Shambles.

We did some rearranging recently, by which I mean that I’m an asshole.

When Max moved into this apartment, the one piece of furniture he brought with him was his desk. He didn’t have tons of furniture before we lived together, and somehow I’d accumulated a lot, and when it came down to individual pieces (chairs, mostly) and the limited space we have, my stuff pretty much just won out. Like magic! I had nothing to do with it except probably everything.

But the desk came along because we figured that it fit in with my stuff well enough and it would probably be smart if we both had desks. My desk went in the bedroom and his went in the living room. Like so, from a few months ago:

I know it’s hard to tell from this picture, but between the really deep desk and all the stuff on it, the huge fake Eames lounge chair, the side table, and all of the lamps, the living room was just feeling crowded and cramped. On top of that was the biggest bulletin board of all time that’s leaning to the left of the desk, which I made for Max because he asked really nice and paid for the materials and I felt guilty for making him bring all his other stuff home to Buffalo instead of home to his new apartment. Personally, I’m not a fan of bulletin boards or inspiration boards or whatever you want to call them (I like the term “dust collectors,” myself), but I made it anyway. And then complained about it all the time, but the point is that I let it happen because that’s just the sort of giving, loving, compromising person I am.

After living with this arrangement for a while, we got to talking about different options. Max still loved his desk (the discontinued Pratt desk from West Elm), but admittedly didn’t use it terribly often and conceded that it wasn’t really working in our space. I NEVER used my desk because the only time I’m ever really interested in sitting at a desk is when I’m working really late at night, but that’s when Max is in bed and I’m camped in the living room. Where I did not have a desk. Also my desk was always covered in crap because I never used it. So there was that.

I don’t remember the exact terms of the deal we eventually settled on, but I know it involved him taking his desk home to Buffalo (he still has it, for the “dream house”), so I agreed. Hopefully I’ve lived up to whatever I agreed upon? I am the fucking worst.

And I sold the chair on Craigslist because it was just too big and I had other plans. More on those plans in a later post.

So Max’s desk moved to Buffalo, we agreed to move my desk out of the bedroom and into the living room, and big chair went to some German dude and his wife.

One day, when I got home, Max had even taken everything off the bulletin board and moved it out of the apartment, too! I swear I didn’t even ask for that one. Not directly, anyway.

For fuck’s sake, somebody just waste me already, I deserve it.

I know it’s probably still hard to tell from pictures, but this arrangement is much better. This desk is only about 16″ deep, so it definitely helps with the whole cramped feeling we had going on before. The diamond chair sitting in the other corner was not the “other plans” I had in mind, but it’s working for now. Sort of.

It’s definitely nice to have less stuff, but this still doesn’t feel right. Right now the kitchen is still a horror show, but when that’s done, I fantasize about just getting rid of desks altogether and using our kitchen table as a single multi-purpose surface. It’s a small apartment, so having redundant pieces of furniture just seems stupid? We do use this desk sometimes, but would I really miss it? Aside from the whole crafted-it-with-my-own-two-hands thing. I’m still pretty proud of that thing, I’ll be honest, but I think I’d be okay with seeing it go, too.

But I don’t know. What I feel like we really need is STORAGE, and this desk don’t have it. Sure, there are a few drawers, but it would be amazing to have more. Like some kind of side table next to the couch with lots of space to shove crap would be pretty swell, and probably a better use of our limited real estate than this desk.

But I have so much indecision.

The other thing is that it’s just really long. Like, it still fits in the space, obviously, but I keep feeling tempted to just cut a foot or two off the length of the top, reattach the legs, and then just have an really mini desk. But is that even worth it? Will I still like the proportions? Will it just be too small to even be useful anymore?

SHAMBLES. My living room and my brain are in shambles over this whole debacle. But there are bigger fish to fry around these parts, proverbially speaking, so I guess I’ll just ignore it for another few months and continue to stew.

