Won't You Be My Neighbor?

by Kelsi in , ,


 
The most radical thing about him was his unwavering commitment to the value of kindness in the face of the world that could seem intent on devising new ways to be mean. “Let’s make the most of this beautiful day,” he would sing at the start of each episode. He made it sound so simple, but also as if he knew just how hard it could be.

"What Mister Rogers tried to teach us — how to navigate “some of the more difficult modulations” in everyday life — might now be classified as emotional literacy. He acknowledged that anger, fear and other kinds of hurt are part of the human repertoire and that children need to learn to speak honestly about those feelings, and to trust the people they share them with."

Read the whole NYT review here

 

It's the weekend...

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

Finally, some sunshine is arriving in Seattle which is welcome news for us sun-starved Seattleites. It has been a bit bleak the last few weeks...

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I'm going to celebrate by wearing my new Clare V x TOMS leopard espadrilles (seen below). See the whole collection here...

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I likely won't wear them this week but I took advantage of Loeffler Randall's Friends + Family sale last week and finally pulled the trigger on these silver beauties that I have been eyeing the last six months. They are so soft and even more gorgeous in person...

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I've really been enjoying this adaptogenic take on a thai iced tea. Thrive Market has the best price on Sun Potion products by the way. And if you're not making your own, this Aroy-D coconut milk is my favorite one...

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Every time a DWR catalog arrives I linger on the LOLL lounge chairs. Some day I'd love to have a pair of these on the patio...

LOLL outdoor chairs.jpg

I've been wanting to make these beautiful pancakes from Heidi Swanson and I think tomorrow is the day...

  Image from 101 Cookbooks

Image from 101 Cookbooks

Last week I finally watched Franca: Chaos and Creation and loved every minute of it. I might queue it up again this weekend...

  Photograph by Francesco Carrozzini via  Departures

Photograph by Francesco Carrozzini via Departures

I also am watching this tonight once the kiddo is in bed...

It is likely that I will be mixing up a margarita to enjoy in the sunshine at some point this weekend, but tonight I am drinking a glass of my favorite "house wine" that I've been buying locally at PCC (I have Olaiya to thank for the recommendation). And since I'm solo for dinner tonight (and my husband hates mushrooms) I'm looking forward to making this pea and mushroom sauté from Pamela Salzman that I will devour in peace.

pcc red wine.jpg
 

Living with Spaciousness

by Kelsi in , ,


Krista Tippett's conversation with Naomi Shihab Nye is one of the On Being conversations that I have listened to multiple times. Listening this time around it was this part about "living with spaciousness" that stuck with me the most...

MS. TIPPETT: Well, so — I’m very interested in general in this question of what poetry works in us. But I think even that question itself holds the implication that poetry is something separate, something distinct. But it seems that, in your sensibility, you see it as very organic. I mean, there’s — I think it was in some of your writing for poems by children, you said, “I do think that all of us think in poems.”

MS. SHIHAB NYE: I do. I do think that. And I think that is very important, not feeling separate from text, feeling sort of your thoughts as text or the world as it passes through you as a kind of text. The story that you would be telling to yourself about the street, even as you walk down it, or as you drive down it, as you look out the window, the story you would be telling — it always seemed very much to me, as a child, that I was living in a poem, that my life was the poem. And in fact, at this late date, I have started putting that on the board of any room I walk into that has a board.

I just came back from Japan a month ago, and in every classroom, I would just write on the board, “You are living in a poem.” And then I would write other things just relating to whatever we were doing in that class. But I found the students very intrigued by discussing that. “What do you mean, we’re living in a poem?” Or, “When? All the time, or just when someone talks about poetry?” And I’d say, “No, when you think, when you’re in a very quiet place, when you’re remembering, when you’re savoring an image, when you’re allowing your mind calmly to leap from one thought to another, that’s a poem. That’s what a poem does.” And they liked that.

And a girl, in fact, wrote me a note in Yokohama on the day that I was leaving her school that has come to be the most significant note any student has written me in years. She said, “Well, here in Japan, we have a concept called ‘yutori.’” And it is spaciousness. It’s a kind of living with spaciousness. For example, it’s leaving early enough to get somewhere so that you know you’re going to arrive early, so when you get there, you have time to look around. Or — and then she gave all these different definitions of what yutori was to her.

But one of them was — and after you read a poem just knowing you can hold it, you can be in that space of the poem. And it can hold you in its space. And you don’t have to explain it. You don’t have to paraphrase it. You just hold it, and it allows you to see differently. And I just love that. I mean, I think that’s what I’ve been trying to say all these years. I should have studied Japanese. [laughs] Maybe that’s where all our answers are. In Japanese.


How to Break Up With Your Phone

by Kelsi in , , , , , ,


 

I'm not sure where I first saw the image below but it resonated strongly with me. Often when I have a break teaching and walk down to the coffee shop I pass person after person looking down, only to open the door to a room full of people again looking down, and stand in line to order my coffee behind a handful of people each one, again, looking down...

