Archive for April, 2011

29
Apr
11

a post not about the royal wedding

Does everybody’s toaster look like absolute crap? I mean, seriously, take a good look. Do you really think you should put food in there, take it back out, and then EAT it?

I tried to find a good picture online, but the only pictures of dirty toasters I could find were so disgusting I couldn’t bear to post any of them and risk having you all think it was actually mine.

They should make one that dismantles and can be run through the dishwasher.

Plus now our dishwasher AND garbage can are both full. I think it might be time to move.

Also, I apologize if the post title misled you into reading this, thinking I was maybe being coy or clever and actually WAS writing about the royal wedding. I’ve been thinking about it all day, trying to figure out what it means that I don’t care, or that anybody does.

Any ideas?

27
Apr
11

everybody’s watching!

A friend of mine on facebook posts this conversation in her status update:

Husband: Turns out Prince who-gives-a-turd is marrying Lady Mc-worthless-pants. I just couldn’t be happier. I hope the news doesn’t talk about anything else ever.

Wife: Hey, get out of the shower! You’re missing pictures of the bride!

I have a good laugh, “borrow” it to put in my status update (with credit given where credit is due, of course), and then, even though I am pretty sure I feel more like husband than wife, proceed to look for a picture of Kate Middleton, who is reputedly quite beautiful.

When I google “royal wedding,” the first listing is E! so I figure, what’s to lose?

This is what I get.

And that’s what I get. Now there are at least 3 minutes of my life I can’t get back. Are there actually that many people out there who care about this drivel? Although I guess I can make it through my day much more effectively and productively now that I know that Blake Lively (whoeverthehellsheis) has dyed her hair red.

Oh, and Lindsay Lohan has admitted, to Jay Leno of all people, that she has finally learned to love herself. Now if she could just stop taking herself out at night and giving herself too much to drink, we’d all be better off, although I guess we would have less to read about.

26
Apr
11

is it just me?

Or does this ad seem to be about something else?

25
Apr
11

Cha-ching

Read this.

And then join me in asking: Are you wordIcan’tsay kidding me?

Ten months later he’s still suffering from anxiety and withdrawal? From 10 seconds, ten SECONDS, in the dark when he was 10 months old?

How many think this woman saw dollar signs?

What a waste of resources, not to mention the poor soul who lost his job over entertaining an infant on an airplane.

24
Apr
11

What DO women really need?

Virginia Woolf thought it was a room of their own, and she wasn’t that far off. She was, in fact, referring to an actual room, a place a woman could go and be completely alone so as to embrace her own inner life and creativity free from distractions and demands. (I agree, but find her awareness of this need quite interesting, as she probably had more than adequate time “alone,” considering her supportive husband, and lack of children. Those of you with children know that even a few minutes alone in the bathroom can represent quite an achievement.)

Jill Lepore writes in this Sundays NY Times about Benjamin Franklin’s younger sister Jane. Allowed to learn to read, but not to write, she married a saddler at the age of 15, and bore 12 children, 11 of whom she buried. Her husband struggled with both physical and mental illness, and debt. She struggled, with no education of any sort, to keep them out of debtor’s prisons by making bonnets and taking in boarders.

Lepore writes: “. . .the story of Jane Mecom is a reminder that, especially for women, escaping poverty has always depended on the opportunity for an education and the ability to control the size of their families.”

On the next page of the paper, a review by Nicholas Kristof of Rachel Lloyd’s book “Girls Like Us” questions why our hearts melt when we hear about sex trafficking in India or Cambodia, but teenage girls living and working on America’s streets are arrested, prosecuted, and sent to juvenile detention centers so they can learn “moral principles,” while their pimps and johns are virtually ignored. Kristof reports that the typical victim of sexual trafficking in America is “. . .a 13-year old girl of color from a troubled home who is on bad terms with her mother. Then her mom’s boyfriend hits on her, and she runs away to the bus station, where the only person on the lookout for girls like her is a pimp. He buys her dinner, gives her a place to stay and next thing she knows she’s earning him $1,500 a day.”

Is it strange that I see a connection between these two stories?

Moralists would say that the girl in the second situation should try harder to find another option, but for some of these girls there ARE no other options — no home to take in boarders, no market for bonnets.

