Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Best Friends



I
 was thinking about the infamous line from Streetcar Named Desire, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” As a single mom, I can’t depend on the kindness of strangers because I have to always assume strangers are child molesters. Instead, I have to always depend on the kindness of my family and feel guilty for inconveniencing them and worry that my kids are being treated like cargo.

With a task list creating schizophrenic distractions, it’s hard to live in the moment while simultaneously keeping an eye on the prize. I decided to sign up for three classes this semester, and let me say, I definitely underestimated the amount of time I’d need to dedicate to these classes while working and being a mom.


Every Monday we go to little G’s tutoring. Kiki and I sit in the lobby, and as the two women who run the center go back and forth from the learning room to their office, my daughter likes to overshare all the details from her life. I appreciate her transparency, but her need to tell everyone about her “Divorced Child Syndrome,” can make me cringe. Although, those encounters pale in comparison to her calling me a racist at the top of lungs, after I gave her a made-up math test that had fractions on it.


If we weren’t in public, I’d have asked her, “Are you working for MSNBC now?” But instead, I explained to her what racist means, and if anything, I was being mathist. I should later warn her that the holy white saviors who are inept at contextualizing tend to be the quickest people to cancel because they are unable to live up to their own level of scrutiny.


I had to drop one of the classes I’m taking, and sadly, it’s child psychology. To be fair, we spent the first four weeks talking about genetic deformities, and it didn’t seem like we were ever going to get to a point where I’d find out what I’m supposed to say to my kids after they tell me they want their parents to get back together. After the instructor assigned a seven page paper, I withdrew from the class, figuring I should spend that time on the ninth draft of my screenplay.


I asked my daughter’s therapist how am I supposed to respond to their questions on mom and dad getting back together, because saying, “Astrologically your father and I have low compatibility, in all areas, not just sex and communication.” Just seems wrong.


Her suggestion was hardly a revelation, especially considering the cost of her expertise, but reassuring. Just keep driving it home, that it’s better for two people to suffer than four. Not really, but because they were so young when we got divorced, they need to be told that mom and dad don’t get along, and this is better for everyone.


The kids stayed with my parents last weekend. I maximized their time away, and feel like I’m back on track. As the kids pulled away in my dad’s truck, my daughter blew me a kiss and closed the door in my face, but my son packed up two garbage bags of stuffed animals from his room, and told me he will call every hour. My guilt compounded when his little eye balls filled up with tears and he said, “You’re the greatest mom in the whole world.”  I returned the compliment, and after they drove away, got to work. 


When they came back home, we had a wonderful day, without any nagging distractions. That night, they were curled up sleeping, and I gave them each a kiss and took a picture to add to my “sleeping beauties” photo album. I was reminded of another great movie quote, “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” From Psycho.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Sexy Annoyance


I didn’t like Queen’s Gambit. There, I said it! I could tell, within minutes, the show was written by men. The main character is not Emma Stone, but some other skinny red-head with fetal alcohol syndrome. She is a chess grandmaster whose brilliance is a divine result of taking copious amounts of drugs and staring at her ceiling. 

I understand that TV shows get to take some liberties, like Carrie Bradshaw’s weekly Village Voice column funding her Dolce closet and NY apartment, but I could forgive the unexplained wealth thanks to Samantha’s generous serving of dick-jokes. In Queen’s Gambit there wasn’t a counterbalance to the unexplained intelligence, and my tolerance was worn real thin by the repetition of close-up shots of pursed lips and doe eyed Not-Emma-Stone demonstrating she was thinking real hard. I actually screamed at the TV, “You’re playing chess bitch, not taking a selfie!”


The desperation for a diverse cast lends itself to some pretty cringeworthy recycled tropes. However, it was the childhood best friend character that made me move the box of See’s chocolates off my lap so I could get my notebook and write down her great line, “Fuck em’ if they can’t take a joke.”  


In case you’re wondering if the Queen’s Gambit is based on a real life woman, Google says no, but her mannerisms are taken from the racist hermit Bobby Fischer, so the show’s motivation of advancing female roles on TV bitters since they decided to just slap a vagina on a man. It reminds me of Ms. Monopoly, the board game adapted for young girls who prefer a business suit over a princess costume. I felt a burning rage after reading the tagline on the Ms. Monopoly box, “The first game where women make more than men.” 


