At 2:45 in the morning I was listening to the rain, trying to remember when I last ate either Swiss cheese or an Oreo, and taking photos of my tongue. You might think that sounds strange, but I am willing to bet that if I provided some context you would nod your head and admit that under similar circumstances you would have done the same exact thing.
Yesterday morning I treated myself to 30 minutes of reading and oatmeal at Panera. Seated at the booth facing me was a guy in his early 20s. (Although we were facing each other, it wasn’t awkward because he was hiding behind his laptop and I was hiding behind John Irving.) When I got up to leave, he got up to leave. I headed straight over to the grocery store where I saw the same guy in the produce section (near the avocados, if you need specifics). Because this particular grocery store didn’t meet my high expectations when it comes to sweet potatoes (I have standards!), I checked out and headed to the grocery store across the street WHERE I SAW THE GUY AGAIN! THIS TIME IN THE COOKIE AISLE!
My first thought? “This guy is following me, and either he’s not very good or else my eyes are too peeled to be followed by undercover agents!” My second thought? “Oh dear God, what if something strange is happening in my brain and I’m actually following HIM?! What is the definition of transient global amnesia?!”
I started walking to the cash registers in a zigzag pattern, because I believe that’s what you’re supposed to do when being chased by an alligator.
I’m pleased to report that the guy was not in my family room when I got home, and I’m also 93% sure that he had nothing to do with my late night rainy tongue photo shoot, although I admit that I’m afraid to look too closely for his face in the background of my photos.
Last week I walked away from church with a page full of sentences that guided me through the week.
This week I walked away from church before the sermon even started because I was aggravated with one of my kids* and I needed to clear my head so I stomped out to the car, put Fiona Apple on shuffle, and drove to Panera for a hibiscus tea. While there, I watched a woman who was clearly suffering from dementia ripping up bagels and throwing the pieces into the parking lot as her family watched her from inside the restaurant. I really wanted to buy a bagel and join her because she looked like she needed a friend, but I didn’t want Jeff and the girls to walk out of church and not have a way home. So, I returned to church where I gave everyone the silent treatment when they climbed into the car because I knew I was probably meant to be ripping up bagels. (Sometimes I’m more 16 than 45, and nobody suffers more than me when I’m acting like an asshole.)
(If you don’t feel like listening to the entire song, just start it at 1:47 and go through 2:10. That’s the part that never fails to move me.)
We went to Costco, where I got some Pyrex bowls, power greens, and long-sleeved shirts to wear under t-shirts.
I baked a sweet potato and ate it for lunch.
I took a peppermint mocha to a friend and watched her baby walking around the room and making snorfle faces, and it lowered my blood pressure and I forgave myself for my moody episode from this morning and now I’m thinking I need to make a casserole or hug my dogs or something to strengthen my core.
*I’m having a hard time finding balance between letting my kids be their own people (they tend to make good decisions and they’re smart and they honestly don’t need much guidance) and gently forcing them to do the things I think they need to do because I did them when I was a kid (piano lessons, being active in the church youth group**, writing in a journal).
**I have mostly good memories from my childhood church youth group. Sure, I felt weird when one of my Sunday school teachers encouraged me to cancel the friendships with my Catholic friends because they’ll never make it to Heaven, but the majority of my experiences were good ones. My youth group friends were the most supportive friends I had, even though I didn’t really speak to most of them because it was easier to look at my shoes than to look anyone in the eye. The church we attend now seems to be designed especially for our family, and I’m trying my best to be patient as the girls figure out a path.
Another weekend is over. The highlight from this weekend was having lunch in Ferguson where I complimented a woman’s shoes (sparkly boots) and fifteen minutes later a woman came over to our table and complimented my hair. Kindness traveled in a circle and it’s once again my turn. Ferguson is not a scary place. It’s a place where you can eat lima beans and baby carrots with other people who like lima beans and baby carrots. (And if you DON’T like lima beans and baby carrots, you sure as hell better stay away from me, and you know that I’m joking, right? (Mostly. I feel pretty strongly about vegetables.))
