Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread and Links

Happy weekend! There’s a big blizzard heading to the Northeast tonight, and NYC is going to get between zero and 17 inches of snow (and we won’t really know which prediction is closer for a few more hours). I stocked up on groceries, I have a new library book, and I started a big closet clean-out project, so I guess I’m covered for a couple days if we’re stuck indoors. I’m also going to make the family some popcorn balls because I mentioned something about popcorn balls last weekend and Drew didn’t know what I was talking about – he has literally never had popcorn balls and I feel like I need to rectify this situation even though they’re terribly unhealthy and kind of hard to eat. But if you’re ever going to have popcorn balls – and you gotta do it once in your life, come on – a snowy weekend seems like a good time to try them.

We also have a four-day weekend here, or at least the kids do, because they are off on Tuesday for Lunar New Year, and Monday is a professional development day for the teachers and an “asynchronous day” for students, which, if you are lucky enough not to have heard of before, is when teachers send assignments to students through google classroom and it’s the parents’ job to make sure the assignments are understood, make sure they get done, and then upload each one to Google classroom, before they let their kids veg out in front of a movie with a sugar-laden popcorn ball (or maybe play in the snow if it’s not a windchill of 4 degrees and the snow isn’t just one gigantic block of ice).

Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend, and here are a few links you might enjoy:

Having left best friends all my life, so many times, I really felt this: The Heartbreak of Leaving Behind a Best Friend

Women Are Sharing Love Bombing Signs They Recognized In Their Relationships With Partners, Family, And Friends, And It’s Heartbreaking

Why people aren’t as picky in love as they think

Nicole Cliffe (founder of the The Toast) posted this question on Twitter that’s kind of fun and interesting to think about. Do you have a thing your family normalized that you were surprised to learn most people don’t do? Mine is saying a prayer before dinner. I grew up saying a quick prayer every single evening, and a longer prayer at family gatherings that my grandfather would lead. Didn’t realize until I was older that everyone else was a bunch of heathens (myself among them now that I’m an adult).

20 comments… add one
  • Miel January 28, 2022, 3:44 pm

    Growing up I was acutely aware of the ways my parents were uncool (we ate vegetables, we didn’t have cable TV, we didn’t have a color printer, other terrible things…). In comparison, all my friends had cool parents (OMG! oreo cookies! kraft mac and cheese! the internet! video games consoles!). It took me until adulthood to realize that my parents had done a great job keeping me away from all sorts of crap and I’m pretty grateful for that.

    However, the strange thing I did normalize growing up was: horribly maintained public school buildings!

    I grew up going to the neighborhood elementary school (My family was upper middle-class, neighborhood was pretty mixed though), then went to a public high school with a prestigious music program (all the money was spent on pianos, no money spent on anything else…) And I thought… this is just how schools are! Absolutely normal.

    Got to (my province’s equivalent of) community college, and I was AMAZED! Desks that weren’t covered in graffiti and dried up chewing gums? All the chairs were the same model and not a weird mismatched of any type of flat surface a student could sit on? They had CLOCKS in each classroom, and they were ON TIME? I couldn’t believe it! The ceilings weren’t brown and sagging from water leaks? The windows weren’t NAILED shut? There were curtains without giant holes on the windows? The thermostats in each room WORKED?

    Oh my god, community college was the biggest shock. Now when I see a building without peeling paint, a clean floor and chairs and desks that match, I’m in heaven. This is what I call luxury!

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  • ktfran January 28, 2022, 4:56 pm

    We got A LOT of snow last night and today.

    IDK. Family dinners nearly every night and watching TV together afterwards? Growing up, none of my friends and their families did either of these two activities. Nor did a lot of my aunts/uncles/cousins. My family was in to together time. Honestly, being sent to our rooms as a punishment for acting out was THE WORST punishment my parents gave us. Once, my dad gave us the choice of going to our rooms or a spanking. We picked the spanking. My dad was shocked and learned never to give that choice again.

    I know family dinners are normal. They just weren’t among the people I knew.

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    • Copa January 28, 2022, 7:10 pm

      Oh man, I loved being sent to my room. I’d read a book and have a great solo time.

      So growing up, we used our oven as extra storage for things like pots and pans. I assumed everyone did this. My sister and I have both done this into adulthood. Maybe a year ago on TikTok I stumbled onto a bunch of “Tell me you’re Mexican without telling me you’re Mexican” videos and about 90% of them included someone running to the oven to show their oven stash. All these years I thought everyone did this! I even remember a few years ago, when a cousin on my dad’s side (the white American side) turned on another cousin’s oven and nearly started a fire because something happened to be inside. I had no idea why she’d turn on an oven without checking first to see what was stashed inside.

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      • ktfran January 29, 2022, 5:32 pm

        This cracked me up @Copa!

        I finally finished Somebody’s Daughter. I loved everything about it.

  • Kate January 28, 2022, 6:01 pm

    Idk, screaming a lot?

    I got out of Dodge yesterday for Mexico and all these blizzard warnings are hitting my phone. Also this is the second vacation in a row where something totally unexpected blew up at work that would have caused me to have a stroke but my boss had to deal with it. Nothing I did wrong, but like, market events that affect our work.

    Have a great weekend everyone. Safety last!

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  • Lucidity January 28, 2022, 7:44 pm

    My family said a prayer before meals too! I realized pretty young that it was unusual, though.

