Blind spots

August 19, 2014

Here are a few of the most ridiculous things you can say when you are instructed to just step over there, ma’am, so you can take the vision test:

“Read all the letters? But…I can’t…see them?”

“I’m just not sure how you expect me to read them. They’re all blurry?”

“Is there, like, something on the screen?”

Eventually, the very nice guy working at the DPS told me to “just try” to read the letters, like I was a child who was just convinced she didn’t need to go potty. (“You can’t have a driver’s license until you read them, so…”) Five letters in, he cut me off and told me I could stop.

And that, my friends, is the very embarrassing way that I learned that I need glasses. Again.

See, after wearing very thick glasses from the ages of four to 18, I thought my Lasik procedure had me covered for a while. Why wouldn’t I? The surgeon and every eye doctor I’ve visited since 2003 told me I’d probably need reading glasses when I was 40. And that’s why I hadn’t been to the eye doctor in a couple of years. While I knew regular check-ups were still a thing I should do, I didn’t really prioritize them because it truly never crossed my mind that I might need glasses so soon. And so when I couldn’t see things, I didn’t realize I couldn’t see them, if that makes sense.

I wrote a few years ago about how I missed my glasses sometimes, because they were a core part of my identity for so long. But I actually hadn’t felt that way too often lately, and learning I’d need glasses again felt a little weird at first. And then I put my new glasses on and this is basically what happened…

Yeah, my thrilled moment in LensCrafters was actually more embarrassing than my absurd questions at the DPS were.

Anyway, I’m now bespectacled and beginning to get used to it! But I have noticed that wearing glasses is rather different this time around. For example, I used to not mind if my glasses were dirty, but now it drives me crazy and I clean them several times a day. Also, my new prescription is pretty light…meaning when I whip off my glasses to transform into a SEXY secretary or a SEXY librarian, I won’t immediately walk into a wall.

20 photos of black women at work during World War II

August 18, 2014

When I was in Chicago last month, everyone asked me what Eric was doing to keep himself busy while I was out of town. Every time, I replied, “Watching shows about World War II on the History Channel, probably.” And every time, there was a look of recognition among both the married women (and men) in the room. Apparently, I’m not the only one whose husband spends every Sunday watching what I refer to as “the White Men’s History Channel” or, simply, “the Hitler Channel.” 

I specialized in history in college, so I want to like the History Channel…but just I’m not here for all the programming that’s devoted to white men doing it by themselves. But yesterday, I got my own history fix when I went way down the rabbit hole that is the Library of Congress website (something I really need to do more often). Eventually, I started looking for pictures of black women during World War II…and three hours later, I emerged with these lovely photos. 

20 photos of black women at work during World War II

Four WACs during World War II.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Lt. Harriet Ida Pickens and Ens. Frances Wills, 1944.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

A black woman working on a dive bomber, 1943. (Photo by Alfred T. Palmer.)

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Miss Amanda Smith working at the Long Beach Plant of the Douglas Aircraft Company.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

A group of nurses receiving mail in 1943.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

20-year-old Annie Tabor at work at a plant in the Midwest.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Five women working for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, 1943.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

A riveter at work in Burbank, California.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Three nurses at work, June 1944.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Army nurses arriving in Greenock, Scotland.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Miss Juanita E. Gray at work in the Washington Navy Yard.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Miss Lucille Little at work at the El Segundo Plant of the Douglas Aircraft Company.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Pfc. Johnnie Mae Welton working in a lab at Fort Jackson Station Hospital in 1944.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

According to the original caption, “Hospital Apprentices second class Ruth C. Isaacs, Katherine Horton and Inez Patterson (left to right) are the first Negro WAVES to enter the Hospital Corps School at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, 03/02/1945.”

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Willa Beatrice Brown was the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license in the US, and she is widely credited with creating the squadron that became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. (Maybe you’ve heard of them?)

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Pvt. Ruth L. James, 1945.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

WAAC cooks making dinner, 1942.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Two WAACs at work in Washington, DC in 1942.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

Mrs. Mary K. Adair takes an exam at Officers’ Candidate School, 1942.

20 photos of African-American women at work during World War II

US Navy WAVE Apprentice Seaman Frances Bates, 1945.

Remember these women the next time historians are pretending that African-Americans weren’t invented until 1960.

Thinking about 30

August 16, 2014

Since I just turned 29, I really appreciated reading Ann Freidman’s article The Power of 29: An Ode to Being Almost 30 this week. She writes:

“But even for women who realize they still have a lot of things to figure out, around age 30 a sense of acceptance begins to settle in. It’s when many of us experience our first big career payoffs, and allow ourselves to exhale a little because for once it doesn’t feel like we’re building our lives from scratch. On the cusp of 30—in stark contrast with prior milestones like college graduation—you’re set up to finally start living your best life, or at least a realistic approximation of it. You realize you’ll never be a wunderkind, and you’re okay with that. In general, you give way fewer fucks.”

This has been so true for me since the beginning of 2014, and it’s been wonderful. I absolutely feel my age* right now, and don’t mind that at all. I give less and less fucks, and feel more and more like myself. And I just feel…good. Content. Happy. Secure. I also find myself sort of surprised and delighted every time I have a moment when I become aware that I’m living my “best life, or at least a realistic approximation of it.” I find that those moments happen more and more lately, and they’re still so exciting to me.

