Cherries, Take Me Away.

My life has been the definition of “train wreck” lately.

Nothing devastating or life-changing – no worries. Just a constant onslaught of sicknesses and injuries and roadblocks and traumatic doctor visits.

The upside is, they often make good blog posts.

Y’all have read about some of them, but I haven’t written about a lot of things because I have a rule for myself – never write about something until you’re on the other side of it – otherwise, it comes out whiny.

And nobody likes to read whiny.

(A rule I clearly broke with my Printing Woes. But hopefully Sukhad added the humor back in for me.)

Anyway. One very special blog reader, Melissa, from Prosser Washington, picked up on the undertones of my rather unpleasant start to 2015. And she commented after this post that she was going to send me some chocolates, thereby solidifying her spot as my Best Friend Forever [That I Probably Won’t Ever Get to Meet].

Because by chocolates, I knew she meant Chukar Cherries.

I knew this because she had sent them to me once before. AND THEY CHANGED MY LIFE.

They’re made in her hometown, and they’re basically the most luxurious chocolate-covered dried fruits and nuts ever concocted. All the combinations are divine, and the flavors they put together are the essence of chocolate fantasies. The last box she sent me contained eighteen different varieties of heaven dipped in chocolate.

After receiving them last time, I also started getting the catalogs. And with each one, I nearly ordered myself another box (to hide from the children and eat embarrassingly fast), but always somehow intervened before I delved into what was sure to become a serious addiction problem.

So when the Melissa mentioned a box of chocolates, I was pretty intensely elated.

The hope of those chocolates carried me through finishing my Kid’s Market preparation.

They carried me through recovering from a sinus infection.

They carried me through the mothering of sick children, blowing their noses on my pants, wiping their boogers down into my shirt, and hacking all night long.

They carried me through falling while running and injuring, bruising, or scraping every joint on my body, and the resulting physical therapy.

I knew that Washington is a long way away and it would probably take a good bit for them to arrive, but the hope of chocolate covered cherries and berries and pecans and hazelnuts in eighteen different varieties carried me through.

Until I got an email from UPS, telling me that they needed to let me know that a package headed to me from Chukar Cherries had a slight problem.


Chukar UPS Delay



I read that email three times, and then contracted an unstoppable case of the giggles. If there was anything more fitting for my life at that juncture, I could not possibly imagine it. The chocolate I was receiving because my life was a train wreck got caught up in an actual train wreck and I’m pretty sure the space-time continuum folded in on itself.

I started checking the UPS status of my cherries, waiting to see when they would resurface, imagining a UPS worker walking along the side of a train track, plucking chocolate covered cherries out of the grass and placing them, carefully sorted, back in my trays.

Every morning, I checked. Every morning, nothing had changed. Every morning, I assumed my chocolates had been eaten by the roadside chickens and cows before they could be collected and repackaged.

(Because there are totally roadside chickens and cows next to all train tracks, just waiting for derailments and the resulting chocolate spillage. Right?)

The above email came on March 3. The shipping status of my package did not update again until I received this email on March 9.

Chukar UPS Delay 2

My poor cherries, after having been spilled onto a rickety train trestle spanning a crocodile-filled ravine, were now encapsulated by a snowstorm, shivering their fragile chocolate coating off.

Or perhaps, they were stuck in a Sharknado – after all, it didn’t specify the weather type.

You never know.

Until somehow, they weren’t. UPS fought train and snow and sharks flying through the air and my chocolate dropping off the grid for over five days, and still managed to deliver those precious, life-giving chocolates – just one day after they were originally due.

Chukar UPS Delay 3

When the box arrived, my warm tingly heart burst within me.


I wish I’d gotten a better picture of that big red sticker – it said “Perishable Goods – Open Immediately.” But I didn’t have time for good photography – I had a package to open. I had chocolate-covered cherries to rescue.

They had been through a lot, after all.

I could relate.

Oh, the bliss of discovering that Melissa, Fairy Godmother of the Blog Realm, had indeed sent me that giant box of utopia again – along with a couple of other precious, blissful, renewing treats.


The endless array of beautifully coated goodness made up for all of the train wrecks – both figurative and literal.


And that box of cherries took over where the hope of cherries left off.

They carried me through running a half marathon perfectly fine, and then reinjuring myself the next day during my “recovery run”.

They carried me through not being able to walk for two days, then finding out that I would have to go to Physical Therapy 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks.

They carried me through multiple technological breakdowns – including those blogged and those only shared in Facebook comments.

And they’re still carrying me through. And doing a darn good job of it.

So from now on, when my life starts spinning off-balance like a washing machine whose drum came loose and is shaking the house down with its ear-shattering rhythm, I shall not waver at the thought of ordering myself some chocolate covered cherries – because mothers are best fueled by good chocolate. And Chukar Cherries most definitely balance everything out.

(Even if they have to survive their own train wreck to do so.)

