I have become this person.

It’s probably worth noting, because it adds to the insanity, that I moved my car AND sat on my butt in the yard to shoot this photo at just the right angle for the antlers. Prior to the moved car and butt-in-yard, the antlers were getting lost in the trees. Much like an actual hunt, I imagine.

27 Days until Christmas. Do you have your Car Reindeer Kit? Just embrace it. Trust me.

There’s a recurring theme this Thanksgiving

Thankfulness, sure. Yes. Gratitude. Let me just come back to that one when I’m not so distracted by the pies.

Pie. That’s the theme this Thanksgiving.

First, there was the uproar I caused by telling the world that I hate all pies. Many of you are now searching for my birth mother, because you are certain I could not be their daughter or his sister or your cousin. Others are asking around for a good nutritionist or some sort of Pie Therapy Center. I assure you that I have not suffered and the fact that I don’t eat pie hasn’t caused me any irreversible ills. Then, again, how do I know, right? Maybe I’d be Mary Poppins or Jo Frost if only I’d grown up eating pie. Or maybe I’d be the lady to someday be forklifted from a second story parlor because all she does is sit and eat…pie.

Whatever the case, I am not fond of it. It’s too squishy. And slimy. All pies are either squishy or slimy. I don’t need squishy and slimy in my life so much.

Early in the week, the pie topic became a heavy discussion point. The first pie was purchased by my own husband and was a pumpkin pie. After that, a pecan pie entered the building. Seriously? Please, just give this an honest look.

I mean it. Just wipe your slate clean for a moment and look at it like you are looking for the first time. That’s a bunch of brown, crusty bugs that someone baked into a pie. Or a genetic experiment. That is not edible. If you want to argue this point, may I suggest a free theme on WordPress. You can write your own blog called TheLifeofPie…or ThePiePiper…or…StickThisInYourPieandSmokeIt.

Anyway.

All of the above–Pumpkin Pie #1 and The Nasty Tree Bark Pie–are part of Pie Phase 1. Phase 2 involved two informed parties and four innocent bystanders. We were coming out of Wreck It Ralph yesterday, which my kids liked and most of the adults in the group did not, and heading toward the van. We thought we were going home. Within moments, there was a folded invitation of some sort that was whipped out in the front seat like a treasure map, some discussion about directions, and we were off! A wild pie chase ensued that captured the next 45 minutes. As it turned out, some real estate lady was giving away free pies and apparently pie lovers are incapable of turning away free pie even if that pie is located in another county. Wow. Who knew? I’m trying to think of something I love enough to pursue like that. Maybe a trunk load of Trefoils, compliments of the Girl Scouts I love so much. Mmm. Trefoils.

So that was Pumpkin Pie #2 and Pie Phase #2.

Pie Phase #3 was this little guy.

I know it’s not pretty. There’s no lattice work and, quite honestly, the outer part of the crust looks like a smashed-together series of tumors. But I made it and it’s MY cherry pie. I won’t be eating it, but my boy asked for it and I wasn’t going to deny him that.

So I guess I didn’t tell the WHOLE truth. I like my own pie. This one cherry pie recipe. No other cherry pies. Just this one. And I like it. Let’s move on.

Next door, there is a mince meat pie being made by Telley. Mince Meat pie? Could they have come up with a more disgusting name for something? That’s like Hairy Guts Cake or Squished Liver Custard. Why mince meat? Was this like Iceland? Someone named it Iceland so people wouldn’t know it was gorgeous and nobody would visit?

And Uncle Egg is bringing…2 pies.

Let’s do that math just real quick here. 4 pies already here at the house + 1 mince meat + 2 mystery pies = 7 pies. With 8 adults, one of whom doesn’t eat pie, all of the other adults can each have their own pie.

Now THAT is something to be thankful for.

Ahoy there, Mateys.

I’ve been waiting all day for my freshly-washed jeans to loosen up and stretch out a tad. They have not loosened up or stretched out. Not a tad. But I’ve been in the zone for like a week now. In the zone. Someone needs to tell the zone that it’s time for the jeans to respond to the zone. Drop 5 pounds already.

