Weekend Adulting

“Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It isn’t even in the same neighborhood. No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.” 
― Erma Bombeck

A question for you kittens, inspired by a workplace conversation this week where most of my colleagues were swapping previews of exciting weekend plans and the most exciting thing I could say I was doing was cleaning more plaster out of my carpet. Are weekends deliberately fun for you, or more purposefully productive?

I ask because here is a  by no means comprehensive list of all the terribly grown up matters I saw to this weekend:

Cleaned makeup brushes, because those things get disgusting really quickly.

Handwashed jumpers and knits.

Dry cleaned Jeff’s suits and some clothing that was smothered in plaster when part of our bedroom ceiling came down on them…wince.

Did several loads of laundry.

Changed bedding.

Watered the plants.

Cleaned the kitchen. Four times, because it’s a thankless, joyless, Sisysphean task…

Caught up on reading and podcasts.

Put away some warm weather clothing, unpacked some cooler weather clothing, reorganized and color-coded my knitwear and designated a bunch of stuff for the To Be Donated pile. Possibly the most on-brand activity I could have done, to be honest.

Replaced athletic shoes and underwear (both within the limits of my No Buy spending freeze).

Cooked.

Went to the gym.

Most of my life admin takes place on the weekends, whether that’s arranging holiday travel plans, cleaning our apartment after a week of neglect, or grocery shopping. Absolutely I do fun stuff as well, but as I’ve gotten older most of my fun activities have actually shifted to weekday evenings–drinks with friends, dinner dates with Jeff, and long calls with my girls in the States–while the weekends have slowly morphed into a mix of much valued quiet time and unexciting but necessary chores to keep me steady and stable.

I have friends who are amazing at keeping their life admin constantly updated in the background so that their weekends can be devoted to fun (if not outright hedonism). Others are more like me and prefer to do chores in dedicated batches.

So which are you, and why?

Weekend Links

“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.” 
― Edward R. Murrow

I have had a spectacularly unhealthy week. Between travel for work and events, I have been eating like crap and continuing my irregular sleep schedule. Not ideal!

We are still managing the hole-in-our-ceiling situation and sleeping in our living room, but I have a weekend of quality time with Jeff, long chats with friends, and hopefully some writing planned to make up for it. Tell me how you’re spending your weekend in the comments, and let’s review the week together in the links!

The facts around journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s now almost-certain assassination are grim, but it’s equally grim watching a president (seemingly at odds with many in his own administration) try to collaborate on an acceptable and blatant cover story. All of the positive photo ops with the Secretary of State, the President vouching for the Saudi’s ability to investigate themselves, and the reports in the public domain of regional and interested parties openly deliberating ways to apply financial pressure to members of the Trump administration make this so ridiculously suspect it feels like the plot of an extremely obvious and dated spy film. But it’s real life.

Mr. Khashoggi’s last, posthumous opinion piece in the Washington Post is worth a read, if for no other reason than to pay respect to a man who literally died for what he believed.

I feel like sooner or later I’m going to have to apply the same kind of “ethical” cost analysis to my food that I once did to my shopping…

Woof, I can’t look away from the Deciem story at this point. It’s bizarre.

Good idea, from a big picture perspective, but going to be extremely difficult to do.

Our society is screwed

The final lines of this piece are extremely telling in understanding the state of our technological development and why we keep getting into trouble about it.

This whole series on The Cut is just perfection.

It is unfathomable to me how this man has been allowed to NOT recuse himself from overseeing an election in which he is running. And some of his actions aren’t even under the radar.

I don’t need green boots, but goodness Sezanne makes me want them

Not in the least bit shocked.

Anne Thériault has another installment in Queens of Infamy! 

This judicial pipeline project has been known for years, but the more that is reported on it, the worse it looks.

This piece from the New York Review of Books sums up pretty much all of my political and social concerns rather well and grimly: “No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends, the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics. A highly politicized judiciary will remain, in which close Supreme Court decisions will be viewed by many as of dubious legitimacy, and future judicial appointments will be fiercely contested. The racial division, cultural conflict, and political polarization Trump has encouraged and intensified will be difficult to heal. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and uncontrolled campaign spending will continue to result in elections skewed in an unrepresentative and undemocratic direction. Growing income disparity will be extremely difficult to halt, much less reverse…Trump is not Hitler and Trumpism is not Nazism, but regardless of how the Trump presidency concludes, this is a story unlikely to have a happy ending.”

Relevant to my October interests!

