• Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 19

    Thanks so much for coming back for part two! Writing has kept me busy while I wait for Election Day to get here. After the polls close, how do you plan to spend those excruciating evening hours waiting for the results? I'm thinking of a non-stop movie marathon -- no news, no Twitter, no Facebook. But lots and lots of Diane Keaton. Or you could play Election Night Bingo.

    Also if you are late to the party, you can read the first part here.


    • Elizabeth George's The Punishment She Deserves. I'm having a rough go at reading books lately. I'm less than halfway into my favorite author's latest work, even after seven months. Her satisfyingly massive tomes always include a complex plot, tons of characters, an incredible sense of place (I still remember many of the locations years after reading her other books), and a narrative where she toggles between storylines leaving each chapter in a cliffhanger. I've got to clear some mental space to keep moving along.

    • Pocket app. This is probably the biggest digital addition to my life in some time. It's been both a blessing and a curse. The app allows you to save all the articles you see online that you want to read in one place. I've been tagging so many that they are PILING UP! Luckily, they just added an audio option so I can listen to the articles. Life-changer!

    Creating + Collecting:

    • Jar of beach treasures. Over the years, I've picked up a ton of stuff on the beach. I usually separate everything by type into separate vessels for display. This year, I repurposed a clean-lined cylindrical vase that came with flowers my friend sent me for my surgery (Thanks, Julie!!) and am dropping everything I find in there. It's created interesting patterns and layers and I can't wait to see how it looks at the end of the year.


    Eating + Drinking:

    • Martha's Best Papaya from Jamaica. My favorite fruit in the whole world! When we are in Jamaica, I sprint full speed to the fruit section and take ALL the ripe papaya. Without shame! I ordered a box of strawberry papayas shipped to me from Trelawny as a reward for getting through my surgeries.

    • Rosé vodka. This was almost the death of me this summer. 

    • Protein balls. I'm a big snacker. If you want something that is good for you and keeps you from devouring a bag of dark russet Cape Cod Potato Chips, make these and keep them in your frig. Ingredients: 6 medjool dates (slice in two), 4 T almond butter, 2 T protein powder (I use Sacha Incha plant-based protein powder), 1T cacao powder, 1 T maca powder, a handful of macadamia nuts, and 1 tsp local honey. Pulse everything in a food processor until it looks crumbly, but not dry. Then form the mixture into balls. Use something non-toxic to store them in (glass is great! and I place waxed paper in between layers).

    • Crunchy salt + vinegar garbanzo bean snacks. If you like salt and vinegar potato chips, you'll love these. They are super easy to make, but make sure you give yourself a few hours for the soaking (they say 40 minutes but I do at least an hour to get them really vinegar-y) and baking (I do 10 minutes at a time until they are nice and crunchy, but not burnt.) Store them in a glass jar on the counter for easy healthy snacking.

    • Pasta al limone. The Super Mr. is the real chef in our house but I made this all by myself! I'm sure there is a way to cut back on the butter and cheese in the recipe -- feel free to experiment. And you could totally add lobster for a fancier dish.

    • Chocolate hummus. I'm ashamed to tell you how many tubs of this I've eaten. I recommend using honey wheat pretzel sticks as your delivery device.

    • Sautéing pasta before boiling it. Sounds weird, right? I saw Pati do it on Pati's Mexican Table. It adds a toasted taste to your pasta, which I love. I add a little avocado oil to a large skillet, get it nice and hot, add the uncooked pasta, and then remove it when it's changed colors (careful not to burn it.) And then you can boil it as you normally would.

    • Hand-picked cranberries from the dunes. SO, here's the thing: no one will tell you where the cranberries are. You have to find them yourself. Which we finally did this year! The Super Mr. made cranberry citrus muffins, apple pear cranberry tart, and cranberry sauce with the harvest we picked.


    • Sas Patherick's self-doubt archetype quiz. Who doesn't love a good quiz about themselves? I'm a Diplomat. With boundary issues. Go figure. "Diplomats are often highly empathic. You probably have a finely tuned ear for nuance, emotional and energetic frequencies, and the ability to sense what is underneath words and actions. It's likely you can feel the mood of a room as soon as you enter." Nailed it! And this recommendation: "Set intentions before going into any room CONTAINING HUMANS."

    • Bird Medicine. "What we see around us is often a mirror of what is happening within us." This year I've been surrounded by birds. Granted, I live where there are a lot of them but I've had them land near me in weird locations and not move away. I even SAVED a bird this summer. And I've found a lot of bird feathers on my walks. Just this week I watched a turkey fly straight down route 6, landing like Orville in The Rescuers and a murder of crows (who doesn't try to use that phrase as often as possible? Like "rococo.") chase down a hawk. I'm feeling the bird vibes for sure!

      Bonus: In the spring we took the moms to the Audubon Sanctuary to a birdbanding demonstration. I took lots of video which you can watch here

    • Jamaica trip. We took our seventh trip to Jamaica in July. This time with our awesome, just-turned-18-soon-off-to-college niece. It was a trip we have talked about for years! We were so excited to share our favorite island with her, hoping we could teach her what it means to be a guest in someone else's country by showing her some of the country beyond the resorts. On our trip to the South Coast, we had interesting conversations with our local guides -- about where they lived, what their lives are like, and their thoughts on everything from Jamaican patties to Trump. I also had forgotten how Jamaicans speak to me rather than to my husband -- with the (correct) assumption that I was in charge. Surprising, but empowering.

    • Mille Bornes card game. The Super Mr. and I both played this when we were kids but we had completely forgotten the rules. During the recent Nor'easter, we played a few hands and had a lot of fun!

    Extra Credit:

    • "Solange: Runaway Bay." As a Cooler Younger Sister myself, I have always liked Solange better than Beyoncé. She writes this from Jamaica (and also as if from MY brain): "And so, as I land in Kingston, like many times before, I feel out the vibrations of the land in which I am soon to ground with. It’s a familiar feeling. One I have grown to love deeply and want to feel again, and again." Bonus: "Solange, the Polymathic Cultural Force."

    • "Before and After Route 91." I've read that people tend to pay more attention to the horrors of an individual's trauma rather than that of a large group of people. Perhaps this account of a woman shot in the face in the Las Vegas mass shooting and her ongoing suffering will get some attention.

    Again, I'm so grateful you've returned to read more. The third part will be published next Tuesday, just in time for you to have something to read while you wait in line to VOTE! Or while you painfully wait for those results to come in!


  • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 18

    You may want to refresh your coffee and settle in. This one's jam-packed. So over-the-top extra, in fact, that I've split it into three parts. It's been awhile since my last post and I have been busy doing, thinking, consuming, and forming all sorts of strong opinions. 

    Since my last post, I had a kick-ass summer here on the Cape (you can view some of the highlights here) and am now failing miserably at what is usually a pretty awesome fall in Provincetown. I'm pulling tarot cards, lighting candles, hiding under fuzzy blankets, and snuggling with the boo -- anything to get me settled into this season.


    Thinking About:

    • Midterm elections. For a few months, I wasn't sleeping. Every time I woke up, I would feel encased in agitation. I would fling my shoulders back so I could open my chest to breathe -- the horror of the world smacking me in the face as I tried to calm the panic. And then I would spend a good hour ruminating about the people I see standing behind him and laughing WITH him while he degrades, humiliates, and incites and encourages violence. WHO are they and WHY are they cheering??

      And then I voted early. We have paper ballots here and I marked each selection with a heavy and giant "X." I really wanted to write special comments but I did not want to invalidate my one shot to tip the balance and stop the bleeding. Please, let this be the beginning of the pendulum shift!
    • Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Losing these two in that way -- what a double gut punch. 

      Like Cher and Madonna, he's simply "Tony" in our house, as I'm sure he is in yours. We've probably seen every episode he's ever made of every show he's ever done. Except the latest ones -- we're doling those out slowly, knowing they are the last ones ever. He gave us one of our favorite words -- "squeasel" -- and we use it liberally. We knew all his tells when he started to get drunk on his show, like he was a close friend. I had the strongest martini of my life at Bemelman's Bar at the Carlyle because of him. When he and Eric Ripert came to Boston, we immediately bought tickets and laughed our way through the whole show. The top three places my heart wants to visit are because of him: Sardinia, Uruguay, and Brittany, France. We also added quite a few places to the Never, Ever Go There list. He made me feel slightly ashamed of our proclivity for all-inclusive resorts. And he was at one time a local -- One of Us -- having started his career here in Provincetown. So smart, so articulate, so real. Fucking sucks.

      My wedding shoes were Kate Spade, custom-dyed in her signature green color. I gave my niece the special edition Kate Spade barbie doll when she was a kid (I really wanted it for myself, but you knew that.) Before I started wearing yoga pants and tshirts as my daily uniform, I had a closet full of neutrals to which I added a pop of color and adorned the whole look with overstated accessories. It was totally and completely cribbed from Kate's personal style. I'll never wear a red scarf again. 

    Thankful For:

    • People who make me laugh. The other night I was watching Get a Room with Carson and Thom and laughing my ass off. The Super Mr. said he was glad there was something to make me laugh again. It wasn't until then that I realized how little I have been laughing lately. Also, see R. Eric Thomas' hilarious articles below in Extra Credit.


    • TV Series:
      -Dancing Queen. I LOVE Alyssa Edwards! 

      -Succession. The whole time I was like, HE'S JARED!!!! I, too, noticed "Roman's Quirky Sits."

      -Salt Fat Acid Heat. After watching this, I: 1) would like to be friends with Samin, 2) put extra salt into my pasta water, 3) listened to "Day Drinking at Netflix" with her, 4) hogged all the crunchiness of the Persian rice The Super Mr. made, and 5) noted all her recommendations in this article.

