This week was a good one. James turned 4 months old, had a healthy 4-month checkup at the pediatrician, and we marked the four year anniversary of It Was Me All Along! Oh and I changed out of my pajamas and into what many would consider to be “normal” clothes on 4 out of the 7 days, which was really something. To celebrate, I’m starting a new series here where I share all of my recent favorites: things I’ve read, watched, listened to, bought, eaten…you get the idea. Here goes nothing:
“The Weight I Carry: What it’s like to be too big in America” by Tommy Tomlinson
This piece in The Atlantic is an excerpt from his book The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America. It’s sincere and moving and so, so worth the read:
“I’ve never been anything but fat. Is there something in the fat version of me that also makes me likable and creative and a decent human being? Are the best parts of me all knotted up with the worst? Is there some way to untangle it and keep just the good stuff? Most of the time I think of my fat as a husk—something I have to shed so the best part of me can come out. But sometimes I wonder if I’m more like the shells you find on the beach, where the outer part is the attraction, and the animal inside is dull and shapeless.”
Daily Annoyances for Most People Are Catastrophic for Poor People by Linda Tirado
My mother has held at least two jobs for as long as I can remember. I cannot say that I know what it’s like to be dirt poor, but I do know what it’s like to struggle, to have your one family car repossessed, and to worry regularly about the lights getting turned off. All this to say, I have a tremendous amount of compassion for anyone who struggles financially. This article is an excerpt from Linda Tirado’s book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America and it’s both necessary and devastating.
“It is impossible to be good with money when you don’t have any. Full stop. If I’m saving my spare five bucks a week, in the best-case scenario I will have saved $260 a year. For those of you that think in quarters: $65 per quarter in savings. If you deny yourself even small luxuries, that’s the fortune you’ll amass. Of course you will never manage to actually save it; you’ll get sick at least one day and miss work and dip into it for rent. Gas will spike and you’ll need it to get to work. You’ll get a tear in your work pants that you can’t patch. Something, I guarantee you, will happen in three months.
When I have a few extra dollars to spend, I can’t afford to think about next month—my present day situation is generally too tight to allow me that luxury. I’ve got kids who are interested in their quality of life right now, not 10 years from now.”
90 Day Fiancé
Just before I had James, I got sucked into the madness that is 90 Day Fiancé on TLC. And once I gave birth, I sped through 5 seasons in a blur. The show is fascinating, to say the least. If you’re not familiar, it’s about men and women who fall in love with people who live in other countries (sometimes they meet while on vacation or on a religious mission, but most often they meet on online dating sites) and through a K1 Visa, the fiancé is able to come to the U.S. for 90 days. They must marry within that timeframe or else the fiancé must leave the country. I suppose what’s most consuming about the show is trying to determine how real these relationships really are and what led these people to them in the first place.
Armchair Expert podcast
I’ve been listening to podcasts for 11 years now, which translates loosely to me considering myself a bit of a podcast connoisseur. I’ve listened to thousands of shows and episodes on topics that range from comedy to health to parenting. I discovered the Armchair Expert podcast, hosted by actor/comedian Dax Shepard, at the start of 2018, and have since listened to every episode, falling completely in love in the process. As an interviewer, Dax is a natural. Whether he’s speaking with an actor friend or an expert in a given field (ethics, writing, parenting, etc.), he’s able to create a casual, comfortable conversation. He’s curious, thoughtful, and honest, all of which matter quite a bit to us listeners, especially since he’s not one to shy away from sensitive subjects. What I love most about Dax is that he’s endearingly human, quick to reveal his own flaws and to reconsider his own beliefs.
*Favorite episode: Jonathan Haidt
Nordstrom Moonlight Pajamas
Up until this year, I spent every night of my life in pajamas that I can only describe as mortifying (Exhibit A (my favorite): an oversized t-shirt my parents got me on a trip to Canada in the mid-2000’s that read, “Somebody who loves me very much went to Calgary, Canada and got me this shirt,” and bumblebee-print pants). And while this feels very deeply ‘me,’ I’ve always wished I were someone who wore, I don’t know, nice pajamas I guess? The trouble was, every time I went to buy some, I pulled back, thinking of half a dozen other things I’d rather spend the money on. Then I had a baby, and started spending my entire life in pajamas, so I bought two pairs and I’ve never looked back. These pajamas are soft and comfortable while still being pretty darn good looking.
Sunbeam Heated Throw
Daniel has gotten me a lot of special gifts over the past 15-ish years, but I don’t know if I’ve ever liked any of them quite as much as the heated blanket he got me this year. Before your eyes roll all the way back in your head, wait! This could change your life.
For some reason (likely genetic poor circulation that’s been handed down to me), I get really cold as I fall asleep. Or at least I used to. But not anymore. I put this soft fleece blanket on top of the covers on my side of the bed and turn it on the “preheat” setting 10 or 15 minutes before bed. By the time I crawl in, it’s toasty. The blanket itself isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but it has 10 heat settings and automatic shut-off after 10 hours. I use it every night!
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