Quit hittin’ yerself

This morning I caught myself being a judgemental jerk about something I saw online and it got me thinking.

As I read the thing that set me off, I was initially thinking, ‘This is terrible. How does this person not see that this is terrible?’. That led me to wondering whether the author was just supremely self-confident and literally gave no fucks about what anyone thought of what they wrote, or if perhaps they were that rare type of person who is truly naive to the fact that they may not actually be any good at the thing they’re trying to do.

At that point, I realized a couple things.

First, it dawned on me that I am, in fact, deeply jealous of most confident people. People who go through life doing what they want to do and not worrying about how it looks to anyone else tend to annoy me because that’s how I would like to be. It’s like the whole teenage girl phenomena of hating the pretty girls because they’re pretty, you know? We tend to resent people who have the things or traits we want for ourselves. And yes, I absolutely understand that jealousy is an enormous waste of energy, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to shut off.

Second, and far more importantly, I realized that I am the asshole that I am most afraid of. I am not just the loudest one running myself down but in fact often the ONLY one running myself down. I talk myself out of all kinds of things because I worry that I’ll be seen as ridiculous / pathetic / unskilled / a failure, but it’s really only ME that will repeatedly tell me that I’m any of those things anyway. My husband doesn’t do that, my parents don’t do that, my friends don’t do that…hell, most random strangers don’t even do that. It’s pretty much just me.

I’m in an abusive relationship with my own mind, basically.

Soooo…yeah. There’s that. Leaving the situation doesn’t really feel like a viable option currently (and I am grateful every day that that’s the case, trust me), so I guess that means I have to learn how to not be that asshole to myself anymore.

If anybody has any tips on how to go about that, feel free to lay ’em on me.


“Look, I can keep listening to you but it’s going to cost more peanuts. Chipmunk therapy ain’t free.” – Steve the Chipmunk, MD

mystery peaches

Last night I dreamed that I was at a grocery store. I ended up in the produce section, in front of a display of peaches. I carefully selected five of them, sniffing each one to make sure it was at peak peachy-ness, then placing them gently into a plastic bag. I don’t remember paying for them in the dream, but I’m pretty sure that can’t be held against me in a court of law, so NYEH NYEH, dream grocery store! I DO WHAT I WANT.


So I had this bag of perfect peaches and I was super happy about it. I was kind of half wandering / half floating through the parking lot of the store when I noticed there was a car with the trunk left open, bags of groceries sitting unattended within. I looked around and didn’t see anyone who seemed to be obviously responsible for said car and groceries, so I slid over and deposited my bag of perfect peaches into one of the grocery bags.

Except, as I was doing that, the parking lot turned into someone’s kitchen and the trunk of the car turned into the crisper drawer in the refrigerator in said kitchen (because dreams are bizarre). It was very certainly not my home and not my fridge, and I knew that at the time. I tucked the bag of peaches into the drawer and felt immensely satisfied about the fact that the person who came home and looked in the fridge later would find a bag of surprise peaches and spend several minutes standing there thinking, “but I didn’t BUY peaches, did I? No, I definitely didn’t. I don’t think. Do I even like peaches? Should I EAT these mystery peaches? I don’t know where they came from. What if they kill me?”  It was like I was getting great glee from someone else’s potential befuddlement and worry, which is kind of funny on the surface, but really kind of fucked up if you start thinking about it.


Sidenote: peach pits have always creeped me out. There are way too many tiny places bugs could live in a peach pit. Also, today is all about me ruining peaches for everyone, apparently. Sorry, peach farmers.

This morning in an attempt to make myself feel better about clearly being a total asshole in my dream, I took to teh Googles to look up what it means to dream about sneakily inserting peaches into someone else’s fridge. As you can imagine, that particular text string didn’t yield anything useful. But, I DID find a section about peaches in an online dream dictionary which, if anything, made the whole situation more confusing:

“To see a peach in your dream represents pleasure and joy. You take pleasure in the simple things in life. The dream may also imply that something in your life is just “peachy” and going well. Alternatively, a peach may be indicative of virginity, lust and sensuality. Consider how it may be a metaphor for your sweetheart or loved one.”

