Everything’s pretty terrible out there and I keep mining for peace in the sparkling salted crevices of various chip bags which works for a while but then there’s the downside of pants that won’t button as a result of Netflix and Refill (Your Snack Bowl) so here, a goofy gratitude journal of non-food comfort:

Hair twirling. This is a nostalgic, perhaps slightly pathological activity and it’s really only appropriate for the privacy of one’s home because no one likes watching the middle-aged lady dreamily swirl a finger around her scalp while dithering over the honeycrisps in the Safeway produce aisle but I have to say that elementary-school-aged-me was really onto something. The smoothness of running the hair over your index finger, then twirling it around your middle and ring, sorry pinky you never get any love because the dexterity just isn’t there, and you have to sort of pinch the rolled hair as you go so you get that little crunchy hairs-against-themselves sound, YASSSS, and then a gentle tug at the end, it all sends me into a half-lidded reverie and I don’t know why. Just me? Come on, I know it’s not just me.

Water. Watching it, submerging myself in it, rivers oceans nightly bathtubs filled with those scented Dr. Teal’s epsom salts, there’s nothing like water to unblock the mental rat-maze for a blissful hour or two. We did a four-day rafting trip on the Rogue this summer with the boys and my standout memory is the afternoon we’d made camp after a sweaty day on the river and I just staggering out into a slow section, clothes and all, and drifted around on my back for a while. Ospreys overhead, my kids laughing and playing nearby, the lap and burble in my ears, man. Almost enough to make up for the many toilet indignities involved in backpack camping. (Almost.) I can’t always plunge myself into a river, but I can fill the tub as many times as needed. Debate day = hooboy, let’s just keep the hot water tap open and the bubbles on max.

Pen-pal-ing. I highly recommend a snail mail correspondence, even if it’s just a card that says OMG and you get one back that says I NO RITE? There’s just something about seeing actual handwriting in your mailbox that’s so deeply cheering — perhaps there’s something to the acknowledgement that one does, in fact, exist in the world — plus you get all the fun of picking out cute stationary and using the good pens you hoard from your children. It takes me forever to get through a note in longhand because my wimpy palm muscles inevitably cramp up since I’m so unused to the activity, and my penmanship is never as Pinterest-y as I’d like it to be (I wobble between cursive and printing and my clumsy lefty style smears as I go), but whatever, slow-mail is good stuff however it turns out.

Thrifting. Oh, I know the pitfalls of turning to shopping as reward, and I try not to get sucked into the dopamine spin cycle of buy, buy, buy. But. Can we agree that thrift stores, the good ones, are just aces? They don’t cost much, and they offer the one thing all shoppers are truly inspired by: potential. Will there be a gorgeous pair of high-end denim jeans in among the weird leggings and pants with actual fur patches on them? Mayyyyyyyyybe. And maybe not, that’s just the way it goes, but you won’t know until you get in there with your rack-sliding hand — flipflipflip —- and hey-is-that-a-North-Face-vest laser eyes. Hunter, gatherer, mighty thriftstore warrior.


6 Responses to “Creature comforts”

  1. Jeanette on October 10th, 2016 7:49 am

    I twirl my hair all the time when I’m driving, my elbow propped on the window ledge while I twirl with my left hand and and grip the steering wheel with the right hand. Comfort while battling traffic and asshole drivers!

  2. Jen on October 10th, 2016 7:54 am

    Ahhhh, great list. I love pen-pal-ing. I have a box full of stationary and cards that I have collected over the years. It really taps into my love of office supplies and my happiness to connect with someone. I’m glad I’m not the only one who cramps up while writing. I feel it more in my shoulder, ha!

  3. The blogger formerly known as Warcrygirl on October 10th, 2016 10:45 am

    I do the hair twirling as well, have done so since I’ve had hair. I prefer to use my index and middle fingers to make continuous figure 8’s. I can twirl with either hand but since I prefer to steer with my left I twirl with my right while driving. This gives the impression to oncoming traffic that I’m waving at them, which leads to a mixture of emphatic return waves and/ or confused looks. Oh well, I’d rather be over-friendly than risk not waving at someone I actually know (God forbid!).

  4. Ginger on October 10th, 2016 12:39 pm

    I never feel so rich and self-soothed as when I have a new pile of books from the library or an offering of free/cheap downloads on my kindle. For some reason the reads must be free or nearly so, perhaps so that I have the delicious freedom to put down or delete what I don’t enjoy. No recriminations. Just the opportunity for emotional investment on my terms, which may change day to day. I can’t lose and I can surely win.

  5. TinaNZ on October 10th, 2016 4:52 pm

    My favourite relaxing activity is watching chickens. The scratching around and little cooing noises are the most soothing thing ever; they should have them in doctors’ waiting rooms instead of aquaria.

    My sympathies for your electoral turmoil. Fossicking chickens needed all round.

  6. Taryn on October 11th, 2016 8:00 pm

    All of these things!!! I unconsciously twirl my hair, but it’s SO soft. And anyone else would if they had this silky soft hair on their head.
    Beyond the thrift store treasure hunt- there are also the yard sales! Love! It’s my weekly alone time activity. I drive around listening to NPR & looking for shit I don’t need “but it’s only a quarter!”. The upside is in learning to say no to things I don’t really need but I’ve got a big wardrobe and a house of cool stuff that I didn’t spend a ton on. People are envious of my finds & I kinda like that.

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