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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Merry Christmas from Momsie

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Today’s post was brought to you by:

  • Heavy Nostalgia
  • Christmas Movies
  • Danny Kaye
  • Sisterly Love
  • Netflix Streamteam!

Last week I was participating in one of my favorite activities: Piling about six majillion movies and shows into my Netflix stream for future viewing. At this point, I should be well stocked until 2023. I can’t help it. I have such glorious plans to sit and watch my malevolent House of Cards, my  geekie Numbers, my obscure international films that involve reading, my endless romantic comedies (I love you, Sleepless in Seattle! You complete me!), and of course, my snooty British wonders: Sherlock, Dr. Who, Call the Midwife…

Oh, I could go on and on. And, as my viewing cue will show you, I do.

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But lately, this is how I roll:

WE MUST WATCH ALL THE THINGS CHRISTMAS! AS MUCH AS CHRISTMASY POSSIBLE! SMUSH IT ALL IN, BECAUSE ONCE IT’S GONE IT’S A WHOLE YEAR, YA’LL, SO GET YOUR FIX NOW!

And so, I bring you, with a big drum roll and feather fans:

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Ok. Let me give you a little back story on this gem. When my sister, Jenni, and I were little, we would watch this on our television. This was back when our television had five channels. And, to turn the channel, you got up off the couch and walked over to the tv and turned the knob. And, it’s very possible, we had just finished fighting over who got to sit on the smooshy couch verses Dad’s red chair. But, if we spotted this movie? We stopped fighting and would plunk right down and watch, enraptured, by all the colors and songs, and cuteness! Danny Kaye. Adorable.

And, it featured these two:haynes-sistersJenni was always Rosemary Clooney, because, well, older and wiser and all that.

I was the younger one, Vera Ellen, who was spunky and a little crazy, but you know what? She ended up with Danny Kaye, so we’re all good.

The image above is from my favorite number in the movie: their “Sisters” duet. In it they get to wear ridiculously bright blue sparkly stuff, and there’s feather fans!!! SQUEE!!!! FEATHER FANS!!!

And, then, of course there was THIS:

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I don’t remember… there’s some sort of madcap caper, and Kaye and Crosby sing the “Sisters” song and really, who needs more explanation of plot? This movie is not about plot. It’s a movie musical, ya’ll. A fifties musical. Leave plot driven realism for The Grapes of Wrath. This has people breaking into song and then tap dancing. Good enough.

They had me at Vista Color.

I am watching this tonight, as I finish up my Christmas wrapping. There will be eggnog and popcorn, and I think I just might be my own Hallmark movie.

Truth be told, my Hallmark moment was tarnished just a teensy bit earlier, when had just found this on the great Netflix, and excitedly played the opening credits for my boys. I prefaced it with the dreaded, “Boys! Boys! This is something Mommy watched when she was little! I love this movie!” This enthusiasm from the Mom pretty much always merits two little raincloud responses from my boys:

Red: He starts inching away, with an embarrassed and rather patronizing smile, like Mommy has clearly lost her marbles. Poor mommy. I will smile and watch for about two minutes to help her feel loved, then I am outta here.

Blonde: Abject horror. “What’s DIS? Dis is boring. Canna I have a snack?”

Note: I must remember never to show enthusiasm for old movies. This will only work against me. Toddlers smell nostalgia and it breaks their synapses. Nostalgia, for them, is like five minutes ago, so don’t even try.

That’s fine. More for me. ‘Tis the season.

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What is your favorite Christmas movie smushed all full of happy nostalgia and feels??

And, I would also like to wish you a very VERY Merry Christmas. You, my gentle readers, are a wonderful Christmas present that I am so grateful for.

And yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition.

God bless us, every one.

Postscript: I watched this as I wrapped the last of the presents, and I had forgotten – there is a great scene at the beginning of the movie that is so lovely and poignant, a real thank you to all those who are serving in our armed forces during the holidays… Brought tears to my eyes. I want to add a very big thank you to all who protect and serve – while we celebrate, you sacrifice for us. Thank you.