Ok, so I was trying to give someone else pleasure and joy, but sneakily rather than outright? That actually kind of sounds like me, to be fair. Although, in the dream I was also finding amusement in the fact that the (metaphorical) pleasure and joy I was giving was somehow going to scare or worry the recipient in some way. Also, if the peach is a metaphor for my loved one, I was happy to give him away.

So basically what I’m getting from this is that I’m a gastronomic sociopath who possibly also wants to pimp her husband out to strangers.

But that’s not even the weird part, because then there was THIS:

“Dreaming of wiping melted chocolate off of a wrinkly peach relates to having someone completely dependent on you or having to take care of someone.”

FIRST OF ALL, that seems incredibly specific. Like maybe the author had a super uncomfortable dream about wiping chocolate off a wrinkly peach at some point and tried to make themselves feel better by adding it to the dictionary so that it would seem like a common thing that a lot of people dream about.

Second, you cannot say something like ‘wiping melted chocolate off of a wrinkly peach’ to someone with an overactive imagination like mine without it going to some VERY weird places.

Places I really didn’t ever need to go and would like to forget the routes to.

Have you gotten there yet? I bet you have. I’M SO SORRY.

But I’m also laughing hysterically at the thought. So maybe the dream dictionary wasn’t so far off after all…

Vindication is sweet, especially when it comes from unexpected sources…like random 14 year old girls.

I think I’ve talked before about how my office-mate listens to the Margaritaville XM radio station on his computer all day, every day…and I don’t mean on his headphones, either.
The station is a mix of Jimmy Buffett originals, him doing covers, other people doing covers of HIS stuff, reggae, country…basically anything vaguely beach-themed. Which doesn’t sound that bad in theory, right? I don’t mind reggae or country. Hell, I actually LIKE some of Jimmy Buffett’s music.

What I DON’T like is not having any control over what I’m listening to for eight hours a day. After a while it becomes like an audio version of waterboarding. I am literally incapable of tuning noises, especially voices, out a lot of the time. Fighting with my brain to focus and get things done when I’m constantly distracted by background noise (especially ones that annoy me) quickly becomes exhausting.

Also, with this station it’s not like you hear a song once on a Monday and then don’t hear it again until Thursday or something. No, this is the same maybe 40 songs over and over, day in and day out. A lot of them are covers, so you might actually hear three different versions of the same song done by various artists over the course of the day. That’s just completely eye-twitch-inducing in my book. The only defense I have is to put my headphones in and listen to my own music or to white noise tracks…otherwise I am stuck listening to this fucking Margaritaville station for seriously 40 hours a week because I’m too “nice” to kick up a fuss and make him shut his music off.

So this afternoon when I happened to have removed my headphones briefly, I heard office-mate’s 14 year old daughter, (who is coming to work with him all this week (which is an entirely different rant that I’d like to write but I won’t)), pipe up with the following:

“Dad, don’t you get sick of this station? I mean, it’s just the same songs over and over again.”

…I kind of wanted to hug her. Finally, FINALLY, proof that I’m not just being a spoiled asshole (in this regard, anyway. There are plenty of other areas where I’m sure I could be proven to be a definite spoiled asshole), and that I’m not imagining the repetitious nature of the radio station.




Let’s face it, the world has been pretty extra fucked up lately. The 24 hour news cycle only serves to exacerbate things, and social media is never so busy as when there’s a tragedy or a polarizing debate. You have to be pretty determined in order to not hear any news or opinion over the course of a whole day.

There are some people who thrive on this constant stream of information, these depictions and descriptions of sometimes downright terrible stuff. They enjoy reading, if not participating in, debate and they would much rather be connected to what’s going on than disconnected. There are others who don’t get so actively involved. They see things and just take them in stride. Or maybe it’s that they know their limits and can walk away when they need to. Perhaps they’re even detached and ambivalent – just observing what goes on in the world around them without ever getting “sucked in”.

