Best of 2021… January

Biden Inauguration

We are only a month in to the New Year and I have found so much to love. Here’s a list, but I’d love to hear what is making your heart happy too so please comment below!

#1The Inauguration of the Biden-Harris Administration. Thank God. Maybe we can somehow find a way forward together, in truth.

# 2 – Movies. I have been watching lots and lots of TV, which now, thanks to the pandemic, can also mean fabulous movies. Here are the ones that topped my list:

The Dig – Netflix – Quiet, brilliant, deeply moving, a treasure. A masterclass in acting and cinematography and storytelling in my book. Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes star.

Soul – Disney+ – What a surprise! An animated movie that looks at the meaning of life. Do we need a big purpose to deserve to live?

A Promising Young Woman – Amazon Prime – You know how most revenge movies portray a good, mild mannered man who goes ballistic after his beautiful love interest is raped/murdered/kidnapped? This isn’t that movie. (You will not recognize this Carey Mulligan from the one you meet in The Dig).

The Sound of Metal – Amazon Prime – A musician loses his hearing and he has to learn how to live again.

Life Overtakes Me – Netflix – Within moments, this movie surrounds you in an alternative reality. Families tenderly and carefully holding their living child’s limp and unconscious body through the daily activities of life. These small children are living but have slipped away into unconsciousness. Watch.

White Tiger – Netflix – Wow. Wow. Wow. Based on a book of the same name that was the winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2008, this dazzling movie tells the tale of talented young man

Good Hair – Netflix – Prompted by having two young daughters, Chris Rock travels the U.S. and the globe to understand the history, economics, politics, fashion and future of black hair. I was riveted.

The Prom – Netflix – Fifteen second in to this show and I was wishing it would last for the rest of my life. There is absolutely nothing Meryl cannot do, and she is once again brilliant here. Singing, dancing, sparkles, humor – I drank it all in with a giant gulp.

#3 My apps of the moment:

Duolingo – I am working hard to relearn Italian. I spend my senior year of college studying at the Universita di Bologna, (founded in 1088, it is the oldest university in the world). All my classes were in Italian and I was fluent when I left. I work on this app every day to recapture that most lyrical of languages. My sister recently pointed out that if I get a paid membership, I can unlock tons more content so I recently upgraded.

MarcoPolo – My friend Janet turned me on to this app back in May, and it has been a lifesaver during lockdown. The founders call it a video Walkie-Talkie, and it allows you to make videos whenever and wherever you want and the receiver can watch them at their leisure. It has made me feel connected to the family and friends I love and miss.

#4 – Podcasts (who doesn’t have one yet?)

I pride myself on being an early adopter of this medium, and I follow scores, but my latest find “SmartLess” is pure comedy gold. Co-hosted by Justin Bateman (Arrested Development/Ozark), Will Arnett (Arrested Development) and Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), are true friends IRL, smart, quick witted, crass, rude, curious and able to give each other endless crap. Each week, one of them invite a guest and so far, Martin Short was nirvana.

#5 – Books

I am part of two bookclubs and I loved both books I read this month.

The Splendid and the Vile – it is the gripping account of Churchill and the Blitzkrieg of 1940 – 1941. I linked to Bill Gates’ review because he’s a genius and I am not, but I agree with his feeling that it was the perfect book to read for these times. I was so despondent during the last four years, it was inspiring to read about how a true leader can guide a desperate country through unimaginable times.

Breath – this book has been life changing. While I have always taken breathing for granted – this book shows that by paying attention to how I breathe, I can improve my health in countless ways. Check out the link above, and in addition to links to purchase the book, you will find links to breathing exercises that might pique your interest in the book.

#6 – Online events

Lyle Lovett and guests – I follow 2,439,0113 people on Instagram (not really, but lots) and Lyle Lovett is one. He notifies followers about upcoming online “talking and playing and singing” concerts with friends – for the price of $10. Over the last few months, we have tuned in for Lyle with Dwight Yoakum, Lyle and Chris Isaak and most recently, Lyle and Jason Isbell.

