I have watched “Sesame Street” since I was a kid. I guess I stopped watching at some point, so that’s a lie, but what is true is that I noticed that whenever Cookie Monster ate cookies, he never truly got to eat them. He smashed them and never actually like chewed and swallowed cookies. For some reason, I’ve been haunted by this. It plays in my mind from time to time, even now when I’m eligible to run for the president of the AARP. But today, the NY Times published this piece of hard-hitting journalism/a> on the person who makes Cookie Monster cookies and the mechanics of how his whole act happens. It was so satisfying and the best thing I read on the Internet today, hands down.
Told the kids, “you can be an actor. Just make sure you marry rich. Like Dad.”
“Not really, but we’re all still alive, right?”
It’s not like the best advice, but I think back on the panic my mom felt when I told her i was going to act, and acting is hard. It is detrimental to your spiritual and financial health, and yet, if you feel that pull, you ignore it at your own peril. It was extremely confusing for me to follow my intuition, since I was raised under a “Tiger Mom Light” household. When you’re a high-achieving kid under the strict direction of a demanding parent, it takes a long time to find your own voice. In my case, it took years. Like maybe I have my voice now — at age 51. Yeeeesh.
A colleague told me and my videographer that his son wanted to become an actor. My videographer and I had opposite reactions. He immediately related feeling discouraged whereas I felt elated and overjoyed at the news. It’s not that I think things will work out. They will not for most actors, but you have to learn to listen to that instinct. If you don’t, you will make so many mistakes and so many wrong decisions. After all, I have to say, that same voice that led me to acting told me it was time to leave when my father was ill — so it’s precious to me, this compass.
I have no idea if my kids will do theater. I would guess 1-2 of them will dabble in it given that’s how me and their father met and he still feels pretty passionately about it, but there are so many options in life and pursuits that don’t even exist yet, who can really say?
You know, I may or may not get to “Killers of a Flower Moon” because it seems overwhelmingly dark and it also runs more than three hours long. There’s no reason for anything to be longer than an hour and half, you know? Regardless, I appreciate the tremendous beauty of Lily Gladstone, one of the stars. She has a luminous face and she’s not a cookie-cutter, skinny-minny Hollywood starlet. It is a relief to see her body among other famous people. I don’t have to despise my belly fat as much when I see someone who looks more normal (though I presume she must be tiny in real life, like all film stars). You think you’re immune to the images presented to you every day, but you’re not. (And by “you,” I mean “me,” the best kind of “you.”)
It happened organically, but I started a “Kidney List” — a list of people I’d be willing to give a kidney too. No family are on that list, but I suppose that’s because they are automatically assumed to be on that list. This list is more for friends who showed up for me in my darkest hour and supported me. I guess when I think what is the deepest, most profound way I can give back, my brain automatically goes to that extra kidney (and i have to get reminded which organ it is that we have two kidneys for?) Like what can be bigger than an actual part of my body?
In any case, there is one Brooklyn family this week who came to our rescue twice this week — omg in a big way — but I suppose they’re not QUITE at kidney list level but close enough that I mentioned that such a list exists. The father has mocked me in the past that no one would want my liver (because, yes, admittedly, I had confused the kidney and liver, and I do enjoy the booze), but tonight, I decided to start an appendix list. I still have one! No one needs an extra! But it’s a good stop-gap/stop-over while you work your way up to “Kidney List-worthy.”
So NYC just experienced an epic hurricane this past Friday – our sewers can handle 1.5 inches of rain and we receive 8 inches in Brooklyn. It’s classic “20th century city infrastructure meets 21st century weather; chaos ensues!” The makings of a rom com or buddy mystery, for sure. We went through it — the kids made it school and we wondered how we would retrieve them? Wonder Twin Boy called me on his new cell at 10 am: “Mom you have to come pick me up right now. It’s ridiculous here and I’m not having it.” Panic — but luckily, it all worked out.
Three friends (felt like more) reached out from LA, CT, and northern Cali — and I have to say, it made me feel very loved.
Thank you guys (they are all women, but I am profoundly Gen X). Means a lot.
