Odd and Curious Thoughts of the Week

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(1) So this past weekend, while eating a salad at Maudies, my date and I see a child vomit at the next table over, the parents not at all outraged or disgusted and simply continue to eat while the waitress cleans up said vomit. The parents handed the kid an ipad and a glass of sprite while we sit and try to carry on a normal conversation.  In the midst of this shocking event, our waitress remembers my side of dressing, which consists of a vat of white creamy substance in a large bowl looking exactly like vomit.  I’m totally disgusted with all humanity and I am swearing off ranch dressing forever.

(2)  In other news, we went out for sushi and laughed with new friends.  It turns out eating raw meat is less gross than a vat of vomit dressing.

(3) In his elder years, my dog has managed to overcome his arthritis in the morning long enough to bark for treats and roam the neighborhood at will without a leash, a stern warning, or any time limit on peeing, apparently.  He has a bladder the size of Wisconsin.

(4) My kids were off visiting grandparents for a solid week so my house has been quiet and I missed their beautiful angelic voices and the singing and yelling and laughing and running.  One night I visited a girlfriend and she was like “OMG I AM SO TIRED OF CHILDREN LET’S LOCK THEM ALL OUTSIDE AND DRINK WINE” and I realized that sometimes a break is lovely. It’s all about perspective.

(5) The kids came back and I was so excited to see them that I made crispy broccoli and tomatoes soaked in balsamic, but then I realized they are children and what the hell was I thinking.

(6) For dessert we had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream but mostly it was just me eating it with the occasional droplet of ice cream placed upon their tongues like they had just hatched out of a nest and they needed food as basic fuel to fly. But not too much because it’s Cherry Garcia.   I missed them and all but still.

(7) Went on a fabulous dinner date to Alamo Drafthouse to see Stand By Me with a full menu that matched scenes in the movie complete with beer parings from a pub in Portland, but three beers later I was like seriously folks it’s Tuesday. There is a morning coming.

(8) My children are sleeping in my bed because I can’t stand to be away from them.  I wedge myself in between them and sing spirituals and tell them in the middle of the night they are the joy of my life. My son woke up and said he dreamed he was riding a mud-laden roller-coaster and when he got off he kicked snapping frogs off his toes.  He clarified that although there are snapping turtles in real life, this was just a dream. There are really no snapping frogs.  I thanked him for the clarification; I wasn’t aware.

(9) Basically my life is amazing.

 

photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dvs/93359712/sizes/m/in/photolist-9fuAd-btgrkH-btgnUn-btgr2Z-btgoUv-btgot2-btgpA8-btgqop-btgpYe-375HNU-n3cfJx-5JFJSC-53Yh2i-5zssWC-5zst2J-5zobyz-Htds7-8hN9M1-5Qw3eF-k1riK-k1rmS-cULPsq-6PTb1g-5NSk3s-aBUPLU-4JKpUM-4Vyjgj-4imkmh-6omdkQ-aBUPUd-aBS4EM-aBS9o8-aBS9TF-aBUPEo-aBS4QP-bx54d7-59zbfZ-aBUQm7-mUBwNz-gG3bZp-6KM5k4-eaFwCz-aBS4nK-aBSa28-kJ1Ew8-6toJLC-PWUXM-82Zr86-d64Tf1-9qTBwJ-6KR6Nq/

7 Things your Best Friends Lie to You About

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I love girlfriends.  Without them I’d scowl more, spend more money on therapy, laugh only at Arrested Development, and likely have a drinking problem.  My besties are all beautiful and funny and selfless and they all strangely pick up the phone when I call. But let’s be honest.  Even amongst friends there are half-truths.  Nice ways of saying things.  Lying.  For example:

(1) I so don’t care what your house looks like.  Now this is a bald-faced lie, because they do care.  They care because the more piles of dirty laundry, crumpled up receipts, and dirty frying pans the better it makes them feel about their own lives.  To which I say: you’re welcome.  At a minimum I owe them this, so I purposefully leave hairbrushes on the kitchen table as a token of my undying admiration.

(2) You’re not crazy.  Because honey, sometimes you are.  When you and a boy break up and yet you end up texting him multiple times in one night like “heeeeey” and “wanna meet up later?” and his response is that he’s watching a baseball game – no thanks –  but you push onward not to be deterred until said boy says “you need to get over it” and you sob for hours and text him one teensy little text that may or may not be 500 characters wishing him a healthy future because he’s so kind and wonderful? That’s a tiny bit crazy, I’m not gonna lie.

(3) You look amazing. Not true.  You are wearing yoga pants and you haven’t washed your hair since last Spring when your daughter was studying fractions and at this point you just don’t care about the external appearance of your body in public places which is why your friends lie to you and say you look amazing. You’ve gained five pounds and you need highlights.  Let’s think rationally.

