I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions – I think they’re the kind of rules that are meant to be broken, and usually don’t do much to inspire actual long-lasting change. At least that’s how it’s always worked out for me.

I do, however, resolve to avoid clickbait headlines and listicles. Here, let me tell you how to feel about this link — amazed, uplifted, shocked — before you click on it! Here, let me tell you 28 things about a thing you don’t think about very often, like the hairstyles of Saved by the Bell.

And as much as I hate hollow, overly ambitious resolutions, I did get a kick out of Health Month in January. Metafilter made me do it. It was a pretty painless way to get into the habit of flossing everyday, anyway, and I’m going to try it again this month.

And I’m also digging my fitbit, which is like a little virtual carrot that dangles in front of me all day long. Turning little fitness goals into a game somehow makes them more achievable.

AND I resolve to blog more often. Funny because I write plenty, all day long. I have a strong daily creative practice, and I spew out barfy morning pages every day too, and there’s the ol’ novel, in which I’m regularly slogging and sighing and grinning and thumbs-upping. But I always like checking in here anyway as well.

2013 Favorites, while I’m thinking about it…

Favorite concert: Neutral Milk Hotel. (Months later, I still get goosebumps just stringing those words together. Neutral Milk Hotel! Concert!)

Favorite movie: Moonrise Kingdom

Favorite album: Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You


My grandma wanted me to leave her the hell alone. I was ready to curl up on the hotel-grade armchair in the hospice room’s corner, camp out for the night with a book and my iPhone charger. Go, she said over and over again. Go home, come back in the morning, I hope I go in my sleep.

So she went before I came back in the morning, and my phone rang with the news as my sanitizer-slick fingers hit the button for the elevator that would take me to her floor.

She was hilarious and whip-smart, and back in the day she was foxy. She was the baby of the family who took care of herself from when she was eight years old, when her mother died. We were closer than most grandmothers and granddaughters are, I think. At least that’s the impression I get when I explain to people what’s happened.

The stars at night are big and bright

A brisk few days in Dallas with my work team. Pretty rare for a job-related trip to be rounded out so well with actual true fun. Most of this is due to working with genuinely wonderful people, but we actually managed to get out and do actual entertaining city-specific things as well. Dinner at Tillman’s, drinks at the Belmont, a picnic and concert at the Arboretum. And I stayed at the Adolphus, which was magnificent.

Sunset at the Arboretum

Lights in the trees at the Arboretum

Sunset at the Arboretum

Clock detail at the Adolphus

We ran into unexpected bad weather on the flight home and were within minutes of diverting to Dulles for the night before we snagged the all-clear to land in Baltimore. Since I hadn’t told my grandma I was traveling — she honestly does not want to know until after the fact because it worries her so much, so I have a free pass for selective truths in this area — I spent the span of time when we thought we’d divert wracking my brain with a strategy to magically zap myself from Dulles to BWI for my car in time to make her regularly scheduled grocery run this morning. If she knew I was traveling, and then that dangerous weather had altered my plans, she would have been beside herself. I wasn’t coming up with much of a plan, so I was doubly relieved when it all worked out. (And she was happy to hear I’d had such a nice trip, and thanked me a million times for keeping her in the dark about it.)

Sunset from the plane window, BWI to DFW

Haggis was the only cat who was happy to see me when I straggled in, lugging my bags, road-weary and travel-grimy. He jumped into my arms and purred, and if you’ve learned anything about Haggis, you know that it would have been equally strange for him to don tiny tap shoes and perform a little song-and-dance number to welcome me home. He’s going soft in his older age, I suppose, not that I’m complaining. He was back to yelling at me for breakfast a few hours later!

The Pearl Knows


I started a game awhile back, in an effort to curb my sailor-mouth habit, and I called it Swear Rations. The idea was that I would start the day with a small pile of tokens, each good for the use of one cathartic curse-word. Use them wisely, I would say to myself, savor them, appreciate them, and be done with it and be a goddamn (clink, a token dropped into the USED pile) lady for the rest of the day. It worked for a few weeks, and I even had a nice stockpile of rollover swears, and then one cataclysmic day I burnt through them all, and oh, it felt good. Angry, ugly, dirty words may be all of the things your mother says they are: tools of lazy, stupid people with no creativity or vocabulary, or maybe, an alarm bell for letting the devil know where you live (actual claim from neighbor-mother when I was an impressionable young girl). But sometimes they are the only defense when the world seems set against you.

I had a feeling HBO wasn’t going to renew Enlightened, but that inkling didn’t do much to lessen the blow when they announced they weren’t picking it up. “While not continuing Enlightened was a difficult decision, HBO is proud of the show and looks forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future,” they said via Facebook. “Oh, eat a bag of dicks,” I said, via my mouth. The vulgarity made me feel a little better, but not as good as cancelling HBO a few minutes later.

Television has never taken my breath away the way this show did, and there were moments this season when I had to just sit and cry when the episode ended, they were so poignantly, perfectly rendered. We were lucky to have two seasons, and for a writer like Mike White, who tied up loose ends and created graceful closure for the story in the second season finale, so we’re at least not left hanging. But I hope it’s not the last we see of performances like that, of that caliber of storytelling.

The End of Google Reader Sends Internet Into an Uproar

“Did you hear the news?”

“Yes,” I replied as I shuffled my chair in and unfurled my napkin. “They picked a new pope, from Latin America.”

“No, not that,” they responded. “Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1.”

via The End of Google Reader Sends Internet Into an Uproar –

I’m pulverized by this latest thing. It sounds like The Old Reader is the way to go, but having an alternative doesn’t mean I’m not shaking my fist and grumping around like a woman impersonally scorned. It’s like the museum is closing my perfectly curated personal people-watching, topic-tracking and actual news-reading exhibit.

Potatoes and greens: Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day

“…wherever potatoes grow, there’s a dish combining mashed potatoes with some kind of cooked greens — sometimes cabbage, more commonly kale. The Scots have rumbledethumps (which includes rutabaga, as well), the Brits have bubble and squeak, and the Germans have grunkohlsuppe, which is kale and potato soup.”

via Potatoes and greens: Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day –

Ah, colcannon is my favorite thing about this holiday. Though I love kale, I’m not sure I’m board with messing with the cabbage version. Is it the joy of the comforting combination of potatoes and greens that inspired wackadoo names like rumbledethumps?

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