To My Coma Friend

March 10, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

We sat on her queen bed in her yellow room with the bay windows looking over the forested hill when we made our pact.

I was in my pajamas and she were in hers, and we neither looked nor smelled good, with our hair piled on our heads, day-old mascara adorning our faces, and early morning dragon breath about which we cared nothing at all, gleefully breathing in and out and adding to the halitosis nightmare with the coffee and cream we sipped and tried not to spill on her new flannel sheets.

It was morning on a weekend and we were roommates and good friends by that time; good enough for me to take the Big Risk and see if we might become Much More.

Not lovers.

Nope. More than that.

“You have to promise — PROMISE — to pluck my chin hairs if I’m ever in a coma,” I said. “I mean, you can wait a few days, but after that you’re going to have to sneak tweezers into the ICU and spent some quality time with my chin, OK? I need you to be… my Coma Friend.”

“Yes. Absolutely! No problem,” she said quickly. “I will do this for you, but I want something in return.”

“Anything. ANYTHING,” I replied.

And she said, “You shall SWEAR TO GOD and on your ETERNAL SALVATION that you will MAKE HASTE to my house if I’m ever in a coma and take the box of sex toys from under my bed before my mother comes over. There are things… things she should never see,” my friend finished in a whisper as I giggled, then chortled, then belly laughed.

I’m not sure if we were laughing at our frivolous demands or if we were laughing from wild relief. I suspect both. And we’ve renewed our pledge over the years, checking in here and there to be sure our pact is intact and that will not waver in our dedication to our plan.

Dearest Coma Friend,

Oh how I love you! More than a bestie. More than a sister. More than my morning cuppa, which is really saying something.

Dearest Coma Friend,

You are my FAVORITE kind of ALL the friends. Thank you for being more than a bestie and better than a friend. Thank you for being my Coma Friend.

Forever yours,

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P.S. I’m not making light of comas. Cross my heart.

P.P.S. I don’t expect her to actually pluck my chin hairs when I’m in a coma, because I suspect that in a coma I won’t care.

P.P.P.S. I DO expect her to have the nurses call her, STAT, if I seem to be coming out of the coma, so she can haul ass to the hospital and wax the hell out of my chin hairs before I wake up. And then I expect her to LIE to me and tell me she’d been doing it all along. I feel like that’s what Jesus would do.

P.P.P.P.S. Do you have a Coma Friend? If so, please tell me about him/her and the pact(s) you’ve made. I feel like we should know what all of our Coma Options are. And also that if hospitals included this kind of thing in Advance Directive forms they’d be MUCH more successful at getting people to complete them. <<<Why I Should Be in Charge of All the Things

How to Houseplant

February 16, 2016 in Beth, Family by Beth Woolsey

My mom grew roses when I was kid. Gorgeous, HUGE roses with conceited, ruffled petals in every 80s pastel color imaginable, especially all the varieties of peach. She trimmed them, and dead headed the rose hips, and put tar on the end of every cut stalk to make sure the aphids didn’t get to the vulnerable plant, and my brother and I would play in the crab grass while she worked the rose beds, and threaten each other with bodily harm, but we stayed away from the roses because we knew what was good for us.

My grandma’s specialty was African violets. And cross stitch. And cross stitched African violets. I never knew her without them, the half wall in her dining room covered with her special white plastic shelves, grow lights, and precisely set timers eager to do her bidding. I bet if Grandma had put her mind to it, she would’ve grown great pot with that set-up. A carefully curated environment, every dead leaf perfectly plucked, and each bud babied. She could’ve made bank, friends, if she’d been just a little entrepreneurial.

But me? I didn’t inherit their green thumbs. Not even a little.

Or so I thought.

For YEARS.

I used to think I was bad at growing house plants, just because I always killed them. Now I know I was just growing the wrong kind of plants, and my technique was all wrong, because guess what I discovered?

I ROCK AT GROWING PLANTS, friends.

See?

IMG_8884A WHOLE BOWL OF HOUSE PLANTS.

I showed my kids, because I want them to have memories of their mom growing things and not, well, poisoning everything I touch.

