I Was a Senior Hottie (Sibtitled: The Pictorial of Doom, Version 1995)

Well, hello, ladies! Am I late to the party? I can almost always blame my husband for our tardiness, but this time I blame Dane, who has a crazy two-week long viral rash thing happening. Thank you, snugglebuggy. Deeply.

What am I talking about, you ask? (Or, privately amongst each other: Has she finally lost it? Gone the way of the fruit loop? Marbled out?) No, no, you doubting doubters. I’m just linking up with I Was a Senior Hottie at the eleventh hour, because it took me an entire week to dig out my old photo albums and come up up with some pics from 1995 (UGH. REALLY?), and then it took me even longer to come up with pics from the last six months. For real. I have, like, two. So go check out a belle, a bean & a chicago dog, read all those brave ladies who posted their high school pics along with their faces right now, and judge all you want. Because in a world where high fashion means pleated cream pants tapering to the ankle and matching cream clogs, I am Serena Freaking van der Woodson.

(That’s right, I said it. I WATCH GOSSIP GIRL EVEN THOUGH I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL IN 1995. Don’t judge.)

So, 1995:

What am I, the Washington Monument? Yeesh.

p.s. I’m pretty sure this whole outfit is from Express, back when Express sold stuff that wasn’t made out of snakeskin-print lycra and actually covered your butt.

p.p.s. Tapered, pleated pants. Really.

Aw, prom. How cute was my date? (Look away, honey, look away.) In case you’re not from Texas, he’s wearing a Texas tux: all business on the top, party on the bottom. I wore this poofy dress about three years before they were in style. Un-ironically. And even though I was the only one at prom not wearing a sequined mermaid dress, I loved it (which makes me sound way cooler and more forward-thinking than I actually was, trust me).

You can’t see it, but that’s a Spuds Mackenzie t-shirt I have tucked into those high-waisted, ripped jean shorts (shorts that, by-the-by, used to belong to Aunt Brookie, standing to the right). I wore that tee/short combo for at least three years of high school and pretty much all of college. Because they were COOL, y’all.

 Also, John Lennon called, and he’s never wearing his glasses again because, well, I ruined them. (Yes, from the grave. WHAT.)

Also, also, Aunt Brookie, did you really think I wouldn’t drag you into this? That’s what you get for being my fashion icon.


Our Christmas pic from last year. I promise, I’ve had all kinds of haircuts since high school; it’s total coincidence that I’ve ended up with 1995 hair again, all these years later. At least now I have a Chi and an assortment of bedazzled hats. Speaking of which:

With the yummy puppy on his first birthday, in a glorified trucker hat and costumed as a dog groomer as imagined by Britney Spears. Y’all. Did I mention the yummy puppy? DEE. LISH.

Hold the phone, y’all, here’s one that more accurately captures what I look like on a regular day: hair all amess, hiding behind sunglasses because I may or may not be wearing makeup, hiding behind child because, let’s face it, he’s way cuter than me.

Oh, and HELL YES I instagrammed the heck out of that picture. We all look better with a little Lo-Fi, don’t you agree?

Did I mention 1995? UGH.

That is all.

Smooch -s


The Princess Bride

As of April 24, 2012, I’ve been married eight years.

I’ve been trying to write a post about marriage for two weeks, and not taking into consideration all the other stuff I’ve been doing, I keep getting stuck on how to begin. I’ve come back to:

(1) Shouting MAW-WAGE a la The Princess Bride and then making an analogy about building an immunity to iocane powder to being married (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, shame on you), or…

(2) Getting stuck on how many posts about anniversaries start with “Eight years ago I married my best friend.” Because, well, I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong; I married someone with whom I was very much in love and wanted to spend the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was my one-and-only bestie. My fiancée came in a close third or fourth after my sister and my mom and maybe one of my girlfriends from kindergarten and a college roommate. We’d never shared a bathroom stall, for example. Spent an eighteen-hour period drinking Red Dog and watching Friends reruns. Walked an hour across Vegas at 3 a.m. because we couldn’t get a cab after a Dave Matthews concert. Had a nuclear blowout over a leopard print outfit from The Limited and a coordinating Units belt. We didn’t go to middle school, high school or college together. In fact, we never lived in the same town before we were married, and only lived in the same state for nine months of our three-year courtship. So, well: no. Not exactly.

