Sunday Sessions




It’s Saturday night and the sidewalks are crowded with people milling between shops—going to a late dinner, joining friends at a bar, rushing the kids home for bedtime. SHE and HE inspect the neon lights of every storefront and restaurant, gauging whether their popularity is a indicator of quality or just availability. With their desire to take in every sight, they could be tourists, but they are indeed locals. They balance cold ice cream cones in one hand. They clasp hands with the other.

Why do you build me up (build me up) buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around?
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (say you will)
But I love you still.
I need you!
I need you!
More than anyone, darlin’
You know that I have from the start
So build me up (build me up) buttercup, don’t break my heart!


To Read

“Technology, in fact, has made us less than oppositional: where beauty is concerned, we have deployed technology not only to meet the demands of the system but to actually expand these demands. The realm of what is possible for women has been exponentially expanding in all beauty-related capacities – think of the extended Kardashian experiments in body modification, or the young models whose plastic surgeons have given them entirely new faces – and remained stagnant in many other ways. We have not “optimized” our wages, our childcare system, our political representation; we still hardly even think of parity as realistic in those arenas, let alone anything approaching perfection. We have maximized our capacity as market assets. That’s all.”

Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman

The Inman 300: They tout it as the world’s first urban thru-hiking trail, linking more than 340 public staircases over some 220 miles in Los Angeles. They found that hiking in the city had many of the same appeals as trekking the backcountry, including physical exertion and elevation gain, wildlife sightings, navigational challenges, even solitude.

Why You Should Thru-Hike Your City

To Watch

Every few months I go down The Nerdwriter rabbit hole on YouTube. I’ve seen all of the Harry Potter movies dozens of times—I often put it on in the background while I’m working—and for reasons I’m not sure I’ve understood myself, I also agree that Prisoner of Azkaban in the best of all the films.

Queer Eye is somewhere up there with the Great British Bake-off in its ability to make you feel good about humans. Looking forward to checking out this Ursula K. Le Guin series on PBS. If you need something totally mindless, Derry Girls (on Netflix) is cute.

To Eat

I thought I’d make French macarons for a co-worker’s birthday. A friend had declared them “so easy.” Rest assured: they were not. I threw away nearly a dozen eggs before realizing I would be buying macarons for my co-worker. In the end, I did finish one complete batch—but not enough to celebrate a birthday properly.

In between waits for my eggs to reach room temperature, I made this classic plum tort again. Delightful with coffee. Delightful as dessert.

Not every one is a hit, but I like seeing what’s happening in Eric Kim’s Table for One series.

A Poem

On a Saturday

When you write something
you want it to live—
you have that obligation, to give it
a start in life.
Virginia Woolf, pockets full of stones,
sinks into the sad river
that surrounds us daily. Everything
about London amazed her, the shapes
and sight, the conversations on a bus.
At the end of her life, she said
London is my patriotism.
I feel that about New York.
Would Frank O’Hara say Virginia Woolf,
get up? No, but images from her novels
stay in my head—the old poet
(Swinburne, I suppose) sits on the lawn
of the country house, mumbling
into the sun. Pleased with the images,
I won’t let the chaos of my life
overwhelm me. There is the City,
and the sun blazes on Central Park
in September. These people on a Sunday
are beautiful, various. And the poor
among them make me think
the experience I knew will be relived again,
so that my sentences will keep hold
of reality, for a while at least.

Harvey Shapiro

Sunday Sessions

Heat Wave

I could complain about the unbearable heat wave we’re all pushing through right now, but I won’t. The thing that scares me most is how frequent and likely these days are going to be moving forward—a new normal. Last month, our air conditioning bill for a 600 sq ft apartment was $146. This is with me leaving only one of our two units on during the week, and turning them up while I’m away (I tried to turn them off completely during the day, but our food was spoiling and our plants were dying).

