Tomorrow I will conquer the world. Today? Cookies. Napping.

I tend to wince when I hear people puking out garbage about needing to take a vacation after their vacation. Similarly, if you ever tell me that you don’t do Mondays, we can still be friends, but we will never be Friends. Don’t ever say anything to me about a fish needing a bicycle. We’re done with that. I could go on. I won’t go on.

Mountain Family

This photo was taken on Thursday morning, less than five minutes after we left our cabin for the long drive home. Our original plan was to get back into St. Louis on Friday night, but we tweaked the plan a bit for many reasons. (We missed Scout and Henry. We were done spending money. I had plans to spend the weekend with a group of friends.)

After driving forever (eight hours is not actually forever, but sometimes it smells like it), we got home at around 8:00 on Thursday night. I unpacked, went to bed, picked up the dogs on Friday morning, went for a quick run, started getting things ready for my second adventure, fell asleep, woke up with a hormonal headache if you know what I’m saying, ate a bunch of cherries and bananas (I don’t know), fell asleep again, and morphed into one of those people who needs a vacation after their vacation. Like a fish who needs a bicycle on a Monday that isn’t done.

All of this to say: I used to be able to begin an adventure immediately after ending an adventure. (I used to be able to wear black eyeliner without looking completely ridiculous.) I now have wrinkly skin under my eyes, and many of my friends from high school are enjoying themselves four hours away from where I’m sitting right now. (I’ve taken two naps today.)

Aunt Becky

If Rebecca Cable had been born 100 years later, I think she and I could hang out.


Pigeon Forge is filled with neon signs and weird shops and miniature golf and water rides and tattoo parlors and upside down funhouses and huge rafts for sale and airbrushed t-shirts and tacky hotels and pancake dumps and cigarette smoke and beef jerky outlets. After spending three days making our way through the craziness, we spent our final day exploring old churches and cabins and mills at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Perfect ending. Perfect week. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Smoky Mountain Puddings!

At approximately 8:30 in the morning on Friday, July 13th, I ended a 42 year run of being able to say, “No! I’ve never been stung by a hornet!” I was outside watering my tomatoes and roses and when I went to return the hose to its rightful place, I felt something on my left hand. When I looked down, THERE WAS A HORNET SITTING THERE LOOKING AT ME IN ALL CAPS!!! I did what anyone who is not experienced with venomous insects would do. I freaked out, the bee inserted his/her stinger halfway between my thumb and wrist, and I screamed. (I can’t remember the last time I screamed. Wait. Yes I do. It was four years ago when this happened in the parking lot at Starbucks.) I’ve been through an appendectomy, two c-sections, oral surgery during which six teeth were removed, a tattoo, a nose piercing, and several car accidents and break-ups. Nothing compares to The Sting of The Hornet. Let’s shorten the story. I took a bunch of pills, and I iced the sting all day. Every time the ice bag would melt, the pain returned.

At 7:30 on Friday night, I went to the urgent care shoebox hospital place, where the doctor: 1. Yelled at me for waiting so long to come in. 2. Was all concerned about the black spots around the sting until I laughed and said, “Oh! Those are Oreo crumbs!” and brushed them away. 3. Prescribed a steroid, an antihistamine, Naproxen, and VICODIN. (I threw away the Vicodin prescription, because I’m afraid I might like Vicodin a little too much.) On Friday night, I slept with a huge ice pack on my hand. By Saturday morning, the pain was gone.

SO, we packed up the car and drove to the mountains.

Mountain view

This is the view from our cabin. The week is going to be perfect for many reasons, including the fact that we found someone to watch our house and our dogs. All is well here, and all is well back home. This means I can eat my cereal (with almond milk!) on the front porch with a ripped-up Vicodin prescription and absolutely no need for Xanax.

