A Balanced View

Our Molly has been sick lately. (See half of her in the header photo. Isn’t she gorgeous? Also stealthy.)

Of course I assumed her diagnosis would be dire. She’s almost nine, which is killing me but not fast enough. I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes. Except food. And vodka.

I’m fed up with my brain. It doesn’t want me to even know there’s a bright side, let alone look at it.

My thought when Paul says, “Let’s take a trip!”

In fairness to me, though – and in the time-honored tradition of parent-blaming – my mother and father taught me to be this way.

My mother’s favorite phrase was “Don’t get your hopes up.” When I asked her why, she said, “I don’t want you to be disappointed.” This sounds protective and motherly, but what I learned was: Disappointment is horrible. Avoid it at all costs.

On the positive side, this lesson saved me a lot of tuition over the decades. As soon as a class got difficult (usually in the drop-now-and-you’ll-get-all-your-tuition-back period), I’d bail.

My father knew disappointment was inevitable, though, so he modeled coping skills for me. Like the time he jumped up from the kitchen table, holding an empty frozen dinner box in one hand and smacking it with the other. He screamed, “The Salisbury steak isn’t the same size as the picture on the box!”

I think it’s great when parents work together to raise a healthy child.

The Anti-Socialite

Today I’m going through Facebook and unfollowing everyone and everything that upsets me. I’m down to cats and comedy and comedic cats.

Just in case I die and someone snoops around my follows, I’m including NPR, National Geographic, and the Dalai Lama so I appear intelligent and caring. No one needs to know that I just watch videos about the feline Stars of the Internet.

I figure if I’m on social media less and my home is getting tidier-ish, I have more time to host gatherings, which, as you know if you read my previous post, I’m eager to do.

When I envision throwing a party, it’s always a bore for my guests, if any show up. I feel pressure to be an amazing hostess:


And then there’s the fear of people staying long past my comfort limit, but if they do, I figure I can end the party by feigning death.


Maybe I’ll just keep the place a mess and let the idea of human interaction go.

The Happy Highway to Doom Town

This morning I realized I’ve been happy for a while. Then my brain snuck in ninja-style to tell me, “Your cancer’s coming back.” Not true so far, but my mind isn’t concerned about facts.

Last week I saw how much progress I was making tilting our household detritus into a bin. Décor was happening. It was weird. I thought, “Shit. When everything’s organized, I’m going to drop dead. No. Worse. I’m going to feel obligated to have people over.”

When someone compliments me, my mind whispers, “Just give it a second. They’re going to figure out you’re a dirtbag.”

Paul challenges these notions by asking, “Why do you think your clients keep sending you work?” I’ll let you know if I think of a credible response.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying, although floating in a 24-hour drunken oblivion remains an option.

Paranoia and Predictability

I recently came home from the store that’s one block from our house, and I saw Paul’s car parked in our spot. So when I opened the front door, I shouted the usual “Hello!” There was no response, so I assumed that he was on the floor in the bedroom, cyanotic, eyes wide open. Dead.

I was so certain he’d dropped that I couldn’t move. I stood in the foyer with my grocery bag dangling from my hand, trying not to panic. I knew I needed to check the bedroom, and I’d have to call 9-1-1. But I didn’t want to see him lying there.

A few seconds went by, and I heard a key turn in the front door. Paul ambled in and smiled.

I blurted in a voice that was straining to sound casual, “Oh! There you are! Hah-hah!”

Paul asked, “Thought I was dead?”


He chirped, “Of course you did.” Then he took both of our grocery bags and shuffled to the kitchen.

I’m torn between gratitude for Paul’s acceptance of my paranoia and dissatisfaction for having become predictable, but I believe paranoia rules.

When I asked Google what I should request from Paul for Christmas*, it suggested the Car Hammer. I’m not sure if “passive security system” is a commentary about the driver’s character, but I still like this product. The description in Amazon is:

“Car Hammer: Vital Safety Seatbelt Cutter Survival Kit: Window Punch Breaker Tool for Family Rescue & Emergency Escape, Great Christmas Gift”


Nothing evokes Christmas cheer like saying, “Next time you drive off a pier, you’ll be ready. Love, Santa.”



* Yes. I Googled “great gifts for women” because I couldn’t think of a damned thing.

Egomania and Beef Broth

I’ve got the bread in the oven. I’m getting the beef bones and veggies ready for roasting. Then I’ll simmer them for eight hours. I love doing this stuff, but now I’m getting flashbacks to the last time I did more than one thing in the kitchen at a time.

Ever since I cut out sugar five months ago and (most) alcohol somewhat more recently, I’ve got more energy and clarity than I’ve had in years. I hate it. I feel like I’m supposed to achieve amazing things now. I imagine blogging about my amazingness, but in a humble way, and my followers can’t get enough of me. I’m so inspiring.

I work at home, and time is flexible. It seems like everything is possible. But I’m haunted by my history of starting projects, especially buying all the gadgetry that goes with them, while finishing nothing. In a sense, I’m being true to my life motto: “If it can’t be overdone, it’s not worth doing.”

But I’m fifty-seven now, and I want to be more mature, or at least appear that way. So I figured I’d be sensible and start with just one or two goals. I feel in charge, mature, balanced.

Now the couple of goals have grown into:

Make bread, salad dressings, and broths to avoid processed crap with all the sugar and chemicals, while feeling smug about the poor saps stuck with store-bought junk. Check out my awesomeness:

Crossword my ass off in a book so large that the editor, Will Shortz the authentically amazing, questions the sanity of anyone buying so many puzzles at once.


Crochet snuggle blankets for animals in shelters. Current status of Blanket #1:


Start a cross-stitch project I’ve owned for ten years and just broke out of the packaging. What it should look like:


Current status:


Learn to knit:


Tidy and decorate the house:


Write my memoirs:


Exercise regularly:


I suppose this is all just a different kind of obsession, but I seem to be kicking domestic ass today. And there’s the red flag I always miss. Just in case I forget about it when the broth is ready to strain tonight, I posted this above the kitchen sink:


Maybe I’ll do okay. Today.


"I've always found paranoia to be a perfectly defensible position." – Susan Lowenstein, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

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