Marconi Plays the Mamba.

This is a photo of me, and it looks like I’ve been drinking.

Remember when we all looked super cute while drinking Natural Light? Because we did. We were all droopy-eyed and mini-skirted and dangly-earringed and let ’em say we’re crazy, I don’t care about that. Put your hand in my hand, baby, don’t ever look back.

Let’s just hodge podge this, okay? You know I haven’t been around and I know I haven’t been around. Why sing songs about it? (Other than Starship songs, I guess, which I’ve already done. Twice!)


Pussy Riot. They are fearless and powerful, I saw them in November, and I wish I had a Fuck Putin t-shirt.

This’ll have to do, although the directive is much different.

Here’s a question. Would YOU fuck Putin if you had absolutely zero doubt that it would unfuck the world? There are so many things in the world that need to be unfucked—globally, but also way over here on my couch where it looks like my belly button (Billy Pancake for those who remember) appears to be puking bruises. (More on that later. Maybe even tomorrow, because I’ve been in the mood to write.) Here. I’ll go first. I would hate it, but I would do it. I would do it for you and I would do it for the world. (Mostly Unrelated Fact: Prince refused to be part of We Are The World. I get it.)

It’s just avocado and red onion and tomato and jalapeno with lime juice and some sour cream on top of a black bean quesadilla. Isn’t everything, really?

Christmas was good. Not many people got a card from us, and that’s my fault because I’m lazy. (Lazy is not a bad thing.)
Me: Who should we put on our Christmas card this year?
Meredith: John Oliver.
Me: Okay!
(passage of time)
Harper: Wait. I thought it was going to be John Oliver and us. Not just John Oliver.
Me: Oh. That makes sense.

Well! THIS sweater is coming along nicely! (I started it in 2018.) The pattern is called Petra, because God gave rock and roll to you.


I’ve been etching glass. (Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s difficult.)


Finally, I met Roz Chast. I shared a secret with a cat. Benjamin Gibbard needs me so much closer, and I just wish the people in front of me would have taken him seriously.

I wasn’t kidding about maybe being back tomorrow. I’m just a fetus drawing away from go time.

Amanda Plan A Canal Pandamonium!

Me: Okay. The music is getting louder. It’s time for us to have a conversation.

My sister: What is it?

Me: If everyone around us starts to dance, are you going to join them?

My sister: No. I’m not.

Me: Good. Because me neither. Do you see that lady over there? Have you ever done that before and actually meant it?

My sister: You mean raising the roof?!

Me: Yes. Raising the roof.

My sister: No.

Me: Good. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I danced with abandon.

My sister: Who is Amanda?

Me: I don’t know anyone named Amanda!

My sister: Is that why you can’t remember dancing with her?!



This morning I found myself at my annual gynecologist appointment. (I know! Nice segue with the butt thing, right? Kind of!) Because I let the cat out of the bag regarding the fact that I tend to cycle (heh) for two to three weeks at a time, she decided to take a uterine biopsy.

Me: Do I have to come back for that?

My doctor: Nope. It’s quick. I’ll just do it before I do your pap smear.

Me: Cool beans.

(My slang tends to reach back into the 80s when I’m at the gynecologist. (I spent a lot of time in stirrups back then, too.) Pants. Stirrup pants! HA HA HA!!! I also wore a lot of brooches and fake pearls, Molly Ringwald.)

My doctor, slightly opening the exam room door: Nancy? Can I get a little help in here?

Me: Wait. Why Nancy? Is this going to hurt?

My doctor: You’ll probably feel a little bit of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING DOWN THERE?” but by the time you get to THERE, I’ll be done.

Me: What the–

My doctor: When I count to three, I want you to give me a cough. One, two…


My doctor: All done. You’ll probably be cramping and bleeding for the rest of the day.

And I am, and I am.

Psst! My Acer now has an arm! I just might have a new sweater to wear to marching band competitions! (See how I left us on a happy note? Fluid Pudding is a roller coaster!)

Now we're getting somewhere. Instead of a vest, it's a half cardigan.