**


My kids and I were sitting at the table doing our work, when they started bickering. Kiki turned to G and yelled, “YOU SEXY ANNOYANCE!”

I tried not to laugh. They picked up the word listening to Top Pop, but have no idea what it means. I didn’t know what to say, so I told her to be nice. I will figure out what to say if I hear it again because “sexy” is the last thing she wants to be screaming at the boys in her class who annoy her.


Kiki is a huge proponent of “Girls Rule, Boys Drool.” She takes in a lot of hyper-aggressive-girl-empowering content, but I have to remind her that it is sexist to say you don’t like someone because they are a boy. I advocate, ”Girls rule AND Boys rule!”

Then G chimes in, “No, actually Girls drool and Boys drool.”


Even though there's a lot of music about Girls ruling the world, reality is falling short at the moment, especially here in California where female dominated industries are shut down because of coronavirus. Construction is in full force, but hair stylists are being snuck in the back door. Local coffee shops and restaurants are closing down, yet Starbucks has a line wrapping around the block. The elementary schools are closed, but the NFL and NBA are underway.


Gavin Newsom is out eating Foie Gras while the children of California are acting like they’ve been eating paint chips. I can’t help but assume it’s strategic that women industries are shut down because someone has to keep the kids off the paint chips. High school and college students are capable of distance learning, but little kids cannot without assistance, and this should be prioritized over the National Football League. But I don’t know if it’s Napoleon Newsom or our country's crippling litigiousness because now we’ve opened the floodgates of liabilities that could keep everything closed forever. Everything but the NFL and Starbucks.


**


Back to Queen's Gambit and this Girls-Rule-the-World entertainment narrative. Maybe it’s manifesting a brighter tomorrow, the same way I have a “Harvard Mom” bumper sticker and my kids are seven and nine, but currently girls aren’t even ruling their own industries. If this were a TV show, a scientist would find the cure to coronavirus after getting eyelash extensions and her butthole waxed. There would be no need to demonstrate a culmination of knowledge through education and practice, rather the cure would come to her in a psychedelic daydream after eating mushrooms. 


In reality, we just have to wait this out. Even though women's jobs were the target of Newsom’s corona cure because there aren’t lobbyists protecting them by paying him, in a couple months the country will be vaccinated. The little kids can get back to school and everyone back to work. It’s going to be a long road to recovery for the economy, but at least we know, we will always have football. That's a really sexy annoyance!




Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Fancy Sweatpants



At work we had a fancy-sweatpants rollout. The sweats feel amazing, but I was still questioning the new line. I said to my coworker, “Whose buying $80 sweatpants?”

She confidently said, “Nobody leaves their house. This is what people want!” 


She was right, and we sold three pairs that day.


The only $80 sweat pants I’ve owned had “Juicy” bedazzled over the butt. These sweats didn’t have any message; “Fresh” across the front would be a price-worthy touch.


Yesterday, I wore a fashionable face mask. A statement mask, with a snowman’s charcoal smile and carrot nose. As intended, everyone found it to be delightful. But on my break, I went to the bathroom and pulled it down to reveal my nose looked purple and bloated. I was having an allergic reaction to the wetsuit material.


I came back to the floor carefully pulling down a fresh disposable mask to show my coworkers the disastrous outcome of my wanting to spread holiday cheer. I spent the next two hours pushing dreadful thoughts to the back corner of my mind, but they reared their heads often, “Now I have a wino’s nose without any of the wine... I look like Charles Bukowsi without the bravado… Hopefully we never stop wearing masks.”


I washed my face after work and was very relieved to see my nose returning to normal. My bathroom has the most uninviting smell from a Lysol toilet clip-on I bought thinking I wouldn’t have to scrub the toilet anymore. I scrub the toilet the same amount, but now it smells like it’s in a gas station.


After my kids’ dad dropped them off, he went on and on about how our daughter’s brilliance reminds him of himself as a kid. I looked at him nodding, and said, “Say something nice about the other one now.”


I take pride in my kids’ preference for my house, and because I was spared the pain of being the second choice, I took it all for granted. Lately my daughter’s trailing into daddy’s girl territory, I am trying not to be offended when she says to me, “I wish I were at Dad’s.”


