And I ran. I ran so far away. I just ran. I ran all night and day. Couldn’t get away.

Hello there.

It looks like I’ve been away for nine days, hasn’t it?

Using what I’ve written in my calendar as a guide, I shall now fill you in on what you missed during the past nine days.

I printed some reports for a meeting. I then made copies of those reports and took them to the meeting, where I was once again elected into an officer position. I wore orange and did not have a drink after the meeting.

I attended a different meeting at church. At that meeting, I volunteered to drive to a train station and take a photograph of a sign. I drove to that station, but didn’t see the sign. (I often don’t see the signs.) Luckily, I *did* find a place to purchase a coffee. In other words, the trip was not a wasted one. (Warning: The pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks is NOT vegan—even if ordered with soy milk. The pumpkin syrup has condensed nonfat milk in it. You’re welcome.) ((And another thing: Meredith has now been mostly dairy-free for nearly a month. As a result, she has weaned herself off of Prilosec and is having no stomach issues. She had been on Prilosec since she was six months old. This is huge.))

I had lunch with a friend at a place where the owner knows exactly how I like my veggie kebobs. (I have trouble with skewers (and onions). Apparently, the kitchen term for Skewerless is Kaboob!)


I went to Target to purchase running shorts for Meredith, who has joined Girls On The Run and will be running her first 5K in November.

We had dinner with friends we haven’t seen in over a decade. (White Castle parking lots don’t count.) Our party of four is now a party of seven, taco night is always a good idea, and although Mizzou lost the game, we still had a splendid time catching up.

Harper had a friend over for seven hours on Sunday. It went down as one of her best days ever, despite the fact that her friend had no interest in watching Newsies.

Piano lessons, trips to the post office, trips to the bank, freelance deadlines, processing PTO stuff, dealing with a migraine which is now about 60% gone, mourning the fact that I’m no longer on Lysteda, taking notes to plead my ablation case, and celebrating the arrival of my 30 Day Shred DVD which is still sitting shrink wrapped on my bookshelf. (Kathy? I need you to come over, unwrap the DVD, and promise that you’ll have lunch with me if I manatee my way through it.)

I finished, blocked, and buttoned my Acer Cardigan.

The Acer is buttoned and ready for single digits.

I learned how tricky it is to be alone while feeling the need to take a photo of the BACK of a cardigan.

The back of the Acer.

Finally, a few nights back, I found myself at the grocery store looking for SweeTango apples and vegan cheese.

Meredith: Did you find your apples?

Me: No, but I found vegan cheese! I went with Daiya.

Meredith: I hope it doesn’t give you Daiya-rhea!

Thank you and good night. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Results! Growling! Dropping two bags of sugar! Et cetera!

The first thing is typically first: All of my biopsy stuff came back completely normal. Let’s not talk about any of that again, okay? Okay!

The second thing most often follows: Although Meredith is home sick from school today, I got really angry this morning and loaded her into the car for a cookie field trip. (My Belief: If you’re home sick, you really shouldn’t have to deal with someone else’s rage. Instead, there should be cookies and naps and television and rotini. Thus it is, and so it goes.)

And the third? I’m once again in the position where I need to drop ten (or fourteen) pounds. (I know! I’ve been all over the place with my weight this year.) Who’s in? Let’s drop ten (or fourteen) pounds together. Don’t worry. I lack the energy to make buttons or graphs. BUT if you’re in, I’m in. Starting tomorrow, because Thursdays are a great day for ACTION, I’m going to eliminate processed foods and start exercising more regularly. (Yesterday morning I ran for the first time since my 5K a few weeks back, and it went fairly well. Very encouraging.) (Yesterday afternoon I finished off a pounder bag of chocolate chips. This is unacceptable.) My jeans always tend to shrink during the holiday season. Right now, my jeans think it’s Christmas Eve. Something has to be done, and it has to be done before Halloween. Thursday! You’re either with me, or you’re against me. (I know that’s not necessarily true.)

Who else wants to start a fight club?

By the way, Meredith said the funniest thing today as we were having A Special Talk. BUT, I refuse to type it out here for fear of embarrassing her. It’s happening. Fluid Pudding is setting fire to its Mommy Blog name tag. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Koalas will not do.

It has been exactly one week since I’ve had coffee in the morning. Part of me wants to say something about getting control of my life and wanting to be the boss of caffeine rather than allowing it to be MY boss. Part of me wants to sing empowering folk songs about deciding to do something and then just DOING it instead of dancing around and whining and making lame/tired jokes about how I NEED coffee. (Those ridiculous cartoons of women sitting around in robes with screwed up hair and tired swollen eyes mumbling something about coffee IVs and calling themselves Mommy even though there are no kids in the room? I can’t even think about it without wanting to punch the wall.)

