Showing posts from April, 2014

What I learned from reading a copy of The New Yorker every day (except weekends) during Lent in 2014

Part 1 (of maybe 3?): Why I did it.  I’m not a big traditionalist when it comes to Lent. Observing some discipline—giving up something or even adopting a healthy or positive habit—ranks at about the same place as making resolutions at the end of December. I’m more likely to observe either custom if I already have something in mind that I want to do. This year, as I was taking stock for my “I want to read everything in my house before bringing new things in” project, I noticed I have a lot of back issues of The New Yorker . My sister bequeathed some of them to us in 2005 or so, when she was subscribing; we nabbed others in our book club’s “white elephant” gift exchange a couple of Christmases ago. I also have a current subscription, a gift from my brother. Although I read a lot (in both its “often” and “quantity” senses), I can’t keep up. It would be possible, in theory—if I were someone else entirely—to simply recycle issues, new and old, without reading them. But you kno

Making Sense of Making Sense (of Alzheimer's)

Mosaic, a science publication for the (UK's) Wellcome Trust, recently published a narrative summary by Michael Regnier  about Alzheimer's and research. Here's the link (and check out the resources listed at the bottom, too). Aside from my ongoing interest in Alzheimer's (links to my personal essays "Home" and "All I Can Say" are on this page ), the article is interesting because of the way it's written: It uses detective fiction as a frame. Here's a link to a description of the writing process. Fascinating stuff, for so many reasons. As Regnier says in his "how I wrote this" extra, it's hard to imagine a time when detective fiction didn't exist. A semi-disturbing element of the story (not its main focus): the nature of competition in scientific research, and the fallout thereof. The idealistic side of me wants to believe that competition in science is somehow "pure" and disinterested--that all involved ar


Lately, I've been expressing my inner scientist. I've been doing experiments! While clearing out a storage area, I found one of those amaryllis bulbs you sprout indoors. I remembered vaguely buying it as a gift and losing track of it in the "clean up for Christmas" rush. What I couldn't remember was how many Christmases ago that had been. So rather than throw it out, I stuck the bulb in the dirt, put it in the sun, watered it, and waited. This morning, I poured the remains of "maple" "syrup" into a red plastic dish and set it out on the snowbank near the bush (or rather, where bush will grow in a couple of months). We've seen bunny and squirrel tracks there and fox tracks elsewhere recently. We don't like the syrup, and rather than throw it out, I thought I'd see if anyone else likes it. For the first months of 2014, I've been hunkered down working on long-term projects. As April came around, I felt restless--many other id


Last time I was out skiing, several weeks ago now, I wrenched my knee. My usual form of recuperating from something like that--ignoring it till it goes away--hasn't helped. Shocking, I know! I'm now deliberately and safely walking and doing a few select and gentle exercises to ensure that my leg muscles heal and strengthen. Skiing is finished for the season, for me--even if we again find that sweet spot of enough snow and warm enough yet cool enough temperatures. And bonus: now that the sun is up for 12 hours a day, the roads are clearing. Often, I can walk at a challenging pace without fear of twisting my ankle (which I did in November) or falling (ditto). Even today, after yesterday's dump of ice and snow, I will be able to get out and get moving. When I'm outdoors these days, I no longer fret about wearing too many layers. I don't care if I appear gnarly or girly (go girls!); I don't care if others might say I'm "overdressed." I will wear en