Psychic Ability Called Into Question

An undergrad at Brown has quoted me in her thesis on female bloggers who write about American Girl dolls which makes me think there are too many female bloggers writing about American Girl dolls. Neverthelesss I am thrilled to be included!

Labell’s article includes concrete predictions: she informs the reader that if they owned Felicity, they are “a kindergarten teacher now, or studied elementary education in college.”[22] These articles are short and playful. The conclusions about each doll owner’s personalities are generalizations that obviously cannot be accurate for every owner of each doll. 

Poe-loco, A Twist Ending


Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston and now haunts a regional burrito chain. SPOOKY STUFF! Less spooky but also discussed: being a Jew in New England, Laura Linney, and Boston as an entity. Thanks to The Toast for letting me me write about it and for not even minding that it took me nine months to do it.

Learning New Things

In September, I swam in the worst hangover of my life and listened to people say the word lactate for seven hours at the MIT Breast Pump Hackathon. It was pretty interesting, and I got a free popover.

Books to Read When You're Sick

I'm not a doctor but that doesn't stop me from giving you sound medical advice and examining your freckles.

Jello Dessert and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

My family has jello mold with every holiday meal--Rosh Hashana, Passover, Thanksgiving. It's a 1950s recipe: half a pound of sour cream, strawberry gelatin, canned fruits in syrup. My grandmother always made it, or my great Aunt Gertie (that's great, as in generational; she was alright, very hands-off and awfully quiet), or my mother when she was hosting.
Since grandma and Gertie both died, and since my mother has been hosting with less frequency, I've taken it upon myself to be the new molder of jello, the keeper of family culinaria. It's a responsibility I take seriously, in light of my family's formidable cooking skills: my mother's desserts are legendary; my older cousin has an incomparable way with meat.

"It's setting in the fridge," I will eagerly text my father before the meal, without needing to clarify what "it" is. "It looks beautiful."
"Don't tell anyone, but I put in clementines this year," I will tell my aunt. "Let's see if they notice," I text-wink mischievously.

My parents and sister came up to Boston this past Thanksgiving, as that's where I live and where my aunt and uncle (who were hosting) live, and since that is where my cute baby cousin was living at the time (my family was, as so often is the case with cute baby cousins, palpably excited to meet her), though she sadly moved--parents in tow!--to the West Coast this summer.

When they arrived in Boston, my parents and sister came to my apartment and we exchanged Hanukkah gifts and  rolled our eyes and talked like Yiddish men, which is how we communicate. After conversing in our native tongue, I proudly showed my family the finished jello product, and boy were they taken with how I inventively set the mold in muffin tins, creating individual portions as opposed to the Bundt cake shaped delicacy of which we are accustomed. I thought this was a fun, nearly Pinterest-worthy rendition of a classic (between you and me, my Bundt pan was not large enough for the recipe's yield), and considered, for next time, cutting pieces that would resemble the first letter of every guest's name: a J, a P, a D, a B, an A, two Ms, and, depending on whether my cute baby cousin and her parents decided to remain in Boston: an L, a T, and an additional A.

These were my thoughts--the fruit flavors bursting! the creative outlet!--as I walked through my building's foyer, jello mold platter in hand, eager to settle in to my parents' new car for the quick ride over to my aunt and uncle's, a ride in which I planned to ask my sister for the front seat and my father if I could pick a radio station. "I know a good local one," I'd say. "Dad, sometimes they play the Avett Brothers."

THESE WERE THE THOUGHTS, such silly thoughts that I thought, as I carelessly held my jello mold platter at an angle and watched an individual portion slip out from beneath its tin foil quilt and onto the dark green mats that cover the entryway's tile floor.

What happened next was this: I said goddamnit and clicked my tongue and rolled my eyes and probably, if we're to be honest, unfairly blamed my mother and went upstairs to wipe away some red jello that I had only then noticed begin to melt and drip down the side of the platter.

When I returned downstairs, holding my bounty more carefully, my family was all buckled in the car. A piece of jello mold was on the floor, certainly covered in dirt and dust and hair because, in the two years I've lived there--a little more than one at the story's commencement--I've not once seen anyone clean that floor, a fact that frustrates me, out of cleanliness standards, and seems inconsistent with the landlord's claims that this is the house he grew up in and that it means a lot to him (he still lives there, on the first floor).

