the thanksgiving dilemma.

In April when all of this COVID stuff started and people were sad about not being able to get together for Easter, I was like “HAHA TOO BAD, EASTER SUX ANYWAY!” But now that it’s November and one of my favorite (although admittedly problematic) holidays is here, my mind and heart are consumed by the Thanksgiving dilemma.

The Thanksgiving dilemma is this: do I or don’t I go home for Thanksgiving?

A simple decision, of course.

JUST KIDDING IT’S NOT SIMPLE AT ALL.

I spent the better part of last week in a complete and utter frenzy. I only referred to it as a “frenzy” so it sounded fun and quirky to my boyfriend. It was actually a full on, days long panic attack.

It was incredibly difficult to decide what to do, as there were many factors and considerations and sources of information.

I was lucky enough to go home a ton of times over the summer and into the fall, when the “numbers” we’ve all grown to obsess over were down and things were a little calmer. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to do this, you don’t even know. Okay I’ll tell you: it was heaven on earth to go home all those times. I love home!

Yes I still refer to my parents’ house in Milford, NJ as “home.” Sue me.

So in considering if I should go home for Thanksgiving, one of my thoughts was, “I’ve already been home so much and it’s fine!”

But like…is it fine?

Then I decided I was going to get some COVID tests. We have them for free in Jersey City and I think it’s a great thing! And they should be free everywhere! MAKE THEM FREE NOW.

On Thursday last week I got a test, and I was planning on getting one on Tuesday 11/24. That seemed like enough time! Everyone I know that has gone back to work in person, mostly people who work in TV, get COVID tests weekly and then they are cleared to work. In my mind if a negative test was good enough for them and a green light to work, then it was good enough for me and a green light to go home.

BUT IT WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. As the days went by I saw more info graphics and articles shared and more memes about killing one’s grandma and I started to panic. I’m going to spare you and not share them here, but you can find them quickly if you look. Apparently even if you get a negative test it is NOT an “all clear” to go party with high risk people, like my grandma and uncle and my parents and my pregnant sister.

A few weeks ago it was my birthday, and I invited some friends to have outside drinks. One friend replied with, “We’re laying low until Thanksgiving so we can see my grandparents.” Of course I respected and honored their choice and would never mock it, but I did feel like it was unnecessarily cautious. The get together was on November 14th and Thanksgiving was so far away!

Narrator: Thanksgiving was NOT far away. Here comes the Thanksgiving dilemma!

In order for you to not catch COVID and not give it to other people, it’s recommended that you stay in your house and self quarantine for at least 14 days before getting together with people indoors. I think you can probably go for walks but you definitely can’t go out and have drinks, even if it’s outside. And you probably shouldn’t be going to workout classes, as I’ve been doing.

My friend was wise, and I totally blew it. Mostly because I’m bad at math.

The CDC actually says you should quarantine if you’ve been “in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.” But like, if you’re out in the world, HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW?!

So this realization coupled with the realization that a negative test isn’t a green light and compounded by all of the “you’re gonna kill your grandma” memes really set me over the edge. Like, pushed me to the brink of my very sanity. I was not well. In my mind. But like who is?

My main concern, as always, is NOT being sick myself, but in making someone else sick. OR, finding out I’m sick after I’ve been around people and then having to TELL THEM and have like a “SERIOUS CONVERSATION” about it. I want to avoid that at all costs. That sounds like my worst nightmare.

The fear of me getting it myself is far less than the fear of infecting someone else. THAT is the shit that keeps me up at night. And always has.

Maybe I shouldn’t bring this up but I guess I will for what I think is a valuable comparison: I say “always has” because when I was single and dating and out in the world or whatever there was always the specter of STDs lurking in the background. And you had to have “the conversation.” And it was sickening and annoying.

(Side note: Don’t even get me started on how STDs are stigmatized and pretty much social suicide in our society for no good reason other than Puritanism and sex shaming and THE PATRIARCHY and if you get a cold or something and give it to someone there isn’t ANY social stigma and that doesn’t seem right. Like in both versions you got sick and someone else got sick from you. Either be okay with it or don’t be okay with it but please choose to give people a hard time about both illnesses equally if that’s what you’re gonna do. But that’s for another time.)

And if we didn’t have “the conversation” it would still be hanging over me, stressing me out, making me feel weird, causing me many sleepless nights. I really let the rumination get to that level. It added to my obsession with going to the doctor. I got so many tests and so frequently that my insurance company had to ask WTF was wrong with me. It was in a letter, I threw it out.