Marriage is hard (yes, I know: DUH.). It deserves honesty, and loyalty, and the ability to look at the worst in yourself and your partner and not flinch. My husband and I have very different temperaments, but we’re both (1) stubborn as mules and (2) fighters, each in our own way.  We’ve fought over everything from where to live to how to spend money to how to fight. We moved across the country together, and then across an ocean. We had a baby. When things were hard, and there were times when they were, we fought for each other. We’ve learned that happiness is a choice and not a right, and that very few things worth doing are easy. That the things that matter most are worth not just fighting for, but forgiving.

So, no, I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass and say I married my best friend. Unequivocally, however, I’m married to my best friend today. He’s solid and loving and a great father and sometimes a know-it-all i(nsert insulting word for the male species here). Some days I can’t wait for him to get home and occasionally I can’t stand to be in the same room with him, but there are rarely ever days where I don’t feel deeply, deeply satisfied with my choices in life.

That’s the trick about marriage, too. It sneaks up on you. When I look back at the last eight years, it seems like before is just this surreal place I once lived. The memories of before are great; they made me who I am. But the now is so much richer. So it sort of bugs me when someone says I married my best friend, because that’s not exactly my story, and I feel like it’s implied that it should be. In my story, we had to live together, be married, be partners, to build what we have now, and it’s made me a believer. I believe in us. I believe we’ll make it because we had to work through our differences, and we had to find out who we were individually, and who we were together, and even though it wasn’t always easy, and won’t be in the future, we did it.

Smooch -s

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Why, Hello!

Did you miss me? Long for my presence? Pass the time of my absence in loneliness and despair? Take up the banjo? Meet someone and run off to Mexico? No? Bummer. I missed you. Trust me.

Want to know what I’ve been up to? Conveniently, it’s almost Monday. Yay! Well, sort of! Okay, not really! But for Monday Listicles this week, I’ll catch you up on some things I learned about Kansas, leather goods and my child over the last three weeks.

1. I hid from this:

Why yes, Dorothy, that IS a tornado.

I would make some comment about the madness of seeing a tornado out the back window of Aunt Brookie’s house (just before we all dashed into the basement for, oh, an hour), but really: duh.

2. I bought boots. And other stuff, but really, boots. Cowboy boots. Embroidered with doves. Did I mention boots? Oh yes. Boots.

3. Aunt Brookie coined a new phrase: mommystalker. As in “Please stop staring at your child in the video monitor, you mommystalker.” And at first, I was all hey, nice, A.B., and then it hit me. She’s right. Damn.

4. With two nights left, Dane’s last overnight diaper developed a puncture wound (an overzealous diapering mommy might have caused this. I won’t name names, but…). So: duct tape. And you know what? Worked like a charm.

Is a crotch shot inappropriate for an eighteen-month-old?

5. Dane’s cousins tested his masculinity. He passed.

In sixteen years, he’s going to KILL me for this.

6. I discovered I’m raising the next David Beckham. Although I would prefer NOT to see him in his underwear on a billboard. Which is something I never thought I’d say about my child, but there you go.

Fully clothed. (Finally.)

7. We watched a daily live show of construction out A.B.’s breakfast room window. Dane can now identify, by sound only: a cement mixer, a backhoe, a dozer, a plumbing van and a Land Rover. That’s right. My next call is to Mensa.


8. Black beans + Dane bored in a restaurant = Smearage

Also, delicious. I’d eat those beans.

9. Wait, scratch David Beckham. Dane’s going to be the next Paul Tuetel, Jr. Only with better hair.

Why yes, Dorothy, that IS a chopper made out of Legos.

Also, Legoland rocks. There are some words I never thought I’d say, and I lived in Denmark. But there you go.

10. Thank God, his cousins are cool. Otherwise, Dane’s screwed.

Fabulousness is genetic.

Smooch -s

Letter to Dane, 540 (Part Warp Speed, Baby)

Hey, Little Man.

