the smell of my desperation has become a stench

2011 in words and photos

Last year when I put together this post I hoped that we could all strive for fewer injuries in 2011. Yeah, I said that. It’s right there in sans serif shrugging its shoulders at the insane amount of money I’ve paid orthopedic surgeons in the last couple of months. Obviously, I’m not going to mention anything concerning broken body parts for next year because I’ll either lose an entire hemisphere of my body or, you know, HEART ATTACK.

But didn’t the Mayans say we’re all going to die in 2012? If that is indeed that case, let’s rip it up next year. Take the most outlandish bullet point on your bucket list and make it your bitch. Base jump off Burj Khalifa. Hike Kilimanjaro. Quit your job and move to New York because that’s what your dreams always wished you would do. Fall into such reckless love that the pulse in your ears drowns out the nagging voice of reason.

What follows is a collection of my favorite posts from the last year and my annual video of the year in photos. Another year, another wild ride: gall bladder surgery, an enlarged ovary. Mexico, New Orleans, New York, Palm Springs, San Francisco. A trip to the other side of the world. My oldest child entering second grade. A marathon. My heart cracking open because suddenly I’m alive.

See you in the new year.

Mexico, part one
“Tyrant did prepare a giant list of common questions we might have so that we could ask them in Spanish, including, ‘Where are all the good looking young men whom I might bring home to my assistant?'”

Newsletter: Month Eighty-Four
“I won’t lie, Leta, when you rubbed your eyes, looked at the time and said you were too tired to get up, I thought seriously about pooping my pants and saying, TIRED? REALLY? BECAUSE I HAVE A PRESENT FOR YOU.”

Mexico, part two
“What is the rule in this situation? I DON’T KNOW, and for the rest of the night I struggled with what had happened. Do you give money to The Plunger Dude? Wouldn’t that be weird? Wouldn’t that make him some sort of poop slave? And then the next time you see him around the hotel all you can think is, ‘I gave him money to see my poop.'”

March madness
“Marlo ruins everything. See how I just came right out and said that? Believe me, when she reads that fifteen years from now I guarantee you her feelings will not be hurt, and instead she will throw her fist in the air with a, ‘Shit yeah, I do!'”

The second tooth
“So I got in bed with my amped seven-year-old who would not go back to sleep. She kept moving around and asking questions, and in the meantime I’m covertly reaching around that entire bed trying to find the tooth. Three hours go by. Three of the longest hours of my life, of Leta asking what I was doing every time I moved my arm. I’M BAKING A GODDAMN CAKE, LETA. GO TO SLEEP.”

A peek inside our day, the first fifteen minutes
“First of all, the unicorns, Larry and Hal, they’re really bitter and have a bit of an incontinence issue. We got them on sale. And the people who wash our underwear? Are we supposed to know their names? Because we usually just shout, ‘Hey, you! Yes, YOU.'”

Anatomy of an ovary
“So then came the fun part, you know, when the doctor inserts a car jack into your vagina. Love that part. Makes you think, damn, women are lucky.”

Connecting in Memphis
“Then he called out my name, and when I focused on his face I did not recognize him. So I thought, hmm, maybe he knows me from my website? Maybe he follows me on Twitter? Maybe I slept with him and don’t remember?”

Matters of the heart, continued
“He doesn’t remember about ten minutes of his life, but thankfully those ten minutes weren’t our wedding vows or the birth of one of our children. They were just one message after another out into the ether that when you get an endoscopy you get the drug that killed Michael Jackson. ARE WE ALL CLEAR ON THAT POINT?”

Small world
“Okay. So. Someone driving a PT Cruiser with a lightning bolt decal is exhibiting a certain kind of taste. I’m not saying that my taste is better (well, I guess that’s exactly what I’m saying), but it says to me: I proudly own a denim couch. Or: a Native American dream catcher hangs above my toilet.”

