Sunday Sessions

Once More for Good Measure

I had a lot to say here, but when I sat down to say it, it wouldn’t come out. So, here’s a list of links instead. See you next week.

To Read

To Listen

  • All of the Spotify playlists: For feelings.
  • My yoga studio does a short sound meditation at the end of class. It makes me feel like I’m hovering over my own body. Not sure what’s going to happen when I try one that lasts an hour.
  • A reporter connects with her grandmother over soup.
  • Centenarians talk about life in coronavirus lockdown.

To Watch

  • A Portrait of a Woman on Fire is quiet magic.
  • The live bird cams will save us all.
  • No equipment kickboxing.
  • If you even have the motivation to work out right now, these blogilates videos will do the job.
  • I just discovered Jennifer Ehle—forever Elizabeth Bennett—is reading Pride and Prejudice aloud.

To Eat

Sunday Sessions

The Next Right Thing

Good morning. You doing okay out there?

We’ve been quarantined for a week now and we’re trying to figure out how to exist in this space where the boundaries are blurred. To be honest, I wasn’t very good at it at first. I’d wake up at 6 AM and work until 10 PM, my work cell phone never leaving my hand. By the third day, I wasn’t sleeping and my heart was racing—I could feel the anxiety, the stress on my systems, shortening the days of my life. 76.9 years. Now, 76.8 years. And so on.

He brings me bagels from our favorite shop, which is now just takeaway. I make dinner with vegetables so we’re eating at least one green thing a day. One of us will randomly put on a song that we had playing over in our head and then we stop everything to have a dance break. But it’s not all perfect in our 600 ft apartment.  One day on a stroll to get coffee, we got in a loud fight after he refused to put his phone away for the 10 minute walk. I leave coffee cups everywhere and probably don’t walk the dog enough. His conference call voice is so loud it gives me headaches. This is where we are, negotiating these new spaces.

On Saturday night we watched a movie together, and afterwards he asked if we could talk. “It’s hard to pretend like this is any other weekend. We’re just watching a movie while things are breaking down around us outside these walls.” He wants to be part of the solution—because of course he does—so he’s thinking of moving down to DC for a little while where he can help with relief efforts.

I told my Bello Collective friends that this feels like a defining moment to me. What was I doing with my time before and why does it feel so wasted? How do I make sure that work takes exactly as much time as it needs and not a minute more?

Like everyone else, I’m reading and writing and cooking as a means of sustaining myself. You won’t find much below on the coronavirus—I hope this can be your balm, your reprieve— but I hope you are paying attention and figuring out how to focus on the next right thing.

To Read

To Do and See

To Listen

  • Every weekday, Flow State send out two hours of music that’s perfect for working.
  • A very chill Steve Martin plays a banjo balm.

To Eat

Coffee at Manhattanville
Sunday Sessions

I Have a Crush on My Barista’s Playlists


I haven’t published in a few weeks because I’ve been sitting on something I wanted to write in this header note. Then I realized that the links were starting to stack up and you were missing out on some great things to read (and eat). I’ll be back to revisit the header note I’ve been meaning to write soon, but here are some words from other people for now.

To Read

Who Was I in College? University of Missouri

“We almost never get to get reacquainted with the best version of ourselves, at this place where dreams began, before they got exposed to life and started to decay. Sometimes it feels like we spend 45 percent of our lives trying to be something, 10 percent of our lives being it and 45 percent having been it.”
Civility is Overrated, The Atlantic

“…the fruit of prizing reconciliation over justice, order over equality, civility over truth…laid the foundation for the reimposition of forced labor on the emancipated, the establishment of the Jim Crow system, and the state and extrajudicial terror that preserved white supremacy in the South for another century.”

This Was The Decade Drug Overdoses Killed Nearly Half A Million Americans, Buzzfeed

A startling statistic: US drug overdose deaths in this decade exceed the number of battle deaths the country suffered in World War I and World War II combined.

The Gay History of America’s Classic Children’s Books, New York Times

“E.B. White, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein were presumably heterosexual, no matter that Silverstein glowered from the photos on his book jackets like a hot Scruff daddy.”

Where Rent Is $13,500, She Lives Off What’s Left at the Curb, New York Times

“In recent years, an entire economic ecosystem has sprouted from the artificial turf of a 5-cent deposit. Many canners are retired or on disability and need to stretch their monthly payments. Many are undocumented and drawn to a no-questions-asked job without language barriers. As stable, low-skill jobs continue to disappear in New York, canning provides a lifeline.”