And so with a waiting car of hungry family members, I decided to forego cleaning up my mess; I said then that that was merely a consequence of running behind schedule and feeling pressed for time. Now, I'd say that it was my way of being in charge, of making heads and tails outta this crazy world. I have Obessive-Compulsive Disorder and while it is very much a disease of fixing things (like blankets!), it's also just as much a disease of making sure things stay exactly as they are (like blankets!), and also in some ways a disease of surprising compromise: like, instead of placing my hand between the closing doors of a metro, which is something I'm biologically obsessed with doing but will never actually do, I'll wash my hands three times in a row, or I'll rip off the tiniest corner of a poster on a community bulletin board. I'll leave food scraps in the front hallway, just to feel like I'm in control, captaining my own sailboat and flying my own spacecraft (I'm a sea-loving alien?). And yet--if someone else cleaned it up, if the piece of jello was gone tomorrow, I wouldn't care. I probably wouldn't even notice.

I know that all sounds like I'm a jerk. Am I just lazy? An entitled brat? Either way, my mess has stayed in the foyer for nearly nine months. The fallen jello piece, which encased either a mandarin orange or a clementine wedge (it was difficult to tell on sight alone) still remains on the green entrance mat, withered, weathered and unrecognizable now as a brown shell of its once great glory. I've no plans to move it.

Freelance from Home Awards

Choice Bed Time: 2 am.
Choice Wake-Up Time: 9 am.
Choice First Thing Done: A pee, followed by a splash of cold water to the face, followed by a walk to the living room in order to look out the front window.
Choice Second Thing Done: Coffee make, followed by filling a large glass with water, followed by setting both down in the living room.
Choice Coffee Mug: The white one, or the big brown one if the white is unavailable.
Choice Breakfast: No such thing, tied with a crumpet at 11:30, or a gigantic lunch around 1.
Choice Seating Position: Right side of the couch.
Choice Source of Noise so as to Provide a Sense of Company: Daytime talk shows.
Choice Female Talk Show Host: Wendy Williams, "The Wendy Williams Show."
Choice Wendy Williams's Topic: Cameron Diaz, re: her inability to catch or keep a good man.
Choice Male Talk Show Host: Clinton Kelly, "The Chew."
Choice Midday Errand: Walgreen's.
Choice Walgreen's Daytime Employee: No winner.
Choice Enter and Exit Apartment Situation: Roommate's InStyle and my paycheck in the mailbox, upstairs neighbor's cat nowhere to be seen.
Choice Short Form Online Reading Distraction: Vulture's television recaps.
Choice Long Form Online Reading Distraction: True tales of false imprisonment.
Choice Hate-Follow Blog: Cupcakes and Cashmere.
Choice Love-Follow Blog: Wit + Delight.
Choice Ellen Degeneres: Ellen Degeneres.

hot tips for staying cool

Take an ice pack, wrap it in a cloth napkin, place under armpits and between the knees.
Open more than one window, to produce a cross breeze.
Run cold water over your wrists and splash behind your ears.
Give yourself the chills, via scary stories, or tales of great coincidence, or tactile sensations.
Clothes? No(thes).
“They spend a lot of time indoors, and they’re not Amish or Luddites, so they have air-conditioning.”
Is it a liquid? It can be a popsicle.
Is it fudge or cream? It can be a sicle.
Spritz cold water in front of a fan.
"I'm Indian, I'm British. A billion Indians can't be wrong. They drink hot tea in hot weather."
Place front two teeth in snow cone.
Let yourself sweat--it's your body's way of saying "We got this."
Wear dark sunglasses.
Be a young woman who likes neat whiskeys.
Don't even try.
Leather jackets!
Be the Fonz.
GOTCHA! Be yourself.
Count to ten.
Make a list. Do one thing at time.
Plan in advance
Learn how to delegate.
Know when to take a break.
You're not weak for needing a Klonopin, okay? We all  care about you, Mary Pat.
Just fucking chill, okay?
Tighten and release your muscles. Breathe deeply from your abdomen. Imagine the tension floating away.
Text a friend, say you need to vent for a minute.