In this week’s edition of I Have Things Going on in his Life I swear, we explore a clumsy little gardening activity, the love lives of Neanderthals, and the last moments of the existence of dinosaurs. Enjoy!
- We’ve been having perfect family pizza dates in the park. We’re lucky enough to live near Oz Park in Chicago, and now that the weather will allow it, we’ve been having fun pizza picnics there once per week. I pickup the pizza on the way to the park, the girls go crazy running around with their slices, Kelly and I lay in the grass and try to relax for 15 seconds at a time, and we return home to a clean kitchen. It’s great! Also, pizzas from the Dominos down the street from Oz Park are $8 each. Can’t beat that.
- I’m back in the post-pandemic daily kid drop-off grind. After a year locked in the house, I’m loving every minute of it. But it’s pretty wild just how many chores and obligations pop up now that we’ve been let outside. This morning we dropped Emma off, went to the bank, came back to get Lucy, went to another bank, dropped off all the stuff we forgot to pack in Emma’s bag at the school, and came back to the home office all before 9 am… at which point I desperately just want to take a nap.
- In a feat of streaming serendipity, we finished Master of None the day before Season 3 dropped on Sunday. Season 3 is a big departure in setting and tone from previous seasons’ carefree New York twenty-somethings romping, eating, drinking and dating vibe. Instead, this season zooms in on the marriage and struggles of one couple in a single house with heartbreaking honesty. I’m a big fan of the show’s willingness to defect from TV’s traditional cadence by giving us episodes in Italian or an episode from the perspective of a random New York City doorman—but the verdict is still out on Season 3 and its super serious tone. The Ringer has a great write-up about it. What are your thoughts?
- I planted actual living plants. Despite my devotion to outdoor artificial plants, I did a little “real plant” gardening last weekend, and I’m happy to report that most of them are still alive! Our garden was filled with climbing English Ivy when we moved in but it was promptly killed off by contractors who stomped it to death when repairing our sinking bay windows. I’m hoping that my newly planted ivy bed will fill the space, climb up our house and just generally charm up the place. I’ll report back when it’s all dead.
- I just finished reading Neanderthals Were People, Too. (Podcast and article linked here.) It’s a fascinating piece about the fact that until fairly recently, we weren’t the only humans living in the world. Neanderthals were far more human than I’d ever considered. They lived in cities, spoke languages, used complicated tools and, apparently, mated with enough of our real human ancestors that most of us are made up of 4 percent Neanderthal DNA. So if the thought of humans and Neanderthals hooking up is something you’d like to explore today, follow this link.
- Thanks to Emma’s dino obsession, I spend much of my time talking and thinking about dinosaurs, which led me to this fantastic Douglas Preston article: “The Day the Dinosaurs Died.” It had my jaw on the floor throughout. Here is Preston’s description of the moments after the asteroid hit:
When Earth’s crust rebounded, a peak higher than Mt. Everest briefly rose up. The energy released was more than that of a billion Hiroshima bombs, but the blast looked nothing like a nuclear explosion, with its signature mushroom cloud. Instead, the initial blowout formed a “rooster tail,” a gigantic jet of molten material, which exited the atmosphere, some of it fanning out over North America. Much of the material was several times hotter than the surface of the sun, and it set fire to everything within a thousand miles.
And it goes on like that for over an hour. One of the joys of having kids is to see the world through the eyes of a child’s curiosity and this piece totally did it for me.
- We got an air fryer. As a self-declared kitchen gadget obsessive, I’m embarrassed to admit how late I am to the air fryer craze. I’m no Jess Keys or anything, but after my first few fry trials (fry tries), I have decided that our new air fryer no joke. I guess literally everyone I’ve spoken to in the past 18 months wasn’t lying. What are your favorite air fryer recipes?
- Not to be one of those people who brags about themselves working out online, but the best habit I’ve taken on lately is running outside every day. It elevates my heart rate, lets me explore the city, and most importantly, gets me out of the house. I have a goal to eventually run the Chicago Marathon though I realize something like that probably won’t happen until the kids are much older. Good to have goals, though!
- I booked a weeklong no-kids extended family vacation to San Diego for the fall. Our great friend Gabby is getting married in October, and my whole family is heading to California for a week to celebrate. Our rental house is in La Jolla across the street from the Pacific, and I’m already counting down the days to the trip.
- Submit your Dear Mitch advice questions for next week’s column. Any question or topic is fair game. Fire away!
- Amazon is a fantastic specialty spice store. About once a week I think “I wonder if I can buy that on Amazon” and the answer nearly always comes back “Yes!” This week’s surprise was Tandoori Masala which is a spice I previously had to drive to Devon Avenue in Chicago (or Jackson Heights in NYC) to source. I’ve been a tandoori obsessive since I was young, and I’m about to take it to the next level with this stuff.