FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: I Might Be Violating New York City’s Fire Code

¡Buenos días, tardes y noches queridas Straddlers! It’s your elusive writer friend, Isabel, and I am here to host my first ever Friday Open Thread. Just as I wrote that, a clap of thunder rattled my windows, so it seems like everyone is excited for this.

I feel like I know all y’all from our communal tenancy of Autostraddle dot com’s warm embrace and, while that should make me feel more at ease, it’s sort of given this whole thing the air of trying to impress your older sister’s impossibly cool friends.

I know everyone is all-consumed by the Olympic craze, myself included, but I can’t give any insight or analysis on most sports so I’ll let you crazy kids get into that in the comments. For me, the Olympics have mostly been the background noise to a very strange week of challenges and accomplishments. Two in particular. This week was the first official week of my newly non-monogamous relationship and my very awesome girlfriend just went on her first date. Please, please, hold your applause. Everything is good and everyone is happy, and we talk about everything so often, my apartment has feelings oozing from the baseboards. (If anyone has any tips on how to get my earnestness and vulnerability off of the carpet please let me know.)

My second trial and triumph comes at the hands of The City of New York, who decided that my awesome tomatoes and zucchini plants couldn’t stay on the fire escape. The official citation said something about “fire hazards” and “safety concerns,” but I digress. New York thought it had seen the last of me, but little does it know that my queerness comes with a tool belt, and that tool belt has a bunch of carabiners on it. So guess who is the proud owner of a (probably illegal) hanging garden? This kid.

IsabelRogueTomato

Admittedly, the move was a little rough on them, but they’re getting better. Don’t you worry.

Have any outstanding challenges or accomplishments from your week? Have you qualified for the women’s 200×4 relay race only to be cut last minute, missing an opportunity to win an Olympic Gold Medal? Are you harboring a Gatsby-esque unrequitable love for Katie Ledecky or the entirety of the USWNT? Have you actually met anyone on OKCupid who was actually there for “new friends”? Is “new friends” just code for casual sex? Is anyone else in a non-monogamous relationship who can help this kid out with some advice? DID YOU REGISTER FOR A-CAMP MIDWEST?

I want to know everything there is to know about you weirdos, so let’s all do our absolute best, give it our all, and leave it all out on the court, er, comments. Ready? BREAK!


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Isabel is a Mexico City native and current Brooklyn dweller, stands about 5-feet tall and gets really mad when her girlfriend stores the olive oil on a high shelf. She's a documentary filmmaker by day and expert quesadilla architect by night. She runs a small production company with her brother and has worked with Paper Magazine, A&E, History Channel, Bon Appetit and The New York Times. You can find some short, dry sentences on her Twitter and her fauxtography on Instagram. She's a mediocre bowler.

Isabel has written 12 articles for us.

116 Comments

    • Hi, hi, hello! It’s nice to meet you, too! You can definitely grow tomatoes indoors, especially the cherries. Also, carrots, onions, kale, chard and beans are all 100% doable, with enough sunlight.

      • Also you can maximise some spaces by hanging some of the pots and making the plants run on threads, especially for stuff like zucchini.
        Google vertical garden, you can do amazing stuff even without much space as long as you’ve got sunlight !

      • Ooh I’m going to start planning an indoor garden for next year! Thanks for the info!
        I already “grow” air plants and succulents (plus an enormous aloe vera), so my poor roommate is going to think I’m trying to turn the place into a jungle.

  1. Happy Friday Isabel! That hanging garden looks fabulous.
    I’m in NYC for the first time! Yayyy. I’ve been here since Tuesday and I’m having a blast. Did the MoMa, Guggenheim and state, walked around Chelsea, Manhattan and a bit of Brooklyn. Currently staying with a friend of a friend on a tiny island east of the Bronx, I’m so amazed by all of it. Hope you’re all having as good a week!

    Also I don’t know yet what I’ll do this weekend in NYC. ANything I should see/do ?

  2. Hi Isabel! So nice to meet you! I was in a non-monogamous relationsship, but I don´t feel like I could give you good/new advice in addition to what you are already doing. In my experience it really is essential to talk about stuff a lot – it really helps, as you already know… :)

    My week has been one big challenge, since its been a little over a week since my partner and I seperated. But it´s going okay, I´m relieved and a bit proud I got through the very first rough days. I´m feeling better and hopefull and got the nicest text from my former (pretty much, but now really) mother in law, wishing me all the best for my further way. Now I´m looking for appartments in the city I´m newly working at and am really excited about the possibility to choose one, where cats are allowed. And to hopefully in a couple of months adopt two awesome (middle aged or slightly older) cats to make happy and pet. :) Also one of my very best friends lives in that city, so thats really great to be able to hang out and do things together again a lot easier! My friends have been amazing through this and I´m very thankful for them.

