Everything Happened | vol. 204

I'm Aware I'm a Wolf


I am so tired of talking and thinking about the pandemic, not even the walloping death and misery of it, but the way our routines have shifted and snapped because of it, and yet it feels like it will be a long time before any conversations exist fully separate from it. It’s the smoke on your clothes after a night out. It’s just there.

Desi and I had a joint dentist appointment the other morning and when it was my turn in the chair, the hygienist asked me what grade he was going to enter in the fall. “Wow, so you did kindergarten at home, what was that like?” Her eyeballs popped out at me from behind her face shield.

Desi was there sitting by my shins, swinging his legs, watching whatever YouTube trash she had put on the monitor to occupy him. He was not paying attention to us or maybe he was. Stifling my usual compulsion to entertain, I took a beat and said, just, “You know what? He did great.”

”Good!” she said, and got right back to scraping tartar.

That was…so easy, I thought. Maybe all I’ve ever had to do to get out of tedious conversations is suppress my insatiable appetite as a laugh vampire!!!!!

(She says as she writes her newsletter for attention.)

What was my point. Right. I am watching TV again! This is as pandemic-influenced as everything else, I’m afraid.

I don’t know if it was oversaturation of the home environment or just depression more generally, but after a lifelong love affair with TV, I had a temporary break-up with the medium. During most of the pandemic, I could not bring myself to fire up the tube after the kids were in bed. I would try, watch the first three minutes or so of a few different shows, then give up and do crossword puzzles on my phone in bed until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

While my child-free or normally hypersocial friends seemed to be ingesting more TV than ever, I was consuming none. Parents of small children have vanishing windows of the day to watch adult media in the first place, and I just couldn’t scrape together the concentration required. When I was sick and fatigued during the beginning of this pregnancy, I was going to bed so early that TV wasn’t even an option.

At night I would go to bed, and Nick would have his laptop out and some kind of streaming content going on the big screen as I kissed him good night, and it was like he had some niche lifestyle I didn’t understand. Like he was from a different culture.

How strange. But now I’m back!! Feels great.

I have been watching crime shows since I was a kid making money ironing my dad’s work shirts in the summer (a nickel a shirt…..LOL mom you robber baron) watching Murder, She Wrote and Magnum, P.I. Some of my coziest memories are of falling asleep on the couch with my mom and waking up as the closing credits of Law & Order started clanging away.

When SVU came out, I remember my dad being too squeamish to sit through the gruesome sex crime stuff and my mom and I chuckling at his softness as the most prurient shit I’ve ever heard in my life was calmly discussed by two detectives on screen.

If you believe in police abolition and prison abolition, as I do, how do you contend with longstanding affection for copaganda television? Great question, don’t know, will get back to you….

I was radicalized by Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and since then, have not tolerated crime TV the same way I did as a kid. Sometimes it hits the way it used to, sometimes it disgusts me. I’m not saying it’s moral to continue pursuing crime TV for entertainment purposes; it probably isn’t. But I am saying that sometimes when a crime show takes place separate from the American justice system, for example in Europe, I allow myself the bullshit belief that I am slightly less complicit. Like Joan Didion said, “we tell ourselves stories in order to enjoy the streaming content we want to enjoy.”

Anyway, I started realizing that all these shows I’ve been mainlining (Capitani, The Black Spot, The Forest) are starting to run together. And why is there a wolf? So I present to you:

TOWARD A UNIFIED THEORY OF LOUP DES BOIS SHOWS

THE SETTING
We are IN THE WOODS. Or rather, we are in a village somewhere in western Europe and we are nestled in the woods. There are devastating dark bottlebrush conifers snagged with white mist caught by God’s-eye drone shots as we follow a character by car down a winding wooded road. If I had Sondheim literacy, I would probably be able to make enjoyable Into the Woods references throughout this newsletter but unfortunately, I was raised by a different varietal of nerd!