So yes, we need a “room” of our own — one which includes access to education whose quality is not dependent on one’s zip code; where luxuries such as access to birth control aren’t cut off by political wrangling; where parents have options of their own, and are more concerned about the well being of their children than of their predatory boyfriends; where more people like Rachel Lloyd win human rights awards for making sure that it’s the oppressors and not the victims held to account; where a woman’s voice and opinion and business “style” are considered as valid as a man’s.

Oh, and I guess a few minutes alone in the bathroom wouldn’t hurt.

22
Apr
11

Ralph Lauren and the incredible shrinking woman

From the spring 2011 collection:

One question, about the outfit on the right.

Seriously?

And then there’s this one:

My caption for the outfit on the left: Ado Annie meets Laura Ashley.

In my quest, I found these:

Apparently the version on the left isn’t thin enough, so they had to remove all evidence that she had internal organs or a ribcage.

And then we have Filipa Hamilton, before:

and after:

According to the site from which I obtained the above picture, when enough people complained to Ralph Lauren about how flipping deformed this woman looks, they claimed responsibility for their manipulation of her image, and apologized. Is it actually possible that no one noticed that she looks like a bobble-head doll until people complained? And look !!! at the first picture of her. Why are they manipulating her image? Is there supposedly something wrong with how she looks? Actually, the first image is from Ralph Lauren, also, so maybe nobody really knows what her body looks like. Has anyone seen her in person, taken a picture of her, and not photoshopped it?

Oh, look what I found:


Which one do YOU think is more attractive?

Criminy.


20
Apr
11

stupid people

Heard on NPR this morning:

1.  On a report regarding Obama’s recent tour through the country touting the need to balance the budget fairly and encouraging development of green energy technologies, an energy student comments to the NPR reporter:

“Gas prices just keep going up and up and up; when’s it going to stop?”

Okay, first of all, there are those who believe that these little spikes aren’t really all that significant unless we panic about them, and that the biggest reason they cause such widespread reaction is because these signs are big and lit up and we watch the numbers spin while we gas up our car. Do you know if the milk you bought last week is more expensive than it was the week before? How much do you think a gallon of beer costs? And which do you think is easier to produce and deliver?

While consistently and dramatically elevated gas prices do hit us harder — affecting the profit margins of energy-dependent manufacturers, for example, or causing airlines to raise their rates by 50% and charge astronomical fees for luggage (adjustments which were not seen in reverse when gas prices went back down ~ 25% a year or more ago) — this little spike is probably not one of them.

Secondly, it’s a finite resource, and we pay the least for gas of any developed country, and probably less than some less-developed countries, so yes, the law of supply and demand would probably dictate that, as it becomes more scarce and harder to get to, it’s going to get more expensive. Stop whining and take a bus.

Which reminds me, why doesn’t this country do more about creating and using reliable public transportation? Millions of Europeans rarely drive their cars, and they all get where they need to go. They are also probably more healthy because they walk more, and less stressed because they have time to read a book or the paper, play Spider Solitaire on their iPhones, or post pithy insightful observations on Twitter while taking the train to work.

BUT — when the consumer is duped into paying more for gas because oil speculators and companies like Exxon want to take advantage of Middle-East unrest, that’s a different matter. When’s somebody going to do something about THAT?

Commenting on the same story is a young woman bemoaning the fact that gas prices are different in one state than they are in another, followed by a statement that the President should do something about that. Does she really not realize that states are allowed to tax gas at THEIR OWN RATES?

2.   Regarding the upcoming, IN TWO YEARS (criminy), presidential election:  Donald Trump is everywhere, and Sarah Palin has half a million Twitter followers.

He’s everywhere? With the hair? How can a man with this much money have this bad of hair? And if he either doesn’t have the sense to listen to people who tell him otherwise or is so intimidating no one dares, how good of a president could this man be, really?

and

Half a million? That’s 499,992 too many (I’m allowing for her immediate family, because they have to). Maybe she sounds less stupid when she Tweets, but I doubt it. The only positive outcome of Sarah Palin’s running for president is it gives Tina Fey more material.

19
Apr
11

a tuesday night, when you’re not home

the storm came and went in flashes
after the wind danced with the trees all day,
and now the hail has made an icy carpet of barnacles on the deck

what is it about
the sound of
the rain on
the roof
?