      -The Haunting of Hill House. I no longer enjoy scary movies or scary anything, but this series was so captivating. I could not stop watching. I haven't been able to get it out of my head. Also, I found this article scarier than the entire thing: "All the Hidden Ghosts You Missed."

      -The Parker Posey Show, I mean, Lost in Space. I seriously don't know how Parker Posey does it. She's over the top even when she's restrained. Engrossing and worthy of a rainy day binge!

      -Killing Eve. I savored this show, making sure I watched it when there were no other distractions. The soundtrack is STELLAR. And the COSTUMES! This article has inspired me to try to use the word "rococo" as much as I can from now on.

      -I also enjoyed Sharp Objects and Sweetbitter. I will admit I had to read the recaps after every episode of SO to know what happened (those flashbacks were so confusing!). And the cinematography of Sweetbitter is very rococo.

    • Films:
      -RX: Early Detection: A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee. I watched this with tears streaming down my face and my hand clasped over my mouth. Warning: it's graphic.

      -New Wave: Dare to Be Different. The music of my youth! Fascinating documentary about WLIR, the tiny hole in a wall station on Long Island that is responsible for bringing us all that amazing music. 

      -The Greatest Showman. I watch this every time it's on. I LOVE the soundtrack and the film's message about how the things that make us different are the coolest things about us. And, of course, this was the song of the summer at Tea Dance. That scene with Michelle Williams' blue scarf flowing around her while her hair is simultaneously not moving AND blowing in the wind. HOW? HOW? HOW?

      -Hannah Gadsby's comedy special, Nanette. Nothing has ever glued me to my seat like this. I'm not sure I was even breathing as she shared her story with us. 

      -The Rachel Divide. Oof. Where to begin? Remember the woman who was born white, but identifies as black? This is a documentary about her. She is one complex human being. And frustrating as all hell.

      -Crooked House and Ordeal by Innocence on Amazon Prime. These are Agatha Christie's favorite two novels out of the 66 she wrote. Maybe save these for a snow day this winter?

    Summering, then Hygge-ing:

    • Sunscreen. While the season has passed, I wanted to share that these sunscreens -- Unseen by Supergoop! and Sun Bum SPF 50 -- are the two go-to sunscreens I used. I also tucked two travel sunscreens into my bag -- COSRX Aloe Soothing Sunscreen and Perfect Day from Supergoop!, which has lip balm with SPF in the cap.

    • Container gardening. This summer I improved my container gardening skills. The most peaceful part of each day was watering, feeding, deadheading, and caring for my outdoor plants. This simple tool, a water gauge, helped me to not overwater them. Most of them made it through the summer and quite a few have made the transition inside for winter.

    • Hygge-ing. My best hygge-ing these days is spent wearing these super comfy joggers all day, every day.

    Extra Credit:

    Thanks for sticking around and reading! I know some of you skim these and look for the interesting tidbits and others read it word for word. Either way, every one of my hyperlinks should lead you to the discovery of something wonderful or to a resource that I hope you will find helpful. Stay tuned for No. 19 (or really part two), publishing on FRIDAY!


  • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 17

    And just like that, it's MAY! I told you I might be absent for awhile but I really didn't expect it to be this long. I've had stuff to say and cool things to share but I've been conflicted about how much detail to put out there in the world about my surgeries. So I've said nothing. Between the privacy issues on the interwebs and the continued threat against healthcare -- and women's health in particular -- it just hasn't felt safe. I know that my story would be useful to other women and I HATE that the current climate makes me fearful to say too much. I feel censored and I am angry about it. 

    Instead, I will share someone else's inspiring story.

    Thinking About:

    • The beginning of the year as incubation time. I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to figure out that you don't have to start all the things right away on January 1. It makes so much more sense to use the dark, cold wintery days and nights of January to do some deep thinking and then start it all in February. Or even March. OK, or April. Actually, May.

    • Patience. Have you ever asked the Universe, "what exactly would you like me to be learning right now with all of this?" The last few years have produced a number of challenges -- none of them with quick fixes. Real healing takes time. My body may have fused the pieces together and can function close to normal, but there are things that will take longer. I have new sensitivities (hello, bandaids!) and my natural lion-in-the-grass nature is turned up super high (I got HIVES driving to my surgeon's office I was so worried that I had an infection. I didn't. It was a spitting suture. Look that up.) I'm trying very hard to be patient as I figure out what normal looks like for me now.

    Thankful For:

    • The Super Mister. I came across this quote recently: “Life is sad. Here is someone.” -Lorrie Moore. The Mr. sure is my Someone! And I want to tell you all how wonderful he has been through this past year. First, he has been there for every appointment. He supported and encouraged me every step of the way. When he talks about my situation to other people, he uses the word "WE." Not once has this been my problem alone to manage. He picked up all the slack around the house in addition to feeding me, emptying my so yucky drains, washing my hair, cleaning my troublesome incision, and putting on my socks like a toddler. He even learned to put my hair up in a BUN! He so deserves his promotion to SUPER MR.! And really, he's been that all along.

    • Ways to make surgery not feel so scary. Let's just be clear, I WAS TERRIFIED. So I did what I usually do when something scares me: plan my outfit and accompanying theme music. I wore this kickass RBG Squad sweatshirt to the hospital for my surgery in January. And in the weeks before, I played RuPaul over and over again. And, last week, when they wheeled me down the ramp to our car after my latest surgery, I whispered, "Miss Vanjie. Miss Vanjie. Miss Vaaannnnnnnnjie." The bravest of the brave -- drag queens and Ruth Bader Ginsberg -- helped me keep it together!


    • Queer Eye. EPISODE FOUR!!! I was sobbing!  I love their energy -- not a mean girl in the group. Karamo is my favorite. Remember he was on Real World: Philadelphia?

    • The Eurovision 2018 instagam stories. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this competition! And watching all the rehearsals has gotten me pumped for the main event. They say this song is the frontrunner. Stephen and I have been dancing around the house singing, "I'm not your toy. Not your toooo-oooyyyy."

    • Drag Race(s). True confession: I was #TeamShangela (Halleloo!) even though Trixie spends her summers here in Provincetown. We had a chance to watch the finale at a viewing party in town where the crowd was overwhelmingly #TeamTrixie. Season 10 is dazzling me and I'm finding I need to watch each episode at least twice. Right now, I'm routing for Miz Cracker. Also, in related news, BenDeLaCreme will be in Ptown all summer.

    • Nan Goldin joined Instagram. She is responsible for my favorite Provincetown photoAnd she's taking on the Sacklers for their role in the opioid crisis.

    • Dance in the Real World video series from The NY Times. My favorite? The JB-style skating video from Chicago. 


    • Oversized sequin embellishments. Having all this time on my hands has made me anxious to make stuff. I'm trying very hard to keep new purchases from coming into the house so I'm looking at what I can do with what I have. Lately I've been obsessed with giant paillettes and how I can use those to jazz up a clutch, bracelet, or tote.


    • Swimming Lessons. Officially, the first book I finished in 2018! The plot: a woman who went missing left handwritten notes in the books belonging to her writer husband. The mystery unravels steadily and very satisfyingly. It was a good one to start the year.

    • The read-a-thon calendar on Little Book Owl. Find one you can add to your calendar. And read like your life depends on it


    • West Cork series on Audible. Lately, like most of America, I've been totally into true crime podcasts. Years ago, the Mr. and I spent some time in West Cork (Kinsale!) and I made him drive all the way to Mizen Head. It was beautiful! This story, though, is pretty freaking creepy. The series is FREE until May 9. Chop! Chop!

    • Like I said, SO MANY true crime podcasts.
      -I've also been obsessing over Missing Maura MurrayI remember when she went missing! One second she was in a car accident and then the next she was GONE. Tip: there are a ton of episodes so if you want most of the info, just listen to the ones from the Oxygen series.

      -Crawlspace. Especially the series on the missing Boston men who were eventually discovered in the water near where we used to live. I would half joke with The Super Mr. that I was going to make him wear a flotation device when he went out at night. But it's possible these cases might be CONNECTED.

      -Atlanta Monster. Remember the Atlanta child killings?? Well the guy they said did it, was never charged for any of the murders of the kids, only the adults. What??

      -Season 4 of Someone Knows Something. Someone sent a bomb to this guy in Canada with a weird-ass note. Every episode makes me think, "OK, THIS guy killed him!" 

      -Up and Vanished. They made an arrest in this case last year, but if you don't know anything about the puzzling disappearance of teacher Tara Grinstead, give this a listen.

    • Above and Beyond's Common Ground. I often put this on with my noise-blocking earphones for napping -- it's a little over an hour in it's entirety and has been perfect background noise for sleeping. Eluvium's Prelude for Time Feelers, and Lindstrom's space disco, Tensionsare also great for background noise -- with totally different vibes.

    • This eerie Omens playlist on Spotify. It starts with "Walking Through the Upside Down" from the Stranger Things soundtrack.

    Eating + Drinking:

    • Protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber. My diet has basically been eggs, chicken and turkey, almond butter, Trader Joe's Hi-Protein Veggie Burgers, Greek yogurt (I especially like the Chobani "hint of" flavors), Kashi wheat cereal, and this juice smoothie (watch out for the sugar content though!). The body needs protein to heal!

    • Fish Taco Summer Tour. I LOVE a good fish taco but I am particular about what I like -- crispy fish and the perfect ratio of fixings. I've already started testing my criteria at different places and have started a short ranking system. Follow along on the gram this summer!

