You had me at J, Lo.

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Life was starting to stench more than Harvey Weinstein’s jail cell, but Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck just doused the world with 2004’s finest musk and we’re alright again. I got a few shots, Bennifer’s back, and so am I. Who would have thought two needle punctures and a dead romance revived by a rebound would be the best thing to happen to me in 16 months?

I dig envisioning Jen and Ben’s romance reeking of Camel Lights, mahogany and orchid room diffusers. Poor Jennifer Lopez just wants Ben to look at her the way he looks at his cigarettes — don’t we all want someone to want us like Ben wants his smokes? For Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck is the best in a menagerie of men she has dated so I am happy she’s back with Massachusetts’s patron saint of intellectual brooding bad boys. Perhaps Ben can convince her to stop making new music and she can hold his hand while he removes that atrocity of a tattoo from his back. That way, we all win.

I needed this so badly.

The pandemic stung me with its boredom and self-reflection.

The last few years pounced on my nerves like my new kittens to my house plants. I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t start. My self-care only includes shopping, napping and watching; watching entertainment, my neighbors, people in the grocery store, shrouded in masks. If I share all the shows I religiously watch I fear you’d never think of me the same. Here’s a sliver: HBO’s “Hacks,” HULU’s “The Handmaids Tale,” vintage “The O.C.“, every Housewives horror show, and I sprinkle on Masterpiece Classics for some culture. Anything not to think, not to start and not to act.

We never deserved Britney.

The pandemic and pop culture was a study in sadness. By watching The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears , we acknowledged that the world has been treating Britney Spears as bad as Pink’s recent Billboard Music performance with her kid. I do not care how unstable any court has found Britney Spears, she should be able to purchase all the cropped shirts, low-rise shorts, bronzer and hair extensions her heart desires. Britney Spears is a mastermind and should be cherished for her decades of pure pop perfection. Oh yeah, and we all knew Justin Timberlake was an asshole, we let those curls fool us. May he and Jessica Biel live a boring life.

Ew, onto Pink. If I wanted to see an aging pop star do acrobatics with her kid, I’d go to the local dance studio and ask for the mother/daughter $99.95 class — at a discount, please. Why are we always subjected to Pink’s kids and her husband? Why is she a combined package of cheesiness and more importantly, why hasn’t she changed her hairstyle in 20 years? Isn’t there a land where pop stars go to retire and only show up for lifetime achievement awards? Can that place be Belize?

An addiction does not equal talent.

No, celebrities haven’t fared well in the pandemonium. Demi Lavato lost their mind over a low-fat frozen yogurt shop in Los Angeles. Isn’t L.A. fueled on low-fat yogurt shops, cocaine, sun and Botox?! Go ahead and cancel me for the following: Demi Levato is desperate for relevance and their talent, at once powerful, is waning while their cries for help escalate. They’re a car accident that I can’t look at anymore. Sorry, Demi and get better. Please note that I am using Demi’s preferred pronouns so that you don’t think my dislike for them has anything to do with gender orientation, I can sense the phoniness and it stinks worse than their haircut.

There are no children in pop music.

On a positive note for all, my children truly got to know me during the pandemic and they’re baffled, annoyed and entertained. We Generation X parents are so “extra,” as the Gen Zers would say. I may have my own life but I’m RIDICULOUSLY fascinated with my children’s lives. I don’t want to dance with them on an awards show but kids are fascinating creatures.

Speaking of kids, Olivia Rodrigo is a blast of coolness in the dead heat of summer. I love her, Phoebe Bridgers and Billie Eilish. And yes, I only listen to female singer songwriters and I’m okay with this.

Uncle Chuck’s Passing and the Death of Class

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My lovely Uncle Chuck recently died during this rotgut of a time and my thoughts echo with only the finest memories of New England’s classiest man. In a world of forgettable uncles, mine pulsed to a lo-fi beat of his own. For a young girl without much of a relationship with her own father, my uncle showed me how kind men can be.

Christmas Eves at Uncle’s Chuck’s Uxbridge home meant jazz whispering in the background while I nibbled on gourmet cheese, only to inevitably and secretly spit it out because it certainly wasn’t cheddar or American. Chuck’s five older and smarter-than-me children, my cousins, would regale me with tales from NYC and Africa. Before smoking cigarettes was officially deemed repugnant, we’d all smoke butts in the one room that Chuck begrudgingly allowed and I choked on the inside knowledge that I was in on something to remember, something cool. My mother always let me open one present before we left for Chuck’s home and I chose carefully—eager to show off an enormous Swatch watch or Esprit button-down shirt to everyone. Christmas Eve at Chuck’s wasn’t about food or presents, in fact I don’t remember either, it was about soaking it all in.

Chuck’s best friend was Rich Lupo of Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel fame and Rich would make holiday appearances and sprinkle stories of rock ‘n’ roll into conversations while I just wanted to know if he’d met Madonna. Years later, Chuck would marry his gorgeous and younger wife Judy and Lupo held the after party while I wondered how my suburban life could get any better. I would soon become a constant feature at Lupo’s and went to see so many bands play there, Hole’s 1994 show being my all-time highlight. I’d always brush Chuck up on my latest indie-rock obsession and we’d share our fondness for Lucinda Williams’s “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.”

My uncle’s couch was as smooth as his vibe.

