Happy Friday! I’m recovering from a second gum graft today, but don’t pity me. A day spent relaxing with my girls, reading my book and introducing them to The Princess Bride, won’t be bad. Hope you’re weekend is grand. xoxo
Editor’s note: I finally figured out, thanks to editor friends at Literary Mama, that there’s a little box to check when adding links that will open them in a new tab. The wonders of WordPress!
I believe it should be a rule never to apologize for not posting to a blog, unless you can do it as well as Alice of Finslippy. Go for Bradley, FTW!
The 2015 Pulitzer prize winners, via NYT, including this great quote: “‘The research was so harrowing,’ said Mr. Doerr, 41, who lives in Boise, Idaho. ‘I thought I would never finish the book, and then I did and now a lot of people are reading it, and it’s so weird.'”
Lindsey republished her great list, “10 Things I Want My Daughter 10-Year-Old Daughter to Know” over at The Mid. I enjoyed reading it again.
Favorite tweet this week…
What sick creep put “Landslide” on my work out playlist? Are you happy? Now I’m crying. Spinning in circles waving invisible scarves.
I love to listen to bird sounds while I work, particularly if I’m in creative non-fiction mode. Is that weird? I used to listen to webcams of birds or to a Youtube of bird sounds, but this week I discovered “In a Quiet Park” by Songza, which is a fantastic music site to browse if you haven’t yet. It asks you what you’re doing to figure out what music to play.
My aunt sent me this duet from The Pearl Fishers, a lovely reminder of my first opera 20+ years ago (at which I learned I needed glasses because I had to use binoculars to see).
We’ll be in Atlanta just in time to catch Anthony Bourdain’s tour (not sure why he’s not hitting up the NE corridor). Apparently it’s heavy on the Q&A, which should be interesting. Bourdain is Nate’s big-time man crush, and I’ve warmed up to him over the years, particularly since “Parts Unknown” began airing. Who knew CNN would ever be worth watching again?
We watched Wild last night On Demand. I thought the screenplay adaptation was excellent work by Nick Hornby; I can think of one or two nits to pick, but I will say it’s very good just as it is, definitely worth watching.
I apologize if you saw my link to Force Majeure on Netflix last week and decided to watch it because of me. We watched it after I posted the link, and all I can say is I will be screening films before putting them here from now on. Yikes.
Speaking of Netflix, I’m not sure why they haven’t figured out how to let us know properly when they have a new month’s offerings, but as this is the case, here’s a list via Thought Catalog.
Thank you, Molly, for sharing this recipe for half/whole wheat scones with dates. YUM. (Not to mention the fact that I TOO love to purge books and keep only one shelf of them. Okay, two shelves, but you know).
Since reading this post by my friend Kristen, I’ve been thinking of how well she captured the scents and tastes of young motherhood. Especially this: “The sweet, milky taste of open-mouthed kisses that were given freely have long since stopped.” Awwww….
Then I read Dina’s post full of sense memories, which reminded me of a free-writing exercise I did. Have you ever spent ten minutes jotting sense memories? I loved the exercise; in case you decide to do it on your own, I dug up my notes to share (I picked smell & taste), so it can feel like we’re taking a class together.
One extra anecdote about the senses: I read a fantastic article in April’s Real Simple today in the Life Lessons section called “Sight Unseen” (can’t find a link to it online yet). I identified with the author’s description of “football-shaped” eyes and the wonder of the world after putting on contact lenses the first time. I think it’s not a coincidence, then, that I left off vision completely from my list of sense memories.
What are some of your favorite sense memories?
Baking bread, playdoh
Spring smells—magnolia blossoms; and fall smells—hickory nuts we were sure squirrels were purposely aiming at our heads
MUD. Spring mud versus summer mud, clay mud versus dirt mud, and how we avoided the rain puddles near the horse barn only to have the boys throw us in them
Rowing smells—too many sweaty people in a crowded gymnasium; the fishy smell of the church parking lot on a Lent Friday; how you could tell the season by whether the odor of Canada goose poop hung in the air over the Chattahoochee, and could tell the swiftness of current by whether you could smell garbage
Photography smells—odors that linger on and about a photographer…sweaty leather banjo strap, pungent nostril-stinging stench of cooking chemicals
Summer smells—Wet pine needles, dry pine needles; Hot car with leather seats, melting crayons, old French fries, and mostly empty coffee mugs; rotting mangoes and citrus around trees in Florida; railroad ties that reeked of tar; the stifling scents of cedar and old things in Grandma’s attic
The tastes of the outdoors—warm-to-touch muscadines that we’d suck like gooey eyeballs from their tangy peel; figs that always seemed too ripe or not ripe enough; juniper berries that tasted like Christmas; how deliciously sweet pecans off the ground tasted until inevitably you got a bit of the bitter center, the unpleasant taste of which would linger on your tongue for hours
Meats of the places we’ve visited, and the powerful taste of iron: zebra in Kenya, reindeer in Sweden, horse in Quebec, duck and practically-raw hamburger in Paris, haggis in Scotland, blood pudding in England
How exceptional all food tasted after a week of camping, especially the last piece of jerky forgotten at the bottom of your pack
If I had to pick a sense memory my kids will form today, it would be touch. It’s spring break this week, and we’re headed to a warehouse full of bouncy castles and trampolines, where they are sure to take a few accidental punches and accumulate rug burns. Fun times!
