I Hate My Furniture :(

I left all my furniture at my old house for staging, so for about a month now, Edith, Mom, and I (as well as the nanny) have been sitting on the floor, eating out of a mini-fridge, and sleeping in twin beds. It’s gotten really old, and so I was excited for all our furniture to finally be moved in yesterday.

Except now that it’s here, I’ve realized that I hate it.

In my old house, my furniture looked a bit shabby, but cute. The colors and textures went well together. It wasn’t especially matchy, but it all looked intentional. My living room especially appeared harmonious to me. Every time I walked into the room, I got a good feeling of peace. I always felt mildly pleased with how things looked.

But in this living room, it looks like the room where we stored all the furniture we weren’t using and didn’t know what to do with. It’s sort of weird how a set of furniture that looked coherent in one space can look so wildly mismatched and unintentional in another space.

Every time I walk into the living room now, I feel slightly stressed out and displeased, the same feeling you get when you suddenly remember something that isn’t going well at work, or some particularly detestable chore you have to take care of. I mean, I really hate it!

But I don’t have any time right now, and I don’t have any money after the move, so there’s not much I can do about it. Also, I invested in a really expensive couch that fit my old space perfectly, but it doesn’t work here at all, and it’s only like seven months old. So I’m sort of stuck.

Maybe I’ll just spend all my leisure time in the walk-in shower, which I do like.

Bad Art Friend

I rarely dig into the Twitter main character of the day, but last night when I saw that everyone was tweeting about this article, I checked it out:

I am obsessed with this article. If it were an AITA post, it would be a clear ESH, and indeed, most of Twitter has been focused on how badly everyone involved comes out, but I actually think that all of them are so relatable! What a parade of human weakness! Who has not been a Dorland at some point in their life? Who has not also been a Larson? This story about a short story is itself one of the more involving short stories I have ever read.

Here we have a woman with zero self-awareness who was being extremely self-aggrandizing and obnoxious about her own performative good deeds. She also considered people who were merely acquaintances to be her dear friends, and had no idea she was the Michael Scott of the writing group. Beyond just that, she figured her Facebook friends would act as her personal fan base. Then! Then! She was rudely and abruptly confronted with her true self in the form of a fictional avatar. This must have been sickeningly awful. None of us want to have a mirror held up to us in this way. But rather than accept her own shortcomings and work on becoming a better person, she went into deep “deny and attack” mode. She told herself that all her motives were as pure as she ever thought they were, and that she had been deeply wronged by this unflattering caricature rather than absolutely nailed by it. And she went after the writer, telling herself it was about maintaining her status as inspirational figure to others rather than admitting it was about the damage to her own ego.

Then, on the other side, we have a woman who had an acquaintance who was mindblowingly up her own ass and didn’t realize it, and rather than just avoid that person, she was nice (or at least courteous) to her face, and then constantly trashed her in a group chat and delighted in doing so. She told herself that this woman meant nothing to her, but in fact, she was OBSESSED with how much this bitch bothered her. So much so that she wrote a short story about it. She even directly copied part of this woman’s Facebook post into the story even though she knew she shouldn’t have. And then later, when she’s confronted with all this, rather than admit that yeah, she did exactly what it looked like she did, she professed innocence and surprise and rewrote history about it, and she is now sticking to that narrative.

I just…have been both of these people? I mean, not to this extreme, but I definitely have made all these mistakes at various times in my life! The main thing you hope for yourself is that when your chickens come home to roost, you graciously accept it rather than double down. Neither of these women managed that, and that’s ultimately why this story escalated to involve multiple lawsuits, damaged both their reputations, and ended up in the NY Times.

Except it also ended up in the Times because Dorland hilariously pitched it to them thinking it would vindicate her! I truly cannot relate to that level of denial.

Obviously, although she acted poorly here and continues to refuse to own it, Larson is the winner because she turned her somewhat unreasonable irritation at this woman into what seems to have been a genuinely good piece of fiction which is what artists do, and also because the middle finger of changing the signature in the story to “kindly” AFTER the lawsuit is a truly beautiful piece of trolling, even though she should absolutely not have done it. Also, she has a family, friends, talent, and a career (all of which means she could have afforded to be the bigger person here).