My uncle was a pharmacist, just like my grandfather who died way before I was born. As I grew up, a trip to “the drugstore,” Chuck’s hybrid pharmacy-package store, was a highlight of my unruly Massachusetts life. My store purchases transcended from Swedish fish to a pack of Camels, to vodka and rum. My first store memory is being rewarded with a slice of American cheese and my last memory is showing off my new baby.

In 1985, I was a 10-year-old wise enough to use a trip to the drugstore as a way to sneak a peak at Madonna’s Playboy spread. While my uncle and cousin were busy talking to my mom, I used my gymnastics background and grabbed the magazine from the top row. I quickly gobbled everything I could see until innocently moving onto the penny candy. The realization that women could grow hair underneath their arms excited and confused me while I chewed my candy.

My cousin Sharon and I discuss NYC and my new Esprit shirt on Christmas Eve.

At 16, I found a new connection to Chuck through an infatuation with a teenager named Jeremy who worked at Chuck’s store in Douglas, MA. Making my new find even stranger, Jeremy was my mom’s former student, mysterious, a little older, and totally not interested in me. He was perfect.

My girlfriends and I would rush to the store to make Jeremy blush and be humiliated by my uncle. “What’s going on here, Kathy? You’ve never visited with friends before but now you all show up dressed like you’re going to Studio 54?” Chuck would tease. “Oh Jeremy, I think this one’s for you.” It was a pleasure sensation. No, I never got the boy but that was never really the point and I did thoroughly enjoy the chase.

Chuck admired my rebelliousness and remarked on my increasing face piercings with a wince and a wink. Years later as I had quickly domesticated and had a kid, after my facial piercings and rainbow-colored hair were gone, he observed, “I suppose it’s not about how long you have the look, but how strong it was when you had it.” Sure, I like that thought.

My bro Matt, Aunt Margie, sister Deirdre, and Uncle Chuck.

Sadly, my childhood wasn’t all pleasant Christmas Eves and idyllic trips to Chuck’s store. I was juggling the shame and embarrassment of having an alcoholic father and living through my folks’ nasty divorce. This was the 80s, way before my realization that alcoholism is a disease and that alcoholics are sick people. I didn’t know that yet, but I knew my father drank a lot and that his heavy drinking would manifest in blacked out, angry phone calls to my mother’s family, mostly Uncle Chuck. I knew this was happening although I never heard it myself. I’d hear about it in hushed, dirty whispers and I’d feel hushed and dirty.

My father sadly died way before he should have. My siblings and I did the best we could to remember my father and in the obituary we requested donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. My Uncle Chuck made an impressive donation, in my father’s memory, and I just couldn’t believe it; that stayed with me. Chuck donated in memory of someone who tormented him because he was that kind of man. He honored me and my siblings by honoring my father. My uncle attended every event we ever invited him to, but the kind gesture he made when my father died is something that will stay with me forever. That’s a man.

Rest in peace Chuck. Your children, beautiful wife and family members will remember you for life and your obituary was almost as beautiful as you were.

The Embracement of Being a Hermit

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How long has it been since we’ve all been dwelling here? My bed and office chair have formed an outline of my flat and flabby derriere. I’ve been caged for so long that standard errands feel like a commitment; the thought of applying eyeliner, a chore. I don’t want to be a bummer but I’m a bum with a numb bum. The more I sit, the harder it is to move.

This pseudo solitary confinement unleashes strange thoughts to roam freely in my scary cerebellum of anxiety and angst. Free time is filled with make-believe conversations from the past and silly thoughts about celebrity culture. As much as I’m obsessing over what Armie Hammer’s parents think—or if the Free Britney movement is about us or Britney— I’m thinking of a past love who wronged me or why I was so cruel to a nice girl in high school. There’s very little in-between. As the kids declare, I’ve got no chill.

I wanted to use this time to be more creative, but does it count if the creativity is in my head? Or is that just mental illness?

Insomnia is my special time to beat myself up for things said and unsaid and I don’t dig loneliness creeping into my day. I don’t even take long car rides by myself because I don’t like all that time to brood.

Perhaps we’ve all been busying ourselves with social media, carpools, manicures, dinners out and useless conferences just to mute our thoughts. I’ve been frantic for so long over not making as much money as peers that now I’m home and realize that there’s no need for all the junk I wanted so badly. Yet I still buy more; it’s all that I know.

Living inside my head does wonders for my complexion.

I Miss Gossip the Most

Ben Affleck’s sadness can’t quench my desire for scandal. Picture Backgrid.

I yearn for a good ol’ scandal. A juicy divorce or shotgun wedding will do. I’m pleading with someone to do something. Armie Hammer’s sadism, Ben Affleck’s sadness and “Southern Charm’s” thirst for fame can’t carry the world. When the most salacious conversation I can initiate revolves around Rhode Island’s mediocre vaccine rollout, life is as boring as “Mank.” I’m so starved for content, I actually read and absorbed words describing Meghan Markle’s pregnancy and I can’t get any lower than that.

Nobody’s going out so there are no fights, few affairs, or cheap party etiquette about which to dish. Feistiness and pugnacity shut right down when the bars did. What I would give to be repulsed by a bunch of bohunks getting into a bar fight right now, how I long for a goateed man wearing work boots to check me out and quickly dismiss me at a club. I am dying to run into an ex at the local mall and get off on life’s awkwardness.

