Thursday, February 11, 2016

how to trick strangers into believing that an adult lives in your apartment.

this is my stupid kitchen. YES THAT IS AN AUTOGRAPHED PICTURE OF NICK OFFERMAN AS MY HERO RON SWANSON. the inscription reads: sam. tenacity, and meat. swoon city, amirite. what a fucking dreamboat. anyway, my dumb birthday is on saturday. the other day brooke was like "hey for your big day i'm gonna bring snacks over and watch six episodes of the amazing race." *anxiety emoji* and i love brooke and everything but girl you need to understand that "birthday present" means "olive garden giftcard" not "force you to haphazardly disinfect your living space in a single, panicked afternoon while reconsidering those cutesy dishtowels you overpaid for on a whim and grossing yourself out re: tv stand dust and miniblind discoloration." people who actually love you will never ask to see the inside of your house.

friend: sits in the car messing with the radio while waiting for you to get your lipstick right for brunch.
enemy: forces her way inside the door then picks cat hair judgmentally off your bedspread while griping under her breath about how hungry she is.
friend: hollers at the deli with the jammmm chicken noodle soup and arranges for several quarts of it to be delivered by a faceless man on a bicycle to your den of influenza.
enemy: takes the day off work to bitch at you from your own motherfucking kitchen while making her mom's gross soup recipe (WHAT THE FUCK IS A PARSNIP, HOE) and insulting your starter cookware on the sly.
friend: texts you.
enemy: CALLS.

omg the fucking millisecond the state of illinois allowed me to legally get out of foster care forever (and the college grant money i spent on nachos and magazines ran out) i rented an apartment that was way too nice for a person of my limited grown up experience and filled it with everything i could afford: luxurious milk crate end tables, a couch with a rip in it salvaged from an upscale suburban alley, an abandoned laundry basket i stole from the dusty utility room. my pantry was filled with the food of the gods; 10 for $10 lipton rice mixes and store-brand peanut butter and the occasional can of le sueur peas. the only person who got lucky enough to see the beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows i was too poor to hang curtains over was this dude i dated who carried a playstation in his backpack wherever he went. this was 1998, children, the days of old when de la soul cds were a real thing and technology was too big to fit in your jacket pocket. anyway homeboy would carry around the console and controllers and i would watch him play heart of darkness for hours and this is what passed for romance to my newly-emancipated teenage self.

not much has changed since then save the fresh aloe juice and acidophilus tablets sitting unused in my fridge, and i have cable and a way better tv but who even cares because i'm pretty much the only person ever sitting on my one chair watching that new oj murder show. and sure, my place is clean. the laundry is put away, the dishes are stacked neatly in the cabinets, and the hall closet is organized but lesbihonest: i drink wine out of the same crate and barrel stemless glass every night and i rotate the same handful of semi-sheer black t-shirts. when you live like that you can't help but look like a grownup. if i was somehow forced to prepare complicated meals every night or (gasp!) incorporate colors into my clothing this tenuous grip i have on togetherness would evaporate completely. one cup i can routinely wash; add a frying pan to the mix and everything would dissolve into chaos.

ugh if you insist on having people over, you should probably buy a lot of books and stack them artfully around your crib like you just happened to take up residence between the stacks of a super hip indie bookstore like i do. this is why the kindle is kind of a bad move, because you can't impress people who hate you so much they actually crossed the threshold of your apartment to lay eyes on all your shit. and duh, i have one, because the other sweet shit about being an adult is disposable income to waste on whatever you want, but i only use it for embarrassing stuff like the first twelve sweet valley high books (what they were like 20 bucks okay) and jonathan franzen. who even gives a fuck whether or not you've read them, you're trying to impress a hot new piece of trade not make a motherfucking diorama. ps: leave some fresh flowers and/or fruit out if you can afford to. i definitely am about to get scurvy but my houseguests ain't gotta fucking know.

also also you have to get some quality booze so your bootycalls will be impressed by your sophisticated choices while snooping through your shit for reasons to never call you again. just try not to drink all of it while watching a snapped marathon by yourself. motherfuckers will believe you actually care about yourself when they happen upon an unopened bottle of laphroaig just chilling under your kitchen sink. they don't have to see the manifestation of your self-hatred in the form of that of that half-drunk gordon's vodka shoved behind your ice-encrusted healthy choice meals. ask dude at the wine store to show you where the impressive $16 reds are and put them on display while you drink that $2 trader joe shit in bed during judge mathis.

even bad art is hella expensive so fuck that. what tf do i even know about art. i have this poor person laminated print by emily mcdowell that is some of the realest advice i have ever fucking read propped up on a shelf: i will not compare myself to strangers on the internet. and at the risk of sounding like your grandmother, facebook and instagram are such fucking treacherous territory, and i don't even know from snapchat whatever the hell that is, especially for the delicate among us. like me, who sees your new car and fresh haircut as a personal assault. your heartwarming stories and adorable offspring only remind me that i watched a dude piss into the wind on the train platform this morning. and it’s so easy to be dazzled by someone else’s highlight reel when your own backstage footage looks like shit. so it’s good to have a reminder that all the happy people are probably lying, and all the pretty people have access to photoshop.

that print is the extent of my art collection, because if one of my asshole friends sees a framed piece of artwork on my wall he will assume i have money. and then he will ask to borrow some of it. and then OUR FRIENDSHIP HAS TO DIE because let me peep that dude checking in at the aviary or dove's before i get my $40 back, bitch i will get in an uber and carry my ass down there and awkwardly glare at him. protip: never borrow money from black people.

