Newsletter #5: It’s Halloween Season, Bitches

The pandemic is still raging, and so is my neighbor’s daughter’s nasty case of crotch rot (I wish I was kidding, but I’ve heard the stories told over… and over… and over again as she squawks about it loudly over the phone in the backyard…more on that in a bit…), but Halloween season is here.

You guys know I love fall. LOVE. Fucking love. I love it so much I blogged about it HERE, and HERE, and… HERE. The funny part about it is that in Southern California, fall is when it starts to get FUCKIN HOT. I mean like 100 degree heat waves, fires burning down half the town, and air quality that looks like the inside of a smoker’s lung. Nothing says “it’s autumn” like your kids going trick or treating in tank tops and booty shorts because it’s still 90 degrees out by the time it gets dark, and a random fire breaks out in the mountains so you have to cut trick or treating short to go home and pack *just in case* (this happened two years ago).

Anyway, I’m not being smarmy and sarcastic. I really do love fall. I’m not sure what about it – maybe the nostalgia of what fall represented when I was a kid; maybe it’s spending time with my own kids doing stuff with them; maybe all the delicious flavors… don’t know, but I love it.

Around the World

Nevertheless, the pandemic rages on, and while kids are now being promised a vaccine “sometime this fall,” (supposedly by Halloween) I remain skeptical. They just keep pushing the timeline back, and moreover, I just don’t know what to believe about any of it anymore. This is NOT to say that I’m a COVID skeptic. I am merely cynical of the prospect that this shit is going to end and get better some day.

There’s all this buzz about boosters too, and while I am usually critical of people saying that the messaging is “confusing” (it’s usually not, unless people are all just dumb…), this time, I have to agree. If you’ve ever seen Eric Topol on Twitter, he puts it perfectly here:

Of course none of this has stopped football stadiums from packing it in again, high schools from getting back to dances and rallies, and – you know – everyone sort of being out for themselves at this point. So I say we should all just do what we have to do to protect ourselves, plain and simple. As my grandma used to say: sometimes, it is what it is. For now, it seems to be a bit state of nature, figure it out on your own, let’s hope we all survive… in the end, though, what can any of us do about it? Shrug, and go on about our daily lives I suppose. Do what we can to protect ourselves and those we love.

It is what it is.

Around My World

Well back to fall and Halloween, my two oldest kids and I have been watching a lot of scary movies lately. I’m not sure what sparked it, but I have to say I’m happy we’ve taken this turn with our Netflix/Hulu/Disney+/Amazon viewing.

The best part, though, is that now… finally after all this time… I get the memes.

The Conjuring(s) and Annabelle

Admittedly, I really only liked-liked the first Conjuring. The second was still pretty good. But from there? I don’t know…

Still, what is particularly eery about these films, as well as Annabelle, is the devil-made-me-do-it, religious aspect of it all. Probably because I’m Catholic, and while I certainly don’t practice, I still bow my head and genuflect every time I go near a church… because habit.

Of them all, Annabelle had the most hair-standing-on-end moments, as well as me yelling “why would you do that?!” repeatedly at the main characters, because what is a good horror film if not for a main character that makes stupid choices?

Malignant

I let my teenagers watch Malignant, and I knew it was a gamble and probably – definitely – not recommended by Common Sense Media. But we watched after my four year old was fast asleep (so no chance he would come running into the room), and I just knew it would have a campy-Evil Dead-Army of Darkness vibe to it. In that department, it did not disappoint. (My kids also watch Supernatural, Vampire Diaries… all that crap, so blood and guts is pretty much streaming on their iPads on the reg).

What I certainly wasn’t expecting – campy expectations or not – was to laugh so hard. There were just some moments that were just so over the top (jail cell scene anyone?), who couldn’t help but laugh? I have no doubt in my mind that this will go down as one of the all-time great cult classics.

It

This is the one I am particularly happy about, because when the remake of it first came out there were Pennywise memes everywhere and I did not understand a damn one of them. Then, when the second film came out – just a few years ago, right before the pandemic – down the street from my husband’s office there was a pop up It experience. I remember scoffing at the enormous line of people down the block to get in, simply because I had no idea what the hubbub was about.

So we watched the first It last night, and are planning to watch the second tonight. I. Get. ALL. Of. The. Memes. Now. Wow. Just wow.

