Borrón y cuenta nueva

Hi!

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I was busy making a new blog! It’s called ‘Smooth Liminal’, and its address is www.smoothliminal.wordpress.com. I know this is my third time changing blog URLs, which is ultra annoying, but I had to follow my heart, you know?, and my heart felt my past two URLs were lame.

I think the new URL will stick because it’s a nerdy pun and because it captures the stage of life in which I find myself. (‘Liminality‘ is this academic concept that basically means ‘in between’. Of course, it’s more complex than that, but I’m all about glossing over things in order to transmit useful meaning).

I hope you’ll check it out. I won’t be updating this blog anymore, so you should subscribe or re-subscribe (there’s a button at the bottom of the page under the heading ‘Don’t Miss A Thing’) if you (still) have a burning desire to read all my innermost thoughts. I’ll try to make it worth your while.

Punningly yours,
kristy, the fickle blogger

 

De facto

Sunday was a huge day for me. I started preparing for it in real life on Saturday in Times Square, but mentally and emotionally, I had been preparing for months.

Let’s begin at the beginning. On Saturday, I went to Times Square to meet my old boss for lunch. She was in town for a conference and only had a short break, so we had to meet there. I’m not one of those people who hates on Times Square every chance she gets, but man, is it ever confusing! It took me forever to find the Dean & Deluca even with GPS, and on my way, I saw way too many decontextualized cartoon characters (i.e. people dressed up in giant costumes, like Snoopy or Buzz Lightyear). Maybe this is weird, but decontextualized characters make me sad. I just can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable than walking around in a huge, thick costume on a hot summer day and trying to get people to pay you for being in their pictures. Who pays them is what I want to know, and how do they pay the rent? And do they ever get those costumes washed? Also, if I give them money, do I have to interact with them? My instinct is to give each of them a dollar and then run far, far away before I have to touch them. ‘Please do not hug me, Times Square Clifford. Please! I am begging you!’

But back to the matter at hand: lunch with my former boss. The thing about her is that she is so good at sharp pop culture critique, talking social justice realness, and make-up. Over lunch she told me about this new Polish brand of make-up that is CRAAAZY. I’m talking every color you can ever think of in ONE SINGLE tube of lip gloss that when applied is the perfect hue of peony pink (magic, science, chemicals!). I don’t know much about cosmetics, so I ask her for advice whenever I get the chance. On Saturday, after our lunch date, I was inspired to buy an eyeliner marker. Then, I went to buy accessories, something which I buy even less frequently than make-up, but I had to buy some for my Mad Men season finale costume, which is what this whole post is about. I ended up going to the Forever 21 in Times Square (not a lot of small, independent stores there) because I didn’t have much time before I had to go to work. (I almost always work the Saturday night shift and the Sunday morning shift.)

On Sunday, I raced home after work and got ready for the season finale party. I’d heard about a party very close to my apartment sponsored by an adorable vintage clothes-seller, complete with a costume contest. After weeks of agonizing, I’d finally come up with what I thought was the outfit. No one was available to take a full-length picture of me, and I wanted to get there early, so I didn’t spend too much time on pictures, but I did take some shoddy Photobooth ones.

This one gives you an idea of the dress.

This one is about the accessories and eyeliner.

I showed up to the screening an hour and a half early because I wanted to make sure I had a good seat and didn’t miss the costume contest. I looooove costumes of all sorts, and I especially love Sixties fashions, so I couldn’t wait to see what everyone would wear. Unfortunately, no one was free to come with me to the screening, but I’ve never been one to shy away from dates with myself.

When I got there, the place was nearly empty. Slowly people started to trickle in, but none seemed to be in costume, unless they had dressed for a screening of My So-Called Life (Nineties revival is in full force!). Since the party was at a place where they make their own wine, I decided to treat myself to a glass of white wine and an appetizer. When the waiter brought me the wine, he asked me what I thought of it. I took a sip and declared, ‘It tastes like baloney!’ and then we were both confused. I didn’t mean it as an insult, and I can’t even remember the last time I had baloney (bologna)—my best guess is 1997—but that was the first thing I thought of. Instead of retracting my statement, I smiled and shrugged, and the waiter gave me a bemused look like he was thinking, ‘This girl knows absolutely nothing about wine!’

