Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kindred Spiritedness

I love a good reunion.

That's where I've been this weekend -- at least, that's how it seems. It is a singularly pleasurable experience to meet people in person and have them be exactly the way you thought they would be, only better: smarter, funnier, deeper, kinder, wiser. More. Not just kindred spirits, but kindredly spirited, old friends reunited after an open-ended separation. And new friends who fit that bill, too, whose acquaintance I am happy to have made, whose blogs I will forever frequent.

Now I'm tired. And I have to fly home tomorrow with an infant who would rather be practicing her newly-developed crawling skills. Instead, I'm going to confine her to our 18 square inches of allocated space and tell her she's not allowed to use her voice -- although the sweaty fat man not charmed by her little southern rendition of "Hi" and a coy, intentional wave is a cool customer indeed.

Wish you had been here. Maybe next time?

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Monday, May 24, 2010

How to Tell The Difference Between InkMom and MommyJ

My sister is a blogger, too. If you're not yet aware of MommyJ's blog, you're in for a treat. She's funny and smart, a great writer and a fantastic mom. Please be sure to check out her companion post. You won't get the full story unless you read us both!

MommyJ and I are exactly 4 years, 4 months and 4 days apart. I am older. And bossier (and whatever she says in her blog, I totally told her to say it).

When we were younger, people often asked if we were twins. This was a little galling, especially for me, the older sister. We used to spend inordinate amounts of time staring at our faces, smushed together in the hallway mirror, trying to find the so-called similarities. Feature by feature, it's all different.

But the overall impression is pretty much the same.

We live in the same stake -- and I live within the bounds of the very same ward our parents have attended since I was two years old. This causes confusion, especially for those who only know one or both of us in passing. One particular member of our stake presidency never fails to get it wrong, even when one of us is pregnant.

Some of you lucky ducks may have the distinct privilege of meeting both me and MommyJ if you happen to be at the Casual Blogger Conference this coming weekend. Just in case you're confused, I've provided a primer. Study up -- we expect you to get it right 100% of the time. Here's how:

 This is my humility picture. And also my reminder to pluck my eyebrows before we leave on Thursday.

1. InkMom has curly hair. MommyJ does not. This would make things easier . . . except I'm getting a blow-out (of the hair -- not diaper -- variety) on Wednesday, so I won't actually have curly hair for the conference. Bummer. It's really something to behold. (And waaaaay better now that I  have been de-mulleted.) But even straightened, it's bigger than MommyJ's straight hair.

2. InkMom's baby is older. Little Miscellany (almost 7 months) and Baby Ivy (6 weeks) will be attending the conference with us. This means that my baby will almost-crawl her way over to any beautifully painted toes she can find, squawking and screeching as she goes. Please forgive her if she somehow salivates on any part of your belongings or -- egad -- your toes. And be fairly warned -- we call her The Pterodactyl for a reason.

3. MommyJ is younger, as I've already said, but (hopefully) you can't tell by looking at us. Except MommyJ wears younger shoes. And, due to some overzealous plucking, I have lots of half inch-long wiry gray hairs sticking our all over my head.

4. InkMom looks like she hijacked a produce stand and hid a couple of melons in her shirt. MommyJ looks like she's smuggling cantaloupes in her pantalones. We're pretty sure our mom overdosed on Big Macs when she was pregnant with me and I am the unfortunate result of the presence of unregulated bovine growth hormone in the beef. (Ask her this weekend -- she'll be at the conference, too!)

5. InkMom uses big words in every day conversation, without a single thought for the vocabulary size of her audience. MommyJ sounds smart and incredibly capable (because she is) without being a pompous walking dictionary.

6. InkMom has an ego the size of Texas. Maybe bigger. MommyJ is a singularly nice person who is a delight to be around because somehow, everyone is worthy of her friendship.

So let's review, shall we? I'm the big sister in almost every sense of the word: bigger hair, bigger baby, bigger boobs, bigger vocabulary, bigger ego. Thank goodness she's the one with the bigger butt!

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Monday, May 17, 2010


Have you heard? The CBC is in a little over a week, and I've had a running of list of things to do to get ready for months now. Business cards? Check. Awesome butt-shaping blue jeans? Check. Cute shoes? Check. A functional diaper bag that can also be my carry-on? Check. Cute haircut? Check . . . oh, wait.

I got my hair cut last Thursday. My hair is curly and big, and really has a mind of its own. When it's curly, I manage it mostly by not managing it . . . that, and great products which, I swear, are an invention of the 21st century. Occasionally, I blow it out myself, but usually, if I want to wear it straight, I pick what I hope will be the first day in a long stretch of rainless ones, and go have someone else do the 45 minute elbow-wrenching job. And if the gods have smiled upon me, that blow out will last . . . 4 or 5 days.

That's why I have just noticed today the carnage. I don't know what happened. My stylist usually does a fantastic job . . . but Thursday, she cut my shorter layers so short that they could now be classified as bangs should I choose to wear them that way. She left my longer layers so long that now that I've allowed it to do what it wants to do, I can only describe my new do as a curly mullet.

