Wednesday was ridiculous and wonderful. Oye, ¿cómo va?

My alarm went off at around 2:30 in the morning on Wednesday. The Lyft driver pulled up at 3:30, and his car smelled like Willie Nelson.

Driver: Do you think my car smells like pot?

Me: The first thing I noticed when I opened the door was how the car smelled like pot.

Driver: The guy who rode with me a few hours ago asked if he could vape in the car. I had no idea he was going to vape marijuana. Are you cool?

Me: I’m cool.

During the 25 minute drive from my house to the airport, the driver and I talked about Warped Tour, his dream of buying an old church and turning it into a creative community and homeless outreach center, BROCKHAMPTON, Chuck E. Cheese, sobriety, Korn, parenthood, and Latino culture.

Watching people move in slow motion through the airport at 4:00 in the morning is something I could do all day—if the entire day could hold that 4:00am vibe. And it can’t. Don’t listen to what they tell you. Some dreams really can’t come true.

Tempe and I landed in Denver at 7:00 in the morning THEIR TIME and about an hour later we were sitting in our shitty rental Chevy Malibu. (I won’t bore you with details about wiper fluid, alignment, or the peeing sound that happened every time we slowed to a stop.) Eventually, we met up with one of my favorite people in this ridiculous and wonderful world, and together the three of us broke bread and listened to Tito Puente.

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And then Tempe and I were off to Kansas City to see Nadia Bolz-Weber.

Confession: When we purchased our flight tickets, I was under the impression that the drive from Denver to Kansas City is five hours. $50 for a flight to Denver to have breakfast with a friend before a quick drive to Kansas City to hear NBW discussing her brand new book? Perfect!

Sadly, time doesn’t work the way I wish it would. (See the above paragraph that begins with “Watching people move in slow motion through the airport…”) The drive is actually NINE hours long, and the NBW event was to begin at 7:00pm. There was no way to extend biscuits and Oye Cómo Va while shortening Highway 70, so off we went—driving reasonably fast through Kansas.

During the long drive we listened to stories of murder. We stopped for salty subs at a gas station Quiznos. I ate too many peanut M&Ms. We drove and drove and drove. Because: KANSAS.

Tempe and I arrived at the church for the Nadia Bolz-Weber event less than fifteen minutes before it was over. You would think I would be full of damnits and shits about our timing, BUT what I wanted most of all was for NBW to sign my book, and for THAT we arrived right on time. In fact: I WAS FIRST IN LINE FOR THE SIGNING. Sometimes time is on my side. (Yes, it is.)

This is what happened next.

Nadia Bolz-Weber entered the room and sat at the signing table and I was all star struck and “Wheee!”

I handed her my book for the signing.

Me: Do you mind if I get a photo with you?

NBW: You can, but I don’t smile or pose.

I stepped behind the table, and with my salt-retaining, up-for-18-hours big puffy face that had been driving (reasonably fast) for a LONG time in a shitty Chevy Malibu, I smiled my exhausted but EXCITED smile. And keeping to her word, NBW didn’t smile or pose. And here we are.

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This photo makes me laugh every time I look at it because it is just so perfect. (Most importantly: I still love Nadia Bolz-Weber. Yet another gem for this ridiculously wonderful world.)

Worth all the minutes. Every one of them.

I got a castle in Brooklyn. That’s where I dwell.

So THIS is boring: I couldn’t get into Fluid Pudding AGAIN this morning because someone went in and changed my password. Again. It keeps happening and happening. Just like everything else, really. Sun up. Sun down. Chili making sock knitting son of a gun. (I’ve been listening to the Beastie Boys Book. It’s possibly the most entertaining audio book I’ve heard. I’m cruising, I’m bruising, I’m never ever losing. I’m in my car I’m going far and dust is what I’m using.)

This guy has been an only child for years.
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Today I started birthing his brother.
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Also, I’ve been watching Friends from College on Netflix and working on this guy. (It’s double knit, which is a new skill for me. I’ll keep you updated as it grows and changes color.)
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SPEAKING of FRIENDS from COLLEGE, Tempe and I will be boarding a plane in the wee hours of the morning and flying to Denver where we will breakfast (as a verb) with one of my favorite friends from college before driving to Kansas City for the night. (How can anyone pass up a $49 flight to Denver?) I have three protein bars and glitter eyeliner. I’ll be back home in about 30 hours.

Finally, I have a friend who owns a Comfy, so now I own a Comfy, too. Any time the temperature drops below 32, I go a little something like this:

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I got this dance that’s more than real.
I wear my Comfy, here’s how I feel.
Put your left leg down. Your right leg up.
Tilt your head back. Let’s finish the cup.

I saw the Asawa.

