It looks like I’m rotting from the inside out, Lily Chin.

When I was in high school, my skin was highly imperfect.

Sadly, when you take a girl who is already a bit of a social disaster (me! I was the piano playing introvert who always kept the words Boy and Friend separate!) and you tap her with a Yucky Skin stick, you end up with someone who spends entirely too much time staring at her own feet as she walks down the hall. (This might explain my current fascination with shoes! I would look so CUTE falling down in these!)

Anyway, my mom knew that I was bummed out about my skin, so she took me to see a dermatologist. After shining bright lights on me for what seemed like hours, the doctor removed his glasses and said, “So, your skin’s imperfect. You’re not going to kill yourself, are you?!” I had no idea how to respond, so I simply apologized for setting up the appointment. (Quick news flash: The last I heard, this dermatologist was in prison! Catch a painted pony and so forth!)

Fast forward entirely too many years to January 2010. Last month I noticed that my skin was starting to look like crap again. Dry, oily, irritated, sensitive, scary, spicy, posh, etc. I visited my primary care physician last week (you know, because My Dermatologist is in PRISON) and am now washing my face with a benzoyl peroxide soap and using something called Metro Gel, which I believe brings me one step closer to my goal of Urban Cowboy status. I have no idea why I’m telling you this. I suppose I really just want to say: Stop looking at my chin. I have no idea what’s going on down there, but I’ve been assured that Metro Gel is on the case.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve just finished my final freelance chapter.

I’m terrified to report that I’ve just finished my final freelance chapter.

(I realize it’s only a matter of time until I accept my next job, so all is well. I’m very lucky to be able to live like this.)

The UPS man just delivered the Adult Makeup I ordered last week. Have I mentioned that I’ll be forty soon? I really should start adding more fiber to my diet or Sensitive Skin products to my makeup drawer or money to my kids’ college funds or something.

I’ve spent the entire weekend listening to Mumford and Sons. They’re exactly what I need right now.

Time is running out!
Tonight I’m giving away a $200 Visa gift card, and it’s all about pizza.

I spent a week driving a Lincoln, and if you check out my review you could win a $500 Visa gift card! (And more!) This is a really great giveaway! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Sondre Lerche Concert Giveaway!

ETA: The tickets have been taken. Hooray!!! Thanks to all who inquired!

Here’s the scoop.

A few weeks back, I was made aware of the fact that Sondre Lerche is coming to town. And I love him. So I bought tickets.

Now, it has become clear that I will not be able to attend the show. And I’m bummed. Really bummed.

I tried to sell the tickets on Facebook. No takers.

An hour ago, I tried to give the tickets away on Facebook. No takers.

So, now I’m opening it up to everyone. (Everyone in St. Louis, that is.)

If you’re in St. Louis and are interested in tickets to a really great show on Monday night (2/15), please let me know and the tickets are yours.

What? You don’t know who Sondre Lerche is? Well, here. Let me introduce you.

If you’re interested, leave a comment and we’ll make connections.

(Official show details are here.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

With scarves of red tied ’round their throats…

Yesterday afternoon I was sort of feeling a headache coming on, so I decided to take a Tylenol before dropping Harper off at school. I reached into the cabinet, and because I tend to not think straight when I’m dealing with medication, I quickly took a Tylenol PM. Immediately after swallowing it, I thought, “Whoops.” Mainly, my Whoops had to do with the fact that my afternoon plan was to drop Harper off, finish up with some last minute Christmas shopping, and then go back to school for Meredith’s holiday party. One Tylenol PM will knock me out for about six hours straight. So, yeah. Whoops.

After dropping Harper off, I drove straight to a coffee dump where I ordered a super silly larger than life iced tea. I then finished my shopping with 45 minutes to spare before the party. Since I’m one of those people who sort of lives for scoring nice parking spots, I decided to go ahead and go to school, score a spot, and sit in the car and knit until the party started.

I’m doing it again. I’m boring you with the details. Please stay with me, because I’m going to be crying at the end of the next paragraph, and that’s always a crowd pleaser.

