Thursday, December 31, 2009
It starts like this:
Cry if you want to
I won't tell you not to
I won't try to cheer you up
I'll just be here if you want me
You can cry if you want to
Being given the imaginary space to feel everything I was feeling, even by a singer I'd never met singing a song she didn't write on a CD I'd listened to a thousand times, helped me feel better. It's rare, after all, to have the space to feel awful, to have a terrible day, to not be cheerful.
It must be this lack of space for the hard feelings that Barbara Ehrenreich finally got tired of when she wrote her new (best selling) book: Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. I've read a little bit about the book -- and today I read the story in the New York Times about the whole anti-positive thinking trend going on in America right now.
So, I haven't read Ehrenreich's book and I don't think I will. I just don't want to get all negative about positive thinking. OK I don't know anything about it other than what I read in The New Yorker a few years back. Yes, the whole idea of positive thinking can get treacly and tiresome. Of course a critical eye is important to maintain. Of course it's ridiculous that people don't feel they can deliver bad news or be critical at all, but I know some people who consider their opinions about everything "critical" in that way of being evaluative when, really, they're just bad news birds. If there's a grey lining in a bright white cloud, they'll be sure to find it -- because they're so critical!
It's easy to be a naysayer and it might be foolish to always look on the bright side, but there must be a sweet spot somewhere in between where you can cry if you want to and laugh a little to feel better, too. I had a whole political thing to say here, too, but since it's new year's eve, I'm going to lay off of it and wish everyone a highly nuanced, emotionally rich 2010. May it be a year of inner and world-wide peace.
"The food was getting larger and larger, and so were the portions. The people were getting frightened. Violent storms blew up frequently. Awful things were happening....."
Soon, tornadoes of tomatoes uproot houses; it rains enormous slices of bread and rolls; a pancake crushes the school. Finally, the town must be abandoned. I can't help but read the whole thing as a cautionary tale of climate change, which seriously diminishes the joy of bedtime stories, for me that is. The good news is my kids have no idea, although they do know from watching Wall-E that we have to be careful about trash. There's only so much restraint of my climate anxiety I can manage.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
In 1994, however, Wofford lost his re-election campaign, partly because of attacks by NAARAL that claimed Wofford wasn't pro-choice enough. His Senate seat was then turned over to none other than Rick Santorum. In other words, that approach got us a dozen years of a staunchly pro-life senator.
The story in the New York Times about an ad attacking Obama for lack backing down on the public option and his promise not to mandate the purchase of insurance that's set to air in Wisconsin where Russ Feingold is up for re-election reminds me of the attacks on Wofford. Pace the tea baggers, politics and policy making is no place for ideological rigidity. With the Senate split, just barely, along party lines and little work being done across the aisle, there's too much hanging in the balance (climate change legislation anyone?) to moan about less than perfect legislation or to demand a Senator vote a particular way. Remember that old chestnut about the nose and the face and cutting it off and what not?
Which is to say we elect senators and house representatives to represent our voices and we elect them to make choices of their own. We ask them to serve and to lead. Demanding they do exactly what one interest groups asks under threat of retribution perverts the more nuanced work of representation. And if Feingold were to lose and a Wisconsin version of a Santorum were to take his place, we'd all have that burden to bear.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
(in response to skinny model) "Oh look at that model's legs! I'm so tired of seeing legs that look like they're too skinny to walk on!"
(in response to "plus" size model) "Oh! Look at HER legs. She looks like she can walk AND run on those. She looks like someone pretending to be a model! She's so pretty. Is that really Crystal Renn because I keep being surprised that someone named "crystal" isn't blond. Is that bad?"
"Oh, that skinny model--what does her face look like?"
"Oh, Crystal sure is pretty. Too bad she's in that stupid skirt."
