Front yard garden

okay dad, this one’s for you!

Last year, we bought a new house with a great yard (albeit minimal direct sunlight on any given patch), and I didn’t want to commit to an in-ground garden, so I tried a container garden. It was total crap. I got like four tomatoes, and the little urchin-furry-nuisance-rabies-carrying-public-health-disaster-rodent squirrel community got the rest. Which was still only three or four.

The problem was not enough sunlight. My tomatoes were all leggy and then they sagged under their own weight and the tomato stakes weren’t doing much to help, and all of my dreams of thrusting a giant four pound tomato up over my head in a paroxysm of triumphant glee went right down the compost pile.

The moral of the story is that tomatoes actually really do need about 6-8 hours of sunlight. They’re not joshing ya. If you only get four hours, you’ll get a tomato. It’ll just be sad, and not big, and it will be the ONLY ONE. It’ll be a massive waste of time and a lesson in extreme disappointment.

So. I fretted about this problem all winter long. The whole reason I wanted to put the garden in the backyard is because it’s sort of a little bit kind of trashy to put a vegetable garden in the front yard, and let’s face it, I don’t want to bend over in my front yard if I don’t have to. Nobody wants that. Nobody. At least, nobody whose not creepy. People put expensive fences up for a reason.

But the only place that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight is the very front part of my front yard. So. Option A – trashy front yard garden. Option B- Buy expensive organic produce from Whole Foods all summer long (drool). Both me and Evan are cheap, and really, who am I kidding, there was no contest. We’re doing it. Trashin’ it up. Heck yeah. Theres a reason we live in Durham and not Chapel Hill.

So. We’re making it bigger and better this year. 10 by 4. That’s forty square feet of raised bed delight. Here’s a picture of my little seeds starting in an old turkey roasting pan. Soon, they will transform into tasty nubbins that will go into my belly. yummy.

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God sucks

I’ve been thinking a lot about religion lately. 

Mostly because God is objectively a really horrible person. I’ve got my Bible RIGHT here and I will be quoting from it throughout. (By bible I actually mean bible quotes on the internet, because it is hard to copy and paste from paper onto computer screen. and by hard i mean actually impossible). Most people approach god-is-not-real from a logical perspective. I’m approaching it from a moral perspective.

First I ask you to leave your sanctimonious perception of God at the door. Let’s just look at this book objectively. If it wasn’t God saying this, is this really something you want to read to your kids?

1. God thinks he created the universe in 7 days. Nigga pleez. That is worse than Al Gore saying he created the Internet. 

2. God told Abraham to TAKE HIS SON UP THE MOUNTAIN AND STAB HIM IN THE HEART ON AN ALTAR MADE OF STONE. 

WAT.

WTF.

You know, when this happens these days, we take these people, call them psychos, and either put them in the mental hospital or they get a lethal injection. When this happened 5,000 years ago or whenever, we called them prophets and put them in the BIBLE as a testament to how you should love God more than anyone else.

But what kind of a God asks you to kill your own CHILD? YOUR ONLY CHILD? WHAT. 

3. 10: And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 

27: A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. 
18: For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, 
19: Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 
20: Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

God is saying a few things here. One, kill all adulterers. Like, put them to death. By throwing a bunch of rocks at them until they die. in other words, kill them slowly and painfully and make the whole town participate. (WHAT! WHAT! WHO WROTE THIS?). Number two, kill wizards and witches; i.e., wizards and witches exist. Which leads us to the question, if God created the whole world, who created those wizards and witches, hrmmm? Also, God believes in wizards and witches? Seriously? Isn’t that just proof that some dumbass who DID believe in wizards and witches wrote this book? AND NUMBER THREE, MOST IMPORTANTLY, DWARFS AND HUNCHBACKS AND BLINDMEN AND FREAKS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WORSHIP GOD. 

who the eff does God think he is? What, he’s too good for the freaks that HE SUPPOSEDLY CREATED? And if all of this stuff is legit, then why would I want to worship someone who is clearly a HORRIBLE PERSON? He is sexist and able-ist and quite violent, actually, remember when he killed Lot’s wife (turner her into a pillar of salt, actually) just because she looked back at a pile of destruction?

REALLY? I MEAN REALLY? 

God is a mean bully. 