i'm not good at a whole lot of things. word jumbles, picking out eyeglasses, getting a good seat on the amtrak: this is the extent of my talents. but the one household thing i'm bomb at is cleaning the bathroom, especially since it is the place where i text myself jokes and read selections from my one of my many leaning towers of books. before you agree to host that oscar party, a crash course in 15 minute bathroom ablution: 1 squirt some cleaning goo in the toilet (i like kaboom) and shut the lid 2 spray the tub with whatever you like that won't choke you (my fave is better life all purpose) and scrub the shit out of it then rinse clean 3 wipe down the outside of the toilet (cleanwell botanical disinfecting wipes are the jam) 4 scrub the inside real good 5 wipe down the sink and get all that fucking toothpaste off the goddamn mirror (WE CAN SEE IT IN YOUR SELFIES, FAM) and 6 swiffer. put down a fresh bath mat, promise yourself that you are for real going to scrub down the walls and dust the lightbulbs next time, then bathe in the warm glow of your accomplishments.

i'ma be 36 years old in two goddamned days and all i really want is to sleep for a week after watching nine straight hours of eyeliner tutorial videos (i don't wear eyeliner!) on the youtube, but just in case brooke shows up at my door this weekend with a box of frozen pizza rolls and a silly rom-com from the redbox i am going to take this bag of magazines down to the recycling, hide all my prescriptions (you know bitches be sitting on your toilet googling your fucking medications), and arrange all of my fancy skincare items intimidatingly around the bathroom sink. omg i am officially "close to forty." brb buying so many high-waisted elastic pants.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

this is what happens when i stay up 5 hours and 13 minutes past my bedtime.

saturday 2:15p i let myself into my apartment after work, grateful to be the type of trash-ass person who only uses one plate and sleeps on top of a previously made bed in order to keep up the illusion of neatness, then was about to take off my belt and undo all four hooks of my bra until the crushing realization hit me: FUCK ME I MADE PLANS TONIGHT.

2:17p i quickly cycled through all five kubler-ross stages of impending social engagement dismay:
1 denial: "did i really tell bee i would meet her for drinks tonight or is this a dream."
2 anger: "WHY THE FUCK DID I AGREE TO THIS I HATE GOING PLACES AND DOING THINGS."
3 bargaining: "if i go to this bar tonight and i tell some jokes and act real sweet i will keep this friendship intact plus i won't have to make up a transparent lie and also i don't ever have to leave my crib ever again."
4 depression: "is there anything worse in life than someone wanting to hang out with you? especially in a fancy bar that serves 'handcrafted' cocktails? maybe i can throw myself off their organic rooftop urban garden and end this miserable charade for good."
5 acceptance: "fine then, i'ma just watch four episodes of SVU and eat saltines with my shoes on until it's time to call a cab."

4:07p (fights off sleep)

5:35p i dragged this old beef carcass to the snooty coffee shop in my hood thinking i might not lapse into a coma if i had a couple shots of espresso. the dude behind the counter was chatting animatedly with this young woman who ordered something called a cortado (what the fuck is that) while she feigned interest (i hope) in the concentrated flavor produced by an arabica bean sourced from an estate at a 6000 foot altitude (are those even words) as homeboy made her drink. i was already sweating in a mild panic, dismayed that the chalkboard menu didn't advertise anything like a birthday cake latte or a double chocolaty chip cinnamon crème mocha javaccino. (that's a real drink, right.) I DON'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT COFFEE, BRUH. mavis is always trying to talk to me about pour overs and nitro brewing and girl: miss me with that boring-ass shit. one morning when i was 27 i woke up and all my adult tastes had developed seemingly overnight. hoppy beers, cauliflower with no cheese on it, anchovies: my bank account was still a toddler but my taste buds had grown the fuck up. EXCEPT FOR COFFEE. unless it tastes like ice cream i hate that fucking shit. when i finally got to the counter i was so full of angst that i bought a seven dollar muffin and rushed out the door burning with shame and still tired.

6:00p "should i take a shower?"

6:15p "i really gotta get a move on if i'm going to both shower and put on clean clothes."

6:50p "i wonder if i lint roller all the cat hair off these pants if anyone will be able to tell i've been wearing them since seven this morning?"

7:42p stood in the lobby of my building scowling at my phone as i watched the uber icon pinwheeling around the map of my neighborhood as the time estimate changed from three minutes to seven minutes to one minute then back to three, mad at myself because i wanted to be ready to go at 7:30 but somehow, inexplicably, i managed to make myself late and now this dude was making me even later. 12 minutes late without 1 taking a shower 2 changing most of my clothes or 3 putting on so much as a swipe of blush, i still had to scramble downstairs in a pigpen-style dirt cloud only to watch my man turn down wrong alleys and roll through the drive-thru (probably) on his way to my casa.

7:48p i tried to surreptitiously take a picture of the cabbie doing a crossword puzzle in the newspaper by the phosphorescent glow of the street lamps at every red light but didn't realize my fucking flash was on so i had to apologize like an asshole while fumbling around with the buttons on my dumb phone fuck i should've just stayed on top of my comforter.

8:02p i was late, but who the fuck cares because no one else was there either. i hate being first when i don't know the plan. should i put my name in for a table? how many people are actually coming!? DO I HAVE TIME TO LEAVE BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE GETS HERE. i surveyed the room and instantly regretted my decision to wear pants that pull all the way up to my chin.

8:20p omg they want to sit at the bar. this is a literal nightmare. i am too motherfucking old to sit at the bar. my legs are not long enough yet somehow also too long to sit at the fucking bar. i feel like a big dumb baby climbing up onto those stupid tall chairs then trying to balance and not knock over my drink while hoping the stranger on my left doesn't notice the precarious grasp my toes have on the rung of his chair. also i put my name in and now i gotta figure out how to text cancel it without looking like a dick. fuck i hate the bar.

8:21p oh wait but the bartender is a friend of theirs so free champagne hook a bitch up.

8:50p "SUCK IN YOUR STOMACH FOR THE GRAM!" *shutter click*

9:30p we'd been drinking for an hour straight and all i had to eat was half of that overpriced muffin and a handful of red vines so i grudgingly decided to break the "it's cool, we're just meeting for drinks" rule and asked the bartender for a dinner menu, right around the time i would ordinarily be getting my ass ready for bed. this does not feel exciting to me as an adult. as a kid, anything i was allowed to eat later than 7pm was cause for celebration. as an adult, eating food late at night feels absolutely fucking terrible. i've read way too many glamour articles about where your latenight calories go, so now i'm about to pay $137 for a bowl of ceviche that's going to go straight to my back fat or wherever.

