Mouth Party in the Pantry

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My Gramma (the one I liked, I mean… the other was my “Grandmother” – said with an Oliver Twist sort of accent) made the most amazing gooey awesome mouth-party brownies on the face of the earth. These were not boxed brownies. They were not pot brownies. They were not even the bizarre yet delicious zucchini brownies I made this summer. They were Switzerland and the beaches of Kauai all in one.
I liked these brownies so damn much that I ate them whenever the opportunity presented itself. We would stay with my Grandparents for a few weeks each summer, so my time was limited. Otherwise, you’d be watching me on live television as the jaws of life cut my 400 pound self out of my house.

At dinner, someone would say “please pass the rolls.”

I’d helpfully pipe up, “I’ll get the jam!” and sprint from the table.

The golden love nuggets were kept in the pantry, next to the jam. I sat in the pantry for a few minutes and ate one. mmmmmmmmmm.

“I have to pee.”

The bathroom was right across the hall from the pantry. Two more brownies. And dinner was only half way through.
“Oh, I forgot to wash my hands!”

Back into the pantry. Really. That’s where I spent most of the vacation.

By the time my Gramma brought those delicious suckers out for us to eat dessert, I was full (almost). It was an addiction like no other. I dreamed about the brownies. They invaded my mind like a lost lover. Of course, being twelve, my lost lover was some boy who made eye contact with me one time. If I had just been more brave. Maybe he was my soul mate. We’ll never know. Because, I didn’t bite into him like I did those brownies!

In high school (I was in a boarding school) my Gramma sent me a care package for my 16th birthday. I was so excited, but I heroically saved the box for the actual day. I’m not sure if that was an exhibition of self-control, or just a desire to wait because we all know that birthday calories don’t count and I was gonna eat that whole damn box.
It was here.

My birthday.

I was gonna eat the shit out of those brownies. My two best friends were in a fight with me. My boyfriend was a sex-brained arsehole. My parents completely forgot it was my birthday. Those brownies were going to drastically improve my day. I tore the packing tape off in anticipation. Oh the smell. They looked perfect.

I lifted one to my mouth.

What?

Did the brownie just move?

What the hell?

I felt like I was in that scene in The Lost Boys where the rice becomes maggots and the noodles become worms. I dropped my beloved to the floor and watched in horror as a hundred ants bounced off of it. Did I tell you I was in Jersey? It’s not the garden state. It’s the ant state. The ants had penetrated the care package, not to mention my soul. I believe at that point I had a toddler sized meltdown, but I don’t remember. I suffered some sort of brief brownie craving psychotic break. When I came to I found myself trying to salvage crumbs from the dearest love of my life, who had been ripped from my teenage world like the victim of a drive-by shooting.

Yeah.

I’m not proud.

I ate at least 50 ants that night, and cried as I threw the rest of the golden box of love into the trash.

In a perfect world, I would now post the aforementioned recipe in this blog, and you would all understand the levels I would sink to in order to consume such perfection. But, alas, my Gramma has been dead for over fifteen years. Some part of me just always thought she would be there. Making me brownies. Laughing at my jokes.

Restocking her pantry when I wasn’t looking.

You can stash your pie crust in there!

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I survived another Thanksgiving!

I wonder how I always lose food in between my boobs.

Just had to have another nibble of pie crust, but I managed to miss my mouth (yes, I had beer first.  But, this is still a problem for me.  I’m not a graceful beast).

I excused myself from the table and went to the bathroom (right next to the dining table) where I locked the door, reached into my bra and attempted to remove the sugary bits (by now, somewhat glued to my skin) into the toilet. Much to my delight, in walked my daughter, demonstrating the apparently non-functioning door lock. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t taking a post turkey dump; unfortunately for me, I am pretty sure the position I was in was equally disturbing for any passerby, bent over at the waist, head over the toilet bowl.

No, I don’t have an eating disorder. Yes, I do have boobs. And they catch food from time to time…more the older I get. I’m not sure if this is my body’s way of storing calories in case of emergency or simply an effect of too much skin. Either way, I kind of like storing pie crust in my bra. Other than the inevitable itching factor. Pie crust smells nice.

 

I guess if the 2012 prophecy is true, you might want to be my friend. When apocalyptic survivors are busy hunting for food, I’ll simply be reaching into my own bra. It’s like a food-storing camel-back, on your front. You should get one.