Also like 3/4 of the old testament is just about very specific instructions around sacrificing animals on altars, and specific instructions on like what direction to face and when to take the feathers off and how to sprinkle the blood so God doesn’t get all upset.

God is finicky and has OCD and is a little biatch. 

Oh, oh, and the ark! the ark! I forgot about the ark! HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT THE ARK?

The ark is the present day equivalent of God nuking the ENTIRE WORLD except for one zoo and one zookeeper’s family. Yes. That is it. Because there was not a SINGLE PERSON LEFT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD who deserved to live except for this one zookeepers family. No babies, no children, no old people, nobody. No other priests, no beggars, no hermits living in the mountains, not the nice lady at the salon, not the busboy who always cleans up your shiz, nobody. They all deserved to die. 

I MEAN, WHAT. WHY ARE WE TEACHING THIS TO OUR CHILDREN? VIOLENCE AND MURDER AND AN ALL-OUT wipe-out of the entire human race was the only solution? seriously? are you effing kidding me? 

do you know who that sounds like to me? That sounds like the late Kim Jong Il. Yeah. That crazy dictator. I mean really, God, did everyone deserve to die? And IF THEY WERE ALL SO EVIL, was killing them really the only solution? Really? You’re God. Couldn’t you have sent a legion of angels to teach and change them?

No. Because God does not believe in psychology or science or education. 

And don’t say that thats because maybe psychology and science and education are all false idols of present day secularism, NO. IT’S BECAUSE GOD WAS WRONG, DON’T YOU SEE? take off your religious blinders. Consider, for a second, that you’re not going to Hell if you think these thoughts. What do you come up with?

Okay, so maybe God wasn’t wrong. Maybe it was the people who wrote the Bible that were wrong, maybe they misinterpreted a lot of God’s thoughts and actions. But then, what parts of the bible are trustworthy? 

 

If God said and did all that stuff in the Bible, the only logical conclusion I can come up with, is that God sucked. 

 

 

I gave up Christianity for Lent

Lent is about sacrificing vices. It’s about giving up that which you rely on most to see if you can hack it without your addiction.

So, i thought to myself, what am I most addicted to in life? What do I rely on the most?

It wasn’t that hard to figure out. I grew up in Texas, in a highly religious family. We went to mass every Sunday, sometimes multiple times a week. God was my rock. Any time I had a problem, I just gave it up to God, and He solved it for me. Anytime I saw something bad, or negative, or anti-Christian, I gave it up to God. God will Take Care of Us All And Solve All Our Problems. He solved all my problems. I prayed to Him to keep my family safe. He did. I prayed to him to let me into graduate school. He did. I prayed to Him to not let me be pregnant. He did!

Wow!God gives me everything I want!I thought.I wonder if I can hack it without God? So I decided to give up relying on God for Lent.

Week 1 was hard. I saw two homeless people begging for money. One of them had a dog. I couldn’t ask God to take care of them.  But if God wasn’t going to take care of them, who would? So instead, I bought them hot dogs. The dog too. That’s not cannibalism, is it?

My parents were flying somewhere for a vacation. Oh no! i can’t pray to God to keep their plane safe! I paced in circles, terrified that the plane would crash without God’s assistance and constant oversight. I constantly refreshed cnn.com’s homepage, certain that they’d die. But no. They landed safely. Weird. Someone else must have been praying.

A few other minor things happened. My dogs didn’t run away, nobody died, I didn’t get cancer, I didn’t fall down the stairs and break my neck, my car continued to run, I didn’t lose my job, and they even renewed Breaking Bad for another season!!!!!!!!!!!

Week 2.

Things were going okay without God’s intervention. I had a sacrilegious thought of ‘what was the point of even praying to Him, if He was going to do all of these things anyway.’ But i realized it couldn’t be sacrilegious because I’d given up God for Lent. How great! I wonder what other things I can do?

That weekend, I got really drunk and danced in a cage suspended from the ceiling at Shooters II, a classy disgusting bar for college students in Durham. Because you know what, God wasn’t going to punish me! Because i’d given him up! Ha God! Take That!

The next morning, as I knelt in front of the Porcelain Gods, I was sure that other God was punishing me. I thought about praying to God to not let me die, please not let me die, and I’d be a good Christian every day, but i didn’t pray. I resisted the urge. Because I am nothing if not strong willed. And guess what. In spite of my non-prayers, I didn’t die. The tequila stains even came out of my skirt after only one wash cycle.

