How To Create And Participate In A Praise And Worship Band: A Theory According to Jimmie

Madre has in recent history had an experience at my church during which she’ll tell you she enjoyed herself immensely. She’s not lying.  The message was really good that day, and someone had a Word for her about belonging.  Everyone wants to belong, right?  What Madre will politely fail to mention in her enthusiastic praise for my church is that she cannot abide the music.  I cannot fault her for that.  It’s an acquired taste.

Martie and I grew up in a Presbyterian church with also a side of Methodist because that is what Madre and Daddy-O chose for our formative spiritual years. Traditionally your Presbyterian and Methodist churches operate as Catholic-light so there is an order to everything.  Hymns are sung from the hymnal which offers songs in the standard 3-4 stanza form, with piano accompaniment, or in lucky churches, with a pipe organ.  I love a pipe organ.  These hymns are sung with gusto if you have a good pianist and a modestly large congregation, always nice for a good rendition of “Amazing Grace.”  Sometimes your pianist is just okay or your congregation is small, but in that case, you still bleat out two or three of the stanzas, getting louder on the last one because everyone knows that the last verse is the tear-jerker.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.

 

Man, I can barely type that one without getting teary.

It’s when you get into the Baptist-type religions (do not confuse with Church of Christ – there’s no musical accompaniment in Church of Christ churches) that you start seeing a move away from stanza hymns to more consistent emotional offerings, songs where someone with a set of pipes modeled after heavenly angels can really show their stuff. Everybody knows that the Baptists like to thrum your emotions, just tinkle on those feelings like a really good piano trill, and what a better way to do that than with music!  Get a bunch of very good solo artists on the stage and boy howdy, do you have a party!  I’ve never cried as much as in a Baptist church when the choir swells up after a truly gut-wrenching solo to sing “It is Well with My Soul.”  My voice reaches that fever pitch where only dogs can hear me at the end, and I have to go home after to take a nap, I’m so spiritually exhausted.  It’s fantastic!

In the last few years, I’ve found myself moving away from the Baptist church to a more Apostolic one and my emotions show it. You can’t find an Apostolic church without a really good praise and worship band, and that is partly because Apostolics like to get you in the feels before the service, during the service, and after the service.  If you don’t leave emotionally wrung out, totally spent, well, then you’ve got yourself a dud.  I’ve seen grown men cry, do cartwheels and literally run laps around the sanctuary.  My eyes are puffier than they ever have been and while you may chalk it up to age, I say it’s because I cry more often at church.  It’s not a good Sunday unless I’ve used four Kleenex.

I know what you are thinking. I know you are saying, “I bet Jimmie is super fun to go to a concert with, what with all her crying at the songs.  I bet Jimmie is a hoot after church song number three, a basket case after church song number four, and worthless by the end of the service.  I bet Jimmie never even hears the sermon, she’s so busy blowing her nose.”  You are wrong.  It’s not the music, it’s the Lord.  You think your Lord and Savior isn’t worth a few tears? Think again.

Truth is, I’m not a big fan of live music. I find concerts and the like to be the most exquisite form of torture.  I spend the entire evening wondering how long I have to stay and regretting the fact that I didn’t drive alone so I could plead ovary explosion and go home already.  I make very few exceptions for this general loathing, one of which is Martie’s live music and one of which is some Rockabilly guy I saw 10 years ago at 3rd and Lindsley.

I can be gracious and truthfully say that I do like the music at my church, and I do cry often instead of sing. Listen to “Forever” by Kari Jobe sometime and tell me that doesn’t get you in the gut.  Ultimately,  though, I find myself having a difficult time with the praise and worship bands employed at Apostolic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and non-denominational churches everywhere (but not Church of Christ because that is forbidden.)  I love the Holy Spirit.  I believe people get caught up in it.  I believe that music is an excellent way to worship the Lord.  I believe music provides one of the easiest expressions to feel and convey love.  But I also believe that we all too often use praise and worship, aka live music, at the expense of solid teaching, solid following, pastoring, communicating and relating to people.  Plus it plucks at my very nerve endings, like someone is taking a razor blade to my sciatic nerve and making tiny little cuts over and over again until I want to scream or pass out, both of which would render the music unhearable to me.  In some cases I would consider it a relief.

