Inked

For years I’ve wanted a tattoo.

In high school, I wanted a Chinese character for something or other.  I can’t remember what specifically. Which is why it’s a good thing I didn’t get a tattoo then.

In college I thought about a phoenix or a phoenix feather on fire.  I still like that imagery and idea, but it never excited me enough to actually do it.

I’ve always known that I would *know* when I stumbled upon the perfect idea to start me down the slippery slope of inking myself up.  And I finally did.

Over the last two months, I kept coming back to the poem INSTRUCTIONS by Neil Gaiman:

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never

saw before.

Say “please” before you open the latch,

go through,

walk down the path.

A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted

front door,

as a knocker,

do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.

Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat

nothing.

However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,

feed it.

If it tells you that it is dirty,

clean it.

If it cries to you that it hurts,

if you can,

ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the

wild wood.

The deep well you walk past leads to Winter’s

realm;

there is another land at the bottom of it.

If you turn around here,

you can walk back, safely;

you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

Once through the garden you will be in the

wood.

The trees are old. Eyes peer from the under-

growth.

Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She

may ask for something;

give it to her. She

will point the way to the castle.

Inside it are three princesses.

Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.

In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve

months sit about a fire,

warming their feet, exchanging tales.

They may do favors for you, if you are polite.

You may pick strawberries in December’s frost.

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where

you are going.

The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferry-

man will take you.

(The answer to his question is this:

If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to

leave the boat.

Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.

Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that

witches are often betrayed by their appetites;

dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;

hearts can be well-hidden,

and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister.

Know that diamonds and roses

are as uncomfortable when they tumble from

one’s lips as toads and frogs:

colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

Remember your name.

Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.

Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped

to help you in their turn.

Trust dreams.

Trust your heart, and trust your story.

When you come back, return the way you came.

Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.

Do not forget your manners.

Do not look back.

Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).

Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).

Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is

why it will not stand.

When you reach the little house, the place your

journey started,

you will recognize it, although it will seem

much smaller than you remember.

Walk up the path, and through the garden gate

you never saw before but once.

And then go home. Or make a home.

And rest.

The poem was introduced to me by one of my best friends and favorite people and it has been a touchstone in recent times with chunks of it becoming mantras. It’s technically the breakdown of a fairy tale; it’s also about being on a new path and trusting/learning from others but remembering to be a good human and to trust who you are at your core to get you through. And I love it. So much. I relate strongly to many parts of the piece and if I had the cojones, I would probably get the whole poem on my person.

But I don’t have the cojones.

So about a month ago I had narrowed down ideas and I knew I wanted “Trust your heart, and trust your story.”  I have always had a strong intuition and a gut/heart I can rely on – sometimes it’s a freakish sixth sense and there are jokes about the women on my Mom’s side of the family being witches; it runs in the blood. And while everyone has their own stories because we are all our own unique universes of thoughts, feelings, and histories, I am typically able to work to a clear, balanced, able-to-be-trusted story – partially because I over-think, over-analyze, and try to put myself in others’ shoes. I try to approach my reactions to difficult situations from a collection of information and that has always helped lend clarity and understanding in tougher moments. Not to say that I am always correct or that I don’t have moments of dramatic weakness. But on the whole, I can trust my story. And sometimes I forget this.  Or – more likely – I let others give me a different story or sway me from my gut. And that has never turned out OK for me. So having this reminder and mantra carved into my skin seemed natural. And I knew I wanted it in my own handwriting.

I also played with the idea of shape and had settled on the idea of a heart with the bottom slightly open, the words creating the shape (still in my own handwriting), as a reminder that no matter what is going on, you have to approach life ready to let love out of your heart and into the world and let love from the world into your heart, too. Because at the end of the day, I want to live my life steeped in love. And I  mean that in a much greater way than the day to day – though that is important, too.  I want to live with an open, flowing heart because you only get one crack at this life – so why not live in whole-hearted love?

It’s cheesey. But it’s true.

So I had my consultation at Cirque Du Rouge with their fabulous apprentice, Cas Loll, and came armed with a slew of handwriting samples as instructed.

Before meeting up, I had read Cas’ bio:

Like a magical woodland creature, passionate curiosity about the fiddly bits of everyday life and an endless hunger for knowledge fuels me.

I’m obsessed with all things whimsical, mystical, eerie, ancient, good-hearted, and seemingly inconsequential.

