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.

 

 

 

 

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

;

—————

(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.

 

Enlist

So the good thing about having a blog is that sometimes I can just randomly list things that I think, or that I want you to know. This is one of those times. Therefore….

  1. I saw The Hunger Games and it was so brilliant that I kind of want to weep because I have to wait so long for the next movies.
  2. I have not yet used shampoo on my hair since the last time we talked about it. My hair feels great, though I don’t know if it looks any different. Josh says (embarrassingly in front of other humans) that I have dandruff, but I used some apple cider vinegar and I don’t see any flakes, so maybe that took care of it.
  3. I registered for next semester this weekend, and seeing the words, “Classification for registration: Senior” kind of blew me away. I may have been so taken aback that I teared up a little.
  4. Lucy talks a lot more these days. A kind of whole hell of a lot. My other two were verbose, but she is…I don’t even know. Tenacious.
  5. Ava and I write letters to each other. I am ashamed to admit that the last letter (before yesterday) was sent months ago, and it has totally been my turn all this time. I feel awful about it. But she is just the sweetest thing ever and wrote me right back, so now it’s my turn again. Dammit.
  6. Ava also went shopping with her Nana yesterday and came home with two bras. This contorts my mind on so many levels that I can’t really even begin to describe. Yeah, I can, actually. I hid them. She’s been wearing little sports-bra/camisole things for a while now, but these are for real triangles and hooks. They have CUPS, people. I am not ready for this.
  7. Max is completely and totally awkward. I love him a ridiculous amount, but (I’m probably a terrible mother for admitting this) sometimes his oblivious dorkiness makes me cringe. He tries so hard – too hard – to be entertaining and cool. I don’t know how to tell him that he’s much more awesome when he doesn’t try.
  8. Josh and his friends are hosting a podcast. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
  9. The bedroom that we live in is getting kind of out of hand. Like the Hoarders people would have a field day in here.
  10. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. If you don’t know what that is, then I can only explain it as housewife porn. I have never really read stuff that is so totally and completely kinky. I can’t say for sure, but I may or may not be planning to read the next two books (it’s a trifecta of kink).
  11. I have started playing Draw Something. It makes me happy. Probably a little too happy. My favorite part is watching the other person try to guess my drawing. My username is Emylibef, so, you know…we should play.
  12. I missed my therapy appointment last week, and I feel like I stood up a friend. I suppose that either speaks well of my therapist or badly of my tendency to overpersonalize.
  13. My hair, since I already brought it up, is getting really long. I really like it, but I have these ridiculous waves of let’s-cut-that-shit-off and so far I’m pretty proud of how I’m holding up. I’m even growing my bangs out and that now means I have to pin them up in a weird little bouffant. I try to tell myself it’s a vintage look. Like it matters, since really Lucy and the cat are the only ones who ever see it.
  14. Lucy took this picture after she stole my ipad. I have, literally, three dozen incarnations of this photo on my camera roll.

That’s all I have for today.

 

 

The shit and the stylus, a tale of woe

As some of you know, last year Max got an ereader for his birthday.

Which he promptly dropped into the toilet. It never recovered.

Following the swimming ereader incident, Max pretty much didn’t have a great deal of contact with electronics. Then, with his Christmas money, he bought himself a Nintendo 3DS, and in the time he hasn’t been grounded from it (which hasn’t been just a WHOLE ton), he’s done pretty well. He’s kept it from falling, he’s taken pretty good care of it.

So much so, as a matter of fact, that recently I’d begun trying to persuade Josh that maybe he needed a shot at another ereader. The thing is, I have all these books – classics and not so – that he should, could, and probably would read…but I have them in ebook format. I do have actual books, but most of them are in storage. If they haven’t been sold to Storage Wars or something.

Friday, totally randomly, my kids were out of school. Like, school didn’t meet. Apropos of nothing. Max said it was in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday….somehow I doubt.

We passed the day pretty low key, playing dance-in-a-circle with Lucy, watching Family Guy reruns, and waiting for storms. Max and Ava whipped out their gaming gadgets and played various games against each other. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the gaming unfoldery, and Max had gone to the back of the house – I figured to go to his room.

I was wrong. He was in the bathroom. I thought nothing of it.

Soon, though, Ava stood up and streaked back to the back of the house. I heard the two of them whispering (like seriously, they whisper louder than they talk), and I went back to investigate.

It was like I had caught them canoodling each other, except…not at all, because Ava was standing in the bathroom door with her hands on her hips while Max was digging in the rank and disgusting toilet with some sort of grabber….thing.

