Beanie level: Rooftop room dweller

Today has been A Day.

I got my second COVID vaccine shot.

It was a bittersweet experience.

The last time I spoke to my father was after I got the first shot. He passed away five days later. I never heard his voice again. I’ll never hear it again. The last month has been one of the most surreal and emotionally exhausting times of my life. I have only just started to feel that hole in my life, and it feels like it’s getting larger each day.

Also, I got laid off today. So that’s fun.

I can’t say it was expected, but it also wasn’t entirely unexpected. I know it’s not personal (financial reasons) and I’m not angry. I’m just sad that it had such crappy timing.

I liked my work. I hate my career, but I had found a job that I liked and wanted to do. I’d been toying with the idea of leaving this year, maybe once things got better and I had time to find something new.

I kind of want to make a pivot, move to a totally new field if possible. But at my age, I don’t know. I don’t know if I have it in me right now.

I’m taking the next few days to reset and get out of town. I’m talking to people, being proactive, and working on not letting my anxiety take over and trying not to trigger my depression. It sucks, but I’ll be okay. I think.

I know that the universe works in mysterious ways and that everything happens for a reason. But sometimes I wish that it was easier.

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    Oh, Snarky, I’m so sorry. I’m super impressed by your outlook, though. It’s so hard to not just let anxiety take over–lately I just constantly feel on-edge and it’s the most exhausting thing and I hate it. But you being able to spin things like this gives me some hope.

    I hope you can find another job (one that you enjoy!) soon, whether it be in your current field or something entirely different. Good luck!

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      Remind me of this in like, 48 hours. This is my gut reaction. I know there are going to be a lot of moments of self-doubt, anxiety, and the like in the weeks and months to come. But I’m gonna try my damndest not to let them take over. That already cost me so much in the past. I can’t do that again.

      It sucks (it sucks so much) but I can’t lose sight of what is important and what I can control. This week has been really hard for me, emotionally, because it also marked one month since my dad passed. Ending on this note really doesn’t feel any worse than anything else I’ve been dealing with. Like you said, I’ve been a bit on edge for months now, and this feels like a strange release, even if it’s not the most desirable thing. Like, can it get worse? Probably not. And if it does, I’ll deal. (This is not a challenge, universe.) Life keeps going on.

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    I am sorry for your loss.
    Grief is hard and often ebbs and flows. Be gentle with yourself.
    Hope a new job or whole new path opens up for you when your ready.

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      Thank you.

      Learning about this grief firsthand is hard. Especially because it comes hand-in-hand with so many other emotions, and not always pleasant ones.

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    I’m so sorry Snarky. May God grant your father, the highest rank in Jannah and may he give sabr e jameel to those left behind. Ameen. I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through but I’m impressed with your outlook and your strength! Keep fighting, you will make it through (iA).🧡🧡

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      Thank you, it means a lot. It’s been a hard month, but I’ve been so blessed to have many people around to support me and my family; and because of the vaccine and distancing, I’ve had peace of mind knowing that we were safe.

      Ramadan is going to be hard, especially Eid. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, and the last two Eid’s were hard enough. I don’t know if it will ever be the same, but I know he will still be with me.

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    Oh Snarky. Thats a lot. You’re amazing for not letting the anxiety consume you–but please remember to allow yourself to feel all of it.

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      Thank you. This is what I struggle with the most – I am really excellent at denial, which is not really a skill anyone should brag about.

      It’s been hard, learning to tell myself that it’s okay to cry, even if it’s over something as stupid; but what was even harder was all the other emotions – especially the anger – that came with the grief. Those are the ones that I haven’t felt again much since the funeral, and I don’t know when they’ll be back. It’s mostly been sadness and missing him that I feel these days. Which is why the rest of it just feels so much easier in comparison. (For now. Ask me again in a week. I’m sure I’ll be a mess by then.)

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        Dont rush yourself. And dont push yourself. Be kind to yourself. Do what you have to do to get through. For better or worse you have the whole rest of your life to feel the whole range of emotions. And theyll hit you in unexpected times and places. I remember sobbing at some old lady in Walmart.

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          My brain is slowly coming out of the fog of the last two days and I’m trying very hard not to freak out right now. I just need to make it to Thursday and I’ll be okay. Apparently my coping mechanism right now is watching J-dramas, and I’m finally watching Itazura na Kiss: Love in Tokyo, which of course made me think of you.

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            She has adorable ears and great reactions. Her voice can be on the grating side. Enjoy!

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            I may love Kotoko. She’s so adorable and ridiculous and I would also fall in love with her if i were Naoki. Also, I just reached the college part and the entire tennis storyline has me in stitches. I appreciate that the actress did not mind making herself look ridiculous for the part. Her faces are the best.

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    @snarkyjellyfish
    First let me say how very sorry I am for your loss. Grief is never easy, and now being in the midst of the world as it is, might make some things harder. But you will get through this. Let yourself grieve for everything and celebrate the time that you did have him in your life.

    On being laid off. The first time I was fired and felt so much shame my dad told me “no one is worth their salt if they haven’t been fired at least once in their life” and you know what, that’s true!

    I’ve been fired and laid off numerous times and found that it was in most cases (about 99%) a blessing in disguise.
    But first you have to get through the shock and everything else that goes along with it.

    You sound like you have a good attitude – today – and something tells me that even on bad days you will still have a good attitude.
    So I’m wishing you all sorts of goodness and grace and ways to help with your grief.
    Grief – it comes and goes and that is okay.

    Sending you lots of hugs from Oregon… ((((((Snarky))))))

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      Thank you.

      I strongly suspect that a lot of the shock from being laid off is tempered by the grief right now. But you know what? I’ll take it. If that is what my mind needs for now, fine. I’ll deal when I have to deal.

      I was talking to my cousin, and she had the best description of being let go – “it’s yucky”. Like you know it’s not personal, and you know it’s not (always) your fault, but it still feels bad. And it’s like, no matter how rational you feel about the reasons, there is something not nice about it. It’s yucky.

      Right now I’m focused on getting through the next few days (hopefully shot 2 will not hit too hard) and then reaching out to contacts and putting out feelers. I have enough savings to make it through the next few months, and I’ll probably be able to find some temporary gigs as well to help with that. My cousin has been trying to fly me out to visit her, and I’m taking this opportunity to go and clear my head. A change of scenery is always good.

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        yep it is yucky – for now.
        I just got my second shot yesterday afternoon and to be honest I’ve kinda been down for the count all day. Thank goodness for working from home and the weekend.
        take good care and it sounds like you will be okay.

        A change of scenery is always good – especially in spring!!

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    aww…there must be a lot going through your head right now. The world seems to enjoy testing those that are kind and strong. Remember it is okay to let your emotions out. If you feel depressed, it’s okay. If your anxiety kicks it, let it. Once you completely let them all out, perhaps you will find peace within yourself to move forward. It’s not going to be easy but I think the fact that you are open about it, already shows how strong you are. Trust yourself and I hope good things will come to you soon. We have your back here.

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      Thank you. I’ve learned that being open is the best way to heal, even if it scares me and is hard. I can’t control my anxiety and depression, but I can control how much they control me. I have had times where my depression and anxiety have caused me to sabotage myself and lose opportunities, and I’m trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

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        At least you are self aware and willing to face it. Take your time to heal and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

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    My condolences Snarky. You are going through a real hard time, but your attitude is strengthening many around you, even here in DB with your words. You are stronger than you think are real cliched words, but I do hope you get the strength within you to keep going and not let anxiety take hold of you. You got this! I wish for you the very best in your future job endeavors!

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      Thank you. I think I’m going to be needing all the strength I can get in the next few months.

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    Very sorry for your loss. When I lost my dad I didn’t cry until 6 months later (triggered by a drama). So don’t be discouraged if some days are unexpectedly worse than others — what you say is true, you’ll be okay, just hang in there. Wishing you the best for work in the future.

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      Thank you. I cried when we were at the hospital when he left us, I cried in the days following, I cried at the funeral, but no really big cathartic cry. I’ve cried a few times in the weeks between, when I think of him or remember something. But I don’t know when the dam will break. I’m trying not to hold my breath right now – just letting it come as it needs to. It’s just very raw right now. I made the mistake of watching a drama where the male lead was his profession, and that was rough. But also, he was nothing like the male lead – the total opposite, really. And that was weirdly comforting.

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    Loss is hard, it doesn’t go away but it becomes easier. My condolences.

    I completely understand about wanting to start a new career path but being hesitant because of age. I hope it works out in your favor. Fighting!

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      Thank you.

      The thing is, I’m not that old (thirties) but because I have a very specific degree (law), it seems like it’ll be hard to pivot. I’m still going to try, though, because all the biggest regrets in my life are from not trying. And I refuse to let the rest of my life continue to collect “what if’s”.

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    My condolences, Snarky. Grieving is so very personal, and everyone has their own way of dealing with it. If I were you, I’d just go with the flow, and not force or suppress anything. It eventually works out the way it has to work out. So much seems to have happened in such a short while with you. But I’m glad you are looking at things in positive light. Wishing you all the best. And the beanies here are always a holler away, if you ever want to talk or anything at all. Take care, lots of hugs and many wishes.

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      Thank you. That’s what I’m trying to do – not sure how successful I am being, but I know things will work out. I strongly suspect a large part of me is just trying to process so much information and it’s just too much right now. So I’m just taking things one day at a time and tackling one problem at a time. But I love this community and it’s always been good to know that they’re here. I honestly think this space has helped me work through so many problems, and I will forever be grateful for the Beanies.

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    Jelly.. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I ditto the above comment that WE have your back here so even when it doesn’t seem like so now, it will eventually be fine.

    I got depressed and anxious sometimes too , so I kinda understand what you are going through. Perhaps not all of it, but again, being able and choosing to acknowledge this grief and negative feelings already showed so much strength within you that is so impressive. You inspired many Jelly, to be themselves and to let them be proud of who they are, all of who they are.

    When I am sad, what I need is someone to laugh a little and tell me it’s okay to be like this. I’m telling you the same too. It’s ok Jelly. The situation isn’t ok, so it’s completely ok to experience all sorts of emotions.

    For the first time in my life I intentionally broke a plastic mug because I was so angry and I wasn’t able to do anything in that situation. I called my friend, cried and talked so much *** about what I had gone through. My friend laughed a little and said it was good I didn’t break a glass one so I didn’t hurt myself. Easy take on life gets you a long way and I was so grateful for my friend to have heard me out.

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      And *bows* sorry Plastic Mug. You have sacrificed yourself, perhaps without your intention to, but you saved my mental health. You’ve done well in this life, and I’ll try my best not to send your friends to you (soon.) 🥺

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      Thank you. I hope whatever I say can help others. It took me over a decade of working on myself and learning to acknowledge where I was hurting to know that it’s always better to have things out in the open rather than bottled up (though I still don’t always practice what I preach).