19
Apr
11

almost gone

It’s just there sometimes,
not quite seen from the corner of your eye,
like the flick of a scarf in
a gust of wind,
the sun’s reflection in
flashes,
or snatching at the scrap of
a dream you can almost
remember.

It reminds me of the girl
in the Vermeer painting Girl 
With the Pearl Earring
looking forward while looking back,
while whatever it is you’re looking
for shreds like smoke.

19
Apr
11

healthy news?

According to last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (April 17, 2011):

  • cell phones have not been proven to cause cancer
  • cognitive performance of most individuals declines significantly after only a few nights of less-than-8-hours of sleep
  • sitting more 4 hours a day is bad for you
  • sugar may be toxic, as the effects of processing it on your liver and pancreas cause cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and may lead to several common cancers,
  • and working out in a few short bursts of intensity followed by several minutes of rest is as beneficial of a long, endurance-based workout.

I have mixed reactions to the above news.

  • A link between cell phone usage and brain cancer may not have been yet definitively proven, but I can’t imagine holding something that emits radio waves right next to my head can be a good thing. I’m still going to use an earpiece.
  • I know this, and know that I am one of “most individuals,” but I hardly ever get 8 hours of sleep. I’ll admit that on the rare occasion that I do, I feel like a completely different person. The article offers little comfort, as it says that trying to split the difference between 8 hours (better cognition, focus, fewer mistakes) and 6 hours (decline in performance, inability to sustain attention) by getting 7 usually leads to results more similar to the 6 hours than the 8. Alas.
  • I sit for hours, both at my computer and at the piano. The good news is I have some form of physical ADD which drives me to get up and wander around my house every 15 or 20 minutes, even when I’m in the middle of something particularly interesting or challenging, and this tendency to move around, even for a little bit, triggers electrical signals from my muscles and a somewhat prolonged increase in metabolism. Am realizing as I write this that this tendency may be a result of the lack of focus which results from not getting enough sleep, so maybe I should just “decide” that these 2 things balance each other out and accept the fact that I while I may look and feel somewhat bleary for the rest of my life, at least I’m doing my muscles and my metabolism some good. Who knows, maybe the wandering around is actually aiding the cognitive process — haven’t there been studies done about the benefits of learning simultaneously with physical exertion?
  • Yeah, I know. I can actually keep my weight where it should be much easier by cutting out simple carbs than by any kind of sustained diet-end-exercise program. I also have a good friend who had astronomical triglyceride numbers until he stopped drinking 4 liters of Pepsi a day. I will be interested in following this subject, as my husband’s family has a history of cardiovascular disease, and everything we can know about what might cause it can only help. The book Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes, actually addresses many of the fallacies of the cardiovascular medical establishment, including evidence that low-fat diets may lower the symptoms of heart disease, they don’t actually seem to affect the incidences of heart attacks. He draws many of the same conclusions regarding the negative impact of white flours, easily digested starches, and sugar.
  • This is definitely good news. The recommendations are to go (bike, run) with as much intensity as you can for 30 seconds, rest (I would imagine walking slowly would count) for 4 minutes, and then repeat a few times. This gets an intense interval workout into about 15 minutes. THAT I can do (see bullet 2).

So, in a nut shell:

Talk on your cell phone as much as you like, sleep more, sit less/wander more, eat as little sugar as you can possibly manage, and count running for the tea kettle as one interval in a healthy and effective workout regimen.

Sound like a plan?

17
Apr
11

tax day

My husband is the “Taxpayer.”
I am the “Spouse.”
Does this mean I don’t have to pay taxes?
Or are we waiting for women to be paid the same amount for the same work, and then both categories will be “Taxpayer”?
Maybe I’m overthinking it.

Oh, and it took 40 minutes and two consultations of the directions online to fill out the 1040 “EZ” for my 17-year-old. I made 3 mistakes that I had to white out, and I’m a reasonably intelligent person. It shouldn’t be that difficult to fill out a form for someone who made $3,600 last year and can’t itemize lunches at Noodles & Co. or purchases from Game Stop.

Can any tax reform enacted include a rule that one shouldn’t need to hire a CPA and pay $20/form to complete even the simplest tax forms? Does anybody really know what terms such as “Amortization” or “Domestic Production Activities Deduction” actually mean?

