One green thing I wish everyone would do:
Give up plastic bags. It’s hard, I know, to remember to carry a bag into a store. I wish we could give up other forms of plastic, like the blister packs encasing everything from Barbie dolls to Bic pens. Back in the days of five and ten stores, it was so nice to simply pick an item out of a bin or off a shelf, pay for it, and not wrestle with tin snips to get it open.
The best way to stay fit:
I am the Goldilocks of exercise. It can’t be too hot, too cold. too windy, too damp or raining. I don’t like to sweat or run (unless it’s to Dunkin’ Donuts), play any kind of ball, or be on a team. It took me years to find the exercise that suits me: Jazzercise. Yes, that 50-year-old aerobic dance program. I love to dance! I also like to walk as long as it’s not too hot, too cold, etc. The best way to stay fit is to find something you love and stay with it. I’ve been Jazzercising 28 years!
One thing no one can do better than I can:
Whine and complain. It’s hereditary, I’m afraid, so I come by it naturally. If Whining were an Olympic sport, I’d bring home the gold.
My mom was right about:
Everything. Don’t brag. Work hard. To start the day right, make your bed immediately unless you’re in childbirth or dead. You can’t turn a pear into a peach (referring to my wish to be pretty like my sister). And most important: never use the word “hate,” which was my mother’s way of saying don’t be a hater.
I’m currently reading:
Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald and The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, both thoughtful and inspirational but a bit slow-going. Instead I’m tearing through books like Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, and anything by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child because it’s October 2020 and I have the attention span of a newborn gnat.
No one knows that I:
Talk to myself. And answer myself. All the time. I might as well since nobody else listens to me, especially our two cats (lookin’ at you Faulkner and Edison).
What’s on my nightstand:
Books on my nightstand change too frequently to mention. But next to my nightstand is a handmade doll cradle and in it are my touchstone books: Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost , The Faraway Nearby, and Wanderlust: A History of Walking ; Barbara Kingsolver’s Small Wonder: Essays, and High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never; American Primitive by Mary Oliver; The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley; H.D. Thoreau: A Writer’s Journal, and The Echoing Green: Poems of Fields, Meadows, and Grasses. All wonderful books to dip into and repair a tattered soul.
My heroes are:
Henry David Thoreau, for living the life he needed, not the life that was expected of him. His journals keep me connected to what’s important. Thomas Jefferson, for his love of home and Virginia, the subject of the only book he wrote, and his boundless curiosity. Rachel Carson, for her love of nature, her book Silent Spring, and her selfless care of her mother, nieces, and great-nephew when she herself was in poor health. Terry Tempest Williams, who has been called the modern day Henry Thoreau and Rachel Carson, for her environmental writing and activism.
My favorite holiday tradition:
Easter is my favorite holiday — spring, flowers, birds, and you don’t have to do anything . However, I love putting together Easter baskets. For more than 40 years, I’ve filled a huge 100-year-old willow basket with candy, books, colorful eggs, and a stuffed rabbit. Everyone needs a new bunny! The basket is swathed in two colors of tulle, and tied with satin ribbon and silk flowers. My husband looks forward to this beautiful basket each year. I eat all the candy.
Magazines. Sometimes I buy a half a dozen. When the weather is nice, I’ll sit on the porch with a Cheerwine (soft drink, another guilty pleasure), Maui Sweet Onion chips (ditto), and leaf through brand-new magazines. These days I buy British magazines – worth the price. No 4‑page pharmaceutical ads, plus lush photography and real content, not sound bites.
The piece of clothing in my closet I can’t let go:
A black varsity-style jacket with Walt Disney Studios embroidered on the back in red. I bought the jacket from the Disney Store in 1989. It spoke to the fourteen-year-old Candice who wanted so much to be an animator for Walt Disney Studios.
What I do when I want to feel joy:
I step outside. Joy for me isn’t a big immersive experience like a week at Disneyland or a trip to the Grand Canyon. It’s little interludes, sometimes only a few seconds. That’s long enough to hear the plaintive cry of a red-shouldered hawk, notice a jewel-like orchard spider tending her tiny web, spot a skink darting under the steps. These small moments remind me that we share this planet and that nature is always present. I don’t need purple mountains majesty or iconic wildlife to lift my spirits. Our backyard with its parade of everyday visitors does the job nicely.