Author: Debra Castellano

Is It Over Yet?

I’ve been working on my book — or at least trying to — so I’m behind on this blog. Again.

At my new small-town polling place.

Not that very much has happened. The guy who works as a cashier at my local PriceChopper is still scanning groceries while wearing a scuba mask. The only physical contact I get with any regularity are the dogs being walked past my front porch, who I practically pounce on while their owners slowly back away. And at an outdoor event recently, I discovered a caterpillar in my lap, who then became my pet for the afternoon. His name was Brad.

And Biden, I think, won the election?

After months of bonkers Trump rallies, late-night talk-show monologues (watched over morning coffee); the death of Queen RGB; two minutes of a fly on Pence’s head; a week-long visit from my mom (despite my fears that she’d get COVID on the plane); an explosion of fall colors, which are now mostly crumbled on the ground; and almost four inches’ regrowth of my natural hair color, we’re almost there.

Although if Steve Kornacki got any more granular with the electoral count, I swear my head would’ve exploded.

If you’ve been to this space before, you know I’m not the kind of blogger who’s like, “This morning I made an avocado-quinoa smoothie and rearranged my closet alphabetically by color!” But I’ve missed a few opportunities to talk about things — besides that I’m now more of a Kimmel fan, because I’m jealous of Colbert’s wife, and I want her to go away. Just being honest.

For example, I could’ve written a post for Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples Day, because I’m reading (well, listening to) Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York, and Irving does this brilliant parody on the early Dutch settlers’ defense of their massacre of the New World natives. Who knew 1809 humor was so edgy? But the day came and went.

The plastic bag ban in New York State came and went and came back (once they figured out canvas totes didn’t kill people). And there were so many environmental rollbacks in the last four years that I lost track. Partly because when you live alone during a global pandemic, just feeding yourself takes half the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shopping for the food, preparing the food, cooking the food, eating the food, cleaning up after the food. It’s exhausting.

Sometime between these two dates was a wee window for plastic bags. When we thought we had to quarantine our groceries.

It was also hard to avoid being distracted by the madman in the White House. So about all I’ve been getting to in a given week has been the New York Times morning email, the book research and writing, those damn food-related activities, a little yoga or maybe a hike, obsessive Twitter checks, the occasional shower, and lulling myself to sleep with Netflix and wine.

I’m hoping my nervous system has an opportunity to calm down on January 20th.

Of course, no matter who finally gets officially called as the next American president, we’ll still be dealing with U.S. senators who don’t believe in climate change, and a Supreme Court that’s waahaaay more conservative (and Catholic) than the general population. And now I know why I’ve never written a book (for grownups) before — it’s HARD. Also, I’m still trying to decorate my new place on a Goodwill budget . . . and Pinterest is like my version of a giant pot brownie.

All this is why, in addition to my neophytic environmental coverage, I’m going to try and post page counts for my book here and on my social medias — so I can be accountable to someone. (You.) Cheerleading, encouragement, nagging — it’s all welcome.

And by the way, when I say “page count,” I might mean “word count” — it’s not as glamorous, but more realistic.

Right now I’ve got about 16,700 words. That’s . . . 55 pages! Ish. Subscribe below to this blog to join the party, and follow me at the socials down at the bottom of the screen.

One last thing: I wrote one of my very first posts on this site the day after Hillary Clinton lost the Presidential election. I’m hereby recommitting the pledge I made that day.


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Black Lives Matter; “Stuff” Not So Much

. . . Aaaaaand, now we’re having an uprising. And a pandemic. Because some s#!t went down.

I obviously don’t need to recap why the world is on fire right now. So I’ll start with this Thursday, when I sat in my new little small-town home office, watched the memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis, and wept. I’m not normally a big fan of Reverend Al’s zazzle, but damn, when he said, “The reason why we’re marching all over the world is . . . ” Well, just watch him say it, in this short clip:

Preach, rev.

This post was originally supposed to be about a different topic: STUFF. Namely all the STUFF none of us need, and that we can now SEE we don’t need, because we’ve been doing without it for three seemingly endless months.

The news (and our federal government) likes to tell us that “retail has been suffering.”

Alaska Snowglobe

Souvenir stuff

I heard a story on NPR about how “retail is suffering” in Ketchikan, Alaska, since the cruise ships aren’t coming there right now, which means there are no tourists to buy the made-in-china T-shirts and snowglobes filled with melting glacier water or whatever (hopefully that’s not an actual thing).

The real reason no one’s buying a bunch of STUFF right now is that we don’t need it. We need food, and, apparently, we need toilet paper. That’s about it.

You know what has been suffering? Black people. Human rights. Four-hundred and one years of white people putting their knees on black people’s necks. And this time we were stuck social-distancing in our homes, in front of our TVs and computers, so we could all see it go down.

Over and over. Read More…

Earth Day 5.0, Pandemic-style


Doodle by Karina Fassett, IG @shewouldnotdraw

Okay, so now we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

But not to worry, your friendly little enviro-nerd is here to keep her eye on things for you while you obsessively watch Cuomo’s briefings, try to get your mom to figure out the HouseParty app, or just stress-eat yourself into oblivion. Or, goddess forbid, deal with the coronavirus itself.

In fact, Cuomo just started today’s presser; I’ll be back in a bit.

So. It’s the 50th anniversary of EARTH DAY. Where is everybody? I’m quarantino’ed in my new little town upstate (see previous post for deets on that), after I hightailed it out of NYC  — unfortunately leaving many of my belongings behind, including most of my clothes and a partial box of protective masks that could be ten years old, but I’d take ’em right about now.

Leather mask

Protective in all the wrong ways.

Btw, I just Googled “protective masks” + “shopping” to show you the type of masks they were, and this pleather BDSM number came up. I mean, it’s cute, but it’s the exact opposite of what I need right now. 

Anyways, should environmentalists say “We told you so,” or should we just head straight to the market for wine? I mean groceries.

Polar bears be like, “How do you like it?”

Last month, before shit got real, we were joking that it was the Zombie Apocalypse out there. (Find my NYC cab driver’s definition of the apocalypse here.) Before the ad agency where I freelance went remote, this is how the company cafeteria responded to the budding pandemic: Read More…