happy birthday to me

hello from a 41 year old. my birthday was last saturday and to celebrate i ordered a lot of indian food and my lady made me a cheesecake and i got lots of flowers from my friends because i’m an adult and apparently that’s what you send to adults when they have a not-exciting birthday! also emily got me a karaoke microphone to annoy my menagerie of pets with, and that was extremely thoughtful and will likely be the reason for my future murder. i fell down the stairs last night while taking out the trash, like ungracefully tumbled-down-the-icy-concrete-stairs-with-no-fucking-coat-on-and-broke-my-whole-body-as-it-slammed-into-the-ground fell down the fucking stairs, which is very scary when you are a rickety old crone, especially one who is playing soundgarden so loud in the house that no one can hear your cries for help. anyway...not a great omen!

books
i have a lot of books and, frankly, they’re eventually gonna get me divorced. not really??? but also maybe!!!!!!!!! i have too many freaking books and they’re piled on every flat surface in my raggedy little house and yes i get anxious every time i walk past a teetering tower of books i haven’t gotten to yet but also i will clearly die if i don’t buy every single forthcoming title on every singly most anticipated list?

i try not to make resolutions every new year because i don’t enjoy being mocked by my failures, but i do love the slate-clearing opportunity a brand new calendar year provides. my 2021 goal is to “stop buying shit,” because i’ve started to recognize in myself a bunch of behaviors that i’m sure are the product of unresolved trauma due to growing up in poverty (i did NOT go to therapist school) and i do not like how that feels.
here’s an example of how it manifests, ie please join me for an uncomfortable tour through one of my many mental illnesses: let’s say i order a new blush. HOORAY, RIGHT? my card is not declined, the blush arrives a week later, i open it, i try it on, it looks great. the color! the superior creaminess and blendability! this was an incredible purchase!!!! so i feel good about myself and my choices for a few minutes and then, almost immediately, i feel gripped by a two-pronged fear:
-what if they stop making this thing i just now decided i cannot live without? and
-i better get every color and style before some imaginary stranger beats me to it!!!
cut to: a week later when i get all of the colors and have no place to store them that’s not already full of the last thing i decided i couldn’t live without and now i’m stressed out anew because i don’t have anywhere to put anything.

i have spent the entire quarantine at home, surrounded by an ever-growing stash of what i like to call “low stakes pandemic presents”: books and nice pens and clip-on reading lights and nail polishes and candles; not the kind of shit that would, say, get the car repossessed over? but still, little things that add up and have no place to go other than tucked into already-stuffed desk drawers or hidden in the depths of the mud room closet. and it makes me feel weak and bad to be this way, to need trinkets from the back of a UPS truck drop-kicked to my doorstep to feel alive, and all the overpriced lil hand creams standing sentinel on my desk are like visual reminders that i am trying to fill an impossible hole deep inside.

i think sometimes i sit down to write this newsletter and i try to come up with cool and interesting things to say and then just sit at my computer circling the “does anyone care about this” drain, spiraling while also writing nothing, until i close my laptop and vow to try again another day. except today you get this. sorry it’s not that funny but REMEMBER HOW MY ENTIRE ASS IS PURPLE FROM FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS???? i’ll make more jokes next time!

do YOU need some things to read? here are links to all the books i’ve recently posted on instagram, which are obviously great:
sad janet lucie britsch
private citizens tony tulathimutte
milk blood heat dantiel w moniz
white magic elissa washuta
bunny mona awad
true story kate reed petty
in the land of men adrienne miller
black card chris l terry
grown ups marian keyes
your house will pay steph cha
bring me the head of quentin tarantino julian herbert
yolk mary hk choi
milk fed melissa broder
we had no rules corinne manning
100 boyfriends brontez purnell

snacks
i watched a zoom thing recently (either three days or three years ago, who even knows anymore) and someone asked the person zooming what snacks they like to eat while they work and they went on to list like...half a dozen homemade things?????? and i was like, “damn that’s refined” because pulling out a sauté pan to whip up a 3pm snack when there’s a fucking bag of sun chips from the store RIGHT FUCKING THERE is a concept i cannot wrap my brain around!

here are some things i like that you can get at the store to snack on, things that you will actually believe i consume because they are easy and fun and delicious:
-this one very specific blueberry trail mix from target is one of my faves because, now bear with me here, i don’t love chocolate/candy pieces in my trail mix? i just like a little bit of dried fruit and mostly nuts! and i don’t love raisins!!! anyway this shit is perfect if you are a finicky weirdo like me
-doritos poppin’ jalapeño chips (i can’t find these out here in the boonies anymore but if you see some snatch them up quick because they are the best)
-cracker barrel spicy cheese sticks
-i like to take a graham cracker, break it in half, and eat one side covered in extra crunchy peanut butter and one side plain and no it’s not just the one cracker let’s be serious, mate!
-red vines (please click that, it is fucking disgusting) because spending 20 minutes gnawing on a piece of unforgiving sweetened candle wax that is absolutely going to put holes in my teeth is the only way i can come up with good sentences
-diet coke (i mean, DUH)
-here’s a recipe for what i like to call “fancy adult triscuits”: rosemary and olive oil triscuits with gorgonzola smashed on top and a thin slice of red pear cut off the non-rotten side of a rapidly-spoiling
-PIZZA ALMONDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

softcore
i broke my new frivolous spending rule (see??? weak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and got myself some dumb shit for my birthday:
-i was feeling nostalgic and ordered a bart simpson laptop sleeve from baggu, feeling agonizingly tender for my 11-year-old self whose mother could not afford a “don’t have a cow man!” shirt like my friends were all wearing so i took markers and drew (poorly, i cannot stress to you how bad i am at drawing) bart’s face all over my mom’s old jc penney’s oversized denim purse i used as a school bag
-this grinder
-when we were in la working on shrill lindy’s very handsome assistant used to burn this grapefruit candle in his office and i love a scent memory so of course i got one and now the living room smells like fancy lysol
-this sweatshirt i’m gonna wear every single day until it falls apart
-my winter skin had been looking like pure shit and my beautiful friend jessie sent me a bottle of laneige cream skin and let me tell you: it is the truth. i am 41 and i have never in life had so much as a sip of water and yet? MY SKIN IS AS SMOOTH AS A ZYGOTE.

happy (belated, my apologies) new year! love u mean it, etc etc etc
sam