I’ve eliminated friends who have broken my spines.

I’m in love with having signed copies of books. Seeing an author’s handwriting makes me feel closer to the actual writing process, and that jazzes me to no end. I keep all of my signed books on the top shelf of my bookshelf, and they are the only books that receive a semi-regular dusting. (Okay. I made that up. None of my books receive even a semi-regular dusting. Gesundheit!)

My copy of Remembering Denny is the first book I had signed, and is one of my most treasured possessions.

After listening to me drone on about the Mrs. Bridget character in Tom Jones’s “Henry Fielding,” Helen Fielding told me I was brilliant. (I don’t think she really meant it. I think we both know I was being embarrassingly pretentious and her “brilliant” was code for “Okay then, Spooky. Moving right along!”)

Jeff gave this to me a few months before he moved to Nashville. I have very distinct memories of sitting on a washing machine at my apartment complex and studying the pen dents left by William Gass.

Shortly after discovering I was pregnant with Meredith, I had Salman Rushdie sign my copy of The Ground Beneath Her Feet. I will not let anyone borrow this book. You know, because of the fatwa and all.

Jenny Boully dyes amazing yarn and spins amazing words.

SueBob gave this to me at BlogHer in San Francisco last year, and every time I open it, I think of her.

My friend Jen sent this to me for my birthday. It was one of my favorite gifts.

This is one of my recent acquisitions. Bill Keaggy is one of the most creative locals I sort of know. He celebrates National Sandwich Month every year! He collects grocery lists! He takes photos of Sad Chairs!

Right here is where I would add a photograph of Eden Kennedy‘s signature in my copy of Things I Learned About My Dad, but it is currently sitting on a shelf in Springfield, Missouri. I took the book to San Francisco last year with the goal of having it signed by each of the contributors. Sadly, because I’m Angela R. Pudding, I didn’t have the guts to approach anyone but Eden.

Thanks to Angella, I just received a copy of the new Danny Evans book. And I have a huge grin on my face because of this:


Those words will keep me smiling for approximately 17.2 days. (And the words printed within will keep the smile going, I’m sure.)

Tell me your author stories. It’s fifty degrees outside, and I’ve busted out the jeans. (Figuratively. Shut up.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Stock up on the Northern! It’s FAFPBPA time!!!

Do you remember back in March when I threw my fist to the sky and invited you to participate in the First Annual Fluid Pudding BreadPuddingAlong (also known as FAFPBPA, which is pronounced FafPuhBuhPah)?

Six months have passed, and I think it’s time we have ANOTHER FafPuhBuhPah! But this time? Let’s shake it up a lot more than a little, shall we?!

It seems that Wednesday, September 9th will find me knocked out (and rolled over) as I undergo both an upper endoscopy (to rule out ulcers) AND a colonoscopy (to rule out Crohn’s). Wheee! I’m not particularly rattled about these procedures, because the people driving the tubes around my insides do this stuff every single day. (Except maybe Christmas and/or their own birthday.) (I wonder how many times a tube-driving doctor has jokingly muttered “I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque” while performing a colonoscopy. Because that is very (very) funny. To me.)

What I *am* a bit puckered up about are the events that have to take place the day prior to the procedures. Let’s call a duck a duck, shall we? I am dreading the idea of “bowel prep.”

This is where you come in. Wait! Get back here!!!

It’s the First Annual Fluid Pudding BowelPrepAlong (also known as FAFPBPA, which is pronounced FafPuhBuhPah)!!! On the morning of Tuesday, September 8th, which is Two Weeks from Today So Mark Your Calendars, we shall not partake of any solids. It’s a clear liquid day! AND, at four o’clock in the afternoon, the shivaree shall commence with the swallowing of four Dulcolax! One! Two! Three! Four Dulcolax!!!

Thirty minutes later? We shall drink a half bottle of Miralax mixed into a 32-ounce jug of Gatorade! At 8:00 in the evening? Yes! ANOTHER half bottle of Miralax mixed into a 32-ounce jug of Gatorade! According to my calculations which are nearly always incorrect, it looks like we’ll be ingesting three weeks worth of laxatives in four hours time! We are living the bulimic dream! It’s FAFPBPA!

I’m trying to decide if I should liveblog the event. I mean, seriously. If people can liveblog the Grammy Awards, why can’t I liveblog the clearing of my colon?

Okay. Who wants to design the shirts?


Edited to Add: Who wants to design the shirts? Melissa wants to design the shirts! So she did! (This is EXACTLY why I love Fluid Pudding Readers!)
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Too bad we’re going to miss Upper GI Wednesday!

