Banner, Schmanner. David, Schwimmer.

It’s sort of funny.

After putting up the Fluid Pudding Hippo Banner, I quickly received six e-mails saying, “I’m really hating that hippo banner.”

One of my six unsolicited banner judges even said, “I don’t think I can come back here as long as you have that hippo banner.”

Yesterday I woke up and said, “You know what, Hippo Haters? I’m not really liking the hippo, either.”

So, I put up a photo of my hand getting ready to make out with a zombie. And that banner sort of sucked, too.

Please be patient with me as I learn to work with banners. Better yet, go visit Secret Agent Josephine. While you’re there, go ahead and nominate me for her free monthly web graphic drawing. Look at me over here. I’m all naked, severely unperky, and in desperate need of something adorable to cover my top.

Because it’s Sunday, I’m about to leave you with some words of wisdom. Last night, Meredith called me into her room and said the following: “Mommy, you can’t just keep getting a new cat and then letting it die and then naming your next cat after the dead cat so you always remember the dead cat. The best thing to do is make a picture book with a million pages to help you remember your dead cats. Fill out a page every time a cat dies, and then you can name your new cat whatever you want.”

(Meredith did not hear us joking about cat chili yesterday. I honestly have no idea where the million-paged dead cat notebook idea came from. But I DO think that everyone needs a million-paged dead cat notebook. Wait! I have just unstumped you on the holiday shopping for the Person Who Already Has Everything, haven’t I? You’re welcome.)

Quick! Get thee to Secret Agent Josephine! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Conversations with Jeff

Jeff: Today is the day I make chili. Italian Sausage Esquire Magazine Chili. The only ingredient we need is meat.

Me: Wouldn’t it be weird if we used Sidney?

Jeff: Yeah. That would be weird. Like, “Okay, Folks! The weather guy said it might snow today!” And because there’s a tiny chance that it could perhaps snow, the Puddings go all DEFCON-1 and make chili out of their cat.

Me: And then it doesn’t snow after all, so we pop open a bottle of Fresca and invite the neighbors over.

Jeff: “Hey! Guys! Yoo-Hoo! Hey you over there across the grass from our house over here! You wanna come over? Something is happening! We just made chili out of our CAT, for God’s sake! You gotta get over here and help us eat it!”

Me: “Hey! You thought you hated us because of our Obama bumper stickers?! Scratch that one! WE JUST MADE CHILI OUT OF OUR DAMN CAT!”

Jeff: “The kids LOVED that cat! Heya! Who’s bringing the oyster crackers?! Cat Chili! Ding-a-ding-a-ding!”

(Just so you know: We went to the store and purchased Italian sausage and Pancetta. Sidney is resting comfortably on the couch with no idea that we were planning on eating her for dinner.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

5 Reasons Why I Might Be On Day 10 of a Migraine

1. Coming soon to a public place near you? Harper and The Tantrums!

2. Meredith’s eyes were dilated today. She’s been crying about The Potential for Dilation (my next book title) for nearly a week now. And when I say “crying” I mean that Meredith may or may not be performing with Harper and The Tantrums in a public place near you.

3. I have started 483 more knitting projects, including a mystery shawl (the first clue comes out next week!) named Mystic Ice. Starting Projects coupled with Never Finishing Projects seems to be a seasonal trend for me. I swore I wouldn’t do it this year. But there I went. Oh, 2009. I am sorry.

4. Someone just told me that Christmas is less than six weeks away. And six weeks is too soon! With six weeks to go until Christmas, it almost feels like Christmas is over. Oh, Steve Miller.

5. I’ve eaten too much cheese. It’s just that simple. Specifically, Swiss cheese and mustard sandwiches, often followed by a snack of more Swiss cheese.

I have an appointment at the headache clinic on Monday morning, where the following conversation will surely take place.

Headache Doctor: Have you been doing your exercises?
Me: No.
Headache Doctor: Did you sign up for the yoga class I was telling you about?
Me: No.
Headache Doctor: I hate you for never listening to me. Is this how you treat everyone?!
Me: Wow. I think it is. Will you drill a tiny hole into my head?

Wait. Estonian Lace! Also, Tyrolean Stockings!! Sei Shonagon Pillow!!! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Whoops!

I almost forgot to post something! Hey there!

HERE IS THE BREAKDOWN OF MY DAY:
(This is the perfect time for you to go somewhere else. May I suggest a trip over here?)

My mom came over, we went to Starbucks, and then we cleaned the girls’ room and decorated it for the holidays. Winter comforters, flannel sheets, snowman rugs, spotless floor… It looked really nice.

We picked Harper up from school and when she saw her room, she lost her mind in a really crappy way. The tantrum that was kicked off at the sight of a blue snowman rug lasted nearly two hours and included kicking, screaming, and (my personal favorite) spitting. Tiresome. Disappointing.

Meredith came home from school and ate soup. I found this to be completely delightful. (Especially after spending two hours with a Tasmanian devil.)

I put together a pesto pizza.

We headed to school for Harper’s parent/teacher conference. And because of her tantrums (I’ll spare you the details.), we are going to be teaming up with a developmental pediatrician and a social worker. This, aside from the soup thing, was The Greatest Thing to Come Out of This Day. (Wait. Coffee with my mom was good, too. Nonfat chai!)

We returned home where Harper played soccer in the kitchen and Meredith wrote the following:

“I pledge my honor to serve God and help people get their Kleenex if they don’t have any. 24 times to 24 sneezes to 24 Kleenex. And if you don’t mind, we will help you. We will serve your students to live by the friendly scouting wishes and to live. To live by the live.”

