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From the Chandelieeeeer

Ok, look. I’m just going to be straight up honest with you here and admit that I am NOT the best housekeeper by any means, but I’m not disgusting. Gross, sometimes [I do have a kid], but not disgusting. And I tell you this because we’ve developed a bit of a fly probem, which might bump me up into the upper tiers of grossness but, honestly, most of it is not my fault so hold that Judgey McJudgerson judgement for just a bit longer as I explain.

Our dog was diagnosed with Lymphoma on April 13th, and a few weeks later stopped eating her regular dog food. So I started scrambling to feed her whatever people food she would eat – which worked great for about two weeks. Then one day I had to feed and water her by hand. When she regained her appetite, or so I thought, I served her a big spoonful of her favorite beef and rice…and the entire bowl disappeared.

No, not like she ate it. She HID it. The entire bowl, with it’s contents. I laughed at first. What a weird thing for her to do, right? I laughed until I couldn’t find real people food in an open container for three days. Not so funny anymore.

I learned that she hid it because I put it next to her new sleeping spot and that she wanted her area clean AND probably also did not want the food period because her appetite was just about completely gone. And so, while looking for my son’s hoodie, I found the bowl and the spilled food in the corner of our “coat rack”, which is a bunch of hooks I hung behind the door but nothing really gets hung on them because my son throws his shit on the floor.

But I digress.

Grossness ensued as I cleaned rancid fat and meat…the rice held up nicely, I must say…but by then it was really too late. And I was too tired – let’s not forget that I’m pretty broken over here – and the seeds had been planted. Or the eggs. Whatever.

Fast forward to a few more episodes of her hiding food no matter where I put it, me having to leave plates of baby food out for her overnight in *hopes* that she’d eat, and, well…flies. Lots and lots of flies.

I was overwhelmed with the whole process of trying to find food for my dog to eat, on top of already being too overwhelmed to clean a normal house much less a house riddled with the remains of people food that was now dog food that was now hidden somewhere inviting problems.

I made a few homemade traps – I am an EXPERT at fruit fly traps, so why shouldn’t I be good at this? I mean, a fly is a fly, right?? After a few spills of just *disgusting* stuff, I quit. I quit and I went online and searched for where the hell I could get fly ribbon…which is where I came up with my first piece of comic relief in this entire fiasco – please see the description.

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Ass water. I should have known.

I stuck with the fly ribbon.

So here I am, pulling the first fly ribbon apart, and just praying that I do NOT get it stuck in my hair. Because I ran right into one once as a child and the memory of that thing in my hair still haunts me to this day.

I got the first one out very carefully, barely getting any on my hands, and managed to hang it in the bathroom without a hitch. This falsely raised my confidence levels, which really wasn’t a good idea, and so I was a little more cocky with the next ribbon.

I decided the next one should go above where the pet food bowls were. And so I started pulling it apart…pulling….pulling….until somehow it was stuck to the front of my shirt.

No problem, I told myself. It’s ok, I said as I peeled it from my shirt watching the residue stay stuck to my shirt in little patches. It’ll wash off…

Next fly ribbon was to be attached to the dining room chandelier because a) I really like Sia and b) they are really attracted to the light that comes from the window it hangs in front of. So I find some tape, open the ribbon, get the ribbon stuck to itself, peel it apart again, and successfully tape it to the chandelier.

Or so I thought.

I finally go to sit down, flipping off every fly caught on every ribbon on the way because I’m a bad ass bitch, when I hear FLOP!!!

The ribbon hanging from the chandelier had fallen to the floor.

Thank goodness it’s only tile, I tell myself as I get MOAR tape and go to pick up the ribbon.

[cues A Christmas Story’s tongue vs metal pole scene] Stuck? Stuck?? STUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally pull that bitch off the floor only to find MY FLOOR TILE ATACHED TO IT.

So I pull off the floor tile, and the ribbon gloms right onto the front of my shirt as if my shirt were made of fly ribbon magnets. My hair sets on fire, figuratively of course, and I rip the damn ribbon off my shirt only to lose my grip on it and send it plopping back down to my damn floor tiles.

Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.

I finally get it taped back up to the chandelier, to the chandelieeeeeeeeer, and then I go and flip every little stuck fly off AGAIN because FUCK THIS, I AM THE BOSS.

The very sticky boss.

Do you know that soap won’t get this shit off your hands???? Thank goodness I tried to be a good mom once two years ago and make my own baby wipes [because CHEMICALS], therefore I still have a newish bottle of baby oil in my cabinet – even though my baby is 8 years old. [Boys have pooping/wiping issues until they get married.]

