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Writing and Pills, Doughnuts and Murderers

May 10th, 2017 · 14 Comments · Daily

I’ve talked to three different people in the past week who are feeling inspired to write, and it’s so exciting and contagious. Right now I’m wearing ripped up jeans and a tank top (grey!), which means I should probably put something together about a woman who is going to make taco salad for dinner. (It’s a true story about me! Memoir!)

I visited my doctor yesterday for my final medication adjustment appointment. (Know this: I’m taking two different pills to prevent migraines. Both are anti-depressants, although I don’t have an official diagnosis of depression. After the election, I asked if we could up the dosages a bit. I’m now feeling like I can go back down to the original levels. It’s fun to dabble with your own brain chemistry.)

My doctor: So, how old are your kids?
Me: 10 and 12.
My doctor: They’re really growing up quickly.
Me: Yeah, because they’re not really 10 and 12. They’re 12 and 14. Should I be concerned that I sometimes call the microwave a refrigerator? Last week I called out for Harper by yelling, “OSCAR!!!”
My doctor: That’s odd. Do you know an Oscar?
Me: No. No Oscars.

Once again? Perimenopause! Or maybe? Sleep apnea.

I always have trouble recalling the word Exploit, and yesterday I couldn’t think of Fritter, as in Apple Fritter. “It’s the fried apple thing. Like a cake. Bumpy doughnut apple cake.” Add this to the list of reasons why I could never run for public office. (It’s a very long list.)

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Yesterday I got up and showered at 530 so I could rush out to wait in line for the Krispy Kreme grand opening. Harper wanted doughnuts from opening day, but was up super late on Monday night. I woke her up at 6:45 by handing her a box of warm glazed doughnuts because I try to be a good representative of Kindness at least every other day.

Not a Memoir
She worked in a pharmacy, and every few weeks she paid the Amish man who dropped off his homemade candy to be sold at the front counter. When she asked about his candy making process, he invited her to come to his house and check out his shop. Less than 24 hours later, she drove her boyfriend and me to a tiny house nearly 50 miles away from town. We turned off the highway onto a gravel road and drove quite awhile before arriving at the old stone house. We noticed there were no other houses in sight and we admitted to not feeling completely safe, yet we knocked on the door and were greeted by an older man who definitely looked surprised to see three people, and also definitely did not look Amish. He led us through the house to the basement door and down the stairs into a room lit by a single hanging light bulb. He showed us a card table and a few bags of sugar before he started mumbling about needing to go to town. She looked at us and whispered, “I think we need to get out of here.” We thanked him for his time and walked back up the stairs, through the house, and out the front door. He followed us to the car and told us that we owed him a ride. She told him we had plans and couldn’t take him. He became angry, so we jumped into the car and started backing down the gravel driveway as quickly as one can back down a gravel driveway. He chased us and slammed his fists against the car several times before we were able to gather enough speed to get away from him. He never returned to the pharmacy with his candy.

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“My chest bumps like a dryer with shoes in it.” -DFW

May 4th, 2017 · 11 Comments · Daily

So much, yet nothing! Since last we spoke, Meredith turned 14 and Harper turned 12 and we spent 24 hours in Chicago because Meredith and Jeff had tickets to see Frank Iero at Bottom Lounge.

(I love the choices Meredith makes, but please know there’s a lot of blood flying in the video. Could this possibly be the first Fluid Pudding trigger warning? Bring out the baby book!)

As Meredith and Jeff stood outside in the cold rain for two and a half hours waiting for the venue to open, Harper and I went to the pool four times and ordered a pizza and spent three hours watching My Cat From Hell before she went on an Instagram handicapable cat following spree. (As soon as Meredith and Jeff left the hotel, I told Harper she was the boss. I love the choices she makes, too.)

This is the house where David Foster Wallace finished Infinite Jest, and Jeff knows things that amaze me.
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This is not how I feel about Chicago, but it IS how I’ve felt all week for various reasons that I’ll keep inside until my head explodes. (It should happen perhaps sometime next Tuesday, unless I perfect Mindfulness between now and then. Stay tuned.)
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This is Meredith on her 14th birthday and I wish the 14-year-old me had been more like the 14-year-old her.
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The girls are pretty much done with me posting their photos here, so this is what you get of Meredith and Harper enjoying our walk from the coffee dump back to the hotel.
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Last night I took Harper to meet her favorite author. April Henry writes YA mysteries and thrillers, and if you ever get a chance to see her speak, do it. She’s brilliant and clever and not many people can hold the attention of over 100 middle school students, but she did, and Harper was over the moon.