    I wish you all a great weekend and lots of love, fun and accomplishments!

      • Yes, it has been pretty intense… but thankfully already a bit better, you´re right! :) Thank you for your “Yay” (I´m not an english native speaker, I don´t know a better way to express this right now… ;) maybe co-excitement?!.) It feels good, to have someone be excited with me about everything thats new and so full of possibilities in my life right know…

        (I just saw a typo in my comment: My “not really mother in law” is of course still not my mother in law… :) The “now” should be a “not” :)

  3. A couple of thoughts on “Supergirl”. The CW has stated that a “significant character” will explore their sexuality and come out on either “Supergirl” or “The Flash”. With Maggie Sawyer joining the show, I hope that it’s Alex, and that she starts dating Maggie. Both of them being tasked by the government to handle meta threats, I can see how they would work together and eventually end up dating.

    On a sadder note, it seems like the show is really starting to stack up on dudes for it’s second season. This isn’t what I signed on for.

  4. Hi Isabel!! Your hanging garden looks amazing! And I totally get sad/stressed when I have to move my hot peppers and then their leaves look sad and peaked and I convince myself they are going to be dead by end of day but then they perk up and look just fine!

    This week has been one of many adjustments. I took a mini-vacation to Nashville last weekend and coming back to reality hasn’t been the most fun. Everyone in Nashville seemed to be so friendly. I chatted with some many different folks from all over and they were all so kind. I felt like we were in some sort of club. Also, so many cute girls in Nashville! Jeez!

    I had my second therapy session and things seem to be going well. I’ve noticed I go into a very deep, reflective mood after each session but I’m doing the work and I’m better for it. Also, trying not to overwhelm myself with all the ideas and projects I have but I am so desperate for a solid queer community.

    OkCupid is a total dud in my city. I went out with a girl a couple weeks ago who was ‘looking for friends’ but then things got weird. I question why I have profile but then I think–just maybe–something will come of it. Also, HER app has changed and it is more Tindr-y and I don’t love it.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend! I’ll be eating tofurky dogs with friends while trying to keep from being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

  5. My biggest personal challenge this week will take a bit to explain. I was late in my life to embrace my queerness and have been hiding as an invisible femme. l just got a new job that is a super inclusive workspace, so I finally have *fully* embraced a queer fashion aesthetic that feels AMAZING! Think Annie Hall mixed with a British school boy who wears pencil skirts. I even got an asymmetrical haircut and am rocking clear framed glasses (the gayest of all the glasses). So, imagine me all hopped up on confidence juice being my authentic self and living my best lesbian life and the world hasn’t responded the way I hoped and imagined.
    Granted, I imagined a mythical world where tattooed butch ladies and gay men would high five me and we’d do a ‘yay gay!’ dance together twirling rainbow flags.
    I get that’s not going to happen, but it is kind of a let down considering I’ve been hiding my queerness all these years.
    It’s not the worst thing in the world, as I am still a walking pride parade strutting like I run this mother fucker — I was just hoping it wouldn’t be a party of one. Womp Womp.

    • Hey Sarah!
      I don´t think anyone has ever better put into words, what I would like the moment of recognition/visibility to look like… :) So thanks for that wonderfull wording!

      I kind of feel you regarding the wish to be somehow recognized… I also was a bit late recognizing and embracing my queerness and even when I did I often felt as if i became invisible because of the boyfriend whose hand I was holding. But sometimes I thought I caught a second/confused look of people confusing us for two men (and therefor a gay couple) because my hair is very very short and I sometimes/often wear mens shirts… By the way: Your style sounds great!

    • Hey Sarah, I am a transfemale lesbian but have not physically transitioned. At work, I wore rainbow shoe laces. Got a question…. “flying your colors?”….. yep…. (But not the colors you are thinking!!!!!). Assumptions! The wellspring of prejudice!

    • I love the way you’ve described your aesthetic, and if I were near you I would ABSOLUTELY high five you! You sound like you’re living your most adorably queer life and I’m so happy you found an inclusive workspace that allows you to embrace all aspects of yourself. Fly free, little femme, and stay amazing!

    • I would high-five you! Is your workplace still hiring? I’m also finding myself embracing new queer fashion aesthetics and it feels awesome (and at least all your AS pals are totally appreciating your one-person walking pride parade!)

  6. Hi! I wish I could be the kind of person who can take care of plants and gardens. I feel like I should be able to, since my parents have kept a ridiculous vegetable garden for like 15 years, but that skill doesn’t really extend to me. One day!!