(This is how it works: Pandemonium is spelled with an E. Amanda Plan A Canal is heavy on the A, so I went with Pandamonium. Do not look up the definition in Urban Dictionary. If you DO look it up, please know that all of my Bundt pans are being used in the way that they were originally intended. Yeesh.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

She’s Come Undone

Today is the last day of school. I’ve always preferred the first day of school to the last day. Something about the smell of pencils and the feeling of potential jazzes me much more than the smell of sweat and the possibility of chaos.

This morning, instead of going through the circle drive to drop off the girls, I parked my car and walked them in. (I had a hat to deliver to one of the teachers. A baby hat. A baby newsie hat. A gray baby newsie hat. Details. (Does anyone ever say “the devil is in the details”, or has it gone the way of 23 Skidoo? Let’s bring back 23 Skidoo!))

Anyway, I delivered the hat and then I walked down to Meredith’s classroom, and the entire time I was walking I was also stopping to talk to teachers and I’ve never really socialized in the halls before, so I was feeling all Welcome Back Kotter with a hint of Mary Tyler Moore and I was wearing a dress that’s slightly too tight on top (foreshadowing!) and I talked to Meredith’s teacher for a bit and then I walked down the hall again and spoke to a few reading teachers as well as the ELL teacher and then I stopped off in the office and spoke to the school secretary and she complimented the dress so I did what I do and went into the whole story of how I GOT the dress (I’m exhausting.) and then I signed out and exited the building and walked to my car.

And as I was walking, I felt a breeze.

A bosom breeze.

And I looked down and saw that my dress was unbuttoned down to my waist.

In other words, the first time I toyed with social butterflyism, I did so while J-Lo-ing to the professionals who are educating my children.


It’s good that today is the last day.

I now have three months to recover. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Break-ups and Hoops and Gas and The President!

As you know, my orthopedic doctor appointment was scheduled for 9:00 this morning.

(Fourteen people just clicked away. That first sentence isn’t very compelling, is it? Here. Let’s move faster.)

I shaved my legs this morning.

I dropped the kids off at school and hauled it to my appointment so I wouldn’t be late.

I signed in at 8:55, and then sat down.

At 9:15 I was still sitting. (Three other people were in the waiting room.)

At 9:25 I was still sitting, and starting to feel squirmy.

At 9:30 I went up to the reception desk to ask how late the doctor was running.

Receptionist: There’s one more person in front of you.

Me: Well then, I think I’m just going to go.

Receptionist: Just a second.

(She walked away for a few seconds, and then came back.)

Receptionist: All of his rooms are full.

Me: The thing is, my appointment was scheduled for 30 minutes ago, and history has shown that he’ll spend no more than 5 minutes with me. I don’t want to wait in a SMALLER room for MORE time just to earn 5 minutes of HIS time. I’m going to go.

(I said all of that very nicely, because as soon as I get nervous and stop saying things nicely, my voice gets all shaky and it sounds like I’m going to cry. Every time I spoke during the PTO meetings, it sounded like I was going to cry about the checks I wrote and the balance of our savings account. Such a hoot. But not really. Sometime I’ll tell you about the time I called the cable company and my voice started shaking and then I actually STARTED crying because I couldn’t watch The Food Network or something. My head is filled with monkeys.)

Receptionist: Just a second.

(She walked away.)

Me (to myself): Quietly muttering something under my breath about how he doesn’t inspire my confidence! Nervous shaky voice that sounds like crying, and this doctor has made it clear that he doesn’t care about my ankle because I’M NOT A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE! No one can hear me and I’m starting to look a little bit crazy with my darty eyes and handful of tissues (ALLERGY SEASON!), so it’s time to go now.

And I walked out. And I called my mom and got the name of HER orthopedic guy, and I drove home and called him and his office is close to the girls’ school and HE can see me next Tuesday morning as long as I can get my medical records from the first doctor before then.

Me: Um, so, that might be a little awkward. Don’t you guys take care of that?

New Doctor’s Receptionist: Well, we CAN, but the offices tend to drag their feet if we ask for it. It’s more effective if you pick up the records.

Me: Will they charge me for that?

New Doctor’s Receptionist: No.

