Notes from a Clamshell Path | No. 19
Thanks so much for coming back for part two! Writing has kept me busy while I wait for Election Day to get here. After the polls close, how do you plan to spend those excruciating evening hours waiting for the results? I'm thinking of a non-stop movie marathon -- no news, no Twitter, no Facebook. But lots and lots of Diane Keaton. Or you could play Election Night Bingo.
Also if you are late to the party, you can read the first part here.
Elizabeth George's The Punishment She Deserves. I'm having a rough go at reading books lately. I'm less than halfway into my favorite author's latest work, even after seven months. Her satisfyingly massive tomes always include a complex plot, tons of characters, an incredible sense of place (I still remember many of the locations years after reading her other books), and a narrative where she toggles between storylines leaving each chapter in a cliffhanger. I've got to clear some mental space to keep moving along.
Pocket app. This is probably the biggest digital addition to my life in some time. It's been both a blessing and a curse. The app allows you to save all the articles you see online that you want to read in one place. I've been tagging so many that they are PILING UP! Luckily, they just added an audio option so I can listen to the articles. Life-changer!
Creating + Collecting:
Jar of beach treasures. Over the years, I've picked up a ton of stuff on the beach. I usually separate everything by type into separate vessels for display. This year, I repurposed a clean-lined cylindrical vase that came with flowers my friend sent me for my surgery (Thanks, Julie!!) and am dropping everything I find in there. It's created interesting patterns and layers and I can't wait to see how it looks at the end of the year.
"Theta Heart 6." At only 6 minutes, this extremely relaxing meditation -- a "binaural soundscape" on the Insight Timer meditation app -- can be done every single day. It's amazing how effective it is given how short an investment of time is needed.
Podcasts: *WCAI podcasts: A Cape Cod Notebook, The Local Food Report, and The Weekly Bird Report. These short podcasts are always informative and I never feel more like a Cape Codder than when I listen to them. *Slow Burn's second season about the Clinton impeachment. I've been asking myself over and over why I took Bill Clinton's side at the time and was totally ok with how Monica Lewinsky -- who is about the same age as me (Ok, she's slightly younger. Shut up!) -- was treated. It also dawned on me (all these years later) that we could have gotten my Gore presidency if Clinton had stepped down. (No, I will NEVER get over it!) *Episodes I liked: The "Bob Marley: Rasta Vigilante" episode of Disgraceland -- I knew he was no angel but, seriously, not exactly the beacon of One Love his music portrays. The "Bay Blanket" episode of The Secret Life of Canada. I'm still lamenting the loss of the one I took to college. Let's just say my roommate had a bad night. *Just started: Underdog. Beto O'Rourke has been such a sign of hope. Fingers crossed he pulls out an upset against Ted Cruz! Gladiator. I'm as shocked as you are that I am listening to Spotlight's investigation into Aaron Hernandez' life. I thought I had enough of him since he was ALWAYS ON THE NEWS up here. The fifth season of Someone Knows Something. This podcast is so good! I always move it to the top of my playlist the second a new episode is released.
Music. *Lots of EDM: Hyperfall by Yotto (an Anjunadeep release); Spencer Brown's Illusion of Perfection. Virtual Self's "Ghost Voices"; and Big Pineapple's "Another Chance" remixes. Remember Roger Sanchez's version? It was super popular the summer we went to Ireland. And the video with that giant heart she lugs all over the place? *Three albums (do we still call them albums?): Santigold's I Don't Want: The Gold Fire Sessions; Morcheeba's Blaze Away (especially "It's Summertime"); and Sting and Shaggy's 44/876. *Playlists: Tulum playlist on Spotify (super chill). Swan Songs on Spotify -- a compilation of songs listeners of All Things Considered want played at their funeral. (Mine is on there: One More Time by Daft Punk -- everyone dances and you all better be bedazzled head to toe in sequins. I will haunt you if you aren't.) Ministry of Sound's Ibiza Anthems playlist on Apple Music.
Eating + Drinking:
Martha's Best Papaya from Jamaica. My favorite fruit in the whole world! When we are in Jamaica, I sprint full speed to the fruit section and take ALL the ripe papaya. Without shame! I ordered a box of strawberry papayas shipped to me from Trelawny as a reward for getting through my surgeries.
Rosé vodka. This was almost the death of me this summer.
Protein balls. I'm a big snacker. If you want something that is good for you and keeps you from devouring a bag of dark russet Cape Cod Potato Chips, make these and keep them in your frig. Ingredients: 6 medjool dates (slice in two), 4 T almond butter, 2 T protein powder (I use Sacha Incha plant-based protein powder), 1T cacao powder, 1 T maca powder, a handful of macadamia nuts, and 1 tsp local honey. Pulse everything in a food processor until it looks crumbly, but not dry. Then form the mixture into balls. Use something non-toxic to store them in (glass is great! and I place waxed paper in between layers).
