Friday, May 25, 2007

Blog Hiatus

I was going to wait a few more weeks. I'll be away for the summer, in a (lovely) place where blogging is not so viable (feasible? no, I think viable, though it's interesting to consider the differences between the two). So I was going to stop in a few weeks. But right now I've got a lot on my mind that I can't (won't) blog, and I'm a bit busy, and thinking of posts is becoming more of an ordeal than a pleasure, so it seems like a good time to cut it off. For the moment. Check back after Labor Day. I'll likely be back.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

11 Things About M

1. She got her hair cut a few weeks ago in an ear-length bob with uneven shoulder-length locks on each side in the front.

2. The top of her head comes up to my chin.

3. Her goal is to write a play and have it produced on Broadway.

4. She plays kickball every day at recess and this week she got her first triple.

5. She is going to overnight camp for eight weeks this summer.

6. Last week she decided to go to the drugstore to buy herself new flip-flops with her own money, but they didn't have any flip-flops she liked, so she bought me the new Vogue and E a chocolate bar--with her own money.

7. She admits it when I'm right.

8. She is friends with lots of boys. And girls.

9. She dresses very carefully every day, even when she ends up in jeans and a t-shirt.

10. She likes adult food writing (Ruth Reichl, Julia Child, Pierre Franey, Gourmet) and tween series (Beacon Street Girls, Dolphin Diaries, Royal Ballet School Diaries, Camp Confidential), and she still regularly rereads the Little House, Betsy-Tacy, Anne of Green Gables, and All-of-a-Kind-Family books.

11. Today she is eleven.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Speed, Age

I've lost about 45 seconds on my mile. I noticed it first last spring, but I chalked it up to the end-of-winter shift from gym to street. Don't believe what they tell you: the elliptical and treadmill do not translate to running (or maybe they do for some people, but they don't for me). Every spring when I get back outside, I have to laboriously build up my stamina and my speed--even if inside I've been working out for over an hour and running 7 1/2 minute miles.

It's clear, though, after at least a year, in which I have run quite a lot, that I am slower. My short run, which used to take me about 20:30, now averages 22:30. A longer run that I swear used to be just over 30 minutes now hovers between 35 and 40.

It makes sense: I'm about to turn 43. I have to squint at the small print on the cereal box. We won't even talk about the gray.

At least I'm still running.

And, hey, I get to live the new Reebok campaign.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Long Post That Should Be Broken Up but I Can't Seem To Do It

Alternate title: Thoughts on Having Lived Here Almost Two Years


When I was little, my father worked with two other men. All three had intelligent wives, ambitious in that ambivalent early-60s smart woman way. Between 1963 and 1967, they each had two children. I don't think anyone was the best of friends, but the families were connected enough that there are stories about those days and pictures--especially one of my mother and another wife pushing me and the other wife's son in our strollers at a march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Eventually all three couples divorced, like couples did back then, the other two by the early 70s, my parents in the mid-80s. The fathers drifted apart, professionally and personally, but my mother and one of the ex-wives have seen each other on and off over the years, and my mother ran into the other ex-wife a few months ago.

The children's lives have intersected intermittently. We went, in various combinations, to the same grade schools, high schools, Hebrew schools. One daughter danced with my sister (am I making that up?). Another daughter was a good friend of mine in high school and right after. The sole boy went to college with one of my closest friends who has brought us together every few years--she visited us both in California, and our daughters played together gleefully at her wedding. When we moved back to East Coast Big City, I discovered that another daughter lives just a few blocks from me, and now our lives intersect in the minutiae of Town mom life. To show just how very close the world in which I grew up remains: this woman's husband made the sign for the restaurant where S works, because another childhood friend of ours is married to S's boss's wife's brother.


When we said that we were leaving No Longer Red State Capital City Suburb, our friends who had moved there for work were surprised. But our neighborhood friends understood immediately. Almost all of them are from No Longer Red State. They mend lawnmowers for their aunts on Sunday afternoons, leave their children with grandparents for the weekend, celebrate every birthday with the same big family dinner. Of course we were going back to Blue State, they said, we were going home.


