Three more, and a few other things.

Today is 18 December, a week from Christmas Day. Today is the day I have to get serious about Christmas, so I’ll make this quick.

First, a catch up on the daily sanity suggestions. Then a few tips on cooking, shopping, and reading. Let’s go:

If you’ve been following along daily in the December Sanity Journal, then you’ve already paused to re-focus (“What’s most important, right now?”), and you’ve already taken a moment to reflect on the person in your life, your real life, who makes you feel POWERFUL. Feeling powerful is especially important right now for anyone watching or reading the news. Do not hide under the covers and wait for the problems to disappear. Doesn’t work that way. Summon your courage, let yourself be inspired by someone who lights that feeling of inner power, and get to work. The world needs you — powerful, focused you. So take a couple of minutes to re-calibrate yourself.

Do it.

And after you pause to re-calibrate, take a couple of minutes to color a MERRY card and get yourself in a cheerful mood.

Since you’ve made it this far in the post, a few things that might be helpful for this last week before Christmas, two weeks before the end of the calendar year.


‘Tis the season for snacking with abandon, which means it’s also the season to prepare an actual meal every so often (preferably one with vegetables and fiber), or at least something that will feel like an actual meal. Here are a few suggestions:

Broccoli Salad with Tahini-Lime Dressing (NYT Cooking)

Farro and Lentils with Jammy Onions (NYT Cooking)

Cacio e Pepe (Bon Appetit)

Kale Quinoa Salad (Eating Well)


I ordered most of my holiday gifts online, directly from retailers I’ve come to know and cherish. NOTE: None of these are affiliate links. I don’t even know how those work, and I don’t want to. These are products I actually buy and recommend.

The Laundress. Yes, I bought myself laundry supplies for Christmas. And I bought some supplies to give to friends, too. Clean, fresh-smelling clothes, towels, and kitchen things make life more enjoyable. My favorite scent is 723, and the site is currently offering 20% off that collection (discount code ROSE). The stain solution? Pure f*cking magic.

MadeIn Cookware. Yes, I also bought myself (and others) cooking and serving pieces. Short review? Better than All-Clad. I’m slowly replacing my cookware with items from MadeIn, and I am 100% happy with the quality and performance. Plus: attractive design.

Olive & June. Pretty nail polish and accessories for friends who dig the whole mani/pedi thing. I’m a convert.

Hedley & Bennett. For my birthday a couple of years ago, I bought a limited edition print apron from H&B, and it’s likely to last until the end of my cooking days (YEARS from now) because it’s hella sturdy and well-constructed. For the cook in your life, it makes a wonderful gift.

Bombas. Yep; I’m all in. Expensive? Yes. Worth the money? I think so, both because of the quality and because of the buy-one/give-one model.

They hold up exceedingly well under daily wear-and-tear, including frequent washing. My favorites? The compression socks. Not kidding.


In December, my book group reads a short story, and this year we read George Saunders’s “The Mom of Bold Action,” and I laughed OUT LOUD, sitting in my kitchen, by myself, in the wee hours of the morning as I read it. Not everyone in the group had the same response. Have a look, and see for yourself.

I think I somehow neglected to share the wonderful Smithsonian story about our Memphis library and how it has flourished under the leadership of a life-long friend and colleague. Have a look.

From the archive, and good for a rainy afternoon of reading: The New Yorker‘s round-up of holiday stories and articles.

On my bedside table: Intimacies, by Katie Kitamura. Will report back on that one.

Currently listening to: The Quiet American, by Graham Greene. Recommend.

Believe it or not, I’ll be back tomorrow, because tomorrow’s daily sanity journal entry gets a post of its own. Come back to find out why.

Happy Saturday.


  1. Can you tell us what to cook on Christmas Day? We’ll be at Disney Park working. The short people are very excited. But cooking? Well…You forgot to say that Bombas are expensive not because of quality but because you are really buying two pair. One for you and one for people who cannot afford socks.

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