— Noted.


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Photographer Nicholas Nixon has captured his wife and her sisters in a collection of images that stirs a quiet but powerful emotion deep down in my bones.

The accompanying text by Susan Minot, nails the feeling…

“Throughout this series, we watch these women age, undergoing life’s most humbling experience. While many of us can, when pressed, name things we are grateful to Time for bestowing upon us, the lines bracketing our mouths and the loosening of our skin are not among them. So while a part of the spirit sinks at the slow appearance of these women’s jowls, another part is lifted: They are not undone by it. We detect more sorrow, perhaps, in the eyes, more weight in the once-fresh brows. But the more we study the images, the more we see that aging does not define these women. Even as the images tell us, in no uncertain terms, that this is what it looks like to grow old, this is the irrefutable truth, we also learn: This is what endurance looks like.”

See the series here.


This started as a post in which I was going to tell you that I just finished reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo.

Which made me think of this book on North Korean life, by Barbara Demick.

And then there’s Dave Egger’s What is the What, a novel about Sudan’s Lost Boys, told through the the real life story of Valentino Achak Deng. And then I just discovered that all proceeds of the sale of this book are going to a foundation that Valentino formed, which has helped to fund the opening of the first functional high school in Marial Bai. What and where is Marial Bai? I urge you to read this book to find out.

And then I stopped, saved this post as draft and went about my daily business. It just isn’t easy to write something poignant about books that bridge the human condition. I remember talking to a friend who was working on a documentary of someone who was camera-shy, and how long it took to have the camera present to get his subject to forget it was there. I’m sure it’s not easy for someone from these worlds to trust a westerner to accurately tell their stories. Just as it isn’t easy for the westerner to accept the responsibility. A long-winded way to say, that I’m feeling very lucky that I had a chance to hear their stories, and that what separates me from others, is really, so very little, and so much.


I’m a follower of Nicholas Kristof‘s column and the Half the Sky movement he has led with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. After reading the book, I was inspired to sponsor women in Rwanda through Women for Women, and educated on
the potential of a girl’s education, despite the threat it poses. While this past Sunday’s column comes off as a softer subject in the midst of his usual reporting on inequalities around the world, it takes one to know Kristof to understand he actually really wants us to visit the far-off places, for the far-reaching potential that it would make the world a better place.

Read it here.



And, adding no. 53 of this to my to-do list.


Faroe Islands. Photo by Hans J. Hansen.




















I am so excited about the latest book from Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler, Girls Standing on Lawns. Because wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to visit the moma with Maira Kalman and ask her what she thinks of all these photos? And it makes me wish I had access to my own family albums, to assess all the photos that were taken of me growing up, all pretty much on the same spot in our yard. And a new item for my to-do list, her paintings on view at the Julie Saul Gallery, ending soon on June 14.

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When I was in Guatemala, I stayed at a beautiful inn on Lake Atitlan that had a memorable breakfast. The owner would come around to chat with us, and I asked her what was in the coffee she was serving. She revealed her secret: cardamom. Add just a dash of it to your grounds before brewing, and you get a wink of being in a foreign land. Cardamom is related to ginger, and has the same digestive-aiding qualities — a perfect mix-in to cut the harshness of coffee.

It’s become my simple dose to a perfect morning.

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