xmas cookies.

I spent a big chunk of the last two days making Xmas cookies and I’m going to take a moment to reflect on that.

Making Xmas cookies is pretty hard and I’m very tired and also my back hurts. It’s enjoyable but it’s also very, very hard, you guys. I need to express how hard it is and how tired I am.

It is so hard.

This year I made an actual plan, too. Which should have made it easier. And it did! In years past I was like, “I have ingredients, I will make cookies.” And that was it. I just went for it without much thought.

And I never had enough time. I was always rushing around before my dad came to pick me up like, “HOW ARE THESE COOKIES NOT DONE YET?’ WTF?! WHY IS THIS MY LIFE. I AM A FAILURE.”

But this year…NO! I was a NON-failure.

Cookie level: Expert/Non-failure

Yesterday morning I went for a run because I do that now and while I ran I developed the cookie plan/mantra of “sugar cookies-peanut butter cookie dough-banana pudding-take a break and drink coquito-and watch Prom on Netflix-bake peanut butter cookies-then double chocolate peanut butter cup-then fudge and fudge is so hard-then Russian tea cookies-then sleep.”

So it was laid out. And it was time to begin.

sugar cookies.

Sugar cookies are the only baking thing I’ve mastered so far.

I call the ones I make “Shan’s Sugar” and I think that’s quite nice. I used a star, ornament, and Xmas tree cookie cutter. I got some GOOOOOLD sprinkles at Target and I was pumped AF to sprinkle them.

This is the recipe.

peanut butter cookies.

These cookies are an Xmas tradition in my extended family and I think probably in the extended world.

You make the dough first and then put it in the fridge and wait two hours so in the interim I made banana pudding.

They’re like…pretty simple? But did not turn out. And I was pissed.

So pissed that I woke up early again today and made MORE dough and put it in the fridge for TWO MORE HOURS OF MY LIFE. This second batch came out better so I threw out most of the shitty burned first batch.

Ugh.

banana pudding.

Banana pudding is not an Xmas cookie but I did make it. I made this Paula Deen version of banana pudding for a Friendsgiving in November. IT WAS A HIT. Even though Paula Deen sux.

My boyfriend commanded that I make the banana pudding for him since I wouldn’t be home at our apartment for Xmas so I was forced into it.

JK I loved every minute.

JK I didn’t but I did add Oreos also at his command.

And that was a pretty good idea.

break time.

After not really doing much I had to take a break.

I sipped on some coquito that my boyfriend got off of Instagram and watched The Prom on Netflix.

It was fine. Any musical will charm me as long as there is dancing and fun costumes.

Any coquito will also charm me.

double chocolate pudding peanut Reese’s cookies.

After the break I did bake the peanut butter cookies but as I said they pissed me off so moving right along.

This was my first time making these double chocolate pudding Reese’s cookies and by the time they were done I felt sick from taste testing and also eating raw batter I licked from empty bowls so I haven’t gotten to taste them yet.

It seems like they’ll be delicious! I also had some fun cutting up the special seasonal nutcracker Reese’s because why wouldn’t I?

These cookies were made with dough that was already put together so that was interesting and stuff.

fudge.

Fudge is hard as hell to make and super labor intensive. As a kid I was OBSESSED with Xmas fudge that my Grammie made but I was always thinking, “Why does she ONLY make this at Xmas?!”

BECAUSE MAKING FUDGE SUCKS.

My first attempt at making fudge the regular way was a huge failure, but last year a kind and benevolent client of mine emailed me this recipe. It’s a bit simpler and therefore probably idiot-proof.

So it’s how I make fudge now. And my dad likes it and he is the Fudge Judge for all the world. Believe it.

russian tea cakes.

After I made the fudge I was exhausted and pretty much died so I had to save the Russian tea cakes for this morning.

As a kid the Russian tea cakes were a fav for me. I don’t really know why but I do think that I went through a phase where I was into anything vaguely “Russian” because I was trying to connect with my Eastern European roots. Like I got really excited learning about tzars and shit. Czars?

Anyway, I made these a few years ago and I felt “meh” about how they turned out, but this year I think I did okay!

Well…after the first batch when I didn’t have enough flour in them. I even followed the recipe. I swear I did. But the dough looked suspect and I was right.

Ugh. Trash.

After that, i added more flour and I did okay.

Ready to share!

So that’s my cookie story and I’m sticking to it. I would ask like, “What Xmas cookies do you like to make?” but no one ever answers so I give up.

xmas wrapping.