Stink.

Yesterday, we were blessed with the opportunity to spend half a day on a pontoon boat out on Lake Travis. There were 13 people on board a 15-passenger boat. Seven of those were in the 11-and-under set. I know what you’re thinking: You’re thinking the children caused some variation of a disaster. They wreaked havoc.

The children were fine.

The adults left a little something to be desired in the sea-faring community.

This was serious business from the outset. We stopped at a reputable Kwik Stop for Live Bait. We needed live bait, because we are serious fishermen. Dead bait wouldn’t cut it. We were planning on catching serious fish. We also needed 1-day fishing licenses for all of the many fish we were going to catch.

Seven blow pops, 6 fishing licenses, one bag of chicken blood, 1 box of live worms, and a precariously packed minnow bag of swimming minnows later, we pulled down a steep rocky path to an RV where a dude named Steven set us up for a maritime adventure.

One smart phone user–we’ll call her Telley–had only one concern: “Which way is Sandra Bullock’s house?” she asked.

“That way,” Steven answered. Ah, that way. That narrows it down from 250 houses to just 125. That’ll be easy.

After pointing us toward Sandra Bullock, Steven said, “Just be cautious about your weight distribution.” We stared at him blankly. “You can’t have too many on one side or in one section of the boat.”

Whatever. Whatever. Got it.

The next hour passed pleasantly. We pulled out the cooler and ate a picnic lunch. Chatted. Laughed. Looked up Sandra Bullock’s house on Google images. Began imagining how she would greet us and what she would offer us to drink once she invited us in. Etc.

When we couldn’t find Sandra, we decided to settle for a civilian. Telley’s spouse was off work and waiting for a pick up at the dock we originally departed from. So we swung by to pick him up. This was our first exercise in the science of weight distribution. One member of the party went forward to tie up to the dock and we took on the extra passenger and 30 gallons of lake water. No biggie. We tied up for a moment and then all the potty requests came in. Suffice it to say, the no-formal-restrooms potty break truly deserves its own blog. So much can be said. And yet, there are lines. Even with me, there are lines. I’m just going to leave this one alone. I’m not even really over the trauma yet.

So everyone used nature’s toilet except Telley, who came to regret that decision sorely. And we were off again. In search of large, meaty fish.

About 20 minutes later, once we had located the fish motherload on the fish finder, we decided to tie up loosely at a dock. So here’s how that process went. The fearless captain began to slow down the boat as he steered toward the dock. At that same moment, two members of the 13-member party, neither of which were me, went traipsing forward like they’d been called up on stage to retrieve an award. Traipsing. The rest of us were still sitting right were we had been for the last hour.

What was it that Steven said? We couldn’t remember. Where in the world is Sandra Bullock? Also doesn’t Matthew McConnaughey have a house around here?

As those two traipsed, the bow of the pontoon boat plunged deep into the water. Under the water. I mean it, people. That boat was a’sinking.

It was coming back to us now. That whole weight distribution thing. For a very long moment, as the waves rushed in and the boat plunged deeper toward our watery graves, I really thought we were all going spear fishing. What had started as an innocent day on the lake was going to end with the Coast Guard. And bodies. We were going in. Probably 100 gallons rushed in, wetting every last one of us to the knees.

“Hey!” The fearless captain called from the back of the boat. “What’s the deal? Everyone just starts moving without asking any questions! Back up!” And the two traipsers began to back up, along with the child who had followed them forward.

This was the moment of truth…the moment that would determine whether we lived or died. Whether the boat would resume floating or turn like Titanic toward the lake floor.

It floated.

And besides the wet, stinky socks of 13 people and the wailing of a very frightened four year old, there were no lasting effects.

Except that the fish heard us coming.

Our live bait died. The chicken blood made us all sick enough to go to the ER. And the day ended without so much as a single bob to any of the eight poles in the water.

Actually, that’s not where the day ended. My day ended in a Korean karaoke establishment in China town at 1 a.m.