The village is adorable but stifling. Everyone has known each other since école maternelle and everyone’s children went to école maternelle together. All adults have straightforward, Richard Scarry-type jobs that allow for plenty of interaction with fellow townspeople. A police officer. A teacher. A public official. A baker. A pharmacist. A doctor. Everyone lives in a tastefully appointed cottage-y housing no matter their job or marital status. (Unless you are a known drunk or outcast, then you probably live in squalor. But everyone still knows you from école maternelle.)

There is something extra isolated and unusual about the town. A quirk of geography that makes it especially remote. The wi-fi doesn’t work. The bus to the next big town only runs a few times a week. Maybe the town was the site of a gruesome murder years ago that launched it from comfortably unknown to notorious and with a backwards reputation. This only serves to bind the townspeople closer together. The outsiders don’t get it! This crime either went unsolved, haunting everyone, or it was solved incorrectly.

And, for freshman English reasons, there is a wolf. In the woods. Maybe wolves plural. That’s why these are called loup des bois shows (according to me) (Ebert 2021). Can a loup des bois show not have a wolf in it? Technically yes, as long as it’s still Europe and we’re still in the forest. But don’t worry. You might start a series and wonder, hm, no wolves. But there’s probably gonna be a wolf at some point! You’ll get your wolf.

THE PEOPLE
NEW IN TOWN. This person is usually single, and it’s usually a man. They’re new, they got called in to help with whatever crime has happened. Or maybe they just moved there for a fresh start! Maybe they had a wife and she died. It’s also possible that they grew up in the village, left for decades, and have now returned. They do things a little differently! They are rubbing everyone the wrong way. Townspeople not sure whether to trust! This person is probably a cop which means that after decades away, they are now going around accusing people from their past of unsavory things. And that’s just not how it’s done around here! Not when you’ve known someone since école maternelle.

LADY COP. She’s a cop. She’s a woman. She probably has children. It’s hard to be a mom. She has a blind spot for her fellow townsfolk because violent crime is so unusual here and, again, she went to école maternelle with these people!!

NICE HUSBAND
Clean cut, charming husband of lady cop. Unfortunately, it is not possible for a woman cop in a loup des bois show to have a good husband. He is either doing fraud or being a sex pest. If he’s a sex pest, it’s probably teenagers. He’s either being a creep online or having encounters RIGHT UNDER THE NOSE OF HIS COP WIFE. As though anything gets missed in this village! What a fool he is making of her. He probably didn’t do the big crime but for a few episodes you wonder.

BAD HUSBAND
Rough-necked alcoholic dad. Negligent parent. Is taken in for questioning at least once. He’s so easy to frame! Probably didn’t do the big crime, but you do wonder!!

THE PARIAH. Off-grid weirdo with a criminal past and a substance problem. Things have always been hard for this guy, even way back in école maternelle. He probably has guns and animals strung up around his shack. Again, he probably didn’t do the big crime. He also probably didn’t do the first thing that people thought he did that pushed him into the woods to begin with. IS IT THE VILLAGERS WHO ARE THE REAL LOUPS DES BOIS?!! This guy might be a sex pest but probably not. He just wants people to go away! Is that so hard to understand!

THE TEENS
The teens are in over their head. It’s sex. It’s drugs. It’s Online. The teens have a secret. The teens can’t explain it to you! The bad teens are really good and the good teens know more than they let on. They let it go too far. Their friend is dead. Their classmate is dead. Their sister is dead. How do we reach these teens? Could teens struggle even here in our wooded village?!! Who killed this teen? Can we find this other teen? Someone knows something. Someone help the teens!!!!!

THE ENDING
They solve the new crime, just in time. They probably solve the old crime. Someone is finally going to get out of this village for good. Someone else has decided to stop pretending. Some reputations are rehabbed. Some well-regarded creeps are disgraced. No one can believe it. The teens can believe it. The teens are so unbelievably stoic. Wolves happened.

FIN

yr mate,
Evie
###
Like NPR, this newsletter is free but donations help. You can leave me a cash tip here or become a patron through Patreon. My lowest patron tier is $3 which is cheaper than a movie, a pack of cigarettes, or many ATM fees!

