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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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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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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“Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.”

November 24th, 2014 · 9 Comments · Daily

Jeff took the day off so we could start thinking about Christmas. We went to the mall and quickly realized how much we really don’t like the mall, and then I almost bought myself a t-shirt that says, “Tis the season to be pregnant” but because Jeff wouldn’t buy the semi-matching “Jingle Bellies” shirt for himself (in his defense, the shirts were in a maternity store and clearly weren’t cut for men), I decided it was time to bail so we grabbed Thai food before heading home.

The rest of the evening will be spent watching the news from Ferguson. It’s less than 25 miles away, and the local news anchors may as well save their voices for now and simply play “Inferno” from Dante Symphony. (They are masters of switching the mood between “How can we heal?” and “The crap is about to be scared out of your pants.”) Food is being collected for the police officers as well as for the peaceful protesters. School closings are beginning to roll across the television screen. People are gathering and there is a lot of anger and a lot of fear. I will continue to hope for peace, justice, and change.

St. Louis is a great town. We will get through this. We will.


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Also? None of the duck face crap.

November 23rd, 2014 · 15 Comments · Daily

After months (and months) of listening to Meredith plead her case regarding Instagram, Jeff and I finally caved and allowed her to create an account last night.

(Last week she presented us with an article (written by a mom) that mentioned all of the positives about letting your child create an Instagram account. It was a good article. In fact, it was probably the thing that nudged us into the “We’re now considering it” circle.)

Anyway, I know you don’t care about this, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.

These are the rules we created in order for our 11 7/12-year-old daughter to keep her Instagram account:
1. I will have all of her login information so that I can check the account at any time.

2. Her account is to remain privatized, meaning anyone who follows her must ask permission.

3. I have to personally approve everyone she follows as well as anyone she allows to follow her. (My eyes rolled into the back of my head this morning when I saw that one of the people who wants to follow her is a 12-year-old girl who describes herself as Sexy. Are they still injecting cows with hormones?)

4. If I detect any sort of questionable activity AT ALL from her, the account will be deleted. Similarly, if any of her followers seem to be overly dramatic (I do understand the difference between typical stupid drama and over-the-top drama) or inappropriate, they will be removed from her list of followers and blocked.

5. She will follow me, and I will follow her. I will NOT “like” any of her photos, nor will I comment on them.

6. She will read a classic novel every two months. (I know. This one is probably weird. I just want her to understand that she has to find a balance. Staring at Instagram for hours will not make anyone smarter. Reading a good book will.)

7. All homework will be completed before she’s allowed to jump on Instagram.

Within five minutes of activating her account, one of her friends requested to follow my Instagram account. I will never let anyone under the age of 20 follow me (except for my own kids), because I Am An Adult.

As of this morning, she has four followers from her new school, and this is nothing but great because meeting new people and making new friends in middle school is hard.

It’s raining, which means it’s time for hot tea and baby hats. Happy Labor Thanksgiving Day to Japan.

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Happy Birthday to My Dad!

November 22nd, 2014 · 11 Comments · Daily


I lucked out when it comes to dads (and moms, and siblings, and extended family). (Also, husbands, kids, pets, and friends.)

When I’m nervous about fixing a toilet or changing out a light fixture or using a chain saw, my dad is the guy who jumps into his car, drives to our house, and helps us get the job done. Best of all, he never laughs at me or makes me feel silly when I mess something up or I’m not able to fix something correctly.

Several years back, my dad drove an hour in the rain to deliver a pot of chili to my office. He left it in the front seat of my car (along with a bag of oyster crackers) and it was still warm when I drove it back to my apartment. (What he didn’t know was that his timing was perfect. I was out of cash, had no food at the apartment, and was planning on charging a taco for dinner.)

It is because of my dad that I plant tomatoes, I eat gooey butter cake, and I never use The F Word on my website (unless it’s necessary).

When Meredith and Harp visit my parents’ house, my dad often comes out of the back room with a 3 Musketeers candy bar. It is their ritual to cut the bar into thirds and split it. This is a tradition my kids will remember forever.

Today my dad turned 72. He claims that he spent the first several years of his life playing in the dirt with White Castle boxes. 50 years married to my mom. Nearly 47 years as a dad. Nearly 17 years as a grandpa. So many different hats, and they all fit him perfectly.

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The Weakest Link

November 21st, 2014 · 6 Comments · Daily

What I’ve done:
1. Waited for the bus with Harper.
2. Baked cookies and delivered them to some friends at the girls’ old school.
3. Came home and finished a freelance chapter.
4. Picked Meredith up from school and gave her coat to a dry cleaner lady.
5. Started knitting a hat for a baby.
6. Ate a veggie burger.
7. Fell asleep on the couch.
8. Got up to get ready for bed.
9. Remembered NaBloPoMo.
10. Hello there. And good night.

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Scout didn’t choose the stretchy dance. The stretchy dance chose Scout.

November 20th, 2014 · 4 Comments · Daily


An unexpected fun drive with a friend in the morning, chorizo seitan tacos with a friend in the afternoon. We’re getting ready to leave for a Girl Scout meeting in about ten minutes, and after that? Reading and breathing and sleeping.

Happy Thursday to All.

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Dinner for Jeff and the Girls

November 19th, 2014 · 13 Comments · Daily

Back in 1993, I asked my grandma to write down some of the recipes that she used to prepare for our Sunday afternoon lunches. (Nearly every week all of the cousins and aunts and uncles would go to Grandma’s house after church. She spent the morning making a TON of food for us, and if one of us claimed something as a favorite, that item would reappear often. (My favorite? Hog Potatoes.))


This evening I busted out Grandma’s Cookbook and made her famous Mostaccioli for Jeff and the girls.


Harper wasn’t a fan because she doesn’t like pasta, but everyone else proclaimed it a hit.

Next up? My great grandma’s sugar cookies.

(I just noticed that the second ingredient listed in Grandma’s vegetable soup recipe is Chuck roast. I sort of love that. She would NOT be a fan of my vegetarian ways.)

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