And, in the end, I thought it was a pretty good movie. I was particularly impressed – not to get all “Industry Wife” snooty with the discussion here – with the way the characters were fine tuned down to the T. Like when Beverly’s dad comes on screen for the first time, you look at him and you just know he’s a child molester.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the second movie and… for COVID to settle down and for that pop up It experience to come back to California.

STFU Fridays

So as I said in the beginning of this week’s newsletter, my neighbor’s daughter has – what they call – “crotch rot.”

A little backstory:

So my neighbor is a hard and fast believer in QAnon. I mean she is legitimately in the group. She talks about Q all the time. Not to me, I don’t talk to her – except for the one time she came over and banged on my door to let me know that a piece of paper had fallen out of our trash can on trash day. I mean that I hear her talking about this shit on the phone, which she spends probably 6 hours a day on while running an at home daycare, with absolutely no young children of her own. She is also hyper-Christian, though does not go to church… and by hyper-Christian, I mean it’s cult like. But I guess it’s a cult of one, because – as I said … no church.

So her oldest daughter is 20 and her youngest is 18, just graduated high school. The oldest now lives with her boyfriend at his parent’s house – he, a real winner by my estimation (imagine: my eyes roll into the back of my head until I seize) – and they went on some couples trip.

To a motel down the street.

When I heard the daughter, over visiting several weeks ago describing it, she called it romantic. I called it the Motel 6.

Now I’m not naive about these things, and I don’t think my neighbor is either, but long story short the girl now has some sort of smell coming from her vagina. It has persisted over several weeks, and apparently nothing is helping.

I learned this when QAnon lady squawked about it over the phone to her sister in New Mexico, on several occasions. They discussed possible causes. They discussed holistic treatments. And then – today – the daughter came over, and I heard the mother say the following:

“Look… I’ve been thinking about your crotch rot – hahaha – okay okay, your vag-i-nal o-dor, and I think it’s time you stop letting doctors and such force things on you, and you let the power of Jesus flow through you to fix this.”

What. The Fuck.

Jesus is not a solution for an infection of the vagina, Q. The power of God flowing through your vagina is a recipe for immaculate conception, not a resolution of bacterial vaginosis. For fuck’s sake, a tampon soaked in Greek yogurt would probably be more effective than calling on the Holy Spirit to fix this problem.

Where is this shit coming from?! This is the same reasoning these religious nuts are ignoring signs of cancer, refusing measles vaccines, and who fall for that *cut open purple onion and put it in your bedroom to prevent the flu* meme that goes around every year. The power of Christ compels you to ignore all common sense and modern scientific medicine; but if that doesn’t work, here’s an anti-parasitic for farm animals you can try!

This has certainly gone off the rails, and while it’s none of my business in the end, they make it my business by screaming about it into their cellphones – on speaker – for hours on end every day. I live in California. We are stacked on top of each other like sardines to the point that I could vomit – not even the projectile kind – and some would splatter on their deck chairs. Certainly, I sympathize with her daughter’s vaginal issues. Really… I do. But it’s about time they shut the fuck up, and if any of you are this open and talky about your medical problems, you need to shut the fuck up too!

Anywho, happy weekend!

I Hope You All Laugh Heartily About My Disastrous Long Weekend

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I don’t even know why the fuck I called it a “long weekend.” It certainly was disastrous, but the concepts of weekend, or long weekend, are relatively foreign to me.

My husband doesn’t get most federal holidays off. I mean, even when he does he’s usually answering text messages or emails or whatever about work anyway. So “long” is a misnomer, because he’s at work right now.

The other thing is that, um, I’m a SAHM – so I work 24/7. Weekend has no meaning to me, except I have another child (aforementioned husband) to pick up after.

Friday

It started innocently on Friday afternoon. My mother in law texted me that she was at jury duty down the street from our home, so did we want to meet her for lunch near the court house. Sure, why not. I’m always up to eat, plus she and my father in law were leaving the following day for a week in Park City (Sundance), so I figured I need to go over their horse care instructions, since my husband would be handling it on Sunday.

While sitting there, my daughter wanted to show her the funny complaint Post-It she “sent” to my husband.

