Category Archives: New Word

The Tip Of The Dickberg

Cliché Reimagined
Potentially NSFW

Educational Portion Of Post: the unseen portion of an iceberg is called a bummock, while the visible portion is called a hummock. This is true, as preposterous as the words are.

“The tip of the iceberg” denotes that much is unseen, unmeasured, and unobservable.

I came up with a tangent phrase, one which denotes the same arc, except that it refers to some people: the tip of the dickberg. (“Dickberg” is now in my dictionary. 🙂 )

Whether it’s true or not, I think it’s clever.

“Geez, Steve is really a jerk,” Susan said.

“What he just did is the tip of the dickberg,” Susan.

On a meta-level, I would use it to express the fact that if there’s a little smoke, there’s probably a basement filled with fire.

And not the smores kind.

Stay tuned for more insights and lunacy.

Love, X

Little Stars And Sunday Morning

The black cat was back this morning, though I didn’t realize it until I saw TWO black cats down the landing – one of them being my cat Güino. Luckily, the old scruffy and long-haired black cat was friendly. It sat and meowed at Güino, somehow knowing that he was the equivalent to the Gump of cats. The scruffy black cat had on an ornate collar and looked well-fed. I don’t know why it recently started coming up to the landing to lay and watch the activity below. It’s no bird hunter. If Danny DeVito were a cat, this would be him. I walked down and had a conversation with both cats before picking up Güino and cradling him. The black cat was being social; my cat was fussing and pissy because he wasn’t ready to leave his new would-be friend.

The morning was hot, even at 3 a.m. But the breeze was brisk and lovely.

Yesterday, I went to the new discount store in the old Toys Я Us building. The prices change depending on the day. It was fun sorting through the messy bins. Most of the things are of course overpriced. There’s a section where you can buy a $50 mystery box, too. The store will do well at first, given that it’s new. For me, anything of interest I found tended to make me want to find it on Amazon (where most of the stock originates) and buy it there. The best find was a red frilly unitard-looking article of clothing! Can you imagine me wearing that? Yes, you can. I apologize in advance for the mental image.

Someone left me an ornate surprise/offering on my doorstep last night. He or she scattered a handful of decorative stars around the door, too, an added flourish that made me laugh. Yes, that’s one of those eyeballs that floats in the liquid inside a clear orb. There’s also a cat silhouette pin and two crosses on beads. It almost looks as if the person gifting me the little plate of surprises left an offering to my fairy/sprite Larkma, who presumably still uses the fairy door in the picture. It’s almost certainly a female who left me the surprise; my logic isn’t necessarily solid though because something like this is exactly what I might do and according to my birth certificate, I’m allegedly male. My inability to listen when it’s in my best interest is all the proof I really need, though.

A friend posted a picture and tribute of someone she loved who passed away a few years ago. I went into the rabbit hole of using my research skills to find her footprints in life. She lived one month short of 100 years. Though I never knew her, I imagined the tapestry of her life through the years. Millions of stories. Can you imagine how many she had in one hundred years?

In the last few days, even though my powerful laptop isn’t supported for Windows 11, I did the workaround and installed it anyway. (It’s ridiculous that an I-7 processor and 16GB of RAM might not be enough.) I keep my important stuff backed up locally and in the cloud, so the worst-case scenario was going to be a pain in the ass reverting if it didn’t work. I’m not afraid to try anything, a lesson I learned from a friend named Jason years ago. I’m still aghast at how many people don’t scan and keep their precious photos safe, whether they are on their phones or in albums that human eyes never adore. My main computer is named “backupeverything” as a constant reminder that if you’re not vigilant, you will lose everything at some point. It’s inevitable, like snagging your pocket or sleeve on a drawer when you shut it.

Ann Landers said this: “If you want your children to listen, try talking softly to someone else.”

I’d add a corollary I wrote: “If you want people to talk about you, do anything interesting or different – or be happy.”

Love, X
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Relationships With Men

A friend said something to me recently that made me promise to compile a list of dating and/or relationship advice for her. I give you my guarantee that you will find something in here to love and laugh at. It’s not finished. Yes, I’m a hypocrite.

If you’re older, you’re in a quandary. Any man you find is going to have a history. If he’s been alone for a long time, he’s telling you he either is very happy staying that way or he’s been traumatized by the process. Either one will wear you out if you’re with him. The other alternative is that he’s been with a lot of women without commitment. That brings its own issues. People are meant to be with people, no matter how much we piss each other off and disappoint one another. “I don’t need someone” is a yellow flag.

“Sex is like the playground. Intimacy is foremost. But you shouldn’t expect each other to sit on the bench at the playground. The equipment is there for enjoyment.” – X

That tingly feeling, or butterflies you feel? That’s your common sense fleeing your body.

Find a man who looks at you like a piece of cake or his favorite beer.

Don’t expect a man who’ll ask if you want something to drink. Find a man who will know what you like and bring it to you without asking.

Find a man who doesn’t hesitate to give you reassurance. It’s not needy. It’s normal. In my opinion, anyone who balks at doing so doesn’t have the empathy required to love deeply.

If you’re interested in someone, tell them. As soon as you can muster the courage. No man worth having will worry about not being the one to initiate.

In the initial stages, if you find yourself waiting on him to call or text, shout “Next!” He’s either playing games or letting you know he does indeed have connection issues with you.

Men find the time if they are blazing for you. They call. They text. They make plans and keep them. Anything else is at least a yellow flag. Don’t accept less. “Next!”

If your potential partner kisses you with firm, hard lips, he’s no good. You think I’m crazy? Think about it. That includes pecking.

Do your best to not chase someone who seems to be reluctant. It’s hard, I know. It’s an adult response to tell them, “I feel like I’m chasing you and I don’t do that if I can help it. It’s time to move on.”

“I’m not looking for a relationship” versus “I’m not ready for a relationship.” Those are two vastly different sentiments. The latter should be a warning to you. They are hedging their bets. That reluctance will translate into problems for you if you don’t know the difference.

“I’m not interested in being spoken to like that” is one of the most powerful things a woman can practice saying and learn to say. A man who likes you will listen. A man who will use you will be defensive and threatening.

Enthusiasm is a great predictor. Are they excited to see you? About life? About having to unload the dishwasher? No one with a lackluster attitude makes a good partner. This is doubly true if you’re generally outgoing and optimistic. They’ll make you feel stupid for being energetic.

If your partner puts in a lot of effort, make sure you do the same. Unequal partnerships tend to fail. If your man isn’t showing effort and patience, he’s not the one for you long-term.

