What’s Your Motivation?

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today, Five Minute Friday.

The theme?

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Back when I was young and vastly much more energetic, I used to teach high school theater.

Those days were pretty nutty, and involved a lot of plays that took on a bit of a wonky Little Rascals, “Let’s put on a show!” kinda vibe, but you know. I remember once, (and only once) asking a sixteen year old while we were working on a scene, “What’s your motivation here?” He stared at me blankly.  And then I think he answered, “Well, I’m not doing basketball and my parents made me do something extracurricular.” I let it go. Plus, it was for Bye Bye Birdie, so, you know, I bet his true motivation was to break into song and dance at random points without his voice cracking like a sheet of ice.

So, the basic lesson here: Never ask a teenager about motivation. They never really know.

Also: It’s totally fine to ask a Momsie what her motivation is. But sometimes… I too, never really know.

There’s the quick answer to the above: Love God, and love others.

But also, there’s my recovery, marriage, my kids, my service, my writing, my book, my church, my fire baton routine… (Ok, just kidding about the baton part. I can dare to dream, however.)

I think moms have this ever-cycling wheel of What’s Most Important circling in our souls – our children… our husbands… our careers…. our ability to bake the best casseroles for church suppers… And repeat.

It’s an endless cycle of Where Do I Put All My Energy? Energy doesn’t do so well when it’s slathered all over the place, like thin margarine on toast.

Here’s what I would like: when I wake up, I would like a plane flying overhead, with one of those banners behind it, saying something like: DANA. FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS.

Or…

DANA. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BALANCE. BALANCE IS FOR GYMNASTS. GOD HAS YOUR BACK.

Or…

DANA, YOUR CASSEROLES WILL NEVER WIN ANY PRIZES. LET THAT GO. GOD LOVE YOU ANYWAY.

Or, simply:

LET GO, LET GOD.

My motivations can get tangled. Thus, the airplane banner thing would be helpful. I need visual, and large, airborn reminders, I guess. But, it would be kinda weird. The rest of the neighborhood might need a heads up.

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You had me at special snowflake.

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In today’s post I would like to channel my Inner Jim. That’s my dad.

And I would also like to talk about alcoholism.

So, YAY, this post is going to be INTENSE!

Why, you ask?

1. My dad is kinda intense. He likes to grip you by the elbow, in that way that makes the entire side of your body go kinda limp and numb, and he looks you in the eye and says things like, “How are you, REALLY?” and if you lie at all you feel like God might smite you, because God and Jim are *crosses fingers* like THIS.

2. Alcoholism. Nobody attempts that subject without a bit of intensity. I mean, we don’t just say things like, “Hmmmm, I think I might be coming down with a bit of alcoholism today. But, it’s just a tickle at the back of my throat. I’ll just get some rest and I’ll be fine!”

3. I’m in a really weird mood so there’s that.

I am also linking up with my favorite end of the week people: Five Minute Friday! and today’s theme??

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Ok, here’s what I know:

  1. My dad would tell me (as would all the other addicts in recovery) that I am not a special snowflake. I’m no different than anyone else. I have no special backstory that makes my sad issues any more special or sad.
  2. This kinda is a bummer because ever since I was knee-high to a very special grasshopper I KNEW I WAS SO VERY DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE. This explains so much.
  3. And, I am. But also, I’m not. So you know, not confusing at all.
  4. This does not have to be figured out. Really, the only answer to all this is understanding who Jesus is and trucking with him.
  5. Different is good. It means I can wear socks that don’t match and I tend to always (nearly always) break into dance whenever I visit my kids’ school and they stop me at the door with the camera thing. Because the office administrators really need to see me doing the Running Man.
  6. Different, in terms of alcoholism? Not good. I am not different. My addiction and recovery trucks along fine with the men and women, young, old, black, white, green, pink, tall, short, big, small, cat lover, cat hater, educated, street smart, rich, poor, faith-filled, faith-poor, lost, found, tattooed, pierced, pristine, married, single, somewhere in between, person who walks in the doors with the coffee pot on the door.
  7. Everyone should be so lucky as to have an Inner Jim. Just FYI.

