i love a casserole.

I love a casserole, is that wrong? If it’s wrong I don’t wanna be right. I love it. Just throw all that shit in there together and bake it up. Boom. Food for days. You wanna talk about “meal prep”? This is meal prep INCARNATE. Midwestern grandmas have been meal prepping since at least 1907.

Tuna casserole, green bean casserole, and egg/breakfast casserole (I recently made one WITH GRITS) have obviously always been my favorites. But the appeal of a casserole goes beyond the shine of the MVPs in its category. The beauty of a casserole comes from its simplicity, the ease with which it can be prepared, the fact that you bake it inside the oven where the heat is safely kept away from you instead of cooking it over an open flame, and its ability to last as multiple delicious meals for at least a week.

A breakfast casserole I made recently. WITH GRITS.

The ingredients are simple! Just a couple of things! Most of them you don’t even have to prepare, YOU JUST THROW THEM IN. “Just throwing things in” is incredibly appealing to me. I hate cooking. It’s not fun or relaxing and by the time it’s ready I want to take a nap and I’m not in the right state of mind to even enjoy eating what I’ve just slaved over and gone out of my way to prepare. But casseroles help ease that feeling of disgust and aversion toward cooking. They’re like, “Hello friend! I am simple! JUST THROW THAT SHIT IN AND I WILL DO THE REST.”

Thank you, casseroles.

In addition to hating cooking overall, I am terrified of fire and extreme heat in any form. Fire KILLS people, destroys property, and is an ever-present danger that has been lurking around every corner waiting to claim us and everything we love since the beginning of time. I live in constant fear of the perils of fire and I’m not sorry.

Baking is okay, because the heat is contained in the oven. I still get scared and often do get small burns when I have to take things in and out, but the cumulative exposure to fire during a baking sesh is way less.

AND CASSEROLES ARE BAKED.

Most importantly, when you make a casserole it contains many servings! Like usually at least 6 or 8, if I have any idea of the math of it. Which like, don’t quote me on that. But it’s great that you just have to cook ONE TIME and you get enough food for MULTIPLE TIMES so later in your week or month or life when you really, REALLY don’t feel like cooking anything you can whip out the casserole to save the day.

Last year I made “Amy’s Hot Dish” when Amy Klobuchar was in the presidential race because I saw it on some website and I wanted to try it. I had never eaten or even heard of “hot dish” before so it was an exciting anthropological moment for me. There is some debate about “hot dish” vs “casserole” and what each one means but in the end they’re essentially the same in that they are both AMAZING. It’s worth noting that the sacred ancestral food of my forebears and the great and powerful Garfield, lasagna, is also a casserole.

Yes, it’s a casserole, calm down.

It’s some delicious shit all mixed together and congealed into a rectangular shape that yields multiple servings.

And I love a casserole.

humane mouse trap.

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about my humane mouse trap. I set it a couple of weeks ago and finally caught a mouse this morning. It seems like there’s a certain amount of staking out the area that the mice do so it didn’t work right away. But it worked now because here is the mouse!

This mouse…IS SO INCREDIBLY CUTE, you guys. I can’t even look at him. It brought tears to my eyes to see how big his little ears are compared to his little body. His big-little ears? Either way, THE EARS.

And I forgot how very tiny mice are up close. Just so so delicate with tiny little feet and eyes and whiskers. I’m going to cry again ugh.

We started having a “mouse problem” a couple of months ago. They kind of just hung out a little at first and I would see them run along the wall sometimes early in the morning and I’d be like “haha mouse!” But I honestly didn’t really care because I looked around and cleaned and they hadn’t made a mess or any trouble anywhere so it didn’t seem like a big deal.

But about a month ago some mice ate a WHOLE LOAF of wheat bread on the counter. Like they didn’t eat the entire thing but they started at both ends and tunneled through it. They had a FEAST and they met in the middle and probably had sex on it. That’s expected behavior. And they also BROKE INTO a box of coconut Belvitas and chewed up some and took some to go and left them strewn about.

Although I’m not afraid of mice and I think they’re adorable and actually enjoy their company, I do know that they’re filled with terrifying bacteria and germs due to their life on and under the ground and inside of walls and among garbage. Like you can get pretty sick from a mouse or stuff that lives on a mouse and that’s not ideal.

So the fact that they had infiltrated the apartment’s food supply led me to order some traps online.

These mice lost their little rodent minds and normally it wouldn’t bother me too much BUT THEY MESSED WITH MY FOOD AND NO ONE MESSES WITH MY FOOD.

I know mice have to eat too, I get it. But I don’t want them to eat my food that I have not offered to them. They broke the rules and are being bad friends so they gotta go.

