Wednesday, October 29, 2008

out of the mouths of babes

7th graders at the Ron Clark Academy, Atlanta, Georgia

'what are you thinking of?'

"'What are you thinking of?' she whispers.
I am staring into the garden.
I am watching the moon
wind its trail of golden slime around the oak,
over the stone basin of the fountain.
How can I tell her
I am thinking that transformations are not forever?"
(Susan Mitchell, From the Journals of the Frog Prince)

Other read of the day: Listen, better angel (just one of many, perhaps hundreds, of bloggers writing in opposition to California's Proposition 8, brought together for your perusing and rea
ding pleasure via Write to Marry Day)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So I dragged myself out of my apartment Saturday night, made my way to the train station through rain and wind strong enough to make an umbrella useless, and rode the A-train (going local, of course) all the way down through Manhattan and out to Fort Green, Brooklyn, to a friend's birthday party.

I'm not much of one for socializing, generally, and certainly not with an apartment full of folks I don't really know. But I'm glad I went, in the end, because I actually met some pretty interesting people.

Sunday afternoon, after stumbling home at 2am, sleeping in until nearly 10, and frittering away much of the day, I went online in search of a particular New York Times article from last summer. This article, in fact, and not only because I had just the night before met both the photographer about whom the piece was written and the person who wrote it, but because the pictures sounded so damn cool.

Chris keeps telling me that I should hang stuff on my walls, keeps asking me what I might want there, seems almost flustered by these blank spaces in my apartment and even offered at one point to buy me a poster. But I've put off hanging things, investing in things, I think because I worry that the beauty I imagine hanging there cannot be matched by anything I'd actually find. (Also, of course, because of a chronic and unfortunate combination of laziness and cheapness.)

I think, though, that if I had my choice of anything, I might hang a couple of Nathan's photographs, clustered on my living room wall, framed somehow in driftwood and catching the last of the evening light.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


John McCain lost an endorsement from the Anchorage Daily News this weekend, but won an endorsement from Al Qaeda.

Kinda like good old George W. winning Iran's endorsement back in '04.

Way to go, John!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'I always wanted a son named Zamboni,' she said (and other semi-newsworthy stories)

This in from Erik yesterday: Palin Says She Considers Herself Intellectual

Also in the news, this rather heartbreaking (and totally unfair - how was it unethical to promote his daughter's book when no one was profiting from it, I ask you?) story: A Brooklyn Librarian Is Fined For Promoting Daughter's Book

And this, the tale of a growing new genre in the literary world: Urban Fiction Makes Its Way From Streets to Libraries

Then there was this fun little article about a new book I want to read called The City’s End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears and Premonitions of New York’s Destruction. Because I've been kind of fascinated with my city's demise for awhile now. Clearly I'm not remotely the only one.

Who woulda thunk it? Turns out, my employer is one of those mysterious anti-American entities we've all been hearing so much about recently!

But my employer is also one of the highest-ranked schools in the country (as far as going green at least) according to The College Sustainability Report Card. Alas, my beloved alma mater is not.

Surprise, surprise: the New York Times today officially endorsed Obama

Not to get anyone's hopes up too much, but give this video about McCain & Palin's 'negative intensity' a watch.

And last, McCain's love for Pennsylvania knows no bounds. I do almost feel sorry for the man, given the utter exhaustion anyone on the trail this long must be feeling (let alone someone of his rather advanced years) and the realization that he's running his campaign into the ground.

Well, really for last, and for a laugh, from the Onion: John McCain Accidentally Left On Campaign Bus Overnight

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

quiz of the day

Are you a real American?

another thing that made a girl cry

Well, folks, yours truly managed to work herself up into a bit of a tizzy last night over the not entirely unfounded fear that California is on the verge of enshrining discrimination and homophobia into its Constitution.

It was the weather that did it, to tell you the truth. I was thinking about how glad I was that it's getting cooler here in New York, for many reasons (soup season! hot chocolate season! rustling leaf piles! knitted scarf weather! Thanksgiving!), not least of which was that it's just about cold enough for Dave and Josh to pull out my wedding gift, and curl up beneath it together and have a good snuggle. The thought of this was immeasurably pleasing to me.

But then I got to wondering what will happen on November 5th if, on November 4th, Californians do decide to amend their constitution. Josh and Dave traveled all the way to California in July just to get married, and came home to New York under the promise that their own state would fully recognize their marriage. And these two men are two of the kindest, gentlest, most wonderful people in the world, and it breaks my heart to think that their love for each other might soon be relegated once again, legally speaking, to a second-class kind of love.

