Halloween and I don’t give a rip

See this baby? This is William. He’s not mine, but I did consider stealing him.

Seriously, that’s not a joke.

I love my kids – all of them. But I’d forgotten what real babies are like until I had Lucy, and she has delighted from day one in being a straight up asshole whenever she takes the notion. It’s okay, I love her madly.

I would not trade her for anything in the world.


this one smiled, and giggled. He let Josh carry him around like they were old friends. He was SO DAMN HAPPY. I think it even rubbed off on Lucy, because after she’d been around William for a while she was grinning and SHARING and waving hello two inches from his nose.

It was crack in the form of an infant.

Obviously this weekend we went visiting. We intended to go on Friday, but we got an hour out of town and Lucy yakked up all over herself and I figured it was best not to go visiting smelling like Parmesan and slobber.

So yesterday we succeeded in our quest. I saw a good friend. I met her baby boy. I petted the kitty.

It was a good visit, and I came away with the same child I arrived with.

Also, this. This was mine.

From a Friday drive

Happy Saturday.

Last night, in the name of getting out of the house since I don’t do that very much, we went to pick up some pizza and drive around town.

There were people rehearsal dinnering, walking, taking pictures. One chick was walking a little chihuahua with a purple sweater on.

There was also one lady who was standing under a tree staring up into the branches. Just staring. Unless she lost her bird I’m not sure what the deal was, but hey, I don’t judge. Maybe she loves the tree.

We came home and ate our pizza, which was freaking delicious.

Then I went to bed. Nine o’clock on a Friday night and I went to bed. We’re crazy around these parts. CRAZY.

I was thinking last night during the drive about how much I miss having a job.

Josh was telling all these stories about work and his days, and I realized it’s this whole separate life he has. People and work and places to go. I wouldn’t call how I feel jealous, but I am a little bit wistful.

I remember being good at something. Having definite purpose during a given day. Talking to adults.

But then I think about how much I’d miss Lucy. How much I’d miss peekaboo and cheese sticks.

So I guess you could say I’m torn.

It’s not like it’s really even a choice right now. No one is exactly breaking down the door for my phone answering expertise and sarcastic wit at the moment. But maybe one day I’ll have an opportunity, and who am I kidding – we all know I’ll take it. And then I’ll whine about missing being at home.

Because that’s what I do.

Friday night glam

Josh and I have said countless times how we were going to go to high school football games.

The weather’s perfect, football’s great, lalala.

We have maybe gone to one high school football game (aside from when we lived in Jackson and we were ALWAYS at those damn private school games).

Last night we intended to go, and then we went to eat and Lucy would have none of anything but coming home and going to sleep.

So that’s what we did. Josh worked on a website and I knitted, and after we were finished wringing the dregs of life from our Friday night, we went to bed.

Sometimes I think we’ve turned into such duds.

I mean, where’s the zing? The romance? The spark?

Is there a female alive who would turn away a little bit of corny sap from the person they love? No. However, I happen to be married to Ray Barrone and his mind apparently doesn’t work that way.

And then I realize that twenty years from now the kids will (maybe) all be gone and perhaps we won’t still live with Dan, and we’ll have all the time in the world for zings and sparking.

So for now, I think it’s okay. I’m saving up to buy stock in blue pills and bathtubs to put out in the forest and on the beach.


I know I use pictures of this tree too much, but it’s so pretty.

So I took a tiny vacation from technology for a few days. There wasn’t a particular reason, other than I got a little overwhelmed about people and things and priorities. It was a good little break. I feel better about where I am and where I’m going.

For Labor Day we ate drunk chicken and drank tea (because good Baptists only use beer for cooking? I don’t know, something like that. It’s been so long since I’ve been a good Baptist that I forget the rules). It rained a whole bunch and now they’re talking floodwaters again.

But the rain? What it did for the weather? This is my favorite, favorite time of year.

In fact I’m going to knit a scarf just because I can.

Not exactly Hoarders

Do you guys use Pinterest?

If not, you should.

It’s like a virtual bulletin/idea/brainstorm board where you can keep track of things you like.

Interiors. Crafts. Foods (oh my GOD people spend SO much time on food! Bento, fruit flowers..). Clothes. Outfit ideas. Creative party themes and useful things like that. It’s also a total timesuck, because I look at this cool outfit and that amazing reading nook and ooh this sunroom and then WHAM two hours are gone and my kid is outside smoking.I love this idea. Looking at other people’s creativity. Seeing things people like. Feeling a sense of community in wanting to create things and make things pretty.

The bad thing is, though, that I often come away at a bit of a loss. I believe Moses would refer to it as coveting my neighbor’s ass or something similar (although my neighbors are PaPaw Buck and the invisible lady with the painted mailbox, so really, no worries there).

What I’m saying is I look at these beautiful creations, be they centerpieces, cute jeans with a surprising scarf and bright shoes, or a clever saying painted on a wall, and suddenly my hair feels greasy and my teeth feel dirty and I might as well go put on a bathrobe and a turban and start dipping tobacco because clearly I am a lost cause.

