Monday, December 12, 2016

SHINIEST ORNAMENTS ON THE TREE

Our family was the featured entertainment at church yesterday. I decided to blog it for posterity. You're welcome.

Our daughter was asked to play a musical number during Sacrament meeting. She chose a Christmas favorite—"Oh Come, Oh Come, Emanuel," and the practicing commenced. For two months it commenced and commenced and commenced. In fact, so much did it commence that I almost preferred Feliz Navidad. Of course, by almost I mean that will never, EVER happen, but I was grateful when she finally perfected it.

We dressed her in Christmas plaid, long blond hair flowing over her shoulders and lips painted in festive red. When the speaker sat down, Julia stood up and Sterling and I grabbed each other's hands, knowing we were about to be the shiniest ornament on the tree.

Her fingers were like Olympic figure skaters, trilling and twirling and dusting up shimmering notes that hung in the air like magic. Our nerves dissipated as we relaxed our grip and both started to grin like arrogant Cheshire cats.

Suddenly, a troll escaped from Hell and came running across the piano keys.

At least that's what I think happened, because with no warning, every single note was wrong.  And I don't just mean wrong, but I mean it didn't even resemble the song. And this didn't just last for a quick couple of seconds until she got her bearings. No, this went on for at least—at LEAST—20 seconds. An entire page of convulsions. It was like her fingers were chasing the demon as he went crunking across the keyboard.

Then just as quickly as it began, it ceased, and she climbed up from the frozen ice to try that triple jump again. Unfortunately, just as before, the exact same thing happened—all Hades broke loose mid-refrain. Sterling and I looked at each other and we knew; this was going to cost her the gold.

It was also unfortunate that, by this time, I had started to laugh. And I use the term lightly because really, I had a complete meltdown—I'm talking the kind of collapse that gets you kicked out of a rock concert, it's so disruptive.

Mid hysteria, I looked over Sterling's shoulder as he shot a spiritual text to our other children who weren't there: "Your sister just slaughtered the shit out of her piano piece..." More was said, but that was enough. My composure packed up and left to start a band. To make a much too long story shorter, I sob-laughed for the rest of Julia's recital and two more speakers. Had to redo my makeup.

When the meeting was over, every lovely person in the ward put an arm around Julia and commiserated about what had happened, even while pretending nobody had noticed. Most of them ended with, "But you sure looked pretty" (as you went down in flames). Jules handled it beautifully, and I stood by her side, wiping remnants of eye liner off my chin, knowing I was an enormous liability, but grateful that the glare of the spotlight was dimming.

Turns out I was wrong.

At the conclusion of Sunday School, a good man stood up to say the prayer—a thoughtful prayer. There were several extended pauses between phrases and he finished one particular sentence with the name of our Savior. Well, in our culture, those are trigger words, you guys. Prompts, if you will. They signal the end of the prayer, and that's when we all exclaim, "Amen." But that kind of thing is all about the timing.

THIS time, it was my dear mother who misread the cue and offered up a hearty, "Amen", only to realize that, apparently, there was more to be said. He ignored her suggestion and the interrupted prayer continued. My mom, mortified, whispered, "Don't you dare start laughing," but it was too late. And I haven't stopped since.

We all gathered together that afternoon for dinner. Every few seconds, we relived our humiliation, and lamented that our nearly flawless facades had crumbled to pieces. But my mom put the prettiest bow on it when she said, "You know, I've never liked someone more because they were perfect. I only like them more when they're not."

Pretty sure a lot of people like us more.



video


I asked Julia for a Reader's Digest reenactment. She obliged, bless her heart. Just times this by 10.














Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I CAN'T WORK OUT

GOOD NEWS! I just received a .05 cent refund from Amazon. Must be living right.

By the way, did I mention we adopted a dog? Yup. Lost my ever lovin' mind. It seems one day I woke up and said, "I feel like I want a burden so heavy that it wakes me up at 4:00 every morning with anxiety. Plus, we have a lot of things that could use a good chewing; sprinkler heads, expensive shoes, fermenting garbage, our cat. How we've lived this long with our wicker furniture in great condition is beyond me.  Also, we have a lot of disposable income that could be spent on kidney jerky and stuffed animal squeaker toys to be strewn about the yard and ripped to shreds. And my parents have it too good. There is far too much peace in their lives, as they're able to get from house to car without a hairy beast charging at them. That's just wrong. There is but one solution: How about we adopt a puppy?"

And so we did. Luna Bingham is her name. Short for Lunatic. Also Lunachick, Lunar eclipse and Luna Tuna fish. She answers to all of the above as well as to any movement, light or sound of any kind made anywhere in the entire house or surrounding neighborhood.

A few things convinced me this was a good idea. Guilt, for sure. But especially the earnest promises from my children that they would ABSOLUTELY clean up her poop, take her for daily walks and train her to shut the hell up. And now it's clear I raised a bunch of lying jerks.

Every one of my pockets—jackets, robes, pants, pajamas—now house a roll of doggy pooh bags. I think twice before entering the kitchen which is adjacent to her laundry room vacation home. And anything that fits through her doggy door is pulled through her doggy door, whether it wants to be or not.

I was walking her in to her training class and some weirdo said, "Oh! I just love puppies! Don't you just love puppies? I wish they would stay that way forever!"

I wanted to say, "Did you hit your head? What does your house look like? How about your shoes? Your lawn? Do you like leaping over baby gates? Just can't get enough of vaccinations and the cone of shame? You must like to stand in negative temperatures and watch the steam escape your mouth as you plead for your puppy to, "Go potty! Go potty, Luna! Go potty! Come on, girl, go potty! Let's go potty! Luna, go potty! Go potty, Luna! Luna! Potty! Go potty! Go potty! Come on, Luna. Go potty! Go potty! Luna! Potty! Go potty, girl! Potty, potty, potty, go potty!"

Yes, I wanted to say all of that and then offer to sell the puppy to her in return for a cold Dr. Pepper, but I didn't, because I was suddenly yanked inside Petco by my Lunatic as she went in search of a very specific smell that ended up being her own rump.

Anyway, just thought you all should know I have a dog and that's why I can't work out. Don't ask me why, it's just the way things are. And yes, I love her, so shut up and quit judging me. But just because I love her doesn't mean I have to like what I've become.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sharp piece of doggy bone I need to step on and some frozen feces calling my name. This is the life.



Luna and her cone of shame with customized duct tape extension. 





Sassy is not a fan of Luna. But still, here she is wishing her a Merry Christmas with her sweater.




