Pond

The neighborhood pond looked especially idyllic today with all the wildflowers blowing back and forth in the breeze and several little white cranes flanking it and occasionally flying back and forth.

Adventures In Security II

It happened again. For the SECOND TIME IN MY LIFE I accidentally armed an old security system that I did not have the code for!

Why do I keep doing this? Why do suburbanites have fucking security systems?

This particular security system has been silent since we moved in last September, we have not messed with it. And then today, I got home from a doctor’s appointment to an empty house and the thing was doing some weird periodic loud bleating. So I started monkeying with it to get it to stop….and I activated it. AGAIN.

It would be going off any minute, because Edith and her nanny were out for their daily park jaunt and would be coming back.

This time, I started by calling the security company because I at least knew which one it was, but the guy was very, “uh, you’re not paying us anything, Karen, so this is a whole lot of your problem” and then I figured out that whatever I did, I’d need a screwdriver. Those were in the garage, so I went out there and set the alarm off.

After that, I went into the master bedroom closet, which was where the thinger was the last time, but in this one, there was no master thinger that I could find. There was a big panel that is attached to these security cameras and monitors that the guy who lived here installed himself, but those aren’t related to the actual security system. I unplugged them all anyway.

And then I went back and reviewed my blog post and reminded myself that I could safely cut any of the wires I wanted, so I just ripped the whole thing off the wall and cut them all.

The security panel is now bleating itself to a slow death (specifically, its little robot voice is protesting “panel has been tampered with!”) underneath a pile of cushions in the garage.

White Chocolate

The approved line on white chocolate is that it’s cheap trash, but I’d like to propose an alternative angle: it’s actually delicious.

The most frequent point I hear about why white chocolate is bad is that it’s not chocolate.

That’s absolutely right, it is not chocolate, and I love chocolate also. But this doesn’t make white chocolate bad on its face — pizza also isn’t chocolate but most people agree pizza is delicious, so we do enjoy other things than just chocolate.

A food can’t be bad just because it’s inaccurately named, right? So, why do people not like white chocolate? It’s creamy and sweet and has a certain kind of almondy flavor that I associate with childhood and holiday seasons. It’s literally butter, cream, and sugar, which most everyone enjoys in basically any other preparation. So is it just the name, then? If we called white chocolate “buttercream candy” or something, would everyone still hate it?

Chekhov’s Armadillo

I feel like I promised all of you a picture of an armadillo and never delivered. I’m disappointed, too! So here’s the thing — on the neighborhood Facebook page, there’s a post about how some nearby neighbors successfully trapped an armadillo. They have a picture of the armadillo in a trap, and then a video of releasing him into some area by a river; he bounds off like a sheep. I don’t know if it’s the same armadillo who has been chewing up our yard. My mom doesn’t think so, but I do think it is likely!

I feel like it’s not really kosher for me to download their picture from Facebook and share it here without permission? But I feel an obligation to you, my readers, before all else. So here it is:

It can be our little secret.

Egg

This morning, I fried two eggs for breakfast and as I was doing so, I suddenly became conscious of the fact that every time I make and/or eat fried eggs, I think of Anna Karina. Specifically, I think of a particular Godard film that I saw one time wherein Anna Karina at one point fries a single egg, puts it on a plate by itself and then sits pensively on a staircase and sticks the tines of her fork into the egg, and then places the tips of the tines into her mouth demonstratively while staring off into the distance. Then, she does that a couple other times before setting the egg down and wandering away from it.

I don’t remember which film this is from, but it stuck in my memory because this is not how anyone eats an egg, but it is a perfect example of how women eat food in films generally. They sort of dandle a utensil at the food and then play with it around their mouths. It’s very performative and visual object work, highlighting their hands and mouths and how much they’re physically engaging with the food without at any point eating it. This is also how teenage girls pretend to eat. I actually do believe this is how Anna Karina herself eats an egg in real life, if she ever does such a thing.

Anyway, the point is not about the egg itself, but about how there are all these random little segments of life that get stuck in our heads for some reason and that we think of hundreds of times without ever being fully conscious that we do. Like, I don’t actively think of Anna Karina when I eat eggs; I get a sort of flash image of her at the back of my brain, in black-and-white on that staircase. Eggs, Anna Karina, eggs, Anna Karina. There’s no reason for that to be an association, but it will always be a part of my semantic map.

Wildflowers

It’s wildflower season in Texas, which is my favorite time of year here. Wildflowers carpet every field and meadow, every median, every strip of grass along the roadside. Bluebells are the most well-known Texas wildflowers and there are a lot of those, but there are also small white and yellow daisies, pink petaled evening primrose, bright orangey-red Indian paintbrush, violet prairie verbena. I love everything about the wildflowers; even just sitting in traffic is a slightly more pleasant experience than it is other times of year.

Taxes

Many of you are scrambling to finish up your taxes right now. I’ve done mine; every year, I say I’m going to get a CPA like a proper grownup, and every year, I procrastinate until the last minute and then just use Turbo Tax.

I know I probably should use a CPA, but I’m not really sure why. There’s a general sense that I guess they know a bunch of loopholes and tricks to get you more money back or something? But the few I’ve interviewed by phone have just been like “are you aware of x?” and it’s just the usual deductions and the various extra forms I need for my situation, which I already know and which Turbo Tax steps me through.

I know Turbo Tax is evil because a big reason the tax code remains so complex in the first place is due to aggressive lobbying by Intuit to keep it so, but when things are easy and fast, my morals go right out the window. I still use Amazon. I’m no angel, what can I say.

Anyway, if you are working on yours now, here’s a bit of inspiration to carry you through:

Gum

I have nothing to say today and Edith was up all night and I’m tired, so this is a plug for gum. Remember gum? I suddenly realized not too long ago that I hadn’t chewed gum in like ten years, so I got a bunch of it and now I chew it all day at work. Why did I stop? Along with coffee, it’s a big help in staying conscious and upright.

Gum! I recommend it.

(Also, it’s fine to swallow gum. It’s an old wives’ tale that it isn’t. I’ve swallowed thousands of pieces of gum in my life and I’m fine. I really hate it when I’m with someone making a big deal about needing somewhere to put their chewed gum. “Do you have a paper? Do you have a paper? DOES ANYONE HAVE A PAPER, I HAVE GUM!!!!!!” Just fucking swallow it, you dumb baby, why are you making this my problem.)

(I might be a little irritable today.)

Armadillo Update

I completely forgot to update on the armadillo yesterday! The guy came and said that as we had not yet captured the armadillo, it has likely moved on to someone else’s yard. He is taking back the trap and putting down some “armadillo repellent” to discourage it from returning.

My mother strenuously disagrees that the armadillo has conveniently left, and we both raise an interrogative eyebrow at the notion of “armadillo repellent.” Cozy gig this guy has, if you ask me.

I suspect this is not the last of this.

Meanwhile, if I don’t get to see an armadillo, I will feel robbed by god. It’s been a long stretch of years and I don’t ask for much! Let me meet an armadillo!!

The Slap

I haven’t watched the Oscars since college, but for the first time, I’m sorry not to have tuned in.

I was thinking about it, and I’ve never hit anybody or been hit (with one exception). I can’t imagine that I ever will, at this point. The socially acceptable line here is that physical violence is never ok, but I was reading this newsletter today and thinking that I should perhaps have done more punching. I mean, you can’t just go around doing it indiscriminately, but sometimes some people do just really need a good pop in the face. And to be honest, there are numerous times in my life where I think I would have vastly preferred to have received a swift shot to the jaw rather than the more severe (if entirely deserved) social shaming I got instead.