They say time flies when you are having fun. Some internal sick sadness combined with external geopolitical confusion, during what I’ve come to call “my sick years,” were in hindsight timeless years.
I am now past the worst of it. Time had no meaning when I was struggling to get diagnosed and treated during those years. Then we collectively ran headlong into the pandemic. Time had been a flat circle for a while and I wasn’t coming or going. My time was out of reach.
But those days of sad, static immobile time have given way to vim, vigor, verve (and fuck it, why not) even vivaciousness. I must be having fun again, as now time is absolutely flying.
I still carry my health challenges with me (ankylosis spondylitis like all inflammatory conditions comes and goes with the reliability of the fey), and the world is just as fucked up as ever.
And yet on the other side of many hard fights, I am happy again. The miseries are my choices and worth the fight. It’s many pleasures are fleeting, often, and luxurious beyond what my former self thought I deserved.
I hope time keeps on slipping like this for a while. The joy of my struggles now makes me eager to take care of myself. I take every day as slow as I can and still they go by so quickly.
All the shops are closed in Germany on Sunday. This is a basic fact I somehow always forget despite regularly being in Europe. They are serious about their day of rest.
Without the ability to go grocery shopping or otherwise pay for goods or services, Sunday becomes a day for getting your life in order. As long as you planned ahead for it. Which I definitely didn’t. But I made a go of it anyway.
I made myself coffee and did a mobility routine. I took a long bath with epsom salts. I did a load of laundry and set it outside to dry in the sun. I cleaned the bathroom so I could enjoy another bath later in the week. I washed the dishes and tidied the kitchen.
Then I found myself wandering the busy streets past closed shops and bustling parks. While the grocery shops were closed, the playhouses and calisthenics parks were open and absolutely packed.
Frankfurt has public spielhaus or playhouses in the parks for children with activities and equipment. When I walked by I saw teenagers playing basketball and elementary school children painting.
For the adults there are calisthenics stations on the river where you can workout in public any time of the day or night. I’m not much for pull ups I did end up playing around with a thirty minute body weight workout of squats, mountain climbers, pikes, bridges, leg raises, dips, planks and push ups. It just felt like a fun thing to do.
And isn’t that a pleasant thought? That on a sunny spring day it just seems nice to be outside playing. The dream of parks and recreation is alive in Frankfurt.
It’s been a beautiful week in the Gallatin Valley. Every single morning on my daily constitutional walk I notice new growth. Very suddenly we went from of melting & assessing snow damage to bright and sunny spring green.
The more northern latitudes get a shorter growing season (in fact we will get more snow) but the season is one of magnified intensity as our evenings stretch towards 10pm before the light is gone. And so on this first weekend of May we’ve begun taking action on spring. Hobby farmers spring into action.
My husband and I have no idea what we are doing but with the true spirit of fuck around and find out we began anyway. Our running joke is that Alex is a #ManofAction as there is just simply so much more practically to do when you live on land for which you are ultimately responsible. It’s a lot of fun and very grounding.
And as you might guess the most liberating feeling in the world is being held accountable for yourself and your choices. So even knowing full well you are basically that dog typing on a computer subtitled “I’ve got no ideal what I’m doing” you carry on anyway.
While I did a few laps around the pasture and helped with a bit of the lighter work my role was mostly to capture the fun and excitement of trying something new. We picked two apple, two plum and one cherry from Starks Brothers to add in after a fall planting of a number of apple trees. We’ve got no idea if any of this is going to take. We’ve read some books but that barely counts.
Meanwhile inside the homestead I’ve been doing some spring cleaning. I’ve been appropriately assigned gender formative roles as I actually enjoy keeping things attractive and beautiful. The closests need turning over from the wool and layering over to tee-shirts, sundresses, and linens. Alex mostly goes from button downs to tee shirts. Jeans are swapped for cargo shorts. Being a man is simpler.
Winter boots need to be put away and flats, sneakers and sandals brought to the front. Alex had more work gear and footwear as he does more of the outdoors work than I do so shoes are more Alex than me.
Heavy winter oil and moisture rich cosmetics will give way to lighter water creams and ceramides. I don’t change retinols but I may add in more C and lactic acid for turnover in the heat. Alex meanwhile gets away with a basic vitamin C moisturizer and SPF.
I alas have not dealt with getting my hair trimmed in sometime but the reminder that it’s time to cut off dead ends is ultimately a spring time ambition. Hopefully you had the good sense to prune in the winter. My husband is lucky enough to simply buzz his head. Happy spring everyone and may your rituals enjoyable to you.
Conferences can be tricky if you are a speaker. You’re obligated to hold attention & entertain while also getting across complicated topics like governance contracts. It takes energy and preparation to do it well.