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

YOUR BLACK SOULS

I don't know why I do this. I don't know why I let days then weeks then months and even years pass me by without putting finger to keyboard. Actually, that's a lie. I do know why.

Fear.

And a pinch (vat) of laziness, which my fleshy bod already bore witness to, so don't act like that's news.

But really, every day I pray that today will be the day. Today I will be BRILLIANT and HYSTERICAL and FILL YOUR BLACK SOULS WITH LIGHT! So I sit down to the computer, hours pass, and somehow, when I climb into bed at night, there is a new Kate Spade purse on its way and no new words on this blog.

I am plagued with insecurities.

What if I repeat stories?
What if I sit in front of the computer screen and nothing but farts come out of my fingertips?
What if each sentence is like a selfie taken from below?

I have lied to myself that I am simply being patient. Waiting for Heavenly Father to open the Heavens and heap humor into my skull like dung in a garden. But He doesn't operate like that. Something about, "Faith without works is dead."

So here I sit, belly full of salsa and yogurt (a combustible combination) and Christmas tree full of ornaments, hoping this screen will suddenly be filled as well. But the only thing that seems to be happening is Sterling is watching a Charlie's Angels episode without me, and my FOMO will not allow me to chill.

Thus, I will end my ramblings with a promise that tomorrow, I SHALL RETURN! I can't promise there will be brilliance, hysteria or that your black souls will be drained like the swamp of DC, but
I.
WILL.
BE.
BACK.

In the meantime,  enjoy this picture of the Kate Spade I'll be sporting come early spring and try not to let the envy turn you into a Christmas elf.


If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.











Thursday, May 26, 2016

THINGS WORTH DYING FOR

I like dirt.

Let me be more specific. I like to eat dirt.

When I was little, I used to fill a small bucket with dirt, hide it under my bed, and every few days, eat a spoonful or two.  Shhh...sh...sh...sh...it's okay. Don't gag. There was only a little bit of potato bugs and cat poop in it, and I was too young to realize.

Fast forward a few years and I'm laying in bed, miserable with morning sickness and sobbing to my husband, "The only thing that I can even stand the smell of is dirt. Like I want to eat some. And that makes me sad!"

I was able to withstand the craving then, but only because grown women are frowned upon when they burp and sputter mud.

Fast forward even more years, and we've come full circle, as I just ordered a bag of dirt for my second son. To eat. For his own good. And probably there is a little bit of potato bugs and cat poop in it, but it's called, "homeopathic" and "food grade", so it's fine.

So why am I feeding Chris dirt? That's on account of he served a mission for our church in Uganda and Ethiopia. As you can imagine, he ate his fair share of impoverished third world parasites, and apparently, some are clinging with white knuckles to his innards, hoping to make it big here in the U.S., which is causing all sorts of intestinal distress.

Going on four years now. That's not exactly a recipe for peace. Bless him.

But he's not the only missionary in our family with issues. A few months ago,  Seth started experiencing some scary symptoms. The most alarming; his vision would suddenly flip upside down. What the?! Of course my conservative diagnosis was BRAIN TUMOR/CERTAIN DEATH, and I spent the next couple of weeks wringing my hands and contacting doctors about MRI results. 

While in the midst of this, I was talking to Chris, and he said, "Mom, it's okay. All of us have some sort of souvenir from our missions. Ash got fat and bald, I have eternal diarrhea and Seth has a brain tumor. But it's all good. Nobody gets out of these things unscathed."

Just the perspective I needed. (*Turns out my diagnosis was wrong. Not a tumor. Anemia, polyps and cysts. Needless to say, we've met our deductible.)

Then I remembered watching a documentary about missionaries where they interviewed a man who had served in a really difficult part of the world. Bullets had whizzed past him, causing him to lose his religion later in life. He said, "I just realized, they had no right to ask me to do that. There is nothing worth dying for in this life."

He clearly didn't understand that, intentionally or not, he would, in fact, die for something. Whether you give up your body for babies or your years in service to your country, or your beauty to hardship and labor...or just waste away on a couch in a dark room playing video games...like cash in a wallet, you will eventually spend your life on something, until you are left with no more.

None of us get out of this life unscathed. We weren't meant to. We were meant to spend it...all of it...on something of worth. Then return to our maker fat, bald, crippled and medicated, with incredible tales of what we did with the greatest gift we've ever been given. About how we used our hands to be His hands and brought great things to pass.

And so, I give a profound THANK YOU this Memorial weekend, to the courageous men and women who spent their lives in a noble cause—protecting our love of God, Family and Country—and passed to the other side not unscathed, but with the conviction that THERE REALLY ARE THINGS IN LIFE WORTH DYING FOR




The boys, before they were fat, bald, incontinent, and full of tumors


Grandpa Jack Wood and Grandpa Boyd Stewart 
Two incredible men who lived and died for what they believed



Thursday, May 19, 2016

WHICH YEARS MATTER MOST?

'Tis a season of change upon us, can you feel it? The winds have shifted and we're about to watch boys and girls becoming men and women as they move their tassels and close the books on the last 18 years of their lives and suddenly realize...that there are even more books required—about $500 worth each semester—and no, you can't find them cheaper on the internet.

Add to that the kids who will also embark on LDS missions just weeks after high school graduation and you realize it's more of a hurricane than a light breeze.

And although I don't have a graduating child, change is heading our way, too. Six weeks from today, my son will step off an airplane and onto an escalator, where he'll take the fastest and slowest descent of his life, searching for a familiar face in a sea of Mormon families. Of course, ours will be the best looking (she said modestly).

Two years is a really long time, you guys.

So long, in fact, that when a sweet woman from his mission in New York asked me for "10 fun facts about Seth," I reverted to things like, "Um...he likes red meat. Like steak. And roast...does that count as three?"

Yeah. Way fun facts.

You'd think we were strangers. And in a way, we kind of are, on account of I carved him out of my heart and mind when he left us that sunshiny day in June. It was the only way to survive the missing of him. Surprisingly, several days could pass by where I was totally fine. And then, I would walk past his cardboard cutout on my way through the library and suddenly could hardly breathe, remembering how the walls shook when he thundered down the stairs and his genuine I AM ABSOLUTELY THRILLED TO SEE YOU EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE YOU greeting and his guileless personality and his Captain America physique.

A few people might have seen me weeping down the cereal aisle, as I realized the days of buying Honeycombs in bulk and gallons of milk had come to an end. I had done this before so I understood that even when they come home, they never really come home. The dynamics are forever changed, and they will never again think of you, or themselves, as they once were.

Which is exactly as it should be.