(4) Let’s grab dinner next week.  What this really means is that I care about you more than simply offering lunch, because it’s not that fun dumping the kids and going to Subway, and you’re worth more than ham sandwiches, and yet it’s too much trouble to wait until the hubs gets home and change clothes and meet you someplace and pay thirty bucks for margaritas and then drive home to kids up past bedtime unbathed while the husband said “I thought you were going to be home at 10” and so they say this as a term of endearment which translates to “text me tomorrow, girlfriend.”  It’s okay.  Just agree and move onward.

(5) You are so funny! This is a common lie to cover up the underlying meaning, which is “your life is such a train wreck that it makes me cackle on the inside that I am, in fact, not you.”  It’s not that you’re funny, it’s just that your life is a combination of awkward and unfortunate events that makes other people uncomfortable when you talk about them out loud so they translate that to some form of humor.  But I take it as a compliment and invite them to grab dinner.

(6)  Call anytime.  This is a crowd favorite, because when your friends are trying to sit at a swim meet or navigate their way through Costco the last thing they want is for you to call and start telling them about your crazy complicated work situations or why your ex-husband is the way he is.  Their response is usually full of mumbles and agreeable verbals nods followed by “I gotta run” and you’re left feeling like you dumped a load on the side of the road.  But they answer the phone the next day to make you feel better, tell you you’re funny, and remind you that life will get better because you look amazing.  How do they know. They’re on the phone. 

(7) I am praying for you.  This one is sweet, and I always say thank you, but in reality this means your friend throws three kids in a bath, reads The Tawny Scrawny Lion (again), hangs out with her hubs, watches two television shows, falls asleep without brushing her teeth, wakes up in a daze at 11:30, stumbles towards her bedroom, and on the way toward her toothbrush she thinks “Lord, help that poor girl because she can’t seem to catch a break” before falling into her mattress.  But it counts.  Cut them some slack.  They pick up the phone for you at Costco for goodness sakes.

Then every once in a while, one of your really good friends will say “Snap out of it. You’re worth more than this (guy/job/heartache/stress) and you need to head to the gym and I don’t want to hear any more of your bellyaching and a woman shows stress through her stomach but what the frack ever and you need to be grateful for your life or I’m gonna drive over and slap you and you are really deeply loved by so many” and the universe is righted on it axis because truth reins supreme.  So you invite her to dinner next week, say thanks for all those heartfelt prayers, and drive to her house to drop off a bottle of wine and a card.  And if she’s home, even better, so you can sit at her bar and laugh like silly children. Because honestly, you really don’t care what her house looks like.

Liar.     

 

photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mpeterke/2062879689/sizes/m/in/photolist-49hNgc-bNdUhk-imwzDx-a7AYP2-hghyaz-75JYPh-Cg9Y1-7niFB3-4mg9WM-gKz5wA-8jJhpp-a6kjAf-2Eyxp9-bukbrC-arjX9t-8hqeLT-9DHqZr-gxBpPw-4fpbsV-aF2Jd6-bpHwiF-d5gWfj-9nduRf-ed1cm8-uXKET-afMnhx-8dcJsP-8gxu6s-8gmL75-8gxuk1-dbfPg9-jgRTWE-3zUH7T-dxgARz-8gnbhL-bv3qDi-bv3sdv-9h7S6N-8giX8t-6UxxZu-8eyYmT-bv3uJi-bCEcwr-9h4LgP-fnaRw-5DtBkS-69RYpT-8teeZ-btvRxm-7EKsGC-9XGyZd/

Reasons You Should Really Consider Dating

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(1)    You eat hummus, salami, and triskets more than three nights in a row

(2)    You are thinking of shaving your legs, the razor is starting to rust, and your reaction is “Meh.  It’ll wait.”

(3)    Your consideration of a fun night out is off to Target armed with returns, a Starbucks run, and a girly movie from Red Box

(4)    You call your dog “pookie” and ask him if he likes your shoes

(5)    The last time you wore your little black dress was at your cousin Jerry’s wedding

(6)    You go to bed early on Saturday night. Period.  Like for any reason whatsoever

(7)    You call all your random girlfriends to see if they want a candlelit dinner.  You’re making roast! There will be wine! Possible dancing!

(8)    You spend $150 getting highlights and the only person to see your hair is your retired neighbor

(9)    You start writing poetry about the weather. The wind, it’s gusty.  The rain, it pelts.

(10)You stay up at night imagining conversations with co-workers in the break room

(11)People tell you about their night on 6th street and you’re wondering if that street is in a neighborhood with a culda-sac

(12)The last movie you saw involved Tom Hanks in any fashion

(13) Your glory days were in acid-washed jeans

(14) The only person that texts you is your mother.  Mostly about what television shows you guys are scheduled to watch together.

(15)Because you’re a human being in need of love.