I’d like to discuss xmas wrapping. It turned into a more interesting activity this year, due to the fact that I’m trapped in my home and looking to turn anything into an interesting activity.

A full 13 years ago (WTF?!), I started my first adult job in Manhattan as a Production Assistant on the show “Car Wars with Funkmaster Flex.” The office was located on 21st or 22nd or something, and 6th Ave. You may be aware that on 6th Ave in that area there is a CONTAINER STORE.

I had never been to The Container Store! My boss sent me there one day for some kind of nonsense but I didn’t even care because I WAS GOING TO LOOK AT CONTAINERS OF ALL KINDS.

It was December, so they of course had all kinds of Xmas stuff out. But one of those Xmas things was an ENTIRE CART dedicated to Xmas wrapping. A whole little cart you could keep in an extra room in your house and just use for present wrapping because you really had your shit together and so many presents to wrap.

And also you had a whole extra room in your house.

I truly aspired to one day possess this xmas wrapping cart. I could just see myself as a stay at home rich person, wearing cashmere leisure wear with an apron because I was also baking cookies. I had a ton of stuff to do to prepare for the holidays but I made it look perfect and effortless. This was my future!

This was not my future. Despite not trying very hard I never got rich! In fact quite the opposite. Wow, what a shock.

So for many of my adult years I half-assed xmas wrapping. Most of the time I just brought my gifts home to my parents and wrapped them with paper my mom already had. It seemed like a waste anyway, because the paper only gets torn off and discarded. It’s far from sustainable and therefore not trendy.

Listen, I’m glad “sustainability” is now in everyone’s consciousness because it’s important, but it’s also fair to call it a “trend.” Because it is. For now.

Anyway, I definitely didn’t sustainably wrap presents this year, if that’s what you were wondering. I actually went super hard and really wanted to get a lot of materials so I could have a lot of fun. I needed an activity. I NEEDED TO ENTERTAIN MYSELF. I went to “Wondershop” at Target and got a ton of shit.

THESE. ARE. AVOCADOS. IN. SANTA HATS.

Bags and wrapping paper and bows and labels! I wanted to get ribbon but I drew the line there, because it’s pretty expensive for not a lot of ribbon. I think.

I didn’t really buy wrapping supplies with certain gifts or people in mind either. I just bought what I loved and piled it all into a pile, Grinch style but I wasn’t throwing it off a cliff.

I was bringing it home to throw all over my floor so I could choose to wrap presents based on my whim at that moment.

A WHIRLWIND

Unfortunately I don’t have that wonderful gift wrap cart I once aspired to, and my gift wrapping supplies are stored in a box in my hallway on top of some other boxes and everything is really a mess. I really don’t have enough room in my house for all of my fun shit.

I’ve been wrapping presents a little at a time because wrapping hurts my back A LOT. Again, I do think that the cart would help with that because it would allow for me to stand and wrap in a designated wrapping space. Just like a stand up desk!

Even though my back hurts I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s calming to roll out paper, and cut the paper, and tape the tape, and pop on a bow. Then you’re done! And you can wrap the next one. It’s even fun putting gifts in bags, and I enjoy the satisfying “fluff” of tissue paper; getting it just right.

My back hurts 😔

I hope you enjoy your xmas wrapping as well. It’s a year unlike any other and we may not get the chance to really enjoy dumb stuff like this again because we’ll be too busy once we’re allowed to leave our houses for real. You know what I mean.

what to wear during your holiday break vol. 2.

One of my favorite posts to put together last year was “what to wear during your holiday break” and now I’m back for more.

As you may know this year was a completely different year from last year and we all spent a ton of time sitting around our houses on our asses. We’ve been wearing lazy clothes while hiding in our houses this entire year and we’re not going to stop anytime soon.

Overall I’m not really a proponent of lazy clothes. I like to “look cute” and “get dressed up.” I really, REALLY miss wearing black tights and dresses and makeup and real shoes. This is really, really hard for me.

But I thought it would still be fun to celebrate some lazy clothes because I got quite a few new lazy clothes this year and they’re kinda fun!

So here we go.

what to wear during your holiday break while you’re reading a book.

Yes I’m reading Home Body. Every single one of a certain kind of gal is currently reading it as we speak. I guess I’m just that kind of gal.

The kind of gal that likes amazing poetry without really knowing that much about poetry. But it’s amazing.

My outfit is from ACTA and it’s my favorite new lazy outfit. It’s really soft but not TOO soft. I love the material. I have a code for ACTA if you have any interest. Click here to go to their site and use code SHANIMAL15 for 15% off.

