5 Things We’re Loving Right Now: Spring Edition

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Dear Kristin,

Spring is springing, and I am sneezing. It’s the pine pollen, same as always. April in North Carolina is a beautiful, terrible thing. Still, there’s lots to love about this time of year. Some of the things I’m loving right now include …

The Spencer Street Garden Collective. A bunch of us on my street are experimenting with a garden share this year. Everyone involved is going to grow a little extra in their gardens to share with one another (we’re in the process of figuring out who will grow what so that there’s not much overlap). We’re also embarking on a composting program, led by 16-year-old Siena, and one of the neighbors is making her chicken coop a co-op. We’ll be buying chickens together and taking turns caring for them. Fingers crossed we can keep this going for years to come!

The Chosen on Netflix. I didn’t have much faith (pun intended?) that I would enjoy this show, since film and TV depictions of Jesus rarely strike me as right. He’s always either too blonde or too bland. To my surprise, in The Chosen, Jesus is a fully-realized character, warm, funny, and humane. So are the other characters, including the women. Interestingly, Matthew is portrayed as neurodivergent. Some of his cohort find him irritating; I find him completely adorable.

My return to sourdough. Jack gave me a copy of Southern Ground: Reclaiming Flavor Through Stone-Milled Flour for Christmas, and while I haven’t explored locally milled flour, I was encouraged to get back on my sourdough game. Did you know that over time you will bestow your sourdough starter with your personal microbial signature, which influences the bread’s flavor? Pretty cool!

Women’s NCAA Basketball! I live in the land of College Basketball, with UNC, NC State and Duke all nearby, so I’m obligated to watch the NCAA College Basketball tournament. Having heard a lot of noise about Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, I decided to check the women’s games this year, and I’m here to say what you probably already know: the hype is real! Caitlin Clark has got to be one of the best basketball players, male or female, I’ve ever seen. It makes me happy to think of all the little girls who are watching her and the other amazing women players.

Marilynne Robinson. When the 2024 Nobel Award for Literature is announced in October, I for one will not be surprised if Marilynne Robinson is the big winner (I also won’t be surprised if she’s not the big winner, because it’s almost impossible to predict these things). Her novels always give their readers a lot to think about as well as a big basketful of delightfully rendered prose. Her essays go deep (some of them go too deep for me–but then, she’s a genius and I’m not), and I love that I can listen to her lectures and interviews on YouTube. She’s always funny and down-to-earth, and she says “you know” just enough to remind you that she’s a human being just like the rest of us. If you’re not familiar with Robinson’s work, I’d recommend starting with one of her novels, either Housekeeping or Gilead. 

How about you? What’s making your heart strings sing these days?


Dear Frances,

Happy Spring! I know we have a reputation for not getting any real weather here in Southern California, but let me tell you, it’s been the wettest winter we’ve had in a long time! As a native Southern Californian, I’m not used to weather hindering my outdoor plans! So, enough of the rain, I’m ready for some sunshine!

Speaking of sunshine, that is going to start off my list of Five Things I’m Loving Right Now.

  1. Spring light. There is just nothing like the way the light looks in spring! I know you’re not a fan of the time change—but man oh man! The way the light looks at 4pm in March…there’s just nothing like it. I remember driving Ben home from soccer practice when he was in middle school. We would come to this place where the sun was coming over a mountain on a beautiful field, and we would always say that we could almost hear the angels sing just by looking at it.
  2. Green tea. I’ve been drinking more green tea lately and have fallen in love with The Republic of Tea Spring Cherry Green Tea. Oh my! So delicious! I may talk big about being a loose-leaf tea snob, but these come in some very convenient, round, unbleached tea bags and are ticking every box for me.
  3. Home Fires rewatch. I think it was you, many years ago, that turned me onto the show Home Fires. I adore this WWII drama about the women (and men) left at home in a small English village. It follows many different characters and really shows how people from all walks of life did their bit to contribute to the war effort. The only sad part (OK, not the only sad part) is that Season 2 ends with a cliffhanger, and then it was canceled! But the writer, undeterred, went on to write several novels to help us get closure on all the various characters.
  4. Golf. Yes, you heard me right—golf! Starting in February I took a handful of golf lessons and now Gary and I have a regular weekly golf date at a local 9-hole course. (Really, 9 holes is plenty! Why are regular golf courses 18 holes?! Overkill!) Until a year ago, I never even considered playing golf, but Gary wanted us to see out our empty nest years as golfers, so here we are. No regrets—it’s a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon. (Notwithstanding Mark Twain’s quote, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”)  
  5. Our local library’s “One City, One Book”. Every year, a neighboring city’s library does an event called “One City, One Book”. It’s exactly what it sounds like—they try to get as many people as possible to read the same book and then do a bunch of activities around it, including inviting the author to speak. Last year it was Shelby Van Pelt’s book Remarkably Bright Creatures—so fun! This year the book is The Henna Artist. Since reading the book (delightful) I already picked up a tea sample from the library (the book takes place in India). This weekend a friend and I are going to a tea tasting (these people are obviously speaking my love language). There may be a henna art demonstration in the cards, and obviously, I’m looking forward to hearing the author speak. I’ve got several friends all reading the book and I love the sense of community around this.

So dear readers—what are some things that you are loving right now? Please let us know in the comments.

xo, Kristin

  • Marsha H

    Good to hear from you both. Frances, I’m so happy to hear that Caitlin Clark has charmed you. Caitlin is the complete package-talented, strong, smart and kind. I’m a Iowa girl whose daughters are Iowa girls whose 5 daughters are Iowa girls. We’re not athletic at all but that doesn’t matter at this point in the game. Our granddaughters cannot get enough of Caitlin Clark! Between Caitlin and their other hero, Taylor Swift-its a great time to be a girl!! I wish there would have been these role models for my daughters. Today at my office we’re all wearing our Hawkeye shirts in hopes of a win over UConn. Yes, the Iowa Hawkeyes are one of the things I’m loving this spring.
    Another is Young Sheldon on Netflix. I hardly watched this show when it was new but I’m a huge fan now. I love to binge watch this. Annie Potts has been a favorite of mine since Designing Women. Not only is it funny but I love that it shows its OK to be different. And that the nerds will rule the world someday.
    Also loving Sanders Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels from Costco. And I won’t apologize for putting candy on my list.
    Happy Spring!

  • Colleen

    It’s still winter here – we had a big dump of snow the other night. But, the snow melts quickly, so it’s not so bad.

    I’ve got a bunch of seedlings started in the house – tomato, cabbage and onion, with pumpkin and squash to be planted soon. It is fun to watch for the little leaves to pop up! And I’m planning my garden in my head.

    My daughter is expecting a baby on May 4th. Believe me, she has heard every joke about her Star Wars baby! I’m on standby to go babysit the twins when they go in to deliver. I’m more excited than any of them And yes, I’ve made a baby quilt – two of them, actually!

    Kristin, I know what you mean about light. I used to take the bus to work. There was one spot on our morning route, where we turned a corner and to the east of us was a grassy park, and there were times in the year, the turn would reveal a startlingly gorgeous sunrise. It does feel, a bit, like angels should be singing!

    Enjoy your spring, you two! I will catch up in a month or so.

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