Commonplace Book

What I’m fixing:

  • More sourdough waffles. I used extremely runny homemade yogurt (can we call it kefir?) for the milk, and added chocolate chips because that’s the kind of house this is.

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Induced Demand

OK, is this a term you’ve come across before? I was reading the blog Root Simple recently when I encountered it for the first time, and now I can’t stop applying it to, well…everything.

What does induced demand mean? Well, have you seen Field of Dreams? OK, well, me neither. (I’m a terrible daughter.) But nearly everyone knows that line — “Build it, and they will come.”Read More »

Buy It Once, Buy It For Life

We are thick into birthday season in our family, a time in which summertime Scout will mourn as Pippin and Roo celebrate their Halloweeny birthdays, I fall around Thanksgiving, and J is fêted on Christmas Eve. And it’s got me thinking about buying for life.

It started, I think, with a wool blanket. I read about a mill in Prince Edward Island (where my Anne-girls at?) that makes wool blankets to last a lifetime, and, freezing through New England winters in grad school, I asked for one for my birthday.

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Camping, Roots, and Other Mixed Home Ownership Metaphors

One of the kindest things anyone ever said to me occurred in the kitchen of my newly bought very first home. The previous owners hadn’t listed the house, so it hadn’t gotten realtor-ready before we bought it. I had hoped, since the owners were friends-of-friends and had met us and seemingly found us charming, that they would clean it up nicely before we moved in. They had apparently decided that leaving us flowers and champagne was enough (and this was v nice, to be sure, but also my baby’s onesies were grey with someone else’s dirt and dog hair).

We had lived there for several weeks, and I had been trying, inexpertly, to deep clean the house while chasing a three-year-old and crawling baby. It wasn’t going very well, and when I mentioned my frustration, my truly lovely sister sent me money as a housewarming gift to hire a cleaning service.Read More »

Tanya Berry and the (Wo)man in the Wings

Photo by Ann Thompson from On Being’s flickr

Lately I’ve been thinking about Tanya Berry. The thing is, I need more models for her kind of quiet and unfussy intellectual endeavor with only behind-the-scenes contribution to output. I admire, too, that it’s combined with a commitment to place and community, but I guess because it’s by definition a quiet life, there are few publicized examples. I think maybe the Rev John Ames might be one fictional example. And maybe Anne Shirley Blythe in later years? Or Jane Austen in her own lifetime, mostly writing for her family’s amusement?

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Crunchy Cons and (Anti?-)Consumerist Posturing

Ok, so here’s a sincere question: If we spend more time acquiring goods locally and ethically, doesn’t this mean we are becoming more materialistic, not less? We are definitely thinking more about stuff and probably spending more money, to boot. This is a question that’s been bothering me on and off since AP Environmental Science in twelfth grade, and most especially since a Dorothy Day-inspired private lecture on distributism got me thinking about consumer ethics again in a special way.

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