Categories
Aesthetics

Day 640 and Weekend

Maybe it’s a function of having never owned a home before we bought the Montana homestead, but I was never much of a weekend errands person.

Now my weekends are all about errands. It started with doing a weekly grocery run. Now that groceries aren’t just being delivered to us demand by Whole Foods (the closest one is probably a thousand miles away) we’ve got a standing Sunday drive into town to the food coop. We do actual meal planning now.

And if you give a mouse a cookie he’s going to want some milk. If you give a yuppie a drive into town…We just keep tacking errands onto the drive into town. To do list and errands are the milk to the cookie of the drive into town.

We are still in the process of settling in to our house, so naturally Home Depot is heavy in our errands rotation. Today it was floor lamps and scones for the guest rooms. Last week it was a new pump for our hydroponic system. We basically always have something that requires a Home Depot Run.

We also needed a few other sundry items for our elaborate hospitality driven guest room project. We want our friends and family to feel comfortable coming to stay with us so we have dedicated quite a bit of time and resources into designing and planning for turning our upstairs into a hotel. This is going to be ongoing for sometime as furniture is a pain in the ass these days.

To check off design and toiletry items we hit up World Market and then Ulta. We came away remembering that shopping used to be a fun browsable experience and also a little poorer as we picked up an entire screen printed photo canvas we didn’t intend on buying but kind of love. We also got a very nice set up of brushes, anti-frizz hair turbans, and makeup remover towels for the guest bath.

A bathroom cabinet with hair towels, hair dryer, a round brush and a flat brush.
Categories
Aesthetics

Day 638 and Environment

We’ve had an unseasonably warm week in the Gallatin Valley. We pulled out our two air conditioners from the window installations and went to Costco to install our snow tires. Both activities felt a little bit ridiculous as the temperatures touched 80 degrees.

But finally this morning the last bits of summer felt like they might be behind us. We had a beautiful warm sunny evening last night and yet we woke up to clouds and a damp chill. I was relieved if I’m honest.

Almost overnight our cottonwood trees began to turn to pleasant yellows. The aspen groves showed some signs of change as well. When I went for a walk yesterday beyond the property line I spotted apple trees with maturing fruit. I had only been gone a week from my usual walking route and was surprised to see so much progress into fall happening what felt like overnight.

An apple tree alongside one of our country roads beginning to show fruit.

With temperatures safely back into the 40s and 50s, it felt like it was time to unpack some of our winter clothing. I spent some of this morning sorting through sweaters, scarves, hats and gloves.

It was dusty enough inside the the moving boxes I started to break out with a few itchy patches of red inflamed skin. I took a Benadryl and hoped a cup of coffee would overcome the anti-histamine’s fatigue.

The environment around me is tugging on my body and it’s control systems. But I’m grateful for the change even, if some of the required activities have brought up the stress of change. I love fall. I love the cold. I’m a big fan of winter too. And I’m excited to see where this weather takes us. Call me crazy but I can’t wait for my first winter in Montana.

Categories
Aesthetics Travel

Day 633 and Hospitality

One of the things my husband Alex and I were most excited by when we bought our homestead in Montana is inviting our friends and family to stay with us. We have an entire floor of the house dedicated to guests and have plans to turn part of our barn into a separate guest house as well.

We’ve begun the process of designing and furnishing our guest floor. We have two rooms, a bathroom and a separate living room. The furniture is slowing turning up. Which means it is time to work on the details of making it as comfortable and hospitable as possible. Naturally we asked Twitter to weigh in on what makes people feel at home in someone else’s house. And you did not disappoint.

Toiletries

Traveling with full toiletries and skincare can be a challenge especially when flying. Here is a list of the most requested grooming items and toiletries

  • Hairdryer
  • Roundbrush & Styling Tools
  • Shampoo & Conditioner & Body Wash
  • Lotion & Body Moisturizer
  • Skincare Basics (SPF, Face Creams)
  • Skincare single use masks for face & under eye bags
  • Dental Care (Brush, Paste, Floss)
  • Small Individually Wrapped Soap
  • Q-Tips & Cotton Rounds
  • Tampons & Pads
  • Tissues
  • Bandaids & Pimple Patches
  • First Aid Items (Headache, Allergy)

Bathroom Comfort

Grooming items isn’t the only thing that you need in the bathroom. Personal hygiene requires some thought.

