Chilled-Out August Time

Sometimes you want to write something with deep personal insight and wisdom. But sometimes you just want to record life with its sensations, memories, sounds, scents and sights. This post is really more like the latter, a kind of scrapbook entry: life, things I’m doing, a little of what I’m thinking. Perfect laidback August vibes, mellow and chill…

So the big news in life (besides being my baby’s mama) is that I got a bike! My sweetheart got me one for my birthday, and it’s a beauty. I love it so much. 

  
I ride it downtown to the coffee shop where I do my writing thing at — I love the sense of freedom and adventure that come with riding a bike, though traffic eternally freaks me out. (I just don’t trust drivers!) And we’ve been going on little excursions, like a local bike tour/pub crawl. It’s so nice to have new experiences and challenges (outside the challenge of raising a wee one.) My soul has been craving them lately, ones that feel expansive and energetic and physically bolder than what I’m used to. Maybe that’s why I’m also craving things like carnival rides and rollercoasters and trail rides — I want experiences that transport me out of myself and give me a feeling of accomplishment, especially since I’m still struggling a bit with postpartum depression and it’s so hard at times to shake this grey fog of hopelessness and sadness that sometimes descends upon me.

Nothing beats a mental abyss of existential despair and ennui like escapist comedies, at least temporarily — which is why I enjoy the ridiculousness that is the new season of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp:

But mostly these days I watch a lot of documentaries. They’re easy to stop and start, especially when Baby is a-calling, and I feel my brain is doing something. I watched all the Antarctica docs I could find on Netflix, but my most recent faves are the “Chef’s Table” series, which highlight a particular genius chef’s philosophy, process and creativity in each installment. I highly recommend if you’re looking for something inspiring, and hello: mouth-watering cinematography.

(And yep, as these selections make clear, I watch a lot of Netflix nowadays!)

Oh, and this is my summer jam:

I have no brain left for new music except for what’s easy (which means whatever other people around me are listening to or what’s on the radio). But I am legit excited for the Weeknd’s new record. I hope he still remains on his dark and skeevy thing, though this record is getting a lot of pre-release hype, so I imagine it’s a lot poppier. I like this other single more, though it’s less of a “jam” and more of a “dirge”:

What interests me more than my own musical consumption is the development of Baby’s own tastes and reactions. I love the look of wonder and innocent joy when he listens to something he likes — he gets very still and his eyes widen and then suddenly he breaks out into his wide, gummy smile. Right now we play a lot of Rockabye Baby, which are lullaby versions of artists like Kanye West, Metallica, the Beatles, Radiohead and the like. His favorites are all of Elton John’s songs as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge”:

Speaking of Baby:

  
This is his first official picture on my blog!

The thing about babies is that their adventures sort of become your own, if only because it’s like experiencing something you’ve taken for granted for the first time again. Recently we took Baby to my gym’s pool for the first time. He was not amused but was a good sport as he got used to the noise and crowds:

  

(Style note: yes, I am using a very old Vanessa Bruno dress as a swim coverup. #stillgotsomefashiongame #trying)

Most summers I read like a fiend, but the sad thing about being a new parent is just how much less time I get to read dense, challenging things. Instead, I re-read a lot, or I read magazines. (I do read The Economist, which is both cleanly written and yet intellectually stimulating, though I’m always arguing with them in my brain about free markets.) I did read Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings before I gave birth, and I’m very pleased to hear it was nominated for the Man Booker prize. But I need something new to read, something very smart yet page-turning. Any recommendations out there?

And finally…tending cats! Yes, I’ve become a little obsessed with this iOS game Neko Atsume. It’s very simple to the point of dumbness: you basically have a porch, you set out toys and food and cats come to eat and play. When they’re done, the critters leave you fish that you can use to buy more toys and food. And that’s it! But what’s kind of brilliant about it is just how simple and low-pressure it is. I find this game oddly relaxing because it’s so silly and easy. And it is SO CUTE. 

  
What can I say? Perfect summer wind down game!

Anyway, this is a bit of a scribble-scrabble entry, but it’s that kind of a season right now, I suppose. I’m looking forward to fall but trying to enjoy this final turn of late summer — I hope the rest of the golden months go beautifully for you all!

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