scared to hold babies.

I just want to make it clear that I’m very scared to hold babies. Like very, very scared. If you’re also scared to hold babies please raise your hand and don’t feel bad. I think it’s a completely normal thing.

Babies are so small! How do they even live?! As soon as they’re born, no longer protected by the fleshy cocoon of their mom’s body, it’s like the whole world is very dangerous.

The whole world IS very dangerous. And filled with peril. AND ALSO FILLED WITH TERRORS.

When I hold a baby it feels like I am tasked with protecting them from all of these worldly terrors and as their assigned protector for that moment I am solely responsible for their well-being and whether they live or die. The responsibility of this task is far too heavy to bear and I quickly become very panicked and stressed.

I have a method in place for holding babies and it involves me sitting in a large and very safe chair with both arms supported. I then assume a rigid cradling position with my arms and await the next step. It’s necessary for my mom or another responsible adult to then safely place the baby in my arms and then I will sit very still so as not to disturb them and/or inadvertently cause their demise.

Unfortunately babies, even if born yesterday, are certainly no fools and they quickly catch on to my vibe of general uneasiness and terror. I only ever hold them for like 5 minutes before they realize that I’m completely freaked out and inadequate and they start to cry. Once this occurs I call for my mom or other responsible adult on hand to come retrieve them so they can be calmed down by someone who knows what they’re doing.

It’s this aversion to holding babies that helped me arrive at my decision to never have one. Of course things can always change but it’s getting late in the game as far as the window to have a baby and I’m 98.7% sure I’m 100% not interested. And that’s okay! I feel great about it! I love being an aunt to babies related to me by blood and also babies related to me by friendship.

That’s as far as my interest in babies goes though. If I see an unrelated baby out in the world I’m definitely not interested in that baby at all. They don’t even go here! And they’re usually in the way or being annoying.

In one of the “Neapolitan novels” there’s a part where the main character Lenu holds some random baby and for a few paragraphs she describes the peace it brings her. How it feels natural and like a baby should have been there the whole time, or something along those lines. I remember reading this and my mind was blown, as the feeling described was the complete opposite of the feeling I feel while holding a baby. I feel panicked and unnatural, not calm and like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Again, this is okay with me. I’m not feeling bad about it. I’m just saying.

And this part of that book also made me think, “Having a baby is not for me. And I think it’s wise of me to realize that before I have one and stress it out and ruin its life with my neuroses.”

For a few years I let this really bother me a lot and felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like people were judging me when they gave me a baby to hold. As if it was a test to determine if my personality checked the boxes of maternity and femininity. And that I was going to be weighed, measured, and found wanting.

And maybe I AM wanting in the “capable of effortlessly keeping a baby alive” department, but I’m over it. It’s fine. It takes a village. I’m here for the fun stuff.

And before you’re like, “omg stay away from my baby,” just know that nothing bad has actually happened on my watch, and it’s likely nothing WILL. But just like every other thing in this world that triggers extreme anxiety for me, it’s more about the infinite possibility that it CAN. And that is why I must remain always vigilant.

Thx.

hot chocolate bombs.

I made hot chocolate bombs! It was so incredibly difficult and I’m pretty traumatized from the experience. But I made them.

I used this recipe. That’s the one.

Doing any kind of “baking” that involves melting and molding chocolate is like REALLY HARD YOU GUYS. I’m not really sure why I signed myself up for this but I did and once I started I had to finish.

There were enough ingredients in my house to make 6 but only 3 survived. The second half of chocolate chips I tried to melt got messed up and melted wrong and could not be recovered. It was actually really disgusting and made me feel sad about chocolate overall which is something I’ve never felt but I’m not sure how to avoid it next time. So who knows.

The bombs themselves are very fragile and didn’t seal together very well and I propped them up in a ziploc bag and nestled them in a plastic container and then wrapped that in plastic wrap to get them home.

Making hot chocolate bombs is a project for people with more concern and consideration when it comes to attention to detail and also more precise fine motor skills.

Because I do not have any fine motor skills. OR care and consideration for attention to detail.

Tomorrow I will feed these bombs to my family and we’ll see what happens.

f**k february.

