April 5, 2019

This was a great week for me — I feel like I’m finding a groove of confidence in my work, I spoke on a panel at a conference which made me feel LEGIT, and I’ve been spending a lot of these early spring afternoons sitting in the soft grass, watching the same things Persey watches: movement on the highway, a bird distracting us from her nest, and nothing in particular. Also don’t you love this photo of Katharine Hepburn knitting on the set of Bringing Up Baby?

  1. When Mountains Were Ugly, Kate Kelleher. This is a neat essay with language that edges from literary to a little pretentious sometimes. Lovers of mountains and the magic of ugly things will enjoy. “MacFarlane feels the presence of some “other-place” when he’s high in the mountains. I imagine this is what deep-water divers feel like when they’re descending into deep blue caverns, or what astronauts feel when they leave earth’s gravitational pull. “Going into the mountains—into what one nineteenth-century poet called ‘that weird white realm’—is like pushing through the fur coats into Narnia,” writes MacFarlane. “In the mountainous world things behave in odd and unexpected ways. Time, too, bends and alters…”
  2. It’s Not You It’s Me: If a Dog Won’t Play With You, It Could Be Your Fault, Scientific American. This headline is RUDE but there is some good info here about how to get your dog excited to play with you. “Of the 35 most common play signals, Rooney and colleagues found that a signal’s popularity “was not related to its success at initiating or sustaining play.” For example, patting the floor was used the most often, but play followed only 38% of the time. It appears patting the floor was not very successful at initiating or increasing play with a dog. Sad face. Other not-so-successful but commonly used play behaviors included scruffing the dog and clapping. Some things people did even elicited play 0% of the time! … A few behaviors were incredibly successful at eliciting play with a dog. Rooney and colleagues found that chase-and-running-away as well as lunging forward were associated with play 100% of the time!”
  3. “My Dog Doesn’t Like Toys” (Here’s why!), Kyle Kittleson. Good tips here too — Persey can get into this mood, usually in the early evening, where she is restless and barky but unsatisfied with any toy I present to her. I think I’m going to round up most of her toys and circulate them like this article suggests, to increase her interest in them.
  4. A Home Without Women is Almost Unrecognizable, Apartment Therapy. This is a round-up of inventions by women that specifically have changed our home life. So cool!
  5. Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt Haig. I just finished this book, which reads in short, reflective chapters on information overload and the feeling that as a society we have become more anxious and distracted in the age of tech. Here are two quotes I liked:
    1. “Sleep is essential, and amazing. And yet, sleep has traditionally been an enemy of consumerism. We can’t shop in our sleep. We can’t work or earn or post to Instagram in our sleep. Very few companies — beyond bed manufacturers and duvet sellers and makers of black-out blinds — have actually made money from our sleep. No one has found a way to build a shopping mall that we can enter via our slumber, where advertisers can pay for space in our dreams, where we can spend money while we are unconscious…. Largely, sleep remains a sacred space, away from distraction.”
    2. “Online socializing is easy. It’s weather-proof. It never requires a taxi or an ironed shirt. And it’s sometimes wonderful. It’s often wonderful. But deep, deep down in the subterranean depths of my soul, I realize that the scent-free, artificially illuminated, digitized, divisive, corporate-owned environments can’t fulfill all my needs, any more than takeout meals can replace the sheer pleasure of eating in a lovely restaurant. And I — someone whose anxiety once tipped into agoraphobia — am increasingly forcing myself to spend longer in that messy, windswept thing we sometimes still romantically call the real world.”

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