Writing

When Death Happens, Nature Welcomes You.

Since my grandmother’s death, I’ve found myself wanting to immerse myself in nature for many reasons.

First, I want to escape my daily routine — to get out of my head, which has become a very manic place— and second, because I want to be surrounded by life. To hear the conversations amongst birds and prairies dogs. To watch the deer, and the bighorn sheep, and the elk scavenge for food, mate or relish the sun. To see the leaves turn from a morbid brown to a thunderous green. To watch the Western flowers burst from beds of dirt and parched grass.

This want has brought me all over the valleys and peaks of Colorado as of late, with trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Flatirons of Boulder, the mesas of Golden and the red rocks of Colorado Springs.

Leading up to now, my view had mostly been of hospital walls. My grandmother — my dear, beautiful second mother — had been ailing back home in Upstate New York, and I wanted to see her as much as I could. A broken hip in August (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture, Writing

Photos my Grandfather Took During WWII

My beloved grandmother passed away recently, and my mother and I have been going through old photos. We rediscovered photos my grandfather took while stationed in Africa during WWII. Here are some of my favorites.

*As far as I can tell, these were all taken by my grandfather. I’ve tried to verify the accuracy of the photos as best I can. These photos were snapped with my iPhone, hence the added fuzziness.

This is my grandfather Carl. He was an airplane mechanic in the Army Air Forces during the North African Campaign of WWII. During the war, he had a pet monkey named Jocko, he was stabbed and he contracted malaria. Those were the only things he shared with my mother. He died in 1974, before I was born.

This is him with one of his favorite planes, 1943. (Possibly a B-25?) *I* wonder why it was his favorite…?

Here he is in the beginning of the war with some of his Army mates.

Here’s another. Grandpa is in the lower left corner. 1945.

Army mate working on an A-20. (I think (more…)

Writing

How Joe Strummer and The Clash Have Helped Me Through the Trump Era

don’t remember the first time I truly listened to Joe Strummer.

It may have been when I heard “Clampdown” off the band’s seminal 1979 album, London Calling. The song warns young men of the inherit soul-crushing nature of capitalism and reminds them that they — not the government, not The Establishment — have control of their lives.

“Let fury have the hour; anger can be power — do you know that you can use it?”

That line was my driving force in 2016, during the height of the presidential primary cycle. At the time I was volunteering for Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist and agitator of the status quo. I found parallels between Sanders and Joe Strummer of The Clash: Both were champions of socialism and the proletariat, and both were vocal critics of injustice and the oligarchy.

Though The Clash became my soundtrack during that tumultuous political year, the band hung with me long after Sanders lost the primary, Hillary Clinton lost the general and Donald (more…)

Writing

On Understanding My Jewish Roots

While growing up, we didn’t discuss being Jewish. We practiced no religious rituals, and no family member went to temple. A Yiddish swear word or phrase of exasperation often spilled from my grandma’s lips, something she picked up in her youth, or an occasional Jewish dish was prepared for family gatherings, but that was about as tribal as we got.

Our lack of Jewish cultural identity was not decided for us. It was chosen by my Eastern European great-grandmother Sophie, who upon coming to America erased any trace of Jewish identity. As I’ve aged and attempted to connect with my Ashkenazi roots, I’ve had to check my frustration with this woman I had never met. Why did you erase your past? I often ask out loud to her. And why did you decide that your kin would never know the truth?

These questions I’ve searched for in public records, DNA results and photos and documents hidden in my grandmother’s house to little avail. What facts I have been able to dig up often conflict with one another — Was (more…)

Pop Culture

Why I’ll Never Share My #MeToo Story

During the height of the #MeToo movement, I came really close to sharing a story that could have potentially changed my life in ways I wasn’t ready for.

I had been contacted by the media, and I had two drafts of my story sitting on my laptop. Between the calls and the daily stories of Hollywood men being taken down, my anxiety was through the roof.

While I was and still am overjoyed to see this day of reckoning upon us, and to see all the brave women and men coming forward with their distressing #MeToo stories, long lost feelings of smallness from a time I had chosen to forget came rushing back.

#MeToo was forcing me to think about something I had purposely left in the past.

In the months after the New York Times outed Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator, I’d wake up each morning with a pit in my stomach, thinking about my own Hollywood sexual misconduct story and if I needed to say something. Every day my finger hovered over the publish button — I didn’t want to share my story with (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture, Thirty-something

Why More Millennials Should Invest in Cryptocurrency

First, let me get this out of the way: I’m not a financial advisor. I’m just a gal who started investing in cryptocurrency and has learned a thing or two.

