Small Talk

Whenever I am in the Valley visiting my Mom, I generally expect to run into someone that I know when I am out in public so I try to look presentable and prepare myself for awkward small talk as much as possible, and so I was not even surprised when I saw Julie in the reception room after the Christmas recital that night.

I had actually seen her a little while back, at our 20 year high school reunion, but we never really had a chance to talk. Julie and I had grown up together in Sedro-Woolley, and we had attended the same church for a number of years.  She and I had had several mutual friends but were never really close friends with each other.

There was a short moment in time, during the first few months of ninth grade, when Julie and I sat on the floor in the hallway together everyday during lunch.  Neither of us ate lunch; me because I was terrified of getting diarrhea and not being able to hold it until I got home from school, and I’m not sure why Julie didn’t eat lunch because I never asked her.  We spent 30 uninterrupted minutes together everyday, but we never shared secrets. We told jokes and funny stories and laughed a lot, but I can’t say that we really knew anything about each other.

I had not seen Julie since high school, and the only thing that I could remember about that night at the reunion was when a few of us were standing around talking, and for some reason I felt the need to ask her, “Are you happy?”  She responded by laughing and saying, “Um yeah, I mean…yeah.”

The awkwardness should have ended there, but I felt the need to take it a step further by saying, “You can totally tell me if you’re not happy.”

Her stunned expression told me, “Go home Whitney, you are drunk.”

Fast forward to the night of the Christmas recital.  I could tell by the way that she was hiding behind the punch bowl that she was just as uncomfortable to be there as I was.  It is on occasions such as these when I can see Dave Button coming out in my DNA, because where most people would have just pretended that they had not seen each other in order to avoid an awkward encounter, I walked straight over to her and made her give me a hug.  The feigned expression of joy on her face told me that she was not as happy to see me as I was to see her, and yet for some reason I continued to prolong the torture.

“How are you? How have you been?” I asked her.  She stammered, “Good, I’m good! How are you? Are you good?”  I reassured her that I was good as well, and then we stood there in silence for an uncomfortable length of time; like a good twenty seconds.  She had turned to look for her kids, and I could tell that she was about to bolt, so I just turned to her and said sincerely, “Hey wait, let’s chat for a minute.  I really wanted to catch up with you at the reunion, but there were so many people there, and I had had way too much to drink, so tell me what you’ve been up to!”

As Julie began to tell me a few things about her life, I could not help but wander off in thought.  It seemed as though she was exactly the same as she was in high school, which meant that she was most likely still a very conservative christian.  I had lost a lot of friends when I “came out” and I knew that she was still friends with some of those who had turned their backs on me many years ago.  When I asked her who she is still friends with from high school, she named the one person who was my arch-nemesis, and that is when I blacked out a little bit.  I am pretty sure that I have a little PTSD when it comes to being in church, and being around “churchy” people, and for some reason it makes me feel the need to act as inappropriately as possible.

First I asked her if she was going to the church that the Christmas recital was being held in, and she said that she wasn’t, but that she had some friends who had kids that were in the choir.  I told her that that’s why I was there as well, because one of my best friends had 2 boys that were in the choir as well, so I was there to show my support.  Actually what I said was, “I hope my friend knows what a good friend I am to come to this thing because I really hate going to shit like this.”

Then I asked her if she had fun at the 20 year reunion, and she was like, “Yeah, it was pretty fun to see everyone.”  When she asked me the same question, I replied, “Oh man, it was a blast!  A bunch of us stayed for the after-party at the casino, and then Katie, Matthew and I went to the high school tennis courts and climbed over (I crawled under) the fence and just laid in the middle of the football field laughing, and telling stories, and acting all crazy.”

Julie’s response was, “Wow, a bunch of 40 year olds at the tennis courts, that must have been a sight!  We aren’t really as cool as we used to be, you know.”

I said, “Hey, speak for yourself!  We are totally just as cool, and in fact I think that we are even cooler now than we were back then.  Also, we’re not 40 quite yet.”

As we were talking I noticed a little girl running around, and I thought that she looked really familiar.  I asked Julie, “Hey, isn’t that Jessica’s little girl?”  Julie looked at her and just shrugged her shoulders.  I said, “I’m pretty sure that is Jessica’s kid, oh yeah now I see Jessica’s wife over there, but I don’t think that Jessica is here.”

Julie appeared shocked when she said, “Jessica’s…WIFE?!”

Me: “Yeah, Jessica’s wife; didn’t you know that Jessica is a lesbian?”  Julie started to stammer a bit, and it made me wonder if she somehow missed the memo that I am a lesbian as well.

