2016 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I have a podcast! My friend wife Paula D Atkinson and started it together after we realized we got pretty fired up about what’s happening in the world. We started We Are Still Hungry and now we have dozens of have followers and I love it.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I honestly don’t remember. I was very specific about resolutions in 2015 but I don’t think I made any 2016 resolutions. I also had a conversation fight with a coworker about the difference between goals (“I’d like to read one book a month”) and a resolution (“I resolve to be more present”) so I think after that, I just said, “Fuck it — bring on 2016.”

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! 2016 brought the world Harrison and Wilson. They laugh at my jokes and are chubby, which are two of my favorite qualities in men and babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. I flew to Arkansas twice but I didn’t go anywhere and did not take a vacation. Spending time with my family is awesome and nourishing, but in 2017 I would like to spend some time outside my own life so I can experience new things and feel small in the world.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Romantic love and affection.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
On November 8, I sat at a bar alone (after Paula left) and watched the presidential election results come in. Living in a world with a Trump presidency is not something I’ve been able to deal with yet. I stayed until about 1:30 and then went home and slept in half hour increments until I saw the words “President-elect Donald Trump” then I cried myself to sleep.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Talking about my depression on the podcast. It made me feel proud and vulnerable and scared, but since we clicked “publish” I realized how important it was for me to do so.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My biggest failure was not being kinder to my body.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major. A few colds and infections here and there. OH, and the day-to-day, monotonous, mind-numbing ache that comes with dysthymia and depression. Ha!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Medication and therapy.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hillary Clinton. When she addressed the nation after she conceded the election, I was breathless. One day I hope to be that poised and eloquent.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Donald Trump. What’s more appalling and depressing than the leader of our country saying “grab ‘em by the pussy”?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, parking, therapy.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
HILLARY FUCKING CLINTON. I loved feeling the momentum of a bad-ass women’s movement.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Beyonce’s Lemonade. All songs from that album. #notsorry

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier!
b) thinner or fatter? Probably the same, maybe fatter, but hate this question because it’s horrible and arbitrary.
c) richer or poorer? Same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Painting! Or, writing or making art, in general. Somewhere along the way, it just wasn’t on the top of my list. And we all know how hard it is to get back to the top of the list.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Work. I love my job, but I rolled over a lot of vacation days and that’s straight up bullshit.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
You mean in 11.5 months? Probably with my parents as life dictates, but I would LOVE to go somewhere warm.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Nope. Not even close.

22. How many one-night stands?
This is an inappropriate question. But no. No one-night stands.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I continue to be hopelessly in love with Law & Order SVU, any and all shows on Bravo, and a few standouts I discovered on Netflix: Stranger Things, a show about women in prisons, American Crime.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I think I probably hated Donald Trump before, but man, did my hatred for him skyrocket in 2016.

25. What was the best book you read?
I can’t ever say which is the best. But here are a few passages from the books I read in 2016.

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart:
We looked at the sky. So many stars, it seemed like a celebration, a grand, illicit party the galaxy was holding after the humans had been put to bed.

The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey
Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved . You’ve already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.

The Good Father, by Noah Hawley
Looking at the photos of my family, fleeting emotions hit me—flashes of anger, of fear. These are the feelings that last—the extreme swings, the fights that burn themselves into your core. A decade later it is easier to remember the car crash than it is to remember the long drive leading up to it.

The Girls, by Emma Klein
Poor Sasha. Poor girls. The world fattens them on the promise of love. How badly they need it, and how little most of them will ever get. The treacled pop songs, the dresses described in the catalogs with words like “sunset” and “Paris.” Then the dreams are taken away with such violent force; the hand wrenching the buttons of the jeans, nobody looking at the man shouting at his girlfriend on the bus. Sorrow for Sasha locked up my throat.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I stuck pretty close to the vest this year, musically. I loved listening to First Aid Kit and Marin Morris. They were new to me, but not really new.

27. What did you want and get?
Recognition and applause at work.

28. What did you want and not get?
Long term love & romance.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
The 13th, by Ava Devunay.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned FORTY ONE and I spent it having dinner with Paula, Carlo, Marisa, my favorite Australian Jarrod, and Mark.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Tbh, sex. I mean, I could lie and say something else, but that’s the truth.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
I saw a thing on Facebook that said, “My personal style can best be described as ‘I didn’t expect to get out of the car’”. I think that pretty much sums it up, but if you need details: black cropped pants, black flats, a flowy top, silver hoops, silver bangles and more than enough mascara.

