Author Archives: theotherjulie

Everything no one remembers.

I thanked a co-worker who retired from the Army for his service yesterday, adding “On Veteran’s Day and every day.”

And then, this morning, I realized that Veteran’s Day is today, not yesterday.

MULTIPLE CHOICE POP QUIZ

Question 1: What did I think to myself when I realized my mistake?
A. Oops, wrong day! Guess I was just early!
B. Oh my God I’m such an idiot here I am thinking I’m being all nice and whatever to this dude and turns out I have the wrong freaking day and he’s probably like “wth?” and I am so embarrassed.

If you chose B, you are correct.

Question 2: What did my co-worker think when I thanked him?
A.
Thanks, I appreciate it.
B. Whatever, idiot. Veterans Day isn’t until November 11. Nice try.

If you chose A, you are correct. I know this because his response to me was, “Thanks, I appreciate it.”

Question 3: What is my co-worker thinking right this moment?
A.
I can’t believe she wished me a Happy Veterans Day yesterday. Was she just trying to look good? Because she obviously doesn’t actually care if she didn’t even know what day it was on. She can try and try, but it’ll never be good enough.
B. Literally any other thought.

If you chose B, I am pretty sure you are correct.

Question 4: How do I feel right now?
A. …more silly than when I realized I had the wrong day.
B. …like making some oven-roasted broccoli tonight for dinner.
C. All of the above.

If you chose C, you are correct.

The crowd goes wild!

I’ve often wondered how all these professional athletes have felt playing their sports in empty stadiums and arenas. They’ve got to feed off of the crowd, right? Who wouldn’t feel great walking up to bat and hearing your name chanted and people screaming in excitement? (The opposite is also true, I guess – though I guess some folks revel in being booed. At least that’s what I’ve gathered from watching professional wrestling).

Being cheered on is a FLIPPIN’ FANTASTIC feeling, so I wanted to give a great big ol’ socially-distanced hug to all y’all reading this right now. I’m working very hard to write something – anything – regularly again and like any habit, it’s going to take discipline and time. But seeing your comments has been such a treat, folks. It’s a very bright, clean spot in what’s been a pretty dingy few months.

Miaou! Ouah!*

Aren’t pets the best? I can’t speak for any domesticated animal other than cats and guinea pigs, but I’m confident that those who keep dogs, birds, bearded dragons, and terra cotta Bob Ross heads slathered in chia seeds would all agree: pets are the best!

I had a guinea pig that my mom trained to stand on its hind legs for carrots and kale. Each time he heard the refrigerator door open he’d jump on top of his little guinea pig abode and make that adorable-to-some-but-terrifying-to-others guinea piggo squeal: wheet! wheet! wheet!* and beg for produce.

And our cats. Little assholes that they can be sometimes, they are both really either very snuggly and purr-y or zooming around the house acting like very entertaining fools most of the time. Each of these operating levels are cute and funny and yes, also sometimes annoying depending on the time of day, but… pets! The best!

Our current plan now is to probably have a dog eventually, too, but I’ve always believed that dogs need s p a c e and I can’t feel good about having one cooped up in our apartment (or crated) all day long. Our schedules sometimes align to where no one’s in the house for like 10 hours. That seems like a long time to hold in one’s pee. But I guess I’m not a dog? Are they different somehow?

This post has no point other than: If you’re still feeling weary and O V E R I T today, spend some QT with your pets. And if you have no pets, spend some QT on #catstagram. Do NOT view anything but adorable cats. You’ll thank me later.

*Typing out the sounds that animals make is also the best. No – what’s better is seeing what sounds animals supposedly make in other languages. I was shocked to discover that roosters do not, in fact, “cock a doodle doo” in France. Instead they gives a very regal “co-co-ri-co!” which is, honestly, much more dignified. But French-speaking pigs make a sound that’s spelled “groin” (pronunciation unknown?) so I guess that makes up for it. And the title of this post is, as I hope you guessed, “meow” and “woof” en Francais.

Well…how did I get here?

Right now I’m drinking cold brew coffee with a splash of vanilla almond milk and a squirt of agave nectar and this bonkers-ass sentence is brought to you by This Is Not The Life I Thought I’d Get.

Right?

Sometimes I find myself in a completely unfamiliar place, surrounded by everything I know and with which I’m incredibly well-acquainted. I look around with that loose, looking-at-a-Magic-Eye-gaze and a slightly open mouth that no one can see behind a homemade face mask* and think damn is this real life? and David Byrne starts playing in the background somehow and I have to sort of concentrate my way back into reality.