I do realize that I sound cynical and jaded and that I belong firmly where I sit – in the minority with the other old ladies shaking my cane. That is fair.  So that you may see my point of view clearly, so that you don’t judge me too harshly, I offer you my theory on how to create and sustain and praise and worship band of your very own.

How To Create and Participate In A Praise And Worship Band

A Theory According to Jimmie

  • Get the right wardrobe. It’s either rock star jeans with shiny stuff on the butt or hipster jeans that are so tight your audience can tell you wear boxer briefs. No mom jeans! Unless mom jeans are making a comeback amongst the uber-hip crowd, then you can wear mom jeans. Shoes are not required because the music stage is holy ground and no one wants you to desecrate holy ground except in cases where shoes are part of the ensemble.
  • Employ as many band members as you can, mostly guitarists but definitely a drummer, a bassist, a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar, and a keyboardist.
  • Employ as many decent vocalists as you can, but only one or two really good ones. Stamina is more important than talent if you want the truth of it. Give them all a microphone if you can afford that many.
  • Set the stage lights to “mood” and paint the stage itself black. Other lights may be utilized to laser around the room but none of them may be bright white lights. Purple, blue, green, and aqua are recommended.
  • Pick a song and then sort of learn the words. The screen that displays the words for the congregation (no hymnals allowed!) will never match what you actually sing anyway, because everyone knows you are so full of the Spirit (or they will after you butcher the lyrics) that you couldn’t possibly follow a song as written, even if the Spirit gave you the lyrics Himself.
  • You must speak the words you are about to sing before you actually sing them. For example, you say with feeling “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,” and THEN you sing “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,” preferably with your eyes closed and all breathy, as if your emotions are overtaking you. They may be, I’m not saying they aren’t, but if you are not conveying emotion with your lungs, you are doing it wrong.
  • Speaking of breathing the words, it is also important to learn how to sigh the words so that it sounds as if you are going to burst into tears in short order, particularly during the refrain. If you can kind of start every word with an H, bonus points to you! “Huh-Mazing Gr-huh-race, Huh hhhsweet, the-huh huh-sound . . .” See how it sounds like you are crying?
  • Once you’ve made your point with your emotions (you’re so spuritul, yo), you can really being to wail. Wait until the refrain, though. Wait for the crescendo. When crescendo beginning is nigh, prepare to repeat the refrain a minimum of 15 times with each repetition becoming progressively louder. If you can manage it, the refrain can last for up to 40 repetitions without congregants actively looking for an opportunity to sit down. It’s important that no matter how many repetitions you make, you sing with gusto! Sing your heart out. This is the time to improvise and warble up and down the notes so that no one could ever hope to follow your lead, so that those who try give up in embarrassment and shame because the one time your microphone doesn’t drown them out will be the one time they ventured to match your enthusiasm and they did it alone not knowing the crescendo was over. They were trying to follow the words on the screen but the woman in the back whose job is to put the right words up there gave up a long time ago trying to keep up so that when they sheepishly look around to see who heard them butcher that line, they see that she’s filing her nails now.
  • After the crescendo repetitions have petered out, begin them anew but this time at a whisper so that you may properly convey your reverence and respect for the Lord. This! This is where you eke out tears if you can! Hands are up in the air unless you are holding an instrument and your body should be down on the floor unless, of course, being on the floor renders you unable to reach your instrument or be seen by the audience. From your prone position you may repeat this whispered refrain four times. No more, no less.
  • A pregnant pause in the singing completes song number one. Only three more to go!
  • Once you are musically spent, you offer up a pearl of wisdom gleaned either in your Bible reading the night before or during one of your crescendo repetitions. At this point, you may now turn the service over the pastor who may say, as in one unfortunate incident at a church I never visited again, “I like where the Spirit is leading us. Let’s just stay in this posture for the rest of the service, okay? Music team, continue for the remainder of our time.” (I then realize that the pastor didn’t prepare a message for the week because he was out at the downtown concert venues every night getting fed with the latest praise and worship bands. At that point I pack up my Bible and go home. I’ve got prayer to attend to.)

