I Knew It! Still Got It!

This morning I made my long (long) trek into work. Usually I sit at the light on the entrance ramp to my office for a few minutes, and usually I use that time to catch up on my correspondence.  Since I deleted Facebook, that consists scrolling through Instagram and liking everyone’s pictures.  Anyway, I was catching up on my correspondence when I heard a horn blare.  I jumped, threw my phone, and said, “Poop!” because I just knew I had missed the light.  (I did not say, “Poop!”  I said a different word that means the same thing.)

Turns out I didn’t miss the light. It was still red.  I looked around in confusion and connected eyes with the man in the white van in the next lane who was looking at me like this:

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Probably you should picture him as more of a man, less of a cat, but the teeth were the same and he had just honked his horn at me. Nonetheless, the man smiled

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and waved and then I waved and hollered “good morning” as if he could hear me through our respective windows. Then the light changed and we drove off.

Except remember from my previous story, how people flirt on the interstate? What do you do with it past the initial contact?  Well, he did what normal people do (except the slimy ones) – he pulled up next to me and drove like this

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for a whole mile until we parted ways and waved and I hollered “good-bye” as if he could hear me through our respective widows.

Y’all. I still got it!

For you ladies who encounter my new boyfriend in the white van on the highway and try to steal him from me, I will be forced say this because at heart, I am still a child:

Don’t make me snap my fingers in a Z for.ma.tion

Hip ro.ta.tion, booty circu.la.tion

 Talk to the hand, talk to the wrist

Girl I think you just got dissed!

(lyric and choreography credits go to 11-year-old girls worldwide, but most recently credited to Tigger who, incidentally, also taught me the correct choreography to “JuJu on that Beat” just this weekend.)

Who Decided Eggs Had To Be Breakfast Food Anyway

Speaking of Squirt, the last time I was in Florida with Daisy, Squirt came to stay at our snazzy beach house with us. She had to sleep on the couch, of course, because one of the beautiful things about being single and self-indulgent is that when you go on vacation with a friend who is also single and self-indulgent, everyone gets their own room. No sharing of the bed, I don’t care how much I love you.  (God, when my husband who does not wear skinny jeans comes along, and also my husband who is similarly-to-me aged comes along [same man], please bring us a king sized bed.  I’m going to love him but I’m going to like him better when he’s all the way over there while I sleep. Amen.)

Anyway, Daisy and I went to Florida, now an annual trip in case you were wondering, and Squirt came to stay. Daisy and I took turns cooking breakfast. Since neither of us can abide an egg, and since Daisy is currently off carbs, our breakfast grocery shopping is a bit unconventional.  Daisy’s offering came in the form of hot dogs and Atkins bars, always delicious.  Mine came in the form of this:

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I slaved away in kitchen and presented plates to both roomies. “Ta da,” I said, “breakfast is served!”

Squirt looked at me, fresh from her slumber on the sofa. “Wha?  Why?  That’s peas . . . “

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “With turkey bacon and cheese!”

Daisy said, “Is there butter?” Squirt said, “Is this even real meat?”

“NO! Peas are good on their own! Yes, I think so! Except it smells like plastic if you cook it for too long, so I don’t do that!”  I was muy entusiasmado, usually a problem for those who are not also similarly morning people.

Tentatively, Squirt said, “Do you have any eggs, maybe?”

Which brings me to my rant. Why do eggs have to be breakfast food?  Who determined that sausage should have an Italian version, a smoked version and also a breakfast version which is a complete non-descriptor?  Why pancakes only in the morning?  Why can’t we have pancakes for dinner and just call it pancakes for dinner?  We always have to say “breakfast foods for dinner.  I love breakfast foods for dinner!”  No. This is wrong on many levels.

Firstly, eggs are gross. They taste like eggs, particularly when scrambled.  I can abide a good deviled egg but it must be super salty and mustardy and I only eat the white parts if they are covered in yellow.  I can abide a fried egg only when it’s over something like toast or potatoes which mask the flavor.  I can abide a hard-boiled egg covered in ranch dressing or a very good Italian.  First thing in the morning, though?  Oh, my stomach.  OH, HURK.