…the warm smile on a Korean man’s face
—the cocoon of a bar blasting 90s Manchester England rock, one hour alone to write, while it rains outside
…making your daughter laugh so hard she gets an expression of shock first
…making your mother lose control of her body over one of yourjokes
…being interviewed about your children on “Where were you on 9/11”
…a bag of chips you don’t have to share with anyone
…a conversation with a friend when you’re really meshing
…a book that has you so in its grips you blow off meetings
…eating cake (like butter cream frosting, professional vanilla)
…tea, coffee, all those beverages I like when I’m thinking or unwinding….
…reaching a freaking goal!!!!
…pasta with red sauce when you really need it (with fresh shredded parm).
…staring at the sky, looking up at the trees (I have been observed doing this even inside, staring upward as if I can see nature through the tiled ceiling)
…being able to walk (seriously, I thank legs all the time for still walking)
…being part of a web of family, both living and dead
…looking younger than your age
…Greek yogurt with peanut butter, a banana, chocolate chips
I may add to this list…
You know what is sad? I recently read an interview with some writer and they commented on how they use “Spiritual texts” as inspiration, I didn’t think of the Bible or The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I totally thought they were talking about texts they get on their phone.
I’m dead. My 21st century twerp brain is alive and well.
I have to cancel after-hours work event to attend the Wonder Twins’ fifth grade talent show where they’re going to perform revised lyrics of Video Killed the Radio Star (Spotify killed the video star, I believe it’s now called.) And in part, because the work obligation wasn’t a huge deal (an event sponsored by my former employer), I did it. But I’m having a weird brain glitch about the whole thing. I’m so trained to put work above everything else, after years of hearing implications that moms don’t work as hard in the professional setting. I’m finding a better balance with they hybrid world — I can attend events at night but be around during the next day so I get to see the kids.
The work environment is changing in general. I’ve supervised two younger colleagues who both asked to work remotely for two to six months, in order to be able to travel. I didn’t get angry at the request, which I think someone of my generation might. It makes me think though. I was talking to a friend recently who bemoans the lack of socialization among co-workers. I understand this because we have both made great friends through work, but like I said, things are changing. These young people wouldn’t support full-time in-person work because they don’t know a world where it’s required. I keep hearing how they think working in an office is a waste of time, that they get more work done at home. They don’t want their job for social reasons, and they’re getting those needs answered outside of the job. It’s interesting, because I’ve also heard that if you have a good group of work friends, you’re more tethered to the job, when jumping from position to position actually translates into more promotions and higher salaries.
I don’t have a point. Just pondering. Really, I’m a dinosaur in this era, I’m of the old-school mindset of working yourself into the ground, but that doesn’t really work well for me. Just makes me stressed out and sick. I do not particularly wish to see this fifth grade show — I’ve seen a lot lately, so I imagine it will be more of the same, but it’s really important to Wonder Twins so that I come, so I will. And really it absolutely outranks an event with a former employer, but it took a moment for my brain to make that decision, even when I genuinely hated that former employer. I’ve just been valued and placed value in myself for being professional all these years — always showing up, always working hard, never calling in sick.
And although I momentarily kind of eyerolled at this stupid push-pull of work versus family obligations, I also wonder at how these things, like events from my children, shape my life course in a good way. I would go to that event full of socially awkward exchanges to what? Network? Smile at people I dislike? Dude, I have been brain-washed.
By some strange twist of fate (namely, my search for activities that enrich and create fun, not just work), I went dancing on a local places early 80s night. I was absolutely exhausted but managed to convince a Zip Code Friend to accompany me so it had to happen. (I couldn’t ask friends who lived farther as I planned to dance for 45 minutes then leave.) The crowd was mostly my age — quite a number of white-haired gentlemen, some young trans couples, one black guy, two Asian people (I’m in that head count). But also, good for the people my age for staying up later than 9 pm!
I was so happy I went. I stayed longer than I thought. I danced like crud. It’s gone. I used to be able to move well on a dance floor but it’s just like my Spanish, my piano and my ability to shop a clearance rack at Loehmann’s — these are skills I have not practiced in ages and although I always thoughts I could pick up where I left off, that’s no longer true. I’m aging, baby! I swayed like a zombie, in my 9-t0-5 exhaustion and swollen knees state.
Still, it was cool. Funny to listen to music that I’ve been listening to for 30, 40 years, and see that I’m still here, still alive. I’m so different than that high school person who started with The Cure, etc., but I still remember her too.