01 July 2015

My Favorite Things, June 2015

Hello from Norway (we’re still here!) and happy first of July! It’s a holiday in Canada, it’s almost a holiday in the US, and it’s beautiful weather in Norway which means they’re making it a holiday. Since no one’s in the mood to be productive anyway, how’s about we spend today reviewing my favorite things from the last month?!

This month I loved...

Good Reads

As someone who has to expend a great deal of effort trying to contain frustration at airlines this summer, I particularly liked this explanation for why we have such short patience for airlines, cable companies, ISP – all the middlemen in our lives.

I’ve never really worked in the food service industry and therefore was fascinated to get a waiter’s honest perspective on restaurant patrons.

For your summer travels, here’s a rundown of the best and worse airport and flights. (I confess, I didn’t check my specific flights because they were already booked and I'm already far too anxious about air travel in general. But I already see some trends I follow, like NEVER AGAIN, UNITED.)

Want to complain about chemicals and toxins? I think we’d all be better served if you could brush up on these basic science facts before making your claims. Thanks!

I hesitate to share this excellent guide to cleaning up your writing... mostly because I'm pretty sure I break every one of these rules in each blog post. I promise I can write like an intelligent grownup in real life (published scientific author, many times over!), and that’s where these tips are extra handy.

Speaking of excellent writing: David Sedaris. He was recently interviewed about his sister Tiffany and the circumstances that led to her death. The interview also provides a lot of insight into how he chooses to write about his family, which answers the questions that lingered in the back of my mind whenever I read his essays.

Those of you who listen to This American Life might remember a story a few months back about a study showing that people will change their minds about a politically charged issue (homosexuality, abortion) just by having a compassionate conversation with someone who has experienced it. If it seemed too good to be true.... well. Sorry about that.

And speaking of politically charged issues: ACA for the win! For once in my life I agree with John Roberts. And by the by, when I jotted down that link, I added a note that it was “the best thing I've read from the Supreme Court in maybe ever.”


(We were surrounded by Oslo Pride when it was announced. “You’ll always remember where you were,” indeed.)

John Roberts only had twenty-four hours or so of reigning as the author of my current favorite SCOTUS opinion, until he was dethroned by – who else could it be, this week of all weeks? – Anthony Kennedy. If you didn’t already read the highlights, you can (should?), but these haikus of the opinions are pretty accurate if you’re pressed for time.

And if you’re just not sure you’re into the marriage equality thing just yet? I humbly suggest that you read this. And then this.


Sadly enough, I don’t have new music on this monthly list often, and this month I have but one single link to offer. But oh, it is worthy of its own heading. There’s a new single from Ben Folds with chamber music.

Yes, I was skeptical too (please please not another bizarre experiment like Fear of Pop) until I pushed play. I’m not sure my eyes have ever widened so quickly in delight – nor has a song so firmly lodged into my brain and played itself on repeat. So as for this new chamber music album? I CANNOT WAIT.

Home + Design

We all know to set a timer to make a mental game out of cleaning up our homes, but TDC adds another trick I’d never thought of: putting all the piles in one spot to sort it out. I spend a lot of cleaning up time wandering from room to room putting things away (which distracts me whenever I enter a new room) – something to try when I’m actually at home again!

I already told you about our anniversary cake this year, but I didn’t mention that we had it with this fettucine alfredo recipe. It’s quite lemony (fortunately Mr. P likes that sort of thing) and you might need to avert your eyes when you see the butter and cream content. But hey, if you only make it once every five years...!

My new goal in life is to convince Baby P he loves Harry Potter so that he will want a Harry Potter-themed birthday party and I can make all of these Harry Potter treats inspired by the books. YES.

And finally, if you too have joined the ranks of dirty-hair-don’t-care, you might (as I do) need this flowchart: Should I wash my hair today? (Most roads lead to NO.)


This article is more about names than geography, but there are enough charts and maps to keep me happy for hours. (Sarah is a biologist’s name, whee!)

A little bit geography, a little bit history: How major cities got their names.

This month in Google autocomplete by state: “How much does ____ cost?”

And a whole lot more fascinating maps in this collection right ‘chere.

But really, let’s lighten it up for this holiday weekend with a whole mess of...


Who’s following the Women’s World Cup? It’s almost over, so hurry over to the 538 blog for the very last predictions!

I never knew about Obvious Plant until this month, and now I’m in love. Here are some new pet options he’s provided for you.

And – of course I’m partial to this one: NEW PAINT CHIPS. (Please don’t miss the codes.)

The New Yorker is featuring two weeks of status updates from your vague facebook friend. We’ve all got one.

Going on a job interview soon? I’m here to help.

This xkcd comic speaks truths.

Mr. P and I are well on our way to teaching Baby P as many of these pop culture references as possible. (Except I’ll have to be in charge of the Jessie Spano one, because Mr. P was mystified as to why I always added “I’m so... scared!” whenever I talked about being excited.)

And while we’re on the subject of TV: 27 times The Office got way too real. Get ready for all the feels!

I laughed way too long at this tweet.

We no longer live in Nashville, but Bonnaroo is still all over our social media. I’d much prefer Homaroo.

This anonymous instagrammer wrote a lovely post for every single classmate at his high school. I wish I went to school with that kid.

And finally, it’s been far too long since we’ve had a red panda parade.

Happy almost-holiday weekend, errbody!