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My mother in law took one look at it and announced loudly (I mean loudly, like the rest of the restaurant looked at us): “yeah, I think he needs to add fiber to his diet, or start taking laxatives regularly … even when he was potty training, pooping was so hard.”

Pooping. Pooping was so hard. That’s my man.

Saturday

Saturday began in what could have been a serious disaster. The kid woke up with a scratchy, allergic sore throat, but right now she’s having a rough time because her dad moved to Texas and she has to go visit him soon (and vehemently does not want to go). So a scratchy, allergic sore throat suddenly became “I think I’m going to blow chunks” which then turned into crying and saying she doesn’t want to call her dad in a couple of weeks, and she doesn’t want to go to Texas, and why can’t I just have donuts for breakfast sometimes???????”

Say what?

In the span of 20 minutes, she went from allergic to nauseous to anxious to panicky to crying to can I please have a donut.

I had a Mom Beverage for lunch.

Sunday

Sunday was relatively mild. We went to my husband’s parents’ home to take care of the horse and hang out with his grandparents (who stay there during the winter). They made lasagna and a pudding pie for us for dinner, which I’ll get to in a minute. After all the NFL dramas for the day were over, we scurried on home for me to watch my DVRed Flowers In The Attic that was on Lifetime the night before.

Then we all went to bed, and after the stroke of minute on MLK Day was when shit started to get real.

Monday. MLK Day

I woke up at 4-something in the morning from a noise outside, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Naturally – as most people do now – I grabbed my phone and proceeded to make myself even less sleepy by looking at Facebook and Pinterest and all that other senseless shit.

Then a notification from my bank popped up that the paycheck my husband had me deposit the other day had been returned, and suddenly my account was frozen until the bank reopens Tuesday.

Rather than go back to sleep, because obviously nothing can be done, like a psychopath I got up and turned all the lights on in the house (essentially) and decided to call the bank’s 24/7 hotline. In fact, the account is frozen. I have something like $11 in my wallet until then.

And a shit-ton of credit cards, but what if the zombie apocalypse starts?!

I went back to sleep for about twenty minutes and then was woken up by a small human being climbing on top of me (because kids were made to wake moms up early, right?), and then the usual noise of the hustle and bustle of a typical weekday morning. Remember, we don’t really have any concept of long weekends around here.

Finally I got up and shit really started to get weird.

First I was sitting downstairs and heard my daughter talk, nonstop, to whom and about what I do not know, for forty five minutes.

Then I looked outside and saw a conglomerate of people milling around in the walkway. And I heard what they were all standing outside so awkwardly because of, which I think I need to backtrack on for a second first.

We got new neighbors four days ago. On the first day, they moved all their things in in garbage bags. Garbage bags. Not boxes. The second day, it appeared that there are about ten people living in the two bedroom townhome, I heard one tell another neighbor they are all farmworkers. The third day, they brought over many cages of squawking, loud ass birds and left them on the patio (in spite of the fact that the place does not allow pets).

Then today, the fourth day, in the coup de grace you might call it, the majority of them were outside while the oldest couple in the house had the loudest, dirtiest, nastiest sex I have ever heard happen in my entire life. It sounded like a buffalo was humping a whale, while squealing like a dying manatee.

SexEmail

I went to walk upstairs and finally get ready for the day (it was like noon at this point), when I realized I had not even eaten breakfast, so I grabbed a banana and then went upstairs. While eating the banana, I remembered what I had eaten the night before, though – remember, I said my husband’s grandparents had made us lasagna and pudding cake. And I had not yet showered, so had lasagna-and-pudding-cake-morning-breath, mixed with banana and all of a sudden my mouth tasted like what I can only describe as a dirty baby diaper.

The neighbors were still making their sweet, sweet love outside; the birds were squawking; and my mouth tasted like a dirty baby diaper. I quickly showered and dressed and decided we’d run a few errands to get some fresh air.

On the way to the car, some kids threw a ball and it hit me in the head.

So that’s how my long weekend has gone. How about yours?

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My Neighbor and I Both Ate Our Emotions Today

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My neighbor and I both ate our emotions today. Though, while mine was not exactly healthy, it wasn’t quite as horrifying as hers either.

