Take a chance on this post.

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I do believe every post should start out with a picture of ABBA. All that satin makes a great opener.

 

Linking up with Kate Motaung today over at Five Minute Friday.

Today’s theme?

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This post is about writer’s block. So therefore, it’s gonna be bad. And short. And wonky. But, you know. I already threw an ABBA pic at you, so you knew this was going to be odd. But maybe it will stick in your head all day. Like that Fernando song. Hearing the drums and rebel uprisings and Sweden and all that.

Don’t judge me. I have a book. I know what I’m doing.

And I am also so terribly humble.

Ok, so lately – this is what writing is like:

Dana sits down. Dana turns on Project Runway. Also, she checks fb. Then twitter. Then her two email accounts. Then, she sits and decides to pet the dog, which reminds her to get a snack. For her, not the dog. Then, she sees the floor in the kitchen. This sends her into the death spiral of despair and self loathing. The floor. It’s like a scene out of Dexter without the blood and gore, but you know, sorta similar.

People, I TOLD you this would be about writer’s block. I didn’t promise any wonderful analogies.

I have been trying to write an article. It’s due tomorrow. I have been working on it for a week. It is the most horrible thing written ever.

I sit down to it, and literally, my brain just kind of pools in the bottom of my head and I start to drool a little. The article is a tangled ball of yarn after a thousand cats have had their way with it. The ball. Not the article. But that too.

SEE? BLOCKAGE. MY BRAIN IS CONSTIPATED.

And I sit. And then I get up and go to Starbucks. I listen to the baristas chatter about hip things. I order a book on amazon about writing. I text a friend about my writing. I send an email to my dad about life. Which is writing.

BUT I AM NOT WRITING.

I am the GOP and the DEM debates of writing. I talk around and under and besides a topic but I just end up spitting on my microphone and tweeting about it. There is no DONE of anything.

Yes, I know. It’s a slippery slope, to start in on politics for my analogies. Please don’t get mad, my fellow Republicans and Democrats. It’s a weak analogy at best. It’s like Trump’s hair. Lots of poof. Not a lot of hair.

OH MY GOODNESS. Now I’m snarking at Trump. I am piling metaphors ON metaphors and my dad will never read my posts again.

Sigh. I am stuck.

Noise is all over the place. I distract and deflect and fill up my soul with ignorant armies clashing by night. They make noise, those armies. They have a lot to clatter and clang about but I can’t discern anything because they are so LOUD. My life has become just one big glittery ABBA costume.

The article I’m trying to write? It’s about Romans 15:5.

I don’t want to write about it because it’s a tough verse for me.

It is (at first glance) a really not so scary verse, but for me, it is. It is. It’s something God is trying to tell me or teach me, and I don’t want to hear it right now.

So, I turn up the volume and put on Souper Trouper, and dance away. (There is NOTHING wrong with getting down to some ABBA, but not now. Not today. I just know it.)

God’s homework for me today: Pray. Pray for silence to soothe, not scare me. And breathe. And say, “Ok, I’m listening. It’s really quiet in here. I have to listen now, don’t I?”

If you haven’t caught on, being quiet, being STILL is really, really hard for me. My brain, and my heart, likes to squirm out of the classroom chair at any given opportunity.

I’ll keep you posted, chiquititas.

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This is the post where I toot my own horn. Maybe back away?

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So, last weekend I got to do something most of us moms dream about:

I slept in a hotel room. And, I woke up WHEN MY EYES OPENED ON THEIR OWN.

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I don’t really know why I put that image above, but for some reason, this weekend made me channel my inner diva gymnast girl.

Anyhow, here is what else happened:

I met up with my two girlfriends, KATIE AND MELINDA* and we ate a lot of food. The hotel gave ups a free bottle of wine which both girls insisted we not drink so that was good. They have my back. They’re my posse.

Also: we shopped at Sephora. Considered having my eyebrows done, but decided not because you know:

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However, I found a lipstick that, I kid you not, LIFTS my lips. I did not know this was a thing that needed to happen to my lips, but it’s awesome. Also, the stuff makes me coffee in the morning and I think it speaks three languages. It’s that good.

Then: I went to Teavana. I spent a lot more money than I should have. On tea. Want to know why?

It’s because they waft it at you.

Here’s me in Teavana:

Me: Oooooo, pineapple tea?

Young, earnest, serious tea drinker salesguy: Why yes. That’s our Oolong Geisha Fly By Night With a Pineapple tea. Here, (pulls down canister)…

Me: (starts to bend forward and take a sniff) Uh, what is that beeping sound?