It may already be universally understood and therefore unnecessary to say it but in case you don’t know F**K February. Like what a literal nightmare.

I’m currently looking out the window at a snow storm and devouring 5x the recommended dose of vitamin D while cowering and sobbing in front of my UV light after barely being able to drag myself out of bed this morning.

Times are not good.

There is nothing in the world that interests me or excites me right now. I don’t feel like doing ANYTHING. The effort of moving or thinking or living seems like so much work and I’d rather take a nap.

One of my friends and her now husband used to have “F**k February” parties during the normal years of parties in people’s houses and I always really enjoyed them. It was the best idea! And so great to get together with pals and have some fun and drink some drinks and eat some foods and forget that the our environment was essentially uninhabitable.

I really miss those parties and I really miss the “normal” times but like WHO DOESN’T?!

It’s February and it’s a nightmare. F**K February.

*I took these pics to cheer myself up last week on a cold snowy day and it worked. I wrote this a few days ago, so by today, the day of “publishing,” it had gotten up to 45 degrees outside during my morning run and things were looking up! But I’m the last person to think it’s wise and acceptable to trust March so I’m not getting TOO comfortable…

the empowering.

Last Sunday, aka Valentine’s Day, I attended “The Empowering,” curated by Danielle Scott, at 150 Bay St for an art lap or two before we continued the February holiday festivities. An “art lap” is when you do a lap around a gallery and look at the art. Context clues, people. Usually at least 2 laps are necessary to get a good feel for the show and I’m glad to report I got those reps IN.

It’s clear I had too much fun last weekend with Galentine’s/Valentine’s and the mental clarity I prefer to have when reflecting upon and writing about such things isn’t there, but I’d like to tell you a little bit about it because my overall memory of it is “woo!”

We had some cocktails at home before so the spirit of “woo!” was already high as we arrived, exited our Uber, and ascended the stairs.

I then did my best to tone down the “woo!” slightly because this was a solemn and thoughtful social justice exhibition and I needed to respect that. And there was some really great art which I will share with you now.

Old talks with New Icons : Man in Yellow Pants by Philip A. Robinson Jr
“Goddesses” by Anthony E. Boone on left. “Shopping Cart” by Mashell Black on right.

I stood and looked at this one for a long time because it’s large and there are a lot of different details.

“Trayvon Martin” by Ben F. Jones

It’s still so strange to see art or photos or any type of media with people wearing masks and realizing this is every day life now. To the extent that seeing folks WITHOUT masks is kind of jarring.

Black and white images on left by Sy Battle. Images on far right by Professor Ameerah Shabaaz-Bilal.
by Ruler Silkcity
by Orlando Cuevas

This eagle and toy soldiers really spoke to me. Because there’s an eagle and that’s a bird but also because I loved the colors. It looks like a sunset.

“Uprising” by Michael Endy

Of course this is my fav because birds. And also…BONES.

“Winged Victory” by Carol Quint

The Empowering is at 150 Bay St until March 21 and you can make an appointment to go on Saturday or Sunday between 1pm and 4pm via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-empowering-tickets-137705323329

Check it out!

framing britney spears.

As it did for most people, Framing Britney Spears made me feel “some kind of way” and I’d like to take the time to discuss that here, thx.

Gird your loins, this is going to be a rant. I’ve thought about this for a few days and it really started to piss me off.

Watching Framing Britney Spears upset me a great deal. It was very good! But so, so upsetting. As I was watching it I had a hard time figuring out exactly why I was so upset. I even cried. My boyfriend was like, “Should we turn this off? Is this even healthy for you?” I couldn’t say.

But after…I was able to discern where my feelings were coming from.

Beyond sympathy for Britney, which I have a lot of and I do think she should be freed and simultaneously left alone to have fun and run around her backyard in a bikini with her sons in the sunshine until the end of eternity, I also felt sympathy for myself and other women my age and also women older than us and maybe ones like up to 10 years younger than us.

I think that covers everyone. If not please feel free to include yourself in my sympathy BECAUSE WE WERE WRONGED.

WE WERE SO WRONGED.

