What they really mean

I love my doctor.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before, but just in case you missed it…

So, I went back for a two month medication check.  That’s what he called it, but I’m fairly certain it was so he’d have visual proof that I hadn’t, in fact, completely lost my shit.  He actually came all the way into the room and stayed there, although to be fair, he pulled an Ali and floated like a butterfly just in case.  Poor guy.  I must give off waves of instability like a male lion gives off pheromones.  Maybe if I started marking my territory…

Anyway, where was I?

Yes, the Cymbalta is working.  No one’s died, me included.  I did mention getting separated from The Codefendants on the Metro in DC.    It must be working, doc, because all I could think when the train pulled away with my children in tow, leaving me on the platform, was “oops”.  He chuckled, assured me it really wasn’t funny (he’s right…it was kind of a riot) and then looked on the bright side.  At least they’ll have something to talk about in therapy.  Doc is my kinda guy.  

We quickly progressed through my shenanigans since the last visit: 41 miles walked in July; 49 in August; and 72 in September.  

Am I tired?  I have fibromyalgia and if that’s not enough, refer to the previous paragraph.

Am I sleeping?  Define “sleeping”.  Like…cat napping, like the dead, through the night, without waking?  Let’s see: yes, no, no, no.  Sounds like my side of a conversation right before I hang up on a telemarketer.  I am having some really vivid dreams, mostly about Himself, who’s dream self is very good at ticking me off.  I wake up and have to remind myself he has no clue how good he is at pushing my buttons when he’s unconscious.

I can see the wheels turning in Doc’s mind.  Let’s try another medication and see if we can’t get you on a sleep schedule.  I insist I have a schedule…it’s called a lack of one.  I might get 3 solid hours of sleep a night.  Maybe…if the planets align, the dachshund actually comes when called, and the Red Wings win the Cup again before I die.  Excuse me while I have a giggle here.  What the hell, let’s add another pill!

I’ve always been someone who’s taken several meds at once, thanks to several gastrointestinal issues and general nuttiness.  No biggie.  And there’s always some humor to be had.  If not, you may as well cash it in.

Case in point: lists of side effects.

Enlarged mammaries:  you’ll develop boobs big enough to feed Africa, China and at least two Balkan states.

Delayed gastrointestinal movements: the only stool you’ll see from now until the day you die is what’s on display at IKEA.

Accelerated gastrointestinal movements: the family expression here is “like shit through a goose”.  Good luck getting to the toilet in time, loser.

Dry mucus membranes: yeah, if the presence of camels and Bedouin tents isn’t a clue, it’s freaking dry in your mouth.  Never mind the sand exiting your nostrils.

And my personal favorite…

Increased perspiration: you will sweat like a two-bit whore on a pay day weekend.

Good times ahead.  

At least no one’s died.


The scenic route

I went off on a tangent and forgot to show you our route home from Pennsylvania.  For shame!

We said goodbye to Mechanicsburg and hello to Maryland/DC/Virginia traffic.  Himself, at my insistence, picked up some speed so we didn’t wind up as someone else’s hood ornament.

“This is nuts!  How fast is the speed limit through here?  Surely not THIS fast?” he exclaimed.

Who cared?  We were bookin’ it like a local!  Vroom!!

Himself and His Awesomeness were thrilled beyond all reason to tour the shipyard at Norfolk.  Sorry, no photos were allowed, but let me see if I can do the ships justice with just words.  

They were big, gray, and metal.  🚢 😬.  I’ve never quite understood the salivating that goes on when men describe big hulking vessels as ‘she’ and wax poetic about ‘her’ beauty and lines, etc.  Whatever floats your boat, I suppose…pardon the pun.

The boys were also delighted to tour the USS Wisconsin.

His Awesomeness is contemplating a career in the Navy.  I hope today’s ships can accommodate taller people because he was ducking throughout the tour.

Our final stop was here…

We were a completely pooped bunch, but, oh, the scenery!

Totally ugly and completely disappointed…said no one ever.  His Awesomeness said he’d be moving here.  Funny, but I never saw a ship.  🤔

The weather was fine, the temperature in the 60s and the hot flashes kept at bay.  It was almost a shame to come back down into the heat and humidity.  My heart wants to go back.

