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July 2011 (137 posts)
We have all been there—on the sidewalk, in the supermarket, at the mall—when a mother starts in on her kid, say, a four year old, clinging to a stroller that holds a toddler sibling, yelling, "shut the hell up....shut the HELL up." The daughter hangs her head and the toddler starts wailing and the mother tells her, too, to SHUT THE HELL UP. And then the light changes or the elevator comes and they're gone.
We wish—god, we so wish—we knew how to respond at such moments, because they come around again and again. And not just what to tell the mother, but to ourselves, too. Because sometimes we overhear people saying what we know (really, what anyone would agree) is the exact wrong thing to say to a child, not always so loud and sometimes with best intentions but still, the kind of thing that makes you think, What is wrong with people—no, really, what is wrong with them? And what's wrong with me, standing here like a fool?
Leigh Newman has found an answer—not the answer—but one that makes it a little easier to share the planet with people, not as she might want them to be, but as they actually are.
I wish these friends had been on my cross-country team. It was a small group, and one of my teammates had the name of a cheerleader--and the hunched shoulders and whispery voice of a mathlete. I thought that Buffy needed a nickname that better suited her tentative personality. So I gave her one. My best friend and I always referred to her as Myrtle behind her back. Myrtle had a funky, shuffly gait and breathed heavily.
Myrtle had goals, and one of them was to speed up. The other, I believed, was to beat me. She lifted weights and ran extra laps after practice, and before long, I stopped laughing when I said, "Old Murt was tough to shake today." In races, Myrtle and I were often neck and neck.
Jane Eyre Pencil Set, $6. Pages from Charlotte Bronte's novel cover these pencils, providing a little literary inspiration while you jot down your to-do list. Also available: To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth, Moby Dick and other classics.
Pioneers of American Industrial Design Stamps, $.44 each. Jazz up letters with these classy stamps, which honor 12 of the nation's most important and influential industrial designers and feature striking images of telephones, clocks, sewing machines and more.
Tiny Worlds in Bottles, $23-$29.50. For the woman who loves all things miniature, tiny things in itty-bitty bottles and domes are like sophisticated, shrunken snow globes.
LetterMpress, $5.99. This beautiful iPad app lets you design beautiful compositions with vintage wood type and art cuts on a virtual hand-driven printing press.
On Sunday, I had a bathing suit moment. I went into a sporting goods store and tried on a bikini. It was a cute, unique bikini. It had mushrooms all over it and came from France. I jimmied my body into the thing. I looked at my back, then my front. I thought, "I don't look so awful. Except for the side flab, bottom-area situation."
A big gong went off. (Apparently dressing room attendants keep gongs around for Ah-a! moments.) What, I wondered, would it be like to think, "Hey! I look good! I look strong and ready to swim the English channel!" I hustled away from the mirror, back into the store. Suddenly tennis rackets and water shoes and kayaks were pointing accusingly at me from all corners of the room. "I don't work out," I wanted to confess to them. "I want to! But I'm busy and tired and my back hurts and I haven't worked out for (gulp) 5 years. I have flab. This is bad for my health and strength and mind--forget the bikini!"
On Monday, I decided to try to find a gym or some kind of class: pilates, yoga, whatever came along. I walked the streets around my office; I saw healthy, strong people sweating on machines through windows. I thought the exact thoughts that Jennifer Hudson described in her video, reflecting on how she used to feel before getting in shape: "A lot of the time you see all the fit people, and you think 'I shouldn't be here with them. I'll never get there.'"
Discouraged, I went back to work, and, by some quirky miracle, I saw this video. I laughed until I re-found my inspiration--because I am not being asked to overcome a genetic fear of water or to wear a proud, patient, thoughtful expression while crooning, quasi-disco music plays as soundtrack to my experience. All I have to do is get on the treadmill and put on foot in front of the other. All I have to do is think of my inner big kitty--and commit.
While there are many things we enjoy about summer (long days, warm nights, and multiple excuses to indulge in ice cream), there will forever be the annoying signatures of this season that drive us all bananas--sweat, frizz, and humidity-induced cranky-ness--just to name a few. That's why we were excited to discover MAC Cosmetics' Magically Cool Liquid Powder--this product offers summer skin temporary relief from the heat and gives an instant glow. Formulated with 70 percent water, it feels like a liquid going on, but dries to a sheer powder finish. We especially love dusting it on sun-kissed cheekbones or the tops of our shoulders for extra shimmer. But no matter where you choose to wear it, applying this--especially on steamy days--feels, as the name suggests, like magic.
