Weekend Reads #129

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a woman dressed as the cowardly lion, young girl dressed as Dorothy Gale, man dressed as a scarecrow holding onto the leash of a small dog
what a difference a year makes…

This has been a year of saying things are fine. So much happening, it's hard to dwell. It's fine, it's fine, we're fine. And we are fine. We're healthy, we're safe, the business had a rough couple of months in the spring but is now back to 2019 numbers, we're fine. And then my kid asked to see photos of our Halloween costumes from previous years and it was such a stark reminder of how things are not fine. This isn't fine. We're not fine.

My kid has an outdoor socially distant event with her Girl Scout troop where she can wear a costume and carve a pumpkin and have fun with friends, but there's no Trick or Treating. We're having over my sister (we're a “quaranteam” with her and my mom) to watch a Halloween movie instead. And we're so lucky to have even those events. So lucky to have a kid of an age where she was starting to feel aged out of Trick or Treating and an age where she understands how important it is to wear a mask and be distanced from friends to keep them and herself safe. But this isn't fine.

If you haven't voted, please vote. And please vote so we can head back to fine, because these past four years on top of the ‘demic and all the issues that we already had as a country is just too much. Just like wearing a mask, don't vote for yourself, vote for others. Because that's the only way we'll head into a fine direction.

Weekend Reads

Beauty brands were quick to tout diversity during summer protests, but the commitment was short-lived. (Fast Company)

Sure, reality TV may feel like a waste of time, but according to these experts, this guilty pleasure can have valuable benefits, too. (Shondaland)

I read this after hearing one of my daughter's teachers mention she is supposed to have 31 kids in the class but has never had more than 20 ever attend at once and several kids have never attended the entire semester. In shelters without Wi-Fi, homeless kids can’t even get online for class. (The Cut)

An interesting journey for a friend of a friend of mine: His prized bass vanished 27 years ago. DC musicians raised money to buy it back. (Washingtonian)

America's unregulated fertility industry offers patients few protections. (Vice)

I saw this article first on Facebook, and shared it on Twitter. I saw many sharing it, justifying the reopening of schools, bars, and restaurants. I think those people are missing critical parts of the article. Masks must be consistently worn, which is utterly impossible if you are drinking or eating. And classrooms can only be occupied for an hour at a time and then aired out – where do the students go during that time, into the hallway? How do they get outside and what do they do in inclement weather? Anyway, if you haven't seen it, it's quite interesting. (El País)

Are you there God? It's me, menopause. (Glamour)

The tempting nostalgia of '90s-era perfume. (Vogue)

How conspiracy theorists co-opted #SavetheChildren to lure suburban moms into Qanon. (Elle)

Meet Violet Sky, the 19-year-old living like it’s 1985. (Tue/Night)

How are audiences adapting to the age of virtual theater? (New Yorker)

What was fun? (Vox)

My friend Tashira wrote a powerful piece about why she chose not to wear a wig when she went through chemotherapy. (Politics & Fashion)

‘Very Nice!': Kazakhstan, Outraged No More, Embraces Borat In New Slogan. (NPR)

If you loved the Demi Lovato song I shared last weekend, you may enjoy this. (Rolling Stone)

I don't usually include two videos into one Weekend Read but by golly, I could NOT not share this one! It's not the greatest ‘Time Warp' in the world, this is just a tribute. Enjoy, and if you haven't already, PLEASE VOTE!


I am still reading So You Want to Talk About Race and it's really good. If you made an attempt to read some of the bestsellers about being anti-racist this summer but didn't finish them, try this book. It's very clear, upfront, and conversational with great ideas on how to redirect conversations, reply back to comments, and question how you see things.

These days it's important to find pleasure in the little things, and one thing my family and I are loving is watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy together. My husband and I both were raised in families that watched both, and like our kid we as children far preferred Wheel to Jeopardy but we watched both and as we got older, appreciated Jeopardy. We turn on the TV a little before 7pm (the time Wheel comes on where we live) and pause it so we can watch it when we're free or after dinner or whatever and be able to fast-forward through commercials.

The show This is Us is back and the season's two-hour premiere definitely brought on the waterworks. This show always makes me cry, but it's nice to have something to give you permission for tears and I've been watching since the first season. I appreciated how they incorporated both BLM and the ‘demic into the script this season. And wow that plot twist at the end took me by surprise!

For Your Entertainment

I may not have enjoyed The Idea of You, a novel which is a bit of fan fiction envisioning a 40-something dating Harry Styles, but I do enjoy Harry Styles. He's talented and creative and stylish and unique and yes, utterly gorgeous. And he came out with new video this week so of COURSE, I had to share! 