We need an official clown car
“I looked up only because it was so sudden and noticed that he was wearing a sheet draped over his shoulder like in ancient Rome. Weird, I thought to myself, and as I scooped a spoonful of ice cream into Marlo’s mouth Cami goes, ‘DOUBLE-YOU TEE EFF, HEATHER. Why is that kid wearing bed linens?'”

And everyone’s hair looked awesome
“I was like YES. That is EXACTLY what my blog is. VAGINA ALL THE TIME.”

Matters of the heart, the finale
“It’s not like I’m going to do something illegal with Jon’s gallbladder, how is that even possible? You can’t smoke it and get high, right? I just want to dehydrate it and pin it to a linen-lined shadow box. And then print out a vintage-looking label that says, ‘GALLSIES! JUNE 2, 2011′”

Newsletter: Marlo turns two
“The only way I can describe what it’s like to hold you as you make these high-pitched, exhilarating outbursts about the simplest of things is, well, use of illegal drugs. People ruin their lives with illegal drugs because they want to feel that feeling I feel when I’m holding you in the morning.”

A little aside about time zones
“During our layover in Abu Dhabi I most certainly did not turn to anyone in our group and say, ‘This marijuana I have taped to my torso is itching like crazy!'”

The perils of being an adult
“Her face will always remind me of peeing fire and sternly worded rejection letters. I wonder if she realizes that this is one of the risks of working the job that she does, that some woman out there thinks of her face every time it feels like knives are pouring out of her vagina.”

Fun for the whole family!
“STOP. What are you doing? Slap your hands away from that keyboard! You cannot un-see a vajazzle!”

80 new beds, 80 more lives
“Because so often any and all of my opinions have been written off as the moronic musings of that woman who spent time in a psych ward. I am that woman who takes crazy people pills. People don’t joke about me being on my period, they joke about me being off of my meds.”

Fun with bones!
“You don’t cry in front of your trainer, dude. You know what you do in front of your trainer? You break rocks in half with your bare hands and bench press a piano. And then you take a giant swig of gasoline because you are that fucking tough.”

Halloween 2011
“Dear Rihanna, Your song is so inspirational that it made me run faster than I was supposed to. UNFOLLOW.”

Immature college student stuns local parents
“Leta’s tooth. GOD. Every time we tried to pull it she reacted as if a terrorist was taking over a plane. Which is bad news for her if a terrorist does take over her plane because they will want her to shut up.”

How I survived the 2011 ING NYC Marathon, part three
“Dude, you’re not going to believe this, but Fonzie kidnapped me, tied me to the back of his motorcycle with a rope, and we jumped off the Hollywood sign into a billboard of Kim Kardashian’s face. That’s why my ankle hurts.”

Music is “Song of Los” by Apparat.

  • ThePeanut

    2011/12/29 at 8:47 am

    Beautiful! Happy New Year Armstrongs!

  • Daddy Scratches

    2011/12/29 at 8:58 am

    Nicely done. Busy year. Congrats on all you accomplished.

    Happy New Year!

  • hockeybrad

    2011/12/29 at 9:06 am

    Great video. I love doing these too… when we’re old and gray(er) we will love these dearly. I look back at ones I did for kid’s birthdays 5 years ago and I just melt.

    Happy New Year, Armstrong Family!

  • hanniy

    2011/12/29 at 9:22 am

    The video is awesome! I’m very glad I found your blog – I SO enjoy reading what you write. And I loved your recent photo of flying in to SLC – we often fly in there on our way to WY and the view is outstanding. Wishing you all a wonderful 2012…and a year that’s not filled with doctor’s visits! xoxo

  • The Dalai Mama

    2011/12/29 at 9:29 am

    Happy New Year Armstrongs. I love this video–every year, I think I need to do one and then…well life happens.

    Inspired to think about it again.

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    2011/12/29 at 10:47 am

    Happy New Year to you and your family. Enjoy San Francisco!

    And thank you for the inspirational running video. What a touching story.

  • Becky Cochrane

    2011/12/29 at 11:12 am

    I hope the coming year is a great one for the Armstrongs. Thank you and Jon for sharing your talents and family with us.