I am reminded of this every time I attend a meeting, and I remember the words of one of my favorite old-timers there, “Mo.” He would say, “I’m no better than anyone else. And I’m no worse.”

He was right. And here is the thing – doesn’t this also apply to our faith? Doesn’t it also sound a little bit like how Jesus wants us to live?

I mean, we are all in recovery from something. Or we should be. Right?

Right. galatians-3-28.jpg

 

It’s Momsie’s Twelve Days of Netflix! #StreamTeam

Sing with me:

Christmas time is here…

Happiness and cheer…

Fun for all, that Momsie calls…

A time to watch a whole lotta Netflix.

 

Christmas means a lot of special things for my family. We decorate cookies, and so also the house, with twenty pounds of sprinkles. We argue about the Elf on the Shelf not showing up because I don’t need that kind of hassle and that Elf is shifty, and he’s clearly out to get me. We sing O HOLY NIGHT at the top of our lungs at all parts of the day, and often meow the lyrics when we forget them.

That last one is a bit embarrassing to admit, but when has that ever stopped me from sharing that with you?

Another tradition? Movies. Gobs and gobs of Christmas movies.

Let me be perfectly clear: I love all Christmas movies. If it has a Santa, and some tinsel, and maybe a talking puppy, I am THERE.

If there is a schmaltzy Hallmark storyline? I am there, with a bowl of popcorn, shouting out all the predictable plot points. (I usually watch these movies alone. I wonder why?)

If Jesus actually shows up (about 50% of the time, but you know. Santa has more pull in Hollywood. Don’t even get me started on that) I am SO TOTALLY ON BOARD. YO, JESUS! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

So, without further ado,  here is my yearly list a la Netflix!

Momsie’s Favorite Holiday Movies (in no particular order because I can never get that organized)

 

1.

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Ok, this is a Hallmarky one. She’s a sassy journalist who wears Converse shoes at the palace. Oh, yes, there’s a palace. A big one. And yes, a spoiled little sister with a disability so we feel all Tiny Tim about her. Mean little sister becomes nice within five minutes of meeting sassy Converse girl. And also, there’s a Prince. Thus the title. He’s dreamy and has a cleft jaw. And there’s a wicked ex-girlfriend and a whole lot of sparkly lights.

OH AND DID I MENTION, A MAKEOVER SCENE? It was so Pretty Woman! Except not! Because the hooker with a heart of gold theme is NOT CHRISTMASSY. That would be weird.

So, you know. This movie is not one I watched with the boys because they were over it around the time that the sparkly ball gown showed up (in the trailer). It was just me and my eggnog and that was also FINE WITH ME. MAMA ALONE.

2.

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I’m on a roll here, with the romance. This one is a repeat from my last year’s list, because oh my goodness I just love it so much. Saved By the Bell guy is cute and funny. Blonde girl is sassy, which seems to be a popular trait in all these movies. And, she learns to have good will towards man and all that. It’s a totally innovative storyline, huh?

Ok, not. This movie exists already and THAT’S WHY I LIKE IT. NO SURPRISES. LIFE IS SURPRISING ENOUGH.

It’s a “folding laundry” movie. Meaning, I can watch it and fold laundry and putter about and it’s comforting and cozy and oh my gosh I love it so. All of us parents need a “folding laundry” movie on standby. Especially when the Christmas rush has us frazzled.

3. Speaking of FRAZZLED, did you know this actually exists??

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I know the trailer says it’s not an actual source of heat, but you go ahead and stand in front of it. Go on, I’ll wait. Hold your hands out towards it. Feel it? Warm, huh?!

It’s Netflix Christmas magic.

Also, just so you know:

4. THIS ALSO EXISTS:

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I know it has nothing to do with Christmas, but you know. Just in case you get hot.

5. Ok, now something for the kiddies:

maxresdefault.jpgI know. It’s not exactly Christmas cheer, but it speaks, deeply, to my inner Scrooge. Like, almost too deeply. There are so many moments where I find myself silently siding with Count Olaf.

Did I just say that out loud? I did. So, allow me to redeem myself:

6.

