👍🏼

  • Spent a spectacular 420 weekend at Rob & Sandy's place in the Catskills. We tromped around in the mud and moss, ate a truly impressive amount of Sandy's homemade bread (and waffles and pie), witnessed their puppy's very first swim, read a procedurally-generated haggadah, watched Homecoming, and had a lot of very good laughs.
  • A big breakthrough realization when I returned to the city: my best ideas come from play (which, for me, usually takes the form of social conversations and joking around), not heads down "work". This means that putting pressure on myself to make progress categorically doesn't help when I'm feeling directionless. This freed me up to spend a lot of time in my garden, getting to know everything before spring kicks everything into high gear. I also went to the park, and the library to strengthen my exploration muscles, and came home with an armful of books.
  • Blogging about my weird explorations is coming more naturally.
  • I cooked most of my meals this week, and returned to the gym after a long absence! Highlight meals include: shakshuka, galbijjim, a restorative chicken pho, and sweet potato latke waffles.

👎🏼

  • As much as I'm trying to avoid letting it get to me, the feeling of stuckness and disorientation about what's next still looms large. Or as my friend Charlie put it: "Thanks to capitalism, what seems like it should be a really affirming act of self-invention is a horrible crawl up a skyscraper with no net. But there's health insurance and credibility at the top?"
  • This has been a Bad Health Month for my household and I would like it to let up a bit, please.

🔜

  • Digester Egg tour this weekend!!!
  • Assemble a portfolio for a job application
  • Booking flights for my Singapore/Manila/Hawai'i work vacation sandwich trip
  • Time for some blog renovations???
  • Finding a cherry tomato start and a Chinese eggplant start to transplant

Readings

I didn't put up a reading list for March because it got too unwieldy! So I'm going to experiment with doing it weekly, instead.

Wendell Berry and Helena Norberg-Hodge: Caretaking

And as I’ve thought of it in the last several years, it has seemed to me that we’ve had a global economy for about five hundred years—ever since the time of Columbus. And this allowed us to think that if we don’t have some necessity of life here, we can get it from somewhere else. This is the most damaging idea that we’ve ever had. It’s still with us, still current, and it still excuses local plunder and theft and enslavement.

Kiliii Yüyan: In the Land of Hope and Grief and Masks of Grief and Joy for Pacific Standard

A really powerful photoessay and accompanying behind the scenes process post on depression in an Arctic indigenous community.

In planning a story on indigenous suicide in the Arctic, it was my mission to begin by giving something to the community rather than taking something away from it.

Jay Owens, who pointed out both articles and this previous quote, also noted that the photographer "shoots Arctic ice and light completely differently to 99% of non-Native photographers. No roseate glows and azure mysteries of the ice. Much... flatter (?) light. White things are white."

This reminded me of the stand I took when I started writing about China—there is real power and importance to anti-exoticism that visitors will always have a hard time with.

Blair Braverman: The Iditarod, Fear, and Resilience

In Shaktoolik, a village of 257 on the shore of the Bering Sea, I found an envelope that a friend—Chrissy, the cook at Alpine Creek Lodge, where my husband and I trained our dogs last winter—had tucked into my drop bag. “It doesn’t get easier,” she wrote. “You get stronger.”

I LOVE THESE LAST TWO QUESTIONS

Nicole Chung: All You Can Ever Know

I think it was actually last week that I chugged this book in one evening. Such a riveting read about adoption,