Yesterday afternoon we were able to attend a glow-in-the-dark juggling/magic show at the local library. Because we know how these things tend to fill up quickly (We don’t really know that, but we pretend to be knowing. We’re so smug.), we arrived thirty minutes before show time.

As the girls and I waited for the show to begin, Jeff announced that he was going to use the restroom. Ten minutes later he returned.

Jeff: Girls, I think the show is about to begin! I just saw the juggler in the bathroom, and he was washing his balls!!!

Me: Wow. There you go!

Jeff: Yep. So, I guess THAT happened!

Meredith: Why was he washing his balls? Were they sticky?!

Jeff: Well, I’m not sure. I didn’t want to crowd him.

And, Scene.

In health-related news (look away, Eddie), all of my test results are showing that my gall bladder really is a respectable fellow. SO, I’m now on a different medication, and will be having an abdominal CAT scan as well as an upper endoscopy sometime in the next month. Apparently, this is colonoscopy/endoscopy season (who knew?!)—making it very difficult to score  an appointment. (Just in case you’re interested, it’s also groundhog, squirrel, and coyote season! Grab your forks!)

And, finally—because we can’t go to Luxembourg, we’ve decided to go camping at Trout Lodge. We’re leaving tomorrow, and according to the brochure we will be there for Safari Sunday, Blast from the Past Monday, and Wrangler Tuesday. Ponies will be ridden. S’mores will be consumed. AND, during naptime? I’ll be dinking around with a Swirl Shawl, or perhaps a Swirl Scarf. Which size do YOU prefer?

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I believe we’re going to see Up today.

Last night I had a dream in which I knitted an amazing turquoise lacy scarf for Ellen DeGeneres. When Portia de Rossi got wind of it, she threw a fit and told Ellen that the scarf did not suit her. I quickly ran to my knitting bag where I retrieved an old scrap yarn scarf. I knew I needed to weave the ends in, but I had no darning needle. Once I finally located a needle, the scarf had been stolen, and everyone in the room was eating roast beef and baked potatoes.

I have been completely meat free (except for that silly VFW Hall fish sandwich and a few odd shrimp here and there) for over 100 days, and I cry every time Ellen gives something away on her show.

A few nights back I tossed cheese tortellini in with chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I threw a fistful of feta over the top (feta festoonery!), and it quickly became the happiest dinner we’ve had in months.

(By the way, I really am working on a topaz Ishbel. But it’s not for Ellen. It’s for me. Unless Ellen contacts me directly and asks me for it. Then I’ll give it up faster than you can say “I cry every time Ellen gives something away on her show.”)

So, what’s new with you? ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

The woman had bad roots, but I didn’t call her on it.

Yesterday morning I was a bit bummed out because Meredith has been having stomachaches that are a bit more like STOMACHACHES(!!!) and they hit her quickly and she immediately starts to cry and sometimes she throws up, and I would do just about anything to suffer through them for her. So anyway, she had a bad one yesterday morning and the doctor couldn’t get her in before 10:15, and I had to be at work at 10:00, so Jeff had to take her in, and well, I wanted to be there, but I couldn’t.

Since I was running about five minutes early to work, I stopped by Starbucks for a coffee. As I left the building with my drink and started walking to the car, a woman (who was unbuckling her child’s car seat) backed away from her car, looked at me, and yelled, “What an ugly haircut! What ARE you?!?!” Since I was the only other person in the parking lot and she was looking right at me, I couldn’t really pretend that she wasn’t talking to me. SO, I pretended that perhaps she thought she knew me and that she was being all jokey. I sort of smiled and continued to walk to the car.

“No! Seriously!!! What ARE you?!?!”

She continued to scream out at me until I was feeling the adrenalin rushing behind my eyeballs. I jumped into my car, quickly locked the door behind me, started my car, and drove away as she stood and watched me with a crazy angry look on her face.

Who does that? Who singles a stranger out on a parking lot and starts screaming insults at 9:50 on a Saturday morning? Part of me is sort of proud that I didn’t say anything back to her. But, seriously, I know myself better than that. I would NEVER say anything back. (I talk a good “I Should’ve Said”, but I think we all know that I’m much more flight than fight.) Part of me is a bit disappointed that I DIDN’T respond in some way. But what would I have said without compromising a bit of dignity?

“Seriously!!! What ARE you?!?!” I think I’m still bothered by the whole thing not only because of my tendency to be a bit on the self-conscious side (I have looked at my hair several times today, and I do believe that it’s Just Fine), but because her child was sitting right there in the car seat watching the whole thing.

