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Ghost Prank!

Modern ghosts use higher thread count – and certainly more stylish colors.

I pranked my neighbor by carefully walking across the apartment landing and triggering both of her cameras as I wore my stylish ghost costume.

Long live Halloween. (And goofiness, too!)

Love, X

P.S. My cat Güino has commandeered my ghost suit. I was going to go to the other end and knock on the neighbor’s door and say something clever.

Saturday Morning

It’s such a beautiful October morning. It’s 73 now, which is hard to complain about. It’s overcast and the wind is blowing, eddying the leaves across the unkempt parking lot. It’s difficult to not be introspective standing on the landing observing it.

I’m working hard to remember all the things I have to be grateful for. I’ll return to work soon, which is both a blessing and a concern. My current tally for medical bills is 65-70K. It’s better to have the bills than to not have woken up after emergency surgery – there’s no doubt about that! It will wipe me out, of course. This not only reminds me that I wish we all had universal health care, but that any of us, at any time, can be subject to the caprice and whims of our bodies and the universe. I’m foolish because I’ve preached this lesson for years, to people who privately didn’t believe it. Everything is eventual.

My cat Güino is taking his job as a litter-scatterer very seriously, using his large paws to trap a surprising amount of litter. Previously, he stalked around on carpet. Wood vinyl floors start to look like a sandy beach with a nervous cat prowling around exploring. He’s getting old, but I’m considering teaching him to walk on a leash. I know, good luck, right? I have a neighbor who walks his cat on a leash like a dog. Either that or I’m high from all the cannabis wafting around here.

The other picture is a screenshot of some of the wi-fi networks. I have a “Stepbrothers” fan, as well as a fan of… hazy oblivion. “Porn Freak” comes up regularly, too. Noticeably absent is the drug dealer who always finds a place in most apartments. “Find Jesus” popped up twice, perhaps in response to, and as a reminder of, the others. I’m going to have to change mine again. I’ll pick something boring. 🙂

The third picture is of one of the two windowsills I completely redid to not only fix the horrid condition of the previous sills but also to expand and support a wider sill for plants. And now, fortuitously, a prowling cat. The backside of the apartment complex is indeed a wilderness. I’m glad I live on the second floor. You’d have to be crazy to live on the bottom level. I’ll have to be creative in the big front window. Previously, I built a privacy blocker for the bottom of the large front window, which is just a foot off the floor. I flipped it so that Güino can perch there if he wishes. I’ll have to get creative to recruit more birds to the feeder. My neighbor has a monopoly on all of them with the draw of a vast variety of plants and feeders. Güino is accustomed to up-close and personal views of plants, squirrels, and birds. I’m sure my ex-wife is going to get up and miss seeing him at the various vantage points of the old house. The squirrels, however, will probably enjoy the privacy.

The last picture is of Güino perching behind the desk and on the flipped window guard. It’s a contrast having a black and white tuxedo cat in comparison to all the colors here.

Love, X

Of Salsa And Light

Because I gave away all my solar lanterns to an admirer earlier in the week, I tried to find creative ways to replace the solar lantern I’d made out of a converted and inverted blue glass hummingbird feeder.

Somehow, in my move, I still had two salsa jars given to me by the famous salsa maker Mike. I’d hoped that when he gifted me the unexpected salsa it would come with a lifetime refill option. Alas, that was not to be. Given that he allegedly is retiring in a couple of years, I see no reason for him NOT to have a side business making salsa (at cost, of course) for his legions of fans.

Using solar fairy lights kits I bought on Amazon (for about $5 each), I put both woefully empty salsa mason jars to use today. Though they are not finished, they provide beautiful light and color already. It seemed wasteful not to light them up tonight. I’ll take all of the colors I can get, especially in this place where beauty is a third-tier concern.

These kits, though inexpensive, are usually designed for larger containers. If anyone wants to make them for themselves, I can easily explain how to do it. (These also have several settings, which is surprising given how inexpensive they are.) Although I don’t remember using that many sets, it seems I’ve bought 34 kits from Amazon alone in the last couple of years. Somewhere out there, there’s a lot of light and color I’ve generated for the world.

I love that I made these out of something that held a delicious surprise.

Of course, now I’m craving salsa. A gallon a week ought to do it.

Love, X

Stolen Rock Window Larceny

As I stood outside painting another big rock for my landing, I realized that they are the perfect size to throw through my large front windows. This one, the one I painted today, I stole from the remnants of a neighbor who moved out and left the apartment in a “shambles,” whatever that is. The neighbor who moved should have taken her trash with her; it would save time for her to clutter the new place like this one immediately, so she’d feel more at home.