      The first thing I did was call my brother. He’s the most straightforward person I know, and I know he’ll be honest with me no matter what. He was the one who suggested I get out of town and take a real break. Which was perfect advice and something I had been needing and planning to do. Even though the circumstances suck, I’m going somewhere where I’ll be surrounded by people I can talk to and who can help me figure out my next steps.

      I also talked to a friend which was good. And I’ll contact some more people in the next few days. If there’s anything the last few weeks have taught me, it’s that I’m so blessed to have a strong system of support in my life, even if they’re scattered all over the world. I know I’ll be relying on Beanies too, even if I don’t post much. This community is just so wonderful and supportive, I don’t know what I’d do without it.

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        ❤️ It’s ironic that without a major crisis in life people don’t normally know who actually formed their supportive system. This is one of the blessings in disguise.

        I am forever grateful for the DB community here too. Without these kind Beanies I don’t know how else I could be happy sometimes.

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    I’m so sorry for your loss, Snarky. I pray that you find courage and strength to get through this challenging time.

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    My condolences to you @snarkyjellyfish. I hope things get better for you as time passes

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      Thank you. I know one day this will all just be a bad chapter in my past, but that doesn’t make it easier to live through in the present. But I have been blessed with an excellent support system and I know I’ll land on my feet eventually.

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    *virtual hug* a big one!

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    I’m so sorry for your loss. From experience I can tell you that that hole will aways be with you, and as time goes by you’ll just learn to live with it. Sometimes you’ll look at it with curiosity, others with a smile, and other with sadness. Grieving takes time, and every single person has their own. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s too long or it’s too short. It’s just the time you need.

    I’m also so sorry about your job, and yes, it’s such a terrible timing. Life has this funny ways, I guess. The year my mum left us was the year that everything happened. It was so overwhelming that I felt I would collapse (and I collapsed some months later and had to take a health leave). I too agree that things happen for a reason and you will find yours. Just keep on breathing and be compassionate to yourself, because you’re the most important person in the whole universe.

    And I’m really glad you have your second shot on the vaccine. You can’t imagine how glad I am. Every time I hear someone I know and care for gets it, I’m glad (and yes, I know and care about you beanies). Give it time to heal. We are here to listen.

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      Thank you. The weird thing is, I don’t even know if this is the worst or hardest time of my life – it probably is, but being in the middle of it, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as I thought. But again, I only just got here, I don’t know what the next few months look like. I’m trying to just deal with things as they come, which means that today I’ve mostly been lying in bed recovering from shot 2. I’ll think about work on Monday – I still need to go to my offices and pick up things I left behind, and return my laptop and drop off paperwork. It feels so awkward. But like I said, that’s a problem for another day.

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        Take one step after another.
        I know it sounds cliche but time helps.
        And whenever you feel it’s too much, we’ll be here.
        Good thing about beanies is we are all over the globe and there’s a always someone on watch.
        *hugs*

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    I’m sorry for your loss. Right now you’re dealing with a lot, but you’ve got this. Take it one day at a time (*hug)

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    Hugs and much love from me!!! I’m sorry for your losses. It all happens for the best. My brother in law, a manager, was laid off this pandemic as well, but there’s a job opening for him in our city, so even though his family struggled to make ends meet, they may be moving closer to us! Things happen for a reason, but even if you don’t believe that, they happen and most times for the better.

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      Thank you. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. I knew I was starting to think about leaving my job, but I wanted to have a plan first. I don’t love the circumstances, but I will try to make the best of everything. I have luckily got savings to survive a few months, though I will be have to be extra vigilant budgeting until I can get some kind of revenue stream to supplement until a full time position comes along. And I know my family can help a bit if I really need it.

      But the hardest part is really deciding what to do next – continue in this field or really make an effort to find something I love? It feels reckless and selfish but maybe this is the kick in the pants I needed to really try something different. So that’s probably going to be my biggest struggle in the weeks to come.

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        We’re here for you if things crazy and need to vent!

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    I am sorry to hear of your loss and that you were laid off. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be but I know that it will get better.

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    I’m so sorry for your loss, Snarky. Your love for you dad was palpable through your posts on this site. I will pray for him and for your family. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.

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      I’m also very sorry to hear about your job. For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think now is too late to start a new career. Age is less often a factor than you might think! That said, now might not be the best time for you. Nothing wrong at all with taking time to replenish your mental and physical reserves after this difficult month.

      I just hope that you are well mentally and that this doesn’t worsen your anxiety or your depression. Please take care of yourself!

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        Thank you. So far I’ve been holding on all right – with loss comes a lot of support, and that has been helping me a lot. I’ll go visit some family for a week or so also, and I think that’ll help keep me grounded and out of the negative headspace. I’m going to explore all my options work-wise, because I think a part of me will never forgive myself if I don’t at least try. But it’s quite scary, either way, so we’ll see what happens.

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    I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know when you will see this message, but whenever you do see this, I just want to tell you that you are doing great so far!

    No words or condolences will ever make your grief go away, so I won’t tell you that one day everything will be ok. And no one can ever understand the feeling of loss unless one went through it all or going through it. As someone who lost my father 3 and half years ago, I just want to tell you one thing. Time is never going to heal it. Those are just empty quotes thrown around. But what I have learned in all these years grieving is that, its going to be the shadow following us around till end of our time. Some days it will so overwhelming, we think we can never see an end to it. And then someday it will be there, in the background, hurting but still from far away and making us to breath and live the moment. Its a never ending cycle. All we can do is, whichever those day coming knocking, just embrace it, feel it and look forward to the next. And eventually you learn to live with it and embrace it as a part of life. There is no other way. When everything is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.

    And I am so proud of your positive mindset. Even when life is anchoring you down, you are fighting and hoping for the best. Please dont lose your +ve mindset. Better days than these shall come. Have faith! *hugs*

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      Thank you. I know that even though I have rationalized my way through a lot of the last month, that pain really is always going to be there. I’ve said so many things – he lived the life he wanted, he wasn’t suffering for long, I got to hold his hand one last time, etc. – but those are all words. I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay with his death, but I do know that I’ll be okay. You’re right, this hole will never heal, but as long as I don’t let it take over me, I can keep going. The pain will be there, but I can live with that, because pain is a part of life.

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    Please accept my condolences. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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    I’m so sorry for your loss, Snarky. Please don’t be too hard on yourself and let yourself grieve properly. Love and prayers from me!

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Day Fourteen
I chose my apartment because it has a lot of light. I sacrificed space for light, and I never regretted it once. When I moved in, one of the first things I did was buy a plant shelf. (I now have two more shelves, though one is technically a repurposed shoe rack.) I have lots of plants. I call them my indoor jungle. In spring and summer it’s so hard for me not to impulsively purchase a plant when I’m out.

When the weather is warm, I spend part of my Saturday morning tending to my indoor jungle. I love that time, just me and them. Feeling the leaves and the soil, checking for pests, problem solving when there are issues. My jungle has been a massive source of solace and joy for me this last year.

But this winter, it’s been rough. Both personally and for my plants. I lost quite a few in the space of month or so. I’m not sure what happened. Plants that were totally fine just died. Others just withered. One just turned brown almost overnight. There are two more there that aren’t going to make it. I feel so helpless. I was really upset. I am really upset. I feel like there’s a curse on my plant corner.

I’ve always known that failure is not a sign of personal failing. But it’s hard not to take this personally. I worked so hard, poured so much of myself into them. But nothing helped. It makes me want to give up. Even though while all this is happening, there are also successes – my other plant corner is thriving.

Maybe it’s because I have all the dead plants in the corner of my dining area, like a morbid reminder of my failures. I feel so drained these days, dried out and withered, just like those dead plants. I can’t bring myself to clean out the pots. I need to move on. I need to clear that space, both physically and emotionally.

That’s how this last year has felt. There have been some good things, things to celebrate, but somehow, all that I feel and see is the bad. I’m drained. Maybe those plants dying is a sign I need to take care of myself better. Or maybe it’s just a bad draft in that corner.

I’m going to try to focus on the new growth going forward. If I can’t clean up, I’m going to at least get those dead plants out of sight tonight. I’ll have to deal with them eventually, but I don’t need to force myself to confront it every day. It’s not a clean slate, but it’s a start. Sometimes just those steps are good enough.

This year has been a roller coaster. No one is truly okay. We’ve been forced to think about death more than we like. We’ve learned to hold our loved ones closer. We’ve all had moments of frustration, anger, depression, sadness; there hasn’t been much joy. And none of these feelings are new to any person — just living means you will experience these things at some point or another — but they feel more compounded this year. We don’t know what we’re going to see on the other side of this. It’s been tough, it is tough, and it will continue to be tough for a while still.

One thing I know, though, is that whatever happens, we are all stronger for it. Because here’s the thing – I have plants that died, but I also have plants that survived, that made it back from a being stripped down and almost dying. I have plants that put out their first new growth in six months. I’ve managed to get some roots on cuttings from some of the plants that died. That gives me hope – there is new life, even where there was death.

So, even though I’ve been uninspired this year for Love, February, you all have given me hope. Hope that reminds me that even when I’m drained and tired love exists all around us in many forms. Hope that I can feel fuller next year. Your love stories, the small things that make you happy, the words you have generously shared – they all gave me extra light in the last two weeks, when I didn’t know I needed it.

Thank you.

Love,
February

A picture of my shelf from better days, back in November.

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    I was literally just looking at fake plants because I want some plants in my background for video calls but know I’d never be able to keep real plants alive 😬

    I hope you’re able to figure out the issue with your plant corner and that you and your plants can thrive this year 🌱 They looked amazing in November.

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      Get a pothos! (Also known as devil’s ivy.) It’s really common, and very forgiving. It’s basically my recommendation for a beginner plant to everyone.

      It doesn’t need much light, and only need a bit of water every seven to ten days. And even if you forget for a week (…or three) it perks back up pretty fast. You can also just have cuttings in water and they’ll live happily like that. I bet you even know someone you can get cuttings from, they’re so common. They’re one of the easiest plants in the world, and are really nice and simple.

      I have three myself, including one that I’ve trained to grow up a wall by my bookcase, and another which twines around a shelf. But my mom has like six or so, and one is literally inside a nook and gets no direct light and is thriving. I used to find them boring but they really are one of my favorites now.

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        Thanks for the suggestion! It looks really pretty! And if it’s easy to care for, I might actually be able to keep it alive! 😄

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          I believe in you! The real key is not to overthink it, and if something looks off or unhealthy Google is your best friend. Or I’m happy to answer questions too.

          Literally the only time I’ve seen a pothos die is my brother’s because he way overwatered it. But I once forgot to water my mom’s for three weeks and they all perked back up within a day or two.