I saw my friends walking into the reception area and I waved for them to come over.  I told Julie, “Hey, let me introduce you to my friends who invited me here.”  Julie looked like she was about to make a run for it, but Brianna and Willie walked over before she had a chance to make her exit.

I said, “Hey guys, this is one of my old friends from high school, Julie; and Julie, these are my great friends, Brianna and Willie!”

They all shook hands, and I could tell that Brianna was wracking her brain trying to remember if I’ve told her any Julie stories, and so I went on to say, “Julie and I went to the same church back in high school.”  Brianna gave me a knowing smile and was like, “Oh yeah, cool!”  I explained to Julie that Brianna and Willie and I all met in college.

Julie said, “It is actually kind of crazy that I ran into you tonight, Whitney, because lately I have been running into all sorts of people from my past, and it is kind of fun to remember the good old days.”

I said, “I know what you mean!  Last year one of my friends from Australia came to visit me in Seattle, and it was like a real full-circle kind of experience.  It has been so long since I lived in Australia that it sort of feels like it was a dream or something, you know?”

Julie said, “You lived in Australia?”

Me: “Yeah, I was a missionary there for several years right out of high school.”

Julie: “Oh that’s really cool!”

There are so many positive directions that the conversation could have gone from there, but instead I chose to just let the following words fall out of my mouth:

“Yeah, it was an amazing experience. It was so great to see my Aussie friend again, and we had a great time up until I got drunk and asked him if I could borrow some sperm…”

Brianna and Willie both burst out laughing, and Julie just looked at me with giant eyes and said, “What did you just say?  Did you say ‘sperm’?”

Until I had witnessed the shock and horror on Julie’s face, I hadn’t considered that it was probably not the best environment to be using words like “drunk” and “sperm”.   I mean, it was a Christmas recital after all, and more specifically it was a Christmas recital at a conservative church in a very small town.  I wanted to explain myself to Julie by telling her that I might still want to have a baby, and if I had a baby it would have to be through artificial insemination or adoption due to my sexual orientation, and if I had to choose a donor then my Aussie friend would be the perfect choice, but he might feel like it was a terrible sin to bring a child into the world to be raised by a couple of chubby lesbians, so he probably wasn’t the best person for me to ask, but I did not have time to explain any of this because Julie had literally made a run for it.

I looked at Brianna and Willie who were both practically crying because they were laughing so hard, and I asked them, “Oh my God, why didn’t you stop me from saying all that?!?!”

Brianna was like, “How were we supposed to know that you were going to go there??  I mean, we really had no idea…”

I said, “She probably thinks that I’m a sex crazed alcoholic!”

Brianna said, “Well…aren’t you?”

I said, “Shut your face, Bri!  I guess I just forgot that we didn’t all move away from the Valley and become horrible people.  Oh, and by the way, I hope that you appreciate me coming to this recital thing because you know I hate going to shit like this.”

Brianna said, “You know we appreciate it.”

I said, “Good, because this is all your fault.  Now can we please go home and drink beer like normal people?”

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There is Still at Least One use for a Landline.

IMG_1453My Mom told me that the other day she couldn’t find her cell phone, so she used her land-line phone to call Auntie Verna.

Auntie V:  “Hello?”

Mom:  “Yeah, I can’t find my cell phone, so I was wondering if you could call me so I can hear it ringing?”

Auntie V:  “Which phone are you calling me from?”

Mom:  “The one in the kitchen…”

Auntie V:  “Why didn’t you just call your cell phone with that phone then, dumbass?”

Mom:  “Oh. I hadn’t even thought of that…”

After she told me the story, I shook my head and asked her, “Mom, do you sometimes even amaze yourself?”

Mom grinned and said, “Yeah.”

The Impromtu Family Reunion at Subway.

