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I Am Cool Now Posts

Fiction 1: I’m Not Saying the House is Haunted

Look, I’m not saying the house behind us is haunted. I am saying that the crows maintain the gutter. The crows see the wet leaves piled up on the roof, blocking the gutter, and they move them. And then they fly away. So even though no one lives there, the house appears to be taken care of.

And I’m not saying there is a talisman buried beneath the house. I am saying that the house sold for $948,000, even though it is unlivable. The basement flooded, the windows are boarded, and the land is only worth $340,000 according to tax records.

I’m definitely not saying there is a wizard that visits the house. I am saying that the “developer” who keeps popping by wears a lot of purple. And purple is not a color most developers wear. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a purple shirt in a store window, or advertised online.

It would be irresponsible of me to say the developer wizard is a dark wizard. I honestly can’t tell if he’s a good wizard or a bad wizard, or a wizard at all. I can say that for a house that has a flood rating of a 7 out of 10, he appears super calm. I would be panicking constantly if I cared about the property. But this developer does not seem to mind at all. Almost as though the house doesn’t matter to him, only the talisman buried beneath the house that controls the crows. And maybe the water erosion is helping the talisman emerge from beneath the house. It’s cheaper for the erosion to unveil the talisman, rather than to dig up the site.

And if, hypothetically, the developer wizard can control the weather and is responsible for the rain storm we had last week, that would definitely be cheaper than demolition. Demolition requires permits. You don’t need county approval for causing inclement weather. Plus, he already spent a lot of money over-paying for the house.

I don’t believe the developer wizard has already unlocked some powers of the talisman. But I did just read a report that Joro flying spiders are going to descend onto our region this summer. “The spider gets its name from Jorōgumo or Yōkai, a Japanese spirit, which disguises itself as a beautiful woman to prey upon gullible men.” These two things can’t be related.

They can’t.

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Gormeh Sabzi

I love Gormeh Sabzi. It’s a Persian stew, and my favorite version of it is the one my dad makes. My dad is alive, knock on wood?, but he cannot speak or move because of a hemorrhagic stroke, so I have no way to really get the recipe from him directly. I meant to write down or get a copy of his recipe, but I didn’t, in time. And I think my siblings accidently misplaced it while cleaning out his office area.

At some point during the pandemic, I started ordering the dish as takeout from our local Persian restaurant. I found it delicious and wildly comforting.

And a few weeks ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to make it. I do not cook. David does all the cooking. I can fumble my way through cookie recipes, but that’s about it. I bought an Instant Pot as part of a Black Friday deal in 2020. I figured January 2022 was as good a time as any to open it and use it.

But then there was a food supply shortage a few weeks ago, and there was no fresh parsley or cilantro available at the grocery store. So I could not make it.

Then on Friday, we went to the grocery store, and the shelf was full of parsley and cilantro. The greens called to me like a Persian, cooking siren song. I bought them and green onions and two yellow onions and red beans. I did not buy meat, because I figured I could make it vegetarian. More on that later.

I read and watched the Instant Pot recipe post. I aspired to clean the greens on my own, but did not know what to do. So I went over to my parents’ house, and my mom helped me. During the cutting, she lectured me on how long cleaning fresh greens takes, and that you can only use fresh greens if you have absolutely nothing better to do, because it takes so much time. We put the greens through the Cuisinart, a cooking device that we received as a wedding gift in 2011, that I also used for first time yesterday. Then I went to pick up my daughter and bring her back to my mom’s house.

At some point, my mom asked my dad if it was okay I was making the Gormeh Sabzi without meat, and he said, “No, it has to have meat.” It’s the only sentence he has said to me in three months. My mom had some frozen beef she had recently prepared for another stew she had been planning to make, so she gave it to me.

This morning, cooking morning, I opened up the Instant Pot and read the setup manual, after watching a 3-minute YouTube video where three children set up an Instant Pot to demonstrate how ridiculously easy it is to set up. I started the process and after 15 minutes decided to not use the Instant Pot, because it’s actually not straightforward at all.

So then I turned to YouTube for non Instant Pot recipes for Gormeh Sabzi. I found two versions. I watched both of these videos and decided to use a mix of elements of both, using the ingredients from the Instant Pot recipe from my original vision.

