Almost every year in the spring I ooh and ahh over the flowers. I’m thrilled with the bulbs bursting forth and I just HAVE to tell you about it. Every year. Even though it’s the same. Every year.
But not this year. I guess I was distracted. The flowers? They bloomed.
We did it.
I only mention it now because my favorite bulb catalog came in the mail today and I got all excited about next year’s blooms. I fell in love with a tulip called Tequila Sunrise.* And I think there was a similarly apricot-ish one called Sensual Touch, but that’s just ridiculous. That name is about enough to make me dislike it.
Actually, there’s no way I could order that tulip. Can you just imagine? Every March, walking by that pretty flower and thinking, “Oh! It’s my sensual touch. YEP. Right there, for a few fleeting weeks in the cold garden outside my bedroom window. Of COURSE that’s where it is. QUICK, appreciate it now before it DIES.”
That’s just not happening. Ruling that one out right now. Tequila Sunrise, it is. Even though the other one was prettier. WHATEVER.
Inappropriate names irritate me. This isn’t new. Last fall the boys played in their usual Christian soccer league. There was a little girls’ team called Lady Heat.
Now, come ON, Christian soccer people, but REALLY? Have you never read smut? I read some Danielle Steel** in junior high. And some other stuff later. And the stupid phrase Lady Heat is in enough of those novels that really NO one should be able to get away with naming a girls’ soccer team that. EVER.
And if they really didn’t know any better, well. Clearly they are holier than ME. And that’s what stopped me from sending an email. I wanted to, when I realized it was the only time in my life I could ever send an email to a church-y person with the subject line that read Lady Heat and it be totally LEGIT.
But I didn’t.
I didn’t want to get a reply back saying, “Um? What? What exactly DOES that mean? We don’t understand. Our purity is above this strange reproach of yours and please tell us what you are talking about.” And THEN I’d have to explain exactly what that phrase meant to nice Christians holier than me and then I’d feel terribly dirty in my Danielle Steel-ish knowledge and then at all the soccer games they’d be like, “Oh. There she is. THAT”S the mom with the dirty mind who wrote to us about re-naming Lady Heat.” And then others would say, “Oh yes. Well. What do you expect? Have you seen her flowerbeds? Sensual Touch tulips EVERYWHERE.”
It’s all so very avoidable.
*I think i tried tequila once and hated it. not that this is particularly relevant. but it’s that kind of post. but, then again, they all are that kind of post.
**i have NO idea if Danielle Steel ever used that phrase. To her credit, she may not have.
What followed the unfiltered, say-anything phase was a lot of quiet staring. And that would be why I haven’t blogged. I logged on to the little page where I blog and then I quietly stared. And that doesn’t translate well. Quiet staring is like that.
It’s not a depressed Quiet Staring place. Not at all. More contemplative than anything.
(how do y’all say that? I’m an ‘emphasis on the 2nd syllable’ type, myself.)
My friend and I were having breakfast burritos the other day – as we do every Tuesday morning during the school year – and we were both in a highly contemplative place. She’d leaned across the table, lowered her voice, and pointed out the obvious. “You and I have proven ourselves to be highly… naive.”
It cracked me up. It was so pathetically true. And an understatement. And then we did some Communal Quiet Staring. I quietly stared at my burrito, which was almost gone, and my friend leaned over and stared at it with me. She sighed and then said, “Yeah. I had a hair in mine today, too.”
It was straight, black, and about two inches long.
We looked at it together.
Two friends, contemplating the hair in the burrito.
“You know, it just doesn’t bother me. I think it’s because we’re like family here.”
“Exactly. I pretty much know who that hair came from, and that matters.”
“They know our NAMES. They know what burritos we want before we order them.”
“My hair was smaller than that, but really, what’s a couple of hairs among family?”
Really, we just had bigger problems in life than hairy burritos. And there wasn’t any energy at all left over to care about such a minor detail. So we didn’t.
