It seems lately that I’ve found a lot of good reasons to not cook – or, if I do cook, to not cook anything new or anything that requires more than a passing thought. I’m a big champion of scrambled eggs for dinner, as you likely know, and a seven-minute egg on anything that holds still, and I could eat Ed Fretwell Soup for an entire week of every month. I am currently in a very pleasant rut of all of the above, plus whatever-is-in-the-fridge-cut-up-and-dunked-in-vinaigrette and a decent amount of pizza from my own establishments, because what is the point of having restaurants if you can’t eat in them, right? Someday I will cook something new and write about it. But not today.
1. I am delighted, thrilled, everything and beyond, to announce that I will be teaching a week-long writing workshop at the Sitka Arts and Science Festival this July, in beautiful Sitka, Alaska. My workshop is on the craft of memoir, with an emphasis on place, and it’s from July 16 to 23rd. The festival is “for older teens and adults interested in exploring the intersection of art and science” and “brings together the brightest minds in art and science for exciting conversations, excursions, and workshops,” to quote liberally from its website, and one of my fellow faculty members is the artist Nikki McClure(!), whose work I have seen everywhere for years(!), but whom I’ve never met. It’s going to be a famous week. Scholarships are available, and you can register right this way. Please join us.
2. Tim Mazurek, I love you.
3. I am infinitely more comfortable in front of a microphone than in front of a camera, but Ashley talked me into doing a Facebook Live thing with her last week, and it was a really good time. We talked about motherhood and everyday cooking, and let me tell you, Ashley is a real wizard at bean doctoring. You can find our conversation on the Not Without Salt Facebook page.
4. My friend Cristina Victor is an artist, performer, and force of nature, as well as the bold hand behind the mural in the back hallway of Dino’s. Right now, she’s hard at work on raising funds for a new project, a collaboration with immigrant students in Oakland, CA, to produce a series of flags to be displayed along Telegraph Avenue. The project has received a matching grant, but in order to secure the funding, it has to raise $3600 in the next six weeks. If you’re so inclined, learn more about the project here.
6. Something I think about often and work hard to put into practice as we parent June: Nine Body Positive Terms You Need To Teach Your Daughter.
8. Also thanks to John: the not-at-all-new but totally perfect spoof “An Oral History Of Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer.’” When OK Computer came out, I was in my freshman year of college, and one of my roommates, Maggie, came home with it on CD. I remember the first time she played it. Maggie was infinitely cooler than I was, and slightly terrifying, and I probably would have tried to like any music she played, but I didn’t need any reason to love OK Computer. It blew my head off. It was sexy and weirdly, wonderfully wrenching. I decided immediately that I wanted to lose my virginity while listening to the song “Let Down,” because it was so poignant, dawwwwww, and so pretty. It was only much later that I realized that losing one’s virginity to a song called “Let Down” would be (tragi-)comedic gold. Possibly the best joke of my life, and I didn’t even notice. I’m slow on the uptake.
Have a great weekend, everybody.
Every year, my friend Brandi takes her preteen niece Paige on a trip for spring break, and this year, June and I went along. Last week, the four of us spent four days exploring the Grand Canyon and nearby Antelope Canyon, eating trail mix (the kind with M&Ms in it, the only kind), and feeling a quasi-religious level of gratitude that the flat tire we got while driving between the aforementioned canyons didn’t occur in the desolation of mid-desert but rather in the parking lot of one of only two gas stations along the route. Somehow, June is now big enough to carry her own backpack. My life passes before my eyes. Back at home, I find that we have reached, yet again,…Read more
On the night we got there, when we checked in, the lady at the front desk wrote out the wifi network and password on the corner of a pad of paper, ripped it free, and handed it to me. I slid it into my phone case, so that I wouldn’t lose it, and last week, three months later, I noticed it still wedged there. “How’s that Rancho Pescadero wifi working for you?” Brandon says, peering over my shoulder. “Little slow, from 2,000 miles away?” I roll my eyes, yank out the scrap of paper, and crumple it up. But when he looks away, I press it flat again and slip it back in. I first heard about Rancho Pescadero was from a couple of Delancey neighbors and longtime…Read more
Last November, I got an e-mail from a fourth grade public school teacher in Sitka, Alaska, inviting me and Brandon to be part of a classroom project he was planning. The project would be called the Perfect Pizza, and it would go like this: the students would spend some time studying pizza and writing about pizza, and along the way, we’d chat with them once or twice via Skype about what makes great pizza great. As the culminating event of the project, Brandon and I would come to Sitka in the flesh, ta daaaa, where we would make pizza with the students (Brandon), talk writing with the students (me), and give a reading at the local library (me). We of…Read more
