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?

Sincerely,

The Codefendants’ Mom

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Double trouble 

Forty-three years of living has taught me there’s plenty out there that falls under the heading of miraculous.  At least in my universe.  

There’s the virgin birth.  The fact that, despite an appalling lack of success in nurturing anything green and /or flowering, The Codefendants continue to live and thrive.  Although some days it’s kinda touch and go.  And childhood experiences notwithstanding, brussel sprouts are actually quite tasty.

The retail industry would have me believe that almost anything is miraculous.  I have to look no further than my email to know this little tidbit.  My life will be changed instantly *snaps fingers* if I’d just connect with someone dubiously named %#&@ Buddy.  I’ll have the stamina of a wild beast if I’d buy this pill.  And if I’d just succumb to the allure of the Square Dance pan, my kitchen dreams would be a reality.  Funny, I always envisioned a personal chef making that happen.  But whatever.

As I shared earlier this year, I stayed up ’til the wee hours following my surgery, my days and nights mixed up like a baby’s.  At least I never wet myself.  Nope, it was me, Angela Lansbury, and an endless cycle of infomercials for almost six solid weeks.

I finally buckled under and bought a Miracle Bamboo cushion after trying one out at a quilt retreat.  I’ll never really know if they actually make one’s buttocks any cooler because, frankly, I’m not thoughtful enough to ask and they’re not talking.  But (no pun intended) my buns aren’t tired from the daily strain of driving to and fro to work anymore.

Riding high on my bamboo success, I decided in an unguarded moment while standing in the ‘as seen on TV’ aisle, to try out the Miracle Bamboo Bra.  There was even a helpful cutout in the packaging to allow me a feel of what was in store.  Never mind the weird looks I was getting from the dude behind me as I felt up an as yet boob-less brassiere.  It certainly felt like it’d be comfy and for $19.95, how could I go wrong?

After arriving home, I whipped out my new over the shoulder boulder holder and proceeded to give it a whirl.  Apparently what I’d been gratuitously feeling up in the store was the padded cup and anyone whose seen me knows bra padding is superfluous.  Kind of like an elevator in an outhouse.  I digress.

The fabric felt weird.  Familiar, but weird and although I could put a boob in it, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  Over my head it went.  No fasteners, no underpinnings.  Just delusions, I suppose.  I fiddled, I shimmied, I mimed reeling in a baby hippopotamus because isn’t that how all busty girls get into a bra?  

Finally, I was there.  I gave the straps one last snap and let go.  

Here comes the miracle part.

The miracle is that I didn’t break my jaw from the recoil of my boobs hitting the carpet and rebounding skyward.  It was like the girls went bungee jumping only I didn’t hurl them off a bridge, I just turned them loose.  Or maybe unleashed them is a better phrase.  Sweet sister Sadie!

And then it hit me.  A memory, not a mammary.

The fabric was like that of pantyhose, a contraption I’d long since chosen to forgo because they freakin’ suck!  I’d just tried to truss the ladies into pantyhose.  No wonder they plummeted like Superman exposed to kryptonite!

Bottom line: unless you have boobies instead of a rack large enough to feed sub-Saharan Africa, please do not buy the Miracle Bamboo bra.  Your boobs, and any small children or pets standing at your feet, will thank you.

Culture and the art of not getting it

As a mother I occasionally have a yen to throw something a little different at The Codefendants and see what pans out.  Most times we’re all pleasantly surprised and wind up feeling a little smug and worldly as if to say well, we never had any doubts.  Piece a cake, baby!

Unless it’s food.  Generally speaking, if it’s food what pans out is vomit.  Here’s a tip for ya: NEVER FORCE A CHILD TO EAT BROCCOLI UNLESS YOU’RE COMMITTED TO CLEANING IT UP.

Where was I?

So, school’s out for summer (any Alice Cooper fans out there?) and they’re already bored.  Fortunately, His Awesomeness’ boredom is somewhat alleviated by a little thing called a job.  Sonic slush, anyone?  

Which leaves The Diva.  

