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BY Jodi

12/01 Direct Link
"Hello, and welcome!"

Who said that? Alexa? An apple? The Tupperware pitcher of Crystal Light? A half-used, perhaps crusted-over plastic bottle of Dijon?

I step back from the open refrigerator.

"Um. Hello?" I say.

"I hope you're having a nice day!"

"Who's speaking?" I say.

A chuckle. Then, "The light bulb."

I look up toward the ceiling.

"No, here in the refrigerator. You never think about me, do you?"

I admit I don't and instantly feel like a heel.

"I see you drinking straight from the chocolate almond milk container, you know," the bulb says. "And I think it's cute."
12/02 Direct Link
I have a "rule" that I won't eat before noon. I don't know why I have this rule, but it may have something to do with some celebrity I don't even like (Gwyneth Paltrow?) claiming she never eats before noon. And even though I roll my eyes when people are influenced by celebrities, here I am, stomach growling before the appointed time, eyeing the clock with resentment, thinking, "No, not yet. Gwyneth {or whoever) is holding off and so are you." But does this celebrity wake up at 4:30 in the morning and thus wait 7-1/2 hours before eating? Unlikely.
12/03 Direct Link
Everyone is entitled to a "junk drawer", as junky and jangled and jumbled as they like, jam-packed with odd keys, errant screws, empty tape dispensers, dirty rubber bands, other whatnot, and bits of wrapping paper too small to wrap anything but an odd key or errant screw. I, however, have two in the kitchen, a few others scattered throughout the apartment and some, while not technically drawers, performing the same function even though they're zippered canvas boxes under the bed or plastic trash bags in the back of a closet. This isn't charming in the least but anxiety-producing at most.
12/04 Direct Link
My big goal is to do away with the "bag of bags" under the kitchen sink. Or, I should say, the two "bags of bags" under the kitchen sink. One bag is plastic, the other paper, both containing bags for reuse for disposing of kitty litter, both of which seem to keep regenerating like the legs of a seven-legged starfish with no end of depletion in sight. Will I miss the bags of bags when they're gone, though? Will I miss that part of me that's a Bubby who grew up in the Depression Era? I'm such an old bag.
12/05 Direct Link
There's really no need to be a dick about it and renounce your microwave, to bring a used napkin into a theater because you have yet to come across a recycling receptacle, to raise your eyebrow when someone orders coffee with sugar when you're ordering your twig tea plain without any adornment except for the blessing of a chaste yogi. Do your thing and do it quietly. Do what you can without intrusion and announcement. And lose the notion that you're better than someone else because you only cook over an open flame or you only eat raw food. Please.
12/06 Direct Link
I don't need more additions to my wardrobe although of course I want it. I have to keep reminding myself, often aloud, that there's always going to be another vintage dress I covet, another coat, another handbag, shoes. Another pair of gloves. A scarf. Maybe one day a hat. I have to tell myself I can't have everything I want, that I already have so much of what I want.

I will now put the wardrobe to good use by taking its items out for more spins to theater, on trips, and more. I don't have enough of that yet.
12/07 Direct Link
Cavender Balderdash does not want you calling him "Cavvy B". He won't respond to "C to the B to the Alderdash". He won't acknowledge "CB". He insists you avail yourself of all six syllables. He would prefer his name prefaced with "Mister" but realizes times have changed and people nowadays refuse to call anyone by a proper name to begin with rather than "Yo", "Dude" or "My man".

I address him as "Mr. Balderdash" because we're not close enough for me to use his first name. This delights him. "One day maybe I'll let you call me Cav," he says.
12/08 Direct Link
If sent to live on a desert island forever and only able to bring one item, Drew would take a backscratcher.

"I would want people to know that I'm the kind of guy who can afford that kind of luxury, who could be frivolous. And that I have a wacky sense of humor."

But you'd be on the island by yourself, I remind him. The palm trees and whatever else is on a desert island wouldn't know the difference.

"But I would," he says.