Last night mom and I went to Jason’s deli and then on to a wonderful Jesus-y ballet thing. Mom usually gets the salad bar. (At Jason’s. Not at Jesus-y ballet things.) I told her that overlooking the hair in the burrito (which, when I told her, she did NOT get) was a lot like the time she had overlooked the LADYBUG in her salad at jason’s deli. Which, I admit, I did NOT get. It’s a WHOLE, DEAD BUG. Red and cute or not, that was a corpse. She picked it off, showed the manager, ate the rest of the salad, and happily exchanged her dead ladybug for a free strawberry shortcake.
She disagreed. Her ladybug was more ‘natural’ than the hair in my burrito. I said that depended strongly on the amount of hair product used by the burrito guy.
There were no hairs in the zucchini grillinis we ordered last night at jason’s. (love those!) Actually, i really don’t know that for sure. If there were, we ate them. That would more accurate.
I kinda love ballet. And Jesus. Not in that order. So a Saturday night featuring both was AWESOME. It was really, really well done. that’s all I’ll say though. I’m still being all contemplative about it.
I have the two year olds this morning at church. No time for quiet staring. It’ll be a fun ride.
Have a wonderful day, y’all!
There’s something about these particular life circumstances combined with reduced brain oxygen due to lingering minor illnesses that has the distinct – and unfortunate – side effect of making me even more candid than usual.
And this is not good.
The only thing that could make this worse would be if I were to sip a bloody mary, too.
It’s been going on for a few days. Don’t anyone ask me anything in the comment section. I assure you I cannot resist telling you everything you never wanted to know, and more. And, i kinda ALREADY do that, so this is a whole new level and just, you know, beware.
Caden-8yr asked my mom, in all seriousness, if I was going to die from this illness. She said no. I might embarrass us all to death, but that is different. Suddenly, I’m like the oldest old lady on Golden Girls who just says whatever comes into her head.
Last night Mom and I went to pick up a Craigslist dresser and then to a baseball game and she was commenting on a particular type of surgical procedure and said, “that just seems a lot of trouble and expense to go to for someplace not often… SEEN.”
“Yes. Like vajazzling. Exactly like vajazzling. A lot of trouble and expense for someplace not often seen.”
Just that morning I had bought Hello Kitty underwear from the LITTLE GIRLS section of Target as a depressed gesture at life about how I will never ever have use for sexy underwear again. May as well buy the cheap Hello Kitty panties. WHY THE HELL NOT. Embrace the new life and its new, sexless dress code. (Hello, damn Kitty, indeed.)
Mom said, “Did you say… vajazzling?”
“Yeah. I did. You know. Trouble and expense – place not often seen. Yeah.” Sigh.
“But what IS that?”
“Um… i guess it’s where after a brazilian, you stick little rhinestone thingies on your vagina. Like bedazzling for the vagina. I think there’s the cheap ones like rhinestone stickers like they sell at Hobby Lobby, but there’s also the kind that a professional could glue on you in different patterns and it would last a week or so.”
“Are you making this UP?”
Like I could make up that some women want to turn their vaginas into disco balls? i wouldn’t make that up. I COULDN”T make that up. i think it’s all a bit insecure really. And trust me, I get that right now. But ladies, God didn’t create and design men to get excited by the light reflective sparkliness of vaginas. I’m PRETTY sure on that one. And if I’m wrong and yours loves that, well, good luck, dear.
“You could google it. Go ahead.”
“Yeah, okay, good call.”
“Professional VAJAZZLERS? Who would WANT that job?”
“I don’t know. But I think it’d be better to artfully arrange rhinestones on someone’s vagina than to wax and rip the hair off. THAT has to be a hard job. I mean, don’t you think–”
She did some hand waving motion and loudly changed the topic because she’d reached her limit with that discussion. She’s doing that a lot with me lately because it is NECESSARY.