Yesterday we stayed inside, but were surprised that all of our neighbors seemed to have been turned out of their buildings en masse. Lawn chairs and tents were set up in the park across the street. The fire hydrant caps were broken and water spewed powerfully. They stayed out all day, and only went inside when it started to rain.

Today, we finally ventured outside with a reward in mind. We met up with my friend John—an ice cream expert—to sample the offerings at an ice cream festival on the Upper West Side. John tried no fewer than 5—FIVE—ice creams, while David and I managed two each. Even with cold, flavorful treats, we sweated right through our clothes.

I realize it’s nihilistic, but sometimes I think our eventual extinction seems like a pretty fair price to pay for what we’ve done to the planet in the name of progress. A hot day seems like the least of our eventual worries.

To Read

“DoorDash offers a guaranteed minimum for each job. For my first order, the guarantee was $6.85 and the customer, a woman in Boerum Hill who answered the door in a colorful bathrobe, tipped $3 via the app. But I still received only $6.85.

Here’s how it works: If the woman in the bathrobe had tipped zero, DoorDash would have paid me the whole $6.85. Because she tipped $3, DoorDash kicked in only $3.85. She was saving DoorDash $3, not tipping me.”

My Frantic Life as a Cab-Dodging, Tip-Chasing Food App Deliveryman, New York Times

First, of all, who are all of these trash people not tipping their delivery people? Second, this is not a sustainable system of human labor. I try not to use delivery services like these, and when there is no alternative, I tip well—very well. If something looks too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. Having food, groceries, and whatever else delivered to your door quickly, safely, and cheaply, is definitely too good to be true.

“Cities have effectively traded away their children, swapping capital for kids. College graduates descend into cities, inhale fast-casual meals, emit the fumes of overwork, get washed, and bounce to smaller cities or the suburbs by the time their kids are old enough to spell.

The modern American city is not a microcosm of life but a microslice of it. It’s becoming an Epcot theme park for childless affluence, where the rich can act like kids without having to actually see any.”

The Future of the City Is Childless, Citylab

There is a lot to unpack with this piece. As a currently childless person, it felt like there was a pretty substantial bias here, but what the piece ultimately seeks to map out is that the problem of childless cities is one of equity.

Longer Reads

I’ve been on a streak of abandoning books recently—which isn’t usually my style—but life is too short, eh?

What went into the abandoned pile? My Wife in the Psych Ward (needed a better editor), and A Walk Through Paris (probably a great read for someone more intimately acquainted with the city).

One book I can’t put down is the August selection for the WNYC book club, A Gentleman in Moscow. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how they were going to keep my attention for 462 pages when the protagonist is not allowed to leave the hotel, but then I remembered loving another story set entirely in a hotel and decided to give it a chance.

To Watch

David and I have started a new tradition—or rather, I should say I’ve let David in on an old tradition—which is morning movies at the nearby theater. I love going to the first show of the day, just after my morning coffee and eggs; there tends to be a more diverse audience of ardent movie goers, the tickets are cheaper (a movie ticket in New York currently averages $17 for an evening showing), and I’m less likely to go-to-town on Junior Mints and popcorn.

This weekend we saw The Farewell. About 25 minutes in, I was openly weeping (i.e. sobbing), and the rest of the film didn’t let up either. I left the theater with makeup streaked tear stains. Run to see this movie.

Grantchester is back and they’re replacing the lovely James Norton (no surprise, that star was on the rise after Happy Valley) with a new “hot priest.” And frankly I was offended: You can’t just replace a well-loved character of 4 seasons with a new hot version with just ONE episode as a transition. But reader: They did. And I am as shallow as they guessed, because while hot priest will never be as good as James Norton, he is still infinitely watchable.

Haven’t watched Happy Valley, you say? Go rectify that immediately.

To Eat

Last weekend I visited Tail Up Goat, with my friend Jenna, for the first time in awhile. They have a Michelin star now, but that hasn’t seemed to change them much. For summertime, they have an entire wine list dedicated to Riesling, a wine that, frankly, I had always found to be over-sweet. I decided to trust in the very knowledgeable bartender and ended up with the 2010 “Würtzberg” from Weingut Würtzberg in Saar, Germany, a bright, tart, almost cider-like experience. I can’t wait to go back soon.

