Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive!

Let’s clear a few things up. Yesterday I received an e-mail asking if this WordPress site really belongs to Angela Pudding. (You know my last name’s not really Pudding, right?) Anyway, yeah! It’s really me! And I don’t have any way of proving that to you other than showing you the spot on my left arm where a doctor cut a blue nevus out when I was sixteen. You might be eating breakfast. I won’t do that to you. (Just know that I had to scoop ice cream at my job a few hours after the extraction, and my left arm was the scooping arm and whoosh! Rivers of fluid! Blegh.)

I know the banner here is weird (it’s a template thing) and I’m not getting e-mail notification with comments, which is something I was totally looking forward to, and I’m stressing on whether I really should update to WordPress 2.6.2, and how many times have I actually cried about this whole thing in the past week? 3.5. Seriously. And I realize that’s really sort of wacky and there are better things to cry about, but well, welcome to my kitchen. (Note: I was able to figure out how to stick my ads back in there. Full disclosure: the ad revenue will now pay for my hosting. It’s like the circle of life!)

Oh! You also asked where the archives went. Believe it or not, the archives are in a box in Salt Lake City, which is really sort of fun because I’ve never been to Utah, but all of my little words from the past seven years are there right now—kicking it around like little words do, I suppose. I’ll most likely be hitting all of these “issues” in the next month. Right now, most of my free time is spent freelancing and knitting the last of the BlogHer socks. (Less than two socks to go! But then I have four more gift socks and a bunch of sock ornaments to make. Do you care? I’m pretending that you care.)

(And the thing about Google Reader not picking up my RSS? I, well, huh. Are Ess What? I’ll see what I can do, but the only promise I can make is that I’ll be drinking a big silly beer early tomorrow evening. Because I need a drinkable solution to my scaredy cat-edness for the gig at InterPLAY. At 5:00, I’ll be on a panel at COCA, if you want to come on out. (I’ll have a Sharpie, if you want me to sign your arm or draw a blue nevus on it or something.) Most importantly, I’m thrilled to be sharing the space with some really wonderful writers. Come on out. And don’t look at my teenage-angst forehead. I realize that breakouts aren’t really supposed to happen at 38, but fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you if you’re young at heart. Wait. Am I still in my parenthetical aside?! Why, yes. It appears that I am.)

Oh! Wait! I shall now expand my skills by attempting to display a poster for the InterPLAY event! (Shoot an e-mail my way if you want more details.)

Wait! Here’s something! Meredith’s teacher has asked for a parent volunteer in the classroom for 45 minutes once each week. And if my Yes! gets to her first, well, I’m in. I’ve also signed on for Field Trip Duty. I’m currently thinking the kids would really love a visit to a winery. Or perhaps the Dansko factory. Sushi and an afternoon of knitting? Ben Folds concert? Popcorn and an early afternoon viewing of the Twilight movie? ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

China Green Tips? Oh, the intrigue!

Wouldn’t it be funny if every time you visited I just started spitting ugly at you? I’m mad! I can’t do anything! Woe? Me! Technologically inept!

I’m in a much better place today. Sure, I still can’t figure out what’s happening at Fluid Pudding, BUT I’m sort of working on a Doris Day mindset. Did you just feel that breeze? That was me flipping my hair and putting non-skid sole stickers on my pumps!

I’m back in the tea game, people. This morning I purchased a sampler pack of Tazo that contains Awake, Calm, China Green Tips, Earl Grey, Chai, Passion, Decaf Chai, Wild Sweet Orange, and Lotus & Zen. I believe today is a Lotus & Zen day, as I’m sitting cross-legged and will not be flapped.

As you read this, please know that I’m either building or devouring a green bean casserole. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Just call me Featherbrain.

So, yeah. Have you ever been fairly unwillingly dropped into a city where you don’t speak the language? That’s where I am right now.

If you care: Liquidweb is now my host. BUT, they apparently won’t let me use one of the later versions of WordPress? Maybe? And although I was able to drag some of my old stuff over here, it looks like crap. Also, my e-mail isn’t working. No incoming. No outgoing. And my M&M thing? Yeah. It’s screwed up again, too. Seething! Me! Right now! Do you smell it?!

I’ve currently got the towel wrapped around me. But I’m about to take it off and throw it in.