And so here I sit, waiting for all my hard work to pay off, hoping I won’t walk right into a ribbon like I did as a kid, half knowing I’m probably going to do just that.

And that is life right now in the Ihlenfeld house. Thanks for tuning in. I’ll be pouring baby oil all over my floor tile if anybody needs me…and probably pouring it in my hair later if anyone would like to bring me some wine…

Maybe I should have gotten the ass water.

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A Typical Friday Afternoon

I stand on my front porch fully medicated and woozy. A chemical taste emits up my throat and out of my mouth like invisible cigarette smoke, and while it’s not horrible it’s most certainly weird and noticable. It feels as if it has permeated my lungs, and the damp post storm air does nothing to help.

Landi is rambling about the yard, testing limits, yet again, ever since both cats went in to the vet one after the other. I think she worries she’s next ever since that crazy Petco experience where she incited every dog in line with her incessant high pitched bark. She honestly just wanted to play. I swear. Fun times.

Little guy is on the floor playing with fully *clothed* barbies for a change along with a headless G. I. Joe doll. Why is he headless? We don’t know. Best not to ask. Plus, little guy has strep throat and is currently happy, so sometimes you just need to keep the peace by leaving well enough alone.

Unless the peace is a hyperthyroid cat with possible kidney failure who is leaking diluted urine down his legs and all over the house non stop. Then you pick that dude up and shove him into a modified baby diaper that you learned about from a YouTube video, at around 1am last night during the power outage, and freak him out and make him miserable, and eventually watch him escape from its grips around his bum using his hind legs, destroying all your hard work.

Pick your battles wisely, they always say.

Hindsight is totally 20/20.

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That Boom

My guitars are dusty
My keyboards rusty
My voice is gusty-less

I’ve got no breath for my reeds
No shake tambourines
No show for your appease-ment

My glitter has faded
My moves all out-dated
My act would be rated-less than zero on Yelp if Yelp rated such things like acts and singing and music playing and whatnot

But I’ve one little spark
And I’ll wait for the dark
Then l’ll light that shit up like – “BOOM MOTHERFUCKERS!”

– s. m. ihlenfeld

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Just. Stop.

The other day I saw the most disturbing thing on TV. Now, I don’t normally watch this program because I think it’s just trash (no judgment if it’s one of your faves), but I was waiting for the show I DO watch to come on. And there, on Entertainment Tonight I saw them bring a child onto their stage to confront her about her weight.

I’m sure you all know who it was – Honey Boo Boo. Regardless of what you think of that girl’s fame and her family, she is a child. A CHILD. And they sat her across from this miniscule woman who asked her to basically justify her size.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BULLSHIT?!

Read any article on weight and childhood and it will say that telling a child they are overweight is one of the worst things you can do, and here a TV show that parades the tiniest of tiny women as their hosts are telling this child these things. Has anyone ever asked these hosts about their weight? Would they like someone asking their children about their weight? No. No they wouldn’t.

And why do I point out the hosts’ size? Because that is the “normal” we are being fed. I’m sure the hosts are wonderful women, and if that is their god given body type then rock on! All bodies are good bodies! However, do you ever wonder what if that isn’t their natural weight? What kind of weirdness do they feel pressured to do in order to keep that weight? Would they still be employed if they gained weight? Why aren’t any other sizes shown on tv?

What about that one newscaster who was plus sized and got that nasty hatemail? What about the sizes in between plus size and size 0 – where are the size 8 and size 12 people? What’s wrong with them? Why can’t they be on tv? Do you know Amy Schumer is getting shamed by people who are saying she’s too chubby for movies – she’s a size SIX, people! A size SIX! This kind of bullshit needs to stop. It is harmful, sick, and just wrong.

If you think you are the authority of health, the authority of how much people should weigh and look, go fuck yourself. “Healthy” and “Fit” are this decade’s version of “Skinny”. New words, same idea – you are not ok as you are.

“Healthy” and “Fit” people die every day. They get diseases, too. A lot of those diseases cannot be seen from the outside, though. They don’t walk down the street with their disease on display for everyone to mock.

Is it OK to be “obese”? Well… Is it ok to have a face that looks like yours? Is it OK to be short? Is it OK to be very thin? Is it OK to be too thin? Is it OK to make fun of people with eating disorders? Is it really any of your business? Do you ask your friends for their cholesterol levels and blood pressure? Do you check up on your friends’ dental health? Is it OK to mock people at the gym? Is it OK to Instagram your every meal telling the world that you, too, “eat clean” and then you secretly scarf down a bag of cheetos but don’t post a picture of that? Is it OK to be alive?