May I ask what you would have done?

Also, so I don’t leave you hanging, Meredith has been diagnosed with GERD. We dealt with it when she was a baby, and it seems that it’s back, and it’s stirring up all sorts of anxiety because she doesn’t want to get sick at school, and I can’t even tell you how happy I am that school’s almost out. Three more weeks. That’s it. Less than twenty days. But anyway. Today we had to leave church less than twenty minutes in because her stomach started hurting and she freaked out, and she has been crying on and off all day, and any reflux advice would be appreciated, too.

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Look at me! I’m self-employed! I love to work at nothing all day.

So, every once in a while I like to sit back and give a State of the Union-esque sort of update to you so you know where I am with everything. Specifically, I’d like to update you on business, ask for your opinion on something, and then send you somewhere where your voice can be heard! (Figuratively!)

First of all, as you know, I’ve been doing reviews for BlogHer. I know this burns a few goats out there, so let me be totally up front on something. I will NEVER place a review on this main page. They will always be placed on a different page and listed over on the right-hand side under the Pages—Reviews header. There is absolutely no pressure to read the reviews. None. So, why do I do the reviews? To me, they’re fun. As you know, I get free stuff when I agree to do a review. Sometimes I get all generous and give that stuff to you guys. Also, I get paid. And that leads me to my next topic!

When my grandma died four years ago (there I go with the dead grandma thing again!), Jeff and I bought a Sony DSC-H1 digital camera. And the camera really has nothing to do with the grandma, but Timelines, People! It’s how my head works! Anyway, the camera has been a good friend, but she has also been failing lately, and I believe it’s time to replace her. For the past several months I’ve been saving my review checks and my yarn store checks with the intention of eventually purchasing a new digital camera. Many people have been singing the praises of the Canon Digital Rebel to me. A few say that Nikon is the way to go. Please know that I am NOT a professional photographer, nor do I aspire to be one. However, I would love to be able to take photos without having to dink around with them afterward. Having the option of video would be nice, but not completely necessary. Do you have any recommendations for me? Is your digital camera love a strong one? Sway me, Internet! Bend me and mold me and poke me around for a bit. Convince me. (Help me.)

Finally, do you remember last April when I posted some of the Dave letters? Well, I received a quick note from Dave a few days back telling me that he has a t-shirt design up at Threadless, and if his design receives enough votes, it will become an actual t-shirt. If you have a Threadless account, would you consider voting for his design? (You vote by clicking on one of the numbers at the right hand side. Preferably, the 5.) I told him that if I can get 100 people to vote from my site and if his t-shirt goes into production, I might just give one of the t-shirts away. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

And now, because I enjoy feeling like I can embed things, I shall embed the badge for the We All Scream design. You can click on it! You know, because I understand the whole embedding thing!
We All Scream - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More
Excellent. This concludes my Taking Care of The Business. Tomorrow (or soon thereafter)? Jeff makes an important decision regarding the possibility of me running away from home with one of my long-time crushes. (Hint: This has absolutely nothing to do with Zach Braff.)

EDITED TO ADD: If we get the shirt vote up to 415 votes and the shirt goes to production, I’ll give one away! And you NEED this shirt, because it’s orange and summery and ’tis the season and all of that.

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Sew Far, Sew Good! Get it?! Pass the beans!

Two years ago, I decided it was about time for me to start sewing.

When I was in junior high (or middle school, tomato-tomahto), I took a home economics class and loved the unit on sewing. Just to illustrate how much I loved it, please know that I willingly (!) participated in the home economics fashion show. I wore a hand-sewn navy blue dress (paired with red clunky beads, earrings, and shoes because I was immersed in the eighties like that), and carried a Cabbage Patch Kid (officially renamed Arthur Jeffrey when I decided that Clive Belden didn’t really suit him) who wore a hand-sewn hoodie. The summer after my eighth grade year, I made several crop top/crop pant ensembles, and I must admit: At the time, I thought I looked Very Cute. And that thought hasn’t really crossed my mind since then. So, sewing breeds self-confidence and makes you lovely. Right? Right-o!

Anyway, two years ago. Christmas rolled around and my mother-in-law presented me with a Singer Prélude. I brought it home and quickly put it in our coat closet. A few months later, I took it out and watched the instructional DVD. I may have even threaded a bobbin! (I’m very enthusiastic when it comes to bobbins.) I then returned the machine to the coat closet, where it still sits. (On top of the sewing machine is a chimney sweeping log. For some reason, the thought of removing that log to get to the machine is sort of overwhelming. What if I start a fire? It all seems so dangerous.)

