Fluid Pudding header image 1

No one’s story is finished.

June 10th, 2018 · 10 Comments · Daily

Untitled

Jeff took the day off on Friday, and the four of us went to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. The main exhibit right now is artwork by Mona Hatoum, and it was so interesting and amazing and wonderful.

"One Year" by Mona Hatoum

That glass cube holds a year’s worth of Hatoum’s fingernails. (If you’re curious, the year in question was 2005. As Harper was finishing up her stay in my uterus, Hatoum was clipping her nails and perhaps putting them in an envelope.) You might look at that cube of nails and think it’s disgusting or way too weird or just not art. I saw that cube of nails and I was IN.

Untitled

Look closely. It was woven out of hair. Mona Hatoum’s hair. She collected her own hair for several years and kept it in shoe boxes under her bed until inspiration struck.

Untitled

Untitled

Not everything at the Pulitzer was a Hatoum. (Read that sentence again while smoking an imaginary cigarette on one of those long stick things. Scowl just a little. There. Much better.)

Untitled

The woman above was one of my very favorites. This painting is part of a series by Amy Sherald.

A Clear Unspoken Granted Magic, 2017

So, this past week has been a tough one for me because I have the same amount of time as everyone else, and I spend too much of that time sitting on the couch NOT being creative and NOT making people think.

Untitled
(Photo credit to LHM)

John Pavlovitz appeared at our church last weekend. (Out of nowhere! As if by magic!) I am a huge fan of his words—both written and spoken—so I attended each and every presentation he gave. (Chapter 17 in A Bigger Table changed everything for me. That chapter laid out every one of my spiritual struggles and then gave me a big hug and told me I was going to be okay.) While he spoke, I sat up front and I took notes. So many notes. (Photo evidence of my note taking above. And another thing: Jeff and the girls gave those shoes to me for my birthday a few weeks ago, and they make me feel like an R.E.M. song.)

Untitled

A phrase from last weekend that stood out to me in a really beautiful way was “That looks HORRIBLE. Let’s go there!” I need to force myself to see things outside of my bubble, because my bubble is SO sanitized. I don’t have to try very hard to view sitting on the couch as actively harming someone who might need something that I can provide, and I know that may sound ridiculous to you, and I’m okay with that.

Untitled

What follows are some of the things I wrote down as John Pavlovitz spoke:
Does your faith influence your politics? Why is cruelty trending? Don’t respond to monstrous things by being monstrous. Be students of people—don’t settle for false stories and stereotypes. “I feel spiritually nauseated.”

Untitled

Cultivate a life of activism. Use your gifts and advantages to lift up the voices of people who may not have those advantages. When conversations get heated, step in. Share love, mercy, and compassion, but point out false stereotypes. Decide what matters enough for you to speak. Every person of faith thinks they’re doing it right.

Untitled

We know things are horrible. Horrible things are horrible. BUT, we’re going to find happiness somewhere. DEFIANT JOY. It’s exhausting to give a damn, but we’re here because we’re damn givers! There’s a cost to fighting for diversity, equality, love, and justice. You don’t have to complete the work, but you cannot abandon it. It’s okay to be a Christian on medication.

Give others a reason to go on another day.

Untitled

→ 10 CommentsTags:

Won’t you be my neighbor?

June 2nd, 2018 · 2 Comments · Daily

The guy who lives next door is putting his house on the market. A family who lives down the road is putting their house on the market. Earlier this week I found myself eating a gluten-free chocolate torte, (drinking a beer), and discussing intentional communities with a good friend of mine who I will refer to as Sarah.

Okay. Intentional community conversation followed by two new open houses in my subdivision. This can only be seen as a sign from above. Cosmic Poetry.

Mission: I need to somehow attract some of My People to My Subdivision. (Note: Some of my people already live here. We’re off to a good start.) How do I attract more? Sarah suggested a rainbow pride flag, and that got me to thinking. (I don’t think I’ve ever said “That got me to thinking.” before.)

(Disclaimer: Some of you followed the intentional community link in Paragraph One and you immediately started telling yourself false stories about me being a stinky hippie who wants to live in the woods and drink the urine of three-legged dogs while smoking weed around a fire in the name of Goddess Gaia. When the final ember burns out it’s like musical chairs but with lots of crazy monkey sex and maybe I smell a little too much like patchouli and maybe a guy named Pegasus occasionally howls at the moon. This type of community is not (necessarily) what I’m envisioning. And why did I just use a parenthetical Necessarily? Because I can be okay with almost all of those things if someone else is doing my laundry in exchange for monthly cake balls. And maybe we have some pygmy goats. A good library. Netflix.)

