Weekend Reads #265

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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge- The Dance, 1890
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge- The Dance, 1890

Weekend Reads is a bit shorter because I am dealing with the unexpected death of my mom. I am so lucky to have this job which gives me the ability to take time off. I know it will affect my income, but I have spent almost two decades building this site so if I am away from it for a bit, it will still make enough money to cover the basics. And that's good to have time to deal with her estate, but also because it's hard to write right about now.

My mom wasn't stupid, she knew death was inevitable, and at 80, even though she was in good health, she knew it was going to happen sooner rather than later. She dealt with the death of our dad in 1998 as well as the passing of her parents, her siblings, and was there for the passing of my husband's parents so she tried to plan as well as possible to make this experience for us as easy as can be.

But even if someone has their end-of-life ducks in a row, even if they don't have much, it's still a LOT of work, and can easily take up to a year and cost a lot of money. I am so glad to have my sister. She and I live in the same community, as did our mom so it's making it easier to deal with her house, get together to plan, make calls and appointments. She has certain strengths, I the other and we're trying to balance it all out.

Writing here can be an escape and a distraction but I don't always have the strength or time. Because life still goes on. There are homecoming dances and vet appointments and home repairs. I am on my city's Board of Elections and we have a city council/mayoral race coming up next week and are implementing all new technology and systems for it. And there needs to be some time for… nothing. And I've been seeking that.

Weekend Reads

I am not going to share my thoughts on what is happening right now over in Israel and Gaza with Hamas because I am not an expert and there are enough armchair quarterbacks out there with social media platforms spewing their bad takes, often with photos that are horrific, inappropriate, and sometimes not even representative of that part of the country, this year, or even reality. I just encourage you to get your information beyond social media, do the research, and check on your friends who have friends, relatives, and ancestry over there.

National Emergency Alert Test Outs Amish Men as Smartphone Owners, Gets Them Shunned (My Modern Met)

It is easy to forget how to talk to a person, because you’re not talking to a person: you’re Replying. (Dirt)

Your sweaters are garbage (The Atlantic, which sadly has a paywall and doesn't offer gift links but community member Bliss shared a summary in the Wardrobe Oxygen Community)

Addictive, absurdly cheap and controversial: the rise of China’s Temu app. (The Guardian)

How to be happy for your friend, even if you're a little jealous. (Self)

Chicago woman, 104, skydives from plane, aiming for record as the world’s oldest skydiver. (AP)

Selma Blair and Isaac Mizrahi Debut Accessible Fashion Collection (People)

If right now you are feeling hopeless, you're not alone. There is so much going on right now, sad and horrific and confusing and overwhelming. You may not know what to say, what to do, where to donate. May I suggest, if you are able to, donating blood? There is a national blood and platelet shortage. All types are needed, though type O and platelets are what is most needed. The Red Cross states donors can still give blood or platelets after receiving a flu vaccine, so long as they are feeling healthy and well on the day of their donation. Likewise, there is no deferral or wait time for those receiving the updated COVID-19 vaccine.  

A blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. 

To encourage more blood and platelet donations, the Red Cross is offering new incentives to donors over the next month. All who come to give Oct. 21-Nov. 9 will receive a $10 gift card by email to a restaurant merchant of their choice to enjoy lunch on the Red Cross. They’ll also be automatically entered to win a $5,000 gift card. There will be three lucky winners – one chosen at random each week. Details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Lunch. To make an appointment, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 


So you know by now I've been sucked into the Real Housewives franchise with RHONY. I hate the cattiness and attempt to create drama, especially within marriages and relationships, but I still enjoy it and find it less catty and drama-filled than the other versions. But one show franchise I swore I would NEVER get into was the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise.

