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Everything. Nothing.

cats sleeping, plants growing

It’s raining.

Cats are sleeping.

Plants are growing.

Stew is stewing.

It’s Eric’s birthday. He got a shop vac.

I have a to-do list and it’s mostly crossed out.

to-do list

But mostly, the cats. THOSE CATS. I’m happily cliche about photographing them on an ironing board.

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Date Night

When people say just wait for the dust to settle, they have clearly never (ever) used a home fire extinguisher. I hadn’t either until the other night. Let me tell you, it’s not nearly as fun as you think it’s going to be, like when people who are rolling around aimlessly in space use an extinguisher to direct them back to the space station. That looks like fun. Regular old kitchen usage? Not so much.

See, I was cooking beets. This was clearly my first mistake seeing as how I don’t really like beets. But they are cool and pretty and it was date night with my boyfriend/partner/SO/sweetie. (Our new year’s resolutions dictated Tuesday would become date night. This was the inaugural.) So I roasted beets wrapped in aluminum foil at about 450 degrees in preparation for a lovely puree and a lovely dinner before a half-priced movie.

Five minutes in, I remembered to put in a pan to catch drippings. That’s when I saw the fire. OK, flame. Whatever. It was an inch and half high and sparking from the bottom coil burner. It flickered. It spiked. It seemed like it was snaking down the burner ever so slowly. I panicked.

I’ve dealt in stovetop fires before. Baking soda did the trick. So I fumbled for the baking soda hidden in the cabinet next to the stove. I dumped some on the flame. Nothing. Still burning.

Wait. Didn’t I hear you weren’t supposed to use baking soda now? No. Maybe water? Should I pour water on it?

I know what you’re thinking: electrical stove + water = bad idea. But I wasn’t thinking. Logic melted into pure panic. So sure, I poured some water in a glass and then flicked some on the burner. I made that flame angry. It jumped to two inches. Sparking and shouting. I shut the oven door to “turn off” the oxygen supply. (I learned that from a Kurt Russell movie.) The flame backed down. Then just the coil pulsed red. And then the flame came back. And it wouldn’t budge.

I needed a stronger weapon. I pulled the fire extinguisher from under the sink. This is the fire extinguisher I looked at three months ago and thought: I should learn how to use that and instead went back to doting over my kombucha SCOBY. Good little bacteria colony. La lalalalala. Maybe I’ll make almond milk now! Kumbaya! So I didn’t exactly learn how to extinguish a fire. My kombucha turned out real good though.

Have you ever noticed how much fine print is on the casing of a fire extinguisher? It’s like a million flashing warning signs. And there’s this pin involved, like on a hand grenade. Like something you’re not supposed to mess with unless you’re REALLY serious. Pulled pins make bad things happen. So the flame was burning and I was trying to read instructions, but the words just piled together, literally leaping onto themselves.

I called Eric. He would know what to do. I fumbled through the phone touch screen while hopping from side to side and whining something to the effect of ooooo oh no no no [wimper wimper] no.

“How big is the flame? Did you turn the oven off? Do you need to leave the house?” His worry made me think perhaps mine was overstated. But still the flame was burning steadily. Defiantly. Against me.

I tiptoed across our black and white tile to switch off the oven. Nothing happened. There was one thing left to do to save my two cats and rental house with leaky pipes and splintery floor. Fire extinguisher.

“How do I use this?”

Eric explained I probably had to pull the pin out but that he was driving home and he didn’t really know for sure. “Do you want to call 911?”

I grew determined. No 911. No fire trucks for a two-inch flame. That’s crazy.

The instructions finally came into focus and then I realized they are probably the easiest I’ve ever read.

1. Pull pin.

2. Stand six feet back.

3. Spray.

A thick gush of pink powder enveloped the oven – the entire kitchen. The flame burned on. I tried a little more, a little longer. The flame flickered despite the pink haze that sent me out the back door coughing and the cats scurrying for safety below beds upstairs.

I went back in. A third, extra-long spray did nothing. And so it would be. 911. Fire trucks.

It’s amazing how quickly it all happens. The call goes in. You give your address and there is no return button. No take backs even as, while you talk to the 911 operator, the flame flickers out without even a thread of smoke. “Are you sure you can’t tell them not to come?” I plead with the operator. Nope. Once it’s in, it’s in. Standing back out on the deck to cough out fumes, I saw Eric sprint from his car. [Swoon.] Everything was in motion. And the flame was out.

We surveyed the mess just as flashing lights reflected in the windows. Two trucks and a man with an axe ready to break through something. My head hung low when we told them there was no fire. No flame. No nothing. I whispered an apology. The fire people (men and women!) came in anyway, yellow storm troopers bounding through the house. We stood in the layer of pink dust staring inside the oven at … nothing. I explained what happened. It was good I called, they said. They had other questions, too, like did I turn off the breaker? Did we know what a fucking mess it was going to be to clean up?