Metal security doors are dumb when there are large, knee-high windows right there next to them.
I have a metal flipper that goes inside the jamb. It requires two hits with a battering ram to break through. This will give me time to make coffee and donuts for the police who will inevitably storm my apartment by accident, thinking I’m the drug dealer here. I’m considering putting a note and an arrow on my front door, pointing to the actual known drug dealer. It’s problematic if he sees it, though.
I do have a security camera, though I almost always leave it unarmed. And unlegged. I use it more for entertainment and as a virtual window than anything.
If you’re wondering, YES, I do paint rocks ornately or with clever messages and leave them all over Fayetteville. The rocks are free ( 🙂 ) and the paint doesn’t cost much.
I also love painting quarters and then using them in the washing machines and dryers. Sidenote to this note: you can get master keys to almost all commercial washers online. I wouldn’t of course. I just like knowing that I can.

I had a rough few moments today. I had some great moments too. My emergency ER visit and subsequent surgery happened three weeks ago today. The bills will inevitably come. The good news is that I know the hospital is very invested in me not dying because otherwise they won’t get paid. I take solace in that!

…also, my 401k provider keeps saying, “You fixed it,” and then emailing me to say my account is not up to date. I kindly call them and say, “Hey, I almost died. Could you get this updated and fixed?” They say, “You’re good.” Four times in a row. I had to falsify a pdf form today because the fact that I’m not married evidently isn’t proof that my spouse consents to the change. 🙂

Love, X

A Truth

Social media is a hall of mirrors for most people; it’s primarily bright shining moments. I’m guilty of sharing a lot. Often, I reference periods where I’m lonely, anxious, or experiencing things that seem elusively difficult to solve. I don’t mention details because I am careful about revealing someone else’s story or issues while delineating mine. It’s my story to tell because it’s my life. But I think I’m respectful about needlessly giving someone else an additional slap. I’ve seen behind the curtains of so many people’s lives. Most of them have some heavy secrets and burdens.

I’ve written about how I was guilty of imploding my marriage. Most of the blame is mine; I said so from the beginning. Many people recoiled. “You don’t just SAY those things.” Uh – yes, I do. Not all the blame is mine, but so much of it is that it is just honest to say so without qualification. No one can ever know what goes on in a life, much less a marriage. Even if they think they know, they will have their spin and narrative about it. We all do this.

While I made many missteps starting in October last year, I also found a way to wake up. I’d be dead if I didn’t lose all the weight. Had I not started counseling, lack of sleep would’ve driven me crazy. In addition to all those more significant moments, I stepped back and decided that it was time to find a way to create lemon moments, apologize to people, and find ways to stop fueling negativity. Like so many of you know, it wasn’t a straight line. I didn’t have the intelligence or ability to do it evenly or without making a mess of my marriage. You have to make omelets once you break the eggs, but lamenting that you no longer have eggs is pointless.

Other than a few weeks ago when I had to threaten to kill one of my horrific neighbors (my Bobby Dean moment), I haven’t lashed out or engaged in megaphone interpersonal moments. Even when the other person tried their best to get me to be angry, I found a new way to engage. I’ve told so many people how much they mean to me, that I apologize for not understanding them sooner, and have tried to be a better me.

I got accused of not being the same me.

They are not wrong. I’m not.

Had I stayed the old me, well, I’ve already said it, it’s likely I might not be here – and that’s before my guts tried to strangle me on a random Monday.

I have a lot of regrets. Don’t we all?

Regrets are only effective when you figure out a way to morph them into an action that helps others while not repeating the same mistake yourself.

I also got accused of being egotistical and selfish, in part because I am evangelical about weight loss and finding ways to get to your goals. I can see why they’d think that, too. Just because I’m wrong about so much or have behaved like a hungry monkey at a salad bar doesn’t mean that I’m not right about some things. I’m equally enthusiastic about mental health counseling, too – in part because it is something I learned the hard way and firsthand. That’s why I’m qualified to talk about it in the personal way that I do.

The beauty of social media, a blog, or even a TV channel is that you can change it if you don’t like what you see. You can change your life if you want to as well.

I am not the sum of my mistakes. That doesn’t mean I’m not accountable for them, though. In parting, I’d like to say that I’m often the first to say, “I don’t know,” or “I’m sorry,” now. It’s shameful that I didn’t learn the lesson sooner.

Love, X


I repurposed a 16X20 canvas and made my own.

I’m not an artist – but I am a sentimentalist.

I love the word “overmorrow,” and I hate that it’s dormant in our language.

Love, X

hasten your moments
they are but few
the overmorrow is a promise
often dormant or unrealized
procrastinate at your peril
there is beauty within you,
around you and for you
go solicit it
with open heart and mind
pretend this is your only day
to express, to love, to hold,
or to cherish
it may well be

Mistitled Trifecta

I have more than two full shelves of brooches and wearables now. That picture on the shelf is one of my Uncle Buck in the bathtub, taken about 50 years ago. It brings a bit of laughter to my face when I look at it. I’m not smiling because although I snapped five pictures, all the other ones look like I was just hit with a can of whipped cream.