You can picture me, can’t you, over here with my feet firmly planted on my soap box, in my sturdy shoes with my knee highs rolled down around my ankles, leaning heavily on my cane. I know I picked Nashville.  I know I came voluntarily to Music City.  I know I picked my church, every church I’ve ever attended as an adult.  I know I’m in the minority.  I accept my status as a curmudgeon.  I’ll still invite you to the Lord, and to my church.  Y’all come any time.  I’ll bet you’ll love it.

One Stone

Amazing Grace

It Is Well With My Soul

Forever

 

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Healthy Eating

Mary Ann and I went to Newk’s for lunch today and enjoyed enormous Greek chicken salads. That salad features lots of goodies like lettuce (the spiny kind which I love and Daisy hates and also the wimpy leafy kind which Daisy loves and I hate), grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta, red onion (barf), slices of pepperoncini peppers, and artichoke hearts, something I can eat by the jarful.  There’s a delightful vinaigrette poured over it and you are welcome to supplement your lunch with Newk’s very own pickles, capers, jalapeños, parmesan shreds, roasted whole garlic cloves, crunchy bread sticks and/or croutons.  Newk’s also plays it fast and loose with their tea selections so really, it’s a very interesting lunch place no matter how you cut it.  I love tea.

Mary Ann and I yapped about changes at work while we ate to the very last lettuce leaf, yes even the wimpy leafy kind, and as we were leaving we saw a couple of men having the same kind of earnest conversations we just had. I’d say that they were enjoying salads with lots of additions but the truth is, only one of them was doing that.  The other man had the saddest looking salad I’ve ever seen in my whole life.  He had ordered the kale Caesar with no croutons, light cheese (apparently) and dressing on the side, so basically he had a bowl of raw kale fluff with four shreds of parmesan.  You could tell he thought it was sad, too, because mostly he sat at the table with his arms crossed while he talked and very occasionally he’d load up his fork with a wad of stiff kale and one corner of parmesan shred, delicately dip one kale curly into his dressing-on-the-side, and chew for six minutes while he tried to choke it down.  Look, I’m into health, truly, but you cannot convince me no how no way that a bowl of raw kale is an excellent lunch.  It’s not even an excellent side item.  I think he’s in the midst of a mid-life crisis, to be honest. He looked like the sort.

Speaking of men, and follow me here, I have a new roommate. He got here in September and then promptly got sent away for work so basically he pays me to store his things while he Armys off to protect dams and other federal structures.  In the month he actually resided in my home, I learned that he’s a huge fan of German food and also cake, which I can get on board with.  What I’m struggling with is that he enjoys cooking the German food and also baking the cake, and on the first pass I can see why you’d look at me in askance.

“Jimmie, everyone knows a man working in the kitchen is hot, hot, fire, and then usually there’s food afterwards, so why the struggle?”

Right. First, this is just one example of what my table looks like after his cooking is done.

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A tablecloth is not a cutting board, nor is it a napkin. You should see my floor, too, holy moly.

Secondly, new roomie wants to eat healthy. Again, “Jimmie, you have moaned about your extra hips for years, why is this a problem, you high maintenance heifer?”

Right. It’s just that his idea of eating healthy is to add red onion to everything.  Also, if we are being specific, garlic.  And then he substitutes the pork, beef, and chicken with turkey, the vegetables with spinach, any bread items with crushed Triscuits, sugar with agave nectar, flour with coconut flour, baking powder with tapioca starch, chocolate chips with grated unsweetened baker’s chocolate, and sugar free jelly for fruit. Plus he doesn’t read instructions so things like “add three whole cloves to the sauce” somehow means, “the recipe called for cloves but I’m not sure the quantity so since I have a full package, I guess 1/4 of it will work.”

“Would you like beef rouladen for dinner? You can have turkey with spinach, onion, and garlic but we will call it rouladen because it’s rolled.”*

“How about schnitzel with a potato dumpling? Sounds great!  Have this turkey with spinach, onion, and garlic!  It’s just like the rouladen but this one has a crispy Triscuit coating that got burned in the skillet.”*

“Want some cake? Pictured is a slab of chocolatey goodness covered in a fudge-like ganache but I subbed a few things and this patty of coconut flour sadness features lemon curd, a custard that never set but pooled in the center of the cake plate and on to your tablecloth, and more maraschino cherries than is good for a person.  It’s delicious and has a delicate clove essence!”*

*I might be paraphrasing.

