Just when you think reality can’t get any scarier, something like the Manchester bombing happens — at a freaking Ariana Grande concert. And we all stop… and maybe we post about how terrible it is; maybe we donate money to help the victims (conversion chart here); maybe we put others before our own needs for a few minutes… and a day or a week or even a month may pass. And then something insane happens — again — to innocent people. Whether that’s as senseless as a terrorist attack or as critical as ensuring healthcare coverage, how are we ever able to feel like the future isn’t futile? If you have an answer, please do let me know. Here’s what’s helping me cope in the meantime:
- Mister Rogers: I read this series of tweets last night and promptly cried my eyes out. Happy tears, but tears nonetheless. Entertainment Weekly writer Anthony Breznican recaps the time he happened to meet Mister Rogers in an elevator, then proceeded to have a neighborly conversation about loss. It’ll pull at all of your heartstrings, and hopefully remind you how light can be found in the depths of darkness.
- Service Dog’s Yearbook Photo: I couldn’t possibly talk about coping without including some four-legged friends. Alpha is AJ Schalk’s service dog, and 10/10 would recommend him for being a good pup. AJ asked his high school’s yearbook staff if Alpha could be included, since he’s clearly a vital member of the student body, and they happily obliged. Is that not the happiest lil’ fella you’ve ever seen?
- 25 Hilarious and Wholesome Tweets: Are you sensing a theme here? Whatever your stance on BuzzFeed as an information source, I will forever appreciate the site for its ability to make me smile. These tweets are each sweet and simple, and should bring a smile to your face as well. If not a smile, then perhaps some Chloe side-eye?
- “Here Comes the Sun” – The Beatles: I can’t think of another song that almost immediately brings me to tears each time I hear it. Again, they’re happy tears, and sometimes it’s just a glimmer of a tear, but something about the melody and uplifting lyrics puts me in a bubble-wrapped glass case of emotion. It reminds me of my dad; it reminds me of hope; it reminds me there are better days ahead.
As much as I love seeing my family and friends back East, I absolutely loathe the time difference and trying to readjust midweek. I got home this morning around 1am, then of course had to shower and unpack a bit before passing out. Good thing the A Team at Starbucks is on today, as I’ve had more caffeine than I normally do in an entire week.
- A Curious Co-worker: What’s a surefire way to ensure you’re awake at your desk? How about returning to the office to find a heart-shaped, glittery necklace with Nic Cage front and center? I have no idea who left it — or why — and am too embarrassed after asking a handful of co-workers to pursue any more. If only Robert Stack were still around for this unsolved mystery. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted with updates. I know you’re waiting on pins and needles.
- A Week in Florida: The past week was filled with countless laughs and special moments. From celebrating one talented cousin’s Disney revue to another’s college graduation AND graduate school acceptance; to silly songs with my nieces; heartfelt Mother’s Day moments; beach and pool time with loved ones; long-awaited reunions; oh and that unmistakable humidity; it’s a visit I won’t soon forget. It never feels like enough time, though I can only do so many sleepovers with a certain kicking niece before I long for my own bed 😉
- A Nice Neighbor: This is going to sound absolutely ridiculous, but I needed the reminder that there are still genuine people in the world. My new home is coin-operated laundry, so when I moved out of my former place, I left my card in the laundry room with a note: “$7, Venmo Wittyburg if feeling generous.” I figured it was a lost cause but received a payment last night and couldn’t believe my eyes. So thanks to Drew, from God-knows-which-apartment-number, for being a kind neighbor.
- A Friend-filled “First Dates”: I’ve been watching NBC’s “First Dates” all season in anticipation of this Friday’s episode. I know two of the featured daters, and they happen to be in the very same episode (although not dating each other)! While I know the outcome of one date — no spoilers, don’t worry — I can’t wait to see how a real-life college friend and NYC friend make their television dating debut. Look out for Matt and Justine; I’m sure they won’t disappoint! Check out the preview here.
Images courtesy of: Me, Me, Meee, NBC
Yesterday, I neglected to mention one place I go when my soul needs soothing. It’s particularly on my mind as I sit in the Milwaukee airport, awaiting my connection. Florida will likely always be “home” to me, whether it’s because I spent 25 years there or because my entire family is there or because I will fiercely defend it against all of the alligator and Florida Man jokes. (I can make those jokes, but a non-Floridian can’t; you get it.)
So after 9 hours of travel tonight, I’ll spend the next six days with my family back home. We’re celebrating my baby cousin’s graduation — and while I know he’s a genius, he’s not actually an infant; he’s 22 — plus the bonus celebration of Mother’s Day. I’ll catch up with hometown friends and squeeze my nieces and try new beers with Brother and watch my SIL in awe as she parents #likeaboss.
And while I don’t have a formal WO collage for you to peruse, I thought you might enjoy my favorite song about home. It was the first dance at my hometown friends’ wedding five years ago, and it still rings true.
