I Love You, and I Have a Wonderful Plan for Your Valentine Life

February 14, 2018 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

Dear Friends,

I love you, and I have a wonderful plan for your Valentine life. Now, USUALLY Greg and I like to have the flu on Valentine’s Day. Or watch Demolition Man because we’re die hard romantics. I know, I know — #relationshipgoals. It’s just, as I’ve said before, the problem with Valentine’s Day is it’s in February, and the problem with February is it’s trying to kill me. As much as I WANT to buy into a culturally manufactured holiday to prove we love each other, I JUST DO NOT HAVE IT IN ME. I’m tired. Exhausted. ALL I WANT IN ALL THE WORLD IS TO SIT ON MY COUCH WITH PIZZA. 

This year, though, my friend Bryan Erwin solved Valentine’s Day, and he didn’t just solve it for me, he solved it for US. The thing about Bryan is, we can trust him 90%. He’s been a stay-at-home dad, he has a wicked sense of humor, and he GETS IT. He is AS TIRED AS THE REST OF US, friends. He UNDERSTANDS IT ALL. In the interest of full disclosure, I assessed the other 10% on the fact that Bryan is his kids’ PTA president, so he’s an overachiever who occasionally makes the rest of us look bad, but we shall forgive him for this lapse in judgement because none of us is perfect, yes? Yes. I knew you’d understand.

Bryan made us a movie! It’s called FIXED, and it’s the story of Allan, a father of three who, as is wont to happen, finds himself with an appointment for a vasectomy and an epic midlife crisis. Oh, bless Allan’s sweet heart. (It’s gonna be OK, Allan. I’m on, like, my 6th midlife crisis, and it gets better after every one.)

Bryan met his cowriter, Alonso Mayo, in the yard of his son’s preschool, and they developed FIXED from their desire to show marriage and parenthood as “the raw, loud, sticky, scary mess of hilarious human emotions that it is.” Um, yep. Right up my alley, man. Magic and mess; I’m always in.

BEST PART, though? YOU CAN ONLY SEE FIXED SITTING ON YOUR COUCH AT HOME. Preferably with pizza. BRYAN GETS US, y’all. It’s available on Amazon Video, iTunes, YouTube, and cable-on-demand.

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! And if you screwed up and made plans to go OUT tonight, never fear… you can still watch FIXED this weekend. 🙂 

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. No, this is not a sponsored post. I don’t do those. I received zero compensation for this post. (Blah, blah, blah.) I just think sitting on my ass with a funny movie on V-Day is a good idea, and I think my friends are cool.  

 

Greg Said I Can Have a Domesticated Fox

February 12, 2018 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Greg said I can have a domesticated fox. He also says he did not say I can have a domesticated fox, but he’s wrong about the second one.

Specifically, our conversation went like this:

“Hey, Beth, did you know the Russians spent the last 60 years selectively breeding wild foxes to create a domesticated version? They actually did it. The science is amaz…”

“OH MY GOSH, WE’RE GETTING A FOX?”

“No, we’re not getting a f…”

“We’re getting a fox! WE’RE GETTING A FOX. KIDS?? Listen up! Dad says we can have a FOX.” 

**kids cheering**

“Beth. Beth! We are NOT getting a fox.”

“Of COURSE we’re getting a fox. You JUST SAID there are DOMESTICATED FOXES in the world. What POSSIBLE REASON do you have for NOT GETTING a fox?”

“Well, they make terrible pets. They’re only domesticated. Like, they can’t survive in the wild, and they’re happy around people. But they’re not necessarily good at living in the house, and they tend to mark their territory, including indoors.”

“OMG. That’s the stupidest reason EVER, Greg, not to get a fox. Our children are all feral, and we keep them. One of them peed on the inside garage walls. Several kept a poop collection under the front porch. God knows, we’ve cleaned urine and feces off nearly EVERY surface and textile in this house, thanks to myriad small creatures, human and otherwise. And I pooped the closet. Marking his territory is just a reason why a fox will fit in perfectly with this family.”