The Outer Fringes of Our Language: A Conversation with Werner Herzog, LA Review of Books

“See the world with an incredible amount of human pathos and enthusiasm and rapture.” I love everything about this interview with Warner Herzog.

An Ode to Middle Age, The Atlantic

“You’re not an apprentice adult anymore. You’re more free. The stuff that used to obsess you, those grinding circular thoughts—they’ve worn themselves out.”

PS: Are we low stakes friends?


To Listen

On Sundays, David and I go to Manhattanville and order the same breakfast we’ve been ordering every weekend for the past two years (bagels with cream cheese and coffee), and then we casually nod our head or tap our foot along to the eclectic playlist made by our barista, Joe, while we click around Twitter on our phones. His Spotify playlists are epic: Sam Cooke sits beside Les Miz who sit beside Portishead. You can’t go wrong by starting with The Shop Mix. You’re very welcome.

To Watch

You still haven’t seen Parasite yet? What the heck are you waiting for?

To Eat

Sunday Sessions

Joy is Not Made to Be a Crumb

As I write this, we’re on a train that’s winding its way from Boston back to New York. There are gorgeous woods tucked away in the snow banks and placid, icy lakes that look at odds with their summer houses and boat docks. We were there to join our friends Galen and John for a special holiday ritual called Nine Lessons and Carols. It’s part holiday dinner, and part something else that’s a little challenging to explain, but it’s important to say that it ends with nearly 30 of us singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and thus, me in tears. We’re still building our own traditions in New York, so it was nice for John and Galen to so graciously invite us to be part of theirs.

For the past few years, winter has marked change. In 2017, we loaded a U-haul of our things and made the trek north to our new home. We spent the night in a hotel in Jersey wondering how our things would fare in the frigid temperatures. Last year we decided we didn’t want to spend another holiday in transit and started thinking about what it meant to enjoy Christmas day on our own, making a special meal for us, putting carols and a digital fireplace on the Apple TV, and just being hygge as fuck.

Although this is technically our second Christmas as residents of this great metropolis, the twinkling lights of New York have long drawn us in around the holidays. I first came to New York as an 11-year-old Girl Scout; we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and saw Phantom of the Opera and I almost shit my pants when my mom made me ascend the top of the Empire State Building with the rest of the troop. For too many years to count, my friend Lauren and I came to New York to see the lights and walk around Central Park and visit the various holiday markets, where we ate soft pretzels and drank thick hot chocolate. Tired of a family Christmas that refused to acknowledge we no longer believed in Santa Claus, me, David and my brother Jesse decided to spend Christmas together in New York. On Christmas morning we looked down from our hotel room on an empty Times Square and marveled when not one person, not one taxi, was to be found. We admired the lights of 5th Avenue (although these are surprisingly more fun when you’re body to body with everyone trying to get a view), and we ate at tourist spots because they were what we knew (even they are part of bygone New York; these days greasy diners are being replaced by grain bowl and make-your-own-salad spots). Last year, we walked several miles from our apartment in Harlem, down through Central Park, and over to Fifth Avenue to see the lights. We talked and sang Christmas carols to each other and watched our breath hover in the cold. This year there is more change: I’m starting a new job in January. It’s not quite real. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it. I’m taking two weeks off so that I can decide what I will leave and what I take from my last experience into the next one. I want to make pies and wear fuzzy socks and read books, uninterrupted, for hours.

For now though, I’m on a quiet train, listening to holiday music, and eating a meringue—exactly where I’m supposed to be.

To Read

“I’ve spent a lot of time reporting on and talking to libertarians and conservatives who object to nearly all forms of taxation and government spending, apart from roads. They believe that individuals should be able to decide which programs are important to them, and fund them accordingly — personally, through non-profits, through churches. I get the impulse; we work hard for our money and we’ve internalized a “right” to agency over where it’s directed. Within that model, there are all sorts of services that would fall through the cracks — and not just weed control. Just look at the GoFundMe model: if you have a cute kid, an incredibly tragic or melodramatic story, and a good marketing sense, your plea for assistance might go viral and be filled. But the vast majority go unfunded and unfound. Leaving services up to subjective giving means allowing so many people, and projects, to fall through the cracks. Taxes create a remove — and foils our very human, but very uneven, impulses.

Taxes. It’s making civilization better, more livable. And I fucking love paying for it. That’s what I say every time I pay my taxes: I love paying for civilization. What a blessing, to be able to care for others in this way.”