What else? I’ve been incorporating afternoon tea into my routine, and I’m finding it to be very relaxing—a good jump start for the rest of the day. This evening I’ll be finishing A Gentleman in Moscow, and I’m sad because this book should never end. It’s just so lovely.

Meredith told me that I dress like a mom and that dressing like a mom isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it’s better than dressing like a 17 year old when you’re actually in your 40s. All of this to say: On Tuesday night I fell in love with this shirt from Altar’d State, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. (I did not buy it, but I should have.)
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We really should meet up here more often, don’t you think?

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It’s a good day for a deep breath and a nod.

April 21st, 2017 · 5 Comments · Daily

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A few hours ago, a friend gave me the bird, and it was delivered with a burst of inspiration, a side of empowerment, and a cup of tourlou tourlou. Prince died one year ago today. Life is short. Don’t be afraid to use your gifts.

Not a Memoir
I was at a party and things weren’t going my way. He walked over to talk to me and saw that my eyes were wet and my lips were quivering, so he did what any good friend would do in this situation—he asked if I wanted him to pierce my ear. I burst into tears and nodded my head. Less than a minute later, I found myself sitting on a toilet, surrounded by friends, and holding an ice cube to my left ear. He removed the diamond earring from his own ear, made me promise to return it to him someday, and forced it through the cartilage halfway down my outer rim. A few days later I switched his earring out for one of my own and drove the diamond back to his house because I always keep my promises.

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Don’t go chasing them.

April 19th, 2017 · 3 Comments · Daily

I’m wearing shorts. Ugh.

The past nine days have found me lying on the couch and glottal frying for anyone who was willing to listen. Coughing. So much coughing. No voice. Achey. More coughing.

My hot tea with raw honey and my leftovers cowl kept me company through the entire ride.
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This morning was the first day I felt decent enough to hit the streets, so I met a friend for our monthly coffee, came home and worked on freelance, and suddenly everything was good (except for the fact that I donned shorts).

What else? One week ago we bought a cookie cake to celebrate the birthday of Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco.
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Over the weekend we did that thing where you put a square on your floor and then you laugh and laugh because your cat will sit in the square. It didn’t work.
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(I would say that our cats like to think outside the box, but I’m trying really hard to not be like that.)

Finally, April 25th is the 15th anniversary of the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes from TLC. A few days ago, when my voice was four octaves lower than normal because of my cold (that seemed like so much more than a cold, really), I sang a little bit of Waterfalls. Continue to rest in peace, Left Eye.

I hope you’re well.

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Embracing the Weasel

April 9th, 2017 · 12 Comments · Daily

Not nearly often enough, I get up on a Friday morning, jump into the car, and drive three hours to visit my sister. This past Friday was one of those days.

When I arrived in Springfield we immediately headed to Subway for chopped salads. Then I took a two hour nap! (I had to sleep off a migraine pill.) Next? Hiking on a rocky path and searching for groundhogs followed by a visit to Ruby’s Market for trail mix and gluten-free muffins. At approximately 1900, we met my nephew and his girlfriend for dinner at Great American Taco Company. And that’s where Things Went Down.

My nephew (J) and his girlfriend (L) are delightful—college freshmen, super smart, refreshingly witty, responsible, and kindhearted. We sat at GATC eating our tacos (mine was NAKED) and talking about baby bicycles and skateboarding injuries and why it’s probably wrong to “borrow” a grocery cart. At some point, I glanced at L’s ear and noticed that she is Pierced. (You have to have at least eight earrings to earn that capital P.)

When I asked about the tiny hoop on the inside of her ear, she explained that it’s called a Daith piercing, and that it has totally obliterated her headaches. Because I was still coming down from the migraine pill I had taken six hours earlier, the hair on the back of my neck bristled—not unlike the hair on the neck of a wolf when he/she sees a sleeping rabbit. (I guess. I’m still trying to understand nature.)

Me: It gets rid of headaches AND it’s cute. As soon as a Daith piercing can fit into my budget, I might have to get it done.
L: I have a coupon! You can get the piercing done for $20!
Me: But what if YOU want another piercing? I can’t take your coupon.
J: I have a coupon, too! If she needs another coupon, I can give her mine!