There’s more than one issue here, but they all go hand in hand. Experts are learning a lot about obesity, from gut bacteria to inflammation and genetics. People who have obesity are screaming that they don’t only eat junk food, are not lazy, and sometimes actually under eat. People who have fought to get rid of their extra weight have been speaking up about what helps and what doesn’t, and shaming is certainly one of the things that doesn’t help. And people affected with bulimia and anorexia have been saying for years how media images only encouraged their disease to progress.

I just can’t honestly believe that Entertainment Tonight blasted that child for her weight – and she’s on steroids to boot! And this is entertainment, you guys. Disgusting.

My wish is health and happiness for us all. I want to see the return of fresh vegetables to everyone’s diet regardless of their size. I want to see processed foods on the decline all over, and I want to see people able to enjoy their favorite foods without being shamed because of their size. I want to see people embracing their bodies regardless of their size. I want to see body diversity on TV. I want to see people not embarrassed to participate in their favorite activities because of their size. I want to see us ALL move a little more and eat a little better regardless of our size. And I want to see the demise of the diet industry.

Is that really too much to ask?

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Friday Feats & Fails with More Than Cheese & Beer – First Week of 2015

I’m in a weird place right now. I know, I know, I’m always in a weird place. But I mean an even WEIRDER place than usual. And what a better way to explain it all than with a nice tidy little list of my Feats & Fails in this very first week of 2015.

FEAT – Went to the dentist for the first time in only prehistoric baby jeebus knows how long. The receptionist was irritating…and then it turned out the receptionist was the dentist…and then it turned out that he was gay and not really so much irritating as snarky. Whatever. I went to an arts school so I totally speak snarky, gay, and snarky gay, so once I realized what language I needed to interpret from I was totally ok and actually started to enjoy myself.  He even took his hands out of my mouth so I could answer his questions, and I discovered the key to a good convo with him was complaining about something together. Can he be my new best friend, please? Also, the real FEAT here is that I even bothered going in the subzero blowing snow and that the vortex in my molar was actually just a cavity and no root canal is needed. Also, he did NOT make my whole mouth hole bleed. Thanks for that, new best friend snarky gay dentist.

Damn. That whole last sentence was just a total FEAT on it’s own.

FAIL – I have to have three tooth roots pulled. THIS is why I don’t go to the dentist.

FEAT – I was feeling low so I took some time to clear out a nice little space in my small kitchen for me to use all of my various kitchen gadgets that I adore – like my coffee maker, my magic bullet (NOT a sex toy, I promise), my Mickey Mouse waffle maker (secretly I’m 12), and my George Foreman grill. The result? I’ve used the waffle maker three times this week as compared to three times last YEAR, and I even tried two crazy things I saw on Pinterest (it’s a trap!) – putting cinnamon roll dough in the waffle maker and putting scrambled eggs in the waffle maker (BOTH were WINS). The George Foreman grill gets used all the time, but instead of having to place it on a tiny scrap of counter space I had plenty of room to work my marinated chicken breast tenderloins magic. And I used the magic bullet to make my own powdered sugar, but let’s not talk about that.

FAIL – I used my Magic Bullet to make my own powdered sugar. Why? I wanted to make those microwave meringue cookies (one egg white + 2 cups powdered sugar + knead into dough + break off bits and nuke them for about 3 minutes = it totally works!) but I only had a cup and a half of cocaine. I mean powdered sugar. Anyways, I tried getting away with the cup and a half but all I ended up with was a gooey mess, so I decided to make yet another mess and try my own hand at making my own powdered sugar out of granulated sugar and corn starch and let me just say PLEASE JUST BUY THE SHIT. No one warns you of the powdery gas cloud. No one. And now I have plenty of powdered sugar…on my floor, in my shoes, under the fridge. FML. Just don’t. Please.

FEAT – I’m finally coming out of my Lyrica dosage increase coma that I had been in for practically the entire month of December. Oh, hey, look – Life! Anyways, I woke up out of my coma and suddenly had very little interest in all of the things I had been using to compensate for the fact that I could not go out and participate in real life. Mainly Facebook. I just picked up my phone somewhere around the 2nd of January and thought “My friends do not live behind this tiny little screen.” And I also though that, after all these years, very few people have crossed over from the internet and into my real life. Those that have are total gems. So why should I put more energy in to whoring my life out for everyone to see when instead I could be strengthening the relationships that I do have, even it is just through personal texts, messages, emails, or phone calls? I don’t know what it is, but I suddenly feel a bit more protective over all I have to offer and I feel like you better be special for me to take the time to share it all with you. So, with the exception of my writing, my social media presence has been waning but my personal connections have been deepening. Because I don’t have energy for both, and I much prefer the latter.

