Year: 2020

Cheers to the Ones Who Aren’t Drinking This Season

Cross stitch made by “SP,” the woman who came to Erin’s rescue on day one. (Photo courtesy Erin Street) Krystal and Cristal — it was the tradition my husband and I shared for 15 years. For those unfamiliar, Krystal is a hamburger chain headquartered in Dunwoody, Georgia. And Cristal, well, you know that’s champagne. It’s a purposeful mix of “high-low,” born on our first New Year’s together when, without a reservation, my husband and I grabbed a sackful of Krystal burgers and champagne, December 31, 2001. The tradition evolved in subsequent years. We ate the burgers off Lenox china gifted to us for our wedding, then on a silver tray once at a dinner party, and then the tiny burgers were cut into quarters for our small son. This year, La Croix will be substituted for Cristal. Because this year, I quit drinking for good. It used to be that I would feel sorry for the person who wasn’t drinking. How could I have a New Year’s Eve? How could I have any kind of …

7 Tips to Make it Through a Quarantine Holiday

We can’t travel. No one outside of our pods should come over. We’re grieving all of the people lost to COVID. Money is tight. The general feeling is: “This year f**king sucks.” But we’ve gotten this far; we can definitely make it from here to New Year’s. Not sure what to do? Here’s our game plan: 1. Watch Movies (Photo: Ida Elise Broch stars in Home for Christmas on Netflix) Yes, we’ve been bingeing every TV show we can get our hands on since March, but there are some old (and new) favorites we love to watch this time of year: Christmas Vacation: One word: “Squirrel!” The Best Man Holiday. Also known as The Best Looking Christmas Movie Cast Home for Christmas: This is a fantastic little Norwegian series that’s imminently bingeable. AND Season 2 was just released last Friday so catch up! Die Hard: Every year the longstanding feud reignites between the “Die Hard is definitely a Christmas movie” faction and the “No, it’s not!” coalition. (It’s so obviously a Christmas movie.) We watched …

In Defense of Over-Holidaying

My husband grew up Jewish, and when we started dating, it fell to me to introduce him to Christmas as full-fledged participant, rather than exasperated outside witness. He couldn’t have chosen a better person to adopt Christmas with. With my cookie-making, casserole-baking, community-volunteering tendencies, I’ve been in bootcamp for Christmas mentorship my whole life. But even I was unprepared for how much more fun—how defiantly extra—Christmas could be with someone who’d never had it. On a frosty morning in December, my brand-new Christmas Jew and I were the first customers at the neighborhood tree stand. We struggled back to our studio apartment with a tree no less than five feet in diameter, coated it in lights and tinsel, and spent the day sitting on the couch, staring at it. We were just getting started. Reader, we roasted a Christmas goose. Have you ever tried roasting a goose? Don’t. We ate roasted chestnuts, also disgusting. We went to the Messiah, and my Jewish boyfriend stood up and bellowed “Haaaale-lujah!” with the best of them. We adopted Operation Santa kids, ice skated …

Teresa Misagal with her hands in a barrel of ink

TueNight 10: Teresa Misagal

Teresa is a shibori artist who uses indigo as her medium. She is a maker, creator, collector, and Japan traveler who draws on her fashion and photography background to combine traditional Japanese techniques with her vision as a non-Japanese to create functional textiles. She’s always on the quest for the tastiest soba.

The Grinch Had It Right: Presents Ruin the Holidays

Not to brag, but I was something of a step-aerobics queen in the 1990s. (Don’t remember step classes? Think Zumba but with a plastic riser, here it comes, to step on.) Perhaps that’s why my mother-in-law — who otherwise had unerring style — gave me an all-in-one, boldly floral Spandex leotard-and-capri-leggings get-up designed specifically for “steppers.” I know this because “Steppers!” was written across the butt. It even came with a matching headband. There is a photo of me wearing it, dutifully, while standing in front of a Christmas tree, wrapping paper strewn about my ankles.   That was my moment of clarity: holiday gift-giving is not great because of the gift-giving. The December holidays, birthdays and Valentine’s Day are all preceded by a mad scramble to find “something special,” or in my family, increasingly irate texts: “What do you want?” “You haven’t told me what you want!” What I want is to not exchange gifts.  And this year, engaging in activities guaranteed to deepen our debt and increase our stress seems almost masochistic. That’s COVID’s job! …

