The rest of away

It’s taken me a bit to somewhat process this past weekend.
(Side note, I’m watching Teen Mom 2 and this is the second one of these dumbass girls I’ve watched act like an invalid after her boob job. What the actual hell is the matter with me, watching this nonsense?)
Anyway, we spent the weekend at my first comic convention. I was prepared and not prepared – I mean, I’ve watched the documentaries and the sitcoms and read articles, nerds are weird. I know this.
But it was a good opportunity for the podcast, so I went. With Prozac. Prepared to network and schmooze.
While there’s lots to tell you about the weekend in general (like hello awesome food!, and being in the same room as Billy Dee Williams’ pee, and the time I thought I might see a man die and I acted anything but admirably), right now I want to focus on the actual event.
How it was stinky. Crowded. Germy. Confusing. And absolutely spectacular.

We had preordered our tickets (which was my first time ever to use Passbook on my phone, and I totally felt like the Jetsons with my virtual roboticket), so there wasn’t much of a wait to strap on some armbands and stand in line with pretty much every variety of person on the planet.

Seriously, this was as good as people watching gets. Costumes and pajama pants, stilettos and flip flops, and absolutely everything else imaginable. Spandex. Sequins. Feathers. Rubber. Metal. Cardboard. Want to wear some ears and a tail? Awesome. Top hat? Help yourself. Flippers with no other hint of a costume? Have some nachos.

And yeah, they stunk. Some of them did. Some of them smelled fantastic – particularly these two chicks who I’m fairly absolutely concretely certain were prostitutes. But they were all so… connected. It was such a community of all these people who mostly didn’t know each other. There was trust in so many iterations – from the toddler in his Iron Man outfit who won a sword fight with a Stormtrooper to the mom of two in her steampunk corset and bustle who didn’t give a shit what you thought about her cellulite. It was freeing just to be there, to be able to take in the attitude of acceptance.

And also…the talent. It was a grab bag of you-pick-it eeney meanie miney holy balls. I have never been in tossing distance of so much ability in my life. It was amazing and humbling and completely exciting. I still don’t really have the right words.

I am not and never have been what anyone would call a cool person. I’m not with it or hip or anything the kids like these days. And in theory, neither were these people, right?

I mean, according to the movies and high school and anything I ever learned from band camp, these are the punch lines, right? The nerds, the geeks, the people who don’t fit in.

Except these people were amazing. They were real and colorful and…themselves.

That’s it. That’s what it was.

There was no apology in any of this past weekend. No one was sorry for being whoever it was they wanted to be. It was open and obnoxious, and the most authentic experience I’ve ever had.

I met some amazing people. Made some connections I will treasure. Hopefully some of the people I met will take a turn to post here sometime soon, and I’m excited about that.

For now though, I’m still sorting through everything I learned this weekend. About myself, about my world. About comic books and zombies. About how lucky I am to realize that just because there’s no one like me doesn’t mean there’s anything to change about me.

***all photos used with permission, courtesy of Keith Reed, whom I found on the Twitters.

 

Embracing the kook within

Historically I have never been what you would call a joiner.

It's all too much, man. Too much work.

It's why I don't have friends. It's why I find my own things and bury myself in them. Hell, it's why this blog has not died a raging fiery inferno death – because I do it whenever I please and big middle finger when I don't.

But my husband, he's a joiner. He gets all up IN all kinds of shit. And he does it because he's good at it. I support that. How could I not? It makes him happy. Happy him, happy me.

So in a grand gesture of solidarity and total outside-my-comfort-zone-ness, I am donning my brand spanking new JustUsGeeks tshirt, hauling around my weight in purple bluish memefont flyers, and going to a comic & toy convention.

Yeah, that's right. You heard it here first.

 

But you know what's crazy? I'm excited. Like, stupid excited.

So by the time you read this, Josh and The Guv and I (Catch that? Did you? Yeah, I said my name and his name but not Lucy's name. More on that later.) will be tooling off toward Kentucky. Or, well, Friday morning. So whenever you read this in relation to Friday morning. Because I think I'm going ahead and publishing this tonight.

 

See it? It's already happening. DARING.

Wish me luck!

And lo, in the year of our lord 2013

 

I thought about this post all weekend, but I failed to come up with anything particularly spectacular.

Last month my sister had a baby.

This is nothing new, I mean I have a niece and nephew already – and not to sound too crass, but I mean, my kids are the shit so my nieces and nephews can't be too far from.

My sister recently(ish) remarried. A nice, normal guy who loves the piss out of her and is nice to people besides her, which is sometimes a rarity. He's a good egg. And when I found out they were having a baby I could not have been happier – for her, for him. For me because babies.

