The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Category Archives for ‘Experiences’

Stuff and Life

I wanted to make a Youtube Video with my 9 year old on How to Make an Origami Hummingbird from this book we have that looks like a children’s book, but is actually for adult engineers with IQs of 150+. It was going to have a lot of weeping and smashing things and eventually us going to the store and buying a model of a hummingbird. But then work got really busy and I’ve had to actually show houses and write contracts and LAME.

So instead, imagine a video where Gray and I are huddled over a stack of origami paper and I’m crying and asking him, “Why, Gray? Why? I just don’t know what a ‘squash fold’ is and I think it’s too early to drink… is it too early to drink? It’s not to early to drink, right?”

Also here’s a general life update to tide you over until I get a chance to put together a fully-formed attempt to entertain:

1. Jonas has been sleeping in a tent in the backyard off and on for the last couple of weeks. It started over spring break, but then last Thursday he was all, I’m going to sleep outside again tonight, OK? And I couldn’t really think of a decent reason why he shouldn’t if he wanted to, so he did. And the night after that, and the night after that, and the night after that. (Saturday night he tried to tell me he was going to take the tent into the greenbelt behind our house and sleep out there, but it seemed like he’d have trouble climbing the back fence with his tent and bedding, so I vetoed it.)

Last night I started to get worried there was something about this I wasn’t taking into account and told him he had to sleep inside for a night. I was worried it wasn’t good for his allergies, or the birds outside wake him up too early and he wasn’t able to get a decent night’s sleep, or it’s not good for a six year old’s back to sleep on the ground every night. Or that he had joined an international drug smuggling ring run by children and was sneaking out of the yard at night to get trained for the eventual operation.

This morning I asked him if he slept well and he said, “No. The tent’s better.”

So, now I’m not even sure what to do with him. Built him a platform out back he can pitch his tent on permanently and rename the backyard ‘Jonas’s Room’? Hire coyotes to raise him in the desert out front of our house? Get him his own reality show where he invites other kindergartners over, forces them to sleep in the yard and votes them out one by one in tribal councils?

2. My Mysterious Illness has culminated in the least satisfying, most anticlimactic story ever.

The Parvo test came back negative. As did the Valley Fever test. In fact, none of the three rounds of blood they’ve taken have shown anything abnormal. Also the biopsy they did three weeks ago (that still hasn’t healed) just showed it’s a ‘vasculitis type rash’. Which apparently means: It’s a rash.

So what I’ve learned is:

I have a rash.

There is blood in my body.

I don’t have leukemia or anything icky like that.

It’s not ringworm or bedbugs (so everyone can stop assuming that, thanks).

The regular doc I went to was all: Yeah… so… yeah… But you’re not dying. I mean I’m pretty sure about that. And the oral steroids we gave you made it better for awhile, so… I mean, I think if the rash comes back you should go to a dermatologist. Because they’re good at like rashes and stuff. 

The dermatologist I went to when the rash came back was all: Um… I don’t really do joint pain, so I’m going to pretend that’s not a symptom. The rash is weird, we should biopsy it. And you should put more steroids on it. Steroids are awesome. Not that I do them recreationally or anything. WATCHMERIPMYSHIRTINHALFRAWR!!!!

One of my friends who’s not a doctor of anything but Internet Googling (she has a PHD in IG) found a virusy rash type thing that sounded right and I called my doctor to ask if that was a possibility. She’d never heard of it (and I asked myself why, WHY, we have doctors when all we really need are friends and The Internet), but ran more blood and said she thought that wasn’t it either.

In other strangeness, my sister also has the rash. But only on one leg. And she’s pretending it’s not a thing because denial is her favorite medicine. Since she and I don’t even get to spend that much time together anymore because she has this terrible Assistant Principal of a High School job that results in awesome stories but a fairly hideous life (did you know that ‘clapping in someone’s face’ is a super harsh insult to The Kids now?) I’m not sure how I gave it to her but not my children or my husband who sleeps in my bed. I shared my steroid creme with her, but I haven’t heard if it helped because she’s too busy dealing with delinquents and developing PTSD.

So at this point, I have a rash that goes away when I’m taking steroids or putting steroid creme on it, but comes back when I stop and migrating joint pain that’s not nearly as bad as it was that first week (this week it’s my elbows) and could be just from working out too much? Both have been going on for 5 weeks.

Neither, however, are making my life miserable (except when I try to wear shorts or a swimsuit, which is annoying because I have abs for the first time ever, now that I’m taking circus class). So at this point I’m just going to use all the refills on the steroid creme and hope by the time they run out this has worked itself out of my system.

(Most boring conclusion ever.)

 

 

My Inaugural Aerial Performance

Last weekend at Circus class:

Rachel (officially circusy owner/instructor) – Hey guys, the circus school is going to be out at The Tempe Festival of Arts next weekend and will have a rig set up for student demos. Instead of next weekend’s class, do you maybe want to come down and do a little informal student performing?

Me and Rebekah (the other newish, unperformance-seasoned chick in our class) – PERFORMING???!!! LIKE WE’RE SORT OF REALLY IN THE CIRCUS??!! Are you being serious right now or just kidding? Because if this is a joke, it’s not funny.

Rachel – Um, I’m not kidding.

Me and Rebekah – Just tell us where to be. We’ll go ahead and sleep there, in costumes and makeup until it’s time.

Rachel – But that’s probably not necessary. Or legal. And these are just super casual student-demos.

Me and Rebekah – We don’t care what’s legal, we’re circus folk!!!

Rachel – …Ok, then.

Me and Rebekah –  weekend-update

Thursday night Rebekah and I met at the school to practice some of the basic routines we know to be ready to perform. We’ve learned a bunch of tricks, but we haven’t done any kind of perfecting or really much in the way of sequencing them together. We started with the silks, and by the time we’d gone through our repertoire, we were too exhausted to do much of anything on the trapeze.

