Because I’m not a Christmas Card sender

I’ve tried before, a couple of years I even got the cards out in time.

I felt very accomplished those years. But it’s been a long time.

So in light of the fact that I’m not organized or competent enough to send out individual paper cards, here:

Also, in the tradition of those lovely people who do a family update letter every year at Christmas, I will do this.


The year started out like they all tend to do.

Resolutions were pretty much abandoned by week 2.

I turned 31.

The institution of marriage was defined by people in all different ways.

Ava lost her first tooth. Max lost several of his.

Lucy turned one.

Josh and I decided to go back to school, and we had our 5 year anniversary.

Josh was in many plays. I was in none.

Max and Ava and Dan were also in plays.

I started going to a for real shrink.

My sister got married.

Osama Bin Laden was killed.

Occupy Wall Street began.

Josh said goodbye to his grandfather.

I registered my domain name and began to blog with fervor.

Josh and I finished our first semester of school online.

And oddly enough, that seems to be all of note I can really remember.

I am giving myself this week of mostly leisure, so you may not hear from me for a while.

I love you.

This is why I think church kind of sucks

This past Sunday, we the Steens decided to go on a small road trip. We needed to go to Five Guys, Target, etc.


So we went, after convincing my Mom to loan us her car (we take her car on trips like that because it gets good gas mileage and is always clean).


In my mom’s car, I found a copy of a recent bulletin from her church. While I was somewhat afraid that my blaspheming fingers might cause it to burst into flame, I looked over it. 


Josh noticed the blurb pictured below, and he observed that the Brittany Settle mentioned would have been in school with our friend Marty.


So I did some research. Because I’m a trouble stirrer.


In 1991, Brittany Settle was indeed given an assignment for a term paper. The teacher was clear in her terms: pick whatever you want to write about, get it approved, and then write about it.


So Brittany chose her topic. She chose the topic of “drama,” which I can only assume meant things like traveling troupes and Globe Theatre and the like.


Then, for whatever reason, she changed her mind. She decided to write about Jesus instead. I can only imagine the reasoning. Maybe she thought it would be easier, maybe she knew she had a good paper in her brain, bred from years of Bible verses and Sunday School.


She decided to change topics and she wrote what I’m sure was an excellent paper. 


However, she never got the change approved. She didn’t give her teacher any heads up at all, and so when she turned in what was supposed to be a paper about actors and dramatics and it was instead about Jesus, she failed.


It’s a lesson I learned in about the fifth grade – you don’t follow directions, you fail your shit.


The fact that the situation then escalated to court dates and appearances on church bulletins two decades later is just a little ridiculous.

To win and to lose

I’m giving up. Whatever this virus is does not plan on leaving anytime soon. 
I could, at this point, regale you with tales of how crap I feel or how abnormally every function of my body is progressing, but I think I’ll spare you. BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.
Yesterday was Max’s chess tournament. Like I mentioned, he’s been prepping for it for months. Nonstop. Last year he played and came home with a “participant” ribbon after beating exactly no one. He was rather wounded, and apparently he was having none of that this year.
So he went. He competed. He emerged the second most victorious.

Second place, baby! We were all so proud.

However, as happy tales often do, this one has a dark side.


Ava, who is fresh into the accelerated program and therefore only this year got a chance to play chess, she competed too.


Apparently Ava has inherited my utter inability to stratergize and plan, and therefore she shares my absolute suck at the game of kings.


She played one game. She lost. It didn’t go well.


She was upset upon the homecoming because everyone was so excited for Max. 


Which presented a dilemma. Of course we were sad that she didn’t do better, we were sad that she was upset, but MAX WORKED HIS ASS OFF. He wanted to do well and so he did, whereas Ava would “practice” with Max only if he played with no queen and often she’d just quit when her brain started to tire out.


I tried to be gentle. I tried to be understanding. But maybe she learned a lesson.


And at least she didn’t yell, “SHIT!” when she lost, I was a little worried about that.

Greasy redneck bliss

This weekend there was a fair in town.

Now, let me make some statements here:

I never went to many fairs as a kid. We generally sidestepped most yearly community things like that, and I never understood why. As a teenager I went on my own or with friends, but I was always more engrossed in whatever teenage soap opera drama was happening or if I looked fat in my grunge clothing to care about the festivities.

As a result of my inexperience with rickety traveling fair carnival rides, I’m a bit wary of the contraptions.

Josh is adamantly anti-fair-ride, which is fine with me.

So as I said, there was a fair/BBQ fest/concert times in downtown this past weekend. We had tickets. So we went.

We went, first, on Friday night – Lucy had never been in that sort of environment so we were a bit timid (considering she screamed like a banshee all through Max’s flag football game last week, I didn’t have much hope). She had a great time, though, and only got a little clingy when we went past the stage area. I can’t say that I blame her – we’ve sheltered her from country music so far.

We made one pass through the carnival area, and it was enough.

I don’t think I realize often enough the vast array of human quirks that can be found even in small town America, but it doesn’t take much to remind.

Strolling through a crowd of people pressing in on you from every side, only to realize, oh, pardon me madam, did you know that your bare belly roll just grazed my arm?

This is a beautiful photo of a carnival. It's not what ours looked like at all.

There was also one woman who proudly paraded around in purple leggings that she mistakenly thought were opaque enough to pass as pants. Not so, my friend.

Then on Saturday, the evening’s headliner was Paul Thorn, who I had never really heard of. It sounded like a good chance for a date night, though, so we booked Granna the babysitter and we set off.

We arrived during the opening acts. I really thought I had a high threshold for redneckery, but I was very much mistaken. The gentleman onstage twanged and warbled his way through three whole songs before Josh and I agreed with a record few amount of words that we needed to leave.

Perhaps this means I fail as a Mississippi girl. Paul Thorn, I’m sorry I could not bear to wait for you through the chortling and cowboy hats. I’ve heard it was a good show.

What did Josh and I do? We ate cheesecake and watched the Alabama-Florida game. Somehow I think we won out over the funnel cakes and mall bangs.