I just made the first gentle-suggestion purchase intended to attract a wider demographic to my subdivision.

I will hang it, and I will also give equal time to a flag that goes a little something like this.

Finally, I made a few signs for the front yard.

Untitled

→ 2 CommentsTags:

Some kids get pancreatitis. Some get slickensides. Most have imaginary finger pens.

May 30th, 2018 · 1 Comment · Daily

Summer does not officially start until June 21, yet I have already spent four hours next to a pool. (Reminder: I don’t swim and being around water is a HUGE anxiety poker. The fact that I survived with nary a twitch is monumental. I give credit to the company and the dips, beans, and phyllo pizza.)

Untitled

The latest Sedaris book arrived late last week and I’ve already requested the audiobook from the library. Some of the essays are hitting me hard, and I need to hear David Sedaris reading them to me. Maybe more than once.

Untitled

I started this Waves in the Square Shawl on September 15, 2009 and the fact that it isn’t yet finished is such crap. Hit that link and just look at how pretty it will be. This is the shawl that is going to make me embrace pink again! (Pink and I have had a bit of a falling out. It’s nobody’s fault, really.) Anyway, the goal is to not put the project bag back into the closet, because when that happens I tend to not pull it out again for at least two years.

Untitled

I’m devoting most of the day to the Scripps Spelling Bee preliminary rounds. I’ve gone from pajamas to clothes and from coffee to water flask and the bee blazes on. I would invite people over to watch with me, but as my kids can tell you: If anyone speaks during the bee, I lose my head. (I don’t lose my head often. Spelling bees stir up all of my emotions.)

→ 1 CommentTags:

Cosmic Poetry

May 19th, 2018 · 6 Comments · Daily

One year ago today I sat in a chair and paid a guy to draw a fountain pen nib, a stippled spiral, and suspension points on my left arm.

Untitled

The stippling was his idea, and what a good idea it was.

Untitled

I’ve spent the past year really loving my stippled bracelets, and when you love something like stippled bracelets you find yourself wanting MORE stippled bracelets.

Stick with me here for a second.

I experience (what I believe is) more than the standard amount of extreme coincidences. Here are three examples:

1. Harper (who was named for Harper Lee) was born on Harper Lee’s birthday. We didn’t find this out until she was a few weeks old.

2. About five years ago, I ran into my best friend from college after not seeing/talking to each other for a dozen years. We quickly discovered that our dogs look like cousins and are both named Henry, we had the same primary care physician, we had purchased the same set of earrings from Kohl’s, and so many other things that on their own would not be seen as extreme coincidences but when you spend evenings saying “Me too!” over and over again, something magical is happening.

3. More than once each week a streetlight will go out as I’m driving. This has been happening since my grandpa died many years ago. It happens at different times of the day and has happened in several different towns. A few weeks back I put on my armadillo necklace (Grandpa loved armadillos) and went to my mammogram. When I sat down to register for the test, the receptionist’s table lamp went out and she said something like, “Well, THAT’S never happened before!” (Me (in my head): Actually, it happens all the time.)

A book I recently read refers to these things as Practical Magic. Back in 2015 I watched an interview with Bono. During the interview he told a story about his mother, and while telling the story he said, “I am ALWAYS looking for cosmic rhymes.” Cosmic rhymes. I love that. It gave me a term other than Divine Intervention to use for those weird experiences that deserve so much more than “coincidence.” (Or “irony.” Don’t even get me started on the misuse of that word.)

Yesterday I sat in a chair and paid the same guy to draw a cross, a stippled spiral, and cascading stars on my right arm.

Cosmic poetry.

Spiral Star Cascade

The fact that I did it NOT knowing that today was the one year anniversary of the other stippled spiral is a TINY bit of cosmic poetry in itself. (Probably more of a coincidence, actually, but definitely noteworthy. Not ironic at all.)

Cosmic Poetry

My faraway mountains now have stars and the stippling didn’t hurt as much as you might think and as the artist inked the cross I thought about Jesus. Full disclosure: My mind sometimes drifted to, “Jesus, I hope he finishes the cross soon because OUCH and DAMNIT.” But mostly? I thought about Jesus.