She’s already made homemade slime.  Think snot, only purple.  She gave me a makeover because, at forty-three, I have no idea how to apply makeup.  She fussed over my lack of appropriate brushes and primer (isn’t that for walls?) and bemoaned my crepey eyelids and orange-ish complexion a la The Donald.

And then there’s that mecca for all brainiacs…the library.  📚.  It’s the summer of the biography in our house and she’s already devoured tomes on CS Lewis, Audrey Hepburn, Henry VIII’s six wives, and Mickey Mantle while I’m over here speed reading through raunchy romance novels.

Not to cast aspersions on our town, but there isn’t much to do here.  Which means you have to drive.  And hope that what awaits at the end doesn’t require funds from a body part you sold or a bathing suit.

Dallas, here we come.


It’s deja vu all over again!  It’s like Dallas knows we’re coming and just rolls out the welcome mat right along with the crummy weather, traffic accidents and nutty drivers.

Yay.

We finally arrive, after driving the I-35 corridor at 50 mph most of the way, at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Four floors of old stuff (apparently that’s me); really old stuff (pottery, textiles, paintings, furniture); and ancient stuff (as in sculpture).


Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #1 by Leon Polk Smith.  I see a quilt here. 👆🏻

A Baltimore album quilt with trapunto attributed to Martha E. Keech.  👆🏻

We’d been there maybe thirty minutes when I realized The Diva was extraordinarily quiet and I looked over to find her stone faced, responding to my questions with one word answers.  Are you okay?  Fine.  Are you sick?  No.  What’s the matter?  Nothing.

Sensing a mood swing of epic proportions and not wanting either of us to lose our shit in what was essentially a mausoleum for old, really expensive stuff, I was trying to think fast.  And quietly.  

Light bulb 💡 

Are you overwhelmed?  

I got a look that was part relief and part duh 🙄 and after giving ourselves permission to skip the stuff that made us check each other for a pulse, we more or less hustled ourselves through the remainder of the early American section and most of Africa.  I’m pretty sure there was plenty of other stuff to see, but most of it was a blur interspersed with me asking myself  what is THAT and what does it MEAN?

Forgive me for being a philistine, but I don’t get art at all.  To me, it’s like attending car shows with Himself.  A car’s either pretty or ugly and sounds good.  End of story.

With art, I stand there, head cocked like an eager spaniel and hope I don’t scratch or widdle on the floor.

Like this 👇🏻.  It’s cool and it’d look great as a quilt, but 🤷‍♀️


Or this 👇🏻 by Christopher Wool.  What does it mean?  No more home and no more coats.  Huh?


This (by Leon Frederic) 👇🏻I get, but the gratuitous display of breast unsettled The Diva.  Do we really need to see that? she intoned.  Beats me, but it’s just so beautiful and nurturing and hey, I get it! 


The detail…swoon.

Anyway, we’d made it down to the lower level with all the sculpture.  My favorite!  It never ceases to amaze me how ancient dudes got the drape of fabric, the curl of a lock of hair, the detail just so from rock.

How did they do that?!  Genius.

I’m marveling at it all when I hear a huge sigh, one generally reserved for a climactic final cinematic breath and the words every mother wants to hear uttered aloud in what was a fairly crowded room.

Another penis.  What is it with all these penises?!

I was stuck somewhere between wanting to be zapped by lightning on the spot, hoping for a huge sinkhole to open beneath me and making that ugly braying donkey laugh I generate when I’m really amused and trying not to be.  Nevertheless, I had some splainin’ to do.  She didn’t believe me about the ancients’ love of the human form and isn’t it beautiful, etc, etc.  All she saw was nekkid men.  I’ll admit to never understanding the ancient use of urine to bleach items or grabbing ones testicles as a attestation of ones truthfulness (hence the word testimony) but whatever.  Naked people look good, even the fat ones and can we please bring back the appreciation of such from Rubens?!  Can I get a hallelujah?

Maybe I should just stick to getting my culture from yogurt.

A Word of Thanks…I Think

Dear Similac,

Hahahahahaha, you delightfully quirky folks!  What is there to say other than ‘thank you’ for enrolling me in your Smart Moms program and gifting me with my very own membership card?  Does it come with a coupon for at least one child-free pee for me per week?  Yeah, I thought not.  

