And what do you think they have hidden away in the cabinet cold of their hearts?

I knew this was a Magritte.

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I knew this was a Magritte.

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I had no idea this was a Magritte. It’s a ham sitting on a jacket in the sun, and it was painted during his périod vache, or “nasty style.” (I think it’s time for me to have a périod vache.)

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I knew this was a Mondrian.

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I had no idea this was a Mondrian. It’s an oil painting of a farm in Holland, and it was painted before he went all abstract on us.

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I fell in love with the Art Institute of Chicago on Sunday. We weren’t able to spend much time there, but our abbreviated tour was 45% of a funnel cake which is so much better than no funnel cake at all.

Because we were a little rushed, I fell into the tired habit of seeing the paintings I already know instead of exploring the things I don’t know.

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As we walked out of one of the modern art galleries, a docent asked if I had picked a favorite. “SO many favorites!” I said, afraid of giving the wrong answer. “What is YOUR favorite?”

“That’s easy,” he replied. “It’s de Kooning’s ‘Interchanged’.” He then asked if we wanted to see it, which we did, so he led us to this.

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I remembered walking past it a few minutes earlier and not giving it any attention. This time, I was totally in as the docent did his thing.

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Docent: The thing I love about de Kooning is that he can do whatever he wants, just like we can all do whatever we want. Not many artists feel comfortable with “I want to, I can, so I will.” Let me know when you see the horse. See? He wants to add a horse, he can add a horse, so he does add a horse. You want to, you can, so you do. It’s inspirational. Now, turn around and take a look at ‘Excavation.’

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Docent: The more you look at it, the more you are rewarded. With teeth. A dog. A bird.

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I walked away with a new favorite.

Another favorite? Reading things as if I’m in on a secret.

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Mine is not a harmless strain.

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Guess which little person I am? Here’s a hint: I haven’t left the country in the past 6,209 days, and I haven’t seen an errant puppy for at least three months.

That’s right, Encyclopedia Brown. AND, you know what this means, don’t you? It means that I probably ate something with poop on it.

So here we are.

(I now walk around with Clorox wipes in my holster. No one else is going to get a poop bug. At least not on my watch!)

((I’ll be fine.))

We’re halfway to Christmas Eve.

It was a big deal that the St. Louis Blues won their first Stanley Cup last week. In fact, it was a big enough deal that I went out and bought matching shirts for our family and we went to the (very crowded and crazy) parade.
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I’m not a fan of crowds where people are moving in different directions, but this crowd was a good crowd—a happy drunk crowd dressed in shirts that said things like “Finally!” and “I’m a Blues fan, Bitch!” We got home safely, but not before stopping at IKEA for veggie balls. The End.

This is my Swoop. I’m trying to finish it before our annual yarn trip in August. The two yarn colors are Big Bang and Intergalactic, so the tentative name for this project is Swoopy Intergalactic Big Bangs, and that reminds me of high school in the 80s.
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I’ve spent my entire life not liking purple or any variations of purple, mainly because I associate purple with terms like “bubble gum” and “panty hose.” (I also associate the number 7 with “panty hose.”) For the past few years, I’ve been drawn to purple. Purple is for sarcoidosis awareness, and one of my favorite people suffers from the disease. Purple was a friend’s son’s favorite color, and all combinations of purple and black make me think of him. On Friday I went to the St. Louis Pen Show with Tempe, and while there I fell in love with this pen. I then fell in love with this ink. Bubble gum and panty hose. Like a Troye Sivan song, but not really.

These are Latte pansies. I’m in love with them, too, but I’m not allowing myself to purchase any because I know how it goes when I have plants. Ah, but look. The plants in this photo will be alive forever. In this photo.
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I started working on a joy grid last week. I’ve added many more things since this photo was taken, but you get the picture. Literally.
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Put the right letters together and make a better day!

June is here and the high school seniors have graduated and parties have been (or are being) thrown. My high school graduation took place 31 years ago (also known as one Zac Efron ago), and I remember that night like this:

2255_1091643287287_547_nI wore a gold cap and gown with a blue satin thing around my neck that may have been for National Honor Society. I spent more than a reasonable amount of time Flock of Seagulling my hair around my cap. I maybe held a flower and I think I accompanied the choir. A lot of weird hugging took place after the ceremony, and then a few of us went out for Italian food and someone said something about finding lump in her breast.

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After dinner, those of us who went to the restaurant went back to a house to get ready for the all-night party that was being held at another house. I bought a floral strapless dress for the event (a scandalous move for me), but when I put it on I realized I didn’t have the energy to pull it off (figuratively) so I pulled if off (literally) and probably put on my Palmetto jeans and maybe a Forenza shirt that said “Forenza” on it.

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Lots of people drank at the party. I didn’t (Baptist), but I took a lot of photos (amateur) of people who did. Eventually, about a dozen of us (boys and girls) ended up crashing at yet another house. There was a fish tank and maybe vertical dark wood paneled walls. I woke up super early the next morning and drove to the next town to buy doughnuts for all of us, because the 18-year-old me was just like the 49-year-old me. (I love doing favors and providing pleasant surprises.) I think I took a few people home before I went home, and then three months passed before I packed up and moved into a dormitory.

