Trashwalk Dancing

9923312183_667ffb3a7a_z

Usually when I sit down to write, I have a general idea what I’m going to write about. Maybe a story or theme is rattling around in my brain. Usually it’s something on my heart that I want to get out. But I thought for a change of scenery I’d write about what I’m doing in one particular moment in time, without any idea of what might come out and with little editing. It will be like we are old friends and you’re just sitting here with me hanging out.

So at the moment I’m writing this useless bit, I’m sitting at a Greek Café, eating a salad without any component parts of a Greek salad since I’m on a stupid diet and can’t have all the good stuff. The guy behind the counter was like “NO OLIVES OR TZATZIKI SAUCE?” It was like I was offending his mother. Also, I had to look at the menu to see how to spell tzatziki because how genius that you can have a “z” so superbly placed in a word. But who wants to hear about all that when there’s more important things to write about. Like dancing.

It’s awkward. It makes my palms sweat right now just thinking of dancing in front of people. It’s embarrassing, and I’m not good at it, and yet right now blaring overhead in this Greek cafe is dance music, of all things. Adorable peppy your-eight-year-old-would-love-it dance music. The type of thing you sing out loud in your car and move your shoulders and tap your feet to, but of course we are in public where people are located. So I’m typing and clicking my keyboard looking very lawyerly in my pearls and answering emails from colleagues about the term-extension on a contract. BUT OH MY GOSH HOW I DIG DANCING.

So I’ve made a decision that, in an effort to carry my chipped blue tray with half-eaten salad to the trash, I shall walk-dance my way over. Do you think people might think I am ill? Like the gyro meat is causing too much gas? Maybe I’m trying to free pent-up underwear or just learned the discovery of a new planet and I can’t contain my excitement? Not that I’d be that excited about a planet, who are we kidding.

I will do it. In a minute, after I talk about capri pants.

Ya’ll seriously. There are very few times in life people should wear these atrocious shortened pants. Unless you have fabulous legs and are paring those bad boys with stilettos, you best wear your pants long as to avoid the inevitable staring at your ankles. Unless you have a thing with ankles.

Okay, I’m not really going to walk-dance to the trash. For the love. There’s a dude here in a hoodie and a girl in a bun and some old lady wearing plaid. Why do I make myself these stupid little self-dares anyway? My Type A personality is taunting its own self, like “you a sissy? Can’t freaking dance to the trash can? Little Amanda can’t handle it?” Damn you, body.

My palms are sweaty. I am so doing this.

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I did it. I picked up that tray and be-bopped to the rhythm of thumping base over to the trash and the employee at the cafe was all “uh, you can just leave that at the table.” Naturally. But I don’t want to leave it at the table. I’d instead prefer to waive my arms around and thump my hips back to my booth like I forgot to take my medication. How stinkin fun. I encourage you to get up right where you are right now and dance-walk to the trash can. It’s a bit humiliating, I ain’t gonna lie. Did I say humiliating? I meant liberating! No one looks at you because they are vicariously embarrassed for your poor soul, but you end up laughing and all these fun endorphins rush into your system and you sit down in a heap in a Greek café booth spewing laughter like bubbles across the table. Laughing only at yourself, being such a foolish zany character and all.

Do it. Life is to be lived. Dance that half-eaten salad to the trash can, even though in reality you can just leave it at the table. Because honestly.  What’s the fun in that.

 —

photo:

(three-w’s)flickr.com/photos/lostprophet/9923312183/in/photolist-g7TyZn-9sHvNQ-8eMHsK-9ip5jm-dmFpU4-63DDqm-63DLNY-7cPL8h-7YGSp4-9sKPgs-64hbeF-7FT31K-8fJPfS-63DJWS-63qNpY-a6G8HK-63qKS5-aE5EaW-4Ezc39-7c6Yyo-67vjgK-ajwDA1-7oqCB-63DJhy-62T9Cx-62Tcjt-7uUS6e-9g5uxW-dmGa2s-63mcEt-62TfDT-62Tb2F-3Nutqx-63m9UX-62XoEC-63mbKM-63zyq4-63zzGk-8XAyWX-dmEP4h-63DFY7-61N3uo-9ikWBc-iwqsfM-9oMJsT-9jwAjd-9JeCbQ-9GcfJG-5son4a-9g2VVj

 

The truth about dating (and a bad pick-up line)

7797389352_b4e996e863

 

Online dating is strange.  It’s a sign of how desperate us human beings have become to go around with our photos and profiles and witty one-liners like a pre-historic mating call morphed onto a website.  It should be so simple.  I think you’re cute / you think I’m cute.  We think mostly the same about things, have similar values, you do / don’t want kids just like me and we don’t clash on religion and politics, so WHAMMO.  Let’s meet for coffee. Or on a boat where you bring me flowers.  Or you drive for hours to take me to dinner because honestly our lives are just plot notes for my future novels and I need them to be dramatic.

And yet.

(1) I’m not sure who might think descriptors like “tummyrubbin” or “hero4you” are real hit attractions for the female sort. I could be wrong – those people might really be scoring.  I’m particular. But I consider online dating like a video game whereby I push the delete button as fast as possible when these type people email me believing they might destroy my secret magic castle.

(2) I get it that you have a cat.  Cats are nice.  They keep themselves clean and don’t require much maintenance.  But let me say this once: don’t take the limited space that people need to actually see what you look like so they know they aren’t going on a date with a four-foot tall Pegasus and post a picture of your feline.  I can’t believe I had to say that out loud

(3) If you’re a widower don’t say things like “well I’m finally out of my dark bottomless hole of grief after my wife died and my life totally bottomed out.  But I do like to walk around town lake and maybe someday I’ll love again if I can only find a shirt that’s not stained with my tears.  Wanna grab a beer?”  Buzz-kill.

