FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: It’s The Last Weekend of Summer, We Did It!

Happy Friday, y’all! So, we’re almost at the weekend and I couldn’t be more thankful. I also turned a ripe 28 years old yesterday, and it was a fantastic one!

Me and my wonderful family and friends last night.

Birthdays always feel like a mixed bag. I look forward to reflecting on the past year and it’s one of the rare times I am able to acknowledge personal growth. But in the past, I’ve also had really high expectations for what the actual day should be like, and I felt like this year was the first time I was able to take that down a notch and treat it like any other day — it made the fact that I had the day off from work and that my closest friends and family could come celebrate with me seem that much sweeter.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about getting older and (maybe) wiser and what that means in the grander scheme of adulting and forging new families and maintaining friendships across oceans and eons. In a world where Facebook birthday wishes suffice, I felt blessed for every birthday hug and phone call and text I got. I truly believe this was the first time I felt like I was seen, heard, and held space for and I am incredibly grateful.

I also think as I get older that my birthday cake requirements are slowly returning to childhood needs. Like, why can’t I just have a character cake with normal butter cream frosting and a simple ‘Happy Birthday Priya’ written on it in icing?! Cakes nowadays are too complicated.

The birthday celebrations continue tonight where I’m reading at Queer Memoir in Brooklyn (so if you’re in NYC, come through!) and a scavenger hunt in Central Park tomorrow followed by The Office trivia night! I’m stoked to be 28, it seems like the most fantastic year yet.

Anyways, I WANT to celebrate another trip around the sun with y’all! Tell me how you celebrate your birthday! Is it no big deal at all or do you go all out? Do you journal about your year and how far you’ve come too?!

Can we also just take a moment to acknowledge that this is our last August weekend? What a crazy summer it’s been! Are you ready for September and fall and pretty leaves and PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING?!!? (I don’t think I am, but alas!)

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Priya Arora is a queer-identified community activist, editor, writer and Netflix enthusiast. Born and raised in California, Priya has found a home in New York City, where she currently works as a Web Editor at Hearst Business Media and the Humanities Editor at Brown Girl Magazine. When she’s not working, Priya enjoys watching old school Bollywood movies, laboring over NYTimes crossword puzzles, reading books she never finishes, and eating way too much of her partner’s homemade Hyderabadi biryani. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Priya has written 7 articles for us.


  1. Good morning early bird! You’re up early! (Me too, always)

    How are cakes so complicated these days? What’s complicated? Do they have fireworks now? I’m so intrigued! I would love to know!

    I had a little birthday thing this year and had a bunch of kinds of cookies and ice cream and let folks make their own ice cream sandwiches, folks were really excited abt it! I like cake for birthdays but I really dislike being sung to and so avoid it for that reason.

    I like acknowleding my birthday but honestly the best part of my birthday is when I go to the Korean spa for several hours and then disappear into a new book for the better part of a day. I’m pretty sociable, but I tend to become an isolated hedonist on my actual birthday, for whatever reason.

    I like fall! I didn’t hardknuckle this summer but I did do a variety of summer things and am not feeling like it totally passed me by, and late summer/early fall is genuinely my favorite time of year, like right now. It’s just perfect, I think, though it can make deciding upon weather-appropriate footwear sort of difficult.

    But I made sure to go swimming in rivers and pick blueberries and go to outdoor movies and silly shit like that in order to not feel cheated, and I don’t, so that’s great.

    We have a haul from last weekend of plums and peaches from friend’s trees that are ripe enough this weekend to do awesome stuff with, so I’ll be making a plum basil crisp, that is pretty exciting.

    Ooh, I pressed cider last weekend, which is surprisingly easier than it sounded, and made pear-apple juice. (It’s not cider until it gets hard, I think, and I don’t mess around with fermentation, it’s too much responsibility)

    Hope everybody has a relaxing weekend, I’m pretty undercommitted, because of all the life/baby-prep shit we have to do in the next two months! Shuffling of resources and priorities!


  2. FALL FALL FALL FALL FALL! I love fall! I’m also in NYC (hey!!), and last night was the perfect weather – it was in the 60s, and I had the window open, and it was just the right amount of breeze. I love fall! It’s coming!!! Next weekend (Labor Day weekend), I’ll be in Ogunquit, Maine taking in the last of the summer. Tomorrow, I’m going to a wedding – it’s my first non-family wedding. Most of my friends are chronically single like me, but my friend Ari is getting married tomorrow, and I’m so excited to be there with her!

    I need to do laundry. I feel like I’ve needed to do laundry for so long that I could have done it and need to do it again. Today after work, I’m going to do laundry. I really hope none of my friends invite me out tonight because I have plans tonight: laundry.

