Texting With Labradors

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Gentle Reader,

An actual text transcript.:

“Me:  Cooper misses brudder.


Mama:  So does Cody.

Mama:  Cody eating dinner.

Me:  Cooper has moved onto the snack course.

[Ed. note:  It should be noted that it is now 4:46 here in The Great Republic.  Cooper was finished with his dinner at 3:44.]

Mama:  Poor boy.

Me:  Its a rough life.”


And it was at this point that I took a closer look at the little snapshot I had sent to Mama.  The boy has flung himself wholeheartedly onto his (extra large) memory foam dog bed out of depression after a complete nutritionally balanced dinner with pumpkin on top of it (it’s his favorite…) and having FOUR rawhides on the floor available to meet his chewing needs (oh, we have many more than that scattered around The World’s Smallest Apartment, but four visible in the snapshot).

I believe that is what they call “a good problem to have.”



In A Quiet Room, I Heard

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Gentle Readers,

Earlier this week, my Daddy and I made a little trip, with some of Daddy’s college friends, up to see a dear friend of ours who is sick.  Just a day trip.  I brought my Papa Jack’s homemade banana pudding because there’s healing power in it.  (And since I know our friend is reading this, FINISH THE PUDDING, SIR!)  Considering that other suggested remedies have included vulture beak powder, I say it’s just as likely as any, only we know the bananas have potassium.  The nutritional value of vulture beak powder is as yet unknown to this writer.

This friend is the friend who gave me this:

when he heard I had passed the Giant Huge Exam That People Who Do What I Do Have To Take.

It’s a rare example of a Noah’s Ark rendered by a Japanese artist.  (Not the shelf with various Labrador necessities all over it.)  It’s hanging in The World’s Smallest Apartment right now, but whenever I move into my own office space, it shall have a place of honor.

Anyway, our friend has dedicated his life to sound.  First, singing “Silent Night” at age 3 in a key that even the squealiest of tweenaged girls cannot reach, recorded on a real, actual vinyl record.  (He has a real, actual phonograph machine THAT YOU HAVE TO CRANK TO USE, to play it on.)  (Google it if you need to.)  And then in music school, where he met Daddy.  And after music school, he kept at it.  He figured out that sound has an effect on our brains.  (Which now seems fairly obvious.  Because of people like him who first thought about it.)  And that it can be used for different ends because of this.  His life’s work has been about sound.  I.  LOVE.  Him.  Obvs.

Being a musician, and doing the research that he does, his life is full of sounds.  And while he was showing us his house, he took us into his meditation room.  (It’s a real meditation room, he actually uses the meditation room for its intended purpose.  Not just for show.)  Getting ready to go into that room, he told us that he never speaks in that room, that it was a Quiet Room.

Andy, I did it.  I uttered nary a word in my friend’s Quiet Room.  I was quiet.  It is my friend’s sacred space, and friendship and the Sacred trump my need to talk.

And so while I was looking around at his books and the religious icons he has collected in his travel, and just being near our friend, I began to think.  About life, about what happens next, about quiet and about sound, about our friend.  (Aside:  I now TOTALLY get why this friend needs a quiet room.  The quiet was fascinating.)  (Indeed, you are right to judge me, that at age thirtysomething I am just discovering quiet.)

This friend and I have a similarity.  We are both only children.  We will never know the sense of belonging, of place, that a sibling brings.  We have to find that elsewhere.  (Since my friend became sick, the parade of houseguests has been long, so I think he found it.)  And, just keeping it real here, y’all, I am terrified of being alone.  An utter, primal, basal fear that one day, I will be utterly alone in this world.  That I won’t have a place.  In that room, Alone came up and stared me in the face.  I looked that fear in the eye, and it won.  I’m terrified.  This is not to be confused with an inability to be by myself.  As an Only, I need my space sometimes or I get terribly crabby.

And, I think my love of the words and the talking is my tiny brain’s way of making sure people don’t forget me.  I think I figured that out the other day.  I can’t promise that this changes my love for words (at 675 words and counting, we have confirmation in this very post that this realization has NOT changed my writing…) but maybe it’s nice to know why.

And the selfish nature of my fear can be filed under “Things I Need To Work On”.  It’s a BIG file.

Maybe I just like to talk.

But my friend, thanks for the lesson in quiet.  And please know that you aren’t alone.  You have place and belonging in my heart and many others.




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Gentle Reader,

You might know that I am obsessed with Pioneer Woman.  I used to be more obsessed with Pioneer Woman, but then I graduated from grad school and finished up the studying and taking and worrying about the results of the Giant Huge Exam that People Who Do What I Do take after they finish grad school.  My surfing time was suddenly reduced, but not before several of PW’s recipes (or slightly modified versions thereof) made it into my repertoire.  And I still go back and surf PW when I can.  Because, well, these.