What I’m saying is, if you don’t have sex you won’t get STDs. It’s that simple. Of course there are ways to protect yourself AND YOU SHOULD but the risk is always there. But with COVID, there’s no way to truly get away from it if you’re just trying to live your life at a very basic level. There’s not a specific activity you can identify that’s going to give it to you. You know what is a higher risk and a lower risk, but it’s still everywhere and you don’t even have to touch anyone to be exposed to it.

Like, I just want to go outside, go to workout class, drink a beer with pals. I’ll wear the mask, I’ll do the sanitizer, I’ll stay away from people. AND I DO. But it’s still not 100% safe unless you hide in your house for the ordained amount of time and that’s just the way it is.

Now that COVID is a part of life it’s often necessary to have “the conversation” with the people around you. Like, “Have you been outside? Have you been inside? Have you taken off your mask? Did you go to an indoor party? Have you been tested? WHEN WAS YOUR LAST TEST?“

I find “the conversation” just as terrifying and annoying in a COVID context as an STD context. I will DO IT but I will not LIKE IT. Beyond just collecting the facts, in subtext it calls into question so many abstract, subjective things. Gray area things, like your “morality.”

Who is to say what is actually “moral”?! Perception is reality! I hope I’ve made it clear that I don’t care what anyone thinks and I never have and never will. No one can tell me what to do or judge/shame me into doing or not doing something. I cannot be stopped. But in this case, I was a little worried. Maybe not so much because I cared about people’s opinions, but more because it was important to me to be seen as a good example and someone who believes in science and is responsible. I was concerned about the COMMUNITY OVERALL AND MY CONTRIBUTION TO IT.

Also there’s no way I could have happily shared a Thanksgiving with my family on social media and avoided SOME type of persecution. And if it’s not on Instagram it didn’t happen so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And so it went, for days on end, back and forth in my mind. Agonizing and struggling over the decision. Afraid to talk to any of my friends about it because if they had an opinion one way or another I felt it would stress me out more.

In the end, my mom made the call and ended the Thanksgiving dilemma. She was also going back and forth, but I think she felt like someone needed to make a decision, so she did. AND I AM SO GRATEFUL.

I REALLY COULD NOT HANDLE IT ANOTHER SECOND.

My mom graciously volunteered that she would still make the food and my dad would come drop it off. If that is not the most mom thing ever, I don’t know what is. But I DO know that I am super excited to eat the food!

Of course it won’t be the same, eating the food alone in my apartment with my boyfriend. But I guess it’s the best I can ask for this year. I think it’s okay to say that I’m still disappointed. Because I am. I’m not going to pretend that it was easy and I’m also not going to pretend that I feel 100% okay about this choice.

But a choice was made and I’m going with it. And I’ll just drink a ton of Irish coffees and mimosas tomorrow AS IS TRADITION and won’t let it make me too sad.

AND I won’t have to watch football because my dad won’t be in charge of MY TV. Yesssssss.

Please know that I support any of your Thanksgiving choices…I think. I know it was a really hard decision for me and it took days to really make peace with it. The Thanksgiving dilemma was easy for no one. So my heart goes out to you, whatever you and your family have decided.

Happy Thanksgiving, stay happy and healthy. I’ll delve into the issue of whether or not I want to eat turkey next year. Because it’s a big one.

banana pudding.

Last year we attended a Friendsgiving and our favorite thing there was this banana pudding one of our friends made.

IT WAS INCREDBLE.

So this year we asked her for the recipe and then I made it.

AND IT WAS EVERY BIT AS INCREDIBLE.

It’s a Paula Deen recipe and I realize that’s problematic and I’m sorry. But it’s also a very good recipe so we can just pretend my friend actually made it up and forget about Paula altogether.

Paula who?

Exactly.

This recipe starts with a foundation of Chessmen cookies. These are holiday Chessmen and I didn’t realize it until I got them home and I feel really silly about it but they taste the same.

Then you make a layer of bananas. Because this is banana pudding.

Then you mix up vanilla pudding mix and milk and condensed milk and maybe something else I forgot.

Oh! There was cream cheese involved too.

CURVEBALLS – I used one packet of French vanilla and one packet of banana cream pudding and I was pleased with the results. Also, I used vanilla almond milk as the milk and it tasted great. According to me.

Once that stuff is mixed you have to “fold” in some Cool Whip.

