Things I Love Lately

This Is Childhood cover

This is Childhood – Last year, I joined 9 other writers in a series called This is Childhood which celebrated each age between 1 and 10.  I’m happy to say that the series, along with significant additional material (including a foreword by Lisa Belkin), is being sold as a book by Brain, Child.  I am biased but I think it would make a terrific Mother’s Day gift!  You can find out more and purchase the collection here.

What Would Gwyneth Do Raluca’s blog, which combines serious with fun in a way I love, is one of my must-reads.  She has terrific style, great menu ideas, and a tremendously thoughtful series on working motherhood that was a major inspiration for me when I started my own.

Writing Memories – This poignant essay by Lauren Apfel about how she wrote to capture the “slippery fish” of early childhood moments and about her effort to make the earliest years of her childrens’ lives hold still rang very true for me.  She says, perfectly, that “in between the task of chronicling life is the business of living it,” and describes how her writing about her children has changed as they get older.  Beautiful, powerful, thought-provoking: this is wonderful writing.

I Refuse to be Busy – While I love all of KJ Dell’Antonia’s writing on Motherlode, this post struck a particular chord.  I’m grateful for the reminder of something I believe deeply, that all of life is a choice.  Being busy or frantic or not is in large part about our mindset, and the choices we make about our time reflect that which we value.  Let’s all be deliberate about how we spend our only zero-sum resource, our time.

Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen
– I’ve been meal planning.  I KNOW.  It feels awfully grown up, and only a small step past flossing, which I’ve also begun doing regularly.  I must be getting ready to turn 40.  Anyway, this is my new favorite cookbook.  I adore it!

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

I share these Things I Love Lately posts approximately monthly.  The others are all found here.

Things I Love Lately

Sunday’s Modern Love by Monica Wesolowska took my breath away.  In prose that I found both plain and powerful, Wesolowska outlines the ways in which years of ordinary life can be as challenging as 38 days in the middle of a hurricane, and in so doing highlights the way that ordinary life can be both extraordinarily gorgeous and cripplingly difficult.

Black leather leggings – It has been so cold this winter that I’ve been wearing my pair non-stop.  I bought them last year – a splurge (though I got them on ebay!) – and wasn’t sure how much I’d wear them.  But, oh, wow, I know the answer now: a lot.  With sneakers, mostly.  And sweaters.  So warm.  Mine are from Theory, and the style is Ima.  Love.

Beauty Counter – my beloved godsister (her mother is my godmother, and vice versa) Alexandra introduced me to Beauty Counter, and I love their products, their business model, and their philosophy of using toxin-free ingredients in skincare.  So far I’m totally besotted by the rosewater spray (as is Grace) and the Twig lip sheer is great – really feels like chapstick, which is crucial for me, but a step up in terms of color and sophistication.  Win win!

The Moment is Now – Oh, this essay is beautiful.  When the author writes about wanting to witness her own life and about being more in love with her children than ever while also being more pulled by work than ever, I found myself actively crying.  She also quotes Landslide (though she attributes the line to the Dixie Chicks, and I would have cited Fleetwood Mac), is about to turn 40 (as am I), and quotes the same Modern Love essay that I’d already written about at the top of this post.  Goosebumps.  I highly recommend reading this piece, which is a moving love letter to the same full, demanding, exhaustion season of life in which I find myself.  (Thank you to Emily for sharing this link with me)

28 Days of Play – I’m honored to have participated in Rachel Cedar’s marvelous project (my essay, about crafting, was up yesterday).  Ever day this month she is publishing a post by a parent about the particular challenges, joys, and disappointments of playing with our children.  The essays addresses head-on one of those uncomfortable truths about parenting: many of us vaguely dread or actively dislike playing with our kids.  Why?  What can we learn from this reaction, and from trying to override it?

Flywheel – Another godsister Alexandra introduction!  I have been going to Flywheel Boston approximately weekly since they opened.  I’m all about the 45 minute option.  Right now, I’m in a slump (in an annual black hole of work busy-ness) but I will be back.

I’m listening to Ray Lamontagne, who’s long been a favorite, a lot lately.  Especially Let It Be Me.

What are you reading, thinking about, listening, and loving lately?  I’d really like to know.

I do these collections of Things I Love approximately monthly.  You can find them all here.