I thought it would probably be ok because um, hello, I was born to be in the circus. Clearly I would get up in front of the crowd and a giant ray of sunlight would appear from heaven like a spotlight. I would step up to the apparatus and instantly become light as air and able to touch my foot to my head again like when I was 12. My teeth would reflect like diamonds and I would sweat glitter. If I had to fart, it would be soundless, odorless and appear as a rainbow. Because it was meant to be.

Apparently, though, I am not the (magical, glowing, rainbow-farting) Chosen One of circusing, even though I really thought it was going to be me. *sad face*

Also, I forgot to take into account I am inflicted with the particular brand of stage-fright that means my mind goes blank when I’m in front of a crowd and I’m unable to think or feel anything except my own terror and the growing discomfort on the faces of each of the individual audience members in response to my obvious terror. If I haven’t practiced whatever I’m doing in front of the crowd so many times my body can take over on auto-pilot while my mind freaks THE FUCK out, I just stand there, a sweating, shaking shell of a person, while everyone feels sorry for me and I feel sorry for myself. It’s not that circusy. I’m pretty sure this specific form also comes with a weird amnesia that makes me completely forget it’s going to happen until the second I’m in front of the crowd. Every. Time.

Friday at the festival, things were not awesome, but they weren’t terrible, either. The crowd watching was pretty small and it was really just me, and a few other people demoing, so I felt, at the very least, useful. I did the few tricks I had completely memorized several times as the crowd rotated through. No one I knew showed up, so I was only humiliating myself in front of strangers. Plus, Rebekah took some cool pictures of me and since they were still,  you couldn’t even see the shaking, sweating and general lack of confidence I really exuded in person.

This is The Unicorn. You can't even see that I couldn't remember which way to twist to get up into it and had to ask for help while I was struggling to get into it.

This is The Unicorn. You can’t even see that I couldn’t remember which way to twist to get up into it and had to ask for help while I was flailing around on the trapeze.

This is called Rain and I think it's actually supposed to look like this!

This is called Rain and I think it’s actually supposed to look like this!

Saturday I brought my husband, children and mother with me so they could witness the spectacle. One of my oldest and dearest and her hubby showed up. Of course this ratcheted up the pressure and my nervousness, but to be fair, most of those people had watched me give birth or emerged from my body, and those who hadn’t (minus my BFF’s husband) had attended high school dances with me and still love me despite my ensemble choices, so it felt like sort of a Safe Place.

I managed a few tricks without crying and received the obligatory familial praise (Well, honestly I probably would have been more impressed if you hadn’t already made me watch like 30 video clips of you doing this stuff.*).

This is called a Falling Star. (And those are called my Rainbow Tights.)

This is called a Falling Star. (And those are called My Rainbow Tights.)

The Fly. (Minus Jeff Goldblum.)

The Fly. (Minus Jeff Goldblum.)

Sunday morning I was a mess. My arms ached from too many consecutive days of aerial and I was moderately belligerent at the idea of returning to the scene of my torture, and paying $10 to park AGAIN. But I’d told my classmates I’d be there, so I choked down a handful of Aleve and bucket of caffeine and shuffled back to Tempe.

Things started downhill as soon as I arrived:

1. The crowd watching had tripled.

2. All of the really bendy, young, fantastic students had arrived to demo (making me wish I’d worn a shirt that said, “I’m a 35 year old mother of 3, please don’t measure me in comparison to HER ->”).

3. Several of my sweet and supportive friends had showed up to watch me (humiliate and potentially injure myself).

I shakily struggled through a demo of the Fly routine and slid too far down the silks to finish with the Rain trick (sliding south is a symptom of sucking on the silks). By that point my ego was so crumpled and bruised I could do nothing but disentangle myself from the silks and run back under the tent. I didn’t even bow (which was possibly my worst error. At least if you act like you’re doing it right the people who aren’t paying too close attention won’t realize you fucked it all up).

I was ready to give up, go home and drink until I couldn’t see the sympathetic looks on the faces of the crowd in my head anymore, when my 3 year old nephew, Colby, tapped me on the arm and said, “Aunt Mini, where are my cousins?” Because, of course, my sister and brother-in-law had taken their only days off insanely busy work week schedules, packed their young sons into the car and paid $10 to park to come out and support me.

I probably should have lied and told them I was sorry, but I’d used up all of my demoing time and they’d have to just imagine my head on someone else’s body. I could have said I’d broken my arm on the last trick. I might have yelled, “Oh my god, a guy over there is being captured by pterodactyl!” and run away when they turned to look.

But I didn’t.

Instead, even though the silks had been traded out for the trapeze, and I actually don’t know any cohesive routines on trapeze, even though a 22 year old who weighs 98 pounds and can twist herself into a pretzel had just performed before me, and even though I had mindfucked myself into an almost epileptic state of nervousness over the whole thing, I tackled one more demo on the trapeze.

This is really all you need to know about that performance:

I attempted the Level One sequence, which I haven’t done in a few months. When it came to doing the fourth trick in the sequence, the Half Angel (which I always have trouble remembering just how to do even when I’m low to the ground in the gym and not in front of anyone) my mind went absolutely blank with respect to which foot was supposed to go where and which hand was supposed to let go. So instead of stopping and asking for help, or doing something I did know how to complete, I took a guess and ended up hanging from my ankle and the wrong hand, swinging around haphazardly in a trick that IS NOT A TRICK.

I’m sure it would have actually been more humiliating if I’d lost my grip right there (because what I was doing was completely unsafe) and gone crashing to the mat, but all I could think was that all of the other students and teachers watching were distinctly aware what I was doing was not a real thing. It was kind of like if Will Ferrell had been allowed to pretend he was a circus aerialist. If you can imagine Blades of Glory, but with aerialists, that’s what I was doing right there.

Luckily, there’s no video or photographic evidence of this incident that I know of. I made it to the ground without grievously injuring myself and immediately hightailed it to the bar where I drank enough margaritas I only sort of hated myself.