First of all, I had no idea how to thaw Cool Whip in a reasonable amount of time and I felt all was lost and I wasn’t going to be able to make this recipe and I totally panicked. But I googled it and you can thaw Cool Whip in a bowl of room temperature water and it only takes like 30mins.

Oh.

Second, I had to figure out how to “fold” the Cool Whip into the rest of the mixture. After some reading and searching I came to the answer that “folding” is “gently mixing” and I think they could have just said that. Either way I learned a new baking skill!

Before “folding in” the cool whip.

You put that pudding on top of the bananas, then more chessmen on the top, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

This stuff turned out so good and it was so easy. That sounds obnoxious but I feel it’s necessary to tell the truth here. And the truth is, it was life changing.

pigeons aren’t rats but rats are also okay.

YOU GUYS. Earlier today I heard someone call a group of pigeons “rat birds” and look at them in disgust and I had to do everything in my power not to flip every table in sight.

Luckily there were no tables in sight

Pigeons are intelligent and can be trained to DELIVER MESSAGES. This is such an uncanny ability that we don’t even REALLY KNOW how they do it. Like science HAS NOT FULLY FIGURED IT OUT.

These birds are a marvel of the natural world, just like everything in the natural world, and they deserve your RESPECT, my friends.

I know that people see pigeons as “dirty” or “messy,” and they are. All birds are. But do you know who else is dirty and/or messy? HUMANS. And if you don’t believe that you’ve never seen the episode of Mad Men where they go on a picnic on the side of the highway and when they leave they just shake all the garbage off their picnic blanket and leave it there.

Currently doing a Mad Men re-watch.

Humans make a mess all over the place. They’re gross and they smell bad. I pretty much hate us but we’re not different from other animals in that respect.

I do understand that many people fear pigeons, and birds overall. They hang out in gangs and they fly around erratically. I get it that it seems like one might get tangled up in your hair or go to the bathroom on you. Or go to the bathroom in your hair.

And yes, that HAPPENS. But I will submit that having a pigeon go to the bathroom on you is way less gross than changing a human baby’s diaper or a dog making a bathroom mess in your house. The pigeon stuff seems like the easiest to clean up and deal with quickly, in my opinion.

Ugh. Bathroom stuff. Ew.

Also birds are essentially dinosaurs. But instead of FEARING that, I’m calling upon you to EMBRACE it.

Don’t even get me started on how people talk about rats. Actiually I’m already started so here we go.

FIRST OF ALL, it is rude as hell to describe a pigeon as a “rat” with a disdainful and disrespectful tone. It is ALSO rude to the rat.

VERY RUDE TO THE RAT.

I don’t need to show you “Templeton at the Fair” yet another time to get you to be cool with rats, do I?

Okay here it is just in case.

But like, rats are fine. Get over it already. Yes they crawl on the ground so they attract a ton of germs. But liking them or at least thinking they’re “okay” doesn’t mean you’re going to like, go up to them and lick them or something. Just allow them to occupy the space. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE SECRET OF NIMH?!

HAVE SOME RESPECT.

THIS WHOLE PART TERRIFIES ME TO THIS DAY.

They do medical tests on rats because THEY ARE VERY SIMILAR TO US. Their bodies age the same way. Disease affects them the same way. Even their little brains react to scientists messing with them in the VERY SAME WAY that our little brains react to scientists messing with them.

It’s important stuff.

Rats have done us a great service AND THEY CONTINUE to show up for us in the lab. Even though they don’t know that they’re “showing up” and they didn’t choose to be there. Either way we owe them.

Enough about the lab rats because the rats that live on these streets are also pretty badass. First of all they’re not even FROM here, they came here on BOATS, just like people. I like to imagine it was a real Fievel’s family in An American Tail vibe but yes you’re right those were mice not rats.

Personally I get a big thrill whenever a rat runs across the sidewalk or wanders over the PATH tracks or tumbles into view screeching while locked into a rat-battle with one of its rat brethren. It’s the circle of life. And it…moves us all.

In conclusion, pigeons aren’t rats but rats are also okay. I could have made all of these facts up and I encourage you to fact check them BUT I ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU TO IMMEDIATELY RESPECT BOTH PIGEONS AND RATS.

thx.

*I’ve included some pigeon and rat photos from my cherished personal collection. JK I don’t have any good rat photos. They move too fast!

flat rock brook birds of prey presentation.

This past weekend, during what I considered my birthday weekend and therefore an extension of my birthday, I attended a Flat Rock Brook birds of prey presentation in Ercel Webb Park.

