Morning light on the bitters brewing. (Taken with instagram)
My friend Julie Parker made this painting for me many years ago. It’s lived with me in many places. I placed it on the table the other day because I liked the way it looked next to my umbrella plant. Just now, I glanced over at it and the sun was hitting it just so. So.
This was an actual conversation with my friend Lark today. Lark is my erstwhile personal trainer but he is also, and more importantly, an old and dear friend. The genius of Lark’s personal training talent is that he knows how to meet each client on their level. My level is hopelessness and despair, coupled with self-discipline and a driving need to be productive. He motivates me with humor and cynicism. It’s perfect.
This is what $40 worth of cheap candles from Cost Plus looks like. Normally I’m not a cheap scented candle PERSON, but I’ll tell you what, 9 days of dead-rodent-in-your-house will turn you — will turn anyone, really — into a fan of cheap scented candles. This is a last resort. Previously, I have tried:
These things were all powerless against the scent of rat-rot. Time to bring out the big guns.
This is my friend Michael’s dog Tigerlily. We hike together sometimes. She’s a sweet natured thing with just a hint of a dark side, so I feel like I really get her, and she, in turn, does me the favor of remembering who I am. She also reaaaaaaaally likes to lick my face, which I’m not that into. I’m not actually not a dog person. I love all animals equally but, like they say in Animal Farm, some are more equal than others. For instance, that mouse/rat/whatever that’s slowly rotting in my wall right now? I don’t love it. On a continuum of dead rotting mouse to flaming tiger, I’d say dogs are somewhere in the low-middle. It depends whether or not the list includes invertebrates, particularly banana slugs. If you consider those scourges “animals,” then dogs get bumped up quite significantly.
This is a picture of me hiking in Tennessee Valley about 3 minutes before we saw a bobcat (or, if you ask Leslie, a mountain lion). I was excited. I love big cats! But then Leslie informed me that, in shaman parlance, a bobcat sighting means you are definitely going to be alone forever. Tell me something I don’t know, universe.
Wait…. How do I use a crosswalk, again?
I just walked from my house to the whole. Not the whole I usually walk to - the other one that’s about 2 miles from my house. Aside from having to cross a few major intersections where I was condescendingly instructed on how to use the pedestrian crosswalk, it was a really lovely walk. I love walking. I’m for sure going to be one of those eccentric old people who walks everywhere (and doesn’t talk to anyone) (and is totally alone) (and who dies in the bathtub) (to be nibbled upon by her cats).
I was listening to this Radiolab podcast called Deception about how people who have the gene where they can lie to themselves are generally happier healthier people overall. It has something to do with having an extra special amount of white matter in the brain and being able to compartmentalize your positive thoughts from your true thoughts and convince yourself that you are a really good person who would never think about bad things and who basically sees the good and chaste in everything. They’ve done all sorts of scientific studies on how these are the ones who end up happy and successful and win Olympic gold medals and have lots of babies and just generally make it through life unscathed, mainly because they’ve somehow managed to convince themselves that life is not a total shit show and that there is good in the world. I was listening to this, and I was thinking, I am so fucked.
But on the bright side, I managed to take a picture of myself with minimal jowls.
This is all I know about Budapest.
And by Budapest, I mean my cat. As for the city, I also know very little, but also way too much. I went to Budapest once, with my last boyfriend, who was half Hungarian. He was a one of a kind, piece of work kind of guy. He was an anomaly, and I have never met anyone like him. Neither has anyone else. For starters, he was the only vegan Hungarian who has ever walked this earth. The Hungarians do not have a word for “vegan.” So, traveling with this person through meat-loving Budapest was an adventure and an inconvenience. Our days consisted of long, circuitous walks through cold Soviet-built streets and haunted medieval alleys to the one vegan restaurant in the city. It was inside an old converted bunker from the Cold War days. The significance of this symbolism did not escape me. Our relationship expired on that trip. And I was left with… well, not much. But Budapest the cat stuck with me. She is my ally. With most people, she vacillates being standoffish and cruel. But Budapest and I are kindred spirits. In the mornings, when no one else is around, she cozies up with me and this one particular old tattered, raggy cashmere sweater that she absolutely adores. I think it reminds her of her mom cat, honestly. She smothers that thing with love and affection (and drool). The sweater was a leftover from another old boyfriend I left behind many years ago. Or vice versa, who knows. Anyway, at this point, it’s just me and Budapest and the sweater. We get by.