  • slappyintheface

    2011/12/29 at 11:46 am

    2012 is going to be our year … I just know it!

    Happy New Year !!!

  • Lauren3

    2011/12/29 at 12:13 pm

    Love the video, love you. Thanks for everything, H-dawg.

  • megumphrey

    2011/12/29 at 12:30 pm

    Your blog was my first blog, back in 2003 or 2004? I still visit here daily. Thanks for a place to go. Y’all are entertaining.

    Happy New Year.

  • zpetals

    2011/12/29 at 1:25 pm

    This life: gorgeous, tender, hilarious, heart-wrenching, glorious, hard, touching. Thanks for sharing your life and joy (and heartbreak) with us all. Happiest of new years to you and yours.

  • Naperville Now

    2011/12/29 at 5:55 pm

    Brava, Heather.
    Keep on keeping on, chickie.
    Happy New Year.

  • artmeetslife

    2011/12/29 at 6:43 pm

    we cannot know what it feels like on your inside
    from our out side peeping in
    awkwardly bent to the screen

    the portal shows
    the work of your resonant self
    shining with veracity
    into the mirror of our experience

    (you are getting better)

  • Amy J.

    2011/12/29 at 6:47 pm

    You’ve had quite a year Heather. Here’s to hoping the new one is just as adventurous, yet not as painful :).

    I don’t know if I got prompted by your videos from the year or what, but I’ve been doing a year in photos retrospective for a few years now as well.

    Happy New Year to you guys.

  • jennisdrinking

    2011/12/29 at 9:51 pm

    Can I just say…it’s almost 2012 and I have yet to see a single picture of anything holiday oriented. I’m kind of disappointed. Actually, I’m a LOT disappointed. No artsy shots super close up of a Christmas tree, no pics of Chuck balancing a glass of eggnog…where’s the love?

  • jessiCat

    2011/12/30 at 8:06 am

    Happy Happy New Year, Armstrongs!!! We love y’all and thank you for sharing yourselves with us! Also, allowing us a whole community to distribute the crazy amongst ourselves! 🙂

  • blairyates

    2011/12/30 at 6:01 pm

    You had quite the 2011!! Cheers to you and your family. I’d be honored if you would follow my blog, and read about my journey towards weight loss, healthy living, and my 2012 NY resolution – complete a triathlon!

  • susanruffin

    2011/12/31 at 11:25 am

    Excellent video and music.

  • bertski

    2012/01/01 at 6:28 pm

    Enjoyed the ride through 2011. May 2012 present more healthy challenges and present love and prosperity to you and your family. Thank you!

  • rawkfemme

    2012/01/02 at 11:52 am

    Happy New Year! You inspired me and my husband to give Paleo a try in 2012. I’m even dusting off my old blog to help track my progress.

    Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

  • TurdFerguson

    2012/01/02 at 7:04 pm

    I always get a little twinge when I watch the year end video & see how your girls are growing. I’ve made “Year in Review” videos of my granddaughters & our family the last couple of years & it always brings a tear to my eyes. My video locales aren’t nearly as exotic as yours, but I love to see all you accomplished. Keep up the good work, Heather. Happy & healthy New Years to you & yours.

  • fruitcrackers

    2012/01/03 at 11:02 am

    I think I’m just gonna base jump offa Wiz Khalifa, instead.

  • kdw

    2012/01/03 at 3:58 pm

    Dooce! Happy new year. I had read Maggie’s blog entry about buying new undies for the new year, so I was in that lingerie department on the afternoon of the 31st WHEN YOU WERE! I was also being over-stimulated by all that nylon, and you were giggling with your friend. I almost said ~hi~ but then felt very weird, so I bought my cute hip-hugging panties and split. Glad you had fun in SF.

  • Oana

    2012/01/09 at 7:40 am

    A pictures says more than a thousand words and a clip like this, oh well, let just say it depicts very well the richness and blessings in your lives. Delightful!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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