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Mental Health Monday: Accepting the Silence

We thought that maybe this would be the After Times by now, or at least we would have them scheduled in our 2022 appointment books--the last vaccinations for the last little people in our families, releasing us finally from this constant dread. The last wave of death. The last holiday without hugs. But no, there are no answers yet. There is no resolution. There is no closure. There are only closures and cancellations, again! Saturday Night Live and other shows with audiences have pulled up their stakes without warning. Return-to-work dates for office buildings have been declared absurd. Businesses are shutting their doors "for the holidays" but especially for these particular holidays. Again, we wait, without knowing if there will ever be clear answers about what's happening, for how long, and what we're supposed to do in the meantime. I am trying to accept and appreciate that. I've already forgotten why or how to be angry at America's cultural and personal c

Pocket of Joy: Being a QUITTER QUITTER GLITZ AND GLITTER!

Sometimes it's better than a turkey dinner , especially in the time of Covid . As a follow-up to my recent advice to " let yourself eat cake ," I think we should all unironically consider the advice of Prince Richie McRichface with his wife Mrs. Sparkle and every other million/billion/trillionaire who exhibits this rare rich person behavior: saying something both honest and compassionate that actually aligns with their own observable actions.  I know, it's much easier for someone with "f u money" to quit a toxic employer / family / racist nation / whatever and fly off into the sunset, but it is also possible for people with "f u self-worth" to make a daring escape into the fairy-tale wilderness of prioritizing health over wealth. Many regular people are taking opportunities to switch to better jobs or deciding to retire early , which isn't exactly "quitting" in the way that word is normally used. Some people at that candle factory in

Mental Health Monday: You Need a Nap, a Snack, a Hug, and a Good Story

Alas! And alleluia! I cannot spill any tea nor sling any fudge as promised last week because for now, my family's immediate financial security and access to health care have been restored in exchange for our discretion. I'm sure you know how it is. Sometimes we can make a clean, healthy break and leave a toxic relationship, family, or employer behind us forever. And sometimes that isn't as possible or simple as we would like it to be. So while we learn to survive a harmful situation that can't be ended quite yet, we must be careful not to give up anything that is not required. For example, my husband has promised himself and his family that he will no longer work overtime or agree to do anything in exchange for money that would unnecessarily risk his life or his health.  Now let's pause and send some healing energy to the survivors and surviving loved ones of that candle factory in Kentucky that bullied low-wage overtime workers into staying in an unsafe building w

Pocket of Joy: Hot Chocolate with Extra Cheer

 Cheers to Galliano and Crème de Cacao!  It sure is nice to drop a little naughty in a mug of hot cocoa to wind down in the sparkly evenings of this high-intensity time of year. Any creamy, sweet, or chocolatey liquor will do, but at my house we love the sophisticated and festive complexity of Galliano and the sweet, deep chocolatiness of Crème de Cacao. Although we are dairy-happy people who would never turn down a heap of whipped cream on top, we also appreciate the respectably delicious alternative of macadamia nut milk.  What's your favorite way to naughty up a nice little cup of cocoa? Jean Michelle Miernik is the author of the very nice, deliciously naughty novel  Leirah and the Wild Man: A Tale of Obsession and Survival at the Edges of the Byzantine World .  

So Just Fudge Everything

Ohhhhh fffffffffudge! My family is having a crisis for Christmas... along with many other families, of course. I can't talk about ours yet, but do come back next Monday for the spilling of the tea, slinging of the fudge, and so on. In the meantime, I am eating ice cream for breakfast, at my desk, in my office, while wearing my daughter's novelty Santa hat, and I don't care who judges my fudge. Let yourself eat ice cream. Or cake. That's right, let yourself eat cake. This is 21st century America, and cake is cheaper than onions. If you're having a hard time this holiday season, know that you are not alone. The world is stupid right now. Try to enjoy some sparkles and sprinkles anyway. At stressful times, I like to remember what my Holocaust survivor father-in-law used to say, that he could do without necessities if only he had the right luxuries. So don't worry if you drop some balls this season. Eat ice cream for breakfast, or cake, or both. Accept every gift an