Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.
Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.
My mom and sister had been going for years, forever trying to convince me that you would not in fact die on the table, but I could not be persuaded. Surely there had to be the occasional slip. The slight miscalculation that went from a vertebrae adjustment to a full-on decapitation. Surely an experience that is centered around cracking your bones could not truly be enjoyable.
But alas, they kept going. And miraculously, they kept returning fully mobile, wholly satisfied and, you know, with heads.
So, I decided to give it a try.
If there was ever a benefit of having to wear masks everywhere we go, it was to hide the pure fear I felt as I was walked into the room. The chiropractor—who knew both my mom and my sister—had heard that I was nervous, so she tried her best to put me at ease, but I still sat wondering if this was the end. Wondering if in a few moments she’d pull my arm off or crank my neck so far to one side that I would scream as if I was being exorcised.
What I didn’t expect was that she’d point out something before we even started.
“Let’s talk about your posture,” she said, “It is pretty good in your shoulders but your head is too far forward.”
She demonstrated how my head poked out, most likely from leaning towards a computer screen at work. Oh my gosh, I thought, looking at her, is that what I look like all the time? I look like an upside down golf club. I look like a putter. I am a walking, talking, standing putter. I should be a staff. A skyscraper. A redwood. But I am a putter.
As the chiropractor got to work, feeling the tightness in my neck and shoulders, she explained that they were doing all they could to keep my head up. Poor neck and shoulders, I thought, humanizing them. The little engines that could. Or could barely. They were not being paid enough for this. Not to hold up this brainthat was obviously big and heavy and full of boundless knowledge. I can’t even imagine the kind of weight they’d been bearing all this time.
And so, we agreed—me and the chiropractor, me and my neck and shoulders, me and the fear that still whispered that if we were quick we could slip out the door and get a McFlurry instead—we agreed that we’d give this a go. So, we took a deep breath, and then the chiropractor began. She pulled and cracked and pushed and there were a couple of times when I glanced down at my fingers and toes and wiggled them *just in case* and then she told me to sit up. All in all, it is probably the most violent four minutes I’ve ever experienced. But it was definitely worth it.
I’ve been back a few times since then, and I now make a conscious effort to pull my head back during the day. Turns out, if anyone was trying to decapitate me, it was me. After that first appointment I imagined that if I’d never come in, maybe one day my head would have gotten too heavy and simply just fallen off. Ripped at the roots. Tumbling to the floor with all of that knowledge.
This obviously wouldn’t have happened, but more importantly it won’t happen because I faced my fears, went to the chiropractor and set out on a new life’s mission: to be a skyscraper, not a putter.
But sometimes it’s the small, hard things, the trivial things, that make a particular moment, morning, or even a whole day feel like a real personal attack.
For me, these are some of those things:
1) When you accidentally touch a button or a zipper on an article of clothing fresh out of the drier and feel as though a few layers of skin on your fingertips are fried off.
2) When you somehow only kick one of your toes into a table leg.
3) When you are told, “you look tired,” after getting up, getting dressed and going out to face the day.
4) When you arrive home only to realize you forgot the one thing you actually needed from the store.
5) When you bump your head on absolutely anything.
6) When you get stuck in traffic when you have to pee (or worse).
7) When you put your phone (or anything) on the charger when you go to sleep, only to wake up and realize you didn’t plug the charger in.
8) When you accidentally chew a pill you were supposed to swallow.
9) When you run out of things to say with someone you just met and end up just staring at each other with no way to escape and no memory of anything humans talk about.
10) When you step in a puddle…IN SOCKS.
11) When you drop something and then catch it with cat like reflexes, only to realize that no one saw it happen and that even if you told someone they would just give you a polite, “wow,” because that’s the best they can do, even though you know you deserve applause, ovations, and maybe even a contract with the NFL.
12) When you reach the point of chewing gum where it tastes like wet cardboard and then realize you have nothing or nowhere to spit it out.
13) When you take a big first sip of hot chocolate and burn your tongue, ruining both the hot chocolate and everything else you’ll eat and drink for the remainder of the day.
14) When you break something the day you bought it.