1979680_10152227791645862_1644103267_nMom and I ran into my Dad at the Subway on Cook Road yesterday.  We had stopped there for dinner on the way to a play in Bellingham, and while we were eating, low and behold, in walks Dave Button!
Mom gave him the other half of her sandwich, but she complained about it later when she didn’t have anything to snack on.  Dad tried to steal half of my sandwich as well, but I called him out on it as he was trying to shove it in his pocket.
Me:  “What if Mom and I weren’t here tonight?  Would you have starved?”
Dad:  “No, I would’ve taken a bite of someone else’s sandwich…”
Me:  “That’s not even funny, because you probably would!”
Dad:  “You wouldn’t believe how much food people waste!  I’m just doing my part to help the environment.”
Of course I also teased him about his hair hat that makes him look like he has doll hair on the top of his head.  I asked him why he even bought such a hideous hat, and he said, “What do you mean, ‘why’?  I’m losing my hair and I have a snaggle tooth.  When you get to be my age and start losing your teeth and your hair, then you will understand.  The top of my head gets cold!”
Me:  “First of all, most women don’t get bald spots on top of their heads, and even if I ever do, I still would never wear a hat with doll-hair on it!  I would wear my Seahawks beanie to cover my bald spot, and to keep my head warm, and where is your Seahawks beanie by the way?  I would also purchase dentures that fit my mouth; if and when I begin to lose my teeth.  I wouldn’t be like George Washington and carve a new tooth out of wood.”
As if on cue, Dad took his partial denture out of his mouth at the table, in order to remove a piece of lettuce.  With one of his front teeth missing out of his mouth he said, “I don’t wear dentures; I wear a partial and it fits my mouth fine…”
Mom and I cracked up.
Me:  “Dad, you just said yourself that you have a ‘snaggle-tooth’ and the one tooth that is a snaggle-tooth, is the only tooth in your mouth that isn’t real.  It’s bigger than your other teeth!  Did you get it in Mexico or something?  Did you steal it off of a horse?”
Dad, still missing one of his front teeth, replied, “Jeesh!  We’ve got a feisty one here tonight, Margaret…”
Mom:  “You have to be careful with what you say to Whitney, because everything you say can and will be used against you on her blog.”
Dad:  “I’ve seen some of the blogs that she’s written about you, and they’re not very flattering.  They’re not all true, are they…?”
Mom grinned sheepishly:  “Well…yes.”
Dad laughed:  “I guess you can’t blame her for writing about it then, huh?”
Mom shrugged and smiled.
Me:  “Mom you secretly love it.  I’ve practically made you famous!”
Mom:  “Yeah, famous for farting.”
Dad:  “Ladies don’t pass gas.  You don’t really pass gas that much, do you Margaret.?”
Again Mom grinned sheepishly:  “Well…yes.”
Dad and I cracked up.
When I showed Mom and Dad the pictures on my phone, Mom said, “Oh god, why didn’t you tell me how awful my hair looked!”
Dad said, “My hair looks GREAT!”
Me:  “Dad, seriously?  It looks like Davy Crocket made a coonskin cap out of possum roadkill, and now you are proudly displaying it on top of your head.”
Dad:  “My customers love it!  They say that it gives me character.”
Me:  “Dad, you ARE a Character!  You don’t need anything to give you MORE character.”
Dad:  “Well that’s about the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me!”
Me:  “Do your cats get frightened when they see you wearing your hair-hat?  They might think that you will make a hat out of them next…”
Dad:  “Have you met our new cat, Sammy?  She’s so cute!”
Me:  “You mean the one that you make me talk to over the phone?  The one that you spayed twice?”
Mom:  “You spayed her twice?!  How in the world did that happen?!”
Dad:  “Well I didn’t do it on purpose.  We adopted her, and we didn’t know that she was already spayed, so she ended up getting spay-ded twice.  Poor little thing.  She was so upset about it.”
Me:  “Of course she was upset!  She got spay-ded twice!  How would you feel if you got spay-ded twice, huh?  Never mind, don’t answer that question…”
Dad:  “Since I am a male I would have gotten neutered, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it one bit!  You should be glad I wasn’t neutered, because where would you be right now if I had been neutered, huh?”
Me:  “…and that’s the part of the conversation that I was hoping to avoid.”
Dad:  “You should be nice to your Mom and I, because without us, where would you be…?  Also, don’t forget that you still break the record for being the youngest person to ever float down the river.  How old was she, Margaret?”
Mom:  “6 weeks.”
Dad:  “Wow, 6 weeks old.  How did you grow up so fast, Whit?”
Me:  “It’s amazing that I grew up at all, considering that you dangled me over the side of the raft when I was 6 weeks old, just like how the Crocodile Hunter dangled his baby over a giant crocodile and made everyone get all up in an uproar!”
Dad:  “I never dangled you over the side of the raft, and I sure as heck never dangled you over a crocodile!  I held you in one of those backpacks on my chest, and everyone just couldn’t believe how cute you were!  Margaret, do you remember when you were pregnant with Whitney and we all got hit by a semi truck…?”
Mom:  “How could I ever forget that?  My water broke just a few days later and I almost lost her!”
Me:  “Dad, I heard that after the crash, you got out of the Checker and your shoulder was obviously dislocated, and even though Mom kept asking you if you were okay, you just kept insisting that you were just fine.  Then you walked a couple of steps and fainted right into the ditch.”
Dad:  “I never fainted; I’m a man!  Besides, I don’t remember fainting…”
Me:  “Of course you don’t remember it; you were passed out!”
Dad:  “Well if I remember right, the semi truck had actually crashed into the side of the Checker, and parked itself on top of my mother-in-law’s feet.  You would pass out too if you saw your mother-in-law stuck under a semi truck!”
Me:  “I’m sure that you’re right about that.”
In the end, it was a very sweet little visit, and it was nice to see my Mom and Dad together and enjoying each others company.  I have absolutely no photos of the 3 of us together, and now (thanks to one of the Subway employees who was nice enough to snap a few pics for us) I have a photo that sums the 3 of us up pretty perfectly:
Dad giving the ‘thumbs up’ in his crazy hat with doll hair sticking out of the top.  Mom sporting a sweet smile while proudly wearing her Native sweatshirt.  And me, standing between the two of them, looking a little bit like both of them, with a smile that says, “I still don’t understand how the 2 of these people ever got together and made a baby, but they did, and now that I’m a (somewhat normal) grownup I get to tease the crap out of both of them, and it’s glorious!”
And that, my friends, is called Sweet Revenge…
(Go ahead and try dangling me over the side of the raft now, Dave Button!)
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The Gayest Valentine’s Day Ever!! Literally.

