This past October, we had one of the best meals we’ve ever had during our trip to New York. The whole experience was exquisite: the service was impeccable, the ambience was perfect, the drinks, delectable. And the food? The food was among the best I’ve ever tasted—flavourful, considered, delicate, varied, and inventive.
And aside from two of the dishes, I can’t remember what we ate.
L has a remarkable memory when it comes to the meals we have enjoyed together. She can not only remember where we have had delicious dinners, but also what we ate and what the standouts were from each meal. When I ask her about meals we have enjoyed, both in our home and outside, her descriptions are vivid and delightful. I rely on her memory when mine inevitably fails me.
I laugh and tell people that I have a bad memory, but perhaps I am not working hard enough at remembering.
The past year, 2023, flew by too fast. This is a refrain many people have said about almost every year, but it does feel like I remember less of 2023 than I do of most years. Time went by in a blur, and my memory of many things are hazy. There are, of course, some important markers I can never forget—going on a few vacations, celebrating L’s 40th, hosting a pool party for Zoya’s birthday—but I lost track of the everyday delights that came my way.
I think of this line by Nona Fernández a lot: “our archive of memories is the closest thing we have to a record of identity.”
What identity do I have if I am not doing the work of remembering? What is lost when I lose a record of the every day?
Again, some insight from Nona Fernández:
I have a theory that we’re made up of these everyday memories. It’s not an original idea, but I believe it. The way we wake up, what we have for breakfast, a walk down the street, an unexpected downpour, some annoyance, a surprise in the middle of the day, a story in the paper, a phone call, a song on the radio, the preparation of a meal, the smell from the pot, a complaint filed, a scream heard. Each day and each night lived, year after year, with its full complement of activity and inactivity, upheavals and routines—continuous storing of all this is what translates into personal history.
In the coming year, I will make a more conscious effort to build that personal history, to store the everyday memories in my mind and use them to tell the story of a year, the story of a life.
In 2024, I will remember.
In practice, this probably means more journaling, more blogging, more storytelling, more reminiscing with friends and loved ones over the small delights of life. It will also mean stopping to reflect, pausing to notice, slowing down to snapshot—there are joys hidden in each part of every day, and I will remember them.
In the past, I used to pick a word to guide my every year. It’s a practice I abandoned a few years ago, but I’m reviving it today. This year, that word is remember. It’s a word that will put some pause and intention into my days; I will build my archive of memories, and this year will not fly by as fast as the last.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Was it for this I uttered prayers,
And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
That now, domestic as a plate,
I should retire at half-past eight?
I thought that you were an anchor in the drift of the world;
but no: there isn’t an anchor anywhere.
There isn’t an anchor in the drift of the world. Oh no.
I thought you were. Oh no. The drift of the world.
Parenting is a struggle, especially in America. A lot of this applies to Canada too, but some of the issues (parental leave, guns) are unique to our neighbors down south.
Sobering, heart-wrenching, and elucidating; the hidden harms of CPR.
I’ve shared my fair share of pieces about how cars are ruining our cities in the past, but this deep dive into the perils of heavy and big cars that L sent me is sobering.
Related: “For more than 90 years, there has been a tacit agreement in the US to treat the right to walk as dispensable, and to treat each death in traffic as an individual loss to be grieved privately, behind closed doors.”
There has been a considerable amount of snow that has fallen in our neighborhood over the past two weeks, so it’s hard to fathom right now, but are we living in an age where we will see the end of snow?
We’ve got a few types of salt in the house for various disparate uses, but this deep dive into salt—its history and nuance—really reminded me of how much difference your salt can make to a meal.
Why do newer buildings look so plain? Where has all the ornamentation, that made each building unique and interesting, gone?
I used to have a decent watch collection (nothing expensive, but all very handsome pieces) and I can’t fathom having a timepiece on my wrist and not having it set to the proper time. (Posting this article is also just an excuse to post a photo of one of my favorite watches, the Patek Philippe Calatrava, which is pictured about two-thirds of the way down the article.)
“What is sulking, exactly? Why do we do it? And why does it have such a bad reputation?”
This is a fascinating look at S Group and other Finnish cooperatives. I’m surprised we don’t see more large cooperative models flourishing here.
“The existence of pain is something of an evolutionary puzzle, especially given its functional downside.”
Tree.fm allows you to listen to a random forest.
If this ad feels a bit chaotic like the episode of The Bear, “Fishes,” it should come as no surprise that Chris Storer directed the ad.
I like a lot of Tiny Desk concerts, but this one featuring Nile Rodgers and Chic? Doesn’t get much better than that.
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