We finally made it home to our own bed, Dr. Pepper, and a dachshund who growled at us.

Home sweet home 🏡 

Ode to the dude

Dear dude in the school pick up line,

Hi, we’ve never met and judging by your questionable taste in music and assorted behaviors I’ve been privy to, I hope it never comes to that.  

Let me start by saying I’ve spent some of my best years held hostage to the drop off and pick up lines of various school campuses and therefore consider myself something of an expert when it comes to viewing the personages of The Line.  These are usually female persons in various stages of dress, makeup, and readiness for liquor.  Yes, I myself have dropped the darlings at school whilst clad in fuzzy pajamas and sans brassiere…only to pick them up hours later similarly attired.  Don’t judge.  Shit happens.  There are the skinny minis who are skinny and mini due to either genetics, a strict diet or an unhealthy meth habit.  These woman actually wear yoga pants to do yoga.  These women also do not wear underpants.  Or else they’re wearing butt floss.  I’ve never been brave enough to ask.  There are your typical workaday moms, office armor fully in place with a visage that conveys anyone messing with her will be dispatched without mercy or last rites.  These are feral women; women on the edge; women whose last nerve is one whine away from being tripped.  These women are busy and you’d best put some hustle in your bustle when dealing with them.  Then there are the bird moms, you know the chirpy, perpetually happy, Starbucks fueled PTA chairs, volunteers and general menaces to the rest of us who’d be only too happy to forgo yet another damned fundraiser if you’d just take a check, thankyouverymuch!

Never, and I do mean NEVER, have I ever seen a man in the pickup line.  You, my good man, are my first and, God willing, you’ll be the only.  Because unlike the ladies of The Line and my sainted Himself, you sir, are a dick.

You do not drive ‘round the corner and assimilate quietly into the line.  No, no.  You arrive with fanfare, your truck engine trumpeting like a fart blazing from the nether region of an octogenarian after an all you can eat Mexican buffet at the senior center.

I’ve observed you for weeks now and with each passing weekday, I keep hoping your current or your ex will arrive in lieu of you to pick up your monsters.  Sure, we women can be spiteful, bitchy and somewhat competitive (ahem), but we aren’t clueless.  We KNOW how to comport ourselves in public.

Point 1:  I can only assume that the large, obnoxiously loud, tricked out diesel truck you drive is compensating for your shortcomings…one which is visible to all in that you can barely see over the steering wheel.  You sir, have a bad case of SMS, short man syndrome.  And by the way, your stinky truck’s got nothing on Himself’s 1968 Roadrunner.

Point 2:  You are aware, of course, that despite your dollar store aviators, I can, in fact, see you? Scowling at me as if I’m a fresh pile you just stepped in isn’t very endearing.  And while we’re on the subject, stop it.  It’s creepy.

Point 3:  Naturally, you also know that the windshield and windows of your vehicle are clear, right?   I see your daily DIY sinus excavation while trolling for those pesky nose goblins that just won’t turn loose.  My, but you are one determined lad.  That, as well as other actions most people consider private, are best completed at home.  Behind locked doors.  Under cover of night.

Point 4:  It is apparent to all present, as well as those living three counties over, that your four-wheeled chariot sports one hell of a sound system.  Personally speaking, I’d rather listen to a herd of cats mating on a metal roof during a hail storm than have my ears assaulted by what passes for country music these days.  I suppose someone else in the line may share your love of the garbage.  I also suppose there may indeed be life on Mars.

Would it be wrong to ask your offspring to ride the bus?


The Codefendants’ Mom

Where the magic happens

Disney’s Magic Kingdom motto is “The most magical place of earth”.  To this I say “nuh-uh”.  Sure, it lacks the catchy quality for which Disney is famous, but Disney’s got nothing on my favorite quilt shop.

Maybe you’ve read a post or two here where I’ve mentioned them by name, but I realized the last time I visited that I’d never taken pictures.  This post takes care of that oversight.  Bad quilter!

Simply Fabrics, at 6408 Gholson Rd in Waco, TX is my favorite local quilt shop.  I never knew it existed until we’d driven past it and Himself said “Oh, boy, have you been in there yet?”  My credit card is now well-acquainted with the staff.  I was told they’d been there about four years, but didn’t advertise.  No kidding.  The last time I checked, they were still working on their website.  Fingers crossed that it’s up and running in the near future. 

