The end of the beginning. The beginning of the rest.

Today is Hailey’s first day of their senior year so we went outside to take our annual photo and I got a bit teary when I told Hailey that this will probably be my last time taking a first-day-of-school photo. The look on their face when I said that was of excitement, and wonder and fear and it was the perfect photo in that moment:

And they said that they would ask their roommate to take a picture of them for me on their first day of college, which was very nice but I explained that probably I’d be there too, secretly taking a picture with a telephoto lens so that they had privacy and could live their life with autonomy but that they should be prepared for me to yell, “STAND UP STRAIGHT” from my hiding spot in the parking lot and that probably I wouldn’t be the only mom hiding in a parking lot and the other moms hiding in their cars or perched in tree branches would be like, “Fucking THANK YOU, why do they never stand up straight?” and then suddenly the whole flock of college freshmen would scatter like spooked deer but that I hoped they’d look back and smile for a moment so I could get one good shot in before the police removed me.

Anyway, that’s how it’s going over here. How are you?

It’s a good month for reading

This month’s Fantastic Strangeling Book Club choice is so, so good. It’s The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean.

I devoured this atmospherically creepy and gorgeous novel.  Well, not literally.  But after reading the book I kind of wanted to.   In fact, I loved it so much I made my own book house inspired by the cover and only got glued to it four times.

A truly unique premise in a dark fairytale that kept me guessing until the end.  Want a taste?

Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries.

Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories.

But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.

Eerie.  Unsettling.  Beautiful.  Heartbreaking.  Fascinating.  A story about the complexities of family, of neurodivergence, of impossible choices, of parenthood, of misogyny and consumption.  It’s a modern take on vampires and like nothing else I’ve ever read.  I immediately knew I needed to share it the moment I finished it.  

The first chapter is the perfect appetizer that will leave you hungry for more, and the rest of the of the book is a tasty feast of dark treats to consume. (I’m so sorry about the food puns. I can’t help myself.)

Need more than one book to get you through the month? SAME.  August has some fantastic new releases and a few of my favorites are:

All of This by Rebecca Woolf – A provocative and complicated memoir about the complexities of grief, desire and being human.  The most gorgeous prose in an honest and fascinatingly authentic voice.  I loved it so much I wrote the blurb for it.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – An utterly unexpected, raw and hilarious and heartbreaking memoir by the star of iCarly and Sam & Cat.  She candidly shares her struggles as a former child actor – including eating disorders, addiction and a very complicated relationship with her dysfunctional mother…and how she took control over her life. Dark, hilarious, maddening, hopeful…all the things you want in a good memoir. I loved it so much that I’m doing an online book event with her and you need to come.

The Last Karankawas by Kimberly Garza – An emotional novel about a tight-knit community of Mexican and Filipino American families in Galveston, Texas. It reads more like a collection of short stories than a novel.

The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito – Another outlandish body horror manga from the award-winning and relatively twisted mind of Junji Ito. Guaranteed to make you say, “What the shit am I reading?” but in a good way.

Paris by Andi Watson – A sweet, quick sketch about two star-crossed young women who fall in love in Bohemian Paris in the 50s.

And now I’m going to open up the FS facebook page to discuss last month’s book (Florida Woman by Deb Rogers) but if you don’t do facebook you can check out my thoughts in the comments. And it’s always the perfect time to join the club if you’re looking for a great monthly read with fascinating books.

Happy reading!

I assure you, I am housebroken.

Just a follow up to this Twitter post…

…which elicited concerns of “God, I really hope it’s not you, Jenny” until I realized this issue and followed it up with this:

And that elicited responses if “yeah, it could’ve gone either way with you honestly” and also, “How is Miss Dorothy now?” And the answer is that after many tests they don’t really know why she’s been sick but the doctor suspects it’s bc “dogs are just weird sometimes” and so she’s on a bunch of meds which have helped a bit but then last night at 3am she woke me up whining and I could see the look of imminent diarrhea panic on her face so I jumped up to take her outside bc if she gets sick in the house she tries to run away from the diarrhea, which doesn’t work and just leaves lines of poo on the tile like a treasure map no one wants and as soon as I opened the bedroom door Dottie FLEW down the stairs but as she leapt off the last stair she landed in an actually impressive hunched Spider-Man crouch and immediately shot out the most enormous turd ever.  And then she ran to the door bc she wasn’t finished so I took her out and when I got back all of the cats were gathered around the turd like they were summoning a terrible demon and they looked at me like, “WTF, dude?” and I didn’t know what to tell them because I couldn’t tell if they were impressed or disgusted.  