Yes, I’m writing you letters again. No, this time I promise I won’t mention the glad wrap incident or all of your embarrassing nicknames. (Well, I might mention one or two, snugglebuggy. What? I’m still the mommy here.)

You’re awfully busy, friend. Today I looked through a doorway and found you pushing your fire truck down the hall and muttering whee-eww, whee-eww under your breath. You won’t go outside without your ball cap, and you think your basketball goal is the coolest toy you’ve ever seen, except for the motorized Jeep owned by the three-year-old down the street. I would call him spoiled but you’re getting one for Christmas next year. Don’t tell Daddy.

I still refuse to cut your hair, and I’m sure at seventeen you’re going to look back on photos at this stage of life and complain to me about your shag. But I love to run my fingers through those curls and feel the under-damp after your nap, and oh, the smell of it, baby, the smell. I could eat you, if you weren’t so busy with your trains and toy motorcycles and mow-mow, and leaking mucus from here to kingdom come. I love all of you, mucus included, but I’ll pass on getting personal with your snot unless it’s a medical necessity. Some day, you’ll understand.

You’re trying to get words into sentences now, and you’re gleeful over rolling banana slices around your placemat like wheels, and unless you’re asleep, you’re stuck on turbo speed. Every morning and every afternoon, we go out and wave at the school bus, and the driver, Mr. Greg, stops and waves back at us. Today, you opened and closed your fist, asking him to honk. You love lawn equipment of any kind, the mail truck, the garbage truck, your green plastic shovel (DIG! DIG!) and Puppy (who, by the way, has developed an odor despite many, many washings. We’re going to have to address this, posthaste.).

I don’t know, little man, about this growing up business. Of course I wouldn’t want it any other way. But when you’re racing around the house at a thousand miles an hour, all I want to do is scoop you up and breath you in and hold you. We’re not getting these moments back. It’s not always easy and it’s almost never perfect, but as your father has observed in the past, things in our house are at their best when they’re just a little sideways. So when I cover you in kisses or cut off your air supply by hugging you too tight or insist on wiping you down with one last Boogie Wipe, have patience with your mama. You’re headed towards warp speed, baby, and all I want, to paraphrase a country song, is a slow down.

 Dirt, baby.



p.s. That puppy thing has to happen. Sorry, little dude. Puppy needs a dip.

p.p.s. Hey, Yeah Write folks: I wrote this last week and linked up with Alison at Mama Wants This and Galit at These Little Waves for Memories Captured, so if you’ve already read it, I’m sorry! I’m out of town for a few weeks and more behind than usual. Thanks, y’all! -s


Because it’s Monday, and I Can

Well, it’s Monday again, and I spent the whole weekend eating pizza and sushi and cookies and drinking beer and doing taxes and BOY HOWDY am I glad that’s all over (the taxes part, I mean) (because pizza, sushi, cookies and beer ROCK). And because it’s Monday, and because The Good Life is hosting Monday Listicles, and because, as I’ve previously mentioned, I love a good list, here’s a new one. Stasha’s topic this week was “CELEBRITIES: THEY’RE JUST LIKE US” (a la US Weekly), but once I started writing I realized I don’t really want celebrities to be like me, because that would make my People really, really boring. So, instead, here are my top ten dream jobs (because, well, I can).


1. Nail Polish Namer: When was the last time you had a mani/pedi? And did you marvel at the name on the bottom of the bottle? Lincoln Park After Dark? Pussy Galore? Brazilian Wax Gone Bad? Okay, I made that last one up (see, y’all? TRUE. TALENT). I’ve been wearing I’m Not Really a Waitress since I was, in fact, a waitress, but I may finally switch to the new OPI Texas Collection shade Suzi Loves Cowboys. Because, well… duh.

Oh, and OPI: Call me.

2. Starbucks Taste-Tester: Because: obviously. Also, I’d never have to sleep again. WINNING.

3. Island Sitter: No joke, this was a real thing in New Zealand or somewhere similarly tropical (okay, I did a little research and found the info here. FOR REAL, YO.). You had to make a video and be charming and intelligent and look good in a swimsuit. As you might guess, I didn’t get the job.