The truth is, I bought a gigantic container of coffee creamer eight days ago, and it’s horrible. I feel guilty about throwing it out, yet I refuse to use it. (I know what you’re thinking. “Toss it out and go buy your normal brand of coffee creamer!” Nope. Tossing it out right now feels so wasteful. Instead, I’m going to wait until it expires on September 4th. (Expiration dates give me that feeling of perceived permission to pour things down the drain.) Please don’t try to heal me. (I’m still saving all of my positive pregnancy tests (dated with Sharpies!) as well as my kids’ belly button stumps.) I am beautiful in every single way. Words can’t bring me down.)

Anyway, I no longer drink black coffee (it’s ACID to my MUCOSA!!!), so I feel like I have no options. It’s just that easy.

(My plan for going full-on vegan is to fill my refrigerator with rancid butter, moldy cheese, and blood-soaked eggs. That should do it.)

Jeff is out of town again. (I wish you could hear the tone I’m assigning to the word Again.) The girls and I will be going on a drive-thru doughnut run sometime today. We will then split up so they can play/read/practice the piano while I stomp out some freelance. Later this afternoon, we’ll be making vegan cherry almond cookies. (Please know that although it’s not credited, the recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Moskowitz/Romero.)

A few moments ago, Meredith proved that she is my biological child.

Meredith: There’s only one thing in life that I want to do today.

Me: Go on.

Meredith: I want to stock up on tiny containers of hand sanitizer, and I need at least two of them to have panda bears on the label.

(We’ll be heading out within the hour to do just that.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>


Because Jeff has authors in town and authors in town sometimes means dinner away from home, the girls and I decided to declare this evening Pizza Night.

We left the house at 5:15 to pick up our produce bag from the co-op.

If you’re interested in the contents, here is the photo:

June 5 Co-Op Haul

Lettuce and sweet potatoes and garlic and apples and peaches and bananas and strawberries and peppers and tomatoes and green beans and corn and grapes and artichokes. I predict zero waste this time around. Artichokes!

On the way home we stopped by Little Caesars. (Little Caesars is not particularly GOOD, but a cheese pizza is $5 and it’s definitely edible.) The boy working the drive-thru window was very smiley, and probably high.

Meredith: Mom, I think that guy likes you.

Me: Why would you say that?

Meredith: He can’t stop smiling at you.

Me: Meredith, that has nothing to do with me. I think it’s just his demeanor.

Meredith: Are you talking about his privates?!

Me: Yes. I’m talking about his privates. Do you want Crazy Bread?

Meredith: Yes, please. WHAT IS DEMEANOR?!

I hope this summer never ends. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Bees and the Bedecking of my Blowhole

I absolutely love that most of you remember the spelling word that took you down in elementary school.

The word that Meredith will remember for the rest of her life? Defiantly.


The great news? Meredith finished in third place. (Of course, because she’s just like me, she HATES that she came in third. She’s PISSED that she came in third. This anger will drive her to work extra hard next year.) ((She knew Defiantly. She got nervous and tripped. Many of the other participants did the same thing. In fact, the very first speller missed his very first (and only) word. My heart broke for him.)) (((Confession: I cried before, during, and after the bee. Before? Just seeing Meredith sitting up there with the seven other students did me in. She looked so small. During? When Meredith missed her word and the round ended and everyone cheered for her? It destroyed me. After? When a fifth grade girl correctly spelled her final word and was declared the winner, she immediately began to do the ugly cry. So did I. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I need a prescription.)))

I’m abruptly changing the subject now, because it’s Saturday night and I’m seriously considering having a tiny silver ball pierced into the side of my nose. It just might be the crab rangoon talking (Happy Chinese New Year!), so I wanted to put it out there and see what you think. I just searched out some photos on Flickr, and I’m liking the tininess of this woman’s diamond, but I don’t want a diamond. (I know. I know! Actually, this photo made me take a step back, but now I’ve moved forward again. Because look! And look!)

Meredith has a friend over. The girls are dancing in the front room. Jeff is playing guitar in the dining room. The dogs are running around in the back yard. I’m just sitting around drawing dots on my nose with eyeliner…

It's eyeliner! For now! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

It’s bee season, Akeelah.