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  • Helen January 29, 2022, 6:40 am

    Down here in the deep south we’re expecting a windchill of -3. Super rare for us! I left my faucets dripping (I think that’s what you’re supposed to do idk really) I always thought it was weird that my family didn’t say the pre dinner prayer. Everyone else did. We’re not religious, but I have to teach my kids the manners of pre eating prayers. They’re the ones scarffing down pizza at the bday party while everyone else bows their head

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    • Dear Wendy January 29, 2022, 7:01 am

      Such a cultural difference between regions in the US. I could not even imagine a prayer before pizza at a kids birthday party here!

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      • Helen January 29, 2022, 7:40 am

        My 2nd grader, who attends public school, brought home some schoolwork yesterday that consisted of copying sentences. One sentence was “Mom & Dad returned from church” Christianity is casually inserted into everything down here. I’ve told my kids to never argue over religion & to keep our atheism on the downlow. I don’t want them to not be invited to playdates because we’re not professed Christians

      • anonymousse January 29, 2022, 4:55 pm

        Leave the doors to your sinks open, Helen. Good luck!

    • anonymousse January 29, 2022, 5:22 pm

      Okay, I thought of another tip. If you can, turn off all outside faucets on the inside of the house (and then run the water out so the outside pipes don’t freeze) if you have them. Leave the doors to cabinets under your sinks open and you can definitely keep the at a trickle to help prevent freezing. Best of luck.

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      • Helen January 30, 2022, 8:03 am

        Thanks for the tips! I have no idea how to keep my pipes from freezing! Luckily, it’ll be over 50° in a day or two

      • Fyodor January 30, 2022, 9:09 am

        Yes, definitely do this-we had the piping connecting to an external faucet burst during an atypically cold winter in DC. Didn’t make that mistake again.

      • MaterialsGirl January 31, 2022, 12:39 pm

        excellent tips! and if the lines to the outside are closed on the inside.. leave them open on the outside so that you don’t build back pressure

  • anonymousse January 29, 2022, 5:19 pm

    As an adult, I knew my childhood was weird and I didn’t talk about it much. But then getting married, etc over the decade plus my husband and I have been together, when I am telling him something about my childhood, midstory I will realize how fucked up it was. We weren’t allowed to talk a mealtimes unless spoken to, first by an adult. My mom and step dad put locks on the outside of our bedroom doors because they couldn’t parent and thought we were annoying?I shudder to think of it. It’s hard to talk to them as an adult. And we were poor as hell but too good for charity. We didn’t have cable or satellite and we did get PBS so I literally grew up on PBS and books. Which is fine, but it was weird as a teen trying to fit in and only knowing what was cool by friends or magazines. I’d literally listen to other people talk about show plots. Time outs were the best! That’s probably why I like being alone and reading, find it soothing because it was the only escape. So dark and uncomfortable to talk to anyone but my therapist/very close friends about.

    I always always always felt weird that I didn’t know the prayers said at dinner! I remember the horror of being asked to say Grace once after I’d heard it maybe once or twice at someone else’s house and maybe in movies before that. In college I actually took a few courses on religions because I felt like such an idiot studying in the art world with out my historical religious knowledge. I still don’t think I could stammer out more than, “We are blessed to have food and company to spare.” 🙂

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    • MaterialsGirl January 31, 2022, 12:38 pm

      @anonymousse.. I’m sorry you had to go through that. It’s interesting that the strictness was sans religion (mostly because any extreme rules i heard about growing up went hand-in-hand with religious extremism too).

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  • Ange January 29, 2022, 5:58 pm

    I guess the closest thing in my family was euchre. Once a kid turned 5 they were taught how to play and were allowed to join in on family games. There were a lot of those! Back when we were all young our parents didn’t have much money so their big nights would meeting at someone’s place, ordering a pizza and playing euchre for hours. My mother and her partner even have a community game every afternoon where she lives now. All the locals come over to their place to play cards and pool.

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    • ktfran January 29, 2022, 6:10 pm

      I love Euchre!! That’s our family’s jam. Although My sister and I learned when we were 10 and 8, respectively.

      My dad and I can never be on the same team. We argue. It’s not good.

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      • Ange January 30, 2022, 7:50 pm

        Lol my dad and his twin sister were those two in our family. They always paired up because as they said they had mystical ‘twin powers’. Literally every time they’d lose miserably, end up bickering and would swear to never pair up again.

  • allathian January 31, 2022, 2:56 am

    I’m in Finland, and we had a blizzard that was so severe it was given a name, Valtteri in Finland, Malik in the UK, Sweden, and Norway.

    We had a cozy weekend, my husband and I watched Endeavour: Terminus, in which a blizzard is crucial to the plot, just as the blizzard here was at its heaviest. We’re in an urban area with underground cables, so no power cuts here, thank goodness. My husband spent much of the weekend shoveling our 100 ft driveway, so far we’ve had almost a foot of snow, and it’s still snowing, even if the winds have died down.

    I grew up in the 70s and 80s, and the most unusual thing I remember growing up was that we didn’t have a TV at home. At the time, there were only 2 channels and my parents thought it wasn’t worth the license fee. My parents weren’t moviegoers either, so when I saw ET at the tender age of 10, I had nightmares for weeks. I was completely clueless when friends talked about the shows they watched, as well. We finally got our first TV when I was 15, at my mom’s insistence. By then, the number of broadcast channels had increased to 5, and we had moved to the city, where cable TV was available as well.

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