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EVERYTHING THOMAS! THOMASPALOOZA! CHEEKY CHRISTMAS TRAINS!

Disclaimer: I can’t actually get (bribe) my boys to watch anything Thomas anymore. They’re all grown up, at the massively sophisticated ages of 7 and 9. Sniffle. But, I still proclaim that ALL of the Thomas the Train holiday movies are adorable and wonderful and when you watch them you feel all warm and wonderful too. How’s that for a lot of adjectives?

You cannot go wrong. You simply can’t.

7. Also, there’s THIS:3566041.jpg

Um, so you can watch this with your 7 and 9 year olds and not get bored. And it has the woman from Mad TV. And there’s a paintball scene. So, you know, my boys think it’s Citizen Kane.

8. I also got to sneak this movie in with my boys, because Blonde had just finished reading Sarah Plain and Tall, so I told him this was the same kind of thing, all old-fashioned and old-timey and… old. But in a good way.

Also, I read ALL the Mandie books as a girl. The movies do right by the author. And they wear those cute hats and MUFFS. When did MUFFS go out of fashion? I could rock a muff, I tell you.

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ALSO, I PROMISE. THEY DON’T ACTUALLY FORGET CHRISTMAS IN THIS MOVIE.

9. And this:

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NEWS FLASH: The Christmas Candle actually ACTUALLY HAS JESUS IN IT.

10. And now, we must move on to one of my absolute favorite traditions EVER this time of year:

FOOD.

Sing with me (to the tune of O Holy Night):

FOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

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So we start with the Great British Bake Off Masterclass, Christmas Edition. Paul makes a gingerbread house, because he can.

Paul Hollywood could make a peanut butter sandwich for all I care.

11. So, also there is this:

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I mentioned previously that we decorate cookies. Every year. EVERY flipping year, my sweet boys ask if we can bake cookies and then decorate them. And I get it, boys. I really do. It’s a Christmas thing, so we make the cookies. And then, we frost them.

But y’all? WITHIN FIVE MINUTES I AM IRRITATED.

So, we’re just gonna skip the cookies and watch this instead, MmmK?

12. And! THIS:0a5c641e7e2e7050b86ff0dc5d55c7b9acd65ebb.png

I know. It’s not a Christmas show at all, so I added a Christmas tree for you. THE NEW SEASON IS OUT AND IT’S BRITISH RESERVE AT ITS BEST.

By the way, are you planning on traveling during the holidays? Netflix is here for you!Pack Your Phone - Parent.png

Or, if you’re thinking “It’s not about me. It’s all about the children.”

 

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And so, that’s it. My 12 Days of Netflix. Enjoy your viewing and Merry Christmas to you!

Oh, and also?

This:

 

 

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As a Netflix #StreamTeam blogger, I get to watch the fabulousness that is Netflix, and then chatter about it on my blog. It’s a great gig.

You’re Only As Old as You Feel. Or something.

Linking up with my happy place today over at Five Minute Friday!

The theme?

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It’s my birthday today. I’m forty eight. Which is impossible. I kinda feel like that “Sunrise, Sunset” song, only all that sweet nostalgia is not about my children growing up. I’m all… “Is this the little girl I carried… Is this the little boy at play?”

NO. NOT IT’S NOT. IT’S ABOUT ME AND I AM REALLY OLD AND I CAN’T CARRY ANYTHING IT’S MY BIRTHDAY.

I walked to class this morning and the sun was all crisp and cut, coming through the trees, and it was so cold. It was the perfect winter day. And THEN a small deer came out of the woods and waved and a bird came and alighted on my shoulder and sang to me. A chipmunk handed me a gift card.

Not doing drugs on my birthday, I promise. This really is just how I am.

I arrived at my classroom, and one of my friends came in, singing happy birthday to me. (No, she really did. She was real.) And then, she told me this:

“You know you’re only as old as you feel.”

“But, what if you feel sixty-seven? Like… I have things on my body heading south. Things on my body are traveling to places where they are not supposed to go. There is sagging. Sagging is not good.”

“Well. Just keep looking up. That’s all that matters.”

(This was not the exact conversation. I don’t remember it exactly because I’m too old, and your memory’s the first thing to go.)

