Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Girl, you better blog!

Dear Internet,

Why have I been feeling like death recently?

Is it the humidity?   Is it allergies?  Is it the lack of 10 hour beauty sleep that I inexplicably require to be a functional human?  Is it the lack of Georgetown Cupcakes that I've consumed this week?

Please reply soon.



Dear Wendy,

You probably have one, if not all, of the following ailments:

Hedgehog AIDS
Dragon Pox
Consumption (Dickens definition: meaning, it could any number of diseases)
Teen wolf syndrome (1985 strain: meaning, it may make you good at basketball)
Common cold

Sincerely yours,

The Internet

Low energy and infectious diseases aside, Boston is all loveliness in the spring.

I feel like I am constantly being courted by my city.

And I like it.

Especially after months of winter's sweatpants everyday level of not caring, it feels good to have Boston putting in some effort again.

I decided that I was spending too much money on gel manicures, so I bought Essie's Chillato nail polish and painted my own fingernails for a change.

I would give myself a C-.

A generous C-.

Fine motor skills are hard.

When It Comes to Women's Fashion...

Wendy Be Like:

1. Bold lipsticks
2. High Wasted Jeans
3. Clogs
4. Rompers of any variety
5. Boxy Dresses
6. Painted Nails

And Moses Be Like:

1.  "Too clown-like."
2.  "I don't know, they just look like Mom jeans."
3.  "That is literally the ugliest shoe I've ever seen." (Statement later semi-revised.)
4.  "It's not that you don't look good in them; it's that they don't look good on anyone"
5.  "It just looks like you forgot to put pants on..."
6.   "Oh, you got your nails painted?"

Spring/summertime is the perfect time for pesto.  I use the Silver Palate Cookbook recipe.  I just wish that my hatred for cleaning out the food processor wasn't fractionally higher than my love of pesto.   But that is just my cross to bear.

My hair has reached Duggar lengths recently, despite having just gotten it trimmed (and by "just"  I mean in November so...6 months ago), and I really need to get it trimmed before the wedding, but it makes me squeamish to think about going to an unfamiliar hairdresser so soon before I walk down the aisle.  I have an irrational fear that I will leave the appointment looking like Billy Ray Cyrus circa 1992.

Source (because you know you want it)

Except less cute.

Over the past few days, my beer consumption to exercise ratio has  But tomorrow!  Tomorrow I will get my life together.  Pinky swear.

Now to leave you with my favorite, as of yet unshared #TBT (that means Throw Back Thursday, Mom) of sorts, from back when there were still sizable snowbanks adorning every street corner.

You know, just your typical day in Harvard Square.  Asking Darth Vader for directions to the closest JP Licks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Art of Losing

I was all set to begin work on my Kimye post and wouldn't you know it?  I realized I sure don't know anything about them! (Except that baby North totes just got baptized in Jerusalem at the same legendary site as Jesus Christ.  Because, you know, of course.)  So I thought: oh bother! Might as well write about grief instead.

I know I've said this before but my feelings of blogging about this subject are so bifurcated.  One half--the bold half--cheers: this your blog, do what you want!  If you feel like writing about it, write about it! Who cares if others find it dreary and uneasy?!  It hums with the same resounding force as the last line of Elizabeth Bishop's poem "One Art." Write it! 

But the other half--the meeker half--balks and cowers at the thought of it.  No one wants to hear it, it whispers, no one wants to wallow with you in your sadness--they want to see your strength not your weakness.

I think that part of this duality is rooted in my personality: I am fiercely independent and am mortified at the thought of burdening anyone.  I gird my innate vulnerability with acerbity and aloofness, until I am fairly certain that you will not prick my heart once it is open to you.

But I think that the other part is more external--it stems from just how poorly we are taught to cope and comprehend grief as a culture.

A friend of mine recently sent me this article and while I still might be commencing the longest, hardest eye roll at the fact there is something even called the Grief Recovery Institute, overall this piece resonated with me--it articulated a lot of why I feel reticent about sharing my grief with others.

Here's the thing: grief is hard.  It's unattractive, it's inconvenient, it's bewildering, it's selfish, it's unpredictable, it's irrational, it's isolating, and it's difficult to know precisely how to deal with--it is everything that we as culture tend to shy away from discussing. It's the part of the narrative that we prefer to belie or to skirt in favor of the cheerier triumph that follows the struggle.  

As a result, unless someone has experienced a deep loss themselves, they have poor tools for interacting with someone who has.  They have nothing but banalities to grasp at--"time heals all wounds," "life's short, cherish what you have" etc.--and nothing but misconceptions to inform them--"there is nothing I can say," "they probably just want to be left alone right now." For some, the mere thought of grieving the death of a loved one makes them so uncomfortable, they  have no clue how react and say nothing.  Or worse yet, they treat you with contempt. 

It's those last two that I have the hardest time with.  Nobody wants to be viewed as strange or a Debbie Downer, even if their reasons for being so are perfectly legitimate. 

And, trust me, I've been guilty of all of those responses at one point or another.

I remember writing, rewriting, and then finally tearing up a card that I was going to send to a friend who had lost their mother.  Telling myself, there's nothing that I can say of comfort anyways

I remember seeing an acquaintance post on Facebook about the loss of their father and I drafted a message only to delete later it because, it would have been weird for that person to hear from a rando like me.