As you read this (if you read it immediately after I hit the Publish button), I’m either washing my face, jumping into pajamas, or sitting in bed reading until I drift.

May you all have 24 Kleenex for your next 24 sneezes. To live by the live. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Part of me hopes she suffered a tiny ketchup stain.

Oh, my aching head.
I forgot my PIN, in the
White Castle drive-thru.

So, yeah. They’re like, “Pay.”
And me, with migraine, cannot.
“My brain? Infarcted.”

Four cars behind me.
Drive-thru guy losing patience.
I’m almost crying.

Two eight two one? No!
Eight two one two?! That’s not it!
“I am so sorry.”

“I take credit cards.
You won’t need your PIN for that.”
(I am ninety four.)

I grabbed my Visa
And charged a Chicken Ring Meal.
Sunk to a new low.

And while my mood is still floating foul, let me just say this: When you walk in front of my car to enter White Castle all dressed up in heels and a fancy pants pashmina wrap, you’re just the same as the guy entering White Castle in paint-stained bib overalls and the frazzled woman entering White Castle with the three toddlers—two of whom are crying. In other words, you can stop with the loud “Do they give best-dressed awards at White Castles?! Is THIS what IRONY is?!?!” attempts at humor. That kind of crap will NEVER get a smile from me.

We’re all in this White Castle thing together, lady.

And I have forgotten my PIN number.

So, please hush your “Can people in my tax bracket enter White Castle without exploding?!” talk so I can think. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

NaBloPoMo Day 8: Now you can see it, too!

This is what I see every other Saturday morning when I step out of my car before crossing the parking lot to work at the yarn store.

St. Charles

Someday soon I’m going to see if I can hurdle that fence.
(I’m not planning on having any more babies.)
((Wait. Have I ever told you that Jeff owns a pair of vertical strength shoes? What with the toe for a thumb and the vertical enhancement footwear, sometimes I feel like I married an episode of Seinfeld.)) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

NaBloPoMo Day 7: Back to Bibliophagery!

One of the best compliments I ever received came in December of 1996 while I was in Los Angeles visiting my friend Doug. It was the day after Christmas, we were sitting in a bar, and my navel piercing had just been reworked with a dangling sun. As we finished our first pitcher of beer, Doug looked at me and said, “You’re one of the most well-read people I know.” I’ll never forget that, because those words are So Much Better than, “Nice chest.” or “Good work with the liquid eyeliner, Cleopatra!”

It has been a few years since I read a book that made me feel smart. And I realize that feeling smart while reading isn’t necessarily a goal shared by many. BUT, to me, feeling smart while reading is sort of like drinking the perfect salted caramel hot chocolate while strolling around after dark wearing my favorite shoes and coat and heading toward an old movie theater with Jeff to watch AmĂ©lie. And, what was that? Oh! It’s just starting to snow!

(Side story: I just reached up to scratch my neck and found that it had been bleeding. So now I’m sort of living a Flaming Lips song, and that hardly ever happens. (Words begin at 1:18, and although I really love the song, I wouldn’t advise you to watch the video if the sight of blood makes you feel oogey.) )

A few months back, Jeff and I attended a wedding where I bonded with a woman over tattoos and vodka. Last month, we serendipitously ran into each other again as I was working in the yarn store. As strange as it sounds, we sort of knew that our friendship was meant to be, so we traded information and have now formed a book club. And I’m feeling very enthusiastic. And if you know me at all, you know that I’m rarely turned up to Enthusiastic.

Yesterday I took an hour out of my day to fill up my Facebook “Books I Have Read” page. As I filled it out, I started feeling sparked to free up some time for reading. This morning I read this article, and now I’m roasting. Broiling, even. In fact, tonight just might find me putting the vampire books aside and diving into something more gristly. And I think this phase will be kicked off with more David Foster Wallace. Because, seriously. Read the article.

Today: Cleaned the family room a bit, took Harper to The Little Gym, shared a bowl of lima beans, type type type type type for Day 7, will clean some more, perhaps knit a bit, get Meredith from the bus stop, go to Target to search for chocolate brown sheets, celebrate Meredith’s month of reading with a free pizza at Pizza Hut, knit a bit more (I’m really focusing on this and this right now.), and then in bed by 9:30 to read!

I’ll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, spark me. Let me know what you’re reading! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

NaBloPoMo Day 6: But enough about these tranquil parts.

NaBloPoMo is tricky when everything is going well and you haven’t really left the house in a few days.

Do you care that a constellation has formed on my neck?

Do you care that a group of people on Facebook really angered me, and I did absolutely nothing about it?

Do you care that I found my journal from 2000? Do you want me to share some lines with you?

Wait. You do?! Well, okay then!

These are not in any type of order, and I refuse to provide context. Here goes.

It’s the equivalent to grabbing a burger with Jesus.

I’m not ready to wipe my rear with a stranger’s discarded Kleenex.

Jeff is moving to Nashville in a little over a week, and I need to remember how important communication is to a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

The drinking of Chardonnay reveals a lack of imagination.

My words are being twisted and molded like a soggy kneecap or a scrambled egg sitting on top of a pancake sausage sandwich.

I am swamped and bewildered.

Parker Posey doesn’t recognize the past tense.

When we got to the house, we found sixteen strangers writing messages to one another on the walls. After reading random messages for nearly an hour, I found a line that someone had written to me about my four kidney infections and how they corresponded with my four failed relationships and how I should look into purchasing a rototiller to prepare my dirt for seed. I left the house feeling confused and immediately headed to 7-11 where I purchased a family-sized bag of Funyons and some chocolate milk. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>