hell yeah it's spooky season

my friend lena posted this meme and i was like “bitch how did you get this picture of my fall vibe????” and yes, this is me in my natural autumnal habitat.
scented candles: my recent faves are from ds & durga: concrete after lightning which somehow really does smell like the pavement after a thunderstorm???? and big sur after rain which smells like wet flowers but not gross. do these candles cost too much? probably! they’re my treat candles, you know, for when i’m trying to feel sophisticated. i burn incense for general poop or animal stinks, come on now. these candles are only for when i’m feeling bougie and pretending i like abstract jazz and drinking hot tea.
hot foods: umm i am about to make the shit out of this smitten kitchen recipe for skillet turkey chili??????? why is deb so good at knowing exactly what i want to eat 100% of the time?? also my friend emily has a newsletter called eat well enough that is full of recipes like “corn chowder that isn’t gloppy.” also, she’s a damn poet, so everything is beautifully written, too??????? gross!
naps: i don’t nap but i do like to be nap-adjacent (lying extremely still while staring at a wall while buried under an electric blanket), so maybe one day i’ll graduate to being a fancy nap lady and this is what i’ll wear during my afternoon siesta.
elena ferrante: okay so i haven’t read any elena ferrante even though everyone i know has been screaming at me about the neapolitan novels for literal years, BUT: i will put her new book on hold at the library and read it if for no other reason than to keep pretending i am this bear.
edibles: *in my carlos santana voice* “sativa, sativa...she reminds me of a west side story...”
misting my plants: i’m not the designated plant waterer in this house and that’s fine, but i have been considering ordering an herb garden so i can feel like oprah snipping my wholesome fresh rosemary that i grew myself while making dinner.
soft clothes: the instagram algorithm obviously knows me at a cellular level and has been spamming me with ads for something called a “soft serve hoodie” and i have scrolled past them for months but it is 48 degrees today and my resistance is weakening so i’m definitely gonna keep the tab on this kitten soft sweatshirt i don’t need open for the next two weeks minimum.

fyi i’m sure y’all already know but none of this shit is sponsored, a toilet person such as myself cannot convince anyone to pay me to endorse a single goddamn thing, nor do i want to! please know that i will die penniless, surrounded by a dust-gathering pile of impulse purchases i don’t remember having ordered!

books
thursday october 29 i am going to be in conversation with bryan washington about his new book memorial with books are magic for which you can register here, and friday october 30 my BFF lindy west and i are gonna talk about how the fugitive is the only good movie (among other things) for her new book shit actually with women & children first, and you can sign up to watch us talk shit here. so technically i need to read those books so i don’t look like a fool during those events, but as soon as i’m done i’m gonna spend the rest of the fall reading all these spooky books:

tiny nightmares edited by lincoln michel and nadxieli nieto
hench by natalie zina walschots
mexican gothic by silvia moreno-garcia
a guide for murdered children by sarah sparrow

boys of alabama by genevieve hudson
the unsuitable by molly pohlig
afterland by lauren beukes
hex by rebecca dinerstein knight
head full of ghosts by paul tremblay

i’m also gonna try to watch some scary movies even though i don’t like them, starting with the rental because it looks scary but not gory bloody monster scary, which is where i draw the line!

snacks
okay in addition to spooky season it’s also cozy season and to me cozy season = soup and stew and casserole season (although i will make a fucking casserole in any weather, idc idc idc) and tonight i’m making this cheddar broccoli soup that i love and i am gonna write this from my holey memory so if it sucks??? blame weed!
ingredients, if you want to make a lot of soup:
two bags of frozen broccoli florets
a block of sharp cheddar cheese that you grate yourself (i know i know)
extra pre-grated bag cheese (i’ll explain my bonkers reasons for this later)
a small yellow onion
minced garlic from a jar
a box of vegetable broth
two pints of cream
a bag of shredded/matchstick carrots
a stick of butter
four tablespoons of flour
salt + pepper
mustard powder
smoked paprika
cayenne pepper