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    Urg this hits home. I’m the green thumb in the family but my plants didn’t do well either last year. Hope for a better year for all of us!

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      My mom is the one with the green thumb and I never thought I’d be a plant person, despite the fact that I did grow up watching and helping her garden. But this space demanded greenery and it’s been a great journey. I’ve learned so much about both plants and myself in the last few years.

      Despite the setbacks, I’m hoping maybe this is a sign that we’re in for a fresh start this spring.

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    For me, your plants all look very nice.

    Thank you to for inspiring me to take home some fresh flowers. I have always avoided doing the task ‘cause I know I’m not good at it. But it turned out fine and the living room was much more lovely. 💕

    We need to take better care of ourselves. That’s something I learnt from kind Beanies here, and that’s the thing I want to emphasize to you as well.

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      The best trick to keep cut flowers looking fresh is to trim the stems and replace the water every 3-4 days. I also add a bit of sugar to the water.

      And thank you about my plants. Sadly all the ones on the top shelf are now dead, as are two from the second shelf. I’m just going to hope I can replace them this spring. Maybe it’s a sign of a fresh start.

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    Getting the dead/dying plants out of sight is a good start. I am ….not a talented indoor gardener and dying plants always bring me down, but new growth is so cheering. If I can’t control the world I can at least look at my little corner of green.

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      I moved them last night, and I feel so much better this morning. I used to only have one or two easy plants, but slowly I built up my confidence over the last few years. I will say, usually it doesn’t bother me this much, but something about pandemic/winter/6 dead plants in two weeks just felt like a lot of negative energy at once.

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    Sending you lots of love isa. Move the plants away.

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      Wow. Snarky, not isa. I’ve no idea what brain fart happened there. 😀

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        😂 no worries. And thank you. I did move the plants last night and I felt a lot better this morning when I woke up.

        (Greenie! It’s been a while. How are you?! I haven’t seen you in these parts lately.)

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    so, people with a lot of plants.. how do you plan vacatons? going out for a month or so.. or are you tied down?

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      My last trip was 10 days and I used watering spikes for the plants that needed more water, and the rest were fine. I know a lot of people will ask a friend or neighbor to look after their plants when they’re out of town.

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    I’ve never really been a gardener, but my husband loves plants. He just moved some plants into larger pots this winter that were not doing well, and if they didn’t die, they thrived. Sometimes plants need new homes and nutrients.

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      I wasn’t a gardener initially either. It just moved from having a handful of easy plants into a hobby. My mom was the one with the garden and plants, but it’s only really been the last few years for me.

      My research makes me think this was a water/light balance issue, along with possibly some kind of draft. I did attempt to save one by repotting, but alas, it still perished. These were fairly picky plants (mostly ripple peperomia) but I had finally mastered them after losing a couple two years ago and almost giving up. I think that’s where a lot of the distress came from – it was like I finally mastered them and then had the rug pulled out from under me. I have one left, but it’s barely hanging on. I have three of its leaves in propagation tubes right now, so it looks like I’ll have something new to plant in spring. Not sure if I’ll get more of these anytime soon, but I’ll make the call in spring.

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    I admire you so much. I can’t have a plant. We don’t get along. Whenever I buy a plant, it dies, in days. I don’t buy plants anymore. That’s why I admire people like you who care about their plants. Those plants are so lucky they have you.
    And that picture is amazing. What a cozy place they are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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      Thank you! I really spent a lot of time making this place feel like a personal sanctuary, which has been very helpful as I’ve spent the majority of the last year here.

      And I’m sure there’s a plant out there for you! I thought the same thing about myself a long time ago, but it changed after I found the right plant for me.

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    @SnarkyJellyFish I love your plant corner! A beautiful little oasis.

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      Thank you! I am actually quite proud of it, and it really makes me so happy to see all the greenery every day (I now have another corner for low light plants as well, but couldn’t get a good picture).

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Day Thirteen
I caught part of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on TV today.

Beauty and the Beast is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. I have this memory of my mother taking me to the theater and sitting in the with her in the dark. I was maybe four years old? I remember the end of the movie, when the Beast turns back into the prince, on the giant screen.

I’ve probably seen Beauty and the Beast a hundred times. I know all the words to all the songs by heart. I dream of Belle’s library. Disney movies are really one of the cornerstones of my childhood – Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Mulan, The Lion King, Fantasia and The Great Mouse Detective were part of the beginning of my love of stories along with the books my mother read to me, and the stories my father told me. I know these movies are not based strongly on the original tales and they can be problematic, but that doesn’t deter my love for them. They shaped who I am today.

But watching that movie today, it reminded me of being a child again. How the world was big, but as a child, your world is what the people around you make it. I had a happy childhood. We traveled and my mother took us to museums and plays and concerts. My father worked a lot and we didn’t see much of him when we were young. I don’t resent him for it – his hard work gave me so many opportunities. He still taught me to play chess, and how to read a map when we went on road trips, and showed us Star Wars for the first time.

As an adult, the illusions of my childhood have been shattered. It’s been hard to reconcile some of the happy memories with what I know now. There were secrets and lies, though they were all made with the best of intentions. It’s hard to be angry at that, but it’s also hard not to be angry at it.

At the end of the day, I love my family, as messed up as we are. And maybe in the end that is all that matters. The happiness I felt as a child was real, even if there is a shadow on it now. The love was real and that never changed. Those memories are still part of who I am. I’ve learned to come to terms and forgiven. It still hurts sometimes, but with time I have learned to understand.

So, what does this have to do with Disney movies? I don’t know. Maybe, like Disney movies, it’s okay to hold onto the things that are imperfect. The happiness of those times was and is real. It doesn’t change with new knowledge. I’ll always remember how much I loved sitting in that theater with my mother watching the story unfold.

Love,
February

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    I know all the songs both in Spanish and in English. I love it so, so much!
    I totally relate to your feelings.

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Day Twelve
Late, and still uninspired.

That feels like the story of my life these days.

I’m looking forward to the weekend – I plan to spend it reading and playing video games and catching up on dramas. I just put some chicken in the fridge to marinade, so I guess I’ll be cooking too. It’s not that work has been stressful lately (though I can’t say the same about life), but it’s more that I’ve hit a wall. I need time off and time away. Neither are in my foreseeable future.

So, I take the weekends to recharge.

I love waking up on Saturday, no alarm, just lounging in bed with a cup of tea and my kindle. Weekends are the only time I don’t make the bed – it’s sometimes the only way I can differentiate between weekdays and weekends any more. I don’t really go online much, unless I’m researching something (usually new music). I don’t look at my phone except to text friends and family. I’ve been reading a lot lately; I think I’ve read seven or eight books this year already? I haven’t done that since I was in high school. But I have a new book, so maybe I can finish it this weekend.

I’ll get up at some point and do my weekly survey of the indoor jungle (I really need to do something about the morbid plant graveyard in my dining area). I probably have to vacuum, and finish putting away laundry that has been sitting out for [redacted] days. But I know all these things will get done. There’s no pressure, no deadline.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and spend it doing something that makes you happy.

Love,
February

Today’s song is “Love You Dear” by The Solutions, one of my favorite K-indie bands. This song makes me happy and reminds me of summer and vacations and just generally relaxing days.

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Day Eleven
Lately I’ve been wearing a ring I took from my mother.

It’s a really tacky looking ring, though from a distance it looks…fancy. Yes, let’s go with that. It’s three little flowers made of tiny diamonds set in a gold band. It looks like it was designed by a kindergartner. I made fun of this ring when my mother bought it, and even she, who usually has impeccable taste, is aware of how gaudy it is.

The ring doesn’t hold a special meaning, but I love it nonetheless. It’s something precious to me the way my grandmother’s kundan ring is; or the is the necklace I don’t take off, which is set with a stone from a ring my grandfather got at his wedding to my grandmother. I never met him, and it’s the only thing of his I have. My aunt had the stone set in a pendant a long time ago, after her wedding, and she gave it to me when I finished law school. I was very sternly told not to let anything happen to it, lest I want to face the wrath of my mother and her three sisters.

These are all such silly, pointless material objects. To others they look like extravagances, and they are. They are certainly not things I would ever choose for myself. But to me these things are much more than what they look like. They could be made of paper and twigs and they would still be precious to me. They are the memories of my past that I wasn’t able to make in person. Of people who loved me and who love me. They’re my history and they’re the stories I’ll pass on.

My mother’s ring is something we both laugh over today. I’ll get it remade into something nicer one day, and maybe give it to my own child if I have one. But for now I wear it as is, a shiny, tacky little reminder of my mother when I can’t see her. (Though she calls everyday, so it’s not like I get a chance to miss her. Gotta love those Indian mothers.)

Love,
February

Here’s a lovely little song from Saltnpaper for you all today.

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    I have a ring too.

    Actually, I got many rings from my mother. However, the ring that I wear everyday these days is the one I bought myself -for me- when I was on a vacation. The ring was made with silver and ruby. I was told it was ruby but it’s so pink I usually think it’s pink sapphire. Anyhow, I love it. Somehow I think it complements me. It wasn’t expensive yet I like it the most (these days). I reminds me of the calm and relaxing place I bought it from.

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      I love this! Rubies are beautiful, and i love how wide the variety of colors are in them. I actually have several rings like this too. I’ve purchased a ring for many of the major events in my life: my graduation from university (silver and turquoise), starting law school (silver and opal), passing the bar (silver and opal again), then one for my first job (silver and black speniel), one for my current job which was a dream job (silver and blue tanzanite). I love that I can look at each of these to remember my achievements.

      Before, when I was younger and traveled more with my family I used to get rings too, usually very cheap ones, but it was more about the memory. I love that jewelry is like that. Pre-pandemic I wore a ring I had made last year with a single stone from an old ring of my mother’s. It is probably the first “big” piece of jewelry I purchased myself and I love that it still has a connection to my mother.

      I love that jewelry often has a story, and it’s always the best when it serves as a reminder of a special time or feeling in your life.

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Day Ten
My brain is fried, so I’ll let Frank speak for me today.

Be kind to yourselves my lovely bean friends.

So before you go out searching
Don’t decide what you will find
Be more kind, my friends
Try to be more kind

You should know you’re not alone
And that trouble comes, and trouble goes
How this ends, no one knows
So hold on tight when the wind blows

From “Be More Kind” by Frank Turner

Love,
February

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I woke up extra early today because I had a video deposition at 9 AM, and I find out it got cancelled twelve minutes before it was supposed to start. (But seriously, who schedules a dep that early?) Now I’m all dressed up (i.e. I put on concealer and lipstick) and no place to go. (Not that I go anywhere other than the grocery store anymore.)

