I don’t know how my mom did this for so long.

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Yes, that’s a pumpkin in the back. I’m working on it.

I always pictured my first Christmas with my boyfriend would be spent at his parents’ sprawling house, which is across the street from what used to be a golf course where hundreds of geese hang out during the middle of their migration. I have no idea what his parents’ Christmas decoration situation is like, but I always pictured it as elegant, if not somewhat very Italian. Or maybe for our first Christmas together, we would fly down to my dad’s farm in Tennessee, even though my dad has never decorated for Christmas beyond a wreath on his front door. At least my boyfriend would enjoy mudding or birding. …


Anxious people, rise up!!!

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Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Happy Sunday-after-a-federal-holiday night, girls, gays, and theys! You know what that means: the wave of unspeakable anxiety and dread usually reserved for Sunday evenings is back with a vengeance. This is the moment when you realize that maybe those naps and long walks and (hopefully remote) socializing could have put you further behind on your work. It’s especially bad because now you feel all guilty and shit for not using your time off for work.

I’m here to tell you that yes, your dread is probably a fair assessment of the mountain load of work ahead of you, but also that IT IS TOTALLY NORMAL TO TAKE A BREAK, PANDEMIC OR NOT!!! Literally, now is not the time to beat yourself up about your work or school performance in this hell year. All we can do is keep our communities and our loved ones safe by continuing to social distance, minimizing our time doing non-essential errands, and getting tested regularly. Your work will be okay, I promise. …


No TV show or movie should require its audience to Google an important backstory.

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Baby Yoda says “Do homework, you must.”

Beware: Spoilers for The Mandalorian lie ahead.

I’m a casual Star Wars fan. I’ve seen all the movies. I’ve watched the extremely cursed, but enjoyable 1978 Holiday Special. I even sat through a 24-hour marathon to see The Rise of Skywalker, a movie I pretend does not exist, back when we used to go to movie theaters. Yet, there are still huge gaps in my knowledge, thanks to cartoons, books, and video games that I never really had the time to engage with. And I thought that I made my peace with that. I don’t really believe in fan gatekeeping, anyway. …


Latinx teens are imagining their favorite fictional character asking them out — but with a twist.

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Graphic by author.

Granted, I might be too “old” to be on TikTok as someone who is fully 22 years old — if I posted regularly on the app, I’m sure the teens would clown me for not paying my bills or whatever — but something that brings me immense joy are these TikToks where two fictional characters vie for the poster’s attention. Except it’s not any old love triangle; these characters are Mexicanified to the point where the poster must choose between “el bueno” or “el tóxico.”

Growing up Mexican-Puerto Rican in Texas, I’ve seen el bueno and el tóxico firsthand at several birthday parties, graduations, and late summer night carne asadas. El bueno, the good guy, will swing by the event, bringing a cute but obnoxious “Will you be my girlfriend?” sign along with a mangonada (a spicy mango smoothie for the uninitiated) and a teddy bear. But then el tóxico will crash the party with roses, chocolates, but, most importantly, alcohol. In these TikToks, folks have casted iconic characters from Twilight, Harry Potter and Avatar: The Last Airbender as el bueno or el tóxico, but also throw them into fun scenarios like hanging out at the rodeo or dancing at the quinceañera. …


The second wave is here. Do something about it.

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Graphic of Gov. Cuomo among his friends by author.

As the country prepares for the holidays, more than 10 million people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 240,200 have died, according to the New York Times. In New York, we’re facing a positive case rate of 2.93%, almost where we were back in early June when the city was still in lockdown. And yet, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo insists that we are only facing a “surge.” Honey, let’s call it what it is: the second wave.

The second wave does not care about Cuomo’s little 10 p.m. curfew for gyms, bars, and restaurants, which he announced early Wednesday afternoon. (Fun fact: COVID-19 does not have a bedtime.) Instead of closing down gyms and indoor dining, Cuomo has chosen arbitrary rules that make it seem like he’s doing something. He could be, I don’t know, advocating for another stimulus package or passing rent and mortgage relief so people don’t have to risk their lives to pay their bills, but I guess this will do, right? …


It has been Tuesday for four days. Enough!!

