Friday, April 7, 2017

Things my daughter doesn't like:

1. Loud noises, unless she is making them. This includes the vacuum cleaner (in our home or if she hears it in another apartment through the closed door) and blow dryers in public bathrooms. “I was soooooo neeeeeerfous!”

2. Toilets that flush automatically. Right there with you, kid. (Combined with her fear of hand dryers, public bathrooms are really exciting for us.)

3. When I don’t answer her right away. “WHY YOU NOT SAYING ANYFING.” You must chill, I have hidden your keys.

4. Being asked to repeat herself (“I just said!”), unless I want her to stop saying something like “chunkits” over and over and over and over and over again.

5. “Fispy” food. She told me pineapple was spicy last week. #eyeroll

6. The wind. Her number one nemesis. Ever since Alex “joked” about her blowing away. This fear ranges from obsessive questioning “I not going to blow away?” to sobbing, clinging mess.

7. Anything that can be described as a “beeping sound.” The intermittent ding of batteries in a carbon-monoxide detector dying, a fire alarm at music class, cars honking at trucks in the alley. One time a squirrel “quacking” on the porch scared her to tears because she “didn’t know what that beeping sound was.”

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2015, in one post

Spring #risotto
These excerpts from my journal provide a montage of Georgia’s first year with food. In internet speak, she was EBF before BLW.  We followed the baby-led weaning approach because of its emphasis on eating together, letting her feed herself, and feeding her what we eat. This seems to have worked well for Georgia whose appetite and tastes as a toddler have far surpassed mine as a teenager—and are, in fact, on par with my current food intake.

January 2015

We started sitting G in her high chair during lunch and letting her get used to some foods. She's played with cucumber, apple, carrot, butternut squash so far.


Georgia has expanded her edible play treats to lettuce. It is very easy to clean up. I am so proud of her when she's playing with food and she hasn't even really eaten anything yet.


She has had green beans and toast and pita—taking bites of both breads, but I panicked before she could try chewing/swallowing.

February 2015

Georgia ate the most she's ever eaten today. She had a whole parsnip (in pieces) and a strip of chicken—balled up. She is also taking sips of water from a straw I fill. Post-meal forensic reconstruction was very exciting today. Tomorrow: sweet potato, beans, cucumber are the options.


Georgia is not particularly interested in cauliflower, though her enthusiasm peaked for the cauliflower as we had it: oiled, salted, spicy, garlicky, and covered in sausage drippings. She tasted lime and mustard today. The mustard made her eyes water, but she kept going back to the lime.


Georgia is currently enjoying a pear. She took one big bite, tried to swallow, and gagged a few times to spit it out—I am much more relaxed about choking, seeing her learn to manage too-big pieces.

March 2015

She ate "gruel" today: hemp milk overnight oats with frozen-from-summer peaches and cinnamon. It was not not messy.


We had lunch at Pleasant House yesterday and she ate cod, beets, and potatoes. I made her a little plate of cheese, strawberries, lettuce, and avocado the other day but she wasn't very interested. She didn't love hemp milk gruel with strawberries either and ate cheese off the floor instead.


Gave G a crumb of chocolate donut. She also tasted the foam of my latte at Nightwood. Hoping she likes the new flavor and always keeps an open mind.

April 2015

I am concerned that she wants to be eating MORE. She grunts when we aren't feeding her fast enough or are eating in front of her. Planning to increase her diet as the farmers' market season unfolds makes me more at ease.


Everything about Georgia's life seems to be food related. From my pregnancy diet to my breastfeeding diet to her first foods. What I could eat, what I couldn't, when I could eat, how I could eat, when I could cook, what I could cook. One-handed, no dairy, good fats, protein, no salami, peanut allergy fears, take-out, finally having time/hands to make risotto, where we could go out to eat. Rainbow cone after low-carb diet. No booze.

But it feels like we are coming into the home stretch: Georgia is approaching the one-year mark (which expands the allergen foods), the farmers' markets are about to bloom, and we have established a rhythm that allows for cooking time and shopping excursions and restaurant adventures.

Just in time for summer's food bounty, Georgia appears to have four top teeth coming in.

May 2015

Thought I should write down a few of the things she's been eating lately:

B: oatmeal (overnight oats) w/ grated apple
L: asparagus w/ green onion risotto
D: turkey and white bean chili w/ lettuce

B: clementine
L: pad Thai
D: fish, asparagus, potatoes

She's also a big fan of pizza crust, smoothies, and yogurt bites. She  is also VERY into the rhubarb crisp I attempt to eat without her.


