Right now; February 2023

sunrise, Boston, February 2 2023

Happy new year.  A few things on my mind lately.  I’d love to know what you’re reading, loving, and thinking about.

More and More, I Talk to the Dead – I love all of Margaret Renkl’s writing (her book, Late Migrations, is gorgeous) and this piece in the New York Times is no exception.  This article made me gasp out loud, and I relate.  The article reminded me of one of my most vivid memories, which is from years ago on the Solstice, December 21st.  I was walking at sunset (which was around 4:30) and had a sudden and strong sense of people that were gone to me – most of all my grandmother and my mother’s best friend Susie, who was a kind of second mother to me – standing just over the horizon.  It was like they were there.  And instead of being eerie, the sensation was reassuring, comforting.  Now dad is with them, and my other grandparents, too.

I’ve also been thinking about when Matt and I summited Kilimanjaro, in June of 1998.  Perhaps because I’ve been listening to Southern Cross on repeat.  And as I wrote on Instagram, as we headed up to the summit we could see both the southern cross and the big dipper in the sky at once.  As we kept climbing, a storm rolled in.  Our summit photos could have been taken in front of a show blower at Killington; the background is just white.  No spectacular sunrise for us.  Anyway, at the top of Kilimanjaro we met two other people who we thought were heading to the summit. You get towards the top and there’s about an hour to the actual summit (and the famous sign that you’ve seen in friends’ photos – but not ours!).  They had stopped moving and were heading down.

“Did you get to the top?”  We asked them.

“No, but we got to this spot and it’s close enough.” One of the two men answered.

We nodded at them.

“I mean, who will know?” He continued.

“Well, you will.” I said, before I could apply my filter (my filter is not, at the best of times, particularly well developed).

We continued up.  It was slow going.  We got to the top and headed down.  The next day, we were getting onto a bus at the base of Kili back to the hotel where we had been staying.  One of the men we’d encountered at the top was sitting on the bus.  He smiled at me, and said hello. “I have you to thank,” he said to me, surprising me.  What was he talking about?  “I would never have gone to the actual summit if not for you.”

“Oh, wow.  I did not realize.  I’m sorry I was so abrupt with you at the top.”  I had been feeling badly about my comment to him.

“No, I want to thank you.  It’s because of you that I got to the top.”

I’ve never forgotten that.

That’s my February 2 2023 update.  How are you all doing?  What are you reading and thinking about?

Things I Love Lately

Wow … it’s been a minute!  I’m eager to hear what you are reading, thinking about, and loving lately.

Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr’s latest is my favorite book of many years. This is a simply extraordinary tale, which does that most exalted thing books can do: touches on what it means to be a thinking, feeling human being in the world. I loved All the Light but I ADORED Cloud Cuckoo Land. This book is about books, about language, about the power of story to inspire, protect, and keep us. Run don’t walk. Absolutely remarkable.

Andrew Garfield on grief – Wow.  Just wow.  This is an extraordinary video that made me weep and made me nod and made me feel grateful to be in this world.  Perhaps because of the point below I am feeling particularly porous this week but I think everyone should watch this (and if you know me you know how resistant I am to watching video on the computer). Thank you to my friend of many years Meghan Jarvis for pointing me to it.

Thanksgiving – The sunset above was from the other night, no filter, from my office window.  I shared it with these words on Instagram: This will always be an emotional week for me. Four years ago Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my father. On 11/26/17 he died suddenly of a suspected heart attack. Thanksgiving was already our family’s big holiday – for decades we celebrated at my parents’ house in Marion with between 25 and 40 people, two turkey, ties, toasts, and an after dinner walk to the yacht club. And in 2017 it was especially sentimental because we had just lost Matt’s dad. On thanksgiving day I posted lines from one of my favorite poems, by Merwin: “and we are saying thank you and waving dark though it is.” It was about to get a lot darker. And I kept waving and saying thank you. Still am. I remember my last conversation with Dad, which was about books. Thanksgiving looks different now – this year we will host, and it’s going to be a lot smaller. But the themes of family and tradition and loyalty and love remain. And for that I’m so, so grateful.

Grace is home!  Grace surprised us on Friday night and is home for a whole week which is heaven.  I love having both Whit and Grace at home.


Things I Love Lately

Be Like Marty – OMG.  This article.  When we watched RBG as a family last year, my first reaction to note how vividly and avidly it portrayed the love affair between Marty and Ruth.  I’ve only heard more and more stories that make that clear.  This Vogue article brought tears to my eyes.

