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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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The Cat In The Hat

January 17th, 2017 · 11 Comments · Daily

Oh, January. Damnit all to Hell. And I say Damnit all to Hell not because I really mean it, but just because blergh. Beautiful ice storms but Donald Trump’s Twitter, and amazing veggie fondue but blue dye on my hands from Harper’s hair and a cough that has lingered for over a month. Knitting a dozen hats to donate to marchers on Saturday but knitting a dozen hats to donate to marchers on Saturday. (People have wildly different views about the hats. Some think they’re great. Some think they’re just another sign of people needing a crap souvenir for a cause they don’t really believe in or aren’t willing to do real work for. I honestly can see both sides.)

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Do this for me: If you’re wearing a cat hat to the march and you don’t *really* need/want it afterwards, please consider donating it directly to a homeless person who is cool with wearing a pink cat hat. Maybe put a warm sandwich or something IN that hat. As a friend of mine said this morning, “You’re helping those in the cold and those hats will, for awhile, be omnipresent on the streets, a reminder of the connection between abject poverty and government’s need to be bigger than some sleezy dipshit who conned his way into the presidency.”

When I was seventeen, my world was all about my hair and my shoes. My hair because it looked like this, which required a bit of time. My shoes because I liked to watch them when I walked. (When you’re watching your shoes, you don’t have to make eye contact with someone who might be laughing at you.) ((I had some issues during Angela: The Teen Years. Angela: Forty-Something is only a tiny bit better.)) Seventeen-year-old me read TIME magazine for a Contemporary Issues class, but didn’t retain anything past quiz time. I had no idea who was fighting whom. I hadn’t even thought about voting. All of this to say: Last week I had the pleasure of knitting a cat hat for a seventeen-year-old girl who is taking a bus to Washington DC this weekend to march for the rights and safety of women. She picked the hat up on Saturday and was completely pumped and today’s kids are breaking cycles and showing up and some of them will be wearing cat hats and some of them won’t, and what they have ON their heads is so much less important than what they have IN their heads.

Some of you like it when the Beatles sing Come Together. I’ve always preferred Primal Scream and: We can still be friends. I don’t care what you’re wearing on your head, unless it’s a hat that says Make America Great Again, in which case we can STILL be friends, it’s just that I’ll be spending most of our friendship checking out my shoes.

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I try to laugh about it. Cover it all up with lies. (About chili, of all things.)

January 5th, 2017 · 7 Comments · Daily

This morning I made friends with this guy because I think he might be Morley Safer. Or maybe Gene Wilder.

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When the nurse giving me the B12 shot yesterday asked if I have a Sam’s Club membership, I lied and told her that I do. She was recommending a brand of chili that she thought I would like and I didn’t want to disappoint her. The sad thing? When I go back for my shot next month, she is going to ask me about the chili and I’ll have to lie AGAIN. Tangled webs. (Now I should probably go out and get a Sam’s Club membership to balance everything out. DAMNIT!) ((We’re Costco fans. Wait. MAYBE COSTCO HAS THE CHILI!!! Wait some more. I can’t even remember what kind of chili it is because I was trying too hard to maintain “I’m not lying” eye contact. Chili lies. What am I doing?!))

(Do you remember when I blew my shoes out in November? The shoes pictured above are the replacements!)

I skipped out of the house for 90 minutes last night to share a beer with friends (One is silver and the other’s gold!) who then gifted me that beer along with an Assport. I’ve managed to surround myself with the best people, and I now need to drink 20 beers from 20 different countries so I can earn a t-shirt. (Goals. I’ve got ’em.)

After returning home from my sour stout travels, I tried to convince the girls that I’ve found my new hairstyle.

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It might remind you of this.

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I like how your brain works.

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And as I turned to make my way back home, the snow turned into rain.