So what did we learn? 1. Don’t date me, I’m horrible. 2. Avoidance and neglect is usually the answer.

Great.

Cleaning up my Act

The new school year is in full swing, and I basically went into this semester with two glaring goals that I think are semi-related, if you squint hard enough:

1. Be a good student.

2. Don’t look such a dumpy mess all the time.

I don’t think I’ve ever been a particularly bad student, but that depends on how you want to look at things. When I was a freshman, I came in from my year working in Canada refreshed, inspired, and ready to go. I rocked freshman year. I lived on campus, so getting to class wasn’t an issue, and frankly, I didn’t have a whole lot of other things going on in my life. I dressed well everyday (well being a term I use liberally, but I thought I looked great in my button-down/tie/tie-clip/cardigan uniform), I recall starting most of my work well in advance of its due date, I had good relationships with my professors, and I got good grades. Essentially, I was making college my bitch and it felt good.

Then sophomore year I moved uptown, and with the distance and an admittedly rocky living situation, I slipped a little. I still did fine academically, but I started to develop worse and worse habits (regular coffee and Red Bull-fueled all-nighters, for starters), and I started to feel totally uninspired by school. The classes were OK, but NYU isn’t exactly the sort of place where students can expect to be surrounded by other super-motivated, super-prepared students who hold themselves to a particularly high academic standard. That was also around the time that people started reading this here blog, and I’ll admit that that was not only a time-suck, but a huge distraction.

The second half of sophomore year I spent still living uptown, and while I usually regard living alone to be a good thing, there were definitely rough patches of loneliness and depression and more bad habits and just generally feeling really anxious, really depressed, really out of control, and like a really, really, really shitty student. Most of that fairly short but spectacularly crappy period came to a halt pretty suddenly when I up and decided I was going to fall in love. So while I was in a better place mentally, I had a really hard time juggling school, this site, and a budding new relationship that moved really fast. I think I honestly had a hard time understanding why my professors were expecting me to get all this shit done while I was in the midst of also trying to woo my new boyfriend into thinking I wasn’t a total disaster. Didn’t they realize I had better things to do? Miraculously, I skirted by once again with pretty good grades, but I’m not the sort of person who is particularly motivated by letters and numbers on a report card. Particularly when I feel like I’ve done the bare minimum to earn them.

And then there was last year. I’d moved to Brooklyn, Max had moved in, I started a new job at school, I still had the blog, and my classes were a mixed bag of stuff I really wanted to take and stuff I felt like I should take but wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about. I wanted to be better, but I’ll be honest—it was hard. The early months of cohabitation are difficult and confusing enough on their own, but combined with having to write essays about LEED-certified skyscrapers or whatever, trying to turn a pretty run-down apartment into something nice, and learning the ropes of a new job? I tried to keep school front and center, but I found it often taking a backseat. I generously took advantage of deadline extensions, and sometimes even extensions of my deadline extensions. Miraculously, my grades were fine, again, but with each passing semester, I felt like more and more of a fraud as a student. And I hated feeling that way.

And then last semester happened. The one where we got a dog at the beginning, and then at the very end, found a second one. Dogs are great, and I’ll never regret either of those decisions for a minute, but all of a sudden there was another thing to negotiate. Except this one didn’t grudgingly give extensions or allow itself to have a low rank on my list of priorities. It was amazing and terrifying at once, and coupled with more classes I really didn’t care about with students who also really didn’t care, last semester certainly wasn’t any easier. I pulled off good grades again, but felt just as crappy as if I hadn’t. Same story, different circumstances.

I’m tired of that. I’m ready to not do that anymore. I feel as though my life has stabilized a lot over the past few months, and I’ve gotten much more fluent at negotiating the responsibilities I have, appreciating how long it takes me to actually complete tasks, and planning accordingly. I’m not going to lie and say I’m some perfect human who’s managed to make my life run like clockwork (far from it). But the point is, I’m ready let go of some of that feeling of OMG I’M A FAILURE I’ve had in the past and just be better and see where it takes me. I’m at a place where I don’t give a shit what other students around me are doing or how they’re acting—I just want to be engaged, prepared, and do my best. Which, thus far, I’m fairly certain has established my role as the most annoying person in the class, and I fucking love it.  That’s never really been me before, so it’s a fun thing to try out.