About a month ago, Meredith appeared extra jazzy when she got off of the bus. She reported that she had won the class spelling bee, which is her ticket to participate in the school spelling bee. For the past four weeks, she and Jeff have been studying the list and taking words apart and putting them back together and making connections with words and writing words and eating alphabet soup and now I’m just making stuff up, but please know this: She is Ready. She may not win the bee, as she’s up against fourth and fifth grade students. BUT, she has done her homework. She’s got this. She’s wearing a Ravenclaw necktie and a fake fur vest. (The fur is fake. The vest is very real.)

Meredith: Racial is just like facial. Schooner is like school, but you take away the L and add a nerd with no D. There is a nest in the siologist in anesthesiologist.

Me: A girl named Tracey won our elementary spelling bee. The word Attitude killed me. A-t-t-i-d-u-d-e. ARGH! Where was my head?!

Meredith: Wow.

After school today, we will celebrate spelling with frozen yogurt and hot fudge.

Because, according to Meredith, that’s what you do. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Meredith wore a green skirt today. Because green is not allowed.

Last week Meredith and I started a Mom & Me journal, and it’s turning out to be the greatest thing we’ve ever done. Because it’s a secret from the rest of our family, we decided that our code word is Pancakes. When she is finished writing in the journal, she places it under my pillow and somehow works Pancakes into our conversation. When I’m done writing on my side, I place the journal under her pillow and do the same. My hope is that this will serve as a vehicle for conversations that might be too difficult to have in person, as well as ease the embarrassment of the tricky conversations that we need to have face to face. Obviously, I’m not going to share what we’ve written so far. All I’ll say is this: It’s Very Good.

On a related note, a monumental change has taken place in my parenting philosophy. (Read that sentence again while picturing this version of me. It’s much less wearisome that way, no?) I have always encouraged my girls to be friends with everyone. “It’s good to have some close friends, but it’s also good to be friendly! That’s how you learn about other kids! You don’t have to play with the same group every day. Shake it up! It helps you learn who you are!”

No more. NO MORE! Meredith is “friends” with a girl in her class whose main purpose seems to be making other girls feel badly about themselves. This girl (shall we call her Regina George?) repeatedly tells Meredith that she doesn’t like Meredith’s clothes. Yesterday Regina George made fun of Meredith’s clothes until Meredith reached the level of anxiety where she couldn’t wait to come home and change OUT of those clothes. Regina George has started a club called The Shady Girls, where she requires the girls to wear certain colors and devote their recess to playing tether ball. (I know. I don’t know.)

I asked Meredith if she knows what Shady means.

Meredith: Like when it’s sunny outside, and you make the choice to hang out under a tree?

Me: Metaphorically, yes. But I have a funny feeling The Shady Girls don’t prefer to actually hang out in the shade. It’s about maybe being a little dishonest. Maybe being a little mean. It’s not necessarily a good thing.

Meredith: Regina George is mean.

According to Meredith, if Regina George gets angry during class, she has been known to yell, throw things, and curl up into a ball.

Okay. Let me say that again. According to Meredith, if Regina George gets angry during class, she has been known to yell, throw things, and curl up into a ball. To me, this means Regina George has some issues, and probably really NEEDS a friend, right? If the girl has to create clubs to have other girls hang out with her, she has some stuff going on, right? Right? Because of that, it hurts my heart (figuratively!) to ask Meredith to leave The Shady Girls, but that’s exactly what I did. Meredith has had a terrible relationship with this girl for over three years. Meredith has come home crying more than once because of things this girl has said to her. The last thing Meredith needs is to feel badly about herself at age eight. (At age six? The girl broke Meredith’s glasses. Oh my goodness, people!)

I’m a bit conflicted, because as I mentioned earlier, I’ve always encouraged the girls to try and be friends with EVERYONE. BUT, at this stage, I would be much happier seeing Meredith make a connection with some girls who exhibit kindness and curiosity and intelligence, perhaps with a love of American Girl stuff and Big Time Rush sprinkled in. (I’m not saying that the girl in question is lacking in those areas. I’m just saying that Meredith has been fairly miserable striving to “turn things around” with Regina.)

I’m trying to remember what it was like for me in the third grade. It was the year that Mrs. Barker read “Island of the Blue Dolphins” to our class. I don’t recall anyone being mean. Then again, that was many many years ago (over thirty years ago! Holy crap!) — before hormones in milk and rude kids on television. And padded bras in kid clothing stores. And raunchy magazines in every checkout lane at the grocery store. Oh, internet. This is a tough one. Have any of you dealt with this? By encouraging Meredith to gently leave the group, am I encouraging her to turn her back on someone who probably needs some help? Then again, Meredith has been reaching out for three years, and it’s totally killing her joy.

