Today Was a Good Day

As I opened my book to read for a while before going to bed, I realized I had had a very good day. I made a list in my bullet journal to remind myself what made it good; I thought it might be worth sharing and spelling out—briefly!—why these were good things.

The Morning Run

On Sundays, I take the dog for a long-ish run first thing in the morning, rain or shine, unless it’s really, really rainy. Or really, really cold. Today was neither. The needle on the thermometer that hangs outside the dining room window was hovering just below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect, and the sun was out. Shorts, shoes, dog treats, let’s go!

I’ve taken to using my Garmin for heart rate runs on Sundays. That means, like barbecue and Beastie Boys songs, slow and low, that is the tempo. I find it almost physically impossible to stay in Zone 2, Easy, so I’m happy if I can hit the low and of Zone 3, Aerobic, with dips into Zone 2. I am aware, running nerds, that the heart rate monitor on my wrist is not as accurate as wearing a chest band, but I am a middle-aged runner who doesn’t really race anymore, so pinpoint accuracy is not necessary. Maintaining fitness, changing up my paces throughout the week, and having a good time with the dog are way more important these days.

Not that the dog likes Zone 2. When we run faster, and especially on Fast Thursdays when we do fartleks or tempo runs, she is laser focused on running. At a super slow Sunday pace, she’s able to harass squirrels and rabbits—when she isn’t looking over her shoulder at me to see if we can pick things up already. Sooooooo sloooooooow.

A Scone

While the dog and I are out on our long run and taking forever to finish it, Mr. H-G goes out to our favorite coffee shop for two drip coffees and two pastries. What I get depends on his mood and what’s in the pastry case. He did me the favor this morning of getting a lemon-poppy seed scone—which is already great—that had lots of icing on it—another plus—and it was massive. Abnormally huge and a little splayed out around the edges, like maybe there was too much butter in the batter. Zero complaints. 10/10. Would eat again.


I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in a while, but I’m working through the first draft of the translation of volume 3 of Memoirs of a French Courtesan. This one is going to be subtitled Luck or Charm or something like that; there’s a lot of gambling, both at card tables and with life in general.

The translation process is taking longer than I remember for volumes 1 and 2. There were a few challenges this time that I didn’t have before, like the fact that I’m getting a master’s degree, and I had a death in the family this spring. Even with those factors, though, it seems slow.

In any case, I’m within 25 pages of the end, so I’ll be finished by the end of the month. Volume 1: Rebellion is available now, and Volume 2: Spectacle comes out September 10.

Thesis Thoughts

Earlier this month, my thesis proposal was accepted, and my first choice thesis director signed on to this project. We’re waiting for paperwork to be finalized at the university, so in the meantime I’ve been organizing the materials I’ve gathered so far according to Umberto Eco’s How to Write a Thesis. (My notecards are in Scrivener rather than being paper cards; otherwise, his system remains extremely helpful.)

I’ve also been able to download several books using university library access. As I read the first text, I noted that we had some of the same sources in common, which is encouraging. I’m on the right track. But the author cited a handful of other sources that for his purposes were background information, but for mine could be enlightening. So I found most of those too.

Eco pointed out in his book that the questions that arise during the thesis process should evolve, and that the themes and structure should change as you read and write. That is the entire point of the thesis. So I’m happy to report that my thesis is already evolving; the questions I want to answer now are further developments of the questions posed in my proposal.

Stop. Hammock Time.

A hammock on the front porch on a sunny day is hands-down the best place to read. I’m currently reading Mavis Gallant’s Paris Notebooks, which I grabbed from the to-be-read pile on a whim and found more relevant than expected, given that half the book is about the May 68 student protests in Paris. I also took a nap here.


So much reading! The best way I’ve found to give my brain a break is to pull weeds. Luckily, my yard is giving me ample opportunities to refresh my mind, like it does every spring. The payoff is the gorgeous, decades-old roses that bloom so fast we always have fresh-cut flowers inside for about two months.

Movie Night

Mr. H-G had a planned game night with friends, which meant I could pick any movie that struck my fancy to watch on my own. I had nothing particular in mind, so I started scrolling the streams—a very 2024 phrase to write.

I happened across Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, a documentary about the fifty-year relationship between author and editor made by Gottlieb’s daughter, Lizzie Gottlieb. The film dives into the methods used by both men to create and hone literary works, including the rages induced by disagreements over semicolons. Charming, satisfying, gliding over the less than glamorous parts of “how publishing works.” Caro wonders as a young author with a family how he’ll be able to afford to take the time to write the book he wants to write, and Gottlieb says that’s for himself and Caro’s agent to work out. Caro is just to write the book, which came in at over a million words. The stuff of legends.