33. What kept you sane?
Medication and therapy.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
My sweet, sweet Hillary.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
All of them. Seriously, ALL OF THEM. This was the year that I found myself coming into my own passion about American politics. As I sit and type on January 8, with the inauguration of Donald Trump a mere 12 days away, I am still completely dumbfounded.

36. Who did you miss?
The same ol’ ghosts of the past I always do.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
My new work husband has brought me an excessive amount of daily laughs.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Playing by the society’s rules for women on how to look, how to think, and how to behave gets us nowhere. Look at Hillary! She did everything exactly how American culture and media demanded. She smiled without looking too happy. She was intelligent without being threatening. She was quiet and let Trump walk all over her during the debates and did so peacefully and calmly. And in the end — IT DIDN’T MATTER. SHE STILL LOST. And she lost because there was “just something about her” that people didn’t like. (That “something” was her vagina.) It’s all complete bullshit in my humble opinion and I will not conform anymore. I won’t do it! I won’t listen to one more fucking person tell me that I’m “too” something for a woman. Enough.

Hillary taught me that if you follow the rules and you don’t get a fair shot anyway, fuck the rules.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I won’t go as a passenger, no
Waiting for the road to be laid
Though I may be going down
I’m taking flame over burning out

Interfere

Yesterday, two men in different parts of the country were murdered by police officers.

Alton Sterling was selling CDs outside a Baton Rouge convenience store when two police officers responding to a 911 report about a man with a gun wrestled him to the ground and shot him multiple times at point-blank range in the chest and back.

Philando Castile was pulled over by a Minnesota police officer for a busted tail light when he, too, was shot at point-blank range while reaching for his ID and car registration.

Did I mention that these two victims were black? Did I need to?


Just over a year ago, I published a post on this blog “Say Something” in which I admitted my fear of speaking out about the Black Lives Matter movement because, in part, I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, sounding ignorant, or letting any unchallenged biases I might still have surface. But I learned that not speaking out is worse than saying something imperfect.

That day I pledged to start speaking out, and I have done so. I mean, I have a fucking podcast now. Speaking out is no longer the issue.

I wrote:

I do have black friends (and actual, real life friends, not “some-of-my-best-friends-are-black” friends). I have black coworkers and neighbors. I’d like to speak out for them, although I’m struggling with a way to explain that, without it sounding, again, like this is all about me.

It doesn’t matter anyway; the truth is, my black friends, coworkers, and neighbors don’t give a shit what I say, here or elsewhere — they just care about what I do and how I act.

And that’s where I’ve let myself down. I didn’t do what I’d promised. I own up to my failures. I never wrote letters to the black churches in DC nor did I seek out and join like-minded communities. Maybe I’m hard on myself….maybe not. But I know I can do more. That’s for sure.

Last summer when I posted Say Something, a friend from high school challenged me as a white woman to be a better ally because it’s virtually impossible for change to happen in society until people in power help. And today, a different friend from high school posed the same challenge. Challenge accepted.

  1. I’m going to stop being an ally and start being an accomplice. If it happens to the black community, it happens to me, too. 
  2. I’m going to use my public forums to create more accomplices.
  3. I’m going to start doing instead of talking.
  4. I’m going to refuse the idea that the solution to this fucked up problem will come from black and brown people. White people created this, and it’s time white people deconstructed it.

I work at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and every day I fight to keep the memory of millions of victims alive as testimony to what happens when good people do nothing in the face of evil.

The founding chairman of the Museum and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel died this week.

“Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”
–Elie Wiesel

It’s time to interfere.

Unsent Texts

My friend-wife Paula has been gone for four days on a retreat. Specifically, a silent retreat at Satchidananda Ashram in Virginia, at which the practice of eliminating communication with others allows one to shift the focus inward to connect the body, mind, heart, and soul. In this way, it is quite the exact opposite of 75% of the daily communication between the two of us.  Sure, we discuss deep things, but like any relationship, most of it is sharing the weird things that go on in our minds and making each other laugh.

She headed south a few hours after Prince passed away, so we were able to mourn together for a short while. If not, I seriously would have considered calling the main desk. If Prince’s death doesn’t qualify for an emergency, what does?