When I’m not getting my fill of peaches, berries, and plums, a riff on this spicy peanut noodle dish has been a good summertime fix. I used this sauce, but then added baked tofu, steamed broccoli, and edamame to the dish. The prep takes a little time (baking the tofu, steaming the broccoli), but once those are done, this dish whips up quickly and was something I ate all week long.

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Sunday Sessions

Come to the woods, for here is rest.

Summertime is my glory and I am doing everything possible to spend all of these moments outside. Bike rides. Long walks. Trips to the public pool. A half day at the New York Botanical Garden. Give me the heat wave and humidity—they don’t touch me.

Last weekend, we visited my brother- and sister- in-law and decided to rent a speedboat. We spent hours on a Pennsylvania lake, tossing each other around the water on an inflatable tube attached to the back. I squealed like a kid, and I can’t remember the last time since I felt such a giddy rush of fun.

We have declared this our summer of camping, which isn’t quite as easy as it sounds without a car. Earlier this spring we joined those same siblings for a frigid camping adventure in Bar Harbor, Maine, and more recently, we setup shop at a campsite in the Catskills based on its proximity to an Instagram-worthy diner. We have plans to sleep under the stars at least a few more times this summer, which makes me a little homesick for my Blue Ridge mountains.

To make camping an easier and more spontaneous activity, we’ve managed to box up most of our gear into one plastic tub, and it is cross-checked before each trip with an easy-to-use spreadsheet. On our return, we assess what we used and what we wished we’d had, and adjust the pack accordingly. On our last trip, we went from arrival to full-setup of our campsite (including a roaring fire!) in about 20 minutes.

Here’s hoping you’re sitting around a campfire soon.

To Read

A profile on the fascinating artwork of Olafur Eliasson.

More than 50 years after her death, Sylvia Plath’s uncensored letters have been released. Turns out she was quite a cinephile.

Women are here to crash your pool party.

Some vignettes.

Hemingway always seemed like a fucker, but at least we now learn he was capable of remorse.

The Washington Post has suggested a book for every age—from 1 to 100.

The World Health Organization has designated urban noise a serious environmental stressor and public health risk. A new app is helping urbanites find the quiet.

Hillbillies need no elegy.

To Watch

I was waiting for a few books to come in at the library and thought putting on old episodes of Dawson’s Creek in the background would be a fun way to relive my adolescence. Uh. I got addicted to the drama and am now on season 4 of the Joey, Pacey, Dawson triangle. Beware.

Looking forward to checking out Shoplifters on Hulu this week. And despite the fact that the acting has not aged particularly well, I found Maurice to be a gem (RIP Kanopy).

To Eat

It’s been more than a decade since Starbucks was part of my coffee habit. These days I use the French press at home with rotating beans, or make my way to local coffee shops around the city to enjoy a (mostly) black cup of coffee or iced espresso. But sometimes you find yourself in a Starbucks, and when you do, you know better than to order the over-roasted bitter coffee. Instead, splurge on their new skinny iced mocha cloud macchiato. It is, of course, terrible for you, and it does contain, weirdly enough, egg whites, but it is a dreamy concoction of not-really-coffee only made possible by the fast food of the coffee world.

Sunday Sessions

Again and Again and Again

Feet in the sand at Virginia Beach

It’s been a very cool summer so far and that has made it easy to fall in love with New York just a little bit. Walking through Greenwich Village—alive with pride flags. Going to see Oklahoma! with a friend. Replacing our DC night coffee walks with New York ice cream walks. Seeing Much Ado About Nothing in Central Park. Finding an empty swing and going higher and higher and higher until I’m laughing madly like a child. Coffee with old friends. Coffee with new friends. A good yoga stretch while the sunlight (and sounds from the busy street below) pour in. Starting to build a shortlist of favorite places you want to visit again and again and again.