9:55p uh oh, a half full pint of beer shattered across the bar. first sign that party is starting to head down shitshow boulevard. i felt a familiar tingle as the change commenced; the extra hair sprouting from behind my ears, the lengthening of teeth. i slid my debit card across the bar, palms clammy with impending doom. i needed to get the fuck home.

10:15p watching people flirt makes me nervous. i get too emotionally invested right from the jump, caring way too much about whether or not a love connection is being made, skin crawling with anxiety over whether or not i'm about to suffer vicariously through an awkward rejection. my shoulders knotted up as i observed all of the heads bent together over frothy drinks. i resisted the urge to shout "i hope it works out for you!" at a lesbian couple on an uncomfortable-looking first date. keely texted me to see if i was out and i was faced with an excruciating sophie's choice: lie and say that i was holding in a bunch of tequila vomit on the bus then put my phone away and dip, hoping not to run into her on the street or tell the truth and risk extending my evening by four to six drinks. and while my heart said "IN BED AT THE NURSING HOME" my fingers typed "at a bar in your hood, you down?" she texted back that she would be right over. the beast sharpened its claws.

10:59p this is the point in the evening when the liquor fairy alights gently upon my shoulder and coos sweetly in my ear, "BITCH YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO PARTY LIKE THIS" and the gears in my brain slowly grind into motion, trying to recall exactly how many drinks i've had and how much those drinks cost apiece and whether or not anyone would notice if i tried to wedge myself out of the tiny bathroom window. i don't ever feel stupid until i'm locked in a bathroom stall doing drunk calculus on a paper towel to determine if i can pay both my bar tab and the rent. "three vodkas divided by the light bill times the minimum payment on my amex plus cab fare home shit i gotta go."

11:20p surprised i had not yet turned into a pumpkin, i remembered what a raging headache champagne gives me (especially when mixed with approximately 37 other cocktails) and was halfway through a large glass of water before realizing that i never even ordered a fucking water and was probably definitely drinking the one left behind by the person sitting in this uncomfortable highchair before i nearly threw my back out trying to get onto it. undeterred, i finished the entire thing in one gulp, careful not to let my emerging fangs clink too loudly against the glass.

sunday 12:10a pretty sure the bar closed a while ago, as all of the kitchen staff was glaring at us from the across the room, arms laden with whatever salads and taco scraps they were having for family meal. i muttered "you guys, we should probably bounce," which came out sounding like "grrrr rrrrrrr RRRrrrRrrr grrrrrrRRrRr" and i cleared my throat to cover it up, focusing instead on the tiny ripping sounds coming from my rapidly disappearing shirtsleeves as my hulking biceps started to poke through. i yanked on my coat before anyone noticed the layer of downy fur accumulating on my forearms.

12:45a my words were now slurring out soaked in bourbon and sounding like muffled dog barks so i immediately clamped my hand over my mouth to prevent further embarrassing myself and wished these kids would wrap it up so we could go the fuck home before i accidentally murdered everyone in the fucking building. every cab i saw going past looked like the last boat back to africa. "please don't leave me here," i mouthed silently, a single tear rolling through the weird patch of course hair freshly sprouted from my cheek as each pair of cherry red taillights faded into the night.

1:32a it has become nearly impossible to string a coherent sentence together. why is it that we always attempt to have intellectual conversations when we are physically incapable of doing so? you know what passes for witty discourse in my everyday life? "hey stranger at a party, do you ever feel like your deodorant has stopped working?" all i can talk about when i'm sober is hot dogs and teen mom but get three gins in me and all of a sudden i have opinions about intersectionality and internalized misogyny and academic imperialism. shut the fuck up, samantha.

1:47a TEARS.

2:05a in the car on the way home i looked down to discover that my feet were about to explode out of my shoes, the laces straining against an eruption of claws and hair. i pulled my beanie taut over my pointy ears and tried to send some inappropriate sexts but my claws made it impossible to type and i nearly shredded my coat fumbling around in the dark with that stupid goddamned phone. i killed two rats in the alley behind my building and devoured them whole, then stole a bunch of magazines from the vestibule and tried not to fall asleep in the elevator.

2:13a finally back in my crib and i could literally feel myself dying. everything feels like assault: the harsh lights over the bathroom mirror, the coldness of the water i halfheartedly splashed on my face, the spiked bristles of my toothbrush stabbing angrily at my tender gums. all of my systems were slowly breaking down; prying off the top of a bottle of advil is an insurmountable task i abandon after ten seconds of real effort, lifting my leg to get into the shower an impossible dream. why do i feel hungover when i haven't even been to sleep yet!? my brain throbbing mercilessly, i tore off what remained of my tattered clothing and tucked my tail between my legs before surrendering to sleep. ON TOP OF THE DUVET.

monday 1:19p i am dead. and writing this from hell.

Monday, January 18, 2016

bitches gotta read: shadowshaper.

wellllllllll, i'm kind of slipping with these book club posts. IT'S STILL TECHNICALLY JANUARY THO. my holiday stack of books continues to mock me every time i walk past my book shelf, as i am still trying to slog through fates and furies (am i too dumb to understand why everyone including barack obama went so apeshit over this book? probably) and i realized i never actually finished the painter by peter heller even though i really really like it so now i'm doing that, too. and i had time to read today but i didn't because i 1 had to watch that new show billions because damian lewis is my boyfriend 2 made a casserole because it was for real one degree this morning 3 had to work on my cardi b impression 4 twice attempted to make sense of that sean penn el chapo article and 5 chianti. it's safe to assume that you guys are smarter and more productive than i am (just lie to me, okay) so i will keep posting these even though i am dreadfully behind and according to goodreads am actively reading six other books at the moment. one day i will throw my tv out the window and be smart and read all the time. except broad city and house of cards are about to come back. guess i'm gonna have to give up sleeping.