Mazel tov, you crazy kids.

The Cut is doing god’s work. What a series!

This shameful, racist shit is ugly. And it’s working on enough people, I’m disheartened to say

No matter how you lean politically, Mitch McConnell has just encapsulated the big issues of the election for a lot of voters. The tax cuts did not pay for themselves, and he does want to slash benefit programs. You either like this future or hate it. Vote as you please, but please vote, kittens.

McKay Coppins at The Atlantic drops another incredible longform profile on Newt Gingrich, delving into the man who laid the groundwork for our current political culture and believes that this is emphatically for the good.

 

Thank god for this random, sweet story from the Royal Tour. What on earth do we have the royals for if not this sort of heartwarming thing in the face of grossness?

Weekend Links

“. . . the newspapers of Utopia, he had long ago decided, would be terribly dull.” 
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey

Kittens! Friday is upon us!

A major hurricane has struck the Gulf Coast and Florida, a prominent journalist has been killed by (apparently) Saudi Arabian order, Princess Eugenie got married (wearing hella emeralds), the stock market is veering all over the place, and Taylor Swift is political now. Just another week in 2018…

Share your weekend plans with me in the comments. I’m still dealing with a collapsed ceiling and we have set up camp in the living room at the moment. It’s all very exciting and uncomfortable. Keeping a household running when you’ve lost a third of your living space and the rest has been compromised is not a walk in the park, believe me.

HIGHLY relevant to my interests, childhood and other wise.

I’m still not over the new direction of Celine.

This piece better articulates than I could ever could why the rise in social tensions (spearheaded by racist and sexist language and policy) are so frightening in the larger context of Western democracy: “…a leader can more easily create political and legal hierarchies if there are other social hierarchies.” Strongmen rise to power on the shoulders of men mobilized to hate and diminish marginalized groups.

How nationalist populism has been on the rise since the 1980s, and why it isn’t going away anytime soon.

This past week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate change was issued, and the takeaway is sobering. In terms of agricultural shifts, natural disasters, coastal region changes, and ecological damage, the scientific consensus is that we will begin tracking even more noticeable and rapid changes in the next twenty years. So, what will produce viable change? Virtue arguments about natural preservation have been only moderately effective in addressing climate change, I wonder if issues of human migration and economy are the only ways to frame the risks in ways that the current political reality will accept or engage. That doesn’t speak well of us as a species…

Friend of the Blog Caitlin Kelly wrote a reported, but also deeply personal piece for the New York Times on her experience with a scary medical scenario and the importance of touch in the medical profession.

I am so excited for this show.

Helena Fitzgerald writes for my soul.

This is a hell of a security breach to simply not tell anyone about for this long! We need to lose the narrative that big data is going to save anything, they are just as muddled as the rest of us.

Denials aside, insert the “she’s running” jokes here. Maybe not just yet, or maybe just for future Secretary of State, but she’s running for something.

I’d absolutely spend money on this.

Woof, this beauty news story keeps spiraling…

I argue the premise with this headline. The NYT story didn’t bomb, it’s relevant. Any under-reaction is further testament to the reality that rich people can get away with operating in the shades of gray because people, governments, and even law enforcement don’t care to look into the machinations and side effects of wealth in the same way that they want to police the side effects of poverty.

Hurry up and get here, already!

What an utterly bizarre article

Although, this piece thoughtfully explores, maybe being bizarre and over exposed is the point. It’s working. The president doesn’t have supporters in the old way, he has a fandom in the new. And the thing about fans is that they are, well, fanatic in their love. That’s the point.

When Things Go Wrong

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.” 
― Kurt Vonnegut

Setting aside the news (which is a heavy lift right now, believe me, I’m so angry about the state of the world I could spit venom), the past couple of weeks have been rough.

I’ve started a new contract that is really exciting and challenging, but I’m not going to lie, it’s not always easy. There are a lot of structural issues to overcome, a less than ideal staffing situation, and frankly not quite enough budget to do what I want. On my good days, I see these as problems and puzzles to solve, which my personality loves, but on rougher days I’ve had a few moments of wondering how on earth I’m going to be able to accomplish what I feel needs to be done.

Gotta laugh.

Dealing with this has thrown off the habits that are usually so good at keeping me healthy and have put me at the best personal performance that I’ve experienced in years. Stress at work has fostered an uptick in my anxiety while workload has made it harder to exercise or keep to a schedule, which has made the anxiety worse, and in turn completely upended my sleep habits.