    • Organic Madagascar dark chocolate (85% cacao) and dried mandarins from Trader Joe's. I don't have a huge sweet tooth (I'm more of a salty crunchy snacker) but sometimes you just need a little boost. This combo is so yummy.


    • NOT LEARNING. I read this and thought, YES! This is exactly what I need. I am one of those people who never finishes things. I LOVE to start a new project -- all that newness and research and synapses firing. Inevitably, I lose interest and move on to the next thing. This idea of just going deep with what I have makes so much sense. 


    • Golden Warm Liquid Meditation. I've combined this with a section of my pre-surgery meditation to create a few minutes of calm and peace in my day. The pre-surgery guide instructs me to visualize my "higher self"  -- which strangely looks exactly like Cher in her "Believe" video  -- pouring warm healing light over me. My visualization of this is VERY sparkly. And I always feel better afterwards. Try it!


    • John Waters' Christmas card last year. Just wanted to make sure you all saw it!

    • My solar-powered rainbow maker. I attached mine to our front living room window. As soon as the sun hits it, there are rainbows everywhere. And if I'm really lucky, the sun also hits one of my disco balls and it's rainbow disco hour!

    • Chief Flamingo Officer! Baha Mar is looking for someone to take care of their flamingos. Why didn't someone tell me this was a career possibility?

    • My Trefle Otter Box cover for my phone. So summer-y!

    • Geronimo and the NYC Ballet. Dazzling! (Small brag here: I boogied with Jihan at a space-themed party in Palm Springs. She was dressed as a fancy space-y alien and I was dressed as one of my favorite things in the universe, the sun.) For the record, because you all know how much I HATE finding balloons on the beach, she uses biodegradable balloons and disposes of them responsibly.

    • Shiny metallic accessories. This bag. This purse. These slides


    • Stagnant juju. After being mostly house-bound for months -- partially because of healing and partially because of those six million freakin' nor'easters in a row, I needed to change up the energy in our house. Tired of sage and palo santoing, I found a fir stick to clear out the bad energy. Unfortunately, I bought the last one. Here's something similar. 

    • Anything complicated. I'm keeping it simple. Rest, good food, hydration, fuzzy snuggles, meditation, and time with my support network. The rest can go for now. Also, I finally found a daily tracker app called Done to help me make sure I'm drinking enough water and doing the habit-type stuff I want to make part of my basic routine. And it's color-coded!


    • Many Moons 2018 (Jan-June) Workbook. This was SOLD OUT all over the place but I managed to track down a copy at The Alchemist's Kitchen. The next version is available for pre-order and it's the last one she'll produce in this format. 

    • Embracing my new health prerogative. One of the upsides of my health status (which is best described as neither sick nor healthy) is that I seem to have been given the option of traveling in the fast lane for medical intervention. Even though surgery isn't quite in the rearview mirror, I'm turning my attention to the next phase, which will give me access to tests not normally given at my age and to medical specialists in Boston. 

    Planning + Organizing:

    • SUNSHINE. We currently have THREE warm weather trips booked!! It was a tough choice to forgo our usual March trip because of my surgery (we could have gone but I wouldn't have been able to go in the water ... what IS the point then?). We'll be making up for it, though, with two trips to Negril, Jamaica -- the most awesomest place on earth that isn't Ptown -- and one to the Caribbean side of the DR, Bayahibe.

    • THE FUTURE. Even though it will take a while for me to feel like I'm no longer in this weird limbo period, I feel like I can start planning ahead again! Everything was on hold for SO long but now I am planning day trips here and there, those warm weather trips, outfits and costumes for the Ptown season, my next career move, our garden this year. SO MANY THINGS! 

    Fur Mama-ing:

    • Canine Cancer Genome Project. Did you know that 50% of dogs who die after age 10, have cancer? If you love your pup, consider donating a few dollars to the scientific research they are doing to map canine cancers.

    • The spycam at the local doggie daycare. We've had to take Stephen to the Provincetown Pet Resort during my activity restriction periods. I got to watch what he was doing on their webcam app, though. Sometimes I watched a bit TOO much!

    Extra Credit:

    I've collected so many interesting things over the last few months that I have a few posts in the hopper to share with you in the coming weeks. See you back here soon!

    Note: You may have noticed the "Resisting" section of this newsletter is missing. I've chosen to block out the political nastiness and horrible news in the world in order to create the best healing environment for myself. 




  • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 16

    I know this is one of the busiest times of the year for many of you, so save this one for the plane or car ride, or if you need a break from the family cheer. And, because it is the holidays, I'm starting off with a special this-edition-only topic ...


    • Years ago, we got smart about gifting in our family after we spent one too many holidays opening gifts for HOURS. Now, we pick names, set a dollar limit, and send out wishlists. I usually put practical items on my list. If I were to do an extravagant indulgence list, here are a few things that would be on there:

      -Frederick and Mars incense and beeswax candles (OK, fine! I ordered these for myself already. But only because they were on sale.)
      -Seed + Mill Vegan Tasting Pack (I love their halva!)
      -Death Star Disco Ball (I'm pretty sure I NEED this.)
      -Towel Warmer (how wonderful would it be to have a heated towel every time you step out of the shower?)
      -Faye Orlove's Celeb Goddess Tarot Deck (I've been looking for a tarot deck that speaks to me.)
      -Frida by Ishiuchi (such an expensive book, but I love the photos of her clothes.)
      -Blue chalcanthite crystal. (I'd prefer a natural one to one grown in a lab, but they are all gorgeous!)
      -Gemini Espresso Maker (The GREEN one only at MoMA.)
      -This incense hut. (Right now I put my incense on the brick fireplace ledge. Something more secure would be helpful.)

    Thinking About:

    • Crystals, witches, and tribal magic. Lately, I've been into non-science-y solutions and remedies. It's my equal and opposite reaction to all the medical information I've consumed this past year. Guess I'm seeking balance in the force. Here are some interesting resources I came across in my search for woowoo healing: Crystal Cactus, Hauswitch, Blackbird.

    Thankful For:


    • Sea Oak pilot on Amazon Prime. Oh my word! I should have known that George Saunders would bring the weird and Glenn Close would make it spectacular. It was just announced that none of the Amazon pilots were picked up, even this one. So enjoy the tiny bit that we have.

    • The Pink Dragon Temple. What a magical structure!

    • The Last Jedi. I do not care one bit what anyone says, I LOVED IT! So many surprises sprinkled around all the things you want from a Star Wars movie: laser sword battles, punny wink wink nod nod dialogue, the struggle of good vs. evil, fun new worlds to explore, and Chewbacca (true story: the first time I saw The Force Awakens, I thought Chewy had died in an explosion and I worried about it so much that I barely paid attention for the entire last third of the movie. Also, I had a Chewy action figure when I was a kid. He will always be my favorite.) 


    • The holiday cheese board. The Mr. is the chef in our family but I have been assigned the cheese board the past few years.  And this year, the CRUDITE platter has been added to my list of responsibilities. I always overdo it and am trying really hard to keep it to a few quality items, arranged in dramatic fashion, of course.

    • New winter solstice celebration. We've never really done anything celebratory to mark the important milestone of having made it through the darkest days. This year seems like a perfect time to start. We'll light a fire in the fireplace. Keep all the artificial lights off. Light our candles. What do you guys do?

    • Glitterizing my 25 cent yard sale plastic llama.



      • Kaskade's Christmas. A good addition to the non-traditional Christmas music collection. Wish it was a little less traditional carol-y.

      • This "Winter Feels" playlist on Spotify. Not one of these songs is something I would normally listen to, but taken as a whole, it's great background music on a cold, grey day.

      • So many kickass podcasts.
        -Someone Knows Something. I binged all three seasons in a row! Unsolved mysteries at their best.
        -Slow Burn. I clearly had no idea how Watergate actually went down. This podcast has left me agape -- so cray-cray!
        -"The Sorting Hat" episode of Hidden Brain. All about personality tests. I'm an INFJ.  I am also qualified to administer the MBTI.

      Eating + Drinking:

      • "Eating Cheese Every Day May Actually Be Good for You." This is THE highlight of 2017 for me, folks.

      • Fat Balls. Admittedly, I haven't actually made these yet, but I think they will be good nourishment snacks to stock the freezer with in preparation for my surgery. 

      • Local honey. The Mr. and I both battled colds recently. I drank lots of my go to tea with honey. I found a local farm that produces honey from bees who use the natural flora out here. 


      • New words.
        -anomie. noun. lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group
        -bicameral. adjective. (of a legislative body) having two branches or chambers
        -canard. noun. an unfounded rumor or story

      • "Tips for Keeping Houseplants Alive This Winter." I failed at this last year and lost most of my succulents. I'm determined to nurse the replacements through this winter.


      • Tree incense. I've always thought incense was a little too hippy dippy, but I love how this seven tree sampler makes my house smell like a forest.

      • Candle focusing. Staring at a lot of flames these days.

      • Jólabókaflóð. I am so wishing I had learned about Iceland's Yule Book Flood in time to incorporate it into our own family celebration this year. I love the idea of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and then curling up in front of the fire to read them right away.



      • Tinnitus. Do you have this problem? I think I've had a slight ringing in my ears for a long time, but lately I've really noticed it. My family doesn't have the best hearing so maybe I have hearing loss. Or maybe it was the dental work I had last year. Or this lingering cold that won't go away. In any case, these are some interesting ways to handle it.


      • Drybrushing. I was a failed drybrusher -- having tried it maybe six times in the past -- but the habit never stuck. I got myself a good brush and have found a place for it next to my toothbrush so I can actually remember to do it.