In No Longer Red State I always worried about who to put down as emergency contacts when I filled out permission slips for the girls. Do you ask someone if they are willing, or do you just write down their name? After a while, it was obvious to put down J and J, because they became our local family, the friends we left our kids with, celebrated birthdays and holidays with, sat around and did nothing with. And it's not surprising that they are the friends we miss with that grip in the stomach feeling we used to get in No Longer Red State when we thought about the east coast.

Now I don't think twice about emergency contacts: grandmother, then grandmother, and, if there's a third space, grandfather.

Has anyone ever needed their emergency contacts? Especially in the cell phone era?


I wondered what would happen when we moved back home. Would we discover that we had nothing in common with our old friends? Would we make new friends? Did we really want to spend that much time with our families?

Here's how it's working, so far:

I think one set of grandparents wishes they could see us more, and the other sees us as much as they want (this is not because we see one set of grandparents more, but because they are different). The third set of grandparents comes and goes, and we definitely see them more than we would if we weren't here. We see my sister a good amount. We should see S's sister and brother more, but we all acknowledge the complicated timing of modern working parent life.

We see some of our old friends more, and some less (modern working parent life), but they remain our (my) emotional rocks.

We have made many new friends, in the neighborhood and at work, and we spend the most time with them, because they are right there.

What is striking, and what I did not expect, is how many people we used to know are still here. We run into them on the street, in the subway, at work, at synagogue. Some of them we reconnect with, some we just say hello, but they are always there, this interknotted net surrounding our life, past intersecting with present.


I mentioned my friend M the other day, and my mother asked who she was. She's one of the people who wouldn't know if I died, I replied, and my mother nodded in recognition. M and I met when our daughters auditioned for a movie. We discovered that we have some work in common, and every month or so we have lunch or coffee and discuss work and life. We haven't met each other's husbands or children, though we know all about them. But M's husband went to my high school, and she went to the same high school as my friend A, and we both know Lucy's sister and her boyfriend, and that's what it's like to live here.


Local K, a new friend who has become an emotional rock, shakes her head when we run into yet another person I used to know.


Traditionally, this was one of the big problems with East Coast Big City: that it was insular and ran on the grease of who you went to school with, who your grandparents knew, how long your family had been here. Now it is changing, thank goodness, but there is still some of that.


One of the ex-wives has cancer, terminal. Last week I went to a poetry reading and art exhibit that was, implicitly, in her honor. For many years, she has rented a cabin in the country next door to another woman who is the widow of a good friend of my mother's. They are both poets, and their artist and poet friends have gathered at their cabins every summer to draw, paint, photograph, write, swim, eat.

Their houses are on the lake I went to as a small child, just a few miles from the lake we went to from when I was five till I was nineteen (at the end of that summer my parents divorced and we never went there again). The poems and paintings and photographs at the poetry reading and art exhibit were inspired by the cabins and lake and meadow. One painting looked just like the farmer's house on the road by our lake. I felt all the summers of my childhood come back.

The poet's daughter, who was my friend in high school and right after, read a poem and a memoir. She wrote about how she didn't make art at the cabin, she raised her daughter, raised her to be her own person. I'm not sure I'm raising my daughters to be their own people, I think I'm raising them to be like me: to read, to eat too much ice cream, to check email obsessively, to love the Red Sox and hate the war, to love their friends and their family. But if they want to be their own people, that will be OK too. So long as they still hate the Yankees.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Things That Need to Be Fixed

- the soap dish in the bathtub (fell off over a year ago and is in a bag under the sink--the gap in the tile is taped over)

- one of the dining room windows (propped closed with a stick)

- the doorbell (little sign saying it is broken so please knock or come in)

- the dryer door (stays closed if you wedge a stick between the handle and the floor) (do you detect a pattern?)

- one of the living room blinds (barely opens and closes if you know exactly how to jiggle the strings--needs to be replaced)

- stair railing in the front hall (almost off the wall--girls are forbidden to lean on it)

- CD player (speakers are hooked up to the DVD player which plays the CDs)

We haven't even lived here two years. I hate to imagine the future.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

What Do I Know About the Yankees?

Not much, except that they suck. But I'm always happy to kick 'em when they're down.