One Tuesday evening in March, I went somewhat accidentally to the town of Edison, Washington, and bought a pack of graham crackers. Two weeks later, I drove back deliberately, 75 miles each way, just to buy more. Thanks to Renee Bourgault and her wonderful Breadfarm, I got to tell the story, and share the recipe, on (the newly redesigned! fancy!) Saveur.com.Read more
Early Friday morning, I boarded an airplane to Washington, DC, and on the way there, using my Motherly Time-Management Skills, I managed not only to sleep for two hours, but also to read one New Yorker and the entire current issue of Lucky Peach. I was in DC for a conference, and to celebrate my nephew’s fifth birthday (Lego-themed party! Lego-shaped candy! BTW, IMO, the blue ones are best; avoid yellow). But this morning, back at my desk, I’m still thinking about that Lucky Peach. In particular, this Jeremy Fox story and this endive story. But really, the whole issue was great, so smart and so weird, that I even mentioned it to the nurse in my dermatologist’s office this morning. That’s a strong endorsement. Somebody should…Read more
Oaxaca! As I said, I’m no expert, but I can tell you what I liked. I hear that some of you are hoping to travel there, and I hope what follows is helpful. This was our second time going on vacation with our friends Brandi and John. If you can find two people you enjoy and won’t want to stab after ten days in close quarters, I highly recommend it. Traveling with friends has allowed us to feel more bold, for better or worse, about long drives on mountainous roads in foreign countries, and about traveling without making a lot of plans, doing exhaustive research, or knowing the local language. Also, at the beach, two of us invariably want to…Read more
We got home this past Tuesday night, after spending Christmas with my family and then ten days in Oaxaca, Mexico, with a couple of friends, and I’m so relaxed that I can hardly remember how to type. I’ve never been particularly good at relaxing, but in the past year, I’ve started to get the hang of it: how to do nothing but read for an entire day, how to be a fair-skinned person on a tropical beach and not die of sunburn, how to drink a beer at noon, and how to enjoy swimming in open water without thinking about Jaws or that giant sturgeon they found in Lake Washington. Having just spent more than a week practicing my new…Read more
I picked up a roll of film that I shot at Sam and Megan’s wedding last month, and maybe my friend at the lab did some wizardry with the negative scanner, but the whole roll has this glowy, ethereal light shining through it. It’s a decidedly end-of-summer light. I like the way it makes me feel. The past few mornings, our neighborhood has been white with fog, this dense fog that blows up the street in visible gusts, and it feels so familiar and so welcome, but it is a decidedly not-summer thing. I’m writing this from an airplane to Chicago. Brandon is with me (!), and having had a lot of long days lately (hosting a dinner at Delancey…Read more
A month of summer gone already! I don’t want to think about it. I rediscovered my Fuji Instax over the weekend and have been firing off shots like I were made of money. That’s another thing I’ve decided not to think about. I want June to have photo albums from her childhood – proper, three-dimensional albums! With the requisite wonky Polaroids! Like the olden days! Next up: suspenders and a paper route! – so I’m not allowed to fuss over the cost of film or the stupid, stupid, stupid flash that goes off whether I want it or not. Babies: they get your priorities straight. I appreciate that. Though I wouldn’t mind sleeping past 6:30 again someday. It seems like…Read more
We spent half of last week on Lopez Island, staying with friends at the home of friends-of-friends, breaking in our sun hats, making buildings out of driftwood, wearing ourselves out so well that we were in bed before the light was gone, getting reacquainted with summer. Despite the fact that I seem to have filled my life with a lot of work and obligations and businesses and whatnot, I am not someone who enjoys feeling busy. I do not like to feel busy at all. I also do not like to set goals. But my goal this summer is to have a lot of days like the ones we had on Lopez, summer days like the ones I had as…Read more
Friday! It’s rainy here in Seattle, as it often is in June. I don’t mind, but I also wouldn’t mind being in a car on the road between Rome and who knows where in Italy, as I was on this day three years ago, when I went over for Luisa’s wedding.* Let’s go there for a minute. Maybe to a beach on the Adriatic. Ah. Earlier this week, I drove to Spokane and back, which is absolutely nothing like a beach in Italy but is still beautiful in its way, and because I was driving alone, I listened to Girl Talk “All Day” very, very loud and did a lot of “dancing,” by which I mean flapping my elbows wildly while…Read more
