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I started writing this post before Wednesday. I considered removing everything and starting over, focusing on what happened this week, but decided not to. It's the weekend, a time to rest. That doesn't mean we stop fighting and learning and questioning. It just means we take time to recharge our batteries. Instead of doomscrolling, a bit of a palette cleanser to relax and prepare to keep pushing our politicians and pushing our beliefs come Monday.
I know I am not the only one who feels as though they haven't had any alone time with their partner in almost a year. Our kid is 12, past the age of an early bedtime giving us parents some alone time in the evening. While she is getting ready for bed, I am as well so once I tuck her in I can tuck myself in next to an already half-asleep spouse with the dog snoring between us.
While being photographed isn't my favorite part of being a blogger, photoshoots are like mini dates with my husband. Before the world shut down last March, we did photoshoots while our kid was at school. We'd drive into the city or a nearby town that had a beautiful location or cool mural. We'd get the work done, and then often finish at a cafe or coffee shop.
Now, photoshoots are the only time we are alone together. Sometimes our kid and/or dog comes, but usually, it's just the two of us. We don't take as many shots as we used to, and we use the same nearby locations over and over. There is no latte at the end unless we fire up the Nespresso machine once we're back home. But they still feel like dates.
Photoshoots are often the only time I am in our car, which now makes the previously everyday experience a treat. Sometimes we listen to the radio, more often I connect my phone while he tells me of some obscure album he came across on Spotify and I play it, having an opportunity to get a peek inside his head as he goes about in his lime green Powerbeats while cooking or riding the Peloton.
We scroll through images I saved on Instagram to give him an idea of what is trending and a brand's aesthetic, as he doesn't do social media. I share bits about these people I follow and work with, some I consider friends, some that feel like friends though they likely don't know I exist. It reminds me of how I'd come home from work when I was in Corporate America and recap my day over a glass of wine, him feeling as though he knew my colleagues through my stories.
After the shoot, we don't always go straight home. We often drive through our neighborhood to continue a good conversation, but often to just listen to music and be alone together.
I've had a lot of dreams lately about life before. Eating oysters in a dimly lit restaurant where I practically have to yell to be heard over the din. Drinking a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc at a bar in the middle of the afternoon just because I can. Movie theaters and music festivals and wandering through city markets taking in all the smells from the different stalls.
Sometimes these dreams are nightmares; I'm surrounded by people who aren't wearing masks, I'm alone, I'm vulnerable, I'm trapped. But often they are flashes of what I took for granted now seen as being so beautiful, so perfect. It's tempting to dwell in the what used to be.
But I'm working on dwelling in the beauty of now. I don't want to lose a year or more of my life because I am stuck in the past or fueled by anger about the present. I am treasuring what is good, and our little photoshoot dates? They may have been a blip on the radar a year ago, but now they're really good.
Our kid's old elementary school hosted a book sale every Labor Day weekend at our city's festival. The school would collect donated books from the community and sell them to fundraise for the school. The remaining books would be donated to Wonder Book, which is a really cool company. Come to find out Wonder Book has been doing really well during the ‘demic, helping to make those on Zoom and TV interviews look more cultured/learned/color-coordinated with their bookshelves. (Politico)
“Fashion, for me, has always been about the experience of moving through the world. How does it change when you’re dressing for yourself alone?” (The New Yorker)
Feminism has failed women. (New York Times)
Enjoli: I read this Medium piece by Kristi Coulter two years ago and continue to share it. It helped me see the drinking culture around me and how there were many on the other side of the pool that I didn't before notice. A good read if you're thinking of a Dry January or considering sobriety for this new year.