Cas also mentions on her website that she’s available for “Petting your cat or other cute small mammal.”  Needless to say, I felt good about her.  And then during the consult, when I started talking about the poem, she shared that she recently bought the INSTRUCTIONS book for her nephew.

Done.

We set October 14th at 6:00pm as the date/time and until then, she would workshop the heart (with a back-up of just the text) in as close to my handwriting as she could get while still having the text tattoo-friendly (size/spacing).

The 14th rolled around and here is what I typed out on my work computer as the hour neared:

5:22pm – I have eaten 2 extra strength tylenol; a thing of mac and cheese; my stomach is queasy and churning and I am sweating like a monster.  I am wondering if I should have gotten a second thing of mac and cheese. I have been so distracted all day at work. Nervous and excited to see the final stencil of the tattoo ideas.  Am giving myself full permission to walk away if I don’t love the design. Am also downing diet green tea with ginseng and honey.  Will leave at 5:30pm. Have done very little focused work today. This is not a personal challenge. This is to prove nothing to anyone. There is no pride in this. “If you turn around here, you can walk back, safely; you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.”

Unrelated – my purse is full of cat food and both my bunny slippers and rainbow eyelashes have arrived today.

I am not afraid of pain. I am not afraid of pain. I am not afraid of pain. I am not afraid of pain.

I was *very* afraid of pain.

I got to Cirque and saw the designs and knew I would need to see the artwork on my body before deciding anything.  The heart looked great but was easily distorted with movement and that bugged me. I wanted to love it. And I really liked it. But if I wanted the placement I wanted (left ribs), it was not going to work the way I had envisioned.  We tried the shoulder, but still, I wasn’t in love with it.  And Cas was LOVELY about letting me take my time and had a zero-pressure approach. She was friendly and welcoming but very clear about this being my decision – and a bigger decision – so she would be happy to re-design or scrap the idea altogether. We were on the same page.

After deciding the heart wasn’t for me, I asked to stencil just the words on my ribs …and I looked in the mirror … and I gasped.

I loved it.

I imagined this must be what some of the brides on Say Yes To The Dress feel when they find their gown. Except I was standing in the front of a tattoo shop in my held-up, unhooked bra and jeans looking in the mirror at a tattoo stencil on my ribs.

Side-note: my comfort with this situation was joked about by the ladies in the shop – they said they could tell I was a theatre person. Hilarious.

Anyway – I got chills and was ready to forge ahead but because I’m a little a-type sometimes, I needed to compare the stencils to my handwriting samples a few more times to be sure it was just right. And after being completely satisfied – I said “Let’s do it!”

I was still *very* afraid of pain.

But I should not have been.

Honestly, it was not bad at all. It was not comfy and at times it “zinged” a bit much, but I used the 30/40 minutes as time to breathe and meditate. And as I was laying there, I started contemplating what my next tattoo will be…because that is how willing I’d be to do it again when I find the next perfect thing.  And I think the heart idea is still lingering, taking a slightly different form…

But for now – I’m good. And am instituting a “no new tattoos for at least 6 months” rule. Maybe I should make it a year. Because a little over 6 months and I hit my 30th. Which could be grounds for some new decoration…

Seriously, I’m so thrilled with this tattoo and could not have imagined going to a different artist or shop.  So thanks to Cirque Du Rouge and Cas Loll and all those who gave me tips on going in for the first time or helped me workshop my ideas.

And I’m glad that I waited 29 years to come to something that feels just right. It is perfect. And perfectly me.

Trust you heart, and trust your story

Trust you heart, and trust your story

A Fauxdult Girl’s Favorite Things: Break-up Edition

Here is my Oprah-style favorites list for what you need in the wake of a break as you try to adjust to a new approach of living your life.

A FAUXDULT GIRL’S FAVORITE THINGS: BREAK-UP EDITION

Flowers – Buy flowers of a non-romantic variety – like gerbera daisies in bright orange – and put them somewhere you will see them as soon as you enter your home. They brighten the mood and are a subtle reminder that many good things that bring happiness are not designed to last forever –  and that is a-OK; in part, that is what makes them beautiful.

Furballs – There is nothing better than curling up with your highly sensitive, typically grumpy but now oddly affectionate cat, playing with your fosters, or working with some shelter adoptables to help ease your soul. Feeling sad? Hold something furry! Tears coming? Let a pup lick them away – they like the salt!

Mambo is the best therapy dog and she gives amazing kisses.

And you thought you wouldn’t be kissed again for a long time… look at that!

