While skimming social media this morning I read one passing reference to the 1975 pop music hit “The Hustle” and GUESS WHAT’S BEEN PLAYING ON A LOOP IN MY HEAD EVER SINCE.

Kill me now.

(Warning to those who did not grow up in the 1970s: If you Google “The Hustle” DO NOT LISTEN TO IT. It’s one of those ‘Wheels On The Bus’ songs that never ends. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

“I am your density.”

Do you believe in fate/destiny?

Short answer: No, but also maybe, depending on what “destiny” means.

I want to. I’m so filled with anxiety over every decision I have to make, large and small, that it would be a great relief to know my whole life’s been planned ahead of time and I’m only playing a part that’s been written for me.

Also, I’m monumentally lazy, so the idea that I was destined to lay around all day today doing nothing would, again, be a huge relief. I could sleep peacefully tonight knowing I was not, in fact, supposed to do something better with my one precious life.

Finally, I believe the world and everything on it will be incinerated by the sun in ten billion years, give or take a few, so in the sense that the earth and everybody on it has a very predictable end that’s literally written in the stars (well, one star, in this case), that’s sort of a destiny.

But while the idea of fate and/or destiny appeals to the anxiety-ridden/lazy sides of me, I simply can’t believe we have a destiny to fulfill beyond “be nice to other people.” It would be a pretty great destiny and not really that easy for us to fulfill, when you consider the history of humanity, but I doubt that’s what people mean when they ask if I believe in destiny.

mom voice

I stuck my knife in the toaster because the toasted bread didn’t pop up high enough to grab it with my fingers. Yes, I know better, but for a second I completely forgot how stupid it was to do that and went ahead and did it anyway.

My Darling B happened to be in the kitchen while I was being stupid. Not only that, she was looking directly at me and just as I stuck the end of the knife into the toaster slot she shouted my full name using her Mom Voice. I know she used her Mom Voice because I jerked the knife out of the toaster and simultaneously jumped about a foot away from it without having consciously made myself do it. It was as if an entirely different person had taken over my body and made it do something before I knew what was happening. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have stopped myself.

I believe that was the one and only time she used her Mom Voice on me. It was honestly kind of a terrifying experience so I think I’d be able to recall if she did it more than once, but maybe Moms have a more subtle version of the Mom Voice that makes you obey them without scaring you. Or maybe they can rewrite your memories. That actually seems plausible now that I think of it.


We were watching the first episode of “The Last of Us” when my mom texted me. She was housebound because she’d been hit by the same deep freeze that was keeping all us inside, but for her it was worse: she lives in Arkansas where the road maintenance crews don’t go out to salt or sand the roads, so she was stuck at the end of her cul-de-sac, unable to go anywhere. We stayed in just because we didn’t like getting cold.

So she told me about the books she was reading and I told her about the zombie show we were watching. “The funny thing about zombie movies,” I texted her, “is that you have to pretend that everybody in the movie has never seen a zombie movie.”

“I have never seen a zombie movie,” she texted back, “and I hope I never do.”

So I guess it is possible, then, that in a zombie apocalypse there might be one or two people who didn’t realize what was going on. I stand corrected.


We have a cross-cut paper shredder and nearly everything we get in the mail goes straight from the mailbox to the shredder because it’s practically all junk mail. I don’t even open it unless I absolutely have to.

Case in point: The junk mail I get from Triple A. Those guys know how to make me open up the junk mail they send to me. They jam so much stuff in there: Cover letter, glossy pamphlet, fake membership card, return envelope, etc etc. The shredder bogs down if I try to shred it unopened, so I usually open it up and separate it into two or three wads of paperwork that I feed to the shredder.

AARP employs a variation on the same strategy by packing an extra-thick, laminated fake membership card inside which I have to shred separately from the rest of the junk or it’ll absolutely put the brakes on the shredder.

It’s okay. I don’t mind opening an envelope even if it’s just going in the shredder. Keep ’em coming.

build a fire

I suffered an especially painful case of dry-eye last night and when I told My Darling B about it, she said, “Maybe you need a humidifier in the bedroom.”

What I heard her say was, “Maybe you need to make a fire in the bedroom.”

When she says something that doesn’t make any sense at all, I stop and let the decoder in my brain work on the problem for a while until it comes up with a translation. It’s sort of like Wordle: most of the phonemes are there but I need time to look at the gray areas to imagine how they should be filled in.

But that doesn’t always work. When it doesn’t, I repeat what I thought I heard her say. In this case when I told her, “I heard you say: Maybe you need to make a fire in the bedroom,” she nearly bust a gut laughing. Then, when she could breathe again, she told me about the humidifier.


I just saw a car drive past our house on a flat tire. The front right tire was flat flat flat. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do that. I can’t imagine why anyone would do that. I wouldn’t do that unless I was being pursued by ravenous beasts. Even in this weather (the temperature outside is fifteen degrees Fahrenheit right now) I would change the tire because I’m pretty sure that driving on a flat would damage the rim beyond repair and maybe even the car’s steering and suspension. What the hell was that driver thinking?


aw, shit.

It’s “come on, eileen tah loo rye yay,” not “come on, eileen tah roo lah ray.” I’ve been singing it wrong all these years. So embarrassing.

egg noodles

My Darling B sent me out to get egg noodles. I don’t know what egg noodles are.

“They’re wide and flat and curly,” she explained.

“They’re flat and curly?”

“Yes. They’re flat. But they’re curly.”

I couldn’t even imagine what that looked like.

“How wide are they? An inch wide? Three-quarters of an inch?”

“They’re about that wide,” she answered, holding her fingers about a half-inch apart.

“Okay. And how long are they? An inch long? Six inches?”

“They’re about as long as spaghetti noodles, but you can’t see them.”

“I can’t see them?”

“They’re in a bag.”

“They’re in a bag I can’t see through?”

“Well, you can, but you can’t.”

A bag that’s transparent but it’s not, something else I couldn’t imagine.

Eventually I had to fall back on this: “When I leave, I’m going straight to the store and I’m going to send some photos of noodles to your phone, so watch your phone for incoming texts with photos from me.”

And that’s how I bought egg noodles. I found three or four bags of flat noodles that were curly in different ways, snapped photos of them, and sent the photos to B, who responded with a message telling me which one to buy. Thank goodness for modern technology.