Tuesday, December 25, 2018

2018 holiday survival guide.

happy holidays, dear one! hope this letter finds you well! your mother and i have been wondering why we haven't heard from you since the day you drove your prius clean through your neighbor's tomato plants (and what was, frankly, an overpriced backyard playset, if you ask me) and called us drunk at 3 o'clock in the afternoon demanding five thousand dollars to rectify the situation. i told you not to get that hippie car. if you'd been driving a vehicle that actually made noise that poor dog might've had a chance! and even though the only time you called before that was to chokesob in my ear something about a cell phone and a public toilet, i gladly cashed in my jc penney stock to send you the money. all i asked was for you to come over and listen to aunt brenda complain about her love life for a few hours while cleaning out the basement, and you changed your phone number! also i'm sorry about all those memes i shared, but i didn't hear about all that russia business until a few days ago and i think that blocking me off your facebook was incredibly premature. the cats are fine, your mom is bored with me and has taken up needlepoint as an alternative to talking to me so she currently spends most of her time putting their names on things that don't actually belong to them. why do i need a dishtowel with mister little jeans stitched on it?! i'm spending my free time flirting with ihop waitresses and taking jazzercise classes at the Y. anyway, sorry to hear you won't be spending christmas with us and your sister. she asked for something called a "vape pen" but no one at the stationery shop at the mall has ever heard of that! i admire her, she's always ahead of the curve. anyway, we'd be happy to buy you a coach class amtrak ticket to come here if you find yourself hungry for your mom's creamy jello mold! i suppose we'll hear from you next time you need money for sudafed or to hide a dead body. love always, your dad.

bah humbug, cuties! it's that time again! good luck dealing with your terrible families! behold, the 2018 survival guide for dealing with your kids being out of school and in your face for two whole weeks:

1 make some food. i like to do a christmas lunch because meals that happen at night mean you have to spend the entire fucking day either thinking about or preparing them and that is a good way to stress yourself into a panic attack and also hate your life. if the meal is on the table by 1230 then guess what? YOUR DAY IS OVER. oh i'm sorry, did you really think i was going to pause mingle all the way to get up and baste a turkey or whatever? did you honestly believe that a pumpkin pie is more important than watching the christmas contract in my mistletoe pajamas? that's why you do a lunch, because you're gonna get up in the morning anyway, so why not just make a casserole at noon then spend the rest of the day crying on the couch. this year i did a lasagna in homage to cate blanchett's character in notes on a scandal (that is a very very deep cut, and if you understand that reference i love you forever) and because you can just make it and plop it down like "have fun eating this for the next three days." this version has meat but i think i can figure out how to make it veg at the end.
gather:
9 lasagna noodles
1 lb ground mild italian sausage
3/4 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (i do not do this, i scoop a few tablespoons from a jar)
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
2/3 cup water
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil
3/4 teaspoon fennel seed
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided (this is not enough)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper (this either)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
(a note: the original recipe called for fresh parsley, which i do not have and did not buy, because the bunches at the store are always way more than i will ever actually use and it just gets so wet and slimy and grosses me out so i skipped it. if you are not a lazy sack of shit it calls for 3 tablespoons of minced for the sauce and a quarter cup to mix with the cheese but seriously, this is one of those steps that makes an easy recipe an irritating one and why go through that? the wise men didn't care about parsley!!)
assemble:
-cook the noodles, a little less than the package says to. drain them and set aside.
-make the sauce. cook the meats (season it for baby jesus' sake) with the onion in a large dutch oven until there's only a little pink left, add the garlic and stir it while cooking for another minute. the recipe says to drain it and MAYBE YOU SHOULD but i most certainly DO THE FUCK NOT. i like to say it makes for a richer sauce and maybe that's true but i'm never flipping a cast iron pot over if i can fucking help it, so rich sauce or not i'm not doing that.
-add all of the tomato products, the water, and the basil/sugar/fennel. i forgot the water at first and it didn't seem to have a negative effect. salt and pepper it just because, then bring to a boil. reduce the heat to a simmer and taste it; adjust seasonings accordingly. (at this stage i added more fennel because i'm a fennel monster, and this is probably a good time to admit that i don't measure dry seasonings because i'm an excellent eyeballer. but if you don't cook a lot you should measure just in case, so you don't blame me when your food is gross.)
-let the sauce cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
-mix the ricotta and egg in a bowl. this is where you'd add the other parsley if you're using it but here is my trick: grate a little fresh nutmeg (or tap some of that mccormick in) into the ricotta. trust me, it's good. i like to add nutmeg to a macaroni and cheese roux, too. shit's delicious.
-preheat your oven to 375°. spread 2 cups of sauce into an ungreased 13x9" baking dish. layer with three noodles and a third of the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. repeat the layers twice then top with remaining sauce and cheeses.
-bake, covered, for 25 minutes. then bake, uncovered, 25 minutes longer or until bubbly. let stand 15 minutes before serving, then retire to your cool, dark bedroom for the next three days. you fucking earned it.

vegetarian option? okay i'm just spitballing here so if it doesn't work don't hate me!!
-sauce: i would do everything the same except instead of cooking meat with the onion i would cut up some red and green bell peppers, a diced carrot or two, throw some sliced mushrooms in, and maybe a small chunked zucchini and cook those in a tablespoon or two of butter (salted and peppered) for like 5-8 minutes, then add the tomatoes etc. i would probably skip the fennel just in case it works less well with veggies than sausage.
-ricotta: wilt a few bunches of baby spinach in a large skillet (warm a little olive oil over medium heat, toss them in, sprinkle with garlic salt and cover it, cook under wilty) then gently fold into the egg/ricotta/nutmeg mix
-all the other directions are the same (noodle, sauce, cheese, repeat) but watch the cook time because i bet it's shorter. but i don't know because i'm literally just making this up. MAKE IT AND REPORT BACK.