    This may be TMI, but it’s Autostraddle, so maybe not: I had a dream last night that my vibrator broke, and it was quite a stressful dream. Hahaha.

    Also, I haven’t posted in FOT in forever because work has kept me a busy bee. But today is slightly calmer.


    • Omg thank you for reminding me, I too need to do laundry!

      Also, that’s a rough dream/nightmare! I hope you’re not having like, premonitions, but maybe just get like extra batteries or something in case LOL

      Yay, fall!

    • I am not familiar with the North East, but looked up Ogunquit, Maine and it looks like a lovely place to visit on a warm fall day or a summer day for water sports, like kayaking and paddle boarding.

      Just be thankful it was a dream, it’s not fun times when it breaks.

  3. I tend to really enjoy my birthday. I’ve had some epic ones, and I spent three of them in China! I haven’t been thinking about my birthday yet because it’s still a couple of months away but about a kajillion of my friends are September/October babies so I will be sending out the best wishes in abundance soon. This year I’m going to turn an age that’s two of the same number, which I kinda like. It’ll also be my first birthday at my brand spankin’ new Big Person Job. I’ve been doing orientations and symposia and such in preparation for it, trying to introduce myself to various people at the university who’ll be interested in my services I formally made it into the online system yesterday, so today I’m playing around with all the web resources.

    I really like the coming of fall. It seems like exciting things always happen to me/for me in the fall, especially after the long slog of summer I often have to endure. It’s probably because my life has been tied to the academic calendar for…man, when WASN’T my life tied to the academic calendar? Discounting the time I was a wee Kat too young for school, academic scheduling has determined my activity patterns for pretty much ever. At least I’m done with grad school forever. FOREVER, I tell you. I am NOT going back to finish the PhD…unless I get really old…maybe someday…nope nope nope.

    I’m super stoked for fall and playing at being a Real Adult!

    • Oh my gosh, I can totally relate to not being pegged to an academic calendar anymore! It’s a bit jarring at first, until you realize that most of the adult world does NOT operate on that. Happy almost birthday, and all the best to you for your new Big Person Job!!

  4. Happy belated birthday Priya! I didn’t even celebrate my birthday this year, and I turned 21. My birthday was 5 days before the last essay of my undergraduate degree was due, and I thought about celebrating it in June when my best friend was done but I couldn’t be bothered. I got gifts though and gifts are always good.

    I had a job interview this week for a job I’m still not sure I want. Its admin in a children’s publishing house (the sector I want to get into). The pay’s good but I might not be able to transfer to editorial so easily, and that’s were my heart is. I’m just going to see if they call me back for a second interview and apply for jobs in children’s editorial in the future.

    In other news the sun decided to make a comeback this week, which is very annoying for me as someone who is vERY MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO THE AUTUMN. I stubbornly bought some woolly clothes last week and I am ready to wear them. This will also be the first autumn where I’m not going back to school so that’ll be interesting.

    • Happy belated 21st birthday and congrats on finishing the degree! It was definitely weird for me not going back to school after being in grad school forever, but I’m thankful for that now. Good luck with the interview, and I hope you make head way towards your path! I had a long winded road into editorial and the kind of subjects I actually wanted to work in (News/Politics) so I can honestly say that every step, no matter how remote to your goal it may seem, matters. Sending you good vibes!

  5. So I did a thing on my birthday this week. I came out to my husband and asked for a divorce. And while I’m pretty excited to open a new chapter in my life, I am also terrified and dreading the next few months of this process and am admittedly not handling it well so far. Any stories, advice, kind words, or internet hugs would be much appreciated.

  6. Happy belated Birthday ?

    I used to have a similar high expectation of my birthday as well. I still do, but after years friendless and away from family I’ve been pretty much forced to take it down a notch. I do finally have friends, so I’ll probably do brunch/dinner or something similar, but pretty low key. My actual bday is on a Monday this year, so fun times ?

    Overall my week has been super weird and crazy. My manager announced he is changing departments, and asked me if I would be interested in his job. I had to turn it down cause I’m not at the point I want to manage people, but his belief in me was really nice. Unfortunately this means I get a new manager, and now I start praying that the next one isn’t sexist garbage (I’m a software developer, in the fun world of tech) and respects me as much as the current one does!

    This feels like the longest week ever to me, so I’m going to be celebrating its over!

    • Low key birthdays are great! The weekday thing does kind of suck, but I was lucky to have the day off, even though that means I’m back at work today (luckily without a hangover!)

