on my leg. Jeff on guitar and Chris Hayes on the television? Bonus.

This was the best sentence I read on Wednesday:
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This:
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is going to grow up to look like this:
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Graham is completely done with me dicking around and acting sad:
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He says (that) he can’t eat hummus at the new place down the road but (that) he encourages me to live out his dream, so I declared (that) yesterday had become Take Your Wife Out to Lunch Day, and Jeff was in:
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Look at these middle school kids performing James and the Giant Peach:
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Let’s all start feeling a little more like the middle school kids. Hands up and out and heads high and take a knee so we can see the people behind you. (I’ll always be behind you.) ((Figuratively.))

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What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you, Oreos.

March 10th, 2017 · 12 Comments · Daily

As you may (or may not) know, Jeff’s position was eliminated back in July.

Question From People Who Probably Mean Well: So, what have you been up to since Jeff’s position was eliminated? Walking in the open wind? Talking like lovers do? Do you want to dive into the ocean? Is it raining with you?

Answer: Actually, Jeff has been taking classes and networking and searching out new positions, and I’ve been eating. A lot. A HELL of a lot. And not moving around very much. Not moving around at all. Two years ago I lost 20 pounds with the help and encouragement of an amazing health coach and it felt great and I felt healthy and: All 20 of those pounds (plus a few more) have found their way back to me in the past seven months.

Lesson: If you can’t eat Oreos in moderation, just stay away from the damned Oreos. The same goes for Doritos and bread and bean burritos and Panera Gluten-free Monster Cookies and anything that might be wrapped in plastic and infused with chemicals. This shouldn’t be difficult!

My Fitbit sits in the corner (on my wrist, because I’m in the corner knitting and/or eating Oreos) and sobs because she thought she was a fitness tool and now she’s having a bit of an identity crisis.

A few weeks back I talked to my health coach (and friend) on the phone, and she told me that stress makes your body crave carbs. Sadly, the stress hasn’t led me to yearn for the spiced lentils that I always keep in the fridge.

My clothes don’t fit. Like, it hurts to wear some of my clothes. Also, I might put your eye out with the button on my jeans if I don’t make some immediate changes.

(I can’t/won’t buy new clothes.)

Worst of all? I don’t feel healthy. I know people of all shapes and sizes who feel healthy exactly where they are. That’s what I want.

AND, do you know what’s funny? Nothing. Nothing is funny. (I’m exaggerating. A few things are very funny. Stop what you’re doing right now and read The Nix. Also, check out the audio version for when you’re driving. It’s a masterpiece.)

Oh, you guys. Jeff’s birthday was two days ago and one of his ex-authors sent us four jar cupcakes from Wicked Good Cupcakes to celebrate the day. Last night I dove into The Wicked Good Cupcake. It’s peanut butter and chocolate chips baked and layered with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache. My tongue was completely stretched out to reach the bottom of that cupcake jar. In fact, if that jar was a boy on prom night (and I gave my consent and I wasn’t the current me, but an earlier version of myself), what I did to it probably would have led to me being pregnant right now.

You know that my relationship with food is tricky. I could tell you stories that would shock (and eventually bore) you. Ugh.

I know what I need to do and because of my health coaching from two years back, I know how to do it and I just NEED to do it and stop treating myself the way I would NEVER treat others. And I’m NOT being all WOE IS ME! with my hand against my forehead. Instead, I’m more like ENOUGH, DAMNIT! (In other words, I’m not in need of kind words.)

I’m putting this here not because it has anything to do with anything. It’s just that I’ve always loved it and I think you’ll love it and let’s all have a good weekend.

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You’re a shining star, no matter who you are.

March 9th, 2017 · 9 Comments · Daily

Harper received a bath bomb for Christmas, and she finally got around to using it early last week. The bomb was bright blue and covered in sparkly gold glitter and as it dissolved in the tub, more glitter released itself and pretty soon we started receiving calls to see if our tub was interested in being the primary location for the sequel to a well-known Mariah Carey movie.