Do I earn any karma points for being perfectly willing to pay my fair share even if GE doesn’t? And what about my paying my taxes for potholed roads and closing police departments and schools that “my” governor can take over with one of his non-elected Emergency Financial Managers? Guess this crosses over into questions about whether democracy is alive and well in the good ol’ U. S. of A., and maybe that’s a topic for another day.

Gotta go write that check and send it off to Uncle Sam. Or should I have my husband write it, since I’m just the Spouse?

15
Apr
11

waiting

From Jane Kenyon’s Waiting:

. . .And she will wait. Life is odd. . .

I too am waiting, though if you asked

what for, I wouldn’t know what to say.


What am I waiting for?
Besides the kettle to boil
so I can make myself a cup of that Wild
Sweet Orange tea we both like so much,
the UPS truck, Hannah’s bus,
for spring to come to the tangled trees
and vast fields of brown that look so much
like November.

I know I’m waiting for our trip to Italy
where we will feast on beautiful food and
ancient works of art painted on canvas and ceilings,
and drink as many perfect wines as we can
find, and afford; and where we will walk on sun-bleached
paths and look at water gleaming
like a smoothed out piece of tin foil,
or watch the beautiful people on their
passieggiata speaking in their beautiful tongue.

But what else?

For our children to grow and find their way,
and for a world that knows what I mean by
what I say and do rather than the errant
expressions that appear on my face;
for the perfect job, the perfect poem, the perfect
silver happiness one reads about in books?

Ah, there’s the whistle of the kettle.
That’s one thing, then.

15
Apr
11

If only we always did it my way

“Is it perfect? No. I’d be the first to admit it’s flawed. But welcome to divided government.”
JOHN A. BOEHNER, the speaker of the House, on a measure to finance the government through September.

Today’s “quote of the day” from the New York Times.

Is he actually saying that, if we were governed by a single party, or what the heck, while we’re at it, why not a single person, we could reach ideal solutions to our problems?

Hmmmm. . .how well has that worked out in the past?

What an idiot.

(And if you ask me, I’ll tell you what I really think.)

14
Apr
11

why me?

My blog server, wordpress.com, provides me with a dashboard which allows me to see how many views my blog has had each day, whether a certain post been “shared” or not, etc. It also includes a list of search terms which people used that led them to click on my blog. The top four on the list from yesterday are:

Family sex     6

Beach sex     5

Naked at beach     3

Sex on beach   2

Okay, first of all, is this really the best use of your time, and your internet connection? Why don’t you use your hard-earned free time in a more noble pursuit, like taking up origami or learning to speak Mandarin Chinese or something? Don’t you have a closet that needs to be cleaned out? A yard to rake? Something?

And secondly, why do these terms lead to my blog? I have one picture of 2 nude people playing Scrabble on a beach. I can’t decide if I should save you time by providing the link to it so all you voyeurs out there can get right to it and get on to something more productive, or if I should withhold it to encourage you to spend more time on my blog.

Gack!

 

 

 

12
Apr
11

aren’t we glad we know better now?

A friend of mine with a unique sense of humor sent me a link of old advertising clips for my amusement.

I laughed a little, but mostly felt a kind of sick horror, like how one feels when passing a car that’s upside down in the median, wheels still spinning, or on the shoulder surrounded by fire trucks and ambulii and stretchers.

They seem to fall into a few very distinct categories.

Aren’t We Glad We Know Better

So what if the alcohol consumption interferes with their ability to learn to read later, or to form emotional attachments; at least we can count on those pesky little critters to sleep through the night!

It’s hard to know for sure, since when I zoom in it gets quite blurry, but I believe the claims include that it will help you get your homework done properly, AND strengthen family ties. What’s not to like?

Of course we don’t really know if the ingredients help cure your toothache, but you’re so flippin’ high, who cares?

What We Didn’t Realize We Wanted


Offensive

Chubbies? CHUBBIES?????

Yeah, because my primary concern when I’m suffering from the myriad adverse physical affects of PMS is whether I’m GOOD TO BE AROUND.

Sorry; I’m so offended I have absolutely nothing to say. Those of you who know me well will probably be flummoxed by this, but I’m flummoxed by that.