I thought we could bond over baking and remembered a cake mix in the pantry. With my head all the way to the back of the cabinet, I screamed, “Someone stole our muffin mix!”

She yelled back, “Lemon poppy seed?”

“Yes!”

“We made that. A long time ago.”

I vaguely remember, maybe in that back corner of my mind, I can see us eating the cake.


I was trying to win back points when I asked the kids what they want for Christmas. It backfired when my daughter said she wanted a corgi or an iPad, since her dad told me earlier in the week he’s getting her the ladder. I had to tell her to think smaller.


My son said he wants Legos. Last Christmas he became increasingly frustrated when putting a Lego set together, got up and kicked the half built structure against the wall. I made a mental note, if I get him Legos this year, I’ll budget in the $150 visit to Dr. Renee, where they work on anger management by making a water bottle filled with glitter.


That night, after the kids went to bed, I sat on the couch reading, or staring at a smudge on the wall. When I reached the point of nodding off, I put the cat in the laundry room. I piled into the bed with the kids and had the same thought I have every night I get in bed, “Is the front door locked?”

I deliberated for a couple minutes, “I must have checked the lock five times… or maybe I didn’t check it at all.”

As usual, I carefully crawl out of bed trying not to smash someone’s leg or pull their hair, and I check the locks, possibly for the sixth time. I said out loud, “It’s official, I have checked the locks! The door is locked!”


I get back in bed, and go through things that I am happy about. That night, I started with my nose. I pull down the ankles of my sort-of-fresh sweatpants so my legs don’t get cold, and I think about getting those fancy sweatpants which aren’t so expensive with my discount. I could always iron a patch on them to give them a little more pizazz. 


The standing fan is on, muffling the natural creaks of the house that send me into high alert. The humming sound starts taking space, and I feel all my thoughts pressing up against the corners.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Goodbye, Alimony

 


The morning of English placement tests in middle school my mom told me to write my essay on Marcia Clark. We knew the topic was “People who inspire you” because my sister took the test the year before, and my cousin the year before that. I was in 7th grade, and even though I watched my grandma glued to the OJ Simpson trial on the news, and the verdict played on a TV rolled into my Spanish class, I could really give a shit about Marcia Clark.
But my mom is a very convincing person, and I thought she must be right, and if I write about this I’ll surely get into honors English. Unfortunately, I lacked my mom’s passion for Marcia Clark, and wasn’t asked to join honors English, where ironically, nine out of the ten students wrote essays on how they were inspired by their mothers.

A few years later I cared much less about school, and would ditch any chance I got, spending ridiculous amounts of time wandering around in the forest with people. One time I was on such a journey with my older sister, and she convinced me to help her collect garbage bags of pinecones, that we threw into her car and brought home because she planned to sell them on eBay, her reasoning, “Don’t you think someone who has never seen a pinecone, would want to see a pinecone?”

Elementary school seems to be much more fun-filled than high school, so I see where I lost my way. My kids are always singing songs that teach them stuff, like about pronouns, and so many assignments involve with a coloring portion. Little G had his self portrait project sent home because the picture he drew was not inline of the parameters of the project.




It took a lot of convincing to get him to draw a more realistic self portrait. After he went on and on about how he hates drawing self portraits because he can't make it look like him, I told him, “No one can actually draw a life-like portrait of themselves. In my entire life I’ve met maybe three people that can draw a realistic picture of themselves.”

As a kindergarten art docent, I know a thing or two about self-portraits, the teacher told me, “Have them avoid drawing teeth, and no realistic noses, they’ll all look like pigs.”

 After G went on about not capturing his essence, I said, “Draw a picture of your dad. They’ll never know the difference.”

So he made two green circles for eyes, a semi-circle for a nose, spiky brown hair and a big toothy smile, and we were able to get on with our weekend.


This week I got my last alimony check from dear old dad. It's hard to believe it’s been that long, but with the upcoming election, I’m reminded, it was shortly after Trump became president everything sort of crumbled out from under me; I got divorced, fell off the wagon, and left the college to teach high school thinking it would be more stable, and stopping my blog so I wouldn't get fired for talking to mature audiences on a platform where any audience can read it. 


After some time, I forged a new path. I started doing stand up so I could get my writing out there, went back to teaching full-time college, and after a good go at non-sobriety, I crawled back on the wagon.


