October 12, 2018

Hello friends. I am spending this Friday 5 on 5 of my favorite painters of dogs! Aren’t dogs and cats just the best subjects for art?

Andrew Wyeth – His paintings of family dogs are peaceful and pastoral, even though I always feel there’s something a little cold in his color palettes. It’s the chill of early mornings in a farmhouse, the kind of morning that would make you snuggle up in the Master Bedroom. His son, Jamie Wyeth, is also a delightful painter of dogs, and here’s a cute one of his.

Molly Poole – This contemporary American painter is new to me and I just can’t get over how she captures Labrador body language and expression. Looking at her paintings I delight in the truth of my dog. Here are some of my favorites: Morgan’s View, Grass is Greener, Garden Bench.

Franz Marc – German Expressionist. This painting, called Dog Lying in the Snow, is of his dog, and check out Blue Dog too!

David Hockney – This artist’s paintings are so charming. His dachshunds, Stanley and Boodgie, are his muses, and he published a book called Dog Days that features so many good paintings of these pups. Here’s a photo of him with his dogs and all the paintings of them!

Carl Larsson – Swedish watercolor artist with an illustrative style that I love. I first discovered his paintings in an art-a-day tear-off calendar my best friend gave me. This lovely one is called Woman Lying on a Bench with Dog. Cozy Nook captures how peaceful it is to watch a dog sleep in the late afternoon.

I hope these dog paintings make you smile today! I’ll end with a poem by Jane Kenyon called After an Illness, Walking the Dog: “It’s so good to be uphill with him, / nicely winded, and looking down on the pond.”


March 2, 2018

Are you feeling fresh and rejuvenated? It’s a new month, and where I am, it smells like rain.

  1. The Good Room. This is a really long read and took me a few tries to get through, but I’m glad I did, even though I think I need to revisit it in a quieter frame of mind to drink it all in. Toward the bottom there’s two figures of how much time we use certain apps and how much we regret/feel negative about the time. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

    – “A library is the gift a city gives to itself.”
    – “…if technology is a place where we live, a place that we carry around with us, shouldn’t we choose to be in lively and nourishing digital environments? This reasoning should be enough to encourage you to leave the optional digital places that you don’t enjoy.”
    – “Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon aren’t going anywhere at this point—nor should we expect them to—so it’s best to recalibrate the digital experience by increasing the footprint and mindshare of the kinds of cultural and communal value they can’t provide. The web isn’t like Manhattan real estate—if we want something, we can make space for it.” There’s so much more here, this is one of the finest things I’ve read this year.

  2. The Case Against Open Kitchens, NYT.  “And yet people who actually like cooking tend to crave boundaries—to want to be, as Julia Child assured us we could be, “alone in the kitchen.” What if you wish to preserve a kitchen secret—to slip, say, the odd, shameful envelope of Lipton’s onion-soup mix into your meat loaf, à la Ann Landers? Radical transparency becomes kitchen exhibitionism: we are all on cooking shows now. “ This is so weird because I feel like I’ve read this piece in a more raw form on some vintage house-restoring blog…but maybe that’s because not everyone loves an open kitchen. While I don’t like that I can’t hear anything David says when he’s not standing in the kitchen doorway (which makes for a lot of accidental startling), I do like that when we have guests over we can whisper and scheme in the kitchen like Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

    Also: “The history of taste is full of these moments when completely stupid, destructive misbehavior takes hold.” What a line! Spoken by a poet.

  3. My First Year Sober (Comic). This is vulnerable, winding, and valuable. I appreciated this quoted quote: “You might think you don’t have the willpower to stop smoking, but how many times have you smoked in the freezing cold or wet? Or driven, late at night, to get cigarettes? Your will is strong.” Memoirs that are a little more raw, that haven’t been wrung through an editor, that are maybe remembering things as they’re still happening around the writer, have resonated with me recently.
  4. Phone Calls Taught Me About the Power of Intimacy, Lenny Letter. “Phone calls have taught me about the power of this intimacy, how to be present in an emotional space with another person. It’s good to hear joy and anger and sadness, to receive it in your body, and to be heard in all of these states, too. This is what we mean when we say “It’s so good to hear your voice.”” Shout out to my faraway phone-call friends! I really love and relate to this essay.
  5. The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. I got into this book, about a lonely record shop owner who knows how to find the perfect song you need in that moment, despite myself. It feels like a quiet, sweet, awkward romantic movie where the best characters are the secondary friends and coworkers (like Notting Hill). The final chapters took a twist I wasn’t so sure about, but it won me over.