First, there’s the building.  How can you not like a building with rustic porch pillars and railing?  Roughly twenty miles from my house, it’s surrounded by trees, just far enough out of town to not hear constant noise but close enough to pop in for a quick (or not so quick) visit.  The simple sign says it all.  Sigh…come in, browse, relax.  

It’s run by members of Homestead Heritage, an agrarian group committed to simple living. That’s the best way I can describe them. Each lady I’ve met has been super sweet. I’ve never walked in and not been greeted and they’re perfectly happy to let you wander while they sew away in the large backroom.  The prices are typically below your average quilt shop with shelves lined with names such as French General, Aunt Grace, and Benartex.  They carry a good assortment of notions, patterns, and books as well.  The perimeter of the room has bolts divided by color while the center shelves are collections ranging from floral to children’s novelty to batiks.

Real hardwood floors, not that fake stuff.  Reminds me of my childhood home.

Originally opened to serve the Homestead community as a place to buy fabrics and patterns for their clothing, they began to branch out into quilting.

There’s quite a bit of Minkee (the fabric equivalent of Beelzebub) and flannel available…all of excellent quality at a good price.  They’ve even started carrying wool and small wool kits.

See something you’d like, but can’t find it in a fat quarter?  No problem, just ask and they’re happy to cut it for you.  They’re also starting to offer classes including one on handquilting.  I’ve never seen any shop sample that wasn’t handquilted.  

Out of frame to the right is a shelf for clearance fabrics…$5 a yard.

If you’re in the area (and even if you’re not) drop in and browse.  Say hello, stay awhile, and make your credit card squeal a little.

D.C. Bound 2017

During the planning stages of our Pennsylvania extravaganza, I mentioned to The Diva that we’d be super close to Washington DC and how about we spend a day there?  As soon as the words left my mouth, the holy crap what have I done feeling set in, but with her eyes lit up like I was the Mother of the Century, I wasn’t about to back out.  And so began my planning of our one day in DC.  Yep, one day.  I had lost my mind.

After what turned out to be a less than harrowing drive to the Shady Grove metro station (Dallas drivers take note: East Coast folks could teach y’all everything you need to know about driving like a badass and NOT wrecking), we bought our passes and took a seat.

Do you think we were excited?

We learned several things while riding.  No one makes eye contact.  Why?  Y’all don’t like one another?  And there’s an etiquette to riding an escalator.  Who knew?  We didn’t , but after someone schooled His Awesomeness you can bet it’s a lesson we’ll never forget.

His Awesomeness lagged behind to get a shot with one of the metro guys.  Best decision ever to ride instead of driving a huge honkin’ truck into the nation’s capital!

Once up at street level, we fell in with the rest of the gawking out of towners.  Holy crap, we’re in the nation’s capital!

The Codefendants and I had already plotted our strategy and what we wanted to see in the museums we’d chosen.

Because we’d cherry picked the exhibits, we made good time and no one had a meltdown because they were overwhelmed.  Huzzah, for bright ideas!  There were things we wanted to see that, once seen, left us feeling a little let down.  Can you say big whoop to the Hope diamond?  

The Air and Space Museum was the most packed of the museums we toured, but (don’t tell His Awesomeness) it was the one I probably enjoyed the most.  Shhh!

We couldn’t get over how hot it was there…like Texas only 1000 times more humid and hot.  So when we came out of the Air and Space museum, we hailed what His Awesomeness called a bikeshaw and took a ride to the opposite end of The Mall for our final tour.

Meet Alex.

Poor guy, it’s a wonder he didn’t expire from the heat and the strain of transporting all three of us.  Totally worth every penny!  Check out his calf muscles… holy cow!

Our final stop was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  

Several years back, His Awesomeness and I got the chance to see “Schindler’s List”.  He sat through it with his mouth hanging open and I wept.  At the end, he turned to me and said it’s only a movie, right Mom?  It didn’t really happen like that, right?  It was an understandable question given that most all the movies he’d seen up until then had been make believe.  I told him no, it was true, all of it.  

We have a responsibility to teach our children history whether we like it or not, no matter how difficult the subject.  Whitewashing history, censoring it, pretending like ‘some day’ will be a better time to discuss these events is a disservice to the people who suffered through it, the ones who didn’t come through it, and to the children we are raising.

