Quick stone fruit preserves

A process so easy for making a jar of fresh fruit preserves no formal recipe is required. So you can get back to your summer reading in the hammock.

In Praise of Leftovers
Stone fruit preserves are so easy to make you don't even need a complicate recipe.

One pound (ish) of stone fruit (plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots in any combination), one cup of sugar, squeeze of lemon juice, pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes until the mixture hesitates to fall off your wooden spoon. Pour into a pint jar, screw a lid on, let set in the fridge.

No pectin, no canning, so all-day affair. Just one beautiful jar of jam that will make you want to get up in the morning. And don't bother peeling any of the fruit. After it cooks, the peels will come off and roll up in little cylinders, and you can remove them if you want.

And another poem. One of my resolutions this summer is to read less on my New York Times app (though I love it so) and more actual books. I've noticed my attention span shortening the last few years, and even during a pretty brief, punchy article, I'll scroll down to find the bullet points so I can get on to the next thing.

I took Loretta and my niece to the beach yesterday and resolved not to look at my phone. Instead, I took "The Power of Myth," Bill Moyers' interview with the mythologist Joseph Campbell. It's been sitting on my bedside table, 70 pages read, for 3 months. I finished it in the sun, and I can tell it's going to work on me for a really long time. Here's a synopsis for you:

Joseph Campbell for Beginners

We have told millions of true stories,
and they are all the same one.

We are born, we die,
and in-between, if we say yes,
we know the ecstasy of living.

Suffering is here to stay,
and so is bliss,
and they grow together
like weeds and wheat,
nurtured in the same soil,
inseparable.

If we pay attention,
we'll hear a call to leave home,
and only those who leave
come home again.

Figuring out meanings of things
is a dead-end.
So why are we here?
For the rapture of being alive.

And if you want to know more,
find the poet or mystic or artist
journeying inside you.
Don't be scared of their light,
and get ready for odyssey.

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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