But I cannot BEAR to see a dead animal in my home under any circumstances and it’s simply not good for my mental health to set a TRAP OF DEATH rigged with a TRICK SNACK so that another LIVING BEING can go to try to eat the snack and get its NECK BROKEN.

I just CANNOT be the cause of that.

If it gets eaten by a cat, fine. That’s the circle of life. A hawk, even better. EVEN MORE BADASS.

Do you know what’s NOT badass? Tricking them into death. I won’t stand for it. I can’t do it. I’m going to barf just thinking about it.

I’m sorry.

So the humane trap! I ordered some! I set one up! First I put peanut butter in as bait and no mice came by. After a week I tried more peanut butter. Still no customers.

Then I got an idea! Belvitas! They loved those and even tried to carry them away! Let’s get em!

During this same time period I also put all foods present in the apartment inside air tight plastic bins, which is what I’ve done to get rid of mice in the past and it’s always worked. Now that I’ve caught this mouse maybe I should just stop trying to lure more here and stick to the plastic bin thing? I’m not sure. Because one did not show up for literally weeks.

But eventually, this guy came to visit and I trapped him, safely AND HUMANELY. I studied him for a moment and looked up some facts. He was a house mouse. That’s an actual species of mouse. They can breed at 1 month old, have a gestation period of 21 days, and litters of 5 or 6 babies…and they can have a litter of UP TO 14.

This is why they are snacks for other animals. Like rabbits and other rodents, THERE ARE SO MANY AND THEY QUICKLY MAKE MORE. Their whole community is essentially a bag of chips. Or maybe like a box of donuts. I guess it depends on how big the predator is.

I also learned that they only live 16-18 months, which is interesting and kind of made me sad.

I vowed that I would make sure this mouse lived his best life. Or something like that. Basically I just carried him a little over a mile from my house and released him in a large, vacant grassy lot. I think the best idea would have been to bring him to Lincoln Park but it takes me 15 mins to walk over there and I had other shit to do so I dropped him on my way.

He ran right into the road and under a blue minivan, because no good deed goes unpunished. But then he came out on the other side and dove safely into a gutter. He was on his way!

I’m pleased with the results of the humane mouse trap and would use it again. WILL use it again if I notice other mice poking around and eating my food that I DID NOT OFFER THEM.

Mice aren’t ideal to have inside your home but they’re very cute so I forgive them. It’s always fun and exciting to see local wildlife so I’m still riding high from this morning’s encounter.

HOUSE MOUSE!

hot chocolate bombs.

I made hot chocolate bombs! It was so incredibly difficult and I’m pretty traumatized from the experience. But I made them.

I used this recipe. That’s the one.

Doing any kind of “baking” that involves melting and molding chocolate is like REALLY HARD YOU GUYS. I’m not really sure why I signed myself up for this but I did and once I started I had to finish.

There were enough ingredients in my house to make 6 but only 3 survived. The second half of chocolate chips I tried to melt got messed up and melted wrong and could not be recovered. It was actually really disgusting and made me feel sad about chocolate overall which is something I’ve never felt but I’m not sure how to avoid it next time. So who knows.

The bombs themselves are very fragile and didn’t seal together very well and I propped them up in a ziploc bag and nestled them in a plastic container and then wrapped that in plastic wrap to get them home.

Making hot chocolate bombs is a project for people with more concern and consideration when it comes to attention to detail and also more precise fine motor skills.

Because I do not have any fine motor skills. OR care and consideration for attention to detail.

Tomorrow I will feed these bombs to my family and we’ll see what happens.

this blanket scarf is huge.

It’s winter and I have nothing to do and knitting helps me relax so I was pumped to knit this blanket scarf. Now that I’m finished knitting it, I realize this blanket scarf is huge.

That’s fine I guess, the more the merrier. But I’m going to tell you that by looking at the materials and the measurements I had ZERO CLUE how big it would be. I could not conceptualize the size in any way. I was just like, “Cool! Blanket scarf!”

Additionally, I could not figure out the actual pattern. It was too hard. I tried it a few times and ripped it up and then watched YouTube videos and tried it again but it was a lost cause. I just did regular garter stitch for the whole thing.

The problem was: there is math in this scarf. There is math in knitting overall, and it’s unfair. There is math in the WORLD overall, and that is ALSO UNFAIR.

Math is all around us and I’m not happy about it.

Currently there’s some kind of stock thing going on with GameStop and Reddit and evil hedge-fund dudes with money that I would never look at twice because they annoy me and I’d kick them in the balls and I’m doing my best to avoid the whole thing. I know if I tried to learn about it I would be unsuccessful and that frustrates me. I also don’t want to have to scrape chunks of my exploded brain off the wall after my mind is blown and I still haven’t learned anything.