And then we have the best-represented category of all:

Women’s primary objective is to appear to be sexually appealing to you (men) while performing her housewifely duties

(ugh; I’m feeling a little queasy)

The answer to your question, honey, is that you’re actually a lazy whimp, and I am enervated by the smell of dust and burning bacon.

Seriously? Is anyone believing this crap? She WON’T be happier with a Hoover, she’d be happier with a man who could get off his fat lazy ass and pick up some of the potato chip crumbs he’s managed to scatter around himself while watching Monday Night Football. How did man survive the 1950s? If I’d have been there, there would have been some serious trouble.

(Gag.) O, but look how happy they both are; this must be true.

First of all, could this BE more patronizing? Cry a little? Just a little? What are we, five?

And secondly, um, no.

Try these instead:

And then there’s this one. Inexplicable.

Praise be we all know so much better now.

Sigh.

12
Apr
11

stating the obvious

I get a message much like this almost every day of the week:

Dear MoveOn member,

The fight over our budget is really heating up in X, and your state legislators need to hear from you today.

Governor X’s proposed budget would slash funding for public schools and universities—while cutting taxes for large corporations. But most shocking of all, Gov. X’s budget would push 14,000 children into poverty by repealing the Earned Income Tax Credit—raising taxes on the working poor.

Call your state legislators today. Tell them, “It’s immoral to raise taxes on low-income working families, who are struggling most in this recession. I urge you to vote to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Do I really have to tell my legislators this? Don’t they know it already? What am I missing here?

And I get so many of these, day in and day out. How many petitions can I click on to sign and still feel like I’m actually accomplishing anything? I thought I was tired because I work too hard, or don’t get enough sleep, or maybe have mono, but maybe I’m just tired of all this.

Posted this on facebook the other day, “borrowed” from someone else:

I’m tired of America being dumbed down. I’m tired of a country who thinks that The Arts should be the first to go. I’m tired of fighting wars instead of teaching our children how to avoid them. I’m tired of a shrinking middle class. I’m tired of corporations and lobbyists running our country. I’m tired of a budget where defense is more important than education. I’m tired of a Nation divided. I’m tired of people texting other when they are sitting next to a real person and not talking to them. Maybe I’m just tired. Period.

09
Apr
11

whose cookies?

Was clicking on some links of people who read and comment on my blog. A link to alisonamazed led me to this blog, and this story:

A woman goes into a café one morning to have a cup of coffee. She gets a newspaper, sits down, and starts enjoying the morning. Reading the paper. Picking up a cookie from the bag she brought with her, eating it. Having a sip of coffee. There’s a guy at the counter next to her doing the same thing: having a cup of coffee, reading the paper. He reaches over and takes one of her cookies out of the bag, and she thinks, “That’s kind of strange—he didn’t even ask.” She takes another cookie, and soon he takes another cookie too. They don’t say anything to each other; they just keep reading their papers. Now she’s get­ting kind of annoyed because she really wanted to enjoy her bag of cookies, but every time she takes one, he also takes one shortly afterwards. She’s get­ting more and more annoyed; she can’t believe he doesn’t even say anything. She can’t say anything at this point either, it’s actually become too weird. Finally it gets down to only one cookie left, and he quite casually, while still not looking up from his newspaper, breaks the cookie in half, eats half, and gently pushes the remaining half toward her. She’s totally enraged at this point and can’t believe somebody could do such a thing. She eats the remaining half cookie, finishes her coffee, throws down the newspaper and leaves the cafe. She gets in her car, reaches in her purse for her glasses, and there’s a bag of cookies there. The same kind she was just eating, in an unopened bag! She’s stunned. Her angry mind totally dissolves and she feels completely silly that, not only was she getting upset about this guy eating her cookies, but she was eating his cookies! And he was even so kind as to split the last one with her!

Along with the wonderful Buddhist philosophies discussed at the Zen blog, I got to thinking about this:

How much of what we punish ourselves with, worry about, is entirely a result of whatever insecurities and fears we are dealing with in our own minds?

My bff Jill has a statement on her facebook page, which I believe is also a Buddhist idea: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their own hard battle(s).

I wonder if, next time I think someone’s eating my cookies, I can wonder, instead, whether I’m eating some of theirs.

09
Apr
11

today’s jog

Went running today, only the second time

outside since the new year,

leaving behind the teenager muttering to his rake

and the laundry tumbling through its cycles.

