The Last Day

You guys, this is the last day.

I did it!

I’m actually genuinely super impressed with myself, because almost every single day this month I was able to generate original content, and some of it was actually kind maybe good-ish.

And, the fact that I was actually able to write about my daily life without too much trouble, means – wait for it – that I actually have a life! Actually!

Before, when I had tiny babies and was largely housebound and unable to string words together to make coherent thoughts, let alone get pants on my ass, I didn’t feel like I had much to say. It was the same shit, different day. Literally. At least now, my kids are growing and changing rapidly and I’m running to catch up and I have some time to myself to collect my thoughts. We’re also able to go to better and more interesting places, have more lively conversations.

In short, life is getting more interesting. And I’m thankful.

I hope, for those of you who stopped to read this thing, that you enjoyed it. I hope it was amusing at the very least, and at the most I hope it made you laugh, made you think, and made you get to know me better and want to be my very best friend. I like warm hugs.

Also, THANK YOU. If I didn’t care about anyone reading my stuff, I’d write in a private diary. So thanks for stopping by; I really appreciate it.

Now I am off to decorate my house for Christmas and then redo everything my kids try to decorate. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Stay warm. Stay sassy.

Stay psycho.

 


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You Have Died of Dysentery

I happen to live quite close to the end of the Oregon Trail.

Yes, that Oregon Trail. Covered wagons, food rations, the gold rush, and that super awesome game we all know and love that was made in the 70s, but captured our hearts in the 80s and well into the 90s.

Today, we went and visited the quite lovely and very kid-friendly museum located approximately where the wagons came to a halt and the log cabins started going up.

Part of the exhibit was about all the indigenous populations that were totally driven out of the area (either physically displaced, or by disease), and I was glad to be learning about that on Black Friday instead of participating in some mass demonstration in consumerism.

I’ve been living here in Oregon now for almost exactly 6 years, and going back and re-learning about the Oregon Trail was particularly exiting for me because all the places and landmarks at the end of the trail are places I actually know and some on which I have actually set foot!

The Dalles! I know where that is! I see it on the weather map each day on the morning news! HISTORY HAPPENED THERE.

Everything is cooler when you can put it into context.

Anyhoo, I was so jazzed by the museum that I came home and found the old game on the interwebs and played it again for old times sake. Dude, it was such a fun blast from the past! I had forgotten so many intricacies of the game, like the shitty, plunky music you hear at each landmark you reach, or that you get to raft down the Columbia River at the end!

 

My husband didn’t stand a chance. Sorry, love.

I encourage you all to carve out some time in your day and some room in your hearts and play this game one more time.

Not for me, not for Oregon, but for yourself.


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Gratitude Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

I baked this and will consume it shortly.

Here is my top ten list of things for which I am thankful:

  1. My family: my husband, and all he does to support me without question. The kids, and how freaking adorable and amazing they are. I’m very lucky.
  2. Health. Mine and my family’s.
  3. That we have everything we need. Food, clothes, shelter, clean water.
  4. My friends. They support me emotionally, they don’t judge me, and they make me laugh.
  5. My extended family. I know I am loved, and for that I am grateful.
  6. I have freedom and choice and privilege. I try not to take these for granted.
  7. Creative outlets, like writing and painting and singing. They make me feel alive.
  8. Entertainment (books, TV, movies) that awakens me emotionally and spiritually, and those that release stress by making me laugh.
  9. Opportunities where I can be alone. I like to recharge and explore my relationship with myself.
  10. Yoga. It is my happy place; it is my place of worship, where my body is the temple and I get to say thank you for taking me through this life.

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Keeping the Cray at Bay: Some thoughts on small-town yoga

I have been doing yoga for a long time now, and I’ve figured out the hard way that if I don’t do yoga frequently, it makes me feel something something.

Recently, I’ve been signing up to do yoga through our local parks and rec. It’s cheap, it’s local, and there isn’t another way to do yoga in this town unless you’re selling your soul to the gym gods. That means joining a gym. I tried to make a joke but I’m tired.