The only people who are 100% innocent in all of this are the group chat — they did exactly what they are supposed to do: talk shit and instigate. Group chats should be incubators of drama, applauders of escalation, a Greek chorus for our basest instincts. That’s their function. Hopefully all of us have at least one friend in our lives who will tell us the truth about ourselves and check us when we’re being assholes. But that friend is not in the group chat.

The group chat as institution is pure chaotic evil; may we all live in fear of the day ours is subpoenaed.

Pigeon

This morning, Edith and I were on the porch Facetiming with my aunt when a flock of pigeons suddenly took off from the yard and flew over the roof above us. Except that one pigeon missed the roof, flew into the porch instead, smacked into the living room window at full speed, and then executed a quick turn and flew off in the other direction at a wobbly tilt.

I can’t stop laughing about it — the way he was all “woohoo, part of the gang, here we go!” and then just…whiffed it in the most embarrassing possible way right out of the gate. And then the way he immediately flew off like he meant to do it, the way a drunk person falls over and then tries to pass it off like she just decided to sit on the bar floor all of a sudden.

I just really relate to this pigeon.

Lake Kyle

This morning, Edith and I checked out a nearby park with a catch-and-release fish pond. The day was a bit overcast, but the sun came out periodically, and in the low 80s, the heat felt manageable for walking around, although when I took Edith out of her carrier, her back was like a radiator. I’m never sure whether this is safe for her or not, so I go back and forth on taking her out much during the Texas summer. Her stroller is cooler, but I’d rather carry her if possible, as it’s more convenient and fine for any terrain, and also it’s a good workout for me. Babies are great weight training because they just keep getting bigger, so as soon as you’re fit enough to carry them comfortably, they add another pound and you’re working hard again.

There were a number of families fishing at the pond, but the surrounding wide flat parkland was empty.

After we’d walked around the lake, we headed off to the large expanse of flat mown land to the left of it, and at the end of that field, there was a lip, and over the lip was a wildflower meadow behind a gate, with mown paths through it. We were the only people there, and it was very autumnal with black-eyed Susans and various white and yellow weedy flowers.

Some of the things I most love about Texas are the broad flat fields and the scrubby colorful low vegetation and the massive sweeping skies. It’s very easy to find a deep sky and an empty expanse even within a dense urban area, and if you head outside the cities, it’s endless space.

Edith spent the entire walk fully focused on pulling the stem of the umbrella I was carrying for shade into her mouth. I don’t think she was aware of her surroundings at all. Still, I guess she benefited from the fresh air.

NPC

Today I learned about the right-wing insult “NPC” which stands for “non-player character” and is meant to refer to someone who cannot think independently (so, like, you usually see it used for liberals who are afraid of diverging from woke group-think). I basically don’t understand any of the words in this Wikipedia article about this (which, I guess this is how it begins, old age, the first time you read something and you’re just like dagnabbit it, this is all just CONSARNED GOBBELDY GOOK!), but the bit that’s most confusing to me is, if an NPC is a character that the player cannot control, then…wouldn’t that mean the opposite of a brainwashed person who can’t think for themselves? NPCs are in fact the only characters that aren’t manipulated by an external puppet master.

So I don’t get the insult on a fundamental level, and the only reason I’m blogging about this is I literally spent like thirty minutes this morning trying to determine if NPC was an insult or a compliment.

Or is this like a “couldn’t care less”/”could care less” thing where the original meaning got muddy and now the exact opposite expression means the thing its opposite used to mean?

Alleged

One thing that drives me bonkers when I read news reports is the misuse of “alleged.” My understanding is that “alleged” should be used when referring to someone who is suspected of a crime, but has not yet been found guilty in court. So, “the alleged perpetrator,” “Mr. Jones allegedly strangled the victim,” “the company allegedly defrauded its clients,” etc.

But I often seen it used applying to criminal situations just in general. For example, I often see something like, “Mrs. Jones was brutally beaten and robbed on Friday. The alleged victim claims her assailant was wearing a green raincoat.”

But…she’s not an alleged victim. She was either beaten up and robbed or she wasn’t. And even if that’s in doubt, she’s not accused of being a victim, she’s saying she is, so there’s no need to guard against jumping to conclusions there. Being a victim is not a crime in any event; she’s not going to be found guilty or innocent of victimhood. The use of “alleged” here seems to be just there because this story is about a crime, and the reporter is confused about why and when to use the term “alleged.”

