Last March, when my daughter’s kindergarten class went online due to Covid-19, I left my job as a part time executive assistant. Six months later, as summer faded and America headed “back to virtual school,” another 865,000 women also dropped out of the workforce. Some men did too - about 216,000 of them.
"This school is garbage!" yelled my four year old, Lucy, as she ripped apart the few connected pieces of a deceptively difficult floor puzzle. Emma, age six and typically the peacemaker, was also at her wits end. "It was great until the puzzle, mom. We're done." Off they went to work on a complex underworld of barbie and dinosaur "sets" in the privacy of Emma's room, far from their spastically cheerful mother, who, after months of inconsistent showering/outfit changes, was suddenly suspiciously clean and wearing earrings.
It was in week three of our Stay at Home order that Lucy, my four year old, discovered the box of toys marked as "To be Sold." Sensing injustice, she began rifling through, finding the largest, most obnoxious toy for a reunion.
"Are you selling my most favorite hippo game that I loved as a baby?" She hoisted it out of the box, clutching it across her chest.
Ten years ago today I lost my mother to cancer. While I haven't published anything for quite some time, I've been writing again. This one is for her.
About eleven years ago, in one of the stranger moments of my life, I was in a bar with a few friends when a group of men approached, one of them offering an enthusiastic “Hello!” We greeted them by taking a sip of our drink to buy time while we considered the most polite way to tell them to get lost. But then suddenly there was Steve Guttenberg, and an enthusiastic “Hi, I’m Steve!”, leaving us completely disarmed of our best brush-offs.
One of the more popular quotes from the self-help movement is “each one of us is the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. Three years ago, when I worked alongside some of the most interesting people you could ever meet, I took for granted the energy and knowledge I received from my colleagues. Now, as a stay-at-home mom / travel writer, my five people are a three-year-old, a five-year-old, a spouse, a sister, and Kion from The Lion Guard. I’m self-aware enough to recognize that I need to broaden my people, but just how to go about it hasn’t been as obvious. So I turned to my best friend who doesn’t know it yet, Elizabeth Gilbert, for some inspiration. And, oh boy, did she deliver. She said, “Julie, come and hear me speak at the Vacation Rental Women’s Summit in New Orleans from February 19–20.” That Liz, she always has the best advice!
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an Airbnb Host? We certainly have! Our Posts from the Hosts series offers a peek into what it takes to create an unforgettable experience and how inspiration helps these unique properties stand out from the rest. This week's Posts from the Hosts comes to us from William, proud Super Host of Cozy Redding Retreat located in Redding, CT. Welcome, William!
Film, considered by some to be the ultimate art form, manages to captivate an audience for hours with music, visual arts, literature, and performance. We have all had moments in life that are only best described as "like a movie." Usually, this is no accident, as we meticulously chose the scenery, the music, the dialogue, and the cast. A friend of mine experienced this as he drove across New Zealand, the deeply satisfying landscape seemingly amplified by his choice of soundtrack - Neil Young's Harvest and Harvest Moon. Even though I wasn't there, it's such a vivid image it feels like I was. Picturing it makes me both happy for him and jealous, that tension between what Bhuddists call Mudita, where you experience pleasure in delighting in another's well being, and Envy, a force so pervasive in our culture that it needs no definition.
My final year of college was a bit serious/lame. I was a commuter, so most of my classmates assumed I was 40, working to rebuild a wasted life (that's actually what this blog is for). I also worked about 30 hours a week as a "server" for The Macaroni Grill at the local mall. I was sincerely proud to get this job - this was a real restaurant, with computers and actual checks and alcohol and a vague superpower referred to only as "corporate." We greeted every table by writing our name upside down in crayon on the paper tablecloth, regardless of whether or not children were seated. It was an appropriate introduction to the type of experience The Macaroni Grill offered - a bit juvenile and trying way too hard.
My brother recently told me a hilarious story about being in the Brattleboro, VT location of Turn it Up! Two teenagers came in and were totally baffled by the experience of being inside of an actual music store. Trying to locate a John Mayer CD, they kept looking under "J" and were shocked to learn that the correct way to alphabetize an artist is by last name and not the way iTunes does it (by first name).