Thursday, August 23, 2012

Off to Cali

Tomorrow morning I am headed to the airport to fly out to California for what amounts to about a day and a half, to meet with my GenQ partners Jake and Melissa to talk business talk and drink wine in each other's physical presence instead of listening to the sipping over the phone. The importance of face-to-face imbibing among professional colleagues cannot be overstated.

I find that I am far less nervous about flying this time than I was when I flew to Kansas City in May, though I still have nightmares about not being able to get to the bathroom while strapped in a flying tin can for six hours. But, strangely, I'm not freaking about getting strip searched by the TSA, because at least it would be some action! AMIRITE LADEEZ?

Sigh. That's what I've come to. Bad TSA sex jokes.

I'm still kind of reeling from the response to my next-to-last post. So many of you have written to me to express that you experience much the same every year, and I still need to say how grateful I am that you felt comfortable sharing that with me. I continue to get emails, got one this morning in fact that is still haunting me a bit, and I feel like this is something that I will have to revisit at some point.

There is a lot on my mind these days. My baby starting kindergarten. My brother's move to a nursing care facility. The demands of GenQ which will only increase in the coming year (which is a good thing but is still on my mind a lot). The books I still haven't written and the quilts I still haven't made. The weight I continue to not lose.

So lets keep our fingers crossed that I come back from California with a great story about how we all ended up naked and wandering around Topanga Canyon with Lindsay Lohan and Prince Harry and had to sell our iPhone pics to TMZ to buy new clothes and pay for a cab home.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mercy buckets

Wow. You know, when I have these moments where something is overwhelming me and I make the decision to write about it here on the blog, I never know if I am just being self-indulgent, or if maybe something I say will resonate with someone else. Because every writer wants that, I think, that reflection coming back to them. On my good days, I hope to make you laugh. But on other days, days like yesterday, I can only hope that what I have to say causes somebody out there to say, "Oh, thank goodness it's not just me."

I don't have another major post for you today, but I wanted to say thank you. Everything you all took the time to write yesterday meant the world to me and truly helped pull me out of a deep funk, one that had been brewing long before my birthday rolled around. I wish I could round you all up and give you a big hug, but since I can't do that, I'll do the next best thing: your ass looks fabulous in those pants today.

To everyone who sent me messages and other things in my email: I will get back to each one of you individually as soon as I can. I have a sudden GenQ project I have to complete in the next 48 hours, but I'll be making my way through them as I go.

I truly love you all and your fabulous asses.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crappy birthday to me

In 13 days, my oldest child will be back in school. In 17 days, my youngest will start kindergarten and this week will be the last week I have to pay daycare fees forever and ever. So, I should be in a pretty good mood, or at least feeling a lightening of the gloom that always descends at the end of the summer when I am desperately ready to have my house back. But then that thing happened—that thing that keeps coming around every damn year, every August, to completely destroy any hope I may have had of feeling happy for 5 minutes.

My fucking birthday.

I turned 43 on Sunday. And my family rarely does anything special for my birthday, but every year on David's birthday, I give the girls a budget and they get to go to the dollar store to buy him goofy presents. I get him a couple real presents, and then we decorate the kitchen and make a cake and have a little family party for him. So, David has finally clued in that I am trying to teach the girls that we treat everyone in the family special on their birthday, not just them, and so I think he might have done the same thing for me this year, but we are flat broke, so we couldn't even afford a trip to the dollar store. Still, I might have thought that they would have tried to do something, expend some small effort to make the day feel a little bit special for me, but they didn't. He didn't. And he so often doesn't, and it just makes me unbearably sad.

When my oldest daughter turned seven a couple years ago, she complained later in the day that her birthday wasn't fun enough. I asked her to think back and remember what they had done for my birthday that year. She couldn't remember, so I told her: nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a card. Not a happy birthday, mom. Nothing.

If it wasn't for fucking Facebook, I would probably be able to forget it altogether, which seems like a damn good idea at this point.

If I mention that I feel ignored and sad on my crappy birthdays, he reminds me that he threw a 40th birthday party for me. Indeed he did. Do you know how many people came to my party? Four. It was at our friends' house and the guests were them and one other couple. We had takeout sushi and cupcakes. On David's 40th, I rented a really cool room, and had it catered. I had balloons everywhere and made these fun Japanese-themed gift bags for all the guests and invited absolutely everyone. My best friend and I made a huge chocolate raspberry cake with like five layers. And I loved doing all that for him.

And I know we couldn't afford such a thing now, and I know my friends are scattered all over the country, and I know he did his best, but it is still just so depressing to me that I am not supposed to hope for more than some takeout on a decade year. I know he's overworked right now, but this would have happened even if he wasn't, and I would have been happy with him making me breakfast, or taking the girls out for a couple hours so I could have some time alone. Shit, I would have been happy for him to just hug me and tell me happy birthday, but he couldn't even be bothered to do that. It's not the stuff I want. I just want him to want to do those things for me, to take pleasure in surprising me and spoiling me just a little.

And then, to top it all off, I called my mom to check on her while my dad is out of town, and she didn't say anything either. My own mom forgot my birthday.

And of course, I feel stupid and petty for even caring about this at all. I shouldn't give a shit about something so meaningless, and I am perfectly capable of doing things for myself, right? I can bake my own goddamn cake and make my own fucking breakfast and just tell him he's taking the kids because I'm going out and I'll be back when I'm back.

And then I remember I have almost no one to go see when I go out.

