there, there, my little cabbage.

four brown straw hats display
Photo by Artem Bali on

I’ve never actually believed in retail therapy. If you’re not into shopping anyway (hello, me), the idea of massaging a bad day or a sad mood by walking around a store or even engaging in window shopping wouldn’t be the first thing on the list. But the comedy of life is that retail therapy is almost always what I do when I need to massage a bad day or sad mood. (Barring a hunkering down in my apartment with a week’s worth of carbs.) I drive right to the store, park, grab a cart, and traverse the aisles moodily until I either leave with nothing or buy something I don’t really need. And that was me yesterday.

Yesterday, I was sad and blue and glum and humdrum and needed to do something. Something. Whatever that something was, it translated into leaving work and driving to my favorite Ross, where I parked, grabbed a cart, and traversed the aisles moodily, looking for things I didn’t need. In the shoe aisle, I tried on a bunch of shoes, of which neither ended up in my cart. I ventured over to the accessories, where I touched a lot of scarves and pulled them off the rack to examine them for whatever one looks for when you’re scarf shopping. One scarf ended up in my cart. I then sauntered over to the hats. I tried a few on (see above), which was interesting in light of the faux locs (I have faux locs! More in another post) on my head, but there was one hat that incited a high level of like and also, more importantly, fit over the locs. Perhaps because the color matched my mood?


It ended up in my cart, as well. So did a pair of pants. The End.

I didn’t analyze my sadness and blue too deeply though. Mostly because 1) winter; 2) Monday; 3) single. You know what I mean by #3. The grays of this seasons and its accompanying doldrums seem to be heightened when one is going through it by their lonesome. And although, to repeat, this is a year-round desire, the fall/end of the year finds it all very pronounced. It comes and goes and it is what it is. I’ve long given myself permission to call a thing a thing (praise Queen Iyanla) and feel exactly what I feel. And I felt it all yesterday. It’s interesting how the mind finds a way, any way, to cope.

Nevertheless: here’s to distractions by way of hats and scarves, and other such things. Onwards…

self care

How to Survive a Blizzard.

Last Friday, I imagine that a team of meteorologists high-fived each other and whooped giddily into the night. Why? Because all the forecasts and “models” were proven true: a blizzard was expected, and a blizzard came. For the past five days, most of us in the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic have been holed up in our homes, excused from work and school, loading up on carbs as if the things were going out of style. Which leads me to why I’m taking a break from doing absolutely nothing to present you with this post: if you’ve never experienced a blizzard, here are a few handy tips on how to get through one. In case youreeyore area sees one this weird winter.

  1. Food. As I said above, throw away any goals to maintain healthy eating during this time at home. No salads, no wheat, no spinach smoothies. (Why do people want spinach in liquid form, may I ask?) Just give in. Eat those Oreos. Eat that white bread. Stop pretending as if you’re going to do squats. You’re not going to. You’re going to hole yourself up in a comforter like Nanook and sit on the couch and listen to your stomach expand. (This may or may not have happened to the person currently typing this.)
  2. Netflix. Blizzard, you say? Time to binge-watch. Personally, I’ve been watching hours and hours of ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot, with the brilliant David Suchet as the mustachioed detective. Throw in a ton of episodes of Murder, She Wrote and the adorable British series Rosemary and Thyme, and I basically now believe that 1) I could have a thriving career as a private detective and 2) I’m 100% British.
  3. Patience. If you live with your family as I do, try your very best to remember that you love and cherish them. Because after five days together inside the same house, you will entertain pretty murderous thoughts about each and every one of them. You just will. But if you find yourself approaching one of them stealthily from behind, though, with your fists clenched, might be time to separate yourself from the pack.
  4. Laptop. If possible, force your lazy fingers to log into the network at the office and do some work remotely. Better to take care of things along the way than get back to the office to find 1,000 emails waiting to steal your soul.

That’s all, friends. That’s how I survived. May you do the same. Of course, this is the last time I intend on following my own list because I’m getting out of here. This is my last dance with snow. But we’ll talk about that later, won’t we?

Onwards and snowards…

things i currently need #7

There’s a blizzard a-comin’. My metropolitan area and the rest of the East Coast is expected to receive more than 24 inches of snow starting tomorrow. So without further ado, here’s what I currently need:


You, Seychelles. I need you.