For about 12 seconds I try to convince myself he's really deep. Of course I fail.
12/09 Direct Link
Making chocolate chip waffles is my way of baking and eating chocolate chip cookies without actually doing so. They're my way of finding another mode by which to transport chocolate chips to my mouth rather than just shaken from the bag into my palm and then slapped into my mouth or shaken directly into my mouth without the benefit, bother, and tiresome effort of the middle-man hand. Or dropped into a tall glass of iced coffee, scooped from the bottom with a clanging long spoon when the coffee is gone. Or sprinkled on salads. (I've never done the last two.)
12/10 Direct Link
The culture of "happiness" is jive bullshit. The rabid pursuit of this happiness is maddening, contrived, and unseemly. This is not to say people should wallow in sadness. But when it hits you over the head like a cartoon anvil or safe dropped from above by a giggling coyote and you cry out in pain, or when it nudges you like a whisper and you gasp in shock, fuck putting on a so-called happy face. Let it happen. Indulge. I'd rather someone be real in a moment (or ten) of sadness and grief than falsely and "bravely" smile through it.
12/11 Direct Link
Gentleman's Agreement, 1949. Gorgeous, dashing, elegant young Gregory Peck, in NYC for a journalism assignment, decides to present himself to the world as Jewish to see how he's treated, finds out people are horrible, including the unworthy and not even that great-looking rich girl he falls in love with immediately upon meeting for no inexplicable reason. I'm thrilled when they part ways. Somehow, though, she comes to see how awful she is and he dashes back to her apartment, where they embrace at THE END. Feh. He should have wound up with Celeste Holm, spunky and cool from the get-go.
12/12 Direct Link
She is That Lady at the theater by herself, dressed for a night on the town, among people who don't dress for a night anywhere, on the town in general or to the theater in particular. She is the one who deliberated over the many choices available in her bulging closet and eschewed all-black ensembles because that's the go-to getup for many others. She is That Lady with a pocketbook in the crook of her elbow, handing the ticket-taker her ticket with what she hopes is a warm smile. I have always wanted to be That Lady. Now I am.
12/13 Direct Link
Eight years ago and I still remember hating you for the snoring. Hating you for depriving me of my sleep in your apartment that you didn't even bother "picking up" on the chance that we'd go back there after the crappy dinner we had at some nearby chain restaurant in New Jersey where you sat on the same side of the booth as I did and I cringed because this was a second date and that seemed too intimate even though later we'd be closer in other ways and I'd be wishing, later, we'd just stuck to proximity of seating.
12/14 Direct Link
I like Amy Schumer when she's acting like a gigantic self-conscious dope in movies like "I Feel Pretty". I do not like Amy Schumer when she's dressed in tight black plastic-like clothing, overusing "vagina" and sharing information about her sex life on stage.

The jury is out on the version of me, however, who sprawls on her sofa in a darkened room, getting all misty at the improbable, eyeroll-worthy climax (ew) of "I Feel Pretty". I'm pretty sure I'm not a big fan of that me. That me needs to get a grip and get the fuck outta the house.
12/15 Direct Link
Square Diner, you're either going to have to do better with your veggie burger, or I'm going to have to just skip it next time and substitute onion rings for the burger and make that "deluxe" by adding an order of fries, so I have an incredibly healthy heap of fried sides in front of me and don't have to pretend to be satisfied. This way I don't have to feel cheated because I didn't tack on an order of onion rings to the veggie burger deluxe and I can have what I really wanted in the first place. Win/win!
12/16 Direct Link
In two days, I've watched the entire first season of "Rhoda" plus seven episodes of the second, for a staggering grand total of 32 episodes. I'm tickled not only that the episodes are available on YouTube, and without commercials, but that I can watch them on my TV and not just at the computer. I have no idea why it's taken me 44 years to watch the show since it's so much of everything I like. It's doing nothing to make me happy to exist in 2018 and not 1974, except for the technology that allows me to watch it.
12/17 Direct Link
I am so out of sorts I don't even know what to do. I flop down onto the sofa as if I don't have bones or muscle or the wherewithal or ability to lower myself onto it with anything resembling grace, and stare without blinking, straight ahead without even seeing anything until I focus on my bare feet and considering them alien not just to the species in general but my body in particular, thinking them preternaturally huge and misshapen, neither of which they truly are. I try jostling myself out of it, but fail, and so succumb fully, unwillingly.
12/18 Direct Link
Does anyone have any sorts? I've been out since June 25, when my best friend left this world. Donations would be appreciated. Don't ask if they'd be tax-deductible. He, a tax lawyer, would've known that.

Christmas marks six months since he's been gone. Reality strikes me like accidentally catching a glimpse of oneself in a magnifying mirror, with all the attendant gasping horror, and I want someone else's glasses to appear on my face so I can retreat behind the blur, even if it means I can't see crumbs on the kitchen counter or the permanent sadness in my eyes.
12/19 Direct Link
You don't enter the relationship thinking, oh, he's so much older than I am, so what happens down the line, if indeed there is a "down the line"? You aren't obnoxious or cocky enough to think that just because a generation separates you, you're going to outlive him, that you won't contract some dread terminal disease or get mowed down by a tractor-trailer or trip and fall onto an upright machete or accidentally find yourself in front of a firing squad. No. You think "I'm 35 and he's 61, and as much as I adore him, will this even last?"
12/20 Direct Link
(Continued)

But what if it does last, and you're together enough years for you to finally feel like an adult? Then when he leaves this world, you'll be better equipped to handle it. He's in quite good health, so you'll be at least the age he is now when that happens, an age when you're unquestionably an adult.

So it does last. And although you're not 61 when The Worst happens, you're a handful of years away, you're nowhere near equipped. It's nothing like you imagined it would be in those moments you'd allowed yourself to obliquely think about it.
12/21 Direct Link
Two for the Road. Handsome Albert Finney, gorgeous Audrey Hepburn, in various stages of love in a variety of nifty '50s and '60s cars. I endured the tiresome sniping at each other in order to drool over Ms. Hepburn's wardrobe, from high-waisted jeans, simple red turtleneck, and skippy sneakers (not my favorite, but she still looked adorable) to a super shiny black vinyl pantsuit in which she sulks as she walks roadside after getting into yet another fight with her husband. (Oh, and little Ruthie, the child of an ex-girlfriend of Mr. Finney? Brat should be spanked clear into 1972.)
12/22 Direct Link
Sometime before my age was in the double digits, I wrote to thick little TV Guide complaining about how the violence in "The Three Stooges" sent a horrible message to kids. I wish I'd made a copy of the letter or that TV Guide had published it so I could frame it and hang it in my apartment.

