Good Stuff!

Good Monday to you, readers! Welcome to another Good Stuff series, brought to you by a busy week during which I didn't get much writing done, a proliferation of interesting things coming across my virtual desk, and the letter G. Hold your nose, and let's dive in!

Thanks, G! (Image Source)

1. Are you in Seattle? Do you like art? If you answered "yes" to either of these, then make your way to the Seattle Art Museum's current exhibit of Jacob Lawrence's full Migration Series. It closes on Sunday, April 23rd, so hustle over to experience this powerful work while you can. This exhibit is special not only because of its spectacular content or the fact that it marks Lawrence's 100th birthday, but also because it marks the first time in 20 years that the full Migration Series has been exhibited together on the West coast. The 60-piece narrative sequence of paintings is co-owned by two different entities and is usually split between them. So this exhibit represents, among many other things, a reunion of a grander work that is usually not seen in its entirety.

Go. It is great. It's moving for adults and, with its detailed captions and narrative structure, extremely accessible to children. My 7 year old and her 2nd grade buddy were able to take in the exhibit largely by themselves, and, after I read each of the 60 captions to my 4 year old, she was able to understand the story the paintings tell of the 20th century African American Great Migration from the rural south to the industrial north. It's not a huge exhibit, either. All in, we spent maybe 30 minutes taking in all 60 paintings before leaving for a wander of the museum. So, if you've got squirrelly kids who need to run, you can easily visit the exhibit, then find something more active for your wigglers to do.

If you're looking for some fantastic art, a vibrant history lesson, or a means of introducing your kids to art museums, you couldn't do better than the Migration Series at SAM.

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2. Looking for a way to understand, articulate, and resist the expectation that women bear the brunt of emotional labor? ME, TOO. Well, then, let's read MetaFilter's condensed thread on emotional labor, now in convenient PDF form, together! It's 49 pages long, so settle in for a couple of hours of intense, engaging, enraging reading. Then give this to every person you know, male, female, and beyond-the-binary, so that this emotional labor that is so often invisible becomes visible and, therefore, divisible among us all.* Equally. Fairly.

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3. My older Smartling got over a long, violent, disgusting bout of norovirus last week, thank GOODNESS. It was a lengthy process that required lots of laundry and baths and allowed for very little sleep or respite from grodiness. One of the few bright spots in her days-long illness, though, was our discovery of the Brains On! science podcast for kids.

Brains On! is produced by American Public Media, and so is well-written and well-produced with regular segments and features in each episode. It's hosted by Molly Bloom, a grown-up, and a different kid co-host each episode. Most appropriate for elementary-age kids, but still enjoyable for the curious 38 year old, Brains On! is written for kids without pandering to them. The show features real science, real scientists, and in-depth explanations of complex subjects, all within a kid-friendly format.

Our first episode was, of course, "Fart Smarts: Understanding the Gas we Pass," which my Smartling and I both recommend. Other episodes range in subject from dinosaurs to contagious diseases to (and I need to remember to listen to this with my kids this week) "Fire vs. Lasers!"**

FIRE VS. LASERS. I'm so in.

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4. Next month brings the Actual Best Day of My Life***, as my Smartner and I are calling it, when our close friends in New York, he, and I go see Hamilton on Broadway. It promises to be the pinnacle of my existence and the point at which I can clearly delineate the beginning of my descent toward the proverbial "all downhill" that it must be from there.

To soften the blow of the day after, our little NYC crew is meeting for drinks at the Carlyle Hotel's Bemelmans Bar, a gorgeous art deco bar decorated with drawings and watercolors by Ludwig Bemelmans, the writer and illustrator of Madeline and associated books.

Now, being a former teacher and children's bookseller and a current connoisseur of the occasional fine cocktail, this excursion is right up my alley. But the fact that I went and named my younger kid after Bemelmans's famous heroine, Madeline, means that I might actually get nostalgically misty into my old-fashioned as I toast my little firecracker among Bemelmans's artistic decor. I'm looking forward to the long weekend without my Smartlings, but that doesn't mean I won't be thinking of them fondly as I drink top shelf libations among whimsical paintings.

"... and to the tiger in the zoo, Madeline just said 'pooh pooh.'" (Image Source)

Have a fantastic week, Smarties! I wish you all good things and all Good Stuff!

*I know what I'm getting you and everyone I know for Christmas...

**I don't know which will win, but I'm already saying "PEW! PEW!" in my head.

***As opposed to the other so-called "best days of my life" that I'm required by spousehood and motherhood to claim: the day of my marriage and my children's birthdays.