(4) There appear to be a ton of really fit people in Austin who work out constantly and find time to concurrently run races and skip-to-my-lou to the whole foods whilst drinking wheatgrass shots and practicing hot yoga on the plane to Europe.  Seriously, folks. Slow it down.  We know you’re really just sitting around your oak table eating leftover enchiladas most of the time.  Playing with your cat, probably.

(5) A note about profile pictures – let’s not be lying down in a seductive posture.  Thinking about posting something shirtless on a boat holding up a fish? A bathroom selfie with your underwear showing?  Donning a Halloween costume or wearing a mask? In a dark crowded bar where the picture’s all blurry like you woke up in 1990 and only had a disposable camera? All of these are delete-button favorites.

(6) Please, men: don’t chop a photo down to where you cut out the woman next to you so some gal’s long red nails are clasped around your neck like an eagle’s talons. You’re not really trying all that hard here, dude.  How lame will our date be?

(7) If you don’t actually have a handlebar mustache on a day-to-day basis but just-did-it-that-one-time for a costume ball to be funny I’m not quite sure you’d really want to lead with that

(8) Don’t say you’re 39 when I can so tell from your photos you’re 52.  And the concert where you’re clearly standing is the ACDC world tour.

(9) There’s nothing wrong with tattoos, but you should inform women of this in advance if there’s something of concern that’s permanently attached to your skin.  If there’s a large winged Archangel on your back with blood on it’s teeth that’s not a discovery some girl wants to find out after a tipsy night at Pete’s Piano Bar.

(10) And to the dating websites themselves: please don’t tell me a guy is compatible with me because he likes to dine out! He has a dog! He has a degree, just like you! This information is MEANINGLESS.  What I’d rather be told is he’s going to love listening to your poetry! He’s from a rich pedigree of brilliance and wealth! He loves to be sarcastic and buy women orchids! This, dear websites of love and bliss and all things matchy matchy, is what really matters.

Given the above, I naturally decided to get off the strange online world and start meeting people the old fashioned way. Like at a bookstore or Starbucks or church. Perhaps I’ll run into a dude in slow motion in a park where we are walking our dogs and our leases get all tangled. That happens, right?

So last week I was in standing in line at Chipotle for lunch, after a break-up no less, so in my weepy state I look up to see a very handsome guy.  Ironically, the same handsome guy who was super tall who was there the day before that I so happened to notice.  What were the odds? This is so fate talking, you guys. I owed it to the universe to talk to him.  To make sure he saw me.  Because – naturally – if we looked at each other there would be birds circling and cherubs shooting arrows and we’d tell our grandchildren we met over burritos and he’d mutter how amazing I am in multiple languages.

So OF COURSE I decide to tap him on the shoulder and asked if he comes there often – yesterday, maybe? – or some other horrible line that I didn’t practice and no one should ever say to another human being ever. He looked at me as if I were an employee who had asked if he could move a few feet over for the sake of a mop and a disastrous sour cream spill and said “Why yes I was here yesterday at 11:20, stalker lady with frumpy shoes.  I come here often whilst texting my girlfriend Ashley who also happens to model underwear for the Gap because my own office is teeming with women who won’t leave me alone and this is my one safe haven.” Or at least that’s what his eyes seemed to say. Then he turned around and ignored me for the remainder of the line while I tried to fade directly into the concrete floor below and took my lunch to go, never to be seen in that restaurant again in my life. In fact I think I’ll stop eating black beans and chicken too just to be safe. This helped tremendously with said break-up, which meant I hid in my office and cried for an hour.

So there goes romance, both online and in real life.  I think from now on it’s just me, my books, and my two precious children, who think we all make a great team regardless of our shoes, and we can all just laugh ourselves silly until the end of time. And then, I pray, when I’m least expecting it, my prince will come around and hit me like a brick in the head with love.  And after the concussion heals we will welcome him into our crazy little fold. Come on, prince.  You know we’re worth it.

 

photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ulinea/7797389352/sizes/m/in/photolist-cT2Ecs-ifRM4f-e97BNu-hGN3st-jYLUV-eg8tPA-32tMjk-aeCjy-bswaee-bdjU8M-hMR62b-8jYmzJ-nwaob4-dQTrtQ-5MuFiL-bya6Z6-5UirYQ-igh2gW-5UwNr3-7ubdJB-4Zrs3i-7kkMQU-Bk3c3-jBfoKT-jYY5wD-bsfyca-eSA6En-7LPjnH-cMZQCy-61GMpQ-4mvv88-74hJrn-dY7XHd-5qKcuc-4HuoXc-bJDFje-4rWXxZ-97ABKN-vGVF-mvCB2T-ji1XDy-5oorJt-9pXWzY-nvtve-fje14f-4YdnpZ-5ZB89U-9wxEZ9-eZfwXj-a6w12f-9e66Yw/

Top Ten Odd and Curious Thoughts (about Texting)

3456267647_c6812f610f-1

(1) I love to text.  My thumbs fly so fast you would not believe.  There’s nothing more gratifying than the three little dots that says “they’re writing something at this very moment! In a few short moments, unless they get a phone call, have to take something hot off the stove, have an urge to do something different, or feel like totally ignoring me, I’ll know what they are thinking!” Yay!

(2) Come to think of it, phone calls are actually more efficient. As a bonus you get to hear awkward pauses, which is a delightful hobby. Why did we start texting, anyway?