Apparently, signing up for an exercise class via P&R if you’re under 40 means that you’re the youngest lass in the class…by like 15 years, at least.

Do you know what this means?

Unfortunately, it means that the class is pretty too very much easy for me. But at least yoga is an individual sport where I can just do an extra twist or add a limb in there and make it a little more of a workout.

On the upside, this means that I look like a friggin ROCKSTAR! The instructor takes all this time explaining the pose and how to use all these props to keep your shoulders in their sockets and I’ve already got both my legs behind my head.

Seriously, though, there are several poses that I can do that the instructor can’t, which means several times she’s been describing the pose while I’m already doing said pose, and I’m spacing-out-while-trying-to-concentrate-and-not-fall-on-my-ass, and she points to me and says, “Just do what Melissa’s doing.” And then I snorted. I was flattered and surprised; it was a flatprised snort.

On another random note: This instructor’s look and voice quality reminds me strongly of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and you guys, I cannot express how calm and safe that makes me feel. She’s middle-aged, female, blonde, and her voice is calm, steady, earnest, and full of wisdom.

Before discovering this class, I remember saying that I really wanted to be able to do yoga to the commanding female voice-energy of Cate Blanchett playing Galadriel in Lord of the Rings.

Frooodooo…..now dooo down-ward facing doooog. AT ONCE!

But Dr. Ford is a close second. Or maybe not even second, just…different. Her energy is exactly what I need right now. What a lot of us need, I think. It’s protective. It’s quietly empowering. Right now, for me, it’s pretty transformative.

Another random thought: Just last night my yoga-teacher-Dr.-Ford-doppelganger said….aahhh crap and I forgot the exact wording, but it was something like:

The way you practice having balance is by losing it.

And maybe it was my headspace at the time, or the way she said it, or both, but it was one of those quotes that just hit me, you know? Probably because it works on both literal and figurative levels.

So, I’m not sure what my point is except that I enjoy yoga and it makes me feel great.

In short, it keeps the crazy at bay.

The cray at bay, if you will.


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Frozen Terror

Aaaand now I have two sick kids in the house. Ugh.

To put a funky spin on things, because normal illness isn’t fun enough, my oldest woke up last night in a sweaty, fever-induced screaming night terror. Well, technically he didn’t wake up, but my husband and I did. Thank goodness my other sick kid slept through it all. Oh, and it made the cat nervous in the service as well. Don’t get me started on how weird our cat is.

Most things about parenthood make you feel powerless, but this one pretty much takes the cake. And dear baby jesus, they are aptly named.

Took me a long time to calm down and get back to sleep after that.

The funniest part? My son was screaming lines from Frozen, which would have sounded way creepier had I not immediately known the reference.

Creepy because the line was, “HE HAS NO BONES!!”

I guess Frozen-inspired nightmares run in the family?

Maybe we need to lay off the Disney raves for a while.


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My Rock Alien

I was the last one alive on the ship, and I had just blasted the hell outta those alien assholes.

Seriously, slimy greenish translucent alien guts were raining down on me and were starting to coat the platform right next to the airlock.

I was too busy screaming in relief and celebration to notice that a few many-legged alien larvae scuttled right past me and disappeared into a crack between the wall and the floor. I looked and felt like a badass Sigourney – white tank top and toned arms.

The scene shifted abruptly and my ship had finally landed back on Earth. Somehow, I was able to maneuver and dock my poor, banged-up spacecraft into the interior of this official-looking massive gray building, like plugging it back into a socket to recharge. Was this NASA? Or some private entity, perhaps. A lot had changed since I’d been gone.

I disembarked and found the sterile, industrial building completely deserted. Something felt eerily off. I found the exit, shoved open the heavy steel doors, and ran to the nearest patch of dirt and grass, my whole body collapsing and my fingers pawing at the ground. The grass felt so good between my fingers and the dirt under my nails. Home.