If not, move along.

what to wear during your holiday break when you want to fret over the impeding apocalypse but in a onesie.

This is a leopard onesie.

I guess it’s kind of intense and I think it’s a size too small because it’s not as comfy as I hoped.

It’s from Old Navy. The small size isn’t their fault, it’s just my assumption that I can still wear the same size I could wear back in March.

Which is an untrue assumption.

what to wear during your holiday break while protecting your bird from certain death.

Here’s a sports bra option for when you have to turn up the heat all the way for your bird and it’s too hot to live with a shirt on.

My tropical budgie pal Elvis needs to be protected from a draft at all costs. If he feels the slightest chill you can see in his face that he is terrified of his swift imminent death.

He needs to stay warm so we keep him warm. That’s what we do in this family. Even if human family members have to take our shirts off in the middle of winter. Bra top is from Free People.

what to wear during your holiday break to look out the window and feel sad because you miss your friends and family.

When it’s cold and I don’t want to deal with being outside but it’s still sunny and I need sunlight, I love to sit by the window.

I love to sit by the window and stare at the street and think about all the fun I’ve missed, Santa baby.

This year has been shitty. We all know it. A lot of us won’t see our families. I’ve been quarantining to see my parents and sister for Xmas but I won’t be able to see my brother and his family. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I’m choking on it. So is my mom.

So I’ll just sulk here by the window in my cropped “Jersey City” sweatshirt from JaneDO and tie dyed pants from Old Navy because like what else to I have to do?

what to wear during your holiday break while you adult color and/or reenact a preschool school photo.

I need to get back into adult coloring. It is fun, soothing, passes the time…all good things.

Adult coloring really relaxes the mind. For a long time I thought it was a hoax and a trap but my sister got me this adult coloring book a couple of years ago and it just feels good to do.

This also looks like a photo of me that I have from preschool that I’m going to try to find when I go home this week. STAY TUNED.

Oh PS the whole outfit is from Old Navy. I love the thermal top because it has moons and stars on it. A VIBE.

what to wear during your holiday break while wrapping presents but only a couple at a time because it really hurts your back.

I got this sweatsuit in the fall and I do love that it’s a like a MATCHING SUIT.

It’s also nice that it’s red so it’s festive and if I put on a green headband it’s red AND green and THAT is a beautiful thing.

Sweatsuit is Old Navy again. 85% of this stuff is Old Navy. As I said, I’m not usually a fan of lazy clothes but now that I pretty much wear them every day I like to have a lot of options and Old Navy has cheap but quality options. It may be cheap but it’s also soft and comfortable and I AM INSIDE OF MY HOUSE.

Also, wrapping presents really, REALLY makes my back hurt and I’m not sure why but if you have any tips plz share.

what to wear during your holiday break while you get in bed and wait for santa.

Oh shit did that sound sexual? It’s not, I just meant wait until it’s time to open your presents.

The time goes slow when you’re stuck inside, so it’s nice to be comfortable while you wait.

This is another full matching sweatsuit but it’s not very flattering so I’ll just reveal the top half. Some things remain sacred.

Best wishes for cozy holiday outfits for every single one of you, my friends.

jc women’s collaborative holiday bazaar at the hive goods.

I’m now in the midst of a personal two week quarantine but the last fun social thing I did out in the public was check out the JC Women’s Collaborative Holiday Bazaar at The Hive Goods.

The Hive Goods is the downstairs shop at one of my favorite local galleries, Deep Space. This was the first time I was there specifically for shopping and not only for art-gawking. And I was ready to shop my face off.

Like many women (I hope I’m not the only one?) I have an issue when it’s gift buying time in which I buy gifts for myself instead of for others. OR gifts for myself in addtion to the gifts I’m getting for others. It’s just the way it goes. I love stuff just as much as the next real work-from-home housewife of New Jersey. It’s just the way it is. And I’m not sorry.

So there was a TON of stuff there that I would have LOVED to buy for myself, or even the majority of my female relatives. But the problem was, I already got the gifts for the other gals so I was mostly looking for something for my dad and brother who are both THE HARDEST TO SHOP FOR.

(I hope) they read this, so I won’t reveal what exactly I got for them but I did find a small thing or two for each of them!

But mostly I got things for myself.

I tried.

Here’s a bit about some of the vendors!:

the hive goods.

As I said I’ve never gone over to 77 Corneilson just for shopping so I was very excited. Because shopping!

The most exciting thing to be done was go up to the roof and socially distance myself and fill up a bag with stuff in the bins up there for TEN DOLLARS.

