Showing posts from November, 2010

Gluttony, many kinds

[links forthcoming]

I have been working toward Thanksgiving weekend for most of the fall. Busier than perhaps any other time in my life, I kept telling myself, "if you can just get to Thanksgiving, you can ..." sit down, do nothing, spend a whole day cooking, drink a lot and sleep in the next day, generally surrender to sloth and gluttony.

Not my beet salad, but something like it.
Thanksgiving finally arrived, and as it turned out, we took guests with us, and lots of produce from City Fresh, our CSA (radishes, beets, and cabbage. oh my!). My friend Jess and her family (including Z's old preschool gal pal, the divine Miss L) brought with them an astoundingly fine cheese plate, which even included fig jam and cornichons (you can see why I like this lady); a laudable apple pie, complete with impressive seasonal crust cut-outs; and a larger than average appreciation for the oddball, which I hoped would make them feel at home with my people.

Also joining us the day of the feast…

Sick Days

I'm on day 2 of being sick, after spending a day with a sick O, and I am fighting terrible feelings of self-doubt and lurking failure. This is a normal way to be when sick, I suppose, but it comes at a time when I was already struggling against despair.

Why despair?

Because I am genetically predisposed? Because I am working too much and I'm worn out? Hormones?

Yes. Yes. Probably.

Because the BiP is more a fantasy than a reality at this point? (For those keeping track, NaNoWriMo feels to me more like NoNeGoWriMo ~ Not Never Gonna Write More.)

The last is probably the clincher. Whenever I lose track of my writing I get desperate. This is an ongoing dance I do with myself. Commit to the writing ~ do the writing ~ neglect the writing ~ hear the writing whispering recriminations ~ avoid the writing ~ loathe self and others ~ eventually get back to the writing (repeat). Wouldn't it be nice if we could lose steps 3, 4, & 5?

Hope in a Prison of Despair, pre-raphaelite painting …

AIKSGNP ep. 346 Postscript

O is pictured here enjoying the shirt in question.

To answer a question from Mati re burning the shirt upon arrival: The short answer is that it seems well proven that prohibition breeds desire. So, while I don't have to buy Barbie t-shirts, I am not going deny the ones that come in with other juicy hand-me-downs. Plus, and, I think this way is ultimately more subversive.

The longer answer is much more complicated, as is this whole dance of living within and even enjoying a culture with which I want my children to learn to engage critically. I will continue addressing this in dribs and drabs. (Stay tuned for "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Princesses.")

Adventures in kinda sorta gender neutralish parenting, episode 346

Getting dressed this morning Z was trying to decide between the brown BFF t-shirt she inherited, I think, from Lily or maybe Makayla, or the pink super-80s (or is it 90s?) Barbie t-shirt that came in the great stream of hand-me-downs from Rachel C., one of my grad school profs. Z looked at them and realized the Barbie shirt is at long last too small. She handed it to me to put in the give-away bag.

Oh so pretty ... but in an 80s way or 90s? (answer revealed below)
But wait, I thought ... Z's too-smalls always get offered to O. This is why my boy proudly sports striped purple leggings, and it makes me happy. It helps that he has a strong sense of personal style (Michael C. was his fave on PR8, he would want you to know).

We have a saying in this house that "There aren't girl things or boy things. There are just people things." Of course, the rest of the world doesn't really get this concept ... those pure-pink and black & red battle-game-du-jour aisles at the t…

trinket box

Not a particularly shiny week in America, if I do say so myself, still a few things have inspired me. (I don't have time to go into detail. My friend Cara says "the novel always wins," which means I need to be over there instead of over here.)

+ First, Franzen ... I have a big chip on my shoulder when it comes to Jonathan Franzen. Read The Corrections, found it wanting, resented the hype. What does the hype have to do with me, you ask? Nothing. But I guess I need something on which to focus my writerly longing, envy, and bitterness. (I used to feel this way about Joyce Carol Oates, but I've mellowed on her.) Not particularly productive, but there you have it. So I've walked around for 9 years hating Jonathan Franzen, so much so that knowing he was friends with David Foster Wallace tainted my devoted, frustrated adoration for the latter.Have I written a novel in the last 9 years to counter Franzen? No. Cara is right. That is where I need to be, in the novel writing…

If you don't know me by now ...

Shiny eyed greetings from the other side.
There are a lot of important holidays in this house. Birthdays (of the living and the dead) celebrate the individual. Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrate togetherness and plenitude. Halloween and New Year's are my favorite, though. They are both topsy-turvy days, Saturnalian. And they both celebrate transitions, shadows, the edges of things.

Halloween/Day of the Dead/Samhain. It is the day when the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest, they say. Or maybe it is the day when the impending darkness of winter really begins to settle onto us. If we were more agrarian it would be the time of year when the bounty of the harvest and the barrenness of the fields stand in sobering contrast.

Detail of our altar this year, with photo of Meinhardt Raabe, the Munchkin coroner (RIP).
I think we've been celebrating the Day of the Dead in earnest for 9 years. Always a festival I liked the idea of, it became rel…