So… none of the Cirque talent scouts have called me yet. I haven’t been whisked off to Vegas to live out my dreams of sparkly costumes and fame. I’m still just a 35 year old mother of three with performance anxiety. But I’m not giving up. I need to work harder at being less of a spaz, for sure, but it was a learning experience. Also, even though I love (LOVE) those of you who showed up, next time I’m not announcing my performance on Facebook. Ya’ll don’t need to be put through that.

This is from Sunday. If you look close, you can see the terror in my eyes.

This is from Sunday. If you look close, you can see the terror in my eyes.

 

*He’s going to be super pissy that I quoted him, so I’m not even going to tell you who said that.

A Mysterious Illness Everyone Is Tired Of Hearing About

I’ve been waiting to write about my mysterious illness until I had a definitive conclusion to the story, but the stupid lab results are taking FORFUCKINGEVER. So here’s Part II:

Friday night the rash got all super leprosy-ish

leprosy rash

and the joint pain and swelling got worse. I became convinced I was totally being murdered by red dots and hurty joints. Saturday I woke up and my elbow hurt too much to put my own hair in a ponytail. I had to have Jason do it and when he was finished I declared, That’s enough! One person should not have to cope with this much misery! Disgusting legs AND super terrible husband ponytail hair? It’s just too much burden for a single human to bear!

Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with my mother’s doctor and the lab results from the blood they took at Urgent Care Thursday came back in time to bring them along. That doctor took a look at my rash and was all, Yeesh. You’re gross. But then he told me all of my blood work came back normal! I didn’t have wacky white blood cells, or an elevated SED rate. My liver function was normal (who would have guessed that?! It’s clearly because I exercise it a really lot. I have a super strong liver). I wasn’t showing a positive result for Rheumatoid Arthritis or anything like that.

After 834 questions about the rash and pain, the doctor decided I have… (insert half-hearted drumroll)… Parvo! That’s right, obviously the problem is I’ve been a Pomeranian this whole time and I just never realized it. He said it’s a virus people totally don’t get from making out with dogs (I mean…not that I was worried that’s how I got it) and in adults it can have rash and joint pain as symptoms. There aren’t anti-virals for it, it just runs its course.

He put me on a round of steroids to get rid of the rash and the joint pain and took more blood to test for the Parvo and a few other things just to make sure. He said I’d be feeling much better soon and I could go back to my normal workouts whenever I was.

By 24 hours into the steroids my knees were pain-free and I could totally do my own hair again (WHEW). The rash was no longer doubling in size daily and parts were definitely fading. On Monday I felt good enough to attempt circus class, which went well. I felt strong and capable and nothing hurt that shouldn’t. It was clear if I could just keep taking the steroids forever I could totally join Cirque in no time! And then I punched something for no reason and the poignant background music of a Very Special Episode from 1985 started playing.

Of course, when I got home and got ready for bed, the soundtrack played The Price Is Right’s Whomp, whaaaa…, because I had a brand new hideous deformity around the back of my thigh:

Yes, I had to crop it like this so it doesn't look super porny. This is an important scientific, medical post!

Yes, I had to crop it like this so it wasn’t just a picture of my ass. This is an important scientific, medical post!

So back to the doctor I went on Tuesday. This time I saw a different lady who also kind of thought I was a gnarly looking freak, but she thought my circus class workout sounded super awesome, so I totally gave her the details. She said she thought maybe the bondagey looking mark on the back of my thigh was a result of the silks (we had learned this trick, Monday night) and my skin reacting to a combination of whatever virus I had (she seemed less convinced it was Parvo) and the steroid. She wasn’t super sure, though and kind of made that, ‘I’m real sorry you’re a freak’ face.

Now it’s Thursday and they still don’t have the stupid blood work back. It’s apparently a long test. My rash looks way better and the ligature mark (I’ve been binge-watching True Detective) on my leg is starting to fade. I do, however, have a handful of new red dots. Although it’s really hard to tell what it old, what is new, what is a freckle and what is red wine I just accidentally dripped on myself.

I’ve been vacillating wildly back and forth between I’m all better, Mom! Stop bossing me about how I work out too much and I’m tiring my body out! and The rash is clearly coming back and pretty soon will start eating my face so I should just eat a Magnum bar for lunch and feel sorry for myself. I’m pretty sure the solution is to use a Sharpie to circle all of my current red dots so I know for sure if I get any new ones.

OR, the effing doctor could just call me back and tell me it’s Parvo for sure and I could stop worrying that I have a mystery illness that’s really an alien life form inhabiting my body so it can learn the secrets of our culture and eventually use my brain as nourishment.

 

A Mysterious Illness and a Neurotic Walk Into a Bar…

Monday night Jason was working on some stupid work project and didn’t have time to pay attention to me, so I fell asleep on the couch watching TV by myself. When I woke up to go to bed, my knees were broken. They didn’t hurt when I fell asleep, but somehow, an hour later (15+ hours after I’d done any kind of physical activity), they felt like someone had taken a mallet to my kneecaps. I hobbled to bed and hoped it was a weirdly realistic bad dream.

In the morning they still hurt. Because I hadn’t fallen or injured them during any kind of activity I could think of, I could only assume I had bursitis from loneliness and the fact that Jason didn’t want my help with his project. It seemed like this should pass fairly quickly if I pretended it didn’t exist. I proceeded to bend my knees as often as possible throughout the day and tell myself, That doesn’t hurt, you dopey girl. Those are your pretty muscles just telling you your knees are looking super great today.

Later, I went to a workout class that’s designed to make every part of your body cry tears made of bacon grease and wine (or at least that’s what my body’s tears are made of). My knees hurt during the class, but um, hello, working out is inherently painful. I just assumed that meant I was doing it really well. By the time I got home, my knees had stiffened and swelled and I could barely get up the stairs to go to bed. That night I had trouble sleeping because bending them at all woke me up.

