When I'm stressed, my nails go to shit. Sounds trivial, but my nails are always an alarming notice to the inner workings of my brain. I keep busy, always -- but stress is a different level of consumption. Sometimes it comes up in conversation:

Life's been so crazy lately, my polish is chipping.

They laugh, and I sound like a prima donna. Think about it as a greater sign, a disruption in ritual, a metaphor for the big-picture changes that happen in our lives. Spontaneous as some may be, we all have rituals we rely on for order. I paint my nails to perfection (dozens of polishes, I am a sucker for Butter London, these days it's a matte topcoat over a muted hue). I eat the same breakfast of oatmeal, raisins, and almonds daily. I can tell when the oil for my stovetop popcorn was too hot when I poured in the corn. Otherwise? I welcome change like no other. I love spontaneous trips out of town, get giddy over a good surprise, and can't stand sitting at home on the weekends.

This is how it's supposed to be, right? Nature functions in its own chaos, but we find pattern everywhere. I mean ... fractals, y'all.

Life's been a little un-manicured these days. This evening, I was able to settle into some silly music and start fresh on my nail polish.

Dear Diary, I just wrote a blog post about nail polish.