Anyway, I pulled into my (super great) parking spot at 2:03 (thirty minutes before the parties were to begin), and noticed that a bunch of parents were already hustling toward the school. Since I’m a sheep, I quickly grabbed my party supplies (marshmallows and pretzels!), and followed the crowd. When I entered the elementary school, I found that all of the students had gathered in the gym and were singing holiday songs. I entered the gym, I stood in the very back and leaned against the wall, and I quickly spotted Harper and Meredith, who were both nodding their heads as the fifth grade students sang a song about Santa Lucia. When that song ended, the music for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer started up, and all of the little kids in the gym squealed and started clapping. Before I knew it, all 600 or so students were swaying back and forth and singing Rudolph, and all of those sweet little voices (and some not so sweet) really affected me, and suddenly my lip was quivering and my eyes were watering. (I cry very easily in these situations. VERY easily.) Since Meredith’s teacher was nearby, I decided that I absolutely had to regain composure somehow, so I put my hands in my coat pockets and tried to figure out how to tap out 3/4 time as the kids sang in 4/4. So, yeah. There I stood in the back of the gym beating my hands against my legs with tears rolling out of my eyes and my lips in total palsy mode. I want to volunteer at the school next year. I doubt they’ll take me.

After the holiday party, I met a friend for coffee. Before we knew it, we were planning a writers’ retreat, and I was wearing the earrings I fell in love with several weeks ago at the Rock and Roll Craft Show. I returned home feeling completely inspired, and when I went to bed, Stephen Colbert once again entered my dream world and rescued me from a bad date I was having with a high school classmate. (This is Mr. Colbert’s third dream appearance. We ended up making out in the first two dreams. Last night he simply walked me to his car and drove me to a safe haven.)

As I rode across town in Stephen Colbert’s car, the thugs returned to our house in the real world and stabbed John Green again. Several times.

Multiple stab wounds

To add insult to injury, they also threw a pie against our garage.

Evidence of pie

(I believe it was pecan.)

A police report has been filed, the late night patrol shift will be adding a few extra turns around our subdivision, and my daughters (and I) are pissed. (Funny side story: When I called the police and told them that our eight foot penguin had been stabbed, the woman answering the phone asked if it was a real penguin. I suppose she was assessing my sanity. Nevertheless, it made me smile. I’ve never seen a real eight foot penguin, nor have I seen a real penguin with eight feet.)

John Green was one of our favorite traditions. And now we have to either toss him in the trash, or duct tape him up and reinflate him in the back yard.

(Although I have no official suspects, I’m casting a big stink eye toward the teenager who lives a few doors down. He once threw a bottle of water at me as I was taking a walk around the neighborhood, and I’ve never really forgiven him. The bottle of water was not intended to refresh me.)

John Green, this one’s for you:

Don’t forget: I have two giveaways going on right now.
One has something to do with Kisses and a $100 Visa gift card.
The other? A fancy pants Viliv S5. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Ode to John Green, who was stabbed by thugs one week ago tonight.

(For the full John Green is a Survivor effect, you’ll want to start the music before reading!)

You could never know what it’s like.
Your blood like winter freezes just like ice,
And there’s a cold lonely light that shines from you.
You’ll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use.

John Green

And did you think this fool could never win?
Well look at me, I’m coming back again!
I got a taste of love in a simple way,
And if you need to know while I’m still standing you just fade away.

Jeff loves John Green.

Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did?
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid!
I’m still standing after all this time,
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind!


I’m still standing yeah, yeah, yeah!
I’m still standing yeah, yeah, yeah!


Once I never could hope to win.
You starting down the road leaving me again.
The threats you made were meant to cut me down,
And if our love was just a circus you’d be a clown by now!

Et cetera.

(Okay. It’s almost like that song was WRITTEN for John Green, don’t you think? The threats you made WERE MEANT TO CUT ME DOWN?!)

((I’ve taken a lot of cold medicine. Enjoy your evening.))

Oh! Don’t forget: I have two giveaways going on right now.
One has something to do with Kisses and a $100 Visa gift card.
The other? A fancy pants Viliv S5. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

So, on with the boots, back out in the snow…

This afternoon will find us wining and dining a six-year-old girl who has never been to our house before.

(To the mom of the six-year-old girl who has never been to our house before: I’m exaggerating on the wining part.)

We’ll be picking her up shortly and heading straight out to the root beer factory and then back to our house to play until 3:00.

To prepare for this event, I pulled out my Homekeeping Handbook. My kitchen and bathroom floors have now been mopped to Martha Stewart standards, including the wiping o’ the baseboards. All kitchen countertops are spotless. The family room is in need of a good floor suck, and then she’s passable.

All of this for a six year old girl who is not a member of royalty.

As I run around folding clothes and disinfecting sinks and tubs, this song keeps playing over and over in my head:

Also on my schedule for today: processing 28 freelance chapters (heh. whoops.), shooting and editing a short introduction video (I’ll talk about that more later), baking a pumpkin cake (in the shape of a pumpkin farm thing!), purchasing a birthday gift for Jeff’s mom, having Jeff’s mom over for dinner, and reading the final twenty pages of The Shack for tomorrow’s book club meeting.