Astute Observations on Nothing

  • Loving Lana Del Rey is never easy, but I’ll never quit. And she needs a new publicist.
  • JLo’s lasting fame will never make sense and at least we can look forward to her and A-Rod’s contentious split, coming soon to a tabloid near you.
  • Courtney Love succinctly ties up everything as profoundly as Joan Didion.
  • Marilyn Manson is, and always was a joke. Sure I went to his concert in a cloud of narcotics and walked over all the strung-out kids nodding off on a filthy floor, but underneath all the pancake makeup, he was a joke without ever being funny.
  • Marilyn Manson, Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp need new publicists
  • Phoebe Bridgers is the coolest indie rocker in ages. She bleeds beauty and magic wrapped up in a perfectly pretty sad pop song. Bridgers’ guitar destruction on SNL was the most alive thing I’ve seen in 10 effing months.
  • The pandemic really works for some people, when they want it to.
  • Meghan Markle is insufferable, from her monochromatic wardrobe to her fake nose scrunch. Can we somehow send her back to England?
  • I would rather watch this terrible season of “Housewives of Orange County” on a continuous loop than ever watch any of the Netflix series Meghan Markle is developing.

Losing My Religion and Birthing a Cult

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Now that I’ve formally left my religion—if formally means in a blaze of passive aggressive email glory—I’m creating a cult. A new religion of sorts that is light on the spirituality but heavy with crime and punishment.

My codependent hook-up with Catholicism has ended after decades of rockiness, make-up sex, and dalliances. I’ve tried, but I’m either going to go to jail for harassing Bishop Tobin, Lil’ Rhody’s villain Bishop, or I’m going to stop drinking the blood Kool-Aid and open myself up as a free agent on the spiritual highway.

Now that I’m free, or excommunicated, I’m welcome to enlightenment. I dug a lot about Catholicism, so you won’t hear me bashing it too much. There’s nothing that irked me more than when I would tell people I was a Catholic and they’d badmouth it right in front of me. I don’t need to do that because I’ve gone and created my own religion named Bonkers and my followers are called Bonkos.

Join me if you can follow these strict doctrines.

Self-Analysis is a Must

Followers must constantly analyze themselves internally and with psychological help; this is a requirement. And I’m not talking about support groups, I am referring to in-depth psychoanalysis conducted by acclaimed therapists. Bonkos must dig deep to get to the bottom of their problems and it is mandatory to talk about their therapy in most conversations, in fact one’s neuroses is disclosed upon introduction.

Sound tricky? Don’t fret, here goes: “Hi, I am Kathleen. I have narcissistic tendencies, delusions of grandeur, and a real chip on my soldier. On a positive note, I’m five feet tall, my hair’s going white and I suffer from a wretchedly itchy scalp yet I’m still the most confident maniac I know. Nice to meet you.”

Polite Conversations are Forbidden

At church functions, of which there will be many, small chat will be limited to two minutes and 22 seconds. Once the talking parties hit that time threshold, they must talk about something interesting or cease talking and move on to sit in a corner for two minutes until they have something noteworthy to say.

And talking about home improvements is a sin punishable by wearing an “I’m a boring arse” banner all day.

Children Have No Rules

Unless regarding physical safety, children have no rules and no chores. Children are the superior spirit and must be treated with dignity and be granted free range of doing almost whatever they want. Parents and caregivers must be light on punishments and fresh behavior is not only tolerated, but also encouraged.

Children may be scolded for the following infractions and ONLY the following:

  • Bullying
  • Tattle tailing
  • Watching “The Kardashians”
  • Speaking to people while glued to one’s phone.

Corporate Jobs Start at 9:30 a.m.

I like to work as much as a GenXr slacker can and encourage every Bonko to work. However, it is strictly forbidden for Bonkos to begin the workday before 9:30 a.m. Precious morning hours must be savored with coffee, screaming at the news, perfecting one’s outfit, and making plans for the weekend.

Light Drinking is Mandatory

This is a controversial commandment and alas this religion is not for everyone: Two glasses of a light alcoholic beverage are mandatory at all church gatherings. No more and absolutely no less. The scientific reason behind this is so followers can remove the stick lodged up their behind while at church—thus making conversations livelier and people more likely to give money to the church. Drink up, baby.

What Would Holden and Courtney Do?

When churchgoers find themselves in a spiritual dilemma they must wonder what Courtney Love or Holden Caulfield would do in the same situation and follow their leads. In fact we follow the Book of Holden and Courtney that contains the following edicts:

  • “That’s something that annoys the hell out of me- I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t.” Holden Caulfield
  • “Lots of time you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you most.” Holden Caulfield
  • “I like to behave in an extremely normal, wholesome manner for the most part in my daily life. Even if mentally I’m consumed with sick visions of violence, terror, sex and death.” Courtney Love
  • “Only dumb people are happy.” Courtney Love

Everyone Must Dance

Dancing is a Bonkers church commandment and each church session will be followed by an hour of dancing to pop music. This will cleanse your spirit and teach humility and foster flexibility. Megan Thee Stallion is mandatory listening material and each dance will start with a Megan Thee Stallion song.

Botox Euphoria and Things Worse than the Plague

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I scheduled my first Botox appointment in the midst of this bloody apocalypse. It seems my sunny disposition and smiling mug have rendered me more wrinkled than a fat furless cat. After a lifetime of fainting at the sight of blood and the thought of a needle, I bravely welcomed these injections—right into the corner of my beady eyes— without a blink. Thank you, sir, may I have another?

It was such sweet relief; the results were automatic, and I felt a few years younger. Unfortunately, I don’t have many people to show my motionless face to right now. I’m not Housewives of NYC paralyzed but I am refreshed. What’s next? A colonic? Might I order my first salad?