I was still waiting for the costume contest when came the announcement, ‘We are about to start the screening of Mad Men. Please join us next week for the season finale! Don’t forget to dress up! There will be a contest!’

Yup. I was a week early to the season finale. That makes me the de facto winner, right? Right. My prize was a veggie burger with those tiny deli pickles and fries, awarded to me, by me the following day.

But now I have a whole week to agonize/plan my costume for the actual season finale. Do I wear what I already wore, or do I go for a totally different look? Let’s look at some pictures of this season’s best looks. All pictures lifted from Tom + Lorenzo, a blog whose Mad Men style analysis is so good it gives me goosebumps.

I love Joan’s dress (seen in the first and last pictures), but I have nothing like it. Reptilian rhapsody is what I call this look, in case you’re curious.

I do have a dress that’s incredibly similar to this one. I call it my bat dress because of the wings. Of course, it’s not as short, and I’d have to get more accessories. The eyeshadow would be fun, but considering that this is the most memorable look from season five, it seems kind of trite.

This is what I really, really, really wish I could wear. There is something so magical about a matching dress and coat. It gets me every time!

Now tell me, are you dressing up for Mad Men? Where are you watching the finale?  What are your favorite mid-Sixties looks? I want to know everything!

One

just got back from a lovely sixteen-day vacation. Seven of those days were spent in Portland with some of my favorite friends, flowers, and food. The other nine were spent in Chihuahua with my family & Devin. All were spent largely away from the computer in favor of real-life face-to-face fun.

While I was away, my blog turned one year old. This was my first post. (I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that bland list with no final punctuation at the end of any sentence. I love punctuation?!.) Since then, I have written forty-four. It’s been really fun, and I hope to write at least forty-four more. Given that I love birthdays, I wanted to acknowledge my blog’s, if not with a cupcake, at least with a thank you.

I started this blog because after graduating from college I finally had the time. For the first time ever, I didn’t know what I would do in the upcoming year. I had some vague notions (Move to New York! Find a job! Try my hand at short-distance dating with Devin!), but really, it was mostly a blank page or a big scary question mark, depending on my mood.

A couple of months ago, it dawned on me that this is what I have to show for my entry into the homework-optional world. It has been an abnormal year for me. I’ve been here and there and there. I’ve had an oft-changing routine. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to document a lot of it and even more grateful to you for reading. I mean, it’s not like I think you’re obsessed with this little blog or anything. ; )

But the internet is soooooooooooo big. You could be reading so many cool things right now. Instead you’re here. Thank you. It really means a lot. After all, if it weren’t for you, all I’d have to show for the past year is a journal, which is so much less impressive than a blog, wouldn’t you agree?

With love and winky faces,
kristy

P.S. In case you’re interested (or new here), I went back and read through all my entries and these are my top three favorites. I think they’re pretty representative of the scope of my blog in general: silly, sappy, serious.

It was a very good day.

My life got a whole lot better a couple of weeks ago.

It all started when I called a podiatrist to schedule an appointment.

‘Doctor’s office,’ said a disgruntled voice with a thick New York accent. It sounded like this: DOC-tah’s ah-fiss.

I wondered if I was being scammed, but I’d found the ‘DOC-tah’s ah-fiss’  through my insurance company, so I crossed my fingers and made an appointment.

On the day of my appointment, I felt apprehensive. But mostly I felt foot pain. It was hard to remember having a day without foot pain since last July, so I headed to see the ‘DOC-tah’ I hoped would be a podiatrist.

On the way, I passed a grocery store with a sign suggesting it only carries

* FROZEN FOOD

* KOSHER FOOD

This pretty much sums up New York’s food culture. Just add halal food trucks, Boar’s Head brand deli products, a fruit stand, and a cupcake shop.

