This long weekend is a friend’s murder-mystery birthday party where I’m a trashy nogoodnik* and Brad is a trumpet player. Later, we’re attending a birthday where the host wants us to bring items to help compile care packages for people in need. Isn’t that nice? I think so too. Also a trip to the zoo, meeting a friend’s new beau in wine country, and so much laundry. So very much. Some nice links I saved for you:
The best podcast of all is My Favorite Murder. Do you listen to this? It’s not for everyone, but it’s probably for you, because you’re here reading this website so we sometimes like the same stuff. Bonus, the hosts are two ladies! Muuuuuuurdeeeeerr.
Dear person adding monsters to thrift store paintings, let’s hang out.
Did I ever make you listen to young Adele singing Sam Cooke? Do it! Or do it again! Gah. So good.
What are these flowers?! And when can I get them at Trader Joes? The world is ripe with crazy stuff that only rich people can access, until they figure out how to make the things more portable. Bring to me the monster mums, Economy.
Oh Happy Day did a sound reference post on how to hang party decorations. Useful.
*Note to entrepreneurs: trashynogoodnik.com is available. I’m as surprised as you.
I’m joining in Pip’s tradition of taking stock this month, and she has a blank list you can copy over if you want to join too.
Making : A New Year’s garland with tinsel tassel and champagne corks from celebrations in my life. All the corks were in a box with tags on them and it was starting to be less “celebration collection!” and more “why do you have this box of trash?”
Cooking : Vegan oatmeal, and peanut butter cookies. Brad is allergic to eggs and dairy, so I’ve been using flax seed as an egg substitute and soy products in my baking. I can’t tell the difference, and Brad is totally still alive thanks to hippie bullshit. Well done, hippies.
Drinking : Boozy root beer called Not Your Father’s Root Beer. It’s delicious, if weirdly named. Stereotypically speaking, old-timey dads were full-time drunk. Maybe the brewer is the son of a pastor or something? In which case I say, “Not your father’s root beer, dude.”
Reading: Atlas Obscura, a compendium of unusual places. It’s a delight, except it’s too big to read in bed. The corner of the cover kept digging into my temple because I was resting half the book on my face to ease thumb strain. So I ended up buying the e-book version too. It’s my first e-book, so mixed feelings.
Trawling: Junk shops for old hats. I’d like to be a not-crazy hat wearer. I feel the crazies have taken all the hat wearing for themselves, which is a shame because hats used to be so respectable and discreet. Now it’s like “Look-a me! I’m a’wearin’ a hat!” This is what I imagine your average modern-day hat wearer thinks to herself before she leaves the house to go anywhere besides a wedding. Is this how it’s going to feel to read real books in public twenty years from now? Futurism bums me out sometimes.
Wanting: Time alone. Always and always. Mothering a toddler is a contact sport.
Looking: At the People magazine the girl a few rows up is reading. I’m writing this on a plane. Why did I not buy a People magazine?
Deciding: On travel plans for next year. I prefer to be spontaneous, but it’s too expensive. A friend on Facebook recently mentioned that an airline was having a flash sale, and I scored $500 round trip tickets to Paris for our anniversary. Now I’ve vowed to sign up for low-fare alerts on everything and tell all my Facebook people too.
Listening: To Dan Auerbach’s “When the Night Comes” because @AnilDash asked Twitter, “What’s a song that was not a hit (or that hasn’t become a standard) that you wish everyone could hear?” and that was mine. Good thread.
Buying: Tiny things for the baby to clench in his fists while he bops around. Ozzy loves choke-ables. He’s kept track of this minuscule banana from a Minions Lego set for the better part of a year, and every so often he offers you a bite, then pretends to nibble it himself. I find tiny dog figurines pressed in his hand while he’s sleeping. They leave little dog-shaped imprints in his palm.
Watching: Divorce, the new Sarah Jessica Parker show. Pretty good.
Marvelling: I literally learned on this trip that people in snow scenes in the movies breathe into their hands not to warm them, but to warm the air they’re breathing. Because the air gets so cold it hurts to breathe in, which is not a thing I had ever considered. I had this experience and did not know what to do, until a nice Muslim cab driver who was originally from Africa (where it is much warmer) explained it to me. Helpful. Then we discussed how he had two wives in different countries. He was the first real, live polygamist I’ve met and I was very excited. I said “YOU HAVE TWO FAMILIES! WHAT?! Please tell me all the things.” And then he did, and I refrained from asking inappropriate questions, because respect for other religions is the cornerstone upon which our country is built, and because most of my real questions were about sexy times.
