Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

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A Story About Waiting

Trying to write more leads to carrying a unicorn notebook everywhere. Hopefully it will lead to more writing of my SimLit. But for now, here’s a short story I wrote that I love enough to share.

A lovely unicorn notebook

A Story About Waiting

She sat there in silence, waiting for him, always waiting for him. In that exact moment, she felt she could wait for him forever. She felt she might have to.

But then he arrived. He smiled when he saw her, his eyes lit up in a way she knew she wouldn’t see again until his final glance when they parted.

He held out his hand, waiting for her to take it, always waiting for her. In that moment, he felt he could wait for her forever. He felt he might have to.

She found his eyes, looking for that familiar light. It wasn’t there, so her hands stayed in her pockets. They both went back to waiting.


I Literally Make Life Decisions Because of Christmas’s Commercialism

I received a great suggestion a couple of weeks ago. The short version is, “you should start blogging again because you need an outlet for all that shit you keep bottled inside.” The medium version is that a lot of our career coaching at my school seems to be therapy in disguise, and the professor assigned to this particular group saw me, felt that I felt invisible, and was doing her very best to give me even one useful suggestion for how to cope. I will keep the long version to myself for now.

The last couple of months specifically and last year in generally have been a period of upheaval in my life. According to all my social media feeds, almost everyone feels this way. There’s a lot I could dig into there, but instead, I’m going to talk about something that I’ve been thinking about almost constantly in the last few days.

I live in Belgium y’all. I won’t live here permanently, I’m not about become anyone’s expat, especially not here. But I feel so good about my decision to come here and get my MBA. My class is very international. There are 42 students from 20 countries. Something that comes up a lot is the reason that each of us decided to come here.

My answer feels a bit silly sometimes, but I value honesty over appearing to be a very serious person. So here’s the reason I decided to uproot my life and move across a whole ocean:

 

A trip to Paris for New Year’s with my husband at the end of 2016 included a trip right after the new year to Brussels. Purely because of it’s proximity and affordability, we found ourselves in Brussels. And when you are in Brussels, you find yourself in Grand Place. When I walked into the area pictured above, I fell in love.

I’m not sure if this will make sense to everyone who reads it, but energy matters to me. It matter to me for people, places, and things. And the energy of Grand Place appealed to me. And it didn’t hurt that it was still gussied up from Christmas 2016. When I was 6 or so years old, I picked out a bedroom set based on the red & green decorative pillows they added because it was December. Yeah, I’m that chick, and have been my whole life. I was already considering trying to come to Europe for a 12, 15, or 18 month MBA program. But I came back from Brussels and googled “MBA programs in Brussels.”

Once I researched my school, I realized it would be a really good fit and it was the only school I applied to. I was happy to pack up my shit and move to another country, but made sure to leave roots behind in New York for when I’m done.

Christmas is here again, and I went to Grand Place, as you do when you’re in Belgium. They have the tree up again, and I was eager to get a look at it with all decorations in place. It was a bit underwhelming in the daylight, but when I went back the next night, it was better.

It was a really nice moment for me. Standing in Grand Place in early 2017, this new seed of a dream felt near impossible to make happen. And perhaps the huge upheaval of the last year made it more possible, but it didn’t change the fact that it felt huge every step of the way. So when I was standing there in late 2018, I felt really proud of myself.

I made one of my dreams come true. 2018 has been a year of doing a lot for just me, which is something I might be a bit rusty at. I’m still figuring out how to balance all of the things that matter to me. But it was really nice to take this moment and just feel pride and happiness. Christmas is my jam, and I’m excited for getting to spend this Christmas here, even if I have to deal with Zwarte Piet. I might have to do a whole other post about that shit… But for now, let’s just focus on the happy dreams-coming-true, actively-pursuing-my-goals thing for now, okay?


Finding Myself In Television Shows

Am I the only one who looks at a good deal of my life through a Sex and the City lens? I think if you fall in a certain age range (pretty much anyone born between 1970-2000), there’s a good chance this show occupies a corner of your life. Maybe you were an adult when it came out and watched it as it mirrored your life. Maybe you discovered it because your mother/sister/college roommate was obsessed and insisted you’d love it too. Maybe you stumbled across it like I did, back when Netflix DVDs were still a new and amazing facet of life.

In case you hadn’t heard, last week was the 20th anniversary of the premier of the show. Since I loved it so much in college, I’ve been doing a deep dive. I read old Sex & the City columns for the first time. I read a young Cosmo’s writer take on “living like Carrie.” And I read think pieces arguing about how groundbreaking it was, how it lacked diversity, etc., etc..

I think time has done Samantha well. People appreciate her sex positivity. They love that she didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her. I think time has been less friendly to Carrie. Look at what came up when I googled “Carrie Bradshaw was trash.”

I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. An article all about it popped up on my google feed not too long ago. You can read it for yourself here.

As much as I wanted to binge-watch the entire series over in celebration of the 20th anniversary, it ain’t gonna happen. I’m not putting myself back in the frame of mind that made me grateful for the diversity crumb that saw Jennifer Hudson cast in the SATC movie. No thank you. I’d rather wait for the next season of Insecure to premier (August 12th!!).

But still there’s this:

It’s a piece of “art” I bought on “the street” years ago. I think it was back during one of my first trips to NYC. I drove here, on a rather impromptu road trip with my girls, for an in-person job interview. My husband wanted to move to NYC, and so I wanted to make his dream a reality. I even have a picture of that evening in Times Square when I bought the picture that still hangs on the wall in my bedroom. Want to see it? Of course you do. I looked like I fell out off of a Forever 21 mannequin display and was proud of it. Perhaps the shades of lipstick I used to choose are the reason I was less confident in a bright red lip back then…

Well, the internet has me convinced I do NOT want to be a Carrie, haha. She was far too vanilla for me anyway. The heteronormativity and the barely hidden homo- and biphobia irritate me to no end. And the way she would have these moments of silence (read: silent judgement) whenever one of her friends’ stories got too extra was the worst. Besides, these four white women aren’t the only friendships shown on TV. There are plenty of others for me to figure out which archetype I am.

There’s Living Single:

There’s Girlfriends:

There’s Insecure:

I’m gonna figure out which one of those I am instead on continuing to fuss over SATC. Too bad there aren’t any handy quizzes out there to help me learn if I’m a Joan or a Maxine or an Issa. But wait! There is! Sort Of! Not for Living Single (does the show pre-date Buzzfeed? That’s prolly why), but there are quizzes for the other two.

This 8-Question Quiz Will Tell You Which “Insecure” Character You Are. This quiz covers all the characters, not just the women, but I’ll take what I can get.

Which “Living Single” Character Are You?. Same. All the characters.

Okay, I’mma go off for one quick second. See this is what the fuck I mean about intersectionality! Y’all so busy lumping us into the women category or the black category, there’s no space for black women. I’m looking for the space for just us, but nope, we gotta get in where we fit in. And Buzzfeed tells me that separating me from my brothers isn’t an option. Surprise, sur-fucking-prise. Whatever. Here’s my quiz results.

Nope, not giving you my quiz results yet. What the fuck is this question?!?!?!?!?!?!

Do I need to talk about how the only two options with white folks are “chic and sophisticated” and “preppy and minimalist”???? Really buzzfeed, y’all couldn’t find no black people on Getty Images to represent those styles?? This, ladies and gentleman, is what is referred to as a microaggression. Ugh, okay, back to my quiz results.

Trying not to be irritated by this intergender quiz because my results are actually quite spot on, lol. Whatever.


Working on Living My Truth

This blog is supposed to be a personal blog where I share things about myself, and my experiences as I explore the world around me. Feeling like a city girl, born and raised in Chicago, there are some Midwestern mores I’ve struggled to let go of.

You want to live out and proud? Eh, sure, but not so loud. The people who chose to do that when I was growing up were always looked at as weird and odd and not the type of people you want to be too close to.

But my parents raised me to be weird, to let my freak flag fly. They never encouraged me to seek out oddities simply for the sake of uniqueness, but they taught me to embrace the things that made me stand out and to take pride in the ways I wasn’t like everyone else.

I’m sure these days, when I’m fussing at them about toxic masculinity (which neither of them fully understand their complicit roles in) and the shortcomings of affirmative action (which several family members dedicated their careers to enacting and supporting), they are wondering where they went wrong.

My mother even jokes that she advises her friends to give their kids less choices. Choices is where she went wrong with my brother and me. I think we turned out just fine, better than fine either. But there is the evidence: the amount of illicit substances we consume (mostly alcohol, calm down), the fact that neither of us is happily married (more on that later), and the fact that only one of my seven first cousins of childbearing age have or even seem to want a child.

I’d like to think my parents are satisfied with us. I’m satisfied with them. Actually, that’s an understatement. Like any good Libra child, I’m obsessed with them. I intended on writing about trying to stand more in my truth, but yet I’m talking about what my parents opinion of that might be.

They’ve had to deal with a lot from me in the last year. They’ve heard about my plans for grad school. They’ve heard about the dissolution of my marriage (sorry if you actually know me and this is how you’re hearing about it). They’ve heard about polyamory (more on that later). They’ve taken it all in stride, certainly better than they did when I gave them unasked for progress reports on how well they’re doing at fixing their inherent racial prejudices.

I’m one of the lucky ones. My parents try to hard to let me be me, and tried to teach me to let me be myself. Ever the aging millennial, I cannot possibly move forward with confidence without rooting around for parental support. But I have it, so I should probably move on to step two, right?

So what is step two? Am I such a Libra cliche that I must spend time every few years “finding myself?” Here’s what I know. The only constant in life is change. If you’re exactly who you were five years ago, you’re doing something wrong.

This was me around five years ago.

I am pretty sure I took that picture at work, some night shift I was working when I still lived in Chicago. I was coming up on my first wedding anniversary and feeling myself because my locs had just about reached my shoulders. I knew my husband wanted to move to New York, but I had no idea what it would look like to live anywhere else other than Chicago. I was just as proud of my eyebrows then, which I didn’t have to do anything to for them to look like that.

This is me just a couple of months ago.

I like this picture enough that it’s currently my profile picture. I could talk for another 500 words about the process of eradicating my marriage from all my profile pics and blurbs, but I’d rather talk about this picture. My vision makes it so that I now have to wear my glasses all the time. I’m no longer afraid of a bright red lip. Too much hair dye means my locs aren’t as long as they should be at this point, but I’m working on it. Oh, and I’m wearing a Slytherin scarf that was my actual winter scarf. My husband and work husband both worked hard to make sure I didn’t lose that thing by retrieving it when I drunkenly left it behind at all the bars. I’ve learned this half smile thing (don’t know that it qualifies as a whole smize) that does a nice job at camouflaging the lines around my eyes. And I still have wonderful eyebrows with very little effort.

