Friday, May 30, 2008

Athletic Stress

Going to bed with the Celtics down eight points at the end of the third and the Sox tied in the bottom of the tenth...I suppose I'll just wake up when it's over.

Edited to add: Now that's a nice way to wake up.

Pedicular Distress

My new sandals? The adorable, comfortable Borns (from DSW, so not even that expensive)?

I'm allergic to them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Me

We are currently parenting three children, one of whom is a lot of work, and that is all I am going to say about that.

Meta Interjection

I sat down last night to write a post about the mommy blogging brouhaha, and then I stopped, because I know how I feel but, really, who cares? Only it seems relevant here. The (shopworn) issue is whether mommy bloggers are bad child abusers (uh, that's a summative paraphrase), and I found the latest iteration on Katie Granju's blog, which led me to Dooce, and then Cecily wrote about it and apparently Kathy Lee Gifford is involved, but that's as far as I'm going to go.

Obviously I have something of a dog in this fight (my least favorite phrase of one of my least favorite ex-colleagues who used to deploy it faux-negatively, i.e. "I don't have a dog in this fight," whenever he most obviously did) because I am something of a mommy blogger, though you may have noticed a lot less of my kids here, corresponding, not coincidentally, to a lot less of me.

Referencing Dooce and Cecily's defenses of mommy blogging, I agree that the danger of exposing your kids on the internet is overrated. In this day and age, our kids are exposed everywhere: just to take mine: in photos from children's theater plays on the theater company website, in camp promotional materials, in school directories, etc. The kids who are really overexposed are Suri and Shiloh, and I don't see anyone going to town on celebrities the way they attack mommy bloggers.

I'm also not too concerned about making money off your kids (see Suri and Shiloh). We all need to make money somehow.

I do have to say that the "we are telling the truth about motherhood!" argument doesn't do much for me. Women have been telling the truth about motherhood since Erma Bombeck and Jean Kerr (I'm pretty sure I stole this argument from Dawn), and certainly since Annie Lamott, and the truth is pretty much out there by now, making this particular brand of truth telling not so much the radical act people claim. We could also go into the history of feminism and the original meaning of the personal is political, but we won't. Then again, I find Bitch old hat and boring and the 23 year olds I know love it, so maybe I've just been around too long.

But the issue which Cecily never addresses and Dooce addresses only to dismiss is the issue of a child's autonomy. To write about your child--really, to write about anyone else--is to coopt their experience and hence their control over their experience. Dooce says in her post and I've heard Catherine Newman say in person that they're going to hate us anyway, so they may as well hate us for this, but it seems to me that sharing your child's difficulties in school with the internet (random choice of issue) is very different from dressing your child in a funny hat or refusing to let her watch Disney. Both, I think, are about us controlling our children, which is surely our right as parents, but in the latter instances we are doing what we think is right for our children, and it's pissing them off, at the moment or later. Whereas in the former...hmm, what are we doing? I think maybe we are taking control of our children's narratives, which are, I would say, I think, much more their own than their bodies or time. Actually, maybe I want to say that their narratives should be their own, that they have a right to their narratives that they don't fully have to their bodies or time (oh man, that's kind of messed up: obviously they have a right to their bodies, especially when it comes to abuse, but a child does not, I think, have a right to decide to wear sandals in winter, though an adult does--again, maybe I should say SHOULD not instead of DOES not).

I'm not being my usual incisive self here, but I hope my point is clear. And it applies to more than children: it's why I try not to write about my husband, parents, or sister in anything but complimentary, humorous, or generically complaining terms (i.e. it is OK to complain about S putting the butter away in the dish cupboard, which combines #2 and 3, but I would never blog about the things he does that truly make me crazy). It's why I'm not Emily Gould, though I will say that Emily Gould is largely writing about people who have also chosen to put themselves out in public. It's also, of course, an issue with memoir, and I'm thinking in particularly of the bad parent memoir, and for some reason in particular of The Liar's Club, which I quite loved but which nevertheless makes me uncomfortable, except that I think I might say that Karr's mother gave up some of her autonomy by her actions, in a way small children simply can't. Same thing for Without a Map. I guess the other thing I think about memoir is that there's a lot more lag time in creation and production, so that I would assume (hope!) Meredith Hall reviewed her book with her son and got his OK, which is simply not going to happen with a blog post about a nine year old.

