Power lesbian eyewear, mystery glitter buyer, Parker Posey, and Black Friday shower gel
|Dec 3|| 1|
Last week, I made my 49th loan on Kiva to a woman in Pittsburgh who, after a career in hospice care, is starting a construction company in the US. That loan came from an original investment of $100 I made in 2007. Since then, I’ve loaned that exact same money — as soon as it is repaid, it goes right back out — to 49 women in 43 countries around the world. All but one has repaid the loan in full. I plan to keep sending out those loans as long as I can.
Since it is Giving Tuesday, consider a loan that can change someone’s life … or 49 someones! Kiva is also matching all donations today!
Last time, I shared one of two lists of people’s names (recovering) HR professionals never forget. This is a small sampling of the other list:
the one whose adult child died by suicide after years of attempts and all the help their parents could find/afford
the one who came to talk to me before their cancer, now spread to their brain, made it difficult to comprehend things (and afterwards watching them leave my office, unable to walk in a straight line down the hallway)
the one who had been called the N word
the one whose bipolar medication adjustments landed them in the hospital around the same time every year
the ones who thought someone was trying to kill them (I had nine of those. NINE.)
the one who, as an only child, was taking care of two ailing parents in two different states and trying to balance the demands of their job while managing caregiving from a distance
the one whose cancer advanced to the point of needing an oxygen tank at work
the one who made me cry after I delivered the news of their layoff (I delivered maybe hundreds of these messages, but this particular one took me out)
the one who excitedly told me about their surgery that was going to alleviate the pain they had been in for so long and then getting the news that they died unexpectedly from a complication days later
the one who went to rehab for the third time
the one who was hit by a car and suffered ongoing cognitive impairment that impacted their highly specialized and very difficult work
I share this with you because these are the people you work with (or viciously fight with online.) Next time you are feeling annoyed by your colleague/neighbor, take a breath. No, take two. Life is freaking hard.
*This does not apply to anyone who is squarely on the list from last time (no pausing required, just run!)
“How to Move Abroad.” Some basics in case you are looking for a backup plan.
“How Sophia Chang Became the Baddest Bitch in the Room.” “Sophia Chang wears many hats, and not just her trademark Gucci leather fedora: NYC hip-hop royalty, managerial superwoman, Kung Fu expert, French literature scholar, first-gen Korean-Canadian industry trailblazer, mother, mentor, and most recently, author.”
“Ralph Nader is Opening Up About His Regrets.” As someone who still drinks regularly out of her Gore 2000 coffee mug, I find him annoyingly clueless.
“How the Alaskan Wilderness Shaped the Salmon Sisters.” “When you spend your childhood working alongside commercial fishermen in one of the world’s most isolated and challenging environments, you learn that personal success is inextricably linked with that of your community, both human and wild.”
One of the first things I learned after we moved all the way out here is that you have to go up-Cape (the direction of the bridge for those of you not familiar with Cape lingo) for A LOT of things. Most of my doctors, and, more importantly, my Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers from Trader Joe’s are in Hyannis — a good hour plus, depending on the season, away.
I’m a maximizer, which means I look for ways to have the best experience in the most efficient and least stress-producing way. I like this about me, but I also know it can be hard for other people. The Super Mr. often complains after I’ve made him move to the third pool chair in an hour after I’ve figured out The. Best. Spot. But I also plan really kick ass vacations that are reasonably priced.
That means I maximize every trip up Cape. Stephen goes to stay with the moms (ever since our beloved Pet Resort closed in May.) I top off my gas tank and check that my tires are filled to the recommended capacity. I pack ice packs and cooler bags (those quinoa burgers need to stay frozen during the several hour meandering return trip), hiking shoes, my always ready backpack, and tick socks (in case I want to stop off to explore), my back support pillow and sturdy flops (for pedicures), my ice-filled Yeti water bottle, and plastic containers for the inevitable leftover onion rings I will attempt to consume along the way.
This year I started taking route 6A, Old King’s Highway, instead of the direct, high-volume route 6. Speed limits on 6A are from 30-45 mph and the road winds through the Capiest of Cape towns. It takes longer, you get stuck behind slower-than-me vehicles, but it is BEAUTIFUL!
I’ve made an adventure of every trip. I’ve tried almost every bakery from here to Hyannis, stopped frequently at honor system roadside stands and cute local shops, checked out new stretches of the coast, eaten every fried fish and onion ring combo I could find, and hunted down the kitschy leftovers of a previous Cape era. It has been a DREAM!