15) When you have a spotlight shine directly into the center of your eyeball, making it feel as though it pierced your brain.
16) When you get stabbed in the roof of your mouth by a tortilla chip.
17) When you are gifted a piece of clothing that you hate, but have to pretend you love it because you can tell by the look on the other person’s face that they really hope you love it, and then have to wear it once or twice afterward even though it makes you feel like a potato.
18) When you are carrying a bag or a purse on your shoulder and the strap gets hooked on a pole, car mirror, etc. and pulls you backwards so hard and unexpectedly that you fall down.
19) When you get into a car on a windy day and accidentally shut your hair in the door.
20) When you go to a restaurant solely to order that one thing, only to find out they took that one thing off the menu.
If you or any of your loved ones have been personally victimized by any of these moments, I am truly sorry. We will get through this.
Before we start, I just want to make sure you read the title of this post right, as there is a very important word missing if you are looking to improve your morning routine, balance your sleep pattern, or build healthy habits. Because yes, I am here to give advice on how to snooze your alarm, not how not to.
This is terrible advice, a terrible habit and an overall terrible way to start your morning, but I do it absolutely every day and see no signs of stopping, so, I figured if anyone wants to join me on this (mis)adventure I thought I’d give you some tips:
1) Set your alarm for at least 30 minutes before you absolutely must wake up. This gives you 30 minutes (or more if you’re feeling dangerous) to press snooze.
2) If your phone is your alarm clock, get a wireless charger. This prevents you from reaching to turn it off and accidentally pulling the cord out of the wall or the power strip, which could possibly make noise and fully wake you up—a nightmare.
3) Continually make empty promises to yourself that you’re going to stop pressing snooze, as this will make each time you do feel like you’re working towards something better “one day.”
4) When your alarm goes off, internally (or externally, should you want to risk that burst of energy) pout that you are required to wake up and convince yourself that you deserve to press snooze “just once.”
5) Always keep your eyes closed when pressing snooze, this prevents you from accidentally seeing any attention catching notifications on your phone, or the sun, which will likely be almost all the way up, letting you know that it is probably far past the time you should have gotten up.
6) Decide a random press of snooze is “your last one”, but keep your eyes closed and decide to give yourself a 30 second “countdown” in your head until you have to really get up.
7) Fall back asleep on second 15 every time.
8) Occasionally decide to “get up on time” and unlock your phone to scroll through your emails, but always always make sure you remain lying down. Sitting up will guarantee a natural wake up pattern and ultimately derail your entire plan.
9) On particularly late mornings, tell stories that no one around you believes anymore about you “never hearing your alarm”, or you feeling “so confused by how it got so late so fast”, even though you’re well aware you woke up with your phone in your hand under your pillow.
10) Once you have reached “crunch time” and slowly open your eyes, knowing your phone will reveal a time that requires you to get ready with particular haste, audibly gasp in shock, and then blame the late hour you went to bed, so as to avoid taking any responsibility first thing in the morning.
11) Every once in a while, forget to turn your alarm off on the weekends, so you can press snooze with power, authority, and misplaced entitlement that validates this entire process and ensures you continue.
Postseason baseball is in full swing (pun intended), and in my family that means there is a lot of pacing, a lot of swearing, and a lot of yelling that makes our dog hide under the table.
And since I can’t invite you over to watch baseball with us because playoff sports are a borderline intimate experience that not everyone can (or should) experience together, I thought I’d give an inside look (and listen) at the goings on inside our house when our favorite team is in pursuit of a championship.
At the start of the game we all choose a seat, and though it’s unspoken, it’s a well-known rule that these are our seats for the rest of the game—no matter how long it may last.
Rally caps are a must when we need to score runs. Generally this means turning our Dodger hats backwards, but depending on the need or the overall intensity of the game, creativity with and interpretation of “rally cap” may reach unexplored territory.
“Nervous pee” is a thing, as is “lucky pee” and “unlucky pee” and it is up to the owner of the bladder in question to determine what decision can most benefit the team.
