Posts By: begininthemiddle

It’s National Sister Day!


It’s National Sister Day. So, what could possibly be more appropriate than a little post celebrating my amazing big sister, Joanna? George Schultz said big sisters are the crabgrass of life and, if you’d asked the little blonde kid in this picture what she thought, she’d probably have agreed with George. Joanna was a stinker when we were kids, but then again, so was I. We sure were cute though, weren’t we? Ahh, youth.

Here’s another quote for you. Elizath Fishel, author and journalist, said sisters are both our mirrors and our opposites. When I was younger, I would have said that Joanna and I had nothing in common. We are opposites, in fact, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As I get older, though, I’m beginning to see my sister looking back at me from my mirror. We’re beginning to meet in the middle. Maybe I’m maturing and she’s softening. Ahh, age.

One thing I can say with absolute certainty, I’m proud to call Joanna my sister. She’s always been on my side, even when we didn’t get along. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and when others doubted me. She saw my talents when I saw my failures. She encouraged me to believed in myself when I had no self-confidence. We don’t always agree, but there is always love.

I love you, sister. Happy National Sister Day!

Leave a shout out to the sister(s) you love in the comments. We’d love to hear about her/them. As always, if you like what you’ve read, please like and share.





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High Art… Or Not

Those of you who know me know I love nothing more than a good piece of tailgate – art. (Get it? Do you see what I did right there? I love it when I giggle at my own cleverness.) Anyway, I left my three loyal readers hanging the other day when I mentioned an art sighting over on the Facebook page, but I never followed up with pictures. So, without further ado, I present… Well, I’m still not sure what to call this, but I like it.

Jesus is a Polo Jockey

Call me a snob or a purist, but I was more than a little put off by this window film catastrophe when I first pulled up behind it. It seemed like a a cheap imitation of an art form I’ve come to love and admire. How could anyone take this thing seriously? Really. The van isn’t even in the picture, a key element of tailgate art. Plus, there’s no tailgate, and no paint, so it doesn’t qualify as traditional tailgate art and, yes. Before you ask, there is such a thing as traditional tailgate art – because I say so. I told you. I take this seriously, maybe more seriously than people who actually have art on their tailgates. Maybe.

But the more I stared, the more this piece grew on me. There’s no skyline, no glorious sunset to admire in this picture, but it does kind of look like Jesus and the Virgin Mary are hanging out at the polo field. In fact, I think Jesus has a polo mallet-thing in his hand. Yes, I realize it’s a staff, but use your imagination. If you look at the little black window buttons, they look like polo balls. A coincidence? I think not. You see it, don’t you? What this van art lacks in traditional elements, it makes up for in fun! It’s amusing, whether that’s intentional or not is irrelevant. The van won me over. (It was a long light, obviously.)

If there’s a moral to this story it’s this:

I shouldn’t be so judgey. This guy obviously loves a good piece of tailgate as much as I do. Also, I’m going to take a big leap here, because why not. This is guy’s van art is probably the guy equivalent of a Pinterest project. You wanna be DIYers know what I’m talking about. I pin art and home improvement projects on my Pinterest boards like a fiend. Every so often, I convince myself I’m actually talented and skilled enough to replicate one of those projects. Remember this little beauty?Pinterest Projects We Have Known and Curse Through

The reality, however, is that I have no such skills or talents and my Pinterest inspired projects tend to go horribly wrong. In fact, I have a half finished dining room table sitting in the middle of my den collecting dust and other odds and ends at this very moment. At least this guy has a finished piece of amusing, not quite tailgate art on the back of his van; and that, my friend, is something to be proud of.






I’m ashamed to admit that I have been consumed by terrible, debilitating jealousy in the past few days. I’m not going to give you any details because I’m not proud of myself. Just trust me when I tell you it’s been seven deadly sins bad – even though I’m not sure jealousy’s one of the seven deadly sins. If it’s not, it should be. So, in an effort to turn that life-sucking emotion inside out and use that power for good instead of E-V-I-L before it eats me alive, I’ve been keeping really busy this week. It’s amazing how much kinetic energy that little beast, jealousy, creates.