2 read some books? so for over a year now i have been reading and recommending books for marie claire magazine, which is hilarious to me. i am an actual shitgoblin, so the idea that something i write is in a magazine with lithe beauties draped in expensive couture that i could barely cram a forearm into is a riot. it is the hardest job i have ever had. i mean, it's not heart surgery or whatever but please try to distill the plot of the last book you read into 75 cohesive words while also weaving in some blurb-y phrases that aren't the last five things you said about the books you read last month in a way that's not going to stress out the fact checker. IT'S DIFFICULT, OKAY. anyway, i have always been a reader, but now i gotta be a fucking super reader. which has turned me into that annoying person who starts every conversation with "you know what you should read...?" and i'm not being pushy or competitive, it's just that i am filled with this wealth of information and i only talk to like three people every day so as soon as i encounter a new adult person i just open my mouth and "have you read the golden state yet?" is the first thing that comes tumbling out. i don't even bother introducing myself anymore, i just shove whatever book i have in bag into the person's face and immediately turn and walk away. here are some things i've loved recently that you can read while refusing to go outside in the cold:

-"training school for negro girls" by camille acker (summary from the back: when you're black and female in america, society's rules were never meant to make you safe or free. camille acker's relatable yet unexpected characters break down the walls of respectability politics, showing that the only way for black women to be free is to be themselves. more here)
-"a guide for murdered children" by sarah sparrow (summary from the back: we’ve heard it said that there is no justice in this world. but what if there really was? what if the souls of murdered children were able to briefly return, inhabit adult bodies and wreak revenge on the monstrous killers who stole their lives? more here)
-"heartbreaker" by claudia dey (summary from the back: it’s 1985. pony darlene fontaine has lived all her fifteen years in “the territory,” a settlement founded decades ago by a charismatic cult leader. in this strange town run on a sinister economic resource, the women crimp their hair and wear shoulder pads, and the teenagers listen to nazareth and whitesnake on their walkmans. pony’s family lives in the bungalow at the farthest edge of town, where the territory borders the rest of the wider world—a place none of the townspeople have ever been. except for billie jean fontaine, pony’s mother. when billie jean arrived in the territory seventeen years prior—falling from the open door of a stolen car—the residents took her in and made her one of their own. she was the first outsider they had ever laid eyes on. pony adores and idolizes her mother, but like everyone else in the territory she is mystified by her. one night, billie jean grabs her truck keys, bolts barefoot into the cold october darkness—and vanishes. beautiful, beloved, and secretive, billie jean was the first person to be welcomed into the territory. now, with a frantic search under way for her missing mother, pony fears: will she be the first person to leave it too? more here)
-"all you can ever know" by nicole chung (summary from the back: nicole chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered oregon town. from childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. she believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. but as nicole grew up--facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn't see, finding her identity as an asian american and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from--she wondered if the story she'd been told was the whole truth. more here)
-"my body is a book of rules" by elissa washuta (summary from the back: as elissa washuta makes the transition from college kid to independent adult, she finds herself overwhelmed by the calamities piling up in her brain. when her mood-stabilizing medications aren’t threatening her life, they’re shoving her from depression to mania and back in the space of an hour. her crisis of american indian identity bleeds into other areas of self-doubt; mental illness, sexual trauma, ethnic identity, and independence become intertwined. sifting through the scraps of her past in seventeen formally inventive chapters, washuta aligns the strictures of her catholic school education with cosmopolitan’s mandates for womanhood, views memories through the distorting lens of law & order: special victims unit, and contrasts her bipolar highs and lows with those of britney spears and kurt cobain. built on the bones of fundamental identity questions as contorted by a distressed brain, my body is a book of rules pulls no punches in its self-deprecating and ferocious look at human fallibility. more here)

i don't get paid for these recs, i just read a lot and get real excited about good books. all the hyperlinks i added here (YOU'RE WELCOME) go to indiebound, because i spend a lot of time skulking around indie bookstores and no one ever kicks me out, but by all means get your books wherever you like to get your books. speaking of, have you read the golden state yet???

3 watch a bunch of shit on tv. soooooo, i watch basketball on christmas day. and i'm not trying to show off how butch i am, i just really enjoy basketball. here's the thing about why i watch sports: sports games take a loooooong fucking time. which means you have a built-in excuse to spend many uninterrupted hours in front of the television. i grew up in the 80s without cable television, which meant that on the weekends i was limited to: reruns of mr belvedere and small wonder on channel 32, whatever weirdo movies svengoolie was showing on channel 9, or the wide world of sports provided by the major networks. listen man, i grew up in a house with a plastic football phone and a framed photo of walter payton in the kitchen. i was never gonna play any sports, but i learned very early on how to watch them. anyway, here's some other stuff i've been watching when i should be working that you can watch if you can pry the remote away from your toddler:
-vanderpump rules (bravo)
-rupaul's drag race (vh1)
-killing eve (bbc)
-escape at dannemora (showtime)
-younger (hulu)
-the great british baking show (netflix)
-top chef (bravo)
-shut up and dribble (showtime)
-the circus (showtime)
-wanderlust (netflix)

4 buy some stuff you definitely don't need!! i am my own santa claus, and i never take a day off. i don't like to put a bunch of pressure on people to get me things i actually want, mostly because receiving gifts is very embarrassing! how do you know what to do with your face when someone as staring at you as they're forcing a thing you don't want and can't use into your life? i'm too old for gifts. everything i want is impractical or expensive or require's a written prescription. so if you insist on getting me something you're going to demand to watch me open, just get me a party size bag of doritos or a lip balm that doesn't smell. or nothing. just hug me and get me a glass of water. this year i bought myself, and have linked for your convenience:
-some gorgeous paper wreaths from grace d chin
-candles from rosmarino 
-new glasses from warby parker
-"foods before dudes" tote bags from brinehound
-this incredibly soothing serum that smells like rich people from OLO
-a jumpsuit i am prepared to both live and die in from universal standard
-this bright and cheerful purple nail polish from china glaze
-the perfect hair pomade from oyin handmade
-shiny pretty things from mactaggart
-lavender-scented cbd cream
-something called "disco nap cheek gloss" from flesh
-this planner i absolutely will not use no matter how much i carry it around pretending will from bando

i hope that whatever your holidays look like, you at least get to spend it with people who don't get on your last fucking nerve while eating whatever makes you happy and watching whatever you want in the quietest room you can find. i have to write a book in the next week and a half, so i will spend most of my waking hours paralyzed by impostor syndrome with a diet coke IV connected to the largest vein in my body. merry merry, happy happy!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

fakesgiving!

i am a teenage girl and i can admit that i'm a little spoiled. my mother delivers breakfast in bed to me daily. my dad eats a burger for dinner, but mom cooks a ribeye steak with a loaded baked potato for me. i don’t know how to cook, but to teach me responsibility this year my dad says i have to cook a complete thanksgiving dinner with no help! i'm freaking out. i have my phone, but do you have any helpful ideas?

do you ever sit back and wonder what your life could have been like if the people in it actually cared about you? do you ever get choked up thinking about how great you could have been, the potential you could have had, the heights to which you could have soared, if your parents were the kind of people who really and truly loved you? what kind of job would you have right now if your mom just, i don't know, vacuumed around your lounging body on saturday mornings instead of turning up the gospel station and handing you a mop? what astounding feats could you have achieved if only you hadn't been forced to make your own sandwiches and clip your own toenails? what would your GPA have been if you'd never had to race home after school to vacuum and pull the chicken out of the freezer before your mom got home, or exposed yourself to early-onset copd inhaling comet particles while scrubbing the bathtub on your hands and knees while the rest of your carefree friends? imagine the glass ceilings you could have shattered if you'd been waited on hand and foot instead of washing your own dishes and raking the goddamned yard? do you ever see a kid calling his mom a bitch in the middle of starbucks and think about how awful your childhood was because you never got to do that? cried bitter tears for all the times you never got to tell your dad to "shut up, god" while keeping all your teeth in your head? what if this was your life?! man, must be nice.