Greg rolled his eyes. It’s how he flirts with me. “You can’t just import a fox to the States.” 

“According to Google and PBS, though, you CAN, Greg. You CAN import a domesticated fox to the States for just $9,000.” 

“Right. NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS, Beth. Nine THOUSAND.”

“I hear you, Greg. I hear what you’re saying loud and clear. Got it, kids? We just need to raise $9,000 and then we get to have a fox. A WHOLE FOX.”

“And they’re specifically outlawed in Oregon…”

“So noted. Step 1: Raise $9,000. Step 2: Change Oregon State law. Step 3: WE’RE GETTING A FOX.” 

In conclusion, Greg made sure to let me know there are domesticated foxes and then helpfully outlined what I need to do to procure one of my very own, which is pretty much exactly the same as saying I can have one. Yes? Yes. I knew you’d understand.

With love (and great excitement),

 

 

 

P.S. FYI, I think we’re going to start with a girl fox. I shall name her Megan (obviously). Then we’ll get a boy fox and name him Michael J. They will have sweet baby foxes. We will keep one of the boy kits and name him George because George Fox was a weird weirdo who was weird and counter-cultural and founded Quakerism because he radically believed there is that of God in every person, made, as we are, in God’s own image. I cannot think of a better reminder of the tenets of our faith than a baby fox named George. Next time Greg panics even though he said I can have a fox, I’ll remind him it’s because it’s what Jesus wants for us, else why would he have brought the article to Greg’s attention in the first place? WHY are we getting a fox, Greg? DIVINE INTERVENTION is why. And also, it will remind us of our FAITH. Don’t argue with me about this; argue with GOD.

P.P.S. OMG! GUESS WHAT? I JUST REALIZED WE’LL NEED TO SELL THE OTHER KITS. To good homes, of course. But the average litter for a fox is 4-6 kits… and it’s not uncommon to go significantly higher… up to 13 (!). THAT MEANS I’VE ALREADY SOLVED THE $9,000 QUESTION. I just need to buy Megan and Michael J. for $18,000, have one litter of minimum 4 kits, keep one, and sell 3 for $27,000 total. I JUST MADE US $9,000, GREG. You’re welcome. 

P.P.P.S. While we wait for our foxes to arrive, our next Golden Retriever foster dog is coming. Her name is Nikki, and she’s 3 months old. I CAN HARDLY STAND HOW ADORABLE SHE IS. 

P.P.P.P.S.

 

 

I Accepted on Behalf of All of Us. Also, I’m Going to Need a Trophy Case.

February 1, 2018 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

There’s always a fine line to walk between celebrating one’s success among friends and tooting one’s own horn. I’m going to go ahead and call this the former as I tell you I WON A LOT OF AWARDS THIS WEEK. 

A lot, a lot, friends. 

But I want you to know, as I accepted these and had my moment behind the podium* to speak to the masses**, I made sure the crowd understood I was accepting them on behalf of ALL of us. All of us mamas. And all of us parents. And all of us HUMANS who somehow ENDURE and BEAR WITNESS to each other again and again.

I was nominated*** in myriad categories, and I won a bunch of them, but I’m only going to give you a quick tour of my favorite hardware from the ceremony because I don’t want to brag too, too much. I’ll save the rest for another time.

…..

Award #1: SMOTHERED ZERO PEOPLE WITH A PILLOW

Lots of humans have smothered zero people with a pillow, and I am one of them! Huzzah! I accepted this award with a lengthy speech to itemize All the Things for which I COULD HAVE Smothered People but DIDN’T. It was very passionate. Also, loud. Also-also, some of the crowd put on headphones and Stopped Listening, and there were a few who Rolled Their Eyes****, but I don’t feel like any of that undermines the fact that I both earned and deserve this trophy which so beautifully memorializes my excellent Self-Control. 

…..

Award #2: TOOK MY MEDS

It’s true! I did. 

…..

Award #3: INJURY FREE WORKPLACE

 

Sixty minutes, friends. Sixty WHOLE MINUTES injury-free around here. I’ll be honest, we almost didn’t qualify, but somehow, at the last minute, we pulled it off. 

