Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Swimming has taken over our life. We are at the pool four days a week. Each girl swims three times, M from 5-6:30, E from 5-6. On Mondays, only M swims, and E and I go home. On Thursdays, only E swims, and M and I hang out, because home is not worth the drive for an hour. On Tuesday and Friday, I have an hour to myself, before I go get E at 6, shower her in the locker room, and wait for M to be done.

This would be a great time to work, except that Swimming Town is pretty much bereft of places to go--the library is a possibility, but down an annoying rush hour road, and I hear there is a Starbucks in the other direction which M and I are going to look into tomorrow, but that's about it. So lately I've been using that time to go for a walk, or to run, which are actually lovely ways to use the time, except soon it's going to be dark, but I'm sure it's the kind of neighborhood where I can walk in the dark, only then it will be cold, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

One place my walks and runs have taken me is the Swimming Town cemetery which is huge and beautiful and strikingly still in action. We have a cemetery a few blocks from our house where we ride bikes and play hide-and-seek. There are a few newish graves, and some graves have flowers, but mainly it is pretty 19th/20th century, and feels very much like the past, which is how I think of cemeteries.

But in Swimming Town, the cemetery, which is really quite vast, goes back at least to the early 19th century, and maybe further--I haven't fully investigated the little fenced off plot which seems to have the oldest graves--but it also has plots for all the 20th century wars (haven't seen an Iraq war section--that would totally make me lose it), and yesterday in the far corner I saw a lot of 2005s, and there are big swaths of lawn for the future.

I often see runners and dog walkers there, but I also always see cars at graves, and people standing by graves, so it is a very present kind of place. Yesterday, I saw a new grave covered with flower arrangements. There were pictures of a one-year-old boy propped against the stone, which had the name and dates of a grandmother. I hope it was the grandfather who died, and the pictures of the boy were just to keep him company, but somehow I don't think so.

Death is my greatest (and omnipresent) fear, and the idea of the full disappearance that cremation entails is just too much for me, so I know I want to be buried. But where?

In this day and age, cemeteries so often seem so abandoned. My grandparents are buried somewhere in the outer reaches of New York City, one set, I think, in New York, the other in New Jersey. We only go when someone else needs to be buried, and now I think everyone who will be buried there is gone, so I wonder if we will ever go again. Certainly not if I don't even know where they are. L is in a beautiful cemetery in City, perhaps the most beautiful cemetery in the world, but I don't know if D, E, and L ever go. We don't, though now that I think of it, maybe we will, I'd like to show the girls that cemetery, and have them know that L is there.

People move away and leave their dead behind. But not so much in Swimming Town, it seems.

I suppose this is the kind of problem we should think about in advance, but it's just so hard.

Edited to add: This post has nothing to do with Halloween. It's just what I was thinking about yesterday afternoon as I ran through the cemetery. Then I posted it, and then I saw something else and remembered again that it was Halloween (how I could forget, given my children's excitement, is a sign of my true lack of interest).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Little Women

E has been reading M's copies of Beth's Story and Meg's Story from the Portraits of Little Women series--and you probably already know this, but my position on prequels, sequels, and abridgements is that they are A-OK, so long as they are upfront about their status, and E's reading of these is a perfect case in point: she really is not ready for the full book, and I think in fact is next going to tackle the abridgement that was my childhood copy, which I only realized was abridged when I went to read it to M when she was around seven, but she--now we're back to E--is falling in love with Little Women, and these books will bridge her right to the real thing, just like the Little House picture books led her into the novels.

But this post is not about literary principle, it's about Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, and more broadly about sisterly attributes.

Of course the question of which sister E resembles came up, it is sort of an innate kind of thing, there must be a gene attached to the gene for reading which is the gene for identification and sorting of real people by fictional characters. But at any rate E asked which sister I thought she was like, and I said Beth--not that she is musical or sickly, but that she is very alert and somewhat shy and gentle--except when she's not, oh my god, did I just call E, the feral maniac child, gentle? OK, but this actually supports my point: E said that she thought she was like Amy, and we did not have time to get into why, and I'm sure it has nothing to do with pickled limes, but I said I thought she was a combination of Amy and Beth (spoiled, baby of the family, observant, loving), and then we started talking about M, and realized that she is a combination of Meg and Jo (loves fashion, domestic, responsible, adventurous).

And that made me think that perhaps there are a series of sisterly attributes, or perhaps I should say sibling attributes, and if there are only two of you, they sort out among the two of you, and if there are four of you, they sort out among the four of you, kind of like differentiation of labor--is that even a real thing? You know, if there's one person in the restaurant, they cook and serve and do dishes. If there are two, one cooks and one serves and probably they both do dishes. Three: cook, serve, dishes. With four, you get to divide up the cooking. At seven, probably, you get a host.

Then again, when you get to a dozen siblings, I think the characteristics start to double up, like in Cheaper by the Dozen, where the kids are in groups: big sisters, little boys, etc.

Anyway, just a thought.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I grew up under a regime of modernism. Mies, Wright, the Glass House: that was architecture. Our kitchen table was Saarinen (white laminate--it's in my basement, waiting till we renovate the kitchen) and the chairs were Thonet (black with padded seat--in the attic) (I look at the prices on those today and gasp). My dad built our bookcases and beds--boxes with mattresses on them, I have never slept on a box spring--and painted them in red and blue lacquer. Marimekko was the house fabric (we got one of these nightgowns every Hanukkah--me, my sister, and my mother) (again, the prices!).

Antiques were for people we didn't know. Rich people. People in the country. I couldn't imagine why people wanted antiques, or what they did with them (how ironic that modernism is now vintage).

I shouldn't say regime, because that sounds like oppression, which it wasn't for me (perhaps for my mother, who embraced ethnic folklorica after the divorce, but I was gone by that point). Modernism is another part of my childhood which inhabits me, or perhaps, I should say, which I inhabit. Sometimes my modernism is indistinguishable from minimalism: I have slept on a mattress on the floor in more homes than I'm willing to admit. I suppose you could also call it cheap, which is, of course, its own irony. I built my first bed--a box with a mattress. These days I sleep for the first time on a bed with a headboard, but it's just a slanted piece of wood above a platform.

Our kitchen table is butcher block, our dining room table is Danish, we are too lazy to build our own bookshelves, especially because we need so many, but we buy plain shelves from the unfinished wood store and stain them oak. M and E have the red and blue lacquered shelves, and E's dresser is a plain square, lacquered green. Our dishes are plain, as is our cutlery, though we do have a nice collection of funky martini glasses (but isn't that just the decorative side of modernism?).

