Why do I feel compelled to read about death, all the time?

Our book club just read, and adored, When Breath Becomes Air. Of course, since it’s a memoir about a physician who discovers he’s dying of lung cancer, and then writes a book (this book) that he had always aspired to write, I had already read it. Some months ago. Shortly after it was published, in fact. Because, it’s a memoir about dying, and I am compelled to read them.

I just bought:

And:

These are the latest in a long line of books about dying  I have read in recent years. (I particularly like dying spouses, but very sick spouses and friends qualify also.)

 

Books about women with breast cancer were a theme for a while (inspired by my sister, undoubtedly):

And now I’m newly bummed to see that Meredith Norton, the author of Lopsided (she had an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer), died FOUR YEARS AGO:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=166322216

If anyone has suggestions for memoirs about dead and dying friends and spouses – let me know. It looks like I’m staying on this path for a while now.

The Winter’s Tale

Ballet buddy Barb and I went to see The National Ballet of Canada’s production of The Winter’s Tale on Wednesday night. Although we were both English lit majors in the day, and read our more than fair share of Shakespeare, we knew absolutely zip about this play.

I wasn’t particularly psyched to go. The posters for the ballet were pretty monochrome and blah (sorry NBOC, but I was uninspired):

And I knew it was a long ballet – 2 1/2 hours with intermissions. I was tired, work was tedious and overwhelming; it seemed like a bit of an imposition to go. I trudged along to the Four Seasons with low expectations and low energy.

Hold the phone. It was beyond fabulous and invigorating, and I haven’t stopped talking about it since.

I can’t decide what I loved best about this ballet:

  • the choreography, a perfect meld of traditional and modern
  • the performances – esp. Piotr Stanczyk, whose descent into jealous madness is told on his face and through his off-balance contortions throughout (he’s a gifted actor as well)
  • the score by Joby Talbot
  • the exuberant (I think I stole that word from the NBOC programme) second Act – I need that music and those images on a loop in my brain from November 1 to Feb 28, every dreary winter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS1cUOVpxyQ

  • the scenery and silk staging for the violent seas
  • Jamie Street’s awesome death as Mamillius (that kid can die like nobody’s business)
  • plus let’s not forget the gorgeous costumes – it is not a monochrome ballet at all – the jewel tones in Act 1 were awesome

The TO Star loved it also (4 stars/4 stars):

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stage/2017/11/11/the-winters-tale-strips-away-the-fat-to-reveal-nuanced-emotional-themes-of-jealousy-love-and-redemption.html

If you can manage to go (only 3 performances left), please do.  Clearly Shakespeare could not make up his mind whether this was a comedy or a tragedy, so he threw it all in, plus the kitchen sink. And Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet tells the great mess of a story, emotionally, with precision and remarkable beauty.

https://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2017-18-Season/The-Winters-Tale?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8L-To5zI1wIV3rfACh1-DQO0EAAYASAAEgLeY_D_BwE

I can’t decide what to make for dinner

But it’s between lots of things with carbs, when I’ve told myself it should just be protein and veggies for a few weeks. I have no resolve.

Butternut squash, mushroom & spinach risotto

Trying to replicate the risotto I had on Thursday night @ Tundra with Sharon & Julie (it was DIVINE):

http://www.aminglingoftastes.com/2008/01/roasted-butternut-squash-risotto-with.html

Pros: have all the ingredients; Cons: Hubby will frown at the shrooms; and risotto is a pain in the ass to make, right? Meditative stirring, my ass. (Hence, slow cooker cashew chicken as an option)

Chicken, sausage, peppers and potatoes (watch the video):

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/255936/chicken-sausage-peppers-and-potatoes/

Never tried – the carmelization intrigues me. And very positive reviews, including one that says to throw in some carrots and a WHOLE HEAD OF GARLIC.  Who doesn’t love roasted garlic?

But one of the reviews said 450F is waaay too hot and it just burns. So I’m a bit unsure about this.

Five-spice pork

http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/chinese-egg-noodles-with-five-spice-pork

Was a staple a couple winters ago and then I kinda forgot about it. I omit the peanuts and the bacon (it’s salty enough); and I usually serve over rice instead, with steamed snow peas.

Slow cooker cashew chicken

https://therecipecritic.com/2012/07/slow-cooker-cashew-chicken/

Which I’ve made a couple times this Fall already because, damn, it’s delicious and oh so easy. Overkill? Is it possible to eat TOO much cashew chicken. I don’t think so.

 

 

 

Tedious and brief

I am slowly slowly making my way through the S-Town podcast. It’s sad and moving and I don’t really want it to end. So I’m listening about 5 minutes at a time, as I walk to the subway in the morning.

The podcast’s subject, John B. McLemore, loves sundials and their mottos. They are always sad, about time being fleeting, life’s impermanence.

“Tedious and brief” is one of his favourites. Your life is tedious and brief.

Doesn’t that resonate? If it doesn’t, you are not a lawyer.

Reminds me of the Woody Allen joke at the beginning of Annie Hall (“such small portions”):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrxlfvI17oY

Anyways, now I want a tedious & brief wrist tattoo. I’m on a mission.