And then, a clanging sound echoed from within the building. It became so strong that I started to feel vibrations through the ground. I scrambled to my feet and started to walk backwards, keeping the building in sight.

With little warning, the main double doors slammed open and a huge creature rumbled out. It looked like that rock-eating rock monster from The Neverending Story, only meaner. And faster.

It saw me and started walking. Crashing.

Oh shit.

I took off running, even though I didn’t feel like I had anything left in me.

The scene changed again, and I had found a house. Was it mine? It seemed familiar, and I knew it’d be unlocked.

I ran upstairs and hid, tried to steady my rapid breathing. The rhythmic thumping and crashing was shaking the whole house now, and any second I’d hear it start to rip the house apart.

Behaving more human than I’d thought, it came through the door and up the stairs, smashing them as it went. It was clearly searching. For me.

In an effort to not get cornered in the bedroom, I tried to slip past it and into the hallway. I figured out quickly that it had poor eyesight and relied mostly on sound. Maybe smell?

Pressed my back against the wall and held my breath, closed one eye. It (he?) stomped past and I wondered how long the house would stand at this rate. Once it was well into the next room, I threw myself down the stairs, avoiding the holes where steps used to be and all the broken, pointy shards of wood jutting out everywhere.

Sweaty, filthy, and heaving, I lunged for the door, or the wood in my way that used to serve as a door. I heard a growl reverberate from behind. My right arm reached out in front, and I turned my head to glance back over my shoulder.

That very moment…was when my kids woke me up.

That day, I was watching Frozen with the very same children who disturbed my slumber. It was the scene where Anna goes to Elsa in her ice castle to tell her what has happened to Arendelle. Her fear and desperation building, Elsa creates a huge and scary snow monster named Marshmallow.

Hey! I yelled at no one in particular, pointing to the screen.

That’s my rock alien!


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Some People Are Worth Melting For

Lately, I’ve been introducing my kids to more Disney movies with increasing intention.

I loved Disney movies as a kid – heck, I still love them – and I can’t wait to instill that love and share that love of magic with my kids.

Before now, we’ve seen a smattering of random Disney flicks, but last weekend I borrowed Frozen so that my kids would be in the know once the hysteria for the sequel hits young kids’ cerebral cortexes (cortesies? cortesi?) as of today.

I first saw this movie when it was new, which was before I had kids. What I particularly love about the story is the emphasis on family/sibling/sisterly love over romantic love. Not that you often have to choose in dire situations where you’re going to turn to ice forever – because everyone gets to have both – but you know. So it’s fitting that my kids are seeing this for the first time together, and that I get a front row seat.

We probably won’t be seeing Frozen II: Even More Ass Cold until it comes out on DVD because I’m still not positive my kids can sit through the entire thing in the theater (So no spoilers, please! I still don’t know who Olaf’s biological father is!). Along those lines, there’s a part of me that ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WAIT until we can get our butts to Disneyland but there’s noooooo way on this green earth I’m doing that until my kids are old enough to stand in line and be tired and hot and not completely fall apart.

Until that time…we have the movies, and the family sing-a-longs. And today, we met Anna and Elsa at a local mall.

And then we came home and did Frozen-themed Cosmic Kids Yoga, WHICH IS THE BEST THING EVER, btw.

When we were eating dinner, my son blurted out that the Anna and Elsa we met today weren’t real.

Was that because they weren’t like the cartoons in the movie? My husband asked.

My son shook his head yes.

But I went up and whispered to my son that they may not have been the same as in the movie, but they still had the same magic.

They had magic?! He looked at me like I was nuts.

Sure they did. The magic of the movies and the stories and songs and love and how cool it is to be a kid…or still feel like a kid. That Disney magic lives in all of us, if we just believe.

I hope he believes for a good long while.

 


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The One With All The Thanksgivings

This is the first year that my husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving.

I mean, there was one year where we had it just the two of us, in Boston, after we had just moved in together for the first time. That was…way back in 2006. It was kinda cute, because we didn’t have a dining table of any kind, so we ate sitting on the floor on opposite sides of our Ikea coffee table.

