So sweet. And so gross.

I am a little under the weather. Since I spent a significant portion of yesterday afternoon in a barf cycle– which meant that I missed Cammy’s lacrosse tryouts which bums me out– my sweet daughters spent lots of time trying to make me feel better. Look at how they set me up:

Pillow from my bed. Wagon on floor was filled with stuffed animals. Special Cardinals blanket-- which belonged to Dave's beloved grandpa whose family are Cardinals fans. And laptop. Note barf bowl by my pillow.

Pillow from my bed. Wagon on floor was filled with stuffed animals. Special Cardinals blanket– which belonged to Dave’s beloved grandpa, a St. Louis fan. And my laptop. Note barf bowl by my pillow.

Not long after this photo was taken, Gabby brought me a cup of tea. She told me she had researched it, and it might not taste very good, but I should drink it all and it would help. So I did. It tasted sort of odd– but we have lots of odd-tasting tea in the cabinet. I assumed she had chosen one of those.

Um. No. She made tea out of some stuff growing in the yard. Lucky for me, I didn’t die from it– so this morning before school, she prepared two more packages for me. She’s such a sweetheart. Look at her little notes.

Look at the little notes she wrote me. Love that girl.

I am not drinking that.

    Friday Bullets



    Yesterday, someone told me I look just like Mary-Louise Parker. Um: nope. I may look familiar to you for some reason, but-- lovely as she is-- I do not look like her. Like, not even a little bit. You just fell victim to my "I think I know her" face.

    Yesterday, someone told me I look just like Mary-Louise Parker. Um: nope. I may look familiar to you for some reason, but– lovely as she is– I do not look like her. Like, not even a little bit. You just fell victim to my “I think I know her” face.


    • I have learned, over time, that I seem familiar to people for some reason. They approach me in public places to say, “Excuse me, aren’t you Kelly/ Jennifer/ Liz?……. Hi, do you remember meeting at this conference/ my friend’s party/ that concert?….. Can I just ask you, do we go to the same gym/ do you work in my building/ do you live in this 6-flat?…..Don’t I know you?”
    • On the same note: does this mean I have a mega-generic face upon which all other faces can easily be superimposed? -Because that’s just ego-crushing, am I right?
    • Public health-related note to that woman I saw, and that man my brother saw: do not walk barefoot down a city sidewalk. Oh my God, do not. I don’t care if your flip flop broke.
    • I have a plethora of hot peppers, from my garden and from my friend’s dad’s garden, with which I am currently making giardiniera. Or, hoping to make giardiniera. It might end up being a jar of vinegar and junk, I don’t know yet. Apparently it has to brine for a week. I’ll keep you posted.
    • I keep telling myself that, if I sit here long enough, my run will magically go for itself. So far this has not happened, so I guess I have to go chase it down. Have a great weekend!

      Julie V. Wildlife

      Yesterday morning, Gabby and I heard a thunk as we were finishing breakfast. Well, I should say: I only heard a thunk. Gabby, who happened to be turned toward the office window at the time, saw the whole thing go down: a good-sized bird flew into the office window at top speed. When I said, “Whoa. Bird?” She looked at me with big eyes. “Mom. There was an explosion of feathers.” We went into the office to find this amazing, perfect print on the glass:



      We did go outside and look for the bird, but– although feathers were, indeed, everywhere– the bird itself seemed to have survived the collision and flown away. A couple of things about that print, though:

      • Look at the detail on the wings.
      • Also look at the little feet. That’s crazy!
      • It’s hard to see unless you’re looking at the window, but the beak print is also there, kinda flat and crooked. If this poor bird didn’t break its break, I will be very surprised.
      • As Dave said, “Why is this bird so dusty?”
      • This only feeds my belief that birds are filthy, flying rodents.


        Thoughts from the first month…

        We have been in school for about four weeks now, which seems crazy but is true. Here are some things we are learning from this school year:

        • Gabby can’t remember her lunch situation. At all. I can get it completely ready on the counter and all she needs to do is put it in her lunch bag and she just. Cannot. Do it.
        • I remember that Cam’s beloved third grade teacher, Brandy W, used to line up the kids and give them all high fives at the end of the day. I actually think that would be useful encouragement at any age.
        • Conversation I had two weeks ago at 5:45am:
          • CAM: Mom, do we have any bouncy balls? I need one for a science experiment.
          • JULIE: When?
          • CAM: Oh, not until I have to leave for the bus.
        • Slightly (slightly) better conversation I had last night at about 9:00pm:
          • CAM: Mom, I need a clean glass jar to build an ecosystem in Biology.
          • JULIE: When?
          • CAM: Oh, not until tomorrow morning.
        • Based on the names of my current students, I’m thinking the name Alex really came into play for both genders about 20 years ago.
        • Addie J is a world champion sleeper and always has been; this year she has to get up much earlier than before, and I was a bit worried how that would go. Turns out, as long as you give her enough hours of sleep, she will happily get up at any hour. God she is just sweetness and light in a 9-year-old package.

          Not the reaction I was expecting.

          A friend of ours was hospitalized overnight with appendicitis. His wife posted a photo of him, doing a slightly doped-up thumbs-up for the camera. It’s cute and kind of funny, and I thought Addie– who LOOOOOOOVES Mr. O– would like to see it.