Paying for Civilization, Anne Helen Peterson


“Traditionally, Buddhist nuns have not been allowed to exercise. They are forbidden from singing, leading prayers or being fully ordained. In some monasteries, it is believed that female Buddhists can’t even achieve enlightenment unless they are reborn as men.”

—That’s fucked up. Meet the kung-fu nuns of Nepal.

To Watch

  • The Crown is back! (Netflix)
  • I missed you, Midnight Diner! (Netflix)
  • Not as good as the first season, but don’t sleep on The End of the Fucking World! (Netflix)

To Listen

To Eat


Don’t Hesitate

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

—Mary Oliver



We say
A pin hole
of light. We
can’t imagine
how bright
more of it
could be,
the way
this much
defeats night.
It almost
isn’t fair,
poked this,
with such
a small act
to vanquish
—Kay Ryan

In the morning I drink
coffee until I can see
a way to love life

—From “Suggested Donation” by Heather Christie


I am wearing dark glasses inside the house
To match my dark mood.

I have left all the sugar out of the pie.
My rage is a kind of domestic rage.

I learned it from my mother
Who learned it from her mother before her

—From “Enough” by Suzanne Buffam

Sunday Sessions, What I'm Eating

The Thanksgiving Menu I Won’t Be Making

We’re just a little more than a week out from Thanksgiving and this year will be a quiet one for our family. Just a few weeks ago, all 11 of us (including grandma!) gathered in a cabin in West Virginia for a long weekend together. Each family was responsible for one meal during our visit and the result was a pretty happy array of food (not to mention shared responsibility). We had burgers and hot dogs on the first night (turns out grilling in freezing temperatures is kind of thrilling), pancakes for breakfast the next day, sandwiches and pitas for lunch, chili and grilled cheese for dinner, and bagels and fruit the final morning. Everyone was asked to bring their favorite snack, which meant the entire kitchen island became a trove of candy and cookies and chips of every kind.

The cabin ended up being a great idea. We built a fire in the fire pit, made gooey s’mores, played card games, slept in. We watched Hocus Pocus (which…did not scare my niece and nephew), and the kids chased Jack until he finally just hid under the table for the duration.

I wasn’t sure why at the time, but when we first started planning the family weekend in late summer, something told me we really needed to have it before the holidays. Later we would learn that two family members would need surgery in the weeks before Thanksgiving, meaning this year’s holiday will need to be a low-key affair.

So, we’re sticking with the basics this year: turkey and ham, cranberry sauce from the can, mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, green beans, deviled eggs, broccoli casserole, and rolls. We’ll probably make David’s famous sweet potato casserole, and spinach balls too. If I have it in me, I’ll make a pie. If not, I live in New York City and will pick one up from Petee’s or Juniors or Four and Twenty Blackbirds.

But if I were adding something new to the table this year, it would probably be any one of the dishes below, which feel just a little risque for Thanksgiving and that makes them perfect.

Happy eating dear ones.





The Next Day

Sunday Sessions

Wanted: A total reset

One thing I worry about is how little time we spend doing supposedly “New York” activities—the ones you read about in that book that made you think you had to live in New York if you ever wanted to have a life story worth telling. I don’t have a bar. Most of the time, I’m not walking through Central Park wistfully. If New York is the city that never sleeps, I wouldn’t know it—I’m usually in bed by 11.

Last week, though, I broke up my routine. I met up with my friend Tim and we had dinner at Her Name is Han. I went to the Pop-Up Magazine show at Lincoln Center with my pal Justin. And then afterward—when it was nearing 10 PM—I walked to the Upper West Side and got an impromptu late night back massage. This weekend, David and I had free tickets to a city-wide food festival and danced to DJ’ed beats at Pier 97 while drinking beers and eating tacos. It felt good to be out—to see the city at nighttime.

Still on my list: Stand in the long line for Saturday Night Live tickets. Comedy at the Village Underground. Live music at Marie’s Crisis Cafe.

Of course, all of this happened on top of an incredibly busy work week. We launched two new projects: a new podcast about the impeachment proceedings and just a little old podcast about DOLLY PARTON. Even though I don’t create the audio that makes up these projects, my job is to bring them to people like you—future listeners. It’s a pleasure to put myself in your shoes, to imagine when and how you might encounter a Dolly Parton podcast and how exactly I can make you excited about listening.

Of course, all that activity adds up and I’m completely exhausted. My shoulders are tight and knotty. My throat is just sore enough that I think I’m perpetually on the verge of getting sick. And I’ve had a least two surprise stress periods in the past two weeks. It’s not a sustainable pace—something I think about often for both myself and my team.

