it's pine borers, all right

I went to sign my lease today! And I looked at the dead tree's trunk while I waited. There are these teeny tiny holes all over it, and from what I understand, the makers of those holes will destroy all the other trees if they're not stopped. I do not know how they are stopped; the previous sentence contains the sum total of my pine borer knowledge. But it is sad because look, actually there are two dead ones at this point. 

Anyway. The manager asked for a paper check for the deposit and pro-rated amount, and I do not remember the last time I wrote a check! But last time I needed one I had to order 100, so there are, you know, nearly 100 left, and I am sending one by mail later today since of course I didn't think I'd need to bring one with me? It's kind of weird to realize I'll be mailing one every month, however, I was thinking earlier about how my grandma probably did that and I have been amusing myself by imagining a Grandma Kelly sort of space but with way more books and no lavender pant sets. Also, I can have the Chinese food delivered (instead of how she made her short little jaunt to Lotus Garden for the appetizer plate)


and hopefully the Indian food, as well, because I prefer that actually, though it costs more and I will have to budget for it carefully. 

And there's steak tartare! When I spent the weekend with her, sometimes Grandma would cook me a little meatloaf and make steak tartare for herself. Other times we'd have a small roast that she baked with grape jelly and mustard on top. You guys think back to the 70s and remember the ferns and macramé and wicker and terrible fabrics and shoe designs, at least I am imagining you do, but I want to bake things in Corning Ware (but not with clashing textures that should never have been allowed to occur) and eat fondue and also steak tartare with a wedge salad. Not really a wedge salad, though. Who wants to eat salad with a knife?

Well, I'm hungry and I need to eat something before going to work so it's entirely possible my idea of living a Grandma Kelly apartment aesthetic comes down to thinking about making steak tartare, but I have other ideas, as well. The second bedroom/painting room will be filled with little collectible toys, children's and YA books, etc., and I'll probably put my bits of African art (mostly from Ghana) in my bedroom, and I want the living room to be as gardeny as possible. Stay tuned. If you want to, that is. 

The Lights in the Sky Are

Hey, I chose an apartment, the one I looked at the other day. It has two flaws for me; on the second floor and is farther from things rather than closer. But the second point is probably the reason it's not too expensive for the size and relative "niceness." I mean, also it has no pool, clubhouse, all that stuff which costs more but which I don't actually need. I will miss having a pool a whole lot, though, other than having to maintain it. 

I get to keep my books, I'll have space to paint and sew, and I expect I'll grow used to being somewhat isolated from commerce and so forth, ten minutes east of the eastern edge of things. I'll have a fine living room in which to watch the Cincinnati Symphony stream their concerts to a remote audience this season. 

The address is in the town I have tended to refer to as Meth Addicts for Trump, and I won't wholly repent of that, but I also won't bother with embarrassment over no longer having a "better" zip code. That would be very silly of me. There are nice people everywhere, and we all know Trumpism is a disease. 

The manager asked me if I wanted the one garage still available for $70 a month and I said, "No, not this year while I'm working out this New Way of Life," but I don't know if that will raise my car insurance? That's on the list of things to learn next week. It certainly won't raise it by that much, though. 

Oh! The other thing I wanted to mention is that the view from my new balcony features a pine tree which died this year; the maintenance man told me it was still mostly green at the beginning of summer, and now it's all brown, and they're cutting it down soon, and I felt romantic toward it, but I guess you can't have a big dead tree just standing out there in front of things, sigh...but why did it have to die?

(Here is a representation of the dead pine tree but not the actual specimen itself. I will try to check for pine borers on Monday when I sign the lease, to fully establish myself as the eccentric they'll all be getting to know soon enough.)
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what a year this has been


Today I was looking for some sort of guide like my (charming, well-meaning, outdated but enjoyable) volumes in the Woman Alive! book series, for managing some elements of single apartment life. Well, Google searches are just not helpful anymore, from my point of view. You just have to know any question you want answered can be answered on the internet, if only you can reach it, but you can't reach it without luck most of the time. I felt like an expert at search strings some years ago, but now they are mostly useless. To be fair, it's a complicated question, but it isn't impossible. I want to read, in plain language, another volume of that book which just never got written. They had a volume for the single woman; single by choice or widowed, that is, and they did one for a bit of household management, 

but I'm thinking maybe I need to write my own. 

To back up, the main reason I haven't written any blog posts on any of my web pages isn't because my feet and brain still hurt from being newly employed in a grocery store. It's because my computer keyboard and trackpad are dead, and also the thing has to be plugged in at all times to work. So I am typing on a Bluetooth keyboard, I have a trackball plugged in, this whole thing, and I'm a bit petulant about it. 

Since I got my job 14 months ago, I had a bit of a promotion, so I do more work in one sense, but it's less physically taxing overall. Fortunately, it wasn't enough of a promotion that I sit down for hours or anything like that, though on the other hand, employed in an office setting I'd have probably gotten to have shelter in place time like lots of other people instead of being launched into CrazyLand for many weeks while those same people panic-bought everything they could lay their hands on. 

The promotion is just enough that I'll be able to rent an apartment and get bills paid and not starve, though having had to buy a car in March because a deer killed my beloved old one put a tiresome dent in the operation. 

I know how to pack up a big house, I have spent months thinking over what I need to keep, want to keep, will probably need to let go of, etc. to fit into a much smaller space. I've been working on cutting recipes to two servings; leftovers for lunch or late nights in mind. And I've been attempting to visualize myself alone in a place with things that I love and no pet hair or discarded cereal bowls, as a healthy person who will live a long time, rather than with too much paranoia about cancer or Covid. It's not super easy, though. 

What I want is a sort of early 70s throwback atmosphere only with cleaner air and better appliances and a lot of YouTube videos. I was even thinking maybe I'd make my own videos about it, as a supplement to this blog, which is now a hopeful journal of how this all transpires.

I'm going to look at an apartment today. The area was recommended to me a few months ago, and I didn't like the notion of living three whole miles farther east instead of west, but now that I think about it sensibly in a more focused time frame, more and better space for the money seems worth an extra ten minutes' drive into the city. And if I can contrive some scheme to make up for the car payment line added to my budget, I can be comfortable.

But everything feels so uncertain, doesn't it? 

The cherished friend most likely to comment on these posts in the past has died. I'm not saying that to bum anyone out, but if you feel like weighing in briefly on the concrete ratio, I'd enjoy reading your thoughts.