Someone in that program has an epically awesome sense of humor, especially at a time like this.  I love people with a sense of humor.  Beats trying to make jovial with folks who believe tree branches are for carting about in their nether regions

I digress.

But seriously, last week’s mailbox offering of aforementioned card and breathless recitation of everything I have to look forward to was plenty for moi.  You see, I’ve been there, done that twice.  Well, I’ve done it more than that, but you know, two kids.  Anyway, the youngest is twelve and I’ve no intention of birthing any more mini-mes.  I have the stretch marks, sagging rack and bladder that cannot/will not make it on a round of errands without visiting at least one public toilet.  I’m good.  Really.

Cue today’s mailbox offering.  Someone, somewhere is laughing.  Hard.  I hope they pee themselves or at least blow soda out their nostrils, because really?!


Next Thursday, I’m finally getting what I’ve always wanted.  No, not Tom Selleck, dammit.

Yes, it’s a hysterectomy!  Score!  I win!  

So you see, I do not need your infant formula.  I don’t want to know about fussy eaters, gas (newsflash: I need help with the husband and the dog on this one), or colic.  I don’t want tips on finding me time, getting plenty of rest, or a cure for cracked nipples.  Seriously, I’m good.

In lieu of formula, please send any and all manner of liquor and chocolates from which I may partake while I’m laid up.  Thank you in advance for this splendiforous act of corporate generosity.

Yours truly,

The Mrs.

Revisiting Mary Ellen’s Sunflowers 

You remember this quilt top?


It’s the one my great-grandmother made, the one desperately in need of quilting, the elephant sitting squarely in the middle of the quilting room.  Since that blog post in 2011, I haven’t touched this baby.  I decided this was the time.

Luck and an escape from work allowed me to hit the road to Brazos House in Rainbow, TX again for the second time this year.  Squeal!  The Diva claims the chuckle I emitted and happy dance I performed were just this side of pure evil.  Something told me this wasn’t kid code for cool.  So I did what any self-respecting mother would do.  I hopped on my broom and blew that popcorn stand, leaving behind His Awesomeness who may or may not have marked my departure as his good fortune; The Diva who bemoaned being left behind with two testosterone laden beings; Himself, whom I’m fairly certain I kissed as I blew out the door; and the dog, whom I’m sure is planning a retaliatory poop for my return home.  Be sure to flick it onto the carpet like last time, you little schnitzel!

Himself just stood there and looked like he’d been shot out of a cannon.  

There may be carnage when I get home.  At the very least, the house will look like a merry band of marauding Vikings encamped in the living room.  But for a few days of quilting in the country, I’ll take it.

The Diva and Himself (before becoming cannon fodder)

The more I make this trip, the faster it is to get here.  This may or may not have something to do with my willy-nilly adherence to posted speed limits and my general disregard for my own personal safety.  I like to think of it as survival instinct.  Only in reverse.  Because, even though I love ’em, sometimes a little distance makes me love them even more and want to kill them a little less.  Mommy loves you guys!

My mission this go round was to make headway with quilting the sunflowers.  You remember them?  Go back and read the beginning of this post.  I’ll wait.  Yes, I got sidetracked, but I’m back now.  Keep up.

The going is slow and tedious and requires significant snackage.  Yes, that’s a word because I said so.  Don’t argue with Mother.  Here’s a bit of progress.  I’m not showing it all because I’m mean and I want you to come back for more.  Plus, I haven’t had coffee yet so I’m not even human.


These colors aren’t true, but I’m making do.  They are, in fact, lighter and more toward the pastel side of things.  Eww.  Again, I digress.

There are twenty (pause for dramatic sobbing and liberal use of tissues) blocks.  Twenty.  Like what I was twenty-two years ago.  

I am going to die before I finish this thing (more sobbing and perhaps a fit of the vapors.  Where’s my fainting couch?) !!!

I did have a nice walk yesterday morning, with two lovely escorts.  I bet their bathroom business isn’t vindictive.  Take note my dictatorial dachshund!