By the end the room was packed with folks passing by and stopped to see what we were discussing. A bunch of smiling energetic faces and a loud lady in a full length dress is a bit eye catching out on a convention floor stage. I got so much positive feedback.
Heck, I was in a bathroom where I overhead an attendee discussing the panel the next day with a gentleman who was also panelist. The attendee raved to the panelist and said “that chick” really held everyone’s attention on topic. A good performance all around.
It felt easy as in a small community someone like me gets to enjoy the benefits of niche fringe micro-celebrity. I kept hearing over and over “I follow you on Twitter” along with “she’s so funny on Twitter she says the shit you are thinking.” I’ve got to admit it feels good.
And I think it was fun for Alex who spent part of the week hearing folks tell him that while he’s great (and everyone loves his homesteading adventures) but they are really more excited to meet his wife. Dare I say I’m a trophy wife?
It’s super fun when your internet frens and parasocial relationships come together in actual reality. We were all happily saying “oh I follow you” to each other all week. I miss everyone already. But I’m happy to be home in Montana.
I’m currently sucking at a bunch of stuff in my life. Because I’m learning new skills and expanding my horizons. I am just sucking big hairy balls as I go about the process of embarrassing myself becoming competent through failure.
Thankfully I am surrounded by a family who loves me and wants me to improve. They don’t mind if I suck because sucking is the first step in success. If I don’t suck at something I’m probably not pushing myself to learn. And just because I’m afraid of sucking is no excuse. Everyone sucks sometimes.
And I get it. It sucks to suck. I hate how uncomfortable it makes me feel to fuck up. I am regularly failing at lots of shit on what feels like a daily basis.
And I do often want to crawl into a hole and stop doing new things so I can enjoy the feelings of power and competence at things I am already successful in.
And yet I don’t want to stay in my comfort zone. Even though I am intimately familiar with how much it sucks to suck. I hate the feeling of having not tried even more. I’d rather shoulder the risk of the fuck ups than live with the crushing anxiety of not shooting my shot.
Because more than it sucks to suck, it really fucking sucks to not even try. It eats away at your soul. You wonder if your life could be better. And I am here to tell you yes it can be. My life is fucking awesome right now. And it’s awesome because I tried. I spent a lot of time being embarrassed.
I didn’t get everything I wanted. But like those damned boomers said, you might find that you get what you need. So go ahead and suck. The path to happiness is on the other side of it. Don’t give up just because it sucks to suck.
I occasionally have the ambition to be less of chatty Cathy. I almost cannot help myself in Montana. I keep meeting folks who are into the same stuff as me and then I’ll just end up talking for an hour.
Introverted Julie somehow always finds the homesteader, science fiction, alternative economy, crypto libertarian aesthetic studies semiotics pirate at the party. Sometimes it’s even the same person (hi Frank). I’ve now found not one but two homestead curious folks at a spa. The same spa! (Hi Kylie & Lorraine!)
I’ve got a general philosophy in life that you should be a beacon. We are responsible for our light and maintaining it. But are we not equally responsible for shining it into the darkness?
I’d like to see my broadcasting into the abyss of the internet as being a sort of existential lighthouse. Perhaps my chatty nature is some form of the same ambition. I want my people to find me.
And wouldn’t you know it but I’m always finding people searching for the same things. I have so many pockets of knowledge. And I want to share what I know with you. I want you to share your knowledge with me too. Your world and your experiences will add to mine just as mine adds to yours. Like the Borg but decentralized.
I’ve got a lot of weirdly specific knowledge. You know, Julie Fredrickson shit. And I want the folks who need the light I’ve cultivated to find me. So I will broadcast.
I know how to be in my body even with illness. I know about inflammation and healing from post viral shit. I know about sovereignty and survival and independence. I know a thing or two about being a doomer and an optimist.
I’ve got weirder more specifics knowledge too. Ask me about corporate governance structures and decentralized autonomous organization. Or the most cost effective luxury unbranded retinols. Or what biometrics to track and on what devices.
The point is that I’m here to be a chatty Cathy. And if you’d like to talk just slide into my DMs on Twitter. Or email me. It’s my first name dot last name at gmail. Consider this your bat signal.
I’ve never been much of a fan of April Fools. I like pranks and jokes but I’ve always found the idea of forced merriment to be a bit of cultural drudgery. Most holidays have a bit of marketing attached but April Fools feels like all marketing and no meaning attached.
Despite my dislike I was surprised to see April Fool’s come around and see almost no jokes or pranks. The closest I got was seeing a shitposter buddy of mine Alex Cohen declare he was becoming a leadership poaster. Fun and harmless good stuff. But otherwise it felt like crickets.