And you, too, Santorini.


Let’s not forget about you, my dear Maldives.


What was that, my sweet Santorini? Come back? Of course I will.

Le sigh. I’ll be thinking of these places–and many lovely others–as endless snow assaults the poor ground and ultimately leads to the worst of enemies: ice. Be safe, wherever you are.

(All photos courtesy of Pinterest.)

Several Things This Square Peg is Not Here For.

(See my mother’s list here.)

  1. Passive-aggressiveness. Choose a side and we shall deal accordingly. But you can’t bejustbeinghonest both. I won’t allow it in my presence.
  2. Rudeness. A door shouldn’t shut in my face because you failed to hold it open for me when I was behind you. Wrong on so, so many levels.
  3. Men who let pregnant ladies, elderly ladies, and any other ladies stand while they sit. I know chivalry has a marble headstone somewhere (quite dead), but please. give us a break.
  4. Bosses who give you the most contradictory information regarding what they expect from you. Are you speaking in symbols? Code? Sanskrit? I have no idea what you want from me.
  5. Almond croissants that shamelessly look you in the eye, daring you to purchase them and ruin good eating habits.
  6. Bitter, 15 degree days like today, which are just plain disrespectful.
  7. Bitter, 15 degree days like today, during which the train car taking you to work breaks down at an outside station, after which you and the rest of your fellow disgruntled riders have to wait in cold agony for the next train car to pick you up. (This partly explains the black mood I currently harbor, in case you were wondering.)

By no means the end of what I’m not here for, but we’ll stop here because I’m cold and irritated. Hope you’re having a much better day, dear reader.

A Conversation.

December: So you’re really killing ’em, huh? 16 degrees? cold
January: Please. After that 75 degree mumbo jumbo you were pulling, I had to remind those chumps that we’re in winter.

December: Sheesh. Calm down.
January: Don’t tell me to calm down. You had people wearing shorts in wintertime. Shorts! I mean, are you kidding me? In December? Like, how?

December: In case you haven’t noticed, Ms. Obvious Temper Issues, El Nino is really running things. Go yell at him.
January: What is that El Nino business?

December: No idea.
January: Me, either.

End scene.

(Seriously, I had to break out my thermal pantaloons this morning. It really was 16 degrees when I reluctantly opened my eyes this morning, and it’s currently 19 degrees now. So honorable mention to my mother for forcing me to wear those thermal things when I was a little Square Peg, which left an indelible reminder that they would actually keep me blissfully warm when I was a grown-up. Yay for forced under clothing.)


In high school, I loved pep rallies. There was something electric about all of us gathered in the gym, screaming for the basketball team or the football team and the loud music and the cheerleaders and all of that. Never mind that in four years of high school (and college, too), I never attended one single sporting event. Not one. (Are you kidding me? Leave home and miss a showing of Beverly Hills, 90210? No, thank you.) But, boy, did I love those rallies. I thought about those pep rallies this past weekend, particularly the rallying part. Those gatherings were meant to push us to action, to come to the game and root for the home team, to be energized and excited. Despite the amusing reminder that I was far more interested in the pre-hoopla than the games/events they were meant for, I was reminded of just much how much I needed that energy this past weekend when I was supposed to get my hind parts off my bed and head to the gym to work out.

You, dear reader, know about my gaining health journey. You know that regular exercise is part of that. But if you live on Planet Earth, dear reader, you also understand the weight of winter. The desire for carbohydrates. The laziness. The doldrums. The inertia. Due to all of those things and quite honestly, having reached a weight that I find mostly satisfying, my visits to the gym have been sporadic, at best. And I can’t accept that. Sporadic for me means eventual oblivion, the disappearance of this routine I’ve built for almost a year. And since my goal is to be healthy and maintain the strides I’ve made so far, sitting on my bed and bemoaning the interruption to my sleep is just not an option.

But I couldn’t rally. I couldn’t. On Saturday, I woke up when the alarm

But this boss did.

dinged and lay there, gaping at the ceiling. Eventually, I rolled myself out of bed. Since I go to bed with my gym clothes on for mornings that I plan to work out (yep, you read that right), I slowly pulled on my shoes. I sat down. I told myself to stop playing and to get going. I stood up. I sat down again. After several minutes of this silly back and forth, I stumbled into the bathroom, brushed my teeth, bid a hasty goodbye to my mother, and went to the gym. It was a fantastic workout. On Sunday, the same things happened. This time, however, I walked in and out of the house three times before I abandoned my efforts and returned to the couch on the living room, muttering to myself that I was late anyway and didn’t have time. No workout happened.