Though I was something of a hippie when I was young, and had my share of vintage (when vintage was the 40s), for a long time now my clothes have had the simplest of lines and vary as far as solids, stripes, and flowers, though at least I am no longer monochromatic in black. I can manage pleats, but shirrs and flounces make me cringe (on me--I love them on other people, and I try them on, but I just can't do it).

I do, in theory, love rambling Victorian houses, my grandmother's china with the gilt rims and violets, and billowy canopy beds. But those loves remain theoretical, except at seder.

Lately, though, my friends have been pushing me into new aesthetic realms. I need a bag--my current bags are a vertical rectangular turquoise leather tote, big enough for a folder, but not a laptop, and a horizontal rectangular orange canvas tote, big enough for the kitchen sink, but finally too dilapidated for anything but the beach. A is going to make me a bag. She has come up with this and these, and I am in ecstasy. I need a website, and Local K insists on designing it. I envisioned white space and monochromes, but she has come up with colors and textures and off-centeredness, and I love it.

My guess is, these new loves could be assimilated into a broad conception of modernism, crossed with retro, which of course modernism now is. But I think my point is not about aesthetics after all, but about the value of trusting other people's judgements, especially when your own are so consistently limited.

This is, perhaps, the most elitist post in the history of this blog.

Favorite Post-Game Quote So Far

"Year after year," Henry said, "the Yankees will be Halliburton." [link]

If he had just gotten Britney, George Eliot, and Dave Alvin in there, this blog would no longer need to exist.

Good Times Never Seemed So Good

So good! So good! So good!

Actually, I'm one of the people who thinks it was better last time. Or at least, I was more thrilled last time. But in the bottom of the 9th, after we'd woken the girls up to see the end of the game, as Papelbon ground out those outs (don't you think that inning was a metaphor for the whole season?! we're ahead, but it's close, and it's still nerve-wracking, and then we play kick-ass ball and WE DO IT! I'm still an old school sucker for nail-biting), I was pretty damn happy.

Yes, it's good the second time.

And now I am ready for a baseball break.

Except there are two small matters that need to be taken care of:

1. Mike Lowell--Yes. Yes! YES!!! (World Series MVP?! Come on Theo, just do it.)

2. A-Rod--No. No. Please please please please, put away your charts and statistics, and just say no.

(But what I really want to know is, did Beckett dance with Papelbon?)

Edited to add: I guess not, but man, I love this team.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Little Paragon of Self Awareness

E (after weeping all the way home from an apparently unsatisfactory evening at a friend's house): I know why I'm crying. Because I'm hungry.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Scott Boras Tries to Prove He's Not the Anti-Christ

And fails.

Defensiveness in the Face of the Liberal Media

Defensiveness Stimulus #1: Alice Waters

It started with the Times magazine and the piece about the single mother browbeaten into cooking a la Alice. And I first got defensive on poor Kelly's blog. Here's the thing: I'm all about Alice, truly. And I do a lot of what she wants us to do: I go to the farmer's market, and I know lots of farmers, and, oh, I don't know what all she wants us to do, eat organic, have family meals, I do all that stuff. But still, I am not good enough, because my children eat six pounds of frozen peas a week, and I want to make my food fast, and I want to use my microwave, and the bottom line is: cooking is not my meditation, I do not like to cook, I value lots of things, like I even value cleaning the sink, but my meditation is going for a walk or a run, and my life really does have meaning and I'm sorry, Alice, I'm sorry!! REALLY, I AM SORRY! Can you just leave me alone with my quesadillas now?

[Here's the quote that set me off:

Get out of that mind-set and tell yourself cooking is a meditation. I like to do it. It's relaxing for me to come home -- it truly is! -- and wash the salad. I love to see the salad in the sink. To spin the salad. I like to dry it. I like to pound to make a vinaigrette with my mortar and pestle. I enjoy grinding coffee and putting it in the filter and warming up the milk. It's part of a ritual that gives my life meaning and beauty.


Defensiveness Stimulus #2: Corinne Maier

I know, you've never heard of her. She's French, that's why. She's French, and she wrote a book about how women shouldn't have children. And I say bully for her, right on, you go girl. The contemporary pressure for maternity is absurd, as is the fetishization of the baby, not to mention the fertility industry (go find your own links, you know where they are, you can start with Babble). Except, well, I always wanted to have children, and I like having children (except when I don't), and I think that even with children I'm doing pretty well on the feminist front.

Fine, you say, it's your choice to have children, and isn't feminism all about choice? Ah, but when it comes to other choices, I am not so sanguine, am I not? Changing names? Other choices I won't bring up so as not to rekindle old fires with dear friends? I insist, in those cases, that the perpetrators of choice must Acknowledge the Feminist Implications of Their Choices.

Yes, but I acknowledge the feminist implications of my choices, and I support Maier and my childless friends in their choices. Except, not so much. I mean, I am totally fine with people not having children who don't want children, but my ambivalent friends? I've been known to tell them it will be worth it. My unhappy friend who chose not to have children because it would interfere with her work? I think she made the wrong choice.

Can I reconcile my inconsistency? Should I just go hide in the dark cave of motherhood? Will I ever be able to show my face in France again? How about at French farmer's markets? With my children?

I think it's time to go to the supermarket and buy me a stack of tabloids and some chips.

Okajima and Papelbon

That's all I have to say.

Okajima and Papelbon.

It's worth saying again.

Okajima and Papelbon.

Time for bed.

Thanks to Okajima and Papelbon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Taco Bell? Taco Bell?

What is with the Fox announcer interviewing the Taco Bell dude in the stands, while Schilling is pitching?!? Do we now get product placement in our ball games? Who thought that was a good idea?

Oh yeah, it's Fox.

New Internet Addiction

My favorite game online.

My scores are usually in the top part of the middle, between 1/3 and 1/2 way down. The thing is, they use every word in the dictionary, and a lot of them are just collections of letters I've never seen before, and I know a lot of words. So I don't see how people get the top score, unless they play all the time and learn those ridiculous (non)words, or they just stab at all plausible collections of letters as fast as they can. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just not my thing. But I'm getting better, and I think this will only help me beat my brother-in-law and K and D's son by even bigger margins than I already do!