Xtina, matriarch of The Hive Goods, sources and sells vintage and consignment items, and also hosts clothing swaps in the shop. So there were BINS ON BINS.

There was so much stuff! I got two little clutch purses in wild colors BECAUSE WHY NOT.

I got a skirt.

A picture frame that I put this year’s Xmas card in!

Also a print of a peacock because I need to surround myself with feathered friends THANKS.

I got even MORE stuff but I can’t tell because that stuff was gifts.

I DID get some gifts. OKAY?!

a petal to peddle.

These wreaths were BEAUTIFUL and the first kiosk you saw when you approached the building.

I follow A Petal to Peddle on Instagram but for whatever reason I’ve never seen their stuff in real life and it was SO PRETTY.

And smelled so nice. LIKE PINE.

Because WREATHS.

These items were all wanted by me and me alone so I couldn’t get any because I was supposed to be getting GIFTS. But next time it’s game on.

tia planta.

Tia Planta is the plant aunt you’ve always wanted and it clearly says it in her name and therefore cannot be denied.

Even though plants meet certain death as my wards, I LOVE PLANTS AND TO BE AMONG THEM.

The Hive Goods was completely transformed for this bazaar and I love to see the different ways a space can be used. It gets me pumped up. Who knows why. But I think the best new and innovative use of a space I already know and love was putting a forest of plants on top of the pool table.

It just looked totally awesome.

I didn’t get any plants because I wasn’t in a position to carry them around on my Saturday activities but that didn’t mean I didn’t WANT to.

Tia Planta also currently has a pop up kiosk in McGinley Sq and after I’m done with my self quar for Xmas I plan to head over.

artesana pottery.

It’s no secret that I love some pottery. Or maybe I’ve never talked about it. I don’t remember.

Artesana Pottery was SUPER cool and unique and each piece is the literal definition of one of a kind. I know that because the gal in charge of the pottery told me it was so.

This great gal ALSO gave us some coquito and it was INCREDIBLE. Super into coquito these days and 10/10 would Artesana Coquito(TM) again.

I did end up getting something for myself here and it was this hand dish with SPIDERS on it to save for Halloween decor next year.

She also had a number of pieces with generic birds and also OWLS and I was VERY TEMPTED.

I do follow her on Instagram so I can always order there. When it’s socially appropriate to buy things for myself again.

slow burn alters.

Slow Burn Alters was recently created by a gal of all trades, master of most of them, who also does some art, beautiful (and heartbreaking in a good way) poetry I’ve come across on the internets, and community reach out via a group called Locality Giveback.

Whew!

As for the alters, they were nicely put together and packaged – a perfect gift for a pal or fam member who is in touch with the spiritual side of themselves.

My pal got one and we opened it up back at her house and it had a tiny little baby candle with a holder and a crystal and a sage thingy and it was so mini and compact and also perfectly suited for its purpose and was therefore swoon-worthy. Even though I personally am not spiritual at all and unsure of its purpose…I still felt like it HAD to have checked all the boxes for a rad spiritual moment at home or on the go.

jc women’s collaborative.

JC Women’s Collaborative is a group I’ve been seeing around the town and they seemed fun and not mean and I’ve been meaning to go to one of their events! One time they had one in Lincoln Park in the fall and I couldn’t find them and I gave up and just laid on a blanket and watched their Instagram stories. As we existed in parallel universes in the same park…

So I was glad I found my way to this event! They ran the show and were super welcoming. They gave out fun Jersey City masks (“fun” because anything with “Jersey City” written on it is VERY FUN to me), hand sanitizer, coffee, and overall “vibes.”

They even gave me some cups for our coquito when I know I was being very annoying asking for them. TRUE HEROES!

In addition to hosting this bazaar, they also hosted a super fun and festive Zoom holiday party on Thursday and it was worth the hangover I had after 2 glasses of wine and one beer.

I GOT 8/10 ON THE TRIVIA.

Just had to tell someone.

flow initiative.

Not a vendor, but The Flow Initiative was at the event collecting period products. I’ve had a long saga with these period products. I got an IUD a few years ago and didn’t know I wouldn’t get a period anymore but I don’t AND I LOVE IT. But, I had all these tampons. Like three boxes. Just collecting dust.

I have been meaning to bring them to JaneDO, and to the last show at Deep Space to pass off to Xtina.

They were in a bag by my door. I forgot them like 5 times in a month-long period. I think eventually they got thrown away.

I had to go buy more before the event.

