Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today. The theme?

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Well. I don’t see the draw with this one. We certainly don’t need help, do we?

Har har har. Little bit of sarcasm there. In case you weren’t tracking. Sarcasm is my jam, y’all.

I was talking on the phone with my mom the other day. Normally our conversations go like this:

“I made coconut muffins the other day! Want to talk about them for the next twenty minutes?”

“Ooooooo! Muffins! Yes! Let’s discuss!”

And so on.

But instead, this conversation traveled into a scary place called the Great Angry Cat Box  Called the Political Arena.

Me: Mom. We are doomed. Doomed, I say.

Mom: I pray one thing, mainly, every day. I pray for Mercy for the United States. We need it.

Let’s face it. We need HELP.

Or maybe we don’t really want to face it at all. Thus, we have social media. Which doesn’t allow us to really face truth, in any way. It just gives us filtered versions and demands, “Now, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?”

We need a hero. A real hero. Someone to save the day. And I don’t see Jesus coming back and then saying, “Stop! Stop all the prophecy! I mean, yes, we WILL get to that, Elijah and Moses, so just get a bottle of water and take a break. Maybe watch a little Great British Bake Off. It’s such a good show. Anyhow, FIRST, I need to fix this president thing over in the United States. Did you hear about them? They are a Great Angry Cat Box right now and I am going just head over there and clean it UP. And then, we’ll get back to Revelations, ok?”

I have no other wisdom. I can only offer this – a former student of mine said it:

“Maybe instead of watching the Republican National Convention I should spend that time praying and fasting for our country.”

Sounds good. Prayer and fasting never hurts.

When I was a girl, I always used to listen to my mom’s Simon and Garfunkel albums – one of my favorite songs by them would croon: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” But the truth? DiMaggio was no hero. We sure wanted him to be, yes. We want someone, anyone, to show up. To BE the help we need. Our heroes are being dismantled, before our eyes, on a daily basis.

Help. We need help.

We don’t just want it. We really, REALLY need it.

This is good, all this need. Somehow, I think, this is just the place we are supposed to be. Because of all this gaping, messy need, it is good. Weakness forces us to lean. Somehow, I really do think, it’s all going to be all right.

In the meantime, I guess… help others? I dunno. I think that’s what we are supposed to do with all this. Maybe. I don’t mean to get all Mother Teresa here on this but. Well yes, I do. Because when I focus on that it makes me feel less afraid. I was told once, from an editor, “Never throw Mother Teresa into your writing. Nobody needs the reminder of who they are not. She’s become kinda, well, overused.” Perhaps, but today? She helps ME. So, she’s in here. Take that, Mr. Editor. (I don’t think he reads my posts anyhow, so I’m safe. I hope.”

Or…if the Mother Teresa route makes you dizzy and you just can’t picture yourself in the white head-dress, maybe we should just stick with discussing coconut muffins with your momma.  Both are very good options.

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An open letter to funerals.

 

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I sat down to write this morning with about sixty ideas on my mind. There’s a lot out there to discuss. First of all, it’s very important that I try to figure out Pokemon Go. Mainly so I can make fun of it.

But yesterday, our family went to a funeral. And I want to talk about it. My dear friends Christy and Karl – well, Karl lost his dad. Rather unexpectedly.

Don’t you kind of hate that? How we say, “lost”? Like, he just wandered off in Walmart, somehow, and we’ve been searching for him over in the pet food section, but really, sweet Jim was just perusing the candy aisle… And it’s all just a big misunderstanding.

This is the permanent “lost.” Jim is dead. Nobody ever says it that way. I know. It sounds harsh. The truth of it, the new-reality of it is harsh too. The world has been de-Jimmed and it’s very hard.

As far as funerals go, this was a tough one.  At one point, Christy, who was asked to sing one of Jim’s favorite hymns, found herself whisper-sobbing the final verse. A few women in the congregation sang  it for her. I just sat there and ugly cried. It was that kind of funeral. This family has been through a lot. That’s kind of like saying that that final trip on the Titanic was stressful. They have dealt with pain and loss and just, well, aching LOSS, and it’s enough. I have received texts from Christy for months, explaining other heartaches. Other losses, and I want to text back, to both God and Christy:  “Enough. ENOUGH! I think you have your QUOTA! God! Are you listening? Enough for them!”