    Summer/internship things are coming to an end soon and the first books I did print production on are starting to come in from the printer. It feels weird and exciting and makes me appreciate all the things about the physical appearance of books that I used to take for granted. The whole internship has been a really good experience.

    Yesterday, I spent the night at a friend’s house. We watched like ten episodes of The Office, the meteor shower, and traipsed around Safeway looking at weird food. It sort of makes me wonder why we + another friend didn’t hang out and go exploring more often when we were in high school, considering we all lived a short walking distance from each other. The midnight Suburban Young People adventures that could have been.

    • Watching the office, a meteor shower, and then looking at weird food at Safeway is an exact description of one of my favorite Suburban Young People Adventures I had with my best friend in high school.

      Also congrats on finishing your internship. I also just finished my internship with Planned Parenthood last week. Slay :)

  7. On one hand the expected rain is interfering with my meteor shower watching plans. On the other hand RAIN!!!!!! Water!!!!! In my river!!!

    But also, this heat is killing me. I got heat exhaustion at work yesterday and puked on the river, which is not so great and I would not recommend it. On the plus side, with all the heat for some reason nobody wants to go rafting so I’ll probably get this weekend off. So I can go to my parents’ and chill with AIR CONDITIONING and not get further exhausted by the heat, hopefully.

    Also, trying to figure out how one goes from “mutual expression of interest” to “actually going on a date/dating” with a person, so wish me luck there.

  8. hi yes it’s me literally the only person in the world (besides erin apparently) who is looking for new friends on okcupid. i do not recommend it. total failure. like i don’t know i think i’m a reasonably compelling person, and i’ve gotten messages from exactly 7 people in the 2 months i’ve been here. pretty ready to quit on it.

    relatedly if any of you are in the nova / dc area, let’s be friends? haha. i’ve gone to a few autostraddle trivia meet-ups, but i’m super bad at trivia, so i kinda feel bad about being completely unhelpful (except apparently with questions related to pat benatar, my first true love). might go to the pokemon go meet-up tomorrow, but one of my roommate’s birthday party is tomorrow evening and i’m maybe getting brunch with a friend tomorrow morning, so i’m not sure it will work out. cannot waaaait til it is autumn and there is a chill in the air and crunchy leaves on the ground and i can catch all the pokemons without breaking a sweat. or just like. live life minus sweltering heat.

    • So first of all, where are these trivia nights and/or Pokemon AS events in the DC/NoVA area, and how do I go to them? Secondly, I’m in the DC area for a couple more months and would definitely be willing to hang out and meet someone new, go catch Pokemon, whatever. Shoot me a PM if you want to try and meet up sometime.

  9. Hey y’all,
    I’ve had one of those weeks where nothing…absolutely nothing happens on the outside, but the emotional tides roll and twist anyway.
    Upturning everything, while nothing changes, and yet, everything does.
    Oh, and it’s also been my Birthday.
    Let’s start with that one,actually.
    I actually celebrated my Birthday this year.
    I told people.
    I noticed how easily you can browbeat your family and friends into having dinner with you wherever you want on “your special day” and it’s totally fine.
    I had patients congratulate me, and nurses give me genuine hugs and bosses warmly shake my hand.
    It was weird and warm and touching.
    It made me somewhat uncomfortable and shy and grateful.
    But also, my 36th Birthday made me ridiculously proud and smile a lot, because, ten years ago, exactly, I celebrated being alive.
    Most of 25, I was hanging onto life by the skin of my teeth, and I really didn’t think I’d make it to 26, so I really celebrated that one.
    And now, 36 marks the ten year anniversary of 26, and who would’ve thought?
    No, really, who would’ve?
    I struggle, I fight, I do battle, I’m at war with depression, with the darkness of it, with death, if we’re being honest, and I probably always will be in differing intensity, and I’ve earned this Birthday, I really, really have.
    So, yes, unbeknownst to anyone, I was having a moment last week.
    The thing about anniversaries and the good things in life, is, that they break you open, just a tiny little bit, they crack you open at the well soldered seams, so a bit of the past can peek through and tickle at your current life.
    I guess that’s what happened when I lazily googled my friend from back in the day.
    That day.
    The friend I was so hopelessly, desperately, soul shakingly in love with. For months.
    For years.
    I’ve been in love and loved other people since then, but sometimes, when I stumble across the Soulmate thing in fanfiction, I still think of her.
    We really did click.
    It’s been ten years, and we were both in places that weren’t too good at the time, so I googled her, lazily, on the train, one afternoon this week, to check if she was ok, what she was doing.
    I didn’t expect for the first thing for me to stumble upon to be a picture of her and her wife.
    Her wife who looked a little like me.

    How do you deal with something like that?