last year for thanksgiving, i made a special effort to get the entire family together for the traditional meal. all 13 of us met at my mother’s home and everyone was to bring a dish or two to share. one of my brothers has two college-age daughters. both are vegan, and he insisted that all the dishes we brought be vegan! i did it, but i resented it because i felt that two out of 13 people should not decide the menu. my brother and nieces are now asking what we’re doing this year for thanksgiving. frankly, I don’t want to 
go through that again. am i wrong in thinking everyone should not bend over backward for the vegan meal? i don’t mind some of the menu accommodating them, but i don’t think the whole dinner should be altered.

what i will never understand about people like this is this: if you're going to be an asshole, why not just go full asshole and say what you mean, scorch the earth completely, then go on about your life and do your own fucking thing? i was raised by wolves, so forgive me for not fully understanding the traditional american family value of passive aggression, but if you don't want to eat tofurkey or lentil loaf or whatever why not just be like "i'm sitting this one out, brian" and GO EAT YOUR FUCKING HAM. you're a bloodthirsty carnivore who wants to sink her teeth into a baby cow's thigh to give thanks for life's abundance and that's cool man but what isn't is pretending to be a sensitive person who cares about their family's needs then punishing all the normal people at the table with your resentful bullshit. everybody has that one jerkoff friend who gets mad about something dumb but doesn't leave the bar then just sits there poisoning the air around her as everyone tries to drink themselves to death in response, that whiny brat who doesn't want to talk to anyone due to some perceived slight and instead of getting up to go fuck herself she instead chooses to stay at the party and make everyone else uncomfortable. you know who that is in my circle? no one, because i killed that bitch and ate her. and everyone else lived happily ever after. because i'm not vegan but i'd be respectful if my niece was, and i would shut the fuck up and drink my oat milk and eat my boiled salad in peace before leaving the table to "run an errand" also known as "cry into a ten piece nuggets in the mcdonald's parking lot before going home to eat one square of bitter ass dark chocolate for dessert."

my mother-in-law tends to embrace every pitiful creature she comes into contact with. this thanksgiving she has invited my ex-boyfriend and his wife to her home to share in the festivities. i told her i don’t feel comfortable with the situation, because he sucks. they both told me i am “overreacting” and that he was a part of my past and i should have emotionally moved on. i feel the family i love has betrayed me. the idea of my ex being involved in what should be a comfortable family day has me afraid and uneasy. am i overreacting? or is my husband’s mother being unreasonable?


wait wait wait, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT HERE. is your husband's mom for real? how does she know him? how did she find him? who told her his name? how did she know how to get a hold of him? why did he say yes? why did he even answer the phone? why doesn't he already have holiday plans? did his family die? is his wife's family dead? does he know your mother in law from a past life? was she his chemistry teacher? an intramural soccer coach? is your ex-boyfriend her other fucking son?! 

i used to not fully understand what people meant when they talked about about hypothetical boundaries, because i would rather be buried alive than impose on anyone or piss someone off who won't immediately dismiss themselves from my life, but this is a textbook example of overstepping one's bounds. this is crossing the brightest red line and is also literally shocking? i have a mother-in-law, and i don't think she could even name any of my exes and i wrote two motherfucking books about them. what is this? who does this? do you live in a soap opera? what is this thing people have with making their holidays the most awkward and horrible time imaginable? even if everyone else is totally cool with it, and how could they be cool with it this is a fucking bananas situation, you mean to tell me no one is going to notice or be affected by the burning hatred radiating from your end of the table? i don't wanna eat my green bean casserole with someone glaring at me! all these people are gonna just pass the gravy and push dressing around on their plates while you are apoplectic at the kids' table? THIS IS THE MOST UNREASONABLE SHIT I'VE EVER HEARD. obviously these people are sadists hell bent on destroying you and rather than shredding the brussels sprouts this year maybe you should call a divorce lawyer because this is an untenable situation to say the least. otherwise, two words: cage match.

how do you politely tell your thanksgiving host that you have dietary restrictions?


a good host will ask when they extend the invitation. a good guest will understand that if that list contains more than a handful of things that maybe they should stay home with a bag of rice and a glass of tap water and not stress out a nice person who was just trying to invite your sad gassy ass to dinner. i have a dreaded irritable bowel disease that makes being a fun, carefree, spontaneous person an impossibility. thanksgiving is a particularly dreadful conundrum for myself and the similarly afflicted (my new band name) because not only does it involve copious amounts of irresistible hard to process foods meant to be consumed in front of a large number of people who don't understand why you keep declining the corn, but the meal often begins at 930 in the morning and continues through somewhere around january 21st. nothing stresses me out more than being held hostage all day in a place i'm not sure i can comfortably take a shit. and i don't mean "ugh the bathroom is small," i mean "ugh the bathroom is small and it's located smack in the middle of a high-traffic hallway between the kitchen and the dining room and the walls are thin and there's no lock on the door and this loud ass toddler won't stop telling anyone who will listen that it smells like poop." people always want you to show up at dawn for a meal they're going to serve at 5 in the evening, which they won't come out and tell you because they know that you'll show up at 4:58. and it might be okay to take a chance on the casserole if you thought you'd be back in the safety of your car by 6:30, but nooooooo they gotta pull out a deck of cards between the salad and the turkey, make you win an hourlong flag football game in the yard before coughing up the rolls, then insist upon a three mile hike between dinner and dessert. i'm not taking my intestinal scar tissue on a brisk walk while a bunch of collard greens tries to squeeze through it! so do what i do and be brutally honest. people who love you, or even just like you, don't want you to be in distress and/or destroy their bathrooms, and they really don't want to watch the football game next to you in the emergency room. just say listen _______ i can't just commit an entire day to you and the mashed potatoes you put cream cheese in. you either gotta do a broth course with an applesauce chaser or i gotta stay the fuck home.

we’ve had thanksgiving with the same family for 10+ years now, but we would really like to do it just with our nuclear family this year—and for the years to come. how do we break up with the other family?


you know the wild thing about this is that they probably fucking hate you, too. they're probably sitting home RIGHT NOW groaning over where to put your ungrateful asses in the seating chart this year and sighing at all your peanut and gluten sensitivities they have to consider while making the grocery list. no one ever wants to do anything, especially if it requires a lot of work, especially especially if it requires coordinating with a whole ass other family. my absolute favorite pastime is "the other person cancelled the plans." every time i schedule a thing i immediately wish i hadn't, then i anxiously wait for the other person to text me that their dog is sick or their complicated skincare routine is more important or they got locked out of their car or their mom needs them to install an air conditioner or they have strep throat or they got robbed or their boss literally chained them to the desk at work or they're afraid of melting in the rain or every restaurant in town is closed or they just got dumped or the challenge finale is on or they dropped their phone in the toilet or they have to go to the emergency dentist or they took their bra off and don't want to move now or there's a new lacroix flavor they have to try or there's a small wonder marathon on or the romaine lettuce recall is really bumming them out or they need to look at every post on their crush's instagram going back four years or their cat is sick or they fell off a ladder and have to go to the hospital or they just want to eat a bag of candy corn for dinner or they died literally any excuse is fine as long as i don't have to leave my fucking home. and we don't attempt to raincheck for at least four months.

so give that long-suffering family the only thing anyone truly wants: the gift of your absence. via text. because no one likes talking on the phone.

if i receive a bottle of wine as a gift from a dinner guest and it is not appropriate for the meal, must i serve it? or is it okay not to open it at all?

