Which Do You Want First?

I totally keep forgetting to mention: I randomized that perfume contest, because you people are all too funny, and Secret Agent Mama's number got picked. Congrats, baby. And RAWR.

The good news: I'm clearly doing something right.

This is my daughter's plant.  I bought that and killed that for her over the summer.  She loves it.  She waters it and talks to it and moves it around the house to make sure it gets maximum sunlight.

The other day, when I was douching the living room, I tossed it in the trash when she wasn't looking.  About an hour later, she comes to me with the pot in one hand, the plant in the other, shmuck all over the front of her from digging through the trash, and with big, green eyes began the following conversation:

"Momma, what you DO?"  Honey, I threw that in the trash.  It's dead, baby.

"Momma, you say you sorry me."  Um, sorry?

"What you sorry for, momma?"  *taps toe on floor*  I'm sorry I threw your plant in the trash, baby.

"Dat's okay momma.  You fix it."

So, yeah, I wiped the old coffee grounds and yucky trash off of the plant, dug a little hole in the soil, crammed the old, broken off, dead as a doorknob plant into that hole, and put her plant back up with the others.

The point?  Though my child has never actually uttered I'm and Sorry in the same sentence, she clearly gets the concept.  Score one for me.

The bad news: That may be the only thing I've done right.

We're parking at the mall the other night, on our way to IHop and then to do some shopping, and as I park the car the kids have hit the peak of their messing with each other in the backseat.  The boys are screaming Stop Touching Me and AAAAAAHHHH and 3of3 pipes in, "You shut you fucking you moufs!"

Me: Um, what?

1of3:  *snort*

2of3: Did you HEAR that, mom?

3of3: You shut you fucking you MOUF, 2of3!


1of3: You?

2of3: Mom, that's not all.  She calls Niblow "That EFFING Gerbil", too.

Me: *sinks into deep whole and dies* *gets kids out of car*

3of3: Fucking gerbil!  Fucking gerbil!  Fucking gerbil!

(How many Richard Gere hits do you think I'll get?  Bets happily accepted)

I swear with God as my witness, I have never ever told her to shut her fucking mouth.  Never.  EVER.  Still, I am SO TOTALLY HOSED OVER HERE.  Unless my kid is going to grow up to be a longshoreman, I need to fix this.  Immediately.  So I've started saying beautiful every time I think I might want to say f'ing.  Which?  Is really hilarious in application.  And it's working so far.

And I'm not sure if it was just that one day or forever, but there's a good chance we are banned from IHop for the rest of ours lives.

Welcome To My Nightmare

I have an oddly shaped house.  We have big bay windows in onetwothree rooms in the house.  It's a townhouse, so there's a lot of turns and corners.  Really, I love where I live, but it's not always functional.  We had to buy a new couch to accommodate the Wii.  We had to turn the dining room into a family roomish thing to give the oldest his own room in the freezing cold basement, which he loves, which is driving me fucking insane.  We finally got the living room into THE configuration, the right one, after just 3 short years living here, and then we realized that we needed to put the damn Christmas tree somewhere.  So, yeah, the whole thing had to go.

Now, I can get my whole fist in my mouth, I can get a beer bottle down my throat to the label, and I never thought I'd be able to say, "Yeah, that's not gonna fit", but seriously?  I bit off a hell of a lot more than I could chew on this one.

That was just getting everything up off the shelves and the floor so that I could start moving things.  They don't make pills strong enough to make that feel all better.

Now, if my husband came home from a Saturday night at work and saw that?  I'd be available in the biblical sense.  I had one day, 12 hours, to fix that shit.  And somehow, but by the grace of god, I pulled it off.

Almost. Funny how you take pictures of your crap and then you post them on the internet and then and only then are you all, "Oh, that's a lot of stuff under the coffee table and wow, I still have that Cindy Crawford Workout 5 pound weight?  I should use that sometime this decade."  But still, 3 bookshelves got shrunk to two, with nothing sideways on top, and low and behold, I HAVE A COUCH AFTER ALL.

And shut up about the tree.  We ran out of lights.  I'll get to it just as soon as I hang the other picture on the wall.  Anyone seen my hammer?

I Already Have My Two Front Teeth

So the question remains...what is it I want for Christmas?  The answer?  I've already gotten it.

I live this life that is colorful to say the least, that has challenged me and pushed me at every turn and almost broken me a few times over.  I get up every day and a trudge through it, and all the while I am haunted by demons whose faces I know all to well, who always lurk in the dark corners.  They're always here, they always will be.

Sometimes I forget they're there.  Sometimes I get so used to seeing them, I start to see through them, like that cobweb in the corner by my front door that I mean to get vacuumed up but I'm just so used to it now, I hardly even notice it anymore.  And worse?  I'm starting to look forward to the times when I see it again.  For some reason, that stupid cobweb grounds me.

