Scenes from Saturday + Traffic & Tacos

School is out and yesterday was the first official summer vacation drive to the Cape. I tend to believe things matter more than they do. Take…traffic. Cape traffic. There are just two (very old) bridges and everyone in New England and New York have a mutual agreement to meet at the bridges at the same time.

If we’re running late, I get stressed and irritable, convinced the entire day or weekend will be a disaster because our ETA has slipped by four minutes. But is it really that important to beat the traffic? Not really. Traffic, missing appointments, airport security lines, dance rehearsals. It can all take me out of the moment and rob a little joy for me (anyone lucky enough? to be with me). Yet often, the actual consequence if I were late or missed something is… nothing.

I often fall into the mental trap of conditional importance—if you want this result, take this action—with the idea that it would be terrible if the result didn’t happen. Sometimes it would be, obviously (getting fired from your job, being respectful etc), but often it wouldn’t.

Intellectually, if I take a step back, I know it doesn’t matter if I’m late, but my body has a hard time deciphering these mixed messages. I’ll snap or be curt or generally tighten up like Dash when he realizes why Michelle is filling up the tub.

Recognizing this helps. Recently I’ve been trying to ask myself (having a teenager gives me plenty of practice): “Wait. Does this actually matter?” Often, the answer is very clearly no. And for just a moment, I understand the Krishnamurti quote on serenity: “I don’t mind what happens.”

Then, I let my shoulders drop, and I exhale.

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Scenes from Saturday + Last Dance

It’s graduation season. I’ve got a few more years until we have a graduate in the house, but if you have a recent grad, skip the Dr. Seuss and have them read Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


That last line gets me every time.

A poetic reminder to accept that you won’t ever get it all done. Be leery of life hacks and FOMO anxiety. Stop chasing an infinite to-do list. It’s all a distraction. Life is terrifyingly short. You will never get to everything. Learn to live with all of the anxiety that comes with that—then you can start living.

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Scenes from Saturday + Pasta & Pollen

I realized I’ve reached the age where each medical appointment is probably going to find something. Might be something. Could be nothing. Let’s keep an eye on it. Or, let’s do another test.

I’m not great at being patient. Whether it’s a road race, a traffic jam, or a medical test. My default reaction is often anxiety.

Waiting three days for results leaves you no choice but to be patient and keep breathing. This is still a work in progress for me (Michelle handles it much better), but it gave me a glimpse of the rewards patience can bring. I realized anxiety is about control, while patience is about faith. Sometimes, having faith and being patient brings you closer to what you want than anxiety ever could.

Not everything can be fixed, controlled, or made to feel okay. Sometimes, you just have to be patient, have faith, and breathe—even if it’s for three days.

Another lesson I learned is that medical equipment is incredibly precise. So precise that it often picks up things that don’t matter. Like in this case. Everything was fine.

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Exploring the Best Regional Pizza Styles Across the U.S.

regional pizza styles

Pizza is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. A regional experience. Across the United States, various cities and states have put their own unique spin on this beloved dish, resulting in a delightful diversity of flavors and textures.

From thin and crispy to thick and chewy, there’s a regional pizza style to satisfy every palate. Here is a quick thumbnail guide tour through the country to explore the top 12 regional pizza styles that make each bite an adventure.

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Scenes from Saturday + Back to the Beach

Flash cards. Drills. Deliberate practice. Purposeful habits. It’s not that I enjoy torturing the girls. I’m trying to illustrate that any type of improvement is often done in the day-to-day doldrums of everyday effort and often the results are far from immediate.

It’s graduation season, if I were to give a speech, this is what I’d say.

For self improvement, I believe this is the key whether it’s in writing, teaching, sports, programming, music, baking, or glitter crafts. Part of what I talked about with the book club attendees last week was my writing process. I try to write everyday. I am not interested in being a Writer, but rather working at writing. For me, the important thing is to write as much as possible. This is my work. That is what I want to pass on to the girls. Strive to be a verb. The question is not what I am, but rather what I do.

Do that every day. Work at your art.

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Lard vs. Shortening: Key Differences for Bakers and Cooks

Lard vs. shortening

Let’s talk about fats. Specifically lard vs. shortening. As you progress beyond boxed brownies or the Nestle chocolate chip cookie recipe, the fats you choose will play a pivotal role in defining both the flavor and texture of your creations. Lard and shortening, each with its own unique characteristics, are essential staples in any baker’s kitchen.

Grasping the nuances between lard and shortening is crucial for anyone looking to master their baking or cooking skills. I find this most useful with baked goods, like pies, where you are looking for a certain crust or dough texture.

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Scenes from Saturday + Pops & Pools

I was the (virtual) guest author at a book club in Houston this week. It was a blast. If there is one thing I can talk about its books. We spent over an hour diving deep into thrillers, favorite authors, the writing process, and, of course, my book. They read the first book in my series, a novel that is now over fifteen years old. This was the book I wrote on the train into work while Michelle was pregnant with Cecilia.

It’s easy to dismiss early work as insignificant. But those low-stakes efforts are crucial; they prepare you for the high-stakes challenges ahead. They build the confidence needed to keep pushing forward. Without that first book, there wouldn’t be six more in the series. Or the confidence to try a brand-new series and fix all those mistakes from the first book! It’s a reminder that finishing and releasing your work is far better than keeping it hidden away.

As I re-read it, I was pleasantly surprised. My inner critic was much harsher than what was on the page. Sure, my answer to most plot knots was to ruthlessly kill somone, but the writing was pretty good. I killed them eloquently.

I believe the main barrier to publishing or releasing any work is often the reluctance to exchange the dream of success for the reality of feedback. Don’t fall into this trap. Show your work. It’s typically far better than you think and the only way to improve.

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