Lawn Maintenance

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I have been exceedingly busy for the last month or so, and if any of my neighbors wishes to register a complaint about the height my grass has been allowed to reach, that is what I will say: that my mind is filled with concerns above the earthly, filled with Better and Brighter Things, and anyway what does it matter if the grass is tall or short if most of it is some kind of bizarre species of oak tree offshoots anyway? So what if I experiment with growing a small copse of them in my front yard and try to attract, I don’t know, fair folk or Merlin analogues or whatever? I’d quite like a pet snake, leave me alone.

But my mother insisted, and given that I still owe her a rather large amount of money, I will do as her eyebrows command. (My mother has very nice eyebrows. Very expressive, too. You understand.)

So, on her advisement, I trooped out at about 7:30 this morning (happy birthday, AMERICA, thanks for the aesthetic strictures on a person’s own private personal ground foliage!!!) and spent probably an hour trying to get my lawnmower, which is electric and runs on a very long cord plugged into the shed at the other end of the driveway, to be less argumentative and more practical. My yard contains one large oak tree around which such things must be navigated. I also bore quite easily, and so amused myself by cutting the yard into stranger and stranger geometric shapes. I am sure the neighbors who may or may not have been staring out their windows angrily at this disturbance of the High Holy Day of America’s Birth enjoyed this quite as much as I did. It was a bit like two-dimensional Tetris, but louder and less melodic.

In the backyard, which I abandoned for the moment on account of Tiredness and Ennui, I think I shall practice crop circles. I will need to give the front a touch-up soon anyway, because apparently grass can get long enough that when you go over it with a set of rapidly-spinning blades it just lies down and pretends it’s not there until a later worst possible moment. I’ve kindly ignored the invitations of the local property owner’s association, but I’m sure that if my yard begins to look as though I’m giving it a comb-over they will have rather less polite things to say.

Perhaps an endangered species of thistle will grow, and I will be forced, how unfortunate, to cultivate it.

HOW TO GET THE DEWY SKIN LOOK: a makeup tutorial for the very tired

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  1. Move south. Further south. Even further south than that. Probably a little more East, too, if you’re in the contiguous United States; anywhere east of the Continental Divide should set you up nicely. If you need more guidance even than that, keep an eye on the humidity index. When it’s consistently hitting 100% or greater even when it’s perfectly sunny outside, you’re just about there.
  2. Throw out all of your highlighters. There is no point. If you are passing through a rest stop full of road-tripping families and you happen to see a miserable teenager sulking on a picnic table alone in much more clothing than is reasonable for the temperature, try giving it to them; they’ll either be able to make use of it or enjoy smashing it up.
  3. If you’ve somehow gotten your hands on one of the really pretty ones, the ones that are multicolored or pressed into nice shapes for some reason even though as soon as you touch them they will inevitably become a more pleasing than usual but still undeniable brownish-grey, you can keep that one. Shipping costs were ungodly enough; no sense putting it to waste.
  4. Acquire somewhere to live.
  5. Acquire some places to go. One might suggest a job, for solvency’s sake, but social engagements are also acceptable, and frequently more rewarding.
  6. Walk from any air-conditioned building or enclosed space to your car.
  7. Congratulations! The sensation you are experiencing, as though someone truly obnoxious has exhaled strongly into your face and also all over your entire body, including under your clothes, is exactly what we were hoping for. You have acquired dewy skin.
  8. Sweat. It’s sweat.
  9. (You might as well lean into it; it’s good for the pores.)

Home Ownership

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So, I bought a house. It was a long and arduous process during which almost everyone I know pointed out to me that I was hyperventilating, and I frankly have no desire to relive it. Instead, I’m going to continue procrastinating on repainting my bedroom by writing about the bizarre things people apparently choose to do when they are trying to get their house ready to sell.

They’ve left the switch plates on when they repainted most of the rooms various shades of tan and beige, so that when I take them off the paint sometimes peels off with them.

They chose the color family “beige” as their source of inspiration. Apparently it is supposed to be soothingly neutral, but God, at what cost?? Does anyone actually enjoy the feeling of living in a sandcastle? It’s rained so often lately that one cannot help but feel the whole place might dissolve around one.

Anyway, I’ve taken apart all my furniture – namely the bed, on which I might want to throw myself in a fit of pique in the near future, more’s the pity – so I can only lie on the floor, while I stare into the Netflix void and dream of somehow implementing Home Depot’s color testing software into real life and redoing the whole house at the touch of a button.

