inferior decorating

I thought it was the hammering that scared me because I didn’t want to scar a wall with 25 billion holes or cause a racket so loud as to disturb my neighbors. There was also the measuring/math needed. Blank walls were minimalist and I liked that my apartment wasn’t cluttered. Truth be told, I didn’t care/notice the blank walls.

Plus, there was the fact I didn’t plan to be here very long. *side eyes real estate market*

It was pointed out to me that maybe the temporary feeling of my apartment was infiltrating my heart. And besides, a few nail holes in the wall are an easy patch job. They are not the sign of a demon tenant. Maybe adding a few things to make the apartment feel like a home – my home – would keep the dark nighttime shadows away. (That and a vow to stop watching scary (for me) TV shows before bed.)

(The person who did the pointing out is a professional in case that wasn’t obvious by her spot on assessment of my ridiculous thought patterns.)

And so I youtubed “how to hang a picture.” The resulting video made it seem so easy. I read an article about gallery walls and arranging the smaller pictures within a larger pattern. “I’ve got this,” I thought and pulled out came the frames I wanted began arranging them on the floor. I drew a not-to-scale diagram on stationary left over from my first full time job. Memories old and new swirled as I jostled the pictures into a variety of placements.

Out came the flower powered tool kit my godmother gave me and I got even further down to work.

I measured each picture, then the entire arrangement. I glanced at the spot I intended to hang the pictures and it was growing in size, looming larger than it had when I started this project.

All forward momentum stalled.

My mom’s response to my SOS was advice was dolled out in texts too long to fit on one screen. She echoed the Lowe’s video, but I was now a body at rest. (Hello, Newton’s Laws. Thank you, High School Science Class.)

Then she said:


The idea of plotting out the exact layout on paper first, of putting pencil to paper, of writing a rough draft first, of making my mistakes on paper rather than the wall resonated with the oversized “play it safe” portion of my brain.

Of course I misjudged and bought just shy of enough poster board but was already back from the store and I had to scrounge up 6 blank notebook pages to tape around the edges and then the whole thing measured right but was way bigger than the area I’d laid the pictures on before but I kept the momentum and traced and eyeballed and measured again and vertigo and marked out the nail/picture hook spots on the poster board and taped the skeleton on the wall and shifted it left and stepped back and shifted it further left and stepped back and pulled the right side higher and stepped back and shrugged my shoulders.

The package of hooks open with a thump thump thump of my heart. The hammer sang.

There was a terror of adrenaline, a thrill in making a mark, a strangely cavalier taste in my mouth after all that planning.

Adjustments were made as reality replaced pencil marks. Two pictures needed multiple passes, and I bent a hook past the point of usability, and lost a nail, and discovered a colony of dust bunnies behind the couch, but overall, nothing tragic happened.


gallery wall

Nothing epic happened either.

I mean, come on, it’s clearly not perfect, but there’s satisfaction in the concreteness of what my hands can do. And now, the art created by others (mostly) for me has transformed into another art form. They’ve risen to a higher plane.

As have I knowing I’m capable of more than I thought.


conversations with strangers #124


me: *arrives in laundry room as washing machine shuts off* *inventories dryers: 1 is out of order, 1 has 37 minutes left, 1 is at 0 minutes* *waits*

me: *still waiting* *anger level at 5* *pulls clothes out of washing machine and sorts into those to be machine dried and those to be air dried* *wonders what the limit is on waiting? In high school and college, a teacher had 15 minutes post the start of class to show up before class was automatically dismissed. It’s been 25 minutes* *continues waiting*

me: *STILL WAITING* *anger level 8*

me: *ponders if I should remove the person’s clothes from the 0 minute dryer.* *I don’t really want to touch those clothes / what if they arrive after I’ve started using that dryer and they do something weird to my clothes* *continues waiting*

me: *dryer which was at 37 minutes when I arrived finishes up*

Three minutes later, a lady comes downstairs and pulls stuff out of the dryer.

Her: Were you waiting long?

Me: Yes. With that one machine broken, it limited my options. That other machine’s been at 0 minutes the entire time I was down here.

Her: I don’t know how people do that. I always try to come down immediately after my laundry’s finished.

Me: I know! Me too. I set an alarm.

Her: I wouldn’t want someone to touch my clothes.

Me: Me neither. Plus, this is a common laundry area. People need the machines.

Her: How long were you waiting?

