Commonplace Book

 

Gladiolus on the hearth
Trying to find places all over the house to accommodate the glads that keep tipping over outside

As my mother pointed out that I hadn’t posted in a month, here’s a quick check in while the toddler shakes seed jars on my lap. We are back in the States, attempting to tame the yard, rejuvenate my sourdough starter, and find me time to write as we settle back into our routine.

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

What I’m making:

  • S’mores bars, which just say July, don’t they?
  • This miso dressing on everything.
  • Actually just miso in general because these miso meatballs are pretty excellent, too, and I can carry on my campaign to hide unpalatable farm share vegetables in tasty things.

What I’m reading:

  • I picked The Nest from an out-of-the-way bookshelf in the mansion (!) where we stayed in Edinburgh, where my choices were mostly Thomas Jefferson (?) and things in German. I found it unexpectedly redemptive, unlike so many family stories: funny, with nuanced characters who felt real, and whose triumphs and failures I was bound up in. I ended up racing through it in just a couple days, and would have lugged it home with me if it wouldn’t have endangered the health of my marriage to carry home another book.
  • Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light: I chose it for the birth angle (and there wasn’t really as much as I’d hoped of that) but I loved her reflections on adjusting to expat life in Malawi — it was so evocative of our time in Uganda, the vividness and dull difficulty of living someplace so different, mostly bewildered. What I didn’t love was the tangent into abortion rights, and I was surprised that the book ended up being less about pregnancy and birth and more a sort of memoir of anxiety and fear (some of it deeply familiar to my anxietygirl brain, some of it unfamiliar, as I’m not prone to hypochondria).
  • Middlemarch: I couldn’t believe Well-Read Moms chose it just one year after Abbey and I tackled it, but I dutifully embarked again instead of resting on my laurels and boy am I glad I did. I loved it just as much this time, and could savor the side plots now that I wasn’t racing to see what happened to Dorothea.
  • “The long hair a mother covets and a daughter wants to cut” (NYTimes) I think I’m going to let her, guys. Even though I think her hair might be straightening out. But she wants hair like mine and Roo’s, and the heat just wilts her. I’m not promising I won’t cry.

Time Machine

More debriefing about the UK coming soon!

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