I guess I could get my work done early. Ugh, who does that? I guess at least I don’t look like I crawled out of a pile of garbage for once, so I in the end society (which I no longer go out into) is the real winner here.

I totally deserve a cookie.

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    … or two!

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    At least you weren’t an unintended zoom kitten filter. 😂 And you totally deserve a cookie.

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      Oh that zoom kitten filter is everywhere now isn’t it??

      I burst out laughing even now just thinking of that kitten with eyes rolling to find the filter button.

      Thank you Internet! (and February)

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      That is legitimately one of my worst nightmares. But I cannot get over how funny that was.

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    That’s very short notice. The opposing counsel (“my friend on the other side” 🙄) would get a very pointed email if that happened where I work.

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      I think they were having technical difficulties. Not sure, don’t really care, because it was my boss who texted me that it was cancelled. It’s my case but my boss has been handling the deps because we’re dealing with some weird financial injury issues alongside the normal police are assholes stuff. He asked me to cover these witness deps yesterday, one yesterday afternoon and then the one this morning. It would have basically just been an hour of me taking notes anyway because these witnesses are basically backing up our client’s story.

      I honestly am not too miffed about it because I actually got shit done in the morning today. I’m more annoyed that it’s unclear whether I have to prep a client for a dep in two weeks on another case. And that another counsel has been giving me the runaround since fucking November on getting me dates to depose his clients.

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        Interesting. In my current job, I often sit on the other end of the litigation you do. We represent police in a lot claims of police misconduct claims (constitutional as well as tortious).

        Four months just to give you a date? Wow lol. I don’t know how it works in the US, but here that lawyer would probably get dragged to a case management master, a prothonotary, or a judge to get an order on the books.

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          I’ve worked section 1983 cases since I was in law school, so they’re what I know. I will say, I also live in a city which is known for having terrible police, but we also take a lot of cases from the smaller townships which surround us, and those places usually farm out their cases to large law firms rather than working with state’s attorneys, so they tend to be a bit more lax.

          And we definitely threatened a motion to compel. They took plaintiff’s dep in November and I fully expected to get the defendants done in Dec-Jan because fact closed at the end of January. Opposing counsel ended up filing an extension for fact which means I’m less stressed now. I did make him add language that said I was timely. At this point I can show the court I did everything on my end correctly so it’s not on me. At this point I’m just going to pray we have dates in March and live with it. I have three other cases in which I need to get deps scheduled, so dude better hurry up.

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            Hmm, 1983 is the part of the US Code that allows for damages based on violations of constitutional rights, right? (In Canada, constitutional damage claims are usually dealt with by way of a provision of the constitution which allows for the crafting of individual remedies that are “appropriate and just in the circumstances”.)

            Hmmm, in the US, when you sue a local police force, is do local legal officers defend the lawsuit? In Canada, if you sue the RCMP, the federal government is invariably impleaded, whereas municipal police departments are usually represented by provincial government lawyers in court, even if the the provincial government isn’t directly impleaded.

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            Sec. 1983 specifically grants individuals the right to sue govt employees or any other person who “acts under the color of state law” for civil rights violations, so yes to a degree. As one of the firms I clerked for put it, we sue the city and cops for civil rights violations. But we also sue jails and prisons and any other institutions and individuals who act under color of state law. You can’t sue a private institution/person under 1983 unless they are acting under color of state law (e.g. a university police force). Other civil rights violations are brought under different parts of the Code.

            As for counsel, it’s kind of the same. In the city there’s a whole division for civil rights cases with the county state’s attorney, but smaller local townships (i.e. the suburbs) usually farm out cases to large firms because they don’t have a division for these cases. In short, if we’re suing a state institution (e.g. a state prison, the fire marshal, etc.) we deal with the AG’s office, if we sue the City then it’s the county state’s attorney’s office, and if we sue a smaller township it’s usually a large private firm, though in theory it could be the state’s attorney.

            We tend to name institutions/municipalities though I’m sure they could be impleaded in too. We do it because we often cite to policy issues which led to the violation and we need the institution to be named for allowing the policy. We have sued without naming the institution, but those are generally not the cop cases and more the prison cases, but then we’ll often name state actors for allowing policies instead.

            I do have one case where it’s only the cop and one other person named. No institution but it’s not a gov’t cop (it’s a university police force). I’ve not had to sue a federal institution so I’m not sure there, but presumably it’s the same.

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Day Nine

I saw this video from the author Nic Stone yesterday, and in it she says that love is one of the most basic human longings and one of the most basic human necessities.

That really struck me. Not because it was a new or novel concept, but because in the context she was speaking, it really was easy to see how simple it is for people to choose not to love. It made me think about how easy it is to be kind, and yet how hard we have made it to be kind. Why is basic kindness seen as a weakness?

And from there it made me think about love, and how love is…I don’t know if I can say love is easy, but it is something we are all capable of. It’s something we can all give and we are all worthy of receiving. There is no finite amount of love in the world. It grows because it wants to grow; no, because it needs to grow. We choose love, but also, sometimes love chooses us. There are so many kinds of love in this world. Some love is painful, some love fades, some love is enduring, some love breaks under pressure.

But it’s all love.

We all long for it.

We all need it.

Most importantly: we are all worthy of it.

Love,
February

P.S. “Lovesick Girls” by Blackpink felt appropriate today.

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Day Eight
I’ve been struggling to come up with things to write here lately. So this post may or may not be about love. Maybe it’s just about living.

Love is something that feels so foreign to me these days, not because I don’t feel it, or because I’m in a bad place, or anything negative. Rather, it’s that I feel spent. It’s been hard to do or feel much of anything lately, whether it’s work, or chores, or even watching a drama.

I am existentially exhausted.

So I made cookie dough tonight.

I love baking. Whether it’s a new recipe or one that I can do with my eyes closed, there’s something about baking (and cooking, to a lesser extent) that is calming. I don’t bake as often as I’d like these days, and haven’t really tried anything new in a long time. But there is something about making a familiar recipe that just helps to reset or ground me.

I especially love the science behind baking, learning the tricks and secrets to substituting ingredients. Everything in baking has purpose – baking powder vs. baking soda, brown sugar vs. white sugar, oil vs. butter – these all matter. Even the humidity and the way you measure ingredients matters. I love that you can always figure out what went wrong just by look or taste. Plus, in the end you have something delicious.

I’ve been using the same chocolate chip cookie recipe for years now, tweaking it here and there to suit my moods. Today I didn’t substitute or change anything major in the ingredients, though I’ve varied the things in the past. I mixed by hand because I have no patience for cleaning the hand mixer. I weighed the ingredients rather than measure because that always is more effective, especially given the cold weather. I was too tired to brown the butter tonight – but it seriously ups the flavor game in something as simple as chocolate chip cookies. Plus it smells heavenly when you’re making it.

The dough is resting in the fridge now and I’ll bake it when I’m done with work tomorrow. That step is not in the recipe. It’s resting because that will help hydrate the dough and make the flavors really come together. I’ve also stopped using chocolate chips because chopping up a bar of dark chocolate is way better – you get big chunks of chocolate, but you also get these beautiful little slivers of chocolate throughout. For the finishing touch, tomorrow I’ll sprinkle the cookies with flaky salt before they go in the oven.

I’m sure there’s a metaphor for life in here somewhere, but honestly, I’m too tired to find it today.

I don’t think the cookies will help my existential exhaustion, but they did give me a bit of grounding tonight. They reminded me of something I love doing, and some days that has to be enough to get you through to the next day. I don’t know if it’s self-love, so much as self-preservation, but maybe, in the end, those are one and the same.

Love,
February

P.S. Here’s a song that always makes me happy.

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    This is beautiful Jelly.

    I can relate to the calm feeling when baking something. For me, who tend to overthink things, baking grounded me because everything needed to be precise, so as to make sure that the end product will be similar to what the recipe has promised. At the time of preparing ingredients and baking, I was really there – I was totally conscious and in that moment body and soul. That is what I like about baking besides the deliciousness and its smell that are totally heavenly.

    I don’t bake much nowadays because of work and school work. I do gardening though.

    I wish I could taste your choco chip cookies. I baked chocolate chip cookies too but I used ready-made chocolate chips. Is it better to break a chocolate bar into pieces instead of using the ready-made ones?

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      I don’t have a problem with ready made chips, per se, and I definitely use them when I don’t have a bar of chocolate. But if you use a knife to chop a bar you get less uniform pieces and then you also get all the little chocolate slivers throughout the dough and it’s just so great. Also the quality of bar chocolate is usually higher. I usually stock up on good baking chocolate bars when they’re on sale and keep a few in my baking cabinet.

      I also garden, but indoors because I live in an apartment in the city. But my mom has a big beautiful garden and even though I didn’t garden much with her growing up, I have a lot of memories of being around her while she took care of her flowers. I love my indoor jungle, and it really grounds me. In summer I spend my Saturday mornings tending to all my plants. I actually have been having a hard time lately because I lost quite a few plants this winter and it’s been very upsetting. It made me lose a lot of confidence in myself. But I’m working to remember that I have a lot more plants that are thriving and doing well.

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        You should be proud of yourself jelly! I’m an absolute novice when it comes to gardening, and we all have to accept a piece of truth in the world that sometimes plants just die! 😊☘️ It’s only normal and natural that they do and you should definitely not blame yourself.

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          I know, and usually I can deal. I feel like the disappointment is in part because I’m stuck inside, so I can’t replace the holes on my plant shelves and also because all the dead plants are sitting in the corner of my dining area like some kind of morbid plant graveyard. There hasn’t really been a way or time to cleanly get rid of them right now. It seems like at least another two will be joining them, including one that I nursed back to health from a spider mite infestation a year ago. I just keep looking at my successes and reminding myself that this is life, and also, I have A LOT of plants a few deaths won’t be the end of it.

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    How soothing this sounds. Cooking always stresses me out. Probably because I have a long, long, long history of forgetting that Im cooking, wandering off to do something else and setting the kitchen on fire. Just last night I made a beautiful pot roast with onions and carrots and sweet potatos in the slow cooker and I SWEAR i turned it off only to return to a burned to a crisp roast, mush potatos and disappeared onions amd carrots. What happened? Ill never know.
    It made me laugh a little when you mentioned the lovely smell of the butter. I hate the smell of melted and melting butter so much! I used to put it as my something personal in dating profiles!
    But as always, you have excellent taste in music. Standing Egg is great!

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      This is why I don’t like cooking as much as baking. Cooking requires too much attention. You need to be standing by whatever you’re making and there are so many timing things when it comes to cooking veggies and adding spices. It’s not even that I can’t do it, but more that I just really need to be in the mood. I feel like 90% of the time I spend making a really good dish I don’t want to eat it in the end. Plus, I hate the feeling of raw meat. Though this reminds me I have no food left in my fridge and I will have to cook this week, since my mother (who, being Asian, cannot help but fill my fridge) can’t give me stuff now. Maybe I’ll make fried chicken because that is one of the few things worth standing over the stove for.