Recently, Seth told me that he had been plagued by the concern that the way he had spent these last two years would be a precursor for the rest of his life. He admitted he had some regrets and guilt and hadn't always done what he should have, and he was worried that this was a sample of the man he would always be.

So let me see if I understand. In two years, you've made some mistakes and have guilt and regrets and wish you'd done a few things differently?

I should probably sit down while I put in my surprise eyes, because I never feel that way. And by never I mean constantly.

Of course, I know that what I did today can be repented of tomorrow, and it doesn't need to color the rest of my life. Two years as a missionary matters just as much as two years as a wife and two years as a father and two years as a daughter and two years as a student and two years as a friend and two years as a brother and two years as...well, a people.

If Heavenly Father had intended only one of these two years to matter the most, then He would have made two years the entire span of our lives. Which two years do you think matter the most? Exactly.

All of them matter, all of them can bring us closer to our eternal destination and all of them leave us forever changed, because we will never think of ourselves, or the people around us, as we once were.

Which is exactly as it should be.

So welcome to the next two years, dear friends! They matter more than any other two years of your life...except for the two years after that...from now until eternity.



Two years as my little boy


Two years as a student


Two years on his mission



Friday, April 29, 2016

BIG PLANS!

First of all, Prince is dead. I just thought we should mention that so nobody is embarrassed if I start to wail out the lyrics to I Would Die 4 U (complete with hand/face actions) during this blog. And just for the record, that exotic baby man driving his Little Red Corvette will always have a place in my heart...and my garage. Amen.

Second, my youngest son has two months left on his LDS mission, and will be returning to pass unrighteous judgment on me, so I have to make it look like I've been doing something besides eating cinnamon bears for the last two years. Which is why I have to get busy redecorating a room or two. Not his room, mind you. His room is a shiz hole. Always has been, since all three of the boys lived there together and we found a booger kingdom hidden on the backside of a headboard. There's really no coming back from that. Best to just light a match and walk away.

Anyway, I'm thinking about throwing some paint around in the sitting room, which is my favorite room. But it's going on twelve years, people. It's kind of a decorating version of the leisure suit—it had its day. Of course the leisure suit was a sin against God, so maybe that's not the best example, but you get the idea.

Plus, we all know people who held on a liiiiiiitle too long to their favorite things. Ie; acid washed joggers, Farrah Fawcett hair, frosted blue eyeshadow and perms. All of which, oddly enough, have made a comeback, so never mind.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. My sitting room.

I have big plans for that room. Big, BIG PLANS. And as soon as I steal those plans from Pinterest, you'll be the first to know.

Speaking of sisters having babies (just go with me here) my youngest sister has just announced she is HAVING A BABY!!! That makes six. SIX BABIES, YOU GUYS! Pretty much she's a baby hoarder. When she's pregnant, she vomits in her sleep. And can't even drink water. But she's a size 0 and has stunningly beautiful children, so I think that evens things out.

So to sum up, missionary son, cinnamon bears, leisure suits, Farrah Fawcett, babies and vomit.  It's pretty clear I have laser focus when it comes to writing this blog. My brain is a horse that keeps getting spooked.

Thanks for holding onto the reigns and coming along for the ride.


Farewell, beautiful sitting room, and thank you for the last 12 years. 







Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ISLAND GIRL

I'M BACK FROM KAUAI! And I yell this because I left my keys on all caps lock. But also because I want everyone to know that I am a world traveler and that's why I ignored your texts and all responsibilities for 8 days and 7 nights. Two of which were spent in an airport with 350 other passengers and a flight attendant who consistently announced bad news that ended with an insincere, "Mahalo."

Mahalo my fanny.

Anyway, I waded through piles of sand and dead skin to give you this blog post so that you, too, can feel like you were right there with us.

So let's begin my travelog with a picture. This is Julia, otherwise known as Goddess of the Pacific Isles. 

It is important to note that this is completely un-retouched. 

Now,  a picture of the apple tree from which she fell—


Also completely un-retouched.

So what do we learn from this? Well, obviously, Lisa Bingham = Island Girl. But that's hardly worth mentioning. What IS worth mentioning is how tan I am.

Of course, 47 year old tan is way different than 15 year old tan. Julia is a wind in her hair bronze skinned beauty in Hawaii. I am a chocolate covered macadamia nut eating, stringy haired, "I can see most of your scalp and it's burned" melted make-up, age spot sporting, "Is that Lisa? Oh, wait, no, it's a sun-bathing seal,"  kind of exotic. And just for the record, it is not mascara smeared on my cheek. It is sun damage. So quit trying to wipe it off.

Even with all that going on, we managed to visit about ten GLORIOUS beaches, ATV through the jungle, float on tubes through abandoned sugar cane mines, jump in waterfalls, swim with the turtles, almost STEP ON AN OCTOPUS, YOU GUYS—THEY REALLY EXIST! We also luau-ed, ate some pig and were woken up by roosters at 4:00 a.m. Also at 4:03...4:10...4:17...4:18...4:25...it's a really good thing that they're a protected species.

We fruitlessly searched for cold drinks and sea shells and ignored the fact that we spent more on sub-par food than our airline tickets. I grew a few chin hairs and one fingernail on my left hand, and we snorkity-snorked away our afternoons under the deep blue sea, where Julia was stung by a jelly fish. To which I promptly replied, "You're fine. You imagined the searing pain." Because that's what good mothers do.

Then, on our very last night in Princeville, Layne said, "Hey, there's a really cool path that you can go down to the shore and watch the sun set behind the ocean. There might be a few areas you'll need to hold onto a rope, but if you feel like you're up for it..."

Well, I'm nothing if not up for a rope strewn path down to the shore. So we swallowed our last bite, threw on our tennis shoes, and zipped down to the trail.

A trail made by Beelzebub himself.

In fact, so cursed was this trail that the only way to get down it was to constantly yell—cover the eyes of the children and easily offended—"HOLY HEL*! HOLY HEL*! HOLY HEL*!!!"

At least that's how I went down. Not sure what other people did.

About 30 seconds into the completely vertical decline, the three strands of fat wrapped sinew that currently form my thighs screamed and snapped in rebellion. "WHAT IN THEE...?! YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, LADY!" And it was all downhill from there. Figuratively and literally.

Until we had to go back up, which is when the prayers began in earnest. All I asked was not to need a rescue op. But I promised way more, so He would feel like it was a bargain if He obliged. I am happy to report that a deal was struck, and I made it back to the top on my own, where Julia sing-songed,

"That was so fun!"

