Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Daughters, Sleeping

I spend a fair amount of time sleeping with one or the other of my daughters: I lie down with a sleep-reluctant child, and soon enough we are both asleep; one or the other--on unfortunate evenings, both--comes into our bed in the middle of the night, less often than they used to, but often enough for it not to be unusual; on my own fractious evenings, when I'm too tired to put a child to bed, I will let her--usually the younger--go to bed with me.

I also, like any mother--or at least like all the fictional and film mothers I have encountered, for I don't, truly, know what any real mother does when she is alone with her children--look in on my children as they sleep alone, whether I am checking to see if sleep has finally come, or making sure they are still alive--yes, I still do this--or gazing at their sleeping beauty.

The point being: I see each of my children asleep frequently, and the sight of one of my children asleep is a familiar one. M still sucks her fingers, whether curled up on her side or splayed out on her back, until she is so deeply asleep that they fall from her mouth. E scratches through the night, tossing and turning as if ever on the verge of awakening, or lies on her back like a solid lump, the only sign of life her bare breathing. Each is, of course, spectacularly beautiful in the solitude of her sleep.

What I rarely see, however, is my children sleeping together, as they are tonight, on the fold-out couch on the other side of the room from my single bed. And what makes me surge with love, and breaks my heart, is the way, sleeping together, which they rarely do, they are almost always touching. Most often, as now, they lie facing each other, bent, knee to knee, heads leaning in, arms reaching for each other, entwined--right now: M's left hand to her mouth, her right hand under E's head; E's left hand under her own head, her right reaching out to M.

And as I write this, M stretches, turns away onto her back, but leaves that hand attached to E.

We have photographs of them in the exact same position at so many ages in so many beds: tiny baby E curled up to her big sister in our big bed in No Longer Red State Capital City Suburb; matching pajamas; two girls in French underpants in the hotel bed in Paris. Clearly they have always done this, and I have always loved it.

M has just turned back to E, and on they sleep.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Recipe for a Restorative Day

1. Aunt M. Need I say more?

2. Free Anusara yoga class in apartment yoga studio on 72nd Street. The kind of mindfulness schtick you usually abhor, but this time it hits the sweet spot, plus the teacher is spot on with the minute physical adjustments that make all the difference. Your partner in double tree pose says you are so steady. Little does she know.

3. Korean baths with sitting and standing showers, hot and cold pools, seven saunas, and outdoor massage/jet pools with steam rising under a dove-gray sky.

4. Alice's Tea Cup, especially the pumpkin scone.

5. Walking in the foggy park at dusk, otherwise known as riding E's unicorn to London, Paris, and Japan.

6. Drinks (short and tall, both delicious, even when mixed up) with Jenny who a) brings books, and b) is at once perfectly sympathetic and perfectly sensible, a rare combination.

7. Knitting while listening to Guys and Dolls (last night it was knitting while listening to Bach) (Guys and Dolls and Bach courtesy of the rarely heralded Uncle J.).

And so to bed (after a bit more knitting and music, and perhaps some book).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

E's Joke

There's a man in a room. The doors and window are locked. All he has is a bagel. How does he get out?

He puts the locks on the bagel!

How good is my husband at gifts?

This good.

Discovery of the Day

The school which at least one of my children has attended for going on four years starts at 8:10, not 8:15. Which would explain why I am so often late.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Looking Back

When it's over, you look back and see it all as a whole.  You know you did what you thought, at the time, was the right thing to do.  You know you did, at the time, all you could do.  Everyone else believes you did the right thing, says you did everything you could, even more.  You don't believe in regrets, and you know, given how it was at the time, it could not have been otherwise.  But looking back, you wonder if it would have gone differently, if you'd done it differently.


I am trying to learn to live with my daughters' boredom.

These days I am almost never bored, except when I am trying to avoid something I need to do, or  when I am struck with existential boredom.  But in the press of daily life, there is always something I want to be doing, along with so much I need to be doing.

I remember, though, being bored as a child.  I can't paint a sensory picture of it, but I recall there being nothing to do and nobody to do it with, or at least nothing I hadn't done a zillion times already.  It's not a painful memory; boredom didn't drive me to despair, but, alas, neither did it drive me to great feats of creativity.  It just was.

When my children sulk around doing nothing, I first try to engage them.  "Why don't you call so-and-so?"  I suggest.  Or "How about reading a book?  Playing a game?  Doing an art project?"  If they resist, sulkily, as often they do, I move from pushy to annoyed.  It's less the boredom that annoys me and more the attitude that accompanies it, the whininess, the negativity, the morose faces.  