Twitter / Instagram

Everything Happened | vol. 203

Going for the gold

I wrote an essay for Romper about my son’s picky eating that came out last week. (Read it here, fwd to a friend to save a life!) For so long, I didn’t use the p-word for fear that speaking it aloud would make it so. Pickiness was beyond venial to me. Might my son become an addict? Sure, maybe! Can’t outfox the genes! Might he vote GOP? Why not. Alex P. Keaton effect. But he was not going to be picky just as he was not going to be the kind of person who leaves a Starbucks empty on the towel shelf at Target.

Ha ha ha.

I am no longer embarrassed that one of my children is picky. I am embarrassed that it took me thirtysome years to have empathy for picky eaters of all ages. I don’t mention it much because I don’t want to give more oxygen to any of these attitudes than is already out there but I used to be a real dick about parenting! Back when I was a perfect parent, which is to say, before I had any children!! I remember when I was 18 working at a full-service car wash, vacuuming crushed Teddy Grahams out people’s disaster breeder minivans and wondering where it all went wrong for them.

I now own a disaster breeder minivan and it is a point of great pride for me. The seats fold all the way down flat! I am Alexander. No worlds left to conquer.

Anyway, I was nervous to put the piece out there because as much as I don’t hesitate to put my kids’ business out there on THIS HERE newsletter platform and on Twitter, which in my sweet simple mind is my personal property, haha, unleashing it into indelible internet memory felt more complicated! In winter 2020, I wrote about my experience hiring a sleep consultant for the same spirited child. I felt weird about that too but we were broke and needed a dishwasher and I was paid nearly the exact amount at which our Bosch compact dishwasher retails, the only dishwasher that would fit within our narrow midcentury kitchen cabinetry. We love her. I hope Desi understands someday!

My other hesitation is that I know there is a prevailing cultural belief that it is on parents as individuals (let’s be real, moms) to take on labor to optimize our children (read Edan Lepucki on this plz). I can’t express to you the tremendous high I felt when I finally unfollowed the extremely benign “kidseatincolor” account last year. I guess I assumed that people who are still following a bunch of kid nutrition accounts trying to Charlie-Day-red-string-meme together a better eating life for their kid would be mad. How dare I opt out???

The person that I am imagining here, the hater, is clearly just a mirage of my former self. The feedback I got was just lovely and I appreciate it so much. Thank you for reading and sharing.
***
Five summers ago, I was watching the Rio games from a hotel room. Just absolutely zooted on the freedom and glamour of being in….Toronto, Ontario. Lol ok probably it was the bitter room coffee I was downing and that I had recently weaned my baby, and that baby was a whole international border away from me and I had slept that morning until I naturally opened my eyes.

The first six months of Desi’s life were easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done and on the other side of that experience, I was cranked on my own power. I would think things like, “I have a baby and a Master’s degree and you can’t tell me what to do” in work meetings where people were very much in a position to tell me what to do. Then I would go home early for no reason. You couldn’t tell me shit. It was weird! I still don’t care about work (oops) but I very much feel my limitations all the time. For a few months in 2016, everything felt possible and nothing at all mattered.

Anyway, I was in this head space when I was watching the Rio games in a robe and decided it was not impossible for me, then 30, to become an Olympian. If I picked a sport that was new or unpopular among my countrypersons maybe, I could commit to intensive training and qualify for the 2020 USA Women’s….I don’t know, Archery Team. Shooting of some type? I wouldn’t medal, please be serious. But I would be there! I can’t overstate how serious I was about this for about 90 minutes.

I will not be representing Team USA in Tokyo this year, which you might have seen coming! I remembered my brief but intense Olympic dream this morning as I was driving home from the gym, feeling more strong and athletic than I have in years despite being all veiny and pregnant. “Making it to the gym frequently and getting enough sleep is my Olympics” is a thought I had earnestly from my disaster breeder minivan.