And there was a trip to Babe’s for chicken fried steak.  Yes, that’s leftovers.  In my purse.  You can never be too prepared.


I’m not so Pollyanna or delusional as to think I’ll actually get this whole thing quilted, but a quilter can dream.

Until next time.

Of Quilts, Kids, and Questionable Odors

Mine is a world filled with the wondrous wonderfulness that is beautiful fabric: its softness, its supple textures, its exorbitant price tag.  Pretty fabric, lovely fabric, jump into my stash.  

I always say this weekend I will sew, which roughly translates to after tending to everything else.  

This weekend, ‘everything else’ has amounted to a plethora of experiences, some of which I’d just as soon avoid.

First up, letting His Awesomeness get behind the wheel. 😱  

This child, like his father before him, is a curb hugger.  I cannot tell you the times I’ve shrunk toward the driver’s side in an effort to, please, sweet baby Jesus!, don’t let us hit that mailbox!!  He doesn’t seem to appreciate that there’s plenty of asphalt for all to enjoy.  Never mind the fact that there is no oncoming traffic.  Meanwhile, my posterior is doing something my Mama nicely refers to as ‘working buttonholes in the seat’.  As much clenching as my butt cheeks have done, you should be able to bounce a quarter off ’em. Not that you’d want to since we’ve never formally met, but, you know.  Frankly, driving lessons should fall to the father, I mean biological here, not God, but boy have God and I had some pretty intense conversations during those drives.

In an effort to relax, I turn to Lennie the Featherweight.  Sewing for me is like a wonderful night on the town with a good looking man without all those pesky expectations of what happens when you get dropped at the door.  Lennie doesn’t care if I drink or swear, wear undergarments reminiscent of grannies and he certainly doesn’t expect to be invited in for a nightcap.  

On that note, I finished one flimsy and have moved on to another.  Clearly, quilting it isn’t high on my list of priorities, like shaving my legs in the dead of winter.

I don’t name my quilts, but this one reminds me of water flowing over rocks.  I love it.   

 
I’ve started another one that’s all flannel, because obviously, when the temperatures start to climb, you want to work with fabric that’ll  make you sweat like a hooker at a Saturday night tent revival.  Idiot. 

   

This past Friday, I said goodbye to my favorite volunteer who is moving to be closer to family.  I’ll miss you, Mr. Todd.  

And to round out my week, our newest furbaby decided it would be epically delightful to roll in something that smells of a wonderful dichotomy of sewage and death.  My Lulu never did this.  I can only guess that it’s a hound thing.  Bad Ziva!  

I’m hoping this next week leaves out the surprises and just leaves me with a tighter tush.

Gettin’ Busy at Retreat

Well, here I am again at Brazos House in Rainbow, TX.  Hallelujah!

This week is The Co-Defendants’ Spring Break.  Most parents (at least the ones my kids claim are the parental units of their school chums), take their curtain climbers on awesome ski or beach trips.  For the record, I’m firmly convinced most of these folks exist only in my kids’ dreams.  Anyway…

Smart parents (like quilting mothers), throw some dinners in the freezer, bribe the darlings with some bucks for books (my kids are geeks like that…two thumbs up!) and give a saucy sayanora as they burn rubber peeling out of the driveway.  Yes, that’s me, pumping my fist in the universal sign of ‘Hell, yes!’  Shield your eyes while I do my happy dance.  I got no rhythm.

Do I feel guilty for abandoning Himself to the occasional grunts that pass for communication from the sixteen year old or the mood swings of the tween girl?  Considering he didn’t suffer through hemorrhoids the size of Jupiter, bladder control that left the building with the first kid and stretch marks that could qualify as superhighways, I’d say he’s getting off pretty easy.

And what perfect weather for sewing it has been.  Dreary, overcast, gross.  I love it!  

Before I left, His Awesomeness declared the worst part of retreat was me coming home.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Man, this chick must really suck as a parent.  What he meant was I always come home with more than I departed with.  Well, duh, I have to hit the quilt shops, don’t I?  Or it may just mean I suck as a parent.  Take your pick.

Frankly, I don’t think I brought enough to do.  