I love the house we live in. I love that these walls house people I care the very most about in the world. I love that my kids can run down the hall and have Dad (x2) and Mom and everyone can all be together. I love that we get two sets of Netflix movies. I love that my kids are growing up knowing that things don’t have to be normal to be perfect.

What I don’t love is the fact that we’re all kind of slobby. We all keep things we should probably toss. I’ve tried every trick in the book – cleaning for 30 minutes a day, throwing something out every time something new is brought in, cleaning obsessively all day.

I suck at it.

And the thing is, my mom was/is the ultimate cleaning banshee. She somehow manages to keep everything looking like Martha Stewart just came for cocoa and even when my 3 kids and my niece and nephew and the dog are all rampant in full force I would have no qualms eating off her floor.

So I kind of feel like a failure before I even begin.

I mean, this is my job, right? To make the home. To have things pretty and fresh and nice.

I’m like everyone else, I go through spurts of mania enthusiasm and things will get clean and organized and I’ll be really proud. Then Dan will make a tuna sandwich and make the whole joint smell like barf or Josh will cook a chef-caliber meal and the kitchen is suddenly filled with pots and pans. Or my kids will, you know, wake up.

So I look at the crisp and pristine loveliness on Pinterest or the living rooms in Facebook albums and I pine.

Well, I alternate between pining and scolding myself for pining.

The answer to this is obvious – just don’t look at it.

But then I get these bursts and I want to make things over – but I am crap at organizing. It totally escapes me. I used to (still do) wish I would wake up one day with a Monica Gellar yen for cleaning and organization, but thus far it hasn’t happened.

I wake up still me.

Still cursing the load of clothes I’ve left in the dryer for three days because I don’t want to put up clothes (PSA: it is not really possible for two adults and a toddler, along with all their clothes and shoes, to neatly share one bedroom and bathroom without some clever apartment type finagling. And I don’t have that. I’m not a finagler.).

Still wondering what to do with all the dog hair.

Still needing to find a system.

Still debating throwing down a paint cloth and just covering up the duck wallpaper.

A girl can dream, right?

Writing Prompt #287

Use these two metaphors in a poem: “an inch of scorn” and “a cradle of beliefs”

It was never easy being the one who was different.
Never a sigh out of place but a gut filled with longing
Somewhere I knew there would answers abound
But I was behind. Blind.
Out of touch.
There were things to say
Bursting to be born from my thoughts
But they wouldn’t have listened.
They would have read their preferred reaction
In their leather bound books of exclusion,
nestling back into the cradle of their belief
Assured that they would come out the winners.

And where it hurt me before,
Shattered the shell I’d constructed
Left open and raw,
Now it was healing.
Replacing the ache for approval,
I look down and sideways,
Never allowing one
Within an inch of my scorn.

There could be another way,
Soothing and warm,
Buttered over with forgiveness and acceptance
But we seem to prefer ice
Sharp words and looks
And separating the different
From the different
In another way.

First Guest Post Ever

Sometimes a different perspective is important. With that in mind, I asked my friend Marty if he’d guest post for me. After you read what he has to say, drop by his blog at http://www.martyestes.com to read my guest post for him today.

Ok, um……hi. I’m Marty, the goofy one on the left up there. I’m a 31 year old youth pastor who blogs over at http://www.martyestes.com, and I’m going to admit I’m pretty nervous about this whole “guest post” thing. I mean, it’s pretty easy to see just from a casual glance over mine and Emily’s blogs that we write for two pretty different circles of people. And that’s ok.

Really, it is. Ok. Take a deep breath and….

They probably don’t know this, but Josh and Emily came into our lives at a time when we really needed them. It all happened almost 3 years ago when I got asked to be a pinch hit groomsman in a mutual friend’s wedding. I packed up my bags and took off to Athens, AL, leaving my wife home with our barely 3 month old baby girl and her 1 and a half year old brother for a one night whirlwind trip. It was there that I met Josh and Emily in the flesh for the first time. Can I be honest? I was afraid to approach them. Here’s why.

My wife and I had kinda been blogstalking them for about a year.

That’s right, judge if you want. We’d been reading about their lives for a year or more, all the while thinking they were very interesting people and that we’d like to meet them and hang out someday. And then, there they were. The guys ended up hanging out late that night at an IHOP (a WILD bachelor party, I know!) and pretty soon Josh and Emily were coming to our house and we were firing up the grill like old friends.

We needed them. Yeah, they were different, but different was good. Both of us were away from our friends in a town where people just didn’t seem to “get” us. Either that, or they just don’t like us very much. We needed friends. So slowly, cautiously, the four of us entered into this friendship we now share. Honestly, I wanted to just swoop in and smother them immediately, desperately asking if they liked us, but better sense prevailed and pretty soon we realized they DID like us, and we didn’t even have to ask!