Mantra.PNG

Our lives are what we pay attention to.

I hope this slim and life-changing book by Catherine Price becomes as ubiquitous as another slim and life-changing book I love. Read more about it here and also here.

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At home we follow a 24 hour "tech sabbath" beginning Friday at 8pm until Saturday at 8pm (which Price mentions) which has been a game changer. I first learned about the idea of a "tech sabbath" from Tiffany Shlain and her converstation with Krista Tippett.

Do yourself (and your kids) a favor and read this book.

 

Brain Pickings - 10 Learnings

by Kelsi in ,


 

The following list is written by the incredible Maria Popova of her incredible site Brain Pickings (I also mentioned her here). I can never get over how much she reads, researches, and contemplates and how she can articulate it all so beautifully.

"Brain Pickings is my one-woman labor of love — a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why. Mostly, it’s a record of my own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — and an inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life."

This is a list to revisit often, and a "code" to live by.

***

1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.Cultivate that capacity for “negative capability.” We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.

2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone. As Paul Graham observed, “prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.” Those extrinsic motivators are fine and can feel life-affirming in the moment, but they ultimately don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night — and, in fact, they can often distract and detract from the things that do offer those deeper rewards.

3. Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.

4. Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.

Most important, sleep. Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking momentdictates our social rhythm, and even mediates our negative moods. Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?

5. When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as important, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.

6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living — for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.” This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman, for it’s hard to better capture something so fundamental yet so impatiently overlooked in our culture of immediacy. The myth of the overnight success is just that — a myth — as well as a reminder that our present definition of success needs serious retuning. As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.

8. Seek out what magnifies your spirit. Patti Smith, in discussing William Blake and her creative influences, talks about writers and artists who magnified her spirit — it’s a beautiful phrase and a beautiful notion. Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance.

9. Don’t be afraid to be an idealist. There is much to be said for our responsibility as creators and consumers of that constant dynamic interaction we call culture — which side of the fault line between catering and creating are we to stand on? The commercial enterprise is conditioning us to believe that the road to success is paved with catering to existing demands — give the people cat GIFs, the narrative goes, because cat GIFs are what the people want. But E.B. White, one of our last great idealists, was eternally right when he asserted half a century ago that the role of the writer is “to lift people up, not lower them down” — a role each of us is called to with increasing urgency, whatever cog we may be in the machinery of society. Supply creates its own demand. Only by consistently supplying it can we hope to increase the demand for the substantive over the superficial — in our individual lives and in the collective dream called culture.

10. Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively. Fight it in yourself, for this ungainly beast lays dormant in each of us, and counter it in those you love and engage with, by modeling its opposite. Cynicism often masquerades as nobler faculties and dispositions, but is categorically inferior. Unlike that great Rilkean life-expanding doubt, it is a contracting force. Unlike critical thinking, that pillar of reason and necessary counterpart to hope, it is inherently uncreative, unconstructive, and spiritually corrosive. Life, like the universe itself, tolerates no stasis — in the absence of growth, decay usurps the order. Like all forms of destruction, cynicism is infinitely easier and lazier than construction. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of largehearted, constructive, rational faith in the human spirit, continually bending toward growth and betterment. This remains the most potent antidote to cynicism. Today, especially, it is an act of courage and resistance.

 

A WEEK OFF...

by Kelsi in , , ,


 
west seattle snow 2.18.jpg

My son was off from school last week for Presidents' break. I worked a bit but took some time off to hang out with him and friends and visit our favorite doughnut shop...

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Later in the week I was forced to stay home and rest with yet another cold. What is it with this year?! Sam Sifton's newsletter on Monday was so spot on it made me chuckle...

Good morning. It is Presidents’ Day and, for some of us, that fact comes just in time, after weeks of February grimness, always heading off to work in the dark, heading home in the same, going to the store, cooking and eating and cleaning and walking the dog, then pitchpoling into bed only to explore the house cautiously a few hours later, wondering: Which one of us is sick today?

If you don't already subscribe to Sam's New York Times Cooking newsletter, go do that.

I added Heidi Swanson's Instant Pot Dynamite Cold Tonic to my immune support arsenal. I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a bit more honey to my mug...

  Image from  101 Cookbooks

Image from 101 Cookbooks

By the way, Heidi also has a fantastic Instant Pot guide. You'll find her own beautiful recipes like this mushroom stroganoff, and this minestrone (which I made three times in the last two weeks with a few tweaks) but also a compilation of other links, cooking guides and helpful tips.

While I was taking it easy I finally watched Zootopia and enjoyed it SO. VERY. MUCH...

  photo from  Rolling Stone

photo from Rolling Stone

I thought Peter Travers summed it up perfectly:

The last thing you’d expect from a new Disney animated marshmallow is balls. But, hot damn, Zootopia comes ready to party hard. This baby has attitude, a potent feminist streak, a tough take on racism, and a  cinema-centric plot that references The Godfather, Chinatown and L.A. Confidential. The kids, paying zero attention to such things, will love it. But the grownups will have even more fun digging in.