What’s less bearable in plague times: being away from people or actually speaking to them? It’s tougher than figuring out who’s more annoying: Kelly Clarkson or Justin Bieber. (For the record, Kelly wins.) Every strained exchange ends with, “We’re all in the same boat.” Well so was everyone on the Titanic and young, hot Leo still ended up dead and bloated when there was a perfectly suitable flotation device for him. If we are all in the same boat, I hope mines being filmed for “Bravo” and that my new eyelids look AMAZING!

It’s filthy fun, this level of pandemic judgment we all have going on. The people in the bunkers are scoffing at peeps like me who occasionally get out, while I feign outrage over people hopping on planes. At this point, I prefer fewer actual conversations and more living in my own head. It is comfy and crowded in there and Courtney Love makes occasional appearances.

There are people or places worse than the pandemic. I’d rather be stuck in my unorganized home smelling my dog’s gas than experience any of the following atrocities again:

More Unpleasant than Quarantine

Jennifer Lopez’s Desperation– Jennifer Lopez is old, way past middle age, and her inner thirst clock strikes her brain senseless. Yes, she looks amazing naked, but we’ve seen it all before when Ben Affleck sold his soul to apply lotion to her derriere. In the world of faded pop stars, why is JLO the last woman standing? She’s packaging the same crap at every award show and we’re all just AMAZED that she’s so hot. Yawn.

I’d rather live without toilet paper than listen to new Jlo music.

Jenny from the Block, you are so past your time for anything other than an ABC drama that will surely be canceled, or another divorce. Girl, it’s been a long time since you were a fly girl and it’s time to take your vitamins and settle down with Alex Rodrigues. Sell your crappy products, hawk your kids into the entertainment industry and let’s call it a career. As much as I’d love to attend an all-day music festival hopped up on whatever I can find, then show up at a local hotel in hopes of making out with the bass player, I’m old, like you, and I’ve retired that act. It hurts, I get it.

Whining about Losing- Listening to pop stars and politicians complaining is less appealing than piercing my own brain with a COVID swab. I dig The Weeknd as much as the next overweight housewife, but get over it. Add Halsey, our former president, and Lana Del Rey and everyone else who whines about losing onto my shite list.

Where can I file a complaint over never making Homecoming Queen?

Take it from this big loser, it’s okay. Every year I would find the most overdone semi-formal dress I could in the sticks of Massachusetts and tease my hair with ferocity- just to be deemed pretty enough to make Homecoming Court and it NEVER happened. I also never landed a date with Patrick Kennedy, after years of trying, but you don’t see me crying into my cheap white wine.

Zoom Meetings– No, I can’t take them anymore. Oh, the people who are obviously looking at themselves the whole time, pumping their lips and trying out different poses while also attempting to look scholarly. Or even worse, the over talkers who just forge their own path of rudeness when others are speaking. Then there’s always one older person who is miffed that he can’t figure out some technical mystery that kindergartners have mastered. Can we go back to the conference call?

COVID Dreams– There was a time when I tracked COVID time with my periods, but I’m going to be in menopause before we’re out of this. Now I’ve started tracing time with COVID dreams and nightmares. My dreams are a sacred place for me and Timothee Chalamet so this invasion of privacy is jarring.

We’re All in This Together– No, I’m not referring to the insipid saying that everyone’s spewing, I’m talking about the legendary “High School Musical” series. Put me back in high school with Troy and I can save the world and make Homecoming Queen.

xoxoxoxoxox

The Pandemic Shame Game

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The cruel comfort of being home, safe among dust balls and a creepy aesthetic, has become claustrophobic. I suffer from a failure to deliver. “I should really move that beach bag that’s been in the foyer since August,” I ruminate while my daily screen time climbs higher than Johnny Depp on trial nights. Lock away my phone and perhaps my brain will reappear. Then again, perhaps not.

There are many errors in my pandemic lifestyle. As an unabashed news junky, I won’t stop watching, listening to, or fighting over current events. This and my insomnia shapeshift me into a hatred-filled tweet machine at night. I’m currently in Twitter battles with so many conservative radio hosts that I fear a(nother) restraining order is in my future. Okay, maybe just a dramatic block.

What comes first: insomnia or my spontaneous fits of dancing and singing? Both create a landslide of embarrassment for everyone, other than me. My poor children, I never shut up. Days are narrated with an endless stream of consciousness spoken in my valley girl talk. Sometimes I find a gem of enlightenment but it’s mostly, “Should I get Botox? Like, do I look older or younger than the mom on “Rick and Morty?” Where’s my phone? What DID I do with that phone?”

The Shame Blame Game! Play along!

I posted this picture and was automatically shamed.

My pathological extrovertism is always getting me shamed. Haters, don’t fret, I’m keeping safe. Heck, I’m geography-dumb but I’m not socially stupid. Like ALL my psychiatrists assure me: we’re all doing the best we can. Can we all give each other a break?

When I escape my house with shimmer on my cheekbones and a bold lip, you bet I’m going to take a picture, obsess over a clever caption, and share. I HAVE to share it on social media because I am a narcissist. I promise you that I’m not at a rave so please stop barraging me with judgmental comments. “Are you outside?” No, I’m inside French kissing strangers and licking waiters’ eyes. Come on, I am sitting at a bonfire drowning my solitude with too many Bud Lights, not at a Trump rally becoming blood sisters with Kellyanne.