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And my daughter said, “LOOK AT YOU, MOM! YOU ARE GROWING AN ONION FROM AN ONION!”

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WHICH I TOTALLY AM.

So I asked her if she knew what I was growing from the yellow potatoes.

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“What, Mom? What are you growing from those?” she asked.

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“A yellow potato plant,” I said, proudly.

“WOW, Mom,” she said, and she meant it, because she’s my FAVORITE, and I told her I’m growing sweet potato plants, too…

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… because I am.

Turns out, I’m excellent at growing plants. I just needed to find my kind. My mama rocked the roses. My grandma loved the African violets. I’m more of a tubers and root veggies girls, myself. Kinda makes me wonder what else I think I’m bad at that I’m… well… not.

 

 

With love, friends,

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P.S. In case you’re also good at growing house plants and need home decorating ideas, I tried out the following and can highly recommend:

  1. Decorate a Bookshelf

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2. Or a Mantel:

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3. Or, of course, a Restroom

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Your Help Needed. Important Question Ahead.

February 11, 2016 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Your help needed. Important question ahead. 

Is there something wrong with me? Or with the rest of the world?
Please pick one.

 

It’s just that I keep seeing this meme on The Book of Faces lately…

CrochetShorts

…which says “just because you CAN crochet something doesn’t mean you should.”

Except I’m pretty sure that if you CAN crochet something, you DEFINITELY should.

Tan, yellow and goldenrod short-shorts? Um, yes. Yes, you should. You absolutely should.

You know why? BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS SO. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability, friends.

 

Owl tube top?

How-to-DIY-Crochet-Owl-Basket

YES, YOU SHOULD.

Uterus?

uterus

Crochet. It.

Gall bladder with removable gall stones?

removablegallstones

YeeessssSSSSSS!

Chicken hat and chicken vest??

crochetchickenhat

chicken vest

HOW DOES THIS NOT MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE?

Seriously.

crochetsuits

Seriously, friends.

In a world full of fear and sadness, let us agree that crocheting the crap out of stuff is the work of God. WWJD?? J would CROCHET, guys. Like crazy. J would buy some yarn and a hook and just go NUTS.

In conclusion, I need to know. Is there something wrong with me? Or with the rest of the world? Please pick one.

With love and yarn,

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PS — To see more crocheted short shorts, go here. You’re welcome.

PPS — I know a fine, Christian lady who once made one of these for her husband.

williewarmers

PPPS — That fine, Christian lady is my mother.

PPPPS — If you want to freak your mom out, put the crocheted willie warmer she made your dad on top of her Christmas tree one year. 🙂 I promise, it’s worth waiting for her to notice. For weeks. While her friends visit for Bible studies. Again, friends… WWJD?? J would put your mom’s willie warmer on the tree. J is good times, folks. That guy gets a bad rap, but he’s good times.

This Is Not A Real Post

February 10, 2016 in Beth, But Seriously by Beth Woolsey

Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys.

I am so tired.

The End

P.S. Sorry for calling you all “guys.” I mean guys and ladies. But I’m using the patriarchal “guys” as a stand-in for both genders. It’s poor form, I know. I’m just too tired to change it, man.

Never Trust a Fart. This Is Why.

January 31, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Frankly, I’ve had a lot of luck with farts over the course of my lifetime, and, not to brag, but I’m a pretty good farter, socially speaking. I mean, I know how to gently eke one out in public situations to see how it’ll develop, clamping down quickly if it’s too voluminous or odoriferous or loud. Or, alternatively, letting that sucker rip if my audience is my 9 year old boys. I got cocky, I guess, is what I’m saying. And my successful farting career lured me into a false sense of security.

Never trust a fart, they say. But I did. I did trust a fart, and this is my story.

I’d been feeling a little low the day it happened. A little down. A touch under the weather. But nothing terrible, you know? Nothing AWFUL. And, honestly, if we mamas stopped what we were doing and put our sweet selves to bed at the first sign of sickness, the world would stop spinning. Literally. Mamas stopping for the sniffles or a little tummy upset would cause a shift in the space/time continuum, or a rip in the fabric of reality,or California to slide into the ocean. Mamas do not stop for “a little” anything.