Which is to say that I am sick and tired of those spindly limbs on very young models that are the industry standard. And yet, I was surprised when I saw the pictures of Crystal Renn and didn't think she could be a "real" model. Because at a US size 12, Crystal Renn looks different from most models I'm used to seeing even if I don't like what I most often see. But she sure is pretty so why not let's see more!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
For example, the most emailed article in The New York Times today is Natalie Angier's column titled "Sorry Vegans, Vegetables Like to Live, Too." It's a snarky title, and, really, being snarky (and defensive) about veganism is, I hate to say it, like shooting fish in a barrel. But it is an interesting article. Everything, even plants, it seems, works hard to live. That's what it means to live, to work hard to make sure you keep living. Sometimes the hard work means cooperation and sometimes it means playing full on in a zero sum game. The two seem at odds but both are without a doubt a familiar part of everyone's experience. We might be what we eat, and when it comes to eating, I suppose that makes many, many, many people, myself included, conflicted.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
But, she's still nice. Merkin quotes Jack Nicholson as telling a story in which he insisted on wearing a shirt that Meyers didn't like. In the end, Nicholson wore the shirt even though Meyers, we're told again and again, is a stickler for aesthetic details. So what's the point of the story? Meyers is a stickler for detail but not so much of a stickler that she won't let Jack wear his shirt? She really sticks it to the guys, that Nancy! The whole article was like that, like I wasn't sure what the point of it was. I read it without my reading glasses and I kept rereading sentences, thinking I must have gotten them wrong. But I didn't. In Merkin's view Meyers makes movies that are like good candy and good candy is hard to make. Everybody, even Merkin, likes good candy. I think, though, ultimately Merkin must prefer salty to sweet. The whole thing made me wish I could read another article by a different women about other women making other movies. Maybe, though, that was the whole point.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Rosemary Shortbread With Variations
Time: 45 minutes, plus cooling
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 to 2 teaspoons rosemary, chestnut or other dark, full-flavored honey (optional).
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, rosemary and salt. Add butter, and honey if desired, and pulse to fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some crumbs start to come together, but don't overprocess. Dough should not be smooth.
2. Press dough into an ungreased 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan or 9-inch pie pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pan, 45 to 50 minutes for 8-inch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares, bars or wedges while still warm.
N.B. If you like, replace 1/2 cup of the flour with 1/2 cup of cornmeal. I recommend it!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
But here's my question: Why did Robert Redford start a mail order catalog? On the web site it says because they have this general store at the Utah spread and people kept calling up and asking for stuff from the store so they decided to start a mail order business. But from the catalog itself to the packaging of goods sold to the fuels used for shipping, there's no way you can say that mail order is great for the earth.
One could argue Sundance creates jobs. If an "artisan" is selling through the catalog, he/she has to have the capacity to produce a large number of goods. Nothing wrong with that for the artisans, but for Sundance it means they're selling mass produced items wrapped up in an expensive package of 'craftsmanship' and 'individuality.' This is an old trick, of course, and they manage it well for sure.
But my question is this: Why is Robert Redford in the consumer goods business in the first place? Why did he and his business partners feel they should "extend the Sundance brand" into lifestyle products? Just because they could? Surely Redford already had a pretty comfortable life when he started the catalog in 1989. Does he really need the money? There's something not only opportunistic but offhandedly cynical about this particular brand. Everything is done in the best of taste, but, like everything else, good taste makes waste. Do we really need one more catalog sent out in the mail? Even if a company is scrupulous about buying paper from responsible mills, it's pretty clear everyone who lives the Sundance life could probably live it just as well without yet another paper catalog to recycle.
(To get yourself off unwanted catalog lists, go to www.catalogchoice.org. To get yourself off Sundance's list, you'll have to email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, December 11, 2009
The actual getting of the prize is usually a let down after the big hoopla of the announcements, but this year, considering all the hand-wringing over whether or not Mr. Obama should accept the prize and what it meant that he got it, it all seemed like an especially big yawn. Then again, I didn't watch any political shows to hear any of the chin music afterward, but who can take it anymore anyway?
What's not a yawn is I baked up some cookie batter last night and finally, after a year of fiddling with the timing of chilled dough, I got it just right. It's the little things sometimes.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Here's what I didn't like: Padma's bangs. Padma's clothes (who's styling her?). And, as Skillet Doux notes, I didn't love that Jennifer had to carry the knives to the contestants. As a final note, I love my husband very much. I'm very very happy to be married to him. That said, I miss the British judge they had for Top Chef Masters and I want to marry him and I want Kevin to cater.