So, I called the old doctor’s office and explained that “Hiya! I just rode a high horse out of  your office about an hour ago, and now I need a big favor! Medical records! Yee Haw! SorryI’mAnAsshole!”

Medical Records Lady: If you pick them up, there will be a fee.

Me: No! I’m so confused.

Medical Records Lady: If we fax them over to the new office, there is no fee. But you still have to sign a form to release the files. What’s your fax number?

Me: I am a person living in a tiny house with no fax machine.

Medical Records Lady: Then I can either mail the form to you, or you can come to the office and sign it.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be making the drive BACK to the doctor’s office so I can track down the medical records lady and sign the form to allow my records to be faxed to the new office. (If I actually TAKE the records to save them the trouble of faxing them, I will be charged a fee.) After signing the form, I will drive straight to Target and purchase 14 hula hoops, and I will spend the afternoon setting them on fire and jumping through them. Because that’s how it feels.

(And I know everyone is doing their best and that this is no one’s fault.)

((Except for President Obama. It’s totally his fault.))

(((It’s not really his fault.))) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I will say the only words I know that you’ll understand.

The phone rings. I pick it up.

Me: Hello?

Guy: Angela?

Me: Yes.

Guy: Hello there! It’s Ben from The Place Where You Bought A Car One Time!

Me: Oh! Hi there!

Ben: I’m just calling to wish you a happy two year anniversary with the Sonata!

Me: Has it really been two years?

Ben: It has! Are you still liking the car?

Me: We’re loving the car!

Ben: Great! Well, this might sound silly, but I’m calling to give you my phone number in case you ever want to send one of your friends or family members over to The Place Where You Bought A Car One Time. If they actually buy a car from me, I’ll send you fifty dollars!

Me: That doesn’t sound silly. I spent fifty dollars filling up my tank this morning!

Ben: I hear you. (He continues talking and Henry decides that he needs to go outside and my potato finishes baking in the oven and everything is happening all at once, so my brain hiccups and all I hear is…) …so Happy Anniversary!

(Suddenly, Henry is knocking on the back door and I’m balancing the phone between my shoulder and chin and I have my hands in the oven and I have completely forgotten why I’m on the telephone, so I do what you do when a pleasant-sounding man wishes you a happy anniversary.)

Me: Happy anniversary. I love you.

(Suddenly, I realize what I have done, and I quickly hang up. You see, I do not love Ben, but I also don’t want to hurt his feelings so soon after using the L word.)

((If you’re interested in a Hyundai, let me know if you need a guy. I’m curious to see if he’d really send fifty bucks to a married lady who just confessed that she’s interested in a tasty side dish that she hasn’t heard from in over two years.)) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

The Good, The Bad, and The Adorable

The Good News: I’ve been working on a new wrap.

Sweet Potato Guernsey Wrap

It will eventually look like this. My goal is to make it look like that before October, because the color seems to lend itself well to pumpkin patches and marching band competitions. (I really miss the faded out Levi’s that somehow ended up in my suitcase after a 1990 drum corps show. They were perfectly frayed and worn out into a lovely shade of sky blue, and they’re exactly what I want to wear with this wrap. Wrap. To me, a wrap is a sandwich. This morning I used the term heavy-handed incorrectly. I need to knit less and read more. I fear that I’m no longer getting smarter.)

The Bad News: Argh. There seems to be a lot of bad news lately. My kids have decided that they no longer want to ride the bus. (I realize that doesn’t necessarily qualify as bad news. Stick with me.) The way they approached this new transportation plan with me was really quite mature and admirable (they’re not feeling very safe on the bus lately), so there was no way I could turn them down. Because I’ll now be dropping them off and picking them up, I’ll be losing a little over an hour of my day. And speaking of time, I’m finding that I’m already a bit over-extended these days. I realize that sounds so silly because I’m a freelancer! I (mostly) set my own schedule! BUT, it appears that I’ve bitten off a bit more than I can chew (Those damned cliches. Rattlesnakes, indeed.) and two of my current projects are proving to be more than I can handle, and I absolutely despise admitting defeat, but isn’t admitting defeat early on better than doing a crappy job and then running out of time? Last week I got all confused and I embarrassed myself by asking ridiculous questions when presented with the final chapter of an ongoing freelance project, and because of that I’ve been doing some hardcore evaluating of Everything That Currently Eats At My Time as well as Everything That Currently Eats At My Brain. This morning we received some horrible news about a friend’s family, and that news picked us up by the necks and slapped our faces and all we could really do was go buy some sponges (I had a coupon) and stare off into the distance and not say anything.

