Flavor of the Week: Cool Grandmas

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Everybody has a thing for their grandmas. But, of course, everyone’s things are different.

When I tell people my grandma was my best friend, I’m generally shocked that they aren’t shocked. “I mean it,” I say again. “She was LITERALLY my best friend.” For the longest time I was frustrated at the ignorant head-nodding with which all would reply. But now, after thinking about how awesome grandmas are/watching Julie Andrews at the Oscars on Sunday, I’m going to give the bubbes of the world more credit. Though I will never admit defeat in that my grandma was the best person in the world, and still is in my eyes, I will start recognizing other grandmas as equally endearing in their own light.

Here are the different types of cool grandmas. May you one day achieve your goals in becoming one:

1. JAPpy Grandma

This grandma is your straight up 16-year-old who goes to any big Long Island public school. However, she is 77ish and is not necessarily from Long Island. She appreciates the finer things in life, like a good Juicy Couture sweatsuit and silver Supergas. JAPpy grandma gets great botox and looks exactly how your mom would if she were made into a wax figure at Madame Tussauds. However, we love JAPpy grandma for all of these qualities, and she’s the best for shopping trips. “I’m not a regular grandma, I’m a cool grandma.”

2. Very Old Geriatric Grandma 

She’s your standard octogenarian. She puts up with bullshit because she doesn’t really understand what bullshit is. She looks like a “Grammy” even though you might not call her that. Wheelchair is optional but recommended. She’s just really cute and is Buddha-content with her long, prosperous life. She might even take pride in her senility. You know what they say: a grandma who can laugh at herself is a great grandma. IDK who “they” is, but someone, somewhere, says that.

3. Hip Grandma

Hip Grandma is Nora Ephron if Nora Ephron were your grandma. She knows how old she is and therefore dresses like she’s about to walk the NYFW runway for Eileen Fisher’s fall collection. She still maintains complete sanity and is “with it.” She even says, “I am so with it.” She likes talking about femininity, sex before marriage, and alcohol. She puts quinoa in her matzoh ball soup. She loves working out with her trainer on a large exercise ball that doubles as a toy for the grandkids. Oh, and watch out – here comes the world’s most incessant Instagram commenter.

4. Traditional Grandma

Here, think Julie Andrews. She dresses conservatively, loves brooches, and is prim and proper. Maybe she was raised in the south. Maybe she’s British. However I have a shockingly large group of friends, and by large I mean two or three, whose grandmothers were raised in the south, so perhaps that should be a category on its own. New official category: southern grandmas who have since relocated to a suburb in the tristate metropolitan area. Also, she has good taste in bling.

5. Cute and Unintentionally Cool Grandma

This was my grandma. She’s a combo of the wise grandma and with a spoonful of each the others. For example, she knows everyone has premarital sex but doesn’t like to talk about it (at least with her granddaughter). However, she loved the Broadway show about drag queens. She spends money on you that she may not even have and appreciates nothing more than a good “Girls’ Day.” She carries designer purses – without any knowledge that they are designer – but sports Eileen Fisher like a champ. She isn’t quite like JAPpy grandma because she won’t count dessert calories but never turns down a mani pedi. She has a BlackBerry and an iPhone but doesn’t really know how to use either of them.

6. Quiet Grandma

The quiet grandma is a silent hero. She comes to babysit a lot and just kind of sits on the couch while you’re downstairs playing with your siblings. She’s good at ordering pizza and making dinosaur chicken nuggets. She’s affectionate but not your BFF. Maybe she drives you places. That doesn’t mean you don’t love her, though! Maybe she’s still a little sour about something that happened in the fifties. Quiet grandma really likes iPhone games.

7. Wise Grandma 

Wise grandma is straight from the picture books you read when you were younger. Wise Grandma looks beautiful with wrinkles and is the best storyteller in the world. She doesn’t quite understand “kids these days” (she probably doesn’t know about premarital sex at all) or technology. Still, she’s loving and patient with you. She’s great at cooking food you refused to eat when you were little but can’t get enough of now. Also good for playing board games. She’s like a little gem with words that come in quality, not quantity.

This post is dedicated to my very own Cute and Unintentionally Cool Grandma, though she was really all of the above. I miss ya everyday.

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On Winter Weather

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It used to be cliché. “Oh, you know, just talking about the weather” is a great way for people to pass the time. Especially for those who have no desire to speak to each other. After last year’s Polar Vortex, and this year’s whatever the eff it’s been – I don’t know, an icy hell copied and pasted from a Disney cartoon – not speaking to someone about the weather is strange. The best way to bond these days is over hibernation techniques. (Turtlenecks? Anyone?)

Talking about the weather in small groups or flocks is a coping mechanism. It is the daddy penguin holding the mommy penguin’s egg in that space between its stomach and its flippers. It is a sign of love and friendship. It is how we get through a winter like this. Like penguins.

Last year, a friend was in distress over everyone else’s distress. “Everyone’s complaining how cold it is” – also, it was only November – “and they’re being absolutely ridiculous because this is winter and this is how it feels in the beginning of winter every year, so people should stop complaining about the cold,” he said. Half of me agreed with him, mostly because I can’t listen to the sounds of anyone’s complaints but my own, and the other half of me questioned: Is it possible that it is, simply, unusually cold?

Two months later, we found out we were in a polar vortex, and he felt like a piece of shit.

Though science peoples and global warming research says that, in fact, winters are getting harsher due to climate change, there is a possibility that we are becoming progressively less-able to deal with the weather. Logically, it makes sense – our moms no longer bundle us up on our way out to school, as we take flight from the nest and relocate to cities we face the outdoor terrain more than ever before (less driving, more walking), and we start to realize how bone chilling being without booty call who is also DTC (down to cuddle) can really be.