Because, you know, it's not like I don't have enough to do...

For Those of You Following Along at Home

It's done.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Amy Winehouse's new hit

(#2 on the British charts this week) rocks the world.

OK, you could call it a Mark Ronson hit, and it's a Zutons song, but I'm all for covers.

Here's the video which had me confused until I figured it out.

Here's audio.

Here's live and acoustic.

Every time I listen to it, any which way, chills run down my spine.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Whine

This was my ninth evening in a row of solo parenting.* And I was completely on my own from Wednesday before kids woke up to Sunday after they went to bed.** And I have had a semi-sick kid since Thursday morning (including E home most of Thursday and all of Friday). And I am so close to finishing a huge project, and all I want to do is work, but instead I am taking kids to swim team and making them dinner and supervising their homework and putting them to bed.

I am really sick of my kids. And I am not being very nice to them. And E is particularly high-spirited and chatty these days, and I just want her to shut up and finish her dinner. And M is mopey and not feeling well, and I am trying hard to be patient, but we both know I am failing.

And that's it.

*Necessary disclaimer to show I am aware of my privilege: Many parents are on their own all the time, and they have it much worse than I do. People whose houses are burning and people in Iraq have it worse too. But I'm just me, and this is how I have it.

**Factual disclaimer: There were grandparents involved on two of those nights, but I was still the only parent.

Papelbon Dances Again

The multiple layers of screen mediation on this one kind of boggle the mind, if one feels like thinking critically about postmodernism. But I don't.

Monday, October 22, 2007

By Special Request

This guy says what I was trying to say. This guy is full of it (and I'm just praying the Red Sox don't go after A-Rod, because if they do I will have some serious difficulties). And I don't know what Selena Roberts' problem is (uh, sour grapes?).

So, yeah, we did it. I have to say, I was much more gleeful on Saturday night than on Sunday. Sunday was a bit of a slog. Then Dustin Pedroia reminded us what's it all about. But the locker room celebration? Why did they present all the plaques in the locker room instead of on the field? So we could keep an eye on the popping champagne corks? You know how I feel about that. It all just felt a bit flatter than winning the division, which was kind of what I was trying to say too.

Then sometime this morning, and I don't remember when, probably while I was reading the umpteenth article (why the first or third or eighth article didn't do it, I don't know), but long after I opened my inbox to the thrilled emails, the excitement hit. WE DID IT!!!! And Dustin Pedroia is what it's all about.

(And Jacoby Ellsworth, who can't be more than 14, and Jonathan Papelbon, who I've decided is Bill Lee reincarnated, which totally works for me, and Coco Crisp, who so totally deserved those last two out of three outs, and Youk YOUK YOUK!!!!).

I love this team.

About Me, Cryptically

One thing about me is that I am hopelessly pessimistic. I am always certain that the worst will happen, even in circumstances where the worst is no big deal. Every single time I follow directions (I mean it: every single time), I'm sure they are wrong. I know the cake won't work. I won't get the job. Nobody will come to the party.

In my 43 years on the planet, this negativity has been disproved many more times than not, infinitely more times, in fact. So I have taken to keeping a constant IV of cognitive behavioral therapy dripping into my veins. I think I know things will not work out, I tell myself, but the high likelihood, given past performance, is that they will work out, so I must remember, I tell myself, that this is not what I KNOW but what I FEEL, so I proceed as if things will work out, even though I know that I feel they will not, and that my feeling feels like knowledge, and then they usually work out, and I am on to the next potential failure.

It works, most of the time, but it would be so much easier to see the world through the lens of sunny optimism.

Another thing about me is that I am certain that I Know Better. Than who? Than everyone.

Remember that scene in Broadcast News? Actually, it's two scenes.

The first scene is the one where Holly Hunter tells the cabdriver where to go. I used to always tell the cabdriver where to go--ON THAT EXACT SAME ROUTE. And then I thought, this is ridiculous, you are way too controlling, just let the damn cabdriver go, and he went hopelessly wrong and got us in terrible traffic on some convoluted route that cost way more than mine would have cost and took longer too.

The other scene is the one where William Hurt tells her, sarcastically, that it must be terrible to always know better than everyone, and she weeps and says, yes, yes, it is terrible. And I wept too (OK, maybe not, I'm not so much of a cryer [crier?] at movies, but I felt her pain, truly I did). Because it is terrible: you always know better, and people are always doing things wrong, and if you tell them how they could do it better, you are an ass, and if you don't tell them, you go crazy over how badly things are being done, and it's just terrible all around.

Now this is another one where I basically know the difference between what I KNOW and what I FEEL, but I won't explicate it, so I don't get twisted up in some other insane sentence, and I've learned, or rather, I'm learning, or at least, I'm trying, not to constantly proclaim to the world my Greater Knowledge of Everything. These days I am in fairly regular contact with someone who is certain they Know Better, and truly, it is excruciating to be around this person, and I hate to think that it could be excruciating to be around me, though I KNOW and FEEL that often it is.

At any rate, just as I am trying not to succumb to or articulate my general perspective of doom, I am trying not to force my Better Ways of Doing Just About Everything onto those around me, but can I just say that it is very, very difficult. Truly, it is.

Now, go cry for me, Argentina.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What M's Up To

Learning to do this.

Apparently all the kids are doing it. And it's the #1 song in the country.

Who knew?

I hereby give up my role as the #1 pop culture arbiter in the family.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's Just That Kind of Day

The end of my rope is within sight, and at this point, what is going to push me there is THESE DAMN FOX ANNOUNCERS!!!!!!!!!! And I can't turn them off, because then I have to watch straight through, and THIS GAME IS JUST WORKING MY NERVES!!!!!!!!

Good thing there was an inch of vodka left.

Edited to add: See? That's what I meant. This is not a team that folds. And I'm still down with Manny--because, for god's sake, it is not the end of the world if we lose, and the man had two hits, and the single was as close to a home run as you can get, and what happened in Pakistan today is so much more important than what happened in Cleveland. But still, I'm relieved, and now I'm going to bed, and after all, tomorrow is another day.

Before Game 5

(I know this day has been overblogged, and really I think I must go on a blog diet, but there is a bit of an excuse, because I was just settled in for a solid day of work, with clear achievable goals, and then at 10:30 the phone rings and it's the secretary at E's school and, well, you can guess the rest of the story, so I got a tiny bit of work done, in between reading Heidi aloud and playing board games, and, well, some blogging. But this post really must be written before 8 p.m., so here it is, and that's the end of me, for now.)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say: I agree with Manny.

