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  • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 14

    Early fall routines are my favorite. The weather is still mild-ish, the days are a decent length, the summer people have left to go back to their lives, and I can go about my business in peace. I've grown to love this time of year and the simplification it brings with it. Because things have been unbearably yucky "out there," I've also been blocking out the world and focusing on my own tiny footprints. Here's what I've discovered:

    Thinking About:

    • Driving under 35 mph. I like driving slow. Every other person who lives in Massachusetts does not. When we moved out here I felt like I could relax into my normal driving mode -- slow and deliberate. Now that all the tourists are gone, I can putt-putt around at my own pace. It's so liberating!

    • The giant cockroach in my dream. It was enormous and kinda looked like a Devil's Purse. And, it is a good omen!: "Cockroaches are usually a good sign when they visit your dreams. They are the ultimate survivor of everything. This means you can survive anything too with a little integrity and tenacity. When they appear they bring messages of success through perseverance."

    • College. My niece is in the process of choosing where to go to college next year. It's gotten me thinking whether or not I would choose to go to the same school again. College is where I learned about the disparity in gender power, starting with the time a guy on my freshman floor picked me up, turned me upside down, and put me in a trash can. It was not empty. I was wearing a SKIRT. My second choice college was a Seven Sister and I've often thought it may have been the better choice

    Thankful For:

    • October is the new August. The amazing weather we've had lately has been such a gift! I cannot believe I have been wearing shorts and flip flops -- even into the evening, after the sun has gone down. 

    • Walking in soft sand again. It's been about two years since I've been able to do this. My particular injury, which causes my chronic pain, makes it difficult to maneuver on less than solid ground. But I am being super careful, taking slow steps, and engaging my core the entire way. I'm nowhere near where I used to be, walking the coast for hours on end. But I am glad I can see some of my favorite spots again!

    Watching:

    • This video about performance artist, Butch Locsin. The bright skulls, colored smoke, and Mexican culture references are mesmerizing!

    • Robot Chicken's The Walking Dead Special: Look Who's Walking. Robot Chicken does a mean parody, no? We still break out with "Go for Papa Palpatine!" every now and then in this house -- and we've recently been singing "Go for Papadopoulus!" My favorite part of this one: The Negan dance.

    • Nobody Speak: Trials of The Free Press. When Gawker first started, I read it every single day! But this doc isn't really about Gawker. It's about depraved individuals with money and a vendetta. Scared the pants off me!

    • The Bold Type. I wasn't planning to watch this show because I thought it would be annoying in the way that Girls was annoying. BUT I read that there was an episode on genetic testing and hereditary cancer that was really good. After I finished that one, I immediately backed up to episode one and watched the rest of them. I especially love the boss, Jacquelyn. She is everything that I wish I had in my early career -- encouragement, support, mentorship, an easy sense of style. With the exception of one person, it wasn't until later in my career that I had female bosses like her. (And also for the record, I am more of a Nancy Meyers person, than a Nora Ephron person.)

    Creating:

    • A personal health journal. I've never been one to keep a journal. Tons and tons of lists, yes, but hand-written journals, no. This may seem odd because this space is basically that. I bought a great journal and a super cute pen or two. I kept notes while I was going through the worst of my pain and was able to find interesting patterns. Now that I am on a new health journey, I'm using the same concept to keep track of things.

    • My sparkly light up unicorn Halloween costume. Oh boy! I was SO excited about this! There were sequins, sparkly materials, light up parts, and an awesome wig. As we walked to Tea Dance, lots of people took our photo.

    Reading:

    • "Trollhattan" in Granta. An intriguing and totally disturbing article about a murder spree at a school in Sweden, where murder sprees don't happen.

    • "Dirty John." OK, I actually listened to this, rather than read it but LORDY is it a terrible story. So addictive, too!

    • "Our Minds Can Be Hijacked: The Tech Insiders Who Fear a Smartphone Dystopia." This has become a bit of an obsession of mine and I'm tossing around the idea of giving up Facebook and Twitter entirely in 2018. I've already removed the apps from my phone, which has helped me cut back on my time there a lot.

