I caught some gnarly cold and a mega-cough last week, which ends my reign of annoyingly proclaiming that I never get sick (“I just never get sick!”) and my over-reliance on my vitamin regimen. Things I am blaming this cold on: how very North of the Wall-freezing it was last week while I ran errands (I am buying up every ingredient mentioned in the Gwyneth cookbook with an anxious Gwynethy fervor); the dry heat of the sauna at the gym and staying in there too long because it feeeels sooooo gooood; skipping a few days of the bigger/more challenging of my vitamins because I just do that sometimes.
What is getting me through it is a careful orchestra of actual medicine and personal superstition, which anticipatorily includes this:
… which is a Humio humidifier that i ordered off of Amazon in the hell-middle of my cold, so it’s going to arrive when I’m totally better, which is about right. The reviews were good and it’s also a colorful nightlight so, like, YEPPER. [image]
I’ve also been deep into Vicks VapRub, maybe my favorite medicinal product of all-ever, which is likely because my mom used to put a tiny, tiny dot of it on the tip of my nose when I was a kid (my mom was the kind of parent who didn’t let me watch TV for more than maybe an hour when I was home sick, because “if you’re sick enough to stay home, you’re too sick to watch TV,” etc. etc. etc.) and I do that now, too, just a tiny dot (except NOW I’m totally allowed to watch TV, which this week has included the entire series of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and an 18th go-round of the middle seasons of Gilmore Girls, because the work of Aaron Sorkin and Amy Sherman-Palladino is my ultimate soothy-comfy-nice-nice).
What else… I use a lot of Aquaphor on the regular, but upgraded to Eucerin Dry Skin cream (the thing of it says “ORIGINAL” in a way that commands that old-school, general-store-style realness that is so favored in the cosmetics community lately). I have been clinging to my favorite blankets and moving in and out of my top-tier jammies (and in and out of the laundry corner of my apartment) since this all started. Today, I’m way better. Later this week, a flu shot.
5. When I took "The 5 Love Languages" quiz to determine what my “love language” is, I thought I’d get “Words of Affirmation” or “Physical Touch” because I’m a super-verbal, super-touchy kind of girl. Instead, number one with a bullet, was “Receiving Gifts.” (The others are “Acts of Service” and “Quality Time.”) That’s kind of embarrassing, non? But also, I guess, true: I don’t and have never cared about the money aspect of a gift; what I care about immensely is time and effort and energy, and being thought of and being known. When someone remembers you like one particular kind of dark chocolate and they pick some up during their usual grocery shop and kind of casually slide it over to you… I dunno, those moments feel like being lit up with sugary-white sunlight. (In this scenario, sunlight tastes like the particular kind of dark chocolate I like, too.) I dig writing and sending cards and buying presents (individually or in little gifty bundles) so much that I have a desk in my apartment devoted only to stationary and gift-wrapping, and this week I squeal-revealed to a close pal that I’d already bought him the book he was telling me about, and that it was on its way. Really the Platonic ideals of my love language, right?
4. I have had several projects happening at once for a very long time, and a couple of them have become due at once. This has happened before, and it’s both exciting and heavy in the way it exists in my head, like, I’m more or less alone with everything I do (for now) so it’s just me managing my schedule and my decisions, big and little, and maintaining momentum, all alone like a lost forest animal. (This is not to say that I am not TREMENDOUSLY HAPPY to get to do creative, expressive things for a living. I am grateful every moment in a way that demands cornyness.) So anyway two days ago my friend made a suggestion about how to handle it, which was so true and so right and so helpful, not only in its content but also in its existence, like, DOY, I am never alone. FREEEENZ!!!
3. Iced coffee in winter. Not sure why. I think because the quick sips of it work so fast, a true necessity on a day when getting out of bed includes multiple steps of decreasing warmyness? (Today I sat up, tented myself in a blanket to acclimate to the room sans comforter, then put a warm shirt on under the tent, and then actually stood up.) Also if I drank hot coffee for warmth instead of caffeine I would be squirrely for all eternity so I do iced coffee in the a.m. and herbal tea the rest of the day and therefore achieve a perfect equilibrium.
2. Related: I want these so unbelievably bad.
1. Was on The Current on CBC Radio this morning talking about Lena Dunham, Girls, bodies, girls, etc. Was super-fun as always.
To be dramatic about it: this is day seven of a theoretically 21-day cleanse that I’m doing for the second year in a row with the adult members of my family (minus my dad, who could not be less interested). The idea is that whoever lasts longest “wins”, and last year, I won while everyone else cracked and had beer or cheese or chocolate. (Spoiler: I already won. !!!) I have food-related plans this weekend, though, so let’s be real about this.
We do the Clean cleanse, favored by Gwyneth Paltrow (don’t you feel like we should have some official short-hand for her? Maybe just a symbol of some kind that requires no utterance?) which is not actually very brutal: one solid meal a day, in the middle, and two liquid meals on either end but not closer than 12 hours together, and no food from the sugar/wheat/dairy/nightshade/inflammatory families. Unlike a juice cleanse, you get a lot of protein and can still chew; it’s the absence of chewing that has thrown a lot of my pals off their cleanses. I think once my friend either did or considered putting food in a baggie and chewing it when he was deep into a cleanse? Anyway.
