We spent the week on vacation, laying low and slowing down. There’s a lot to do to get ready for our second baby, and I also really appreciated the opportunity to take a break from the frenetic pace of work from the past few weeks. We also had the chance to get away for a long weekend and celebrate David’s birthday. Instead of feeling a bit of a let down at the end of vacation, I’m trying to figure out how to carry this sense of calmness and balance forward into the coming weeks both at work and managing everything else at home between now the winter. A vacation can’t just be a break to avoid burnout but should be a chance to recharge and reconsider how the ins and outs of my week are feeling.
Here’s what I’m eating and reading this week:
Weekly Meal Plan (in case you need ideas & inspiration)
Sunday: Out with my sisters at Alden & Harlow (we ordered so many different dishes, but I’ve riffed on their ubiquitous kale salad before)
Monday: Chicken and white beans over veggies
Tuesday: Caramelized onion and tomato tart and a summer berry bundt cake
Wednesday: Pasta with bacon, cherry tomatoes, chopped zucchini, and fresh corn
Thursday: Chicken enchiladas
Friday: Dinner out with David at Oberlin
Saturday: Birthday celebration of grilled steak, grilled zucchini, mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans and carrot cake
Here’s What I’m Reading and Loving This Week:
On vacation, so I haven’t spent a ton of time browsing online, but this is one of the articles I did read and enjoyed. I also had time to luxuriate in thinking of summer cooking meals, and I liked this compilation on Food52.com.
I read Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn as a hand-me-down book from my sister a few years ago and thought it was pretty good, interesting if meandering. Brooklyn was then made into an award-winning (or at least nominated? I’m not sure if it ended up winning) movie, and the buzz about the new novel perked up this spring.
House of Names is a telling of the Greek myth of Clytemnestra, Agamemnon and their kids, told at intervals through the eyes of different characters. Again, I found Toibin’s work enjoyable and interesting, and House of Names at least was a bit less meandering. The detail is actually what elevates the book from the skeleton of a myth I vaguely remember from Classics class to a novel with nuanced characters, motivations, and emotions. The chapter on Orestes, Clytemnestra’s son who spends several years away from the royal palace after escaping his kidnappers, is not pulled from other sources (whereas Clytemnestra’s first-person account of the sacrifice of Iphigenia and Agamemnon’s return to Greece is based on the original source material of ancient Greek plays) and was one of my favorites.
Another aspect that I really liked, that I think comes from Toibin’s own creative take on the events in the novel, is the treatment of spirituality and the blur between the known real-life events of our world and the impact of gods and ghosts. Set in ancient Greece, the sacrifice of Iphigenia is ordered to gain favor from the gods, but not everyone believes in the existence or influence of gods on the outcome of the war. Characters at different points in the novel also bridge the space between the living and the dead with varying degrees of success. There’s a sense that people are pulling away from their belief system, and as a result, the gods hold less influence. A widening separation between the two worlds means the prayers, sacrifices, and rituals don’t really have meaning, and yet there’s also a need for this belief system because power and success are still rooted in the structure of mythology and religion.