      That’s hilarious about the butter. To each their own. But, I will say, the taste is great, it’s all nutty and caramel-y which is worth the pain. I haven’t used brown butter in my brownie recipe yet because that is already super decadent, but I may try in a different brownie recipe one day.

      Standing Egg is seriously one of my favorite groups and never disappoint me. Plus, their videos tend to be super cute too. The one for “Because You’re Pretty” is the most adorable thing ever.

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        Oh I love the taste of melted and browned butter. I just hate the smell when its happening!

        I dont really watch music videos much these days Im realizing. But I have a vromance, standing egg, melomance playlist that is one of my work go-tos when I need to focus. I read somewhere once that listening to music in a different language is a great study method. You like it so youre paying closer attention and your brain wants to interpret what its hearing so its open and receptice. And again since you like it your brain associates what youre studying with happy.

        I probably remember that somewhat wrong but it mostly nakes sense! And when I need to focus it gets the job done!

        Brown butter brownies sounds seriously delicious.

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          This is true! I am pretty sure I read it somewhere as well.

          I used to listen to Bollywood songs (which I kind of understand) when I was doing my philosophy reading in university, and I started listening to kpop in law school. But dance music is usually my go-to for writing first drafts because it gets me pumped.

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            Oh I could never! Damce music makes me want to move! Get up dance and shake it all around. Im writing a proposal for a DIY literacy library to help parents who were supposed to send their kids to preschool this school year and couldn’t because of the pandemic. I get excited thinking about it snd how useful it the potential to be but when its time to sit down and actually write it I need something happy that will keep that excited energy up but smooth that wont make me want to dance.

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    Standing Egg!!! And appropriate to have a baking theme with it!

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    There’s always time for cookies.

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    There is something so very beautiful about making chocolate chip cookies. And yours sound so very delicious.

    Thank you for sharing ~

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Day Seven
Just a reminder to all my beautiful beanfriends:

You may break and shatter
But you still shine
Love yourself you’re so beautiful

I won’t get weak
I’m not afraid,
I’ll passionately shout
I’m Superwoman
I’m not soft
I won’t get sad,
I’ll passionately shout
I’m Superwoman

I nearly fell down many times,
Every time I wanted to cry, I got up again
Even you leave me and go far away
I don’t care I’m gonna go my way

(From “Superwoman” by Minzy)

Love,
February

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Day Six
I’m having trouble coming up with something to write today.

It’s not that I’m having a bad day – quite the contrary, actually. I’ve had a delightfully lazy day, lying in bed curled up under my duvet listening to music, reading, and just generally doing nothing, and even better, not feeling the need to do anything. I’m not thinking about work or chores or the errands I need to run. My indoor jungle will get looked after tomorrow, as will the cleaning I need to do. Everything that needs to get done will get done, I’m not worried.

Maybe that’s a kind of love itself – just the feeling of existing in these quiet days, forgetting the world that lives outside you. Learning to be content in just being here, in this moment, with yourself.

Love,
February

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    Someone said heaven is just right there when you can be here and now. Have a good weekend jelly.

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Day Five
One thing I did for myself late last year was get a subscription for a fresh flower delivery every week. Every Sunday morning I get a bag with four to five stems. I love the ten minutes or so I spend with those fresh cut flowers arranging them and rearranging the last week’s flowers. It’s a few minutes every week where I spend time making something beautiful for myself.

I place them on the corner of my small dining table, which is now my office as well. Throughout the week that colorful arrangement makes me smile no matter how stressed or tired I am. There’s something about fresh cut flowers that just makes me happy.

Beanfriends, don’t forget to take the time for small things that make you happy, even if it’s ten minutes to sit with a cup of your favorite tea every morning. You deserve it.

Love,
February

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    Jelly, these are so pretty. 💐

    I love flowers too. The gift I always appreciate the most is a bouquet of flowers, preferably roses. Nowadays, I take care of my little garden instead and I’m planning to plant some roses too.

    You, me, Beanies and everyone so deserve these heavenly moments.

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      Thank you! I usually buy flowers in summer from the farmers market – I especially love sunflowers and fresh eucalyptus. But with winter and COVID these deliveries have been a bright spot since the weather got cold.

      I live in the city, so I can’t garden outside, but I have my indoor jungle of houseplants which keeps me occupied. My mother has a beautiful garden and we always had rose bushes growing up, so I’ve always been fond of roses. Literally the only thing I regret about living in the city is that I can’t have an outdoor garden in my apartment.

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    Aw, I want to start doing this! what subscription do you use? or do most florists have this?

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      Highly recommend it – it’s a huge mental health booster for me. The one I use is a local service called Adore that was in an Instagram ad (damn those evil algorithms for spying on me too well). I think you can probably google “flower subscription + your city” for a local one. I know there are a few that ship nationwide, but those are $$$ and this is literally like $5/week.

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        $5 a week is totally worth it! They are so pretty. And now you inspire me to do the same. Thank you 😊

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    Love your entire table and especially the idea of gifting yourself flowers every Sunday!

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      Thank you! After I realized that this work-from-home situation was not going to change any time soon I made sure to make my workspace feel as welcoming as possible. It really helps to have something other than the wall and my to-do list to look at all day.

      I got the prints a few months ago, and the little yellow pineapple air plant was a back-up birthday gift from my brother (“In case the first one is too weird”). The dinosaur salt and pepper shakers were one of the first things I got when I moved into this apartment – they have little bowties, and I named them Benny and Bertie.

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    Oh! Can you believe I started having fresh flowers at home since last October? I can only agree with you on how happy I am when I receive them and I arrange the new ones with the older ones.
    I don’t have a subscription, but when I do the shopping on fresh products on the local market (I do it online and I got them home delivered), I also add a bouquet of flowers. I don’t give any instructions to the florist, I want to be surprised. I buy one every week or 10 days, it depends. I have them in the drawing room, by the entrance door, so they are the first thing I see when I get home. And I always smile when I see them.
    I sometimes have camelias as well. My dad has a beautiful camelia tree, but camelias as beautiful they are, they only last for a couple of days.

    2
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      Fresh flowers really are the best! I never understood why people liked them so much until one day I bought some sunflowers at the farmer’s market on impulse. I was studying for the bar at the time and those flowers made me so happy because they were so bright while I was stuck inside all summer studying.

      I used to do the same in summer, but at the farmer’s market here. I would try go early just to get good flowers – usually sunflowers in the warm months, then eucalyptus and lisianthus in the fall. I love the scent of eucalyptus. But in winter there’s no market and the closest grocery store is hit or miss with flowers, so this was a perfect solution.

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    I love this whole thing. When I moved one of my goals was to get flowers delivered to me since I cant grow things but I never got around to it. On the anniversary of my moms death the missionaries from my church brought me flowers and its the first time in my entire life that someone gave me flowers. I love them so much! Im definitely going to rejoin the hunt for a flower subscription. Thanks for this!

    1
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      You should definitely do it – I think a lot of flower shops are doing things like this now, which is a great way to support local businesses. It’s totally worth it. I wasn’t sure at first if it would be, but there’s something about fresh flowers that just makes everything a little better.

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    The flowers look lovely! Great idea!

    1
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    What a lovely idea!

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    If there is a Trader Joe’s near you, they put our fresh flowers every day and put the rest in back. If you can make friend with whoever orders flowers, you may be able to get some really pretty flowers for nothing. Tip from my sister-in-law, whose little house is now a floral palace. She’s been able to get dozens of orchids and plants and flowers for the teachers at her daughter’s school which she arranges and takes there weekly.

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    What a beautiful table! I used to walk over to the flower market by the river pretty regularly and pick out something nice for myself…but since Covid, I haven’t really done that (also because it was closed). I’m inspired now – this would also be a good way to support local small florists, too. So glad you are giving yourself these moments of joy!

    1
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Day Four

I first heard to the album Sailing, by AKMU, when it came out, at a time when I was burned out by work. Something about it just spoke to me and I fell in love immediately. I’ve always loved traditional folk music and sea shantys, and Sailing is full of those influences (not surprising given that most of it was written when Lee Chanhyuk was serving in the Marines). I loved that they took a risk with the sound of the album as a whole and I think it paid off beautifully.

“Fish in the Water” off Sailing is one of those songs that I can listen to on an endless loop. From the first time I heard it, it grabbed my attention. I think I skipped back to re-listen two or three times before moving on. Music is like that – even if you don’t fully understand it, the feeling is conveyed just from the emotion in the voices and the music is enough. I love how music can be powerful despite itself and speak a universal language.

There are probably a dozen or so songs like “Fish in the Water” that have stuck with me. Songs like this are special because they don’t need to be special. Sometimes they grab me at the first listen, sometimes it’s after barely paying attention. Music is often connected to a memory or a time or place for me, but some songs transcend that, and while I may associate them with something, they also are what I reach for when I need a moment of comfort.

So I wanted to ask you all a question: what are the songs that comfort you? It can be anything – dance music, classical, a weird remix, a live cover – whatever it is that grounds you. I’m not looking for artists or albums, but single tracks that, if you were given five minutes to clear your head, you know would do the trick.

Love,
February

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    This doesn’t answer your question at all but when I heard that song it made me think of Queen’s song ‘39, which is lovely but always makes me sad.

    1
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      Oh yes! ’39 has that very English folk sound that I love. My favorite artist, Frank Turner, did a whole album which was basically his love letter to England, and the track “Rivers” has the same vibe as well, though less sad than ’39. All his work has strong folk influences, but he really pulls it out a lot more on that album and I would not be surprised if ’39 was an influence.

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    Fabulous question! and got me thinking. My loop song of choice changes with the seasons (and with my recent discovery of k-indie, my playlist has changed considerably). But if you had to push me to think about one piece (little longer than 5 minutes) that I have returned to over the years repeatedly, it would be from the forms of music I am most familiar with. I have played this song a few thousand times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP7_nNVbsHI (chota khayal – Mushkil Karo Asan – in puriya dhanashree – starts at about the 2.25 mark)

    I like it – strike that, I love it – for various reasons: I love it as a student of the form, and as a fan of Ashwini Bhide, one of the finest contemporary artistes of hindustani classical music in our generation. Her taans are well paced, very difficult to replicate, she even covers up her mistakes with more beautiful embellishments, as a true artiste would. There’s a lot to learn from the piece, technically.

    I also love the raga – Puria Dhanashree – which is similar to raga Pantuvarali in the Carnatic classical tradition, which happened to be my grandfather’s favourite raga. He would make me sing the Carnatic equivalent of this raga all the time when I was growing up. So this brings back memories of that. The raga evokes the mesmeric combination of plaintiveness and calm and it feels like something has washed over you and cleansed you.