If My Life Were a Children’s Book.


If you want to get a haircut, you ask your Mother-In-Law to come watch the kids.

If your Mother-in-Law comes to watch the kids, your youngest is sure to ham it up and play especially sick.

If your youngest hams it up and plays especially sick, she will tell you he didn’t get off the couch all morning.

If she tells you he didn’t get off the couch all morning, you will take his temperature and decide he needs to go to the doctor – before the weekend.

If you decide he needs to go to the doctor, you will take him in – despite the impending “Wintry Mix” and possible ice storms.

If you take him in, he will miraculously become healed in the Sick Waiting Room.

If he miraculously becomes healed in the Sick Waiting Room, he will have to touch, rub, and become one with all the surfaces.

If he becomes one with all the surfaces, you will become very anxious.

If you become very anxious, he will become further energized by your anxiety.

If he becomes further energized by your anxiety, he will begin jumping and screaming maniacally.

Jumping at doctor's office while

If he begins jumping and screaming maniacally, he will attract the attention of the other children in the Sick Waiting Room.

If he attracts the attention of the other children in the Sick Waiting Room, they will begin to play together.

If they begin to play together, your anxiety will triple.

If your anxiety triples, they will amp up their game to running around a column while rubbing their hands, cheeks, and possibly tongues around it like they were seeing how many germs it takes to reach the center of a column.

If they amp up their game to seeing how many germs it takes to reach the center of a column, you will begin listening to their Grandmother’s phone call to try and ascertain what they’re in for.

If you try and ascertain what they’re in for, you will learn that their sister is currently being observed to see if she needs to go back to the hospital for her raging and incurable stomach virus.

If you learn that their sister is currently being observed to see if she needs to go back to the hospital for her raging and incurable stomach virus, your anxiety will give you a facial tic so extreme that the kids in the Well Waiting Room will think you’re winking at them.

If you get facial tic so extreme that the kids in the Well Waiting Room think you’re winking at them, you will try to mitigate the future germ damage to your household by restraining your toddler.

If you try to mitigate the future germ damage to your household by restraining your toddler, his wiggling and fighting will make the seconds tick by so slowly that you are convinced the best course of action for your ongoing sanity is to get up and leave.

If you become convinced the best course of action for your ongoing sanity is to get up and leave, right before you do, you will get called back (after one hour and fifteen minutes of Sick Waiting Room Seventh Layer of Hell.)

If you finally get called back, you will, in a fit of anxiety-induced-word-vomit, tell your doctor of all of your trials in the waiting room.

If you tell your doctor of all of your trials in the waiting room, you will follow up by asking her if she happens to have any dissolvable anxiety pills on her.

If you follow up by asking her if she happens to have any dissolvable anxiety pills on her, your toddler will once again be energized by your admittance of the A word, and will yell, “All Aboard!!”, because, you see, he is the Train Conductor.


If your toddler plays Train Conductor with the stirrups, you will stop to tweet the moment, during which your toddler will seize the opportunity to find a well-hidden stray cup of water left by another child.

If your toddler finds a well-hidden stray cup of water, you will nearly break your nose (again) trying to tackle him before it reaches his lips.

At this point, you will begin praying for quick and painless deaths for each of your family members, as it is clear that all of your days are severely numbered.

Later Friday

After a nap (because after that visit there was no way you were doing anything else before naptime), you go to the pharmacy to fill your son’s prescription.

If you go to the pharmacy to fill your son’s prescription, the pharmacist will sympathize with you and tell you that she, too, has been sick for a week – with a really difficult strain of strep throat – and will cough, right before she mixes your son’s antibiotic.

If she coughs into your son’s antibiotic, you will again begin praying for quick and painless deaths for all of you – and maybe a slightly painful one for her.


Your husband has to go to the doctor and gets two shots and a prescription.


You and your daughter fall to illness.

Tuesday, Too Late to Go To The Doctor

Your illness worsens, now including a fever.


Your illness most definitely needs a doctor, but the entire city is shut down for the snowstorm that you’ve wanted all year long, so you tough it out and eagerly look forward to the distraction of a beautiful, thick white snow.

If you look forward to a snow, it will not come. And you will wait for eight hours, blowing your nose on every soft disposable surface in your house, not daring to leave due to impending doom, while it rains.

If you wait for eight hours while it rains, you will watch the wall-to-wall snow news all day long in hopes of an encouraging word about when you will get snow, but all you will see are thousands of happy snowstormees who live ever-so-slightly north of you.

If you see happy snowstormees, you will become not happy. But you will still wait, while it rains.

It gets dark, and it rains.

It gets darker, and your power goes out.

Then it starts snowing.

The children will hurry out in their snow gear, eager to make snowmen and snow angels and snow cream. Meanwhile, you hold the flashlight and jog in place on the porch so as to not let your feverish chills overtake you.