How the Other Half Goes to the Game

Prerequisites (so you can temporarily access the experience of the other half):

Get a babysitter.

Receive last-minute free box tickets from a friend who can't make a rescheduled rain-out.

Know the executive chef of the ballpark and the sous chef of the club restaurant.

What to do

Enter at the B Gate and take the elevator up to the club level. Give the security guard your name, and get special passes that have been left for you. Walk down a long cement hall lined with antique uniforms. Be skeptical that you are ever going to get anywhere anyone would want to be. Emerge into a fancy restaurant. Find it hard to believe that there is a fancy restaurant at the ballpark, even though you've been hearing about it since your friends started working there and read about it just last week in the paper. Give your name to the hostess and be seated.

Order drinks. Eat the steady stream of delicious food that starts arriving practically as soon as you sit down, without you even ordering it. Look around at the people who seem to take totally for granted sitting in a fancy restaurant looking over the field. Eat some more. Be amazed when, during "The Star Spangled Banner," everyone in the restaurant stands up, takes off their caps, and puts their hands over their hearts. Ask for your check and be told there isn't one. Go up to the line and chat with the chefs who tell you if your seats are no good, you should call and they'll get someone to take you to a better seat.

Find your seats, which are fine.

What about the game?

Sucked. Totally sucked. Terrible weather, terrible game. The highlight was the guy who ran out onto the field, was chased and tackled by security, and arrested right out there. We left after the sixth, but, hey, the other half doesn't care how much money they spend, so they leave when they want, and we spent no money, so we left with aplomb (luckily, unlike recent nights we have known, the weather and the game only got worse).

Yesterday's Developmental Milestones

M outgrew rocking kids music.

E learned to text.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Life Today

Jenny posted about this David Grossman piece which also appeared, in a longer version, in the Times last Sunday. I found it almost unbearable to read, and my own squeamishness equally unbearable, for so many people are dying all the time, and I think David Grossman would be the first to say that his son merits no more mourning than anyone else, and his grief is no different, only he has the words and the venues in which to articulate it publicly. Even as my own life has its full quota of bliss, I so often find living now a barely tenable proposition.

[This isn't what I meant to blog today. In fact, this post started as a comment on Jenny's post, but quickly outgrew the bounds of the comment. I've been mulling over a solipsistic three-part post about past and present, stimulated largely by an art event I went to Thursday night, and a lovely day of friends and neighbors yesterday. Maybe I'll get to that tomorrow. Now I'm supervising three cookie-baking girls, and then heading out, last minute, to a rocking kids concert, and this evening, even more last minute, to a Fun Sporting Event, which we usually attend on the low end, but tonight are being comped across the board on the high end. Trying to make the best of cold and rain, we are pretty much succeeding, living out the first clause of the final sentence above.]

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sky Blue Sky

The new Wilco album is so good (I know, I'm so predictable, but, hey, I gotta be me). I've gotten used to turning on Wilco to rock out, in a certain sort of way, but this is a return to the beautiful, contemplative mode ("California Stars," anyone? except not quite as innocently sanguine, though perhaps that's because post-rehab Jeff Tweedy is writing the lyrics, not Woody Guthrie). And once again (I know, I know), he says it exactly as it is, at least for me, these days: it's hard, it's sad, but there is love and beauty, and therefore hope, at least maybe. There's a little bit of the Romantic in all of us, or, at least, in me and Jeff.

(I'm not quite sure why, but this album makes me think of Leonard Cohen and Lucinda Williams and a few moments of Simon and Garfunkel when they're great, and there's a guitar riff that's so familiar, but I just can't grasp it.)

(Oh my goodness, Wilco dolls!)

(Well, I'm obviously not a Pitchfork guy. Ouch. But, hey, I love American Beauty!)

(OK, Jon Pareles makes me feel better. Oh no! Jon Pareles is making me feel better!)

(Now I feel the need to restore my cred by listing all the hip music I'm listening to, except that I'm not. But this is the other band I'm into this week, and I bet you've never even heard of them, so there!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Where Else Can You Come for the Latest on Paris AND Wolfowitz?