I fixed my hair this morning, and then I cried. And then I called my sister and sent her a picture. She kind of laughed and then didn't say much except, "I . . . um . . . I think we can fix this?"

Not exactly convincing.

We then discussed the merits of having a Jane Austen-ready haircut (there are none), and I did a Google search to see if anyone is casting for Louis XIV (most are looking for a man to play the lead, even if the hair is spot on).

I called the salon this afternoon. And I'm going back in tomorrow morning to get it re-done. But the bangs? The bangs I didn't ask for, and that have not, for a reason, graced my face since an unfortunate eighth grade hairstyle mishap -- well, I'll just have to wait for them to catch up with their cohorts.

I should just wear it straight until it grows out. But have you been to the North Carolina mountains in the summer? The whole afternoon thunderstorm weather pattern is pretty much the norm around these parts, and what kind of crazy person straightens curly hair on a rainy day? Even on a good day, my straightened hair has a look of potential energy about it -- like any exposure to humidity might cause my head to explode into an afro-like puffball of unruly ringlets, mostly because that's exactly what happens.

So somehow this bad hairstyle sent me into a tailspin that I have struggled to get out of all day long. It's a symphony week and I like to get things in order early when I know 5 of the next 6 nights will be occupied with non-housekeeping and mothering activities. I've done NONE of the things I needed to. I played with my kids. I figured out how to webchat so MommyJ could see my ugly hair. I wrote this blog post and put out some other fires, but I didn't clean the floor or fold any laundry or even make dinner -- my lovely husband brought home burgers for the kids and sushi for the grownups instead.

To add insult to injury, Miscellany pooped all over my bed, onto sheets that I just changed last night. LAST NIGHT, I tell you! It is on CPod's side. Maybe I'll just leave it. Poop? Bad hair? Anything else? Please, let the cleansing strains of Appalachian Spring do their work on my psyche tonight. I need a lift in the worst kind of way.

I spent the afternoon asking myself if I was really that shallow -- so shallow that a bad hair day can turn me into a self-centered ogre? Yes. Yes, I am.

I was due for a reality check, and I got it when I spoke with my best friend this afternoon. Her mother is in end-stage renal failure, and at this point, dialysis is out of the question and the best they can hope for is a short wait on the transplant list. We just went through this with CPod's mom, and I wish that degree of worry on no one. Our outcome was positive, and I can only pray that hers will be as well.

That bad haircut? Pales in comparison to the sentence of a life-shortening disease calling in its dues. That needed perspective-kicker has shifted my focus away from the mirror. Good thing, because the reflection is really, really bad.

(I just read this to CPod. He really thinks I should say something about how I'm trying to work on my present lack of depth. Or some redeeming characteristic that mitigates my narcissism . . . yeah. I got nothing. Maybe the act of posting the debacle will be cathartic enough for me to move on, but chances are I'm not moving on until tomorrow morning. Keep your fingers crossed for something halfway attractive!)

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weekend Report

Well. I'm a little late posting, since I told you I'd be back Sunday night, but these pictures are worth waiting for, I promise.

We had a fabulous weekend of shopping and laughing and talking and eating. Gramma bought cute matching dresses for all of her granddaughters, so, of course, we had to take pictures. We like to call them The Blonde, The Brunette, and The Redhead:

Those are MommyJ's daughters Lucy and baby Ivy with a side of grinning Miscellany, my little gem. Aren't they cute?

CPod got Miscellany dressed for church. When we arrived (early, for once), I went to nurse her before the meeting started. I noticed she didn't have any little bloomers covering her bum. CPod claimed there were none with the dress. I knew this wasn't right, but just figured they got lost somewhere between the closet and the baby and I'd find them when we got home. And then I looked under the back of her dress. Which is exactly where I found the bloomers, still attached by little white plastic tags to the inside of her dress. CPod just looked at me. "I don't know how that stuff works!" he said. Which is exactly what I say to him when I remind him that our boys need some further aiming remediation when it comes to peeing in the toilet.

Here are all the women alive with whom I share a great deal of my genes -- Mom, daughters, granddaughters:

We had a little moment in the dressing room at one of the stores we visited on Friday -- we were all there, and I'm pretty certain my grandmother popped in for a minute or so, too. When I was growing up, I had no concept of the closeness and satisfaction possible in sister-and-mother relationships. If I'd known then how great it could be, I would have tried a lot harder to be likable!

I found THE jeans that were made for my posterior. As in, Calvin Klein snuck into my room in the middle of the night and measured my butt, then made me some jeans. They're fantastic. And they cost half as much as the jeans that do great things for MommyJ's bottom end. Neener, neener.

Some evidence that I'm Miscellany's mother (get a load of her legs -- the rolls abound):

All these pictures were taken in my house -- and that awful mess of stuff in the background? That is our Gallery Wall. My kids use the French doors off the dining room to display any and all art projects for posterity, and while it's not exactly going to sell my house to the first buyer who sees it (not that we're selling), they are so proud of the things they put up there that I'm not about to mess with it. Also, the chair I'm sitting in has started to remind me of a Vegas casino carpet.