Or maybe it’s the opposite – maybe summers are getting hotter, which makes our dear friend winter more of a shock. Maybe everyone’s body is like a girl’s on her first few weeks of a new birth control. I’m thinking, “WTF is going on,” “Am I nauseas or hungry because I haven’t left bed all day,” “Are my boobs just bigger because I’m getting fat,” “Wow where did all my acne go? [Dry air and birth control can do similar things for our skin, if you think about it],” “Why am I sweating profusely every time I set foot indoors,” etc. etc. etc.

But today, something incredible happened. I went outside at 1:30pm, not having been outside for three hours, and felt an ethereal warmth that pervaded every particle of air. It was like stepping off the airplane in West Palm Beach.

We spend the first half of winter complaining how cold we are, and the second half of winter realizing how we’ve sadly adapted to it. I looked at the temperature on my phone: at 1:30pm, it was a whopping 39 degrees. And it was no placebo – though I’d braved temps less than ten for the last week or two, I felt the difference before I knew it. I was imaging myself peeling off my layers, walking in a dress without tights, and feeling okay. I could feel myself feeling okay. That’s how warm it was.

My mom is also a believer in our bodies’ adaptability to the cold. When I called her last weekend to complain about how my body decided to be bloated and hungry a lot more than its usual bloated and hungry, her response was CCC (calm, cool, and collected). “I genuinely believe our bodies change in the winter. They really go into hibernation and think that they need to store everything.” This was comforting, though not comforting enough to defer me from my BFFs, WedMD and Google.

According to all internet sources, your metabolism actually speeds in the winter because it requires an extra amount of energy to keep you warm. I always said I hoped to shrivel up in the New England winter, and I didn’t know my dreams could biologically come true. Could, unfortunately, does not translate to “do,” so I think for now I’ll stick with Mom’s theory: our bodies adapt to the winter like grizzly bears going into hibernation. And for now, we’ll keep talking about it until we plateau at 40 degrees for five days straight. Minimum.

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Flavor of the Week: OG Instagram

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169 weeks ago, I took a selfie of the right half of my face and the left half of my friend Carly’s face. She was sleeping.

These were the days before VSCO Cam and Afterlight, before Chrome and Transfer. So what did a girl like me have to do to put a filter on it? I had to Instagram it. That is, after all, what I assumed Instagram was for.

It was the only editing app at the time, and I wanted to start putting film borders around the photos I took “just like all the cool girls!!!”

169 weeks ago, I googled “photo apps for making pictures look like film” and ten minutes later I downloaded Instagram.

It seemed to be a bit much, though. All these steps and all these different buttons to click on and the different places to go just to use Lo-Fi? Some questions running through my mind:

-Why do you have to create a username and password to add some low-key vintage pizzaz?
-Why is it that after I edited this pic of me awake and Carly sleeping it comes up on a “home” feed?
-Will this happen after every photo I edit?
-Why is someone else’s photo on my home feed?

One thing I knew: the photos automatically saved to my phone, and that was all I really cared about. So I kept using Instagram to edit stuff when I was bored and ended up with an incredibly random assortment of edited photos saved to my account and on my phone.

Five weeks passed until I used Instagram again. 164 weeks ago, I took a photo of my mom while we were eating chef salads at a diner. “This would look so good in black and white. Let me edit it for you,” I told her. I opened Instagram, put Mama in grayscale, and added a white square border. Chic.

I continued to document the trip my boyfriend and I took to Florida by putting film frames around photos of us at the beach and in the kosher supermarket.

154 weeks ago, my friend Laura must’ve discovered Instagram. It appears she liked my picture, not that, at the time, I had any idea what that meant.

Laura proceeded to “like” the photos I posted of my boyfriend and me in the film frame (I guess I thought that one flattered us well) though neglected to show digital affection to the photo I decided to edit of my plastic travel cup captioned, “My baby.” That was also the first time I captioned a photo.

I guess by then I started to realize the game that was playing me. I suddenly had something to attend to – I was notified of likes and I followed people who followed me even though, at first, I had no idea why anyone would really care about the ways in which I chose to make my photos looks like they came from a Polaroid.

It’s hard to remember how, at the time of its birth, Instagram was an unfathomable creation. You edit photos, you post them, and people like them… Think about it.

People like photos you edit.

You make a photo look different and people press a button to publicly display affection for it.

People follow you so that they can see all of your photos because they care about the photos you decide to edit.

(Or maybe you don’t care, but you’re “interested,” if you’re gonna get all defensive about your stalking tendencies.)

Today, Instagram has become a totally different thing than it once was – no one uses heavy filters and you post in a way that will hopefully generate the maximum amount of likes. My posts used to be weird and quirky, and I didn’t care if I posted more than once in a day or not once for three weeks. I posted because I thought my weirdest pictures would look best in Valencia. I didn’t check my feed and I followed neither Kim Kardashian nor TeaTannedandToned. But now it’s my favorite form of social media. The other night I got mad at my brother for screwing up every opportunity to either participate in or shoot an Instagrammable photo even after I took one of him that he posted. That’s a lot different than being mad because I no longer have a boyfriend to put film frames around. And even more mad that Instagram took away the border function all together. Ugh.

It’s a different time so it might not be comparable. But the story of my relationship with the OG IG will never get old – I thought it was a photo editor! Golly whiz! One day I’ll tell that story and it’ll be like the future version of your grandma telling you about churning butter on her New England farm as a kid.

But still, it amazes me how I was so clueless for so long and what the reasons were for that. Why isn’t Instagram weird? IDK. IDK.

Image via WeHeartIt.