These days my focus is on work, and mostly my lack thereof. I think of my situation as juggling three categories that I could be placed in. The first could be unemployed, the second would be part-time employed, and the third is working as a freelancer.
Growing up, I always saw this silver pocket watch at my grandparents’ house. Sitting in a small glass case on display on a side table in their living room. When I was 13-years old, they passed away and the watch came to sit on a shelf in our house. Though it was dented in the back, it still worked. My Dad didn’t know much about it, except that he believed it had belonged to his father’s grandfather. He didn’t remember his name. He remembered hearing somewhere that the dent came to be after it was stepped on by a horse, but he wasn’t sure where he had heard that or even if it was true. It sat on the shelf, largely ignored. A family heirloom that didn’t really have much meaning to us because its story had been lost over time.
Gird your bananas. The greatest show on the planet, Arrested Development, is coming back tonight on Netflix.
Are you ready? You don’t want to be left holding the teabag! Maybe even worse – you don’t want to prematurely shoot your wad by trying to download the episodes before the right time (12:01 AM PST and 3:01 AM EST).
Stay cool. Here’s what you can do to prepare yourself in just 15 easy steps – one step for each new episode.
1. Turn off whatever other television shows or movies you might be watching. I don’t care if it’s Boyfights, Girls with Low Self-Esteem, Les Cousins Dangereaux, Scandalmakers, Sugarfoot, or Caged Wisdom. Quality programming all, but you need to give your undivided attention to the great illusion about to unfold before your eyes.
And by illusion, I mean a trick in a magic show. And by trick, I mean a prostitute. And by prostitute, I mean your mother.
Today’s guest blogger is Heather Hughes, a Miami-native who has accidentally resided in Boston for her entire adult life. She mostly writes poetry, practices and teaches yoga, and writes ridiculously long resolution lists. Her blogging happens at Still on the Journey of Calling Myself Home.
I’ve been on a news media black out for the past couple of weeks (with the exception of all the news headlines fit to share on my Facebook feed, which fortunately involves a high cute animal content). My brain blew every wobbly gasket dealing with the events and aftermath of the Boston Marathon. I’m still having a hard time processing news coming out of Guatemala or Oklahoma; my heart hurts. The day after we sheltered-in-place, all I wanted was to walk my city’s streets and drown out the noise of tv reporters with just the regular Saturday Back Bay bustle. The noise was a curative; the silence imposed by the quarantined crime zone a stifling counterpoint. I did not want that silence. I wanted the chaos of the Boylston Trader Joe’s, the grinding of dark clad skateboarders taking advantage of the last days of the empty fountain, the Duck Boat tourists quacking at pedestrians. Silence as erasure. Silence as tidal wave.
Flash forward. Over the first weekend of May, I attended the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, including a panel discussion with Eduardo Corral, Sharon Olds, Martha Collins, and Jill McDonough (who are all fabulous – go read their books!) on the subject of taboo. The poems and conversations that were touched on in this brief hour centered largely on questions of race, sex, immigration, and the death penalty. During the Q&A, someone asked about words that the writers may have avoided and why.
My concern with this deep question goes beyond notions of social- or self-censorship or the value in giving voice to what is taboo in a particular culture. Continue reading »
A few weeks ago, I read the much discussed Publishers Weekly’s interview with Claire Messud about her new novel, The Woman Upstairs. Because I loved The Emperor’s Children and want to read the new book, I was really curious about what she’d say, and I was thrilled when she responded to the particularly irritating question of “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora [her protagonist], would you?” with the sharp response, “For heaven’s sake, what kind of a question is that?” followed by an evisceration of said question. Alone in my office, I almost stood up and cheered, but I didn’t want to scare my rabbit. So instead I mentally high-fived Erin and emailed her the link. (I’m sure she mentally high-fived me back.)
Then today I came across Jennifer Weiner’s response to this interview on Slate, called I Like Likeable Characters. It takes not just Messud but also novelist Meg Wolitzer and several others to task for their statements about the relative importance of likeability in main characters. Basically, Weiner’s point seems to be that in saying that a protagonist doesn’t have to be likeable, these women are doing other female writers a disservice because they may like writing – and reading – about likeable women and men.
To say that I found her entire premise confusing is an understatement. Continue reading »
For my Dad’s birthday in February, we all pitched in and got him National Geographic’s “Geno 2.0 – Genographic Project Participation and DNA Ancestry Kit.” For $200 USD, you get a Geno ID number and a couple of cheek swabs in the mail. My Dad swabbed his cheeks, plopped them in the prepackaged return envelope and stuck it back in the mail. He then went to the Geno 2.0 website and logged in with his ID number. That is where the results would end up once they lab had analyzed his DNA.
Our family history is deeply rooted in Chicago. We know that one set of my father’s great-grandparents, Joseph and Christina, were both born in Chicago in 1855 and 1864 respectively. We know that another of his great-grandfathers, Charles, was born in Germany in 1849 and came to Chicago in 1872 on the S.S. Baltimore when he was 23 years old. (I found out this info, including the name and photos of the actual ship, on Ancestry.com, something I highly recommend for anyone interested in tracing their family tree). So we expected to see this reflected in the DNA testing at some point. Continue reading »
In a little over a week I will be hitting my mid-thirties. This for some reason scares the bejesus out of me. When I was a kid, I thought by now my friends and I would all have our shit together. We would all have 2.5 children and a white picket fence.
Today’s guest blogger is Carly Lockman, a Board certified holistic health coach, wife and parent living in Chicago. She enjoys impossible vintage apartments and Woody Allen. You can find her and her fantastic insight at www.carlylockman.com.
I’ve been reading this book on French parenting, Bringing Up Bébé. In it author Pamela Druckerman investigates why French children are impeccably behaved and how French parents manage to be good parents while remaining somewhat uncompromising of adult pleasures. You know, like drinking coffee while it’s still warm. Or having a full conversation with another adult. Continue reading »
A few weeks ago, I got a Groupon for $65 full leg wax and pedicure at a downtown spa. I could care less about the pedicure, but full leg wax for $65? I’m about it. I finally got around to making an appointment for last Monday. The spa is of course over the top beautiful and is decorated with lots of wood paneling and stones in bowls, also made of wood, and smells like your college dorm when they’d try to cover up the weed smell with overpowering incense. They also had a live parrot in a wooden cage. I approached the parrot carefully, as I do all animals, both out of respect for its autonomy of being and to avoid getting my damn finger bit off. He or she gave me the eye and pulled away at my approach. The little thing was shaking. I do not like birds kept in cages for our pleasure. But I digress.
So the actual waxing experience could be an entire blog post on its own, as I decided to throw in a Brazilian to the full leg (as long as I’m there, let’s just giterdone). I get Brazilians all the time, but let’s just say that this one was unique, as it had Veronica the esthetician saying several times throughout the experience, “I am sooo sorry. Oh my god. In my five years of doing this I have never had this happen before!” But I’m here now to focus on the pedicure. Continue reading »
A., I, and some friends headed over to the Steampunk Festival in Waltham this past weekend. I am not going to lie, my goal was to gawk. I am pretty open-minded when it comes to people’s preferences, but for some reason the idea of walking around with a bunch of gears attached to your head is a bit bewildering to me.
That being said, I learned some valuable lessons along the way and was happy to see so many people out and about embracing their true selves.