 

Let’s go, hermits of the world.  Dust off the razor, stop talking to your dog, and get back out there.

photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/4679197416/sizes/m/in/photolist-88u7nw-7Gofdj-8ZzkuH-boEyj3-8d8bdX-bkCMSy-a5wb8e-f7aSvq-ej3zdF-8JJYeR-8JP66K-cVkNDL-c8YRk9-jaFhjk-cwVVes-cVkP4C-8ZQrZa-7SUjCh-8K1EPH-8NbcmF-hFL2uN-8awJ3Q-n3tnVy-eaJ4aU-cVkPk5-hHrkBr-bkciy1-aycSBW-cVkNXj-8ki7cY-ms1GZV-8JS8rC-7P1jda-bhr4cx-bub9vY-gLEjYr-etG13y-8Rffc2-dNFgcE-9CBarF-8DcbrZ-aW5D2c-jzo1R7-f3skzG-9Xkxkx-cVkNLA-dNZyBE-nsWtU1-nWp1rD-csJoHy-noDC2v/

A Guide to Storm Preparedness

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When it rains, it pours. Literally. Into my freaking living room.

I had fallen asleep in my daughter’s bed the other night, and when I awoke, it took me a moment to get my bearings.  People had been calling to check in.  Texts were flying. There was strong language like Doppler and Warnings and Get Off The Roadways blaring through my television. Wind was screeching through the small crevices of our home and rain had begun to pellet the metal roof like it had some sort of vendetta. So I gave in to the hysteria of “tornado warnings” and statements to “take cover” by emptying out everything in the closet underneath the stairs and replacing it with pillows, bottled water, and rice krispie treats.  In case of a real (and not just perceived) emergency.

Normally, weathermen just drag themselves across the news station set at the 6 pm hour to point at maps we all know are backward with little annoying arrows as they pretend to care about another hot summer day in Texas.  Hundred Degrees.  Molds are high. But this – THIS!? Winds are parallel to the earth.  Trucks are overturning and trees are cast aside like after-dinner toothpicks at Golden Corral and THERE ARE REPORTS OF HAIL. It’s ninety miles per hour and funnels a-touchin and well, ya’ll better be hunkerin down and stocking them flashlights with batteries. They get so excited I wonder if the crash after this storm mania blows over might set them into suicide watch.

So out goes the vacuum cleaner.  The crock pot’s history.  Armloads of Costco toilet paper gets tossed aside like trash.  In go the blankets. Also the water bottles. And lastly, candles.  I’m not sure what I thought would happen in case of an actual tornado – would me and the kids be noshing on organic brown-rice treats and slurping bottled water while holding hands around candles as our house is crumbling down and landing upon our very heads?  I’m a firm believer in healthy treats and reverse osmosis, so we’d totally be set.

The electricity finally goes out and I’m all “oh crap I can’t see the Doppler” when my dog begins his Total Freakout Mode as the rain and wind bore down upon our metal roof like perhaps the earth was opening and we were the first travelers to the depths of hell.  That’s probably due to the trees slapping against the house and the screaming in my own mind but the dog was slobbering and panting and trying to haul his 14-year-old self into my lap.

I’m sitting there telling the dog it’s all gonna be okay, man, quit it with the slobbering when I feel real water dripping on my head. I look up and rain is coming out of the sheetrock above the coffee table in neat little rows, which means I sat for quite a long time staring because I can’t believe we are suddenly the Clampetts and I rush to get a pan and towels. And of course with my remaining 17% battery life I proceed to call my insurance company in the middle of a life-threatening storm at 11:30 pm with thrashing winds to report a claim.

Look at me.  Water is dripping.  I’ve got a puny little flashlight and an armload of matches. The closet is stocked with treats and pillows.  I’m all “can an appraiser come out this evening, maybe?” The lady responded with “Are you dying? Are you stranded with a child who is in need of medical attention or needs milk and has a diaper full of poo and there’s a log sticking into the front of your minivan so that you can’t operate the vehicle? No? You’re inside your comfortable home in your fuzzy slippers whereby water is slowly dripping into a pan? CHILL THE FREAK OUT, lady.” That might not have been her actual words but whatever.

Later that night both children crawled in bed with me, naturally, and at 4 am I woke with full-blown lights ablazing in my house because the electricity is – Ahem – back on.  So for three days I’ve have industrial fans and dehumidiers and workers traipsing about my attic tearing out wet insulation and my insurance rep finally appears to say it’s not covered and nothing’s reimbursable and I get a quote to remove downed trees in my yard which translates to “you’ll never ever buy another pair of boots in your ever-lovin days, woman.”

So that’s how awesome weekends are made, folks.  But on the bright side, I now realize I have enough toilet paper hidden away under the stairs to wipe the bottoms of all the children in Travis county, and in case of an emergency I can find the number to my insurance company in the pitch black dripping mess of my living room while whispering comforting and reassuring words to an aging retriever.