During my formative years at ages like 10 to 25, all day every day it was about whether or not women were “sluts,” based on what they were doing, wearing, or thinking. And women and girls lived in constant fear of being labeled “sluts” because once they had that label all hope of being taken seriously, listened to, respected, etc was completely dashed. Like once you got this label it was like a “thing” and people could completely disrespect you and you had zero credibility. It was like calling someone a witch. And they actually did mean “slut” centuries ago when they said “witch” but luckily they couldn’t kill you for being a “slut”in the late 90s/early 2000s…at least not in any kind of community organized way.

Or could they? Did I live to write this blog post? Or is this another dimension?

If you dressed or acted a certain way as a young woman people had the self righteous audacity to declare that you “weren’t girlfriend material” or “men would never respect you” or “no one will want to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free.”

Uhhh…what if I don’t WANT to be a girlfriend? Or what if I DID but I don’t want a BOYFRIEND that thought any of “this” <points to my outfit and my self and my life as I want to lead it> is a problem? Do you think I value “respect” that is based on these kinds of conditions? BECAUSE I DON’T.

AND I LOVE COWS AND HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING BEING VEGAN DUE TO MY LOVE FOR COWS BUT I WOULD MISS CHEESE BUT FREE CHEESE WOULDN’T MAKE ME VALUE COWS ANY LESS THIS IS THE LAMEST METAPHOR EVER UGH.

The late 90s and early 2000s were trash for women and the trashiest part is that we thought we were actually progressive at that time. Or did we?

The truth is no, I didn’t think we were progressive at the time but I was like 15 so what did I know. There wasn’t yet a word for “slut shaming” but I knew that was wrong and lame and never felt right when people did it. When kids in the hall at school or “journalists” in People magazine were like, “Look at her short skirt! She’s asking for it!” I wanted to be like, “Who the f*&K cares you idiots?!” Actually I didn’t just WANT to be like that I ACTUALLY SAID THAT but I was fighting that battle alone for a number of years and no one ever listened to me until like 2015…ALMOST TWO DECADES LATER, YOU GUYS.

I’m not saying that I’m like, the hipster of social justice for women and I invented slut shaming or knew about it before it was cool. I’m just saying there was OBVIOUSLY a problem and we all SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

Like, leave women alone! Who gives a shit what they’re wearing! Just because they’re wearing anything in particular doesn’t mean they’re a “slut” and if they are, ALSO WHO CARES. GET OVER IT. WHY IS THIS A THING PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT?! And before you’re like, “well people can have opinions,” please take into consideration that this is a DANGEROUS AND DAMAGING OPINION and essentially ruined Britney Spears’ life and the lives of many others when it comes down to it. Like be careful who you throw your ridiculous AND RUDE opinions at because THEY HAVE CONSEQUENCES. This is the same thing as saying people can have “freedom of religion” and are allowed to practice it at will when all religion is very dangerous and manipulative and preys on the weak and stole and hoarded all the money and knowledge from the majority of people in various societies for centuries but that’s a conversation for another time.

The first time someone called me a slut was on the school bus in 4th grade. At first I doubted they knew what it meant, because I didn’t know what it meant and I was obviously a vocabulary genius so if it WAS a real thing I figured I would have known. Until this shrill little brat followed it up with, “My mom said that’s what you are.” BITCH, your MOM said that?! What the heck is wrong with you people?! I am 10 years old!

No idea if she made this up or not. Maybe her mom didn’t even say it. Or maybe she DID…4th grade seems a little young for that type of judgement but…I don’t know. We’ve done worse and more offensive things to our young women when they were even younger. It’s a losing battle we’re fighting around here. Or at least it was for a long time, even when we thought it was over because all the moms that were feminists in the 70s said it was.

These were the same moms that were basically telling me that I was slutty and a pawn to the patriarchy for being a cheerleader. This one I am NOT making up and remembering perfectly correctly because I was a little older then, I think around 12. I was at dinner at a friend’s house. At their huge dinner table, in front of her brothers AND ALSO HER DAD, and this “feminist” mom said, “Don’t you think cheerleading is demeaning? Running around in a short skirt and basically being a slave to the boys that play sports?.” It was so incredibly embarrassing and ridiculous. And the only thing I could think of to say was, “Well…I like it!”