BUT I GOT THEM SOME TAMPONS TO CONTINUE CHANGING THE WORLD BY GETTING PERIOD PRODUCTS FOR THOSE THAT NEED THEM.

And I’m glad.

The JC Women’s Collaborative Holiday Bazaar at The Hive Goods was obviously badass. There were additional vendors but I didn’t even really get to spend time with them all. I hope they do it again just because and I can buy stuff for ME. maybe in the spring?

Well, The Hive Goods is also doing it again! It’s tomorrow (12/20) so I can’t go since I have to quar, but YOU should go. It’s 1-6pm at 77 Corneilson Ave in Jersey City.

Go on, git.

miracle on mercer.

Last week-ish I went to Miracle on Mercer with some pals and I had an enjoyable and festive time.

I’ll warn you now, I didn’t really get any good pics and I’m sorry.

Miracle on Mercer is actually Franklin Social in disguise. But shh, don’t tell because some people still believe in Santa.

It’s beautifully decorated indoors and out! We sat outside because we all pretty much like it better that way, in these times. Luckily we were right underneath a heater but even if we weren’t I think it would have been fine. The “breezeway” area we were in was warm enough overall.

The heater.

There were tons of lights and some cute old fashioned decorations and bows and snow sprayed on the window.

I WAS REALLY INTO IT.

The whole point of Miracle on Mercer is to have silly Xmas cocktails AND WE DID.

Just like everywhere they had the link to their menu on the table because menus are dirty germ factories and maybe we should actually never have them again. But this one had a cute reindeer on it!

I got the “Jingle Balls Nog” with the intention of trying something else after. But then I just got like 3 more nogs.

For many years I scoffed at the nog but frankly the nog is where it’s at. I have a renewed interest in drinks as dessert because I’m trying to minimize overall consumption and maybe shed some of my quarantine 20 so my fav clothes fit again. So, two birds one stone.

Even though that expression is mean and if I EVER see you going around throwing stones at birds I WILL END YOU.

We also got a couple of rounds of “Nice Shots” (rum, peppermint tea, chocolate) as a group. And they were grand. If all shots were fun like this I would be more excited when people are like, “I’ll buy you a shot!” But at other bars all I really have to choose from is Fireball and everyone always acts stuck up about that and it’s like we can’t ALL be “‘cool’ girls that drink whisk(e)y neat” or whatever so just CALM DOWN.

“Nice Shot” on the right.

I didn’t get any snackies this time around but I have eaten there in the past and it was yummy enough. One of my pals got the Potato Croquettes and they looked pretty good. I wasn’t mad about it.

Miracle on Mercer will be Miracle on Mercer-ing until December 31 at 292 Barrow St in Downtown Jersey City. Okay before you get all FREAKED OUT about it, Mercer is the CROSS STREET because it is on A CORNER.

HAVE FUN.

thanksgiving at home.

Just a quick little recap of a Thanksgiving at home.

Or, a Thanksgiving without really going anywhere.

I was really stressed about deciding what to do for Thanksgiving. But in the end I decided not to risk it and to stay home at my own house.

Unfortunately I am far from having the culinary skills to prepare an entire Thanksgiving at home.

Luckily my mom was nice enough to prepare send all of the food to me! Via socially distanced delivery boy, which is my dad. I don’t think he likes to be called “delivery boy” even though he was one in this case. Sorry Lexx.

Delivery!

We woke up on Thanksgiving morning and had a leisurely biscuits and gravy breakfast.

After breakfast I insisted that we dress up because I always dress up on Thanksgiving even though it is mostly inside and I wear slippers the entire time.

Dressed up. Slippers out of frame.

Slippers were certainly worn for Thanksgiving at home.

At the last minute I decided to set the coffee table up like a real “table” and I felt really proud of it. I mostly didn’t think I had enough “home items” to make a cute little table but I DID.

We drank Irish coffees and mimosas and got pretty drunk before the meal, a time honored family tradition.

When we were ready I warmed up the food my mom sent and it was TIME TO EAT.

Before warming.

Cheesy bread, turkey, stuffing, 3 kinds of potatoes, green beans, etc. ALL THE HITS.

After we ate I demanded we go to Lincoln Park for a “hike” because at my parents’ we usually go into the woods behind their house for a “hike.”

“Hike”

It was a successful “hike” because we spotted a hawk!

“Hawk”

When we returned home I ate some cookies I made and pumpkin pie from Edible Underground and then it was time for bed.

The end.

the thanksgiving dilemma.