It would be safe to say that my sister, Stacey, is my Hero...

——————————————————————————–

Dear Whitney,

 I wanted to send you an email to wish you Happy Birthday.
Your D told me that I needed to read your blog.  He had been crying over a month regarding your lifestyle.  I assured him that you were a Christian and that you would never do anything to hurt your Grandma and Grandpa.  I guess I was wrong!  Your Grandma and Grandpa would have been heart broken as well as Uncle R and I are.
We pray that you will turn away from a lifestyle that is not of God and we will do every thing we can to help you.  It is what Grandma and Grandpa would have wanted us to do.
We will always love you and pray for you.
Aunt J and Uncle R
————————————————————————————

 

Dear R and J,

It pains me to write you this letter.  You have been so generous to both Whitney and my mom and I so appreciate it.  Your monetary help to Mom has been a godsend.  And R, I cannot thank you enough for the yard work and trips to the dump.  You were a lifesaver.

You both seem like such wonderful people and I don’t want to offend you in any way.  But I feel I must address your hateful and hurtful and ungodly comments to Whitney.  I know her heart is breaking.  You have made her feel ashamed and that is wrong!

I am very sorry that you feel Whitney has disappointed you both, as well as, M and E.  I would like to respond.

Although you feel that being gay is ungodly, many people, including many devout Christians, do not agree with you.  Many churches welcome gays into their ministries with open arms.  There are even gay ministers.  The bible is open to a lot of interpretation by humans and just because you believe one way, there is no proof that God or the Bible agree with your way.

Whitney is a Christian and lives a Christian life.  She attends church and prays and tries to be kind and helpful and forgiving.  Her Partner has gone through seminary, led a devout life, and is now a hospital Chaplain.  This is definitely a godly couple and they are leading a life devoted to god and each other.  Whitney leads a life of integrity.  She works hard.  She lives with God’s grace surrounding her in every thing she does.

I do not believe that being a homosexual and leading a homosexual life is a sin.  I imagine it is a trait we are born with.  Here is why I think this.  I was born a heterosexual.  I love my friends who are women, but no matter how much I love them, I do not want to have sex with them.  I am not attracted to them in that way.  No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t make myself be gay.  No matter how much Whitney tries, she cannot make herself attracted to men.  She is gay.  God made her that way.

And if we agree God is perfect and all powerful, then none of his children are imperfect.  He made Whitney the way she is and she is perfect.

And I know that although M and E might not have openly embraced gays, they loved Whitney with all their hearts and they would want her to be happy.  D wants her to be happy.  Being loving Parents and Grandparents forces us to accept and change and grow in order to be loving.  I know that M and E are looking down from heaven and saying, we wish Whitney all the best.  Our life here in heaven with God is so wonderful and perfect that we want Whitney to have all the love and respect she deserves.  M and E were open to change.  They welcomed me into their family when D and my Mom married.  They adapted to the times although I’m sure having step grandchildren was not their original dream.  So I know M and E would always want the best for Whitney.

Life can be hard and we need all the family we can get.  We need love and acceptance.  We need forgiveness.  I forgive you for not being able to see that Whitney is a wonderful Daughter, Niece, Aunt, Granddaughter, Friend, Partner, and Woman.  I hope that after a time, you may be able to accept Whitney for who she is.  I don’t expect you to embrace her lifestyle, but just accept it.