So even though I was a smidge sick that day, and slightly gaggy, and my insides were rumbly and tentative and uncertain, I proceeded with my day. Got the kids to school. Dressed (badly, in clothes that smelled like cheese) for work. Used dry shampoo. Spent my time wisely at the stop lights, throwing on make-up, smearing on mascara, and plucking chin hairs. And I went to work. Like a responsible person. With responsibilities. Who’s responsible.

Yes, I was gurgly.

Yes, I was nauseated.

Yes, I had a tiny case of the urps.

But not run-to-the-bathroom sick.

Not go-home sick.

Not STOP-THE-WORLD-I-WANT-TO-GET-OFF sick.

Just queasy.

Ignorably queasy.

So I kept my sushi date with Jen. Because a) Jen is good times and I love her very much, and b) SUSHI. It’s delicious. Even when I’m urpy. Delicious, I say.

And, mid-convo, I trusted the fart.

Just a little one, I thought.

A poof.

A puff.

And so, with a little subtle squeeze, I tested the farting waters.

And I got… farting waters.

Not a poof.

Not a puff.

That little push I thought was air, was not. And the clamping at which I was previously so accomplished? DID NOT WORK.

I looked at Jen, and to her I said, “Please pardon me. I must use the rest room. To potty. For a minute. Or two,” and I scooted off my stool, (my stool — no pun intended), while eyeing it surreptitiously to make sure I’d left nothing behind, because inspecting one’s stool before leaving for the bathroom isn’t suspicious at all. And I simultaneously prayed to Jesus.

“Dear Jesus,” I said, “I just pooped my pants,” because if I didn’t tell him, how would he know? And if he didn’t know, how would he keep it from soaking through my jeans? “And, DEAR GOD, if I’ve ever done anything useful in my entire life, please, please, please, please, please do not let it soak through my jeans.”

Thus I waddled to the potty with excellent and rigid posture and hind end out ever-so-slightly so as to not exacerbate the issue with unnecessary rubbing, and I arrived at the toilet to discover the mystery that awaited.

Here’s what I need you to know, friends: I have CLEARLY lived an extremely righteous and worthy life, and Jesus loves me to the moon. Or at least he loves me to the potty with poop-free pants, because when I arrived, I discovered the damage was to panties alone. TO PANTIES ALONE, friends, so TAKE THAT, Atheist, Godless Friends. (Ryan, hear me now…) GOD IS ALIVE AND ACTIVE IN THIS WORLD! I rest my case.

In conclusion, I suggest you avoid that sushi restaurant off the freeway by the big, new, fancy shopping mall. I hear patrons of that establishment discard their panties in the trash and have terrible theology.

Sincerely,

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P.S. I’ve been reluctant to tell you this story, lest you think I frequently poop myself. I told you about the time I pooped my closet. And now I’m telling you about the time I pooped the sushi restaurant. I swear, I don’t often poop myself. SWEAR.

P.P.S. Please do not send me religious hate mail for this post. If Mr. Trump can receive the endorsement and support of prominent Christian leaders, then my Poop Theology Proof of God is totes legit in current faith culture. Amen, friends? A-effing-men.

How’s It Going?

December 29, 2015 in Beth, But Seriously, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I’ve been a little quiet this week because I’m under water.

Not a LOT under water.

Just a bit.

Probably.

Maybe.

Although, to be honest, as a person with mental illness, I wouldn’t really know if I was all the way under water, so I’m historically unreliable on the whole self-assessment thing. I mean, what do I know about how I’m doing? NOT MUCH, friends. Not much at all.

Still, as best as I can tell, I’m just a little under water. Like, the kind of under water where I yelled at Greg on Christmas Day because he didn’t put his pants on fast enough.

Merry Christmas, Greg!
With Love,
Your Sweet and Darling Wife

In my defense, Greg put his pants on really slowly that day. Really, really slowly. As in, really, really, REALLY slowly.

