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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Poppins’

The Zebra

April 16, 2014 | by


Nathan Pyle has recently written an illustrated handbook for living in—or, perhaps even more crucially, visiting—New York. NYC (Basic Tips and Etiquette) contains such valuable tips as

  • Beware of the empty train car, it’s empty for a reason.
  • Bring cash to group dining events.
  • 12% chance you have spotted a celebrity. 88% chance you have spotted someone who vaguely resembles a celebrity. 100% chance you are awkwardly staring at someone while you argue about it.

These will, I think we agree, apply to any good-sized city.

Yesterday, two of Pyle’s tips were very much on my mind. The weather had, abruptly, turned brutal: cold, with high winds and lashing rain. This weather! This weather! This weather! everyone chanted. Pyle is absolutely right in his assertion that “one $20 umbrella will outlast four $5 umbrellas.” I went for my hardiest number, which is, incidentally, patterned with cheerful zebras on a red ground. Read More »

Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold

January 30, 2012 | by

My husband and I got engaged on December 30, 2005, in a restaurant in Greenwich Village. We spent the next night at home, having planned a feast for two. About halfway through an afternoon of strenuous cooking, however, Andrew became quiet and glassy-eyed. He took to the couch, rousing himself only when I served the fish.

The sight of his laden plate made him flinch, but he bravely took a bite of potato-crusted salmon. “Mmm,” he said unconvincingly, “this is good.” Mine was overcooked. “I think I’m going to throw up,” he said. I thought that was a drastic overcorrection, but before I could say so, he was on his way to the bathroom, where he remained for many hours.

This gave me plenty of time to drain the champagne, eat up my gougeres and caramels, and contemplate the future to which I had recently committed myself. Is this a psychosomatic reaction to the idea of being with me forever? I wondered. I suppose this is what having children will be like, I thought, as I did my best to keep him clean and comfortable and get him into bed once his body had expelled everything.

Now I know that when your child is sick, you, too, are often sick, making motherly nursing even more challenging than I had imagined. I spend long stretches of every winter making cup after cup of peppermint or ginger tea to decloud my head. This past December, as I coped with my third annual Thanksgiving-through-New-Year’s malaise, I thought to consult Mrs. Beeton, whose masterwork, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, I remembered included a chapter on invalid cookery. Read More »