The Farting, Smiling Queen

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I try to be an upbeat, annoying optimist most of the time. In fact, a client actually called me “Positive Polly” last week (a genius name for a line of overly bubbly doll figures – they could fart bubbles and laugh when you pulled their string). But sometimes, every now and then, the Eyore in my life comes to cloud me up with negativity. That Eyore is my mother. Kind of. But then again – maybe darker – like Eyore’s shadow on a cloudy day (yes, I know that’s kind of impossible). She can be a brilliant, funny person, but oh can she also be about as easy to swallow as a razor blade. If she ever reads this, I’ll probably have a hit out on me, but I have to vent, and this is my venting platform now and then. I just want to mention, there is a dash of humor in here though, and I do need to write an entire post about the underwear incident because it was so funny I had a side-ache. I might have to delete this soon, but in maintaining my own mental health, I must expunge it!

I like it when people tell me I’m a terrible parent and they’ve spent a total maybe 3 weeks with me in the past eight years of my being a parent. (by the way, that is called sarcasm)

And that person hasn’t parented me since I was 14.

And that person can’t seem to figure out that even though I make fun of myself (a lot), I am doing a far better job than I experienced as a child. Isn’t that what having a kid is about? Improving on the job our parents did with us? I mean, that and being reminded just how funny infantile humor is? I mean, farts are funny.

They are always funny.

Even if you are dying – drop a bomb and I guarantee someone will laugh. Maybe even you! Sometimes, without kids around to remind us, we stop seeing the humor in every day. A bird poops on your shoulder? C’mon, that’s funny. Your husband farts so hard on vacation that he has to ditch his undies in a public bathroom somewhere in La Jolla? That’s INCREDIBLY funny.

And, if you can’t see the humor in life, then get your ass near some children (well, not your ass per se. That’s just inappropriate. Put some pants on already, you damn fool!) and see what the hell they think is so funny! It’s usually physical comedy.

Or farts.

And once you find that place of many giggles, you might want to stay there a while, because the other extreme is apparently my mother. The bird pooping on her shoulder would just be another example of Obamacare. Somehow she’d blame Obama for the underwear, as well. And, unless you are going to admit you are the one who created the crap hole that is your life, you might not want to go there. It is a lonely place. It is a depressed, mentally ill world where people are mostly bad and their intentions are mainly evil based.

Or you can fart. And find it funny. And fucking enjoy your ability to smile and be silly! Go! Do it! Drop a bomb (a nonviolent stinker, I mean) and live a little.

Just try not to poop yourself. It’s a waste of perfectly good underwear.

The Frat Boy Inside

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There I sat, in my fourth straight hour of lectures, in the same small, stuffy classroom, the same old carpet supporting my same old quickly spreading ass.   The first three hours were mind blowing, but now I was in my second class… and it was just blowing.  We were talking about suicide.  Well, let me clarify: the teacher was talking about suicide.  And, as you might guess, it was DEPRESSING (as suicide tends to be).  So, I did what I do when I need to check out.  Well, no, I didn’t crack open a beer or start playing on Facebook.  I doodled.  This is something people did in school before laptops and iPhones existed.  We used this stuff called paper and these other weird contraptions called pens and we doodled!  Crazy-old-fashioned, I know.  I doodled with my orange pen, creating a Seuss-ish flower and the word’s “Happy Place.” (see my previous blog post)  I was making my orange sanctuary, a place to protect me from the rather insensitive lecture taking place around me.  Finally, just when I thought I was going to use up all the ink in my pen (or start eating it because I was getting really hungry) we had a brief break.  Did I tell you I’d been sitting on the floor this entire time?  I have a six hour day of class in which we sit on the floor THE WHOLE TIME!  (This ensures we are hippie-esque and Buddhist-ish) I thought this would be heaven for a person who had been standing at work for 15 years, but surprisingly my ever-widening buttocks do not appreciate floors.  Go figure.  As I was trying to engage my atrophying quads in order to stand upright, I noticed another student had been doodling.  She had made some beautiful, non-suicidal hot air balloons.  I brilliantly thought I should comment on our similar dissociation styles.

“Hey look!  Your hot air balloons can fly over my happy place!”