Ok, two problems with this:

  1. Texting doesn’t really adequately do it. When dealing with searing loss and pain a text message is like, offering an alcoholic a cup of tea in rehab. It’s sweet,the thought is kind of there, but mainly it’s JUST NOT REALLY ALL THAT HELPFUL.
  2. God understands “enough” but it’s not like He says, Ok, I will VERY EVENLY SPLIT ALL THE BAD STUFF around with all the people in the world. I know. I kind of wish He would operate that way? But who am I to try and manage God? I can’t remember to pay the utility bill on time.
  3. But, really, would it not be COOL to have a way to text God??? (That’s three things. I know. So, once again, really pounding home that I am not the best candidate for helping manage the world.)

So,  as for my letter to funerals? Well, it would go like this:

Dear Funerals:

You are there to help us understand someone we love has gone. We don’t want to really get it, especially when the loved one has been so, well, here for so many days of our lives. He just called us last weekend, did you know? He had a joke to share. He was here, with us.

And now, he’s not.

And I guess I thank you, funerals, for helping us understand that.

But really? I want to thank you for something else.

The food. I want to thank you for the food.

I know. This makes me sound kind of like a candidate for yet another anonymous recovery group involving lots of eating, but listen. I thank you for the fudgy brownies and the pulled pork and the jello. The jello! I want to thank you for the piles of chips that my kids don’t ever get to eat at home, but get to eat at funerals. Funeral chips. They bless my children, in all their powdered, preservatived cheesy glory. Poor chip-less children.

I thank you for macaroni salad and that weird green pudding thing with the marshmallows. I thank you for coffee in styrofoam cups. I thank you for sloppy joes and lemon bars and for the Boston Cream poke cake that the pastor’s wife makes.

I thank you for lemonade and broccoli with bacon bits and crinkly paper napkins that don’t really do it when your kid is covered in barbecue sauce and cream cheese frosting.

I thank you for the sweet church ladies who cut slices of walnut cake so large they weighed the plates down as people carried them to the table, ready to slide off at any moment, heavy with glistening frosting and nuts and sweetness. I thank you for watermelon and cheesy puffs and cucumbers sliced thin, drenched with onions and sharp vinegar. I thank you for the pies, all the mysterious quivering salads that we try to eat with plastic forks.

I thank you for the look of concentration on my six-year-old’s face as he lifted a vibrating pile of orange Jello to his mouth, brow furrowed as it slips through the tines of the fork, all the while. He keeps trying.

I thank you for funeral food. Because we all sat down and talked, and ate, and Christy and I actually got to take a breath and laugh a little and share a really amazing brownie with homemade fudge frosting that was pretty much the answer to all the world’s problems.

Or not. Fudgy frosting is not the answer. Jesus is. But, for a moment, as we both nibbled at it and discussed our kids and life and parenting and just everything we haven’t been able to because we live far away… I thank you for that brownie. I thank you too for watching Karl and Brian pickup the needle of their friendship and place it right back down again where they left off (after at least two years) and chatter on about God and faith and blessings, even. Blessings. And how God has provided. Even after Karl saw his father go in the ground.

Blessings. The sweetness of the pie, after watching our fathers, and our brothers, go in the ground.

During Jim’s funeral, Karl spoke, and told us, “My dad always told his wife she was pretty,” and tears filled my eyes, up there in the church. And down in the church basement, Brian turned to me as I was shoveling something in my mouth, and said, “You look pretty.”

Probably not, with chocolate frosting competing with the lipstick, but you know. It made my eyes fill up again.Which blew the mascara, and, you know, the pretty thing was highly subjective at that point. But I believed him. I believed him. And I marveled at it – how a funeral of a good man could help me remember the good man sitting next to me.

And how funerals make us remember brothers who have died and how we miss them and how we thank God for them. And all the other things we forget to thank God for, like life, and sobriety, and small annoying children.

And girlfriends, who get our savage sense of humor, no matter what. And accept texts as the main mode of communication.

And, as God is my witness, that poke cake. I will always remember that poke cake and thank God for it. It was just basically holy.*

Thank you, funerals. For helping us to sit and talk over bad coffee for a bit. For helping us see the big picture, after all. That we all end up in a box, draped in flags or memories or both.

And that we are all so very loved. And it will all be okay.

Sincerely,

Momsie.

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It is my brother’s birthday tomorrow. I miss him. And yes, it’s possible I made my friend’s father in law’s funeral all about myself. That’s my thing. I am very, very good at it. But, knowing Christy, she will smile. She’s very patient with me.

*Oh my GOODNESS, DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I didn’t even see it MYSELF! I PUNNED but WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT. That’s it. I have arrived. Pulitzer material, I tell you.

 

 

Creative Demolition

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today. The theme?

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I really don’t know how Kate does it, but it’s like she and I are *crosses fingers* like this.

Creatively, I have been struggling. “Struggling” means: I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK AND IT’S CONSTIPATION OF THE MIND. GO AHEAD. PICTURE IT.

