So much miscellany (books, movies, speakers)

Unexpectedly I am watching the Caps in game 1 of the Stanley Cup. This is unexpected primarily because Washington teams forever seem to blow their wads too early, and so it's slightly surprising that they've made it to the league finals. Sorry, but that's an honest assessment. See RGIII times many, for example. Though I've been a DCer since 2005, I'm still a Cubs fan through and through, and to a lesser degree, a Seahawks and Bruins fan. I think this has to do with growing up in Louisiana which has/had, prior to the Saints, no such thing as a pro team, a father who much preferred college football, having zero athletic inclination myself, and being visual enough to appreciate the aesthetics of good (and bad) uniforms. 

In any case, I do love the physicality of hockey and the fact that hockey players do on skates, on ice, and in bulky gear, what some of us cannot even do on our feet, on land, and in no gear. It's really something at times- beautiful, graceful, and then POW! I love it. Go Caps!

This past week has been full. FULL, y'all! In so many ways I love living in DC- it is an embarrassment of riches culturally, and despite fatigue, I ate it up this week.

Monday: Cecile Richards (a heroine of mine) and Kate Germano (new to me but wow) in conversation with Michel Martin (one of my favorite radio personalities) at the Hirshhorn Museum. Cecile's new book is Make Trouble and Kate recently wrote Fight Like a Girl. I told Cecile how much I enjoyed last month's Planned Parenthood Metro DC gala and that I was a monthly donor to PP-IN on behalf of Wax Pence, and she said, "We all need to keep up the good fight. Tough to be a woman in the midwest in some ways, so thank you." PS- Cecile is stunningly beautiful. All three women are stunningly articulate. WOMEN!
After the event, I wandered into a side garden by the Hirsshorn. It's so lovely, and I am covetous of the bug hotel there.

Tuesday: T and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It was one of the nicest anniversaries in a while, and I made a great dinner. You should all try this fried asparagus with miso dressing from Nobu. and really, when is key lime pie ever bad?!

Wednesday: A dear friend and I met other friends and members of our school community at the National Portrait Gallery for a private showing of The Sweat of Their Face with my friend and the co-curator of the show and the head of our school whose area of study and dissertation was America's working class and the various representations of it. Also got to see the Obama portraits again and the new Henrietta Lacks portrait!


Friday: Tom and I took the boys and a friend each to the opening night of Solo, the newest Star Wars story/flick. We all loved it and found it delightful. (In fact, Oliver and I saw it again today.) A) Alden Ehrenreich is a perfect young Han, and B) Donald Glover (who is always good and also hot) is a magnificent Lando, and C) Ron Howard really did almost-perfect justice to this back-story. Lady Proxima is a "no" and why does Dryden Vos have the facial scarring but otherwise, A+!!

Sunday: Cirque du Soleil with the kids. Luzia is no Kurios, that's for sure. Dang. I didn't much care for the show. The kids didn't either. The bendable man who could rest his own head in his butt crack was disconcerting, and the women don't need to be nearly naked to be impressive.
Today (Monday): Solo again. It's fantastic.

Meanwhile: I finished The Complete Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn. I'd started reading them prior to the release of the 5-part Patrick Melrose series on Showtime staring, yes, my Benedict, and my god are they spectacular. INCREDIBLE prose, not least because the story itself is largely autobiographical. I've watched the first two PM episodes and while I do think Benedict is perfectly cast as Patrick, I found the first episode lacking. The second, while terrifically tough to watch, is excellent. The novels are magnificent. I couldn't put them down. 

Alright, y'all, it's 2-2 Caps-Golden Knights. More later. 

Movies and a book and kitchens

Even fun and exciting things sometimes grow old, and such is the case with our renovation. Since the plumbing debacle, I have tried north of 30 paint colors and just received word that one of our countertop slabs broke during fabrication. This throws a bit of a wrench in our schedule, the goal of which has always been to be done and back into our house for Oliver's birthday on March 17. And we still have floor refinishing to endure. And I am racing to and from Louisiana later this week to see my sister and nephew and meet my new niece, and Tom is leaving town for three days next week, and then my parents are coming for Ol's birthday, and really, when will it get warm outside?

I am trying to be zen, but I am so tired. And Jack is having a tough year and there is only so much I can do, you know? It feels like nothing ever slows or eases, not for terribly long anyway. And the Evil Yam Turd and his crew are just so sick and awful and destructive.  

