December 5, 2015

What I've Been Into - Autumn 2015

Dear everyone,

It is early December, and after a memorably beautiful and mild autumn where the leaves all but blazed out our windows, we had our first snow storm of the season early this week. The subsequent stretch of 40' days, though, turned the white quickly to water. Which is kind of how this season has felt for me. Things happen. And then all evidence of them is gone. And you wonder if you just blinked or were instead in some kind of truly beautiful but exhausting dream.

My husband and I talk a lot about the pace of our lives, whether it's healthy, how we could slow down, what we might take out. It's hard because we could make different choices: live in a smaller house, live in a smaller town, have one of us--me, probably--stay home to tend the home and this darling small child we've welcomed into this busy world. But we've come to love our house. And we like where we live. And my job, though it is incredibly demanding, fills me up and up and up (everyday, these teenagers, my stupid jokes, their eye-light, our discoveries apart and together). So: there are cobwebs in my corners, people. And I do not make fancy meals. And our Christmas decorations are meager indeed. 

But it is something to move my fingers over the smooth skin of my son. To hold his hand as we walk through the quickly melting snow. To see the way his eyes skip over anything as inconsequential as dust and instead alight on paw prints, on eye color, on a sunrise he has learned to call beautiful. And it is something to work a long week, and at the end of it, come home with a bag full of essays to grade, and yet not want for one second to quit. And it is something to watch my husband splitting wood, trying, as we all are, to make space for that which keeps us warm. 

  1.  A History of Love by Nicole Krauss -- WWII and NYC. The past and the present. Letters. Books. Words. Lovely. That ending.
  2.  All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr -- WWII. France and Germany. A young blind girl and a young Nazi boy obsessed with radios. Stairs. Shells. A possibly cursed jewel. Short chapters. Long book. Worth it.
  3. The Scarlet Letter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time, Oedipus the King -- All curriculum rereads.
TV & Movies:
  1. The Office -- I know, I know, I know, this show came out a hundred years ago. But it just never looked or sounded that interesting to me, despite the accolades of many people I trust. But we finally started it at the very beginning of September. And, folks, we are almost through all the seasons. We have watched little else. These characters are not even characters to us at this point -- friends, all, especially Dwight.
  2. Exit Through the Gift Shop -- Fascinating documentary on street art. Why did we watch it? I can't remember for the life of me. But it did make me want to go out and think differently about graffiti. 

Finds & Arrow Signs:
  1. The Sheridan Story -- Incredible organization my students and I volunteer at on Wednesday mornings. They are all about eliminating food shortage for kids who go home on the weekends to empty cupboards. Look them up. Volunteer at a packing event. Donate if you can. So worth it.
  2. Minnetonka Orchards -- I still like Deardorff better, but I went to this orchard twice this autumn with my son and he loooooooooooooooooooved everything about it, especially the hayride.
  3. 105.7 The Vibe -- I listened to this classic hip-hop station for most of September, and felt all the sweetness of being eighteen again. But...there are only so many times you can hear those first notes of "Big Poppa" before you realize you are decidedly not eighteen. It's still fun to dance to while doing dishes, though.
  4. Children's books on CD (particularly "Gus & Me" and "Whopper Cake") -- Game-changer for long car rides. 
  5. Spinach Feta Bread at Great Harvest -- Yum.
  6. Adele's "Hello" -- Because obviously.

Happy holidays, near and far.