Don’t be with someone who hides their feelings, even if they are otherwise good or good-looking. They are hiding more than their feelings. You’ll be trying to fix this forever.

Expectations are not standards. Expecting a potential partner to behave a certain way is almost impossible. But standards regarding any behavior are yours alone to determine. These standards translate as boundaries. Know what they are before you start dating. And communicate them as directly as you can. If he screams in anger in the early stages (much less threatens physical harm or actually doing it), he’s going to do much worse after you’re invested in him.

Find a man who knows that the bathroom is yours and he has just enough space for his five items. A man who has more than deodorant, a razor, soap, and the cologne you like is too metro to put up with. Yes, that’s only four things. YOU get to pick the fifth item. Fight me if I’m wrong.

Likewise, having two bathrooms will save a lot of relationships. But most of the second one is still yours, too, even if you want to put up horrid guest towels and decorative soaps.

If someone gives you the silent treatment early in a relationship, it will only worsen later. Communication will diminish to the point where anger builds a nest around your heart.

Most men know what “catch and release” means. Remind them of that if they aren’t the one for you. The longer they are out of the water, the worse it is for you both.

“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.” – Joan Crawford If you can’t open your heart fully, it doesn’t matter what the intentions are of the person you’re with. Everyone – and I mean everyone – has been burned by love. But it’s essential to living a full life. It doesn’t have to be romantic love, but we are wired psychologically and emotionally for one component of it to be that kind of love.

Men don’t like pillows all over the bed and couch. Learn to laugh about it.

Don’t be an option for anyone, no matter how many butterflies are swimming inside you.

“Ask a man the best book he’s read since high school. It doesn’t matter so much WHAT the answer is. How long it takes him to respond or how he answers will tell you all you need to know about how elastic his mind is.” – X

“If a man watches SportsCenter an hour a day while you’re dating, he’s gonna watch five hours a day after you are.” – X This is gospel. If you’re okay with that, that’s cool. If not, get another man.

Never date a man who won’t drink after you – or let you drink out of his. A corollary to this is that you should take it as a red flag if he legitimately objects to you eating off his plate.

“Love, at first sight, is possible, but it pays to take a second look.”

Unknown

A red flag for a man is if he keeps his truck or car detailed. Men who love moments don’t worry about the aesthetics of their vehicle. There are very few exceptions to this. His car should be cluttered – just like yours.

Keep in mind the Rhianna joke: unless you are her, tell your man that you are not going to love the way he lies.

In any relationship, make sure that you are the crazy one. It will save you a lot of tears. And unless you’re an onion, that will wear you down.

“Once someone told me: ‘Put your finger in your partner’s nose. If it disgusts you, it means you’re not in love.’” – The Internet

Treat a man like a magazine subscription. Get a few months of issues in your life before you pay for it.

If you’re older, it is safe to date a man who isn’t great-looking. No risk of passing on his ugly genes because you’ve already had your kids. You can love a man with a sense of humor and just turn off the lights. It’s easier than being with someone super attractive.

Being wanted while wearing a bikini is easy. After six months, your man should love seeing you in a t-shirt and with your hair messy. And if your hair isn’t a mess afterward, he is not the right one.

Lingerie is highly over-rated. It might be a component of his fantasy life, but he will be just as lit up by your enthusiasm and Royals t-shirt as he is by crazy, frilly underwear.

Never be with a man who is afraid of therapy, or looks down on those who need or want it.

If a man wants to be honest with you, even if it’s painful, see it as a gesture of love. If he didn’t want to be with you, he would do like most people do and just leave, to avoid potential conflict or discomfort. Staying and saying the hard things is a nugget of pure gold.

“Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you’re in.” — Richard Jeni

When a man tells you that you are beautiful, believe him. Likewise, he needs to be able to say that yes, your butt does look big in those jeans or that your favorite shirt reminds him of a jailbreak. You’ll know by the way he touches you that you light him up.

“The ideal husband understands every word his wife doesn’t say.” — Alfred Hitchcock

“Love is telling someone their hair extensions are showing.” – Natasha Leggero

If you both don’t have a lot of laughs, you can’t be happy. Yes, it is that simple.

Don’t fight about the color of the couch. Fight about who gets the last bite of ice cream. And always offer it to one another.

Always choose a man who wants you to be pleased first. It’s one of the biggest red flags. Yes, in bed. And everywhere else. If both of you have this attitude, it’s hard to ruin.

The clever way to express the above paragraph is this: “Nice guys finish last.”

“Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.” – Oscar Wilde

Trust your instincts if you feel this way!

If you haven’t wanted to use a skillet on him at least a dozen times, it means you’re not experiencing the depth of love characterized by depth of feeling. It also means that you’re avoiding conflict. Anyone worth having will have habits that drive you nuts. But it will also keep your life interesting.

“Only time can heal your broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs.” — Miss Piggy

“Always kiss after an argument. Even if you tell him to kiss your ass.” – X

You cannot be happy with a person who doesn’t text you back, or comfortably say “I love you” when you do. There are exceptions, but someone who can’t say “I love you” when the fire is burning hot will piss you off exponentially later.

“I don’t dance” is a red flag. Even if they look stupid, they will dance with you in the living room.

If your man doesn’t randomly reach out to touch you, hug you unexpectedly, or want to sit with you, even if it’s intolerably warm in the room, he needs to be left outside.

If your relationship is healthy, no man will ever utter the words, “This is how I am. Take it or leave it.” Leave it and find someone willing to change and adapt.

He should show you appreciation each day, even if only to acknowledge that you haven’t kicked him in the shins. Because he’s certainly done or said something stupid. Little things matter just as much as the big things.

Quality time matters. But so does incremental time. A good man will seek connections that are quick, too. They will share moments or interesting things. If they don’t, although you would be reluctant to trust me, it means that he doesn’t love you creatively or intimately. “Strong and silent” always ends up, “Strong and gone.”

A good man will be afraid for you to meet some of his family. Because some of them are crazy and don’t want him to be happy. He will take you anyway, trusting you to respond with humor when the lunacy starts. Even when Uncle Steve hugs you in a weird way.

Never be with a man who hesitates to tell anyone that you are together. There is almost no exception to this rule. If you ignore it, you’re in for trouble. It’s possible for him to be going through a divorce or separation that necessitates VERY temporary privacy. Everything else is a large waving red flag if he wants to limit who knows about you. It’s toxic and if you acquiesce to it, you’re asking for trauma and heartache.

Ask for a man’s credit report. If it’s bad, he will still gladly show you.

If your man has one DWI, he might be worth it. If he has two, throw him back to the sorting pile. And if his mother answers to the name “Butch,” pick again.