Yes.  I always speak before I think.  Gotta work on that.  My theory is that my shadow side had been engaged from sitting through such a dark lecture.  I was tired.  I couldn’t keep my shadow in check, like I usually do.  Typically my shadow comes out when I sleep, and then I can tuck it neatly away in my underwear drawer when I wake up in the morning.

But not this day.

This day, my shadow came out to play.

And apparently my shadow is a horny frat boy.

The Prophesying Infant

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Sometimes you’ve got to have a quickie. And by quickie, I mean a short post. I need to master this skill outside of Facebook, because I love to write, but most of what I am writing these days looks and smells like research. It’s dry. It’s a bit dull. Sometimes I throw bad words and humor in just to entertain myself when I edit the first, second, third draft. It’s a little pathetic, like talking to myself. Or liking my own posts. Or tooting my own horn.

So, in quickie style, I just have to share a short story that makes me laugh. Life is too short not to laugh. Bet you never heard that one before.

I am a mom. I am going to assume you probably already know that. I have a kid (hence the ‘mom’ title) who was once a baby! Isn’t that weird?

That’d be perfect if my story ended right there.

But, there is an actual tale to tell. My husband managed to go on a few trips for work when she was just a wee infant with frequent constipation and an uncanny ability to bark. On one of these trips, when my daughter was … hmmm … maybe 10 months old. When do they start talking? It all seems to be a big, exhausting blur (of rainbows and ponies and happiness, in case you are trying to conceive).

Anyway, she was verbal, but not very. She was mobile, but not entirely. Cute as a button that child. It was my first week alone with her, we were getting along pretty well, other than the fact that I was a typical super sleep deprived mommy (who always ALWAYS ran into people who just HAD to share with me how well their babies slept, saying ridiculous things like “my baby slept through the night since her first week.” Oh shut up. That is not true. And if it is, I say, a plague on your teenage years!”).

My daughter and I were sharing a lovely moment, post bath time, pre bed time, snuggly, squishy baby time. She fondly looked into my eyes, I looked back into her’s, and she said, “Mommy die.”

“Uh, what honey bean?”

“MOMMY DIE! MOMMY DIE!”

And then she began to giggle.  Maniacally. Actually, I don’t think it was maniacal, but it makes for a better story.  I had an instant where I was sure I was living in a Chuckie movie or the little Exorcist girl had somehow gotten into my house.

“No, honey. Mommy’s right here.”

Sweet smile. Hiding my horror.

“DIE MOMMY DIE MOMMY DIE MOMMY!”

She laughed like she had just invented the whoopee cushion. I eventually distracted her with the same book I had already read 2000 times before and she went to sleep (for an hour or two) like a dream.

I did not.

I lay awake the rest of the night, wondering if it was a prophecy. Or a wish. Was she going to murder me while I slept? I mean, if she could get out of her crib.

Note to self, mommies of the world. Babies can say certain sounds first. They will likely say “DaDa” before they say “MaMa.” That’s bad enough, when you feel like you’ve been ripped apart and sewn back together as some Frankensteinian cow woman. But then, then…then they discover “Die.” It probably means nothing. It just sounded fun to her developing mouth.

(or so I keep telling myself)

But, one day when she’s 13 I will remember that evening. I will think to myself, “Oh my God, she DOES want me dead.”

Just wait.

Aside

So, I am not the standard grad student.  I am pushing 40, I have a kid, and I am married.   I am attending a Buddhist school.  I am not Buddhist. I am not even a good atheist.  I base my beliefs on coffee beans and magic.  The first day of my first year, I was pumped.  I was raring to go!  I had been working on prerequisites for seven years.  Here it was!  I entered my first class.  It was wonderful.  I was learning things.  I wasn’t at work.  I was expanding my mind and racking up huge amounts of debt.

Glorious!

I had to race to my second class, which was half way across town.  I had ten minutes.  I drove like the wind, and arrived 10 minutes late.  I walked in, and the entire group of 20 students and 2 instructors turned to look at me.

I felt like I had walked into an Elks meeting.  Or a Mormon wedding.  It seemed something important and secretive was happening and I had missed it.

“Sorry!”  I said, far too perkily.  “I just had a class at the other campus; I can’t get here right on time.”

The main instructor had a serious expression on her face and looked terribly disappointed in me, as if while meditating a potato bug had crawled right up her butt, and somehow it was my fault.