And this summer we’re taking care to spend time outside the city as well—an afternoon on a Virginia beach, camping in Maine, camping in the Catskills, a road trip to a particular diner—I need the trees and the dirt to feel whole again.

I’m hoping to make my way down to DC soon. I miss my friends, some I haven’t seen a year or more. And it isn’t summer until I visit the stalls at the Dupont Farmer’s Market and have my morning cup of coffee at Open City.

Until then, I’m reading and writing and watching the sky scrapers go up and up all around.

To Read

“To face a future of sexual irrelevance—and often disgust—is the surface experience of menopause; the more profound experience is to approach oblivion and endure its education.”

Where Are All the Books on Menopause


Longer Reads

This week I finished Transit, another book in the Rachel Cusk trilogy. I’ve been moved by the series and Cusk’s use of language. If you enjoyed Ferrante, add Cusk to your list as well.

Also this week: Educated

To Watch

The 10-minute short film Rachel will leave you with goosebumps.

An interactive Pride walking tour of New York City.

Also this week: Woman at War

To Eat

We don’t host much here in New York for a few reasons. First, we (read: I) still miss our DC friends terribly. Second, we live uptown, quite a ways from where most people live in Brooklyn. But we’ve invited some pals over a few weekends from now to hang out on our back patio and that means I’m already thinking about the meal. Should we go traditional and have hamburgers and hot dogs or try something new like this Korean grilled steak and spicy chickpea and cheese stuffed zucchini? Where does one stand on pasta salad? One thing is for sure: there will be blender lemon pie (or maybe this no-fuss lemon tart?).


Sunday Sessions

Few words, more links.

It’s been a fuzzy week, friends, and I don’t have much to say. Let’s get to the reads.

To Read

The Toilet Study

A comparison of what men write on bathroom walls versus women.

He Trots the Air (Outside Magazine)

Bring the tissues for this one.

On the Joys of Binge-Reading (New York Times)

“Because the mind — for all its endless rationalizations and solemn prohibitions — is in fact a ceaseless pleasure hound. And pleasure is, after all — once I scrape away the layers of self-image and pretentiousness — the reason that I read.”

Other Reads

To Listen

To Eat

This summer, I’m all about easy ice-box style pies. Blender Lemon Pie? Yes, please. Strawberry Yogurt Pie? Let me at it.

Our very favorite brunch spot in New York closed. These 50 Brunch Recipes will ease our woes.

Sunday Sessions

A Very Good Post

From Kurt Vonnegut:

“I work at home, and if I wanted to, I could have a computer right by my bed, and I’d never have to leave it. But I use a typewriter, and afterward I mark up the pages with a pencil. Then I call up this woman named Carol out in Woodstock and say, “Are you still doing typing?” Sure she is, and her husband is trying to track bluebirds out there and not having much luck, and so we chitchat back and forth, and I say, “Okay, I’ll send you the pages.”

Then I go down the steps and my wife calls, “Where are you going?” “Well,” I say, “I’m going to buy an envelope.” And she says, “You’re not a poor man. Why don’t you buy a thousand envelopes? They’ll deliver them, and you can put them in the closet.” And I say, “Hush.”

So I go to this newsstand across the street where they sell magazines and lottery tickets and stationery. I have to get in line because there are people buying candy and all that sort of thing, and I talk to them. The woman behind the counter has a jewel between her eyes, and when it’s my turn, I ask her if there have been any big winners lately.

I get my envelope and seal it up and go to the postal convenience center down the block at the corner of Forty-seventh Street and Second Avenue, where I’m secretly in love with the woman behind the counter. I keep absolutely poker-faced; I never let her know how I feel about her. One time I had my pocket picked in there and got to meet a cop and tell him about it.

Anyway, I address the envelope to Carol in Woodstock. I stamp the envelope and mail it in a mailbox in front of the post office, and I go home.

