Things or topics I found interesting 27 years ago, and my feelings on them today

IMG_54571. Dinosaurs. I mean, I guess they’re all right. Addie is obsessed with them. She does this thing where she’ll ask you your favorite dinosaur, and if you say, like, triceratops or something, she sneers at you for being so basic and informs you that her favorite dinosaur is compsognathus, because of course.

2. Rocks, or racks. did have a weird rock-obsession for awhile, now that I think of it. I used to find what I believed to be quartz scattered all over the blacktop at my elementary school, and would shove it in anyone’s face who would listen, although thinking back on it now, it was probably just broken concrete. There may have been a rock polisher involved? Now if it says racks, then I don’t know what to say to that, because while my own rack is pretty spectacular, I don’t really spend much time perusing any others.

3. Unsolved mysterys. This is totally still true. Back in the day, this meant tuning in every Wednesday at 8 p.m. to catch Robert Stack on the show by the same name. If this show were still on now, I would watch the fuck out of it, even if it was just one long, unbroken shot of Robert Stack’s corpse reenacting alien abductions. Now, I get my fix from Dateline and 48 Hours, but it was never quite the same.

4. Cavepeople. I do actually spend more time thinking about cave people than most people probably do? But it always involves, like, really stupid things, like did they wipe themselves after they went to the bathroom? Or were they basically animals? When did they invent songs? Were they any good? Were they catchy?

5. Egipt. This might have sprung from the fact that every single year at Easter, my family watches The Ten Commandments, during which we mock it mercilessly the entire time. That movie, and the song “King Tut” by Steve Martin, are basically the only things I knew about Egypt at the time, and that pretty much holds true today.

6. How chalk is made. I call bullshit on this, there is no way I was interested in how chalk is made.

7. How school started. This is very broad. It might tie in to my cave people obsession? Like, at what point did they decide, fuck this, this cave is cold and dark and has bugs in it, so let’s educate our kids so they can move up to clay huts? I was very, very into school as a child, so I don’t think I was asking this out of any sort of malice. I probably just wanted to know who to thank, because I was a giant, giant nerd.

8. How computers work. I applaud my past self for even recognizing, in 1988, that computers were a thing. I did have computer lab at that age, but all it really was was the PAWS typing test, over and over and over again. But I am amazing at typing, so I guess it was all worth it in the end. Also, I still assume that computers work because there are tiny men inside filing away everything I type and quickly sketching copies of the pictures I upload. Obviously.

9. How felt was invented. What? No, get yourself together, kid!

10. How dominos were invented. Oh my God, you’re embarrassing me.

11. Fish. True that, fish are legit.

12. How fist fighting started. I don’t really know what I meant by this, but I think it’s a totally adroit question that I would actually like to see answered. Who was the first cave person to just pop another guy in the mouth with his fist? Did the other guy see it coming, like, at all? I’m assuming that my interest in this then is the same as it is today, which is that I have always secretly wanted someone to fistfight over me. “Boys, boys,” I would say, as two men pummeled each other with their fists. “You’re both handsome! Now, who can tell me how felt is made?”

The End

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The author at the age this list was written, very happy about something, probably fistfights.

The skin I’m in

As with most areas of my life, I have no idea what I’m doing with my skin. I mean, I understand why I have it– otherwise, all my internal organs and shit would just fall out, and that would be super gross– but I never exactly know what to do with it.

As a teen, I was under the impression that I was supposed to singe it into submission with Oxy and Clearasil, which I mixed with abandon. The girls on TV were all doing it, and I followed their lead, even though they were clearly completely spasmodic when it came to rinsing afterward:

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But in the end, all I got out of it was cystic acne and a very wet bathroom counter.

When I was in grad school, I scored a job as a receptionist at a day spa that sold fancy skincare items, which I sampled liberally whenever I was left alone in the reception area for more than 15 seconds. (I also waxed my own lip and gave myself paraffin hand treatments on the regular.) A few times, out of guilt for the massive amount of samples I had pilfered through the years more than anything else, I would use my employee discount to purchase a full-sized bottle of something or other, assuming that anything that cost $30 would give me the skin of an angel riding a unicorn into a double rainbow.

The spa ladies claimed they could see a difference. But the spa ladies also failed to notice when I accidentally waxed off half an eyebrow, so I don’t think they were looking very closely.

Right now, I’m in a natural products phase. For about a year, I washed exclusively with black African soap (which, I’m not gonna lie, makes me feel like a terrible person every time I say it? Even though that’s literally the name of the soap, and it really is black?), and moisturized with a Burt’s Bees face oil, because I figured all of the oil-removing things I had used in the past hadn’t worked, so why not slap more oil on there and just see what happens? And honestly, it was a pretty great combo, except for the fact that it left me smelling like the incense section at a head shop, and after awhile that can really wear a girl down.

So just recently, I bought my first Lush facial cleanser, and I have to say, I’m kind of addicted. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it comes in a pot, or that it really just looks like someone chewed up a bunch of almonds and spit them into a container, and then sprinkled some lavender over it all for good measure, or that I have to actually break chunks of it off to use it– actually, pretty much all of those things make it sound disgusting. But trust me, it’s super not.

I doubt it’s really going to do anything for my skin one way or another– honestly, at this point I don’t really think there’s anything out there that’s going to distract from the fact that I somehow have both acne and wrinkles and basically spend most of my time looking like I slept the night on a grease-soaked corduroy pillowcase– but it just smells so good, and it feels so fancy, like I’m part of an exclusive club that knows that face washes that come in a tube are so passé.