      It’s so great that you had a wonderful manager who respected you! I hope your new manager is nice too! :)

  7. Happy birthday!!

    Personally, I ignore my birthday. I even took it off facebook so I wouldn’t get birthday messages. But I don’t like being the center of attention. I just go to dinner with family and that’s enough for me :)

    It is so not the end of summer in Northern California. The forecast for next week is upper 90’s-100 :( As much as I love the warm weather and hate winter, this is too much. I also would like to stop using my air conditioner, please? The electricity bill is getting really expensive…

  8. I am so ready for fall! It’s that rude part of the summer that is coolish in the morning but hot in the afternoon, I am wanting to wear sweaters everyday but I don’t want to be sweaty either. Really want some rain! Dark clouds!

  9. I don’t know that I agree that it’s the last weekend of summer, but I definitely got some early autumn feels today when the store had French grapes and not just imported Italian ones. Basically, I don’t go by the four season model. I have my own based on which fruits and vegetables are in season locally.

    On Monday I got an introductory level queer haircut. By Thursday I’d convinced my partner that since a good quality hair trimmer only costs the equivalent of two haircuts, we should just save money and do each other’s hair from now on.

    By mid-week I’d started to re-evaluate my stance on indoor-outdoor cats. Miss Kitty Fantastico has brought us 6 small animals this past week. Cats bring home on average 25% of their kills, meaning she might actually have caught 24 prey animals this week.

    Before we had a cat, I was against the idea of having an outdoor cat because of the effect on fragile local wildlife populations, but where we live we can have literally a hundred tiny birds sitting on our property sometimes, and voles and shrews are something of a problem, so I figured the impact was nowhere near as bad as letting a cat outside in the suburbs… but that was when I still operated with only the knowledge that the average cat kills TWO small mammals/birds per week.

    This is the face of the sadistic mass-murderer who may soon be under house-arrest:

    • Your hair looks great and I’ll add an up vote to the hair trimmer idea too. We’ve been learning to do our hair and I think we’ve finally got the haircuts we want.

      It really is best to keep your little hunter indoors. But a decent compromise is to build an enclosed cat run with an entrance into the house. If you do do this, some platforms at various heights is usually appreciated. In the meantime, a friend of ours has a very happy cat who goes out on a series of joined leashes attached to a harness. This arrangement does need to be supervised but with a long lead, allows puss to wander off in the garden without a person being irritatingly too close. Also put a bell or better yet, a couple of smallish charms on her collar so that they tinkle a prey warning but don’t drive the cat mad. Have fun.

      • Enclosed cat run is definitely something I’m contemplating. She already has a pretty loud bell on her collar. The number of animals she brings home per week has actually more than tripled since we put the bell on her, so it’s not exactly having the desired effect. Then again, the field behind our house was also just cut so the amount of displaced stressed rodents is huge, and maybe those are the ones that fail to heed the bell.

  10. I turned a ripe 29 years old three days ago – happy birthday, Priya!

    My birthday isn’t a big deal for me, but I appreciate small deviations from my regular routine. This year, I went to the office as usual (my birthday fell on a Tuesday), but after work I went out to dinner with my sister and her kids. This is the second consecutive year that they’ve come to the city to meet up with me on my birthday, and it’s a potential new tradition that I really appreciate – usually I’m the one traveling to them, which involves a $20 train ticket and about a 90-minute ride each way.

    It kind of bothers me when people post a catch-all “Thanks for everyone’s birthday wishes!” Facebook status or tweet instead of acknowledging each person individually, so I make a point of engaging one-on-one with everyone who took the time. One perk of having mostly text-based friendships is that I don’t have to worry about fielding calls, I can just respond to texts or posts when it’s convenient. Low-maintenance birthday-related correspondence FTW!

    • Happy birthday!! I totally love low maintenance birthday correspondence. I almost always do individual fb replied but this year I did a catch all AND individual responses. The individual ones are great, I feel like I’m actually reconnecting with people and appreciating their good wishes.

      And yay for potential new birthday traditions! My partner and I have promised we’ll do something we’ve never done before for each of our birthdays. And we’ve kept to that the last couple years so far!

      • YES, I can absolutely relate to the reconnection aspect of individually responding to FB posts! There are acquaintances from high school, college, etc. who I don’t really talk to aside from on their birthdays and mine – which is, I think, a mutual acknowledgment that we don’t have a lot to say to each other or much in common anymore, but we still care about how the other person is doing and want to check in once in a while.

  11. Good news: I am going to be moving to Boston!! Finally found a really nice apartment with really easygoing roommates and it looks like a really nice place to be. (And muuuuch more gay-friendly than where I am right now, although that in and of itself isn’t too hard).

