It’s a week of many firsts. It snowed yesterday, gorgeous heavy snow that turned the neighborhood and river bank into a winter wonderland. It was Will’s first snow ever, and we bundled him up to get a bit of sunshine and fresh air, and the warmth of his winter wrappings put him to sleep. He still has his days and nights a bit mixed up, and we’re trying to keep him awake during the daytime, so that was a bit of a bummer. Charlotte got out and enjoyed the fresh snow. Shortly after coming back inside she felt the hot pain of her fingers warming up after the cold – something that was a new, uncomfortable learning experience for her. She was so surprised to feel pain and not be able to figure out what action had caused it.
It seems like a lot of the country got its first snow this week. I hope everyone gets the chance to get out and enjoy it.
Here’s what I’m eating and reading this week:
Weekly Menu Plan
Sunday: Pesto pasta with grilled chicken, roasted tomatoes, and sautéed green beans
Monday: Kielbasa sausage, white bean, and potato skillet
Wednesday: Roasted fennel orzo topped with grilled chicken and a side of roasted broccoli
Thursday: Leftover orzo with pan-seared steak tips and broccoli
Friday: Ordered pizza (I had dinner planned and groceries purchased, but David had a late night at work, and I couldn’t manage a baby + a toddler + dinner prep without an extra set of hands)
Saturday: Creamy shrimp pasta with tarragon and peas, a side of roasted broccoli and sautéed green beans
This article on the myth of willpower when it comes to food.
I really liked Kelsey Miller’s memoir Big Girl, so I liked seeing this fashion feature of her on CupofJo.com.
I recently debated continuing my subscription to Food & Wine magazine. While I opted for ongoing issues, I’ll be curious to see if anything changes.
Books I’m Reading Now
Fittingly, the book I read this week has been topping a lot of the best-of lists, and it really is one of the better books I’ve read this year.
The book (mostly) follows two families – one well-off and established in a suburban town, the other a mother-daughter team hopping from place to place to suit the mom’s art. A custody battle very much infused with race and class disparities polarizes the members of both families.
Similar to a book I read earlier this year (The Devil and Webster), Ng does a good job of portraying the complexities of the characters, and readers see the motivations and perspectives of different characters, ones they wouldn’t necessarily hold for themselves.
So much of what I liked about the book and the perspective it gives is the illustration of how easy it is to slink into judgmental mindsets of those around us. To judge the decisions made in circumstances we’re confident we wouldn’t allow ourselves to get into. There’s also a devastating portrayal of postpartum depression (a heavy bit of reading for me at this stage, given I’m at home with a newborn myself) – a topic that I don’t think gets addressed thoroughly enough by the characters in the book, though I do like Ng’s descriptions.
My favorite quote from the book is:
“She felt a twinge of sympathy for Mia, too, one she hadn’t felt before and had never expected to feel: how excruciating it must have been to think about giving her child away. What would she have done if she’d been in that situation? Mrs. Richardson would ask herself this question over and over, before Michael’s call and for weeks — and months — after. Each time, faced with this impossible choice, she came to the same conclusion. I would never have let myself get into that situation, she told herself. I would have made better choices along the way.” (pg 239)
Other quotes I liked included:
“Mia understood exactly where she drifted to. To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she’d been and the child she’d become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again.” (pg 122)
“It was, as far as she could imagine, a perfect life in a perfect place… So when it became obvious that the outside world was less perfect –as Brown v. Board caused an uproar and riders in Montgomery boycotted buses and the Little Rock Nine made their way into school through a storm of slurs and spit — Shaker residents, including Caroline, took it upon themselves to be better than that. After all, were they not smarter, wiser, more thoughtful and forethoughtful, the wealthiest, the most enlightened? Was it not their duty to enlighten others? Didn’t the elite have a responsibility to share their well-being with those less fortunate?” (pg 158) …yikes.