I started jotting down the list of dumb shit I would have texted her. It has been a fun experiment to identify exactly how bizarre our day-to-day is.

Here you go.

Things I Have Wanted to Text Paula But Can’t Because She’s on a Silent Yoga Retreat:

  • I listened to Purple Rain on the way home from work and cried that Prince died. First time I’ve ever cried over a celebrity.
  • I wore too much eyeliner to work today. I look like a whore.
  • I need Todrick Hall to stop wearing hats with area codes on them on Gay For Play.
  • Otis just did the cutest thing ever. Here’s a photo.
    20160417_125458
     He’s sticking his tongue out!
  • Why didn’t you tell me that that weird Cake By the Ocean song was sung by Joe Jonas?
  • The transmission is shot in Ol’ Blue. Car trouble sucks so hard…
  • I quit all online dating. I just can’t take it anymore. I need you to send me a video of you singing Indigo Girl’s “Love Will Come To You.”
  • The olive leaf extract that your mom is making me take every day tastes really disgusting.
  • Do you ever wish that Jesus* could text you to say hey while you’re gone?
  • I’m eating imitation crab salad for lunch!
  • Afternoon snack: trying a new kind of yogurt, the kind where you flip over the nuts into it. Aren’t you proud of me for eating yogurt?
  • The yogurt is banana flavored.  ABORT.
  • On RHONY, one of the women responded to being called “too skinny” as “I’m healthy. I get my period every month.” I can’t. Why do we have to teach everyone about this?
  • Um, I just bought a car.
  • OMG BEYONCE.
  • Hey Serena. “You better call Becky with the good hair.”
  • I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR LEAVING ME ALONE ON THE WEEKEND THAT I HAVE TO DEAL WITH PRINCE’S DEATH AND BEYONCE’S LEMONADE.

*Jesus is Paula’s dog. Although having the actual Jesus Christ text you to say hey would be cool, too.

Oscars 2016

I think we can all agree that there’s no way that I can actually make it to the end of this awards show for two main reasons a) I’m too old to stay awake past 11 pm and b) I’m sick. AGAIN. So rather than give you a well-written critique of this year’s telecast with all the reasons why so-and-so’s performance was magical and such-and-such movie changed my life, I’m just going to talk about dresses and suits, and highlight anything entertaining before I eventually pass out from a grigio/NyQuil cocktail. I’m a cranky bitch.

Here’s the thing about me and fashion. I love it…it’s not for me. I absolutely love fashion as a designer’s artistic expression. I’m a faithful watcher of Project Runway and love how much hard work goes into each garment. (Garments are what fancy people call clothes.) But I am not a fashion plate by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of a long battle of wills with my body and all its perceived flaws over the years. From frustration over the parts that were too big (breasts, belly, arse) and the parts that were too long (my torso) or too short (legs, fingers), I decided unfairly a long ago to resign myself to the sartorial expression of the designers at Old Navy, JC Penney and Belk. My strategy is to dazzle people with my jokes and my laugh and hope they don’t look at me below the neck.\

Since fashion is not for me, I don’t know shit from shinola about it. The purpose of this post is so I can talk out of my ass and stop myself from sending hate mail to my coworkers who come to work whilst under the weather which keeps us all passing this muthafucking cold back to each other week after week.

Before I dive into my thrilling critique, I’ll admit that I have never been less prepared for this show. I have seen The Room and Spotlight. I hope Brie Larson wins, but other than that, I literally don’t care at all. There were several movies I wanted to see and I’m sure I’ll see eventually, like Carol, The Danish Girl, The Big Short, Brooklyn and The Revenant. (P.S. Read the article about the author of The Revenant. Poor guy, all this attention and he’s silenced because of his big DoD job.)

I begin by watching the red carpet coverage by the genius committee at E!. Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic are like the chic weird couple from NYC that live in your building and you’re pretty sure one of them is gay but you can’t quite figure out which one.

Alicia Vikander

Pale yellow strapless Louis Vuitton bubble gown with silver stuff on it. She might have the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen. Her hair looks a little unkempt, but I find the rest of her completely magnificent. Never heard of her before tonight but word on the street is that she’s in The Danish Girl, which I gotta see.