But that’s another story altogether.

Soapboxy, but with an air of truth

This may come off a little preachy. If you aren’t in the mood for such, just skip this today and come back tomorrow when I shall share some of the lessons I’ve learned on the “farm.”

Being at the kids school every day has brought me into contact with all kinds of people. Single people. People dealing with ugly divorces or custody arrangements. Rich people. Poor people. Really insane people. Angry people. Happy people. People with AND without kickball skilz.  I have gotten to know many of them on a more personal level. Some of them have very hard lives and at times, it is painful to hear the stories they tell.

Today, I visited at a congregation also made up of all kinds of people. Most of it was quite positive. But there was one row of about 10 young people…either late high school or early college…that almost sucked the joy out of everything good. They were unfortunately directly in front of us and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t tune them totally out. I honestly have no idea why they were even there. One guy gave it up altogether, slumped down in the pew and went to sleep. Another guy hunkered down and played an hour of Angry Birds. Three people compared whether or not they were all double jointed. All of them talked…the WHOLE time. One checked his facebook account. And they almost got a smackety smack from me. Even my kids noticed how disrespectful they were.

And so, on the basis of my recent people watching experiences and getting to know people from all walks of life, here are my assessments. You don’t have to agree. I know I’m not always right. But I’m a 41 year old mom of 4 who knows how to sit quietly in any kind of formal assembly, believes in keeping her word, and still has many of the same friends I had when I was 19. Also, I scoop chicken poo like a champ. Whatever credibility comes with these things is the credibility I have.

Life Lessons according to Missy:

(1)    Honor your commitments. This one actually might NOT make you more peaceful. Sometimes sticking something out—whether it’s a bad game of Duck, Duck, Goose, a job you took, a friendship, a task you said you’d do for someone, or a marriage—is harder in the short run. Sometimes sticking it out is the tougher option. But if you said you’d do it—if you committed to it—then you should do it. Don’t break your end. How many others suffer when we quit? Almost always, others do. Sometimes for a day. Sometimes for many months. Sometimes forever. Many times the other party messes it up or lets go of their end of the rope. Don’t let go first.

(2)    If you aren’t sure you can honor the commitment, don’t make it. You don’t have to say yes. If you say yes, mean it. But then, we’ve been down this road already.

(3)    Choose God. I honestly don’t know how I’d live without Him. I don’t know how people do it. Life can be very heavy and very challenging. Sometimes life can try to kill you. It hasn’t tried to kill me yet, but it has sat down on me a time or two and I’ve been through enough to know that I won’t do it without God. I’m watching some friends live through some pretty bad stuff. Even in the bad stuff, God is with them.

(4)    Choose your spouse wisely.  Choose them before you have their babies. And then work to the bone to make it work. I know there’s tons of extenuating circumstances. I know I don’t know people’s situations. I know it doesn’t always work out. I’m not judging. I’m just saying that if you are still searching for that someone, search carefully.

(5)    A thing is only as good as its investors.

(6)    Just because someone doesn’t believe in it, doesn’t make it unbelievable.

(7)    Your actions—whatever they are and however insignificant they seem to you—impact others. If you pick your nose in the car, you are not invisible. Even window tinting cannot guarantee your safety. People see. If you play thumb wars in church in front of a family trying really hard to get something out of the service, you may be utterly ruining it for them.  Almost never do our actions affect only us. Almost always they ripple out. So consider others. In our own living rooms, I guess it doesn’t matter so much. But in a theater, or school auditorium, or church building, or in line at the grocery store, people see and are either made better or worse by what we do.

So don’t be a dork. 🙂

And that’s all I have to say about that.

The things that go on when you aren’t blogging…

Long time, no post.
Most people haven’t noticed.  A few have. Most of them see me regularly and know that I’m alive. They also know why I’m not posting. I spent 10 weeks trying to clone myself unsuccessfully. Had I succeeded, I could have sold my extra self for, like, $15. I can’t decide if having a $15 clone of me would do your family good or harm. Sometimes I lose keys and wallets and spill things.