    Bad news: What I thought was a solid job opportunity is…. no more :( So now I’ll be moving in on just savings and anxiety. If you have any good job hunt vibes, send them my way…

  12. Happy birthday!
    I love celebrating my birthday! This year I went and saw wonder woman with my mom, it was great! Then
    I wrote in my journal at the park. I wanted to be a bit more lowkey this year.
    I can’t wait for fall! It’s my favorite season! My mom’s birthday is on Halloween, and I want to do something really cool this year. One day I hope I can take her to Salem.
    I love pumpkin spice lattes, but I recently went dairy free and nut free, so I’ve been using coconut milk, and I’m not sure if that’ll blend well with Pumpkin spice. Rip me.
    I hope everyone had a great weekend!

  13. I turned 49 eleven days ago. I have an identical twin so the most important thing is to be with her on our birthday. For awhile I was still living in Asheville and she was living on the other side of the state in Greenville. Between our jobs, relationships, etc, it took some effort to get together. There have been years when there were a lot of gifts and over the top celebrations. Almost every single one of them involved just the two of us. Where we put most of our efforts is by giving meaningful gifts. On our 45th birthday, she blew up 45 balloons and attached a card to each with a reason why she loved me written on them. And yes, I do still have them. I had our talented aunt make her a personalized quilt for her. I gave my aunt pictures of our dogs and she created panels of each one with detail. We have been fostering and adopting Springers for a long time but my aunt got the spots and freckles correct. She also put the individual collars on each and gave them their favorite toys. These are just a few examples. This year was low key. We have been on several vacations together and I’m headed to Maine in a couple of weeks so money and time were limited. It was still a great birthday because we were together that night. She had to work during the day. My best friend made lunch for me. She set the table with her china and invited some of our friends. It was really good and a nice surprise. It’s always nice when somebody else feeds me. My sister and I don’t want each other to have to put forth energy on our birthday. I also met a friend for ice cream. I don’t do any reflecting or anything. When my mother was still alive I always called her on our birthday. She kind of passed out after having my sister and didn’t remember having me. So I called her to remind her. Not that she ever forgot our birthday, it was just my thing.

    I remember the handful of times we weren’t together for our birthday. The one that stands out is our 21st. We were both still in Asheville and on break from college so I’m not really sure why we weren’t together. But I went to Scandals, downtown. We had a few gay clubs at the time. At the time, we were the only people downtown. So I went to the club with some of my friends. I don’t drink so that wasn’t a part of the celebration. But we danced

  14. Happy several birthdays to several people in this thread! My birthday was several months ago (I turned 25), and I didn’t really end up doing anything for it with my friends, but I went out to dinner with my folks and people called me and it was nice. I went to the aquarium for free by myself on my actual birthday, which is my favorite thing to do every year because I love the aquarium and I don’t have to deal with anyone else.

    AUTUMN IS COMING AND I AM PUMPED. Summer is the devil’s season down here in Georgia and it. is. too. hot. Autumn is my favorite season, but I’m also moving out of the South, so summer won’t be quite as bad once I’m in Portland… except for this year it was. That’s not going to happen again, right? Because I am not leaving the South for it to be just as hot in the PNW.

    I’m not a big coffee drinker (although grad school might change that), so I don’t usually get all the pumpkin spice stuff, but I do make a mean pumpkin bread for Thanksgiving. I’ll probably end up making a bunch of it to emotional-eat on my first Thanksgiving away from home. (I went to undergrad in-state.) It’s delicious and spongy and I had to make the recipe gluten-free after I was diagnosed but it’s better than ever. I’m just so excited for FALL and LEAVES and SWEATERS and PUMPKINS and HALLOWEEN and SPOOKY STUFF and WITCHY THINGS and hfffff it’s the best season ever (heavy breathing cat.jpg)

  15. I personally prefer to celebrate my birthday every 5 years(at the 0 and 5 marks) since my mid-late 20’s. But, so far that’s not happened as I’ve used it as an excuse to take a weekend trip somewhere. Last year I spent the morning at a Carrie Brownstein interview(about her book) and book signing followed by a day at the beach day(it was warm day in April). This year I spent it with a friend who lives in SD and we dance at night and took a hike the next day. It was nice, however next near I may just skip celebrating it and take a quite hike in nature by myself(may also do that Sunday).