It's heartbreaking enough to have to constantly fight discrimination in the first place, but to have finally won equality, only to have it snatched away again, is just something that no one should have to endure.

I gave $100 to Equality California last week, on the recommendation of an old friend of mine whose law firm did some pro bono work on S14799. I wish that I could give more, thousands upon thousands more, but was at least gratified to see yesterday that Ellen DeGeneres (whom I don't know much about, but whom I kind of adore) finally put her money where her mouth is, so to speak, with a donation of $100,000. And my own mother called today to say that she and her husband are giving $100 too, if only to not be outdone by her mostly straight, if bald-headed, daughter.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Sarah and I have been talking termination lately. A somewhat silly, overblown word for a natural, if somewhat scary, process. We've decided on January.

Back in April, after having spent a year on anti-depressants and two months going off of them, I was trying to figure out what my real self felt like. And I found myself whining to Sarah, one afternoon, about wanting to be back on the Prozac, or on some other (any other) drug, if only to not be the type of person who cries so damned much. And she kind of looked at me funny and said something about there being so very many different ways of crying.

I have always been someone whose emotions hover pretty close to the surface. Sometimes this is good and sometimes this is bad, but part of what I've learned over these last few years of working with Sarah is that, in the end, it is what it is.

I am a person who cries a lot. I cry from sadness and I sob with glee and I tear up over being confronted with things as simple and as beautiful as a spectacularly blue sky just before dusk, forming a window to the heavens, framed by concrete and glass and metal in these urban Manhattan oases.

This is by all means embarrassing, and sometimes even mortifying, but it isn't going to change any time soon, and I'm realizing that I wouldn't really even want to change it anymore, even if I could. I like this emotionality in me, when it's not bogging me down in frustration or anger, or drowning me in sorrow, and I find I'm kind of running out of things to say to Sarah. Though the quiet, too, is comfortable in its way, it's getting on towards being time to say good bye.

These are some of the things that, in the last few days, have gotten me at least a little bit teary-eyed:

Listening to Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama (specifically from 4:27 to the end).

row of trees at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival.

Staring out at the Hudson River and listening to this horribly cheesy pop song while coming back to the city on the train this morning.

The closing credits music from The Wire.

conquering the 2008 NYS Sheep & Wool Festival

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

quote of the day

"If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence."
-George Eliot, Middlemarch, on the A-train, 10.15.08

Monday, October 13, 2008

quote of the day, or, 'my god is bigger than your god' and the embarrassment of playground politics

"I'd also add, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are billions of people around this world praying to their god, whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah, that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they're gonna think that their god is bigger than you if that happens. And so I pray that you would step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day."

(Convocation at McCain rally)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

what the world revolves around (in which i try to come to terms with the fact it isn't me)

The mother of whom I wrote a few weeks ago passed away last Thursday, of complications from breast cancer. I have not seen her son, my friend, yet, though I am hoping to meet up with him tomorrow. He's set a date for a memorial service, with a reception to follow, and then a walk around a reservoir on a nature preserve in her honor.

The woman in charge of organizing the reception sent out a mass email asking if anyone might be willing to contribute snacks. I offered to bring a batch of cookies. Probably the meringues. Someone else offered to bring an 'elaborate trail mix,'
for the walk, I suppose.

I saw, on this mass email list, my ex-boyfriend. And his not-so-new girlfriend. And my gut reaction was to feel pissed off. Annoyed. Angry. Maybe even a little bit jealous (He was my friend first! You never even met his mother!) and more than a little bit insecure (The not-so-new girlfriend is really nice! And really smart! And really pretty! Way nicer and smarter and prettier than the likes of me!).

Ever since the August wedding at which I had to make nice with them, there's been a huge sense of relief: for the first time in forever, he has not been much of a presence. There were no upcoming social events at which we would both be in attendance. No weddings, no birthdays, no funerals. And it was so very good.

Now here he is, lurking yet again on the horizon.

And of course the guilt kicked in immediately, along with the knowledge that I was being more petty and more selfish than even I could possibly imagine. A dear friend's mother is dead and I was upset about having to see an ex-boyfriend and my replacement at her memorial service.

I want to be a better woman, a better friend, even a better ex-girlfriend, than this.

Unrelated, mostly, but I thought I would mention here, given the lump post in September, that also last Thursday I finally made my way to my doctor's office and was given a clean bill of health.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

chuckle of the day

Palin, derailed

what i want for christmas

What I want for Christmas (other than, you know, world peace, Obama in the White House, and a winning lottery ticket) is this new ebelskiver pan.