***BEE BEEP BEE BOOP BOOP. WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG POST FOR AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT NEW YORK CITY CUPCAKES.***

I’ve decided New York has an acceptable cupcake-to-kristy ratio. Dreamy, wispy Magnolia cupcakes; minimalist Sprinkles; Hunky Crumbs, Neon cart cupcakes, artisanal Brooklyn beer cupcakes, teeny adorable Melissa‘s cupcakes (thumbcakes, I call them) and every cupcake in between…New York’s got cupcakes on lock. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had the most cupcakes per capita in the world. Long-live New York Cupcakes!

***BEE BEEP BEE BOOP BOOP. NOW BACK TO REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING.***

Walking in the Lower East Side, I wondered how I’d be able to tell if the doctor’s office was a sham. Probably when they took out my kidney, I decided.

Then, I saw the sign. For the podiatrist’s office. A pretty little wrought iron stand planted in green grass behind green bushes. I passed a womyn smoking a cigarette and stepped inside where I heard the familiar ‘DOC-tah’s Ah-fiss’. (Do you think she does it on purpose, to temper expectations?)

I filled out forms, in a darling waiting room with blue tufted chairs, and gave them to the receptionist who was shocked I’d made the trek all the way from Brooklyn. It was actually the closest podiatrist to me, but I tried to look as though I felt I deserved a medal. It’s not every day someone looks at me with awe or incredulity, so I say milk it for all you can.

Done admiring me, she ushered me to the exam room. The doc’s first words were, ‘Pretend you didn’t just see me smoking out there’, and I liked her right away (not because of the smoking; because of the gruff New York frankness). I liked her even more after she told me she’d ordered special doggie take-out for her dog and that it smelled ‘better than [her] lunch!’

I may have learned as much about her bichon frisée as I did about my foot condition. I also learned that the doctor is from Brooklyn, but since she left for college, she’s never looked back. I think this is quite a feat, considering that she lives and works five minutes from Brooklyn. However, the longer I live in New York City, the more accustomed I grow to meeting the Staunch Manhattanites. They love their borough and they hate leaving it. If you’ve seen the Sex and the City episode where Miranda meets the man who hasn’t left Manhattan in a decade and has no plans of venturing out, you know what I’m talking about. That character is not an exaggeration.

My Staunchly Manhattan Podiatrist turned out not to be a kidney-harvester after all, and she gave me a surprising diagnosis. Apparently, my foot problems are the fault of my feet’s high arches and my shoes’ inadequate arch support. It is very difficult to find the support my feet need because my arches are soooooo high! I’d been trying to wear flats and tennis shoes to alleviate the pain, but the doctor explained that the best shoes for my feet are actually heels and wedges. That’s right, anonymous blog reader, I was prescribed my favorite kinds of shoes! (I subscribe to the theory of gender performativity, but if ever there was a case for gender essentialism…)

I’m probably going to get custom-made insoles so that I can wear all kinds of shoes like normal people do. Until then, I’m happy wearing my cork wedges. And in case you think my diagnosis was a bunch of hooey, consider this: I went to the podiatrist a whole twenty days ago.  Since then, I have followed her advice and been free of foot pain for the first time in ten months!  I went from taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) at least once a day to forgetting such a medicine exists. I no longer count my steps. I am free of foot pain, and it is glorious! Thank you, doc-tah, and thank you, wedges.

I left the podiatrist’s after taking a picture of myself looking triumphant in the charming bathroom and concluding that, except for the receptionist’s greeting, this podiatrist’s office is all charm.

Then, I caught the subway at a newly-renovated station with a nautical theme and went to work. I’m working at a vegetarian restaurant where I get free food, and it is delicious.


You can’t tell from the picture how lovely the blue and white is. I’ll try to get a better shot next time I’m there.

Hope your feet are in tip-top shape,
kristy


Earth Day Recap

Sometimes I feel like I’d handle adversity better if I’d had some siblings to make my life harder as a kid. As an only child, I had it pretty dang easy. Even when my older girl cousins didn’t let me play with them, I was all right because I had Nolan (shoutout to my boy!) to play with. Plus, one of our older cousins (no one say who!) was too compassionate to keep up the bullying for long. She’d come play with us even if the other two would refuse because she couldn’t stand excluding us.