Anyway, enough about my awful housekeeping skills.  I find that when winter comes, when the sun just refuses to shine, when it starts raining for days and then weeks and then months on end, that's when I can't ignore those demons anymore.  Maybe they feed off the deficiency of vitamin D in my system, maybe they just like me better when I'm chilly, but this is when I'm down, so this is when they kick.

Normally, I'd be a sloppy wreck right now.  Normally, I'd be so homesick it physically hurts.  Normally I'd be slowly shutting down from the world, putting my heart into hibernation just to protect myself until May comes and the sun returns.  This year, not so much.  This year, I'm doing just fine.

You know, it's really easy to remember what's hard, what hurts, but remembering the good takes work.  It takes dedication.  I have to will myself into it, and I can't always, and maybe that's because I know hurt and pain and rage, but happy is still a foreign thing to me.  I'm willing myself into it this year.  And I have very good reason.

All around me, every minute of every day, there is inspiration.  I have, just this very week, seen true compassion and pure humanity on a level I thought only existed in novels.  I have witnessed raw courage and valiant bravery that has humbled me beyond all comprehension.  I have been touched by the human condition this week, and it's changed something fundamental about how I'm seeing my world, my life, my past and present and future.

A few years ago, when my whole world fell apart, when everything imploded, when I was left alone, afraid and just about totally helpless, a family not my own took my hand and they held it.  They held it and they didn't let go until I propped myself up, stood, and took a few unsure steps.  They stood back and they watched me fumble around, finding my own feet, and once I was ready they took me to a window and they taught me how to fly.

I owe them everything I am today.  If I let myself slide down, even a little, it will take away from what they did for me, and no one has ever done anything like that for anyone I've ever known.  I'm going to make it worth it.  I'm going to look forward in the direction they pointed me and go from there.

I'm going to languish in this feeling I have this year that there is really, truly, powerful amounts of good and strength in the world, and maybe I just have to allow myself to dwell there and not the grey, dark places I usually go to.  I'm going to rejoice in my little family, that we have each other, and not regret that I can't be home with my family, or their family, this year.  I'm going to create quiet, sweet silly traditions with my children this year, and even though we don't really have anyone to share those with, we have each other, right?  That's good enough.  That's more than I ever imagined I'd have.  I'm going to reach deep down inside of myself, and I am going to grab hold of this piece of me that wants so much to be joyous, and I'm going to hold on to it until it stands up, walks around a little, and then I'm going to let it fly.  Who knows where it will take me?

I have spent the past few days considerably happier than I've been in a long time, mostly because I've allowed my perception to change.  I've allowed myself to feel hope, for myself and for others.  I sat back last night and watched as my kids played together on the living room floor with a bunch of marbles, and I realized that I am completely, totally charmed.  I have everything I could even want, everything I could ever dream of, right here in front of me with smiling faces and smelly hair.  I know love on so many wonderful and different levels, I know joy, and nothing that has ever come before or will come after can take that away from me.  Someone taught me that this week.  Someone taught me that chocolate ice cream and pure will can cure all evils, and I will forever thank her for that.

Tonight as my daughter and I drove to the video store, a song came on the radio.  That Kansas song, Dust In The Wind?  I turned it up and silently mouthed the words to it as I looked out over a blood red sunset like we just don't get here in winter, ever, and I drifted back to the last time I'd heard that song, when I was maybe 14 or so.  My mother used to sit with her Ovation acoustic, strumming those notes and singing those words, and I would sit in front of her and drown myself in it.  My mother could sing like no other, and she played guitar like the angels.  I listened to it on the radio tonight, hearing her voice through my speakers, seeing her fingers right there in front of me on the steering wheel, and that's when I realized that something really has shifted inside of me.

I can't remember the last time I had a fond memory of my mother.  I can't remember feeling anything but unadulterated black smoky hate for her.  Tonight in the car, it just came to me.  I didn't have to will it, I didn't want to fight it.  I cherish that memory of her.  I cherish a lot of memories of her.  Most of it was unimaginably painful, but some of it was magic.  Sometimes we flew.  That's what I want to hold on to.

This year, this Christmas, I just want to keep flying.  I want this feeling that I have, the feeling of beauty and of love and the knowledge that I am not alone, that none of us are really ever alone, to keep pushing me up and up and up, until all that I can see is light.  It's possible, it's happening, and it's the greatest gift I've ever been given.

Excess Ain't Rebellion

This is the best present anyone has ever given me for anything.  Ever.

That's a Nambe bowl.  It's made from an eight-metal aluminum-based alloy, so it looks like silver and functions like iron.  You can heat it to 500 degrees, chill it in the freezer, and cook with it.  It will hold whatever temperature you get it to for hours.  It's handmade, so no two pieces are identical.  It is the most beautiful thing I own, and I want 8 bazillion more of them.