(3) Oh yes, I remember.  Because you don’t have to speak to anyone.  And you sound more intelligent when you write rather than dumbly asking your man how his day was.  It was fine? Super.  You ate grilled chicken for dinner? Awesome. And your day? Oh I already asked that.

(4) Conversely, you can’t save them like love letters.  Printed screen shots just aren’t the same. It’s perhaps a bit weird and creepy to print out volumes of screen shot text messages. I imagine strange giggling and Saturday nights spent scrapbooking.

(5) My mom started to text. Which means at 10 am when I’m sitting in a meeting I get reminded to buy a crock pot and that next summer we’re getting together for July 4 and random thoughts like “I watched five minutes of Honey Boo Boo and who watches this stuff because this show is awful and your father is cooking eggs” and your boss keeps glaring at you for your buzzing phone.  Little does he know its just mom, stream-of-conscious asking if you turned off your coffee maker.

(6) The standard test for if a friend will make it past the introductory text phase is whether they can handle humor via text or whether all snarky throw downs will end with an LOL and a smiley face for the loss.  That being said there are times that I’m just tired and a good solid LOL is all I can muster.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

(7) I am the worst at not being able to get in touch with a coworker so I just naturally assume that I can text them like “hey buddy, so sorry to bug you but can you just stop everything you’re doing and pay attention to me because I have this work issue that’s super important (to me only) and I need you to be interrupted during your chipotle burrito to explain this complex financial arrangement to me real quick-like? THANKS!!” or the like.

(8) I’ve found that including the standard smiley-faced emoticon conveys a decent amount of normalcy or perhaps diffuses a humorous statement. Yet more intricate pictures seem to scream “I’m a nerd and found out there’s a Spanish dancer twirly-skirt lady in my picture file so I’ll choose to use it” and you don’t want to be that guy

(9) I love it when someone texts an obvious mistake like “I’ll be there at eight because I’m running a little lame” and then later you get the follow-up text that says “late” like you couldn’t possibly figure out what they meant by using standard context and you would just naturally just assume they were talking smack about themselves and they needed to clear up the rumors

(10)               Most of my best friends answer about half of my texts because they have a life and could possibly fail to care for their children or not have time to eat or shave their legs if they answered them all but then the next day I’ll get a picture of Chunk, Missouri with a statement like “who the heck names a town Chunk” and then all is forgiven for not commenting on my cute kid pictures because I am a lover of random texts.

There are times, however, that I miss the days of talking for hours.  I yearn for the flavor and tenor of a human voice.  I miss the nervous talking over each other and twirling the cord in your hand and the amount of openness it takes to talk without the shield and power of words and time to prepare them.  And most importantly, you have to form a coherent verbal response instead of just saying HAHA! LOL! Rolling on the floor laughing! Seriously? I’ve never seen anyone roll on the floor unless it part of a fire drill, and they are usually cursing under their breath.

So as many reasons as there are to love texting – for it’s convenience and it’s ability to hide behind words – it’s good to pick up the phone sometimes, just to go through the exercise of speaking to another human being.  To find out that we are human, and raw, and awkward.  To lift your head up and look around you. Maybe at the core, we are all just scared we’ll look stupid and hide behind machines to be safe.

Be different. Brave.  Put your thumbs down.  Talk to one other.

Odd and Curious Thoughts

6872768453_61e521eccb

(1) I said “thank heavens” the other day and my daughter was all “I don’t understand why you say that – what’s heaven got to do with it?” She found that so clever that she began pointing out all kinds of things I say that don’t make sense and noting spelling errors in books and “why does this seed packet not say ‘seeds’ plural” and by the end of the week I was like “seriously honey, I love you but this is really turning into quite a nerd fest. Tone it down, Webster.”

 

(2) I went to the store the other night after dark and bought milk, dog food, a ton of organic frozen meals, and coffee creamer.  I was wearing a suit and heels and forgot my recycle bags so I was hoisting boxes of veggie lasagna under my arms and I’m pretty sure I was blowing a wisp of hair out of my face. I could have been the poster child for an overworked mom who needs some sort of juicer from an infomercial. Those always have someone with a broken heel juggling groceries blowing hair out of their face, so I felt proud I was living up to some form of stereotype.

 

(3) Do they still make Merle Norman cosmetics? It’s like make-up designed specifically for 80-year-olds wearing a large amount of fuchsia.

 

(4) Mary Kay’s all I got it going on, girl.  In comparison to Merle Norman, maybe.  But that’s like a fight between a Buick and a golf cart.

 

(5) I was in Target the other day and saw a t-shirt with snoopy laying on his house with the caption “Doesn’t care. Sleeps on roof.”  I thought it was so funny that I texted it to all my friends, but it’s like that moment when someone walks into the elevator and it smells bad and you’re the only one there.  Nobody thought it was funny.  But it’s snoopy, all “I don’t give a rip. I sleep on the freaking roof.” That’s funny, ya’ll.

 

(6) I swear I didn’t produce that smell.  There were like ten other people on the elevator.  It was that big guy from IT.

 

(7) I wore tight khakis and riding boots to work last Friday, and if one more person asked me if I was going to ride horses after work I was going to have to just say nothing clever because I had no good comeback. Preparation is key in these situations.

 

(8) I met a lovely physician the other day wearing a pretty scarf and she had a raspy voice and I thought that poor woman has such an awful cold so when I walked out I told her I hoped she felt better and then as the words were leaving my mouth I noticed she had a trach and she simply said “it’s permanent” with a smile and I wanted to sink into the linoleum.