I have recently come under the delusion that I am going to “get something done” before I 3D print this next baby and then surrender the following year to survival. Josie Duffy Rice introduced me to the Most Dangerous Writing App on Twitter, an app that deletes your progress if you do not make a keystroke for 5 seconds. Maybe a draft of something will have to come from these short bursts of adrenaline and terror if it is to ever happen. You know, like an Olympian.

yr mate,
Evie
###
Like NPR, this newsletter is free but donations help. You can leave me a cash tip here or become a patron through Patreon. My lowest patron tier is $3 which is cheaper than a movie, a pack of cigarettes, or many ATM fees!

Twitter / Instagram

Everything Happened | vol. 202

Mayfly

It’s just me and my five-year-old this week and there is an almost awkwardness to the absence of the rest of our household. It feels like a room that’s been removed of its furniture. Simpler but strange.

There is a mental binary I use to categorize people, my own personal astrology, which groups people into potatoes and forks. I am a potato and my son is a fork. I feel this tension when we are together, when there are no other potatoes or forks around to diffuse things. What is the fork going to do but stab, and who is the fork going to stab but me.

I’m not rending my garments over it but I have had some moments this school year of wondering where in the hell I got off deciding I was equipped to parent. My son needed things I couldn’t give him because of our circumstances, but he also needed things that I could give him but was too tired to give him. Or I just didn’t feel like giving him. He is a fork, he would ask directly for what he needed, the way I taught him, the way he is naturally inclined to do anyway. And I would say, Buddy I just can’t right now.

School has been a black box of mystery this year. The bus picks him up and brings him home and I don’t go in the classroom and learn the faces of his peers and I never have passing conversations with his teacher where I glean intel. He thankfully doesn’t have homework (can you imagine) so the information I have about kindergarten is what he chooses to tell me.

Sometimes I am able to ask things in a way that produces information, but usually I sort of zone out and ask him “how was school?” over and over again until he tells me I’ve already asked him that. I am embarrassed and reminded of the spaced-out half-considered questions adults used to ask me. If I am more focused, I can remember to ask him if he played with certain friends. Sometimes he will unknowingly drop a scrap of gossip about the home life of one of his friends and I will savor it like a forest animal licking morning dew from the leaves.

In case I am making our relationship sound strained or complex, it isn’t. Frankly, he is obsessed with me. He draws pictures of me, wraps his limbs around me, pets my hair. If he could sleep next to me every night, he would. He thinks I am strong and funny. He descends the school bus steps and shouts “Mommy!” as he runs to the porch. I note that the windows on the bus are all down and everyone can hear him. He doesn’t care at all. Sometimes to be a potato stabbed by a tiny beautiful fork is the most precious thing you can imagine, especially since you can imagine how soon it will cease.

I don’t see much of myself in him. I see a lot of his dad in him, even though his dad is a potato like me. His enthusiasm, his high energy, his stubbornness. Yesterday from the shared quiet of him watching TV and me sitting beside him looking at my phone, he offered that he didn’t do any work on his insect model because he didn’t know how to get started. There were too many pieces. He was behind.

Last week, he had his first homework assignment of his life. He had to create an “outline” for his insect life cycle project, which if you are a kindergartener means answering four questions by having your parent look up the answers online. I synthesized the life cycle questions into age-appropriate sentences and let Desi spell them out himself. His outline looked shitty, because a five-year-old did it, which is how it should be.

Desi had picked a mayfly for his insect because they only live for one day. He is drawn to the macabre, maybe not so unlike his mom after all. He was asked to bring some recycled materials from home to make his insect in class, but I assumed the teachers would provide some structure for this. It is actually a lot to ask of a group of five- and six-year-olds to make a specific sculpture from a pile of miscellaneous trash. Desi stalled out. He didn’t know how to start. Everyone set to work around him and he panicked. Unbearable for a fork.