I remember reading the blog of someone who had lost a loved one and becoming frustrated when they blogged about their grief week after week: I've had a stressful day, I would think, I don't want to have to read about how much your life sucks.

It's nobody's fault, really, we just aren't trained to respond to someone's tragedy with the same grace as we are to someone's success. 

This, of course, is complicated by the fact that half the time, I don't even know how I want people to react to me.  Sometimes, I want people to feel sorry for me.  Other times, I find it infuriating.  Sometimes, I want people to reach out to me.  Other times, I want to be just left alone.  Sometimes, I wish everyone in the world knew I was grieving.  Other times, I do everything in my power to hide it.  It's an impossible situation, which I think, is the ultimate lesson.

One thing that Moses' Aunt Becky said to me, right after John died, that someone had said to her after her father died is: "well, it's a shitty deal."  That stuck with her and it sticks with me.

Really, there is nothing that anyone can do to change the situation, which is, I think, what makes some people feel so awkward and disempowered.  But just because you can't resurrect the dead, doesn't mean that you can't still help! 

I've found that the most powerful thing has really just been acknowledgement.  Even if it was someone I only met twice, or a person I hadn't spoken to since elementary school, I can't tell you how meaningful it was to have someone, anyone reach out to me and say they were sorry.  It made me feel connected to them in way that, to this day, I can't describe.  It made me feel grateful to them in a way I could never repay.  It made me wish that I had been braver to send that card or that message, when the situation had been reversed.

I'm not trying to make this into a "how to" manual or to lecture you or tell you that everything that you are doing is wrong.  Most of you reading are my dearest friends, who have been and are beyond amazing to me. All that I am really trying to do is to be open and candid about my experiences, to make this soliloquy part of what may become a dialogue about grief. 

Even if the only voice that answers back is also one of loss.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

All About That Bass

Don't worry.  When I accept my award for most original blog posts titles, I will be sure to thank god and all of my fans.  Trust.

This past week has been a glorious 70 degrees and sunny here in Boston and I'm definitely not one of those weather-is-the-great-influcer-of-moods people...but holy smiley-faced emoji, Batman.  It really does make me want to pull my boot sole from out of the heaviness I've been trudging around in lately.

So we will be going Wendy lite this week.  With half the melancholy and half the calories!  Only kidding.  This will be full-on Pilsbury Frosting levels of fat.  Hope you are hungry for regret! I know I am!

So, onward ho!

Do you listen to podcasts?  I do.  I find them really pleasant background noise at work. 

You've heard me talk about this one before and I still wholeheartedly recommend it.  

You've probably heard about this one from everyone you've ever met but it's one of those rare things that totally lives up to the hype.  I have the HUGEST crush on Sarah Koenig.  I think she is magnificent and I even feel a little bit less resentful of the drunken rowdiness that happens outside of my windows now that I know that she also lives in a college town and has to endure people peeing in her peonies.  I've listened to all of her pieces on This American Life and while she wasn't featured in this particular episode, it's very much up her alley and one of my absolute favorites.

I also recently discovered this podcast.  It inspired me to watch Grown Ups 2, which was ghastly. I can't believe they watched that movie over 50 times.  Once nearly gave me an aneurism.

I bought this recently because of the high reviews on amazon and was not disappointed.  It's hypoallergenic and soothing for my drier than dry skin.  It does nothing about my skin's natural pastiness but...not much can...

This is one of my favorite summertime recipes.  My friend Ruth made it for us during grad school and it's become a staple in our household ever since.  I made them for Cinco de Mayo this year.

I also made this last week.  I think next time, I will make it will mole.

I am obsessed with these and these.  But I just bought these and am technically saving for a wedding and I think my number of pairs of sandals may have just reached infinity.  But, you know, restraint is not really my forte, so...we'll see.

I finally broke down and bought one of these.  My grad school friends had been raving about it for ages and I--true to form--dragged my feet for no apparent reason but it is easily one of the best decisions I've ever made--it's a dream.  It utterly horrifies Moses, which makes it all the more appealing.

I might be exposing too much about my musical tastes but I just recently discovered this band.  This so far is my favorite of their songs.

I saw the new Avengers movie.  It was okay.  Has that been everyone's reaction to it?  Probably.  One of the previews before it was for the movie Tomorrow Land, after which Moses said: "I'm tired of Disney making movies about park attractions.  What's next?  Churro Stand?"

Speaking of movies, I heard about this project and I'm...hesitant.  Not only do I think it would appall her to have a movie made about her, but pretty much all of the plot has to be conjecture, which, I guess is just preserving and perpetuating the myth so maybe she would be fine with it?  But Miranda?! Was early 90's Holly Hunter not available?

I know I've whistled their praises before, but I've been exercising about five days a week pretty consistently for several years now and I keep coming back to these workouts.  1% because they are free, 90% because they are challenging and effective, and 9% because after years of being taunted by Jillian, I finally decided I need my trainers with a spoonful of sugar.

Today was Berklee graduation.  It was amazing to be there with and for our graduates and I cried probably three times during the ceremony but I also got up at 6:30AM and was there until it finished around 2:30PM.  I took a long nap when I got home.  I'm so glad it's over.

This has been my night so far...

Frozen yogurt and Top Chef Masters?!  Could this night get any crazier?

Gurl, you better stop!

And I will.

Happy weekend friends!