Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “international

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!


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.


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.

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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.


Life Goes On, But Don’t Let That Fool You Into Complacency

Unless you are an undocumented immigrant, or a Muslim immigrant whose visa is about to be up for renewal soon, chances are you are not one of Trump’s immediate targets.

Do the rest of us have things to worry about? Hell yes we do. But when six months pass and the sky has yet to fall on your head, you may begin to think, “hey this Trump presidency isn’t so bad, I’m living and thriving and no one I personally know has been affected. Maybe we were being hyperbolic to be so damn afraid back in November.”

To that I say, “nah.”

We gotta stay woke out here. History’s great dictators, demagogues, and assholes didn’t attempt to burn the world down all in one day. No, they slowly ramped up their awful behavior until suddenly everyone looked around and realized the hellscape had been there all along.

As usual, I’ve fallen down several rabbit holes on Twitter. I’ve come across some amazing threads that everyone should read to understand where your focus should be. I have them posted at the bottom.

But first:

Am I suggesting you forgo living your life to sit on your porch, vigilant with a shotgun, waiting for the Trump-induced apocalypse? Mmmmmmmm, no…. Not unless you’re independently wealthy, a confirmed bachelor, and willing to raise the alarm to the rest of us as soon as that shit comes over the horizon.

Seeing as how those descriptors describe very few people, what are the rest of us to do? You must keep living and finding joy in life so that anxiety doesn’t take over the world. But you can’t put your head down and stop paying attention.

  1. Re-read Trump’s policies and consider how those policies will affect you personally. Seek out allies who are already building a coalition to fight those policies.
  2. Ask your friends, families and colleagues to do the same. Then discuss how those policies will affect each of you. Become each other’s allies. You may not have to worry about deportation, but you’d be surprised how many people you love have close family members or friends who worry deeply about it.
  3. Stay vigilant and raise the alarm. Don’t stop talking about damaging language or behavior.
  4. Resist the draw of mainstream media. Resist the words of people you admire who are asking you to do things and saying things that don’t make sense. For example, Oprah suggested Trump’s body language shows winning the election has humbled him. To that, I say a giant WHAT THE FUCK, and OH HELL NO. Have any of you ever seen a humble Trump? Even when he’s proclaiming how humble he is? I didn’t think so. Don’t let the people you admire most lead you down a dark and confusing path.
  5. Learn what gaslighting is. Begin to practice real techniques to combat it. Your sanity may literally depend on it.
  6. Lastly, find specific ways to keep life as happy as you can. I suggest exercise, sex and travel, if you can afford it. The steady stream of endorphins, along with constant exposure to different parts of the population will keep you balanced (no Fox News) and keep things in perspective.

At some point in the near future, I’m not gonna make every single blog post about how I’m feeling post-election. Right now, I’m still smack in the middle of stage two: anger.

They say you don’t necessarily reach all five stages in order or at all, but I haven’t come anywhere near bargaining. I can’t think of shit I could’ve or should’ve done that would have prevented this outcome. And I’m certainly not interested in compromising with Trump. I’m looking to resist his dangerous policies at every turn.

Right now, the only thing I can think of to support that he wants to do is improve infrastructure around the country. My main issue is concern for how he’s going to do it.

One of my best friends has this term I love to hear her use: pissed-tivity. It’s usually mentioned as a scale. For example, right now I have a high level of pissed-tivity for folks trying to normalize Trump.

I’m still going to live my life. I’m currently shopping for an external charger or perhaps a charging case for my phone because life. My husband and I are going to Paris for New Year’s Eve next month. We have to start planning activities to try and enjoy our vacation and perhaps plot becoming illegal immigrants somewhere in Northern Europe (I kid, I kid, we’d of course get tourist visas before we’ve worn out our legal welcome).

But trust that I’m maintaining a high level of pissed-tivity, even after I’ve moved past the anger stage of grief. It’s my best way to stay alert and keep motivated for this long fight we have ahead of us.

Now, please see below three amazing Twitter threads you really should check out.

This is from an Iranian American feminist. She knows what it’s like to live under a dictator. Heed her warning about how easy it is for the reality to become commonplace.

This guy is great, and if you love comic books and feminism, you’ll love him even more. This thread isn’t about politics. It’s about the place of black women in comics and media and their imperfect allies, or lack thereof.

Matt McGorry, who I love as an actor and activist, has a lot to say about how to be a better ally, He is a dedicated ally of Black Lives Matter and NoDAPL.

To sum up everything above: stay vigilant, keep living, prepare for the fight, actually fight when the time comes.