In April when all of this COVID stuff started and people were sad about not being able to get together for Easter, I was like “HAHA TOO BAD, EASTER SUX ANYWAY!” But now that it’s November and one of my favorite (although admittedly problematic) holidays is here, my mind and heart are consumed by the Thanksgiving dilemma.

The Thanksgiving dilemma is this: do I or don’t I go home for Thanksgiving?

A simple decision, of course.

JUST KIDDING IT’S NOT SIMPLE AT ALL.

I spent the better part of last week in a complete and utter frenzy. I only referred to it as a “frenzy” so it sounded fun and quirky to my boyfriend. It was actually a full on, days long panic attack.

It was incredibly difficult to decide what to do, as there were many factors and considerations and sources of information.

I was lucky enough to go home a ton of times over the summer and into the fall, when the “numbers” we’ve all grown to obsess over were down and things were a little calmer. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to do this, you don’t even know. Okay I’ll tell you: it was heaven on earth to go home all those times. I love home!

Yes I still refer to my parents’ house in Milford, NJ as “home.” Sue me.

So in considering if I should go home for Thanksgiving, one of my thoughts was, “I’ve already been home so much and it’s fine!”

But like…is it fine?

Then I decided I was going to get some COVID tests. We have them for free in Jersey City and I think it’s a great thing! And they should be free everywhere! MAKE THEM FREE NOW.

On Thursday last week I got a test, and I was planning on getting one on Tuesday 11/24. That seemed like enough time! Everyone I know that has gone back to work in person, mostly people who work in TV, get COVID tests weekly and then they are cleared to work. In my mind if a negative test was good enough for them and a green light to work, then it was good enough for me and a green light to go home.

BUT IT WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. As the days went by I saw more info graphics and articles shared and more memes about killing one’s grandma and I started to panic. I’m going to spare you and not share them here, but you can find them quickly if you look. Apparently even if you get a negative test it is NOT an “all clear” to go party with high risk people, like my grandma and uncle and my parents and my pregnant sister.

A few weeks ago it was my birthday, and I invited some friends to have outside drinks. One friend replied with, “We’re laying low until Thanksgiving so we can see my grandparents.” Of course I respected and honored their choice and would never mock it, but I did feel like it was unnecessarily cautious. The get together was on November 14th and Thanksgiving was so far away!

Narrator: Thanksgiving was NOT far away. Here comes the Thanksgiving dilemma!

In order for you to not catch COVID and not give it to other people, it’s recommended that you stay in your house and self quarantine for at least 14 days before getting together with people indoors. I think you can probably go for walks but you definitely can’t go out and have drinks, even if it’s outside. And you probably shouldn’t be going to workout classes, as I’ve been doing.

My friend was wise, and I totally blew it. Mostly because I’m bad at math.

The CDC actually says you should quarantine if you’ve been “in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.” But like, if you’re out in the world, HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW?!

So this realization coupled with the realization that a negative test isn’t a green light and compounded by all of the “you’re gonna kill your grandma” memes really set me over the edge. Like, pushed me to the brink of my very sanity. I was not well. In my mind. But like who is?

My main concern, as always, is NOT being sick myself, but in making someone else sick. OR, finding out I’m sick after I’ve been around people and then having to TELL THEM and have like a “SERIOUS CONVERSATION” about it. I want to avoid that at all costs. That sounds like my worst nightmare.

The fear of me getting it myself is far less than the fear of infecting someone else. THAT is the shit that keeps me up at night. And always has.

Maybe I shouldn’t bring this up but I guess I will for what I think is a valuable comparison: I say “always has” because when I was single and dating and out in the world or whatever there was always the specter of STDs lurking in the background. And you had to have “the conversation.” And it was sickening and annoying.

(Side note: Don’t even get me started on how STDs are stigmatized and pretty much social suicide in our society for no good reason other than Puritanism and sex shaming and THE PATRIARCHY and if you get a cold or something and give it to someone there isn’t ANY social stigma and that doesn’t seem right. Like in both versions you got sick and someone else got sick from you. Either be okay with it or don’t be okay with it but please choose to give people a hard time about both illnesses equally if that’s what you’re gonna do. But that’s for another time.)

And if we didn’t have “the conversation” it would still be hanging over me, stressing me out, making me feel weird, causing me many sleepless nights. I really let the rumination get to that level. It added to my obsession with going to the doctor. I got so many tests and so frequently that my insurance company had to ask WTF was wrong with me. It was in a letter, I threw it out.

