Three Awesome Things This Week & One Horrifying
I am the queen of email folders. My email folder at work, broken down by all my clients and then broken down further by various other topics and categories, is a marvel to behold, I promise you. I love throwing things into email folders when I want to file them away because, as much as I hate email, it is my only real filing system.
So file away I do, to my heart’s content. Then I realized that I might create an outlet for these odds and ends that I file away. They were of interest to me, perhaps they may be of interest to you? (Perhaps even more interesting than my usual long-winded treatises?)
Here are the thoughts I have filed, and the trails I have followed, this week:
Three Awesome Things:
1. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I’ve mentioned it previously, but now that I finished it, I can say that it was outstanding. Reminiscent in feel to the Grand Budapest Hotel, it is a wonderfully smart and stylish book that whisked me off to a snowy, evocative Russia, years ago, in a romantic old-world era, as noble elegance crashed into the upheaval of history. Elegance managed to maintain its dignity in this ultimately uplifting book. But ironically, it kindled in me a desire to delve deeper into the darker reality of Russian history, and into some classic Russian literature.
Naturally I embarked on a ridiculous internet search to decide which direction to go, but I have settled on Dr. Zhviago, where I will likely remain for a while, as I try to divine the intricacies of Russian patronyms and surnames for 700 pages. I’ll probably be simultaneously reading The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes because that topic feels urgently important and I anticipate a few gear switches will be welcome.
Ugh, already I’ve lost the fight against my long-windedness. But onward to awesome thing number two…
2. China bans the ivory trade. I don’t proclaim to be an expert on the plight of elephants. But I know enough, as the average person does, to know that it is heart-breaking. This story struck me because it shined like a diamond against the darkness and sheer horror of every single other news story. It’s just a comforting relief to see One. Good. Thing. If it can’t be something good for us humans, I will rejoice that at least these magnificent beasts may find a kinder, friendlier planet to roam. I know Miss Mazuma, someone who is intimately acquainted with this topic, is cheering somewhere, a mile up.
3. Ms. Montana’s awesome essay on “pausing.” I’m a big fan of Ms. Montana. She has a lot of smart ideas and an incredibly lovely way of expressing them, and inspiring others to peek out from her very fresh, energizing perspective. But I especially loved this post because it highlighted one of those shortcuts in life that anyone can invoke when they take advantage of those predictable little brain quirks that we all have. In this case, it is pausing something, instead of totally cutting it out, which, mentally, is a million times harder. The trick, of course, is that once you have paused, stopping altogether (if that is what you ultimately want) loses all of its power to daunt.
And finally, one horrifying thing:
The No-Spend January. I have already failed masterfully in my attempt to join everyone in a no-spend January. Herein lies my confession: In the early days of 2017 I have purchased pajamas, an end table, a piano light for our new keyboard, several books of sheet music, bird seed for my new bird feeder, several books on kindle and tickets for my family to see the Peter Pan Experience at BAM* (though in my defense, tickets were only $15 each). We also repaired our vacuum cleaner to the tune of $100. I am going to stop now.
*Husband, if you are reading, we are going to see the Peter Pan Experience on March 26th.
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