*And he does eat a lot of red cabbage so maybe I’m slightly unfair.

You can tell he doesn’t even see the problem because he presents each dish with a flourish by waving the plate in your general direction and wafting the steam towards you with his hand. He also says, “TA DA!” and then struts around the house like a peacock while I drag the tablecloth to the washing machine for another bleaching. The first time he made a cream sauce with coconut flour, he poured the sauce over the turkey schnitzel and took a giant bite.  As his mouth worked against the glue the coconut flour created, he wrinkled his nose slightly and gave an involuntary, nearly imperceptible shudder as he said, “It works!  It’s good! Want some?”

I demurred, “I already ate, I’m stuffed, I couldn’t possibly take food from you as my tenant.” Look, I ate Roomie’s food all the time, and also Daniel’s and my cousin’s and the other roommate I never told you about, Amy.  It’s just, coconut.  Ugh.  You know?

I will say this – he’s as skinny as a bean, much like Peter, so perhaps there is a lesson in here that I’m too obtuse to see?

We had a snow day recently wherein I got house bound by an entire inch of white powder. I took that opportunity to clean and organize the pantry, the spice cabinet, the cabinets under the sink, and the closet that holds all my books.  I also tackled the refrigerator and as I threw away my enormous bag of fermenting kale I truly had intended to use in a Caesar salad, I noticed several containers stuffed in the back of the fridge, hidden behind Roommate’s delicious Cherry Cokes.  Old containers of every cream sauce he has made with coconut flour, an entire bowl of crushed almonds that had been sweetened with agave nectar and left to harden into an almond mold that would not let go of the sides of the bowl, and a red onion growing fur crowded the shelf.  The true lesson here is that he doesn’t want to eat that crap either.  When he serves it, we sit at the table with our arms crossed while we have earnest conversations and very occasionally load up our forks with a wad of his “ta da” offerings to delicately dip one burnt turkey corner into our coconut flour cream sauce and chew for six minutes while we try to choke it down.

It’s great! Please bring dinner.

Speaking Of Hotties In Norway . . . .

Did you know that it rains 215 days per year in Norway? We didn’t either, but now we do.  This is probably why I didn’t come home with hottie hot hot Lasse, because everyone knows what happens to my hair when it rains.

Ima go kick rocks.  While I do, lookit us!  We so cute.

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Jimmie and Woney with pre-rain hair. Ain’t it glorious?

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Day one – Rain.  Also the day Jimmie lost Marco for ever. 

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The only day with no rain.  Please to note how great Jimmie’s hair looks.

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Jimmie and Cat, in the rain.

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Woney and Jimmie, tryna make rain coats look sexy.

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Woney and Troll, in the rain.

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Jimmie and Moose, just before a rainfall.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jimmie and Woney, after sitting out a rainfall.

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Woney, tryna be a Viking while it rained.

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Norway, bitches!  It’s hard to look mean in the rain.

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Jimmie, talking on the phone in the  . . . . for crying out loud, you know it was raining.

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A Beauty captured, in a lone moment of sunshine.  It’s perfect, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Guys Of Norway

Good evening! Is today a good day?  I just made myself sleepy by looking at Norway photos where I had time to sleep as late as I wanted but not the inclination because the sun never really went down.  I gave you plenty of time to sort through my landscape photos and today we are shifting focus to the real reason Woney and I went to Norway: hot guys. <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

I was fully prepared to meet the love of my life in Bergen as evidenced by the weight I lost before taking the trip and the plumping lip goo I carried in my bag. I’m going to deliver a spoiler and tell you that I did not come home with a hot Norwegian man.  I would have lead with that via billboard and wedding invitation.

However! I did meet some hottie hot hotties and I’m here to tell you about them now.