I am no stranger to the impossibility of task initiation. Nick and I have no formal diagnoses but our minds are unruly. I think of my brain as a dog whose owner is asked politely to leave obedience school because the dog is hopeless and is causing problems for the other dogs. Then, Nick and I took our bad brains and created a new brain from busted parts, a chop shop situation. All children are imaginative and distractible (right?) so I had never really thought about my son’s personality as pathology. I pinned the thought to consider later, and told him I had an idea.

Together we made a plan for his mayfly model. I broke down the mayfly into all of its parts and Desi decided which materials would be best suited for each part. He drew a map of sorts, indecipherable to anyone but him, and I folded it into his backpack this morning so he can work alongside his classmates today with more confidence.

I am writing this now to avoid initiating a task for my actual job, because I am in an eternal marriage with my bad brain. If I couldn’t give him a more durable brain for the world we live in, I am glad that I can share with him some ways I have found to cope. And when I see my own struggles reflected back to me through a child, it seems unkind and even outrageous to call mine or anyone’s brain “bad.”

yr mate,
Evie
###
Like NPR, this newsletter is free but donations help. You can leave me a cash tip here or become a patron through Patreon. My lowest patron tier is $3 which is cheaper than a movie, a pack of cigarettes, or many ATM fees!

Twitter / Instagram

Everything Happened | vol. 201

Chicken shit


Everything smelled like chicken shit that week.

Poultry manure contains all 13 of the essential nutrients that plants need, which sounds like a cereal commercial but which I actually pulled from a soil science journal just now. They call it “litter,” which for some reason makes me gag more than “manure,” and it is essentially a fitfluencer’s branded green superfood smoothie but for crops. The best way to administer this health slurry to your crops is by “broadcasting”, and broadcasting fertilizer is pretty much what it sounds like: ambiently misting your acreages with liquefied poop.

As you can imagine, the poop mists do not burn off like the morning fog. They linger on, in the form of….it really really smells like shit. Hershey, Pennsylvania smells like chocolate, and Provençal towns smell like lavender in July, and every time I opened my front door in late March, a wall of chicken shit smell accosted me and spiked my cortisol. I wondered why we use “chickenshit” to mean fearful, when they should use it more accurately to describe the kind of crockery-smashing anger I felt when I smelled it.

Anyway, I don’t know if the eau de “litter” was especially bad this year or it was just my (then-unknown) condition. All I know is that I spent the week that I was solo with the kids, a week that was otherwise fine, raging about the smell. Mostly to myself but also to others. On work calls. In therapy. It was how I began all conversations, the way you would if there had just been a crazy storm the night before.

I had to tell my college roommate’s little sister that I was pregnant before I told my husband. Colleen, despite (I’m sure of this) still being seventeen years old, is a board-certified OB/GYN and I needed someone to tell me it was okay to get my second vaccine dose as an, apparently?!!! pregnant person. Because I was scheduled to get my second dose the next morning and I wasn’t going to tell Nick while he was en route home from Ohio in the dark and risk him passing out from shock and driving his rental Nissan over a cliff.

It was a tight timeline I was trying to work with. That Friday morning, Nick drove his dad to his radiation appointment in Cleveland, burned rubber back to his dad’s house an hour outside of Cleveland to teach his three courses via his dad’s anemic wifi. Then he had to submit midterm grades, and drive back home to us on the far eastern edge of Maryland’s butt crack. Saturday, first thing in the morning, we’d pack the kids up and drive back west an hour and a half to get our second vaccine inside the Ravens stadium, which probably has an Idiocracy-style corporate name that I refuse to acknowledge.

There were only about 16 hours between me peeing on the test I had bought solely to will my late period to arrive and us needing to be in the stadium for our second dose. I had not bothered previously to learn anything about vaccination in pregnant women, as a woman who was not going to become pregnant.

So I texted Colleen, and she told me to get the vaccine. A relief. I didn’t have to come up with a different plan. I could avoid thinking about the alternate universe I’d somehow plunged us all into until after I was good and Pfizered.