IT WAS INCRED. I love birds and birding and all things bird and have been waiting for the opportunity to see one of these presentations. I saw their recent presentations at Lincoln Park and another park I forgot on social media and couldn’t wait for the chance to go to one myself.

THIS WAS MY CHANCE.

I do think that these presentations are probably intended for children and like…FINE. But I signed up and I went and I saw some birds and you’re never too old to learn something new and hang out with birds. Deal with it.

On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Ercel Webb Park and I was super pumped. First of all in my mind this particular park was called “Lafayette Park” because it’s by Lafayette Pool/Aquatic Center/whatever. I feel like I have even referred to it as “Lafayette Park” and other people have known what I was talking about.

It’s not called “Lafayette Park.” Sorry.

JK I LOOKED IT UP AND IT IS REFERRED TO AS “LAFAYETTE PARK” IN A LOT OF PLACES ON THE INTERNET. There must be some kind of transfer of power/responsibility going on but I’ll have to look into that another time because THIS IS ABOUT THE BIRDS. But PS “Friends of Ercel Webb Park” helped get this event going and introduced the birds and bird pros.

As I was walking over I saw two hawks flying over MLK Drive. I am NOT LYING, they were there. I don’t know what kind but I DO know they weren’t seagulls or turkey vultures because I checked. I CHECKED. So I was super pumped that I saw some birds on my way to see more birds.

When I arrived at the park I saw that they had a cute little pumpkin patch set up for the kids. Since I AM a kid and I had registered myself for the event I took a pumpkin and I don’t regret it. I love pumpkins.

They provided Thanksgiving stickers to put on the pumpkin which I felt was very inclusive and respectful to this most valuable but often ignored November holiday. Great work!

After securing my pumpkin and stickers I proceeded to an open area where there were circles spray painted on the grass, 6ft apart. This was the first place I saw circles like this in person! I’ve seen pics of them doing it in parks in NYC but never experienced it for real and I liked it.

I laid out my blanket, put some turkey stickers on my pumpkin, and took out some knitting to work on while I waited impatiently for the birds to be revealed.

They really built up the suspense with the bird reveal because they had the birds in dark boxes! I’m no expert but I do know that birds feel safe and calm and probably like it’s time to take a nap when they’re in a dark, enclosed space. My pet budgie really likes it and I think he’s qualified to tweet for all birds.

It felt like actual years went by but it was finally time to take the birds out and I’ll tell you all about what I learned!

tilly – eastern screech-owl.

Tilly the Eastern Screech-Owl was napping HARD when they took her out of her box. Since she’s nocturnal it was during her sleep time.

Tilly ended up with Flat Rock Brook because she got attacked by a cat and is blind in one eye. She wouldn’t be able to live her badass screech owl life in the wild, so she lives a badass screech owl life as a bird ambassador and I think that seems okay with her.

During Tilly’s time in the spotlight she started to wake up and move around a little and she was really, REALLY cute.

But also a fierce predator that dines on small rodents and insects. YUM.

Toward the end they played a screech owl sound for us. They said they were going to play it before they played it and I was like “OMG Tilly is gonna LOSE IT!” because that’s what my pet bird does when I play pet bird sounds.

Tilly did not lose it and actually didn’t even notice. I guess she’s just too cool for school.

titus – american kestrel.

Titus, on the other hand, LOST IT. As soon as they took him out of his little box he was yelling and flapping and seemed completely outraged.

Sorry I couldn’t get a good pic of Titus but he was a lovely bird.

Kestrels as a species maybe get a little outraged sometimes, I’m not sure. They’re a type of falcon and were described as “feisty.” They’re common in cities, so be on the lookout!

I also learned that Titus was hit by a car and had one wing that didn’t heal correctly so he couldn’t be released back into the wild. Because he can’t fly. HE IS A BIRD AND CAN’T FLY. HOW RUDE OF THE WORLD.

Honestly I think he’s still pretty pissed about it and I guess I would be too.

jones – red tailed hawk.

Jones! Hello! I love you!

Before they took Jones out they were like, “Just want to warn you, this thing is huge.” And they took her out and SHE WAS HUGE.

I’m used to seeing these guys in the sky in the field behind my parents’ house, up in tall trees at Lincoln Park, and in every state I’ve ever traveled, soaring over the highway. They’re all around!

But it’s super nuts to see one so close because they are ENORMOUS. So large and beautiful and perfect and asking to be my best friend.

Sure!

Loving. It.