Anyway, there's my raggedy opinion, and it's one of the reasons this blog is dying, and it's why you will hear no more specifics about there now being three children in this family, though you may continue to hear the occasional cute E story (like her falling asleep at the KT Tunstall concert).

Back to Me

Oh man, I went on with that a lot longer than I meant to. If anyone is still reading, what I really wanted to write about is the effect that a much more intensified parenting life is having on me. Right now, I think about kids pretty much all the time. I go to bed thinking about kids, I wake up thinking about kids, and I work really hard not to think about kids when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, because I know that if I do I'll never get back to sleep. I'm thinking about three kids and their issues and their schedules and when their projects are due and what they need for camp. I'm thinking, constantly, about whether everyone is getting enough attention, and who I need to call to make sure everyone is getting what they need. Just about the only thing I don't think about is what they're having for lunch and whether they're getting off to school on time, because that is S's domain, and that's when I go running.

I tip my hat to parents of three children and parents of children with needs.

But you know what? The main thing that all this parenting does is make me want to work. I'm dying to get to my work. I love going to work, even with my cellphone ringing constantly about these children, because I love thinking about something that is not these children and I especially love getting things done. Solving work problems is the best thing in the world, especially when there are home problems that you just don't know if you will ever solve.

Sometimes I've thought that one of the reasons I can work and be so committed to work is having easy kids, but clearly that's not it at all.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


When M was eleven she:

- spent eight weeks at summer camp

- hiked across the tallest glacier in Europe

- started middle school

- learned a bunch of Latin verb tenses and vocabulary words

- successfully survived mean girls

- made about a hundred million new friends

- sent about a hundred million texts, emails, and chat messages

- went to her first dance (and many more)

- had her first slow dance (and many more)

- got her first boyfriend (and I'll spare her embarassment by saying no more about that)

- swam 50 under :50 in at least two strokes, possibly three (obviously I am a terrible swim mother)

- flew across the Atlantic with her cousin (also eleven)

- was totally awesome the great majority of the time

Will she go on to bigger and better things at twelve? I have no doubt!

Happy Birthday M!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Discussion with E

Things have gotten a little stressful around here again, which means it is imperative that S get his sleep and coffee, I get to work out, and M and E get lots of attention. Of course we always need those things, but when it's stressful, their importance increases. Luckily grandparents are on the case as well as parents, and so far all needs continue to get met.

Tonight M went to the theater with grandparents, and E had a Mommy evening (to be truthful, I must say a Mama evening, because even though I am emphatically not a mama, as I established early in my blogging career, the fact is my children often call me Mama, though it is pronounced Mumma, so perhaps I can just say a Mumma evening). First we watched part of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, which she has been very eager to watch, though I must say it's kind of scary! Then we set out on an adventure with a checklist: walk, bank, drugstore, ice cream, park, groceries (not very exciting, I know, but a checklist always makes things more exciting, especially if you check off as you go along).

The walk, which encompassed the bank, drugstore, ice cream and park (then we drove to the grocery store and spent an outrageous amount of money on a ridiculously non-substantial amount of food), was fairly lengthy, and entailed some very interesting discussions.

As we passed the wings place, I teasingly asked E if she wanted some wings. She replied that she was a vegetarian, because she doesn't even eat hot dogs any more. I asked if she was a vegetarian for a reason, or just because meat is one of the things she doesn't eat. The latter. This stirred a conversation about why she doesn't eat a lot of things. She said eating new things is scary, because it's a risk--she might not like it. I must admit that I was kind of blown away, both by the self-insight and by the vocabulary. For much of the rest of the walk we discussed risk--the kind of risk that you can back out of easily (taking a bite, starting a book) as opposed to risk you need to stick with (going to a new camp), the kinds of risks that she takes all the time (starting books, climbing high, swimming far), the value of risk. She did agree, theoretically, to try some new food, based on our analysis. She'd like to start with mashed potatoes (this winter she added baked potatoes to her culinary vocabulary, which was a great triumph, and, as she pointed out, she also likes french fries).

