For 2011

Since this is probably the last post I’ll write this year, there are some things I need to say.

 

As (what I loosely term) a writer, thank you for reading what I have to say. Even when it’s rambley and pointless, and even when I fail miserably at being entertaining. 

 

As a mother, thank you for the advice. For looking at pictures of my kids, reading about issues, and enduring things I think are hilarious or great just because I happen to be a mom.

 

As a student, thank you for your encouragement. 2011 has been a year of decisions, and the decision to go back to school is one I’m particularly proud of. If it hadn’t been for the cheerleading I’ve gotten I don’t know if I’d have made it.

 

As a potentially crazy person, thank you for making me realize that no matter how strange or off I feel, I can be honest about it and I’ll still have someone(s) on my side.

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.

Obligatory End of Year Post

I know lots of people say this and it’s totally cliche, but where did 2011 go?
 
Seriously, it’s insane that it’s almost 2012. Forgive me if I wax nostalgic for the next couple of days.
 
Shouldn’t we all be jetting around in hovercars and jetpacks by now? That’s what the Weekly Reader told me in 1988. 
 
When I was 8, the year 2000-anything seemed impossible. I suppose it’s true that everything is relative. I certainly would never have put myself where I am, in thinking about the future.
 
Chalk it up to divine plan or whatever you want, but it’s strange the way things work out…and whether it sounds dorky or not, it’s exciting to see what happens next.
 
As for resolutions? I make them every year. More often than not I lose steam in a couple of weeks, but I always resolve. This year isn’t any different – well, maybe a little.
 
This year I’m not resolving to lose weight or keep the house spotless (sorry, family). I’ve done those or some variation thereof every year since I was 15.
 
But not this year. For 2012 I simply resolve to be diligent about being happy. To do whatever needs to be done in order to make my life good and full. To keep my family happy and whole, to love my life from day to day, and to be able to come back this time next year and say with honesty that I kept my resolutions to the best of my ability and that my life is better for it.
 
I don’t get many comments…but if you’re reading, tell me what you want out of 2012. Really. I’d love to hear.

Christmas Confessions

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit at a loss. Like I don’t have much to say.
 
Which is probably more than a little ironic, seeing as one of my main complaints these days is that I don’t have enough people to talk to.
 
This should solve that problem, right? To just blather out everything I think in the middle of the world.
 
It doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense to me.
 
Anyway, I wrote that whole other post about getting into the holiday spirit…but the truth is I haven’t. I love the tree and I love the time off that my family will have soon, but I haven’t gotten into the whole present/gift/happy buying spirit yet.
 
I haven’t bought the first present yet.
 
ISN’T THAT AWFUL?
 
Shameful. I know. It is.
 

There are people on my Facebook and Twitter and wherever else who have been buying gifts and planning since September.
 
SEPTEMBER.
 
Josh and I traditionally wait until Christmas Eve. 
 
I don’t see that changing this year.
 
And what’s worse, one of the main reasons I wait so long every year is that I just damn despise most people. We went in WalMart the night we put up the Christmas tree, and after the fourth person ignored Lucy’s, “Hi! Hi! Hi!” and the second old lady stood UNDER OUR ELBOWS at the checkout, I turned to Josh and said, “Oh my god I fucking HATE CHRISTMAS.”
 
I know. It’s harsh. But sweet Moses, what happened to grace? Manners? Decency? Personal space? Isn’t this the season of good will and brotherly love and all that shit?
 
I know I don’t exactly sound like the poster child for any of those things…but here in Baptist Town should it be me?
 
So anyway, this week is Christmas. Shop local. Be nice. 
 
Ho ho ho.

We clean up nice

So I told you that my friend Addie took our pictures.  

I expected them to be good, I mean I’ve seen Addie’s work.  
 

What I did NOT expect was for them to be so breathtaking that I actually cried.  
 

 
 

 

 
 

Never has a photo more completely summed up my life.  

Worth more than 1,000 words

I made a great many friends when I was in college the first time. Friends I’ve kept throughout the years – one who I married and unmarried, and many others who I will never ever be without. 
Not many of them live nearby, though. It makes for long gobetweens in visits, calls, talks. I end up keeping tabs on people through Facebook and email.
 
It’s a type of friendship that I don’t really think has been pioneered exactly. It’s a far cry from the world of Beaches, all Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey waiting weeks for responses…I can have indepth conversations, exchange pictures, and gossip just like we were in the dorms again, all with a little bit of wireless internet. 
 
One of those friends is named Addie.
 
You guys, Addie is straight up one of the most wonderful people in the world. From the time I spent with her in 1999, to exchanging emails and watching from afar as each of her children has been born or found, she has always been a constant. Someone who I know won’t judge or sugarcoat. She is a treasure.

 
Addie has a photography business. Like many photographers starting out, she works a full time job and she only really has time for her work on the weekends. We’ve talked for years about getting together and making some pictures, but it’s just never happened. Conflicts and time and whatnot.
 
Until last weekend. We all packed up and squashed into Dan’s truck, drove 45 minutes to an abandoned motel, and prepared to grin and pose.
 
I hate having my picture taken. I hate it because I always feel self-conscious and fat, my chin is too pointy and my teeth are too big.
 