  10. Hi Isabel! I just got back on Sunday from two months in the archives and libraries of Madrid and Sevilla and a week in Lisbon (alas, not in libraries, though I did buy a book of poetry by one of the many heteronyms of Fernando Pessoa), so I’m still getting out of that phase where English just sounds weird. ¿Eso te pasa a veces? Good thing I’m in a department of Spanish and Portuguese! That helps the transition (primero escribí “transición” y tuve que borrarlo), I think.

    Your hanging garden makes me think that we could have a fun post on DIY with carabiners or uses for carabiners other than climbing (for the locking kind, of course!) and keychains…

    Tomorrow morning I’m going to pick flowers and chiles and blackberries and things at the pick-your-own part of the CSA with some friends, and then I might go to a butterfly festival, which sounds adorable: https://owa.princeton.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=a32Ng5Tqfaqk5J19ACkN4GHnUWinnVBo6d_6IT-RnkNpHK-p18LTCA..&URL=http%3a%2f%2fthewatershed.org%2fnews-and-events%2fbutterfly-festival%2f The summer has been so heavy, so maybe getting outside in the warm embrace of NJ air and spreading my wings (they’re trying to break a record for greatest number of people wearing butterfly wings) a bit will help?

  11. Hi Isabel! Yay FOT!

    I really like your hanging garden, tomatoes and zucchinis are the best to grow in the summertime. We were sharing a community garden spot that was busting out tomatoes like gangbusters last summer but they have been so scarce this summer. I like doing this thing where you halve cherry tomatoes and slow/low roast then so they dry out and get chewy and delicious. It’s so good.

    Congrats nonmonogamy! Hope everything keeps going well! Yes, gf and I made the vague resolution this year to leave some stones unturned re:feelings and like, not everything is something we have to discuss.

    I’m getting to know a casual friend slightly better in the way that I typically do, which is by giving her a tarot reading, but I’m pretty confident there’s no sexual tension, which is actually fine. I like being friends with folks I have an ambient attraction to, but it also feels simpler to know concretely what friendships feel concretely platonic and where ambiguity lies. Ambiguous sexual energy is exciting, but I prefer to compartmentalize it, because it tends to do like onions and make everything smell like onions, and I want some things not to smell like onions.

    I feel very chilled out today- I’ve had a lot of turnover in therapy clients recently, and feel excited for the new slough of folks coming to see me, and overall am having a good week/in a good place. Girlfriend and I are going out to see the Perseid meteor shower tonight, which’ll be great! and my friend is dragging her ass but supposed to come over and I’m going to make tacos.

    have a good weekend y’all.

    • Yo. Nonmonogamy is no joke. The some stones unturned idea sounds pretty good to me, but I think I might be in a weird adjustment period of needing a bunch of reassurance at random times. Growing pains, maybe?

      This is a random aside, but if you ever watched Growing Pains in the 90s, Tracy Gold was my first celebrity crush.

  12. I had the most productive day. I went to the dentist and the doctor (both for regular checkups). Then I had a phone interview for a job, and they want me to come in next week for an in-person interview. Now I’m sitting in my air conditioned apartment with my dog.

    I’m going on an OkCupid date this upcoming Monday with a girl who grew up in the town next to where I grew up. The world is small.

  13. Happy Friday! I love your hanging garden! I gave up my overtime today so I could have a day to relax/stress out over my ex’s suggestion I move in with her instead of signing my new lease next week. Omg what am I going to do? That’s a bad idea, right? Right.

    In other news, I’m devastated about the uswnt result today. Ugh. I was really looking forward to more Megan Rapinoe, and kind of taking a win today as a given.

    • ME TOO I have been SO SAD about it all day. I’ve never really had *sports* feelings before in my life so this is weird for me. But I know these sads are the other side of the happy coin I get when they win. But still.

      It was also a painful game to watch in a way because they seemed so tired the entire time! And they couldn’t get their feet under them. Ugh.

      But also also there is a part of me that is kind of happy they didn’t win? Maybe this is just me trying too hard to see a silver lining, but now we have somewhere to go and achieve. Like if we just won all the time it wouldn’t be fun to watch. Now we have something to prove at the next World Cup!

  14. Happy Friday lovely Straddlers.

    I was thinking of getting an OkCupid account and making “new friends” as an option after being fairly freshly single and looking to meet people who are in no way associated with my old relaysh–but I think OkCupid is 2 Real for me right now.

    I’m sticking to tinder.

  15. I can’t say I met anyone off OKC for new friends. In fact I’ve only met one person off OKC ever for a date(person is polyamorous), which I thought went well, but that didn’t pan out well. No big deal. On the other hand I did make friends a long while ago with a lovely queer from tinder, despite their refusal to put non-binary as an option. We both had the same queer orgs, and religious beliefs in common, plus of course being queer vegans.