4. Suri Cruise’s Personal Biographer: Don’t you want to be a fly on the wall in that house? As a bonus, I’d walk around all day humming Highway to the Danger Zone. As a double-added bonus, I think Katie (Kate? Katie? PICK A NAME, ALREADY.) is still besties with Pacey. That’s right, I said it: PACEY.

5. Ditto (4), sub Ryan Reynolds for Suri: Because, well, see (2).

6. GOOP editor: Oh Gwynnie. For whom do you write this drivel? I’d receive your latest copy recommending the mother-to-be needs $164 bassinet sheets and J-Brand maternity skinny jeans, and send it back to you suggesting that a mother-to-be, in fact, needs a functioning diaper genie, two comfortable nursing bras and a long nap.

7. Published Novelist: I don’t need awards. Really, I don’t even need to get paid all that much (although don’t get me wrong, major publishing houses. I won’t turn your dollars away.). Hey, a girl can dream.

8. Professional Soccer Player: I could run around sweaty and gross in my sports bra, be a role model for little girls AND get to meet David Beckham. And I’m already well-qualified for one-third of those requirements!

9. Donald Trump: Because once, just once, I want to fire somebody on The Celebrity Apprentice. Preferably Aubrey O’Day, but I’d also accept Lisa Lamapanelli or Victoria Gotti (can we bring her back just for that purpose?). Also, because I really want to tell Don, Jr. to LAY OFF THE HAIR PRODUCT ALREADY.

10. Dane’s Mommy: Ahhhhh, that’s right: I’ll stick with my day job.

Dee. Lish.

Smooch -s

Today in the Mommyhood, Day 534 (Part: Shots, Anyone?)

I went to the grocery store today.

Now there’s a way to start a post. Is your heart pounding? Breath coming in short, quick bursts? Has Fabio appeared at your doorway to sweep you off to the bedroom? If so, you’re welcome.

If not, well, have another chocolate goldfish and stay with me.

So I head off to the grocery store, and when I get there I throw my keys somewhere and retrieve the cart and load Dane up, yadayadayada, and when I’m finally ready to go into the store, I reach for my keys to lock the car and, of course, I can’t find them. And I check all my pockets and the cart and the seats and when it becomes painfully, obviously clear that they’re not anywhere else, I finally turn to my purse. Now, I’ve always been a big purse, carry-the-kitchen-sink kind of girl, and, as you might imagine, having a baby has only, ahem, amplified that habit. And of course, because I’m totally occupied with Dane and making sure his mucus stays contained to the four parking spots around us, and because I’m still a little sleep-deprived, I dig around for, no joke, probably four or five minutes before I realize the only way I’m going to find those damn keys is to actually clean out my purse on the trunk of my rental vehicle. And you know what I found in there? No? Well, allow me to share:

The Obvious: my wallet, itself the size of a small clutch, and so stuffed with receipts the zipper is permanently jammed halfway open; reading glasses, because I’m old; sunglasses, also because I’m old but refuse to believe I’m no longer cool; four tubes of Burt’s bees, because, like socks in the dryer, my purse EATS THAT SHIT; and a bottle opener, because, really, how many times have you wished you had one? and because, let’s face it, I’m just that kind of girl.

The Baby-Related: a diaper pod, for obvious reasons; three types of wipes, for general sanitization, sensitive skin, and Boogie Wipes because OHMYGODWILLTHEMUCUSEVEREND; a bottle of sanitizer (see previous); three matchbox cars, two sets of toy keys (none of which fit the car) and a toy laptop; a week-old snack trap filled with fossilized goldfish and Cheerios; industrial-strength playtex super-super-plus tampons; a bottle of adult ibuprofen; and Dane’s sunglasses, missing one lens and mangled into the shape of a pretzel.

The Random: Roughly fourteen thousand loose goldfish, Cheerios and bunny grahams; two semi-eaten post-it pads (and yes, I mean literally semi-eaten, by small baby teeth); three hair clips, missing since roughly the dawn of time; a golf-ball sized ball of actual dryer lint (to which I respond, WTF, PURSE? are you having a tryst with my appliances? should I expect dirty dishes to show up next?); several beer bottle caps, which I’ve never before seen but am certain are the responsibility of my spouse; a twist tie; a dead ladybug; and two small quartz landscaping rocks from my neighbor’s mailbox bed (sorry, Denise.).