Life is about change.  And growing.  And learning.  Once people thought it was okay to have slaves and now we realize that no human should ever be enslaved…once interracial marriages were illegal and now they make up a growing population in our country…once we believed divorce was a sin that God could never forgive and now divorce is accepted, but not saluted…once we thought only men could do many things and now we have women proving that we can do almost anything men can do…I truly believe that gays are made by God and therefore should be embraced and shown all our love.  I believe that in a few short years, most people will come around to that way of thinking.

So, I just want you to think about this. If you truly want to do anything and everything to help Whitney, your only Niece, then you will love her.  You will love her for who she is.  And she is gay.  God made her that way and God is loving and good and kind and perfect.  And so is Whitney.  My heart is breaking because Whitney’s heart is breaking.

None of Whitney being gay is your fault.  No human caused this.  Whitney was born an innocent child of God and he loves her for who she is, exactly as she is.  I believe 100% in my heart that if Jesus was on earth today, he would be accepting of all God’s children.

Please take some time to pray and read the bible and talk to your pastor about this.  You should not be embarrassed about this.  Homosexuality is found in the best of families.  And in the best of churches.  And in the best of countries.  Whitney is still Whitney.  And I am so proud to call her my sister.  You should be just as proud to call her your wonderful Niece.

With loving thoughts,

Stacey

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A Case of Child Abuse in O Little Town of Bethlehem…

IMG_1309IMG_1306I went to Mom’s house last weekend to help her decorate for Christmas.  She had already pulled out the boxes from the garage (which she shouldn’t have done alone but she’s as stubborn as an ox) and had baked a zillion Christmas cookies.  She is planning to have everyone over to her house on the Sunday before Christmas, and so of course she wants her house to look beautiful for the special occasion.

It is sort of unbelievable how many Christmas decorations that Mom has, but she was quick to remind me for the um-teenth-thousandth time that she had been building her collection for her entire life, and for MY entire life, and that one day I would be so grateful that she had saved all of the ornaments and decorations.  Of course she also had to add that, “After Christmas, ornaments go on sale for like 90 percent off!!  They’re practically giving them away!!!”

Yes, I know, I know…

At some point during the unloading of the Christmas boxes, I was on the phone with Rea (who was home sick with a horrible cold), and suddenly I had a vivid, traumatic, childhood memory.

Me:  “Um…oh my gosh…seriously?  SERIOUSLY?!  Spun glass?  SPUN GLASS?!  MOM!  You still use spun glass with your Nativity Set?!  HOW COULD YOU?!”

Mom:  “Huh?”

Me:  “Why can’t you just use cotton like a normal person?  I’m seriously having PTSD right now.  I think I’m hyperventilating.  MOM!  I’m having a panic attack right now!!”

Mom:  “Have a cookie.”

Me:  “Don’t you remember what happened to me, Mom?  When I was like, what…?  I couldn’t have been more than four years old?”

Rea:  “Should I let you go?”

Me:  “No, it’s okay, you can hear this.  I’ll just tell you about it later anyway.  Besides Mom is barely listening to me as it is and I need to talk about it.”

Mom:  “That’s not true; I’m listening!  Hand me that box behind you.”

Me:  “I remember being like four years old and sitting on the floor, just staring up at the Nativity Scene for hours and hours, because it was so beautiful on the mantel next to the Christmas tree at our old house.  I was fascinated with the Baby Jesus.”

Mom:  “Yes, you always did love the Baby Jesus.”

Me:  “My sweet little blonde haired, blue-eyed, innocent self; I remember that you would play Amy Grant‘s Christmas albums on the record player, and I would just sit there and daydream for hours and hours…”

Mom:  “You really were such a sweet and precious little thing.”

(Of course we were listening to Amy Grant’s Christmas music on the CD player as we were decorating Mom’s house in present day as well.)

Me:  “…this may be one of my earliest memories actually.  The Christmas tree lights were shining through the “cotton” that was billowing softly beneath the Nativity Scene, and it was all that I could do to resist touching the puff of cotton that cradled the Baby Jesus.  The more that I admired the Baby Jesus, the more that the cotton beneath him shimmered, and it just looked so soft; like pure silk.  I knew that I wasn’t supposed to touch it, but I just had to.  IT JUST LOOKED SO SOFT!”

Mom:  “I think we’re going to need more lights for the tree.  It doesn’t look like we’re going to have enough.”

Me:  “Mom!  Are you even listening?!”

Rea:  “I’m still here.  I’m listening.”

Me:  “Thank you REA, I’m glad that SOMEONE is listening.”

Mom:  “Fred Meyer has lights on sale for fifty percent off right now.  I should send you to the store to get some before we start decorating the tree.”

