read * hear * say * see * eat

I am pretty much always telling people what I like. However, I tend to be someone who forgets what I like very quickly (because I’m ENFP/”a goldfish”). Thus, part of the fun for me in posting this newsletter of sorts is that it provides a shorthand guide later on when I want to tell people in person what they should read/listen to/eat. It’s nice to have an external place to download items from my brain. You can catch up on previous posts in this series here.

Read: New Yorker edition

The Matter of Black Lives by Jelani Cobb, the New Yorker

In Living Color by Emily Nussbaum, the New Yorker

The Perfect Fit by David Sedaris, the New Yorker (via Nina Badzin’s great advice column on HerStories)


Terry Gross’ interview with Larry Wilmore. I spoke with an always-thought-provoking uncle the other day about Wilmore’s Correspondents’ Dinner comedy. I wasn’t surprised he felt differently about the tone and style of the event than I did. I’m a big fan of Larry Wilmore, and I respect that art is art. This next statement is not a direct dig at my uncle, but I believe white people in general, and especially white men, should listen more and weigh in with their opinions less.

Another from Fresh Air, which I listened to twice because I liked it so much, is her interview with Samantha Bee (favorite moment was the discussion about the “wrongiest wronghead” congressman)

I’m digging Mark Maron’s WTF podcast lately. 700+ episodes in, and he’s really hit his stride. The past three I heard, Louie CK/Julia Louis-Dreyfus, & Rob Reiner, were fantastic.

Lena Dunham’s Woman of the Hour, which I think is over but I hope she does more (my favorite episode is #2 about the body with Lola Pellegrino, a women’s health NP)

Another Round: try their interview with Padma Lakshmi (review on The Guardian)


Snap Judgment’s storytelling lessons.


Donald Trump: Your Drunk Neighbor (sorry, can’t recall who first showed me this clip!)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO. If you don’t get HBO, you can also watch long segments on YouTube.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS

Narcos on Netflix. It’s got subtitles. And highly gratuitous nudity. But it’s great!

Nora Ephron: Everything is Copy, HBO documentary by her son. Another one I watched twice!


Take this tip from a Georgian: next to the melted white queso served in Mexican restaurants across the south (but much to my oft-repeated dismay, inexplicably unheard of across New England), pimento cheese is the best spreadable cheese concoction around. Pretty much any recipe will do, as there’s not much to it, but word is that the best around is offered at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta. We’ll have to take their word for it though because it’s top secret, but here’s an attempt at a knockoff that went over well at Vivi’s 8th birthday party a few weeks ago.

read * hear * say * see * eat

Inspiring true story about Gene Roddenberry from The Oatmeal

I posted yesterday, and now I’m posting again today! Posting every day is certainly not my new plan, but I hope to be back to posting about once every week or two. Thanks for encouraging me to keep posting podcast recommendations! I feel great knowing that even one person enjoys them. I still listen to about an hour a day of radio at least, so I have plenty of material to share.


honoring the end as much as the beginning by my friend Lindsey Mead, who among other things is the most consistent writer of wonderful things on her blog of any blogger I know (seriously, a great blog to follow) and who has the rare ability to look even more fresh-faced and happy-looking in person than in pictures

Mizzou, Yale and Free Speech—a NYT Op-Ed by Nick Kristoff, via @PattonOswalt

5 Books to Teach Kids Kindness by Cup of Jo—You probably know her blog already, but in case you don’t, I could have posted anything else I’ve ever read. Her curatorial ability is fantastic both for its breadth but also her steadfast devotion to a particular “Jo style.” Whether it’s a post about marriage, kids, movies, clothes, or books, I know I’m going to love it.

Mommy blogging, 101 by Dooce

…when Leta says she doesn’t want to have kids I’m like WRONG. YOU HAVE TO LIVE THROUGH RAISING SOMEONE WHO IS EXACTLY LIKE YOU.


Sampler, a new Gimlet podcast, came out yesterday. I’m excited to have a podcast that features great clips from other podcasts. There’s only one episode so far, but it’s a doozie. I also like another new Gimlet show called Surprisingly Awesome, which is not 100% awesome yet but is getting there. Basically you can’t go wrong with any Gimlet show.

Song Exploder picks apart the making of a song with its songwriter. So cool! I’ve listened to these episodes twice, I liked them both so much: 1) Tune-Yards, and 2) The Long Winters (inspired by the Columbia crash).

