Quarantine and Isolation and Crying Into Whiskey

I grew up in the midwest, and in the midwest there are two things that are almost guarenteed: you have a garden, and you were on a baseball team for years and years as a kid (sometimes not consensually). Trust me, it’s a whole thing.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about America’s dumbest pasttime, I’m here to talk about gardens. Our garden growing up always had a piece set aside for me and one for my brother, and we each got to grow whatever we wanted with it. I always grew pumpkins because apparently I was a basic bitch all the way back in the mid 90s… I’m a trendsetter.


Pumpkins, for those of you who don’t know, are one of the most dramatic things that you can grow. They grow from nonsense little nodules on the ground to monsterous things in what seems like a couple days. I’d swear sometimes I’d measure my bigger guy at night, then again in the morning and he’d have grown. Pumpkins are an awesome thing to grow if impatience is one of the defining traits of your personality.

I think my quarantine depression was a lot like a pumpkin… because the other thing about pumpkins is you really never know how big they’re going to grow. Sometimes they get giant, sometimes they don’t… but unlike other crops you really never know when it’s gonna stop until it does.

Which can sneak up on you. pumpkin2

I didn’t anticipate quarantine being particularly fun… I hate going more than an hour or two by myself, weeks and week is my personal hell. I wasn’t unaware of that going in… but I was committed to doing what was necessary for everyone’s benefit.

So when I found myself with a little pumpkin of depression I didn’t worry about it.

If we’re really leaning into this pumpkin analogy, at first I was bringing in groceries and just had this tiny pumpkin to also deal with. David would ask if I needed any help bringing it all in but I’d say no, I’m fine. pumpkin3

But my pumpkin kept growing when I wasn’t paying attention to it. By the time I realized what was going on my arms were WAY too full to be holding all the groceries AND ALSO this giant-ass pumpkin… but I was still on “take care of everyone” auto pilot so when David kept asking if I needed help carrying everything in I’d say no, I’m fine. pumpkin4

Until eventually it was like a goddamn Wizard of Oz scene but instead of boss bitch shoes sticking out from underneath a two bedroom ranch style, it was my dirty chucks sticking out from under a giant pumpkin of unmitigated loneliness and despair.

In the grocery/pumpkin analogy… all the groceries had been crushed and my (happily) feral children live on crackers and by eating peanutbutter straight out of the jar with a spoon.

(I’m kidding, Verona honestly might be a better cook than me and is VERY excited to have me out of the kitchen.)depression4

I’ve watched other people go through mental health issues but have never dealt with it myself outside of a teensy tiny bit of postpartum shenanigans I had after Finn. When that happened one of the things I noticed was that all the colors in the world seemed muted and sad instead of vibrant and beautiful.

Now, I’m not ACTUALLY alone in quarantine… David and the kids are here too.

But any parent will tell you, you can love the shit out of your kids but hanging out with them still doesn’t necessarily make you feel less alone. And David is a (wonderful amazing lovable) introvert who is an essential employee, so throughout this whole thing he’s still working 40-55 hours a week.

I would live for that little bit of time during the day when I got to spend quality time with another adult… it became my sole fixation… I was like a junkie, but instead of crack I was over here smacking my arm, jonsing for eye contact and non-digital adult conversation.


For that little bit of time some colors would come back, and the feeling of unrelenting loneliness would back off… for a while.


Eventually though, I’d start remembering that this time was going to end.
Dude still had to work.
This can’t last.
Tomorrow is another day of soul crushing loneliness stretching out in front of you.


It feels unbelievably stupid to feel alone when you’re with someone amazing who thinks you’re the coolest thing since sliced bread. But these are strange times we live in.

After a few (too many) days in a row of a lot (way too much) crying I got in touch with a therapist again and that has been really helpful. She gave me some fancy diagnosis words that basically mean depression that will naturally go away when the shitty situation goes away… so once I can people all the time again I should start feeling more like my regular not-crying-all-day self.bar1

She asked me to think about what I really WANT… like, once I can do whatever I need to feel better again, what would that look like if I could just do whatever.

I said I want to go to a packed bar (or restaurant or whatever… it’s not about the alcohol, it’s about the crowded environment where it’s not socially awkward to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know)… just elbow to elbow full of people. And I want to just be there, in the crowd of humans all day… day after day after day after day. The kids and David are welcome to come too as much as they want, I’m definitely not tired of them, I just (puts on Ariel wig) I wanna be where the people are.