My alarm went off at 3:50 this morning, and the cats and I came downstairs where we drank coffee and watched the wedding. And it was pretty and people had beards and my most important takeaway? I now know who Bishop Michael Curry is, and high fives to him over and over again.

→ 6 CommentsTags:

Last Day of School Thank God

May 17th, 2018 · 5 Comments · Daily

I love getting up super early and drinking coffee on the couch, and that’s the ONLY reason why I might tune in for the royal wedding on Saturday. (Also, by the time Charlotte or the other kids get married, I’ll be too busy dealing with my own problems.)

Today is the last day of school and without going into detail, let me just say: Dear God, please let the next four or so hours go by smoothly and quickly with no blood, sweat, or tears coming from “that’s not so normal” places.

This year has not been without ruffled feathers.

Untitled

(When it’s stormy, Henry wears a shirt. When Henry wears a shirt, I see him as a little boy dressed up like a dog when I should probably see him as a dog dressed up like a little boy. #Laurel)

Somewhere between three and five times each day I picture myself doing something that wouldn’t be acceptable to most.

Examples:

1. If a person with a clipboard stops me at the library and asks me to sign a petition, I let them spiel their spiel and then I sign or I don’t sign. BUT, in my mind I’m ripping the clipboard out of their hand and tossing it like a frisbee into the street.

2. If I’m eating at a fairly nice restaurant where everyone is quiet and polite, I picture myself going on a rampage and turning tables over while screaming the lyrics to “A Kiss to Build a Dream On.”

3. Every time I pass an animal who is dead because they were hit by a car, I picture myself pulling over and holding the animal in my lap for a bit. I tell the animal a few stories about how much they were loved, and then I give them a proper burial.

I watched the video of the woman defecating on the floor of Tim Hortons, and I wondered if she had spent time in the past picturing herself doing a floor defecation. I then felt a little afraid because I’m getting older and am starting to drop more filters. (In other words, I made the floor dump all about me.)

Example of a filter drop:

Last night I heard this song and I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t like it.

→ 5 CommentsTags:

Warning: Potentially disturbing photo ahead! We can still be friends, though. We can be whatever we want to be.

May 13th, 2018 · 7 Comments · Daily

Yesterday was spent celebrating my birth, and today was spent celebrating the fact that I have two teenagers in the house who call me Mom, and four animals who think of me as their mom. (At least I think that’s what they think.) Know this: I really don’t believe you have to actually give birth to be a mom. In fact, some folks believe that *I* didn’t actually give birth because the girls never slid out of my vagina.

Evidence: Please (once again) enjoy this photo of Harper being pulled from my insides! While the photo was being taken, I was chilling out on my back eating Funyuns and wondering if I would be cleaned up and returned to my room in time for Jeopardy. (I was! Fun Fact: The Final Jeopardy question had something to do with the Black Hole of Calcutta!)

First Glimpse of Harper

47 was a good year for me. I didn’t have quite enough work, but I put in a lot of volunteer hours. My colon stopped working properly, but it’s now pretty much on the mend. Although they look like something my grandma might have worn, I bought yellow shoes. A few friends gave up on me, but I made some new friends who fall under the umbrella of Band Parents Who Aren’t Afraid to Eat a Nacho or Drink a Beer. I helped a few dogs find their way back to their owners. I engaged in some friendly civil disobedience. I took a writing course. I stopped growing my hair out and will never again grow my hair out because growing my hair out is such bullshit. I started practicing the piano again.

I became a tiny bit more fearless.

I added a knocker to my collection of knockers.

Untitled

→ 7 CommentsTags:

If you can feel what I’m feeling, then it’s a musical masterpiece.

May 3rd, 2018 · 5 Comments · Daily

Untitled

Harper turned 13 on Saturday, and because we were in Columbia for state music contest, she chose Shakespeare’s Pizza for her birthday dinner. My favorite Shakespeare’s combination is broccoli pizza with orange soda, so there I went.

Untitled

Meredith turned 15 on Sunday, and she chose Mission Taco for her birthday dinner. My favorite Mission Taco dinner is two portobello tacos, so there I went.

Untitled

I will be turning 48 on the 12th, and my parents asked me what I would like for my birthday. I said, “A really tall fake ficus that can get lit in the corner of the family room.” (It’s either me or the ficus, you know.) The six-foot-tall tree arrived today and I had five strands of tiny lights. More lights will be arriving on Saturday, and I’m hoping to spend some time fluffing (because I am a fluffer) between now and then.