But we did it. Addie was sweet and gracious and put up with our weirdness. She had fantastic ideas and she made us feel so…normal. Which is difficult with a family like ours.
 
When my pictures are tweaked and awesome, I’ll show you. A whole post of pictures.
 
But until then, I just wanted you to know about my friend Addie, because I seriously love her and I don’t feel like I convey it enough. Also, go and like her on Facebook. It’s worth it just to see all the pictures she posts.

Dedesensitizing

As a rule, in this house of mixed insanity, we don’t go big on most things. 
 
We make cakes for birthdays but there’s usually not a big hubbub.
We usually have a pumpkin somewhere around Halloween. Most years.
 
But for the most part, we don’t make big deals out of holidays or occasions. Last year for Christmas we decorated the corner ficus tree with paper ornaments.
 
It works for us. I like to think that we are teaching our children that every day can be special, every day can be fun and great. There’s no need to wait for the calendar to tell you when to celebrate.
 
It’s my hope that they will believe that for at least a few years before they figure out we’re mostly just gape-jawed, knuckledragging lazy.
 

Dan takes a somewhat pious stand on the whole situation…”Christmas makes everyone feel like they have to spend money on someone or they don’t love them.”
 
Dan obviously doesn’t know how many people are getting homemade gifts this year. Ahem.
 
My point is that we do minimalist holidays around here. I mean, there are six people in this house…it does get a little cozy for comfort when you throw in decor and laundry and whatever board game my kids are yelling over this week (whoever thought to make Angry Birds into a board game….well, that’s just stupid. Yeah, I said it).

 
But this year we decided to holiday it up, and by we I mean Josh and I. We bought some lights, borrowed a bunch of ornaments from the inlaws, and picked up an honest-to-Moses real live tree. For real. The last time I remember having a real tree, my parents had gold shag carpet (which, by the way, I would totally dig. The vacuum lines were always trippy).
 
We came home and put up the tree, and my children were in. Heaven. 
 
Lucy ran her hands through the branches, “Tree, tree!”
Max wondered how many lights we’d need to make the whole thing catch on fire, and he told Dan it made sense for him not to care about Christmas since “you don’t believe in God and that means it’s just a regular old day.” (Note to self: try and convince Max that the Grinch was an atheist and he turned out to be the heart-biggenest of all.)
Ava alternated between moving ornaments around and telling me how glad she was to have a mom like me “who knows how to do stuff.”
 
I’d say it went over pretty well. If nothing else, I get to sit in the dark with only the tree lights…and for some reason that always calms me. I think that may be worth the whole ordeal.

From a random act

I had promised myself I wouldn’t write about this. It seems…exploitative. Wrong.
 
But for some reason it keeps presenting itself.
 
Let me preface things by saying I’m not claiming to be some big mournful friend. I am not that, to the point that I wasn’t even Facebook friends with these people. I don’t really know why – there was no ill will. It’s just not something I ever did – hunt them down and friend them.
 
Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
 
Tuesday morning, Josh was getting up and dressed for his day. He was up and about like always, and on one of his trips in and out of the bedroom, I heard him catch his breath. I turned over to see him standing in the doorway, his phone glowing in his eyes.
 
“Amanda Cossey was shot. She’s dead.”
 
It was the most bizarre thing I could imagine being said. He might as well have been talking about goats with purple horns and allergies.
 
I saw faces, names, confusion of memories and high school and passing acquaintances.
 
Amanda had been in school with me for years. I remember her as bubbly and popular, but one of the rare kinds of bubbly and popular where she actually seemed sincere. I remembered basketball games and cheerleading.
 
And then it was just there, like something raw in my belly. I felt completely useless, and the kind of pretentious that makes you feel dirty. 
 
This sounds awful – but she wasn’t my friend. She was a remembered presence, someone I thought of fondly.  I hadn’t seen her since high school. I didn’t know when she got married or when her baby was born.
 
To feel the way I felt was somehow misplaced.
 
I’m still not sure why.
 
The day passed, the requisite Facebook statuses were posted. News stories
 
I know it’s normal to be confused when something like this happens. 
 
Except, dammit all, it’s not. Nothing about this is normal. And it doesn’t matter if we were friends or not. 
 
The fact is that a girl I knew is dead. Not because she was sick or because a car crashed. Because someone saw her as an obstacle instead of what she was…

 
A wife.
A mother.
A friend.
A sister.
A daughter. 
 
She wasn’t these things to me. 
But it doesn’t seem to matter. 
 
I don’t want to be one of those people who immediately jumps on any tragedy to talk about how great the person was and how close we were. 
 
I have good memories of Amanda. She didn’t deserve this kind of end. 
 
I hope one day we understand things like this. 

Whereupon I focus on materialism

So generally I try to be grateful and focus on happy things and being satisfied.

However, in honor of the upcoming celebration of Pagan commercialism, I submit the following succinct list of things I long for.

this yarn is silk. sumptuous. lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In that same vein, these are Tunisian crochet hooks. I'll spare you the nerdiness, but these are specialty hooks for special crochet techniques. I want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't really think this requires expounding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally,

Just because this would make my husband ridiculous amounts of happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please refrain from bashing my ungratefulness. I readily admit I am selfish to want anything more than what I have…because dude, I pretty much have it made. Health, roof, food, awesome kids. I win.

 

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.