Which brings me back to clothes, because why not? I tried to think back honestly to what I did moderately well as a freshman (or at least attempted to do moderately well), and aside from staying organized and making lists constantly and being a more engaged and prepared student, one of those things was not going to class (or anywhere else) like I just crawled out of a crypt.

Now, I will never claim to be a particularly stylish person. But a good friend recently told me that instead of thinking of myself as a body with a face (neither of which I can really do much to change), maybe I should look at myself instead as a design object. I like that a lot.

I am a small guy. I’m only about 5’7″, I weigh about a buck 20, and sometimes even a men’s size 7 shoe is too big. If I were a room, that room would probably be small and awkward and couldn’t exactly rely on its architecture to look put together. That room would need to be particularly careful, otherwise it would look a damn mess. And the temptation with rooms like that is definitely to not give a shit them at all and do the bare minimum with the cheapest materials possible to make it look OK enough instead of even trying to turn it into something kind of nice. That’s basically how I’ve been approaching dressing myself.

What I’m trying to say is, I actually like clothes, but the combo of being too poor to buy them and too small for them to fit 99% of the time makes the act of actually dressing myself essentially an extended exercise in disappointment and despair. So, as a first step of being a better student and more competent person is, again, to not do that anymore. 

A good first step to that, I think, is splurging (or not splurging—more power to you!) on one versatile item that will last a long time, can be worn throughout most of the year, and has zero qualities you dislike about it. For me, that’s this cardigan I picked up this weekend at Steven Alan. With the soft charcoal grey wool and PERFECT raw wood buttons, it’s officially my favorite article of clothing. I don’t mind wearing basically the same thing everyday, which is convenient because I’ll probably be wearing this everyday until June. Maybe July.

The great thing about neutral cardigans is that you have a lot of options for what goes underneath, from t-shirts to button-downs. Today I’m wearing my red and white striped Marimekko shirt I bought in Finland underneath, which is nice since I’ve decided I can’t take myself seriously wearing it alone since I’m always waiting for the “I found Waldo!” joke.

I tried to take pictures of myself with this clothing on my body, by the way, but I’m not quite ready for that. I need to work on my apathy-face and what to do with my legs/arms/hands.

Also, I BOUGHT REAL SHOES. This is the part where I confess that I have basically worn Chuck Taylor’s, more or less nonstop, since 2005. I’ve been trying for years to find a good pair of everyday shoes that aren’t sneakers, but I always come up dry and just buy another pair of Chucks (or, this summer, when I was feeling adventurous, I bought a pair of Jack Purcell’s instead). Every single time I like a good-looking pair of shoes in a store, they either don’t come in my size (many men’s shoe companies cut off at size 8), are sold out, or look completely absurd on my body. I swear, my feet/legs do something to shoes that is supremely unflattering to both. So I finally gave in and joined the impressive ranks of Brooklyn-dwelling hipsters who wear Clarks Originals (the “Jink” style, in a color I can’t find on their website), and so far I’m down with these shoes. They’re comfy and make me look less like a child, despite that they’re super low and definitely don’t do me any favors in the height department.

I keep looking for a good bag, and I’m really into this Filson tote (I think it’s this one, but I guess I got it on sale and I don’t see this color on the website…). It’s big enough to hold everything I need to bring to school and back, but not so big that I feel stupid carrying it places where I don’t need as much stuff. Filson bags also have a lifetime warranty, so even though it wasn’t too much money, I do feel like I’ve invested in a quality item instead of another mediocre thing from Salvation Army or Urban Outfitters. Man bag? Murse? Do I care? I am gay and I live in Brooklyn, of course I do not care.