Week 3.

I started to actually listen during Biology 101 instead of trying to figure out whether the world was 6,543 years old, or 6,547 years old. (There is a line in Genesis that is unclear). This week was on Evolution.HA! SACRILEGIOUS FRIPPERY! CARBON DATING IS BULLSHIZ!But wait. I’ve given up God for Lent. I opened up my mind to Science.

My brain did a flip flop when I allowed the evidence to seep in. Evolution was real. Wow. There were no non-religious, science based arguments against it. Wow. I was speechless. My mouth hung open a little bit. The fossil record….current evidence of geographical separation causing speciation….carbon dating……it was all real……….

I couldn’t stop thinking of those homeless people. God wasn’t going to take care of them. I had to do something. So I built a homeless shelter and a soup kitchen and got some of my rich friends’ parents to endow the shelter so it could run for 10 years. SNAP. Several of the residents had severe, untreated medical conditions. God wasn’t going to take care of them, so I got them medical insurance.SNAP. Who needs you, God, anyway?

 
Week 4

The doctors found a tumor on my shoulder. I thought about breaking my lenten promise and praying to God, since science and medicine is all bullshiz anyway, and then decided not to, and I allowed the medical team to remove my tumor. I was pronounced cancer-free, without God.

Hmmm. My life seemed to be pretty much the same without God. Better, actually. What was God’s deal, anyway? He didn’t really seem to care if I prayed or not. Then I had a perspective shift.

Maybe it wasn’t that he was doing all those things anyway. Maybe it was just that he wasn’t ever doing anything, at all. Maybe God was just a big lazy fathead playing in the clouds and inhaling plane exhaust. Maybe he was just this selfish dude who demanded everyone worship him or he’d send them to Hell, and did nothing in return. Maybe he used to be able to handle everyones prayers, when there were only like 10 of us, but now it was just too much to handle. 7 billion is a lot, yo, even for an omnisciently omnipowerful God, and our prayers must contradict each other a lot. Maybe he was addicted to Jersey Shore and Downton Abbey and the X Factor and he’d just gone AWOL for the rest of us.

 

Or Maybe God doesn’t exist.

 

 

Addiction is a terrible thing

I’ve always said I don’t have an addictive personality.

As it turns out, this is false.

It all started on Saturday night on the original Vegas strip,  at the Golden Nugget – one of the original Vegas casinos. Shiznit is beautiful. Beautiful. Classic lights, all still done up in 1950′s era classy arrogance, just gorgeous – it feels like you’re stepping back in time, to when corporations and casinos actually cared about creating something that might last longer than 15 years.  (i heard someone on the airport shuttle later say it was cheesy and I totally judged her for having no taste and a bad hairdo)

There’s a huge golden nugget inside the casino. Literally. It looks like someone tried to shred a golden presidential bust. It’s huge. Also, across from the mangled golden bust, there is a vending machine.

Vending machine?, you ask. That doesn’t sound very Vegas-y.

Expand your mind, fellow readers. I’m not talking about corn-syrup based vending machines. I’m talking about a Vending Machine of Gold. YES. YOU CAN LITERALLY PURCHASE BARS OF GOLD FROM A VENDING MACHINE INSIDE A HOTEL NAMED THE GOLDEN NUGGET in Las Vegas.

So I sat down to play a little Blackjack, and while my friends lost somewhere around $3000 in thirty minutes, I made $15 bets and won 80 bucks! what! yeah! oh yeah! I stood up giddily a few times when I was up by $50, and then when I was up by $75, and ran around in circles muttering, “i need to stop while i’m ahead stop while i’m ahead,” and then I would run around the slots, trying to resist going back, but I always went back until I yelled at Peter to get up we needed to leave and he said okay okay okay, all in, then he pushed $400 worth of chips in and lost them all at once (OH MY GOD I DESPISE RICH PEOPLE) and then we left and went to this other place that I shall not speak of in a public forum such as this.

Meanwhile, the next morning, I woke up and everyone’s flights had left. I had about 8 hours to kill. I meandered by the blackjack tables on my way out to the pool, even though my room was on the 24th floor and the pool is on the 2nd floor and the casino is on the first floor (meaning i had to go out of my way to meander by the blackjack tables) and I felt that $80 begging to be turned into more, more, more! It was literally burning a hole in my pocket. So I swung by, and circled around, and peered over peoples shoulders, and resisted the call, and resisted, until the dealer started giving me the evil eye, and so finally i sat down. I was just gambling profits, right?