    Finally, I love this bandish / piece for the lyrics, the opening words of which roughly mean, “please ease my troubles”. It’s a pleading to a higher being. I’m not at all religious. But sometimes, you’re just bogged down by so much, you feel like things might have been easier if you were a believer. And if you were a believer, you could have given yourself some peace of mind by singing words like these.

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      I love this, and I love how it has so many layers of meaning for you. I’m not super familiar with classical hindustani music – my parents are from India, but neither of them is very musical (though my mother does love her old hindi songs that she is always playing for me off youtube when I’m home).

      This is beautiful and so very unique; there are so many layers to unpack even in the sound alone. I have always had a fondness for Indian music and the way it’s so different from what I’m used to. The sounds are always feel so alive to me. Unfortunately most of my experiences with Indian music have been through western lenses, which is always a watered down version of the original. But you’ve piqued my interest and perhaps I shall find the time to go learn more. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1
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        Glad to know this got you interested! Happy to share recs if there’s anything specific you want. A lot of film music is based on classical music, so you have probably been exposed to some sounds already!, and you’re probably not the noob you thought you were. 🙂

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          Thank you! I may take you up on that. I am familiar with Ravi Shankar and his daughter, Anoushka’s, music. But that’s about it as far as my classical knowledge.

          One of the last events I went to last year before COVID hit was a performance at the Symphony here where they did a fusion of western music and Indian classical music. One of my best friends designed the costumes for the classical Indian dancers who performed to Stravinsky’s The Firebird, and incorporated tabla; they also performed some original music by Indian composers. It was a really lovely program.

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            That sounds nice! Ravi Shankar is a great introduction, and usually how most western audiences have discovered ICM. But, of course, there’s a lot LOT more 🙂

            And yes there’s a lot of experimentation happening too – which is very cool. I’m not up to speed with all of that, as I am still learning and discovering the more conventional aspects of the form, but I love it that boundaries are being pushed, and people are doing more with ICM.

            I won’t subject you to much, but if you like percussion, and have heard the tabla, here is a glimpse of how percussion is used in the Carnatic tradition, where after accompanying the main artistes in their performance, the percussionists have a “conversation” with each other through their instruments, and then all the artistes eventually come together to wrap it all up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4q3G5-d7x4

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            I love tabla even though I don’t know much about it. That performance I went to last year actually did the “conversation” you mentioned, and I remember absolutely loving it. I meant to look into the form more, but alas life got in the way.

            I remember when I was little I always loved seeing the aunties play the tabla at mehndis and wished I knew how. My mother can’t carry a tune to save her life, and doesn’t sing (and it’s better for everyone that way). Though her sister was apparently a wonderful singer when she was young, so apparently that gene just skipped her.

            Is it weird that the tabla performance you sent me kind of reminded me of Dolly Parton and how she literally used her acrylic nails to create the beats for “9 to 5”? It’s not the sound that is similar, per se, but the creativity used in the creation of the music. I love how music can be so innovative like that, finding the unique sound in any object.

            But yes, I’m definitely looking up more of this – I think my Spotify algorithm is already confused by my eclectic tastes, but I love screwing with it even more with new types of music.

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            Just to clarify – these instruments are the mridangam (the long quasi-cylindrical wooden one) and the ghatam (the earthen pot). The tabla is a different kind of instrument with two drums. 🙂
            I haven’t heard the Dolly Parton piece you mention! I will check it out!
            Enjoy discovering more on Spotify 😀

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    there are several tracks I turn to when in need of comfort, but as I read your post one just popped into my head, so here it is
    Jung SungHa – Fanoe
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C82fJlYHEmY

    (and loving Akmu btw 😉 )

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      Ohhh, I really like this! It’s so calming and yet it feels like there’s so much movement within the music. It reminds me of spring for some reason. I think I will need to explore this artist more, thank you so much for sharing!

      (I love AKMU, have been in love with their music since 200% came out, I think, six years ago now? I love that they really do keep experimenting and growing, which is what all the best artists do.)

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        you’re welcome 🙂
        He’s a fingerstyle guitarist, he started very young so you can find videos of him at 10-year-old covering famous song.
        I like to listen to his songs but also watching his videos, he smiles in such an honest and simple way when he plays, his love for music is palpable 🙂 . Also his way of playing several chords is just like magic.
        He released many albums of instrumental covers but also original tracks he created 🙂 .
        The link I shared is from his YT channel so you can start from here ^^.
        If you’re a fan of “Your name” movie, I’d recommend to check the three covers he made 😉 , as for Ghibli he also made a few covers if you’re a fan of them .

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      Jeong Seongha is SOOOO good! I am addicted to his YT channel! and what is lovely to see is how he’s evolved as a musician over the years.

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    Ugh I love that album.

    I have several comfort songs, but these are the two that come to mind at the moment:

    Picture by O.WHEN
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5ElueJKKTU

    Stay Here by Gaho
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GHvBqysNHg

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      I really like both of these! These are both artists that I’ve been wanting to explore more, so perhaps I will do that this weekend. “Picture” is so lovely and you can really feel the emotion in it. And I have been a fan of Gaho from his OST work but never got a chance to dig into his discography, but now I think I’ll be doing that this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1
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        Do let me know if you unearth any gems! I, too, have yet to go as deep into their discographies as I would like.
        Today and Rainbow (My Ahjusshi OST) are two others I enjoy from O.WHEN.
        Most of the other songs I’ve heard from Gaho are his OSTs. I don’t think he has an album yet–a few singles and maybe an ep.

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    My favourite singer is Luciano Ligabue, an Italian artist (he’s poet, singer, composer and even has directed a couple of films). He always have one song for each of my moods. When I’m mad with the world because I’m stressed with work I’d listen to his rocker songs or when I need some comfort I would listen to his ballads. He does something I love as he interconnects his songs. For instance, a catching phase in song 1 appears seven years later on song 2. A character in song 3 is the one he talks to in song 4.
    It’s hard for me to choose just one song, but this is probably the one I’ve listened more on a loop. It’s called “Leggero” , “Light” in English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeXNpEVOa0w
    This is a very bad translation into English of the chorus:

    And you feel the veins
    Full of what you are
    And you stick to the life you have
    Light, in the best outfit,
    Without forward or back, without destination.
    Light, in the best outfit,
    In your head a bit of sun and a song in your mouth.

    1
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      Thank you for sharing! I don’t know anything about Italian music beyond the occasional opera, but you’ve piqued my interest. I really like his voice and this song is lovely. Do you have any other song recommendations, or albums to start with? I am definitely interested in looking up more of his music. He reminds me of my favorite singer, who is British, who makes music that he calls Folk Punk Rock, and this feels like it falls into that same category.

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        He’s amazing. His voice is amazing.
        His latest album is a 7 songs album + collection of 77 of his hits. This could be too much, hehe.
        This album: Il giro del mondo. It’s from 2015 and it’s a compilation of all his songs, mostly recorded alive in the tour that took him around the world. It’s 36 songs.
        Now the songs I would recommend:
        – Certe notti (it was chosen the best Italian song of the 90’s)
        – Ho messo via
        – Tu sei lei
        – Sulla mia strada
        – L’odore del sesso
        – I ragazzi sono in giro
        – Urlando contro il cielo
        – Un colpo all’anima
        – È venerdì, non mi rompere i coglioni.
        – Ti sento
        – Tutte le strade portano a te.
        Please take time to look for translations of the lyrics, because they are real poems.
        I’ve been listening to his songs today all day long thanks to you 🙂

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          Thank you so much! I will definitely be looking for these and looking up the lyrics. I found a playlist on Spotify that also seemed like a jumping off point, but it’s always better to have a real person’s input for where to start.

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            I’m totally subjective about Liga.
            I once had one of his albums in my car CD and listened to it on loop for three whole months 😅

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            That’s fair – I have like three CDs in my mom’s car and they are always on a loop when I’m home. (The Bends by Radiohead, Nevermind by Nirvana, and Ten by Pearl Jam – I’ll always be a grunge girl at heart.) And when I first discovered my now favorite artist, Frank Turner, I don’t think I listened to anyone else for like three months.

            But I’ve put on a playlist of his music as I’m just having a lazy day reading and doing nothing and it’s been very pleasant to have on. I tend to do deep dives when I find a new artist but I like to just play a lot of random songs to get a feel for their music at first. I started with the songs you recommended, and I really liked them.

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I’m about to watch the final episode, but I will say this about Run On: it really gave us some beautifully complex and real female characters who were flawed but also ambitious and who really showed their work when it came to the things that they wanted to go after.

All of the major female characters – Mi-joo, Dan-ah, May, Eun-bi, Seon-gyeom’s mother, Ye-jun’s mother – are all ambitious and hard workers who love their careers, but also don’t let themselves be defined by that. They are good at their jobs and what I appreciated was that we were shown this rather than told. We see that Dan-ah is successful, and she can handle a bad PR situation, we see Mi-joo grab opportunities and hustle, we see that May worked hard to establish a successful company, etc. But the thing that I love is that even though they are all these things – with the exception of Dan-ah and her extraordinary circumstances – is that none of them seem to think that they can’t also have love, or friendships, or a family, or a good life; sacrifice is not needed to “have it all”. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.

Which is why I appreciate that then the show sets up Dan-ah as a contrast to these women now, because we see that she is capable of love and being loved, but she is working against forces that are refusing to let her ambition prevail. So she makes a choice. And I don’t think there is a wrong choice here, but she does have to choose for now. The setup here is more interesting to me than the usual “love or ambition” choice female characters are usually given, because I think it says a lot about how in society women are often told to pick one, when the drama has shown us from the start that women don’t always have to choose between love and ambition.

Dan-ah is constantly treated as an object and is aware that she is not valued as a person by her family. As a result, she struggles just to be seen and heard. So it makes sense that she is also the one who has the most trouble opening her heart up. Despite her feminine dress, she pushes away from feminine traits and the softness that is associated with femininity. I often think of how she contrasts to Seon-gyeom, who has given so much love to the people around him that he forgot to love himself along the way; meanwhile Dan-ah has no love for the people around her, but she clearly does love herself and sees herself as worthy of her ambition, even if her family fails to see that. Both want to be seen, but by different people: Seon-gyeom wants to see himself and not for the world to just see him, while Dan-ah wants to be seen by the world and not be the only one who sees herself. But at the core of it, they both just want to be free to be themselves and not have to protect their heart.

23
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    I would argue that the women were not able to “have it all”. The two with children seemed to be unable to have all consuming careers and still be the parents they wanted to be. (And yes, the burden of raising children still falls disproportionately on women’s shoulders which is a significant part of the issue.)