9 Lessons I Learned from My 9 Favorite 90s Shows

(Photo courtesy of: imago images/United Archives; imdb.com; doug.wikia.com) Oh, 1996: The time in which my eighth year of life on this Earth came to an end and my ninth began. I had begun to take school seriously (#honorrollgoals), spent most of my time in dance class and didn’t care about too much more than my coke bottle glasses and whatever new sneakers were coming out for the week that I could sport on casual Fridays (the perks of being a private school girl.) The year was also a pretty fantastic time for television. I still frequently hear that television kills brain cells and that it’s an idiot box, but I have always begged to differ. Like any kind of media you consume, it can be either imbecilic or informative and, though a balance is best, there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot take any major keys from the telly. I’m still gleaning some epic lessons from television and fondly remember the messages I received from the good old year of 1996. Here are a few …

How to Find Joy During the Pandemic without Feeling Guilty

A few months back, I turned 60 and my son, Nick, turned 30. We had been planning a joint party with lots of family and friends, but that idea went by the wayside due to COVID-19. Instead, we hosted two, 16-person gatherings at home — one for me and one for Nick, two weeks apart. Like so many other families, we’ve had a rough year. Just before the pandemic, we tragically lost a young friend; Nick lost his job in a round of COVID-related lay-offs; my elderly in-laws have struggled with isolation; and we’ve been terrified by the White House. A couple of festive nights felt like a good idea. It also felt totally wrong.  Allowing myself to experience joy is especially challenging right now. Fun can feel inappropriate. How can we celebrate anything when so many people are sick, grieving, on the brink of financial or emotional collapse? I thought long and hard about doing nothing to commemorate my milestone birthday, as did Nick. But letting those days pass just like any other seemed …

One Cookie at a Time: Carrying the Weight of My Anxiety

I’ve been anxious for most of my life. I can trace my anxiety back to age six, the year my parents officially separated. Back then, we called my dad an alcoholic. Now, we’d call him what he really was: bipolar, self-medicating with alcohol. I remember sitting on a blue velvet couch in our living room, as a police officer, a friend’s father , came to haul my dad away. Our dog insisted on getting into the squad car with him, so the officer took her too. Just moments before, dad had arrived at our house to find himself locked out due to his volatile behavior. Enraged, he smashed a window trying to get in and cut the phone line ensuring we couldn’t call for help. A retired cop himself, he knew all the tricks. Thanks to our neighbor whose phone line was not cut, that’s as far as he got before the cops arrived.  My father’s violent and erratic behavior continued, several days later, when he arrived at my elementary school, trying to convince my …

An Astrologer’s Self-Care Checklist to Get Us to Inauguration Day

November 4th has come and gone, and guess what? We finally have a President Elect! But we’re a far cry and a million angry White House tweets away from the moment ole Orange Crush exits the building. Until then, you’re still here. You’ve still got bills to pay, a family to feed and a life to live. Pace yourself and start preparing for the changes ahead in 2021. As an Astrologer, I can tell you this election mess hasn’t reached its conclusion just yet. In fact, the current astrological aspects point to a “flip flopping” of information from the media for all of November. With Mars in Aries going direct on November 13th, we’ll see tensions and violence rise amongst the people and possibly even the threat of war. And then the lunar eclipse on November 30th will bring a big expose about our mass media, pointing to corruption we didn’t even see coming.  The only thing that will remain the same in these coming months is your need to pace yourself and start preparing …

Why I Vote: TueNighters Share Highlights from the Polls

The 2020 election has seemed endless, but we’re almost to the finish line (we hope). TueNighters across the country were among the nearly 100 million voters who’ve already gone to the polls or dropped their ballots in the mailbox. Some brought their kids who were voting for the very first time, others honored the long, bloody fight against voter intimidation and suppression, and some felt a responsibility to fulfill their civic duty. Check out some of the photos and messages TueNighters shared of casting their votes.  

