Notes & Stories: Enough with the Recaps!

Have you heard? It’s not just a new year, but a new decade.

Yes, of course you’ve heard. I’m sure you, like me, have not been able to escape all the best-of lists and ten-year challenges and decade recaps. Maybe you, unlike me, even enjoy reading or creating those kinds of lists. Personally, I’m over it.

I just turned fifty, “just” as in yesterday. I’ve spent several months trying very hard and pretty unsuccessfully to stop all the retrospection that apparently goes along with a half-century birthday. I’ve had more than enough taking-stock, enough assessing, enough of categorizing my life choices into imaginary credit and debit columns, enough of analyzing my parenting, my career, my house, my finances. Socrates was wrong; an unexamined life is extremely worth living, and probably much happier.

I took a long winter break this year. Three full weeks of not working, two weeks off social media and the internet in general. We took a family trip to New Mexico—my parents, my siblings, and all our assorted partners and children. I brought my laptop along, but never turned it on. I didn’t even cook much or read many cookbooks. Instead, I read a lot of books, took some good walks, saw my cousins, and played as many games as possible (but not as many as I wanted). Despite everyone getting sick, we all managed to have a wonderful time together.

Here’s hoping that you have a happy new year, with lots of good food and a minimum of examination.


This is my kind of teacher! From the Anchorage Daily News: A Chugiak High teacher hunted a moose and brought it to school. Then things got interesting.

We drove to New Mexico and back. Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton and their Spilled Milk podcast were great company.

I don’t make many resolutions or do much intention-setting. Nevertheless, this isn’t a bad time to make some changes. If you’re concerned about how your food choices impact the planet and climate change, the New York Times put together an interactive feature last year to help us learn. Choosing to eat less beef, lamb, and cheese, and more beans and vegetables are healthy for us and for the planet.

The best board and card games I played over the bread: Azul, Frank’s Zoo, and Sushi Go.

And some books:

I caught up on the Bruno, Chief of Police series. It’s a mystery series set in the Perigord region of France, full of descriptions of food and cooking; I recommend reading the series in order from the beginning.

These were a lucky find: Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen, both by Zen Cho.

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