The kids woke up the next morning totally oblivious with fresh smiling faces.  “A new summer day! What’s for breakfast? Why is all this stuff in the kitchen? What’s with the toilet paper?”

Rice Krispies, kids. Look under the stairs.  And don’t ask so many questions. Momma’s tired.

 

photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ikewinski/9448689046/sizes/m/in/photolist-foX14Q-85wRwv-foX3AN-8cppEj-a4tVMa-nAH2Jv-abCN9f-abzjJX-5guZs7-a4tUZv-8ruJf8-nSqHHK-abDmSA-4Zp5TE-4Zp671-4ZjSPD-4Zp6zq-4Zp6Qo-8F2Z2N-4ZjS7t-8hpJge-4ohYtR-abC4Lu-abAbTB-abAv1Z-abDaNS-abCRnJ-abzmG2-abzJzv-abzRCx-abyYcz-abCgwN-abA8pF-abDc3w-abzDsZ-abBUbm-abzsyr-abBLVu-abA2XF-abAcxZ-abzLne-abzEwZ-abA6tH-abD7dN-abzUXe-abD8Kf-abCxsC-abCjtG-abC6jm-abD8sf-abyZRZ/

Odd and Curious Thoughts (about being a lawyer)

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(1)    You have to purchase replacement shoes.  As in “this is part of my wardrobe so it’s totally worth the investment because the leather is peeling off the back of these cheap ones because I hobble across pavement all the time to and from my car and don’t tell me your job is casual or you work from home and all you wear is flip flops because I will cut you.”  Anywho, back to purchasing heels.  Black is generally best.

(2)    People come into your office leading with statements like “I hope I’m not interrupting you but we have a situation.” Tantalizing.

(3)    Sometimes when it’s a boring Tuesday you can just wave your arms around in the hallway of a clinic and say things to a supervisor like “we can’t have our doctors left bare and bleeding on the stand and left with no defenses and when I say ‘medical record integrity’ I am dead serious,” and watch new nurses just blink and stare at you in fear and then you’re all “just kidding I’m just looking for the bathroom.”

(4)    When at cocktail parties, you just say you work in management so you won’t get asked how much child support some deadbeat ex is supposed to pay or whether a landlord has a duty to get rid of the cockroaches.  Because when drinking a cosmo at a swanky bar you don’t want to talk about someone’s bitter divorce and/or roaches. Mostly no to the roaches.

(5)    Why is someone here at this swanky bar that lives in an apartment with roaches and is not instead at Home Depot buying some sort of spray?

(6)    Saying you’re a lawyer makes one think you’re rich, when in reality most real estate salesman and drug reps I know make more money than lawyers.  Unless you successfully sue Exxon, in which case you’re doing fairly well and don’t have to worry about roaches. Or dates.  Or heels with worn leather backsides.

(7)    Sometimes when you’re skimming an article about a mass layoff, you begin to wonder if proper notice was given and start randomly researching the elements of a certain statute to see if that company did their due diligence and wonder what their severance agreements looked like and you’re all GOOD GRACIOUS WOMAN IT’S THURSDAY NIGHT DRINK A BEER AND QUIT RESEARCHING RANDOM CRAP THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU, YOUR CLIENT, OR YOUR LIFE.

(8)    Often a lawyer thinks “why didn’t I just become a language arts teacher or perhaps work in the Estee Lauder counter in the mall?”  Why is no one saying anything. Maybe it’s just me.

(9)    Being a lawyer means you read a lot of words, so if you are trying to date a lawyer you should stay away from statements like “hey you’re pretty I really don’t spell too great but maybe we should go on a date my name is Doug?” Just a tip.  A random tip I know nothing about.  Not that I’m a spelling or grammar nerd (Seriously, Doug? Seriously?)

(10) When you get a phone call and the Caller ID says “Office of Inspector General” or “Federal Bureau of Investigation” it’s best to just go to lunch because those people are so boring and have no sense of humor.

(11) And lastly, when your head hits the pillow at night, you can say with a deep breath that you helped create a lasting impression upon the world because you provided a legal opinion on some random subject that tomorrow, no one will remember.

It’s lovely being a lawyer.  Honestly I’d pick it over any other profession.  It keeps the lights on, helps me afford bug spray, allows me to make fun of myself, stocks my closet with shoes, and keeps my brain active so when I’m old and senile the health care workers will hear me shout “RES IPSA LOQUITOR!” at the top of my lungs as they feed me pudding. And honestly, isn’t that what life’s all about?

Photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/69184488@N06/8091027271/sizes/m/in/photolist-djYCwc-bFk1NR-8aff6R-c8V8Em-eHj6Be-ff8wth-9Qoo8Z-ehZE6X-awyExV-g1KQ9p-a5FMNo-g1KHa3-bapa4P-g1KZ7p-atMLeP-dDFnsH-drbbq2-bAWJxe-drb26U-bo2TuS-9KcQNo-b4N7Vi-g1KXpN-g1KxNh-dravcT-bap7qM-dfwcL9-cvcGRQ-cFaD11-g9jp6i-iFiov3-dDFLiV-ceZiJ5-ceZbmJ-draE2E-7GSFBT-9fP1au-cqxYZG-9zdAAF-ejD5JR-9ePFJY-daMu6v-gwmN7H-dLDZcD-gwmAC2-dravCe-g1KNQJ-g1Ljrp-cK43Df-7Jta4f-g1EDcJ/

 

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

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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/

How I Write

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My friend Missy sent me the online version of a chain letter today daring me to document my process of writing. I tried to hate her and crumple her threatening seven-year-old writer chain dare into a wad of trash but she’s so funny and awesome and we are all going country dancing in a few weeks and I need her to be my wingman for hot cowboys.  So now I feel compelled to write about writing, which is the lamest thing ever.  Blame Missy.

What dare I say about this messed-up process? It’s like asking me for the secret of how I do laundry, which is composed of very ingenious piles of generally-the-same-color-things, some of which are white and are now the opposite of white and others I confuse between those boring labels such as “clean” and “dirty” so I stick my nose in a pair of underwear to see how that turns out and then react to myself like I did something revolting when I clearly did by sticking my nose in underwear but it was next to the wadded up clean jeans so I thought maybe miracles happen (?) and I throw a wet towel into a dryer of already dried crumpled-up kids t-shirts hoping the moisture plus an extra 20 minutes will equal all things right and beautiful.  So most days I survive with lots of heaping, wrinkled, and/or moldy piles in various stages of being half-folded.  But occasionally, when the stars align and it’s a breezy beautiful Spring Saturday I lay out all the whites that are cleanly bleached and fold them so gently and put them all away in their rightful homes whilst singing Over the Rainbow in my very best soft soprano wearing a flowing lace dress with cowboy boots and this is how I imagine laundry days in my brain for all eternity DO NOT MESS WITH MY DAYDREAM, PEOPLE.

And so. My answers to the How I Write questions:

1. What are you working on?

I’m working on staying sane.  A lawyer by day, trying to battle a commute and post-divorce dating, with two small children who live in a delusional far-away land that “when momma sells her book in New York she’s gonna quit her job and we’re all gonna get a pool and eat ice pops.”  So I manage to lower their expectations and make spaghetti that no one will touch and deal with laundry (which I’m a pro at) and fall asleep in my son’s little bed with dinosaur sheets and then trudge upstairs at 11 pm to crank out an essay that I often can’t publish because it’s too personal or too awful and I’m writing in a half-dazed state of exhaustion.  I work on what’s in my head brewing, and writing it down helps me work through it and make sense of it, which is why my essays are sometimes weepy and other times flippant.  I try to not let guilt seep into my consciousness for not writing more often. It never works. You could swear I was Catholic with the guilt.

2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?

I write about funny and I write about faith and occasionally slip into cliché issues facing us mothers so basically I’m like every other blogger on the planet except that I have better hair.

3. Why do you write what you do?

If I wrote what I did I’d be dissecting the art of drafting contracts and the complicated world of healthcare regulations, which is about as interesting as a lawn chair, so I write mostly about my struggles with life and God and relationships. And I consider myself a very positive upbeat person, so I suppose I try to convince myself that life always has a sunny side.  I always and in all things try to encourage others to be bigger, bolder, and love God more fiercely.

4. How does your writing process work?

I have no freaking idea.  Something just plagues me and follows me around like a bubble cloud over my head.  I swat at it and it keeps raining down words and then I get in my car all pissed off about this idea that won’t budge so when I drive or walk or fold laundry (ha ha ha) my brain starts spitting out these words in order and I re-arrange them in my mind until they form some sort of essay and then I sigh and trudge upstairs and put all the words on paper.  That’s how it mostly works (sorry to disappoint). But regardless of whether I write during the day or at night or whenever in whatever fashion, the minute I’m done I sigh deeply, like I had all these truths bearing a hole in my soul and I finally found a release valve, and they all poured out on the page, and I want to cry and sleep and curl up in a pile on my down comforter because my work here is done.  When I finished my novel I felt like I had run a marathon, because it was like a life that I birthed, and a extrication of pain that I didn’t know I was grasping onto, and a release of joy that I didn’t know was even lingering.  And it’s a beautiful thing to find release, and feel you are living your truth, and you just have to do it in whatever sloppy way that happens.

Writing is like laundry.  Some days are wadded up piles and others are flowing silk.  Whatever you do, just don’t stick your nose in it.

