There’s something in the air, and it’s making me slow down. It’s not just my normal fatigue from treatment, or the sunshine lulling me into a sleepy state of mind. It’s not just capitalism or an absurd pollen count either. I think I’m being challenged in a big way to slow down. There’s something about being on the precipice of summer here on the East Coast that nudges me to cut my to-do list in half, go easy on the expectations I level against myself. All of today’s suggestions come from a place of pause, and I invite you to join me on that quest.
Eat: Not to sound like a high and mighty food snob, but eat something in season from where you live. It will taste better. My neighbors went strawberry picking last weekend and delivered to be a pint of deep red, beautiful strawberries. These beauties sprouted up out of the ground less than fifteen minutes from where I live, and there is magic in that. Not sure what’s in season for you? Check out this handy guide, or better still, ask a farmer. No one likes to talk about seasonal produce more than farmers! You can even go all-in and get a share in a CSA. One box of potatoes, pulled by hand and still warm from the sun, and I promise you’ll be converted.
See: Rituals are meant to be made up. There, I said it. Someone had to be the first to bring a fir tree indoors to celebrate Christmas, and someone else decided to pair hot dogs and Memorial Day weekend. I am a creature of habit, and some of those habits involve movies. For years I watched Edward Scissorhands on the first snowfall of the year, Dirty Dancing on the last day of school to welcome summer break. I had a deal with a friend of mine called the Film Club; he and I swapped recommendations back and forth for a semester. One Friday we’d watch his pick that I hadn’t seen, the next Friday we’d watch mine. Think of a movie that holds some certain purpose or symbolism to you and get it scheduled. Some categories to get you thinking: movies that take place on a vacation as you’re planning a trip, movies with stellar soundtracks to get you dancing, movies that are so bad according to critics that they have a 5% score or less on Rotten Tomatoes (Baby Geniuses, anyone?) is a category fit to top off a horrible week.
Do: I was listening to an episode of a new podcast called “It’s Going to Be Okay,” released by community favorite Nora McInerny. (She has another great podcast called “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.”) Nora invited another of my favorite people ever on, Kate Bowler. Am I sounding like I’m in high school, talking about the popular kids table, yet? Anyway: Kate talked about how right after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer, she started to throw Taste-Testing Parties. How she confused her family who gathered, in confusion and tears, to find the best things, for example, ketchup. Apparently, Canadians from the middle of the country have many ketchup options? I digress. I have wanted to do this with pizza for a long time, but it struck me how shelf-stable things can also work with a long-distance party crew. The categories are endless! Potato chips. Doritos. Earl Grey tea. Soda. I would honestly like nothing more than to hop on a video call and debate the merits of ridges vs. kettle-cooked chips. Grab some pals, put together a box for each, and get down to brass tacks. Be ruthless! Demand that all hard pretzels be nuggets filled with peanut butter! And of course, let me know your findings.
Have a local, timely, and award-winning weekend,