I’ve worked hard to stay happy with myself, and I’m proud of it because self-confidence is not a given. I think step two isn’t so much about finding myself, but more about authentically expressing myself. I’ve always been the girl with an opinion on everything, whether someone asked me or not. Hopefully I can take those skills and apply them to this.


All Marvel Cinematic Universe Properties, In Order!

If you aren’t into comic books in general or the Marvel Cinematic Universe specifically, this post isn’t for you.

But if you consider yourself an outsized MCU fan and are interested in every single one of their properties, please, join me.

Have you ever asked yourself, “what order should I watch MCU properties in?” Or, “can I get a list of all the MCU properties in order?”

I did something last night. I spent a few hours organizing, in chronological order of release, every MCU property.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Why didn’t you just google it?”

Yeah, I tried. And if you want to watch the MCU (all TV and film) in the order the events happened, I’d suggest you head on over to CNET’s post about it. CNET’s post is mostly up to date, as far as I can tell. And that’s because I’m assuming the first half of Season 5 of Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking place right where Season 4 left off, therefore it would be before the events of the Punisher. Oh, and it’s way more pleasing to the eye than what I’m about to post below.

But if you’re like me and for some crazy reason want to consume everything in the order it was released, I can help. I did a deep dive on Wikipedia, and as long as no trolls managed to edit the locked sections, we’re good. My list is better than Wiki though because I meshed the films, short films, TV shows, and comics together for your consumption. For the comics, the release dates I found online don’t always agree; also I focused on the comic’s (not the graphic novel’s) release date.

Why do I even care about seeing things in the release order? Well, Marvel is very meticulous about release dates. So I want to start from the beginning and take everything in the order they intended.

I warn you, this is a long ass list. I’ll name the property, then the release format, then the release date (for comics/tv episodes with multiple dates just the first release date is mentioned), and I’ll also name (when applicable) a link or release association.

Marvel Properties in Chronological Release Date Order

  • Iron Man, Film, May 2, 2008
  • The Incredible Hulk, Film, June 13, 2008
  • Iron Man: I Am Iron Man! (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 27, 2010.
  • Iron Man 2: Public Identity (Issue #1-2), Comic, April 28, 2010
  • Iron Man 2, Film, May 7, 2010
  • Iron Man 2: Public Identity (Issue #3), Comic, May 12, 2010
  • Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Single Issue), Comic, September 1, 2010
  • ****The MCU Wikia seems to think the following three comics are their own individual part of the MCU. However, the link for Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. includes them all of you just keep going forward (and if you have Marvel Unlimited).
  • Captain America: First Vengeance (Issue #1-4), Comic, May 4, 2011
  • Thor, Movie, May 6, 2011
  • Captain America: First Vengeance (Issue #5-8), Comic, June 8, 2011
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Movie, July 22, 2011
  • The Consultant, One-Shot, July 22, 2011, associated with released of Thor movie
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer, One-Shot, October 25, 2011, associated with release of Captain America: The First Avenger Movie
  • The Avenger’s Prelude: Fury’s Big Week (Issue #1-8), Comic, March 7, 2012
  • The Avengers, Movie, May 4, 2012
  • The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes (Issue #1-3), Comic, May 12, 2012
  • Item 47, One-Shot, September 25, 2012, associated with the release of The Avengers
  • Iron Man 2 (Issue #1-2), Comic, November 7, 2012
  • Iron Man 3 Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 2, 2013
  • Thor (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 16, 2013
  • Iron Man 3, Movie, May 3, 2013
  • Thor: The Dark World Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, June 5, 2013
  • Agent Carter, One-Shot, September 3, 2013, associated with the release of Iron Man 3
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 1-6, TV (ABC), September 24, 2013
  • Thor: The Dark World, Movie, November 8, 2013
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (Issue #1), Comic, November 6, 2013
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 7-10, TV (ABC), November 12, 2013
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (Issue #2), Comic, December 11, 2013
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 11-12, TV (ABC), January 7, 2014
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier infinite Comic (Single Issue), Comic, January 28, 2014
  • All Hail the King, One-Shot, February 4, 2014, associated with the release of Thor: The Dark World
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 13-16, TV (ABC), February 4, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic – Dangerous Prey (Single Issue), Comic, April 1, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, April 2, 2014
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Movie, April 4, 2014
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Ep 17-22, TV  (ABC), April 8, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, May 28, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Movie, August 1, 2014
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Ep 1-10, TV (ABC), September 23, 2014
  • The Avengers (Issue #1), Comic, December 24, 2014
  • Agent Carter Season 1, TV (ABC), January 6, 2015 
  • The Avengers (Issue #2), Comic, January 7, 2015
  • Avengers: Ague of Ultron Prelude: This Scepter’d Isle (Single Issue), Comic, February 3, 2015
  • Ant-Man Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, February 4, 2015
  • Ant-Man – Scott Lang: Small Time (Single Issue), Comic, March 3, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Ep 11, TV (ABC), March 3, 2015
  • Ant-Man Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, March 4, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Ep 12-16, TV (ABC), March 10, 2015
  • Daredevil Season 1, TV (Netflix), April 10, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Ep 17-19, TV (ABC), April 14, 2015
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron, Movie, May 1, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Ep 20-22, TV (ABC), May 5, 2015
  • WHIH Newsfront Season 1, Digital Series, July 2, 2015 
  • Ant-Man, Movie, July 17, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 1-2, TV (ABC), September 29, 2015
  • Jessica Jones (Single Issue), Comic, October 7, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 3-8, TV (ABC), October 13, 2015
  • Jessica Jones Season 1, TV (Netflix), November 20, 2015
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, Ep 9-10, TV (ABC), December 1, 2015
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude (Issue #1-3), Comic, December 16, 2015
  • Agent Carter Season 2, TV (ABC), January 19, 2016
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude (Issue #1-3), Comic, December 16, 2015
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude (Issue #4), Comic, January 27, 2016
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude Infinite Comic (Single Issue), Comic, February 10, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 11-17, TV (ABC), March 8, 2016
  • WHIH Newsfront Season 2, Digital Series, April 22, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 18-19, TV (ABC), April 26, 2016
  • Captain America: Civil War, Movie, May 6, 2016 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep 20-22, TV (ABC), May 10, 2016
  • Doctor Strange Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, July 6, 2016
  • Doctor Strange Prelude Infinite Comic – The Zealot (Single Issue), Comic, September 7, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 1-2, TV (ABC), September 20, 2016
  • Luke Cage Season 1, TV (Netflix), September 30, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 3-6, TV (ABC), October 11, 2016
  • Doctor Strange, Movie, November 4, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 7-8, TV (ABC), November 29, 2016
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Slingshot, Digital Series, December 13, 2016
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 Prelude (Issue #1-2), Comic, January 4, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 9-15, TV (ABC), January 10, 2017
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, March 1, 2017
  • Iron Fist Season 1, TV (Netflix), March 17, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 16, TV (ABC), April 4, 2017
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, April 5, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 17-20, TV (ABC), April 11, 2017
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Movie, May 5, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep 21-22, TV (ABC), May 9, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, July 5, 2017
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming, Movie, July 7, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok Prelude (Issue #2-4), Comic, July 19, 2017
  • The Defenders, TV (Netflix), August 18, 2017
  • Inhumans Season 1 Ep 1-7, TV (ABC) September 29, 2017
  • Black Panther Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, October 18, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok, Movie, November 3, 2017
  • Inhumans Season 1 Ep 8, TV (ABC), November 10, 2017
  • Black Panther Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, November 15, 2017
  • The Punisher, TV(Netflix), November 17, 2017
  • Runaways, Season 1 Ep 1-4, TV (Hulu), November 21, 2017
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 1-8, TV (ABC), December 1, 2017
  • Runaways, Season 1 Ep 5-10, TV (Hulu), December 5, 2017
  • Avengers: Infinity War Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, January 24, 2018
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 9-10, TV (ABC), January 26, 2018
  • Black Panther, Movie, February 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, February 28, 2018
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 11, TV (ABC), March 2, 2018
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp Prelude (Issue #1), Comic, March, 7, 2018
  • Jessica Jones Season 3, TV (Netflix), March 8, 2018
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Ep 12-14, TV (ABC), March 9, 2018
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp Prelude (Issue #2), Comic, April 2, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Movie, April 27, 2018
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp, Movie, July 6, 2018

I’m stopping here because I don’t have release dates after the first few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. But I will continue to update this if 1) I remember and 2) I feel like it.

Also, let me know in the comments if something looks wonky, it’s hard to accurately edit a list of 90+ items.

 


Good Times While Trump Continues To Suck

Posting multiple days in a row feels like an accomplishment. Since the election, I’ve made maybe 5 blog posts, so this is big for me. As Trump is slowly working his way down his list of People to Insult, I’m feeling less shocked by it. 
I’m no longer cringing in my own little corner of the internet when he insults black football players. I’m just watching and giving so much side eye as the protests actually continue to grow in the wake of Trump’s criticisms. I note who’s actually protesting the abuse of black bodies by law enforcement and who’s just getting back at Trump. 

I’m not even surprised when he blames the mayor of San Juan, who has the nerve–nay, the gall–to be a woman for the poor response to Puerto Rico’s decimated island. But I am noting all the vocal Puerto Ricans who haven’t been this vocal about Trump until this past week. 

Would you believe I started this post to talk about something fun? I wanted to talk about going to Head of the Harbor last night to do a wine tasting at a vineyard there. 

But you know, Trump sucks. I’m trying to decide if I should feel justified in my anger/irritation at the people who waited until Trump attacked their bottom line or their people to speak up. 

I think I am justified. I’ve been fussing at folks in my own life about this since November. You can’t just opt out!  Whatever economic, racial, sexual, gender, or ethnic identifiers you use to describe yourself, you shouldn’t worry about just that group. We’re all under attack. 

Unless of course you’re rich, male, white, heterosexual, American-born, casually Christian, warmongering, conservative, and perfectly physically and mentally healthy. But everyone else is under attack. And just because you’re not currently in his crosshairs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be constantly fighting back on behalf of whoever is. As the last 8 months have shown, your time is coming. 

I was born here, and so were the last several generations of my blood relatives. Should that mean that the plight of immigrants “isn’t my problem?”

I describe myself as a cis-female heterosexual. Should that mean the problems facing the LGTBQ+ community “aren’t my problem?”

Because of my current job, I’m firmly middle class. Should that mean the issues strangling the poor “aren’t my problem?”

I was raised in a Baptist church, and I get this default Christian privilege crap. Should that mean the constant religious assault on non-Christians “isn’t my problem?”
Fuck, why don’t folks see that problems facing one of us counts as a problem facing all of us? With one exception of course. I could care less about protecting someone’s right to discriminate. All this shit about people using the First Amendment to support spreading hate speech can kick rocks. So can a baker’s “right” to deny service to those that don’t live a life they agree with.

