August 26, 2016

Friday Links


Reading This Week....

This town’s response to a vandalized lesbian couple’s home warms my heart. Hillary Clinton has an 11th toe, #ShowTheToe. This video of NYC’s first internet cafe in 1995. NASA just got in touch with a spacecraft that’s been LOST IN SPACE since October of 2014. The forgotten greatness of Law & Order: SVU.

This Week's Dream Dinner Party...

Hillary Clinton's speech writer

Watching...

I'm still watching Jane the Virgin, but I got distracted this week by two Hulu shows:  Casual and Difficult People. Holy crap, are you guys watching Difficult People? It's like the funniest thing on TV, except it's on Hulu. Casual is great too, but for different reasons. I recommend both.

Reading...


Thrift of the Week...


On my list for fall is a big, boxy denim jacket to cover in patches. This one is from St. John's Bay and it's a "petite", but I bought it anyway because as my friend Louisa says, a good denim jacket is like the white whale.

I Endorse...

August 24, 2016

Summer Thrifting


I've been thrift, thrift, thrifting the summer away! I find all kinds of amazing and hilarious stuff. Some of it I buy, most of it I don't. Here are the highlights!


At the beginning of summer, I realllllly wanted a pair of overalls. I couldn't find them anywhere. Alas, I found a pair. For a fireman. I'm not even kidding when I tell you I stood in the dressing room and deliberated over whether or not to buy these. Cooler heads prevailed and I bought a non-reflective pair on eBay. Ask me how many times I've worn them. (Once.) (Maybe twice.)


I wanted all of this. None of it fit. Twas a sad day at the Rivergate Goodwill...


I wanted a pair of Adidas Stan Smith's, but back in the beginning of summer, the only place you could buy them was Urban Outfitters and they were sold out, and I don't buy things from Urban Outfitters. So I was thrilled when I found this pair of Liz Claiborne nursing shoes! I've worn them all summer!

I wear these silver boots more than I probably should, but they crack me up so much. I keep finding ways to wear them. I'm making that shit work! I bought this shirt to wear under the overalls I never wear. The shoulders are a little too puffy.


This summer is the first time that I've ventured into thrifted shoe territory, and I've gone kind of hog wild. I found these Bass Oxfords at Southern Thrift in my size. I bought the pink ones! I haven't worn them as much as I thought I would. Maybe they're more for fall.


This tablecloth! Man, I was so excited when I found this. I found it at the Bellevue Goodwill buried amongst the curtains. I love it so much!! It was two or three dollars and came with matching napkins!


Okay, so a couple of things. When I found this I had never seen anything like it and now I see different colored versions of it almost every time I go thrifting. It's the velour gremlin of Goodwill - now that I've shone light on it, it's multiplied. Two, yes, this is a robe. Am I going to wear it as a dress? You bet your ass I am.


Now we're entering the gold phase of my thrifting. I don't seek out gold, but it finds me. I tried on those gold ankle cuff things - they were heinous. You don't want to know how long I wondered if I could pull off gold Easy Spirits. I bought neither.


This is my great thrifting regret of the summer. This is a gold lame, one-piece jumpsuit with a WWE-style elastic belt. It was a size 10. It was 99 cents. I did not buy it and I will never get over it.


Every time I look at this picture I regret not buying these. But they weren't my size! Like, not even close. But man, I would have worn the shit out of these. Also, yes, they were legit nursing clogs.


I bought this. I have no idea why. I will never wear it. But I own it! Yay? Will someone invite me to a quinceanera?


I bought these. They're American Eagle from around 1996, which I know because I worked at American Eagle in 1996. I plan on wearing these a lot with the frayed hem jeans I'm still trying to figure out.


Last but not least, this ridiculous thing. I guess Nashville George Washington died recently? This was in the women's department, but it was men's size 42. I am not a men's size 42, but I needed to know what this looked like on a human body. Turns out, hilarious.

Follow me on Instagram for thrifting updates and pictures! Halloween is coming up, so shit is going to get real weird real fast.

August 22, 2016

An Interview with Priest Kira Schlesinger


Right off the bat, I need you to know how uncomfortable I am calling a priest a bitch, but Kira assures me it's okay. I met today's bitch on a Monday Night Ladies Ride two summers ago. We both live in the same part of town, so I followed Kira home that night and noticed she had a cross bumper sticker. I thought, 'Oh, she goes to church'. I had no idea she was a priest.