Sofia Vergara

Why is she here? This woman is everywhere: the Oscars, Pit Bull’s Grammy performance, and I think she was the pharmacy rep who filled my antibiotic prescription. Navy blue Marchesa gown with lots of breasts, sequins and a peplum. I feel just kind of meh about this look, and it looks a little bit like a step-mother of a bride dress, like if your Colombian stepmom is your dad’s third wife and she’s out to prove that she’s hotter than your mom, for whom your dad secretly still holds a flame.

Jacob Tremblay

Cute little dude with a very handsome Armani tuxedo. His parents are drop dead gorgeous. While watching Room, I was transfixed by his performance. He was amazing and I actually forgot that he was an actor for much of the movie.

Whoopi:

“The Dames” (am I supposed to know? wtf? huh?) made her dress based on a dress Bette Davis wore in All About Eve. I’m not in love with this look, mostly because I’m irritated when people try and dress women with bigger bodies in a bunch of fabric and pleats. It’s just too much stuff all over her body. But because it’s Whoopi and she DGAF, she’s got this outrageous weird octopus hand jewelry that I’m loving. “That’s how you know it’s me.”  Werk.

Saoirse Ronan

Spaghetti strapped dark green sequin Calvin Klein gown with a deep plunging neckline.  Her hair and makeup are gorgeous and I just looooove her adorable Irish accent. This dress is everything — flattering, elegant, simple. I love the back with the cutouts on the hips. She just Lord of the Danced her way onto my Best Dressed list.

Eddie Redmayne

What is that? Velvet?

Common

Is there anything more handsome than a man in a tuxedo? Common is giving me an ivory white Dolce & Gabbana jacket & vest without looking like a fine-dining waiter, and that’s hard to do. I need more information on his lapel pin.

Olivia Munn

I love this orangey-red one shoulder Stella McCartney gown. Her left shoulder is caped in a very fitted sleeve which makes me think of a patio-furniture cover, but I love how simple it is.

Brie Larson

This blue spaghetti strapped tulle Gucci is amazing and the belt is spectacular. Love the little ruffles and pleated fabric. But I definitely had this hairstyle in the 4th grade.

Heidi Klum

Looks like someone wrapped her up in tulle and cotton candy and threw a few silk flowers on her arms as a practical joke.  But the goddamn joke is on you, you fashion trickster, because this woman is breathtaking and apparently doesn’t age.

Rooney Mara

“Have we ever seen the diamond belly?” asks Ryan Seacrest. I hate the tiny buns in her hair but the dress is super fancy and I think I love it. Lots of white wispy drapey stuff in this Givenchy gown. Her makeup is flawless, and I think this may be the first time I’ve ever seen anyone transform her previous bitchy resting face into a serene Mona Lisa thing. ACTING!

Henry Cavill:

Please marry me. Or maybe just come over and vacuum and let me watch


 

Switching to ABC because I have had juuuuuust enough of Kris Jenner and ABC has a deal where they’re the only ones broadcasting live from the red carpet, except Ryan sneaks in a quickie interview with Dr. Jill Biden because he’s a rebel and gives the middle finger to authority. Or something.

Julianne Moore

I just really don’t know how I feel about the this Chanel dress. The top half is dominatrix and sparkles and the bottom is bridesmaid. Meh.

Tina Fey

This dress is EV.ER.EY.THANG. Her hair, tho. Frowny emoji.

Cate Blanchett

I think I’d like this dress better if it didn’t have the embellishment of the flowers and feathers. Robin gave a little hat tip to her partner and I’m overwhelmed with how happy I am that she kicked cancer in the tuckus. I gotta tell you about the time Cate Blanchett came into Clyde’s. I was downstairs after the lunch rush getting some iced tea when I saw that there was a glow coming from the front door. It was Cate and her two sons and I shit you not when I say that this woman is breathtaking in real life. I didn’t know skin could look like that without Photoshop. And that’s the end, and it turns out this story is not so interesting.

Lady Gaga

Secret pants!!! Designer and best friend Brandon Maxwell made a shit ton of dresses for her and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men will be a victim of sexual violence. Gaga will be singing “Till It Happens to You” about which I know zero point zero facts but will probably make me cry anyway.

Charlize Theron

Everything about her is perfect. Love the lines of the spaghetti straps next to the diamond strands of her necklace, and her perfect perfection which is perfectly perfect

Other standouts:

Naomi Watts: purple navy sparkles strapless, dark lip, blonde bob.