Me: (cough, hack, spitting out blood)

And now, I bid you Aloha, as I must go practice the beautiful Island Girl ritual of combing dead scalp skin out of my hair. Kauai just keeps giving and giving. To which I say, "Mahalo".


GLORIOUS scenery!


"Sunscreen is for fools"


The view at the bottom of satan's path


The other view at the bottom of satan's path


We were looking for "De plane! De plane!" (Fantasy Island was filmed here)
Unfortunately, it was delayed five hours




Monday, March 7, 2016

WISHFUL THINKING

So remember how we felt the frenetic urgency to buy Julia a dress (eight months early) for next year's Homecoming dance? And we were so excited when we found it because it was modest and cheap and blah, blah, blah perfect? Yeah, well, fail. Or more specifically, "Asian cut" fail. Basically, it was made for a girl without shoulders and missing some of her ribs and Jules still has all her bones, so things didn't work out.

Jules was kind of upset when I zipped up the dress and she realized she was immobile. Within seconds—and I am not even kidding, you guys—I had a claustrophobia attack just looking at her. I actually started to hyperventilate, thinking about not being able to get that dress off. It looked completely capable of squeezing the life out of her...and me, vicariously.

She was almost as relieved as I was when we yanked it off of her amidst trying to suck air back into our lungs. I packaged it up that very minute, returning it to the factory, so that some other poor fool could have the same beautiful experience. And then Julia lamented, "IT'S NOT FAIR! I WANTED THAT DRESS SO BAD! WHY COULDN'T IT LOOK LIKE THE PICTURE?"

Which brings me to a disease so many of us suffer from called, "Wishful Thinking." The wishing, wanting, imagining and coveting of everyone else's best case scenario.

Just last night, Jules sent me a DM on Twitter. Of course, I never saw it because I'm Twilliterate. So she hacked into my account to pull it up for me.  It was an advertisement for some sort of naturally curly hair product and diffuser. In the fast motion ad, the girl swiped on the mousse, diffused her hair dry, and within 15 seconds, looked like a goddess. Jules' accompanying comment, "I want my hair like this soooooo bad. Let's get some 'moose' and that dryer attachment and see if this works."

Me: "MOOSE? HAHAHAHAHA! Hon, you don't have naturally curly hair."
Jules: "Yes, I do. It's totally got a curl when it air dries."
Me: "No, ummm...I'm sorry to be the messenger here, but that's not a curl. It's like, a slight curve. On about three sections of hair."
Ster: "Yeah, sorry Jules. You have fuzzy hair. You let it air dry last night, and look at it right now—it's fuzzy."
Jules: "I KNOW it's fuzzy right now. But I CAN MAKE IT BE NATURALLY CURLY!"

This went on for a while, Jules insisting she had naturally curly hair, and her parents telling her the truth. But I knew exactly how she felt, because I remembered the days when I saw girls with long, flowing, glorious blond hair set with spiral perms. And I wanted that hair more than life itself. So I'd go to the salon with my dirty-dishwater-above-the-shoulders hair and say, "I want a spiral perm." Of course, what I really meant was, "I want long, flowing, glorious, sexy hair." Which they promptly misinterpreted, and I came out of the appointment with crazy ass worms shooting out of my skull.

I also remember wishing I had Amy's teeny, tiny waist and cute bum. This dream was shot to Hades with a diet that consisted of fries, bologna sandwiches and Swedish Fish. The bum fail happened when all of my family greeted me after I sang in a choir concert and said, "Did you know you don't have a bum? We especially noticed in that dress that you have no bum at all. In fact, it's kind of like a frog bum, where your back goes straight into your legs." My friends were happy to concur.

I wished for full lips, but they're as thin and tight as an O-ring. I wished for Janine's flawless skin, but my nose outshines the north star and I have one pore as big as a nostril on my cheek. I wished for my obituary to say, "She never knew an idle moment" but as I type this while still in my pajamas, I can see this hope dimming like a flashlight with a dead battery.

As my thoughts and time are devoured by this disease, I notice that I am no more inclined to appreciate what I do have, as I am consumed by what will never be. And just like the dress Julia tried on, it has the capacity to squeeze the life right out of me.

But there is a remedy. Wishful thinking can be cured by a glass half full. Doesn't matter what it's full of,  just as long as you see what's in there.

Sure, my lips are thin, but now you notice my eyes because my mouth doesn't distract you. Yes, I am still in my pajamas at almost noon, but HOW AWESOME IS IT THAT I AM STILL IN MY PAJAMAS AT ALMOST NOON?! And okay, my bum is flat, but I never, ever have to ask my husband if "these jeans make my bum look big?" The answer is always no, no matter how hard I try.

So let us waste no more time trying to squeeze into a restricting ideal that diminishes our potential and lung capacity. Yank that thing off your head, and climb into something that lets you breathe the way Heavenly Father intended you to breathe! Brush out that wormy hair, put on some skinny jeans and apply some powder to your shiny nose.

Truth is, it is highly likely that someone is looking at your best case scenario and suddenly finds themselves infected with Wishful Thinking.









Thursday, February 18, 2016

FADE TO BLACK

We had a shiz-load of demon piggy wind last night and today. Followed by rain. Followed by snow. Followed by thunder. Followed by hail. Followed by me giving the middle finger to the stupid schizophrenic skies.

I've spoken of this before, but if satan had a bride, it would be February. She comes in under the guise of red hearts and love, but ends up destroying your mental and physical health with her fugly weather and boxes of nuts and chews.

But even in the midst of all this mind numbing wretchedness, my brilliant (she said objectively) filmmaker son, Ashton, was able to create a masterpiece. He called me up the other night and said, "Hey, remember a while back when I filmed Aunt Kara's family? I was going to make something really inspirational. It kind of took an unexpected turn. Anyway, I just sent you the link, and want you to watch it while I'm on the phone with you."

So I clicked the link and IMMEDIATELY sucked as a mother. There on the screen—in all its light filtered soft focus glory—was everything I should have been when my children were young. But wasn't.

I tried to feign happiness for Boo, as I saw her children be beautiful and well dressed and obviously straight A students (even the 18 month old), while they made cookies in a clean, sunshiny kitchen, all smiles and benevolence. Plus Kara, so patient and gentle with only one chin and one digit on her jeans. I was pretty sure that when I made cookies with my children, I was wearing an apron over a stained nightgown while I shoved yesterday's breakfast dishes out of the way and intermittently wiped left over mascara out of the corners of my eyes. If I even made cookies? Hard to say.

Then it faded to black...and a few seconds later, opened on a new perspective.