 

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Photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanagyei/5199156473/sizes/m/in/photolist-8Vr35R-6UZ3eh-9281YT-9282ee-8kvbUC-9282Ax-8kvbSL-uwiZT-8sTBte-6v7u9r-7c3uUc-7Lqvbq-dNfJmV-4hBu4N-4sLmMw-dyJTAj-bbpCVP-4hycTx-3sv7z-8XBY9H-9X5niu-cXaXY-4P9kgS-6zHzXB-3RvkeN-f7UKY8-fg4MTo-5qh5N-nvafDc-6mCxRA-78pxKM-61i1L3-4KzKAF-6oddDy-5R2xos-6r8Ety-4zXNZJ-4zTnAx-4zXASY-7pDY19-4zXsQy-6nFDAi-4zXC5s-6mRXVC-4EcJzg-4zTmQk-4AsBqv-4zTuSF-4zXME7-4zXHJd-6qqTra/

Odd and Curious Thoughts (about a weekend alone)

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(1) Being the environmentally conscious city that it is, Austin has a city ordinance that you have to bring your own recycled bags to the grocery store or else you’re carrying frozen peas in your purse and balancing tri-tip steak between your armpits while hunting for your car keys.  But today, I traveled outside the city’s jurisdiction to Trader Joe’s, which is free of said restriction, and what do I see but some woman lugging in the bags after all.  I had an urge to run up to her and say “But honey! You don’t have to bring them! They not only have chocolate-covered potato chips but they give you bags!” But her assortment of henna tattoos revealed that she was just trying to be environmentally conscious.  Weirdo.

(2) I’ve begun to refer to Diet Coke as chemical water to warn obviously ignorant consumers to the danger of aspartame so when I stopped by people’s offices this past week see if they want anything from the break room I gave them a choice of 30 grams of sugar or chemical water and suddenly people are shutting their doors and I don’t know why.

(3) I planted a pack of wildflowers in my garden this year, but as I was driving today I saw fields of Indian paintbrush along the highway and I felt so guilty for trying to force flowers that were supposed to grow untamed and free into neat little rows and like wild horses these flowers would forever now be caged and I wanted to run out and pluck their little green shoots from the earth to spare them from a life in captivity.  But I didn’t because that’s dumb.

(4) I mentally judged a woman for not wanting to fill landfills with plastic bags and yet I contemplated ripping soul-less seeds from the earth to protect their unrealized ego.  Who is weird in this situation. Pray tell.

(5) So Dude is out of town for a work conference so I’ve spent all glorious weekend cleaning out closets.  I didn’t realize how much mental and physical energy went into getting dressed up, applying make-up, being mentally alert and ready for any required flirtatious banter, and generally being an affable and overall pleasant date on all occasions. From now on I need to stop dating and focus on closets because I never realized how much I can actually accomplish. IT’S AMAZING.

(6) At Trader Joe’s I got a frozen pizza and it turns out my evening is spent curled up in my [extremely] clean closets with wimpy organic flatbread creating grease spots on paper plates PLEASE MY DEAR COME BACK TO TEXAS I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS.

(7) When I have free time I make care packages, so fair warning, friends I haven’t had time to call in four months because you’re getting chocolate covered raisins and rainbow washclothes!! So excited, ya’ll!

(8) So in the garden I’ve been growing snow peas.  Every time I go out there I pick about seven of them.  Today at the store I noticed a huge package of them for $2.49 so basically all this freaking hard work is saving me nothing.  NOTHING.

(9) Yesterday I was at the mall and in the Talbots window was a model wearing a green sweater with blue tropical fish on it and I thought perhaps Talbots is running some covert campaign for population control because pretty much anything is sexier than a grown woman wearing fish on her sweater and I mean honestly we need these accountants and HR specialists and upper middle class Talbots couples to have babies so let’s stop with the fish already.

(10) I cleaned out the pantry and found a box of fudge cookies with Santa Claus on the box. Seriously, people.  This is how I live.

(11) At World Market you have to purchase the furniture in a box so Saturday morning in Austin some girl with one eye and no depth perception was trying to figure out how to use a wrench and screwdriver and when certain holes could not be found in the prefab wood despite the stupid instructions perhaps this girl drilled into where she thought it should go but this girl isn’t an engineer and just a lawyer so perhaps someone should come over and re-examine the work done post haste.  And don’t set your coffee on the table just words of wisdom I’m not saying it’s going to fall but PROTECT YOURSELF.

(12) In sum, a weekend alone is glorious and you can sleep until the dog begins to bark at you for a treat and you can make an entire pot of coffee all to yourself and vacuum with wild abandon and eat salad in a mixing bowl while watching another episode of Suits but then Sunday night rolls around and you get lonely for little people who suck all you energy and give you sloppy wet i-wuv-you-momma kisses and suddenly you’re wistfully staring out the window where they used to play and GOOD GRACIOUS IT’S BEEN THREE DAYS YOU CAN DO THIS.  Please, kids, I need you to come home.  I’m utterly lost (and slightly crazy) without you.  See: the wildflower incident mentioned above. Thanks, ya’ll.

Our Wrinkled Lives

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I’ve been busy. 