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in person. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and motherfuck that. you don't have to worry about danielle's gluten allergy or that cynthia doesn't like gin. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way john green intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read!)
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read them, but that's only in case i run into you at the 
farmer's market and you decide to pop quiz my ass.


brief internet synopsis: sierra santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. but then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. and when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears...well, something more sinister than the usual brooklyn ruckus is going on. with the help of a fellow artist named robbie, sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. but someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one, and the killer believes sierra is hiding their greatest secret. now she must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.

SOUNDS SO GOOD, RITE. i was really into isabel allende and magical realism when i was in high school and this story makes me wistful for steel toe doc martens and ruffled poet blouses and ugly crying along with angela chase. i shaved my head and bought all my clothes at the army/navy surplus and terrified my guidance counselors but i also kept a copy of chronicle of a death foretold in my backpack at all times. what a fucking weirdo.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

new year's micro resolutions i might actually achieve. (but probably not)

i broke my thumb on monday. two fractures on my goddamned dominant hand because i slammed it in an uber door. currently typing this with my middle fingers and pinkies. i also got a TDAP in the arm attached to the broken thumb because the sadist at the ER suggested it (was sticking two needles and a burning hot cautery pen in my purple thumb not enough!?) so the whole right side of my body is in searing pain. plus i already fucked up the splint they gave me at the hospital so yeah 2016 is definitely going to be the year my dreams become a motherfucking reality. lol what dreams. LIVING IS A MISTAKE.

1 find a use for all these chia seeds in my goddamn crib. i just watched that oprah winfrey weight watchers commercial while savoring the last remaining bits of the skinny woman i have trapped inside me (she tasted like diet ham, btw) and who cares. everyone makes the same vows every january: 600 jumping jacks every night, no sour cream on the burrito, replace gallons of gin with the recommended 8 glasses of water. maybe we will, probably we won't. i already gave up medium rare T-bones: WHERE IS MY PRIZE. my gym membershit (typo, keeping it) expired and it's freezing anyway so nah, as much as i'd love to be buying swiss chard all the time i hate going to the store, and 99% of virtuous shit is a total fucking snore, so the only thing i am willing to commit to is trying to use up the 37 mason jars of chia seeds i somehow ended up with because i know too many well-meaning health nerds. i'm already bored.

2 write one thing in the daily planner i foolishly insist on purchasing every year, not doing it, then never using the damn thing again. someone who doesn't know me very well told me i should buy something called a passion planner and at first i was all "O RLY!?" because i thought it was on some dirty sex shit but then i looked at the website and rolled my eyes all the way to the back of my skull at the idea that i would be capable of keeping up with something like that. because it is not possible for me to be the person who color codes her hair appointments and actually crosses shit off a working checklist every day. everything i finish is practically by accident, and planners are for people who have shit to do and Get Shit Done. i only have the one job and writing shit like "do laundry" and "buy cat food" is fucking boring so what on earth would i even put in there!? i prefer not to be mocked by my failures. saturday march 12 stare despondently at bedroom wall; tuesday august 23 turn off phone and pretend to be out of town. but it's another new year which means yet another moleskine date book gathering dust on some cluttered corner of my desk. but it's JANUARY 7 AND I ALREADY FUCKING DID IT I AM REALLY LIVING MY BEST FUCKING LIFE: get dry swiffer cloths from family dollar. written with my own hand, on this day in history. i will never do this, yet i will think about doing it a lot of times. i will likely never touch that calendar ever again. swollen with pride nonetheless.

3 wash my face every single day. i'm sure you're all "BITCH, GROSS" and yeah i am too but let's talk about what we actually do on the days we don't have to leave the house to make money or irritate strangers on the bus or buy wine. sunday i: woke up, gazed at pictures of nachos for an hour while choking down my soaked oats and cacao nibs and praying for death, listened to alec baldwin's podcast while daydreaming that he was actually purring in bed next to me, called carl (secretly hoping he wouldn't answer, which thank fuck he didn't), read a bunch of shit on the internet about the hateful eight, drank a couple of vodkas while chopping vegetables for pasta sauce, spent an inordinate amount of time scrolling through my netflix choices without actually watching anything, thought about tossing all my old medicine, did some very careful instagram stalking, fell asleep on the toilet. when did i have time to scrub my face, when i was standing with my ear pressed to the door waiting for my neighbors to go in their apartment so i could take the trash out without having to talk to them? when i almost sprained my neck trying to contort myself into looking decent during an ill-advised facetime!? this year i'ma do better.

4 read an entire magazine from start to finish. usually i'm all flip flip look at a lipstick flip accidentally sniff too close and rub the perfume sample off on my nose flip, but in 2016 i am going to sit the fuck down and read a whole goddamned magazine from cover to cover, including the article about some 23 year old who launched a profitable tech start-up then packed a backpack and moved to botswana to empower young women by teaching them how to start their own capital investment firms and also krav maga. i want a medal for putting these pants on when i don't have to go to work today, so my self-esteem does not really benefit from reading that kind of shit. oh you're 19 and you already bought a house? well bitch i tipped the grubhub dude twenty percent on a pizza puff and two bottles of beer so i guess we're all just out here winning. nevermind not doing this ugh.

5 listen and respond to all of my voicemails. nothing equals the crippling anxiety i feel when faced with an incoming phone call. if it's from someone i know: why not just text me? if it's from a number i don't recognize: HOW MANY DAYS UNTIL YOU SHUT MY FUCKING LIGHTS OFF, PAL.