What I’m saying is, if you don’t have sex you won’t get STDs. It’s that simple. Of course there are ways to protect yourself AND YOU SHOULD but the risk is always there. But with COVID, there’s no way to truly get away from it if you’re just trying to live your life at a very basic level. There’s not a specific activity you can identify that’s going to give it to you. You know what is a higher risk and a lower risk, but it’s still everywhere and you don’t even have to touch anyone to be exposed to it.

Like, I just want to go outside, go to workout class, drink a beer with pals. I’ll wear the mask, I’ll do the sanitizer, I’ll stay away from people. AND I DO. But it’s still not 100% safe unless you hide in your house for the ordained amount of time and that’s just the way it is.

Now that COVID is a part of life it’s often necessary to have “the conversation” with the people around you. Like, “Have you been outside? Have you been inside? Have you taken off your mask? Did you go to an indoor party? Have you been tested? WHEN WAS YOUR LAST TEST?“

I find “the conversation” just as terrifying and annoying in a COVID context as an STD context. I will DO IT but I will not LIKE IT. Beyond just collecting the facts, in subtext it calls into question so many abstract, subjective things. Gray area things, like your “morality.”

Who is to say what is actually “moral”?! Perception is reality! I hope I’ve made it clear that I don’t care what anyone thinks and I never have and never will. No one can tell me what to do or judge/shame me into doing or not doing something. I cannot be stopped. But in this case, I was a little worried. Maybe not so much because I cared about people’s opinions, but more because it was important to me to be seen as a good example and someone who believes in science and is responsible. I was concerned about the COMMUNITY OVERALL AND MY CONTRIBUTION TO IT.

Also there’s no way I could have happily shared a Thanksgiving with my family on social media and avoided SOME type of persecution. And if it’s not on Instagram it didn’t happen so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And so it went, for days on end, back and forth in my mind. Agonizing and struggling over the decision. Afraid to talk to any of my friends about it because if they had an opinion one way or another I felt it would stress me out more.

In the end, my mom made the call and ended the Thanksgiving dilemma. She was also going back and forth, but I think she felt like someone needed to make a decision, so she did. AND I AM SO GRATEFUL.

I REALLY COULD NOT HANDLE IT ANOTHER SECOND.

My mom graciously volunteered that she would still make the food and my dad would come drop it off. If that is not the most mom thing ever, I don’t know what is. But I DO know that I am super excited to eat the food!

Of course it won’t be the same, eating the food alone in my apartment with my boyfriend. But I guess it’s the best I can ask for this year. I think it’s okay to say that I’m still disappointed. Because I am. I’m not going to pretend that it was easy and I’m also not going to pretend that I feel 100% okay about this choice.

But a choice was made and I’m going with it. And I’ll just drink a ton of Irish coffees and mimosas tomorrow AS IS TRADITION and won’t let it make me too sad.

AND I won’t have to watch football because my dad won’t be in charge of MY TV. Yesssssss.

Please know that I support any of your Thanksgiving choices…I think. I know it was a really hard decision for me and it took days to really make peace with it. The Thanksgiving dilemma was easy for no one. So my heart goes out to you, whatever you and your family have decided.

Happy Thanksgiving, stay happy and healthy. I’ll delve into the issue of whether or not I want to eat turkey next year. Because it’s a big one.

ghost of uncle joe’s 2020.

I went to Ghost of Uncle Joe’s 2020 on Saturday evening and it…was fun. That’s all I really have to say about it as I 100% dropped the ball on taking notes. I didn’t even get any acceptable photos.

What a nightmare.

The event itself wasn’t a nightmare. Just my handling of it as a classically trained journalist. Even thought blogs aren’t journalism and no one should ever believe they are.

UNLESS YOU MEAN LIKE A SPOOKY HALLOWEEEEEN NIGHTMAREEE?!

Because it WAS that.

If you would like more in-depth, researched, and professional coverage of Ghost of Uncle Joe’s as a whole please see my post from last year.

As for this year I will say: I loved the Jimmy Eat World cover band. Like give me Jimmy Eat World in any capacity and I will be fully satisfied.

I also loved the cool backdrops to take photos in front of. I should have tried harder to get good photos but I didn’t and that’s on me. The backdrops provided were fantastic and I could have probably gotten some fun stuff.

The event was BYOB which I also loved but maybe that contributed to me not taking good notes or photos. I did drink like three homemade iced Irish coffees and no less than 26 Michelob Ultras.

Finally, they had a fun little cartoon ghost mascot wearing a leather jacket this year and OBVIOUSLY I’m obsessed with his cute little cartoon ass so I got a tote bag with him on it. And that was a victory.