Later, at the baseball game she needed to grab my arm and clamp a hand over my mouth. And – it was really NEEDED. It wasn’t quite soon enough. Caden-8yr was giggling his head off at the inappropriate turn my indignant lecture directed at him had taken and I couldn’t shut my own mouth without that mama takedown move.
I’m a MESS.
I’ll be careful.
I hope it wears off soon.
(And, no, don’t worry, i will NOT talk to strangers.)
Today was the last full length day of school. The next 3 days are 1/2 days in which there is very little time to accomplish much of my pre-summer errands list. Today was IT.
And then Ethan-12yr and Seth-6yr fell apart and were sick and couldn’t possibly go to school (they really couldn’t) and my sick stuff got worse and let’s not discuss that.
The point is. The day’s plans got all shot to hell.
I stayed in bed all morning with a cat and two listless, lifeless boy children wandered through the house, too tired to even annoy each other. Then Seth-6yr walked out to the backyard, came back in, slammed the door, burst into tears, buried his face in my stomach, and said he’d seen a snake. “A REAL ONE!”
Well, yes. I figured.
Seth-6yr isn’t a burst into tears, bury his head in my stomach sort of kid. But he was up all night, and now home sick, and it WAS a real snake, so it all made sense.
Ethan-12yr dutifully went and put on tall boots and the boys dressed for Snake Slaying. I took pictures. Ethan-12yr selected a long extension stick thing from the garage, whose real purpose I can’t remember right now.
Then they went out. Two determined, and oddly dressed snake hunters. Suddenly, energized.
There had been discussion of what the snake looked like. But that was only for identification purposes, not so that a determination could be made whether the snake WOULD die. I’m sorry, but we’re not like that. I don’t care if some snakes are good. If it’s a SNAKE, and it is BY MY BACK DOOR – then that snake is therefore a very BAD snake and it shall die. I don’t have to look it up on google to see what it eats. NOTHING is worse than the snake, so it doesn’t MATTER. I’d rather have giant rats in tutus than snakes. EASY CHOICE.
I have been an extremely overprotective mother for a very long time. I have shielded them from all kinds of threats, real and imagined, their entire lives. But when there is a snake, or a spider, the tables turn and I GLADLY send out my precious babies to defend the homefront, and also me. Seth-6yr stopped crying and WANTED to go. In case that wasn’t clear. I didn’t toss them out and lock the door behind them. (thankfully that wasn’t necessary.)
I was making lunch and checking their progress periodically by looking out the window. I saw the snake and started jumping and screaming and Ethan-12yr rolled his eyes and calmly made the hand motion a conductor makes when calling for silence at the end of a song.
And that was annoying.
Then he opened the door and LEFT IT OPEN while he conferred with me about something and I could just hop and sputter and finally shout at him to SHUT THE DOOR BEFORE THE SNAKE RUNS IN THE HOUSE, CHILD.
Because that’s a WHOLE other set of problems we don’t want.
Somewhere in there, I burned the quesadillas.
Ethan-12yr rolled his eyes, stepped in the door, shut it behind him, and said, “Mom. If the snake comes in the house… it will SLITHER. It will not RUN.”
And THAT was annoying.
But funny. I didn’t want to discuss it further when the snake was still out there, alive, and maybe escaping by whatever verb appropriate means it chose.
They hadn’t slayed the snake before lunch was ready. So I told them they could eat at the outside table in order to supervise the snake’s activities.
That sounded better than, “there will be no food until you kill it.”
All were on board with this plan. And halfway through their lunch, they killed the snake. I put on shoes and stayed away from the windows because I didn’t want to distract Ethan-12yr with my screaming, and I couldn’t watch and NOT scream.
I gave them bags and they took the body to the dumpster. And then washed hands very well with soap. Then we debriefed about the entire adventure and I asked Seth-6yr about his transformation from crying and freaking to brave snake killer. He said he had his big brother with him.
It was just so sweet. (Also, I’m sick and I was up all night.)