In early 2017, when cryptocurrency began taking off, I decided to take the plunge. I got in when the values were already somewhat high but before they got redonkulously high.

Because of my investment early on, I’ve made a nice profit in six months that I’m really proud of.

Why am I proud?

Because I am not a money person.

It was only a couple years ago that I was able to start saving for my retirement. However, I don’t know squat about stocks and I have no large assets besides two X-files Barbie dolls and more pillows than any human could possibly need.

When I decided to start investing in cryptocurrency I told myself three things:
1.) Don’t invest more than you can afford to lose 
2.) Understand that the bubble could burst tomorrow 
3.) Don’t get all weird and sell your two X-files Barbie dolls and blankets to (more…)

Travel

Don’t ever do this, she told me.

Howdy, friends.

I’m going to start writing here again, so here’s my first real post in awhile.

It’s a short piece & it’s about a woman I met on the train from Denver to Chicago.

———

She is tiny, bundled in a faux-leopard print coat, and she is carrying her weight in baggage.

“Can I help you carry anything?” I ask as I step off the train to join her on the platform of Chicago’s Union Station.

A face etched with the lines of a woman who has lived with all of her heart peeks out from under a severe blond bob and black beret. “Oh sure. Here, carry this–“

It’s a guitar case, flimsy with belongings other than what the case was intended for.

“I don’t have a guitar in there. I left it behind in Memphis because I wasn’t sure it was going to work out in Denver.”

She pauses and then turns to me, “Please don’t ever move across the country to live with a man you’ve only known for three months, okay?”

Writing

A Message to Apologists From a Survivor

Hello.

I know the daily news about another man in power being accused of sexual harassment or assault is overwhelming and disorienting.

This is new territory for all us.

I’ve watched some of my own favorite celebrities fall over the past few weeks.

It’s a confusing and weird time.

Sometimes your first thought might be “Why didn’t the victim say anything back then?” or “She/he is jumping on the bandwagon” or “Oh, get over it. It happened 20+ years ago!”

It’s normal to question what is laid in front of you, but I’m writing to you in hopes of shedding those questions and replacing them with understanding, empathy and anger.

As a person who was on the receiving end of deeply humiliating and dehumanizing sexual encounter in Hollywood, I want to add my perspective on some of the questions you may have.

Why didn’t the victim say anything back then?

There are a plethora of reasons why a victim may not come forward at the time:

  • Fear of assaulter using their power to kill (more…)
Austin, Pop Culture

How to Help People Affected by Harvey: An Updated List

I’m currently hundreds of miles away from my adopted home state of Texas. It feels weird. I feel helpless. However, I also know there is not much I can do right now other than donate money.

You might be feeling the same way too–helpless. And you may be wondering the best way to donate your time or money to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Since there are so many links being shared around on social media, I decided to compile a list. I’ll be updating throughout the coming days.

P.S. You may be itching to donate your physical being now, like I am, but this will be a long recovery. Remember: Our services will be needed weeks or months down the road when the threat has passed. 

9/5/17:

-Mayor Adler has updated the list of needs for evacuees which includes toys for kiddos. Read about it here.

Houston Food Bank is accepting volunteers for the next weeks and months.

Habitat for Humanity Houston has volunteer opportunities available over the next few months.

Sign (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture

35 Ways to Find Happiness From Someone Totally Unqualified

Follow these easy tips and you’ll have your shit together in no time.

I’m not an expert on anything, except for maybe naps (they’re really, really good for you), but because I’m a Writer on Medium, I’m actually an expert on everything and today I’m going to share with you 35 foolproof ways to find happiness.

  1. Stop being depressed, first and foremost.
  2. Stop dating bartenders.
  3. If you are a bartender, stop being one.
  4. Stop buying recycled toilet paper. (This is more so to make your butt happy.)
  5. Stop looking at your phone all of the time.
  6. Stop perusing the Internet all of the time.
  7. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  8. JUST.
  9. STOP.
  10. DOING THINGS.
  11. OK?
  12. Take a nap.
  13. Polish off a bottle of red and take a five-hour nap.
  14. Polish off a bottle of red and put Purple Rain on the record player.
  15. Wait, don’t. When you realize you can’t dance or sing like Prince, you’ll fall into deep funk. (Trust me.)
  16. Those $45 crystals aren’t going to work. Buy the $5 crystals. (more…)