It’s the Pits… In the Best Way Possible!

I don’t know how to start this one. I have been SO excited about it… and yet, it’s weird. I mean, not completely circus clown freaky weird, but probably not something most people would get that excited about. And yet. I AM!

I have been doing laser hair removal this year of our pandemic. I wasn’t excited to begin with. I was hesitant, and curious, and wary, and struggling with the decadence of it all! Laser anything is pricey and there are just more important things than burning your hair follicles to a crisp. However, due to age and fricking menopause I have been developing… well… whiskers. Whiskers on my chinny chin chin. Dark whiskers that irritate my skin! And, also because of ageing, I can’t see them! I mean, they’re not imaginary or anything, they’re really there; I just can’t see them very well when I go to pluck them. I’m at that stage where I have reading glasses and distance glasses and neither one of them seems to be the right prescription to see these fricking hairs that I can feel but can’t see! (I can see them perfectly well, btw, after I’ve put on my makeup and am standing at a normal distance from the mirror.) Then, if I ask Keen (who also can’t see) to help me, he just stabs me in the throat with the tweezers.  

Raise your hand if you’ve been stabbed in the throat with tweezers.

So naturally, I was bitching about my whisker-plucking dilemmas (and throat stabbings) when a friend mentioned laser hair removal. A-ha! That could solve everything! But I still felt kind of guilty and hesitant. So, like the good little wife of a CPA, I calculated how much time I spent shaving a day. Then I calculated how much time that would be in a year. Then I pretended there were cost analyses and interest and amortizations and other words my husband says that I only half listen to.

It turns out I spend about 10 minutes a day shaving, give or take, depending on the area being shaved. To be easy, I estimated overall shaving at an hour a week, or… 52 hours a year! What? That’s a week of work! Or vacation. Or some serious binge-watching. And that did not include the time I spent trying to pluck out these damn chin hairs!! Which takes a damn long time when you can’t see them. The chin bristles were also popping up at an alarming and increasing frequency, and extrapolating out I can only assume that meant it was an upward trend and soon my entire face would be covered in tiny, dark, vision-defiant whiskers. Sooooo between losing a week’s worth of valuable time and the fact that the hairs are clearly launching a territory coup on my face the only LOGICAL decision would be to burn the suckers off with lasers. Right?

Exactly. I had a consultation and set up my first appointment. I decided to throw my underarms under fire, too, because I figured, even if it didn’t completely work, a reduction of growth there would still be less time with a razor.

I don’t know if I can describe how much I love laser hair removal. Like LOVE IT! I thought it would make a difference, but oh my god! I saw a difference from the very first appointment. Half the hair shriveled up almost immediately. Over the months, the dark whiskers have gradually disappeared and what’s left are fine, downy hairs that you can only see if you get up close and personal. It is positively addictive. I’ve already added on my lower legs to the burn schedule and I’ll probably follow that with the bikini area. I walk around showing people my bare patches. Look! See? I mutilated myself! Isn’t it amazing! If I didn’t have my local dermatology office as a recourse, like if they (god forbid) banned all laser procedures tomorrow, I would probably lurk around lairs, trying to con supervillains into using their death rays on me. THAT’S how much I love it!

Now if I spend too much time in the shower it’s because I’ve spaced out under the lovely warm water, not because I’m shaving.

BTW, I’m pretty sure laser hair removal is a gateway cosmetic procedure. I’ve already picked up a pamphlet on micro-needling and asked if cold sculpting really works. You are warned.

              - wg

P.S. For those of you who are curious, getting laser hair removal is like having a group of tiny elves hit you with teeny, tiny rubber bands. Not that bad, in my opinion. But then, I went through 36 hours of labor, and I also once had an accidental Brazilian, so I’m not fazed by most mild discomfort. (Except for when the doctor tells you “you’ll feel a little pinch” before giving you a uterine biopsy. That’s just a flat out lie.)   


Makeover Games are Conspiracies

OK, so I know I said I was going to reduce playing games on my phone (and I AM! Really, I am,) however, at the reduced, allotted times I DO play I have been increasingly disturbed by the ads for other games that are playing on my game. (You followed that, right?) Especially the ads for Makeover Games.

I really feel like that should be followed with a dun dun DA! Or at least said in a voice of doom.   

These games' storylines center around girls receiving makeovers so they can catch the guy's attention. The girls in the ads are always mocked by other people and are shown as miserable until they get their makeover. In one of the games, the character is shown over and over getting dressed and then her male counterpoint judges whether she is dressed appropriately. The makeovers focus on getting rid of body hair, wearing certain types of makeup and clothes (anything outside a certain parameter is deemed a "fashion emergency"), putting on heels, etc. in a very narrow range of what is acceptable.  So... not only are the games teaching messages to girls that they are and should be judged on their appearance, then, the player herself, gets judged by the game on whether she did the makeover correctly? What. The. Fuck?