    How’s everyone’s week going? I think we all deserve a nice gaycation with queers gals and non-binary pals all over the place, donuts, and no hate. On the plus side I had a really gay/queer Saturday night. I got to spend it with a lovely friend as we went to what’s becoming my new favorite lgbtq bar, New Jalisco, for their drag show. It was great, and my friend was surprised to see how the show was filled with not white and not skinny cis men. Some of the performers were qtwoc, always great! Night continued as we went to a pop-up LGBTQ dance party that was diverse and great. A very trans and woman positive space(DJ was a woman and dancers were trans women).

    On a related note I’ve discovered that we now have two weekly Wednesday night LGBTQ roller skate parties in the city(different parts of town). I think it would have been nice if one of them was say on a Tuesday, that way people have options on different nights or decided which one they want to go to on the same night. That and still no luck on tinder or okc.

    Spent my Sunday seeing which hiking/fitness watch is for me so I wasn’t able to go hiking. But, have these images to share.

    My new work

    Thank you for viewing an reading my post. Have a positive & safe weekend!

    • If you have a smartphone the right watch might be no watch…? My second (actually fourth) hand iPhone 4S completely took over after my Polar watch died. I use it for running, tennis, weight lifting and hiking, though I’m looking to invest in a second power source because when I hike more than 15 kilometres (9 miles) the phone dies. It keeps track of my heart rate, speed, gps data etc. and yells at me when I’m too slow (if I want it to). It’s going with me on a mountain/heath hike tomorrow, and it doubles as a gps (the app, which lets you use the gps without paying for data) when the trail is poorly marked.

      • I’ve done that in the past with my phone, but I want something more accurate, and use less of my battery on my phone. I am just not sure if I totally need HR or not, getting mixed answers on google. Plus, I want to use the watch in the ocean(waterproof phones like the Galaxy S8 doesn’t mean ocean proof). I could get a phone bag, but I don’t trust those as much since the hard shell case I have for my camera broke(thankfully no in the water, but after). If the Nixon Mission watch wasn’t so bulky on my hand I’d probably have that on order as it does all I want and can handle the ocean. I want to go diving/underwater more. So I am looking at Suunto Spartan Sport and Trainer models(may get the black for sports activity and pink strap for going out at night).

        • HR is a big for me since I run, but it may be less important for you. Alas, I know absolutely nothing about dive-proof anything since I’m not dive proof myself. Earliest childhood memory is standing submerged in the ocean and breathing in water. ?

          • I got into diving when I saw how much fun underwater photography is. And my phone even in a swim bag, could never go as deep as I’ve been with my camera setup. So watch to keep track of my distance and time would be a nice bonus. I know wrist hr does not work swimming. So, I may just go with my wallet and order the non hr model in a blue color I’m not a fan of(it went in sale today & is nearly $100 savings over black and $70 over hr model). I may just swap bands but then black or white band blue body is kind of like sports rainbow color.

  16. I turned 30 this year and wasn’t sure how to celebrate. It’s hard planning birthday celebrations when you’re single because it feels like your parents and your significant other are the only ones who really HAVE to give a hoot about your birthday. My best friend ended up flying in from out of state and we went got up super early in the morning and took a hike at Enchanted Rock and had a picnic and then I had a fondue party at my new apt that evening. I never have house parties so I didn’t know what to expect, but tons of people came and stayed until 2am! It was so much fun and a perfect start to a new decade.

    I usually try to read the same book every year around the same time so I gauge how I’ve changed since the last time I read it. For the last decade I’ve been reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

    • That’s a really magical way to spend a birthday, Katie. I do a similar thing with a lot of books, art, movies or games. At certain checkpoints in my life, I’ll revisit those things which have inspired me or changed my life.

  17. Happy happy birthday Priya!
    Glad you were able to relax and enjoy it :)

    I had a great time meeting another Straddler on Sunday (@vickys1 heyyy!), eating yummy Lebanese food, seeing a fun (!) queer movie at the closing gala of the Vancouver Queer Film Fest, and then dancing non-stop for a couple of hours at the after party! Yay for queer times!

    Here’s what I’m seeing with friends tomorrow night:

    And here’s some quick pics from my cloudy bike ride this morning:

    Hope you all get exactly the right amount of hugs today!

    • @snaellee HIIIIII I’m late (as usual lol) it was so nice to meet you last weekend and I had so much fun on our queer adventure!!!! Thank yoouuuuu for showing me a good time in Vancouver ?

      And yay for the movie! NOBODY DIED! oh the high standards we hold queer movies to…haha

  18. Happy birthday !!

    Well this is my first time posting here. Hope I’m not doing anything wrong. Are we supposed to introduce ourself ? It’s better, no ? So, I’m “Phèdre”, I live in France but next Saturday I’m moving to Ireland for a year, where I’ll help high-school teacher. I’m a musician (trumpet and song), love classical music, reading, and being with people. Proud disabled girl. Kind of shy. Voilà !