 

Elastic waistbands – Ladyboo – you are going to want to be comfortable. Loose fitting clothing and loungewear are your friends. Don’t judge – wear anything that makes you feel comfy. Bust out those faux business pants and skirts that look like they have real-people fasteners like zippers and buttons but secretly have elastic and wear the hell out of them. But make sure you feel GOOD about what you are wearing. Don’t wear sweatpants too much. That will make you feel worse. Yoga pants are your buddy at home.

Deep Steep sugar scrub in passionfruit-guava – This stuff is luxurious –  it makes your body feel amazing and your skin super-smooth while smelling absolutely delicious. It provides a nice escape for a few minutes in the shower and is a great way to Treat. Yo. Self. Because you certainly deserve to Treat. Yo. Self.

Delicious

Delicious and cruelty-free

 

Bourbon – Bulleit or a bottle of Four Roses (better when brought by one of your Meg(h)ans). Mix with bitters (better when brought by a friend). Pop some star-shaped ice cubes in there and a glitter swizzle stick and breathe. Enjoy in moderation and best when shared with a buddy. Bourbon is God’s way of letting you know that He/She exists and that humans are deserving of love. Relax.

Waterproof mascara – Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Splashes! waterproof mascara – cruelty free and phenomenal.

Cry-proofing perfection

Cry-proofing perfection.

 

Privacy settings on social media – Use them. Privatize albums and photos. Deactivate accounts for stretches of time. Limit your own access to people’s feeds and streams and change alert settings. Technology is pretty intense and there are ways to make sure you don’t see things you don’t think you can handle yet. Do not be ashamed to use all the bells and whistles to your advantage.

Smudge/Sage – All aboard the Ritual Train to Hippy Dippy Break-up Town, USA!  Doing something to clear the space and create a blank slate is useful if not for any other reason than to clear your own brain. After the Ritual Boxing of Items and Ritual Exchanging of Things, when your physical space is clear of tangible items reminding you of what is now past, burn this shizz around your apartment and make intentions for now and the future. Breathe.

To new beginnings, a clean space, a clear mind, an open heart, a strong spine, and remembering to be kind to and respectful of the obstacles this year has brought.

To new beginnings, a clean space, a clear mind, an open heart, a strong spine, and remembering to be kind to and respectful of the obstacles this year has brought.

 

Family and Friends – I have touched on this before, but let people know about the break-up and be honest with them about what you need. Message it out to your nearest and dearest and others who will be affected by your lack of full presence in the immediate. It is OK.  Most everyone has been there and will understand.  There will also be lots of hugs. “And YOU get a hug! And YOU get a hug!  AND YOU GET A HUG! EVERYBODY GETS HUGS!!”

INSTRUCTIONS by Neil Gaiman – Read this poem. Read it and take heart.

"Trust your heart, and trust your story."

“Trust your heart, and trust your story.”

 

Respect – Respect what is past. Respect the relationship you had. Treat it with care because it is broken and fragile. When you get sad or mad or frustrated about losing someone you love, check yourself and temper your response. Be human.  Be honest. But be kind and loving. To yourself and to the person and relationship you lost. Never stop giving respect. Ever. And respect yourself and the wishes of others enough to have a clean break and start moving on.

 

Go Home 2014 You Are Drunk … And My Friends Will Walk You Home

*The original content of this post has been altered – sorry for the change. 10:00pm 9/2/2014*

I debated on whether to post about this topic. But I am blogging about my life and this is a BIG shift. I also don’t believe in being super vague and talking about things without talking about them – or therefore writing about things without writing about them.  That’s just not who I am or what I do. So this may be uncomfortable for some in my social circles but here goes …

2014 needs to go home because it is drunk.

I am done with it. Seriously.

I have been dealing with a lot of personal stuff on and off for the better part of 2014. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions and ever-changing next steps. Every time some new obstacle presents itself, it feels like it has to be the last twist or drop or loop-de-loop. There can’t be many more shoes to drop because The Man Upstairs has to, at some point, take pity on my clan and lighten the load. And I don’t believe God to be a footwear loving octopus – the shoes have to run out at some point.

Then a few Saturdays ago, after a little over 4 years of knowing each other and 3 years and 9 months of togetherness my boyfriend broke up with me out of what seemed like the clear blue. Granted we were not perfect – no relationship ever is because humans are not perfect – but I thought we were both in it to win it and in love. I was in it and in love. But through no fault of anyone’s we were not…not fully. And we hadn’t been for a little bit of time on and off. As kind and caring and respectful as the conversation was handled once it began, this is hard news to process. Even harder maybe because you can’t hate someone for how they do or do not feel – that’s no one’s choice and no one is to blame. It just is.