      • Black tourmaline. I bought one to live in front of my TV, which is the only place Donald Trump can enter my cozy abode. It absorbs that nastiness right up. These days we need all the protection we can get.

      Planning + Organizing:

      • Jamaica. Because of my surgeries, we won't be able to go to Jamaica in March like we planned. It will be the first birthday in seven years that I spend in the US. We had booked a return to our favorite resort Couples Negril. I'm sad but I know we'll go back the following year instead. AND, we are taking my niece to Jamaica for her 18th birthday/graduation present this summer. More on that after I finalize the details.

      Fur Mama-ing:

      • Kurgo reversible dog coats. Stephen has three of these. They provide a layer of warmth without being bulky, as well as a layer of protection when it's actively snowing or raining. They are really easy to put on and to clean. If you are looking for a good solid coat for your dog, check them out.

      • Musher's Secret. Stephen is not the kind of dog that tolerates shoes. The Mr. mentioned he was whimpering and favoring his paws during their morning walks so I got out a tub of Musher's Secret, which is self-descriptive. Mushers use it on their sled dog's feet to protect them and keep those little snowballs from forming. Seems to be working!

      • Holiday bandana. Stephen came home from the groomer's with a jaunty little scarf the other week and I decided he needed one for the holidays. He looked so cute. I found this terrific one on Etsy.


      • Critical Reading/Listening
        "I Study Liars. I've Never Seen One Like Donald Trump." "Most humans, most of the time, believe other people. That's our default setting. Usually, we need a reason to disbelieve." SO MANY REASONS!

        More Perfect podcast. Season two's "American Pendulum" episodes about the Dred Scott case are haunting. The gerrymandering episode is also very informative.

        "This Impeachment Carol is Everything!" EVERYTHING!

      • Action.
        Use these words as much as possible: fetus, transgender, diversity, vulnerable, entitlement, science-based, and evidence-based.

      Extra Credit:

      Hope you all have a wonderful, safe, and stress-free holiday!




    • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 15

      We have a wreath on our door and a small undecorated tree sitting in the middle of our living room. It's not that I'm not feeling it. The thought of putting it all away again in a few weeks makes me feel so very weary. Plus, I'm determined to keep it chill this month. How about you? 

      Thinking About:

      • What I would grab in an emergency. This article, detailing what people who had to flee the fires in California took with them, got me thinking. I will admit that I have a "go bag" of practical items stored by the front door -- actually two (one for Stephen's gear). Other items I would gather: every disco ball I could carry, a small blue vase I've had since I was a child, my plants, Glitter Fox, my swimsuits, my sequined clothes collection, and a Hubley dog bookend that was my Nana's. Have you thought about what you would save? Maybe we should make a list.

      • The burden of being an empath. What a relief to finally find something that describes how I experience the world. I always thought there was something deficient in me when I found myself devastatingly overwhelmed by other people's tragedies, the never-ending interpersonal conflicts, their life-threatening health challenges -- especially when it was my JOB to carry these things. Since I left HR, moved out to a tiny town, and have limited most of my daily interaction to my husband and my dog, I have felt a gazillion times better.

      Thankful For:

      • Female medical professionals. I recently had minor surgery. When I walked myself into the operating room, I looked around and realized I had an all-female team. It was very empowering to be surrounded by their energy as I crawled onto the table. Next thing I knew it was snack time (which I was apparently VERY enthusiastic about.) I felt so supported by that team and feel lucky I had that group of women caring for me that day.


      • An Honorable Woman. If you have not seen this yet, clear your schedule. It's a riveting political thriller that captures you from the very first horrifying scene. I don't want to spoil any of it for you so I'll keep this vague. But, be prepared, it's painful.

      • This short film about how Heather Day creates her artwork. She schleps her art tools out into remote areas of nature. The results -- as well as the process itself -- are stunning!

      • Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. Friends, I have a confession to make: I am Christmas-movied OUT. They made too many movies. TOO MANY! (However, for the adventurous and/or foolhardy here's a companion drinking game. We're planning to turn it into a bingo game for the family when everyone is here over the holidays.)


      • My niece's advent grab bag. If you've been following along for awhile, you know that I put together a (not so little) advent grab bag for my niece every year. She gets to pick one of 24 wrapped gifts to open each day of December, leading up to Christmas. It's become one of my favorite things to do each year! 

      • My 2018 calendar on Artifact Uprising. I gave up on my regular search for the perfect calendar a few years ago and now make my own using my Instagram photos. It's easy, quick, and the calendars turn out great! Tip: be sure to use the editing tools provided to lighten your photos. I forgot to do that last year and the photos ended up a little dark!


      • Cassandra daily newsletter. I find it fascinating to see what the youngsters are up to these days. For instance, millennials want to live where they work. As a former live-in nanny, I can tell you that there are a million reasons why that is a bad idea. (Like if you want to leave your job, you have to leave your home, too.) Anyway, Google and Facebook are building DORMS for their employees. Subscribe, so you can learn about these things, too.

      • R. Eric Thomas' newsletter. He is saving my life right now. He makes me laugh, as the kids say, out loud. If you like snappy, slightly bitchy commentary on the week's events, you'll love him, too!

      • The Secret Lives of Color. Ever since I was a kid collecting paint chips at the store, I have LOVED color. These short histories of colors -- like cerulean and celadon and heliotrope --- are really interesting.

      • Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations by Richard Wagamese. I've been on a bit of a Native American/First Nation wisdom search lately. Not sure if it's because I've been learning more about the Wampanoags around the Cape or the fact that I just finished the last season of Longmire (I still don't understand why I LOVE that show.)

      • Nina McLaughlin's time-limited weekly Novembrance column in The Paris Review. November has always felt a little sad to me. The days are short, the sun barely rises in the sky, and everything turns BROWN. But there is this: "The eleventh month, getting darker, getting colder, echoes our own eventual winding down and gives chance to live in the richest, deepest way."


      • "Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65%." AND there is a ten song Spotify playlist linked in there that includes the ten most relaxing songs on the planet. 

      • Anjunadeep 09. My favorite compilation is back for a 9th go-round. (I still think Anjunadeep 02 is the best one.)

      • The Polybius Conspiracy podcast. Boy was I PISSED when I found out this was mostly fake! I will admit that towards the end I Googled it because I was starting to get suspicious. The dialogue seemed a bit off. If I had known it was not a documentary from the beginning, I would have skipped it.

      • Colorsplash Mixes. You've probably figured out by now that I like electronic music. It's probably an 80s-kid thing. Each one of these playlists has a color-themed title. If you like house music, you'll love these! Beach Glass is a good one to start with.

      Eating + Drinking:

      • Collagen. I will admit that I overheard a conversation at my salon that made me want to try this. They were raving about how thick the client's hair had gotten. And all because she adds a couple teaspoons of powdered collagen to her coffee every morning. I'm doing the same.

      • Mandarin oranges. Is there a more perfect snack for this time of year? I like the ones from Trader Joes -- super tiny and very sweet!

      • The annual holiday menu tryouts. Every year around this time, the Mr. tries out new recipes for Christmas. So far the stars have been: Cranberry-Hazelnut Green Bean Salad and an amazing hominy casserole.


      • New words.
        -chthonic. adjective. concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld
        -effulgence. noun. radiant splendor; brilliance
        -prolix. adjective. (of speech or writing) using or containing too many words; tediously lengthy

      • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals. I told you I was on a Native American wisdom kick. I learned how to discover my animal guides. There are nine of them, but two walk through life with you. The thought of my right and left guides -- a hawk and an opossum, respectively -- walking into the operating room with me amuses me to no end. 



      • Cocofloss. Remember when I said how much I hate flossing? Well now I'm obsessed with it and floss constantly. This floss is better than any of the other kinds I've tried. I especially love the strawberry version, but the cara cara orange is fun, too. 

      • Ren products. I recently treated myself to a very personalized facial at Supple Apothecary in Orleans. My skin has been problematic since I started some new medication in late spring -- lots of weird bumps and these tiny little tears on the surface. The facial was perfection, Alison was so sensitive to my situation, and I left with products from the Evercalm and Vita Mineral lines that have vastly improved my problems. Locals, get yourself there!

      • White Noise app. The night before my surgery we stayed in Hyannis. I brought ALL my pillows with me and recreated my home oasis in the hotel room, did my final round of Preparing for Surgery meditation, and then set my White Noise app to "ocean waves" to play all night. While I didn't have the best night sleep of my life, it was WAY better than I usually sleep right before something super scary. 


      • Moisture from my car. I've only used DampRid when we travel to warm places where I hang it in the closet with my clothes (after a week that thing is FULL of water.) My car was feeling a bit humid so I hung one in the back seat. It filled slowly with water and it definitely made an improvement.

      • TouchRetouch app. You know when you find the perfect set up for a photo but there is car parked next to it or a person standing in the way? This app REMOVES those things! 


      • Inner Snow Days. The world is so turbulently upsetting right now. I've been craving silence. And super cuddly soft warm clothes. I'm cranking the heat and nurturing fires in the fireplace. I've started using my selenite wand to cleanse my TV (because that is where all the ugly lives). And incensing my space. I'm cleaning out cabinets and dusting up a storm, discarding anything that is blocking my chi. And treating every day like I'm a kid who just found out she's having a snow day!

      Planning + Organizing:

      • More surgery. In this era of health care terrorism, I wasn't sure if I would share any of this here. It feels unsafe. But not sharing would feel slightly dishonest and I come here to express my truth. So I've decided to share the fact of it but not the details at this point. It's not minor. And it's actually more than one. Most of 2018 will be about healing for me. In the meantime, I'm preparing myself (emotionally, mentally, and physically) and my space (putting up all my disco balls where they'll catch the light, cleaning, testing out the new remote control recliner that will be my bed for awhile, sorting through my clothes to find those with zippers and buttons down the front and trying on my silver glittered turban for when my hair is super gross because I won't be able to shower FOR WEEKS.) 