The Obscene: Fourteen Boogie Wipes in varying stages of decomposition, all encrusted with mucus; one just-slightly dirty diaper balled up into a very small, tight ball (so THAT’S where that went!); and one pair of women’s underwear that I’m mostly certain belong to me but have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW THEY ENDED UP IN MY PURSE.

Yes. So there I am, standing in the middle of my neighborhood grocery store parking lot with a dead ladybug, some tampons, beer paraphernalia and a pair of random underwear spread out on the trunk of my car, and people are walking by and checking me out like I’m my own personal flea market, and yet I STILL HAVE NO KEYS. And then, as if by a stroke of magic, my phone buzzes in my pocket and I reach in there, and voila, of course:

F***ing. Keys.

When chocolate goldfish happen to good people…

Smooch -s

Lawnmower Beer

I’m having a writerly moment. Do y’all know what I mean? The voices start whispering and you’re compelled to the laptop, or the notebook computer, or your phone, or yesterday’s grocery receipt and a Comfort Suites pen from 1997. And my writerly moment, which I wish would be about world peace or National Child Abuse Prevention Month or even the lack of quality programming on television, is about… lawnmower beer.

Thanks, inspiration.

I took a long nap today. Without going into the backstory, Dane and I have been up between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. the last few days, and I’m again buried under the PTSD of mommyhood and all the other shit I never have time to do, and I’m tired. Anyway, Dane took a two-hour nap (unheard of! pigs flying! at some point, this child has to sleep!), and so did I, and I woke to the buzz-and-roar of a lawnmower.

The lawnmower: that’s another sound of my childhood. Dane and I will share that, I suspect, because we live in a similar neighborhood as I did as a child, and because he’s obsessed with lawn equipment. I remember laying on my bed and hearing the advance-and-retreat of the engine as my father rounded our house. The smell of gasoline, dangerous and pungent, and somehow also decadent – the same type of smell I would later associate with the first puff of a cigarette – permeated our garage. My father had an old cord-start mower, and the pull of that cord was the sound of Saturday, of summer, of long naps and mosquitoes buzzing and sleeping late and salt and sweat in the air.

Our childhoods have hearts and souls. I hear the lawnmower and I smell my father after a long day in the sun and remember how when he didn’t shave, he’d hold me down and rub his whiskers on my face. My mom would come inside with brown hands and brown shoulders and a floppy sun hat and the smell of earth and growing things on her hands. The air conditioner would cut the heat at the door and coming in and out was like walking through a wall of steam into a cool, clear cloud. And I would lay on the floor with Aunt Brookie and watch the fan blades turn above us and the water in our pool glisten through the sliding glass doors, and believe those days would never, ever end.

When the sun went down, my sister and I would run around barefoot in the grass while the cicadas sang and the tree frogs screamed and my parents sat on the deck – built by my father, always built by my father – and drank sweating beers. There were always people around when I was a kid, like a scene from Gatsby’s: my parents’ friends, neighbors, my friends or Aunt Brookie’s, our extended family, whoever. And the grass would be freshly cut and smelling like sweet, crisp summer and the voices would rise and fall as the heat undulated across our backyard until darkness took the edge off that summer-swamp madness and God blew a little relief down on us with the rising of the moon and the appearance of the stars.

Now instead of me laying on the floor, it’s Dane, and instead of my parents’ friends, I am the parent (who approved that, I wonder? don’t these people know I’m highly underqualified?), and instead of Bud Light or a Corona with lime, it’s Jon’s home brew or Shiner or my neighbor’s bloody mary. But the changes are minor. It may be Raleigh instead of Houston, or April instead of June, but I know that down in Texas, mom and dad are out on the deck with a cold beer, watching the fireflies light up the hill country night and remembering those days from our childhood, just like I’m living and reliving them here. So I guess those days never really do end. And thank God for that.

Smooch -s