    I remember a locally famous news anchor in my area saying that women can have it all, but not all at the same time. She voiced some regret that she missed being able to be active in her children’s schools and help them with homework.

    5
    1

      I guess it’s not about “having it all” so much as being able to chase ones ambitions – which is what these women want, not what society dictates that they should want.

      What I mean is that we don’t necessarily know if Yook Ji-woo wanted children; that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her children and want what is best for them. But to me it seemed that she had them out of a duty rather than a need to be a mother. She chose her career because that was her ambition. Not motherhood. I know women like that, who were pressured into motherhood because that’s what you do when you get married, and while they love their children unconditionally, but if given a choice now, would never have had children. And I think that’s ok. There’s a complex relationship between loving your children and wanting motherhood. And the two are not always hand-in-hand but that doesn’t negate the love you have for your child. It just makes the woman’s relationship with motherhood more complex.

      As for Ye-jun’s mom, I think that she was a good mother, and her “failings” were no different than any working moms. She wasn’t struggling worse than any other single mom, and her children seem to have grown up well. The relationship between the three of them is strong, and the issues aren’t bone deep the way they are in the Seo family.

      3
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        Yes, I agree they each pursued the work life that they chose for themselves. I don’t have an issue with the choices they made.

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    Yes to all this. DA and SG actually had a story with background info, purpose and reasons behind their behavior. And DA surely was a contrast to SG. SG could go on easily with MJ because he left behind anything that would trap him, the same cannot apply to DA who could not leave her responsibilities and would be in much more scrutiny compared to any man in the same position. I’m not sure if they left DA and YH’s journey open ended with the possibility of them being together in the future because even if I wanted them to be together, the conversation between YH and SG convinced me that they were better apart. Also as you said, the women in this show had life, they had much more to do and nothing was sacrificed. Even if sacrifice or better so compromise seems to be a part of life in certain situations, I like how thr show conveyed that it’s possible to keep striving for yourself without any sacrifice as well.

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    I just realized that this show makes me think a lot about pacing. Everyone moves at different speeds, and even those speeds adjust depending on your time of life. Like when SG told MJ that it’s okay to slow down, and when DA talks about how YH was heading for the finish line, but she was just getting to the midpoint. In the beginning of the drama, SG and MJ were running at different paces but through their arc managed to click into a compatible stride in the end. If I think about it, all my relationships have different strides – and sometimes, despite it, one of you pulls ahead or falls behind, be it for a while or be it forever.

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The thing I loved most about this scene was that Dan-ah was completely disarmed (figuratively and literally) when she saw the painting. It was the first time that she really showed her emotions in front of another person without either fronting it with sarcastic remarks or putting up walls as soon as she says anything that may betray her feelings. Instead she really just inhabits the moment, and you know that smile on her face is sincere because she doesn\’t even try to cover it with sarcasm, I think, because she can\’t, and that is just lovely.

I also just find it fascinating that Dan-ah is able to so clearly and express herself and her emotions in the context of art, so it makes sense that she would fall for an artist like Young-hwa. She has walls up at all times because she has to protect her heart (again, both figuratively and literally), and they can only come down when she feels entirely safe. If art is what allows her to feel safe, I cannot imagine how hard it is for her to constantly have to hold back who she is – art demands expression, and expression is the one thing Dan-ah denies herself.

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    That’s a great observation about expression. It was so interesting to me how plain-spoken and open they both were. She point-blank tells him she can “hear” his confession (with the widest smile I’ve seen on her yet), and he cheerfully confirms it with no awkwardness, upon which she is clearly delighted and doesn’t try to hide it. And for those few moments they both just stand there together basking quietly in the glow of it all in a way that felt quite natural.

    6
    1

      Everything about how this scene was directed was perfect – from the placement of the actors to the lighting to the way the mood transitioned from soft and quiet to the change in her voice when she answered her call. The look on his face when she left was so heartbreaking.

      Bear in mind I haven’t watched the finale yet, but I also admire that she didn’t respond in kind to his declaration of love. It’s not even that I think does not she loves him, but I also think that she knew that if she said something just to reciprocate it wouldn’t be the same. Her actions in that moment, her smile, the honesty in her words, was as good as her telling him that she loved him.

      Any declaration from Dan-ah needs to be when she is free to give her heart to him, and it is clear that she cannot do that now. I actually love that this show is setting up the finale to position her ambition against love. I don’t think enough shows do this – show that ambition can be as important as love in a woman’s life. And Dan-ah has picked her lane. It’s not even that she can’t have both, but right now, in this moment, I don’t think she can.

      3
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        Dan-ah deserves her success and her right to choose (both she and Mi-joo have this in common: their work is very important and personal to them, built into who they are). As you so concisely note:

        It’s not even that she can’t have both, but right now, in this moment, I don’t think she can.

        Hence her sad eyes in episode 14 and her holding on tight to that borrowed time. It’s never been that her feelings are not real or that they are less than Young-hwa’s, it’s just that she has always had a much better understanding of the situation than he does.

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    I was surprised by her reaction and it was interesting how she told that it was screaming I love you in to the open and that she would rather to keep it for herself. She had that soft expression. Any other art critic would tell him that he lost his path to go all along the cheesy kitsch way but her reaction was unexpectedly astonishing.

    6
    1

      I was actually bracing myself for a sarcastic remark, when it was so clear he put his heart onto that canvas, and I love that she respected his feelings, and also her own, in that moment.

      3
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    ❤️❤️❤️

    2
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Day Three
Post is in the comments today, so I’ll meet you there.

Meanwhile, here’s a song that I’m really digging these days to keep you company.

6
6

    I’m tired today.

    Last night I had a family emergency, and it has left me feeling emotionally drained. It looks like everything is okay now, but I was scared there for a few hours. It wasn’t a good feeling. I used work to distract myself today and it worked to a degree, but it’s probably not a healthy response. I love my family. I don’t tell them this often, because I’m not an emotionally expressive person, but I do love them very much. I hate that I can’t really express myself in words to them, so I try in all the other ways I can.

    Something that has always helped me is music – not necessarily to match my mood, but because it can express so much with such a simple action. I can’t play or sing, but I can listen. Music helps drown out the noise but it also helps me make sense of it.

    I’ve always been better at listening than talking. I prefer listening to talking. But I also think that this has made me minimize my own feelings at times. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. I don’t know. It’s weird, because I think I can be very expressive at other times, but when it comes to myself and the hard emotions, I’m overly pragmatic and don’t give my feelings the space they need.

    I know that it’s not because I don’t think other people will care, because I am incredibly lucky to have people who do care in my life. I think maybe it’s because I know how hard it can be to listen. This isn’t a judgement on people – but we have so many instincts to comfort and relate, which isn’t always the same as listening. But a lot of what people really need, I’ve found, is someone who can just listen to their words, to let their emotions come out as they need to, unfiltered and unedited.

    Maybe that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m not sure. The last year has been so hard. For everyone. And I know it’s fair and valid to be frustrated and sad. But something about this moment, today, just feels really hard. It’s not that I don’t feel a lot of love, but it’s more that I don’t know how to express it. And today that frustrates me more than usual.

    Love,
    February

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      Okay.. wow! This sounds a lot like myself.. I feel weirdly exposed!

      I get frustrated a lot with myself too, it feels like you’re stuck with all these emotions that you can’t translate into words, and it seems so easy for other people to do it when you’re just sitting there listening and honestly I found myself wondering in a lot of these instances of what it would feel like to be the one talking instead!

      One thing I learned this passed year though is to go easy on myself and to just allow people to be there for me even if we sit in silence, that is strangely very comforting. Also, a certain someone told me that words are overrated so.. yeah!

      (Also, I promise I’m not stalking your wall, I’m just playing catch up with Love, February posts)

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        Ha, I’m glad someone relates. Sometimes it’s not even that I don’t have the words, it’s just that saying them aloud makes things real. I tend to keep most people at arms length, though I’m not sure why. (OK, that’s a lie, I have some ideas here, but that’s a whole different story.)

        Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who could pick up the phone and call to someone just to talk. I know that my friends don’t see me as a burden, and I know that they’re there for me, even just to sit in silence. But I usually only ever talk about my problems well after I’ve sorted out my emotions, so that I can distance myself from them.

        This particular day was a lot harder for me because I live alone and it was night when I got the call and I couldn’t do anything about it since the person was in a different state. The fear felt amplified because of the isolation, and none of my friends are nearby right now, so it has been particularly hard to feel connected to people lately.

        Honestly, I read your SNG stories and they give me hope that maybe one day I’ll find my own SNG who will understand my awkwardness and my silence. I’m so happy everything worked out for you, and I wish you and SNG all the happiness in the world.

        1
        1

          Oh, I get you, words just don’t come easy to us most of the times. I hope you are doing a lot better now and whatever that call was it got sorted. I never tried living alone so I can’t imagine how hard it must be!

          To be honest, it was not easy to share my silences even with him, but I gave him the biggest scare of his life a couple of months ago and after that I learned a lesson and promised that I would at least let him do that!

          Thank you so much, I do hope you find your own SNG someday and he’s even better than mine (though I doubt it ..kidding!) and he’ll be understanding, patient and kind and all the things your heart wishes for.

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    I’ve been listening to Epik High Is Here on repeat.

    1
    1

      It’s definitely been heavy in my music rotation, and I really hope they tour internationally for it when it is safe again. Also, I’m very excited that there’s a part 2 coming eventually.

      I’ve also been listening to Sleepless In ____________ at night before bed too. I just find it such a comforting album.

      1
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Day Two
A Badly Written Poem, for this, February, the Most Hated of Months

I have always hated February.

It is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, month.

It’s short,
But it seems to take that as a dare
To see how much of a punch it can pack
Into fewer days.
Every year it tries to top itself.

February always arrives
Without warning
Always a day
(or three)
earlier than expected.

It houses one of the more irritating
Commercial holidays.
(Look, I’m all for celebrating love,
but must everything be
pink and roses?
What if you like violets?).

There is always too much work.
Always.
It’s like January extended its vacation
and then three of your coworkers quit
and now your assistant called in sick.

Then there’s the fact that it’s f*cking freezing.

I hate February.
Nothing good comes of a February.

But two years ago,
there was a small light.
in February.

And so,
This hated month
Became a time for reflection.
I stopped hating
February
For a little while each day.
And instead I contemplated
Love.

I love Love, February.

I still hate February.

And that’s okay.

I can do both.

To quote Whitman:
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

Maybe,
I don’t hate February as much.
Now.

Only with the fire of a thousand burning suns
Instead of a million.

That’s progress, right?

Love,
February

24
7

Day One

One year ago today I wrote a Love, February post on my phone at a concert.