 So… yeah, I went to a vineyard last night. Every time I leave the five boroughs, I’m acutely aware of the lack of diversity. But Chris and I had a great time. And the racial makeup of the room didn’t matter. Everyone there was just there to enjoy several types of wine. There’s pictures to prove it. 


After the wine tasting, and dinner at another place with no other black people, we drove into the city to go to Smalls. That’s another place where the racial makeup of the room is noted, but really doesn’t matter. Our friend’s band was playing the late set, and we got there just in time. 

When the Dubtet is playing, that’s like my church now. The music is so soulful, moreso than what you’d typically hear in a jazz club. And it has that creative, innovative you-don’t-know-what’s-coming-next vibe that makes jazz so amazing. I’m telling you, there are few things more enjoyable than live jazz. 

After the music came the hang. After the hang came the tacos. There’s a really great food truck near Smalls that’s serving up good goodness at 4:30am.

It even finally felt like fall last might. The weather dropped almost 25 degrees during the day. So when we got home around 5:30 in the morning, there was a nice chill in the air. I only expect to speak positively of the chill for the next 3 weeks.

Well, this post was all over the place wasn’t it? I guess my point is… enjoy life, enjoy people, but don’t forget about the people outside of your people though…? Yeah, that’s my point. 


It’s Hard To Escape These Microaggressions

So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, catching up on the DVR. What you need to know about me is that I watch a lot of TV, like a lot of TV, and I’ve got my shows categorized not by genre, but by feels. 

Most HGTV shows are categorized in my world as fantasy. Right now, any thoughts of me being a homeowner doing a renovation is just straight up fantasy. 

So back to this story. I’m watching Flip or Flop Atlanta. I miss the real Flip or Flop, but it is what it is and these not-as-good spinoffs are filling the gap as best they can. 

There’s already a lot about this show that bugs me. The best example would be how the husband gets so excited by gentrification. Making a nice profit off of people being priced out of their neighborhoods is the American way, which is some bullshit, but I still get mad at him for the premise of the show. 


It’s like fuck dude, must you enjoy selling some old black lady’s house to some young white couple sooo much? 
But the husband’s gentrification hard-on isn’t my biggest gripe with this latest episode. His wife finally pissed me off more. 

They finished overhauling this adorable little house and were having an open house. The families at the open house included a black man who looked to be around my age with two young daughters. All three of them had locs and immediately warmed my heart. 

The Flip or Flop Atlanta couple are always there at open houses, interacting with the families and getting feedback. So when the wife interacted with the black family, and I felt on high alert, I questioned my alertness. This couple, the Corsinis, live in the Atlanta area, surely they can interact with black people in a non-offensive way, I told myself. 


She spoke to the little girls in this treacly sweet voice, but that was typical to how she spoke to most children she came across in open houses. Their walk through the house was without incident. 
I was ready to breathe a sigh of relief and chuckle at myself for basically holding my breath waiting for some stupid microaggression that never came. 

The little family said their goodbyes and as they exited the house, she reached for and ran her fingers through a handful of the youngest daughter’s hair. 

I froze in disbelief. I had to rewind and watch that shit again. Like we’re still at the point where white folks don’t know not to touch our hair??

There are songs about it! 

And it was the way she did it too. The father and other sister were already out the door. She reached out like she was going to pat the little girl on the arm, but redirected her hand mid-air and aimed for her head. 

It was like she waited until there was the least likelihood that she’d offend someone even though the cameras were still rolling. It looked like it was a compulsion. And that’s what makes me think she knew better but she couldn’t help herself. In their ultra-gentrified housing market, I wonder how many black kids with locs she comes across. I’d bet, not a lot. 

So now I can’t even mind my own business and fantasize over houses I’d never actually want to buy in the Atlanta area without dealing with the husband’s love of gentrification and the wife’s inability to keep her hands to herself. 

So, I’ve gotta stop watching Flip or Flop Atlanta. For people who aren’t as sensitive to those topics, I can totally understand how they’d still enjoy the show. But when my TV is just another frustrating moment in my life, I’ve gotta move on. 

At least on Flip or Flop Vegas, there aren’t any black people ever around for the couple to treat in a way that offends me…


Blogging While The World Burns/Drowns/Divides/Etc.

I’ve been wanting to try something new with this blog, but it’s easier said than done. I keep thinking about things I want to say, but then it feels like they’ve already been said. Or it feels trivial. Or it feels like how dare I have a moment of happiness when multiple people are killed by the police almost every damn day.

But I started this blog as a bit of an online journal situation. I have so many thoughts about stuff that happens. And life is still fun at some points, so I want to share that too. For instance, my trials and tribulations trying to get someone to go apple picking this weekend. That could be fun to read about maybe…?

Things are just feeling very transitional right now for me. Not the weather though. The weather is stuck on warm. I woke up this morning feeling itchy because of a fucking mosquito bite. At the end of September. Because I sleep with the windows open. Because it’s still so hot outside. Because global warming.

That got dark quick.

But my point still stands. A few weeks ago when it was in the 50s, I was so cold when I got out of the shower, and I was missing the summer that I was sure was gone. But now, it’s so damn steamy. I don’t appreciate the heat anymore because it’s the end of September! I will miss it when it’s gone though because I love summer time. But I don’t love it like I usually do around June. Fall clothing is my favorite and the window is possible closing.

It could stay warm for so long that fall weather lasts for two days then it’s winter. Or the global warming could continue and fall weather will last from mid-October to January. Who knows?

Can we all just agree that hurricane season can’t end soon enough though?

I think I’m successfully talking myself into remembering why I found blogging fun. And how maybe I can avoid some of the tone deafness. I won’t be all like, “hey, look at this pie I made and only look at this and let’s all pretend Roger Goodell doesn’t have the moral high ground over Trump for some crazy fucking reason!” It’ll definitely be more like, “hey, had another great night at a jazz club where we drunkenly discussed the best way to undermine white patriarchy.”

Eh, I really just woke up in a writing mood, so this may not last. I wrote a whole bit that was inspired when I read that Hugh Heffner died. It’s far too soon for me to say what I want to say, so I’ll post it in a month or so. The casual misogyny will keep. For the record, totally not accusing Hugh of that by any means. I’ve always viewed him as one of the most women-loving capitalists of our time.

In the mean time, I’m going to get back to planning my boss’s going away hang and finding someone to go apple picking with me.


Gotta Keep Resisting, Tryna Be Happy Too

It feels weird to share happy life events when every day people are killed all over the world because of their ethnicity, beliefs, race, or refugee status.

It feels weird to enjoy life’s moments when life is so difficult for people I love very much. Folks are breaking up, dying of cancer, and experiencing myriad failures left and right.

Being a millennial, I’m well-versed in self care. So I know on an almost molecular level how important it is to celebrate the happy in life and the small victories, and to take time for just me, burning world be damned. 

But that shit feels tone deaf and selfish when the racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, ageist, and ableist oppressors grow more bold each day, you know?

So today, I remember how fun my family’s family reunion was last month, and remember how fun my mother’s 60 1/2 birthday was last month. And I’m excited about finally pulling the trigger on applying for grad school. And I’m really excited to be traveling overseas for my birthday this year.

But also, I’m saying her name. Heather Heyer

I’m also redoubling my resistance efforts. And I’m making sure I show love to those I love while I have them and they have me.

I’ve got a ton of other thoughts, but I’m still working them out. So I’ll stop here.


Thoughts All Over The Place

I have started three different posts in the last month, and I just can’t. I don’t quite have Trump fatigue yet, but what I can I say that isn’t already being said? Not much. On Twitter and Instagram, I like and repost a lot of stuff that I think others need to see. I DVR and eventually watch every episode of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It’s good for my soul, like chicken soup.

I thought about something the other night. I was out with my husband and some of our best friends in New York. We were, of course, at a jazz club. In the middle of our friend’s set, playing some amazing music, we were conversing about Trump. One of our friends and his wife are Canadian, and they are worried about a number of things: visa renewals, NAFTA, whether a quick visit home could turn them into illegal immigrants. Shit is bananas. Then another of our friends started speaking about the rise in anti-Semitic attacks and threats. Shit is bananas.

It hit me that at this moment in life, I kind of feel the least under attack, at least compared to some others.

I’m worried as shit about what Trump is doing and how many people I know and don’t know that it will affect. But in terms of my body and life, there isn’t much he can do to me. I look at my husband and I worry about Trump reducing funding for arts and possible re-instating Stop & Frisk. I look at my in-laws and worry about Trump’s immigration policies. I look at my friends we’ve met since moving here and I worry about anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, hell I worry about generalized xenophobia.

I’m not trying to have any babies, but if I did get pregnant, my husband and I would roll with it, and I’d do my best to match the enthusiasm he and our parents would have. My healthcare comes through my job and is not at the mercy of stock markets and whatnot. People are always going to need/get organ & tissue transplants. My pension also goes through my job. My husband and I have really good healthcare (medical, dental, eye, & pet insurance) through my job.

I’m American born and raised, and I live in a city that’s very multicultural, and people look at me and assume I’m from here. I occasionally have people assume my parents are from whatever country they’ve come from, but they always assume my parents came from said country to America, then had me. They’d be wrong because my parents, and their parents, and their parents, etc. are all American born, but that’s not really important.

My point I’m finally circling back to is that Trump can sign into law that will mess me up any more than I currently am. I live in Brooklyn, where all the cops don’t yet have body cameras, but they can somehow afford to have those airport do-you-have-a-bomb scanners. I got stopped on my way to the A train so they could swab my bookbag-style purse and lunch tote. I had the thickest attitude about it, and the cops were all don’t-hate-me-I’m-just-doing-my-job. And I was all fuck-you-and-your-job-aren’t-you-the-same-ones-who-are-going-to-be-harassing-one-of-my-neighbors-for-being-male-and-black-and-outside-in-a-few-hours?

Ugh, I’m so irritated at everything right now.

Well, not everything. There are moments of wonderfulness. Nights at Smalls Jazz Club are my favorite. That place is like home to me. Literally, I walk in and I feel as comfortable as I do in my favorite places on this planet. Obviously, there’s the caveat that I have to wear pants, but still. And including tonight, I’ll have gone to to Smalls three times in 8 days, so that always gives me happy vibes.

And then there’s the Sims 4. I love me some video games in general, and the Sims in particular. I’ve made time to play more in recent weeks, and that has led to more writing and reading SimsLit. I’m telling you, these little computer generated people & aliens provide a great escape from everyday life. One of my sims fell in love with a man who was young enough to be her son, but she gave him a chance because he’d had a crush on her since he was in high school. They hit it off and she got pregnant. When she told him, he confessed that their child would have a sibling the exact same age. He’d slept with his sister’s fiancee on the night before their wedding, and she got pregnant too. The family’s plan was to raise the children as cousins, not siblings. I promise you that the only thing I had a hand in was letting my Sim sleep with the guy who’d loved her forever. The rest happened on it’s own (with the help of a story progression mod).

