Baker’s Dozen – I

I’ve been mulling over whether to write this post or not, consulted friends, and as I start this now I still don’t know. Last week, I was in Trader Joe’s and I remembered that I once wrote an article about TJ’s beauty aisle for a now defunct fashion/beauty website: “Trader Joe’s Baker’s Dozen Best Buys for Beauty.” The site went out of business before I submitted the final draft. I dug around and found the article – it’s a bit long and heavy on the lavender and tea tree oil – but informational.

What stumped me most was the alarming note of not recognizing myself in the writing. I sound positively giddy. To be sure, I was writing it for a specific purpose/audience, and it was a number of years ago – at least five. But that wasn’t it, I’ve found writings and “scribbles” from when I was a kid and I see myself. All I could think was, “Who is this woman?” “And, what extraordinary cocktail of drugs is she taking?” The answer is none, so I have no excuses. I’m attempting to recall what was going on at that time, and it’s vague because it wasn’t particularly interesting. I was friends with a girl who normally I wouldn’t be friendly with – we had mutual acquaintances. Anyway, she was…I sound like her in this which really scares me. I can’t remember now, but I may have deliberately tried to channel her “voice” since the audience for this piece would have been girls/women like her. Nice, safe, conforming, aiming to please, nonthreatening…blech. Sadly, or not, I don’t fit this role as much as I may try. I lean more in the direction of say her (right), or this (below):

Now, I am less drawn to the make-up and creams as I was a couple of years ago. Obviously, there are other products at TJ’s that actually may contribute to my health like juices, nuts, fruit, and of course candy (reward motivation system?). The 99 cent greeting cards are excellent too. So, I’ll frequent TJ’s until the farmer’s markets gear up again.

Now I have to figure out how to add the article without making this an endless word salad. Help!

Tripped Up & To Be Continued –

                                         Clare Irwin

Okay, it’s done. See the above post “Beauty’s Baker’s Dozen II” for the article where I dost not know my self.

Love Thy Neighbor

I haven’t been writing nearly enough. The last weeks have been busy, more lazy, transitory, and strange. The weather can’t make up its mind. Rain for days, cold, then blasting heat – our bodies are constantly adjusting. For me there are also quite a few milestones between May and July some of which are triste. I’m easily distracted and can’t seem to settle. I had planned to write a post on something else, but that idea requires me to find that higher ground in my interior life which I can’t seem to access just now. I’m getting close.

I was almost there when my neighbor decided to chop down trees and then grind them to pulp for three days straight. I have considered writing about him before. I don’t know the man, but I can sure hear him. In a nutshell – silence is his enemy. A professional maniac is another term, but that might be too harsh.He and his family live on another road, but the far back of his property abuts where I live. Over the years there’s been a lot of yelling – this guy definitely has rage issues. It used to be worse. I remember one warm afternoon where he yelled for four hours straight. Really how is that possible? Well, he managed it. His wife must have locked him out of the house at some point, because he was on his back deck playing to the rafters. A lot of bad words at high volume and there were young children in the house.

Something must have happened…an intervention of either the social worker or law enforcement variety because things appeared to settle down a bit. Then emerged a number of water features and effects on the back lawn – which to this man’s credit is nicely landscaped and tended. Maybe his mandatory anger management course suggested water as a way to calm down. A hammock went up as well. He still goes off but it’s not as protracted. One thing he has not abandoned is his penchant for doing noisy lawn work at times when other people might want a little quiet, say early on a weekend morning. It’s like: I’m here! I’m pissed! And I’m taking you all with me!

I’ve lived in many places that covered the spectrum of country, suburban, city, and from modest to upscale, and either way there’s consistently at least one neighbor who drives everyone crazy. My friends have told me their neighbor stories over the years, some are pretty horrifying. There’s no escaping. Right now as I am writing this it is pouring rain and he’s still out there chain sawing and wood chipping. This guy really commits.

I could go on, but I won’t. Otherwise I would be entering into my neighbor’s territory and he’s proprietary.

Clare Irwin

P.S. I hope you will share your neighbor experiences.