It's what happens when the music ends that made my heart sing. Turns out the song had drowned out the reality. So the next time you suck as a mother, crank up the chosen soundtrack of your life and know that, one day, you'll remember this through a soft focus lens.

ENJOY!












Thursday, February 11, 2016

CRYING GIVES ME A HEADACHE

Forty years ago, my parents built the most magnificent house you've ever seen. It had two stories, you guys. And by two stories, I mean a bi-level entry that led you upstairs or down. Listen, I don't know where you come from, but around here, that's two stories.

It also had glorious brown and gold sculptured carpet, two and a half bathrooms and a wobbly, non-functioning banister that was for "looks only". What can I say? We were a decadent bunch back then.

Since ours was one of the first homes in the new subdivision, we felt the responsibility to fill in the vacant air with lush landscaping. And being poorer than church mice, on account of blowing our wad on glittery popcorn ceilings, we could only afford Cotton-less Cottonwoods. Otherwise known as "trash trees".

These trees were the prostitutes of the neighborhood. With their come-hither leaves and bare trunks, they lured us in with a cheap price and promise of summer shade. All the while refusing to put down roots and actually commit to a long term relationship. They grew a few inches every minute, so by the time they were two, they were big enough to hold a tree-house. At the five year mark, they were twice the size of our home. Teenaged boys would scale the branches and look into my window and my neighbor, Tish Graham, would call and warn me not to get undressed with the lights on. But I'm not gonna lie—I was kind of flattered they thought there would be something to look at.

Fast forward about 20 years. The tree in the backyard succumbed to a bug infestation and cracked in half during a summer storm. We knew it was just a matter of time before the same thing happened to the front tree, and were worried because the branches hung so close to the house. My parents checked with their insurance to see if they'd pay for removal. No, they said. We won't pay for prevention. We want to make sure the cancer has spread before we get you in to see the doctor.

Enter stage right—the new son-in-law, Sterling. Eager to please his wife's parents and feeling manly—bless him—he spoke up with confidence and declared, "THIS IS EASY. I KNOW JUST WHAT TO DO."

And we believed him.

He picked up his chain saw and went to work, cutting down a few of the smaller branches in preparation. This soon became tedious, so he figured he'd just get right to it. He tied one end of a rope around half of the tree, and the other end to the back of his Pathfinder.

"As soon as we cut through that big branch," he explained, "I'm going to pull it away from the house with my SUV really fast." This sounded reasonable to us. Course, nobody did any sort of math...mostly because that seemed like a lot of work. Permit, you ask? Well, that's just silly. We didn't need no stinkin' math or permits because we had faith. Plus a couple of grown men in the neighborhood joined in to help, which was as good as a blessing.

By then, the entire community had gathered around, setting up lawn chairs and placing bets. The excitement was contagious. I was told to keep all of the small children away while Larry Waite shimmied up the tree with his chain saw, and Sterling and James Barnhill climbed into their vehicles, ready to pull, "really fast".

With the snap of the branch, the men punched their accelerators and were both promptly yanked right off the road and into the air backwards, as the tree took a split second to decide, then chose to do whateverthehell it wanted to do. And it wanted to fall onto the house.

Every. Single. Woman. watching this scene threw their hands to their faces, gasping a HUGE lungful of air, then exhaled and exclaimed in unison the exact same sentiment: "HOLEEEYYYY SHHH..."

You know the rest.

That was the last sound we heard. Nothing more to say. There was a great exodus as everybody gathered their winnings and their chairs, then walked home in absolute silence.

Well, you would think this would dampen our spirits. Terrible things like a tree crashing through a house should surely merit weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. But the following pictures tell the tale of how my parents responded:





May I always remember the lesson I learned that day—as Marjorie Pay Hinckley so brilliantly understood: "The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”










Wednesday, February 3, 2016

JUST IN TIME FOR VALENTINES!

SO.

My darling dad had a heart attack. I know—JUST in time for Valentine's. I think he takes his holidays  too seriously.

While spending some time in the E.R. and waiting rooms, I've learned a few things I'd like to now share with you:

1)  There are about fifteen bajillion things missing in hospitals that might make the patients and families more comfortable or even save lives, but those all pale in comparison to the one thing they DID do right, which was a Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper machine with very special rabbit poop ice. You can't stand there and tell me that a loving Heavenly Father doesn't exist when the proof is right there in front of you.

2)  While chillaxin' in the waiting room, you may be blessed enough to sit next to a family without any working filters—thought filters...mouth filters...TMI filters...volume filters...all faulty. My mother and I were pleased to be regaled with shouted stories that consisted of these delightful tidbits, and I AM NOT MAKING THESE UP:

"So I threw her out. Ain't nobody comin' at me with a gun, threatening to kill me and staying in my house!"

"Bubba's in the middle of his sex change operation. He's not real comfortable just being gay. He wants to be a lesbian in the gay, um, community. It's not goin' like he hoped. Gonna take more time to get everything worked out down there. Hopefully it don't take too long for 'im to get happy."

"They was all gathered together with their bee-uuuu-tiful family for pictures. Ever'body looked so niiiiiiice. There was so much love in the room, you could just fill it! So much love. And ever'body was there.  Ever'body. Course, not them kids who got adopted out through social services cuz of the abuse and stuff, but ever'body else was there."

Did I mention I'm not making any of that up? Let me reiterate. Not making any of that up. And there was more...so much more...but I accidentally looked up and caught one of them watching my face, so I had to excuse myself and let Mom soak it in all alone. Her head exploded.

3)  It takes several people who are on their toes to keep a patient from dying. On account of there seems to be a missing link in every chain of command. So like, when you go from the first floor to the second, everything they just put into the computer evaporates. And they'll need to take your blood 17 times, because, oh, did somebody already take it? And the boy bringing in your breakfast didn't get word that you'll die if you eat, so when he enters the room somebody in the family needs to scream at him, "WHAT, ARE YOU CRAZY? THIS MAN CAN'T EAT! HE'S GOING IN FOR SURGERY!" and when he leaves, somebody at the nurse's station needs to scream at him, "OH MY HELL, DID YOU JUST FEED THAT PATIENT? TELL ME YOU DID NOT JUST FEED THAT PATIENT!"  So yeah, it takes a village.

4)  My dad likes jello.

5)  There is no amount of gratitude too expansive to express, in prayer and word, that there are people on this earth willing to take on the physical and emotional burdens of people in crisis. From the men in EMT uniforms who wheeled gurneys past us several times at 2:00 a.m., to the janitorial staff wiping up toxic spills in vacated rooms. From nurses who had to find and stab veins that were too modest to show themselves, to doctors who have spent the best years and dollars of their lives educating themselves on the myriad of ways a human body can experience epic failure, and then sit down in front of a worried wife and daughter to dumb it all down for their limited understanding made worse by the anxiety party in their brains.

