April 27, 2018
My husband was out of town on tour all week, so I’ve been in a super weird headspace – eating a lot of lazygirl cheese plates and re-reading a certain princess-diary-based YA series of my youth. It’s been nice to spend some time on myself, but I’m ready for the boy to come back. Besides the anxieties of Mia Thermopolis, here’s some stuff I read this week:
Going ‘green’ is more than shopping at Whole Foods and driving a Prius. After talking to a few people who are trying to live plastic-free lives, I went on a weird Google-question spiral that went something like this: how to use less plastic? > 300 Easy Ways to Replace Plastic In Your Life > how much are disposable bamboo plates? > $39.95 for a pack of 25?! > how to be environmentally conscious and poor at the same time > This article: “The environmental movement needs to do a better job of connecting issues of race, class, poverty and sustainability; in short, it has to become a broader social movement. And people of color need visibility in the movement…Ultimately this is where the citizenry of the planet can and must come together in order to move forward.”
‘She has nerves of steel’: The story of the pilot who calmly landed the Southwest Airlines flight. Wow, this story is intense. But I kind of love to read about people having “nerves of steel” in a moment of crisis.
Is It OK to Drink the Water You Left Out Overnight? ALL MY CURIOSITY ABOUT DUSTY WATER IS SATISFIED. But this headline is misleading, because I have never once wondered if it’s ok or safe to drink that water…because I’ve never considered drinking it. That is the drink of the desperate at 3am, and then it is the drink of my houseplants at 8am!
- How Do We Write Now. “But the pure concentration that you live in when you write a poem is still there, is still just beyond us as the green dimension. It can still be accessed through the door of yourself, you can still swing it open, though the hinges scream. Because it is a place of pure concentration it can wait forever for you.”
Patricia Lockwood is super weird. I relate and don’t relate to this essay/poem/talk in turns, but I’m glad I read it. This part is so great too, and says in poetic language something I’ve been reading in social science articles all spring
“The feeling you get after hours of scrolling that all your thoughts have been replaced with cotton candy — or something even nastier, like Runts or circus peanuts — as opposed to the feeling of being open to poetry, to being inside the poem, which is the feeling of being honey in the hive.”
- No Makeup on My Wedding Day. I wore very little makeup on my wedding day, and prioritized really clear, healthy, dewy skin
and I’m happy with how I came across in photos and how much I felt like myself on that blurry, busy, beautiful day.
However, this quote is bananas: “Weddings are performative,” Ms. Stribula said. “You’re up there to be viewed and judged. Not wearing makeup was a natural representation and a natural extension of me. I’m publicly proclaiming my love, not my beauty.” I feel like New York Times weddings might be performative…and maybe a whole bunch of others…but yours doesn’t have to be!
Have a great weekend, friends. Be a little weird, and be good to yourself.
April 20, 2018
Happy Poetry Month, everyone! And Earth Week, and Shakespeare’s birthday all wrapped up in one convenient span of time! Have you ever tried blackout poetry? I’m a new fan – something that gets me out of my old habits of creation and into something a little bit looser, daring, and potentially messy. Good stuff can come from a mess or two.
- Tired of Your Cubicle? Try a Trade, NYT. I know it’s not as simple as “leave your office job for a more romantic life sanding furniture” or anything, but it is really interesting that certain trades are going to have a great need for workers soon, or already, like nonresidential construction which by 2022 will “begin losing some 15,000 people over a five-year period to retirement.”
- Harvard Study: Clearing Your Mind Affects Your Genes and Can Lower Your Blood Pressure.
Meditation has been shown to help lower blood pressure in this small study, and I really like the way this sentence connects relaxation techniques to other medical treatments: “His [Dr. Herbert Benson’s] goal is to
establish the relaxation response and other techniques that calm the
brain — yoga, t’ai chi, breathing exercises, repetitive prayer and other
meditative practices – as a “third leg” of medical treatment, along
with medication and surgical procedures.”
- How to Break Up with Your Phone. I might have shared a short excerpt from this book that was published in the New York Times a few weeks ago – the whole book is worth a read. First it briefly goes through the reasons we all need a “breakup,” from how our smartphone affects our sense of wellbeing and memory to how smartphone and app developers are deliberately tapping into addictive impulses in our brains. Then Price lays out a game plan for 30 days (or at your own pace), with practical steps for resetting and potentially taking a break from the tiny powerful computer at your side.