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Secondly, why aren’t turkey sandwiches considered a breakfast food? Peas, also.  Lately, I’ve even found myself enamored of a roasted beet or steamed Brussels sprout for breakfast.  Full of fiber, pretty colors, throw some olive on there to clean out the arteries.  What’s not great about starting your day that way?

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I did some research to figure this out so that you don’t have to. I found this, about Edward Bernays, long considered the father of public relations:

“To get an idea of Bernays’ abilities, think for a moment about a traditional breakfast. What do you think of? If you are like most, you will come up with bacon and eggs — so what? Prior to 1915, bacon was not part of a traditional breakfast — so Edward Bernays was hired to increase bacon consumption in the United States. He incorporated a new theory of gaining assent from recognized leaders either with their knowing cooperation or without. He conducted a survey among physicians and received their overwhelming recommendation that Americans should eat a hearty breakfast. Coupled with predictive results from the physicians, he began an advertising campaign stressing that a breakfast of bacon and eggs was just that — a hearty breakfast. It may sound simple, but look where we are today because of it.” (Jack Monnett, PhD.)*

I guess I can blame Edward Bernays for eggs-for-breakfast tradition. And I guess this is only two levels of wrong but it’s my post.

For the record, Martie has lots to say about my breakfast selections. Mostly they involve phrases like, “No.”  Also, “OMG, why???”  Perhaps even a “You are gross, how are we sisters?”  Then she sends pictures of her lobster grits, consumed at Blue Heaven in Key West and I ask the same question.  Daisy felt similiarly, I think, despite her fondness for hotdogs at breakfast but I believe I changed her.  On our last day of Florida vacation, Daisy fixed us breakfast.  It was a giant bowl of peas, loaded with butter and salt, and it was delicious.

And that, my friends, is all I have to say about that.

*http://www.ourrepubliconline.com/Author/183

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Squirt with her new Paraguayan friend, Gilbert.

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Have you guys ever used a tongue scraper?  I read about them once in a Marian Keyes novel and also heard the term “fresh as a daisy” thrown around as an after effect from using one, so I got me one and put it to use a few times a week.  I guess it works but it’s not something I go around asking. “Hey,” hack directly into someone’s face, “do you notice that my breath smells like daisies?”  Talk about instant social ostracism, no matter how daisy fresh I am.

Anyway, yesterday I put it to use but apparently a little too enthusiastically because I gagged myself. It took an inordinately long time to recover from that.  I had to lie down.  Everything revolted for a long number of minutes and when I felt I could stand, I commenced to drying my hair and mentally disposed of any breakfast I had planned on eating.  I might be permanently off of trying to achieve that level of oral hygiene anymore.

That story really has nothing to do with anything but I felt I should share it.

I talk a lot about Martie here but I do have another sister, Squirt, who I talk about less. She’s just as great but she often lives far away and quite honestly, she is a terrible communicator.  She is significantly younger than me, so much so that if I were to date one of her friends I’d feel like a ridiculous wrinkled up old hag with a young whippersnapper type sugar baby.  If I shared funny stories about her I’d mostly be making them up because I don’t get to experience them for myself very often.  She’s a cute little thing, though.  Here, look.

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One super cute story – when she was tiny, big enough to have hair and eat adult food but young enough to speak in her toddler language still, she asked for chips. Ruffles, specifically, and I’m only telling you this so you can recreate the picture in your head.

“Uh-ona jap, plz,” she said.

Fortunately, Martie and I spoke Squirt toddler and understood that “uh-ona jap, plz” meant “I want a chip, please.” Also fortunately, Squirt was amenable to repeating this over and over at our request while we flailed about on the sofa wheezing with mirth at the cuteness of it.