(I think I’ve made it very clear that if Mariah Carey was hungry, I would feed her. BUT, she is not to come within 100 feet of my house.)

We wiped the tub with a big beach towel. We then shook the towel outside to release the glitter. We then threw the towel into the washing machine with the other towels and it soon made its way into the dryer and was then folded and placed in the closet with the rest of its extended towel family.

Last Friday morning I found myself in a Catholic church parking lot waiting for my dad to arrive so we could attend the funeral service for my childhood neighbor. As I fiddled around with my phone, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Glitter. In my hair. On my face. On my dress sleeve. Apparently, I had dried off with the glitter towel after my shower, and disco gear is traditionally inappropriate for a funeral but it was the powdery glitter that can’t just be swept/blown away, so I had to take a deep breath and let it be, knowing that if anyone questioned my shimmer I could smile and whisper, “I’m here to deliver Charlie home.” (I really need to throw a set of angel wings into my trunk just in case.)

Luckily, the stained glass in the church blocked the sun and the funeral service was the perfect combination of lovely and sad and my dad and I went out for brunch afterwards where we talked about Charlie and our memories of him. He was a beagle breeder when I was a kid, and he would often invite us over to see the puppies. He cut his grass at least three times each week. He had a dog named Max who would come over for a cheese sandwich every day when I arrived home from work. (Max was later killed in our front yard by a pack of wild dogs on the evening of November 5, 1996 while I sat 30 miles away watching Toy Story as Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole in the presidential election and good God, life is weird, isn’t it?)

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Dude.

March 1st, 2017 · 17 Comments · Daily

A habit I need to break is my frequent use of the word Dude. However, I’m going to wait a bit (maybe 450 words or so) to completely squash it because it has come in handy lately to lighten a few potentially tough blows.

For example: “Because our insurance changed this morning, a prescription that would have cost $50 yesterday may cost over $200 today.”

Tough, right?

NOW, read it THIS way: “DUDE! Because our insurance changed this morning, a prescription that would have cost $50 yesterday may cost over $200 today.”

Slightly better, right? (Also: IT’S A TRUE STORY.) 2017 is 1/6 of the way over, and I guess that’s good. Four hours is 1/6 of the day, so we’re sort of at four in the morning on this year, and didn’t Night Ranger sing a song about Four in the Morning? (They did.) 2017 hasn’t been my favorite.

Please know that I just listened to the Night Ranger song and I knew every single word. It’s interesting how my brain holds lyrics from the 80s, but it can’t retain the code to open our garage door from the outside.

Dude. Why do I have to spend time trying to track down a box from Thailand that’s filled with tiny Styrofoam balls? (Answer: Because Harper is making slime and she wants texture, so she ordered tiny Styrofoam balls. From Thailand. AND, I was supposed to sign for it but I didn’t make it to the door in time and are you still reading about the tiny balls? I love you.)

Dude. I have a friend who performs KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS, yet I’m having a hard time stirring up the energy to drive to the store for walnuts. It’s a five minute drive that I could probably do with my eyes closed. In fact, I believe I will. Later. Maybe.

Dude. Did you know that kids with lice are no longer required to stay home from school until there is no evidence of lice?! Apparently, hitting the school district attendance goal is more important than controlling a potentially wanderlusting gaggle of blood-sucking vermin.

I woke up on Sunday morning and felt an undeniable urge to knit an Obama washcloth. I drove to church, stood up in front of the congregation to read a few passages, mispronounced the word Clothes as Clowthes, forgot to ask God to help us find truth and guidance in these words (it’s a thing we do), sat back down feeling like a real jerk, ran out the side door when the service ended, drove to a craft dump for cheap cotton yarn, and before the Oscars were over, I had this guy on my chest. (I followed a pattern. I’m not a wizard.)

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Dude.