The other insightful moment was when I asked her why she had clung to Grandma when Grandma was trying to leave (I had to pry her off, which was funny, because she usually needs to be pried off me). She said it's because she wants attention. It might actually have been likes attention, but either way, I was quite impressed with the self-awareness.

And those were the evening's insights with E.

Blogs, and Privacy, and Young Literati, Oh My

To comment on Emily Gould is to collude in the gratuitousness of the blogosphere, except that I actually have something to say (I will also admit that I glanced at both blogs and chased down the Josh Stein Page Six Magazine story, but that says something about my own narrative compulsions, not the blogosphere).

One moment that struck me was her comment about Julia Allison:

But in the midst of this artifice she was disarmingly straightforward about how badly she craved the attention that Internet exposure gave her — even though it came at the expense of constant, intensely vitriolic mockery.

What I don't get about current celebrity, whether made up (Julia Allison) or real (Angelina Jolie) (I know, it's a specious distinction, but somehow it seems to matter: Heidi and Spencer, whoever they are: made up; Amy Winehouse: real--the difference, of course, is that real celebrities have done something to become celebrities, while made up celebrities are simply celebrities, not singers or actresses or politicians or baseball players), anyway, what I do not get is the desire for attention and publicity of any kind. I saw a quote like this from Spencer (whoever he is) recently to the effect that any attention, negative or positive, is good for the brand. I mean, I'm a total attention whore. I love public speaking. I love people knowing about me. I want the world to think I'm the greatest--and that's the key: I only want the attention if it is positive, adulating adoration. I can't bear people to think ill of me, especially people I don't know or who don't know me. This, I think, is the most profound generational difference, not the desire to live one's life in public--which obviously I do to some extent, here with the anonymity schtick, but elsewhere (LinkedIn, website, etc.) fully visibly, albeit professionally rather than personally--but the disregard for the nature of attention, so long as it is attention.

The other quote that struck me, this time in identification rather than disidentification, was this one:

The will to blog is a complicated thing, somewhere between inspiration and compulsion. It can feel almost like a biological impulse. You see something, or an idea occurs to you, and you have to share it with the Internet as soon as possible. What I didn’t realize was that those ideas and that urgency — and the sense of self-importance that made me think anyone would be interested in hearing what went on in my head — could just disappear.

That seems very right, though Emily Gould does not seem to have lost that sense of self-importance, whereas I think I am very much losing it (I started a post earlier today about which of the 1001 books I have read--a much smaller number than the ones I recognize, which seems to say something about the nature of cultural literacy--and then decided that it didn't really matter, and deleted).

As for Emily Gould and the article overall, I'd say Kottke nails it, so no need for me to say anything more.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don't Forget the Motor City, This Was Supposed To Be the New World

We went to dinner before the show and the band was sitting at the next table, not 18 inches from us. They were exactly as they seem to be: he lank and laconic, she droll and dithering. They were putting up with a hippie, in a Doors t-shirt and red terrycloth Nike headband, telling long anecdotes with Kris Kristofferson as the punchline. I am not kidding. They paid cash for dinner.

On stage, they were on fire. It gives me hope that they are still up there, rocking it out, 31 years later. It fills me with despair that their songs are still so relevant, 31 years later.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reading Myself

When I wrote "hopeless liberal," I was thinking only that I am hopelessly liberal, that is, unable not to be ridiculously liberal, not that I am a liberal without hope, though sometimes I'm very much that. This says, I'm quite sure, something about intentionality and its limits.