Before I get into that, I should first talk about the eating of emotions. We’ve all done it at one time or another. Some people do it often and don’t even realize it. Others drink they’re emotions, which is a whole other issue altogether. They’re sad and depressed, or stressed out. Suddenly they wake up one day and realize they’ve eaten a combination of Thin Mints and Oreos for every single meal, for weeks. It’s OK. Everyone (for the most part) has gone through this phase at one time or another, and once you realize it you get it in check.

Maybe.

I definitely wouldn’t condone eating away your feelings often. First and foremost, it isn’t like someone thinks to themselves “man, I’m having a really shitty day, I’m going to go home and eat kale until I fucking puke.” Actually, if you ate kale until you puked, you’d probably be actually eating kale until you shit your pants, making your shitty day literal. So it’s either that or because kale tastes like a filthy 1970s shag carpet. I don’t know, but I do know that people don’t usually run home and eat away their emotions with super healthy super foods.

That isn’t entirely true, though. I am “Facebook” friends with this girl I went to high school with who tells us all the time about how after a stressful day she goes home to eat a pile of apple slices, or a bucket of celery. It’s really obnoxious too because she always has to add in the precursor: rather than go home and pig out on pizza and cookies like fat people do after a hard day, I’m going to …

Shut the fuck up, bitch. No one wants to hear your fat shaming bullshit. PS we all know the reason you are like this now is because of how you looked back then…

But I digress.

So I wouldn’t condone eating away feelings often, or all the time. But I definitely believe that sometimes a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, or a nice bag of Twizzlers Nibs are just what the doctor ordered. Dare I suggest that many doctors I know do suggest that once in a while letting go and indulging after a hard time is … healthy?

It’s healthy because, simply put, repressing stress is probably the worst thing a person can do to their body. People have to let that energy out, or it keeps building. We’ve all heard the analogy of the bottled up feelings, being shaken and shaken until one day all those feelings come splurging out in an explosion of yuck. This is my entirely unscientific and non medical opinion, here, but I think it’s pretty right on. At least in my experience.

Plus there is a moderate way to destress with food. Don’t keep enough junk in the house to overdo it. Make sure to put what you want in a plate or a bowl so as to keep to your portion size. Find something low fat, or low carb, or low cal that still fulfills your urge to pork down all your rage and hurt feelings until you pass out. There are a lot of ways to get around the really and true badness of bad eating.

This isn’t rocket surgery or brain science here. It’s just fucking common sense.

Today, when I was super stressed out about all the things going on, and a shit ton of money I have to spend to take a vacation to Texas (of all places) that I REALLY don’t want to take, just so my daughter can see her Biological Bum (whom she adamantly does not want to see) and all the issues this is bringing up which is another blog post for another day …I just needed to do something to feel better fast. I needed it so badly, and fortunately there was little junk food in my house to indulge on.

Except the Salsa Con Queso.

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I have a weird relationship with Salsa Con Queso. I won’t eat it for a really long time and be totally tired of it. Then I’ll eat it with chips every day for lunch for like three days straight. The plus side of this is that it has a lot of tomatoes and onions and shit in it that is actually good for you. The other plus is that the calories and fat isn’t quite like a Snickers bar or a bucket of neopolitan ice cream might be.

I keep telling myself this. Rationalize, rationalize, rationalize. Regardless of your feelings about my rationalization of this, let’s just agree that there are a lot of things that I could be eating that are much much worse for me to pork away my emotions and frustrations on than this. Okay?

Glad we agree.

I encountered what one of those “much much worse” things was today, shortly after my uninhibited love affair with my Tostitoes and my Salsa Con Queso dip.

Sitting on the couch, working on editing my upcoming book, and yelling up the stairs various threats of punishment that will come if the homeschooling work was not finished “by the time I get up there…” I noticed my neighbor standing on her porch. We live in a townhome, so the proximity was fairly close. She was standing there looking longingly toward the parking lot. She appeared sad, but she sort of always does. Then, in a moment of sheer horror then amazement then fear then entertainment then genuine concern, I saw her pork down one Twinkie after another until she had eaten not one, not two, but TWELVE MOTHERFUCKING TWINKIES.

My neighbor and I both ate our emotions today. Tomorrow I will probably eat my Salsa Con Queso again, since there is still about 1/2 a jar left and watching the Twinkie hog down sort of stressed me out just witnessing it.