BECAUSE I DID. IT WAS CHEERLEADING AND IT WAS FUN. I CAN BE CUTE AND LOOK CUTE AND HAVE FUN AND STILL BE A FEMINIST. I CHOOSE MY CHOICE. IT’S CALLED 3RD WAVE GO BACK TO COLLEGE AND LEARN IT BECAUSE YOU SUCK.

Hopefully she did. I wish the best for her expanded knowledge of feminism. We all need room and grace to grow and learn. And to do the work. But god DAMN I wish I didn’t have to listen to that ridiculous shit. I guess you could say it was a defining moment of my life though, in that it made me completely outraged and I never stopped being outraged but I also never stopped fighting against it.

Unfortunately along with the fight against it came…not fighting against it. Like when idiot preteen dudes would snap my bra or grab me in the hallway in middle school. Yes grab. They grabbed my ass! They grabbed my boobs! It was ridiculous. So much ridiculous, you guys. This topic makes me unable to stop saying “ridiculous.” But for whatever reason I felt like I couldn’t say or do anything. I felt like this was how it was and the price I paid for wearing whatever I felt like wearing and looking however I felt like looking. I had to pay the misogynist toll troll to continue existing in the world in the way that I chose.

DIDN’T POOR BRITNEY HAVE TO DO THE SAME?!

I remember everyone always talking about what she wore, or didn’t wear. About whether or not she was a “virgin.” WHY DID PEOPLE CARE ABOUT POP STARS BEING VIRGINS THAT IS PSYCHOTIC. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND PLZ MAKE IT STOP. Seeing this stuff in the documentary and remembering it happening, and looking at it through the lens of now, WAS MIND BLOWING. I couldn’t believe I kind of forgot that things used to be like that, and that people just accepted it.

In the end, they were able to turn this “slut” narrative they created against her so completely that they deemed her too “crazy” to take care of herself and her children. She is a creative genius and a highly experienced and talented business woman. She would have been fine. But they were able to do it because the world ate it up. They were like, “Yup, bitch is crazy. Let’s laugh at her as we burn down her life.” And then they did.

This isn’t even fully getting into the whole thing because I haven’t even talked about the mental health issues she may or may not have been suffering from that were never properly addressed, diagnosed one way or another, treated, or even given an OUNCE OF COMPASSIONATE CONSIDERATION. Like no wonder generations of women and actually maybe even just people overall were scared to talk about their feelings because once one person labels you “crazy” it makes it a ton harder to be a person in the world or get anything done.

The “slutty” narrative really hit home for me in a lot of ways as you can see but the mental illness part does too.

And it just makes me so mad. I guess that’s all I wanted to say. Like yeah, Britney got the worst of it. But we all suffered in that world. And some of us still suffer when accosted by people with that worldview. It’s not an acceptable way to be a dick anymore but it lingers. And it’s not cute.

SO STOP IT.

STOP IT NOW.

DO IT FOR BRITNEY.

self love soirée.

Hey hi just going to do a quick recap of the Self Love Soiree I attended on Saturday because self love is very important especially during these valentines times.

LIKE VERY IMPORTANT.

I’ve written about this before but I think Valentine’s Day is a great time to reflect on loving yourself. Wait have I written about this before? I know I’ve written about loving your friends on Valentine’s Day. Also important!

Either way, love yourself. Just do it. It feels great. It’s totally worth it. And in the world today there are actually a ton of opportunities for self love and self care and it’s now socially acceptable to take a break and take a breath and also to admire yourself so LET’S DO IT.

The night before the Self Love Soiree I returned to drinking after a dry January so it was VERY DIFFICULT to get going but I eventually got out of bed. After a cold brew and a green juice at The Cottage on Monticello I was happily on my way to Deep Space/The Hive for the Soiree.

Yes, I do go there every weekend I guess. My boyfriend referred to it as my “community center.” MAYBE IT IS. It’s great because I can walk there and there’s always fun stuff there! I don’t know how it could get any better. I’m not ashamed.

Unfortunately I was still very hungover so I didn’t get a lot of pics. But I’ll share with you what I did!

I was excited to get a pair of conversation heart earrings from Aly Cupcake/Aly’s Little Things. THEY ARE SO COOL. There’s nothing I love more than cute jewelry with bad words on it. That’s not a lie.