    It’s such a bittersweet moment, the end of summer. I spend all summer, every night, doing a writing game with a friend by Skype (we play our characters and they have romance, basically). I love it so much. But now she’s back in her room w/ her boyfriend, there’s school, and I know there will be no more game. Every year I know it and every year it’s hard. I don’t know why I’m addicted to this (next year it will be… 10 years we’re playing)
    I also feel alone. [TW depression] I’m in the bad part of my depression. I feel like I have told it to all my close friends, but they send me support message, and then nothing. THey’re not worried, I guess. and how I miss someone who will be worried for me. I’m single since… a long time, and I miss this so much. Just waking up and having a text from someone who just want to know if you’re okay. I feel like I will be single forever, and forgotten. Mind you, during my 3 years in college, I made some acquaintance but no friends. I can’t make friends, so girlfriend ? I feel like I’ll spend one year alone in Ireland (I’m in a little city) then come back to Toulouse to be alone with nobody except my mother (God bless her) to worry about me.

    Anyway, my week was strangely good so that was kind of disturbing to be so depressed. My parents are welcoming german friends for a week. Yesterday, I gave them a tour of Toulouse, my city, them and 48 other germans, I was paid 100 € wich was quite good ! I also enjoyed the sun. I know I’m going to miss it xD I can’t read anything new because of depression so I’m reading again “Vingt Mille lieues sous les Mers” by Jules Vernes, wich is very entertaining and kind of mysterious. I’ve got this thing where I read a book, love it, and totally forgot the end, so, yes, I’m reading it for the fourth time and still wondering what’s the deal with Professeur Némo.

    I don’t know how to end this first post, so I will post a link to what I’m currently listening : It’s accordion, but don’t worry, it’s quite good. It’s a tango !

    • Hi Pherde :)

      I can relate to you and your friend. I did a similar thing with my best friend for nearly six years. We “met” online every Sunday to play three games of Shogi (Japanese Chess) – no more, no less. Then, when he died, my world shattered. It was a huge wake up call to realize just how alone I was, and what exactly we had been giving each other in our relationship.

      I wish I could say it gets easier. It’s been 7 years, and I have never been able to find what we had. Still, there is some comfort. Every Sunday afternoon, I sit down with the Shogi board, and can still feel his presence. Rituals like ours are special. I just wanted to express that I know what it feels like when you must continue them alone.

      • Oh, thank you for your replies. I’m sorry for your friend. You have found a way to keep the memory alive and feel his presence.

        I think ritual is the word. It’s a ritual we have since my 13 years old. And I’m 21. We’ve lived so many things while playing this… I know it’s coming back next summer. I have to remember.

  19. Happy (one day late) birthday! I never celebrate my birthday, it makes me super uncomfortable to be the center of attention. I also hate birthday cake lol but I like to celebrate other people’s birthdays

    I’m so ready for Fall! My friends and I are going to see Rocky Horror tonight, which is normally something we do on Halloween but the theater we go to is showing it in August for some reason this year. So I bought Fall scented car air fresheners for the drive to pretend like it’s October

  20. Happy birthday!!! I had orientation for law school this week in St. Louis, and am now curled up on the couch in my apartment wrapped in my rainbow blanket having a minor existential crisis over the reading assignment for my Contracts class and contemplating just throwing it all to the wind and watching Gilmore Girls for the 157th time instead.
    But I also did laundry, had some nice ramen, and I’ll be making a giant pot of pea and lentil and veggie soup over the weekend, and I’m looking forward to testing out my new pourover coffee setup tomorrow so if I do give up on my homework I won’t feel too bad…

  21. Hey there, and happy b-day!

    I’m not much for celebrating but mine’s in the armpit of winter when everyone is post Xmas hungover and has already broken new year’s resolutions. I admit to being a wee bit jealous of those w/ summer birthdays. ;)

    I’m working night and day at count ’em-3 jobs currently. Trying to fit food and sleep in there somewhere. But it’s great! I’m someone who socializes really only if it’s in service to a higher goal…so pretty much empire building and A-camp. But since it’s looking like no fall camp this year, my fellow toilees and I exchange words like semi well adjusted humans.

    Anyway, hey, glad you’re here open thread; stay classy.

  22. Happy birthday Priya!

    I feel like I know just what type of cakes you’re talking about. Like mom used to make, from a cartoon-themed aluminum pan bought at the grocery store, and colored dye to make the blue frosting for Cookie monster or whatever the cake was; plain sheet cake from a box.