IMAGINE KNOWING THIS. i'm not even being snarky, i am genuinely mystified by the idea that a person can look at a bottle of wine and know that it isn't going to go with the food in the oven. more than that, i can't imagine eating a bite of food then spitting out the wine it was served with because they don't match. what is this skill, good breeding? did you learn this in finishing school? is this what rich people teach their kids instead of empathy and good manners?! the most sophisticated pairing in my life is lukewarm sprite and doritos, please laugh in my face if i ever turn my nose up at a white wine served with a meaty pasta. if i do turn down wine it'll be because i have the palate of a five year old who only drinks juice. also, this taps into my very deep anxieties about being an uncultured guest in a civilized person's home. i'm always in the discount aisle at the wine store like "will these people know i am stupid and poor?" and now i know THE ANSWER IS YES. so from the perspective of an idiot who brought a bottle of walgreens wine to a sommelier's house i would say to graciously accept it then immediately put it away, right next to that bottle of seagram's i brought last time.


i’m normally a thanksgiving orphan. so i need tips on visiting friends’ homes. what should i bring as a hostess gift? should i offer to make something? also, what do i do if family drama erupts at the table? what are some polite ways to not engage in awkward or controversial conversation?

hello from the equally bereaved! i've been crashing other people's thanksgiving dinners since high school, and man it's a good gig. first of all, you get to be the glamorous outsider who doesn't have any horrible history with any of the gross uncles and estranged children crammed awkwardly around the table. no one is going to bring up that one terrible thing you did in 1987, no one is going to ask why you're fat now or if your job still sucks or when your boyfriend is getting out of prison. they haven't heard about any of the drugs you used to take or remember the time you got stood up at the altar or that honestly you don't really know where syria is? you get to just breeze in wearing clothes they have no idea you've worn for the past three days still smelling like that one girl you promised you'd stop hooking up with a year ago. you'll provide a welcome distraction from all the shit they hate about each other, and you can lie about being allergic to whatever they're serving that you don't want to eat and no one can pull out your childhood medical records and bust you. you can regale a rapt, wide-eyed audience with fantastical stories they won't know aren't the least bit true, and you can steer any potential awkwardness whatever way you choose because guess what: they aren't your family so you never have to see them ever again. and if they fight? relish in it! other people's fights are like in-person tv! but don't you dare make anything, because it will be 1 better or 2 worse than the shit they cooked and you don't need either of those headaches. bring the host some flowers or something useful like a couple xanax. just make sure you don't bring shitty wine that doesn't go with the ham salad, you plebe.

this year i am anticipating a dinnertime discussion similar to that of thanksgiving a couple years ago (right after the last presidential election) and am already dreading it. differing political views back then led to a heated argument, and i can only imagine what might pop up this time around. how do i politely suggest that everyone please pass on the politics?

haha wow that's weird i'm starting every conversation i have for the rest of my life with "who did you vote for in 2016?" and depending on your answer you can get out of my fucking house or we can fucking fight and then you can get out of my fucking house.



how do you deal with hosting family members for thanksgiving who aren’t on speaking terms?

finally something i'm actually an expert in! the homeostasis of the cooper-irby sisterhood is "maybe i'll text you on your birthday" at best, so suffering through a holiday meal or retirement party or ribbon-cutting ceremony where one or all of us is pretending another is dead is par for the fucking course. it's not even awkward anymore. i haven't spoken to one of my sisters in two years and it's great. we didn't really even have a fight; she got mad at me, i blocked her from my phone, everything has been great ever since. for her too, i'm sure, but i'll never actually know because i don't talk to that bitch anymore! i'm a big believer in doing a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the relationships in your life, and if the ratio is off you gotta cut the dead weight loose. that is the realest self-care. anyway here's how it would go down if we accidentally found ourselves in the same room as a turkey on the fourth thursday of november: i would 1 turn and leave because i'd rather be home nursing a chicken pot pie in front of an svu marathon anyway or 2 talk to her, because even if i couldn't think of anything nice to say to that unrelenting asshole i could at least grumble "hi remember how we have the same mom?" and then plop some cranberry sauce on my plate and go back to not speaking to her. so let them do that.

what's the quintessential dish for your thanksgiving dinner?

i don't care about anything but the yams. i made a pan of macaroni and cheese and a homemade dressing (even though i would happily eat the kind from a box) and i risked my precious digits slicing onions on a mandolin that we breaded and fried because my wife won't put the perfectly acceptable ones from a can atop the green bean casserole, but who cares about any of that if there aren't any candied yams on the menu? we outsourced the turkey because nothing is more boring than cooking a disgusting dry bird, we could either have pie or not, and 
here's how you make candied yams the right way, ie the way i made them last night:
1 buy four pounds of decently-sized, good looking sweet potatoes.
2 peel them (i use a paring knife because they have too many grooves and crevices for a peeler), then preheat the oven to 375.
3 chop off the ends and cut them into manageable chunks.
4 it might just be superstitious and unnecessary to rinse them under some hot water but do it anyway.
5 butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish and toss the potatoes in.
6 in a saucepan melt: 2/3 c brown sugar, 6 tbsp butter, 1 tsp ground 1/2 tsp cinnamon, a dash of salt, a dash of nutmeg, and a dash of ground ginger over medium heat. bring the mixture to a boil; stir until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
7 stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract.
8 pour the butter mixture evenly over the potatoes, then cover with foil.
9 bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and stir, bake for another 30 minutes until bubbly and delicious.
marshmallow addendum:
if you like them, not everyone does, remove the pan from the oven and bump the temperature up to 450. cover the potatoes with mini marshmallows and bake until they reach that perfect combination of golden/melty, 3 to 5 minutes but you should hover nearby because it can go south real quick.

happy thanksgiving. gobble til you wobble! and don't take any shit off of anyone today, unless it's literal shit and you are helping to clean up a creamed spinach casualty. forever thankful for those of you who continue to read a fucking blog on al gore's internet in the year of our lord 2018.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

is lifetime's YOU the best and most romantic show that ever existed?