…..

Award #4: HA HA JUST KIDDING

Awarded for all kinds of Ha Ha Just Kidding situations, this trophy only symbolically says Made the Bed, which is obviously not a thing that happens around here because science, thank God, has put the kibosh on bed-making. I mean, I was given this trophy for Making the Bed (Ha Ha Just Kidding), but I also qualified for other categories of Ha Ha Just Kidding, including Showered Today, Found Clean Panties on the First Try, and Drank My Coffee While It Was Still Hot.

….

In conclusion, I’m going to need a really big trophy case, because there are more***** where these came from******, and I’m bound to keep winning and winning. 

With love,

 

 

 

*Podium: aka, the kitchen table.
**The Masses: Several children, all apparently mine, some sans pants, two muddy dogs, and Greg.
***I Was Nominated: with special thanks to Me for nominating myself.
****A Few Who Rolled Their Eyes: Greg Woolsey.
*****There Are More: OF COURSE there are more. There are more already made, AND there are more to come. For example, I am currently reading Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach and have decided my next trophy ought to be for Not Coercing Greg into Having Sex in Front of a Medical Audience for the Purposes of 4D Research like Mary, my hero, did her husband, Ed. I mean, YES I made Greg believe we were getting a miniature horse, and YES, I’m blessing him with a house full of Golden Retrievers, but it turns out I HAVE NEVER, EVER FLOWN HIM TO ENGLAND TO PARTICIPATE IN SEX STUDIES. I am a Paragon of Virtue. Now to make that concise enough to go on a trophy. I’m open to suggestions.
******Where These Came From: My friend, Shelley, who, for reasons I don’t understand, was getting rid of trophies, instead of awarding them to herself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Also from our local trophy store where the receptionist was very, very confused and troubled by how I intended to repurpose these. On the bright side, I think that lady prayed for me when I left.

 

 

I know what to do now! All is not lost.

January 23, 2018 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

Sometimes Greg asks me weird questions. I mean, I think he means well. He’s just not always logical. 

Like, when I told him we were getting a free piano last week, Greg said, “Where are we going to put it?” Which is also what our kids said. I can only assume it’s Greg’s influence on them.

I think a more appropriate response is, “Oh my gosh; YAY! How did you manage to snag a free piano, Beth? Are you made out of MAGIC?” Or, “That is the BEST NEWS EVER. How soon can we pick it up?” 

Instead, I got, “Where are we going to put it?” Followed by, “And who exactly do you think is picking it up?” Followed by eye rolling and sighing and what basically amounts to All the Cues of Grave Reluctance. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s OK, though. Greg I have been married a Very Long Time now, so I know he responds this way to Good News. He just needs time to realize my plans are the Best Ever. 

Last month, just in time for Christmas, I told him, “I Know What to Do Now.” And, “All Our Problems Are Solved!” And, “Even Though Our World Is Absurd and Sad Right Now, I HAVE A PLAN FOR UNLIMITED JOY.”

“WE ARE GOING TO HAVE ALL THE PUPPIES, GREG.
Did you know the Golden Retriever Rescue organization in Oregon
LETS YOU FOSTER DOGS?
UNLIMITED GOLDEN RETRIEVERS.
(Well, they might have limits, but, still…
DOGS FOR DAYS!)”

Greg said, “Hooray!”

Except minus the word hooray and plus the word no. 

ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THING.

Then he looked at me disdainfully for a while. 

Then he sighed for a couple weeks.

Then he said, “Fine. You have to pick up all the poop.”

YAAAAAYYYY!

So our free piano is lovely…

… and we’re on foster dog #2, the handsomest, sweetest, funniest, hugest, FARTIEST Golden Retriever in the world. (Food transitions are hard, man.)