So I’ve been in mourning. It’s a death. It’s a loss. I’m grieving.  And I’m slowly healing bit by bit. Emphasis on the slowly. I’m also learning a metric shit ton about myself and myself in relationships (in retrospect) and what I subconsciously knew vs. what I let myself be told or let myself believe because I wanted us to work . Because I had thought this was *it*.  I’m also not a person who lets go of words easily – even when the words are said in midnight moments between young people newly in love before they really know what they have gotten themselves into.  So shifting and adjusting my heart and my brain to life without the person who said certain words and was a daily part of my existence for almost 4 years and thinking of a future without him is just so ridiculously, overwhelmingly sad and hard.

Yippee skippy. A brand *new* rollercoaster to ride. A different kind of shoe to drop. Another reason why 2014 needs to go home and sober up.

But the thing that I have been so struck with and so insanely grateful for are the amazing people in my life.  It can be hard to ask for what you need when you are at your most vulnerable but it can be even harder to answer that bat-signal put out by a heart-shattered friend. People are not always comfortable with vulnerability.  And I don’t know if it’s because most of my friends are either artistic types or people who work with sick/vulnerable patients, but when I put out the bat-signal, my people rallied.  For personal stuff and now for the break-up.

Sometimes they rallied at 3am. Sometimes at 11pm. Sometimes they brought bourbon or kitten toys and took me out for dinner or ordered pizza in and let me snot all over them without once wincing. They have told me not to apologize for anything I’m feeling or for crying in public.  They have cleared my desk of relationship evidence before I returned to work. They have told me to take time off of work to take care of myself. They have distracted me when I’ve needed it and really listened to me when I’ve needed it. They have asked hard questions and given soft hugs and offered smart advice from things they’ve learned in their studies and life experiences. They have told me to “fuck off” when I say that I feel unloveable. They have encouraged me to wait a month on that tattoo and to not shave my head a la Britney circa 2007 (my face is just too round for that shizz) and to hold off on adopting a new cat and naming him Mr. Boyfriend.  And when I start feeling guilty for reacting to a break-up so strongly when my family is going through so much, my family has told me not to minimalize what I’m feeling because it’s like comparing apples and elephants. They have checked in with calls and texts and e-mails and puppy pictures and continue to do so.

I hurt. I hurt big now because I always feel my feelings in big ways. But I am so very, very lucky in so many, many ways.  And things will be OK. It’s just life. And life gets messy sometimes.  And when it gets messy, it’s great to know you have good people to help you through.

So thank you, friends. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and with my whole soul.

And though 2014 is drunk and needs to go home, my people are the good eggs who will walk 2014 to its doorstep and make sure it gets inside and to bed safe and sound with a glass of water and some aspirin waiting on the bedside table for when it wakes – hungover but feeling more hopeful for 2015.

 

**This article is not open for comments so please do not be offended if I do not approve anything you wish to leave on the wall.

Happy Birthday, Harry

Today marks a significant and much-celebrated day of the modern calendar year. Today is the birthday of The Boy Who Lived.  Today is the birthday of Harry Potter*. And today Harry turns 34. Which makes me feel both old and young at the same time.  Old because I first read The Sorcerer’s Stone in 1999 for a freshman year of high school book report – which seems ages ago; and young because I was 14 when I first read The Sorcerer’s Stone so I always thought that Harry – who is age 11 when the series starts – was younger than me. I’m sure the movies didn’t help with this perception of age/time since they were made years after the books began with actors years younger than I.

When I started the series, only the first three books were published and I devoured them.  And I fell in love. Hardcore in love. Insanely, crazily-dedicated in love.  After the series garnered a bit of hype and book stores wanted to cash in, I would wait with friends at the Barnes & Noble in Bel Air, MD or go with my aunt/fairy godmother (and one of my best friends) to an independent book store and we would wait to get our pre-ordered copies. Excruciatingly exciting hours were spent in anticipation of grasping on to the latest in the series – touching the cover, feeling the book’s weight and opening to that first page…

We would wear our Harry Potter glasses and put lightning bolt tattoos on our foreheads and chatter away about what we think may happen; who our favorite characters were; who we thought should be together, etc.  And then we would take our books to our respective homes – or sometimes a diner – and I would read. And read and read and read.  There would be no savoring; savoring would be for later. For now I needed to KNOW.