This is a full family effort, and often builds into full fledged bullying, which I only condone because it takes place inside the walls of our house, never to be repeated…until the next game, upon which we only build off our ruthless ~creativity~ and whittle you down to your very bones.
When our boys are performing poorly, it is not uncommon for us to begin trash talking them in our best not mad but disappointed, or at times not disappointed but furious tones of voice, because it is important for us groaning couch blobs to let the elite athletes competing at the highest level know they could try harder. And honestly I think they would agree.
This is mostly my mom and I. While brutally loyal to our team, if you put an underdog, a comeback story, or just a kind humble man in front of us, a small part of our heart will melt and we will mumble good luck to them—not in this moment or this game, but in the future, far away from us and our championship, where we hope they will thrive and be happy.
Endless jabbering, clapping and apologizing to the dog
At a certain point encouraging anecdotes like “let’s go” or “you got this” become as easy and mindless as breathing. If given a nickel for every time one of us mumbled a cheer to ourselves, the room, or to a player by their first name, we might be able to buy season tickets for life.
Our dog, Meeka, is not a fan of yelling or even minor bursts of enthusiasm that aren’t directed towards her, so there is a good portion of time dedicated to calling her over to apologize for all the screaming—only to scream again a few minutes later. As a result, she usually spends games under the table or outside barking at passing dogs, probably saying things like, “my family is crazy!” or “please take me with you on your walk, baseball is on again!” or maybe “Go Dodgers! All other teams are inferior!!”
No matter what, every game is an emotional nightmare journey, one which I’m sure will turn us all grey before our time—but I love every minute of it.
While it may seem obvious to even the most distant of onlooker, and while I should be well versed and well informed as I have lived with this knowledge my entire life, sometimes I still forget that I am a pale, pale white girl. And even on days when I am reminded of this, say, when I step into a bathing suit and the whitest parts my body squint at the daylight they don’t usually see, I still manage to forget that my skin is to the sun what a peace of bread is to a toaster: ready to get burned.
But alas, the sun is always there to set me straight. It is always there to cook me to the perfect pink of a medium rare steak, leaving me feeling the way I feel when I eat a perfectly pink steak too fast, and with too big a helping of mashed potatoes on the side: sad and regretful.
So as I sit here today, in the last stages of healing from a weekend sunburn, still diligently applying aloe vera, and patiently waiting for the itching phase of healing to pass, I thought I’d write some thank you notes a la Jimmy Fallon, to the sun, to my sunburn, and to keep my hands busy so I don’t physically scratch my skin off.
I’ll keep my oven mitts close just in case.
Cue the piano, James.
Thank you, Mr. Sun,
For teaching me what it feels like to be slow cooked. I can now empathize with everything I’ve ever put in a crock-pot.
Thank you, SPF,
For undoubtedly standing for Sun’ll Probably still Fry you.
Thank you, Google,
For teaching me that the itching phase of a sunburn is called “hell’s itch”, making anything I was going to call it seem way less dramatic.
Thank you, skin,
For always burning and then peeling and then going back immediately to pale. It has always been my worst nightmare to feel like a bronzed beach goddess, so I appreciate you keeping me from that misery.
There are some vacations that sit you in front of your suitcase each morning, agonizing over what to wear, wondering how fashionable you should go, how formal, how casual, how comfortable, how functional, whether you should bring a jacket, or an umbrella, or an extra pair of shoes. But my favorite part about a vacation that centers around nature, hiking, fishing, and just being outside, is that your outfit just has to go, and by that I mean it just has to move with you wherever you might go and support you in whatever you might do—including keeping you out of jail for indecent exposure. So when I woke up Saturday morning knowing I was headed into another day of adventuring, I slipped into another pair of leggings and a t-shirt, along with some tennis shoes, and I was ready to go.
Just after 9:30 a.m., we walked in the door of a gas station in Kamas, to try their infamously delicious donuts. I picked out a sprinkle donut, and Natalee chose some sort of twist that was as big as her arm—because obviously.
Then we carried on to Mill Hollow to fish, where I took exactly three pictures, the last three pictures I would take the entire trip. (This still bums me out, but it also makes sense when you hear the rest.)