I took a moment when I first saw these ads to check myself. Perhaps, these ads are misleading and they're just to get people to download? Perhaps, there are other storylines in the games? But then I kept seeing ads for other games along the same lines.  Frankly, the ads are so off-putting I have yet to download one. I ALMOST downloaded one, just to check it out. Impartial journalism and all. But then I read the comments and many of them reiterated the sexist themes played out in the ads and more than one mentioned how the characters are told to get rid of their glasses! 

(Oh no. You don't fuck with glasses!)

One of the most disturbing things... almost all of these games are labeled for 4 years and up. I thought that we were in a new era of women empowerment? I thought we had left some of this crap behind. So why the hell are outdated, sexist, and repressive games popping up that are targeted to little girls, tweens, and teens?! Is this payback from some weird segment trying to hold onto patriarchal power? An intentional undermining? Because somehow this feels a bit like when the women's movement started to get rolling in the 60s and 70s, and suddenly there was ALSO a huge explosion in porn. (OK, ladies, you can go to work! But you're all nymphos or ball busters and no one will take you seriously.) But these games are worse because they are targeting children. The ads, in fact, tell girls that these are the type of games (and attention) they're supposed to want, even if they don't actually play them. It's conditioning them in restrictive stereotypes on multiple levels. And it's also conditioning them to normalize judgement in all its unhealthy glory.

So I have to ask... are there companies out there so fearful that the future is female that they have to tell five-year-olds they'll never be happy unless they dress a certain way?

I'm not paranoid if it's true.    

 


New Methods to Shake Up Old Writing Habits

Remember about a month and a half ago when I finished my last book and I was trying to channel all my productive momentum into the next project? Well, I failed. I stumbled around, flailing my arms, jumping from project to project, trying to stave off “the crash” but, inevitably, the crash came. I was mentally and creatively exhausted. I would start projects and then stare blankly into space, my mind refusing to budge beyond the vaguest of plans. I could do research fine but implementing creativity wasn’t working. But I kept fighting it! I thought, if I just keep plugging away it will all click eventually. But it didn’t. Finally, I had a long hard talk with myself and… took a break.

Whew! I feel so much better.

Now I’m ready to get back into the game. However, I realize I may need to shake things up a bit. This pandemic year has instilled some good habits and some bad habits. (Thank you James Clear!) At this point in my writing journey, I’m good about sitting down to write at least once a day, every day. However, I’m great at playing stupid crap on my phone ten times a day! This seems like it should be flipped, no?

So, I’m trying something a little new. (Besides the whole plotting thing. I’m still working on that.) First, I set a timer on my phone for 20 minutes. I’ve realized I can get a lot done in 20 minutes chunks. I can do a laundry. I can paint a little. I can write 200-300 words. AND I feel satisfied by what I did in those 20 minutes, too! Therefore, 20 minutes of game play on my phone should be plenty. I’m also resolving to not play anything on my phone until the evening.

Second, I set up four alarms on my phone. Four times a day a special alarm rings and I sit down to write. It doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I’m writing. Four times I show up at my computer. Four times a day that should work with all my zoom schedules. For instance, I generally have meetings at 11:00, 4:00, or 6:00(ish). I set up alarms for 10:00, 12:00, 3:00, and 7:00.  I’m writing this during my 12:00 slot right now. 7:00 has traditionally been my go-to writing time. 10:00 will make me take a shower sooner (damn you, pandemic schedule)! (I mean, that didn’t work out today, I’m still in my pajamas, but in theory it should.) 3:00 is to work through the afternoon slump.  

Yes, I realize this will take discipline, and I might not make all four writing slots every day, but 2-3 times is still more than once, right? What I’m really hoping for is that I’ll hear the alarm and it will build the desire to write/be creative over picking up my phone. I know, I know, cold turkey doesn’t generally work, but I’m both highly motivated AND I’m at the point where I sick to death of every game on my phone except one, so I figure the opportunity is there. Fingers crossed.

What kind of changes do you make when you really need to shake things up?


Bullshit Butt

I just spent two and a half hours planting flowers. I kept waiting for winter rains to start here and it just hasn't happened (worrisome given our wildfires), so I finally went out front and filled in the scraggly, empty patches in my flower beds that, when it's raining cats and dogs, I AM PERFECTLY JUSTIFIED TO IGNORE! But, no rain, no justification, so off to plant I went.  

Sooooo... you know those TV shows and movies that always have some elderly lady happily gardening in her front yard? Like, almost every time you see her she's in her garden? Gardening all day, happy happy happy? I call bullshit on those images!  First of all, I know I'm getting older and I'm nowhere near elderly, however, I can no longer garden for long periods of time without seriously hurting! Like really, I should be doing an hour at a time tops, especially if it's heavy duty work.  My ass is already in pain from the stint I did today and that was "gentle" gardening. I'm sitting on a heat pad and just took two Aleve! 

Second, knees. Bending. Squatting. Getting up, getting down. I think people pay to have workouts like this. (Not me!) I basically hurt from my butt all the way down my legs.