Then there’s people like me. As much as it often pains me to admit it, I’m sensitive.

Being sensitive wasn’t considered a good thing in our family when I was a kid. My people are an exceedingly undemonstrative people and I had to learn to at least fake toughness, if not actually toughen up. I tend to feel things very deeply and they stick with me for a long time. I cry ridiculously easily. I get over-stimulated by conditions and situations that a lot of friends and acquaintances often don’t even notice, let alone get bothered by. These traits all work at direct odds with that toughness I was taught to cultivate growing up, which leads to a near-perpetual cycle of me beating myself up over getting upset, then trying to fake normalcy, then getting overwhelmed and getting upset, etc.

There are situations, people and things in life that I’ve finally learned to just avoid if at all possible because of the mental fuckery that I know will result if I don’t…but sometimes…

…sometimes I can’t help myself. Sometimes the lure of doing the “normal” thing is too strong. Or, sometimes I know damn well a thing is going to set me off but I care enough about it that I keep subjecting myself to it anyway.

This is what’s been happening with me since Sunday, frankly. I knew as soon as I heard about the shooting in Orlando that I should just back away from social media and let information slowly trickle down to me from my short bursts of NPR exposure during my daily commutes. I knew I should make the conscious decision to not read certain peoples’ posts for a certain amount of time. But I couldn’t look away…I didn’t WANT to look away. I wanted to sit down every gay-hater, every racist, every Islamophobe, every 2nd Amendment spouting gun-nut, and every person who kept sharing that UTTER BULLSHIT post about Wounded Knee and how actually THAT was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history (you know, because it’s a fucking competition) and how it was actually a perfect argument for OMG MOAR GUNS (I’m not even anti-gun, but I am so, SO fucking anti-revisionist-history), and try to make them understand that the arguments they were making just didn’t hold water. Or at least to make MYSELF understand why people can believe such things.

By yesterday afternoon I was DEEPLY angry. I started snapping myself with rubber bands to try and bring myself back to the present, back to what I needed to get done (which, I know, that’s not exactly an A+coping strategy, but I was working with what I had in the situation). Unsurprisingly, it didn’t really work and I started getting That Feeling…the one I half-jokingly call ‘circling the drain’. It’s basically the realization that I’m rushing headlong toward a panic attack if I don’t wise up and get the fuck out of the situation I’m in. I knew that my husband was going to be away for most of the evening and I didn’t want to ask him to cancel his plans (even though I know he would have, had I asked, because he’s awesome), so I reached out to a friend. We met up for ice cream and, as we often do, ended up laughing, telling stories and completely losing track of time. It was 9pm by the time I got home.

And I felt better. SO much better.

It didn’t cure my depression. It didn’t make me an optimist who thinks the world isn’t going to hell in a hand-basket. But it DID help me side-step the imbroglio of anger and sadness. It was respite from the near-constant barrage of awfulness I had been subjecting myself to, and it reminded me of just how lucky I am. Lucky not just for the wonderful people in my life, but lucky to have a life full stop.

The people at Pulse were celebrating Pride. They were celebrating being alive, right before someone stepped in and took it all away. Mourn them, absolutely. Be angry, and rightly fucking so. Fight this culture of hate and bigotry with not just your words but with your deeds and your votes.

And in the midst of all that, try to remember how lucky we are to still be here. Try to remember to live.


Love is love.

Pocket Trap

A few weeks back, I went shopping for some summer clothes. I bought, among other things, a pair of white twill capri pants. I have no business owning light-colored pants (or any other light-colored clothing, for that matter) to begin with, but these capri pants wouldn’t quit calling my name while I was wandering around the store (possibly because they actually fit my epic ass, which is a momentous thing. The fitting, not the ass. Well, both actually, but I digress…), so I said fuck it and bought them.