I want to be the kind of person that people want to celebrate with, but I'm not. I never have been. I remember once when I was in college, some friends shared a dorm room across a courtyard from my room, and I could see their room from my window. One of them was having a birthday, and they had a couple other girls over and cake and it wasn't anything major but it was a party and I had just seen them not long before and they didn't ask me to come. They didn't want me. I was always the sort of person who would be included if I happened to be around at the right time, but was never sought out. For a while, in my late twenties and early thirties, I found people I fit with and it was so wonderful, but then we had babies and more demanding jobs and people moved away, and now there is only one of them left. And I love her and am grateful to have her in my life, but still - the babies and the jobs mean I don't see her much even though she lives just around the corner. I have spent so much time alone over the last five years, and lost so much self-confidence, and have aged what looks and feels like 20 years in those five, that those parts of my personality that make me hard to approach and difficult to know have only become exaggerated. It's not that I am high maintenance—quite the opposite—but I'm just not bubbly.

I envy those people who can walk in a room and start talking to anyone and can be comfortable and never seem to feel like they are intruding or are unwelcome or alien. I always feel alien. And often, quite often in the last couple of years in fact, I can take that feeling of always being "other" and channel it into writing. I think that's where a lot of my humor comes from. But sometimes, like now, it just makes me feel freakish and lonely.

I'll get over this; I always do. I'm not always a whiny baby about this stuff. But I've had a LOT of shitty birthdays over the years, and sometimes one just gets to me more than the others. I'm not fishing for happy birthdays or suggestions. I just needed to get this out. Thanks for listening.

So, let's hear about the worst birthday you ever had.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Presenting the QSMASBC 2013

I know I have been out of commission lately and I hope you all will forgive my long absences. Each issue of GenQ is at least 6 weeks of long, long days (and nights), and once that baby is put to bed, I go completely brain dead until we have to rev up again for the next issue, which is in approximately 23 hours. But instead of watching endless episodes of True Blood and reading trashy novels until my eyes cross, this time I spent my week off getting the awesomest of awesome things ready for you.

The Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito Calendar is here! Check out these beautiful chunks—I mean hunks—of hot, steamy manliness. We've got cuddly guys. We've got lean and lanky guys. We've got cut and buff guys. And we've got a kilt, a horse, some sort of farm machinery, a boat, and a naked booty for Christmas!

A big smooch and hug and endless thank yous to the guys who posed and the friends and significant others who took the shots. You are all beautiful and wonderful and I love you all. If your shot didn't make it in this year, please try again next year!

Check out the beefcake that could adorn the walls of your home next year:

December 2012
Steve, I am told, insisted on going commando under his quilt and is already recruiting others to participate in the 2014 calendar. Go Steve!

January 2013
A long-haired man on a horse, wearing a kilt, and sporting tattoos and two nipple rings. I'd have included this even without the quilt and the burrito.

February 2013
Okay, that thing looks like a lawnmower, a backhoe, and a dune buggy had some sort of weird three-way sex and made a mutant machine baby. Dan, however, looks totally laid back and ready to mow. Or hoe. Or hit the dunes. Duuuude.

March 2013
It's The Big Man In the Little Boat!

April 2013
Mark, as you may recall, was our cover model and Mr. October last year. He and his wife Ida are just the most wonderful people and they sent me a whole CD chock full of epic pictures of Mark. That quilt was made by Mark's mom and quilted by her aunt. Mom loved to piece, but hated quilting, and Auntie loved to quilt but hated piecing. I need to get into a relationship like that.

May 2013
Richard's friend looks embarrassed. I hope Richard had pants on.

June 2013
This is June AND the cover. I had to put this on the cover. And then I had to spend a reeeeaaaally long time looking at it to make sure it was just right. I better go check it again, just to be sure.

I thought I wrote about this somewhere else but I can't find it, so you get to hear about it again. I got this picture on Christmas Day last year from Lori, whose kids had made her a calendar with all her quilts in it. And the last picture in the calendar was this beauty. The boys all agreed to let me use it for our calendar. The three on the right are performers and you need to go to their website right now and bask in how freaking adorable they are. I highly recommend the video of them on American Ninja Warrior.

July 2013
Y'all remember a while back when I posted on Facebook about a fellow quilter whose boyfriend had two bikes stolen and how a friend of hers was raising money for them to get him a new bike (and replace the other stolen one that belonged to another friend)? Well, he got the bikes, and this is him with the bike that many of you helped him get.

August 2013
Alex just started quilting last year and this is his first quilt. One assumes that this is also his first time posing with that quilt shirtless while holding a burrito, but you never know.

September 2013
I happen to know that Chuck here is also completely starkers behind that guitar. I also happen to know that they are from the Nashville area, so I assume that Chuck is crooning a country tune and using his burrito as a guitar slide.

October 2013
This is one of my favorites. And though I'm sure they have a fence or a thick hedge or something, I keep imagining that the neighbors were all very intrigued by what was going on next door. And since Rob and his wife had to take this multiple times before we got a shot we could use, I also imagine those neighbors probably have some photos of their own that they're holding onto in case there's ever a property line dispute or something.

November 2013
Oh, Murray. Murray, Murray, Murray. Put that thing away, honey, before someone gets hurt.

December 2013
Christmas booty! Neil sent me a couple tush shots on FB (he does figure modeling) before he took this, which I thoroughly—and I do mean thoroughly— appreciated. His wife made the fig leaf mini-quilt especially for this photo. Of course, it's a BIG mini-quilt. Jumbo, really.

And there you have it! The calendar is again being sold through, same as last year and is the same price at $19.99. Thank you again for helping me help my brother's family and for being patient with me while I figure out how to balance my GenQ duties with my beloved blog.