      • Mercury went retrograde AGAIN (December 3-22). Here's "How to Handle a Holiday Retrograde." 

      Fur Mama-ing:

      • Auto-shipping from Even though we try so very hard to buy local, Stephen's food and snacks are just too expensive. I have an auto-shipment scheduled to come every 6-8 weeks with his Blue Buffalo food and his favorite treats. 

      • Defending against coywolves. The other night I pulled into our driveway after dark and walked down to get the mail. A shadowy figure ran past me down our street. "Coyotes" out here have mostly wolf DNA. They are big and they are aggressive. I took Stephen out later that night and the thing came running right at us. Luckily, I had this super compact flashlight with me that has a strobe feature and it turned and ran the other way. 


      • I returned my Al Franken audiobook. I'm super mad at him. Because he's a yucky jerk and we needed him. (I exchanged it for Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View because a Galaxy Far, Far Away has been my place of refuge all year. Unless of course Luke turns out to be evil in this next film, then I am DONE. I've had enough Men-Who-Suck.)

      • Critical Reading.
        "Four Quitters Walk Into a Bar ..." "I mean, speaking for myself, I loved my job. I was more than content to be a bureaucrat for the rest of my life. And, frankly, I hope to go back into public service when the coast is clear." (Aren't we all just waiting for the coast to be clear??)

        Rufus Gifford is running for Congress! I really hope he gets elected. And not just because his husband was a vet in Provincetown in the summers and fixed my boo boo's paw when he cut it on an oyster shell. 

        "We'll Be Paying for Mark Halperin's Sins for Years to Come." "Halperin is the single journalist most responsible for Donald Trump." Ugh.

      Extra Credit:

      I'm planning to post more frequently in the weeks leading up to my surgery, because after that, I may need to take a break. Or I may be so bored, you'll see me here every day. Thanks for reading and good luck with your holiday preparations!


    • 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!


      • 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.)


      • 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.


      • "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.


      • 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.


      • 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!


      • 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.


      • 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.


      • The 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.")


      • 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!


      • 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.


    • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 13

      These days it doesn't take much to send me back under the covers, googling medical terms, and hiding from the world. Last week was grey and super windy as Hurricane Jose twirled and whirled just off the Cape. This week it's 80 something degrees and humid. Everything seems disjointed, out of season, and just off. Even the things that usually soothe my soul, like snuggling with my boo or planning our next trip to a warm place, aren't working. Writing often helps. So here goes ...

      Thinking About:

      • The devastation in the Caribbean. One of my Facebook friends was on the first flight to PR. I cheered her on as she posted photos of gathering her mother and bringing her right back to Boston. She shared a video of everyone clapping when the plane took off. It was the first bit of good news out of Puerto Rico that I've seen. Please, please help if you can. Here are some resources:

        -Watch this list of Caribbean tourism updates. Best way to support their recovery is to go visit when they are up and running. We usually bring donations with us in our suitcases (a lot of resorts have "pack with purpose" programs so you can bring exactly what is needed in each area.)
        -How to Help Victims of Hurricane Maria
        -What You Can Do to Help the Caribbean Now -- and Later.
        -Give to The Sato Project. Before we found Stephen, the Mr. and I put in an application for a sato named Muffin who had been rescued by this group. Muffin ended up being adopted by her foster mom and we were rewarded with His Cuteness, Stephen. But I've continued to follow the efforts of this incredible rescue group.
      • This tweet from Anne Lamott: "Don't let anyone get you to hate them." Just sit with that a moment. 
      • When things come into your life just when you need them. It's amazing, isn't it? I'm going to have to be cryptic here (at least for now) but I was listening to a podcast that I listen to only occasionally and at the very end was an interview with someone who had just gone through what I was currently grappling with. I cried. And then I followed all the breadcrumbs left for me in that interview and found my way through some of the struggle. 

      Thankful For:

      • My Cape Cod medical team. When I lived in Boston, I lived RIGHT NEXT to the best hospital in the US and was surrounded by the best medical professionals anywhere. But I rarely needed them. Fast-forward to our move to the Cape, and all of a sudden I needed doctors and specialists for all sorts of issues. I've amassed a team of thirteen now and every single one of them is TERRIFIC! There's something about the care that is a little more accessible here, a little less factory-ish. I get more than 3 minutes with them (swear to God, one appointment I had with a dermatologist at MGH was less than that -- and included her freezing something off my head!). And they are getting to know me as a person, not just my medical needs.


      • This video for Above & Beyond's "My Own Hymn." I kind of want to live inside it! And I highly recommend all of Above & Beyond's music when you need to feel some positivity in your life. Someday I will go see them live.

      • Gaga: Five Foot Two. I watched this the day it came out. I am grateful I do not have a chronic illness like she does, but I do have chronic pain. I am amazed by her artistry, the way her mind works, and how much of an inspiration she is to people. She suffers, though. It's tough to watch.

      • The Sinner, Top of the Lake: China Girl, and The Five. What a triumvirate of intriguing murder mysteries! Line 'em up for some good binge-watching.


      • My chronic pain library. I've been busy behind the scenes writing content for the chronic pain section on this site and have just published a resource list. I spent so much of the past two years figuring things out on my own and would like to share this with people who need it. There's more to come, including my own pain story, how I manage "painsomnia," a list of tiny lifestyle changes that have added up to big impacts for me, travelling with chronic pain, and other topics.


      • Dangerous Boobies. There's nothing funny about cancer. But this young woman makes the fear of getting cancer very real and actually very funny. While I chuckled through her book, I cried through her docuseries, "Screw You Cancer." I also recommend you read "Know Your Body, Know Your Risk, Know Your Plan" to figure out what you need to do now to get on top of breast and ovarian cancer. 

      • Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. I've only just started this but I am finding it mesmerizing. I always thought surfing would be an amazing thing to do, but I'm terrified of sharks. And those jerks are all over the place out here. One was only 10 FEET from the shoreline last week. That's two of me!

      • Moominsummer Madness. Did you read the Moomin books when you were a kid? It's kooky and kinda weird but I just love those plump Moomins.


      • The audiobook version of Hillary Clinton's What Happened. Oh boy! What to say? I felt like I needed to hear her read me this story so I opted for the audiobook. You can really tell what pisses her off the most. I was especially compelled by the chapters on the Russian intervention. I've always deeply admired her, have been in her corner, and will continue to be, no matter what anyone else says.

      • Sincerely, X podcast. These are anonymous TEDtalks! The stories are potentially dangerous or embarrassing or hurtful to the people telling them so the identities of the storytellers are protected. 

      • Grapefruit Sound Lab. These guys came to Ptown this summer (I missed them when I was in NYC.) I love their 80s New Wave sound!

      Eating + Drinking:


      • New words.
        -revanche -- noun. revenge; especially a political policy designed to recover lost territory or status
        -discorectangle -- noun. Or, a stadium, is a two-dimensional geometric shape constructed of a rectangle with semicircles at a pair of opposite sides

      • Being Fearless Conference from Omega Institute. After 9/11, I went to the first of these conferences in NYC. I saw amazing speakers like Carolyn Myss, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mia Farrow, and Valerie Plame Wilson. This year's is totally ONLINE and costs only $5! Here's the incredible line up: Van Jones, Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman, Cornell West, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Opal Tometi, and more.


      • Yep we're done summering and are back to hygge-ing! Storm preparations seem to have cut short our deck time as we put stuff away a bit earlier than usual. Our tomato plants are just about done, some of my summer plants are turning, and the leaves are starting to accumulate in the yard. This year, though, we have a LEAF BLOWER! No more raking and sweeping the deck!


      • Pouches designed by independent artists. A unique clutch can totally make a simple outfit extraordinary. Since I can no longer wear super fancy shoes, I've turned my attention to this little accessory. Here are a few that I found (and I bought the Frida Kahlo one in the large size!)

      Top from left to right:1. Cool Giraffe 2. Mid-Century Lime Green Minimalist Sunset 3. Frida Kahlo Portrait
      Middle from left to right 4. Surrealists 5. Orange in a Rainbow 6. Sunny Rainbow 
      Bottom from left to right 7. Indigo Floral 8. Hipster Hillary 9. Orange Split Sun


      • Wedding ring rash. A couple of years ago I started to develop a rash under my wedding bands. Apparently, it's pretty common. For me it usually happens when I'm not careful washing my hands and get soap stuck under there. I have to go without my rings for a bit and I've found a little Lucas Papaw Ointment on the rash helps.

      • Noise. I'm super sensitive to noise and finally bought myself some industrial strength noise-blocking ear muffs. I wear them when I'm writing mostly, but sometimes for reading and sometimes just to give myself some space.


      • New FitBit. The Mr. bought upgraded our Fitbits and I have to say I love being able to see how much of each type of sleep I've gotten. The other night I spent 28% of my time in REM sleep and woke up feeling super refreshed! Wish I could figure out how to make that a nightly thing.

      Planning + Organizing:

      • My Three-Day Reading Marathon Retreat. I did not plan ahead well enough on this one. Originally, I was hoping to recreate the reading vacations I used to have in the summer. When we lived in Boston and we'd come to my moms' place here in Ptown for vacation, I always arrived with a tote bag filled with books. I would read 10 in a two-week period. Now I barely read 10 in a year. I also didn't have more than three days in a row in the summer that didn't have obligations. Turns out I'll be having some enforced down time shortly, which may lend itself very well to a reading "retreat."