And then, our apartment sprung another batch of leaks which flowed for a week in spite of any number of increasing irate or panicked phone calls and emails to every person we were directed towards. The flowing water kept me up at nights, exacerbating the sleep situation, a smell of damp grew which was making me ill, we had to set up rubbish bins and buckets in two rooms of our house and couldn’t use our master bathroom. Eventually I had a full blown migraine attack at work, which triggered vertigo, sensory overload awful nausea, and general embarrassment. I looked and felt like something the cat had dragged in, which is NOT how I want to present myself in the workplace…but I didn’t want to go home because goodness knows home hasn’t been a restful place.

I didn’t realize how much of a haven and safe space our apartment was until it became so badly compromised. I’ve been so proud of the house we’ve put together in this space. Having damage spread throughout which we were powerless to stop and had next to no help resolving has felt awful.

Finally, this weekend, part of our ceiling collapsed at 4 in the morning.

I. Was. Done.

We sent off some blistering emails and spent the day sorting our apartment out to the best of our ability. We got some commitments from the landlord (who, to be fair, seems like a perfectly nice man who is equally annoyed with the lack of response we’ve been getting from the two companies he pays to manage his property), and cleaned up the mess as much as we could. For the time being we’ve set up a camp-style bedroom in our living room, but if there isn’t a solution in place by Monday or a timeline to fix the damage, I’m not sure what the solution is besides finding somewhere else to sleep–temporarily or permanently. I’m tired just thinking about the potential logistics.

But weirdly,having something happen that forced me into action was really good for me. Anxiety for me often takes the form of free-floating dread and a growing since of doom that I cannot stop, resolve, or calm down about–usually about circumstances completely beyond my control. That’s the problem. I hate not being in control of things or feeling like there isn’t an action I can take in response to problems. So while the last thing I wanted in the world was a ceiling to fall in, it gave me something to do in response.

I’m not sure what this says about my eccentricities as a person. I’d ten times rather something really bad happened that requires me to do something than the swirling dread of a potential catastrophe. I’d rather the lightning bolt strike.  Which got me wondering how you, the faithful coterie, manage your stressful situations. Do you avoid? Problem solve? Preempt? Disengage? And what techniques or practices help you rebalance when a situation has thrown you off your game? Lend a girl some tips!

Weekend Links: A Bad Week

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” 
― Benjamin Franklin

Guys, it’s been a bad week.

Patriarchy and just plain bad faith and political machinations have struck a victory this week in the US Supreme Court. The last remaining bastion of the US political system that could at least claim a veneer of being apolitical has lost that veneer in this week, and we are all the worse off for it. This wasn’t an appointment process, it was a political campaign of a political operative. And it worked.

The Trumpification of the Republican party is complete and they have solidified their power in shockingly short time. This is, I believe, the 4th Justice nominated by a president who has not won the popular vote. In partisan times where we are increasingly defaulting to scorched earth politics and tirbalism, I think it’s not unreasonable to feel that this could lead to some kind of crisis of legitimacy for the court. The executive is currently unchecked, the legislative branch is out to lunch, and the legitimacy of the courts could fall into question. That feels an awful lot like a constitutional crisis.

Meanwhile, in personal news, our bedroom ceiling collapsed last night. This, after a long week of work, has been something of a final straw to my sanity and I’m logging off this weekend to deal with the subsequent cascading problems and issues required to deal with this scenario. Good luck out there, kittens, and be kind to other people.

IT BEGINS.

How great is this townhouse?!

So…the Kavanaugh investigation was an ass covering sham. Shock. Surprise. This is after the President mocked Dr. Ford at one of his rallies, which is cruel and tasteless in the extreme. Again, shock. Surprise.

Senator Susan Collins was the deciding supporter. A Crowdpac is already raising funds for her eventual seat challenger in response.

Speaking of cruel. What purpose does this serve except to be awful?

Count me among the many who cocked her head to the side at the new creative direction of the Celine brand, and said “WUT.”

Who gets to be a “good” refugee?