    I would fully participate in the next hipster movement to popularize mom’s grocery store kid-friendly birthday cakes.

    None of the crazy fondant or marzipan sculpture that’s meant for a photography spread rather than eaten with your hands heh.

    Have a wonderful year Priya!

  23. Happy birthday!

    It is so close to spring here. The sun’s setting later. I have discovered that my route home from work has me squinting into the sun for most of the walk. When I went barhopping with my friend last night for our city’s food and drink event special cocktails (well, mocktails for me), I, a cold person, only needed three layers, not the giant coat I carried all night.

  24. Morning Sunshines! ^____^

    Happy Birthday Priya! We can share this birthday month together – my 31st was on the solar eclipse. How cool is that? It was like the whole heavens were celebrating my journey with me!

    But the way I see it, is that I have two birthdays and star signs:
    1. The day my Mother gave birth to me (Leo)
    2. The day I stopped drinking and gave birth to myself (Gemini)

    Like you, birthdays are a mixed bag. Especially this year, it’s been rough because of the transition. Family is going through their own issues, so hasn’t been as supportive as I need. I’m sure they are aware, and trying to make up for it. My sister called me, and we had our first real conversation in a year. 3 minutes and 23 seconds, but progress considering our last one was about me “contaminating” her family. Mom took me out for a girls day out for some new work clothes. Bless her heart; she was trying so hard. It wasn’t her fault I was hit really hard lately with some body dysphoria. We left right before my emotional breakdown, and actually got some really cute things. Which is great, since work said I needed to “dress more professional” whatever the hell that means? I’ve never been told that before…

    Stepdad and I drove an hour to see the eclipse and got full totality. It was really cool spending time with him, and let him feel involved in my life.

    The transition is hard for everyone, but in some ways it really has helped bring my family together like never before. Like one morning I was shocked when I came downstairs before work and Dad said, “That dress looks really pretty on you”. Then we have coffee together on the patio and really open up about things both of us have buried for too long.

    Still smiling ^__^ We had an ice-cream party at work with the kids. I treated myself to some birthday goodies some luxurious birthday bath supplies, and this weekend I have my very first facial before an awesome movie night with all of you beautiful Autostraddle folks! Make this next week a fun one!

  25. Happy happy birthday!

    I am not ready for summer to go. I like fall but I hate winter(seasonal affective disorder combined with always being cold all of the time is a bitch). If I could go from summer to fall and straight back into summer again, I would do that (I know there are places kind of like that, but nowhere in the Midwest, and this is where my support system is, so this is where I stay for now).

    It’s Friday night and I realized around 7pm that I really need to see my therapist, and should have called to see if he can fit me in next week. Why do I decide this on Friday nights?! Hopefully I can handle this weekend.
    Pray for me. Or what have you.

    • Second not being ready for summer to go. I like fall but it is a /lot/ more hectic than summer (I work in education), and I am not a fan of winter in Massachusetts. I’m not prepared for the 4+ month season of dark and cold! For the moment I’m trying to enjoy wearing my birks and summer clothes and stretch the season as long as I can.

      Good luck getting your therapist to fit you in! I’ve been meaning to find one of those, but I keep stalling.

  26. This year I celebrated my birthday by making myself brownies using seriously dark chocolate baking them in 2 lil spring form pans. They were ready for eating at midnight the official start of my birthday and I maaaaaaaybe tried to spread peanutbutter on a piece. Also went to a beloved restaurant that was due to close its doors forever.

    On years my birthday is officially on the Summer Solstice I try to greet the sunrise.

    So yeah I don’t exactly “go all out” but I don’t treat it like any other day. I always do something or treat myself in someway.

    I never journal, ever.
    Product of my childhood where anything left vulnerable gets snapped up and used against me. I know I’m “safe” but I’m still incapable of putting thoughts down where someone in my life could reach them. It still surprises me sometimes that I comment on AS at all.

  27. This week I encountered some systemic sexism in the form of a little plastic cup my AFAB self had to pee in. I don’t know about anybody else with this anatomy, but I can’t fucking aim.
    I didn’t understand the procedure, there weren’t any instructions in the bathroom nor was I given any. Just sealed sanitary wipe and a little plastic cup.
    So going with THIS BODY CAN’T AIM I thought the wipe was for the cup, but noooo it’s to prep the region. Also you’re supposed to capture the “midstream” like what the fuck.

    I was talking to my mother about it(couldn’t ask her boob advice w/o ARE YOU PREGGERS? happening so thank you to all who gave me some last week) and I exclaimed,”There has to be a more efficient way to collect urine sample” and she said absolutely deadpan, “It’s called a catheter.”

