Design

Have a Great Weekend.

swans

What are you up to tonight? We are going to dinner with friends tonight and having a “family fun night” tomorrow, which is Toby’s invention and basically means they get to eat candy and watch a movie:) Hope you have a good one, and here are a few fun links from around the web…

The surprising shift in Michelle Obama’s style.

Into this serum that makes your skin look “luminous like a pane of glass.”

Bravo for this awesome math professor.

Rob Delaney on deep grief: “If it’s raining out, the people who don’t want to acknowledge that or understand it are offering you sunscreen. If you could just hand me an umbrella or even be like, ‘Wow, it’s pissing out,’ then I’d feel sane.”

A few ingredients, infinite possibilities.

What’s behind this secret bookcase?

What a pretty City Hall wedding.

Hahaha.

Are you addicted to being busy? “In Chinese, the word ‘busy’ consists of two [characters], one meaning heart, the other death. More explanation is not needed. The busier we get, the more energy flows to the head and away from the heart. The busier we get, the more we tend to distance ourselves from others and their emotions. Action addiction keeps us busy and away from asking why.”

Oprah and Gayle being awesome.

How to make a winter fruit salad.

The 8 best things to do before a trip.

Plus, two reader comments:

Says Lisa on not-so-strangers: “I used to see the same man every day while I walked the 12-minute route from home to the subway, as he walked from the subway to work. For seven years, we’d pass each other, nod and smile. We would usually pass each other as I approached the train, but if we passed when we were closer to my house, then we both knew I was running late and that would always make us laugh. Well, eventually I was moving out the apartment and I wondered if I should tell him, or if I should fade away like some NYC mystery. Since he didn’t seem to speak English, I decide mystery was better. Well, fast forward a year or so: I was running with a friend in a completely different part of the city, when who do I see? My not-so-stranger, but this time I was by his house. We both were so excited. I started saying, ‘I moved, I moved!” and he kept pointing at a building, and in broken English saying, ‘My house, my house.’ We hugged and laughed and took a selfie… and then I continued running back to the land of mystery.”

Says AK on not-so-strangers: “When I lived in New York, I’d walk through the East Village every evening, heading to my night classes. I’d pass by the fire station, where there was always a big, burly fireman with a giant mustache and tattoos up and down his arms. We’d smile but never spoke. About a year later, September 11th happened, and when life had returned to somewhat normal, I passed by the fire station again. He wasn’t there, but there was a memorial poster taped to the station door, with his smiling face looking back at me, and I finally learned his name — Manny Mojica, motorcycle enthusiast, father of two, Squad 18 and first responder.”

(Photo by Robin Cerutti. Busy link via Jocelyn Glei. Onion link via Swiss Lark.)

  1. Deannagabriel says...

    I’m a little behind here, but that Rob Delaney article is incredible. Thank you for sharing.

    His interview here is also truly humbling in its humanity: https://youtu.be/K8S7VhG-Wuw

    I see you, Rob. And I see you, Henry. And anyone else in grief, I see you, too.

  2. Abby says...

    Wow! Those readers comments floored me. What beautiful and touching examples of how connected we can feel to strangers. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ceciel says...

    18 years later and 9/11 comments still bring tears to my eyes. Thinking about Manny Mojica’s children and family this morning. Love to you Cup of Jo-ers.

    • nora says...

      same.
      i was 17, in high school in nyc at the time and took the same public bus every morning, with the same people every morning. we didn’t know much about each other except that we lived in the same place and they worked in manhattan.
      when i went back to school something like a week after 9/11, i noticed a few people missing. i figured they hadn’t gone back yet, and those of us who were back waiting for the bus together began to talk and we all hoped the others would come back. our local community had a mass memorial for everyone who had passed on that day, and i searched the crowd for some missing faces, to no avail. my parents could see me getting upset and hugged me. i then felt a tap on my shoulder to see one of my bus mates, not any of the ones i was looking for. they just said, “i know, miss them too,” and gave me a big squeeze.

  4. Margaux says...

    OMG ! This is MY lake <3
    One day Jo, you should come and have a tour in Annecy, France, one of the most beautiful place in the world…
    Thanks a million for your blog, I'm addicted for years now…

  5. Lillian says...

    Omg we had family fun night growing up, too! For us, it was a movie picked out from Blockbusters (usually an indie film chosen by my parents) and a plate of fruit prepared by my mom, who still spent the evening rummaging through the kitchen while half-watching the movie with the rest of us. So fun to hear Toby calling it the exact same thing :)

  6. Diana K. says...

    When I was a kid I invented “Mommy-Daughter time”, which meant I got to eat a fun-flavored yogurt while sitting on the swing set with my mom. Ah, the simple pleasures.