WTF.

She also had some really awesome pink/red/romantic looking earrings with Cupids and actual anatomical hearts on them that were SO COOL. Truthfully I really wanted these but technically I’m still in “No Shop Q1” so I’m not supposed to buy clothes or accessories.

I know I cheated with buying the convo heart earrings but they were like $10 so I think that’s a minimal shopping footprint.

Had to support a local business, you guys.

I really enjoyed checking out the display that find & revive set up. I realize I’m a broken record with this but the space looks so different at every event and I think that is so cool. I MEAN IT IS MY COMMUNITY CENTER, PEOPLE.

They had lots of reds and purples and animal print and it was all very romantic and lovely. Honestly I couldn’t even go near it because I would have been too tempted to buy.

I can’t wait until April 1.

This Saturday 2/13/21, find & revive will be back with a pop up at the Galentine’s event at Monroe’s in Hoboken so check THAT out. (I will)

Tainable, Kaze Jewels, and Dalia Handcrafts were also in attendance as vendors. I didn’t get to take the closest look at them on Saturday but I checked them out on Instagram and they all have great stuff so I hope to see them again when I can buy…EVERYTHING.

On my way out I got distracted by some books and I came across two advance copies of books I’ve been wanting to read! Like they’re released now but these copies were advance at one time and now very affordable because the person that had them originally was giving them away. Because books are expensive!

One of them is Detransition, Baby and it’s the next book for Roxanne Gay’s online book club The Audacious Book Club SO THIS WORKED OUT PERFECTLY. I can tell you more about the book club another time but it’s really incredibly great and you should also subscribe to her newsletter The Audacity BECAUSE WHY NOT.

I got the books from Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop and I’m going to be looking for more books there next time. BECAUSE BOOKS.

So that was the Self Love Soiree! I loved myself so much that I needed a nap after. A long one.

As far as my community center, there is a Galentine’s event there this weekend they’re hosting along with JC Women’s Collaborative that looks very fun so if you’re a gal and you have pals that are gals you should check it out.

i forgot i like records.

You guys, I forgot I like records. I like, REALLY LIKE RECORDS.

Don’t worry, I remembered this past Saturday. You can call off the search party.

I’m not 100% sure how I first got into records but one day in 2009 I ordered this old LOOKING record player from Target at the recommendation of my friend Laura from work. The first record I bought was Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest because DUH IT WAS 2009. PS I was here. Be impressed. Beyonce was there!

But then I realized that NEW records are very expensive and also not very fun to go looking for. But OLD records can be under $5 and you get to do an ACTIVITY that involves digging through bins of old dusty things and THAT is the adventure I was after.

ADDITIONALLY record stores are often havens for cute, quiet mysterious guys who love music and hate themselves and that was ALSO the kind of adventure I was after.

So I went to record stores! I went in Manhattan and Brooklyn and Austin and LA and Deep Ellum (Dallas) and Phoenix and Athens, GA. I went to record stores wherever I went whenever I could find them. I bought tons of $1 records that I then crammed into the middle of my overstuffed suitcase that I had to sit on to close and cross my fingers they didn’t snap in half.

You’ll be glad to know, I never snapped a record. Whew.

When I lived in downtown Jersey City I loved to go to Iris Records and peruse the dollar bins. You may be aware that “peruse,” although often used to describe a quick scan of something, is in fact THE OPPOSITE and means that you take a long-ass time to carefully and purposefully look through something. So yes, that is what I would do. (OH SHIT MERRIAM-WEBSTER IT MEANS BOTH <AIR HORN SOUND>)

Sometimes I would bring friends, or some guy or whoever, but I really enjoyed it when I went by myself and I was lost in my own thoughts and thinking about my own ideas of what music…IS. And what I like about it, and what I don’t like about it, and which records were worth spending $1 on.

At the end of my search when I approached the register with my pile, I always felt judged. I won’t lie! Music people are very judgmental. Which is uncool. And also why I never really considered myself like an actual, ACTUAL music person, even though I love music and going to concerts and ogling boys in bands. It’s too much to keep up with. I’ve said before I’m not compettive and I’m really not. I don’t want to have like a music stand off with you about who knows more.