Crunchy salt + vinegar garbanzo bean snacks. If you like salt and vinegar potato chips, you'll love these. They are super easy to make, but make sure you give yourself a few hours for the soaking (they say 40 minutes but I do at least an hour to get them really vinegar-y) and baking (I do 10 minutes at a time until they are nice and crunchy, but not burnt.) Store them in a glass jar on the counter for easy healthy snacking.
Pasta al limone. The Super Mr. is the real chef in our house but I made this all by myself! I'm sure there is a way to cut back on the butter and cheese in the recipe -- feel free to experiment. And you could totally add lobster for a fancier dish.
Chocolate hummus. I'm ashamed to tell you how many tubs of this I've eaten. I recommend using honey wheat pretzel sticks as your delivery device.
Sautéing pasta before boiling it. Sounds weird, right? I saw Pati do it on Pati's Mexican Table. It adds a toasted taste to your pasta, which I love. I add a little avocado oil to a large skillet, get it nice and hot, add the uncooked pasta, and then remove it when it's changed colors (careful not to burn it.) And then you can boil it as you normally would.
Hand-picked cranberries from the dunes. SO, here's the thing: no one will tell you where the cranberries are. You have to find them yourself. Which we finally did this year! The Super Mr. made cranberry citrus muffins, apple pear cranberry tart, and cranberry sauce with the harvest we picked.
Sas Patherick's self-doubt archetype quiz. Who doesn't love a good quiz about themselves? I'm a Diplomat. With boundary issues. Go figure. "Diplomats are often highly empathic. You probably have a finely tuned ear for nuance, emotional and energetic frequencies, and the ability to sense what is underneath words and actions. It's likely you can feel the mood of a room as soon as you enter." Nailed it! And this recommendation: "Set intentions before going into any room CONTAINING HUMANS."
Bird Medicine. "What we see around us is often a mirror of what is happening within us." This year I've been surrounded by birds. Granted, I live where there are a lot of them but I've had them land near me in weird locations and not move away. I even SAVED a bird this summer. And I've found a lot of bird feathers on my walks. Just this week I watched a turkey fly straight down route 6, landing like Orville in The Rescuers and a murder of crows (who doesn't try to use that phrase as often as possible? Like "rococo.") chase down a hawk. I'm feeling the bird vibes for sure! Bonus: In the spring we took the moms to the Audubon Sanctuary to a birdbanding demonstration. I took lots of video which you can watch here.
Jamaica trip. We took our seventh trip to Jamaica in July. This time with our awesome, just-turned-18-soon-off-to-college niece. It was a trip we have talked about for years! We were so excited to share our favorite island with her, hoping we could teach her what it means to be a guest in someone else's country by showing her some of the country beyond the resorts. On our trip to the South Coast, we had interesting conversations with our local guides -- about where they lived, what their lives are like, and their thoughts on everything from Jamaican patties to Trump. I also had forgotten how Jamaicans speak to me rather than to my husband -- with the (correct) assumption that I was in charge. Surprising, but empowering.
Mille Bornes card game. The Super Mr. and I both played this when we were kids but we had completely forgotten the rules. During the recent Nor'easter, we played a few hands and had a lot of fun!
"Solange: Runaway Bay." As a Cooler Younger Sister myself, I have always liked Solange better than Beyoncé. She writes this from Jamaica (and also as if from MY brain): "And so, as I land in Kingston, like many times before, I feel out the vibrations of the land in which I am soon to ground with. It’s a familiar feeling. One I have grown to love deeply and want to feel again, and again." Bonus: "Solange, the Polymathic Cultural Force."
"Before and After Route 91." I've read that people tend to pay more attention to the horrors of an individual's trauma rather than that of a large group of people. Perhaps this account of a woman shot in the face in the Las Vegas mass shooting and her ongoing suffering will get some attention.
"Who Owns Uncle Ben?" Such a nuanced and deeply informative story about the South, slavery, and the troubling history of rice.
"Swim Caps are Keeping Black Women Out of Pools." "Black children drown at 5.5 times the rate of other children."
"The 'Texas Chili Queens' Behind the World's First and Only Drag Queen Truck." "When kids order chili and ask if he’s a boy or a girl, he says, 'I’m a queen.' It’s up to the parents to take it from there."
Again, I'm so grateful you've returned to read more. The third part will be published next Tuesday, just in time for you to have something to read while you wait in line to VOTE! Or while you painfully wait for those results to come in!