Speaking of the Columbia, Snap Judgment #601 “The Path” includes a story about an astronaut and his wife that raised the hairs on my neck. Ditto another story from that episode in which a mother becomes an expert tracker of missing children after tracking her own.

Fugitive Waves’ Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins was touching. If you haven’t tried this show yet, I recommend it to go along with any activity that puts you in a meditative, relaxed mood. The voices of the hosts, who call themselves the Kitchen Sisters, are so rhythmic and soothing that I can nearly fall asleep while listening.

This American Life, Episode 577: Something Only I Can See. The segment I particularly loved was the one about Tig Notaro and her mother-in-law. I love Tig’s comedy, but the best part to me about this story was that I so identified with her mother-in-law! I am not a funny person by nature except by accident or self-deprecation, and I can clearly recall this one day I got the song “Ain’t We Got Fun” in my head while folding laundry (deeply sorry for getting it in your head just now), except instead of the title lyric, I sang to myself, “It’s laundry time!” Somehow I was so giddy with the humor of this lyric swap that I could barely get the words out when telling Nate. I don’t think I need to describe his reaction, but even so, I still laugh almost just as hard now at the memory as I did at the time.

She Does podcast: interview with Anna Sale of Death Sex Money

What if my kid asks to try my beer (with audio!) by Casey of Life with Roozle — because of this post, my kids never ask us for a sip of beer any more! I also love that they know what a law is enough to be able to define the concept to others.

Vocal fry and other speech trends by Stuff You Should Know (in this episode, they refer to a great conversation on Fresh Air between a linguist, a speech pathologist, and Jessica Grose of DoubleX Gabfest)


Gretchen Rubin offered a starter kit  for people interested in starting their own Better than Before habits group. I love this idea (I’m an Obliger, no surprise there). Is anyone out there interested in starting a habits group with me? I’m thinking it could be online, just a place where we can cheer each other on and keep up accountability. I’m not that into Facebook, but I could see it working well there. Or are there “LinkedIn groups”? Someone please chime in who knows more about starting online groups. Thanks!


Making a Murderer, the Netflix original series everyone is talking about. I think folks are right that it’s similar to Serial except for being a TV program. I can only recommend the first episode, as that’s all I’ve seen so far. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll watch them all. Ten hours is a long time for me to commit to TV, especially since I almost never watch TV alone, and Nate isn’t interested in seeing it. But I think the first episode is definitely worth watching, if only to remain plugged into pop culture; personally, it got me riled up so much that I am looking into volunteering with a nonprofit focused on prison reform. And if nothing else, I have some excellent articles to offer once you’ve seen the first episode. One is this article on The Rumpus by one of my favorite Boston writers (and Arlington Author Salon readers!), Lisa Borders, and the other is this New Yorker critique, which begins with interesting details about the Perry Mason crime writer that I never knew.

For something a little lighter, I recommend Reading Rainbow for parents and kids. That intro song really takes me back. I finally just had to put it on for the girls, who weren’t sold simply by a picture of a man’s face (ditto Mr. Rogers, whom they both also now love. Next up will be Pee Wee Herman). They love the 1st episode featuring “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” plus how bowling balls are made and a guy who sets up huge displays of dominoes and knocks them down.


I hope you follow Catherine Newman, aka the blogger behind Ben & Birdy and the advice columnist for Real Simple (and writer of a new book coming out soon that you can pre-order on Amazon!). I never chortle so much as when reading her blog (and just at this moment, her new website). Last night I choked on some sauerkraut while reading this post, which I’m putting under “Eat” because she gives the recipe for a delicious-sounding blueberry pie smoothie (and yes, I said choked on sauerkraut. Sauerkraut that I was eating out of the jar, that I eat every night out of the jar ever since Nate started fermenting our very own homemade sauerkraut. More on this development is forthcoming). Anyway, because I love Catherine so much, I will add my favorite quote of hers, which perfectly described my own second child, Charlie, at the age of two so much better than I ever could have.

“Even as a 2-year-old, she had the determined wrath and gait of a murderous zombie gnome — and my husband and I grimaced at each other, afraid, over her small and darkly glowering head.”

I still read her article from NYT Motherlode, where the quote originated, from time to time whenever I am worried about Charlie’s tendency to glower. Catherine reminds me that not only is it ok, it might even be a good thing. A writer who can do that is a keeper.

read * hear * say * see * eat

Wil Wheaton is one of my favorite Tweeters, admittedly in part because I like to pretend he is still the character in Stand by Me and we are friends now.