So those are the things I learned. It seems this life is made up of a lot of reasons, my friends, to clutch our chest and exclaim, "Oh, no!" Fortunately, we live in a world of pop machines and miracle drugs and ER staff and little baby cameras that can be threaded up your arm into your heart to take pictures of an artery that is 90% blocked before it takes your life.

May I gently suggest we remember to say, "Oh, yes!" as morning follows night, and our world is made right again.



My world was made right when Heavenly Father gave them to me. For which I say, "Oh, yes!"



Thursday, January 28, 2016

SOMETHING TO HIDE

I just painted my finger nails mint chocolate chip ice-cream green. I know. Big mistake. And not just one coat, but TWO, on account of I was on the phone talking to my sister and she was busy shouting for her toddler to stop shaving her arms, so I zoned out and when I woke up, the damage was done.

Which brings us to today's elephant in the room. Lisa's hands are no longer age appropriate.

Actually, Lisa's hands have never been age appropriate, on account of she was born with extremities that belong to an old woman—some sort of mix-up in Heaven—pretty sure somebody's gonna get fired over that one. I have no sweat or oil glands, thus not an ounce of moisture and so many wrinkles it would keep a palm reader busy for a lifetime. But I've learned to live with it and even made up some really awesome lies to get me through elementary school. I had to. Kindergarteners are cruel, people. And somebody really ought to make them illegal.

We were forced to play a lot of hand holding games back then. Red rover, red rover and ring-around-the-rosies would seem benign to a normal kid with sweaty palms. But little miss cracked and bleeding over here considered it a death sentence.  When the teacher announced it was time for P.E., the panic set in.

It always turned out the same. Some kid would grab my hand, then jerk away like I had injected them with venom.

"EW! GROSS! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR HANDS?"

Then they'd stare at me accusingly before making a deal with some other unsuspecting child to "Hey, trade places?" That kid would then repeat the actions and words almost verbatim, and so on and so on until I was out of fresh kids.

So I lied.

One day, when the inevitable confrontation came, I chose a new response.

"Well, see, one day? My dad was working on his car. And there was this big pan full of something he needed for the car. Like car oil. Yeah. It was car oil. But it was really bad car oil. Poison car oil. And he told me not to touch it. He said, 'Lisa, don't touch that!' But it was too late, because I had already touched it. And from then on, my hands have looked like this."

I held up my wrinkly paws for them to examine, and like a car doing a 180 on a racetrack, they went from vengeful villagers to Christine Daa√©.  I was a creature to pity and they yelled to each other to, "COME HEAR WHAT HAPPENED TO LISA!" Lots of them asked what kind of poison oil it was, so they could never, ever, ever touch it themselves, while the brave ones gingerly reached out, hoping they would live to tell. From that point on, fewer kids recoiled and I was a little bit famous.

I didn't feel a bit bad about it, either. You do what you have to do in order to make it through those horrid years. We all had something to hide, and if you could blame it on poison car oil, more power to you.

(I also used to lick my hands in order to mimic sweat before grabbing onto my unsuspecting square dancing partner, but that's another story for another day. And I'm sorry, Troy.)

Anyway, right now, on day three of this polish, I am realizing it's the adult version of poison car oil. If I can get you distracted by the absurd color on my hands, you might not notice how corpse-like they are, and that 7 out of 10 fingers have splits so deep I had to fill them in with super glue.



Scary as hell, right? I told you we all have something to hide. 








Friday, January 22, 2016

JUST FILL IT IN

To answer your question, yes, I did just buy my daughter a dress for the dance. And you're right, the first dance she'll be able to attend is Homecoming, as in next school year, as in almost nine months away. And yup, it's entirely possible that she won't be asked.

In making the purchase, we bet on the probability that Jules won't gain an ounce, an inch, nor change her mind and want a different style. But I feel like this is a safe bet, because if there's one thing I know I can count on, it's the predictability of teenaged girls. Right?

I don't feel like you're nodding your heads.

The online shopping experience went about like I expected; Jules being enchanted with every dress she saw, which were all missing the top and bottom half, but completely confident her mother could just, "fill it in".

Jules: "OH MY GOSH, I LOVE THAT ONE!"

Me: "Um...I can see her pasties."

Jules: "It's okay, Mom. You can just fill it in. OH MY GOSH, WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE?!"

Me: "She's only wearing gloves. And shoes."

Jules: "YES, AND I LOVE THEM! You can just fill the rest in."

I told her it's not that simple, but she assured me it was. When I brought up needing to cover the entire bare back, she reminded me, "It's just a triangle, Mom. It's so easy! You just put in a triangle." When I pointed out there was nothing to attach a sleeve to, she grimaced in disbelief and, once again, explained how easy it was to—(eye roll)"Just add some material then make a sleeve."

And to think I thought there was more to it.

Which reminds me of people like me who expect other people to perform enormous tasks, because they have no idea of how complicated and nearly impossible it is. This was a conversation I had with my photographer brother:

Me: "I love this picture, Chris! Except for my face looks fat. And I look old. Can you put in a triangle? Like, make me thin and young and fix me?"

Chris: "Um, yeah...actually, I already did? I removed your other two chins, filled in your thinning hair, put computer Botox in your forehead and whitened your teeth. Oh, and I took off seven unsightly moles—one of them you really ought to have checked out. It took me over three hours to do this and I used five different programs. So...yeah...this is you...fixed." (nodding head and trying not to make eye contact)

Me: (pursing lips and suddenly less confident) "great."

Not what I wanted to hear. I thought he could just fill it in, you know? Just swap out my 47 year old face with me at 23. If I had the inclination...or talent...or 20 years to spend learning the skill, I totally would have done it myself. It's just an imaginary face. How hard can it be to make it up and attach it to my body?

Anyway, back to the dress. Fortunately we found one with all of the necessary organs—bodice, back, sleeves, length—no need to transplant any material from another donor. And even though it would have been SO EASY, as Julia insisted, I'm beyond grateful to the dress makers who filled in the space between shoes and gloves, so that if she does get asked, her date will have a safe place to put his hands when they dance.

One of Chris' awesome family shots. A brilliant way to record your posterity, as nobody knows how many chins you have. 

















Monday, January 18, 2016

COOL KIDS

HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY, FRIENDS!

It is a hideous day here in Utah, painted in 50 shades of gray (not the porno book).