It is 12:26 pm on June 23. I’m sitting at my desk in the window, which, if you were considering it, is a bad place to put a desk. What a person needs behind a desk is something sturdy, galvanizing, like a wall. Otherwise you’ll wind up spending your time as I am today: watching the world’s most subtle breeze blow through the branches of the neighbors’ tulip magnolia, wishing I were eating a cheeseburger. I’m slowly emerging from New Book Insanity. I am so relieved, so glad to have this book behind me and out in the world, and also so, so, so tired. Elated! Tired! Dead! (But hey, Spokane: I’m going to be in your town tomorrow night,…Read more
Hello from a plane somewhere between Minneapolis and San Francisco! I’ve been trying to write this post for a couple of days now, on trains and planes and more trains and planes, but then I wind up staring out the window or admiring the spectacularly bedazzled manicure job on the woman next to me or reading an entire Us Weekly over someone’s shoulder before passing out and suddenly coming to three hours later in a new city. Today, I will persevere! I will only read half of an Us Weekly over someone’s shoulder. I’m eight days into nearly two consecutive weeks on the road for Delancey. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be on book tour, even now that I’ve been…Read more
I’m typing this post from my cousin’s kitchen table in Oakland, California, where June and I are visiting for a family baby shower and have stayed long enough to eat four slices of red velvet cake, get stuck twice in rush hour traffic on I-80, and sniff every single rose in Rockridge while out walking the neighborhood at 6:49 in the morning, killing time before the rest of the family wakes up. We fly home tomorrow, and then, on Tuesday, I leap into that heady, unnerving thing called Publication Day, otherwise known The Day Your Copy of Delancey Will Finally Ship, If You Pre-Ordered It, or, The Day You Can Find It In Your Local Bookstore, If You Didn’t. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!…Read more
HELLOOOOOOOO I’m just off the plane from a week in Oklahoma City with June and my mother, clearing out my teenage bedroom. Fun-wise, it was right up there with surgery in the pre-anesthesia era, especially my senior prom Party Pics. On the upside, Mom and I made a wonderful pea soup (only with half the amount of ham hock, and with dried herbs instead of fresh) and worked our way through approximately four bars of chocolate and an undisclosed amount of wine, and I determined (take note!!!) that the only way to handle letters from exes and otherwise is to shove them dutifully in a box and then pray it gets lost in the mail. We woke up too early every day,…Read more
Hi. I am writing this from my in-laws’ kitchen. Brandon is out on a bike ride with his dad. THEY’RE BOTH WEARING SPANDEX!!!! It’s a great day to be in New Jersey. Before the holiday sets in, while it’s still relatively quiet in the house, I wanted to share a recipe with you. I should say first that it’s not for Thanksgiving. I know you already have plenty of that. What we have here is something for this weekend, or next week. More specifically, what we have here is the soup that I will be eating over and over and over again, lunch after lunch and dinner after dinner, for months to come. The New Winter Favorite. I can tell…Read more
We’ve arrived at the end of my trip. The last walk. The way I remember it, the wind was blowing like mad. I have no idea how these pictures came out looking so peaceful. Christophe and Gemma led the way through Holyrood Park, along the skirt of Arthur’s Seat. Another time, I want to climb to the top. I’ll have to go back. I think I could live in Edinburgh. Next lifetime, maybe. Hope your week is off to a good start.Read more
To those of you who advised me to go to Scotland: YOU WERE SO RIGHT. I get it now. In order to get there, I had to endure a bout of verbal abuse from a disgruntled airline employee whom I will henceforth remember as Psycho EasyJet Guy, but I made it. My friends greeted me in Edinburgh with a bag of Mini Cheddars, and shortly after, there was a homecooked meal and a long sleep on a very comfortable air mattress, and then I fell in love with Scotland. Christophe and Gemma, my friends in Edinburgh, are good walkers. I admire that quality. They might say, Let’s go for a walk, and you’ll be out for six hours. We spent…Read more
I come from a family that goes to church only on occasional Christmas Eves, but somehow, I have come to love the feeling of being inside a church. I like the high ceilings, the wood and the stone and the gold leaf, and I like them best when they’re empty. There’s no other silence like it. My favorite church is in Paris, and it’s called Saint-Sulpice. I first loved it because my grandmother loved it, but now I love it because I do. I never forget to go to Saint-Sulpice. I usually go on a weekday, when it’s quiet, and I make sure that I have some coins on me, so that I can light a candle. My grandmother used…Read more
I sat down to write this post last night at a kitchen table in Edinburgh. My friend Gemma was making barley soup, and Christophe was at the sink behind me, doing the last dishes from breakfast. If you had told me three weeks ago that I would be in their kitchen last night, I would have looked at you like you’d grown a second head. For once, I like being wrong. We’ve been talking about a feeling that sometimes comes with plane or train travel, and maybe the best name for it is Bonus Time. You’re in the plane or the train, and you can see the world outside the window, and you’re hurtling through it, but it’s very far…Read more