In conclusion, I know what to do now. Or, at least, a teeny, TINY bit of what to do, which, mathematically speaking is INFINITY TIMES more than what I knew before. I mean, YES, our world is all effed up. And YES, the news is discouraging Every Single Day; devastating on the days it’s not discouraging. And YES, sometimes it’s really, super extra hard to put on clothes and to know how to exist in a world like this. BUT WE CAN FILL OUR HOUSE WITH GOLDEN DOGS, SO ALL IS NOT LOST. All is not lost when we spread compassion wherever we can.

With love to you, friends, and extra dog hairs if anyone needs some,

 

 

 

P.S. What are you doing that brings you joy these days? ‘Cause I could use a longer list. 

P.P.S. The gigantic baby above — a 90 lb. bag of awesome — is moving to his new home on Friday which means ANOTHER GOLDEN IS ON THE WAY TO OUR HOUSE SOON. YIPPEE!

P.P.P.S. This is pretty much Greg and me, where Greg plays the role of Karen:

 

 

I DID IT FOR US, GREG. 

I Got Dressed Today (and I Don’t Think That Bar Is Particularly Low)

January 17, 2018 in Beth, But Seriously by Beth Woolsey

I don’t want to brag, but I’m a big goal setter, and I usually accomplish my goals, too. Last night, for example, I thought about what I really wanted for myself today (it’s important to plan ahead, you know), and I decided I’d set a goal to Get Dressed. Friends, I DID IT. I got dressed today! All the way dressed, including panties and shoes, because when I do goals, I do thorough goals.

I realize this sounds like a Setting the Bar Low piece, and it is, I guess, but it also isn’t. It’s been hard lately to get up while it’s still morning, to wash my face, to brush my teeth, to shower more than once/week, and, frankly, even that often feels like a chore. I mean, I like being clean, it’s just that that’s becoming more of a memory or an ideal at this point and not so much a reality. 

I’m not worried, yet, about depression rearing its head. To be clear, that’s exactly what it’s doing, but I’m still winning, and this is just part of it. A new skirmish in an ongoing war, but I have depression outgunned for now.

Last night, I just wanted to lay on my couch, face down in smashed Cheerio shards and wispy dog hair, prone and unmoving, breathing through the corners of my mouth. I managed to make it through yesterday, but barely, and I wanted today to be better.

Now, if I had my druthers, I’d wave my magic wand and be All the Way Better, Right Now. Like the magician who reappears after her trick in a puff of smoke, a slinky sequined dress, and stilletos, hair perfectly coiffed and hand upraised. TA DA! Sadly, though, my wand is on the fritz, so I have to try for better the old fashioned way. Incrementally, which is a real bummer. 

So I set a goal. One thing about today that I wanted to be different than yesterday. I picked Wearing Clothes. I wanted to pick wearing clothes, grocery shopping, writing, actually responding to emails instead of reading them and intending to respond, showering, scheduling, budgeting, and cleaning my room, but I know better. One thing at a time, Beth, for sustainable change. One thing at a time for a lot longer than I would wish. One thing at a time because, in a shocking twist, Something Sometimes is often healthier than the All or Nothing I prefer

In conclusion, I got dressed today, friends. I planned it, I prepared diligently, and I achieved my goal. Rejoice with me! And feel proud of yourself, too, please. Sometimes, reaching for the goals that seem small to others are, in fact, making a choice to live. 

With love,

In Case You Need Thumb Seeds, Tiny Watermelons, Or A New President, Which Are Basically The Same Thing…

January 12, 2018 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

You know how sometimes you wish you had more than two thumbs to give? Like, when you’re all, TWO THUMBS UP to your friends but then you wish you had three thumbs because they brought cookies? Or four because they said your kids probably won’t all grow up to be serial killers? In those moments, I’m all, “I REGRET THAT I HAVE BUT TWO THUMBS TO GIVE, friends.” They deserve so much more. 

This isn’t just me. It can’t be. I mean, I know it’s just anecdotal evidence, but Facebook added a love button because sometimes like simply isn’t enough. I think they still need to add a vomit button and a rolling-eyes button given our current political environment, but still, Facebook is at least attempting to allow us to share the scope of our emotion, and I appreciate that.