Anyway. After a time, we gave Squirt the bag of Ruffles which she protectively placed between her legs and against her body, effectively hiding herself behind the bag.  All we could see were two tiny toddler feet on either side of the bag, one blonde pigtail sprouting from both the right and left of the Ruffles, and a tiny hand reaching ever so often into the bag to pluck a single chip for her consumption.  We’d hear the crunch, watch the hand, and flail around wheezing until our stomachs hurt. Unfortunately for Squirt, we still have the same reaction when we tell the story now, which is often.  Poor kid. I don’t think she will ever be allowed to grow up as far as Martie and I are concerned.

I say that, but it isn’t true. See, Squirt just left two weeks ago for a stint in the Peace Corps. She’s in Paraguay for 27 months and it is unlikely that she will come back to the States during those months.  Martie and I were super excited for her until it came time for her to go.  Suddenly, she was leaving.  It was real and she was going and to say that we were distraught is putting it far too lightly.  We had taken her shopping for things she would need.  We asked a million questions about what she’d be doing.  We spent more quality time with her than we’d done in a while but two days before she got on that plane, we had a comeapart.  I say comeapart but what I really mean is comeaparts.  Ssss.  More than one.

Our small younger sister is in another country with people she only met at the staging session. We saw the group picture of the pile of Peace Corps, Paraguay, but we don’t know those people. We don’t know her host family.  We cannot visit for three months which feels like an eternity even though we might only see each other once a year sometimes and had no plans to go Paraguay in those three months anyway.

On the Tuesday before the Thursday that Squirt left, my boss came to my desk to give me good news. She said, “I have good news,” and when she delivered it, I burst into tears, much to the surprise of both of us.  She paused for a moment and said, “You heard the part where I said good news, right?”  I did that a lot that week.  I especially did that when Squirt sent a text from the plane in New York, right before they took off for Asuncion.  I called Martie and sobbed; then when I stopped Martie started.  Why? Why do we feel this way?  Squirt has been taking good care of herself for years now. She’s an adult.  She is more than capable. She loves meeting new people and moving to new places and most importantly she loves to give back. She always has.  Why is this different?  I have to stop asking these questions because I’m crying a little now and I have to drive soon.

I suppose I wrote the oral hygiene story because it’s a silly moment in my life, one that I would have shared with Squirt during one of our many beach visits. We would sip on champagne, because why not, and tell stupid stories and laugh. Sometimes cry.  But we connected. And if she comes here to read my life, she’ll see it and know what it would feel like if I were telling her this perched on my beach towel with a cocktail in hand while I cooked myself into bacon in the hot sun.  This is our connection.  I hope we don’t lose it.  We aren’t going to lose it.

Love you, Squirt. Always.

Serves Me Right

A couple of weeks ago I was driving my senior citizens in our big fifteen-passenger bus (we have upgraded from van to bus, and it’s a hoss) to dinner, and when I stopped at a red light I got out my lipstick.

“You never know when you are going to meet the love of your life,” I said as I caked it on. Pink is a good color for me.

I didn’t think another thing about it because we were headed to Tenn16 over in East Nashville which everyone knows if full of hipsters wearing skinny jeans, and everyone knows I am not going to find myself in a relationship with a man who wears skinny jeans. Ever.  (God, hear me on this.)  During dinner I noticed that Jan, me in thirty years, was talking to a man at the bar.  Since I like to make new friends in bars and restaurants my own self, I thought nothing of that either.

Later, after food was consumed and plates were cleared, Jan got out her lipstick and caked it on. Mauve is a good color for her.  She motioned for me to do the same and once that chore was accomplished, she invited me down to her end of the table.

“Jimmie,” she said, “I have someone I want you to meet. That man behind me at the bar?  His name is Jerry.  I went to high school with him and while I’m furious with him for aging better than me, I want you to meet him.  Here’s what I think I’m going to say:  This is Jimmie. She’s looking for a hookup.  Are you interested in going out with her?”

Y’all. Y’all!  Jerry is 70 years old.* Open up that floor and swallow me whole.  I’ve got to keep my mouth shut around Jan.

