Things I love lately

A Childless Bystander’s Baffled Hymn – this piece by Frank Bruni is both laugh-out-loud hilarious and deeply, pointedly true.  “They are toddlers, not Pakistan,” he points out, and asks, crucially, why our generation seems to think that this parenting effort is fraught with brand-new dangers and worries instead of one shared by centuries of humans.  Bruni made me think of my father’s oft-repeated adage to my sister and me, which I loathed as a child but find brilliant now: “You must be mistaking this for a democracy.”  Ultimately, I think his conclusion, which meshes with my belief that children are north of 80% nature instead of nurture, is tremendously liberating.  Just love them.  And give them boundaries.  Maybe it’s that simple?

When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice – this book by Terry Tempest Williams just blew me away.  What an outrageously beautiful meditation on speaking out and staying silent, on the power of the natural world, and on the endless, complicated, echoing ways the mother-daughter relationship twists through all our days.  I loved it.

On Being Lost and Found – Ali Edwards’ lovely words on reclaiming herself, on wanting to live the length and the width of her life, really resonated with me.  As I wrote in my comment, for me the question is always: how do I reconcile the desire to reclaim something that was with the reality that sometimes we, and our lives, change in permanent ways?

Inhabiting a Moment – I love everything Katrina writes, that’s no secret.  But this post, about “the flotsam and jetsam that add up to days lived,” about the value and importance of recording the smallest details of an ordinary moment … well, it leveled me.  Just: yes.

Reasons My Son is Crying – This tumblr of pictures and captions reminds me of Honest Toddler with its hilarious rendering of the sometimes-absurd nature of life with small children.  So, so, so funny.

Lululemon studio pants – this has been a very busy week for me at work, and I’ve barely left my desk, let alone my house.  I have also basically not taken these pants off.

I write these round-ups of things I love lately about once a month.  They are all compiled here.

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

More things I love lately


Seashells: Grace’s birth announcement had a starfish on it, and Whit’s was identical other than being written in blue and featuring a sand dollar. I have starfish and sand dollar stationery for them, and I have starfish and sand dollar charms on a charm bracelet. And now I have them on this necklace, which I can’t stop wearing.

Frances and Bernard: Oh, this book, by Carlene Bauer.  Just so, so marvelous.  I loved it.

Love purely, and take it easy: I can’t stop thinking about this essay by Emily Rapp.  Here, now: this is all there is.  Love purely, and take it easy.  Chaos overtakes all of us.  This weekend I devoured her memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World, and I still can’t take a full breath.  And I can’t stop crying.  And I want to hold my children all day every day.  More thoughts on that luminous, honest, heartbreaking book soon.

Three years ago I went to New York to see Marina Abramovic’s extraordinary piece of performance art, The Artist is Present.  I was hugely moved by what I experienced, and wrote about the tangible holiness that exists in authentic presence.  I had not seen this video before, which I discovered on Anthony Lawlor’s marvelous blog, Dwelling Here Now.  In it, Marina’s former lover and collaborator, whom she hasn’t seen in decades, sits down across from her at the MOMA.  In two short minutes, we witness humanity incarnate.

International Women’s Day: These photographs gave me goosebumps.  Especially, for some reason, #17 and #34.  I read so many appalling and terrifying statistics on Friday.  And I realized that my primary reaction has nothing to do with me.  It’s all about Grace.


Moscow Mules: I am not much of a cocktail drinker.  But at my dear friend’s wedding in January, I discovered the Moscow Mule.  Part of it is surely the fantastic brass mug.  And part of it is surely that I was drinking them in the company of a few of my very, very favorite people.  But: yum.

It seems I’m writing these Things I Love posts approximately monthly.  If you want to see the others, they are here.

What’s on your mind, your screen, and your night table lately?

More things I love lately

I am hardly the first to note the amazing site The Reconstructionists, but I just love it, so I’ll add my voice to the choir.  The site is a “yearlong celebration of women who changed how we see the world,” and pairs portraits of the famous women with their quotations and some biographical information.  Amazing.

Christina Rosaline on turning 35, which she recognizes as the someday of life.  “This, this is my beautiful, reckless, heartbreaking, perfect life.”  I read this beautiful post in tears.