Is it practical?  Not really?  Can I use it very often?  If you call twice a year often, sure.  Could I ever afford to buy more of them?  Hells to the nos.  And I love it more than coffee, chocolate, cigarettes and Johnny Depp.  Combined.

The thing with me is that I have really excessively expensive taste.  I don't have the budget to support that taste, though, so I counter that by going super cheapskate frugal.  This arrangement works out nicely for me, and I function quite happily shopping at the thrift store when I need retail therapy, looking at price per pound rather than sticker price, and just plain old lying to myself that I don't have a thing for shiny metal bowls that cost more than spaceships.

But I do have that thing, and sometimes when the means and the timing collide, a girl has to splurge.  Which brings me to the point of today's post, excess.  Unreasonably lovely things.  Because a girl can dream, right?

First, makeup.  This is one of those things I am actually willing to cough up serious money for.  I never was before; I don't wear makeup consistently enough to waste the cash on it.  But a friend of mine is a makeup artist, and she drug me to work one day and she showed me The Light.  Once you go Saks, you never go back.

When I first started using Stila, I would take whatever tips I made in one weekend every month and go stock up on stuff.  My brushes alone cost me an entire weekends' worth of serving drunk assholes overpriced martinis.  And when my husband had a heart attack and died over the price tag, his mother sat him down and said, "Son, it's an investment.  The girl needs brushes.  She'll never have to replace those."  Yes, she totally stood up for me, bless her heart.

I alternate between Stila for fun stuff and Trish McEvoy for times when I need to be a little more grown up.  Stila is kind of shimmery and flirty, whereas Trish McEvoy is more mature and subtle.  The thing is, I could probably have bought all of the makeup I have at Target for $30 instead of the *gag* hundreds *gag* I've spent of this stuff, but this stuff lasts.  Forever.  It never dries out, it doesn't crumble, it blends because the make it and sell it in palates, it goes on like silk and stays put.  All day long.  You can't feel it, it doesn't smudge off, and it doesn't wreck your face.

See?  I am a chick.  Told you.  (PS: Stila's having a mega sale right now.  If you bought yourself wife this, this and this, she'd be all set to start at $75.)

I first heard of this deodorant on SoapBox Mom's website, and I have silently coveted it since.

Here's the description: "Enhanced with essential oils of lemon, cardamom and eucalyptus, a blend understood to help eliminate toxins and impurities. Controls odor, purifying the body and helping to keep skin dry all day. Subtle, uplifting aroma refreshes mind and spirit." Sure, my Secret works, and works just fine, and costs 1/3 of what that stuff does, but does it smell like lemon, cardamom and eucalyptus?  No, it smells like a rave.  Apparently, I'm not the only one who likes this stuff; it's been out of stock on the website for, um, ever.  I'm going to hunt it down, though, and plop it in my stocking.

Speaking of stockings, I'm really bad at stockings.  Unless you grew up with Christmas, you can't get stockings.  I put all the wrong things in stockings, always, but the one thing I like doing it putting one or two really nice things in the stocking to go with the lighter and the boxers and the socks and the box of Turtles that actually doesn't fit in there anyway.

I tossed a bottle of this in The Donor's stocking a few years ago, and now he's completely hooked.  It is the World's Best Aftershave.  This year, everyone in my house is getting a tube of this:

Origins Make A Difference™ Rejuvenating hand treatment.  Holy shit, I am not kidding when I tell you this is my new bff.  I have hand issues.  As in, they are dry and crusty and if I so much as touch water, I have to slather myself in lotion after.  My 10 year inherited that lovely trait from me, too, poor thing.  It smells like heaven; kind of florally, kind of lemony, and I was told it would even out my hand's skin tone, which I totally did NOT believe, and it so does.

Wow, this totally turned into a makeover post.  Didn't mean that.  Well, while I'm at it, how about perfume?  I don't wear perfume, partly because I'm lazy, partly because I got used to smelling like an ovulating ashtray, partly because I like to pretend I'm too cool for perfume, and partly because almost every perfume ever makes me sneeze.

I wear perfume now.  How could I not?  That is the freaking coolest perfume pack I've EVER seen.  That's Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers Fragrances Coffret set.  Each little doll head slides open and there is a solid perfume in each.  They're all slightly floral in scent; some more citrus, some fainty powdery, some really bold.  But the best part?  THEY DON'T MAKE ME SNEEZE.  And since they're little and plastic, you can throw one in our purse and not worry about it blowing up while you're at work.

I can't think of any one thing more NOT like me to love, and still, I love these suckers.  Every day for a week, I've thrown perfume on.  I spend most of the day sniffing myself.  Creepy?  Slightly.  Fun anyway?  Absolutely.

And since it's Christmas and all, I'm giving one of those sets away.  If you can top "I smell like an ovulating ashtray", it's yours.  Or I'll just randomize it.  Either way.  Saturday's the cutoff, so you can have it before Christmas.