Monday, April 30, 2007

A Whole Lot of Work for Two Days

Good things about our camping trip this weekend:

Bacon in the morning. Nothing like meat cooked in hot fat.
The communal tent under which we had our big feast on Saturday.

Pretty flags on display.

Stella beating the boys at baseball.

Cooling off in the river.

Lots of music. Special appearance by D. in the back on guitar!
Blurred people for privacy's sake.

Pictures never taken: Our new huge tent, our one million tick bites, fire-grilled pork tenderloin (marinated in balsamic vinegar, shallots, orange juice, thyme & rosemary), the fire dancer.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Meat-Eatin' Cretin

D. and I have been wondering lately if we eat too much meat. It's hard to get over the notion that if meat is not involved, then the meal is somehow not "enough." And I was raised macrobiotic! I eat a lot of tofu and beans, but it's hard to let go of the idea that meat completes a meal.

I know I won't ever go completely vegetarian. I know I need protein too badly and can't rely on beans and tofu to provide it because I would die of boredom. But I am concerned about ecological issues and, of course, health issues related to meat-eating. Luckily we have local organic farms that raise chickens and beef. I'm making a concerted effort to only eat food that comes from within a 100 mile radius.

This seems to be one of the hottest food politics issues. I'm sure that deep down, where we are at our basest and most embarrassing, I know that another reason I won't ever go completely vegetarian is because I don't want to be associated with the holier-than-thou health fanatic types. I was raised by one and intimately know UNhealthy it is to be so judgmental. Cary Tennis had a good response today to one of those self-righteous vegans.

So bring on the ribs, hot wings, cheeseburgers, and fried chicken! But maybe not all at once.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bragging Rights

I won't pretend to be blasé about my amazing daughter. In the past week, we have gone to TWO separate events where her work was chosen to represent the best of the Fayetteville public schools. A pastel drawing was chosen for this show (which I highly recommend to anyone living nearby. Go get a cup of coffee and see what amazing talent comes from our local kids!) and then her Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired building (above) was chosen as one of 31, out of 700 total, to be used a centerpiece at the Fayetteville Public Education Fund grant-awards dinner last night. All this coming from a girl who claims she's "not a good artist!?"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Today In Infuriating Practices By Big Business

Great New Yorker article on how Wal-Mart is hiring and co-opting the political left.


And sickening.

Typically sickening.

This is a touchy subject in our family. My closest sister has worked for Wal-Mart for nearly seven years now. I wish they'd treat her, and all their employees, better.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Allow Me To Spare You

I hate being disappointed by films.

Last night I watched Colour Me Kubrick, a film for which I'd only seen one short trailer. I fell for the oldest trick in the book - the trailer that features all of the film's funniest scenes in its 2 minutes. It looked quirky and funny and stars John Malkovich so I assumed it was a fairly safe bet.

I was wrong.

It's basically a film about one joke (a man who impersonated Stanley Kubrick without knowing much about him), a joke that is played out over and over AND OVER. Nobody can portray uncomfortably weird quite like John Malkovich, but in this case it's not in a good or funny way at all. He just comes off gross and hammy. Take my word for it and don't waste your time.

In other news, my sister leaves NYC today for the west coast. I'll miss having family in the city but can't wait to visit her in Portland.

I think I'll spend my Sunday working on jewelry and planning dinner. Next weekend we're going camping!

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Can Stop Anytime I Want

Okay so that thing I said about not watching the news anymore? I'm allowing myself some leeway. I think I'll just watch CSPAN all the time and spare myself the hysterical coverage (I don't ever want to hear the word "bloodbath" again. EVER), pointless "expert opinions," or obnoxious graphics that are all over the news and just take my political action straight up, no chaser.

I wish I were exaggerating, but we watched the Alberto Gonzales testimony ALL NIGHT LONG last night. Sexy, huh? I think I finally came to my senses and turned it off around 4am. Geez...I would have felt sorry for him if he didn't appear to be such a lying, track-covering, sputtering weasel. It seemed like every single member of the Judiciary Committee just couldn't wait to lay into him, even the "Bushies!" Arlen Specter reminded me of the scariest school principal ever.

And that's not all, folks. There's SO MUCH MORE to be concerned about in the world today. My brain and heart reel from stress, guilt, sympathy, and worry overload. Every day.