And now I’m going to try not to think about snakes. Or if there are others. Right out there. By the back door. All 3 feet long and stripe-y and scary and ready to come inside.
has not been quiet.
it’s been really eventful.
i’ve barely been home. i do not have energy for capitalization. or thought.
last night i was the designated driver for a group of friends celebrating a birthday. some of them thought i was really great at pool. but i’m not. i haven’t played pool in 10 years and i wasn’t any good then.
it’s just that i was sober and they weren’t and i finally got over my ‘hmmm what does the neckline do on this top if i lean over a pool table anxiety’ issue and decided no one cared and i wouldn’t either. i got home after 1. that is too late for me. i am too old for that. i should be home in bunny pajama pants watching bob phillips reruns.
but it was a nice night. no regrets. i’m just tired.
today. more of the same not at home-ness, but in a different way. no regrets. needed. but life gets in the way of life a lot lately.
i have this wonderful friend and we’re at similar places in life at the moment and if we aren’t getting me through my stuff, we’re getting her through hers. we laugh, cry, snort, talk forever, shop, listen, eat, pray, love, and learn. together. the dark places we’ve been and the secrets we held for others weighed us down and broke us and changed us in ways that we both thought were unique only to us. and then here is this friend. who has been in that oddly familiar, yet still different, place. the traps are much the same, but the circumstances are not.
finding a way out, and into new patterns of thinking and worth and speaking and acting is overwhelming. how nice to have a precious friend in exactly the same situation to take that walk with.
it’s kinda an exhausting walk, though. right at this moment.
(but worthwhile. i’m sure of it.)
i do not like to admit to illness. i like to pretend it never happened.
but the strep that was so awful for Caden-8yr and Seth-6yr came back for Ethan-12yr and for me. my mother jumped in and helped take kids places and pick up prescriptions. Ethan-12yr and i went to the doctor yesterday and now we’re popping pills and keeping a pretty low profile. (low, as in flat against soft horizontal surfaces)
i’m getting there. today i put on a pair of FABULOUS new shoes, courtesy of a Christmas gift card, and decided to look a thousand times better than i felt (not hard) and really just fake the sickness away for a few necessary hours. i told my mom it was ‘shoe therapy.’ and it worked. and then i came home and faceplanted for a few hours. shoe therapy is always worth a shot, but it has its limitations.
i have a very quiet weekend ahead. yardwork if i’m up to it. faceplanting while wearing bunny pajamas if i’m not.
that’s what’s up with the short, slightly weird blogs lately. i wasn’t admitting illness.
okay, i’m still really not. i mean, it came and it was gross and i’m still tired… but i’m in the getting OVER it phase. i don’t HAVE strep. i headed it off at the pass. yes. that’s what happened here.
i’m fine. that’s all i meant to say. hi. and, ‘i am fine.’
Ethan-12yr is attempting to ‘get on the leaderboards for a clone wars adventures tournament.’ that’s what he said. he’s at the computer at my desk.
so if i’m ‘fine’, then Ethan-12yr is probably ‘way more than fine.’
and ambitious in a really cute, geeky way right now.
this is more ‘nothing’ than my usual brand of nothing blogging. I KNOW. but denial can easily do that to you if you’re not careful. i will be careful.
Okay, well it wasn’t the voice of The Mud calling my name yesterday after all.
It was the voice of my truck’s almost dead battery, calling for help.
I haven’t ever hooked up the jumper cable thingies and done that myself. I called my dad. But couldn’t reach him. So then I waved off the help of two strangers in pickups* and did it myself.
Battery charged, I had only enough time for mild mud action before taking an abs class. The abs class killed me. The abs class made me want my bunny pajama pants.
I’d completely forgotten about my weird, deformed rib. And then that abs class killed it with some reverse crunches and now it is bruised and sore and I’ll probably never forget it again. But that’s okay. Because I’ll never forget and do reverse crunch things again, either.
