Sunday, May 31, 2020

Around the Campfire, With You

Obviously it's been a rough week in the U.S. I've spent the last couple of days writing something about all of it (and stewing over what to say). I'll share that in the next day or two. I'm positive it won't be perfect. I've grappled with what to say. I feel horrified about the violence and injustice black people in my country and community have had to endure. I have felt like it would be worse for me to say nothing than to drop some imperfect words. I may be wrong about that.

I hope you are all staying safe, in all of your corners of the world. I love you.

It's been a strange year, and not really in the ways we usually prefer. But we'll be carrying on in Strangerville, where stories matter, because they make us laugh, grow, understand, and connect. I can never thank you all enough for helping me understand and appreciate that through your support and interaction on this incredibly stupid website hosted by an extremely outdated platform for the past 12 years.

When I write here or produce stories from you I like to imagine we've all gathered around a little fire in a small group of trees, off in some corner of a quiet forest somewhere. The burning wood crackles. We're sipping hot cocoa, or whatever you prefer. We're huddled close together in warm blankets. Someone is holding a flashlight and pulling us in with their account of something funny or sad or whatever exists between or around those two feelings. We never want the story to end because that spacethat atmosphere that the sometimes-exaggerated but always meaningful details createis home for us. A place where we are at peace together because we are together.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Camera Butt Doctors

Skylar's big test that he's been studying for since before the war is at the end of next week. It's called "Step 1" or "the boards?" or "the reason I've been quarantined with someone who won't talk to me" or something. All I know is I need this test to be over because I haven't spoken to another human being in months and I have a lot to say because it's all just been building up. I also want him to do well on this because if he's going to be sticking cameras up all of our butts one day, he better be competent at it.

Skylar said I need to stop saying that. He says he's not "going to be the kind of doctor that sticks cameras up butts." But when he says that to me all that does is remind me of this person I met several years ago who was that kind of doctor and I asked him why, of all the possibilities, he chose that one.

He said something like, "well, most people don't go to medical school thinking 'I want to put a camera up someone's butt one day.' We think we're going to be Dr. House. Then a few years down the road you suddenly realize you are on the camera-butt path, you don't know how it happened, and it's too late to turn around."

And when he finished that monologue I blurted out "MOST PEOPLE???!"

Because look. If there are doctors who go to medical school thinking "I want to put a camera up someone's butt one day," I think they should have to disclose that information to the government and they should be on a registry somewhere.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Learning to Fail

You know what's not ok? THIS:

I think he's just doing it to spite me now. I started screaming last week when I saw it because I have abusively lectured my husband like 71 times about this and he refuses to learn.

"The cans say three feet apart, Skylar!" I've toxically yelled at him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

So I Guess I'm Vegan Now

In 2019 I decided I was going to try to eat less meat because I was basically personally responsible for the slaughter of millions of animals each year and I thought I ought to try to reel that in so I can hopefully go to heaven or gay heaven or heaven minus or at least hell plus some day. It was the first time in my life that I actually thought about how much meat I was consuming. Normally I would skim past vegetarian options on restaurant menus, like those weren't even available to me.

I didn't make any drastic changes or anything, but I did try to get myself in the habit of considering non-meat options for meals and get myself out of the habit of eating meat every day. What happened was I started regularly choosing the vegetarian options at restaurants (and finding out, to my great surprise, that a lot of veggie burgers are actually better than the beef option). Sky and I found a few vegetarian recipes that we liked to include in our rotation. We also tried to choose fish instead of chicken or beef (we already don't really eat pig).

In the end, I still ate a lot of meat, but maybe only like 75% of usual. So I was only responsible for the slaughter of 75% of millions of animals. Which at least gets me on some sort of waiting list for possible afterlife not terrible jobs.

Anyway, while I obviously never got anywhere near vegetarianism, by the end of 2019 I felt like I generally understood it. It was one of those things where I thought, "yeah. I could do that, if I was willing to put in the effort." Like paying taxes or reading books.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Apple Watch

Tomorrow is my birthday, which you all know because of the outrageous celebrations you have planned. We decided to carve out some time for it on Saturday, even though my actual birthday is on Monday, since Skylar could actually give about twenty-five seconds to celebrate with me.