Things I love lately

Melting Icicles – I’m not sure there’s anyone out there who as beautifully captures the particular bittersweet magic of parenting as Amanda Magee.  More often than not, her posts make me weep.  This one sure did, with its hitting of a note I’ve often sung, that our children do not belong to us but are just passing through, and with this line: How can I hold water? How can I possibly be present when all I can see is the immutable truth that they will rush away in coursing waves?

The Sun and the See (Say Yes) – This post by Rebecca Woolf made me gasp out loud.  Her story of how her two year old daughter, Bo, noticed the beach out of the car window and insisted that they stop, accompanied by the gorgeous photographs of a wonderstruck little girl, reminded me of all the dazzling ways that children shift our view of the world.

Learning to Exist at the Edge of the Unknown – In gorgeous photographs and words, Christina Rosalie evokes a fear I know in my bones: of the edge, of the uncertain, of outcomes I can’t predict, of things I can’t control.  Christina knows, and describes, how important it is to learn to tolerate these things even as we fear them.  Lovely.

This snow day calculator made me laugh out loud.  How perfect for this season in this region (the northeast).  Hat tip to Karen for pointing me to it.

I just finished Kelly Corrigan’s Glitter and Glue: A Memoir.  So, so marvelous; My review will be up in early February.

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  The past ones are here.

More things I love lately

Do You See Me?  This post, just wow.  My friend Amanda writes powerfully about all that we don’t tend to document, about how the ugly and the broken are inextricably twined around the beautiful and the beloved, and about the sorrow and gratitude that fill her life right now.  I can’t stop thinking about it.

I just read Gilead by Marilynne Robinson for the third time.  This puts the book in very rare company (I’m not much of a re-reader, especially thrice).  But: wow.  I don’t have words powerful enough to describe this graceful, grave, astonishing book, but I know that it feels like reading an extended prayer, a glorious meditation on and evocation of the experience of life itself.

What I Gained by the Loss.  This remembrance of a high school English teacher, by Sarah Courchesne, gave me goosebumps.  In part because she met her mentor at the same school where I met mine (in fact she refers to Mr. Valhouli’s death in the first paragraph).  But even more because she evokes the life-changing power of a student-teacher relationship, and the ways in which the conversation between the two can continue, change, and echo through the seasons of a life.

I don’t like strong scents, but I love this candle, which I’m burning every moment that I am at home.

As usual at this time of year (and at others!) I have Christmas carols on repeat.  Mostly I’m listening to a CD of my favorites that has become the soundtrack of this month (I list the songs on it here).

What are you reading, thinking about, listening to, and loving right now?

I write these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  The past ones are all archived here.

More things I love

Thanksgiving in Mongolia – When I finished this essay by Ariel Levy for the first time I couldn’t breathe.  It is singularly one of the most powerful pieces of writing I have ever read.  Go.  Read.  Now.

Feelin’ Alive – I love this post, from a new-to-me blog, No Cigarettes, no Bologna.  I laughed out loud when she described her 24 year old outlook on life as “I am going to control all the changes in my life by running 40 miles a week and eating only melon.”  Um, yes.  And then my eyes filled with tears when she wrote “It’s about holding space for both the disappointment and the gratitude.”  Because, also, yes.  Funny and wise.  My very favorite combination.

Good! Busy! Good Busy! – Aidan is an old and dear friend of mine, and I absolutely adored this post.  “It is up to us to live each day fully because we cannot go back. We must open our eyes and notice things.”  Aidan is committed to noticing the gems buried in the grit of her everyday life, and I both admire and relate to this.

Indiana Jones – Whit was Indiana Jones for Halloween, a selection based on nothing other than “that looks cool” (as far as I can tell).  We’ve been watching the movies in the last few weeks (he chose his costume in early October, which triggered the viewing-a-thon).  And I have to say I love Indiana as a role model: an academic who goes on wild adventures, usually wearing a suit and tie.  Whit told me that someone at school, upon hearing his costume, asked who Indiana Jones was.  “An archaeologist,” he responded, and when he told me the story it was clear that what he implied was: an archaeologist is cool.  I think so.

On repeat in my car (the only place I listen to music): Let Her Go by Passenger, Lost In My Mind by The Head and the Heart, and Christmas carols.  Yes.  They have started in full force.

I share these posts about what I’m reading and thinking about approximately monthly.  They are all gathered here.

What are you reading, listening to, thinking about, and loving these days?