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Archive for November, 2009

the one where I’m right, where we create happy family memories and where everyone sort of panics all rolled up into one post

Yesterday the five of us piled into the Magic Superior Stealth vehicle to do our annual Sunday-after-Thanksgiving trek to the Christmas tree farm. The local one a scant five minutes away closed lo these five years ago so we managed to find Beavers Christmas Tree Farm in Trafford, which is a forty-five minute drive.

There’s a lot of backwoods, down-homey goodness on the drive, so I stuffed the props for our Christmas card photos into my camera bag just in case I happened to see a suitable backdrop as we ticked off miles.

About halfway in I saw this abandoned building with the coolest ever tile, so I went to hollering, “That’s it, that’s it!”

“We’ll swing back by on our way home.”

“Maxim, it’s two. It will begin getting dark at four. If we get lost again and lose all the light, I will make you pay for days and days and days.”

We’re not going to get lost, Jett.” He said this with the distinct air of someone who implied, ridiculous woman!, as if said woman had not lived this scenario roughly a thousand times before the specific one in front of her.

I did the pursing my lips thing. We’ve gotten lost every single year since we’ve found this farm. Thing is, we always make a wrong turn a mere handful of minutes away from the place. It’s like it exists in the Twilight Zone, because no matter where we stop for accurate directions, the locals have never even heard of the dang place. That, or they get their jollies fucking with the tree traffic; what else is there to do in the middle of the Hellabama boonies?

We made not one wrong turn, but backtracked and made three of them. It was a record.

You know the rest of the story, I would imagine. We did the standard tree farm horsing around and marching the entire back forty and letting the kids ride the tractor-pulled flat trailer stacked with hay bales. We got hot chocolate and cider, chitchatted with the proprietress (who always remembers our family!), waited for the tree shaking and netting and hey, what do you know? When we loaded up it was starting to go dark.

My familytime-induced bliss melted a little from the heat generated when I glared at Maxim. “You better drive like a complete idiot, my good man.”

Several I-believe-it’s-just-up-around-this-next-bends and a nearly-night sky later, we found the place and Maxim hurriedly pulled in while I hustled up the kids.

“WE ARE LOSING THE LAST TRACES OF LIGHT. MOVE YOUR NARROW BEHINDS.” This for the boys, who move notoriously slowly as a rule. This is especially true of Mathias, who is so unhurried and precise in his doings so as to maybe appear to be going in reverse; this is a trait that he of course inherited from the hippie and not from me. It is probably at the top of the list entitled Things About My Kinfolk That Make Me Stabby and it also occupies the first six slots because that is the degree to which it sends me reeling into abject stabbiness.

Sam, Scout and Mathias were in position, getting their J. Crew on when I noticed the tiny little hiccup known as dead batteries. I hate to be barky, because assholes are barky, but it was Maxim’s fault that I was that way because HELLO WE COULD HAVE STOPPED ON OUR WAY TO THE FUCKING TREE FARM (such! a little! requessssst!) BUT NO. So I got barky about the spare batteries that were parked in my camera bag back there in our vehicle. Maxim exhibited a rare shagging of the ass to go get them, and after a hasty changeout I lifted the viewfinder to my face to be greeted with the phrase ‘NO MEMORY CARD, DUMBASS’ when I mashed the clicky picturey magicks button.

@!#$%*!! and also a;elrkqao[rghjn! I’d left it in the computer at home. I wanted to whack myself repeatedly in the forehead with the camera, but remembered I am broke and cannot afford another.

“Wait!” Scout, Most Valuable Child of the Day, exclaimed, “I have a memory card with me!” She ran to fetch it out of her laptop and I sang her praises, inserted it into the memory slot and began to fire away.

One picture. I was allowed one picture before I got a ‘media full’ message, because Scout apparently likes to tote around eight gigs of personal photography with her. Important, insanely artsy bits of photographic genius like a series consisting of all her favorite flats and fifty shots of her making what I call MySpace Mouth. Photos which, as I recall, are backed up in various places on the web and on two separate computers.

Damn. It. Damnit, damnit, damnit.

“HERE.” She responded to my annoyance with some of her own and shot out a hand that expected to be filled with camera. Scout then proceeded to generously delete all of five photos so that I could pop off a hasty series of six poorly-staged, horribly lit, half-assed shots.

christmas greetings, earthlings
:: christmas greetings, earthlings ::

Not quite what I was wanting and/or planning on, but the recipients of this year’s Christmas card are gonna *love* it.

|| November 23, 2009 || 12:57 pm || Comments (0) ||


So, I’ve tweeted the shit out of this, but I know many of you despise Twitter (I do as well, but shhhh) so I’m flinging it up here. I’m coordinating a Christmas ornament swap, one for which you can either make or purchase an ornament for sending to a complete stranger to whom you are connected via me and the interwebsnetses. You know, like magic and stuff, only with me at the middle of it ratcheting up the nonsense just a little!

