Five things in February

What a whirlwind February was! I feel like the year was desperate to spin us closer to March. It was here before I knew it, but at the same time our trip to the Bay of Islands seems a very long time ago. We’ve had an odd ending to February with alert levels being ramped up twice in the course of less than three weeks. And now, of course it is March…

March in New Zealand marks a whole year of Covid, which is just madness. Obviously New Zealand has it a lot better than a whole lot of other places, but it’s still incredibly wearying. A whole year of Covid means a whole year of having to think completely differently, perform a different calculus anytime you think about making plans, and being prepared to having to change any plans at the last minute. I’m exhausted. Possibly too exhausted to be writing this post. I feel like a total drip whining about tiredness and Covid and well, just everything, but I also think it’s important to be honest that not every day is a great day!

Every month has its highlights though. One year of Covid or not, March certainly will, just as February did. Here’s the little things that I’ve been enjoying this month…

1. Gifted

I am not seeing a lot of good movies coming out at the moment (gee, I wonder why?) but Gifted came up recently on our Netflix and it was delightful! We knew pretty much nothing about it going in – it was made in 2017, but I’d never heard of it – but I really liked it. It’s just such a sweet story and also, importantly, such a good reminder that how we too often try to fit children into our own narrative of talent and achievement and worthiness is often not at all what they need. As I warned my mother, though, there is a bit that made me cry a lot. But still worth it, even if, like me, you hate crying!

2. Deep diving into the stories of early 2000s popstars

A very specific cultural niche, but one that I think many of us are enjoying at the moment. Like everyone else, I watched the Framing Britney Spears documentary, and while it was good, and I learnt a lot I didn’t know about conservatorships, and Britney Spears’ conservatorship specifically (I had no idea she was under one!) I felt a bit bereft by everything it left out. I feel like it really glided over the fact that the way the world talked about her when she made it big as a teenager was, well, gross. As Anne Helen Peterson pointed out, we need ten hours on Britney.

I did not feel bereft by the deep dive into Jessica Simpson’s Open Book on the You’re Wrong About podcast! I read this book last year and thought it was great, and the four episodes of this podcast that cover it were also just fantastic. You don’t have to have read the book to appreciate the podcast – Hayden listened to it after I did and was also totally into it. Once again it serves as a great reminder that the late ’90s and early ’00s were super weird in their treatment of teenage popstars. Also, John Mayer just does not seem like a good guy.

3. Iced coffee soda

It’s been hot! For a few years running now I’ve bought Hayden the Six Barrel Soda. x Supreme coffee syrup as part of his Christmas present, buuuttttt it does not seem to exist anymore. Instead I’ve been making our own, using this recipe from The Spruce. It’s super easy to make, and super delicious! We just mix it with sparkling water (approximately a 1:6 ratio of syrup to water is right) and it’s *chef’s kiss*.

4. America’s Cup

It’s all on so soon! I watched the Christmas Cup avidly but tuned out a little for the Prada Cup (although saw enough to be highly impressed by Ineos’ turnaround – they were awesome!) Kinda wish we were racing Ineos but hey, Luna Rossa is a worthy contender! The racing has been pushed out by a few days thanks to the latest sudden level rise in Auckland, and over the last few days it’s got awfully windy so I suspect we’re in for some exciting sailing!

5. The Michael Scott theory of class consciousness

Pretty sure this is another Anne Helen Peterson recommendation (if you don’t already subscribe to her newsletter, it’s well worth it)! Hayden and I have been absolutely binging The Office for the last couple of months, and class/social status is something I researched fairly deeply when I was studying for my Masters, so you can see why I’d click on this. It’s a really fascinating thesis, equating the different tiers of the characters of The Office to the social class structure in the States. My first instinct is to suggest that it’s somewhat more germane to the States than to New Zealand – our class structure here is different! I bleat – but actually, I think it definitely applies here too. It totally makes me want to dive into a bit more research and work of my own, haha. If you read it, I’d love to know what you think!

That’s all for now. Hopefully I cheer up somewhat in the next couple of days. I hope you’re doing great, and as always, I’d love to hear what your five things in February were!

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