In a related story, I came across an old article on McSweeney’s this morning: What to Expecct: The Third Decade

“By thirty-years-old, your adult will probably be able to…

Feed and maintain a pet

Hold down a job

Maintain eye contact while speaking

Refrain from discussing high school

Cook a meal (three-course)

Make small talk

Forgive his family

Acknowledge other viewpoints (social)

Detect and respond to ambiguity

Finish school”

Great news: I can do all of those things! I’m feeling pretty good about this whole aging thing. 

*This actually is only partially true. When asked how old I am, I do have to think about it, because off the top of my head I don’t remember if I am 28 or 29. This has been the case all year. 

#JusticeForMikeBrown

August 14, 2014

I haven’t had time to organize all my thoughts on what’s happening in Ferguson into a coherent post, but I wanted to share a few photos today.

And the one that makes me feel so incredibly emotional every time I look at it…

Team Wendy

August 10, 2014

Thursday was the fourth anniversary of my move to Texas. Some days, I still feel like I just moved here, and other days I feel like I’m really getting the hang of it. But one thing that’s making me feel more at home in this crazy state is joining the group of Texans who are working to turn Texas blue and put a new governor in office.

Eric and I recently offered up our spare bedroom as supporter housing for Team Wendy, and our boarder arrived yesterday! She works full-time for the campaign and living closer to HQ (and not having to sit in Houston traffic for two hours a day) will allow her to do her job better. I’m really excited to be able to support the campaign in this way, and to have her around! (When she’s not working her ass off seven days a week, that is.)

I’ve got does in different area codes

August 9, 2014

I came across Tiny Deer Studio at Pop Shop Houston this spring, and loved all of photographer Jessica Lopez’s pastel-colored prints. She features several different miniature animals (and dinosaurs), but I’ve always had a thing for deer/reindeer so I was drawn to those. 

Photo by Tiny Deer Studio

Photo by Tiny Deer Studio

Photo by Tiny Deer Studio

I mentioned to Eric last weekend that one of the prints would make a great birthday present…and the next day, I received a gift card from his parents to Society6, which is basically a Cafe Press for hipsters. I was able to get a few Tiny Deer prints, along with a couple of other items from different shops. I’ve actually been working on framing/hanging up photos and prints over the past few weekends, so I’m pretty excited for these new additions to arrive! 

All photos by Tiny Deer Studio.

16 cupcakes

August 8, 2014

When the news hit last month that Crumbs Bake Shop was filing for bankruptcy, people said it signaled the death of the cupcake. Ha…WRONG!

birthday cupcakes

Yesterday my coworkers had a dozen cupcakes delivered to me. (They also sang “Happy Birthday” to me via Google Hangout!) I texted Eric to let him know, figuring if he had any plans to pick up a treat on his way home, he would no longer need to. But he had planned ahead this year, and came home with four more…

cupcakes

And then he told me I could have my pick of any of the restaurants participating in Houston Restaurant Week for dinner…which meant dessert last night was not optional. Some Cap’n Crunch fried chicken and one fancy funnel cake later, I had no room left for cupcakes.

So…29 is off to a very sweet start! As for the (delicious) challenge before me, I’m just planning to start with the salted caramel cupcake (!!) and work my way through them from there.

Take a pitcher, it’ll last longer

August 6, 2014

When I was home in MI last month, I bought a bunch of goodies at Main Street Antiques in Holly…including this fun pitcher.

vintage pitcher

It cost $7. SEVEN.

vintage pitcher

Unfortunately, shipping was, um, more than twice that because I didn’t want to carry it on the plane with me. BUT STILL. I’m pretty excited about it.

#HowToDad

August 6, 2014

The new Cheerios commercials are slaying me. 

“Hot stuff, comin’ through! The wife and the coffee.”

Watch more of the Cheerios #HowToDad videos…and try not to cry at the “Have a Little Faith in Me” one.

Could this signal the end of the doofy husband trope? I’d really like to think so. 

Foodstuffs: Newman’s Own skillet meals

August 5, 2014

Newman’s Own has the salad dressing game on lock and their frozen pizzas are legit, so I was really excited when I saw an ad for their new skillet meals. Eric’s been dieting for the past couple of months and I’m not partaking, so I’ve been on my own for dinners. Some good frozen meals seemed like a nice option to add to my routine, which had been getting a little sad. 

So I was really bummed when the Newman’s website made it clear that the skillet meals were not sold at our HEB…or really any grocery stores near our house. But later that day, we ended up going to HEB anyway…and lo and behold, I found a bunch of the Newman’s Own skillet meals there! 

I was SO excited about my good fortune. I came home and made the first one immediately. 

Newman's Own

The skillet meals are advertised as serving two but…that is debatable. When I looked at the nutrition facts on the beef with broccoli, they totally seemed appropriate for one person. (Well, except the sodium. Woof.) And when I made the meal, it…looked appropriate for one person too. So I ate it all, and then wondered how the hell you could claim you could feed two people with that meal. I’ve had it a few times since and haven’t cleaned my plate each time but…that is not a two-person meal. 

The other meals are higher in calories, but seemed to be about the same size. So when I tried those, I decided to just pace myself and see how I was feeling. When I had the sweet and sour chicken, I was pretty hungry and ate about 90 percent of the meal. This was a mistake. It was way more rich than the beef and broccoli, and eating nearly all of it left me feeling way too full. “General Paul’s chicken” was similarly rich/saucy, so I ate about 70 percent of that one. So…still not a meal I really think two adults could split but…we’re getting there I guess?

The three that I’ve tried have a takeout feel that I appreciate on weekend nights when I don’t feel like cooking/am running low on leftovers, and they only take 10 minutes to cook. Portion issues aside, I’m definitely a fan. 

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