Good behavior? What on earth has she done that's good? And what happened to the judge's insistence that she be treated like any other prisoner? Can we all say travesty?

On the other hand, if Wolfowitz is really on his way out (which of course he is, it's just a matter of time), there is a tiny iota of a modicum of justice being barely preserved.

Today Wolfowitz, tomorrow Gonzales? We can only hope.

Edited to add: And away he goes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's the 2-2-2 Pitch

Two jobs not offered.

Two jobs turned down.

Two jobs still in play.

Oh, and one short-term job that I am probably about to accept, which would make it a 2-2-2-1 pitch.

If you're wondering why you've never heard of this auspicious-sounding baseball term, it's because my cousins made it up around 1975 and, being basically meaningless, it has not spread very far beyond my family. It's the pitch with two balls, two strikes, and two outs, which has no baseball significance, but is fun to say. Just try it: "It's the two two two pitch!"

I suppose the 2-2-2-1 pitch would be the 2-2-2 pitch in the first inning, or perhaps in the first game of a doubleheader. I'd rather, though, that this game be a bit closer to won.

(Now that I think about it, I have, in fact, turned down or declined invitations to apply for a somewhat absurd number of jobs over the years--at least a dozen that I can think of off the top of my head. I must remember that I am choosing my life, not floundering through it, no matter how much the latter may appear to be the case.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Imaginary Shopping

I could buy a lot of clothes here (but not skorts--skorts are an abomination, unless you are under 12 or playing tennis).

Monday, May 14, 2007

If You Are Watching Me Try to Feed My Child

Please do not tell me I should be feeding her hearty food, not fruits and vegetables.

Don't suggest peanut butter.

Do not tell her to try just one bite.

Do not ask if she wants sauce.

Don't tell her that she cannot have one food until she finishes another.

Please, just leave it to me. I know it looks bad, and I'm sure you would handle it better, but my guess is we've tried everything you are going to suggest, and this is how we've ended up doing it.

Feel free to judge me. Just do it behind my back, if you possibly can.

[On the positive side, E has decided that Cojack cheese is the best, so we have one more source of protein and quesadillas back on the menu--for now.]

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Another Birthday Post

While everyone else is doing Mother's Day, we've been celebrating my sister's 40th birthday (it's also my dad's 70th, but he is away, so we'll be celebrating when he gets back--Happy Birthday Daddy!).

This is the speech I made last night at her birthday bash (first her husband welcomed everyone and introduced me, saying "I am a man of few words, but Becca is a woman of many words"):

Hi, I'm S's sister, Becca. Those of you who know us both know that we are very different. Those of you who only know one of us also know that we are very different, because you've heard us complain about the other. [nervous laughter as people fear this is going to be an inappropriate roast]

But there is one important way in which we are alike, and that is our looks. [peals of genuine laughter, as all evening my sister's friends have been doing double-takes when they see me]

Now, I don't really see it. First of all, nobody knows what she herself really looks like, and second, I'm the one who, when people say the baby looks just like her mother, thinks, uh, the baby looks just like a baby. [now they know they can laugh, and they are pretty much laughing through the rest]

But I have come to terms with the fact that S and I look alike, because wherever I go, from City to California, people come up to me and say, "S!!!" or "S?" or "Did you teach at City Neighborhood School?" or "Did you go to City School of Suburb?"

[Here I left out a piece, but nobody noticed. The part I left out was: So I've learned, whenever I see a stranger looking at me quizzically, to say "I'm S's sister."]

Actually, though, looking like my sister has been a wonderful thing, because I've learned so much about her. Did you know that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of children in Blue State whose best teacher ever was S? And that she is a fabulous dancer? And such a great hostess? And there are so many people out there who miss her, and wish they could see her, and send her their best regards? [I actually can't remember if I did this part in the interrogative or the declarative--I practiced the speech a lot in my head, and this is the first time I'm writing it down.]