But if I don’t actually do anything, nothing will ever get done. I must not let the fear of horrible dramatic failure and/or somehow knocking large holes in the wall and unleashing huge families of roaches keep me from actually getting this done. (I’ve got a vivid imagination, a yard full of live oaks, and a few too many unfortunate surprises on my mind.) I must prevail. This room will be Crystal Rapids or I will be covered in green paint, so help me Grayskull. (Whoever Grayskull is.)

Unless the color I picked is not actually called Crystal Rapids, in which case it will be…whatever shade of light green I liked last week at the paint section.

Spell #1: For Growth

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Eat an apple, or a lot of apples. When you get to the core, pull out the seeds as they become apparent to you and keep them in your pockets or (if you lack pockets) in your purse, if you carry one around. If you touch them when you are anxious, they will absorb the nervous part of your energy, leaving you with clean, fresh energy to use for whatever it is you were nervous about. This will help you to grow.

It is important to eat as much of the apple as possible, so as to avoid waste. (I have one for lunch at least once a week, but that happened before I started doing this.) The seeds are a gift and should be thought of as such.

If you are the kind of person who doesn’t like walking around with bits of plant in their pockets for very long, one might surmise that the seeds have done all they’re going to when the brown seed coat dries and cracks and only the inner white endosperm is left. They’ll usually have worked their way out of your pockets by then, but if not, you might as well drop them on the ground.

A fairly passive spell, along the same theoretical lines as trouble dolls, worry beads, or any kind of constantly-worn jewelry, but so far reasonably effective.

You Can Go Home Again

It’s been a long time, kids. It’s been almost exactly two years. Wow!

I thought I’d deleted this blog, or at least locked it down so hard that no one would be able to find it again when my mom said the name was too good to give up. Wow!!

Given that neither of those things turned out to be true (and my mom was right: this is a really solid title)…here we are again.

In the last two years, life has happened a whole bunch, basically. I’ve moved out of my aunt’s house because she fairly suddenly wanted to live in it again or charge actual rent and I couldn’t find a roommate I wouldn’t sort of want to wall in “Cask of Amontillado” style. I’m now living in a really adorable apartment downtown in a relatively peaceful historic neighborhood, where occasionally someone drives by at two in the morning and fires some rounds at the neighbors. (It happened on exactly one occasion, and I slept through it.)

Really the worst thing about my apartment is that it does not, in fact, have a bathtub. It’s been a real struggle, but I’m soldiering on. One of my neighbors is my friend H. from grad school, and she lets me use hers when she goes out of town and needs someone to check on her cats. It’s keeping me going.

I’ve changed jobs, too; I’m working as a reference librarian at the main branch of the local system, and it’s…frankly, it’s amazing. I love my job; I don’t hate going to work, and I still drink a lot, but mostly because it’s the only way I can convince myself to clean my house without dying of boredom.

And because I don’t have a bathtub, or a real bathroom, or the ability to not panic about my dog’s nails fucking up my landlord’s floors (different landlord, same deal), and because I love my job and want to stay for long enough to build up some real experience, I am…looking for a house. To buy.

So that’s why I’m starting the blog back up. That, and because I miss writing. I’m pretty decent at it, and I’d like to get better.

Thanks for sticking around, anyone who’s still here, and welcome to Part II.

Galentine’s Day

When you are sick, and you forget to eat for eighteen to twenty hours, don’t. Just don’t. Everything will be awful.

Luckily, I have friends. One of them wanted to do something for Galentine’s Day, which is a holiday Parks and Recreation made up to celebrate female friendships and breakfast food. We went to IHOP, where I ate actual food and drank actual caffeine (coffee, you heartless bastard, why do you still taste bizarre) and then felt more or less like an actual person.

For maybe ten entire minutes.

Then she took me to Walgreen’s to buy Claritin D, which helped even more (for almost two entire hours). (Then I sat in class for more than three hours, and now I am mostly back to feeling like sore, tired, headachy death.)

But like. Friendship, y’all. People who will put up with me when I am literally only capable of staring at them and barely stringing sentences together. People who will be like “time to get you drugs, I will talk to the pharmacist for you, pay the nice man, take your pills.” I like it.

And now I am going to sleep, because everything is sore and I want to escape it.

this is just more whining

But I’m awake enough to use the shift key, so that’s something.

Still sick. Still hate it. Mom made me soup. It’s great.