I went to lengths to finish books as fast as I could. One summer my family gave my much younger cousin the newest book (Goblet of Fire, perhaps?) for his birthday and because we happened to be on vacation with his family at the time, I stole the freshly unwrapped gift and speed-read that sucker before he could start. I was older and a faster reader so it made sense in my brain and didn’t feel that rude at the time…  After I turned 16 and had a job, if there was a Harry Potter book release, I would schedule myself out of work for a day or two so I could do nothing but read and preserve a perfect plot, unspoiled.  As the books grew longer, the necessary vacation days grew as well.

I loved these books. I loved the nervousness and butterflies that came with every new book release. I loved immersing myself in the world created by J.K. Rowling. And I loved, loved, loved my wizarding fictional friends.

I am absolutely a Harry Potter fan and I bordered on fanatical for a time. But as much as I love the books, I have never done a complete re-read. I have tried and I have always failed. In thinking about it, I realized why: because – without trying to sound dramatic – with the end of the Harry Potter series came the end of my childhood.

The Deathly Hallows was released the summer of 2007 – this was my first summer of Real Life. I had graduated from college with a theatre degree in the spring and had no clue what to do (with a theatre degree I know that is shocking!). I was living away from home with most of my best college friends busy and scattered and my best high school friends an hour away.  I was working a “real” job I HATED (I would often refer to this job as a Dementor). My youngest brother had graduated from high school and the first of my two parents turned 50. My beloved childhood dog, Dodger – who was my best friend since 6th grade and my soul-puppy – died while I was not home so I never got to say goodbye. And the Harry Potter series ended.

With my family getting undeniably older, the end of my planned educational path, the death of my pup, and the completion of a series I’d grown up with – I very much felt my childhood was over, that growing up was for real, and it was happening to me whether I wanted it to or not. I also felt that being a responsible adult was terrible if it included things like sitting in a two hour commute on the jammed-up beltway to get home from a soul-crushing job where you were doing too much and paid far too little. It was a rough summer. I was lonely and sad a lot – which was not something I was used to being and that was an adjustment in and of itself.  With time and distance, you get a little perspective and I realize things were not nearly as bad as they could have been and that my issues that summer were just growing pains. But it was all very real and very hard at the time. So the thought of going back to that last book – remembering the black cloud I seemed to live in during the summer of 2007 – that’s never been inviting and put me off the idea of re-reading.

Fast-forward 7 years and life now is not without its challenges but it is very, very good and I am the happiest and most at-peace-with-myself that I have been in a long time. There are absolutely things I am looking to improve upon or change – and there always will be – but I am content at my core.

So on this 34th birthday of Harry Potter – 5 years my senior, I’ll shamelessly add – I’ve decided it is high time that I revisit Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and fall in love all over again.  Today, I raise a glass of butterbeer to Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling and say: let the great re-read of the epic tale of Harry Potter commence!

Good to see you again, old friend.

Good to see you again, old friend.

 

And I’m still waiting for my invitation to Hogwarts…

 

*July 31st is also the birthday of author J.K. Rowling

Purchases of Promise

Occasionally I get the idea that I’m going to be a different person than who I currently am and decide to invest in tangible objects that promise to help me become this new person who I am so sure I actually am deep down inside.  I think this impulse may stem from my belief that talents and truths can be buried and all you need to do is unearth the hidden treasure to become who you have always been destined to be. Or something.

And apparently I also think that means that I need to purchase tartlet pans with my 20% Off coupon to  Bed, Bath and Beyond to fulfill my previously undiscovered destiny of becoming a celebrated tartlet maker. Or at least someone who makes fancy and impressive tartlets to bring to parties or to serve to friends or the BFry on a lazy Sunday morning for breakfast like it ain’t no thang to make tartlet crust from scratch (when it is most definitely a thang). My actions in this regard may also correlate heavily with my enthusiastic-yet-short-lived bursts of extreme Pinterest-browsing. And I may or may not have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to tartlets called “All Tarted Up.” Because I am merely human and a sucker for a pun.

So on January 24, 2013, I used those 20% off tartlet pans and a Pinterest recipe and I made these:

Posted to Facebook with the caption: "If these taste half as good as they look...man...I may have found a new love."

Posted to Facebook with the caption: “If these taste half as good as they look…man…I may have found a new love.”