So I'd like everyone to raise their glass and toast S--and I'm going to do this chronologically--the best daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, dancer, flower arranger, long-term maker of photo quilts [at this point, S and and a few of her friends started chiming in with "ninja warrior," "Jedi knight," and the like, and I was pretty much drowned out]. May the next forty years bring double the pleasure and half the trouble.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Last of Her Kind

I have been thinking about the intersecting set of books Jenny likes and books I like (that is the correct term, isn't it? like in a Venn diagram, with the circle of books I like and the [much larger] circle of books Jenny likes, and then the two circles overlap with the books we both like?).

At any rate, the list begins with Jane Austen and goes on to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin*, A.L. Kennedy's Paradise, and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love (I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that jump to mind). I think what characterizes these books is that they are fiercely intelligent, and they take a close and nuanced look at complex characters in complex social and emotional situations (not sure whether it is incidental or central that they are largely by women writers).

Newest addition to the set: Sigrid Nunez's 2006 novel The Last of Her Kind, which I'm almost certain Jenny recommended to me. About forty years in the life of a working-class girl who enters Barnard in 1968, her rich radical roommate, and her hippie runaway sister, this is one of those books that has it all: fascinating characters, compelling and unexpected plot, social panorama, big issues, emotional nuance, memory, drugs, friendship, family, class, race, politics, literature. The writing itself, at the sentence level, which is usually so important to me, is not that exciting, but the book as a whole is pretty much stunning.

Here's a more thorough, and equally rave, review from Salon.

*Correct title thanks to Postacademic.

Friday, May 11, 2007

DeLillo Meets 9/11

I am not a DeLillo fan (S plays that role in our family--I think we have all his books), but I may have to read this one. The excerpt in The New Yorker--which I thought was a short story--is by far the best 9/11 fiction I've read, really just superb.

Latest Chapter in the Bad Mother Chronicles

M and E's current #1 CD is Lily Allen's "Alright, Still."

Why does this make me a bad mother? Just check out a few lyrics.

Our current favorite is:

Just get out my face, just leave me alone,
And no you can't have my number,
Because I've lost my phone.

It loses a certain je ne sais quoi without the catchy beats. It sounds best of all when M, E, and I are singing along at the tops of our lungs in the car.

[Of course we all know that the self-deployment of the bad mother trope is in fact an overtly self-deprecating yet implicitly self-congratulatory mode of calling attention to the mothering practices in which one in fact harbors no small amount of pride due to their display of one's rejection of the hegemonic mothering discourses. See the original bad mother.]

Halliburton in the Classroom

This is outrageous, but, I guess, at this point not surprising.

OK, everybody, repeat after me: corporatizing government DOES NOT WORK.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Shout Out to Kelly

You should read Kelly's blog. You should eat sushi with Kelly and her kids. You should be so very lucky as to have Kelly for a friend. And you really should go to that blog and wish Kelly a happy 40th birthday! In fact, I'll just do it right here and now: Happy Birthday Kelly!

High School Reunion

High school reunion is high school, except with legal alcohol and nicer clothes (and more gray hair, says my friend M, whose high school reunion sounds a lot like mine, except with hot tubs and drunken waterskiing instead of...well, we'll just leave it at that).

I've been trying to formulate some thoughts about being a mean girl. Except Lucy and C say we weren't mean girls at the reunion. Though C is the one who was scared to see all the people she says she used to be mean to. Except that I don't remember us being mean. But then I wonder what the relation is between mean and cool. And in our high school, the nature of cool was perhaps reframed by (1) the (small) size of the school, and (2) its general intellectualized oddity. Then, of course, C, or maybe it was Lucy, says that my angst about our mean girlness is in fact displaced anxiety about the mean girl M is currently dealing with. See, it's complicated, hence my difficulty formulating thoughts.

What I can say about high school is that at the time I didn't think I was...hmm, what phrasing is most accurate...really, the best term, I think, is cool, even though that sounds so so stupid, but maybe I should just go with popular, because, truly, I don't think we were mean, certainly not in the way of the girl M is dealing with, who is actively trying to elevate herself and make others feel bad. We didn't do that, although--and this is really my point, though I'm not sure it's a very good point at all--we nevertheless probably made other people feel bad, and they may very well have thought we were doing it on purpose. OK, the high school part is that in high school I didn't think I was cool, but then afterwards I realized that I probably was.

