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T (1655 posts)
This weekend, so many of us will be craning our faces towards the sky, to watch fireworks. The truth is, though, we should probably all be looking up a lot more.
About a week ago, I stumbled on the website nyskyc.com, which updates "the average color of the new york sky" every five minutes via digital photographs taken by a rooftop camera. For New Yorkers, these graduated blue squares must serve as a gentle reminder to take their eyes off the pavement every once in a while and feel the blue--or the black--depending on the hour. What every skyscraper scrapes up against is, after all, what astronomers more reverently call the celestial sphere.
But I had to wonder what life would be like if all of us--in New York and everywhere else in the world--measured time as it's pictured here: not in numbers, but in colors linked to the natural world. What would life be like, say, if it were azure o'clock? Or deep navy pm? Or aquamarine in the morning? Sure, it's a little hokey. But maybe taking the numbers away--and all the counting, and adding and subtracting--that goes along with them would help relieve that sense that time is always moving too fast or too slow, that there is too much time or never, ever enough.
A clock based on colors would more emphatically remind us, too, where time comes from--the turning of the earth, the slim scrap of heaven that we are currently floating by in this much, much larger universe.
(Interested? Mike Bodge, the creator is in search of other people who want to set up roof-top cameras in other cities to collaborate with.)
It's Friday! Before a holiday weekend! There's almost too much to be thankful for. So let's get thanking.... Hooray for:
The turtles! They crawled onto the runway at JFK, and summer travelers didn't go ballistic. Team JFK moved them along, while someone else set up one very witty Twitter feed (@JFKTurtles)
Jill Scott's video for "Shame." Just try not to walk around singing "I'm magnificent" after watching that
8,000 paper lanterns, floating in the sky
An 18-year-old German girl, Sabine Lisicki, coming off two ankle surgeries (two!) delivers the fastest serve in women’s tennis history (Faster than Venus. Faster than Andre Agassi in his prime.) and surprises everyone by making it to the semifinals at Wimbeldon
10 rules to reverse the email spiral. Um? Yes, please
And with that in mind, we're logging off to go celebrate one big thing to be thankful for: freedom! Have a wonderful happy Fourth, everyone. Life Lift will resume regular posting on Tuesday.
Can you guess where the nation's top four cleanest, most pristine beaches are located? (Nope, not in Kauai or the Outer Banks).
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: Can I cheat on my diet on the weekends?
A: We asked Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, Best Life lead nutritionist and diet counselor, to answer this question. She says she's heard this a lot lately—and she gave us four reasons to rethink this as a weight loss plan.
Some weekend cheaters gained almost 9 pounds in a year.
Your body doesn't know the difference between weekdays and weekends. If you splurge on the lumberjack breakfast or a plate of beignets, that could have three times the calories of your ordinary oatmeal breakfast. A 2008 study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who were likely to increase their calories on Saturday and decrease their activity on Sunday racked up tiny weight gains that led to almost 9 pounds at the end of a year.
This morning, Cary Tennis, the Salon advice columnist, shared a moving letter from a man who is losing his mother to leukemia at age 87.
"I owe my mother a lot, " the writer says. "Besides the fact that she took care of us as a single mother, she also had to help me through an accident I had when I was 10 years old, which involved a number of surgeries; she made sure we were housed and fed, and she pushed us to get educations. ... My problem is that I have such a hard time visiting her. All she wants is someone to sit with her, but that is hard for me. I take my son with me sometimes, and it is wonderful to see her face light up. She doesn't say much, but we just sit for a while and then leave. I wish I could go there and spend more time, but it is really hard to do that. It literally drains me of all of my energy. I'm not complaining about her. She makes no demands. I'm not the dying person. I feel I should want to go see her as much as possible now."
While Tennis responds in a loving, thoughtful manner to the writer's confusions, what struck us most was the mother—and the idea that to sit and be with somebody sick is enough. So often we visitors worry about flowers (is pollen allowed?); we worry about bringing balloons or tabloid magazines; we worry about whether to sit on the bed (too close?) or sit on the chair (too far); we worry we're talking about silly, selfish things (our broken dishwasher, our jerky ex) when these sick people are struggling for their lives. However, instead of doing all this worrying, which may just lead you not to show up in the hospital room at all, or to panic and act in the least way you'd like to act, you can just sit and be there. Being there is enough.
Read more: Ways to help an ailing friend or parent
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* It was nice to learn what the real Ernest Hemingway looked like in a swimsuit after completely falling for Corey Stoll's hilarious yet smoldering portrayal of the lion-wrestling, hard-drinking ultra-macho writer in the utterly charming Midnight in Paris (go see it this weekend!).
* Having received two heart transplants, 31-year-old Erik Compton knows "golf is not that big of a deal," but that only makes the fact that he won the Mexico open and qualified for the PGA tour that much more impressive. [PGA Tour]
* We spent some time this week cataloging the unique advantages of being a woman. A male cheerleader whose Bring It On-worthy performance has gone viral reminds us that anyone striving to make us forget our differences is worth celebrating too. [Towleroad]
* Surely you will be shocked to learn that men don't visit McDonald's for the salads. Still though, this infographic of guys' fast-food habits has plenty of fun facts—like how many hot sauce packets the average guy has squirreled away at home. [Mashable]
* "We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself...Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I'd written in my songs and in my music. Clarence carried it in his heart."—Bruce Springsteen remembers Clarence Clemmons
That's what motivated John Carson, a triathlete who was struck by an SUV during a training ride just a mile from his home in Long Island, New York. He suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. Carson threw himself into rehab, and (you know where this is going) within a few months, he stunned doctors by slowly, carefully putting one foot in front of the other. Carson still lacks sensation in his feet—his spinal surgeon refers to him as a "walking quadriplegic"—but just one year after his accident, Carson competed in the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman. He then raced in this year's Boston Marathon and, last weekend, in the Coeur d'Alene Ironman in Idaho.
Carson's near-miraculous recovery story provides inspiration for anyone facing insurmountable obstacles. But what really struck us was what Carson decided to do after he exceeded the expectations of his doctors, his family and himself. Carson told The New York Times last week that he was planning to retire from Ironmans after the Coeur d'Alene.
"Racing used to be the most important thing in my life," said Mr. Carson. "But ... this is a very selfish sport. I've done enough. That five or six hours I spend on a bike Saturday mornings, the run on Sunday, I want to take that time I'd be spending out there and put it to better use."
Carson, now 30, told The Times he would rather devote his energy to his wife, his family and his fundraising work with the Reeve Foundation.
It sounds as if his epiphany came not when he lost his physical abilities, but when he regained them. He reminded us that even when we go beyond where we thought we could...we still might need to go a little farther to get where we want to be.