 

(9) I bought new drinking glasses from Pottery Barn and they say the word “drink” on the glasses, which my daughter was about to comment upon when I stopped her and asked if she wanted a cookie. Don’t disparage my new drinking glasses, sarcastic seven-year-old.

 

(10)               I ordered a hot water bottle with flannel LL bean cover which is really code word for “I’m never going to date as long as I live.” Ain’t nobody want to be with a woman who has a hot water bottle, ticking duvet cover, likes to bake, and wears Merle Norman.  See also: piano in living room and my affinity for brown antique plates.  I’m going to change my name to Doris.

 

(11)               My son told me he wanted to be a space firefighter and put out the sun.  I told him that was a lofty and creative endeavor, but unfortunately that mission would kill off humanity and leave his sister and mom alone and freezing in subzero temperatures.  So he asked for a band aid instead and we called it a wash.

 

(12)                Today at work I was like “hello lady in the office next to me.  I know we’ve never spoken but I dig your boots, I’m divorced, and I like fortune cookies.” Then I felt all weirdly open and over-sharing and I’m sure she was like “my name is Alice, not Amber, and you just told me more about your personal life than I know about the Kardashians.” And now I have to see her on Monday. Awkward.

 

(13)               The aforementioned lady told me she lived on 85 acres of ranch land with cattle, and that’s speaking my language.  I’ll bring over the knitting and we can make homemade cinnamon rolls.  We can toast the sunset with hot tea with lemon and dish on men’s underpants.

 

(14)               I was at lunch with a CEO the other day and she asked what I did for personal wellness.  I wanted to tell her I’m not really thin as much as an excellent purchaser of larger pants that gave the impression of thinness and my current health program is mostly aimed at reducing my tator tot intake.

 

(15)               A trach.  That woman had a trach. You can’t take me anywhere.  Except apparently nursing homes, antique fairs, quilt shows, and bake-offs.

 

(16)             I might be single forever.  But that’s okay.  There’s just more love for my two kids to go around, with me buried in old blankets, laying in the middle of my king bed, with one child on my left and one on my right, all cuddled up.  If an astroid hit and we were covered in ten feet of ash, you’d find our bones buried there, with my arms fiercely protecting them, my eyelids aimed at heaven, with the former beating of my heart keeping us warm.  Well that and the water bottle with a red flannel cover.

 

Thank heavens.

 

photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/screaming_bears/6872768453/sizes/m/in/photolist-btjJBP-atqEXt-atqF1t-atqF3e-atqEZn-6G7kVR-psQkA-6o5nUU-aDwVac-cVCXdb-oN4ga-j6mb-49FRKh-4Kkujv-cidG89-5cH1Js-fmbCQ-7PyyNe-u9keb-7D4mYU-4LKrYJ-67DkLw-5mPxzk-7iHedj-6b5S1E-6GbpQh-2UwSUo-6PRwUc-aaY7Sj-4LKs61-8aTpqn-2L6aSG-6G7kTa-8en5DK-2L1Nac-6ryJRx-6GbpLW-4fLyjE-4j11ZU-fhn5Nx-9bMGY9-9rxwyF-FeCC-5MioEG-ccFN1h-5Qhn18-99UrKG-7CZwAz-7K3PYS-62YRha-7USF9v/

Odd and Curious Thoughts of the Week

4155208418_2bd2816f28

  • I can sit for hours and watch movie trailers.  That’s more fun to me than actually watching movies.  I realize that’s weird.

 

  • Speaking of movies, I went to see World War Z by myself the other day and was wedged in between two sets of lovers. That cheered me up immensely.

 

  • Thank heavens we don’t walk around with thought bubbles above our heads. Like today, I was at the grocery store and all of a sudden I stopped dead in my tracks in the chip aisle. “OMG,” I thought to myself. “Pringles is the most amazing food label name ever created.”  I was slow clapping the guy who thought of this name in my mind when someone came up behind me, all excuse me I need to reach the nacho sauce.  I pretended I was studying the labels on the salted almonds, naturally, not hurrahing the marketing genius behind Pringles.

 

  • I asked some employee at our local grocery store if they had pie weights.  “Is that like an avocado masher?”  Yes.  Yes, that’s exactly the same.

 

  • So I finally got a literary agent, which is amazing and fabulous and beyond my wildest dreams.  Her editor (who is also awesome) asked me if the novel I wrote is the one I want to start my career off with.  I told her that I was holding back and that I actually had seventeen brilliant novels in my drawer to choose from. No really.  I just have this one. We’ll have to make it work.

 

  • Pringles.  I mean seriously.  The word even sounds crunchy.

 

  • I really can’t stand kids music, like those CD’s with kids singing bible songs or itsy bitsy spider where I have Jesus Loves Me running through my head all day long.  I can take it for a while, and I know it’s healthy for my children, but sometimes I just think a little dose of Red Hands by Walk off the Earth levels the playing field.  And my kids just might have certain Kasey Musgraves songs memorized.  Don’t judge.

 

  • So back at the grocery store (my life is fun, ya’ll).  I like to go to Whole Foods and just kinda peruse the place like I’m a regular.  No one realizes I’m having a mini-panic attack at the prices of jarred mayonnaise and I don’t really understand half of what they sell there.  But I was buying produce and picked up a box of fresh okra, all yeah I’m totally going to make a dish using fresh okra.  Who are we kidding.

 

  • Kate Middleton looked glowing and radiant with a face full of make up and a full hair blow-out as she walked her infant out of the hospital.  The English drink tea for hours and instead of going on lame vacations they go on holiday.  It confirms it.  I’m going to move across the pond for a while, where apparently butterflies rest on noses and there’s crumpets for everyone.