Which leads to the reunion where, really, what I felt was shy and anxious. And when I feel shy and anxious, especially in big social situations, what I do is find one person to talk to. Which I did at the reunion. Rirst it was someone I used to be friendly with but hadn't seen in 25 years. When we said hello, she pointed out that we have something important in common, so we grabbed some wine and went over to the couch and got into an interesting and somewhat intense conversation about what we have in common.

Then R arrived and I had to tell her something, so we ended up sitting back down on the couch and whispering and giggling, and I truly felt like I was back in high school, because that's what I used to do a lot in high school: whisper and giggle with R. Which I can imagine might seem aggressively exclusive, except that we never even considered what other people might think, we just had things to whisper and giggle about.

And really I spent most of the evening on the couch, talking to one person, though other people did come and join us and we talked to them too. But of course the people who came and joined us were our friends--my friends, really. So I can imagine that us on the couch might have looked, well, mean. Even though being mean was the last thing on our minds--in fact, we didn't give a moment's thought to what other people were thinking. Though that is a problem in itself.

So maybe, I thought, this is what it's like to be a mean girl? Except I can't imagine that's what it's like to be the girl E is dealing with. So maybe the point is that there's a difference between mean and...whatever else this thing is that I'm trying to grapple with. Or maybe I really am a mean girl, and one thing mean girls do is try to justify their behavior.

God, I have no idea if this is worth posting.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It Isn't

I used to think my aversion to the contemporary catchphrase "It is what it is" was personal.

When I worked for Anna Wintour (nope, I'm not Andre Leon Talley, it's a metaphor--or is it an analogy?), her favorite phrase was "It is what it is." And her just-as-evil-but-not-quite-as-powerful henchwoman said it even more than she did. So when I left that place of employment, I vowed never to utter that phrase again. I banned it from my home. I don't like to hear it anywhere else, either.

But the issue isn't only one of association. These were two of the most unethical people I've ever encountered, and when they said "It is what it is," they were usually trying to whitewash bad behavior. In other words, "It is what it is" was their ultimate excuse.

On Saturday night, at my high school reunion (I really might blog about it someday), I was talking with an old friend and he said--I can't remember in reference to what, perhaps the fact that he is still single and has no children--"It is what it is."

"Please don't say that," I said, and I told him the story of Anna Wintour and how I've banned the phrase.

Now this guy is much more enlightened and zen and yogic than I am, and he was OK with my personal aversion, but he did push it on the general view of the universe expressed therein, saying, in a lot more words, that he believes things are the way they are for a reason, and everything is the way it was meant to be (yes, Phantom, this is what we were talking about just last week).

In fact, in my life, this has been the case. I've been very lucky and privileged, and the bad things that have happened to me--and there haven't been very many at all--have ended up causing good things that I wouldn't want to have missed. I was devastated by my parents' divorce, but 25 years later, there is no question it was for the greater good. Two years of infertility were terrible, but they resulted in E, and that's all that needs to be said about that.

However, and this is what I said to my friend, there are certain things that I simply can't find any justification for. My friend J dying at 26. Lucy's brother being killed. AIDS. The war. Child abuse.

While it would be nice to think that the current penchant for "It is what it is" betokens a benign acceptance that stands against capitalist striving of all sorts, I might venture to suggest that it is in fact, or at least also, a capitulation to a world where things as they are pretty much suck.

I know I'm overreacting to a silly catchphrase, but, hey, language matters.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Poor Roger

The "extreme rigors of travel"? Is a sportswriter really saying this with a straight face? Frankly, I couldn't care less whether Roger Clemens travels with the Yankees, but could we get real? Yes, his days as an effective pitcher are numbered (and I hope the last one occurred some time last September), but he's, um, 44, not 94, and, uh, don't baseball teams travel on private jets and stay in luxury hotels and get to sleep in every morning because work doesn't start till 2 at the earliest, 8 at the latest? (OK, OK, I know they have to get to the park and practice and warm up and all, but still...)

(I wish I could say this is the last Roger Clemens post, because I am suddenly disgusted that I am even discussing the whims of a rich, fat, jerk--yes, I do think he's a jerk--who is being paid $4.5 million a month to occasionally throw a baseball when there is a war going on, for god's sake. But, alas, depending on how the season unfolds, there may be Clemens posts in our future.)