And I kind of started to wear glasses. Sometimes. I do actually have a prescription for distance, albeit a fairly weak one, so for me glasses are something akin to high definition TV versus standard. More importantly, they accomplish what we all wanted in elementary school but swore up and down we didn’t want: to look smarter/cooler or whatever. Something about putting on a pair of thick-framed glasses signals to my brain both that I have one, and that I’m ready to use it. Also, I think they look pretty good on my face, which never happens since my face is, unsurprisingly, very small.

So yes, aside from the part where they give me superhuman vision, they’re 100% stupid and I love them.

I already know this year will be full of new challenges and new anxieties and a ton of hard work, but something very small and very superficial about clothes is making me feel a little more prepared to take them all on.

ADDENDUM:

Here’s an awkward photo taken of me yesterday wearing 2 of the 5 items mentioned in this post. That’s the best I got, for those who need the full visual. (+ cute dog)

Life
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Dog Bed

I know that there are certain things that people are supposed to do before guests come to stay, but those types of social graces generally escape me. I’m the sort of person who forgets to ask about food preferences and figures the guest should be both willing and able to just forage for themselves, particularly while I oversleep and they creep quietly around the apartment trying to locate a fresh roll of toilet paper or a bottle of Valium. So when my sister came to town to stay with us this weekend, I made the effort to actually think for a second about what would make her stay more comfortable and enjoyable, so naturally I spent the day before her arrival making a proper bed. For my dogs.

Hear me out: Linus insists on sleeping in the bed, usually between us or on top of me, but Mekko likes her space. She’ll cuddle up with us until the actual moment when we’re definitely going to sleep, and then she’ll proudly stand up, shake off, and go sleep on the couch until morning. After her beauty sleep and only when she’s good and ready, she comes back to the bed for a morning cuddle session before our walk. It’s all very polite and ladylike. She’s a creature of habit, which is really adorable until a person needs to sleep on the sofa and she gets all sulky, hoping somebody will notice the injustice being dealt against her.

I knew she needed a proper bed of her own, the problem being that dog beds exist on two extremes: stupid expensive or ugly as shit. I don’t like either and I don’t stand for ugly things when it comes to my children. So I made my own, because I convince myself these things will be easy and fun, two delusions that pretty much fuel the entire existence of this blog.

This magical land that I like to call “Target” sells dog bed inserts for $9.99 a pop. They make a few different corresponding covers for them, but that would have been too easy, too common, and too unattractive for my perfect angels. Luckily, I am secretly a hoarder and have a whole overflowing enormous bin filled with fabrics that I either LOVE but haven’t used (yet), or fabrics that I have no use for but can’t get rid of because they’re perfectly good and might come in handy someday. I can feel your judgment through your computer monitor, by the way, and it totally stings so just cut it out.

(Yes, that’s some rad wool Pendleton you see at the bottom there that I bought 8 months ago in Portland for no other reason than because it was marked down and I loved it. HOARDER.)

The only problem with these dog bed inserts is that they’re pitifully under-stuffed and lack the necessary luxury that my faithful companions deserve. Luckily, the fancy polyester cases have a zipper, so I bought two so that I could just gut all the stuffing out of one and put it inside the other one, making one super-stuffed amazing bed that would convince my dogs that I am actually god.

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about, am I right? If you were a dog, you’d totally want to relax all day on that. You know you would.

Especially if it were covered with this. When Max and I were in Finland, we visited the Marimekko headquarters, which has its very own outlet store attached to it, inside of which is a magical remnant bin I sifted through like I was in the middle of a Survivor challenge. There were a lot of little scraps and bits and pieces of stuff, but then the heavens opened and my greedy paws landed on this big piece of hot pink and red Unikko, one of Marimekko’s most iconic textiles. Designed in 1964 by Maija Isola, the print was the first floral that Marimekko ever produced, after consciously avoiding floral patterns because they were too traditionally feminine, a precedent that the company sought to avoid with its bold, forward-thinking clothing and textiles.