Edited to add: And now I realize, looking at it again, that the liberal could of course be Kennedy, for whom it appears we can have little hope, in the long run, and, truly, I am devastated. Tempting to ruminate (hint: Hillary, here's a model for how to fail at following a close relative into the presidency and yet have a remarkable career of one's own), but I'll leave that to the pundits.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008


S called 20 minutes ago, while I was quizzing M on her Latin, and said he was on his way home. He called again five minutes ago. I said "Lester's on his last pitch of a no-hitter." He said, "I just called to see if you were watching." I said, "I guess you're not on your way home."

J texted as I was typing this to see if I'd seen it. I texted her back, "Awaying." Then I texted her back again, "I meant amazing."

And S called back as I was typing that. He said, "Amazing, just amazing.

In case you missed it.

Drowning In It

Mixed feelings about the young idealists giving away all their stuff. On the one hand, they come across as somewhat ridiculous and naive, though such articles tend to make people seem worse than they are, so we can't assume they're really like that. On the other hand, I have been cleaning out the attic in preparation for the contractors, and I am simply disgusted with the amount of stuff we have.

I have often lived with very little--not that I have given up my stuff, but that I have not had it with me. Last summer, E and I lived in a tent with a week's worth of clothes apiece, a bag of toys, a shelf of books, a box of miscellany, two beds, a laundry basket, and an Adirondack chair. We had everything we needed (someone else cooked).

When the whole family went to London for several months in 2004, we brought a suitcase full of clothes for each of us, and a fifth suitcase with toys, books, and miscellany (you know, lotion and umbrellas and all that). S bought a cheap guitar when we arrived. We lived in someone else's house, so there were dishes and sheets and blankets and toys, but, truly, I did not miss a single belonging we had left behind in No Longer Red State. I didn't even mind having only two skirts and three pairs of pants.

Our downstairs neighbor is having a yard sale and asked if we wanted to join her. I hate yard sales, both having them and going to them. Actually, I can't say I hate having them, because I've never had one, because I hate the idea so much. All that work, and I can't imagine you get enough money--at least for the kinds of things we would have to sell: outgrown shoes and toys (alas, we'll won't sell the books, through really we should). And going to yard sales just means bringing home other people's discarded stuff, which inevitably becomes your own unnecessary stuff. But when she asked me if I wanted to join the yard sale, I said, can I turn the house upside down and shake, and sell everything that falls out?!

Donating, I'm all about donating. I've already gotten rid of three big trash bags of clothes and shoes, and there are three smaller bags of hand-me-downs waiting to go to C (sorry, Dawn, I don't think the hand-me-downs are going to fit Madison anymore). Toys are next. Then there are the heaps of paper and projects and scraps and threads and beads. Alas, they fill the house in drifts, like a Laura Ingalls Wilder blizzard, only Laura would never have had so much stuff, she would have finished the projects and knitted the sweaters and turned the scraps into rugs and the ends of bread into coffee and breadsticks for the fire.

We are of the generation of consumption and waste, whatever our greenly politically correct leanings, and so the stuff keeps coming, stuffing itself into corners and piles and attics, until we have to get rid of it, and then it just comes some more.

I miss my tent.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why I'm Not Good at Facebook

And will never Twittr.

Because I actually thought of doing a status update. I was going to say "is feeling like a slave." But then I immediately thought that's kind of offensive, because of course I'm not a slave, and race, and power, and all that. So I thought I could add a disclaimer, that of course I'm not a slave, but that would be dumb. And then I thought, not only am I feeling like a slave, but I'm feeling like a slave who is unappreciated by her masters. But then I thought, that's oxymoronic, because it is inherent in the nature of slavery, or at least it is generalized in the nature of slavery, to be unappreciated by one's masters. And then I thought I could put all that in, but that would be ridiculous.

So I blogged instead.

