Design

Have a Good Weekend.

Pizza by Sarah Jampel

What are you up to this weekend? We are going to a dinner party at a food writer’s apartment tonight, and I’m always curious to see what people serve. (I’ll report back!) Hope you have a good one, and here are a few links from around the web…

Made me laugh.

What life was like before the Internet. “Before the Internet, you could laze around on a park bench in Chicago reading some Dean Koontz, and that would be a legit thing to do.” (The New Yorker)

10 cozy vegetarian dinners you can have on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Aidy Bryant being awesome.

Pretty top for spring days.

What would be in your hospital bag for labor? “Arguably there is no better metaphor for a woman’s last grasp at self-perception before an infant than the hospital bag. Misguided, optimistic, generous, cautious — it all gets packed.”

Eating the same meal every day.

A love story: “Would we ever be together again?” (NYT)

Fun math shortcut: If calculating 4% of 75 is giving you trouble, just do 75% of 4 and it’ll give you the same answer.

How I would cover the college admissions scandal as a foreign correspondent.” (NYorker)

Plus, two reader comments:

Says Robyn on email sign-offs: “My dad signs all his texts. Once my brother and I got a message from our dad that WASN’T SIGNED. We immediately noticed and couldn’t resist replying, ‘Sorry, who is this?’ To which he obviously replied, ‘Dad. Dad.’ It still makes me smile when I think about it. He has reliably signed every text since.”

Says Claire on email sign-offs: “I have this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson as part of my email signature. I forget it’s on there, but recipients often tell me it was just the thing they needed to read: ‘Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you should begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.'”

Finally, most important, here are a few ways to help victims of the New Zealand shooting. Thank you so much for reading.

(Photo by Sarah Jampel. Hospital bag and same meal via Hither & Thither. Math shortcut via Kottke.)

  1. Amy Hollyfield says...

    Well ??!! What did they serve? we are having people over this Saturday night so I am curious…. ;) THANKS

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh yes!!!! They had bowls of nuts and Japanese snack mix to start, plus sparkling rose and beer. Then we had kimchi pancakes (they felt kind of like latkes, in form) and then lettuce wraps with pork, rice, kimchi and pickled cucumbers. Then a Japanese cheesecake for dessert. It was all so delicious and surprising!!!! Beats the deli lasagne we always serve hahaha. Have fun at your party!! Xoxoxo

  2. t says...

    The only things I used out of my hospital bag were my nightgown and toothbrush. I went home in the clothes in which I arrived.

  3. I didn’t need anything packed in my “go bag” when we had our son. And we were there a long time (28 hours labor + staying 2 days for recovery). Might have been good to bring a pillow for husband, and definitely don’t forget some money for his food plus a change of clothes for yourself & an outfit for baby. But beyond that, the hospital took care of anything I needed during recovery.

    That said, I’m not grossed out by stuff like showering without flipflops, not using my own shampoo, etc. YMMV. For us personally, though, it was such a waste of energy & unneeded stress analyzing & reanalyzing & overanalyzing what to bring in a huge duffel bag we never opened.

    To you mothers-to-be with anxiety/mood disorders like yours truly that make this whole parenthood undertaking seem 100x more overwhelming:

    The internet makes it seem like if you don’t have 400 freezer meals prepared, the nursery repainted, and a sleep schedule already determined for your newborn, life will be hell when you get home from the hospital. It’s pretty tiring & scary & boring & amazing at first, no matter what. :) Enjoy the ride for what it is and ask for help when you need it – PEOPLE LOVE TO HELP!!

  4. Maggie says...

    For your hospital bag: a loofah and your favorite body wash, shampoo and conditioner. That first shower after giving birth is such a relief – make it nice!

  5. Rebecca says...

    Love the life before the internet article. This weekend, I blew my kids’ minds by picking the lock on an accidentally-locked bathroom door in our home using just a toothpick…A skill I taught myself one lazy, carefree elementary school summer and that has come in surprisingly handy in life.

