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  • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 8

    Hey, there! It's been two weeks and here I am keeping my commitment to post these bi-weekly. Super proud of myself for sticking to a schedule. Here's the latest ...

    Thinking About:

    • Martha Beck's YouTube video, "The Pyramid and the Pool: Why Things Are Better Than They Seem". While peace of mind is probably a long way off for most of us these days, hope is something we need to keep our lifeblood pumping through our veins. And the message in this video is all about that. My favorite part is when she talks about how an arrow needs to be pulled way back in the bow before it can zing off at a rapid pace. Hope we're as far back as we can go and the moment when we fly forward is just about to happen. Any minute now. I'm waiting. Go ahead. Zing. Forward. Still waiting.

      (Before you watch this, let me warn you: Martha Beck is a little weird. She says some things in funny voices and can come across as rather woo woo. DO NOT LET THAT DETER YOU. She also uses science to defend and illustrate all her ideas. So no matter what side of the brain dominates your functioning, she knows how to explain her ideas so you'll get it.

      I've also spent a Kripalu weekend with Martha and I can say she is the real deal. She radiates a rawness that made me seek seats in the back because I could not handle being so close to her up front. It is hard to explain and it does not come across in the video at all, but she is definitely vibrating on a different energy level than the rest of us.)

    Thankful For:

    • The right whales in our waters this time of year. Almost every day I end up somewhere where I can search the horizon for these super rare whales that hang out right off the beach each spring. They seem to have drawn large crowds lately and I feel bad for the people who arrive on a foggy day or a day when the whales have moved around the corner to feed. I see the hopeful visitors bundled up outside their cars with their giant binoculars scanning in desperation and I know today is not their day. I'm beyond grateful that I live here and have so many opportunities to catch these whales in action.

    • That short spell of warm weather we had. Sunshine and mild temperatures change everything! We took the covers off our deck furniture, put the cushions out, and brought the flower pots up so I can start recreating our jungle retreat for the summer. We even spent the afternoon outside, sipping cocktails, reading magazines, and listening to music. And we had our first day drinking excursion in town. Summer, I cannot wait for you to arrive!

    Watching:

    • Newtown. This is one of the most heartbreaking documentaries I've ever seen. You probably can guess which side of the gun control issue I fall on, but you might not know that I grew up in gun country, where the first day of deer hunting season was a school holiday. Most people I knew had at least one gun in their house and the first time someone handed me a loaded gun to fire was when I was in first grade (by my best friend's dad at their hunting cabin. I refused.) I was the same age then as many of the kids who died in the Newtown shooting. 

    • Great Big Story. You may have discovered some of these short videos yourself. I see them on Facebook and Twitter frequently. The topics are intriguing, usually positive, and beautifully shot. These three are especially wonderful: The Handmade Art of Tarot Cards, Mutts in Paradise, and More Than Dance: What It Takes to be a Hula Champion.

    • Fire Island. OF COURSE I'm watching this! A few quotes from the first episode that I think they lifted straight from MY life out here in Ptown. 1. "She wants to go to tea, honey!" Pretty sure this is said at least once a week in the summer around here. 2. "They're like making out on top of me." Been there. 3. "Are you the ones who have a disco ball in your yard?" I've been asked this exact question quite a few times. 

    Creating:

    • Disco ball necklaces. SO, I made a proto-type of a necklace that I've been searching everywhere for, could not find, and decided to make myself. I'm thinking about maybe selling them, too. I'm operating in stealth mode right now but I'll definitely share them with you after I get a few more proof of concept samples together. 

    Reading:

    "Reading is not the thing you squeeze in with your other important tasks, it is the important task." - Ryan Holiday

    • The California Sunday Magazine. I just discovered this magazine and it's longform stories about California, Western US, Asia, and Latin America. I subscribed to the email list so I could stay current on new articles. This article about chef Daniel Peterson and his not necessarily successful quest to bring healthy fast food to neighborhoods like Watts was the first one I read.

    • The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. When people ask me what my favorite book is, I always say Crime and Punishment (currently $.99 on Amazon if you want to read it!) I read it once when I was 17 and have been terrified to read it again, certain the effect it had on me was limited to that very specific set of circumstances in my life. Books are meant for select moments in our lives and now, apparently, is the time for me to finally read Murakami. This book has been on my I MUST Read This List forever. I'm reading as little as 20 pages a day to make sure I don't get overwhelmed and run away from it. I'm all in, though. I subscribed to the Murakami email list and am listening to the playlist for the book as recommended.

    Listening:

    • Offshore podcast. Season two started several weeks ago, but I am still making my way through season one. Focusing on the killing of a local by a white recent arrival to Hawaii, the podcast reveals the very complicated issues around race there. 

    • The Handmaid's Tale on Audible. I read this book in college and really loved it then. Now that the Hulu series is about to premiere, I figured I'd revisit it. Claire Danes is the narrator and we know how well she does tortured female roles.

    • Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University podcast series "Seeing White." I was curious about this series and was sold when I heard Chenjerai Kumanyika ask why white people cringe when they hear the phrase "white people." Another eye-opener on race.