I pushed three red chips into the circle and waited. The card lands on my spot. It’s a 5. Terrible card.  Dealer comes back around, I get a 10. I’m at 15. Not good. Dealer shows a 10. Awful, awful, awful. I stay, out of pure intuition, even though all rules say hit. Dealer flips her other card, its a 2. Yes. Deals another card, its a 2, deals another card, it’s a 10! woo hoo! she busts! I win $15, and it’s all over.

Next thing you know, i’m up $75, and I’m breathing through my mouth because my nose can’t take how much Win Spice I’m breathing, my heart is going a million miles an hour, and I’m feeling SO much better than the old Korean dude sitting to my left who keeps religiously checking his pocket chart (which he is actually wearing on a string around his neck) every time he decides to hit or stay. I think Korean dude is down a few hundred dollars. I wonder if we’re cousins.I get up and leave. Too much is at stake here.

I walk around the casino in circles, feeling invincible, undefeatable, like the luckiest person in the world. I was Evil Knievel, I was that woman who’d won the lottery 20 times, I was the HOTTEST thing that Casino had ever seen!! (Which is hilarious because $155 is literally like the casino throwing pennies in the garbage dump and me diving in and scrounging around for the abe lincolns.) The right side of my mind was saying, go to the pool, go to the pool, go to the pool, and the other part was saying, go back to the table, go back to the table, you can pay for your whole trip! You can spring for Chinese at the airport on your way back! You could order a whole beer (beers are $16 at that hotel)! Reason warred with emotion. The dealers were looking at me strangely as I paced nervously back and forth in front of them, at 11:45 am, looking like a psycho who’d lost everything she owned, rather than a winner struggling to keep her winnings.

I went back.

And lost $135 of the $155 i’d so luckily won. Clutching my last $20 in profits, i went back to the pool.

I took a chair in the shade and hugged my knees and hid underneath a stack of complementary beach towels. I was a loser. Literally. I’d thrown away $135 to feed an addiction i didnt even know i’d had. i was a miserable failure. I had no luck. i was destined to fail at life. i was infertile. grad school was going to call me up and revoke my acceptance. Hell existed and i was going. Then I read the rest of Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour and i felt a little better. The lifeguard was staring at me. i was fully clothed. The day before, my friends and I had just had a conversation about how fully clothed people by the pool in las vegas are creepy. Now I was creepy.

I still had $20.

I went back.

I turned $20 into $350 in about forty five minutes. It was so unbelievably awesome. I tipped the dealer $10. He was annoyed with me because every time it was my turn I’d cry out, “wait wait wait i’m sorry sorry!! hang on!” and then change my bet by $5 or $10, depending on how lucky I felt (SO STUPID).

And then I had to leave to catch my plane. I am so thankful gambling is illegal in all other states. I would so not be able to resist. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strongly about something so terrible before.

I vowed to myself that i’d never gamble again.

Except today at work, when i convinced my office mates to go in on an office pool for the $500 million lottery that is happening on Friday.  Yeah. I did that.

 

i need help.

 

 

(On a totally tangential note, I used to work for this really awful human being until I figured out I wasn’t a slave and I quit. There was this guy who used to work for him before I did, let’s call him Lee, and my boss, let’s call him Jeb, still contacted Lee every once in a while to talk to him about papers and stuff. When Lee quit, he told Jeb that he was going back to China to take the Civil Service exams so he could work for the government, and so Jeb thought he was in China. When Jeb scheduled phone calls with Lee, he always had to work around Lee’s schedule since Lee said he was in CHINA which is approximately 15 hours ahead of us, depending on where you are. So you can imagine there is a very tight window to contact. And every time Jeb got off the phone with Lee, Jeb’d sigh and say, oh it’s too bad that Lee hasn’t passed his civil service exams yet; his parents must be upset, blah blah blah. Everyone thought he was in China. Well, turns out the guy is still in Durham, and has been in Durham since the day he quit!!!! bahahahahha! He was so scared of Jeb that he lied and said he was moving to CHINA, and continued to lie, so that he forced Jeb to schedule phone calls around the fact that he was in China! hahahaha! I love knowing that other people hated Jeb as much as I did.)

time to grow things!!