That’s all I got. Sorry.

peacock costume.

In my mind nothing can really top last year’s Ms. Frizzle costume. But this year I had some fun making a peacock costume.

Halloween is different this year! Everything is different this year! We have to do the best we can! Overall, Halloween was a welcome distraction from all of the lame crap going on: COVID, the election, the end of the world as we know it.

I decided on a peacock costume for three reasons:

  1. I’m obsessed with birds.
  2. I’ve been really into a blue and green color palette lately.
  3. I thought it would be relatively easy to create a peacock costume on my own. “Easy” as in high reward with not much effort.

the materials.

My interpretation of a peacock required the following materials:

Blue Bodysuit – I selected a bodysuit with long legs and sleeves because it’s going to be incredibly freezing today.

Blue Wig – Wigs are really fun to wear and I wanted an excuse to wear one, even though peacocks don’t technically wear blue wigs or really have any blue features on their heads at all.

Blue Ribbon – I was afraid I didn’t get enough and in the end I actually really didn’t get enough and would get way more if I ever do this or something like this again.

Not enough.

Peacock Feathers – Duh.

Duh.

Peacock Fan – I thought this would be a fun way to mimic the “tail” and also give me the opportunity to carry around and use a prop. I LOVE A PROP. This fan can also be used for other future fun fancy events! If it doesn’t get lost in the graveyard tonight. TBD.

Face Rhinestones – I have never used these before so we’ll see what happens.

Blue/Green Glitter – It has been a year since I got this glitter on sale at Target and it has been floating around in my Caboodle and getting in my way this whole time. Very excited to finally use it. And yes that link is to the pink/purple version. They’re out of blue I guess. Not my problem.

Feathery False Eyelashes – No idea how these are going to work. I may not even be able to figure it out. We’ll see.

construction.

I constructed the costume last night and as I predicted it required minimal effort. There was only one part of it that required construction, the feathery part.

I just cut the ribbon to make a “belt” and then cut more pieces of ribbon to tie peacock feathers onto the “belt.”

Essentially making a peacock “tail.”

Keep in mind this is technically the “tail” of a male peacock so in a way this is peacock drag. Dude birds are just prettier and therefore better to model costumes after. It’s not my fault.

Perhaps a hot glue gun would have been more effective but I got the wrong size glues for mine last year and then never got the right size glues. I’m no craft master and never claimed to be one, you guys.

That’s it! Not going to post the finished product until later. So get excited. Or something.

gail’s pumpkin patch.

Just a quick little tribute to Gail’s Pumpkin Patch.

GAIL’S GLORIOUS PUMPKIN PATCH!

Gail is a KuneKune pig that used to belong to my sister.

Gail!

She’s great! But she kept escaping her pen and roaming around and causing a disturbance and my sister felt she’d be better off on a larger farm with more space and perhaps more of her Suidae kind so she gave Gail to a farmer who promised to never…”harvest” her.

Gail again! But she got bigger and needed more space <3

Even though Gail is gone, her pigpen is still here and she left behind a full-on garden that sprouted from the seeds of foods she was fed combined with natural fertilizer. And that’s all I’m going to say about the fertilizer.

Over the summer there were tomatoes! And at the end of the summer pumpkins started to appear!

These pumpkins, of course, were ready for picking. So yesterday we braved the pouring rain and went outside to pick them.

There were 5 pumpkins and they were all pretty big, so that was exciting. Especially because they had just grown on their own without any amount of human effort or consideration. Just Gail living her life caused them to grow so large and beautiful.

I have to Google this but I also think because they were fresh off the vine they were more…moist…and therefore heavier. Also they had some kind of weird clear slime that came out of them when we carved them. I’ve never seen that in all my years of pumpkin carving.

OMG CUTE LIL MINI CURLY VINE
The wet looking stuff is “slime”

My sister and I both carved what I call a “Classic Jack” and it was funny to me that we both carved almost the exact same thing without discussing it or looking at the other’s pumpkin while carving. I guess our style of “Classic Jack” is ingrained in our Pop brains from childhood.

After we carved we also baked the seeds and the were INCREDIBLE.

Carving pumpkins and baking the seeds is one of my favorite things EVER so I was really excited to use these special backyard/Gail’s Pumpkin Patch pumpkins this year. It really made me very glad.

My sister said she was going to throw the guts and some seeds back into the pigpen so there can be a Gail’s Pumpkin Patch Revival next year!

Next year’s pumpkins!

CANNOT WAIT.