And at night, when I get tired of sitting up at the bar elbow to elbow with all of those glorious strangers, I want to curl up underneath the bar and go to sleep to the gentle hum of noisy alcoholics. bar2

So yeah… that’s what’s going on with me. I’m struggling, but I’ll be fine. And I know that this will all end and I’ll be my normal happy self again.

In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying quarantine more than I am.

Hey y’all.

I have gotten to a point in my life where I have things to say that aren’t necessarily always funny and good fodder for the general public. I have started a anonymous blog, (that I’m sure I will end up neglecting as much as I neglect this one) if you know me well enough to ask about it I’ll shoot you the link.

Weight Loss is Weird

So this morning I was having a conversation about weight loss with a friend about how weird it is that you can’t really talk about weight loss but then I realized… fuck… I have a blog, I can talk about whatever the hell I want. So here I am.

So let’s talk about how weird it is to lose weight.

This past year I’ve lost over 50 lbs… I’m not sure of the exact number because I’m not sure what my heaviest was, but probably something between 50-60 lbs gone so far. (I could tell y’all about it but honestly it seems like the kind of thing only a handful of people would really care to hear about anyway.) And guys, the whole experience has been TRIPPY. So let’s talk about it.

Weird Thing About Weight Loss #1: You’re not allowed to talk about it. 

I’ll set the stage: It’s first thing in the morning, you stumble to the bathroom with your eyes only about 20% open, turn on the shower, absentmindedly hop on the scale and see some new victory. (I’m ALL ABOUT non-scale victories btw… but that’s for a different post.)

You’re pumped! You’re moving in the right direction! You went to that Mac and Cheese Festival last weekend and didn’t magically balloon back to your previous weight because of it! (Shut up, I know that’s not how science works, but it is how my brain works.) You want to REJOICE!

But who do you tell?

You can’t bring all this excitement to any of your fat friends… they don’t want to hear you bragging about how you’re doing what they can’t seem to accomplish. You can’t text this pic to your skinny friends either, because this victory is still WAY bigger than they’ve ever been sans pregnancy and they genuinely think that’s it’s pretty easy to be skinny because they’ve just always done it without trying.

So… maybe you have, like, two other friends that are either currently losing weight with some amount of success or have lost a fair amount in the past couple years so they’ll still get it. Maybe. Maybe you have, like two, of those people. Maybe not.

But it’s weird because weight loss is SO FUCKING HARD. Borderline impossible at times. So you spend HUGE amounts of mental, emotional, and physical energy dealing with this thing you’re trying to accomplish EVERY SINGLE DAY and you just keep it to yourself.

That’s weird.

Weird Things About Weight Loss #2: People start being nicer to you and it makes you mad.

People are nicer to attractive people, there is an insane amount of evidence on this. And EVERYONE does it, I’m not trying to talk about those assholes out there who do this… we all do it, millions of years of evolution have melted it into our brains that we need to put forth the most effort when dealing with people we view as potentially resource allies or mates. It’s natural. I get that.

However, if you’re lose a substantial amount of weight in a relatively short period of time you notice really clearly when you cross that line.

And, to be clear, I never really felt like people were being actively UNkind to me when I was fatter… they just go out of their way to be kind to me now. Go hang out at any store and watch people walk in… some people the person behind the counter is going to look up, nod at, maybe say good morning, and go back to their work. Some people the person behind the counter is going to look up, straighten their posture, smile big, and a “good morning” that is more genuine than rote. It’s real. I’m not blaming the kid behind the counter, but fuck all if that isn’t a real thing that happens.

But let’s get back to the weird part… the weird part (at least for me) was how mad it makes me sometimes. I walk in somewhere, and I get the big happy “oh, I see that you’re hot, welcome to the store!” welcome and I just. get. pissed.

IT’S A REALLY WEIRD FEELING TO GET ANGRY AT A STRANGER BECAUSE THEY’RE BEING TOO NICE TO YOU. (Especially when you don’t actually blame them or think that you’re any better.)

So yeah, I don’t have any big insights on that one… but it’s weird, and it’s happening.

(P.S. “The line” was Size 12 for me. “<Size 12 Jenna” is totally worthy of all the extra smiles everyone has to give out. “>Size 12 Jenna” is meh, no thank you, apparently.)

(P.S.S. “The line” is also the point at which guys start yelling inappropriate and uncomfortable things at you on the street. So losing weight definitely isn’t all thumbs up. Like, dude, I’m just trying to walk to 7 Eleven to get a coffee and to get low-key offended by the gal behind the counter when she’s too nice to me… I don’t need to hear you extol the virtues of your dick out the window of your mom’s 1986 Impala at 10:15 in the AM. I just don’t.)

Weird Thing About Losing Weight #3: Your body doesn’t become magic, just smaller.