3 days in a row of posting, who’d a thunk? I won’t tease you and make you think I’ll be continuing this streak tomorrow, but I certainly couldn’t leave you hanging from loving up on these four finds:
- You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m about to Tell You: Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal, does it again. His latest comic is about the backfire effect, or why we often ignore evidence that contradicts our core beliefs. It’s especially fascinating given the political landscape we’re in, where most are shouting into a vacuum and refusing to listen. Please, enjoy.
- Salt & Straw: Portland’s very own addictively awesome ice cream shop made its debut in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Never one to jump on a bandwagon, I reluctantly agreed to wait for about 40 minutes in line this past sultry Saturday. Wanna know how good it was? A friend and I returned Monday night — pro tip, grab a pint to share and skip the line! — to indulge in the signature Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. Deeelish, particularly when SF is seeing temperatures in the 80s!
- “How to Get Away with Murder”: Here’s how reluctant I am to join aforementioned bandwagons: I know probably 20 women who absolutely love HTGAWM and rave about it every week. I finally caved and started Netflixing a few weeks ago. And now I’m almost through season 2. So yeah, you could say Annalise Keating and the K5 students have me hooked. I still can’t unsee Bonnie Winterbottom (hehe) as Paris Geller, but that’s a personal problem.
- “Gonna Hurry (as Slow as I Can)”: Thanks to my recent Patreon support of A Song A Day, I recently received a monthly playlist containing this little gem. I hadn’t heard of Chicago-based band Whitney before, but I had heard of the original artist (Dolly Parton). Something about the upbeat and high-pitched crooning of heartbreaking lyrics really speaks to me. I hope you’ll feel the same.
It was recently brought to attention that all of the links I painstakingly include each week are not easily visible from mobile devices. While I’m working on a long-term solution to customize my mobile design, just know I often include links to articles and products I reference, particularly in the image credits. Phew!
- “The Glass Castle”: A good (bbhead!) friend of mine recommended this novel and let me borrow it a while back, but I’d done her a disservice and only just started it last Friday while myself and 90,000 other San Franciscans were without power. Even after power was restored, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a heart-wrenching memoir of a woman’s rough childhood and upbringing, and certainly put things in perspective for me. Bonus: It’s been made into a movie, to be released this year.
- Crossword App from NYT: Monday would have been my maternal grandpa’s 87th birthday. Among other things, the New York Times crossword was always a favorite of his — and my mom’s. The crossword app is free, even for non-subscribers, and there are themed puzzle packs for purchase if you’re a super #wordnerd like me. I have a feeling Pop would have stuck to the ol’ ink and paper, but I love feeling connected to him all the same.
- José Eber Curling Wand: I never got into the Harry Potter life, so I didn’t believe in magic wands until I met this one. It transforms my unruly hair into glorious beach waves, in no time at all. I’m particularly clumsy, so I have burned myself a few times (yes, even while wearing the included glove). But pain is beauty, right? And, I’m 20 days accident-free… although I probably just jinxed that.
- “Sign of the Times” – Harry Styles: Before you get all Judgy McJudgerson on me, you must know I didn’t realize this was Harry Styles until I saw him on last week’s SNL. I’d heard it enough to fall for the addictive crescendo and soulful sound, but I hadn’t placed the voice. So, despite him being the reason 1D broke up and a million hearts broke with it, I can’t get enough of this one.
It’s been a whirlwind of PR nightmares from Pepsi to United Airlines to Melissa McCarthy… (If you don’t understand the third one, start watching “Last Week Tonight.”) I don’t know many who are applauding those mega-oops moments, but here’s what I do appreciate this week:
- Spring Cleaning: In preparation for an upcoming move within SF, I’ve taken a liken to purging stuff with the help of friends. Thanks to two separate sessions, led by my master-purge peers, I’ve managed to gather countless items to donate and four bags of trash! Who knew I’d accumulated all that stuff in just 2.5 years?
- A Fresh Mani/Pedi: My Sunday night routine often involves painting my nails as a therapeutic way to wind down the weekend. I was trying some “maybe” colors I wasn’t ready to let go of, but then a dear friend suggested we catch up over mani/pedis Monday night. I can’t think of a better way to spend an hour — being pampered while connecting with loved ones is simply the best!
- Easter: This coming Sunday is sure to be filled with a joyous remembrance of resurrection and life for my fellow Catholics and Christians. Egg dyeing and chocolate bunnies aside, Easter has become one of my favorite holidays for humble reflection and celebration.
- “HUMBLE” – Kendrick Lamar: Speaking of humility, Kendrick Lamar’s latest has flooded my ears all week. It could be a coincidence, given the major blunders we’re witnessing firsthand, but I think I’d be into it regardless. Completely NSFW language ahead — beware before blasting in your office.