Archives for category: dark by five

This Vanity Fair article by Kurt Anderson (Studio 360) addressing American nostalgia and the lack of a cultural turn over the past 20 years is electric. I can’t stop talking about many of the dots he connects, even if I don’t agree with them all. I was especially interested in the points about corporations controlling the distribution of culture at the end, his thoughts about Americans feeling unique and specialized in spite of our sameness, and his comments about a technology overload maybe making jeans and t-shirt culture really comforting.


They comfort you all year long. Comfort them this holiday season.

Growing up, my dad used to floss in our car while driving home from dinner. Over time, our windshield would become peppered with bits of steak and broccoli that looked like tiny neon bugs splattered across the glass.

I would watch him floss in the rear view mirror. He’d be at the wheel and I’d be in the backseat. Once, I remember his fingers being wrapped so tightly around the floss that they turned bright pink, plumping out around the string. I stared at his hands, then eyes in the mirror, and for a second our faces looked the very same.

That’s how I feel about the new year. There’s this strange mix of familiarity and tension, especially now–with the whole world flipping, flopping, and boiling down.

But more than that, I feel resolved about the tough and sweet year that’s passed. Went for coffee today with D and month by month we wrote out everything notable that happened in 2008. Things like friends losing parents and gaining children, where we were on election night, travels to Prague and Vashon, playing pool on my birthday.

Thinking about all the weather that will travel from west to east this year, starting close to Capitol Hill and hitting the places I’ve lived and the people I love across the plains, over the Smokies and to the Atlantic makes everything that’s to come, scary and tenuous as it may be, seem beautiful, messy, and really really close.

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The Space Needle, hiding out before midnight fireworks.

Happy New Year.

Tonight we’re making peppermint bark in anticipation for Christmas Day. Molly from Orangette is crazy about Bon Appetit’s version, and I’m taking a break from smashing up candy canes to post. It will be dark in an hour, and later we’ll sit down to cider-braised pork and cumin sweet potatoes and persimmon pudding.

Something about the holidays makes me want to write about food instead of weather, which has been so exciting lately it’s surprisingly hard to choose where to begin. Cross your fingers for a white Christmas.

Thundersnow hit the city around 5:30 this morning, which was about the same time I realized this thing about being family.

D has a chest cold. He’s all coughs and sighs, and I was up and down with him all night. At one point in the early morning, I thought about how as a kid my mom would sit with me all night when I was sick. I’d always felt a mix of love and chagrin back then, when I was the taker.

And now I’m understanding, being in that role of caregiver to D, that sitting up through the night is such a simple, even good, practice. I know someone well enough to tell you when he’s asleep and breathing clouds or kicking through water. It’s a pleasure.

While I was thinking about this, I jumped. A huge clash of thunder shook the bed. I went to the window to look out and all at once I was a wounder, a wanderer, and a healer.

We live on the tip of Denny, one of the biggest hills in one of the hilliest cities on the planet. In my worrying head, a forecast of flurries overnight means that, while on his way to work, my husband will surely loose control of the wheel and chute-and-ladder from the top of Capitol Hill into Elliott Bay a mile down the road.

D drives to work very early, so before bed last night, I pulled out my pink stationary pad shaped like a hot dog and left him a note on our car: “DRIVE SAFELY & SLOWLY! I love you. See you tonight for grilled cheese.”

I fell asleep quickly and dreamt that D was losing control driving down an icy Denny like I feared. But right before the turn where the road ends and water begins, my hot dog note morphed into a giant safety net at the bottom of the hill. A hot dog-shaped barrier popped up from the road and became a meaty pillow, maneuvering our car safely away from the water.