Other issues bothering me, as a woman and as a concerned citizen:
  • Supreme Court decision on late-term abortions. Especially scary was Justice Kennedy's statement telling Congress that they basically have a moral right to legislate these kinds of issues. Hey, Kennedy? Get back to me when YOU are 18 weeks pregnant and discover that the fetus is severely abnormal. Or better yet, why don't you just listen to the millions of voices who offer logical, as opposed to emotional or "moral," reasons for why this agreement is a huge mistake?
  • Now it appears that hormone replacement therapy greatly increases the likelihood of getting breast cancer. Awesome. So...the medical establishment told us to take hormones to reduce the crazies of menopause but now they're telling us that it might kill us. And, apparently, not taking hormones won't necessarily reduce our risks since our waters are so polluted with, yes, you guessed it, hormones (probably from human waste).
Happy Friday, y'all.

What a week. Damn.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

On Writing, Reading, and Listening to Writers

Last night I went to hear Salman Rushdie speak. The title of his speech was "The Role of the Writer in the 21st Century." He said things that most people in the audience probably already knew (we're screwed because people don't read as much, or write serious long novels, anymore. Writers can change the world one reader at a time...etc) but he told some funny anecdotes and name-dropped and made us laugh. Not a bad gig he's got there....getting paid $30,000 to speak and tell funny stories for an hour. One thing that I kept thinking about is how reading engages the imagination in a way that watching a film or listening to music or looking at a painting can't. If people are reading less and less, then we're talking about millions and millions of imaginations not being engaged. How will that affect our larger culture. I'm not sure but I know it can't be good. I haven't exactly been doing my part, not lately at least, what with my Bravo TV addiction.

On a related note, Happy Birthday Carolyn! Here's to someone who actively engages her (and my) imagination on a daily basis! Enjoy Paris, lord knows you've earned it. You're going to love your thirties. I hope. Don't hold me to that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Unedited, Unprepared, Emotional Blatherings

I think, much like after the tragedies I mentioned in my last post, I need to take a break from the news. It just upsets me more. See...I fool myself into thinking I want more information but the news doesn't really even give me straight-up information. It's opinions and hearsay and speculation and, well...just bullshit. It seems like the big news people want everyone to be angry with the campus policies of VA Tech. I keep hearing anchors ask eyewitnesses, "But aren't you ANGRY that the campus wasn't locked down?" Objection! That's leading the witness!

It's natural for people to be angry and freaked out and grief-stricken by this event. But it's not the fault of the university any more than it's the fault of "gun-control laws." That's another one....I can't believe some people have the nerve to argue that this horrific act could have been "prevented" if college students were bearing arms in their classes.

I spent more than two hours tonight working through a roommate conflict with three of my international students: a Brazilian, a Mexican and an Egyptian. It's funny how they kept wanting to make the conflict about cultural values when it was clearly just plain ol' roommate stuff. Everyone is desperate to be understood as a product of his or her culture. I think we finally came to an understanding but it's going to take a lot of patience and a stronger desire to understand than to be understood for these women to live together happily.

I'm glad I love my roommate. I'm glad I love my job. I'm glad I (unconditionally) love my child who is now old enough to test the boundaries of unconditional love on a daily basis. I'm glad I love other people in a world that lately feels overburdened by hate.

I'm not really sure what I'm getting at or why I felt the need to say all this tonight. I'm struggling, like everyone else, to make sense of things that are impossible to comprehend.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sick To My Stomach

As the numbers of the dead at Virginia Tech keep coming in, higher and higher, I am so tempted to just go home and crawl back into bed and have a good long cry. It's that same sense of numb horror and heartbreak I felt as I held my new baby and watched footage of the Oklahoma City bombing, or when I came home from my afternoon class in college and found out about Columbine, or, of course, September 11, when I huddled around the radio with my students, terrified but hiding it from them.

I don't have anything eloquent or groundbreaking to say. What makes people want to turn on random others in such a way? I understand rage; I understand the craving for revenge. I do not understand this. This makes me want to keep my child at home with me for the rest of her life.

Surely we're reaching our saturation point for grieving.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Remember When

Saturdays were all about relaxing and fun?

Now they're for all the work I can't do during the week.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Media Thoughts

I haven't been enjoying The Daily Show or Colbert Report as much lately. I'm not quite sure what it is....maybe the shtick has gotten a little too shtick-y. Samantha Bee seems more irritating. I'm tired of hearing about bears and the Saginaw Spirit. Even John Oliver isn't as dependably hilarious. I'll have to think about it some more and try not to fall asleep (I swear, Jon Stewart's voice works better than Ambien) so that I can observe with a more scholarly inquisitive eye. Am I just a critical, cranky-pants or does anyone else think so too?

My sister made me a mix CD months ago that I still just can't get enough of, particularly that song by Spoon, "I Turn My Camera On." I crank it up every single day on my way home from work and it makes everything right again.

Here's a good, short little article about my fantasy gay boyfriend/father figure/mentor Tim Gunn.