ummm, the short answer is yes it absolutely is. who the fuck do we know at the emmys?! HOW DO I GET THIS SHOW THE RECOGNITION IT DESERVES. okay so sunday night was the season finale of the juiciest show you probably aren't watching and look i know you're skeptical and i'm not a lawyer but please enjoy the ride as i lay out my extremely compelling case:

exhibit A: hot soulful lone wolf lurking sexily around a bookstore. is it a trope? it's a well-worn trope, right? the moody, sensitive young man who reads? sure it is. but i don't know, man: IT'S FUCKING EFFECTIVE, EVEN THOUGH I LITERALLY KNOW BETTER. don't get me wrong, nothing is worse than a man with too many opinions but a man with too many opinions about books is somewhat tolerable, because at least he's reading, so hopefully he's absorbed some facts.

exhibit B: i would give the entire contents of my bank account to someone who was interested in what i'm reading. you know what i like to read? i mean really like to read, the most? the embarrassing and oft-maligned bastard child of the literary universe: POPULAR FICTION. do i read other shit? oh, for sure. i've struggled through some of the best literary fiction! agonized over a lot of dense prose! fallen asleep on top of many ~important~ works! but you know what i buy with my own money? and move to the top of the pile when a new one comes out?! john grisham's books. fucking jodi picoult. i'm breathlessly waiting for some new gillian flynn. i have a stack of horror books as tall as i am on my desk. plus i read everything oprah and reese witherspoon tell me and your mom to read: murder stories, but gentle; uplifting women who admonish me to be bold and hold space without explaining what that actually how to actually do those things; shit about "the heartland." and, setting aside that this dude is a stalker who projected all sorts of manic pixie dreamgirl fantasies onto a literal walking bowl of oatmeal and that the number of david baldacci books i've read alone would make me fail his literacy test, it was almost sweet that as he harshly judged the reading habits of the very people keeping his dusty little bookstore alive he climbed down off his high horse for five fucking seconds to give the book his future victim chose to purchase his stamp of approval.

exhibit C: that oatmilk drinking benji deserved to die and it was very satisfying to watch when he did. the problem with my watching these kinds of shows where the lonely loser gets revenge on the beautiful, popular people that don't know he's alive is that i too easily identify with said loser and end up rooting for all the wrong shit. so many times during this show i've had to check myself like "wait, am i actually a sociopath?" because something bad has happened to a person who absolutely deserves it and my only response is to shrug it off like BYE BITCH. this is the kind of conflicting show where all the people you're supposed to care about are aggressively unlikable, so then you have no choice but to take the murderer's side. or maybe that's just me, because i'm a bad person!

exhibit D: uncle jesse! JOHN STAMOS LOOKING REAL GOOD, Y'ALL. he's totally unethical (he smokes a joint during his therapy sessions!) and has absolutely zero boundaries (he sleeps with his patients!) and i am certainly not a fan of his professional vest? but hot damn he looks good enough to dip into a bucket of greek yogurt.

exhibit E: beck is a human madewell ad and that is extremely my shit. sidebar: did you know that madewell has fat clothes?! i'm not even sure how i stumbled upon this information but once i did i immediately bought four of something called the kent cardigan made from cozy yarn because honestly 1 i have no impulse control and 2 i'm not trying to be anything but cozy this winter or ever. anyway, i read vulture's tv recaps because i'm a monster who can't just watch a show, i have to watch it and read someone's detailed analysis of the thing i just fucking watched, and jessica goldstein's are the best and when she called beck (the YOU in the YOU of it all, which i almost just referred to as the YOU-niverse but i respect the collective you more than that) a walking madewell outlet store (or something like that?) i screamed. she's like if avocado toast was a person, which would be a hacky fucking joke if the show didn't mention avocado toast multiple times. honestly you should just watch it for all the millennial stereotypes that i hope were satirically inserted by a writers room full of salty fifty-year-olds because if not that's kind of "hashtag depressing."

exhibit F: blythe is the best character on television and deserves her own spinoff immediately. okay so here's the one unintentionally funny part of this shit that i can't stop cackling about: DO WRITERS REALLY ACT LIKE THIS?! in case you couldn't tell by this hastily thrown-together blog, i am a writer. and i have lots of friends who are writers. and i have never talked about "pages" in my life, writing them or reading them or turning them in, and sure it probably sounds foreign to me because i'm a human toilet who writes about cats, but also the way they talk about writing is so funny and weird. i love it so fucking much. everyone is so pretentious and talking about writing colonies and throwing literary-themed parties. all my writer friends are hilarious morons (even the famous ones!) and they write in unmade beds in their underwear while shoveling refined sugar into their faces and crying, not in the sun-dappled corners of their picturesque apartments while sipping coconut milk cortados and tapping earnestly away at a vintage typewriter. anyway blythe is a fellow student in beck's MFA program and she is perfect. everything she says is lowkey mean and snotty and she takes herself so seriously it's comical and if she's not in season 2 lifetime can expect a sternly-worded letter typed on my finest artisanal stationery and sprinkled with crumbs from an organic meatball sub.

exhibit G: ridiculous plot twists! i'm aware i've already spoiled a lot of shit in this show for the uninitiated but let me break something to you: LIFE IS A FUCKING SPOILER ALERT. so much random shit happens from week to week and i know that might be a turnoff for you geniuses but if you shut off the part of your brain that wrote a dissertation on why breaking bad was such revolutionary television and just sink deep into the warm bath of these attractive idiots who don't password protect their electronic devices or hang curtains and have no idea when a stranger has been rooting through all the shit in their one-person apartment (listen i'm not the underwear police but if i was missing some I WOULD KNOW, holy shit!) even when homeboy is hiding in the goddamn shower while they brush their fucking teeth in the same bathroom, i promise you it's worth it. even though it's not the americans or whatever. don't people like fun anymore?!

exhibits H-Z: xoxo gossip girl dan humphrey was the love of my young-ish life. and i'm sure penn badgley has done other worthwhile things with his time (hey i watched that jeff buckley movie!) but here he's channeling that same sad creep energy and i am deeply deeply into it. is he scary? kind of! he stalks the most boring girl on earth and that is very unsettling to me! i deleted my facebook a few weeks ago but if i hadn't then i definitely would consider it after watching this dude piece together the internet life of a random woman who bought a book he respected while not wearing a bra and trying to fit himself into it. OR WOULD I. i don't know if the person swiping my credit card to pay for three different types of doritos i'm going to pair together like a fucking snack food sommelier along with whatever iris johansen paperback is on sale next to the register is secretly in love with me, but i'd probably be into it. i mean they're literally seeing me at my worst, isn't that what romance is actually all about? (it isn't, i know. it's illegal, i get it.) anyway gossip girl's cheekbones remain exquisite, and his voiceover is sexy, and we get to watch him do some PG-13 boning!