Later Note: But I was sad that Kevin didn't win.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
"The children mingled with the adults, and spoke and were spoken to. Children in these families, at the end of the nineteenth century, were different from children before or after. They were neither dolls nor miniature adults. They were not hidden away in nurseries, but present at family meals, where their developing characters were taken seriously and rationally discussed, over supper or over long country walks. And yet, at the same time, the children in this world had their own separate, largely independent lives, as children. They roamed the woods and fields, built hiding-places and climbed trees, hunted, fished, rod ponies and bicycles, with no other company than that of other children."
Can I please go there where serial commas are masterfully employed and the lives of children and adults so beautifully balanced? Please?
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Since just yesterday I myself was complaining about parents like the ones Sadie describes, I couldn't very well marshal my anecdotal evidence of how this culture hates children in response. I'm sure someone else will, though, if you throw a pebble into the blog-world.
PS. A day later I would like to apologize for all the typos in this post. I don't know what happened to me!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
While I'm at it, let me recommend (again) Catalog Choice for reducing the number of catalogs you get in the mail (it works!) and Reusable Bags for your, you know, reusable bag needs.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
"In his (Obama's) book “The Audacity of Hope,” he describes the “undeniably difficult issue of abortion” and ponders “the middle-aged feminist who still mourns her abortion.” Elsewhere, he announces, “Abortion vexes.” The opponents of abortion aren’t vexed—they are mobilized, focussed, and driven to succeed. The Catholic bishops took the lead in pushing for the Stupak amendment, and they squeezed legislators in a way that would do any K Street lobbyist proud. (One never sees that kind of effort on behalf of other aspects of Catholic teaching, like opposition to the death penalty.) Meanwhile, the pro-choice forces temporized. But, as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg observed not long ago, abortion rights “center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.” Every diminishment of that right diminishes women. With stakes of such magnitude, it is wise to weigh carefully the difference between compromise and surrender. "
Of course, those who oppose a woman's right to a safe, legal and affordable first trimester abortion aren't interested in her autonomy. They don't care about a woman's life course or her citizenship. The woman who finds herself pregnant with a child she can't have made her bed, she lay down in it, and even though there was a man there, too, now she has to live with her choices. The embryo, however, is a tabula rasa, a precious opportunity not to be squandered whose mother (and father) will nonetheless not be given a reasonable maternity leave and will not have access to consistent government-funded child care or insurance.
But we know all that. The question now is, what do we do? There was a time when I would have answered that question unequivocally. Fight now, fight hard, fight until you win. Maybe with the Republicans tying up health care in the Senate, someone will come up with a reasonable strategy to fight the Stupak amendment. I'm ready to march, but I'm also ready for the public option.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I don't post a lot of pictures, mostly that's because I'm not the family picture taker and I never upload photos myself. Plus, if I added pictures or grabbed images here, I'd really never ever get anything else done because I'd spend so much time looking for pictures. That said, we had to take a picture of the four of us for a school project that Elliot was doing and I wanted one for Helen's school cubby, too. I like this picture, and I'm way behind in my blogging and reading and writing and working, and so, here it is. David, Helen, Elliot, me. Saturday night.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
This morning, however, I read this in The Trouble with Boys:
"Today, parents from every economic background urge their daughters to pursue their dreams and obtain the credentials they'll need to ensure lifelong economic independence. (Once a woman enters the workplace, the messages we give her about society's expectations are much more cloudy. But that's another book.)
In contrast, the only unified message that we regularly send to boys has nothing to do with doing well in school or achieving economic independence. The main message we deliver to our young men is that they should do well in sports -- particularly team sports such as football, basketball, baseball, and lacrosse. Schools that barely have enough money for textbooks build stadiums for their (largely male) teams."
Right now, I could eat my words for breakfast.
NOTE: Now that it's after lunch I'd like to clarify that I don't think sports are bad for boys. I think encouraging sports as the primary (and secondary) locus for success in school is not good for boys. Sports are important and can be life-changing, but they're not everything.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Before reading The Trouble with Boys I might have wondered all kinds of things about this story. Like, "Oh, here's one more instance where girls have to work harder than boys," or, "Why are they doing that?" or, "WTF?"