Ask your potential man, “Tell me a story where you did an ex dirty or behaved badly.” All men have at least one such story. If he won’t or can’t, he’s misbehaved a lot and you’ll be next.

“Do what you did at the beginning of the relationship and there won’t be an end.” – Anthony Robbins

Never date anyone who has nothing positive to say about any of his exes. If they are all bad in his mind, either he has poor decision-making ability, or he is the bad one.

Likewise, if he is really close with one or all his exes, be very cautious. Good partners can be friendly with exes, but it should be extremely transparent and you should be welcome to have a voice and presence in these arrangements. If you don’t both agree and have the same expectations, find another man before investing a lot of time with him.

Every relationship is work sometimes. But clock in and grab his butt. Light-hearted intimacy is a glorious indicator of both interest and enthusiasm. Just because it requires work doesn’t mean it doesn’t pay well.

What do you do if your boyfriend walks out? You shut the door. If you smile, another man will knock. Trust me.

From Beth on Yellowstone: “Because you have all the p****, and half the money…”

“Men with pierced ears are good. They already experienced pain and have experience buying jewelry.” – The Internet

The joke in today’s world: you can touch each other, but not each other’s phones. Keep that in mind.

The Phone Enthusiasm Rule: if your potential man is sitting on the couch tired and his phone rings… if his level of energy jumps and he suddenly starts sharing with whoever is on the other end, it’s a signal he’s not engaged with your conversationally and probably emotionally. This is a generalization. But it’s exactly like watching a co-worker greet everyone else with a bright smile and energy while mumbling “hey” to you. There’s a reason for that and over time it becomes almost subconscious for them.

If a man is really into you, you won’t have to beg for texts, phone calls, or time. He already has shifted his life to make time. That some men can do so means that most men can. They just don’t want to. Find another man.

If a man tells you that you’re asking too much, you are asking the wrong person. Don’t dampen your energy, your laughter, or your need for intimacy. For any man. Emotionally unavailable men easily convince women that they are unreasonable.

If you feel like you have to chase a man for attention, time, or energy, get another man before you’re too far down the road. It is easy to fall in love despite that feeling.

“You wouldn’t know love if it kicked you in the fangs.” — Lorena (True Blood Season 7, 2010)

“You can of course find someone special using online dating. But you can also use YouTube to teach yourself how to take out a kidney.” – X

Relationships fail when the boat has too many passengers. Your canoe should hold two tightly and three if one of them is in the water. Keep your partner in your mind and close. Leave everyone else outside the boat but in your life.

You can’t be happy with someone who won’t provide you with the physical intimacy you crave. If you outmatch them, they will be threatened. And if they outmatch you, you will wonder where they learned it. Remember that it doesn’t matter how they got there, it only matters where they end up.

Ask and you shall receive. And if you don’t, ask it of another. Seriously. You know what you like and what you love. Ask twice if necessary, but never a third time.

True love is halitosis and still kissing.

Love is unconditional. Relationships have boundaries. It’s hard to keep that in mind and separate them. Almost impossible.

The Kink Rule: if there are sexual things you enjoy that your potential partner doesn’t like, it greatly decreases the odds you will be happy long-term. It’s one of the reasons it is better to scare him off as soon as possible if he’s not compatible. The same holds true for him.

You need to openly talk about sexual rejection before you fall in love. These expectations erode relationships when each person has different reactions to it. Talk as candidly as you can. Your sexual energy will decline eventually. Your intimacy doesn’t have to. You need to be prepared.

Your partner should be the one who hears about your ups and downs first. If you don’t do this, over time your connection will erode. Find someone who actively wants to hear about yours – and share theirs, too.

Don’t romanticize who a person could be or their potential. Start a relationship with the idea that they’ll probably BE that person.

Unless you’re a handyman or handywoman, don’t plan on fixing anyone.

If you love someone and you are both happy, your relationship doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else. Stop letting prevailing notions affect your partnership. It’s all between you and all the shoulds disappear if you’re both happy and satisfied. No matter what it looks like to others.

Telling someone how you feel can’t ruin a good relationship long-term. If you are afraid to share with your partner, it is hard to blame them when they are reacting to a version of you. It’s a popular cliché to say that talking about your feelings should never lead to an argument. If it does, that dynamic is waving a red flag to you both.

Note whether someone “can’t” with you, but “can” with others.

If a man drinks or uses drugs often (and especially so when you don’t), it greatly increases the likelihood of disengagement and unacceptable words and behavior. There are exceptions – but not enough to warrant a serious look.

A good man will say nice things to you and about you. If they stop, the honeymoon is over. If a man noticeably stops complimenting you, you’re in trouble. Likewise, if he’s overly critical of you or begins to swap compliments for criticisms, it’s time to talk.

A good partner shouldn’t have trouble regulating his emotions. There’s a fine line between passionate and batsh!t crazy.

A good rule of thumb: the hotter a man is, the harder it is for you to be rational. Our biology is the culprit. I’m not recommending that you find an ugly man, but if you’re with someone who is eye candy, remember what too much sugar does to you. You’ll put up with a lot of crap from someone who is better-looking.

Avoid men who criticize instead of complaining. It’s a subtle difference and hard for most people to put their fingers on. There is a difference and one will wear you down emotionally.

Find out whether your potential partner has different ideas about what ‘tidy’ and ‘clean’ mean. You’re going to argue in the long-term if your man isn’t as ‘tidy’ as you are. 9 out of 10 times it’s the woman maintaining your place, fair or not. Also, don’t let a man avoid doing his share of the chores, housework, or cleanup. Even when dating.

As comedian Simon Taylor said: “Ahh, Tinder. The crystal meth of online dating.”

If you think you’re in love with someone but it’s draining you, you need to listen to the voice in your head and how much loneliness or feelings of unworthiness are keeping you from finding someone who listens to you and lights you up.

I don’t remember who said it, but these are wise words of dating advice:

Don’t. If you do, be careful. Lastly, you’re going to do it anyway because chemistry and biology inevitably drive you bonkers if you don’t.

If you are independent and stable, red flags aren’t warnings: they are deal-breakers. You need to decide what those might be before falling in love.

You are not selfish for wanting the same love and enthusiasm you give to your partner to be returned in equal measure. If you feel like you are, you need to look hard at your relationship expectations.

If they give you distance when you need love, find another man. Life is short and the primary purpose of a partner is love and companionship.

“Someday you’ll meet someone amazing who just gets you. And they won’t want to date you either.” – The Internet.

Be who you are so that you don’t have to worry about slipping up or being inauthentic. The man you’re interested in is going to find out anyway.

Whether you think so or not, most men are intimidated by you.