[OK, I'm spending too much time here, and hitting too many registration pages, trying to find the perfect link, but probably if you care at all about this post you know what he said, and if you don't, well, here's the money quote:

“We’re not going to give up,” he said. “We’re just going to go, play the game and move on. If it doesn’t happen, so who cares? It’s always next year. It’s not like the end of the world.”

And this is the one that people aren't talking about so much:

“Why should we panic?” he said. “We got a great team. If it doesn’t happen, good. We come next year and try to do it again.”

Both from the NY Times.]

Lucy asked me the other day to write the definitive Red Sox post, encompassing my feelings about this year and what it's like to be a long-term Red Sox fan now that everyone has gotten on the Red Sox Nation bandwagon. This isn't going to be that so much except, well, maybe part of that.

Anyway, here's how I feel: This is a great team. I love this team. And this team, in my book, has achieved: after the Yankees came back and that disastrous series in Toronto, they did not collapse. Last year's team would have collapsed (hell, they'd already collapsed). Want to talk about the 90s? Let's not. This team took first place way the hell back in whenever, and they kept it. They won the division. THEY WON THE DIVISION. That's just huge. And they slaughtered the Angels. And these Cleveland games? They've been hella good baseball (though I must admit that I've had the TV on in the sunroom and sat in the living room, where I can hear, and see the reflection in the glass double doors, and run in for the replay if I need to, but watching? Way too stressful.)

Do I want them to win tonight? Of course. Do I think there should be heads on a platter if they don't? Definitely not. This is a team that is not going to go gentle into that good night. Think Papelbon, Lester, Buchholz, Ellsbury, Pedroia. Think Beckett, for god's sake. Youkilis. And the old guys still have it too (no comment on Schilling, except that we will be forever grateful).

This isn't the Red Sox who always end up losing. This is the Red Sox who win, and sometimes they lose. They're still a great team. I still love them. But the Curse is gone. And I'm not sure these newbies to Red Sox Nation can truly appreciate that, but I do.

I'm leaving out the role of class, race, and nostalgia in the constitution of Red Sox Nation, but a girl can only blog so much. And that's it for me.

Edited to add: OK, I do have one more thing to say: regardless of all this positivity, Eric Gagne has got to go. And that really is it.

Oh Man, Britney

Britney, Britney, Britney.

I have been so trying to defend you (in my heart). I do believe that they are out to get you, and you are not fat, and your new album may very well be good, though it's not my thing, and that stripper video is just silly. My kids see me naked and I drink in their presence, and I'm a good mom, so maybe you can be too.

But come on, honey, if you want the kids, just do what the judge says. If you don't want the kids, just give them up. It wouldn't be the end of the world. Yes, K-Fed wants them in part so he can get as much of your money as he can, but he's also got the house, the nanny, your mom, seems like he's giving them an OK life, and the judge is watching him too, so he'd have to keep giving them an OK life, especially if he wanted to keep the money.

And if you're just continuing this custody charade to keep yourself in the public eye (as this video might suggest--I mean, just stay home already), well, honey, I'm just not sure I can be on your team.

Middle School Tidbits

M: Eighth graders are HORRIFYING.

I've been meaning to update on middle school, but haven't gotten to it, in part because of my privacy policies (only write things about my children which I would be OK with them reading, and this is not a hypothetical stance, because M does read my blog, if erratically) (feel the need to restate policy because of recent discussions about people who do not share policy and behave, in my opinion, quite egregiously toward children's privacy, and no, I'm not talking about anyone who reads this blog) (I'm pretty sure).

Basically middle school is going great for M. The bus is fine, she has made tons of new friends, she likes her teachers and classes (for the most part), and she is definitely learning. She wrote her first five-paragraph essay, and while I am ambivalent about the pedagogical implications of that milestone, it was a very nice essay, and she could not have written it last May. She is also prone to sudden outbreaks of Latin, and she was all excited to see an article about Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, because now she knows what a homo sapien is.

She is also quite delightful these days, and I do think the middle school independence and excitement has something to do with it. She loves to pick E up from school, and is very patient about getting her snacks and playing with her. She does her homework completely on her own, with only the occasional reminder that the day is moving on and now might be a good time. She is doing killer swim team workouts with nary a complaint. And she still sends me "I love you" texts, just about daily.

So, middle school: all good.

Except not quite. I am not so thrilled with the school, generally speaking. The physical plant is appalling, her history teacher is a psycho who should have retired long ago (I can say this here because she agrees), and the pedagogy, well, let's just say that inquiry, experimentation, and independence could play a little (a lot!) more of a role. Oh, and the discipline thing is just ridiculous. There's a teacher--not in M's cluster, thank goodness--who gives detention when kids put their heads on the desk (and seems not to realize that if she is giving five or six detentions a day, THIS POLICY IS NOT WORKING). And M was really excited not to have her cluster meeting yesterday, because, according to her, all they do in cluster meeting is yell at them. Nice.

But this is all a preamble for the question of whether middle school health centers should be allowed to prescribe birth control without parents knowing. To which my answer is: hell, yeah. And I'm a middle school parent, and it would be fine with me if the nurses at M's school prescribed birth control to her without telling me. So there.

Now, I doubt this would happen, because M and I are pretty communicative, and I am annoyingly intrusive. And it certainly wouldn't happen now, because M is on the still-a-kid side of the sixth grade spectrum. But there are some sixth graders--OK one, and yes, it's the one you're thinking of, if you know the sixth grade cast of characters--who might very well be in a position to need birth control, and would be unlikely to tell their parents. And those eighth graders? Remember what M said? They're horrifying, which does not mean that they are bad or scary or ugly, but rather that they are very big and grown-up, which to a still-a-kid sixth grader is, in a word, horrifying.

So we get back to the old debate, and I know where I stand: if kids are going to have sex--and they are--they need birth control, and if they aren't going to talk to their parents--and many of them aren't--they should be able to get the birth control on their own. Even in middle school. Even my kid.

Who Thought of That One?

S is a purist--tiny cups of espresso and Gray Goose straight up with a twist--but I'm all for foofy drinks--Cosmos, iced chai lattes... I also love anything pumpkin (pumpkin muffins!) and I'm a big fan of mocha (mocha chip ice cream!). But a pumpkin spice white chocolate mocha latte? I think not.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What I'm Thinking About Right Now

Oh, I am very annoyed, and trying very hard not to get in a rage, and I think the suppressed rage is fueling the annoyance.