It’s an experience we’ll never forget.

Live: From the Linoleum !

Life is all about carpe diem.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the joie de vivre of “why not?”  In my children this was never fun as it involved a Vesuvius-sized mess, blood or other bodily fluid, or one of those infamous “Mrs. Bowen?” phone calls.  Let’s call it a crapshoot and move on, shall we?

Yesterday I decided that the yard needed mowing.  Our yard dude, Matt, an eclectic juxtaposition of redneck and surfer with a farmer’s tan, moved to Florida and no male in my house mows because allergies.  Mowing is no big deal and I find I rather enjoy it especially if I’m peeved.  There’s nothing quite as cathartic as symbolically decapitating someone while chop-chop-chopping down blades of grass and weeds.  Or is that just me?  Don’t answer that.

The weather was gorgeous…around 84 degrees with a nice breeze.  Piece o’cake!

All together now…!


Suffice to say, it turned out hotter than I thought and our yard is huge.  It’s a push mower and paying someone to do the yard work has made me into, well…a pansy.  

I staggered through the back door as His Awesomeness rounded the corner from the hall, his arms outstretched, ready for a hug.

Don’t touch me!  I’m sweating like a hooker at a Friday night tent revival.

My firstborn shot me a look and quickly hied over to the fridge to pour me a glass of water.  I’d like to say he did it because he’s thoughtful but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with the fact that I grunted like a camel headed for an oasis.  It couldn’t have been pretty.

By now, I was wishing I was home alone, free to unleash The Girls like twin swords of Damocles from the confines of my sweat-soaked brassiere, but it wasn’t meant to be.  I gingerly lowered myself to the kitchen floor, prostrating myself across the cool linoleum, His Awesomeness looking on like she’s finally lost her shit but saying Mom, what in the hell are you doing?

No talking; just lower the water down here and back away.  I’m having the mother of all hot flashes.  Being smart and conscious of the fact that Mom exhibited all the signs of a woman on the edge, he handed down the glass and vacated the premises.

I lay there, beached like Shamu on the coastline of kitchen lino trying to understand why I do these things to myself.  My thoughts, like those of Kid Rock in his northern Michigan youth, were short.  I stared, chest heaving, under-boob sweat cascading down my sides, at the kitchen ceiling.  When had that stain appeared?  Tiny specks of dark red dotted the area over the sink.  Sibling bloodletting?  Ritual sacrifice?  Ah, bingo!, splattered marinara from when I’d dropped the pan into the sink.  

The popcorn of said ceiling has never been my favorite feature mostly for the fact that dust loves ceiling popcorn, mocking me and my lack of domestic cleaning skills.  As do spider webs.  And there, hanging like a macabre sticky chandelier, was the web of a daddy long legs.  I watched him, her, it.  I couldn’t tell from way down on the floor and, as I hate arachnids, I wasn’t getting close enough to inspect the bits.

All of a sudden it occurred to me that I lay flat on my back under the habitat of a creature that scares the bejeebers out of me.  What if it landed on me?  Simple: I’d die of a heart attack.  Then from somewhere deep in my subconscious, I heard my mother’s voice.  What if the paramedics come and find you on the floor?  You’re not wearing your good underpants.  What if, in their earnestness to save you, they have to cut off your clothes?  What then?  You want them to see your ratty granny panties?

Merciful heavens!  Not only do I have to concern myself with being attired in my bestest underpants for a potential car wreck, as per my mother’s admonitions, I can’t even have an in-home run in with wildlife for fear of needing to be ready at any hour of the day or night to entertain the presence of rescue personnel, the media and maybe Geraldo in the midst of my plight.

Nuh-uh.  No way.

Tomorrow I’m hiring a new lawn guy!

Pennsylvania 2017: part 2

I owe quite a bit to Himself’s love of car shows in far-flung parts of the country and his outright refusal to board any type of aircraft.  Because of him, I’ve seen states I’d probably never otherwise see.  Gorgeous vistas, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.  And peed in gas station bathrooms I’d just as soon forget.  He nailed it when he said he can always gauge the cleanliness of the bathrooms by which sex tends the counter.  Men: it’s nasty.  Women: you could eat off the seat.