“Uh.  I mean, it was only 10 minutes.”  There was a distinct pitch to my voice, much like a whine.

The class looked at me with obvious pity, perhaps thinking I wouldn’t last the day.  I was thinking,”I’m not going to last the day.”  We were all on the same wavelength.  Except for the fact that my wavelength has been out of school for over 15 years and my wavelength can’t read a course schedule and my wavelength scheduled a class that ran one hour into my next class, because my wavelength is totally overwhelmed and my wavelength wants to quit school this very instant.  I was okay before this.  I wasn’t progressing in my working life, I wasn’t learning anything new, but this?  This is not cool.  I am not going to be the kid no one wants to sit next to at lunch.  I’m not going to be the Ally Sheedy of the Breakfast Club.  No I am not.  In fact, I’m going to the bathroom now, and not to meditate.

To hide in a stall.

And cry.

Even the free tampons couldn’t cheer me up.  I gradually picked up my swollen, puffy eyed face, wrapped my heart that really just wanted to be home with my daughter up in some extra toilet paper, took a deep breath and went back to class.  I smiled like nothing was wrong, hoping my fake cheer distracted from my red eyes.  I traveled to the admissions office and tried to figure out my schedule.  The woman, who was about my age, looked at me like I was probably the stupidest student to ever enter the program.  Yeah.  That’s me, I’m the slow one.  Thanks.  By the way, where are the Buddhists hiding?  I thought you all were supposed to love EVERYONE!  Even the remedial grad students!

She told me, “You registered for a class that conflicts with another class.”

Well, no shit.  Now who’s the stupid one?  (I’m not even going to fake that I’m a Buddhist.)

“Yes, I did.  I’m wondering how I can fix it.”

“Well, you have to get online and change classes.”

My face quivered.  I had reached a breaking point.

She looked me in the eye and very seriously said, “This is graduate school, you know.”

I thanked her, for completely topping off my awesome first day of school and went to my car where I proceeded to do the ugly cry and call my sister (she is the main receiver of all my ugly cries – an underpaid job for sure).  I huffed and puffed, telling my sister all the stuff I meant to say to the admissions lady, but I didn’t because my brain operates on a 10-20 minute delay.

Why did it suddenly seem as if graduate school was a NASA program that only 8 people in the world had been admitted to, and if I didn’t figure out my schedule the earth as we know it would cease to exist because the sun would explode and the moon would crash into the ocean?  Yes.  It IS graduate school, I realize this.  And I am paying this school nearly $80,000 over three years to have the honor to earn a degree from them.  I think for that kind of money, someone should hold my hand.  I mean, if I am going to negatively affect the entire planet, shouldn’t SOMEONE HELP ME OUT?!

I never said any of that, of course, and somehow I finished my entire first year without destroying the sun or the moon.  Or my marriage.  Or Buddhism.  It seemed my newbie status was morphing.  I was becoming an expert grad student.  Drinking lattes by the gallon, typing papers by the pound, sitting on cushions and not totally cursing the person who invented the damn cushion.  I could do this!  (Though I could do this better on a couch.)

Until year two.

I made it through my first day with no problems.  Whew.  I really was going to be okay.  And then… then…

it was day TWO!

I went to get my financial aid money.  La la la.  Life is good.  Getting some money from the government.  whoop.  Gonna buy some groceries.  Gonna pay the water bill.  Holla!

“Um, we have no check for you.”

“WHAAATTT?”

“Well, you see this section of the form?”  The financial aid guy drew a big square around a paragraph at the bottom of the page.  I swear he drew it really slowly, emphasizing my stupidity, but I might be projecting.

“You…..Didn’t…..Do….This….Part.”

Seriously?  Why are these people such dick-heads?  What would Buddha do?  Don’t they know this shit is difficult for someone who used to register for classes IN PERSON?  God.  I probably babysat this guy in college.

Of course, again, instead of saying any of this, I cried.  It’s my go-to mature reaction.

Graduate school is no laugh.  But it also is not that big of a deal.  The big deal is that I quit wearing deodorant about 2 months before the program started.  This was probably a bad decision.  If you are going to go back to school as a “mature” student, it’s probably best not to let them smell your fear. I wonder, if I do become Buddhist, will my sweat no longer stink?

My Buddhist Deodorant