  6. Em says...

    Can you please share your kids book list that focuses on inclusion, caring and diversity? Much love to my kiwi neighbours

  7. Ingrid Dsouza says...

    I’m writing from India. The college admissions scandal is incredibly upsetting. For long we’ve been lamenting the state of education (college-level) in India, and we thought it was just this country, but clearly this is a much bigger problem. For the elite in India, the private school kids, and a whole lot of graduates in the STEM fields, it’s been a rite of passage – you complete high school and apply to colleges in the US. I do not need to get into this in detail; you guys there know this better. And we’ve known for long – all those elite kids (kids of business magnates, media personalities) who get into the Ivies have parents who can manage those exorbitant fees (multi-million INR). Level playing field, anybody? It seems like there isn’t any motivation for the higher-ups in government in this country to really improve anything at the college level; instead they track, and report, very diligently the number of Indian kids in universities abroad. Everything that is wrong about the admissions scandal is being and has been exported to the rest of the world, directly or indirectly. Why would these millionaires (read Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin) want to do something like this, we asked. The NYT had a very good answer: The single-digit millionaires do not look at the people below them in the class scale and worry about setting an example, moral or otherwise. No, they look at the people above them, the multi-millionaires and the billionaires, and feel that if those guys can game the system, so can we. Why should they have an unfair advantage? And this is how it works across levels. And this is really, really sad. If you dig deep down, ‘level playing field’, ‘meritocracy’ are just an illusion. Maybe this is how human society has always functioned? Power and prestige. If you do a root cause analysis, that ‘s what it boils down to, right? Power. and prestige.

  8. Hilary says...

    Thanks for mentioning NZ Cup of Jo :)

  9. Sarah says...

    Love all the love you are giving to Emma Rathbone these past few days. I keep all her New Yorker pieces, especially the email signoffs one, bookmarked for when I’m having bad days. I also cannot recommend both her novels (The Patterns of Paper Monsters and Losing It) highly enough. I wish she and I were friends in real life.

  10. FromDownUnder says...

    Thank you for mentioning New Zealand.

    I have to wonder, though why there’s been no mention of the student marches for climate action (and indeed, I don’t seem to recall COJ ever mentioning climate change). It’s THE issue of our generation.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much for your note. Our boys went to the march, and we are working on two climate change pieces — they’re slightly delayed bc of some new reporting. Please stay tuned!

  11. Tanya says...

    Another New Zealander here. Thank you for mentioning us. Part of our national identity has been that this is the place that stuff like that doesn’t happen. And now it has. So as well as terrible sadness for the victims, it has shaken our sense of self.

  12. My email signature has this quote”

    “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

    -George Bernard Shaw

  13. Rebecca says...

    It is most important. It should not be at the end of the post.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note — we actually find that the links at the bottom are often most read/seen. the ones at the top can get skimmed over. thank you so much, rebecca xoxo

    • Jen says...

      <3 Thanks for this.

  14. Nicole says...

    The math shortcut—WHAT!!?!?!

    • Val says...

      x percent of y or y percent of x is xy/100. So the answer either way comes out to be the same. Math is awesome!

  15. Danielle says...

    The idea of “mental math” makes me want to cry. I distinctly remember volunteering to go to the board in 5th grade to answer a math problem, only to get it wrong and be called out by the teacher. An overly sensitive child that never got in trouble for anything (ever), this destroyed my relationship with math and I’ve hated it ever since- I even opted out of math senior year of high school in favour of a second foreign language. This trick might help me, but lord the pressure of answering right away makes my brain freeze!

    • Lisa says...

      I feel you, Danielle.
      In 8th grade, I had a very old-school teacher (hailing from a time and culture where the kitchen was for women, for context) who had no sympathy or patience for students that didn’t get it right immediately. I didn’t like math already, and I started to dread it then. He once called me “stubborn potato” in front of the class. Great times. Math drains all joy out of me now and I shut down. Stubbornly.

  16. Rose says...

    What about the people of Venezuela…?

  17. Ali says...

    WHERE IS THIS PIZZA FROM?

    • Yes, need that recipe. Please!!