Tina Fey: purple silhoutte strapless simple amazing

Chrissy Teigan: beige flowers baby bump

Mindy Kahling:  black dress, blue cap sleeves, puffy blue train thing.

Mark Ruffalo’s navy jacket

Mark Ruffalo’s wife Sunshine’s dress and hair. I *think* the gold embellishment on the hips is Grecian female anatomy.

Things I didn’t like:

Kevin Hart’s jewel piping

The thank you ticker at the bottom

Lastly, I’ll say that Chris Rock has done an amazing job so far. His acknowledgement and critique of the lack of black and brown actors among the pool of this year’s nominees was both subtle and over-the-top. I will leave the pontificating to those better suited to provide insightful commentary, but I will say that no one could have done a better job than he.

What did I miss? Whose dress/tux did you love? Why am I still sick? Why are there no black people nominated?

 

Swarm

When my parents visit the east coast from Arkansas, they fly in and out of DC, but go to Richmond to see my brother, sis-in-law and the twins in the middle of their trip.  Unless I can get the day off, I usually follow on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to spend a weekend as a Big Family Unit. Thus begins my tale of this weekend’s adventure.

On Saturday, I hopped out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed* and got in Ol’ Blue, aka The Silent Death Trap, my navy ‘97 Volvo. My old joke about Volvos is this: The good news about a Volvo is that it will never die. The bad news about a Volvo is that it will never die. Ol’ Blue has no speedometer, no odometer, no dashboard lights, and no functioning horn. It does, however, have a cassette player, a few Fabulous Thunderbirds tapes and a $0 car payment. Pros outweigh the cons, if you ask me.

Blue and I were cruising down 95 when I noticed she was a little low on fuel, so I made a stop. I put the hose in the tank*, flipped the handle-kick-stand-thingy to keep it going by itself, and popped the hood to check the oil because I am a Responsible Car Owner. Everything was good under the hood* so I ran in to wash my hands and have a quick pee pee.

Back outside, I grabbed the handle to put the hose back* and that’s when it happened.

The hose swarmed on me.

Gas started spewing everywhere* and the hose was out of control*. I honestly don’t remember what happened next, I must have blacked out. The next thing I knew, the hose was back in its cradle* and there was gas on my pants*, my shirt, my tank top and my $11 ballet flats.

I sat there stunned for a few minutes, assessing the damage. At one point I turned back toward the car and thought, “I’m sure it’s just a tiny splash*! Everything’s fine! Let’s go to Richmond!”

Nope. Oh, such wishful thinking.

I fished my change of clothes from my overnight bag and headed BACK into the gas station where I had just been to pee pee so I could change and wash off whatever gas had leaked through my pants and onto my leg. Please to enjoy the mental image of me in the bathroom, pantsless with my foot up on the sink splashing water onto my knee.

I sent a quick text to Dad to tell the family that my journey had been delayed by 30 minutes by the gas incident. Back on the road, I zoomed down to Midlothian with my soiled clothes in the trunk.  I arrived and after a few much needed hugs and kisses from my favorite 8 year olds on the planet, I was redirected back outside to deal with the gas issue.

The group had Googled what to do with gas-soaked clothes and it wasn’t as simple as just rinsing it out before throwing it in the laundry, which is what I would have done. What did we do before we had the Internet*?

THEN THINGS GOT FUN*. At least for me, because for whatever reason, someone else did all the hard work*, and I just took pictures and video*.

We put detergent, color safe bleach and the clothes in a bucket and filled it with water. Then we agitated it with the stick end of a push broom, and rinsed it twice.

 

Lastly, it was time for the spin cycle*.

Comedy gold.

We hung the clothes up on a 40 pound test fishing line that Matt had strung up between two trees on the side of the house, much to the displeasure of my very, very accommodating and tolerant sister-in-law (and the probably the HOA).

swarm

They dried overnight and smelled pretty good when I folded them and put them in my bag to go home.

After it was all said and done*, I ended up with hand-washed clothes rid of all gasoline.

I think we learned a lesson in all of this: If something starts to swarm on you, the best thing to do is surrender, go with the universe’s flow and write a blog post so everyone can laugh with you!


 

*That’s what she said.