*strangers in pickups will ALWAYS stop and try to help you here. It’s West Texas. That’s what they do. I want nothing to do with strangers in pickups right now. Particularly if they’re cute. And one of them was definitely cute, so I frantically waved him off and got rid of him even faster than I waved off the next stranger in a pickup, who looked pretty creepy. Creepy I can deal with if I have to – cute, no WAY, get thee BACK with your chivalrous self, man.
It’s gray and cold and rainy.
But there is a distinct upside.
The mud is everywhere. It calls me. (When mud calls me, it sweetly says my first and last name. Not Kilgore. The mud knows my real last name, and it is not afraid to use it.)
Mike has the kids tonight.
I’ll spend the evening exploring my favorite back roads and the dirtiest, muddiest places and get more than a little reckless. It’ll be good. And then I’ll come home, filthy and tired, and put on flannel bunny pajama pants and I’ll watch Texas Country Reporter. I record them and save them up and watch them like I’m 83 or something. I guess I just like Bob Phillips’ voice. Or I’m incredibly boring. Whichever. Doesn’t matter.
A friend and I did a ‘mud run’ recently. It was… lame. There weren’t many people, no one seemed very interested in the event, and there wasn’t any MUD. There was a decent amount of slightly dirty water. If you put water on certain kinds of west texas clay, it just turns to a gray puddle. And even if you crawl through it, you will NOT get muddy. You’ll get wet. So. We got wet. And disappointed. It was a serious mud letdown.
But tonight I’ll make up for that.
Mud. Bunnies In Pink Scarves Pajama Pants. Bob Phillips’ voice.
Not everyone’s winning combination for a Monday night, but it’s sounding really good to me.
Happy Mother’s Day. I hope every last one of y’all are especially blessed today, whether you happen to be a mother or not. I am. Especially blessed, I mean. SO thankful for this sweet life I’ve been given with these strange, small people to raise.
It was a weird morning here. The boys used to make me breakfast with Mike on Mother’s Day and so they especially missed him and were very aware of the differences this day held. They gave me their cards and surprises and when i got up too early, they firmly told me to go back to bed. They tried to get along and be kind, but their own mixed up emotions about the day got in the way and there were at least two really petty freakout fights over nothing, before 9 am. We talked through it and then i told them they should probably call Mike. They did, and the next petty freakout fight wasn’t until about 1pm at my mom’s house. They are… fragile, today.
I’m doing that “here, let me just withdraw further from society” thing I’m so fond of. If I’ve flaked on you with emails and texts and phone calls, and I certainly haven’t read your blog in ages, well. This is why.
I told a friend of my decision to just “let myself go” and that did not go over well. She’s had some similar stuff going on in her own life, but more recently, and so she had the energy to jump forcefully on the ‘you are worth more than that’ soapbox. And it made sense in the moment. I took her word for it, started working out more, eating less, and I suppose I’m officially putting on a tiara and not letting myself go. So to speak. I like exercise and am rather halfhearted about food anyway, so I guess it was a weird idea in the first place.
I put on a tiara the other morning (literally) and Caden-8yr stopped in the hall and said, “Whoah… Mom’s wearing eyeshadow.”
“WHAT…? Eyeshadow? Didn’t you notice the big shiny TIARA?”
“Well, sure. But you’re in a tiara phase. I didn’t know you were in an eyeshadow phase. So THAT is what I pointed out.”
I figured if my eyeshadow were somehow THAT noticeable to an 8 yr old boy – a group not known for even knowing the word ‘eyeshadow’, I better tone it down. So I did. The alternative would have been an even bigger, shinier, tiara, and I already had on the biggest one I had.
He’s a funny kid.
He and Seth-6yr just got over strep. And it wasn’t just any kind of strep. It was the kind that hit very suddenly, and with fevers so high that they each spent a different night clinging to me because they were hallucinating. My side of the family does that when we have high fevers. Fun times. It’s really difficult to explain to a small child in the middle of the night what a hallucination IS, and that it really isn’t real and they really are safe and here, just hang onto me like a terrified, sweaty monkey if you need to, we’ll get through this night together.