The girls and I hung green lights on the outside of the house this week for Veterans Day and then I read an article saying that the idiots with the green lights should probably shift their focus to fight for better healthcare benefits for our veterans instead of buying into capitalistic schmuckery. I’m the first to admit that I need to concentrate on being more attentive, but I also believe that people with good hearts need to keep on trucking with their good hearts because we need more good hearts. Don’t give up the fight, good-hearted people! Hang your lights, but keep reading. Give money to the Salvation Army if you want, but also call local shelters and see if they need anything. You will never please everyone, so concentrate on helping where you can and pleasing the folks who might be needing something. A kid somewhere out there will be needing a coat in the next few weeks. He doesn’t care where the coat comes from, and he doesn’t care that you gave money to Big Light Bulb in order to hang weird green lights on your house for Veterans Day.
A few hours back, I found myself in a dressing room at the mall. (How did THAT happen?!)
I’ve been seeing people wearing short-sleeved long sweaters in the winter and I love the look, but always questioned my ability to pull it off. (Figuratively. I have no problem pulling off my sweaters. (Pause for effect.)) ((By the way, do you sense a theme in my writing lately? Perhaps one of low confidence? Maybe as if I tend to question every single thing I do or say these days? Here is a blanket Thank You and an I’m So Sorry to my friends and family for dealing with my madness.))
I went to Macy’s (because they know how to put on a parade), followed the tiles to my favorite line (Style & Co.), and ran into a rack of short-sleeved long sweaters. (Clarification: I think I sound weird when I say things like “my favorite line.” Please know that I live in bad jeans, big underpants, and my Jackson Hole hoodie. (It’s green and has a new weird stain that’s really been breaking my heart lately. I need a new Jackson Hole hoodie.))
I took two of the short-sleeved long sweaters into the dressing room (the exact dressing room I mentioned in the first line of this entry), tried them on, and took photos to send to The Internet (the world is a fun place, isn’t it?) to see which one I should get.There was this one:
And then there was this one:
I think I was pointing to the pocket because it looks like an owl, and I tend to point at owls.
THE INTERNET SPOKE and I ended up purchasing both sweaters.
I believe I’ll wear them with jeans, but I can also smell some legging possibilities.
(The Internet also helped us choose a middle name for Harper.)
((I may rely on The Internet more than I should.))
(((I got really mad at The Internet yesterday afternoon, but I’ve since decided that everything was all my fault (as it tends to be) and now we’re friends again.)))
Have you ever stuttered and skipped back and forth through life believing that you’re mostly doing the right thing and supporting the right causes and agreeing with the right people and then you read something that makes you feel like you’re barely half-assing it?
Yesterday evening, a woman I respect with every ounce of respect I have posted this article. Please read it. Please read every word of it. It shook me and slapped me and embarrassed me in the exact way that I believe I *should* be shaken and slapped and embarrassed.
When Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson last year, do you know what I did? I bought a t-shirt. It’s a Black Lives Matter shirt, and if I remember correctly, the money went to support kids in poor neighborhoods who needed (and probably still need) food and school supplies.
I bought a shirt.
Did I go to Ferguson and help? No. I went to our church where racial justice is a priority, I wore my shirt several times to the grocery store in my (mostly white) neighborhood, and I gave a big thumbs up to articles on Facebook that align with how I feel. I went to church, I went to the store, and I hit a button that says Like. Yup.
Speaking of Facebook, I recently joined a University of Missouri alumni group because I wanted to stay on top of the changes taking place at my old campus. Yesterday, one of my fellow group members accused the Mizzou student body president of lying about the racism he has experienced on campus. This group member went on to say that Jonathan Butler (the man who went on a hunger strike) comes from a wealthy family, so it’s impossible for him to know how oppression really feels.
I read what this man wrote and I was enraged, and then I turned off the computer and went back to knitting a hat.
I need to do more, because right now I believe I’m part of the problem.
I need someone to help me know what I don’t know, because sometimes I don’t even know where to look.
I need to help in a way that actually helps instead of ambling around like a peacock in a souvenir shirt.
This morning I pulled into the Costco parking lot at 9:15. Part of me knew that the store doesn’t open until 10:00, and another part of me felt hopeful that it would open at 9:00. (Another part of me can’t be bothered to take 30 seconds to look up the store hours. Sometimes I like to pretend that life is trickier than it really is. Oh, life.)