In a few weeks, I’m taking off a few days to spend with my family in a cabin in a remote part of West Virginia—roughly the midway point between New York and southern Virginia/North Carolina where my family live. I’m looking forward to hitting the reset button.

To Read

There is a trend on Twitter right now to name 6 things that bring you uninhibited pleasure. In this moment, in these times, don’t we need that right now? Clicking on one just sends you down a rabbit hole of individual pleasures that often conclude with you thinking, “Ah yes, I love that too!”.

This week, think about some things that give you pleasure and text one or six of them to me. I’ll send you my list in return.

To Hear

Music is usually something that happens in the background for me. It feels odd to say I’m not someone moved by music—which is also not true—it’s more that I don’t seek out new music. When I find a song I like, I can listen to it on repeat for an hour, discovering something new about it with every replay.

This week though, I asked myself to be more open to the music around me and I found myself drawn to several pieces.

To Eat

A Poem

The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

— Wendy Cope

I discovered “The Orange” on The Gladdest Hope, maybe my new favorite site for poetry.

Sunday Sessions

The One in Which I Start Thinking About Thanksgiving

To Read

“Women run our think tanks and our museums, our biggest defense contractors, our most illustrious spy agency, our tech companies, our newsrooms, and our lobbying outfits. To be a woman in Washington, in short, is to bob around at a new high-water mark for our gender—to be surrounded by a crowd of insanely powerful role models, heroes, and superstars.”

What It’s Like to Be a Woman in Washington: 62 Women Explain, Washingtonian

“…cooking is still a highly feminized pursuit; it’s a skill girls are implicitly expected not only to learn, but enjoy doing. To be feminine, we are told, we must be hospitable, nurturing, giving — qualities that are intimately bound up with feeding those around us.”

It’s so much more than cooking, The Week

To Watch

A must watch: a 7-minute video essay on why TikTok offers a credible form of cultural criticism.

I don’t live in Los Angles, but I recently became a subscriber to The Los Angeles Times. Their reporting is taking a more national position these days, and it’s relaunch of the food section has turned into something Jonathan Gold would be proud of. Check out their new YouTube series, Off-Menu.

To Eat

Sunday Sessions

How Uninteresting We Are

 To Read

“Queer Eye” offers a kind of simulation of wealth redistribution. But every time the Fab Five retreats from the scene, I imagine the freshly-painted homes slowly falling into disrepair, the beards growing shaggy again, the refrigerators emptying.

The New Spiritual Consumerism, New York Times

“A lot of people withdraw from society as an experiment, so I thought I would withdraw and see how enlightening it would be. But I found out that it’s not enlightening. I think that what you’re supposed to do is stay in the midst of life.”

On Line: The Pulse of Agnes Martin, The Paris Review

“Last year David Cronenberg said that cinema “is no longer the cathedral that you go to where you commune with many other people.” Instead it’s turned into a proliferation of individual communions, in which the pressure of each of our daily lives is suspended, our thoughts relax, and we return to a form of pre-apocalyptic calm. In the privacy of our homes, with no expectations, cinema can be as pure as church.”

Cahiers du Post-Cinéma, Longreads

  • Sometimes when I look at photos like this, I just think: This is the future we built with the history they gave us? How uninteresting we are.
  • I can’t explain why I love this so much.
  • This poem is everything you need to hear today.
  • What would the internet smell like, if it had a scent?
  • Here’s what happened to the 47 dogs pulled from Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation 12 years ago.

To Watch

  • Booksmart is a lot of fun I never expected to have.
  • Becca’s rotoscoped freckles mesmerized me in Undone.
  • Ours Poetica is a quiet little YouTube series from the Green brothers and the Poetry Foundation.
  • Unbelievable is tough to watch, but has some incredible performances. If you’ve ever been a victim of sexual assault, please take this as one big trigger warning.
Sunday Sessions


My birthday was a few weeks ago and I’ve been sitting on writing a This is 35 post, mostly because I was still trying to figure out what 35 will be. I think I’m almost there, but not today.

Looks like I’ll be unexpectedly heading down to DC next week weekend with no absolutely no plans except maybe a morning ride around the tidal basin. If my DC friends find themselves in town next weekend, how about we say hello?