This morning I woke up at 4:45 and heard something walking around on our porch. I looked out the window, but I didn’t see anything. I read in bed for a bit (Catching Fire!), and about every 15 minutes or so, I heard the noise. When Jeff got up at 7:00, he found a dead and mangled mouse right outside our front door. I know this is probably the work of a cat or a raccoon (or hopefully, a sweet baby bear!), but my mind wants to believe that we’re going to have our own Boo Radley during our stay in the mountains. Please keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow will find us holding some fresh hand-carved wooden dolls at 7:00 in the morning. (I’ve pinned a note to the rocking chair that says, “We prefer craftiness to carnage.” Here’s hoping Boo is able to read and respect.)

Because Kris Allen told me to live like we’re dying, this morning I went to a spinnery, spun some wool on a Sidekick, and purchased eight ounces of merino/tussah.


It’s going to be a good week. I hope yours is the same. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

P-Funk All Stars Perform The Anxious Puppy Blues

I’m moving back to Nashville.

(I’m not really moving back to Nashville.)

As you know, we spent a few days in Nashville last week. The entire trip lasted less than 60 hours from start to finish, which wasn’t nearly enough for me. I often wonder how my life would be different had we stayed in Nashville after getting married in 2001. I can’t help but think we would be struggling a bit more. AND, because I’m a clever blend of “The world revolves around me” and “Every time a butterfly flaps its wings, it changes the course of something else” I wonder if Nashville would still be Nashville without us there. I love Nashville just the way it is, so perhaps leaving it was the best decision. If you love something set it free or time keeps on ticking into the future or step off the crack, Jack and make a new plan, Stan.

Little Kids in a Big Chair

A day will soon come when my kids no longer want to sit in a gigantic rocking chair. During our trip to Nashville, they sat in it twice and posed for photos. Together. Last night Meredith pulled me aside and asked if she could help pick out her summer clothes this year. The basic short/t-shirt combinations that I tend to buy in bulk at Target are no longer her style. Also, late last week she told me that I shouldn’t be wearing black shoes with light jeans. “Maybe a different pair of black shoes would work, but those don’t look that good. No offense.” Her Smiling in a Big Rocking Chair days are numbered.

The Pfunky Griddle

One of our favorite meals in Nashville was breakfast at The Pfunky Griddle. Each table had a griddle built in, and if you go for the all you can eat pancake breakfast, the griddle is turned on and the staff continues to deliver wheat and white batter to the table. (Everyone gets to choose one topping. Harper went with M&M’s. Meredith went for chocolate chips. Jeff? Blueberries. Me? Banana slices, plus a side of vegetarian sausage. I mixed it all together and made banana/sausage pancakes. Not bad.)

Pfunky Griddle All Stars

Did you notice that Meredith is wearing a hoodie in that photo? I’m telling you, the child is living on the edge these days.

While we were gone, we boarded the puppies at their vet office. When I called on Wednesday, I was told that Henry was a bit of a “Nervous Nellie” at first, but he was now doing well with eating and playing. When I called on Thursday, I was told that both dogs were “doing great” and playing/eating/having a great time. When we arrived to pick them up on Friday, the woman in charge of the boarding facility came out and told us that Henry had a horrible experience during his stay. They couldn’t get him in and out of his crate very well, they had to get the help of one of the veterinarians because he was starting to get aggressive, he never pooped, and on and on until I interrupted and said, “Every time I called to check on the dogs, I was told that they were doing really well. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?”

Vet Tech: Well, I guess it depends on who you talked to. They may not have been familiar with the situation.

Me: They may not have been familiar, yet they gave me a glowing report. That bothers me.

Vet Tech: Well, the next time you board, you could consider having a sedative prescribed for Henry so he deals with the situation a bit better.

Me: Had I known he was going nuts, I could have asked for him to be given something during THIS visit. Again, it really bothers me that I wasn’t told what was going on.

Vet Tech: There are a lot of big dogs here right now.

Me: I sometimes dream about taking a nap in a bathtub filled with scrambled eggs. That doesn’t change the fact that something could have been done to help my dog.

When we got Henry home, he pooped for three hours (I’m exaggerating. Slightly.), and then slept for nearly twelve hours. I don’t believe we’ll board him again. (The thing that bugs me? I really like everyone at the vet office. And I know their job is hard. And I know that it’s a busy time of year. And I know, or at least I hope that everyone was doing their best. Still, I hate that Henry was terrified for sixty straight hours.)