Cringing: Because I said “you too!” twice to different gate agents who wished me a good flight.
Needing: A good puffer jacket that doesn’t look dumb. Minneapolis was cold AF, and I know nothing about dressing for inconvenient snow. Suggestions welcome.
Questioning: Whether I have enough spouses.
Smelling: Everyone else’s breath. And Pringles.
Wearing: Compression socks and this dress that’s actually giant cozy sweatshirt.
Noticing: That the girl next to me accepted the middle seat when some dude took her window. Then she spent the rest of the flight pretending to read while he tried to chat her up. They both speak Spanish and all she’s saying is “Ah. Si,si,si,si.” with the occasional “Claro.” thrown in for variety. Sir. Shut up and enjoy your stolen seat.
How we spend our time, and by extension our lives, is one of my favorite subjects. Tim Urban’s essay, The Tail End, changed how I think about time. He makes visual charts of a 90-year human life in years, months, weeks, and days. Then he walks through how many more ocean swims he’ll likely have, how many more slices of pizza.
Two things got my attention:
You’ll read a finite number of books in your lifetime. For some reason, this had never occurred to me. Reading an average of twelve books a year, I have 688 books left. It sounds like a lot, and also not enough.
If your kids don’t live near you as adults, by the time they move out you’ve spent 90 percent of the time you’ll have with them. Aaaaaaag! Urban concludes that it’s key to build a life near the people you love. Truth.
Anyway, go read this. It will give you that self-helpy kick where you savor things more acutely for a few weeks afterward. And then maybe read it again.
Man, 2017. I’m glad to see you.
You’re a sandwich in the bathtub. You’re a warm cup of coffee and a wool blanket on the deck. You’re the empty chair off to the side, where I can sit and watch everyone dance. Let’s hold hands, and decide what to do with all this time.
Leave the country. The baby is old enough. It’s time for red wine on a 6-inch hotel balcony, and toilets that flush in unexpected ways. Time to let the boys stay up all night, playing under the cafe table with plastic breakables we bought from a street vendor. We need some $3 sun glasses with palm tree frames because we forgot our fancy sunglasses and the sun is prominent. Let’s make photo albums of us with sunburns, and gelato cones, and palm-tree sunglasses. Blow this joint, 2017.
Let good enough be good enough. Sometimes I run fifteen minutes late, I forget to pack the thing, something rots in the fridge while we’re away. A year from now, no one will remember any of this happened. Except me, over and over again, on a repeat loop that needlessly plays in my mind. What is that? I’m meditating that crap all the way out of my brain-place. The baby does not need to wear pants full time. This will work, 2017.
Spend more time in craft stores. They have cordless glue guns now. Did you know this? I know this only because my mother-in-law has one, as I have not been spending enough time in craft stores. Is there a more-sparklier glitter I don’t know about? Advanced styrofoam ball technologies? To start, I’m getting myself that cordless glue gun, and I’m going to glue everything together in artistic and irreversible ways. Affixed, 2017.
Be polite. Less “telling it like it is,” more “telling it as I would hope we can all agree it should be” in the civilization we’ve joined forces to create. I’m gonna call people what they want to be called, wave at people who let me in their lane, go mum on politics and religion while we’re breaking bread together, disagree in a polite manner when we’re not at the dinner table, catch up on my thank you notes, say please and thank you, teach my kids to say please and thank you, and refuse to reward people whose main tactic for getting what they want is escalation. Weaponized kindness, 2017.
Dance more. My ankles have mostly healed, and I miss dancing. This is the year to spin with strangers who know how to dip without dropping you, waltz awkwardly at someone’s wedding, start with a shot of tequila and wake up with a sore neck. Boogie oogie oogie, 2017.
Happy New Year, sweet people. Good things for everyone this year. Especially you.
Oak Bar Tool, $39
He gets a cool toy, you get cocktails when you get home from work.
Mini Lumio Book Lamp, $125
We got one of these illuminated books as a wedding gift, and it’s one of the most magical things we own.
Tiny Everstrike Lighter, $10
So much of masculinity is based on the ability to call forth fire in myriad circumstances.
Arduboy is a credit-card-sized, open-source game system that you can program yourself. It was funded on Kickstarter and looks pretty cool.
Ceramic Flask, $92
Now he can feel sophisticated sneaking booze into the movie theater.
Paper Bots: PaperMade, $13
Sometimes he misses getting toys for the holidays.
Felt Bedside Caddy, $20
What he really wants in life is first crack at the remote.
“This is the first time that skeletal material from a dinosaur has been found in amber.”