Friday, May 16, 2008

As The Day Went On, the Rain Came

When you live where you grew up, you go to memorial services with your mother, and you listen to your old friends talk about their mothers, who were your mother's old friends, and everyone weeps. You think about how when you and your old friends were children, playing, or running around with boys, your mothers were the age you are now, give or take some years, and you wonder if they felt as you and your friends do, at once beaten down by the constant press of children, work, life, the war, and daily exulting in the beauty of children playing and spring flowers. You think about how your mothers were all divorced, by then, or soon enough, from your fathers, but your friends, their daughters, are not divorced, or are long since divorced from first husbands left behind, and well settled into marriages that seem likely to stick, despite the constant press of frustration, of those children, jobs, life. You wonder if you and your friends are making your lives against or in honor of your mothers, and you decide it must be a lot of both.

Your friends are beautiful, and they speak beautifully of their mothers, and another old friend plays the saxophone, joyfully and mournfully, her mother beside her, carrying the saxophone case, as the mourners parade down the street.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

S is the Big Lebowski fan around here,

but even I think this is really f*cking funny (and so does M).

Rock On, California

Nice to have some good news every once in a while.

Summer Music Agenda

Detroit Cobras, X, Breeders, Stevie Wonder, Wilco. Tickets in hand. Most expensive ticket: $27.50. Take that, Madonna!

Yes, we are feeling smug and excited.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Arlen Specter, Phone Home

I'm not a Patriots fan--not that I'm against the Patriots, just that I don't care at all about football--but I don't know what Arlen Specter's problem is. The blurb on the article says he wants to do a Mitchell report on the Patriots taping thing which seems just a bit disproportionate, no? Steroids throughout a sport versus a single team and a few tapes? Not exactly parallel. And anyway, I wasn't so crazy about the Mitchell report--it's SPORTS, people, not capital punishment. And yeah the influence on young people, health, money blah blah blah (why, yes, I've already said all this), but still: sports. I haven't actually read the article, which I suppose is lame, but really I do not care enough about this to read it, but I do care enough about my country to say that I do not think we should be wasting our resources on investigating the Patriots when we have a mortgage crisis, escalating gas and food costs, a war, inadequate funding for I need to go on?!

This Book Needs a Werewolf

I’m done with Meg Wolitzer. Not that I’ve read much: I abandoned The Position, and now I’ve just slogged my way through The Ten-Year Nap, and that’s enough. She’s a fine writer, style-wise, I guess. But she really just needs to get over her mother already (she’s written eight novels, so I hope not all of them are generated by the need to lambast the parental failings of the 70s, but I’ll let someone else figure that out--like I said, I’m done).

Here are some things that are wrong with The Ten-Year Nap (plot: four fortyish Manhattan stay-at-home moms wonder what to do with their lives--oh my god, just writing that sentence makes me want to shoot myself!):

- It says nothing that hasn’t been said ad nauseam in NY Times articles about Manhattan stay-at-home moms. And a bunch of Ayelet Waldman novels.

- Its characters are incredibly dreary. Especially the adoptive mother who doesn’t love her daughter. Done much better (not the adoption part, but the not loving part) by Charlotte Mendelson in When We Were Bad. (I did feel quite fond of and intrigued by the happy, number-obsessed, husband-loving, wealth-enjoying second-generation Chinese-American wife, but she was clearly the character in whom Wolitzer had the least interest.)

- Nothing happens (except for the parasailer falling out of the sky, but if you can’t make a parasailer falling out of the sky interesting, well, there’s little hope).*

- You simply cannot be a woman novelist and give a female character the last name of Ramsey and have another woman yearn for her. You can’t. And then you really can’t compound it by having the yearning woman quote The Hours. Really, you can’t. Or at least, you shouldn’t (on the other hand, if you named the werewolf Ramsey, you might have yourself a novel!).

Here is the one thing that Wolitzer does really well:

- Make the war an omnipresent low buzz in the background that everyone feels bad about but nobody ever mentions or addresses. (I do think--hmm, now that I think of my thought, it seems completely obvious, but here goes anyway--that when we look back at this time, we being historians or us as individuals, it will become clear how deeply the war infiltrated every aspect of our existence, even when we thought--those of us who have that privilege--that we were ignoring it.)