Fun fact: originally, imperfections in Marimekko fabrics were considered a sign of quality, since they were evidence of the screen-printing process that produced them, but now most imperfections are weeded out by a worker who scans the entirety of each bolt for mistakes (I think they allow up to three imperfections per bolt, but I might be wrong about that). This piece didn’t make the cut for retail because it’s a mess (you can see where they dye is all runny and weird, particularly down the middle), but since the remnant bin charged some ridiculously low price by weight, I didn’t hesitate when throwing it into my basket. Along with some other little scraps I’m still hoarding for a rainy day.

Since there wasn’t enough Unikko to cover the whole thing, I wanted something a bit more heavy-duty for the back. Like most healthy, balanced people, turns out I kept my old shower curtain that shrunk too much in the wash but was still a nice thick cotton-bamboo blend.

I cut the Unikko fabric about the same size as the insert itself, when laid flat (I used the extra sans-stuffing cover as a guide). I do this when making pillowcases of any size, since the seam allowance actually makes the finished product smaller than the insert—meaning it will stay looking fluffy and sexy and awesome instead of loose and droopy.

Since I wanted the cover to be removable but am still avoiding learning how to properly sew a zipper, not that I have any zippers on hand anyway, I opted to make a simple envelope back. To do this, I added about 8-10 inches of width to the back and then cut it in half, giving me the necessary 3-4″ of overlap in the middle when the pillow is inserted.

Like so. Making sense? Ugh, sewing tutorials are difficult, particularly as I have no real idea how to sew and no real business giving advice.

Since I used a shower curtain, I used an existing seam for the outside of the pocket and sewed a new seam for the inside of the pocket, since that’s the one you’ll never really see anyway and I’m crappy at sewing even straight lines.

Then I just laid all the “right” sides of the fabric facing each other, and pinned the whole thing up on each side. When using a sewing machine, put the pins in perpendicular to the edge so that the needle can sew over them without breaking or causing catastrophe, mental breakdowns, or death. This is crafting, after all, and the risks are real.

The dogs, by the way—SUPER NOT HELPFUL. Here’s Linus being a little entitled jerk and demanding to literally sleep on top of my project.

Mekko, of course, sort of watched me judgmentally and with a palpable sense of pity before just falling asleep. “Look at this fucking putz,” she thought. “You can quit it with this bullshit right now, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

But I PERSEVERED. Little furry bullies will not drag down my crafting fervor. Nothing can extinguish the fire in my soul to make crap I should have just bought months ago. Except, like, death or something better to do.

Then it was just a matter of sewing all the outer edges together. I know there are fancier ways of doing this, but I don’t know what they are and I don’t really care because a single line of stitching is all I’m really capable of without feeling like I need to go somewhere and senselessly smash stuff for a while.

This is the part where you get to cut corners! Har-fucking-har.

Snip those corners off so when you turn the thing right-side-out, the extra fabric in the corners won’t make things wonky. Yes, in fact those are the best terms I can come up with to describe this.

Turn it right-side-out, and then from the inside, use a knitting needle or some other pointy object, like a chopstick or a fingernail if you’re a witch, to push the corner out. Basically it should look like a corner instead of a mess. I’m fading here.

I put a single big button in the middle of the back to keep the envelope closed. This helps keep the pillow shapely and nice, otherwise the insert will try to escape out the back and the cover will start to look weird.

I have no idea how to sew a button hole, so I just cut a slit a little smaller than the button and sewed a million stitches around the perimeter of it to keep the fabric from fraying around the hole. This is the part where I don’t really care what it looks like at all and just sit in front of the TV pretending to be talented, stitching and stitching for a while until it seems like the hole is never going to fall apart. You’ll know when you get to that point, then do some more stitches for good measure.