I would rather die.

I don’t really know what this is but it has birds so yeah.

So yeah, checking out at record stores always felt hard, as I felt judged. But that could just be me, being an awkward weirdo. Either way you feel as though you are presenting your valuable discoveries to a panel of experts and you’re concerned about whether or not your ideas will be validated and/or accepted as fact. And like, whatever, I guess. The guy at Iris Records was super nice. He had curly hair and glasses and definitely smiled, so he gets respect for that.

But then Iris Records was no more! But maybe they’re back now? I don’t know, I’m confused.

For the last couple of years, even before the pandemic, I had started to really enjoy SILENCE. Like just sitting in my apartment reading in SILENCE. Or messing around on my phone BUT IN SILENCE. Or in the kitchen baking but with NO ADDITIONAL NOISES. I really started not listening to music as much. Sometimes I didn’t listen to music for weeks at a time. Maybe I was kind of going through something, or maybe I just needed a break. I had gone through a solid decade of hard work learning about new bands and listening to new songs and attending concerts that went super late on school nights and going to 3 day long festivals and I was DEFINITELY too old to make it through 3 days toward the end. Music and I were like, “On a break.” For a while!

In December of last year I started to run for recreational purposes, and with running came random playlists curated by Nike Run Club and some of those playlists had songs I liked! So I started to build a playlist of stuff I liked again, and I’ve been listening to it, as I move around the world…or just my house.

And I’ve been enjoying it. But, as I said, the return to records didn’t happen until this past weekend. There was a $1 record sale at Deep Space/The Hive Goods/Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop and of course I had to go because it’s one of my favorite places but also I can reasonably walk there and I needed to get my steps in, you guys.

Before I left I was going through old records that I haven’t even looked at in at least two years and I remembered all the late nights at my old apartment, bringing friends back after the bar and sprawling around the living room and listening to random shit. These were defining moments of my life and I felt sad that I left them behind.

Once I got to Deep Space/The Hive Goods/Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop, it was as fun as I remembered to zone out and listen to music and relax and look through the boxes of records. And I reflected on how it was once one of my favorite things and I wondered why I had stayed away so long. I don’t really have an answer for that but I’m back, baby!

And the record sale is still going on this week, in fact they will be there this very night, Wednesday 2/3/21 3-7pm eastern standard time. Check out The Hive Goods Instagram for more info.

this blanket scarf is huge.

It’s winter and I have nothing to do and knitting helps me relax so I was pumped to knit this blanket scarf. Now that I’m finished knitting it, I realize this blanket scarf is huge.

That’s fine I guess, the more the merrier. But I’m going to tell you that by looking at the materials and the measurements I had ZERO CLUE how big it would be. I could not conceptualize the size in any way. I was just like, “Cool! Blanket scarf!”

Additionally, I could not figure out the actual pattern. It was too hard. I tried it a few times and ripped it up and then watched YouTube videos and tried it again but it was a lost cause. I just did regular garter stitch for the whole thing.

The problem was: there is math in this scarf. There is math in knitting overall, and it’s unfair. There is math in the WORLD overall, and that is ALSO UNFAIR.

Math is all around us and I’m not happy about it.

Currently there’s some kind of stock thing going on with GameStop and Reddit and evil hedge-fund dudes with money that I would never look at twice because they annoy me and I’d kick them in the balls and I’m doing my best to avoid the whole thing. I know if I tried to learn about it I would be unsuccessful and that frustrates me. I also don’t want to have to scrape chunks of my exploded brain off the wall after my mind is blown and I still haven’t learned anything.

No one talks about how hard math is and it’s not fair so I’m talking about it now. Sure there are a ton of people that are like “I don’t understand stocks lol,” but I fully do not understand ANY AND ALL math. ESPECIALLY stocks, it’s basically made up monopoly money to me. Which I guess it is, in a way. Or it’s not. I don’t even know what it is, don’t listen to me.

I want to be up with the stuff and you know I’m all about “Down with The Man” but this GameStop shit makes zero sense to me no matter how many different things I read about it or how many kind people try to explain it to me.