In my mind, this truck is filled with the pink slime everyone seems to be talking about. Also, it could be filled with a scrambled egg type of substance that stays at ninety nine degrees indefinitely. For my bathtub. Because I’m sleepy.

(Heads Up: Yesterday I renewed Fluid Pudding for two more years, so you’ve got me until I’m almost 44, if not longer. Cheers to us.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Nashville Cats Play Clean as Country Water

I come to you today from a hotel bed in Nashville, Tennessee. The Pudding family normally takes a cold weather trip before Christmas, but that trip didn’t happen this year. (The cold weather didn’t happen this year, either. Perhaps the cold weather relies on our plan to leave town. Next month I’ll be apologizing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.) Anyway. Because we were all itching to hit the road, we chose to spend the girls’ spring break in the town where, in 2001, Jeff and I decided to seal the deal and make some babies. It’s been entirely too long.

We spent part of our afternoon in Franklin, Tennessee, and WHOOSH! So many memories. This is the street where I used to work. This is the ice cream shop that my co-worker and I often visited when we were feeling disgruntled. This is the road where that co-worker told me how he knew he was gay. This is the old stove factory where I held a door for Naomi Judd, and she stared right at me as if it was my JOB to hold the door for her, and then she passed on through without thanking me. (She has porcelain skin and a cactus where her heart should be.) This is the Starbucks I once visited less than ten minutes after Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman visited it! This is the art store where I bought the supplies to make our wedding invitations!

The afternoon ended with “This is the steakhouse where you can throw peanuts on the floor.” AND, because God tends to high five me at least once a day, the steakhouse now has veggie skewers! My dinner consisted of a veggie skewer and one of my very favorite Nashvillian combinations: A baked sweet potato and sweet tea.

Keep being Nashville, Nashville.

I wouldn’t have you any other way. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Dirty Old Men, The Fort Lauderdale Edition

My ortho guy (because I have an ortho guy) has office walls bedecked with signed jerseys. Marshall Faulk is on the wall. Wayne Gretzky is on the wall. Even Kris Humphries is on the wall. I might not recognize all of the names on the shadow-boxed jerseys, but I *am* pretty sure that none of them represent slightly overweight housewives in their 40s. (Oh, man. Did you see that? It was not my intention to get all crankypants in Sentence Five. I was going to wait until at LEAST Sentence Eleven.)

This morning I went to see the ortho guy so we could figure out if I still need the boot on my left foot. I signed in at 9:00. My appointment was at 9:15. I was taken back to an examination room at 9:45. The doctor came in at 10:08.

Doctor: So, what’s going on?

Me: Well, I want to mention just a few things before we figure out if I need the boot any longer. First, blah, blah, blah, my insurance won’t cover a bone density test because the code isn’t covered under the correct umbrella.

Doctor: That’s just silly. Blah, blah, blah, this code, this code, or this code.

Me: Excellent. And another thing, I had blood taken to check my Vitamin D levels, and I’m low, so I’m now taking 50,000 units once a week for a month, and then I’ll go to 2,000 units daily until I die. Parentheses I didn’t know if you cared about that or not End Parentheses. Suddenly, rickets isn’t as funny as it was in elementary school.

Doctor: Okay. Let’s get a look at the leg.

Me: Ouch. Quit it. Ouch. Quit it. Ouch. Quit it. And while you’re poking me, I was wondering how my right leg x-ray looked, because I’m starting to get that weird shooting pain over there, and I can’t figure out if it’s because I’m walking crooked with the boot or not.

Doctor: Let me go out and take a look at the x-ray.

At this point, the doctor left the room, closed the door behind him, and was immediately approached by a wild and crazy and loud-talking colleague.

Colleague: Hey! What are you doing the weekend of March 15th?

Doctor (who was supposedly checking my x-rays and checking my x-rays): I don’t know! Why?