I hope you're all keeping your holiday holy. So far, I've managed to stay in my pajamas and sit in front of the fire to read my scriptures, the newspaper and only got up five times to refill my icy cup with vanilla coconut syrup and brown beverages. As I always say, keep your spirit pure and your drink dirty.

I actually woke up earlier than I intended, because my sisters are MLKD breakers and started a group text at the ridiculous hour of before noon. So I put my phone on "do not disturb", but it was too late, because the worry-about-something-I-did-in-5th-grade portion of my brain had been stimulated, and I couldn't go back to sleep, so I joined in.

At first, the conversation started out totally benign, with funny one liners and talk about a baby shower gift.

Laughing+ shopping=true love.

But then Kara and Natalie went all ape shiz crazy and started TEXT SCREAMING the words JUICING and GREEN SMOOTHIE and HEALTHY WAY TO START THE NEW YEAR.

What in the?! I felt defiled. And they are currently dead to me.

So Nicki and I started our own thread, without them. And yes, our thread weighs more and has a lot of extra chins, but I kind of think our thread is where all the cool kids want to hang out.

We chatted a bit about our weirdo healthy sisters, and then she admitted she was consumed with anxiety because she has to support her son by being his victim tomorrow morning. Guess what this young man decided to choose as his career? DENTISTRY, YOU GUYS! Aka murder.

AND...not only that, but BOTH OF HER DAUGHTERS DID THE SAME THING! Double whammy hygienists. Murderer's assistants.

I think we can all agree that Nicki has failed as a mother.

And until her kids see the error of their ways and choose to come back to the truth, all we can do is pray for them and go shopping.

And yes, shopping does, too, help.

It's science. And if you don't understand, I can't explain it to you. (condescending eye roll)

Now that I've wasted nearly the entire day, I shall ready myself for bed, because it is time for me to pay homage to Mr. King.

He had a dream, you know. I plan to do the same.



















Thursday, January 14, 2016

TWIST TIES

I apologize for my absence. Several days ago I was seized by a migraine which turned my brain into a black hole. Thank goodness it finally let me out of prison this afternoon.

Speaking of prison, I read in the paper about some people who zip tied their pre-teen daughter and kept her caged and living in a 5x7 "playhouse". Or maybe "pooh-kitchen-bed" would be a better description.

Now having had a pre-teen daughter, I get it. I can understand that sometimes, you are just plain out of ideas. You have punished and you have rewarded and you have cajoled and you have pled until all you can do is stab a fork into your own skull hoping to generate a fresh approach. About then, a twist tie for her mouth seems like the very best option, if you could just. get. her. to. pucker.

I will also admit to several (thousand) failings as a mother. My name is not Lisa Completely Stable Bingham, okay? I've also heard there are some rumors floating around out there about me allegedly telling my daughter that she "looked like a little pig" when she cried like that. But that was a REALLY LONG TIME AGO, YOU GUYS! If it even happened at all.

Of course, if it had happened, I would have also gone into another room to calm down, then returned to her side and held her and apologized and smoothed her curly tail—I mean hair—to make amends. Mothers are imperfect. This we know. Which is why Heavenly Father created "I'm sorry. I'll do better."

However, some parents really lose their way. Like the designers of pooh-kitchen-bed playhouses. I would imagine it happened over time, as satan always works with subtlety. (I lower case his name on purpose, so as to diminish him. I'm a disturber and annoyer of his kingdom.) Something that starts out small eventually escalates.

Just today my husband mentioned passing through a neighborhood where a woman sat in the freezing cold on her porch, sucking on a cigarette and enthralled with her cell phone. All the while, her child stood in bare feet, tugging on her sleeve, trying to capture her attention.

She ignored him.

And like a twist tie to his spirit, he became small. Just imagine what he'll have to do over time in order to be noticed.

I also witnessed a parenting situation today. A two year old child fell to figurative pieces in the middle of the aisle at TJ Maxx. Defeated, he finally gave up his will and howled, "MOMMMYYYY!!!!! I NEEEEEEED YOOOOUUUU!!!" The mother crossed the distance in seconds, swept that boy into her arms and patting his little bum, held him tight while he sobbed into her neck. I could almost hear his self worth expand.

Two mothers, two children and two very different expected outcomes.

So basically, we have two options. As the gardeners, either we grow our children, or we shrink them. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Every day, we make a choice—whether to use a twist tie, or an empathetic heart. To cut off the water supply, or let it flow freely. To take a hoe to their self esteem or pull the weeds that gather around them threatening to strangle their potential.

May I remember this the next time my daughter asks me to unpick her sewing project the night before it's due, or to stay up late to help color diagrams of clogged arteries. When I point a finger of shame at her for failing math (that she'll never use anyway) or feel compelled to call attention to the third eyeball some might call a zit.

Surely, something is bound to flourish from my efforts...or lack thereof. And I'll either need a jail cell or a porcelain vase to house it.
























Friday, January 8, 2016

NAKED DREAMS

As the last red rose withers and slumps, having given all and fulfilled the measure of its creation as a wedding reception centerpiece, we come to the conclusion of this magical season of fairytale love.

And now, I feel it's my obligation to answer the question you've all been pondering—How did Lisa handle it all so beautifully?

I think you know the answer to that. But just in case, two words:

Naked. Dreams.

Yes, that's right. Naked Dreams.

For whatever reason, it was imperative for me to spend every night, from engagement to wedding, talking to people for a really long time before looking down in horror to find I was completely naked in church/the grocery store/a political rally/China. It didn't seem to matter where I ended up, just how I ended up. Which was naked.

And don't quote me on this, or go ahead I don't care, but pretty sure that's why everything turned out so well. On account of me taking one for the team and satisfying the mean spirited, job loving, every day is a naked day dream gods.

Also, I have some tips for you when it comes time for your own child's wedding. Because only one who has experienced this storm can tell you where to find shelter.

First: Every day is the perfect day to start your diet "tomorrow". I had 89 tomorrows to lose 30 pounds—each one more promising than the last. And they only failed me on the very last day. Fortunately, the heavens smiled down and gave us "freezing cold" and "snow" for our forecast, allowing me to keep my coat on for every wedding day picture. But you should have SEEN all the stuff going on underneath that vintage jacket! My only regret was my chins. If there had been a way to suck those in, it would have been fake champagne all around! I just feel sorry for my sister who has to photoshop me into what I think I look like. A moment of silence for her.

Next: If your son lives close to his fiancé, you'll need to move him across the nation immediately, if you hope to get any sleep on chastity watch. 'Nuff said.

