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Twelve is more than a Patti Smith album.

April 29th, 2015 · 20 Comments · Daily

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I was watching Oprah on April 28, 2003 when I started seeing twinkling bugs flying in front of my face. Because I was four days past my due date, my doctor took the bugs as a sign that it was time for Meredith to come out. About an hour later as we drove to the hospital, Jeff and I stopped by White Castle because I thought I needed a fish sandwich and fries. (Did I mention that I gained 80 pounds during this pregnancy?)

very pregnant

Anyway, when it was determined that pushing Meredith out the traditional way would most likely be impossible, my doctor decided that we would go with a C-section.

Nurse: Have you eaten anything today?

Me: Yep. A fish sandwich and fries less than an hour ago.

Nurse: Okay, well, it’s best to wait eight hours after eating before surgery, so that puts us right at 1:30 in the morning.

Me: Worth it.

Meredith Claire was pulled out at 2:03. She was 21 inches long and weighed 10 pounds and 3 ounces, and that White Castle fish sandwich was the only thing that prevented my kids from having the same exact birthday (with two years between).

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Meredith is super smart and super funny and I often forget that she’s in the sixth grade because her mind seems so much deeper. When we moved earlier this year and started at a new school, it took Meredith a few months to find friends because she felt like it was important to make the RIGHT friends. I was pretty worried about her because it seemed like Harper was coming home with a new friend’s name nearly every day. Eight months later? Meredith has surrounded herself with amazingly smart girls who share her love of books, animals, and music. Last night before she went to bed, she told me that even though some kids poke fun at the smart kids, she really enjoys knowing that she’s intelligent.

This is one of her current favorite songs.

Meredith loves burritos, chocolate chip cookies, and reading dystopian fiction.
She is 12 years old and is already researching universities.
She is convinced that she requires at least one doughnut each week.

The happiest of birthdays to you, Meredith.

I’ll be sitting over here in the corner eating MY weekly doughnut and trying to figure out how to make time slow down.

Reading on a Street Corner

Sisterly Love and All That Jazz

First Popsicles of the Season

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Ten is more than a Pearl Jam album.

April 28th, 2015 · 14 Comments · Daily

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Harper loves thin crust cheese pizza and Cool Ranch Doritos.

Her favorite book is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

She could spend hours building elaborate chicken houses on Minecraft.

Last week this song shuffled in the car and she put down her book (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and listened to every word.

Harper was pulled from me exactly ten years ago (the photo is here!) and I celebrated her first decade in the most traditional way: With a caramel latte and a clematis.

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This clematis will (hopefully) reach up and around our pergola to remind me of how Harper used to be—glued to my side.

Happy Birthday, Harper Rose. I can’t wait to see what the next decade brings. You are the knees of the bees.

(Also, Happy Birthday, Harper Lee. I hope people are treating you kindly.)

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According to horticulture educators, phlox subulata is deer resistant.

April 21st, 2015 · 10 Comments · Daily

Current State of Mind: I’m not busy at all, yet entirely too busy, and it’s making me twitchy. I need a freelance gig. Or a job. Or something that makes me feel a bit of Worth. I don’t want to talk about it.

Where I’ve Been: I recently took a (long overdue and much too quick) trip to attend my nephew’s tennis tournament during which he won every match he played and I was so excited to be there and the whole thing made me think about David Foster Wallace in a very happy/sad way. Also, while visiting, I ate a croissant, a bunch of doughnuts, and a salad (because: Balance).

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(The doughnut closest to you was the only one I ate from this particular box. It was a yeast doughnut with vanilla icing, cinnamon sugar, and caramel drizzle. What a brilliantly stupid doughnut. One of the best I’ve had, and I’ve had many.) Also while visiting, I took a nearly three mile walk with my sister (because: Balance). I talked to a woman who was spinning fiber at a farmers market. I purchased some creeping phlox and a citronella plant.

Gardening at Night: The deer ate my Asiatic lilies and ripped my new creeping phlox right out of the ground. I love the deer. I love the deer. I love the deer. (I really do love the deer, and will continue to love them as long as they continue to operate in silence. Sometimes a deer (or a person, or me) opens their mouth and suddenly you’re left wincing just a little.)

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Turning Pages: I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and it was exactly what I needed to be reading. I’m now reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, and although I’m less than 100 pages in, I’m In.

I’m feeling the need to make molasses cookies. I miss having something to say. If I make molasses cookies, I’ll tell you about them. I hope you’re well.

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Oh, nothing. Just pruning trees and reading gardening books. Like I do.