Third! Those ladies are always adorably outfitted in light spring colors, with coordinating gloves! Sometimes, they are even wearing white pants. WHITE PANTS! Like grass and soil don't even exist! 

Fourth, I had dirt in my hair! Also, up my arms, all over my pants, and a smidge got up my nose. (Post-gardening tissue blow, am I right?) I wasn't throwing dirt around either, or shoveling, or tossing sod. I was sitting on a pad on the ground, planting flowers from a pack. Small flowers! I only had to dig small holes! My gardening gloves were covered in damp mud. Have you ever seen one of those gardening grannies on TV with muddy gloves? No. They're always perfectly pristine, in cute floral fabrics. Not, NOT dirt encrusted, stiff suckers that the rest of use. I mean, I know it's Hollywood, I KNOW it's all made up, but seriously people, have you never seen someone garden before?

I love my garden. I'm not going to stop gardening; I am perfectly aware of what's physically doable for me as I age. But geez, I'd just like to see a realistic version of life once in a while! Stop pressuring me with your images of pristine, elderly ladies who apparently kick ass in the garden! 

Show me a granny with an ice pack and pain killers, or better yet, a gardener, and we can enjoy our flowers together. Tired but realistically happy.  

That is all. 


Plotting for a Pantser: The Great Experiment

As a writer, I’m primarily a pantser*. I get a line or an image or a snippet of conversation in my head, I sit down to write and just see where it goes, letting events unfold before me. I also, often, will get a portion of a story in my head. These sections are larger than the snippets but they are far from complete. For example, the last book I wrote I had the beginning chapter and the final battle in my head before I began, but not a whole lot in between. The story before that, I had all the villains and most of the main conflicts ready to go but I struggled with my main character. Sometimes an overarching theme comes to me first, sometimes I think up a plot situation, sometimes I wake up from a nap and discover almost a whole story in my head, and sometimes I see a single color silhouetted against a sky.

Long story short, I usually work out a lot of the details as I write. This method allows me to play; to write lyrically, to take detours, to discover. I strongly believe that our unconscious is doing a lot of work without us realizing, and I’m happy to see what it tells me.

However, my average time for writing a novel is clocking at two years. TWO YEARS! That’s just to get the story down beginning to end. Add on to that editing, beta readers, re-editing, pitch materials, querying, etc. and the process really stretches out. Now granted, I tend to edit as I write (something that happens because I’m pantsing, i.e. not all those detours and discoveries work) so I will say my complete draft is usually pretty clean. But still, two years feels like too damn long. Especially if I truly want a career writing novels.

SO! I decided to move outside my comfort zone. Take Off Your Pants is a book about plotting. Written for pantsers (or anyone) by a self-proclaimed reformed pantser herself, Libbie Hawker says she also took two years to write a novel before starting her outlining method. Yay! I’m not alone! I dove into the book.

Then I took a deep breath… and now I’m trying to apply her methods to my next novel.

This is a bit of a struggle, because pantsers want to pants. On the one hand, I love that her method puts certain aspects of story-telling front and center; aspects I feel are critical to a great story. Such as, she recommends starting with your characters’ story arc(s), their flaw(s), the external goal, and overarching theme (not in that order), and leaving plot alone for later. I totally get this approach. I also develop these early in my own stories. But these elements can take a lot of deep thought and I am used to letting them unfold over a longer period of time, possibly 2-3 months. I also tend to let major symbolic points and lyric elements reveal themselves as I go. Her method is making me put the deep thought portion of my work on the front end, before I start writing. It’s also helping me really think about and flesh out all of my characters before I write. So that part I love love love.   

On the other hand, I feel simultaneously as if my brain hurts from thinking too hard AND that I’m not doing anything when I could be writing. That is totally all on me! Hawker claims that she can outline her whole book, front to end, in about a day. Which… GRRRL… mad props! I’ve been working on mine for about a week.    

Which brings us to the next step… start filling out, very loosely, some of those plot points. Hawker says to make the plot points super broad with plenty of room for creative freedom, mainly around the character’s drive for a goal and what’s thwarting them.

Oh my god, people! It’s like my brain just slammed the brakes on me! I don’t know what the problem is… maybe I’m still tired from the last book, maybe I need to switch to poetry or just read for awhile, maybe my pantsing just wants to pants, but whatever the reason, my brain does not want to work on this part of Hawker’s process. At least at the moment. I wouldn’t say I usually have a problem with plot either, because what’s more fun to a writer than dreaming “Hey! What happens next?”  

Now I’m in a death grapple with my own resistance. (Both of us are being incredibly stubborn.) I am committed to giving plotting a chance, because ultimately, I would love to write a novel in six months. Hawker successfully uses her method to write novels in incredibly short timeframes. My experiment is in process. Hopefully soon, I will have a developed outline ready to go for this next novel. How the writing portion turns out after that is anyone’s guess.

But it sure will be fun to see it unfold.  

