5.30.2018

GET ME DRESSED // LATE SPRING 2018


My personal style continues to change not a whit whatsoever, and yet, here is a style post, just the same! 

If it's jeans and a t-shirt, red lipstick, a straw bag, and sensible shoes, pretty much I'm in it. In fact, the other day as I was going down the stairs on the way to the car to pick up Huck, I was ruminating on how a style post would be fun, even though all I ever wear are jeans and a t-shirt still, and then I came up with this little ditty, to be sung in the style of Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits. Ya ready? 

Jeans and a T-Shirt... No Shit!

When I have my own line at Kohl's someday, that'll be the ditty they play in my radio commercials. (In this dystopian future, Kohl's is cool, television has been rendered obsolete, and you can cuss on the radio.)

Anyway, I do have some source updates. Since it's been a while.

// If you're looking for a good place to score your basic white v-neck tees, it's the Target! These are really. really. good. Go two sizes up for the baggy/boyfriend look. 

// Sephora makes the best all-day lipstick on the planet earth. I've been wearing it nonstop. My favorite shade is Chili Pepper

// I've abandoned wristwatches all together (for the time being) and instead I am wearing a small vintage pocket watch on a chain. I found mine on Etsy at two in the morning (as you do). I have to wind it every day or it won't keep time, and sadly it is too heavy to wear while jogging, which is something I do these days apparently. (Your guess is as good as mine.) Here are a few cute ones, if you're interested! here, here, here, here, here& here!

// The best place to find jeans happens to be the men's denim department of the Goodwill. I like to snatch up all the vintage Wrangler's I can find, because a men's 28 fits like a women's 24, they denim's got insanely good weight + heft, and ugh 501s are SO OVER or something like that (just kidding I love them) (but good ones are impossible for me to find!). I've never found a vintage Wrangler over eight bucks; inexpensive enough that I can justify having one pair for every possible leg length: one just past the ankle (for rolling), one right at the ankle, one just above the ankle, one just above that, and then one at that hideously weird yet alarmingly trendy length that I like to call the Suburban Dad Cargo Shorts length. Culotte-style. But the second best place to shop for jeans continues to be the Madewell. Oh, my Madewell, let me write you a sonnet! Their high rise jeans are my religion. I got these the other day and get approximately a thousand compliments on them a day.

// The best bar soap on the planet right now is called Herban Cowboy, in Dusk. It's got black walnut in it! I found it at Fred Meyer, because it turns out to be true, "you'll find it aaaaaat Freeeeed Meyer!" I love it when radio ditties turn out to be accurate.

// I've been really enjoying this scent. I found it at the Urban Outfitters. It's masculine enough without being overly so, as apparently these days, in the absence of actually having a man, I enjoy smelling like one. Shrug emoji.

// Every couple summers I buy a few new pairs of Bensimons. This summer I also got a pair of espadrilles.  

// Round straw bags are all over my Instagram feed and they're my favorite favorite favorite! Straw bags!! I've got this one here, here are some more! here here

And now, go forth with your late spring self! 

xoxo
Me

P.S. You better believe there are affiliate links up in this shit. :)

5.17.2018

IN WHICH I LIVE BEHIND THE TARGET

The other day I bought myself a skateboard. Probably because I'm having a midlife crisis. It has a skull on its belly and it cost me just a penny under fifteen bucks. It's still in its plastic wrapping at the time of reporting; it has declined to comment. It is currently residing in a large butter churner by my front door.

This is all a true story.

***

Now, contrary to what you might be thinking, I did not buy this skateboard at the Target! Even though I do live behind a Target. (I know, right?)

I actually got it at the Walmart. The Walmart!! Look at me already subverting expectations!

I definitely didn't go to the Walmart intending to get a skateboard. In fact, I didn't go there for any real reason at all, now that I think about it. I hadn't even been inside a Walmart since I left Moscow in February, and it is a matter well established that no one goes ten miles out of their way to get to a Walmart when one has a Target happening practically in their front yard. I mean, Chip and Joanna over the Pioneer Woman, I think this one speaks for itself. Maybe I was feeling homesick? But I digress.

The Walmart in question turns out to have the exact footprint and layout as the Walmart in Pullman, which was a rather weird experience. Kind of like the time I bumped into my ex at the Walmart when we were both there to buy milk for our kid. We reached into the dairy fridge at the exact same time, looked up, had an awkward moment, and then went about our way. I was getting 2% for my house, he was getting Whole. This must happen a lot, but it was quite the sensory flashback.