I hazarded a guess that it might be because everyone is feeling a bit gun shy. Lots is going on and most corners of the internet feel like they could pop off at any moment. Twitter is has the tension of a neighborhood under siege in some corners. Lots of ingroup fighting is happening in particularly contested spaces like crypto and politics. You can tell it’s information warfare out there.
In that environment I guess no one wants to hazard a shot. It’s too embarrassing to consider that your fire dunk might accidentally be regarded as World War 3’s Franz Ferdinand moment. No laughing matter indeed.
Here is a mindfuck for you. Pretending works. The mimicry of the thing occasionally, though not mostly, can lead to having the real thing. Fake it till you make it” works if you’ve got a long enough runway to allow for take off. If you’ve judged the resources correctly is more art than science but you should still be able to do the math.
In discussing whether it is better to fire founders or product managers on Twitter today I got to see a lot of the cargo cult culture of Silicon Valley coming off a high. A lot of people can perform innovation and we’ve maybe even got it down to being well liked by financial markets. But sometimes you actually do have to go and do the thing. And you can’t fake it.
If you aren’t familiar with kayfabe, it’s a term used in wrestling. It means you don’t break character loosely. You keep the secret even if everyone is in on it. You can take things a bit too far and the blending of fiction and reality has now given us a reality tv president.
But what happens when you don’t make the jump? Does reality crash in? Will the market punish you for not delivering on a convincing enough value proposition? Do you have to keep your ambition within some scope that can exist in our agreed upon reality? Yes of course. Fuck you it’s called civilization. But every once in a while someone goes from vapor ware to the Revolution. Don’t be so sure you can spot the difference though. Kayfabe doesn’t just fool rubes.
I’ve not had a lot of spare time for entertainment and recovery in what turned out to be a very busy month. This left me in a small quandary as Alex and I finished both a comedy and a hour long drama right before all hell broke loose.
My husband and I tend to always have a short form sitcom and a longer prestige piece in rotation depending on how tired we are at the end of the day. We’d run through all the comfort shows and couldn’t fathom testing a new something more serious.
I’m not entirely sure how but we decided to pick up two classic 90s era shows. For our comedy we picked That 70s Show and for our drama we picked the procedural NYPD Blue. Our expectations were that these would be easy to watch simple shows without much depth. And boy were we wrong.
I don’t recall watching a ton of television when I was a kid and I doubt I would have been allowed to watch gritty cop dramas. But the way folks kvetch about how network television sucks I went in expecting middle brow fare. Millennials have had both streaming and cable for so long we’ve come to expect tv that caters to our preferences tend to look down on anything made for the masses.
As it turns out, having to appeal to broad swaths of people actually has some advantages. Both shows are steeped in deep emotions and relatability. The writing is snappy and straight forward. The characters are multifaceted even as they work through their personas.
The fact that I’m relating to the struggles of a shitty racist balding drunkard detective and a pack of Wisconsin teenagers is probably a positive thing. Shared humanity is getting lost in consumer preferences and social identities.
We think unless we see ourselves on the screen we couldn’t possibly relate. And I’ll say I’ve appreciated more representation in entertainment as I often feel hopelessly un-relatable. A
nd yet I’m enjoying relating to humans that never even existed as portrayed by professional liars. So maybe there is something in that. The human experience is the thing, not that the experience must demonstrate it’s connection to your life.
My mother has always had a gift for aphorisms. I am grateful she has this talent as I’ve been able to simply repackage her wisdom and look much more talented than I actually am at delivering pull quotes. Brevity is the soul of wit and my mother is very witty.
One of the pithy witticisms I believe I learned from her is a classic take on beauty and class being more fungible than we are led to believe.
Pretty is a skill set
Me and/or my mother
If you’ve ever hung out with a bunch of rich girls and wondered why they are all hot consider the dilemma solved. It’s a skill that is cultivated. Like any skill you cultivate or with time but also money. And if you are rich and white the path to beauty is a lot shorter than you might realize. It’s pretty fucked.
I’ve been lucky enough to cultivate this skill set over time. I’ve come to rely on it as part of my arsenal. But I’ve also got a bit of a cranky body so I’ve not always been able to consistently practice the various skills required.
And sometimes life just gets in the way. I look like a fucking mess today. After a week cooped up in an air conditioned room in Mexico with trips outside for slightly traumatic family emotional bonding, I look like shit.
My hair is unsettled and popping off static electricity. I’ve got small pimples all across my forehead. I’ve got patches of eczema on my right chin. I do not appear to have the skill set for pretty today.
Normally I do my best to hide in these circumstances. Especially if I don’t trust someone. I don’t like looking like I lack skill when it comes to presentation. And it is often a sign of respect to look well groomed and beautiful.
In fact, today we’ve got a houseguest that normally I’d feel required to be at full skill set capacity around. And I just didn’t feel like it was necessary. And that’s a skill set worth cultivating too.