Because it did not matter that the children left the front door open and the dogs escaped.

And it did not matter that those canines were gleefully running roughshod over the neighborhood.

It did not matter that Greg’s wife was fresh from the shower, soaking wet and naked, and therefore not as well positioned as he was to chase said dogs.

Nope; those things were irrelevant, and it was not possible to simply grab pants, throw them on and chase three dogs down the street. That is not how Things Are Done. There is an Order, after all. A Queue in Greg’s scientific mind. A Specific Process from which a properly ordered man shall not deviate. And Pants-Donning is faaaaarr down the list, it seems, after lots of other things that have to be done first.

First, for example, Greg had to source a pair of socks. Not the pair of socks laying next to him. No; he had to find a clean pair of socks as though we suddenly have sock standards at our house. And then a shirt. And then another, long sleeved shirt to go over the first shirt which, turns out, was just an undershirt and not a shirt shirt because God Forbid you chase three giddy, sprinting dogs with dirty socks and without an undershirt. That would be wrong. 

Eventually, Greg put on his pants.

And then he had to find a belt.

And then he latched the belt on the wrong hole so he had to redo the latching of it.

“DEAR, SWEET, BABY JESUS, HUSBAND WHOM I LOVE AND WHOM I SHALL THROTTLE. THE DOGS ARE IN CHINA BY NOW.”

“I only see my slippers,” said Greg. “Where are my shoes?”

“GO. GET. THE. DAMN. DOGS.”

Next time, I’m chasing the dogs naked. So let it be written. So let it be done.

So I’m under water a little, if you gauge drowning on the Yelling at the Spouse Scale, which I do, I guess, even if the yelling wasn’t yelling so much as, you know, me helping Greg. Helping him become a better person, really. I give and I give.

Still, I’m under water a little.

A little breathless sometimes these days.

A little emotionally gaspy lately as I surface for a minute and drift back under, not weighed down so much that I can’t see or participate in the joy which surrounds me, but weighed down enough that I’m not as gentle with my people or with myself as I feel I should be. And not gentle about not being gentle, either.

I have Things to Say, though. Things to Write. Thoughts about the year almost past and the year swiftly coming. Ideas about how we might lay this one to rest and welcome the year almost upon us in ways that are more full of freedom than fear, more graceful than grim, and more mindful of relief than insisting on rigor. But I’m under water a little, so I’m not sure how to start. And I’m metaphorically naked and wet, too, and rather sure someone else should go chase the thoughts that keep running roughshod through my head; certain others are more equipped than me to run them down.

I don’t know how to unstick the log-jam when I’m under water. I’ve never been good at this part. I don’t have neat endings or lessons learned when I’m in this place. The best I can do is kick for the surface every now and then. But I made a promise a long time ago — to you and to me — that I’d write anyway, even from here. Even badly. Even unsure. Even when I’m simultaneously yelly and breathless. So here it is, friends. The truth as far as I can write it from here.

That’s how it’s going around these parts. And what I really want to know from you — my companions above and beneath the water, who sit in the mud with me, and wave in the dark and wait for the dawn — how are you? How are YOU these days? And how can we hold hands in the dark?

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The Touch, The Feel of Cocaine: The Fabric of Our Lives

November 19, 2015 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

There’s a bobby pin shoved in my bathtub drain right now, propping it ever-so-slightly open to let the bath water out, since the drain is finicky and only decides to open sometimes, just like my kids eating vegetables or doing their chores, all, “I just did that LAST WEEK,” and, “Seriously? AGAIN? I DO ALL THE WORK around here and NO ONE ELSE does ANYTHING, EVER.” My bathtub drain has a serious work ethic issue, and I? I am an enabler. Because instead of insisting it does its job, I just prop it open myself, using a bobby pin from the toothpaste-encrusted counter, or a fork from the plate of lasagna I snuck into the tub, or the leg of a Barbie who’s seen better days, all water logged and tangled and little bit moldy; a visual representation of how this mama can sometimes feel.