They’re okay now. And I have caught up on sleep again. And even laundry.
I’m a recovering doormat.
(That was out of the blue. I know. Hang in there with me, though. I’ve wanted to tell you this forever, and if I wait for a transition to occur to me, I never will get around to it.)
I’m a recovering doormat. It’s been going on for a couple years now. I wasn’t the sort who signed up to do stuff i didn’t want to do or said yes to all sorts of favors for people. That’s not me, and it never was. But I did do this weird thing where in several key relationships, the two of us IN the relationship would both sort of exalt the other person. It sounds so weird to even write that. But that’s what we did. If the other person were into that sort of thing. (And if you are a doormat, then you have certainly attracted numerous people who are into that sort of thing.)
God dropped a couple of people into my life who were not into that sort of thing. And who didn’t even understand that dynamic at ALL. Without their knowing, a few conversations gave me a glimpse of a different, healthier approach. I started looking at things from a non-doormat standpoint. Then I started attempting to re-negotiate the terms of some of my relationships, with an eye on God’s vision of who I am.
But some things are non-negotiable.
With more than one individual, there was a distinct, “no – this doesn’t work” message. Give this up, go back to serving ME, wasn’t that more fun…? And…. no. I lost those individuals. I hadn’t anticipated that, really. I thought I could gently reconstruct the relationships in the way they always should have been. I asked for certain things. I started speaking up, drawing lines, and acting like someone just as important as the other person, and explaining WHY.
But those relationships had only ‘worked’ because of the original way they were (mis)constructed, and my changing the deal wasn’t acceptable. It made everything all wrong and not worthwhile for the other person. I had agreed to one set of terms - maybe even insisted on those terms – and then… changed them.
I lost those people.
They lost a very faithful doormat.
They never knew me. And when given the chance… weren’t interested. And that’s all right. They weren’t the people who were ever there if I needed something or someone. Now if I need someone or something… they still aren’t there.
And so in that way, it isn’t all that different.
For a long time, Seth-6yr would exclaim, “Holy Guacamole!” in response to any of life’s more exciting occurrences. You have a homework paper you forgot? Holy guacamole! You need to go to the bathroom? Holy guacamole! You are surprised at the antics of the cat? Holy guacamole!
This OFFENDED Caden-8yr. He always wanted me to reprimand his brother. I always declined. And laughed. Finally, I asked Caden-8yr if he felt that this was somehow… in some way… disrespectful to God. Maybe that was the source of his discontent.
And? It was.
Like, “taking the Lord’s name in vain” sort of blasphemy?
“But… we do not serve a God named guacamole. So…? I’m really okay with this, Caden-8yr.”
He got irritated.
So of course Seth-6yr said it more.
I ignored it.
And then one day I decided that I would try to address it differently. I made guacamole. I covered the bowl with a stainless steel bowl, turned upside down so it looked like a silver cloche in a fancy restaurant.
I called the boys to the table, and instructed Caden-8yr to pray over the silver domed mystery bowl.
He hesitated. He giggled. He said he didn’t know what to pray.
I told him he HAD to do this and it was very important to transforming the contents of the bowl. Just pray over it and bless whatever food was beneath the dome.
Then I unveiled it and asked him what it was.
I took it over to Seth-6yr and asked him to peek and announce what it was. He had no idea.
I whispered the answer and he shouted, “HOLY GUACAMOLE!”
And the 2 boys who had fought over holy guacamole shared a bowl (and a chair) and happily ate it and no one objected to that phrase again.
I thought that was the end of the story.
But yesterday Seth-6yr came home with a bracelet with the word ‘Guatemala’ embroidered on it. A friend of his had returned from a trip with bracelets for all her classmates. Seth-6yr was distraught because he lost his “guacamole bracelet.” I told him it wasn’t guacamole. I had him repeat Guatemala a few times.
Then, as I left his room after tucking him in, he said, “Will it make anyone mad if I say Holy Guatemala?”
And… yes. It probably will.
But that’s okay.