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!
#1 – The 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.