 

  • I’m super glad the government is now monitoring all our computer use, so they can get their kicks out of seeing my recent searches.  Eg, who is ariel castro again, recipes using okra, that movie with that Saturday Night Live actress who gets divorced but loves that other dude, discount pie weights, what do I do with this crappy organic Guatemalan green sauce I just bought at whole foods, is fish oil worth the hype, and movie trailer addicts.com.  I sound like an idiot.

 

  • Pop Chips?  Come on.

photo:

(three w/s):flickr.com/photos/thedelicious/4155208418/sizes/m/in/photolist-7kbwGs-9HNyMB-4vRdqD-5QXgnh-9aBNgX-7AyvVK-8VjLXk-5Y3jMt-72G5Bp-5WDi6p-b6j6NH-7kbwgu-7kbwfu-4Q5554-dVcb9-KuEeU-ghUTA-ghUTY-ghUUj-9UeQD-6uSpYD-zoBMi-8WpAit-7KgAW9-6DPtg8-8WEaXC-46REPk-8QyTSE-5bXjGo-8QyTSy-ghUGc-ghUGo-7KzwNW-71dfzB-7HrAtM-cn1hs-62qGAX-cRbvuS-dxQf4L-dxQfaU-9AgP6h-6JzXuw-6Jw6JZ-bM6AcX-2nmh3n-62qGUD-6JAeXS-4bgU4w-dbDNz7-b8qE6-6FBvon/

Misfits

 

Enjoying the nature

I hope that my children turn out to be misfits.  Geeks.  Nerds of the worst sort.  I hope they don’t fit snugly into a world of perfect hair and football uniforms where things come easy.  Because self-esteem comes from knowing you’re worth more than the stereotypes.  Because failing miserably over and over builds up deep reserves of character.  I want my children to fail because I love them so.  And loving them means I want them to develop a strong moral fiber, and a confidence that only comes after the breaking.  And when they hear the words “you are not of this world,” I want them to feel the words seared into their very own scars.

In 6th grade, I had a deep crush on some boy with glasses.  Everyone knew it, and the mean girls would write notes and slide them under my desk as if coming from him.  Letters covered with hearts and cheap men’s cologne that I believed for a solid four days, telling me to wait by his locker for a kiss.  It was a lie, as I soon discovered.  And when the history teacher wasn’t looking, someone threw gum in my hair that stuck and my mom ended up cutting it out and wedging stray strands free with Vaseline.  Let’s be honest: school sucked.  Especially when I fell over backwards and broke both wrists at the same time, waddling around in high tops and matching arm casts. Try and top that, fellow nerds of the world.

One day at recess in the 7th grade, before the days of school shootings and metal detectors, someone lit up and threw a smoke bomb at me, the red ball singing with pent-up explosive authority, causing me to topple off a ledge and break my ankle.  And there was the time I was so desperate to wear Guess jeans that I sewed one of those triangle labels on the back pocket of an old worn-out pair of Levis. And for a blissful few hours, I felt special.  Until the label started to unravel in English class and I stood in front of an entire room of kids pointing and staring, practically curled over in raucous laughter.  The feeling in my gut sunk deep, and I can still feel its weight after all these years.  I was so hungry to fit in.  I ached to belong. I just wanted time to rush by so I could enter the seductive world of adulthood.  But children, you aren’t ready.  These lessons have to simmer slow.

Growing up is hard.  It should be, because this world is hard, and it can at times be filled with pain.  You have to learn these lessons at a time when you can still run home to the loving and accepting arms of family.  Many times we would take weekend trips to the city, because mom could tell my sister or I had quite enough. The defenses were tearing loose at the seams, and we just needed to breathe.  That’s what true family is – it’s a space where you can let out the air and take off the mask and learn who you really are.  Loved regardless of what you do or what you say or what you wear.  A fierce love.  An elegant love.  A love that stands next to you, so that no matter how far you run, you can’t ever overtake it. We’d order pizza and flop around in the hotel pool and just be our glorious, goofy, nerdy selves.

I will die running to tell my children how they can never disappoint me.  How the lives that they see as silly and disjoined are like masterpieces to me, patching their father and their grandparents and their own twisted strands of cells into a pride in me that swells.  Oh my loves.  The flesh of my flesh.  You will never do anything too vast or too dark to create a chasm in my heart.  And if I can wrap my heart around you like this, you can only imagine how much more God can love.

There are times I wish my childhood was different.  I wish I had cooler stories or adventures across the globe or wild weekends of desire. I cringe at my own feelings of inadequacy, feeling stupid for being tall and clumsy instead of whimsical and witty. I didn’t go to fancy camps.  I didn’t join a sorority.  I wasn’t in cheerleading or wear name-brand clothes and I only made All-State Choir as an alternate.

But I was so deeply loved.  And now I’m so grateful now for the trials, because they only get harder, and your strength is tested, and it’s the ability to rise above them that matters.  After all these years, I laugh more.  I judge less.  I have learned that great courage is found in the vulnerable places and to succeed you first have to feel the sting of failure.  I rise up and arch my back against the blazing sun with tears drying on my cheeks.  I throw my hands up to the heavens and say thank you to parents that always believed, and ran along side of me until their sides heaved with hurt, and never let go. Because I know that no matter what happens, I will be okay.  I will rise again.  I will be loved.

That’s what it’s like to be a misfit. And it’s beautiful.

