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