  18. Poppy says...

    that emerson quote is great.

    team same meal and team work uniform for life! five days a week: breakfast, water and coffee; lunch, greek chicken quinoa bowl; dinner, The Stew over a gianter pile of steamed chopped broccoli than you could imagine eating, yet i manage to put it down :P summer is coming (any minute now!) so i am about to swap out the quinoa for kale salad

  19. Lee Ann says...

    Thanks, Claire, for sharing the RWE quote. I keep on old-school paper agenda and every year I use a couple of the extra pages at the back to write quotes that resonate with me — this one made the list.

  20. Katie M. says...

    I just read the ‘Before the Internet’ article five times in a row. It brought back so many childhood memories, like listening to tapes and pausing the recorder to scribble down lyrics. Or exploring the house when my parents were out like I was a detective. I would go back to those simpler times if I could.

    • Maria says...

      Me too! Reading it made me so nostalgic. There’s a certain everyday-type creativity and fun that just seems lost forever.

  21. Andi says...

    I love your blog. Thank you for mentioning New Zealand. We are not naive and do realize the world is a village and terrorism is part of it. But I think New Zealanders may have collectively cried more in the last 24 hours than since WW11.

  22. Alice says...

    Thing I don’t understand about the college scandal as an English person, and nobody has hitherto explained : if they bribed their way in, pretending to have some sort of athletic ability, rowing say as one lauded example : why, when they get to college, and they are required to fulfill that (all the crooks who helped to get them through the door long since faded away) does it not all fall rapidly apart?

    • Meghan says...

      I have friends who had a spot on an athletic team in college and decided, for one reason or another, not to play (including a friend who dropped her spot on the lacrosse team before starting as a freshman.) I’m guessing stuff like that happens with some frequency – people get hurt, rethink their decisions, etc. – so maybe it doesn’t raise a red flag?

    • Alice says...

      I’d have assumed if you were injured off or just didn’t fancy it anymore, and you were just beginning, that being the basis of your place…that would be the end of it? It just all seems so strange, and as if it requires the complicity of an awful lot of people. But then the idea of heritable places is just as shocking.

    • Julie says...

      Alice, the idea of “heritable places” is not the same thing as lying about having done a sport. Giving extra points to legacy applicants is something the college can control and the public is aware of. No one is lying to the world about it.

    • Alice says...

      I didn’t say they were lying about it…the idea that you get additional points because someone in your family is part of the alumni is still entirely against meritocratic ideals that should be at the heart of any education system, ergo ‘shocking’, if not surprising.

    • Liz says...

      Short version: When you’re an athletics recruit your application goes through admissions with a flag on it–a “we want her/him” from whatever team. Depending on the school, that flag might get you in 100% of the time (sounds like the case for USC!), or it might only give you an edge (if he/she is generally in the range, let him/her in). These kids weren’t actually given a spot on the team, they just bribed the coach to give their application the flag.

  23. M says...

    As a New Zealander, I wasn’t in the right space for lighthearted links this morning and scanned through the post quickly – thinking that there was nothing there for me today. I went back to Cup of Jo this evening, and realised that you have posted a link. It is devastating that this has happened to the peaceful Muslim community, which has never done anything but contribute to our country. Racism and intolerance are abhorrent, and I hope that we can learn from this as we move forward. Love is bigger than hate.

    • Claire says...

      My heart has been heavy from this tragedy. I wish you and all of our New Zealand friends healing, comfort and peace. And bravo to your leaders on the weapon ban.

  24. Lily says...

    If I have a second baby, this will be in my hospital bag: adult diapers, nursing pillow, reading light, lemon essential oil, a few sleepers, muslin or thicker blanket depending on the season, lounge clothes (tank top, jogging pants, sports bra, hoodie, warm socks and slippers/shower sandals) white noise machine, lots of snacks, water bottle, toiletries, my own pillow and blanket, glasses, phone/charger, and wallet. Also nipple cream, nursing pads, burp cloth, and a nipple shield just in case. I was fortunate to have a lovely delivery, but one memory that stands out from my daughter’s birth is how trashed the hospital room was with all the junk I brought. It was kind’ve embarrassing.