My brother, two years older, told me I was being an old lady. He, of course, as a boy, found the Stooges hilarious. I think more than the violence, I was peeved because I didn't get why anyone would find them funny.
12/23 Direct Link
I went to a holiday party and saw a person I hadn't seen in more than nine years. I had avoided this annual party all those years because I didn't want to have to face him, even though it was his wrongdoing that had broken us up as friends. I just didn't want to see him in case there was any awkwardness for either of us (but especially me). So when I saw him, it was no big deal. We greeted each other, he complimented my outfit, I thanked him, and graciously refrained from remarking about how fat he'd gotten.
12/24 Direct Link
The people who take note of my activity at the ATM always notice that I get five-dollar bills with any withdrawal. They are charmed by my devotion to the sawbuck and wonder what sort of whimsy propels or compels me to request them, arrange them all so they face the same way, and then neatly slide them into the paper money compartment of my vintage wallet. Most of them think I'm tucking them into greeting cards to send to my grandchildren for birthday gifts while marveling, of course, that I'm way too young for grandchildren old enough to spend it.
12/25 Direct Link
I'm at an afternoon cocktail party on Christmas Day. I'm wearing my plaid "a-wassailin' WASP" dress and green T-strap pumps, except I can't wear the shoes inside the apartment because it's one of those homes. I knew this beforehand, but still shrivel inside as I remove my shoes and leave them just inside the door. The shoes "make" the outfit and I don't feel cute.

As I'm leaving, I put on the shoes where I'd left them, so technically I'm in violation. A 7-year-old girl tells me so but in passing says, "You are BEAUTIFUL," so I let her live.
12/26 Direct Link
I wonder if anyone who lifts the lid to the recycling receptacles in the front hallway wonders who the person is who's drinking so many damned cans of TaB. I wonder if any other tenant were to see me in that same hallway, collecting my mail, and pause and think, "Yep, that's gotta be the person with all the TaB cans." If not, then I'm willing to bet that if you lined up all the tenants in this brownstone and asked a non-resident to pick out the TaB quaffer, that person would pick me. Guilty. So very guilty. And proud!
12/27 Direct Link
Reminder: "Workout" is a noun, not a verb. "Everyday" is an adjective. Do not write "I workout everyday" unless you want me to tell you you should spend less time with Crossfit or Zumba or whatever your workout entails and more time learning how to write properly.

I can't stand when people say, "Oh, but you know what I mean," like that's an excuse for lazy writing habits.

What do I expect, though, when so many people choose to express themselves via strings of emojis instead of bona fide sentences? Did we really come this far to revert to hieroglyphics?
12/28 Direct Link
I did not become a Brownie because I wanted to make a tambourine out of a paper plate, dried beans, and yarn or sew two pieces of vinyl together to make a comb case. I sucked at crafts from the get-go and had no desire to stop sucking. I just wanted to wear the outfit: The light brown jumper with the troop number patch, a shirt with a Peter Pan collar, knee socks, the shoes, and oh, the coveted and most coveted and prized beanie! Why didn't they just let me sit there and perfect my craft of "being cute"?
12/29 Direct Link
You may be tempted to watch Bird Box on Netflix. You may think, oooh, Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson! You may not know, as I didn't, that John Malkovich will appear in a substantial role, and you may be a dunderpate and dash to IMDb.com to make sure it's John Malkovich, and you may think you recognize a young woman as the star of that other Netflix movie Dumplin' and think, okay, she was good in that, so yes! And you may swoon over the man you hope becomes a love interest for Sandra Bullock. But trust me. It's birdshit.
12/30 Direct Link
The "deadstock" Raincheetahs coat finally arrived at 9:00 p.m. after much delay in transport after it left the hands of the seller and lolling in USPS delivery limbo. I tore open the package as if it were still Christmas, and when unsnapping the coat, something gluey kept it from opening easily and the tacky gluey stuff made the sound of an old person trying to speak but gumming the words instead. Except the stuff even looked like gooey spittle. The navy blue transferred to my fingers as well. The coat is absolutely unwearable. This is a sad day in 1974.
12/31 Direct Link
In the recent-ish past, I had convinced myself that I had to own a pocketknife. Not just some little thing that could, like, cut off a stray thread from a sleeve, but something with multiple tools in addition to the little knife, a Swiss Army type thing with a bottle opener, nail file, screwdriver, the cutest tiny scissors, and who the hell knows what else. I decided a corkscrew would be pushing it given that I don't drink and couldn't think of any wine emergencies that would warrant that feature, unless I were stuck in an elevator with suburban moms.