That’s what I tell myself when I want to write, poetic words about how Jesus rose or balancing a career or the absurdity of car names like Trail Blazer and Expedition but then a Yaris drives by with a missing window and no hubcaps and I’m like “sure those other dudes are jerks and ain’t nobody roaming the range in an eighty-thousand-dollar car but honesty, Yaris.  Have some self respect and get a paint job.”  Then I think about how Yaris sounds like a tropical disease and I flip through the radio but my speaker’s blown so I balance the iphone in my console and blow my nose on an old Starbucks napkin and think TONIGHT FOR SURE I will clean out my car but I’m caught swooning over the sappy love mix on spotify the Dude created amplified only by the walls of the cup holder and I think about how kind and wonderful he is until I suddenly I remember I have three loads of laundry waiting on the bed that I’ve already pushed over into a wad on the non-sleeping side so they’re in piles of “re-dry for critical wrinkle relief” and “who the heck cares/you just sleep in this ratty t-shirt, girl” because I was so tired last night I could barely stumble from my son’s bedtime stories to my own and I’m out of dog food and my car needs gas and I got a warning from the teacher to not pack peanut butter again because the fumes may waft into the air and destroy some kid’s life and I just don’t see how airborne peanuts can kill someone so I pack a cheese sandwich that no kid on planet earth likes and I think about my 7:30 am meeting and how that contract never got sent so I set my alarm extra early to sound like raging bullhorns and I drag out of bed and look at my face that somehow resembles a wrinkled sock and text at a red light and eat a chipotle burrito in my car when suddenly a black bean rolls in between the seats and I’m curled up all contorted in a three-hundred dollar suit searching for a rogue black bean so I laugh at myself and apply lipstick and get home to remember the freaking dog food so I feed the poor thing half a cup and seventeen treats and realize I didn’t clean my car and that laundry will have to wait again and I really, really hope that my poor dog’s extra fat sustains him until morning.

Where were we. Oh yes. Jesus. I wanted to write about Jesus.

There are times I get so busy I can’t even stop long enough to feel. I washed a pair of kid’s underwear in the sink and dried it with a hair dryer at 5:30 am for goodness sakes, and last week I purchased a hamburger at the gas station grill because I was there, and so tired it seemed rational.

I think that perhaps the gift of new life is even for times like these, when we get caught up and distracted. It’s not always a perfect season where we let dough rise and children play in flocked dresses and plumes of dandelion seeds flutter off onto the dewy grass below.  There are seasons for which we simply must hunker down and do our best.  We pray in traffic and forgive a co-worker and bring our positive best to the task in front of us that God has asked us to shoulder.  And we manage between the heated up green beans and leftover macaroni to ask for our children’s hands to be folded long enough to roll through a long and beautiful list of blessings.  We feel our breath again.  We stop and bow and mutter our own set of thanks.

So to you hard-working women out there, I say this – you not only CAN do this, but you WILL. You must.  So throw that hair back in a hair tie and do the dishes.  Fold the laundry.  Get to work early.  Pack a cheese sandwich (he’ll live – seriously he’s only 4).  You smile at adversity and co-workers that derail you and YOU ROCK THIS WRINKLED LIFE.  Not by your own strength, but His. Because you only have a short time, and you don’t have the luxury to half-ass your way through it.

Sometimes life just sucks. But also it doesn’t, because God has asked you to bear it. And to shoulder it for a time. Wait for the calm, and do your best to find it.  Center your own soul, even in the swirling mass of laundry.  Laugh, hire a housekeeper, have ice cream for dinner, let the kids stay up late, make forts, roll on the clean laundry pile, re-wash them, drink wine, eat on paper plates, and be grateful.  Forever and always grateful.  Even in this season. It’s all testing ground for your soul.   Maybe you’ll meet someone amazing, who smiles at your jokes and makes you feel crazy loved and you’ll suddenly begin to see sunrises and opportunities and chances to shine.  Maybe you’ll start to realize how strong you really are.  Maybe your face will still look like a wrinkled sock, but Estee Lauder has a cream for that.

“Waiting time is not wasting time. Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.” ~ Henri Nouwen

Wait for better times.  But also live abundantly and gloriously in the one you’re in. 