Untitled\

Last night I made couscous and I threw a bunch of grilled vegetables into it and summer is my least favorite time of year, but: Oh, the vegetables.

Untitled

I’m thinking of doing the lazy journal thing again.

Untitled

Finally, tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of MCA’s death, and my left ear is all “Intergalactic planetary, planetary intergalactic!”

Untitled

→ 5 CommentsTags:

And all the time she laughs at those who shout her name and steal her clothes.

April 25th, 2018 · 7 Comments · Daily

“I’ll have a Peacemaker. My friend will have a Fuzzy Navel with four pierced cherries. The Peacemaker is for me. Did you know it was named after a bomber during World War II? I’m not so much of a fru-fru drinker…” The bartender walked away as she continued to ramble on about peaches and nuclear weapons. As he should have. Because really.

I’ve been writing and stalling and writing a little more on my very first ever short story, and it’s not going anywhere at all but it’s certainly fun and I’ve reached the point where I’m enjoying the process of poking at my characters.

As Krystal fumbled with her wallet she accidentally emptied all of her cards and cash across the top of the table, buying Charlotte a few more seconds to drink as much of the beer as she could. (Charlotte could never waste a Peacemaker—especially in these troubled times.)

It seems that I really love writing on the thing when I actually sit down to write on the thing, but sitting down to write is something I tend to save until last.

The flurries were glowing under the streetlights, the sky was filled with stars, the air smelled like waffles, they were leaving perfect dusty footprints on the sidewalk, and suddenly Krystal stumbled and fell and there went all of her cash and cards again. Krystal. Shit. She is essentially homeless in this town and Charlotte knew that if she were to let Krystal crash at her place, she might take that as an invitation to stay even longer. (Sometimes it sucks to be the person who won’t let their friend sleep it out on a park bench.) As she stood shaking her head and watching Krystal recover, Charlotte heard her name, but not really her name.

“Mary?”

Let’s all sit down and write a little today. Or draw a little. Or play the piano a little. Or eat a little popcorn with a little Singapore spice a little.

As Krystal tried to take off her boots (the zippers were hilariously confusing for her), Lincoln left the room to grab water—giving Charlotte the chance to check out his decorating style, which she supposed would be considered eclectic by anyone who doesn’t want to use the word nonsensical.

The dishes/laundry/food prep can wait until tomorrow, right? What do you want to do instead? Give yourself 30 minutes and do it. (Disclaimer: I am not a licensed life coach.)

→ 7 CommentsTags:

I once threw up a doughnut in Dayton. My dad gave me a cherry Lifesaver afterwards.

April 22nd, 2018 · 4 Comments · Daily

I’ve spent the past four days in Dayton, Ohio. Not because it’s the overdose capital of the United States, but because the WGI Percussion World Championships were happening and drums are better than drugs. (I sometimes state my opinions as if they were facts. With that said, I know this to be true: Drums are Better Than Drugs. Also, when it comes to soft tacos, pinto beans are better than any other type of bean. Don’t argue with me.)

Here are some of my observations and so forth from the past four days:

I don’t mind when drumlines make entertainment out of zombies with the twitching and the tics and the dead eyes and so on. BUT, when those same movements are done in the name of Asylum Patients? It makes me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps this says more about me than about the performers. Perhaps I’m overly sensitive. Perhaps I need to get to know myself a little better.

I don’t care WHAT the hell you are TRYING to do: When you are wearing black make-up all over your face and no other part of your uniform conveys any sort of non-racist theme, I call foul. Don’t do it. Go wipe that crap off of your face and educate yourself.

I can no longer say, “I’ve never tried moonshine.” No, I didn’t drink it until I found myself barefoot and playing the banjo on a back porch while making eyes at a not-so-distant relative. (Making eyes. I’m 93.) Know this: Vanilla moonshine + root beer = Worth a shot if you know what I’m saying over here.

Band kids are great kids. They’re funny and smart and talented. They help each other out. They’re polite. They are enthusiastic and driven and they eat a lot.

Band moms get it. They know what’s important and they are devoted and they cheer loudly and they get quivery-lipped and they know that band kids are great kids who eat a lot.BANDMOMSFINAL
One of our artistic band moms made shirts for some of us to wear as we fed the kids at their banquet over the weekend. After the kids were fed, the moms met up at the bar for a bit and although I emptied my LITERAL cup, my FIGURATIVE cup is full.

(I never say things like, “My cup is full.” I wanted to try it out in the above paragraph, but I don’t think I’m going to incorporate it into my dailies. It doesn’t fit me.)