Now that I'm two-thirds of the way through the book I know that Kenyon, the college discussed in the post, isn't the only school that quietly makes it easier for boys to get in. Many do. Why? Because boys don't do as well in school and doing anything about the poor performance of boys in school is complicated for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is the political hot potato of gender discrimination.
Putting aside the basic question of whether school is easier for girls period or if girls behavior and learning style is better suited to the demands of most public schools as they work to meet the federal regulations imposed by No Child Left Behind (I know it's a lot to put aside), a big problem with feeling like something needs to be done about the low levels of reading and math achievement of a great many boys is while school may be harder for boys, life in the workplace seems easier (anecdotally at least). Not only do more men than women have powerful jobs, men aren't expected to feel conflicted about the demands on their time made by their powerful positions, time they can't spend with their kids.
That said, children, and, it seems, especially boys, need to be better served right now regardless of how the grown-up world works. There's too much that's too obviously wrong about school and what's happening to boys while they're there not to give change a go. Sure in the working world the glass ceiling is firmly in place. The subtle preferences of corporate HR decision makers may be hard to change and golf-course deal-making may be impossible to undo, but so what? Getting preschools to stop with the workbooks, getting recess back into elementary school, not giving up on achievement but saying enough to testing, testing, testing, this can and must be done for boys and girls, because when it comes to school, the world is still half-changed.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Truthfully, the thing that gives me hope on the food front is the memory of my SUV-driving brother. He ate nothing -- NOTHING -- until he was maybe 11. Truly, I don't know how he stood on two feet. (He was quite spindly.) Then, he started to eat everything. Everything. Then he started to cook. And by now, the old gas-guzzler has spent the better part of his life on a big food adventure. So I can only hope that slowly but surely, my kids will try new foods. Eventually, I'll make meals the four of us can tuck into. Maybe my kids will try and like asparagus and not demand peas and probably if they do demand peas I'll tell them they'll have to wait until tomorrow. We'll all have learned our lessons by then.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
After watching the clip a couple of times, I still want to ask this: Was their kitchen in Chicago always that neat or did they just clean up for the film makers? Does Michelle have a junk mail pile? A bill pile? I bet Michelle Obama does not pile, I bet she files, without thinking twice about it. When she feels like she doesn't want to file anymore, she just sighs and finishes the filing, because it has to get done and before she moved to the White House, if she didn't do it, who would?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This is much easier to blog about than how grumpy I am about the New Jersey governor's race, not that I was following it, but I still can't believe Corzine lost. I will not read any post-mortems on what this means for Democrats because I heard Mara Liasson on NPR last night and she said the races are local and not really meaningful for national politics at this point in time. I'm going with what Mara said this time.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
But I'm not blogging about polenta and pudding because on our way to the subway we stopped at Brklyn Larder, the store whose granola inspired this recipe that's now a staple in our house (I'm going to make some now in fact), but whose Almond Butter is the best ever. It's smooth, it's nutty, it's somehow, I don't know, better than any other almond butter I've had -- and it doesn't get clumpy! It's so special and lasts so long and tastes so good with orange marmalade I don't even mind paying an amount that makes me cough. Really, a jar of the stuff was the perfect present at the end of a lovely lunching afternoon.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Always on the lookout for joy and satisfaction, I turned my attention away from Arthur and took a look at the piece. What I found was yet another rehashing of how women were told one thing and found another. As in: "They told 'our generation' of now 40-somethings that we could have it all and we couldn't because we have careers but we don't have husbands or children or happy marriages so 20- and 30-year-olds, don't make the mistakes we made."
The writer, 25-year-old Irina Aleksander, not only talks to the matrons of the title but also to her friends in their late twenties and early thirties and it turns out they're scared of ending up alone and these articles about single motherhood, being single in one's 40s and mid-life divorce freak them out. Apparently, it's news to these kids that life is full of choices and compromises. Apparently, people are not only rehashing 80s fashion choices but the maxim that a woman can "have it all!" Did anyone ever really believe that? I mean believe believe believe? Really? When are these so-called articles about generational expectations going to stop? I guess my blogging about one won't help stop them, but, really, if I could petition culture editors, I would. It's enough already.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
We had a birthday party for the kids today. In our apartment. Seventeen, eighteen kids. Something like that. It was great. Toys everywhere, art projects galore, and, the cakes. I have to say, I loved making these cakes. A huge thank you to Lauren Deen for her book Kitchen Playdates. Really, the recipe is so easy anyone can make one of these Bob Mackie meets Martha Stewart babies. Really.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I try not to be judgmental when it comes to how people make their families, but women going bananas because they have three healthy boys and no girls? Nuh-uh. I'm judging. But you can decide for yourself and by reading a story by Ruth Shalit Barrett about "Gender Disappointment" in this month's Elle.