Words’ Worth

 

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Well, you know how it begins.

 

Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She was pretty ordinary. Kind of nutty.  Had her moments of brilliance.  Had her moments of shame.  She was nothing too extraordinary, in any way.

Pretty much your run of the mill girl.  As far as girls go.

She was a teacher, a runner, a friend to a few very great people, and an owner of a truly remarkable dog named Norman.

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It is good to interject here that she loves and adores this dog and she believes, firmly, that he will be at the gate of heaven when she kicks it. He’ll be waiting there for her, thwacking his tail back and forth, so that his whole hind quarters waggle, just so you know.

Anyhow.

There were some days when her nights seemed extra long.  When all the feelings she had piled up on her insides and she had no idea in holy heck how to untangle any of them.  There was a skip in her brain that kept hiccuping over itself, like a bruised record needle.  And so, she drank a glass or two of wine, and that smoothed out almost all the issues.

Until, of course, it didn’t.  She kept up appearances, though, because run of the millers know how to do that.  She kept her hair smooth, job intact, all records were clean.  All doctor appointments were kept.  Church on Sunday.  Coffee with friends.  That sort of thing.  Despair, though, wrapped around her shoulders during all the in between times.  It clung on in the mornings, after lunch.  Sometimes before lunch.  It was all around.  The despair was still there even though these really big and wonderful things had happened to her.  Her sweet love had married her.  Her darling boys were born.  Her life was a portrait.  It made her more sad, even, to realize how tangled up she was, despite the beauty all around her.

The part that really befuddled her is that she thought she was so much smarter than all of this addiction stuff.   But yet, she had decided to step squarely on that land mine anyhow.  And then when she tried, again and again, to stop stepping on the landmine, she found that she couldn’t.  It was maddening.  She was a “just pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” kind of girl.  She should be able to do this.

This went on for a million years.

She felt foolish.  And sad.  She worried a lot (more than even her normal quotient, which was all the time) that her church, her friends, would see her treading water amidst the wreckage, paddle up in a life raft and shout out: “You there!  You! The drowning one!  We need to ask first:  Are you a fool? Because if you are, we can’t help you.”

Here’s what happened instead: Her husband, and her friends, and her church paddled up and said: “Are you a fool?  Well.  Aren’t we all.  Get in.”

So, she quit drinking.  Actually, she didn’t quit.  She gave up, and she allowed her sweet God who loved her very very much to take charge.

And she went to meetings.  And she prayed and prayed. And sometimes she sat in her laundry room, weeping, saying, “God grant me the serenity, please.  PLEASE, God.”

And she kept going, through big fat failures, and pain, and joyful days that gave her hope that maybe all this sobriety stuff was possible, really possible, and even maybe just worth it, after all.

During it all she wrote like crazy, because, she liked to do so.  She had to.  It unlocked her heart a bit, to write.  It unraveled things, smoothed them out, like linens in a drawer, all crisp and white, ready for use when the guests come.

And then, she decided to enter a contest with her words. And she got an award.  And then, an article was accepted.  And another one. Another award was given.   And there was something in all of this that straight up fed her soul.  The clicking of the keys in the late night hours, it was her best lullaby.  She would wake up, when it was still dark outside and the birds were just starting to sleepily chirp awake, and she would be casting out words and drawing them back again, working, working on her nets of sentences and ideas.

She still does this.  5:15 a.m, the words wake her up.

And I guess, she just wanted to say thank you.

I guess I just wanted to say, thank you.

Thank you for reading.

Words cannot express how grateful I am.

But I won’t ever stop trying to write them.

No one will ever replace Norman.  But this creature? He is a doggie (Norman variety) with cat fur on.  He gives me joy.

No one will ever replace Norman. But this creature? He is a doggie (Norman variety) with cat fur on. He gives me joy.