The fact of the matter is: I am not a very fun mom.  I do not want to interrupt what I'm doing to entertain them; I just want them to be entertained (plus, I do not believe it is the job of mothers to entertain their children).

But the other fact of the matter is: it's fine for them to be bored.  Indeed, if they ignore my suggestions, and I give up on them, they usually eventually find something to do (at least the younger one does; for the older one, boredom crosses with teen attitude, and usually leads us into big fights, which then eventually lead to apologies, positive interaction, and something to do).  Even if they don't find something to do, what happens?  They're bored.  End of the world?  I think not.  I survived it.  And, who knows, maybe they will surpass their mother, as they do in so many ways, and be driven to great feats of creativity!

The real problem here, as always, and the real thing I can control, is not their boredom, but my attitude and approach.  If I let their boredom annoy me, we end up in catastrophe, but if I just let them do their bored thing, and go on my merry way, eventually they find their merry ways, or they don't.  Which is fine too.

Thinking About Bernie Madoff

My dad thinks that his sons were in on it, but Madoff knew he was going down, so he told the sons to turn him in, so they could get off.  In other words, though he is the epitome of evil scum, he's a good Jewish dad (I took it to that conclusion, not my dad).

It makes me furious to think that right this minute he is lounging in his Park Ave apartment, eating sable on his bagel, reading the NY Times, with his bracelet around his ankle, and his private security guards in his lobby, when kids who do so much less--and have so much less--languish in jail (we were discussing him at breakfast this morning, and decided it was sable).

You can only get so upset about rich people losing lots of money, but the foundations?  He took money from charitable foundations, which only enhances his position on the evil scumometer.  An organization I'm involved with had a site visit from one of those foundations the week before he was arrested.  I guess that's one grant that's not going to be funded.  Along with a lot more.  At a moment when foundations are so important, and so under siege.

I just have no truck with greed.  Especially the greed of people who already have more than enough.

And I just have to say, naive though it sounds, that I so hate it when Jewish people suck, especially in such stereotypical ways.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Bead Explanation

I kept wondering why there were so many Mardi Gras beads. And why they seemed to be proliferating.

Then I realized: it's the bar mitzvahs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yesterday Afternoon's Texts

To: S
Barely moving in tunnel w tank on empty.

To: S
Accident. Fuck.

To M:
Call me.

To S:
OK M picking up E. Let's hope I don't run out of gas

To: S
This sucks!!!

To: M
Let me know when you have E

To: M
Nowhere. Far Other City.

To: S
Got off freeway to get gas. M on way to E but not there yet. I want to be a stay at home mom

To: S
Home thank god. And thank god I got off the freeway. And now I really know how to get home from Far Other City.

To: S
I tried to put the bookcase together and I messed it up. I'm going to cry now.

(Don't worry Mom, the traffic was not moving, so texting was truly not dangerous.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

For the Record

M attended the following concerts this year: Dropkick Murphys; KT Tunstall; Method Man, De la Soul, Nas, and Tribe; Madonna; and Wilco and Neil Young. I think she picked the right parents.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Post Office: An Allegory

Is there such thing as a dead allegory? If not, there should be, and I nominate the post office. Like a dead metaphor, a dead allegory cannot be a pretty thing, but metaphors die because they are so apt as to be overused, and the post office is so dense in its bureaucratic ineptness, and we are so in thrall to its power, that I must go once more into the breach.

I had four condolence cards to mail and no stamps. Thursday morning, on the way to work, I went to the terrible post office in City--the one I remind myself never to go to again, each time I enter its doors, but which is so convenient I forget. You could hear post office employees chattering in the back, but there was only one such employee at the counter, and you never saw anyone weigh packages so slowly. With two people and their packages in line in front of me, I left. Did I mention there was no stamp machine? Though I'm sure postal policy is made in some bunker-like HQ in Washington, I couldn't help but think that this particular post office's combination of no machine and glacial employees has something to do with the Communist-leaning politics of City.

Yesterday I went to the main post office in Town, just after it closed, but I knew they had machines. It turns out they have only one machine. Apparently the introduction of the mail-your-own-package machine, the use of which I have certainly enjoyed, has made the stamp machine redundant. Which means that even if you just want a packet of stamps, you must wait while everyone in front of you mails their packages, because there is only one machine. Too many people with too many packages, so I left, as I also left the next post office I happened to drive by.