Six and a half days per week, I dwell in stained sweatshirts and my son’s socks. On Saturday nights, I free myself into a haze of something…outside and with a fire. Don’t worry, the other days I am home and miserable, just like everyone else.

This lobster had more interesting things to say than most people.

Conversations are so dull now. It seems that all the smaht people talk about is how long they’ve been in home confinement. It’s become a contest of culture. “I went to the pharmacy for the first time in eight months and saw a child picking her nose. I won’t leave for another few months.” It’s alright, folks, we’ve (mostly) all been staying inside, and it truly doesn’t need to be an honor of superior citizenship. Let’s get back to what we do best and talk poorly about one another, our family, and how weird Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara’s baby is going to be.

Thoughts:

  • Snob and slob are practically the same word and I’m both.
  • I do adore Claudia Conway. May I adopt her and get her mom’s money and lipsticks?
  • I’ve scheduled a Botox appointment and think it will cure me of my needle phobia, vanity is that strong.
  • I went to a new doctor recently and he asked me if I’ve ever gone to a therapist. That’s my funny story of the summer.

Life’s so rotten, let’s focus on worse times.

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The Covid zombie apocalypse has got me low.  I’m sadder than Ben Affleck before he found Ana de Amas. I live in a shaky world where fainting is a palpable possibility and slumber is a nice-to-have requirement. But all the nervousness, political anger, and family closeness makes me realize that things have been worse.

Heartbreak Erupts into Obsessive Movie Habits

In 1994 I was so heartbroken that I spent three days watching Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” on an endless loop — only stopping to drive by my ex-boyfriend’s apartment to envision all the sex he and his new teenage girlfriend were having. I was staying with my sister and she’d occasionally yell at me to refill the ice tray and throw away my molehill of smoked butts, but other than those strained interactions, it was just me basking in the pain of a 3-hour movie. I was proving a point, but I had no idea what the point was or to whom I was pointing the point.

Have you ever watched “Short Cuts?” It’s psychological torture. Watching it once messes with your head but watching it for days while chain smoking vacuum seals you right into the bell jar. I eventually aired myself out, plucked a few more eyebrows, and found another troubled boy to date. And yeah, life got better, but it was an even worse time than pandemic schpandemic.

Summer School Bullying

Then there was that unfortunate year when I failed high school science and was given the social-life death sentence of summer school in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. My mom was so angry that she plucked me out of my dazed summer party scene and forced me to endure summer school in a foreign land. I was stuck with a group of dumb kids who taunted me by calling me “Cure Girl.” As a big fan of The Cure, I was pleased with my new moniker.

A few weeks in, the teacher quietly called me up front and asked, “What are you doing here?” I responded with a well-practiced shrug. Say no more, say no less.

I’ve Been Uglier

I’ve definitely looked worse. Sure, I am currently sporting white hair on my head, eyebrows and other unmentionable areas, but I’m still prettier than I was during my elementary school love affair with the perm. I had reddish curly hair, a face full of freckles and ONLY wore clothes with rhinestones, lace and tulle. Of course I needed a perm!  

I think I know why my first kiss happened in the last few days of 7th grade during a ‘7 Minutes in Heaven’ game gone wrong. While waiting in line, having a slight panic attack, I could hear the boys discussing how bummed they’d be if they got me. Well someone did and wowza, I’d been kissed, albeit in a forced situation and years after all my girlfriends. Don’t worry though, I developed nicely that summer and made up for lost time.

Mistakenly Dating a Homeless Man

Yes, life can always be more painful. Right after college while I was hiding out in Portland, Oregon, running away from my parents needling me about getting a real job and escaping an arrogant manchild, I found a mysterious coworker to dig. He was much older, secretive, and good looking. What more does a naive girl need?

After months of waiting for Tim to ask me out, he finally did. He didn’t have a car — which now I see is a warning sign but this was Portland, Oregon and the crunchies rode bikes. So, I picked him up at a street corner.

My mind raced with all sorts of theories. Perhaps his home was so luxurious that he wanted me to know the real Tim. Could he have a secret family? The night staggered on and we drank enough alcohol to cloud all bad judgments into smart ones. There was some making out and a shared cab ride to his street corner and my apartment.

Tim didn’t show up to work the next day, or ever again while I was employed there. Seems Tim was living in a homeless shelter where sobriety was a requirement and his walk of shame landed him right into a court-mandated rehab. Who knew? Not I. But everyone else at work knew and I quickly became the girl from Massachusetts who caused Tim’s downfall.

So, it could always be worse folks. You could be married to Meghan Markle or Sean Penn. We could be members of the Cyrus family and have to listen to them all sing during Thanksgiving. Even worse, you could have a mom like me who bribes her children to tape her doing the WAP dance. It can always be so much worse.

Can we laugh a little?

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Can we laugh yet? Come on, even a snicker? After months of clenched fists and jaws, nonstop “I just cants,” and praying that “Housewives of NYC” never ends, I’m prepared to giggle. So, go along and cackle with me or secretly lambaste me for my inappropriateness at such a painful time. Much like Megan Fox’s relationship with Machine Gun Kelly, I just don’t care anymore.

