Scared straight

Last June was our 16th anniversary, so Scott and I spent a weekend at this funky hotel in the Catskills. Every room is themed at this place. I chose a space-themed room. It was appropriately far out. 

Before we left, Scott mentioned that one of his coworkers, a fellow video editor, had gifted us an edible. A pot cookie, in other words. (I feel like I'm a million years old when I say "pot cookie" but I don't feel like I've earned the right to say "edible.") He apparently was a frequent user (and baker, I guess) of such things, and thought we’d have fun with it. Sure, I said! Pot’s fun! 

Couple of important details: First, I smoked pot plenty in my twenties, but not really since. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s … changed a little, in the past twenty-odd years. I learned this a couple of years ago, when I shared a one-hitter with a friend and spent the next few hours paranoid and hyper, my face in a jumbo bag of Cheetos. Number two, I’ve never ingested it. Smoked, sure; eaten, no. (Turns out ingesting is also different.) I will research the hell out of anything, but in this case I didn’t bother doing a single second of reading on how to manage an edible. At least I can blame Scott’s friend, who had lulled us into a false sense of security with his detailed tips and tricks. 

After we’d settled into our Catskills Room of Space-Whimsy, Scott took out the cookie. We ate only 1/4 each, as per our instructions. It was not difficult to only eat 1/4 of it. It tasted like if you licked the inside of a suede vest that had just spent a long hot jam session pressed up against Robert Plant’s pectorals. Approximately. 

Once that was over with, we drank Prosecco, played the Velvet Underground, laughed at the Cylon tub. 

Space tub!   

Space tub! 

 

 

Then we were in the Cylon tub, because that's what you do on a romantic weekend in your space room. We weren’t feeling the effects of the cookie, and briefly discussed eating more. We didn’t because, I don’t know, there’s a God? A God who might be looking out for middle-aged folks getting overly high in the Catskills? 

Then we were out of the tub and engaging in the usual anniversary-weekend behaviors when I realized that my mouth had turned so dry it was definitely going to kill me. I could barely form words to tell Scott that all the fluids had exited my body and I was now but a husk. Scott went to get water, and to my mind he was gone for an hour and when he finally returned I was curled up on the bed, my eyes clamped shut, repeating the same phrase over and over. It was something about time and drugs and it wasn’t interesting but the point is that I kept repeating myself because I kept forgetting I was saying it. And yet I was sort of aware that I was repeating and forgetting, repeated and forgetting, and that my brain was permanently damaged. 

I drank more and more water, Scott forced to make repeated trips to the sink while I yelled "ARE YOU STILL THERE." I assured Scott that I was definitely dying. I moved from my fetal position to an alert crouch right next to the bed, neither standing nor sitting, kind of a vertical fetal position that turned into a real workout for my quads. I think the crouch was meant to ward off death. (Death can't get you when you're crouched.) Or the burning thigh muscles were an important reminder that I still existed. I became positive I was going to die from over-hydration, and I was also sure that Scott’s friend had slipped something more serious into the cookie than pot, and I insisted that Scott had to call both his friend and also 911 immediately because death was coming for me, crouch or no crouch. 

“You’re fine,” Scott said. “You’re just really high. You’re freaking out.” 

“I am not high, I’m dying,” I told him. "I mean, yes, I'm high, but I am also dying. You have to believe me." 

He did not believe me. I thought, you’re not going to call 911 and I’m going to die and you’re going to feel so bad. Poor, poor Scott. 

For some unknown reason Scott found my High Alert Crouch unsettling so he coaxed me back onto the bed, where I proceeded to tremble uncontrollably. I pointed at my legs as they thrashed about. “See? I’m having a seizure,” I told him.

“Pretty sure if you were having a seizure you wouldn’t be talking,” he reasoned. 

“I’m going to be a HuffPo article,” I told him. I was picturing myself as a cautionary-tale news story. “Woman Dies From Pot Like an Idiot. World Laughs at Her.” 

Then I told him I was having a seizure 9000 more times and forgot his response each time. 

Scott, meanwhile, seemed fine. I kept asking him and he kept saying he was fine. (I found out the next day that Scott was freaking out as much as I was, but held it together because he knew that if I thought he was also dying I could not have been stopped from calling the authorities. And then we really would have been on HuffPo.) 

At one point I asked him to tell me a story and he said “you know all my stories” and I explained that I wanted him to distract me and only a story would do it. He proceeded to tell me about a dream he had about being very tiny and running around in a giant sink, and I thought, of all the stories he could tell me, he chooses this Alice in Wonderland nightmare shit right now? I commanded that he stop telling me the story, otherwise known as the Worst Story to Tell an Overly High Person Ever. 

(If someone is high, tell them a story about a cute bunny you saw in the woods. And how you had to stay real quiet until it got close, and then it sniffed your hand for a bit and hopped away. Tell them about your mom making you a grilled cheese. Don’t tell them about how you morphed into a tiny thing that was menaced by a sink sponge. For God’s sake.) 

After…minutes? Hours? The shaking subsided and I was somewhat reassured that I wasn’t going to die. Still, I was suffering a fate worse than death, locked in a permanent psychosis like I was. So that was a shame. Scott, meanwhile, fell asleep. I stared at him, amazed. Asleep! He could actually sleep! I checked his breathing. 

By this time I was somewhat ambulatory so I made it to my phone where I proceeded to Google “POT COOKIE TAINTED,” “ECSTASY IN MY EDIBLE,” “AM I DYING FROM POT Y/N” and countless other all-caps iterations, all of which I read aloud to Scott the next day. I found advice that all amounted to “you’re just incredibly high and there's nothing you can do.” I read an article by Maureen Dowd about her unfortunate edible experience and was brought to tears by the cruel taunts of the NYT commenters who all seemed to think she should have known what she was getting herself into. Only I understand you, Maureen Dowd, I thought. This was one of many thoughts that I never had before or since. 

Since there was no way I was ever going to sleep again I stayed up for hours, first watching an infinite number of Friends episodes and then, somehow, an equally infinite number of Seinfeld episodes. Friends, I determined, was the best show ever, and Seinfeld was a horror show masquerading as comedy. I know this because I was writing about it in my journal, which i was doing both to show myself that I still existed and also because I had this vague idea that I was being ridiculous and whatever I came up with right then had the potential to be hilarious the next day. 

(It wasn’t. It was really boring. I wrote poetry about Friends. And it was boring.) 