When I was really fat I had this idea of what my “skinny body” would look like if I ever got there. That idea was based IN NO WAY on what my body looked like when I was skinny before, what it has ever looked like, or what it will ever be capable of looking like in any world. I basically just pasted my head on Minnie Driver’s body in my own imagination and was like… well, curly dark hair and all… so that’s exactly what I’ll look like.


I’m not really sure why this size 10 dress from Target hasn’t magically made me four inches taller and not saggy yet… but I’ll let you know if the magic happens anytime soon.

Weird Thing About Losing Weight #4: People keep expecting me to be beyond happy now.

When I see people I haven’t seen in a long time they’ll comment on how good I look, and if the conversation really keeps going they often want to ask how much better I feel now and how much happier I am.

And I feel like that’s just such a weird question to ask.

Because I am really happy now. And I do feel really good now. But I felt really good and was really happy before too. I know my story isn’t completely average because I was losing in different ways and with a different mindset then a lot of people just because of the issues with food I’ve had in the past.

But I wasn’t healthy when I was skinny before. And I didn’t feel good. And I treated my body like shit.

And when I was bigger it was (partly) because I was trying to fix some of that stuff, so at my heaviest I was also, in a lot of ways, far healthier than I had ever been before in my life. And also infinitely happier because I was finally giving my body the love, nourishment, and care that it deserved.

I’m happy now. My body feels really good now.

But I was really happy when I was fat. And my body felt really good when I was fat too.

Anyway, there are a million more weird things about this whole process but I should probably go be productive instead of word vomiting on the internet again. I’m sure I’ll write more about all this in the future, but I’d love to hear if anyone else who has lost or gained weight had things they found particularly weird during that journey.

Death before dishonor.

When I was a kid I had crazy allergies to cats. I actually had a cat when I was younger, but after that I developed a crazy next-level allergy to them… the whole thing was bullshit and I’m still kind of mad about it but whatever. The world isn’t fair.

That meant that for a while I was deathly allergic to cats, but also I was a tween girl and tween girls want nothing more than to snuggle fuzzy animals. That combination caused my parents a lot of grief.

So one Saturday we were with my dad and for some reason decided to stop by this small country antique store on the way to his house. We walked in and I could immediately tell they had a cat, I could feel it in my rapidly closing windpipe in the air. My dad knew that a tiny country antique store is basically the worst place for a cat to be because tiny country antique stores are just stacks and stacks of stuff that have never been dusted, so he preemptively gave me most of the bennadryl we had in the car, then made me swear that if I actually found the cat I would. not. under any circumstances. touch it. Being inside that ancient chest of dust and dander was one thing, but actually touching the animal on top of it would definitely send me over the edge.

My dad is a smart guy who knows his stuff, so I didn’t touch the cat.




Just kidding. I touched the shit out of that cat. He was enormously obese, fluffy, grey, and every damn time my dad turned away I was all up on that fuzzy little bastard… and the cat LOVED it which really didn’t help.


When we got out my dad said he thought my eyes were looking puffy, and asked if I’d touched the cat… I said no. Because fuck you dad, I’m 11 years old and I can take care of myself.

As we drove off I could already tell something was super wrong. The last thing I remember is trying REALLY REALLY hard not to breath too loudly even though breathing was getting really hard because then my dad would notice what was going on and I would literally rather die than admit that I shouldn’t have touched that damn cat.

My dad’s version of the rest of the story (because I don’t remember anything after that) was he heard something raspy in the backseat, flipped the rear view mirror down, and saw me covered from head to toe in enormous hives, eyes swollen completely shut, gasping for air.


Luckily good ol’ Conrad is a medical professional so he says he immediately pulled the car over, crushed up all the remaining benadryl and forced it down my throat with some water, then hightailed it to the closest emergency room where I was brought back from full anaphalactic shock through the magic of modern medicine.

My roommate says this whole thing is just an example of why Aries can’t be trusted to make good life choices, because we’re all “death before dishonor” but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with the fact that 11 year old girls should not be trusted when fluffy mammals are involved. When I was a little older our insurance decided to let me get allergy shots… four shots a week for six entire years… so now I’m not NOT allergic to cats, I’m just regular person allergic, but I still keep about 12 times as much bennadryl on me at all times as a person could ever possibly need.

Because you never know when there’s going to be a dirty old antique store with a cat.

The time I accidentally harassed a stranger outside Trader Joes.