          Sometimes I’m an idiot. I forget how frequently Addie J rode around with Dad and me, on our way to his radiation treatments and doctor visits. I forget how often she saw someone she loved, smiling at her from a hospital bed. I forget that, because of her beloved papa, she has associated hospitals with loss.

          Addie burst into tears at the sight of the photo and I spent ten minutes comforting her and explaining what he has and that he will be okay. She went straight to the art table to make a get-well card, and then she went upstairs to tell Gabby (“Mom, I told Gabby there was bad news but I didn’t tell her what it was”), and finally she began to calm down when I reheated last night’s chicken wings and mac and cheese for her breakfast. (I know. I don’t want to hear it.) I thought she was all calmed down, but then as she left for school, she said quietly, “Mom, what does he have again?” And leaned against me, listening intently to my explanation of appendectomies and what a common and simple procedure it is.

          My poor sweet girl. I wish she had no memories to scare her like that.

            Never forget.


              Please God, let them all be this easy.

              [Name of child in question withheld, to preserve anonymity.]

              KID: Mom, I kind of like XXXX.

              JULIE: Oh yeah?

              KID: But only, like, a little bit, and I don’t actually think XXXX likes me.

              JULIE: Well, then XXXX must be a fool. And to be honest, I’m not super thrilled about you getting tangled up with a fool. I’m just saying.

              KID: Yeah, that’s true. Okay thanks Mom!! [flounces off]

                Clever, hilarious Gabby (again! She’s really on fire lately)

                Over Labor Day weekend, my mother-in-law married her love of many years, in a lovely and personal ceremony followed by a day of family time. Now, you should know that Dave came to me with a few little speech habits from his hometown, about which I love to tease him to this day. Case in point: he used to occasionally omit the “to be” from a phrase which begins with the word “needs:” “The lawn needs mowed before we leave,” he might say, or “Laundry needs done.” So on the wedding day, while we were all together and celebrating a beautiful day, I heard Dave’s brother Sam say that something on his car “needs replaced.”

                “Wait a minute,” I said. “Do you mean it needs to be replaced?”

                Sam looked at me. “The ‘to be’ is assumed,” he said.

                “No way,” I replied. “You can say, ‘It needs to be replaced,’ or even ‘it needs replacement,’ but you can’t just say, ‘it needs replaced.’ You can’t just leave out the ‘to be.’ It isn’t just assumed.” (You know how improper usage gets my back up.) Sam is an awesome brother-in-law, so please realize this entire conversation was light-hearted. Sam is also used to my constantly stumping for proper grammar, and he enjoys poking the angry bear that is my sensibilities: “It’s totally fine,” he said. I was not having it: “It’s not remotely fine. You have to say to be.” Sam was all, “I don’t have to say to be. If everyone realizes that I mean to be, then I don’t have to say to be.” I was like, “Sam. You have got to say TO BE.”

                Gabby suddenly cut in with the joke of the century: “Uncle Sam,”  she said haughtily, “my mom is a theatre professor. So, obviously, she knows a lot about to be or not to be.”

                Brought down the house. She is one of the funniest kids I know.

                  Well, that’s the end of my productivity today.

                  I have all kinds of stuff to do this morning AND I have to teach a class at noon AND THEN I have more to do this afternoon. But it’s all gone by the wayside, because one of my Facebook friends alerted me to the magical world of Googling your first name plus the word “meme.” I’ve already done about 17,000 people I know. Here are a few of my personal favorites with my own name. I saved them so that I can pull them out at opportune times and make Dave laugh.

                  (Side note: there’s a huge spider in a huge web in our front yard. Yesterday Dave and I had the following text conversation:

                  DAVE: FYI, the spider is out and backlit by the sun.

                  JULIE: ………Euphemism?

                  One of my favorite things in the world is to make Dave laugh. Okay. Back to the memes:)



                  This just speaks to my soul, y'all.

                  This just speaks to my soul, y’all.

                  Super hilarious because this is also me. I was that jackass who took the maximum amount of credits every semester.

                  Super hilarious because this is also me. I was that jackass who took the maximum amount of credits every semester.

                  I don't think this person looks like a Julie at all. Just saying.

                  I don’t think this person looks like a Julie at all. Just saying. This is a Karen or a Jenna or an Anna or a Nicole. Not a Julie.

                  OMG this is so true. I am a sucker for memes.

                  OMG this is so true. I am a sucker for memes.

                  Okay, and also in honor of Kim Davis being jailed because she keeps trying to use a religious excuse for not doing her government job (shouldn’t that little phrase be enough to put a stop to this blatant and unlawful discrimination?), I made this meme just for her. Enjoy!

                    Gabby’s no fool.

                    GABBY: Mom, someone brought $600 cash to school and lost it all.

                    JULIE: What? How?

                    GABBY: I don’t know.

                    JULIE: Why did they bring $600 cash to school? Why did they even have $600 cash?

                    GABBY: I don’t know. What would you do if I brought $600 cash to school and lost it all?

                    JULIE: Put you in a foster home.

                    GABBY: That’s what I thought.


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