First up was Marco. A quick aside about Marco.  He was the first thing in Norway to make me cry which will be included in a separate post titled: Things That Made Me Cry In Norway.  Please stay tuned for that.  Anyway, Marco was a pianist and also one of three tour guides for the two mile hike Woney and I took through the woods to a grotto (which in America we would simply call a cave).  We had visited the home of Ole Bull, more about that coming later, and after the house tour, we set off for a walk in the rain to the grotto.  We were implored to go ONLY IF our shoes could take the journey as it was gloppy and mucky.  No one mentioned appropriate footwear neither in the ticket booth nor on the informational literature so I had opted for fun over functional in the hopes I would find my hot guy on day one.  Well.

I asked the three tour guides if my shoes would work, making especially sure that I hiked my pants above my ankle so that Marco could see my well-turned foot bones, etc. and despite all of them musing, “meh,” I opted to go. Woney was going to do it on her new titanium knee and one of the tour guides was wearing rubber rain boots and carrying an apple basket so I figured I’d be okay.  How hard could it be?  I’d just go slow and hang on to somebody’s arm, perhaps Marco’s!  And for a while, that’s what I did.

But then what had happened was, I was following feet instead of bodies and some of those feet took a detour but in the rain I couldn’t really see that so I found myself at the top of a slippery precipice which featured stunning views but lots of rain and fog and heather and mud. “Huh,” I mused.  “Where’s the rest of the group?  Where’s Woney?  Where’s Marco?  Where’s the lady with the apple basket in the rubber boots?”  I found none of these answers but I found Margaret and her husband on the precipice with me, and we made our way down the rocks amongst the heather, Margaret clutching her husband and me clutching Margaret.  Things were going swimmingly until I hit one rock just the right way with my “meh” shoes, and in the space it takes a hummingbird’s wings to flap, I was on my ass in the mud, my head buried in a bed of wet heather.  I looked up to see Marco turn the corner, a look of horror on his face, and then he sprinted towards me.  You’d think I’d be pleased what with Marco sprinting in my direction to save me, but the truth is, Margaret was no spring chicken and I had taken her down with me.  Yes.  I took a white haired old lady down into the mud and heather, and not only was I humiliated, but I think I hit so hard that I peed a little which is not really the way to properly introduce yourself to a hot Norwegian man, even if he has already seen your well-turned foot bones, etc.

We all made sure Margaret was okay and we got most of the mud off my butt (Marco did not help) but the mood was ruined.  We then made our way to the grotto where I took this stunning picture so in the end, I guess I’m okay.

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No, I did not get a good picture of Marco.  Of course I didn’t.

A couple of days later, Woney and I took the Norway in a Nutshell tour (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) and I experienced the second and third things in Norway that made me cry. Stay tuned! Post coming soon! Part of that tour included a ride on the Flam Railway which is just about the most scenic trip I have ever taken in my life.  I guess it was the same for everyone because the great seats Woney and I snagged were soon squished with other eager passengers, two of which were Magnus and Stiegan, and Magnus was gorgeous.  Wait. Magnus was GORGEOUS.  My word, his legs, his oddly green eyes, his manly jaw.  He sat next to me and I thought my ovaries were going to burst.  Not only was he beautiful but he was interesting and friendly, not very common in Norway.  The Norwegians are not a friendly people.  Not unfriendly, mind you, but not in your face friendly like we are here in the South.

Anyway, we had a couple of hours to yap with Magnus who is an orthopedic surgeon (!) and also Stiegan who I do want to mention because he was nice although a little homely, and things were going quite well. I figured, “what the hey, I’ll see if I can get a selfie with him,” because I had used my lip plumping goo and thought we’d look nice together, but the minute I whipped out my phone, Magnus fell into paroxysms of “No!  I can’t allow photos to be taken!  I am terrified of biomolecular biological technology and facial recognition!” and I wondered if maybe he’s a wanted man?  Was I sitting next to a criminal of some sort, like a playboy ax murderer?  It felt a little weird and Woney and I made eyes at each other like, “Is he serious or just a fruit loop?”

Later Magnus and Stiegan offered us a drink but it was a warm can of beer out of a box and they were hiding behind a pole so that the train conductor would not see them drinking at the train station. Plus they both donned ladies sunglasses, so all-in-all, I think Woney and I dodged a bullet from a bonafide fruit loop.

You will understand that we did not get a photo of Magnus. Or Stiegan.  Trust me, Magnus was a hottie.  And sure, Stiegan was nice.  It was this train ride where I took this stunning photo so I’m okay with no hot guy photos.