This skepticism with The World Around Me is so multilayered that if I think about it too hard my brain would end up in a Very Weird place but I think I can break it down into a few simple examples that we’ve all shared – or could possibly share? – at some point in our lives.

1. My toothbrush runs on batteries. Batteries power my toothbrush. I turn it ON. If my great-grandpa rose himself up out of the Missouri bootheel dirt he’s buried in and we were chatting and our conversation naturally veered toward our dental health and I told him that my toothbrush needed new batteries he, too, would probably glaze over and start humming “Once in a Lifetime.” My point here is this: a helluva lot that we take for granted is, objectively, nonsensical in the right context.

2. I am not an astronaut. I didn’t even come close to being an astronaut. 13-year-old Julie was obsessed with space. My career goal for a short but intense period of time was to be part of the space program. It was such an obvious career path that my awful grades in math and lack of hand-eye coordination failed to raise any red flags in my adolescent mind. My point here is this: what was once so obvious as true becomes obviously false in no time at all. Same as it ever was.

3. I’ve served people food while wearing inline skates. I’ve edited a newspaper. I’ve been enrolled in a doctoral program. I have unintentionally reinvented myself more than once. My point here is this: I sometimes forget that the hard stop that sometimes occurs between Life Stages doesn’t erase what was before. I forget that I have a Master’s degree. I forget that I chaperoned a trip to Shreveport, Louisiana once. I forget that I was fired from my high school newspaper for failing to turn in articles on time (Yeah, I didn’t “lose the disk it was on.” I never wrote it. Glad to get that one off my chest). My god, what have I done?

Whether you very suddenly realize that your existence is absurd and all this is likely just a large-scale simulation or you find yourself reminiscing about how your past self imagined yourself reminiscing, my point here is this: none of us are living the life we thought we’d live. It’s impossible to. The inanity of Life, with its 180 degree twists and turns, the ebb and flow of careers, friends, lovers, hobbies – that’s what got us here. Not our expectations, predictions or fanciful daydreams.

Suck on that through an illegal plastic straw for a bit.

*”Homemade” as in “I paid** my friend’s mom money to sew them on her machine, not “homemade” as in “I taped page 7 of the LL Bean catalog across my face.”

**”Paid” as in “Magically transmitted money from my cell phone to her cell phone via an app and a technological process that I still do not completely trust and probably never will.”

real quick now: reporting back

A quick between-posts update on my experiment of yesterday:

I didn’t write anything down.

<insert crying-laughing emoji here because lol julie what did you tell yourself oh so funny you predicted the future lol lol lamorslfololololamo>

Because this is an inconsequential thing over which to dwell / lament / beat oneself up – I won’t.

(I will say this: I was a few percentage points more aware of the songs in my head yesterday and this morning. This counts for something, for whomever counts such things).

What’s on your daily soundtrack?

How much thought do you put to the song that’s currently stuck in your head? If you’re like me, a song plays on a loop in the background of your conscious thoughts for most of the day. Only sporadically do I focus my attention on that music: What song is that? Why is that song playing in my head?

Sometimes it’s a song from a commercial that I don’t even remember seeing or it’s one I heard playing in the background as I shopped or dined out. Sometimes it’s triggered because some of the lyrics contain words I repeated to myself or heard others say- maybe I even read those words somewhere?

Of course, what’s playing is just a line from a larger (longer) whole: the chorus, perhaps? Occasionally just music without words; these times can be the most frustrating for me because sometimes I can’t place the larger piece from which my brain has arbitrarily taken it.

I’ve set out to intentionally write down each time I’m aware that a song or piece of a song is stuck in my head in a given day but this is not the simple task it poses as.* See, this requires a level of mindfulness that is difficult for me to maintain for an entire dang day. My success comes in fits and starts: I’ll start off strong and fade. Or I pick back up as the day is ending. But to do so throughout an entire day? Difficult.

But not impossible!

I’m going to give it a go today.

To start: I have a bit of a song in my head but I have no idea what it is. I’m going to dive down a Google/YouTube hole and come up for air in a bit. Stay tuned, folks…

 

*as which it poses? Under which it poses? Help.

I am unmotivated by motivated people.

Happy Daylight Savings Time, y’all! It’s already November, which means it’s time for me to suddenly remember that I vowed last year to participate in NaNoWriMo – or, as I like to call it – Naw, imma no write no mo’.

Because that’s what I do, every year.

This year, though? This year will be –

Eh. The same.

What happens when one falls into the habit of beating themselves up for not doing x, never starting y, putting off z? Well, let me tell ya, Dear Fucking Reader: Their drive to do anything is gradually eroded into a delicate pile of pulverized hopes and dreams, scattering to the four winds with an errant sneeze.