As we trekked our way east, we settled into the routine for which Himself is famous.  Out the hotel doors by 6 am and a commitment to driving as far as humanly possible while still maintaining some semblance of a good mood and maybe stopping to eat.  Well, at least driving as far as humanly possible.

Seth played copilot while Paige and I got our reading on in the backseat.

We finally pulled into Carlisle the afternoon of Thursday, July 13th.  The boys quickly abandoned us girls in a parking lot to start hunting up their friends while Paige and I sat and sweated.  Isn’t it supposed to be cooler back east?  I guess the joke was on us because it was just as hot, if not hotter, than back home.  

Paige and I strolled toward downtown and scoped out Whistlestop Bookshop on High Street and found this little bit of history.

The next day, while the boys battled Mother Nature and the thunderstorms she unleashed, Paige and I headed to Gettysburg to get pictures of the battlefield for my Dad who is a huge Civil War buff.  

It was hot.  Have I mentioned that before?  It was really freakin’ hawt!  

I cannot imagine the chaos, the bloodshed, the fear that is war.  To walk where you know men have fallen was eerie…and it was hushed.  All this gorgeous scenery that hosted so much death.

Being the nerds we are, we scooped up a couple of books in the gift shop and a t-shirt for Papa.  Then it was time to hit the road again.

On the home front, we’d phone my folks who were dog-sitting their granddog for us.  My Dad said he’d never known a more neurotic animal than our Ziva.  But she found happiness in Gramma’s sewing scraps and settled in to dig her way to dachshund nirvana.

Paige and I headed back to the hotel, gearing up for the main event that was to come.

Stay tuned!

Pennsylvania 2017: Part 1

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of August.  

The kids are back in school (can I get a hallelujah?) and Himself and I are staring at the last year of middle school for one Codefendant and senior year for the other.  In an act of parental civil disobedience, I informed The Diva that I wasn’t going to orientation; I wasn’t going to meet the teacher; and, in fact, I didn’t want to even know who her teachers were this year.  Frankly, I’m at the point where the less I know, the happier I am.  My folks, to the best of my knowledge, didn’t spend a significant amount of personal time up at my schools and I turned out just fine.  Stop laughing.

Where’s the time gone, I think.  One day, one’s ripping down my wallpaper after completely covering himself with magic marker; the other is helping herself to a midnight snack after scaling my sewing cabinet and opening the pack with my surgical-sharp Gingher scissors.  And far be it for me to pass up ratting them out for peeing against the bedroom dresser or dropping britches in the yard to take care of business.  Then there’s the nose goblins someone wiped on the walls.  Did you know snot strips paint?  👃🏻  I can’t make this stuff up, y’all. 

So many memories.  A newly minted teenager with all the accompanying pains, sighs and eyeball rolls; another with a permanent driver’s license and, just seven short days after receiving aforementioned license, got his first speeding ticket and lots of talk about enlisting in the navy after graduation. 🚢 

So our summer 2017 road trip was especially meaningful to me.  And it was going to be EPIC.  

Now my husband, Himself, is the original car nut.  Our home is filled with car crap, I mean treasures.  I even have to share the garage with a ’68 Plymouth Roadrunner.  Meep-meep!  So you know a vacation almost always involves cars.  This year was no different.

So we set out from Texas in a pickup truck that rode like a covered wagon: Himself, two unmedicated Codefendants (they have ADHD) and a newly medicated me.  Let me just say long-assed road trips aren’t the time to start an anti-anxiety/depression med, but it beats the hell outta wearing neon and leg shackles, amiright?!

It took two days to get there.  So many states, I’ve lost track, but each one prettier than the last.

Kentucky…the state where you can smell the color green

And this little diversion…

I kinda promised not to stop at any quilt shops.  I mean, I’ve got plenty and didn’t need anything, but Himself uttered ‘Paducah’ and all was lost.

West Virginia, we love you despite the fact you are Dr. Pepper-less.  And no, sorry, Mr. Pibb isn’t the same thing.  Remember my comparison of Tom Selleck and Peewee Herman? Yes, that.  And to our Bob Evans waitress, we’re sorry you got a little miffed when we scoffed about Pepsi products.  In hindsight, we should’ve kept our mouths shut, but bless your heart, Pepsi sucks. 