And there’s my volunteer work. I finally felt useful this past week. I was helping a high school girl with a ridiculous Algebra II project based on Angry Birds. I dug the movie, but does anyone even play angry birds anymore? Fucking parabolas man. I lost 35 minutes of my life because neither she nor I could remember that the vertex of the parabola is halfway between the two x-intercepts. But it’s cool because we figured it out and she got Part 1 of the project done. I don’t often feel useful tutoring those particular kids, but I really felt useful this week.

I wish I had more cohesive thoughts for this post, but I don’t. Sorry, not sorry.

People, at least black people, aren’t outraged because her feet are on the damn couch, even though that is trifling as hell. If you think the outrage is about feet, then you CLEARLY don’t watch porn, didn’t hang out with black guys and white grls in college, are naive about the politics/optics/history of black men/white women and white people/black people as a whole and are unfamiliar with the basic socialization of women and body language. I won’t call her a thot. But is she thotting? Well. 💅🏾 Get ya damn feet off the couch and close your legs, ma’am. At least TRY to look like a professional woman. You’re supposed to lean in, not bust it open. Part of what’s so infuriating of this is her casual comfort like this room of college presidents is the damn help. It’s like, you’re changing and half naked and a servant walks in, no biggie. They’re like living furniture. You’re changing and someone that actual matters to you comes in, you get embarrassed and throw something on. That she can be so casual and without f**ks and sitting in f*** me formation in the presence of White House guests, and guests of such note at that, or even her boss, is mind-blowing. Also, she is absolutely, 💯 percent putting her ***** on Orange’s sideburns. #kellyanneconway #whitehouse #potus

A post shared by Demetria Lucas D’Oyley (@demetrialucasdoyley) on Feb 28, 2017 at 3:10pm PST

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So… This Ban… Y’all Know We’re Being Gaslighted, Right?

[EDITED TO REFLECT A RECENT ARTICLE I READ LIKE 5 MINUTES AFTER POSTING THIS, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE]

IF YOU’RE READING TO SEE WHAT I’VE GOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS BAN, SKIP TO THE NEXT ALL CAPS SENTENCE. I’M GETTING ALL PERSONAL BLOGGY FIRST.

Okay, personal stuff first. Did I tell y’all I am going to a bridesmaid for the first time ever this year? My girl Toya (we grew up next door to each other, and she’s thankfully not marrying the boy next door, lol) is getting married in May. She’s one of the only people on the planet who could get me to go to Florida right now.

Chris and I haven’t been to Florida since George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. That Stand Your Ground law is such utter bullshit that we decided we would do our best to not go back until it was changed. I’m making an exception for this wedding, then the travel ban is back in place.

Being a bridesmaid is such a mind fuck. It’s like being trolled by my own thoughts. Budget worries, body worries, logistics, etc. To put it more simply, trying on bridesmaid dresses has made me get my whole life together. If I’m going to wear a strapless gown at a beach wedding and get photographed in some forever pictures, I need to do better than what I’m currently doing.

Luckily, this feeling coincided with Chris wanting to be healthier too. So for the past couple of week’s we’ve both been way more committed to exercise, and I’ve been cooking 5-6 times a week. it’s better for the budget and the waistline. Simpler meals (if blood orange & herb glazed baked ribs with mushroom rice and roasted butternut squash counts as simple) have been the goal. So far, it’s going well.

We’ve just hit that point where that initial burst of energy because we’re working out 6 days a week is starting to fade. We still have all our regular life responsibilities and we are tired, man. We are committed to pushing through and getting our bodies used to this new pattern. We just gotta get over the hill. I’m grateful that we have each other for support.

We support our goals, and also our mental well-being. We discuss all the crap going on the world, then watch SNL and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for catharsis.

HEY Y’ALL, HERE’S WHERE I SWITCH TO POLITICS, WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH SYNONYMOUS WITH SOCIETAL GASLIGHTING THESE DAYS.

So, unless you’re living under a rock or know literally no one affected by this travel ban, you’ve heard that there are new levels of dickishness that can be reached with each passing day.

That fucker in the White House spent his first week signing executive orders left and right like he was Dolores Umbridge taking over Hogwarts.

The most recent one that has caught everyone’s attention is this immigrant/refugee ban. If you need a breakdown about it, I got you. CNN explains it relatively well here, here, here, and here.

The people responded strongly and swiftly. If  you need a breakdown about that, I got you. The New York Times covers it pretty efficiently as of two days ago, and you can read that here.

I was all on board for grabbing my pitchfork to join the townsfolk to protest this newest outrage. If I didn’t have crazy work hours (also see above for newfound commitment to not having a terrible beach body), I would’ve trekked out to JFK to join the protests the first night they happened.

For the most part, I’m still on board, but I’ve seen this and I really have to share it with y’all.

If you’re like me and you simply open all links in new tabs to be read after you’ve read the main article (or not at all), I’ll sum it up for you. Shaun King, journalist and activist extraordinaire tweeted a Facebook post by political historian Heather Richardson. If you open no other links in this blog post, READ THIS ONE.

If you’re still refusing to open the link I’ve put in ALL CAPS, well fine, you’ve twisted my arm. To make a long story short, Professor Richardson describes this fuckery aka ban as a “shock event.” If you don’t know what a shock event is, well, just click on the word shock event in the previous sentence. Seriously folks, I’m spoon feeding you here. It can’t get much easier than this… unless you’re reading on a browser that won’t let you open in a new tab and won’t save where you left off on the previous screen, in that case, well, I understand.

Okay, back to this term called shock event. The idea is to do something shocking, that will both distract and divide the people. They are focused on this shocking thing, and they have knee-jerk reactions for or against it along expected lines. You know, for example, like instituting an unreviewed ban on immigrants from seven seemingly random countries who haven’t sent us jihadists.

While the people are still in disarray, mounting their response of protest or support, you sneak in the back door (that’s what he said) and enact your real agenda.

Right now you may be thinking, if he is such a badass, usurping the will of the people, why bother with the bait and switch? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because he doesn’t actually want complete anarchy. He wants the people in disarray so they can’t mount an effective defense. It’s in his best interest to keep them from unifying. He knows his true objective is NOT in the interest of the people, and if they knew what he was truly up to, they’d try and stop it. But if they’re too busy fighting over who loves Muslims more than the next person hates Muslims, they won’t notice that he’s about to fuck them all over for something that benefits only a select few.

Let me put it this way. Those fuckers who have confederate flags covering every surface they own, their wives still wearing t-shirts that say Jail the Bitch, their children bullying yours in school to go back to “where you came from,” their preachers condemning all your gay best friends to hell, their healthcare they swear they don’t want being paid for by your taxes, you know them? Can you imagine protesting along side them when whatever Bannon and Trump have planned is revealed?

I for one have a hard time imagining the same people who’ve had vitriolic responses to the protests since Inauguration Day standing beside me to fight against the complete decimation of our tax/healthcare/education/transportation/energy/housing/banking/regulation/immigration/you-name-it system, or whatever the hell their true target is.

But if Professor Richardson is right, we gotta be vigilant y’all. We CANNOT let this man and his puppeteers take away any of the few things that happen to matter to most of us.

Thanks to historians (yay education!) we have an early warning. We’ve got several jobs to do. One of them is to continue to protest the individual acts of fuckery, like this ban, as they pop up. But today, right now, move one waaaaaay up the priority list.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

You still with me? Good. Hear me out.

I’m not saying get ready to invite the Klan to your family reunion. I’m not saying continue to work with these fuckers people after the fight is won (see what I did there? I’m already growing. grow with me). I’m saying that when the shit goes down, which those smarter than us are pretty sure it will, do not let ideological divides keep you from fighting together.

I don’t know how much time you need. But do some self-assessment and figure that shit out. I don’t know how much time we have. But take some time, do some meditation, and make peace that you may one day march alongside a white nationalist against a common cause.

Take a moment right now. Breathe. It will be okay. If/When that moment comes that we all need to join together, you gotta be ready to do this with us, you can’t let it take you by surprise. If this ban really was a shock event… Don’t. Let. It. Work. On. You.

Stay strong. Resist. Take care of yourself and those you love.

EDIT: So…. I think the big move may have been started already. I think it might’ve been Trump nominating Bannon to the National Security Council. Keep an eye on this one. For a quick rundown, read this opinion piece by the New York Times Editorial Board entitled, “President Bannon.”.

shock-event


Climate Change, Panty Raids, and Toddlers (not all at once, that’d be gross)

So apparently there’s this ice shelf in Antarctica that’s about to break off and fuck us all up. It’s “hanging on by a thread” according to climate scientists. When this happens, sea levels will raise 4-ish inches. Goodbye Boston. Goodbye Venice. Good riddance most of Florida.

I don’t know about you, but that definitely reorients my travelling priorities. I’m really glad that after we go to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in October, we’re heading to Malaga, Spain after that for a week trip with my mother-in-law in her time share. I’m hoping to pop across the Strait of Gibraltar (technically the Alboran Sea) to visit Morocco as well.

Based on their coastal locations, I can assume these cities will be altered if a giant ice shelf raises water levels by inches all over the planet.

Thinking about all of that (and puppy mills, ugh, thanks Rolling Stone), I started to consider other places I want to visit. I have the plan to visit all 50 states at some point before age 50. But I also want to go to Italy and visit Venice and Naples. I want to visit Mubmai in India and Osaka in Japan. And I still haven’t been to Boston. I really love New Orleans, and I’m looking forward to visiting again. But these cities are fucked.

I’m glad that 21 people under the age of 21 filed a suit to stop this shit. And I’m really glad this district judge has this to say:

“Exercising my ‘reasoned judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.” –U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken

Things like this give me hope. Hope for these folks born after 1990 who I rarely time the time to acknowledge as useful. Hope for my future travel. Hope that though the immediate present ain’t great, the future is salvageable.

On another note, I was in Chicago this past weekend. I visited my family for my mother’s 60th birthday. Here’s what I learned.

  • My grandmother is refusing to do what she said she’d do when starting this experimental treatment, so she’s getting worse while she’s getting better.
  • My parents’ college friends are even better than I remember. They are hilarious. And panty raids in college are a real thing, not just in movies.
    • I’m thinking I really really want to name names for who participated in these panty raids, but all the guilty parties are not yet retired, so I’ll wait for now…
  • Living in New York turns you, and people you know from back in Chicago, into whiskey drinkers.
  • Bridesmaid dresses were not created to look good on anyone.
  • My mother has chosen a theme for her sixties. She turned “50 with a snap.” But her sixties are all about being cool. There’s a hand gesture that goes along with it. I made it up, my mother is now to cool to have done something like that.
  • My entire family need to start going for walks. We are NOT maintaining a basic standard of health, myself included.

And lastly, I’m considering what drastic measures to take in preparation of my friend LaToya’s wedding in May. Is vegan too far? It probably is. I mean, I had a terrible experience with some beef lasagna that I assume was delicious but couldn’t put in my mouth in Paris that made me think vegetarianism isn’t too far off in my future.