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Finally, Woney and I took a second scenic cruise that featured a wad of fjords and also the fourth thing in Norway that made me cry. That promises to be an exciting post so be sure and look for it!  I was standing on the deck of the boat, my hair whipping in the wind and my mouth hanging open as I looked at our beautiful world, when a hottie hot hot guy said, “Hey.  It’s gorgeous isn’t it?” And that was it. We were off and running.  I’ve never met a more me person than me before until I met Dhruv.  “Hey, want to take a selfie real quick?” he asked.  DO I! “Hey, want to try my snacks?” he asked. DO I!  “Hey, can I have a hug before we part ways?” he asked. CAN HE!  “Hey, should we try to get together before we both leave for our home countries?” he asked. SHOULD WE!  Poor Woney.  She is used to me and loves me but I think it was a bit much for her to have two of me all in one spot.  Oh, she tried all the snacks and took all the selfies and gave all the hugs but it was more “your new friend is cute and you do what you like, but pajamas are calling my name” than it was “yes, let’s have lunch and breakfast and tours of the leprosy museum with a midnight meeting for some more food, yay, new friends!”

Dhruv and I tried hard to get together again but in one teensy way Dhruv is not like me (aside from his nationality and heritage and gender, of course) in that he wants to hike at every opportunity. I like hiking, sure, but I do get tired like a normal human and so it never happened.  He went hiking and Woney and I went shopping.  We are connected, though, and Woney and I plan on heading to London soon to meet up with some of our new friends, Dhruv included.

Yes, I did get some good pictures of Dhruv and I present him here for your viewing pleasure. Ain’t he cute?  Plus the whole vibe is “stunning photo” so I feel good about it.  I’ve got Dhruv’s deets for any of you interested in meeting a man with a British accent and excellent teeth.  I’ll take you with us to London.  Woney will be so pleased.  <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

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Stuff We Saw In Norway

Hi. I’ve been back for 2.5 weeks but I’ve not really been back, you know? I loved Bergen.  I loved every part of it including the rain and the four hours of night and the people who weren’t friendly but weren’t unfriendly.  I did not love the expense of eating (OMG, $$$$$)  but then again, Woney and I spent an exorbitant amount of money on some really delicious chocolate bars so I’m not sure I can fully blame Norway for that.

The first week after our return, I fell asleep three times in the middle of a conversation with Martie. I tripped over my unpacked suitcase seven times before I picked it up out of the floor.  I cried over a conversation that didn’t end like I wanted it to, although I have zero recollection of the actual conversation now.  Jet lag – it’s real.

I have a lot to say about that trip. I won’t say it right now, though.  Instead I’ll leave you with a bunch of pictures to look through at your leisure.  There will be approximately 800 of them but that’s the beauty of reading this on your own time.  You can skip or stare all you like and I will never know!

For the pleasure of your eyes and soul, I present Norway:

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Crush: Addendums and Furtherances

I love Chipotle.

There, I said it. I’m not sorry. I remain unfazed in the face of norovirus and rat reports.  I would eat there every day if given the opportunity.

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This ^ is a Chipotle Chicken Bowl

 

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This ^ is some guacamole

 

Woney loves Chipotle, too, maybe with the same zeal that I have. This is convenient because soon she and I will strap ourselves in a plane to meet in Detroit, and we are hopeful to find a Chipotle. What, you don’t fly to Detroit to have lunch with a friend?  Just me?

Below is a list of my friends who like Chipotle:

  • Woney
  • Squash
  • Nurse Bananahammock
  • Felix
  • Kindle
  • Freddie
  • Quan
  • Javier
  • Martie
  • Madre
  • Pooh
  • Tigger
  • Coach
  • Daisy

I feel like Daisy is the one I have to most persuasively convince that we won’t die of Ebola if we consume some guacamole on top of delicious spicy chicken, but despite her affection for reading the news, I can usually manage to drag her in there. That’s because I’m bossy and she is nice.

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I don’t know how long her patience with me will last once she reads the below, though. I may lose her.

