Thursday, December 31, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020
What? It's *this* time already? I can't believe it. It seems like 2020 just started ONE MILLION YEARS AGO! Ha ha ha. I am astonished. I have been made an aunt again twice over in just this past month. We elected Biden and were thrilled about it. Are thrilled about it still! (If you'd told us that back when, we would have laughed in your face. But relative good is a powerful force when it comes to saving people's lives, isn't it.) Stacey Abrams and other bad-ass, tireless activists flipped Georgia from a voter-suppressed state to a less-voter-suppressed state. It's too much. The heartbroken and galvanizing Black Lives Matter protests. Getting schooled in triple time about the criminal justice system. The virus and all of its losses. I miss people. And also we sit with friends around blazing fires, with mugs of soup warming our hands and jars of red wine warming our guts, and I wonder if I've ever been happier. Birdy is applying to college (sob!). Ben is home (yay!). We are well and safe and hopeful and energized. Also exhausted. But okay, okay, onto the gift guide.
- Last year's gift ideas are here.
- The year before are here--and also there is a list there of links to the homemade gifts we've posted over the years. I'll add Our Fudge of Perpetual Sorrows because it is a perfect recipe and would make a great present for a sweet-toothed kind of person.
- The year before that are here.
- The year before, here.
- The year before, here.
- The year before that, here.
- The year before that, here.
- And the year before that, here.
- Some long ago thoughts (i.e. for little kids) are here.
- As always, the master list of games is here.
POMMO Press is the art company of the amazing Debbie Fong, who illustrated How to Be a Person and whom I adore. I joined her sticker club to cheer Birdy and me up during this long and tiresome year, and it was an excellent decision. Every month a really pretty envelope arrives with a themed sheet of stylish stickers, and lots of little extra stickers and freebies. Get a gift subscription for someone and make them so happy every month! Plus, you'll be directly supporting an independent artist. (She also sells delightful comic books, patches, and stationery. I have little coveting of this to-do list notepad, but that's not surprising.)
This little chunk of a book is 4- by 5-inches small and filled with prompts to draw teeny-tiny things, which is kind of all anybody in my house actually wants to draw. A chewable vitamin! A freckle! A thimble! A chickpea! Pair it with these pens or these (bizarrely expensive) pencils, our favorites in each genre.
|I don't know whom to credit for this, but it makes me laugh every time I look at it.|
|I am framing this one and hanging it. For real. I love it so much.|
Monday, November 02, 2020
you'd be here and not be voting, not be voting blue down the ticket. I know. But please, let's get this done.
Go ahead and bookmark this Atlantic article. Like an umbrella you won't need because the fact of your bringing it means it won't rain.
Take care of yourselves. I for one have been doing a lot of journaling, which helps.
(Totally kidding! I have not done any journaling. Just various prescription, legalized, and OTC medications.)
Come do this with me tomorrow! It's calling NC dems who requested absentee ballots but haven't returned them. We'll be trying to send these folks to the polls.
We got this. Sending love to you all. So, so much love.
Sunday, September 06, 2020
Hopefully we're together on Instagram at this point, where you can follow all my tragic musings on the passage of time, etc. For example, here, where I write about our Ben leaving us (again) and how happy-sad that makes me, blah blah, same as I ever was.
Anyhoo. Ben's summer bucket list included "making fudge." On his last day home he was scrambling around, packing and gathering and laundering and stealing our spices, and I said, "Hey! Let's just make fudge at Thanksgiving!" And he was like, "What? No! We have to make it today!" I did not burst into tears and fling my old-lady arms around his waist, which is as high up on him as I can reach. I just said, "Okay! Let's." And it is truly the saddest, best fudge I have ever eaten.
|Pink shirt! Good god! #stillhisfavoritecolor|
Our Fudge of Perpetual Sorrows
Just slightly adapted from this penuche recipe. I have to recommend only making it if you have a candy thermometer. I think "penuche" just means "brown sugar" or maybe "you won't be sorry" or "until you get a sugar migraine."
2/3 cup evaporated whole milk
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup pecans (this makes it taste like pralines--but you could use walnuts)
1. Put the evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a heavy medium-sized pot, and bring it all to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
2. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula to makes sure it's not sticking on the bottom, until a candy thermometer reads 240°. (This took roughly 15 or 20 minutes.)
3. Carefully (it's very hot) scrape the mixture into the metal bowl of a stand mixer and beat it with the paddle at medium speed while you add the vanilla and then, gradually, the powdered sugar. Stop beating when the fudge is thick and smooth. The recipe says 3-4 minutes, but this happened nearly instantly for us. (If you do this with a hand mixer, just make sure not use a plastic bowl, which will melt.)
4. Stir the nuts in with a spoon and spread the (very, very stiff) mixture into an ungreased 8-inch square pan. As it cooled, we kind of pressed it in with our hands. Refrigerate uncovered for about 30 minutes, then cut it into small squares (we pried the whole thing out the pan first) and store airtight at room temperature while you and Birdy weep into the cats' fur.
5. Vote and make sure all your friends are voting and do something, even if it's just something small, every day until the election to make sure that the democrats win because oh my god.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
I am very excited to say that my new book, How to Be a Person, comes out next week. If you haven't ordered it yet, I am really hoping that you will. You can order it here, for example, to help support your local bookshop AND me! I am going to be weaning myself off of Amazon links in the next stretch of time, because it is unconscionable to continue to support that kind of radical social and economic injustice. (Wow, I am really off to a ranting kind of a start in this post!) I think the book would make an excellent graduation present or a wonderful passive aggressive Father's Day present for any man in your life who doesn't, say, know where you keep the wrapping paper or why you would ever need any.
|She does *have* a regular mask.|
|Photo credit Jörg Meyer, 2008, from the late, great Wondertime magazine.|
And I wrote--this was a while back now--for the lovely Cup of Jo about the very, very small helpfulnesses that were making me feel less awful. They still are, honestly, but I'm feeling sunnier overall, maybe because of all the sunshine.
A few other favorite things:
- This book, which my friend wrote, but still, OH MY GOD.
- This film, this film, and this film. All documentaries, and all so, so good.
- This SK recipe for rhubarb bars, which I like because it's so nice and small. I make them with all rhubarb (instead of adding strawberries, since strawberries are not currently growing in my backyard like a giant alien life form), I double the white sugar, and I use gf flour (you don't need to use the xanthan-gum kind for this).
- The salted chocolate buckwheat cookies that Liz Prueitt posted in the comments of this instagram post. OMG.
- Melissa Clark's Spicy Thai Salad with Coconut and Crispy Tofu, which is a version of this NYT recipe, but in her Dinner book, she uses the whole package of tofu, which she corn-starches before frying, she doubles the lime juice and zest and the brown sugar, and she adds shallots, 1 cup of toasted coconut, and 11/2 cup each basil, cilantro, and mint leaves. It's tons of ingredients, and it kind of all takes forever to make, but it is ridiculously good and you can definitely omit this or that. In addition to the cabbage, I use whatever veggies we have (e.g. asparagus or green beans or cucumbers) and I swap in Bragg's for fish sauce, because of our vegetarian. It is an absolute house favorite.
- This recipe for Paneer Butter Masala, which you can make with tofu, and which you can add peas to, as shown here. (I use canned tomatoes.)
Okay, my loves. Stay safe out there! Be vigilant and also forgiving! Love your people. xo