I just can’t help thinking of 2010 me. I was unemployed, which wasn’t great, but I went no carb, hardly-no-sugar and had just discovered hot yoga. Maaaaaaan, let me tell you, I was in the best shape of my life that year. But that level of time and diet commitment is just… hard. I probably could’ve maintained it had I kept one of the two going.

I dunno. But I tell you what I do know. I’m not about to go through what bridesmaids all over the world go through. I will make sure that I can fit into the dress I ordered. I decided to order a size that will fit me today instead of some aspirational size. Hopefully I’ll have the problem of needing to have it taken in…

Switching gears again. Do you play the Sims 4? I do, and I’m losing my mind that I won’t be able to play with the toddlers until Thursday night of this week! I’ve downloaded the update, but between visiting Chicago, my work-volunteer-yoga schedule, and going to see a taping of the Harry Connick, Jr. show, there just won’t be time before then.

Seriously, how freaking cute are these toddlers?

ts4_toddlers_thumbnail_v1


Fifty by Age 50: Bienvenue en Europe

If you follow me on Instagram, you know Chris and I had a great time in Europe!

I feel good about the pictures/videos I posted. I took over 1000 photos while I was there, but I only posted 29 smooshed into 12 different posts. I’m thinking of doing one more that shows all the different bands Chris ended up playing with while we were there. Don’t worry. he was just sitting in with the bands, we did NOT go and make money while on vacation because that would be a violation of their tourist visa laws.

In case you missed me talking about it in literally every blog post leading up to the trip, my husband Chris and I went to Paris and Brussels from Dec 27 – Jan 5. We flew into Paris, stayed there through New Year’s, then went to Brussels for a few days before heading back to the states.

It was a great trip for Chris and I; I feel like we really reconnected on this trip. I feel like I learned quite a bit about myself on this trip, as well as some cool stuff about Europe and travelling.

What I Learned About Myself

  • I have a hard time being around anyone for that many days in a row. I never got sick of Chris, but I got… weary. I need alone time in my life and there wasn’t much of it unless Chris was showering.
  • My body refuses to adjust to changes in time zone. I’ve noticed it when travelling to other time zones in the US, but I thought after a few days in Europe, I’d get to it. But nope, I was up until 6am, waking up at 3pm damn near every day we were there.
  • I freaking love staying in an airbnb. Being able to cook a couple of my own meals and having that “home” feeling while on vacation is great for me.
  • I’m not as out of the box with food as I’d like. I am more adventurous than a lot of people, and I will try almost anything twice (in case it wasn’t prepared properly the first time). But while in Paris, I literally had to drag myself past this one bar/restaurant that has this amazing Chanterelle mushroom penne. My thirst for trying new things was easily outweighed by my desire to keep eating what I knew I’d like. I wanted to eat it ever day, but in the spirit of exploring, we tried a new restaurant every day. I wish we had stopped there once more though before leaving Paris…

What I Learned About Europe/Travelling

  • Those Europeans are stingy with surprising things (because they’re not wasteful Americans): paper napkins, bottle of water, personal space
  • Every single person except one that we spoke to spoke English. Some not fluently, but with my leftover (never-conversational) French we were able to make it work.
  • I need to go thank my middle school and high school French teachers because I was all over those signs that were in French, and I was correctly conjugating words. They’d be proud.
  • Springing for the international data plan was sooooooo worth it. Being able to keep my pictures backed up just in case and having constant access to Google maps was essential to our spontaneous exploring.
  • Booking everything all at once up front is pointless, you book when you get that perfect combination of exchange rate and price.

I was thinking about writing some more posts, getting specific about some of the things that we did. But I may not feel like it. The story of that woman kissing me full on the mouth shortly after midnight on New Year’s is worth telling. Chris getting held up in customs at JFK airport is also a sitcommy tale. The adventures of our flask trough Paris is also nice (I wouldn’t let Chris take a swig at Notre Dame). Eh, it depends on if I’ve got good pictures to go with the stories I think.

I still have to sort through all our pictures. Finding a back door into using the Aura Frame when I have no iPad, iPod, or iPhone took some time, but soon I’ll share all my pics with my family. My parents got a frame for themselves, for my brother, and for me and Chris. I think it’ll be kinda cool to have three households worth of pictures shuffling through our frame.


I’m Gonna Say Christmas Was A Quiet Success

I’m wrapping things up at work now, and my excitement is increasing. As is my tiredness. I’m tired y’all.

I ended up staying up late Sunday night to finish packing and then adding all my clothes into this new closet app thing I’m trying on my phone. It is time consuming to photograph all your clothes, but guess who doesn’t mind lack of sleep, and really doesn’t mind not leaving her clothes overseas accidentally? That would be me!

I was unable to do maintenance on my locs Saturday like I’d planned, so that fell to last night’s intinerary. Staying up to almost 3am two nights in a row when your alarm goes off at 5:10am is just plain silly.

But I did it. And as a result, I’m all packed for my trip, my hair looks neat and well kept, and Starbucks makes coffee to keep one awake. Well, the Starbucks isn’t a result of my poor time management, but my consumption of large amounts of Starbucks is.

I’m excited for the next week or so, but I’m also really pleased with how the Christmas holiday went.

After work on Friday, Chris and I headed to a friend’s birthday party then to Smalls, just like we’d planned. As a result of tiredness and terrible waitressing at the first bar, the only picture I have is the obligatory picture of Sara and me that I almost always take when we’re hanging.

sara-and-me

When we got to Smalls, it seemed that almost the entirety of the birthday party crew had gone over there. We definitely wouldn’t put the club over capacity. Smalls charges a cover to get in, but for musicians (and their wives, cough, cough), they usually let them in. Smalls works hard to foster that homey environment for the musicians and their people.

I say all of that to say that there was no way in hell Smalls was letting in all those people for free. I’m still not sure how they worked it out, but I was cold and there was room inside for me and Sara (and Chris). Everyone else came in a few minutes after that, so I figure they worked it out and the 12+ people on that bar crawl ish paid the cover to get in.

By the time they got in there, I had my customary I’ve-been-up-since-5am-and-will-be-up-until-damn-near-5am drink: Strong, fresh coffee with Bailey’s and Bulleit Rye Whiskey. My girl Marjie, the amazing manager (and aerial yoga buddy) who was working the bar, always hooks me up. She makes it just right so it needs no sugar, and she good-naturedly fights me on the tip. The only time I couldn’t make her take her money was when we were there on my birthday, but little does she know I just gave it to my friend JS to give to her instead, ha!

The band was amazing, as usual. I listen to my own friends and their bands so much that it’s always nice when I get to the club early and can hear whoever is playing the set in front of theirs. I ended up making nice with a sweet girl who lived up the street from the club. She kept requesting a blues with such gusto. It amused me and irritated Chris, but eventually someone called it for the jam session. I stepped outside with her while she smoked (ew, smoking), and took a pretty cool picture of the entrance to Smalls. I don’t think I’d ever noticed how many times the name of the club is written on/above the door.

smalls

The night ended after 4am, as it always does. We got home and fell into a deep sleep. I woke up the next morning, finally checked my mail, and saw that Sara’s Christmas gift for me had indeed arrived like Etsy told her it had.

This tank is hilarious and will be put to good use as soon as we’re back from Europe in the New Year.

namaste

The night of Christmas Eve, we went to a party for my friend Michael from college. He looks amazing, all slim and toned. He was always handsome, but damn if he’s not aging well. We did the math and realized we met over 13 years ago. We drank more egg nog shooters and stopped talking about that, lol.

mike

We stayed at this party All. Night. Long. We were laughing and drinking and talking and playing games. Chris and I had some friends nearby who checked in our activity for the night. Michael was down for the-more-the-merrier, so we invited them over and it went from a small gathering of family and friends to a ruckus house party situation. I hope he has more parties like that in the future.

I almost forgot to take a picture with Chris, but then I remembered. I’ve greatly improved my selfie game from back when I almost always cut half my face out of the picture. But the other party guests didn’t know that. So when I raised the camera back towards us, flash ready, someone offered to help take the picture.

Apparently, without breaking my smile, I brusquely said no, and because I’d already pressed the button before he spoke, the camera flashed immediately after. Everyone found this amusing if caustic. It took them awhile to explain to me why it came across that way. I guess they didn’t know I’d already pressed the camera button, so there was no rapid fire No-Smile-Click that they perceived.

Chris was cracking up the second the word no came out my mouth, as you can see below. I’m clearly drunk, as evidenced by my big ass smile. And my lipstick is also staining his lips, lol.

no-help-chris-laugh

Christmas was a very very lowkey day for us. So lowkey that at no point did we leave the house and no point did we put on pants. I happily watched The Santa Clause 1, 2, and 3 while cooking dinner and lunch. The only thing I photographed all day was the shrimp wraps I made for lunch, go figure.

shrimp-wraps

I squeezed a lot into just a few days because I was on a time crunch. The only real fail was David taking forever to get home from the airport last night after spending Christmas with his family. Even with staying up to finish my hair, I couldn’t stay up as late as necessary to watch the Sense8 holiday special with him. He says he’ll wait for me and we can watch it when I get back. I hope he doesn’t leave me behind like he did when it came to watching Supergirl.

Seeing as how we have over a week in Europe, I’m hoping it can be as eventful, but also more restful. Wish me a safe flight y’all, my plane takes off in 6 hours!


So Says My Husband: “Christmas Is Saved!”

We decorated our tree! We have a pitifully small number of ornaments on it (first world problems, amiright?), but it’s up and lit. Not lit, like a great party, but alight, lol.

I put a picture up on Instagram where it was pointed out that our tree was on a lean. I would like to clarify that it’s NOT leaning. Chris did a great job at getting the tree set up. It’s very much upright… It just didn’t grow evenly on all sides.

I’ve yet to be responsible, at any point in my life, for picking out a Christmas tree. But I imagine if I did, I would walk around the entirety of the tree, checking it out from multiple angles, making sure it was as even as could be.

But like I said, I haven’t ever had to go buy a tree. So what the hell do I know about what tree options are available? A whole bunch of nothing, that’s what.

All I know is I love our tree. This is our 7th Christmas together, but it’s the first time we’ve decorated a tree together. Both of us have memories of decorating the tree with our fathers (parents, but mostly our dads), and it’s nice to make these new memories together.

Weird how one tree can make me feel like Christmas is saved, huh?

After an hour at Target yesterday, we are back on track. A failed trip to Home Depot will henceforth be known as “That Time Chris Almost Ruined Christmas, But He Didn’t, So It’s Fine, So Get Over It, It’s Fine.” That’s all I’m saying about that.