Everything is negotiation. If he won’t, move on. If he pushes you too far past your comfort zone, examine it closely.

The Magician’s Observation: you’ll look at him like everyone else has disappeared.

An easy way to learn a lot about your potential man is to fold your arm around him in public when you start dating. Or reach for his hand to hold. If he is reluctant in the first stages, he’s going to be a royal pain in the ass long-term. There are no exceptions to this except in cases where a man has no hands or arms. If he shows reluctance around certain people or friends, he’s hiding something.

The Friendship Reciprocity Rule: it’s okay for your man (or you) to have friends of the opposite sex. But… the only way it will work is if you’re always welcome to be friends with them, too, and be with them comfortably. I learned and earned this one the hard way. Each case is different. But if he has female friends you don’t know, can’t communicate with, or anything less than transparency, run. If he’s flirting with his female friends, sexting, or anything across your boundaries, he’s keeping his options open or using the attention. Whether it’s harmless to him or not, if it bothers you, it is not harmless to you.

Most people are “independent” until about 11 p.m. at night. It’s an old joke. It’s true, though. Take note of how your interactions spike and at what hours of the day. If a potential partner puts you mostly on hold until sundown, it generally is a bad sign.

It’s also a bad sign if he won’t commit to making plans short-term. Trust me, he’s making plans with someone. Most people, with some exceptions, have their phones on them most of the time. “I’ll let you know by 5 p.m.” is a hell of a lot better than silence or something vague. Ten seconds is all it takes to send a quick reply or emoji. They can’t be playing Diamond Crush all day.

The Four Horsemen, as they are called: contempt, criticism, stonewalling (or withdrawal), and defensiveness. Especially when arguing. It’s not about WHAT you fight about, it’s how. Any of the four will kill your chances. Pay attention.

Although I touched on it earlier, if your man generally has a low opinion of all women through his comments (not just his exes), run. Most people of both sexes are generally good people and want to be happy. Anyone focusing on their experiences to justify statements such as “all women are _______” has larger issues that you’ll have to endure.

Most men don’t care if your nails are done. Most don’t even notice them. Men also don’t care if your legs are perfectly shaved, either. In fact, I personally believe that ones who do are prone to being a&&holes.

When someone is pissed off, you are not speaking to the person, you are speaking to the mood. Learn early if they need a little space or prefer to argue without using it as an excuse to be mean-spirited.

A good man will want to share his tastes in music with you. But he’ll be equally fascinated to know yours, too. If he’s selfish about it, take it as a larger sign.

When you first get to know a man, use these questions: “What kind of washing detergent do you prefer?” “Does your vacuum cleaner use bags or is it bagless?” “How do you like to cook your vegetables?” They seem innocuous but convey a lot more information than you’d think. Pay attention.

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The above list is not all-inclusive, nor universally applicable.

Love, X

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The Dread Of a Day Beautifully Begun

Angstmorgen

Having been exposed to multiple entries in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, I worked to create a word to describe a sensation that sometimes plagues me. “Angstmorgen” is the word I came up with.

The feeling of dread for a day well-begun, as if an unseen litany of potential catastrophes lies ahead of you. No matter how energetic you are, how happy your embrace of loved ones. Experience teaches us that everything is eventual and that life is cyclical in its relentless ability to surprise us.

We can wake up with optimism, laughter, and the scent of a freshly-brewed cup of coffee in our comforted hands. We can look out on a sun cresting the horizon.

Somewhere, somewhen, there is always the chance that a calamity has already occurred and not yet reached our awareness.

People we love can decide that we no longer have a place in their lives. An inattentive driver can speed out of a parking lot in the wee hours of the morning, crushing the side of our vehicle. Our heart, dutiful servant though it may be, might choose today to stop providing our bodies with needed oxygen. Our boss might tell us we no longer have a job.

We have to enjoy the moments as they come.

It’s the only way to be satisfied or happy.

Because of the way our minds work, we accumulate the past in our minds instead of allowing the brightness of a new day to renew us. We know we are not our past or the cascade of our mistakes and choices.

The calamities that might befall us are unseen for a reason. For most of them, we can do nothing to prevent them.

Hug the person you wake up with. Savor the cup of coffee. Let the cat or dog in your house feel your hand on its back and ears. Your page is blank today and you can write whatever you want on this pristine entry. I wrote a few words and names of gratitude on a blank page this morning.

My needs are simple and my wants are few. And that makes me happy. I walked out on the landing, the cool mist-filled wind chilled me. I looked at all my happy colors, the colored lights I created filling my eyes. My cat meowed next to me.

Savor those moments.

Push angstmorgen aside, if you can.

The day is yours to experience.

Love, X
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Pretxel Fish Is Born

What is Pretxel Fish? Arkansas’ newest LLC. Due to the craziness of my name, Arkansas had trouble understanding that my first name is just X. I used the ongoing bureaucratic melee as a reason to replace the ‘z’ in ‘pretzel’ with an X. If ‘xylophone’ can be pronounced with an X, anything can. (One of my favorite words is ‘xanthous,’ which has acquired new meaning lately.) What is Pretzel Fish, the name from which I derived my company name? A reminder to be grateful and to experience whatever is at your feet. Not the potential of what could be or what you’d like to be. You can make moves to change your life incrementally or you can adapt and find lemon moments where you are. It’s up to you and me. I’m not sure what I will do with this new business. And that lights me up a little with both humor and expectations.

Love, X
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WTF-Time

“Lazy is a bad word. Shall we instead call it selective participation?” – The Internet

Today so far… woke up to laughter. Anytime 2 a.m. involves laughter is an auspicious day. And probably suspicious if I’m involved. There was heartache in the morning for someone I love and I hope she finds peace knowing she gave her presence in a time when it was most needed. I worked a bit, then came home and put wheels on my desk. Insert joke here! I built a wooden planter for sunflowers and installed it along the inside fence at this hideous apartment complex. Put up a shelf for random nonsense (I loathe specific nonsense.), one I repurposed and made from fence board. And then, because I couldn’t stand looking at it, I went outside (because that’s where trees and brush grows!) and cut away all the limbs and brush along the 50′ of the fence next to which I put in the planter. I’ve accumulated 4-5 truckloads of limbs and brush for ‘somebody’ to haul off; otherwise, the neighbors might stage an impromptu bonfire. I also picked up an entire bag of trash that somehow managed to get all over the complex since the last time I cleaned it. My back is still sore from all the previous festivities involved in “The Great Cleaning of 2022.” It’s 10 a.m. and I feel like I’ve accomplished a blizzard of activity. I’m going to go find some more laughter in a little while. My soul needs it. Enthusiasm is at a premium these days and I’m going to cash every bit of it in today.