  7. Julia Helene says...

    Before-You-Leave Trip Tip #9:
    Write down your computer’s password because there’s a real possibility you might forget it.

    • nadine says...

      hahaha that happens to me every single time with my work passwod..

    • Dani says...

      I googled him too and also came across that story. So moving.

    • Kate says...

      I feel like I am going to see strangers in a different perspective now.. Thanks for sharing Kay.

  8. Sarah says...

    Toby’s family fun night is hilarious! Me and my roommate recently declared a new friday night tradition. We now order dominoes and watch a movie as soon as we get home from work. I think it has something to do with it feeling like winter just took it up a notch. We cozily hibernate on fridays now, and making that a “tradition” makes it feel nice instead of sad that we’re not/can’t go out.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Love this!!!!!

  9. Mims says...

    I have a during the trip suggestion. Inevitibly while unpacking upon arrival I see I need a quick trip to a pharmacy to get more than 3 ounces of sunscreen, shampoo, odd liquid, plus maybe a toothbrush…
    Finding a pharmacy and buying a small cute lined paper notebook my first day on vacation is a ritual. Then every day while on vacation I keep a diary of our adventures….something I dont do in real life. I keep it next to my bed for a few weeks on my return and if I happen to remember something new I add it. And if I am bummed to be back in forever winter, I can remind myself just to weeks ago I was in Mexico city eating tacos and watching wrestling live at the CDMX Arena, just by leafing thru it. I go back and sometimes look at those travel diaries and am astounded how much I forgot and SO glad I took notes during my trip! Coming home to fresh sheets and an empty laundry basket also divine.

    • ALI says...

      yessss to the travel diary Mims! I am not a diary person, or even a sentimental person (I have a reputation as ruthless because I refuse to keep anything). However, there is just something about the travel diary and the way it can transport you back to the holiday that means I will always keep one. Even better than leafing through it straight after the holiday is reading it years and years later…. it’s like time travel x

  10. Christie says...

    On being busy, it’s so true that it’s terrible for your health. But what I wonder is, instead of telling people to slow down, how do we actually DO it? My husband I both work full time in demanding jobs at tech companies, and we have an 8 year old daughter. I feel burned out all the time, and this sense that I’m stumbling through life without stopping to really enjoy it. Lately, I have been wanting to get a dog, but I’ve realised we just wouldn’t be able to fit time into our week to take it for walks/play with it.

    How do parents who work full time do it all? How do you manage to work out, to have family adventures, date nights, vacations, a full night’s sleep?
    I’d love to hear from other parents about how they actually create space in their week to slow down? What does “slow down” actually look like for busy people in today’s real world?

    • Laura says...

      This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I am a physician working full time, my husband stays home with our 4.5 year old and 11 month old. Even with him being home during the day, there is always more that could be done around the house.

      I am learning that it comes down to priorities- you simply cannot exercise daily, sleep enough, work, cook dinner, and spend time with you kids every day. I am slowly learning to simplify dinner so I can be truly present with my family. Our house is often somewhat messy because we choose to go ice skating rather than cleaning.

      I think the biggest thing for me is just deciding throughout the day what I will do with this moment of time, and trying to commit fully. So if I’m playing Candyland, I’m not also thinking about the grocery list. That and trying to minimize time on my phone (even podcasts and site this Cup of Jo) help me feel more present and less busy.

      I hope other people respond as well, because I would love to hear more strategies to make this work!

    • GoldenMoon says...

      This is such an important conversation and would make for a great post. I’m a yoga and meditation teacher with two young children and I too struggle with this. Much to say on this topic as our society and economic structures are tied into it too but that’s a longer thread. How: embrace the mess of it all, let it carve you deeply, simplify schedules, simplify stuff, remember what matters most to you and do that/hold that everyday, move your body every day (anything counts and mix it into the mill of life), make space just to BE every day (5 min counts), clean up your diet and simplify it, and make art with your kids! 10 min. Goes a long way… This is my way. I drop all comparisons of what others are doing too…that helps a lot. It’s so hard, messy and I struggle surrendering to it all too but I’m doing what I love on all levels so that’s rich. For inspiration on the history of the women’s lib movement check out the pbs series, Makers. I’ll let that say the rest… every woman should watch this with her daughter at some point.

    • Emma Bee says...

      Can you bump down your work hours? After having kids I went to 30 hrs/week (and work from home) and its one of the best decisions we’ve made. More time with the kids but still engaged in fulfilling/stimulating work. I’m lucky to have an employer that supports this (I’m a scientist with a consulting company).

    • T says...