Children are spectacular, we all know. But having a child with someone you love with all your being and who loves you right back? That's…not even something words can touch.

I wanted that for her. And so when news of little Parker came along I knew what she was in for and I couldn't wait.

The weekend after her son was born, we went to visit.

He was everything I wanted him to be.
He was tiny, he was sweet.
He had her fingers and feet and his daddy's mouth.
He snuggled in my niece's arms like he already knew where he belonged.
He was – he is – perfect.

So for now I'll spare you the tales of my empty uterus and how SURELY I might have another little boy and holy crap he'd be so amazing and cuddly and little and ohmahgahbabies.

No, for now we can just say that my sister's family is complete. And that there is a little bundle of squiggly baby sized love who knew just where he needed to be, and he will probably never know how much joy he brought with him into the world.

 

 

 

 

I remember Christmas

I am now embarking upon my 33rd Christmas season.
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I’ve never been a Christmas nut, but I enjoy the season. I enjoy it more now than I ever have, although that probably shouldn’t be the case since now I have to worry about presents and money and Santa Claus.

Still.

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Every year I am bombarded – often when I least expect it – by waves of memories I haven’t touched since the last year. It’s like I stockpile stuff and only think of it once a year – some of them aren’t even Christmas memories. Maybe it’s a getting-older thing, saving up good thoughts for times they’re needed.

But still, I remember.

I remember my Grandaddy Wilkes and how he always bought boxes of Andes candy. I would subsequently eat them, row by row. God only knows how many calories were involved.
I remember rides to Selmer and plastic mistletoe – always in the same spot.
Shining silver and comic paper gift wrap.
Black Friday shopping to buy all my presents from my Mimi – only to have to wait until Christmas to open them up.
Hiding under a green blanket while my mom and dad pulled all the presents out of hiding.
Sweet potato pie, even though I hated the very idea of a sweet potato.
My mother always making my sister and I pose for some weird ass photo outside by the mailbox or in a chair.
Mom’s Santas.
The smell of the attic – the smell of the ornaments.
Peanut butter rice krispie treats.
Ham. Always ham.
Chicken and dressing with a shitton of sage.
Neverending, persistent and endless renditions of “Mary Did You Know?”
Max’s first Christmas and putting a bow on his head.
Playing board games with Dan’s family into the wee hours of the morning.
Josh dressing up as Santa when the kids were small. Max was convinced Santa had found him.
My first Christmas with the Steens, my first time ever to have a stocking.
Josh’s grandmother and how she always bought my kids the perfect presents.

There are so many things.

Things to love about now.

Maybe this year I won’t forget.

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I should make it a rule to drink beer.


Because even ONE makes me want to ramble write.


Saturday we had INTENDED to go to Tishomingo State Park with Dan, the kids, Amanda (omg my India Afar Amanda is home did I not tell you? Lucy adores her. It’s meant to be. She has to stay here forever) and her baby boy. It was a spectacularly planned event, one which which had been talked about for at least a week.

And guys, we just don’t do that. We don’t plan shit. Ever. Because as soon as we do, we get lazy or just generally turned off by the obligation of being somewhere and we ruin it.

So we went. The three Steens in one car, everyone else in the other.

We all arrive (we were a little late), and we proceeded to eat a sandwich picnic at one of the tables. I was SO excited. Josh had rented specialty camera lenses for his big boy camera, and I had my new point-and-click. Like a boss. We were READY.

Then, Lucy (who had refused to take a nap) started screaming.

Seriously it was like Jigsaw’s puppet and the squeally pig from the insurance commercials mated and the product was my child. Not only was it an impossibility to walk across the swingy suspension bridge, the whole idea of taking pictures was laughable.

I should have known.

So we came home. Basically we drove like an hour to eat some turkey sandwiches at a picnic table.

Sunday we redeemed our photography yearns, and went out to make lots of pictures.

Happy Monday.

written on Saturday/Sunday night, I would NEVER drink this early. Unless it was a mimosa. Or champagne and it was important. Or no one was there. Don’t you judge me.

 

ProcrASStination.

Basically, people, I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking through the past month.

 

Really.

 

Even yesterday, when I had plenty of work to do at, you know, actual work – I stayed home with a whiny toddler and firepee thanks to being female and having, apparently, a short urethra. *bows to the TMI audience*

So I could have done schoolwork, right? The geneaology paper that is due today. Or the research paper that is due tomorrow. Both are still barebones and need work.

Instead, though, I spent the day watching Big Love on demand, flushing out my system with echinacea and vitamin C, thinking about the past and the future and how to best go about making pumpkin muffins.

So what did I accomplish? I lessened my infection, I think. I pondered what my hair would look like a la Ginnifer Goodwin in Season Three. I made the muffins. I vacuumed the floor. I did work a bit on the papers.