So I’m tryyyyying – sorta – to give myself a little grace. I guess. But not too much, because I think it’s probably important that I have a little discipline, too. Nothing hard was ever achieved without hard work. That sounds like something I saw in an inspirational tweet once, I think.

So I’m NOT 30,000 words into my debut novel right now.* But that doesn’t mean that I can’t take some initiative and get back in the swing of things. See? I’m writing this now! Look, ma! I’m doing it! Actually, don’t look. There’s too much swearing here.

Until next time, pals. I’ll try not to make you wait a month for another post.

 

*I don’t even want to write a goddamn novel. Fiction is HARD. Telling stories that I’ve lived through or heard about it way easier. Right? This can’t be just me.

Do people without microwaves drink their coffee faster?

“You strike me as a minimalist. The kind of person who doesn’t have a trash can or a microwave.”

I took this as a compliment when someone told me this the other day, but I was quick to correct her that I am most definitely not a minimalist.

Wouldn’t that be something, though?

I occasionally catch myself daydreaming about that possibility. And at the risk of sounding full of myself, I think I could hack it a bit more easily than some. Again – because I think about the logistics of it fairly regularly.

Of course, I’m only considering my own personal definition of minimalist: one without extra stuff. Someone who uses everything they have. I don’t think I’d take it so far as to get rid of the trash can. The microwave could probably go, though. We can go days without using ours. In fact, my only regular uses for it are to warm up cups of coffee that I’m taking too long to finish or to gently warm up a sandwich or make popcorn. Sandwiches can be warmed in the oven. Popcorn can be made on the stove.

I guess I could reheat my coffee on the stove, too?

Or just drink it faster.

 

Hi-ho, Cheerio.

I have a dim memory of the introduction of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios to my local supermarket aisles. One moment while I consult the Internets to confirm that this occurred within the span of my memory.

Ah, yes. 1988. This tracks.

Anyway. My point is: I’m old enough to recall a time when only two Cheerios flavors existed: OG Cheerios and Honey Nut, and the hubbub surrounding the addition of Apple Cinnamon to this grainy fray.

Of course, more flavors slowly appeared over the years. I believe Multi-Grain Cheerios was one of the next to be introduced, no?

One moment.

Yes. Released 1992, relaunched 2009.

The mid-2000s unleashed a steady stream of new flavors: Frosted. Fruity. Banana Nut.* And as time passes, the onslaught increases in frequency. More recently we’ve seen Peanut Butter. Chocolate. Ancient Grain. Even a Pumpkin Fucking Spice flavory’all.

I always turned my nose at these oat monstrosities. I was disappointed in Cheerios for caving to such silly demands for breakfast garbage. A Cheerios purist, I am.

Until yesterday, when Gentleman Friend and I went grocery shopping and he added a box of Blueberry Cheerios to our cart.

I rolled my eyes, but readily admitted this was not a downright terrible combination. After all, Kellogg’s is currently churning out boxes of brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts cereal. It could be worse, is all I’m saying.

And after trying a bowl of Blueberry Cheerios this morning, I felt compelled to publicly announce that I’m once again a Cheerios believer. The power of blueberries compels me.

 

 

*Looking for a stage names for your gay men’s barbershop trio? Here. You are welcome.

 

Source.

Mistgakes? I’ve made a few.

It’s been not-quite-one-year since I took a new job with the same company. In that not-quite-a-year I’ve learned, essentially, one single lesson:

I don’t know anything.

New ways of doing old things, the proper ways to submit Official Stuff, Who is in charge of Whatever, how to get ahold of that Who… not to mention my newly-broadened vocabulary, which includes several dozen new acronyms that I sprinkle sans abandon into my everyday speech.

I went ’round and ’round with several people today, in an attempt to “fix” a problem that – erm, turns out – was of my own doing. After realizing my error, I unleashed a barrage of “Thank you for your patience while I learn this process” emails. Somewhere along the way, I read that this is a mentally healthier than simply saying “sorry I fucked up” over and over and over, and “mentally healthier” is one of my top priorities as I navigate some of these finer points of my job.

Turns out, it’s really – like really-really – easy to get caught up in the argh I don’t know what I’m doings and I’ll never get any of this right the first times. Ironic, considering that these are statements that, when spoken by anyone other than myself, I’m able to easily shoot down. Of course you won’t get everything right the first time. How else will you learn? Who is perfect on their first try? You’re being ridiculous.

Maybe the person I should be thanking for patience is myself.

 

 

 

*Fun fact: The misspelling in the title was completely unintentional. Then I decided to leave it.