Just before landing in the toy section and momentarily getting caught up in the ridiculousness of a mode of transportation I just know I do not have the sense of balance for, I wandered about the place feeling quite like a Dolores or a Bernard, looking at the asparagus, casually questioning the the nature of my reality, wondering where I was... and when... truly, it could have been at any time! Diet Coke architectural displays are timeless! It made it so that every time I crossed the Subway in the front (which was a lot--I like for my Walmart trips to be as spiritually aimless as possible; the more times you can inefficiently criss-cross the joint on your way to get mundane things, the better), not only would I smell that overwhelmingly magical yeast-y Subway smell, but I swear I could also catch the faintest whiff of wheat fields wafting in from the automatic doors. Not to mention the vague aroma of knowing you've got nothing interesting around you to do for miiiiiiiles.

***

You know those scenes in Sci-Fi movies when some poor dummy gets sucked out into space and experiences that sudden frozen floatingness of dread? This is related, I promise. These scenes are all quite the same, aren't they. Something happens by accident or someone pushes a release button, and out they go! And then for the next thirty seconds or so you get to watch this one scene that all science fiction movies seem to have, that 'floating out to nowhere in space in slow motion' scene. These poor saps just ... floating there, one arm outstretched, their face a frozen mask of terror mixed with a weird kind of dawning acceptance. You know the one:

 

Like that. I like to call it the Slow Motion Oh Shit. (It's catchy.)

Anyway, I was thinking about this as I was contemplating skateboards, that weird sandpaper-y finish on the top, and whether or not I'd have to buy myself a pair of skater shoes now to go along with it, and what are the physics behind skater shoes anyway? And did you know that I am single and I live in Portland now? 

It's quite the tactile expression, I think. (We're back to space suckage now.) Almost immediately in those sequences I start to feel like *I* could be the one out there with nothing to hold onto, everything deafeningly silent, my pulse drumming in my ears, my mind a complete blank. It'd probably be pretty peaceful, actually, if you could wrap your head around it . . . all those stars and galaxies surrounding you, the relief of finally succumbing your own mortality, nobody nagging you for another bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch . . .  I mean, maybe. And it makes one wonder (shut up, yes it does) if that must actually BE the face you'd make if YOU got sucked out into space, too. Is there a science to this? Has there been a study? Probably every single person who's ever been sucked out into space has made this exact face so far... except how many people do you suppose have actually been sucked out into space before??? Is this just a collective unconsciousness deal, wherein we've all somehow silently conceded that this is how it would be like, if?  

And you know how sometimes the Universe keeps trying to tell you to do a thing, and you know what it is but you're willfully pretending like it doesn't make any sense because there's GOT to be a better way around it? And so you sit on your thumbs and do absolutely nothing about it instead???

***

Once upon a time I was married.

(This is how I was going to start this blog post, like, five iterations ago.)

Once upon a time I had a blog, and I was married. I lived in a city that I loved, I had a husband who loved me (enough... ish), I had a child who was spectacular (still is spectacular), and I had a blog that I wrote in whenever crazy creative juices were flowing, or else whenever we were strapped for cash.

I truly, naively believed it would always be that way, for better or for worse, even when it was the worst, and even when I knew it was unreasonable and it was killing me, and even when I knew that parts of it had become entirely untenable.

Until one day, April Fools Day, actually (how fun is that), all of that ended, and I got dumped.

Well, scratch that. Most of it had ended looong before that. My city was just a depressing memory by that point, and my marriage a complete shambles. The blog had become a kind of self-flagellating prison. By then all that was left was this overly tight grip we all had, a kind of desperate holding on to a thing that seemed to want nothing to do with us. White-knuckling a past future, I guess. Clinging to the final vestiges of expired dreams like a five-year-old clings to your leg at kindergarten drop off.

And anyway, I wasn't dumped so much as let loose on the world without any prior consent or preparation on any of our parts, and let me tell you, it has been TERRIBLY GRACEFUL.

***

You know, there's a certain kind of comfort in clinging, I suspect. It's a thing one can do when there's not much else to be done. It has a road map already, it's got a final destination, whether or not that destination is actually attainable or even preferable is another thing altogether, but all Wilson Phillips aside, I think I'll assert here that excessive holding on, for one more day or for any amount of time, really, isn't terribly good for anybody.

And so I was let loose, to, eerily, silently, yet oddly-gracefully (hah!) float off to nowhere, one hand outstretched, my face a reflection of my doom... Not to put too dramatic a point on it or anything!

Actually, at first it was liberating. All stars and orbits. My stomachaches went away. The sun seemed brighter. Rehashing in my mind old things that had been said that once hurt me . . . now they didn't anymore. They felt ok. I felt settled and final.

But then the dread sets in. Suddenly every planet you've known is out of your reach and disappearing quickly. Your surroundings are beautiful still, but your future feels grim and your face feels paralyzed and your limbs go numb. Your destination seems at once wholly up to you and entirely out of your control.

Obviously, the first thing I did was end my blog.