Enjoy your Saturday. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

It’s like buying a brand new notebook and spiffy pen!

I suppose it’s a bit silly how I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar-ish I get after completing a seemingly piece of cake act like updating software. Suddenly, I’m wearing new underpants, and I feel like sitting here and writing all day. ($40 says I could have you sleeping by noon.)

After spending entirely too much money in Chicago (On YARN! My sister thinks I’m batty!), I took on a few reviews this week. SO, you’ll see those in the next week or so if you’re interested. (I was able to shoot a video of my kids eating spinach, and my house now smells autumnal and fresh. So there you go.)

What? You want to know what I’ll be knitting in the next several months? Let’s start with This Exact Shawl. It was hanging up in the very first booth we entered last weekend, and it didn’t really appeal to me until I was asked to try it on. (I’m still not sure how that happened. I was sort of drunk on silk at the time, and would have probably done just about anything asked of me. Luckily, I kept my skirt on.) Anyway, I tried on the shawl, and the angels started singing and I cried for three hours to release all of my toxins and ugliness and then I sang love songs to everyone in the convention center (Neil Diamond has nothing on me!), and right before I asked if I could go on a hugging spree, the woman removed the shawl and placed the pattern and yarn into a bag.

I’m currently this far in the game:
Waves in the Square

And that’s really not far at all, being that I have visions of curling up in this thing on Christmas morning as I sip coffee, listen to Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis, and wait for everyone to wake up. (It’s a personal tradition, give or take the hooker.)

I also bought the kit to make a sweater that is not a sweater. (Once again with the treachery of images!) It’s not a Sweater, it’s a stinking work of art. And I’m not going to link to it here, because you’ll look at the photograph and say, “Hhhmmmm. Time to put on a quilted Americana vest and stuff yourself with a big stupid piece of pie, Pudding!” I am going to keep you in suspense. (Only five people are still reading at this point. Does the knitting talk bore you?) Here’s a bone (I really hate that phrase, by the way): I just corresponded with the woman who is sending the kit to me. She told me the yarn has been back-ordered from Italy, and I firmly believe that adds to the allure. Because now the sweater is like a work of ITALIAN art, meaning Michelangelo and I could probably make out for awhile over coffee and tiramisu. (Tempe? Back me up. The sweater sort of resembles the Sistine Chapel ceiling, no?)

Abrupt change of topic! Tonight is our neighborhood party. More often than not, the party ends early for me when Harper either falls down, or simply decides she would rather sit on a couch in our family room and watch the party through the window than participate in it. (How do you raise your kids to be social creatures when you are most definitely NOT a social creature? Xanax and pumpkin beer? I try my best, and then I go to bed and blame it all on my DNA.)

A few of you have e-mailed to ask what I’m doing to combat the IBS madness. Currently? I’m drinking coffee sprinkled with Benefiber, because I’m your mother. (And to the few who sent e-mails asking me to take down my colon photos? I’m not taking down my colon photos. My colon is my loveable serpentine baby that will (hopefully) always remain inside of me. He deserves his time in the sun, where Sun=Fluid Pudding Front Page.)

This entry was brought to you by WordPress Version 2.8.4! And that sentence will not appear at the end of every entry! Five more minutes of healthy horn tooting, if you please.

Most importantly, enjoy your weekend. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Shiny things! Babies! Diversions!

Many of you have requested this video, and I figured today would be the perfect day to put it back up.

It moves the FAFPBPA shirt down a bit! It shows a kid with great (sweaty bedhead) hair! I’m sort of singing!

Anyway. Enjoy.

(I removed the related videos which all featured actual snakes biting actual babies. You can thank me later.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

He kissed my cheek before bucketing my noggin.

A few nights ago Ben Folds gently placed a bright pink bucket hat on my head and crowned me Queen of the Shirtless Crab Walk.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

When Jeff and I were shopping for wedding rings, we ended up at a jewelry store in a mall in Nashville, Tennessee. After making our selections (Jeff’s ring is gold with black ridges that remind him of record albums, mine is platinum and has eleven tiny diamonds embedded into the band for no real reason at all), we were asked if we wanted anything engraved onto the rings.

Me: Yes. Put ‘My Only Friend, The End’ inside Jeff’s ring.

Jewelry Store Kid: Seriously?

Me: Yes. If engraving costs less than five dollars.

After our wedding ceremony, it occurred to me that Jeff never answered the question about engraving. I slid the ring off of my finger, expecting (and sort of hoping) to find a fabulous William Gass quote. Instead, I found one word. Ben.


Me: Jeff? Why did you do this?

