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Happy New Year to you. (And even to you.)

December 31st, 2017 · 7 Comments · Daily

I just spent about seven minutes reading through the past year of Fluid Pudding so I could put together a “hey Hey HEY! Look at how I’m changing the world over here!” post. Turns out, not so much world changing was accomplished by me in the past twelve months.

It looks like I maybe wore shorts once. I ate a lot of food. I sat in a piercing chair three times and a tattoo chair once. I took a writing class. I gave ten bucks to a homeless violin player even though he was playing Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.” I cleaned up animal vomit. I started selling honey. I read some books.

Here are some of the books I read in 2017:

  1. Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides
  2. The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
  3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  4. Hunger by Roxane Gay
  5. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  6. The Idiot by Elif Batuman
  7. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  8. The Nix by Nathan Hill
  9. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  10. Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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Normally my fortune says something like “Virtue is a journey and companions will lift your spirits higher than mountains before love will tear us apart.” This was better.

What I hope to accomplish in 2018:

  1. More church, fewer canned foods.
  2. More beans, less eye rolling.
  3. More yoga, less falling asleep in bad places.
  4. More glitter eyeliner, fewer migraines.
  5. More hygge, less Mariah Carey.

More listening. More kindness. More reaching out to help. More connections. More knitting and sewing and writing and reading and creating and enjoying. More spark than fizzle.

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(More water. More deep breaths. More benefit of the doubt.)

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Onesies aren’t just for babies.

December 29th, 2017 · 5 Comments · Daily

Christmas. I’m never quite ready for it (I still haven’t finished shopping. Oh, what’s that? Christmas is over, you say? NOT IN MY WORLD!), yet it always happens and it’s always just fine.

Even when one of the dogs is emptying his stomach all over the floor? Just fine. (Picking up the pile was not pleasant, especially when I reached the clump that I thought was a bird. But, you know what? It wasn’t a bird, and within 12 hours Henry was mostly back to normal.)

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I’ve messed up quite a bit over the past few days. I tried to make a Texas sheet cake in a regular cake pan and then halfway through baking time it occurred to me that it’s called a sheet cake because it’s supposed to be made on a sheet. SO, Jeff and I spatula’d (spatulaed? what is happening right now?) the half-baked (we’ve all been there) cake onto a sheet and smashed it down and fast forward 30 minutes to when Jeff called it a Texas Bullsheet Cake. The name stuck, and the “cake” was surprisingly delicious.

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Several gifts for the girls haven’t yet arrived because I ordered them too late. (A few haven’t even shipped because I *really* ordered them too late.) I’ve misplaced a gift that I purchased for Harper. (It’s a bath bomb called The F Bomb, and maybe it’s all for the best.) Earlier this week I was going to visit with a friend at around 800 in the morning and do you know what time I woke up? 829. I’ve been making crappy food choices and sleeping too much and hugging on the dogs when I should be wiping down the counters. Ah, but the fan continues to spin and as soon as the temperatures rise above freezing, I’ll be installing outdoor lighting in front of the house. (To me, outdoor lighting is EVERYTHING, which I originally typed as EVERYTHONG.)

Let’s see. What else? I learned how to use the buttflap of a onesie because desperate times call for desperate measures and our main floor bathroom doesn’t have a vent so it’s COLD in there! I’ve been practicing my eyebrow application and it doesn’t seem to be going very well, so I have decided to distract the viewer with glittery face powder and an armadillo necklace that hangs right at the line of cleavage. (I have no clothing that displays any sort of cleavage. Sorry, armadillo.) ((Why an armadillo? Because of my grandpa. That’s why.))

Evidence of the onesie along with a mantel gnome and a facial expression of buttflap-conquering pride:
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And another thing: A friend sent this to me and I love it so much because I believe I could be the happiest resident of Doreenia.

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Last night a friend asked if I was going to do the new 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene that starts on January 1. I have been so far removed from yoga that I didn’t even realize a new program was starting. BUT, I just signed up. Care to join?

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Merry Christmas…

December 20th, 2017 · 13 Comments · Daily

…to the employee at Moe’s who talked me into putting rice on my burrito…to my daughter’s history teacher who was shot while running in the woods, yet managed to make it back to the high school to help protect the kids…to all people who dedicate themselves to making the world a better place…to the woman at the coffee dump who bought hot chocolate for a young homeless man…to the makeup guy at Sephora who patiently answered 493 questions about my vanishing eyebrows…to my friends who forgive my forgetfulness as well as my shameless use of alliteration…to Judge Derrick Watson and Judge Theodore D. Chuang…to the band parents who are just as “Hell Yeah!” as I am…to my family for seeing past my weirditude about crowds and seating arrangements and notebooks and sleepiness…to Maxine Waters and to John McCain…to the writers and the poets and the artists and the misfits and the activists…to you.