One is Tara Radcliffe, who I had not heard of before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox_pfuDY-j8


The other was this woman I have also not heard of before, but her video was under 3 minutes long, which I liked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhymBWmR1G8

In case you are wondering what I look like, the second woman is what I would look like if I was trying to look like Tara. But instead of looking calm and cool in the kitchen, picture a consistent expression of panic and general confusion.

I ended up just putting all the ingredients into a giant pot. Then it smelled terrible. I called my mom, and she told me that was okay, and the smell would go away.

I was really upset I had messed up the dish, so I took out a jar of Nutella and just started eating it with a spoon.

The stew has been cooking for the last four hours. Hopefully it comes out okay. I have to ask David to make the Persian rice.

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I Wrote Something

I wrote something. I thought it was really good. “This is the best thing I have ever written,” I maniacally laughed to myself. I’ve finally leveled up!

But now I’m trying to record it, and it requires music, but the music I found on the internet isn’t quite there, and I don’t know if I can reach out to composers I know. And what if it’s not good?

Or what if it IS the best thing I have ever written, but that’s not really saying a lot? Do I tear this up and walk away?

Also a month or two ago I made a joke about having attention deficit disorder, and now a friend of mine keeps sending me useful tips about coping with attention deficit disorder. I don’t think I have ADD, but I don’t want to give the impression I was making fun of a difficult condition. I’ve just been thanking her for the resources. I thought I was making a joke, and she, and possibly many others, perceived it as a cry for help. And as I look back on my writing, I know in my heart this is not the first time that has happened: I have written something I thought was funny and innocuous, and in response, a friend reached out and told me that they were there for me.

I have another dear friend who shared that sometimes she is upset about the world, and then she, “thinks about how confident you are, and that makes me happy.” I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS. I can tell she thought it was a compliment, but that keeps me awake at night. Should I not be confident? This friend is gorgeous and funny and sincerely kind, so I know it was well intentioned, and she is genuinely happy for me, her confident friend.

In middle school, I thought I was popular. “I play the violin, and I get good grades,” so I thought it was logical people would want to be friends with me. And the popular kids all knew my name, because through some trick of the gods, all the popular, good looking kids that year had last names in the tale end of the alphabet like me, so home room was me and all of them. And thanks to the alphabet coincidence, our lockers were all next to each other, so I was physically next to them all the time. I had no idea I didn’t belong among them until someone pointed out how impressed they were that I was so comfortable with that group. “Am I not…one of them?” I remember thinking. That shattered my world view.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. I wrote a musical number about freezing eggs, and I think it might be my magnum opus.

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Ch-ch-chaanges

Two things happened since I last wrote:

  1. I performed Live Sketch Comedy at a well-known venue.
  2. My daughter pees on toilets now.
  3. I guess also WordPress updated their templates? So the layout for writing posts is different. I know I said “Two things,” but while working on this post, it occurred to me that this specific third item was also remarkable and should be noted: software has changed.

The performance was great. Thrilling to be on stage, but also terrified of getting and spreading Covid, because we had to be unmasked to perform. But it has been over 10 days since the performance, and I think we are okay. The audience laughed, and perhaps most inspiring to me was our stand-up opener was not particularly good, and I thought, “HEY! I should get back into standup.”

The potty training was great too. And by great, I mean an interesting week.
Friday: Excited to wear big girl underwear. No interest in sitting on potty.
Saturday: Fine with wearing big girl underwear. Refusal to sit on toilet. Held pee until a bath Saturday night.
Sunday: Fine with wearing big girl underwear. Screams and tears around sitting on the toilet. “It’s scary!”

Monday night: All tears and screaming and her running to get a diaper, and me refusing to put it on her, and then her trying to put the diaper on herself, and then pee all over the floor and her crying, “LOOK AT THIS MESS! WE HAVE TO CLEAN IT UP!” all within one foot of the toilet. Three times. We were thinking we would get a note from the school saying we should take a break, but we are so grateful they kept up with her. Yesterday at home she told us when she had to pee and was happy to get on the toilet, and this morning too! 

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Letter to My Toddler’s Teacher?

Dear Teacher,

Thank you for all you do! She might have mentioned recently that, “Mommy eats a lot of cookies.” I can explain. They were on sale, and they are chocolate chip.
Also I don’t let her eat any. I thought I was stealthily eating them in the corner, but I think she spotted me when she abruptly stopped playing with Legos and started doing laps around the kitchen counter.

Also she might have mentioned that “Daddy sleeps in the basement.” I can explain. We have ceded our marital bed to her. She sleeps sprawled in the middle, I sleep in the lower right corner, curled on the edge of the bed, and Daddy needs sleep, so he sleeps in the basement sometimes.

And maybe, it’s possible, she has shared that she gets a popsicle after school every day. This is also true. She takes them out of the box herself and presents each of us with one. They are low in sugar and calories, and we like them too. So here we are.

Have we lost control? I would offer that no, we have not technically _lost_ control, because we never really _had_ control.

Also I’m sorry this morning’s drop-off was chaotic. We’ll try harder.

Thank you again!

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Guilt Level – High

My guilt level is off the charts. My kid is sad at school, my parents are sick at their home, and I am riding my Peloton listening for inspiring quotes. Related note: the most inspiring quote I heard was one from Alex Toussaint the other day, which was something along the lines of, “Perform like you are in front of a sold out room.” I love this quote, and I think my mom would too. I have this mindset already most of the time. If you know me in real life, have seen me perform, and are thinking, “Really?” just know that what you have seen is indeed the upper limits of my talents.

Anyway, the other day I resolved that by the time my kid is old enough to be asked the question, “What do your parents do?” my daughter will respond, “My mom tells jokes.” And the person inquiring will respond, “Okay, but what does she really do?” and my kid will say, “She’s a comedian!” I will also accept, “Clown!”

Now that I sit back and think about this goal, I realize it’s telling that I didn’t aspire to be so successful that no one needs to even ask my daughter what I do. For the record, I do aspire to be that successful, but I think it’s good to manage my own expectations.

Back to guilt! So I feel very guilty because the school told my daughter that the reason I cannot come to school with her is that I need to work. And I am not working right now. But I am lying to my daughter about going to work. Every morning I tell her I have to go to work, and that is why I cannot come to drop-off or school. The school specifically recommended I not come to drop off, which has been a good recommendation for all of us.

I also feel guilty because my mom got three bug bites on her palm, and rather than go over and argue with her about letting me help with my dad, I stayed home, and I opened the washing machine dryer, I took out pants and a shirt, and then closed the dryer door and walked away. I left the clean laundry in there! Then I walked downstairs, and I took one clean plate out of the dishwasher with the clean plates to have a piece of cake, and then I closed that dishwasher, full of clean dishware. I felt really bad about that too.

Is this self-care? It feels kind of awful.

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School Drop-off 4

Yesterday after school she said she liked school and she caught the rain! She seemed shaky but genuinely better than the day before.
This morning she woke up and said, “I don’t like school.” And then holding back tears, she said, “I don’t want to go to school.”
The holding back tears is the hardest to see, hear, and feel inside.

David held her for a while too as she continued to tell us that there are too many kids on the playground and school is hard. Then David drove her to school on his own because the school thought that would be better than both of us coming. The director recommended we get her there earlier so she could setting in with the kids, and so we did this morning. And in retrospect we thought we should have done that on day one too, so she could watch the other kids come in and not be the last person joining an established group.

When we pick her up, we bombard her with questions about school, and now I completely understand why parents do this. A while ago my sister was complaining that my mom kept asking her what she had for lunch. “I had a sandwich, mom! I mean who cares!?” But I totally get it. I don’t care what my sister had for lunch, but I want to know EXACTLY what my daughter had for lunch, how it tasted, how much she ate, where she ate it, who she sat next to, what it was wrapped in, what she drank, what utensils she used. I WANT TO KNOW IT ALL! I want to know what they talked about at circle time, what they did for play, what the library looks like, who the other kids are, what they are like, whether they poop in school, if diapers are changed standing up, truly no detail is too small for me.

Right now we ask how school was, and she thinks really hard, and then replies through her wet eyelashes, “Good!” But then she looks off to the distance and looks back and says, “I cried a lot.”

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School Drop-off 3

The school director this morning shared that she had been crying all day for the past two days.

We were like, “Oh, you mean, for a while after drop-off? Or like the morning?” and she replied, “No, all day. The teachers remind her to breath, she breathes, and then she starts crying again.”

We suspected as much, but it still did not feel great.
I really did not expect school to go this way. Part of me thought the school would tell us she was so advanced they would move her up to the older class, and I would feign modesty.

Anyway, the director shared that this is the first time she is not getting what she wants, and it is very difficult.
“What does she want?” I asked.
“You two.”