Go celebrate the fact that you’re not around me right now! Because I’m shooting fire out of Every Hole.

Do you think it’s time for our Monday morning meeting?

Okay. These are the things I need to tell you.

1. David Foster Wallace is dead. And oh, how that just sucks. Sucks! Agh! Jeff is now reading Girl with Curious Hair, and I’m spending a lot of time thinking about the night we saw Mr. Wallace at a reading many years ago. He was terribly sweaty and he couldn’t drink enough water and he read from a book he was working on titled Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. And he was so funny and so smart—one of those guys you just sort of want to be around. (If you’re not familiar with David Foster Wallace and you can spare six minutes, go here.)

2. Last night I experienced a really bizarre sort of sensitivity in my fingertips. Shut up. I know! When it came time to change the sheets, I could barely stomach the thought of touching them. As I lounged in bed reading, I could barely turn the pages of my book without wincing. I’m one of those odd people who hates touching food unless it’s covered in some sort of crust, so I’m sort of used to a bit of weirdness. (I’ll make the occasional exception for Doritos, but don’t ever ask me to eat hot wings without the assistance of a fork and knife. By the way, I’m closing in on the Vegetarian for Two Months mark. Release the doves!) Anyway, this morning I’m able to touch things without wanting to vomit, so back to business.

3. As of today, I’m once again a freelancer. My latest (and possibly greatest) assignment is to mimic nurse and doctor handwriting on medical forms that will eventually become part of a hospital simulation for medical students. This morning I went out and purchased pens for the project. And the purchasing of pens is pretty high on my list of Things I Love to Do. Adding to the excitement is the fact that this morning handed me a little touch of cardigan weather. It doesn’t get much better than this.

4. On Friday, I’ll be participating on a panel (Hey! Where can I purchase some P stock? Purchasing of pens! Participating on a panel!) that’s part of the St. Louis Interactive Festival. (I’ll give you more details later this week if you’re interested.) Also, next weekend is my 20th high school reunion. Anyway. Last night I had a dream during which someone from my graduating class handed me a beer bottle full of spit right before my panel was set to begin. And I drank the spit before I realized it was spit, and everyone was laughing, and as I made my way to the stage, I realized that my dress was all ripped out on the sides, and I muttered something into the microphone that I thought was sort of clever, but it ended up stirring up major conflict between Black Hockey Jesus and Laid Off Dad.

5. On Saturday night, I had a telephone conversation with Mr. Jon Deal regarding web site switcharoo business. And during our talk, I realized that I am completely incapable of learning anything new that doesn’t involve icy cold vampires falling in love with truck driving high school girls. This whole discouraging “My brain is no longer sharp” thing reminds me of a meeting I once attended during which my boss confessed to “needing some ginkgo balboa” to improve his brain function. At the time, I suggested he sign up for a few matches with Rocky Biloba instead and Ha Ha Ha! That’s not so funny anymore. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Wait a second. This is not my house.

On Wednesday, September 19 in the year 2001, I started writing at Fluid Pudding. To celebrate that anniversary, I’m moving all of my stuff over to WordPress. And you know how moving really sort of sucks because of suitcases and things getting lost and I forgot toilet paper and all of that? Yeah. Please be patient with me. Please. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I’m about to break a Girl Scout law.

Last week Meredith came home from school with a note that said something like “Scouting Registration Night! Wednesday! 6:00!”

I talked to Meredith for a bit, and she expressed an interest in scouting. So, I called the school.

Apparently, Scouting Registration Night is for Boy Scouts only. The administrative assistant at the school told me that registration night doesn’t exist for the Girl Scouts and that she doesn’t have any additional information about Girl Scouts.
I should have let it die right there. BUT, because I’m nothing if not tenacious, I called the Girl Scouts of America to try to track down a local leader.
The Girl Scouts of America told me to call the Girl Scouts of Greater St. Louis (GS-GSL) for leader contact information. Okay! Now we’re sort of getting somewhere maybe.

I eventually reached Cindy from GS-GSL. After babbling on about how old Meredith is and what school she attends, Cindy said the following.

Cindy: Okay. Your troop coordinator is Bonnie. I will call her and give her your information. If she doesn’t call you within two days, call her and leave a message. If she doesn’t return your call, call me back.

Me: Well, that’s sort of weird, but okay.

I waited two days. No call from Bonnie. I then called Bonnie, left a message, and waited two days. She never called back.