 

photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenlightforgirls/5166535531/sizes/m/in/photolist-8SxR1P-akdfhX-bMgu1F-bMgtWe-bMgtQZ-6phQVs-7agAHq-8dy5h6-7dyoo5-5D41Ga-8N68Bk-aYX5zR-a5PVqk-8ym3ak-9ftAoV-bniUuu-5PgEkR-dJz2TD-bDRPuS-6KrCDn-ciN23Q-bzd1GD-qnqgQ-f8deek-9atX92-6qeVfb-4JZYzo-f8sozW-9suffB-8MdBUz-dwCCjH-a7bmkR-brfbii-f8stCs-6vqzMb-f8smkQ-cWwwTW-f8d68t-f8ddu2-ewXdoz-7Ac25r-c7qyRs-9MtrPv-apyTJg-f8ssFA-f8d6Tz-cchaMu-aQNtkH-2kDHYR-f8sqwW-joeUC/

Odd and Curious Thoughts (regarding my weekend)

 

IMG_4780

I’ve been speaking all lofty lately, like “let’s assuage our common sense” and “thou shalt not raise up wimps that cannot debate like Jefferson” and if you didn’t know better you’d think I wore purple robes in my living room and sat around reading fine literature.  So I thought I’d keep it real up in here.

(1) On Friday, I went to dinner with one of my fabulous girlfriends.  Promised myself I’d eat light, cut down on carbs. Started it up with a Fireman’s 4 and ended at Amy’s ice cream, whereby some lady was filming the ice cream guy throwing scoops in the air.  No more needs to be said on this particular topic, either with regard to the carb-load or the ridiculousness of filming an ice cream guy.

(2) I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at my computer screen watching the entire first season of Suits.  I took a break from the season to re-enter humanity and went to the grocery store, but rather than walking, I sort-of strutted into the store with the show’s hip background music playing in my head.  My internal dialogue may or may not have been something along the lines of “I’m too fabulous to be in here buying eggs and milk / isn’t there someone I can pay to do this for me because I have a case to settle.” I felt similar emotions after a Downton Abby bender when I had to make my own bed.  Total bummer, reality.

(3)  I took a video of my garden, panning from one side of it to the other.  I was proud of the way the squash was getting on.  The zinnas, they are really popping.  And my black-eyed peas? Really reacting nicely to organic fertilizer.  I sort-of stepped outside myself and said, “are you taking a video of your plants?  Is that really what’s happening here? What exactly are you going to do with this video? Please step away from nerd-dom and go have drinks with someone or read something that’s published or try to act like a human being with a real life.”  But then I remembered the ice cream video and felt less alone.  But at least there were people in her video.  Mine had only squash, which is weird.

(4) Today I read an article that a woman drank nothing but soda for fifteen years (not one drop of water) and had to go to the ER for low potassium levels and fainting. After one week of no soda things went back to normal. What? That’s it? Not at all dramatic, you reporting idiots. If I take the time to read a story about a women drinking 2 liters of soda a day for her entire adult life, I want to hear that her insides have rotten fish floating around in them and she’s somehow miraculously living despite a soda can lodged in her large bowel, rusting since 1982.

(5) The only thing I can say as a redeeming point to wasting time on pointless articles is that I didn’t watch the Miss USA pageant, so that half-hour that those people brain-wasted I stored up to read articles like what Kim K’s doing these days (Napping! Watching grass grow! Feeding North!) and apparently this lady’s (minor-pointless-boring) trouble with soda consumption.  So we are EVEN, peeps.  Although it’s strange I feel life’s a competition with strangers’ wasted brain space.  I’m Type A.  Whatareyougonnado. 

(6) I cut up some fresh tomatoes from our garden and blended them together with the cheese sauce that comes with the mac-and-cheese pack and thought our children would never, ever notice.  There was no red – it all just blended in with the fake cheesy yellow color, and I felt brilliant.  Until my daughter took one bite and was all “Barf” like I had ground-up elephant tongues in there instead of organic sweet garden tomatoes (I have a video).  My son just shoved it in his mouth and said “well I like it and you don’t get dessert if you don’t eat it then” and sucked it down without incident.  This is why I love boys.

(7) And lastly, I threw away an entire arm-load of unmatched socks because I was just sick of seeing them in the hamper for so long.  But I had to have a little conversation with them first, like “well I’ve not seen your mate in quite some time” and “you’re not really that great of a Nike product anyway “ and “it’s for your own good.  No one likes to be alone.”

So there you have it.  Lofty of not, it’s my version of reality.  If you want to see how the zucchini is doing, be sure to let me know.  I’ve got that on video, wenches.

Ten Things People Say I Think are Ridiculous

 

7575858174_6873aea667

(1) Pigs are actually very clean.  I’ve read this in books.  Someone taught this to my children.  These animals roll around in mud and eat slop.  Whatever to the whole “they do it to keep cool” business.  There’s a terrible stench and buzzing flies.  If I wasn’t allergic, I’d choose a cat.  They seem clean.  They lick themselves at least.

 

(2) I’m watching my carbs, so I’m cutting out wine. I hear the words, but they simply don’t register in my brain. I have an innate and primal need to translate this “I’m on a diet so I cut out all non-essential food (including, but not limited to, oreos) so I can partake of wine, thank the Lord.” That’s really the only way it works in my head.  Sorry.

 

(3) Time heals all wounds. No, it doesn’t.  It just numbs them sometimes, and hides them for me to scream in panic and/or heartbreak years later when I see a picture or a sticky note from 1998.  Healing belongs to the Lord.  See also girlfriends, kisses from children, and homemade mother’s day cards.

