Do you date night?


A rare dight night excursion

The other night I found myself watching an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap. Not just any episode either. It was an episode with couples from The Bachelor. I know. I know. For what it’s worth I was by myself with no access to Netflix or HBO Go. (In the interest of full disclosure, I’m pretty sure I did have a book with me.) Anyway, the reason I’m bringing up this embarrassing fact is because one of the couples shared how they go out for a weekly date night where they explore something new together. It sounded fun, and it got me thinking about date nights again. Or, more honestly, this got me feeling insecure that the marital product of a season of The Bachelor was more competent than us at coordinating a date night. Every week. An original date night, every week. I know. I know. Now I’m comparing. This whole anecdote is just getting worse.

I eventually forgot about reality television and got back to life. Then I saw this video.


On parenthood, marriage and feminism.

Posted by Jonathan Mann on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Many, many interesting topics of discussion, but once again I got sidetracked with the date night (you have to watch to almost the end to hear the reference).

Unlike our celebrity Bachelorette counterparts, or bloggers I read, or many couple friends of ours, Ben and I do not really date night. Not consistently and not even really sporadically. I understand the premise of a date night. But I guess I feel like do you need to physically leave your home in order to have meaningful time together? Who has the time? Who has the money? Doing something new together sounds amazing, but who has the time and the money and the energy and the creativity to do something new every week? Also, how many new things can one city have to do?

I feel all crotchety typing this out, but I’m obviously preoccupied with date nights.

Do you date night?

What "date night" usually looks like (with our adorable 3rd wheel)

What “date night” usually looks like (with our adorable 3rd wheel)

PS You can read about our summer of dates here, here, here and here. And a family date.

A Day Of Summer


Saturday we celebrated “a day of summer.” I came home from yoga and spent the next four hours in the kitchen, while Leila thoroughly enjoyed sampling my efforts and taking her turn at the rolling pin. In the late afternoon we went outside. We filled our inflatable pool almost to capacity (well beyond the usual two our three inches) to make a “big pool,” which Leila and I went swimming in while Ben grilled hot dogs. Ben and I drank icy cold beer, and we all munched on salty chips and creamy guacamole.


We ate dinner outside and went back into the pool with our bellies full and the sun slowly moving closer to the horizon. When Leila said she was done, we headed inside. Ben and Leila readied the living room, spreading the green blanket and pulling down the pillows. Meanwhile, I layered the homemade graham crackers, salted almond dark chocolate and toasted the homemade marshmallows over the stovetop to top the classic concoction. Then we all gathered for a movie and s’mores.


I am not sure exactly when or where or why it started, but I’ve had this feeling. This thought, “Why not enjoy summer?” growing in me. Why not go to the beach? Why not play in the park? Why wait for the perfect day, the time when I am not tired or the moment I will try a new recipe without making a mess (or taking half a day to make it)? Why wait for what will never happen? Why not enjoy life like a three-year-old?

Here’s to summer – here’s to heat and humidity and mosquitoes and having fun in the midst of it all. Here’s to the joy of embracing summer, of trying something new and finding fun.

Speaking of Books

D40 (1-25 to 2-14) 006

I thought I’d share the reading list/reviews from our time way back when in Kigali since they include several of my favorites.

(Term 1)

Life is a bit slower here in Africa, which provides ample opportunity to read. Even Ben, the self proclaimed non-reader has swept through almost a dozen books. Here’s what I’ve been read so far, along with my amateur review.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers

A Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers

McCullers’ stories flawlessly portray one of the deepest human needs, our longing to be known. Her stories manage to be poignant yet unsentimental. She transports you to a deep south, more sticky than sultry, filled with loneliness.

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

The story of the accidental soldier Billy Pilgrim reminded me of Catch 22. The dark humor, quirky plot and eccentric characters were brilliant.

1984, George Orwell

Doubleplusgood. This book was wonderfully disturbing. It should be mandatory reading for any citizen of any nation.

Digital Fortress, Dan Brown

The dialogue was cliché, the descriptions were cheesy and the characters were all airbrushed delusions of perfection. It read more like an aspiring blockbuster screenplay than a novel.

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

The enchanting tale is reminiscent of Le Petit Prince. It was simple, enjoyable and rich.

Animal Farm, George Orwell

A Grimm’s Fairytale / Paradise Lost prequel version of 1984. I think it was only the second book I have ever reread in my entire life (the 1st one being One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest).

Malaria, Stopping a Global Killer, Michael Finkel (National Geographic, July 2007)

So it is not a book. However, as someone living and traveling in areas at high risk for malaria, I felt it was reading worthy of mention.

The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver

Wow. This haunting story lingered long after I closed the book, though perhaps the affect is proportional to ones relationship with Africa.

Twilight, Stephanie Meyer

Though I might not sport glitter make-up or micro-minis, there is a bit of teeny-bopper that remains. I thought this part of me would fall for Twilight like the throngs of teenage girls (and grown women) singing its praises. However, I just could not make myself fall under the spell of Edward’s ill-fated romance with Bella.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. It made my heart ache and filled me with empathy I have never before experienced for characters.

What have you been reading this year? Any recommendations? What do you think about these books?

(Term 2)


The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

Left me feeling all depressed and lousy. Everyone said this book got better with age. I beg to differ.

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

A sweet little story – it’s Carson McCullers with a happy ending.

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

What’s the point? A guy and his son walk the gray road, food almost runs out, then they find more food, keep walking the gray road, food almost runs out, then they find more food, keep walking the gray road… I just don’t get what makes this great, or popular.

The Painted Veil, W Somerset Maugham

Maybe I would have liked it more if I weren’t already in the middle of another depressing adulteress saga.

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Oh, Anna. You’re so miserably annoying I actually found your demise quite relieving.

The Constant Gardner, John Le Carré

Glorified Dan Brown quality nonsense – I want plot, not action.