She has a new thing where she puts both hands up to her face—fists to mouth—while eating, to keep everything in?

I love her tremendously.

June 2015

I am becoming concerned about her diet, thinking I should be making sure to feed her rounded meals vs. just letting her have a pear or a piece of toast. More veggies, more protein, more fats.


Georgia now enjoying some taco filling (summer squash and kohlrabi greens snuck in) while I peruse a new cookbook. Breakfast was sweet potato pancakes and strawberries. Lunch: chicken, peas, and broccoli.

July 2015

Grandmother enjoyed seeing Georgia, who she called "wonderful" and also "a piece of work" by the end. She tried to sneak G an m&m—I saw the red on her lips.


We had oatmeal pancakes and blueberries for breakfast. I like to split her pancakes in half and spread with peanut butter.

August 2015

Yesterday at Green City Market she "graduated" from Club Sprouts, which means she successfully tasted 8 market items over the summer. The final items for her to taste were the grapes she had been snacking on all week. She was pointing at them and yelling as we approached the table, so: a sure thing.

She had a quesadilla for dinner and leveled up on fork use: spearing and guiding food to her mouth for consumption.

September 2015

Last night at Medici, Georgia grabbed one of our onion rings and ate the whole thing right up. I was so proud.

October 2015

Georgia can climb into her high chair. She likes to do this and then surprise us when we walk into the room.

November 2015

She looooooooves pasta. And pomegranates.

Today she helped me whisk eggs for lunch.

December 2015

Georgia's first word over meatballs and Brussels sprouts and rosé this afternoon:


Sunday, January 15, 2017

On routine

These tip-toes🙈 On Mondays and Fridays I wash my hair. On Thursdays I wear it high in a big messy flop.

Most weeks on Thursdays we go to dance class, Mondays music class. Wednesdays are for story time at the bookstore while Thursdays host story time at the library.

On Saturdays we go to the farmers’ market.

On Sundays we try to outwit our neighbors and snag two cartons of a limited winter supply of our favorite local eggs from the bodega down the block.

This is the structure of our week. My first few weeks at home with Georgia were downright jarring, not just because of the screaming, but because I was floundering being off a routine I’d established years ago and faithfully followed. These activities are my touchstones, keeping the days from running together in a mash of endless mini-sequences that make up our days.

UIKEYINPUTDOWNARROWWhile I would not describe my daughter, who casually tosses her beloved Baby over the side of the couch yelling “BABY FALL!”, as delicate, I have no qualms tossing out the word sensitive. All through the day she requires many snuggles, a feature we discovered in her programming early in her newborn days. She is observant and understanding, and like me, she thrives on routine. She repeats everything. She literally repeats questions, requests, comments. And makes me repeat myself back. She wants to watch the same movie (101 Dalmatians), read the same book (Blueberries For Sal), listen to the same song ("This Town" or "Baa Baa Black Sheep", depending on how lucky I am), play the same game (Memory).

I get up at 6 am. Actually, Georgia gets up at 6 am. She plods down the hallway into our room and announces, “I waited for my green light!” Her green light is the $30 contraption that keeps our day from starting earlier than 6 am. It is worth a million more dollars. She climbs into bed, answers “No dreams” to my foggy, routine question and I try to drift back to sleep for any more minutes I can.

“I ready to go to the liv-room when mama’s done restin.” Sigh. We get up, get water, and I try to drift back to sleep for any more minutes I can from the big brown chair in the living room. She gets her own breakfast from a plate we set up during the bedtime routine the night before (an oat/carrot/zuchinni/apple/coconut/walnut/banana/blueberry/craisin/whatever-was-on-hand muffin that I make in batches to keep in the freezer and a satsuma).

This is how we start every day.

Nap is at 11:30 am, daily. We eat lunch together at 10 am and Georgia has dinner at 4:00 pm. In between we tinker, do dishes, take walks, do dishes, run errands, do dishes, cook, and read books. We sing, we dance, and we do dishes. I do so many dishes.

Then we end every day the same way: bath time at 5:45 pm, followed by Georgia picking her jammies (“I want my penguins!”), making breakfast (“Time to clean up.” “Let’s do muffin fiwst!”), cleaning up the toys (“Mamahelpme!” #herfavoriteword), brushing teeth (“I strong teeth!”), reading the Going To Bed Book (“What’s bear wearing, what's rhinosasaur wearing, what's Woofie wearing, what's bunny wearing? Red jammies, yelwoah jammies, pur-pah jammies, bue and white stripe jammies.”), and getting into bed by 6:30 (“Let’s chat!”).