The crowd buzzed and jostled around me. People were bouncing excitedly on the balls of their feet, talking, singing, taking selfies. Every twitch of the red velvet curtain brought a held breath that maybe this was the moment.

I was at the back of the crowd, scrolling on my phone, wracking my fried brain for what to write for my first post. Then I realized that I was surrounded by something I love. The words came quickly and freely, I typed rapidly on my phone, praying that the wi-fi was strong enough to post before the curtain went up. I posted a few minutes before the lights dimmed, the music started, and for a few short hours I let myself disappear into that crowd.

What a concept now.

The idea of being in a crowd, crushed together with strangers, sweaty, dancing and singing with no second thoughts.

I am an introvert. But concerts are (were?) different. They energize me. I love all sorts of live music – classical, rock, rap, jazz, traditional folk – you name it, I have probably seen it and loved it.

Something about that crowd, that shared love of an artist and music, energizes me.

I love the venues – from big stadiums with elaborate setups, and the old historical theaters with their beautiful facades, to the dingy, dark basements and backrooms of pubs with sticky floors.

I love the feeling of standing among a crowd of strangers and all singing along to a song we all know and love. Or swaying to a familiar movement. Or tapping your feet to a well-worn memory of a tune.

I love those moments between the opening set and the main set when the crowd is buzzing. That buzz is a music of its own, a crescendo which peaks when we erupt in cheers as the curtains draw back.

I love that that moment when the lights dim, and the artist finally takes the stage. We all hold our breath, wondering what they will open with.

I love how the music seems new again. It’s like trying on a well-loved jacket with a new lining – there’s something familiar about it, but it’s also new and remade just for you.

I love that moment after the end of the show, just before the encore, where half the crowd wonders whether to stay. That break which is just long enough to let some people leave and to let those who stayed catch their breath.

I love that second wind that comes when the artist returns to the stage. It’s as if they too can’t bear to say goodbye.

I love the crush of the crowd as we leave. The buzz has returned, but it’s different now, charged anew.

The funny thing is, I often drag my feet before going to a concert, making a hundred excuses in my head: I’m tired, it’s been a long week, people annoy me, I hate waiting in lines. But once I’m there, it all changes. None of that matters. It’s all swept away.

Today my mother got her first shot. I don’t know when I will get mine. But somehow, this doesn’t really matter to me anymore. I know that, despite all the frustrations of the last year, one day we will back to some kind of normal. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel.

I know that it’s OK to be angry and frustrated and that depression and anxiety are all part of this too. Some days I wish I cared less so I could be reckless. But I can’t be. It’s not worth it. So instead, for now, I wait, just like those moments before the curtain opens and those first notes ring out.

Love,
February

26
4

    This is great: for now, I wait, just like those moments before the curtain opens and those first notes ring out.

    I don’t think things will be normal normal for a while, and maybe not ever for some of us for a variety of reasons. But I love the image of that moment before the curtain opens. It’s very appropriate.

    2
    1

      I feel like we’re in a weird liminal space right now, with vaccine rollouts happening but also knowing that it’ll probably be another full year before a real normal happens. I still prefer this to the endless unknown that was the last ten months though. My city locked down almost right away last March, so I’m six weeks from the one year mark and it’s a very strange feeling. I don’t think I’m used to this life, but I also have accepted it as my reality for a large part of this year.

      But I really do feel like I’m at the end of my wait. I know it’ll likely be some time before I get a vaccine (late spring if I’m optimistic, summer if I’m realistic). But there’s that anticipation now, and I know whatever happens, being patient will pay off.

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    Thanks so, so much for sharing this.
    I needed something like this today, you can’t imagine how.
    Life has indeed changed in this last year, but even so… A toast to all those concerts you will attend and all that music that will make you feel alive!

    1
    1

      Thank you. I hope whatever is making today hard becomes easier soon. I know we’re all in a weird place these days and some days are really much harder than others. And it really does suck sometimes, and it’s hard to be patient, especially with ourselves, but we’re all doing the best we can given the circumstances.

      I’m very much looking forward to live music again! But for now I will have to satisfy myself with listening at home and remembering the crowds.

      1
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Pure Unadulterated Chaos

Or Run On\’s Guide on How to Not Throw the Best (Ill-Advised) Birthday Party Ever

A drama in seven acts

It starts out somewhat benignly, with Tae-woong being jealous of Young-hwa as he is wont to do.

Next, Ye-Jun gets in there because nobody messes with his bestie.

Then Secretary Jung joins in, because sure, why not? This is a party after all.

And what is a party without some dancing? (Music optional.)

Remember: first impressions are important, so always meet your guests at the door. (Ignore that said guests appear to be in their own separate drama – complete with sad soundtrack – and just go with it.)

It is very important to always greet the guests politely.

And finally, one absolutely must not forget the confetti cannons and cake as the guest of honor arrives.

And there you have it: how to not throw the best (ill-advised) birthday party ever!

Come back next week for our guide on how to forlornly do laundry while possibly in the midst of a breakup!

23
8

    Can’t get enough of this!
    And he’s so proud of being Dan-ah’s vending machine ><

    9
    0

    I laughed so hard as the fighting group fell out into the middle of the yearning lovers. I’ve rewatched it many times and it never gets old.

    10
    0

    This scene was so well choreographed that it actually felt like spontaneous mayhem. Your breakdown made me laugh into my coffee!

    8
    0

    Watched this scene for five times!

    4
    0

    Thanks for this!! I went through the same lmao/wtf emotions while reading this again. I mean who would throw in a sad song with lovers eye locking with a fight in the background. It had a quirky Tarantino effect.

    And when at the end Dan Oh asked them to ‘clean up’!!

    Oh secretary Jung joins in to protect Dan oh’s younger brother. He cares for him.

    I can’t wait for the laundry episode!!

    7
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    I watched this episode TWICE last night, because of the this scene. Thank you!

    3
    0

    This scene was so great that I had to replay it a few times just to see how everyone was reacting.

    Does anyone see a chance to ship Secretary Jung and Ye-jun? I don’t know why I thought that, but it would help Ye-jun..

    Thanks for putting this together @Snarkyjellyfish – there are just so many good parts to this show and I love them all!

    3
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    Why is this so funny 😂 also I will lurk around for the guide to fold laundry while dealing with breakup!😂 Can’t wait!!!

    3
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Run On theory: is Young-hwa illegitimate like Tae-woong? The way he reacted to that information was interesting, but we know very little about his relationship with his parents so far, other than the massive amounts of honey. He was also pretty upset when Dan-ah looked into the honey if I recall.

I really love how this show is exploring all kinds of parent-child relationships and how that shapes the children. We have Seon-gyeom with his terrible father who uses his children and wife as political props, and his mother who, though she clearly loves them, openly admits to choosing her career over her children. This resulted in Seon-gyeom putting everyone and everything before himself and never allowing himself to really live until he met Mi-joo and had a reason to be selfish for once.

Dan-ah works hard to be good at her job and gain the recognition she deserves, but her father takes her work and gives it to her \”older\” brother. She deserves to be recognized, but more than that she deserves to be allowed to live freely. It makes sense that she is so resentful of those who treat her as merely a prop and a nuisance when she is capable of so much more. I think this also explains why she likes Young-Hwa so much too – she sees in him what she wants to be: carefree and joyful just to live life.

Mi-joo\’s lack of parents has clearly shaped who she is and why she is so protective of herself. I loved her standing up for the girl on the track team today.

We do get one healthy parent-child relationship: Ye-jun and Ye-chan\’s with their mother. You could argue that Ye-chan hiding her boxing isn\’t healthy, but what teenager doesn\’t rebel against their parents a bit?

18
5

    Am also curious about Young-hwa’s family background and the supposed “darkness” Dan-ah sees in his painting, am thinking might be a tragedy of some sort, but surely somebody must have brought him up with lots of love to be the sunshine he is. Am still kinda hoping his honey-making clan is actually filthy rich rural chaebol of sort…

    12
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    I’m sort of hoping they don’t make Young-hwa have this kind of background. I like that the show is relatively low drama and I feel like the wacky adventures these people go on is enough for me to love it. An 11th hour reveal like this could go really really badly — although, seeing how the writer has handled everything else, it could also be really well-done.

    I like the various family dynamics, too. The drama provides a nice window into all of these people’s lives without really trying to be super dramatic or trying for some propulsive plot. It’s nice to watch something where we’re just cruising along with these fun people, watching various aspects of their lives as they manage careers, deal with their varying family lives, and try to find love. It’s a great fit for winter.

    9
    1

      I don’t mind this for Young-hwa mostly because (1) he seems very well adjusted, so if anything, I think he could help Tae-woong; and (2) it’s been pretty clear that something is up with his background, so whether it’s that he’s illegitimate, or the child of an illegitimate heir or something else entirely, I think it’ll dovetail nicely with Dan-oh’s story and further deepen the connection between them. There’s something about the ease with which he accepts people into his life that makes me wonder if he had a lonely childhood. I will also note that he has always seemed a bit jealous of Ye-jun and Ye-chan’s relationship, and there’s something to be said about how he’s made a space for himself in their life and family and vice versa (I know there are a lot of other dynamics at play here too).

      I actually like that all these characters have already been shaped so strongly by their backgrounds and how their arcs are them overcoming the defenses they’ve put in place because of them. I love that Mi-joo’s being an orphan is like Xaio-en in Lost Romance – it’s part of who she is, but it doesn’t define her, and it doesn’t take up unnecessary story or plot. I think dramas always want orphans to be defined by their orphanhood, but it’s much more interesting to see how these characters strive not to be defined by it even though it is clearly a driving force to how they developed. By giving us characters who are older and have lived in the world we get better developed stories and characters since we’re not watching them form an identity though the story, and instead we watch their identity evolve to something stronger. (Does that make sense?)

      8
      1

        Yes, I spent a lot of time comparing Mi-joo with Xiao’en in my head, too! They are both sterling examples of characters that clearly have backstories that could be really sad and tragic, and yet the characters themselves are anything but sad or tragic.

        And yes, it does make sense!

        2
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    We know considerably less about both Young-hwa’s and Mi-joo’s backgrounds – it’s pretty fuzzy in both cases. I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t go super dramatic, but an honest sharing by both YH and DA (maybe on that pier walk that ep 14 previews?) would be good for them. YH is one of the few people in DA’s life that isn’t in it for some “transactional” purpose. Yes, he wants to be with her, but he’s also demonstrated that he’ll walk away, too, if the “terms” are abusive to him. This must be a novel experience in her life – as she told him, she likes him for who he is, and she’s understanding that he likes her for who she is, and not what she can give to or do for him. I like that she’s the one on the offensive now. I can’t remember the last drama I watched where I was genuinely interested in watching both the ML and SL couples’ relationships come together like this, not to mention the web of friendships forming between all four leads.

    5
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