Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winding Down, For Now

Used to be that blogging was a regular part of my routine. I was writing and reading every day and blogging was a part of all that. Now, after being in school for a year and heading into student teaching for the the semester, I just don't write so much, and blogging feels a little more labored and a little less purposeful.

Truth be told, I miss writing every day and blogging regularly, but I don't foresee how, in the very near future, I'll be able to return at least to blogging in a meaningful and consistent way. And so, while I've loved staying connected to people through this venue, but it's time to step away from it, at least for a while. Notice I can't say I'll stop forever, but I don't know when I'll start again. For now, I'll sign off and wish everyone a wonderful new year.

Until soon.....ish.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mitt Romney Lies Some More

Now he's lying about his job creation and Obama's. He claims to have created 100,000 jobs while at Bain, and that the economy under Obama has lost 2 million. Greg Sargent writes in the Washington Post:

"Meanwhile, Romney’s claim that two million jobs were lost under the Obama presidency is based on the idea that there’s been a net loss of jobs since he took office. In other words, Romney is taking into account the fact that the economy continued hemorraghing jobs at a furious rate after Obama took office — before Obama’s stimulus passed. But the figures show that once it became law, monthly job loss declined over time, and turned around in the spring of 2010, after which the private sector added jobs for over 20 straight months, totaling around 2.2 million of them.

You can debate whether the stimulus underperformed. You can debate whether the stimulus is the reason the economy did add private sector jobs. You can argue that public sector jobs loss should be factored in. But it is not debatable to claim that the overall net jobs loss number Romney cites is a fair measure of the success or failure of Obama’s policies. At an absolute minimum, Romney should be pressed to explain why he’s claiming this net loss figure as an indictment of those policies, when many of those jobs were lost before the policies were implemented."

This election is just going to be awful.


So, yesterday, I'm on the train with the kids on the way to The Muppet movie (which, by the way, was a little sad -- when did Kermit get so sad?) and we're reading Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, by Louis Sachar. Now, I'd gotten the book because my daughter had asked for Sideways Stories from the Wayside School, and the bookstore didn't have it, but they had Stranger stories. And, I'd recently read Holes, also by Sachar, which is a lovely book (until the end, when it's a little too much good news even for a kids' book). But, I have to say, in Stranger stories we got to a chapter about one Mr. Gorf who has three nostrils and uses one of them to steal children's voices and then calls their moms and tells each mom how much her son or daughter hates her. (Mr. Gorf said he did this because these students "took his mommy away and he's going to take their mommies away." His mommy turned students she didn't like into apples.) In any case, this didn't feel like the cruel, fascinatingly horrible things that happen in fairy tales, or in, say, A Tale Dark and Grimm (which I loved). Nor did it feel like the bad but you know it's not serious kinds of things that can happen in books when the author is being "funny". It just read as mean, gratuitously mean. Granted, we didn't get to the end of the chapter because we arrived at our subway stop, but I have to say, I was pretty disappointed in Mr. Sachar. When choosing books for kids, we trust authors we know, authors we've read, and while not every story has to be like the others, I wasn't expecting revenge via prank calls. Boiling evil magicians, now that I'm OK with. Prank calls that make children cry? Not so much.

Update: I just asked Helen if she finished the chapter with her dad. She did. She liked the ending when a pepper pie made Mr. Gorf sneeze out all the voices and then Mr. Gorf's whole nose flies off. I admit it, it's funny. But funny enough to make up for this stricken faces in the middle? I don't know. Maaaybe.

Monday, January 2, 2012

On the Homepage

No big deal, but a certain 7-year-old I know pretty well is on the New York Public Library's homepage holding up a library card. At least she's there today, January 2nd, in the afternoon, when we're just back from seeing The Muppets (she was underwhelmed) and drinking too much hot chocolate at City Bakery. (Well, the girl didn't like the hot chocolate, nor did her brother. The preferred the pretzel croissant and chocolate chip cookie respectively.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mitt Romney:Liar.

Of course we know he's willing to unsay what he just said and disavow policies that actually helped hundreds of thousands of people in Massachusetts, and now we know he'll just lie, lie, lie like a rug. (I'm a little law with this post, but better late than never.....)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pork Cake on Fire

Many years ago I spent an evening with Melissa and her ex-husband (I think) and our friends Josh and Ana, who have long since also split up. We were in Josh and Ana's Brooklyn Heights apartment, which was just about the perfect Brooklyn Heights apartment. Charming and slightly off-kilter, it was three flights up in a brownstone, the kitchen was in a pass-through between the living and bed rooms and you had to go through the bedroom to get to the bathroom. It had two cats, this lovely study off the living room, and, I think, a mantle. In any case, being in that apartment at that time with those cats and those friends was very reassuring, even cosseting, and the evening I'm thinking of may even have been some kind of holiday like Christmas or New Year's. Whatever it was we (or I) ate just an enormous amount, and I purposefully didn't save any room for dessert because I knew Melissa had made something from one of the Laurie Colwin books (Home Cooking or More Home Cooking) that involved whole lemons and suet, or what I understood to be the fat that's wrapped around the pancreas of a cow. I wasn't expecting much, but, you won't be surprised to read, my expectations were all wrong. I was completely devastated when I bit into my bit of suetty, lemony, toffee-liquor-drenched stuff to discover nothing short of perfection on a fork. I don't remember anything more about the dessert (like it's name) but I do remember being so sad that I'd already eaten so much because I knew I was about to eat a whole lot more of that dessert, personal comfort and health be damned. It was something, that dessert, and this post on Melissa's web site, with its recipe for pork cake that one sets on fire before drinking too much reminded me of that very, extremely, lovely, and filling, night. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

E-Books, Revisited

Lately, the thought of curling up with my Nook to read a good Book just makes my toes curl. I know I'm not the only woman giving up on screen reading. K.J. Dellantonia, our new Motherlode blogger, has done the same. I wish my reasons for not wanting e-books were as clear as hers. She wants her kids to see her reading. This means Ms. Dellantonia has "quiet time" in her house during which they all read together. We don't have that. Then again, my kids are early readers so I shouldn't feel bad yet for not having quiet reading time. I can wait for two years from now when, I hope, my kids will be reading away but not during the quiet time when we all read together. No, I'm not that into e-books just BECAUSE. Because I'm tired of screens being everywhere and doing everything. It's not that I don't appreciate the screens I use. I've come to quite like this new computer, and I'm not ready to give up my TV, even though I watch it less and less. But, I can't help it. I still like reading books that are only books and don't glow, except, you know, on the inside. So will I read Villette, my next big not-chilrden's novel, on the Nook? Or, will I get it from the library? I guess we'll just have to see how long this jag of grump lasts.