Me: 40 minutes. That one dryer’s been done this entire time and I kept thinking, “Oh I’ll wait a little longer” and then 40 minutes later, I’m still here. Thank you for coming down so quickly after your machine finished.

Her: Could you have moved the clothes out?

Me: I could have but…

Her: I guess I wouldn’t really want to touch someone else’s clothes.

Me: Yeah and then I wondered if that person would then come down, see their clothes moved, and do something in retaliation? So I just left it and kept waiting. I’m so glad to see you here.

Her: The other day, one of the washing machines had a note on it saying people should remove their laundry as soon as it’s done.

Me: An important note! It’s too bad people have to be told that. It’s common courtesy in a shared space like this.

Her: Okay, it’s all set. All yours.

Me: Thank you!

And thus my dream of having a washer/dryer in my home remains the #1 thing I want in adulthood. I want it so badly! So so so much.


convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #123


This particular street is very difficult to cross due to its high traffic levels and speed limit. Essentially, you have to wait for the light to change.There are four points of crosswalk entry, and at each one, the button to push that will allow you to cross is not the normal squishy kind. It’s stiff and has limited motion and the only way you know it’s working is if a little red light goes on. As far as I can tell, the red light only goes on if you’re the first pedestrian to register in. So, despite one’s insistent pushing, the red light might not go on because it’s on elsewhere or it might be that you haven’t found the right angle to trigger the system. All you can do is wait and wonder.

A woman walked up 30 seconds after I finished the routine of pressing, pounding, yelling at the light switch. After another minute of cars whooshing by, I stepped back over to the switch and tried again. No red light signaling it accepted my request, but there were people waiting at two of the other crosswalk entry points. After two more minutes, I prepared to either frogger my way across the street or start the whole light switch thing all over again. As I shifted towards the light switch…

Her: *half smiles at my efforts* Did it catch?

Me: Not yet. But the light doesn’t always go on. This is so temperamental.

Her: Let me try.

Me: Go for it.

*red light illuminates* *traffic light immediately flips to yellow*

Me: Yay! Nice work.

Her: Sometimes you have to work it.

Me: I’m glad you were able to!

And with the crosswalk signal lighting the way, I was one step closer to the office / work day.


party bus

party bus

How do you turn a converted school bus into a PARTY bus? 🎉🚌

Fill it with your best buddies, beer and wine and nips, and snacks, and crank up the tunes. The only way I can explain the explosion of fun that was Saturday night is to let the divine playlist do the talking:

“You ready, Biv? I’m ready, Slick, are you?” (POISON, Bell Biv Devoe)

“Tonight let’s enjoy life…” (GIVE ME EVERYTHING, Pitbull)

“Go, Shorty. It’s your birthday…” (IN DA CLUB, 50 Cent)

“Look how I drive, look at my ride, when [we] go by, smoke in your eyes…” (WTF, Missy Elliott)

“[We’re] headed downtown, cruising through the alley…” (DOWNTOWN, Macklemore)

“Bright as the sun, [we] wanna have some fun..” (SHOOP, Salt ‘N’ Pepa)

“Everybody wants a thrill…” (DON’T STOP BELIEVING, Journey)

“You’re with a winner so baby you can’t lose…” (IT’S GETTING HOT IN HERRE, Nelly)

“Clock strikes upon the hour and the sun begins to fade…” (I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY, Whitney Houston)

“Who will dance on the floor…” (BILLIE JEAN, Michael Jackson)

“[We] got the moves like Jagger…” (MOVES LIKE JAGGER, Maroon 5)

“Stay on the streets of this town…we’re just dancing in the dark.” (DANCING IN THE DARK, Bruce Springsteen)

“Girls just wanna have fun…” (GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN, Cindie Lauper)

“[We’re] so fancy, you already know, [we’re] in the fast lane…” (FANCY, Iggy Azalea)

“Ain’t nothing gonna break [our] stride. Nobody gonna slow [us] down…” (BREAK MY STRIDE, Matthew Wilder)

“You gotta bounce to this like this…” (HEARTBREAKER, Mariah Carey)

“Someone who knows how to ride without even falling off…” (PONY, Ginuwine)

“We’re yelling T-I-M-B-E-R!!!!” (TIMBER, Pitbull)

“Bye bye bye…” (BYE BYE BYE, N’Sync)


And this is just a taste of the songs that had us defying gravity and the laws of motion for three hours as we danced on a swaying/bumpy/jerky vehicle, reminisced about the times we first heard these songs, sang at the tops of our lungs, and added a zillion more memories to my full to near bursting heart.