My family has been making ebelskivers since time immemorial, traditionally for birthday or company breakfasts. Quite a few years ago I gave Nate an ebelskiver pan of his very own for Christmas and he began carrying on the family tradition in fantastic fashion, even upping the ante by adding blackberries or bits of banana to the ebelskivers (unheard of in my parents' purist ebelskiver interpretation, involving nothing more than simple 'skivers, powdered sugar, and preferably Mom's home-made raspberry jam).

But now, what with Nate far away on the West Coast, I'm thinking perhaps it's about time I indulge in purchasing one for my own kitchen. I'm not quite sold, though, on this Williams-Sonoma version. The one I bought for Nate was, I think, solid cast-iron and heavy enough to brain a moose with. This one looks a little lightweight, bantam-esque even.

On the other hand, it only costs half the price of that cast-iron monster, so maybe it's worth a go.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

blog of the day

Jesus' General

ken blackwell & voter fraud

Kenneth Blackwell, a former secretary of state of Ohio, had a little rant this week about the horrors of ACORN and the looming possibility of voter fraud. Now, it is true that ACORN has had its run-ins with, you know, maybe falsifying a voter registration form now and again. And it stands to reason that with increased numbers of people registering to vote (though who in America would, at least publicly, say this is a bad thing?) come increased chances of voter fraud.

But what the Ken Blackwells of the world refuse to cop to is the fact that voter fraud often comes in the form of Republicans trying to suppress the vote. Maybe he doesn't remember his own role in attempted voter suppression in the form of the 2004 Paper Stock Standoff of Ohio. And maybe he's forgotten the story about the fairly standard practice of purging voter rolls and how horribly wrong it went in Florida in 2000. Or the story of Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen and the infamous letter. And I can't help wondering what Jesus would think about the notion of using people's housing misfortunes to prevent them from voting, as is apparently being attempted by the Republican party in several states.

So yeah, voter fraud might be a problem. But it seems to be a problem of denying people their right to vote rather than, as Blackwell would have us believe, a problem of "extremist" groups like ACORN pushing people to vote. (Oddly enough, Blackwell doesn't provide any examples of individual voter fraud. He simply seems to think that increasing the number of voters is itself somehow indicative of fraud. And he uses Florida as an example, but individual voter fraud was not the issue in that election. Quite the contrary, the problems there predominantly concerned eligible voters not having their votes counted, whether due to hanging chads, the butterfly ballot, or the purging of eligible voters from the voter rolls. Correct me if I'm missing something here.)

Blackwell himself writes, "Voter fraud is a crime against democracy itself, because voting is the only means by which the people choose those who govern them - and hold them accountable."

In this, he is absolutely correct. So we should all take advantage of our right to vote, and fight anyone who tries to take that right away from people.

And as an aside, Ohio? Way to go in showing this blowhard the door in his race for governor in 2006. And I mean that seriously.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

quote of the day

"Biden knows that he has to avoid being arrogant about his hard-won knowledge of world affairs without reducing everything about foreign policy to the level of 'Dr. Seuss Does Geopolitics.'"
-Walter Shapiro, The Big Veep Showdown

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

'sweat is my sanity' and other bon mots from palin

She's a feminist (:20) because she believes in equal rights (except when it comes to equal pay for equal work, at least if she agrees with her running mate) and because she had the opportunity to fill her freezer with good wild Alaskan game to feed her family.

She mocks Joe Biden for being so damned old (2:27), being a mere six years younger than her running mate.

She reads all the news (3:00)! But can't name a single news source, and turns the question into an attack on Alaska when pushed on the matter.

She's willing to discuss her personal views on abortion (4:50) but somehow just can't seem to answer in the role of an elected official -- would she or would she not work to ban all abortions? It seems a simple question, and if she's as unapologetically pro-life as she claims, she should have no qualms about answering it. I mean, we don't care how she would "counsel" people, we want to know if she's gonna force women back to the coathangers (or knitting needles or broken soda bottles) of yore.

She has a lesbian friend! Whom she loves! Though she disagrees with the woman's life choices (8:00), and chose, herself, to be not gay!

Lastly (Palin-wise, at least), an interesting comparison between Palin and Biden answering similar questions on Supreme Court decisions with which they disagree.

And really lastly, McCain spent almost an hour with reporters from the Des Moines Register yesterday and got a little testy. Shockingly enough.