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.

The day before the upheaval

This weekend Dan is having a New Year’s Eve party.

Which, in a roundabout way, means we’re all having a New Year’s Eve party.

Dan has always been better at having company than I am. When we were married, there was a regular stream of visitors to our house on Farmington Road. Chess and Risk games lasting until the wee hours.

When we divorced, Dan got custody of most of the friends so I haven’t really had a problem with visitors.

We live all together now, though. It happens here in our shared household as well. Where I tend to shy away from company and worry about what the sticky spots on the floor might say about me or what the piles of laundry convey, Dan has, apparently, infinite huge amounts of self confidence and doesn’t bat an eye to have guests whenever.

It’s generally agreed upon, though, that an organized event requires a bit of upkeep. Especially after Christmas and 2+ weeks of people being home a LOT. We are currently serving as host to an over abundance of wrappers, dust, mismatched socks, and unbatteried Wiimotes. Not to mention the deceased tree occupying the open spot of wall and spitting crispy tendrils in every direction.

Is it just me, or does Conway Twitty look like he would smell like a truck stop?

Tomorrow has been designated cleaning day for the indoors. Normally I hate it, but after looking over the guest list on Facebook I have been seized with cleaning juju.

I don’t really expect it to last. I hope it holds on until tomorrow.

Why is cleaning so hard? Why can’t it be fun, like riding a roller coaster or masturbation?

That needs to be looked into.

Birthday manifesto

Tomorrow is Josh’s birthday.

Sometimes I’m great with special days like that. Like the year we had everyone over to the apartment and drank girl beer and talked into the wee hours. Or even the year I conned him into a surprise dinner out (at Ruby Tuesday, cause we’re classy round here, folks).

But this year I’m at a loss.

We’re pretty strapped for finances right now (turns out disposable diapers CAN’T be reused, who knew?) so spoiler alert: I haven’t been able to buy a gift at all.

A couple of times I’ve made him a gift.

But now I realize that homemade gifts are something that are usually not loved, they’re tolerated like bad smells in WalMart. And I love him too much for that, so I guess he’s not getting a crocheted market bag. You’re welcome, asshole. I mean what, you’re too much of a man for a pretty bag?

I thought about lots of things I could do. Back rubs. Video game time alone. Things I can’t tell you about (sorry mom!).

And maybe I’ll do all that.

But yesterday we found out that due to a few glitches in our qualifications, we may not be getting the federal money we’d expected to allow us to go to school. I cried for a while. He was agitated. We filed our appeals and now we wait.

We wait. All weekend and into next week.

It’s going to suck.

And it’ll suck even more if it doesn’t work out and we don’t get to go, especially since we’d both gotten incredibly excited about going back to school.

So I’ve decided to say this for all the globe to see: Joshua Steen, if I have to dig ditches and scrub toilets for the rest of my life to pay for it, you’re going to finish school.

We’ve settled for a lot of things over the past years.
We’ve overspent.
We’ve laughed.
We’ve undersaved.
We’ve cried.
We’ve won.
We’ve admitted defeat.
We’ve fallen short.
We’ve gone further than we thought we could.

And only with you can I have the ultimate faith that this will all turn out better than we’ve ever dreamed, so you deserve to know that I will not let you give up, and I will never give up on you.

I love you. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and just know that one day you’ll get spectacular presents.

Also, you’re getting old.

Turning tables

This is an unfair arrangement we have here.

You know so much about me.
My husband’s name.
My kids’ names.
The damn dog’s name.
My living arrangements.
That I let my children listen to inappropriate music and tv shows.
That I have overshare issues.

But aside from a few of you (hi Mom!), I have no clue about you.

Are you young?
Are you old?
Are you agoraphobic?
Do you like elephants?
Do you have a blog?
Can I read it?
Did you finish college (by the way, did I mention I’m starting school in a few weeks? Exciting.)?
Do you spend lots of time reading blogs written by strange Southern women?
Do you have wall hangings?

Normal bloggers who aren’t me would have some sort of contest. A giveaway to entice comments.
Me? I’d like to do that. However, I have nothing to give. I suppose I could make you something out of yarn. Sound appealing?

Maybe I’ll do that. So leave a comment, tell me about yourself, leave your link…and then if I can think of something to make for you, I’ll draw a name and make it. How about them apples?

Fourth of Porkly

My dad makes barbecue. Well, I say “makes” but I guess really he just puts the components together. Composes barbecue. My dad composes barbecue.

He’s always made barbecue for as long as I can remember.

There was even this one hotasshit summer where all we did every night was cook barbecue to sell the next day. I heard the phrase “pork butt” so often that it lost its giggle-worthiness, and I was like 9 or 10 so that’s saying a lot.

He built this tow-along contraption with a smoker and attached bar thing so that we could park and sell barbecues pretty much out of the back of his Bronco. We did that every day. All summer. My pores oozed pork grease.

I haven’t really eaten much barbecue since that summer, except for once, and I’ve kind of kept that story under my hat. It’s kind of shameful because I apparently can’t really hold my meat.

The fourth of July is a big deal for my dad. He breaks out all the old tricks and there are ribs and chicken and pork and burgers and slaw and beans and whatever he thinks to throw on the grill.

One 4th, about 10 years ago, I was on the Atkins diet. I thought the celebration would be pretty miserable because gathering + diet usually = ugh, but to my shock and awe it was actually super nice.

In case you don’t know because you live in a box, Atkins pretty much means you can eat any greasy meatful thing your heart desires with impunity. Just stay away from carbs.

