Thank you for being a friend

If I’m being honest, I’m not okay. We’re at nearly a year since this thing started, and though the end is in sight, it’s unclear when exactly that might be. I miss my friends. I miss my friends so much. Sure, we’ve had video chats. We have the group texts. We’re staying as connected as we can, even without being in the same room. But it is fucking hard. And it is not the same. My very best friends, my girls, have been my lifeblood, in some way or another, for as long I have a memory. We haven’t been all in the same room together since 2015. And, even though we live in different places, and have for some time, and might not even have seen each other in person anyway absent the pandemic, we could have. The past year apart (from them and nearly everyone else) feels so very hard. So very lonely. So very inhumane. And so it has come to pass that I have adopted a network of surrogates. Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia. Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen. Khadijah, Regine, Max, and Synclaire. Gr

The sweet smell of the season

I t’s the most wonderful time of the year. That’s what they tell us. “They” being advertisers. It’s the Lexus to December to Remember and Toyotathon, when unexpected vehicles show up in snow covered driveways across America with big red bows on Christmas morning. It’s when you “tell her you love her all over again” with a hideous Pandora bracelet or other tacky bauble from Kay Jewelers. They really lay it on thick at Christmastime. And nobody lays it on thicker (or weirder) than the perfumers. In all my 45 years, I have yet to see a perfume commercial that makes sense.  Chanel has Keira Knightly sitting in her ballgown alone in a hotel room playing chess and, presumably heavily doused in Coco Mademoiselle “for the night”. There’s a lot to unpack here . . . does Keira live in a home where chess is forbidden? Is that why she must run away one night to play, alone it seems? And because it’s such a special occasion, she dresses up in her best dress and all the necklaces she owns? It still

Seasons grievings

Woof. This year. This whole goddamn year. As it draws to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we’ve been through, all of us. Our collective trauma. And what we’ve lost. It’s been a lot. We’ve lost and grieved A LOT. Seriously, there’s more grief in here than even Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross could have imagined. The year started off okay enough for me. I had my blackeyed peas, courtesy of a friend who is a wonderful Southern cook. As he always says, “Imagine how bad the year might’ve been if we didn’t have them,” and I’ve tried to take that to heart. Because, if 2020 is any indication, it seems that things really could always get worse. If I’m being honest, January and February weren’t half bad. We had a great trip to L.A. and San Francisco, which was a lot of fun. And then . . . the wheels fell off in March. And for that I am grieving.  In March, I was on travel for work -- a planning retreat with my department’s leadership team. We looked ahead to expanding our team, broadening our

The worst Thanksgiving ever

I think we can all agree that 2020 is a colossal dumpster fire. There has been little fun or joy to be had. We’ve all been struggling to get by and find moments that are less dumpstery than usual -- to maybe find a fleeting dance with joy. But mostly, things just suck. With Thanksgiving this week, it promises to be another in a long list of major bummers. The CDC has told us that we need to stay home -- and staying home is really the only safe way to get through this holiday. My husband and I still haven’t figured out what, if anything, we’ll do to mark the day as any different from any of the others in the past nine months. Still, in the interest of perspective, I don’t think it will compare with The Worst Thanksgiving Ever.  It may be hard to believe, but staying home alone and doing nothing is actually preferable to one particular Thanksgiving my family had in the mid-90s. I was away at college in Ohio , so travel was a necessity to see my family, regardless of the holiday. Someone

Reasons to believe

As I sit here on the precipice of the most important election of my life (and, I would argue, the life of the United States), I’m struggling to process my feelings. The past four years have been a slog. Policies of the current administration, whether by legislation or executive order, have negatively affected every member of my family. And, the rhetoric and divisiveness has rippled through our society and hurt our people and our democracy. The destruction of what we hold dear has been catastrophic. And, as of today, more than 231,000 people in the U.S. have perished as a result of a mismanaged pandemic. I have been angry and scared and grief stricken. It is entirely too much to bear. We are not better off. We are not great. But we can be. This Election Day, I still believe in this country. I believe in its people. And I believe that there is hope. I’ve seen it. Even amid all the ugly, there is still a reason to believe.  Voter turnout is soaring, even as voter suppression runs rampant.


I really hated my college experience. Sure, the education was fine, but it was definitely not my scene. I went to a small, private, Lutheran (what?) school in the Midwest. The campus was beautiful and idyllic and that’s pretty much where the fun began and ended. I was a kid on financial aid among a bunch of other kids who paid full tuition and drove new cars. It was the 90s, so we all dressed like hobos, but most of those other kids’ hobo clothes were designer.  I thought it was a good idea to go to this school because they gave me a grant (hooray!), they had a field hockey team that I wanted to play on, and I was, at the time, laboring under the delusion that I was going to become a veterinarian and they had a good biology program. Flash forward: after semester one, I had quit the field hockey team because it was full of the nastiest bullies I’ve ever met (to this day!), flunked Biology 101 (the only class I ever failed, including Typing in high school which nearly sent me over the e

Cutting up

Just when I think the quarantine has taken us to the far reaches of what we can do for ourselves, we reach another level. Back in March, sourdough starters and banana bread were all the rage. You could hardly go on Instagram or Facebook without seeing a lump of taupe-colored dough sitting in a glass bowl. Or a batch of brown bananas begging for their destiny. There were shortages of yeast and flour on par with the dearth of toilet paper we all feared. It even led one woman (I shit you not, her name is Caren White) to write a screed about how the rest of us baking were taking food out of her mouth. (Seriously, you can read an archived version of it here and a later screed walking back her entitlement and trying to justify it here .) As the quarantine progressed, enthusiastic and enterprising folks explored the miracle of dalgona coffee (which, I’m sorry, looks like diarrhea mixed with milk); the wonders of homemade bagels and English muffins; the agony and ecstasy of handmade pasta; th