Actual doodle from that night.   

Actual doodle from that night. 

 

In conclusion, we had a terrible time and it was the least romantic getaway ever. But the hotel was pretty cool. 


Happy new year!

Hazel says hey. 

Hazel says hey. 

Let's do this thing, 2016. Let's blog like no one's reading. 

You'll notice that the place looks different. The last design lived on an older version of Squarespace, and that version no longer works well—or at all, really. (This is one of the reasons I wasn't updating, but only one.) When I updated I decided to go back to basics, at least for now. For now. 

While I was away I began a podcast with my friend/role model Deanna Zandt. It's called The League of Awkward Unicorns, and we're talking about mental illness (depression, anxiety, etc. etc.) and emotional wellness (things that help, whether it's medication, exercise, or wrapping oneself up in a Snuggie while binge-watching The Mindy Project). Find us on iTunes here. Read an article about us here! Listen and let me what you think. We've only just begun. 

Some readers will recall that the last post on Finslippy used to be "In Defense of Small Talk." When I migrated my content that post went missing, but fortunately it's also on Medium. 

A lot of things have happened since I've been gone. Scott's beard is grayer; my beard is thicker. Henry is now 13, which is pretty weird. Not to mention, he's seven feet tall, semi-translucent, and goes by the name Gafardrophon. He doesn't so much speak as he intones. I don't mind the intoning, but the gliding around instead of walking is a bit much. Kids these days! 

I'm not hiding my shame under a bushel. A shame-bushel. That's the saying, right?

I was in okay physical shape, once. At least for me. I don’t know if that equates to anything resembling “okay shape” for other humans. I kind of doubt it, but let’s pretend that I’m somewhere in the realm of normal. Pretend along with me! Make me feel good. Look, you don’t have to pretend. I won’t know. 

When I was in okay shape and I didn’t have time to hit the gym (the gym was something I “hit,” back then. It’s a figure of speech, you understand. Coined when people were so satisfied with their working-outs that they’d slap the gym wall and say, “that’s a good workout, by gum!” Then they’d drop their comical barbells, peel off their woolen unitards, don their three-piece suits, and set off for a mustache-steam. I don’t have a good handle on what old-timey people did)— 

—ANYWAY, when I didn’t have time to slap the gym I would do that 7-minute workout the New York Times told us was the only workout we ever needed. The New York Times told us that science said it was so, and I believe whatever the New York Times tells me that science says. Except this workout was kind of easy because I was a smug gym-hitter. So I would (smugly) do two of them. Sometimes three. Three workouts all in a row, like a SUPERHERO or something. 

FAST FORWARD TO NOW, about six months after I started my job, and I haven’t been to the gym in…hey, six months! What do you know! I’ve been pulling my own leg with lies like “Walking is like working out, only slower and less sweaty” and “Sucking in your gut is like crunches but standing and you can wear nice pants.” Turns out, though, that walking won’t help you do a push-up, which I learned last week, when I did one (1) 7-minute workout. And could barely do a push-up. AND the next day, all my parts hurt. At one point, I was sitting down, and I won’t say I couldn’t stand, but I had to think about it. And I could pretend this is the declaration that's going to motivate me to return to my former glory/okay-ness but really I just wanted a topic to write about, and my first thought was, "Hey, my sore butt!" 

I feel so close to you all right now.

Announcement

I hereby announce that from now on I’m going to be answering my phone by barking, “Go for Bradley.” I feel it necessary to announce this because I’ve tried just implementing my new phone-answering style and it didn’t go well. Specifically, no matter who was on the other end, they all said, “What?” or “Whuh?” or “Gopher Badly?” or "Goldfarb Brad Lean?" And I'm like "Why on earth would anyone say 'Goldfarb Brad Lean?" and THEN I have to explain that I said “Go for Bradley” and this is my new answering-the-phone style and then they’re like, “I don't understand, why are you doing this to me?” And I’m like, BECAUSE, Mom. Because.  

I have to say “Go for Bradley” now because I’m a professional and I’m very very busy. “Go for Bradley” is my way of saying, “Cut the chit chat, slackers. I don’t want your jibber-jabber, slowpokes. I don't need your niceties. I'm a goddamn professional, so let’s get down to it.” Only no one understands what I said or else they don't appreciate it and I spend a lot of time explaining myself. So it’s not actually that efficient. But I can’t change it now because if I say “hello” people will be like I THOUGHT IT WAS “GO FOR BRADLEY,” JERK. So: look. I'm saying "Go for Bradley" now. Deal with it. You've been warned. Or, you know, announced at. 

All right, fine. I’ve never said “Go for Bradley,” not once. BUT—and this is true—I think about it all the time, I think about saying it, and as a result every time I answer the phone I experience a mild frisson of delight at the very thought. I get a little giddy and I bet everyone thinks I'm incredibly excited to talk to them, when in reality I'm just thinking, this is it! But then I chicken out. Once I started and I said "go for—" and then I pretended to have a coughing fit. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, guys. 

(Also, any time anyone says "Supposedly," I want to lift a finger to interrupt them and say with a patronizing smirk, "I think you mean supposably." This also cracks me up every time. It's fun to be me!) 

Anyway I'm just here to say hi, I never meant to be gone for so long, but, you know, job, life, excuses, shut up, and I haven’t given up on this blog, although I know it seemed that way. I'm very sorry to confuse the, you know, two of you still looking in on me and wondering where I am. I missed you! I missed us. So: hello! I mean: go for Bradley. 

She's a lady

 

We were going to wait to get another dog, but then we realized that waiting is stupid and dogs are the best. Meet Hazel.

 

A photo posted by Alice Bradley (@finslippy) on Oct 10, 2014 at 12:21pm PDT


Hazel is between 3 and 5 years of age, so we'll just go ahead and call her 4. She was dumped by some sad fool who failed to recognize that she is a wondrous being with popcorn-scented paws. We got her through a rescue group, and now she is ours and she is the best. They called her a chihuahua mix but we think she's all chihuahua. 

 

Her full name is Hazel Doolittle Bradley-Rosann. Doolittle because her evening gloves belie her coarse beginnings. 

 

I'm a good girl, I am. #hazeldoolittle

A photo posted by Alice Bradley (@finslippy) on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:08pm PST

 

We love her a little bit. 

 

Izzy is glaring at Hazel, aka "midafternoon snack."