6 remember to set the tivo for shit i can't find on demand. i wish i was talking about something cool like fargo or the walking dead but nah bro mtv's the challenge is my appointment television. what can i say, i fucking love CT. he's my original justin bobby. (does anyone even know what those words mean? HOW FAR DOWN THIS RABBIT HOLE ARE WE REALLY TRYING TO GO.) i'm usually never home wednesdays because it's the best night for most of my people to make ~plans~ (see below), so then i'm all squirmy and stressed out at olive garden because while this bitch is talking my ear off about her insurance deductible i am probably missing a juicy fight on love and hip hop. i'm still waiting to get to whatever age it is that you stop caring about who went home on top chef but i'm practically forty and it hasn't happened so now what. this is the year i stop googling tv spoilers because i missed the fucking broadcast. also i need to stop being so emotionally invested in vanderpump rules. ugh i'm a fucking monster.

finish a chapstick all the way to the bottom. IS THIS EVEN FUCKING POSSIBLE.

8 never make plans to do anything, ever. this is how it usually goes down: 
casual acquaintance: "hey sam, you wanna [get brunch/grab a cocktail/smoke some heroin] next week?"
me: "okay, sure! sounds fun!" now let's pause here. because, in theory, i would kind of like to go. i enjoy a couple of people; there are a handful of places i don't absolutely despise. and it's so easy, snugged under the covers with the computer in my lap and king krule on my headphones, lulled into a false sense of optimism by the warmth of the clanging radiator and entire box of those trader joe's fig and olive crackers i just housed, to think that next tuesday at 830pm would be a great time to brave public transit and dirty slush to meet that person halfway the fuck across town for a salad i'm going to have an hourlong wait to eat. in my cozy crib in the middle of the day when no one is bothering me everything seems like a good fucking idea. yes i will go to trivia at that bar i hate on the most crowded night of the week! of course i'll go to that standing-up-and-small-talk party hosted by that chick i don't know in real life who seems rul annoying all over your facebook! oh your experimental noise band is playing a midnight show in an abandoned building three miles from the nearest el stop? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.
fast forward to next tuesday, approximately 230p: it's fucking cold, man. i got to work at 725 this morning. a dude sneezed over my desk and i felt it get on me. this woman on the phone referred to me as "the nice colored lady." i ate too much lunch. my bank balance is a smooth ($17.23) and payday is next week. this shirt is ugly and what if you try to force me into a selfie. my head hurts. i forgot to put a phone charger in my purse. black-ish is coming on and i forgot to set the tivo. i need to take all these magazines down to the recycling center. i need to listen to this voicemail. i didn't put this dinner date in my schedule. I REALLY HAVE TO WASH MY MOTHERFUCKING FACE.
me: "yo i gotta raincheck."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ho-ho-horrible.

¡feliz navidad! because of [sam and helen's] continued commitment to environmental stewardship (not the hippie kind), they've decided to make their first-ever christmas letter a digital version. this has nothing to do with the fact that they are [last-minute ne'er-do-wells] putting sam through her final year of [working for slave wages while teetering on the brink of suicide], resulting in a lack of funding for the hundreds of stamps required to send an actual paper letter to [the four people who would open an envelope with our return address on them]. [sam] has been [scouring the internet for holiday letters to use as a blueprint], however [helen and sam] are lacking two major christmas-letter components: kids and pets [that aren't helen]. [helen] no longer enjoyed [living in a tiny apartment on the north side of chicago] so she packed up and [moved her ass to michigan with mavis]. [sam] has kept herself very busy, filling her days with [complaining, taking psychotropic drugs, and not missing her mean-ass hateful-ass garbage-ass cat even one bit]. we are thankful for time spent [alone in a dark room in front of the television with our phones on silent] and hope you also enjoy time with your loved ones. [inoffensive generalized holiday salutation] to you, and we're [not praying, are you kidding me?] for you as the new year begins!

IT'S THE MOST TERRIBLE TIME OF THE YEAR. listen, i'm not mad if you and yours like to gather around a brightly-lit tree dripping with homemade ornaments and tinsel or a fired-up menorah dripping wax all over your ikea particleboard furniture, but some of us just want a lifetime movie marathon and a carton of store-bought eggnog to drink in our stained pajamas and to never have to pretend that thing you wrapped in newspaper that you picked up next to the register at walgreens is an acceptable gift as you demand to watch me open it. just buy me a beer sometime, janice. OR DON'T. when i was a kid i knew that while my friends were waking up to new bikes and nintendos on christmas morning that i would be lucky to find one of the modest toys i'd circled as i painstakingly scoured the sears catalog under our raggedy tree, and man that shit sticks with you. that's why now that i have credit cards and paychecks with commas in them i treat every day like christmas. if i want it i get it. and pay for expedited shipping. and i don't feel bad about it because santa never brought me that kid sister doll i wanted even though i dutifully ate all my carrots at dinner every night and i fucking hate carrots. 

i'm over all this holiday garbage. again. bring on the new year so i can make a list of unattainable goals that will likely not make it to valentine's day. it is december fucking 22 and i have no idea what to get for anyone in my life who doesn't want a pair of socks with a collage of drake faces on them. wanna know how old i am? my recent search history is full of shit like "loose-fitting socks" and my amazon wishlist is nothing but medicated skin creams and scented candles. i went out partying the other night and let me tell you how that looked: i 1 practically sobbed while putting on real clothes at 8pm on a motherfucking saturday 2 got in the back of some stranger's car because i thought it was my uber 3 forgot to eat some bread before i left the house to soak up the entire bottle of champagne we ended up drinking 4 watched helpless as a toddler in a bebe dress spilled whiskey sour on my $400 custom orthopedic shoes 5 went to the club wearing $400 custom orthopedic shoes 6 tried to still feel cool when the bartender called me "ma'am" 137 times 7 plugged my ears because the music was too loud :-/ and 8 woke up the next afternoon swollen and dehydrated and smelling like your nephew. WHY CAN'T I JUST DIE ALREADY.

thank god i have hating my job as a distraction, otherwise i'd be sitting at home clutching a tear-stained pillow to my bosom while lolcrying because none of my kisses begin with kay. it's the commercials that really fuck you up, right? every year there wasn't a red ribboned jeep double parked at the hydrant outside my crib (who tf has a driveway, this is the goddamn city) i would punch a hole in my stupid tv. christmas is the pits, especially when you're not rich slash not fucking anybody rich. even if you have good taste and buy the best gifts it's still kind of a letdown; last year i bought mavis the fanciest record player money can buy and after she opened it we both were like "oh okay now what." the most exciting thing in my stocking was a bag of cantaloupe jelly bellies. why are we doing this to ourselves!? let's just do a salt scrub and sleep for three days straight, cool?