What happened, y’all? Particularly on Sunday? Why couldn’t I walk to my car and just turn it on and go? Why did my motivation, already tattered, essentially give out until I found myself on the couch, chewing on a health bar and berating my lack of energy? Could be an assortment of answers. But like a pair of dangling, ignored gym shoes on a Sunday morning, I will leave them unanswered.

Today, I have my gym clothes here at work. When I’m done for the day, I’ll change and head to my exercise class this evening. The rest of my exercise schedule this week is planned, and I hope to see all those plans through. Realistically, this may or may not happen. But I intend on sticking to my schedule, and I intend on sticking like glue.

Even if I have to call upon my inner 15 year-old, sitting in a gym with gleaming eyes and a giddily racing heart, excited beyond measure, I will rally.

Reader, have you had mornings like this? How did you push yourself? Tell me in the comments, won’t you?

About your Author.

So how are you?

Yeah, me too. So blah that I forgive you for doing this infernal question and answer thing again.
Yeah, you must be really blah to actually be forgiving.

Even that bit of sarcasm is ok with me.

What’s wrong, pussycat? I’m blah, but you seem a bit more than blah.
I haven’t written in a while. Fiction. I’m partially blocked.

What do you mean by partially?
The ideas and the stories are there. I just don’t feel motivated to follow through with them. I start thembored and then I abandon them.

How can you fix it, you think?
I don’t know, really. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s the fact that Idris Elba still hasn’t gotten the message that I love him with the passion of a thousand suns.

Uh, ok. You and this guy, though.
Yeah, me and this guy. You got something to say?

Nope. I will quickly move on. I see those clenched fists. So you’re partially blocked. What else is going on with you?
Nothing. Ennui. Boredom. Inertia.

In other words…
The winter doldrums and the winter blues.

What are we going to do?
Wait for April, I suppose.

So it’ll be April when you do this infernal question and answer thing again, then? And not before that time? Please and thank you?
Don’t you ever change.



If this quote doesn’t describe the current state of the weather in Somewheres, VA…

And so I continue to await the first spring day with bated breath, gloves, my winter coat, and a giant scarf (sometimes two scarves).

Yours in Still Stuck in Winter,

This Square Peg


Ask me the last time I went to the gym. Go on, ask me. It’s ok. Ask me. Go on.

Me on the couch. As usual.
Me on the couch. As usual.

I can’t even remember.

That’s right. All the good work I accomplished in the summer with walking and working out has gone to the dogs. I can’t even remember the last time I entered my local gym, which is sad because the gym doesn’t forget to extract their monthly membership, do they?

So in case you haven’t heard, the East Coast in currently consumed by an arctic cold. Somehow, we’ve entered the mid-January type dredges of winter one month into autumn (no surprise there. Autumn lasts about 5 minutes in these parts). That means that from morning to night, there’s no comfortable place outside of your home. Everywhere is painfully cold. Scarves wrapped around frozen faces, ineffectual gloves covering our poor fingers, big winter coats that are kind of powerless against the unrelenting chill in the air. Now: combining all of the latter with shorter days and darkness by 5pm? Means that I won’t ever leave my house to go to the gym ever again. Not until next year. Next spring. Next summer. I mean, it is cold, you guys. And where it’s not cold is my living room, where I have my couch, some ginger ale, and episodes of Castle and re-runs of Murder, She Wrote. One cannot expect me to abandon those things for an hour on a loveless elliptical. Why not work out at home, someone may ask? Well, that’s why I have a gym membership. The motivation for me to work out at home is as powerful as my desire to walk outside right now without a hat and gloves. In other words, when at home, working out is the last thing I want to do.

So what’s the solution here? How can I marry my desire to stay in the house with my slightly muted but admittedly very present desire to keep my exercise routine going and not diminish all the strides I made this year?


Right. I’m staying in.

(Especially difficult is the fact that I want to ingest every bad carbohydrate ever created while sitting on the couch with my remote. All is lost, my friends. My face is getting dangerously puffy.) exercise

Any suggestions?