2016 Grammy Award Recapness

A few years ago, I did a recap of the MTV Video Music Awards. It was a hit with at least one person (my cousin Heather) so I did another such recap for last year’s Oscars. And Heather was once again left speechless by my witty commentary, so yeah, I’ll wear this trope all the way out.

It should be noted that the Hoos are playing simultaneously so I’ve missed a lot of the red carpet, which is fine because it turns out I don’t know a lot of these artists so far, and I’m kind of annoyed by E!’s commentary. Zendaya’s mullet was hilarious, but that tuxedo was giving me life.

……And away we go!

8:00: Taylor opens the show.  This is one of my favorite songs from her album, mostly because I hate uncertainty. When she sings “are we out of the woods yet, are we in the clear yet” I get it…I hate not knowing if it’s going to work out or not. Mostly because it hasn’t. Yet.

8:03: Is there anyone left who doesn’t think Taylor should be a pop star? No, she just convinced everyone. Even if it’s not your kind of music, you must admit, she just killed it.

8:04: My sweet, sexy LL comes to the stage to encourage us to celebrate the “powah” of music. Did I ever tell you about how when I was in the 8th grade I decided that if I had the opportunity to have sex with him, I would. Eighth grade. When I had only kissed one boy and had no real idea what sex was…That is testimony to the power of LL’s attractiveness.

8:08: Best Rap Album! The presenter is Ice Cube! O’Shea Jackson, Jr is very handsome, btw, imho. Kendrick Lamar wins, surprising no one who knows anything about rap or hip hop. I could have also been behind an Onika win, but Kendrick was game changing this year. I think we’re witnessing him carving his name into the record books.

8:13: Carrie U and Sam Hunt perform. I get that Sam Hunt is doing this crazy mash up of country and rap but I’m not 100% sure I’m on board with it yet, although I do enjoy it. He’s giving me White Country Drake.  It still seems like cultural appropriation, especially after Kendrick just dedicated his award to Snoop who has been nominated 13 times but never won. But Sam is killing this song, so I can’t hate.

8:23: Hi Ariana Grande! Omg, you’re wearing a ponytail! What a shock. She introduces The Weeknd (who is one person, btw). I am in love with this record, even if it is about cocaine. Did he mess up? I looked away. Nope, just an awkward transition. The Weeknd is the real deal and this performance is magic, although his Fog Horn Leg Horn hair and Woody Woodpecker vibrato is distracting.

8:29: Pour myself another glass of wine and contemplate dinner. This seems ill-thought out. I should have thought of dinner first and then poured a glass of wine. Most people learn this in their 20s. Maybe I’ll get there in my 40s.

8:33: LEON BRIDGES commercial. “If you’re ready for a bigger stage, build it.” Yeah it’s a commercial, but Google him if you don’t know him. Thank me later.

8:34: Andra Day performs “Rise Up” and I start to tear up. Surprisingly Ellie holds her own, mostly because her sound is so different than Andra’s, and it turns out, Ellie can actually sing! This performance was very balanced and I enjoyed it, much like a bowl of pho.

8:39: I realize we are only about 40 minutes into this show and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it through the whole thing. OOoh Lt. Dan is giving us Best Country Album. I’m not a country person, but there’s not a person on the planet that doesn’t know it’s going to Chris Stapleton.  He’s the real deal.

8:41: Pee break! And yes, Otis follows me. I’ve not peed by myself since 2013.

8:47: Big ol’ tribute to Lionel Richie!! John Legend is perfection, and I think he might be smiling a little more because Jamie Foxx made fun of him on The Tonight Show. Or maybe because he’s singing at the Grammy’s. Probably one of those two things.  

8:49: Demi Lovato! Show all those other pop divas how it’s done, butt chin. I mean, Demi. She’s amazing.

8:50: Luke Bryan. Don’t mind if I do. I’ll have a slice of your pie. You know he was like, “oh, Penny Lover? That’s what I get? Yeah, okay. FINE.”

8:52: Meghan Trainor. You have brown hair and should stop saying “HEY” in the middle of your songs.

8:53: Tyrese. We all forgot you could sing b/c of the Fast and Furious bidness.

8:54: ALL NIGHT LONG! Everyone is singing and dancing. Gloria Loring forgets the words but Dave Grohl doesn’t, probably b/c he’s got something in that red Solo cup he just flashed.