Cindy: Okay. Since Bonnie didn’t call you, I’d like you to call Victoria. If she doesn’t call you back, I’ll ask you to call Sheila, who is here at the GS-GSL.

I called Victoria. She didn’t answer the phone. Within two minutes of me hanging up, my phone rang.

Victoria: This is Victoria. You called me?

I told her the whole story, and she told me that she would call me back. And she did. Five minutes later.

Victoria: I’m going to ask you to call Bonnie.

Me: I called Bonnie. Cindy at the GS-GSL called Bonnie. Bonnie doesn’t return calls.

Victoria: Well, Bonnie is definitely the person you need to contact. Do me a favor and leave Bonnie another message. Dawn and I will see Bonnie on Thursday, and I’ll let her know that she should return your call. Then, Dawn will call you on Friday.

(I have no idea who Dawn is.)
Hhhhhhh. Onmyhonor,IwilltrytoserveGod,mycountry,andmankindandtolivebytheGirlScoutLaw.
I *do* know that I’m no longer excited about Meredith being a Girl Scout.
And I’m wondering why everyone seems to walk on eggshells around Bonnie.
Why should Victoria have to tell Bonnie that it’s okay to return my call about Girl Scouts when Bonnie’s job is to return calls about Girl Scouts?!

I know you hate me for saying this: I’m done with these women. And if they were men, I would say that I’m done with these men.

Do you want to know who else I’m done with? (I recently read that it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition, especially if moving the preposition would introduce awkwardness.) I’m done with the Tuesday night ballet/tap moms. (I’ll talk about them some other time. Or maybe I won’t. Are you bored by stories of moms who sit around bashing other moms because of their socioeconomic status? Yeah, me too. And although life is too short to sit in a room full o’ ugly, Meredith really loves to dance. So, tonight I shall wear my Don’t Talk to Me clothes and try to look as invisible as possible while the Mean Moms torch another friend who lives on the outskirts of Easy Street.)

And this is what I really wanted to tell you: Harper’s been throwing really amazing tantrums lately. They’re completely unpredictable, and they involve kicking, hitting, throwing things, and screaming. Oh! The screaming! This morning’s tantrum hit right after I turned off the shower water. Apparently, she wanted to watch me take a shower and “I WANTED TO WATCH YOU TAKE A SHOWER!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!” And she threw her cereal and Jeff carried her (kicking and screaming) to sit in The Thinking Chair, which is sort of our clever version of Time Out, and gheez. The tantrum never ended. They never end! They’ve been going on for over six months and are getting worse instead of better and the doctor thought it was reflux, but it ended up not being reflux, and gheez.

I’m tired.
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Let me sail, let me sail, let the Orinoco flow.

Sometimes when you’re really not in the mood to witness a man and a woman asking God’s blessing upon their holy union, you find yourself sitting in a pew in a chesty black dress holding a wedding program and praying for time to pass quickly. Last Saturday afternoon, Jeff and I attended a wedding. And because I was feeling sort of sad and Jeff was feeling punchy, we turned down the class and turned up the smart assidity.

Jeff (pointing to the line in the program that said Communion): So, I suppose *that’s* going to happen.

Me: In these shoes? I don’t think so.

Officiant (who I suspect had been drinking a wee bit): I hope we can all get together to celebrate the bride and groom’s fiftieth anniversary on October 30th, 2059.

Jeff: I thought this was August 30th. 2008. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.

Me: It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. Actually, he’s talking about their 51st and 2 Months anniversary. I think that’s a big celebratory wedding anniversary day for the Catholics. They call it The Big 51-2. I’ll Google it when we get home.

Officiant: I’d like to read to you from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13.

Jeff: I’m going to pretend I’ve never heard this before.

Me: First Corwhathians?! Wait. What is that smell? Could it be an overdone Bible verse?

(Sometimes Jeff and I are real jerks. You heard it here first, folks!)

Officiant: This time around, I’m going to shake it up a bit.

Jeff: ???
Me: ?!?!

Okay. He then inserted the bride and groom names into the verses.
And when he was done, I mentally inserted OUR names into the verses.
And it went a little something like this:

Angela is patient, Jeff is kind. (Well, one out of two isn’t bad, right? Jeff really is sort of kind. You should meet him someday.)