AND with that, I believe I’ve now duded enough. It’s like when you decide to quit smoking after smoking four back to back packs of Camels. Or when you drink a little too much tequila and you end up throwing up and then you never want to see another bottle of tequila. (And this is where I would say something like “Been There, Done That” but that’s even more overdone than Dude.)

Today begins Lent. I’m not taking anything away. Instead, I’m giving. (You can click on the 40 Acts box up and to the right if you’re curious.)

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Don’t write and drive.

February 23rd, 2017 · 9 Comments · Daily

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At first I thought writing texts by hand would be fun, but then I quickly realized that it wasn’t and then I started thinking about the space I’m taking up in my friends’ phones, and what a horrible idea this is. (Except that it isn’t, but really it is.) Anyway, before I kicked off the experiment, I decided to create several standard messages that I tend to use fairly often when I’m texting so that I didn’t have to grab a notebook for every tiny bit of communication.

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Let me just pause right here to tell you that my photo editing fallback (Aviary on Flickr) has been down for something like 43 days now (I’m exaggerating by 39 days) and if only I could fix the white balance on these photos… But I CANNOT.

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(Someday soon we’ll talk about what a lazy eater I’ve been lately. It’s almost like I’m punishing myself. But why?)

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Also, this is yet another reason why I know I’m at the right church:
As you know, I own this shirt.
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(I’ve never worn it to church mainly because of the line that refers to grabbing.)

Earlier this week, I noticed that the church Facebook account proudly posted this pulpit pic.
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Twinsies.

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This has nothing to do with politics!

February 15th, 2017 · 8 Comments · Daily

In April of 2011, I went to a knitting camp called Camp KIP.

My roommate at Camp KIP was a friend who used to work at the yarn store with me. After we both left the store she moved to Las Vegas, and I was so excited when she flew in to go to camp. We spent that weekend knitting and she taught me how to spin and we occasionally left camp to eat Mexican food and one night we went to a beer tasting and to a bonfire. On the way home? Dehydrated green beans at an Amish grocery store! It really was a perfect weekend, and I absolutely hate that I later lost touch with my friend, because she is a gem.

Two days ago I was really stressed out about a freelance deadline, so I did what anyone does when they’re feeling a nearly unmanageable amount of pressure—I wasted time on Facebook. While there, I was told that I may know a woman who shares the same first name as my friend from Camp KIP. I looked at the photo, and yes! It was her!

I know this story is making you yawn. I know it is. I’m just trying to get back into the groove after spending so much time obsessing about politics. Wait. Here’s a photo of me being all “Hey, Buddy!” with Sarah McLachlan at Lilith Fair in 2010.

Sarah and Me

This morning the photo of my friend (not Sarah McLachlan, but the Camp KIP friend) appeared once again on my Facebook profile. I closed my eyes and hit the “Add Friend” button. Not much time passed before she accepted my request. That’s when I sent her this message: “Hello there!!! I was so excited to see your face popping up on my ‘You might no this person’ feature on FB! I hope you’re doing well and that this message finds you ridiculously happy and healthy.” (Yes. Because of my excitement, I misspelled the word Know. I will stop kicking myself for this error sometime in 2024. Maybe.)

I then started looking through her profile and it didn’t take long before I realized that this may NOT be the woman I thought it was. But they look exactly alike! They DO! She responded to my message asking how we know each other. I confessed that we don’t know each other and I’m so embarrassed and also so sorry for interrupting her day.

And that’s when she told me that although she didn’t attend Camp KIP, she wanted to. She is a fiber artist and a writer and she said something about wondering if there is a higher reason that we accidentally fell onto each other’s list of friends, and that’s when I decided that I’m living in a Richard Bach novel.

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We chatted back and forth a bit and I now have another favorite person to add to my Favorite People list. Tonight I’m pulling out the spinning wheel to celebrate.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Bad news on the doorstep. I couldn’t take one more step.