We just got word that our landlord plans to sell our apartment. While our lease technically runs through July, in New York a new owner can give tenants 60 days notice, which means it is possible we will need to move soon. I can’t really imagine life in New York without our windows looking down on the neighborhood…


David’s birthday was the week before last and he, of good heart and kind spirit, spent the day activated in support of Hurricane Dorian. So, this weekend became his birthday weekend instead:We got up early and had breakfast at his favorite coffee shop (Starbucks…which you know pains me) and went on a long bike ride along the waterfront. Then he had his first sailing lesson on the Hudson and afterward we ate oysters together at Chelsea market.

We’ve been together for 11 years—married for 7—and I am so privileged to spend my days with him.

Have a great weekend, y’all.

To Read

“For the first time in human history there are now more people over 65 than under 5—all thanks to a combination of increasing longevity, diminished fertility, and an aging Baby Boom cohort. We’ve watched these trends develop for generations; demographers can chart them decades in advance.

And yet we’re utterly unprepared for the consequences.”

Old age is made up—and this concept is hurting everyone, Technology Review

“When the kids do badly with exams or something, I want them to know that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Life’s that big.” She smiles and gives me a warm, bashful look. “I just want to try to keep them buoyant and happy. And seeing life as—potentially—beautiful,” she says.

Crown Jewel: How Olivia Colman Is Reinventing Superstardom, Vogue

“What you won’t find are listed prices. That’s because the rule at Drexell & Honeybee’s is “everybody eats.” When diners are done with their meal, they put whatever money they can — or not a single cent — in a box by the door.”

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy, Bitter Southerner

To Watch

We finally were in a mood to watch Book Smart this weekend and it was a lot of fun.

A video course of sorts, Endings: The Good, Bad, and Insanely Great, is a masterclass on creating screenplays from the writer of Little Miss Sunshine.

To Eat

The New York Times has a beautiful series on how to make rice of every style and flavor.

Baked figs are so beautiful and jammy—this fig and mascarpone cake looks just fine. And this plum crepe cake is swoon-worthy too.

Most of the “fish” in my house growing up came in the form of fishsticks, so I have every kind of fear of making seafood at home. This pasta with mussels, tomatoes and fried capers might make it worth getting over that fear.

Crispy sesame tofu, ftw. Tofu with peanut ginger sauce, ftw.

This guide on how to make southern biscuits is a must have for anyone who plans to make biscuits and gravy their Sunday staple this winter.

This is either amazing or terrible: Broccoli Cheddar Cobbler

Usually a list of healthy breakfast ideas equals a bunch of green smoothies, but here’s a list of “healthy” breakfast ideas I’d actually like to eat.

Sunday Sessions

Summer for a Little Longer

If you haven’t heard from me for a few weeks, it’s because I’ve been trying to squeeze in every last bit of summer. There is the big stuff: Camping. Six Flags. My 35th birthday. Our friend’s wedding in California. But there is also the little moments in-between: long walks around SoHo. Ice cream. Late night dinner and wine with friends.

And of course, I still feel the need to add new experiences to my New York-like-a-local list, so on Friday, I sat on the Lincoln Center Plaza with hundreds of other people and watched my first opera, Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West. On Saturday, I grabbed a blanket and a book and read for a few hours on the Great Lawn in Central Park.

I know fall is almost here. Even as I’m typing this, it’s gray and raining and just a little bit cool. But for now there are still peaches and campfires and the bingo players in the park across the street, just for a little longer.

To Read

Longer Reads

I’m juggling a few books right now. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Jia Tolintino’s Trick Mirror. Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman is in Trouble. Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism.

To Watch

Do we agree, that with the exception of The Farewell, this summer was actually a pretty shit movie season? Looks like fall is about to make up for it.

I watched the first two free episodes of On Becoming a God in Central Florida and continue to shout about what an underrated actress Kirsten Dunst remains (have you SEEN her Fargo season yet?)

To Eat

I’m on a lemon kick right now since it’s about the only way I know how to hold on to the sharpness of summer. And I visited one of my favorite New York spots The Wild Son this week and really have to figure out what it is that makes their farro is the actual best.

A lot of nights of the week you’ll find me eating basic pasta with oil and cheese. Maybe I throw in some pepper to make a quick cacio e pepe. But lemon? That sounds like a fine idea too.

Green goddess bowls seem like a good way to round out summer.

Do I want to make this peanut-pretzel ice cream cake? Yes, yes, I do.

Beautiful and easy salmon. Weeknight dinner of my dreams. Maybe make the coconut rice as suggested in the comments?
Click to the second tweet to get Hrishikesh Hirway’s spicy dark chocolate pistachio cookies.

Have we talked about these Garlicky Peanut Butter Cold Noodles yet?