The answer to that question is of no consequence, because I have managed to be in only one place at one time and that place has mostly been the kids’ school.  I even took up subbing, because I figured if I was going to be there all day, every day, I might as well take home some pocket change at the end of the day. I asked for $39,000. They said no. They seem to know about my propensity for losing keys and wallets.

In the amount of time I’ve been away from my blog, here are the things I haven’t told you:

I have taken up and immediately given up exercising 7 times.

I have gone back to Diet Mtn. Dew and love it as much as ever. Don’t be judging. At least I’m honest.

I have gone on several diets and gained 4 pounds.

Hahahahaha. Shut up. It’s hard being me. Actually, I think I’m finally FINALLY in the zone. Maybe having some success. But it’s Thanksgiving week and –well—you know how that goes. Let’s all hold our collective breath. If I do that, I won’t be able to open my mouth to eat pie. Actually, lucky for me, I hate pie. All pie. It works for me during the diet season. It works for the people that eat with me, too. They get more pie.

The subbing thing has been interesting. I will share with you a few lessons I have learned from subbing.

  1. I am not as cool or as funny as I thought I was. Or maybe I am and you have to be 20 to get me. Or maybe you have to be at least 20 and sort of “off,” if you know what I mean. You do know what I mean. But probably I’m just not as funny or as cool as I thought. Duly noted.
  2. Subbing is not as easy as I thought it would be. It should come with a massage. It doesn’t.
  3. Laundry will not do itself. Neither will vacuuming or grocery shopping. Total bummer.
  4. Third graders are the perfect balance of skilled, intelligent, and innocent. All except one. And I had her shipped away to a place where she’ll have to earn her shoes and a right to eat. That girl was a bad seed.
  5. The shipping thing from Item #4 is my own personal dream. Leave it alone. Let me have it.
  6. First graders are really, really bad at P.E. Their main sport is to run willy nilly in all directions while yelling or weeping. Technically, that is not a sport. It IS however what we mostly did.
  7. Insane people cannot play kickball.
  8. First graders definitely cannot play kickball. Do not attempt this. You will need a strong drink of something afterward. I went with Diet Mtn. Dew.
  9. First graders cry during Duck Duck Goose. Always. Every time. Multiple people crying. Big, salty, why-does-the-world-hate-me tears. This one was a surprise to me. I made it through 3 rounds, each time. During those three rounds, all 20 tiny people had hope that they would be picked next. Next time, SURELY, it would be them. They would get to be the goose. But after three rounds, they all lost hope. In one fell swoop, hope was dead. And I couldn’t revive it even with systems and processes and blue prints and bar graphs. So.Much.Crying.
  10. If for some reason, a person wearing a woodchuck costume decides to walk the car line at the end of the day to promote school spirit, you can pretty much quit whatever it was you were trying to do on the field. Even if there’s bleeding or vomiting, they won’t come back to you. It’s all Woodchuck at that point.

At one point, while still under the impression that I would be able to make Olympians out of a particularly maladjusted group of first graders, I had them warming up against the fence. And I attempted to teach them a cheer.

I said to them, “I’m going to cheer something and then you are going to repeat it back to me. I’ll say ‘I’ve got skills (SKILZ), yes I do, I’ve got skilz, how ‘bout you?’ And then you will cheer back to me, ‘We’ve got skilz, yes we do, we’ve got skilz, how ‘bout you?! OK? Ready?” They said they were ready. They nodded their heads enthusiastically.

“OK! Here we go!  I’ve got skilz, yes I do, I’ve got skilz, how ‘bout you?” And then I pointed to them for them to say their part.

“YES!” They all yelled in unison.

“No, no, no,” I said. “Remember? When I finish my part, you are supposed to say it back to me? Repeat what I say. OK?” Again, they nodded.

“I’ve got skilz, yes I do, I’ve got skilz, how ‘bout you?” I pointed to them.

“YES!” They all shouted again.

They did not have skilz.

Then the woodchuck came out.

You know the rest of the story.

But I got a paycheck yesterday. So, booyah.