 

As I ran I cursed the two weeks of busy-ness

while my running shoes sat forlorn, laces tied,

waiting patiently on the treadmill,

and I also cursed the hill at the beginning of Briarcliflf,

and my inflexible hip flexors.

 

I turned around at the one-and-a-half mile mark,

after noticing the recalcitrant snow banks at ends

of driveways and that stone house I always tell you

I like, you know — the one with the pillars, and the

beautiful landscaping.

I walked while my heat and my breath

caught up to me, and nodded to the crocii and

spindly leaves of daffodil waving bleakly as I passed.

 

The cars outpaced me, as did the bicyclist in his

black and fuschia Lycra, and the young hipsters

with their trench coats and fedoras, and one old

man on a vintage bike with bell and basket,

and the tall blond girl with the racing number and her

long swinging pony tail.

 

But I outpaced the swooping camel-back bridge and

the dead ornamental grasses which whispered in my ear

as I passed, and even the dead leaves which blew

on ahead of me and then snagged on pebbles or cracks

or cramps in their sides or calves.

 

I also outpaced the worries I had shed behind me like a vapor trail,

although they waited for me, lining the walk where I’d left

them, waving their arms and clamoring on my return;

I couldn’t hear them for the sound of the wind still

in my ears, and that of the waves of the river that

lapped against the pilings and rocks along the road.

09
Apr
11

Dear . . .

Just read a post on this blog where an apparently 40-year-old woman is writing little messages to the younger versions of herself.

I’ve actually been thinking about this very thing lately in terms of my children, principally First and Second Son (21 and 17, respectively), and their unflinching and eternal optimism. I even wrote a poem to First son, once, on this very topic, and posted it on this very blog. You can read it here.

So this gets me thinking, what messages would I send myself, if I could.

To 18: Figure out who you are before you try to figure out who you want to be with.

To 20: It wouldn’t be the end of the world if you had to borrow $1,000 to finish college, so YES, take a year off and backpack through Europe. Once you’re a grown-up you have to be a grown-up for a very long time; what’s your hurry?

To 25: Not using birth control for one night maybe isn’t the best way to decide if you’re ready to have children.

To 26: Yes, there’s now a small, cranky stranger completely dependent on you for everything. You will do your best, and your best will be good enough. He will become a beautiful 20-year old with blue eyes and a generous heart, and you will know that you at least did this one thing well.

To 32: It’s a beautiful house in a crappy town on a busy road; don’t buy it.

To 35: Don’t chase things so hard.

To 40: Don’t despair. It’s not the end yet; it might not even really be the beginning.

To 42: Everyone you’ve ever known, everything that has ever happened, has helped make you who you are, and you kind of like you, so take a deep breath, and from somewhere inside yourself, Thank them.

To 25, 26, 27, 28. . .46  These are beautiful children: pay attention.

To 46: You have everything you need.

and

Your most powerful moments, leading to the most powerful and positive changes in your life, were those moments when you were willing to close your eyes, open your arms, and leap. Stop being afraid. Take my hand. One.Two.Three. Go.

06
Apr
11

police blotter

Heard on NPR this morning:

A police officer in Mason, Ohio, was alerted to possible trouble by the incessant barking of his police dog, which he had left in the cruiser while investigating a possible crime. Upon his return to his car, he found that there was a man standing outside the car, barking and hissing at the dog, provoking the animal’s response.

The man claimed that, and I believe I’m quoting here, “the dog started it.”

Now that’s mature.

 

 

05
Apr
11

spring blah’s?

I haven’t written in several days. Feeling kind of tired of everything. Middle-Eastern unrest and upheaval, political sniping, natural disasters and their consequences, arguing children, cats throwing up in the hallway, ugly shoes, professional disappointments, the widening gap between rich and poor, dreary weather, skinny models, Charlie Sheen imploding, blah blah blah.

11 It’s All Been Done

It’s just all the same stuff all the time, and I’m not sure I have anything new to say about it. Besides, do I expect I’m going to change the world one barely-read blog post at a time? Maybe my time would be better spent baking cookies with my daughter or trying to start that short story I’ve been writing in my head for three years, or that article on birth order that will probably meet the same fate as my dissertation (that is, once finished, never again seeing the light of day; who thinks it’s a good idea to spend nine months writing something that your committee and one other person reads?)