What does a harried mother do when she can’t partake in her most adored activities: sloppy bar hopping, concert going, and library frequenting? What does a woman do when she is left with all the duties she conducts poorly: house cleaning, meal preparation, and disciplining children? She throws on her stained athletic shorts and ponders…

Kayne & Kim: The Love Story

RUETERS

All hail Britney as the queen of celebrity breakdowns, but Kayne is clutching that crown from her head with the same force he grabbed T. Swizzle’s Grammy. In a world of Lambos, he is the Tesla of coo-coos and I love it. In a sad and cutting bi-polar episode, Kayne is lashing out at the Kardashians. He’s holed up in his Wyoming ranch without his meds, but with his wit and vengeance.

A lot like his music, his Twitter take downs of the Kardashians are complicated with glimmers of brilliance. Kayne comparing his own life to “Get Out” is the funniest and most astute observation since some crazy lady told me months ago, “These kids are NEVER going back to school.” His reference to Kris Jenner as “Kris Jong-Un” is succinct. Keep it coming, Kayne.

I locked myself in my house over four months ago to fight the zombie apocalypse, armed with what feels like hundreds of streaming services, enough facial moisturizer for the entire Housewives’ franchise and a treadmill. I’ve dipped my toes into the swamp of post-pandemic social life and I didn’t like the muck. Most of my pandemic results have been bleak, but Taylor Swift just saved me.

“I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit.” Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, America’s vision of talent, coolness and good taste — all wrapped in a cashmere cardigan — just saved my sad pandemic existence by releasing a fresh album of quiet loveliness and biting brilliance. Every sound intoxicates and stirs. Listing to it makes me smell my childhood and think of past loves, forgotten friends, and stolen kisses.

Just as my Fiona Apple haze was dissipating, the patron saint of pop music flew in with her fairy wings, Sylvia Plath- inspired look, and help from freaking Bon Iver to give me my new religion. Her new album “Folklore” is lusciously exquisite. It’s filled with mysterious stories about love, isolation and an ode to Rhode Island. If this is my soundtrack for the rest of the pandemic, I’m content.

Other Musings

  • It’s been 13 years, but I’m still confused by Reese and Ryan’s marriage.
  • There’s a fine line between so much to do/ I will do nothing at all.
  • I think I miss the movies the most.
  • It took the quarantine for me to fully love my dog.
  • The crumbling of Johnny Depp’s coolness is astounding.
  • Regarding Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s bed poop: Think about the indelicate and logistical nature of defecating on a bed. How does one even go about it? Is this a thing?
  • I hope that poor John Travolta leaves the Scientology cult.
  • Consider this a plea to Hollywood agents to urge their celebrity clients to clean up their COVID attire! I demand that they put on a designer dud every few dog walks and fake grocery store runs. If I wanted to see Scarlett Johansson wearing sweats, I’d watch Marriage Story again. But I don’t really want to. Once was more than enough.
  • Taking walks is so boring and nature is filled with pests.
  • It’s curious that Megan Thee Stallion was shot by male rapper Tory Lanez and entertainment media isn’t talking about it. Megan Thee Stallion was on the cover of Rolling Stone, won countless BET and MTV awards and had the song of the year. Guess entertainment media was too focused on a reality star’s kid’s nose job?? Tssk.
  • If you don’t watch “The Housewives of NYC,” I am sorry that you are missing out on the best moments of your life.

April Showers Bring Mayday Mudslides

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Two toothpaste containers and menstrual cycles ago, I shut my door and buried myself with books, ample facial moisturizer, and “Mad Men.” Sometime in March, I put on an eternal pot of strong coffee that has somehow produced a pond of joe from which I drink all day, every day.

Other than a few trips to the Zombieland grocery store, a walk with my zany sister, and a sad meetup with my best friend where we each sat in our cars and conversed through the cracks in our windows, I’ve been here. I’m watching my children outgrow the clothes they wear, and wondering what’s next.

Nothing is funny anymore, is it? Every complaint and gossipy story must be prefaced with a “I know I’m lucky not be sick,” or “I hate to complain, but…” Can’t we be grateful to be healthy AND be disappointed in this horrifying situation – while fitting in wisecracks? Perhaps we can all give each other a chance to whine and vent without being so judgmental.

So here it is, some things that have spread a smile across my stressed face.

A Love Letter to Ben

The relief we all crave.

Ben Affleck has been popping up during COVID with his new girlfriend, star-on-the-rise Ana de Armas. They gaze at each other lovingly, like new beautiful lovers do.  As they clutch their Dunkin’ coffees, dog leashes and donuts, they’re effortlessly and casually chic.

Ben is an honest slice of Americana, a man bold enough to smoke a cigarette, in public, while wearing his mask. Ben’s deep drag on his butt is the collective relief that we’re all desperately craving. One doesn’t have to be a smoker to know that need. I feel it every time I pass my pantry and stuff chips into my mouth, looking down at the crumbs that have fallen on my kitchen floor and not really caring. I feel that release as I down my eighth cup of coffee, knowing that I just extended my bedtime to 2 a.m. and not caring.

Ben, I thank you for your loyalty. You’re steadfast in your zest for coffee, nicotine, and Boston. I thank you for your daily COVID walks, no doubt traipsed by paparazzi. I appreciate your white beard hair, fluctuating weight and honest portrayal of your battle with addiction.     

Somewhere in Malibu, Jennifer Garner is rolling her little eyes.