9:04: GIRL CRUSH. This song is so mournful and amazing. I HATE country radio for creating all kinds of controversy b/c it was a little gay. GFY, homophobes. Everyone shut up and listen to this amazing song. Wait, are Karen Fairchild’s pants weird and lacy? Is it part of her jacket? PLEASE TELL ME THAT’S JUST PART OF HER JACKET.

9:07: Stevie Wonder and Pentatonix! I love Pentatonix because of that NBC a cappella show, but mostly because of Superfruit, the YouTube channel that Mitch and Scott have. They are hilar, and they’re going to sing with Stevie! Stevie, who is wearing a green suit with camouflage sleeves! Mitch, you hit that high note, ladyface!

9:11: Song of the Year! Stevie makes a braille joke. Ed Sheeran wins! But Taylor jumps up and down so I’m immediately confused until I remember that they are besties.

9:15: Tribute to Glen Frye, but they cut off Ed Sheeran’s writing partner. Hey take it easy, Grammy director. (See what I did there?)  I have wished for one day to have Carrie Underwood’s legs, and now I also wish to have Timothy B. Schmidt’s cheekbones.

9:21: Tori Kelly and James Bey! Tori said earlier on the red carpet that they both are nervous dorks who only feel comfortable behind their guitars.  Um we’d never know buy this performance, which is magical.

9:28:  The Hamilton performance. Oh. Oh shit. I get it. I am finally getting it.

9:41: Kendrick Lamar comes out in prison chains, and drags his artistry like a chain uncomfortably for all of us to see. And then there is some black light shit and most of the white people in America who don’t know him faint. The bonfire and African dance are elements to his performance that solidify him as the new hip hop star of this decade. Sorry, Kanye. You’re in debt monetarily and musically.

9:48: HAMILTON.

9:54: MIGUEL. omg a tribute to Michael Jackson?? What is happening??? Do I need to take my shirt off???

9:56:  Best Rock Performance: Alabama Shakes! She’s my second favorite Britney!

9:59: Adele sings “All I Ask” which was co-written by Bruno Mars! Who knew? She looks amazing and she slays me every time with her nonchalance. I’m having some issues with her performance but I will not say anything bad about Adele ever, so just shut up.

10:10: Skrillx, Diplo and The Biebs. He’s doing a minor (?) version of Love Yourself. The tight shot shows us some dust or something on his face.  He’s playing the guitar on his lefty. All of this makes me uncomfortable. He tries to smash his guitar but it just sort of bounced a little, which is symbolic for his career, no?

10:17: Best New Artist: Megan Trainor. Such a crying mess. And adorable mess. Wasn’t who I picked for the win, but I can’t be mad at Megan. She wrote some catchy songs.

10:18: I start to cough and my throat feels weird. I glance into the bedroom and see my soft bed staring at me.

10:20: DON’T DO IT, BRIDGES. POWER THROUGH. YOUR FANS COUSIN NEEDS YOU TO FINISH THIS.

10:32: When David Bowie died, my friends lost their shit. Paula & Carlo sat shiva for a day, my Facebook feed was all torn up, and I sat confused thinking about “China Girl” and “Let’s Dance” and not really getting it. I can recognize his place in the anthology of American pop culture and I certainly appreciate what he meant for the weirdos of the world, and the conversations he started about gender and sexuality. But the music? I didn’t get it. But hearing Gaga SLAY with that crazy orange hair and the hologram and the whole bit, I get it.

———————

So what did I miss?

I missed Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark, Jr doing BB King. I’ll have to YouTube that.

I missed PitBull. (I’ll recover.)

I missed Taylor Swift making a dig at Kanye for taking credit for her fame.

I might have gone to bed at the right time. I’m still coughing and so help me God if I get sick again I’m going to lose it.

 

 

Year in Review (2015)

What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Turned 40. It was a tough summer leading up to that September milestone.  I also launched a digital platform at work. It sounds lame but I worked really hard on that and it’s an accomplishment that I can add to my resume if I ever leave.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I gave a valiant effort but technically failed miserably. I was very ambitious, especially with the 52 blog posts hahahahahahashutup. Sometime over the summer, my friend Chris asked me with a twinkle in his eye how the blogging was going. When I gave him the gas face, he laughed along with me and said sarcastically, “I have no idea what it’s like to come out of the gate hot only to have it fizzle shortly thereafter.” Progress, not perfection, amirite?