We fished for a couple hours, only managing to catch a couple, but the time went quick as we took in the lake and watched families enjoy their afternoons swimming, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Around 12:00 p.m. we made the drive back home, where we planned to eat some lunch, rally, and make the most of our afternoon before we had to get back and get ready for our dinner reservation.
Thus, over some countertop sandwiches, we made this plan:
We would rent e-bikes from a park down the street, take the bike path downtown, and then walk around the shops for a little while.
I’d love to have pictures that accompany this plan and its unfolding, but I never took my phone out of my purse, because a) I was “being in the moment” and “looking at the scenery,” and (more accurately) b) I am a level 0 bike rider who was not prepared for the kick of an e-bike, thus I “rode” the bike path in the way a baby giraffe might walk. I wobbled, I panicked, I spoke to the bike as if it were a person who might understand commands like “slow down”, and at one point, when a bump approached, my foot slipped off the pedal and it jammed into the back of my leg, which birthed a bruise I am still sporting two weeks later.
So it’s safe to say I won’t be signing up for the Tour de France any time soon.
But you gotta love a bike that does the work for you when you’re going uphill in high elevation. And in the end, we made it to town and were able to walk around and check out some awesome shops and boutiques, including Create Park City, which is a collection of work from local artists that I would highly recommend checking out if you’re ever in the area!
We then headed back to take some quick showers and head to Silver Star for dinner, where I ate my first ever elk burger, and drank two glasses of red wine, which eased the sting of the trip almost coming to a close, and made me forget about the bruise on my leg, which by morning would look like a dragon egg.
August 23, 2020
On our final morning in Utah, I woke up to the familiar sun shining on my now familiar pillow under my now familiar blanket. It was all as it should be and had been for the last four days—though there was something else in the air too.
Sorry, I should have eased us into that. I should have said, the sweet aroma of French toast being cooked downstairs for breakfast, or the ache of missing this trip and these people before we’d even left. But while those both hung in the air as well, sweetly and neatly, there was also fear.
Our plan for the day was to float the Weber River and I. Was. Terrified.
You see, similar to my skill level of riding bikes, my confidence level in water is low. Can I swim? Yes. Can I tread water if my life depends on it? Yes. Can I sit in a slow moving tube and confidently navigate small rapids without immediately assuming I’m on the verge of drowning? No.
And I have no good reason why.
I have no previous trauma involving water, especially not with a tube involved, but I have always been someone who just does better on land. If I go to the beach, I read on a towel in the sand. If I go to a pool, I wade in the shallow end. I like being on solid ground. So sitting in a tube with my legs up, unable to touch the ground, immediately sends off warning signs for me. Thus, what looks like a minor rapid to most, looks like a slide into the pits of doom to me.
I laughed out loud writing that. Both because it’s ridiculous and because it’s true.
There were about 10 of us in our group, and after we arrived at the entry point to the Weber River, we each put our tube in the water and tried to acclimate our legs to the temperature of the river. Then, on the count of three, we hopped into our tubes and started our float. And because water is a mischievous monster who can sense fear, my tube somehow caught a current that immediately sent me about a football field length ahead of everyone else.
So there I was. Alone. Floating. Shivering. Wondering if I had everything in order back home in case I drowned. I made friends with a man who was leisurely floating the river with his girlfriend, both of whom thought I was some bold, independent woman, when I was in fact a terrified baby who was gripping onto her tube as if it was my only source of oxygen.
Luckily, eventually, the group caught up to me, and when they did I gripped so hard onto the arm of a boy I’d just met earlier that day, that it had to look (and feel, I imagine) like I was trying to absorb some of his calm demeanor through my forearm a la the science of Space Jam.
In the two hours or so we floated the river, I never ended up falling out of my tube, which I consider a success, both for me and for anyone who might have had to witness me panicking as if I were being dragged underneath the rapids by Poseidon himself rather than just being bumped out of an inner tube in hip deep water. And while I can’t say I particularly loved the experience, as it just isn’t my thing, I was proud of myself for doing it. I’m also thankful for the random woman who applauded me at the finish, and for the hug I received from our friend Kelly. Both solidified the pride I felt and the assumption I had that my fear was as easy to read as my pale, white legs were easy to spot.