Mufasa once said something like, “Everything that the light touches is yours. Except that shadowy place. [Insert transition scene] When we die, our bodies become food for the grass, and the grass becomes food for the wildebeest, and the wildebeest become food for us. You see, Simba, we are all part of the Great Circle of Life [insert inspiring Elton John chorus].”

I’m not one hundred percent sure what that has to do with me putting seeds in jiffy pots, but it feels connected, somehow. We’re six weeks away from the last frost date in NC, and that means

<drumroll>

time to start tomatoes from seed! woo hoo! I went on a crazy shopping spree over at Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, and added some packets to my collection. I picked up some black krim and some caspian pink tomatoes, and i decided to go for the sugar baby watermelon this year! HIGH FIVE, MOFO! I saw a picture on the internet of some watermelons in slings and I just got drool-y jealous, and I thought, why, there’s absolutely no reason I should be prevented from doing so, and so I added the $2 seed packet to my cart. I’ve also decided to grow some eggplant and some amish beans, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love the amish? (Except for power companies and advertising companies)

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Anyway, usually my excitement comes all in a rush, and I couldn’t wait for my seeds to get here before I started some of my other pots. So i started without them.

Last year, I ran into the unfortunate problem of having not one freakin clue what was in my jiffy pots until they started bearing fruit, because I bypassed the part where you LABEL YOUR POTS, and instead opted for the Trusting The Ol’ Noggin Strategy. Needless to say, the Ol’ Noggin is more like a leaky cauldron than an airtight Nasa Rocket Ship, and I promptly forgot what was in the pots.

that simile sucked.

THIS TIME, though, I devised an ingenious strategy of making little flag labels out of toothpicks and clear tape. I was foiled, however, on my search for toothpicks. The kitchen, you see, is filled with cupcakes and brownies and chocolate chip cookies, and my search for toothpicks was quickly replaced by the need to choose between those three delicious goodies. Obviously I opted for chocolate chip cookie, and then I was forced to retreat from the kitchen, lest I gain twenty pounds in my attempt to create ingenious flag labels.

Instead, I opted for the push pin strategy, where each pot gets a push pin, and each color or colors of push pins corresponds to a particular plant.

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And so, mix one part potting soil from the shed, one part jiffy pot from home depot, lots of parts water, and two parts Canon point and shoot, and you get the following:

 

 

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Here’s a little secret: germinating seeds don’t need any light. So shut off your grow lamp until the little green seeds pop their heads up. And make sure your pots are wet. Seeds like water and dirt. 

What Conservatives are Actually Thinking

Poor Mittens. He’s had two goals his entire life – 1) be a good Mormon, and 2) Become President of the Greatest Country In The Entire Universe.

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He’s excelled at being a Mormon. He’ll definitely get his own planet when he dies – maybe then he can be president. Last year he gave millions to the Church of Latter Day Saints (that means the Mormon Church, P.S.), has five blonde children (very important that they be blonde), he went to BYU, and he’s still married. To One Woman. There was a moment in his life when he considered having a harem in the traditional Mormon sense, but Goal #2 contradicted Goal #1 and so he settled for one wife at a time, unlike his rival Newt Gingrich, who is actually not Mormon but couldn’t resist taking a page out of the Mormon Playbook and got himself three wives, leaving one of them while she had cancer. Good Guy, that Newt.

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As for goal #2, of being President of the Greatest Country in the Entire Universe, well,  Bhutan and Switzerland were unavailable and so he has settled for the United States instead. He used his Mormon crystal ball to foresee that in the year 2012, politics would just be a matter of money, and so he spent his entire life becoming one of the richest men in the United States so that he could buy ads to convince Americans that he was, indeed, the best man for the job. Now he’s struggling to win over conservative America but he reassures them that he will, indeed, get the nomination BECAUSE HE HAS MORE MONEY THAN ANYONE ELSE. Gee, Mittens, what a compelling argument.

<TIME PASSES> <Romney doesn’t hate on Obama enough>

And So. Conservatives have decided that they are searching for anyone who is NOT ROMNEY. No joke. This is what is shouted over the airwaves. “Will Santorum be the next Not Romney? Could Gingrich fill the Not Romney Slot?” seriously. Because do qualifications and intelligence matter to Americans? NO. NO THEY DO NOT. Do not, for one second, think that conservatives value logic, or leadership ability, or intelligence. No. They value RHETORIC and BIAS and Xenophobia. They value Muslim-hating, anti-gay, anti-abortion, hypocritical, small minded Christians. (Mormons don’t qualify).

