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Have smart friends, especially in hard times

When you don’t know what to say, it’s always good to have friends more articulate than you are.

My friend Kathryn is smart and articulate and beautiful and committed to being part of the light in the world. I’m going to try to follow her example. Thanks, Kathryn.

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Hey, let’s talk about something else

I’m feeling all vulnerable and naked and stuff, and even though you were super nice about it (you’re my favorite, have I mentioned?), I feel the need to change the subject.

Unfortunately, I’m not all that smart, so I’m going to change the subject from “ZOMG THIS SUCKS AND WE ARE ALL SAD” to “HEY GIRLS SOMETIMES HURT MY FEELINGS.” This is… only a slight improvement. And the funny part is that it grew out of a conversation had while camping, when I was feeling perfectly relaxed and calm and happy and not like the world’s worst mother OR like all women are bitches. Huh.

Anyway, if you could also use the distraction, my thoughts are over at Off Our Chests. My delicate flower, easily wounded thoughts. I’m off to procure a fainting couch.

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Everyone in the lake!

The best thing to do when you’ve spent a week in a different time zone and you’re still adjusting to that giant Time Hangover where you never want to go to bed at night but you’re dragging around exhausted in the morning is to pack up again and go camping.

Well, no; that is absolutely NOT the best thing to do, but Otto apparently doesn’t realize that. Heh. Kidding! I kid. I totally wanted to go camping. Kind of. Right after I take a nap.

Anyway, we decided to drag Mario’s family to one of our favorite campgrounds, and the way it worked out was that Mario got dropped at our place and came up with us, yesterday after lunch, and his parents were going to come about an hour later, after his dad got done with work. We drove up here in a cacophony of smallish boys one-upping each other with various monster scenarios (“And then that one went BBBBZTBRRRRP and ripped the other one’s head off!”), and after about an hour I dug some Excedrin out of my purse and mild-mannered Otto finally said, quite sternly, “NO MORE SOUND EFFECTS.” (Monkey snorted, but Mario meekly responded, “Yes, sir.”)

And then we got here and Mario’s parents were MIA for hours. We figured that would be a good scam for getting rid of your kid, but eventually they showed up, and they brought lasagna (made with rice pasta for me!), and a jolly start to our camping adventure was had by all. (more…)

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Friends don’t mind if you barf

So I forgot to put that on the list of things I know about girlfriends, but it’s true. I have an old friend from my former, northern life here visiting ever-so-briefly, and she brought her son (who falls between Chickadee and Monkey, age-wise), and last night he suffered from either a pernicious migraine or some food poisoning (the jury is still out) and ended up having a very long evening indeed. Y’all know I simply do not deal well with vomit, but because they are my friends and I love them I tried REALLY HARD not to dry heave while handing over the bucket the cleaning wipes and such.

I’m a giver.

The good news is that he’s feeling much better this morning; the bad news is that it’s time for them to leave (boo). In light of their visit, however—and that realization I have whenever I get the all-too-rare chance to spend some quality time with a wonderful girlfriend—I’m over at Off Our Chests today, musing on the power of awesome gal pals. Come on over and tell me what would make your list of must-have qualities.

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In which we take NYC by dork-storm

Three days in New York City hardly seems like enough time to get into trouble, but I sure tried, because we all know that I leave the house so rarely, traveling to an actual city is a major pilgrimage for me. It requires THOUGHT and PREPARATION and MASCARA. All of these things are slightly foreign to me, but I soldier along as best I can.

So! When we last left off, my journey TO the city had been blessedly uneventful. My first meal there was delicious, and I skipped out on a late night of karaoke to attend to my beauty sleep. [Sidebar: I can’t hang this on my 40th birthday, but maybe around 38 or 39 it seemed like I suddenly had An Eye Issue, by which I mean I often wake up with dark bags underneath them which could easily accommodate a week’s worth of groceries, and which laugh at the various ever-increasingly-expensive Bags-Be-Gone gels and treatments I stupidly keep buying. I really don’t believe in plastic surgery but I’m beginning to understand the allure. I would like to have a bagectomy, please, but only if it doesn’t leave me looking perpetually surprised instead of just exhausted.]