Angela is not jealous, Jeff is not pompous, Angela is not inflated. (Okay. Yeah. Jeff is not pompous. Also, stop looking at my butt.)

Jeff is not rude, Angela does not seek her own interests, Jeff is not quick-tempered, Angela does not brood over injury. (I don’t brood over actual injury, but I *DO* tend to overreact to things I don’t understand. Like the cyst thing above my right ear. In my mind, my swollen brain has busted through a crack in my skull and is planning some sort of gushing escape with the permission of my semicircular canals.)

Jeff does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (Gheez. I really *did* score a gem.)

Angela bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. (I suck.)

And because we weren’t good citizens during the wedding ceremony (Don’t worry. No one heard our utterances. We are not unlike mice! Muffled mice!), the DJ at the reception paid us back by playing nothing but Enya.

Me: When I was in college, I once invited a boy over so we could make out to Enya. When that got old, we made out to The Lawnmower Man.

Jeff: I’m just hoping we’re able to Cabbage Patch to an extended mix of Brahms’ Lullaby before the night is over.
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When the lights come on, you leave me in stitches.

You know, it’s sort of funny. When I have something Yarn Related to tell you, I always hesitate. In my mind, 83.9% of you are NOT knitters/crocheters. Bang. I just had a quick explosion of inspiration to assemble a survey so I can find out how many of you dabble in the fiber arts. However, my quick explosions tend to fizzle, and right now I sort of lack the energy to Google “free do-it-yourself survey”. So anyway. (I just stepped away to make a waffle. I have the energy for waffles. Multigrain!)

To those of you who really don’t get this yarn thing, come back early next week, where I will talk about how I stood less than 50 feet away from Bruce Springsteen and how he has rocketed to the top of my Do Boy List. Actually, I should probably rework that entire list. Seriously? If John Krasinski landed in the same room as me, I really don’t think he would feel even the slightest urge to make out. It’s time to be a bit more sober, don’t you think? John Krasinski, I hereby release you.

While I’m jumping around, let me take a moment to tell you that I’m really digging crumpets lately. Who would have thought?

Okay. Last Friday we picked Tempe up at 4:30 in the morning. (We picked coffee up at 4:15 in the morning. I love you, you stinking 24-hour Starbucks, you!)

After finding our way to the convention center in Schaumburg, we parked the car, hustled in, and headed straight to The Fold to admire the Socks that Rock.

(The six hours between Leaving St. Louis and Arriving in Schaumburg were mostly uneventful. I ate an egg and cheese biscuit. So there’s that, if you’re interested.)

After The Fold, things get blurry. Let’s see. If you want to see the yarn I purchased and what each skein will eventually become, you can head over here.

Oh! Do you remember that episode of Dawson’s Creek where the kids were heading out to a rave and they had to go get an egg before they were given directions to the barn where the rave was to be held and Dawson was questioning the whole egg thing and Pacey said something like, “Don’t ask questions. We just need to find an egg!” and Joey got really wasted and now that I’m typing this really long sentence I’m wondering if this episode ever aired. Am I making this up?! Anyway. During our second pass of The Fold, the fabulous Knitting Hawkeye yelled, “Hey! Fluid!” (I’m really NOT making that up!) She then told me to go to a certain booth and grab a pin. THEN, head to the Malabrigo booth. The pin will serve as a tip-off, and if you play your cards right you will be handed some back-alley sock yarn that has not yet been released in the states. The three of us earned our pins and headed to the booth where we were given two skeins of the yarn. Three people living in three separate houses were told to share two skeins of yarn. Ah, well. At least we had what I believe was a Dawson’s Creek adventure. But maybe it wasn’t.

Long Story Shortened: We each purchased all of the yarn that we needed and headed out into rush hour traffic. We met some really nice knitters. We wore our shawls. And the day? It was good. And on the way home Tempe received a shocking telephone call that put Everything into perspective. The yarn? It’s not important. The two skeins for three people thing that I chose to harp on for at least an hour? Not important. (I really need to dump out that big pot of Grudge that’s been simmering in my head for so long. I’m constantly adding to it. Such a waste of time. Grudges? Go hang out with John Krasinski! You are released!) What’s important is the time spent with the people you hold dear. And you might think that’s hokey, but believe me: It’s So True.

