Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Pepper and The New Year’s Resolution


photoPepper spent the holiday recovering from emergency surgery Christmas Eve to remove a “foreign object” in her stomach wreaking havoc on her system.  (And I do mean havoc.)  She’s been in a happy haze with the good meds, but she didn’t forget that the New Year was approaching – and with it, resolutions.

“I resolve to eat more slowly,” she told me.  “I think I might enjoy my food more and feel full sooner,” she explained.

“I resolve for you to avoid eating toys and unrecognizable items from the yard,” I said.

She smiled sheepishly then quickly turned the conversation back to me, avoiding a further lecture.  “What are your resolutions?” she asked.

“Well, for one, I’d like to lose the same 5 pounds I’ve been fretting about for a couple of years,” I answered.

She cocked her head in that puppyish way and asked, “What’s so hard about 5 pounds?  Why haven’t you lost them yet?”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” I replied.  “And I believe Amanda Palmer has it figured out.  Amanda Palmer is a very cool indie rocker married to a famous author, Neil Gaiman…”

Unknown-25The Graveyard Book, Coraline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane…”

“Right!  That Neil Gaiman.  His wife Amanda has just written a wonderful book called The Art of Asking, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.  It’s in part about Kickstarter and other crowd-funding, as she was one of the pioneers in that area, but it’s also the story of her life.  She’s been very successful as a solo artist following her career with the Dresden Dolls.  She gave a TED talk that’s had eight million views.  Before all that, she was a mime in Harvard Square – “the Eight-Foot Bride,” she was called.  She also “danced” in clubs to make ends meet.  Her book is provocative and wonderful on what connection and love can look like between husband and wife, friends, and even strangers on a city street.  Here’s the story from her book I wanted to share with you:

A farmer is sitting on his porch in a chair, hanging out.
A friend walks up to the porch to say hello, and hears an awful yelping, squealing sound coming from inside the house.
‘What’s that terrifyin sound?’ asks the friend.
‘It’s my dog,’ said the farmer. ‘He’s sittin’ on a nail.’
‘Why doesn’t he just sit up and get off it?’ asks the friend.
The farmer deliberates on this and replies:
‘Doesn’t hurt enough yet.’

“So Pep, I’m thinking that maybe those 5 pounds don’t hurt enough yet.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad, but I think it’s a fact.”

Pepper reflected for a moment. “I think it’s silly to sit on a nail in the first place,” she said.

We made a deal that I would try not to sit on nails and she would try not to eat her toys.


  1. Your writing is so good. Love this little piece. The Palmer book sounds worth reading.

    • Hi, Nicki! I’m so delighted to hear from you and so appreciate your kind words! I think you’d love the Palmer book. I would love to catch up with you soon and hear about how your project is coming along!

  2. Great advice for all. Feel better, Pepper. Avoid those nails, all. And Happy New Year, everyone!

  3. This piece was a great way to start my day. An insightful commentary on resolutions and motivation. Pepper’s gentle humor is sweet and I wish her a very speedy recovery.

  4. really good, Jennifer. poor Peps! (but I can’t believe how she has grown!) Happy New Year!

  5. Good stuff, Jennifer… Thank you for this simple yet thought provoking little story. Happy New Year to Pepper and all the Puryears!

    • Hi, Anne! I’m so happy to hear from you and so happy you enjoyed this little meditation! Thank you for your very kind comment. All good wishes to you and your family going into 2015, a fantastic year and Symphony Ball behind you!!

  6. Beautifully said! I understand every word of it!

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