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The women in the locker room — most easily 20 years older than me at 39 — like to chat after water aerobics.

I set my broth — on Monday I made the turkey legs — out to cool. Then, from the other room, I heard this huge crash! I thought what in the world?! And would you believe it, my glass dining room table broke. I cleaned it all up — three gallons of glass — and called my neighbor. I said, “I need a drink!” We drank wine for hours.

Did you have something hot on it?

No! Just a little cloth and a Christmas cactus! You know, I went to my homeowners’ association on Wednesday, and they said this  happens. There are pictures on the internet.

I’m never going to buy a glass dining table now.

Portland winter

I woke up when my toddler forced me to, just like I do every other day. When I say every other day, I mean every two days, because for the most part I take turns with my husband.

While I poured the water over the coffee grounds, and the toddler puttered around, I felt a warmth and calm that doesn’t come around very often. “Wow,” I thought. “I’m happy.”

I was truly glad and content in the moment.

Eventually, the five-year-old got up, and he got a longer hug than usual. I made coffee for my husband and gave him a longer hug, too. “I’m happy,” I said.

An hour later, in the minivan headed to preschool, it hit me.

You dingdong. It’s sunny outside. That’s why you feel good.

.

Every time.

A month or two ago, it was our family’s turn to take home the pre-k “class book.” My husband put it on top of the car while he was loading the kids in and… you can see where this is going.

Despite him calling the school immediately, tracing his path later that night? The book was gone.

The kid’s teachers and classmates were very chill about it. “That’s disappointing, but we’ll make a new one.”

“…make?”

Because, see, the kids make the book themselves. It’s a precious one-of-a-kind deal.

Yesterday, finally, it was our turn to take the book home again. “I’ll be careful with it,” I semi-joked, because really, how hard could it be to keep track of?

You can see where this is going.

I took the toddler out for a snack, then to his sports class. On the way out of the class, I had a weird feeling that I never put the book in the car. No, it has to be there.

It wasn’t in the car.

I panicked. In doing so, I lost my keys in the car for about five minutes.

Well, it must be at the school, then. I must have left it in the classroom. What else could have happened?

And there it was, waiting for us. I’d left it twenty feet down the hall, forgotten after stopping to read the toddler a book.

So we finally got to take the book home to read it.

It was very cute.

And we got it back safely.

A Little on the Nose

I’ve volunteered to stuff envelopes, so I show up to the Democratic Party of Oregon office and buzz the buzzer. Thirty seconds later, an older gentleman comes walking down the stairs and says hello.

“I’m here to volunteer. I’m helping with the mailing?”

“For the DPO?”

“Ummm.” (Oh yeah, DPO.) “Yes.”

“Huh, um, come upstairs.”

A women emerges from a room to the left. “Actually, come down here.”

“Come on upstairs.”

“No, it’s down here.”

They go back and forth three or four times, civilly, neither offering any more information to me or to each other. Finally, thankfully, another woman pokes her head around the corner to set the record straight. “We’re doing the mailings down here.”

So down I go, and duly stuff my appointed envelopes for the 973xx zip codes.

It doesn’t occur to me until about a week later that this exchange might have been a little too illustrative of the Democratic party as a whole.

 

I’m headed toward the self-checkout when I see a woman in a long, elaborate dress swan toward me. “Swanning” is the only way she can move in this costume, with a train shushing around her on the not-quite-clean grocery store floor. Suddenly, she’s pivoting and turning back.

“What did you need help with?”

Her dress moves with her. Someone’s having trouble with their scanner. Someone always is.

I wonder how she’ll deal with this all day, and why anyone would want to.

I had a dream that I was asked to model at an event.

I maybe could have been molded into model material, say, 22 years ago or so, but in both the conscious and unconsciousness realm I am 38 years old and have aged about ten years in the past five. Dream self is very aware of this, but I jet off to *DREAM LOCATION* with a gorgeous dream friend wearing perfect red lipstick.

Several other stunning women with the same shade of red lipstick deplane at the same time. “Oh, they must be models, too.” They are.

We get to where we’re supposed to check in, and I’m feeling a little itchy. Certainly there was some mistake?

“Ah, yes,” says the woman sitting at the table. “We need YOU to talk on the radio.”

“That makes sense.”

 

We’re killing some time walking along the river before a concert. A woman shakes up a can of spray paint as we walk by, but I’ve seen a lot of people being sketchy in various ways in this park, so I’m neither moved or surprised.

As we’re walking back toward the concert venue, the can-shaker and a couple of friends are walking in the opposite direction wearing aggressively normal faces—three people trying to act super super normal. I make some small joke about how that’s fine by me, but wait, let’s see what they wrote first.

A new, hastily painted symbol of flag inside a circle is on the sidewalk near a bench.

I furrow my brow slightly, jokes put aside for a moment. “I think that’s antifa.”

“Isn’t that three arrows?”

Suddenly, I’m not sure.

We keep walking.

 

 

 

 

(It’s antifa.)

As the man walks out of the bakery, the lid pops off of his to-go cup of coffee.

He just stands there for a moment. Then: “That’s really hot coffee.”

The young man and women—who look like they could be brother and sister, but have been complaining about someone they work with for 15 minutes—quickly offer napkins. “Here, I’ll get more for you.”

“I usually have my service dog,” the man says, gathering himself. There’s a step down out of this bakery and then a small ramp, I know, having given up trying to get a stroller into the place a few years ago.

He thanks the young people, who chat with him politely for a minute or two.

He goes on his way.

So you’ve done the 30 day squat challenge, the 30 day plank challenge, and the 30 day burpee challenge, and a 30 day photo challenge, yet, some emptiness gnaws within you.

Want to lose weight, smell better, and find a life partner, all in 30 days? Nah. You’re fine the way you are. Here’s a 30 day challenge for you.

Sometimes self-improvement just might mean being yourself.

30 DAY TAKE IT EASY CHALLENGE

Day 1: Take it easy
Day 2: Leave your phone at home
Day 3: Give yourself a little present
Day 4: Smell a damn flower
Day 5: Do a really long stretch when you wake up
Day 6: Watch some Netflix
Day 7: Fart while walking down the sidewalk
Day 8: Forgive yourself for that boneheaded move you made at work
Day 9: Order a pizza
Day 10: Whistle a little tune
Day 11: Wink at a stranger
Day 12: Blow something off
Day 13: Sing along with the radio/your headphones
Day 14: Skip the gym
Day 15: Daydream
Day 16: Sit for a spell
Day 17: Wave at your neighbor
Day 18: Drink a seasonal beverage
Day 19: Ponder the enormity of the universe
Day 20: Take a bath
Day 21: Pet a kitty
Day 22: Throw some wadded up paper in a basket
Day 23: Check out a body of water
Day 24: Take a walk
Day 25: Gossip a little
Day 26: Do whatever
Day 27: Buy lottery ticket; plan how to spend winnings
Day 28: Look at otters on the internet
Day 29: Call in sick
Day 30: REALLY take it easy. You’ve earned it.

Now, back to work!

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