Ah, the 70s

Postacademic and I have a lot in common, as we discovered during our first real conversation, which took place at Spats (points if you've been to Spats). She was a punk and I was a hippie, but our parents are divorced, we have sisters named S who are three years younger than us, we spent time (different time) at two of the same educational institutions, and we like many of the same books. Now it turns out that as children we both learned to chart our biorhythms (points if your elementary school teachers taught you to chart your biorhythms--more points if you still do it!)

Monday, May 07, 2007

I Don't Know What to Call This Post--Probably Something About Jobs, Work, or Health Insurance

At my high school reunion on Saturday night (perhaps more about that later), I talked for quite a while with an old friend who is in a similar situation to me, workwise. Only her husband is in hedge funds.

For the first time in my adult life, I'd rather not have a job. There are so many things I'd like to be doing--so many things I am doing--that bring in some money, might eventually bring in some money if I could devote the time to them, bring in no money but are still worth doing. And while I have lots of job possibilities and career options, I don't have a burning desire for them, a sense that THIS is what I MUST be doing, or even WANT to do. They are good possibilities that I'd be perfectly happy with, and I hope one of them will capture me and make me truly excited for work again, but that's not where I am right now.

However, where I also am is married to a wonderful man who is not in hedge funds. And where he is, there's no health insurance. And please don't give me the "you can live on one income, you just have to make choices" line, because these are the choices we have made, and I need to have a job.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Kindergarten Update

E and her friend A are no longer Power Girls because now E is a Cheetah Girl and A is an alien. Just thought you'd want to know.

Today's Baseball News


(We were just talking about this yesterday morning at soccer. I was sure it wouldn't happen. Shows what I know.)

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I did it.

OK, so it was against the wall and my teacher was helping me, but still, it was the first time I even tried.

All the yoga classes I take seem to divide into people who do headstand and people who don't. How to get from one category to the other is strikingly opaque. So I decided to forge ahead and create my own category: people who are learning to do headstand.

Friday, May 04, 2007

You Know What Bugs Me?

No Sugar Added pickles. This is the second time in the past month that I have grabbed the pickles off the shelf at the supermarket, and then gotten home and realized that they were No Sugar Added. What's wrong with No Sugar Added? Well, No Sugar Added means Splenda, or aspartame, or some other disgusting chemical sugar substitute. And we don't do sugar substitutes. Or butter substitutes. Or low-fat or low-sodium. We like our sugar, butter, and salt. We like our food real. Except when we like it fake, but even then we like it real fake, as in Chocolate Eclair bars from the ice cream truck. There's no reason for fake food in pickles.

Michael Chabon and My Dad

[This post has nothing to do with Ayelet.]

I've been reading Michael Chabon for a long time. Except I should say that I used to read Michael Chabon.

I read Mysteries of Pittsburgh the summer it came out (sorry, this is going to be a linkless post, but, come on, you know these books, or you can find them yourself) and quite loved it. I read Wonder Boys soon after it came out and thought it was quite wonderful as well.

Then Michael Chabon turned into my dad.

Huh? How could the love of Ayelet's life, that Berkeley-based, intellectualish, liberal Jewish writer, be my dad? (I guess I couldn't keep her out of it.)

Well, my dad was born in Germany in 1937 and escaped to New York in 1941. When he was sick as a child, he would read comics and listen to the radio. So he was a 40s and 50s pop culture kind of kid. He was also, like every Jewish boy in New York, a baseball fiend. He played it--he was telling us recently that when he can't sleep, he replays his childhood baseball triumphs in his head--and he was a big Yankees fan, and he listened to games on the radio, and he went once a year to Yankee Stadium for his birthday and once a year to the Polo Grounds to see the Giants. As an adult, he is still a baseball fan (Red Sox--he came to his senses), and his main tastes in reading are literary fiction of certain sorts (certainly not contemporary women's literary or domestic realism) and mysteries.