I’m drafting a post about turning 36, which I am happy about sharing next week. For now, here’s some interwebs goodness for all your holiday gaming needs. Some notes on this list: I just viewed it on my phone for the first time, and ack! Horrible design aesthetic. As a result, I’m going to try not bulleting the list in case it reads easier that way.

In other post-improvement news, I’m doing my best to figure out which podcasts I love that I haven’t mentioned yet. In case you find it easier to get into one with a recommended episode, I try to pick an episode that stands out, but you can also just jump in with the most recent.


My Writing Education: A Timeline by George Saunders in The New Yorker, via Orangette

The case—please hear me out—against the em dash in Slate was shared among my editorial circle

A Test of Body Image, by Amanda Magee, including this lovely thought:

My nervousness crescendoed as she squeezed my skin together. Her fascination had nothing to do with anything related to body image or fat, it was entirely about creating something from nothing that entertained her. It felt almost as if I were a witness to it, rather than a participant and I saw it for what it was; love.


Fugitive Waves, by the Kitchen Sisters & Radiotopia—The Building Stewardesses: Construction Guides at the World Trade Center

Living While Dying by Minnesota Public Radio & NPR—“Embracing Loss” touched me deeply

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey—How Conflict Can Help You Win with Les Parrott


Tomorrow I am giving a talk on conflict resolution at a university! That is all.


My good friend Caroline and her daughter Edie are in the National Journal! The article is called “Outdoor Preschools Take Children into Living Classroom.” I’m putting it under the “See” category because there’s a video that goes along with the article. Caroline makes some great points, my favorite of which is below, about the importance of giving kids an early introduction to nature.

“I think I’m really conscious of that in these years, that she can spend a lot of time outside and gain an ap­pre­ci­ation for it. When she does go to kinder­garten, I think she’ll have that sense in her body that she knows, ‘OK, when I go out­side, I feel bet­ter, I get ex­er­cise, I get fresh air, I can use my ima­gin­a­tion,’” Pet­tit said.


Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Goat Cheese Biscuits by Joy the Baker. I have made this soup many times, but I just finally tried the biscuits for the first time. OMG.

Have you tried a cocktail mixer called a “shrub” yet? A shrub is a drinking vinegar that I recall first reading about last year in Edible Boston. Why it took me a year and a half to try is beyond me because I was in fact one of those “closet vinegar drinkers” she refers to in the article. When I was a kid, I used to hide in the fridge and drink the pickle juice, ducking because I figured it was somehow a bad thing to do (I also used to eat sticks of butter and take swigs of maraschino cherry juice, but I’m still waiting for those odd childhood eating habits to be vindicated by the modern hipster culture scene. I can only assume I was also that baby who loved to suck lemons). Anywho, the shrub I purchased at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market came from a company—McClary Bros.—that just happened to have been featured on a recent Shark Tank, which I just happened to watch for the first and only time in a hotel room a few weeks ago. I mixed their signature apple pie flavor with a spicy ginger ale and whiskey, and the results were delightful. I declare it to be the perfect holiday cocktail, and I have no doubt it would be tasty in a warm beverage too. I’ve since tried a funky soda made of just shrub and sparkling water, and I LOVE it. What can I say, I’m a weirdo. For me, it can’t get sour enough.

read * hear * say * see * eat

From the StoryCorps Thanksgiving Listen project (see “Say”)

I’m starting up my weekly/monthly installment again of the things I find on the interwebs. You can read past lists here.



  • So many excellent podcasts! Since I last covered this topic, I’ve added quite a few. Here are some of my new favorites:


  • I’m going to start sharing some of the podcasts that I know are looking for contributions. Here are a few I heard of this week:
    •  I’ve been hearing for months from StoryCorps about the Thanksgiving Listen, their big push to get everyone to record and submit stories of their elders over Thanksgiving weekend. There’s much more info on that link, including a PDF guide.
    • Lea Thau of the Strangers podcast is looking for stories about how we care for loved ones in our families as they age (which, if you read my essay above, you know is an important topic to me). You can share by recording a story here or emailing your thoughts to
    • Gretchen Rubin of the Happier podcast is looking for stories about your experience with her Four Tendencies (if you’ve been following the podcast or read her new book, Better than Before). You can share by emailing or calling 774-277-9336 and leaving a voicemail. (Fun fact: I was the nitpicking editor who wrote to tell her she misused “backslash” in Episode 33. She must have mentioned it five times in Ep. 34, and it tickled me to no end. As a word nerd, I have gotten used to being made fun of for picking nits!)