Whoa. I feel a bit better about my beauty habits now, but still…whoa. The statistic that Britons spend nearly £4,500 on average doesn’t actually surprise me anymore, even though I’m grateful to say I’m nowhere near that amount. I had a conversation in the last month with a bunch of women who it turns out spend just as much money as I do, but in different ways. Most of the women I know get haircuts more regularly than me, they self tan, get regular manicures. Some wax,  some get semi-permanent services like eyelash or hair extensions, some get fillers, some do absolutely none of the above. But however way you slice it, whether it’s products or procedures, it’s frighteningly easy to overspend in this category and it’s clear to me that as a society, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Caitlin Flanagan hits it out of the park again, with Henry V references, an examination of the 1980s, and how Dr. Ford’s story may have gone differently in a different age. And yet for all that… “But, for what it’s worth—probably nothing—more and more outside observers are starting to believe Ford. And more and more of Kavanaugh’s supporters are starting to move to the quiet position that he might have attacked her, but that he should not pay a price for it…

Give Indonesia a break, Mother Nature! Here are a few ways to help the victims.

Toxic masculinity is not new, not by a long shot, but this particular moment seems to have been building for a long time. This article traces some key roots to MTV’s Pick Up Artist, and the connection makes more sense than I thought when I first heard about the piece.

Reminder there are STILL children in camps and cages.

I am already on the library waitlist for Rebecca Traister’s latest book which explores female anger as a catalyst for change. This interview got me even more hyped up! This other Vox piece really spoke to me. Yes women are angry. But it would be an error to mistake that for being confused or flailing. Women’s anger is often considered a private matter, but it’s becoming permanently public.

A member of the Mormon Feminist Blogger and Literati Set wrote a powerful, personal post this week about the confluence of our shared religious heritage with the current cultural moment. It hit me RIGHT in the feelings… “The weirdest thing about writing is that I am so conditioned to not believe women, that even I don’t believe myself when I write my own stories….We don’t like to talk about those things. Nobody does–even though every single family has them. I absolutely do not blame the women of my blood for their trauma, but I do bitterly denounce them for letting white male supremacy pass on–like a genetic trait, blue eyes or impossible hair–to their children, as if it was their destiny. ”

The New York Times published a year long investigation into the realities of the Trump family’s money. It is a fascinating read and, were we living in normal times, should probably prompt investigations or at the very least calls from Congress for the president to release transparent financial information. I’ve written before about how working in a certain level of the property industry for several years made me much more aware of the shades of gray that the wealth of this world moves through–the shady but often technically legal practices and loopholes that exist and are used by interested parties to shield their money. I wasn’t at all surprised to read about the streams of income that Fred Trump used to channel wealth to his children, nor am I at all surprised to read that President Trump has probably lied about that money flow over the years. And I will not be surprised if there are next to no consequences or actions taken as a result of this reporting, I’m very sorry to say.

In purely trivial news, the Duchess of Sussex stepped out in a look that is Extremely My Aesthetic (right down to the Gabrielle Hearst bag that I loved and secretly longed for for years and can NEVER afford). The Fug Girls are on the case!

I’m not the first to make this observation, but can you imagine the political right’s reaction if President Obama had this capability? The conspiracy theories and comparison to 1984 would have been through the roof. In related news, never have I been as glad to not have a US mobile phone!

Banksy did his usual thing.

And finally, fuck right off, Senator.

September Accountability

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” 
― Joe Biden

As part of my self accountability in monitoring my spending for the rest of the year, here’s the summary of what I bought this month and why.

Actually, let the record show, this was a pretty good month. I had to do a lot of travel for work, which mean eating on the road, but I’m lucky to be able to expense those meals. We have gotten a bit lazy and sloppy with cooking, which is going to be a big goal over the next month instead, as is exercise, which is something that fell off the radar over the past couple of weeks as I’ve dealt with a dust up of hormones and anxiety. You are never 100% in all areas of your life, but in terms of self control, I’m doing pretty well of late. I credit good friends and effective habit building.

Justifiable purchases: Another humble trouser purchase was required as yet another pair of work pants bit the dust…but as if in answer to a prayer from the sartorial gods, my beloved Everlane finally opened their wares to international shipping! I picked up this pair of fairly reasonably priced trousers and have been extremely happy with the fit.

Less justifiable purchases: I did not, however, strictly need the jumper that also wended its way onto my Everlane checkout screen. I’m calming myself down immediately but come January I will definitely be making another purchase, probably of their ethical cashmere or silk lines.

Takeaway orders: 3 because the Small Dog fam got absolutely lazy this month. SHAME.

Small wins: I did not succumb to a 30% off coupon for a skincare product that I’d definitely like, but do not need until I use up other items in my bathroom cupboard. I also have not, as yet, succumbed to the temptation of Sezane’s fall collection launch–which is difficult because a lot of it is exactly my aesthetic right now.