Last night I cooked half a dinner at our friend Corey’s house, the other half provided by leftovers from Merry Black Christmas. Shout out to Allyson for delicious food she’s always cooking. We drank–wait for it–watermelon double IPA beer. That 10% and lovely bitterness and low low price made the watermelon worth it. It was a like a summer-themed Blue Moon. I wouldn’t recommend it.

But we were soon drunk adjacent and happily enjoying roasted chicken breast with mushroom gravy, green beans, butter-dipped artichoke, cornbread, and macaroni & cheese. We flipped back and forth between Last Holiday and whatever football game was on. Chris and I decorated the tree when we got back home. To me, it felt like the official start of our holiday celebrations.

Tonight, we’ve got a birthday hang that will span a bar I’ve never been to and a jazz club I go to all the time. It’s our friend Deadria’s farewell to her twenties. Corey has his regular jam session he leads at Smalls Jazz Club, and as usual, if we’re out, that’s where we’re ending the night.

Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll get some packing done for our upcoming trip, then we have a Christmas Eve party to go to being thrown by my friend Michael from college who lives nearby in Brooklyn.

Christmas will be a quiet day with just me and Chris (for now, lol). We’re going to see Fences in theaters. It’s not a movie unless Viola Davis is crying out her nose. I’m cooking us a tasty simple meal.

On Boxing Day, I’ll be at work, and when I get home, I’m going to watch the Sense8 Holiday Special on Netflix with my best friend David. It’s one of the shows we try and watch together even though we don’t live in the same state. Go technology. We both love Christmas, and it’s really cool that the first episode of season two is doubling as a Christmas special. I’m also working on the 27th. But I’m leaving work early on Tuesday, heading home to get my packed bag and my husband, then we’re headed to the airport.

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I was over everything. But now I’m back on track. I’m excited for the next two weeks, like really excited. Not sure-to-be-disappointed-because-reality-can’t-live-up excited. More like who-knows-what-each-day-will-bring-so-bring-it-on excited.

Now for your visual enjoyment, my Tannenbaum and other Christmas accoutrement (when it’s singular, it’s without the s, right?):

I know it looks like it's leaning, but I swear it's not!

I know it looks like it’s leaning, but I swear it’s not! The more I look at this tree, I’m thinking, “is it really that great?” But then I’m like, “of course it is, that tree is adorable, and anyone who disagrees is blind to the truth.” So dramatic, I know, whatever.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don't use it to pull down the tree.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don’t use it to pull down the tree.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth. Also, we clearly need to sweep up the needles that got sacrificed on the altar of artificial lights.

So... this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I'd pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

So… this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I’d pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

You’re welcome. 😉

 


Still Got Time To Get The Holidays Right, Or At Least Better Than What I’ve Been Doing So Far

There’s a medium sized chance that I’m getting Christmas, and life, back on track.

We actually got a tree yesterday. And by we, I mean, my husband went and got one before he had to be at school while I was at work. That poor little tree is still undecorated.

We still have a couple of days to make it happen though.

The cats are once again welcoming of the tree. They play with each other around it, drink from the tree water (which leads to vomiting, but you try and stop them), and pose in very photogenic ways around it.

The plan is to somehow magically find time to go buy lights for the tree, and maybe a couple of ornaments. We have a few. I bought Starbucks cup ornaments on a whim a couple of years ago, and there’s something made of glass that I don’t remember getting, so Chris must be responsible for those.

I think that will be the full extent of the Christmas decorating. If we’re in New York for Christmas next year, maybe we’ll build on that.

The main reason not to do too much is that we’re going to Paris for New Year’s! I’m super excited. I finally finalized our travel arrangements and accommodations today. I know, I know, cutting it kinda close there. But it’s done.

I’m hoping to change up our travel style a bit. We have a habit of doing a whole bunch of nothing when we travel. To be clear, I say that with extreme prejudicial fondness. My favorite thing to do on a day off is nothing. Chilling out, making sure I don’t tire myself out, and making grand efforts only to eat.

But I’ve been inspired by the travels of those close to me. They leave their rooms each day, exploring everything they can walk or ride or boat to, taking amazing pictures every step of the way. I’ve decided I wanna be more like that.

With any luck, our days will be spent exploring the city on foot, stopping at museums, shops, galleries, pubs, and cafes. Our evenings will be filled with good food and live music. And then we’ll do it all again the next day.

The leisurely nature of exploring and being spontaneous appeals to me more than making an itinerary just to see all I want to see it. I’m gonna have this attitude: If I see it, great. If I don’t, then that’s just a reason to come back again one day.

Wish me luck that when it’s time to put on pants, I actually get off my ass and seize the day.

And wish me luck that the French speakers in Paris and the French and Dutch speakers in Brussels are kind to us. Did I mention we’re going to Brussels too? Only took me 32 years to take a trip to Europe, trying to squeeze as much out of it as I can.


The Third Day of Christmas

In the continuing saga of me failing at Christmas this year, I’ve failed to get gifts for almost everyone on my list.

I don’t have much else to say besides that.


Christmas Fail and Harry Potter Praise

So we didn’t get the tree. I wish I could say I was surprised. In a stunning group effort, my husband Chris did not get the addresses for people he wanted to mail cards to, and I didn’t even purchase the cards had we had somewhere to send them. We are not good at Christmasing, y’all.

There’s a lot more I want to say, but I’m still finding the line for how personal I want this blog to be. Instead, I’ll completely switch topics.

Any Harry Potter fans out there?

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve never been to Europe before, but I’m going next fall to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in West End. Or is it on West End? I would say I was seeing a play on Broadway, not in Broadway. Is is the same for West End in London? Somebody help me please.

Anyway, being the huge Harry Potter fan that I am, I am so excited to get to see it in person in London before they bring it to Broadway in 2018.

Does anyone remember when Michael Jackson died? I do because it was June 25th, the 5th anniversary of the day my boyfriend from freshman year of college died. I bring him up because I remember how upset I was when his This Is It tour was announced to be NOT coming to America.

At the time, I couldn’t wrap my head around travelling to Europe for just a concert. Well, that tour never happened, and Michael currently tops my list of entertainers I regret not having had the chance to see perform live when I had the chance. Luther Vandross is a close second.

I know that ever had I purchased tickets to the concert, obviously I still wouldn’t have seen him. But just accepting the lost opportunity had an impact on me. I promised myself that if it were in my means, I would never miss another important (to me) culture event if I could help it.

That’s why I waited 15 hours in an online queue to get tickets to see the Harry Potter play.

Why did I bring up Harry Potter? Well, I’ve just finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

LEAVE NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS, and now a random picture to fill up some space you don’t accidentally read what I’ve got to say on the matter.

20161115_234117

That’s me and my friend Corey, both very liquored up, at my favorite NYC jazz club: Smalls Jazz Club.

Back to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Albus Severus Dumbledore is such a fuck up.

And Voldemort plus Bellatrix?? Ew. And her husband was fine with it? Double ew.

And all those magical effects? I can tell you there won’t be many high school play productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. *smirks*

The people who said it was hard to follow because it was a stage play? Bullshit, y’all folks don’t have imagination. Almost every set was one from the books (and movies), use your imagination, or if you don’t have enough of that, use your memory! You know what Godric’s Hollow looks like. You know what the edge of the Forbidden Forest looks like. You know what Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom looks like. Come on y’all.

The British are bracingly realistic. The resolution of the relationship between Harry and Albus (both of them, come to think of it), was so messy. Messy, messy, messy. Just like real life. I suppose that’s why so many people, myself included, deeply love these characters. They’re so freaking real.

I’m so excited to see this play. Reading through all the books in a row has perfectly prepped me for watching all the movies in a row. Then it’ll be back to the books, likely next summer, before I go see that play.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them SIDENOTE.

Yoooooooooooo! When they revealed Grindelwald, I was like whaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?

I’m so excited about the actor they’ve cast for Grindelwald. I’m really pleased with the choice. Because of Pottermore, my perception of Grindelwald is a flamboyant genius, whose charm belies his true intentions, and they’ve chosen perfectly to fit my vision of him.

Knowing that this story ends in 1945, presumably with the big duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, well, I’m so excited for, let’s say 8 years from now, when they finally put out the fifth movie. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll do a movie a year, but I just don’t think that’s very likely. It took 10 years to put out 8 movies for the regular series, and those characters only aged 6-7 years (depending on their birth date). These characters are covering 20-ish years. Oh the possibilities…

Harry Potter is a wonderful distraction from everyday life.

I’ve just acquired a 2009 edition of Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them. If you’re up your Harry Potter canon, you know this version of the book (originally published in 2001) is no longer canon. They have recently released the screenplay, which is still not the correct version of the book, though it is with the movie series. The correct version of the Hogwarts textbook will be released in March of 2017.

Lots of chances to give J.K. Rowling all our money!

I’ll certainly be giving her mine. I’ll own the Kindle or physical copy of all her books, even the Pottermore books, which are just gathered assorted writings about the wizarding world. Let’s just be happy I haven’t gone off the deep end and purchased full blown Quidditch robes, lol.

Anyone who’s still reading care to share their favorite escape? Some other escape options for me include: Leverage (TV Series), The Sims 4, and all the DC Comics and Marvel Comics TV shows on Netflix, ABC and the CW.


The Holidays Are Upon Us… Yay…

I’m a known shopaholic. But shopping for Christmas gifts isn’t bringing me the usual joy. I think I’m just so ready for 2016 to be over.

Chris and I are supposed to go shopping for a Christmas tree tomorrow… yay.

I want to be excited, but I’m not. I’m just thinking about how I hope it doesn’t rain like it did last night. And I’m thinking about how this is our 7th Christmas, and we’ve never actually decorated a Christmas tree so we have to go to Target and get Christmas decorations. Right now the only decorations we have are Christmas stockings that we never took down from 2 Christmases ago and a Nutcracker doll I bought at Duane Reade that has basically become part of our permanent home decor.

Oh, and there are the Christmas cards Chris wants to send. We suck at sending cards. We never send birthday cards, we never sent thank you cards after our wedding (even though I hand wrote every single card by my damn self), but somehow he thinks we’ll send holiday cards this year. We’ll see…

Can y’all tell I’m not really in the holiday spirit?

It’s not really true though. Normally, I love this time of year. I love me some Christmas and Kwanzaa, and I really love me some New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

I am all about holiday music. For the last few days, I’ve been listening to my holiday playlist on my phone. Playlist is an inaccurate term because it’s really all my holiday music, but the genres are labelled weird in Amazon Music, so I had to manually put them all together.

As I’m typing this, I’m at work. I just changed my desktop background to one of the holiday options that Microsoft has available online. I keep staring deeply into the photos as they come up; I’ve got it set to change every 60 seconds. Two of my co-workers were just chuckling at just how deeply I was staring.

I feel like I’m looking for joy where there’s none to be found. I really really really want to be excited for Christmas and this holiday season. But I feel separated from the excitement, like I’m wearing fancy winter gloves meant to be used with a touchscreen smartphone. It’s like I can still use my phone and keep protected from  the cold, but my interactions with the phone are more difficult, blunted somehow.

