Podcast 302: Revisit a Book You Remember from High School or College, Ask Yourself, “Is There a Food I Enjoy Only When It’s Made the Way My Family Makes It?” and Why We Should Run Errands in the Morning.


We had two interesting responses from listeners to episode 301:

On the hack of turning in your coins, one listener reported that her family’s tradition is to empty their coin jar into a Salvation Army red kettle each year.

About the idea of donating food to healthcare workers, and supporting local businesses, a listener suggests using the service Slice Out Hunger if you don’t know how to coordinate a delivery yourself.

Try This at Home

Think of a book that you read in high school or college that you still think about, and re-read it.

From high school, Elizabeth still thinks about Chinua Achebe’s masterpiece Things Fall Apart (AmazonBookshop). The title of the novel alludes to the poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I still remember The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagun (AmazonBookshop), and have been meaning to re-read it for years. I still have my copy from college. We will report back.

Happiness Hack

When days are shorter, run your errands in the morning, so you get the bright light of the grocery store or drugstore in the morning, when it can boost your alertness, instead of at night, when it might make it harder to fall asleep.

Know Yourself Better

Is there some food that you enjoy only when it’s prepared the way your family prepares it? Elizabeth likes only our family’s stuffing; I trust only our tuna-salad. 

Listener Question

A listener asked for suggestions for ways to show love and support for her mother, who lives across the country and is dealing with radiation and chemotherapy. Elizabeth mentions Notes to Self socks—our family is a big fan of this Kansas City company. Please send in your suggestions and solutions, because this is an issue that’s very pressing right now.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: A classic! She has stopped making her bed. Obliger-rebellion?

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to our mother, who thoughtfully sent me hand warmers. My hands are always freezing cold, so this gift has given me a huge boost in my daily comfort.

She sent two versions: Elements by Celestron and Human Creations by EnergyFlux.


  • Want to give my books as holiday gifts? You can request free, personalized, signed bookplates to go with them (U.S. and Canada only—sorry, mailing costs). Remember to request this week so that you receive the bookplates in time for the holidays!
  • Need a quick jolt of energy and cheer while spending time at home? Download a free bingo sheet with 42 easy challenges to lift your spirits. Cross them off as you go—gold star for you.




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