Truly Happy

My grandpa has severe dementia, so many of the things he says are repeated as part of a routine. (“We aren’t the first ones here!” is something he exclaims with genuine surprise every Sunday morning when we pull into the church parking lot.)

Today, he surprised me with a new one. I was waiting in the car to pick him and my grandma up for church. As my grandpa opened the door and sat down, he said, “I hope you’re as happy as I am.”

I know he wasn’t trying to stump me, but I’ve been thinking about it for hours. 1) I’m so glad he is happy, even as this disease slowly erases him from our lives. 2) What a kind, loving sentiment. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful grandparents.

Oh, and I am truly happy. ❤️

This story was originally posted as a thread on my private Twitter account, but I didn't want to lose it in the archives.

Skirts with Pockets

Welcome to Skirts with Pockets, a weekly (fine, weekly-ish) collection of the online articles, websites, and other links that I've loved and now want to share with you. Please excuse any stray candy wrappers that fall to the ground as I empty my virtual pockets.

Bird-watching with the Ravenmaster

How do you even get a job like Ravenmaster for the Tower of London? I am a sucker for stories like this—interesting people doing interesting work and loving it.

Wine and Candy Pairings

To be honest, I bookmarked this article last year at Halloween, and I am just that far behind on sharing links. But it's never the wrong time to do a little wine and candy research, so hop to it.

The Sugar Conspiracy

This is one of those "long reads," so you have time to do the wine and candy research before you get to the end of it. It's a fascinating history of nutrition guidelines and food science, full of a surprising amount of drama.

Looking at Frames at the Louvre

"Today, the Louvre possesses one of the world’s largest collections of frames, with around six thousand in use and another three thousand in storage." Why is this so delightful? I miss museums.

LEGOLAND Japan Breaks Record With Cherry Blossom Tree . . .

You could give me 880,000 LEGO bricks and stop time itself, and still, I would never make anything this beautiful. Truly stunning.

Plucked from Obscurity

One Sunday in May, I had a date with myself to see Captain Marvel at the local theater after I wrapped up playing piano for my church. Because a girl can’t live on expensive movie theater candy alone, I stopped by one of the many fast food restaurants in town for a chicken salad on the way (okay fine, it was a Zalad from Zaxby’s, and their entire marketing team deserves to go to jail for making me say that).

I decided to enjoy my meal in the restaurant, alone with my Kindle—a small thrill for a true introvert. Occasionally, I stole glances at other tables and noticed several disinterested elderly couples, exasperated young families, and a cluster of well-behaved high school boys who nevertheless could only be described as “intimidatingly energetic.”

And then, it happened. I turned my concentration toward my Zalad (directly to jail, do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200) and let my guard down for a fraction of a second. A young lady gently interrupted my foraging.

“I’m sorry to bother you.” Panic, panic, panic. “Do you happen to have a pair of tweezers I can borrow?”

In that moment, I had two thoughts: 1) What about me makes me seem like someone who would carry tweezers? Is it my great brows? I hope it’s my great brows. 2) Oh no, I have recently started carrying a very small purse and definitely don’t have that Mary Poppins over-preparedness thing going anymore.

Lo and behold, my pocket knife has a small set of tweezers embedded in the side, which I offered to the woman hovering next to my table. She exclaimed her gratitude and then asked, “Oh, do you mind if I use them to remove a tick from my ear?”

She tilted her head to show me, and yes, there was in fact a tick on her upper ear. (I most certainly made a face of disgust, the same one I’m making now as I think about this three months later.)

But because I was caught unaware, I said—in a horribly merry and singsongy voice—“Of course! Do what you need to!”

Ten seconds later, she was in the bathroom, and I was at my table, finally coming out of my stupor. It was then that I realized: there will never be a non-gross reason for someone to ask to borrow tweezers, y’all. Never. They are gross tools for gross projects, and I don’t know why they aren’t sold as a combo pack with a bottle of disinfectant.

I had a second realization, which was that this woman was going to come back at some point with my tweezers, and I was going to have to graciously accept them with my hands, the same hands that would have to carry on using a sad plastic fork to bring food to my mouth. The same hands that would have to come with me to the movie theater. The same hands I would have to live with for the rest of my life.

I had just convinced myself that maybe the outside of a tick wasn’t that gross (self-preservation, y’all) and had resumed wondering “why me?” (the young mother across the aisle had a fully-stocked diaper bag) when the woman returned. She wore a smile of relief. “Thank you so much! I washed them thoroughly.” I forced my face not to cringe as I held out my hand to accept the returned tweezers. “Oh, you’re welcome! Were you able to get the tick?” She showed me her ear—it was clean—and then walked away, as casually as a bank robber after a routine heist.

Meanwhile, I immediately threw the tweezers into a napkin, finished eating my Zalad (which seemed to be openly laughing at me by this point), walked outside with the napkin-wrapped tweezers, shoved them in the center console of my car, drove to the theater, washed my hands for an hour in their tick-free restroom, and enjoyed one of the best Marvel movies to ever have been made.

The moral of the story, ladies and gentlemen, is that you should never talk to strangers. And that I owe Brie Larson a drink for saving me a trip to therapy.