In other related-but-not-really news, I recently lost my driver’s license in Key West. This story would be far more exciting if I were able to tell you that I lost it in the bar or on the beach, but alas, I believe I lost it in the grocery store buying something boring like cheese. Anyway, I had to go through TSA twice with no ID of any kind and unless you count a pat down so thorough I felt like I needed a cigarette after, it was not a pleasant experience.  Getting a new license was not a pleasant experience either but I was rewarded with a new license photo that makes me look like a melted piece of cheese (apropos, no?).  Also, it looks like every chin I ever had in my life showed up for that photo.  I suppose that is what I get for losing my license, although I feel good about replacing it so soon because I can speed again.  Was terrified to do that without one.

In final related news (not really), in our last blogging episode I threw my dear sister, Martie, under the bus. In retaliation, she threw me under the bus and in a display of her pipes and creativity, she wrote me a song.

Please enjoy her non-warbling-nor-screeching tune written rightfully at my expense. For the record, I feel about Willie Nelson much like I do about Patsy Cline.

In Which Martie Throws Me Under The Bus; Or, A Song By Martie

Ain’t we great? That is some sisterly love right there.

*I feel I should defend myself here – while I’m not opposed to an older man, I think maybe five years is my limit. Seven, tops. (God, hear me on this.) I’d like for our wrinkling pattern to be roughly the same.

How Martie Learned To Sing

Recently Woney, Nurse Bananahammock, Squash and I acquired the new Adele CD and since then have spent copious amounts of time learning all lyrics and melodies which we belt out in our respective vehicles. I felt pretty good about my pipes – we all did – because when you listen to the master sing at top volume, you can’t hear your own self warble and screech.  It wasn’t until we heard ourselves sing happy birthday in a recording that we realized that simply being very emotional about lyrics and melodies does not equal actual singing talent.

Squash messaged us about this right after we all spent a birthday weekend together at Martie’s house. Martie entertained us with her guitar and her pipes, neither of which can be classified as a warble or screech, and Squash wanted to know how to get there herself.

“Does Martie give singing lessons?” she queried.

“Oh, no,” I said, “but I can tell you how Martie learned. Here, I’ll write it up for you,” and then the following was born.

How Martie Learned To Sing, An Essay By Jimmie

Step one: Get assigned a singing role with 25 other kids in kindergarten.  Learn “Leo the Lion” in one afternoon. For the next six months, sing “Leo the Lion” every single moment you are awake.  That sounds like this:

Martie: Leo the lion was the king of the jungle and his jaws were big and wide, rawr!  Leo the lion, when he roared it’s a warning that you better run and hide, rawr!  (Ask Jimmie why she remembers the words to this day, 37 years later.)

All adults (and siblings) in Martie’s life: Martie!  Stop!  That’s enough.

Two minutes pass . . .

Martie:   Leo the lion was the king of the jungle and his jaws were big and wide, rawr!  Leo the lion, when he roared it’s a warning that you better run and hide, rawr! 

 

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Step two: When your mother remarries and you are blessed with two brand new brothers, annoy the shit out of them by making up songs about them and sing them in their presence.  Or out of their presence.  Do this for five plus years until brothers move out of the house. That sounds like this:

Martie: Boo. Boo-ooo.  Boo-hooo.  Boo!Boo!Boo!Boo! 

Brother Boo: *shoves Martie into wall*

Martie: I’m telling!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Martie: Boo. Boo-ooo.  Boo-hooo.  Boo!Boo!Boo!Boo!

 

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Step three, now in high school: Purchase large number of blank cassette tapes.  Make a list of favorite top forty songs.  When any of the songs on said list come on the radio, make a mad dash to your sister’s purple boom box and hit record.  Once recorded, spend hours playing it and rewinding it so you can get all the lyrics down.  This is particularly fun when your sister is trying to read a book in the room you share. That sounds like this:

Martie: You put the boom-boom into my heart <rewind, pause and scribble>, you send my soul sky high <rewind, pause and scribble> when your lovin’ starts <pause and scribble>, jitterbug into my brain <pause and scribble>, goes a bang-bang-bang till my feet do the same <rewind, pause and scribble>

Jimmie, flapping her book: <huff>

Martie: What?  You love that song.

