On My Mind: December 2016

Monday Author: Susanne Skinner

ON My Mind December 2016When I’m trying to fall asleep my brain decides to present me with an inventory of all the things that are on my mind. In great detail. I need to re-evaluate my relationship with caffeine and stop watching CNN. I’ve also been spending too much time in airports.

There’s a lot going on in our world and in my life. Not all of it is good. When I shove things to the back of my mind, they have a way of reappearing any time after 10 p.m. I’m going to share some of them with you, so we can be awake together.

Staying informed underwrites our ability to have intelligent conversations. With the World Wide Web at our fingertips we have no excuse; information is available 24/7.  The Internet likes us and wants to be friends. It also reminds us not to take life too seriously. Stay smart my friends.

The Internet is Always On

Every year dictionary.com gives us our Word of the Year. XENOPHOBIA (intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries) is their 2016 pick. What we need to be discussing is how we got here and what this word means to Americans in the next four years. Maybe eight. We don’t want to be that person. We don’t want to be that country.

With the World Wide Web at our fingertips we have no excuse; information is available 24/7.  The Internet likes us and wants to be friends.  It also reminds us not to take life too seriously.   Stay smart my friends.Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency. Change is coming. When Donald Trump won the election, President Obama admitted, “We had no plan for this.”  The New Yorker gives us an inside look at his reaction to a loss that shook up the world.

When Hillary ran for President she became a warrior in the crusade to crack the ultimate glass ceiling. Emmy-nominated filmmaker & founder of The Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain explores the 10,000 year history of women leaders with this 50/50 Film. Let’s make it happen. #50/50

What’s On My Mind;  A Lighter Note

America’s Test Kitchen and founder Christopher Kimball have parted ways and it’s getting ugly. In a “He said – they said” battle, ATK is accusing Chris and his new company Milk Street Kitchen of copying and stealing. Since he founded it, along with the Cooks Illustrated publication and spin-off Cooks Country show I look at this as intellectual property. Chris has a unique style and research format; with every right to bring his creative genius to a new venture. I’m on team Chris.

The Man Bun.  Jon Snow, Yes.  Everybody else: No.  The Man Bun. Jon Snow, Yes. Everybody else: No.

Best cat video ever. This is why the Internet exists. Henri le Chat Noir explains that we cannot escape ourselves or take ourselves too seriously. His wisdom gives us paws…

Avocado Toast. Because who knew?  I’ve been putting this off, despite reading accolades about how good it is. I finally gave in and made it for breakfast. I used crunchy cranberry pecan bread and topped the mashed avocado with roasted roma tomato slices and a drizzle of Israeli olive oil. Why did I wait so long?  It is too good for words.

READ

I keep up with my book club by listening to the audio version. This guarantees me at least an hour a day during my commute (sharing time with NPR) and brings the book to life.

I keep up with my book club by listening to the audio version.  This guarantees me at least an hour a day during my commute (sharing time with NPR) and brings the book to life.Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradal tells the story of how Eva Thorvald came to be the most sought-after chef in this fictional food world. Her life unfolds in segments, by people who knew her at different times in her life, with food and recipes woven into each story. The perspective is refreshing and the Midwest has its own sense of humor and language inflections. I even made Pat Prager’s peanut butter bars.

Love Soup” is my most recent discovery from 70s vegetarian cookbook author Anna Thomas. As the weather gets colder this is your go to book for healthy and delicious recipes. If you love soup, you will Love Soup. 

WATCH

This Life with Lisa Ling is the best television you aren’t watching. I know—The Voice is really good this season, but Lisa offers us deep thinking and difficult topics we need to know about. Like fighting to deny parental rights to your rapist, and 21st century brothels. It’s not pretty, but it’s life.

Thank goodness for my HBO Go app. I catch up on programs when I’m traveling and really enjoyed Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper.  It’s a conversational documentary of their lives. They keep it real.

LISTEN

December brings an onslaught of holiday music that gets old quickly.  Each year I create an audio mix of new songs, or a new twist on a standard, to rise above the usual din. I am hard to please, but this year I found three worth a mention.

Sarah McLachlan offers a beautiful rendition of Canada’s oldest Christmas song, Huron Carol, written in 1643 by a Jesuit missionary to the Huron people. It’s the same thing, only different.

Pentatonix once again rocks a standard with this techno version of Up on the House Top and finally, a version of Silent Night by Imelda May, with orchestral styling from Michel Legrand; giving us a throwback to the 1950s.

Let’s process the day, relax and set our minds at ease.

1 thought on “On My Mind: December 2016

  1. We sang The Huron Carol in church on Sunday as part of a service to support the Sioux tribes at Standing Rock. It is beautiful to sing although we did not sound like Sarah McLachlan. This Christmas carol also plays a part in Louise Penny’s book “How the Light Gets In.” It’s clear when reading the book that all Quebecois know this song.

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