The Salt Water Cure

Several years ago I had a private blog that I used to share with only a small number of people. It was called Kristin’s A Jerk, so you can probably imagine some of the things I would write.  I would vent to my friends about whatever was pissing me off at work, at home, at the grocery store. I used strings of vulgarities, plotted practical jokes, and derided people for frequently misspelling words on Facebook. I miss it.

Not only because I can’t write about the idiots I encounter daily, but because I miss being able to write about all the things/people that gave me the most joy, the times that I have been broken and the people who put me back together, the times I have been lost and scared, and the times I have been so happy I thought I would burst wide open.

If you hadn’t noticed, I’m not a big share-er. I’m okay sharing anger and incredulity with people all day, but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t even know what my point is except that I miss writing that way. Maybe one day I just won’t care and I’ll be like,  “I have all the feels and I’m not afraid to share all the feels with you!” I mean, I doubt it. But stranger things have happened.

I will say, though, that things have been trying lately so I took a quick vacation so as to prevent future gray hairs. I went to the beach, which is very unlike me. I don’t like most things about the beach during summer. Sun beating down directly on my skin? Kill me now. Birds flying over my head ready to shower me with poop at any moment? This is not okay. Sand burning my feet? Nope. None of that makes a good time.

BUT at night, I love the beach. I find it very peaceful and beautiful and soothing. The sunsets, the stars, the sounds. Those things just can’t be beat. So during the day I stayed indoors, refused to put on pants, drank lemon drops, ate croissants, and napped. And at night I grudgingly put on pants, drank more lemon drops, took pictures of the beach, stared at stars (I’m obsessed with stars), and made up dumb jokes and laughed at all of them (I’m my own biggest fan).

birdlemon droprooftopIMG_3927

It was a good escape and just what I needed.

Although, returning to real life where pants are required can be quite shocking to your system.

Snowy Vacations

Every single day for the last two weeks I’ve heard someone going on and on about Stranger Things. That it’s so great. That it’s so amazing. That I have to watch it. Look, I watched it. I didn’t love it. Kanye shrug.

I will, however, admit that I’ve been egregiously mistaken about Game of Thrones. HOW HAVE I BEEN SO WRONG?! I was forced to watch the first season, and two episodes in I was hooked. I’m a convert. No matter how late it is when I get home, I have to watch at least one episode.

So… Stranger Things–meh. Game of Thrones–yes. And the jury is still out on the new Frank Ocean. I’m leaning toward yes, but can’t commit yet.

It has just now occurred to me that maybe you don’t care what I think about any of those things?

Here’s something else…

I’m saving for a winter vacation. Don’t know where yet. But definitely somewhere cold and snowy where I can make snow angels during the day and burrow under thick, soft blankets at night. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Add snowboarding, hot chocolate, marshmallows, wine, and a Scrabble board and now we’ve got a party. A pretty tame party, but still–my kind! Also, old school Chucky movies. Because it’s not winter until you watch a Chucky movie, am I right?

I know I am.

Anyway, this vacation is my top savings priority (also my robot vacuum–lest we forget).  Gonna be eating a lot of rice & beans dinners and driving sadly past Starbucks without stopping during the day. It’s okay. I’m up for it.

Consistency

I worked out at 9pm last night. This is simultaneously a failure and a triumph. A failure because I was supposed to work out at 6am and a triumph because I eventually got it done.

For the last month, I’ve been working on being consistent. In everything. Exercise, French, writing, … This is not something that comes naturally to me. In fact, I suck at it.

Even after a month, when the alarm goes off on Sunday mornings, the very first thought I have is, how can I get out of playing tennis this morning? And it doesn’t matter how much fun I had playing tennis the previous Sunday and the Sunday before that. I always want to skip it for another hour in bed. But I don’t do that anymore. I bitch and moan, kick and scream, shriek into the pillow–and then I climb my lazy ass out of bed, sulk all the way to the tennis court, then have myself a really good time playing tennis.

Same with writing and French. Doing them with any regularity is a massive undertaking. But I’m always happy after I get them done.

I’ve only been working at this change for a month, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. But maybe it will? Either way, I’m adamant now about not allowing “not feeling like it” to be an excuse for not doing something. I’ve been able to skate by in life thus far, but I’d like to be better. And really, how disappointing would it be if I wake up at 50, 60, 70 years old with the same flaws I have today? I think I would really regret that.

No New Friends

I’ll be honest. I have exactly nothing to write about. I won’t hold it against you if you just stop reading here, because the rest is only going to be word vomit.

Still here? Okaaayyy. I warned you!

Did you know that people have robot vacuums? Like…I remember hearing about it in passing some time ago, but I guess I didn’t really pay attention? There are vacuums AND mops that can clean your floors when you’re not even home! You can schedule the cleanings ahead of time. Like on Saturday, you can program the robot to clean everyday at noon. I’VE BEEN LIVING LIKE AN ANIMAL!

Remember when we were kids watching The Jetsons and thinking, yeah can’t wait for the year 2000 ’cause cars are gonna fly, sidewalks are gonna move, and ya girl is gon’ have a jet-pack to get wherever I need to go! And then 2000 came and we just barely got cell phones that were no longer the size of shoe boxes.

And then we were all like, “The Jetsons–what a bunch of bullshit! My car can’t fly!” But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that a robot vacuum is better than a flying car. It just is. Vacuuming is the worst. I humbly apologize for maligning The Jetsons sixteen years ago.

Next up…

These were two headlines in the Chicago Tribune on the same day:

tribune

A tale of two Chicagos, man.

I went to a French meetup where people who want to practice speaking French get together and eat some food. This is quite a reach for me because I’m an unapologetic introvert and new people freak me out. BUT this can’t be an excuse all the time, and I’ve come to terms with that. So I went to this French meetup. Alone.