Tea Man: Ma’am. That’s the You’re Doing It Wrong Buzzer of Shame. You do not sniff at the tea. I WAFT it AT you. Now, back away.

Me: I do the whaaaaaat? Dude. Are you ok?

Pretentious Tea Man: Yes. This is my job. I open the canister. And then, (flourish), I WAFT it at you.

Me: You get paid to do this?

Sad Tea Guy: I applied at Nordstroms. They didn’t want me. So, here.

And that’s how I spent crackamillion bucks on tea that smells divine, but still tastes like hay.

And finally!

This:

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fuzzy picture. warm, fuzzy feelings.

Y’all. I wrote a book. Did you know, I wrote a book?

Anyhow, we go into the Barnes and The Nobles and start perusing all the books we want (a million), and then… I get this thought…

Maybe. Just maybe… MY book is in here?

And I go up to the desk and say, “I am looking for a book? It’s by Dana Bowman? It’s probably not here but I thought I’d ask?” (Uptalker = insecure.)

And the nice lady takes me over and there it is! On the shelf! And I grab the nice lady and say, “That’s ME!” And she thinks I am a little off. I can tell. But then I tell her I’m the author, and then grab the book and proceed TO SHOW HER MY PIC ON THE BACK FOR PROOF, AND I JUMP A LITTLE.

Clearly, I need more work on the coolness thing. Because jumping up and down at Barnes and Noble is not something people do.

So, the nice lady who is clearly not impressed says, “Well, IF you ARE the author, you can sign it.” I show her, again, the picture on the back and even consider taking out my driver’s license, and then I GRAB at her a little because I am just so excited.

At this point I think nice book lady just wants me out of the store. So she gets a pen and I get my girl friends, because they will be excited for me. They are my girlfriends. They know when to squeal and jump. The nice book lady is not reacting like I wanted her to – with jumping and squealing and all that. I really wanted to have a moment with her. Alas, it was not to be.

So, I had the moment with KATIE AND MELINDA*. The best girls ever.

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That’s Katie. She always has good hair. I would hate her for that but I can’t because I love her too much.

So, lookit. I found my book at a bookstore and I signed it. Signed two of them. And the book lady was patient and I teared up a little and hugged her. Afterwards she probably noticed the topic of my book and she said, “Ohhhhhh. It’s all very clear to me now. Why she was… that way.”  Whatevs, lady. I wrote a book. You just sell ’em.

 

Then we all sassy-walked, all authory and stuff, outta there. I did a few step-ball-kicks as we departed. It’s possible I waved and said, “Farewell booksellers! And buyers! I wrote one of the books that is IN THERE! Goodbye, my people!”

Anyhow.

And then we all went and had this for dinner:

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You know why? Because we WANTED to. We had three cookies and a brownie and copious amounts of coffee. For DINNER, y’all. I know.

Also: we ordered a pizza at ten o’clock and watched two and a half of the Matrix movies in our hotel room, and our convos went like this:

“Why is she wearing high heeled boots? She can’t run in those.”

“I know. And that coat. It’s all flappy. It’s gonna catch on something. See! It just flapped at that dreadlocked guy! He has good hair. But he could just grab the coat and then it would all be over.”

“It’s a fight scene. It needs to be over. We shoulda written this movie. Oh Lord have mercy. They’re fighting again. Why do they have to fight so much?”

“Why are there always weapons laying about? Clearly these people have no children.”

“Keanu does really well in movies where he doesn’t have to register any emotions.”

I’m telling you, it was off the hook.

So, back to the book. And, if you are interested, you can see more about it here.

Also (shameless plug?) if you have read it? Would you leave a review on the Amazons? I will send you a puppy in the mail if you do so.

Ok, just kidding.

Or maybe, that lipstuff that I bought at Sephora. I just read the packaging and it says it will also fold your laundry and walk the dog if you ask it to, real nice.

*MELINDA AND KATIE wanted to be included in this post. I used their REAL names. No subtle code names (Helga and Bertha were my first options) for these guys, oh noooo.

Melinda and Katie: They are all real, all the time. And I am so grateful.

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This post was sponsored by: Sephora, coffee, AMC movies, absolutely no wine, big fluffy pillows, and those cute little chocolates they put on the pillow for you at bedtime.

But not Teavana. I think this post will make that poor dude reconsider his path in life. Ones career path should not include “Wafter” as a job title.

Netflix for the New Year

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At certain times as I walk my path, and I hit snags. Road bumps. Wee little construction zones that cause a bit of a delay.

Most of mine, lately, have been in regards to parenting.