Me:  “Looks like I lost her.  Oh well, whatever.  It’s only my most traumatic childhood memory, no big deal.  This is why I go to therapy right?”

Rea:  “So what happened?”

Me:  “So of course I couldn’t resist, and I had to reach out and not only TOUCH the shiny, puffy, cloud of cotton beneath the Baby Jesus, but I had to PET it.  Like a kitten.  Of course you’ve figured out by now that it wasn’t actually cotton.  It was SPUN GLASS.  So what happens when you PET spun glass is:  you get your poor little four year old hand all CUT UP to SH*#!  I was screaming and crying, and I was bleeding everywhere!”

Rea:  “Oh honey, that’s just terrible…”

Me:  “Mom, are you smiling right now?!  Seriously?!  Rea!  Mom is smiling.  She’s not saying anything, she’s just got this sadistic grin on her face.  Oh and now she’s chuckling about it.  MOM!  THAT WAS CHILD ABUSE!  I THOUGHT THAT THE BABY JESUS CUT ME!!

Mom (very quietly):  “I told you not to touch it ya dumb shit.

Me:  “What did you just say?  Did you just hear that Rea?”

Rea:  “No.  What did she say?”

Me:  “She said, ‘I told you not to touch it ya DUMB SHIT!’  Can you believe she said that?!  Oh and now she’s thoroughly pleased with herself…”

Rea:  “I wish I could be there with you guys.  Sounds like you’re having sooooo much fun!  Love you!”

Me:  “Yeah, you’d better run Mom!  Okay, love you too Sweetie.  I’ll call you later.”

——————

It turns out that Mom has several Nativity Sets that she has inherited over the years, and instead of using only the best piece of each of the sets to make one, Ultimate Set, Mom likes to put every single figure out on display; on top of spun glass.

Me:  “Mom, your Nativity Set is too big.”

Mom:  “No one has ever said anything before.”

Me:  “Well I’m saying something now.”

Mom:  “It’s like this every year.  You never said anything last year.  Or the year before…”

Me:  “I must’ve been too drunk to notice.”

Mom:  “They are all such beautiful pieces.  There’s no sense in NOT putting them out on display.  Oh look!  Another camel!!  Isn’t it beautiful?!”

Me:  “Oh yes.  So beautiful.  Can’t you at least pick the best Mary and the best Joseph?  For example.  Here is a blonde Mary.  Mary was Jewish.  Do you really think that she would have been blonde?”

Mom:  “Well she could have been!  Stop being so judgmental!”

Me:  “Whoa!  Okay, sorry…I didn’t realize that you were so sensitive about your blonde Mary.”

Mom:  “Well maybe she’s the next door neighbor.  These could just be like cousins and neighbors who just felt like hanging out that night.”

Me:  “They just wanted to hang out during the birth of Jesus.  No big deal.  Like, ‘Hey what’s up neighbor?  Give birth to any Messiah’s lately?’  There just happened to be a really strong resemblance between everyone is all.”

Mom:  “Well it was a really small town.  I’m sure that there was a lot of inter-marrying going on.  Oh look!  Here’s another Baby Jesus!  TWINSIES!!

Me:  “Two Baby Jesus’?  Where are you going to draw the line, Mom?!”

Mom:  “I guess I should draw the line at two Baby Jesus’…”

Me:  “Well there are some religions who believe that Jesus had a twin brother, and that his twin was Satan…”

Mom:  “Oh yeah!  Well that could work!  This Baby Jesus does look kind of evil…”

Me:  “That must have been the Baby Jesus that cut me.”

Mom:  “Yes.  It was.”

Me:  “It wasn’t Baby Jesus’ fault that I got cut up!  Stop laughing!!”

Mom:  “You’re getting a lot of good material for your blog huh?”

Me:  “Oh yes.”

Mom:  “Where should I put the other Baby Jesus?”

Me:  “Mom, seriously…one Baby Jesus is enough.  We are Christians and we don’t believe that Satan and Jesus are twin brothers, remember?”

Mom:  “Yeah, that’s true.  Okay, I’d rather have the sweet looking Baby Jesus on display if I have to choose.  We’re running out of room on the mantel anyway.”

Me:  “I think that you should probably rename this set, because it’s really not technically the Nativity Scene anymore.”

Mom:  “Let’s call it, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’…”

Me:  “Yes, that’s perfect!  Now, will there be any kids coming to your Christmas party next Sunday?”

Mom:  “I don’t think so…not really little.”

Me:  “Well you’d better make sure.  You don’t want another Spun Glass massacre on your hands.”

Mom:  “I will just be sure to tell the kids not to touch it.”