The next morning, in addition to the swollen, miserable knees, I had what looked like red sharpie dots on my legs and around my eyes.

rash post 1

First I tried washing them off in case Jonas had gotten more creative with his graffiti. Then I decided we had bedbugs, which would require burning down the house, of course. After 10 minutes of standing next to our bed staring intently at the sheets and then Googling, Are bed bugs visible to the naked eye? (the answer is yes), I put away the lighter fluid and the novelty bass* lighter we keep handy for such situations.

You thought I was being hyperbolic, didn't you? Obviously you should take me more seriously.

You thought I was being hyperbolic, didn’t you? Obviously you should take me more seriously.

At this point, it seemed the only logical conclusion for the soreness and rash was that I’m approaching 36 but still acting like a 16 year old, so my body is decaying at an increased rate. Obviously I would, at any moment, fall into a decrepit pile of inflamed cartilage and leprosy on the bathroom tile.

When I broke this unfortunate news to Jason, he was understandably distraught, but assured me in the event of my impending putrefaction, he would go on living and find someone new and young to keep him happy in my absence, as he knew I would want him to. Then he told me I should probably make an appointment to see a doctor because rashes are weird.

I considered this approach, but eventually decided it would either get better on its own and I wouldn’t need to go or get like a whole bunch worse, and it’s really a lot more satisfying to walk into a doctor’s office with a super horrifyingly visible malady that makes the doctor flinch than one you have to point to and say, No, right here… do you see it? And there’s another one right here- oh wait, that was lint. So I decided to give it another day.

Wednesday night Jason went to his workout class (designed to make his body cry tears of steak sauce and gin) and I made chicken enchiladas for the kids and me. When I sat down to eat, I tapped my left ankle on my chair and winced in pain. I looked down to find it had joined the club of Elizabeth’s Joints Who Think It’s Funny To Freak Her Shit Out.

I think it's not supposed to look like that.

I think it’s not supposed to look like that.

Of course I immediately texted Jason pictures of my swollen ankle, because if there’s anything you can do while working out 25 miles from home, it’s make your wife’s swollen ankle better. When he got home we conferred and concluded a doctor visit was in order, despite the fact that the rash hadn’t really reached the shock factor I was holding out for. After that I spent the requisite 2 hours Googling rash images to see just how strong my stomach really was (turns out, not very) and rash + swollen joints so I could spend the rest of the night lying awake in bed, wondering how I had managed to pick up a rare form of Malaria only found in Yugoslavia, back when it was called Yugoslavia.

And that’s how I ended up at Urgent Care yesterday morning, being seen by a very nice nurse practitioner who took blood and advised me to make an appointment with a ‘normal doctor’ to review the results, but refused to speculate on what could possibly be causing this.

Nice NP: It could be a lot of things.

Me: OK… but like for instance what?

Nice NP: Well there’s just a really long list of possibilities. We need to do some tests.

Me: So, but what are just one or two of the possibilities? You don’t have to tell me all of them.

Nice NP: There are just so many. I wouldn’t want to guess.

Me: Not even like one tiny guess? Like any random guess at all? What if I guess and you blink twice when you think I’m getting warm. Are we talking infected hangnail or terminal Sarcoidosis? This is about all the wine and Diet Coke I drink, isn’t it? I mean my blood must be at least 70% composed of wine and Diet Coke at this point and you’re totally going to see that when you do your test, so I might as well admit it right now-

Nice NP: We’ll call you with the results. Probably Saturday. This is weird. I’m not saying it’s not weird.

Me: If you’re making an attempt to impress some kind of gravity of the situation on me here, you’re going to need to use different language. I hear that about my life choices every day.

Nice NP: I have to see some other patients now.

Me: OK.

He did, however, recommend I use heat on my sore joints. Obviously his intent was to write me a prescription for this:

rash post 4

I always follow doctor’s orders.

*I’ve been informed it’s actually a novelty trout lighter.

Ragnar 2014

I survived my third Ragnar! A week ago right now, I was trying not to drop my phone into the depths of a porta-potty while hovering for a final pee before my first run.

As of now, my aches and pains have mostly healed, although I do still have a fist-sized bruise on my right ass-cheek from when we were driving somewhere in North Phoenix in the middle of the night and went over a giant, unexpected dip in the road. My head hit the roof of the SUV and I came down on the seatbelt. That counts as a running injury, right? I’ll refrain from posting a picture here, but you can send me a message if you want to be added to my distribution list of people who I regularly text such things. You probably want to consider the commitment carefully, though. Just ask my sister, husband and girlfriends. There are things you can’t unsee.

Ragnar 2014 went as it tends to for me: I’m a little nervous the first run, by the second I’ve settled firmly into ‘Why the fuck am I doing this again?’, and by the third I hate everyone and every thing right until about halfway through when I LOVE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING. It’s always an abrupt and euphoric shift. This year my final run was right at sunrise, which (I cannot stress this enough) is the motherfucking best. I ran East, downhill and got to watch the sun peek up from behind Four Peaks:

Yes, I stopped to take this picture. I'm totally that girl.

Yes, I stopped to take this picture while I was running. I’m totally that girl.

I’m not sure life gets better than that. Like I think it goes:

3. Bottomless mimosas

2. Ryan Gosling in that scene from Crazy, Stupid, Love where he recreates the Dirty Dancing lift

1. This run

It was really nice to end on a positive note, because my second run was really brutal. Let’s recount the unpleasantness, shall we?

#1: It was at 10:30 p.m. and I fell asleep in the van for 20 minutes right before I had to run. So when my teammates woke me up to get out and head to the transition area, I wasn’t even sure where I was or who they were. They handed me a head lamp and I put it on backwards.

#2: I was so out of it, I didn’t realize I had to pee until we got to the transition area, within about 45 seconds of the runner before me coming in. I asked where the porta-potties were set up and the volunteer just pointed the exact opposite direction about a quarter mile down the road.