And the dress:

And because you are a captive audience, and she is irresistible:

And because Little Miss Personality stole the show (and also has enormous feet!):

I am so getting my haircut on Thursday. Usually, I love my curly hair, but sometimes . . . sometimes, it's just a big unruly mess and I feel the need to tame it. And tame it I shall. Perhaps while I'm at it I should figure out how to de-shine my face. So, hair? Meh. Skin? Needs some work. Eyebrows? Definitely in need of some grooming. But that jacket? Love it. You should see the back.

That's all for now, dear readers. This is the closest thing to a scrapbook I will EVER have and sometimes it needs to have pictures -- so thanks for indulging me. I promise, no more baby pictures for at least two posts!

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lucky Day

Because I found 13 four-leaf clovers today. And a few with five leaves. In about 3 minutes. It's a gift.

I haven't written much lately, because I've had so much to write about. I've said that before. Someone else has said that recently, but I can't remember who. So I'm cleaning out my (figurative) closet RIGHT NOW and I'm just going to write one big, huge, messy, disconnected post of Blog Nothing. And then I will feel better and I'll be able to get on with my life. Here we go!

1. I also cleaned out my literal closet. My husband hates it when I do this. He says it creates a vacuum of space that needs to be filled. He's right. I'm going shopping on Friday. My sister loves it when I do this because she gets all of my cast-offs, if she wants them. And she does. Everybody wins. Except my cash stash.

2. Did you hear? I'm going shopping on Friday. With my sister. And my mom. And our beautiful babies. And then we (including sisters-in-law and Lucy) are going to play cards and drink Mexican Co'Cola until the cows come home. (When, exactly, is that? Does anyone know? Annette?) And all of the men in our family are camping. And we are all, every one of us, campers and shoppers alike, Very Much looking forward to this weekend. I have a vacuum to fill, after all.

3. I asked my sister the other day how she would describe me to a stranger who had to find me based on her description. I know, it's a weird question. She said, "I would tell them to look for the beautiful (she has to say that because people sometimes think we're twins) short girl in a red coat with a mass of curly dark hair." And I said, how can you leave out the boobs? She said, No one notices your boobs. I said, Are you on drugs? Because, well. They're ginormous. And now that I've had my last baby, I am going to give my back a blessed break and surgically alter my figure. I have looked forward to this since before I had children, and now that it's 6 months or so away from actually happening, I'm worried that my buxom-ness is an actual part of my identity. I know. Every day, the (Not) in "I'm (Not) Crazy Mommy" fades a little.

4. I just read this post by Heather of the EO. But before I read it, I listened to/watched her Thank You video here. And I was so happy to hear her voice. When I read blogs, I narrate them in my head. But if I have really heard your voice, I hear your voice . . . in your voice, instead of mine. And I loved it. I will forever read her blog with a Minnahsohtah voiceover. This is one of the many reasons I'm excited to go to the CBC in just THREE WEEKS. Finally, my little dramatic interpretations of what you've written will have an all new cast of voiceover actors.

5. Speaking of the CBC, I'm having some anxiety about it. In case you don't know, I'm speaking on a panel with my sister (MommyJ of Mommy Snark, in case you just thought I was her stalker -- although she's very stalk worthy. But don't. Please.), Kristina Pulsipher of Pulsipher Predilections, and Jessica Bern of Bern This. These girls are FUNNY. Me? Not so much. And so while I am a complete and total attention hog when it comes to things that, oh, I don't know, showcase my brilliance and help me feel super-smart, I do not shine in the comedy department. Unless you count unintentional physical comedy. I'm totally good at slipping on an invisible banana peel, or magically dropping something that I wasn't even holding. Anyway, our topic is Finding Your Voice. I'm still looking for mine, I think, but if you can think of anything you think would be interesting for us to cover, glance furtively the other way to make sure MotherBoard and MomBabe aren't looking and e-mail me some suggestions!

6. Speaking of sisters, I love mine. I decided the other day that I'm glad I only have one. If I had another sister, we would have to share. And someone would always be left out. And, let's be honest here people. It would be me. Critical? Check. Overbearing? Check. Controlling? Oh, yes. Know-it-all? I invented the term. Willing to change? Absolutely not. In other words, MommyJ is stuck with me by default. Yay for me!

7. I can't decide if my hair makes me look more like this guy (note the fine halo of snowboarder extraordinaire Shaun White's out-of-control frizzies that WILL NOT be controlled by any amount of leave-in conditioners, smoothing balms, control creams, or shaping waxes -- trust me, I know):

Or this guy (note the heavy, hanging-to-the-jowls, face-elongating, horse-ifying qualities of Maestro Bach's 17th century wig):

Although I'm not sure either one is really worthy of my hair worship.

Later, my friends. I will blog again before . . . Sunday, midnight, EST. Promise!

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