But, today’s grace: a cup of really good coffee, pear tart with homemade yogurt for breakfast, Only Daughter starting her daily marathon of front and back walkovers (she “needs to stay in shape while there’s no gymnastics this week”), a two-and-a-half hour teaching day before me instead of the usual 7, birthday salmon and “twinkie” cake (not really, heaven help us, rather a delicious albeit probably-not-particularly-healthy substitute) for my husband (today, happy birthday darlin’) and his son (tomorrow).

01
Apr
11

spring break adventures

Yesterday was Only Daughter’s first day of spring break, but I had college classes to teach, so today is “our” first day of spring break together.

We started by getting up “early” (8:00) and heading off to Frederick Meijer Gardens to see the butterflies.

Here are some of the pictures.

If you look closely you should be able to see lots of butterflies. The air was just aflutter.

These are feeding on little balls of nectar.

Wonder if this one is wearing enough SPF.

“Does this flower make my wings look bluer?” “Yes! Now hold still!!!”

Ready for takeoff!!!

This next butterfly is quite large, and the inside of its wings are a beautiful powder blue. One of these types kept flying around and around us, and we were hoping it would land on one of us, but it didn’t. It was a bit disconcerting, though, because it liked to circle our legs, which made us afraid to take a step in case we stepped on it. If you look at the first picture, you can see a hint of the blue as a bright streak between the two wings. The second shot, taken more from the side, better shows its striking eye-markings. I stood and waited and waited and waited for it to fly so I could try to capture it with the wings open (he would NOT hold still). As you can tell by the 3rd shot, it didn’t work out so well.

The funnest part is when you leave, you exit through a vestibule of sorts so they can check for hitchikers.

I tried not to let it bother me when oblivious people would push into view between the scene and my camera and stand there, or when one woman stood and watched for many minutes while her daughter tried repeatedly to catch one of the butterflies, inches from the sign that says “Please Do Not Touch the Butterflies.”

We decided to make the most of our visit, so walked through the sculpture gallery, currently featuring works by Jim Dine. Only Daughter summed it up as such: tools, women (he has a fascination with Venus di Milo), hearts, and Pinocchio. My cynical self wonders if taking four completely unrelated ideas and juxtaposing them qualifies one as an “artist.” Most of it I don’t get, including this:

Now that’s one heck of a tool belt!

It is interesting in that all of his sculptures are in bronze, but treated in such a way as to look like wood, or bone, or even rubber. The security guard pointed out that, after 8 hours a day 5 days a week patrolling the sculpture hall, he was noticing more and more details, such as wondering if the tread on the two tractor tires (connecting an axle which bore more farm implements, a “metal” pig, and a rather large skull) was going in two different directions on purpose — was it implying some kind of circle? Hmmmm, good question, but not good enough to balance out the general state of perplexity and lack of emotional connection I had with most of the work.

There was a “bouquet” of Venus di Milos which I kind of liked, but after I took the picture above Only Daughter pointed out the “No Photography” sign, so I decided I better not take another.

The following are part of the permanent installation:

“Seven Saints and Sinners” by Marshall Fredericks

(Daughter liked that the baby has a halo, too.)

and

“Hagar” by Jacques Lipchitz

Some of you may know Hagar from the story of Genesis: originally the handmaiden of Sarai (Sarah), Abram’s (Abraham) wife, who was offered to Abram by Sarai when she became concerned over her barrenness and believed that she should do this in order to fulfill God’s promise. As you can imagine, Hagar became pregnant before Sarai did, and resentment brewed. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, who became the leader of the Ishmaelites. Hagar is also mentioned in the Koran, although not by name, as it is believed that through her son comes the Prophet Muhammed.

I like this sculpture very much. Its twistings, intertwinings, seem to well represent the complexities of Hagar’s actual and emotional circumstances.

You can see a bit of the Chihuly chandelier in the background.

***************

Phase 2 of Day 1 involves the making of Monkey Bread. Careful consideration of the ingredients (2 sticks of butter, 3 eggs + 2 egg yolks) implies that I will not, however, be eating very much of the monkey bread.

And I think I might have agreed to take her to see a potentially cinematic monstrosity known as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules” this afternoon. It must have been a weak moment.




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