Colleague: Because I’m scheduling a mid-life crisis! We’re going down to Fort Lauderdale! I don’t have anything planned yet. Right now we’re just trying to figure out if we’re taking the spouses or not.

Doctor (still checking my x-rays, I presume): Well, I can answer that for you! Not!!! HA HA HA HA!!!!

Colleague: I’m with you, Bro!

They continued to talk (and possibly high five and/or kiss) for nearly ten minutes. And I thought that was funny because at this point the doctor had spent no more than five minutes talking to me and ten minutes talking to and/or making out with his friend. (I really can’t blame him. I would have much rather been chatting it up with one of my friends than touching the leg of someone who had no intention of offering up some rad game tickets and/or an awesome shot at Spring Break infidelity.) I finished a chapter in my book just in time for him to walk back into the room.

Doctor: No fracture in the right leg. I’m concerned about your left knee, though. Keep wearing the boot for two more weeks, and I’m going to send you downstairs for an MRI. If there’s no fracture, we’ll talk about platelet injections in both your ankle and your knee. I’ll call you and schedule it after I look at the MRI.

He then started to leave the room.

Me: Oh! Wait. While we’re talking about scheduling, who do *I* call to schedule *MY* mid-life crisis?

(Yes! I said that! I rarely have such a short lag time between Leaving the Scene and What I Should Have Said, so I went with it!)

Doctor (appearing a bit embarrassed): Ha! Erm. Yeah! Go ahead and schedule that. I hear Europe is nice this time of year!

Me: Actually, I hear DITCHING the SPOUSE and heading to FORT LAUDERDALE is also pretty tempting! Am I RIGHT?!

Doctor: Nervous laughter. Nervous, nervous laughter. I’ll take a look at the MRI and will call you in a few days.

I left the office feeling Parker Poseyesque plus a little humiliated plus a little rushed, because I had less than an hour to grab a Vanity Fair before my MRI.

The Parker Poseyness has worn off. I’m still feeling slightly humiliated (I’m not sure why), but that’s nothing that bean tostadas can’t fix. Also, I mostly recommend the latest Vanity Fair.

Happy Waitangi Day to my friends in New Zealand. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Going to the Mattresses

This morning The Pudding Family met up with Doug from Laid-Off Dad and The W Family for brunch at Duff’s.


It was delightful and time moved entirely too quickly while we were there and when we left, I was filled with the urge to put more life into what I do. Revivification! (I really love that photo of us, but if you’re in need of something that involves more eye contact, then here you go.)

Gangster Quilts at Duff's

I also left thinking that I need to learn how to quilt. (The walls at Duff’s are currently bedecked with gangster movie themed quilts made by a local artist.) Can you imagine an entire series of quilts based on quiltworthy Ben Folds songs? There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You Quilt! Stumblin’ Home Winter Blues Quilt! Best of all? Sleazy Quilt! (Fun Fact: Sleazy has been in my head for over 48 hours now. Do me a favor and ask Jeff how awesome it is when I cover Ben Folds covering Ke$ha. He loves it. But not really. Not really at all.)

After returning home and studying my little notebook where I had jotted down “Scarf Ace” and “Plants vs. Zombies” during our encounter at Duff’s, I worked on some freelance and then headed out to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Craft Show with my mom and sister. I went with one goal in mind: To Purchase a Pillow that Looks Like a Log. Sadly, I believe all log pillows had sold out. (Luckily, the Squaresville pot holders were still available.)

After leaving the craft show, we headed straight to Jilly’s, where I ate the cupcake that won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Banana toffee cake stuffed with toffee dulce de leche and topped with caramel cream cheese swirl and chocolate astronaut ice cream. That’s right. Chocolate astronaut ice cream.

Space Monkey!

My mom, who I shall now refer to as Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater, packed this in:

Jilly's Slice of Gratitude Cupcake

First you make a cupcake. Then you stuff it with a piece of pumpkin pie. Then you top it with cinnamon nutmeg buttercream and ANOTHER piece of pumpkin pie. It’s sort of like the cupcake form of turducken, minus the flesh and the slaughter, plus some cinnamon and deliciousness.