Here are my top ten reasons why it is a happy birthday:

I REALLY NEED TO EMPHASIZE THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

1. Larry, Moe, and… Bob.

Note: The image of Bob in this picture is not actual. I didn’t want to go search her paranoid little furry self out, and so there you go. Also, I would like to note that Steve and Vader are giving kisses in this pic because they are preshus woodum coodums.

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2. This morning, Red greeted me with one open eye from his top bunk, and said: ‘Happy birthday mommah” then rolled deeper into his blankie.

3. From the bottom bunk, Blonde swung his hand out and hit me right in the crotch, meaning to spank me, I guess? So, you know. Love is painful. But I thank you for Blonde, and, I thank you that my crotch is still ok.

4. Did you know, if you write “crotch” more than once in a few sentences, you start to get really obsessed with that word and it starts to sound all weird? And it’s just an awful word anyway? So from hereon, I will now refer to it as The Honorable Lady Fagina.

5. Don’t really know what #4 was all about but let’s keep moving. I am ALSO grateful for the fact that I woke up this morning. Boom.

6. My book. The second one. I am editing it right now which is kinda like having a hang nail and then pulling it off so your finger starts weeping blood all over and then you try to put a bandaid on it but that just gets soggy and then you accidentally spill a bottle of lemon juice on your hand and you get the idea.

I realize that doesn’t sound very grateful. But, it’s always darkest before the dawn. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Also, when God shuts a door somewhere he opens a window?

Cannot you just SEE how I got a book deal in the first place?

Anyhow, the book is all about perfectionism and so of course editing it is going REALLY well. Irony is just coming up and bludgeoning me over the head with this whole thing. “HA!” says Irony. “You gotta perfect a book about being PERFECT!” *SMACK!*

And then Irony snaps and sashays away. Such a jerk.

7. My husband. I was gonna post his as #5 but that seemed weird. I love it that he gets me. That I can bed-shame him (no, it’s not what you think).

This morning, I came upon the bed looking like this, and so I did what I had to do. I texted him about it:

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And then, later we had this conversation:

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He gets me. Which is so very necessary because otherwise I don’t think we woulda made it past date #1. And then, there would be NO Blonde, or Red… and I would probably be living in a van down by the river.

Whoa. This is so very It’s a Wonderful Life. This will be a future post, I promise. I bet you can’t wait.

8. A Muppet Christmas Carol

Although, the first time I tried to watch this movie with the boys Red was about three and he took one look at the opening number and ran, kind of bleating, from the room. I never really got it out of him, what terrified him so. I think somehow he still thinks that this whole real people/ muppet people universe is really out there, just waiting for him to happen upon it, and he is so creeped out. I have tried for FIVE years straight to watch it with him, and each time he sort of shudders and avoids looking at the dvd, like its a portal to the netherworld. Who knew that Fozzie could cause such stress?

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9. I forgot the rest. I feel the need to go lie down and watch Golden Girls for a few hours. Maybe drink some Ensure.

10. You guys. I just love you.

In the span of I don’t know how many years now, I have gained so many readers, written for all sorts of magazines, published a book, am working on a second one, and a partridge in a pear tree. None of this (maybe excepting the partridge – debatable) would have been remotely possible without you.

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Not a lot of depth, whole lotta shimmy and shake.

I used to think that reality television was so lame, y’all. I mean, who would want to watch some mom try to feed her eight children while learning her new dance routine while losing weight and also picking fights with everyone?

Who would wanna watch that?

ME, THAT’S WHO.

Ok. I am not into a ton of reality shows. I have my favorites. They usually involve food and anything with Paul Hollywood, and I tell you, true. Paul Hollywood could butter toast and it would be done with a steely, blue eyed stare and he wouldn’t even have to touch the butter with a knife: HIS EYES WOULD MELT THE BUTTER. LIKE MELT IT, RIGHT ON THAT TOAST.

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But I digress. My POINT is that I wonder sometimes… do you guys really wanna read about my life? Like… watch me do some laundry and then put it away? Like… that really makes good reading? For reals?

Well, if the Kardashians can do it, so can I.