I’m financially independent now, I teach at two colleges and I even have my retail job that allows me to have cute-ass-top-of-the-line-fashions at an affordable price. The retail job satiates a shopping addiction, but when I get overloaded with school, I usually think, I need to quit that job, it’s stressing me out. But it does make me happy to be around such beautiful clothes, seeing people shopping, and with colleges online, I shouldn't turn down opportunities to interact with human beings.

Currently we are not that busy, so sometimes I wander around looking at everything. I was shoveling through these bins in the markdowns section and found a package of metal straws. I had a terrible visual of this metal straw in my cup and I sneezed and the straw impaled my eyeball, and I had a footlong Indian-jones looking metal spear sticking out of my eye-ball. It was awful. 

But not quite as awful as when customers pull you into the dressing room with them and start undressing. It’s usually older women, who are way more accustomed to getting a proper fitting when they try on clothes. I usually talk incessantly and try not to look at them until afterward when I assure them they look like a hot-piece-of-ass in whatever they’ve put on.


Today I had a chunk of time I was able to write, but instead I watched a bunch of TV and ate an entire fridge. After I got my kids and we ate Panda Express, I decided to have a mature-audiences gummy and get to writing. I’m hardly the girl I was in high school, and knew things were in full effect when I tried to spell the word lackadaisical. I spent minutes on this, and spellcheck still couldn't figure out what I was saying, and eventually it made me laugh out loud. 


Things all do work out for a reason. Had I made it into honors English I might not have enjoyed that funny moment today.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

California Dreaming




Friday night I dreamt it was the first day of class and I was teaching in front of the room with no clothes on. I was totally unprepared, and all the students were being jerks. I walked around showing them a data set I just wrote on a gum wrapper. Then I looked over and saw the professor who sits in on my classes when I’m being reviewed, looking horrified, so I started to put on clothes, saying, “I should probably put these clothes on,” and he looked at me like, “Ya think?” 


Tomorrow is the first day at Sac State and I’m ready. I feel much better than I did Friday. Stress reared its head earlier in the week. I dreamt I got black out drunk, waking up in a hotel bed with one of my best friends. It wasn’t like that. I never turned into sexy-lady drunk. I was more of a Roseanne drunk; I  get loud, funny and rude. In the dream everyone was mad because someone had spiked my drink the night before, but I was secretly happy he did it.


I wasn’t hungover, but still needed to lay in bed and watch TV that morning with my kids. We watched a Youtube video on lucid dreams. The clip starts by saying, the best minds of time use this practice to heighten their intelligence.

The way to train your mind to “wake up” while you’re asleep is by frequently saying to yourself when you’re awake, “If I’m asleep, I can push my finger through my hand.” 

Then you try to push your finger through your hand, and when it won’t go you say out loud, “I’m awake.”

The pattern will cause you to say that when you’re dreaming, but your finger will go through your hand if you’re in a dream, and you say, “I’m asleep!” And you’re given the paintbrush to your dreamscape.


I was easily onboard until they gave a warning, don’t freak out from the sleep paralysis because your mind is now awake, but your body won’t move. During this part of the video they show a shadowy figure trying to claw themselves from a clear steamed up coffin.


Whenever I’ve experienced sleep-paralysis, where I wake up but my body is asleep, I go into panic, screaming at myself, “Wake up!” and trying to open my eyes. It does feel like being trapped in a coffin. The video claims, if I stay calm, it is the opportunity to launch into lucid dreaming, creating whatever reality I want, gaining insight into my curiosities.


Even though we had fun that day pushing our finger into our palm, and then throwing up our hands saying, “I’m awake.” As I was mapping out how I’d dive into the most glorious dream, I started worrying that the kids might feel that hellish dream-state, and began squashing our lucid dream plans.  


I like to think I’d be smart and go into a lucid dream with a plan of hunting for great ideas, but I can’t  trust myself. I’d be so elated by getting over the mental straitjacket of sleep paralysis, I’d go right to living my wildest dream, and kick it off by walking into a room with all my friends shouting, “Who's ready to party?” And we’d get loud, and laugh, and keep all our clothes on.






Friday, July 31, 2020

Alexa, Shut Up



Alexa is a thorn in my side. I groan as my kids yell commands at her. After they make their demands, I chime in, tempering expectations, “Alexa doesn’t know that.” And sure enough, she replies, “I don’t know that one.”

