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November 2011 (130 posts)
Dog treats, lavender sharpies, and police crime-scene tape. This celebrity travels prepared for anything.
The unaswerable question: Why do flip-flops wash up on the shore of Kenya? But what snappy things have they been turned into? That we know...
Leave a note in a library book! Be the crazy balloon lady at the park! How to brighten your day -- and a stranger's -- with small acts of kindness.
The Life-Lifter: Man tweets "sh*t, I need a kidney." And, via Twitter, he gets one.
What's your skin trying to tell you about your health?
This month's best beauty buys
What's the right moisturizer for you?
As every young woman with literary ambitions and a moody bent well knows, Sylvia Plath was best known for novel The Bell Jar and her poetry, full of shivery, dark lines like, “Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well.” But she was also a visual artist, taken to sketching while traveling and illustrating her own letters, diaries, and poems. A new exhibit in London will display her drawings (some of which can be viewed here at the Guardian). As Plath once said, "I have a visual imagination. For instance, my inspiration is painting and not music when I go to some other art form. I see these things very clearly.”
The drawings are very much
sketchbook pieces, unselfconscious, not overly polished—inky little notes. It
doesn’t seem like Plath was trying to make The Great Work of Art in the way she
was certainly trying to make Great Literature. Which is exactly what's so great about them.
I hesitate to use the word “hobby,” which has to it a condescending air, smacking of macramé. Perhaps we should dub them On-the-Side-Diversions (which sounds like what Don Draper would call a secretary, but you get my gist). They are the things you do for fun, without any pressure of a deadline, without any serious thought of the end result. I love the idea that even an accomplished and brilliant poet like Plath had something on the side that she did simply because she wanted to.
This is due to many factors, most notably our tendency to fall back into some old habits like Belgian Waffle Sundays. But dieting, especially on-again-off-again, can have lingering effects on our appetites. We can vow that once we go off the diet, we'll only eat when we're hungry, and we'll stop as soon as we're full. But in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of Australian researchers measured the levels of hormones (including leptin and ghrelin) that are associated with hunger. They found that diet-induced weight loss not only altered hormone levels, but caused them to remain "perturbed" (i.e., at levels that made the subjects hungrier) for a full year. In other words, in the months after a diet, you can't trust yourself to know when you're hungry or full.
At first read, this makes weight loss seem like even more of a Sisyphean challenge. But it really just reinforces what we've heard a million times before: the only diet that works is one that we can sustain indefinitely. Viewed in that light, this new research can actually help us get smarter about how we try to get healthier.
Here are some long-term strategies for keeping the weight off:
Resisting donuts, fast food, and eating late at night
Becoming aware of mindless munching
How to stop binge eating
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.
* Movember is back! You don't have to be able to grow facial hair to support the charity event that raises awareness about men's health. (Movember)
* Brilliant people hanging out together: Johnny Cash and Shel Silverstein's duet. (Brainpickings)
* An Autistic teenager is manager of his high school's basketball team: Awesome. But it gets even better. (YouTube)
* "Sometimes I cried after the war, that she was not with me. Fate decided for us, but I would do the same again."—Jerzy Bielecki, who died last week, on the woman he fell in love with and helped to rescue while they were prisoners at Auschwitz. (NYTimes.com)
The letterpress invitation came with a strange pang of jealousy—Rachel was my first friend to be getting married. I was happy for her, and a little surprised—we were all so young still!—and taken with the romance of it. A month or so later, a sheepish email followed. They had amicably decided not to go through with it after all. They just weren’t ready to be married. Eep! I didn’t know the fiancé, didn’t know what to say. Maybe this was sad news, or maybe secretly great news? Maybe it meant I got a refund on the Crate and Barrel salad bowl?
Happy events we know how to celebrate. Weddings, new babies, Bar Mitzvahs. Got it. There’s a whole infrastructure in place: what to wear, what to say, what favors to dispense. But when it comes to the bummer times, it’s easy to feel a little lost. Recently people have begun throwing Divorce Parties, so why not a Nearly Beloved Day?
Jen Girdish writes for Good about how she celebrated her cancelled wedding day, jumping off the train of a bad relationship. She found that after all the wedding planning and emotional drama, her friends and family “weren’t exhausted. They wanted to party.” It was then that Girdish considered “the idea that my social obligations to my cancelled engagement were not over. Was I expected to do something on the day I was supposed to get married?” Her friends had suggestions: close-call games like Dodgeball or limbo; a party with a wedding dress on a crucifix. (Read the essay for the sweet way they celebrated that day, and Girdish’s real life happily-ever-after.) In the end, she was relieved she’d escaped the failing relationship before going through with the wedding—Kim Kardashian, are you listening? —and happy to be celebrating her new life.
As for my friend Rachel, a few years ago I attended her wedding. It was a lovely affair in a forest, one of those parties were everyone seems happy, sure of a good thing happening. The groom was the same man she’d almost married years earlier. The time was finally right.
Does your voice really sound how you think it does? The story of a friendship that led to an unlikely discovery.
The most important thing you can do for your well-being may actually be...nothing. Learn how to free your free time.
"Experiences like this one will always make me sympathetic to the teenager-sized hole in your heart, wanting to be free." Confessions of a band-nerd-wannabe.
The Life-Lifter: This blind dog has her own seeing-eye dog! (And they're both up for adoption.)
Dorothy Howell Rodham, the mother of Hillary Rodham Clinton, died early Tuesday, at age 92. According to the Daily Beast, Rodham had been living with her daughter since 2006, just before Clinton launched her campaign for the presidency. Whatever you think of Clinton, can you imagine how proud her mother must have felt in those days, and how worried for her child? Rodham moved to Little Rock to be near Hillary when her marriage was in trouble; when the Clintons were in the White House Dorothy spent time there too, helping to raise Chelsea and support Hillary. (Read the original article on the Daily Beast for a heart-wrenching description of the difficult childhood Dorothy Howell Rodham overcame).
This is going to sound silly, but this article was the first
time I ever thought of the Secretary of State as being someone’s little girl,
of how hard and weird it must be to be the parent of a politician, whose life
becomes so brutally public. Isn’t it amazing, what mothers go through, and help