Meeting Priscilla Warner this weekend, which was an enormous treat and complete joy.  Priscilla is every bit as warm and wise and funny as I knew she would be.  I could have sat and talked to her for hours and hours.  If you haven’t read Learning to Breathe yet, you should.

Maya Stein’s visceral, gorgeous poetry.  My favorite lines of hers remain these, below, but every single poem stops me in my tracks by making me both think and feel.

“The world spins as it spins.
Your life is on that same axis,
half shadow, half radiance
and turning, always turning.”

Finally, my piece about what I view as an essential question: Is my constant sense of failing to be present getting in the way of my actually being present? is on the Huffington Post this week.  If you haven’t seen it, I would welcome your thoughts there!

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

More things I love lately

I recently re-read Crossing to Safety (which Will Schwalbe’s beautiful The End of Your Life Book Club inspired me to do) and found it even more breathtakingly gorgeous and powerful this time.  Stegner’s novel joins Harry Potter in the rarefied ranks of books I’ve read three times.  It’s outrageously beautiful, human, and honest.  As I get older I appreciate both my own adult couple friends and Stegner’s rendering of the deep companionship, occasional conflict, and true love that can exist between couples more and more.

Between Splinters and Sparkles is one of my favorite posts by Amanda Magee, which is saying something, because I adore everything she writes.  This piece, about the beauty that is right there waiting for us, as soon as we let go of our attachment to how it was supposed to be, brought tears to my eyes and gladness to my heart.

These tights from Lululemon are keeping me warm, even at 5:30 am in the dark and below freezing.  They are cozy and I literally look forward to putting them on in the morning.

Great Kid Books – I love this beautiful blog that is chock full of thoughtful recommendations.

Every So Often the World is Bound to Shake – Powerful blog post by Jennifer Pastiloff about what happens when the earth splits and you fall in.  A reminder that all human beings experience the terrain under their feet quaking, and a testament to the ability of the human spirit to survive and, even, to thrive.

Little Things Add Up – I’d argue that some of Dominique Browning’s resolutions aren’t little things at all (deciding to be positive, getting more sleep, a whisper of thanks and an act of kindness every day) but I love her reminder that every small thing counts.  Getting off the elevator and walking an extra flight of stairs.  15 more seconds in a hug.  Let’s all remember that big changes are often the accumulation of many, many small choices every day.

What books, things, blogs, and ideas have your attention these days?


More things I love lately

Gratitude on an ordinary night – Allison Slater Tate’s gorgeous love letter to her 10 1/2 year old son, saturated with her awareness of all that is already over, spoke to the core of my bruised, overflowing mother’s heart.  Yes, I wish I’d known Allison when we were going through pregnancy together (we went to college together, but did not connect until years later), but I’m even more grateful that I know her now, as we careen into these years of mothering tweens together.

Homeland – You know I don’t want TV.  I made an exception for Homeland, and wow am I glad I did.  I bought the first season on DVD and Matt and I watched it in 3 days.  We then upgraded our cable (don’t watch TV = basic cable package) so that we have Showtime and can watch the second season.  I am obsessed.  This is brilliant, compulsively-watchable drama, full of both geo-political intrigue and profoundly human characters.  I can’t recommend it enough.

Tiny Home – I love this ode from Kate Conner to her small house.  We too live in a small house, and I relate to so many of the things Kate says.  My house keeps me honest and it keeps me neat.  It overflows with memories; it is the only house my husband and I have ever lived in, and while we sometimes wish we had more space or a bigger yard, it really is all that we need, and I like the lesson that provides for our children as well.

Somewhere Else – I am a huge Stacy Morrison fan, and this is one of my favorite posts of her always-thoughtful, always-beautiful writing.  There is so much I love about her writing: her deep desire to see meaning in the universe, the way she can’t help witnessing and noticing beauty even in moments of dark despair, her love of Rilke and words, and her support of women making their way in the world.  In another post she wrote this sentence, which brought me to my knees with its glorious truth: “It’s the humble moments that possess the majesty.”

Glimmering Moments of Beauty – This gorgeous piece by Jana of An Attitude Adjustment was profoundly resonant for me.  I love hearing that others are also routinely stopped in their tracks by the startling beauty of this world, and always appreciate the reminder to stay open to them.