2015 HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE.


make some snacks. special occasion menu time! so first i was like "let me just find some regular recipes because fuck it it's the fucking holidays" but then i was all "IF I GOTTA EAT THIS TRASH THESE NERDS SHOULD, TOO." the first thing people always ask me, after "how is it possible for a person to be covered in nervous sweat 23+ hours a day?" is "what on earth could you possibly eat now that delicious dairy and animal products are no longer a part of your daily life?" and the truth is: NOT THAT FUCKING MUCH. i easily have 17 vegan cookbooks stacked in my tiny kitchen, because ordering cookbooks off the internet is fucking easy. you know what isn't? navigating all the health aisles at whole foods trying to locate nutritional yeast and textured vegetable product then trying to find room to fit my dignity next to them in my reusable recyclable bag. i'm not interested in fake bacon and chicken nuggets made out of soy, so i mostly just eat rice that i cook with vegetable bouillon and vegetarian refried beans for every meal. this year i'm not cooking a goddamned thing because we booked a room at a fancy hotel downtown, so i'm going to spend the savior's birthday trying to find suitable foods on an overpriced room service menu LOL JK I'M GOING TO SEVEN LIONS THEN GETTING A HANGOVER PIZZA. but here are some dips i will guiltily make next week and shame-eat on a treadmill:

hot corn dip (from vegan coach)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 1/2 cups corn kernels (4 ears fresh white or yellow corn)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup finely chopped organic red bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (1/2 to 1 cup, to taste)
4 ounces vegan monterey jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces vegan cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
tortilla chips, for maxing


1 oven at 450.
2 heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. add the corn, salt, and pepper. cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels turn deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. transfer to a bowl.
3 add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet. add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until the onions are wilted, about 2 minutes. add the green onions, jalapeno, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the vegetables are softened. transfer to the bowl with the corn.
4 add the mayo, the cheeses, and the cayenne and mix well. pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. cover with foil. bake until bubbly and golden brown, 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted.
5 serve hot with the chips. i would never do this but to make tortilla chips you just place tortillas in a 400 degree oven directly on the rack until crispy. remove, cool slightly, and break into bite-sized chips.


buffalo hummus (from oh she glows)
1 can or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
cayenne pepper, to taste, for serving

1 combine all the ingredients except the oil and cayenne in a food processor. pulse a few times to combine and then scrape down the sides. with the motor running, stream in the oil through the feed tube. i have a cuisinart but i hate cleaning it. so i make this in the nutribullet and it's fine. don't let all this talk of pulsing and scraping deter you.
2 continue to run the motor until you reach the desired consistency;  i like to get it rul silky smooth.
3 add more salt, lemon juice, or hot sauce, to taste, and then sprinkle with cayenne pepper before serving.


simple vegan chocolate cake (from joy the baker)
i don't fuck with a lot of vegan desserts because they're gross. i don't miss cheeseburgers or sausage nearly as much as it breaks my fucking heart in half to walk past a plate of brownies or a bowl of pistachio ice cream. mavis is pretty good about not being a jerk about it but sometimes that bitch will be eating a slice of cheesecake all out in the open (fucking savage) and it takes all of the strength i have not to disgustingly lick out the inside of her mouth hoping to at least get a little taste of some cream cheese. anyway, this sad substitute for delicious dessert:
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm coffee
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. grease a 9-inch bundt pan with vegetable shortening and dust with cocoa powder. set aside.
2 in a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. in a medium bowl whisk together coffee, oil, and vanilla.
3 add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
4 pour the batter into your waiting bundt pan; it will be relatively thick. bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. who tf owns a real cake tester!? use a piece of dry spaghetti or something, sheesh.
5 remove from oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. sam's note for dummies: the prettiest way to do this without your cake ending up with mismatched clumps all over it is to push the powdered sugar through a sieve (i only know this and have one because i worked in a bakery for forever). take a teaspoon, dump the sugar in the sieve, then use your little sausage fingers to push the sugar through the mesh, leaving your cake delicately dusted with snow rather than splattered with inconsistent chunks of bird shit. look at you, all ready for the great british baking show and whatnot.


buy some shit. real talk, how poor are you rn? naughty, nice, whatever: i'm not buying anyone anything. two things happen to me around the holidays, i 1 wait until the absolute last minute and am so overwhelmed by the sheer number of people i want to buy things for that i am crippled into inertia and 2 see a whole bunch of shit on sale (with free two-day shipping!) i want for my fucking self and cannot stop my clicking finger from getting it. here is a list of bullshit i have purchased for samantha irby since last wednesday:
-a sequin dress t-shirt (HOW DO THOSE WORDS EVEN GO TOGETHER)
-cream colored tuxedo pants that will probably look like garbage tbqh
-two coloured raine lipsticks
-three bottles of wine and a bag of salad from instacart
-a bar of zinc soap for the gnarly rash covering 75% of my face
-some make up forever lip glosses i will likely never wear out of the house
-a bunch of cases of la croix
-one of those sticks of activated charcoal to put in a pitcher of water
-a moleskine planner i will write one appointment in before abandoning forever
-flonase
-a box of handmade greeting cards on etsy
-some asos clearance stuff i bought so hastily i can't even remember what i ordered anymore
and it's not even christmas eve yet! there's still plenty of time to scroll-click-scroll and fill my virtual shopping carts with heavily-discounted boring shit for myself i'd never expect anyone else to get for me! but i'm not a fucking monster. i gave to a lot of kickstarters and gofundmes this year, plus i spent a lot of cocktail money on coat drives and toy donations. my attitude is not going to get me into heaven. if there really is such a place, i'ma have to show saint peter these target child-sized jacket receipts.