I hung the pants in my closet (only new clothes get hung up. After the first washing it’s laundro-bed all the way), and basically forgot that I bought them until this morning when I realized I was out of clean jeans…aaaand pretty much every other work-appropriate bottom-half covering garment. My options were a) wear the skirt I’m always vaguely uncomfortable in, b) wear the white capri pants, or c) come up with an excuse to work from home so I could just give up on adulting completely and wear yoga pants all day. Since I knew I had a meeting this morning that I couldn’t reschedule, staying home was struck from the list immediately (and sadly. So, so sadly). Vaguely uncomfortable skirt was a total no-go on meeting day as well because I can’t concentrate for shit when I’m self-conscious. So, white capri pants won by default.

Everything was going swimmingly as I got dressed. I even remembered to wear light-colored underpants so that people weren’t pointing and laughing at my shadow-wedgie any time I walked by. ADULT WARDROBING POINTS FOR ME! The capris actually fit even better this morning than when I tried them on in the dressing room, so that was good for a little happy dance. After putting on my shirt, I grabbed my phone and slid it into my pocket.

Except the phone landed on the carpet with a thud.

Because these pants?


Actually, to put a finer point on it, these pants have something worse than no pockets: they have those bullshit totally non-functional faux pockets:


Looks like a pocket, doesn’t it? Well it’s NOT a pocket. IT’S A TRAP. A BULLSHIT TRAP.

Because the fashion industry, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that all women are obviously more concerned with smooth lines on their clothing than they are with ACTUAL FUNCTIONALITY.

So now, instead of a slightly misshapen hip (which was going to be covered by my shirt anyway, fashion police), I have a slightly misshapen TIT because the only place I have to stash my phone is in my FREAKING BRA.

How is the threat of potentially short-circuiting my phone with boob sweat (or possibly more importantly, the idea of irradiating my boob with radio waves) a better idea than having pockets in these pants, fashion industry? I mean, granted, you’re not FORCING me to stash my phone in my cleavage. I COULD technically carry it around in my hand every time I get up and go do anything, thus rendering my hands half as useful as they’d be IF I HAD POCKETS.

And true, purses are technically an option that many ladies use. But I need my phone during the day. Do you know how idiotic it would be to have to carry a purse around the office all god damned day? PRETTY IDIOTIC. People would be side-eying me and saying stuff like “Geez, is she carrying coke around with her in that thing or something? And if she’s doing coke, why is she still so fat?”  And then I’d have to be like “bitch, who needs coke when there’s cheese“, which would a) answer the fatness question and b) confuse everyone, and I’d have to explain to them the article that I just linked, except out loud in my own words, which is WAY more difficult for me because I get easily sidetracked talking about stuff like marmots and existentialism and the pros and cons of different forms of magnesium supplements, and basically at that point everybody loses.

The moral of this story, I think, is that if having actual functioning clothing is important to you, then you need to either a) be a man, b) be willing to wear men’s pants (which I’d be totally fine with if I could find ones that actually fit but apparently my Jessica Rabbit-esque waist-to-hip ratio precludes me from having that option), or c) check for pockets BEFORE you buy new pants. And don’t just check that it LOOKS like there are pockets – make sure you can actually get your hand, phone, vial of coke, marmot, or whatever else it is you want to not have to stash in your bra, into said pocket.

Don’t fall for the bullshit faux pocket trap. Let my suffering be a lesson to you all.


The ADHD Baker

You know on all those cooking shows and food blogs where they’re like “MAKE SURE YOU READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE BEFORE STARTING”?

That’s because of people like me – people who find a recipe next to a picture of something they like the looks of and immediately run to the kitchen to start throwing things in a bowl, only to realize halfway through that the recipe says some bullshit like “now let this sit overnight”, or “cook on low heat for at least four hours” and it’s already like 8pm.

Or, halfway through throwing things in the bowl they realize, “fuck, this calls for a whole bunch of turmeric. I don’t have any frigging turmeric. What do I have that tastes LIKE turmeric? Nothing, basically, because turmeric tastes like dirt”.