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I went to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation with a friend yesterday morning to see the Ruth Asawa exhibit. I’m 48 years old and I’m certain that seeing this exhibit falls into my top five art outings. (Also on the list: I saw Matisse and Picasso exhibits at Tate Modern in the summer of 2002 (AMAZING), and I live in the same town as Keith by Chuck Close (ONE OF MY FAVORITES). Wait. Suddenly, the boundaries are fuzzing because: Does seeing Jon Nakamatsu (1997 Van Cliburn winner) playing Rachmaninoff count as an art outing? I went by myself when I was living in Nashville. After the concert, I drove to Tower Records to buy Nakamatsu CDs, and then I treated myself to a cheeseburger at Rotier’s because I knew what was up in Nashville in 1999. My best friend and I went to a support group for Wiccans when we were in college. Is that an art outing? I have so much to think about.)

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Back to the Pulitzer. When we arrived, a few university students and their instructor had gathered for a pre-arranged curator tour. They were kind enough to let us join the group, and it felt like a cosmic handshake.

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The sculptures are made of looped wire.  Asawa wrapped the wire around a dowel rod to form the loops and then connected the loops in order to shape the sculptures—concentrating on the shapes as well as the space around the shapes. The curator told us that when the sculptures arrived at the Pulitzer, she was told which ones should be grouped together. All other decisions (where the art was placed, how high or low to hang the sculptures, how the exhibit should be lit) was up to her.

She put together a beautiful presentation.

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With a single strand of wire, Asawa created the inner shapes first, and then worked outward to create the larger shapes. None of the sculptures were given names, so you’re allowed to bring your own experiences to the shapes without any suggested influences.

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And I did bring my own experiences. In Ruth Asawa’s sculptures I saw knitting and calligraphy and droplets suspended in time and the manifestation of toxic diffuse goiter and a possum who dreams of becoming a flapper:

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Stick with me for this one. Look at this sculpture.

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If it could sing, don’t you think it would sound like this?

Also, knitters? Check out what appears to be a single centered decrease done with wire.

Centered Single Decrease

If you live in St. Louis, you have until February 16th to enjoy the exhibit. Bonus: While you’re at the Pulitzer, you should also check out the Lola Álvarez Bravo photographs. If you’re anything like me (and you ARE), you might be inspired to become one with Carlos Pellicer Cámara. (Helpful hint: Try to match up the ears!)

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Better yet, let a photo split your skull and blow your mind because you thought the woman on the right was Frida Kahlo, but ISN’T Frida Kahlo.

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I guess everyone dressed like Frida Kahlo in the time of Frida Kahlo.

I know I would have.

I once bumped into Jack Black at an Aimee Mann concert.

Dear Lord, you guys. You would probably laugh if you could see just how frustrated and pouty I’ve been today because of this website. (Please know that our friendship would probably take a hit if you actually laughed. Give me a few days and maybe we’ll laugh together.) It’s all so boring, so just know this: In the past few months, Fluid Pudding has been taken over by people in Russia and China, and these people are NOT on my approved admin list. (I can’t even TYPE Russia and China without pronouncing them in a very Trumpian way, and that makes me hate myself.) Resolving the issues with my host? It’s awful. I walk away feeling old and embarrassed about not knowing what I don’t know. I’m three inches away from saying, “I wrote at Fluid Pudding for over 17 years. The End.”

(I started Fluid Pudding a little less than a year before I made out with Harry S. Truman.)

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Let’s change the subject.

I went to the gynecologist yesterday, and as I sat on the table with a paper blanket covering my privates, I studied a chart that eventually revealed that I weigh too much to have a baby. I can’t have a baby for many reasons—mainly because I no longer have a uterus—but I never really thought my weight would blackball me.

I rode in an elevator with Carol Channing once and she was really hateful.

I’m thinking of growing my hair out again.

See? These are the things I write about at Fluid Pudding. If I stopped writing, you would never know that I’m thinking of growing my hair out again.

Like this.

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Also, Carol Channing.

Do it on purpose.

A few days back I grabbed my knitting and sat on the couch to watch Dumplin’. I went in knowing nothing, and I left feeling a little “Praise Be to Those Who Challenge.” One of my favorite parts of the movie was a simple quote by Dolly Parton: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Right now I am an unenthused retainer-wearing lady with a weird eczema thing happening on her neck. Go get ’em.

I’m also “Cowl Knitter with Amazing Project Bag”. (Don’t get me started on the quotation mark that pulled ahead of the period. It knows exactly what it’s doing.)

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Look closely.

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(Sonia Harris is an amazing artist. Follow this link to understand why she does what she does. Beautifully.)

I’m “Nervous Dog Mom Who Is Looking Forward to Following Along”. (Both dog and mom are nervous, so that modifier isn’t misplaced. It’s pulling a double shift.)

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We have so much to look forward to. So much of which to look forward. So much. Look forward.