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope. But there are several babies being born in 2016 and I can’t wait! Edited: Tiny baby Wilson and Tiny Baby Harrison were born while my slow ass to write this post.

Did anyone close to you die?

My Uncle Charles passed away very suddenly, very horribly. We shared the same birthday and each year he would send me a birthday card full of a dollar bill for each year of my new age. He stopped somewhere in my twenties, joking that he could no longer afford it. After his death this summer, my Aunt Judy sent me 40 $1 bills and signed his name.

What countries did you visit?

None. WTF? No fault but my own. My work husband visited at least 35 countries and obviously must have a million weeks of vacation. At least, that’s what it felt like. 

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Romantic love and all its benefits. Let’s do this, age-appropriate, funny, honest men in DC.

What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Turning 40.  Had a lovely beach weekend with my best girlfriends, and then spent three days by myself soaking up the sun and planning my 41st year.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Turning 40! I did not shrivel up and die or turn to dust from my hideous age and barren womb.

What was your biggest failure?

To quote Rihanna and her tattoo, “never a failure, always a lesson”. I don’t believe in failures at age 40.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got The Bronchitis so bad I had to go to the emergency room in Georgia.

Where did most of your money go?

Same place it always goes — rent and other expensive consequences of living in Washington, DC.

What song will always remind you of 2015?

Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. Girls, hit your hallelujah!

Compared to this time last year, are you:

happier or sadder? happier

richer or poorer?  Richer.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d traveled more and kept my living space a little more peaceful and orderly. I didn’t realize the effect my physical space has on me. I’m still working on this.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Work. I have a fabulous job with a great boss who really values work/life balance, but I resent the fact that I have to spend 40+ hours that doesn’t enrich me more than it does.

How did you spend Christmas?

I spent a week in Arkansas with my extended family. With the exception of my cousin that I saw a few times, I spent no time with anyone under the age of 66 the entire week. I miss the energy that the younger generation of our family brings and I got a little tired of talking about old people’s ailments. I did really appreciate the time that I had with my 93-year-old Grandmother Juanita and my 91-year-old Great Uncle Thelt (aka Thelter aka Lamar aka Teddy).

Did you fall in love in 2015?

I don’t actually know. I think I came close. I felt loving feelings while the relationship was happening. And I’m sure he felt the same way. But it was really short-lived. I still care about him a lot and he feels the same about me but we’re not in love with each other. The answer is yes. I did fall in love in 2015. Except we did not fall in love.

What was your favorite TV program?

ALWAYS SVU. ALWAYS. Also, all the Real Housewives (or any reality show on Bravo) and Project Runway.

What was the best book you read?

It has taken me so long to write this post, that I’ve finished three books since the beginning of January. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (very weird and very good), The Good Father by Noah Hawley (I was annoyed by this whiny father making his son’s life all about him, but it was wrapped up nicely), and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Holy SHIT what a great book. And that twist! I read this entire book and went to a Super Bowl party on the same day.)

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I played it close to the vest musically this year.

What did you want and get?

My effing platform to launch.

What did you want and not get?

Romantic love.

What was your favorite film of this year?

Inside Out. You have to have the sad times in order to have the happy times. Bitch, please. Don’t I know…

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

FORTY. I went to the beach with the gals and soaked up a year’s worth of Vitamin D.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Romantic love. More horizontal mambo. A dishwasher!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

I cannot claim this as my own, and I would give credit to the comedian if I could, but my personal fashion concept in 2015 was “I didn’t expect to have to get out of the car.”

What kept you sane?

My girls. Medication. Therapy. But mostly my girls.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Pretty proud of Obama for laying it all out there regarding gun control.

Who was the best new person you met?

A librarian who has the word READ tattooed on her knuckles.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for.” – Brene Brown

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

You knew it’d either be Patty Griffin or the Indigo Girls, right?

Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look

Skip to the final chapter of the book

And then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took,

To get us where we are this far, this far

But the question drowns in its futility

Even I have got to laugh at me

No one gets to miss the storm of what will be

Just holding on for the ride

No matter how much my brain wants to knowsogoddamnbadly if I’ll ever get the things I want, or if I’ll get the opportunity to go for them while I’ve still got a shot, my heart knows that I can’t flip to the last page of the book of my life. But then again, isn’t it just as easy to assume I’ll get everything I want? Wouldn’t that save me a lot of pain and heartache?