Happy weekend!


December 1, 2017

Is there a Christmas song that plays on repeat in your head all month? Mine is Sleigh Bells (it’ll-be-the-perfect-ending-to-the-PERFect-day, just over n over). I don’t mind though, and if you see me bopping my head at my desk, you can assume it’s sleigh bells jingle-in, ring-ting-tingle-in too.

  1. Lady Bird (2017), Greta Gerwig. Ok so I didn’t read this but I did see it this week and absolutely loved it (see above photo of my man at the theater). Such a life-affirming film, and one that upholds the dignity of women and girls and the complexity of their relationships, which is something I need a good bit more of in films.
  2. So Much Synth, Brenda Shaughnessy. An excellent book of poetry that also examines being young and a girl, and how vulnerable that is. She does something really clever involving mixtapes too, but I won’t spoil it.
  3. The Evolution of Miss Scarlet, the Hairpin. Kinda fun to look at different iterations of the femme fatale Clue character. Here’s a few more versions of the lady that always rolls first (although there’s a tacky joke at the end of that post that I do not endorse).
  4. Rebecca Traister on the Post-Weinstein Reckoning, the Cut. “Still, I’m half-frustrated by men who can’t differentiate between harmless flirtation and harassment, because I believe that most women can. The other half of me is glad that these guys are doing this accounting, reflecting on the instances in which they wielded power. Maybe some didn’t realize at the time that they were putting the objects of their attention at a disadvantage, but I must acknowledge that some, even my friends, surely did.” Content warning for discussion of sexual harassment. A helpful piece.
  5. The 8 Types of Friends You Need to Be Happy in Life. I LOVED thinking about the different types of friends, and which one I am (could your type vary depending on the relationship? I think so), and contemplating how to be a better friend. If you can only read one of this Friday’s 5, read this one!

November 3, 2017

Hello friends, it was a short week for me because I took a few days off to catch my breath, but I’m back at it now. Is it too early for me to get into the holiday spirit? Because the cold weather has got me feeling COZY

  1. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. I’m about a quarter of the way in; this book has been a bit of a slow start, and jarring since Cashore’s other series was more explicitly set in a fantasy world. The magic here creeps in slowly, but I trust this author to tell a good story. 
  2. The Joy of Not Wearing a Bra, New Yorker. “I like the way most clothes feel on my bare skin: silk camisoles and thick knit sweaters and the patterned blouses from my grandmother’s closet. I like the way my breasts sound against my ribcage when I run down the stairs, like someone clapping politely for a performance that they didn’t particularly enjoy. I like how unassuming they can be when they haven’t been hoisted to full mast and fixed there…As I move through the world, sometimes making only the slightest of gestures, there’s always a part of me that is dancing.” This is truly beautiful writing, and I appreciate it more coming from someone shaped like me.
  3. Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier. Okay, so this is like my 3rd time reading this book, but this time, I finally found it on audiobook! Blackthorn and Grim, an unlikely pairing of broken people struggling to heal, are bound up together in a small village after making a promise to a mysterious person. I can’t summarize this series in a way that will make you want to read it, but if you value myth and story and you like a tale of unlikely friends, you couldn’t do better than this medieval Irish fantasy series.
  4. When Men Treat Assault Stories Like Ghost Stories, The Cut. Some potentially upsetting material here, but nothing too specific – the excellent Jess Zimmerman talks about disbelief and personal experience. “It’s not that men (and also, to be fair, women who are committed to the status quo) think the women reporting these things are liars. It’s just that they think they know better. They believe that you think you experienced harassment, just like I believe that you think you saw a ghost. But just as I’m privately assuming it was probably sleep paralysis or just the house settling, men are privately — and sometimes publicly — positing that it must have been a misinterpreted compliment, or oversensitivity, or wishful thinking, or a tendency to take offense.”
  5. 50+ Design Fails, Bored Panda. Lighter fare. I actually laughed aloud at some of these typography/placement/bizarre design errors.

See you next week!