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Despite knowing that Election Night will likely be Election Week, my body has refused to accept it. Every day, I wake up thinking that it is still Tuesday. I know I’m not alone. But the weird thing is that the loss of defined time feels…familiar.

When things began to shut down in March, a lot of the traditional hallmarks of the year shifted. March bled into April, which morphed into May. I spent my birthday inside alone finishing up my two theses. But the most devastating news for me — as the first person in my family to go to college — was that my graduation ceremony and all its surrounding events were cancelled. I “graduated” on my boyfriend’s patio while plumbers were fixing the building’s pipes. …


I’m not a sadist.

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I can’t believe I have to say this but: For the love of God, do not invite me to your “fun” or “community-building” election watch parties. I don’t care about commerisating or celebrating together, when being together is so fraught right now. Nor do I think watching the future of our country unfold on live television is particularly entertaining.

Perhaps I feel so strongly about this because I learned my lesson the hard way in 2016 as a first-time voter. I chose to study “away” (lol) at NYU’s Washington D.C. campus my freshman year so that I could not only cover the election, but experience the joy that so many other voters have felt firsthand. …


Please…I’m begging you.

Graphic of an email icon against and pink and blue background.
Graphic of an email icon against and pink and blue background.
Hello darkness, my old friend.

I used to be the kind of person who religiously maintained Inbox Zero. I’d respond to emails within 30 minutes, categorize the important ones for my records, and delete all the junk. That person disappeared when the pandemic engulfed my entire life. I now have a whopping 4,154 emails across five regularly used accounts. Yikes. I really let myself go.

But here’s the thing: I don’t know a single person who loves email. I don’t wake up and think, “Wow! I can’t wait to see what emails are in my inbox!” nor do I spend countless hours refreshing my email. In fact, I dread it. Even the good emails. Maybe there was a point in time where emails were delightful, but frankly as a Gen Z kid, that has never been my experience. To email is to work. Period. …


I can’t be the only one with a billion lids…right?

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YEOOOOW! It’s me with some LIDS.

I don’t know how it happened. I don’t have a predilection for pot lids or Pyrex lids or tupperware lids, but somehow I have accrued dozens of them over the past four years. I suppose one day I became an Adult and then the lids magically appeared in my cupboard, destined to be shoved to the back where they’ll never be seen again. Of course, that’s not the future I want for them, but that’s the life they have.

Typically, I don’t think too much about my lids. In my head, they exist to clutter. That’s it. But a few days ago, I was FaceTiming my friend Caroline, when I made the apparently controversial statement that most pot lids are unnecessary. She asked how I kept my food warm for guests, to which I replied: “I serve immediately after cooking.” Maybe that’s just me? Anyhow, I’m of the belief that you really only need like two or three pot lids and whatever lids go with your tupperware. …


And you can’t tell me otherwise.

Graphic of a Pikachu among the flowers by author.
Graphic of a Pikachu among the flowers by author.
Graphic of a Pikachu among the flowers by author.

My most embarrassing trait is that I regularly watch the Pokémon series almost every day without fail. I wasn’t always like this — my habit began almost a year ago when I went to visit my cousins in Maryland. My cousin’s three year old demanded I watch Pokémon: Sun and Moon on Netflix with him and given how adorable he is, I naturally obliged. I didn’t expect that I would become enraptured with the show’s satisfying formula or that I would allocate an hour a day to watch as a mental break from everything around me.

But the more I watched, the more I recognized that Pokémon, at its core, is about the relationships between Pokémon, humans, and the environment. In other words: It’s a damn kids show about ecology, or the branch of biology that studies the interactions of organisms and the environment around them. …

About

Izzie Ramirez

writing about climate, culture & comida wherever I go

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