I once bumped into Jack Black at an Aimee Mann concert.

Dear Lord, you guys. You would probably laugh if you could see just how frustrated and pouty I’ve been today because of this website. (Please know that our friendship would probably take a hit if you actually laughed. Give me a few days and maybe we’ll laugh together.) It’s all so boring, so just know this: In the past few months, Fluid Pudding has been taken over by people in Russia and China, and these people are NOT on my approved admin list. (I can’t even TYPE Russia and China without pronouncing them in a very Trumpian way, and that makes me hate myself.) Resolving the issues with my host? It’s awful. I walk away feeling old and embarrassed about not knowing what I don’t know. I’m three inches away from saying, “I wrote at Fluid Pudding for over 17 years. The End.”

(I started Fluid Pudding a little less than a year before I made out with Harry S. Truman.)

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Let’s change the subject.

I went to the gynecologist yesterday, and as I sat on the table with a paper blanket covering my privates, I studied a chart that eventually revealed that I weigh too much to have a baby. I can’t have a baby for many reasons—mainly because I no longer have a uterus—but I never really thought my weight would blackball me.

I rode in an elevator with Carol Channing once and she was really hateful.

I’m thinking of growing my hair out again.

See? These are the things I write about at Fluid Pudding. If I stopped writing, you would never know that I’m thinking of growing my hair out again.

Like this.

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Also, Carol Channing.

Do it on purpose.

A few days back I grabbed my knitting and sat on the couch to watch Dumplin’. I went in knowing nothing, and I left feeling a little “Praise Be to Those Who Challenge.” One of my favorite parts of the movie was a simple quote by Dolly Parton: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Right now I am an unenthused retainer-wearing lady with a weird eczema thing happening on her neck. Go get ’em.

I’m also “Cowl Knitter with Amazing Project Bag”. (Don’t get me started on the quotation mark that pulled ahead of the period. It knows exactly what it’s doing.)

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Look closely.

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(Sonia Harris is an amazing artist. Follow this link to understand why she does what she does. Beautifully.)

I’m “Nervous Dog Mom Who Is Looking Forward to Following Along”. (Both dog and mom are nervous, so that modifier isn’t misplaced. It’s pulling a double shift.)

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We have so much to look forward to. So much of which to look forward. So much. Look forward.

Not Really a Year in Review

Oh, 2018. Honestly. I’m not sure anyone would call it the best year ever, but I know quite a few who would say it was the worst. For me, 2018 was pretty hollow. No defining moment that will add to my list of befores and afters. A year is just a tiny bit more than 2% of my life. Two percent.

Let’s see. In 2018 I got my cosmic poetry tattoo. It’s pretty bossy and I love it.

I went to quite a few meetings in 2018, and despite the time or place or subject matter, most of these people were there with me.

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In 2018 I was delighted to see a grasshopper crystallizing her dream of being an earring.

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In 2018 I bottled something like 72 jars of local honey, and I’m now selling it. And by “selling it” I mean it’s all sitting in a temperature-controlled room waiting for me to gain the courage and motivation to actually try selling it.

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I wore shoes every day in 2018. These are my current favorites, because they are a throwback to my reminiscence bump.

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In 2018 I did NOT buy this coat. (The price didn’t match the quality.)

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In 2018 I saw Hamilton and The Wiz and Twenty One Pilots. I devoted a weekend to John Pavlovitz events at my church. I gained 20 pounds, and because I’m currently knitting two sweaters that will not fit my current shape, I will lose those 20 pounds. (It’s so easy to make it sound so easy.) I went to several marching band practices and competitions and DCI events. I drank moonshine for the first time. I went to my high school reunion to celebrate 30 years of NOT being in high school.

In 2018 I finished my ears.

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Best of all, I kicked 2018 off with the Sparklepants that were sent to me in error, but ended up being exactly what I needed.