No one talks about how hard math is and it’s not fair so I’m talking about it now. Sure there are a ton of people that are like “I don’t understand stocks lol,” but I fully do not understand ANY AND ALL math. ESPECIALLY stocks, it’s basically made up monopoly money to me. Which I guess it is, in a way. Or it’s not. I don’t even know what it is, don’t listen to me.

I want to be up with the stuff and you know I’m all about “Down with The Man” but this GameStop shit makes zero sense to me no matter how many different things I read about it or how many kind people try to explain it to me.

It’s not in the cards for me to understand it, like the multiple times I’ve tried to play poker or chess or even an INSTRUMENT. The math is lurking ominously within all of those things and math is a foreign language I will never be able to learn. I can try but the basic materials needed to learn and understand and comprehend it are missing from my brain.

I’m not making this up. Math enters my brain and hits a wall and that is where it dies. It plummets to the ground and shrivels up as it gasps for breath and you can spot the piles of skeletons of math that surround me if you look at pictures of me very closely.

It’s just that I didn’t think this scarf would be this big. But it is. And it’s fine. It’s cold out.

i made pie.

Yesterday I made pie and I would like to memorialize it on yet another platform because tiktok and instagram and facebook don’t feel like enough. So here we are.

The last couple of years I have gotten more interested in baking. I started with cookies, and I’ve also made different kinds of dessert breads (banana bread, lemon poppyseed loaf, etc), and of course banana pudding.

But I felt it was now time to conquer pie.

Actually it came to me after we watched a movie called “The Swerve.” The protagonist makes apple pie and the pie-making process was shown in an interesting visual way and I was like, “I want to do that.” Spoiler: Just not with the rat poison.

My boyfriend picked out this recipe for me to make because he is the pie eater of the family, and it was time to get going.

I made homemade crust for this and I will say that I now know why my mom and Grammie were always like, “Pie is a pain in the ass just buy one.” Because this was certainly a pain in the ass.

First of all, you have to mix it in some wacky way with two knives? I’m still not fully sure if I did the right thing but it turned out so I’m okay with it. Apparently there is a special pastry blender that can also do this, maybe I’ll look into that. But for this particular pie-making sesh it was all good old fashioned manual blood, sweat, and tears to get this crust mixed up.

After it’s mixed you flatten it…with your hands because it will stick to a rolling pin and you don’t want to add too much flour. I think.

AND THEN you have to put it in the fridge for 45 mins. This pie crust is diva AF.

Because this is an APPLE pie, I had to PEEL APPLES. Peeling ANYTHING is TERRIFYING to me because the peeler thing is sharp as hell and stuff starts to get slippery and THAT is how PEOPLE GET HURT.

After the trauma of peeling I also had to cut the apples into thin slices and I was frightened of that as well.

Peaches aren’t in season so I had to get some in a jar and I didn’t feel great about that but I drained the syrup and rinsed them off to try to get them as close to real peaches as possible.

You take that crust out of the fridge and put one half in the pie…device? Then you put the fillings in.

The thing that entertained me most is that you just cut butter into small chunks and “sprinkle” it over the filling. Like just chunks of unmelted butter sit on top of this thing as it goes into the oven. Most baked goods have butter but this obvious and visual use of excessive butter staring me right in the face really made me laugh. For whatever reason.

This was a “lattice” pie so it called for a “lattice” design on the top and putting that part together WAS SO INCREDIBLY HARD, YOU GUYS. I had to cut the crust dough into long strips and then weave those strips into each other and I’m sure there’s an expert, easy way to do it but i was just weaving haphazardly and the strips kept breaking and my hands were shaking and it was a mess.

But I got it done and threw it in the oven. Whew.

This pie smelled SO GOOD as it baked. It was a really nice Sunday feeling, to sit on the couch and it was cold outside and to smell that smell. Beautiful stuff.

And the pie TASTES good too! I’m not big into fruit pies but I had to try a piece, and it was DELISH. I also added a bit of habanero pepper to give it a nice little savory spice and I was into that.

In conclusion, MAKING A PIE IS VERY LABOR INTENSIVE. At least it is for a baking novice like me. It was a nice little challenge/learning sesh/mind exercise to keep me busy and fill up a Sunday afternoon, but I can see why most people buy pies for Thanksgiving. Well, most people I know. Because if you’re making all that other food there is 100% not time to make a pie.

So if I ever asked you or even wondered in my head, “Why isn’t there HOMEMADE pie?” or “Why do you buy a crust instead of making it?” I am sorry please forgive me.

meet the birds.