Violet Sky

Meet Violet Sky, the 19-Year-Old Living Like It Is 1985

For those of us around in the mid-80s, we may have a fondness or nostalgia (or deep cringe) for teased perms, forearms of black rubber bangles, fluorescent-colored tops and off-the-shoulder ripped sweatshirts. Such stuff as MTV dreams were made of — and probably not a look we wore every day.  Enter Violet Sky, or GlitterWave80s as she’s better known to her 90K followers on TikTok. The 19-year-old New Yorker has dedicated most of her life to living as if it were still the 80s. As seen in her Day-Glo videos, using a static-filled “VCR-style” filter, Violet sports enormous permed hair, shellac-ed bangs, light blue eyeshadow and REALLY high-waisted acid wash jeans. Glimpsing behind her, you’ll see a room plastered with posters of Duran Duran, Rick Springfield (my actual first concert), VHS tapes, a cassette-tape boombox, a record player, Keith Haring socks and white Reebok sneakers in the corner. Girl has done her research. This is no Halloween gag; this is something she’s been doing for four years. I had many, many questions. Mainly, I wanted …

I Learned Everything I Know from Harriet the Spy

Brick houses, courtyard apartments with trees and dirt in the yards, alleys, little grocery stores and bickering neighbors: This was my world, and it was Harriet the Spy’s world, too. Harriet, age eleven, was the first fictional girl I’d met who lived in a big city and didn’t exist just to act like a little lady. Instead, she followed her burning curiosity by spying on neighbors, and wrote her thoughts and plans in a private notebook. Harriet called it “working.”  “I will be a spy and know everything!” she declared. She learned more from peeking into the lives of shopkeepers, lonely old people and domestic workers than she did at school.  Harriet the Spy seemed to have been written just for me — a solitary, rough-and-tumble eight-year-old who saw herself as smart and adventurous, too. The book showed me a path.  “Mom,” I said, “I need a notebook.” I told her all about Harriet. My mom always liked my bright ideas, so she bought me a composition book on her next trip to the drugstore.  …

Silly Things People Have Said to Me When I Tell Them I’m Not Having Kids

There will be no children in my future. Ever. Yes, I am married. Yes, my husband knows that I do not want children. Yes, we both realize we’re extremely fortunate to be able to elect to live childfree. He doesn’t want kids either. It’s part of the reason I married him. (That, and he has excellent hair.) He married me knowing that and also because I always clean the litter box. I probably brought up the topic of kids on the second date — it would have been a deal breaker. My husband would make the world’s greatest father. But that alone isn’t reason enough for me to become the mother I’ve never wanted to be, to take on a crushing financial burden or to add more to my already too-full plate. I love my friends’ children. Because I don’t have to take care of them. Their cuteness is there to fulfill my need to see cute things. I don’t expect them to behave for me, and they don’t expect 18 years of dinner from …

The Real Cost of Caregiving

The Real Cost of Caregiving

When I was recently in Pittsburgh, giving my sister a much-needed break from taking care of our mother, I heard a sharp cracking sound, followed by something hitting the floor. I was sitting in the kitchen at the time and raced down the stairs to find my mother on the floor, beside the desk, in the den. The keyboard shelf was lying next to her, with the keyboard dangling slightly above, still attached to the computer by a cord. “Are you okay?” I asked, helping her up and into the chair. She didn’t seem to be injured. “I’m okay,” she said. “What happened?”  “I fell,” she said. “What happened to the desk?” I asked, though I already knew the answer. She must have used the keyboard shelf to help herself up from the desk chair, and it couldn’t support her weight. “I don’t know,” she said, with a sense of surprise. “Really?” “How’d that happen?” she asked. “Did Ollie do that?” I asked, referring to my 14-pound Westie, who had spent the morning downstairs with …