Did anyone else see the series, UnREAL? Originally on Lifetime starring Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer, it went behind the scenes of a show like The Bachelor. And if you thought such shows were BS catty drama and all sorts of patriarchal crap, UnREAL would confirm it and make you even more uninterested in supporting such a show. So when I heard about The Golden Bachelor, a version of the show with a 72-year-old guy looking for love from women who are all 60+, I still wasn't going to watch it. I didn't want to see folks of any age be manipulated into catty fights, jealousy, and competition.

the golden bachelor series poster

And then I saw folks I know, whose tastes and ethics align with mine raving about The Golden Bachelor. I needed some lighthearted TV, and I was feeling sad about how my mom's boyfriend is the one who found her because they had a routine of texting each other each morning and night to ensure they were alive and okay. That when cleaning up her house I found numbers for his kids in case she had to contact them. And I reviews said it was lovely and heartwarming and magical.

the contestants on season 1 of the golden bachelor

I watched the first two episodes in one night and was entranced. This was like a fantasy come to life. The dates were amazing, the women were kind to one another, the bachelor was handsome but also fun and sweet and thoughtful and sensitive. Even the cars he drove were amazing (though one was seriously problematic and had me terrified for his drive). Anything that felt corny, I ended up seeing the purpose.

first date the golden bachelor

For example, on one date they went to one of these diners trying to replicate one from the '50s. And suddenly the waitresses start dancing, and then the other customers start dancing. And it was over the top ridiculous but because it was so ridiculous and over the top, the couple on the date could dance and no one would be judging if they were out of rhythm or dancing in a dated or corny way. I thought what a way to let them be free even with cameras on them. Super smart.

the golden bachelor daytime date

Then this week's The Golden Bachelor episode disappointed me like Sai on RHONY trying to stir up drama in Jessyl's marriage. I truly think shows like this can be entertaining without manufactured drama. And this week on both shows I felt like some producer like Shiri Appleby's character on UnREAL was whispering in contestants' ears to make something out of nothing.

But the first two episodes? Have your Kleenex ready. Curl up in bed or on the couch, have a cup of tea or wine, and see grown-ass folks being seen as sexy and smart and captivating in really dreamy situations. I get the hype, and I hope this week was just a fluke.

For Your Entertainment

The day after my mom died, we had tickets as a family to attend the All Things Go festival. We didn't go, and I am totally okay with missing it. The main person I wanted to see was Maggie Rogers. I have been a fan of hers for a long while and have yet to see her live. A fellow Marylander (Easton), Rogers gained fame after sharing her song, “Alaska” with Pharrell during a masterclass at NYU. If you've never seen it, it's pretty lovely to see the true talent and true reaction.

That was seven years ago. Since then, Maggie Rogers has released two independent albums and two highly successful studio albums. I encourage you to check her out if you have yet to hear of her. And if you have, why not take another listen. I highly recommend listening to Heard It in a Past Life from beginning to end while cooking, cleaning, showering, or taking a drive.

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. So sorry for the loss of your mom. I lost both my mother-in-law (who lived with us) and my mom this year, and am still reeling. I miss them both. And yes, handling the estate of a parent is a lot. From what I’ve seen here and on IG, you and your sister seem to be handling everything as well as you can, and offering each other support. My thoughts are with you during this challenging time. I very much appreciate the work you do here on WO, and wish you all the best.

  2. I googled the garbage sweaters article (not on facebook either) and found it readable elsewhere (not sure if it was the article in totality but enough for key points). I found it interesting that they talked not only about the finished clothing but also the yarns that are sold to those who knit their own stuff. I taught myself how to crochet a few years ago bc i couldn’t find certain things i wanted in stores (including quality), and then ran into somewhat the same issues with yarn. Ah, irony!

    All the love and wisdom on your grief journey, Alison. <3

  3. Just sending sympathy on the loss of your mom. It will take you awhile, a long while probably while you deal with things and reflect. Take your time as you will need it. It’s time well spent. Be kind to yourself.

  4. Deepest sympathies to you, your sister and your families.

    And thank you for everything you wrote above.

    I truly appreciate your suggesting that we check on friends and friends who have friends and/or relatives at this time.
    Many of us are reaching out to these people. Equally, we feel quite alone when others are not checking in on us.

  5. Deepest sympathy for the loss of your Mom. Glad that you shared many fun times together.:) may those memories sustain you and bring you comfort. You are in your readers thoughts!

  6. I am so sorry for your loss, Alison. Losing one’s mother is truly hard—especially when your relationship with her has been close, or mostly close, but also if that relationship has been frayed. I also know from experience that the practical logistics when one’s parents die are not easy. Be gentle with yourself as much as you can. Having a sister close at hand to go through this emotional odyssey and all the practical logistics is a blessing. Give yourself as much time as you need—your WO community will understand and be happy when you can return to posting.