Where was I?

West Virginia…is for lovers of sunsets and Pepsi drinkers

Needless to say, all the scenery was gorgeous.  
Maryland (I think)

The Diva and I sat in the back, content to read and rubberneck at the gorgeous vistas.  His Awesomeness sat up front, Himself’s copilot because apparently screaming this exit! that’s what I said,! yes!  move over!  now! gogogogogogogo!! is frowned upon by Himself.  Full disclosure: I was allowed to drive with all of us in the truck for a grand total of…one hour.  No one and I do mean no one likes my driving.  

Between the two of us, The Diva and I finished seven books during our trip. 📚 


We made it…finally, on Thursday, July 13th.   Just in time for several days worth of thunderstorms and incomparable humidity.  

But there was fun to come.

Stay tuned.

Here for your bemusement 

Doctors.  Love ’em, loathe ’em, need ’em just the same.  Or is that lawyers?

Anyway, today I found myself sitting in one of those oh-so-comfy exam room chairs waiting for him to appear, all the while squirming like a kid waiting outside the principal’s office, my blood pressure spiking and ticking off the minutes of my life I’d never get back.  Tell me again why I had to be on time?  At least I’d not been forced to don a paper gown.  Good times.

After what felt like an hour, but was probably closer to fifty-eight minutes, there’s a knock and in he walked.  I like this guy.  He’s personable and doesn’t speak to me like he’s come down from on high to mingle with the hoi polloi.  All is forgiven for making me wait.

‘What brings me in?’

And this is where it ceases to be funny.

Well, let’s see.  I can’t focus; everything and everyone pisses me off; one breath brings fire, the other blubbering.  I almost had a meltdown watching a woman write out a check at the grocery store.  (Who the hell does that anymore, btw?). Summed up: I’d like to kick ass and scarf down chocolate bars all day.  Can I do that simultaneously?

‘Is my appetite affected?’

I smile.  The one I give to people who don’t know you don’t have to scream into a cell phone for the person on the other end to hear you.  

Seriously, doc, are you looking at me?  He smiles back.

As someone with a history of depression, I watch out for these kinds of things, let them fester, give myself the pep talk, move on.  The rinse and repeat of brain chemistry.  It will never go away. I’m also unmedicated and unsupervised.  Something seems amiss here.

Today I am here because I am done. I blame the check writer for pushing me over the edge, but in all seriousness I know that isn’t it.  It’s things I won’t go into here.  But you get the drift.

He sits there, looking slightly alarmed, nodding and hmm-ing at various intervals.  I’m never sure if this is my cue to shut up now or keep going, but I’m on a roll.

‘Am I suicidal?’

No, but if I could choose how to go I’d like to keel over chowing down on something scrumptious from The Cheesecake Factory, m’kay?


At that, I smirk and say ‘well…on occasion’.  He chuckles nervously and sits up a bit straighter, maybe in an effort to prepare to sprint for the exit if the occasion calls for it.

He proceeds with a mini seminar on dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.  Brakes and gas pedals, he calls them.  I try to follow along without giving away the fact that my eyes are glazing over.  He is blaming most of this on the fibro.  Interesting.

At the end of it all (25 minutes!  Score one for the patient!  I actually got my copay’s worth.), I walked out much the same as when I walked in.  Only with a prescription and instructions to walk five times a week and keep a journal.

So tonight I walked the neighborhood.  One house sported a plethora of socks in the driveway.  I’m left to assume this is the school-age equivalent of ladies shedding a brassiere as soon as they hit the door.  At least I get inside first.  There’s the fenced in dog who makes no bones about the fact he’d like to take a chunk out of me if given half the chance.  And the fifteen cents I found after almost not stopping to stoop down.  In this neck of the woods, shiny circular metal on the ground is usually redneck money i.e. washers.  Score one for me!

Where am I going with all this?  No clue.  But if you’re feeling the same, don’t go it alone.  Your mental health is important and mental illness in this country is approached with a keep-it-quiet attitude which is shitty.

In the meantime, I’ll try to find the humor here.  I think the dachshund ate it.  I’ll find it in the yard tomorrow morning.  Maybe I’ll find more money and in six months’ time, will have enough for a pack of gum.  

It’s good to have goals.