    Listening:

    • Katy Tur's Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat the Craziest Campaign in American History audiobook. If you want to know what it is like to be confused and abused by Trump, this is it. I'd totally hang out with Katy -- she swears a lot, owns her mistakes, and wasn't cowed by the Abuser in Chief. 

    • A Killing on the Cape podcast. I have been enthralled by the murder of Christa Worthington in Truro since it happened. As you can imagine, having it occur so close to where we live, and with people we see from time to time around town as characters connected to her story, make it even more compelling. The first two episodes of the podcast are out -- they do a great job describing life out here on the edge. 

    • Midnight Pool Party. "Because disco will never die." If you need to add more upbeat positive dance-y music to your life, download a few of these! This is one of my favorites.

    • The Junot Díaz episode of the On Being podcast. These gut-punchy words: "I’m a child of blackness. Blackness was not meant to survive, and we have survived. And we have thrived. And we’ve given this world more genius than we have ever received." 

    • Tanika Jones' Soul Run. This has become my laundry-folding soundtrack. You'll be singing and bopping about while you fold your socks!

    • The Larry Summers episode of the Freakonomics podcast. I'm pretty sure I am one of the few Larry Summers enthusiasts in the world. He became president of Harvard shortly after I started working there and, despite his many stupid comments, he made an otherwise stuffy world pretty darn interesting. I forgot how loud he talked (even in elevators) and about that curious cadence he uses with a bunch of words shoved out his mouth in spurts. Anyway, Larry is brilliant -- even if he is offensive. Fascinating listen.

    Eating + Drinking:

    • Sweet potatoes. I've been baking a sweet potato for lunch almost every day since fall begin. I've been cutting it in thirds and trying different toppings on it. So far, tahini, white beans/garlic, honey/red pepper flakes, and butter with cinnamon are my favorites. I also bought this potato scrubber to help with my daily fix.

    • Apple and cinnamon water. For real. Cut up two apples and add two cinnamon sticks to 2 liters of water. Let it sit in the frig for an hour or so and you've got an incredible fall-ish drink.

    •  "A Cabinet Full of Crunch."  "If you’ve ever put away an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips in one sitting, know that you’re not alone—but also know it’s not totally your fault." Finally, absolution!

    • Ghee. We've been using it as a substitute for butter on our morning toasted goodies and in our air fryer. I'm still not sure if it is better for you or not.

    Learning:

    • New words.
      -anodyne. adjective. not likely to provoke dissent or offense
      -calumny. nounthe making of false and defamatory statements in order to damage someone's reputation; slander
      -kakistocracy. nouna system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens

    • The Hustle. My sister and I had this awesome disco album and we would do The Hustle in the living room, while we played the record on the giant furniture-sized record player (which is forever linked to a scar I have on my right foot when I misjudged the amount of space I needed to complete a cartwheel.) It's a great time for a refresher!

    Hygge-ing:

    • Love this Basic 7 for Autumn: "More sleeping, reading, hiking, reflection, soup, movies, night skies." I think that about covers it, don't you?

    • Adding extra blankets to the bed. Even with the warm days, it's still getting somewhat cool at night. I started sleeping so much better after I put on that extra comforter!

    • SmartWool socks. I pick up a few year-round when they go sale on Zulily. They are the best socks for warmth without that gross sweating thing that happens.

    Loving:

    • My October horoscope.  Unless you are a Pisces, you are probably not going to care at all about this but I will tell you it is totally accurate. Fellow Pisceans, take note!:

      "Since September 9, 2016, Jupiter has been in Libra and your eighth house of intimacy, intensity, privacy and psychological processing. You've been in some form of energetic cave or cocoon, doing a lot of deep emotional work.

      ... From October 10, 2017, until November 8, 2018, Jupiter will be in Scorpio, a compatible fellow water sign that rules your ninth house of travel, learning, entrepreneurship and global connections. Visionary ideas could take flight ...

       Jupiter only visits this part of your chart every 12 years ... so don't squander this bohemian cycle, during which you're invited to roam free, explore and experiment. This is a year to take risks and try new things without locking yourself into any one particular direction.