The Diva carried on like I was headed for a leper colony.  You’d think I was never coming home. 

And I’ve already finished a project.  Hot snot!  

I’m pretty pleased with it.  I think the star’s my favorite part.  

At this point, I’m pooped and figure it’s a pretty smart move for me to head on to bed.  Tomorrow is another day.  Night all.

Hijacked Accounts, My Email’s Whack and Offers I Can’t Refuse

Mail.  

As a kid, something in the mailbox meant a number of exciting possibilities: an invitation, a birthday, Christmas…a rubber snake.  Ahem.  As an adult, it means bills, credit card offers and the occasional postcard offering me a discounted rate on Playgirl.  Yay, me.

In my mind, email at least means freedom from someone wanting me to pay up…after all, I gave birth to two of those.  Sure, there’s the daily detritus in the form of school grade reports (grab the Xanax), little ‘just checking in’ notes from teachers (almost as bad as principal phone calls), offers for dates with hot Asian ladies and marriage to Russian brides and, my personal favorite, offers of male enhancement products.  Personally speaking, I’m looking for something  to shrink my badonkadonk, m’kay?  I’d like to know what triggers this deluge of horse pucky.  Is it me searching ‘kilted hotties’ on Pinterest?  Gawd!

Lately, I’ve been getting email wanting me to confirm my Friar Lawrence Twitter account.  I’m sorry….whaaaa?  Then there’re the Instagram updates from some redneck I’m not acquainted with who spends quite a bit of his time waxing rhapsodic about his girl and life in general, turning my account into something of an enigma.  Where’re the offers for Dr. Hardy Wood’s Root Stimulator?  Poof, gone.

Anyhow, in an effort to keep an eye on His Awesomeness and his many varied social media accounts, I decided to reactivate my own account and commence snooping.  I tried Instagram for five minutes several months ago and decided I’d have more fun ripping out my eyelashes, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.  

Eight follow requests awaited me, evenly split between pimply-faced dudes and buxom twits.  ‘What form of madness is this?‘, I asked His Awesomeness. ‘You’re just awesome, Mom‘, came the immediate retort, forcing my b.s. meter to full tilt.  No male on the planet’s that on his toes in the face of female skepticism, amiright?

By now you’ve reached the same conclusion I had.  My own son hacked my deactivated account…linked to my personal email, may I just add.  Criminy!  At least he had the grace to look chagrined.  It’s a wonder they make it through puberty.

Himself offered to patrol His Awesomeness ‘s account, a sacrifice he assured me he was willing to make.  I took him up on the offer.  At least now there’s time to place that Canadian Viagra order.

The Great Intimidator 

Move over, Dale, Sr.  I’m coming through!  

Don’t I look intimidating, especially with that mouth full of metal.

Attempting to fix Lennie the Featherweight

Intimidating is not a word that comes to mind when I describe myself.  Let’s face it, I’m a forty-one year old pudgy mom with more than a few gray hairs (the hairdresser, bless her heart, says they’re highlights) crows feet, a bosom that is rapidly heading toward my toes, a potty mouth and a side of sass.  

But I must bear the visage of one mean mutha because intimidating clings to me like a crop-dusted fart.

Case in point: 

The other night I e-mailed The Diva’s teacher about an incident at school (don’t ask) and asked her to call me the next day.  I wanted to say a lot more, but I tend to be blunt (another clinging fart I can’t shake) so I kept it short and sweet.  Hey, I said please! Imagine my surprise when the phone rang about an hour and a half later and it was the teacher.  Hmmm, that’s quick, I thought.  This can’t  possibly turn out well.

She started off by saying she’d prayed for quite some time before returning my call.  

Seriously?  While I’ll admit I may drive some folks, well, Himself anyway, to drink, I don’t think I’ve ever driven anyone to pray before picking up the phone.    Usually it’s me doing the praying when I hear the words ‘Mrs. Bowen?’ on a call from the school.

I think this is something I should work on a bit harder.  If I’m intimidating at my current age and state of physical awesomeness (hahahahahaha), how far up the scariness scale could I get with a few modifications?  Perhaps a facial piercing or spider web neck tattoo….

Good grief.