During introductions, people were telling life stories. Like really personal shit.

“My dad cheated on my mom and, unwittingly, I picked a guy who cheated on me too.”

“My husband and I are going through a rough time. We had to file for bankruptcy.”

“I don’t have sex with my husband as much as I used to. So here I am!”

I’m silently screaming, What the fuuuuucccckkkk, when one lady turns to me and says, “So what’s your story?”

Everyone turns to look at me, and I don’t know what to say. But I finally settle on, “I’m just here to practice speaking French!” And I even tried to say it with a smile, because I’m TRYING TO BE SOCIABLE, DAMMIT.

This is not good enough for them. They just stare at me waiting for more. So internally, I’m like, what can I tell these freaks to get them off my back? I’m on my period? My boobs are sore? Probably need to re-up on a box of tampons on the way home. That seems just inappropriate and personal enough to allow me to fit right in. But I didn’t. Because I’m not a freak.

“C’est tout,” I said. That’s all. They looked at me like I was withholding personal info, and I was. Like a normal, mentally stable person.

I didn’t make any new friends that night.

OK! I think that’s enough stream of consciousness for one post, yes? I mean, I could go on and on, but I gotta save something for next week!

All French Everything

Several years ago–nine, specifically–I discovered the restaurant, The French Laundry. And, yes, even nine years ago I was obsessed with all things French. I looked up the website and concluded that the restaurant was worth obsessing over, so I added it to my proverbial bucket list.

Then–THEN–I found this blog, and it gave me my love and skill for French cooking.

Hahaha, just kidding. I just learned how to cook a piece of chicken all the way through. Delicate, flaky pastries and bouillabaisses are completely out of my wheelhouse.

But I did love the blog and read it religiously, and I delighted in someone trying (and mostly succeeding!) to replicate the fancy dishes using such complicated and involved cooking methods. I mean…bard, assation, fold? WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN IN A COOKING CONTEXT?!

This summer, I had the good fortune to eat at The French Laundry in California. You guys! The entire meal was beautiful and delectable and rich and creative and…lots of other positive descriptors I can’t be bothered to think of right now. It was worth every single Tubman (ha!).

Back at home, I haven’t been able to forget about this meal (and the lovely, ambient French experience. Soooo… I made an exception to my rule about not buying more physical books (because of a lack of storage space), and I bought The French Laundry Cookbook.

Because it’s not available on Kindle and BECAUSE HOW COULD I NOT?

I’m going to learn so many complicated cooking methods and master so many cream-based sauces that people are gonna be like–“Oh mah gah, Kristin, did you grow up in Paris or did you just graduate with honors from Le Cordon Bleu?”

I’m not sure which lie I’m gonna go with yet. Probably the growing up in Paris one.

Bisous !

Mint and Cement

Should we keep talking about my apartment?

The alternative is listening to me spiral about almost every. single. thing. in the news at the moment. Take it from those closest to me, a spiraling Kristin is only fun for about 20-30 minutes. After that everyone starts to discuss nonviolent ways of sedating me.

When I’m feeling hurt, dismal, overwhelmed, anxious–basically any volatile cocktail of negative emotion–I like to throw myself into a time-consuming project. Some people say that avoidance is not a healthy coping mechanism, but…I avoid those people.

After making a nice dent in my Goodreads reading list, photographing and listing all of my unwanted clothes on Ebay, and binge-watching Marcella and Stranger Things on Netflix I needed something else to do.

ENTER: Decorating. Hi, old friend!

After perusing Pinterest for an embarrassing amount of time, I had a plan. It started with this gorgeous coffee table that I’ve been attempting to talk myself out of buying for months because it ain’t exactly cheap.

table

But this time I went ahead and bought it because 1) I love it, 2) I couldn’t find anything similar at a cheaper price, 3) I’m obsessed with concrete decor right now, and 4) WHY THE HELL NOT?!

I’m trying really hard to stop being a cheapskate. There’s a line between frugal and cheap-as-fuck, and I stepped over it a long time ago. I’ve realized I was just being cheap out of a fear of never having enough (See! After avoiding my problems, sometimes I try to deal with them!). One vestige of growing up poor, and I need to let it go.

The day after I ordered the coffee table, I went to the actual West Elm store because I was feeling spend-y. Almost immediately after walking into the store and picking up a vase I got an alert on my phone from Mint. I don’t know if you guys have heard of Mint, but it’s a budgeting and savings app. You enter your monthly budget and your savings goals and it helps you stay on track.

The alert said (I’m paraphrasing here) “you’ve just exceeded your monthly decorating budget by a shit ton.

I thought, GODDAMMIT, MINT, JUST LET ME HAVE THIS! I really wanted the vase that was already in my hands.

Alas, Mint won, and I left the store empty-handed.

However, I still had a decorating goal to accomplish so I headed to Ikea because, you know, lower prices and all that. I walked in, bought an ice cream cone for ONE DOLLAR (that really soothed the tightwad in me), then happily skipped off to find a bookshelf and desk lamp.

After an hour of deciding which bookshelf I should get, I went downstairs to load it onto my cart. Mid-loading, I got an alert from Mint: You’ve exceeded your monthly restaurant budget. Because of an ice cream cone that cost one dollar!

MINT, YOU PETTY MOTHERFUCKER!

Guilt-ridden as I was, I bought the bookshelf and lamp anyway. BECAUSE I NEED THEM, MINT! YOU HEAR ME? I NEED THEM!

Thank God it’s a new month, guys, and Mint is off my back for now.

I’m starting August off slow with one paintbrush and a bottle of gold leaf. Got big do-it-yourself plans for them.

I also just received my new coffee table and it. is. everything. Totally worth the digital harassment.

 

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