On the drive home, we stopped for burgers and fries, and then it was a quick shower and drive to the airport so that we could make our flight home. Sitting in the terminal, with damp hair, a bag of gummy worms I was eating underneath my mask, and a sweatshirt I’d just impulse bought in the gift shop sitting in my lap, I let the trip wash over me. While it had gone fast, I felt like we’d made the most of each day, which in turn made the trip feel long—in a good way. It had felt like a true breakaway from everything and it was hard to reconcile going back.
But now, even after being home for over two weeks, I can still look at the picture of our fishing spot and remember the peace and the space and I can reconnect to that moment of just relaxing and thinking about the good things the future might hold. And while I’m already ready for our next adventure, I don’t think I’ll forget this one anytime soon—both emotionally and physically, as I still have that bruise on my leg, and a bruise on both butt cheeks that a few sneaky rocks in the river gave me as souvenirs. #survivor.
If I’m being honest, I truly thought I was “getting better” at not hoarding internet windows on my phone. I don’t know what gave me this impression—aside from perhaps blind optimism—but when I lost an internet window I was looking at because it got shuffled into the 67 other open windows, it was clear that I was mistaken.
Here are some notable searches from this round of hoarding:
1) How many currencies are there in circulation?
Why I Googled this: Sometimes questions just pop into your head for no reason and you have to know the answer—which in this case is 180.
2) How many earthquakes happen every day?
Why I Googled this: My family has felt way more earthquakes than usual over the last few months and we weren’t sure if this is because more are happening or if quarantine’s sedentary nature has simply made us more aware of them. As a result, both my mom and sister have download earthquake tracking apps, and consistently update me on what’s happening in Southern California and around the world. It should also be noted that my sister seems to have developed what I have started referring to as “quake-sense,” as she can seemingly feel an every earthquake, no matter how small it is. So I guess if 2020 brought us anything, it’s a sixth sense for my sister.
3) Canceled or cancelled?
Why I Googled this: While driving one day I saw a sign stating that an upcoming concert had been canceled, but canceled was spelled “cancelled”, and I made a passing comment about the editor’s clear lack of spellcheck. But then when I started to think about it, both seemed correct, and when I did a Google search, I found that both are correct. Apparently “canceled” is more common in American English while “cancelled” is more common in British English. While typing this, I honestly can’t decide which one looks more correct and I honestly have no idea how I’ve written it for my entire American life, especially when “cancellation” has two L’s. So excuse me while I have a minor identity crisis.
4) Birds in clothes
Why I Googled this: It was late. A couple friends and I were talking about my sister’s fear of birds and the question came up of whether birds would be more or less scary in clothes. You can decide for yourself:
5) Knock you naked brownies
Why I Googled this: Because once you hear about this recipe in passing, you have to find out what all the fuss is about. In my case, I just copied the link and politely sent it to my sister because she is the baker in the family. And while I can truthfully say that I did remain clothed while consuming these brownies, they were in fact delicious.
Why I Googled this: After weeks of refusing to watch the widely talked about documentary Tiger King, my sister and I eventually gave in. Shortly after we finished, I came across this meme, which not only called on one of my favorite SNL characters of all time, but gave a hilariously accurate summary of the chaos we had just witnessed.
7) Which “character” are you personality quiz
Why I Googled this: My sister heard about this quiz that compares your personality to characters found in popular movies and television shows and then gives you your closest match. Obviously, I had to know.
Why I Googled this: While on a zoom call, my cousin told me a story that included this phrase, which she used as a hybrid of “making something up” and “talking shit.” I immediately flinched and asked her to repeat it because 1) I was 99% sure this wasn’t a phrase and 2) if it was a phrase, I wanted to get on board. As of now, the internet claims it doesn’t exist, though everything has to start somewhere.
9) Rocking chair
Why I Googled this: I have absolutely no idea. Did I want a rocking chair? Was I curious of how much they cost? Had I temporarily forgot what a rocking chair was? The world may never know.
