Hello, Friends? How are you? What has been going on with you? At the Blair house, we are about to enjoy a very low-key weekend, and I am here for it. Maybe I’ll start thinking about what to wear to Alt Summit, or work on my inbox, or do more fireplace research for the new house.
If I was in the States this weekend, I would be helping my sister Jordan celebrate her birthday — the big 4-0. She’s got a whole weekend retreat going on and it’s making me homesick and bringing on a lot of FOMO. Did you do anything special for your 40th birthday? Or do you plan to? (I admit, I didn’t do a single thing for mine. I’ve mostly ignored my birthdays for the last decade or so. But maybe I should have marked it somehow?)
How about you? Anything interesting going on this weekend? Ready for the link list? Here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share:
-Don’t miss this very moving video from Rep. Ayanna Pressley. She’s known for her long braids, but she actually has alopecia and has lost all her hair.
-The six biggest banks in the U.S. have pocketed $32 billion from Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. In turn, they’ve curbed lending, cut jobs and shoveled money to their shareholders.
-Memorable piece by a woman whose 2019 New Years resolution was to talk about climate change.
-3 African countries are trying out the first malaria vaccine. It’s only 40% effective, but they are hoping it’s a start.
-This week Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. It was originally proposed 100 years ago. Will it finally become law?
-Eileen Fisher built a fashion empire. Her employees now own nearly half of it.
-Cash bail was never about safety.
-This was hard to read. Incest, rape, and abuse in Amish communities. So many religious communities (mine included) have had to face (and are still facing) this same thing.
-This Striking Image of the Moon Is a Combination of 100,000 Photos.
-A little quiz — Which of these 2020 Democrats agrees with you most?
-One Native American tribe built a solar-powered microgrid on its California reservation as part of its goal to develop climate-resilient infrastructure. Now, it has emerged as a lifeline for rural communities during PG&E’s planned power outages.
-I want to put this giant hoodie on and not leave the house all weekend.
-How modern marriage still isn’t built to handle women’s ambition and career success—and what governments (and couples!) can do to change that.
-This makes me so deeply sad. The great dismantling of America’s national parks is under way.
-“There has never been any period in American history where the health of blacks was equal to that of whites. Disparity is built into the system.”
-When your depression meds don’t always work.
Here are a few Twitter links I saved for you:
–A short insightful thread about the word “back-stabbing”.
-On the value of breastfeeding.
-A thread of non-fiction books that have changed lives.
-I’m so fascinated by this map!
-A thread of people who have turned down royal honors.
I hope you have a happy and easy-going weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.
11 thoughts on “A Few Things”
YES YES YES on breastfeeding not being “free”. Something else to consider – I found breastfeeding to be excruciatingly painful, and it exacerbated my postpartum anxiety – while you can’t quantify pain, it’s also a price to pay. Also, there are so many breastfeeding “accessories” out there that are presented as essential – lactation consultants, covers, pumps, supplements, and so on – and those are not free either, nor are the calories nursing moms need to consume to keep themselves and their babies healthy. I’ve seen some (admittedly cool!) pumps that allow for hands free, mobile pumping – but they’re $300!! WAY out of budget for many people, yet touted as a way to “empower” women to work and pump. There’s a lot of assumed privilege there.
I’m firmly in the “fed is best” camp and I think all women should be able to choose how to feed their babies without shame. But framing one option as “free” and the other as “expensive” doesn’t come close to telling the whole truth.
For my 40th I got a sitter, rented a local airbnb, threw myself a party with all my friends, then stayed at the airbnb for the night. It was fabulous. Plus I made a huge playlist of all my favorite songs from my whole life, and that’s what we listened to. And served midnight tacos.
6 months before my 40th I sent out emails to everyone important to me and asked them how they would like to celebrate with me. I went on 2 fabulous trips, hosted an excellent party, and had about 8 activities over 2 months that we called birthday events. By the time the actual day came I was totally over it and I have some great memories. I also got magnificent hair extensions 3 months before so I look amazing in all the pictures.
My 40th is in a few weeks….. my partner was supposed to be working on a film in Puerto Rico so we were going to celebrate there but with the earthquakes the shoot got cancelled… so instead I’ll be flying out to meet him in Atlanta. He’s been away on this film for 6months so any time together is a gift right now.
My husband had his 40th last autumn and I will be 40 at the beginning of next year.
This summer we will be celebrating being 80 together with all of our friends and without kids.
Our real birthdays are exclusively for ourselves and/or our families.
Happy low key-weekending!
My plan for 2020 is to withdraw my money from coal and gas and oil. Our banks lend to fund these companies, our retirement plans fund them. There’s other alternatives and if you research, many ethical funds are outperforming traditional ones. So far I’ve already switched my electricity to green energy with my same provider at around $250 extra a year. Can everyone afford this? No. Which is exactly why those who can, must.
I would say a book that changed the way I think is “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson. I was educated in this country and never learned about the great migration of black people from the south, the redlining and other private and public racist policies and actions they faced when they got to northern or western cities. It has changed my understanding of our country’s history and I see the news very differently now. The book is beautifully written and tells the stories of three families – one who went to New York, one to Chicago, and one to LA. It’s great.
YES! I wish schools would make this mandatory reading. Also: The New Jim Crow, which I read at about the same time, really changed the way I looked at American History (NOT just in the South) and the way I process the news, think of “the drug war,” and consider our epidemic of incarcerating black and brown people for things that white people get away with every single day.
The breastfeeding tweet triggered a recollection that in Islam, women are entitled to demand payment for breastfeeding. In practice, obviously, very few women insist on this, except maybe in the case of divorce. I think this notion needs to be revisited in light of the opportunity cost of women’s time and energy.
I was worried about the psychological consequences of turning 40 so I made myself a list of 40 things I could do/have done, that I couldn’t do/hadn’t done at 20, and goals for what to do by 50 and 60. It was super empowering and made it a real milestone celebration to feel accomplished.