Little did she know that in the future, her compassionate nature would work against her in the form of a rare condition called ‘not being able to break up with anyone ever‘. Once, after a summer of working up the courage to dump a dude she didn’t like at all, the other girl cousins and I watched through a window while she broke up with him. FOR SIX HOURS. (We were supposed to watch a movie we’d rented, and we couldn’t start without her.) It went like this:

Cousin explains her feelings with gentle hand gestures.

Dude looks bewildered, makes pleading we-can-work-it-out face.

Cousin shakes her head, drops dude’s hand.

Dude makes pathetic face, sometimes with tears.

Cousin cries while shaking her head slightly.

They hug.

Cousin steps back, makes her case with gentle hand gestures…

OVER & OVER AGAIN.

But that is neither here nor there.

The point I was making is that I work best when things are easy. When things are hard, my first instinct is not to buck up and deal with it. I’d rather cover my ears and eyes, so I can pretend nothing is the matter. (Working on it.)

When I moved into my apartment in October, I was glad to see we had a backyard…of sorts. It’s a plot of land behind our building with trees and plants growing in it, but it’s just as much an unofficial landfill as it is a backyard. See for yourself.

Trash everywhere! Trash everywhere! Trash-trash-trash everywhere!

I wanted to ignore it, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to do something about it. I told Devin and my housemates that it would be my Earth Day project and  tried to feel really excited about it, but it was daunting. I’ve always loved Earth Day, but I’ve never coordinated a big clean-up myself, so I had no idea how I would accomplish it. Would the landlord let me? Would my neighbors help? I wasn’t very optimistic, but I persevered. I figured, best-case scenario: I’d clean it up with helpful neighbors blasting salsa music from a sweet sound system on their fire escape. Worst-case scenario: I’d be eaten to death by feral cats, and my remains would quickly be engulfed by all that garbage never to be found.

Actual scenario: somewhere in the middle. I made a sloppy hand-written flyer to advertise the clean-up, but when I took it to be photocopied, the employees designed and printed beautiful posters for me, for cheap. (Cool!)


Some of the flyers were immediately taken down by a neighbor who did not want the area to be cleaned up because her windows face the yard, and she was worried about noise. (Bummer.)

The landlord promised to send a dump truck. (Cool!)

It never came. (Bummer.)

Devin came from Connecticut, armed with determination and six pairs of work gloves. (Cool!)

Only three of those pairs were used because the only people who came were Devin, a neighbor who stopped by for an hour, and me. Nice weather also failed to make an appearance. I can’t remember the last time I was that cold and wet. (Bummer.)

Still, at the end of the day, we had something to show for our hard work. (Cool!)


The coolest things to come out of this project are actually the promise of bigger, more organized projects. After the clean-up was over, I received a phone call from a womyn in the next building who has lived there for forty years. She told me the neighborhood has never been this littered and brought up the point that it is a big fire hazard and that, if our buildings were to catch on fire, we wouldn’t have a safe place to go because that’s where we’re supposed to climb down and congregate. She’s reported it to her super and her landlord who have both promised to help (much like mine) but haven’t done a thing, so she is ready to take action in a bigger way. We are planning a meeting with more neighbors to get ourselves organized. I also got an e-mail from a group who has been cleaning up their lot and planting flowers every Spring for three years. They mentioned getting together to plan a block-wide cleaning day!

I’ve been looking for ways to be a better member of my community, and it seems like I might’ve stumbled into a way to meet my neighbors, make my neighborhood a safer place to live, and help my immediate environment thrive.

And so, I declare Operation Rise to the (Earth-Day) Challenge, a success!

Hating your body’s just something to do*

I decided in September, in a lovely Park Slope bathroom, looking in the mirror at a face dotted with acne scars incurred over twelve years (and counting), looking down at the rest of my body—a body that gained twenty pounds throughout college and, in 2011, outgrew clothes for the first time in eight years.

I decided, ‘If this is as good as it gets, this is great.’ I decided to stop striving to be any different. I decided to stop treating my body as a fixer-upper project. It felt daring. Like, ‘Really, can I just opt out? I mean, I try to opt out; but can I just opt out completely?’ I tried it out. I said, ‘I like my body just the way it is, and I promise to like it no matter how it looks’. It felt really, really good. Since then, I’ve been committed to sustaining that feeling of self-acceptance and body positivity.