As I sat in my car (without a book or a knitting project) waiting for the Costco doors to slide open, I noticed a piece of paper flying around in the parking lot. I decided that whatever was on that piece of paper would guide me into my next adventure. (I was hoping it was a sushi menu.) I got out of my car and ran toward the paper. (No one was watching. At least that’s what I told myself. I like to live like I’m in a Lee Ann Womack song.) It blew out of my reach at least four times before I was finally able to stomp on it and pick it up.
It was not a sushi menu.
I now hold evidence showing that a Costco member purchased two hot dog/soda combos and $57 worth of razor blades at approximately 5:12 yesterday evening. After having their receipt marked by the farewell employee with the Sharpie, they walked out to their car and either dropped or threw the record of their purchase into the night.
And now I have it, and am using it as an adventure invitation. The only adventure it suggests is the shaving of all my body hair (one blade per swipe, presumably) before I feast on chicken eyes and cow lips. This is unacceptable.
Obviously, I *could* say that the receipt adventure has been loosely manifested by the fact that my birthday is on 5/12, I shaved my legs this morning for the first time in over a month, and both of my dogs are currently napping in the sun.
By 10:00 this morning, I had packed Harper’s lunch, waited with her for the bus, grabbed a coffee at Starbucks, purchased “official document” envelopes at Target where I had to defend my trip to Starbucks (I don’t even want to talk about it), picked up dog food and treats at Petco, grabbed two plates at Kohl’s so that everyone can eat their Thanksgiving dinner on a real plate (We need 11. I had 9 and a coupon.), visited the vet office for heartworm prevention pills and to set up Henry’s annual exam for Saturday, and ran to the pharmacy for Xanax and Reglan. (It’s the holiday season with the whoop-de-do and hickory dock and social anxiety that often leads to nausea that not even Amy Grant’s Christmas album can fix!) I then took out the recycling, threw dinner in the slow cooker, and fell asleep (unintentionally) for an hour before I had to pick Meredith up from school.
A half hour ago, I made biscuits from scratch, but not really because I used Bisquick. (In my world, if you don’t have to beat a can on the edge of the counter while anticipating a jack-in-the-box-like explosion, you’re baking from scratch. Nice work, Baker.)
When Jeff gets home (in approximately 17 minutes) we’ll eat dinner and then read until the holiday-themed edition of Cake Wars airs at 8:00.
When Jeff and I lived in Nashville, we would sometimes visit the Loveless Cafe for biscuits and peach preserves. We would also see Jill Sobule every time she came to town.
I miss those days like crazy, but I also love days like this one. I’ll be back tomorrow.
When I started this website back in 2001, I never had any intention of keeping it going through 2015. BUT, I’m glad I did and I won’t be letting it die out anytime soon. (I know I had a few moody episodes (One with a death threat! Oh, 2006…) during which I sat back for a few months, but honestly, even when I left I (sort of) knew I would be back.) I love documenting the stuff and nonsense in which our family seems to roll. I love having a voice and using my voice and hearing your voices.
This morning at church, our pastor spoke of privilege. As a pastor, he is allowed to attend certain events and enter certain places that your average non-pastors aren’t allowed to attend and see. He realizes that these special opportunities are part of his privilege. He also spoke of the scribes “…who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets” and how “They will receive the greater condemnation” (Mark 12:38-40).
I grabbed my notebook as soon as he said, “I know that with privilege comes responsibility.”
Having a voice is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. Using your voice to complain about drinking your latte from a plain red cup is like, well, using your voice to complain about drinking your latte from a plain red cup. Using your voice to speak up and out when someone is feeling oppressed or afraid or hungry or lonely is something else entirely.
Jonathan Butler is a graduate student at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He is currently on Day 7 of a hunger strike and will continue to strike until the university’s president steps down. The president is being blamed for not addressing the escalation of racism on campus and for admitting that he was ‘not completely aware’ of systemic racism, sexism, and patriarchy on campus, despite being provided with countless examples. It is time for a new president at the University of Missouri in Columbia—one who does not simply sit back on his leather chair (in his long robe while seated in places of honor at banquets, etc.) hoping that racism goes away. A few days ago, I had never heard of Jonathan Butler, and today he is all I can think about. Jonathan Butler is stirring up change, and it makes me sad to know that his life could end. The world needs Jonathan Butler’s voice. (I want nothing more than to deliver a warm meal to Jonathan Butler right now. The only thing holding me back is the fact that I fully support him.)
My notes from this morning’s service will be on my mind for the next week and beyond.