*I must confess that I initially wrote this post when I had about 60 pages left to read. I subsequently discovered that things do happen in the last 60 pages, but they are of a nice and ideologically acceptable and not unpredictable nature that does little to advance the book’s cause.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Slackerdom Triumphs Again

I only turned my attention to the summer a few weeks ago, when my own situation started to become clear. Yes, in April I realized I needed six weeks of serious childcare--and the two weeks of camp which were all I'd signed E up for only overlapped with one of those weeks. But once again, luck and the kindness of friends have prevailed, and I have managed (KNOCK WOOD) to construct just the kind of summer I want for M and E.

E: two weeks of farm camp; one week of drama camp; five weeks of two days with friend's babysitter, one day with our new fabulous babysitter, one day with Mommy, one day with Daddy; four weeks with Mommy and random backup if necessary

M: four weeks of overnight camp; one week of CIT at art camp; three weeks of Mommy and random backup if necessary; the rest on Eva's every-day-different schedule, but with the freedom to make her own plans

Now if only slackerdom will similarly triumph on the bat mitzvah front!

And with that, I sign off for a week. No Screens Week at E's school is May 7-14, and the familial consensus is no screens for any of us, except that I can do work, but I cannot blog (I'm not supposed to read blogs either...). See you in a bit, probably.

(Oh, but a special exception will be made tomorrow at 7--maybe 7:30--to see S on TV...Channel 5, if anyone local is interested.)

Geographical Ignorance

I must confess I had no idea Myanmar was on an ocean. I think I was imagining it where Bhutan is.

Kids Outside...Thoughts on Extended Day

I'm interested in this report on daycare centers and preschools not taking kids outside. Like the first few commenters, my kids went outside every single day in preschool--but my kids also went to high-quality, progressive preschools.

One of the things I love about E's afterschool program is that they go outside for an hour every day and the rules are much looser than at school. They have sleds, and in winter they sled on the hill down to the field. The children are allowed to climb higher, dig deeper, etc. (remember, I'm the parent who doesn't care about safety).

In fact, E's afterschool is a total brief for the extended school day: they have free time to play, both inside and out; they do projects; they eat snack; they do homework. The teachers (four of them men!) are relaxed and loving. The kids have an awesome social dynamic (though they have that throughout the school), and they learn, albeit not the prescribed curriculum (because they don't have to).

I know my opinion is shaded by the fact that I am a working parent (and when I'm home, I'm a lazy parent), but I firmly believe that an extended school day would solve many of our current problems with school: it would provide time for recess, projects, specials; it would allow us to cut out homework, which I think is a scourge (one of the things parents at our middle school complain about is how little homework there is--I always have to disagree: much as I'm happy to complain about our middle school, I think homework is way overrated, until high school when they are ready to do real independent work, not grunt work farmed out to parents to supervise) (and, no, I don't think better homework is the solution--I'd much rather see an extended day with lots of exciting schoolwork, and then late afternoons and evenings reserved for family, sports, etc.) (I don't know why I'm making a central part of my argument in parentheses!).

I suppose you could argue that all the problems I'm saying extended day would solve (aside from the childcare challenges faced by working parents) are caused by No Child Left Behind, to which I would reply, maybe, but for now NCLB is firmly in place, and there is momentum for extended day. Also, if you care about poor kids, which I do, much more than my own kids (of course I love my own kids more, but I care more about the success and school experience of poor kids), then extended day becomes even more obvious. Socioeconomic background is the #1 predictor of school success, and the more time poor kids spend in GOOD school, the better chances they have.

Monday, May 05, 2008

In Which I Give In

I have thrown in the towel and joined Facebook. I had to, for work reasons (and that really is true). I am taking the fact that the words I had to type to join were "Maurice daily" as some kind of positive sign that E.M. Forster and Samuel Pepys would have approved, or at least accepted. The apocalypse has arrived. (Speaking of the apocalypse, for more information, or non-information, alas, about the decimation of the bats, read this article. And we're not even paying attention to Indiana and North Carolina over here.)