Check out 12 other beauty treats that will keep you cool all summer
Is there love after love? After a painful breakup, it can feel like you'll never want to see a certain someone again. You might even want to, say, dump all his (or her) overpriced, pretentious, toasted-gold-and-ego flavored coffee into the cat litter box, stir it up, and the scoop it all back into the coffee bag--so that he (or she) will have a delightful early morning drink the first morning in his (or her) new, much larger (!) apartment.
Which is why the world works in more mysterious, wiser ways.
For Pie Addicts: Grand Traverse Pie Company
If the thought of choosing between cherry or berry makes your palms sweat, consider the Pie of the Month Club. For one season, six months, or a year, members tuck into a signature pie from this 15-year-old Michigan bakery each month. Some of the most popular pies include Cherry Crumb (Mario Batali called it "a religious experience"), Michigan ABC (grown-in-state apples, blueberries and cherries), and Opera House blackberry.
Reason for Seconds: Grand Traverse can customize a message on your pie--like with icing letters on a birthday cake--using pastry-dough cut-out letters.
For Cream-Pie Cravings: Achatz Pies
Famed Chicago chef Grant Achatz serves his restaurant staff slices of pie from this bakery, owned by his second cousin Dave and Dave's wife, Wendy. No wonder: In addition to the usual suspects of fruit and fall pies, Achatz bakers carefully craft 18 cream pies that are true stunners. I'm partial to Raspberries and Cream, made with vanilla pastry cream topped with slightly sweetened raspberries and dotted with fresh whipped cream.
Reason for Seconds: If I could, I'd chase Cannoli Pie (whipped pastry cream and cream cheese studded with almonds and chocolate chips) with Sweet Cream Cinnamon (cinnamon pastry cream topped with candied pecans).
Pies for when you want something tart, something berry-flavored or when you don't know what you want
Kids get sick. Most parents learn this pretty quick and by the third child, they're pretty unfazed by fevers and sore throats. So when Deborah Copaken Kogan, an author and columnist for the Financial Times, noticed that her son developed a strange rash and swollen face, she snapped a photo of him and posted it to her Facebook profile. It was simply way to keep her son and herself entertained while they spent Mother's Day at the pediatrician's office.
But as the poor little guy's condition worsened, Kogan continued to update her friends on her son's health. "Was I consciously trying to find an answer out there in the hive mind?" she writes in this hold-your-breath-while-reading essay on Slate. "No, but some subconscious part of me must have been wondering whether one of my hundreds of 'friends' might be privy to some expertise on the befuddling Nutty Professor syndrome that had my child in its grips."
Thankfully, some were--and Kogan was able to beat her doctor to the punch in diagnosing her four-year-old with an extremely rare childhood auto-immune disorder. "Bravo, Facebook," said the doc. "Hooray for 'friends'!" is what we say.
For more ways to harness the power of social networking, take a look at these 11 Ways to Make the Hours You Waste Online Actually Mean Something
Every week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. On sale today...
One Day I Will Write About This Place
The story behind the memoir: A boy's joyous and politically uncertain childhood in Kenya, his travels around the globe as a full-grown man—and then all the way back to Kenya to learn about the meaning of home.
The person we loved: Mum, whose "voice is soft, and tingly" so that "people get tingly with her and do what she says."
The Swahili word we learned: nyatiti (a traditional instrument)
The scene made for falling in love with Africa: "The wind swoops down, God breathes, and across the lake a million flamingos rise, the edges of Lake Nakuru lift, like pink skirts swollen by petticoats..."
The scene made for considering the complexities of Africa: The Swedish men who come to Wainaina's elementary
school to teach the young but English-speaking children about cow manure, which the Swedes mistakenly call "fecal martyr." "With this new fuel," the Swedes kindly explain, "you can light your bulbs and
cook your food. You will become balance dieted; if you are industrious perhaps
you can run a small ... food mill and engage in income-generating activities. ... This is called development and we are here to raise your awareness."