Then force your ungrateful diva of a dog to lie on it while you take pictures and try to entice her to do something—anything—to look even remotely excited or happy about the thing you just spent 3-4 hours making for her to enjoy and cherish.

Remind her that the whole internet will see these pictures and all of a sudden girl knows how to work her angles and model like a fucking pro. Jesus, I’m fucked.

Despite her initial hesitations, Mekko has warmed up to the idea and used it willingly several times over the course of the last few days, which I think means its a success?

Linus loves it, but that guy will sleep anywhere.

I Like This: The Classical

I’d like to start making a habit of breaking up my regular blog-programming by talking about other stuff. I know I post about dogs and travel sometimes, but sometimes there’s something that I want to write about but end up feeling like this isn’t the right venue. But then I realized: the great thing about being the creator, sole writer, editor, photographer, and asshole behind this blog is that I can do whatever the fuck I want. And what I want is to sometimes write about stuff that I find beautiful or funny or interesting. Stuff that inspires me. Stuff I like.

There are few things I like more than my amazing friend Juliet Gordon and, more recently, her amazing band, The Classical. I’ve mentioned Juliet a couple times on the blog, like when she was part of my first Bertoia chair purchase and my street-found shell chair (she’s my lucky charm, I swear it.), but I never really talked about how terrific she is. We met in high school, but for some reason we really only became good friends at some point after we graduated, and then we became really good friends a couple years ago when she came to live in New York for about six months. Those six months were kind of the best ever.

Here’s a very fancy, very not-sober photo shoot we did one night in my Manhattan kitchen, you know, like you do. I don’t know what I’m doing with that curtain either.

Juliet is really a person who inspires me to just fucking go for it when I need a good push every now and then to pursue the things I want. I like having friends like that. But aside from being my close friend and confidant, she’s also an incredibly talented musician. When Juliet moved back to Colorado, she went ahead and formed a band called The Classical and they made an album. A really fucking good album.

Not to sound too fan-boyish about my own friend, but The Classical has been on constant rotation on my iPhone for months, and with school starting up again and my time on the subway increasing exponentially, it’s about to get even more playsI know nothing technical about music whatsoever, so I won’t even make an ass out of myself trying to stumble awkwardly through a music review—I just know what I like when I hear it. And so maybe that’s all I really need to say: I like it. And maybe you will, too.

If you like what you hear in the video above, I suggest you scoot your way over to go download the whole album. You can pay what you wish, too. I bought it for $10 because I figured that’s what an album on iTunes usually costs, but you can pay more or less or nothing at all, if you want. Hippies and their free-spirit pricing.

Think of how cool you will be knowing about this rad new band that other people probably don’t know about (yet). Go show everybody how much better you are than them by downloading yourself some good music. You won’t regret it.

FIDDLE

When he was in middle school and very enthused about the Harry Potter series, Max went through a Wiccan phase. He told me this casually one day early in our relationship, and it’s a fact I’ve never quite been able to shake. He was young and discovering himself and trying to figure out what future-grown-up-Max might look like and what such a man might do with his time and energy, and apparently one of those options involved the practice of witchcraft. I, myself, began wearing blue jeans around the same time, after wearing khakis for five years straight as part of my self-imposed uniform, so I guess I kind of understand what it’s like to reinvent yourself in such a drastic and fundamental way during those critical formative years.

Though, to my knowledge, it’s been at least several years since Max has cast any incantations or earnestly mixed himself up a potion, I wonder about it sometimes. By way of avoiding admitting my own flaws/weaknesses/shortcomings, for instance, it’s usually more practical to just privately decide that Max is casting spells. This explains why his desires come to pass in a seemingly passive, convenient sort of way. For example, about 9 months ago I wrote about a little drama unfolding in our apartment surrounding houseplants. To recap: Max hates houseplants. I, however, like houseplants because they are pleasant to look at and give the impression of nature without having to actually go outside. You might call me a houseplant advocate.