Please know that I have never said anything bad about Regina George in front of Meredith. The closest I came was this morning when I said, “Meredith, sometimes people who are unhappy actually feel a bit happier when they make other people feel unhappy, too.”

Today I shall get a haircut. This has nothing to do with anything. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

So Many Types of Nerds

Yesterday afternoon we went to the animal adoption event where we met the little Dachsund I had shown you earlier in the week. We hemmed. We hawed. In the end, our family works like this: It takes Four Yesses, but it only takes One No. We had a No. Meredith was pretty much destroyed at the thought of leaving that building without the puppy. (Meredith is VERY sensitive when it comes to animals who need homes. In the past few months, I’ve been keeping up with a rescue group’s activity online, and I have to be very careful to not have the page up when Meredith walks by.)

When your kid is tearful, you do what needs to be done: You take her to 7-11 for a cherry slurpee, and if that doesn’t help, you throw a local cheese pizza on top of the slurpee. And then you throw a Dairy Queen Blizzard on top of that. (Please note that six hours passed between Slurpee and Blizzard. Nevertheless, now that I’m typing it all out, it really does look like we feed our sorrows. By the way, these are wonderful. Hi there, Weight Watchers! Long time no see! Catch me if you can!)

Last night after Harper had fallen asleep, Meredith called me into their room.

Meredith: Mom, do you think I’m a nerd?

Me: Hrm. What exactly do you mean by nerd?

Meredith: I know there are smart nerds and I know there are dorky nerds who are weird, and sometimes I think I’m one of the weird ones.

Me: If you’re weird at all, it’s a really good type of weird. Plus, yes. You’re really smart. You read smart books. You hit all of the notes when you’re singing Selena Gomez songs. If Nerd is a good thing, I would wear it proudly. If you see Nerd as a bad thing? You’re no nerd.

College for Kids starts up tomorrow, where both girls will be taking Xtreme 3-D Studio Art, plus a few other classes. School starts up on August 15th, and I’m terribly excited. Not because I want the girls away from the house, but because it’s at school where they get to see their friends. Once again, I’ve been pretty terrible at keeping them social this summer. (I hate that I’m one of those weird nerds Meredith is so afraid of becoming. I keep hearing myself say, “If you don’t like it, change it.” BUT, it’s not really that easy, is it?)

All of the nerd talk last night stirred me into revisiting my past while wondering when I started falling onto The Nerd Spectrum.

Answer: It had to have happened sometime between elementary and high school.

Have I ever shown you my senior picture from high school?

Welcome to Masterpiece Theater

I dressed like I was fifty, I rarely smiled, yet I tried my hardest to rock asymmetrical hair. When I had this particular photo taken, the photographer said something like, “Well, we typically use that chair for our church directory or career shots.” It didn’t matter. I begged for the blue chair.

Sure, I had this one, too:


I sort of look like an athlete who occasionally kneels down and punches herself in the face. What you cannot see in this photo was my golden brooch—carefully chosen to add a touch of our school colors, which were brown and gold. (By the way, it STILL bothers me that the photographer used white type on a white background.)

I’m now changing the subject: Does anyone REALLY need help knowing how to wear a denim skirt or a pair of striped shoes? I’ve been wincing lately when I run across websites that try to teach me how to have fun with my kids at the grocery store or how to wear a strapless bra without drawing attention to back fat. (Hi. I’ve been cranky.)

And once more: I’m knitting a hat or gloves for a lucky reader. You can read all about it right here! (Your chances are crazy good! Apparently, not many people want gloves or a hat!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Love that’s only slightly soiled. Love for Sale.

Scene: I’m in the shower. The girls are on their own with the puppy. The cats are downstairs plotting.

Meredith: Mommy! MOMMY!!!

Me: What? WHAT?!

Meredith: Scout just pooped on her piddle pad and it looks like popcorn!

Me: Okay! I’ll take care of it when I get out!

Meredith: You don’t understand! I think she’s trying to tell us that she wants to go to the movies!!!

It’s Migraine Week at Fluid Pudding! I’ve been able to keep it at bay for the past two days, and as I rest and take pills, the girls have been downstairs planning a garage sale. They’ve created a To Donate stack and a To Sell stack. If you want to buy our plastic baby slide you have to pay Harper eighty dollars, although it’s probably not worth more than three.

Harper: We have to charge a lot of money so people know just how important this stuff IS to us.

Me: If it’s that important, maybe we shouldn’t sell it!

Meredith: But we need money. Mommy, you should think about selling some of your jewelry—like those earrings you were wearing yesterday.

I’ll keep you updated on our garage sale. If all goes according to the girls’ plan, we’ll be selling all of our valuables for lots and lots of money. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>