Now, before you go thinking I’m some sort of angel, or Pollyanna, or something, turning all that negativity around, I’m not. I’m shallow. I’m very, very shallow. This attitude shift is all about self-preservation and the fear of eternal hell-fire. Well, maybe not the last thing so much. I’m selfishly using this jealously thing to light a proverbial fire under my sedentary, dimply butt.

It’s time to get moving again. I’ve got a business to get off the ground. I have ideas for projects and posts and I still have a fancy camera I barely know how to use. Life is short – too short to spend it comparing my life or accomplishments to anyone else’s. Time to begin again. Happy Thursday!

George Clooney Reads This Blog… At Least I’m Pretty Sure He Does

My Personal Facebook Status From April 27th:

Today’s Headlines –

  • Week in Pictures “An iceberg 6 times the size of Manhattan”
  • Putin suspends talks with the West
  • George Clooney engaged

I don’t know, folks. The end of times may be nigh. Time to put on my foil helmet, stock up on potted meat, dig a hole, and build my roach covered bomb shelter.

That’s right, folks. George is getting married. You do know what this means, don’t you – besides the whole apocalypse thing?

It means George Clooney:

A)    Is an avid reader of Begin in the Middle – AND MY #1 FAN;

B)    Quite possibly did not appreciate the comparison to my dead, but beloved, stoner cat (see Why Owning a Pet is Like Dating George Clooney);

C)   Re-examined his carefree, bachelor-for-life lifestyle based solely on that one obscure blog post and decided to commit – all because I decided to write a blog.

So, you’re welcome, Future Mrs. George Clooney. You may not know it, but I take full credit for your marriage and your future happiness. And thank you, George! I owe you one. Reading about your impending nuptials made me want to write for the first time in a long time. Best wishes to you both! Oh, and George, check back soon. I won’t disappear on you again now that I know how much you depend on my little blog.

I LOVE THINGS: An Ode to The Google Chromecast

ChromecastWe established in an earlier post that I’m shallow and that I do, in fact, love things. Well, I recently found a new thing to love and, since I love sharing with you, I thought I’d write a little post about it. I’m also going through a dry spell, creatively speaking, so a product review is a welcome topic. It’s something to write about, which is better than the alternative – WRITING NOTHING. Either way, it’s a win/win.

My new favorite thing is the Google Chromecast, a little device that lets me stream Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Pandora from my computer, smart phone, or iPad to my television! I realize there are other streaming media devices out there, but the Google Chromecast only cost me $35 dollars, far less than most of its competitors. It’s also small and portable enough to move back and forth between the bedroom and the living room.

While I was writing that last sentence it occurred to me that $35 is actually affordable enough that I could really get another Chromecast. Then I wouldn’t have to move it back and forth, even though it’s really easy. I guess I need to decide if I’m lazier than I am cheap or if I’m cheaper than I am lazy. It’s a toss up. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Anyway, I’m not the most tech-savvy person out there. If I can use this baby, I’m pretty sure most people can. So far, the only downside I can come up with is that I can’t stream Hulu Plus from my iPhone to the Chromecast. I have to use my computer or iPad to do that. No big deal. Right? I also don’t have a USB port on my television for the power adapter, but my DirecTV box does have one that works just fine. Problem solved.

To sum up, I am in love with my new $35 Google Chromecast, which allowed me to join the Netflix and Hulu Plus cult. Now I really don’t need a social life. I can watch all the television I want whenever I want. I can even watch television I didn’t know I wanted to watch until Hulu told me I wanted to watch it! Binge, binge, binge! Happy. Happy. Happy. And it just occurred to me why I can’t come up with anything to write about or the desire to write in the first place. Maybe it’s time to step away from the box with the talking pictures. Nah!


I’m Empty, But Not In a Sad, Pity Me Kind of Way

I’m posting because it’s been a while since I posted anything and, basically, I want anyone who’s out there who might care to know that I’m not dead. Hi, Mom! I’m not dead! I haven’t given up or thrown in the proverbial towel. I’m just kind of empty right now. I’ve got nothing, but not in a sad, pity me kind of way. I’m just going through a dry spell. Every once in a while I think I’ve got an idea or an inspiration and then I’ll blink or Rupert will drag Eeyore to the kennel for some prison rape, which of course I have to watch, or something else will come up and then, well, the moment passes.