It looked like this:

Kind of. You get the idea.

Max, my son, who by the way is in the gifted program and has had people ooh and aah about his brains since he was born….was prospecting in a cloudy pile of shit for what turned out to be the stylus to his 3DS. Now, in case you don’t know, the stylus for the 3DS is somewhat unique in that it is collapsible and metal. It’s not the plastic things like I used to use to write on those grey cellophane things that stuck to a cardboard plaque of wax.

Anyway.

Without getting (further) into disgusting detail, the stylus was retrieved, the grabber thing was tossed, and Max spent almost 45 minutes out in the yard with rubbing alcohol and scrubbing implements. And I made him swear not to allow anyone else to touch that stylus.

I probably should have just bought a new one.

Also, Dan bought him a Kindle. Stay tuned for its eventual fate.

Muckbrain

I’d like to say that I’ve been relatively quiet lately because I’ve been bustling busy, being scholarly and cleaning house and such. 

 

Alas.

 

I think the fairest way to say it is that I just ran out of words. Like I’ve said before, I have this calendar of post ideas and the idea is to jog creativity and such. And everything I’ve ever read about serious writing says that to be a writer, you write. You write on days when you’re sick and days when you’re tired and days when you have nothing to say. 

 

And normally I do. But for the past week or so, it just hasn’t been there. Nothing at all. I’m not depressed or anything, I think I just needed a bit of a break. So I took one. I didn’t Facebook like I usually do. I didn’t respond to emails. I didn’t really tweet. 

 

This past weekend was pretty lovely, and Josh and I spent most of it geocaching, which is perhaps the greatest thing ever. If you’ve never heard of it, concisely it’s like a worldwide scavenger hunt, and you participate using GPSs. You drive around wherever it takes you (there’s a handy iPhone app), and you usually end up going some pretty cool places. 

 

Josh and I started geocaching last year, took a break over the summer because damn it’s hot, and then we remembered a few weeks ago…”oh yeah, that’s super fun, let’s do it again.”

 

So we did. This weekend we went all over North Mississippi/Tennessee/Alabama, following blinking GPS dots, digging in the brush, climbing hills, and – in one instance – trying not to get sucked into the muck of a sulphur spring.

 

I don’t really know why I like it so much. I have a habit of scanning out the window while we drive, to see if I see any dead bodies in the woods. 

 

I never said I wasn’t, you know, weird. 

Part 2 of 2…about the catfish

So another movie I watched this past weekend…Catfish.

When I initially watched this movie last year sometime, that title was stupid and made no sense. Eventually it got explained in the movie but I can’t help but think the film would have maybe escaped obscurity if it had a different title.

Consultation services available upon request.

So the movie is about a photographer in NYC who becomes acquainted with a young painting prodigy named Abby, and through her he “meets” her family on Facebook.

Nev, the NYC photographer, who is totally adorable and down to earth, is drawn to the family because they are hip and with it and very…cool, for lack of a better term. He chats with all of them and gets into a pseudo relationship with Abby’s big sister, Meg. Texts and google chats are flying like monkey feces.

SPOILER ALERT:

Abby’s whole family is pretty much complete bullshit, all fabricated by her mom Angela. While Abby does exist, she doesn’t paint. Everyone else is pretty much fictional and the people who are real are not accurately portrayed at all.

This is interesting to me because I’m pretty sure a girl I went to college with is doing the same thing. She has made this entire life for herself, away from everyone who knew her in reality. She has, according to her photos – lost nigh unto 100 pounds and gained not only fashion sense but a completely new bone structure.

The thing is, THIS IS AN ASSTON OF WORK. Profiles. Pictures. Stories to go with the profiles and pictures. The movie chick even had phones for different characters and all sorts of crap.

My thought is…you know, write a book. Put that effort to some use. Creating new lives on Facebook is not exactly lucrative.

Vince Pierce: They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They’d keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin. — IMDb Quotes: Catfish (2010 Documentary)


This concludes my series on movies that are interesting.

My first two-part series. Thanks, Netflix

This has been a weekend full of eating. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions to eat less or lose weight, because I would pretty much have already sabotaged myself.
We’ve been doing a good bit of Netflix-watching over the past couple of weeks. Saturday night we went to see our friends Marty and Erin in Tennessee, because Josh has this kickass beef that he’s started making and they had yet to eat any. So we went.

