Happy Monday to you! How was your weekend? Mine was great. The weather was balmy. I know it makes me pretty unpopular to say this, because my Facebook friends seem to love the warmer temps, but I say: Charlottesville? This winter is L-A-M-E! I would like a snow storm, please. Otherwise, we watched Midnight in Paris, installed a baby gate at the bottom of our staircase, took a couple of long walks, went out to breakfast, and yesterday I met with a bride and groom. A nice, relaxed weekend.
Hot Chocolate and Cookies, Para Coffee, Charlottesville, VA.
Here's some Monday links for your lunch hour:
- Remember when I said DVDs are a tried-and-true Christmas gift? Well, this year I gave my sister season 1 of Downton Abbey, that Masterpiece Classic Drama about English aristocracy and their servants before World War 1. I thought it would be a good series to watch together, and I happen to be something of a (self-described) scholar of the "English Country Estate" genre, as I like to call it. Turns out half the family had already seen seaon 1 on PBS, but that didn't stop us from watching all seven episodes again! Anyway, season 2 debuted last night. This New York Times review of the coming season describes season 2 as I would expect. It's just television; I enjoyed it!
- When I was a kid I was fairly obsessed with the Jill Krementz books A Very Young Gymnast and A Very Young Dancer. The stories profile two ten-year old girl committed to gymnastics and ballet (respectively) and show, through black and white photographs and fairly short written descriptions, the hard work the girls invested and the opportunities that resulted over the course of a year in their lives. I was a super disciplined young thing, and took ballet classes for over 10 years, so these stories really spoke to my childhood self. Although a perfectly fine dancer, I was neither especially talented nor did I grow up in NYC, with the opprotunities for instruction and performance like these girls. But that's probably why the books were so appealing to me. It was like a 10-year old's wholesome fantasy about being a professional ballerina, or a marine biologist (Wouldn't that be a good book?! A Very Young Whale Scientist? Someone please do that story...). Sometime around Thanksgiving I found myself thinking about those stories, wondering if my books were packed up somewhere in my parents' basement, wondering what those girls did today. So I looked on Google and lo and behold, I was not alone in my wondering. The New York Times had just published a follow-up story on Stephanie, the very young dancer. Her story, to my surprise, is more about the fallout of childhood stardom (an apparent pitfall even for literary and art-world "stars"), and the search for identity and happiness. Bravo to Stephanie for telling the full story now, and not hiding under the weight of her own shame and disappointment. Honestly, how many of us actually live out our childhood dreams? I mean, there can only be so many marine biologists in the world... Torrance York, by the way, the young gymnast, is now a professional photographer. Who knew?!
- Flora and I like to listen Acoustic Sunrise on 91.9 WNRN in the mornings while eating breakfast. Sometimes we hear things that make her baby heart really mellow, and I know a morning nap is soon to follow her full belly. Loney Dear, for example, is quite effective. Also, this song, written and performed by Matraca Berg. You may know the Kenny Chesney/Grace Potter version from mainstream radio. We like this version better.
- I want to do a little recap of some of the things I've mentioned here on Monday blogs previous. Remember these shoes? Well, I decided against them. I liked them, but they did wear a bit clunky, as one commenter pointed out, and I thought they felt like cowboys boots--which I already have. So I returned them and bought these, instead, which I've been wearing all winter. These little booties are more comfortable on the foot, a bit more streamlined in profile, and look! they're on sale now. And remember when I wrote about pickles from Brooklyn? I long-ago finished both my jars and I must say I preferred the McClure's over Brooklyn Brine. McClure's Garlic Dill variety is super pickley flavorful and really crunchy and pretty much a perfect pickle to my tastebuds. So if anyone wants to split a case with me (25 jars!) just let me know. And finally, remember when I talked about listening to books on tape while editing at my desk? I've been doing it. Not all the time, but I've listened to three or four books since October, which is certainly more than I've read! Some of them were fine but not particularly worth mentioning, but one book that I really, really enjoyed was Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. It's a true story about wreck divers off the coast of New Jersey in the early '90s who discover, and then spend years identifiying, a WWII German U-Boat, when no records in the world seem to indicate that a boat should be in that location. A truly fascinating story, and one that really moved me. Highly recommended.
- Finally, my friend and regular second shooter, Maggie Stein, was interviewed in December by Andrea of Easily Amused and I found her whole concept of how to find friends, make friends, and be a friend really interesting and useful. There is heavy mention of the phrase "socially aggressive," a quality which Maggie recommends adopting as an effective way to express your intentions to others and see immediate results. When I told Maggie that I wanted to link to the interview in one of these posts, she seemed surprised and a little hesitant at first. Apparently some people had a negative impression of the idea of being socially aggressive. On the contrary, I think the whole interview is insightful and eye-opening. I would rarely describe myself as "aggressive" when it comes to social interraction (especially when new people are involved), but I can see how pushing oneself to be more assertive, intentional, or direct about wanting to spend more time with someone, or wanting a particular outcome, would be useful and productive when pursuing personal and professional relationships and goals. And, frankly, isn't almost irresistble to be pursued in this way? I know for a fact that both Todd and Maggie came after me with very clear-sighted and open communication about their intentions and belief in the strength and future or our relationships, and now one is my husband and the other works for me in the studio! Success! Check out the interview as there will probably be some nugget of inspirational gold to carry into your new year.
Have a great week!