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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.