I was off to a very responsible start. Of course that wasn’t terribly long-lived. (more…)

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This is why it’s good I don’t have a uterus

Yesterday we had some friends come over for brunch, and that was exciting because I generally just hide in my cave, all alone, coming out briefly for food and laundry and to comment that the light, it buuuuuurns.

In preparation for this event, we dusted and vacuumed (because we do those things once a year, whether the house needs it or not!), and made some brunchy foods, and tried to prepare the children. You see, Chris and Karen have three children—a 4-year-old son and 3-year-old twin daughters.

To Chickadee, we said: We expect you to help with the little kids. To Monkey, we said: If there’s anything you don’t want the little kids touching, you need to put it up high or close it in your room. Just telling them “no” may not work, and you can’t get mad about that. Also, they may be loud. It’s okay to take a break if you need to. To Licorice, we said: Good luck, pup.

This turned out to be just the right amount of prep. (more…)

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Drunk on freedom

Otto and I packed up from camping, came home, removed everything from the camper and shoved it into the washing machine, and then he promptly left me to go race cars… somewhere. Up north. I forget where. I wasn’t really paying attention, on account of I took this opportunity when 1) my kids are gone and 2) Otto is off to play cars to 3) demand that my bestie come spend the weekend with me.

We are positively INEBRIATED with the sheer joy of having no one to answer to and no real plans (other than some fancy dinner plans Otto made for us for tomorrow night because he is awesome), and so far have managed to throw the ball for the dog a few times, talk each others’ ears off, and shop for nutritious dinner food like a hunk of brie and crackers. We have also spent some quality time combing through the Netflix available streaming movies to make sure tonight we have something truly terrible to watch while we flick popcorn at the dog.

[I know that now that I’m all grown up I’m not supposed to get all giddy over what is essentially the 40-year-old version of a slumber party, but screw that. Moms need play dates, too, man.]

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What I wanted to tell you, after yesterday’s post, was that my fears were for naught, and Monkey had a great day and a hard but meaningful farewell with his parapro.

What I wanted to do was gently poke fun at myself for always fearing the worst, for always tensing up for the collision. I would make a joke about how being angry and worried had clearly appeased the Gods Of Suck, and everything worked out okay, after all. We would all exhale together and Otto would tell me I worry too much but look, everything’s okay, and then life would go on.

What I do not want to do is to detail the phone call I got, the chaos that ensued, the broken down little boy who came home to me yesterday afternoon and crawled into my bed and whispered that he always ruins everything. I do not want to tell you about how he cried himself out and then slept, brow sweaty, while I rubbed his back and cried silently behind him. (more…)

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Are we friends?

friend (noun)
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
5. ( initial capital letter ) a member of the Religious Society of friends; a Quaker.

I understand that my personal definition of friend is not necessarily going to exactly match everyone else’s. I likewise understand that there are degrees of friendship; I myself, if pressed, could generally classify various friends in a fairly quantitative way that I think would make sense to most. So I get that.

HOWEVER. I cannot help feeling that social media has somehow confused the masses about friendship, and frankly, I think it’s time we rectified some misconceptions about friendship, etiquette, and why I think I may know more than the usual number of people who are either completely clueless or on drugs. (more…)

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Love is grateful, day 6

Otto and I have a running joke about how the mugs in this house all get busy in the cupboards when no one’s looking, and then, BAM, before we know it, our humble family of four is trying to get by with only forty or so mugs to see us through. Hee.

These four are currently my favorites:

With the exception of the Chickadee/Monkey mug—which I bought my own damn self as part of a personal celebration of sorts—the rest of the mugs shown here (and all of the “extras” in the house) were gifts. Each mug reminds me of both an important message and the friend who was sweet enough to think of me. And then I get a dose of grateful with my morning coffee or my afternoon tea.

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