I’ve been reading through the Harry Potter books again, prepping myself to finally read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This story seems darker to me than ever before. All the evil wizards, even the ones who aren’t dark (read: Dolores Umbridge), are just a bit much to take. And all the loss is making me tear up. I’m a highly emotional person, but not really prone to tears. But Dumbledore dying, Mad Eye Moody dying, Harry breaking up with Ginny, these really got to me on this read through.

I suppose that’s to be expected when you feel close to tears all day long though, right?

At least there are a few things that make me smile no matter what:

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by NSYNC
  2. The Sims 4 (I just finished decorating the Epsteins’ house for Hannukah, that will mean something to you if you read my SimLit blog)
  3. Hand-written notes, like this one from one of my favorite coworkers

coworker-smile

I’ll keep looking for things that can make me smile, since smiles are so hard to come by these days. Anyone got any suggestions?


Fighting The Ughs In My Personal Life And My Politics

Anytime I see the word trump in the news, capitalized or not, I just get… ugh. Yeah, that’s the word. I get ugh.

It doesn’t help that I’ve got some personal things happening right now in my life that for the first time ever make me feel prolonged sadness. I feel very ugh almost all the time now.

But, there are some things going down that are fighting the ughs.

Personal

  1. I finally booked an Airbnb for the Paris portion of the trip my husband and I are taking to Europe for New Year’s. Nothing like having somewhere to sleep so you don’t end up in a hostel to make you smile.
  2. I have started playing Sims 4 again, and writing stories about my Sims. The SimLit community is fantastic and I’m so happy to rejoin them after a long hiatus.
  3. I’ve finally got my younger cat Jasmine on my side! She seemed to barely tolerate me since we moved to New York, staring at me with contempt every time I dare to show affection to my husband or older cat Belle. But yesterday morning, she climbed into my lap and sat there purring while I petted her. Chris and Belle were just as confused as I was.

Political

dapl-protest-strong

  1. The protesters in North Dakota triumphed! Read about it on NPR. CNN has this picture on their website that is just so powerful to me. It reminds me of the interconnected struggles of all marginalized communities. I’m hopeful that all the naysayers who swear protesting does nothing will now shut the entire fuck up. If you’ve been under a rock, and you don’t know about #NoDAPL, well, all you need to know now is the Army has agreed to reroute a pipeline that had the potential to damage the groundwater and desecrate the burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Army backed down from the latest in a series of violations of a treaty signed long ago. The celebrations that are happening today are heartwarming. It is so much better than what we thought would happen. December 5th was designated as the day they were going to forcibly remove people from the land to setup a “free speech area”, supposedly “for their safety.” So much bullshit and gaslighting went into that concept, but it matters not! Instead of that crap, December 5th is now a day of celebration for everyone who supported their cause.
  2. Yesterday was the anniversary of the day Fred Hampton was murdered in 1969. You may not have heard of him, but you should go learn about him. He died for the cause and is an example of what you must be willing to sacrifice for progress. Today is the anniversary of the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. You likely have heard of that, but you should still learn more about it, and the Freedom Riders too. These sustained protests are examples of the economic power of the oppressed, as well as their ability to fight against unjust laws. Looking back on the significance of these days informs our present and future. The varied forms of protest as well as the varied outcomes leave me with pride, courage, and resolve. And believe it or not, it also helps me push the ughs away.
  3. In the context of history both decades and hours old, I look forward to what’s coming next. For me, that is the Injustice Boycott. In just over an hour after this post publishes, we will get details of who the boycott targets are. I grew up hearing stories about how economic protests made Montgomery, Alabama integrate their city bus system and how all the major national African-American organizations boycotted Arizona until they observed Martin Luther King Jr Day. I’ve always believed in the power of protest to affect change. I was on board with protests against Chick-fil-A and other companies that have been associated with discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, and I’d like to think I’m a good ally for that community, ever learning and evolving to be an even better ally. I’m just glad that now I get to engage in a protest that helps my own community. Once they put up details about the protest, I’ll probably put up another post explaining how I’ll participate.

I’ve been struggling as of late to stay positive and happy and optimistic about the future. But on days like today, there are glimmers of hope that the darkness won’t last.


I Enjoy Less Because Feminism

The patriarchal cisgendered norms of my worldview have been buffeted by intersectional feminism.

In case that sentence was gibberish to you, let me break it down.

Patriarchal: When I use this term, I’m referring to the second definition, which refers to a society controlled by men.

Cisgendered: When I use this term, I’m referring to people who identify as being the same gender they were assigned at birth.

Intersectional: When I use this term, I’m referring to the concept that the problems of marginalized communities are interconnected, and cannot be separated.

Feminism: When I use this term, I’m referring to the belief in and fight for the rights of women based on the belief in their equality to men.

Intersectional feminism: When I use this term, I’m referring to an idea that the fight for equality for women is a fight for all women and femmes, crossing racial and social and economic and age and gender lines.

Having defined those terms as I am currently using them, let’s say that first sentence again using a lot more words.

The world defaults to the best interest of men, particularly those who were assigned the male gender at birth, and I was raised with those same patterns of behavior and views. In learning more about the world around me, particularly as it relates to the equality of all people, and the way all marginalized communities are connected, I no longer view the world that way.

I notice this in ways small and large. It has affected the way I see things, and changed the things I used to take for granted. I count myself lucky because I was raised by parents who taught me to be independent and decide for myself how I view the world. They taught me that even if I disagree with everyone I love, I must think, feel, and do what I think is right.

Some examples:

  • I can no longer watch TGIT with my mother because she and I disagree on the normalcy of the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve been visiting Chicago a lot recently for my mother because my grandmother is sick. This last visit, I watched Grey’s Anatomy, Notorious, and How to Get Away with Murder with my mom. Every show that night featured characters engaging in homosexual behavior. Each time my mother would say something along the lines of, “they’re so gay.” Her tone and redundancy bugged me, and I expressed my dissatisfaction. But aside from learning to not voice certain things, I don’t think much can be done to fix this situation. I no longer enjoy watching television with my mother. I am no fan of Raven-Symone, but I was so irritated when over the summer my mother spoke of her sexuality while we watched an eipsode of The View.
  • I can no longer attend church services at the church where I grew up. The last sermon I sat through there was a ranting mess about how gays and Muslim immigrants and bankers were responsible for the economic hardships. I was completely fucking floored and done with the church after that. The pastor of the church wasn’t there that day. The preacher who gave that awful ass sermon is now the pastor of another church, thank God. But his departure doesn’t change the reaction of the congregation during the sermon. I was horrified, openly horrified at that sermon, and I seemed to be the only one. The people who were actually listening, and who managed to follow his bullshit line of reasoning were responding as if it were any other barely mediocre sermon. I cannnot attend a church where they think blaming marginilized communities for our community’s problems is okay.
  • The song Hallelujah is one I have always loved. That mournful tone and the way the music swells as it builds to its peak have always been so beautiful to me. But the lyrics maaaaaan… The second verse is all biblical references normalizing a lot of crap towards women. It gets real rapey and hateful in just five lines. Pretty much the only version of the song I can listen to these days is the one by Pentatonix. I can easily listen to the beauty of their voices without the lyrics penetrating.
  • Eminem, who I would call one of my favorite rappers, says some awful things about women, homosexuals, etc. I don’t really love rap to begin with, and that is now tested even more. His song Rap God, which I used to listen to on repeat, now is like a slap across the face every time he uses the word faggot. It’s just not the same now that I no longer make excuses for the use of that word in music.

Those are just a few, but there are many more. Obviously, a lot of the issues I have come as a consumer. Music, television, even news articles just fall flat to me when they aren’t doing enough to fight for progress.

Several articles in the Washington Post recently address feminism, but they do it in such an incomplete way, that without a good knowledge base, you’d think they hate feminism and have never heard the word intersectional. I know feminism has a lot of problems, mostly that it tend to leave out those are aren’t white, cis, middle class, career-focused, American women. But these articles, which you can read here, here, and here, seem so limited in their scope. They seemed to make the point that there is feminism and there is black/poor/non-white feminism. In my opinion, they are not helping the cause.

The unity that is essential to resisting future overlord DJT feels like it’s being attacked from all sides. For any Harry Potter fans out there, remember that sucky speech Dolores Umbridge gave at the start of year feast when she was Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher? Basically she spoke a lot about preserving some traditions and pruning others. Just like DJT’s narcissistic ass, she sought to only keep the “traditions” that forwarded her and the Ministry’s selfish aims, damn those who are hurt in the wake.

If we are going to properly resist what’s coming (and already happening), we can’t let mainstream media twist and/or make light of important movements. And you can’t let the constant stream of music, online videos, television and movies (white-washed Dr. Strange, I’m looking at you… “Celtic” my ass…) shape and re-shape your perception of what’s normal–and what isn’t.

If you believe in equality, if you believe in progress, then pay attention. Learn their code words, and learn your code words. When I hear the word urban come up in politics, I know what they mean. It catches my ear and puts me on alert because what follows the use of that word is almost always some bullshit, and almost always is an attempt to harm my community.

I’m paying attention. And when the time comes, I’ll be ready.

Listen. Progress. Resist. Thrive.


My Nickname Should Be Breadcrumbs

Have you ever thought about giving yourself a nickname? If you could choose one, would it focus on your best qualities? Would it be funny? Clever? Revealing?

Yeah… the name I came up with for myself is none of those really. It’s blunt, if whimsical. Remember Hansel and Gretel? They tried to find their way home using a trail of breadcrumbs. Usually a trail of breadcrumbs can be followed.

My breadcrumbs are a little different. They are scattered all over, in no particular order. They simply leave a path of where I’ve been. You could literally track my physical location through history if you had some sort of way of tracking my possessions.

I’m not joking when I say I leave all my shit everywhere all the time.

It’s a bad habit I cannot break, no matter how hard I try. I’ve done a better job at keeping up with possessions over the years. For instance, no house keys have been lost in years and years. Misplaced, of course, but always eventually found.

Essential home items aside, lots of other things are left as an accidental reminder of my presence. I try not to think about to monetary value of things I’ve left that can’t be retrieved. Instead I focus on the things I’ve mislaid that can be retrieved, even if it takes a while.

Since I’m on the subject, here are five examples of things I’ve left behind.