I should be thinking about soldiers in Iraq or children without healthcare, but instead I must figure out the date for M's bat mitzvah. Clearly we have been put at the end of the queue, as someone else has gotten the date and time we requested, and that is what I am not going to get in a rage about because, well, because there's just no point. If people request the same date, someone doesn't get it.

But now we have a choice of two dates. One is the original date, but a Havdalah service. And not only that, but M's closest religious school friend has her bat mitzvah that morning. The other is a month before M's birthday, a morning service, but a friend of hers, whose mom is a friend of mine, has the Havdalah service. I've called my friend and asked if she'll hate me if M has her bat mitzvah the same day as A. I suppose I should call the other mom too.

I could go on with my thoughts, but who cares. Oh, what the hell. I think my preference is for the morning service, because we can have the bat mitzvah, then have a lunch (I'm thinking--the one positive thought of this day's forced rumination--about the nice restaurant at the end of the street), and then that's it. No evening party, which I don't want anyway. When I had my bat mitzvah, we walked ten miles to synagogue barefoot in the snow, and then just had everyone back to our house for lunch. Obviously that's not going to happen, largely because we couldn't possibly fit everyone in our house, but I see no reason to go berserk, just because that's what happens these days (ha! tell me that in 18 months). But at any rate, I don't think there are that many families that would go to both A's bat mitzvah and M's, mainly the B-P's and perhaps the M-F's. And M could go to A's bat mitzvah if she wanted, though presumably we couldn't, given out-of-town guests, and their friends could easily go to both. I do think that's really my preference, so long as it won't permanently sever my friendship with R.

If we did the Havdalah service, I'm guessing we would conflict with H's party, because they seem the evening party types. People say Havdalah service bat mitzvahs are lovely, but I've never been to one, and I'm feeling a bit traditionalist about this.

The problem is, this is the kind of decision that you have to keep dealing with. Lots of decisions you make and then it's over, you're going with your choice and that's that. Which is what will happen here, too, but no matter what, M will be having her bat mitzvah on the same day as a good friend, not in our ideal circumstances (different time than we wanted or different day than we wanted), and we will have to work with that.

Oh, my god, I am just the most spoiled person in the world to have such things I need to worry about. But S is on an airplane all day, and hopefully will get my text on some layover and call me, and this decision needs to be made, like, today, because I guess there are people even lower on the queue than us who need to solve their bat mitzvah date problems, and may hone in on one of our dates if we don't nail it down quickly, and now I am just boring myself, as well as you, so that's enough of that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hope, Will, and Modern Medicine

I'm following this story because he's a friend of Postacademic's, and because it's the kind of story I follow. His apparently brilliant recovery, so far, though it will be a very long time, is so reminiscent of my cousin's from his bike accident--which I think must have been just about a year ago, as he WALKED out of the hospital at Passover, six months after he arrived and was told he would never walk again, if he survived, which many doubted. Modern medicine has its problems, like everything does, but its power, when effectively operative, is unsurpassed, and I'm greatly thankful for it (not just as my cousin's cousin, but as someone who might very well have died in childbirth without it, but I've told that story too many times).

But there's also something about some people. I know it's a narrative we construct retroactively--my cousin and this guy I don't know seem like the most special of the special, and their recoveries (knock wood) thus become that much more evidence of how special they are--and I know many special people do not survive terrible circumstances, but still...well, I don't know what. I guess it's nice to see that sometimes good things do happen to good people, even if they happen in the aftermath of terrible things. (Oh dear, this is just hopelessly incoherent of me, but it's really all I can say, except that I'm so glad my cousin lived and is home with his children, even though he's still in pain and will never be the same, and I hope this guy's friends and family will be able to say the same, except maybe even better.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Raggedy, Rambling Post About Girls, Moms, and Some Other Stuff

I tried to write a post about race and class in the first grade, but it collapsed, because after I listed all the ways the girls self-segregate by race, I came up with a half dozen examples of cross-race friendships, and when I self-consciously admitted that E says mean things about the girls of color in her class, I realized that she quite likes the girls of color from her class last year, and her best friend is a Chinese boy, for goodness sake, and as I thought about it, I realized that the birthday party which inspired the post had seven white girls and four girls of color and they all played together gleefully. So the kids are more complicated than the ideological mother allows them to be (OK, in not writing the post, I guess I am leaving them to their complexity).

The one thing, though, that I did not manage to disprove for myself is the fact that the white, middle-class girls whose moms are active in the school are all friends--my line was going to be "and thus power perpetuates itself" and then there was going to be something else, I think in a different sentence, about "despite self-awareness and the best intentions," and then the kicker was something about how the only way to really address white privilege and racism in the lives of one's white kids is to put them in environments where they are distinctly the minority, and we weren't willing to accept the ramifications of doing that in the East Coast Big City area, so basically we have to live with our inadequate choices (I mean, we can do other things, but that's the bottom line).

But back to the girls and their moms. Or rather, back to the moms.

I don't tend to engage with the blogosphere, but lately I've read a couple of bloggers complaining about unwelcoming moms, especially unwelcoming PTO moms, and dozens of commenters agreeing (and a few commenters offering alternative interpretations). And I'm thinking, too, about being accused of being a Queen Bee mom by that person who used to know me. And then there's this Jane Dark post which raises a point I've always wondered about: if everyone was an outsider, where are the insiders? which is relevant, though the connection may not emerge sufficiently clearly.

My thoughts are certainly in part defensive. I'm sure I look like an alpha mom. If that person who used to know me saw me at my kids' school, she'd probably be satisfied with her foresight. If you saw me at school, you'd probably hate me. I'm friends with the power moms, and I call the principal by her first name. I bake from scratch, and I run the theater program. I'm always chatting with someone, and my nice white middle-class daughters have lots of friends and get good grades and are beloved by their teachers, who also call me by my first name. See, you have met the enemy, and she is me.

But here's how I feel a lot of the time: shy and terrified. And here's how I know so many people: because I found a really cool project to get involved with, and because I stood outside school before the bell rang, and sat on the sides of fields, and you see the same people over and over, and eventually you smile, and then you make idle chat, and then at some point you realize that you know each other.