Today at pickup her voice still sounded hoarse, but she seemed more cheery. So we are hoping it’s getting better. And she told me she liked school, she played, and she caught the rain, which was great, because this morning she kept repeating, “I don’t like school!”

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School! School.

TODAY IS THE SECOND DAY OF SCHOOL.

She had been excited about going to school, because we have been talking about school for months. On the playground one day, a kid on the swing next to her told her he was going to school, and she excitedly replied, “I going to school too!” Also, Daniel Tiger goes to school.

So yesterday morning in bed, I said, “You know what today is?” and she sleepily replied, “School.”
She told me she would be taking Baby Yoda and lunch box to school. (Her water bottle is a Baby Yoda water bottle.)
I had laid out her outfit for the day, and she said, “Not this one, this one,” picking out a dress. She also went and selected different socks. She hugged Minnie Mouse, and said, “Oh Minnie, you’re so sleepy!” (This Minnie Mouse stuffed doll is asleep at all times.)

Downstairs, David said, “Let’s pick out your shoes!” This was a mistake, because none of the shoes she likes are school appropriate. Negotiations ensued, and finally she put on sneakers with Velcro straps. She has a pair of sneakers in size 5, 5.5, 7, and I think she’s actually a size 6 right now. She wore the size 5.5 shoes. We took a family picture, got in the car, I put sunscreen on her, and we headed to school. We are supposed to drive up to the gate, and take her out of the car. As I was unbuckling her, she softly said, “I’m scared, mommy.” It took a lot for me to say, “You don’t have to be scared, you are brave,” and not, “I’M SCARED TOO!” and start crying. She didn’t start crying though! She took the school principle’s hand and walked to the gate to join her classmates.

Then David and I drove home, teary eyed. We went to Coscto, bought her a giant toy, came home, I exercised, and then at 2:45 pm we received a “Day in the Life” email where the first paragraph said, “Practice self soothing skills while crying at home. I had her focus on taking a deep breath in and exhale and that helped her calm down.” To which David and I both thought, “We need to go get her immediately.”
Pickup was at 3:30 pm, and we spotted her in the playground clinging to one of the teachers. The teacher walked her to us and said, “She missed you a lot.” She definitely seemed shaken, and her eyelashes were wet. In the car she told me, “I cried a lot.” At home when she cries, she tells me, “I cried a little, better now.” This was the first time she said she cried a lot.

This morning, she calmly said, “Come to school mommy,” and I explained I couldn’t. I shared that parents weren’t allowed at school, because it was an opportunity to learn and to make friends. Then she thoughtfully nodded, and said, “Mommy, come to school.” This discussion continued for a few minutes. We got dressed for school, with her picking out an ensemble that does not match at all. Then we headed downstairs for breakfast, and she put on her size 7 sneakers.

Then it started, “I don’t want to go to school.” “I don’t like school!” “School is hard!” “NO!”
We got into the car, and I applied sunscreen (and she helped) and then she said, “Lion King songs.” She loves the Lion King music. “Bad Lion song,” she asked to hear this morning, which is fine, because we have heard “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and “Hakuna Matata” a lot.
When we needed to take her out of the car, there was another kid screaming and crying that he did not want to go to school, and our daughter began the waterworks! “Did you work on her breathing?” the teacher asked, and I shared we did. She clung tightly and screamed, “I DON’T LIKE SCHOOL!” The teacher asked if she told me they did yoga yesterday, and I said, “Oh! No! She didn’t!” But blog, guess what, my daughter HATES yoga even more than I do. This isn’t even a dislike I have told my daughter about. Every time I try to do yoga or engage her in it, she said, “No no no,” and walks away.
In my head, I was like “Ugh, really? No wonder she hates school.”

Finally I put her down and ran toward the car, as David helped pass her to the teacher. It was difficult, and I did not like it, and I hope she’s okay.

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It’s April now

I don’t know if I’m doing this right, but I would describe motherhood as being exhausted and in love – all the time. And I’ve always have a questionable relationship with time, but now I see it even more as an abstract concept. My child is growing, hesarta mashala, and my parents are, I don’t want to use the word withering, but their bodies are not able to keep up with the love and spirit they still have.

EDIT: I wrote this in April and never published it, because it was incomplete. But I’m publishing now (August) and picking a random April date to publish it.

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