And I’ve had a hell of a good time. I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.”

To Read

My friend Matt has a wonderful newsletter, Suspension Solution, that comes out three times a week. He reviews beer, and new music, and on Fridays he has a free-form letter, usually about his family. I couldn’t help but laugh at this week’s post.

Longer Reads

I’ve been on a bit of a streak and finished Free Food for Millionaires, Radium Girls, Heartland, and am rounding the bend on The Underground Railroad. Next up: Priestdaddy.

To Eat

  • If you can’t make a full carrot cake, these carrot bites seem like a pretty good alternative (Minimalist Baker)
  • I’m a little bit nervous about how comfortable I’ve become with visiting the Mexican restaurant down the block for a quick dinner. The food isn’t particularly good and I know they are suspicious of this gringa who asks to skip the meat on her tostadas. These Spiced Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Cream might do the trick. (A Couple Cooks)
  • Say yes to more wilty salads. (TASTE)


It’s my mom’s birthday today—she of the great, full-body hugs. If you are lucky enough to know her, send her some love today.

Sunday Sessions


Because it’s so easy to be anonymous in this city, I admit to becoming something of a voyeur. From my perch on the third floor of our building, I look down on our street, the park, and the school across the way. I’ve seen fistfights, make-out sessions, people buying drugs. Ahead of their early morning shifts, I’ve watched service workers, with their furrowed brows and white uniforms, walk with still sleepy kids to the bus stop.

Inside our building, I can hear the opera singer on the first floor warming up. The sound of an action movie playing on the other side of the wall. Fights between neighbors. From our bathroom vent, I can hear someone with a deep voice singing in the shower. I don’t know which apartment he lives in, but sometimes I’ll turn off all other sounds and just listen to his joyful noise.

At the coffee shop, I hear conversations about breakups and vacations and the unthinkable thing that Mandy did to Farra. The writers looking anywhere but at the blinking cursor. The lonely looking guy at bar hoping to catch anyone’s eye.

I’ve found that people are at their most vulnerable on subway cars though. They’ve looked around the train, realized there is no one they know, and suddenly they relax into their anonymity.

On the train, I review the details of my companions. I notice their scuffed shoes, the Hermes scarf, the book cover, the groceries in the bag. The badly bitten nails. The student learning English by writing phases in his workbook.

I try to guess where they are going based on what they’re wearing that day. Are they riding in anticipation of something? Are they trapped in the ennui?

Tourists are another thing entirely. Swedish tourists look like they’ve walked right out of the 90s. The FFA kids from middle America look both awed and afraid. The couple that looked like they’d walked right off the set of Jersey Shore if Jersey Shore were set in a Spanish-speaking country.

If I’m lucky, sometimes I’ll catch the express or local train running on the parallel track across the way and will see all the people miserably pushed together there in that car. I try to assess how they’re spending their time in this communal purgatory. Most have headphones. A few read books. Some try to sleep. And every once in awhile, someone catches me observing, because they are observing too.

More than books or clothes, however, a peek at phone offers the most personal glimpse into a life. Next time watch your fellow companions when the train nears the station and service returns to their phone: How do they react to the text that just came through? A laugh? A sigh? A furious scramble to reply?

It’s not unusual to see people watching, ahem, sexy YouTube videos on their phones, and many, many people play colorful games where they stack bars, or dots, or fruit. People tend to scrutinize Instagram posts more closely than posts on any other social network. Most of the time I don’t recognize the musicians that pop up on someone’s device. I almost always recognize the podcasts.

Of course all of this observation turns in on you, makes you wonder what people see when they look at you. When they see this outfit, do they wonder what I do? What does this choice of book convey? How must it look to a train full of service workers at 6 AM to see this white girl on her way to yoga class? Can they hear the pop music coming from my earbuds?