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Five years after my Masterpiece Theater high school senior photo was taken, I threw a college graduation party for myself. I *did* drink at that one (beer!), and the details from that night (delightfully deplorable) will be kept between the seven of us who were there. And also Jesus.

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I would encourage you to drink and dress.

We have survived everything that life has offered us—the missed opportunities, the broken bones, the bad jobs, the mistakes, and the migraines. On Thursday evening, after surviving cheesecake and martinis, Tempe and I celebrated our fortitude with one of my favorite activities: Getting tipsy at the mall and trying on prom dresses.

This is one of the first dresses I tried, and it has a story to tell: Once upon a time, Julius Caesar wrapped his laurel leaf headgear around my waist and suddenly my chest looked like something that might inspire Bob Seger to write a song.

If I was invited to Adult Prom and maybe the theme was something like “Working On Our Night Moves in The House of Mirth” this next dress might be perfect. However, what you don’t know until I tell you right now is that I couldn’t get the damn thing to zip because I am NOT A JUNIOR-SIZED GIRL. One more thing: Check out the floor of the dressing room. I probably should have kept my shoes on.

I loved this blue dress because it had so many interesting layers. Like me. And the atmosphere. And lasagna. (I’m starting to dig the halter neck. I should maybe do some planks or something.)

…so then I took my turn. Oh, what a thing to have done. And it was all yellow.

I’ve heard way too many people (probably 4, which really is way too many) say, “When you try on your wedding dress, you’ll know it’s The One.” Okay. This blue dress with the sparkles and flowers and tiers (like a wedding cake, or a very sad person who can’t spell) made me think of Roxie Roker in The Jeffersons (She would have looked AMAZING in this dress.) and it was The One. It weighed something like 523 pounds and I HAD to try it on simply because it was the end of the night, and way too many people (probably 4, which really is way too many) have told me that the end of the night is the best time for lifting weights.

News: I am no longer growing out my hair. I wanted what I wanted and what I wanted was a haircut. Also: Welcome to the summer.

Wanna see me eat a dumpling?

I’m 49 now. It happened on Sunday, and I wish you would have been here to celebrate with me.

But wait. The Internet can make time go all crazypants. (Example: I know a few people on Facebook who recently posted something that Nancy Pelosi said more than 20 years ago, and they acted as if she said it 20 MINUTES ago, and: “KILL THE BEAST!”) So, perhaps you CAN be there to celebrate with me!

Let’s see. On Saturday, we bought a car because it was time to buy a car. We purchased our most recent car nine years ago and we now have three drivers in the house and why do I feel the need to defend our decision to buy a car? Gheez! We bought a damn car! The new car is tentatively named Jameson, and she is orange. Sunset orange.

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Jameson is a fine name for a car, but I’m thinking he looks more like a Clementine.

My birthday dinner? Biscuits and dumplings at Cracker Barrel.

Before:
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During:
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After:
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(I knew Meredith was taking photos. I didn’t know how weird I look when I eat. And the closing of the eyes to celebrate the dumpling? If that isn’t food bliss, well…)

On Sunday morning, I got up and drank coffee out of my big yellow Willie Geist cup. I should have gone to church, but I didn’t go to church because I’ve been weird about church lately. When the girls got up, the four of us went out for coffee and then to an uncomfortable mall where Harper bought a necklace for me and I pretended to smoke.

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We then went to my parents’ house to celebrate Mother’s Day with pizza, salads, Family Feud, and strawberry cake.

And that’s what it’s like to be me going from 48 to 49.

On Monday evening a group of us celebrated the 22nd birthday and life of our friend’s son. We laughed, we ate bread pudding, and we talked about Krystofer and how he continues to inspire his friends and family, and it felt like church.

On Tuesday morning I rescued a tortoise who was trying to cross a busy street. As I carried him to a better place (near a tall plant in cool grass) he put his little foot on my arm to feel more stable, and it felt like church. (Coincidentally, the tall plant in cool grass was in the side yard of a Jehovah’s Witness gathering place, which I suppose is ALSO a church, but it’s not my church. So, not church, but church.)

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I was supposed to go to a concert this evening, but I stayed home to punish myself for making one of my kids angry this afternoon. The singer in the band they are watching right now is so good that he makes my stomach hurt, yet here I sit. (I’ve been known to rip out knitting projects to punish myself. I’ve been known to eat until I feel sick to punish myself. I know it’s weird and a little unstable, but I doubt I’m the only one who does it.)

Speaking of knitting projects, right now I’m making one of these, and tomorrow I’m taking Jameson/Clementine for a long drive to visit my sister. Church.

Things That Recently Sparked Some Feelings

Harper turned 14 and Meredith turned 16. Combined, this means I have 30 years of parenting under my belt. (I don’t own a belt.) Harper and Meredith are funny and smart and their hearts are gigantic (figuratively). Humans can be unpredictable. I’m so happy these two are who they are right now. They would rather I not post photos of them, so I WILL post photos of them. However, I will cover them with cats.