You get maybe a quarter inch of snow. That will melt by morning.

Meanwhile, you continue to be inundated by everyone else’s amazing snowstorm dreams, while your own dreams are delirious because…fever.


If you didn’t get the snowstorm you so hoped for, you will look at the bright side – that you can finally go to the doctor.

If you finally go to the doctor, the exhaustion from the week will overcome you and you will accidentally cry.

If you accidentally cry, your doctor will offer you antidepressants.

If your doctor offers you antidepressants, you will consider asking him for dissolvable anxiety pills for the next Pediatrician’s visit, and then wonder if he could instead prescribe you a trip to Fiji

While you’re wondering if your doctor can prescribe you a trip to Fiji, one of your kids gets all cozy and places their lips near a surface, almost assuredly picking up a new germ.

If your kid picks up a new germ, the cycle starts all over again.

And by the time it’s done, it’s most likely time for you to get another haircut.

The Stages of FaceTune Guilt.

A few weeks ago, I discovered this amazing new app. I actually think Apple tempted me with it. Somehow they suggested it to me – I don’t remember where, but I do clearly remember the wording.

“Wondering how all your friend’s selfies are so amazing? This is what they’re using.”

I was intrigued, because all of my selfies make my face look like the landscape of mars, and the size of it too.

I downloaded the app, FaceTune, and was immediately overwhelmed by the auto-loading tutorials. They were intense. There was a LOT going on here.

But I slowly started playing with one setting at a time….

And there began my downward spiral into tuning my face.

FaceTime Leaves

It didn’t help at all that we had family photos the next week, and I suddenly had hundreds of pictures with which to tinker.

I mean sure, I played with the kid’s eyes to make them brighter and less shadowy, but this app was really about me, not them. Their skin hasn’t yet been ruined by the ravages of sun and lack of sleep and poor skincare like mine has.

And so I played. I smoothed out my skin, erasing wrinkles and sun spots and crater-pores. I was amazed!! If only I had airbrush makeup (or a skin transplant), I could look like this every day!

FaceTune 1

Then I erased under-eye shadows. Surely they’re just because I’m terrible at putting on mascara – it’s not what I really look like. I am just erasing my own mistakes – that’s all!

FaceTune 2

It was so easy! Just a swipe of my finger here and there…

But FaceTune is a lot like Plastic Surgery.

A little is great.

But the longer you play, the more likely you are to turn yourself into something grotesque.

FaceTune 3

I mean sure, I don’t have any wrinkles, but my face nearly lost all natural contours in the process. Magic always has a price.

And then there was this edit.

FaceTune 4

Yes, my skin looks like it could be in a beauty pageant. But I also look like an American Girl Doll replica of myself. She ain’t real.

Despite my slight misgivings about my somewhat deceptive editing, I posted two of the photos as my new profile pictures on all of my social media accounts:


And the comments began.

“You look so young!”

“I swear you’re aging backwards!”

“You look fifteen!”

“Is your hair blue?”

Aside from the last one, each pricked my conscience a little more forcefully.

I mean sure, I’ve always edited my photos (who doesn’t?), but FaceTune gave me a level of control the likes of which I’d never wielded before. And with much power comes much…facial contortion.

And so began my downward spiral of angst and conflicting emotions.

1. I should admit that objects in this photo are not as young as they appear.

2. They don’t even look like me. I mean, those photos were taken when I looked my best, so there is no way I could ever achieve the post-edit skin tone on my own.

3. But it could! If I were better at makeup! Or had my own professional airbrush cosmetics studio!

4. Okay not really .This is what I would look like if I had a proper skin care regimen AND started it twenty years ago. And maybe wasn’t prone to freckling.

5. But I could be this person if I lived entirely on the internet. Oh – I wonder if I could do that?! Then I could have all the perfect skin tone I wanted….


7. Oh dang. There’s another comment. I need to admit my trespasses. I have to. I’m losing all credibility. The only way to regain it is to post a no-makeup selfie.

Or not.

8. But if the photo were overexposed, my skin would look that good, too! Cameras always lie – everyone knows that!

9. And anyway. I bet all the people on the internet with perfect skin are just FaceTuned. That’s what Apple told me, didn’t they?!


11. Argh. The photographer just liked my photo on Facebook. He’s probably judging me for smoothing myself. HE knows what I really looked like. HE knows I’m lying through my wrinkles.

12. I wonder how you can shrink pores as big as mine?

13. FaceTune. Oh, FaceTune. Why can’t you transform my skin like you lie about my photograph? Why can’t you be a real boy?

14. If God didn’t want me to be able to smooth my skin on the internet then He wouldn’t have created FaceTune. So there.

…But He could’ve cut out the middle man and just given me flawless skin to start with…

15. Guilt. Nothing but guilt. (But not quite enough to change my profile picture.)

FaceTune should have been called Pandora’s Face. That’s all there is to it.