  25. Katie says...

    The Onion one hits so close to home. My in-laws live in a 55+ community, and one night they all got together for a movie night. They decided to watch the Dallas Buyers Club since it was up for an Oscar. A few minutes in, they decided they didn’t like all the swearing, so the group decided to try a different movie. The movie they landed on instead? Crocodile Dundee II, and it was a big hit. Still makes me laugh years later.

  26. Bekah says...

    Erstwhile Dear is one of my most favorite blogs. I think I found her through Bridget at Tales of Me and the Husband a few years ago. Anyway, she has the loveliest voice and perspective on parenting. Happy to see her linked here!

  27. Deb says...

    Thank you for mentioning New Zealand :-)

  28. Elisabeth says...

    To Robyn – the same thing just happened to me, but for a slightly different reason. My Dad always texts in the way one would compose a more formal note, with perfect punctuation and spelling. So when I got a test that was misspelled and had a few mistakes, I assumed someone else had his phone!

    • Elisabeth says...

      Haha! And now I made an error. Text, not test!

    • Robyn says...

      Ha! I love how familiar we are with others’ texting styles! It makes me wonder if anything I do is distinctive?

  29. Esss says...

    Love the hospital bag article, as I’m packing mine this weekend! I had a burning question for Jo/New Yorkers, though. Where I live, in a suburban area, there is a really big deal made of making sure you have your carseat purchased, and installed, and they apparently don’t let you leave the hospital without seeing that you can properly put your baby in it. I’ve been stressing about this because we are about to purchase a car, but what if I go into labor early and we don’t have the car to get home in yet? We can take the bus, or an Uber, but what will they want to do about the carseat? It made me wonder, what do hospitals do in places like NYC where most people don’t have cars? Does the hospital require that you show how you can strap the carseat into a cab? What if you take public transit?

    • shannon says...

      Check with your hospital as policies vary widely. State law also has an impact on what is required. Some hospitals will do a safety check on a baby wrap or carrier for parents who can walk back home while baby wearing … others require you to have a car seat to leave even if you don’t own a car.

    • Noora says...

      NYC law requires you to have a car seat when you leave the hospital but it is not law to use it if leaving in a cab or public transportation. I live in NYC, am due next month and we don’t have a car. We’ll most likely use an Uber to go home. I’m packing my bag this week as well. I’d love to hear what you’re putting in yours, I’m so overwhelmed! Congratulations on your baby!!

    • Hilary says...

      I’m in Georgia and we had to bring the car seat into the hospital room, put our baby in it, and then they wheeled me and the baby out to the car. Also, our baby was underweight at birth and had to do a 3 hour “car seat test” to see if she could hold her head up in it. We wouldn’t have been able to be discharged without the test! Call your hospital for specific policies so you don’t have to stress about it!

  30. Mindi says...

    Hah! My dad signs all his texts, too! What is that all about?! It’s pretty endearing…

  31. Love the article about people eating the same meal every day. I love pretty much every food and really enjoy elaborate meals. My husband wants to eat peanut butter on bread every day and leave it at that. Took some getting used to, but I’m on board with his choice.

  32. Colleen S. says...

    Life before the internet was books and Barbies. We got AOL in 1994 when I was 11. Took forever to load, but it was fun. I also remember life before smartphones. That is nostalgia.

  33. Sarah Beth says...

    I’m getting ready to pack my hospital bag for my second baby, and I am right there in the mix of misguided and optimistic. I know what I used last time and didn’t, and none of it matters. I want to be prepared! I want to be comfortable! I want to be able to have the right shirt, the right chapstick, the right snack. I love the idea of bringing something that reminds me that I can do it– I wore a necklace while I gave birth last time that has since broken, but this might be the push I need to get the chain repaired in time to wear it for my second delivery.

  34. Irati says...

    Thanks for the college admissions article link, it’s so well written! Being from Europe I find the whole thing baffling: so competitive, stressful and above all, unfair.

    • Jules says...

      What is truly wrong is that these wealthy parents lied and cheated to get their children into colleges, taking spots from talented, motivated students. I feel like there is something monstrous in what they have done.