Third: If you forgot to invite somebody, blame it on them. When you see them, tell them you were really disappointed they didn't feel it was important to be at your child's reception. Then purse your lips, turn away and with emotion, whisper, "I'm sorry. I just can't talk about it right now." BAM! You're welcome.

And last, DO NOT, under any circumstances, TELL YOUR HUSBAND HOW MUCH THINGS ARE COSTING! Because to him, all things wedding are luxuries, not necessities. But bullets are crucial to life. And when he does hear an off-hand comment about how expensive the luncheon is, or that you're in charge of paying for the tuxedos, he will suddenly turn sullen and fatalistic, stating, "So, basically, what you're saying is, we're all going to die?" Don't know how he got to such a dark place, but it happened faster than I expected.

Then you will have to cheer him up with lies, like, "BUT they gave us a 40% DISCOUNT because the bride and groom are so good looking!" Or, "I could have opted for the steak, but it was going to be $10,000 per person. Instead, I chose the chicken and it saved you half a million dollars so here, I bought a box of bullets for you."

See? It's all in the delivery. And the subterfuge. Which is what a happy marriage is all about.

In the end, Madelyn and Ashton became Mashton for all eternity, I'm starting my diet tomorrow and if you didn't get your invitation, obviously you're lying. Not me. And Sterling, I have no idea why thousands of dollars are missing from your account. Probably a hacker.






For those of you who TOTALLY received an invitation, but didn't bother to show up, here is what you missed. Even the heavens color coordinated. 





Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I LIE

Soooooo...I forgot to cancel my dentist appointment. And no, I didn't have anything else going on at that time, it's just what I do. I buy purses and cancel dentist appointments. My dentist's office and I have had an arrangement for the last little my whole lifetime, which goes something like this:

Bust a tooth.
Curse mashed potatoes (It couldn't be candy and pop—they have my back)
Get dizzy and start sweating profusely.
Hand Sterling the phone and ask him to push the numbers for me.
Make an appointment with every intention of trying to get out of it.
Start to feel confidant that I can live with a jagged, decaying bone in my mouth. I'll just never chew on that side...or that side...okay, so I ran out of sides. I still have a tongue.
Cancel the appointment.
Almost pass out with relief.

Sometimes I feel a cold coming on, like, the following month, and don't want to risk getting the hygienist sick. Because I'm thoughtful.

Other times I just feel like everybody needs a break, and sense that they wish they could call me to cancel, but they feel obligated, so I do it for them and let them off the hook. Once again, because I'm thoughtful.

And then, after a few years of emotional eating, I suspect they might say something rude, like, "Lean forward so we can check the size tag in your shirt. Whoa, wait a second...why is it missing?" So I just want to avoid that whole situation all together.

Thus, I cancel.

Unfortunately, this time I was distracted with Christmas and a wedding, so it slipped by me like an unplanned pregnancy. But with way worse repercussions—in my subjective opinion.

Now I'm fully aware I'm the kind of patient they hate, on account of I shirk then I lie. Like, today she asked, "When was the last time you were in for a cleaning?" So I lied to her. I had no choice, because I'm a pleaser. Plus, I kind of think they expect to be lied to. They're basically in the same category as driver's license weight.

"Um, I do belieeeeeve...it was...a few months ago. (tapping my jaw in faux retrospect) Maybe, at the most, last year."

She looked at me, looked at the computer screen which is a FREAKING TATTLE TALE, YOU GUYS, and pulling down her mask said, "Yeah, no. Try four years." Then she covered her face like only terrorists do, and held up something meant to kill me. Or it could have been a water pik. Either way.

She dug the hell out of my face, friends. And sure, I was the one who put the hell there to begin with, but whatever. She also left a clump of bloody plaque shard in my eyelashes and exclaimed loudly that I was bleeding, "A LOT!" Information I could have done without. Even worse, a really good hair day WASTED. When I rose from the chair, I looked like a neglected baby with pancake skull.

As she unclipped the drool bib, she said, "When you return in 6 months, this will be a cinch," and I nodded my head in agreement, even while pretending to enter the next appointment in my phone...



...I told you I lie.




Monday, January 4, 2016

THE PURGE

First off, it's important to note that today is a really good hair day. Ratted to highest heights, and lacquered like a hockey helmet. Which has empowered me to begin blogging again. Honestly, I am intimidated. That's what happens when you shirk your blog responsibilities for well over a year (or two). The creative juices that used to be your friend now ferment into rancid stomach acid and keep you awake at night.

I've tried to rationalize not writing. "Can't. Too hard," and "I've been sad," have dribbled from my lips for many months. Then, as I read my scriptures this morning, I noticed that a very wealthy family offered up all of their worldly possessions in exchange for a record of their people, and I was ashamed. For there is no record of my children or life experiences over the last few years, available for someone to buy at an inflated price. And let's face it—in a century or two, for sure there's going to be a bidding war on my memories. Even if it's only to destroy them.

And sure, these most recent years might have felt like a bucket of still warm feces to my face a good portion of the time. But there have also been tremendous joys. And nobody will know about them, because I kept them in my heart, certain I'd remember them forever because I intended to write them down in my children's baby books...just as soon as I got around to buying them. (how late is too late?)

I was a fool. What made me think I'd recall something that happened several years ago, if I can't even remember how to spell hoo?

So for time's sake, here is a Readers Digest version of the last few years: Spent a fair (huge) amount of time in my pajamas, cut the tags out of all of my shirts and sweaters (because they're scratchy, you guys. Not because they say X-large—everybody knows I'm not), bought some new towels, sent a son on a mission, got snagged by the Iranians in the mall skin-care kiosk, forgot to bring in the delivered milk every other week, pulled my achilles tendon, bought a purse, bought a purse, bought a purse, bought some shoes, bought a purse, bought a purse, went to Hawaii and spent most of the week in Sam's Club accumulating chocolate covered macadamias (culture), ran for office, resigned from office (long story), moved my parents into our home, piled my sewing room to the ceiling with, "Where does this go?" "I don't know—just put it in mom's sewing room," lived in a constant state of pucker lips and clenched jaw—don't know why, started dating Amazon Prime (we see each other every day—it's going really well) and finally, married off my first born son.

Whew! The purging is over and we can finally start fresh together! Now if you'll excuse me, I hear the siren song of a Ralph Lauren purse wailing at a pitch only I can hear. It's my job to shut it up and show people my hair.

LOVE YOU ALL, and look forward to many moons together.
The newlyweds, photo credit to the very talented Kara Elmore. You can find her on Instagram @kara_elmore