A great week of sunning, greeting, and catching up was had over here. I hope yours was nice too! Happy weekending. xoxo, j
There is so much to love in this David Sedaris New Yorker article about a family trip to the beach, I don’t know where to begin. The turtle porn, his dad’s hammertoes and Cherokee headdress and the way he snaps when happy, his mother in the locked bathroom wishing for five minutes of peace, the way he casually mentioned calling his beach home the “Sea Section”… Read it twice to catch all the gems.
If you’re following the Anti-Vax movement, you might enjoy this honest article by a mom whose seven children contracted whooping cough this year. I empathize with her struggle to decide what to do, and I’m a broken record for saying so again, but I personally loved Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book.
I attended a talk on Wednesday evening, sponsored in part by the Social Action Committee at my church, which featured Nicholas Kristof. He spoke about using A Path Appears (see The Boston Globe book review here) to promote social justice in Belmont. The event deserves its own post, which I will follow up with soon. But for now, I’ll sum it up by saying it was inspiring to see four teens speak in public about issues important to them.
A place to see before you die: Gladstone Library, just outside Liverpool, UK, which I discovered thanks to my pal & soon-to-be Brown graduate Ashley (Congrats Ashley!) passing along this NY Times article about a similar live-in library going up in Colorado.
Well, beat my biscuits! Of the many reasons to love Ruth Reichl, none compare to her sharing my odd habit of collecting old cookbooks. Snap up your chance to learn more about cooking in Virginia, circa 1957.
I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book Better than Before and planning to review it officially soon, but for now, I’ll just tell you I’m enjoying it and taking notes. I’m also reading old posts of hers (like this one about abstinence versus moderation) to gain insight in how she came to decide to write the book. When I read Gretchen’s definition of habit, I was reminded of this Brain Pickings post from a few months ago about the difference between routine and ritual.
I had not read the Food Babe website prior to this week; here’s a NY Times article about her. I’m interested in a trend in the harsh judgment people (particularly moms) get and give each other over how/where they acquire health information. Do you have thoughts on this subject?
This American Life: I waited a few months to listen to the two-part Cops See It Differently series because I was waiting for a time in which I could listen to both hours in a row. I’m glad I did, but it was as hard to hear as I imagined it would be. Still, I recommend it highly.
Maybe you’ll accuse me of burying the lede, but if you follow me on Instagram you might already know: We’re moving to Atlanta this summer! I found this article listing spoken-word venues in the area. ATL friends, do you have a favorite place you’ve been for a reading?
Have you ever heard of a Morning Glory Muffin? Next to lemon ginger scones, they are my favorite treat at our local café. I decided to look up a recipe and seem to have discovered the original one from a restauranteur in Nantucket. They are basically the carrot raisin bran muffins I’ve been making for years, except a better moniker and one majorly delicious addition: coconut. I adapted my recipe (see below) to feature the new ingredient.
morning glory muffins makes 15 muffins
3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. flax seed meal
3/4 c. oat bran (or Bob’s Red Mill Cereal)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot (or: zucchini, summer squash)
3/4 c. chopped and toasted nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
1/2 c. raisins or dried cranberries/currants
1/2 c. shredded coconut
3/4 c. milk, buttermilk, or thinned yogurt
1/2 c. applesauce (or: grated apple, mashed banana, or crushed pineapple)
squirt of molasses
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degF. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, making a well in the center. Add carrots, nuts, dried fruit, and coconut.
2. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring just until moist (lumps are okay; don’t over-mix). Grease muffin tins or line with paper cups; spoon muffin mix evenly in the cups.
3. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until it passes the toothpick test. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then cool completely on a wire rack. I like to eat mine smeared with butter or coconut oil.
4. Store up to three days in an airtight container, or wrap individually in foil or wax paper and freeze in a ziplock bag.
The Washington Post reported that in terms of time spent with our kids, quality is more important than quantity. Although I’m not sure I needed more permission to ignore the girls on occasion, I’ll take it.
It is worth going back and reading this Chookooloonks post from 2011. It was the first time I can recall someone referring to “curating” her life, and though I’ve heard it said many times since, it’s never been better put than by Karen.
This post on a Harvard blog came along just as I was in the middle of writing an essay on my experience of race in Boston. It’s a worthwhile read (and discussion) that I hope you’ll share.
Have you ever thought of or participated in Toastmasters? It’s on my list of things to look into this year.
Wednesday night was the first Arlington Author Salon, and it was heaps of fun. So fun, so so many people. It ended up being standing room only! I rarely make proclamations, but here goes nothing: this author reading thing is something that will become a permanent part of my life now because I can’t imagine not getting another chance at absorbing the energy from that many positive, smiling people. I daresay that café was full of the most smiles I’ve seen since moving to Massachusetts. Maybe it’s a little strange for my hobby to be promoting other people’s writing, but if it gets me to more of these events, I’m willing to be called weird. That was way more fun than should be allowed. I embraced my status as a supreme nerd and delighted in buying all three authors’ books and having them signed.
I enjoyed this PBS documentary, Twin Sisters, about identical twins from China who are being raised in Sacramento and Norway (mentioned in the Brain, Child article linked above).
This Save the Children video to bring home the cost of war in Syria is breathtaking (Warning: cry potential is high, hankie recommended).