  35. Lori says...

    The New Yorker college admissions article is spot on.
    I’m in the thick of it, a parent to a college junior, a college freshman and a high school junior. The absurdity of the process never ceases to amaze me and yet we played the game every step of the way, from the moment we started searching for the “best” preschool.
    The U.S. education system is deeply flawed. In so many ways.

  36. t says...

    “Is there a booklet on this shit?”

    i am dying! so good. and so needed to pull me out of the pain and rage caused by J’s comment on the Lindy West post.

    • Sara says...

      Feeling it too, sister. Hugs to you.

  37. Renee says...

    I really can relate to “Mom just wants to watch something nice”. I was thinking the same thing. I really am tired of watching violence and zombies, so in the last week or so I have started ordering what I call “cute movies”. I have Bridget Jones, Zoolander 1&2, Drumline, Boomerang, Juno, and Everything Everything. With the current state of everything I really just want to feel good and laugh.

    • Colleen S says...

      My mom loves cop and medical dramas. My dad and younger sister watch reality TV. My mom likes substance, they like mindless blah. No matter how many times she’s told them, they don’t know why she doesn’t watch TV with them.

  38. Erin says...

    My kids are 9 and 5, and I have almost no memory of what was in my hospital bag for either birth! I assume some clothes for me to come home in? I do recall … vaguely … the blue sleeper my older son wore home.

    The one really important thing, especially if you end up giving birth at night, is something to eat. My then-husband went home after my first delivery to grab some leftovers for me from our fridge. It was around midnight when I finally ate them, but they were a total lifesaver — the hospital didn’t provide meals in the middle of the night, even if you’d just spent the last 24 hours doing the hardest work of your life to get a baby out of your body! I was soooo hungry!

  39. Marcella says...

    I love that email signature. I just sent my boyfriend an email “what are we doing after work? I need a margarita” and that quote is a good reminder that I need to check out and not worry about Monday when I get home!!

  40. Julia says...

    The hospital bag! One thing I wish I’d done was to pack a small overnighter with hardly anything for the more expected 1-night stay, and a larger bag with things like makeup (and, weirdly, a small lamp instead of the awful hospital light at night) that I could have left in my car in case of a longer stay. My baby had moderately severe jaundice so we were there for a week and I definitely wanted different things after about the third day…it gets boring, honestly. Next time I’m bringing a nightgown, chapstick, moisturizer, nipple cream, hair ties, socks, phone charger, contact lens stuff, ONE going-home outfit for the baby, and that’s about it in my 1-day bag. I wasn’t sure and could never figure out prior, if you have the baby wear clothes in the hospital? The answer is no, haha.

    • Liz says...

      That math shortcut just blew my mind. Thanks for sharing :)

  41. Laura C. says...

    Ok, thanks Jo, this weekend I’ll craft a fake FBI card. I’m a 41yo mom, I mean, I can do it right?? :)
    Have a nice one everybody!

  42. Em says...

    Gahhh! That New Yorker article about the college admission scandal is so good! I don’t have kids yet but I am so familiar with everything written, as I’m sure all of us who’ve grown up in American school system are. I wanted to shout “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore” afeterward.

    • Jamie says...

      Thanks for including a link to support victims of the New Zealand shooting. We are reeling over here, our country is usually so safe. I have no idea what it’s like for you guys in the US where mass shootings happen regularly. It’s absolutely devastating.

    • Colleen S says...

      @Jamie- for most of us, it isn’t easy. We’re just so used to the constant violence and indifference from most of our government that it seems we aren’t affected. It also is horrible that we treat gun violence with such a cavalier attitude.

    • Becca says...

      Wow, just wow. It’s true, in Canada, most of us just go to a local public school and then go to a (probably local) university. I work in a post-secondary institution, and I think it’s common to pick an institution based on its fit with your career goals not its reputation. I went to two “top-tier” universities and one “normal” one, and by far enjoyed the “normal” one the most. Although all three were great and not really that different from each other.

    • Becca says...

      I was replying to Em, but to Jamie, and all New Zealanders, I’m so sad for you.