Despite that declaration of potential new-found love, this, my friends, was the one and only time I have made tartlets. Because you know what? They tasted fine delicious-ish but were a pain in the keister to make and only yielded four tiny tartlets for HOURS of work. They were also super expensive because I did not have all of the ingredients on hand in my teeny-tiny Smitten Kitchen style cooking/baking/microwaving/refrigerating center at  The Apartments of Eternal Christmas to make my own bastardized version of Flourishing Foodie’s mini heirloom tomato tartlets with a parmesan crust.  I had to buy #ALLOFTHETHINGS before getting down to business.

So now I have tiny tartlet pans that sit in solitude in a top cabinet with the round layer-cake pans and a box of granola that has gone untouched for far too long.

In any case, I refer to tartlet-pan type investments as Purchases of Promise.

Over the last decade, here are some of the other Purchases of Promise I’ve made:

  1. Guitar: Folk-Songstress Phase – I went hard with this one because I thought I was going to be the Stevie Nicks of my generation. Or at least I’d get decent enough to accompany myself singing here and there to make the singing less terrifying and have the guitar to focus on. I bought the guitar, a gig bag, a tuning pipe, tons of picks, how-to-play guitar DVDs and books. I tried to play it only a handful of times over the 3 years I owned it so it got pawned off to a friend during a move that required downsizing…and money. And I’ve seen the guitar used as a prop on stage in a theatrical performance, so it’s doing better than it was sitting in my room.  This dream is not entirely dead though and I have – on more than one occasion – considered purchasing a banjo. I have nothing more to say for myself on this front.
  2. Mop and bucket: Clean-and-Green Phase – I was going to (1) clean my floors frequently and (2) ONLY clean them with a mop and traditional sudsy water/environmentally approved cleaner so as not to be wasteful or harmful to the environment. I don’t think these items have been used in the way they were intended to be used even once. I store things in the bucket. Things like Swiffer pads. And wet Swiffer pads. And paper towels. And the mop has been used to reach cobwebs in high corners. But so has the Swiffer.  #allhailtheSwiffer.
  3. Clothing Steamer: Professional-Real-Adult-Lady-Phase –  I was going to save so much money by steaming my clothing at home vs. taking items to the dry cleaner. Or – let’s get serious – wearing them wrinkly. I asked my parents for the steamer for Christmas a few years ago; I did my research and got a mid-priced, portable, easy-to-care-for model. And I have used it zero times. I have loaned it out to a theatre company once for use on costumes during a production – so it has been used. But I have used it zero times.  I know not how the thing works yet it continues to sit out in the open in my room as though it will be used at any moment. I have no hope I will actually use the steamer some day.
  4. Capers: The Gourmet Chef – What do capers even go on? I’ve had a jar of capers for about a year now and don’t know what to put them on. They may not even be good anymore.
  5. Knitting kit, wine glasses/chalkboard paint, painting supplies: DIY Gifting Gal – Have a birthday coming up? Let me give you these 80’s style leg-warmers knitted together with sparkle-rainbow-yarn and love! Get your Masters? Here are some wine glasses with chalkboard paint bases so when you are entertaining, people can write their names in chalk on the bottoms for identification purposes! Have a baby? Here is an adorable painting of Tigger to go in your Winnie-the-Pooh themed nursery!  Yeah. I sometimes forget that I was the kid in girl scouts who was not only not very good at arts and crafts, but who would throw her arts and crafts violently across the room or on the table in frustration and then cry.
  6. Table and stools for kitchen: The Civilized Citizen – I will be taking all meals at the table from here on out because eating in front of the TV is for heathens. But I really just want to sit on my super comfy sofa. And – hey! – there’s a new episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race available On Demand.  And I can just pull over this stool and use it as a tray table…
  7. Ulysses by James Joyce: The High-brow Literate Lady – I don’t even know what I was thinking when I purchased a book that entire semesters of college experiences are dedicated to. If this book needs a professor and a syllabus to decipher, am I really going to get through it?  Plus my Harry Potter collection is on the same bookshelf. And I’d choose Harry Potter any day.

In thinking of all of these items (and many more), my newest idea is to try to be as minimalist as possible. To go through all of my stuff and jettison things I have not used in a year plus. Because maybe it is my destiny to be the no-fuss, no-frills, no-crazy-amounts-of-extra-bedding-in-the-closet type whose apartment is always ready for visiting and whose every item serves a function. Maybe. But I do have a magical unicorn 20% Off Your Entire Order coupon from Bed, Bath and Beyond waiting for me at home…