  • So Mom and the kids would have a yummy treat (and so I could use up some apples), I made Smitten Kitchen’s breakfast apple granola crisp before leaving for Boston on Tuesday, and it was delicious. Modifications I suggest are: cover the dish with foil halfway through, cook it at 350º instead of 400º, and use 1/2 coconut flour.

you do not have to be good

I miss you. I just had to come here to tell you that.

I am also going to share a poem, which is typically more Lindsey’s thing than mine (and I am grateful to her for all the poetry she shares). I am posting this poem because I have read it every day since hearing Mary Oliver read it in an episode of On Being. You should listen to that interview right now, as a matter of fact. But before you do that, let me tell you why I’m reading it every day. Moving—perhaps especially, moving at the end of the school year—has a way of bringing up many emotions. The two most prominent, and least helpful, are rage and anxiety (or in terms of the five emotions of Inside Out, anger and fear), but nostalgia, joy, and sadness bubble up too now and again. This poem, tho.



Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

(Author’s note: photo is by my cousin Alice, the farmer in Portugal whose photos I am always sharing, especially the birds)

hasty pudding

Vivi’s intense brown eyes are trained on me like you would stare at a mosquito about to land on your arm, unblinking, not wanting to miss the point of contact of her words. She has just reminded me she likes the white grits best. A stranger—well, let’s just say it, a Yankee—might not catch her meaning, but I do. This is a talk I usually enjoying having, at these times when she picks up on my special otherness, my Southernness, and wants to prove that she understands me.

Feeling her gaze, I glance up, my view obscured by my bare legs bent at odd angles ahead of me as I lie propped in her small bunk. Just beyond my feet is the crook of her mostly-naked body, which attempts to reach as much of the cool evening air coming through her bedroom window as possible. It is June in Boston, a month that cannot decide from day to day whether to be summer or winter. Forget about spring, we seem to have lost that season amidst the snow. Strands of her sweaty hair are stuck together and stand almost straight up, giving her brown bob a flock-of-seagulls look. At a newly seven years old, she is only beginning to see her nakedness as something to shield; she picks a private stall at the YMCA to change for swimming. But she still lets me see her, for now.

There is no mistaking her look of determination, but I pretend not to have understood the urgency of her message. I want to finish this chapter. Flipping forward a few pages, I see we’re almost there. Laura is describing preparations for the big dance at Grandpa’s house, during which Ma serves the family warm hasty pudding with maple syrup drizzled on top. Vivi’s declaration of love for white grits came just after my explanation—an answer to the latest question in her constant stream of curiosity—that hasty pudding is made from the yellow grits commonly found here in New England. This exchange set off her flash of recognition, a connection she now proudly makes to my previously elusive personhood beyond that of MOM, hand wiper and meal maker extraordinaire.

Though I long to join my husband on the couch downstairs—where a cold cocktail and a few minutes of relaxed conversation await, when I will probably tell him about this interchange—I am also keenly aware of the longing I once held for this moment. The simple act of reading The Little House in the Big Woods contains a lifetime of waiting and wanting, but as with most things in life, it was the process of getting here that merited the most excitement. Even after having prayed for this time as a hopeful mom-to-be, now that it is here, I am pained to admit I sometimes find myself wishing it away, the pale ghost of romantic desire now tinged with a colorful reality of exhaustion and impatience.

Instead of finishing the chapter, I shut the book. She sits up in anticipation of reigniting our old ritual, a time we used to refer to as “Talk about it,” our private chats unencumbered back then by the little sister who now sits on the floor in front of us, planning tomorrow’s outfit. “I like the white grits best too,” I say, finally, “but I’m learning to like the yellow ones.” She smiles, secure that whoever I might have been in the past, wherever I might rather be right now, I’m hers for a bit longer. I smile too, glad for one more day where she wants to be mine.

Update: A friend kindly pointed out that based on my love of recipes and wont of posting them here often, she assumed I’d include a recipe for hasty pudding and was a touch disappointed not to find one. How right she is! There’s only one problem: I’ve never made hasty pudding. But I reckon it’s the same as making grits, and I’m happy to tell you how I make mine. Within this recipe are the three keys to make perfect grits every time (for grit jokes, see: My Cousin Vinny): 1. milk 2. butter 3. slow. SLOW.

As for where you can buy white grits, my favorite place is Logan Turnpike (where, I might add, they DO sell yellow grits, I just don’t happen to like ’em much), which sells them online as well as at their mill close to Blairsville, Georgia. Bob’s Red Mill also sells them.