I love carbs. Mac and cheese, rolls, and oh my god the desserts. None of which I could consume that year, in the name of my *cough* health, so I determined to make up for it with as much meat and fat as I could.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I definitely did what I set out to do.

Ribs, chicken. The dreaded pulled pork. I wanted some French fries so badly, so instead I ate some weird butter and cheese concoction.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

The day ended, and I shit you not (haha, how apropos) I must have eaten an entire drawer of meat.

That night, whilst everyone I knew was watching fireworks and celebrating our nation’s birthday, I was on the toilet. It felt like I’d eaten a football and it got stuck in my lower intestine.

I definitely do not recommend a meatful diet.

How am I not a vegetarian?

Happy 4th.

This post is part of the 4th July carnival at: www.inthepowderroom.com

Later, on the moonlit veranda

Today was Memorial Day, which – shamefully – has never meant much more to me than grills and days off of work and school. Perhaps a flaw in my raising.

But nevertheless, grilling was had.

Early in the day, we all went out to my parents’ house, where my oldest children preened and vied for attention. It’s their way. I don’t even fight it anymore.

(However, in this same vein, Max gave Ava a makeover this weekend. Makeup, hair, nails. Is this something I should address? Ignore? Should I buy him some antiques?)

Later on, Max and Ava went home to hang out with Dan and we the Steens followed up a Bye Bye, Birdie rehearsal with some nutrients and liquids at our friends’ the Fraxedons.

In other words, David and Tonya decided we deserved their company for some holiday fun times with charcoal and meat.

Now, I just have to say – Tonya is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I always feel special when I get to hang out at her house. It always feels like a magazine. Like, cloth napkins and pretty chairs and made beds, and also farts don’t stink and toilets are clean. Even her dirt is endearing.

It was lots of fun. Lucy was doted upon, I got to drink a margarita, and Josh got to cook. Pretty much everything we all like best.

I’ve changed.

Kind of in keeping with yesterday’s post, I’ve been doing some introspection.

I went through some pictures, remembered some people and places.

I’m so much different. So much has changed.

Before, I was so unsure of myself. I was unfocused and judgmental. I had a narrow view that only encompassed the things I knew to be right and sure. I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. I wanted so badly to be in love, but I had no idea what it was like to love myself.

Some things haven’t changed. I’m still insecure. I’m still unfocused, and while I try to keep them at a minimum I can’t swear that judgmental thoughts never skirt my mind.

But I can say that my views are no longer narrow. I know how to love, and judgment mostly comes from the completely opposite side that it would have come from before. While I’m still not perfect, I like to think that I’ve made some giant leaps.

I’ve always heard that people don’t change. If that’s true, then I…well, I know that’s not true. I could tell you deep dark secrets to prove my point, but that’s not really the point. And besides, I don’t really have any deep dark secrets. Does anyone? I mean really, with Facebook and twitter and what have you, everyone’s life is pretty much an open book.

I’ve often wondered how my life would’ve panned out if the Internet and texting and social media were as prevalent when I was a teenager/college student as they are now. Basically I knew even then that I was way cooler hiding behind a screen than I am in person, so that’s why I jumped on with ICQ and AOL IM as soon as I could. Too late, though. Too late.

I say all this to say that people do change. In light of that knowledge, I wonder just how far I can go and still be me.

So we weren’t raptured

I’m totally okay with not being swept up to the feet of Yahweh, thanks.

Ava, in celebration of her birthday last Wednesday, wanted to have some friends over Friday night.

I knew I couldn’t really turn her down, because some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of slumber parties. I mean, my house was not a place people came to hang out, but once or twice in my growing up days, my parents retreated into their folding door bedroom and let the house be overrun with little girls.

It was during one of these parties that my mom discovered the music of my generation. One of my friends had brought over a cassette single of that song that goes, “you down with OPP, yeah you know me! You down with OPP, yeah you know me“…remember that song?

Cause I don’t, I just remember that one line over and over.

Anyway, Angie had brought over this tape, and we were playing it top volume in the living room, gold shag carpet and all, I think maybe someone was even break dancing.

11 year old white girls from Mississippi. Break dancing in the living room, and I’m pretty sure some VISION street wear was involved there. Hard core.

So we were jamming out, and Mom came in all atizzy. I don’t really remember what was said, but we had to turn it off, change the subject, and Angie hid the tape in her overnight bag.

I’ve gotten way off the subject.

Ava wanted to have a slumber party, and we agreed. She asked several little girls at school, but as it ended up, they all had plans. I could’ve been more proactive I suppose, because no one was invited until like two days before. Maybe I subconsciously knew that they’d all say no that way. Terrible. Mom. Right here.

She did end up having one guest, a little girl whose dad works with Dan. They used to play together during poker nights some. Meemmmmoriiieeees.

Also there was the little girl who lives across the street, but she never came in the house, she just went home when it was time to come inside. She’s older than Ava and I’ve had to scold them both several times for kicking ant beds and jumping on the trampoline like they’re invincible, plus god only knows what her mom thinks the living situation is over here. I say all that to say I’m pretty sure she either thinks I’m Satan or a prostitute. Probably smart thinking on her part to steer clear.

Plus, that kid got a horse yesterday. A HORSE. She was riding it around with no saddle which is something I thought they only did in Dances With Wolves and if you are Laura and Pa Ingalls.

All in all, I think Ava had a pretty fun time. They had pizza and screamed at Max and played in the water hose. If that’s not fun, well…it can’t all be shag carpet and bad 90s rap.

(also, the pictures have nothing to do with anything today, and I’m NOT SORRY)