While I’m floundering around over here, struggling to come up with an original idea of my own, check out this blog – Humans of New York. I’m not turning you on to a secret, little gem. This blog is wildly popular, but it’s possible you haven’t heard of it, yet. The blogger certainly doesn’t need my help promoting his site. He has a new book out and a bazillion followers on Facebook and Twitter, but his blog deserves the hype. It’s beautifully touching in its simplicity and humanity. I love, love, love it. I think you will, too.

Well, back to my dry spell…

A Few Random Thoughts on Atlanta 2013

Mike and Shanna’s Wedding Weekend 2013 has come and gone. It’s all over now except the recap. Remember that last paragraph in my pre-travel post where I cheekily promised to divulge all the juicy details from our much anticipated weekend, even though I promised Ed I wouldn’t? Yeah, well, my old friend The Universe read that post, too. The Universe must have called Karma up to let her know what I had planned and Karma, that bitch, dealt a me preemptive strike. There are no juicy details to report, folks, because yours truly got a nasty case of food poisoning at lunch last Friday. That’s why last weekend was also Clare and Ed’s Sexy-Time Weekend That WASN’T 2013.I’m fairly certain Ed will never let me live down the fact that I refused to eat at Chic-fil-A because “you can get that anywhere.” You know what you can’t get just anywhere? E coli (suspected) contamination. Apparently, you need to eat at small, local restaurants for that. I do take great pride in the fact that as sick as I was: a) I made it to the wedding; b) I looked damn good at that wedding; and c) I dragged my ass around Atlanta the next day even though I felt like hammered doo-doo. I am a champion, but enough about that.

I’ve tried to write this post a few times and it just keeps getting out of control. So, I’m just going to bite the bullet and spit it out. Here, without further ado, are some random thoughts about our weekend in Atlanta:

1. Spending a few days away from the newest member of our family made something clear to Ed and me, a fact we’ve tried to deny until now. Rupert is the new Oliver. Don’t tell Oliver. I wasn’t sure I could leave Rupert for 3 days. I actually cried when we dropped him off with the dog sitter. Seriously, I cried like I was leaving my human child for the weekend. Before you roll your eyes and judge me harshly, let me say that I’m not the only one that dog has wrapped around his bony, little paw, either. The first thing Ed said when we Thinking of Youwoke up Sunday was, “I can’t wait to go get Rupert.” When we discussed our family with our table mates at the wedding dinner, we showed them pictures of Rupert, not Oliver. On the other hand, we did take a silly picture of ourselves outside the Atlanta Costco. We texted it to Oliver with a note saying, “Thinking of you, XO!” Cute and silly. Right? Oliver’s response? “You sent me a picture of yourselves outside the place where I work, but in a different state. What’s up with that? Was that supposed to be funny or something?”  Is it any wonder we are fazing him out?

2. I made way too big a deal out of flying. The TSA wasn’t interested in me at all. Ed, on the other hand, forgot to take the change out of his pocket. The TSA dude spent a long time feeling Ed’s inseam and very little time on the outside seam, where the actual change was. This was no quick pat down, if you know what I mean. Ed didn’t seam to mind.

IMG_1931[1]3. I’m going to say something that’s liable to get me in trouble, but it’s true. First, I’ll issue a little CMA disclaimer – I love Texas. I love being from Texas. I’m proud of Texas and I love Houston; however, now I understand why people say Houston is ugly. Sorry, Houston. Atlanta is beautiful. Houston isn’t. It makes me sad, but it’s the truth. Also, although the hotel service was terrible, everyone else I met in Atlanta was very friendly. It was a nice city, full of nice people. I’d move there.

4. Mike and Shanna’s Wedding was amazing from beginning to end. Shanna, who’s one of my new favorite people, is a class act. We were greeted at the hotel with a goody boxGoody Box! and a handwritten note thanking us for coming. Special touches like that made the wedding weekend an amazing experience.

Forget the Bride! I Look Good for a Sick Woman!I didn’t get any good pictures of Mike and Shanna because I was too far back, but here’s a good one of Ed and me. Remember, I was hopped up on Imodium and Gatorade, so this is REALLY good!