watch some shows. i just watched the season finale of the affair last night and if you are not watching that show WTF, BRUH. i got to the party late, right after the first season ended, and now i'm all caught up and fucking sick over it. mavis doesn't care about tv (BYE) and was facetiming me about the durability of her wrapping paper (WHAT) or knitting matching christmas stockings for the cats (PLEASE KILL ME) or some other shit i don't give a shit about while i was trying to watch my jam and i wasn't even distracted enough by my horrific reflection in the webcam to tear my eyes away from noah and allison and cole's fine ass. i need a support group every goddamned sunday night. this shit is fucking riveting. i watch each episode then i watch it again because a lot of stuff gets lost on me and then the next day i read the vulture recap first thing in the morning while weeping into my mason jar of overnight oats. so thank god it's over for now.

BUT WHAT WILL FILL THE GAPING VOID AND GIVE MY LIFE SOME MEANING. i haven't watched jessica jones yet, so maybe that? also everyone i know is talking about that making a murderer show and i can't usually stomach stuff like that but i hate not knowing what people are talking about. like, i don't want to talk about it with them? i just wanna know and judge them silently if it it's stupid. i've been watching all of the old seasons of top chef on hulu but it's not the same. i never watched the sopranos. nor have i seen even one episode of breaking bad. or watched more than one season of the wire. oh, i know: you're disappointed. i gotta die. and probably, but they just didn't hook me. too busy watching america's next top model, i guess. i fell off mad men after the first season so i could try to get back into that. or luther because duh idris. both house of cards and game of thrones are coming back in the spring and i need to finish the last few episodes of those so i don't feel like an asshole when they come back and i don't remember who the fuck anyone is. so basically what i'm trying to say is don't text me until early march and i won't text you.

bang some dudes off craigslist. i don't particularly enjoy unnecessary human contact, but if you need some then shit: BY ALL MEANS. maybe you gotta get with that one dude from high school who still comes home to sleep in his old bedroom for two weeks even though you guys are thirty-seven now. or maybe you get a little too lit at the company holiday party and karen's opaque nude knee-hi stockings start looking real good to you as they peek out from under her sensible skirt and you cop a feel in the front seat of her taurus in the parking lot behind the office. i ain't mad at cha. whatever keeps you from driving your car into a brick wall. you get a free pass for jingling indiscriminate balls so swipe right and get your stocking stuffed. if you get bummed out by the empty space under your tree and anonymous canoodling under the mistletoe isn't your thing, just remember that everyone is terrible and the only people who get good gifts are either dating p diddy or going broke buying shit for themselves. good luck, everybody. BAH HUMBUG.

Monday, December 14, 2015

bitches gotta read: grownup books to tackle over break.

this is kind of a lot. it's too fucking much. but i'm trying to make up for being so late by choking you with this stack of my "sooner rather than later" books. just looking at it is making my palms sweat because this is just stupid. we're never talking about it again okay bye. just choose a couple that sound good to you and get back to that eggnog.

abbreviated book club rules:
1 read what you want. OR DON'T.
2 talk about it with no one. OR EVERYONE.
3 maybe have some wine while you're reading. or eat a whole cake. whatever works.

white girls by hilton als. brief internet synopsis: In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time.
(i mean duh)

station eleven by emily st. john mandel. brief internet synopsis: Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.
(everyone i know read this and loved it so fuck it i'm taking the plunge)

the sasquatch hunter's almanac by sharma shields. brief internet synopsis: Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz," a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life--with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues.

we are not ourselves by matthew thomas. brief internet synopsis: Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on how much alcohol has been consumed. From an early age, Eileen wished that she lived somewhere else. She sets her sights on upper class Bronxville, New York, and an American Dream is born. Driven by this longing, Eileen places her stock and love in Ed Leary, a handsome young scientist, and with him begins a family. Over the years Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house. It slowly becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper, more incomprehensive psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

bellweather rhapsody by kate racculia. brief internet synopsis: Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians have gathered at the Bellweather for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a blizzard is threatening to trap them all inside. When a young prodigy disappears from infamous room 712, the search for her entwines an eccentric cast of conductors and caretakers, teenagers on the verge and adults haunted by memories. A genre-bending page-turner, full of playful nods to pop-culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee, Bellweather Rhapsody is a winning new novel from a writer to watch.
(i got this at word bookstore in brooklyn i have no idea why but i'm game)

the animals by christian kiefer. brief internet synopsis: Bill Reed manages a wildlife sanctuary in rural Idaho, caring for injured animals―raptors, a wolf, and his beloved bear, Majer, among them―that are unable to survive in the wild. Seemingly rid of his troubled past, Bill hopes to marry the local veterinarian and live a quiet life together, the promise of which is threatened when a childhood friend is released from prison. Suddenly forced to confront the secrets of his criminal youth, Bill battles fiercely to preserve the shelter that protects these wounded animals and to keep hidden his turbulent, even dangerous, history.
(bring me all the wild animal books)

the star side of bird hill by naomi jackson. brief internet synopsis: Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah. Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life.
(phaedra!!!)

above by isla morley. brief internet synopsis: Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an abandoned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Determined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give meaning to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promising and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.
(i bought this at city lit because it was on a table in the window but my claustrophobia is like BITCH ARE YOU SURE so we'll see)

the orchardist by amanda coplin. brief internet synopsis: In her stunningly original and haunting debut novel, Amanda Coplin evokes a powerful sense of place, mixing tenderness and violence as she spins an engrossing tale of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West, and the dramatic consequences of his actions. 