And all the while, we’ve developed something that is pretty hard to come by in today’s world: trust. I trust these people. I know that if something happened and our world fell apart, they would be there. They would do their best to help us, just like we would and have done for them. When they moved to Jackson, I drove the moving truck and waited with them while their stuff was unloaded. When they had to come back, I helped unload that same truck again. Through ups and downs, ins and outs, we’ve been there for them, just like I trust they would be there for us.

And there, right there, is the glue that holds true friendships together. That’s the stuff that transcends status…

and religion…

and background…

and upbringing…

and how you dress…

and how you look…

and how you talk…

and what you like (or don’t)…

and all the other stuff that pushes people apart. It’s that glue, forged from trust, that keeps people in your lives.

I’ve just realized that this has gotten all sappy very quickly, but I don’t apologize. I’m blatant and unashamed in my thankfulness for friends who will love us just like we are, not judge us, and will stick by us through thick and thin. For THAT kind of friendship, and for some amazing burgers and conversation, I am thankful.

Now, see, that wasn’t bad at all, was it?

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?

Locally global

I live in a historic town.

My whole life, what would qualify to most as relic and novel has just been…well, common. For lack of a better word. Battlegrounds. Old churches, old sprawling plantation houses. Fricking Tara and Bonnie Blue Butler around every corner.

I grew up impressed by things other people considered ordinary.

Things like Target.
Old Navy.
Wal-Mart (I still remember when the SuperCenter came to town. It was Black Friday, Valentine’s and Christmas all smashed together in one huge mass of cutoff bluejeans and pickup trucks).

Driving to Tupelo meant chain restaurants, mall shopping.

I never thought twice about it.

But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized some things.

I’ve realized you can’t go to WalMart and hang out in the gun section drinking coffee and talking sports like my dad used to do every Saturday at Lonnie’s.

You can’t go into McDonald’s for your morning coffee and have it waiting for you like my kids used to do with chocolate milk at KC’s.

You can’t hang out at the DVD rack at Kmart and talk about director trademarks like we did every weekend at TopShelf.

Employees rotate through any of the big box places and it’s just something that happens, but if your regular waitress isn’t at Borrum’s to make your milkshake, it’s sad.

I’ve learned that homegrown businesses are not kitsch and hometown propaganda, they’re legacies. Fathers. Daughters. Brothers. Sons.

Family. Friends. A shared dream, a common goal.

A risk taken – five years ago, fifty years ago – that says they think my hometown is worth investing in and making their own.

It’s taken me a long time to understand that just because something wasn’t mass produced doesn’t mean it’s inferior. Quite the opposite. I know that now. And as I’ve watched dying businesses go and shiny new companies roll into their places, I wonder what legacy we’re leaving behind.

What do we value?

More? Cheaper? Quicker?

Why is it a novel concept to want your money to go somewhere you can see?

I’m not perfect. Sometimes nowhere but WalMart is open, and sometimes McDonald’s is the quickest answer when I don’t feel like thinking.

But I’d like to think that the charm of my town isn’t just in the battlefields and the historic markers. I’d like to think that we as a community are creating a history of our own. And I want to be a part of that.

Antisocially awkward

I have no clue when my life became so disconnected.

Obviously not “disconnected” in the sense of being offline or off the grid or anything like that, because that would be, you know, a travesty. I mean, if I didn’t know when Suzy Jane was irritated with some random coworker whom I’ll never meet or know, then…my god, my eyeballs might bleed for sheer lack of knowledge.

I mean I can go days and days and only come into real human contact with my kids, my husband, and Dan, and I only realize that it’s weird after the fact.

I keep up with people via Facebook and twitter, and while it’s great and I love it, I wonder what it’s actually doing to my ability to interact with flesh and blood people.

Not that Twitter and Facebook people aren’t flesh and blood people. It just becomes easier to overlook their flesh and bloodliness since they’re behind a screen/phone/whatever.

It’s easy to make a shitty life appear shiny and flawless if you don’t actually have to interact. I find myself glossing over a lot of things, especially on Facebook. It’s not that I’m being dishonest, it’s just that I don’t want to say, “Boy today sucks,” and then be bombarded with “O no watz wrong? :(” or “You’re in my prayers,” or directed to read 1 Davinia 4:11 by some chick I knew in 1993 because it will certainly cure all my woes.

If my husband’s being a shit, I can’t say that because it’s like I’ve posted an ad for amateur marriage counselors and evaluations of my relationship when in reality, I’m being too touchy or he’s just being grumpy and before the bytes have crackled to the online we’re already back to normal.

I’m not knocking the caring or sincerity of the Facebook community, but…you know.

So I wonder if we’ve all been lured into thinking we live in some storybook universe, just because people interact by being removed. We have a false sense of what’s normal, what’s not.

I don’t think enough people are honest about their problems. People fight. People make mistakes. People get annoyed with the people they love most. And then people get over it.

But the Internet doesn’t get over it. The Internet has a long memory.

Maybe I just need to get out more.