Me, I've made my decisions about "GD." Not only, as XX blogger KJ Dell'Antonia points out, does the whole thing cross the line of a parent saying about a child, "I didn't want you," but a driving desire for a girl is a about a fantasy. It's not about raising an actual person who arrives in this world with a personality. It's about the dream of a very specific kind of companionship where the mother gets to call all the shots. The women who try to come off as thoughtful in the article say things like: “My desire for a daughter is not about pink or shopping. I don’t get manicures and pedicures. All that stuff isn’t important to me. Relationships are. As a woman, I have so much I want to share.” What, and she can't share any of what she has with her sons? And if she can only share with girls, then girlfriend, go out and get some girlfriends and leave your kids out of it. Seriously. It's bad.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"There was something awe-inspiring about that series for me, even if I acquired it a generation late. The Great Books seemed so serious. They had small type printed in two columns; there were no annotations, no concessions to the beginner. They emphasized classical writers: Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, and Aristotle, among others, like Galen and Marcus Aurelius, who are still remembered but rarely read. Their readings also included Bacon, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Gibbon, Mill, and Melville; the series functioned like a reference collection of influential texts. I'd hear someone say, "I think, therefore I am," find out that it came from Descartes, and then I'd read the first few chapters of his Meditations on First Philosophy."
A few years later, Pannapacker went to college:
"By the end of the 1980s—when I was an undergraduate—it had become clear to seemingly everyone in authority that the notion of "Greatness" was a tool of illegitimate power; Adler and Hutchins were racist and sexist in their choices of texts; their valorization of the "Western World" made them complicit with imperialism and worse. "This is more than a set of books, and more than a liberal education," said Hutchins. "Great Books of the Western World is an act of piety. Here are the sources of our being. Here is our heritage. This is the West. This is its meaning for mankind.""
One can say a lot of things about a cannon but however you feel about a cannon's content or purpose, Pannapacker argues and I agree, the fact of the Great Book series, its emergence in post-war America, shows a kind of intellectual striving that at one point those in the know might have found quaint but still had the potential to be transformational, a potential that's lost in our world of non-stop, easy info-tainment. Pannapacker writes:
"For all their shortcomings, the Great Books—along with many other varieties of middlebrow culture—reflected a time when the liberal arts commanded more respect. They were thought to have practical value as a remedy for parochialism, bigotry, social isolation, fanaticism, and political and economic exploitation. The Great Books had a narrower conception of "greatness" than we might like today, but their foundational ideals were radically egalitarian and proudly intellectual."
I know, I know this all can be taken apart, but I can't help adding my own "Here, here!" to this lament for intellectual eagerness in the face of the damningly practical.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
It didn't start out that way. I managed to get out the door with lunches packed, water bottles filled, extra snacks stowed. I even had a toy or two in my Mary Poppin tote. Then Elliot ate his lunch on the subway ride down to the Intrepid. Then I decided to join the Intrepid. After the Intrepid, we decided to go on a pedi-cab ride around Central Park. This is where things got hairy. I mean, paying for a pedi-cab ride when you actually live in New York City and aren't interested in trotting out to Strawberry Field or taking a picture by Bethesda Fountain, well, it's kind of a shocking thing to do, shocking not only because the pedi-cab ride has a steep price tag, but also because you kind of become a tourist when you're riding in the back of an overgrown tricycle pedaled by a nice young man from Russia. The park itself was a completely different place than the one I've known for the past twenty years. The pedi-cabs weren't simply large vehicles around which we had to maneuver but a confederation of riders united against the horse-drawn carriages. The carriages, meanwhile, seemed hell bent on pushing the pedi-cabs out of the way, no matter the size of its passengers. A woman on a horse drawn carriage gave me a look a terror and upset as her carriage driver tried to elbow our pedi-cab with its small children out of the way. But it wasn't only fear in her eyes, it was a search for solidarity, a desire to confirm what her face said: "Do you believe what happens here in New York City!"