If you’d like to participate, drop me an e-mail by, say, Wednesday and I’ll toss you into the mix, precious Muffinass.

|| November 22, 2009 || 6:43 pm || Comments (4) ||

no spoilers here!

Okay, so I acquiesced to Scout’s request that I take her to see New Moon (If you haven’t heard of it, there are these vampires who sparkle like they’ve been dipped into that fancy-pants glass glitter that is made in Germany of all places and there are these wolves in half-naked Native American clothing; then this puny clumsy human girl whose appeal I cannot fathom is being foughten over slash protected by both factions, both of whom she loves because everybody knows that humans are like the Switzerland of the supernatural world.). Mathias tagged along, as well as Tessa and her girlfriend, who would be Mathias’ girlfriend were she twenty years younger and also straight, because they are just crazy about one another.


a) I always manage to sit directly in front of the family who is under the illusion that they are taking in a movie from the comfort of their couch and

b) this particular picture show had a fair amount of cheese,

Tess and I started =”Link for those undorked among you.” target=”_new”>MST3K-ing it pretty early in. Scout, even as she was laughing, was OMG BBQ WILL YOU GUYS SHUT IT ALREADY, TWELVE-YEAR-OLDS? We cracked wise for a teeny bit longer and then fell silent.

Until, that is, human protagonist Bella did one of her Official Swan Clumsythings and ended up bleeding from the head. Jacob, the crushy wolf (antagonist to Edward, Bella’s crushy vampire), raced to her side on his motorbike and proceeded to see about fair and fey Miss Swan. When she began apologizing for having the nerve and general tackiness to bleed from the head, Jacob tells her, ‘It’s no big deal’ and whips his tee-shirt over his head, revealing an extremely foxy and desirable torso.

The fact that at this moment the silent theater was vacuumed clean by the sudden collective female intake of breath had me teetering on the brink of tickled hysteria. It was, like, the most audible thing I’ve ever heard, y’all. I was good and held my laughter well in check until a split-second later, when Tess loudly exclaimed into the reverent lusty silence,


Then I barked into laughter, putting my head between my knees to muffle my braying somewhat. It took me a full minute to pull air back into my lungs, and thankfully the rest of the theater was laughing along by then.

Moral of the story: When my best friend says to people, ‘I’m not a lesbian, my girlfriend is,’ she ain’t lying.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Upon surveying the Volturi atop their thrones, I nudged Tess, gesturing at the screen. ‘The stage directions for the one on the left? Sit there. Be sad. The one on the right? Sit there. Be prissy.’ It was at this point that Scout gave up scolding us entirely and laughed along. The power of humor is, it seems, greater than the power of any ole Twilight movie, selah and amen.

pee ess….somebody get that Jasper a new wig for the next movie, for reals. He looked like my grandmother after her standard Beauty Shop Friday.

pee pee ess….the soundtrack was sahhhweet, fully.

|| November 21, 2009 || 9:04 pm || Comments (5) ||

Sattraday, afternoon-wise

I was waiting for a call.

See, my husband works an hour away from here. Sometimes he is later than he’d like, and on those occasions he might decide to eat in town, which could possibly change my plans on what to prepare for dinner. My kids love my chili. My chili tears my spouse’s crack out. That is not a sexy thing, Muffinasses, so I needed to know before I went into Wal-Mart whether I would be cooking the wine-and-chicken thing or if my children would get to do the Sweet Jesus On His Merciful Throne Momma Is Making Chili dance.

I get no signal on my phone in Wal-Suck, so I sent Scouty ahead for her necessities while I waited a few minutes for a return text or call.

And I got to eyeballing my fellow Wal-Martees.

There was the fairly renowned and deeply-in-the-closet bluegrass banjo man. Apparently he is preparing for some sort of fete, because his buggy was loaded with three deli trays as he efficiently made his way toward his vehicle. There was our old friend, the mentally retarded, enthusiastic cart-rounder. How are you not freezing to death, Smiley? my brain pushed at him, because he was wearing shorts and I cannot get warm enough today. There were the childparents. I always see these people nowadays, no matter where I am: There is a too-young girl and a too-young boy and they are attending to their baby and making a play at domestic bliss as best they can despite the odds that are way, waaay not in their favor; this is one holdover from the Old South that I am unsure about how I feel as yet, these babies trying to make a whoopsie into a winner.

I texted Adampea with the exciting news that yes, I was at Wal-Mart, and yes, I was peoplewatching. He does not hold the place in great esteem, either. ‘Try not to punch the greeter,’ he texted back. Smart man, because I might have wanted to except that when I walked into the door she was leaned over the cart of a hispanic couple where there sat a little brown boy of about four in a bright yellow tee-shirt. He was wailing, mouth so wide as to swallow any notion of a head. The parents attempted to elicit a wholly unsuccessful cease-fire on his tears and now the door greeter had taken on the role of peace envoy, offering up smiling stickers if he could only emulate (and hold) the expression they were making.

Who can punch a door greeter when they are in the throes of such a noble undertaking?