Scratch that. I kinda have to think that the Kardashians have someone ELSE do their laundry. They mainly seem to sit around on huge, fluffy couches a lot and then do yoga in impossibly tight and misappropriated yoga clothing.

Anyhow. I am telling you all of this, to basically say:

This post is about nuthin. Well, almost nothing. It’s like on the cusp of nothing.

Like every reality show, in the history of ever, there’s not a lot going on here, but there’s a whole lotta shimmy and shake.

So, we got back from Thankgsiving. We were gone for three days. It was like a non stop buffet of really good food (I tried to be good but at one point I think I might have actually taken the entire “take home for the family” plate of pie upstairs in bed. My husband found me gnawing on it like a guilty chipmunk, and then Brian walked toward me, and I had a mouth full of pecan pie and I tried to have a totally normal conversation with him. It was pathetic. I relinquished the pie plate, sorrowfully, after that. It was like Intervention, only with pastry.)

So, after we got back home, I looked around.

It was like my house got mad at me while we were gone. It was a MESS.

There are levels of mess in every house’s life. Some levels are just cluttered. Some are disheveled.

This house looks like it partied in Vegas all weekend.

I texted the husband:

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He responded with his oh-so-usual caring: I’ll help, don’t worry, it’s not so bad nonsense. But I knew, I KNEW, that if I did not deal with that house they would never find me. I would be buried under forty loads of Batman underwear and dirty dishes that learned to procreate on their own.

Of course, while I was cleaning I did have a helper.

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This is Dog. He has some sort of device implanted in his brain that makes him follow me closely wherever I go. Also, I do know I have the beigest hall in the history of halls. It’s a sad little hallway.

So, I would walk down beige hall to put laundry away.

Dog: OH MY GOODNESS I WILL GO TOO! WE WILL GO TOGETHER! WE ARE ONE AND I JUST CANNOT STOP STARING AT YOU BECAUSE YOU SMELL SO GOOD AND I LOVE YOU. THIS HALLWAY REALLY COULD USE A SPLASH OF COLOR!

Then, I walk back the other way, same beige hallway.

Dog: OH NOW WE’RE GOING TO GO ANOTHER WAY?? I THINK THAT’S THE BEST IDEA EVER! YOU ARE SO SMART AND CLEVER HOW YOU WALK BACK AND FORTHING WITH THE PILES OF THINGS! I LOVE YOU!

Then, I go down the stairs. Beige is done.

Dog: Oh HO! THIS IS SO EXCITING! DOWNSTAIRS! I LOVE THAT PLACE! I LOVE THE DOWNSTAIRS WALKING!

And so on.

Dog: AND I LOVE YOU.

Enough, dog.

So, after about four hours of washing clothes I was done. (How did so many clothes HAPPEN? I will give away all the clothes. That’s what I’ll do.)

(Should make for an interesting, albeit chilly, winter.)

And that is my post. It is basically about me doing laundry, but there is also this:

As I was walking back and forth, to the endless delight of Dog, I got a great idea for a story. I needed to write it down, so I grabbed my little notebook. Then, I looked for a place to store the notebook, because as every good writer knows, ones notebook must go back and forthing with you, everywhere, because you never know when the good ideas are gonna strike.

I didn’t have on a bra. That is how I clean. I refuse to be constrained. I might need to clean something up high, and my bra could accidentally snap and strangle me, and I would be found, later, by my husband, snagged by a bra strap, with the cats hungrily circling me.

It could happen.

Also: bras are just a pain.

So, I couldn’t tuck the notebook into my bra. Instead, I tucked it inside my pants. Logical. Sorta weird, but logical.

And then I kinda forgot it was there, until I went to the store and as I was walking down an aisle I laid a notebook.

Undeterred, I said, “Ta DA!” and picked it up and went in search of applesauce.

Dog: I STILL LOVE YOU.

The end.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Throwback Because… As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Hi friends!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! It’s my favorite holiday. FAVORITE. Why?

Sooooo many reasons. But a lot of them are centered around time with family and great food and just… oh, you know. All that mushy stuff.

I post every year my Top Ten Thankfuls, and thought it might be fun to post last year’s… today. I can do that because it’s my blog.