Why I Googled this: My sister and I have recently gotten into a British cooking show on Netflix called “The Big Family Cookoff,” and sometimes the judges make comments regarding the dishes using words we’ve never heard before. “Stodgy” is defined as “heavy, filling and high in carbohydrates”—or what I would probably describe as “dense.”
11) Hummingbird mating ritual
Why I Googled this: My mom had mentioned to me that a hummingbird kept showing up in the backyard and flying in these big, sweeping patterns and so we took to Google to figure out why. According to this article, when courting a female, a male hummingbird will do “insane aerial moves to show her how strong, controlled, and just general fantastic he is.” So, go off, Mr. Hummingbird. Get your girl.
12) Would You Rather questions
Why I Googled this: It’s summer now, which means (at least in my family) there will be a lot of barbecuing in the backyard while talking, drinking and watching the sun go down. And sometimes it’s fun to throw curveballs into the conversation. One night I scrolled through this list of questions and my family and I spoke animatedly about how we would answer them. Our favorite (and most dividing) question: Would you rather find your true love or a suitcase with five million dollars inside?
13) How to water a prayer plant?
Why I Googled this: My dad gifted me a prayer plant a few months back and I have been desperately trying to keep it alive. Though, if you read this post from a few weeks back, you’ll know this is not necessarily my specialty. Nonetheless, I’m trying my best.
14) Trapper Keeper
Why I Googled this: Some friends and I were talking about school supplies and someone mentioned having a “trapper keeper.” The name didn’t sound familiar and instead sent me on a tangent thinking about “tracker jackers,” which are genetically engineered wasps mentioned in the Hunger Games trilogy. Upon seeing pictures, I realized I did know what they were, however, I had no idea that is what they are called.
Why I Googled this: Because nothing makes you want to travel more than being temporarily banned from traveling. And because the pictures are pretty and when I close my eyes I can almost pretend I’m there instead of at work.
And just like that, all my internet windows were closed again.
Until next time.
Because let’s be honest there will probably always be a next time.
You can read the previous episode of this series here.
My sister works hard. She has a tough job that keeps her mind (and schedule) constantly busy and so when her workday comes to an end, it’s no surprise that she looks for ways to decompress. Sometimes this comes in the form of an early bedtime, sometimes it’s exercise, sometimes it’s dinner with friends, and sometimes it’s Animal Crossing.
Having played the game when it first came out on the Nintendo Game Cube in 2001, she was excited when the new version for the Nintendo Switch came out earlier this year, and bought it on a whim while we were out on one of our very first quarantine shopping trips.
Personally, I don’t play the game and so my understanding is based solely on what she tells me. Thus, in the time I’ve spent sitting in the living room watching TV while she plays Animal Crossing in the chair next to me, I have heard plenty of out of context comments that, while I have no doubt make sense to her and other players of the game, tend to sound a little strange to those of us who remain uneducated in the *island* life.
Here are some of my favorite things I’ve heard her say:
How much is this antique chest? Ugh, it’s 20,000? I only have 80,000 left because I spent all my money on turnips.
I feel like there’s a trick to catching sharks that I don’t know.
Damnit! I got stung by bees again.
I dug up all my money trees today.
*talking to our friend Kristine on the phone who was also playing Animal Crossing*
Kristine: Would you like a piano, a guitar, or a keyboard?
Natalee: I’ll take any of those instruments because I’m trying to create an instrument land.
Should I give my sea things to back to the beaver or sell them to Tom Nook?
I’m just shooting down balloons with presents.
I love that you can change clothes in the refrigerator.
I need another retro chair to complete my kitchen.
*gasps* I’VE FALLEN IN A HOLE!
Me (while Natalee showed me the house she’s built in the game): What are those things hanging on the walls?
Natalee: All of my awards.
How do I make my mailbox cuter?
This green goat really isn’t that nice. I tried to make him leave by giving him a trash wall that I built, but all he said was, “not sure what I’ll do with this.” I hate him.
I made a new summer wreath for my door.
Somebody gave me a karate outfit today. It wasn’t very flattering.
Has anyone seen where I put my scuba mask?
Hold on a second, I have to take my fossils to the museum.