    “That’s not efficient Mom, that’s invasive.”

    And then I said something about how there should be a middle ground between the absolute ridiculous inefficiency of peeing into a small target when you lack the ability to aim and the invasiveness of a catheter. “What like a funnel?” and I’m like “Yes!EXACTLY.”
    I reasoned that if the cup is disposable why can’t there be some sort of funnel also made of disposable plastic.

    Medical people and engineering people get on this like now please.

  28. Happy birthday!!

    I usually have dinner with friends on my birthday. Kind of don’t make a huge deal out of it. This year I had a pretty quiet birthday because I recently moved to Melbourne and didn’t have many friends. The few friends who did show up were from our home town and it was actually really nice. It was also freezing and in the middle of exam period. Hopefully next year will be a bit better.

    Today I went to our largest marriage equality rally in Australia’s history! There were 20,000 people there and it was phenomenal!! There were so many people!! I was volunteering on a stall there. We are having this fucking awful survey being sent out to everyone in Australia on whether or not gay people should be able to get married. It’s nonbinding and the government can completely ignore it and it’s so stupid and there is campaigning on both sides and it kind of sucks but the Yes campaign is magical and we know that most people are on our side. So I’ve been working on that this week and calling people to make sure that their enrolment details are up to date so that they can vote yes and we can win this thing. I also applied for a job. And I’m done recovering from the flu at long last.

    • Congrats on your week, especially the campaigning. Remember even if those fossils in the L,NP still won’t take it to the floor, we’ve got the backup and the backing of the ALP, Greens and several minor parties after the ALP hopefully win the next general election. We might have to wait but it will come. In some ways I’d be happier if it did come via the next election as it would seem more like it was done because it’s the right thing to do rather than because those cynical bastards in the Libs think that it’ll make then more widely popular.
      Anyway, enough of me ranting. Good luck with your job application and I hope you continue to make friends and enjoy yourself.

  29. Happy Saturday Sweetpeas!

    I hope you all are enjoying the lovely (weather wise) day of what I can only describe as a week I think we’d all like to have re-done, at least as far as certain carrots are involved.

    It’s been a pretty rough week on my end from work issues, to my best-friend getting ready to move, to CarrotTop setting a new level of despicable, to some medical follow up for a knee problem. However, this medical follow up had a light side to it, involving autostraddle, so I thought it may be worth sharing.

    So, I hurt my knee at A-Camp back in May. I’m already semi-broken in my other leg and was already in PT for it anyway, so we treated it as a sprain and the pain went away for a bit. Pain and swelling comes back at the end of July so I decide it’s time to go see an orthopedist.

    So about a week ago I had the first appointment. Of course, the first thing they ask is what happened, so I try to be as vague as possible, “Oh I hurt it when I was at a camp a few months ago.” “Were you doing anything that could have caused a traumatic injury?” “Possibly” “What was it?” “akjdsfaklsdfjafjbouncyhouseserkewrjkwr* “What was that?” “I WAS JUMPING IN A BOUNCY HOUSE!” “How old are you again?” “32 and I had the whole damn bouncy house to myself so leave me alone.” *Stares like I’m joking*. So we do some tests and an MRI.

    MRI follow up was this week and results weren’t terrible, but weren’t great either. Possible minor tear in miniscus and some arthritis behind the knee cap. Doc thinks the arthritis may have been aggravated at camp, so he made me sit for about 20 different minutes discussing possible angles I could have come down and caused the reaction. He then gave me my MRI report, and sure enough, in the admin section where it discusses type of injury it says: “Due to Bouncy House Activity”! Y’all, I died.

    Getting the news wasn’t great, but knowing there’s a permanent record that I now have to share with some other specialists saying I hurt myself via A-Camp Bouncy House makes me laugh every time I think about it. And for the record, ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT. I got a sno cone from Mey and then jumped in the house for like 10 minutes with no one else in it! THAT IS THE LIFE I WANT TO LIVE.

    I hope all of you all are doing well today!! <3

  30. Happy Birthday!
    This week was alright. I led a meditation group this morning and couldn’t help but notice that the other women are actually sexually attractive. This tottaly grossed me out, like whyyyy. I think my gayness is still burried in shame when all I want to do is go out on a date and cuddle.

  31. I’ve gone back to school but was still working full time, which means 12s every weekend, which is also the only time my girlfriend is in town. It’s been rough. But I’ve finally cut my hours at work and have Saturdays off now and celebrated the first one off by going to the lake with my girlfriend and my parents. It may be the last days of summer but it’s the first day that’s really felt like summer to me, even if I’m drinking pumpkin spice creamer.

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