So anyway, after Santa stood in line for seven hours (SEVEN!  HOURS!) to get my copy of PW’s first cookbook signed, I’ve kind of developed this habit of needing my PW books signed.  And she comes through my city on her book tours.  (Or at least, so far she has.  We still have Mexican Food and Shopping.  And lots of fancy hotels.  All things she likes.  So hopefully the PW love will continue.)

It should be noted here that Santa is NOT a patient man, and when he saw people (read: bloggers and other women squealing about Marlboro Man) ordering pizza and having it delivered to them while they were in line waiting with him for the SEVEN!  HOURS!, I think a part of him died a little on the inside.  So, Santa, thank you.  And I’ve already got my copy of the new book signed.

So anyway, last weekend, PW came to town!  Mama and I decided that our birthday gifts this year would be copies of her book, signed by her.  Only Mama conveniently had a dinner party to go to this weekend and so I was left to stand in the line alone.

Or, you know, not.Image



You’ll note the presence of only one male in the entirety of those photos, and he wasn’t actually standing in the line, he just drove the two women in his life to the Sam’s Club for the event.  He bought Jimmy Buffet tee shirts at a GREAT PRICE.  (Santa was NOWHERE to be found.  I looked.)

Anyway, I showed up early, expecting to get my arm band and be able to leave, run my errands (which had been organized in list fashion sorted geographically so as to maximize the time) and still get back in plenty of time to be all excited to see her and gossip in the line about whether Marlboro Man was going to show up at this one or not.

This must be what those Star Treck people feel like when they go to the conventions, right?

Anyway, I arrived only to find out that apparently this Sam’s club believes in a double-layer of crowd control, requiring both an arm-band, and for the arm-band wearer to REMAIN FIRMLY IN THE LINE SAM’S CLUB CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL BE ALLOWED BACK INTO THE LINE IF YOU LEAVE THE LINE IT WILL BE UP TO YOUR LINE-NEIGHBORS TO DETERMINE WHETHER THEY WILL LET YOU BACK IN THE LINE OR NOT AND IF NOT YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE END! OF! THE! LINE!  (Seriously, this was the warning barked out many many times by The Woman In The Purple Shirt, as she became known.)

Errands were shot.

But I made some lovely friends while standing in line, and was only like 25 people back.  So the fears of a seven hour stay around gallon jars of mayonnaise were unfounded.

At last, we started moving!  She was here!


(See, I can take pictures and walk at the same time!)

(Just not good ones.)


I just want to take a moment and thank whichever fraternity brother or redneck invented this river floating masterpiece.  The world needs your gifts, Sir.  (Obviously not a woman because we don’t willingly invite other people around when we are going to be in our bathing suits consuming canned domestic lager in large quantities.)  (Or at least we don’t after college.)

Anyway, PW wore these:


And I fell more in love with her than ever.

And finally it was my turn to get my books signed!  And PW remembered me from the last book tour!  (We share an IU bond.  Her little sister went there for college!)

And I’m not going to post my picture with the PW because I made poor wardrobe selections that day.  But she was stunning, as always.

And that is the story of how I got my third Pioneer Woman book signed.



What on EARTH?????

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1.  That is a back paw up there in front of her head.

2.  Several blankies available to her.  Even in gender appropriate colors.

3.  Fresh, warm laundry available, IN BASKET, for her.

4.  So she naturally chooses to snuggle up with a sheet of notebook paper.

The Boys are so very, VERY much smarter than her.



We can just cross that one off our list, now, can’t we?

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Gentle Readers,

I didn’t mean to leave the blog for three days (y’all, wordpress LOGGED ME OUT OF MY OWN BLOG, so ignored it was…) with such a deep subject as the top post.  Because I think you’ve figured out by now that deep theological thoughts are things that I like to think about from time to time, but my tiny brain gets overtaxed quite fast and then I have to sit down and watch some of the television.  (Really-seasons 2 and 3 of “The Office”?  GOLD.)  But know that the faith is in there, and it guides me.  And sometimes I have thoughts that just need to be explored, or, “unpacked”, as Charles Geyh (Civil Procedure Professor to The Stars) says.  I think we’re pretty well set for awhile, considering that next Sunday?  Is officially called “Low Sunday”, on the Liturgical Calendar.  It’s like the Church, while obviously welcoming of all any time, subtly expects us to sort of forget about it now that the candy is getting a little bit picked over.  We’ve crossed that little item off our chore list, now, haven’t we?

It is pretty much usually my goal NOT to be like that, but then life happens.  I’m going to try to be better about that.  And order business cards, mama.

At any rate, I’m here, I’m still alive, Jim is buying Pam his parents’ house, and Cooper is asleep here at The World’s Smallest Apartment.  OH!   And Andy just got the same “tenter” who tented Giuliani’s first AND third marriages.  (GOLD,  I tell ya!)