Why?

BECAUSE PARENTING IS REALLY HARD.

Anyhow, lately I have been on a small detour in this area that is called:

Cooking is the Enemy.

I used to like to cook. I did.  When I was a kid, I used to check out big, fat French cookbooks from the library and copy the most complicated recipes into a little notebook. I would watch Julia Child clumsily butcher a chicken in awe. I considered culinary school instead of college (English teacher won out, because English teachers make serious BUCKS, people.)

When I was first married, I loved creating elaborate meals for my beloved. I would peruse recipes and make up exotic dishes and quite often, din-din was really good. I plated things. I made sauces. I think I sprinkled parsley at one point.

But then, two things happened:

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Notice the meal? I didn’t cook it.

Note also: Blonde on left has what my dad used to call a “sh** eating grin.” I think this is completely inappropriate and a little gross. Also, it completely fits.

Note one more time: Red on the right is just nutso.

Parenting takes your gourmet dreams and punts ’em right out the window. Those dreams are out there, in a pile along with your washboard abs, trips to Paris, and the time to read the Sunday paper.

So this year I decided to pencil in a new resolution:

If I cook it, they will come.

Cue inspirational music:

Yes! I will walk into that kitchen with my head held high! and I will actually use a recipe, with something other than canned mushroom soup and elbow macaroni! Repeat after me, ladies: elbow macaroni is for ARTS and CRAFTS!

And, as God is my witness, I will actually BROWN THE MEAT BEFORE IT GOES IN THE CROCKPOT!

Ok, here comes Netflix to the rescue!

First of all, this movie:

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Ok. You guys. This movie. I don’t really know how to do it justice. Lemme see…

  1. You want to watch something funny and inspiring and full of heart?
  2. You want to follow your dreams? And watch a movie that makes you want to bound up afterwards and head right out after them?
  3. You want a movie written by Favreau who also wrote Swingers? The best movie ever?
  4. YOU WANT A CAMEO BY ROBERT DOWNEY JUNIOR????
  5. I got you on #4, didn’t I? :)

Also THIS:

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This one was a total surprise. It was on my, “So you liked Chopped? Watch this!” Cue.

I. Love. This. Show. It is beautiful and cinematic and has lovely music and writing and just the passion of these people… It makes you want to go out, buy some truffles and figure out how to confit things. I mean, look at the image above. That’s FOOD.

And art.

Granted, my children would never eat it, but I guess I can dream. I can dream. And watch Netflix.

So, mommies, the next time you find yourself gnawing on a half-eaten, stale cheese stick from your kid’s lunch box because WASTE, you can at least lean on the mighty Netflix to aid you. As for me, I am now trying to cook meals that don’t include the word “casserole” in them, or “hot dogs.” I used fennel the other day, y’all. No one died. Progress, not perfection!

Carry on, mommas. Cook it. They will come.

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Warning: both of my selections use profanity. Especially Chef. Like, a lot. For some reason, it didn’t bother me, but this is not family viewing. Use your own discretion as to whether or not you can handle the potty language. I had no problem with it whatsoever, which tells you a bit about me, doesn’t it.

 

 

I got your bedtime right here.

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There’s this thing that happens at our house. It’s kind of like a tradition we have. The whole family is really invested in it. We’ve been doing it since the boys were young, actually, and it’s really become a part of our family routine.

It’s called:

Bedtime Is Usually Awful.

This is not necessarily my children’s fault. I mean, about 99% of it is their fault, but I’ll take some responsibility. Children become rather nutball after 7 pm. We all know this. They have teeny tiny clocks inside of them loudly donging away about the upcoming Terrible Time To Sleep.

Yep, little ones, bedtime cometh. Every night. At about seven thirty, I start in on, “For whom the bell tolls… Yep, five year old, IT TOLLS FOR THEE.” For some reason this never goes over well.

I do realize John Donne’s poem is not at all about bedtime. But, maybe, at one point in his life HE had a 5 and 7 year old, and as he was reminding them for the FIFTY THOUSANDTH TIME to brush their TEETH FOR THE LOVE OF HUMANITY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU THAT YOU CAN’T REMEMBER THIS? he was able to use that quote. Because he’d be quoting HIMSELF which would be sooooo cool. Except to his kids, because they never care about that kind of thing. They can’t even remember to flush a toilet. Whatever.

I would ALSO like to point out this interesting fact: For the most part, my children have absolutely no ability to manage time. Like, it takes them four billion hours to eat half a bowl of cereal because school is COMING. Can you just SHOVEL it IN and yes, I know the heimlich maneuver, so don’t worry about choking. It’s all under control. Please just EAT we have school in two minutes.