Skylar's big board exams are in like three weeks so he hasn't spoken more than three full sentences to me since about February. He has started about a thousand sentences, but he's only fully completed three. We spend the majority of our day working from home in adjacent rooms where, if you were eavesdropping, you might hear:

Skylar: Hey . . . [twenty second pause]

Eli: Yeah?

Skylar: I was just . . . uh . . . thinking . . . [twenty more seconds]

Eli: What were you thinking, Sky man.

Skylar: Huh?

Eli: What were you thinking?

Skylar: [non-sequitur humming a Taylor Swift song that is presumably not directed at me]

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Lost Journal Series Part XIV

I just realized it's been a few years since I gave you a Lost Journal Series entry. I last left off in 1995. It's frankly getting kind of difficult to piece together the timeline at this point because for reasons unclear to me, I started keeping multiple journals at this time, sometimes writing competing and conflicting accounts of my prepubescent experiences. In any event, here are five entries I've just uncovered (both in written form, and a dramatic reading).

Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Time a Lawyer Taught Me Something

Over the weekend I shared a story on Twitter about an experience I had early in my career with an opposing attorney.

Here's the Tweet thread.

For easier reading, here's the text of the story:

People frequently crap on lawyers (often for good reason) so here's my story--one I've never shared before: I was in my first couple years of practice and had taken on a pro bono civil rights case. I was super nervous but excited to do it. I had a big hearing coming up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

My Borsch Recipe None Of You Asked For, Which Was Rude.

Eleventy hundred years ago I wrote a post sharing my borsch recipe and periodically people will email me to say that they used it to make borsch themselves and I get embarrassed about this because (A) that post is a big ol' mess and (B) WTF else are people finding on this site from 2007???

So, I decided to do a new borsch post that should be easier to follow. This takes a full seven eternities to make, but we all have at least that much time every day in our houses right now so you might as well fill it with garlic and beets and dill.

Also, about twice a year I get an angry email (usually from some Russian) about how my Ukrainian borsch recipe is incorrect and I should be ashamed of myself. Let me preempt your rage, if you plan to fall in this camp: this is how I learned to make Ukrainian borsch from a Ukrainian babucia in her Ukrainian kitchen in a tiny Ukrainian village in western Ukraine in 2003. If you have a problem with it, take it up with her (in heaven). I wouldn't recommend it though. She told me once she was literally on Stalin's enemy list, and well, you can piece together who lived five decades longer between those two.

Ingredients (This will fill a giant pot. You could easily cut everything in half and still feed an ugly family of six):

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Our Mountain Vineyard

My husband has decided to turn our backyard into a vineyard.

I found out about this when I overheard him asking Matt if he could borrow several power tools, which he called by their proper names, like "that drill thingy and that saw thingy." He had called Matt and I heard the conversation from the next room over. The second they hung up Matt called me to let me know that Skylar had plans to destroy something. That's what good friends are for.

Skylar told me he was going to drill some holes into a wall at the back of our property (a wall that does not belong to us) so he could attach some wire contraption to some long screws and somehow wrap wire around this so he can grow his alcohol and sin like he thinks we live in Napa Valley NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT NAPA VALLEY IS.

The saw thingy was apparently for an unrelated kitchen demolition project which has since been completed and I've tried not to ask too many questions because my new thing is letting disaster befall me without wasting energy on fruitless attempts to stop it. #2020 #apocalypse #INeverSpellApocalypseCorrectlyOnTheFirstTry #yolo

Friday, May 1, 2020

An Unsettling Chance To Breathe

Three years ago during a particularly stressful few months with my job I got a little dog from a small rescue organization. It was probably reckless to suddenly take on the responsibility for rearing and loving a needy and traumatized puppy while feeling similarly needy and traumatized, but my entire energy at that time was a little reckless, so the drastic life decision was par for the course.