Ok, quick run down: (did you see what I did there? I am amazed at myself. And the grossness.)

  1. I wrote a book. Did you know I wrote a book?
  2. I am now working on another book.
  3. Did you know, writing another book is really, uh hard?
  4. Kinda terrifying, actually.
  5. I just have no idea where I’m going with this blog post, but it’s about the same as progress on THE SECOND COMING.
  6. I will now refer to the book in a sorta heretical, annoying all caps way because I AM A WRITER AND DRAMATIC DON’T YOU SEE THE ANGST HERE?
  7. I really like lists. So, I think the whole book will just be lists. Lots and lots of lists.

Ok, I’ll stop.

Which is what I did on the book. I just stared and stared and stared at the page, until I stopped. And instead,

I decided to attack the office. Also known as: the Pit of Despair.

About 5 years ago, I painted and decorated this room for the husband while he was away on a business. I went for SPORTS as my “theme” and also “CHEAP PAINT” as I had a friend who gave me some leftover. It was a beautiful thing.

And then… six years later… the office has stuffed itself with odds and ends and so much STUFF that it made me mutter and stomp. And since one has to go THROUGH THE OFFICE to utilize the  downstairs bathroom… well, let’s just say I found myself muttering a lot. For SIX YEARS I HAVE BEEN MUTTERING AT THE OFFICE. This is not healthy.

Here’s all the stuff that was IN the office, now littering my dining room floor. I’ve pulled it all out and am starting with a clean slate. There is still muttering, but at least… it’s a start.

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And while I clean and sort and dust and organize… I am writing.  In my head.

So much already goes on in my head, y’all. It’s a scary place, in there. So maybe… a book is in there too.

Maybe. I sure hope so. Because so far, this is all I’ve got:

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B is for Brevity. For the love of Pete. And Pete’s mommy. Move Pete’s point along.

Throw Back Thursday! Waaaaayyyy back. My SECOND blog post. Second. Enjoy the cuteness.

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Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 1.43.35 PM It is the soul of wit. And stuff.

Scene:  Momsie is muttering to herself and attempting to fold laundry, scrape up burnt oatmeal, and load  a backpack for the blond one’s preschool.  As the viewer notes:  Momsie is frazzled because she is attempting The Multitask.   Last time she tried it she injured herself.   It is a tricky maneuver that takes power and precision.   It’s a Mary Lou Retton* kind of thing.  If Mary Lou was a brain surgeon.  On crack. Massive skills, yo.**

Sooooo.  We have Momsie who is desperately trying to fill in an emergency contact form with something besides an orange marker (not really a mark of sophistication, the orange washable), while thinking it might be good to put on a bra before she takes the boys to preschool.  She is considering that if she just kind of crosses her arms and sort of……

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The road to Slugville is wide and slimy.

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Friends, I am now on day two of my re-route from Slugville and I have to tell you, it has been one orange construction cone after another.

Actually it’s been ok. But not great. Like, I am not all that jazzed about it. Because, Slugville is so easy.

This road? Away from Slugville? It isn’t easy.

So, let me just say this isn’t one of those posts where I’m gonna turn it all around for a glorious big finish, and you end up all “Heck to the YES! I too am feeling so TOTALLY ON FIRE WITH IT ALL! I’M A ROMAN CANDLE OF MOTIVATION!

I TOO SHALL FIX ALL THE THINGSSSSS!”

Nope. Not really that kinda post.

I have continued on my slow clunking along. I’m getting more sleep. I’m reading more happy things, things that feed the soul. Life is just basically putting one foot in front of the other.

So, yesterday I got an email that was a big “NO” to something I had tried for. Here’s a hint: It’s like a speaking gig? One that rhymes with “Bed” but with a “T?”  And also? I can’t come.

I was so disappointed. I really wanted to be able to write this to you, today:

“Oh my gosh! I have been so in a FUNK lately. But yet, here is this big, huge, gigantic wonderful email that is telling me I am chosen. Like, I AM THE CHOSEN ONE! Too much? Too bad Star Wars movie? Well, whatever. REDEMPTION is ALL UP IN HERE, y’all! It was all for a REASON! The sadness! The slime! I got through it and here is the big huge fat REWARD! YEA ME! This is how life works, y’all. You do the time and then, BOOM, Obi Wan is at your door waving a big, fat, Publisher’s Clearing House check and life is all unicorns and  kittens and endless guacamole!!!”

And here’s the other thing, though,

I didn’t make it by two people. Two. I was like so close.