A story, by Daisy:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 52 times when I was a kid. I don’t know how my parents could afford it but my brother and I saw it every week for months.  Brother had Star Wars posters in his room, tons of them, and I would stare at Luke Skywalker all the time. I loved him.  I was eight, and this was real.  I knew that he lived in California because I read it in Teen Beat, and I knew that when I got to California and he saw me, he would love me back.  He would just know I was his and he was mine, I was certain.

“I asked my parents for a plane ticket. They were in the kitchen cooking spaghetti for dinner.  When I asked, they laughed, a parents’ affection for their baby child.  It took them too long to realize I was serious, that I was not going to be placated.  They put down their stirring utensils and explained that I could not go to California. That was not possible.  They probably touched my arm and looked me right in the eyes with love.

“I weighed maybe 60 pounds but I flung every bit of that 60 pounds down the hall and into my room where I planted my face into my pillow and wailed. I was devastated.  That was my first real heartbreak.  All of my dreams were dashed at age eight by my mean, mean parents who never let me fly to California to meet my love.  I know exactly how Pooh feels.”

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A story, by Jimmie:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 28 times when I was a kid. Madre would make plans to go to the movies with her friends, and she would drop me and Martie off at the Luke Skywalker show and then go see her grown up movie sans children.  It was the 70s; people did that back then.

“I loved Luke Skywalker. I always preferred blondes.  I felt like if he had less nose and fewer ears, I could really fall in love with him, but he was still pretty cute. I’d have married him if he asked.”

I’m sorry, Daisy, but I loved him, too. Do you think we will come to blows over him?  I never told you because I want to keep you as a friend, and everyone knows once you have a catfight over a man, you can’t be friends anymore.  Sadly, I’d bet on you to win.  You are scrappy and I’m a marshmallow.

Daisy is driving me to the airport so that I can meet Woney in Detroit. I might have misled you when I said we were meeting for lunch.  We are meeting for lunch, but then we are going to strap ourselves into a plane to travel to Amsterdam and then do it again to travel to Bergen.  That’s in Norway, bitches!

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Bergen ^

 

Why Norway, you ask? Let me just tell you.  Woney and I were planning our next big trip and we made fancy lists on Excel spreadsheets detailing our travel bucket lists, the money we’d need to get there, and what we could do there.  Norway was not on the list.  Spain was, though, and that was mostly because neither of us would have to drive and because it’s pretty.  We were both gung ho about it until I found myself on Instagram following Pooh and Tigger and also some hot Norwegian guy named Lasse Matburg.  Also gung ho about it until Madre and I took Pooh and Tigger to Key West last year and then decided to stay a week in JULY which is HOT and also FIERY and also HOT.  I could not breathe, so when Woney called to yap, I opened with this:

“Oh, hello heifer, we are not going to Spain, FUCK THAT, it is hot as you-know-what down here and Spain is worse and I am not, I repeat, AM NOT going anywhere near the Equator, Woman, we are going to Norway where is it not hot plus there’s this Instagram model hottie named Lasse and I’d like to get a gander at those Nordic men, hey.”

And Woney said, “Well, hello to you, too. I could do Norway.”

So basically we picked it because it’s not hot and Lasse Matberg. Woney doesn’t like him at all which leaves more for me, yay! Plus I am bossy and Woney is nice.

I was lamenting to Daisy that I didn’t lose all those extra layers of fatty cushion I needed to so that I could look frail and cold in Norway and perhaps be comforted by Lasse or similar as I shivered on a fjord. Have any of you noticed that it is harder to find hottie hot hot men that that prefer squishy, white, middle aged women anymore?  Anyway, I guess I lamented too much because this exchange happened with Daisy last week:

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Is Daisy still being nice to me? Or is this a sick attempt by her to play upon my affections, my very 13-year-old teenage hormones/ heart longings in an effort to trick me into dying a horrible noro-Ebola virus death so she can have Luke Skywalker all to herself?

I still didn’t lose all the weight.

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^Hot

 

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^Fiery

 

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In case it wasn’t clear, this ^ is fiery hot Lasse Matberg

 

I stole all these pictures from the innernet, Lord, please have mercy on my soul.  And my ovaries.