I’m afraid I’m not doing very well at a number of things, and it’s a bit of a concern and I believe I need to step back and think about this and figure out where my mind is. (I went to college with the wife of Black Francis.) One of my biggest fears is that I’ll become mundane and unmarketable. I’m starting to smell both of those things, and it’s bumming me out. Normally when I put on my self-doubting hat (every few years), I start singing songs about quitting Fluid Pudding. I now know better than that. (I also know that avocados all smooshed up and mixed with diced apples equals a delicious lunch. The only thing that makes it MORE delicious is making a wrap out of it. Wrap! Look what I’ve done! Full circle. Closure. And, scene.)

Scout’s birthday was last week. We celebrated by buying her a sweater and allowing the groomer to remove all of the matted fur.

I know.

She’s not happy. She’s also not allowed in the dishwasher. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Nothing is impossible, Daisy Fuentes.

Last Monday I received an e-mail from our pastor asking if I would be interested in participating in our Lessons and Carols Sunday by reading one of the lessons.

Because I tend to flip out with this sort of thing, I quickly called Jeff and asked if HE would like to participate in Lessons and Carols Sunday by reading one of the lessons. He was all over it, as he tends to be.

After I replied to the original e-mail with some sort of strange dance in which I committed Jeff or myself to do one of the readings, I received the following response:

“Thanks, Angie – we are grateful for another woman reader! Here are the TWO readings we would love for you to share with the congregation. They are printed in the bulletin. See you on Sunday.”

WOMAN reader. Yep. That would be me and not Jeff. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Deep breath.

TWO readings. Yes! I can once again feel my heart beating in my eyeballs!

Wait. Remember this?

Jeepers Creepers!

Those are my eyeballs! (Can you tell that I was thinking about J-Lo when this photo was taken? I’m just kidding!!!) I love that the MRI tech gave me a CD of my brain scan. It just might come in handy at a time like this, when we’re having terrible luck scoring a decent Christmas card shot.



Why is Scout the only one smiling?

Anyway. Back to church.

I opened up the attachment and found that my very first reading contained the question, “How can this be, since I am a VIRGIN?” (The all-cap effect is mine, by the way.) I immediately took my terror to Facebook, where one friend suggested that I wear a cone bra. Another recommended that I read the virgin line while “employing an arched eyebrow and Dr. Evil pinky at the corner of your mouth.” A third simply said, “Wear lace gloves. You’ll be fine.”

Because I know myself better than I know anyone else, I immediately recognized the need for Self-Confidence Virgin Gear. To Kohl’s I went (I know.), where I eventually found myself in a dressing room with no less than five shirts, two dresses, two pairs of pants, and a skirt. I tried on the first outfit, looked into the mirror, and asked, “How can this BE, since I am a virgin?” Second outfit. “How can THIS be, since I am a virgin?” (Please know that no one else was in the dressing room.) Third outfit. “HOW can this BE, since *I* am a VIRGIN?!” Score.

Black Daisy Fuentes pants. (Daisy is NOT a virgin.)

Apt. 9 Red Pleated Chiffon Tank. (Because it’s Christmas.)

Black Apt. 9 Shrug. (To hide the dingle dangling of my upper arms.)

Dansko Midoris. (Because I tend to not fall down when I wear them.)

Let’s pick up the speed here, shall we? After being The Crabbiest Mom in the Universe yesterday morning, we arrived to church on time. I did both of my readings without falling down or giggling, and afterwards an elderly woman with a walker told me that she is rarely able to hear the speakers on Sunday mornings, but she could hear me. My first thought? “Oh, man. I must have SCREAMED about the virgin.” My second thought? I did Just Fine, Eleanor. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>


You might not know this, but: A lot of things make me cry.