Four hours later, after washing every last exposed item in the kitchen and shop-vacking all the way to the second floor because that pink powder has legs, there was still a layer of dust. And date night was a bust, though I’m 100 percent positive Eric was fine with it. Final words with his head in the stove, vacuuming: “You can get me a shop-vac for my birthday.”

 

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19-Year Confessional

my diary

A look back at old journal confessions. Sometimes, I picked the first sentence of an entry. Sometimes, I didn’t. Sometimes, all I could find was a song lyric.

1994: I scratch my head while I wonder how I feel about my life.

1995: My heart had just stopped breaking and now it feels like someone stole a piece from it.

1996: I just cannot figure it out.

1997: Days are flying by.

1998: I wish I weighed 10 pounds less.

1999: Now it’s just me.

2000: Paul’s dog was at work and pulled a tampon out of my bag in front of him and Julien.

2001: I cried tonight. Deep heavy sighs.

2002: No spark or chemistry, but man is he hot.

2003: Found a great apartment with a rooftop deck.

2004: God damn I was pathetic pre Prozac.

2005: [crickets]

2006 to 2007: Please reference my memoir. It’s all in there. More than you could ever possibly want to know.

2008: I AM SO MAD. I am mad about being mad.

2009: I am happy. I have not been this happy in as long as I can remember. I’m jumping out of my skin.

2010: You don’t know that I wear bloomers to bed.

2011: Because hope springs eternal.


And a stream of thoughts from 2012:

I miss how I used to be. [5/7/2013: Hey self -- REALLY?]

It’s up to me to find pleasure in the process. (Hardest thing I’ve ever done.)

I wish I had control over my hips.

I am peaceful and I am ferocious.

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Best Valentine’s Day Card Ever

Construction paper? Lindsey Lohan? Wordplay? This card has everything.

FRONT

Lindsey Lohan Valentine

INSIDE

Valentine's Day Card

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Visions of Love

Two days til V-Day. It’s a bloody retail explosion. I’ve included some faves, not a single stuffed bear because those are gross, and one questionable item I can’t decide if I or anyone should like, buy or consume.

valentine's day tree

and

Starr Hill Love Beer

and

chocolate candy

OK, can we talk about the Pinot Noir that comes in a RED PURSE-SHAPED BOX? (I didn’t buy it. I should have. The price point was too high and I couldn’t re-use the purse.)

https://omnomct.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/volc3a9re_merlot-pinot-noir.jpg

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Theme: Patience

Every week, I pick a collective intention – a sankalpa – for my yoga classes. I incorporate a reading with this theme in mind for our final savasana. All of these themes evolve out of what I’m thinking, feeling, needing right now, and my hope is my students will find something relatable and meaningful in it. This is my hope for you, too. So this week, concentrate on this idea of patience in the face of uncertainty and whatever that means to you – as it applies to your love life, or simply where you are in your life, a challenging co-worker, your Levis that aren’t offering as much room anymore (OK, OK that’s my problem).

“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

—From Rainer Maria Rilke’s 1903 Letters to a Young Poet

via Brain Pickings

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To Be or Not To Be “Facebook Official”

Does a relationship count if it’s not Facebook Official? Like, if both parties haven’t updated their status, are they really truly together? Someone recently asked me about this because her new boyfriend hadn’t updated his status even though they already had the “we’re exclusive” conversation and had been dating four months. Her concern was that not making things official on Facebook meant he wasn’t serious about her and was keeping his options open.

(My response: If the concern is about him leaving a door open for other possibilities, ask. If he cares about you and wants to be with you, he will be concerned. And if he is in fact leaving the door open, that’s also good to know. Also is him changing his status on Facebook really going to make you feel better, or is there something he isn’t doing in real life that makes you question where you stand?)

Clearly, I think the idea of Facebook or any other social media platform legitimizing a relationship or ANYTHING IN REAL LIFE is crap. Doesn’t the Internet take so much from already? (I know, I know, it gives, too. Even relationships.) Do we now have to go online to confirm what we know to be true in real life? Welllllll, according to couple’s therapist Gretchen Kelmer who studies the role of social media in relationships at University of Denver, some research does suggest that “people who disclose that they are ‘In a Relationship’ on Facebook also report being more committed to that relationship. Even among married people, we found that those whose primary Facebook photos include their spouses are less likely to split up 6 months later.” (A recent online survey for Robbins Brothers, an engagement ring store, found that half of of the people they talked to said they would update their Facebook status right away as soon as she (or he) said yes. 75% would do it within a week.)