The same every night. Down to her little comments. It’s like living in a play, she's got her script and I’ve got mine. Nobody flubs a line.

And it's these repetitions that can become monotonous, tiresome. Her relentless "What else is a bird?!" Until she learns something new, wonders something else, picks a new favorite, and there’s a revision to the script. And I realize we’re saving over instead of saving up. There’s no going back to an older draft, no track changes I can recreate by comparing documents. Just my unreliable memory trying to simultaneously host each Georgia we’ve known. An impossible feat when I’m completely consumed by her current self, crowding out the older versions. Because it’s not living in a play, it’a a living play. So I say my part, hit my marks, and hope I can remember this stage and that, and that she doesn’t put the phrase “what an asshole” into the revised script.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Some editorializing

You can hear it in the silence Back when I had a professional job, I was an editor. Not the cool kind who coaxes a story out of a writer, pulling it together from a sloppy mess of paragraphs, nor was I the clever kind who can recite passages from CMOS (I went back and italicized CMOS in case that kind of editor is reading this (hi mom)). No, I was the anxious kind. The kind of editor who wants to keep editing and never publish. Publishing was the worst. Publishing meant printing your mistakes. You can’t fix it once it is in print.

That’s what I find hard about my new job being a professional mother. There are no take-backs. Once something happens, it is done, over, published in Georgia’s memory and mine as A Thing That Happened To Us. Once I yell “I’m never taking you anywhere ever again!”at the end of a very cold, very loud tantrum it’s printed, inked in my mind next to every fall I wish I could have prevented if I had just sat her in a different spot/caught her/seen it coming/known better. Which is where we find the silver lining. Once I know better, I can do better. Because even though this is a live show, I get another chance in the next moment; there are endless next times.

I can’t fix the specifics that have come and gone, but I can influence the gallery of work, nudge it toward a theme of my choosing, fill it little by little with instances where I get it right. I can improve it, which, more than getting it right, is the point of editing in the first place.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Georgia on my mind

I resolved two things a week ago: Write and walk. The handy step-tracker on my phone reveals that I haven’t taken “walk” very seriously so far in 2017 (I scored a “.33 miles” today but we had one of our family-favorite Lazy Days, kept inside by single-digit temps and the slog that is the end of The O.C.’s third season).

Since I haven’t been walking, this is me attempting to honor the other half of my 2017 goal list. It has been quiet on this blog for some time, the time it might take for a person to be born, learn to eat, walk, sleep alone, talk, and open the fridge to look for a snack. This blog is so disconnected from the person I was when I wrote it years (literally years) ago, and admittedly, like anyone confronted with their past self, I find it sloppy and juvenile. (I’m eternally thankful that Facebook did not exist during my high school years.) I thought about taking it down or starting in a new place, but I get a lot of texts from my sister about the Authentic Self and some of it must be sinking in.

This blog  started as my attempt to “join the conversation”—a phrase learned from my favorite and only young smart lovely woman English-professor in college. The conversation at the time was about what food we eat and the places we go.  Which, interestingly, are the two main focuses of most of my conversations with Georgia. “What we eat?”and “Where we go?”: two of her biggest concerns. My blog hiatus started with Georgia’s birth—when everything felt so intimate and so confusing. I didn’t know how to capture the positives of what I was feelings or the negatives—that she was so lovely and perfect and that I had changed my life to be home with her and I didn’t feel like I was any good at it. I journaled some, when my brain could put words in sequence. Other blog-kades (see what I did there?) include her right to privacy and whether a teenager might not want stories about her hilarious toddler antics on the internet. I’m still wrestling with that, but a private Instagram account isn’t fulfilling my inclination to output.

As it turns out, my life now revolves more around food than ever. As a homemaker (a term I prefer to “stay at home mom” because I think it better represents my goals and agency), I shop for, cook, clean up after, plan about, and teach food. Besides our favorite local bodega, we frequent four grocery stores and two farmers’ markets regularly. I am a creature of favorites and I just can’t settle for not-the-right-kind-of mustard. Or pickles. Or yogurt. Basically anything. Bread, potatoes, prosciutto, chicken, crackers, you name it. I like the one I like. And I’m willing to devote the time to procuring it. And I have the time. Or, we do. Georgia and me.