B, the PTO treasurer? I used to think she was totally mean and scary, but enough tee ball, enough soccer, a few necessary emails about school business later, and we're not drinking buddies, but I know that she's a nice person who just wants what I want: happy kids and a good school.

Or take J. J is a bonafide PTO mom. She organizes the carnival, last I heard she was vice-president and she's probably president by now, she even hosts luncheons. But she's also one of the coolest people on the planet: she's into Sylvia Plath, loves to hike, can drink all of us under the table, and is totally shy. I mean, come on Dawn, you're the scared-of-the-PTO type: isn't J the best??

I think a lot of it comes down to the difficulty of entering new situations. There may be some people who just love entering a room full of people who all know each other for the first time, but I am not acquainted with any of them. Basically, it sucks. Their familiarity seems across the continental divide from your alienation, totally unachievable. But the fact is: they were all new too, once, and then they kept coming, and eventually they weren't new anymore, and they understood how things worked, and had their own roles, and maybe they weren't best friends with everyone, but it was OK. My prenatal yoga class? Totally terrifying the first time I went: all these hugely pregnant moms who not only knew each other, but knew what a downward dog was. Fast forward four months, and there I was hanging out after class with all the other nine-month-pregnant fat chicks, while the still-svelte five-monthers eyed us with wary terror.

I've entered two schools and two Hebrew schools, and each time I've been terrified and alienated, but in three of the four I found my place, and in the fourth, the fact that I didn't has as much to do, I'm sure, with my ambivalent lack of engagement as with the power mom posse (who were good friends with a lovely friend of mine, and I'm sure would have been fine if I'd had the energy). I have totally failed to find my place in some important professional situations, remaining terrified, alienated, and angry on the sidelines, but, again, my ambivalence about those situations was so powerful it was probably radiating off me, signaling "Crazy woman in your midst. Stay away."

I'm not saying all moms are angels. I'm just saying that a lot of the hostility toward the figure of "the PTO mom" is a manifestation of our own anxieties and insecurities, and it is within our power to rewrite our high school scripts.

That's all.

I Am My Mother, With Google

I just did it again. I clicked on the URL of the Jezebel post on Lourdes Ciccone, cut and pasted it into an email, and sent the email off to M with the subject line "skinny jeans!"

Hacking into M's email account (is it hacking if you know her password, and she knows that you regularly look over her shoulder while she emails?), I see that in the last few weeks, I have sent her two online boggle games, two videos, an article about tweens online, and a blog about making cool stuff out of Ikea products. And that's only what she's saved in her inbox.

Yes, where my mother once sent me a steady stream of clippings in the mail, I now forward M a steady stream of emails, websites, articles, and blog posts. And it's not just M (which means maybe my mom sent those clippings to other people too??). I send them to my sister, S, my friends, and even my mother, though she has ridiculous difficulties trying to open links, despite my patient tutorials (my mother is not a technological laggard, she can manipulate listservs and email with the best of them, but in the battle of Mom vs. computer, computer definitely has an edge).

Is there a point here? Beyond the like-mother-like-daughter thing, and the how-technology-transforms-our-everyday-pursuits thing? Hmm, let me try to formulate one. There is something, at the very least in our family, about communicating through culture, about the medium of the clipping or the link serving as a means of affirming shared interests, or at least an embrace of what interests the other. It's a way of establishing intimacy: you may not be here right now, but I know what you like, and I'm thinking of you, and I'm sending you this because I know you will like it and because I love you (it can happen by phone too: yesterday I called my mom to tell her about a headline I knew she hadn't seen). Yes, the clipping and the link, they are not just information, but affection.

Honestly, the clippings sometimes used to annoy me (sorry, Mom). The blizzard of paper, and what do you do with a clipping once you've read it? That seems like a question with an obvious answer: you throw it out, just like you throw out the newspaper (OK, put it in the recycling). But now I see why I couldn't just throw them out: because they were proof that my mother loved me, not that I needed proof, but you certainly don't want to throw it out!

So I'm glad that M keeps my emails in her inbox. And I'll redouble my efforts to help my mom open her links. And if you feel like sending this blog post along, well, feel free.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I wonder if I have always felt a bit apart from the world because I cannot smell it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

There's Always Something to Complain About

M: That Dan Shaughnessy guy, he's mean even when the Red Sox win.

Friday, October 12, 2007


A long time ago, I spent New Year's Eve with a man who was not my boyfriend, but became my boyfriend a few months later, to the dismay of my then-boyfriend. We spent the evening eating, drinking, and lying barely platonically on the couch, and I knitted. In the morning, I had to rip out all my knitting.

[The subtext of this post, which will be of interest only to Libby, is that I returned to Clapotis after several months absence and discovered that I somehow missed dropping a stitch, so I need to rip out several rows, because I am compulsive, which in Clapotis, well, let's just say it's causing another (temporal) gap in my knitting.]

[I think that S, who was then my ex-boyfriend and nowhere near my husband, stopped by that night too. And I have no idea why recent posts seem to be revisiting my love life ca. 1984.]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More on Lessing

I'm so pleased that everyone seems to be so pleased about Lessing, not least of all herself. The Independent reminds me of The Fifth Child which is one of the most horrifying books I've ever read, testifying again to Lessing's power as a writer.

Edited to add: Oh my god, I just love her and I love Jezebel for, well, I just love Jezebel and I've been having the urge every day to blog about how much I love Jezebel, but I've stopped myself because I've already been there done that, but Jezebel and Doris Lessing, together at last? I mean, I am overcome with delight.

Freud and Edmundson

Mark Edmundson is so smart, and I've been quite loving his pieces on Freud in the NY Times, and this Bookslut interview is just great. I wish I could say I was looking forward to reading his book, but the fact is I know I won't have the stamina for it, so I'm not even going to try.

[I like the intro to the interview almost as much as the interview. One of my problems with Freud has always been the idea that our psychic structures are formed by early childhood experience. For me this is very not true: I slightly dated a guy when I was about 19 who turned out to be a pathological liar, and ever since then I have basically doubted every single person I encounter, which is to say I am ready to believe that anyone is a liar, and I don't think there is anything in my early childhood that this doubt reaches back to, but it has become a fundamental part of how I see the world. But I see now that I have been misunderstanding Freud, who actually holds that our psychic structures evolve as we develop, and now I can happily say that I learned something today.]

Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize

I think this is just a great award. Like a lot of people (I'm guessing), I've abandoned Lessing since she's gone all mystical science fiction on us (a mistake? someone tell me those books are great, and maybe I'll give them a shot), but the Martha Quest novels? the short stories? The Golden Notebook? That is great and important writing, aesthetically and culturally.

I first read The Golden Notebook in the early 80s, when I was taking a semester off from school to be full-time political and attempt to recover my college-stifled love for books. It completely rocked my world (which shows what a baby boomer I am, at heart, despite my perch on the exact demographic cusp between baby boom and Gen X). She was struggling with the tension between politics and literature. I was struggling with the tension between politics and literature! She was questioning the efficacy of narrative form. I was questioning the efficacy of narrative form! She was trying to figure out who she was and the place of desire in her life. I was trying to figure out who I was and the place of desire in my life (even though I didn't call it desire back then, I think I probably called it boys)! Indeed, I think Anna's madness helped forestall my own.

I re-read it in the mid-90s, wondering if it would still work for me, and while the identification had evaporated, the book blew my mind yet again.

Congratulations, Ms. Lessing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Perennial Shoe Dilemma

Is it too early for boots?

Edited to add: Saw seven pairs of boots today. Mine come down from the attic tomorrow. (When did I become such a lemming?)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Aren't You Glad He's Not Your Dad?

I'm no big moralist, but he lost me when he took the joint.

Potluck Oppression

Once they were a great thing, the potlucks. It was before Food. And Foodies. We would call everyone and say, "come on over, it's a potluck," and the food would arrive (it was just food, not Food), and the beer would arrive, and we would eat and drink and drink some more and do some more stuff and be so happy that our social life was so easy.

Now, though, not so much. Now I want you to invite me over and cook me a good meal--I'm happy to bring a chocolate cake or a bottle of wine--or I want you to come over and I'll cook you a good meal, OK, S will cook you a good meal, and you can bring the salad, or the bottle of wine, and we will eat and drink and be happy, and only one of us will have stress and pots to wash. But the potluck, in this age of children and Food and too much to do, I am not so up on.

My sister, she lives a life of potlucks. She puts some flowers on the table and buys a couple of gallons of cider and the beautiful food pours in and everyone eats (her crowd doesn't drink so much) and the children frolic, and there is potluck joy in the world. At least that's how I imagine it. Me? If I were invited I would be stressing out about what to bring and how my contribution would pale before the others and what will E eat and I don't even have time for this and I forgot to bake a chocolate cake last night and it's 4:00, so what can I possibly bring that will be worthwhile, and yet I have standards such that I can't just go out and buy something, and forget it, we're just getting a pizza and staying home. Maybe we'll invite a friend over to share our pizza.

My sister even goes to potluck weddings, though she has long since agreed that this is a terrible idea.

The worst is my synagogue. It's all about potluck at my synagogue. It's bring the bagels, and if not the bagels, a challah, and if not that, a casserole, or a dessert for the oneg, or all of the above. This Friday is first grade consecration, which means something for the potluck dinner before and something for the oneg after, and R already bagged the challah, and I am just so not up for this.

Truly, I am a terrible, hostile, non-communal, selfish human being, and I will suffer forever in a hell of other people's potlucks.

Schadenfreude, etc.

It's hard not to feel (a little) bad for the Yankees, after that drubbing. And it seems (a little) anti-climactic to move on without facing the Yankees. And poor Joe Torre, I mean, after all he's done (then again, I don't know that he's done all he could have done).

But overall?

ROCK ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And on the personal side: there is someone I am hideously, nay, embarrassingly, competitive with. And this person has an accomplishment I lack. Only I have just discovered that this accomplishment is hollow. And my joy it is unseemly.

Monday, October 08, 2007

An Amazing Sentence

That night was nothing but getting to know how smooth your body is.

I suppose it's uncouth to wish someone had written that sentence to me, given that Ted Hughes wrote it to Sylvia Plath, but still...

From Hughes' letters, excerpted in the Telegraph, link from Jenny.

Zen and the Art of Parenting

I always forget.

We arrived in the country late, after detouring to meet K and J and have dinner with N who had decided not to go with us.

Everything was fine the next morning. E went off with some of her favorite people, M hung with her peeps, and I planted an entire bed of garlic with a bunch of moms and thought about Kelly.

Then things started to fall apart. After lunch, I wanted to sit on the porch and read, but E was on me, over me, around me, determined not to embrace any of my suggestions for alternative activities (play with a friend? climb? read her own book?). When it was time to decide on an afternoon project, we entered total collapse. I knew what I wanted to do, and it was not what M and E wanted to do. I tried to find something they wanted to do, knowing I would have to do it too, and resenting the fact mightily, but that effort was singularly unsuccessful. Finally, unilaterally, I decreed that the afternoon project would be a nap.

M acquiesced, realizing, with the maturity of eleven, that the problem was exhaustion, but E, oh E. E was positively operatic in her resistance. The wails resounded through the valley. Everyone else got to do something fun! She never got to do anything fun! She was NOT TIRED!

Which of course meant that she was tired, though I must admit that the prolongedness of her resistance made me doubt my eleven years of parental experience. Finally I told her that if she could stay quiet for ten minutes and was still awake, we'd go do something fun. The sobs eventually stopped, and three minutes later she was asleep. She slept for an hour.

I was supposed to go running with K, but I didn't. I took the girls swimming instead. And took a walk with them to the barn, because that's what they wanted to do. And they both were delightfully cheerful and charming, and we had a very nice time.

And I remembered, yet again, that sometimes you just have to go with what they need and want, regardless of your own desires, and when you do, everyone ends up happier.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

In Which I Attempt to Connect the Dots Between Bush and Myself in a Post Nobody Will Comment On

I've been thinking about the news, and I've been thinking about work, and this morning I realized that there are connections between the two, and the president is an out-of-touch ass. I don't think this post is going to be as coherent as it could be, because there are a couple of extraneous points I want to make, but here goes (at least I'm leaving out this morning's Dan Shaughnessy rant, which S told me was not appropriate for first thing in the morning).

I don't understand why people are so shocked about Blackwater. The account of what happened in Nisour Square on September 16 is appalling, but 1) Americans with guns in Iraq and Afghanistan behave like this not infrequently, and 2) Americans with guns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most other places where Americans have guns, are often mercenaries. Doesn't everyone know this? It's horrifying and embarassing (nationally speaking) and wrong, but it's been the case for a long time, and certainly for this whole war. Halliburton/Blackwater: two sides of the same outsourcing privatization which the politicians and the press, at least, have not only known about but been complicit in. So why the sudden outrage? We all should be in a constant state of outrage (in fact, I am, but I need to keep it suppressed to function in daily life, though it spurted out again when I read about secret torture authorizations).