No no no. The first thing I did was move all my furniture and my kid into a tiny cowboy shanty on the edge of town that was built in 1890, had been moved around Moscow four or fives times since, and was currently perched on a foundation made of cinder blocks. How's that for a metaphor! I made that move all by myself, in the rain, over a day and a half. Fierce determination in the face of absolute confusion. That felt pretty good.

And then, I cried. I cried a lot, for a long time. Not for the loss of a person or a relationship, and not even for the loss of the future we'd white-knuckled for so long. I was grateful for that release valve, I was grateful to be floating. I think what I was grieving was that sensation of sudden unmooring; the overwhelming freedom of the destinationless.

That's when I ended my blog.

***

What happened next?? Well, here's what you missed. I threw myself into my kid and my chickens. I decorated the ever loving daylights out of my tiny house. I got a turkey, two ducks, and a very opinionated rabbit. I bought a gym membership and took barre classes, gained all these new muscles, not to mention a whole host of old lady gym friends. I read books and I went to counseling and I downloaded Tinder. I watched EVERYTHING on Netflix. I got odd jobs where I could and went thrifting with Kara. I did a lot of crying, made a lot of questionable choices, and did a lot of cracking-open. Really breaking the ribs and opening out, letting the oxygen hit me. Very slowly I started the process of getting to know myself after marriage.

I was able to muscle my way into a job here in Portland with a start up and, with Brandon's blessing, moved Huck and myself out west to start a new life! . . . Which then promptly tanked because start ups are assholes.

This was when shit all got real, and there I was again. Floating. This time it felt interminable, and frightening. It felt like a life sentence. I got back on my horse just the same and I applied to all the jobs. To ALL of the jobs. You know, health insurance and 401ks and reliable paychecks. Even the jobs that sounded horrific, I applied to them all with gusto. And over and over again, something just doesn't want that for me, something that's even more stubborn than I am and hellishly determined that I not take the sensible way out. I must have applied to thousands of those jobs. Millions of them!! Aren't you happy to see that my skills in exaggeration are still in fine form!!??! All the while I really, really struggled. It became oddly difficult to even take care of myself in the most basic ways, it seemed like everything was gone at that point, and I think that was when the finality of not having a family anymore, of not going to be having any more children, of not getting a clean start, of not being taken care of, finally set in. I really had to grieve it. The things I had cracked open before, I now needed to smash all to pieces before they could finally start to knit themselves back together, and it was hard, and it was lonely. I tried on futures. So many futures. I tried on futures, and I discarded them. I tried on other futures. They discarded me. Me and my future, man, we've been naught but goopy noodles of spaghetti getting flung against the wall. over. and over. and over.  

I suppose it is time that I just listen to that damn old Universe already and do what it's telling me. After all, nothing else is sticking. 

(Am I too al dente is that the problem???)

(Pasta metaphors!)

***

You know, being without the constant scrutiny and opinions of outsiders these last few years while also being finally outside the realm of critique that came with my marriage made it hard for me to know which source was the culprit of everything I'd gone through all those years ago, until suddenly, my mind was the culprit. Whooshing in, over and over, criticisms, insults, doubt, tearing myself down, reminding myself of failures and shortcomings, chiding myself over mistakes, my head becoming a hell of my own making. I guess you can outrun your captors, but that doesn't mean you've escaped your captivity. Maybe it wasn't always a hell of my own making, that old part of my life online and in marriage that was so toxic and hurtful to me, but by now any part of it remaining I had to own and accept as my own responsibility, a creation of mine and mine alone. Only I could produce that crippling self-doubt for myself, and so only I could destroy it. So, one by one, one false core belief at a time, I did. It took a lot of work to take them all down, and it was rough. I had to really claw my way through it, but I'm proud of myself for getting here, and still working to forgive myself for how long it took and for all the dumb choices I might have made in the meantime.

But back to to the skateboard for a minute. It's a pretty good idea, you know; learning new things, time spent outdoors with my kid, you know, brain wrinkles and things; unless it is a DISASTROUS idea. Remember, I once broke both my heels jumping over the last two steps on a staircase. But I've got band aids, a good stash of arnica cream, and a fair amount of bad judgment. I think I can do it. 

And on this: I'm certainly not going to get it right this time around, either, and I'm not at all sure what it's going to look like yet, or what my monetization strategy will be, or how often I'm going to write, or even WHAT in the damn hell tarnation I am even going to write about for bob's sake?! But I don't suppose that's ever stopped me before now has it? :) I get the sense that this is where I need to be, that it's time to let go of whatever's been holding me back, and just jump out there with the stars and galaxies. Slow motion "oh shit" face and everything. It's time to loosen my grip. I've got a finger on a release button.

It starts with p and it rhymes with "rublish."

Here's to the floating, kids.