“If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” -Brian Tracy

X’s Frog Corollary: “If you have to kiss two people, at least one of them should be a woman.”

Remember that there are three distinct stages in life:

BIRTH

WTF

DEATH

The first two have already happened. Squeeze in as much wtf-time as you can, because it’s flying past with indifferent velocity. Otherwise, you’ll lose your health, your loved ones, or your life – only to look back and vehemently utter the phrase, “WTF happened to all the minutes?”

Love, X

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P.S. I made the picture out of several elements and rendered it.

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Another List From Social Media

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I got a dose of humility again.

I patiently explained to the inconvenience store cashier that I wanted a Natural State jackpot multi draw ticket for the next 10 drawing dates. She mocked me, so I explained it again, telling her that it meant the ticket would print with one set of numbers on one line and with a corresponding date range from today and the next nine drawings. She mocked me again and then rang it up wrong. For the first time in several consecutive such encounters, I told her she was going to have to void the ticket. She launched into an angry rant at me and called me an idiot. I told her that I am indeed an idiot but that she should ask her manager how to ring up a multidraw ticket. And then I wished her a good day. I genuinely smiled at her, even as she muttered profanities under her breath.

When I drove up to the inconvenience store, a homeless person was bundled in a white blanket.

When I left, I saw him walk around the back side of the parking lot. Out of curiosity I walked around too. Behind the brick facade containing the dumpster, there was a shopping cart full of someone’s life. Next to it, a closed tent. The homeless person I had followed was not the occupant of the tent.

I shivered with the chilly March breeze.

And even though I was beyond polite to the cashier who mistreated me… Seeing that cart and the tent next to it broke up a stone in my heart.

I don’t have a moral to the story. Just grateful for my life.

Love, X

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I hadn’t seen Max the terrier in a few days. He got excited and jumped up to me to give me hugs and kisses as I petted him…

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That’s the moon next to the stop sign. Sirens racing past, dogs barking, sitting on the patio with my sister as she talks to one of her 300,000 friends. An unexpected life, a moment in time…

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In LR, making sister seem annoyed with me. Enjoying time and also missing home.

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I used my night vision lens to snap this picture at around 6:00 a.m. Scull Creek roars and overflows on both sides of me. The bright moon of course is diffused by the filter but I took a mental snapshot too. I’ll look back in a year and probably feel like 10 years have elapsed. A beautiful moment, full of thoughts and delights for the eye.
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Zen proverb modernized:

A farmer arrives home late from the day in the fields. He finds his wife of 30 years in bed with another man.

“Is dinner ready?” He asked her.

She emerged from the bedroom, hair a mess and bewildered.

“Aren’t you going to ask why I was in bed with another man?”

“Why? Would it change what happened? And I still need to eat.”

Acceptance.

Not defeat.

Life relentlessly marches forward, even as things out of your control happen.

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I finally got the hint and realized that I’m not attractive. My proctologist stuck his finger in my mouth.

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“Rain can’t wash away enthusiasm.” – X

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“Some people at full tables will wish they were you.” – a quote contained in a video sent to me by my favorite cousin. It’s a good reminder that a lot of people don’t live deliberate lives, or the ones they wish contained them.

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Operation Blue Justice is going exceedingly well at work today!

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Dubious~Optimistic FB Post #637: the percentage of known drug dealers in my apartment building is now down to 14%. I’m confident that no one has ever posted this type of statistic on their personal Facebook before.

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If you hear the klaxon call for help, know that I will be there quicker than Metamucil clears out a senior citizen. I will fight for justice and also tacos.

Love, X

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“If you put both arms out, he will hug and nuzzle your neck and face,” the owner of the large dog told me, as I kneeled on the trail’s edge.

I put both hands out palms up. The dog wagged his tail and put one paw on my hands. As I leaned forward, the dog put its nose against the side of my neck and I rubbed its flanks and neck. I laughed and watched its tail wag ferociously.

When I stood up, the dog barked a single time, a pop against the quiet and the dark around the trail.

“He wants another one,” the owner said.

I kneeled and got another hug from the dog.

“If you put both arms out, you’ll get a hug.”

I wish the entire world would stop long enough to absorb that lesson.

Love, X

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I like to get everyone to use hand sanitizer. Not for hygiene, but because it looks like they are hatching evil plans when they use it.

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Güino and I in an imaginary world, where colors blend and bend to the will of those seeing them. Where the sun both sets and rises simultaneously.

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Another famous painting suffers at my creative mercy. 🙂
PS That’s my Uncle Buck in the bathtub behind me.

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“Always wear two socks,” I was taught, so I put them both on one foot for the day. “Be happy,” they said, forgetting to tell us that happiness is being grateful for the opportunities in front of us rather than what we think we think we’ve lost or what we want.

-X

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Two women were jogging on the trail, both with dogs on leashes and flashlights blazing. One of the dogs saw me and surprised its owner by barking and yanking the leash free. The dog continued to bark and ran towards me. I kneeled down and waited to see if I was going to get mauled. The owner shouted in fright, probably assuming I was about to get a bite-sized chunk taken out of my ass. Instead, the dog ran at me full speed and jumped up on me with its paws licking my face. I made a new friend. Totes is his name. The owner was very apologetic. I petted and rubbed Totes until he decided it was time to run again.

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If you wear underpants without pants, they are no longer underpants or under pants. There is a lesson here. And that lesson is that decaf isn’t the same as regular.

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Redactyl got cold and started complaining. I put a blanket on him so he seems to be comfortable now.

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Compared to middle managers, velociraptors are pretty tame!

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My coworker Darian is a big guy. I definitely wouldn’t play seesaw with him.

He was complaining about young women being unable to cook.

Without missing a beat, I retorted, “Evidently young men these days definitely know how to eat though.”

I got a lot of laughter but I deserved a round of applause.

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I sat next to the trail. An enormous blackbird came and sat directly above me, commenting vociferously with a loud cacophonous caw. When I stood up, it looked directly down at me and stared. For reasons known only to the CIA, I talked to it in broken Russian. The bird cawed at me again. It did this all three times I spoke to it. I hated to leave the bird and to return to work. It felt like that bird needed to tell me something. Probably not to talk to strange birds.

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My guardian dinosaur, Redactyl, is a lot happier now that I have bedazzled him. He has the watch because of course dinosaurs have no sense of punctuality. Everything is totally Jurassic for them. He was complaining earlier about not having a hat so I’ll have to find one for him.

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To prove I do have an inner voice that corrects me, I did not post my meme today, the one that said: “If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport.”

