On exactly this day of last year, I introduced you to my lemon tree. I was proud, awed, and most of all, optimistic about its chances for survival. I swept up every fallen leaf until there wasn’t one left on the tree, and then, bolstered by encouraging cheers from friends that “lemon trees just do this, and they always come back,” I trimmed back the wood in search of green. I trimmed and I trimmed until the tree was just a trunk in its pot, and then, perhaps to punish myself, I left the dead trunk on the porch for the entire summer where it could continue to remind me that I had failed the life that had once resided there. Later in the season, I was at the nursery and the owner (who had both supplied the original tree and given advice and support when it was in distress) asked me how the lemon tree was doing. Head down, without meeting his eye, I confessed that the lemon tree had officially expired. Continue reading
Sugar is in the news a lot lately. We’ve been talking about this some over on Facebook, and it certainly came up a few months ago in our conversation about nutrition labels. In Mark Bittman’s March 25 column in the New York Times, he pretty much summed up the current thinking on what’s good and bad–at least today:
…The days of skinless chicken breasts and tubs of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter may finally be drawing to a close…But the real villains in our diet — sugar and ultra-processed foods — are becoming increasingly apparent. You can go back to eating butter, if you haven’t already.
And there you have it. Yay fat! Boo sugar. This lines up with the thinking that seems to be present over on the bestselling cookbooks on Amazon right now, too. Paleo, juicing, smoothies, weight loss, busting “sugar and carb cravings,” more weight loss, and lots of quitting sugar. When it comes to the demonizing of sugar, there’s some variety. Some people are just anti-refined sugar or hidden processed food sugar, and some people expand the evil bubble until it includes fruit. Either way, the general word on the street is that we’re all addicts in various amounts of denial.
Joey and I have been to Montreal together four times, and with each trip, we seem to get a little bit closer to actually living there.
The first time, we stayed at The Auberge Bonaparte, in the old port. It was our honeymoon and we splurged on a real hotel, the nicest place I’d ever stayed in. I was six months pregnant with Sadie, and I’d sit in the big bathtub in our white bathroom, listening to Joey read Harry Potter out loud from the deep window seat that overlooked the Basilique Notre Dame. It was deep winter, and for those few days in the city, we barely ventured outside of the touristy old port. Ice gathered like grout in between the cobble stones, and we walked a block here, a block there, eating steaks and fries and pastries when we were hungry. Continue reading
I have two neighbors who have been hosting a seder together for almost 30 years. For the last three years, they’ve invited us to join them, mostly, they joke, because their kids have all become adults and what’s a seder without children? So we walk down the street, carrying charoset. We read from the haggadah, and we stay up so late that the girls, drunk on grape juice, get glassy and sparkly in the candlelight. And when they read about this holiday of collective Jewish memory, they find themselves in that story, too. Continue reading
Last week for Joey’s birthday, we went down to New York for the day so he could see his favorite podcast, RISK!, live and in person. That show was so good, it sparked a whole new round of us talking about it with friends who don’t listen to podcasts, retelling the stories (always ending in “Oh, I can’t do it justice- you just have to listen!), explaining how we access them, and trying to convince them that they, too, can be someone who listens to podcasts. This morning I saw that the entire RISK! show we saw (the second and last stories are my favorites, especially) was up and available for anyone to listen to, and I though it might be a good time to talk about podcasts, how we access them, and start a running list of podcasts you might want to check out.