Once upon a time, approximately 75 years ago, I was in college. I went to a fancy private school where I majored in Bible and Religion and minored in Musical Theater because apparently I desperately wanted to be in debt for the rest of my natural life but also had no interest in ever being employed. Ever. I existed almost entirely on a diet of Totino’s pizzas and Natty Lite, and lived with David and a dude named Orp.

Orp was a giant and incredibly hairy man so we called him our “house bear”, and he called us mom and dad because I took care of him when he was drunk.

Orp is amazing and hilarious and I hadn’t seen him in years… until a few days ago when I was going to the grocery store first thing in the morning in my trashy morning sweatpants with a giant pizza stain on them and some pretty tragic morning hair. I was waiting for a couple to cross where I was going in to park and lo, and behold, it was Orp.

I rolled down the window and screamed, “Orp! Orrrrrrrrp!”


The guy turned and looked, then kept walking, but I was pulling in there anyway so I parked and got out and yelled again “Orrrrrrrrrp!” He looked at me again and started walking away a little faster.

I feel like I should have said earlier that sometimes Orp is a real dick… in a funny way. I thought this was him being a dick and pretending not to know me, so I started to run after him dramatically screaming, “House bear! Stop running house bear! Give your mother a hug! Orp, give your mother a hug!” and it wasn’t until the guy literally began to run away from me that I realized… that’s not Orp.


I mean, it looked exactly like Orp… but this was just a really terrified dude who looked like Orp and thought a crazy person was running after them… because I did look a little homeless and now that I think about it “Orp, house bear, give your mother a hug” doesn’t make sense without a lot of context… oh shit.

I reread everything I just wrote and am now realizing it’s a dumb story about a thing that happened yesterday while I was trying to buy bagels… but I already drew these pictures so I’ll probably just publish it anyway. When you came to this blog I never once promised that these stories would be good.

I like to imagine that Orp’s doppleganger is at home writing a really rambly blog post about the crazy woman who tried to attack him in a parking lot.

Let me tell you a little something about mac and cheese.

The other day I made a joke about how I’m a pacifist in life, but violent as shit when it comes to making mac and cheese… you know, when all the florescent orange powder clumps together and you have to stab it repeatedly like you’re the villain in a low budget horror flick just to get it to mix in. It was not a particularly well thought out joke, just something that flew out of my brain and, subsequently, onto anyone near by because I have no filter.

The responses were about 50% “omg same” and 50% offers to give me a “real” mac and cheese recipe so my poor deprived children don’t have to eat that tragic orange powdered shit from Trader Joe’s anymore… which means the responses were 50% from people who live in the real world and 50% people who apparently live in some separate universe that I don’t understand.

First of all, I feel like it’s unnecessary to point out how nutritional void boxed mac and cheese is.

It doesn’t take a pediatric nutritionist to figure out that a $.77 meal from a box that I threw a handful (or three) of extra cheddar into isn’t the pinnacle of healthy eating… nobody in this world or the next has ever mistaken mac and cheese for healthy food. If I thought it was packed full of nutrients I wouldn’t throw broccoli in for my kids to begrudgingly pick around.

Secondly, I don’t need any fancyass mac and cheese recipes. I can tell you for damn sure that if I’m making boxed mac and cheese it’s because I’m too lazy to make anything better. If I was up to making some pinterest mac recipe that involves a roux then I just won’t make mac and cheese. I’ll make stirfry. Problem solved.

The alternative to mac and cheese (at least in my house) has never been “real food”.

If I’m making mac and cheese it’s because the alternative is handing my kids a jar of peanutbutter and a spoon and telling them to go the fuck to town on it… so how above a little praise for rising above that impulse.

So those are my late night rambling thoughts about that magical box of a meal-cop-out that we all know and love. That absurdly florescent meal that nobody’s kids bitch about. That failure of a dinner that has come to the rescue of parents everywhere who literally could not even by the time 5:30 rolled around. That horrifyingly judge worthy lazy person meal that we’re all a little ashamed to feed to our kids but even more ashamed to love ourselves.

Long live shitty mac and cheese. Sorry not sorry.

Conversations with baby boomers: Rap

Me: “I don’t understand this song, why would I need to brush that dirt off my shoulder? What does Jay-Z think I’m up to over here?”

Dad: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Why is there dirt on my shoulder? Never once in my life have my shoulders just been dirty… my shoulders are like the last place to get dirty. Either my shoulders are fine, or it’s a “whole shower” type dirt situation. What sort of activity is he involved in that just his shoulders are getting dirty?”

Dad: “So many things! Anything where you’re extending your arms above your head has the potential to get your shoulders dirty.”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Dad: “Like when you’re putting Christmas decorations away on a high shelf, or dusting fans, or trying to get bats out of your attic.”