I had spent the last two years tortured by the question of additional children. I wanted someone to tell me that I can still have a peaceful, fun marriage with more kids, that I could still create and stretch myself and have thoughts in my head beyond school pick-up schedules and TikTok songs. That we would be able to afford vacations, that we would be able to afford retirement, that we would able to expand our hearts and selves instead of dividing them.

When my sister was in multi-organ failure last spring, my therapist told me to stop looking on the internet for answers. Her disease was so rare and her situation so unique, there was nothing for me to learn. “You won’t find your sister on the internet.” She was right.

The more I looked for someone to tell me to go ahead and have the third kid and it would all work out fine, the more I realized how eager I was to assign authority to anyone but myself. I wouldn’t find my family, my marriage, my personality on the internet, among my friends, or in therapy. It was always going to be a risk but that didn’t mean any outcome was pre-written. It would still be my life. And you can’t find your life on the internet.

My second pregnancy was so difficult that no part of me was wanting to repeat the experience, but I felt sure that I would regret not having more when I was older. Unlike my previous two children, conceived from a brain stem place of NEED BABY NOW, a third baby felt more like a calculation. And when Nick told me he felt that our family was complete, it was this difference that made the information easy to accept. You can’t grab every pickle in the jar and still retain the ability to pull your hand out. You can leave some pickles in the jar.

Maybe being chickenshit is actually noble, I thought. Maybe listening to my fears meant I had a backbone. That I was in tune with myself.

Getting the first dose of the vaccine in late February was a thrill like the last day of school as a kid or like arriving at the airport for a much-anticipated vacation. A day where I participated in some administrative drudgery with anti-gravity glee because of what it all means. We also sailed through the process, and were in and out within twenty minutes of arriving.

The second dose felt more like the errand that it was. It was late March, and the crowd, absent before, now looked like airport security. The stadium loomed like an ark and we slowly wound ourselves through the rope barriers in its cold, sunless shadow. The kids weren’t sufficiently bundled for the weather, and we’d not brought snacks or toys with us from the car, expecting an experience like the first dose when we had jogged through the line.

All told, we spent two hours there. It was fine, obviously not fun but we managed. At least Baltimore didn’t smell like noxious fertilizer. The injector stuck me while I wasn’t looking, while I was trying to herd Jane out of people’s way. I felt a little cheated, like I had missed my opportunity to intensely lock eyes with this masked healthcare worker and commit the historic event to my long-term memory. But then, also, it was over, and a football stadium full of people were waiting to be next.

There were not other children there that we saw, and mine made an impression by being 1. extremely cute duh and 2. extremely loud, their treble laughter swelling to fullness like the concrete stadium was an opera house built for this purpose.

As the four of us moved from the injecting stage to the spaced-apart seating for the 15-minute waiting period, our human calamity was clocked by a uniformed National Guard reservist working the event. She motioned to us and we walked over.

"Was this your second shot?" she asked.

"Yeah, for both of us."

"You all are free to just leave if you want, and skip the waiting period. You know, give the kids a break."

"We’re allowed to do that?" I asked. This was incredible news.

Her smile was hidden by her mask but I watched her eyes turn down at the corners as she laughed at me.

"I can’t actually make you do anything. So you’re allowed to do whatever you want."

yr mate,
Evie
###
Like NPR, this newsletter is free but donations help. You can leave me a cash tip here or become a patron through Patreon. My lowest patron tier is $3 which is cheaper than a movie, a pack of cigarettes, or many ATM fees!

Twitter / Instagram



Everything Happened | vol. 200

Winner winner

I look back now on the months I spent subscribing to a meal subscription service with a kind of compassionate bewilderment. Like all people enduring the 13th month of this thing, I am sick of making my own meals in my own kitchen. But because we have young children and live in a small town with limited restaurant options anyway, we were sick of cooking our own meals before all of this. We’re just also still sick of it.

