So Many Distractions

May 15th

I’m reading the May issue of Smithsonian Magazine — because they have a pretty incredible feature on Mozambique — when I spot an article on a museum exhibit in New York City. “Design for the Other 90%.” It’s a show of items created to address the needs of the 90% of the world’s population who barely get by. The article show three pretty incredible inventions that are included: a water pump for farmers that you fuel by stepping up and down on pedals (just imagine if you could produce water with all the energy you exert on the Stairmaster!), a double pot cooler for vegetables that doesn’t require refrigeration to keep food cool and safe, and a laptop that costs less than $100. Sweet. I so wish I could see this! The show lasts until September 23. Maybe I’ll get to NYC between now and then.

In the meantime, I’m reading A People’s History of the United States. This was a super sweet CAOK gift that I really wanted to read. I’m 200 pages in and it’s taken me 2 months. I’m thinking this one is going to be retired this weekend. I just cannot get into the groove of the history lesson. Anyone else battle with this read? I hate it when I feel defeated by books.

I’m listening to Rusted Root and OAR — my two new favorite jam bands. And wow, am I late to this party. Loving these new tunes as I cook this week (eggplant pitas) and cycle (40 miles so far, with two rides to go.)

I’m hoping to see The Namesake this weekend. Anyone seen it? I read the book and it was one of my favorites. My buddy Khaled has a new book out too. Anyone read the follow up to Kite Runner yet?

Oh my! How I’ll find ways to avoid packing.

Posted in
Journal, Media
Follow the comments.

26 Responses

  1. Look at me, first one to comment. There’s a new one.

    I haven’t read People’s History, but I have “The World is Flat” and haven’t even cracked it. Too big and scary. And I *know* that there’s history right in there. Yeek.

    You and I are both on the late train to OAR, but I’m loving it, too. Did you get the CDs I sent? Wondering if you already had those.

    Let me know how you like the Namesake movie. I just finished the book and am curious.

    Packing blows. Try getting drunk first, that might be fun. Surprise! No underwear!

  2. My friend is in the movie as an extra in the background. You don’t know what he looks like, but he’s there, so treasure that! πŸ™‚

    Also, I saw Rusted Root years ago – 10 maybe? Fun band. Enjoy!

  3. Avoiding packing, always a classic!

  4. I loved the Namesake. It was the best movie I’ve seen this year. However, I’ve never read the book, so I didn’t have anything to compare with, and I’m sure you’ll have a different perspective having read the book.

  5. I’m reading the Namesake now (because I saw it on Finny’s blog) πŸ™‚ and really liking it, so I’d be curious about your opinions on the movie.
    I like to avoid packing also – I’m such an expert procrastinator. Something I’m working on…..and not making much progress. πŸ˜‰
    I’d be really interested in seeing that exhibit as well – I’d meet you in NYC – I’m close!

  6. i hope you get to nyc to see the exhibit. it sounds like a neat thing to get to see if you can. i’m not too far from nyc myself. maybe i’ll make the trip. good luck packing…when you get around to it.

  7. I’m halfway through the book, and haven’t seen the movie. Kiterunner is next on my list. So his new book will take a while for me to get to.

  8. Happy traveling. And, you’re quick to notice Rusted Root. Those are tunes from my college days. & I’m talking UNDERGRADUATE college days. LONG ago. Still love them though! πŸ™‚ But, OAR? Must check them out!

  9. Hi Kelli, long time reader, first time commenter :).

    First off, Rusted Root is from my home town of Pittsburgh and they are great! So glad you like them as well.

    Secondly, I have to say that the Namesake was the best movie I have seen in a long time. I had read the book first (which was utterly amazing and beautifully written) and the movie caputures the liminal spaces that most people experience when caught between two cultures. Not just that, but just the typical feelings of fitting into a family and the love and losses that come with it. The soundtrack is just perfect too and I bought it immediately after seeing the movie.

    I spent almost a month in India two years ago and it is a magical place. Kelli, I could see you LOVING it there, wooo, you would always want to go back, just like I do… I went with a non-profit calle the Ninash Foundation ( when I worked as professor at SUNY Oneonta.

    Thanks for a great web-site, I love what you do in your job (I envy you!) and I commend all those working in public health who want to make a such an incredible difference for others! Nina πŸ™‚

  10. The Namesake was great; I think you’ll enjoy it.

  11. Think of those little children you’re going to visit, and packing will be a pure joy! I’m reading “Ireland” by Frank Delaney, same history book about Irish history and traditions, but I have to say I’m really enjoying it!