This morning, at the post office again, I finally found a line with just one person in front of me, finishing up her package. I got to the machine, cash in hand, and discovered it only takes debit and credit cards. Not a huge issue in the scheme of things, especially as I had my wallet with me, not just a few bills stuck in my pocket, as is often the case, but, still, an abrogation of individual choice. I pushed my buttons, slid my card, and received, for my effort, Nutcracker stamps.

I deleted the expletive which initially preceded those Nutcracker stamps, because my expletive habit is unattractive in person and less attractive in print, but surely it is visible behind the brevity of phrase and the abrupt end-stop of paragraph. Do I look like the kind of person who wants Nutcracker stamps? OK, you can't see me. But do I sound like that kind of person? No, I do not. I do not want Nutcracker stamps for condolence cards; I do not want Nutcracker stamps for anything. But I did want to send my condolence cards, so I adorned them with Nutcracker stamps, put them in the slot, and convinced the nice woman who had been in line in front of me, and was still organizing her package, to buy the rest.

Remember those stamp machines with the glass windows? The ones where you put in your cash and chose your stamp, and it only took a moment? They were good. They met my needs. They probably met your needs, unless you were my grandmother, and needed the solidity of human contact for every interaction. Now they are gone, and I am left, if the post office has its way, with Nutcracker stamps.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Today's "You're Kidding!" Award for Obviousness in Academia

“Research shows that the bigger allowance you get from mom and dad,” explained Andrew M. Sum, director of Northeastern’s center, “the less likely you are to work.” [full article here, but you really don't need to read it--I didn't get past the first page] [Sum does a lot of excellent work on some important topics--I wonder if he regrets this particular soundbite]

M has been babysitting at least once a week, so she has her own money to spend on pizza and ice cream, presents, small things she wants, etc. (at 12, one's desires are easily satisfied by $4/hour). We continue to be ridiculously forgetful about allowance, forking over weeks at a time when one or another child remembers, and I believe the allowances are quite low anyway ($1/week for E; $3, or maybe now it's $4, for M). But I see us moving in the same direction as our current de facto situation: we give them money for what they need (bus fare, lunch, clothes), and they earn for what they want.


My knee hurts. It's a precise pain, centered in a spot maybe half an inch in diameter, on the outside of my right knee, where the middle of the kneecap seems to meet the top of the bottom leg bone. That's from feeling around where it hurts. Looking at a bunch of diagrams of the knee, it seems like it's actually where the patella meets the femur (i.e. it's really the bottom of the top leg bone--above that sticking-out piece that makes a bone look like a dog bone), and perhaps involves a ligament (I don't want to write the word tear).

It started yesterday morning. I went to the gym, noticed on the treadmill that my knee felt a bit twisted, thought maybe it was time for new running shoes, and then thought no more about it. Until I was walking up the stairs at work, when suddenly I was in terrible pain. When I'm still, I can't feel it; when I walk, it aches a little; when I go up and down stairs, it's terrible.

S thinks it will go away, because that's the way he is. My mom thinks I should see the doctor immediately, which is not the way she is, but she has a friend with knee pain and is, I believe, a bit battered by the subject.

I cannot tell you how panicked this pain makes me. I don't think of myself as an exercise fiend. I don't run very far or very fast. But I do run pretty often, and when I don't run, I walk, and when I don't run or walk, I go to the gym and do the treadmill and the elliptical (and in case you haven't noticed, all of those activities involve the knee, as does yoga, which is the other thing I do, but I didn't mention it outside the parenthesis, because I haven't been doing it lately). I probably get a significant chunk of exercise at least five or six days a week, if not seven. And the idea of not being able to work out...well, panic is the appropriate word. The potential physical and mental effects of not working out...ok, the idea sends me into such a state of anxiety that I have to stop writing this, and not move my knee, and hope desperately that the pain goes away (though what I really want to do is go to the gym, which demonstrates the strength of my compulsive reliance on exercise to alleviate what ails me) (Monday, Mom, if it still hurts on Monday, I will call, I promise).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Illinois Governor

I have nothing substantive to say, and I have foresworn pointless blog posts, but I just have to say "oh my fucking god" on this one. I mean, not much shocks me these days, but I am dumbfounded.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sometimes I Can't Believe My Life

This was my day:

6:30 Get up
7:00 Leave for first workplace
8:00-10:00 With new client (this is going to be a tough one)
10:00-10:15 Debrief with new client's boss (luckily we're on the same page)
10:30-11:15 Work in cafe down the street
11:15 Drive to second workplace
11:30-12:30 With client (she's doing much better than last week, yay!)
12:30-1:00 Work in client's boss's office, next to her boss, who is also a client and my friend (lots of these people are my friends--I work with a lot of good people)
1:00-2:15 Planning meeting with my friend and another consultant whom I've only met in passing (she's awesome, as is my friend--I love working with awesome people)
2:15 Drive to third workplace
2:30-4:30 Crank out a boatload of work
4:30 Drive home
5:00 Pick up E (new schedule involves more driving but gets me home earlier and works better for E and my mom, who no longer has to pick up E on Mondays)
5:15 Read newspaper
5:30 Make dinner, eat dinner, be completely attentive to M and E as they do homework and create projects, blog (the rest of this is projected, but I know how it will be)
9:00 Put E to bed
9:15 Put away laundry, make up bed for my dad who arrives tomorrow
9:30 Put M to bed
9:45 Work on newsletter for 7 a.m. board meeting tomorrow morning, maybe do a bit more work, perhaps hang out with S if he ever gets home, eventually go to bed

And this is not at all unusual, in fact, it's like this two-three days a week, though two other days I do get to spend the whole day in one place, and one day I try to stay home, aside from early morning board meetings, which happen at least twice a month, and other such sundry activities...

Edited to add: But, you know, it was a really good day.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Musical Notes

I remain convinced that Dave Alvin would be the world's best boyfriend--and the worst. He'd ignore you while he played his guitar, go on the road all the time, sleep with women he met on the road, but he'd be there when it really counted, not necessarily when you needed him, but when you didn't know you needed him. Listen (but don't watch, please, and, really, what you want to hear is the stripped-down acoustic version from King of California) (where you can also hear Dave make "Fourth of July" his own--that version has terrible sound quality, but captures the magic) (I don't know why I even do this anymore--either I've convinced you of Dave Alvin's godliness, or you don't care, but I was listening to King of California this morning and was struck by it once again, as I always am).

The other day I turned on the college radio hippie morning show (yep, I've given up on NPR again) right in the middle of "Up On Cripple Creek." Now that is a great song. When I went to find it on YouTube, to write this post (when did YouTube become the go-to place for music?), the second video that came up was the version from The Last Waltz. Back in the day, we used to see The Last Waltz at the double-feature repertory movie theater, the one with the wicker chairs in the balcony. Now that is a great movie. A few years ago, my sister-in-law decided that the Band was the best band in the world, and all she listened to was the Band, and she collected weird Band CDs and bootlegs and books about the Band, and sent S cryptic letters and emails about the Band. It was Band-o-mania, but, you know, she's right, that is a great band. And, watching that video, I realized that here I've been thinking the lineage of alt-country begins with Gram, takes a dead end with the Eagles, and then jumps to life again with Uncle Tupelo, leading straight on till Wilco (OK, that is totally truncated, but it will have to do for now), but how could I not have been thinking about the Band, starting at Big Pink (and we all know the story of how I snagged a disastrous college boyfriend by asking for The Band when he asked me what I wanted to hear, the first time I went to his room, don't we?)? Anyway, I'm thinking it's time to get hold of a DVD of The Last Waltz.

In completely different automotive musical activity, we've been listening to Santogold again and she is the alt-country-anthithesis bomb. But still, my attraction to her goes back to those 70s musical experiences, because one of the things I just love, besides the beats, energy, and attitude, is the endless string of calypso/reggae/ska/zydeco samples, like "Shanty Town"--when's the last time you heard "Shanty Town"? The Harder They Come was the first album I ever asked for, and with that one, too, movie and music are completely entwined, though it played at the other double-feature repertory movie theater. Or how about "Iko Iko"? Which could lead back to the Grateful Dead (I'm almost certain I was at that show--man, YouTube is awesome!), which might make Santogold not quite so antithetical, or perhaps make Santogold the quintessence of my musical history...

OK, I'll stop now.

This post is a love letter to my husband.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I got my ears pierced when I was 11 (my sister got hers pierced when she was 10, which is part of the overall injustice of being the oldest, which M claims I do not understand, but I do).

I am shocked that I don't remember where I got my ears pierced, because supposedly I remember everything, but I do remember that my mom's friend P did it with me, and I think it was in a jewelry store at the mall, a real one (jewelry store, not mall), and I believe they did both my ears at once, but maybe not. Perhaps my mother remembers, because she was there too, though usually she counts on me to do the remembering.

