I Will Make You Feel Better About Yourself

I’m that friend. If you’ve gained 10 pounds, rest assured I’ve gained 20 (I really have). If you got a parking ticket, there’s a warrant out for my arrest for dodging traffic court. If you gave your child Mountain Dew in a baby bottle, well, that’s on you. That’s just plain wrong.

So it was no surprise when I received this text from a dear friend that I was able to cheer her up:

unnamed

 

 

To which I replied:

unnamed

And then I shared with my old friend the amazing capacity my new friend has for, well, me. This is a text within a text. Try to keep up:

unnamed-1

The girls’ night I had was with three women I’ve become friends with in the past couple of years. Those of you in your 30s and older know what I mean when I say it’s not easy making friends past a certain age.

  1. It’s simply more difficult to get to know people when you’re not shoved into social microcosms such as high school or college. It takes so much more time to get to know other women, and then you have to figure out which ones won’t be horribly offended by your borderline alcoholism and awkward blurts.
  2. Once you find other women you click with, you have to find the time to “date” them. Add kids into the mix and the time you have to meet up and go out with just friends is limited and precious.
  3. If you are lucky enough to find good friends in your 30s, you will want to keep them. A good way to do this is to not throw up on their furniture in the middle of the night. But if you are as fortunate as I am, that friend will not only be forgiving, but empathetic. At least this time.

I’m a 38-year-old mother of two. My career peaked at 24. A month ago I found myself spot-treating the skidmarks out of my husband’s mankini (which he owns purely for humor), wondering what happened to my life. About a week later, I puked on my friend’s pull-out bed. I truly feel things can only go up from here. In the meantime, at least my bottoms can serve to buoy my friends’ lowest moments up toward the surface (isn’t that how it works? I got a “C” in oceanography and physics). It’s not the purpose I was aiming for, but anything for a friend.

Advertisements

This Is Not Toothpaste

unnamed-3This is not a travel tube of toothpaste. It looks like one though, especially when you aren’t wearing your contact lenses and it’s sitting right next to the sink. Luckily I figured this out before something tragic happened. I can’t say the same for the time I mistook pepper spray for a lighter. I had been planning a romantic evening and was trying to light the candles with what I thought was a fancy lighter I found in one of our three junk drawers. Instead of coming home to a candlelit dinner, Dave came home to me coughing, crying, spitting and puking on the couch. It was awesome.

What this is, is tattoo aftercare ointment. For the tattoo Dave got unbeknownst to me while I was in Palm Springs with my college girlfriends. “So, I got a tattoo,” he tells me after the kids are in bed. At least he waited until the kids were in bed. This is not the first time I’ve come home from a trip to learn of new ink on my husband. The last time he made the announcement in front of fly fishing houseguests I’d just met and our then five-year-old son. So you know, at least he told me in private.

“Is my lower lip trembling uncontrollably?” I asked him after a long silence. SO much running through my head. Trying not to say things I can’t take back.

“Um, yes.”

“Do I need a drink before I see it?” I ask.

“It’s not that bad,” he reasoned, as if you can rationalize an unplanned tattoo in Florida. (For some reason it seems all the worse to me that he had it done in Florida.)

I felt my body relax a notch or two and asked to see it. I SO needed a drink first. Maybe seven.

16729277_1348759581855714_5243089638192532229_n

That my friends, is the surly monkey. A brainchild of Dave’s that serves as his magazine‘s mascot. It’s creative, it’s funny, but I don’t think it belongs permanently on his torso holding a fly rod and giving the finger. I reminded him that we have children who will see this when we go to the beach. And on Shirtless Sundays. Which isn’t a thing in our house, but now it never can be. Thanks Dave.

And I was just thinking about how cute it was that while Dave was in Florida and I was California, we were searching for a white Speedo for him at the same time. Because that’s what couples who’ve been together as long as we have do. We finish each other’s sentences, look up at the sky across the country and wish upon the same star, and simultaneously shop for mankinis.

It just goes to show you: Just when you think everything’s all hearts and white Speedos, a surly monkey has to come along and flip you off.

I Should’ve Spent More Time on Facebook

…Said no one ever on their deathbed. But it was actually a friend’s Facebook post that served as a wakeup call to me that I was wasting away in one of my anxiety-induced future-planning panics and not being present.

This friend was one of the first moms I ever met in Asheville. We had our sons within days of each other. We went to story times together at the library. Her son’s first birthday party was my first kid’s birthday party. I was so blown away by the artistic talent she displayed on the invitation that it remained pinned on my bulletin board for several years. We still run into each other every now and then and have mutual friends. We are no longer what I would call friends, but acquaintances sounds so cold, and “cold” is not an adjective anyone would use to describe an interaction with “Sarah.”

We are the same age. We have boys the same age. And she was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive, incurable bile duct cancer. When I read these words that she found the courage to write and share, my heart rose into my throat, then sank to the pit of my stomach.

I started this post two weeks ago and yesterday found out that Sarah passed away. I’ve always empathized deeper than I probably should. In preschool, I sobbed when my friend Shannon (not a good friend) told me her grandmother (who I never met) died. I just couldn’t help but put myself in her shoes, imagining how Shannon must be feeling, and it hurt so much. So now, even knowing Sarah as briefly as I did, I’m overcome with sadness for her family and friends. And sad for her that as a mother, she didn’t get to see her child grow up.