December 30th, 2016 · 9 Comments · Daily

I didn’t think I was feeling the holiday spirit this year, but then I started listing my joys from the past week and the list looks like it might actually smell like Christmas:

1. Ate black bean samosas at a cat cafe. (If you aren’t allergic to cats I recommend finding a cat cafe that serves black bean samosas, because really.)

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2. Held a seven-month-old baby who squeaks and smiles and does that uncontrollable crazy baby arm thing that I’ve always loved.

3. Spent three and a half hours in the car alone with my nephew as I drove him back home from St. Louis. We’ve never had that much time alone to solve the world’s problems, and it was wonderful.

4. Listened to three generations of talented musicians singing and playing folk songs in our dining room.

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5. Met two of my favorite friends from college for beer and hummus. I haven’t seen one of these friends in nearly 25 years and what a night. What a night!

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6. Saw my niece for the first time in over a year and suddenly she looks and acts like a teenager, and I’m willing to bet that she has read more books than you in the past twelve months.

7. Listened to my brother-in-law reading a very entertaining short story titled “Don Quixote and the Ambiguity of Reading.”

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8. Shared a few too many beers at a self-serve taphouse with a friend who makes time pass entirely too quickly. I smiled until my face hurt. I tilted my head to the right because that’s what I tend to do when I don’t have words. I walked away with an autographed Anthony Bourdain book and a bucket of beans and the perfect blend of HappySad.

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9. Added to my honey collection. I now drizzle honey onto and into nearly everything I eat or drink, which means I’ll soon begin: 1. Communicating by using pheromones, and 2. Growing hair out of my eyes.

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And now it’s time to close down this year as we figure out how to make next year better. I’m going to accomplish Better with fresh words and new music and Revolution. Also, the new album by A Tribe Called Quest, blueberry vinegar, a candle that smells like a bonfire, and viciously unconventional revivification.

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And so this is Christmas, and what have we done?

December 21st, 2016 · 10 Comments · Daily

The past eight days have found me suffering from the same throat and nose thing that has infected everyone I know (along with their extended families and co-workers). I’ve had to cancel on lunches and coffees and cookie baking parties and family Christmas parties and here is a photo that was taken yesterday when I had a fever and a stomach thing along with the nose and the throat thing and I think Jesus was trying to call me home.

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I looked toward the light and said, “Please give me more time, Jesus. I have plans for 2017.” And He said, “Okey doke, but make sure those plans are for the Good, because I’m starting to get tired of all the Not Good down there.” And I answered, “You betcha. Good is what I do best.” And He whispered, “Jam on.”

This morning I felt a tiny bit better, so I took a shower (it was time) and swallowed some pills and decided to drive to a store to buy pajamas for the girls because it’s the last day of school for the year and I buy Christmas pajamas for them every year and Right Now! I NEED TO GO RIGHT NOW! (I don’t feel so good.) I’M LEAVING! I’VE TAKEN MY MEDICINE!

I grabbed a coffee and drove to Old Navy and after I chose the girls’ pajamas I started sweating and I felt like I was going to faint so I decided to take deep breaths and focus on plaid shirts because I don’t have one and I think I might need one, where “need” is a huge exaggeration because what do I NEED? Fluids. Rest. (MAYBE a plaid shirt? YES a plaid shirt.)

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In a few minutes I’ll be picking up my Glasses o’ Severity and later this evening I’m going to load my new green pen and write down all of my childhood memories into this red notebook. All of them. (Cold medicine was included in the photo just for fun because I’ve taken a lot of it and I’m not embarrassed. Maybe a little jittery, but not embarrassed.)

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I’m missing out on another gathering this evening and I’m bummed because I STILL haven’t found Christmas and my head is filled with stories of oranges and live nativity scenes and Oh! The online holiday concert went live a few days back and I’m in it. What I *want* to do is point out all of the bad parts within my submission and tell you to just skip to the very end where I do a special shout out to Prince. What I *will* do is smile politely and tell you that I hope your holidays are filled with pleasant smells and nice thoughts and good health and music that lifts you.

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