#7 – My husband, my dog Lexi, my horse Metro – Always, every day, these three bring me joy, comfort, profound connection and meaning.

I have so many things I could add to this list, but I will be back for more next month. Until then, please stay safe, wear your mask, stay socially distant and let me know how you are finding hope and joy in the midst of everything.


15 responses to “Best of 2021… January”

  1. avatar debby ganzkow says:

    WOW!!! Thanks for this great list of stuff!
    We’re just glad that we have received our 1st vaccine and 2nd one due shortly which will allow us to be around friends and family a bit more (still with masks). Most of all we’re relieved to see all 3 of our government branches allowed to return to doing their regular jobs!!!
    What a difference 4 years makes!! I feel my burden of watchfulness has been lessened because it appears for the most part SCOTUS, POTUS, House and Senate can focus upon our very serious needs right now!

  2. avatar Dyann says:

    Thanks for including me Ligeia!
    Your suggestions and discoveries are an inspiration..something (as you note) we have needed for 4 long years.
    To me, this is what I envisioned the internet could be-a source and a resource, and a place to share the things that we have found-some deliberately some unexpectedly. It truly can open doors in our mind, and what is better than to share these treasures we have come across on our explorations.
    Cheers, Dyann

  3. avatar Linda says:

    Thank you Ligeia, You are a woman in the know and I have my “must watch “ list now. You are such a gift.

  4. Dearest Linda – please let me know what you are watching, reading, listening to and doing. I am finding so much fascinating and enriching content out there, I am deeply inspired and overwhelmed – in a good way! Much loved to you my Dada Sister.

  5. Dear Dyann – When I was still working at San Francisco State University, I took a class in the then brand new MultiMedia Studies program about the internet. The teacher shared your optimism and hope about the possibilities ahead. He was right, but I think few expected the horrors it could bring as well. But I am loving the creative explosion that is available to all of us right ow as people around the world look for ways to share their businesses, dreams, films, music, books…

  6. So happy you got vaccinated Debby! I will have more to share on that from our household soon. The other day after we were listening to the news, Patrick said, “it almost feels weird to hear good news.” I think we’ve been so traumatized these last four years.

  7. avatar Dyann says:

    The popularity of Clubhouse, which I am sure you’ve heard of, illustrates people’s desire to connect with others in a conversational, sharing way.
    I’m curious to see how it does, with an invitation-only sign up and a prohibition from countries that block free online interaction (China has already stopped it). I’m eager to leap on it too!

  8. avatar Laurie Stone says:

    So many wonderful suggestions. Want to see “Dig” and a few others you mentioned. I read “Breath” and loved it.

  9. I love of all of these, but #1 is my fave!!

  10. Thank you so very much Laurie! I hope you love “Dig” as much as I did. I am glad you enjoyed “Breath.” I am actually doing a few of his suggestions, including taping my lips shut as I sleep!! Isn’t that crazy? I think it may be helping and I am committed to it. Thank you again for reading.

  11. Thank you Marcia – it is so hard to overestimate the profound importance of our election of the Biden/Harris administration – for us as individuals, for the country and the world. XO

  12. I love you suggestions for tv and have some on my list to see. I have a copy of Breath and still need to read it. Now, I’m motivated to.

  13. avatar Jeni Nichols says:

    I agree, I loved Dig. Learning about the ancient relics buried in England was a big aha for me. Any idea how close to the real story it follows?

  14. Hi Rebecca – I will love to hear what you think of the book Breath. I am rereading sections of it because I found it to be so profound. Thank you for commenting!

  15. Hi Jeni – yes, much of The Dig movie is true. It was based on a book of the same name. The Ralph Fiennes character – Basil Brown – was born in 1888 and left school at age 12 to work on his father’s farm, so he was a self-taught geologist, astronomer and geographer, he learned Latin and published a book on astronomy! Edith Pretty, the Carey Mulligan character, was born 1883 and had her son at age 47. She had traveled widely as a young woman, and it was her idea to do the dig. More here: Thank you for reading and commenting!