  1. This past Thanksgiving, I spent the night at a my friend Sara’s house after eating soooo much pie. I worked Thanksgiving and the day after. It was not until I got back to work that I noticed I had left my watch (aka the Samsung Gear Fit 2) and three rings. I’d placed them on her bathroom floor when I showered in the morning so as to not lose them down a drain or mix them up with her stuff on her dresser. And of course, I walked right out the apartment without them. I had to head back there Friday night after work to pick them up.
  2. A couple of years after college, I was back visiting with my friend David. We were there for a huge part his fraternity used to throw every year, and it was a nice reunion. I had a ton of toiletries with me (as I usually do when I travel). After I got back from the weekend, I realized I’d left brand new bottle of an entire line of hair care and face care products. Seeing as how I only visited Tallahassee once a year, I knew there was no way to get them back. That was a particularly expensive fuckup.
  3. This is not a specific time, but a specific item: eye glasses. I swear I leave them anywhere not at home where I remove them. I wish I could say I was one of those people who look for glasses sitting atop their head. Nope, mine are found such interesting places as on top of the toilet tank in a jazz club bathroom, in a seat I’ve just left on the subway, in between the couch cushions at the house of a friend of a friend, and inside someone else’s jacket pocket.
  4. Another item: earrings. I lose and leave them everywhere. Most incriminatingly (is that word?), at every home I’ve visited of every guy I never should’ve dated. I also leave one earring behind at work, in the collar of shirts and jackets, hooked into sweaters of people who hug me, and some black hole where I assume they adorn the lost socks of the world. I have a medium sized box in my bedroom that holds all the single earrings I still own. I threw one out once last year. Before my parents moved, the other earring went missing one fateful afternoon in which I’d spent time in every fucking room in the house, which never happens in one afternoon. After my parents moved, I gave the earring up for lost, so I tossed the other one in the pair. Wouldn’t you know that I found the earring in a corner of a drawer in the bedroom set they’d moved from my old bedroom. The lost earring survived the move, and I threw out its match for no reason! Needless to say, the other earrings may stay in that box for eternity, in case their match resurfaces.
  5. This last one is a doozy. I got a free tablet with an old phone, I’m thinking it was my Note 5. I happily used this tablet to play all the games I used to play on my cell, but stopped when I realized how much battery they drained. One visit to Chicago, I got off the plane in Chicago, only to realize I’d left my tablet on the plane. Instead of having my parents drive back to the airport, I asked my husband, who felw in the next day, to check with lost and found to see about the table. Turns out Delta Airlines has a bullshit lost and found system. I filled out the appropriate online forms, got some terrible customer service and runaround, then accepted my tablet was lost forever. When I got my new Note 7 (I miss my beloved phone), I got a new tablet with it. I was able to play my games, so I had less overall ire towards Delta even though I just knew one of their staff members was living it up with my old tablet. Then my mother asked if either Chris or I had lost an iPad. Chris’s iPad was on our kitchen counter, where it always it. Luckily, I was headed back to Chicago for  a visit. When I got there, I saw the tablet. And, you guessed it, it was my old Samsung tablet. Not an iPad, not stolen by some wayward Delta employee. I felt so foolish. That whole situation was peak breadcrumbs.

Looking for a common thread in these scenarios, and the only one I can see is that I’m usually in a state of fight or flight when something is left behind. Not necessarily immediate fight or flight, but definitely that’s my overall feeling. Leaving the house of a guy I never intend to see again would help explain why I wouldn’t be in the right mind to itemize my belongings.

Although… if I really wanted to go and have no reason for return, you’d think I’d do a better job of collecting my stuff, right? It’s happened to me more than once that I dealt with guys assuming I wanted them to chase me with the old left-the-earring-routine. How I have pined for the lost costume jewelry as I ignored smug text messages offering to return my item. So many ransom notices, lol. Excuse my hyperbole, but you know by now I’m contractually obligated to speak in hyperbole every so often.

There is, of course, a silver lining. Because of my tendency to leave bits of myself behind everywhere I go, I have learned what I truly value and what I don’t. I lost a new cardigan I deeply loved at a restaurant, and as a result, I only take pashminas out with me in the summer to do the battle against unreasonable air conditioning. And some of my jewelry, particularly the gifts from my parents and husband, are really important to me. I don’t want to lose them, so I only wear them when I’m in a good mood and travelling to trusted establishments.

Other than my rings I left at Sara’s, pretty much the only jewelry I wear these days is the costume jewelry. Trump and all the heavy bigoted bullshit that comes with his election has me in a semi-permanent state of fight or flight, so yeah… leaving the diamonds and pearls at home for now. Lab created gemstones only!


Everything Is Awful! A Song That Definitely Wouldn’t Make The Oscars

If you have small children or great whimsy in your life, you know about the song Everything is Awesome. It was liked so much, it was used as one of the performances for the 2015 Academy Awards.

I think about this song because it mostly makes me feel happy/amused/smiley, but the song itself is represents a way to fool the masses into falling in line and distracting them so they don’t question authority. I wonder if a song about fighting the power would make it to the Oscars.

For the past several posts, there hasn’t been much happy in my life, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I will say that the title of this post is hyperbole. Everything is not awful. Just a lot of things are.

So what awful thing am I talking about today?

I was walking in to work this morning, checking notifications that came up on my phone when I saw the news that Florence Henderson had died. This made me really sad; I immediately thought of her on Dancing with the Stars, and when she visited this past season for Maureen McCormick.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

These days, I have very little patience for white-washed TV shows like the Brady Bunch. But this show came out before I was even born, so I was watching reruns on Nick at Nite as a child before I knew better.

I remember a holiday episode where she sang O Come All Ye Faithful, which for years I wrongly remembered as her singing O Holy Night. It’s an absolutely absurd plot, but I loved it. The kids contemplating cancelling Christmas because their mom couldn’t sing is likely a contributing factor to why I don’t want kids, lol.

I wonder about Florence Henderson’s political beliefs. Is that weird? I’m not sure if she’s on record having voiced an opinion about women’s rights or race relations or LGBTQ+ equality or the Dakota pipeline/Flint water crisis or any of today’s pressing issues that I care strongly about.

I’ve been keeping a running tally in my head for a few different lists:

  1. Wholly Against Us
  2. Suspiciously Quiet When It Matters
  3. Too Little Too Late
  4. Oh, Now You Wanna Speak Up When It Affects You and Yours
  5. I See You Making Efforts, But It’s Not Good Enough
  6. Social Media Warrior, Okay, Okay, But What Are Your Actions?
  7. I See You Speaking AND Acting, You’re Down for the Cause
  8. You Should Definitely Be Considered a Leader of the Movement
  9. It’s Like This Isn’t Even Happening In Your World

Florence would definitely go on list #9. Most people seem to speak highly of her, she was an amazing woman by all accounts. My perception of what makes a person amazing, however, is evolving. I don’t know that I can consider someone “amazing” who isn’t helping the fight for equality move forward.

Today is particularly rough at work too. A lot of the deaths we’re getting in are under suspicious circumstances, very sad, and hard for even the doctors and medical examiners to deal with.

I’ve got a lot of conflicted feelings. For instance, there’s this article in the NY Daily News: NY Daily News: Sorry, America, but ‘The Brady Bunch’ was a lousy show. The tweet for this article was even worse:

twitter-brady-bunch

 

It feels a bit disrespectful, no? It’s not so much the sentiment because I was basically just saying above how a show like this would do nothing but piss me off were they making new episodes today.

For me, it’s the language. “No disrespect…but..” I mean, come on. Only dedicated assholes say things like that. And yes, maybe the show does suck, and maybe that’s been this journalists opinion since he was a little kid. But to decide that today is the day he must share his opinion with the world is a bit tone deaf.

Florence Henderson spent a lot of time defending the show from critics with very real and accurate criticism of the bubble in which the show existed. So confronting her stance on the show is… I guess… fair game. Kinda like when you review someone’s legacy after death, it’s usually okay to point out the parts you specifically agree with.

But the article didn’t address anything she’d ever said about the show. It was just an opportunity to crap all over a show he clearly never liked. This was in poor taste.

I was genuinely sad at the news of her passing this morning, but I think focusing on it today is helping me cope with some personal issues, as well as the continued craptastic current events (Jill Stein getting hinky with the recount money, Dakota Access Pipeline injuries and assaults at the hands of police continuing, more black folks dead at the hands of hateful white people, more minorities assaulted by Trump supporters).

Seriously y’all, how fucking long until 2016 is over? I swear something moderately bad could happen 1/1/17 and I will be less bogged down by it that if it happens on New Year’s Eve.


When You Forget How To Enjoy Life

Do you ever forget how to enjoy life? I don’t mean sinking into a full depression where nothing holds the same joy. I’m referring more to when responsibilities and relationships and work and bills and politics and injustice take over most of your brain power, and you forget to make time for things that suddenly feel a bit trivial.

I wasn’t even sure what I was thinking or how to articulate it, but then Twitter came through for me. A write for The Establishment, Ijeoma Oluo posted a piece today that targets a lot of what I’m feeling. If you’re not familiar with her, Google her, she’s got a lot of great things to say.

ijeoma

Her piece today is called, “What I’m Doing To Get My Black Ass Ready For The Next 4 Years.” I read it and so much of it resonated with me. In it was a call to action, and a reminder for self-love. Seeking out community as well as allies is essential.

In case you don’t understand, the worry of the next four years is almost entirely about Trump. In just the two weeks since he was elected, the ugly underbelly of America has shown it’s ass. A lot of people aren’t sure how to respond.

Here’s what I’ve personally been doing:

  1. Putting my money where my mouth is. I make monthly contributions to Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood. I also have donated money on different fundraising sites to help different causes such as Get Rodricus Crawford Home! and Baton Rouge Legal Defense Fund. And I’ve taken out a subscription for Mother Jones, independent news outlets will likely be our only hope in the coming years.
  2. Adding my name to the roll. I’ve signed a number of online petitions, and I’ve made a number of phone calls to elected officials to make sure they know at least one additional person cares about what bills and policies they support.
  3. Reaffirming for myself what’s most important. I have to be in a position to protect and support those I care about. Making sure my priorities are in order a useful bit of self-care so I won’t have to make hard choices later.
  4. Maintaining my health and wellness. Continuing to try and live healthy and happy will keep my body and mind fortified for what’s coming. And I signed up for more volunteer work, it benefits me just like it benefits others.

When Trump is sworn in, will the sky fall? Maybe not for all of us, but definitely for some of us. In just the month of November, he’s both promised to indict Clinton and backed off from that. He’s promised to build the wall between USA and Mexico and later spent a lot of time talking about everything but. He’s completely full of crap in almost every way possible. The only thing he’s been clear on is his business interests and his need for constant praise.

Trump settled the Trump University lawsuit for $25 million and has an upcoming rape trial. A lot of that is too hard to even process for most people still in election shock. This is all just what’s happening now, while the executive branch is still in transition. No one knows what policy positions he’ll actually land on for anything.

We must remain vigilant because there is no telling what he will do.

I have a lot going on in my personal life, so focusing on both the big and small pictures will be hard for me. Worrying about myself and those closest with me will not always line up with worrying about the world around me. But I’m not going to stop trying to do both.

fist-lead

I borrowed this image from Ijeoma Oluo’s article. It’s such a powerful image, and it strengthens my resolve every time I look at it.