      Fur Mama-ing:

      • Easy Walk Harness. Stephen, all 28 lbs. of him, used to be a nightmare to walk. He'd pull constantly on his harness, like a sled dog trying to get to whatever was in his sights at the moment (usually a squirrel or a seagull.) I switched out his usual harness for this one, which attaches in the front, and we have not had a problem since! It completely changed our walking experience. 

      • Early greying. So Stephen is just about 4 years old and his muzzle is greying. It's on my list to discuss with the vet next month at this annual visit but I, of course, checked it out online. Turns out greying before 4 is common in anxious, reactive dogs. Stephen is most definitely NOT that. (As I write this he is four paws in the air on his back, snoozing away.) In any case, I read that playing light classical music is very soothing to dogs. Turns out Stephen loves it and we both have super chill days when the music is on.


      • My finger hovered over the "deactivate account" button on Facebook again. My latest frustrations were around the fact that I saw very few posts about the healthcare battle or the lack of attention on the plight of our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. BUT people came out of the woodwork to share their opinions about the NFL protest. Did this happen on your feed too or is it just mine? 

      • "The First White President." Ta-Nehisi Coates is right again.

      • Hellbent podcast. You all know I LOVE my Crooked Media guys but sometimes they can just be a little too, you know ... bro-ish. The ladies at Hellbent give the same kind of commentary with just a little less of that guy thing.

      Extra Credit:

      Thanks for reading! I hope to be back here soon with more recommendations and distractions!



    • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 12

      Um, Summer? Where did you go?? My favorite season whizzed right by this year and I'm not quite sure what happened. In years past I spent the end of Labor Day Weekend sobbing on the boat back to Boston but now that we live here, I am ELATED that we have Townie Summer (you all call it fall) and we can get back to the small town life cadence after the crowds.

      Thinking About:

      • Surviving the chaos. It's been all-consuming lately, hasn't it? It takes an enormous amount of energy and effort to keep the current insanity from burning up all that is good in our world. Our brains and spirits need time and space to heal. I've been fantasizing about living an off-the-grid life like Aziz Ansari. Short of that, I've made significant changes in what I allow into my life and it has helped:

        I've hunkered down -- spending time with people I like, spoiling my dog, tending to my plants, and enjoying my natural surroundings.

        I took Twitter off my phone. No more scrolling through other people's panic.

        I massively limited what shows up in my Facebook feed. The truth: I unfollowed 75% of what was in my feed. It's down to mostly videos of dogs.

        We started watching Frasier re-runs instead of the news. I get my information elsewhere and in small doses.

        I've reintroduced daily dance parties into my routine.

        I've figured out what I would normally be spending my time and energy on if things were normal and just do that.

        What are you guys doing to keep your lives from imploding these days??     
      • My inner city mouse. Part of my hunkering down has included staying in Provincetown as much as possible. I hate leaving it. Last month, however, I went to NYC with my sister, niece, and one of her besties. I had some time in Boston and was able to reconnect with that part of myself that loved that life. I don't miss it, oddly, but I do appreciate the ability to go somewhere, be surrounded by people, and still be anonymous. I loved that. Here, everyone knows everyone. There is no privacy. But I wouldn't trade this for anything -- even if I have replaced alerts on my phone for the next red line train with alerts for the latest great white shark sightings.

      Thankful For:

      • Living in a town with a pet-friendly emergency shelter. I cannot imagine how terrifying it is to have to leave your home in order to save your life. And I cannot even begin to fathom how devastating it would be to have no place to go with your pets. The photos from Houston and the Caribbean have been incomprehensible. I just can't get my mind around the tragedy, and the heroism, and the ENORMITY of it all. I've started updating our disaster plans and have focused on this helpful resource: Make a Disaster Plan for Your Pets.

      • Stephen's morning squad. Because the afternoons have been too warm for my little boo, we've been heading to the dog park each morning. We found the most wonderful pack of local dogs that hang out there at a certain time. I LOVE watching them play, Stephen has a blast, and the people there are fun. Even if I'm in a mood when we pull into the parking lot, I'm always lighthearted and joyful when I leave. 


      • Okja. I sobbed throughout this whole film. SOBBED. The whole 120 minutes. Bonus that Steve Yeun is in it and I loved reading about his experience in this film! 

      • Jim Carrey: I Needed Color. I'm jealous of this man's brain. Imagine being so unencumbered by norms that you get to be super freaking funny AND an amazing artist! I especially love his sculpture, which isn't featured as prominently in this short video. Look for it!

      • This video of blue whales feeding. At the top of my bucket list is "See a blue whale." I'm not sure if I'll ever be lucky enough to see one.

      • Schlock. I've been glued to my set watching junk TV this summer: Siesta Key (not quite Laguna Beach but I'll take it), Below DeckBachelor in Paradise (Dean is a dog), Famously Single, and The Challenge (how about that Veronica and Rachel news?) As they say, hashtag sorry not sorry.




      • The "Rachel Maddow Fixed the Piña Colada" episode from The Sporkful. Rachel has some very specific ideas about cocktail garnishes! Here is her piña colada recipe. 

      • Local Provincetown Summer DJ Chris Hamilton's Disco House mixes on Mixcloud. Set 1 and Set 2. For when you just need to bust a move. And for when you want to bust a move while washing the dishes: RuPaul's Essential, Vol. 2 on Apple Music.

      • The Maggie Haberman episode on Longform podcast. Surprising. She's not what I imagined. But I did clearly get the burden that she carries being the person that Trump will talk to in the press. A fascinating listen!

      • Moon Boots' First Landing. I'm a fan of most everything on the Anjunadeep label. This one has been my poolside soundtrack lately.

      • Afropop Worldwide podcast. Even though this has been around for awhile, I just discovered it. I'm catching up on all the episodes featuring music in the Caribbean or any sort of reggae. The episode, "Island Divided", is especially interesting and discusses the painful history between the two nations on the island of Hispaniola, Haiti and the DR.

      Eating + Drinking:

      • Truro Vineyards Rosé. Finally, a wine that both the Mr. and I --and pretty much anyone else we've ever served it to -- like. It's straight down the middle -- not too dry, not too sweet. Just right!

      • The Mr.'s blueberry handpies and tomato jam (made with ingredients from our own garden). He has been making these all summer and they are delicious!! 

      • Trader Joe's Coffee Syrup. I am guessing there are a ton of things you can do with this. But I just pour it over vanilla ice cream. Sometimes, I add a little chocolate syrup for a mocha effect. SO FREAKING GOOD.

      • Halva and tahini from Seed + Mill. Friends, if you are in NYC, brave the crowds at Chelsea Market to find this little stand in the corner. Or, just order some online.

      • Swedish sweets from Sockerbit. Raspberry rhubarb skulls, strawberry and vanilla twist licorice, rainbow sour patch ribbon. Do not -- and I cannot stress this enough -- DO NOT even think about trying the salty licorice


      • New words: 
        abecedarian -- adj. arranged alphabetically; noun. a person who is just learning; a novice.
        cavil -- verb. make petty or unnecessary objections
        heresiarch -- noun. the founder of a heresy or the leader of a heretical sect. (from this amazing interview with Roxane Gay.)

      • "When Your Plane's Engine Catches on Fire." I was once asked to be the "fire marshal" for my office. It came with a red hat, a clipboard, and responsibility for everyone else. I declined, telling them that they would see that red hat running away down Mass Ave before they even knew something was wrong. Sharing this with all of you so you don't get in my way. 


      • My new favorite sunscreen for when you don't want to feel like you are wearing sunscreen. It's a Japanese import so it takes a few extra days to ship (although you still get free shipping with Amazon Prime). I carry it around in my bag and use it when I'm walking around town or at the pool. (It's not waterproof in any way so you must reapply regularly if you are a swimmer.)

      • First pedicab ride in town. Ever. And then my second. Third and fourth. Not sure what took me so long since I was always a let's-get-a-cab person when I lived in the city.

      • I never got a beach pass. Which means I haven't been to the National Seashore during the day since the end of June. And it's the first time I've been without one since the 90's! With the parking lot mangled, I just didn't feel like fighting the crowds this year. And we have plenty of shoreline on this side of town.

      • Pontoon boat. FINALLY, we rented one! The Mr. had a gaggle of his college friends and their families here for a day and we all went out and puttered around the harbor. I would totally do that again and, honestly, I'm not quite sure why we never rent boats. Probably the same reason I never got that beach pass. 


      • That eclipse. I will admit I had NO intention of looking at that eye-burning apocalyptic event. The Mr. got a bunch of special glasses and left one for me, just in case. Curiosity made the cat go blind, as they say, and I couldn't resist peaking at it. SO FREAKING COOL! And while you were all listening to Bonnie Tyler, Stephen and I had this on repeat.

      • My Prime Day purchase. The Mr. bought an Echo (which I refuse to speak to. Cylons.) and a new Kindle Fire. Me? I bought a FAN! And I love it more than anything!! It's trained right on me when I go to sleep.

      • SFMOMa's "Send Me" Art by text. So clever and a great way to see some art. Favorites so far are "Caribbean" and "Aqua." 


      • Ticks. One morning I woke up and found a TICK attached to the back of my skull. So freaking gross! Luckily I had just seen the short film, Tick Days, and knew about the tick testing they do at UMass. I also knew I had just two weeks to have the best opportunity to treat potential Lyme disease. Those guys turned it around quickly and sent me an email with all the info. My tick had NO diseases. WHEW! Check out this article on climate change and the spread of Lyme disease. And for tips on how to keep yourself safe, read this.