Those were the first piercings: the neat ones in the proper middle of my lobes.

I started piercing my own ears somewhere around the time I started cutting my own hair, several years later.

Piercing my own ears involved alcohol, a flame, a needle, and an earring. I believe I generally pierced my ears when I was angry; I cut my hair when it got too long. Putting the needle through my ear was easy, as was getting the earring into the front part of the hole; the hard part was getting it out the back. I'll spare you the details.

I don't think my piercings ever got infected, which seems miraculous, given the previous paragraph.

When I was in India in 1990, all the white girls had pierced noses, which I knew would come out as soon as they returned to Oberlin and Birmingham and Sydney, and I refused to go there (though I will admit that I sometimes wore a bindi, but only when my Indian friends put one on me). When body piercing became the thing, a year or two after I returned, I still demurred, thinking of those ridiculous white girls.

The fact that I have five piercings, all in my ears, seems to perfectly sum up my cultural status. To the far mainstream, I am edgy, but given the vast numbers of people I know with piercings every which where, I find myself ridiculously staid.

In the ear with three holes, the top two are silver studs. In the ear with two holes, the top one is a tiny silver ring. I never change those three.

I only wear silver earrings, which is to say I don't wear gold, though I have earrings of plastic, stone, paper, wire, ceramic, fused glass, bead, and many varieties of silver and gemstone.

When M was a baby, I considered piercing her ears, because I think babies with pierced ears are adorable. Then I realized that by piercing her ears, I would deprive myself of an easy yes, so I demurred.

From the age of four months, M sucked the first two fingers on her left hand incessantly. Several years later, I told her that she could get her ears pierced when she was eight, if she stopped sucking her fingers.

M turned eight, avidly sucking her fingers.

In the ensuing years, though we never thought it would happen, M gradually stopped sucking her fingers, except when she is asleep, which is good enough for me. I offered pierced ears several times, but she demurred.

For the last year or two, E has been obsessed with clip-on earrings.

Clip-on earrings hardly exist today. Stick-on earrings do not stay stuck. Last week, E got magnetic earrings, but they pinched, and then she took them to school, with a little box to keep them safe if they pinched and she needed to take them off. When her grandmother arrived to pick her up, she took the earrings out of the box to show her, dropped them, and couldn't find them. She found them a few days later, in the playground, in pieces, magnets gone. How this all happened, we have no idea.

A future of magnetic earrings seemed to bode only heartbreak.

E's birthday is imminent. I suggested pierced ears. E leapt at the chance. M begrudgingly agreed that it was time.

These days, the only piercing options seem to be Claire's and tattoo parlors. We opted for Claire's. We decided that M would go first, because we thought she was more likely to bail. We asked if they could do both ears at once, and they could. We picked out silver balls for M and December birthstones (sparkly and blue) for E.

M sat in the chair, closed her eyes, and they were done. It hurt less than she thought.

E sat in the chair, clutching Fifi, her bear, and cringed. We told her to close her eyes. She kept her eyes open, cringed, shrugged her shoulders up to her ears, and clutched Fifi. She said she didn't want to do it. I told her I wouldn't make her do it, but I knew she wanted to, and she would be sad if she didn't.

It was an odd moment. I don't generally push my children past their comfort levels, and I certainly didn't care if she pierced her ears, and by this point she was weeping and insisting that she didn't want to. But I knew she did.

When she ran across the store, I decided it was time for a break. We went to the food court and had a snack and didn't discuss piercing. When we were done, E said she didn't want to do it. I said that was fine, but if she didn't do it now, she couldn't do it till she turned nine. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment parental rule-making events. She said OK, she'd do it, and we marched back to Claire's.

Back on the chair, sitting in my lap, she started again with the shrugging and cringing and saying she couldn't. I asked if I could hold her and they said yes. So I stood up and held her in my arms, facing me. She buried her face in my face, they counted to three, and it was done.

Written out like this, it sounds totally brutal, but as soon as E realized they were done, she jumped down from my arms, ran to the mirror, and started prancing about, displaying her new earrings. Then she had me take a picture of her with my phone and sent it to S, with a text message saying "I got my ears pierced!"