closing argument: I'M NOT WRONG. and prestige television is fine but listen, sometimes i don't wanna think that hard. i still don't know what the fuck westworld is about! i'm too dumb for mr. robot! is legion actually good? i don't think i really understand the stranger things universes? sharp objects was confusing to me, and i read the fucking book! anyway i'm here for whatever the opposite of these dense and convoluted shows are. well, at least until fargo and true detective and billions come back.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

summer beauty tips for the damp and profoundly irritated.

i bought all this shit with my own money. money i probably should have invested in an IRA or a piece of property to leave behind for my cats, but my own personal money nonetheless. whenever i take these deep dives into my luxurious tastes inevitably some asshole dusts off her old gateway to fire off a missive to my inbox about overpriced lipsticks and why she would never spend $62 on face spray (aveda botanical toning mist, which i have hyperlinked for your convenience here) or whatever frivolous shit i'm obsessed with. and that's cool, bitch! you do whatever the fuck you want in your house but around here we salve the wounds of our impoverished childhoods with a balm from clĂ© de peau. i have a lot of store brand chapsticks and sally hansen insta dry but if i wanna dump everything in barneys on my secured mastercard for people ~trying to rebuild their credit~ then that’s my fucking journey. this isn’t some orwellian guide for how you absolutely must live your life it’s just my black ass trying to get my goop on OOPS I MEAN MY BLOOP.

a note before i launch into this excavation of my extremely shameful personal indulgences: i don't typically post links because you can look the shit up or screenshot it for later or however you go about purchasing items the internet seduces you into purchasing, and also because none of this shit is sponsored so what the fuck do i care how/where you get it? the minute someone offers to sponsor this dumb blog you better believe i'm changing the name to BITCHES GOTTA LA MER but until then i don't have codes or affiliate links, i have an amex i got on a five hour layover at detroit metro airport that i sometimes buy tom ford soleil blanc with. so if you want to drive around behind the la labo truck waiting for something to fall off it that's cool. i'm not gonna lecture you about amazon, sometimes i want a drone to drop shit off at my door in two days, too! i love convenience!! i'll try to link indie shops where i can just to make sure you're looking at the right shit but otherwise who cares?! life is so hard, man. do whatcha can to feel good.

sun! so i spent the summer working in los angeles and the one thing i learned other than how to play it extremely cool when a bonafide celebrity walks into the restaurant you're actively sweating in (boris kodjoe ate lunch at a table near me and all of my organs liquified at the table oof what a mess) is that LA is a sweltering desert hellscape that will wreak havoc on your gorgeous midwestern skin. i was there for ten minutes before my face turned into a dried-out scrap of imitation leather, and rather than make friends or sightsee i spent the first weekend there at a sephora in pasadena letting the sunday riley rep on duty sell me a fantasy about glowing summer skin while rubbing expensive potions onto my face. i'm an easy mark for a salesperson because 1 i want to Listen Attentively while being a Very Good Girl and 2 i have extreme guilt about wasting people's time (remind me to tell you about the time i almost bought a beat-up kia i didn't actually want because i felt so ashamed for taking a test drive i had been manipulated into) so as he demonstrated the power of the wildly expensive good genes he was delicately swiping across my cheeks and soothingly describing the difference in my face using luna sleeping oil overnight would make i transferred the balance of my 401k into my checking account so i could buy all of it. what am i gonna do, research?! he had an accent! that's literally all the proof i need! i already had the UFO oil and the CEO moisturizer and you might just have to ask someone who's seen me but my skin looks amazing? i use osun face wash made by kissed by a bee (linked here so you don't buy the wrong shit) and occasionally i'll use a toner (the kiehl's cucumber one is my current jam) and i can't do ten skincare steps but i can do these. okay, i can do these once a day on most days. but never at night, unless i leave some philosophy purity wipes and a tube of first aid beauty ultra repair cream by the bed.

most of the soaps and shampoos i've been using lately are extremely boring and not worth telling you about because you could just close your eyes and grab something off the shelf at the grocery store and that's probably what i used this morning. i am definitely not a practical person, but it does nick little pieces off my soul every time i rinse an expensive soap down the drain. where is the fun in that?! i don't shave and i prefer to remain fully clothed no matter the season so it's just dove bars + head and shoulders in my shower. i'm in a "has hair" phase this summer because i didn't want to cheat on dre, my barber, while i was in LA, and my long-tormented scalp is as fussy and difficult as ever! this is my current regimen, which may or may not be in the rotation next week, as everyone knows the only point of dealing with natural hair is fucking around with all the new shit that comes out to put on it: 1 i clean my scalp every time i'm in the shower, and i know i'm not supposed to but my scalp is a horrorshow sorry! 2 then i spritz earth's nectar green olive and lavender scalp oil sporadically on my scalp and rub it in before 3 i finally put some sort of styling cream on it, either paul mitchell the conditioner or lush r&b, which smells like an all-white day party ie the entire cast of insecure. 

moon! 
so during my neverending biblical period i got thrush from being wet all the time and my body turned into a literal ball of yeast and fire, and in a fit of desperation i sought every natural remedy i could get my hands on to keep from taking a fork to all of my damp itchy parts. nothing actually worked because nature is a scam, but i did effectively make the switch to natural deodorant with fairly decent results because the yeast in my armpits was particularly fussy about the real stuff. the first thing i had to come to terms with is "bitch you are just going to be sweaty." there's no escaping it. if you switch to natural deodorant and get out of bed and walk around know that you will do so with full swamp ass. it's just a thing you have to come to terms with. honestly, it's made me an early person who beats everyone else to the restaurant because i have to wring out whatever i'm wearing before they get there. "oh no i'm not naturally prompt, i got to this meeting twenty minutes early so i could sit on the toilet in the air conditioning with my dress off before you got here." and it's fine it's just...an adjustment. i had a "let's just get drinks!" situation right before i left town and the entire time i was literally gulping my beer to fend off heat stroke my boobs were sitting in my bralette like two recently-birthed puppies, just hot and slimy and smelling like dog food. the silver lining is that most of these natural deos come in scents that blend well with natural human musk, so it's not like when your body is clashing with "peony petals" or whatever the fuck conventional shit smells like. it's already, like, slightly funky? so when you start to turn sour around 4pm it all just kind of goes together. my go-to jams during these dog days of summer: aesop deodorant roll-on, which aminatou sow shamed me into buying; tom's long lasting deodorant in maine woodspice, which already is halfway to stinky so it won't depress you as much when the real you breaks through; and the greeench powder from lush which is surprisingly effective for some shit you are definitely gonna shake all over your outfit and shoes and probably accidentally ingest.