Nina & Margit September Pop-Culture Roundup

Every month (almost) Nina Lorez Collins of The Woolfer and Margit Detweiler (of this here thing, TueNight)  get together for a chat about anything and everything pop culture. On the regular they talk about what they’re reading, watching, listening to and loving.  Here are this month’s recommendations: Margit’s Picks What I’m Listening To: Norma Tanega Kamasi Washington H.E.R. TV playlists like this and this Stream these stations: WXPN; WFUV; KUTX; KCRW Podcast: Nice White Parents AND if you’re a TV buff and want to discuss the shows you’re watching join our group T/N Spoiler Alert on Facebook!  What I’m Watching: What We Do In The Shadows Lovecraft County The Vow  Nina’s Picks What I’m Reading: Raven Leilani, Luster Elena Ferrante, The Lying Life of Adults Sigrid Nunez, What Are You Going Through Sue Miller, Monogamy Louise Penny, All The Devils Are Here  What I’m Watching: The Bureau — THE BEST! French, stylish, gripping, spies! Run, don’t walk! Borgen — think Madame Secretary but more intellectual and in Danish! Away — Astronaut Hillary Swank leads a crew to Mars! What I’m Listening To: Dear Joan & Jerica If you missed their live convo, …

Grandma’s: A House Manual in the Age of COVID

Welcome to Grandma’s house. We understand this was not your first choice for a week away from the toxic San Francisco air, especially when the air down here in Central California is even worse. We are aware that this week-long vacation puts both you and Grandma at risk, COVID-wise. We appreciate your business. Because this is not a standard vacation rental, we hope you will spend some time reading these warnings and suggestions so that your stay will be comfortable, or at least tolerable. Volume and noises Grandma is deaf as hell and refuses to get a hearing aid. When you enter the house, make sure to slam the door hard enough to make the whole house rattle. Shout her name as loud as you possibly can. Several times. You will get no response, and you will dread what you will find in the TV room where she spends most of her time. The TV, of course, will be at maximum volume, and you will see her sitting upright, eyes closed, motionless. You will wonder …

Get Out the MotherF&#@ing Vote!

Join TueNight, PERSISTICON and Murray Hill on October 6th at 8pm to Get Out the Motherf@#$ing Vote! A virtual night of fun, solidarity, and making a difference in this election. Get Your Ticket Buy a ticket by clicking the “save my spot” button on the ticket page displayed below. A portion of all proceeds will go to FairFight, a national voting rights organization promoting fair elections nationwide. powered by Crowdcast Next: Register with Postcards to Voters You can register with Postcards to Voters by texting JOIN to 484-275-2229. Make sure to follow the steps and complete your sample postcard by October 5th so you’re all set to party with us at the event! Gather Your Supplies Before the Event Since this is a virtual shindig, you’ll want to gather your supplies before the event. Think favorite pens, blank postcards, comfy pants and tasty beverages. **TN EXCLUSIVE: A limited quantity of printed postcards featuring Johanna Goodman’s original art are available to order. If you’d like postcards mailed to you, please fill out this Google form before …

Come Sleep with Me: Caretaking Mom

When I turned 50, I rediscovered the splendid stretch of my own bed. Marriage-free after 25 years, children grown and gone, no pets with their whiny demands, I could haunt the night without fear of rousing man, child, or beast.   There are those who long for the late-night solace of someone else’s arms. But solitude cracked the night open for me, and my bed became my sanctuary, my spa, my office, my library, my snack bar. On my nightstand, Alexa played Esperanza Spalding when I was writing, or read me Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed as a bedtime story. Next to Alexa was a lavender-scented candle, and usually a glass of red wine or a cup of strong, black coffee. The marriage bed, the birthing bed, the family bed, was finally the ark of my own joy.  Then in the summer of 2016, I abandoned my Detroit home of thirty years, put my belongings in storage and moved to coastal Virginia to live with my parents. They were in their 80s, their minds fading much faster …