Did I ever tell you about the time I went to Meet the Breeds? Well, that will have to wait. Because this is meet the birds.

The birds! We love them! We got them a few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve at Paterson Bird Store and we’ve never looked back.

Actually, we HAVE looked back because some of them are grumpy and screech a lot and this adds to the pain of my constant daily headaches.

But we still love ‘em so let’s meet ‘em.

elvis costello.

Elvis is our first bird and we already had him so you may already know him. But he is a GOOD BOI. He is quiet and patient and he tries to keep order in the cage.

He’s kind of the boss of the others because he was here first. When they start to act crazy he begs them to calm down.

They usually don’t listen.

Elvis loves to fly in laps around the living room and eat kale and basil. He’s the only one that can leave the cage right now because we are trying to train the rest and it’s taking literally forever.

Elvis is so cute.

blondie.

Blondie is mean and grumpy. I’m sorry to say it but she is. She yells the most and she bites the most.

Yes they bite! My parakeet when I was little didn’t bite, and Elvis doesn’t bite, BUT BLONDIE BITES.

They just bite when they’re scared, so since I do my best not to scare them, Blondie has luckily only bitten two or three times, when we’ve needed to move her around. They hate it when you grab them and I don’t blame them but occasionally you have to do a gentle little grab to get them from one place to another quickly and safely.

Now that they’re in their cage and we’re trying to train them we shouldn’t have to grab her anymore so hopefully she’ll feel less scared and won’t bite anymore.

HOPEFULLY.

Blondie is very pretty and she’s kind of my dream when it comes to coloring. I didn’t realize that there were so many different color mutations for budgies and as soon as I saw ones like her on the internet I was like, “it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.”

She was my number one pick at the store and it makes me sad that she’s so grumpy but we’re doing our best to win her over.

According to the internet they take a long time to train and to like you or even just tolerate you so I guess it’s going to be a long ride. Blondie also always YELLS and it is ANNOYING.

Like not a nice little peep or even a loud but clear and sweet chirp but like a SCREECHING YELL. She is OUTRAGED. No amount of “talking to her in a calm soft voice” helps.

Sometimes she does make a pretty, sweet chirp and I’m like “Blondie you look so pretty when you smile!” And I know, saying that to her is UNFAIR.

And I’m sorry.

birdie sanders.

Birdie Sanders was my boyfriend’s number one pick at the store and he’s pretty cute. He just hangs out most of the time.

Eek I need to clean these branches.

I felt terrible for him when we got him because the people at the store trimmed all their nails and one of Birdie’s nails was cut too short (a common accident) and started to bleed. The blood looked super red and dark and dramatic coming out of his tiny pink foot. It actually really hurt my feelings.

They cleaned him right up and he was and is fine but that’s how I’ll always think of him, with his bleeding little foot. Ugh I’m gonna cry.

A lot of the time Birdie sits apart from the others and I’m not really sure why. At first it seemed like they picked on him a little but now it just seems like he likes to do his own thing. I also think he’s older than the rest of them, maybe even older than Elvis, because of the way his eyes look.

You can tell their age by their eyes, kinda. When they’re no longer babies, they start to have a lighter part around the their eye, and Birdie has that.

franz birdinand.

Speaking of eyes, Franz Birdinand is a straight up tiny baby because his eyes are HUGE and dark. He’s always just staring with his huge baby eyes, looking for an answer.

Franz is peeking out behind Blondie🤣

Franz and Elvis get along best and it seems like they’re really close pals. They often sit close together and groom each other and it’s really cute.

Franz still gets pretty scared when you approach the cage or put a hand in. He won’t even join the others as they eat millet treats out of my hand. He remains very suspicious of humans, but we’re working on it.

I also kind of always wanted a bright yellow one and Franz checks that box, he’s very bright and pretty, WITH HIS BIG ASS EYES.

So those are the birds! Expect to hear more about them as I get to know them better and continue with their training. They are so cute and I love them so much but the training really takes forever please let it go faster thanks.

They also have an Instagram account that they set up all by themselves and it’s called @herd_ofbirds

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.

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.

a clean house is evidence of mental inferiority.

I recently watched a pretty great movie on Hulu called “Shirley.” Elisabeth Moss plays author Shirley Jackson and at one point she’s having a depressive episode and just wants to sleep and doesn’t clean her house. Her husband disapproves and is like, “Bla bla bla I’m a jerk” (I’m paraphrasing), and she says, “A clean house is evidence of mental inferiority.”

This really spoke to me, mostly because I WANTED it to be true. I want to believe that the fact that my home is always a huge mess and I honestly don’t care means that I’m the smartest woman alive. That I have rich and varied intellectual inner and outer lives and have way better and more impressive things to do with my time than waste it cleaning.