 

(4) Piece of Cake.  I know this means “it’s easy,” but why?  Is eating a piece of cake really the easiest thing you can possibly do? Wouldn’t just tying your shoe actually be simpler? No silverware, plates, or sticky lips? Taking a nap, staring at Facebook, even sitting in a chair– all easier. The next time your boss tells you he is wildly impressed with the report you put together, just say “It’s really not biggie. It was like staring aimlessly at my cubicle wall.”  Ick.  Don’t actually say that.  Stick with the cake bit.

 

(5) He just wants to have his cake and eat it too. I’m perplexed by all the cake references, and the apparent oddity of having cake in front of you and also eating it.  The horror.  Wait – that’s what I do. Do people have cake and NOT eat it?  Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. The next birthday party I’m just going to look around to see what other folks are doing with the sweets set in front of them.  I feel like an idiot that I’ve been eating it all these years.  No one told me.

 

(6) Think outside the box. Please, people of the world.  Let’s all just shake hands and decide to never say this again. I’m quite sure whoever was originally inside the box have left town, and it’s just one big old western movie ghost town, and if you can simply cobble together a coherent doodle of the president you’ve exited those wretched four walls.  So yay.  Moving on.

 

(7) It only costs a cup of coffee a day. This is usually reserved for charitable causes, and somehow to me it just seems deceitful, because when I hear it I’m usually thinking “like the venti double frap, or a simple cup of joe? Because there’s a three dollar twelve cent difference there and that just seems wrong to lump it all together in one pile.”  Think outside the box, charitable organizations.  Come up with a new slogan.

 

(8) There is no smoking in the airplane lavatory.  Welcome to 2013. Ain’t nobody going to go light a camel in the airplane bathroom. Let’s move on past the 1950’s and begin to explain to passengers how leaving your cell phone on might possibly mess with the plane’s navigation.  We aren’t morons and we need a real answer.  I’ve not seen a plane yet end up in Toledo because someone fired up their Kindle.

 

(9)                 Dog’s mouths are cleaner than a human mouth.  Hogwash.  My dog eats crap in the front yard.  I use Listerine.  Enough said.

 

(10)               There are no stupid questions. Yes, there are.  Like “where’s the restroom?” when it’s clearly marked, or “do we have homework?” when it’s in the syllabus, or “do you have a poop?” when you smell it as your child walks by.  I realize I’ve asked all those questions and eaten cake, so I’m obviously a ridiculous nightmare.

photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamadonut/7575858174/sizes/m/in/photolist-cxsfGo-3mMiYB-b6NQhK-7dtpLe-4HMa2q-7QSqnU-7QSrb1-4avtyD-ajh2Lu-5MaSsa-9FNQxJ-3YkEML-2KxhLU-8RetAa-4Q1tTA-5v9oVp-5v9pb8-5v9puM-5vdHQL-bQRBz6-cAwQY-4NRkjK-5XsYe3-5XoJui-5XoJM6-5XoJwr-5XsY9S-5XoJzx-5XsYnw-5XsY2Y-5XsYgs-5XsY5Y-5XsYkb-5XsYqs-5XsXQG-5XsYt1-ceMd-8a2hmh-8ScSM1-55C2zu-5LaHmn-88R49W-8X7v4k-dmcDRJ-5LeYgd-6bcSMg-is6C9-9c1bgA-9jmh7J-6gq6W5-bQqJQH/

Let them eat toast

SONY DSC

I’m always annoyed when the host of a cooking show tastes her food at the end of the episode, rolling her eyes back in ecstasy.  Not only does she magically create beef rolls, arugula salad, and a pear tart in under twenty minutes, but then she brags on herself.  “Oh my gosh,” she says into the camera.  “This is so good.  Seriously.”  Her hair is all blown out and she wears a size two but she takes a glorious bite of something with a face full of Chanel make-up.  Honestly, it does look amazing, and if she says it’s the best pizza ever it must be.  But I am at home at 4 pm staring into my refrigerator, wearing sweatpants and my daughter’s vanilla cupcake lip smackers with not a stitch of real adult make-up on.  I glance back at the television and see this beautiful person still standing, doing all kinds of lovely dicing and chopping, and I watch in a trance as her curls are still in place.  The cabinets are white and all the dishes are white and she never seems to run out of spoons.

But meanwhile, back in real life, dinner happens.  While I desire to produce homemade chicken stock on a Tuesday afternoon, or make stuffed peppers with a side of beet salad, serving it to grateful children who ask for a double helping of roasted squash, I end up making scrambled eggs with cheese. The little song I made up about it being breakfast for dinner! (it comes with a dance) is so overused and nobody likes wheat toast anyway.  So it’s milk with no chocolate, eggs before ice cream, and please sit down at the table because we aren’t wild animals eating our kill.  Which ends up in a rendition of accurate wolf howling and a discussion of how much we all hate eggs and me bemoaning the fact that I could only find two spoons.  My daughter shrugs like she is completely unaware that there is Lenox silverware hidden in the garden being used as tiny shovels for the dirt-fairy nymphs.

Where is my make-up artist? Where is my blow-out? Why are my children so resistant to toast, I’d just like to know?

One of these days, someone will create a real cooking show, where the chef runs out of time and keeps getting interrupted by a toddler trying to climb the cabinets to get into the shelf for old Valentine’s Candy.  You’ll see her start to sweat because she’s embarrassed about her child’s behavior and ends up using baking soda instead of cornstarch or throws in way too much salt.  Then at the end of the show, when she can’t quite make it to the pear tart because her son keeps trying to grab power bars from the pantry to curb his imminent starvation, she tries to cover for herself and says that you can just eat a whole piece of fruit for dessert like she planned it all along.  But no one believes her because come on.  No one wants a stupid pear.