Poor Jones was shot by a shotgun and honestly if I remember correctly I have met other hawks that were similarly disrespected. LIKE WHY?!

Additionally Jones has a female Red-tailed Hawk friend named Ramona she lives with, and SHE got hit by a car. I’m so glad there’s a place for the birds to live that will take care of them and watch out for them and also bring them out into the community to hang out with me and other children.

josephine – great horned owl.

Josephine the Great Horned Owl was hurt by garbage humans in a slightly different way. She was found as an owlet, and because she was very, very young, she imprinted on the (not owlet professional caregivers) people that were taking care of her and never learned how to live that owl life.

So now she needs human assistance to live some kind of owl/person hybrid life. SHE IS LIVING A LIE.

But she was very beautiful. VERY. And the most amiable of all the bird ambassadors, I guess because she was the most comfortable around humans and/or didn’t feel like taking a nap like Tilly.

They talked a bit about bird body language with Josephine, I think as a way to highlight how comfortable she seemed compared to the other guys. She really was just hangin out, owling around. And stuff.

I study my pet bird’s body language very closely and I think he wants me to get out of his face most of the time so I found this part very interesting.

And then it was over! It went by so fast! It also started to get cold as the sun went behind the buildings around the park, so I was ready to pack it up and go home.

I can’t wait for there to be another bird presentation in a local Jersey City park. I don’t care if it’s the same birds and bird pros and the same presentation with the same information, I will go INFINITE TIMES.

MAYBE I’LL SEE YOU THERE.

the salt box.

This past weekend I went home to visit my parents and we then drove two hours to visit my brother and his family. During this long and arduous journey we passed by a cute little spot called The Salt Box on 611 in Plumstead, PA.

Where is Plumstead, PA? It’s in Bucks County (don’t worry, as far as PA goes, they voted for the good of the US and the world). It’s also right across the Delaware River from NJ and close to my parents’ house SO I’M GOING BACK FOR MORE.

Is it actually in Doylestown? Maybe. I don’t know. They’re next to each other.

The Salt Box was a combo establishment, of hot pretzels and homemade ice cream. A sweet and salty snacking paradise, if you ask me. I really, REALLY want to try the ice cream so I’ll say it again, I’m going back for more.

But this time we only tried the pretzels.

We got a ton of regular pretzels but we also got an EVERYTHING pretzel. I enjoyed the everything pretzel but I do think the basic bitch pretzel kind are best. And they were still warm!

In addition to the ice cream I also didn’t get to try these BREAKFAST SANDWICHES ON A PRETZEL. HOLY &*$% I CAN’T BELIEVE IT YOU GUYS. They looked incredible. They were making all the fried egg parts on a little griddle. I need to go back for one of those too.

Overall the place was adorbs and had a cute little milk truck outside. A for show milk truck. A TO TAKE PICS OF MILK TRUCK.

They also did a good job keeping things socially distant, everyone was wearing masks and they had cute little pretzel illustrations on the floor.

All of the foods were protected by glass or plastic or whatever those clear divider surfaces are made of.

The Salt House was a delicious and fantastic Pennsylvania detour and I’m really happy about it.

AND I’LL BE BACK.

john g. slaby’s slow summer macadam at deep space gallery.

This past weekend we attended the opening for John G. Slaby’s show “Slow Summer Macadam” at Deep Space Gallery and it was the highlight of our Saturday night.

I’ll go ahead and say it: Saturday was the best day of our collective lives in 4 years. Things are looking up! It was also a beautiful day weather-wise in the northeast. People were out and about, and they were PUMPED. An art opening was the perfect place to be!

And the art was GREAT. I’m no profesh and my opinion does not matter but as a casual art observer I was INTO IT.

skies.

Almost all of the pieces I really enjoyed had some aspect of a colorful sky in them. Like a super bright cloudless blue or a post-sunset twilight pink/purple. The paint colors for the skies took me to A PLACE.

animals.

Many of the pieces of art had animals! You know how I feel about animals, you guys. So each of the following pieces of art will come with an unsolicited personal story about an animal or two. You’re welcome.

Bats!

This one with the bats was my most favorite in the whole show. I LOVE THESE BATS. Maybe it’s because I’m still feeling a residual “spooky time of the year” feeling. It’s a good feeling to feel.

