Favorite Things

This weekend marked the official start of the Great Holiday Shopping Frenzy (although I did notice that some stores began serenading customers with Christmas music around Halloween). Le sigh.

However, for those looking for gifts, below is a list of some of my favorite things, based on our five senses.
1) Touch. Cashmere fingerless gloves made from post-consumer recycled textiles from British company Turtle Doves:
2) Smell. Jo Malone perfumes, also British (notice a theme here?). Recently, my favorite combinations are Blackberry and Bay combined with Grapefruit colognes.
3) Taste. Vosges chocolate bars: You can buy most of these (pricey but worth it!) bars at Whole Foods… though, I think they discontinued my favorite, the Naga bar, which combines curry and milk chocolate.
4) See. Caryn Cramer textiles: Whimsical and colorful, this textile delightress just released her new Egizio pillows collection and has created a stylish scarf collection, called Remarc, made with materials to keep you highly visible to, and safe from, vehicular traffic at night.

5) Hear. Wild Child. I recently learned about this band that creates a folk, indie, dance-inducing, infectious sounding music. They recently released a new album.

Finally, as you gear up, with either glee or trepidation, for the month-long office-party carb and sugar overload that follows from the Thanksgiving food coma, another path you can take during (ok, probably after) this holiday season is to embark on fitness pro Cheryl Davis’ Commit to Fit 12 week program. I can attest. It works. It really works. And there is joy in the transformation too boot. Commit To Fit

As I see it…

PQ-11-27-15-davide-ragusa-scopePhoto Credit: Davide Ragusa


I have been reading Marilynne Robinson this fall and have been struck by her simple but profound words that simultaneously draw you into both action and contemplation. I hope today especially we are reminded to explore the beauties of this world and truly receive the presence of those people and places we love.


Mr. Belvedere Shrugged and Nine Other Stories

Instead of our weekly analysis of The Leftovers, we thought it might do us some good to offer some literary humor. In this game, we’re imagining what literary works would have emerged if a famous books/stories were mashed up with a famous television show or movie.

Mr. Belvedere Shrugged: (To the tune of the Mr. Belvedere Theme Song) “Streaks on the china, never mattered before, who cares. But do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”

“If only I could get my hands on some Rearden Metal…”

There’s Always Money in the Bananafish: Now the story of a vaudevillian family who lost everything and the one son, a bright young newlywed named Seymour Glass, who had no choice but to keep them all together.

Family Matters: Based on the sociological examination of the Winslows, Family Matters offers thought-provoking essays that address a number of controversial issues of concern to families. Continue reading

Stop and Weep

Every time the end of summer rolls around and I see a bright blue sky and feel the crisp air I can’t help but remember another perfect September day. I remember looking up at the sky as my father drove me to work–my car was being worked on and thinking the day could not be anymore gorgeous and how sad I was to be heading into an office for the next several hours.

We heard about the first plane while listening to the radio to determine why traffic was snarling on Queens Boulevard. We heard the second attack through the reactions of the people on the radio who were still trying to understand what happened with the first plane. The office where I worked was a sea of tears, confusion, and fear and after a while most people just stopped attempting to work and watched the news or looked out the window which gave us an unobstructed view of the Twin Towers. We saw the first one fall and were told to go home. So we did, many of us to go be with our families and to sit and weep.

In the days and weeks and even months later, after all the candlelight vigils, there was still the pull and need to sit and reflect and weep.

Courtesy Stephen Train via Flickr

Courtesy Stephen Train via Flickr

Continue reading

Dinner in Paris

I have dinner to make, and I’m not thrilled about it.

Courtesy Jean Jullien

Courtesy Jean Jullien

TGIF, of course, but it’s been a long day: two therapy appointments for our older son, a visit to Santa for him and the baby (and all the bribery and maneuverings required to make that annual picture happen), a trip to the playground (and all the bribery and maneuverings required to get them home). My husband takes the kids downstairs to play so I can throw dinner together, my back aching over the kitchen counter and my inner monologue verging on martyrdom. You know–the usual.

I waver between turning on Christmas music and the news, then settle on the news.

I hear a familiar voice in an unfamiliar time slot. I glance at the clock. I turn back to the TV. That’s when this one begins.

Like the voice, it’s familiar and unfamiliar, recognizable yet disorienting: more death, more destruction, more violence. Not again and I can’t believe it being the simultaneous mismatched refrains. I pause in my dinner prep, take in the information, realize it’s still happening. Horror unfolding in real time, the world watching. Hostages. Fates unknown. How can this be? paired with Hasn’t this happened before?

I call downstairs to my husband, give him a brief version, cleaned up for the kids’ ears. Are you serious? paired with Oh God, not again. Shock and knowing together.

There are stages to grief, aren’t there? For me, anger shows up before its entrance is scheduled, usurping the others with its demands, such a diva: “move out of the way, I’ll take it from here.” A litany of emotional unresearched solutions pours into my brain: Bomb them all. NOW. Declare war. End them, this. Close the borders, the doors, my heart. Make it stop, for God’s sake. For my children’s sake.

That part is different. Continue reading