The clerks.  The clerks – There is so much about RBG that moves me, and that scares me, and that touches me.  Most of all, those, those photos of her clerks lining the stairs of the Supreme Court as her casket arrived.  Is there any more meaningful judge of a person’s leadership than how they inspire loyalty and passion in those that work with them?  I think not.

20 years.  Matt and I celebrated 20 years a couple of weeks ago.  I can’t believe it either.

Reading – I’ve read some wonderful books lately. The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi are both spectacular.  I’m on an Elin Hildebrand roll right now and enjoying those, too!

What are you reading, thinking about, and loving lately?

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  You can find them all here.

Things I Love Lately

Podcast – My business school classmate, Chris Yeh, and I are doing a series of podcasts with classmates. We see this as a way to connect with each other in the absence of our cancelled reunion.  The first one is Chris and me interviewing each other and the others are us interviewing a variety of classmates.  We’re still going (and HBS 2000 folks out there: please email me!)  We have a set of questions we ask everyone (serious and less serious) and the conversations turn out to be free-floating and very interesting.  I’m fortunate to be a part of such a great group of people.  You can find The Chris Yeh Podcast at the link above or on the podcast app if you use an iphone.

Instagram – I already loved this app and I do way more now.  It makes me feel connected to others in a way that I cherish.  Also, I highly recommend Jill Kargman’s daily Dzanielle videos – hilarious.

Cooking – Like so many of us, I’m cooking a LOT these days.  I’m lucky that I love to cook.  We’ve been making lots of vegetable curries, experimenting with tofu, grilling chicken and steaks, and making bread.  I baked a cake from scratch for Grace’s half birthday celebration last weekend.  As I mentioned in the last of these, I’m loving Dinner a Love Story these days.  What are you loving cooking?

Books – I’m reading a lot. I recently enjoyed The Heirs by Susan Rieger, Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane, and Killing Floor by Lee Child.  Plot is very important to me these days.  I’m waiting for On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong from the library.

TV – We just finished this final season of Homeland and I think it was the best yet.  SO GOOD.  Still watching the all winner season of Survivor and sometimes Matt and I watch Veep.

What are you reading, cooking, thinking about, and loving lately?  I am sincerely asking.

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  You can find them all here.


Things I Love Lately

I know I always ask what you are reading, watching, thinking about, and listening to, but more than ever, I REALLY WANT TO KNOW.  Please share!

A few things I’m loving lately:

This Togetherness is Temporary – I love this piece by Mary Laura Philpott and have shared it with many other parents of teens.  I’ve thought often of my father’s exhortation to Grace after Matt’s father died: this too shall pass.  It always does.  And I try to breathe in right now, as complicated, scary, and unknown as it is.  “For now, I will let myself feel gratitude for this time with them. I won’t tell myself I have to enjoy every minute, because I know I won’t. And when the panic rises, I’ll remind myself: This isn’t forever. It never was.”

Dinner A Love Story – I’ve been a DALS fan forever (and I love that our kids are the same age).  I love how Jenny is blogging during this quarantine.  Her posts have three sections: project, pantry, purpose.  They’re full of relatable ideas and are the right length.  Love, love, love.  Made the snickerdoodle dough from today already.

This Time of Great Love and Great Suffering – Josh Radnor’s piece took my breath away.  This is the most poetic and incisive writing I’ve found yet on this particular moment, which has felt too large, too quiet, too complex, for me to fully articulate how it makes me feel.  I can’t recommend this enough.  “Light and shadow are inextricably bound up with each other.”  AMEN.  Yes.  I think I have written those precise words before and I agree wholeheartedly.

Reading – I’m reading for plot and distraction lately.  That means a lot of old David Baldacci and John Grisham.  I am also reading on my ipad.  This is a big change for me, necessitated when I ran out of library books.  Plot twist: I’m really liking it.  Also read My Dark Vanessa, The Other Mrs., and Untamed.

Writers & LoversI adored Lily King’s book and it deserves its own entry here.  Page turning and universally relatable, this book is fun to read and also replete with thought-provoking questions and insights.  I’m still thinking about it weeks later and recommending it to anyone who will listen. Bonus: set in my home town!

Watching – I’m watching the current season of Survivor (SO GOOD and yes I know I am the last person on the planet watching) and of Homeland (also so good!).  Have been viewing old seasons of Survivor on Prime and finding them helpful for completely distracting me from the terror of ordinary life.  Also plan to watch some Veep with Matt.  Looking for family movie suggestions.

I write these Things I Love posts about monthly, though I may do so sooner.  You can find them all here.  I’d love any and all suggestions you have to share!