Kira has that special combination of humor and kindness that immediately draws you in. After two summers of Monday Night Ladies Rides, we both joined the Tennessee Women's Cycling Project, which is great because now we get to see each other year round! In addition to enjoying Kira's presence in general, I really love her enthusiasm for red lipstick, bright clothes, Twitter, and our shared, unbridled enthusiasm for Snapchat. Meet today's bitch, Kira Schlesinger!


What is your job title and where do you work?

I am an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, currently serving as priest-in-charge at Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Lebanon, Tennessee. I am also a contributor to the Ministry Matters website and am currently writing a book for Westminster John Knox Press on being pro-choice and Christian.

When did you first learn about this field of work?

I am what we call a “cradle Episcopalian,” meaning I grew up in the Episcopal Church. I attended an Episcopal school up until 6th grade, and my great-uncle Jim, who was like a grandfather to me, was an Episcopal priest as well. The senior pastor at the United Methodist Church I attended from 7th-10th grade met with me and talked to me about what he did the rest of the week.

How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I first thought that I might be called to ordained ministry around 16, but I put that on the back burner to study classical voice. In college, at Rice University, I was very involved with the Episcopal campus ministry. One afternoon, I was on the phone with my mother in the parking lot having one of those “life crisis” conversations when I told her that I didn’t think I wanted to be an opera singer. She calmly said, “Okay, well, what do you think you want to do?” and I responded, “I think I want to be a priest.” My love for God and people, my calling to the sacraments and the pulpit, it all made sense.


What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?

While I was in Divinity School at Vanderbilt, I would ask God to please not put me in a small church where I was the only clergy person. After I graduated, I spent a year doing Clinical Pastoral Education as a chaplain resident at Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, found that work very fulfilling, and considered pursuing a chaplain position. Then the bishop’s office called me with a possible placement - a small church where I would be the only clergy. I’ve now been at Epiphany-Lebanon for four years, and I absolutely love it.

Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?

I don’t know if it’s advice or just a motto, but I’ve found it helpful to tell myself, “It’s not about you.” Oftentimes, when people are critical or angry or upset, it’s easy for me to take that personally, but I’ve learned from my work in the congregation that it’s very rarely about me. Likewise, when things go well, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about how great I am instead of giving the glory to God or acknowledging the ways that other people have contributed.

Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?

Early on in my time at Epiphany, I miscommunicated with someone about something that was important to them and hurt them. While I wanted to just let it blow over, I made myself write them an apology letter (and not the I’m-sorry-your-feelings-were-hurt kind, the I-messed-up-and-I’m-sorry kind), and it helped heal the relationship. It wasn’t easy to admit that I was wrong, but the relationship was more important than me being right.


What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

Pray and read more church-related/theology/non-fiction books.

What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?

While I hold my values and beliefs very dearly, I am very proud of my ability to be in relationship with lots of different kinds of people, both inside and outside of the church.

What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?

My weather app to see what I should wear to go run or swim or bike.


 How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

For me, cooking is a great way to decompress because there are visible results and then I’m able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Wine or a big mug of tea helps. I also really enjoy watching comedy specials on Netflix with my husband. Laughter is a great way to decompress.

What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?

I think the hardest thing about my job is just how much emotional energy it takes sometimes. There are times when I come home and think, “Why am I so tired? I didn’t do anything today,” but I’ve expended a lot of emotional energy in a stressful situation or listening to someone. Even Sundays can be really challenging because I have to be “on” all morning, and if something else is going on in my personal life, it can totally wipe me out.

What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

I’m going to list two things. The first is that a lot of people think that a priest/pastor/minister only works on Sundays. HAHAHAHAHA! The second is, when people learn what I do, they sometimes think that I’m supposed to be very serious or that I don’t curse or, like, am allowed to have fun (or wear red lipstick).


Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

Oh gosh, I love television. My favorite show right now is probably Jane the Virgin for its blend of humor and drama. I also love how it portrays religion and spirituality and family dynamics. And my favorite snack is dried apricots, preferably with a slice or two of prosciutto alongside, but that’s only because I can’t keep chips and salsa in the house without eating them all.

All photos courtesy of Kira Schlesinger

August 19, 2016

Friday Links


Reading This Week...