Oh, and speaking of THE BEST CHANNEL ON TV, Bravo...I'm glad Top Design is now over. I felt obligated to keep watching even though I was let down that Carisa never got the verbal bitch slap she deserved. If I was her carpenter it would have been a different story. Just keep rolling those eyes, you bratty little girl.

That's about all I got today.


RIP Kurt Vonnegut.

I hope there are plenty of Pall Malls and adoring fans where ever you are.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time To Make The Necklaces

Spring is here and the slow thick sap of creativity that's been all gummed up has finally started flowing again. Maybe it's the change in season, maybe it's the new materials, maybe it's that I'm finally feeling settled....whatever it is I'm grateful that I feel like making things again. I've made these three necklaces this week:
This one is chunky, faceted labradorite, Mexican silver, smooth rectangular aventurine, and freshwater pearl:

This one is little rectangular faceted moss agate, Mexican silver, and Swarovski crystal with a synthetic emerald pendant:

This one faceted citrine and carnelian, freshwater pearl, faceted peach aventurine diamonds, Mexican silver and a pendant made of carnelian, citrine and Swarovski crystal:

The pictures aren't so great. The batteries were running out and I've fallen out of love with this camera and want something better. It's the stepchild camera now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Lady Is A Tramp

There was a funny exchange last weekend wherein D. remarked that he was the ladylike one in our relationship. I can’t remember what crude comment I’d made but I’m sure it would make my grandmother blush (don’t worry, Mommom, I’ll try to remember you read this) so I'm pretty sure he's right.

The notion of being “ladylike” is a complicated issue for me.
For one, I was raised in the South where ladylikeness is next to godliness. Yet for another, I was raised to be a feminist and to speak my mind and stand up for myself and call bullshit when necessary. I have no problem speaking out (“hollering” we call it) when I need to. I’m comfortable with my body and its processes. Does that make me unladylike? I say filthy things, but am also very aware of the situation I’m in when I choose to say them. Does that make me unladylike? I also say “please” and “thank you” and “yes and no, ma’am and “sir.” I mean, I’ve got manners, people. I just don’t always mind them.

And if this is what it means to be a lady, well then I'm happy to not be one.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Here's To Women Who Won't Shut Up

I hate Monday mornings. I really hate the Monday mornings like today where I'm still tired and run-down. I worked most of the weekend, in one respect or another. I haven't been getting enough sleep or taking care of myself. I'm preparing for some Spring detoxing. But that shit's one wants to hear about my liver.

What I really want to talk about is one of the high points of the weekend - watching movies. We saw a documentary about The Dixie Chicks, Shut Up and Sing. I've always liked The Dixie Chicks, mostly for their harmonies. I admired them for playing their own instruments (very well, I might add) and for being your average sassy Southern women. I never bought their albums but didn't mind hearing their music. After the whole "ashamed George Bush is from Texas" debacle I started to pay more attention to them. I thought it was brave that these women would publicly declare such a thing, especially back in '03, when we were told we'd just be in and out of Iraq (remember "shock and awe?") and it seemed most of the country was behind the president.

After watching this film, I admire them even more. They didn't back down one bit after essentially losing the biggest chunk of their audience. The film is a fascinating look into the lives of powerful, creative women who are also wives and mothers. We get to see some of the creative process when they were working on their latest album (I love the ironic postscript, watching this documentary knowing that the album won a ton of Grammys and was a relative financial success) and also see the inner workings of the people behind the brand The Dixie Chicks. It was inspiring to see three women who love and support each other so much. In many ways I felt like this film portrays the ultimate American dream: working hard to get to the top, saying what you believe, standing behind your words, weathering the fallout, refusing to give in to public opinion and then working even harder to share the truth as you know it and coming back out on top.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Older, Not Wiser

You know you've had a good birthday when you find this on the floor the next morning:

Oh yes, the ol' John Cougar Mellencamp songbook came out at some point. I'm pretty sure we made it "Hurt So Good." What a great birthday - great company, a good meal, champagne, and lots of singing.

We had an eventful drive down to Little Rock, getting caught in the middle of a high speed police chase. It was like out of a movie. We were right there when the robber ladies decided to spin around and drive INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC ON THE INTERSTATE, coming directly towards us. A cop car ran into a ditch, and the officer ran in our direction after them, gun drawn and everything. We realized what a crazy tense situation it was and, rather than the rubberneckers behind us, drove off only too happy to put it far behind us. It was maybe a little too much excitement for a Saturday afternoon.

This is what D. gave me:

It's like the Cadillac of food processors! I'm very excited...can't wait to make sauces, salsa, bread dough, etc. I'm amassing quite a collection of kitchen appliances.

And....the lilacs are blooming.