Anyway, after the pedi-cab ride, which, in spite of the carriages, was pretty fun on the down hills, there was more -- snack at Whole Foods, a trip to Sephora during which Elliot picked up pots of eye shadow and smeared them on his eyelids (it was raucous), and finally the long trip home. Then, our mini-vacation was done and all that was left was dinner and recovery. I'm so excited for school!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Today (Saturday), in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, I read with great interest Jonathan Safran Foer's essay Against Meat. I liked it for all kinds of reasons: because Safran Foer is a very fluid writer; because he framed the story with stories of his grandmother which I found poignant; because he admitted that he'd tried to be a vegetarian on and of since he was a child but most of the time started eating meat again; because he didn't try to argue that a vegetarian diet is as tasty as a omnivorous one. I also liked it because after reading it I feel like the gauntlet has been realistically thrown down. Putting sentiment about carcasses aside (which is a big putting aside, but takes away the case for sentimentality) if I'm someone who won't buy a plastic bottle of water; who worries every time I run alongside the West Side Highway because all the traffic reminds me of all the traffic everywhere and how much exhaust is getting spewed into the atmosphere every second from all the cars; if I'm someone who gives my brother serious grief about his SUV and runs around my house unplugging all the plugs I can, then how can I not act after reading this:
"According to reports by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. and others, factory farming has made animal agriculture the No. 1 contributor to global warming (it is significantly more destructive than transportation alone), and one of the Top 2 or 3 causes of all of the most serious environmental problems, both global and local: air and water pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity. . . . Eating factory-farmed animals — which is to say virtually every piece of meat sold in supermarkets and prepared in restaurants — is almost certainly the single worst thing that humans do to the environment."
Granted, everything is a little fuzzy fact-wise here and the writing gives a big emotional punch, but no matter the numbers, there's no doubt that factory farming isn't good for anyone. And while I rarely buy red meat and only by organic or free range chicken, it's not like those labels all that meaningful. I know that even if I don't like to know that I know that.
So what's next for me and my kitchen? Well, lets just say that right now in my freezer there are three quarts of soup, all vegetarian. There's also sausage, lamb patties, and chicken legs (the meat's from Whole Foods and nicely labeled, but still. It'll probably all get eaten at some point. Whether or not it will all be replaced, I can't say for sure mostly because I'm not one for absolutes. It would be more convenient if I did replace all the food in there -- cooking up sausages and tossing a salad makes a quick a easy and tasty dinner and avoids take out which has its own plastic disaster -- but I think it may be just about time to let go of a convenience or two.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Of course, I'm a huge Obama supporter (still) and I'm hugely nostalgic for the intensity and sheer competitive joy of the election, not to mention the euphoria of Obama's victory, but, can I just say? Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize is, like, So Last Year.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
I know, I don't have to answer that.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"Why is Polanski different from Alex Kelly, the Darien rapist who dodged prosecution for years by hanging out in Europe? If the answer is that Kelly was a suburban jock who skied away his time on the lam, while Polanski made lovely movies, it’s not sufficient. Talent does not afford impunity, and shouldn’t, any more than money or prettiness or a great fashion sense should—does that even need to be said? An Oscar is not a get-out-of-jail-free card (much as it looks like it belongs on a Monopoly board)."
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
OK. So. There are these two babies in the same uterus at the same time and the difference in their gestational ages in negligible, but they "aren't twins?" What gives? I know the line is mostly just gee-gosh -darn isn't that weird and cool. But also I'd suggest that saying these kids who will pass through their lives in developmental lock step aren't really twins speaks to some deep-seated notion of authenticity in child bearing. That is, there's this smell of something in our culture and in this time of scientific meddling with reproduction that suggests there is some greater reality in childbirth. If you've been meddled with, your conception is less than real. If your twins aren't conceived at the same time, well, then they're not really twins.
I know blogging about this is defensive on my part. After all when my twins (who measured three days apart in gestational age for the first 11 weeks of my pregnancy and who were probably conceived at different times -- one in a laboratory and one, shall we say, spontaneously) were three months old a visitor came over and said, "So, are you going to tell them that they're not really twins?"