Me:  “Oh yes, because that works so well…”

Mom:  “As long as they’re not a bunch of dumb-sh*#s it will be fine.”

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Nashy Says, “Everybody Chill; It’s Thanksgiving AND Grandma’s Birthday!”

IMG_1158Since Rea flew to Mississippi to be with her family over Thanksgiving this year, and we couldn’t afford two plane tickets (one ticket was $1,000!!) I decided to pack up our pet family and stay with my Mom for a few days in Mount Vernon, WA.  Our pet family consists of Nash, a 9 year old yellow lab, and Lucy, a flame point Ragdoll kitten.

Nash LOVES road trips!  All I have to say is, “Wanna go visit Grandma?!” and he starts to dance and wiggle and make a total fool of himself over the whole thing.  Lucy on the other hand; she equates getting loaded up into her pet carrier with going to the veterinarian to get a thermometer stuck up her rear end, so she was not exactly sharing in Nash’s enthusiasm for the upcoming event.  However, once I let her out of her pet carrier prison, and she was allowed to roam freely about the cabin for the duration of the road trip, her little kitten heart began to fill with joy.  She even sat on my lap, purred, and gazed at me with so much kitten love I could hardly even take it.

I stopped to go through a Starbucks drive-thru in Smokey Point, WA, and Lucy was still sitting on my lap.  The Starbucks barista was incredibly impressed by Lucy, and Lucy even offered her a couple of silent, seductive kitten meows to seal the deal.  The barista of course asked if she could pet Lucy, and that’s when Lucy set her Kitten Trap.  Lucy lures you in all seductively, and then as soon as you go in to pet her softest little tummy, she hooks her claws in and goes for the DEATH GRIP!  To prevent any injuries from occurring, I held Lucy’s paws while the barista gave her a quick pat and she wished us away with a “Happy Thanksgiving!”

So far, so good…

Not like when I took Nash to my Cousin Eric and John’s outdoor wedding last summer…

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When we arrived at Mom’s I put Lucy, along with her food, water and litter-box, in my bedroom and closed the door so that she could become acclimated with the house, while Nash went crazy sniffing around the yard and peeing on every single tree and shrubbery on her property.  Lucy was content to explore the bedroom for about an hour or so before she began to scream her fool head off as though she were dying a slow and painful death in the pits of Hell or something.  Lucy can be quite dramatic.  I went into the room and gave her a talking to.  I explained to her that Grandma had other animals that weren’t going to be very happy about there being a little kitten in the house, so she’d better be respectful to them and not be too obnoxious, etc, etc, and that I would let her out to roam around the house as long as she promised to be sweet.

She looked at me with her sweetest little face, and gave me her silent meow in response.  How could I resist that?  I picked her up and she turned on her little motor-boat and rubbed her face against mine.  She is seriously the softest kitten in the entire world and she uses that to her advantage every second of every day.  I left the bedroom door open when I left, so that Lucy could feel free to roam Grandma’s house as she felt fit to.

It did not take long for Lucy to meet the Matriarch of the house, Baby Ruth, as Baby had been casing the halls since we’d arrived.  Baby Ruth had actually been my cat originally.  I had chosen her as a kitten from the litter because she was so adorable with her crossed eyes and little buck teeth, but when I moved away to Idaho for college, I was not able to take her with me.  Baby Ruth is an old lady now, and those cross-eyes and buck teeth that had once been so endearing are now just super funny-looking, and she has a face that only a Mother could love.  She also does not meow like a “normal” cat, but she chirps like a bird; Baby Ruth would technically be classified as a “special needs” cat, but we prefer not to use labels.

The meeting between Baby Ruth and Lucy went something like this:

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“HI!  I’m LUCY! 

WANNA PLAY AND CLEAN EACH OTHERS’ EARS AND BE BEST CAT FRIENDS?!?!”download“HISSSSSSSSSSSSSS-SPITTTTTT-HISSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

download-1“HUH?”

download“HISSSSSSSSSS!  SPIT!  GROWLLLLL!  HISSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

download-1“I’m a little confused here…Are you hissing at me?”

download“HISSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!”

download-1“I hate to tell you this, but it kind of looks like you’re hissing at yourself…?”

download“HISSSSSSSS!! GROWL!  SPITTTT!  HISSSSSSSSS!!!”

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“Just out of curiosity…

Has anyone ever told you that you come across as a little bit on the intense side?”

download“GROWL!  HISS!  HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!”

download-1“Okay, okay, I get it.  But you’re missing out on the best kitten friend in the whole wide world. 

Just so you know.”

download“GROWL!  HISSSSSSS!!”  SMACK!