April 14th, 2015 · 13 Comments · Daily

When I lived in Nashville, I was an associate editor at a publisher of botanical guides, and the only information I retained is a scattered list of scientific names and a few opinions on trees and plants that seemed pretty. Acer rubrum! Dicentra spectabilis! Echinacea purpurea! All pretty! (I also know that most authors of botanical guides are completely delightful, unless they are most definitely NOT delightful. The same can be said for authors of dental books! These are my opinions only!)

We moved into our house in August of last year, and now it appears that spring has sprung. (I swear I don’t talk like that in real life. I actually don’t talk much at all in real life.) Because more than one neighbor has referred to our house as The House With All The Trees, I figured it might be a good time to wrap my head around what we have and what we need to maintain our horticultural street cred. (I never say street cred. I’m on my third cup of powdered chemical coffee this morning and I have about 35 things that I need to do today. Instead of doing them, I thought I would sit down and type. Because that’s what I LIKE to do. Here I am. Hi there. Hi. Hi.)

Back up to a few weeks ago. A good friend of mine came over to visit, and she brought me a beautiful orchid. It is gorgeous and like the glass punch bowl that we received as a wedding gift, it scared the crap out of me because I didn’t want to screw it up. I conveyed this information to my friend, and she told me that a person is either a plant person or NOT a plant person, and that you can choose to nurture a plant or you can toss it when it’s past the blooming stage. She then told me how simple it is to keep an orchid alive. (Water it once a week. Honestly. That’s it.)

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This changed everything. I know I can’t be a master gardener right out of the gate. I also know that flowers and plants shouldn’t be stressful. They’re just like lemon bars. Nothing but trial and error and hosing down the aphids. (They’re nothing like lemon bars, really.)

Anyway. On Saturday, we purchased two Verbena plants, three Asiatic Lilies, a Columbine, and a Lilac. (The Columbine and Lilac weren’t willing to pose for the photo.)

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We then weeded and mulched the two big patches of dirt in the front yard (we call them our yard kidneys) and threw those flowers into the ground. (More flowers will be planted as time goes by. My goal is to have blooms from spring to fall.)

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I pruned our Blue Chip Juniper.
I bought Gaillardia, Butterfly Weed, and Purple Coneflower seeds.
I learned that a Sand Cherry is NOT a Red Bud.

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We’re just getting started.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to introduce myself to our Buckeye, Dogwood, Tulip, Oak, Yoshino Cherry, White Pine, Bayberry, Yew, Burning Bush, Spirea, Liriope, Fringetree, Japanese Red Maple, and Serviceberry. (I will thank the Serviceberry for its service, which is a ballsy move. Sometimes people (and trees) don’t realize I’m just trying to be funny. We’ll see what happens.)

Oh. Wait. The only reason I know we have those trees is because Jeff found the (weird but super helpful) landscaping map from when the house was built in 1996.

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I welcome any and all gardening advice!
I would have never said those words three weeks ago!

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We haven’t talked in quite some time.

April 8th, 2015 · 16 Comments · Daily

Someone in my subdivision might be a bit of a jerk, but I have no idea who it is which makes me wonder if perhaps I’M a bit of a jerk (I am. Aren’t we all?), and the past week has found me doing a difficult dance. (Please know that I’m purposefully forcing you to surf on oceans of obscurantism because: 1. I won’t drag you into this, and 2. Everyone has ideas and opinions and so do we and We’re All (Mostly) Fine in (Mostly) Every Conceivable Way and I spent all of last week reading and hearing opinions and ideas, and for now I just want to hear the water dripping from my weird little fountain in the kitchen.)

To balance out the neighborhood crumminess:

1. I visited a new friend (the mother of one of Meredith’s friends) for lunch and I learned that we lean the same way politically and socially and literarily. (Socially and literarily? Not a big deal. I think people are mostly nice and funny and want to read good books. Politically? Let’s just say this. The things that resonate with me don’t resonate with many folks in this neck of the woods. Finding someone with similar opinions is like reaching into your pocket and pulling out a fresh from the oven oatmeal cookie. Without raisins.)

2. Jeff was out of town for a few days which never doesn’t suck, but a restaurant gave me a muffin while he was gone. AND, that muffin came on the heels of eating some amazing quiche and figuring out a knitting pattern for a friend so she can finish a blanket her mother was knitting for a charity.

3. I learned how to make a bracelet out of parachute cord and then I drank a delicious brown sugar vanilla soy latte.

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I’m within 150 pages of finishing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and I don’t want it to end. Ever.

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The reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time, William Faulkner.