It is all going to be so beautiful though (and infinitely more functional). I mean, how charming is my window treatment fabric?! Blackberries for Nanny, flowers and figs, and those darling grasshoppers. And in the meantime, escapism. 

T and I have been watching movies in anticipation of the Academy Awards tonight, and I have to say that although we've not been able to see a few of the contenders (Call Me By Your Name, The Shape of Water, and Phantom Thread), our favorites are Darkest Hour and Get Out. If Gary Oldman doesn't win best actor, it will be an abomination. God, he was transcendent.

I know Lady Bird has been all the rage, but for the most part, it just left me sad. I didn't feel a connection with most of the characters, and I couldn't imagine letting my child head to college with such a gulf between us. Of course, you just never know others' relationships, but still. I had a similar reaction to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: great expectations followed by a sense of letdown. Frances McDormand, an amazing actress and one of my all-time favorites, seemed a touch one-dimensional. I don't know. I just wasn't enthralled. Sam Rockwell seemed almost a caricature, and Woody Harrelson (another of my absolute favorites) seemed to turn so quickly. I much prefer him as Haymitch. 

I've told y'all how much I applaud Get Out, and last night we watched Darkest Hour. Boy oh boy, was I transported. I am endlessly fascinated by Churchill and the world during WWII, by the evil and courage and strength and never-ending hope and determination. History is both humbling and so instructive, offering lessons and beacons of light as we make, and remake, our ways through travails and humanity. Here's hoping we survive the horrific confluence of Rat Poison Turdface + the internet.

In the meantime, if you're done with films, please read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I'm not done but am fully entranced and hate to put it down when I must. Ok, the children call. 

The Big Apple never disappoints

Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Jack and I had the most magical, special two days together in New York. We knew all the rave reviews of Hamilton, and yet it managed to far exceed our expectations, something that doesn't happen terribly often. It is a rare truffle worth every penny, and we both felt really thrilled and grateful to have seen it. 

Beyond the score, the choreography and use of the set and stage were exceptional. I have been lucky enough to see dozens of Broadway shows over the years, but Hamilton ranks right near the top. Jack sat forward in his seat, elbows on knees, at full attention the whole time. And then, ice cream.


We spent much of Friday at the Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium. If y'all have the chance to see the film Earthflight (a BBC Earth production that was filmed over four years in eleven countries and four continents), do. It is just magnificent. It's a 3D avian journey of migration and predation and flight and it moved me to tears. Why more people don't feel hellbent on protecting Earth and its creatures is beyond me. Nature is magic and beauty and grace.

We also enjoyed Dark Universe, a space show in the planetarium narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Jack was spellbound. I can hardly comprehend the amounts of time and temperature and cosmic movement and drama that our existence entails, but it's humbling and awe-inspiring. And I learned a lot.

a big-ass geode

a big-ass geode

After hauling it downtown to see a friend and back uptown to change, we hauled it back downtown for dinner at The Spotted Pig, a cozy joint in the West Village whose ambiance really cannot be beat. Jack and I shared the savoy cabbage, speck, parmesan, and balsamic plate before he dug into his giant burger and mess of fries and I forked my arctic char with beets and creme fraiche. He declared his burger the "best I've ever eaten." I didn't much like my fish, but the cabbage dish was marvelous, and my wine was sublime. 

y'all, those fries. Shoestrings fried with rosemary and slivers of garlic.

y'all, those fries. Shoestrings fried with rosemary and slivers of garlic.

Then to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree in all its glory and then to get milkshakes. Jack doesn't eat much during the day, but damn does he make up for it come dinnertime!

rockefeller center tree

I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow last night, and Jack slept like a baby until nearly 10 this morning. Places to go and people to see, buddy. So we dressed, and flew down to ABC Kitchen to enjoy brunch with one of my favorite people EVER, Shawn. Shawn who told me I had to start writing about food and thus, this blog. The best. 

So brunch and catching up and laughs and then we parted ways, and Jack and I went to see the Flatiron Building, and to Eataly, and to the Lego store, and then we walked the two miles back up to our hotel. Jack got quieter and quieter, and he slipped his hand in mine and said, "I love you, Mom."


We are home now, and I will never forget these two days with my sweet boy. I love that Jack and Ol love NY like I do; I think they totally get why my heart resides there, and I love that we can share that. Yes it's busy and noisy and can be dirty and rude and brusque, but it is so utterly alive and no-nonsense. Aah, as I saw on a bag today, "New York is my boyfriend."