5. I am a disorganized planner. Make sense of that, if you can. I plan. I plan a lot, but I never seem to plan enough or maybe I just don’t plan the right way. Now that the trip is over, I can think of so many things I wish we’d done. For instance, I wish we’d gone to the CDC, especially AFTER I got poisoned, but mostly as a Walking Dead sight-seeing thing. I wish I’d done a little more Gone With the Wind research so I could have bored Ed with even more GWTW sight-seeing. If we’d had more time, we would have taken the tour at the Fox Theater, which is fabulous on the outside! The tour at the Margaret Mitchell House was alright, but $26 was a lot to pay to tour 3 rooms.IMG_1913[1] IMG_1911[1] IMG_1938[1]

Finally, even though things didn’t exactly go as planned on our trip to Atlanta, we still managed to have a good time. We’re looking forward to traveling again soon. The only problem is I don’t want to leave the dog. Excuse me. I meant to say, I don’t want to leave our new favorite child. Don’t tell Oliver.

Time to Shake Things Up! It’s Travel Time!

Thank you, Michael and Shanna for getting married! Specifically, thank you for getting married in a location requiring us to get on a plane and GO SOMEPLACE for the first time in a really long time. I didn’t realize how badly Ed and I needed to shake things up. The last time Ed and I left Texas was a trip to New Orleans 2 or 3 years ago. There were no planes, no big events, no getting dressed up and going out, no chicken dance, no seeing and being seen, just a lot of booze and food. I know. It sounds awesome. It was. But it was a road trip. This is a REAL TRIP.

So, since we have the plane tickets, rental car, the hotel room and all that, Ed and I plan to maximize the return on our investment in Michael and Shanna’s Wedding Weekend! Question – Just how much fun, culture, sight-seeing, togetherness, and potential sexy-time can a 40-something couple squeeze into a 3 day weekend in Atlanta? Stay tuned, dear reader, stay tuned!

Check Facebook ( and Twitter(@ckgolemon) throughout the weekend for pictures and updates. Longer posts to follow next week. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss any of the juicy details that I solemnly promised Ed I won’t write about, but you know I probably will anyway!

Well, hello, Homeland Security!

Well, hello, Homeland Security!

UPDATE: I’m all ready to head out, just waiting for Ed to get out of the shower. While I wait I thought I would post the first of what I hope will be many, many photos of a fun weekend. Historically, I’m a little camera shy, but this is all part of the new me. Incidentally, I think it says something, probably lots of somethings, that a person who can’t be bothered to apply make-up for work most days spent a considerable amount of time getting dolled up for TSA. Maybe on some level I’m secretly looking forward to that cavity search. What would Dr. Freud say? Sigmund?

How Do I Love Thee – Pinterest Style

ha-get-it-because-the-1950s-was-awful-to-womenI’m a big fan of Pinterest. Who isn’t? Any excuse to zone out and suck time is ok in my book. I’m such a big fan that I have two accounts, a business account – because this whole blogging thing is a business (WINK, WINK) and a personal account – because I feel the need to keep some things in my life private (SO NOT TRUE. FEEL FREE TO LAUGH.) Honestly, the two accounts are pretty similar. Anyway, I spend a lot of time pinning stuff. Occasionally, I come across a real gem – the unintentionally funny. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a pin whose real title I won’t use because, all evidence to the contrary, I’m not a total bitch and I don’t want to intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings. So, on the off chance that the original pinner should happen to stumble on this post, which I highly doubt, but you never know, I’m not going to post the actual pin. I’m just going to describe it.

Basically it was something like 67 Things You Can Say to Make Your Husband Feel Swell! The title wasn’t really that cheesy, but you get where this is going. I thought it would be fun to read some of the suggestions aloud to Ed, but I barely got through number three or four before he shut me down. His exact words were, “Clare, whoever wrote that crap is insane. Stop! My ears are bleeding! I’m pretty sure even the Amish would find this list too conservative and crazy to believe.” [Please note that Ed and I have only the deepest respect for the Amish. He was only making a point about how ridiculously 1950’s puritanically conservative and outdated this list was.] One of my favorite suggestions was, “I have not a bit of a headache. Interested?” I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP. I couldn’t make that up. Another good one was, “I stayed within my budget this month!” Another classic was, “May I hold your hand?” I kid you not. Seriously, who are these people? They’re married and the wife has to ask permission to hold her husband’s hand? If that’s the case, they need more than a list of stupid questions from Pinterest!