Self-Respecting Southern Creamy Grits
serves 4

2 c. water
1 c. grits (yellow or white)
1 1/4 c. whole milk
1/4 c. butter (plus more for serving)
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

1. Boil water and salt. Add grits slowly, whisking as you go, and let it return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is incorporated.
2. Stir in milk and butter, reduce heat to very low, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until creamy and smooth.
3. Top each bowl/plate of grits with its own butter. Down south we don’t normally drizzle with maple syrup, but shoot, I can’t see that being a bad thing. Give it a shot!

read * hear * say * see * eat

read * hear * say * see * eat - heirloom mothering
Part of this article, “10 Simple Words Every Girl Should Learn”

My days of moving and cleaning involve little reading but much listening, so I hope you’ll enjoy some links to interesting podcasts I’ve been into lately.



  • Snap Judgment has shot to the top of my excitement chart when I log in to download new podcast episodes; I’ve been pondering this short story, Miniature Wife, for weeks
  • On Being is an excellent podcast; recently Krista Tippett interviewed Maria Popova, the creative genius behind Brain Pickings
  • The Longest Shortest Time, a podcast about parenting, is growing on me; try their recent episode, 65 Women and a Baby
  • Design Matters with Debbie Millman is another long-running show I’ve only recently learned about; her interview last year with Dani Shapiro left me jotting many notes on my pad
  • Dear Sugar Episode 12: The Wounded Child Within was one of my favorites so far
  • Two difficult but important interviews with the same writer, Barry Estabrook, who just published a book called Pig Tales about how pigs are treated in America. I recommend listening to both interviews: Fresh Air and Splendid Table
  • Another reason to look forward to moving to Atlanta is to sign up for a paper (yes, paper) newsletter featuring worthy restaurants; it is created by a French woman, who was interviewed for an episode of Gravy, the Southern Foodways Alliance podcast
  • The One You Feed podcast featured an interview with Carol Dweck, a psychologist whose work I’ve been following since I read NurtureShock, about the growth versus fixed mindset.



there is still love “After This”: a book review

A note to local Boston readers: Claire Bidwell Smith will be at Brookline Booksmith to talk about her book tonight at 7pm. According to the website, the event is free and open to the public.

It is easier for me to discuss Monty Python than suffering. I know this because when I am suffering and a friend asks me how I am doing, I respond, “I’m not dead yet!”, in my best fake British accent. I often relieve unwanted tension this way, matching a situation with a corresponding Monty Python skit, like a strange tic.

In After This: When Life is Over, Where Do We Go?, Claire Bidwell Smith holds up a mirror to our awkward responses to suffering and death, “…marveling at how much effort we, as a culture, put forth into welcoming a person into the world, and how much we shrink from helping them leave.” I am a birth doula focused on welcoming new life into this world. But the longer I work in this field, the more connected I feel to helping the living depart, and it was this desire that brought me to Smith’s book.

Smith’s lyrical prose is breathtaking and bittersweet, demonstrating a rare Monty Python-esque capacity for bringing to light the truth behind the seemingly absurd, and vice versa. Having lost both her parents by the age of 25, and two of her close friends to illness, her struggles—and her expertise as a grief therapist—lend credibility to her insights about grief and the afterlife.

I read an advanced review copy of After This a few months ago. In the days since, I have spent more time staring off in space than I can recall since adolescence. Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote in his introduction to Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, “If a book has one passage with the power to change a person’s life, it should be read and reread.” As my many highlighted passages can attest, After This deserves some quality rereading time.

“There’s a pathway to life enhancement that comes with thinking about death,” Smith tells us. Her permission to ponder death and to dwell on it—even consider it a positive thing—has been a revelatory gift to me. The sublime truth, after all, is that death is a part of life; perhaps Viktor Frankl was right that it is how we handle our response to this fact that dictates the meaning we derive and our capacity to cope with suffering. The topic of the afterlife tends to lean on sentimentality, but Smith pulls off a tone of hope without cliché, neither promising answers nor assuring us that everything happens for a reason. Instead, she offers a gentle, persistent reminder that ignoring the inevitability of loss doesn’t make it any less inevitable.

Smith visits psychic mediums as part of her attempt to grasp the concept of an afterlife. An avid follower of hers on Instagram since I read her excellent memoir, The Rules of Inheritance, I’ve been excited to read about her experiences with mediums ever since I first saw her photos of days spent in Cassadaga, Florida—a community of psychics and Spanish moss. In the book, I find some of the passages about mediums difficult to swallow. But Smith is a clever writer, encouraging thinking from all angles on the subject and offering up her own hesitation early on: “In my mind, [visiting a medium] seems to be a choice that must be born out of desperation.” (I wrote in the margin: Are psychic mediums just the latest magician fad?). She allows the reader to accompany her on an emotional, spiritual journey in which she puts her own social mores aside and approaches the subject of the afterlife with an open mind. I appreciate the candor it must have taken to bring readers along on such a leap of—dare I say—faith?