1 first thing i did was grate the cheddar and set it aside, then dumped the broccoli in a colander and rinsed it and left it in the sink while i diced the onion and chopped the carrots into spoon-sized pieces. nothing sucks more than eating soup with long shit that falls off the spoon and splashes hot liquid into your face.
2 put the onion and a few teaspoons of minced garlic into a small saucepan with a little butter and cook it down for a few minutes, until it’s translucent and smells edible. take it off the heat and set it aside.
3 ok it’s time to make a roux: put your 4 tbsp of flour in a little bowl and shake in some mustard powder, paprika, and cayenne. were there measurements for these things in the original recipe?? i’m sure there were! but i’m not measuring an eighth of a teaspoon or whatever, that’s boring. so i just do some small shakes and adjust it later, who cares. take a fork and mix the spices in the flour, melt half a stick of butter in a dutch oven, then dump the flour in and whisk whisk whisk until it’s a thick paste.
4 once it’s kind of sludge-y, add your cream in a bit at a time while whisking whisking whisking, then do the same with the entire box of broth because wtf am i gonna do with a little 1/4 cup of leftover broth or whatever. i know it sounds like a lot of upper arm work for a lazy person but i promise it’s not that bad. if i did it so can you, for real.
5 add the cheese you grated a clump at a time, and i’m sure there’s a scientific article you can read that explains why grated cheese you buy in a bag doesn’t melt well but i’m not a fucking chemist so you’ll just have to trust what i say. stir between clumps to make sure it’s melting nicely.
6 at this point you’ve probably got a decent-looking soup? add salt and pepper then taste it and add more if it’s bland, and you can also add more shakes of the other spices, too. just be careful with the cayenne, it’s only there to add “depth,” not to make it spicy, although if you want it spicy you should add in a bunch i guess!
7 finally chop up the thawed broccoli (no joke, i used these bags of frozen broccoli from aldi and it was basically three fist-sized boulders so i chopped it up because i hate awkwardly large floaties in my soup) and dump it in along with the carrots then bring the whole thing to a simmer and eat when you feel like it’s done.

alright alright i know that no one hears “snacks” and thinks “soup,” so my actual snacky snack rec is utz dark russet kettle chips, which i saw alison roman post about in her story as the best chips on earth and immediately ordered a few bags (why don’t i live in a city with fancy grocery stores!) and they are, without question, the most delicious.

softcore
last weekend i was like “i’m gonna watch a few movies” because, while i have a bottomless capacity for dumb tv shows, the idea of committing two hours of my life to a movie i’ve never seen before? on my home couch?? without the aid of $42 buttered popcorn scooped into a slop bucket for me by a disaffected youth??? feels like a mountain i don’t wanna climb! last weekend i watched a few good men, like, seven times????? anyway, enough about my weird attachments, my friend radha blank made a movie called the forty year old version and it just came out on netflix and if you haven’t watched it already what the fuck are you DOING. it is a perfect movie. here is the trailer if you need further proof that it rules but, you know, just trust me it’s amazing.

fargo is back! fargo is back!! fargo is back!!!!!!!!!!!! season 1 was my jam because it was so fucking good and also i would follow allison tolman into an active volcano, season 2 was also good as hell and featured both patrick wilson’s and bokeem woodbine’s fine asses, season 3 i somehow forgot about until a couple weeks ago when i gulped it down in one deliriously happy sitting, and now season 4 is upon us and it fucking rips and i always forget how much i love chris rock as a dramatic actor but i shouldn’t because he’s dope!

if you are an LGBTQ+ writer who is looking for guidance re: agents and the publishing process, my agent kent wolf (who is really fucking great) is doing a zoom workshop through lambda and you can read about it/register for it here.

my spooky lady turned 167 years old a few days ago and in honor of her birth i texted my friend jessie “hey can you do me a favor and check facebook to confirm that it’s actually october 9 please?????” then scrambled to order a bunch of shit to make it look like i had planned in advance rather than sweating and crying two days before trying to figure out how to make a birthday special in a pandemic when i haven’t left the house since march.
anyway i got her this cake from ovenly that is truly the most perfect most beautiful most delicious cake i have ever eaten partially frozen from a fed ex box left upside down on my porch, and these gorgeous witchy-ass flowers that make me feel like i should be stirring a cauldron every time i walk past them. i also got her the desus and mero book because we have been fans since the youtube complex days and once upon a time we went to see their show in detroit and she cried like a baby while posing for a photo with them????? absolutely off the charts batshit fangirl energy!

one of my absolute favorite favorite favorite writers, luke o’neil, asked me to contribute to this series he was putting together about the last normal day before quarantine for his newsletter welcome to hell world (subscribe! he is so fucking great!) and if you wanna read about me having an emotional breakdown at a truck stop over corndogs (a very me thing to happen) then you can do so by clicking this link.

have you read lauren michele jackson’s incredible new yorker article about dolly parton yet?? if not, why not????????? it’s so good! also i am obsessed with this atlantic article about ivy league sports. and sohla’s new cooking show.

damn this is long as hell. anyway, happy eating all the miniature candy you bought for trick or treaters season!!