For example, you wouldn’t say, “Local child alleges she sold lemonade in the park last weekend. The alleged lemonade salesman says the weather was very nice!” It’s similar because while you might not have actual proof that she actually did sell lemonade in the park, you wouldn’t feel the need to be extra careful not to just assume she did if she said she did, because selling lemonade is not a crime (I mean, ok, sometimes it is if the park doesn’t allow vendors without a license, but now we’re getting off the point).

Similarly, I saw a report describing a robbery or something, and the episode itself was described as alleged. “The Stop ‘n Go on Fifth Street reports that a teller was held up at gun point last Friday. The alleged incident took place at 9:00 p.m.” I mean, was it or wasn’t it? That seems like something the reporter could establish. Is there some reason to fear that the Stop ‘n Go might be fabricating this incident?

But am I wrong about this? I very well might be! Are reporters meant to refer to every aspect of anything to do with any kind of criminal activity as “alleged” until the trial? If so, I feel like they don’t do it consistently.

“Alleged grandmother Rita P. Bunch alleged that an alleged man snatched her purse last Wednesday. The alleged purse snatching took place outside the Save Rite supermarket. The alleged purse snatcher allegedly wore jeans and a T-shirt and a ski mask, and the alleged victim alleged that she felt frightened. The allegedly stolen purse allegedly contained $5 and a set of dentures. Allegedly, purse snatchings are on the rise recently.”

100

With this post, I have now written on my blog here for 100 days in a row! I did not make any kind of resolution to do this. I just started doing it, and then kept doing it. I don’t know how long I’ll keep doing it. It’s kind of nice to write a little something every day, since I’m not doing much creatively or intellectually right now, and looking back over these posts gives me a nice record of what Edith’s first year has been like (or part of it).

Today, Edith and I spent the morning on the porch and I saw a new HUGE lizard — this one lives over behind these three plant pots in a clump of trees to the right of the porch. I saw some movement behind the pots yesterday and I wondered, but I figured it was a bird. But today, the lizard showed himself and he is the size of a kitten. I also saw a bright green lizard undulate across the grass and flit up a tree. I’m not sure if it’s the one I brought home from the restaurant or not.

In the afternoon, Mom and Edith and I all drove to San Marcos and had dinner on the patio of a restaurant overlooking the river, which was packed with swimmers and tubers and kayakers and dogs and a single unbothered duck. I had eggs benedict with no meat and bread pudding and an IPA, and then I had half of Mom’s IPA, and then I was WASTED. Edith threw two toys on the floor, stuck her hand in my beer, and then licked the table before I could stop her.

Another fine day.

Yard Day

Edith and I spent most of today lounging around on the back porch. It’s finally cooled off a bit, which for Texas means that it’s in the 80s rather than the 90s, and before noon, it’s quite cool in the shade. The sky was lovely, blue and cloudless, with a visible white moon until well after 11:00.

Edith mostly stared at me and chewed on the blanket, and I was on lizard watch. The little lizard was at his usual post atop the sideways plant pot, doing his sun salutations and preening. I saw at least one other little lizard in the rock bed, and possibly more than one. It’s difficult to say whether it’s another lizard or the same lizard unless you see them at the same time.

I had grown concerned about the large lizard because my mother accidentally flattened a lizard in the driveway (not the green one I brought home from the restaurant), but we hadn’t been out back very long before he ventured down from one of the trees. At least, I think it was the same lizard. It could have been another one — there’s at least one more large one who normally hangs out on the back fence. But I think it was the same lizard I’ve grown attached to, and I felt relief.

Other critters we saw today: lots of birds of course, including a bright red cardinal; hornets, unfortunately; several massive yellow butterflies; and a hummingbird who came right into the porch and hovered there for a beat looking down at us. Also, I saw a squirrel chasing a lizard along the fence line, and I realized that this was the first squirrel I’d seen here! That’s weird — everywhere else I’ve lived in Texas has been teeming with squirrels, but there don’t seem to be many here.