So without further ado:

Screenshot 2017-11-22 13.14.05.pngMOMSIE’S TOP TEN THANKFULS

Here’s what you have been waiting for, all year!!!!! I know you have. Me too.

Gratitude is the best reset button EVER. I belong to a facebook group where we post, every day, five gratitudes, and did you know? Every time I do it, I feel better. Even on the no good, very bad, worstest days ever. Gratitude is a multi-vitamin for the soul, I tell you.

So, here goes. My annual Thanksgiving Day Top Ten Thankfuls:

(In no particular order, because I’m doing this right after I had some coffee and a Clariton and I am totally squirreled out right now):

  1. Squirrel One and Squirrel Two. Might as well keep it in the rodent family right now. img_57831
  2. Also, of course, head squirrel, the hubster:

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4. Lemon Bars. I know. Kinda random. But really? Everything has been all pumpkin spice all over the place and I’m so over it. Let’s start a new thing – Lemon Bar Season! It could happen.

5.  That The Force Awakens did not rely on bad CGI and there was no Jar Jar in it.

6. My mom’s oyster dressing. I know that I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

7. That Black Friday will be over soon.

8. This guy:IMG_5652He has hopes that one day he will be able to FIT in that box. But, as he keeps getting fatter, and the box stays the same, I admire his optimism.

9: This:

 

10: Also, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  And he is good.

Amen?

And all God’s people said: Amen.

 

Bonus #11:

Sober Momsie. I just am who I am supposed to be when I don’t have alcohol in me. I operate better.

I know, some would say, “Really?” But, if you knew me before you would not argue, believe me.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

What a Momsie Believes.

I was up at 5 AM folks. FIVE.

That’s when, like, ARMY PEOPLE get up. To go run hills and save the world and all.

I did not run hills, nor save the world, BUT I did laundry and read the bible.

Not at the same time. But still.

And THEN I ate a completely healthy and hearty bowl of steel-cut oats (the oats for hipsters!) and blueberries and I felt all BAM! I’m gonna kick some serious BEHIND today. I’m on FIRE! I had OATS that were cut by STEEL!

And then, in about an hour, I noticed this:IMG_7401-1.JPG

Yep, that’s my laundry installation. It’s got a great aesthetic, and I’m going to leave it in the living room for a very long time, I think.

I call this sculpture, Expansion.

Or:

I Washed A Bunch of Clothes But Folding Them Makes Me Feel Sad

And so, instead of dealing with reality, I decided to take the dog on a walk. I figured when I got home, the laundry will have flown away, like laundry does.

Ok, it never does that but it’s a really pretty day. So there’s that.

And I took the dog and we spied this:IMG_7350.jpg

And I wondered if somehow the laundry was trying to tell me something? It made me feel better. Even if it wasn’t about the laundry, somebody, somewhere, was trying to be nice about something. And so, the universe smiled. As the universe does.

THEN, I came across this:IMG_7400.jpg

And I was all, I GOT YOU UNIVERSE; I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING HERE.

And the dog and I strutted home, in the fall leaves, all crunchy and awesome. And I was feeling crunchy and awesome. And Hosmer managed to completely match up his little prancy paws with my ipod.

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Who knew that The Doobie Brothers were Hosmer’s  JAM, y’all?

He was all prancy-prancy and “But what a fool believes, he sees. No wise man has the power to reason away!”

And I was all, “What seems to be, is always better than nothing, than nothing at all!!!” And I think we kinda freaked out an older gentleman who was trying to get in his truck, but I just smiled and waved a lot. And kept singing about fools believing.

And THEN I got home and the universe still had not put away the four tons of clothes in my living room.

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I get it, Universe. There’s only so much that you will do for me. You’re not an enabler, I’ll give you that.

But it still was an awesome morning. So far the art installation of kids’ socks and Star Wars beach towels has not moved. I think it adds a certain touch to house. I might add my whites’ load to it later, to go for a little more height.

And here we are. This is the best song in the history of songs. And there is SUCH good hair going on. Give it a listen, and you will feel all I LOVE YOU, UNIVERSE, too.