(Ha! See, the pantser always wants to come out!)

*A pantser someone who writes by the seat of their pants, unplanned. As compared to a plotter, who usually has the plot outlined/planned before writing. I actually thought, before I read this book, that I was a main dish pantser with a hefty side of plotter. But after trying to apply this method I realize how singularly pantser I’ve been all my life. Like Atkins level.


Kitty Kai Never Dies!

So, years ago I did a post about introducing a new kitten into our household of older cats. One of those older cats being a massive, jealous diva queen whose temperament towards new kittens was like Johnny Lawrence’s reaction to Daniel-san in Karate Kid. (No Mercy!) Our kitten, Ginger, was and still is a sweetheart; very non-confrontational, would prefer to sleep than fight, and enjoys belly rubs from strangers (and no, it’s not a trap! She really likes her belly rubbed!). Rather than deal with our older terror, Ginger often hid in my lap under a throw blanket. And jealous diva cat never lightened up (*cough* Kreese) so poor Ginger had to deal with her for years.  

Well, over time we lost the older cats and now we have a new younger cat, Harriet. I really thought that things would go smoother introducing a kitten this time around, but instead this happened.

Ginger, seeing new kitten: What the…? Goddamnit! I thought I was finally an only cat! What. the. FUCK Mom?!

Harriet sees Ginger: FRIEND! Yay! Play play play play play!

Ginger: Yeah, no. *Hiss, turns her back*

Harriet: Friend play!

Ginger: No. Go away. You stay in your corner and I’ll stay in mine.

Harriet: No, YOU play! Plaaayy!

Ginger: I’m leaving now.

Harriet, manic look sparking in her eyes: Nooo! You will play with me! You will be my friend! *fly tackles Ginger from behind*

Ginger: Ugh! Get off me! I don’t want to hurt you kid!

Harriet tackles again. Which is rather like a ball bouncing off a wall.

Ginger: Damnit! I didn’t want to have to do this!  *throws out tentative paw in the nicest swat ever.*  OK, that means ‘no’! Do you understand? NO! Now go play somewhere else! *mutters under breath* Dumb kid, see what you made me do.

Harriet, eyes so wide they look like they’re going to fall out of her head and quivering like a junkie: NOOOOOOOO! You will love me! YOU WILL LOVE ME!!!!! I’LL MAKE YOU!!!!

Ginger, looks at me: Another one? Really?!

Me: Um… at least she’s not trying to kill you? *shrug*

*Harriet chases Ginger out of the room.*

Me: Oh, that’ll stop soon.

A year later… still waiting. I’m sorry, Ginger. It’s hard to be that adored.

Love Hard! Love First! No Mercy!   

 


Second Book Finished! Now Reset

Okay, so. I finished my second full-length novel two days ago. That means the story, beginning to end, all the words, is complete. No parts of "oh I should fix that" or "let me get back to that section" or "what should I do here". Complete. And pretty clean. That doesn't mean I won't have edits... I sent it off to my freelance editor; I've got a beta review lined up and others to schedule. But the story itself... IS... FINISHED!

I don't know how to explain the feeling of having the story that's been in my head for so long be out fully on the page. Excited, nervous, satisfied, anxious, exhausted, jubilant maybe? Plus, a bit of floundering. I've been in the final crunch for so long (months where I thought I was "at the end". Turns out I completely underestimate my own word count,) that I have to figure out both what to do with myself and how to keep this momentum going. (Like, I've been really productive for the last couple of months. It's been super cool. I don't want to lose the habits I'm in right now.) This feeling has happened every time I've written something (2 full length novels, 1 kids chapter book, assorted short stories) so I imagine it'll happen with everything else I write, too. Except poetry, which is always oddly satisfying, even when it's bad.  

Don't get me wrong, I have a pile of other projects, and marketing materials to write, and research to do. There's just a period of resetting my brain

But also, keep working. No pressure.  *slight hysterical giggle ensues*

BTW, my second book is called Walk the Web Lightly. It's a 73,000 word YA contemporary fantasy. Here's the rough pitch/story: 

Fourteen-year-old Naya’s artistic family can see the lines of time, but she doesn't want to go into the family business. To win her dream of becoming a doctor, she has to finish Grandmother's contest before the deadline. But someone is rigging events around her, and if her secret gets out she’ll not only lose the freedom to choose her life, it will jeopardize her entire family.

Now on to the next!            

 


Cranberry Orange Baked Oatmeal Cups

Recipe first, blather second. (I don't know how to do those fancy schmancy recipe layouts so bear with me.)

