I haven’t been back to Florida in six months, so it’s just about time for waves of homesickness to set in. It doesn’t help that we just had Father’s Day (our sixth without Dad), my parents’ anniversary (their 39th), and my grandma’s birthday would be tomorrow (happy 89th in Heaven, Grammy!). Here’s what’s helping me get through the hometown blues:
- FaceTime: I mean, duh. There’s likely no way I would get through being far from family if it weren’t for the power of technology. I’m very grateful for my mom, brother, SIL, and the whole gang being up for FaceTiming regularly. It’s nothing like being there, of course, but it’s absolutely a great (and cheap!) alternative.
- A Cowgirl’s 3rd Birthday: Coming in hot this weekend is my younger niece, who turns THREE on Sunday! I can hardly believe she’ll be a three-nager in no time. Her current obsession with Jessie the cowgirl shows no sign of stopping, so it’s only fitting she dress the part in a sparkly hat and pair of boots to “ride like the wind, Bullseye!”
- “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Randy Newman: All this Toy Story talk has me thinking of the classic (how old am I?) song that brought us all to tears. Of the many musical moments we have Pixar to thank for, this one easily sits near the top tunes to take us back. I also can’t help but think of the show “Monk” when I hear it, but that’s another story for another week.
- #PrideForever: There’s no place like home, eh Dorothy? And there’s nowhere I’d rather be to celebrate 50 years of the modern LGBTQ+ movement than in gay ol’ San Francisco. Living in such an accepting, love-filled, progressive place can have its scary moments. But overall, I feel very privileged and special to reside in this Bay Area among people of all identities and backgrounds.
A million thanks to all y’all who reached out and were thinking of me this past week. I can never express enough how much it means to me to have you in my corner.
- The Bachelorette: Yes, I’m still a fan despite how petty the boys are from Hannah B.’s season. I’ve never seen any main player on this franchise who is so open about their faith, frustration and fun-loving side. Her narration of (fake) Boston history remains legendary. Is it the most dramatic season ever? Unclear. But damn, I’ll keep watching.
- Saje Natural Wellness: I previously gushed about the diffuser my roomies got me for my birthday last year, so it’s no surprise I’ve since fallen for approximately 20 of Saje’s oils as well. Headache? Peppermint Halo. Stuffy? Inhale. Sultry? Tantra. There’s an oil for everything! Between this and Pine & Patchouli, I’m one happy (non-smelly) camper.
- “ME!” – Taylor Swift f. Brendon Urie: Somehow, I managed to miss featuring this earworm, and TayTay already has a new one out (hold your horses). The bubble-gum, rainbow, magical video set is one thing. Her voice mixed with Brendon Urie’s is another level altogether. Yes, she overacts. Yes, the lyrics are kinda cheesy. But don’t act like you haven’t had this on repeat for months.
- “You Need to Calm Down” – Taylor Swift: In time for Pride, TSwift’s lyrical genius returns with another banger and too many celeb cameos to count. The ultimate message: Support the Equality Act on Change.org. Next week marks 50 years since the Stonewall Inn riots inspired the modern LGBTQ+ movement, and we still have strides to make. There is a complicated debate around her privilege, but I still believe any attention to a worthy cause is better than ignoring or suppressing the spotlight.
It’s been an emotional week for my home state, particularly for the city of Orlando. I woke up Sunday to my family and friends there marked as “Safe” on Facebook, but there are more than 50 families who weren’t as fortunate. I’m still collecting my thoughts into coherent sentences for a separate post, but until then, here are some things to help us smile through the pain:
- Hallee’s Birthday: Hallee Sorenson is a vibrant young woman, who happens to be autistic and celebrated her 18th birthday alone last year after invited guests failed to show. Her cousin Becky has now invited all of Facebook to send Hallee birthday wishes via mail. If you can take a few minutes to brighten this young lady’s day, cards can be mailed to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401
- Magz Retires: The mother of all teachers — my mother — retired last week after 32 years of teaching foreign languages and life lessons. She spent 22 years at the same high school and has inspired countless students throughout her tenure. True to form, she’s still working hard this week and grading AP tests in Cincinnati. There’s a large margarita on the rocks (no salt) with her name on it when I see her next month.
- T-Rex Competes on “America Ninja Warrior”: The T-Rex costume has provided plenty of laughs in various viral videos, but this one might just take the cake. I don’t think I could complete any of these obstacles in regular clothes, let alone an inflatable costume. Spoiler alert: T-Rex’s tiny arms may be his downfall.
- NYC Gay Men’s Chorus on “GMA”: Driving out the darkness with a message of positivity, my friend Marc and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus shone brightly on Monday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.” Their message of pride and joy to comfort the grieving Orlando and LGTBQ communities is truly mesmerizing.
On a final note, as Father’s Day approaches: If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with your dad, please call or spend time with him — anything you can — on Sunday. A close friend of mine just lost her father to cancer, 50+ children in Orlando won’t be celebrating and there are things so much bigger in this world than our stubborn differences and disputes.