    Eating + Drinking:

    • Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend from Trader Joe's. Here's a little recipe I created: mix whipped cream cheese, shredded cheese (I use a blend of asiago, romano, and parmesan), and a sprinkling of this awesome seasoning. It's great with chips or pretzels and I bet it would be terrific with some crisp celery. I've also added diced ham to that mix on occasion. Also, looks like you can order it from Amazon.

    • "Microwaving Your Tea Makes It Healthier." WHAT?? If you say so, I'll do it.

    • The grilled romaine salad at Victor's with orange cranberry vinaigrette and baked goat cheese. I know this is only accessible if you come to Ptown, but the Mr. and I loved it so much! Another super yummy new menu item in town this season: the fava bean hummus, chickpea and olive tapenade, and whipped ricotta with grilled bread at Strangers and Saints. Delicious!

    • "The Surprising Ingredient You Should Be Adding to Your Eggs." I tried this and can't stop now. Except I use coconut aminos (a soy sauce substitute.) It gives your eggs sort of salty sweet flavor. 

    Learning:

    • A new word. "Jeremiad" -- a long, mournful complaint or lamentation; a list of woes. Don't ask me to pronounce it.

    Hyggeing:

    • Method Kitchen Gel Hand Wash in Thyme. I've been finding excuses to wash my hands a lot. This stuff smells so good!

    • Stephen sleeping in our bed. This is the ultimate hygge and I cannot believe I didn't mention it before. One of my favorite, favorite things in the world is when Stephen curls up in bed, his head on the Mr.'s pillow and his backside tight up against my back. It's the ultimate "I trust you. I got your back and you've got mine."

    Loving:

    • RadioPublic curated podcast lists. I've found so many one-off podcast episodes to listen to through their weekly curated lists. Like the Hidden Brain episode on stereotype threat featuring real life examples from professional poker player, Annie Duke (episode 3). And the two-part ArtCurious feature on the relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

    Eliminating:

    • Chemically processed hair. I last colored my hair in August of 2015. This week the last of the brassy, colored hair was cut off and I felt free! My silver seems to be limited mostly to the front and top (not quite a skunk streak like Kitty Bartholomew, but close enough.) When I put my hair up, it looks mostly brown. Either way, I like it!

    Expanding:

    • Our social calendar. With everything opening up again, the events around town have started to fill up my calendar! This past weekend we travelled down a dirt road to the Cape Cod Modern Trust open house at the Kugel/Gips House in Wellfleet. And Twenty Summers, a wonderful arts program held in a studio barn just up the road from where we live, starts soon. There is also a festival of public art set around town in natural surroundings and the weekly Friday night art gallery strolls start again. I should mention I've added a new widget at the bottom of each of my pages here that lists some of the fun things I have planned for the month.

    Planning + Organizing:

    • Our late fall/early winter trip. Location is still TBD, but it is definitely going to be to a country where Spanish is the primary language. I'm constantly planning trips and have maybe 20 or so in various stages (it's kinda my hobby.) I'm excited about this one because it may be quite different from the ones we usually take. Meaning we might split our stay, we might not be in an all-inclusive, and we may start trying to get a feel for what it might be like to live there. 

    Resisting:

    • This is the space that I usually use to express my view on some recent 45 shenanigans. I will be honest, I've had to shut it all out lately. I can no longer engage without feeling like I've been outfitted against my will with some serious lead shoes, my arms strapped to my sides, while the worst itch in the world is creeping down my back and I CAN DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. It is disheartening and soul-crushing. And it hurts like hell. All I can do is yell STFU at the screen any time he comes on it. Which I do. WITH GUSTO.

    • Critical Reading.
      "Can Democrats Cuss Their Way Back to the White House?" Whatever works, I say! (Also, see above.)

      "Mexico's Revenge." 
      Our relationship with Mexico is complicated and important. More so than I realized thanks to this article. "Unwinding this relationship would be ugly and painful, a strategic blunder of the highest order, a gift to America’s enemies, a gaping vulnerability for the homeland that Donald Trump professes to protect, a very messy divorce." Unfortunately, the man is not afraid of divorce.

      "America's Most and Least Popular Governors."
       Interestingly, the Top 10 are all Republicans. The most popular one (with a 75% approval rating) is our governor, Charlie Baker, who I will admit I really, really did not want to like. But I do, despite a couple of his missteps. For the most part he is fiscally conservative and leans rather liberal on social issues. He used to head up Harvard-Pilgrim and is well-positioned to understand the health insurance issues in our state. Recently, I received a solicitation to commit to supporting whatever Democrat runs against him in the next election, because apparently partisanship is everything. I declined. How does that game help anyone?
    • Action.
      STAT newsletters. These emails keep me informed about the latest news in the cross section space of politics and health.

      Climate March. Our small town of 3,000 is having it's own climate march and rally on Saturday. I read that there are buses coming from all over the Cape. When you live at sea level, climate change is a very real issue. Our livelihoods depend on the health of the oceans, a robust fish and whale population, federal investment and care of the national seashore, and continued protections of the environment. And when our towns are underwater, guess where we'll move? Inland. Red Staters, the "coastal elites" will be moving into your towns. Better go march.

    See you all back here in two weeks!