    How is everyone’s week going? I just spent 15 minutes in a car with a relative telling me how I should be sowing my oats, getting married, and having a kid. Saying do it for your parents who worked this hard so they can see grandkids from me. Ugh, I really wanted to just say no, but sometimes it better to just nod and keep quiet. Is there anyway we trans positive(all genders) lgbtqia folks take over an island and call it ours? I’m sick of hetero and cis normative society. I vote for Catalina Island. Yes, I know they tried that with a small island near New Zealand, but not much is said about their trans inclusiveness. Plus, I think they still are forced to follow the laws of New Zealand.

    I just had to kick a dude out of my building at work cause he was naked sitting in a stairwell. His excuse was, I thought it was a restroom. He kept saying thank you sir, like he know that would hurt like a hot knife to the shoulder. *holds in tears*

    At least I have nature to get lost in.
    These were taken in Malibu, in Topanga Canyon State Park


    Plus, I saw this little fellow before they speedily flew away.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    • On the positive side before my hike Sunday, I was at the gas station & found that the brand of vegan protein cookies I like(Lenny and Larry) now make a birthday cake cookie. It’s pretty good. I asked the local convince store near my work if they can carry it, & they had it in stock today. Total win! Also found out today there is double chocolate peanut butter swirl, but I don’t want to press my luck by asking if they can carry it.

    • so sorry about the dude you had to kick out — what a fuckin asshole. and i’m also sorry you had to stay quiet and nod along while relatives are doing, y’know, that thing they do. i’ve had to do my fair share of nodding along today, and it’s so tiring and leaves such a bad taste in my mouth!

      i love your pics, they are somehow even more beautiful than your usual ones. and i’ve got to say that one of america’s most bizarre and funny inventions is “birthday cake flavour”. it never ceases to amaze me!!!!!

      • Thank you. In fact it got a bit worse as he went to the front of the building doing something even more inappropriate. He was taken care of as moments earlier I tipped the guy we let stay in the building at night to keep an eye on him.

        I would have thought birthday cake flavor would have been a bit more universal, at least in the westernized/European countries. Thought now I am curious to know how birthday cakes look and taste in your part of the world. Plus, I think birthday cake we have in America comes from the English, it’s just we took the idea and ran with it.

        Thank you for the complement. I think the bird swayed things this week.

    • “At least I have nature to get lost in.” Yes, there is so much truth in these words. Sorry you had to deal with crap from relatives. :(
      I love your photos, as always, especially the one with the bird.

  16. Hi, Isabel!

    I like your hanging garden. To be fair, for me, tomatoes and zucchini probably could be fire hazards; I’m that bad at cooking, lol.

    I don’t think I’ve really had any challenges or accomplishments from this week. I’m gonna try “No Man’s Sky” this weekend, which looks pretty fun. And I’m going to a friend’s birthday party. Those are sort-of accomplishments, I guess.

    I haven’t really followed the Olympics. I did meet someone on OkCupid who said they were looking for “new friends,” but it became clear shortly afterward that “new friend” was just the starting point, ha ha. A-Camp looks fun, but Wisconsin is very far away from where I live. Plus, there’s the cost, I have work, etc. etc. But I hope everyone who goes has lots of fun! =)

    • If you haven’t bought NMS yet, wait. It won’t even load for a lot of people (myself included) and apparently it’s really laggy/has a terrible FPS rate for those who can launch it, even if they have gaming computers. Which is really disappointing, because it seems like such a cool game!!!! Hoping the devs will release some patches once the initial chaos dies down.

  17. I am hot. The sort of hot where you wish for a sprinkler and outside spigot and spent longer than necessary in the grocery store.

    Slightly defeated and exhausted by work. Feeling like I could be doing better at home (just, behind, not enough for the dogs, but that’s partly the heat). Hopeful about life and my person. Deeply, deeply grateful for any and all rain.

    I want a week off, people, a full week off, and don’t know when I’ll get one.

  18. Not a ton to report here. I was in New Brunswick all last week (got back on Sunday) and am still adjusting to reality again. I’d *much* rather be back in the ocean or eating nun’s farts for breakfast…
    (@alarae I have no idea why they’re called that. Maybe because they’re super-sweet? They’re basically cinnamon buns only the cinnamon filling is swapped for caramelized sugar. They don’t taste like farts at all.)

    Anyways, I digress.

    @dufrau ‘s article on “No Man’s Sky” convinced me to buy the game, even though it’s ridiculously expensive. I’m going to try and save it as a “reward” for finishing the textbook I’m translating, but I have no self-control, so. Anyone else “saving” a game?