 

Cranberry Orange Baked Oatmeal Cups

2 tablespoons melted butter (I used salted butter)

1 egg

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup of packed brown sugar (plus a little more, I made mine a heaping 1/3)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 muffin pan

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan  and set aside (or use a silicon muffin pan). 
  2. Mix together all ingredients - except oats - until well combined.
  3. Add oats to wet mixture. Then spoon into muffin pans, keeping an even amount of liquid to oats in each cup.  
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes until set.
  5. Let cool completely if you want portable oatmeal cups, or eat warm. 
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge. 
  7. Makes 11-12 muffin cups

 

First of all, this is NOT turning into a cooking blog because come on. If you've read me at all you know me and cooking have a tumultuous relationship. Second! I can't stand when I go to look for a recipe and there is a long post before the recipe talking about memories with their grandmother, and the wonderful smell in the kitchen, and blah blah blah, cooking with my family, blah blah. I just want the fricking recipe! So I put all of my long, unimportant-to-your-life drivel at the end of the recipe. Because I'm real, people. I know your pain.

OK. So a local coffee shop has these oatmeal cup things that aren't oatcakes and aren't oatmeal muffins and aren't oatmeal breakfast bars, and they basically taste like flavored oatmeal-to-go. Like little condensed oatmeal blocks you can hold in your hand. Obviously, I'm obsessed. And I can't find a recipe. *sad face*

But baked oatmeal is the closest so far! The recipe above is my own take, cobbled together from a bunch of different sources. You could basically flavor these oatmeal cups anyway you want by substituting the orange juice with milk or another liquid. I'm still working on a denser texture, so I may update this recipe, but these are really good for a basic grab-and-go oatmeal breakfast. I have them in a bag in the fridge and I microwave them 20-30 seconds before eating. They are also super tasty fresh out of the oven, but put them in a bowl because they won't hold their shape until cooled completely.

To serve family style instead of cups, just throw the ingredients in a baking dish and cook 30 minutes or until set. 

I actually love this idea as a make ahead and serve to guests sort of thing, too. I haven't tried freezing them yet, but I suspect they'll be fine. Since I'm not big on cooking, when I actually get around to cooking, I like being able to make enough that I can just grab the finished product later. It's called "conservation of laziness resources".  :)

              - wg

P.S. Must love oatmeal.

 


Unexpected Pandemic Fallout

Phone shoulder is real, yo! You know that aching stiffness in your non-dominant shoulder? The one that holds the phone as you swipe at it like a cat batting a fly? I've got to stop playing games on my phone. Especially Redecor. I got sucked into that one because I really do like decorating a room and, between you and me, my house looks great! But that game is fixed for a very particular aesthetic AND they don't give you enough color options without you paying out a ton of cash! Not that the extra colors really matter because everyone only votes on the BORING designs (beige beige grey beige), to the point that I just make all my designs blah so I get the votes, and that is a sad, sad social media way to live so why am I even playing?!

Oh yeah, pandemic.

Also, I'm a bit addicted to all the research options at the tips of my swipy paws. I now have the freedom to look up every passing fancy that flits through my brain. And trust you me, some of them are pretty stupid. Who was in that movie? Do only birds have wishbones? Are there documented incidences of granny on granny violence? Between the research and the games I'm really jacking my shoulder. I looked it up (shocker) and it's akin to having SWIMMERS SHOULDER! But without the benefit of being bikini ready.  

But wait, you say, didn't you have the freedom to look up stupid crap any time you wanted before? Yes, but now I have the TIME. Before I was busy running errands, and grocery shopping, and driving my kid around, and and... and doing other stuff that I can't remember but surely miss! (Maybe). Now I have pandemic time... and phone shoulder. 

Support groups coming soon to a zoom near you. 


Summer in Pandemic

It is so blazing hot here I feel like a cheese slice cut into the shape of a woman and melted onto my couch.  We don't have AC. Usually we deal with the heat fine because we're used to it but Humidity has decided to come for a visit. What the fuck Humidity? Haven't you heard of COVID?! You shouldn't be traveling. We don't want your sticky germs and sapping damp, thank you. Just because you don't have to wear a mask doesn't make you cool. Besides, this is California. We don't DO Humidity. (We do fire season. Duh.)

That's something about the pandemic no one thought about... there would be nowhere to go when the weather turns hot! No movies, no malls, no inside dining. I could wander around Target for a couple of hours but even that has it's limits. I'm sure someone would yell at me eventually for standing in front of an open freezer door and breathing on the ice cream. Plus, I bet everyone without AC will have the same  idea. (Because let's face it, we have limited options and we're not that original.) And then as hordes of people come in to beat the heat, there will be socially distancing chaos at the Target!     

I guess I gotta go old school on this... find a kiddie pool, fill it with ice, and park it in the front yard with my lawn chair and inappropriately short clothing.  That way I'll have the appropriate amount of space between me and my disapproving neighbors when I wave. All I need is wine in a cracked jelly jar and some watermelon seeds to spit. I'm looking forward to it already.


Bow Before My Flashing Spoons

My family does not appreciate my prowess for organizing dishware. Now I know I've said on this blog many times that I am NOT a domestic queen... I'm not very good at cooking, laundry is a chore, I especially don't like to clean (and yet I seem to be doing the majority of it every damn day!!). I'm just not into much of the traditional domestic duties unless it involves sugar. (Mmm, cookies.)     