So now I’m back. And I’m closing in on finishing my August BlogHer socks. (Progress thumbnails are in the left sidebar toward the bottom.)
And Meredith is loving kindergarten.
And Harper is loving preschool.
And I’ve got great friends and a first-rate family.
(I’ve also got a little crush on Bruce Springsteen. And Jeff doesn’t mind, because he digs Mr. Springsteen, too.)
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Not Unlike a Compound Fracture

The winners of the M&M’s Giveaway have been notified, and all but one has responded. (If you are Betsy who guessed the winning M&M amount at the shower, please shoot an e-mail my way! You’re a winner!)

Anyway, this morning I lugged four boxes of M&M’s to the post office. And I’m exaggerating when I say this, but: each box weighed about eighty pounds.

Post Office Guy: Do these boxes contain anything liquid or perishable?

Me: Well, each box is filled with M&Ms. But I’ve packed them with weird bubble wrap stuff. I just need to send them all as inexpensively as possible.

Post Office Guy: Do you want insurance or confirmation of delivery?

Me: Nope.

Post Office Guy: You don’t care if they get there, do you? You didn’t even put a return address on these boxes!

Me: I sort of want them to GET there, but if they don’t, I definitely don’t want them back. I really can’t be trusted with M&Ms in the house.

Post Office Guy (using his Sly Hopping Eyebrow): So you’re kind of Whatever about the delivery, and you don’t want them back, right?

Me (proving that my eyebrow can jump higher than his): Truer words have never been spoken, Mr. Postman.

Post Office Guy: Thank you for the M&Ms.

Me: Enjoy them. I liked the raspberry ones the best.

Post Office Guy: You know, when you leave this building, I’m going on an M&M break.

Me: If you have to suffer a break, I hear an M&M break is the best kind.

Later this week I’ll update you on Stitches Midwest and Bruce Springsteen.
Ah, Bruce Springsteen.

Samuel L. Jackson will appear in the sequel to Snakes on a Plane.

After nine months of not going to a Weight Watchers meeting, this morning I experienced the urge to go to a Weight Watchers meeting.

(I still have a few free days before my freelance project is delivered. As you can see, I’m taking full advantage of my free time. Weight Watchers Meeting! Falalalala! Jealous?)

When I walked in the door, the receptionist greeted me with a big, “Welcome to Weight Watchers!”

Me: Actually, I’ve been here on and off for the past five years.

Receptionist (scanning my bar code): Oh, yes! I see you haven’t been here for nine months! What have you been up to?

Me: I had a baby?

Receptionist: Ooh! Really?

Me: Nope. But it sounds better than, “I received a big stupid box of M&Ms, and someone needs to step in.”

Receptionist: We’re running a sale on 2-point bars!

So I bought a few boxes of 2-point bars, and I headed into the meeting, where the topic was Interim Successes.
The gist: If you spend all of your time stressing about your final goal, you’ll miss out on celebrating each tiny success! And each tiny success will carry you onward through the journey to the final goal! So focus on the tiny successes, and eventually you’ll be able to say something like “Eureka! I’ve reached my final goal! ‘Tis a gift to be simple!” (I tend to poke fun. I’m ridiculous.)

Anyway, the most curious thing happened right at the end of the meeting.

Weight Watchers Leader (WWL): So, we all have big goals. And we also have busy lives. Tell me, what keeps all of you coming to these meetings every week? What keeps you on track?

Someone named Karen: I know that journaling keeps me on track.

WWL: Excellent. Yes. Jennifer?

Jennifer: Snakes in my garage.

Me: What?

WWL: Yes! Actually, I think that sums it up perfectly. THAT is the secret to keeping up with Weight Watchers! Okay then! Keep that in mind, and I’ll see less of you next week!

So, after putting it off for nearly two years, I think it’s time to have my hearing checked. I’ve noticed that I spend a lot of time cocking my right ear toward whomever is speaking. (Side note: I’m only 43% sure Whomever is correct in that sentence. Also, when I see Whomever in writing, I mentally pronounce it as wah-mehver.) My father wears hearing aids. I’ve reached the point where talking on the phone is sometimes difficult. Argh.

Snakes in my garage.
Not completely unlike bats in my belfry, I suppose, but come on!
Sixteen people now know the secret to keeping up with Weight Watchers, and I’m walking away scratching my head and wondering if Jennifer chooses to park on the street.