As I sit and type this out for you (only four more days of NaBloPoMo, you know), the girls are finishing up their one week anniversary lice treatment. We have now been completely bug free for over a week, but I will NOT accept victory without one final Phthirapterian sucker punch. It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Billboards quoting things you’d never say…

Despite the fact that I felt all self-conscious about my lack of dress-up clothes, Jeff and I left the house early yesterday evening to see Ben Folds play with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. In case you’re wondering what I wore, I dressed pretty much like this:

We regarded one another, and then I frenched him.

(Three differences: I was with Jeff—not the stiff umbrella man. Also, I wore boots. Finally, there was no need for umbrellas.) ((Have I mentioned lately how much I love Julie at Sungazing Photography?))

We left the house at 6:00 and decided to grab dinner before the show. We were a bit short on time, so we decided all we really needed was something quick and filling that wouldn’t make us feel gross afterward: Fast Food Sushi. (I know!) As we walked into the restaurant, I mentioned to Jeff that it feels like my jacket is a little too yellow for November.

Me: I feel like I’m trying to be that guy who hangs out with Curious George.

We ordered our food and I chose a table near the television so Jeff could watch the Rams game. The table next to ours held two girls crocheting scarves. Ahhhh. All is well. AND, then the radio started playing Upside Down by Jack Johnson. And it’s not a bad song, but it IS on the Curious George soundtrack. Sign from God to take off the jacket? I think so.

Fast forward. Dinner? It was okay. (Since when is a tempura roll not the least bit crunchy? Since last night, I suppose! BUT, I still ate the entire thing, so I can’t complain!) Parking at Powell Hall? Five bucks. How was the crowd? They were stunning. Seriously. The place was filled to the brim with Lovely. Evidence: The first person we saw after finding our seats was Kelli, who is SO smart and witty and lovely and with child! On the other side of my hump (architectural term for the barrier between our dress box and the adjoining dress box) was Carrie!  (She’s a knitter and a writer and I’ve never actually met her before, but I’ve admired her for quite some time!) Also at the show? Lisa M., who you might recognize from her comments here. Because of Facebook, we’ve become fast friends, and she’s lovely and kind and is also a writer!

Before the show, I took my camera out of my bag and set it up so I could capture a few shots of Ben Folds. Almost immediately,  a little maroon tuxedo-wearing man ran up and said, “I’m going to have to cut you off. There are no photos allowed of the orchestra.” SO, I sat there and bitched to Jeff for several minutes, because the place was FILLED with people taking photos with their smart phones. I almost felt like I was being discriminated against because my phone is below average. (Ah! But I learned my lesson. Surprisingly, very few people were taking photos after the show started. I need to keep reminding myself that seeing a show at Powell Hall is a lot different than chilling out at Lilith Fair. Sorry for my nasty thoughts, Tuxedo Man.)

Hhhhhh. We’re already at 520 words, and I haven’t even started talking about the show. I’ll just say this: It was amazing. Incredible. I’ve seen Ben Folds five or six times over the years, and this was by far my favorite performance. (Close second? Seeing Ben Folds Five at Mississippi Nights in 1997.)

Here’s my thing: I love going to the symphony. I don’t go very often. In fact, I haven’t been since I saw Jon Nakamatsu play with the Nashville Symphony back in late 1999. And that’s ridiculous. I don’t like watching sports on television. The only thing that helps me understand the excitement that so many people feel when they watch a football game is the excitement *I* feel when I watch an orchestra. Swelling dynamics, hidden sparks, musical conversations between strings and brass… I know you’re probably rolling your eyes right now. I get that. Anyway, it stirs me.

Here’s another thing: I’m totally into Ben Folds. Sure, he’s quirked it up over the years and I can barely listen to his latest stuff with my kids in the room, but nevertheless: I think he’s WISE. And ridiculously clever. He sings, I smile. It’s that simple.