A special bonus just for you, my newsletter friends: I just made my super secret Tripline map of over 130 Cape places I’ve visited (and a few yet-to-be-experienced sites) public! You can check it out here!
Blue tortoise. This time I went for a dash of dainty blue in my tortoiseshell glasses. I think they are way more me going into 2020 with panache than my usual “power lesbian killer eyewear.”
Appreciation Kits. The perfect little cards to send to people who have inspired you in your life. “I think of you often and I want you to know …” Who would you send yours to?
Are you watching/reading/listening to …? Booksmart (Hulu.) Noah Galvin is 100% my favorite in this movie! I was HOWLING when he sang Alanis Morrisette. HOWL-ING!! // Any One Of Us (HBO.) Most of the documentary follows a mountain biker who suffered a spinal cord injury, but woven throughout are the compelling stories of others who have suffered similar injuries. Prepare to feel the full range of emotions. // The Report (Amazon) with a chaser of Vice (Hulu.) Boy, did I need this double header of all things horrible in the George W years to remind me that we did not live in an idyllic world pre-Poobah. (Although it was almost impossible not to hear Kylo Ren in the first one and Batman in the second.)
Endless Thread’s “Glitter Bomb” podcast. Remember that New York Times article about glitter? “People have obsessed over identifying the mysterious industry buying huge amounts of glitter – information which glitter-makers have … refused to divulge.” BUT THEY GET THE GOODS in this podcast. And it is hardly scandalous. Harumph. // The Soledad O'Brien episode of Going Through It. She is so badass single-handedly calling out All The Jerks over on Twitter. Listen to her talk about how badly her first on air moment went. // The Women’s Podcast by The Irish Times. I started listening to this to get up to speed on culture should we need to relocate to The Super Mr.’s motherland. Fascinating interviews with people familiar and unfamiliar to me. And all in that lovely brogue that I find myself trying to imitate while I wash the dishes.
Kings of Leon’s cover of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” It will rip your heart out. //
Lost & Found by Sigur Ros’ Jonsi and Alex Somers. It’s just as sparse and tingly and Iceland-y as you would expect from a Sigur Ros member. //
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Tis the season to: toss those pumpkins (there are few things that irk me more this time of year than to see half decaying gourds scattered about twinkle-lighted greenery — separate your holidays, people!), force those bulbs, and go for a walk at night so you can snoop in your neighbors’ windows (from a non-creepy safe distance on the street. Don’t be a weirdo. )
December 24. Premiere of Season 2 of Lost in Space. My Netflix avatar is Parker Posey from the first season of this super fun, visually punchy series.
Two weeks ago, I had a complete meltdown freak out when my website disappeared suddenly. I couldn’t reach anyone at my hosting service, and I catastrophized, thinking I just lost five years of creative content AND all my unpublished writing drafts, much of it destined for this newsletter.
Stephen followed me around as I stress-ate all the crunchy salty things in the house, obsessively dusted and arranged my tchotchkes, and emoted all over the place. He tried to crawl in my lap, whimpered a bunch, and even low-growled at me once. He kissed my face every chance he got close enough as if to say, “it’s ok, mama” (or in The Super Mr.’s version of his voice, “bitch, calm the fuck down!)
When I had my surgery, he wasn’t allowed to be near my upper body — I had tubes and drains attached to my chest and two seriously-no-joke incisions that were healing. That photo above is one of many I took of him laying on my legs or sitting as close as he could get while staring at me intently during my recovery period.
There’s something so amazingly comforting living with a dog who tries everything in their dog tool box to soothe you. It’s one of life’s gifts to also have a dog who reflects back to you what energy you are putting into the world, disrupts that cycle, and then suggests the very thing that you need most in that moment — a snuggle, a kiss, a walk outside. Or a stern “get it together, Becky!” every once in a while.
How did you do with your Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Capitalist Month From Hell? My unrollme, which is set to capture all those marketing emails, mysteriously stopped working just as the deluge hit. I call shenanigans! It’s probably Alexa fucking with me.
I stayed strong, though, and only bought two things not on my list — a new Kindle Fire (which I had considered at one point putting on my list so I’m not counting it as an impulse buy) and the shower gel they use at our favorite resort in Jamaica. It was discounted an unprecedented 30%! I plan to squirrel that bottle away and only take it out just to sniff every now and then. In any case, I am very proud of myself.
See you back here in two festive and very full weeks! Godspeed!