Don’t get me wrong. I love my guy. I like the idea of saying nice things to reinforce the positive aspects of our relationship, but I think that has to come from a place of honesty. If I were to say to Ed after he’s pulled a real boner, as this pin suggests, “I forgive you. I will never mention this again,” he would KNOW I was lying. Let’s be real. Forgiving is one thing, but we both know whatever he did WILL COME UP AGAIN at some point. That’s just the way it works. I am human. Sue me. Also, after 20ish years together, if I sent Ed a text saying, “You, me, tonight… game on!” He’d probably write back asking if I was drunk. Sad, but true. I guess the lesson is that you can’t use a “canned list” of phrases to make your guy feel good. It has to come from the heart and you have to use your own voice. For instance, my list would include something like, ” I forgive you, but I do reserve the right to hold this against you the next time you screw up… and don’t expect to watch football on Thursday. It’s Real Housewives Reunion night, buddy. You brought this on yourself.”

So, there you go. My rant on a silly pin I found one night while trolling Pinterest. I was going to write my own list of things to say to make your husbands feel swell, but, sadly, I couldn’t come up with a list that didn’t sound totally cynical and bitchy from the very first word. What can I say? I just don’t do “sweet,” at least not this way. I know. Hard to believe, isn’t it? I have my moments, though. What I lack in the mushy nice-nice department, I make up for in other areas – and you can all just get your minds out of the gutter right now. Thank you, very much.

Do your thing. Subscribe so you don’t miss a rant and, while you’re at it, be sure to leave a comment telling me what you’d put on your list of nice things to say to your sweetheart.

Why Owning a Pet is Like Dating George Clooney – Or Something Like That…

Why do smart, funny, attractive women date George Clooney – apart from the obvious reasons, I mean? Sure, he’s cute. He seems funny, smart, and sensitive. There’s the world travel and the house in Italy. I’m sure he knows how to show a lady a great time, if you know what I mean. [INSERT LECHEROUS WINK HERE.] But on the other hand, George is a confirmed bachelor. He’s made that a very public fact. It’s not like he promises one thing and gives another. It is what it is. HE AIN’T EVER GONNA PUT A RING ON IT NO MATTER HOW GREAT A WOMAN YOU MAY BE! In short, even though you go into a relationship with George Clooney with eyes wide open, it isn’t going to end well. The fact that the relationship will eventually end is the only guaranty you get. There will, no doubt, be fun, laughter, excitement, maybe even real love in that middle part, but the end will come. So why do women date George Clooney when it’s bound to end in a broken heart?

I may be stretching here. In fact, I’m sure I’m stretching. If so, indulge me. Chalk it up to grief, but I had this thought some time in the last few days when I was blowing snot bubbles and gasping for air. Grief makes us all not so beautiful and more than slightly irrational. I’m going to share this with you anyway in the hope that at least one of my five loyal readers will get it. Here it is – my grief induced epiphany.

We all live with blinders on. A daily dose of denial is not only necessary, it’s a good thing. Without a little denial in our lives, we couldn’t possibly survive. If we faced the stone cold realities of everyday life – every day – we’d never let ourselves fall in love because our hearts might get broken. We’d never take chances because we might fail. We’d never get married because sometimes marriages don’t work out. WE’D NEVER ADOPT PETS BECAUSE PETS DIE AND IT BREAKS OUR HEARTS UNTIL WE WANT TO CRY OURSELVES TO DEATH AND NEVER WRITE ANOTHER WORD. And we’d certainly never date George Clooney because, eventually, he’d just break up with us and that would hurt – mostly because we wouldn’t get to go to the house in Italy anymore.

I think you can probably tell from the sentence in the big, ugly capitalized letters where I am emotionally right now. Gutted. It’s a good word and just about sums it up. Gutted. I told Ed yesterday that I never want to write again and I meant it. I still kind of do mean it. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of the hurt it’s hard to remember that it will end – just like everything else. It will end. And when it does, I’ll strap my wonderful, God-given blinders back on and start living again. I’ll go back to living happily in denial like the rest of the world, ignoring the fact that most of the stuff that makes us the happiest in life isn’t guaranteed to end well, it’s just guaranteed to end. It’s all the good stuff in the middle – AND THERE’S LOTS OF WONDERFUL, MAGICAL STUFF IN THE MIDDLE – that makes it worth it.