Since my surgery, the nutritionist told me to eat at least 75 grams of protein a day. My boss Joe quipped, “You’re gonna have to get those numbers up.” I used to mock guys who lugged around a jug of protein powder. But it’s a lot less expensive than buying cases of good nutrition drinks. I’ve always loved the taste of raw protein and similar emulsifiers, so I think this will be good. Ignore me if my mustache is always powdery, okay?
I got a list of dumbbell exercises that I’m supposed to do. No pushups for a while, though. 🙂 I have three dumbbells in the apartment: two five-lb ones and myself.

Before I started doing pushups on June 1st, my shoulder hurt from my job, especially my right shoulder. The pain went to basically zero within six weeks. If that nonsense returns, I’m going to start eating a lot ice cream. I researched it on the internet because that’s where we’re supposed to get our health advice. Millions of people can’t be wrong.
Neighbor: “X, would you like to have kids?”
“Why, do you have extra you need to get rid of?”
Customer service call:
“Would you like to hold or be held?”
(I’m pretty sure that’s what they said…)
I’m always surprised by the number of washing machines at nudist colonies. But not by the number of contact rashes.
“Sometimes making a meal with your best friend” could be read as tandem food preparation OR that you’re a cannibal.
My friend Rodney told me that he was so excited that his wife had joined him in a love of shooting. Since I was over at his house a couple of weeks ago, I heard his wife Jane tell another friend, “Let’s target practice on Saturday.”

I told Rodney he might check her Target rewards card because she didn’t mean the other kind of target practice.
“Silence is a superpower.” – X
If you play rock/paper/scissors, studies have proven that if you ask the other person a question immediately before playing, they will most likely select “scissors” as their first choice.

P.S. Can one of y’all tell me how RPS isn’t an Olympic sport already?
P.P.S. Rock-Paper-Scissors should be played with real objects for maximum unsafety.
Lately, I’ve kept my promise to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.” It undoubtedly exasperates people. While I can’t reliably speak on behalf of other people, it’s hard to believe that they don’t suffer from the same tendency to attempt to avoid admitting they “don’t get it.” Part of my own journey led me to realize it was something I needed to backtrack and work on. I’m getting the hint, though. A lot of people’s hair is suddenly standing on end when they deal with me. 🙂 “There’s no such thing as a dumb question” suddenly seems to be completely false.
“There’s dark blue, dark red, dark green.. but there’s no real dark yellow.” Whoever said this hasn’t bee in the hospital, eaten really strong vitamins, nor consumed an entire box of cheerios in one sitting.”

  • I got to use a version of a classic joke while answering health questions:
    “X, do you smoke?”
    “I’ve never looked.”
    Hope’s vending machine: a wishing well.
    (This one is not mine either, but I loved it.)
    I filled my day with a variety of activities; a few were random acts of kindness, a couple were to beautify this place around me, and the rest were a combination of careful exercise, reading, and trying to eat calories and protein. I love the days but I’m still learning to fill the absence of people with ‘other.’
    If you didn’t read my “Bullets” post earlier, you missed a couple of juicy bits.

Love, X

Life Is One Big Notecard

I had another writer’s block moment. NOT because I ever have writer’s block. It’s just one of those themes people ask about: “Can you write about any moment?” Yes. “Do you ever run out of ideas?” No. “Could you maybe slow down?” No. 🙂 All the ways I share can be muted, scrolled past, or avoided. And if I’m standing there talking to you, arrange to have another friend sneak up behind me and put a black bag over my head – and then run and duck into a closet.

Also, I’ve discovered that I could DIE at any random moment. While I watched for C19, my own bowels plotted an invisible revolt. I take that personally! How are y’all going to react to the absence of these millions of words that I spew?

I’m surprised everyone isn’t infected with the urge to cement small moments into history.

Life is one big notecard.

You are not a perfectionist; it’s most likely you’re afraid of how your truth will be received. That is out of your control. Let go.

There’s not enough time to experience all the things that happen to us. In part, because we live them much more in our heads than we do out in the physical world. It’s the bureaucracy of living, the hum and buzz of devices, the impossibility of doing something we love because we have only a certain number of awake minutes in a day. No matter what conversations you have, the activities you do, or the people you interact with, choosing or not choosing by definition robs you of other conversations, people, and fulfilling yourself with the things you love. I hesitate to call it a zero-sum scenario; it’s close.

We run behind on everything – including our ability to ruminate on what we’ve done, said, and felt in a given day.

That lack of rumination lets us slip into not focusing on what lights us up: the people who reciprocate with kindness, love, and their time. The places that renew us. We’ve got to get back to the “lights us up” people and circumstances.

My notecard is always full.

I’m just too stupid to fully get to the next gear, where life really happens.

That bastard with the scythe gave me a reminder last week. I’m scribbling faster than ever. And pondering more.

Love, X