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. The Baltimore Sun pops up in my feed sometimes, if you are a corna-virus statistics enthusaist they have good coverage of the Hopkins web site, and there was an article about Baltimore starting up in-person school for certain groups. Children who had attended less school less than 20% of the time were one of the categories. That gave me pause, a child who has shown up less than 20% of the time really isn’t going at all.

    On the advice of my hair stylist, I watched “Hocus Pocus” for Halloween. I’m not sure if I liked it better than my old stand-by Ghostbusters, but it was entertaining.

  2. So happy to see Jack and friends taking on the work of my fellow countryman, the fabulous Richard O’Brien, and making it “It’s just a jump to the left, and not a step to the right”! Love it! Can’t stop playing it! Best wishes from New Zealand, Joanne

  3. Alison, your friend’s piece about not wearing a wig was very timely for me personally. In 12 days, I’m scheduled to have my head shaved in prep for chemo for a stem cell transplant. The prospect of losing my hair is so hard for me. It feels like I will be wearing my diagnosis in full view. I want to fight my cancer without being viewed as a victim. I have already picked out a wig and several chemo caps. While I can’t see myself going out bald, the article as well as the video clip from Congresswoman Pressley helped me see a different perspective. Thank you for always posting poignant, informative articles.

    1. Many blessings to as you start this new journey in your life. I have just gone through a series of hospitalizations myself, due to cancer. I had already been suffering with Alopecia, so all the anesthesia only made it worse. I still have hair, but there are patches that will not grow back. My hairline has moved far back on my head, kinda like a man going bald. I will continue to nourish it and try to keep what I have. I too wear wigs, and wish I had the courage to shave it all off, but I do not. It was encouraging seeing the clip of Congresswoman Pressley. Stay strong and stay focused, I will keep you in my prayers. Alison does a great service in keeping her followers interested and informed. Stay safe and God bless.

    2. Best of luck with your transplant Judy. I wish you ever success. 18 months ago my 40 year old sister was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. Her hair nearly reached her bum. She very, very reluctantly cut it to just below her shoulders so her husband could help wash her hair. She considered that very short. Her chemo didn’t cause hair loss, but the radiation treatment did. On one side of her head and smack dab on top. Like bangs area and further back. She refused to cut or shave her remaining hair. Wore caps. And when it grew in, she rocked a lady mullet for months (admittedly she looked insane and that’s said with love). She only cut it short this summer when it was getting too wispy, but the regrowth was nice and thick. Her commitment to what was comfortable for her, what she needed to do to be able to deal outwardly with her illness and not follow society’s expectations of what she should do was inspiring. I wish you every success and don’t let others’ perspectives change you. May you radiate your hope and strength.

    3. Hello…I completed chemotherapy for breast cancer on May 1. While I applaud your courage, I chose a different path. I used the cold-cap method and, thankfully, kept 90% – 95% of my hair (on my head). Cold-capping involves literally freezing your scalp right before and for a period of time after chemotherapy. The thinking is that the frozen hair follicles are unaffected by the chemo drugs. This approach is not for everyone and people definitely have varying levels of success, but it might be worth researching a bit to see if it is something that might interest you or others. I am proof that it can work.

      1. Christina,
        Thank you for sharing your information. I have heard about it but did not pursue it because I was told it was quite painful. Did you find that to be true? Also, can you share which cold-cap method you used, thank you in advance.

        1. It is more uncomfortable rather than painful. The good news is that your scalp goes numb about 10-15 minutes into the capping but you are cold (your whole body, at least in my case) the whole time. It was tolerable and worth it in my opinion. I used Dignicap. Also good to know is that my insurance did not cover it although I am told that some insurance companies do. And finally, since the hair follicles are not damaged (even if you do lose hair while capping) I have heard that regrowth happens much quicker. Again, all situations are different. I would at least research what the options are in your area. Good luck!!

  4. Dang those Pearsons… we love This is Us. But I fear the next few seasons will be a tough watch. We lost my mother-in-law to Alzheimer’s in July. We rarely get through an episode without some tears.

  5. >>An interesting journey for a friend of a friend of mine: His prized bass vanished 27 years ago. DC musicians raised money to buy it back.

    I hope this makes you laugh — I first read this as his prized fish vanished and some musicians got together to buy it back. A fish? A prized fish? Maybe stuffed? Hanging on a wall in DC? Maybe at a pawn shop? Hahaha!

    1. I did too! I was picturing a lost Billy Bass!

      Wow, that Covid transmission article – I definitely won’t be going to a bar anytime soon I will be sharing this with friends. Thank you.

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