November 30, 2015

A Few Things...

picture from here

Thanksgiving was wonderful, as always. It remains my favorite holiday of the year, with its focus on food, family, and gratitude. What's not to love? The day after, the mood shifted and the Christmas holiday season began. Our tree is decorated, the stockings are up, and the carols are playing nonstop on the radio. I haven't begun any shopping yet, and yet somehow I'm not stressed about it. More motivation to keep it simple.

While I attempt to work off the tremendous amount of awesome food I ate last week, I thought I'd share a few things I've come across recently...

One highlight from this year's Thanksgiving feast was this recipe:  Roasted Butternut Squash and Pears. Yum.

Bill Simmons Interview with President Obama. I appreciated this interview, because Bill asks a lot of the questions I imagine a lot of us would ask if we got a chance to sit down with the President.

I think I'd like this clutch. Sometimes I hate having to bring my whole big purse somewhere. It'd be nice to have a little clutch to carry the essentials.

The Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter.  During this darkest time of the year, it's hard to imagine a place that's even darker. What's cool is that the people there have embraced it.

Think Better.  I fully admit that I struggle with this. I work in an office setting, where it has become commonplace to be sitting in a meeting, writing an email, and getting an instant message simultaneously. It's crazy. I don't like it, and I'm trying to figure out how to influence the environment to the extent that I can. One person can't change culture, though, so I'm mostly interested in how to change my own approach to working (and living) wherever I can.

Where Syrian Children Sleep.  These pictures, and the stories that accompany them, will make you cry. They will make you feel frustrated and powerless. But it's still important to look and acknowledge them.

Carrie Brownstein Doesn't Want to be Famous.  Carrie Brownstein has led an interesting and creative life, and I find her fascinating. Her book is on my wish-list too.

Sweden Introduces Six Hour Work Days.  Love it!

Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Six More Top Actresses on Pay Gap, Sex Scenes and the Price of Speaking Frankly: "There Is Always a Backlash". I loved this conversation with eight fabulous actresses.

And to wrap up this round-up:  Parenting Comics That Are Almost Too Real.  The comic below is just one of many excellent examples. So spot on they are awesome.

November 17, 2015



This weekend, after hearing us talk about the events in Paris, Aaron interrupted to ask what a terrorist is. It's a difficult concept to explain, especially to a not-quite-nine-year-old. There are bad people in the world, doing terrible things for unfathomable reasons. I did my best to explain, but he seemed unsatisfied with my response. I am unsatisfied as well; I can't understand the reasons behind such acts, and so they are impossible to explain.

On the other hand, the responses to tragedies such as these are always uplifting and inspiring. The globe has draped itself in the French flag, and we are all citizens of the world, at least for a moment. We attended a Boston Bruins hockey game on Saturday night, and amidst the increased security, there was a tremendous comfort in being in a large and happy crowd of people. They lit the ice up in blue, red, and white, played the French national anthem, and observed a moment of silence. In those moments, we are reminded of what connects us.

And then we are all challenged to ask ourselves:  What about Beirut? What about those Syrian refugees? What about the numerous places around the world where people are forced to live in states of such horrendous violence every day? Is it that we've become used to the idea of violent places existing in the world, and only when that violence spills over into the "peaceful" areas that we become scared and outraged? And is that right? Difficult questions, to be sure. 

My heart remains heavy for the people of the world who have been impacted by such vicious acts of violence, in Paris and elsewhere, and yet I am still hopeful. On Saturday, we spent the morning cheering on our boys as they played their last soccer game of the season. It felt good to be out in the cool air, surrounded by friendly and supportive parents watching their children. We spent a few hours afterwards with friends, discussing the big things and the little things. I am so grateful to be a part of a community with such genuinely good and thoughtful people. It reminds me, as I was reminded after this terrible day as well...there are more of us than there are of them.

November 16, 2015

Recently Read

Sick in the Head:  Conversations about Life and Comedy, by Judd Apatow.
I enjoyed most of this book a lot. It's a collection of interviews, some of which come from Judd's high school years, working as a host of a school radio show. And some of them are more recent. Some of them are a little boring, especially when I wasn't familiar with the subject; and some of them were a little repetitive, since they sometimes talk about similar topics (how Judd started out in comedy, who his favorites are, etc). But the good ones are great. It was a lot of fun to hear comedians talk about their work - it's too easy to think that comedy isn't as much work as it is, but I can appreciate the effort that must go into crafting a good joke, or putting together enough material for an hour-long special, or having to come up with new material constantly (especially in this age of social media). The interview subjects are fabulous: Jerry Seinfeld, James Brooks, Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey...  It's not written to be funny, although it sometimes is. It's written to give you an idea of what it's like to be a comedian. Or at least, what it's like to have a conversation with one.

Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff.
"Marriage is made of lies: kind ones, mostly. Omissions. If you give voice to the things you think every day about your spouse, you'd crush them to paste. She never lied, just never said."
This is a fascinating book, and it's one you'll continue to think about long after it ends. It's the story of a marriage, written from different perspectives. The characters are fully-developed, and although it took a little while for me to get into it, I was enthralled by the end.

Dad is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan.
Sometimes you just want a laugh. I got this book for Kevin, because I thought he'd get a kick out of it. After hearing him giggle every night while he was reading it, I picked it up. Jim Gaffigan has five young kids, and he lives in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City. (That last sentence stresses me out just to write.) The book has a lot of silly parenting stories, and it is also a love letter to his wife, who he praises throughout. It's a fun, fast, easy read.

November 13, 2015

Josh Ritter - Where The Night Goes

One of my recent favorites. Josh Ritter's new album, Sermon on the Rocks.  Get it and put it on repeat. 

November 12, 2015

Round and Round...

Someone mentioned to me today that Thanksgiving is in two weeks. What?!? I feel like it was summer and then I looked down for a minute and now it's the holiday season. What happened to Fall? I did notice the spectacular trees - it was a gorgeous year for foliage - but I didn't walk in them enough. I need to look up more. 

That's where the blog comes in. Its primary purpose has been to keep me focused on the stuff of life, and not just the big trips and events, but all the ordinary everyday things as well. I need to get back to that. It's funny how difficult it can be to get back to the blog when you step away for a bit. It becomes intimidating somehow, as though I need to wait for something to be worthy enough to write about. 

The house painting is finally done. Since most of the colors were the same, it doesn't look dramatically different, just clean. Now if I could get the rest of the house clean enough to match. My boys are old enough to clean toilets and mop the floors, so that helps. Last weekend, we actually had a full day at home with no plans. Lots of errands to be run, of course, but then we actually got some cleaning done. It felt good. 

I've been feeling old lately. Along with a few new wrinkles, a nice big sunspot has appeared out of nowhere under my left eye. Grr.  Also - not enough sleep and not enough yoga. I got up early yesterday morning and spent 40 minutes doing yoga, and I was amazed at the difference in made in my day. I don't know why it should amaze me, and I don't know why it has to be so hard to make it happen more consistently. But you know what helps? Writing about it and telling someone else. I am going to do more there.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the impending holidays. I adore the holiday season, but only when I'm prepared for it. I am adding events to the calendar, but I've done nothing yet to get ready. I need to determine the Thanksgiving menu - and not just the day, the entire week. I want to start giving thought to presents, cookie recipes, and time to sit on the couch and watch movies.

I decided on a dress. Actually, since I have two holiday parties to attend this year, I got two dresses. This one and this one. And I didn't even step in the mall! And they both fit great and are so cute! Hooray!

The days are getting shorter and shorter, and with the time change, it's now dark on my ride home from work. Although I know this isn't the case, it can make it feel like there's less time to get things done. I haven't talked to my sisters in weeks. That's not balance. It's calming down a bit at work now, though, so I hope to swing the pendulum back towards home/family/friends. Oh, and me.

November 4, 2015

Halloween 2015

The boys are in their prime Halloween ages right now. Add to that the fact that my company has a family Halloween party, and the fact that the boys decided they should both be Star Wars characters (Luke and Anakin Skywalker)....those facts led to our decision to go big this year. 

Kevin and I rarely dress up. (This was a huge exception.)  There aren't too many female characters in Star Wars, so Leia was an easy choice. Kevin didn't hesitate in deciding to be a stormtrooper, spending hours researching costume options (and more $$ than I care to know about). We were all impressed with his commitment, especially seeing how uncomfortable that suit must be! I think it was worth it, though. I know I'll never forget it.  (Especially since he'll probably wear it every year from now on!)


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