Example: I love singing in the car to this song. BUT, when I get to the 2:48 mark? I lose it. AND, when the cat sings, “I know you’re strong”? I nearly have to pull over. (Confession: I just dragged the arrow to figure out where the “I know you’re strong” line is, and as soon as I heard it, my eyes welled up. I haven’t even listened to the rest of the song! I’ve become squishy.)

Another One: The Caterpillar Song. It starts off silly, and it ends with me burying my head in my hands and running my car into a tree. I know. (“I can’t crawl but I can fly. Wanna come for a ride?” That part destroys me. I can’t sing “Climb on.” I can’t even think about “Climb on.”)

Last night I learned that lice makes me cry. Hard. Really hard. AND, the combination of lice (chemical-RESISTANT lice, by the way) coupled with fresh dog poop in the hall? I start off like this, and I end up like this. (I was going to make a reference to Glenn Close crying in the shower during The Big Chill, but she had her clothes off during that scene (it hits at 1:57 if you’re curious), and at no point last night did I cry naked.)

I *did* cry again this morning when I came across an unwrapped Milky Way as I was throwing away a bunch of stuff in the girls’ room. I plopped down on the mattress that still reeks of Anti-Lice Spray, and I sobbed and sobbed as chocolate, caramel, and nougat dripped down my chin.

It’s going to be a long and smelly weekend. (Tonight we’re all going to bed with mayonnaise in our hair and shower caps on our heads. And I’ve been trying so hard to go vegan. Why is my lip starting to quiver?!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Shirtsicles will not earn me any coolness points.

A few days back, we had lunch with one of Meredith’s friends and the friend’s mom. It was delightful. As expected, the girls decided to plan a play date. (I still hate that term.) Because Friend wanted to meet Scout, we planned the get together for yesterday afternoon at 12:30. (I’ve gone on and on about how bad I am at inviting the girls’ friends over, so I won’t do the broken record thing with you. You know me.)

Less than an hour into the play date, I noticed that I was sweating. So hot. Crazy hot. 84 degrees in the house. It didn’t help that I had been baking cakes and boiling chickens, but still. Shouldn’t an 18-month-old air conditioner be working better than this?!

I immediately did what anyone would do.

Too Darn Hot

I stuck popsicles down my shirt and sent the kids downstairs to play. (It’s at least 15 degrees cooler downstairs.) ((By the way, do you see the look on my face? My kids know that look as the “We better turn this ship around and start puking random compliments at Mommy!” look.)) I’m sure seeing me with popsicles in my shirt made Friend downgrade my status from Okay to Junk. (Junk was her insult for Miley Cyrus, as in, “I think Miley Cyrus is junk.” I sort of like it, but toward things rather than people. “This fig dip is junk! Diet soda is junk!”)

Side story: At one point during the play date, I offered Friend some gluten-free cookies. She tried them, hated them, and then asked for one of my cucumbers.

Me: Really?

Friend: Yes.

Me: Okay. Do you need me to cut it or peel it or anything?

Friend: No, I’ll just take it.

Me: Do you need something to dip it in?

Friend: Ew. No.

I washed a cucumber, sliced off both ends, and handed it to her. She eats cucumbers like apples. She ate the entire thing. I’m 41 years old, and I’ve never seen anyone do this. Excellent. Anti-junk.

After Friend went home, I went downstairs and noticed that the air conditioner was all iced up. I called our trusty air conditioner guy and he told me to clean the filter and TURN THE AIR CONDITIONER OFF for two hours to let the ice melt. Jeff cleaned the filter and quickly took the girls to VBS—leaving me and the dog sitting in the heat. Scout, sensing how ruffled I was, quickly crawled under the table and took a nap. Me? I raged and cursed and stuck a few popsicles down my pants.

At ten o’clock in the evening, the air had cooled the house to 78 degrees, and this is nothing but good, because I had canceled all plans for today in order to sew a pair of popsicle underpants. Have I mentioned that I’m counting down the days until autumn? Only 72 more days! (My opinion: Summer is junk.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Summertime, and the living’s not so easy…

You’ve known me long enough to know that a number of things make me even more anxious than your average overly-anxious bird.