One more thing: I’m a sucker for piano-driven bands, and I’m a sucker for classical musicians. When you put these two things together, there I’ll be—beating my hands on my legs and displaying my big goofy grin. That’s a promise.

Instead of trying to explain how wonderful each and every song was, I’ll list what he played (In order! AND, I’ll embed a few because I’m awesome like that!) and link the others up to YouTube as best as I can. If you don’t know Ben Folds, let this act as a primer. If you’re a fan, just sit back and enjoy. If you don’t have time for this, please at least tune in for Narcolepsy. It was my very favorite arrangement of the evening, and I’ve found a video with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra that captures just how mind-blowing (to me) it was.

Here we go.

Zak and Sara (What a wonderful way to start the show. My eyes may or may not have welled up. (They welled up.))

The Ascent of Stan
Picture Window
One Angry Dwarf

(Intermission. Go ahead. Take a little break.)

Not the Same (complete with audience participation)

Steven’s Last Night in Town

Narcolepsy (Seriously. Watch this one. Tenor alert at 3:24! This one gave me chills.)

(Now it’s time for the orchestra to walk out so Ben Folds can play a few tunes on his own.)

Rock it, St. Louis (an impromptu (poor-quality video) response to the jackass who kept yelling “Rock This Bitch!”)
Johnny B. Goode (a little shout out to Chuck Berry, who was seen wearing sweat pants at the airport several years ago)
Annie Waits

My only regret? I went to the show with a plan to buy a t-shirt. On the way out, I was so jazzed that I forgot the t-shirt. And now I can’t find them online. Is anyone out there going to a Ben Folds show anytime soon? Do you want to get a t-shirt for me? Adult! Medium or Large! I’ll either PayPal you or I’ll trade you something  knitted!

Something to add to the life list: Coffee and doughnuts with Ben Folds. Can someone coach me on how to make this happen? If your advice is magical and I someday find myself with vanilla long john icing on my chin while sitting across a table from Mr. Folds, I’ll knit socks for you! Two pairs, even! Four pairs! (Two pairs.)

Go watch Narcolepsy again, and tomorrow I’ll tell you all about this morning’s mammogram.

(Spoiler Alert: It was negative!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Maybe if they put cupcakes at the finish line…

It seems that I keep putting posts up and then taking them down because I’ve become severely self-conscious of looking like a jerk or offending a group of people.

This should not offend anyone. (Unless you’re opposed to Halloween. If you’re opposed to Halloween, LOOK AWAY!)

On Saturday evening, we took Hermione and Evil Angel to Boo at the Zoo.

Boo at the Zoo with Hermione and Evil Angel!

(Evil Angel will eventually have vampire teeth. Her idea.)

It was very crowded, and sufficiently spooky.

Dark and Spooky

After about an hour of walking around (please know that I touched a hedgehog during that hour, which is a first for me), we decided to grab a snack and head out.

What could be better than funnel cakes at Boo at the Zoo?!

My kids are just like me when it comes to food and loving food and feeling especially fond of food that has sugar sprinkled onto the top of it. Sometimes I worry that they’ll eventually share my sort of crappy relationship with food. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and also thinking that I need to start up with the running again. It has been five weeks since I hurt my ankle, and my ankle still hurts. It still swells up at night. I know my doctor said Eight Weeks To Recovery, but I really thought eight weeks was more for people like REAL athletes with REAL injuries—not just a fake runner lady who stumbled. I have a friend who swears that the pain doesn’t really matter. “Just run on it. Just keep running.” (She’s a Real Athlete.)

I know six people who participated in the Rock and Roll Marathon in St. Louis yesterday. I sat here at the computer and tracked them as they were running. I cheered for them as they hit important milestones. Less than ten minutes after one of my friends crossed the finish line and became a Marathoner, I choked on a cupcake. (I took a bite, and when I heard Meredith coming into the kitchen, I shoved the rest of the cupcake into my mouth. I have no idea why. And then I inhaled, and part of the cupcake went down the wrong pipe and I started coughing and the kids thought I was sneezing, so every time I hacked and wheezed, both girls screamed “BLESS YOU!!! BLESS YOU!!!” My friends are running MARATHONS, and I’m beating on my chest in an attempt to dislodge cupcake crumbs from my lungs.)