#3: Instead of sucking my pee back up into my body and using it as hydration like my sister suggested, I bailed into the porta-potty like a minute and a half into my run. My team probably would have won if I hadn’t done that.

#4: About a mile into the run I got passed. Normally I don’t care that much when people pass me because, whatever, I’m slower than some and faster than some and it is what it is. But the team I was on this year ended up being FAST. So… on our team I wasn’t slower than some and faster than some, I was just slower than all. And they kept talking about ‘kills’, which is apparently what you call it when you pass someone (I’m so slow no one even ever explained to me this was a thing before). So by that point all I could think about when I got passed was how much murdered I was being. And then there was the fact that this guy had one leg and was running with a blade. I got killed, by a guy with one leg.

#5: As I was finishing mile four, the course turned on to a desert trail. There was a big light and an old dude wearing a reflective vest who looked angry and exhausted. He just pointed up.

This is a daytime shot of the hill the old guy was pointing to.

This is a daytime shot of the hill the old guy was pointing to.

#6: By halfway up this hill I had caught back up to the guy with one leg and when we crested the top and started to run down, I was ready to pass him. But I had to have this internal debate with myself first:

Me: Ew, is it super dickish to pass a guy who is clearly having more trouble with the rocky, downhill terrain than I am because he’s wearing a blade and has one leg?

Also Me: It’s probably more dickish and condescending to not pass him because you feel bad for the fact that he has one leg.

Me: Ugh, that’s true. And I’m breathing down his neck right now.

Also Me: And there was that guy in the Olympics who had two blades! He’s way faster than you!

Me: And then he killed his girlfriend.

Also Me: I wonder if this guy feels like that guy gives amputee runners a bad name.

Me: Maybe I should ask him.

Also Me: Or just pass him already and get on with his miserable run. He’s probably going to pass you later again anyway. You can ask him then.

#7: After about a mile of running through the darkness on a rocky path in the middle of the desert, I passed a girl wearing a schoolgirl skirt and crying. She said, “We have less than two miles left! How will we get back to the road?” to me despondently as I passed.

#8: When the end of the run (and the lighted street) was finally in sight and I started to think I maybe wouldn’t die out in the desert alone and eaten by coyotes, the one-legged guy passed me again. I was too tired and depressed to ask him about his feelings on Oscar Pistorius.

I did make it to the end, though and I got to have that glorious final run. It was a fun Ragnar and a really fantastic team. Go Team Hair of the Jog:

I posted this picture on Facebook and one of my friends emailed me, "Did you really win Ragnar??" and I was like, "No... noo, no. That was an ironic 'we're #1!' we were doing there... get it?" and then I got really worried people actually thought we won Ragnar but I didn't want to comment, 'GUYS. WE TOTALLY DIDN'T WIN.' because that seemed kind of rude to my teammates.

I posted this picture on Facebook and one of my friends emailed me, “Did you really win Ragnar??” and I was like, “No… noo, no. That was an ironic We’re #1! we were doing there… get it?” and then I got really worried people actually thought we won Ragnar but I didn’t want to comment, ‘GUYS. WE TOTALLY DIDN’T WIN.’ because that seemed kind of rude to my teammates. We did get 19th in our division, though.

I’ll prolly do it again next year.

 

Bee Plan A and Spider Plan A

Jonas: Gray, can I have a piece of paper?

Gray: I guess. It’s up on my desk.

Jonas: Mom, can I use one of your pens?

Me: Sure, here you go.

jos plan 1

Me: What are you doing, Jo?

Jonas: Oh, I’m making a plan.

Me: What sort of plan?

Jonas: About the bees.

Me: Huh?

Jonas: Well, see, the red bug people-

Me: You mean Brian and Sarah next door?

Jonas: Yes. They had that bee hive in the crack under their patio.

jos plan 3

Me: Yes…

Jonas: Well I figured out that the bees were there because of the tree in our yard. It has a lot of pollen on it, see?

jos plan 2

Me: Maybe…

Jonas: Bees like pollen, so I’m sure of it.

Me: OK.

Jonas: So my plan is to cut the stuff with pollen down so the bees don’t go over there any more.

jos plan 5

Me: You’re going to cut down the tree?

Jonas: No, just the pieces with pollen. I’m going to use the scissors from the kitchen.

Me: You’re going to climb the tree and cut off the branches with pollen?

Jonas: No, I’m going to stand on the firepit. I can reach some of it from there.

Me: I’m not saying your logic is completely off, but I can’t let you take the kitchen scissors and cut off parts of the tree. First of all, the pest control people came and took care of the bee hive-

Jonas: There are still bees there! I can see them!

Me: I know, but they got rid of the hive. And secondly, bees are good. They pollenate the plants and flowers and we like that.

Jonas: Well, I was going to leave the pollen branches on the ground so the bees could still have them.

Me: You can’t take the scissors outside.

Jonas: Fine. Can I have another piece of paper?

Me: Sure.

jos plan 6

Jonas: Mom. I have a new plan. This is Plan A.

Me: You mean Plan B, because the other one was Plan A.

Jonas: No, this is the Spider Plan A. That was the Bee Plan A.

Me: Got it. What is your new plan?

Jonas: Well, see right here, there are a lot of spider webs. I drew them by the house.

Me: It’s kind of hard to see anything because you used a black marker on a black piece of paper.

Jonas: That’s because it’s night in this plan.

Me: Makes sense.

Jonas: See, I have this sharp, pointy stick.

jos plan 7

Jonas: I’m going to use it to take off all the spiderwebs in the backyard.

Me: I think that’s an excellent plan.

Jonas: Great! I’m on it! And then I’m going to make Plan B!

 

Everything and Nothing.

I’m pretty sure ain’t nobody got time for cohesive narratives this week (meaning: me. I don’t). So let’s commence with the nonsensical rambling, shall we?