That was when I sent a text to Jeff:
“$20 piercings. Can I get one?”
Not even knowing what the heck I was up to, Jeff came back with a thumbs up (because he is the knees of the bees), and suddenly my nephew was on his way back to the university for fraternity stuff, and my sister, L, and I were on the way to a place called Next Generation.

When we arrived, I signed all of the “I am not drunk and I don’t have HIV” paperwork, I realized that my driver’s license was back in St. Louis, and I did that thing where I started talking really quickly and saying things that have nothing to do with anything because OCEANS OF ADRENALINE!

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Let me show you what happened next.

The piercer guy told me that it was going to hurt and he explained how to clean the piercing, but he may as well have been reading passages from Moby Dick because my concentration levels had tanked and I had moved on to the annoyingly giggly stage of nervousness.

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Piercing time.
Me: Will you do a countdown?
Piercer: Nope.
And with that, he stuck a rod the size of the General Sherman Sequoia through the cartilage in my ear.

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Soon it was time to switch out the rod for the hoop and PAIN! SO MUCH PAIN! Luckily, I had L in the room with me, and she was a great cheerleader. “You’re doing great. This is the hard part. Almost done. Almost done.” There are no photos of the switch, but here I am still wincing at least ten seconds after the hoop was inserted.

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Fun Fact: The piercer told me that my cartilage was soft. AND, I was a bleeder. BUT, he assured me that the bleeding would stop before I walked out the door. (And it did.)

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After leaving the shop and dropping L off at her car, my sister and I decided to celebrate.

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Less than twelve hours later, I filled my car with Half Crocked Honey and drove back to St. Louis—pierced, donutted, and loving the life I live.

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Love is not a choice.

April 6th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Daily

To prepare for the Panic! At The Disco show, Meredith volunteered to cut over a thousand paper hearts. Last night our family joined a handful of others around the stadium who passed out hearts and explained their purpose to anyone within reach.
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“When the band plays Girls/Girls/Boys, shine your light through the heart to show your love. We’re going to fill the stadium with light!”

Many of the people who took our hearts knew exactly what they were for. A few didn’t know, but were excited to participate. (A few more thought we were selling something, so they quickened their step while staring into the distance.)

My favorite:
A boy who looked to be 17ish approached me and asked for a heart. When I handed one over, he said, “Thank you. I’m gay!”

The result of the heart cutting efforts?
A stadium rainbow that nearly drove me to tears.
Like holding up lighters, but with a clever dash of politics.
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(My camera isn’t the best for photos, and doesn’t even come close to capturing the rainbow.)

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I love that my kids listen to good music.
I love even more that they’re getting their activist feet wet.

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I’ve got magic to do.

April 4th, 2017 · 7 Comments · Daily

I had a six month check-in with my migraine doctor this morning.

Doctor B: How are the headaches?
Me: They would be better if I started doing yoga again.
Doctor B: How about your mood?
Me: It would be better if I started doing yoga again.
Doctor B: Is there a reason why you haven’t been practicing yoga?
Me: For the past several months I’ve been unfocused and blergh and pppffffffff.

I walked away with four prescriptions: One for yoga, one for meditation, one for mindfulness, and one for research into the AHA guidelines for aerobic exercise. She said too many of her patients believe yoga/meditation/mindfulness is just a bunch of crazy voodoo wizardry, and those are the ones who tend to reMAIN PAINed in the CRAAAAYNium. Anyway? I’m all in, and I’ll go back in three months with Birkenstocks, a shaved head, and a sore throat from singing my sorcerous circus incantations.

What else? I’ve got some sloppy spinning going on:
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Also, I’ve made a little more progress on my Lucca:
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Not a Memoir
It was a Sunday night, and ten or more of us were sitting in the front room of the rented house we called 210. We gathered there weekly to watch The Simpsons and decompress before the week began. The topic of prison came up (as it sometimes does) and he made us laugh when he said he could never go to prison because he didn’t look good in orange. We stopped laughing an hour later when the police came to the door and arrested him for something having to do with a bad check. The only one of us who had money decided to let our arrested friend stew at the police station a bit to teach him a lesson. We took a vote and decided that three hours in jail was sufficient, because it would give us more than enough time to order pizza.