Why are people so eager to assign a category to what makes one thing really real? What are the criteria for being real twins anyway? What makes any conception, pregnancy, birth authentic? As little medical meddling as possible in conception and birth? A certain kind of timing when it comes to twins?
What could make two children who have been together since the womb less than twins? My pregnancy was sure treated as a twin pregnancy and so will that of this woman in Arkansas. When I nursed, I have two brand new infants clamoring for my breasts -- so will she. And when we had to get our kids to sleep, there were two with two very different temperaments to try to teach at the same time. I bet if I were to talk to that Arkansas couple in a year, we'll be able to bond on that one.
All this to say I just wish we could get over the whole really real thing about making babies and families. Once the babies show up, they're pretty darn real.
Friday, September 25, 2009
You gotta love this town.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
But in truth, I've had no time today, I'm not going to restart Deronda, and now I'm about to be late. So it goes.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I did read Fun Home, a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. It was really moving, and I recommend it. I've been seeeeeeething over the coverage of the three health care reform protesters. And right now I'm looking forward to being back. Thanks, everyone --I really appreciate your welcome back. More soon!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
“We will pay for this one way or another,” Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a retired Marine and the former head of the Central Command, wrote recently in a report he prepared as a member of a military advisory board on energy and climate at CNA, a private group that does research for the Navy. “We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind.“Or we will pay the price later in military terms,” he warned. “And that will involve human lives.”
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
"So this is the independence we seek for our children -- to turn our closest relationships into acquaintances. Of course, I knew this getting into parenthood. But the reality remains shocking. For a time, small hands take your own -- children look upward, and you fill their entire universe. They remain, to you, the most important things in the world. To them, over time, you become one important thing among many. And then an occasional visit or phone call. And then a memory, fond or otherwise."
Just like the first time I read that I'm all choked up. I mean, I'm not seeking to make my relationship with my kids an acquaintance, but still. I need the hanky. I bet my brother does, too. I hope he dries his eyes before climbing in to that huge honking SUV of his and driving home to his kids. (Not that he couldn't ride his bike.) We both loved summer camp as children, but now that the shoe is on the proverbial other foot, it's all different.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Apparently, there's something about cooking that makes us human and it's not just the nutritional value of cooked food (which, according to people who should know, helped human brains grow). There's also the time it afforded us to get to know one another sitting around the table, time that we no longer use to cook and hardly use to sit around with friends. Instead, it's time that we now spend like teenagers with their first credit cards in front of the TV watching cooking shows from 8PM until whenever.
Pollan says these prime time shows are nothing like Julia Child's classic show that he watched with his mom in the late afternoons and that changed the way people cook. No, he says we're watching cooking competitions at night that have nothing to do with actual cooking but the fact that we're watching them means that we really, really want to cook. But he never gives us any evidence of the popularity of these shows, no ratings, no comparisons, nothing. So I wonder how popular these prime time shows are anyway. How do their numbers compade to, say, Rachel Ray's? Is Iron Chef more popular than Rachel Ray? The more interesting comparison of cooking shows then and now, the more compelling investigation of attitude towards cooking back when the idea of good food was just emerging against the backdrop of minute rice and canned vegetables and now is the comparison between Julia Childs and Rachel Ray. Both women show women (and men) at home how to cook before nightfall. Both Julia Child and Rachel Ray have sold millions of cookbooks (I'm sure) and Ray has that monthly magazine. So why does Pollan go on and on about Iron Chef when it's so obvious that he's comparing apples to oranges and there's a very good apple right there on the table?
Of course the good apple comparison of Ray and Childs doesn't do a thing for Pollan's argument about cooking and our lost souls and denuded environment. Plus, comparing Ray and Childs would make the essay all about women in the kitchen and Pollan wants to talk about culture and humanity, things that are so much more meaningful than women in the kitchen, right? It's like (mostly male) chefs cook serious food in restaurants and during prime time and women cook regular meals at home at 5:30 and we all know which is more culturally relevant. Insidious when you think about it. But, I still agree that it's a good idea for everyone to cook more and to buy less packaged foods. Except Michelle Obama. She doesn't have to cook more. She already does enough.