  • Trash Bin
  • Dark Towel for Makeup Removal
  • Plenty of Extra Bath Towels
  • Wash Cloths
  • Hair Towel & Turban
  • Extra Towel Hooks
  • Plunger & Brush
  • Bidet and Squatty Potty
  • Septic Care Sign
  • Cleaning Items
  • Extra Toilet Paper
  • Tissues
  • Poo-pouri or matches to mask smells

Organization

Keeping your personal items from overflowing can help make a guest room feel more comfortable. Remember power strips & plugs! Some of the most requested items include:

  • Pens & Notepad & Scissors
  • Desk Power Station
  • Bedside Power and USB
  • Hangers (including pant & skirt)
  • Trays/Landing Zones for small items
  • Coat Hook
  • Dresser & Closet Space
  • Full Length Mirror

Bedding and Sleeping

Getting a good night sleep in a new place can be very challenging. Providing for your guest’s sleep and relaxing needs was a top request.

  • Extra Pillows
  • Hypoallergenic Options
  • Duvet Cover
  • Robes & Slippers
  • Dirty Clothing Bins & Laundry
  • Dimmer & Good Bedroom Lighting (not too bright, preferably lamps)
  • Books & Reading Materials
  • Nightstand Space (w/ power & USB strips)
  • Eye Masks & Earplugs (ideally also blackout curtains)
  • Water Glasses & Jugs
  • Wifi QR Codes
  • Speakers or White Noise Machine

Other requests including desks and working areas. Our current plans are to have adjustable standing desks and ergonomic work chairs in each bedroom. Plenty of landing spaces and areas to keep your items visible but not cluttered (including luggage stands) is also commonly requested. Separate sitting, sleeping and working areas is best. Also a surprisingly large number of people suggested a white board. So clearly our friends like to brainstorm on the road. External monitors and keyboard were also mentioned.

We have plans to write a basic FAQ document that includes things how the house works. We will include details on water filtration (we have an expensive filtering system so you can drink from any tap in the house), where food is kept and expectations on hours and interaction. Also details on things like heating and cooling are crucial for comfort. People should be able to maintain their ideal temperatures for sleeping and working.

We are also planning to outfit the guest common areas (private to guests and separate from the house common areas) with a mini-fridge stocked with favorite beverages and snacks. Having a coffee maker and tea service was a popular request as well. We are also considering extra boots and outdoor gear for city guests that do not have country gear or simply cannot travel with Wellingtons and barn coats.

Another huge area of interest was maintaining health and fitness. We have a full gym including squat rack, pull up bar, treadmill and a Pilates reformer along with mats for stretching and yoga. We’ve got a Theragun, medicine balls & foam rollers. I am also keen to have supplements for basics to keep your immune system happy like Vitamin D, C and Zinc. We also have a hot tub and have plans for an infrared sauna (might even include a cold plunge).

If you’ve got hospitality suggestions we’d love to hear them. And of course if you are one of our many virtual friends we’d be delighted if you’d consider becoming an “IRL” or in-real-life friend by coming to visit us. We are booked through October but would be thrilled to have you come for ski season!

Categories
Aesthetics Community Preparedness

Day 628 and Intensity

If my brain is a sponge I think I’ve been sopping up more than I am designed to handle. But I am holding on and facing a lot of new information and acting on it quickly.

I’m at a wilderness medical first responder class. And I’m the odd duck out on the class. Everyone else is living with much harder realities than I do. They are the ones that fight our wars. Provide our security. Fight our fires. They keep up with where our most vulnerable live. It’s an on the margin make your best call world.

My body can feel that this reality is very different from what I live with and on different class and wealth bands. People that are more buffered from harsh realities often don’t want to face the costs of our lifestyles. But we are not in a morally neutral systems. And a lot of violence still happens on the margins.

I feel somewhat invigorated by the immediacy of decision making in these chaotic environments. If you are in a natural disaster like a wildfire your capacity to react calmly under extreme conditions is a given. So naturally we arm these people with more agency and skills as it’s a set of problems with a lot of nuance and grey areas too.

I am frankly exhausted even though I didn’t do anything that intense. I did some traumatic brain injury drills. And I worked on how to properly stint and secure broken bones if you are in the back country and need to hobble back in to society. I learned a lot about agency and context and the need for high emotional intelligence as you cope with those who are in need or duress.

I suppose with that in mind, it’s no surprise that I’d like to enjoy a good long night of sleep and a big breakfast in the morning. One has got to enjoy living when you have the chance.

Categories
Culture

Day 622 and Uneven Bars

I’m not very temperamentally even. I run hot and excited and passionate and I’ve got a mean streak a mile wide. I can only assume the reason I’m so popular with some men is they love a bitch. Everyone does.

It’s not the most appreciated trait in popular culture but it does seem to be the dominate preference of a lot of very intelligent people. At least these days plenty of people both conservative and progressive appreciate the necessity of a ball buster. It’s a status object too. We don’t trust men with weak wives. It makes them look weak.

But I’m not sure anyone thinks it’s a particular good thing for the majority of women to act forcefully. If you hold your ground it can bring out howls of ostentatious victimhood. Which if you point out, they quickly gender the tactic a dark feminine trait of less less powerful that they learned from you.