I had some plants—an Aralia and a Philodendron, specifically—which I showed proudly on the blog. Oh, were they nice. And then guess what happened.

A fucking witch got to them, that’s what.

Not even this one was spared. Obviously, a spell was cast and slowly but surely, despite all my very best efforts, Max’s determined will was made manifest by the tricky and fatal maneuvers of magic. I’m literally up against impossible odds, and to be honest, it’s frightening.

To be fair, the Philodendron didn’t completely die, because I think that’s next to impossible, but it got so straggly looking that I dragged it out to the fire escape, where it’s become progressively less and less attractive over the course of the summer.

But no matter about those small fries—there were better things on the horizon. I had been hinting for months that what I really wanted anyway was a BIG plant. A Fiddle Leaf Fig, specifically. These plants have been popular for forever, but I think only in the last couple years have they become a full-out raging botanical trend, and I wanted desperately to get in on the Fiddle club.

The Fiddle Leaf is not a plant for the faint of heart. It is potentially huge, and therefore commanding. It bespeaks a kind of permanence that my smaller plants didn’t: it’s easy enough to move a couple little pots to a new apartment, but moving a fucking tree is a serious hassle. Seeing as Max would never go for a plant so ballsy and conspicuous, I always regarded the Fiddle more as a powerful threat than an actual possibility. Don’t fuck with me or I swear to god, I will put a fucking tree in that corner. 

I don’t remember exactly when the pendulum swung, but at some point either before or directly after the inevitable purchase (which was eventually made out of passion, not rage), Max warmed inexplicably to the idea. If memory serves, it was when we brought the thing home and propped it up in the corner. “Oh,” Max said, “it’s so…glamorous.” And just like that, Max became a fan of at least one indoor plant, and my ability to predict his likes and dislikes reached a new level of ineptitude.

Right now it’s chilling in the living room corner by the newly-painted radiator, but I might move it around at some point. I couldn’t really love it more, what with its sexy green leaves and enormous scale, it makes a huge impact and is apparently something that both Max and I can rally around. I basically want it to GROW GROW GROW and totally take over the room, or at least come close to the ceiling. How glorious would THAT be?

Of course, the flip-side of loving something so delicate so much is the emotional toll of always worrying that it’s going to die.  This corner gets tons of natural light, which I’ve read is very good for fiddles, and I’ve been trying to water it enough but not too much, rotate it every so often, and generally pamper it to make it feel loved, wanted, and fully accepted. I think it’s doing well. Then again, I don’t actually know because it’s a plant and plants are mysterious and notoriously quiet when it comes to complaining.

But it seems happy? Sometimes it sheds leaves but other times it grows new ones? Fuck, it’s totally going to die, and along with it, my dreams.

Because it’s pretty large and is set to only get bigger, I heeded the advice of the woman who sold it to me and transferred it to an 18″-20″ diameter planter. When she recommended that, I just nodded, thinking sure, whatever lady, IKEA’s practically around the corner, not realizing that 18-20 inches is BIG. Bigger than anything IKEA sells. Home Depot, Lowes, the usual modern home-goods suspects like CB2 and West Elm—nobody had anything. I figured an outdoor planter would be my best option, but have you seen outdoor planters lately? They are all fucking hideous, not to mention expensive, which isn’t really a problem when you couldn’t pay me to put one in my house anyway.

But then, oh joyous day, I went to Target and this huge white vaguely-retro-looking planter was waiting for me! It looks convincingly like ceramic but is actually fiberglass, so it’s very lightweight, even when filled with 8,000 tiny bags of potting soil and a tree. It was also on sale, costing all of about $35 if I remember correctly. Which is good because the plant inside of it was not exactly a bargain. Stupid New York City garden center prices.

Please, please don’t die. I will be lost without you. Grow big and tall and strong, my beautiful Fiddle baby, and be not harmed by Max’s hocus-pocus shit.

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