The reason I’m so good at cleanses is because I need and enjoy limits, especially those that involve other people. This is why I like being a writer: deadlines are how things happen. Being accountable to my family even in a fun group-email “I hate this” way gives me this sense that what I am doing, making, eating, etc., has meaning, and meaning-making is my everything.
That all said, I feel like/think that most cleanses are ineffective and can be dangerous, but for me are the best-ever way to reconsider what food actually is and how it should be used. I never eat as systematically and consciously as I do when I’m on some kind of cleansey program; otherwise, I might just be like “Dry crackers for lunch sounds really good” and be confused two hours later why I’m sleepy. Plus, like, that righteous feeling is its own kind of fuel.
5. I wrote this piece for the Globe and Mail about why buying fewer but better clothes is a greater thing than getting sugar-high and buying a zill half-good things from Zara or w/e.
4. I don’t know if this is playing in your town or city or megatropolis but I saw August: Osage County last-last week and I just want to carefully check and fold my vote for Chris Cooper as sweetie-pie dad of the movie-year. And it’s January!
3. Went on DNTO today to talk about dating profiles.
2. On day two of my family’s annual competitive cleanse. Have more to say about this, but am currently too stupid.
1. My birthday was last Saturday. I’m obsessed with birthdays - everyone’s, not just my own - because they are the purest, nicest way to celebrate life generally. I went shopping, and to the spa, and then to dinner, and then to dessert, and I saw and/or talked to almost all of the people who are important to me. Wore a sparkly skirt, you know?
I set something like fifty couples up on dates for work this year (OK, 46-ish, including last year’s “Dating Diaries Issue,” nine months of the column I write for The Grid, and pre-org’d January dates), AND two of my friends (and favorite people) who I set up several years ago just got engaged bringing my IRL set-ups-resulting-in-marriage total to three. I can’t tie my shoelaces without using “bunny style,” but sometimes I see people and that is a kind of life-magic I hope never to take for granted.
1. A long, tight, stretchy sleeve with a reeeeal tight cuff
2. Waffle anything but especially soft/cashmere waffle and especially-especially soft-cashmere waffle leggings/long johns
3. Keds when the insides were squishy and soft. Now they are Converse-canvas. WHY?
4. Blundstones with rolled-up jeans
5. A tight Oxford shirt with a tidy tuck-in. This look is bad on me, but, w/e-sies.
5. My feelings live right on the shiny, reflective surface. When I’m great or good or bad everyone in my proximity gets to know about it. YOU’RE WELCOME. This can be sucky, of course, and is deeply un-Capricorn of me (I’m very invested in my more rules-y, business-y, pragmatic streak, which runs through my life like a way-thick line via full-size Sharpie, too) BUT I think is just true of basically all creative peeps. Anyway I realized this week I’m getting better and better at telling my sad-ish, irritated, selfish, low-moment self that my excited, content, happy self is like one or two thoughts away, so why not try that out for a sec? And it usually works? This is probably 100% obvious to most people but I think as a writer-person I might have a tiny tendency to inflate a sad moment like a bouncy castle and hop around in it for a minute when I should just be like “girl no.” And, as a happy person, I mostly have a positive mental attitude anyway but learning more and more about how *I* am in charge of my feelings at every moment is just the very best.
4. How everyone in New York was tweeting their too-cute weather report (“wintry mix”)
3. Nashville “winter finale” minus all the Deacon parts but especially all the Juliette parts and especially-especially the Juliette and Avery parts
2. I get to see my mom today <3333
1. Queen B’s middle-of-the-night album (album on album, really) drop. Precedents are new-ening in like six different directions. And you guys. It’s called BEYONCÉ. When this happened I was listening to last week’s ep of The Read podcast with Kid Fury and Crissle, which would be in my DJ KC Carraway’s Top Five of podcasts any day of the week of the month of the year of the decade of the century, and which is basically a podcast about Bey, so pretty sure magic is real.
I was considering doing a 25% off thingy for the holidays, so that friends and boyfriends and girlfriends and mentors and whoevers could get a nice discount on private writing instruction, from me and for their friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/mentee/other new or developing writer who wants to amp up their skills.
But… that doesn’t seem super-fair? What if you want to get yourself a present, right? So I’m extending that discount to anyone who wants it: between now and December 31st, I’ll be offering my usual introductory session (three hours; lots of help working on your writing voice and style) for $225 (+HST) instead of the usual $300 (+HST).
More details about my private classes are here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask me questions and/or sign up. Happeeeeee holidays!
… but from an ongoing list I work on like once a month
Being responsible and counted on
Real luxury, not brand luxury
Water with mint, etc.
Cold coffee (not watery)
Cold tea with flavor
Cheese, soft and very flavored hard
Gummy candy, licorice, M&Ms, Smarties, ice cream, soft cookies
Popcorn, very flavored chips, very good crackers
Chocolate truffles, chocolate almonds
Shiny, bright, beautiful things
Soft, muted, comfortable things
Communities, small towns, organizations, clubs
Manners, etiquette, kindness
Cards, letters, notes, gifts
Coke and Diet Coke in small amounts
Perrier and Pellegrino
Cleanliness, good order, newness
Apologies, thank yous
Memories, discussing memories
Waking up with purpose and excitement
Freedom from worry
Warm, crunchy/soft bread (toasted English muffin)