It’s a really stupid party trick that somehow works well past the age of reason. After about 21 you should have really learned men tell you are weak because they know you are powerful over them. But honestly I still get caught flat footed by it. It’s a fickle power to be wielded without assurance or trust. But it is still a power and it’s insulting women women don’t claim it.

Women deciding to dismiss the uneven hold of their power makes balancing power for everyone a bit of a mess. The default switches from human manufacturing got reset.

Gender essentialism is pretty deep. It’s very jarring for the literal minded mainstream of society in particular. And unfortunately for everyone the world is run by the mainstream and they are prone to revanchist sentiment. Just look at everyone simpering for monarchy. Even if you are above that sort of thing no you are not. And so the uneven bars of progress continue. If you aren’t a realist about it you might get screwed.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 619 and Indoor Clothes

I have one issue on which I am a little obsessive compulsive. I hate when someone wears dirty clothes on a clean bed. It just drives me absolutely up the wall.

I suspect this is born of some totally rational preferences. I am very outdoorsy and always have been. As a child I spent as much time as I could negotiate at the barn. I worked as a stable hand as part of keeping my own horse’s board and feed paid. If you’ve ever kept animals or worked on a farm you know how barn clothes smell at the end of a long day. You don’t wear your barn clothes except when you are choring. It’s rude.

Then when I left Colorado for New York City I found another reason that your work clothes should be taken off at the door. Instead of smelling like manure, urine and stale sweat after a long day mucking stales you’d smell like shit, piss, the subway and traffic exhaust. City smells are no more polite to bring inside than barn smells. Getting splashed by a cab or sitting too close to someone who hasn’t showered in a while on the subway is just normal life in a city.

You can probably imagine now a routine in which I take off my outdoor clothes and swap them for my clean indoor clothing. I try to do this as fast as is possible. I can’t fully relax unless I know I’m in my indoor clothing. Because unless I’m clean I cannot get into bed. And there can be no dirty clothes on clean beds.

I simply will not let myself even get on top of the comforter of my bed with outdoor clothing on. If I want to get under the covers and fully relax at home, I better be in clean designated “indoor clothing.”

It still upsets my brain when I see a teenager on television lounging on their bed with shoes and jeans on. Maybe suburban sitcoms neighborhood are a cleaner environment than the one I grew up in?

Or when an adult couple is about to get it on and then tumble into bed with their coats and jackets and high heels. I just hate that. I shudder. I don’t want to bring dirt and shit into my love making. Sorry it’s just my preference no shame if that’s your kink. But absolutely not in my house.

I’ve finally fully trained my husband on this quirk. He keeps a clean set of pajamas to change into and is careful to keep barn clothes to the barn. As for me, I like this quirk. I keep a cleaner house because of it. Sure it’s a little weird but I love a nice clean safe place.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 614 and Cuckservative

At the risk of scandalizing any of my relatives, I learned about a sexual kink today called cuckholding. I was not, sadly, enjoying kink SubReddits. I learned about this term from a bunch of Trump acolytes. Apparently cuckholding means watching another man have sex with your partner (usually wife). So now you know.

For those that are not terminally online, the context is that in a lot of right coded spaces terms like cucking, beta cucking, and cuckservative get used to describe humiliation but also insufficient purity to the cause. The cause usually being some Platonic ideal of conservatism right up until it becomes indistinguishable from authoritarianism.

Now I’d not given a lot of thought to the term and it’s apparent intense fascination to conservatism men. But it keeps showing up in even ancillary spaces like gun culture and even Wall Street Bets. Every humiliation is cucking. Every instance of not holding perfectly pure in-group signifiers and adherence is cucking. The beta cuck is in a an internal battle with the alpha Chad. And frankly it got so prevalent I finally had a “lady doth protest too much” moment and asked wtf is the obsession with cucking.

Can anyone explain to me why the right is so obsessed with cucking?

I honestly didn’t expect to learn as much as I did about the anxieties of our age, the particular traumas of living with ego preservation needs from our childhood, and the sheer raging reaction formation that is American masculinity. Honestly I’m starting to spend a little more time there than feel safe.

I quite feel don’t feel up for analyzing the whole mess of reactions but it largely seems to boil down to a Slate or Salon article said this was the hot liberal fetish. This got percolated through forums culture and whipped into a frenzy by Trump meme magic. But because the internet gives you brain worms this turned into an actual thing people got sexually turned onto and now it’s maybe impossible to untangle what is fetish and what is meme. But there is definitely some wild sexual politics around power and property in America and who counts as a full person with agency. I’m including some screen shots for posterity as it might be helpful for later research as I fear this will end up being useful as some internet ethnography.