A man wrote to a famous comedian and asked her why she gained weight. Her response. Caitlin Moran putting Bridget Jones haters in their place. Does a woman running in a sports bra deserve to be cat-called? Spoiler alert: no. Have you ever asked your friend who does social media to meet you for coffee so you can pick her brain? Quit. More women compete on primetime TV at the Olympics than any other point in the year. Help Baton Rouge.

This Week's Dream Dinner Party...

Larry Wilmore
Lindy West
Julia Child
Gabi Fresh

Gif of the Week...

A video posted by Morgan Freed (@partywizard) on

Watching...

I finally finished Season One of Jane the Virgin and have started Season Two. I keep going back and forth on who my favorite character is. I think it's Rogelio. John and I are watching Stranger Things together, so we're only on Episode 5, but holy crap this show! I'm still watching the Olympics, although primarily via Leslie Jones' Snapchat.

Reading...

Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman
Mastering The Art Of Southern Cooking
This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage

Thrift of the Week...


This is 2XL dental hygienist scrub that I got for $1.29. I'm just going to need you to trust me when I tell you that I can pull it off.

I Endorse...

TAYHAM greeting cards
This t-shirt
#TrumpExplainsMoviePlots

See you next Friday!

August 17, 2016

Diet Industry Drop-Out


I'm stealing the phrase "diet industry drop-out" from my friend bitch Freya West. During a recent burlesque show, Freya sang a 1929 Sophie Tucker song called, "I Don't Want To Get Thin." If you're alive and on Facebook, you've seen this video, but you should watch it again, #shinetheory.



In the past few months, I've turned forty, realized I've probably lived my entire life with an undiagnosed eating disorder, and read Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman by Lindy West. I don't know if it's the birthday, the election, or the growing body acceptance movement, but I feel like all the wires in my brain have come undone and are reconnecting in different ways. I'm like a lady Hulk who's superpowers are feminism and caftans.

Why am I telling you this? Because at least once a week, someone introduces me as their friend who works out 1,000 times a week and trains for "crazy" triathlons. Guess what? No, I don't. And no I haven't for like a year. This makes me uncomfortable because:  A) I am not great at accepting compliments; B) this description is not true; and C) this description is of a woman who was really sad.

I don't regret losing forty pounds or doing a Half Ironman; they were great tools for me during a difficult time. But... I'm not that person anymore. I quit swimming nine months ago, I quit running six months ago, and aside from random leisure rides, I quit competitively riding my bike over a year ago. I have a personal trainer, I twerk, I do yoga, and I have a $10/month Planet Fitness membership that I use maybe once a week. I don't track calories or weigh myself. Sometimes my fancy jeans fit, mostly they don't. Luckily, I own 3,000 caftans.

Assuredly, part of the problem is that my bio on every corner of the Internet reads, "runner and triathlete." I haven't changed it because I'm a perfectionist, and if I can't do it "right", then I freeze. Current working bios include:
Writer and blogger. Diet industry drop-out. Budding twerker. Master thrifter. Snapchat enthusiast.
Writer and blogger. Diet industry drop-out. Lover of twerk class, Snapchat, and rural Tennessee thrift store wares.
I believe....
I do what I want!
It's more fun to be happy.
ANYWAY. So yeah, I'm not a runner anymore. I may still be a triathlete since triathletes are known for taking one to two years off and then picking it back up again. In the meantime, I'm going to continue laughing at videos of myself twerking and daydreaming of starting a Nashville Thrifters Club. Stay tuned alert!

August 12, 2016

Friday Links


Reading This Week...

Yes, Queens how a generation of new voices are making podcasts more diverse. Black lives matter more than white feelings:  "Many of us don’t have a lot of firsthand experience with social-change movements. We’re pretty good at expressing ourselves on Facebook, but we don’t routinely walk around with our views written on a sign." Why you've got to quit the "tough love" for your fat friend's health. "But you don't look like you have an eating disorder." Eight questions to ask yourself about your relationship with food. A guide for talking about female Olympians. A black girl won a gold medal for swimming and why it's so emotional for black Americans. A 54-count deck of Woman Cards, including Hillary Clinton, Beyonce and Rosa Parks. A dangerous article that outed gay Olympians.

Celebrity Roundtable...

Michael Phelps
Leslie Jones
Simone Biles
President Obama
Trump Tower suction-cup guy

Gif of the Week...


via Sean L. Maloney

Watching...

Olympics, duh
Jane the Virgin, Season 1, Episode 18
Stranger Things, Episode 1

Reading...