After attending one particularly enlightening session with a medium, Smith writes, “Maybe she was reading my mind, I think then. But even so, that’s kind of phenomenal, right?” Phenomenal, maybe, but the skeptical part of me is still concerned about the potential to take advantage of such a vulnerable audience. In an article that debunks one of the mediums she visited in her book as a hustler, I read this quote by Harold Houdini: “It is not for us to prove the mediums are dishonest, it is for them to prove that they are honest.”

Putting mediums aside, there are many interviews to love in this book, such as with Dr. BJ Miller, director of the progressive Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, who asks the profound question, “Why wait to be dying to have palliative care?” I agree with Smith’s assertion that, however it is accomplished, “there is something therapeutic in… shared grief, in the desperate desire to connect.” Ultimately, perhaps the why and how of a person’s reconciliation of grief doesn’t matter as long as it is managed in a way that promotes acceptance.

As my own beloved grandmother continues down a treacherous path of Parkinson’s-induced dementia, and I face the possibility that I may not be able to mark the exact moment I have lost her, I am comforted by the notion that I can continue talking to her after she is gone. Whether she is able to receive my communication or not is no longer the point; it is, instead, that our “love never dies.” What a beautiful idea that is.

read * hear * say * see * eat

read * hear * say * see * eat - heirloom mothering
Mom: The Designated Worrier, via NYT SundayReview


I am getting our house ready to sell, but I’m here anyway because there was some stuff I was excited to share—particularly the link to recipes at the end—and I didn’t want to leave you hanging another week. Happy Mother’s Day!


  • Ann Patchett holds a place on my metaphorical “Who would you ask to dinner?” table. I have many reasons for my choice, not the least of which is that she would give me a good book recommendation, and I’m always in search of those.
  • My friend Anjali wrote an introspective piece for Bloom last year about becoming a writer after having a life; they republished it as part of a “Best Of” series.
  • Ellie Kemper writes for McSweeney’s! How did I not know this? I love her new show (see “See”), and it turns out she’s a great writer too.
  • Robin Abrahams broke down the latest episode of Mad Men and its tense workplace politics for The Boston Globe.


  • I’m digging the Southern Foodways Alliance podcast called Gravy. Even if you’re not from the South or don’t particularly care for Southern food (though I’m sure I can remedy that misunderstanding with an invitation to supper at our home), there are many other reasons to love this podcast, especially if you’re into topics like social justice and environmental stewardship, to list but a few.


  • Have you heard of The Drum? I learned about it at the Muse conference (more about that soon!). It’s a “literary magazine for your ears.” They are currently accepting submissions for poetry, essays, and short fiction that you submit by reading aloud on the site.


  • We’ve been trying out the new Netflix show, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, starring Ellie Kemper (see above) and written by Tina Fey. I’ve heard it takes a few episodes to find its rhythm, which is true of many shows we loved (notably, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, and The Office) so we’re hanging in there. I’ll warn you that it’s weird, but I also burst out laughing at least once an episode, so there’s that. I loved the “You can do anything for 10 seconds” episode. Even if it was meant just as a joke, I took that advice to heart! I think the word I’m looking for is sincerity, and even when overdone, it’s so refreshing to see instead of cynics and zombies.


  • One of my absolute favorite cookbooks is from our local farmstand, and I just learned their recipes are online. These are family recipes, y’all, and they are delicious. If you’re vegetarian (and even if you’re not!), this list’ll just about change your life. Now I know it is overwhelming, so I recommend starting seasonally with spring vegetable strata (which I’m about to bring to a new mom as a welcome home dish) and anything strawberry or rhubarb.

read * hear * say * see * eat

read * hear * say * see * eat - heirloom mothering
Boston Globe recapped the writers & mothers event I attended, with great illustrations

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…



  • I’m in the way way back of the archives of some of my favorite podcasts, which is how I ended up listening to these episodes of Here’s the Thing with Debbie Reynolds and Kathleen Turner.
  • I’m a nagger, so I’ll ask again. Are you listening to Death, Sex, & Money yet? I loved “In Sickness & In Mental Health.”
  • 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).