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Because I’ve been a little loopy lately, my doctor gave me a dementia test. (I do not have dementia, which I guess means that I failed the dementia test?) She then took away my headache preventative and gave me a different SSRI and that resulted in monster headaches and not-so-poetic ruminations on death. SO, I’m now back to smelling a little demented and I’m just fine with that. (It smells like chamomile oil, and then I layer additional scents by rolling on a combination of orange, black pepper, and ylang ylang!)

Meredith is now a licensed driver. A few nights back she drove Harper to the store to buy Oreos and M&M’s [sic], and they bought those things with their own money. (See Paragraph #1, above.)

I don’t visit my website very often, and a few days back it occurred to me that I’m no longer receiving e-mails when someone leaves a comment. This just means I’ve been EXTRA bad at not responding to comments. (With the help of iThemes, I think we’re all fixed up now!) Anyway, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Stephanie, who commented a few days ago. Thank you so much for stopping by! You are not the least bit creepy! You are the anti-creepy! I love that people still visit me here. Thank you to everyone.

Because of the amount of time spent with marching band parents, I’ve managed to become friends with a good number of them. Last night, while drinking a raspberry seltzer in a gazebo with four other band parents, I heard not one, but TWO “this is how I disposed of the body” stories. How in the world have I come to deserve this wonderful life?!

Going All Aggro at the DQ (or, This is Why I Can’t Be Around People)

This evening I attended the wind ensemble concert at the high school auditorium, and the music was lovely in the lovely parts and exhilarating in the exhilarating parts, and all (but one) of the kids seem to be good citizens who support each other in healthy ways. (I know that sounds like a mom thing to say. Shut up.) ((Also, don’t get me started on the “but one” parenthetical aside up there, because things could get ugly.))

Speaking of things getting ugly, after the concert I drove in the rain to Dairy Queen because I tend to celebrate every single occasion with food. There really wasn’t anything to celebrate tonight other than the fact that I didn’t lose my shit with that one parenthetical kid. It doesn’t matter. Food. Always food.

Anyway, the Dairy Queen parking lot is a weirdo. When you pull in, you can go the wrong way to the drive-thru, or you can go the correct way. (It’s definitely easier to go the wrong way.) Tonight, I pulled into the parking lot right behind a white van. White van went the wrong way. I went the right way. We reached the drive-thru lane at the same exact time. (This is a great story, isn’t it? Doesn’t it make you want to hang out with me?! No?!)

As soon as I inched forward, the driver of the white van JUMPED OUT OF HIS VAN because we live in St. Charles, where most of the population is itching to fight. Picture this: Tall old bald guy with a tiny gray ponytail yelling something at me about how he was FIRST! and something about “YOU DON’T THINK YOU’RE GOING IN FRONT OF ME, DO YOU?!” I (fairly) calmly told him that I WAS going to let him go first (and I was!) and then (because sometimes I’m a little petty) I gently pointed out that he was in the wrong lane. He threw his enormous orangutan-esque arms into the air and spouted out, “THINGS HAPPEN!”

Watch out. I’m about to say the F word.

When Planet of the Apes stopped beating on his big dumb (probably prison tattooed with more than one misspelled word) chest and knuckle-crawled back into his van, I rolled my window up, turned to Jeff and said, “I fucking hate this fucking town.”

I don’t hate this town. I don’t. But I do hate misguided entitlement and tough-mindedness and authoritarian aggression and big hostile dumb white guys with tiny ponytails (is it considered a pigtail if it’s wee and growing out of the back of a Neanderthal skull?) who will do whatever it takes to be the first in line for a Dilly Bar.

Confession: After the guy yelled at me, I was shaken up just enough to turn the car around and go home. No Blizzard for me because mean people ruin everything.

(I have a lot in common with these nacho chips.)

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July, and you’re phone king.

A few weeks ago, I took Meredith and a couple of her friends to the Kero Kero Bonito show. I’ll wait right here while you familiarize.

As you can probably guess, the show was adorable and high on energy (with the essence of marijuana) and I spent most of my time leaning against the parent wall thinking about how my arches hurt from standing so long. (MY ARCHES.)

Before KKB came on (let’s move backwards, shall we?) their opening band challenged my sense of hearing.

Review of Senses
Sight: Lots of club kids getting excited about Kero Kero Bonito.

Smell: Pez and Pot.

Touch: Being bumped into from people into which were bumping from other people bumping. Each other. (Just let me have that one.) Also, Arches.

Taste: Secondhand pot.

Hearing: Opening band. No idea what they’re saying. Could be a man and his wife. Maybe from Europe? None of these songs are making sense to painful-arched me. I’ll eat magpie?

To pass the time, I took out my little notebook and transcribed the lyrics I thought I heard.

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I doubt my lyrics are better than theirs, but I think my lyrics are better than theirs.

Good Friday. I just ate a waffle that acted as a vehicle for strawberries and blueberries. Let the day begin.