And, The Bunny, considering I am on my THIRD iPhone in TWO months (a ratio that is financially unsustainable for any length of time), brought me the World’s Ugliest Case for the World’s Most Expensive iPhone.  The dreaded Otter Box.  She did remember that I am a girl, and got me one that had a little bit of pink in it, because I was clearly worried about taste and style when buying something that will apparently “allow me to run over my iPhone with a truck”.  (WHY?????)  (But then again, the start of the whole iPhone saga was me stepping on my old iPhone with my high heel and poking a hole in it.  So maybe The Bunny is smarter than I think.)

And, always considerate of my health, The Bunny brought me an eye exam, a YEAR’s worth of contact lenses, and if I plan it right, a new pair of backup glasses.

I remember when my basket was filled with treats.  Sweet little wrapped bits and baubles tucked in very prettily by The Bunny.  (The Bunny is quite talented at putting together baskets and care packages.  SHE ROCKS like that.)  And then when we went away to school(s), and weren’t home for Easter, The Bunny packaged the basket up and made some kind of deal with the UPS dude because the basket always made it to me on time and in immaculate condition-not an egg out of place.  Though, when Cooper became a part of the picture, he did get some treats in MY basket.  But I guess I was glad to share.

And then I started my own business.  And The Bunny got to see FIRST HAND how bad private insurance policies can be.

But, I assure you, I STILL BELIEVE.  IN BOTH THE BUNNY AND SANTA.  Because apparently they stop coming to visit you when you stop believing in them.  I’d still believe in the Tooth Fairy, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been to the dentist, and I like all of my teeth.



So I’m Totally Just Copying my Facebook Status Here

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Gentle Reader,

(Andy-I think you’ll be pleased at the brevity.)

I think my status sums up my feelings about Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil very nicely, and I don’t like reinventing things.

“The candles in the sanctuary are lit again. Signifying the presence of my Lord once again. I know it’s a candle, and part of me thinks it symbolic, rather than real. That our Risen King doesn’t actually go away for one day each liturgical year, but the church on Holy Saturday is cold and dark, and it hurts me to think about that Saturday all those years ago. And once more I weep in gratitude for the empty tomb and the end of my King’s suffering, and the beginning of our Redemption.”

The fact is that Holy Saturday scares me.  It HURTS me.  The Church, the place that has provided me peace when NOTHING made sense, the place where I was Ransomed, the place of safety, it’s dark and cold.  And utterly lonely.  Two thousand years ago on Holy Saturday, He was gone.  It’s commonly believed that He was in Perdition, causing an earthquake, but I kind of believe that we are all being subtly influenced by a certain Italian vernacular poet in our impressions of that.  But I don’t know-I wasn’t there.  But the idea of a world without my King, without the Man and Son of God that made my Redemption possible, well, it’s scary.  And here’s where my very human and not at all neurotic control issues rare their ugly heads.  What if He hadn’t risen?  What if something had gone wrong?  What if, down there (regardless of the specific scenario, He was outside of the presence of God, His Father…a terrible place) something had gone awry?  (True confessions time:  I’m worried about running out of things to do in the hereafter.  I mean, ETERNITY?  I can’t think about that too hard.  I’ve got a STACK of books that I need to catch up on, but what then?)  (Nope, not neurotic at all.)

And-I know, that’s where the faith part comes in.  It didn’t go awry, because it was part of God’s Plan.  But I come from a LONG tradition of worriers.  The fact is that faith is something that I struggle with.  I’d say daily, but the reality is that it is far more frequent than that.  It’s part of the “dying to self” and “recognizing that control is truly an illusion” thing, but those are VERY HARD lessons to learn.  Particularly for someone who Does What I Do.  I’m kind of hoping that I learn how to do those things before I slip this mortal coil.

But the amazing thing is that God, in all of His wisdom, loves us, neuroses and all.  (He’d probably prefer I work on these issues.) And it’s because of that Love, that Amazing Grace, that on Easter Sunday, the tomb was empty.  Because of that unending Patience, Love, and Grace, the Church has light on Easter Sunday, the Church is warm, is peaceful, and feels again like my temporal home.  And I can’t think about that too hard or I start to cry again, and The Sir does NOT like it when I cry.

Okay, so the brevity bit got kind of tossed somewhere in the middle there, Andy, but I had thoughts.

This concludes my three part attempt at being thoughtful and serious.  Please tune in tomorrow when we will be discussing why it is that I cannot keep a cell phone alive longer than a Dollar Store goldfish, what the Easter Bunny brings to old people who are self-employed, and probably some other RIVETING subjects.



PS-I know not all of my readers are of my faith, or of any faith.  Please do not take the prior three posts as some kind of judgment on your beliefs, please know that I love you all, and respect your beliefs immensely.  This year, it felt time to get back to my faith.  I claim no expertise, these were just my thoughts.  It was intense, having non-television related thoughts for three whole days.  Whew.