When the kids aren’t asking her questions that a graduate student spends a year deciphering through research, they will holler for her to play the kind of songs that drive a woman to madness.

One will scream, “Alexa, play Eight Unicorns!” followed up by the other yelling, “Alexa, volume 10.” 

Then they dance like they ate a bag of mushrooms for breakfast, and I fill up my coffee cup and exit stage right, to work in my room.


This summer is like a prolonged slumber party. My summer school class was cancelled, so we haven’t clung to a structure, unless the structure is structureless. With the shelter-in-place, we end up having three or four day stretches where we move about like we're roaming The Stanley Hotel.

Even dinner turned into something every parenting book frowns upon. Five o’clock rolls around, and I dust off my pajamas to ask the kids, “You really feel like dinner? Because I’m about to eat chips and salsa, two Chobani Flips, and a couple bowls of Captain Crunch.”

By the time I get to eating cereal I’m not even hungry, I’m just bored.


Having no desire to get dressed or put on mascara, it’s like I’m back to being a stay-at-home parent with two toddlers. I have time to do things I’ve put off the last three years, like getting pictures off our old desktop computer. I look like a busted wreck in mostly all the pictures. Happy, but busted; my hair always in a messy bun, no make up, and clothes I wore because they were the first thing I pulled out of my dresser drawer.

All I could do was laugh when I came across pictures from a friend's wedding I remember us speeding to San Francisco for, barely making it on time. I thought, “Really, Alicia? You couldn’t even brush your hair!”


At least the kids are at an age where they can be left to their own devices. I know mom-stress is not high ranking because the L-O-V-E outweighs all complaints, but I do think there’s PTSD from raising babies, especially back to back. You get zero deep sleep (the exception being tough-love parents who get sleep because at night they lock their kids in a cage or some shit) and you spend your days always on high alert so this clumsy and curious person doesn’t accidently kill themself. Walk out of the room for one minute and come back to find your two year old sucking on a quarter and the one year old crawling around on the top of the refrigerator. 


Thank God kids get older. I remember going through the check out at Trader Joes with my babies in the cart, and the cashier said, “It gets a lot better.”

This stranger gave me just the encouragement I needed, instead of the usual diatribe that raising babies happens in the blink of an eye, and you better love every second of it.



My Trader Joe's angel was right, kids turn 6 and then you get a built in buddy. Seriously, the best comrade. The kind of friend you wake up next to on a Saturday, and say, “If we hurry, we can make the 10:30 movie matinee and get in-n-out before.” 


Last week my kids went on vacation with their dad. I had ambitions to write a novel and renovate my house in five days. Should be no surprise, I watched 40 hours of TV instead. When I don’t have my kids home, the endless corridor of time I get to walk down is overwhelming.


There’s the structure I need, small gaps of time to accomplish things, usually found in between cooking and cleaning up meals. Without this structure, I easily convince myself that the best way to prep for my fall semester is to rearrange furniture.  I’ve got my kid’s school to think about too. Homeschooling is going to be better this time around, but If this vaccine can come through within the next two weeks, we’ll get to feel the glory of a hail Mary that makes the stress of this year totally worth it.


For now, I’ll just let the kids spend their time playing. I love listening to them play imagination games. They get embarrassed by my eavesdropping, so I have to be a fly on the wall or else they’ll stop and start harassing me to watch TV.

Listening to them reminds me of playing with my little sister. I don’t know if our songs were as clever as theirs. They have a nice jingle going now, the working title, A Giant’s Fart. Becky and I had the classic, Butter My Muffin and I Shake My Butt, but it relies on innuendo, and given our age at the time of the song, it could be inappropriate. Time really does have a way of making art seedy and predatory.


Becky and I played dolls endlessly. Our favorites were always in tow. We also got sick pleasure in dragging around our least favorite doll. His name was Tuna Fish Head, a Cabbage Patch doll whose hair looked just like the tuna we saw frequently between white bread. Tuna Fish Head was hardly ever clothed, and we’d prop him up alongside the other dolls to berate and belittle.


While on my Netflix binge last week, every time I clicked “continue watching,” I started talking to myself like I was Tuna Fish Head. I walked to the kitchen to refill on Captain Crunch, and I saw Alexa lit up yellow. So, I cleared my throat from the five hours of silence, and asked, “Alexa, what is the notification?”

