• Essay,  Things I'm Doing,  Vermont


    September was a cartload of treasures pulled by steady mule over the hill of suddenly bone chilling nights–the flannels did not make it onto the beds until the end of the month, replacing terribly smelly summer sheets–and creaked slowly to rest in the sunny afternoons.

    The yard became strewn with crimson leaves. A sewing machine was finally settled on a desk cut to size, threaded with red thread and ready for projects. Maple soft-serve at the state fair, and the last bouquets of a flower subscription. Properly sized boots and warm tights were ordered and arrived in boxes. Woe to the generation (’tis mine) that killed off the storefront shoe shop where one could have (once upon a time!) walked in with three children and walked out with three pairs of shoes that fit. My due punishment are boxes of wrongly sized, misunderstood pairs of shoes, return to sender.

    Old sweaters and cozy layers were pulled out of the closet to be washed and handed-down. I emptied drawers of one-size-too-small wardrobes, tsked the abundance of it all, and tucked these back into the very same boxes to be passed down next season.

    Esme turned six months old and in the blink of a midnight chime, I realized I was no longer carriage, only pumpkin, and needed to sleep train her for our sanity. She began eating mashed food of all sorts with gusto. I offered these foods to her as a perplexed dining companion, entirely caught off guard by her early interest.

    Bright and shiny sunflower maze.

    Once more to the pond.

    Homeschooling began and was scary, and then delightful, and then ordinary and soothing. I made new homeschool friends at local events and we made conversation about expectations, and savoring the little things, as is our way. I started a newsletter to write about homeschooling in more detail, so as to avoid attaching too many ribbons to my blog’s (already fitful) kite. You can sign up for that newsletter in the little box on the righthand side of this blog.

    It is monthly and there has only been one issue, so you can catch up quickly.

    Out for a walk.

    Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has suggested the idea of a monthly universal basic income. The banality of those words universal, basic, income cause it to drift rather quickly into a divisive debate that you might find yourself arguing–does $1000 really matter? Wouldn’t all costs just become $1000 more expensive? Would we find raccoons lining up to demand their $1000 and if so, what would we say to them? And so on.

    But behind Andrew’s theory is this wonderfully complex double helix idea of unobserved labor and the labor that is now, or will soon be, in the hands of robots (he mentions retail, customer service, food prep, and transportation as soon to go). One strand of the idea is the headache of society, a word that strikes fear in every political heart: unemployment. The other strand is the unobserved, unpaid labor that we rely on: merry volunteer coordinators, reliable child-rearers, cheery bake sale makers, careful wikipedia-entry custodians.

    There is a delicious savor to unobserved labor, it silkens and soothes society’s function, it is the very butter to our brownie mix. It is behind every Why do you do this? -Because I want to help. We see it, of course, but how often do we not see it? And how does the person behind the unseen feel, from time to time? That is the intriguing prompt buried in Andrew’s proposal.

    And it was on my mind when I considered that of the thirty dinners hath September, I made 26 of them for our family of five. I say that not as a compliant, but rather an observation of something that was not noted on my calendar and may therefore go unreflected upon. We went out to eat three times, each was a spot I’d meant to bring the family all summer: pizza by the pond, fried clams by the river, and a fancy meal on the patio behind a hotel in town.

    Hammering petals into fabric.



  • Things I'm Doing

    wafers and things


    + I’m very refreshed from my vacation. I didn’t make dinner for two weeks! Thank you, Mom. And I hired a babysitter for three hours a week.

    +I keep listening to this coffee song by Sylvan Esso. Reminds me of the first time I ever heard Feist, way back when.

    + I’m experiencing a Necco revival. Oddly satisfying with their dusty minty flavor.

    + Conde Nast Traveler has gotten so good since Pilar Guzman took over the editorship. I love paging through it each month. Totally worth the $12 subscription fee. Though opt-out of that crappy travel bag that comes with a subscription, if you can!

    + While on vacation in Michigan I was able to do some freelance copywriting. I’m going to spend most of that money on a case of interesting white wines to savor and enjoy in this muggy heat. One hobby supporting another hobby is my ideal scenario!

    + I used an amazon affiliate link for the first time when I wrote about that water pitcher we like so much. And I gotta say, it was very satisfying to see that 31 people bought it. Influence! People like my advice! Water pitchers in every kitchen across the nation!



  • Darn Good Ideas,  Things I'm Doing

    Tis the season


    tis the season for banana bread with coconut or chocolate pudding with ancho chili powder.

    tis the season for throwing out old socks with holes in the toes.

    tis the season for risking a smile for stranger.

    tis the season for heating up some water, grabbing a towel, tucking underneath, and taking some deep breaths.

    tis the season for asking your partner for a backrub.

    tis the season for pulling out a calendar, turning to June, and writing in every fun thing that you miss.

    tis the season for asking your best friend from high school what movie she loved lately.

    tis the season for keeping five dollars in your jacket for the next person who asks.

    tis the season to practice your easter egg dyeing skills and then make your grandmother’s egg salad recipe.

    tis the season for deciding that a pint of raspberries isn’t so extravagant after all.

    tis the season for going to the museum and searching for the painting with the most flowers.

    calendar from philadelphia’s omoi zakka shop, who specialize in Japanese imports. 

  • Things I'm Doing

    7 Things I’m Doing

    now with the bottom link fixed!

    Debating whether I’d ever use instacart to pick my groceries for me and deliver them. Gosh. That’s like the last straw, right?

    Keep hitting play on this opus no. 1 on-hold music, just like This American Life said I would.

    Longing for someone to join me for fried chicken at state park.

    Writing many letters with my new stationary that Joe gave me for Christmas. It’s been pent up, this pen energy.

    Wildly in love with the soapwalla all natural deodorant that I bought at follain in the South End. Also available on Etsy. I think it’s the one.

    Hassled to be calling the NYT and canceling my digital subscription (can you say vanity spending?), but delighted to be renewing my New Yorker subscription.

    Thinking about buying this oribe hair spray because I’ve seen it recommended approximately a billion times.