There’s a bobby pin shoved in my bathtub drain right now, and my bathroom sink doesn’t drain, either, or at least does so slowly and with great reluctance out of solidarity and sisterhood with the tub. I can still shave one leg or the other in it, dribbling off-brand shaving cream and stubbly leg hairs onto the floor, before the sink fills to capacity and must be drained, at which point it whines and fusses, making a glub, glub, glub sound for 15 minutes or so, but eventually I get the second leg shaved, so I’m not winning every battle, but I sure am winning the war.

None of this has anything to do with anything and neither does the next thing I’ll tell you.

“Did you bring us anything?” asked Cai, who’s 9 year old.

It’s the usual question after mommy’s been traveling, and I was in South Carolina last week (staying in a hotel with BOTH a tub AND a sink that drained!), so the kid was on a Need to Know. An urgent Need to Know basis.

“Did you bring us anything, Mom??”

I don’t always bring the kids things because a) five kids is a lot of things, and b) we do NOT need any more things in this house.

But this time I HAD. I had brought them something because I’d spoken about Jesus in the Mess at a lovely Southern Baptist Church where the women are smilers and huggers and would win Worldwide Hospitality Contests, hands down. I was called sugar and honey and darlin‘, and I drank sweet tea like a champ… like I was born to sweet tea drinking, y’all. And since there was a bazaar at this ladies’ event, I’d picked up sugar cookies iced like little pink pigs for my kids which I distributed and they ate with relish. I mean, not with relish, because that would be gross, but with great enjoyment, they ate their South Carolina cookies.

DSC00255And as I unpacked my suitcase, which was a miracle in itself, my usual M.O. being to leave it half full in my bedroom for months, I came across one other thing I’d brought them.

Oh yeah, I thought. This is awesome! And it was, because it was cool and interesting AND, for the mommy win, an educational item. I mean, I can’t get my kids to do their chores without rolling their eyes and making the same glub, glub, glub noise of reluctance as my bathroom sink, but I can educate the heck out of them. WINNING THE WAR, mamas. Winning the war.

I knew my kids, raised in the Pacific Northwest of our great United States hadn’t seen a sprig of cotton before, which I’d discussed with one of the bazaar ladies before she gifted me a piece. I knew this would be as fascinating to my kids as it was to me. After all, this is the fabric of our livesKids. The Fabric of our LIVES.

So I hauled Cai Cai back to my room and sat him on my unmade bed and said, “LOOK! Look at this, Cai. I brought this for you guys, too. Pig cookies and THIS. Isn’t this cool?” And I showed him the pretty bag with the cute red tie, because the ladies of the South do not give things that aren’t packaged adorably, not even when that thing is a piece of dried plant.

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“Do you know what this is, Cai?” I asked him.

“Yes, Mom,” he said, and, “Duh, Mom,” and, I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed that my cool thing wasn’t as cool as I thought it was, which is when he said, “It’s cocaine, right? That’s fluffier than I thought it would be. Pretty bag, though.”

Cocaine.

COCAINE, y’all.

It appears, therefore, my kids think Mommy travels to speak at churches and brings home baggies of cocaine. This isn’t exactly what I was hoping to accomplish with the whole parenting gig. On the bright side, they also think Southern church ladies package cocaine nicely. So that’s good?

In conclusion, I may not be winning the war anymore.

Send help.

With love,

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sealrock2P.S. We still a few spots available for the January 2016 Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat at a stunning beach house on the Oregon Coast. If you’re a writer or you know a writer who’s looking for a supportive community of writers and top-notch writing instruction in a relaxing environment, this is the retreat for you.

(Please Note: “Top-notch instruction” is offered by writing professors and *ahem* not by me, since I tend to write stories about bringing my children baggies of cocaine, which may not be exactly what you’re hoping to do with a writing career. I do, however, facilitate discussion groups and pour a mean glass of wine.)

You can find all the retreat details here, and you can always email me at fivekidsisalotofkids@gmail.com (put “retreat” in the subject line, please). I’m considering opening up a limited number of discounted, single occupancy bunkbeds for this retreat; if that interests you, let me know ASAP so I can send you the details. I’d love to spend a long weekend with you.