  12. I still haven’t read Kite Runner, but I take it it’s a winner? That having been said, I really want to read the newest book so that one may get tossed into the cart soon.

    Have you made your packing checklist already? Because surely you can’t start packing until you’ve made the list (said your enabler….)

  13. K, we had a slight miscommunication at my house last week regarding a trip to the post office, and I don’t think my package is going to get there in time. You said that these goodie bags would be useful on your trip to South America too, right?

    So sorry!

    Also, I am hoping to see The Namesake soon as well. I have heard many good reviews.

  14. always meant to read A Peopleβ€šΓ„Γ΄s History of the United States. hope you’re liking it. oooooh, and the Namesake comes out this weekend? i’m so out of the film releases loop.

  15. BTW, I finished The Handmaiden’s Tale and LOVED it.

  16. K,

    I’m going to have to get you my bags for your South America trip…best intentions. Doesn’t sound like you’re wanting for bags, though.

    I read PH of the US back in college days. Straight history is hard reading. I loved the Namesake too, although not as much as her collection of stories. It’s playing here too; hubby saw it and said it is totally faithful to the book. I didn’t know there was a follow-up to The Kite Runner – I can’t wait!

  17. your last several posts have been awesome and you continue to inspire me kelli! keep up the good work.

  18. What a great exhibit! Wow! I am impressed at the idea of it, and really wish that it were a traveling exhibit so more people would have a chance to see it. It’s important to start thinking about things like this.

    Yep, packing is not very fun… although I totally loved it when I was little because it was so exciting to be going on a trip. Now though, I hate it, but mainly because it’s been to move house and not to go on vacation. πŸ˜‰

  19. OMG Kel, Rusted Root? Wasn’t that the fave of all the granolas in Flag? πŸ˜‰ And, as for the history book… I tried reading a 1,088-page paperback brick called “A History of the American People” by Paul Johnson. It’s still dog-eared at page 183. I think it was too heavy to hold up while I was reading it. πŸ˜‰

  20. what museum is having this exhibit? i am so interested to see it.
    thanks for reminding about kite runner, got it as a gift and never got to reading it. will now.

  21. I couldn’t get through “People’s History” either – by the end of the the first chapter I was practically bawling. It’s not that I didn’t know about Columbus’s dark side, but reading his journals was just heartbreaking. I brought this book along as vacation reading and didn’t have anything else to read, but I still couldn’t make myself pick it up again! And I am a history student, too. Oh well, thank goodness I had some knitting with me on that trip…

  22. i suck with reading history, though i know i should. i think i like it conceptually better than realistically. i’ve been “reading” the glory and the dream for years now, despite the fact that e continually reminds me that it is the major text that changed his life. the people’s history is on my list too but we’ll see. sigh. it’s one of those things where i always feel that i’ll be a better person if i do that, you know?
    um, the namesake… i saw it. i don’t want to be a rain cloud but i would catch the matinee (or netflix)… i had free tickets from work. and i heart jhumpa lahiri; the short stories are one of my favorite collections. but. just sayin’. (that said, my dad loved it. i think he likes to imagine that he is a super-sensitive bengali who reads poetry and paints all day.)

  23. Jennifer May 16, 2007

    Oh dear, sorry about the “PH of US” book. It was definitely a tough one for me to get through, too (emotionally and intellectually); I ended up interspersed each chapter with lots of witty, fun stuff (I recommend Janet Evanovich or Julia Quinn). Lately I’ve been giving myself permission to just skim (or even skip) the chapters of books that are too dry…this might work for you? If nothing else, the more recent bits might be more interesting, and I think the last chapter is a synopsis. Sorry it turned out to be a bum CAOK gift. πŸ™

  24. Sheila May 16, 2007

    I loved Zinn’s, “A people’s history…”. I thought it was particularly readable – for history that is. There’s also a great autobiographical DVD (can’t think of the title off-hand) on Zinn…. a very interesting guy.

  25. I read the Namesake and then went to see it and LOVED it. I really like Mira Nair as a director, and if you haven’t seen Monsoon Wedding yet you absolutely must see it right this second. But the Namesake is great as well, very poignant and a really interesting look at cross-cultural kids and families.

  26. As i told you via email, i had a very hard time with a People’s History. I have to pick it back up someday and start over. The namesake is on my list, but don’t own it unfortunately. Shelley (your girl in Rome) and I are going to do a book swappy thing, get it started with its own blog, so if anyone wants to send the namesake along to others to read…that’d be sweet!

    Did you say that you get up at 4:30 to run? Dear God. you are american. :):)