Anyway. So now Conservatives across the nation are voting for Santorum or Gingrich, and Romney isn’t sweeping the nation like he said he’d do with his millions. Pundits are wondering if Romney isn’t conservative enough, if maybe those people don’t like him, if maybe the Republican party is splintering into a tiny million little pieces and Romney hasn’t got an unsupervised chocolate cake’s chance at fat camp.

But it’s not that. They’d prefer Santorum. But they will still vote for Romney if he is their nominee. They hate Obama so much that they would vote for anyone, ANYONE DAMMIT, who is not Obama.

They’re just shooting themselves in the foot right now by dragging out the primary and promoting infighting. Silly Conservatives.

el futuro

So I got into the PhD program in Epidemiology at UNC last week. For years I’ve wanted to do research, write papers, get credit for being smart and all that jazz. And UNC’s public health school is ranked #2 in the country, so there is that. The thing about PhD-ness is that it’s sooooooo competitive to get a professor position afterwards (not to mention nearly impossible to raise a family with two profs in the house). I’m not the most competitive person in the world- I think my mom beat it out of me because she’s so over-the-top about winning.

Typical conversation from childhood:

Mom (1st generation korean immigrant): You get good grades. You go Harvard.

Me: k. If I get good grades, can I have my own pac-man machine?

Mom: yes yes. Anything. Good grades. Harvard.

 

Typical conversation from highschool:

Mom: You grades not good enough. You only ranked second in class of 530 people! You be first! You number one! What is number two crap!

Me: <eye roll> whatever Mom

Dad: Second is good enough. Good job getting such great grades, Melissa

Mom to Dad: <death stare>

Dad: <defensive shrug, palms up to ward off mom’s possible physical attack> She’s ranked second out of 530 people!

 

And then, when I decided to apply early to Duke:

Me: Mom, I’m going to apply early to Duke

Mom: Okay but you still go Harvard

Me: Mom, i’m not applying to Harvard. (By this age I had already developed my firm sense of anti-establishment and anti- elitism. Nothin’ against Harvard — i’ve met some wonderful people who went there. But it was too…um, well-respected, for my taste. I knew I’d never fit in.)

Mom: WHAT! MY DREAM! OUR DREAM! HARVAAAAAARRRRRDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!

And then she shot disappointment bullets directly at my heart. They’re still lodged in there. Right next to the disappointment bullets about not becoming a doctor, not being a multibillionaire by the age of 25, not being the world’s greatest pianist, not having 30 Catholic baby saints yet, etc, etc, etc.

 

And so. My mother of course thinks I should get a PhD. It’s one of her (many) life dreams. And when she found out UNC was ranked higher than Harvard she almost shat rainbows. My dad, meanwhile, thinks I should stay at home and focus on raising babies.

I, on the other hand (this whole thing IS about me, right?), want to stay at home and write fantasy stories, raise babies before my limited supply of eggs morph into unrecognizable sacks of mutant DNA Teratomas, and maybe get a job that requires max 50 hours a week. But it means walking away from my own dream, my own realistic dream. And I have to wonder if the only reason I don’t want to go is because my mom so desperately wants me to.

 

 

all the new things!

I recently turned 27. It sorta sucked a little bit. If you haven’t done it yet, I strongly advise you to go ahead and not do it. You basically leave your mid twenties, land of the free and irresponsible, and enter your late twenties, where you become a real adult and your mother starts nagging you about not making enough money. And so does that little voice inside your head. Anyways.

To celebrate this entry into adulthood, Evan and I are about to buy a house! Yippee yaay yeehaww!!!! I am so super duper completely totally excited! I haven’t been this excited about anything since I met Evan! It’s at least twice the size of our current tiny little one bedroom apartment. It has a huge kitchen with a giant serving bar/island thing and we won’t ever run into each other in the kitchen, and it has a big yard with a fence for Puppy, and it has THREE WHOLE BEDROOMS and TWO WHOLE BATHS and all these trees! And a two tier deck in the back! OMG ITS SO AMAAAAAAZIIIIIIIIIING. Okay we haven’t closed yet, we close in 11 days, but I think it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. Unless our loan gets rejected. But It’s Totally Going To Happen. I Think. Fingers Crossed.

ahh so cute! even cuter on the inside!