      • So I guess we're not going to Mexico any time soon. Murder rates up in 2017, reports of tainted alcohol at some all-inclusives, photos in my Facebook groups of armed guards roaming the beaches in PDC, new safety guidelines at the airport for all flights into the US necessitating a 3 hour pre-flight arrival time (its already a fustercluck), and the recent addition of Quintana Roo to the State Department warnings (Also, what State Department? Is anyone left to do these things properly?) I'm so disappointed. And I blame that jerk in the White House.

      • Decluttering Burst. This is a really cool idea. The goal is to get rid of 100 things (10 from your junk drawer, 10 from the medicine closet, etc.) I'm setting aside some time this month to do it!


      • You may have noticed a design change around here. It took me maybe 20 minutes to complete. Virb, who hosts my site, makes it so very easy to manage these types of changes. Let me know what you think of the new look!

      Planning + Organizing

      • Second Summer (aka Townie Summer, aka Local Summer). I'm thinking about doing a whole post on this because the months of September and October are the BEST out here at the edge of the world. It stays warm-ish, the sun is pure brilliance, and the crowds thin down from a if-one-more-stroller-pops-in-front-of-me-I-am-going-to-lose-it to oh-look-a-parking-space levels. Check out my "This Month" at the bottom of the page for a glimpse at what just September looks like for us!

      Fur Mama-ing: New section for all you fellow dog mamas and papas out there!

      • This simple attachment that makes it easy to rinse off the sand and saltwater after Stephen swims. We have two of these and it has made our lives so much easier. When you live at the beach, your dog gets wet and sandy pretty much every day. Attach this to a 2 liter bottle filled with water. I leave them outside our door (water warms in the sun) and then transfer them to the car if we're heading out.

      • This poop bag holder attachment for walks. This is such a simple piece of plastic but it has made our walks to nowhere so much more pleasant. Instead of carrying Stephen's stinky poop bags on long walks (with no trashcans in sight), I attach it to this little contraption and have my hands free for the rest of the time (to take photos of course!)


      Extra Credit:



    • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 11

      Summer, summer, summerTIME! Summertime! Can you feel it??? It's been glorious around here lately. Sun twinkling off the water. Honeysuckle wafting along our little clamshell path. Sandy toes all day long. Gardens in major bloom. (Speaking of, I need to up my container game. You should see some of the ones around town!). This is my season, friends, and I am bursting! 

      Thinking About:

      • Blocking out the noise. I read this account of someone who quit Facebook and I loved everything in it! And all of it happened within SEVEN DAYS. Last August I took a break from Facebook and Twitter and I got so much done. I made a list of 50 things I wanted to do before the end of that month and I managed to finish 30 of them before a flare-up took me out of the game.

        All that garbage in the larger world is dragging me down so I'm focusing on this wee speck of a place for the rest of the summer. I'm not quitting anything but putting Twitter on hiatus and checking in on Facebook maybe once a week will be helpful. I'm turning off the news and the TV in general. Getting back to writing, reading, listening (not giving up my podcasts!), and wandering around outside while the days are long suits me quite nicely.

      • Cultural appropriation. OK, this is a tough one. And, I have to admit, it's a topic that confuses me. They should call it cultural misappropriation. I watched this from Ijeoma Oluo and it made me question some of my own choices. I love embroidered tunics that are Mexican in style, but I get that buying them from J Crew is problematic. J Crew makes money, not the local artisan who learned how to embroider from her mother using methods and traditions passed down through generations. I know this is a million times more complicated than what I stated here so, if like me, you want to continue to learn more, here are a couple articles:
        -Food and cultural appropriation.
        -7 Things You Might Not Realize Are Cultural Appropriation That Are. 

      Thankful For:

      • Our morning visitors on our deck. There is this adorable chipmunk that comes to eat his breakfast every morning. OK, it's stuff I put out for him, but still. I love watching him stuff his cheeks and then scamper off. Which he does on a loop: stuff, scamper, stuff, scamper. I even forgive him for digging in my fuschia. And the birds -- bluejays, cardinals, catbirds, sparrows, nuthatches, tufted titmice, chickadees -- have started to gather on the deck, waiting patiently for their snacks to arrive. I've come to appreciate them all. They are like my little outdoor pets.


      • Films at the Provincetown Film Festival. For years I would buy a pass to the festival and marathon my way through as many films as I could (sometimes five in one day!) but last year's issues with pain changed all that. I missed the festival completely last year and I decided to take a more sensible approach this year and see only a few. Here's what I saw:

        -Lost in Paris. I just loved this film! So funny. So charming. Kinda a cross between Wes Anderson and Mr. Bean.

        -The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha was an icon of the LGBTQ movement and she was found dead in the Hudson River. The film follows an inquiry into what really happened to her, revealing some deep, deep ugliness towards transpeople, even among the gay community. Netflix bought this so you'll be able to watch it soon.

      • The Keepers. It's incredible storytelling and so, so painful. A murdered nun -- an unsolved case -- and tales of horrible abuse. And coverup. (If you have watched it, here are some things that have happened since the series premiered. SPOLIERS!)

      • Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King. I was wholly unprepared for how funny and deeply wise his standup commedy/Oprah-like opining would be. Set aside some quiet time so you can really listen to what he has to say.


      • A weekly morning walks post on The Gram. We recently switched up our routine so that I have Stephen's morning walk. I love the relative quiet (and I do mean relative) of the mornings here and I take photos of everything. There's such good stuff so I'll be posting a bunch of photos once a week to share what I find.

      • A list of movies I want to rewatch. I'm feeling the need to dive into the familiar and coccoon myself until the meanies go away. Amiright? Here's my summer comfort movie list so far: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Some Kind of Wonderful, Pecker, Amelie, Saturday Night Fever, The First Wives Club, Funny Face, Monsoon Wedding, Remains of the Day, Lost in Translation.


      • Al Gore in Interview. "All I'm doing, all I have done for 40 years, is spend time with the best scientific experts, gain their confidence, and take advantage of their patience in explaining things to me over and over again in progressively simpler language that I can understand, so that I can read it back to them and get their sign off, where they say, 'Yep, that's it, Al. You've got it.'" 

      • "Eurovision Serenades a Continent in Crisis." Because I cannot let it go.

      • "12 Seconds of Gunfire." Take a deep breath before you read this. "In each shooting’s wake, the children and adults who die and those who murder them become the focus of intense national attention. Often overlooked, though, are the students who survive the violence but are profoundly changed by it."

      • "Rachel Maddow: The Rolling Stone Interview." She hangs out in Ptown.


      • Ezra Klein's interview with Masha Gesson on The Ezra Klein Show podcast. As much as anyone, I want the Russia thing to bring the whole sham of an administration down. Masha who is an expert on Putin and Russian stuff has a different perspective. Important listening.

      • Chromatics' "Cherry". Pang-inducing. So melancholy. So 80s. Like a John Hughes film.

      • Side Hustle School podcast. If you have any interest at all in starting your own little income stream, check this podcast out! Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Nonconformity tells us a 5-6 minute story every day about someone who started a side hustle -- from chicken saddles to fish tank reviews -- and makes additional income from it. 

      Eating + Drinking:

      • These delicious sticky rice chips. I am a big snacker and I especially love salty crispy and crunchy stuff. These little snacks are like the crunchy rice at the bottom of the pan. And they soak them in watermelon juice before crisping so they have a slightly sweet flavor. Really tasty!

      • The perfect crisps for your soft cheeses. They have thin slices of apricots in them. Super crunchy but with a bit of sweetness and perfect for a chevre or a St Andre. And for your summer snacks on the deck!


      • New word.
        -ostreaphile. noun. A lover of oysters.
      • The Alternative Tarot Course. I've still been drawing my daily card from my tarot app but I really want to learn how to do it myself. It's complicated and this course appeals to the rule-aversion part of me.


      • These essential items. Summer is my thing, as you all know, and I've invested a great deal of time and experience in finding just the right basics for the pool (or beach.) Here's what I'm using this summer:

        -the best sunscreen for your face, lips, and the rest of you 

        -the PERFECT beach/pool/resort bag. I have searched for years for just the right bag -- stylish, big enough to hold a ton of stuff, and water-resistant (I HATE when the pool drippage seeps into my bag when it's on the ground.) AND it folds into a small rectangle that you can easily pop in your suitcase but isn't flimsy like a Baggu. It's a super sturdy bag.

        - these waterproof zipper bags for organizing your stuff inside the above bag. I carry two: one for the messy stuff and one for the stuff that can get ruined by the messy stuff.

      • "Here's Why You Should Skip the Cheap Flip-Flops This Summer." See my last post with alternative suggestions for summer footwear.


      • "How to Apply Glitter Nail Polish the Right Way." Ohhhhh, that's how you do it?

      • Papa Velour. That man is everything. My heart was bursting watching his reactions to Sasha's performance (I had my hands in the air in touchdown formation every time she did a reveal, gasping from the awesomeness!). Follow Papa's Twitter

      • Writing Routines newsletter. Even if you aren't a writer, you might find this newsletter interesting. Lots of advice for when you need to write anything, which applies to most of us.

      • This somehow simple yet totally magical charcoal face cloth. I've noticed recently that it's harder to exfoliate my face -- it's both in need of regular attention (I guess cells don't turn over as quickly as we age) and more sensitive than ever.  I use this every day and I definitely feel like my skin is smoother because of it, and not red and raw.


      • Overpacking. I am a big believer in cross-packing (half my stuff, half the Mr.'s in each suitcase, just in case one goes missing) so I end up with twice the amount of stuff I need. This luggage audit article is helpful if you have the same problem.