 

I can’t say I made much eternal progress in anything yesterday. Except the muffins. They were amazing.

 

 

Running on…

Off and on over the past few years, I’ve attempted to become a runner. With varying degrees of intensity. My sister has also become a runner, but she’s for real, yo. She runs miles and miles.

I haven’t gone running in a long time. I do yoga pretty much daily and I haul around a 500 pound toddler, so I like to think that I’m not totally out of shape.

This weekend, the Coca Cola 10k happened.

I was inspired. Maybe a little depressed because there were children I could have birthed streaking right past me.

So, Josh and I have decided to embark on a runnerly journey, and it starts this week.

It starts this week because on Saturday, I’m pretty sure we are going to do the Gumtree 10k in Tupelo. I fully realize that I will walk the majority of the race, but I’m good with that. It’s a start.

From both sides of the uterine wall

If anyone had told me three years ago that I would soon be a mother of three, I can think of a whole host of replies I would have had. They would have included distance, laughter, and a healthy dose of profanity.

To say that the news of your pending arrival was a surprise? Well, that’s one way to say it.

But it happened, you came.

And now it’s been two years since I met you. And not a day has gone by for the last two years that I have not slept with you by my side. Held you when you cried (and at first, during the colic days, it felt as though you would never do anything else). I know the way your weight changes in my grasp as you finally give up and start to dream. I know how many refusals it takes before you relent and take the juice instead of milk (three, sometimes four).

None of this should be new to me. I have, after all, done this twice before.

But this is different. I have never been this intertwined with another human being. If I had known this type of connection existed, I would never have been able to go back to work with your brother and sister. For 730 days you have changed everything. Daily.

To see you now – to watch Max and Ava and to see how they both stumble over themselves to be near you – I realize I had no idea how incomplete we were before we met you. You have filled a hole in our family we never knew existed.

I guess, Lucy Grace, what I need to say more than anything else, is thank you.

Thank you for the giggles and the sass.

Thank you for the kisses and the curls.

Thank you for turning my husband into a daddy.

Thank you for giving your brother and sister someone to be an example for.

Thank you for needing me more than anyone ever has.

Thank you for being my baby.

I love you so much, my big two year old girl.

Love, Mama

;

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(I’m so terrible with things like this, but thanks to my wonderful wife for letting me have a part of her blog today. I’ll go back to being geeky over at http://justusgeeks.com)

For the rest of my life, no matter what happens, I will always remember seeing you for the first time. I heard your first sound. I counted your fingers and toes at least ten times. At least. On a day, which I admit I was not at my best, you were perfect. Perfect.

One of the things I worried about was that even though your Mom and I had thought Lucy Grace was the perfect name for you, you’d be a Mary. Or Janet. Or something else entirely.

But there you were…my Lucy Grace Steen.

And how right we were. As you’ve grown up so much in the last few months and weeks you say that name with a certain authority. You are becoming your own person, and there’s not a lot your Mother and I can do about it.

But why would we want anything differently?

You amaze me on a daily basis. You’re learning more, getting smarter, and you somehow know that you are what makes us “go” on a daily basis.

I’d do anything for you. Anything.

Your Mother and I talked not long ago about just how perfect for us you were. One day we’ll explain to you about how we never thought we’d be able to even be anyone’s collective Mom and Dad, let alone yours.

And how you saved us.

How you saved me.

No matter what happens on the rest of our journey together, Lucy Grace Steen, I will always be in your debt. And although you might not always act it, you’ll still be my perfect little girl.

But for now, while I can, I’ll hold you. We’ll dance and jump. Take Big Steps. Watch Jessie until the DVD wears out. Ride your bike. And get bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

There are so many people who love you; don’t you ever forget that. You may take advantage of that, but always remember that all you have to do is be you and we’ll love you.

On your big big day, know that I love you more than the world. And I always will. I’m so glad to be Lucy’s Daddy.

 

Megamillions

I realize I’m pretty late in touching on this topic, but you know recently how there was a lottery prize of like $640 million or more money than I can even conceive of existing?

We bought a ticket. One ticket.

How much of a gas would that have been, people? All these people spending money they don’t have and being completely ridiculous and buying more tickets than anyone would need, and we win with an output of one dollar.

We didn’t, of course.

Although now that I think about it, I don’t know that I’d tell you if we did win.

What I would probably do is quietly send people I like checks for a couple of million apiece, and then I’d retreat into my compound zombie-apocalypse fortified house and be one of those eccentrics.

Of course, the beans would probably spill when Josh started keeping a pilot on retainer at Roscoe Turner and flying in Gordon Ramsay on the regular to hang out and cook.

But a girl can dream.