It’s not in the cards for me to understand it, like the multiple times I’ve tried to play poker or chess or even an INSTRUMENT. The math is lurking ominously within all of those things and math is a foreign language I will never be able to learn. I can try but the basic materials needed to learn and understand and comprehend it are missing from my brain.

I’m not making this up. Math enters my brain and hits a wall and that is where it dies. It plummets to the ground and shrivels up as it gasps for breath and you can spot the piles of skeletons of math that surround me if you look at pictures of me very closely.

It’s just that I didn’t think this scarf would be this big. But it is. And it’s fine. It’s cold out.

jc women’s collaborative swap at xtina’s variety and vintage shop.

This past Saturday it was VERY COLD but it was also the day of the JC Women’s Collaborative swap at Xtina’s Variety and Vintage shop and I HAD TO GO.

I had never been to a clothing swap before and I’d honestly heard some scary stories. For some reason most of them involved “Brooklyn,” but it would be like “My friend took me to a swap in Brooklyn and it was a free for all!” Or, “I went to a swap in Brooklyn and everyone just GRABBED THINGS.”

To me it seemed like swaps were frightening because they included a competitive element and I wanted nothing to do with that. I’m not a competitive person and any kind of tense feelings really stress me out. I don’t want to FIGHT for things. It just seems like A LOT.

Anyway this swap WAS NOT LIKE THAT so don’t worry. It was great! It was very organized and didn’t feel like a race or a crazed collective grab for the best items or anything like that. It was all very civilized and fun.

Embarrassingly, I arrived 15 minutes early. I was ashamed. I didn’t intend to be that early and I felt like a nerd. Once again, I had walked way too fast and gotten very sweaty. One day I will learn my lesson but that day was not Saturday.

As I mentioned, IT WAS VERY COLD. LIKE VERY. Leading up to the swap Xtina had suggested that we wear layers, with a yoga pants/sports bra or tank layer at the bottom, so we could stay warm but also try on clothes over the bottom layer if we wanted. This was great advice because it worked out and I stayed warm.

COLD.

It’s very good to follow instructions, my friends.

Upon arrival we were given a wristband with a number on it and that indicated when it would be our turn to go upstairs to swap. (I was #2) (Be impressed.)

I’ve seen Deep Space Gallery and the store downstairs be set up a few different ways and it never stops impressing me with how versatile it is and the different ways they use the space. It’s just fun. There’s always something new to see.

While we waited for our turn to go upstairs to swap, DJs played music in the shop downstairs and we were invited to browse the shop and also the wares of some vendors that were in attendance – @cutpasteface, and @primcessart, and @talirose_art from @visioncoven

Again, there was so much stuff to look at. I really enjoy looking at stuff. A simple pleasure.

Soon enough it was time to go upstairs! The clothes were split up into racks by size, and there were tables organized by size for jeans and loungewear. Accessories were on a small table, and handbags were in a box.

We had 5 mins to choose 3 things and I suddenly got very excited so I didn’t take any pictures. I’m sorry, you’ll never know what the actual swap part actually looked like.

JK you can see some pics on Xtina’s Instagram, @xtina_moore. Calm down. Go look!

In the first round I got this BLUE TORY BURCH PURSE and I felt like I WON THE ENTIRE DAY. Like, this freakin freezing ass Saturday was MINE!

I MEAN LOOK AT IT!

After the first round we got back in line and went for the second round. This time we still had 5 mins but we could choose 5 items instead of 3. I was pumped because I got something in the second round that I had left behind in the first.

Despite not being a competitive person…I did feel like I was winning at this swap. I mean, NBD.

But I think everyone felt that way! It was a great and happy and positive experience. We all chatted in line and made new pals. We got excited when people picked one of the items we had dropped off. It was a nice feeling.

I came away from the swap with THE PURSE, a brand new with tags maxi dress from Anthropologie, a gold sequin top, a fun late 80s/early 90s looking cropped jacket with sparkly gold embroidery and velvet buttons, a basic black shift dress that is the SOFTEST jersey material, a tie-dyed Trader Joe’s T-shirt, and a couple more things. Those were my most favs.

I like the sequin/sparkly stuff best and there was actually a good amount of that there. I think because people only wear it for New Year’s Eve and then they’re done. But I like to wear sequins ALWAYS and you’re going to have to accept that THANKS.

