How Adventuring Alone Became My Ticket to Happiness
And rainstorms and colds in the high desert
The good news is that monsoon season came early this year, and we’ve been enjoying some thunderstorms and thirst-quenching rains.
The not-as-good news is that I’m reporting live from what feels like my fifth cold this spring—and my kid’s not even in daycare. I’m going to keep this one short, as I’m typing between nose blows and sips of tea.
What I’m reading
My friend Katie texted me this story in the Times earlier this week. She’s the mom of a two-year-old, and we both laughed that we follow virtually all of the creators named in the piece. I guess you could call us earnest parents.
Joyce Szuflita, a 63-year-old school admissions consultant who has been helping New York parents for a decade and a half, said that in the past six years or so, her clients feel like they’re “floating out on an iceberg out to sea,” more anxious and unsure than previous generations of parents.
There’s a lot to be worried about — the climate crisis, debt, war, aging parents, a divided country, the effects of the pandemic. The same generation of people who watched the horrors of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado unfold live on TV, the victims roughly their age, are now forced to process school shootings on repeat while their children practice hiding under their desks. “There’s something to be said about this shift of raising these kids in a gentle way in this world,” Ms. Fichtner said, using an expletive.
Read “Welcome to the Era of Very Earnest Parenting” here.
I used to go on solo adventures all the time, practically every weekend. I’d take the dogs up a 14er in Colorado or go camping in some sand dunes to look for shooting stars. Those me-trips are rare now that I’ve got a family, but reading Stephanie Vermillion’s essay on solo hiking and kayaking has been the kick in the pants that I needed to make a couple happen this summer.
Until recently, my outdoor pursuits were as much about socializing as they were about admiring my surroundings—camping with family, trekking with my university’s Outdoor Adventure Club, weekend peak-bagging with New York City friends to get a nature fix.
Solo outings never made it on my radar. It’s not that I wasn’t willing to try them; it just never crossed my mind. I always had a friend, or my husband, willing to tag along. Plus, as a frequent misreader of maps, I felt safest with a buddy in case things went awry.
As it turns out, knowing things could go awry—and that it’d be entirely on me to puzzle my way out—is one of many reasons I ended up falling in love with solo adventures about two years ago.
Read “How Adventuring Alone Became My Ticket to Happiness” here.
Related to nothing above, we cook a lot in my home—my husband especially cooks a lot of Chinese food—and this piece on the fall and rise of MSG caught my eye.
“All these years later, we haven’t really made a dent in sodium levels in the food supply, at least in the US,” says Rains.
“We’ve got a tool to help product developers get there and we’re not using it because of a silly, outdated, xenophobic and potentially racist negativity around a food ingredient that has been consumed for over 100 years. It was too big of a challenge to walk away from.”
Read “MSG Is the Most Misunderstood Ingredient of the Century. That’s Finally Changing.” here.
The good stuff
Linen Bread Bags ($17 for 2): I got really into baking bread again during the pandemic, and I just kept going. Herby rye, Japanese milk bread, crusty sourdough. I can’t stop. But I was looking for a way to keep my bread from going stale…without getting mushy or moldy. Enter: These simple cloth bread bags. They aren’t going to keep your bread fresh for more than a few days, but they work better than covering it with a dishcloth, and they still allow for the bread to breathe, which wards off condensation.