As I said, she loves to go places. And she loves to eat. And talk about food. She sits on the counter and she plays on the kitchen floor. She is underfoot and touching stuff and in the way and knocking things down. She eats chopped vegetables (except onion which is too spicy or “fispy” and she “doesn’t like raw”) and grated cheese off my cutting board and hands me eggs. She asks why I’m washing the dishes. She tastes salt, oregano, and nutmeg. She yells “Let’s go to the SAMPLE SECTION!” the minute we pass through Trader Joe’s double doors. She lists all the foods she “learned to eat when Georgia was a little baby” before bed and randomly exclaims “Let’s talk about Fanksgibing!” months after the fact.

This afternoon while awaiting Marissa Cooper’s inevitable demise (#spoileralert) and preparing to enjoy the rise of Taylor Townsend, we broke into a bag of gummies. After picking the one she wanted she spent the next ten minutes pushing them on us, “Poppy want a yelwa? That's a good one.” She chorused encouraging “mmmhmms” as we accepted her recommendations, enjoying in our enjoyment. She is an Eater. She is my eater. And I can’t write about food or my life without her.

Georgia is now clad in Christmas jammies and blue polka dot socks, talking to Alex in the living room as they complete the steps to our bedtime routine—a well-honed procedure of exacted timing executed every evening that puts her asleep in bed promptly at 6:30 so the grown ups can… watch more of The O.C. But not have to share our snacks.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Waiting on the thunder

We’ve had a lot of fog in recent weeks and the English major in me (who wrote an incredible paper about the role of fog in early American lit (some one should be calling me about publishing it any year now)) can’t help but see it as a metaphor: I can see where I am right now but the near future, while not exactly mysterious, is impossible to make out from where I stand (or, sit, as the case may be).
Foggy commute #hydeparkchicago Despite grey days, the markets are bright with color. I’ve been disconnected from the seasons this year in a way that leaves me unsatisfied. My mind has been on July since November, making it difficult to stay present for the end of fall, winter, and spring. My thoughts wander into the foggy future ahead and I have to pull myself back to now. To berries. To basil. Happily, these flavors, smells, and colors have excellent grounding powers.
#greencitymarket haul
#greencitymarket haul — admittedly, I went a little wild with the stone fruits.#greencitymarket haul#greencitymarket haul I’ve survived my first week at home by filling my days with activities and projects. After many google searches (varying versions of “will I be bored at home quit job pregnancy?” (the Internet always knows)), I drafted a to-do list to determine if I’d have enough… to do. The list provided lots of structure and I completed seven of the eight tasks, focusing on doing simple things that will be harder with an outside baby and are manageable with this insider. I’ve been to brunches and lunches and dinners, seen a spontaneous movie, sat in the bookstore to read, consumed numerous decaf iced lattes (Alex says I make them look less like drinks and more like life-preservers), and spent the better part of a day watching Real Housewives and doing a puzzle. You know, important independent lady stuff.
#survivaltactics#ladiessummerbookclub reading @pleinaircafeIndoor Midwest picnicSnack time at @pleinaircafe with @maireadsTackling some things on my #todolist. Our apartment is also in an unparalleled state of order (a combination of items “3. Deep clean the house” and “4. Maintain dishes and laundry without wanting to die.”) And our freezer is packed. I’ve been putting up summer produce (a process that has rooted me in the summer season even though it’s all about preparing for winter)—freezing corn, pesto, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, and cherries—in addition to a large tray of stuffed shells for the Dark Times ahead.
#puttingup The nursery is done. My hospital bag is packed, though we still need a few more items, namely snacks for during and champagne for after. I was That Person on the labor/delivery tour who asked the nurse if the hospital was BYOB (results inconclusive and I am too desperate to be deterred by a mildly appalled face).
This is what you do while you wait. We’ll see how far I get into week two of unemployment before it’s time to really work.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I am large, I contain multitudes.

My friend told me a story yesterday about a sloppy improv incident where a fellow player yelled, "CHLOROFORM!" shutting down the scene by taking a whole cast of characters out of the story. This seems an apt way to describe my recent actions as I am pretty sure I quit my job yesterday: I all but yelled "CHLOROFORM!" as I was leaving the office with a bag of Tupperware, shoes, and an appropriated Taylor Swift calendar. (That is, my personal effects.)

It hasn't quite sunk in that I won't be going to this place I've gone each day for the past five years—that I've shut down all these characters I've known and that storyline in my life is over. My mom says "life is in the details" and I guess I'm in the process of changing mine.

