Staff Stacks


Reading: The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith by Joanna Brooks.

Watching: With my son in the hospital, I needed something to take my mind off my worries and turned to my new addiction, Breaking Bad. I am also deeply engrossed in Top Chef and Project Runway Allstars, though I must say the season is not nearly as fun without Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.

 Listening: My running playlist as I train for a Ragnar race. Also attended The Givers with friends last month and dreamed of being a rocker who can jam on drums like she did.

Eating: After nearly a month of hospital cafeteria food, I am enjoying the fruits of a Key West vacation, including Sloppy Joe’s and Cuban fare.

Browsing: Talking Points Memo – a presidential election is my version of romance novel porn.


Reading: To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal. I was recently thinking about that perennial short story anthology favorite “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Anne Porter, which led to Katherine Anne: A Life by Joan Givner. Givner is not the most vivid or insightful biographist, but Porter’s life was fascinating all by itself. Letters in the Mail, my first letter arrived yesterday.

Watching: Caryl Churchill’s feminist, socialist and Anti-Thatcherite play Top Girls. Still digesting. Hardly any television, but I did catch the first episode of the fourth season of True Blood the other night. It’s just as far-fetched, funny and deliciously trashy as ever. The mysterious, beautiful, gentle and funny Thai film Syndromes and a Century.

Listening: To Wild Flag! Still. After a month. Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, early Ryan Adams’ records, Los Lobos (h/t Erin) and Phantogram.

Eating: I made some Parsnip and Ginger soup today,  Fox Ginger Crinkle Creams and homemade bread with Victoria Plum Jam and butter.

Browsing: Honestly, I’m a creature of habit and probably visiting the same places I said I was last time — my beloved Hairpin, Flavorwire, the NYT’s and The Guardian. I’ve also been watching YouTube hair tutorials because I am rubbish at doing hair. And lazy. So chances are pretty low that I’ll actually attempt anything I’ve watched.


Reading: Just finished reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  Written very well, with great characters, but the plotting seems forced towards the end, too tight.  Like a suit jacket and pants, you need to leave some room inside a novel for natural movement and proper draping. Otherwise, some of the characters have to just stand there, looking good, but they are unable to sit down.

 Watching: Saw Hugo last night.  Nice camera work and luxuriant sets, nice nod to the early days of film, but as a story it seriously drags. Can’t compare to that love letter to the cinema, The Artist. Watching Modern Family on DVD and awaiting Downton Abbyin the Netflix que. Like Phil Dunphy, I’m in love with Claire and Gloria, which I justify by insisting my wife is kind of a Claire/Gloria blend. So far, my wife seems convinced.

Listening: Velvet Underground right now, enjoying comparing VU’s “Sweet Jane” to the Cowboy Junkies’ cover and “Waiting for the Man” to David Bowie’s cover. In the car I can’t turn off Sam and Dave: “Soul Man,” “Hold on I’m Coming,” “Wrap it Up” and “I Thank You.” I’d try comparing some covers of these songs, but none of them can possibly compare to the originals.

Eating: A lot of fish.


Reading: In December I read the whole Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I had read the first two when they came out, but never finished the last one, so I re-read all of them.  Loved them all, although I liked the first one the best.  My kids are SO excited about the movie, they are already losing sleep—and it doesn’t come out until March 23 (my Marin’s 12th birthday!). I also read Also read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This was flat out one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read.  So many layers of meaning and controversy and heartache—racism, medical ethics, unequal access to health care, etc. And a shout-out to my Mo-sister, Joanna Brooks and her Book of Mormon Girl.  I read it on the Kindle—my first Kindle read—and loved it.  I laughed, I smiled, I cried.  Read it!

Watching: Haven’t watched anything worth noting except for a few hilarious John Stewart clips about the presidential election.

Listening: I actually brought my ipod to Costa Rica (where I spent two weeks in January), but didn’t listen to it even for one minute.  A couple times I thought about listening to it, but didn’t because I didn’t want to miss anything I was seeing or hearing.  I wanted to take it all in!

Now that I’m back, I’m most looking forward to listening to a recent Mormon Matters podcast re: effecting change in the church.  It’s Episode 72.

Eating:  Because I spent half of January in Costa Rica, I ate beans and rice, beans and rice, beans and rice.  They call it different things, though.  In the morning, they call it gallo pinto.  For dinner, they call it casado.  I also ate as many of these most delicious things called patacones that are fried plantains.  I love them so much, I want to marry them. I also ate this most delicious rum and raisin ice cream in a little mountain town.  And the scoop only cost me about a dollar, which was a pleasant surprise. Now that I’m home, I just seem to be eating everything, pretty much indiscriminately.

Browsing: Scenes from a semiMormon Life.


Reading: The Neediest Cases series in the New York Times New York section, profiles of people who have benefitted from assistance from seven different charitable agencies who provide services in the Big Apple. These daily articles (from November – February, the length of the fundraising campaign) inspire and humble me. Also, Us: Americans Talk About Love, edited by John Bowe.

Watching: Just got Netflix streaming, thus joining the decade 2011 kicked off! The Wilco documentary, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart makes me love that band even more than I already do.

Listening: Any and everything via Spotify Premium. (Yes, after going without cable or anything like unto it for nearly four years, I’m springing for TWO pop culture delivery services this month.) New favorite band? Youth Lagoon. New favorite band that isn’t a new band? Eels.

Eating: Girl Scout cookies, especially Tag-alongs and Samoas. Also enjoying lots of pears, blackberries and raspberries, but unfortunately, not as much as the cookies.

Browsing: Dipping my toes in the waters of Pinterest somewhat warily … I’m also enjoying various iPad apps (VidRhythm, Vintage Camera), but searching for more roundish buttons to download that will make my life amazing!


Listening: Kino MacGregor Ashtanga Yoga Awareness Podcasts Adyashanti Downloaded Teachings.

Eating: Kicking Horse Coffee – (Kick Ass Dark, whole bean) – bought for my husband for Christmas, stolen by me and made with plenty of creamy hot milk and chocolate – it’s making my whole world go ‘round. I think I’ll forget about nutrition for the rest of this month and just carry around my little mug of liquid joy.

Browsing: Colorful Homes – doesn’t everyone need more color in their life? On the Way to Critter Farm – exploring an alter ego of mine. Goths up Trees C’mon… it’s GOTHS, in TREES! Hilarious. Lesbian Dad – I go for the photography. So good.