A Quick Note

Like many of you, I’m spending less time on Facebook these days. That means I’ll eventually stop sharing updates about about these posts on my Facebook page too. If you want to continue reading what I write here, you can sign up to receive the latest posts by email, or add this blog to your favorite RSS reader.

To Read

“My folks were always reactionary conservatives — they blocked MTV growing up because it was a “perverting influence” — and they grew up to be Trump voters. It has destroyed my ability to trust them and go to them for advice and help, and in doing so, taken out most of the central columns in the essential parent-child dynamic. It makes me angry every day. Words cannot describe how much I wish I had just one intellectually sound, reliable parent at this time in my life, but Fox News got to them first.”

From I Hate What [Fox News] Has Done to Almost Everyone in My Family

To Listen

Little Grill Collective! Harrisonburg! An unknown band!

Consider the Grackles (The Organist)

To Eat

On the weekends, I play a game: What thing has been hanging out in my cabinet and how can I get rid of it? I had some leftover Gouda in the fridge and decided to make this rich version of mac and cheese. It was a unique take on a classic and I’d make it again.

A Poem

For My Lover, Returning To His Wife
Anne Sexton

She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you
and cast up from your childhood,
cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.
She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of February
and as real as a cast-iron pot.
Let’s face it, I have been momentary.
vA luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.
My hair rising like smoke from the car window.
Littleneck clams out of season.
She is more than that. She is your have to have,
has grown you your practical your tropical growth.
This is not an experiment. She is all harmony.
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy,
has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast,
sat by the potter’s wheel at midday,
set forth three children under the moon,
three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,
done this with her legs spread out
in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are there
like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.
She has also carried each one down the hall
after supper, their heads privately bent,
two legs protesting, person to person,
her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.
I give you back your heart.
I give you permission –
for the fuse inside her, throbbing
angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her
and the burying of her wound –
for the burying of her small red wound alive –
for the pale flickering flare under her ribs,
for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse,
for the mother’s knee, for the stocking,
for the garter belt, for the call –
the curious call
when you will burrow in arms and breasts
and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair
and answer the call, the curious call.
She is so naked and singular
She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid.
As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.

Sunday Sessions

Windows Down

Good morning, friends. Are you feeling the first glimpses of spring where you are? Yesterday it was a sunny 60 degrees here and I could feel myself 1up like a video game superhero.

I don’t often miss having a car, but yesterday was the kind of day where you might just jump in the car, roll the windows down, turn the music up, and drive without a destination. On days like yesterday, my parents might have said: “Let’s go up the mountain today,” or “Let’s go find some good yard sales,” and you’d spend the whole day in a kind of joyful, sunny fog. As adult, that might have meant a road trip down to Shenandoah or Occoquan, and an impromptu stop with the dog at some trailhead.

Here though, without a car, we’re still finding other ways to replicate that kind of reckless abandon (Manhattan has a kind of gravity that can make it difficult to breakaway). If our first year here was about learning about our own borough, the second year is about exploring the boundaries beyond. Storm King. Hastings-on-the-Hudson. Cold Spring.

Bring on the sunny days.

To Read

A Digital Detox Reading List (and Roadmap) (Long Reads)

Does life have to have a purpose? (The Cut)

The progressive politics of Julia Child (The New Yorker)

What is dietary fiber and why is it healthy? (The Cut)

Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management. (New York Times)

Democrats have an unprecedented range of solid women running for president. They should pick one. (Vox)

To Listen

Not sure how I stumbled on Starchild and the New Romantic, but digging its low-key waves right now.

The timing of last week’s This American Life was painfully prescient. “Beware the Jabberwock” explores the Alex Jones conspiracy theory.

Hi-Phi Nation is the podcast I listen to when I think: Who has time for moral philosophy in this economy? A thoughtful episode on the “forever war.”

To Watch

I’m going to make a bold statement: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse is maybe the best superhero movie of all time. Better than Star Wars, better than X-Men, better than whatever stuff Marvel is pushing this week. And the soundtrack is…whew.