2019. Here we go. 

Thy Leaves are So Unchanging

I have no idea who painted this tree, but I love it so much. CGilla? CGNA? CGala? is probably sitting outside on a bench and it’s snowing and they are drinking a hot something or other and maybe they need a hat, and what they don’t know is that I’m sitting over here at a big wooden table drinking a hot something or other and I’m definitely willing to make that hat. Take the joy and return the joy and spread light in the darkness because recognition and fame come to those who find a human leg in the smoker.

Speaking of taking the joy, I took my laptop to a coffee dump last week to get a little work done before meeting a friend. When I pulled into the lot, my friend texted to tell me that she pre-ordered my drink and that it would be waiting for me.

This is a dark chocolate mint martini, and it was made at one of my very favorite places. And that place is closing on December 29th. When I asked the bartender why the place is going from a restaurant/bar to a coffee/juice place, he said, “Well, the owner hooked up with a bone broth guy.” and that is now one of my favorite sentences.

This is the bar now. When it reopens, all of the hipsters (not pictured) will be replaced with bone broth-ers. Brothers. Brotheurs.

Another one of my other favorite sentences:
“The only difference between everybody and nobody is all the shoes.”

A Few Delightful Things

1. A few days back I listened to an interview with Jeff Tweedy. (Clarification: Jeff Tweedy was the person being interviewed. He wasn’t in the room with me.) During the interview he said that when he was in the third grade, he tried to convince his classmates that he wrote Born to Run. At nine years old, he recorded the album off of the radio onto a cassette tape and claimed Bruce Springsteen’s gruff and manly voice as his own. I love that so much.

2. On the way home from Meredith’s marimba lesson on Wednesday night, we saw a house that was surrounded by police cars. Because traffic was slow, we ended up right in front of the house as a police officer was leading a dog around the back. Meredith yelled, “IT’S A STEAKHOUSE!” Of course, she meant to say Stake Out and she caught the mistake almost immediately, but still. IT’S A STEAKHOUSE!

3.
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These shoes will be under the tree for me in a few weeks. I’ve wanted them for ages because the sight of them makes me want to roll up my jeans and stomp into an Indian buffet where I will sip a mango lassi before heading out to see Nadia Bolz-Weber.

4.

I’m going to see Nadia Bolz-Weber in January. One of my favorite quotes from her is this: My spirituality is most active, not in meditation, but in the moments when I realize God may have gotten something beautiful done through me despite the fact that I am an asshole.

It might hurt when the weather gets cold.

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A few weeks ago I went to a craft show at my church. I fell in love with a set of hand-carved hands, but I walked away without buying them. Last Sunday they made their way back into my world again. Cosmic handshake. I love that when the fingers face away, they look just like you do when you’re giving.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, but this year feels different. A friend of mine lost her son last weekend. He was 21. The circumstances surrounding his death are completely fucked up and senseless and an entire community of people has been left feeling enraged and broken. Although I never met Krystofer, I’ve read several tributes this week. He was a great friend, son, and brother. His passion for music was infectious and he had a gift for spreading joy. He was one of the good guys, and his life will be celebrated in amazing ways. But first, this unimaginable grief.

A few months back I read something Anne Lamott said, and it’s really hitting me this week as I think of my friend:

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved.

But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

I’m turning off comments for this one. Do me a favor today and just Be There. Appreciate this very moment. And then appreciate this one. And later on? Turn up the music and dance with the limp.

Every moment is new. Like now.

This morning I went to the library to pick up my hot tea book and my black coffee book.

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(I also have my car read, which is currently Parker Posey’s memoir and my here-and-there read, which is the brain surgeon book. And I read a lot of nutrition labels and road signs and sometimes music. Thank God for the brothers Angular and Supramarginal Gyrus and their little friends Frontal Lobe and Temporal Lobe!)

I used to be able to play this. It holds every single one of my emotions. Do you have five and a half minutes?