I texted my friend Kasey a four-thumber the other night…

“Four Thumbs Up <- That’s if I had 4 thumbs.”

…and right away, she understood not just my approval but my deep desire for additional thumbs. 

If you cut off your big toes thumbs might grow in their place.”

Kasey gets me. She really does. I like her because she’s not just a problem solver, she thinks of practical solutions. Still, I had a few questions, for clarity, you know?

Do I cut them off with scissors? Or a knife? Or pull them off? Like, does the cut have to be straight and even for the thumbs to grow? And do I have to put thumb seeds in my empty toe holes? Does it only work with my big toes? Or can I cut off all my toes and have 10 thumbs down there?”

I’m so glad I asked, friends. Kasey initially assumed a certain level of Toe Thumb awareness on my part, but I’m a true Toe Thumb novice. 

For sure a knife. A really really big one. Make sure you cut from the bottom up if you want the thumbs to be up. Thumbs down on your feet would be embarrassing. Yes you need thumb seeds in the big toe holes. Make sure it is centered and not wonky. Very bad things happen if your seeds are placed wonky. You can get thumb seeds at Home Depot. It only works with your big toes. I highly recommend not cutting off all your other toes.”

Conclusion? ASK QUESTIONS. Nobody likes a know-it-all, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say the very last thing you want is upside down Toe Thumbs.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. If you’re looking for toe seeds at Home Depot, Kasey offered some advice on where to find them. 

Thanks! Do you know where at Home Depot the Thumb Seeds are? I assume not with the vegetable seeds; that would be weird since thumbs are obviously not vegetables. I just need to know where to tell Greg to look. I thought maybe with the pipes and/or screws since those are the parts for making robots?” “Defs not by vegetables that would just be inappropriate and disgusting. I believe they are near the screws and you should probably tell Greg to pick up a couple of those screws just in case too. They can be helpful in the rare case that they fall off.”

P.P.S. I also looked up “Thumb Seeds” on Amazon, as one does, hoping to find out whether I can have them shipped to my door and save myself the trip to Home Depot. 

I have several take-always from the search results, as follows:

A) Amazon verified Kasey’s advice by providing product info for a prosthetic thumb in case growing your own thumbs from seed proves too difficult, a pocket knife for toe severing, and thumb seeds. Well done, Amazon. Well done.

B) Clearly the seller has to call these “thumb watermelon seeds” because the selling of human body parts is prohibited, presumably even in seed form, but, by looking at the picture, one can see they are, in fact, advertising the thumb.

C) Microscopic watermelons are also a thing, which I didn’t know prior to this search. I presume these watermelons, each of which must be peeled separately in order to eat them, are for people who are exceedingly bored and thus can allot time to tiny watermelon peeling. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I know not who these people are, but I would like one afternoon to be them, please.

P.P.P.S. Following the horrific “shitholes” comment by President Trump yesterday, one of you (I’m looking at you, Mehera) suggested we elect Jed Bartlet president, instead. I’m in favor. Also acceptable, in no particular order: Jean Luc Picard, Michelle Obama, Mike Rowe, a bag of chips, my Golden Retriever Zoey, Sarah Silverman, Elizabeth Warren, a rock, The Rock, that one flight attendant who had enough of his job and pulled the emergency exit door on the tarmac so he could escape via life raft slide, my favorite barista Ian from the Coffee Cottage, Stampy the Minecraft YouTuber, Boss Baby, Gayle King, Ira Flatow, or these teeny, tiny watermelons that look like thumbs. Sheesh. 

On the New Year, Choosing a Word, and Being Wilder on Purpose

January 2, 2018 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

I’ve never picked a personal Word for the Year, even though I’m pretty sure all the popular kids do it.

I assume I don’t pick one because I’m lazy.

Or maybe because I’m busy.

Or, more honestly, probably because I’m too invested in making sure I don’t have time alone with myself to actually sit and be quiet and think about what I want, who I want to be, and how best to love this broken, shaky, beautiful world around me.