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I called out for gaiter aid.

March 31st, 2017 · 16 Comments · Daily

I watched the presidential inauguration with a friend who was wearing a neck gaiter. When I complimented her gaiter, she showed me how it can be worn twelve ways. Miracle gaiter! I immediately shifted my focus away from the inauguration (not a difficult shift) and toward my phone where I logged in at Amazon and went gaiter shopping. This is the gaiter I purchased and I love it. Yes, I love my gaiter, yet I still haven’t worn it outside of the house.

On Monday as I sat in the pickup line at school, I studied my (still and always growing!) hair in the rear view mirror.

“Although I haven’t worn my gaiter outside of the house, I believe I need ANOTHER gaiter,” I said to myself, “to wear when the wind is blowing and I need to remind myself that I’m still alive.”  Because most of my clothes are black I decided to go with a black gaiter with white dots, AND I decided to immediately stop using the word Gaiter and start using the word Headband.

Later that evening, I put on my Delhi headband and went to Harper’s room.

Me: Harper, I know YOU would not wear this, but is it okay on me?
Harper: No.
Me: Why do you say no?
Harper: It’s fine if you don’t leave the house.
Meredith: It just looks like you’re trying to be young again.

The black and white headband arrived on Wednesday. I took it out of the envelope, put it on my head, and asked Instagram to give me a quick and honest Yes/No vote.

Everyone on Instagram (where Everyone = The People I Allow Into My Mostly Filtered World) voted Yes.

I am in good company.

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Not a Memoir

March 30th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Daily

I’ve been keeping a written journal of college/high school/childhood memory blurbs, and this morning I thought it might be fun to occasionally share some of those entries over here. (To the people in my past who are now nervous: I’ll be using gender specific pronouns, but never names.) Let me know if you like these or don’t like these and I’ll probably keep putting them up anyway because this is MY house.

Here goes.

It was hot and it was humid but most importantly, it was dark. We were walking from a friend’s house back to my dormitory when she suggested that we take off our shirts and walk the remaining few blocks in just our bras and jeans. The streetlights were fairly dim and we hadn’t seen a car in several minutes, so off went the shirts. Less than five minutes later, a car pulled up and stopped when it reached us. It was a carload of friends from the band and we carried on a ten minute conversation during which no one mentioned that we were walking the streets with our shirts in our hands.

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Her Bible has a Bono blurb.

March 27th, 2017 · 3 Comments · Daily

Spring break came and went without any trips or hiccups. People stayed over. Movies were seen. IKEA was explored. Falafel was eaten with friends. Jeff saw Son Volt. I drank a beer and ate cheesecake with a pregnant friend (she did NOT drink beer. put your eyebrows back down.).

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Meredith woke me at midnight to tell me she was going to bed. She held her phone as a flashlight in one hand and her Bible in the other.

Meredith: I’m going to bed. Good night.
Me: What’s with the Bible and the light?
Meredith: Oh. I watched a few too many ghost videos on YouTube and I’m freaking out a little, so I figured I’m safe with the Bible. Unless the Bible could serve as a ghost portal.
Me: Shit! Do you think…?
Meredith: I know. I don’t know!

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This morning on the way to school we talked about high crimes and misdemeanors and our discussion eventually twisted and whirled until we were wondering how many homeless people spent time in medical school and how you can never assume that someone lacks skills or is uneducated or unwilling to bend or learn until you know their full story.

I started reading The Idiot on Saturday, and I’m IN. Definitely recommended. I’ve been reading quite a bit lately (The Nix was incredible. The Family Fang was very much okay.), because I’m trying to figure out my ratio of reader to writer. I went to a writing group a few weeks ago, and I sat at a table with some talented writers who were WRITING. Meanwhile, I sat with a notebook and scribbled out some lines about how I had just eaten my first bit of cream cheese brioche and was feeling sad about the 46 years I spent NOT eating my first bit of cream cheese brioche. I’ve been challenging myself lately. (These challenges have nothing to do with brioche.)

“Moreover, my policy at the time was that, when confronted by two courses of action, one should always choose the less conservative and more generous. I thought this was tantamount to a moral obligation for anyone who had any advantages at all, and especially for anyone who wanted to be a writer.”
-Elif Batuman, “The Idiot”

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