1. LISTENING: Lori Cullen's "Careful How You Break My Heart"
When I first heard Lori Cullen play her guitar and sing, I said to myself, "I'm gonna make that girl my friend." Long story short: I did. Lori lives and makes music in Toronto. Most likely, you'll have travel to T.O. to hear her play live, which is a shame because besides being the kind of performer who twangs on all six strings of your heart, she's one of the funniest people I know. When I am in a certain kind of mood, I put this song of hers on repeat.
2. WATCHING: City of Gold
I've spent time in L.A. on and off over the years. I'm currently in an "on" phase, so I was totally primed for Laura Gabbert's wonderful documentary about Jonathan Gold, famed L.A. Times food critic. Gold is an entirely lovable fellow who has made a life of eating and writing about all the cuisines in his beautiful mash-up of a city. In the movie, you drive around in his truck with him as he explores eateries fancy and not-so, waxing rhapsodic about everything from tacos to the L.A. punk scene. He muses that "taco" should be a verb, the whole process of making and eating one is best accomplished in one motion: from the griddle, to the guy handing it to you out the truck window, to your hands, to your mouth. The movie is a love letter to L.A. It's also a love letter to this singular, quirky, soulful, spirited, relaxed, loving, whimsically serious, totally awesome person.
3. READING: The Journal 1837-1861 Henry David Thoreau, edited by Damion Searls
For many moons, I've been reading the New York Review Books one-volume edition of Thoreau's journals. This book was a balm to me throughout the final year of my Mom's life. When I had almost no strength to focus on reading because of the all-encompassing exhaustion of caring for her, I'd open The Journal and take in an entry of, say, 250 or 500 words and feel refreshed, addressed. During the final days of her life, as my Mom drifted in and out of lucidity, I read aloud from The Journal to bring the rhythms and rhymes of Thoreau's rambles in nature into her room, into the mysterious world inside her head: "What shall we do with a man who is afraid of the woods, their solitude and darkness? What salvation is there for him? God is silent and mysterious. Some of our richest days are those in which no sun shines outwardly, but so much the more a sun shines inwardly. I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. It is cheerfully, musically earnest" (Nov. 16, 1850).
I'd love to hear what YOUR 3 things are ... Let me know in the comments below! I read every one.