Jimmie, dramatically while flapping her book: You are ruining it! George Michael is MY boyfriend, not yours!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Jimmie, setting aside her book: Play it again.

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Step four: Get a keyboard for Christmas. Begin tinking on it and never let anyone else get a turn.  Once you have mastered Axel F, the theme song for Beverly Hills Cop, you are ready to perform for your (unwilling) audience (the same audience who has listened to you pick this song out for months and also the reading sister).  Begin to sound out other hit songs such as “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and every Michael Jackson song.  Sing along, stop, get the right note, begin again, stop, sing, ad nauseum.  Four years.  That sounds like this:

Martie, tapping on the keys: dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, durn “Dangit!  Now I have to start over!”  dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, duhn, blang, “Huff!  One more time!”

Jimmie: Learn a new song, for the love of all that is holy!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Martie, tapping on the keys: dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, durn “Dangit!  Now I have to start over!”  dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, duhn, blang, “Huff!  One more time!”

 

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Step five: Get a guitar. Pester above mentioned brothers, both of whom are pursuing a rock star type career complete with leather pants, to teach you how to play. Begin practicing in earnest.  Learn every word to every Pearl Jam song, every Soundgarden sound, all Stone Temple Pilots lyrics, and don’t forget Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alanis Morrisette, Heart and the reading sister’s personal favorite (no), Patsy Cline.  Do this for eternity because you and Jimmie no longer live together so she can’t stop you, plus you sound pretty good, plus Jimmie (and all her friends) is (are) now a willing audience. That sounds like this:

Martie:  Cray-zeee.  I’m crazy for feeling so lone-leeee

Jimmie:  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!  You know a million songs!  Sing one I like, you know I can’t abide Patsy Cline!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Martie:  Cray-zeeeee

Laugh

Five easy steps, Squash. You are well on your way.

You, Too, Can Look As Good As All This

Katniss and I were having lunch the other day and she said, “I went to lunch with a girl in my office last week and Jimmie, I missed you. We went to Blaze and we ordered our pizzas and she ate three pieces and claimed she was stuffed.  Just crammed to the gills.  Couldn’t eat another bite or she’d be sick.  I was on piece four, heading for piece five and I felt so guilty for eating it all that I quit.  Please don’t make me do that again.”

Katniss does not have to worry. I will eat a whole Blaze pizza* and not feel one bit bad about it.  Besides, Iman, you know her, she’s the gorgeous angular, exotic toothpick widow of David Bowie, said that older women should maintain an extra five or ten pounds to keep our faces looking young.  That extra bit of fat plumps out the wrinkles, see, and keeps us from drooping into our later years.  I feel like if five or ten pounds is enough for Iman with her gorgeous cheekbones, then I need to go a step further with my lesser cheekbones.  Maybe more like twenty-five or thirty pounds, yeah?  I’m just doing my part to look young, to inspire all these kids to embrace aging with relish.

*For the record, Blaze pizzas are created for single individuals and are as thin as a Kleenex. They are meant to be eaten in one sitting because they are small and taste terrible when they get cold.

Speaking of looking young and beauty routines, I thought I’d share some of my tips and secrets with you today. I turned 44 a month or so ago and when I tell people, they’ve often said, “Well, you barely look over 43 and a half, what’s your secret?”  I’ll tell you.