Now everyone is all about the newly-pierced ears, and the family has almost doubled its piercings, but not quite.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Looks like S and I have only a 3% chance of getting divorced in the next five years. I suppose that's comforting. [link from NY Times, of course--you've probably seen it yourself; if so, and if it's germane, I assume you tried it!] [Libby, I'm thinking you're exactly in our demographic]

Edited to add: After reading the comments in the article, I went back and calculated for S: while 15% of people like me are divorced, and 3% will get divorced in next five years, 14% of people like him are divorced, and 2% will get divorced, which is strikingly similar, to the point of statistically the same, I would think, though it's interesting that he wasn't asked if he had children (which makes me wonder if children raise or lower chances for women--economically, I would think they lower, because of need to maintain them, but practically, they might raise, given how much conflict their maintenance can engender).

Edited again to add: Then again, if my parents had done this calculator in 1983, they probably would have had pretty low odds, as I'm guessing their only negative indicator would have been early marriage, which lots of education, children, and marital longevity would probably have overcome, for the most part.  They got divorced in 1984.  Which could be ascribed to the fact that 3% chance still means that 3 out of 100 WILL get divorced, but could also be ascribed to the historical phenomenon of 1970s and 80s post-feminism/sexual revolution mid-life divorces, which my generation seems to be trying to avoid, surely at least in part as a response to our parents.  And that's why I'm a literary/historical type, not an economist...

(S thinks this post is really hard to read. Sorry about that.) (Uh, he meant in terms of the writing, not the content, in case anyone was worried.)

Don't Die For Me

I am deeply uncomfortable with the incipient martyrization of the Mumbai rabbi and his wife.

Chabad House Lubavitcher rabbis are not harmless builders of community; they are proselytizers--which I consider distinctly un-Jewish--for a form of Judaism which I consider distinctly pernicious.

The zealotry of this particular Chabad House Lubavitcher rabbi and his wife is visible in the fact that they had left a child ill with Tay-Sachs in a hospital in Israel, while they pursued their calling, not to mention the fact that, after giving birth to at least two children with Tay-Sachs, one of whom has already died, she was pregnant again, which I consider hugely irresponsible.

Beyond my personal disgust, the danger of their martyrization lies in the support it offers to the belief held by many Jews (of a certain persuasion) that Islamist terrorism is a consequence of the essential bloodthirstiness of all Islam which is bent on destroying Israel and the Jews. I do not think that this belief is as much of a problem as Islamist terrorism, but I do believe it a serious problem in itself.

There, I said it. And I'm not even going to qualify it with disclaimers about them surely being nice, intelligent, beloved people who will be sorely missed, which surely they were, but nice, intelligent, beloved, and missed have nothing to do with it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Yes, I Still Count the Women

And the people of color. But this time my count is celebratory rather than condemnatory: three white men, two white women, two Black men, one Black woman, and no mention of race or gender anywhere in the article, which in this case I call progress. It's a new day, people.

Worst Modern Love EVER?

I had given up on the critiquing-Modern-Love blog feature because it was becoming too much like shooting fish in a barrel. But who can resist shooting a whale in a barrel? I do believe that yesterday Lauren Slater took the column to its nadir. Could it really get any worse than this? (Or, as S says: they're just going to have to give up the whole thing after that one.) Then again, we're talking about Lauren Slater...

Let's go numerical on this one.

1) Her poor husband. I mean, it's one thing to dis on your ex, but to write at length, in the NY Times, about your dislike for sex and the misery of your loving marriage? Can you say cringe? Can you say toasters thrown across the kitchen table? Well, you probably can't say toasters thrown across the kitchen table, because he is married to her, so presumably he knew, both about her feelings, and about her imminent public disclosure of those feelings, but let's just say that I wouldn't want to be his cubicle mate this morning (that's a JOKE, because surely Lauren Slater is married to someone so cool and brilliant that he has never entered a cubicle, but instead works at his marble-topped workplace, alone with a view of the sea, which is why she is able to write such things about him, knowing he will not get a single awkward glance at the water cooler).

2) Anyone else read the sentence "This is so stupid, it pains me to write about it." and respond, "Then DON'T!"

3) How about the generalizing from one's own pathetic experience? I don't like sex, ergo nobody likes sex!!


5) Did I mention her husband?

6) And then there's the gratuitous shift, in the last quarter, to the house she is apparently building single-handedly, which has approximately zero narrative connection to her dislike of sex, but, I would predict, everything to do with a how-I-built-a-house-singled-handedly book that will slip onto bookshelves everywhere sometime around next Christmas. Anyone wanna bet?