So that was the swap! And they’re gonna have more! Follow JC Women’s Collaborative and Xtina on Instagram and they’ll keep you posted!

JC Women’s Collaborative also does in-person (socially distanced, when it’s nice) and Zoom meetups with guest speakers that are fun, informative, and thought-provoking. Their next Zoom meeting is on Feb 4 at 7pm and the topic is mental health, a v important topic! You can find more at @jcwomenscollaborative on Instagram.

And Xtina’s Variety and Vintage shop has a record sale event coming up this very weekend. On 1/30 1pm-5pm they’ll be selling records 4 for $1! I’m gonna go. If you like records maybe you should go too! I don’t know, I’m not your dad. They’re at 77 Cornelison Ave in Jersey City.

i made pie.

Yesterday I made pie and I would like to memorialize it on yet another platform because tiktok and instagram and facebook don’t feel like enough. So here we are.

The last couple of years I have gotten more interested in baking. I started with cookies, and I’ve also made different kinds of dessert breads (banana bread, lemon poppyseed loaf, etc), and of course banana pudding.

But I felt it was now time to conquer pie.

Actually it came to me after we watched a movie called “The Swerve.” The protagonist makes apple pie and the pie-making process was shown in an interesting visual way and I was like, “I want to do that.” Spoiler: Just not with the rat poison.

My boyfriend picked out this recipe for me to make because he is the pie eater of the family, and it was time to get going.

I made homemade crust for this and I will say that I now know why my mom and Grammie were always like, “Pie is a pain in the ass just buy one.” Because this was certainly a pain in the ass.

First of all, you have to mix it in some wacky way with two knives? I’m still not fully sure if I did the right thing but it turned out so I’m okay with it. Apparently there is a special pastry blender that can also do this, maybe I’ll look into that. But for this particular pie-making sesh it was all good old fashioned manual blood, sweat, and tears to get this crust mixed up.

After it’s mixed you flatten it…with your hands because it will stick to a rolling pin and you don’t want to add too much flour. I think.

AND THEN you have to put it in the fridge for 45 mins. This pie crust is diva AF.

Because this is an APPLE pie, I had to PEEL APPLES. Peeling ANYTHING is TERRIFYING to me because the peeler thing is sharp as hell and stuff starts to get slippery and THAT is how PEOPLE GET HURT.

After the trauma of peeling I also had to cut the apples into thin slices and I was frightened of that as well.

Peaches aren’t in season so I had to get some in a jar and I didn’t feel great about that but I drained the syrup and rinsed them off to try to get them as close to real peaches as possible.

You take that crust out of the fridge and put one half in the pie…device? Then you put the fillings in.

The thing that entertained me most is that you just cut butter into small chunks and “sprinkle” it over the filling. Like just chunks of unmelted butter sit on top of this thing as it goes into the oven. Most baked goods have butter but this obvious and visual use of excessive butter staring me right in the face really made me laugh. For whatever reason.

This was a “lattice” pie so it called for a “lattice” design on the top and putting that part together WAS SO INCREDIBLY HARD, YOU GUYS. I had to cut the crust dough into long strips and then weave those strips into each other and I’m sure there’s an expert, easy way to do it but i was just weaving haphazardly and the strips kept breaking and my hands were shaking and it was a mess.

But I got it done and threw it in the oven. Whew.

This pie smelled SO GOOD as it baked. It was a really nice Sunday feeling, to sit on the couch and it was cold outside and to smell that smell. Beautiful stuff.

And the pie TASTES good too! I’m not big into fruit pies but I had to try a piece, and it was DELISH. I also added a bit of habanero pepper to give it a nice little savory spice and I was into that.

In conclusion, MAKING A PIE IS VERY LABOR INTENSIVE. At least it is for a baking novice like me. It was a nice little challenge/learning sesh/mind exercise to keep me busy and fill up a Sunday afternoon, but I can see why most people buy pies for Thanksgiving. Well, most people I know. Because if you’re making all that other food there is 100% not time to make a pie.

So if I ever asked you or even wondered in my head, “Why isn’t there HOMEMADE pie?” or “Why do you buy a crust instead of making it?” I am sorry please forgive me.