If you can't tell, I have a lot of Feelings lately. Because of which or why I'm listening to a lot of Death Cab remains unclear.

I'm nearing the end now—Salami seems strong from the inside while we seem prepared from the outside. The one pair of maternity jeans I bought have developed a hole. And I suffer the usual complaints of sleepless nights (despite a lap or two around the Point each evening) and lots of groaning when attempting routine motions. (I wrote this watching the sky lighten with the sun and then stall on a cloudy morning—a fitting metaphor for where we are in this Big Wait.)

So I've decided not to work but to spend the next few weeks bangin on me drum all day—where the drum is actually cleaning the bathroom floor (an activity I have not had the energy for but with which I am completely obsessed), putting up fresh summer produce for winter, and napping.

These are my new details. At least until the baby arrives.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Living nicely

While Botany Pond maintains the consistency of a frozen margarita, something resembling spring has settled over Hyde Park.  A new café catered by our beloved Pleasant House Bakery has opened on campus.  I’m having a hard time not walking in and clapping for everyone’s attention, “FYI, fellow patrons! I will be raising my children here. This will be the spot of their future first memories…thanks.” (I get no response after this make-believe announcement; people just return to their conversations as my cheeks redden from speaking out loud to more than one stranger at once and I make my way to the counter to order.)  A declaration I do want to make is that the parfait, oatmeal, and biscuits are wonderful (and I’ll report back when I’ve been cleared to eat the ham sandwich).
These excellent local developments combined with my recent binge of Laurie Colwin novels—specifically, Happy All The Time, or My New Favorite Book Forever—has inspired something deep within me.  Holly, one of two main lady characters in HATT (one who I can’t help noticing shares many of Laurie’s personal designs on food), is strong, decisive, and complex.  Her “one ambition” is to “live nicely from day to day.” Which is just about the best thing I’ve ever heard—especially the implication of quiet, modest living. Living not grandly, or better than anyone else, just nicely. It’s the kind of phrase that sends me to the market for fresh flowers each week; to a new café in the neighborhood for a cup of tea and a biscuit with butter and jam; or to the bookstore to buy Laurie Colwin novels for the special people in my life.
Perhaps it’s that I’ve never been particularly career driven, more drawn to the conduct of the “domestic sensualist,” but when Laurie gives Holly the right to prioritize a nice life, I feel like she’s giving it to me, too. “Even Holly worked: she worked to make life sweet… she fought to keep the ugly chaotic world at bay and to keep a sweet, pretty corner to live in.” Yes. Yes!

If you read this and feel the world shifting into balance, we are truly kindred spirits. Letting your life be your work is a worthwhile, noble endeavor. Even in the last pages, after Holly reveals a hidden insecurity saying, “I don’t work. I’m lazy. I don’t do anything very important. I don’t even know how intelligent I am. I just live day to day enjoying myself,” she immediately returns to form, amending: “None of this self-criticism.” She too knows that what she does is good enough.
And I take this as permission to focus on enjoying myself and keeping things sweet; as a reminder that those are ambitions, too. We may be eating the same simple meals each week (sausage meatballs with peas over shells and chicken wings are in heavy rotation alongside ceaseless quesadillas), but neither the simplicity nor the repetition of meals is a failure.  What matters is that we take time to set the flowers in a vase, light a candle, and have a nice dinner.  This is our pretty corner to live in, and we are living nicely.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