Part of the theme of the show was this nostalgia regarding growing up in a rural/suburban kind of place and being out and about with pals getting into trouble or wishing there was maybe just a tiny bit of trouble to get into but it was too boring for even that to happen. I guess that’s my personal interpretation of that kind of nostalgia. BUT part of being outside when the night falls and you’re hoping for some (good) trouble is that the bats start to come out! Like they’re flying around in their super fun erratic way and you’re like, “THE NIGHT HAS ARRIVEDDDDD!”

Also I just learned a bit about bats in a webinar I attended a couple of weeks ago that Wild Bird Fund put on. Completely unrelated to art but I learned some cool stuff about bats and what “torpor” means and what to do if you find a sleepy/injured/acting weird bat to help it. So like, I’m flying high on bats right now.

Bird nest and mouse!

My second favorite painting was this one of a “School” sign featuring a huge mess a bird made just by living there and a cute little mouse looking on in the bottom corner.

I just love how the bird nest is all haphazard and the bird(s) just went to the bathroom all over the whole thing. Because that’s what birds do. I love birds but they’re a huge mess.

It’s a super mundane every day thing, the bird mess on a public building, and I found a weird comfort in looking at that. Kind of like when I see pigeons roosting (also making a HUGE mess) under the awnings over top of bodega windows. Birds are just hanging out and watching us and making a mess. That’s their life.

The tiny mouse peeking in also made me glad. I currently have a mouse in my house and for now he’s my friend. He hasn’t eaten anything or chewed anything or even made a mess so I’m not mad at him. I also only see him once a week or so. Anyway I love the mouse. Yes, I knowingly live with a mouse. I SAID he stays out of the way. Deal with it.

The last of the animal friend paintings I noticed was this one that includes a TON of animal friends looking on.

I talked to Slaby a little about the animals and how much I loved them and he mentioned he included them because animals are always around and observing us. And he’s right! I love that. I don’t know what else to say besides, “I love that.” Hopefully that’s enough. Even in a city the animals are always around.

This painting looked like it had raccoons in it and I was like, “I have two raccoons that live on my roof and hang out on my fire escape!” Then I realized that sounds weird. Maybe. But then the artist was like, “Yeah raccoons are cool, they’re so BAD.” But like good bad because they are HILARIOUS and ADORABLE. I said the “hilarious and adorable” part inside my head but I feel we were on the same page regarding general raccoon bad-assery and I was pleased.

scary catholic.

“Scary Catholic” is a genre of art I invented and some of Slaby’s art in this show fit the description. Maybe I didn’t invent it. I don’t know. Google it.

There was a small section of “Scary Catholic” that looked different from the other art. I believe he said it was inspired by a childhood of Catholic school and altar boy duties.

The artist graciously welcomes chatting next to the Scary Catholic.

One of the pieces was a rosary made out of skateboard wheels, YOU KNOW I loved that.

But “Scary Catholic” is scary because Catholicism is scary to me. Religion in general is terrifying but Catholicism does a good job of making stuff look super creepy and sometimes bloody. But also very richly colored! Which makes it art!

This leather jacket is so badass but I’m still scared of the Jesus. Or whoever.

influence.

I’m totally going to paraphrase because I had a few drinks and didn’t write this down, but another topic Slaby was kind enough to discuss with us was the concept of influence and how certain ideas/cultures end up in places that seem unlikely. He talked about growing up near Wilkes-Barre, PA in the 90s before the internet as we know it now, and how it took “someone visiting their cousin in the city and then bringing it back” for him and his friends to learn more about skateboarding culture.

This was relatable, as I also lived in the middle of nowhere with limited outside influence and I remember the first time I made friends with kids from Bergen County at Rutgers and I was like “Where are they GETTING these clothes because I NEED them” <Goes to Garden State Plaza for the first time in 2004 and buys all of Bebe>. I mean skateboarding and North Jersey Mall Culture are two completely different things but like, I GET it. It has to come from somewhere, when you’re from nowhere. And that was a mind blowing thing to make art about.

macadam.

I should have asked about this as well but I had no idea what “macadam” meant. I googled it just now and it says “Because of the historic use of macadam as a road surface, roads in some parts of the United States (as parts of Pennsylvania) are often referred to as macadam, even though they might be made of asphalt or concrete.” So I guess that makes sense. There was one piece that was very… road inspired. PS Pennsylvania is HAVING A MOMENT right now.

I really liked the texture!

And I guess you do need asphalt/concrete/macadam for the skateboarding. As I’ve said before I’m a skateboarding admirer to the core but I don’t REALLY know anything about it.

So that was the show! I also got these really fun skull stickers. Not part of the show, but now part of my life.