Also, we are going on House Hunters? How did that happen?

And then, let’s see. Evan and I bought a scale, and we weighed ourselves for the first time in years. It was not good. It was also not good for Puppy, who is a little fatty and weighs 10.5 pounds. Yeah. Teacup Yorkie my ass. “It’s all muscle,” he says. Pffffft.

Furniture is so expensive. I hate it. I am never, ever, ever, going to buy new furniture. Ever.

***

Even though it’s not New Years, I have two new goals in life. One: get good at cleaning. Two: become the scrabble master.

1) is difficult. I always told my mom she was silly for cleaning all the time, and that she was wasting all this time when she could be watching tv shows with me, and she’d just get mad at me. Now I understand. Her floors were clean enough to eat off of. I’m nervous to walk on mine in bare feet. She never let the dog on the couches, and they were in pristine condition. Our dog, however, is up and down, and he tracks so much dirt and dog things onto them that they’re disgusting. She cleaned our bathroom every week with a gallon of vinegar and bleach. She was so freakin’ GOOD AT IT. So, I too, want to be good at it. I’m going to get good at it. I will.

2) Scrabble master — i’m on my way, peeps, on my way.

 

 

On Leaving Old West Durham

Evan and I are thinking about buying a house. We’d love to stay in Old West Durham/ Watts Hillandale, but it’s just not workin’ out for us. still, i love the neighborhood, and I would like to share why.

So I’m walking Napoleon around Watts Hillandale, as I sometimes do, since it’s nicer than Old West Durham, when I happen upon Wilson Street. I love Wilson street. It’s fabulous – beautiful houses from the 40s, great landscaping, lots and lots of charm. So there I am, contemplating what can only be a new handicapped ramp that is being built in the front of someone’s house, wondering what tragedy befell these people, when I hear a screech.

“BRIIIIGGGSSSS!!!! YOU POTSTINKER! BRIIIIIIGGSSS!”

Startled, I turn around. And there she is.

My most favorite Wilson St inhabitant. Poncho lady.

I’ve seen this woman maybe 5 times in my life. Each time, she is wandering drunkenly in the middle of the road, wearing what I assume to be either a poncho, or a carpet rug with a hole for her head. Last time, she was borrowing a cup of sugar from her neighbor friend, and actually apologized for her bare feet.

Hmm, you think. That’s not so odd.

Okay, you’re right. That alone is not so odd. But what if I told you that she is in her mid forties, 5’2, around 160 pounds, and the poncho comes down to her upper thighs, and that she doesn’t wear ANYTHING. ELSE.

NOTHING. ELSE.

No shoes, no socks, no shorts, and, I’m pretty sure, no underwear. Hey, at least she’s got some great thighs.

She sees me staring at her. Poncho lady smiles. “Hey!” she recognizes me. “I’ve lost my cocker. Stupid potstinker. runs away at the first chance.”

Cocker? Is she referring to her husband? Or perhaps an overnight guest? “Oh, I’m sorry.” I look around. “What’s he look like?”

“Like a King Charles Spaniel.”

Ah Ha.Cocker Spaniel.

I start keeping my eyes peeled, when I notice a very sweet, youngish, attractive gentleman helping her. He’s literally parting bushes to look for this dog. What a nice neighbor, I think. I continue walking down Wilson, while poncho lady screams every few minutes for her stupid potstinker to come back.

Finally, I hear a shriek come from someone on a side road. “HE’S OVER HERE!” Wow. Another neighbor helping her. Poncho lady goes flying down the road, the back of her poncho flapping in the wind. I turned my head away, grateful that someone had located the potstinker.

“Hey, you little potstinker, you. Want a cookie?”

Yes. I will miss poncho lady. I doubt they have any of those where we’re going.

 

P.S. If, on the off chance, poncho lady reads this, I love you. You rock. Keep rockin’ it.

 

let’s talk about awkward moments, shall we?

My life has always been embarrassingly awkward. However, I was never self-aware of being embarrassingly awkward until one day in seventh grade, when I tripped and frantically reached out for something to hold onto, and successfully grabbed onto my teacher’s butt. Yup. Right before I smacked face down into the ground. And then he said something like, “You know, there’s easier ways to get my attention.”