Firstly, I maintain a youthful exuberance with the wavy, loose curls I like to iron into my hair. Ideally you’ll use a 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron because it can heat up to 400 degrees in a matter of moments. This really puts a good scald on your hair which is necessary for getting a good curl.  If you can smell the heat, it’s hot enough.  In reality, I used to use the ideal 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron but it slipped off my hair one day and onto my shoulder.  The 400-degree barrel gave me a nice oblong blistered burn that looked like a bubbled up hickey, and that really ticked me off because not only am I celibate for what seems like FOREVER, but I got a hickey from a curling iron and not a hot man. In retaliation I whacked the 1.5 – 2 inch barrel over and over against the counter whilst cursing like Andrew Dice Clay and the end result was this:

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Now I use the 1-inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron that also heats up to 400 degrees that had been lounging in the bathroom cabinet for a year or two because the curls it makes are too tight for my liking. You can still reach the youthful exuberant look with this wand, though, as evidenced here:

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Once I get my coif fluffed to an appropriate fullness, I begin work on my eyes. The eyes really tell the story of your aging, so you want to take very good care of them.  Ideally you will have a regimen than includes delicately patting ludicrously expensive eye cream under your eyes morning and night, and you will use a gentle cleanser, equally ludicrously expensive, to remove any makeup you have caked on in an effort to make your eyelashes look like caterpillars. I’m on board with that except for the part where I cannot afford ludicrously expensive anything.  I can afford Avon makeup remover which is actually very good, so that is what I use until I run out and realize that I forgot to reorder and then I rummage in my cabinets until I find something else that will work.  Behold:

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And this is how well it works. Behold:

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Ain’t that awesome? I’m down to the bottom of the jar now so I have to stick my longest finger down in it and scrape some out which I then smear on my eyes, squishing it all around until the mascara finally releases its spidery death grip on my lashes and gets washed off with a very thin washcloth which has permanent mascara stains.  Works great! I think the fat from the coconut oil and the potential allergy issues I could have from the amount of cat fur in my house (behold below) keep my eyes nice and puffy which as we read earlier, keeps the wrinkles from wrinkling which makes me look youthful!

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Once I have performed all beauty ablutions, I head to the closet to pick my clothing for the day. I told you once that I like to wear wafty, gauzy, floaty things because they make me look like a calm and serene type person. This remains true. I also believe that they make me appear younger.  No “good looking” severely cut blazers for me. No skin tight pencil skirts with fitted shirts that emphasize my (not) tiny waist and (not) bubbly bum.  I like stuff that doesn’t really touch me.  Ideally.  In reality, it turns out that wafty, gauzy, floaty things make me look pregnant as proven by the eight-year-old girl who caught me talking to her eight-year-old boyfriend at church.

“Hi, Lee,” she said as she pulled his arm into hers. “Hi,” she said to me with a squinched up mouth.  “We need to go, Lee,” she said as she dragged him off, and as she sashayed away she flung over her shoulder, “That dress makes you look pregnant.”

Well, at least I look young enough to be pregnant.

Speaking of stuff I like and use, my go to brands are below. These are the things I will spend ludicrous amounts of money on, no matter how little money I actually have:

  • Lancome Eyelash Primer – Oh my crackers, this stuff is expensive but it WORKS!
  • Benefit Mascara, Black – Talk about tar but this mascara will give you the best spidery lashes in the world!
  • Clinique Chubby Stick, Mightiest Maraschino – I wore this lipstick the other day and a girl at work said, “Wow, you look edgy. Kind of bitchy. I wouldn’t mess with you at all!” Thank you, my work here is done.
  • A Hair in My Biscuit’s Hot/Cold Eye Mask – Martie makes these and I keep one in the freezer at all times. When you have slept in cat fur all night (Thank you, Murphy) or eaten too much salt (Thank you, anything more than one grain) or stayed up too late watching Downton Abbey (Thank you, Amazon Prime), you’ll want one.
  • Flax clothing – Generously sized so that when I purchase a medium and it floats around me, I feel dainty and small. This I love because the only other way I’d ever feel dainty and small was if I had lunch next to Shaquille O’Neal.

I think this whole list screams youthful, don’t you? I mean, isn’t that what youthful really means?  Very poor decisions regarding things that really do matter and very expensive decisions on things that do not? Don’t care.  I love my caterpillar eyelashes.

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Don’t look a minute over 43, do I? Puffy eyes and all.