There were houndstooth ballcaps everywhere. Tiger orange was scarce. The Tide fans have a little more to be proud of this year than the War Eaglers do, insert heavy sigh here. Eric Clapton came out of nowhere to set up residence in my head, Groaning The Blues his song of choice for me.

I have noticed recently, say in the last six months, that I am the crazy lady who walks around the grocery singing aloud to herself; I’m usually five songs deep before I self-startle and realize that I’m doing this once again and oh my God, when will I start collecting cats, too?

A man piled bag after bag of flour into his cart. Why am I annoyed by this? It’s none of my damn business. But seriously, why doesn’t he just be sensible and buy it in bulk? Fuck, we have buckets stored up in case of the pending revolution. The hippie believes in being prepared, so we have powdered eggs and deer jerky and rice (Can you believe that China still has any? I ask the children. Don’t worry, Sam says wryly back, The Chinese can always purchase some from all those paddies in Arkansas.). Also we have bullets and bullets and rifles and a smidgen of handgun or two. Here is what I think about: What if, just what if when there comes a time where all these dried things are a necessity there just so happens to be no potable water with which to rehydrate them? Are we then going to use the weapon things, packed with salt, to seed the clouds and beg rain?

You remember that I was proud of myself for hanging ultra-deluxe and fancy-dancy clotheslines awhile back, yeah? Here’s the thing: I’ve stopped hanging clothes on them, because when I bring them in they have the smell of foul things. Is there some piece of magic I’ve not discovered? How were the off-the-line things so great-smelling when I was five and trailing around behind my mother while she dropped sheets in the basket for me to nuzzle lovingly with my round face?

And if the skies hazard to sprinkle a little on my hung clothes, they smell even worse. So really, if we were to seed the clouds would we really want what came from them, anyway? “Here children, eat your tablespoon of powdered eggs. I’ve mixed in dry rice for a delightful crunchy texture.”

I am spoiled. I bought two cases of bottled water, selfish and wasteful thing that I am. But I forgot the fabric softener, and by the time I remembered it, I stood at the front of a line of people with drawn, tired faces and thought better of sprinting for it. Scout, in the line beside me, had just finished checking out. This week our jeans will be as crunchy as our future eggs.

The cart rounder, catching sight of us upon our exit, stretched his lips wide and flapped a hand at us in greeting. “I miss y’all when you’re not here!” he hollered and I guess I believed him.

i was made for loving you baby / you were made for loving meeee

The first time I got married, my ever-the-optimist friend Jac singsonged, “Ohhhh, it’s as if all your dreams are coming true to-daaay.”

It was then that my other friend, Alex the Pragmatist, dryly pronounced, “Yeah, if all your dreams include having an evil she-douche as a mother-in-law.” She thumbed in the general direction of the sphere of ungodliness where said evil she-douche was hovering (likely busying herself, of course, with the process of mentally running numbers on the degree to which her every sense had been offended in the preceding five to eight hours).

That Alex, she sure knew how to script an ending.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Hey, said the curiously unsubtle voyueurnal hostess, speaking of scripting endings, I’ve put my story wrap up over on Polite Fictions.

If you know me even a little bit at all, you will recall with an effortless amount of lucidity that I either burn bridges or leave ends all loose and twisting in the wind. I am fair turrrble at endings, lending no subtlety to them whatsoever. But wait, that’s in (what I perceive as) ‘real’ life. You go be the judge as to whether or not this is a pattern that bears out in my fictional endeavors, as well.

|| November 3, 2009 || 11:55 pm || Comments (9) ||

no takebacks

bowling alleys are for wishes
:: bowling alleys are for wishes ::

You know, I see places like this and I wish this part of it had been different: I wish we had met when we were eleven, when I was spending time hanging around the bowling alley my aunt and uncle owned to earn a little money by pulling shoes and picking up stray beer cups.

I wish we had started as innocence, because that kernel of innocence remains at the center of a relationship –steadfast and shining– no matter how two people end up.

I wish we had bowled our juvenile brains out, that you had eyed me earnestly from beneath shaggy bangs as we were talking, that you tried your hardest to best me in pinball, that you had helped me scoop up trash without regard to monetary exchange, that we walked to my grandmother’s house or your mom’s house to have warm bread and sweet milk.

I wish we’d spent early evenings with twelve assorted cousins ringing us at the movie theater, that you’d laced into skates alongside me at the roller rink, that we’d accompanied one another to the country club or to the creek or to the ballfields.

I wish you’d crossed the rows of cotton with me to reach the liquor store, where we’d procure small brown paper bags brimming over with one-cent candies. I wish you had been there to pause outside the door with me and listen to the old man with shiny black skin and soft-tufted puffs of white hair sing his perspective on life in the Delta.

There we are, see? Two little white kids, enthralled with the sound of life, with endless curiosity and respectable intellect and entirely breakable hearts and a friendship that would last, strong and steady, through years and confusion and decisions and change.

I want that September back. We did it all wrong.