They Will Kill Me If They Ever Read This

I really meant to add this to my last post but I got swept up in my feelings about crushes and forgot. I’d love to add the videos that I surreptitiously took of this forthcoming scenario but I feel that not only would I be killed but I’d be tortured beforehand by my very own Pooh and Tigger.

Pooh and Tigger are my nieces for anyone who is new, one a teenager, and one a pre-teen. As evidenced by Crush, they are typical teen and pre-teens who would DIE if they thought any of their friends read this.  They can easily spend 25 of their daily 24 hours on their respective phones and still fuss about having to turn them off at night.  Beauty regimens are becoming important, but mostly for Instagram photos.  Both of them will live stream a spa night if we have one.  Tigger has taught me how to have eyebrows because it seems that I’ve been walking around like a blonde Whoopi Goldberg for too many years.  I love watching them grow up, sure, and I hate to be a cliché about it, but I do take an inordinate delight in watching them still be kids when that rare occasion comes along.

For example, just three short months ago the girls came up for a Nashville visit. After we stuffed ourselves with burrito-type meals at Chipotle and then exhausted ourselves shopping at an outdoor mall, we loaded up and headed to the house.  The girls took about a five-minute rejuvenation rest and then planned the remainder of the evening.  First up was the commercial they wanted to film for a paint drip preventer and after that it was concert/fan time.  I’d like to tell you I knew what they were up to, and you know, those words make sense, but they might as well have been speaking Swahili.  I didn’t know what a paint drip preventer was, nor did I understand what concert/fan time was.  To share with you all, though, I rejuvenated on the sofa while taking copious mental notes and videos because this was probably the best night of my life.

After consuming 8 Starburst, Tigger folded her wrappers into some kind of wonky origami and then shoved a straw through it. Viola!  A paint drip protector was born and it had to be documented!  They took this very seriously.  Pooh readied her camera, Tigger wrote a script, and then they both directed her infomercial debut.  In black and white, Tigger sauntered down the stairs, expertly flipped her hair, and delivered her best spiel in a nasal voice.  It was something along the lines of messy paint drips ruining your carpet and also your life but, and now we switched to color, for $19.99 (plus shipping & handling) you could get not one but two amazing paint drip preventers, organically made by hand from Starburst wrappers! By shoving the paint brush handle through the middle of the wrapper, the awkward and ridiculous painting method people have used for centuries would disappear and the brand new method nearly identical to the first would revolutionize your life!  Tigger then demonstrated her patented technique by waving her straw cum paintbrush across my yellow walls.  Eight takes, Pooh cutting bits here and there, the addition of sweeping music and ta da!  We had an infomercial.

Oh, I wheezed. I wanted to contain it lest I stop the creative flow, but some wheeze slipped out.  Tigger looked over at my prone self on the sofa and said, “What?”

“Oh, nothing,” I swallowed. “I think Seamus sneezed.”

Unfazed, they began anew.

“I’ll go up to the loft first,” Pooh instructed, “and you go hide in the laundry room until I announce that the show will begin.” Tigger trotted off to the laundry room and I’m not sure how it happened or what was even going on, by my stomach got that fizzy excited feeling. I paid rapt attention because this sounded a whole lot like concert/fan time was in the works.

Pooh got a couple of blankets and loped upstairs. One was hung over the railing and the other was donned as a cape, and then the announcements came.  There was a drumbeat on the walls, a thrumming hum, and Pooh hollered the band intro.  Tigger came galloping from the laundry room and while Pooh flailed around upstairs, hanging over the loft railing dancing and singing into a hairbrush, Tigger held up her hands and screamed like she was at a Twenty One Pilots concert. There was much jumping and waving of the cape and while Pooh sang Tigger went wild downstairs.  I’m so glad neither of them had a lighter but I believe that centuries-old method of rock star solidarity went down the tubes with the invention of the cell phone flashlight. Once Pooh finished her set, they switched places and screamed like I would have at a Wham! show.

This went on for hours. I was delighted.

Later, after they had gone home, I picked up the assorted Starburst wrappers from the floor and folded the blankets. I packed the stray socks and moved toothbrushes back into their holders. My house always seems so quiet when they leave.  Sometimes it is a relief and I lie like an X on the bed for hours, but after a while that X turns into a C and I have a little sniffle of joy and pain into the pillow.

Man, I love these children.

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