And that’s pretty much how my whole weekend went.

Judy Snarland furever

So the other day Victor and I were at a resale shop and I saw this little bit of fried gold.

And Victor was like, “That is toddler’s tutu and we don’t have a toddler” and I explained that it was a vintage, hand-sewn costume AND CROWN for $15 and that he just didn’t have the right kind of eyes to see its magic and then he may have accused me of becoming a hoarder because I was buying something I’d never use and I accused him of being a terrible parent because it was the perfect size for Judy Snarland and then the cashier just sort of stared at us because I guess he wasn’t used to couples having disagreements in the store.

And so I explained to the cashier, “Judy Snarland is our daughter” and Victor was all, “JUDY SNARLAND IS A DEAD CAT YOU LIKE TO DRESS UP IN PEOPLE CLOTHES” and then the cashier was probably convinced I actually was a hoarder so I pulled out my phone and showed him pictures and explained that Judy Snarland is a taxidermied bobcat rescued from an estate sale who would look fantastic in turquoise and the cashier did not disagree.

(Victor would like to point out that the cashier didn’t agree either and was probably just scared.)

Regardless, Judy Snarland was thrilled.

But it was almost impossible to get the tutu on myself (by myself, I mean…I didn’t try to wear it myself) so I asked for help and Victor was like, “I’m busy being less crazy than you” and I kept ripping the the claw covers off Judy’s paws and that’s why I currently have cat scratches from a bobcat that’s been dead for 50 years.

But after two bandaids (and some help from Hailey) Judy Snarland was ready for her close-up.

But then I was like, “I dunno…is it too much?” and Victor was like, “It’s a taxidermied bobcat in a sequined tutu. Of-fucking-course it’s too much. It’s always been too much.” But Hailey understood what I was saying and suggested that “less is more” when it comes to bobcat costuming and I think they’re absolutely right.

Perfection.

PS. Thank you for all the sweet words last week. I’m feeling a bit better and am crossing every finger that I’m moving steadily out of this hole.

Notes to myself, part 3

I’m still exploring the bizarre notes I seem to have left for myself on my phone. Most are ridiculous but I can still make some sense of them but today I’m sharing the baffling notes I left on my phone with no additional text that probably meant something at the time but are now secret codes I no longer have the decoder for that you may feel free to use as a band or cult name:

“Deviled Eggs Toilet Paper”

“Michelin Man Costume”

“Arthritis Hair Sake”

“Traveling windows?”

“CORN HOLE”

“Chicken Wax Restoration in Quickbooks”

“TARTER SAUCE TORSO KILLER”

“Hysterical Euphonia”

“Never leave the bookshop”

“GARBAGE SOCKS”

“Soybean burger: Elf Kidney”

“Learned how to sign an asshole with Judy Blume!”

“ACCIDENTAL CAT FUR MASK”

“Bitey/Stabby”

“If my wings keep falling off, staples?”

“Let’s do seagulls”

“T-rex helicopter”

“WELD DOG OUTFIT”

“Daddy long legs are friends”

“My socks are broken”

“Put new pantyhose on the cantaloupe”

“NOPE”

UPDATED: I kept looking at GARBAGE SOCK, thinking it was a note to make socks out of garbage and then I realized it was a typo from when I was reminding myself to buy garbage sacks but I’m keeping it because I’d totally join a cult called GARBAGE SOCKS.

UPDATED AGAIN: Victor reminded me that “Chicken Wax Restoration Quickbooks” was a very important note I made that I bought some restoration wax to shine up Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken and I needed to mark it as a business expense. THIS IS ALL MAKING SENSE NOW.

UPDATED AGAIN: Hang on. Victor to the rescue again. I did not learn how to autograph buttholes with Judy Blume, apparently. I did a zoom with her once and there was a sign language interpreter interpreting us and she had to keep signing the word “asshole”, which I was apparently very entertained by because it looked like the hand symbol for “okay”. From now on when I’m dealing with an asshole I’m going to just do the symbol and be like, “okay!” but secretly know that I’m adding a silent “asshole” to every sentence.

UPDATED AGAIN: I put pantyhose on the single cantaloupe I was growing in the backyard a few years ago to keep bugs from eating it, although I had forgotten this until now. Past me was very smart. And confusing.

%d bloggers like this: