Hello, Friends. How are you? How was your week? Today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. You made it to the darkest part. It only gets lighter from here. You can do this.

It’s rainy and foggy today, which is as wintery as Oakland is going to get, so we’ll put hot cocoa and wassail on the stove, and turn on all the twinkle lights. This weekend, we’ll be doing very predictable holiday stuff — last-minute shopping, baking, wrapping presents, tidying the house for guests, errands to the post office — and I’m very much looking forward to all of it. I’ve decided I really like that Christmas is on a Tuesday. It gives me at least four days (Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) where I can give my full attention to the holiday and won’t be expected to respond to emails. : )

How are you feeling about the holidays? Did your kids get out of school already? (Mine are out today.) Are you feeling prepared? Overwhelmed? Happy? Ready for it to be over? Will you be traveling? Will you get to spend time with people you love? I sure hope so.

If you need an internet break this weekend, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

– This is Colossal highlighted their most popular posts of the year and they’re all super cool. I think my favorite is the cairns or the notepad.

– A religious scholar explains that Jesus wasn’t born in a stable. Thanks, Nora.

– A $500 per month check. A $12,000 tax credit. A $45,000 bond when you turn 18. These proposals have me thinking about a universal basic income. Are we inching closer?

– How true are Hollywood ‘Based on a True Story’ films?

– Journalists at the New York Times continue to break important stories about Facebook and how it has shared users’ private data. Have the articles changed the way you use Facebook? Or taken you off the platform altogether? Can’t keep track of the scandals? Buzzfeed made a helpful list.

– Could big platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter change their business model? This essay argues that they can and should.

– After working in a world of ‘tech bros,’ this woman founded a female-only island.

– The Imagined Threat of a Woman Who Governs Like a Man. (And now I want to read The Power.)

– An Instagram account of grey sky power lines.

Businesses going cashless “disempowers communities of color.” This idea had never occurred to me. Lots to think about.

– An easy, delicious, sheet pan dinner — perfect for company.

– Why are some of us so disapproving of feminine girls and so approving of masculine ones? I’ve totally caught myself doing this. (NYT)

Typewriter drawings by Lenka Clayton. I love these so much. Don’t miss that vase!

– The Itsy-Bitsy, Teenie-Weenie, Very Litigious Bikini. What a story. (NYT)

– Have you ever avoided taking meds because you thought they would dull you? Here’s an essay on the pernicious myth that mental health treatment damages creativity.

– A study of what women experience on Twitter showed female journalists and politicians got abusive or hostile tweets every 30 seconds; black, mixed-race, Asian and Latina women were mentioned 34% more often than white women, while black women specifically were targeted 84% more often than white women.

Cute rain boots in four colors, $27.

– A Timeline of Carrie Fisher and Penny Marshall’s Enviable Friendship.

We are headed to Lake Tahoe for a few days next week. I’m not planning to post daily, but knowing me, I will likely check in with something cool I found, or something I want to chat about. : )

If you’re celebrating Christmas, then Merry Christmas! If you’re celebrating another wonderful winter holiday, then Happy Holidays! If you’re celebrating nothing at all this week, then here’s an early Happy New Year! Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you have a comfortable, peaceful weekend and that you get to experience some moments of joy. 

I’ll meet you back here after the break. I miss you already.

kisses,
Gabrielle