Notes During Quarantine

Reality TV’s Basic b&^ch.
  • When I pleaded for a celebrity scandal, I wasn’t hoping for Kristen Cavallari and Jay Cutler divorcing. Yup, I’m guilty of watching “The Hills” and “Very Cavallari,” and I can assure you that Kristen Cavallari is the most boring “celebrity” of all time, that Jay Cutler provides the only entertainment on “Very Cavallari,” and that somewhere there’s a “Bachelor” reject waiting to marry Cavallari in a soon-to-be televised reality series. YAWN.
  • I can cook approximately nine dinners and if I ever eat them again, I may never want to eat again.
  • Proving, once again, that Britney Spears is the celebrity gift that keeps giving, Queen Spears recently announced that she burned down her own gym. In her own words, “Hi guys, I’m in my gym right now. I haven’t been in here for like six months because I burnt my gym down, unfortunately.” Thank you, Britney. You are what the world needs right now.
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  • I just watched all 92 “Mad Men” episodes again. I know there are so many new programs to watch but I needed the comfort of double nostalgia. Nostalgia for a time I never lived and nostalgia for a cooler time when I watched the series. I love everything about “Mad Men” and watching it again is refreshing and sobering. Don Draper is a wretched man, Peggy Olsen is a comedic revelation of ambition and sadness, and January Jones’s Betty Draper is what nightmares and daydreams are made of.
  • It’s impossible to know if people are smiling or frowning behind their masks and it makes interactions extra scary.
  • Fiona Apple’s new album “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is exactly what I hoped it would be and so much more. There could not be a more fitting soundtrack for quarantine than this poetic masterpiece.

The Art of a Car Ride, Pop Music + a Plea for a Celebrity Scandal

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Day 666 of quarantine. Reality is setting in. The days cascade through gratefulness, fear, empathy and what is that? Anger, I think. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees and to-go servers are heroes and offer me a rare glimpse of human interaction beyond my four walls.

Quarantine makes me nostalgic for my teen years when freedom arrived in the form of a car. The anticipation of getting my license was so severe that I failed my driver’s test twice. TWICE. I attribute the failures more to anxiety than poor driving skills, but I finally nailed it on my 3rd time and took to the roads with a Chevrolet something.

Much like right now, driving through the windy roads of a small town, with pop music blaring, was all there was to do. It’s what I’m doing every afternoon now and here’s what I’ve noticed.

“Hot Girl Bummer” is Perfection

After years of silly resistance, I now embrace weird rap. What I dig is the honesty, lack of pretense and its boasts of illegal and poor behavior. I’ve had enough of the phony positivity of Lizzo and Lovato and prefer to listen to fairy tales of promiscuity, excessive partying and girl fights. “This that throw up in your Birkin bag, hook up with someone random.” Smells like teen spirit to me.

Speaking of teen spirit, the song’s tone reminds me of Nirvana. It’s angry and funny, with a keen eye on youth’s beauty and ugliness. “F#$k you and you, and you. I hate your friends and they hate me too.” Thank you, Mr. Blackbear, now please cool it with the facial tattoos.

Kurt Cobain + My Numbers Problem

I’m bad at numbers. I have to REALLY think before I can answer the years my children were born. My oldest is easiest, it’s 2001. But every year around the beginning of April I remember that it’s Kurt Cobain’s death anniversary. The hint of spring jolts me with a whiff of alertness and I recall that spring feeling with news that Cobain died. I tend to live in the past, in my head, and the quarantine escalates my dwelling.

Driving around with nowhere to go while trying to figure out the meaning of life is exactly what I’m doing these days, exactly what I was doing when “Nevermind” was released, and what I was doing around the time Cobain died. As the April 5 anniversary came and went without much news, I realized how much has changed but how little we change. Like 1994, I’m savoring car rides, writing and awaiting a new Fiona Apple album.

Fiona Apple Reemerges

Sensing Gen Xers’ malaise, Fiona Apple sweeps in and will release her first album in eight years on April 17. To share that I’m excited is as immense an understatement as “Meghan Markle’s dull” or “Britney Spears is strange.” I count down the days until I can listen to her new album and I’m sure I’ll keep it in my car’s outdated CD player until her next album is released during my retirement.

No Celebrity News Isn’t Good News

Perhaps Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange can get into another elevator.

I’m watching the news throughout the day and so saddened, but I feel like something’s missing: the universe needs something frivolous to focus on.

Consider this a personal plea to the Gwyneths, Madonnas, Brads and Britneys to mess shite up with a scandal hot enough to avert our attention for a day or two. Divorce, a secret marriage or a disastrous elevator ride will do.  Heck, I’ll settle for a cheating scandal, rehab or an unplanned pregnancy.

A juicy celebrity scandal should be a part of their agent’s contract. Come on, they owe us one. Brad Pitt, the epitome of coolness, could take one for the team and have an Instagram live wedding to some unheard-of environmentalist. Or maybe he and Jennifer Aniston could pretend to get back together again ­– just to entertain us now that we’ve finished “Tiger King”, “Ozark” and the entire “Madmen” series for a 3rd time.

Hollywood, think about it and feel free to contact me for guidance. I will be sitting right here, unless I’m driving around thinking of alternative music.

xo

I was a strange kid.

The Oscars, Insomnia, and Narcissism

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As I stuff my face with chocolates, but only between 11 AM until 6 PM because I’m intermittent fasting, I ponder the Oscars and how annoying insomniacs are. Happy Valentine’s Day to you from me!

To know me is to know I’m plagued by insomnia, and that’s because I never shut up about it. I wonder: Are insomniacs really narcissists who just can’t stop thinking about themselves long enough to fall asleep?

I think I’m onto something here.

I occasionally go a night without sleep and find myself telling strangers about my sleepless night. “Good morning, how are you?” asks uninterested coworker. “Well, I had a dose of total insomnia last night, let me tell you,” I begin.