Categories
Politics

Day 609 and Dark Brandon Rising

I really don’t know why I’m commenting at all on it except that capturing some of immediate sentiment of the moment has some value. But I watched Joe Biden’s Soul of America speech.

I wasn’t planning to but the siren call of the Twitter feed sucked me in. Like the rest of America, I feel the call of the discourse. And I have to say I’m surprised yet again at how divergent it feels.

I saw Dark Brandon Rising memes come to life. Our usually stumbling gaff prone president was on fire. Literally as the background was red. I want to know what they pumped him up with. And I don’t think it was a playlist. But he seemed passionate and he made as decent a play for the values of democratic norms as I’ve ever heard. But he also did it on a red lit stage with marines and the imagery of the presidency and norms means pearl clutching from all sides.

I don’t think it’s bad to call out that Trumpism involves election denialism. January 6th has a clear message even if it lacked finesse. It’s not like we are seeing Americans at their best after two years of pandemic. I suppose I recognize that it’s insulting and maybe insidious to say that some people are worse than others. But differences of opinions become a bit less valid when one wants representative democracy and one acts like brute power is fine if it serves their interests.

I felt like it came across decently and relatively unifying and I’m sad that this is a position that is contrarian or in dispute. I’m no fan of the man but I also don’t want to become Argentina or Albania. America is supposed to be better.

Categories
Finance Preparedness

Day 608 and What Timeline

I’ve been obsessed with a movie called Margin Call this summer. If you haven’t seen it, well it’s on Netflix, and it’s an exceptional piece of cinema with a top notch cast reflecting on why finance is so prone to boom and busts. It’s a great office drama even if you have no interest in banking. And it’s only an hour and forty odd minutes w two key Pete Davidson SNL skit criteria. It is both Tucci Gang and a Short Ass Movie.

One of the clincher scenes is Jeremy Irons explaining his job as the bank’s CEO to Zachary Quinto the young rocket scientist turned risk analyst.

I’m here for one reason and one reason alone. I’m here to guess what the music might do a week, a month, a year from now. That’s it. Nothing more. And standing here tonight, I’m afraid that I don’t hear; a; thing. Just — silence

Margin Call

I found this particular scene rather riveting as it reflects both the seeming ease and intense dangers of being in charge. Your entire job boils down to making a few big calls exactly right over a time horizon your average working stiff doesn’t even have the luxury to consider.

I’ve been considering my own preferred time frame on which to make decisions. I’m no Jeremy Irons. I don’t make exceptional calls on what will happen in a few months. I do however have quite a nose for what will unfold over much longer time horizons. I’d trust myself to make the right call over a decade. I scan the horizons.

Which if you are following along with some of my life choices should be modestly unsettling. I moved to Montana to a rural homestead. I invest in early stage startups that fit my chaotic thesis. I am comfortable being labeled a doomer and a prepper because catastrophic emergencies are in inevitability in complex systems.

And it’s hard to imagine a time when complex systems like climate change, geopolitics and macroeconomic trading pressure held more sway than now. Like Jeremy Iron’s character I am listening for the music. And my ear is trained on the silence coming down the pike.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 607 and Shopping

I’m in a heavy “bitches be shopping” phase. Moving into a new house always necessitates some new purchases but adjusting to an entirely new lifestyle is a heavy lift.

We don’t have much furniture that effectively made the transition from loft in lower Manhattan at the start of the pandemic to townhouse in Colorado for 18 months. So it’s almost like starting from scratch furnishing a farmhouse in Montana. We are using Havenly to help us decide on items we want for areas we’ve never had to furnish before like a dining room and guest rooms. It’s an amazing service that does all the product market work of finding items in your price point and desired styles.

But of course, it all takes forever to get furniture and I wish we’d started on this earlier. As rationalized not starting till we moved in but of course every week some new piece of furniture gets delayed. I’ll be lucky if I get the dining room table by mid October at this rate.

A rendering of our dining room from Havenly

The other big shopping project is upgrading my wardrobe as even after two winters in Colorado most of the adjustment from Manhattan to the Rocky Mountains was technical fabrics and activewear clothing not actual workwear.

Now I have outdoor clothing needs that are less “let’s go for a hike” and more “someone needs to stack wood” or “turn over the soil in the raised beds.”. I guess this means I’m changing over from Merril hiking boots to Ariat paddock boots and from hiking pants to Carhartt canvas work pants. I placed an order for a bunch of stuff today and am modestly enthusiastic about it.

I’ve spent a small fortune on adjusting to Montana life and a huge chunk of the purchases feel aspirational. Or at least my perception of what kind of adjustments are required. As much as I’ve lived in the country, and worked on a farm, my childhood is well in the distance. I’m working from memories.