Not Really a Year in Review

Oh, 2018. Honestly. I’m not sure anyone would call it the best year ever, but I know quite a few who would say it was the worst. For me, 2018 was pretty hollow. No defining moment that will add to my list of befores and afters. A year is just a tiny bit more than 2% of my life. Two percent.

Let’s see. In 2018 I got my cosmic poetry tattoo. It’s pretty bossy and I love it.

I went to quite a few meetings in 2018, and despite the time or place or subject matter, most of these people were there with me.

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In 2018 I was delighted to see a grasshopper crystallizing her dream of being an earring.

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In 2018 I bottled something like 72 jars of local honey, and I’m now selling it. And by “selling it” I mean it’s all sitting in a temperature-controlled room waiting for me to gain the courage and motivation to actually try selling it.

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I wore shoes every day in 2018. These are my current favorites, because they are a throwback to my reminiscence bump.

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In 2018 I did NOT buy this coat. (The price didn’t match the quality.)

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In 2018 I saw Hamilton and The Wiz and Twenty One Pilots. I devoted a weekend to John Pavlovitz events at my church. I gained 20 pounds, and because I’m currently knitting two sweaters that will not fit my current shape, I will lose those 20 pounds. (It’s so easy to make it sound so easy.) I went to several marching band practices and competitions and DCI events. I drank moonshine for the first time. I went to my high school reunion to celebrate 30 years of NOT being in high school.

In 2018 I finished my ears.

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Best of all, I kicked 2018 off with the Sparklepants that were sent to me in error, but ended up being exactly what I needed.

2019. Here we go. 

Thy Leaves are So Unchanging

I have no idea who painted this tree, but I love it so much. CGilla? CGNA? CGala? is probably sitting outside on a bench and it’s snowing and they are drinking a hot something or other and maybe they need a hat, and what they don’t know is that I’m sitting over here at a big wooden table drinking a hot something or other and I’m definitely willing to make that hat. Take the joy and return the joy and spread light in the darkness because recognition and fame come to those who find a human leg in the smoker.

Speaking of taking the joy, I took my laptop to a coffee dump last week to get a little work done before meeting a friend. When I pulled into the lot, my friend texted to tell me that she pre-ordered my drink and that it would be waiting for me.

This is a dark chocolate mint martini, and it was made at one of my very favorite places. And that place is closing on December 29th. When I asked the bartender why the place is going from a restaurant/bar to a coffee/juice place, he said, “Well, the owner hooked up with a bone broth guy.” and that is now one of my favorite sentences.

This is the bar now. When it reopens, all of the hipsters (not pictured) will be replaced with bone broth-ers. Brothers. Brotheurs.

Another one of my other favorite sentences:
“The only difference between everybody and nobody is all the shoes.”

A Few Delightful Things

1. A few days back I listened to an interview with Jeff Tweedy. (Clarification: Jeff Tweedy was the person being interviewed. He wasn’t in the room with me.) During the interview he said that when he was in the third grade, he tried to convince his classmates that he wrote Born to Run. At nine years old, he recorded the album off of the radio onto a cassette tape and claimed Bruce Springsteen’s gruff and manly voice as his own. I love that so much.

2. On the way home from Meredith’s marimba lesson on Wednesday night, we saw a house that was surrounded by police cars. Because traffic was slow, we ended up right in front of the house as a police officer was leading a dog around the back. Meredith yelled, “IT’S A STEAKHOUSE!” Of course, she meant to say Stake Out and she caught the mistake almost immediately, but still. IT’S A STEAKHOUSE!

3.
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These shoes will be under the tree for me in a few weeks. I’ve wanted them for ages because the sight of them makes me want to roll up my jeans and stomp into an Indian buffet where I will sip a mango lassi before heading out to see Nadia Bolz-Weber.

4.

I’m going to see Nadia Bolz-Weber in January. One of my favorite quotes from her is this: My spirituality is most active, not in meditation, but in the moments when I realize God may have gotten something beautiful done through me despite the fact that I am an asshole.

It might hurt when the weather gets cold.

thanksgiving

A few weeks ago I went to a craft show at my church. I fell in love with a set of hand-carved hands, but I walked away without buying them. Last Sunday they made their way back into my world again. Cosmic handshake. I love that when the fingers face away, they look just like you do when you’re giving.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, but this year feels different. A friend of mine lost her son last weekend. He was 21. The circumstances surrounding his death are completely fucked up and senseless and an entire community of people has been left feeling enraged and broken. Although I never met Krystofer, I’ve read several tributes this week. He was a great friend, son, and brother. His passion for music was infectious and he had a gift for spreading joy. He was one of the good guys, and his life will be celebrated in amazing ways. But first, this unimaginable grief.

A few months back I read something Anne Lamott said, and it’s really hitting me this week as I think of my friend:

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved.

But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

I’m turning off comments for this one. Do me a favor today and just Be There. Appreciate this very moment. And then appreciate this one. And later on? Turn up the music and dance with the limp.