That unasked-for response elicits an Oscars-sized yawn from all. I mean, who, other than my mother, cares that I can’t sleep? Nobody. But that doesn’t stop me and fellow insomniacs from detailing our plight for all.

That’s another problem I have: an almost compulsive aversion to small talk. I must go ALL in. Is this another sign of narcissism? Damn, I’m in trouble.

An innocent response is that I should take Ambien, but if you happened to know me in September 2003, you’ll surely remember why I can’t take Ambien.  I treated that stuff like it was Molly and stayed up for hours calling friends I hadn’t spoken to in years. If I liked driving, I’m sure I would have pulled a Patrick Kennedy (whom I love and have a history of hitting on) and drove around Rhode Island in a stupor.

Billie Eilish Wtf GIF by The Academy Awards - Find & Share on GIPHY
The eye roll felt around the world.

Jaoquin + Renee Z. Worry Me Sleepless

After watching the Oscars last Sunday, crazy ol’ Joaquin Phoenix and batty Renee Zellweger caused a bout of insomnia that lasted till morning. I’m worried for them and the Oscars in general. If a bunch of Hollywood stars looking beautiful can’t create a watchable evening, who can?

I blame Joaquin Phoenix’s jarring acceptance speech and his insistence that I drink my coffee without milk! I don’t sleep, coffee with milk and Bravo are the only things keeping me alive. No milk with my coffee? Joker, puhleeze.

Don’t take my milk from me, Phoenix.

I can’t think of what I would like less: being forced to watch The Joker or drinking my coffee without milk.

So, here’s what I was thinking about while I tossed and turned:

  • Timothée Chalamet is a vision of beauty.
  • Renee Zellweger’s accent is as unpredictable as her acceptance speeches. Welcome back, crazy lady, but don’t stay too long, your cats are waiting.
  • Brad Pitt is Hollywood royalty and his acceptance speeches are as lovely as his hair.
  • Thank you, Oscars, for not including the Kardashians.
  • Eminen has still got it.
  • Hot damn I love that Billie Eilish, but I ask her to pipe up a little. Her singing is so…quiet and I’m slightly deaf from a 1996 Ministry show.

May your Valentine’s Day be as warm as Angelina’s heart is cold.

The 2020 Grammys, Worse Than Christmas 2019

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The Grammys are like Christmas for me, minus the failed expectations, strained family conversations, and excessive spending. Much like Christmas, the Grammys give me pop culture gifts that I savor all year, it involves weird Jesus talk, and feels like it lasts for an eternity. This Grammys we had Alicia Keys act as our Lord Savior, spouting ridiculous self-help gobbledygook and Camila Cabello played Scrooge by ruining everyone’s night while also losing her own soul.

Well, ho, ho, ho…Merry Grammys!

I do love a flautist.

Lizzo opened the Grammys with a whiff of fresh air, her unmistakable bellowing voice, and a sassy sense of humor. Heck, she even busted out the flute. Love her, dislike her, you can’t deny that she sang the songs you heard everywhere in 2019 and she was the perfect opener for a bummer of an evening.

No, Gwen, NO!!

Gwake just jumped the So Cal shark.

I either just caught my son’s Christmas flu, or watching Gwen and Blake Shelton sing insipid words to each other made me dizzy and feverish with discomfort. Their “Nobody But You” song will soon destroy every wedding dance floor, but for now it just hurt me to watch these two lovebirds grasp each other’s hands as tightly as they’re holding onto their fame. Come on Gwake, hurry it up and release your children’s book, country cookbook, followed by a boring memoir and then perhaps we can all be done with it.

Tyler the Creator Stuns Karens Everywhere

Tyler the Creator, someone I only know from my infinitely cooler 18-year-old daughter, was beautifully jarring. His frenetic set was absolutely new, dangerous and visionary. All the Karens, Chads and OK Boomers were up in arms that they “just didn’t get it.”

Yup, we didn’t and that’s the point. I give Tyler the Creator the best performance of the evening. Sure, I’m not sure what the hell he was singing, but damn did it sound cosmic.

The Jonas Brothers: Not getting better or worse.

Now onto my favorite trio of brothers since Hanson rocked my world, the Jonas Brothers! They keep that mic away from Kevin as far as they keep Demi from Joe. I have nothing bad to say about the Jonas Brothers, other than that they used to be a lot cooler before they got married.

I Love You, Billie. Please No More Ballads

Billie, I love your music and prune juice.

Billie, Billie, Billie, it’s hard to be your biggest pre-menopausal fan when you sing such a lovely…BALLAD… at the freaking Grammys. NO! Hasn’t your mild-tempered, ginger souffle brother coached you that you should rock out and show the world your angst?

It was so good and yet so disappointing.

I’m afraid to make fun of this as much as I want to.

Odds and Ends

  • Wow, who knew Demi Lovato was such a good actor?
  • “Old Town Road” just gets better with age.
  • Alicia Keys is a solid host.
  • Aerosmith could have used another practice, or two.
  • Ariana Grande was good, but what’s there to write? She’s been good for a few years now, singing the same kind of songs with the same kind of look.
  • Lana Del Rey’s “Norman F$%king Rockwell” was my favorite album of 2019 and it’s unfortunate that she didn’t win anything.
  • Camila Cabello’s serenade to her father was the worst few moments in recent pop culture history. I thought she was was canceled? I demand her cancellation!