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
LaRose
Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook

Thirft of the Week...


found for $3.99 at Southern Thrift

I Endorse...

The recently re-opened, renovated Belcourt Theatre
Patches!
The Bodyguard soundtrack

See you next Friday!

August 8, 2016

An Interview with Sign Language Interpreter Rhonda Andrews


Today's bitch has done something a lot of us experience: a career change in our forties. Rhonda not only started a new career at forty-two, she did it with a husband and two daughters at home. She found something she was passionate about, got curious, and did the hard work of turning her passion into a job.

I identify with this because I left a career in my late thirties and started a business. At a certain age, women in the workplace start getting ignored and expected to stay in place and ride it out. But some of us can't do it. Some of us realize there are other things we're good at, things that may make us happier, so we jump. If you see parallels between Rhonda's path and mine, that's because she's no bitch, she's my mom. Meet today's bitch, my mom, Rhonda Andrews!


What is your job title and where do you work?

I'm a sign language interpreter at the Tennessee School for the Blind. I work with a visually-impaired, deaf student.

When did you first learn about this field of work?

As a young mom, I would take my two daughters to my grandmother's house to spend the weekend. We did this quite often. Every Sunday morning during the church services on TV, there was a woman in the corner of the screen signing the worship service. I was fascinated, and I was hooked.


What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?

I was working for a wonderful doctor in Nashville and we had a profoundly deaf patient that for some reason liked me, and we communicated through note writing. I asked the doctor if there was any way we could learn to communicate with her. We called The League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which has been renamed to Bridges. He paid for everyone in the office to take sign-language classes. Everyone but me dropped out after the first class. I ended up taking two years worth of classes and became very involved in the deaf community.

Long-story short, I was twenty-nine and Evelyn was seventy years old when this friendship started. We were friends for ten years. The whole ten years I prayed to work with deaf children. It never happened. One day I dropped Evelyn off after a doctor's appointment and something was different. She was not herself. I left there and prayed that if the only reason God had me learn sign-language was to be Evelyn's friend and advocate, then I accept that. On Sunday, she had a massive stroke and only lived three days. I left the hospital crying and begged God to not let me lose my signing skills. Three months later a deaf lady visited our church and I started interpreting for her. She came to the house and worked with me one-on-one to become an interpreter. This continued for three years. This got my skills good enough to be hired in the school system as an educational interpreter. At forty-two, I was starting a new career and I was scared to death.

I worked three years for Rutherford County, then was hired by the Tennessee School for the Blind to be an interpreter for a totally blind-deaf nine year old. I interpreted for her for twelve years doing tactile signing (Helen Keller method of signing in her hands). She graduated in 2013 and is getting ready to start her junior year of college. I was blessed with another student who has some vision, but is also deaf, and I am starting my fourth year as his interpreter.


Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?

Because I wasn't "certified" I tended to feel inferior and doubted myself and my skills. But I knew this whole journey was God-ordained, and how can I question that? If God places you somewhere then stay there until that door closes. You may not feel qualified, but do it anyway. Do it scared and you will be blessed beyond your imagination.

Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?

I wanted a college degree in Interpreting, so at age fifty-two, I went back to college. I'm half way through getting my degree, but I put it on hold a couple of years ago. I plan on starting back and finishing so that I don't look back and feel like a college drop-out or a failure in that area. My goal is to cross the stage and get my degree without the use of a walker!


What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

Anything creative I can do with my hands: crocheting or cross-stitching. Also, sitting on my back porch swing and reading a good book.

What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?

Being the eyes and ears for someone that goes through life with neither of the two. Watching my first student blossom like an unfolding flower as she craved language, and all the ah-ha moments in my twelve years with her. She graduated Salutatorian of her class.


What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?

Email, Facebook, Pinterest.

How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

Ride home on the back roads through the country and just soak in the silence and beauty of nature.


What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?

People assume that I know every sign known to man. You never ever stop learning when it comes to sign language. Also, people do not understand ASL sign language. I do not sign word for word, but I sign the meaning and the concept. Teachers will sometimes show a movie and say, "Hey, you get a break today!" No, I don't. My student is blind, so I have to interpret the whole two-hour movie. Not understanding deafness and all that entails is my hardest obstacle to explain to people. 

What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

Not everyone understands that I have to prepare to be able to do my job successfully.


Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

American Ninja Warrior and buttered popcorn.

All photos courtesy of Rhonda Andrews

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