I don’t know what the condition is where you don’t remember anything unless it is suggested to you, but if you ask me my favorite kind of music I will not be able to answer you because I will forget the name of any song I have ever heard. I think this is why I have always felt so ASSISTED by the creepy AI recommendations on websites. I would like that! Thanks for thinking of me!

The point is that on the occasion that I have the executive function to strategically plan a grocery shop to account for a week’s worth of meals, I have suddenly never heard of food. I will scroll Pinterest boards of recipes and feel astounded that previous-me pinned these tasty looking ideas. My past self, my personal recommendation software. A lot of times the recipes are too fussy or not seasonally correct or I actually remember making them and it being a bust. It is rarely as fruitful as you might think.

I will end up buying the same things every week, some green onions, bagged greens, some starchy veg, fruit for the kids, a tub of Greek yogurt, sack of Babybels, peanut butter, brick of tofu, sandwich bread, almond milk, the usual. The recipe life feels too prescriptive and the lack of recipes feels too freeform. I am somewhere in between yet still hungry 3-4 times per day regardless.

Sure, I can make something halfway decent from the Chopped basket that is whatever we have in the fridge when I open it at 4:45. But no one is ever very excited about it, least of all me.

Of course, Nick also cooks meals around here but the truth is that he has about four he rotates between and the thrill of having not had to plan or execute the meal is quickly lapped by the disappointment of having to eat my 200th pandemic quesadilla.

From the first meal kit that arrived I knew it was not the answer my family was looking for. Nick is Gen X enough to be skeptical of anything that is packaged as a service to improve your life (clearly for impractical dummies!!), and while he is too well-mannered to be a dick about it to me, I have to admit that there can somewhat be an almost ozone-charge to the air around us when I decide to buy a dumb thing. The sharp smell of…..judgement.

Maybe you have also pretended to love something because it seems more desirable, in the short term, than admitting that you were wrong AND you still don’t have a better solution.

The service, which is called H*ngry R*ot, bills itself as a grocery replacement, though we still had to buy things from the store every week. You will get the ingredients for as many complete meals as you want to pay for, plus extra produce and snacks. This presupposes that you want to snack on “cookie dough” made from chickpeas, which I will assume you do not.

It pretty quickly became clear to me that for a vegetarian household, the meals were always going to be a pre-seasoned seitan or tofu and some kind of tub of pre-made sauce. I don’t know what to say about it except that the meals were just kind of sad.

There was one week that we were trying to get excited about a pasta bake, and Nick said, with gentleness, “Is the food just kind of….gross?”

It was. It probably always had been, but there weren’t enough hours of daylight yet for me to see true north. Things are different in the winter. You try to pretend that any food you don’t have to think too much about is better than the alternative. I used to think that. Or I did for a while, because I was cold and also depressed.

After the “this is gross” revelation, I paused the account. By solving the problem of planning meals, it created additional problems, like pressure to use everything up before it went bad and to maintain the cognitive dissonance that it was better than the alternative. Now we’re back to our old system, which is to say, a lack of system. Last night, I made the mushroom and burrata stuffed shells from Nothing Fancy and Nick and I couldn’t believe how good it tasted. It almost felt like dinner could be something other than the worst time of day. I have hope.


yr mate,
Evie
###

This is the 200th edition of Everything Happened!!!!! This is the longest I’ve ever kept up a “blog” or maintained an independent creative project. Thank you to everyone who reached out with kind words about my friend Lauren earlier this week. It means a lot to me. Here is the link again for her kids’ GoFundMe.

👇ASK ME ANYTHING👇
For the 100th edition, I did a mini advice column where readers asked questions and I answered them. I thought it would be fun instead to do an AMA, Ask Me Anything. I know that I form parasocial relationships with writers whose work I’ve followed for years and sometimes I am curious about things in their life but it really isn’t my business to ask because we’re strangers!!! Maybe you find yourself thinking similar things about me! Idk indulge me, it’s my newsletter’s bicentennial (definitely a thing). Ask below in the comments and I will reply in the thread.

Leave a comment

Loading more posts…