But yet, they know, like with the scary super sensitive spot on accuracy of a 7 year old TIMEX, when bedtime approaches. They just KNOW.

Weirdo children. I read every parenting book on the planet and not a one of them ever told me this. That’s the joy of parenting. For most of it, we go in blind.

Anyhow. So, bedtime.

I go upstairs because there is a lot of thumping and giggling and general frivolity and bedtime does not allow that. It’s serious. And this is what happens and what I learned:

What Happened and What I Learned:

Me: What’s the ruckus in here?

Red: What ruckus? Can you describe the ruckus, sir?

Me: Stop quoting The Breakfast Club, and what is THAT?

Red is in bed, which is good, but he also seems to be in bed with something else, rather large, and suspiciously buzzing. I do not want to know.

Well, yes, I do wanna know. I have to know. This is again one of those things they don’t tell you in the parenting books. In fact, I have a little formula for this:

Parenting = 50% actual parenting + 50% freaked out reaction to gross or scary.

Anyhow. Red then proceeds, with a lot of suspense and flourish, to pull out THREE light sabers, a sword, and also a golf club that he somehow had collected under his blankets. It was like the clown car of weaponry in there. They just kept coming out.  I think he also had the cat stuffed down in there, but I lost focus, because next I embarked on another thing they don’t tell you in parenting books:

You will lecture. You will turn into your parents. Your children will not listen.

So, I start in on: “WHY are you NOT settling down? HOW many TIMES have I SAID no sheningans? WHAT are you THINKING?”

FYI: NEVER ask your wee ones “What are you thinking?” We all know it’s not much. When you ask them this it just makes you weak. Also, “Shenanigans” is not a good word to use on them, because they ALWAYS interrupt to ask what it means. Totally steals your thunder.

So, the lecture continues and I am just revving up into part two, entitled:

“So, Tomorrow When You Are Grumpy Don’t Even” when I look over and notice: Red, Blonde, and the cat are all fast asleep. Red is on his back, hands tucked behind his head, all “This is so relaxing,” even.

I then stomp into our bedroom where the husband is watching something about the Royals (the team, not the monarchy) on his phone and because I still have a lot of lecture left in me, I start in with:

“Screens at Night Make You Lose Brain Cells And At This Point You Should Basically Be An Avocado.”

It was a good lecture. I even had graphics and powerpoint to utilize but they were on screens, so I opted for my shrill thing.

And then, I look over, and the Husband is snoring.

And that’s when I learned that my voice puts people to sleep.

The End.

 

 

 

 

 

My Time Was Running Wild

Hooking up with Kate Motaung today on Five Minute Friday. The theme is:

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I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test…

Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.

Changes – David Bowie

I have changed a lot. Time has changed me. God has changed me. I have allowed it to happen, and I have worked at it too. Some of the work has been relentless. Painful. My heart would break. I would sew up the rest of me and try again the next day, and time marches on.

When I finally turned to face me, the real me, the sober me, I also saw the faker. She had survived for a long time, and really, sometimes I miss her. The wild girl had a lot going for her. She always had to win, after all. And she did, a lot of the time. But her soul?

Oh, it always comes back to the soul. Isn’t that just the way?

I miss the sweet toast of champagne, sometimes, on a late Friday night, with my husband. A small celebration of a long week, parenting on, the mighty momma soldier keeping my house afloat, my children fed, the life rolling along. The champagne just kept me moving. But also, it put me to sleep. A long sleep. Like, for twenty years.

The taste of life is so much sharper now. The soul of this girl is intact, a little battered, and often times very, very tired.

But I am still standing. I can look at myself in the mirror. I know who she is now, that girl that stares back at me, battle worn, but alive.Very much alive.

No more dead-end streets.

Change is good. Scary as heck, but good. I cannot go back and trace the path I took, it is a tangled mess. But God got me here and I am forever grateful.

 

“Maybe we have to exist and live on the idea that we have one day at a time to live—and can we do that? Because if we could do that, we may be serving some really great thing.”[David Bowie interview with Guillaume Durand, 2002]

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Can I Trust You?

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Got an email today.

Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU

I dunno. I’m not feeling very trustworthy today. I forgot, for the millionth time, to pay my kids’ milk and juice break money, so my poor babies are starving. Between snack, and lunch, and afternoon tea, they’re withering away to just nobby bits of pathetic. My wee babes are without juice for three whole days, malnourishment has set in, so yes, I AM SO NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

But I digress.