    And that reminds me: what are your thoughts on Cursed Child? I just got around to reading it and I’m… nonplussed. It reads like fanfic instead of canon (and lbr, it basically is JKR-endorsed fanfic), which is so sad because the original series was so good.

    I’m going to end this random mishmash of thoughts with a Wiener pic, because I haven’t posted one in a while. Enjoy :)

    • Oh the puppies.

      Ok so I’m coming at The Cursed Child as someone who never read Harry Potter books growing up (I assumed, correctly, that my parents wouldn’t let me read them). A few summers ago, I binge-read the whole series and obvs loved it. All that to say, this was the first installment I got to place on hold at the library in advance, and read right when it came out. So that was kind of exciting for me. Still, I thought it probably wouldn’t be great, and kind of approached it as a chore, seeing as if I didn’t finish it in my allotted three weeks, I would have to wait for the other 250 patrons on the holds list to have their turn. I ended up needing only a fraction of that time, it was such a quick read. And yes, it was kind of fanfic-y. But it was nice to revisit the gang and I thought it was engaging and moderately suspenseful. I think maybe having read the series as an adult, I recognized that even though they get darker towards the end, they are still very clearly children’s books (And yes please let’s get into a discussion about writing “adult-quality” literature for children, I’m all about it. But the writing in hp does have a certain simplicity to it). So maybe that’s where some of that fanfic feeling comes from. Anyway, I’m not really going anywhere with this–It was a quick, fun read, and Harry’s kind of an ass, right?

  19. So a few weeks ago I decided to move to another state, and quit my job. This week I went at looked at apartments for the first time (traveling to this other state to even see them was hard enough). I was by myself and so nervous and I didn’t know how to do it, but I hope it works out. I met some people and they seemed alright and I tried to ask the questions I thought were right ie “how much are the utilities usually?” and “is there a system in place for chores?” When I tell people that I am planning on moving by myself, and basically without a plan, they keep saying I’m so “brave” and stuff, but it really just sounds like them saying they’ve never heard of anything dumber. Maybe I’m doing things a little slower than I should, but I am actually proud that I’m doing any of it since I just feel !!!!!!??????! about the whole process.

    Oh I miss gardening. I’m glad the city couldn’t bring you and your tomatoes down.

    • Hey! I picked up and moved across the uk in 2009, leaving my life and everything I had known behind, and created a life from scratch in a city I’d never been to for 8 years, then did the same again this January.

      I think most people truly cannot comprehend the terrifying scale of it, and also how proud you feel in yourself, regardless of struggles or nights spent homesick, and that’s why they say brave, because they couldn’t imagine changing from the path that are on and just doing what they actually want to do. Its an incredible freedom to have and I totally get the !!!!!!!??????! Feeling, and its an almost addictive rush haha ☺

      To be able to take such a big risk and trust yourself with that shows such depth of character, of knowing enough of yourself, or being open to learning more about yourself, that you can take that leap.

      And sometimes the most gratifying way to learn is to jump off into the deep end, even if its scary and stressful at the time.

      I think it is actually brave, having lived through it twice in my life, and Im only 25, plus it is such a fun thing ro do, when you move somewhere new you kind of get a chance to reinvent yourself, which has brought me closer to being able to define my queerness confidently and unapologetically.

      I’m going to stop rambling, but go you! Have fun, don’t worry too mich about asking the right questions, embrace as much as you can as an opportunity to learn positively :) x

      • You’re both amazing. And now, the people I might contact when I refurbish an airstream into a tiny home and live as a vagabond in the flyover states. Who wants to come? Just so we can get an accurate number of tiny homes.

      • oh, if this isn’t the sweetest comment. thank you for this. I feel like I’m just winging it and I don’t really have anyone to talk to about it, because like you said, not a lot of people have done it. It’s so nice to hear from someone that it’s not a totally bonkers thing to do!

        I’m really excited for that queer reinvention. I’m having a hard time with imagining how this is going to work, I couldn’t imagine doing it twice!

    • I think what you’re doing is rad as fuck. When you’re younger (20s and early 30s), if you aren’t in an established career and just have a JOB, that is the perfect time to just say FUCK IT and give yourself the opportunity to make a huge change. Go somewhere new, break into a new field, whatever it is that you think will make you more fulfilled.

      When I turned 25, I had been working in insurance claims in Louisiana for 2 years. I started that job 2 weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit, and most of my company’s clients were in the 9th ward in New Orleans. I spent 2 years crying daily on the phone with them, having to tell them how little money I was able to give them to replace everything they had lost due to bullshit policy wording. I was burned out and couldn’t take it anymore. So I just quit one day.