Did you love Pop-Up Video like I loved Pop-Up Video? And by that, did I mean did you obsessively seek out every possible episode with the same enthusiasm you saved for the #1 video on TRL? Then you’re going to love Mooj Zadie’s Anatomy of a Music Video.

A poem

JUNE by Alex Dimitrov

There will never be more of summer
than there is now. Walking alone
through Union Square I am carrying flowers
and the first rosé to a party where I’m expected.
It’s Sunday and the trains run on time
but today death feels so far, it’s impossible
to go underground. I would like to say
something to everyone I see (an entire
city) but I’m unsure what it is yet.
Each time I leave my apartment
there’s at least one person crying,
reading, or shouting after a stranger
anywhere along my commute.
It’s possible to be happy alone,
I say out loud and to no one
so it’s obvious, and now here
in the middle of this poem.
Rarely have I felt more charmed
than on Ninth Street, watching a woman
stop in the middle of the sidewalk
to pull up her hair like it’s
an emergency—and it is.
People do know they’re alive.
They hardly know what to do with themselves.
I almost want to invite her with me
but I’ve passed and yes it’d be crazy
like trying to be a poet, trying to be anyone here.
How do you continue to love New York,
my friend who left for California asks me.
It’s awful in the summer and winter,
and spring and fall last maybe two weeks.
This is true. It’s all true, of course,
like my preference for difficult men
which I had until recently
because at last, for one summer
the only difficulty I’m willing to imagine
is walking through this first humid day
with my hands full, not at all peaceful
but entirely possible and real.

Sunday Sessions

The Big 5-0

I went into this week knowing it would a lot, so I decided to be laser-focused on the bright spots. A near-perfect cup of coffee. A co-worker’s laugh. A letter sent to a friend. Finding a yoga studio that feels like home. A chat with my grandma. Becoming lost in a book. Watching a colleague pivot beautifully, gracefully, into a solution. An afternoon planning session with my building’s garden club. A morning text message exchange with a friend I miss dearly.

And by putting the focus there, on the bright spots, it sustained me. Through the long work week. Through the constant shit storm of American politics. Through the hours until David was back at home.

Here’s hoping there are bright spots ahead for you this week.

PS: Although I’ve taken a few weeks—and sometimes a few seasons—off, this marks 50 editions of our Sunday Sessions together. Thanks for continuing to read along.

To Read

Nearly all Americans fail to eat enough of this actual superfood

Hint: It’s fiber. I don’t think about fiber the same way I think about, say, carbs, but a few years ago I started adding a couple of dried prunes to my diet each day and noticed a difference pretty immediately.

Like This or Die: The fate of the book review in the age of the algorithm

Yikes, who knew the world of book criticism was so cut-throat?

Stacey Abrams for ….

Keep your Beto and Buttigeig, I am endlessly fascinated by Stacey Abrams.

The Makeover Scene Gets a Makeover

I haven’t seen Shrill, but like most people with a beating human heart, I love Queer Eye. And yet I can acknowledge how little the show does to actually evolve a person physically or emotionally—I mean, I literally skip through Karamo’s pandering bromides about self-care, confidence, grief. As Soraya Roberts writes here, the suggestion that “internal metamorphoses” can happen overnight is a dangerous one.

Does Femtech Give Users Control of Their Health or Take It Away?


From Birding in the Bronx to Birding on Your Screens, It’s Been a Journey

I’ve discovered New York (and surprisingly, my office) has a vibrant birding community. Bronx native and bird-lover Jason Ward has a new series about the birds of New York, and in the first episode he visits Central Park.

5-Minute Therapy Technique to Manage Your Anxiety

If you don’t have anxiety in this economy, what the heck is wrong with you?

The particular sheen of America by Amtrak

I didn’t love my time as an Amtrak employee, but I still think trains—and train travel—are endlessly fascinating. After taking a cross-country train trip alone in 2017, I felt more at home in America than I had in a long time.

Longer Reads

I finished Another Brooklyn this weekend, and am closing in on the back half of Circe as well. Couldn’t put ’em down. Add them both to your reading list today.

PS: No more Amazon links here—I’ll be linking you to some of my favorite independent bookstores.

To Listen

The (Indoor) Garden State

Meat and Three is the kind of podcast I usually put on in the background, but this week’s episode—about New Jersey, no less—had my full attention during a segment on the ways one school is building food into their curriculum.

The Weatherman

A haunting episode about a weatherman looking for answers.

Envisioning AIDS

Compassion. Fear. Release. A facilitator from the Shanti Project leads an intimate visualization through the process of dying from AIDS. A really stunning piece of audio.

To Eat

I keep buying fennel and then forgetting what I intended to make with it. Turns out this simple fennel and arugula salad is a very solid standby whenever you find yourself with a spare bulb. I’m guessing this kale salad would do quite nicely as well.

You know that cute scene in rom-coms where she doesn’t like carrots, and he doesn’t like pickles, and they spoon their carrots and pickles on to each others plates? Yeah, friends, that’s me and David IRL. But lately I’d been feeling that, as a grown up, I should really give carrots a second chance, and the only way that was going to happen was if they were slathered in sauce. These tahini and mustard roasted carrots might do the trick.

Sunday Sessions


Good morning there, friend. It’s a little chilly here today, but the sun is shining and it’s like the serotonin in my brain finally remembered its purpose.

A few years ago, on a quiet New Year’s Eve, I remember looking back at the year and feeling that it was a complete blank—I could not recount one book I had read, one notable event. And to be honest, it scared me a little, to have a year of my life so thoroughly undocumented by memory.

This blog is its own sort of diary, documenting my week-to-week, but there is a lot that doesn’t make the pages here—especially things that feel steeped in mediocrity (but, which are poignant in their own way). So, this year I decided to keep a sort of list. The list includes books I’ve read, restaurants we tried, films I saw, people we met, and my travels, among other things.

The list is often a starting point. Adding the purchase of a new plant to the list becomes a quest to learn more about it. Adding a Broadway play to the list can send me down a rabbit hole of the late ’90s feminist punk rock we heard while waiting for the show to start (see below). And every time I pull up the list to add a notation, I am met with the earlier submissions, deepening their recognition in my memory, and generating little sparks of gratitude for these experiences.

This list reminds me that it’s only March, and 2019 was already a good year.

To Read

If you read one thing: The Tragedy of Baltimore

I mentioned last week that I am rediscovering poetry lately. And unfortunately, it’s often death that pushes me to better explore a particular poet’s oeuvre in an attempt to understand the fullness of their contribution (RIP David Bowie, Donald Hall, Mary Oliver). This week poet laureate W.S. Merwin died—lucky he for us he left much behind.

I just subscribed to Written Out, a twice-weekly newsletter about women’s literature (past and present). Check out the second issue here.

Have I been sleeping on Uniqlo?

Foot-binding has always struck me as perhaps the most cruel fashion statement ever inflicted on women—but is it really so far from the exacting beauty standards perpetuated by our own generation? An excerpt in Granta connects the dots between tenth century A.D foot binding and our own modern performance of gender and sexuality.

“…Book collections become a pantomime of erudition, or a flex, as I often think when walking past the lit windows of tony brownstones in Brooklyn and catch sight of a large built-in bookcase.” Mik Awake on the complicated practice of owning many books.

We’re going to go with “cute” on this, right?

Sesame Street stamps are coming!

Every single link in Laura Olin’s newsletter (particularly this week‘s edition) is worth your click.

Sizzle, burn.

To Watch

Better than any Super Bowl ad I’ve seen.

To Eat

This Tuscan tuna sandwich has a whiff of spring about it.

To Listen

David and I went to see a Broadway play last night called What the Constitution Means to Me. The play was interesting and had potential, but the pre-show playlist was really special—Ariana Grande and Sleater-Kinney.