A photo posted by Alice Bradley (@finslippy) on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:48am PST

 

 

The cat now makes this face, all the time. 

 

 

Izzy is glaring at Hazel, aka "midafternoon snack."

A photo posted by Alice Bradley (@finslippy) on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:48am PST

 

She'll get over it.

 

Back to Hazel! All she wants to do is sleep on a lap, or burrow under some covers. 

 

"Good morning, Hazel!" "Nope." #notamorningdog #hazeldoolittle

A photo posted by Alice Bradley (@finslippy) on Nov 11, 2014 at 5:39am PST

 

She is very, very smart. I think she might be the next Oprah. 

Charlie the Dog, 1998(?)-2014

Charlie died on October 10th.

As you know if you’ve ever read this site or looked at a single word I’ve written on social media, Charlie was our beloved dog, the greatest pet who ever walked this earth, blessed with the softest of ears and the most agreeable of dispositions. He was nothing but a joy to live with since we picked him up on a street corner 15 years ago. We had answered a Petfinder ad, knowing nothing about him other than that he had been neglected by his previous owners, and that he was a “sweet dog with soft ears who needs a chance.” (That’s quoted directly from his ad.)

Charlie’s health had been going downhill for the past year or so. He had arthritis in his back legs and a heart murmur. He was totally deaf and almost completely blind. His kidneys were failing, his weight was plummeting. It seemed like we were constantly either walking him or trying to get him to eat. Normally he weighed around 25 pounds, but last month he was down to 14. It looked painful. Well-meaning neighbors and passersby expressed amazement in his continued existence. Once a stranger stopped to hug me; not because I looked sad, but because the dog did. Plus he didn't seem to know where he was, most of the time. 

So that’s how he was, and he was ready to go, and we thought we were ready to say goodbye, but then of course you’re never ready, not really. We miss him so much. 

I wish I could find more things to say about him. He was the best dog. We are so lucky.

 

 

Let's go

After Michael Brown was murdered, I started reading. I heard the voices of my friends, rising up in rage. I read voices that were new to me and thought, that’s what needs to get read. This particular white lady should shut up and listen. But I also felt that silence implied an implicit acceptance of the terrible crimes committed—against Michael Brown, against Eric Garner, against Trayvon Martin, against Renisha McBride. And on, and on. This is unacceptable. 

 

Henry is almost twelve. (Time marches inexorably and mercilessly forward; our amazement in the face of this reality grows exponentially with each passing day). He is learning to navigate this world without my company. He walks around the neighborhood by himself. He runs errands for me; he visits friends; he accompanies said friends to buy ice cream or run around the park. Once they are out there, set free, I am sure they occasionally make too much noise. Out on the sidewalk, crossing a street, I can see at least one prim-faced adult shaking their head at the rowdiness of today’s youth. 

As he outgrows his little-boyness and stretches toward the light, I worry about him getting into trouble. But “trouble,” for me, means, oh, that he might get arrested. His inherent goodness might be impugned. We might have to go to family court; he might be traumatized. These are the consequences that actually concern me, if I bother to consider them in any real way. 

I never worry that a police officer is going to assume he’s a thug and shoot him. 

He’s a good kid. I know he is. But no one else has any reason to know that. They assume it and they will continue to assume it, because he is white. He enjoys the absurd privilege of being, by default, a good kid until proven otherwise. 

If he were black, it would be the reverse. And I would be scared as hell. 

Back when Henry was a baby, there was a rash of violent muggings in our neighborhood. Beat cops were assigned to practically every corner. We lived in a co-op at the time, and at one of our meetings, we were discussing the weird police state in which we now lived. One of us concluded that although it was unnerving having so many cops around, at least we were safer. 

One of our neighbors, a black woman, set us straight. It wasn’t safer for her; it was terrifying. Her two teenage sons, who couldn’t have been more than 13 and 15, were stopped every day. They were harassed if they sat on the stoop with their friends. 

She would have been well within our rights to call us out on our utter cluelessness, but instead she only asked us to help, if we saw the cops giving either of her boys a hard time. She asked us to confirm that they lived in the neighborhood. That they belonged. 

Never mind that they were good kids, who went to good schools. That doesn’t matter. They could have been drinking, they could have been troublemakers, they could have been teenagers acting like dopey teenagers. They were supposed to have that right. Instead, they were being treated like criminals solely because they were black. They were children, they were innocent, and they were afraid to step outside. 

We enthusiastically agreed, back then, to provide whatever help was needed, but I remember wanting to do more than play the role of white saviors. Didn’t our stepping in also imply tacit acceptance of the system? I didn’t know what to do. Riot, maybe. Take to the streets. March until our feet bled. 

Then, you know, the muggings stopped, the police presence diminished, and our lives went on. I stopped worrying over the inherent racism in the system designed to protect us. This was also a privilege that I enjoyed. 

But of course it never stopped. It’s still going on, all around us, everywhere. And it is an obscenity. That’s the only word I can come up with. That parents live in fear for their children is an obscenity. That there is even a discussion over whether Mike Brown’s homicide was justified is an obscenity. 

Innocent people are assaulted and murdered because of their skin color. This is something beyond an obscenity. I don’t have words for it. I don’t know how to make it stop. But I’m ready to fight. I'm ready to find out where we go from here, because we can't stay here. 

Sponsored post: summer reading

This post is sponsored by Scribd

I'm not a huge fan of summer, but I love summer reading. I grew up right next to the beach, which is a strange and hostile land when you’re as pale and unlikely to become a lifeguard as I am. I don't know how I went outside before serious SPF was invented, and even when science allowed me to venture out without bursting into flames, I preferred reading to camp activities like "archery" or "coming up with dirty alternate lyrics to 'My Sharona.'" On weekends, my bikini’d peers would cavort in the Long Island Sound, flirting with boys and ingesting pesticide runoff (probably), while I sought shelter under a beach umbrella with a Coke slushie and my new boyfriend, Stephen King.

Even now, when beach vacations are limited to the occasional Saturday afternoon trip to Coney Island, and I have no assigned reading the rest of the year so it’s not like summer affords me any special luxuries, the idea of Summer Reading still makes my heart skip. I’m easily excited. 

So when Scribd asked me what I might want to read this summer, I was like SIGN ME UP and they were all GREAT and then I told them about the pesticide runoff! And the heavy metals! I’m so much fun to take to the beach. No one at Scribd has invited me yet but I bet they’re going to.  

 

Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt 

Because nothing says summer like starving in Limerick. I’ve meant to read this for forever. It’s one of those books that too many people told me I should read. There’s a number of recommendations beyond which I get contrary and refuse to read something because you can’t tell me what to do, man. I’m a lone wolf. Anyway I’m reading it this summer. I don’t even care what you say about it, man. 

Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell 

I’ve never read Patricia Cornwell, and summer feels like an appropriate time to begin. This one has gruesome murders perpetrated by a brilliant serial killer. So if you see me at the beach looking especially pale, blame this book. (Although it will probably be because I’m coated in zinc oxide.) 

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, by Simon Winchester 

Another book that I have been meaning to read for forever. I think that subtitle says it all, don’t you? God, I miss dictionaries. I used to read dictionaries for fun. I’m beginning to see why no one invited me to parties. 

Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, by Vendela Vida 

This hugely acclaimed novel has the main character travel to Lapland. There's a hotel made of ice. I'll be reading this in mid-August, when my apartment is on fire. 

 

Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory, by Stacy Horn

It is a scientific fact that in summer, you require one or more chills to run up your spine. It's a medical thing. Anyway: ghosts. I can't read about them any other time. I am too easily spooked, even when the topic is a parapsychology laboratory, where ostensibly everyone is professional and not hiding under their lab desks, clutching their beakers. Anyway, everyone knows ghosts can't get you in summer. (That's also a medical thing.) 

If you want to pick out your summer reading, sign up for Scribd and use the promotional code finslippy0614. Here’s a link to get you started. You'll get three months of unlimited books for free. Then let me know what you're reading, because I'm still adding titles to my library. 

 

 

Tracking Pixel

Help for the hopeless (mouth)

 

For most of my life, my mouth has been a train wreck. When I go to a dentist for the first time, they say things like, “I see we have quite a history!” and “Look at all this!”  For years, I would brush and floss diligently, only to somehow end up with more cavities than I have teeth. Especially after I had Henry. Pregnancy hormones, man. Also: caramels.

Even before The Child, however, every cleaning was a gore-fest; every x-ray ended in the dentist tallying all the cavities to his assistant while I wept into my blood-soaked bib. Not surprisingly, these ordeals resulted in me not wanting to go to the dentist anymore. Did you know that if you don’t go to the dentist, your teeth will not magically remain okay? And then when you go back they can’t even believe how messed up your mouth is, or that you’re still alive or able to eat anything chewier than pudding?  

About three years ago I started the ol’ Paleo diet. I really liked it. I still like it. I would call myself, right now, Paleo-ish: mostly Paleo, with the occasional off-roading because life's too short not to eat cheese. The only thing I really, really avoid is wheat. I won’t claim real intolerance, but if I have wheat I feel bad. (It's easy to avoid something when you get bloated and depressed afterward.) Since the Paleo-ish eating, my checkups have become startlingly less terrible. The cleanings were still pretty dramatic, but I had zero cavities.  I think it’s safe to assume that wheat (or, more precisely, the wheaty treats—brownies/cookies/cakes/crackers) is problematic for me. 

The real change, however, started about eight months ago,with this new regimen.  It was created by Dr. Ellie Phillips, DDS, and it goes a little something like this: 

1. Rinse with CloSYS. (I had never heard of this before, but it’s available online; I've also found it at CVS.) 

2. Brush. 

3. Rinse with Listerine. 

4. Rinse with Act Fluoride Rinse. 

And that's it. 

(If you’re looking for reasoning and/or details, I strongly recommend looking at her site. There’s good information in there. Go on. There are details, like only using regular Crest paste and replacing your toothbrush frequently. Dr. Phillips is also an enthusiastic advocate of supplementing with xylitol, which is a thing I keep forgetting to do. I am not a perfect disciple.)  

You’ll notice there’s no flossing in there. I still sort of floss, but that’s because most of my mouth is made up of crowns and play-dough, and I feel weird if I don’t. If I’m in a rush, however, I do the rinsing and skip the flossing. 

ANYWAY I went for a checkup about a month into this new routine, climbed into the dentist chair, braced myself for an hour of gore and mayhem, and experienced…not much. A little bleeding, a sensitive area here and there, but I never even once prayed to God and all the saints in heaven. This was a strange and new world. 

Then the hygienist said something. Her mouth opened, and she said, “You’re doing a good job.” 

You’re. Doing. A. Good. Job. 

I have never heard anyone in a dentist’s office say this to me. Never. And I was. I was ever so good. I was flossing like a pro and brushing for two straight minutes twice a day with my soft-bristled brush. I followed the rules. And still the hygienist would lecture me after each torture session about the importance of flossing. She would make me hold a mirror in front of my face while she demonstrated proper flossing technique on me and I’d try to say, “I know! I floss like that!” But my mouth was full of her hands! 

Not only was I told that I was “doing a good job,” (I might have asked her to repeat it, a few times) there were (again!) no cavities. I was so excited leaving the dentist’s office that I almost ran home to write this blog post ordering everyone to do what I’m doing. But I thought I should wait. I had only been using the rinses for a month or so. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I was drunk. You just never know with me. 

Fast forward to today, the day of my next checkup.  I am here to tell you that this cleaning was … I don't even...there are no words. It was painless. I’ve had haircuts that felt worse. It felt like someone was just...brushing and flossing for me. How nice of them! While I have my hands free, for knitting! There was no bleeding, no sensitivity. I didn’t pray. I didn’t sweat. I didn't cry/laugh. The hygienist said everything was “perfect.”  I might have teared up. My dentist told me that I've halted my gum recession. Once again there were no cavities, and then he and the nurse held me in their arms and declared me their favorite patient ever. Then they made all the other patients come in to admire me. It took a while.  

I'm not being compensated for this post. I just can’t keep this to myself. Again, I think the reduction in sugar intake was a huge help. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to hear that part. (Did you just slam your laptop down and run to your bundt cake for comfort? I get it. Bundt cakes are delicious.) But the rinses were definitely instrumental in making my cleanings less...instrumental. Will they help you? I have no idea, but I don't see why not, and I don’t think it can hurt. 

Forty five

 

So I turned 45 today. So that’s a thing I’m doing. Also apparently beginning sentences with “so,” now. I’m pretty sure I resolved to stop that somewhere back in my thirties, but hell, I’m FORTY FIVE. I’ve earned the right. By the time I’m fifty I’ll be misplacing modifiers everywhere. At 70 I’m only going to write in all caps. Send my son texts in serif fonts. See if I won’t. 

I turned 35 a few months after I began this blog, and I remember turning 35 more than I remember any other birthday because 35 was the first birthday I fretted over. Like, ooh, I’m 35, that’s so old. I’m old now. 

I now find the idea that 35 is old to be hilariously adorable. Adorably hilarious. 35! Like a baby, I was. Still covered in vernix. I was a little gross, come to think of it. 

I got my Age Crisis out of the way at 35 and now I see how silly it was. How can I freak out about 45? If I freak out now, then in the distant future, when I’m a brain suspended in a bucket of nutrient-fortified goo, I'll have to transmit orders to my android body-replacement to chuckle ruefully about it. And I can’t have that. I’ll have more important things to do, like battle the monstrous virus army, and crochet. 

I mean, however old you are, you’re as young as you’re ever going to be. Oof, that’s obvious. Now that I’m 45 I’m going to issue really obvious pronouncements like that one. Also: be nice to people. Not to mention: sunscreen. You’re so very welcome. 

 

(What does it say about me that I thought Sarah Silverman was the person who sang this song? I wasted a good 3 minutes of what's left of this wild and precious life Googling "Sarah Silverman Older Song." Did she sing a similar song? Sorry, what was that? SPEAK UP HONEY.)  

I’ve only been 45 for about twelve hours, but so far it feels exactly the same. Except it’s colder. That might be the weather? Either way, it’s easily fixed with a little something I like to call “layers.” This is the kind of wisdom you gain at 45. I like it. I like you. Let’s keep getting older, shall we? 

 

 

The State of the Blog

I had an interesting chat yesterday about blogging and the state of my blogging and how “blogging” is weird to say more than twice, blogging blobbing blugging blarging. And afterwards I thought, hey Self, why not share where I am with my readers? Why not? Have I learned NOTHING from “Show Your Work”? Should I not Share My Process? What Would Austin Kleon Do?  

I’m at an interesting crossroads right now, and the good news is there are several ways I could go, but I think I may have a touch of the ADD because all the options are overwhelming me and as a result I take many naps. 

Let’s back up. First of all, I’m not closing up the blog, or anything dramatic. I know you’re breathing a sigh of relief and/or weeping. There, there. I wouldn’t do that to you, baby. I want you to know that, sure, things have been weird, and I’ve been distant, but it wasn’t you, it was me. All me. 

I hadn’t been posting as much in the past few months because in addition to teaching and novel-writing I was spending my work hours at a corporate gig. Said corporate gig wasn’t even a writing job, so it felt wonderfully removed from the rest of my work, and pure, somehow, like I was keeping my writing energy sacred or something. Feel free to roll your eyes at that. I know I just did. 

It was easy to depend on the corporate work to continue while I pursued my Art and taught about Art and etc., but then. Then! The work slowed down, then disappeared. It wasn’t personal. The company is in transition, they’re reorganizing, I don’t know. It happens. 

Now I’m scrambling and trying not to scramble because nothing will bring you work less successfully than desperate scrambling. Sending pitches to editors that are in all caps. Using too many exclamation points (or any) in your professional correspondence. Instead I’m taking a step back and seeing where I went wrong and what I want to do in the future. 

The big mistake I made was to put all my income-generating eggs in one big corporate basket. (I’m not counting the writing course, which is more like a fun lil’ egg in a side pouch. Imagine that I’m a marsupial holding a basket. Except marsupials don’t lay eggs, so okay, imagine that my writing course is a joey. Aw. Ew.)  Over the last few months, my big corporate basket tipped over and smashed my eggs. And did it so slowly I didn’t even notice it was happening until I had a dried yolky mess all over the ground. 

Okay, so: first mistake, one big basket. My second mistake was that I put all my work hours toward work that didn’t really speak to my talents. My corporate assignments could be completed by any reasonably smart person; they didn’t need my specific strengths. I was (gasp!) expendable. 

Which got me thinking, okay, where can I be invaluable? (Or more valuable?) And that led me back to this blog. This is a valuable platform for me. It gets me work. Also, and more importantly, I enjoy it. It’s what I do. It’s important to do what you love, if you have that luxury. I know many people don’t, and I certainly don’t always, but I do here. So: I am recommitting to the blog for selfish reasons, but I hope you don’t mind that. (Wait, does anyone blog for selfless reasons?) 

You will probably see sponsored posts. I don’t have a big master plan about this; it’s just a heads-up that I’m thinking about it. I am not, however, seeking out sponsored posts as a major source of income, so I’m free to be incredibly choosy. I won’t write content that doesn’t make me happy and wouldn’t benefit you in some way. That is my pledge unto you. I can count on two (maybe three) fingers the times I’ve featured sponsored stuff I wasn’t happy with, and those moments made me feel extra-super gross. That isn’t something I want to do ever again. 

Also, I’m thinking about ways to use this site to advertise my services. The other (paying) work I enjoy is magazine writing and copywriting, and I’m trying to find a place for that on this site. I want to hang my shingle, so to speak, more prominently. (Ugh, also, I’m crappy at promoting myself. I get all apologetic and twitchy. It’s time to quit that.) 

Thirdly, I’m going to offer more courses, and maybe even a writing guide e-book. That’s going to be later on, somewhere in the distant future, when we’re all wearing mylar rompers. Or in the near future, when we’re wearing our micro-floral rompers. 

(I also pledge never to wear a romper.) 

Oh my god, what was my point. I think I wanted your advice? Wait, it’s coming back to me! I’d love to know of any bloggers whose sites successfully straddle the personal and professional: like, there’s a “hire me as a copywriter” section or "Take my class" or “I’m a successful journalist” part along with “here is my personal blog where I talk about how I smell weird.” Or: do you do it? How do you promote yourself? How do you balance professional writing with personal writing? Can we get coffee sometime? Or just hold hands for a while? 

A blogger I respect said recently that you should never end a post with a question, so I’ll end this with: I can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to have a marsupial pouch. Weird, right? Oh, wait, that’s a question. 

 

May I Gently Suggest: Teen Angst Edition

These are two very different books about teenaginess. Teenagedom. TEEN LIFE. 

God, I remember how much I hated being called a teen. I remember taking a resort vacation with my family and my older siblings were like, “Don’t you want to check out the teen activities?” Then they snickered while I stormed off with my copy of Dubliners and my full array of head gear. 

Anyway! Now that I’m well past that point in my life, it turns out I can read books about teenageness without feeling any empathy or even a twinge of discomfort. Except that that is a filthy lie. After reading these, I am awash in adolescent memories, and I think I’m breaking out again. Or maybe that’s perimenopause. I hear that’s a thing. At least now I don’t have the headgear? (I think I need a retainer, frankly, but on the other hand fuck that. Being an adult means you can curse all you like. Someone bring me a fucking cocktail.) 

So the books I am gently suggesting to you, they are very different and I think their weaknesses and strengths complement each other delightfully. Let us discuss!  

 

First, there’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. You may have heard of this one. It’s all the rage. The movie is coming out soon. So many people recommended it to me that I ended up avoiding it, because I am just that contrary. But finally I gave in to peer pressure, and I’m glad I did. (Kids: your friends are not always wrong!) TFIOS (as the insiders call it) is funny, compelling, and wrenchingly sad. I can’t emphasize that last part enough. I knew going in that it would be sad. I was like, yeah, sure, teens with cancer. Bet it’ll have some dark humor. What I didn’t expect was that I would wake up the day after finishing it sore from crying so much. TFIOS is its own workout. If your eyes aren’t normally puffy enough, read this book. Problem solved. 

Reading it as a grownup renders the reading experience extra-hard, I think, because you feel not only for the teenagers but also for their parents. Without spoiling too much, you can probably guess that the families here get put through the wringer. I’m not saying that teenagers wouldn’t feel sad for all involved parties, but I can’t imagine Teen Me would have related quite as strongly to the adults. So: read TFIOS, but be prepared. Be prepared for your spouse to come to bed only to find you weeping violently and then he’ll get angry at the author for making you cry like that and you’ll yell at him to leave you alone because you still have a chapter left. Buy extra tissues. 

For me, the weakness of TFIOS was that I didn’t quite believe these teenagers were… teenagers. They recite poetry to each other. They think things through. They are far more sophisticated and witty than I ever was. I mean, maybe I was kind of a dope. I can fully get behind this idea. But you know how even the wittiest, smartest teenagers are super-duper lacking in good judgment and will do things so profoundly stupid you can’t believe it’s the same person? That kind of thing never happens, here. On the other hand these are teens with cancer and maybe they’ve had to grow up fast. That’s a possibility. I just think that the version of teenagers John Green shows here is…aspirational, shall we say. Maybe teenagers need that. “Look how witty I could be,” they might say. “Time to memorize some poetry.”

On to the next book! 

Jo Ann Beard’s IN ZANESVILLE is a great contrast to TFIOS. I was crazy about Jo Ann Beard’s collection of essays Boys of My Youth (check out that title essay—talk about wrenching) and I was recommending it to a student when I accidentally discovered that she had since written this novel. It’s a crime that more people don’t know about this book. It's a crime that I didn't know about this book. 

IZ (yeah, I'm abbreviating it) is about two best friends trying to find their way into adulthood, getting into trouble, falling out of friendship and back in, and it reads like maybe the author read my diary. I loved, loved, loved it. The deep affection I felt for the angsty teens here was something I missed in TFIOS. These are the kinds of girls I remember being. Well-meaning. Flailing. Anxious. Thoughtless. Dopey.  

Here’s the first paragraph, which may be my favorite first paragraph ever: 

“We can’t believe the house is on fire. It’s so embarrassing first of all, and so dangerous second of all. Also, we’re supposed to be in charge here, so there’s a sense of somebody not doing their job.”

Is that not brilliant? Can't you immediately picture these two goofy fourteen-year-olds, making an utter mess of things, trying to abdicate responsibility for the fire while it is occurring? And it only gets better. The entire book is a harrowing and hilarious in just that way. I believed that these kids existed. I worried about them. 

I do have one problem with IZ, but it’s kind of a book spoiler. I’ll just say I didn’t think the book quite realized its potential. I think you can have a literary work that also has an exciting plot, and this novel frustrated me a little in that way. IZ is wonderfully evocative in a way that TFIOS isn’t, but on the other hand, The Fault in our Stars goes, shall we say, all the way. In Zanesville is something of a tease. 

 

What's this CentUp button all about? CentUp is a way for you to express your appreciation of my work via sweet cash while also giving to a good cause. See the bottom of this post for details. 

 

 

 

How not to carry lunch. Also: about "CentUp"

A couple of months ago I joined a writer’s collective, which is like a writer’s space except you get your own permanent desk and also you get to say you’re in a “collective.” It feels good, guys. Collective. Good mouth feel.

The collective is about a half-hour walk from our place, or a couple of subway stops, but now that’s it’s sort-of spring I’ve been walking. I bring my laptop, of course, which is shoved into my backpack, and I also bring lunch, which is usually in a separate cross-body lunch pail thing that I bought for Scott and promptly stole for my own use. Marriage! In addition to the various straps of my laptop backpack and lunch-pail-bag I’m almost always listening to a podcast on my phone, because we all know there’s nothing worse than being alone with your thoughts/feelings.

On my way there today I stopped for a coffee and because I’m not a sick monster I removed my earbuds so that I could hear the nice barista tell me how many twenties I owed her. Somehow all my straps and wires got tangled, and while I waited for my coffee I sorted it all out. I thought. (Foreshadowing.) I left, coffee in hand, earbuds back in my ears, feeling like a normal human being who knows how to carry things. The rest of the walk I was getting some odd looks, and I couldn’t tell if they were admiration or pity. (Or both? Is that possible? And what would that look like? Someone work on that expression for me.) There were some sad smiles directed my way. Or maybe that guy just had a sad face? I figured that either 1) I looked amazing or 2) my fly was wide open. #2 was a negative so I decided to feel good about myself, even though I was encumbered and feeling increasingly sweaty.

When I reached my destination I got a load of myself in the mirror by the elevator and saw that my lunch pail had shifted at some point. Or I moved it. It was probably my fault. It was no longer across my body. The straps were now dangling from around my neck, the lunch sack landing between my boobs. How could I not notice that it had hiked all the way up there? I was carrying last night's leftover like a St. Bernard would carry his barrel of whiskey. Maybe people figured my mom hung it there right before pinning my name to my coat sleeve. Or maybe that’s where I keep my external heart pump. I was a little embarrassed, but more than anything I was surprised that people were giving me looks that seemed maybe sort of positive. People are good. Most people. The ones in downtown Brooklyn, anyway, where you're allowed to look a little off. If I had been in Soho I’d probably be set upon by German tourists, or a gang of hungry models.

***


On a totally different note, I wanted to explain this CentUp button you may have noticed at the bottom of each post. CentUp is a way for you to express your appreciation of my work via sweet cash while also giving to a good cause. Each contribution you make is split 50/50 between myself and whatever charity you choose. (Currently CentUp has a choice of seven charities, but they plan to expand their lineup over time.) You can donate as little as a penny, or as much as a trillion dollars. OR MORE. Infinite dollars.

But seriously, even donating a little lets me know which posts you particularly enjoyed and want to see more of. And then I can post more. Plus you're helping the world. Try it out!  When you create your CentUp account, you automatically get a dollar to try the button and see how it works. You don’t need to enter any credit card information for this step.

Here's an informative video about CentUp. Enjoy!

CentUp.org from CentUp on Vimeo.

 

M.E. in Trouble

My short story "M.E. in Trouble" was published in PANK magazine a few months ago. It’s a little more experimental than most of my stuff, and experimental is sort of their thing. The whole issue is great, so if the story appeals to you, you should buy it! Or subscribe! We need more independent journals like PANK. Also PANK is fun to say. You have to shout it. PANK.  

I actually wrote this in graduate school. Which was, uh, 15 years ago. I submitted it to a bunch of places with no success, and I gave up on it. I’ve abandoned plenty of stories before, but this one really wanted to get out there, apparently, because it wouldn’t leave me alone. So I dug it out, had some trusted readers look at it, and made the necessary changes. I made the mistake initially of keeping it to myself and deciding it was confusing but it was SUPPOSED to be confusing because it was ART. 15 years later, I got over myself and fixed what was broken*. I also did my research and sent it to a place that featured non-traditional work. Not only was it published, but (bragging alert) the editors at PANK nominated it for the Pushcart Prize. I like happy endings. (Uh, not that you'd think that, if you read this story.)

*The only thing I refused to change was the character’s name, because okay, maybe “M.E.” is weird and sounds like ME, but that’s the guy’s name. It just is! I couldn’t do a thing about it.

Read the whole thing here.


Time to boil dinner!


I’ve written before about the other Alice Bradleys. Let’s talk about this one.




This Alice Bradley was, among other things, principal of the Fannie Farmer School of Cookery from 1915-1944. The cookbook pictured above (actually more of an advertorial pamphlet, Other Bradley) promised salads both alluring AND new, and it delivered, but today I’m going to a highlight an even more glorious example of Ms. Bradley’s expertise: The Alice Bradley Menu Cook-Book.

 



Now, I’m no expert on semi-aspirational Depression-era cuisine, but if I had to imagine what it was like, it would guess this. The meats are boiled; the sauces are white. Many of the foods are mock-foods. There’s always one extra step that tips a relatively inoffensive side dish into pure horror. Take, for instance, “Date Salad.”


1. Wash and remove pits, stones, whatever you want to call them, sure.
2. Fill with peanut butter: so far I’m on board.
3. Oh, wait, the peanut butter should be mixed with some WHAT THE NO NO NO—
4. Curl up into a tight ball and shriek with your mouth closed until you stop imagining peanut butter and mayonnaise together.
P.S.: Why isn’t she saying what the shredded lettuce is dressed with? I’ll tell you why: it’s French dressing. It’s always French dressing. Back when Alice Bradley was in charge, only the French did dressing.

Next up: this.

 

I’m sure Alice Bradley was a nice person, but only a monster would think to cream celery.


Let’s cleanse our mental palate with some Jellied Cabbage Salad, shall we? This one, at least, sounds…adventurous? I don’t know, I’m broken. Hey, what can we serve this with OH GOD NO.



Okay, Chili con Carne is, well. Huh. There’s no French dressing in it, and that’s something. But isn’t this a little more…boiled than the kind of chili we’re used to? Is that…enough seasoning? I mean, I’m not the Principal of any School of Cookery, so who am I to say?

Finally, an alarmingly simple breakfast suggestion. I looked really closely at this one, and I’m pretty sure there’s no boiling or surprise mayo anywhere in here. I’m not sure, though. I don’t know that I can trust my own eyes.



Next week: we look at some of those alluring (and new!) salads. They have a spicy secret. (Hint: it's not mayonnaise. Usually.)


May I Firmly Suggest: Show Your Work

What’s this? What has excited Ms. Bradley’s passions to the point that she can't gently suggest said item? This book has, my friends. This one right here.





If you’re not familiar with Austin Kleon and his work, you’re in for a treat. Austin Kleon describes himself as a writer who draws; Maria Popova at Brain Pickings calls him as “a keen observer of and participant in the creative economy of the digital age.” I’d say he’s an artist, an educator, and a brilliant thinker regarding the creative process. His ideas are deceptively simple, but they stay with you. 




I loved his book Steal like an Artist; I picked it up in 2012 and find myself returning to it all the time. Despite my enthusiasm for that book, I was a little leery about this new title. I thought it was about promotion and marketing, and those concepts make me barfy. I hate promoting myself, and I actively resist any thoughts about my brand. Show Your Work, however, is much more exciting (and much less nausea-inducing) than that; it’s more about sharing than selling. Sharing not only your finished products but also your process. Keeping the lines of communication open with your audience. Learning to take risks and make yourself vulnerable.



This book will resonate with anyone who creates or wants to create, and anyone who wants to take more risks in work and life. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Gentle is not going to cut it with this one.


This is not a sponsored post; I'm just crazy about this book. Links to both books are affiliate links.







On the bright side, I have something to post about

The other day I did my quarterly pilgrimage to the ol’ psychiatrist, as you do, and from there I scurried to the pharmacist with a slightly increased dose of Prozac (thanks for nothing, endless winter) and my usual anti-anxiety pills, which I keep on hand for the occasional anxiety attack, which this winter became somewhat less than occasional (hat tip to polar vortex and relentless sun deprivation!). I returned an hour later to pick up my pills, and the pharmacist informed me that while the Klonopin was no problem, my insurance company wouldn’t pay for the extra 10 mg of Prozac due to “deductible.” You’ll have to take my word for it that a deductible that only applies to certain medications is, in our medical plan as well as probably everyone else’s, nonsense.

Well, okay. I politely refused to pay hundreds of dollars for 10 mg of Prozac, and made a note to call the insurance company, which I will do on one of this free days I have, when I delight in nothing more than listening to hold music all afternoon. Meanwhile I will consume a Skittle each morning and hope the placebo effect takes hold.

The next day I visited the pharmacist with another prescription, this one for Henry's eczema cream. (I think we can also blame this on the winter, which I'll go ahead and do.) Again, returned an hour later, only to be told that the insurance company would pay for the cream but would not pay for it in emollient form, which is what the doctor wanted, being that my son’s skin has turned to bark. I was confused about the difference between an emollient and a non-emollient, and the pharmacist looked weary as he said, “It’s just adding a few lipids.” Which I now want to put on a t-shirt. Just a few? Do you count them out? Do you have lipid gobs floating around in a vat back there? Are they sentient? Of course they are.

I know other people have nightmare insurance companies and pay untold thousands every month and in the scale of things 10 mg of Prozac and “a few lipids” isn’t life or death, but we pay a thousand dollars a month, and for that amount I would think I could get my son his lipids. And my brain could have its little Prozac bump. (And this plan is a huge improvement over the one we had in New Jersey, where we paid almost $1500 a month and they denied practically every claim. Including one for pink eye, because it was a “pre-existing condition.”)

Maybe if you want to save money, insurance companies, maybe you forgo having your employees waste their time squinching their eyes at our piddling little requests, denying us our lipids. Oh, I don’t know. I would come up with a decent ending to this post but right now I have to convince my son to smear non-moisturizing corticosteroids all over himself. Would a few lipids make this an easier process? I'm not sure, but I can tell you that the Prozac would have helped.

Ten years!

Here I am, hello! Where have I been? Well, writing, obviously:


Also, being a poor influence on my child:


And appearing on podcasts! Well, a podcast.

The last couple of months have been crammed with Work and Life, but I promise, promise, promise to write more soon. I have also been reorganizing my work schedule and cleaning up my habits, such as they are, and I think I’m on a smarter track. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.  (Uh, maybe after we take a look at some of the above Salads. Alluring and new? Sign me up!)

The ten-year anniversary of my blog came and went, and I sort of can’t believe it’s been so long. So many great things have happened in my life as a result of this blog. This is a very important place for me. I don’t want to neglect it, and you, any more.

Hey, so: who’s still reading? Please comment, and say hello. Tell me about you. What brought you here? What do you want to see more of? Less of? The same amount of? Do you have a blog? Why not tell us about it?



Never forget

My son needed a haircut, and I decided that I was the person to do it. This was a mistake.

Henry hates getting haircuts, not because he dislikes the haircutting experience so much; he just likes longer hair. And every barber in town seems committed to cutting his hair way too short. He has a baby face still, which naturally I love, and fresh out of a haircut, he looks about three years younger. This is adorable to us, but I don’t blame him for finding it distasteful. He’s inherited Scott’s round-headedness, and he needs a little length to balance things out. (I on the other hand have a head shaped like a pencil eraser and the only thing I can do to balance it is wear comically oversized ear muffs, which let me tell you are not practical most days of the year.) But at some point the longish hair gets too long and disorderly and order must be restored.

So. Haircut.

I cut Henry’s hair once before, a couple of years ago. I couldn’t remember how that worked out; looking back on it, I was sure it went fine. Scott, however, insisted that it didn’t go well at all. He said I swore I would never cut hair again. Henry also remembered the last haircut as being distinctly not fun. I probably scoured the memories of the last haircut from my mind, but anyway I guess I’m too good at memory scouring.

It was cold (not polar vortex cold, but cold enough) and snowy and we were all in our jammies, so I announced that I was ready to have another go at haircutting. Wasn’t this easier? And budget friendlier? I spent the next hour studying Youtube videos of people cutting other people’s hair, and the people cutting the hair didn’t seem so worked up about it. I was sure I had a good enough grasp of the technique. You grab a hunk of hair, you snip it, you move on. Piece of cake.

Only it turned out that hair is NOT LIKE CAKE and if it is, it is a very confusing cake with all kinds of dimensions and difficulties that I had not considered. All the wisdom I had gleaned from my minutes of youtube-watching exited my head the minute I started cutting. It’s like you need training for this!

I would cut a section, then try to move on and instantly lose the last section and which part did I cut again, and how short? And why does all his hair look the same? Can’t the cut hair, like, change color or something? Not to mention, my haircutting shears were stupidly dull, probably because they’ve been used for everything from cutting wrapping paper to craft projects, so while I was trying to cut into his surprisingly tough hair the scissors were just pushing the hair away, and it felt less like snippety-snip-snip and more like HACK HACK HACK. Like I was reaping crops with a spork.

I hacked for quite a while. Then I stepped back to check my progress. It looked kind of the same except there were little hunks missing here and there. Some of the hunks were not the same size as the other hunks. This was troubling. There was a lot of hair on the floor. Henry asked me if I was done yet. He was being very patient, but I was now getting irritable because I realized I had no idea what I was doing and I was about to make him look very stupid. JUST A MINUTE, I ordered, and I went back in. I kept doing this. Luckily Henry has a lot of extra hair, so I couldn’t do too much damage, at least not if I gave up before nightfall.

The ninth time I stepped back to check my progress, I realized that I was well on my way toward giving him the Imogene Coca.


“No,” I said, finally. “No.”

I placed my shears on the kitchen counter, and called for Scott. Scott came to me. “Mistakes were made,” I told him. He pointed out that he told me this would happen. I decided to forgive him for the attitude. Henry checked himself out in the mirror. “It doesn’t look…that bad,” he said. He is very nice, and very lazy.

“No, my son,” I said. “No. The front is bad enough, but you haven't even checked out the back, where everything has gone crazy. No, you must go to a barber. A real one. For I am not a barber. I know this now.” It’s important for kids to see their parents as fallible human beings who are easily fooled by internet videos. Right? I think I read that somewhere. Anyway he was annoyed with me. Scott couldn’t be annoyed because I was too busy trying to impale myself on my shears. I can get pretty dramatic.

Once everyone had calmed down, Scott and Henry dressed and went out into the cold and the wind to have a professional fix my terrible mistakes, and I swept away a mountain of hair and took a shower, because I was super sweaty. When they came back, Henry looked surprisingly normal, and of course he got a lollipop, so I was forgiven. Scott made me promise I’d remember what happened for next time. I probably won’t, but fortunately I have this post.