A few weeks back I stood up and whispered, “It is time. Time to remove the log.” I opened the closet door, removed the log from the top of the machine, and sat back down. A few days ago, the sewing urge turned into more of a fever when I saw the amazing things Juju has been sewing. (Incidentally, does anyone know where I can find Japanese pattern books? Is it strictly an eBay thing? I don’t want to sell my car for Pochee, Volume 6. But I do want to know that Pochee, Volume 6 is obtainable. Because Every Single Thing Juju Made is something I want to wear.)

Last night I ran away from home (that’s twice in one week, for those keeping score!) and tried to find the nearest Jo-Ann store. (My goal was to browse pattern books and make a list of start-up materials that I might need. Tiny steps.) As I often do, I put on an old episode of This American Life for the drive and then I quickly became disoriented and ended up getting a bit lost. After my blood pressure returned to normal and I finally found the store, I discovered that it is closed for renovations. (It looks like the renovations are coming along quite nicely, Jo-Ann. The store will reopen on May 8th, which is my friend Mitzi’s birthday. Everything continues to happen and happen, don’t you think?)

My promise to you: I will be sewing before the end of the summer, and my short-term goal is to make a dress that the girls are willing to wear. (I’m so disappointed in the dresses we’re finding in stores. Why would anyone put an almost six year old in a dress that has a jeweled hole near her chest? Yikes.)

Any words of recommendation/advice would be welcome. (Unless your advice is “Put the log back on the machine.” Who are we if we can’t support one another with our crafty goals?)

Wait. I think I need a skirt made out of this. Imagine the possibilities, Diddy!

Edited To Add: Okay. I just broke down and ordered Pochee, Volume 6. Look out, World! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

‘Cause I’ve Got a Hand for You, Darius.

This morning I took a break from the freelance madness and ran to Sephora to stock up on the stuff that has run out. I had about fifteen minutes to spare, so I decided to go to the book store. However, I never made it there, because I tripped and nearly fell down, and then I started feeling sorry for myself for being all awkward and unable to carry a Sephora bag and walk in regular shoes at the same time. (By the way, I was wearing these shoes, and I’m still in love with the fact that Heather B. shot a photo of my shoes, so now I’m shouting “La la laaah! Heather B. shot a photo of my shoes! Look at it!” And I should probably start another parenthetical aside for this thought, but since we’re already here: I’m most likely going to be name dropping a lot in the coming months. I’m once again doing that all-too-predictable “I’m Not Going” salty-teared dance, so my mind has been spending quite a bit of time hopping back to July 2008. Close parens here? Yes. Here.)

Anyway. I almost fell. And it suddenly occurred to me that I’m in a really awkward phase of life right now. (Bear with me. I sometimes get a little drippy. Do you have a napkin?) I’m not quite to the age where I really need to consider covering my knees, but I’m beyond the age of arm warmers with short-sleeved shirts. (At least I think I am. Am I? I think I am.) I’m no longer comfortable in social situations that involve hoards of teenagers standing in line to see their favorite band, yet I’m willing to bite the bullet (and look like everyone’s mother) if Ben Folds comes to town. I still sing really loudly when I’m in the car alone, but do you know that I’m singing along to the soundtrack from Chess?! (Okay. I’m stretching the truth a bit. But still. That stretchy bit is barely stretched.)

The other day I was indulging in a bit of self-pity browsing when I saw these. I often say, “You really have to know yourself before choosing a ring tone or committing to a favorite flavor of ice cream or espousing a spouse etc.” I’ve once again reached a point where I’m not sure I know myself enough to say, “I can definitely carry off the big shiny earring thing.”

I need your help. When I wear these earrings, am I pulling it off? OR, am I everyone’s Aunt Marie who wears globby lipstick and big silver balls of yarn on her ears because she works part-time at a yarn store?! (And I already know that at least one person will say, “No. Do Not Wear Those.” And immediately, I’ll doubt the people who say, “Yes! Wear those!” (I’m nothing if not a bungling blend of Fragile + Impressionable.)

I tried for nearly twenty minutes to get a photo of myself wearing the earrings. When I pulled out my camera, I kept coming up with photos of my shoulder or the top of my head with no earrings in sight. When I pulled up Photo Booth, the earrings became lost against my (very cluttered) refrigerator. Solution? Put my hands behind my ears in the style of a really awkward blowfish. (I refuse to make a Hootie joke, although this would be the perfect spot for one.)

Photo 229

Blackbird, I’m counting on you to talk some sense into me.