When I walked out of the library, I saw a guy pacing around the parking lot—dark curly hair, probably in his early 30s, big eyebrows, scruffy, smoking a cigarette, wearing a dirty coat. (I feel weird saying his coat was dirty. He might be trying his best and even if there’s the smallest chance that he might end up at this website, I wouldn’t want to embarrass him. Do people still use the word Vagrant? That word just came to mind, but it feels so offensive to me. Like hobo. I made a joke last month about something looking more Hobo Chic than Boho Chic. At the time I thought it was SO CLEVER, but now I regret it.)

I got into my car and put the books on the passenger seat. The guy walked in front of my car and down the side of the library. I started the car and began screwing around with my book files to get Parker Posey to read to me. The guy walked back toward my car and headed to the library entrance. I took a drink of my (cold and stale) coffee and put the car into reverse. The guy showed up in my rear view mirror which was weird because wasn’t he just headed toward the entrance? He motioned for me to go ahead and back up, and he stepped out of the way to make room for me. So I backed up.

And that’s when he started screaming The F Word at me. “F YOU and your F-ing car!!! F, F, F!!!” (His cursing clearly lacked creativity, if variety is indicative of imagination.) As I drove off of the parking lot, I saw a younger woman exiting the library. SO, I circled around to make sure she stayed okay. By the time I got back to the lot, the woman was still standing there, but the guy was gone. (I then called the library and told them what just went down. I’m a quivering blend of diligence and tenacity.)

I believe this will be my next knitting project, and the scar on my chin is an illusion.

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Old Man Trouble, I Don’t Mind Him

This website has been hacked every week since September something or other. When I say “hacked” I’m not really sure what I mean other than someone keeps going in and changing my login information and then I have to reach out to my hosting company and they have to block a bunch of suspicious IP addresses and maybe remove a few thousand weird links to sport jersey shops.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting on the couch and all I want is to introduce you to this goat I met a few weeks ago.

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I’m not sure what his name is or even if he IS a he. All I know is that I called him Jones and I fed him grass and told him a few stories about my life that I don’t tell very many people. (Jones just had that thing about him that makes you want to talk.)

This has happened three times in the past year, and it happened again last week: I ordered a Starbucks grande nonfat caramel macchiato with extra caramel drizzle. (Ugh. I know. Sometimes I despise people like me.) I tend to order on my phone from my car and then I walk into the store and bypass the line because I don’t want to talk to anyone. (Not because I’m unfriendly, but because I like to save my words.) I waited at the mobile order station until the barista yelled, “Mobile order for Angela!” and then I grabbed the drink, walked back out to my car, and drove away. Upon first swill, I realized it wasn’t the drink I ordered. It was ANOTHER Angela’s drink.

I know I’m not the only Angela in the world, but the fact that I’ve grabbed some other Angela’s drink THREE TIMES in the past year is sort of noteworthy, right? Last week’s Angela had ordered a gingerbread latte with three shots of espresso and three pumps of gingerbread syrup. And it was very okay, and because I was suffering through a migraine at the time, that extra dose of caffeine came in handy. The Angelas all take care of each other. The Angelas know.

I drank Angela’s drink while watching the clouds roll in at the park.

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In the past month, a park has gone up near our street, and a cookie cafe has opened less than two miles away.

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It’s almost like I’m living in a George Gershwin tune.

Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant.

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When I picked Harper up from school on Friday, I turned right into the park instead of left into the subdivision. I got out of the car and I walked and I stomped and I took photos and I wondered why the park planners didn’t bury the electrical wires.

Please let me take this opportunity to tell you that the above photo used to have an electrical wire in it, and that wire forced me to learn how to remove wires from photos. Always trying to turn a bad scene into a good scene, I am.

The final sentence in the previous paragraph is an unintentional segue into obscurity. I spent a good part of today trying to turn a bad scene into a good scene and sometimes I just really don’t know how to mom stomp teenager sadness. When an offer of burritos doesn’t turn things around, I have no idea how to proceed. (Wait. Did you hear that noise? That was me emitting a melodramatic sigh.)

I started decorating for Christmas on Friday. Decorating is a slow dance for me, and this is probably where I should tell you that I still have a few Christmas decorations up from last year. I dig a constant Christmas vibe.

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