Mr. Email Guy, I have just a few issues with you:

  1. If you ask a question, you should, you know, use a ? This is sort of a basic requisite for humanity. Otherwise, you tend to come off as sort of one-note and even Siri has more emotional depth. I thought we were closer than that, because obviously I have done something to offend you, meaning relationship. Relationship means emotional bond. And lots of questions. Lots and lots of questions.
  2. Also, caps. If you are that upset about something, at least use a question mark AFTER the caps. I mean, it’s obviously really IMPORTANT what we’re going to be discussing, right? RIGHT?
  3. Your name is John Jason.  I mean,how did your parents, when they got really mad, yell at you: “JOHN JASON” without adding “‘DINKLEMEYER SMITH. HIS NAME IS MY NAME TOO!’ COME HERE NOW!”  It’s just confusing. Even with caps.

John Jason really needs to talk to me. It kind of sounds like something one of my old boyfriends (circa high school) would write on one of those numerous pages of notebook paper (spiral edges carefully removed and paper folded repeatedly) kind of notes passed to me in between algebra and biology class. ‘CAN I TRUST YOU,’ all scrawled in pencil, with maybe some smudgey underlining, and also a sketch of a Van Halen insignia.

So, John, (I can call you John, right? We are on all caps, emotional subtext kind of subject headings level of relating, so it seems only right),

I dunno. CAN you?

If I were John, I would back away slowly and take my all caps fervor somewhere else.

This post was sponsored by: Benadryl. Lots and lots of Benadryl.

First born.

Linking up with my beloved Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?

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This morning I prayed for my boy, my first born.

This is because I am super spiritual.

Most days I am so spiritual, if I was a baseball team, I would be in the World Series of Spiritual. #TeamJesus! All the way!

Ok… Um. This is not the truth.

#TeamJesus has it in His contract that we are to attempt honesty in all our affairs, but most of you know me enough to realize… I am being a bit sarcastic. Just a bit.

Sarcasm helps me process. It is my way to butter the dry toast of life.

Anyhow, here was my prayer:

“Lord. I cannot. I just don’t know. I am at a total loss. My kid. We are not WORKING. Help me. Please.”

Ok, I am on a slippery slope here. I love to write about my boys, my family, but also: one day, you know? He’s gonna read this post and just sigh at me. “MOM, cut that out.”

So, I’m just gonna say this: I  think this parenting thing is too hard. And I can’t do it very well. And I am confused, and I feel like I have to go to the library and check out a bunch of parenting books. Like, ALL of them. Books like: “So,  Your Children, Huh? Driving You Nuts?” And, “What To Expect When They Are Nuts,” And, “Kids: No Matter What You Try They Will Make You Nuts.”

I know. After I carry all these books (Keyword: “nuts”), so many that the librarian will look at me with pity,  I’ll read them all and take notes, use post its, maybe fill up a notebook or two, and still, STILL not do it right.

Nuts.

My first born. He came into my life right on time, right on his due date. He slams up against my personality lately. He does so because, well…

He is exactly like me. We are nuts.

And first thing, in the morning, I pray: “Don’t let me screw this up. He is precious. He is driving me crazy. I have to get this right.

But you know? I don’t think that’s a #TeamJesus prayer, really.  It’s more like terrified scatter shot, all panicked and hoping  for a direct hit. These are more like a prayers… to me. To take this all over. And fix it. Because that’s how we operate, my first born and me. We are in control.

Except when we’re not.

My prayers, first thing, need to life my hands up to the One who has got this all. He is my Father, after all. He knows best. I can go ahead and read the fifteen parenting books next to my bed, but at the end of the day, I need to read the bible too. And realize who the Great Author is, recognize that He wants us to parent as He does. And go from there.

By the way, ask a  seven year old to give up control, and watch his little brain start shooting out sparks.

Ask a 40 something year old momma to do the same? She should NOT be sparking. She has age on her side. A lot of age. If she starts sparking she might just set herself on fire, and she’s too old for that nonsense.

I got a lot to learn. I love my boy. But my prayers should be this:

“Lord, change me. Use me. And, I give you ME. Also, I give you my boy. My first born. He is precious to me. And he is Yours.”

“Help. Please. And thank You.”

Can I hear an amen?

Parenting is so hard. It is SO hard. And control freaks find it so mind boggling that often times? We rev up to nutball to FIX it all. Today? I’m going to fix my heart on Jesus, who is my first love.

And I’m gonna love on the idea that in my weakness, my LACK of “firstness” I make more room for His strength.

Oh, thank You. team-jesus