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Philosophical observation: without a doubt, horses have to be the most farted upon animal on the planet.

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“A keychain is a ring invented so that you can lose all of your keys at once.” How often do we stop and figure out in how many other ways we’re bundling our lives like keys?

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I am a time traveler, as all we are. It flies past us, our most valuable commodity. Reality is whatever our filters tell us it is. I got a reminder yesterday just how tenuous it all can be.
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My name tag is a funny variation of carpe diem. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what the translation is from Latin. (Carpe culus)

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I hear birds singing hours before the sunrise. And I can imagine why. Someone asked me what’s good about the day. And I smiled and pointed at my curved lips. Enigmatically, I replied, “I brought the day with me.”

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Me and Cookie Monster, imagined inside the famous painting “Rain’s Rustle.” Carry on!

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My therapist recommended that I hold hands at the movies, in order to address intimacy issues. Again, she should have stipulated that none of them belonged to people I don’t know. Goodbye forever, AMC Theaters.

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My roll of 350 HELLO stickers arrived. I am playing the role of Frankie Jane today. And someone surprised me with a hare brooch, making the pun that I did not have enough hair on me.

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I set five alarms so I would have time to sweep off the car. But it was the Fitbit that woke me up. My cat Guino was sitting on me pawing at my arm with the Fitbit. He got his hugs in this morning. So it’s already a good day despite the snow.

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P.S. I had zero problems driving to work in my little bitty car. Anyone who wants to make it to work should depart before the rest of us idiots get out there.

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Despite the amount of sleet that had fallen, I had no problem driving in my small car around 10. It was like another world out there; even the traffic lights cast a beautiful sheen on the crystals covering everything. I felt like I was driving in a secret world, entirely new and refreshed. Tomorrow morning, I might well wake up to a blanket of lord knows what. But for tonight, it was sublime. I’ll remember this for a long time. If I didn’t have to work tomorrow, I would go out and walk a few miles, even if icicles formed on my nose. Feb. 2nd

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“I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally” seems appropriate this morning. Happy Monday!

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In a moment of profound victory, after weeks of doing it wrong, I realized that if turn my gallon of homemade protein drink upside down and shake it, it mixes immediately. I’ve spent so much time violently shaking the gallon, like I was having heroin withdrawals. What else have I been doing completely wrong? I’d make a list, but I don’t have a notepad that long.

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I learned something: when someone says I should walk with Jesus, they should have warned me he would stroll across the lake.

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I really struggled with my lunch. Now I know why. I ordered the pork chops but they accidentally gave me a plate of karate chops.

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When people ask you, “How are you doing?” Interpretive dance is evidently the wrong way to answer.

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The world is two kinds of people: morning people and mourning people.

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P.S. This joke could also be interpreted somberly.

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Because of my ability to explain things simply, the director told me to walk everyone through the basic premise of the new protocol. Using as much brevity and clarity as I could, I extended the middle finger of my left hand and walked away.

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This morning, instead of being productive, I lay in bed, watching the sun through the big window in my bedroom. Guino staked his claim across my stomach and torso. I’m unaccustomed to being lazy. Guino had no complaints. Now, I’m sitting at my desk by the front window, watching the world whiz by and the little birds darting at my feeder. I’m happy, even as life continues to unevenly give me blessings and obstacles.

PS Guino is unhappy again; he’s scratching at the door and singing the song of his people. The landing is calling his name, as the birds chirp and beckon him. Jan 22nd

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With everything going on in my life, I got a horrible reminder of what physical pain is: because I’m chewing gum more, I bit my bottom lip hard twice in the same place with my incisor. It brought blood the second time.

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Ellen DeGeneres quipped: “Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.”

I don’t THINK I’m a serial killer. It could be my delusion talking, though.

Someone snarked at me that I post too many pictures of myself! And they are right! With that in mind, I of course felt compelled to update my profile picture. Not because I’m too arrogant or because I’m wowed by myself, but because it is important to feel comfortable in my own body. And I do. I’ve changed what I can. The rest? It’s inside my head, where it matters most.

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” Lao Tzu

“Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.”

Love, X

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I’m standing out on the landing. The door is open and Güino is prowling in the dark, furtively looking at me to see how far I’ll let him go. It’s 52° as I watch the neighbors go about their secret business. I have Anni’s Lullaby by Patrick Pietschmann playing on the soundbar. One of the downstairs neighbors looks up with her head cocked sideways, wondering where the haunting piano melody might be coming from. I wave and she nods, then smiles. “It’s beautiful,” she said. I laughed, and the laugh caught in my throat. “Isn’t it all?” I rhetorically asked her. Because most of my neighbors are accustomed to my weird ways, she laughed too. I stand there against the railing for a few moments, thinking about my evening. Surreal is the word that best encapsulates my experience. 54 years old and capable of being surprised. Both by myself and the people around me. I let the song play a few more times, each time letting it punctuate the nocturnal air with a staccato rhythm. Were that all nights were like this. It would be difficult to complain. A day of ice cream smiles, exertion, storytelling, and feeling like I belonged exactly where I was. Jan 18th

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She used my own trick against me. She handed me a white note card. It had 7 words written on it: “People change out of inspiration or desperation.”

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At 4:00 a.m. the mockingbird doesn’t sing. But I can hear it hacking and clearing its throat.

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Here we are, each of us, as the day breaks. All of us have a different view in front of us. But each of us shares a huge overlap of the things we find to be important. I hope your day surprises you in all the best ways. Let this be a subtle morning prayer. Optimism and one foot forward is all you need. Jan 4th

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Don’t Write A Long Post On Monday Morning

My “Ask” project both failed and succeeded. The truth of it is that you can’t control another person’s response – only your own. I wrote that it’s never wrong to ask; the bigger sin is to have an ‘ask’ and remain silent.

