Week in Review

This past Wednesday was the annual Washington Area Women's Foundation Leadership Luncheon. You might remember my post about it last year. I was so inspired that despite my complete lack of comfort with soliciting money, I enthusiastically agreed to join the Host Committee for this year's event. 

The tone of this year's Luncheon was one firmly rooted in female empowerment and strength. After a week of Me Toos swirling around, it was tremendously meaningful to sit with more than a thousand women (and a few men) and celebrate our vast ability, resilience, and connectedness. I am proud that the host committee this year raised more than $860,000 for the Women's Foundation. This record amount is crucial for our wholly donor-supported organization, and I am grateful to all who lift us up. 

On Friday night, a dear friend and I headed downtown to see Tom Hanks in conversation with Ann Patchett. A curious combination, perhaps, until you find that Hanks has just published a book of short stories, Uncommon Type

 Gorgeous night, exciting event.

Gorgeous night, exciting event.

He is an avid collector of vintage typewriters (he owns more than 200) and the machine has a role, from mention to major character, in each of the seventeen stories in the book. 

Meanwhile, in addition to being a prolific writer, Patchett, as you might know, owns the independent bookstore, Parnassus Books, in Nashville. She was sent an advanced copy of Hanks' book. Initially rolling her eyes over "another actor who wants to publish a book," she found that once she started reading, she couldn't stop. She noted with relief that Hanks' writing is totally unaffected in a way that feels increasingly rare these days. 

It was a delightful conversation, although my friend and I both wondered if Hanks is always so kinetic and "on" or if he was in show-mode for this event. It was at times almost exhausting to watch and listen to him. I liked Patchett a lot. Although I don't much care for her fiction, her nonfiction is brilliant and I absolutely adore it. I hoped not to have a Kingsolver experience (remember when I went to hear her speak and found her public presence not terribly appealing; sad), and I didn't.

Washington has so much to offer. Despite American politics feeling like the most depressing and toxic and devouring dumpster fire ever, this city is extraordinarily rich in so many other ways, and I feel lucky I can take regular advantage of our cultural and social justice offerings.

It has also been a week (weeks, actually) of pretty and delicious food which for me never fails to serve as balm and joy. 

 pumpkin ravioli with sage brown butter and parmesan

pumpkin ravioli with sage brown butter and parmesan

 incredibly juicy, tangy Concord grapes from a local farmers market

incredibly juicy, tangy Concord grapes from a local farmers market

 tomatoes from that market heading towards roasted tomato jam (an outstanding Amanda Hesser recipe)

tomatoes from that market heading towards roasted tomato jam (an outstanding Amanda Hesser recipe)

 after nearly two hours in the oven, the jam is ready to put up.

after nearly two hours in the oven, the jam is ready to put up.

In other news, Stumptown has changed its packaging, and I'm smitten with the handsome take on a humble coffee bag. If you love coffee and grind your own beans for your morning espresso, please try Hairbender. Mamma mia. It's a worthy splurge.

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And Nutmeg continues to keep watch, this time with the help of a bony friend. Oliver, who loves Halloween more than even his birthday and Christmas, is in full decorative spirit and costume planning right now. The countdown to the 31st is on! Ol told me last week, "Mamma, I know you don't love Halloween, but you always work to make it so much fun for me. Thank you." What a gift he is, and such an old soul. Tom and I are dressing up this year, and Ol is delighted. I told him that his enthusiasm is infectious, and thanks for making my life more fun. 

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