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Showing posts from April, 2013

every artist lacks a license

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I am actively resisting the urge to apologize to the blog for being gone so long. I am failing. I am actively resisting the impulse to come up with something big and profound to write now, now that I am back. This should be easier!

Thank you to the guy behind the meat counter at Whole Foods who so discreetly yet so directly told me my fly was down. This is citizenship.

Last week I was in a spelling bee. We placed second. We went out on the word "makebate." (We guessed that the second syllable was "bait.") The Merriam-Webster definition of this obsolete word is "one that excites contention or quarrels," but I like this blog entry about its uses and origins better.

Sunday, I successfully executed a big event for work whilst ZandO played soccer in the (chilly) sunshine. (Particularly gratifying, as Z has been suffering from a bad case of tendonitis and sitting out for a few weeks. Good to see her taking names out there on the pitch. #sentencesineverimagined…

Massachusetts

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Again, I will start with the poem of the day. I picked it special, in light of the news of the day. It is by Sharon Olds (whose most recent book just won the Pulitzer).


Before the news of two bombs at the Boston Marathon, I had been contemplating a way to sum up my long, busy weekend in one tidy blog post. I kept thinking of beginning lines.

I spent the weekend in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts and was surprised to find how much it felt like Athens Co. ...

I spent the weekend at a reproductive justice conference and was challenged to begin to rethink my own ideas about gender ...

I spent the weekend at a conference about social justice in the context of sexuality and families and women's wellbeing, interpreted broadly (housing, immigration, queer identity, prisons, gender-based violence, media access, drug policy, food, and on and on, in addition to parenting, pregnancy, abortion, and contraception), and I came away struggling not to be overwhelmed by all that needs to be don…

Defend the day we see the daffodils

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Read today's poem first, please. It is important to me.

Random thing: Poem of the Day (for April Poetry Month):


Daffodils
BY ALICIA OSTRIKER
—for David Lehman

Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 

—William Wordsworth

Going to hell so many times tears it
Which explains poetry. 

—Jack Spicer

The day the war against Iraq begins
I’m photographing the yellow daffodils
With their outstretched arms and ruffled cups
Blowing in the wind of Jesus Green

Edging the lush grassy moving river
Along with the swans and ducks
Under a soft March Cambridge sky
Embellishing the earth like a hand

Starting to illustrate a children’s book
Where people in light clothes come out
To play, to frisk and run about
With their lovers, friends, animals, and children

As down every stony back road of history
They’ve always done in the peaceful springs
—Which in a sense is also hell because
The daffodils do look as if they dance

And make some of us in the park want to dance
And breathe d…

Under 20, dammit! episode 2 -- or, In What Furnace Was Thy Brain?

Begin 9:18 pm ... (recall the 20 minute rule ... It is rule #2)


Ack! No time for pictures! (But really shouldn't it be something by William Blake? Damn.)
So many things I could write about. At one point this evening, I thought "This! This what I will write about tonight!" and I began to construct some in-my-mind elegant yet offhand post of close focus on some corner of a topic that has at this moment entirely eluded me.

The kids said the damnedest things though.

Me (reacting to the song that just came on): I love David Bowie.
David:Yeah. He's such a David Bowie.
Z (from other room, completely deadpan): Oh, yes. It is just exactly like he is David Bowie.

---

O: I just have a smidge more homework.
David: What would Orson do without the word "smidge"?
Me: He also uses the word "bit"
O (shrugs): That's true.
Me: What's the difference between a "smidge" and a "bit"
O (shrugs)
pause
O:  I don't really want to tell you, but…

Drink up!

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Last night I was out with some lady friends celebrating and propping up someone overwhelmed by real estate transactions and what they will mean for her short- and long-term futures. When the waitress came, others were still trying to decide what they wanted, and I readily ordered (having already gone over my eternal whiskey or gin question in my head) a dry Bombay Sapphire martini up with extra olives -- which is odd, because I have in recent times been learning the virtues of the martini on the rocks as a more sociable drink, but old habits die hard. A while later, one friend commented that she'd like to learn more about drinking, that she'd like to be Toni. While I feel slightly bashful about this, I have to admit I am proud to have "knowledgeable (and perhaps prodigious?) drinker" as an identified character trait. I have cultivated myself as a drinker from a scandalous age (and I have friendships dating back at least a quarter of a century that are practically bu…

Rude girls

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Having a ten-year-old daughter is hard. I love my girl so much, and enjoy her company so much of the time. But this new phase of development  is tough. So volatile and moody. Sometimes feels like parenting a toddler again. A very big, verbally sophisticated toddler. Sometimes feels like parenting myself on a really bad jag of pms. Often I think I deal with this well -- calmly, with compassionate authority. Sometimes I fail miserably. Tonight I failed miserably. Her rudeness hurt my feelings and I reacted hotly. I was sarcastic. I think sarcasm may be the worst mode to use in parenting. So, then, I hurt her feelings. So we were both moody, rude, and hurt. Oh joy. And she isn't even a teenager yet. (That is the bit that really scares me.) Eventually, we made up. We got to a moment when we were both staring at each other in frustration. I softened a smidge and asked her what she needed, she told me I had sounded really mean. I hugged her and apologized, admitted to making a mistake.…

Lady on a Train

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I took the Rapid downtown in the early evening for a reception I was attending for work, because I was fretting about where to park and I realized that the train would be infinitely easier. This shouldn't be such an unusual line of thought for me. I love public transportation. I wish it worked better here, by which I mean that I wish the schedules were more extensive (near my house, buses only run on an arcane and totally inconvenient and infrequent schedule) and the system more user-friendly for new riders. I have cried more than once out of frustration and helpless confusion while trying to navigate the system here. Really. And I have negotiated the transit systems of many cities with grace and style.
But this evening, it was fab. A coworker even handed me a bus pass, thus quelling my eternal anxiety about how to pay for riding. (A worry that only besets me in this city, where sometimes you pay when you get on, sometimes when you get off, sometimes on board, sometimes at a kios…

Sending out a world wide hoo-doo

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There's a lot on my mind that goes beyond the borders of this blog -- sad news from odd angles, and trains of thought too long and sooty to examine here. It is making it difficult for me to focus on this and, as the saying goes, be here now. The temptation then is to avoid being here at all, to put the blog on hold until suddenly everything seems easy again and I have just the right anecdote. But that defeats the purpose. The purpose is to make this a practice and a practice is not something you do only when you feel like it.

When I write the word "practice" I think of many things. I think about music practice, which my children are truant from just as I am truant from this blog. I think about the practice of law or medicine. I think about religious practice - specifically zen practice sticks out in my head. I think of the phrase "practice makes perfect."

Music practice with ZandO has been a learning experience for me. As a kid, I was terrible at music practi…

Summary post of a holiday weekend

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No deep thoughts here.

Friday: half day at work then family time, meeting new twin babies time, and pre-Easter celebration with the in-laws time. Good times, despite my raging PMS. My mother-in-law set up seasonally appropriate activities for the kids. O obliged with very methodical dye work before dinner, and Z with concentrated cookie cutting and decorating after. In between, they insisted I come outside and play catch with them, and I got to talk with my father-in-law about his dream life, which he is beginning to think might reveal something about what goes on in his mind, if only he knew how to interpret it (this despite his longheld disdain for all things Freud).

Saturday: sleep in, then writing time (including avoiding writing, futzing with writing, getting rid of writing, moving writing around, and also some actual writing), house cleaning time, family lunch, women's plays at the first SWAN Day Cleveland (thanks, Deb, for organizing this), and a lovely, lovely indulgent ev…