On Friday I waved to the crowd as I exited Air Force One at the National Museum of the United States Air Force and it felt very legit.

Untitled

Side note: Every time I saw “USAF” I didn’t read it as intended, because I’m childish AF.

It’s getting late and I’m getting tired and I don’t think the cover of this book is supposed to make me really sad, but it does. Poor Grandma.

Untitled

→ 4 CommentsTags:

30th Reunion Notes: The “I met a strange lady, she made me nervous. She took me in and gave me breakfast tacos.” Party Mix

April 16th, 2018 · 11 Comments · Daily

The reunion started at 700 on Saturday evening. When I pulled into the lot (more than slightly late), my little sidekick who I like to call Immobilizing Anxiety begged me to stay in the car “for just one more song.” So I did. And then I did again. BUT because I’m the luckiest person I know, I was soon able to get in touch with three friends who were up for kicking off the night at a bar two buildings down.

Less than five minutes later, I was sitting behind a few of these. (Not all were for me. Don’t make assumptions, Sporty.)

30714753_10214597162816327_4882783389952640316_n

Less than ten minutes after that, we were reunion bound once again.

IMG_0505

(“Just what the doctor ordered!” said someone who uses the idioms that I’m trying to avoid like rattlesnakes.)

Reunion Observations:
1. Although everyone in the room is staring into the mouth of a half century on Earth, every single person looked amazing and happy and energetic and the vibe made me want to hug more than five people SO I DID.

2. I stayed for only two and a half hours, and I didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone. Ah, but I *DID* get a chance to eat all the cauliflower on which I could get my hands, grammar fans. I wish I would have stayed longer. More cauliflower. More conversation.

3. I didn’t recognize probably one out of every fifteen people there. They could have been spouses or crashers or people named “Steven Enigma from your sixth hour study hall!” I have no idea, but I’m glad they were there.

4. More than one person is retired. Like, retired retired. Not yet eligible for AARP, yet playing golf and (perhaps) listening to Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. (Isn’t that what retired people do? It’s definitely what I will do.)

5. Several people mentioned that they love their job, which is so refreshingly unusual. (I really should create some Venn diagrams to summarize what I learned about specific people and humanity in general, but why would I do that when I should be packing for Ohio?)

6. I do regret being a bit of an outsider during my high school years. (Much more of a Ponyboy than a Cherry, really.) Is there an expiration date on regret? I really don’t have many.

Top Three Regrets:

  • Spending so much time hiding behind a piano and a journal during my high school years. Those activities led to a scholarship, but they didn’t lead to many invitations.
  • Taking the ACT for someone when I was in college. (I know. I KNOW. It was a horrible situation that ended even more horribly.)
  • Spray painting the word Scrotum under a bridge.

7. I had a wonderful conversation with someone I used to see throughout the week and again on Sundays, and he shared a memory with me that involved television and sex, which sounds so much dirtier than it was. I didn’t remember anything about the story he told, but I spent time yesterday opening some of the file cabinets in my head, and there it was. (By establishing space for this event in my head, I probably forgot how to slice a banana without touching it. Only time will tell.)

8. This isn’t really an observation, but I think I need to tell you that I didn’t go with the original outfit I had chosen. Instead, I went with my favorite look, which I like to call Asian-Inspired Vintage-Necklace-Wearing Badass. (I’ve never really called it that, except for right now. It probably won’t stick.) The outfit is actually fairly mundane, so I’ve decided to show it to you along with the very NOT mundane veggie breakfast tacos I ate in Denver a few years back.

BreakfastTacos

Shredded potatoes with eggs and cheese and that tomato stuff I love but can’t remember the name of right now and it’s all thrown onto mini tortillas?! Also, black linen tunic with jeans, Doc Martens, a leather tape measure bracelet because you never know, and a necklace my mom used to wear to parties in the 70s?! Yes. And yes.

9. My last move of the night was handing someone a fork filled with blue cake icing. (Do you fill a fork? Can you fill something that has tines? Tines, right? God, this would be so much easier if there had been spoons on that table.)

10. I was embarrassed by my own behavior only two or three times during the 150 minutes I spent with my former classmates and the Steven Enigmas. Nerves tend to make me either sheepish or floopy. Saturday was floopy, which means no time was spent taking deep breaths in a corner while chewing on my elbows. (I’m exaggerating. No one can chew on their own elbows. Except for maybe you.)

→ 11 CommentsTags: