7 Jun

Ugh. It’s getting to be that time of year where my motivation runs low and my well of inspiration runs dry, and I just…don’t wanna. Whatever it is, I refuse to do it. I stepped outside today after what has until now been a very mild and strangely windy summer, and in the still, humid morning my glasses fogged unpleasantly, my hair frizzed frizzily, and I was immediately soggy with sweat all the way to my bones. Nope, I thought. NOPE.

I had a birthday less than a month ago. Apparently, I am now 45 years old. I’ve begun, sometime in the past year or so, to think of myself as old. I hate that. I don’t feel old. But I do feel like if I don’t keep that feeling in check, I am going to do something or say something deeply uncool and get outed as an Old who is trying to be Hip and Young. How embarrassing. It stinks that I even care enough about such things to think that way. But better to just avoid embarrassment and lean into my elderly decline.  Grumble about how I don’t understand what young people are into these days. Pontificate about how stuff from way back when (the 90s) was better. Bend your ear about my GERD and achy hip. Push my glasses up on my head so that I can read the fine print, but refuse to get transition lenses or bifocals or whatever. The chin-hair I’ve been cultivating since I was 25 has been longing for this day. Welcome to your future, little guy. It’s old and creaky here.

This is Mallory. She, like me, is also old. I recently spent a week cat-sitting for her while my sister was out of town (yay for finally getting to pack a bag and go somewhere!) and waking up at 4am every morning to begin the cycle of feeding her every five hours was the closest to a vacation I’ve gotten in a year and a half. This particular sister has a swimming pool though, so it was pretty much exactly the opposite of a hardship. Wake up early, exercise on the sort of very nice equipment I don’t have at home, work my job during the day, drink a glass or two of wine in the evening while splashing my toes in the pool and read, knit, watch movies, and eat junk food, and do it all again the next day and the next. It was pretty glorious if I am being honest. I mean… of course, I can do most of these things at home, but at home, I’m constantly distracted by chores and cooking and various projects, and I run out of time for the leisure activity stuff. Absent all of those particular facets of home-life…you find yourself with a whole lot more time on your hands. I finished a sock, read a whole book, watched three movies, and a whole television series.

If you’re curious, I read The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle, a novella that is both a tribute to and criticism of H.P. Lovecraft, and which is brimming with racism, brutality, and cosmic terror. I watched Saint Maud, which has been on my list for a while, and despite having read reviews and listened to podcasts about it, that ending was still… while not exactly shocking, it was breathtakingly gruesome; I also finally watched Parasite, and I guess I enjoyed it, but I think I had heard too much about it and maybe it wasn’t as twisty or surprising as I had hoped. And then of course the Sailor Moon movie on Netflix. It was fine. I guess I am an old lady who is becoming very hard to impress.

One of the things I love to do when I am visiting this sister’s house is to take a bunch of photos of all of her shelves and corners and art and tchotchkes and trinkets. Though our interests and tastes do overlap somewhat, her home is definitely more vibrant and kaleidoscopic than mine and a million times more organized. It’s always such a treat to peep at her treasures, so I thought I might share a few favorite peeks.

And of course, while I was there, I had to keep up with my daily Midnight Stinks report. I took the opportunity to weigh in on a few of her perfumes, which I found in various places all over the house. Some of them were lovely, and some of them not so much! A mutual friend of ours commented that she didn’t think she’d be too happy with her sister rummaging through her things and talking about all of the things she hated about them, but I am pretty sure my sister is not going to take it personally. And neither, I hope, would you! If I don’t like something you like, well, mine is just one dumb opinion out of millions and you are in no way obligated to take my baloney seriously. My sister(s) certainly don’t!

My favorite room, of course, being The Fairy Wonderland room! Which in the past year and a half has gotten a bit of an overhaul, if I am not mistaken. It’s less a trip to the fairy realms and more a visit to a witch’s cottage. I didn’t think it was possible to love this magical little haven more than I already did, but gosh.

I wasn’t alone with my thoughts and my sister’s stuff the whole time, though. Yvan spent the weekend with me at either end of the week, and for the first time since January of 2020, we went out to bars and restaurants and dined indoors, and MAN IT WAS WEIRD. I think what was weirdest was even though I thought “oh, this is gonna be so freaky and I’m going to be really uncomfortable,” instead it immediately felt so normal, “just like old times” and it was the immediacy of that normalcy that was the scary part. We’ve been fully vaccinated since mid-May, and this was our first jaunt out among people, and I think we’re still analyzing our feelings about it.

Still…it was nice to accessorize with my Gudetama barrettes and my big earrings and play Magic at a brewery for the first time in a loooong time. It’s actually been a long time since I’ve played at all, and I’m finding myself getting kind of excited about it again! I’m not great at strategy (that’s an understatement, I am really terrible) but learning to play Magic was how I got to know Yvan, that’s how we spent a lot of our time on our first dates, and so it’s something that will always feel really special to me. Nerdy romance! Are you a MtG enthusiast? I’m a green/black player, what about you?

I’ve since arrived home and am settling back into my routines which sadly involve neither swimming pools nor cats, but there is one last thing I’d like to share. One of the dishes I make for myself when I’m on my own is this Orecchiette with Mixed Greens and Goat Cheese recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, and while it looks like a bowl of slop when it all comes together, well…it’s classy slop.

It’s practically perfect as written, but I do think it could benefit with either a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a bit of lemon zest, and I suppose if you wanted some extra protein you could serve it with some kind of beans or grilled chicken, but it’s really just fine on its own. What are your favorite dine-alone dishes or meals-for-one? Do you attempt to class things up a bit, or do you make the rapid descent into a garbage trough when no one’s watching? Full disclosure, I only had this pasta one of the nights I was away. The other five nights it was Cheetos and Funyuns. Because I am a trashbag old lady.


Ekho says

I love you, trash bag old lady.

Stephanie says

I am ETERNALLY jealous of people who have perfectly balanced and designed shelving arrangements. My shelflife is a mish mash of uncoordinated randomness perpetually in need of dusting. I try to be inspired by such people and images, but when I try to recreate or give it my own twist, I step back and see that nothing "goes", and there is no flow. (a feng shui NIGHTMARE) The final result is something somewhere between a college dormroom and Gothery Barn, which a dusting of white trash. Kudos to you and your sister for creating such pleasing eye fodder!

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