this is also a story about how i threw all my foundations in the garbage, too, because no matter how opulent or expensive your base is when you move through the world slick as a dolphin because you no longer wear antiperspirant every single thing you slather on your face will turn to paste. and what's to conceal when your face looks like a tacky impressionist painting that hasn't dried yet?! so the only things i am willing to tolerate on my moist i mean ~dewy~ face in the summertime are: 1 sunscreen, but lesbihonest i don't always remember because i'm never really outside and 2 liquid/cream blush, my absolute favorite holy grail desert island makeup product. sunscreens are too specific to reliably recommend to another person but i like the supergoop everyday one because it has an SPF of 50 (actually i don't care about that?) and it smells great (this is the real reason duh). glossier cloud paint is the absolute fucking best because you only need a tiny amount so that little tube is gonna last a minute, and you can just dab dab dab it on your cheeks and the upper bridge of your nose (LIFE HACK) and go from looking like a haggard corpse bride to a person who actually eats vegetables in a matter of seconds. 

stars! i always like to trick myself into believing that i can be the kind of person who wears eye makeup but you know what? i can't! my eyes just get so gooey and sticky and i can't help but blindly poke my fingers into them and make mascara soup on my face. but that doesn't stop me from occasionally trying. i got the glossier lash slick because i am susceptible to their advertisements despite the fact that they make me feel like a withered old crone, and i'm sure it's fine but i sneezed within five minutes of putting it on and gave myself a slick black eye. i also always have a tube of clinique natural and glossy because i came of age in the 90s and clinique will forever hold a place in my black honey heart. i stopped doing any eyebrow maintenance years ago because it just felt like too much work, then thicc brows came back and i could pretend to be on trend rather than just lazy. so now i get the anastasia beverly hills brow definer and kind of color in the sparse parts then use the spoolie end to brush it but honestly i'm not sure how much it does or doesn't do because i have three different colors and it makes zero difference which one i use? i'm sure the problem is my application and not the product and who knows if i have chocolate brows or dark brown brows but it does pull whatever color they are together nicely. i have a few marc jacobs eyeliner pencils that are smooth and pigmented and beautiful but the last time i wore one this dude asked if i had an eye infection and that was the end of that.


i am a veritable connoisseur of lip products. and i have been on tour twice now and the question people ask most, after "do you still talk to fred?" (i do!), is "how come you're not wearing lipstick?!" the truth is: it's hot and i'm a gross child. next time i go read to an audience about my vagina it's gonna have to be deep into november, when i can dazzle you with my impressive collection of cat hair-covered sweaters and serve a flawless matte burgundy lip. 
before it was 90 fucking degrees outside every day i could get away with pat mcgrath elson lips or keep my stila beso intact but when it's the time of year that matte lips fight a losing battle with salty sweat and unquenchable thirst i resort to my new wave: burt's bees tinted lip balms. though i'm willing to remain parched and dehydrated through the winter months for the sake of beauty i just can't get away with it in the summertime, and i get grossed out by a sticky lip print on my glass (or worse, whatever reusable bottle type thing i'm pretending to care about using), so tinted balms are a way to have some color on my lips without leaving color all over everything i come into contact with. i'm also really trying to pretend to be a casual, easygoing person by dabbling in lip stains? but both the clarins water lip stain and the urban decay lo-fi lip mousse i've been trying just make me look like i applied a real lipstick incorrectly right before eating a whole pizza. and i'm not saying that would never happen, it just didn't happen today.

quasars! i have been a fragrance person all my life. from the first bottle of sand and sable i shoplifted from the walgreens on green bay road when i was in high school to this bottle of diptyque fleur de peau i just cracked open in a vain attempt to hurry autumn along i don't care if i gotta buy stock in zyrtec you will never catch me walking around without perfume dabbed on the sweaty grime behind my ears. my old summer faves are jo malone french lime blossom and annick goutal eau d'hadrien but i mostly want to smell like a dirty old hippie so i typically mix bad witch and poppet oils from whisper sisters (two dope witches in detroit that make scented oils you can purchase here) OR dark wave and lightning paw from olo in portland, a company my girl melanie hipped me to that makes the best stuff (okay fine, CLICK HERE). i also only wanna live/work in a space that smells good? which is a fucking cop out because i could sit inside a garbage can with my laptop and write jokes, but it gives me an excuse to pretend that i have depth slash enjoy working by candlelight. i really don't! i do my best writing at 230 in the afternoon!! anyway, i like to set a ~vibe~ with: ds and durga's tomb of the eagles (honestly idk, the description says it smells like "bones and the sea" but i would describe it as "nice flowers"); byredo's peyote poem (again, the website says "spicy ode to juniper berries" and i would say "pleasant trees" but that's why their copywriters make the big bucks i guess); and boy smells' kush (them: "green, bright, and a wisp of delicate floral," me: "not really like weed!").


pooping in the summertime can be the ninth circle of hell, especially if there's insufficient bathroom air conditioning and you're just sitting in a steamy closet with the smell of microwaved shit closing in around you. is there anything worse than sweating while painfully expelling all of that grilled sweet summer corn you enthusiastically consumed at the neighbor's barbecue? haha no! except maybe when those ribs you wolfed down come sliding through? i love a good nag champa incense cone from the beauty supply when i'm in the bathroom, especially because the slow burn gives me an excuse to sit in there for a long time while avoiding human interaction. but those aren't practical for everyday life, so i keep a bottle of aesop post poo drops around because they are fancy and smell great and look like a scientist made them. it comes in an amber bottle with a dropper and you just drip a little in the bowl and it smells like you gave birth to a lemon grove instead of a greasy ball of half-digested chipotle. i'm not an expert on many things but poop is high on the list of jeopardy categories i could do well in, so please listen to me when i tell you that idk what the fuck magic poo-pourri is made of but how did any of us shit in public before now?! i'm telling you, as a person with crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis who did a cross-country tour and shit in every airport from logan to lax, that i do not go ANYWHERE without a bottle of poo-pourri in my bag. i have extolled its virtues to the many TSA agents who dumped out my belongings before giving me a deep and thorough gynecological exam to make sure i wasn't hiding a mini gun in my labia. if you see me anywhere, at any time, there is a bottle of poo-pourri somewhere on my person. don't be shy. ask to use some.

ugh god we have another, what, six weeks until humidifier season? until then i'll be over here sitting directly in front of the window unit airing out my gross armpits, gazing longingly at all the turtlenecks hanging neatly in my closet jk jk shoved recklessly into a hamper. see you in a few months with my yearly rundown of which body oils are worth absolutely destroying your nicest fall outfits.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

hot pocket.