Mom says there’s a large toad who lives out front and waits at the front door every night hoping to slip inside when she goes out to put the sprinkler out (so far, he has been unsuccessful).

I haven’t seen any snakes yet, but I know from the Facebook group that we should be aware of them — other than the usual rattlers, there are water moccasins in the lake, and someone took a photo of a large coral snake (the toxic kind) by the pool! There are also armadillos and coyotes. The other day, I was telling Mom about how something in the yard might have been caused by an armadillo, but I kept saying aardvark, and she was like, “I…do not think that is likely.”

We had a very nice day. The neighbors weren’t out and the construction behind us was paused, so everything was still and peaceful.

What We Do In the Shadows

After my second full week of work and baby, I don’t have any mental capacity for writing, so I’m going to try to talk about my favorite television show, which seems a simple enough task. Let’s see how I do! I will put my struggles in brackets.

My favorite show right now is What We Do In the Shadows. The show is [here I want to say something like it came from or it started with? It is an iteration of, an expansion of? Another version of?] the 2014 movie of the same name, which was also extremely funny, and which I recommend watching, but you don’t have to watch the movie to enjoy the show.

The premise of the show is extremely simple [here I would ordinarily summarize what that premise is, but I can’t now. what if vampires?], but it provides a surprising [here I want to say something like it gives a lot of joke from small thing? How do say? Can get lots of episodes from what you’d think would be a single bit? I keep thinking “deep vein” for comedy which is also a vampire pun! That would be good…but I can’t…put it together. Are veins even deep? Is “vein” spelled right?] fodder.

[I want to say something about how because of the very simple premise the writers are free to explore clever digressions without it taking away from the world of the show or seeming overly self-referential/inconsistent with characters] [then I want to provide examples of them doing that, like Vanessa Bayer’s emotional vampire last season or this season where Colin Robinson explains the origins of the universe to Nandor in a Vegas hotel room, which was my favorite scene of the entire show so far] [laughed till I cried but less cliched way to say…?]

[then I’d end this somehow] Anyway, you should watch it.

San Marcos and Buda

One nice thing about having moved further south is that we’re now in easy driving distance to any number of cute Texas hill towns and other little cities. I feel this new compulsion to go do something every weekend day, because I think I’m afraid that if I don’t, if I let myself succumb to torpor for a single day, I will never do anything with Edith and she’ll become a depressed hermit like I am. Which is a stupid concern, because I’m told that kids eventually start talking, and then they demand things. But I haven’t really thought about it that much — I feel the need to go somewhere, so we go somewhere.

This morning, we drove about 20 minutes south to San Marcos, which is a small college town, to go to a farmers’ market. It was kind of a dumb waste of time, because when we got there, Edith had fallen asleep because she’d missed her morning nap (I was trying to make her fall asleep on her own like I do at night, and it did not work at all). So I sat in the car with her while she slept. Unfortunately for me, we parked right next to the bandstand, and I would not say the musical acts were excellent!

She finally woke up, and I put her in her carrier and got our high SPF parasol out and we walked through the farmers market, which was probably about ten booths, but very cute. There was a tarot card booth and an astrologer and lots of cakes and barbecue and honey and only one produce stand, and everyone there was very attractive. Then, we walked around San Marcos’s historic little town square — every Texas town has one, and I love all of them. It was boiling hot out and I had to pee and was wearing a jumpsuit and realized that there’s really no way for me to pee with Edith with me without help, especially in a jumpsuit, and especially without setting her carseat on a public bathroom floor, which I would just as soon not do. So, we got back in the car and headed home. On the way, Edith started wailing because it was time to eat, so I fed her in a parking lot about a block from my house.

It was still nice to get out and drive around. As we drove through the countryside, we passed a lot of big old farm houses and ranches and things that are open to the public either as a store or a winery or whatever and that I want to check out at some point.

In the afternoon, Mom and Edith and I all went up to Buda and had a very late lunch on the patio at a Mexican restaurant in the charming little downtown there. They were having a plein air festival and there were a lot of people out and about, and Edith got to watch the train go by twice (she hated it) and to play with a menu (she wanted to suck on it and I cruelly thwarted her), and I had some outstanding breakfast tacos. Now we are home and she is passed out in her carseat, and I get to go to bed in a mere two hours.