      Consider the next 13 months to be "field research" for when Jupiter moves into your structured tenth house next November. Then you'll be ready to choose a defined path. And you'll be so glad you crossed a few things off your bucket list beforehand!"

    • Instagram's Collections. I recently read that Instagram is the most psychologically damaging form of social media. But it's always been my favorite. I find it inspiring to see what other people photograph and I use it as a mini-blog to keep track of things I do each day. I was so excited when they made it possible for you to save other people's photos and then double-ly thrilled when they made it possible to organize those photos into collections. I have ones for book recommendations, places on the Cape I want to visit, food that looks amazing, adorable animal videos, and a whole host of other inspirational ideas. I've also found better communities here for my different issues than anywhere else on the interwebs.

    Eliminating:

    • The li.st app. RIP. I forgot I used to post weekly "20 Things I Googled This Week." Here's my full archive.

    • Facebook Ads. Aren't you totally livid about how Facebook manipulates us? If you go to settings and find the ads section, you can see all the things they've collected on you. You can also DELETE most of it AND change your settings. It takes some time to do but I feel so much better after clearing it all out. (ALSO! Check out the "Is Facebook Spying on You?" episode of Reply All and it's accompanying instructions: "How to Avoid Being Tracked by Facebook.")

    Expanding:

    • Hitting every beach in Truro. These amazing weather days have made it possible for Stephen and I to go on daily exploration adventures. We're in the process of visiting all the beaches in Truro before it gets too breezy and chilly to do so. One of the weird things about town-owned beaches out here is that in most towns you have to be a resident or staying in the town to visit their beaches in the summer months. But off-season is free game!

    • Getting a library card. I don't have one and that is disgraceful -- especially since our town library has been ranked in the no. 1 spot for libraries it's size for a number of years!

    Planning + Organizing: 

    • "The New Decluttering Trend is Called Swedish Death Cleaning and We Tried It." I'm pretty sure my Nana did this for decades. It's kind of extreme but I'm certain we've all thought about what might be left behind.

    • Changes to my Life List. When I first made one it was enormous. A few years later, I published an edited version. But lately, I've really been interested in more meaningful things -- meaningful to me that is -- and less adventures out in the world. I'm not sure I'll publish a new list but here are the kinds of things I've been thinking about: foster/adopt more rescue dogs; share my story; contribute to medical research; make art in public spaces; be a writer.

    Fur Mama-ing: 

    • Safety orange gear. You can hunt on Cape Cod National Seashore land. Like most of the year. I'm terrified of getting shot so Stephen and I have some bright orange gear that we wear. He and I both have vests. And I have a knit cap.

    • Cape Cod Dog Squad. I stumbled upon this amazing dog specialist's Instagram feed and I am so sad that she doesn't take dogs from Provincetown for her daily pack retreats. Stephen would have a blast swimming in the ponds, hiking the trails, and hanging out with all those dogs!

    Resisting:

    • Don't you feel like this year has been one long Hogwart's Sorting Ceremony? We're seeing people take their place in Slytherin every single day. I can't keep up with the Twitter accusations, firings, resignations, indictments (ok, THOSE, I'm all over.) It's like karma was on vacation for a year and is just now cleaning out her email box. 

    • Critical Reading.
      Biden's Briefings. These are generally short (less than 10 minutes) and cover a wide range of topics. Joe hand-picks them so you know they are good!

      Eminem finding the words to express what we all have been feeling. Brilliant and so deeply angry. 

      "Harvard Students Tell Us What They're Learning from Sean Spicer." "My proudest moment as press secretary was getting the opportunity to give people tours of the White House."
    • Action.
      Take down Paul Ryan. "We can take that gavel from his little tax-cutting, Ayn Rand-loving hands and we can send him packing!"

      Subscribe to the Fight Fire with Phire: A Daily Digest for the Overwhelmed newsletter. I've been weeding through all those political newsletters and alerts I signed up for months ago and limiting them to the ones that are informative and positive. This one is a keeper!

    Extra Credit:

    Stay strong, everybody! Until next time.