For new couples, declaring yourself boyfriend and girlfriend to each other, then to your family and friends— this process of relationship defining means so much, especially if it’s been a long time since a relationship has stuck. Maybe you tread lightly. Maybe you don’t like massive declarations. WHAT IF YOU AREN’T EVEN ON FACEBOOK???

Four months can be early for some. Even six months. We might be committed to not seeing other people but we also might be still assessing, and it’s OK to take the time to let a relationship unfold and honor how you are feeling. If that means your relationship status doesn’t make it to the news feed quite yet, so be it. It may be less about keeping options open and more about making sure it’s right. Because those damn broken hearts that pop up when someone goes from “in a relationship” to “single” are the worst kind of declaration at the worst time. (Cue sad tuba.) Stupid emoji.

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Situation: First Date

In cleaning out my desk here at home, I found this old writing assignment from junior year in high school. I wrote it almost exactly 21 years ago to the date of “The Science of Single” being published. Coincidence? Not really.

The writing assignment was “Romanticize.” I’m guessing we were supposed to romanticize a situation. It’s quite possible I thought I was supposed to simply write about a romantic situation. I do believe I succeeded in doing both. (Hence my score 20 out of 20. BOOM.)

I’d had a couple first dates before writing this. They were all awkward. Two of them involved parental chauffeurs. None involved Jaguars, roses or stolen glances. I’m pretty sure my English teacher should have swooped in with a smack of reality to the head as soon as I turned this in, though ultimately, if you take out the creepy sports car and creepier stolen glances, it’s a nice date.

Alas, I never reached this pinnacle of dating (unless you count the guy with the hired car and driver). Just yesterday, I joked that all my dates now consist of moonlight walks to the compost bin at the neighborhood community garden. I was half joking. Don’t worry, we go to dinner and the movies, too. In my sleek red Hyundai.

Please disregard bubble cursive. (And if you’d like even more 90s-era writing by me, I’d be glad to share with you a paper I wrote for my junior year in college entitled: An Interpretation of Cleaver’s Supermasculine Menial, Omnipotent Administrator, Amazon, and Ultrafeminine in the novels Invisible Man and Middle Passage and the play Dutchman.)

romaticize, first date

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French Lessons

Here’s another lesson from a cool video called “Long Live the Kings.” French Guys with French Hair on French Motorcycles. Be sure to watch to the scene of one of them pulling sardines from a can with a knife and licking the blade. Mon Dieu. But mostly, listen to the part with this quote. (Don’t just read the quote. You need to listen to it with the guy and his French Accent. Means so much more.)

“We wanted to cross the mountains so we went to the mountains. And one thing that we did learn from that experience is that you don’t really cross a mountain, it just lets you through. Some roads are closed, some can be dangerous, and some of those, well, they just lead to nowhere. So it’s no playground here, you just gotta go where you’re allowed to.”

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Yoga Camp Lessons

During my three weeks at yoga camp in November, I learned a few things. Not just about how to cue Vrksasana (tree), my favorite pose and Bhujangasana (cobra), the pose with the coolest sounding name (seriously say it out loud right now [boo-jang-ahhs-anna] and tell me I’m wrong). I got a little closer to myself. I experienced moments in meditation during which I seriously, from the bottom of my heart, thought I would levitate. Seriously. And there was one day I cried for two hours straight. Couldn’t stop. I’d encountered some obstacles.

We worked hard in small spaces with people we were just getting to know. There was no door to the bathroom in my bungalow fit for three. Shoot, the wall between the sleeping space and the toiley didn’t even go all the way up. Our longest physical training class was from 2 to 5 pm in the hot afternoon sun. But there was always the sound of the ocean rolling and crashing right there. Right there. Always present. Soothing, but then sometimes I wished there was a volume control because I couldn’t always hear the spiritual lesson. Dang ocean. We OMed easily 10x a day. We OMed it in for every meditation, class and lesson. And then we OMed it out when we were done. Sometimes we sounded like dying sheep. Others, it was a resounding harmony of full-bodied church bells. The primordial sound of the universe at creation. We manifested our desires. I did this by shouting mine into the ocean under the new moon.

It was a very special moment and time. Now that I’m back in regular life, I’m incorporating the things we learned. Here are some basic lessons that I follow about 93 percent of the time.

1. First thing in the morning, scrape your tongue. And then use your neti pot. Gets out the gunk. Feels good.

2. Do some breathing exercises. (Anuloma Viloma is my fave. This video is also amazing.) Then meditate. Even if it’s just for five minutes.

3. Look for the good in people and know that even if they are challenging to work with, they are probably doing their best.

4. Once you stop judging others, you can stop judging yourself. Works the other way around, too.

5. Ask for what you want. Seriously, when you ask the universe for something, it will deliver exactly what you ask for in a timely fashion. I didn’t believe it before yoga camp, but I believe it now.

6. Eat fruit alone.

And here is that loud-ass ocean:

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