March 30th, 2015 · 11 Comments · Daily

I haven’t been going on many adventures lately. (Quick summary of my most recent adventures: 1. Eating a gutload of cupcakes at a new bakery with one of my favorite people and the company was better than the dessert which doesn’t happen very often, 2. Joining up with seven people from our church for dinner and is it weird that I STILL haven’t met a person that I don’t like at that church?, and 3. Taking Harper to my favorite salon to celebrate our You’re Turning Ten So Let’s Dye Your Tips tradition.)

The woman who cuts my hair (and I love her because she’s an artist and although I cheated on her once I NEVER WILL AGAIN) kicked off the party by bleaching out Harp’s ends.

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About two hours later, the color was revealed.

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(Is it weird that I’m covering her face with goofy pretend stickers? Harper is almost ten now and is recognizable and I donated all of my mommy blogger hats and shoestrings to the kidney people when we moved. I guess I’ll just do what I want to do, which is what we should ALL be doing. Within reason.)

Harper’s hair is amazing. And, no. Her school doesn’t necessarily allow dyed hair. BUT, that rule has never been written/published and our oral source (let’s call her Addie Bundren) didn’t/couldn’t make direct eye contact As She Lied (About) Dyeing. We have less than eight weeks to go, a perfect attendance record, and a darn good report card. I’m willing to do a little ruffling for the sake of family tradition.

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I think I’ll just stick with Waffle Pit Party. (With emphasis on Pit and not Pity!)

March 17th, 2015 · 9 Comments · Daily

I’m just going to say it. If Madonna ever calls and wants to grab burritos with me, I will turn down the offer. I probably won’t say this to her face, but I really don’t think we’re compatible. And that’s okay. She’s MADONNA, which means she probably has a lot of friends (both genuine and not so much). I don’t have a lot of friends, but I really like the ones I have, and there’s no room for Madonna in my Hyundai. (I also don’t have room for Mariah Carey, Ashley Judd, or Elisabeth Hasselbeck. In fact, it just took me nearly 20 minutes to care enough about the correct spelling of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s name to return to this paragraph and change my original Elizabeth Hasselback.)

On the seventh day of spring break, I put green food coloring into my cashew milk/ banana/ almond butter smoothie. We then met a friend for Mediterranean lunch (falafel salad for me!), we went to the oil change dump for an oil/brake light/wiper hat trick, we grocery shopped for beefless beef and liquid aminos (because we are chemists), and now we’re doing laundry. In approximately three hours, I’ll be eating sushi and then knitting for a bit. Also, I need to search out something that will make my mind sharper, and that is such a long story and it probably wouldn’t interest you at all, so I’ll leave it at that.

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This photo was taken 22 years ago, on the day I graduated from college. I told the dean’s assistant to announce me as Angela Farquhar, and when he did, I laughed and laughed but then found out that it sort of confused (and probably angered) my parents and grandparents and the confusion (and potential anger) sort of outweighed the humor which perfectly explains my incompatibility with Madonna.

At 3:23 in the morning, I typed the following note into my phone:
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The Trazodone is no longer working, so I believe it’s time to embrace the idea of second sleep. Because life is what you make it, I think I’ll seek out similarly deprived neighbors for semi-regular three in the morning fire pit/harmonica/waffle hootenannies. Babies are welcome. (I’m still a little iffy on the harmonicas. Can it still be called a hootenanny if there is no folk music?)

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I said, “In these shoes? I doubt you’d survive.”

March 16th, 2015 · 6 Comments · Daily

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On the third day of spring break we found a new favorite popcorn place after we ate cookies at our favorite cookie place.
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On the fourth day of spring break we went to the zoo. And that’s where I remembered that the zoo makes me sad.
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On the fifth day of spring break I baked Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, and it was just as good as it sounds.
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Also on the sixth day (which happens to be today) we joined new friends for lunch at the biggest Chinese buffet I’ve ever seen and then we walked something like 382 miles on the Katy Trail. (I’ve been walking a lot lately. Up until last week, the Fitbit I received for Christmas was cursing her luck at being gifted to such an unambitious good-for-nothing. I’m proud to say that as of this very second, I’ve walked 106,764 steps in the past seven days. Why am I walking after spending so much time not walking? Because a book titled Being Mortal is haunting me. Because I’m sick of sitting on the couch. Because I saw a number on the scale last week of which I wasn’t very fond. Because I have 106,764 things going on in my head right now, and I want to sweat them.)

Our spring break at the new school is ten days long. Two full weeks of nothing but breaking, and it has been amazingly good.

