Armadillo

An armadillo seems to have taken up residence in our yard, and is waging all sorts of destruction in our beds and under the fence. We put my dad’s field camera out there, but so far haven’t caught a glimpse of it. I am completely unaware of the outside world and wouldn’t notice if the yard became a howling void like outside the Beetlejuice house, but this armadillo is driving my mother wild. She found its tunnel under the fence and put a big rock in it, and the next day, the armadillo had tossed the rock to one side and expanded the hole.

Mom consulted with various companies and after some shocking figures ($700 to rehome an armadillo?), she found one that would trap and release it for a reasonable cost. I have read online that armadillos are very difficult to catch, but this guy said they couldn’t be easier, that they are insensible to their surroundings and just waddle into whatever is directly in front of them, so the trick is having the trap be where the armadillo happens to be walking anyway, which apparently requires some trial-and-error.

I am very excited to see the armadillo! I went out in the cold back yard first thing this morning to investigate the trap, which is currently aligned with the main under-fence tunnel hole, but it is as yet empty.

BSC

This interview with Rachel Shukert on the cancellation of the Baby-Sitters Club is really good and really disappointing:

People are extremely uncomfortable with this period in girls’ lives. It seems to be the time of life that girls lose faith in themselves, and I think it’s because they don’t see representation of where they’re actually at. Girls are expected to go straight from Doc McStuffins to Euphoria. They’re not ready for TV about having sex, but they don’t want to be little girls. So who are they? It’s a really easy time for girls to define themselves solely by how they’re seen by other people and then you don’t get your sense of self back until you’re 35. What if you weren’t missing those 20 years?

What if you always got to be yourself and see yourself represented in a real way? And not have to be all about who thinks you’re pretty or who thinks you have the right clothes? Or how old they think you are or how old they think you look? The Baby-Sitters Club speaks to so many girls because it meets them where they are. It’s not about adults telling them who they are. It’s not really about boys, although they have crushes, which is a realistic part of life at that age.

There’s something about stories geared to this age that always felt like hindsight from adults, as opposed to what it actually feels like to be that age. What we could do with The Baby-Sitters Club was make the girls as smart and interesting and mature as girls are without making it all about how other people see them. It’s about how they see themselves.

And also:

I think female audiences are trained to not take their own stories as seriously. Stuff men were obsessed with when they were 9 is treated like Hamlet. How many Spider-Man movies are there? How many Star Wars? They tell it over and over again from different perspectives. That’s all fine, obviously. But what if someone treated something for girls that seriously? Even with a fraction of the money.

This hasn’t changed at all from when I was this age 30 years ago. Adult women (and their spending power) are taken a bit more seriously every year in America, but teenage girls never are.

Incidentally, I have written about how the BSC was formative for me before.

Semantle

I have moved on from the Wordles and Quordles of the past, and my new obsession is Semantle, which I first heard about from Michelle of the excellent Pipe Wrench Magazine. At first, it’s impossibly difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes very addictive. Some days, I get within 10 words of the answer and simply cannot figure it out at all, and then I feel like the stupidest and most worthless of losers, but other days (like today), I nail it in fewer than 50 tries (38 today to be precise) and then feel superior to god and man. Being built up so high only to be flung down so low on a daily basis keeps me both humble and anxious to redeem myself, and so I crawl back to the game again and again, begging it to approve of me.

Give it a try!

Hair

How I always think I might look after growing out my armpit hair:

How I end up looking:

Parking Lot

Today I had to drive my mother somewhere, so I took off work. She told me that it would probably involve waiting around somewhere for a couple of hours and she apologized for this, like it was bad news!

I have looked forward to this day ever since. As soon as I dropped Mom off, I got a bagel and then I found a shady tree to park under in an empty parking lot, and I reclined my seat and opened the windows, and I read in silent bliss for two hours.

It was the best.

Skin Care

A couple of years ago (before I got pregnant) I became extremely obsessed with skin care. I knew it was all bullshit, but I found it very soothing to research and shop and pay way too much for little jars and bottles that I could arrange in my bathroom and apply in a certain order. It gave me a sense of control and it was an enjoyable and peaceful ritual, even though it did nothing at all to improve my skin. I spent loads and bought every hot product ever mentioned on Into the Gloss. I continued to break out like mad once a month before my period.

After I had Edith and finished breast feeding, I got myself to a dermatologist (a good one; had visited bad ones before and they did nothing) as quick as could be, and guess what? My skin was perfect in like two weeks and I haven’t broken out since. (Also, I had a real problem with picking but now I do not, and if you are a compulsive picker, you don’t need therapy — you just need a better dermatologist.)

