Cleaning up my act

Recently I’ve been playing a game called “That’s Not Where That Goes.” And by game I mean “never-ending loop of picking up after myself.”

pickupyourshoesThe perk of—and the problem with—living by yourself is that things stay exactly where you last put them. So if I am too tired LAZY to, say, put away my gym clothes and shoes after a workout, they can (and do) linger in the exact spot I kicked them off. Which in the case of the shoes can be literally inches away from where they’re supposed to go, as you can see from the photo at right.

Yesterday I folded laundry and instead of putting away the lone pair of underwear from the batch, I put them on top of the dresser. Because opening the drawer to put them inside just didn’t seem like the right thing to do. (I didn’t actually put them away until after I started typing this paragraph. I didn’t even have to get out of my swiveling desk chair to do it.)

I noticed that I was leaving an ever-increasing trail of detritus in my wake, to be picked up when it finally got big enough for me to pay attention to. Continue reading

Leisure sure takes effort

IMG_3684Me, most of this week.

I think I now understand why most of those Real Housewives act so batty.

I took most of last week off, solely because I had use-it-or-lose-it vacation time to kill before early September. I didn’t have any actual vacation planned, or any milestone events (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, funerals) to attend. Because I’m still trying to pay down debts, I decided to eschew any money-siphoning adventures in favor of just hanging out at home, under the premise that any day spent not-at-work is a welcome break.

“I’m going to be a lady of leisure this week!” I vowed.

Continue reading

When yes requires no

abnegationlogoYeah, I don’t think I’m ready to join the Abnegation faction quite yet.

When I was growing up, my parents raised four kids on a truck driver’s salary. It’s sort of a marvel to me how much we did:

  • Musical instruments and/or lessons: Mark: clarinet; Tina: drums;  Tammy: French horn; me: piano.
  • Sports activities and equipment, as desired/required: Powderpuff football for the girls; soccer and tennis lessons for me.
  • Braces and headgear for three out of the four of us. (Curse Mark and his good teeth, which required only a retainer!)
  • New clothes for school every year.
  • Cars for every teen of driving age.

We had food in the refrigerator, presents on holidays and our own allowances, all in a house that was big enough for us to have our own bedrooms.

“How did you do that?” I asked my mom once, having realized that they managed all of this on less than I make right now.*

* Mitigating factor: CPI inflation. What my dad made in 1980 would translate to nearly three times that amount in 2014, so comparing his salary then to my salary now is deceptive.

“Well, we didn’t do anything,” she replied. And it made total sense.

Continue reading

Solitary confinement

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 8.48.02 PM20th Century Fox

When we were growing up, the worst punishment my parents could think of for one of my sisters was to make her go to her room and close the door. She’d last five, maybe 10 minutes before they’d see the door stealthily drift open a hair’s width. To her, kiddie solitary confinement was pure torture; my other sister wasn’t a fan of it, either.

Even I managed to eventually do something that warranted punitive action—I know, unimaginable, right?—so Mom did what had worked so well in the past: marched a kid to his bedroom, closed the door, and …

“FOUR HOURS LATER, I finally came to see what you were doing,” she recalls. “I opened the door, and there you were just sitting there reading, happy as a clam. I don’t even think you remembered that you had been in trouble.”

I never outgrew that. A few weekends ago, I spoke to a total of five people. Two of them were baristas, one was the guy who runs my favorite Thai food place, and another was the woman who took my breakfast order at Phoenix Public Market. So my sole conversations were with Mr. Brooks, and they clocked in at about 15 minutes.

It was delightful.

Continue reading

(Law) Suit and (Tongue) Tied

A few reasons that I might not give an assignment to a potential freelance writer:

  1. Pre-emptively announcing that you will be submitting articles not electronically but via typewritten pages.
  2. When I reply that we wouldn’t accept them in that format, calling me “persnickety” and saying something like, “If it’s only 200 words, how long would it take someone there to punch it in to the computer?”
  3. Asking what sort of fields my company specializes in.
  4. When I suggest that you can find such information on our website, asking me for my company’s web address.
  5. Oh, and this is a big one: SUING ME TO GET AN ASSIGNMENT.

Continue reading


“Toes Shouldn’t Have Bangs”

“Toes shouldn’t have bangs.”

— Jen Ortiz, who wrote my favorite sentence in the latest issue of GQ magazine in a short piece about how fellas need to groom their feet during sandals season. (So use grooming scissors or clippers to trim back your toe hair.)

shirt070614 shorts070614 shoes070614
The shirt: Cotton V-neck T-shirt by Mossimo, from Target.
The shorts: Camo-print multi-use shorts, also by Mossimo, also from Target.
The shoes: All-Star sneakers by Converse, from PacSun.


What Sam Wrote: “A Survival Guide to Healthy Travel”



Part of this article, which just appeared in Arrive magazine, was inspired by a spill I took over holiday break in Hawaii. I ended up with a sprained foot, on Christmas Eve, in an area OwOwOwwhere more flip-flop shops remain open on holidays than medical facilities do. The rest of my trip was spent pretty much supine, or hobbling around on crutches, which limited the number of beaches I could enjoy.

Continue reading