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Oh, 2017. Last night Harper said something like, “2016 really sucked, but it feels like 2017 was even worse.” Sure, this comes from a kid who has her own bedroom and the house is warm when it’s cold outside and we always have Cool Ranch Doritos. BUT, it’s also the kid who knows that not everyone from Mexico, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen is itching to kill Americans.

We’ve had many talks about how the world shouldn’t be so Us and Them. Reminder: Just because I’m anti-NRA doesn’t mean I’m against responsible gun ownership. Just because I’m a (bleeding heart) liberal doesn’t mean I’m not a Christian or that I’m pro-abortion. (Pro-abortion. I know. What a horrible label that is.) Just because I support the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t mean that I don’t support the police. I have friends and family members on both sides of all fences and although we may disagree on so many things, I wouldn’t hesitate to take them soup or tea if they needed or wanted it.

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I just finished reading Braving the Wilderness and I *never* read books like Braving the Wilderness, but maybe I should because YES ON BRAVING THE WILDERNESS. Brené Brown has poked me in the eyes and given me some really important things to incorporate.

Because of Braving the Wilderness along with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and also because I stumbled and low self-esteemrolled my way through 2017, my word for 2018 is Connect. My goals for 2018? Keep writing and stop dehumanizing. Work on my stomach, my head, and my falling asleep in weird places. Listen. Love. Connect.

“We’re all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by life’s trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing.” -Bukowski

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These three people (a man and two of his daughters, along with one other daughter whose headstone has been removed) are buried in a subdivision near the middle school. I love that even though their farm is now a subdivision, they are still there.

And I’m still here and you’re still here and I hope your holidays sparkle and fizz.

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(The girls and I visited my sister for her 50th birthday last weekend. This photo was taken shortly after I jumped out of the car and ran into a stranger’s front yard to hug their gigantic snowmen. Never send away the weasel.)

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Also, the Alabama thing should not have been so close. So much work to do.

December 13th, 2017 · 7 Comments · Daily

This week has been a sulky weirdo. Monday was the fourth anniversary of the death of my friend Joan. Yesterday was the third anniversary of the death of Ramona Quimby. The house where I grew up was demolished sometime in the past few days. (I miss my friend and my cat and I knew the house thing was going to happen. Individually, each of these things might bring a tight-lipped sigh through the nose and a brief staring contest with my shoes. Together? Let’s just say I’ve been eating a lot of cookies.)

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Ah, but not everything is gloomy! I spent the day with my mom yesterday and while we were out I restocked my underpants and purchased a metallic Sharpie! Tomorrow morning I’ll be writing with a friend and on Friday? Breakfast with Tempe before a quick trip to visit my sister for the weekend.

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I’ve had those frog pants since something like 1997 and Henry notices when I’m full of damnits and knows exactly how to erase them.

I’m one skein in on my boxy sweater.

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Our family lit the advent candle at church last weekend, and I was able to read two lessons during the Lessons and Carols service, and as we strolled around before the service I noticed that these things are hanging on the wall and the least important item is the one that points toward the restroom. Even if it’s an emergency.

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Finally, I had my tubes tied in 2011. I had a hysterectomy in 2014. I’ve been taking birth control pills off and on (mostly on) since 1992 to keep my migraines under control. Last week my doctor took me off of the pill and put me on a low dose of estrogen and I think my brain is missing the progesterone and is punishing me by making me feel all Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down.

I would ask you to tell me a joke, but I would hate for someone to bring up Hitler.

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Saturday!

December 9th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Daily

This morning after dropping Harper off for her ACT, I killed an hour at one of my favorite coffee dumps. (For the curious: I had hot Earl Grey and a copy of Sing, Unburied, Sing.) The couple seated behind me talked about one of the most recent school shootings. The man in the comfy chair next to me drank from his coffee mug, ate a bite of peanut butter cookie, and then stood up and walked to the piano where he played a middle C. He would then return to the chair, sit down, and repeat the process. When he first started this routine, I was sort of annoyed. It didn’t take long before I was totally fine with the drink/eat/C, and annoyed with the people who looked annoyed with the drink/eat/C. Hell, if you have to drink/eat/C to feel level, I say drink/eat/C. Personally, I knit/nap/stare at my shoes. We all have our stuff.

Speaking of school shootings and how I’m not very good at segues, Meredith’s history teacher was shot on a trail near the high school a few weeks back. The bullet traveled into him and out of him, yet he somehow managed to keep moving so he could flag down a car and get a lift back to the high school. He was worried the shooter (who was caught the next day) was headed toward the school, so he wanted to save the kids because he’s a freaking hero with a Beastie Boys poster on his wall. (I made a mental note to like him at Curriculum Night all because of a Beastie Boys poster. I should perform the entire Licensed to Ill album for you sometime, but I probably won’t because I’m 47 and I should be knitting or napping or staring at my shoes.) The teacher was released from the hospital on the evening of the shooting and is currently recovering at home.

All of this to say: We’re all just a trail walk (where “trail walk” is probably a metaphor) away from something that creates a Before and an After. I’m sure the teacher will now refer to events in terms of “Before I Was Shot” and “After I Was Shot.” I have a few before/after events: College, Marriage, Kids. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my friends and family and their Befores and Afters.

Speaking of college and how that segue thing doesn’t seem to be improving, after the adventure at the coffee dump, I drove myself over to a craft show to wander around and do the whole “I could make that!” thing. As I stood rifling (no gun pun intended because Dear God with the guns already) around in a bucket of mittens, the mitten lady mentioned that she had only one pair of Mizzou mittens. The woman next to me said, “Oh. I’m not a fan of Mizzou.”

Me (clearly joking): WHAT?!

Woman Next to Me (WNtM): Mizzou is a party school.

Me (defending my beloved (?) university): It doesn’t HAVE to be.

WNtM: I suppose you could get an education there. A SEX EDUCATION.

She laughed and laughed until I grabbed her coat hood, lifted her up, and swung her three times above my head before flinging her into the side of the kettle corn truck while screaming, “MY MIZZOU-EARNED MASTER’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY IS TELLING ME THAT YOU SMELL LIKE NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER!”

(My master’s degree is actually a bachelor’s degree with an inflated sense of self-worth. Also, I did my fair share of party-as-a-verb while at Mizzou, but I also learned music theory and how I didn’t want to be an elementary school teacher.)

Speaking of Beyoncé, I made a shirt.
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So much. So little.

December 4th, 2017 · 10 Comments · Daily

It’s December 4th, and what have I learned? When I am using the internet to figure out how to make hash, I should specify that I’m talking about root vegetable hash. Along with the Russian hookers who won’t stop spamming my comments, I’m now receiving subtle hints that I should probably get some cannabis and a mechanical drum.

It’s simply impossible for me to succeed at NaNoWriMo while I’m taking a 4-week writing class, and it’s simply impossible for me to take a 4-week writing class without enjoying a beer with my friends in the community college parking lot before class starts, and it’s simply impossible for me to enjoy a beer with my friends in the community college parking lot before class starts if the bottles don’t twist and I don’t have an opener. But wait! My genius friend Sarah figured out that you can open your car door and locate a metal door hook thingie and it is the exact size and shape of a bottle opener. A car is just a big fast bottle opener, you guys! After sacrificing one bottle by accidentally breaking off the top, we had success! So, I did NOT write a novel last month, but I now know how to open a bottle of beer with my car, so: Successful November. (Disclaimer: I realize that the ability to open beer bottles with my car is not a skill I should brag about or even USE. You don’t have to shake your head at me. I am so much wiser than I make myself out to be. Have I mentioned that I know how to make hash?)

I wrote a short story for class, and it’s about a girl who sets her house on fire and then skips town with her floppy-haired friend who shares her love for Nutter Butters and Code Red Mountain Dew. I used Thelma and Louise as a verb. I almost brought an oven mitt to life. I referenced Peggy Lee. I used the F word (twice!) and the phrase “about to make love.” Most importantly, I learned that Huygen gnomes are much different than Hawaiian gnomes and DO NOT CONFUSE THE TWO.

I finished my Dress Like an Author celebration on November 30th by dressing like Erin Morgenstern, who wrote my favorite book from the past decade: The Night Circus.

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(I was flying away from the house where David Foster Wallace finished Infinite Jest.)

I was Roxane Gay.
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I became Harper Lee.
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(I had a bundle of sage left over from when I smudged the house in 2014.)

I really should compile all of the author photos from my Dress Like an Author Month, but I know myself well enough to know that I probably won’t.

You and I haven’t talked in a long time, so now I’m doing the fast typing “oh! Oh! OH! One more thing!” thing. At age 47, I finally have my first pair of Doc Martens boots.

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Also, my sister sent the best sweatshirt to me.

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Christmas is coming and I’m not ready. I’ve missed you.

(I’m still moderating comments. Russian Hookers are sticking to me like something sticky.)

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Of the seven dwarfs, the only one who shaved was Dopey.

November 16th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Daily

How long will it take for the Russian hookers to stop spamming my comments? I haven’t said Yes to one Russian hooker, yet they continue to linger. Persistent little buggers. (The hookers have been following me around for two months, and I lack the energy to do anything about it. Also, I think it’s okay for me to call them hookers because they call themselves hookers. Even though *I* am not a hooker, I really do think it’s okay. Right? Right.)

Last week I saw a play at the high school and I told at least five people that it was called Kiss Me Deadly. This morning I found the program on the floor of my car and noticed that it was really called Kill Me Deadly. Uh-huh. It ain’t no big thing.