Whenever we go to Adamsville for dinner, Josh and Marty wait until we arrive to buy any of the preparations. We get there, we unload into the house, and the boys immediately leave to go get groceries for the meal.

And go to GameStop. And Taco Bell. And buy pies at the nearby gas station.

So Saturday night while the guys were gone, Erin and I decided to watch a movie (much to Lucy’s chagrin – she would be happy to watch the Birthday episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the rest of her life).

Erin chose a documentary called Dive! which, in a nutshell, is about a bunch of people (and their families) in California who live primarily off the food they retrieve from dumpsters behind grocery stores.

I know, right? I think Erin chose it because she thought they were going to talk about dumpster diving for furniture or clothes or whatever – I know that’s what I thought.

But yea and verily, I was wrong. It was TOTALLY about food.

Initially I was grossed out. But then they showed the food they were retrieving…bread, meat, produce. All tossed out because of a cracked egg or a looming sell-by date. Stuff that was top-of-the-line shit…and perfectly fine. It just happened to have come out of the store by the back door, instead of a reusable shopping bag.

My snobbery started to wane when I realized that these people were eating organic, free-range, antibiotic free meats and veggies and most of the time I don’t even look at that stuff because it’s so expensive.

Then they started talking about the amount of waste the US produces and I felt like a greedy asshole.

Did you know that the US wastes 96 billion pounds of food a year? One year of our waste could feed the entire population of Haiti for like five years.

Yet, because we don’t share, and because everyone is so focused on profit, we still have hungry people in our country. That’s so bizarrely wrong on so many levels.

It’s sobering to be told things like that. Stuff we all know in the back of our mind and don’t really think about.

So while I won’t be scaling the dumpsters behind Kroger anytime soon (I totally would, by the way – but Josh said it was too close to the sheriff’s department and so he refuses to drive the getaway car), I am now actively searching for ways I can help do my part and reduce this terrible deficit between what we have and what we use – and what we need.

You can sign the online petition to Trader Joe’s here. It’s a start.

Tomorrow, I’m talking about catfish…kind of.

Have a hobby in the lobby

According to my blogging calendar which I am employing as a betterment and NOT a resolution, this month is Hobby Month.

I never really had many hobbies. In high school and my initial foray into college I was too worried about being cool and making friends and whatever else.

Now, though, I have found the joy of tedious pastimes.

Crocheting. Knitting. Sewing, now that I have a machine (Lucy screams whenever I try to use it, though, so…there is that). Writing, which I should do more of. Painting, which I admittedly have not done in a long time.

You know what I’ve found, though? Hobbies are damnfruit fun. I love doing these things because I CHOOSE to do them.

no, not by me. just thought it was pretty.

 

Lots of people have said things along the lines of, “Why don’t you set up a booth/etsy/various other mercantile options for your knitting and stuff?” And it makes sense. I should do that.

 

But here is the ordeal. The VERY INSTANT I become committed to making something (anything), I despise it. I avoid it on purpose and I take 10 times longer to do it than I normally would.

So I don’t do it.

Which, I suppose, is a little bit lazy, maybe selfish.

I can’t help that, though. I yam what I yam.

Forward Ho

 
I hereby greet the new year.
 
There are lots of superstitions about bringing in a new year. 
 
I stayed in one spot for a full extra thirty seconds after Lucy hurled on my shoulder and hair just so I could get my midnight kiss on Saturday night. 
 
You’re welcome, surrounding partygoers. You’re welcome.
 
My point is that there are lots of things that tradition dictates one must do or not do to usher in a new year.
 
Eat certain foods. 
Be loud at midnight to scare away evil spirits.
Refrain from paying bills.
Postpone laundry (something I only found out AFTER I put the puke clothes in to wash).
Along with lots of others…some that make sense and some that simply sound stupid.
 
But it can’t hurt, right? Like avoiding black cats or throwing salt or not stepping on cracks…why tempt fate?
 
Except I think sometimes I get so focused on the why-not-it-can’t-hurt-just-do-it mindset of a new calendar that I overlook some things that might actually be useful.
 
Like starting new. Forgetting things past and having a clean slate, letting go of baggage which serves no purpose besides gall.
 
So instead of remembering why QR Nobody  annoyed the shit out of me in 1999, or what Sal Asshole did to give him his Asshole name, I’m clearing accounts. 
 
Starting over.
 
Cleaning out.
 
Second (third, fourth) chances all around.
 
I feel it will help my soul.
 
Happy new year. Look ahead, not behind.