On wintertime kitchen slumping

“Ohh—ah, hello! Do you, uh, do you come here often? I come here a bit. I come here from time to time.” This little moment (brought to you by Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting) does not sufficiently explain my blog hiatus, but I don’t really have an explanation except: 1) I haven’t been cooking so good (discussed below). And 2) My laptop kind of smells like weird overpowering cumin? And I don’t like it.
Every winter I seem to forget how to cook. Or, maybe it’s that I forget how to shop. For groceries. I’m out of practice navigating the aisles of the grocery store. Since I spend spring, summer, and fall popping in and out of farmers’ markets, everything fresh, everything good, I’m not in the habit of having to ignore the calls from chips and cookies, conveniently placed at eye level. It starts right as the markets disappear, when the complicated season known as “the holidays” arrive. And for a month we’re out to eat, inundated with leftovers, celebrating, and thus completely derailed from any semblance of grocery store routine. When I finally begin stumbling into stores, my defenses are weak, my tastes impaired, and dark times are upon us. (Except for the really excellent eating we do at the really excellent restaurants in Chicago.)
This winter has been particularly tough, in part because I’ve been reading a lot. There’s a rumor started, no doubt by those jealous of my skills, that I can tend towards competitive. If this is true (Note: I’ve just finished a Tonya Harding documentary and thus am not convinced my own level warrants notice), it is true for group activities as well as solo ventures. The problem isn’t the reading, instead, that I am tracking my reading on Goodreads. I bandwagon decided to read one book a week for 2014. Every time I finish one and input the book, my percent complete rises and Goodreads calculates how far ahead of schedule I am.
If there’s one thing I learned from that [redacted period of time] my mom obsessively played Snood for an hour every night (before she deleted the game out of self preservation), it’s that your real competition in life is your own highest scores. (I’m sure my father would have taught me this as well if I’d ever taken to running—still the term “personal best” is one that sticks with me.) Mix this with my idealization of efficiency, and you’ve got a perfect storm of needing to prove to Goodreads how much further ahead I can get.
Add in my other quirk: a compulsion to finish books the same day I start them, and you can understand why, come 5:45 pm when I realize the fish is still in the freezer, I’ve got 70 pages of the fantastic Blue Castle left, and we’re woefully low on tortillas and cheese, I ask Alex to pick something up on his way home.

Also: It’s dark and cold and I’m lying down. And dishes.

When I do get it together to cook, there is nothing blog worthy about my endeavors. We eat a shocking amount of quesadillas. It seems I have double-booked “quesadilla night” for days starting with “T.” (That’s “T” for “tired,” and so many days start that way.) Alternating with frozen Pleasant House pies, of course.
But when an urge hits to get into the kitchen and make my mark—not in the rudimentary form of Queequeg-esque quesadillas—I make ricotta. Homemade ricotta is nothing short of magical. The sweet smell of hot milk. The straining of whey. The making of cheese! before your eyes. I’m super into it.
I use Ashley Rodriguez’s recipe (I think I’ve discussed this before?), which is based on Ina Garten. Ashley uses a 3 to 1 ratio of milk to cream. Ina goes 50/50. I think this is probably amazing as Ina Garten lives life well, but I stick to the 3:1. (I’ve tried using all milk, as Ashley says is a (not as appealing) option, but found the ricotta gets kind of… squeaky? As I’m sure is the professional cheesemaker term.) No special equipment required, just cheesecloth, which we all have on hand this time of year thanks to stocking stuffers. (That’s normal, right?)
You can’t tell, but I’m eating some incredible fresh ricotta, made nary a half an hour ago, on a crusty piece of baguette right now. Only slightly off-put by the smell emanating from my keyboard. It’s warm, and so creamy, and just plain perfect.  (Except for the smell. What is that? Can you make a genius bar appointment for weird smells? I’ve digressed.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The positivity diet

Today I realized the fatal flaw in my positivity campaign: it’s essentially a cold-turkey, don’t-touch-that diet, and, hence, unsustainable and destined for failure. I’ve turned negativity into a craving, a guilt-ridden indulgence. I’ve been slipping, and apologizing, but then slipping a little more—the negativity version of “just one cookie” turning into a full-blown junk binge, stopping to buy a bag of chips and eating it on the way home. The bag of chips is not part of the metaphor so much as what I actually did this afternoon. (Unrelated, I’m sure.)

I realized that I need to turn the positivity campaign into a lifestyle change that incorporates balance—negativity in moderation as a supplement to lots of positive thoughts and actions. I realized I’m going to have to try again, before I become a behavioral yo-yo dieter, obsessed with restrictions, unhealthy and unmotivated.

It’s just that trying is hard. And trying again is harder. And to keep trying is the hardest. Especially when not trying is so easy. That’s how I feel today about everything. See also: everything feels like the worst. 

So, to try to jumpstart the positivity campaign, I’m going to do what my mom always suggests when we are feeling low and write down five things that aren’t the worst, and are, in fact, pretty great:

1. We went to dinner at Nightwood to celebrate Alex having 59 more years left on our marriage contract. Unlike today, everything was the best. 
2. It’s Brussels sprouts season.
3. I made a dinner for friends and family that started with an Oktoberfest-themed cheese plate and ended with smores pudding pie.
4. It’s also pot pie season.
5. Travis rocked Chicago and I loved it. I loved every second of it.

This has been therapeutic. How much do I owe you?