However, as far as silverware is concerned I've got mad skills! MAD SILVERWARE SKILLS!

Of which skills, my family seems clueless. Let me break this down. I've got three particular techniques in this arena that are amazing. Number 1! I know how to load a dishwasher. You know that thing where they say men are better at packing and unpacking than women? Totally not true with the dishwasher. I can get more in a dishwasher, in a manner that will make sure everything gets washed (i.e. no blocked water spouts, nothing flips over, no cumulating gunk, etc.), than anyone else in my household.  And from what I've seen, some of my friends, too. (Sorry friends.)

Number 2! I only organize the silverware once and I do this at the beginning of the process. See I believe most people do it at the end. They rinse/scrub the silverware, throw it willy nilly into the silverware holder  of the dishwasher, and then when everything is clean they have to sort the spoons from the knives and so on. All while trying not to smudge the clean shiny goodness of the washed utensils. I, on the other hand, sort the silverware as I'm putting it into the dishwasher! Revolutionary, right? I have designated spots for sharp knives, butter knives, forks, cooking utensils, tiny teaspoons, etc. Because this is the thing... I usually have more time to load the dishwasher than to unload it.  With my method I can unload in a jiffy. My process REDUCES unload time! (Clearly, this makes it superior.) 

Number 3! Wait, there's more?! Yes! Because I have also developed the practice of organizing the spoons by size in the drawer!  See, we use a lot of teaspoons. Like a LOT. Like, I bought another set of silverware at an estate sale once just for the teaspoons.  And then we discovered sundae spoons! With the extra long handle! Just perfect for jars of sticky stuff you don't want to get all over your fingers. So we have those, too. And actual teacup sized spoons because they are adorable and surprisingly useful. Anyway, I got the brilliant idea to put all the small spoons in separate slots and the soup spoons in another! So you always know what you're grabbing! You practically don't even have to look! Mad skills, right? MAD SKILLS! 

But does my family understand this? No. Do they even notice the genius that is my spoon organization? I'm not sure! And as I pass on the chore of unloading to household members (especially Chance, because if he thinks I'm following him to college to do dishes for him he's got a rude awakening coming) do they follow the clear, obviously superior spoon system? NO!!!

But, you know, it seems kind of petty to mention something as silly as spoon alignment. Even though it drives me crazy. Right? Like maybe verging on OCD level? And so. not. important. Right? So... I really should just suck it up and actually LOOK at the spoons when I'm grabbing one? Even if it reduces my spoon retrieval time.

I'm not anal. I'm not anal. I'm not anal. 


The Slug Life

I feel, simultaneously, like I'm getting a lot of long-neglected things done AND I am the laziest person alive.  Motivation has slowed down as much as our economy has in this shelter in place era.  Which on the one hand, I would never ever wish these circumstances or anxiety on anyone, and on the other, I am very well rested.  I've read some good books, watched good shows, and played a game I'm enjoying very much on my phone (you can do it Lily, you can save your garden!).   It's amazing what the step back has put into perspective.  It's hard to get upset over much of anything that isn't life threatening right now.  Traffic? Meh.  Social media snipe? Who cares?  Politicians? I just turn off the TV.

However, this also means there is no sense of urgency.  I'm working on my second book now.  At the beginning of each month I tell myself, "This month I'm going to write a 1000 words a day! Woohoo me!"  But it actually turns out like this...

"Redecorated" front room (i.e. packed up Easter stuff (a couple of weeks late)). Words written: 70 words a day 

Cleaned up yard/garden garbage, which has been accumulating 2-5 years. Words written: 50 words a day

Ordered new window shades, which I've had on the back burner for three years. Words written: 0

You can see the alarming pattern right?  Now in my defense, my house and garden are looking pretty darn cute, but I've got to make a change. 

Today I ordered curtains for the bathroom...

and... I blogged!

OH MY GOD, SHE'S ON FIRE!!            - wg takes a bow

 

P.S. Why isn't "slown" a word? I.e. things have slown down. Or maybe just "slowed/slowing down" had a baby and its name is "slown"? My motivation has slown. Life's been crazy so I'm gonna slown. I'd chip in for the cake but my income is slown.  That makes sense, right?

P.P.S. Aw shit, I just looked up slown and apparently it means slut clown.  Now I'm just offended as a feminist.  


Goofiness is Contagious

Well, I've reached the point of the shut in where I'm breaking into spontaneous song. ESPECIALLY if my son is playing video games! There is just something about a teen concentrating ferociously on a screen that brings out the jazz hands in me.

Me (dancing in front of the screen): Hey, whatcha doing? Am I BOTHERING you?

Chance: Mom! Stop it! I've got to kill the thing at the time in the place for the team! 

Muted voice from his headphones: Tell your mom you like big butts!

Chance: Shut up! I'm not telling my mom that!

Me: Ha! You like big butts! JAZZ HANDS!