That’s right, TURMERIC TASTES LIKE DIRT. I’m not saying I don’t like it or that you shouldn’t use it. I’m just saying it tastes like dirt and you know I’m right so cool your fucking jets and keep your pants on or whatever. Jeezis.


Also, it kind of looks like cat turds. Who saw turmeric root and was like, “yes, good idea, let’s eat these bright orange dirt-tasting cat turds”?

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, recipes being a challenge.

So, with my brand of ADHD, I can have a recipe right in front of me, I can read through it 14 times, I can fully understand the gist of what I’m making and how to make it, I can look at where it says, “1 teaspoon of dirt-tasting turmeric”…and by the time I reach up into the cupboard for the turmeric, I’ve forgotten what the measurement was. Turmeric in hand, I’ll look again but the recipe will now say “3 teaspoons of dirt-tasting turmeric”, because my eyes are reading half of one line and half of another. I’ll think to myself “that seems like a lot, especially since turmeric basically just tastes like dirt”, look at the recipe again, and it will be back to 1 teaspoon and I’ll wonder if I’m hallucinating a tiny bit (possibly due to high turmeric intake).

I usually manage to side-step my brain’s attention shortcomings while cooking by having a strong culinary instinct to begin with (I come from a long line of good cooks), being creative, and keeping my sense of humor about sometimes-ugly-but-usually-still-tasty food.

That’s not really helpful with baking, though. With baking, measuring is important. Paying attention to how your dough acts is important. Not changing 14 things in the recipe on the fly IS IMPORTANT. You can be the second god damned coming of Picasso and have the best sense of humor on Earth but your cake is still going to come out like chocolate-colored sawdust if you don’t measure your flour properly.

I decided I wanted to start baking bread after watching a cooking documentary about fermentation and the history of fermented foods back in the late winter. I’ve long been a fan of fermented foods and I’m a keen believer that the bacteria living in our guts are probably one of the most crucial (and most overlooked) contributors to our overall health. Fermented bread, aka: sourdough, has a much lower glycemic impact than commercial yeast bread, it has more bio-available minerals and vitamins, the gluten proteins have been chemically altered by the bacteria in such a way that they become less inflammatory to the gut and more easy for the body to break down, plus probably a whole load of other happy horse shit.

Point being, I was sold on sourdough. I wanted to make some and it didn’t seem that hard. All you need, after all, is flour, water, salt and patience. Or, if not patience, at least a will to succeed. At least, that’s what a whole bunch of websites told me.

And they weren’t ENTIRELY wrong…but they left out a motherfucking TRUCKLOAD of details, it turns out. Like, temperature is almost as important as measuring your ingredients…and I’m not talking oven temperature, I’m talking ambient temperature in your kitchen from the time you start mixing your dough until the time you put it into the oven. Also, bread dough acts differently depending on the humidity level in your kitchen. Different types of flour (just wheat flour, mind you…I’m not subbing like, crystalized unicorn tears or anything) absorb different amounts of water depending on not only whether they’re whole grain or not, but also whether they’re winter wheat, spring wheat, red wheat, and apparently what fucking PHASE OF THE MOON THEY GERMINATED IN. I swear to god it’s like the most ridiculously convoluted thing ever. There’s actual note taking involved, people. COME ON. “It’s just flour, water and salt”, my ass.

But somehow, it works (usually). And I love it. And not just because I get to have delicious toast in the mornings or give away pretty loaves of bread to appreciative friends. I’ve found working with bread dough to be so…I don’t know, meditative, I guess. It has its own rhythm and once you start a batch, you’re just sort of along for the ride. Except you can’t just be the co-pilot who sleeps the whole ride because you have to be aware of what the dough is doing, how it’s progressing. You have to be ready to move it from one phase to the next, but not until the dough itself is ready. It’s kind of like a pet that is independent and likes to do its own thing but that is also a little bit derpy and needs you to keep an eye on them so they don’t like, chew on wires and stuff. That got weird, but I think you get my drift.


It totally looks like a brain when you cut it in half. Complete with nuts even!