Favorite Things, January 18, 2021

Still not feeling like it’s a new year, or like I’m a new me. You know, like you’re supposed to feel in a new year? But I did manage to be a little bit productive this week. I cleaned some things, I wrote some things, I made sure my son got his homework turned in on time, I fed my children. Sometimes I even showered. And I still found things to enjoy.

Before I get into it, though, since it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, anyone reading this might consider supporting a charity/non-profit that does work in line with Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy. There’s the obvious Poor People’s Campaign, which carries on Mr. King’s legacy with the goal of “shifting the moral narrative, impacting policies and elections at every level of government, and building lasting power for poor and impacted people.” More locally, where I live in the Las Vegas area, there’s the JET Foundation, which works to “change the life trajectory of those in the community by providing academic, youth development, and health and basic needs support for families.”

Whatever you choose, hopefully, even with social distancing still in place, we can all find ways today to honor Mr. King’s legacy of helping those who are underserved in our society.

Now, as far as my favorite things go, in FOOD, this Tom Kha Gai recipe by Seonkyoung Longest, really hit the spot for me and wasn’t that difficult to make.

(Photo description: Titled “Authentic tom kha gai,” the photo looks down at two bowls of tom kha gai soup beside one bowl of rice.)

While cooking that, I listened to this Life Kit Sesame Workshop PODCAST, “What to Say to Kids When the News is Scary,” which I found informative and very appropriate for our times.

(Photo description: a logo for NPR Life Kit, Sesame Workshop made up of a several green squares placed next to each other to form a rectangle. In some of the squares there are images, like the muppet Elmo, a small gardening shovel holding a small potted plant, a green clock, the Sesame Street sign, and illustrations of a figure in a dress and a figure in pants holding hands with a child’s figure between them.)

When it comes to PEOPLE, author Rin Chupeco made my week by giving me amazing feedback on my query letter for my Lesser Demons book. (I won a query critique by participating in a KidLit for Luzon fundraiser campaign for hurricane relief in the Philippines.) You may enjoy their book The Bone Witch, a beautiful, lyrical read.

(Photo description: The cover of the book THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco. On a dark blue-ish purple background, a girl with dark hair sits at the edge of a rocky cliff, looking into the distance. Under the title, there is a skull, missing its jaw bone and the words “Let me be clear, I never intended to raise my brother from the grave…”)

Another great person, singer Dionne Warwick has been killing it on Twitter, and, consequently, making the world a more enjoyable place.

(Photo description: Dionne Warwick tweets “Did you really read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway?” with a meme from Anchorman of Will Ferrell smoking a cigarette and the caption “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.”
(Photo Description: Twitter handle @annstapshoe tweets, “I had a dream last night that I was back in high school and @dionnewarwick was my music teacher.” Dionne Warwick responds, “This wasn’t a dream. Your assignment is late.”
(Photo description: Twitter handle @D1LFH4NK asks Dionne Warwick “bestie what are your thoughts on c*lin jost”. Dionne Warwick responds, “The person who sits next to Michael Che?”)

ANIMALS had their day in the Twitter sun this week too, thanks to Joaquim Campa who compiled this thread on animals interrupting nature photographers. Worth looking through the whole thread.

(Two photos. On left, a woman (Liba Radova) lies on her stomach in grass, holding a camera. A baby deer stands on her back, and a baby wolf nuzzles her arm. On the right, a man wearing a coat and a beanie lies on his stomach on a rocky beach. He holds a camera and a small seal lies across his lower back.)

Stayed up later than I meant to most nights, listening to MUSIC and pretending it was helping me go to sleep instead of supercharging my brain waves. Thanks to my binging of HBO’s Insecure (mentioned in last week’s favorite things), my ears were blessed by the song “Plastic” by Moses Sumney.

My husband Jordan sent me Olivia Rodrigo‘s “Driver’s License” song, which I think a lot of people have been buzzing about. (Language warning–don’t watch with the kiddies?)

Jordan (my primary source for good musical entertainment) also showed me “Sugar Drum Fairies” with Travis Barker and BYOS, which I know is a Christmas song, alright? But it’s fun, so I’m including it on my list.

NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! introduced me to Phoebe Bridgers. It’s very possible I’m the last person in the world to hear about her, but I’m sold now. My favorites at the moment are “Savior Complex” and “Motion Sickness.”

Other things I’m loving this week:
– Sleep
– 3 day weekends
– Naps
– Catching up with old friends, even if it’s just over text
– Sleeping in
– Pants that grow with my COVID lockdown body
– Did I mention sleep?

My Personal Soundtrack, Whether I Like It or Not

You know those songs that always get stuck in your head? You find yourself singing them when you wake up in the morning, in the shower, as you’re puttering around your house even though you haven’t actually heard them for years?

I made a little list of a few of the ones that have stuck with me over the years.

Peter Bjorn And John’s oh-so-chill “Young Folk.”

“Father Christmas” from the movie musical Scrooge. (Yes, I sing it with a bad British accent.) Oh man, I wish it was Christmas so I could watch this whole movie.

“Mr. Sandman,” which I have loved ever since I was a wee baby. (Kudos to whoever made this simple and adorable video.)

This silly song that was taught to me as a kid. It goes “Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye, in China they never grow chilly,” but a couple years ago I learned that it’s actually a really awesome Mexican song and I wish that it was this awesome version that got stuck in my head but, alas, tis not. Here’s a version of the limerick that is as ridiculous as the limerick itself.

And here is the real song, “Cielito Lindo”:

Everyone’s got at least one Disney classic in their repertoire, right? Mine is “Prince Ali” from Aladdin.

“Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” This is on account of it being in one of my favorite movies, Shooting Fish.

Here’s the trailer for the movie. “All praise to the quick-release trousers.” (Oh, Jez.)

“Here Comes the Sun.” Of course, I freaking love The Beatles, but I also have a pretty funny story that goes with this song. Back in the day before Saddam Hussein had been captured, I’d had the song stuck in my head for WEEKS and then I had this crazy vivid dream where I was swimming with my brother (who was actually serving in Iraq at the time) in one of Saddam’s palatial pools (don’t ask why). Then Saddam came to swim with us and he asked if we wanted to see his underwater aquarium. In my discomfort at being with Saddam I started sort of nervously singing “Here Comes the Sun” as we were heading into the aquarium and Saddam got WAY excited that I like the Beatles. He said, “That is a good song, but my personal favorite is ‘Hey, Jude.'” And then he started singing it. The end.

I couldn’t find a clip of THE Beatles playing the song, but here’s at least two of them (plus some friends–but hey, Ringo’s been known to get high with a little help from them). George’s hair = amazing.