chomp by carl hiaasen. OUR LONE YA BOOK WHAT WHAT. brief internet synopsis: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he's grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, and snappers in his backyard. The critters, he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one. When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called Expedition Survival!, Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show's inept and egotistical star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger foolishly believes his own PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her father and needs a place to hide out. They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna's dad shows up with a gun...
(i have read all of carl hiaasen's books, judge me if you must)

negroland by margo jefferson. brief internet synopsis: Born in upper-crust black Chicago—her father was for years head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the nation’s oldest black hospital; her mother was a socialite—Margo Jefferson has spent most of her life among (call them what you will) the colored aristocracy, the colored elite, the blue-vein society. Since the nineteenth century they have stood apart, these inhabitants of Negroland, “a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.” Reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments—the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of postracial America—Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions. Aware as it is of heart-wrenching despair and depression, this book is a triumphant paean to the grace of perseverance.
(full disclosure: i read this already and it is so so excellent)

rails under my back by jeffery raynard allen. brief internet synopsis: Rails Under My Back is an epic that tracks the interwoven lives of two brothers, Lucius and John Jones, who are married to two sisters, Gracie and Sheila McShan. For them, their parents, and their children, life is always full of departures; someone is always fleeing town and leaving the remaining family to suffer the often dramatic, sometimes tragic consequences. The multiple effects of the comings and goings are devastating: These are the almost mythic expression of the African American experience in the half century that followed the Second World War.
(LOOKS LIKE A JAM)

the invaders by karolina waclawiak. brief internet synopsis: Cheryl has never been the right kind of country-club wife. She's always felt like an outsider, and now, in her mid-forties--facing the harsh realities of aging while her marriage disintegrates and her troubled stepson, Teddy, is kicked out of college; she feels cast adrift by the sparkling seaside community of Little Neck Cove, Connecticut. So when Teddy shows up at home just as a storm brewing off the coast threatens to destroy the precarious safe haven of the cove, she joins him in an epic downward spiral.
(p sure i bought this because i liked the cover)

we only know so much by elizabeth crane. brief internet synopsis: A funny and moving debut novel that follows four generations of a singularly weird American family, all living under one roof, as each member confronts a moment of crisis in a narrative told through a uniquely quirky, charming, and unforgettable voice.
(betsy crane is my homie)

the mare by mary gaitskill. brief internet synopsis. Velveteen Vargas is eleven years old, a Fresh Air Fund kid from Brooklyn. Her host family is a couple in upstate New York: Ginger, a failed artist and shakily recovered alcoholic, and her academic husband, Paul, who wonder what it will mean to “make a difference” in such a contrived situation. Gaitskill illuminates their shifting relationship with Velvet over several years, as well as Velvet’s  encounter with the horses at the stable down the road—especially with an abused, unruly mare called Fugly Girl. With strong supporting characters—Velvet’s abusive mother, an eccentric horse trainer, a charismatic older boy who awakens Velvet’s nascent passion—The Mare traces Velvet’s journey between the vital, violent world of the inner city and the world of the small-town stable.

the leftovers by tom perrotta. brief internet synopsis: What if―whoosh, right now, with no explanation―a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down? That's what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened―not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children. Kevin Garvey, Mapleton's new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin's own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin's teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she's definitely not the sweet "A" student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he's distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.
(yo i looooove tom perrotta and am also that asshole that reads the book before watching the show)

loving day by mat johnson. brief internet synopsis: Warren Duffy has returned to America for all the worst reasons: His marriage to a beautiful Welsh woman has come apart; his comics shop in Cardiff has failed; and his Irish American father has died, bequeathing to Warren his last possession, a roofless, half-renovated mansion in the heart of black Philadelphia. On his first night in his new home, Warren spies two figures outside in the grass. When he screws up the nerve to confront them, they disappear. The next day he encounters ghosts of a different kind: In the face of a teenage girl he meets at a comics convention he sees the mingled features of his white father and his black mother, both now dead. The girl, Tal, is his daughter, and she’s been raised to think she’s white. Spinning from these revelations, Warren sets off to remake his life with a reluctant daughter he’s never known, in a haunted house with a history he knows too well. In their search for a new life, he and Tal struggle with ghosts, fall in with a utopian mixed-race cult, and ignite a riot on Loving Day, the unsung holiday for interracial lovers.
(mavis read this and i got jealous so now i wanna read it, shit)

the scamp by jennifer pashley. brief internet synopsis: Rayelle Reed can’t escape in her small town, where everyone knows everything and not enough: All the guys she slept with, but not the ones she loved. The baby she had out of wedlock with the pastor’s son, and how the baby died, but not the grief and guilt that consume her. At a motel bar, Rayelle meets Couper Gale, a freelance detective on a mission to investigate a rash of missing girls, and she tags along as an excuse to cross the state line. But when Couper’s investigation leads them to the mystery surrounding Rayelle’s runaway cousin Khaki, she finds she is heading straight back into everything she was hoping to leave behind.
(my girl lindsay hunter, whose book ugly girls you should totally read, recommended this one)

local girls by caroline zancan. brief internet synopsis: Maggie, Lindsey, and Nina have been friends for most of their lives. The girls grew up together in a dead-end Florida town on the outskirts of Orlando, and the love and loyalty they have for one another have been their only constants. Now nineteen and restless, the girls spend empty summer days bouncing between unfulfilling jobs, the beach, and their favorite local bar, The Shamrock. It’s there that a chance encounter with a movie star on the last night of his life changes everything.
(i went to a reading at women and children first and this was on a display table and i liked the cover so there you have it)

during the holidays i like to read in my pajamas while watching those lexus oversized-red-bow-surprising-my-wife-who-obviously-doesn't-check-the-bank-statements commercials on a loop, but i have many many television shows to watch plus a full time job so who even knows how this is all going to go. i will say that i've read at least the first couple of pages in each of these, which is a dumb thing to fucking do. i basically have no idea what's going on at any time. every other page i'm like, "who is this now?" it's ridiculous. amy made us a facebook group that you can join if that feels right to you by clicking here.
see you next month, when i'm still slogging through the first book on this goddamned list. sigh.