John G. Slaby’s Slow Summer Macadam is at Deep Space Gallery until 11/29. Slide into their DMs on Instagram at @deepspacejc to set up a time to visit and GET UR BUTT THERE.

chicken spaghetti outfit.

I haven’t done a post of an outfit for a long time because I never get good feedback on posts of outfits. It’s always, “No one cares about you in outfits.”

But you know what? I care about me in outfits. And it’s fun. And I have nothing to really live for right now. So here’s a post about an outfit.

I tried to take some pictures with my mom’s chickens because I love them and they are my friends. At least I thought they were my friends until I tried to get them to participate in these photos.

And they didn’t.

They really enjoy spaghetti! Usually…

The chickens didn’t show much interest in spaghetti during the time I was taking the photos. Once I stopped taking the photos they were once again interested.

Let’s just say the chickens were being straight up bitches.

Beyond the lack of cooperation from my fellow models, I enjoy this outfit and it was fun to put together.

I love these boots because they’re very high and make it a little “fancy” but they’re super chunky and therefore comfortable. They’re from H&M.

20% off everything — no code needed! We’re kicking off Black Friday today! Shop safe, shop smart, shop early.

This leopard blazer sweater from JCrew is probably my favorite addition to my closet this fall. I rented one similar to it from Rent the Runway last year and I’m glad to own one now.

I dislike wearing my hair up but a woman waiting in line for the bathroom with me last night told me I “look like Lady Gaga” so that was a nice perk and I’ll take it. If I DO wear it up I think a headband def helps. This is also from JCrew.

Of course it’s only appropriate to wear Jersey City shirts while away from Jersey City, and this is one of my old favorites from Kanibal.

The pants are linen pants and they’re pretty loose. I’ve gained a lot of weight in the past 6 months so loose is the way to go when it comes to pants, thanks.

Glad to be back talking about my outfits think I’ll do it some more soon you’re welcome.

baonanas.

Times are tough, anxiety is at a record high overall for everyone according to science, and everything pretty much sucks. So, I’d like to write about something that brings me joy and that is Baonanas.

Baonanas is Jersey City born and raised banana pudding and frankly it’s everything that’s right with the world.

I personally love banana pudding and would put it in my top 3 favorite desserts, right next to vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and coconut sprinkled on top, and any chocolate based ice cream. It is that good.

The combo of incredibly sweet bananas, made so sweet by nature alone, combined with ‘nilla wafers and some kinda pudding stuff, is truly bliss in a cup. And Baonanas serves it with a fun little wooden spoon! So you can eat it slower! So you can feel like there is MORE.

Baonanas first came into my life when I got it at the sadly defunct Jersey City WORD bookstore cafe. I was just there for my usual black Stumptown cold brew, I SWEAR, and I spotted banana pudding in their cooler. And I was like <screams maniacally and disturbs the whole store> “IS THAT BANANA PUDDING?!”

Yes, yes it was.

For a long time I just got it there! It was right by where I lived! It was great!

Eventually I ended up at the famed weekend feast know as Smorgasburg (orgasburg, orgasburg) in Brooklyn and Baonanas was there!

Once again doing my best to make this a relevant and respected cultural reference for the whole world, not just inside my own head. thx.

I was so excited to tell my Brooklyn and NYC pals they were from JC!

SUCK IT, BROOKLYN.

JKJK I like Brooklyn but this banana pudding is fully JERSEY’S, thank you.

They have a spot in Harborside Financial Center and I’m not really ever over there so I haven’t gone. But I HAVE gotten delivery from there. Yes they deliver! It’s magical.

But the best news OF ALL is that they now have a full-on brick and mortar flagship store on Monticello Ave.

I moved up to “The Hill” from downtown a couple of years ago and it’s different, as far as food and drink options are concerned. You have to work a little harder to find them but they’re there. And I’m so glad Baonanas is one of them!

I think where they’re located is considered McGinley Sq, but it’s a short 10min walk from my home in The Hill and I’m very glad about it. I went over there a couple of weekends ago, on my way to drop off my ballot, to sit outside and enjoy a special fruity drink and some OG Baonanas.

The OG Baonanas is the best! They have a ton of different fun flavors, but I always go back to the OG. As I said above, a traditional banana pudding rounds out my top 3 most favorite desserts and I’m obsessed with dessert so that is REALLY saying something.

Their shop on Monticello is super adorable and very yellow. Like sunshine! And bananas…I guess. There is a sign hanging outside that is painted over yellow that I believe is an old Breyer’s Ice Cream sign maybe? I’m not sure but I love that they kept the old sign. I love an old sign I’m not kidding.