The guy who emailed me was very nice. He was encouraging. He told me to try again. And I was all, “But I didn’t get it! How can I try again when I am so upset!? I am UPSET! There is no pulling up by bootstraps here! I was all Anakin Skywalker in my head for a moment! Chosen. One. Did I mention this is UPSETTING!”

Y’all. Two years ago, if you had told me I would have missed getting a Bed-with-a-T talk by two people I would have laughed at you. A kinda crazed, maniacal laugh. The kind where you throw your head back and cackle, like Vizzini in Princess Bride does. INCONCEIVABLE.

I guess the thing is this:

I am still trudging along. I am moving slow in traffic, past all those annoying orange cones, and did you know?

You aren’t supposed to speed in a construction zone.

Oh. And?

All of life is a construction zone.

OOOOO. That’s good. I think I will have to make a meme.

Yea… and then Glennon will tweet it and I’ll be famous! By the end of the day! That’s right! IT. COULD. HAPPEN!

Oh good God.  I need to get a grip.

I’m gonna go clean the cat box, people. That always tends to bring me smack back into reality.

 

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Choosing to Change

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Y’all. All of life is a choice. All of it. And lately?
I have been choosing to take a slow train ride to Slugsville.

Slugsville is a pleasant, albeit slimy place. It is a place of stillness. There’s lots of carbs involved, usually the ones with the double-stuffed centers. There’s a lot of pillows.

Also, some self loathing. But, the milder kind. Like, the kind where you watch twelve straight episodes of Property Brothers and think you should get some granite counter tops because everyone else has them, but first you might have to clean the kitchen first, but we just had breakfast so it looks like a crime scene, and maybe you will just eat half a box of Nilla Wafers instead. That kind of self-loathing.

“One day,” you think, “One day I will FIX ALL THE THINGS.”

So, I’ve been in a rut. It’s kind of understandable. It’s summer and I’m surrounded by nutball boys and wet swim suits and the endlessly tedious job of Putting Tiny Legos Back Where They Don’t Really Belong Because There Millions and They Keep Having Lego Babies.

Also, I have been a bit heartbroken about our world. So there’s that. And being a “little bit” heartbroken is kind of like saying, I’m just gonna watch E.T. and I might cry just a “little bit.”

Change, it seems, can be good. But, as one who has dealt with a “little bit” of depression all my life (yes, I know, I am being rather blithe about the depression thing, but not really. I am just talking about it in the way that is familiar and chatty, because we are very, very comfortable with each other, depression and I, and I am NOT going to write a depressing post today about depression. There is enough angst already, y’all, on the internets.)

ANYHOW.  As one who has dealt with depression, I recognize the road to Slugville.

And I want to turn the heck around.

Here is what I do when Slugville looms on my horizon. I start to make little changes – watching my sleep. Reaching out to friends for lunch dates. Baking cookies. Making sure I walk the dog every morning. All those little shifts in the daily in and out help.

But also? I read.

Well, I read all the time, anyway, but I make a point to find something new, inspirational, and probably waiting in the large pile of books by my bed anyhow, just sitting and waiting patiently for me to open its covers and get some help.

And so, I present to you:

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*Truth? It is an e book so it wasn’t waiting in the pile by the bed. It was waiting in the computer. Same diff.

I met Tam when I spoke last year at the Whole Women’s Weekend in Maryland. She is adorable. And she is really funny. AND she is a powerhouse for Jesus, so my goodness, she is just straight-up GOOD PEOPLE.

And here is what her book is like:

You know when it’s been a hot, muggy summer all… well, summer long? And then one night there is a really huge, torrential downpour, and you go out onto your porch before dawn and you can smell it, a coolness, a hint of Autumn, and everything is washed down and clean and even the flowers seem to stand up straighter?

That’s her book. It’s a deep breath. It’s a shift in the weather. It clears out cobwebs.

Tam starts out by asking three simple questions:

  1. What do need to CHANGE?
  2. What do you want to BECOME.
  3. And when will you CHOOSE to begin?

And then, she answers with three truths. And I’m not gonna tell you any more because the book is super short and super good and I want you to read it for yourself!

Tam’s book is available on amazon if you want to take a look. Click here.

Also, if you want to know more about the lovely Tam, click here.

What do you have to lose? Because, despite what the slugs say,

“Change is good.”

 

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The Fourth of July, as Told to You by My Pets

The Fourth of July: A One Act Play

Performed by:

Hosmer, the Dog and Not the Player

Steve the Cat

Cameo: Bob, the Other Cat

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Opening scene, The Front Door:

Steve the Cat: I’m just gonna lean on this glass door here. Glass is transparent, did you know? And all the large booming noises and all those sparks flying all over? They do not merit even a switch of my whiskers. In fact, I think now is the time to pick up my back foot and just start grooming myself. In front of this door. Right here.