One of my best-friend‘s dad died this week. He’s been in kind of roller-coastery health the last few years, so it wasn’t completely unexpected, but it was fast and kind of shocking. I spent a good chunk of yesterday at her house going through her father’s boxes of photos, getting rid of stuff and helping find pictures for the slideshow she’s putting together for his funeral.

I know she feels like I was being a ‘good friend’ by taking time out of my schedule to come and support her during this, but honestly, it was a lovely day I was lucky I got to experience with her. To begin with, she cooked this amazing breakfast of sausage, spinach and potatoes in a skillet topped with eggs and grape tomatoes and finished in the oven. Those are all of my favorite things that no one in my family will eat! Plus, I didn’t even work or check my email the entire time I was there because hello: Um someone died. It would be rude. 

Beyond those luxuries, we spent a few hours just flipping through the hundreds of photos her dad had taken and collected over his 71 years. Amanda’s dad wasn’t a perfect man (not that any of us are), but it was really interesting and beautiful to see him throughout his life. And, of course, I got to see tons of adorable and hilarious pictures of Amanda and her brother I hadn’t seen before. It felt cathartic and important to sort of relive his life yesterday. The good, the beautiful and the weird.

Speaking of The Weird, among his things, Amanda found a box of really old family photos and memorabilia. There were ancient photos printed on tin and portraits on thick paper that had begun to deteriorate. In a stack of this sort, she found these two small, original black and white prints:

I added the censor bars to allow me to post them to Facebook and Instagram yesterday. I thought about posting them unedited here, because hey, most office servers already flag me as a porn site, but then I remembered I'm a Real Estate Business Website. Sometimes I forget.

I added the censor bars to allow me to post them to Facebook and Instagram yesterday. I thought about posting them unedited here, because hey, most office servers already flag me as a porn site anyway, but then I remembered I’m a Real Estate Business Website. Sometimes I forget.

She has no idea who the woman is, but judging from some of the other photos it was with, we think it must be from the 1940s.

Can we just talk, for a second about all the noteworthy things?

1. I love how modestly tawdry she is. Like, she’s clearly naked and it’s meant to be provocative, but she’s posing in house slippers. Because being outside in bare feet is uncivilized!

2. OK, so what, really, is the thing she’s holding over her lady-parts in the first picture? Amanda thinks it’s a large replica of a cherry (like made out of wood or something?). And I can definitely see that. A couple of people have suggested that it looks like a real eggplant. I think it’s awfully round for an eggplant, but the size makes more sense and the leafy part on top is sort of reminiscent of the top of an eggplant. Also, it’s way more hilarious if it’s an eggplant. Ooo! You caught me gardening in the nude! I’ll just cover my vagina with a vegetable! 

3. Why is she blindfolded? I am not following this narrative at all.

4. The second picture is possibly the weirder one, even though it doesn’t have any unidentifiable produce. Is that a makeshift dishtowel diaper? And a chamberpot she’s holding? Is this some kind of super kinky bathroom sexy thing? Huh. People were super pervy even back then.

5. I wonder if this is the original ‘lampshade as hat’ photo. Like the very first time that joke was used. Maybe she was making history and she didn’t even know it.

I could go on, but they’re great, right? I sort of want to recreate them. Maybe when I write a book I will and use them as my cover art.

Moving on, because I haven’t rambled quite long enough… I’m running Ragnar Del Sol again this weekend. I have my outfits all picked out and packed and I ran 8 miles less than two weeks ago, which is a mile+ more than my longest run, but I’ve had a chest cold and my training has been pretty lackadaisical since. I feel nervous that I’m going to be slow and it will be painful.

Plus, I have a hideous burn on my back from the silks in circus class last Sunday:

silks burn

We learned this trick called ‘The Hammock’ where you lean against one of the silks and feed slack until you’re laying parallel to the ground.

This is my instructor, Rachel, doing it.

This is my instructor, Rachel.

Clearly my slack-feeding needs work.

The burn is in a weird place where it’s not healing fast and every time I bend my head forward I crack it open. And it rubs on my shirts and I’m afraid it’s just going to be a disgusting open wound by the time I’m done running 18 miles this weekend. BLEH.

Speaking of circus class, I figured out last week, after nearly six months of class, that I have been climbing the silks in an incredibly inefficient way this entire time. I feel like an idiot who will never be allowed to join the circus. I have been climbing like an inch-worm, straight up the silks:

I couldn’t understand why, after all this time, and all this muscle I’ve built up, it was still so exhausting and difficult for me to climb the silks, even though it seems easy and beautiful when other people do it. I had an epiphany on Sunday that they are actually straightening their legs at an angle more parallel to the ground than perpendicular and then using the leverage to stand up:

Go watch this video of a woman climbing correctly really quick on YouTube. It wasn’t embed-able.

I mentioned this to one of the other women who’s been taking aerial for a few years and she was like, Oh yeah, it uses way less energy to do it the other way. That’s why we do it like that. At which point I was like, WHY IN THE FUCKITY FUCK DIDN’T ANYONE EVER POINT THIS OUT TO ME?! I COULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, YOU ASSHOLES. 

I just felt like that needed to be documented in case anyone out there in Internet Land is Googling, ‘Why do I suck at climbing the silks?’ This website is about educating.

I guess that’s about it. Have a great weekend, my dears. If you’re running Ragnar Del Sol, have a great race and be sure to wave when you see me! I’ll be the one with the blue hair in the cute outfits who’s gasping and has blood running down her back.

Love, Unedited.

valentines day 2014

I really wanted to prove with this picture I don’t have to have girls to have super cute Valentines outfits and family photos, but I’m pretty sure all I proved was that no one enjoys having his picture taken before 7am. Also that I really don’t know how to use Photoshop. Like I don’t even understand the tool that’s called ‘Red Eye Tool’, which seems like it should be pretty self-explanatory and user-friendly. And I sincerely don’t know how to fix greasy bangs or a red nose from excessive nose-blowing.

So… Happy Valentines Day from The Newlins.