What does this have to do with Michael Chabon? Uh, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Summerland, and, just published this week, The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Interestingly enough, when Michael Chabon turned into my dad is about when I stopped reading him. I read the first 70 or so pages of Kavalier and Clay, and liked it quite well, but put it down and never picked it up again. S read it and loved it, and then we gave it to my dad who also loved it.

Fending off analysis, I will state for the record that I love my dad. And I know what I'm getting him for his 70th birthday this month.

[On the other hand, in this interview, Chabon does not resemble my dad in the least.]

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lindsay's Birthday Plans

Could the emphasis on the phrase "milk it" in the text (including caption) have anything to do with the photo? Subtle, CNN, very subtle.

Gender Genie

I just put five blog posts into the Gender Genie. Two came out male, and three female, but two (one male, one female) were almost evenly divided. There's some test, something like Myer-Briggs but about gender, that everyone in Intro to Psych was taking in college. I never took Intro to Psych, but I did take the test, and I came out definitively masculine.

Bad Reviews

There's a scathing review of a new restaurant in the paper today. The aesthete in me is laughing because the review is so funny and the restaurant sounds so ridiculous. The chef's wife in me is thinking, oh, those poor people. As S says, they are not having a good day.

I'm reading a stupid book. Actually, I'm leafing around in a stupid book, reading bits and pieces, hoping I can find something that will make it not quite so stupid as it seems. It's one of those anthologies, the kind where Jacquelyn Mitchard, Amy Bloom, and a bunch of thirtysomething women writers from Brooklyn say pretty much the same thing, with minute differences, about a shared topic. At first I was thinking I had to blog about how stupid this book was (I also had some perhaps thoughtful things to say about the nature of anthologies and the limitations of the writer's perspective on life). Then I wondered why I felt that need. Why not let stupid books lie?

S has never received a bad review. There have been negative comments in generally good reviews, and scathing attacks online by disgruntled customers, but overall, especially at this restaurant, he's been in the media's graces.

There are some books whose ideas are so wrongheaded that negative reviews are essential (obvious example: The Bell Curve). But doesn't it seem more humane to just leave the ordinary bad books, the ones that do no harm, alone to die their natural deaths? And what's the worst harm a bad restaurant can do? Serve someone a bad meal? And then they never go back, and they tell their friends not to go, and the restaurant dies its own natural death. Why publicize its badness?

If I were a benign influence on the universe, I would take this position, and I aspire to be a benign influence in the universe, really I do. Except I am a cranky, opinionated bitch who is offended by bad books, bad food, bad fashion choices, really, anything that grates at my sensibilities. I'm just going to try to remember that I don't always need to say so.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Virginia Tech Must Reading

This beautiful, painful piece by Peggy Hong.

One of the horrific, tragic parts of this horrific, tragic event was the Korean parents arriving in droves at Virginia Tech to take their children home.

One of the inspiring parts has been that we appear not to have fallen into our usual vendetta-seeking, racist responses--at least, as far as I know, which is not very far.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why I Can't Handle 21st-Century Mothering

As of July 1, it is possible that I will be employed full-time. I am saying possible, though other people might say likely, because from my end of anxiety it seems equally possible, nay, likely, that I will be unemployed. Needless to say, I am in a bit of a tizzy.

If I am indeed employed full-time as of July 1, there will be childcare issues. The current plan is four weeks of overnight camp for M in July, two weeks of farm camp for E while M is at overnight camp, and one week of art camp for both while I have to be out of town. Which leaves seven unaccounted-for weeks for E, and five for M, in case you're not keeping track at home.

The Good Moms had the entire summer planned by February. I know, because they told me. I didn't, because I didn't. If I were continuing on my current schedule, I would be a little screwed, but I would know I could work it out. If my schedule changes, which it is going to, one way or the other...well, I've already made my point.

Last night, in my tizzy, I emailed eight people who posted on Craig's List looking for summer nanny positions. When I might not even need a summer nanny.

Maybe what I really need is a personal assistant. Or a job. (Yesterday, I decided that if I were a rich person with a secretary, a personal chef, a gardener, and a housecleaner, life would be good. S said what I really needed was a nanny. I said if I had all those people, I wouldn't need a nanny. He was skeptical.)