On Spring Break, Day Three (also known as Popcorn and Cookie Day) I bought a pair of navy Converse All-Stars to match the ones I purchased back in 1992. (If the 1992 shoes could talk, they would tell you stories of walking across broken bridges and late-night hiking at a place called Pinn4cles and rooftop turkey parties and my first (and also final) float trip that I attended with Jeff. It was on that float trip that Jeff’s friend (also named Jeff, because nearly all of his friends are named Jeff, and that makes life so easy) proclaimed that I was a keeper because my towels smelled fresh. Also during that float trip, I watched horseflies sucking blood out of a drunk man’s back. The blood was very thin and the flies were very thick and my shoes had never seen anything quite like what they saw on that float trip.)

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Here’s to four more adventure-filled spring break days. And then more days. (And more adventures.)

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Everybody’s got something to hide, except for me and my monkey lamp.

February 26th, 2015 · 10 Comments · Daily

It just occurred to me that Fluid Pudding is nearly 13.5 years old. It’s face is starting to break out, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a lady.

This has been a tricky week for many reasons that I refuse to go into. Many reasons for which going into is refused by me. Of which going into is refused? Anyway. You don’t need to know.

This is what you need to know. (Here I sit on a wooden chair in my kitchen smelling like patchouli oil (because I DO) and determining what it is that you need to know. This is how the world works sometimes.)

I finished the Stone Hollow Mittens last weekend. The designer, Carol Sunday, is the woman who designed the cardigan that I finished a few weeks ago. Her patterns are amazing.

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I’m currently reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and on Monday I went to a secondhand store that housed a few dolls who could qualify as peculiar children.

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Sometimes a person will go to a garage sale, pick up a monkey lamp that is priced at $15, and then say something like, “I’ll give you $10 for the monkey lamp.” Immediately, the person who priced the monkey lamp at $15 is put in the awkward position of not wanting to seem like a jerk, but come on! It’s a fully functioning monkey lamp, and it’s priced at $15 which is a very competitive price in the world of used monkey lamps! And maybe the person making the low ball monkey lamp offer doesn’t even realize that the offer is slightly offensive and upsetting, but maybe the person SELLING the monkey lamp knows that the person making the low ball offer can’t seem to pay his electric bill to even WORK a monkey lamp, yet somehow manages to spend quite a bit of money on hookers and blow. Something is wrong. The End.

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Sometimes I think I need to change my LinkedIn profile from Freelance Editor to Purveyor of Monkey Lamps. Also: I Am A Monkey Lamp.

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(I’m once again not sleeping. Can you tell? Did I go too far with the monkey lamp thing? Buckle up. I’m about to mention my dog’s butt problem.)

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The best news of the week? One of my favorite people mentioned a Mediterranean restaurant that is located less than ten minutes away from our house. It’s called Mario’s Donuts and Cafe, and on Saturday night I had a falafel. On Sunday morning I had a doughnut. During the Oscars I had baklava. (I’ve been eating my angst. Also, I quit Weight Watchers. Something wicked this way comes, and it just might be baba ghanoush.)

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The perfume contains notes of pink pepper and suede flower. I know nothing about so many things.

February 20th, 2015 · 10 Comments · Daily

Her: Can I help you find something?

Me: Please! Perfume gives me a migraine, and I’m trying to find the new Taylor Swift rollerball perfume for my daughter’s friend and all I see are the $45 bottles and I really can’t be in this area much longer.

Her: You walked right past it.

(She picks up a rollerball thing and hands it to me.)

Her: It smells very good. Lots of stars go heavy on floral and candy scents, but this has fruity notes. Almost like a grapefruit.

Me (really not doing well in the perfume aisle): Excellent! I’m sure Taylor Swift needs it to smell good, because I picture her walking around smelling like sour cream and onion dip!

Her (suddenly angry, and I’m not imagining it): Ma’am, the stars put a lot of effort into creating their scents. It’s not really a joke.

Me (thinking, for example, that even though *I* can’t/won’t wear dolman sleeves, other people think dolman sleeves are the GREATEST sleeves, and some people treat perfume like a dolman sleeve, and I clearly need to think this comparison through a bit more, but right now I’m feeling lightning behind my right eye): You’ve been very helpful. Sorry about that sour cream and onion thing.

This is what I’ve learned so far today, and it’s not even noon:
If you use a stoneware microwave egg maker, you really should clean it immediately after use.
My anxiety/crankiness skyrockets when I don’t have a freelance job.
The stars put a lot of effort into creating their scents.

If you have any opinions regarding Bullet Journals vs. Passion Planners and similar topics, I would love to hear those opinions. Most importantly, may your day include notes of white amber and Haitian vetiver. (You’re welcome.)

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