The difference between anthropomorphism and personification is subtle. When an oven mitt becomes the smartest guy in the room, it’s anthropomorphism. My novel isn’t going as well as I wanted, yet it holds an anthropomorphic oven mitt, so that’s something. I’m also scheming up a way to add some scatterbrained Necco wafers. I am so high right now. (I’m not really high right now.)

This afternoon Meredith and I turned on the radio just in time to hear Wham singing “Last Christmas.”

Me: Oh! What?! Wait!

Meredith: What?!

Me (after doing a tiny bit of research on my phone): George Michael DIED last year on Christmas! And it says he had dilated cardiomyopathy and myocarditis! LAST CHRISTMAS HE GAVE US HIS HEART!!!

We sat in silence until Mariah Carey started singing All I Want for Christmas is You and I started singing horrible things about Love Actually. (I watch it every time it’s on, yet ugh!)

Right at this very moment, as I type these words for you, I’m listening to the Carpenters sing Sleigh Ride. Karen Carpenter. Everyone has a story, don’t they?

I’m still doing the author thing.

I was Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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I was Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

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I was Tom Robbins.

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(Tom Robbins gave me the oven mitt idea. Read Skinny Legs and All to fall in love with a spoon, a dirty sock, and a can of beans.)

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Stay tuned, because you know Harper Lee will make an appearance.

November 9th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Daily

So, here it is. November 9th.

Have I been full on participating in NaNoWriMo? Of course not, because 4,000 words each day is impossible for someone as sleepy as me. BUT, I have been writing, and I’m now enrolled in a writing class and I haven’t loss focus, so: Success!

The best part of NaNoWriMo for me? I’ve been dressing like an author every day this month.

I was Dorothy Parker.

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I was Salman Rushdie.

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I was Marcel Proust.

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Also, Vladimir Nabokov.

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It’s like Halloween, but less scary. BUT no one gives me candy. BUT I’m also not going door to door asking for candy, or anything else for that matter. “Hello. I am Vladimir Nabokov and I would really like some roasted sweet potatoes.”

Right now I’m listening to (while in the car) and reading (while not in the car) a book that is helping me focus on what really matters.

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I have a limited amount of ones to give before I have to nap on the couch for three days.

(Comments are still being moderated because I am currently being propositioned by Russian prostitutes, and no one wants to see that.)

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Not NaBloPoMo: Day 1

November 1st, 2017 · 4 Comments · Daily

This is about as far as I go for Halloween.

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Have I told you about those socks? The artist dyes them so that if you knit at gauge, ghosts appear. So much magic in this world.

Speaking of magic, I finished this self-confidence hat last week to wear during my seven hour pizza booth shift at our high school’s marching band invitational. Surprisingly, I made it through the day with minimal social anxiety! (Obviously, the hat had some help from my little buddy Celexa.)

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Doesn’t the hat make me look like someone who might say, “Hi there! What can I get for you?” THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAID AT LEAST 4,392 TIMES ON SATURDAY! (Clearly, I was born to work the pizza booth.)

A few weeks ago I fell in love with this woman’s ear, and that sounds weird, but it really isn’t.

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Anyway, Tempe and I hit the highway for a bit last week, and we returned home filled with Lebanese food and new holes.

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Did it hurt? It did! Does it hurt now? Not at all! Is that really a gigantic photo of my ear? IT IS. It’s the holiday season, you know! Were the Lebanese nachos good? Oh, friend. Yes. (Clearly, I was born to eat Lebanese nachos.)

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Not unless I see you first.

October 24th, 2017 · 7 Comments · Daily

I finished this book and I finished this shawl.

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Jeff and I celebrated our 16th anniversary by sharing a pretzel at a high school football game.

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Henry is practicing a new smile—one that puts his bottom teeth on display.

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Meredith will be receiving her first pair of Dr. Martens for Christmas.

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Harper is just happy to pretend that her legs are being eaten by sharks.

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Last week was fall break, so we took the girls to a bar to see John K. Samson and Craig Finn.

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I bought a shirt that displays the flags of the eight countries affected by the travel ban.

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Also: I signed up to take a writing class in November and I won’t be doing NaBloPoMo here (I know!), but I WILL be doing NaNoWriMo. Because I’m going to try and write a book. (You know I won’t REALLY write a book. I know myself enough to know that there is an 83% chance of project abandonment.)

You know what, though? I’ll try to check in here at least once each week, which is a heck of a lot more than I’ve been doing lately. Our couch. It reclines.

Now that Meredith has Dr. Martens, I feel the need to try once again to break these guys in. (I don’t have the grit/pain tolerance that I had in my 20s. Perhaps I should start drinking dark beer again.)

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My comments are still being hacked, so I’m still moderating like a true moderator.

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