I need to fix this ankle of mine. Or else just run on it. (By the way, it’s easy to love running when you can’t run. Very easy. I’ve been loving running for five weeks now. I think it’s time to start hating it again.)

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I still don’t know what the white strappy thing is.

Ten years ago today, I got together with my cousins, my aunt, my sister, my mom, and my mother-in-law.

We went to Olympia, where cheese was set on fire and I did a bit of this:

Pink and Fuzzy

And a bit of this:

I have no idea what this is.

And a lot of this:

What a beautiful bride.

When it occurred to my aunt that I hadn’t had a shower that involved underpants, she threw one together two days before our wedding. Jeff and I had just driven in from Nashville a few hours before, and suddenly it was time to sit in front of my mother-in-law and open strappy fuzzy things. Afterwards, we went to Kaldi’s for chai and cookies.

Ten years later, I still love flaming cheese and chai and cookies and Jeff.

But not in that order, obviously.

(Chai will always come before cheese. In my heart, and alphabetically.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Ah-ah-ah… Scieszka! Bless You!

It has been One Of Those Weeks. We realized on Monday that our license plates expired in September. SO, on Tuesday I took the car in for an inspection, and it failed because of a malfunctioning LED brake strip. We quickly scheduled an appointment at the dealer, because it seems that no one else carries the strip. On Wednesday morning, I left the house at 6:45, drove in the type of traffic that terrifies me, arrived at the dealer for my 7:30 appointment, and was quickly told that they would have to order the part.

Guy at Dealer: It might be in tomorrow, but it might take up to five days.

Me: I might take a Xanax tomorrow. I might take five right now.

Guy at Dealer: Pardon me?

Me: Where can I get a Diet Dr. Pepper in this joint?

Add these tiny inconveniences to the fact that I’ve misplaced my tiny scissors (I KNOW!), we have yet another $100 vet bill for Henry, I’m doing that Stressed About A Deadline thing that I tend to always do when I have a deadline, and yeesh. Thank God for Jon Scieszka. (My life is charmed. Please know that I know.)

I’ve always enjoyed going to book readings, and taking my kids to meet authors. Because I believe that Writers Can Be Rock Stars, I was super jazzed last week when I heard that Jon Scieszka was going to be at the girls’ school this morning, as I consider him to be one of the funniest authors of all time. (I went to see him in October of 1998 when Squids Will Be Squids was released. I actually left work early that day and camped out in the bookstore cafe so I could arrive before the kids who would be coming after school. I was 28. They were 7. I won.) Thursday. Scieszka. Yes. I’m in.

Enter: The Wrench.

Harper, who LOVES Squids Will Be Squids as well as The Stinky Cheese Man,  takes classes at the middle school on Thursdays, meaning she wouldn’t be able to see Mr. Scieszka at the elementary.

Luckily, he had an appearance scheduled last night at the library headquarters.

Harper and I put on our glad rags and headed out.

Because we crave high-brow literary outings. (And pretzel M&Ms.)


We got there early enough to nab front row seats. AND, sadly, because the Cardinals are doing the “We Might Go to the World Series” thing, not very many people followed us in. (I was expecting a HUGE crowd. Those stinking Cardinals. (Of course, I’m kidding. I BLEED RED! (Not really.))) At about 7:10, Mr. Scieszka (rhymes with Fresca, because some of you were wondering) began telling us about his childhood, and about his books.


Despite the sort of crap week I’ve been having so far (WHERE ARE MY TINY SCISSORS?!), I sat there and laughed until I was crying. CRYING! I really should read you the story from Cowboy and Octopus that did me in. BUT, if  you didn’t laugh, I would feel all weird. Anyway. After the Q&A session, he signed books.

I’m pleased to report that the book he signed on October 14, 1998 has been signed again.



AND, best of all, Harper now has her first signed book.


Harper's Signed Book ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>