FAIL – Along with this discard for social media has come a loss for words. Sure, this post is going well so far, but really I have found myself with nothing much important to say yet an intense need to say it. Does everything NEED to be important? Well, if your name is Stacy Ihlenfeld then, yes, apparently it does. This has resulted in about a million topics thrown out the window, posts discarded after a few sentences, and an overall feeling of YES BUT WHAT IS MY POINT. I hope this clears up soon. Otherwise I’m going to have to develop a drug habit or maybe become an adrenaline junky. Bah, I’m too lazy for either. We all know this.

FEAT – Everything that lives in my house is still alive. (:

FAIL – I parted my hair and found so much bling I thought someone put silver glitter in my shampoo. WHAT. WHY. HOW. NO. FUCK.

FEAT – I took inventory of the contents of my heart near the middle of December and found some pretty scary things living there. I’m happy to say that the scary shit has been evicted, the wounds tended to, and all the other mess properly cleaned up and dealt with. I am currently living life with a brand new, fully healed, happily open and healthy heart, and my ability to give and receive love has been completely restored. I just wish I had known about the blockage earlier, but, hey, I’m only 36. Some people don’t figure this shit out until they are on their old age death beds. But I’m good now. I’m totally good. And aware. And practicing love every day. (:

What about you?

[To read more posts from other awesome bloggers on this topic or to link up your own post, be sure to visit http://www.morethancheeseandbeer.com]

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Becoming Real

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I’ve been learning a lot about myself lately. Mostly how I have a tendency to see things as either black or white and how that idea directly conflicts with the fact that a lot of life is lived in the grey.

I have trouble with the grey. I don’t like to make a mess – a mess of things, a mess of myself. The grey is very, very messy, as it turns out, but it’s also where all the best things are. And I didn’t know that until now.

Also, I didn’t know that I still had some pretty wide open wounds inside. I honestly thought that I was completely healed and whole. I even prided myself on my ability to work through all my issues and hurts on my own and come out the other side almost new. But it turns out I’ve been lying to myself, and possibly anyone who knows me.

Sure, most of me has recovered. There are some parts that look pretty normal, just as there are parts with some pretty awesome scars. But there’s an entire section right in the middle that is still torn and bleeding, raw and reactive, and highly protected. I had no previous knowledge of this.

Maturity has always been something I prided myself on. I’ve lived most of my life being called “mature for my age,” so I just came to believe it and accepted it as a part of me. Recently, however, I’ve learned that I’m nowhere near as mature as I thought I was and, while I wouldn’t exactly call myself immature nor have I ever stopped learning and growing, I’ve found myself knocked down a few pegs with quite a few lessons to learn.

I suddenly know a lot more about my flaws. I now know that if you leave me with any bit of uncertainty it’s the same as locking me in a closet with all of my demons – demons I didn’t even know existed until just today. Leaving me in the dark is perhaps the cruelest thing that can be done to me, but no one would know because I would never tell them, had I ever known before today.

This might seem like nothing but a bunch of negative self talk, but in reality I’m thankful for learning all these things about myself and therefore even thankful for the situations that caused me to learn it. It seems as though I’ve finally graduated into becoming a real live messy person, and it reminds me of my mother’s favorite passage from The Velveteen Rabbit.

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Years before she passed she told me that she wanted that read at her funeral, and I obliged. I don’t really know what I thought of it at the time, what message I was getting? Perhaps one just of parenthood or just of love…but today as I am reminded of this passage and “becoming real”, the true message has outshone whatever I had previously thought the message to be.  I thought I knew, before. But now I know.

And I’m real.

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Things I’d Like to Say

There’s a post I want to write but won’t.

I have so much to say that it feels like I’m choking and drowning all at once.  My heart is heavy and bursting, my gut feels punched and in knots. My mind is a mess and not very kind. I’ve got nothing to write that I would want to read, yet inside there are a thousand shouts wanting to be heard.

I need a new template to follow.  I need to maybe not be in charge of my own choices.  I’d like to borrow a voice other than my own and use it to say things that haven’t been thought in my own head.

I’d like to take a vacation from myself and come back when the weather is better inside.

I’ve lost my smile.