so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen

To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

Mary Oliver

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what is grief, if not love

Let me tell you, writing about grief as an intellectual experiment and writing about grief as someone firmly in its clutches are two very different experiences.

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who can turn the world on with her smile?

“Mary: Why are you smiling at me?

Lou: Because you just reaffirmed my faith in human nature.

Mary: You mean what I did wasn’t rotten?

Lou: Oh, no, that was rotten all right. It’s just nice to know that everyone’s rotten. Up to now, I thought you were one of the few holdouts.”

The Mary Tyler Moore ShowSeason 2. . . Is a Friend in Need

I’ve been watching a lot of the Mary Tyler Moore show. Most of the episodes are up on youtube, though I think Hulu has it, too. There’s something really comforting about classic television, to me. MTM ages pretty well, all things considered. There are some cringe things, like how Valerie Harper’s Rhoda is considered the fat friend when she’s like, tiny, but all in all, I can see how it was an incredibly progressive show for it’s time and there are lines that still make me laugh out loud. Plus, I’ve always found any Betty White content comforting, even before she passed away and even more so now.

I think my favorite relationship is the one between Mary and Lou Grant. Partly because he’s a pessimist and she’s the forever optimist. Partly because he’s settled into his life of middle management and she comes in and livens up the place, makes him care about his job again. Partly because for as gruff as he is, he’s competent and does a great job nurturing her talent.

I think in this era of extreme workplace burnout, watching a workplace comedy where everyone cares and the boss isn’t the worst person in the building, soaking up a salary and taking up space, is like the ultimate fantasy.

I’ve also been watching old gameshows. Password, watching Betty White be so sweetly in love with her beloved husband, host Allen Ludden, but also being smart as a whip and cleaning house more often than not. I’ve watched some Match Game episodes too, but those have NOT aged well and I can’t in good conscience recommend those.

I guess it’s part nostalgia. I guess it’s part longing for “normal” times, even though I know we can’t get back to that, and have to figure out life moving forward. But I think it’s not too late to look at the things from the past that we love and that worked and carry them with us into this new, uncertain future.

Things like Mary’s independence and spunk. Lou’s ability to tell a great story, one that was ethical and true. Sue Ann’s agency and unapologetic zest for life’s pleasures.

Maybe we take with us drinking scotch midday at work, too, I dunno. Let’s think about it.

January, be kind to us.

January? The month is dumb. It is fraudulent. It does not cleanse itself.”

Anne Sexton.

There’s been this challenge going around of showing yourself in 2012 and showing yourself now. I have a lot of pictures from back then (see above) and far less now. But I’m up for a challenge.

I’m not 26 anymore. Not (currently) blonde, certainly not as thin, but I have to say I’m so much happier? Even here, kicking off the third year of this stupid pandemic. Even though things are getting bad again and the prospect of getting through this thing without catching covid seems more and more unsustainable. I’m still much happier in my 30s.

Part of that is practicalities. A happy marriage, financial security, a career instead of odd jobs cobbled together to make ends meet. My favorite thing about getting older, too, is just how much less you care about stuff? I don’t put up with crap I don’t like anymore. I removed the people from my life that were hurting me and disrespecting my boundaries. I stand up for myself to rude people or cruel people. I’ve transitioned from being the woman older women felt like they had to protect to being a woman who looks after my younger female friends and coworkers.

The WORLD is worse, but my life is better and I’m happy for the last ten years. I’m happy I married my partner. Got two dogs. Lived through Taylor Swift releasing RED twice.

Would I trade it all for that 26 year old body back? …no? No, right? No. Definitely no.

Anyway, happy new year. My book comes out this year. That’s cool, dude.

Also, I leave you with this clip I posted on my twitter to watch:

Betty White was the real deal, man.