Monday, July 26, 2010


Karl's caption for this photo was something like, "Watch Aunt Becky break out in baby-allergy hives! Best birth control ever!" Which is kind of true. I post this merely to show that I am, in fact, much braver around the freshly hatched than I used to be. Look, I'm holding one! See? OK, here! Take it back! (Whew! That was scary.)

Actually, this one seemed harmless and is incredibly cute. It's Axel, one of my brand-new twin nephews (Zachary is the other one, equally adorable). They're about a week old here, and approximately the size of my feet. (Most of what you see here is blanket.) They don't even look real. They're also very calm, which is a trait I particularly like in babies. When they're all wrapped up in their tortillas and chilling in their comparatively enormous crib, they look like little cowpokes out on the prairie. In short, these mini dudes are cool.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the trouble with alphabetical order

Smoothest transition on my iTunes list: Calexico to Califone. Most jarring: a tie. Joy Division to Kenny Rogers? Janie Frickie to Jeff Buckley? or Wire to Wynonie Harris?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Between 35-word reviews of absolutely everything in Seattle, I've been snacking on Robert D. Richardson's little book about my boyfriend Ralph Waldo Emerson, First We Read, Then We Write. (It's kind of a goofy title, and there's not much to it; Richardson's biography, The Mind on Fire, is the one to go for if you like RW like I do.) It's a week overdue from the library, so I'm giving it back today, but here are some of the parts I liked most:
"The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent."
Yeah!! Ralph is a badass.

How'd he get to be such a badass? He blames nonconformity: "I never listened to your people's law, or to what they call their gospel, and wasted my time. I was content with the simple rural poverty of my own. Hence this sweetness."

Here's a good rule for those days when self-pity seems like a handy excuse for stagnation:
"Work and learn in evil days, in insulted days, in days of debt and depression and calamity. Fight best in the shade of the cloud of arrows."
This one's particularly relevant lately (especially on weekends):
"You must do your work before you shall be released."
This one too:
"I lose days determining how hours should be spent."
And this:
"Always that work is more pleasant to the imagination which is not now required."
But this sentence might be my very favorite one:
"Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

poop in space

I review Packing for Mars, Mary Roach's latest investigation into the disgusting package that is the human body, here, in BookPage.

Keywords: fecal popcorn, space toilet, NASA, in-helmet upchucking.