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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

reading: the ploughmen



Remember my goal of 50 books this year? I'm making a steady pace of it this January (that's what 60 hours on a plane will get you!) and I didn't want to write about it until the end of the month, but had to bring up The Ploughmen. This is, by far, the bleakest book I've read in a long time. It can be a little overwritten, and sometimes feels a little too Cormac McCathy-ish. (Generally, that's not a good thing unless you're Cormac McCathy and, even then . . . well.) 

But, it's a gorgeous book. Also, very dense. It's a little shy of 300 pages but I have to take a break every 25 or so to re-read parts and just take a little breather. It's about an unlikely relationship (friendship?) formed between a troubled young deputy that's hired to guard an older, wiser, meaner killer named John Gload, a man who's managed to evade the law for most of his life. The majority of it takes place during winter in northern Montana, and the brutal setting is, I'd say, a central character. It's written, perhaps unsurprisingly, by a native Montanan who can now list "prize-winning novelist" in addition to "pro rodeo rider, smelterman, ranch hand, and salmon fisherman" to his list of accomplishments. Seriously

Some people get all the luck. 

P.S. This novel has been a good antidote to something I'm reading alongside it, Station Eleven. I picked it up at the behest of about a million people and—contrary to every other single person in the world—I'm finding it really silly. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

to fall out of love, do this



Have you seen that annoying Modern Love essay about 36 questions you should ask someone if you want to accelerate feelings of love (or intimacy in general)? I'm not sure why I found it so grating. It could be that I think conversations of that sort should happen organically, but I'm actually pretty sure it's just because I'm a curmudgeon. Anyway . . . I saw this circulating on my Facebook newsfeed the other day and had a good laugh.

(If you really, really, really want to get to know someone, though, play Cards Against Humanity with them. Preferably with multiple expansion sets.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

that bag you asked about . . .



When this photo first popped up I got a million questions about where I'd gotten the crossbody bag (and still do!). The issue was, I honestly could not remember—I knew the leather shop was "around Galata," but nothing more specific than that. Last month, we were downtown a lot doing some present shopping for family and friends, and we came across the shop again! It's a tiny shop on Galip Dede Caddesi, near the Şişhane metro stop: you'll see a bunch of leather shops selling bags, but this one is small and cramped, and there's a tiny stand for jewelry, clutches, and wallets as well. You can find roomy backpacks, slim clutches, and all of them have beautiful colors and patterns.

P.S. I came back from San Francisco with zero photos—not even one of my hotel room, which was beautiful. I packed my camera with the best of intentions, but there were friends to see, and streets to walk, and weddings to attend. And, uh, cocktails to drink. You know, life! It happens.

(Also, my favorite thing I picked up there—it got a million compliments, and is flattering and comfy.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

headed to san francisco . . .

photo (3)

Tomorrow I'm headed to San Francisco alone for five days to attend a friend's wedding (and also get in a tiny solo vacation). It's my first (!) time away from Aaron overnight, and I'm a little nervous because he'll be on a different continent (last week we flew to Beijing from Istanbul to spend the month with my parents)but, thankfully, he's completely obsessed with his grandparents, and has been having a blast here.

I mean, okay . . . regardless, I actually kind of want to throw up thinking about being away for so long. I'm hoping I'll feel better after the first three glasses of wine at the airport. :) 

I'm staying at a little boutique hotel by Union Square, and planning on visiting some museums, taking a long walk to Haight-Ashbury, and getting some cocktails with friends that I haven't seen in forever. Any suggestions? I have to admit, I've been feeling sad and trying to get in extra snuggle time with Aaron, but the anticipation of getting to wake up slowly and drink coffee in bed with the morning paper is pretty exciting...

Monday, January 12, 2015

the best place to buy gifts in istanbul



Generally, I find it kind of overwhelming to buy souvenir-type things for family and friends back home. You want something from the country you're in, but not too bulky (packing!), not too absurdly expensive (what if you're getting the tourist mark-up?), and not too kitsch—meaning that the big bazaar here was out. (It has some great stuff, but at least 75% of it looks like it could have been made in China.) 

Some friends had recommended this little shop called Jennifer's Hamam near the Blue Mosque, and we ended up getting a big portion of our gifts here. The shop specializes in textiles (scarves, bathrobes, towels), and all are beautifully handwoven on old-style looms. As a further plus, all of the items are produced in Turkey, by local artisans, using locally sourced materials (cotton, linen, silk).  They're beautifully packaged and they deliver locally, if you don't want to carry your bundle around downtown. And each item comes with a little card on how to best care for your product so it lasts as long as it's supposed to: a lifetime. 

You can find them here!

Friday, January 9, 2015

ruth bader ginsburg and stay-at-home-dads


One of my friends linked to this article on Facebook, and I found it profoundly inspiring—not, obviously, just the author's dedication to both his professional and work life, but also because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's personal and professional history, very summarily outlined at the beginning of the article.

(Sidenote, and full confession: I am kind of obsessed with her. Her late husband, Martin Ginsburg, taught tax at Georgetown Law, and—despite the fact that I have zero interest in taxation law and the class completely tanked my GPA—I enrolled in his course, anyway, and spent two semesters listening to what might as well have been gibberish). 

Anyway . . . Ginsburg had an infant in her 1L year at Harvard Law, where her husband was also enrolled. He was diagnosed with cancer and, in addition to tending to heir daughter, running the house, caring for her husband, keeping up with his coursework for him (taking notes, typing up his papers, etc.), she also managed to shoot up to the top of her class. 

The article also includes this quote from her, which I love: 

You can’t have it all all at once. Over my lifespan, I think I have had it all, but in given periods in time, things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. 

What a woman.