      I moved to northwest Arkansas a few weeks later on a whim, and got a job working for an art museum. I stayed there for 6 years, where I found my passion – wedding and event planning. I’ve moved back home now but if I hadn’t given myself permission to drop my whole Louisiana life and run away to something new, I would never be doing something I love now. Hell, I don’t know WHAT I would be doing.

      Basically what I’m trying to say is this – I think you’re doing something huge and life-changing, but sometimes we all need to do that to make ourselves happy. Good luck in your new home!

  20. Hi! Happy Friday, y’all!

    Been a big couple whiles — I moved from Chicago to Madison for a new job, which I started 2 weeks ago. I came here knowing exactly 1 person, so the first couple weeks have been rather lonely, but I think I’m starting to make friends through roller derby, so yay!

    My partner lives 900 miles away, and is starting a tenure-track job next month. It’s looking extremely likely that I’m going to be the one who eventually moves so we can be together, which is a kind of a weird place to be in at the start of a new job. (When I was hired several months ago, I was not ready to move to/in with her, and I’m still not, but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was.)

  21. Hi! This is also my first thread. This week I turned in my final paper to get my degree in engineering so I am now impatiently waiting for a response.
    Om in two weeks I’m. Travelling to Canada so if anyone has any recommendation please let me know. I’ll cress by train from Vancouver to halifax and back.
    Also, impressive gardening!

  22. Hey all!

    I am super excited and nervous as I’ve spontaneously booked myself a lil advwnture over to Barcelona in October, all by myself, eep!

    I’ve been once before, but this is my 2nd time out of the country and I’m eager to know anywhere that anyone recommends going in terms of food and fun, or anything people recommend doing?

    Also on the rare chance there are peeps from Barcelona on here I’m up for meeting straddlers while I’m adventuring!
    Thanks all xx

    • We went to Barcelona on our honeymoon and it was Awesome!!! We ate dinner most nights on Carrer de Blai. Awesome area where locals go. It has the best (and soooo cheap) tapas. We also downloaded audio tours and just walked around. Free Tours by Foot is another awesome option. Message me and I’ll send you more info.

  23. Last week was kind of dull but I had a really great hangout with a friend last night where everyone else I know eventually showed up and I’m feeling good about life. Today I made an appointment to get my first tattoo which is terrifying, but I could still cancel. Having a lot of feelings about how much I actually want this versus subconscious ideas that tattoos will make me look more Visibly Queer versus who gives a fuck if that is my motivation, anyway?

    Online dating in general has always seemed pretty useless to me? Nobody has messaged me on Okcupid, only one person ever responded to a message and then they didn’t answer my response to that. People who are “looking for new friends” seem even more non-committal to the idea of new friends than non-committal people looking to not commit to dates. Probably the problem is I always write stuff about feminism on my profiles and everyone hates feminists, I guess, even queer women looking for dates.

    I miss my tomatoes! Today I kissed a tomato because it was so beautiful and warm from the sun in the window, but I did not grow it myself.

    • It feels like the sentence, “today I kissed a tomato because it was so beautiful and warm from the sun in the window, but I did not grow it myself,” belongs as the beginning or end sentence of an upcoming NYTimes best seller.

    • I think that’s a perfectly valid reason to get a tattoo. True, I am saying that as a person with no tattoos, but I feel a similar inclination whenever I see a really tatted queer girl. Among other inclinations. Have you seen (you probably have) Natasha Kai?? I don’t know how to link to her instagram, but it’s Natashakai_32.

  24. My sister trimmed my hair yesterday. I look so fresh! So far my dad has made two completely unsollicited comments saying that I look “ridiculous” and one, even more out of the blue, that I “look like a carrot” (by way of greeting.)

    I hastily took some phone pictures to be judged by some actual lgbtq women and not grumpy old Polish dads (love you dad)


  25. My week went thusly:
    1) Waiting for new roommate to move in (likely tomorrow), and hoping she’s close to being like my first roommate in this place and not the enduring health hazard that my last roommate was.

    2) I contacted some professors about joining a research team, but I haven’t heard back yet.

    3) I got some blood drawn on Thursday to see if my thyroid is overproducing. My doctor mentioned the possibility based on last year’s tests during my physical last month, but I wasn’t sure about the symptoms she listed.

    I wish I had something more positive to say for your first Friday Open Thread, but welcome all the same.

  26. This was appallingly disrespectful, but it’s Hope Solo’s declaration so I’m used to this kind of shit from her; that shit about Zika really pissed me off just based on the level of ignorance it show (a little search of information about Dengue, the 2014 World Cup and mosquito season was the key, but I can understand I was asking too much).

