Listening – For a long time there I loved Pandora, then she was replaced by her step brother, Spotify, but now Spotify is dead to me and I am loving his much-cooler cousin, Songza, an online collective of curated song lists. And yup, it’s free. On your computer or as a phone ap. What’s different from the others? Instead of searching by an artist name or genre, you pick out a mood and Songza plays you a soundtrack. Even better: they don’t use algorithms, they use real people with great taste in music. This is like that year in your 20s when you had that friend who made really good mix tapes but then they moved to Ohio and you went back to listening to Gloria Estefan. Listen, that was NOT okay. Well, your friend just moved back in town and they are making mix tapes for all occasions! Some of current favorites of mine; Vintage Soul Dance Party, Dancing Queens of the 70s, Cool and Canadian, Classic Biker Bar Rock, Andy Warhol’s Record Collection, Whip Smart Women of the 90s, Peggy Olseon’s Bohemian Awakening (just search “Mad Men” for all kinds of fantastic treasures). Songza is going to change your life. You’re welcome.
Reading – All the Light We Cannot See, a historical novel set in WW2 Europe, and I’ll admit, is not exactly my genre. I’m not big on long novels, especially long novels with Hitler, but you know what? It sucked me in. The writing is good. The descriptive qualities are superb, which I cannot help but attribute to the author empathizing with one of his characters – a blind girl. A French blind girl. This book is like one of those recipes I read on paper and think “Yeah, no thanks.” but then I put it in my mouth and think “Oh hell, yes!” It’s a good one.
Loving – I’m loving the idea of highly decorative envelopes peppered with vintage stamps and stuffed with simple stationary. Wouldn’t that be a fun addition to your mailbox? Especially with the annual Valentine Swap coming up (stay tuned for something next week) I have mail on the brain!
Wearing – These pants. Holy cats, Y’all. These black fleece pants are a game changer. They were a Christmas gift and all my other pants are getting jealous because these babies have been on constant rotation ever since. These pants look like regular black yoga pants but they are the warmest, snuggliest, amazing pants in the history of Pants Town USA. They are not cheap, but Eddie Bauer has some good sales so hang in there. Prepare yourself! Everybody knows fleece is warm, but it also gets staticy and picks up hair and stops feeling soft after a couple round in the wash, right? Yeah, no, these pants don’t do that. Water and snow and stuff just roll off. Indoor, outdoor, or under other pants as long-undrewear, I’m telling you, these pants.
Watching – I’m over-the-moon-and-back thrilled that Transparent was a winner at Golden Globes because that will mean more people will watch it and then I will have more people to discuss this show with me. Yes, because I’m selfish like that. Transparent is complicated and weird and confrontational and sometimes it made me really, really uncomfortable. But isn’t that the hallmark of good TV? When it makes you uncomfortable but you still want to know what happens next? I like to think so. It’s is the story of a fractured family, each member more compellingly flawed than the next, and oh yeah – the dad decided at 60something that he wants to live as a woman. He is a trans parent. Get it? That said, and given the title, the show is not about a man’s transition to another gender; it’s about a series of conversations between interesting people with complicated histories and the issue of gender is just one of the characters. It’s on Amazon Prime, which is new to me, but they have some great stuff on there (Alpha House’s newest fan here!). I got rid of cable last summer but I’m finding tons of treasures on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon (and saving lots of money too). Winter is long, though – so you have any reccomendations, I’m all ears. Homegirl loves her TV time.