February 9th, 2017 · 10 Comments · Daily

Seriously. What in the hell has to happen for me to stop WATCHING the news and THINKING about the news and wondering NOT what I can do to HELP turn the world around, but what I can do TO turn the world around? (I am most definitely not a team player, but not because of the reasons you would suspect, if you are one who tends to suspect reasons.)

I used to have stories to tell you. Stories of haHaHA! adventures and stories about me crying at school functions because of spelling bees and little kids singing and stories of Jeff hitting the cable guy in his only functional eye with a rubber bullet, thereby scoring extended cable to our house for free. (I may have not shared that story. Trust me. It was horrifying until enough time passed for it to be hilarious.)

Now? NOW? I have no adventures to share, other than adventures that might get me into a lot of trouble if overheard by the wrong people. (I may (or may not) be exaggerating.)

I’ve been doing a lot of this:
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I’ve got coffee in my hand and Meredith’s shoes on my feet and Senator Chuck Schumer on the television.

Also, I spent nearly twenty minutes a few days back playing with a ridiculous app that makes everyone look like a lovely Asian woman. (Or maybe a lovely Asian man. I don’t know who you are.)
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I can’t figure out if the photo is offensive or just ridiculous. All I know is that it smells a bit like I should find better things to do with my time. Like rescuing dogs!

I found this guy walking the streets about a week ago, and when I opened the car door to talk to him, he jumped in and sat right down in the passenger seat. (No collar. Very muddy.)
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I took him for a ride, fed him, gave him water, and then a little of this and then some of that and something about a space heater and a rug and I found his owner and everyone was (and is still) happy.

We watched the Super Bowl but not really because although I attended nearly every home football game during high school and college, I don’t care enough to figure out what’s happening.

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Truth: When football is on the television, I stare into the television and think about all the lives I’m not living.

I’m very selective when it comes to stickers on cars. I once had a sticker on my Volkswagen that said Peace. It was given to me in 1992 by a guy named Victor who purchased it at a music festival. I placed the next sticker on my Nissan in 1999. It said Nader. (I know.) About five years ago, I added a 0.0 sticker to my back window to celebrate the fact that my legs are made of porcelain. Last year I made a removable vinyl little yoga lady for the Sonata’s back window to let people know that I AM MINDFUL.

Anyway, since last we spoke, I added another sticker. It was given to me by a friend, and it’s little yet mighty.
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I have always loved Rachel Maddow. In fact, I really should make a shirt that says WWRMD. Until I do, I guess I’ll just wear this:
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Someone bring me a sword!

January 30th, 2017 · 9 Comments · Daily

Oh, right! Hi there. Sorry I haven’t been around for the past few weeks. It’s just that I’ve been going a little ARGH! and also WAAAAAUGH! but mostly ZZZzzzzzzzzz… Ah, but no worries! My doctor told me that a LOT of people have visited her for a medication adjustment due to the chief executive brain bulldozing. I am not alone!

I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll do what I do when I don’t even know where to begin.

This photo represents the fact that I found myself topless in a tiny room with a big x-ray machine last week. They thought I had pneumonia, but I didn’t. I still don’t! (I saved the mask. I’m not sure why.) ((Actually, I DO know why. It’s sexy and it’s covered with dried up pleurisy juices. Maybe I’ll strain yogurt through it!))
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I bought a new shirt because when my words can’t be heard, I want them to be seen. (You can get one for yourself here.)
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A friend and I shared lattes and lunch today and we eventually found ourselves talking about where we find joy. I have found a lot of joy in the past week writing down quotes that I love from books.
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(I hope I never have to say that terror made me cruel. I know a few people who COULD say it but they never will.)

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I’m knitting a thing that will eventually look like this, but brighter. Also, I have it stashed in the sushi bag that Tempe gave me for Christmas because that bag brings me so much joy.

We had a fire last night (hygge!) and in this photo it looks like two fire people are arguing about a fire baby. I sat on the couch and yelled, “Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him!” (Opportunities to do King Solomon impressions don’t present themselves very often. Always take full advantage.)
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