I love the mistakes that come with using film. Often, I like the mistakes more than the shots that turn out. That’s part of why I started shooting film. For the surprises. Whenever I pick up a roll at the lab, it’s like Christmas morning. Of course, it’s sometimes a sad Christmas, like the year when I found two sweatshirts in the box that I was sure contained a Cocker Spaniel puppy. But I’m learning to take what I can get. My friend Gemma has the most beautiful hands. I will never have hands like that. And while we’re on the topic of beauty, two words: bacon and sandwich. I hope your week is off to a very good start,…Read more
Hi, friends. I’m in Paris now. I know I just typed that as though it were nothing, but what I meant was: I’M IN PARIS NOW! That sentence should always be written in all caps, with an exclamation point. I took the train down from London on Wednesday, and I’ve been staying with a friend. From where I’m sitting on the pullout sofa in her living room, I can hear a moped in the square outside and Night Moves on the stereo in the kitchen. She and her husband are sitting in there, at the counter. He’s doing a crossword puzzle, tapping his fingers in time. They’ve been good to me. I shot a whole roll of film in twenty…Read more
When I was eighteen, I took my first big trip without my parents, and before I left, my mother suggested that I pack a nice notebook to use as a journal. In my normal life, I’ve never been a journal-keeper, but I took her advice, and for roughly fifteen years now, every time I’ve taken a substantial trip, I’ve kept a record of my days. Sometimes I’m a real champ, and I’ll write down every detail: what I overheard in line at the museum, how much I paid for such-and-such, which subway station I was leaving when that handsome man smiled at me and my heinous pink-and-white polka dot umbrella, or, tragically, which subway line I was on when I…Read more
Hi, friends. This is not the post I had expected to write next. In my head, there were going to be cheers, an obscene number of exclamation points, and maybe a picture of the evening street outside our apartment in Paris. But due to sad and unforeseen circumstances, our Paris Diary project has been postponed. I don’t know how I even managed to type that sentence, because I hardly believe what it says. Your support for this project blew me away, and I can’t tell you how sad I am. I was due to fly out of Seattle this past Wednesday, go to London to see my friend Brian, and then take the train down to Paris on Sunday. Because…Read more
I first met my friend Maria in 2005. She had a blog then called port2port – maybe you remember it? – and I can’t remember who found who, but at some point, we started reading each other’s sites. She lives in Portland, Maine, but that fall, she came to Seattle to visit a friend, and we went out for doughnuts and had a drink at the Alibi Room, my favorite bar back then. I was nervous to meet her, because I admired her: her photography, her style, the quiet way she writes, the details she notices in her daily life. I remember feeling amazed by how creative she was, by the fact that she made a living through creative work.…Read more
I am writing to you today from my friend Ben’s dining room. If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember that he used to live in Seattle, where he was like a Kramer to us, but he moved away for a job. Now he’s in Ohio, and for a week, so am I. I needed to get some work done on Book 2, and I missed my friend, so I rolled the two into one and called it a writing retreat. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but turns out, it’s like summer camp – only there are no counselors to keep us down, and instead of doing archery and riding horses and gathering around the campfire…Read more
I mentioned last week that I had been away at a wedding, Luisa’s wedding, and a number of you wrote that you were eager to see pictures. I felt a little unsure about posting them, to be honest, because it was her wedding day and hers to share, but she says that I can go for it. Here we are. Luisa was one of the first friends I made through blogging. I guess it was about six years ago, give or take a bit. That was when Brandon was still living in New York, and I would go there to see him every couple of months. Luisa was still living in New York then, too. She and I had exchanged…Read more
I have many important things to tell you. 1. I’m doing a podcast! I intended to tell you about this a week ago, but there’s been an illness in my family, and I’ve been away, and it hasn’t been a lot of fun, so, you know, let’s talk about that podcast. It’s called Spilled Milk, and I co-host it with my friend Matthew Amster-Burton. Every time we record an episode, Matthew makes me laugh until I snort, cry, hyperventilate, and/or hoot like an owl, and I hope our show does the same for you. The first episode is on the topic of fried eggs, and you can listen or download it – free! – through the Spilled Milk website, or…Read more