    Fútbol (soccer) can be an amazing, epic, heroic and even boring as shit game, but NEVER EVER can be call a fair game. A lot of times you can’t find any justice in the game; you can play your heart out, be the better team in the field and still lose; any tiny freaking mistake can leave you empty handed.

    Hope Solo, sometimes showing some class it’s a good thing.

  27. In similar fashion to your first week in your newly non-monogamous relationship, this week my girlfriend and I finally got up the courage to ask someone to have a threesome with us. We’ve been talking about it for some time, but kept chickening out. She really did most of the talking… I am a giant chicken. :p

    Otherwise I have been staying out of state with my father this week. He is a very critical and judgmental person, and has something to say about basically anything I do (from the sound of my phone alarm, to how I walk from the living room to my bedroom, to my hair cut, my toe nail polish color, how I eat grilled cheese, I mean you name it and he’s got a snide comment). As a result, I’ve spent a good chunk of this week crying on FaceTime with my girlfriend while he is at work or sleeping. Luckily I get to go back to my gender neutral queer frat house with my gal on Sunday. Praise the queer goddess.

  28. This week I learned and finally accepted that waking up before 11 is really the best way to get everything done. I have been a happy night owl all of my life but with my procrastination, it was a bad mix.

  29. Greetings, all you gorgeous humans! I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend doing exactly what you want to be doing.

    My week has been spent running approximately one trillion errands in preparation for my vacation, which started TODAY. I am going on my very own Great American Road Trip / running away to join the circus / returning to nature. I’ve never been more excited to spend a minimum of 75 hours in a vehicle with my partner over the next 11 days. We are going from our home in Louisiana -> Denver -> Jackson Hole -> Yellowstone -> St Anthony sand dunes to go RZR riding with my sister and nephew -> Salt Lake City -> Taos. My next appearance in a FOT will be replete with photos of me acting a fool in various and sundry places across the nation.

    Besides Denver, I have never been to any of these places. If any of you lovelies have recommendations for weirdo places to stop along the drive (World’s Largest Ear of Corn? Dinosaur World? Idk what the hell is out there?) I would LOVE to hear them. I would also welcome dining recommendations for the city stops.

    Y’all stay sexy out there.

  30. By the way, I’m also flying to the US this September, spending the first couple of weeks with my gay bestie, hitting up NYC, Philly and Washington, and the last week with my mom in Florida.
    Now, I’m planning on taking the train from Washington, will probably stop over in Charleston or Savannah or somewhere and then, maybe, switch to driving.
    This leaves me with a lonely Saturday night in a Southern town, and I was wondering if you guys had some advice for me:
    Is there gay nightlife anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard South of Washington and North of Jacksonville? Should I stop over someplace else than probably Charleston?
    I’m also taking recs for Philly, btw.:-)
    Have a good weekend!

  31. Here are two flowering plants from my yard that attract pollinators……honey bees, etc……

    The first one is “loosestrife” that I bought at Home Depot here in Texas. It’s a perennial. Tons of bees to pollinate other plants and your garden. Easy to grow too.

    And ” moonflowers” which only bloom at NIGHT……Their sweet smell draws out honey bees at dusk……more pollinators. You can see them in the photo…..the dark spots in the center of the blooms.

  32. Late to this thread… but I love your hanging garden! Carabiners are amazing.

    I’m still here on autostraddle, just busy with grad school (and loving it!). It feels so good to get back into the academic lab environment! A couple weeks ago, I had my first field expedition to gather samples in the gulf of Mexico. Our boat battery died, and we were towed to shore by a good samaratin. But we still got our samples! The ride was very choppy and we all got drenched, but at least the weather was sunny, none of the storms we’ve been getting. I went out on a SUP paddle with another student to gather the samples off the boat. It was an amazing experience (I even saw a flying fish! And dolphins!

    Of course, most of the time has been less exciting, mainly troubleshooting things in the lab. But I’m still really enjoying it, and I like my lab group.

    Coming from Washington State, I had no idea what to expect in Florida, but I’m loving all the wildlife! I saw an alligator on a rainy bike ride last week! It must have been a baby, because it was very small. And I also saw my first manatee while swimming a couple weeks ago. It swam right up to me!

    I didn’t get a photo of the manatee, since I was swimming, but I did manage to get a picture of the alligator, although the quality isn’t great:

    Right now, I’m high on the excitement of novelty. I’m sure once the semester gets busy, I’ll have plenty of stressed-out-and-overwhelmed moments. But I think the scariest parts are over – moving across the country, joining a new lab, etc. New student orientation starts this Monday, and then classes start next Monday. Maybe after classes finally start, I’ll stop having my school-anxiety dreams. Probably not though.

    Here’s a photo of

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