That’s not to say it’s easy. Especially as the weather warms. I love warm weather, but man, does it bring on the body policing. Magazine covers are emblazoned with brazenly fat-phobic headlines:

  • Drop the weight faster [emphasis in original] (Redbook, May 2012)||Message: The underlying assumption is that the reader already wants to lose weight.
  • 5 DAY BODY MAKEOVER + THE CELLULITE TREATMENT THAT WORKS (Harper’s Bazaar, May 2012)||Message: Another underlying assumption that the reader wants to alter her body (wild guess: the makeover is not probably not about gaining weight) + CELLULITE IS GROSS. GET RID OF IT.
  • Feel Great Naked! 9 Foods That Burn Fat While You Eat (Cosmopolitan, May 2012)||Message: The only way to feel great naked is not to be fat.
  • PERFECT SKIN? YES, IT’S POSSIBLE! +THE ONE-HOUR PAIN-FREE FAT ZAPPER (Elle, May 2012)||Message: There is no excuse for not being thin and having flawless skin. Spend lots of money on unnecessary procedures. + Fat is so awful it should be zapped. (ZAPPED?!?)

These are just some of the body-shaming phrases I’ll read on my daily walk to the subway for the next month. And, in a few weeks, covers like this will start popping up.

Plus, the warmer it gets, the more I overhear things like, ‘Ugh, I should not be eating this right now’, ‘Gross, I feel SO fat’, and ‘I am not ready to go to the beach. I don’t even want to go’.

It can be overwhelming for me. I hope it’s not overwhelming for you. Just in case, here’s a list of the things I tell myself to keep sane in a fat-phobic, image-obsessed society.

My body-positive self-talk

  1. Don’t hate fat. Hate anything that teaches fat = bad.
  2. Pay no attention to numbers like weight or clothing size. If you feel bad or weird for buying size [whatever] pants, think of all the people you know who are bigger or smaller than you. Remember how much you love them and how you would feel if anyone told them their bodies were unacceptable. You would be enraged! Your friends and family are perfect just they way they are. So are you.
  3. Never criticize other people’s appearance. Opt out of body policing.
  4.  Never criticize your body, especially in group settings. It prompts others to feel bad about themselves.
  5. Only do your hair, shave your legs, put on make-up, tweeze your eyebrows, wear uncomfortable anything if YOU feel like it. Remember, these are silly, meaningless endeavors that you do for fun. If they’re not fun, why do them?
  6. Consume feminist media and actively critique non-feminist media.
  7. Don’t call little girls ‘beautiful’ or ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’. Remember, girls begin learning that their appearance is the most important thing about them from an early age.

Don’t feel guilty for eating potato chips. NEVER feel guilty for eating something you enjoy. Feel lucky to be able to afford such a luxury. Feel guilty for buying products with body-shaming messages. Try not to buy products labeled ‘diet’ or ‘light’. Tell the companies that use this sort of advertising that preying on insecurities is not cool. (AHEM, TRADER JOE.)

Do you have any body-positive self-talk?

*The title of this blog post is a line from ‘What’s Wrong with You?’ by Bratmobile. It’s one of my favorite riot grrrl songs.

It’s springtime in Brooklyn, and I have the Instagram pictures to prove it.

I'm head-over-heels for my new tote bag. Can you say 'arm candy'?!

One of my neighbors is a secret gardener.

Across the East River lies a magical land called Manhattan, where cartons of orange juice cost at least $2.50 (according to the man who charged me $1.75 for a tiny carton of orange juice in Brooklyn).

If you must go to that overpriced borough, take the East River Ferry. That way you can get a closer look at the Williamsburg Bridge.

Speaking of Williamsburg, this guy's been driving around. Score one for subtle advertising.

Tasha's style is having no trouble with the winter-spring transition.

Meanwhile, I'm trying my darndest to delude myself into believing I can pull off tennis shoes.

That’s all for now. Cross your fingers that I get to see a podiatrist soon, so I can go back to wearing tennis shoes only when I want to wear tennis shoes (i.e. never!).