Edited to add: Oh my goodness, everyone really is on Facebook. Though I restrained myself and did not friend K and D's kids or T's therapist! (Uh, the restraint was pretty easy, especially in the second case.)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Barbara, Brooke, and Barack (and, what the hell, Roger and Mindy too)

or We're So Liberal Elite We Might As Well Just Move to France and Be Done With It

S thinks it's great that Barbara Walters had an affair with Edward Brooke. I think it's fine, really none of anyone's business, especially given that he was separated from his wife at the time, but I question the timing of Walters' revelation--well, really I question her revelation altogether...why does anyone need to know she had an affair with Edward Brooke? Oh yes, to sell books. I mean, she is Barbara Walters, queen of the money-making confessional, albeit so far with other subjects, but why not make some more of that money for herself? Especially if, assuming she's a Hillary supporter, which I am (yes, it's another lazy linkless post, so if you don't know what I'm talking about, especially when I get to Roger and Mindy, you just have to google for yourself), she can also help to bring down Obama along the way.

K tells me that a Clinton supporter set up Reverend Wright's speech at the National Press Club. Now Reverend Wright has done himself in, and the filicide rivals the matricide supposedly being committed by young feminists against Hillary, but that's another post. I've never been all about Obama (the other day I realized that my big problem is that I'm incapable of being a true believer--in anything besides books and Wilco--but then I looked at the title of my blog and thought, well, duh, that's no realization), but the lynching--word chosen purposefully--that the Clintons and their minions are conducting is just appalling. And to tarnish the image of the first elected Black senator is so obviously to tarnish by association the first Black senator running seriously for president (and by this morning I was reading articles that made the connection--not my conspiracy plot connection, but the Brooke-Obama connection).

But the thing is, I don't think anyone's tarnished here--at least by their past actions; Walters' disclosure is another story. So two consenting adults had an affair in the 70s? Fine. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I start counting infidelities amongst my near and dear, well, I run out of fingers pretty quickly. And just to be consistent, I don't particularly care if Roger Clemens had an affair with Mindy McCready. That she was 15? Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I can count quite a few of my friends who in their teens were involved with men in their 20s (he was 28), and they all turned out fine. Not that Mindy McCready turned out fine, but somehow I don't think Roger Clemens was at fault--she seems to have been her own problem. HOWEVER--and you knew there would be a however, and if you're making predictions, yes, it's the predictable however--for Roger Clemens to preen about his high morality and devotion to his family...well, I'd say it's open season on him, but it has been for a while.

Anyway, all this--Reverend Wright, infidelity, lynching--proves that I am hopelessly out-of-step with America (don't even get me started on American flag lapel pins) and should probably move to France where they're down with Black people (so long as they're American and from the 1920s or 60s) (I said Black people, not brown people) and infidelity. Luckily, my husband feels the same way about all these things, and he loves France to boot. Much more than I do, in fact.

(And, yes, I'm paying attention to election news in London and Zimbabwe, though I wish I wasn't.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bat Mitzvah Travails

We can't possibly be the only people in our corner of the Greater East Coast Big City Area who want to have more than 100 people at a bat mitzvah and refuse to have it in a hotel. There must be a pretty place with nice food that seats 140 people (no tent, we're talking early April), only we can't seem to find it.

I've always been a firm believer in the more the merrier. We were inviting people to our wedding up till the day before. When in doubt, invite. Better to have all the people you love and just serve cake, than a select few and a four-course meal.

Except maybe not, if you can't find a place to fit them all.

I think we're down to two options. Town Hall, which would mean a caterer and renting tables and probably a band, because there's a stage, so you need something on the stage, so you might as well have a band--oh my god, this is a bat mitzvah for god's sake, this is ridiculous...but could be lots of fun--or cutting back the list dramatically and going for our original plan: the fabulous restaurant on the corner where we know the chef and wouldn't have to do a thing except say "great food, please" for about 3/4 of our closest friends...