Me: “You think Jay Z wrote Dirt Off Your Shoulder about trying to get bats out of him and Beyonce’s attic?”

Dad: “Yes. Rich people have bats too Jenna, bats don’t discriminate based on your income, bats can’t even read so they wouldn’t even know how rich Jay Z was. Bats are universal problem and brushing your shoulders off is just how it goes.”

So there you have it, one of the great mysteries of our generation… solved.

An Old Person’s Take On Modern Slang

It has recently come to my attention that I am an old old woman… and I have the grey hair to prove it. And as an old woman I have now bestowed upon myself the right to refuse to learn new slang, which really just means I don’t know what slang means so when younguns start talking to me my brain translates everything they say wrong.


What I think it means: Registered Nurse. Duh. Cause that’s actually what it means.

So when my token young person friend Demetrius tells me I’m being “too hyper RN”, there’s always like 5 seconds where I think he’s telling me I’m too jittery to adequately do his IV. And I’m like bitch I’m not trying to give you an IV, if you need an IV you need to go to a hospital.

What it really means: Right Now


What I think it means: The tiny purse called a clutch… which as slang I can only assume means something that’s meant to be helpful but is really just more trouble than it’s worth and totally useless. Seriously clutch, if all you can hold is my ID and $30 I’ll stick that shit in my bra and then have my hands free… WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU?!?!

So when someone says “My mom is totally clutch.” I’m like “Yeah, I never liked your mom either… but it’s not her fault she’s dumb as a box of rocks and ugly as sin.” and then things get weird.

What it really means: awesome


What I think it means: Beyonce, because Bae sounds like Bey. Or poop, because it’s also the Danish word for poop.

So when people say, “I have a new bae.” I don’t answer. Because they either met Beyonce or they just took a really impressive trip to the bathroom and feel the need to tell me about it… but getting those two confused would be really embarrassing so I better just keep my mouth shut.

What it really means: Someone you love… I think.


What I think it means: I have no imaginary meaning for fleek. It sounds weird, I don’t understand it, and it never seems to be used in the same context. I like to think I’m pretty creative but seriously, I’ve got nothing.

What it really means: I seriously have no idea what it means. Like, at all. And also I think it sounds dumb… and I adamently refuse to learn what it means and try to use it which is something I can absolutely do because, remember, I’m old now.

Conversations With Children: What It Means To Be “Too Mean”

I am a firm believer that if you keep your feelings inside they will ferment and come out of you as farts, so I try to let all my feelings out as they happen, lest I suffocate my poor dog who sleeps under the covers with me that night.

Which means I don’t hesitate to tell other drivers what I think of them, but since I have kids now (and don’t live in Phoenix the Land of Universal Road Rage anymore) it’s no longer appropriate for me to roll down my window and scream that I hope the other driver gets gonorrhea and falls off a cliff. So instead I just snarl my opinions under my breath so my kids don’t hear… but apparently sometimes I’m not quiet enough because yesterday when some brodude in the douchey jeep behind me at a stop sign kept honking his horn because I wouldn’t zoom out into oncoming traffic, cutting a bunch of people off, so he could be on his way faster Verona not only heard me, she joined in.

Me: “Sorry dude, not going to kill my whole family just because your mom never taught you how to be patient. Oh, and also I hope when you get home tonight and check the mail it’s entirely bills. So have fun with that.”

Verona: “Yeah, I hope that guys dog eats something he shouldn’t and spents all night farting in his room. And I hope he can’t sleep so he just has to lay there in  bed smelling the dog farts and a little bit of it gets in his mouth.”

Me: “I hope when he tries to watch Netflix tonight his neighbor is using his wifi so it makes everything go super slow and his movie keeps stopping to buffer every like 2 minutes.”

Verona: “I hope none of that guys dreams ever come true.”

Me: “I hope next time he goes to a concert the band doesn’t plays his favorite song.”

Verona: “I hope next time he goes to Taco Bell he orders a chicken burrito but they give him a stupid bean burrito instead.”

Me: “I hope next time he wants a slushie the 7Eleven he goes to is out of the flavor he really wanted.”

Verona: “I hope next time he orders a pizza they make him a pizza that only has broccoli on it.”

Me: “Yeah, and I hope when he takes the first bite of that broccoli pizza it’s still a little too hot so he burns the roof of his mouth and it completely ruins his pizza experience.”

Verona: “Woah mom, woah. You just crossed the line. Hot pizza is the worst… now you’re just being too mean. You need to calm down.”

So there you have it folks. The line between “acceptable mean” and “too mean” is at burning your mouth on hot pizza. Now we all know.