But hands down the very best thing I watched this week was this gorgeous pair. They are breathtaking. I've re-watched their free program over and over. Their artistry together is just beyond...

I plan to spend the rest of my Sunday cooking something simple for dinner (most likely reheating leftovers), drinking immune support tea, slathering on a favorite face mask, and enjoying a long shower and scrub down with my favorite new discovery, this Kahina Moroccan Beldi Soap (also available on Amazon)...

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It is incredible lathered up using one of those fantastic little rayon mitts from the Korean spa. (If you have never been to the Korean spa for this experience, you can read a little about the mitt and the ritual here.) Scrub it all over for the smoothest and softest skin imaginable. 

 

The Poetry of Ordinary Time

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

THE GATE - Marie Howe

I had no idea that the gate I would step through
to finally enter this world
would be the space my brother’s body made. He was
a little taller than me: a young man
but grown, himself by then,
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,
rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.
This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This, sort of looking around.

 

Take a moment to hear Marie Howe read it below. It is beautiful.

Listen to the her full On Being conversation here.

 

For the weekend

by Kelsi in , , , , , ,


 

Watch this amazing video of Candide Thovex skiing across the planet on everything but snow...

I loved this interview "You Don't Look 60" with Bobbi Brown on Goop...

  photo from Goop

photo from Goop

I relate to her outlook, especially this part about being curious and open-minded and knowing best...

I’m constantly curious—I’m a seeker. I try everything. I tried Bulletproof because it sounded great, but I’d consume 450 calories worth of fat in my coffee and I was still hungry—so that didn’t work (for me). So I went Paleo—that didn’t work, either. I try, and I figure it out. What’s working for me is Intuitive Eating. It doesn’t make me feel bad because I had cottage cheese, or I had really good French bread in the best bakery. It’s my body, my health, and I know best. I’m open, though!

I just got Nadine Levy Redzepi's (wife to Noma chef René) new cookbook from the library and as you can see below, I've flagged nearly half of it. It is full of lovely, simple and delicious recipes and excellent tips no matter your cooking prowess. René wrote the forward and I loved this passage:

"You may feel it's hard, or even impossible, to cook one meal a day when you have to make a living in the modern world. I see your point (in a way, even I can't do that for my kids!). Yet in this book I see someone who, by creating habits just like people do with exercise, has made the act of cooking effortless and endlessly generative. There is so much you can do if you simply begin to try."

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We love Patagonia at our house. If you have 30 minutes this weekend listen to this conversation between Guy Raz and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on the How I Built This podcast...

  Andrew Holder for NPR

Andrew Holder for NPR

The best wisdom comes at the very end...

I believe in the more you know the less you need.

The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life, because everything pulls you to be more and more complex...Either we’re forced or we decide to go to a more simple life, it’s not gonna be an impoverished life. It’s gonna be really rich.

I am still a die-hard Blue Bottle Coffee fan. I make myself a cup or two of Bella Donovan every morning with their ceramic dripper. I often take a cup with me on my drive to the studio, but in my thermal mug it stays way too hot to sip. So I picked up this beautiful little Keep Cup so I could actually sip my coffee while listening to On Being...which makes contending with Seattle traffic all the more civilized and tolerable...

Blue Bottle Keep Cup.jpg

It has been pouring here the last week(s), paired with pretty consistent winds. I am loving our Blunt umbrella that not only shields from the rain beautifully but can withstand the wind to boot. We have the classic but they make a smaller metro size too...

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Despite the weather, I picked up these incredibly bright and fun sandals on super sale at Net-a-Porter. They will stay in the box for the next few months but I can wait...

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November 11

by Kelsi in , ,


 

THIS IS FANTASTIC and in my mind, how Thanksgiving should be done. Even if you're not cooking this holiday, click through. It is hypnotic and lovely to watch Melissa and Sam in action. 

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A few other things that caught my eye this week...

 Photo from NYT

Photo from NYT

At some point, the priest during the Mass says, ‘Lift up your hearts.’ He does not say, ‘Lift up your cellphones to take pictures.’
— Pope Francis

Applicable not only during Mass but in life. Here.

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It was the perfect crisp, drizzly Saturday to make Judy Rodgers' roasted applesauce. I didn't even bother to peel and core the apples and just ran them through the food mill after roasting which worked beautifully. 

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This liquid zinc has been a lifesaver keeping us healthy over the last few months with the start of school and the change in season. I always have it on hand and take it daily. Elissa Goodman has a really good list of additional immune support here

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Inspired by my five year old's (currently six page) xmas wishlist, pictured above, I am starting to think about holiday gift ideas myself. Those lists are coming soon!

Happy weekend.