      For us, slow down meant me quitting my job. My husband and I both had well-paying, somewhat demanding, full time jobs. But we had no time for the family adventures, date nights, vacations, and full nights sleep you speak of. Luckily we had purposely bought a house that we could afford on one salary, because I had an inkling I might not want to work forever. But if we hadn’t, we would have downsized. It was hard giving up my salary, but now I have time to homecook all of our meals, keep our house clean, do all of the logistical stuff. My parents stop by frequently so I get to see them more, and watch them spend quality time with our daughter. To us, that’s worth it. I felt like it was society telling me we needed to have two incomes. But when we thought about what was important to us (health and family time), we realized that it wasn’t working for us. It was the best decision I ever made. I was worried about giving up the money, but since I have time now, I save us a lot by cooking at home and other random things that take more time but save money. That and we basically stopped buying crap. Now we mostly just buy groceries and experiences. It’s all we really need.

    • L says...

      Do not get a dog. Don’t make the same mistake I made A dog is like having another child. Except you can’t take it everywhere and it will never grow out of diapers. Never. You will be cleaning poop off the ground for the next twenty years. Speak about busy…a dog is loving and kind but it’s not meant to slow us down…

    • Michelle K. says...

      I’m at the end of this with my only child heading off to college this summer…my only advice is to get your child involved in all the household stuff – developing the grocery list, grocery shopping, doing laundry, folding it and putting it away, and finally prepping everything you can for the week on Sunday morning – food prep, lunch prep, laundry, to do lists for the week. All of it on Sunday morning. Also, getting up an hour earlier to have space to think and read. It makes a HUGE difference to get up and start your day ready for whatever is there.

    • Louise says...

      I’m 41 and my husband is 46. We have a seven year old and an almost two year old. We also have no family help. Because of that, I cut my hours at work. We also pick low key, not demanding extracurricular activities for my son. We would rather relax on a Saturday together than spend the whole day on a ball field. You have prioritize what’s important for your family.

    • Sasha L says...

      Christie, I don’t know! Our economic system and lack of safety net that supports is when we need it must is the heart of this problem. Paid parental leave would mean you had some time at the beginning. Universal health Care would mean lower health care costs overall, that your health care isn’t tied to employment and a certain job (you could leave a job without writing about your health Care), and one partner staying home wouldn’t create the additionally burden of paying for his/her expensive health care. Universal child care would relieve parents if the unfair financial burden if the first five years. What would American families look like in this scenario? A lot less burdened and overworked and worried.

      What else may help? How busy is your 8 year old? Could she be less so? We are passing on our culture of busyness, overachievement for the sake of achievement, and overwork to our kids. If you are spending any time ruining her here there and everywhere, just stop.

      Re a dog. Imho, dog time is quality family time and so worth it. Going for walks, playing, petting, care, that’s all time well spent as a family. But I realize that isn’t true for everyone. If yours is the kind of family that would have to hire it out just to meet your dogs needs, or one partner would bear the burden and feel resentful….. Then no. Dogs do need a lot, and deserve to get it.

      Best of luck!

  11. Carly says...

    I just geared up reading that last not-so-stranger comment

  12. MN says...

    Thanks for the shares, these were all great. How fun to go on the 3 day cruise with Oprah! 18 years ago I was working in San Francisco. I rode the bus to work each morning. I started noticing another woman who got off at the same stop as I did. Finally one morning she said something friendly and we struck up a conversation. We discovered we both worked in the design center, only at different showrooms. We made plans to have lunch one day. Lunches turned into shopping trips, dinners, the movies, vacations, and basically a lifetime of friendship. Even though we live in different cities we have stayed the best of friends. I am so grateful for that moment when we went from being strangers to not.

  13. siri says...

    Stocking your fridge and filling up the gas tank pre-trip are easy and nice little gifts to your future self. But unpacking immediately upon return? Even at 2am? That’s called anal retentive and unecessary.

  14. Catherine says...

    That photo!! This is my lake!! this is where I live!! Annecy, France!! So cool!

    • cilla says...

      ohh, that`s so nice! “my lake” :)

  15. Lisa says...

    Rob Delaney. Sending a few moments of acknowledgement to him and others who in grief. Sometimes being a human is close to impossible. But somehow we make it. Grace and grit.

    • Laura D. says...

      I love this comment. So true.

  16. Megan says...

    That firefighter comment. I’m in tears.

  17. A says...

    A few tears while eating my breakfast this morning, reading the last comment on the 9/11 firefighter. Thank you for sharing. It’s a nice reminder to never forget and always be grateful ❤️ Have a nice weekend everyone.

  18. agnes says...