 

photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pearlmatic/5660713161/sizes/m/in/photolist-9CdCNM-cPxMYq-9FL25a-4RYvK2-enikVz-bD96Lc-9dWMph-biy8Le-9jXmAt-71U5AJ-6ea8Av-KQR69-a7hxpk-9QvNRf-dJqU9o-8F2e8d-5ifqXj-61JYN-85MCzD-5ZtZ25-hZfbmj-7MHzTa-6mR4AQ-5aqc-a7kvnN-8Vt7oY-6yZwtH-79JKby-7kWjVd-8tU1Gb-a75pPp-79xH8U-8s34wJ-91zUsq-7yP1hW-LqY3-dUQ9Ni-c6KNY9-9GDfg7-8CPRdi-e1Tykw-8V7Rpa-7i4RXR-8PNX7P-9j3cC1-79xHCG-8EGA5n-muMbmN-6nsY17-7CjSKL-de9aCe/

The Flight Safety Speech

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I flew to a conference last weekend, from Texas to Ohio with a detour through Florida, because honestly that’s close. It’s pretty exciting being crammed into a plane with recycled air with a bunch of children sporting Mickey ears shrieking about Disney and beleaguered parents praying their sugar high will last until the rental car. But even more fun is when you hear the same speech you have heard for your entire life from every perky flight attendant since the dawn of time and spacecraft.

The Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign!  I love this opener, because instead of just saying “put on your dang seatbelt because we’ll be taking human beings into the thin air in a large mechanical bird and if we crash your ashes will be spread out like dust over Birmingham,” they tell you the sign is on.  Like that ever works when you see the yellow light in a school zone.

Please make sure your seatback and folding trays are in upright locked position! I’m wondering if it would cut a human in half if the folding tray was down.  I’m also curious if some guy named Bob just made up this line twenty-seven years ago because they were trying to fill up space, like “make sure your shoestrings are tied!” and “take off your hats, ladies!” because the seats only move a total of 1.7 inches even when you force them with all your might by digging your heels into the cold floor and what’s the freaking point of the seats moving 1.7 inches.  And I’m imagining the gasping of a woman decapitated upon take-off, and her sobbing husband wishing he had only remembered to keep the folding tray in an upright locked position. 

If you are seated next to an emergency exit, please read carefully the special instructions located in the seatback in front of you!  I take this seriously, ya’ll. I glare at these exit row passengers with beady eyes to see if they’re paying attention to this immense duty that has been bestowed upon them, because if they can’t handle the exit row responsibilities I’m totally there to lead this ragtag crew in to safety. I’m ordering scared children toward open doors and blowing up life rafts saying things like “atta boy” and “you betcha” and high-fiving the flight attendants.  Also? I know there are a ton of exits, somewhere up front and blah blah down at the end that can only be recalled with some fancy two-finger arm movements that I can recall in a pinch if the plane is plunging to our deaths. I’m onto you, old lady who moves slow and is taking up precious exit row space.  Get with the program and read the handout in the seatback pocket in front of you.

At this time, we request that all mobile phones, pagers, and other electronic devices be turned off for the full duration of the flight! They LIE I tell you, because something as sophisticated as a plane that lifts us into space surely isn’t derailed by my itouch reader and an electronic Jane Eyre.  But then again apparently the seatback thing is a deal and people have to follow signs to remember to wear safety belts and you wait with crazy anticipation for a cup of soda the size of a sippy cup so perhaps we aren’t all that bright after all and the machine really has to dig deep to fly straight.  And Southwest took me through Orlando on the way to Ohio which means someone’s turning on their freaking cell phone.  Stop it, people.  Have mercy. This thing needs to fly in a straight line.

And lastly, it’s always nice to be reminded that it’s a non-smoking flight, in case you woke up from your nap and thought it was 1952. And in case you wanted to run off and light up in the lavatory, because we all still totally use that word, or tamper with, disable, and possibly destroy the smoke detectors, it’s a no-go, folks.  I totally caught some woman eying one, thoughts racing inside her head like she needed to tamper with it, or perhaps destroy it, but then the soda came and like Pavlov’s dog she was giggling and I realized she was staring at an exit row sign while playing Candy Crush.

The moral of the flight safety speech is that we are all morons, have to be told things of no significance, need to yield the exit row to my mad skills, may cut our bodies into two if we aren’t careful with the tray locking feature, have to resist urgings to destroy things, can’t smoke, need signs, and get super excited about small cups of Dr. Pepper. I’m confident about our future generation.  If we’re lucky, they will learn to actually turn off their cell phones.

Have a good flight!  If you forget something, there’s a sign. And a speech that won’t change for another two hundred years.

photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomaspurves/2843427903/sizes/m/in/photolist-5kgj42-joqPeG-aRLCwa-6RxU3r-fqFhYx-54NVem-54NVfC-7nWXGn-kYTWc-fKuUDN-e39vBn-e39vG6-e39ub2-e3fbT3-e3fa8m-e39udc-e39vmz-8GQXYB-e3faqL-e3fcms-e3fczj-e39uMX-e39uDt-e39w4X-e3fctQ-e39u94-e3fcGQ-e39uqx-e3f9SS-e3faid-e3fbxs-e39vtr-e3fcju-e39vDk-e39u5H-e39u2M-e39ufx-e39v2K-e39uiH-e3fbZN-e3fa39-e3fa5u-9ixUfK-5VMNeQ-4uuDPQ-8w24ba-8w246D-5p7wiu-7FKdyC-8w564u-9ThobV/