My relationship with food is totally cracked. I weigh myself at least four times Every Single Day. If my number goes beyond what is most likely a perfectly acceptable number for me, I flip out. (I don’t really Flip Out, but I get bummed. Not noticeably bummed, but still. If my pants aren’t fitting, I tend to do the sad face. Inwardly.) I’m currently a vegetarian with vegan tendencies who is counting Weight Watcher points and attempting a daily raw meal. Healthy on the outside, nice and unstable on the inside, right?

I get all weirded out in social situations. I’ve always had a terrible time with eye contact, which often makes me look like I’m either lying and being all shifty, or that I’m suspicious and unsocial—or an unfortunate combination of the two. I’m always afraid I’ll say something ridiculous, so more often than not, I either avoid saying anything at all, or I get overly jokey and then I spend the drive home regretting 73% of everything I’ve said. (I once had a friend who paused at least ten seconds before saying ANYTHING. He told me that he took that time to choose his words in the most economical way. He always struck me as the most eloquent of our group.)

When I was in junior high and high school, I rarely left the house to hang out with friends. I can name the parties I went to, and they all fit on one hand! (Jeff’s hand with the amputated thumb!) I went to a dance, I went to a Halloween party, I went to a Christmas party, and I went to our class graduation party. Really. That’s it. Instead, I practiced the piano. I wrote in my notebooks. I sat on the floor in front of my radio and listened to Kurtis Blow and Phil Collins and Screaming Blue Messiahs (and The Communards and Falco and INXS).

Now that my kids are reaching an age where they’re making friends on their own, I’m finding that I’m actually feeling stressed out about THAT as well. I’ve never been good about putting play dates together (In fact, I sort of hate the term Play Date.), but I’m starting to realize that if I make my kids spend their childhood the way I spent mine, they’re never really going to be social creatures! (Evidence: Socially Awkward Me.)

A few weeks back, Harper’s friend’s mom called to say that they were getting a small group together to go to the pool and were wondering if Harp could join them. I 100% trust both of the adults who would be there, yet I still was a complete Dorito-binging mess when I dropped Harper off. (Harper had the greatest time at the pool, there were a TON of lifeguards there, I have no idea why I flip out about this… Wait. No. I do know. I’ll get to that in a second.)

Meredith recently took a call from her best friend. She’s back in town after a two week vacation, and is wondering if Meredith can come over, go to Dave and Busters, and then hang out at the grandmother’s pool. I immediately began puking out questions to Meredith.

Me: Dave and Busters? Are the parents going to be hanging out with you the entire time? Because I’ve SEEN some of the adults who hang out there during kid-friendly hours. And, the pool. Will there be a lifeguard on duty? Because I’m not sure where the grandma lives, but I DO know that not all subdivision and apartment pools have lifeguards, and you are NOT allowed to go to a pool without an adult there, and ultimately, I want a LIFEGUARD there because sometimes adults get caught up in conversations and they lose track of kids and WAIT. DID YOU JUST HIT YOUR SISTER?! OKAY THEN. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GO TO THE POOL OR TO DAVE AND BUSTERS! EVER!

When I was in elementary school, a little boy from our church drowned at church camp. It affected me more than I like to admit. Because of that, I don’t swim. (I know it’s twisted. I know!) My kids have taken swim lessons and Jeff takes them to the pool every week or so, but I never join them because along with not digging the heat, I physically cannot handle the stress. Jeff’s parents have a boat and would probably love to take the girls out, but I can’t deal with it. If someone is drinking beer and driving a boat, I don’t want my kids to be involved. I WON’T let my kids be involved.

Perhaps this is why I love winter. (With that said, I once knew a woman whose only child was killed in a freak skiing accident.)

Please don’t tell me that I’m a disaster. I know I am. Please don’t tell me to take swimming lessons. The thought of it terrifies me, and I know that’s ridiculous. You can sing songs to me about never breaking cycles if you’re unwilling to make changes, and I’ll sing right along—as long as you’re singing in the key of D. (I love F# and C#.)

If you’re as unstable as me, feel free to sing it out. Afterward, we’ll high five one another while staring at the floor with our shifty overly-protective eyes. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>