I know I'm not the only one breaking out the tunes. I have to say it is pretty refreshing to see people letting their goofy flags fly. Suddenly we can't walk around in front of each other with our fancy leggings and hot cars and social status so there is no reason not to be a goofball! Plus, there's that whole world wide epidemic going on, so you know, perspective. It's like everyone realized that being cheerful and silly and posting a video of it is WAY more fun than anything on the news right now. 

So THANK YOU!  And... dare I say it... maybe we're even being closer to our true selves? Quirky goofiness and all? Maybe we're being brave in a different way in this often scary time?

I hope so. Everybody boogie! 


Today's Theme Is Do What You're Avoiding

That's why I'm writing this post. I've avoided my blog. I've been avoiding writing in general. Not all summer. I had a good run in the beginning. I've had a lot of introspection and a lot of deep thoughts but it's been scattered.  I've been writing in pieces.  That might sound confusing if you're not a writer. You're writing, so that's good, right? But when you're writing in pieces that often means you're not finishing. It's a lot of jumping around.

There were some deaths this summer. People I knew, people gone much too soon. There have been shootings. Everything all in a row like it always seems to happen. I've been sad. Not depressed or distraught, just sad in a deep way. Just heavier. Sometimes there is so much going on in your head and your heart that you can't get anything out.

But it's hard because it feels like you owe it to get it all out. Owe to whom or what I don't know. Maybe that other person who might be going through the same thing?

So... I knew the victim of a workplace shooting. I lost a family member to sudden cancer. I know a family who lost their child to cancer after years of fighting. There were all too young for what happened. I don't often talk about these types of tragedies because they're not my stories to tell. (And I feel very strongly that I don't deserve attention for other people's pain.) But in this cycle of avoidance that I've been in, I suddenly feel like I should speak my experience. Especially in the wake of other mass shootings. It's been utterly heart-wrenching. Those days where everything just seems very heavy and seeped in sorrow. Those days where anxiety rules and won't let go. Those days where nothing seems to improve. I feel it, too. You are not alone. You are never truly alone, even when it feels like it. 

And yet... I still believe in people . I still think the world is full of amazing things. I still have faith.

Perhaps the greatest weight is that the world holds both all the time. And we have to hold it, too.

I'm not saying anything new here. I'm not offering any solutions. I think I'm just saying... I've been sad. It's OK to just be sad. It's OK to grieve that life is hard. It's OK to still smile, too. To keep going.

(I thought I was avoiding writing. Funny how that happens, huh? As all these feelings crash down.)

Love you guys.        - wg 


I Don't Want to Jinx Myself...

It is the end of the school year!  Usually by this time, there have been so many events and and extracurriculars and end of year of projects (besides getting up at the ungodly hour of 7:00 o'clock every morning for months!) that we're all a little bedraggled and ready for a good summer rest.  Summer plans are made but the day to day is vague and heavily reliant on "nothing".  But I don't know, this time it feels different.  There is energy in the air.  It feels like something is about to HAPPEN.  I don't know what exactly, but it feels like purpose is stirring. 

*shiver* Ooh! It's all vague and oracular and delicious feeling.  (I should totally write horoscopes. But not, you know, ones tied to astrology because I don't know anything about that.  Except my ADHD and talking shit is so Gemini.)

Maybe I'm just not as tired, maybe I'm ramping up with the sun.  I feel like writing a lot.  I think about writing all the time.  So perhaps, this summer, will be... extra productive?  (Don't jinx, don't jinx, don't jinx.)

Fingers crossed please.


Remember Kids... Don't Google and Blog

I seemed to have tweaked a muscle in my collarbone.  I wasn't even doing anything, just sitting at a meeting and when I moved it felt funny.  I didn't think pulling that particular area was even possible.  I mean, I can't flex my breasts like Dwayne Johnson can.  Especially not both girls separately.  He really gets them going so that seems like he would pull a boob eventually.  (I suppose I should call them "pecs" but that just seems silly.  We all know he's boob popping.)  I figure there must be a gene that lets you isolate those muscles.  One I don't have.  (I had to immediately go google that by the way.  If the government is really tracking all of our google searches then I bet there's a file on me somewhere that is a real interesting read.  (Google results were, sadly, inconclusive.  But don't worry Google, even though you let me down, I still love you.))  I also don't have that gene for rolling your tongue into a straw.  But despite that I HAVE taught myself to sort of whistle weakly!  Like an airy, tuned hiss.  I am very proud of that.  I can do two, maybe three notes.  I might, someday, be even able to do a limited variety of bird calls!  A girl can dream.

I guess I'm kind of addicted to internet searches.  I google stuff all the time!  Sometimes I go to bed and then something pops in my head and I have to look it up or I can't sleep.  Have you ever tried to sneak google so your family doesn't catch you?  (Me too!)  I'd like to say I can quit at any time but I'm not sure that's true.  I blame it on my parents and the educational system.  I collect knowledge like a magpie.  Then I promptly forget that knowledge because I'm old and I have to google it again.  It's an addiction that feeds itself!  Well, I do remember random juicy facts like platypuses only have one working ovary and toilets come in different heights.  Because I totally need to know both of those. (Actually, the toilet one comes in handy. I'm short.)