I don’t entirely remember what we did for all the food…we only cooked a portion of turkey, not a whole bird. I do remember feeling a little sad that we weren’t with our families, but also cozy, quiet, and comfortable being with my most loved one. No drama. No fuss. Just us.

Fast forward to now, when I was the one who decided to host and invite family over, and I am also the one who doesn’t cook. Ha! Hilarity will ensue! Let’s get a reality TV show camera crew in here.

My husband is a good cook, but I am a better planner. And I’m told that cooking for Thanksgiving, in the crazy all-out way that Americans choose to celebrate a holiday supposed to be centered around gratitude, is largely about planning. I’m optimistic that our dynamic Thanksgiving duo will be able to put on a fairly chill, simple-but-yummy holiday meal.

We’ll cut corners where we want. Like, we’ll cook some turkey parts again and forgo a whole bird. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m gonna bake the pie cuz I likes to bake. My mom is gonna make her famous potato casserole. Yum!

Our Thanksgiving will also have to include some kid-friendly backups, like turkey-shaped pb&js or something, because the last time I checked, my kids only eat the rolls anyway. Kids are so weird. STUFFING IS AMAZING, YOU GUYS! FOR THE LOVE, JUST TRY IT!

A side note about Thanksgiving, which I alluded to above. Only Americans could take a holiday supposed to be about appreciating things you have and surviving the winter by creating excess, by exercising gluttony. I picture the fat disgusting dudes from The Oatmeal cartoons saying something like, “Shit, James! We didn’t starve or die from the measles this winter! I’m so happy to be alive! Let’s celebrate the way our forefathers would want us to – by eating everything in sight and bringing on early onset diabetes. ‘Merica.” And then they high-five each other.

It just makes more sense to me that, in order to truly know and show gratitude for something, you’d need to know what it’s like to be without it. Maybe one of these days I’ll put my money where my mouth is and actually fast for Thanksgiving evening. Perhaps having control over the meal this year – and simplifying it – is one baby step closer to that goal.

And, having said that, perhaps my kids have the right idea by just eating the rolls.


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Meat, Vests, and Keanu Reeves

The past two days, my fellow hero in anxiety, The Bloggess, has encouraged her readers to first post things they hate that everyone else loves, and then the inverse – things they love that others don’t get.

This exercise was her way of reminding us that us, each of us, either who we are or what we write/produce/put out into the world (or all of the above) is not for everyone. Not everyone is going to like us or understand us, and that’s okay. Nay, it’s normal and expected.

As for me, I despise:

  • whiskey (I involuntarily shudder each time it touches my tongue. That’s what she said.)
  • David Sedaris (Okay, so despise is way too strong of a word for Mr. Sedaris. I just don’t get him, really. I’ve read several of his books and I keep really trying to find him funny, and I only find him mildly amusing some of the time.)
  • licorice (bitter and gross)
  • vests (your arms are still cold)
  • pot roast (dry and tough and I don’t want my meat tasting like carrots and my carrots tasting like meat)
  • potatoes that aren’t highly processed…like the kind in pot roast
  • turkey (like, the Thanksgiving kind. It’s dry and tasteless. I eat at Thanksgiving for the sides. And the pie. Mmmmm, pie.)
  • sausages (I’m a horrible mostly-German person)
  • I guess I just don’t prefer most meat, really…except bacon
  • IPAs (I don’t like drinking Pine Sol)
  • The Smashing Pumpkins (whiny voices)
  • Keanu Reeves (never cared for his acting)
  • Oregon.

And I love:

  • therapy!
  • the smell of gasoline
  • writing resumes
  • Hanson
  • Almond Joys (sometimes you feel like a nut)
  • really depressing and/or traumatic reading material

People who know me – was there anything I missed? I’m sure it’s easier for my friends to remember just how much of a weirdo I am. Much thanks.

Now you! You go; it’s your turn. What things do you love/hate that most others don’t?


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