I’ve recovered my sense of taste, or it’s gotten wonkier, or–anyway I hate tea, apparently. Which is not normally the case. I miss coffee so much.

For some reason my whole mouth (jaw and back molars on both sides) aches. I’ve put my retainer in for the first time in [mumbles].

I concede. Put my body in the ground. Let my spirit hang out in a Hobby Lobby, where it can fuck up all the yarn and glitter displays and make everything sad for everyone in general.

Ow.

nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope

this month is actively trying to break me down to my component parts.

i caught my nephew’s cold while the lot of us were doing errands before the funeral.

i’m on my second pot of tea. turns out i don’t actually like honey that much. wish i had figured that out when i was putting it in the pot. (i miss coffee. everything tastes stupid. my throat is full of knives.)

i’ve thrown myself on my mom’s soup-making mercies, which is very “how old are you, ninety-seven?” of me but yes. i am ninety-seven years old. yesterday the joints in my jaw, hips, and knees ached. here is the towel; see how i throw it in. except i can’t because of my arthritis. whine whine whine.

Titles Are Boring Anyway

At this point my mom and I have probably been to all of the Starbucks-es in the county my sister lives in. We’ve driven by at least two more, but since they were both part of large chain grocery stores, they were unsuited to our purposes. Which were to change from comfortable long-car-trip clothes into clothes more funeral-appropriate.

Caffeine calms my nerves, when I want it to enough. I tricked my body into thinking this particular stimulant is actually relaxing in freshman year because I didn’t want to say words like “I probably need anti-anxiety medication” or “I’m probably a tiny bit crazy” or, you know, “help me.” Instead I just drank approximately a metric fuckton of coffee. It’s come in handy.

I love my sister, and I’m sort of benevolently neutral about the rest of them, but–the whole affair is kind of like being in the pilot of a reality show: everyone’s got a laundry list of shenanigans to discuss, but the cast hasn’t quite come into its own. No one throws wine, basically. People spend a lot of time glaring out of the corners of their eyes while refusing to make eye contact with or actually look at me or my mother. It’s all quite pleasant.

I hope nobody dies for a really long time–both because, you know, death is bad, it’s better when people you know don’t do that, and because I don’t want to have to do this again any time at all soon.

February Curse

I know a lot of dead people.

Not in a crime-drama, talk to ghosts and save the day kind of way. A lot of people I’ve known have died: three of my grandparents, one of my uncles, the great-aunt I’m named for, my dad, and, in the last six months, my estranged half-brother, and my brother-in-law. Those are the ones I’m related to.

Everyone has this kind of litany of the dead, though, especially as you get older. Older relatives die; that’s just kind of what happens. But the last two deaths were very sudden. My brother went into the hospital with a migraine that would not stop and died a week later of cancer. My brother-in-law died last weekend of what turned out to be a genetic disorder that literally made his heart burst.

I tend to be–almost cavalier, I guess, about death, because it happens to everyone and there’s nothing that can be done about it. My father died in my living room when I was thirteen after battling cancer for two years, and I still managed to be surprised, but I couldn’t remember to say he’d “passed on” or “was at peace” or “was in a better place” or whatever. He was dead. The rest of it is something none of us can know until we die.

Death doesn’t surprise me anymore. Maybe just because it’s been a rough six months, or maybe because I’ve always been kind of anxious and paranoid and afraid of abandonment or whatever, but–lately I am having a hard time investing in things. In school. In developing a career after that. In relationships with other people. In getting better at things I want to be good at. In anything.

I read freaking A Fault in Our Stars, for work, and John Green can bite me, but that’s a story for another day. If you don’t know, the book is about a girl who is slowly dying of cancer who meets a boy whose cancer is theoretically in remission, and they fall in love, and then the boy’s cancer comes back suddenly and he dies. The girl goes on about being a grenade waiting to go off and spew shrapnel into everyone she knows, everyone who cares about her or even knows her.

Who isn’t? Cancer doesn’t really make you special, in that regard; it just makes it more obvious. Maybe the rest of us are land mines, instead of grenades, because nobody knows where the explosion is going to be, but that doesn’t mean we won’t go boom.

I mean, I’m not going to off myself–I’m not ready to be shrapnel yet. It doesn’t even mean I want to cut myself off from everyone, or stop trying to get to know new people, or whatever. But lately everybody kind of looks like a bomb, and sane people don’t make friends with incendiary devices.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been lately.