So, instead of sussing a Word for the Year, I’ve spent the last week trying new Instant Pot recipes, baking No Knead Crusty Dutch Oven Bread, and researching whether or not it’s possible to dry the starter for Amish Friendship Bread, like this, so I can eat it whenever I want without needing Actual Friends to pass it along to me. (Answer: I STILL DON’T KNOW AND THIS BOTHERS ME). 

My friends come up with cool words every year like BRAVE and LET IT GO and LOVE BIGGER, and you know what? They do it. They Pay Attention to their words. They let themselves be challenged. They try and they fail and then they keep trying which is success as far as I’m concerned, and so they change themselves in important and profound ways. 

I want to be like them.

But I’m not.

I’m more… muddled, I guess. Murky. A maze of both Magic and Mess. And also, I don’t know what to make of Things Lately. Like 2017. I don’t know what to make of that. Cluster Fuck seems too mild, and Dumpster Fire is downright adorable now, from Good Old Days of 2016. Remember that? When the fire was still contained in the dumpster? THAT WAS SO FANTASTIC, friends! I feel like we should apologize to the dumpster, you know? Like we maligned the dumpster without cause.

So, while I love seeing my friends’ words like Hope, and Thrive, and BE, and Listen, I can’t quite wrap my brain or my heart around just the joyful, contemplative goals right now. They feel… important, but also… incomplete. I’m happy for the New Year, I’m grateful for a symbolic fresh start, but I’m also mourning all the things that died last year, and I’m not sure my Expectations and Mirages are done dying yet. I still hear the death throes, so brushing off my hands and declaring Mourning Over feels premature. But I can’t choose Mourn as my word, either, because I don’t want to only lament what’s lost. I’m too grateful for that. Too glad to have my people. Too thrilled with this utterly strange, wild life. 

Is there a space, I wonder, between positive and negative? Between darkness and light? And, if so, how do I choose Dusk or Dawn, where light and dark converge, instead of Midnight or High Noon? What’s the word for that one? Where I’m content and confused, mixed and a little mangled, heavy-hearted and hopeful, but OK with all that? Where’s the quantum magic that takes us more than one place at once? Lost and found at the same time and somehow more free because of it?

Where do we get to be complex? Fully human with all the grand, gory bits that entails, and still made in the very Image of God? In the Image of Love? In the Image of all that is Divine and perfect? 

Where is that place, and how do I find it in 2018? Remember it in a word? 

I sat on the couch tonight, my back and brain aching from Doing All the Things this holiday season; my heart on cruise control because sometimes I Just Cannot Deal with all the Heart Things; my mouth running to remind kids of chores and chastising them for “not remembering” their work, as though that’s not simply part of the Human Condition.

I sat on the couch tonight, and I thought about the complexity of the year gone by and the undoubted challenges in the year ahead.

I sat on the couch tonight, and I thought about the joy and grief of wandering in the wilderness, which is where we’ve found ourselves in this season. I thought about how glad I am discard the false idol of safety and to release the pressure to conform in favor of being free to love my neighbor as myself.

I thought about what it is to be wild like the earth shakers and game changers.

I thought about what it might be to be wilder than I allow right now.

I thought about what it would look like to acknowledge I’m complex. 

To be fierce and a little feral.

To welcome both strength and weakness. To rest in either one. To fight neither.

I thought about what it might mean to allow myself to be intense without apology; to stop listening to the voices that tell me I’m too much; to give free rein to fervent kindness, bold joy, deep grief, and love which never fails. Even when they arrive in rapid succession. Even when they overlap and make things messier.

I thought about being wild.

I thought about what it might mean to be wilder. To be more free. To be more me, as I was made to be. As though I’m worth pursuing, even in the tangle and chaos of the wild. Especially there. 

So I picked my word. 

Be wilder.

Which is, of course, also bewilder. 

Because I want to remind myself that it’s good and right to become ever more free. And it’s also OK that there’s going to be some confusion. Some consternation. Some complexity. Some muck and some mess.

Welcome, Wild Ones. Come and be free.

With love,