I’m hugging my children a little more this week, spending a little more time on the back deck staring at the mountains and enjoying the outside sounds, spending a little less time on Airbnb planning my next escape.

Fuck a bucket list. I’m keeping a Fuck It list… a list of people, places and things that aren’t worth my time or energy. I may never make it to that women’s surfing/yoga retreat in Mexico, but when I find myself sweating the small stuff or reaching for that imaginary Xanax, I can take out my Fuck It List to remind myself that life is short, and can in the most tragic of situations, be even shorter. Will I wish that I traveled more? Maybe. But I know I won’t wish that I’d been scrolling more through Facebook to see friends on their beach vacations, kids all smocked clothes and smiles, while my own daughter stamps our walls because I’m too busy “liking” everyone else’s lives to notice. Facebook? Fuck it.

 

 

5 Shower Thoughts That Will Blow Your Mind Or Make You Think I’m Crazy. Or Both.

I get my best ideas in the shower and while driving — two times that are less than ideal to be jotting something down. And I’m not the only one. There’s an entire reddit thread devoted to shower thoughts. It’s a lot of crazy and crappy to weed through, but thankfully First To Know compiled 10 of the best reddit shower thoughts ever.

Occasionally these gems stay with me until I am in a place where I can safely put them on paper (or hard drive). Here are five of my most recent shower thoughts, for better or worse.

1. If I only spoke in a bad, fake English accent around my kids, would they develop the accent? And since theirs would be real, would we call it a real fake English accent? (And would Child Protective Services come for me?)

2. Babies are hypnotized by ceiling fans, so why not create a Smartphone app with videos of different ceiling fans that they can stare at no matter where you are? You heard it here first.

3. If my name were Rhett, I’d call my blog Rhettoric. If I were a dude named Rick, I would call it RhetoRick.

4. When you think about it, it’s amazing what a popcorn kernel turns into when heated up in oil. I wonder if there’s another undiscovered snack out there that could be created by microwaving a nut kernel or the like?

5. I’m waiting for Kate Middleton to do something scandalous so we can call it KateGate. Or Bill Gates: GatesGate. Or if Bill’s daughter, Jennifer Katharine Gates, did something smear-worthy, we could dub it JKateGatesGate.

C’mon, don’t be shy. I want to hear yours, too. They can’t be weirder than mine… or can they? Gauntlet thrown down.

Mustache Mirror Math

When you’ve gained 30 pounds in 18 months, gone from a size 6 to a size 12, and 2 people have mistaken your belly for being babyful, it adds up to 1 thing:

photo

“There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.” ~ Tennessee Williams

Or you strategically stick a mustache on your mirror. I think Tennessee would agree.

photo-1

In other news, Jed can fit 19 magnifying glasses in his pants, which has to be some sort of world record. “Now I can solve lots of mysteries today,” he says.

And yes, Mom. I need to clean my mirror.

Finding Inspiration… and Vintage Enamelware

I found these mid-century enamelware pans at one of my most favorite stores the other day and had to have them. My mother set the table and cooked on our stove top with these exact style of pans my entire childhood. And thanks to my generous parents who picked up the tab (gotta love shopping with your mom and dad!) I now get to set my own table for my own family with these.

I am no Julia Child, but much like well-packaged cleaning products inspire me to clean, and a brand new pair of lululemon yoga pants inspire me to exercise more, these have inspired me to get back into kitchen for more than a microwave moment.

enamelware

Speaking of inspiration, a special thank you to Serendipity for putting the amazing Angie Mizzell in my path last week. Just what I needed to get back into blogging. So great to finally meet you, Angie!

Instagram Inspiration: Photographing Shadows

Jed’s back in school and how I’ve missed my pre-pick-up-from-preschool walks. The trick to finding time for these is that I pretend his school is over at noon rather than 12:30, which gives me a half hour to roam North Asheville by foot. And even though I sometimes pick the same stretches of street, I notice different things every time.

For my first walk of the school year, I adopted an idea from Fridaville’s Creative First Aid. Skirt! Publisher and Founder Nikki Hardin has the most amazing brain… I’m just thankful she has a blog so I can get even a glimpse into her thoughts. For this particular activity, she suggests going out and taking photos of only shadows on a sunny day with Instagram. Here’s what I found:

Instagram Leaves Shadow

Shadow Fence Instagram

I liked walking with a purpose… other than toning and burning calories in my FitFlops, of course. As a writer, it’s nice to take a break from words and focus on something that’s strictly visual.

What fun themes have you focused on with Instagram? I’d love to see your pics! Follow me on Instagram at (what else?) lindseyliving, so I can follow you back!

My Soul is on Staycation

I imagine my soul sipping (while searching) on this fruity mason jar cocktail. Source: The Arugula Files.

She has been in an indulgent, introspective limbo for the past couple of weeks, but Lindsey Living will resume on Monday (not at all a coincidence the same day Jed starts up camp again).

 

The Best Kind of Carb? A Macaroni Necklace

I swear I almost cried when I opened Jed’s lunch bag after school and pulled out this macaroni necklace:

I could not believe how moved I was by macaroni. I was prepared for the major early milestones: first word, first steps… but I did not have “first macaroni necklace” on the list of things that would strike a chord with me. I just love little surprises like that.

What’s snuck up on you lately?