Anywho, if I've really pulled a muscle in my collarbone a quick search says I need to stick rice on it?  Wait, no, that's an acronym, R.I.C.E.  Yeah, that's too much work.  Did I mention that I have a short attention span?

Holy shit, I just googled the rolling tongue gene and it's been debunked!!  Our educational system LIED!


The Evil Laugh Goes, "Mauve Mauve Mauve!"

Ugh!  I did not mean to let so much time pass between posts.  Things got real busy real fast.  I got called for jury duty right about the same time that I realized I needed to plan whatever we were going to do for the summer, and also at the same time that I needed to get a bathroom remodel going because, oh my god, our bathroom is falling apart. 

I mean, it's functional.  It works, you can use the toilet and take a shower and all that.  Just try not to pay attention to the dripping faucets (3), broken drawer (1+), the mineral buildup that even acid won't eat through anymore, and the mysterious stains that look unmysteriously like (ahem) mold.  The last time it was updated was somewhere around '89/'90 so...  You know when people say things like "My bathroom/kitchen/bedroom is perfect! I love it! I'm going to keep it this way for the rest of my life!!"  Well, I can tell you from personal experience, 30 years later a lot of stuff is going to be broken.

But I gotta give it to the previous owners... lasting 30 years shows they bought quality stuff!  However, I am over 80s mauve and colonial blue.  SO. OVER.

For those of you who don't know what mauve is... behold!  This is almost the exact shade of our bathroom tile. Everywhere you look.

Image result for mauve

As part of the compendium of hideous mauve items you can also enjoy a mauve skinny tie or skinny jeans.

Image result for mauveImage result for mauve

The jeans are a slightly more palatable shade. However, I don't think those hips are real. Or maybe her waist. Something was definitely photoshopped there.

Here's a beautiful cake in mauve! But let's face it, out in the end, it's not gonna be pretty.

Image result for mauve

In fact, when you type "horrible things in mauve" in google, Barney the dinosaur pops up!  Although technically, Barney is horrible purple.  Mauve as well were quite a number of bridesmaids dresses that are just trying too damn hard.  There is also a book, "Mauve:  How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World"!

Um... my bathroom thanks you?


Keeping Menopause Classy

I gotta tell you I'm not digging this menopause thing.  It's painful, lumpy, awkward, and odd.  There are also smells.  Years ago, I put together a whole list of the Things They Don't Tell You in Lamaze, all the silly, gross, funny details and shared experiences of pregnancy.  I'm half-tempted to start a new list for menopause.  Except I'm really hoping it'll be over before I have enough for a list.  Really, really hoping.  Who I am kidding?  I've already got enough; I just don't want to relive them. 

The symptom I'm currently enduring is my boobs growing.  Because, apparently, one out of five women's breasts get bigger during menopause!  Who the hell knew that?!  It never even occurred to me that could happen.  I believed that once you were done growing, except by pregnancy or purchase, your boob size was set.  But no!  At first I thought my girls were just bloating, like maybe I ate too much salt.  Then I thought my bras were worn out, that's why everything felt weird.  Then I got mad at the manufacturers for changing the design of my favorite bra because it used to fit!  Damn you bra manufacturers!  Just stick with the design already.  My ta-tas were sore and sensitive, too.  That's when I realized it was hormonal and I thought, "oh, well, the swelling will go down soon".  But it hasn't gone down.  I bought bigger bra sizes and they still didn't feel great.  In fact, some days I don't want to wear anything at all, except now I've got flotation devices bobbing all of the place.  Then I went and got professionally fitted.  It was the fitter who casually mentioned breast growth during menopause.  I still didn't think that was happening.  But my hooters kept swelling, everything kept hurting, it all just seemed out of place.  Finally, digging through the internet, I read up on it.  

One out of five.

The worse thing is how blind-sided I felt. It's not like they went over this in that puberty class in 5th grade. "As your body goes through hormonal changes you may experience sore breasts, mood swings, acne, possible weight gain, and painful cramping. Oh, and by the way, you'll go through all of that again when you have kids. AND when you go through menopause. Enjoy!"  That would have been helpful.  Or any class on menopause would be helpful!  How about just an informational luncheon? Older ladies coming together to share a new chapter of The Talk.  "Well, dear, things may start falling out of your twat now. Or it'll dry up. It's hard to tell. "  It's the stage that no one covers.  You'd think there would at least be a pamphlet on menopausal breast growth because one out of five is, you know, kind of significant.

And that's just the tip of the tender iceberg.  Everyone hears about hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings, but there's a whole slew of other symptoms that I, at least, had never heard about.  Enough wacko symptoms to make you think you're going crazy.                

So if you've got a menopause story, feel free to share it. I'd love to be crazy with company.

            - wg