I have fallen head over heels for the Off Duty section of the weekend Wall Street Journal.
(Coffee + Off Duty Section = A Perfect Moment.)
It's only been a few months, but the symptoms of love are all too familiar.
1. When I open my eyes on Saturday mornings, I feel an instant rush, thinking of it laying on my front path in its little cerise wrapper. This is immediately replaced by tender concern. Is it safe? Is there a teeny perforation in the plastic again? Did the sprinklers drench it?
2. My concentration is shot. By the time Thursday rolls around, I find myself unable to think about anything else.
"David Netto (a dad at my son's school) mentioned going on some crazy train trip with his family. I wonder if his article's coming out this weekend? Oh crap. I just burned the pizza."
(Photo by Jessica Haye and Clark Hsaio. Article HERE.)
2. Every vapid little thought that flits through my head leads directly back to it.
"Whoa, this sink could do with a good scrub. Oh swoon. Remember when Rita Konig wrote about kitchens with character?"
(Photo by Staffan Johansson. Article HERE.)
"Now where did I just put my book? Oh, who cares? How about that article Sara Ruffin Costello wrote about the well-stocked library?"
(Photo by James Merrell. Article HERE.)
3. When I am holding the Off Duty section in my hot little hands, all else pales into insignificance.
"Yes, Luca, I will help you look for your soccer cleats -- just as soon as I learn how to wear a scarf like Jackie Onassis in Capri."
(Photo by Settimo Garritano. Article HERE.)
"Piero, I would give you a hand with all those grocery bags, but I'm feeling light-headed. You see...The. Off. Duty. Fall. List Is. Here."
(Gloriously all HERE.)
4. At random moments, I find myself thinking about all the beautiful times we have shared together. Of course, we'll always have Paris (HERE, HERE and HERE), but the memories go far beyond that.
There was that time we travelled to English decorator Nicky Haslam's eccentric country house.
(Photo by Simon Upton. Article HERE.)
And got giddy over Alice Water's crazy simple Stone-Fruit Salad with Sugared Berries.
(Photo by Justin Walker. Article HERE.)
And felt that adrenaline surge for Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami's hand-embroidered wool rugs.
(Photo via WSJ Weekend. Article HERE.)
Oh, the list goes on and on. I have special feelings for you, Off Duty section. You are eccentric and fascinating and erudite and approachable. You are a romantic rainstorm on a boring sunny day. You make me want to be the best possible version of myself.
* * * * *
And now, if you people will kindly excuse me, I desperately need to get back to Jeffrey Bilhuber (HERE.)
(Photo by LBG.)
Have an inspiring week, everyone.
UPDATE: A commenter alerted me to the fact that Deborah Needleman, ex-editor of Domino, is the creative force behind the Off Duty section. Of course she is and how oblivious of me not to mention that. Thank you Deborah, for the miracles you have wrought!