    Bravo math teacher! A long time ago I was starting my teaching career at university, I was only 25 and sometimes I had to be a little bit stricter to feel more confideni because I was so much younger than the students. One day one of my students was sitting with her baby, right in front of me, all the students were watching and waiting for my reaction. I had to think quickly but decided, “well, I guess we have a new student today”, and went on. I was very inexperienced and wasn’t sure of what the universiry allowed but I was sure that this woman wanted to take the class and had no other choice. It really was a meaningful moment and changed my way of being. ANYWAY! Thanks for all these amazing stories.

  19. agnes says...

    Manny Mojica, you are remembered.

  20. Kay says...

    Crying over the firefighter. x

  21. Emily Good says...

    god i miss oprah

    • Laura D. says...

      Same here! I felt a twinge of sadness watching her in that video.

  22. Laura C. says...

    The firefighter story had me nearly in tears. I can’t write more.

    • Amy says...

      Same. </3

  23. Lana says...

    Do you remember that song by Rod Stewart called Downtown Train??? It’s totally a beautiful ode to not so strange strangers. ❤️

    • Ellen says...

      Girl please, that song is by Tom Waits! Give his growly original version a listen if you don’t know it.

  24. Lisa says...

    Ooh I’ve been super curious about that glass skin serum after seeing it promoted a few other places…How long after you started using it did you see results?

  25. Mimi says...

    The math professor nearly made me cry. A friend brought her young one to class for the same reason. The (female) professor told her to take her child and leave. Parenthood is SO tough. My mind is still boggles by how tough it is, how to juggle all the logistics of it. I applaud parents, and all who help them. From opening a door for a mother with a carrier/stroller, to carrying a child’s toys when a parent is trying to carry a kicking and screaming child off the playground. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! It’s a little hope and encouragement along the way…

  26. Stephanie says...

    Happy international Women’s day, Cup of Jo. Thanks for always being a space where women feel heard and are also equally comfortable just listening.

  27. Sasha L says...

    Oh the firefighter……
    No words.

  28. Libbynan says...

    AK’s comment is why I now try to make contact with the “almost strangers ” in my life. After 9/11 the wine columnists for the Wall Street Journal wrote a column about the employees who died at Windows on the World. The hubs and I instantly recognized several from our occasional visits. We had never known their names or anything about their personal lives. I cried until I was ill.
    Now I try to make these passing strangers into at least acquaintances so if they disappear, I know their names.

  29. Sam says...

    The last comment took my breath away. Isn’t life strange?

  30. Sally K says...

    I read a lot of the “not-so-stranger” posts but hadn’t read the last one you posted. That was like a punch in the gut and left me breathless.

  31. Carly says...

    Tears at the firefighter story. American hero. <3

  32. E says...

    Was in a really crabby mood and after watching Oprah & Gayle I feel 100% better.

    Also, speaking of Gayle I would welcome a post around R Kelly — I can’t imagine there is anyone here who is on his side by any means but I am DYING to talk about it — how is this still happening, how professional was Gayle, how insane is he?

  33. Julia says...

    Gah love the book case idea…but the anxiety in me goes straight to what if there is a fire?!!? I don’t even have kids, but now I’m anxious. Is it 5 pm yet?

  34. that last comment hit me hard. what a beautiful, haunting story.

    • Lesley says...

      Same. Beautiful.

    • Julie says...

      Same, these not-so-strangers stories are really moving me to tears

    • Cathy says...

      Me too. Gave me chills.

  35. Diana McNeill says...

    I am still experiencing goosebumps from the firefighter story as I write this comment. Wow. That is so moving.

  36. Katherine says...

    Love all this! But actually, in Chinese, the character for “busy” is made up of two separate characters, “heart” and “death” — it is not made up of two syllables because the word “busy” is pronounced *mang*, only one syllable. :)

    • Abby says...

      Thank you for clearing this up!

      I speak Cantonese but am not able to read/write Chinese and I’m sitting here saying combos of “sum” and “saay” over and over to try to figure out how you get from there to “mang.”

      What you’ve said makes A LOT more sense!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, katherine!

    • Ellen says...

      The edit in the post above isn’t quite right–as Katherine says, the *character* for “busy” is made up of two parts (which are also characters in their own rights, but which are used here as components that form a single new character). So above, it would be more accurate to say, “the [character] ‘busy’ consists of two [components], one meaning heart, the other death.”

    • Lena says...

      Actually, ascribing meaning to this Chinese character formation is kind of oft-repeated New Age/Christian blog B.S. – the kind that misunderstands another culture and its meanings and flies fast around the internet. Better not to repeat such things I think! It definitely makes those of us who speak the language shake our heads and smile at the confusion and simplication. See here for one debunking, but there are others: http://mr-verb.blogspot.com/2009/01/unsettling-interpretation-of-chinese.html?m=1

  37. Wow. That comment about the firefighter took my breath away. I love the community at Cup of Jo <3