  7. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Everything else I try to write sounds like a platitude so I will just say that none of it is easy and you have my sympathies. Take care of yourself.

  8. I’m am so deeply sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom.
    You are in my thoughts as you navigate this difficult time.

  9. I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I’ve been a reader for at least 16 years and it’s been clear she was a lovely, loving person. Sending you love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. Take your time to deal with her death and all the complicated details.

  11. I’m continuing to think of you & your family as you grieve your mom. Thank you for sharing with us what you want to share and for talking about how you need time to deal with the various aspects of this situation. It saddens me that most of us are not really allowed time to grieve loved ones & it’s often an isolating experience. My mother-in-law has been gone for over 20 years. My husband & his siblings had 1 week to plan a funeral and empty out her rental home. It was sad, & exhausting. I still feel sad thinking about it all. I’m sharing this because I hope you’ll continue to be kind to yourself and move at a pace that works for you.

  12. Take your time. Grief is not linear. My heart goes out to you and your family for the loss of your mom. I have enjoyed reading about your family outings and seeing pictures when you included your mom. You always look like you were enjoying each other’s company. She left you such a gift of getting her affairs in order. Yet, there is the grief and bittersweet memories of handling all her belongings and end of life logistics. Glad you and your sister have each other for support.

  13. My sympathy on the passing of your mother. I found when I lost my parents (one year apart on the same day) that my ‘place’ in the world shifted. How I saw it and moved through it, well, we know it’s never the same. Death is consuming and there will always be something to attend to. I hope you can and will take time to sit with the ‘stillness’ of it as you move through your grief to a place of peace.

    I’ve been a reader and a fan for over 15 yrs. Thank you for what you offer and share; you are a vibrant, strong and engaging woman, which is the perfect legacy to your Mom.

  14. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Every death of a loved one is difficult, but sudden losses are so hard, and add layers to grief and grieving. My thoughts are with you, your sister, and the rest of your family.

  15. Darling Alison, so very sad to hear about the sudden passing of your mom. Please know you and your sweet family are in my thoughts.

  16. So very sorry on your mom’s passing. It’s always hard to lose those we love no matter the age. I personally believe we never get over it (the grief/loss) – we just learn how to live with it. Much love and hugs to you and your family. ❤️

  17. Hugs on the loss of your mom. My mom was older and in poor health when she died, and it still took me almost a year to get my energy back. I hope your grief journey is as easy as possible under the circumstances. Be kind to yourself!

  18. Thank you for taking the time to put together the Weekend Reads, which are just as interesting, wide-ranging, and enjoyable as ever. Maggie Rogers and Pharrell — wow!

  19. So sorry to learn of your mothers passing. Sending warm hugs to you at this fragile time. Please be kind to yourself as you go through this journey. You are not alone.

  20. No matter how old we are we are never too old to need our mothers. I’m sorry for your loss now but also in the future when you think of little things you want to ask her, show her or share with her.
    Share all the random stuff with your daughter whenever they pop into your head!
    Take care of yourself and take help from others.

  21. Alison , so sorry to hear about your mom. There is never a good time but I’m glad you have your sister to help you deal with all the things that follow.

  22. Sending hugs to you and your family. I’m so sorry about your mom and I hope all your good memories bring you some comfort.

    My father passed away in 2018 at age 87 and my mom followed in 2019 at age 86. The only thing they had done was have a will. Everything fell on me as the oldest sibling and yes, it was very stressful. I really see my relationships with the others in my family in a different light – they didn’t do much of anything but had a lot to say. I’m positive this won’t happen with you and your sister. As you said, you have complementary strengths and you can work together.

    PS – I’m a registered voter and I do vote. I know you said that was very important to your mom.

  23. Thank you for talking openly about coming to this space and about what you are going through. My mom is 81, had a stroke in June, and is still not very willing to share with her daughters her wishes and plans. It is the ultimate act of love for your children to have your ducks in a row as much as possible. I am also so glad you have your sister.
    Do what feels right in this space. That may change daily.
    I also agree about how heartwarming The Golden Bachelor is, but I have not watched the third episode. The ageism in our country is real and I hope this is helping the public to see that age is just a number.
    Thinking of you.

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