Alexa told me she thinks I need to buy more fish oil. I opened up my cabinet, and saw a full bottle of capsules.

I shouted at her, “Alexa, stop! You don’t know shit!”

To provoke me, she replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t know that one.”

And, I let her have it, “Alexa, you better close your mouth. Your dick breath is stinking up my house.”  I started waving my hand in front of my face as I walked back to the room to resume devouring TV.


Luckily, my boyfriend came over at the end of every day, and I’d start being nice to myself and Alexa. I remember the last night of my kid’s vacation, he was coming over at 9:30. At 9 pm, I flipped open my laptop and wrote the first sentence to this blog. That's all I got out of the entire five days, and it took getting to the last 30 minutes for me to produce it.


We're coming down to the end of this summer, and it’s a procrastinator’s dream. I need to see the end of that corridor to start working. The first morning my kids were back, I mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned out the microwave and wrote a blog. Alexa’s been doing her part with the kids, she’s a real peach, and when my kids are away, she’s a real Tuna Fish Head.


Monday, July 20, 2020

The Grandma Mothership


Last night I had one of those dreams where you wake up wondering if you were sucked up by the mothership; I’m in a crowded room, where I recognize a bunch of random people from my life. I also had a dream I pulled a giant seed out of my mouth and that the after school teacher gave my kids three full-grown cats that started pooping all over our house, it was so bad, I stepped in it. Counter to what instinctively seems like a bad dream, I guess dreaming of stepping in cat poop is actually a good sign! Ask Alexa, if you doubt me.


This morning my mom and daughter were working on a baby blanket for my sister’s baby. My Grandma knew my sister was pregnant before anyone. She had a dream, and she even nailed the sex. My grandma’s got the gift, but it’s not like Sylvia Brown level. She’s more of a friends-and-family kind of psychic.

I was still recovering from being beamed back into my bed, so I laid there, listening to them talk. When I came out for coffee, my daughter had fabric scraps puzzled together in a small rectangle and commissioned me to sew it together for her to give to her new cousin. She had the scissors in her hands as she raced across the room to get a juice box, and I snapped to fully-awake mode and yelled, “Don’t run with scissors like that! That’s how people die!!”


My mom agreed with the detrimental consequences of running with scissors, but then calmly showed my daughter the proper way to hold them. The week before, Kiki came in third place in a scooter competition with her cousins. They spent days practicing, and the adults were forced to award medals, no ties were allowed. My brother decided the youngest would get first and we’d work our way to third place based on age. Fair enough, I figured. But Kiki took tremendous offense, and walked away berating herself for the fail.

I felt bad, but after giving her a sufficient pat on the back, and letting her in on how the entire thing was rigged from the start, she was still distraught, so I left her in the room with my mom.

I came back, over twenty minutes later, my mom and her were still talking on the bed, but the tears had dried. I saw my daughter stuffing dollar bills into her sequin purse, and I asked, “Where’d you get that money?”

And she said, “Mimi gave it to me. She thinks I was the best and should have won first, so she gave me five dollars.”

“That’s interesting,” was all I could say.


My mom did not have the time to sit around and console me for thirty minutes every time I crumbled in distress from what I perceived to be an earth-shattering infraction. I was a sensitive kid, so this happened a lot.

She likes to tell me about it now. She says, “You’d always steal your sister’s baby bottle. We’d find you hiding in the closet, and we’d have to rip the bottle from your hands… Nothing changes. Ha!”

We’d squeeze in our bonding time, laying opposite each other on the couch reading Mary Higgins Clark books and eating pinwheels. It’s not as cool as her handing me five bucks and telling me I’m the best, but it’s comforting.


This week I saw my Grandma for the first time in ages. We went to Chilli’s and she gave me the cutest little gold ring she got when she was a kid. She asked me to try it on my pinky, and it fit. She smiled at me and said, “We have the skinniest fingers!”

“You’re right, Grandma! We do.” Then I told her about my dreams, in life and sleep, writing and comedy. She assured me, "Oh, it’s all going so well! You're doing exactly what you should be doing."

And, I don’t even think she said it as a friends-and-family psychic, but as my grandma.