And I’m also counting on you.

Help a sister out? ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Could you also prescribe some laceweight silk yarn?

This morning I visited my headache specialist to figure out how to eliminate this ridiculous everlasting headache. After we briefly discussed my terrible posture and the fact that I get zero exercise each day (I really am a complete disaster), we had the following conversation.

Headache Specialist: Do you, by any chance, have a Wii?

Me (wanting to cry because No. No, I do not have a Wii!): No. No, I do not have a Wii!

Headache Specialist: The only reason I ask is because the Wii Fit has a good yoga routine, and a lot of my patients have found that it helps with their tension headaches.

Me: Prescribe one for me. Seriously. Will my insurance cover it? Let’s do this.

HS: If you already had a Wii, I’d probably suggest you get a Wii Fit. BUT, I can’t ask you to spend that kind of money on the entire system.

Me: Prescribe it. Do it. Let’s make this happen. I dare you.

HS: I think I’ll give you a muscle relaxer and ask you to get a basic yoga DVD.

Okay. I’ll probably take the muscle relaxers a few times. However, I know myself well enough to know that the DVD will get exactly six days of use. (I tend to lose motivation with exercise DVDs after six attempts. See, I really AM a complete disaster.)

Anyway. Starting tonight? Muscle relaxers and a second attempt at Rodney Yee, who wants to kiss me. (At least that’s what I pretend as he poses himself wearing nothing but leggings.)

(This is the headache talking. I don’t normally beg.) Oh, Nintendo. If I had a Wii Fit, my headaches might be cured! Seriously: You could heal a girl in St. Louis with the mailing of one complimentary game system! Is it time for you to Pay it Forward, Nintendo? Is it? Um, please? How’s this for an incentive: If you send me a Wii/Wii Fit combo, I’ll make a video of myself working out wearing nothing but leggings. (If that’s not an incentive, well, let’s just forget I ever typed that sentence.)

EDITED TO ADD: Jeff just called to express his concern about the muscle relaxers. “Wouldn’t it be weird if it went straight to your bowels? Like, you’re still feeling a bit stiff-necked, and then All of a Sudden! Whoops! What the…?!” So, yeah. Now I’m afraid to leave the house. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

NaBloPoMo Day 7: Back to Bibliophagery!

One of the best compliments I ever received came in December of 1996 while I was in Los Angeles visiting my friend Doug. It was the day after Christmas, we were sitting in a bar, and my navel piercing had just been reworked with a dangling sun. As we finished our first pitcher of beer, Doug looked at me and said, “You’re one of the most well-read people I know.” I’ll never forget that, because those words are So Much Better than, “Nice chest.” or “Good work with the liquid eyeliner, Cleopatra!”

It has been a few years since I read a book that made me feel smart. And I realize that feeling smart while reading isn’t necessarily a goal shared by many. BUT, to me, feeling smart while reading is sort of like drinking the perfect salted caramel hot chocolate while strolling around after dark wearing my favorite shoes and coat and heading toward an old movie theater with Jeff to watch Amélie. And, what was that? Oh! It’s just starting to snow!

(Side story: I just reached up to scratch my neck and found that it had been bleeding. So now I’m sort of living a Flaming Lips song, and that hardly ever happens. (Words begin at 1:18, and although I really love the song, I wouldn’t advise you to watch the video if the sight of blood makes you feel oogey.) )

A few months back, Jeff and I attended a wedding where I bonded with a woman over tattoos and vodka. Last month, we serendipitously ran into each other again as I was working in the yarn store. As strange as it sounds, we sort of knew that our friendship was meant to be, so we traded information and have now formed a book club. And I’m feeling very enthusiastic. And if you know me at all, you know that I’m rarely turned up to Enthusiastic.

Yesterday I took an hour out of my day to fill up my Facebook “Books I Have Read” page. As I filled it out, I started feeling sparked to free up some time for reading. This morning I read this article, and now I’m roasting. Broiling, even. In fact, tonight just might find me putting the vampire books aside and diving into something more gristly. And I think this phase will be kicked off with more David Foster Wallace. Because, seriously. Read the article.

Today: Cleaned the family room a bit, took Harper to The Little Gym, shared a bowl of lima beans, type type type type type for Day 7, will clean some more, perhaps knit a bit, get Meredith from the bus stop, go to Target to search for chocolate brown sheets, celebrate Meredith’s month of reading with a free pizza at Pizza Hut, knit a bit more (I’m really focusing on this and this right now.), and then in bed by 9:30 to read!

I’ll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, spark me. Let me know what you’re reading! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>