hello, i got my uterus microwaved. anyone who has ever read a women's magazine while praying for death in a stalled grocery line can tell you that march is the perfect time for spring cleaning, and i decided that rather than trying to figure out how to "spark joy" or accidentally pass out from oven cleaner fumes i would instead check myself into the hospital and have my uterine walls scraped clean and then set on fire so that it might sit dormant and useless inside me, like my appendix or my soul. my period has been weird from the minute it showed up, rude and temperamental and inconsistent, same as every single boyfriend i had between 2004 and that 2-year period of celibacy during which i always made sure to thoroughly chew my food lest i choke on a discounted slab of salisbury steak i'd only partially defrosted for my evening meal. i'm not even gonna sugarcoat it: throughout much of the last decade i have been so preoccupied with whatever is going on with my back butt that i have only paid fleeting attention to what is going on with the front one. and fuck calling the doctor, whose prescription of TRY TO BE LESS STRESSED is not a real thing that i can actually be, okay?! i have long suffered the anxiety-ridden latenight google searches of the woman burdened with an irregular menstrual cycle:
"can i get pregnant?"
"am i actually pregnant?"
"where has my period been for the last three months?"
"can that flowers in the attic thing actually happen to me?"
"are white culottes a mistake?"
"do you need to have a period to stay alive?"

for the most part, my period has never really interfered with my daily activities, which is 100% the only reason i ever try to solve any of my problems. has it smelled weird? okay sure, but that's totally normal, at least according to my doctor the health and fitness page in cosmopolitan magazine. has it gone missing for months at a time? yes to that, too, but it's not like i ever really missed it. and it's just so easy to keep spending all my tampon money on manicures and not think about sending a search party into my cervix to see what the fuck is going on in there when month after month of fearlessly wearing light-colored pants just slips on by. if this gross collection of mucus and nitrogen wants me to acknowledge its existence, then it's gonna need to erupt like a geyser on an amtrak train. otherwise, SORRY BUT I HAVE SHOWS TO WATCH.

and then five months ago, after some months of semi-regularity i can only attribute to eating more vegetables and not talking to any men, the dam broke. i was dirtying up a fancy hotel in oppressively-hot austin just minding my business and trying not to spontaneously combust on a 90 degree day in "autumn," when i woke up in a pool of my own sticky, clotting sloughed-off endometrial cells and vaginal secretions. when i first reluctantly pried my eyes open and registered the cold, soiled diaper feeling happening below the waistband of my stegosaurus pajama bottoms i thought, with a cheerfulness that is quite foreign to me, "wow my butt sweats a lot!" it was definitely not sweat. and i don't know what's on your list of nightmare situations that you pray never happen to you (number one on my list? ever witnessing any sort of crime), but please slide UNWITTINGLY DESTROYING A HOTEL BED to the top if it isn't there already. 

i oozed out of bed, trying not to further damage any blindingly white property i will never be able to afford to replace, and calculated how best to remove my clothes without turning the room into something from the shining. and then, once they were off, how could i clean them? what was i supposed to do with the carnage that had occurred between the bleached sheets? does the intercontinental ever allow people to shame wash their own soiled bedding?! i texted amelia, the only adult in my phone who knows how to capably handle a sensitive etiquette situation, and she told me to pull everything off the bed and roll it into a tight ball (because this signifies to the staff that something horrible happened in there and under no circumstances should they hazard a glance) and put everything on the floor, then leave all the cash i had in my wallet on the bed and find someplace air conditioned to bleed all day so i wouldn't have to make awkward, apologetic small talk with the person tasked with sorting the blood-splattered towels of a person whose period tracker just reads ??? every month. is this what it's like to be drake? i wondered aloud to myself, picturing him singing softly as he neatly rolled sheets soaked in expensive champagne and various bodily fluids into a tight cylinder, kicking aside discarded louboutins and candy wrappers. no, he definitely has an assistant for that.

i never stopped bleeding! the next day, i bled on delta flight 1822 from austin to detroit. i bled all through friendsgiving dinner two weeks later, during which i sat in a diaper on a dark-colored towel and refused the cranberry sauce because it looked too much like my period. i bled in my reindeer pjs on christmas eve, hoping santa would leave me an industrial pack of depends under the tree. i bled through the new year. i was still bleeding on valentine's day.

i just spent the past two harried months squinting at flight information displays in DC and san francisco and omaha airports while lugging twenty pounds of leggings i tried not to spill anything on during my book tour, and i knew there was no way on earth i was going to be able to do that while also worrying that my personal red wedding could strike, in public, at any moment. so i called my new doctor, one i found who i knew wouldn't prescribe deep breathing and essential oils to not fix my out of whack hormones, and asked for a hysterectomy. which i thought would be easy, like ordering a pizza or getting an uber. i thought i had at least most of the necessary pieces of the hysterectomy jigsaw puzzle: an aversion to inexplicably bleeding like a wounded animal for weeks at a time, being old enough to remember watching gimme a break while sitting cross legged on an unironic shag carpet, a wife. 

but did you know that 38 is still "young?" and that queers can have babies?! (jk jk every gay couple i know has, like, nine kids.) anyway my dude was like "lol yeah right we're leaving it in you don't have fibroids" even as i was actively bleeding through my underwear and pants, gooey red jelly seeping onto that noisy white crinkle paper they line the exam table with. but he did offer to do a hysteroscopy (a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the uterus so the doctor can read whatever ancient hieroglyphics have been written on its walls; i imagine there was some hastily written "daniel was here, bitch" graffiti on the closest wall of the cave); a D and C (dilation and curettage, where they scrape the uterine lining off with a soup spoon); and an endometrial ablation (i think there are multiple delicious options on the ablation menu, but pretty sure mine was burned off with a microwave wand, which will never not be cool to me). a veritable smorgasbord of gynecological delights.

i have not been penetrated that deeply in a very long time and it's a bummer that i had to sleep through it, although the fentanyl they pumped into my veins afterward was as good as any dick i've ever had. i'd never been under general anesthesia before, and the experience wasn't like grey's anatomy at all? there was no sabotage being plotted in any supply closets, no gunman busting in and taking us hostage even though i desperately need the kidney they're about to implant in me and if i don't get it i will die, no McDreamy gazing dreamily down at me while sensually telling me to count backwards from ten as i lust over each individual coarse bit of stubble in his smoldering five o'clock shadow. oh no, in outpatient operating room number three McTired barked "YOU'RE GONNA FEEL SOME HEAT" in my general direction then my brain caught fire for two seconds and i disappeared from earth, only to regain consciousness in a room full of very nice nurses who brought me cold drinks that i struggled not to throw up. and then they gave me a bag of disposable underwear to leak into and sent me home where i could whine to my heart's content, like the baby i would no longer be capable of giving birth to.

it's two months later and i feel as good as a person with untreated anxiety can allow herself to feel, which is to say that i am cautiously optimistic because i haven't seen aunt flo in a while but also battling the sinking feeling of dread that has formed in the pit of my stomach because i just used the term aunt flo. do people even say that anymore? am i even funny? is this totally dumb?! now that i don't have to think about accidentally staining my chair at olive garden i have so much more bandwidth to worry about other inconsequential shit! bring on the unflattering and seasonally inappropriate white pants!!1!!11!