Hosmer: Right THERE?  The door is the gateway to the Doom of Forever! FOREVERRRRRRRR. I AM NOT OK WITH YOU GROOMING YOUR BEHIND IN THIS PLAY. CHILDREN MIGHT BE PRESENT. CUT IT OUT.

Steve the Cat: Suck it, canine.

Hosmer: WHAT is UP with the blowing up of stuff out there? I am not in the military, but I am pretty sure this is what they call an ATTACK. THEY ARE ATTACKING. WE NEED TO RETREAT. RETREEEEEEAT.

Steve: This family does not retreat. As General Patton said, “Cats are superior beings.”

Hosmer: I can’t quite hear you as I have wedged myself underneath the refrigerator.Wait, what?

Steve: I believe it’s time to now flop down and show my large white underbelly to you. Because I can. Because, look. The belly. It’s hypnotic.

Bob: *Oh for heaven’s sake this is not Showtime.* (from the closet, stage left. WAY left. Like upstairs, left.)

Steve and Hosmer: Shut it, tiny, nervous, invisible cat. No one believes you even exist.

Bob: That’s because I haven’t come out of the closet since 2012.

Steve: (giggles) He said, “Come out of the closet. You know. That’s kinda funny. But not in an intolerant way. Oh dear.”

Hosmer: Good one. You just lost half our readership. Geez. Anyway, it’s kinda hard to discuss anything with you right now as I am now trying to figure out how to make the ice maker stop going off because it TOO is making me nervous. And with basically the END TIMES knocking on our door I cannot do ICE TOO. THIS WORLD IS SO HARD IF YOU ARE FURRY.

Husband: I’m furry! It’s not so hard! (har har har)

Bob: *eye roll towards husband Human because he’s got Dad humor and it’s a hot mess* Look, being furry is not so hard. Just live in the closet. I have been perfectly content lacquering my owner’s clothing with hair and furballs for four years. As realtors say, “It’s cozy.”

Hosmer: Has anyone  noticed that this play is really boring?

Steve: I know. There goes the other half of the readership. We need to rally. As General Patton said, “Cat’s are going to take over the world.”

Hosmer: I see what you’re doing.

Bob: People, the solution is clear. Come to the closet. Except, find another one. You can’t be in here with me. I’m too twitchy for that.

Steve and Hosmer: NO ONE EVEN THINKS YOU ARE REAL. SHADDUP.

Hosmer: Ok, my Human came back! She is back in the house! It’s been so long! I missed you so much! Thank you! Thank you for coming back to meeeee!

Steve: Dude. Have some pride. She was gone for ten minutes.

Hosmer: I have my pride but first I am going to crawl up her front side and perch right here on her shoulders like a couture doggie backpack. No problem! Comfortable for allll!

Steve: You look ridiculous.

Hosmer: I am! I know! I don’t care! My Human will help me! Only if I basically try to fit myself onto her skull, but that’s how all the pet owners do it on the fourth of July!

Steve: *Really loud boom* Wow, that was kinda a loud one. I think I might have to blink at it a little and slowly amble my way over to you and stare while you levitate off the couch in total fear of the endtimes. And, I’m going back to the licking thing. It’s hypnotic, isn’t it? Oh and wait! Here’s the grand finale! The big finish! Furball!

Hosmer: Wow. Can I just say? That scene in Galaxy Quest with the Chompers? That is exactly, EXACTLY how I feel about fireworks. *Turns to audience* And did you know? Galaxy Quest is now streaming on Netflix! Great movie! *winks*

Bob: I would like to state for the record that I am not participating in shameless plugging of the Netflixes. I never watch it. Because I am here. In the closet. Forever. Perhaps one day the Humans will get me a tv in here. Maybe a cushion or two. It could happen.

Hosmer: I would also like to state for the record that the following clip has potty language. But you know? It really does pretty much sum up my view of blowing up stuff on this holiday. I got an idea, Humans. Why don’t you just throw tennis balls around? The really slobbery kind? Those are so fun. And, you could eat the things you call the hotdogs so I can wait for them to fall to the ground. But no one ever listens to me. I’m just the dog.

Steve: Very true. You are just the dog. And, as General Patton always said-

Hosmer: Oh go choke on some catnip.

 

The End.

Stay tuned for the sequel:

Halloween! Let’s Freak Out Every Five Minutes!

Coming soon to a off off OFF Broadway location near you. Maybe. Probably not. Ok, you know, it’s about as likely as the tv in the closet thing, but you know.

 

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