- Tattoos Are About Change, The Cut. I thought this short essay was sweet. “It took me a long time to learn that good tattooing, like all good art,
is less about a yearning for permanence than about the desire to capture
change. Not to arrest, but to see in the way of remembrance: Change is
- The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss. I finally got to this now-classic fantasy novel from 10 years ago. I have some qualms, as I usually do with male authors of fantasy, but I admire Rothfuss’s craft and the Tolkien-like deliberation with which he’s built this world. I also really enjoyed hanging out inside the brain of a narrator I don’t totally trust or like. This book pushed limits for me but I’m really glad I read it!
One bonus feature:
April 13, 2018
My meditation teacher says that for spring to truly be here, it has to snow on the daffodils three times. Have we made it?
- Why Brands Market the Day Sunday. Buckwild. “But the new Sunday psychology is about reframing these impulses as attempts towards healthiness instead of evidence of unhealthiness.” She notes that because women oftentimes associate feeling guilty about what feels good, we oftentimes believe that self-care needs to come at a cost, sometimes quite literally: “Self-care often centers around spending money.”
- The Natural Enemy of the Librarian. Is it bad that I didn’t know the history of library design and when certain functions (like a reference section, or reading rooms) came to being? I guess not, since I studied archives – but this is an interesting history of libraries, librarians, and their tempestuous relationships with architects. And priorities have certainly changed: “The use of open space as designed results in being too public and bustling a place, which should be a place for quiet study. Here the business of the library is done.” Our library is going to be renovated, and open space and a bustling place it is to become!
- Never Going to Bed: Children Rewrite House Rules. This was a cute read – the kids set the house rules and the parents live with them for a week. Lots of free-for-all sweets and screen-time binges, and a little perspective at the end of each each.
- How Meditating Before Eating Changed My Relationship With Food. I love this, especially the simple practice of taking three deep breaths before taking your first bite of something. “Engaging our senses allows us to make genuine changes to our diet and sense of well-being instead of being so easily led by our pangs, stress, emotions, and cravings.”
- The Problem With Not Caring About Pop Culture. “In her talk “How the tech sector could move in One Direction,” startup investor and diversity advocate Sacha Judd explains how pop culture snobbery helped to obscure the creativity, resourcefulness and sheer technological nous of the Directioner fandom. “I was spending all this time trying to think about how to engage women with technology, and I was ignoring the fact they already were,” she says. “They were essentially already video editors, graphic designers, community managers…front-end developers, social media managers. They were absolutely immersed in technology, every day, and we weren’t paying attention, because they were doing it in service of something we don’t care about.” Fascinating!
Have a beautiful weekend.
April 6, 2018
Do you have a favorite room in your house? Mine is this unfurnished spot in our living room – we have a few plants and candles, and some rolled-up yoga mats, but most of the time it’s just worn wood floors made shiny by the light of two tall windows. I like to sit there to make crafts, stretch, and listen to music. It’s undesignated playspace, and this week it’s full of David’s music stuff because his album Halo Repair comes out today and he goes on tour at the end of the month!
In this interview, he explains the album title in a way I think is really special: “…I always think of Halo Repair as doing good work – the work
that makes you feel like you are exactly who you are supposed to be.
Making this album was good work. The best work I’ve ever done.” I invite you to check out Halo Repair because I think it’s pretty dang good work.
- The Goopification of Self-Care. “Self-care is a hot new trend and brands are only too happy to encourage you to participate in it – and, look, it just so happens they stock the perfect tools to help you along!”
- What It’s Like to Quit Social Media as a Teenager in 2018. It’s really interesting to read what 18-19 year-olds say about not participating in social media. I didn’t have a smart phone for most of college, and that was thought to be kinda weird here and there, but now I imagine it’d be pretty unheard of. These young people have some good, honest things to say about self-esteem, mindfulness, and the social media bubble.
- How to Stand Up for Inclusion in Design. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to begin advocating for greater inclusion in your field or community, but this type of advice has served me well: the most powerful place to start is to listen. “This listening never ends, and it’s an important reminder to always ground yourself in listening first and talking/acting second.” I’ve learned so much by following blogs, listening to podcasts, and reading the memoirs of people who have different experiences than me – I believe it makes me a more empathetic person, and it’s such an easy way to take a step toward a more inclusive community.
- Sparking Curiosity: Librarian’s Role in Encouraging Exploration. Another reading from libraryland! I am really inspired by the idea of asking students to pursue research topics they’re “curious about” rather than “passionate about.” This article also touches on three types of curiosity (epistemic, perceptual, and interpersonal), which is fascinating. I’m interested in making more room in the classroom for browsing, curiosity, and exploration, and this piece offers some great ideas where to start.
- Delighting in Alanna Okun’s The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater: Essays on Crafting so far!