(Additionally, in an unrelated manner:

Dear Dude Who Keeps Contacting Me About My BFF’s Mom,

I feel really bad that I can’t help you, but she is not the lady you’re looking for. She is from Illinois, but she’s about 10 years older than the person you’re looking for. Additionally, the name of your long lost love is her married name, not her maiden name, like the chick you were dating back then. Also, like I mentioned above, she’s not my mom, she’s my friend’s mom, so any resemblance you see in me of this person is inaccurate.

I can’t decide if it’s sweet or kind of creepy that you’re still harboring feelings for this woman after so many years, but you seem to just genuinely regret ditching her to sow your wild oats when you were 16, so we’ll go with sweet (unless you don’t take this hint and quit emailing). Don’t beat yourself up. None of us was really who we are at 16. Your lady-friend could potentially be the adorable and wonderful 60 year old version of the girl you remember, but she’s just as likely to be a 300 pound bingo addict who hoards precious moments figurines and beanie babies and works at the DMV.

Several years ago we were stuck in Illinois overnight due to a missed flight connection snafu and I decided to take the opportunity to drive past the horse farm my family lived on when I was between the ages 3 and 5. My earliest memories are of this house. I learned to ride a bike on the gravel road (and obliterated my knees when I fell). We picked raspberries on a neighboring property. On Halloween we only trick or treated to the one house on the other side of the woods because there was no one else even close who had kids or would have purchased candy. My Papa let us ride in the bucket of the tractor they used to shovel horse manure (I’m not sure why this was a treat). 

The point is, when I tracked down this house, in a tiny (TINY) suburb (Wikipedia is actually calling it a ‘village’) called Big Rock and dragged my husband and children to the house, *SPOILER ALERT*, it wasn’t how I remembered. Everything was smaller and closer together. Some neighboring dude had an epic collection of hubcaps out front of his house. The lady who lived there thought I was a fucking weirdo when I rang the doorbell and asked if I could go look at the horse barn. It was a bummer.

The worst part is that now when I remember those years living in that house in Big Rock, the actual version seen by my adult eyes is there too, marring my memories. I’m pretty sorry I went.

I’m just saying, maybe it’s better your Jackie Disbrow lives in your head, lovely, flawless, 16 forever.

That said, if I haven’t convinced you, have you tried Facebook? Seems like that would be the way to go.

Sincerely,

Your unromantic blogger friend with greasy bangs and a cold)

 

 

 

Modern Feminism. Or something… It’s confusing.

Me: So, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things…

You: Oh yeah, like what?

feminist lego 3

Me: Well, like the objectification of women and gender roles in our society.

You: Have you, now?

Me: Yes. And I’m just really confused and a little upset.

You: OK…

Me: This girl I went to high school with posted a story on Facebook early this morning about an incident she had at work. She’s apparently a waitress in a bar in Hollywood where the uniform is short-shorts and fishnets.

You: Hot.

Me: Right, and she’s totally a hottie. So I guess she was waiting on this table of guys who were hitting on her all night…

feminist lego 1

Me: …and when the bar was closing and they turned on the overhead florescent lighting, the guys made some loud, obnoxious remarks about how she didn’t look as good with the lights on.

feminist lego 2

You: Ooo, what dicks.

feminist lego 4

Me: Totally. She was kind of horrified and embarrassed, but tried to just keep her cool and let it roll off her back.

You: As I suppose you would, as a mature human being in the presence of drunk imbeciles.

Me: Agreed. But then she was in the car on the way home and got to thinking that she should have stood up for herself to those guys and let them know she was strong and beautiful, inside and out. To sort of let them know it’s not ok to do that to any woman.

You: Or any person, for that matter.

Me: Yes. So this story led me down two roads -

1. Holy shit. She’s super hot! And like exactly my age. Plus she hasn’t even had kids or anything. So if she’s getting heckled for being old under the bright lights of reality, why should I even bother attempting to look presentable? I’m clearly so far past my prime I should just give up and let myself dry out and blow away into the wind like dust. I’m going to go put on sweatpants and eat the rest of the mint chocolate chip ice cream.

You: Of course you went there. I should have known this wasn’t a Gloria Steinem think-piece.

Me: And 2. Those douche-canoes treated her like a thing. At first she was a ‘pretty thing’, a thing they wanted to have, and then, when they couldn’t have her, they discussed her ‘flaws’ in front of her and discarded her, like a thing. She was just an object to them. I think I finally understand this whole ‘objectification’ concept.

You: …welcome to the latter half of the twentieth century?

Me: No, but really, I think I always just thought it was a kind of meaningless feminist term thrown around to make men feel like assholes for checking out T&A. I sort of felt like, So what if they (we) look at pretty things and enjoy them for being pretty? Women wear hot outfits to look hot. Men do the same thing. Objectify me, please, if it just means you think I’m cute!

You:

feminist lego 5

Me: I see now, that it becomes problematic because the objectifier only sees the object for its beauty. You stop being a human being who means anything besides how tight your top is. This makes you expendable. You can just be discarded when a shinier (newer) model comes out. You’re just a thing.

You: Mmhmm…

Me: I don’t want to be a thing! I want to be loved for who I am, whether I look fantastic, or like roadkill. And I bet my Facebook high school friend does too!

You: I’m sure.

Me: So then I got to wondering, maybe these establishments that have their waitresses wear shit like that are really contributing to the objectification of women everywhere. It seems like they’re kind of saying to men-

You: People…

Me: People, it’s ok to look at women-

You: People…

Me: People like nothing but sexy pieces of sculpture that will bring you drinks and potentially satisfy you sexually, but if they don’t look how you want them to or perform correctly, you can just get rid of them.