So, I can now definitely confirm what truly works and what doesn’t when it comes to skincare.

What doesn’t: AHAs, BHAs, niacinamide, Vitamin C, azelaic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, clindamycin, bakuchiol, (I swear) over-the-counter retinoids, and of course any natural non-active treatments, plus all serums, toners, face mists, face masks, essences, exfoliators, etc etc etc at any price point, forever and in perpetuity, amen.

What does work: spironolactone and a prescription epiduo (which is a combined benzoyl peroxide and retinoid).

Also, obviously, you need a moisturizer. I have tried every kind under the sun, they are almost all the same, and by far the best is this drugstore body lotion. Yes, body lotion. Yes, on your face. You do not need to “work it in” or whatever; just glop a ton of it onto your face right before you go to sleep and it forms a sort of husk over your skin in the night, and when you wake up and wash it all off, your skin will be soft and plump.

And finally, sunscreen isn’t a scam — zinc oxide all the time even on cloudy days, we’ve ruined the ozone layer and are all going to die of cancer.

So, that’s it! There’s really no need for anyone to ever write anything about skin care ever again. The above is all anybody needs to know; if you disagree, you’re fooling yourself, and any experts who disagree are lying to you. I wish it were otherwise, because skin care is really fun, but it’s just expensive nonsense, and if you don’t want wrinkles, just get botox.

Homestar Runner

I enjoyed this nostalgic look back at one of my first favorite websites. Johnson perfectly articulates what was so cool about it. My first job out of college was at a law firm in Chicago. The job was very boring and I was perennially hungover and exhausted, so when I wasn’t napping on the toilet, I spent a ridiculous amount of time surreptitiously watching HR videos in my cubicle, quickly minimizing the tab whenever anyone floated up behind me.

This sounds like a cranky old person thing to say, but the internet just isn’t this fun anymore.

I still say “The Cheat is grounded!” to myself quite a lot.

Word Games

Y’all, I got sick of the word games. I played all of them obsessively for like a week, and now I’m over it. No interest whatsoever.

This is why I never got into video games. Or, well really, now that I think about it, it’s why I’ve never gotten into anything. I get stale on stuff after I’ve experienced it a few times and then I’m genuinely good to never do it ever again. Like, I only ever needed a couple of Christmases or Thanksgivings; I could happily never have another one (except now that I have a baby, I’m reinvested). I do not ever want to hear the same joke more than once, which makes being around most people an unending trial of patience. I don’t rewatch things I enjoyed (unless I’m sharing them with someone who hasn’t seen them), I don’t re-read books I loved.

I am very jealous of other people’s interests — that they can garden or knit or do distance running or learn how to code, and every day that they bend themselves to that activity, they find satisfaction and absorption, they feel genuine interest in those small indications of progress, the creeping journey from novice to expert.

Meanwhile, I cannot be fucked. I need shallow novelty constantly or my mind wanders off into the atmosphere (or I quite literally fall asleep sitting up). The only thing I can sustain interest in (and for infinitely longer than other people) is reading, because it is passively entering endlessly new experiences, over and over, without having to move.

This lack of deep, sustained interest in anything at all is a real problem. I have never had a hobby and I have a hard time developing skills or learning anything at a deep level. Sometimes I even think my lack of ability to build and sustain new relationships is because human social interaction is of necessity very repetitive and I can’t keep my mind on it. Am I broken in some way or just fundamentally stupid or both?

Well, we are who we are and I’m a hopeless dilettante and I guess that’s something I have to accept about myself.

What was I talking about? Right, Wordle. I’m sick of it.

Plant

I’m not a big plant person, but last year, I got a few tiny succulents for my office and they really lifted my mood, just seeing them every day. I got six of them and three have survived, which is pretty good given my record.

Last week, my mom texted me from the grocery store:

It wasn’t odd, so much as just random. But she brought it home and I put the little plant on my office windowsill and I loved it! It made me very happy all week to see it there, bookended by the few remaining succulents.

But then this morning I came into my office and found this:

It got very cold over the weekend and I guess I should have moved the plant away from the window. I feel really depressed about it!

I’m a terrible mother.

Quordle

I am a woman obsessed. I have played 24 practice games in the past two days. I’ve won 21 and lost 3, and my high score is 6. That’s in addition to the last three daily quordles (all of which I have won).

There are so few things I am good at. This is maybe the only one? It’s easy but it still makes me feel clever, and it’s just the right level of distracting/relaxing, and it feels extremely satisfying.

“Quiet, baby, mama’s playing her quordle,” is something Edith is growing accustomed to hearing.