 

Photo Dump

Man, what a lazy cow I have been lately! I had all these intentions for writing excellent stuff, really scintillating material that would wow you, and then Madre and I took a vacation.  Since we have returned I’ve read eight nine books (finished another last night).  I’m guessing that lazing around in a hammock chair for six days really did me a lot of good as far as relaxing me but it also put some kind of lazy haze on me and I can’t seem to snap out of it.  Oof.

Anyway, I was scrolling through the photos on my phone the other day because somehow I have used up most of my storage and I can’t figure out why. I play no games.  I have maybe four songs I listen to on a rotation.  I don’t Facebook anymore, and I’ve posted seven pictures to Instagram.  I wanted to see if I could delete anything, maybe some pictures of some meals I already blogged about here or an accidental 3-minute video of my floor covered in cat fur, and it so happens that I found about 62 pictures similar to this:

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Pooh

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Tigger

Turns out if you give your phone password to your nieces and then leave them in the same room with said phone, they take liberties. I miss those children.

I’m not one to really miss people. I enjoy you when I have you and I look forward to seeing you, but I’m not going to miss you, not really.  But Madre and I flew down to Key West with Pooh and Tigger a few weeks ago to deliver them to Aunties Anne and Susanne for a three-week European trip, and I MISS them.

(Also, do you like how I casually just threw “Key West” and “Europe” in there? Very blasé, like this happens to us all the time.  These kids are in EUROPE!  And Madre and I were in KEY WEST!)

(To be fair, I suppose Key West isn’t really that big of a deal because we do have open access to the aunties’ house any time we want to go plus it’s hotter than is healthy or fun for any human down there. I do believe it is currently too hot for even the iguanas and that is saying something.)

The girls come back home tomorrow. I am beyond ready.  Their parents are frantically beyond ready which is really the only word I can think of to describe what it must feel like to be a parent of children that you miss more than I do.

In honor of their return, and in honor of them in general, I’ll share this picture and then tell you the story of how it came to be.

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About a year ago I headed down to their house for my monthly babysitting gig, although babysitting sounds very juvenile for two girls who are already shaving their legs. Let’s say that I headed down for my monthly hangout with some preteens and we decided to go on an adventure.  We set off for the woods, in the fall where we were certain to not run into any ticks, and kicked rocks along the dirt road as we walked.  After a few good kicks, Pooh kicked a clod of dirt off of something round and sort of smooth and suddenly we were on the ground digging at it with rocks and twigs trying to see what it was.  I had to scurry back to the house for a shovel with which to dig it up and only after quite a lot of work did we discover that tortoise shell.

Pooh said, “I knew it! I knew something exciting would happen today!” We unearthed it, liquid dead turtle poured out in a chunky, vile-smelling stream, and suddenly it seemed less exciting.  I was not one to crush the excited hopes of a preteenager, though, so I excitedly placed the shell in the scoop of the shovel and excitedly carried it hobo-style back home. We placed it on the rail of the porch for the parents to exclaim over upon their return which they did with hands clasped over their noses and faint traces of nausea on their faces.

I think what I really want to focus on here is the hopes and dreams of these girls, the exciting opportunities available to them. I’m such a selfish person, or maybe an indulgent person, and while I want good things for everyone, truly, it is very hard to be as enthusiastic about your hopes and dreams as I am about my own.  I think that is human.  These children have forced me to be different.  They have forced me to face the fact that I am not the most important person to me anymore, the spinster, the person who gives herself everything she wants because it is clear that no one else will. Now that indulgent person wants every good thing I ever had or never had to be theirs, whether it be a stinky tortoise shell or a trip to Europe or a boy to just stand in front of the girl and say he really, really likes her.  I want them to have it all.  I’ve never felt so selflessly about anyone in my life.

Perhaps I will have stories to tell about their adventures when they return.  I hope I hear them all.

To sign off, I’ll deliver more of my photo dump to you so that I can delete this mess off my phone and save more room for teenaged selfies.

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Jimmie and Pooh

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Tigger and Jimmie

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Groundhog who actually posed for this photo

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And then turned the other way for another shot.  Not joking.

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Seamus, just because

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