You: Well, I mean, yes, that’s the theory behind the entire 1970s wave of feminist logic, but-

Me: And maybe all those articles I thought were ridiculous that I’ve read lately about how grooming your pubic hair means you’re not a feminist are actually right! Although I still don’t see how it’s radically different from shaving my legs, so maybe I should stop doing that, too…

You: OK, now, wait, we’ve made quite a leap in logic here-

Me: And I watched this French short film the other day that portrayed a world of gender role reversal where this poor guy is sexually harassed and assaulted and his wife is totally a dick, and it made me wonder if that’s really what life is like for a lot of women. Which is such bullshit and it makes me want to burn a goddamn bra right now. Additionally, it made me wonder if women would actually want to go running topless, because I think, in general, it would be uncomfortable.

You: No, seriously, that’s fairly unrealistic. Don’t burn your running bra.

Me: I also read another article about a study attempting to show gender equality in a marriage means a less satisfying (or at least less frequent) sex life. And while that neither seems true, nor makes any sense to me, I’m not sure I would trade inequality for sad, infrequent sex. Does that make me a bad feminist, too? This is all so confusing.

You: Oh… my god. First of all, the dickheads at your friend’s bar were just dickheads. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, where she’s working, or even what gender she or they are, people who treat other people with that lack of consideration and respect for his or her feelings are piles of shit. That’s really all there is to it. Objectification isn’t a condition unique to women. Humans need to work harder at treating each other like humans.

It sounds, however, like she has a fairly decent handle on her own self-worth and who she is as a person, so she’ll live to tend bar another day, hopefully without a thought to them.

Secondly, do whatever you want with your pubic hair and please stop discussing it on the internet. No one cares and it means nothing about any of your beliefs. Unless, I guess, you wax it into the shape of an O to show your support for Obama. Even then, the people you show it to are going to mistake it for your support of the other Big O.

Lastly, you really, really, need to stop getting all of your news from Jezebel. You’re getting a little brainwashed and obsessed.

Me: Ok, I can see that. It’s probably a valid point.

feminist lego 6

Things That Make Me Irrationally Angry

If we’re going to be friends, it seems only fair to warn you about my buttons, so you know what not to push. I’m not talking about stuff like genocide, bullies and when Shannen Doherty left 90210. These are things that legitimately make everyone with a soul rage-filled. No, I’m talking about my own personal anger issues. If you and I are going to maintain a symbiotic relationship, I think it’s important for you be aware of this stuff so I don’t accidentally run you over with my car on purpose.

Things that make me irrationally angry:

1. Loud, unexpected sounds – You want to see me lose my shit? Open that can of pre-made biscuits without warning me first. Or run that coffee bean grinder first thing on Saturday morning when I’m still half asleep. That is why Jason has a scar on his forehead right above his left eye. I missed.

2. Gnats – What purpose do they have on Earth but to commit ritual suicide by flying into my facial orifices? Fuck you, gnats. Just fuck you.

3. Audible swallowing – When my kids get home from school at the exact moment I am in the middle of something that requires my full attention and I ask them to please (please) be quiet and leave me be for 10 more minutes so I can just finish this thing, and they go to the fridge, pour themselves a large glass of milk and spend the next 45 seconds audibly gulping it down? This is the definition of rage. White, hot, blinding rage.

4. Pseudo-science – I know I should just feel sorry for the people who believe in pretend science, but I don’t. I feel angry with them for being stupid. [Examples that will do nothing but heartily offend at least 7 people I'm close friends with and/or related to redacted.] I realize it’s intolerant of me.

5. Nude pantyhose – First of all, the word ‘pantyhose’ is disgusting and offensive for 45 reasons. Secondly: You there, you person wearing them… are you 8? Is it 1985? Are you going to church? No? Then there is something wrong with you. And it makes me angry, so stop it.

6. People who drive the speed limit when there’s no traffic blocking them or police cars in the vicinity – I’m pretty sure this needs no explanation (fuckyoufuckyoufuckyousomuch).

7. When someone tries to get my attention or communicate with me while I am on the phone – I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU THINK I CAN CLONE MYSELF INTERNALLY AND BOTH LISTEN TO MY PHONE CONVERSATION AND UNDERSTAND AND COMMUNICATE WITH YOU BUT YOU HAVE GROSSLY OVERESTIMATED MY TALENTS. IF YOU KEEP TRYING TO FORCE ME TO PROVE THIS I WILL STAB YOU.

8. People who pronounce it ‘real-i-tor’ – So let’s say you look like Ryan Reynolds, Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. or Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. Or even Olivia Munn. And you and I are the last people on Earth. And it’s cold and we’re lonely and we each need human comfort. And you say to me, “What did you do before the apocalypse that destroyed all other life on Earth and left us alone, clinging to each other, here in this beautiful seaside wasteland that can only inspire passion and romance?” And I reply, “I sold residential homes in Arizona, once upon a time…” And then you say, “Oh? You were a real-i-tor?” I would not have sex with you. I would walk you to the edge of the ocean and hold your head under water until I was alone in this world.

9. Zippers that refuse to line up correctly so I can zip up a jacket – Dear Zippers, do you know what’s going to happen now? Now, I’m going to take scissors and cut you up so you can never join your mate again. You think you’ll have the last laugh because I’ll be cold? The fabric won’t come together and I’ll get a chill? Nope. Because: duct tape. Also? This is Arizona. FUCK YOU as much as gnats and ‘careful’ drivers.

10. The question, “What are we having for dinner?” – When my children ask me this question, generally between 3 and 8 times a day, I know their reaction to whatever I reply will be “Oh…” *sad face*, because I’m not going to answer, Candy and bacon! I’m not sure where the possibility I might respond in this manner came from as I have literally never answered that we are having candy and bacon for dinner, but they seem to have an unending well of hope within them that this will someday be my response. Which means multiple times a day I have to dash this hope with my answers of chicken and green bean stir fry or butternut squash risotto (the latter reliably soliciting both a *sad face* and a *holding back vomit grimace*). Over the years I’ve developed a pavlovian response to the question that causes my blood to boil even before it is finished being asked. I’ve decided the only appropriate answers are, Something you will hate, and Why did I have children?

I think that’s mostly it. Now you go.