And then I forgot about my disability until the rehearsal dinner at my wedding, where my best friend from childhood busted out a secret notebook she’d been keeping for the last fifteen years and discussed all of the terribly nerdy things I’d ever done, in front of 100 of my closest family and friends. Like how I’d worn Doc Marten boots to every middle school dance. Or how I wore the same two shirts from 5-7-9 every day of my sixth grade year. Or how I danced with my two index fingers out and my head moving nerdily side to side (yes i still dance like that). Yep.

oh, oh, or how about this one? First day of college, sitting in general chemistry next to a nice looking young boy:

Me: Hi, I’m Melissa

Brad: Hi I’m Brad

Me: oh, look at that guy’s funny little hat <points to the back of another boy’s head sitting a few rows in front of me>

Brad: <stares incredulously> Are you joking?

Me: no, look, it’s such a funny little hat! I wonder why he’s wearing it?

Brad: <continues to stare incredulously>

Me: what?

Brad: That’s a yarmalke.

Me: What’s a yarmalke?

Brad: <double take>

 

And..now, I won’t fill you in on the background, but allow me to recount a conversation I had with my father on the phone about an hour ago.

Dad: Hey Melissa, how’s that hurricane treating you?

Me: Oh, nothing’s happening. Just some wind, couple of rain showers. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Dad: <disappointed> Oh, that’s too bad

Me: well I’m pretty happy about it.

Dad: I thought i was going to call you and it was going to be all crazy and your power would be out and you’d be running around all frantically…

Me: well, you don’t have to sound so disappointed that i’m okay.

Dad: i was just hopin’ for some action. Texas is all dry.

Me: <hopefully> I felt the earthquake.

Dad: WOW! That’s so awesome! Did anybody get hurt? <super excited>

Me: Uh, No. No, nobody got hurt.

Dad: oh. <pause> You know, your brother and I have a bet that the hurricane is going to pick up Obama-long-a-ding-dong and whisk him away to sea and drop him in the middle of the ocean.

Me: …

Dad: so, did you go to the doctor?

Me: no, dad, it stopped. it went away.

Dad: you know, you should really go to the doctor. Your Grandpa has really bad hemorrhoids, your mom has really bad hemorrhoids. Oh, it is just awful.

Me: uh..well, yeah, i mean, it went away, so I don’t think I need to go.

Dad: your grandpa’s hemorrhoids used to be so terrible. When I was growing up, anytime I ever sat down, he’d be all like, ‘boy! don’t sit down on that rock there! You gonna get hemorrhoids!’ and then I’d get up and move to another rock, and he’d just say it again, ‘boy! you gonna get hemorrhoids! move!’ And you know, I never got hemorrhoids. And I was always sittin’ on rocks. But man, your mom…she’s got ‘em real bad. Real terrible. Nothin’ she can do about it. Never went away. Real terrible, those hemorrhoids.

Me: Dad I really don’t want to hear about Grandpa’s hemmorhoids.

Dad: Boy oh boy his hemorrhoids were terrible. Yup. Your grandpa’s got em, your mom’s got em, you’d better go to the doctor. Even if they went away, you should probably still go to the doctor, cause you’ve probably got ‘em. I don’t, though. I never got hemorrhoids. Even though i was always sittin’ on those rocks. Man, Grandpa had ‘em somethin’ awful. And your mom – <breathes out heavily> it’s just terrible. Hemorrhoids are terrible.

Me: Okay Dad, i’ll go to the doctor

Dad: yeah, even if you don’t have ‘em, they can probably load you up with creams and gels and stuff, you know, to prepare yourself for when you do have ‘em.

Me: okay

Dad: and even if it’s not hemorrhoids, you should still go to the doctor and figure out what was going on. Cause it’d be scary if it wasn’t hemorrhoids.

Me: uh huh

Dad: but hemorrhoids are pretty terrible, so it’s probably be just as scary if it was hemorrhoids. Woo, you’d better go to the doctor. Promise me you’ll go to the doctor.

Me: I promise I’ll go to the doctor. So, Dad, as great and fun as it is talking to you about my butt health, what you say about switching the topic?

Dad: <silence> <clears throat> <decides to forge ahead> Your grandpa’s hemorrhoids are real bad. Real bad. So, Evan still in California?

Me: <extreme relief at the change in topic>…

 

 

that is all.