At the end, she’s supposed to taste what she made. While she’s lifting the spoon to her mouth she slips on the dog’s water (who sloshed it all over the tile? I swear) and her daughter walks in and grabs a bruschetta from the presentation dish.  “Oh my gosh,” her daughter says into the camera.  “This is the nastiest thing I’ve ever had.  Seriously.  Don’t ever make this again.  I’m going to Shelly’s to eat macaroni and cheese.”  Then the poor little chef cries and gives her toddler an old piece of candy after all and we see her sneaking a beer in a red Dixie cup.

I’d be like YES!  I love this show!  I’m a huge fan!  You managed to make a crappy version of stir fry, sure.  But look at that salad! That’s good!  And you tried so hard, and you didn’t totally lose it with that dog water spillage thing, which is so impressive and shows how calm you were under pressure.  So what that your daughter didn’t like bruschetta?  She wears hot pink shirts and eats macaroni with powder sauce, so her credibility is nil.   It’s cool.  I’ll send you a recipe using a can of soup, some Ro-Tel, and some crumbled up chips and we can all feel like normal people.  Then I’ll go skipping off to the garden to find all my spoons and thank the stars that I’m not alone.

NBC, take note.   One of these days, just allow the chef to say what’s she’s actually thinking, which is “please don’t eat this.  I just tasted it, and honestly it tastes exactly like cardboard because it’s only pasta and peas with unsalted butter.  Next time I’ll find a sauce or a cream or something.  Really.  Trust me on this.”   I would.  I so totally would.

Let’s face it.  Despite our best intentions, you just sometimes have to eat toast.  Put butter and salt on it if you wish and call it garlic bread.  Add a song about how toast rhymes with roast and how the ghost gets the most.  Then forgive yourself for having breakfast for dinner, or the fact that you gave your kid candy, and that you have been wearing work-out gear for three days with no Chanel in sight.   Honestly, your kids don’t care.  They’re too busy eating to notice.

photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruocaled/6148667409/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Ten Things I Shouldn’t Admit

(1) I create very extensive stand-up comedy routines in my car while driving places.  The words “please stop doing that” and “leave funny to the professionals” just might have been uttered by some very tall man-person in my home on multiple occasions.

(2) I love to iron, in the wistful sense that once a year or so I’ll pull out some cloth napkins and slowly press them during the changing of the seasons as the Autumn wind is blowing through the windows and I’m listening to an Adele album while drinking chai tea.  Aside from that one particular set of circumstances, ironing’s just meh.

(3) My two-year-old has decided that he has immunity from all bad deeds as long as he says I’m sorry and offers a hug.  Today he sprinkled baby powder over his entire room, squirted lotion on my wood floors, ate nothing for dinner but demanded bars for an hour, marked on the furniture, and hit his sister.  Sorry, momma?  Hug?  It’s not a magic eraser, kid.  I ain’t fallin for it.

(4) I made homemade play dough this afternoon because I am that cool mom that does fantastic crafty things with her children that they damn well better remember.  My son spilled salt all over the floor, I had to cook the concoction and dirty up several pans, I ended up getting green food coloring on my hand for the rest of the day that doesn’t come off even with sandpaper, only to end up with two tiny lumps that my children rolled into snakes and made into hearts for seven entire minutes.  Then they declared play-dough dull and boring in comparison to afternoon cartoons and ran out of the kitchen muttering about juice boxes.  Save yourself the trouble.  Buy it instead.

(5) I’m going to buy a new Burberry coat and when my husband casually asks how much it costs I’ll just say Sorry? Hug?

(6) I let my dog out to pee this morning before I even had my first cup of coffee and our neighborhood dog walkers stopped in their tracks at the sight of an unbound, leash-free animal.  Like my 14-year-old spaniel is going to attack them in a wild crazy old-dog vengeance.  I don’t even think he saw them given his poor eyesight and general inability to move fast or care much. He sauntered slowly toward the mailbox and began eating some other animal’s poo.  The dog walkers stared in disgust and one said “just keep going, Muffy.  It’s just none of your business.” I just waved.  “Have a great morning, ya’ll!” I called out.

(7) I have a thing for Jennifer Garner because I loved Season One of Alias so much and I secretly believe that if we were placed in a room together we’d become BFFs and would agree on all childrearing techniques and would bond over tea and scones.  But now that I’m putting it out there on paper it sounds weird and stalkerish and perhaps it’s strange that I always click on her picture in celebrity websites as she’s coming out of Starbucks.  I’m all “hey, Jen.  Is that your double frap with no foam? I know you love em. check it.”

(8) I am not ever going to make sandwiches in my kid’s lunch box that look like a tropical beach with coconut and palm trees or make vegetables look like monkey ears.  My knives aren’t that sharp and they won’t eat anything green anyway and I just can’t go around setting the standard that high.  I’ve decided that pinterest is evil and exists to make mothers feel like pond scum.  What happened to the simple lunch note that reads “have a great day in wonderland, sucka”?

(9) I honestly don’t know what Jennifer Garner drinks at Starbucks.  And I don’t say “check it” in real life because I don’t know exactly what that means.  I do, however, periodically watch movie previews in which she stars.  Maybe weird. Not as weird, however, as saying “check-it.”

(10)               I get winded sometimes when climbing stairs, but I’m too embarrassed to admit I’m out of shape so I say things like  (sigh) I’m so bummed that Heidi Klum cheated on Seal or (sigh) I really need to go the grocery store for toothpaste or (sigh) I really hope my daughter likes those new socks I bought.  Basically anything I can sigh about that brings more air into my oxygen-starved and bloated lungs.  Maybe I should just work out instead so I don’t have to sound like such a ninny.