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.

Indepedence

Today an incredible thing happened. Edith and I got up at 5 and she threw Cheerios around for ten minutes to indulge me, and then we went into the playroom. So far, like every morning. And then she immediately ran back out of the playroom and started throwing her toys up and down the hall, again like every morning. And then she went into the living room, and I prepared myself to be summoned shortly to attend to something or other. And then….

She didn’t summon me. All was quiet. I peeked around the corner and saw her in her playpen stacking plastic cups onto a box lid, pretty absorbed, so I tiptoed back again. And waited some more. And nothing happened, so I sat down in an actual chair with my coffee and my book and I read for probably 20 minutes while she played contentedly in the next room.

It was incredible! It felt so restorative, I felt like an ENTIRELY new person, like the way I felt the first time Edith slept through the night.

Later I took her to the playground and she ran all over the place, and only tried to put stuff in her mouth once or twice. I had to be pretty much right on top of her anyhow because she can and does crawl to the top of the play equipment, which has no sides, and even when she stays on the ground, she periodically falls flat out and smacks her face on a curb or something and needs to be comforted. But the fact that she’s independently mobile and not 100% focused on choking on a wood chip makes the entire thing so much more enjoyable and doable than it was three months ago.

It was a great day! And then my friend visited, who I haven’t seen since before the pandemic, so that was lovely too. A very nice Saturday overall!

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.

Dentists

Edith and I both went to the dentist this week (different dentists). At my appointment, I cooperated fully and the hygienist chipped one of my front teeth which I didn’t realize until I got home, and it’s been irritating me ever since. At Edith’s appointment, Edith slapped and shoved the dentist’s hands repeatedly and refused to open her mouth, and she got a little toy duck in a dentist’s outfit.

Everything about Edith’s life is more fun than mine.

Creep

Edith is more self-sufficient now that she can walk and run and reach many countertops, and she has a lot of independent business to attend to all throughout the house. She does not need help with any of it, and it’s all pressing and requires her focused attention. This has reduced me to stalking along after her like a hulking weirdo, pawing at her and trying to smell her hair or nuzzle her or sweep her into a hug. She mostly tolerates these caresses from me, she’ll sometimes pat me absently and fondly on the arm or head before gently disengaging herself and going back to what she was doing.

Just yesterday, I was begging her to let me put her down for five minutes. Next week, she’ll be getting her own apartment.

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.

Lizelle Herrera

Last week in Texas, 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera was arrested and charged with murder for a suspected self-induced abortion. Her bail was set at $500,000. She has since been bailed out the DA has dropped all charges because of course self-inducing an abortion is not a criminal act in Texas (yet). We know very little about what led up to this except that she went to the hospital while miscarrying and someone there (presumably in violation of HIPAA) called the cops and reported her for saying she’d attempted to induce her own abortion.

It might seem astonishing that a person could be indicted by a grand jury and have their bond set at half a million dollars due to being accused of something that is not against the law, but that’s an outcome of the overall confusion and suspicion toward pregnant women that S.B. 8 was intended to introduce.

This is the sort of thing that we’ve known would happen and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t understand the pro-life position, especially from women. If women don’t have full legal ownership over their own bodies while pregnant, then they are legally and publicly owned while pregnant and subject to general surveillance. This potentially puts them under suspicion after undergoing one of the most tragic and common outcomes of even the most wanted pregnancies. If somebody says you had a glass of wine, are you guilty? What if you had two? What if you smoke? What if you told everybody that you didn’t want a baby? What if you’re obese? What if you’re drug addicted? What if you drove recklessly? What if you did a home birth? What if you suffered a sports-related injury? What if you have some preexisting condition that makes pregnancy inadvisable?

In the relief over the DA dropping charges this time, it’s important to recall that Brittany Poolaw is still in prison in Oklahoma for miscarrying at four months, for which she was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison. This wasn’t even because she attempted to self-induce; it’s because she did meth (note that it’s not established that her doing meth was the contributing factor, or even a contributing factor to her miscarriage, but even if it was, she shouldn’t be in prison). She is one of about 1200 such cases over the past 12 years that the National Advocates of Pregnant Women have recorded. We can expect to see that number rise further with these new laws.