      • Bone spur in the jaw! Again, file under "Why Don't They Tell You These Things?"  So it appears that after all that painful dental work, I have developed a bone spur which is growing out through my gum. If it doesn't correct itself, which apparently it can do after it just spontaneously and for no reason smooths over or it BREAKS OFF IN YOUR MOUTH, I head back to the oral surgeon for it to be filed down. 


      • Dealing with webtroversion. I'm a total webtrovert (introvert in real life but extraverted online.) When I first started sharing more of myself on the original Juniper Disco, it would freak me out when I was talking to people and they would refer to something I wrote, as if we had had an actual conversation about it. I was taken aback, every single time: "Wait, I didn't tell you that! Oh, right, you read it on my blog." Still freaks me out.  

      Planning + Organizing:


      • Seems there is SO much nastiness out there. The tax cut bill (some actually call it a "healthcare" bill.") The shooting at the Alexandria baseball field. The Investigation. Mitch McConnell's dangerously competent evilness. GROSS tweets. The fact that Russia is ok, but not Cuba (help me out on that one.) Jared Kushner's voice. But, all I want to do is read Roald Dahl books, watch Sliding Doors, and eat cheese dip. We all need a freakin' break from this!

      • Critical Reading.
        "A Couple of Reasons I've Been Depressed Lately." David Sedaris feels the same way we do about 45. He's just way funnier.

        "Why Donald Trump is Like This." "A lot is really explained by his self-image as a mischievous bad boy who gets in trouble but who has a certain charm to him, almost like a Dennis the Menace." Um, "CHARM?"

        "Power Causes Brain Damage." "Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury(!)—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view."

      • Action.
        Get digitally secure. So I recently got a notification that someone had my password and tried to log into my Google account. They blocked the bastard and quickly changed my password. So now I'm super paranoid. There are three steps listed in this newsletter you can take to make sure people aren't looking at your stuff. Jerks.

      Extra Credit:

      • George Church's narcolepsy.  "His condition has persuaded Church of the benefits of, even the need for, neurodiversity, meaning brains that work differently from most others. The world needs people with high-functioning autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder and, yes, narcolepsy, he has come to believe."

      • "Unanswered Questions About Tamerlan Tsarnaev." Like was he an FBI informant?

      • "America Made Me a Feminist." "But the American woman is told she can do anything and then is knocked down the moment she proves it." Paulina Porizkova's (the model, remember?) opinion piece is an eyeopener. I find myself thinking about what she has learned living in different countries about the power of women.

      Thanks for reading! Happy, happy SUMMER!!




    • Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 10

      My dog, Stephen, regularly lifts his head up from a deep nap to stare at me when I am writing. If I ignore him, he climbs on my lap and kisses my face. I'm guessing there is some sort of biological change in me when I get in the writing flow that he senses and DOES NOT LIKE. I've had to endure many face kisses to write this post -- a sacrifice I willingly take to bring you interesting tidbits!

      Thinking About:

      • Dare I say it? Optimism. Friends, I'm wondering if you all felt a shift in the world when 45 announced he was pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement (or is it an Accord?) ? Or maybe the shift was really in the following moments when humanity condemned him and those who had the ability, pledged their money and their resources to ignoring him and moving on with what the rest of us need to do. For me, that was THUNDEROUS. The moment when I realized: he does not matter. It was so freeing! 

        Confused about what happened? Me, too. Until I read this. But I take GREAT comfort in that last line: “It’s when the whale spouts that he gets harpooned.”

        And, you better believe I am making Comey testimony snacks and drinks this morning. The albatross around our American neck may soon be nevermore. (Hashtag literary bird allusions.)

      • The bombing in Manchester. I'm experiencing such a strong reaction to this. Those of us who lived in Boston in 2013 know exactly what that city is going through right now. While the world moves on, it's just starting for them. The feeling of your safe space being violated, a strong urge to reclaim it, and the realization that it will never be the same. There will never be a Manchester for them without that bomb.

      Thankful For:

      • The Provincetown Fire Department. Just before we crossed the bridge on our way back from my niece's dance recital Memorial Day Weekend, I started getting photo texts from our friends -- each one scarier than the last. A fire broke out at a restaurant in the center of our town and quickly spread to three others. Ptown is mostly made up of wooden buildings and are as close as they can possibly be to each other. And our fire department is entirely volunteer. They managed to keep the fire from spreading any further, but in the end those four businesses were destroyed. Our town rallies around its own, and with the help of our community, most people have found jobs elsewhere and money is being raised to help all those affected. 


      • First of all, why is all the good stuff being released at the same time?? And just as summer is starting?? I'm dipping in and out of so many shows right now but I did manage to finish the new season of House of Cards. It's no longer shocking, given, well you know, but it is still seriously good drama!

      • All the President's Men. I've watched this film several times but somehow it never sunk in just how much time it took to unravel the Watergate details and just how many people didn't believe there was any there there. Worth a re-watch!

      • National Bird. This doc about the US drone program and the impact it has on the pilots who fly them (and who also drop the bombs on the people they see from the sky) is pretty intense. One woman in the film stated, "I lost part of my humanity since working in the US Drone program." It's a tough one to watch. 

      • King Charles III. Based on the Broadway play, this adaptation imagines what will happen if/when Prince Charles finally takes the throne. It's BRUTAL. And the actor who plays Prince Williams looks a lot like Jared Kushner. 

      • This Eurovision gem from 2007. I can't stop watching these Eurovision videos on Youtube! This one is SPECTACULAR!


                    • An update on my disco ball necklaces. I've been so slow in getting these off the ground. I did find a source for the perfect size disco balls and am learning how to make my own beads. My goal is to get a few up on Etsy to sell by the end of the month.



                    • The "Lea in Trumpland" episodes on the Strangers podcast. While I am kinda tired about all the focus on the Trump voters, I've been mesmerized by the first two episodes. Lea is fearless, swears when necessary, but she listens and is straight about her own opinions. It's everything you want those Facebook discussions to be, BEFORE they devolve into but-her-emails/he's-an-asshole barb trading. 

                    • Al Franken's new (audio)book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. He crushes Ted Cruz. CRUSHES.

                    • All the music in the second season of Master of None. I'm purposefully working my way through this season because it is SO GOOD. That dating episode? Genius! And the music is spot on. 

                    Eating + Drinking:

                    • Salads and Spritzs. I just started taking a medication with a lengthy list of possible side effects including weight GAIN. I mean, can I get a break here, please? So it's salads and spritzs for me this summer.

                      I'm thinking this might be my Summer 2017 drink, the spritz liscio:  "Simply add a splash of homemade syrup or fruit liqueur to a base of white wine and soda, and garnish with abandon." Also this grapefruit spritz sounds yummy.

                      And I recently bought Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists (based on the blog) and consulted the NYT Cooking complete guide on "How To Make a Salad" for inspiration. The Mr. discovered this delicious salad dressing, Panera's Asian Sesame Vinaigrette Dressingwhich I am practically chugging straight from the bottle.


                    • New words.
                      -manufactory = noun. a factory (Oh, ok. Why not just use "factory"?)
                      -vitrine = noun. a glass display case

                    • About California Prop 65 warnings. So maybe I'm the last one to the party again, given the passage of the bill in 1986, but I am now learning to look for these warnings on food and things like shampoo that I buy online. Amazon shares this: "California's Proposition 65 entitles California consumers to special warnings for products that contain chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm if those products expose consumers to such chemicals above certain threshold levels."



                    • Kishu charcoal water purifier. This is the water bottle fix I've been looking for for years! We drink a lot of water in this house, but we buy water in (gasp!) plastic jugs. Even though we recycle like a boss, I feel so guilty about all those plastic bottles. But NOW I just pop one of these into a pitcher and fill it with tap water. They last for four months (if you boil them once a month) and come in four different sizes, including ones for your pet's water dish and your water bottle. And after four months, you can reuse it to absorb odors in your frig or break it apart and put it in your garden!

                    • Jet Set Sarah. Let me give you several reason why she's one of my favorites on The Gram! 1) She travels all over the Caribbean to resorts FOR A LIVING. 2) She wears the coolest brightly colored clothes! 3) She's letting her hair gray naturally, too. We're twinsies. Check her out!

                    • Cucia Earth lava pumice stone. Again, I'm trying to keep my pedicures to a minimum. This pumice stone is the best I've found!


                    • The brown stuff on our baking sheets. For sometime now, we've used the quarter-size pans from Williams-Sonoma. Perfect for our just-the-two-of-us needs and you can fit two side by side in the oven. But that brown stuff is so hard to remove. So I tried this. And it works!!


                    • eBates. Are you guys using this yet?? My theory is that companies are already tracking your browsing and buying activity on their site so you might as well get paid for it. If you are really savvy, you can get cash back on hotel rooms, all your holiday gifts, and extra cash if you wait for double savings. I've received about $100 since December. And what is even better, if you use this link, we both get money!

                    • Our salsa garden. The Mr. and I planted tomatoes and peppers in the garden beds in the back of our home. We went with a variety of different types since we have no idea how well they will do here. Our soil is pretty sandy, as you can imagine. I'm also in the process of junglefying our deck for the summer. I'm pretty psyched with how it is going!

                    Planning + Organizing:

                    • SUPER SILVER SUMMER REDUX (or #silversummer2)! Summer planning as an adult is an art. If you live in a northern climate, it's really hard to squeeze in all the fun things you can only do when it's warm, yet somehow leave enough space for completely unstructured time. If you've followed this space for awhile, you know I used to do extensive lists and have never, ever completed a single summer list. That won't keep me from trying! Here's this year's in visual form.


                    Extra Credit:


                    Thanks so much for reading! See you back here in a few weeks!