“Silence is the gravedigger for enthusiasm, love, humor, and happiness.” – X

Ask
Ask for what you want or desire.
If you don’t, it is a certainty you’ll never get it.
Ask of life and ask of people.
The answer, though bitter or not what you sought…
It’s at least the truth.
Everything starts from there

Ask

PS I do mourn the failure.
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I woke up at 11:30, safe and happy. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I think multiple things kept me awake, one of which was the unusual trip I took to LR to see my sister Carolyn. Her house was built in 1939 and updated before she bought it. It’s a beautiful house, one she’s made comfortable and homey. Like many people, I think she doesn’t see it for what it is. It’s truly something to be proud of, like her life. Although I don’t have a clue how she juggles knowing so many people. She could run for state senate based on the number of friends and acquaintances she keeps up with. Though she will kill me for saying so, she’s fiercely single. But she needs a lot of hugs, preferably from someone really cute and financially capable. Don’t tell her I said so, though.
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The Target Rule For Women: If you love Target, you can never be truly happy with a man who hates it.
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I got out of bed instead of laying there. My cat Güino did his part, nuzzling me and demanding more treats. So I made him a concoction of juice from cat food paste. He doesn’t eat the actual meaty part. He likes to just lap up the mess I make by compressing extra water into the paste. I’d mock him but I eat some weird things too. We all do. Last week, I made the mistake of making sardine juice. Güino loved it. One afternoon as I sat in the office chair, I turned to watch him hurl a stream of sardine juice across my newly-washed comforter. I could see a look of satisfied amusement on his face as he finished. I’m sure of it. The smell reminded me of a late-night bowling alley after hot-dog and free beer hour. Bed Bath & Beyond does NOT make any candles scented this way.
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The Reg Flag Maintenance Rule For Women: if your man spends more than five minutes on his hair, he’s going to be ridiculously high maintenance about all the things that matter to you or annoy you, too.
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I still do a few hundred pushups a day, without going crazy like I once did. My cousin was right; doing them made my life more manageable and better. Over the last few months, a couple of people have been energized by my advice to start doing them, too, especially when they realize that they can spend a couple of minutes a few times a day exercising and avoid the hassle of driving or being at the gym – if they choose. When I got my hair cut the last time, a younger barber was fascinated and I sold him on trying them for six weeks. One of the things I explained to him was that he could start with “female” pushups if he needed to. (I also convinced him that he could do ten pushups at a time, multiple times a day. Before long, he’d be doing sets of 25-50, if he wished to, and even between clients.) Male pushups do work more of the lower body, but if upper body fatigue is reached by doing the allegedly easier “female” pushups, they are extremely effective to build upper body strength. It’s a myth that they aren’t great for your physical well-being, much like the mistaken belief that walking isn’t an amazing way to stay in shape. So many people think we have to run, do a lot of cardio, or stress our bodies needlessly to be in shape. “Female” pushups and walking aren’t as flashy as their counterparts but they do result in transformational physical effects if you make them a habit. Any small applied change to behavior becomes a habit. The Law of Increments prevails.
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“To a dog, all food is dog food.” To which I’d add, in the same way, if a person won’t remove their personal filter from what they see in life, circumstances will never change. “All is yellow to a jaundiced eye,” though not my quote, is apt.
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Profile Picture Rule: if the person doesn’t have a visible and updated profile picture, swipe away if you’re looking for a reliable partner to date. It is the minimum level of honesty and telegraphs their ability to be open. Argue all you want; those people have infinite time and access to both phone and their accounts.
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One of the pitfalls of social media is that people don’t use it to expound on the spectrum of their experiences. You see a thirsty photo or one of a big moment and conclude it’s an honest representation of their life. You know from experience it’s probably not. I continue to learn it’s definitely not. It’s both a comfort and a curse, as perverse as that might sound reading it.
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I went out on the landing around 1 a.m. Güino accompanied me, of course. My solar lanterns had charged well yesterday for the first day of spring but only one still held a dim charge. I heard a strident voice clearly. The person was upset and ranting. I made a cup of strong coffee and knocked on the apartment door. The voice went silent. To my surprise, the door opened. “Here’s a good cup of coffee. Do you need to talk and have someone listen?” The person was astonished and said, “Thanks for the coffee. I’m sorry you could hear me. I didn’t know.” I waited a couple of seconds before saying, “I’m sorry y’all are struggling. It can be better if you want it to.” The person nodded. “Reset it if you can,” I said. “I hope your night goes better.” There’s no moral here. But I do hope they read the inscription on the cup I designed and had made: “Choose your hard.” It’s hard to change but it’s equally hard to continue navigating waters that always capsize your boat. I hope I get the coffee cup back. It’s one of my favorites.
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Yesterday, I was delighted to discover that my internet provider had decided to put the previous tenant’s $500 delinquent bill on MY account. You can imagine the creative phone call(s) and comments I made. It seemed to be a disservice to not respond with humor and sarcasm. The person who lived in my apartment before me not only trashed the apartment but succeeded in ruining her credit. The mistake to my bill was supposedly fixed but I do wonder at the imperfect process that allowed it to happen in the first place. To say something positive along with my negative, I was shocked and delighted to see that I somehow qualified for a $30 monthly credit on my internet bill. I had zero expectations I would be able to.
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During my trip to central Arkansas, I got a ding to my windshield as I exited Conway. When I got in my car yesterday afternoon, the ding had spread to a 4″ crack. I was going to epoxy it today; now I’ll have to hope a window service can drill it out enough to repair without needing a new windshield. I guess that’s what I get for making cracks all the time; it was inevitable that one appear in my window. I get dings all the time driving through central Arkansas. I should probably refrain from driving through so many ditches. That’s where all the interesting stuff is, though.
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The two and a half hours of sleep I managed before midnight will have to suffice for this day. I shouldn’t complain. So many people suffer worse. I’ve been lucky and I can’t forget it. That is the worst kind of entitlement, that of failing to see blessings.
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“If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse.” Not my quote but resoundingly true.
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It’s going to rain hard later today, which is great. I cleaned more of the parking lot and landings yesterday – by hand, no less, wrenching up detritus and trash that the landlords failed to clean from last fall. A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned up 23 bags of leaves and trash. The rain will do its magic and cleanse the remaining residue. If it isn’t chilly, I’m going to stand out in the rain like a lunatic this afternoon and get drenched. My hope is that it will do its metaphorical work on me, too, taking away the residue of self-doubt and discomfort in my life.
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Words of unexpected encouragement from a while back:

“You’re not too much. You’ve just dealt with others who don’t have the capacity for you. Somewhere, that ‘extra’ that you give is exactly what will fill someone with happiness. Really, you’re going to reduce yourself? How’s that for a slap in the face, X?”

I decided to post it because recently, I explained the 10% Rule to someone who was unfamiliar with it.

We focus our attention on perceived defects about ourselves. But what if instead of trying to change those things, we embraced them and actively sought out people who think those alleged defects are enhancements?

Instead of fighting our nature, find someone who looks at us with a little bit of fire and awe? No hair? Big nose? Odd hands? Love handles? Weird feet? So what. The world is an awfully big place filled with a variety of people.

All of us would be so much happier if we could swing for the fences for someone who appreciates us with our defects.

“Defects become invisible where enthusiasm resides.” – X
Its counterpart is this: “Faults are thick where love is thin.”