Speaking of privatization, not to mention outrage (yay, I forged a segue), the president has, as promised, vetoed the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and he claims it's a matter of principle:

The policies of the government ought to be to help poor children and to focus on poor children, and the policies of the government ought to be to help people find private insurance, not federal coverage. And that's where the philosophical divide comes in.

While some people may be surprised about the privatization of the military, the privatization of health care is a piece of the fabric of our daily lives that Bush is trying to preserve, not produce. So there's my segue. And now I'm trying to make another segue that links this to me, and I'm failing, so I'm just going to get on with the things I want to say and eventually we'll get to me.

If the theoretical underpinning of Bush's veto is privatization, the explicit issue at stake is how we define poverty. The new bill says SCHIP should be available to families earning up to 250% of the poverty line. Up to now it has been 200%.* The current poverty line for a family of four in the 48 contiguous states is $20,650. This means the new bill wants to make SCHIP available to kids in families that make around $52,000 a year.

Right now we are buying private health insurance, because I'm the one with the professional responsibility for health insurance (restaurants? health insurance? ha!) and I don't have a job. We're paying around $750/month (not sure of the exact amount, S pays the bills these days in a fabulous shift of domestic labor that I've meant to blog about, but haven't) for extremely mediocre health insurance. Big deductible, big co-pay, and no dental which is really bothering me given the position of E's new teeth. We decided to go for lower monthly payments and bigger risk because our income is down now but we have some savings and, most importantly, because we have an extended family with the means to help us out if crisis comes (knock wood).

So we have the cheapest private insurance you can get, really, and it comes to $9,000 a year, which means $10,350 pre-tax, for families at that 250% point (which we are significantly above, but now this isn't about me), which means those families are paying 20% of their income in health insurance. Does President Bush pay 20% of his income in health insurance? I think not. Does he have any idea what it's like to try to make things work for a family of four on $52,000, especially in an expensive urban area? I think not. Certainly it's much harder to make things work on $25,000, no question, but the poor have things like SCHIP... OK, now I'm turning into a John Edwards clone making the middle-class argument, so I'll turn back to me.

I have to make a decision in the next few days about what I'm going to do next. I've been torn all along between finding a job and striking out on my own. I now have an opportunity which would be the linchpin of striking out on my own: a reasonably-paid long-term consulting gig doing work that interests me with people I like. In 2-3 days a week it would provide me with a sizeable chunk of the money I need to make each month, leaving a good amount of time to make a theoretically achievable amount of money. But it does not have health insurance, and while these people would like to have me consult with them full-time, they will never be able to give me health insurance for reasons I won't get into (and no, Phantom, this would not make a good novel).

OK, I don't have a conclusion. There are a lot of other factors going into my decision, like the seductive possibility of the best job ever right around the next corner (hasn't shown up yet, but it could!), but if we had national health insurance, there'd be one factor I wouldn't have to worry about. Not that the president cares about me.

*Edited to add: I'm not sure I'm exactly right on the specifics of these figures, though I did read them somewhere reputable (good newspaper, not sure which), but I don't have time to figure it out, and I think my overall point still holds: Bush does not want to expand eligibility, but the populations to whom he does not want to expand definitely could use SCHIP.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Think I've Found My People

My new love for Jezebel is summed up in this sentence:

The story ends happily, with the law firm Cleary Gottlieb's managing partner Mark Walker, who wasn't at the lady luncheon, sending everyone an email pointing out the stupidity of the Glamour editor and of fashion magazines and yeah pretty much all the things we here at Jezebel hold so near and reviled.

"Near and reviled": EXACTLY.

I pointed out to S last night that I am hopelessly superficial. Pam Thompson, on the other hand, is deep and meaningful and literary and political and non-gluten and all the things I've always thought I would be a better person if I were (I know that sounds like snark, but it's not). Anyway, she has a new book and a new blog, so check them out.

Have You Seen Papelbon's Jig?

It's a sight to be seen. (Truly, I was as thrilled as the next fan when they were celebrating Friday night, but, the grown men shaking up the champagne bottles and holding them out from their waists while they sprayed white foam all over each other and the crowd? Uh, does nobody else think that's a little, well, you know...)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Expansive Worldview of David Brooks

Right, the whole problem is the English professors. Uh, didn't that argument go out around 1999?

Current Small Problems

My head still itches. Five people have checked me--including two school nurses and two teachers--and found nothing: no lice, no nits. I have done Nix twice and mayonnaise/white vinegar once (same as the girls who no longer seem to itch, as well they shouldn't given how often I combed them). I don't itch as badly as I did at the beginning--and it's not sympathetic itching, because I was the one who itched first--but I still itch.

I can't find a bathing suit for E. She needs a good racing-type suit for swim team, and the stores are all out, Speedos start too big, and Tyr is way too expensive.

I need a babysitter. I suppose, in the interests of political correctness and familial harmony, I should say we need a babysitter, but really I need a babysitter, because for the most part S is at work, which means I need back-up for things I need to do and an easy escape for things I want to do. Most specifically, I need babysitters for October 24 and 29, one being a have to do, one being a want to do. But I also would like to see a movie, go out to dinner with a friend, go to a meeting without bringing the girls, have a life. Our most excellent babysitters (best friends who both have cars) have gone to college. I had two graduate students lined up, but neither has a car and they are both ridiculously busy--I've given one of them five dates and she could do only one, which I turned out not to need. We know a few high school students, but it's a bit awkward because they are the older siblings of M's friends, plus their parents are friends of ours, and they are only in 9th and 10th grade, so while they have potential to be good babysitters for E sometimes, I can't exactly keep them till midnight on a school night while I go see a band. (The car thing is important because I can't take a babysitter home and leave the girls alone asleep in the house, though I suppose I could if it was just in the neighborhood, but the grad students are not in the neighborhood.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Weather Makes Me Nervous

This fall has been too beautiful. I worry that the next catastrophe we can't imagine is coming, and someday we'll say, "remember how beautiful it was the autumn of 2007, before...." Just like they talked about the perfect summer of 1914, and we always remember the blue sky that morning.

I have approximately zero interest in Eric Clapton

but this is the kind of thing I just love.