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“Well gee-whiz you didn’t have to go and smack me!  I was just saying hi! 

The least you could’ve done is give me a warning hiss first, gosh! 

For the record…If you keep on making ugly faces like that then one of these days your face is gonna

FREEZE THAT WAY!”

download“HUH?”

So clearly the first meeting didn’t go very well, nor did any of the meetings thereafter, since Baby Ruth wanted to make it consistently clear to Lucy that she was an UNWELCOME GUEST in HER house.  Lucy did not let it get her down at all; she actually seemed to find the whole thing to be rather hilarious.  Lucy’s new obsession became a game of “how close can I get to Baby Ruth before she will know I am behind her and hiss at me with her cross eyes”?  As soon as Baby Ruth started to hiss at her, Lucy would take off running like a rocket and zoom a few laps around the entire house.

At one point, Baby Ruth was sitting on Mom’s lap and Lucy was on the floor, pondering what it might be like to be able to climb up onto Grandma’s lap and join the Grandma/Baby Ruth cuddle session.  Of course once Baby Ruth noticed Lucy’s cute little kitten face she was filled with rage and gave her the biggest cross-eyed, buck-toothed hiss she could muster.  Mom gave Baby Ruth a stern talking to:  “Baby!  You be sweet to that little kitten!”  That turned out to be a mistake on Mom’s part.

Baby Ruth froze in mid-hiss, and turned her head toward Mom in slow motion and made eye contact with her as if to say, “You’d better choose right now MOTHER.  It’s ME or that KITTEN!”  

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Mom turned and looked at me with fear in her eyes and said, “Did you see that look that Baby just gave me?  There was PURE HATE in her cross-eyes!” 

This happened on Thanksgiving morning, and Mom’s birthday had actually fallen on Thanksgiving Day this year, so during one of my many trips to the grocery store buying last minute baking items for Mom’s pies and homemade dinner rolls, in an attempt to be the sweet daughter that I am, I had purchased a cute little poinsettia that was potted in a planter that resembled a bright-red Christmas bulb.  Apparently Lucy had had enough with the hissing and the cross eyes, because she hopped right up onto the table with the cute little birthday poinsettia and gave it one subtle little smack.  Just enough for it to topple over onto the floor, and for the Christmas bulb to break in two.

Mom:  “Oh no!  My poinsettia!”

Me:  “I’m sorry that my kitten is throwing a tantrum, Mom.  We can probably glue it back together.  The flower itself still looks to be in good shape.”

Mom’s little wiener dog, Spencer, had had enough of the drama at that point.  He started barking like a maniac and jumped off of Mom’s lap, which scared the bejeezus out of Baby Ruth.  Spencer was about to take chase on poor little Lucy before Nash stepped in with a giant, WOOF!”

download-2Nashy says, “Everybody chill; it’s Thanksgiving AND Grandma Margaret’s Birthday!  Let’s go outside and poop and pee wherever we want! 

(Preferably at a gay wedding, and ESPECIALLY during the vows…)”

Honey Buckets.

IMG_0663Mom:  “Hello?”

Me:  “Hi Mom, how are you doing?”

Mom:  “I’m at the Muckleshoot Casino with Cousin Debbie for the Pow-Wow.  What’d you want?”

Me:  “Oh yeah?  Are you having a good time?”

Mom:  “Yeah, but right now I’m in a Honey Bucket.”

Me:  “Oh god Mom, why’d you answer your phone in a Honey Bucket?”

Mom:  “Well why wouldn’t I?”

Me:  “Cuz you could drop your phone in there for one thing…”

Mom:  (muffled)…”Oh No! Oh god…Oh SHIT!!”

Me:  “Mom are you okay?  Mom!!  What happened?”

Mom:   (still muffled)…”Just a second…I just dropped my phone…”

Me:  “Oh god that’s so nasty!!”

Mom:  (shuffle shuffle click) “K I’m back.  What were we talking about?”

Me:   (laughing) “Oh i was just saying that you shouldn’t answer your phone in a Honey Bucket because you could accidentally drop it in there…”

Mom cracked up:  “At least it was just on the floor.   I’ll clean it with a baby wipe.”

Me:   “Gross, Mom!  I think you should probably boil it for 45 minutes in Lysol before you put it near your face again.”

Mom:  “It’s by my face now.  It’s not like I’m going to lick it or something!”

Me:  “Well on that note…I’m just gonna let you go so you can focus on your Honey Bucket business.”

Mom:  “K bye.”

Me:   “Have fun at the Pow Wow and no more answering your phone in the Honey Bucket!”

Mom:  “K bye.”