Although once this pot is gone, I might just try chewing up some almonds myself and cutting out the middle man.

I’m not sorry

Growing up, I had a great uncle who was a millionaire. He lived out of state and we only saw him every few years, so this relationship generally translated to terrifying dinners at restaurants without children’s menus and occasional dog-sitting for his two full-sized poodles, Spike and Spikeson, while he and my grandmother went for a swim in the hotel pool.

I honestly have no idea where my parents were during these dog-sitting rendezvouses—I can’t really imagine my grandma and great uncle willingly being like, “For sure, we would love to have this awkward pre-teen hang around while we catch up after years apart!” Chances are, I forced myself upon them, because I found my Uncle Jim super glamorous, not so much because of his money, but because he had written and published a book. It was a book about business, and it was self-published, but dammit, he was an author, which was what I wanted to be when I grew up. Along with the lead singer of The Bangles. And also Jem.

It was during one of these outings to the hotel that I remember having a very short conversation with Uncle Jim. I can’t even really remember what it was about, but I do remember him saying “You can’t make everyone happy all the time.”

To which I responded, with great dignity, “No. But I can try.

And I did. Try, I mean. I actually completely failed at the making everyone happy part. But no one can say I didn’t try.

I don’t know why or how I turned into such a people pleaser. I do enjoy making other people happy, but I also love basking in the knowledge that, for the most part, I am universally well liked. (There is, I should point out, about 10% of the population that has a violent reaction of hatred toward me, which I can’t really explain. Is it my awesomeness? Or do they just have the ability to see through my bullshit?) I feel confident that if I died right now, my tombstone would read “I liked her, she was nice.”

But trying to make everybody happy means often neglecting your own happiness, it turns out—a lesson I learned the same night as the conversation at the hotel, when, in an effort to impress my uncle, I ate a cow’s pancreas and nearly had a mental breakdown over its awfulness. It was a scene that would play out again and again during the course of my life, though usually with less pancreas. Other people’s happiness became what made me happy.

So for now, I’m going to try an experiment—I’m going to try to find out what actually makes me happy. I suspect it might be copious amounts of television and pizza? It’s definitely not pancreas. But whatever it is, I want to find it, and I want to worry less about whether what I’m doing is making other people happy.

(–she said, while secretly worrying that everyone was going to be offended when they read this, and assume it was about them, because that’s what she would do. But then she remembered that creepy Madonna video where she was covered in latex and wearing cornrows for some reason? And she allowed it to be her new anthem. For now. Along with “Milkshake,” by Kelis.)

Stitch Fix Fever

Except for the fox shoes incident, I have never really considered myself a fashionable person. I mean, I have definitely upgraded from my college days, when I routinely wore second-hand bowling shirts and my mother actually wrote a letter to my college paper, in which I had a column, begging the editors to help me find a way to be more stylish.

In the end, it was not the kindly but ultimately also sartorially-challenged staff of the Ashland University Collegian (listen, it was the late ’90s, mistakes were made by all) but my desire not to die alone, probably under a heap of used local softball team shirts, that caused me to update my style. Finally capturing and ultimately maintaining a boyfriend kept me mindful of my clothing choices, as I didn’t figure Ben would want to be seen in public with me in a pair of overalls and a hand-lettered T-shirt reading I CONQUERED THE BEAST OF INJUSTICE (I still have that t-shirt, actually, it’s pretty awesome).

But lately I’ve been feeling kind of blah, both inside and out, and it feels as though a makeover is in order. A haircut is basically out of the question, because when you have naturally curly hair, the only two options available to you are Long Insane Hair, or Pube-y Felicity Hair. So I am turning to Stitch Fix to see if I can breathe some much-needed life into my sad wardrobe.

In order to really connect with your Stitch Fix stylist, they ask you to take a good hard look at the clothes you have now, and ask you to pin clothes you would be interested in trying to your Pinterest wall. Up until now, I have used Pinterest only to find cross-stitch alphabets in which to write pithy sayings (my Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems cross-stitch is amazing), so I basically had to start at the beginning. So far, this is what I’ve learned:

  1. I have a lot of gray clothes. Like, a lot. Because apparently my subconscious wants to dress me up as an elephant. That’s a shit move, subconscious.
  2. I also have far too many of the following items:
    1. Striped shirts (I am an elephant pirate, apparently)
    2. Polka-dotted shirts
  3. I am currently a big fan of shirts with tiny prints of animals on them. Birds, rabbits, horses, I have them all. And I don’t plan on stopping until I become the twee manic pixie dream girl I have always imagined myself to be, even though manic pixie dream girls rarely work in insurance
  4. When all compiled together on a Pinterest board, it becomes apparent that my aesthetic is 1940’s Librarian
  5. I am all about the new tunic-and-leggings trend, as from the knees down, I have the body of a supermodel

My first Fix is scheduled to arrive on Saturday, so I’ll follow up with a review. I just assembled my pin board today, in a fit of ennui brought on by my umpteenth day in jeans and a polka-dotted sweater, so it might be too late for my stylist to use it when choosing my first fix. If she has to go by my initial profile alone, all she knows is that it is imperative that my bra straps not show in any shirts she sends, because apparently I was very concerned about that the day I set up my profile.

So if you see me wearing a bunch of gray striped turtlenecks over the next few days, you’ll know what happened.