With the absence of touring, musical artists are getting into merch. (New York Times)
Jenna Lyons' J. Crew afterlife. (The New Yorker)
At the end of last year, a new neighbor turned me on to our city's buy nothing group. Already familiar with and using Freecycle, I didn't see the value and difference until I joined. Freecycle is transactional, buy nothing is community building. This article explains it nicely. (The Guardian)
“Dull is a word that should be torn to pieces to see what it is made of.” Learn more about Marion Barbara “Joe” Carstairs, the author of this quote and a not-dull person. (A Woman to Know)
Ever wanted to work with a personal stylist but you didn't have one near you? My friend Tanvi interviewed our mutual friend, Rosana Vollmerhausen of DC Style Factory regarding how she has pivoted her styling business to virtual. In it she shares her new virtual services and how she works with overseas clients. (Tanvii.com)
My heart goes out to the Raskin family; Jamie Raskin is a local politician. What a beautiful tribute to what seems to have been a beautiful person. (Medium)
And because I couldn't get away without a single article about what happened this week: They say this isn't America. For most of us, it is. (Bazaar)
Pretty much all I did over my end of year staycation was watch the screen. I didn't read much (though I made every effort), didn't go anywhere, packed up the puzzle I started in November and never finished, and just let myself veg out some. I'll only recap the non-holiday stuff I watched:
We are working through Season 5 of ‘Peaky Blinders'. LOVE this show, love the characters. K and I both feel so emotionally invested in them. I also love to see how the fashions, especially on the women, change over the timespan of this show. There are strong women characters of varying ages who grow in strength through the seasons, own their power, intelligence, caring, and sexuality which is always a pleasure to see. Peaky Blinders is available on Netflix.
After everyone (okay my sister, a couple of my friends, and a bunch of people on social media) said I HAAAAAAD to watch ‘Bridgerton'. Saying it was a mix of ‘Gossip Girl' and ‘Downton Abbey', K and I sat down for the first episode. Maybe we weren't in the right frame of mind, but we were both underwhelmed. It felt so incredibly cliche and young. Like, I'd love this show if I were 17 but not in my 40s. But after reading more tweets and seeing more IG Stories of people going gaga for ‘Bridgerton', I said what the hell and sat down to watch it without my husband.
I get the hype. This is purely enjoyable TV. Pretty people, pretty costumes, pretty locations, plenty of pretty steamy sex scenes. It is cliche if you've ready any Regency romance novels, but not so much that you're bored. It's a good series to binge on a rainy Saturday or to savor over several weeks. Bridgerton is also available on Netflix.
We saw the latest Croods movie, The Croods: A New Day on Christmas Day. My kid loved the original The Croods (hated the TV show), and as an almost 12-year-old said she felt nostalgia for the Croods family. It was a cute movie, well done, and engaging. I liked the character development and how the female characters banded together and saved the day (and the men who thought they knew best). This we rented via Xfinity OnDemand.
On Christmas Day we also saw Soul, on Disney+. This is the first Pixar movie with a Black lead. Even though many parts of this movie feel like Inside Out 2.0, this isn't a kid movie; my tween hardly kept interest; there isn't all the flash and color and slapstick comedy of similar movies like Inside Out. It was okay… but the more I thought about this movie the more it bothered me. This article from The Daily Beast sums up my feelings about this movie.
Since my kid liked the ‘Selena' series on Netflix, we decided to watch the movie Selena that stars Jennifer Lopez as the singer. I remember seeing this with K in the theaters, but hadn't seen it since. It was really interesting to compare to the series, which portrayed Selena as very sweet and sort of meek. JLo brought the vibrancy of Selena, and the film did a better job of showing actual passion between her and Chris, nuances in the family dynamic, and extended past Chris leaving the band which was super interesting to my kid who had done her research but loved seeing it acted out. Selena was a talented musician who left us too soon and I really love that young generations are being introduced to her and her music. We rented this on OnDemand though it's often shown on TV and you can possibly catch and record it.
Wanting some background noise, I went back to ‘Virgin River' on Netflix. Gosh I can't stand any of these characters except Preacher and I'm close to being annoyed with him too. I really need to stop, I'd be better watching re-runs of ‘Northern Exposure'.
I didn't realize that HBO Max was free for anyone who had HBO until last weekend. I signed in, downloaded the app, and same day watched Chelsea Handler's comedy special and WW84, the latest Wonder Woman movie.
I love Handler, I love her evolution and have watched her previous shows and specials, read her books, follow her on Instagram. Even so, Chelsea Handler's comedy special fell flat for me. The introspection wasn't deep enough, the humor not funny enough. I fell asleep in the middle of it. Maybe during my nap was the best part?
