I used to think that when I grew up, I’d like to live in the city. In the city, I thought, it would never grow dark. I would never feel isolated or bored or afraid. I wouldn’t need to worry about bears while dragging my trash to the street on winter evenings. But as I grow older, I think that I’d like to settle down somewhere wooded, with water for a view. The Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin would be just fine. A sprawling–but rustic–house with a big bay window at the back looking out over Lake Superior. I would write against this window, sealing it with 3M plastic in the winter so the cold spray couldn’t get through. I would be old enough that I wouldn’t fear bears even if they lumbered across my yard to examine the bird feeder. Maybe I would even be old enough to wake in time for the sunrise every morning.
Fleece socks are an ingenious concept. They’re thick enough to be a step up from regular socks, but they’re not quite slippers, either; they don’t have that textured bottom that gets in the way when you decide to just slip on some Uggs (or Fuggs (I don’t judge)) for a late-night Target run. The two pairs I have were filched from my mother’s sock drawer, but I suspect they’re from REI. Similar pair (pictured above) here. Note: if you’re going to buy fleece socks, the rule is that you cannot buy them in a solid, somber color. You must purchase–and wear– the brightest color and pattern you can find.
This Little House Revelation
Little Libertarians on the prairie
Was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved children’s series written as an anti-New Deal fable? The Wilder family papers suggest yes.
(Photo source: Boris Kulikov for the Boston Globe)
I have to credit my friend Josh for finding this article. It seems there’s no shortage of Little House on the Prairie revelations these days. Somehow, I think my next reread of the books will be slightly more involved than in the past.
Both [Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane) believed fervently that the nation in the depths of the Depression had become too soft. In 1937, Wilder wrote Lane that people’s complaints about having no jobs made her sick. (“People drive me wild,” she wrote. “They as a whole are getting just what they deserve.”) (Christine Woodside, Boston Globe)
This Camping Innovation
Photo source: Tentsile
Suppose that after certain proclamations about not being afraid of bears even when they lumber across your field of vision, about fearlessly dragging out the trash in the dusk, you’re still–shall we say–a tad wary of being eaten alive because you forgot and went to sleep with a baggie of trail mix in your pocket. This tent would help if you’re like that. Of course, now we introduce the fear of waking to a -SNAP- and a long plummet to the forest floor, but that’s negligible in comparison.
I’d say the $899 is worth it.
I picked this book up at Target the other night (while wearing fleece socks inside my Uggs) because Target didn’t have The Luminaries and I was desperate for something new to hold its place. Back in the car, I quickly peeled off the sticker that screamed, “This book is a member of Target Book Club” because I prefer the world to think that I buy my books in out-of-the-way independent bookstores using a combination of gummy quarters and Canadian pennies (which you can often get away with using here in Minnesota) for payment.
It’s about a girl whose beloved uncle Finn has just succumbed to AIDS, and the unlikely friendship she then forms with his boyfriend.
The next thing I knew she’d pulled out her mistletoe and was standing there holding it up in one hand … Finn and I both looked up and my heart seized. We looked at each other for the amount of time that’s maybe one grain of sand in an hourglass or one drop of water from a leaky tap, and Finn, my uncle Finn, read me–snap–like that. In that tiny slice of a second, he saw I was afraid, and he bent my head down and kissed the top of my hair with such a light touch it could have been a butterfly landing (9, Carol Rifka Brunt, Dial Press edition, 2013).
Speaking of YA books…
“The Thirtysomething Teen: An Adult YA Addict Comes Clean,” by Jen Doll:
Adult books may be great literature, but they don’t make me feel the same way. Maybe that’s because at its heart, YA intends to be pleasurable. It’s intended for people who are coming of age reading about characters who are doing the same. As such, these books have a way of cocooning their protagonists, navigating them–and by extension, the reader–to safety, and sometimes real happiness. (Originally published in the 10.14.13 New York Magazine)
This Photograph Series
Photo credit: Jana Romanova
Inspired by her pregnant friends, Jana Romanova’s series, “Waiting,” captures them “sleeping early in the morning in their bedrooms—a time, as she wrote on her website, ‘when people don’t really care about their appearance and one can see their attitude to each other and to this life that is growing inside their family'” (Jordan G. Teicher, “Touching, Unguarded Portraits of Sleeping Parents-to-Be,” Slate).
Most fascinating to me:
At one point, Romanova realized that almost all the couples that agreed to take part in the project were between 20 and 30 years old, which gave the project added meaning in her eyes. “It means that they belong to the last generation that was born before the fall of the Soviet Union, and their children will know about it only from history books. So suddenly the whole project became not only a catalog of people sleeping in different poses, but also a portrait of a generation of young families in big cities in modern Russia,” she said (Teicher).
All hail the grilled cheese, simplest of meals. Get yourself a few cans of tomato soup, and your winter menu is complete.
Recently, the grilled cheese sandwich at Morris’ own Don’s Cafe won CBS MN’s Viewer’s Choice award for best grilled cheese in the state. That’s high praise.