A sense of humor is the number one key for me. Followed by wit and a quick smile. That wit and quick smile telegraph so much about a person to the world. Things are going to happen – but such an outlook glides past the obstacles without getting stuck. Because I’m a comforter, I want comfort when I’m stressed – and I want to freely give the same. It’s impossible to be myself when someone else isn’t reciprocal during the tough times.

The other thing? Enthusiasm for my presence and the ability to express it with their hands and heart.

I know, the lightning of hypocrisy may very well strike me. That’s okay. I’m mortal in the worst way. I fought a losing battle with wanting attention until I realized I didn’t want to fight for it anymore. It was the worst kind of agony trying to put it into practice.

When I was 20, gray hair set in. About that time, I adopted a short, almost military-style haircut. For convenience. My hair is one of the least important things about me. Now that some of my hair is permanently gone, I don’t chase getting it back or hiding the salt and pepper. Far from it. It’s like me new scar running up my abdomen. I own it and as perverse as it sounds, I’m glad in some ways that it happened.

Now that I lost weight, my sternum is odd. It was one of the first things that emerged from beneath my fat. I used to lie in bed and touch it, both surprised and tickled. As the rest of my body caught up, it tickles me that my sternum has that ‘jut’ in it. Below it, I have a weird connection from the surgery that obscures my stomach muscles. I’ll never get rid of it without surgery. But I would never want to. I don’t care if the whole world sees it.

For some, I am too much, too needy, too something.

The 10% rule continues to tell me that I need only one person to find me to not be “too much.”
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Love, X

Both Personal And Random Ideas

“Make all the right choices. Eat all the right food. And you will still be dead one day. This is a rigged game, indeed, this gift of life.” – X

Have you ever thought that another way to describe a bath is “butt soup?”

For the first time in MANY years, I am getting a refund for both Federal and State taxes. While I can’t finance a yacht with the refund, it is a pleasant change of pace! Also, I did my taxes exceedingly fast; in previous years, it was a very tedious process, usually involving a lot of typing, swearing, and frustration – and that was just addressing the envelopes. Though I meticulously followed the software and triple-checked it, the IRS said my refund had to be adjusted. Whether it’s worth arguing over depends on whether my hold on sanity is firm the day I receive the letter to challenge their adjustment.

“The chickens came home to roost. Or so they thought… the smell of fried chicken soon permeated the air.” -X

Last week, very early in the morning, as I rounded the corner of the apartments near the trail by the hospital, I found three bags stuffed with personal items. Though there was no one there along the fringe of the building, I surmised that someone had slept between the minimal hedging and the brick wall. I saw someone there the following day, and I left them in peace. When I passed by again, they were gone, but the bags were still there. I left a gift for them next to their bags. I’ve not seen the bags since. I wonder about them each day.

I keep learning that being clear and honest still likely results in a mess. It doesn’t matter what your motivation is or how concisely and openly you share; the odds still dictate that things will likely spin away from you. Likely, there’s nothing you can do about it. So much of the outcome depends on the other mercurial person. Not stating your truth will just as likely cause you to bubble over unexpectedly when the pressure to speak overwhelms you. As hard as it is, between the two options, it’s always better to just state your truth when you feel like you need to. It won’t feel like the best option, though. Most of us are hard-wired to put off what plagues us until it seeps or explodes out. It’s important to remember that the feelings you bury are still alive under all the layers.

Wine ice cubes are fantastic. Not only do they go well in actual wine, but they also can be used as needed when you want wine to cook with. Don’t “at me,” either, saying that ice cubes in wine are uncouth. There are no actual rules regarding taste, cooking, or eating. The sooner we abandon that nonsense, the better off we’ll all be. And happier eating macaroni over the sink – or a bowl of cereal for supper. One wine ice cube is much better than a cheap grape popsicle, too. In my opinion. Adult note: if you drink enough wine, your appetite will likely go away. And your ability to cook coherently definitely will.

“Wisdom teaches us to be patient with the ridiculous setbacks we’re all going to encounter. It also somehow still fails to prepare us for being surprised by how people will act.” – X

Not everyone is wired the same way sexually. That’s to be expected. But if you’re a sexual person and not being intimate, consequences to your quality of life or well-being always follow. It doesn’t mean that sex is an overwhelming or inflexible motivator; it just means that human behavior will succumb to the urge toward intimacy. People need to stop being ashamed of their essential needs and how they practice and define them. Sex is the big mystery that permeates our lives in multiple ways – yet most of us have a completely mistaken idea of how other people live sexually, much less how to be happy with our sexual selves.

My therapist told me that in one of my first sessions, I said this: “Isn’t it odd how most of our need to look presentable isn’t really so we’ll feel good about ourselves. It’s because we are leaning into the idea of spectator attractiveness. We want to look good to other people. Because if not, generally speaking, we’d all dress comfortably and not think much about hair, makeup, shoes, or how we are perceived. Absent the expectation of attractiveness and left to our own devices, we might be a lot less preoccupied with appearance and happier as a result.” I could be wrong, but it seems to be true generally.

You can drive around the roundabout 17 times if you need to. Likewise, you can fail as many times as you need to or have to until you finally make the turnoff. It’s where you end up that matters, anyway. It would be nice to avoid a convoluted, circuitous path of errors, but life tends not to work that way.

“You’re not afraid of being alone in the dark. You are afraid that you might not be alone in the dark.” This isn’t my quote. It does demonstrate how our fears and thoughts overtake us.

Male secret #34: most men do not care if a woman’s legs are smoothly shaved. Or if their nails are painted, their blouse, shoes, pants match, etc. The enthusiasm of presence derails all those concerns. I’m not sure you should trust a middle-aged man named X or not – but this is true.

Rule of Presence: each of us will jump to hold the door for another person, but we will move heaven and earth to stop someone from passing us on the road.

I’ve put up three ‘fake’ streets signs in the last couple of months. All of them are still posted. PS If you want to do it quickly, have the sign made prior to showing up, with the bolt already through it. Since most street posts have multiple bolt holes, push the bolt through and twirl the nut on it quickly. Also, did you know you can order a custom street sign easily? If you’re bored, google it. It’s no accident that 75 mph is a great sign to add in Johnson. (I didn’t do that one due to public safety concerns. And the lack of a sense of humor with traffic enforcement there, now that I think about it.)

Another one I stole from the internet: “Each and every selfie is a picture of perhaps your own worst enemy.”

It’s been about six months since my surgery. It’s been the longest ten years of my life. I’m still thankful to be here. But I can’t escape the idea that I’d be a lot happier with a check for one million dollars in my wallet. I might not ever cash it.

Love, X
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