It was incredibly nice to sit outside on Monticello as well. I believe they also have music out there on the weekends. I didn’t see any when I was there and it may be done now because the impending doom of winter is upon us. But I know they did it most weekends when it was warm out.

As of this posting we still don’t have the President we want so you may be in need of a treat…I know I am. So go check out Baonanas! It’s delish! As I said they’re in Harborside Financial Center, and their McGinley Sq locaish/HQ is at 181 Monticello Ave. GO. GO NOW. GO BAONANASSSSS.

Social distancing and safety! 💕

ghost of uncle joe’s 2020.

I went to Ghost of Uncle Joe’s 2020 on Saturday evening and it…was fun. That’s all I really have to say about it as I 100% dropped the ball on taking notes. I didn’t even get any acceptable photos.

What a nightmare.

The event itself wasn’t a nightmare. Just my handling of it as a classically trained journalist. Even thought blogs aren’t journalism and no one should ever believe they are.

UNLESS YOU MEAN LIKE A SPOOKY HALLOWEEEEEN NIGHTMAREEE?!

Because it WAS that.

If you would like more in-depth, researched, and professional coverage of Ghost of Uncle Joe’s as a whole please see my post from last year.

As for this year I will say: I loved the Jimmy Eat World cover band. Like give me Jimmy Eat World in any capacity and I will be fully satisfied.

I also loved the cool backdrops to take photos in front of. I should have tried harder to get good photos but I didn’t and that’s on me. The backdrops provided were fantastic and I could have probably gotten some fun stuff.

The event was BYOB which I also loved but maybe that contributed to me not taking good notes or photos. I did drink like three homemade iced Irish coffees and no less than 26 Michelob Ultras.

Finally, they had a fun little cartoon ghost mascot wearing a leather jacket this year and OBVIOUSLY I’m obsessed with his cute little cartoon ass so I got a tote bag with him on it. And that was a victory.

That’s all I got. Sorry.

peacock costume.

In my mind nothing can really top last year’s Ms. Frizzle costume. But this year I had some fun making a peacock costume.

Halloween is different this year! Everything is different this year! We have to do the best we can! Overall, Halloween was a welcome distraction from all of the lame crap going on: COVID, the election, the end of the world as we know it.

I decided on a peacock costume for three reasons:

  1. I’m obsessed with birds.
  2. I’ve been really into a blue and green color palette lately.
  3. I thought it would be relatively easy to create a peacock costume on my own. “Easy” as in high reward with not much effort.

the materials.

My interpretation of a peacock required the following materials:

Blue Bodysuit – I selected a bodysuit with long legs and sleeves because it’s going to be incredibly freezing today.

Blue Wig – Wigs are really fun to wear and I wanted an excuse to wear one, even though peacocks don’t technically wear blue wigs or really have any blue features on their heads at all.

Blue Ribbon – I was afraid I didn’t get enough and in the end I actually really didn’t get enough and would get way more if I ever do this or something like this again.

Not enough.

Peacock Feathers – Duh.

Duh.

Peacock Fan – I thought this would be a fun way to mimic the “tail” and also give me the opportunity to carry around and use a prop. I LOVE A PROP. This fan can also be used for other future fun fancy events! If it doesn’t get lost in the graveyard tonight. TBD.

Face Rhinestones – I have never used these before so we’ll see what happens.

Blue/Green Glitter – It has been a year since I got this glitter on sale at Target and it has been floating around in my Caboodle and getting in my way this whole time. Very excited to finally use it. And yes that link is to the pink/purple version. They’re out of blue I guess. Not my problem.

Feathery False Eyelashes – No idea how these are going to work. I may not even be able to figure it out. We’ll see.

construction.

I constructed the costume last night and as I predicted it required minimal effort. There was only one part of it that required construction, the feathery part.

I just cut the ribbon to make a “belt” and then cut more pieces of ribbon to tie peacock feathers onto the “belt.”

Essentially making a peacock “tail.”

Keep in mind this is technically the “tail” of a male peacock so in a way this is peacock drag. Dude birds are just prettier and therefore better to model costumes after. It’s not my fault.

Perhaps a hot glue gun would have been more effective but I got the wrong size glues for mine last year and then never got the right size glues. I’m no craft master and never claimed to be one, you guys.

That’s it! Not going to post the finished product until later. So get excited. Or something.