And WW84 was… well it was a superhero film and such films aren't receiving awards for a believable plot, brilliant script, incredible acting, or character development. This one surely won't. The fashion was fun (I want the dress Diana is wearing above, it would be so beautiful on a range of body shapes and sizes), seeing DC was fun (RIP Landmark Mall), though it was not a good representation of what DC really looked like in 1984.
I can't find what I read… it was maybe a Twitter thread, maybe an article but it broke down how many Black extras were used for this movie and had stills from the film and actual photos from 1984 in DC in the same location showing how the movie whitewashed our Nation's Capital, also known as Chocolate City. I've lived in the city or outside the city limits all my life and this was a glaring omission.
For Your Entertainment
Ya'll know by now if there's a new Harry Styles video I'm going to be sharing it in Weekend Reads. Not only did Harry drop a new video on New Year's Day, but his video co-star is Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the message of the song and its lyrics are a perfect tone for a new year:
BTW, if you're into celebrity couples, Mr. Styles and Ms. Wilde seem to be an item and this silly piece from Vogue encompasses some of the feelings my friends and I had about it.
I saw Chelsea live a couple of years ago and was also disappointed. I’ve enjoyed her humor for years (along with her former late night talk show) and was really excited and she just fell flat to me. I wouldn’t pay to see her again.
Agree on WW1984 as well. The first move was much better!
I am also having the “nobody is wearing a mask!” and “I forgot my mask!” nightmares. And I’m watching Bridgerton one episode a week so I can savor it more. It picked up for me once the adult Mamas started scheming.
Feeling ALL of the Harry Styles/Olivia Wilde feels! Fun and relatable Vogue article, thanks for sharing!
Linda B says
As usual, you are spot on. . . I appreciated the break from doomscrolling. . . But really loved the piece on how this really is our America. As a country, wee arr not better than what happened on Wednesday. We MUST keep engaging in our personal and communal work to make it better. I have to believe in change being possible, if we do the work, or I will fall into despair.
Speaking of despair, my brother shared the piece by Jamie Raskin with my sister and me a few days ago. We are working on an obituary for our father, an 87 year old who died of Covid 16 days ago, which is of course very sad for us but not like this tragic story. How I wept when I read of the loss of this amazing young man. I wondered if his battle with such deep depression that seemed to have arisen out of nowhere in his 20’s was perhaps the kind that is congenital mental illness. Bipolar Disorder runs through part of my extended family; several of my first cousins have the variant that is only the one pole, deep depression. So hard, and insidious. I only share this because there is so much judgement of people who suffer from mental illness, no matter what the cause. Depression, no matter what the cause, is real, and can be very hard to treat. My heart goes out to the Raskin family.
Last but not least, I want to mention how it was nice to hear about your photo shoot dates!
Today, I plan to savor this Weekend Reads because it’s been a long week. Your thoughts always connect with me & I’m glad you decided to go ahead & post today—thank you. Time alone with a spouse—it’s really different when the kid is a teen & stays up later than the parents! Like you, we are finding ways to make it all work, even if it’s something as simple as riding together to grab takeout or make a quick run to Trader Joe’s. The article on drinking—I remember your sharing it in the past but was glad to read it again. I don’t drink, never have. I don’t chastise those who do, yet I can’t count the # of times I’ve been questioned about why I don’t (not in a nice way), or I’ve been chastised for “not” drinking. The Jenna Lyons interview was so interesting. Had no idea about her health problems and they certainly seem very challenging, to say the least. Reading about the J Crew/Obama connection was great! I’ll probably check out her show now. Now I’m off to read more of your links!
Ann B. says
Thank you for re-posting the ‘Enjoli’ article. I am old enough that when I saw the title, I started signing the tune from the perfume commercial in my head. This states so well the “wine culture” I see among my women friends in my little part of the world. I just went through a tough time at work, where I ended up quitting my job to save my mental and physical health. I am proud to say that I resisted the temptation to drown my sorrows as society and social media tells me.