Jeff: Um, I didn’t do that. Actually, it sort of looks like the engraver screwed up someone else’s ring and then put it back into the case to be sold. Look at the messed up N.

Me (muttering a few expletives, some that begin with an F): I’ll be clearing this up when we get back to Nashville.

Get this. When I returned to the store to clear up the Ben issue, I found that all of the jewelry cases had been removed, and the store had closed down leaving no forwarding address. Interesting. (I immediately took the ring to have it appraised. I have no idea why, other than: What if those aren’t really diamonds?! What if it’s not really platinum?! It seems that everything is fine, except I still have Ben rubbing up against the finger that holds the vein that runs directly to my heart or something.)

Let’s fast forward seven years, shall we? (Seven years that involved purchasing every Ben Folds album and familiarizing the girls with his music to the extent that they can name Gracie in less than three notes.) ((If you follow that link, please know that I have no idea who the people are in that video, and I sort of wish they wouldn’t have interrupted the song with their baby’s first cry. Then again, I tend to be insensitive when the moon is full.))

On Thursday night, Jeff and I took to the streets to see Ben Folds play at The Pageant. And I won’t tell you that I was clearly the oldest person in attendance, because that fact tends to make my eyes well up a bit. So, let’s skip over my realization that several of the kids in line were born when I was already drinking beer. Legally. Wait. Can I just tell you that I heard a girl say “It’s on like Donkey Kong!” as we stood in line to enter the building? She was totally serious about It being On like Donkey Kong! (She had spent nearly two hours in the Big People line, and was slightly distressed about being asked to move to the back of the Under 21 line. When we heard her story and discovered that it was about to be On like Donkey Kong, we quickly surrendered our place in the Under 21 line and went in search of our fellow Big People. I do not regret that move.)

We found our seats, we made out a bit (I might be stretching the truth on that one), and we prepared for the opening act. (Prepared = Continued to sit. We were very lucky to have seats.) Opening act? Missy Higgins. And during her first song I developed one of those I Want to Buy All of Her Albums Right Now crushes. I also want to figure out how to knit the cabled tank she was wearing. But you don’t care about that, do you?

The Ben Folds performance? As expected, it was flawless. Had you been sitting next to me, you would have noticed me giving my cranial approval by cocking my head to the side in that “I’m really feeling this” way, and nodding to the rhythm as if to say “Yes! Uh huh! Uh huh!” over and over again. Let’s see. Do you mind if I simply run down the set list with you? (I know you’re really wanting to get to the part about the shirtless crab walk. I’m getting there. I promise.)

And right now you’re wondering what the Fake Leak thing is, right? I know! Before their latest album was released, Mr. Folds “leaked” songs onto the internet with the same titles as the album tracks. But they weren’t the album songs. SO, the folks who grabbed up the fakes thought they were getting actual album tracks. But they weren’t. And I would say something about getting pleasantly punked, but I’m 38, remember?! (You can find some of the leaks on this site if you fish around a bit.)

By the way, we left after the fake leak version of Frowne Song. If you were at the show, please don’t tell me that we missed a second encore. Please. And please don’t tell me that it contained Philosophy. Seriously. Because I don’t want to know that. (Philosophy was on the CD that Jeff and I gave out to everyone at our wedding reception. And that was Seven Years Ago tomorrow. October 20th. Seven Years. I’ve never held a job for seven years. I’ve never done Anything for seven years. (Except for the Fluid Pudding thing. Fluid Pudding and Jeff. There you go. Cheers.))

When we got home after the show that night, I sat up and watched The Office. And then I fell asleep and had a dream during which I was crab walking around The Pageant without my shirt on. (As I sometimes do. The employees are very patient.) I eventually found myself backstage balancing a bottle of beer in Billy Pancake, and Ben Folds walked up, bent down, kissed my cheek, and placed a bright pink bucket hat on my head. “You are Queen of the Shirtless Crab Walk!” he proclaimed as he tapped my head with his own bottle of beer, which is just as good as slipping an engraved ring containing eleven tiny diamonds onto the finger that holds the vein that runs directly to my heart or something. And it all seemed very Just Another Day in the Life.

If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme. When you wish upon a star as dreamers do. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Super Music Saturdays!

This video seems oddly appropriate today.

Twelve hours from now I’ll either be whooping it up at the Elks Lodge with two handfuls of mozzarella cheese sticks, two feet wobbling with mad crazy rhythm, and a tongue dripping with amicability (and cheese), or I’ll be back home. In my pajamas. With a wallet that’s fifty dollars skinnier and a heaping plastic tablespoon of No Ira Glass regret.

I’ll be in touch. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>