It just has to be true.

Because I do not care about cleaning. Not one bit. I hate doing it and it’s annoying and feels like an inconvenience. There is no world in which I’m the person who would like “deep clean” their bathroom without (legal in some states) chemical enhancement. And even then I usually get bored a third of the way through and half ass the rest of the job.

I don’t even really think about disorder of my space in general. Honestly I don’t think I even see it. Like my brain doesn’t register that there is stuff thrown all over the place and I should pick it up. I don’t feel a NEED to pick ANYTHING up until there are piles on the floor that are physically blocking my way and I’m tripping over them. Then I’m like oh shit I guess I should get this out of the way. Wouldn’t want to break anything.

Quick sample of what the room I sleep in at my parents’ house looks like after I’ve been there for about 30mins.

My anxiety is extreme and manifests itself in a variety of ways, and I am a perfectionist about some things in the sense that if things aren’t how I need them to be I get really freaked the heck out. But luckily (unluckily?) for me I have been spared from anxiety related to germs/cleanliness/overall disorder of a physical space. Perhaps I’m too busy feeling completely freaked out about other things to notice.

Speaking of mental bullshit, I also get depressed. Actual depression depressed, not like “sad.” When that happens I have a hard time even doing the basic things I need to do in a day, like go to work and make a living. BUT I DO IT. BUT I MOSTLY JUST WANT TO SLEEP THE WHOLE TIME. During these times all of my free time and energy goes toward just trying to keep things going and maintain the basic systems of my existence. Cleaning my home isn’t a basic system of my existence. I’m just telling you, it’s not.

My old roommate and I were roommates for so long I think in part because we had the same ideas about cleaning. Also we are besties but the cleaning (or lack thereof) connection really made things rad. When we had parties we would joke that we had to make our apartment, “people-coming-over clean.” And that would be just like regular clean for a regular person. But we were not regular. Because a clean house is evidence of mental inferiority and we were GOSH DARN MOTHER EFFING GENIUSES. TRY TO DENY IT. I’LL WAIT.

I will admit that OF COURSE the mansion/apartment/shack/house (hehe MASH) feels way better and more comfortable when it is clean and tidy. But what is the PRICE YOU MUST PAY for it to be like that all the time? The price of your mental capacity when you could be doing something smart or intellectual OR resting your brain to get ready for the next smart and intellectual thing? We only have so much to give, and we cannot do it all.

The world around us wants us to be cleaning, they expect it. At one point I read the rudest meme I had ever seen and it said, “If her house doesn’t smell like breakfast or cleaning products by 9:30am on a Saturday she’s not girlfriend material.”

HOW ABOUT YOU SUCK IT.

EVER THOUGHT ABOUT GETTING YOUR OWN FOOD OR CLEANING PRODUCTS? EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW I’M NOT WAKING UP UNTIL 1PM BECAUSE IT IS SATURDAY BUT THAT DOESN’T DISQUALIFY ME FROM BEING SOMEONE’S GIRLFRIEND?! Ugh I hate you.

Maybe one of the reasons why I’m so disinterested in cleaning is because… the patriarchy. Don’t tell me I should be cleaning because then I’m most definitely NOT going to clean and I will probably also run outside through some mud in my Dr. Martens and then stomp in your bed. That’s just the way it will have to go.

HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT SATURDAY MORNING, CHAD?!

Speaking of mud, and after thinking about this a little harder, I will say that my house is more “messy” than actually “dirty.” Like yeah it needs to be vacuumed, but there aren’t plates of half eaten food around or anything like that. You can’t leave half eaten food around! That’s how you attract creatures and then once you attract them the only way out is to kill them. And if I have to see a mouse struggling for its little mouse life on one of those glue traps I will definitely lose my shit.

Things need to be disinfected, food waste can’t lurk, etc. This basic maintenance DOES get done so don’t be afraid for my overall health. But I WILL have ten pairs of shoes scattered about my living room and a falling over pile of old magazines on my coffee table, clean clothes piled on every piece of furniture, dirty clothes all over the floor, backpacks/totes/purses I have used and then thrown on the floor after digging through them and transferring the necessities to a different bag, etc, etc, etc and so on and so on and so on this is the song that never ends. Yes it goes on and on, my friend.

As always this is my opinion, and I’m not trying to call you dumb because YOUR home is clean or tell you how to live your life. This is just what works for ME.

In the future someday maybe I won’t be poor and I can pay someone else to clean my home for me. It will be worth every penny, for sure. Until then, I suppose I will live among chaos.