Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Belated Halloween tribute

Did my first-ever box costume this year for Speck, who wanted to go as an iPod. It came out swimmingly, although unfortunately a school costume parade the day before involved beating the thing up until substantial surgery was required before Halloween night itself, to some detriment. I'm trying to be a big person about that...

iPod costume, front
iPod costume, back

And yes, we hand-picked all the apps and glued them on -- top and bottom rows are just standard system icons, but we made sure to include a couple of the games that we play together, including Happy Street (mostly my obsession at this point) and Carcassone, which we often play at Starbucks over a pumpkin bread . . .

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quote of the day/season

It is not our job to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves
Like the trees, and be born again,
Drawing up from the great roots.
- Robert Bly
(via whiskey river)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Quote of the day (Thanks, I Needed That edition)

a candle in darkness Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
–The Talmud
(via A Mindful Life)

Friday, June 07, 2013

Never give up

A nice post (short, go read it) in response to the recent revelations about our increasingly intrusive "security" establishment. The take-home quote for me is this one:
Things can still get better. Disappointment is the price of wanting a better world. You need to stop being surprised that no-one else is fighting for it, and start being surprised you’re not doing more.
I'm always surprised (frustrated?) to not be doing more, and I think I'm willing to pay the outrage-exhaustion tax to keep myself in the game. Those who care need to fight.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Privatizing the costs of being a crappy employer

Glad to see California take on Wal-Mart for paying their employees so badly that most of them need public assistance to get up to subsistance living -- that is, for outsourcing their healthcare and some of their wages to the public. I hope that people fighting the arrival of these creeps in their communities bring up the point that while they may provide low-cost shopping, they do it at the cost of impoverishing their employees and the cities where they work.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Somebody had a birthday...

...and there was an actual brunch with Long Unseen friends! and there was great rejoicing.

pile of friends from brunch
Thanks to D for always remembering to take pictures, and managing it so well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Haiku! in major media!

Just happened to catch this story which was part of this morning's Morning Edition -- perhaps the recent phenomenon of NYTimes "haiku" spurred it, or maybe just the annual ritual of appreciating the cherry blossoms in DC. Still, they actually involved members of the Haiku Society of America, so there was more substance than mere syllable-counting to the final selection -- progress!

zoomed-in blossom cherry blossom rain
sound of a love song passes
with the traffic
— Dawn Apanius
(Maybe next time they could invite the HSA membership to contribute as well as judge, but perhaps that is too much to hope.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quote of the day

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
- T. S. Eliot
journal of a nobody
(via whiskey river)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

We live in a post-feminist era

HAHAHAHAHAHA! I'd like to say this surprised me, but it doesn't, other than that he would say it so openly. Interior life? Personal agency? feh! You ladies just brighten up the room!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

To Speck at 5 years

Speck looking down over Bushkill Falls>
Well, it seems that the gaps between letters are getting longer, but it could be that this last one was just delayed by our exhaustion by your being 4. That was a tough year for us – you got more complicated and capable at every turn, but also found every restriction an outrage, were prone to outbursts/assaults fueled by either anger or shame, and were not yet capable of reining in your sometimes biting and kicking-laced tantrums. Your parents managed to weather this, but honestly we often weren't sure we would.

Then, the approach of 5 seemed to bring a radical sea change. Suddenly you had periods of affection and telling us you loved us (even when we were pesky, hah); Speck grinning on spiral slidesuddenly you were offering to help get dinner on the table, were taking in stride the occasional loss at a game, suddenly you decided you wanted a number of signs of being a Big Girl, from doing away with diapers to blow-drying your hair before sleep to requesting a change from crib quilts to full-sized bedding. You no longer insist on being carried places that are reasonable walking distance, you voluntarily hold hands... we're honestly a little overwhelmed by the number of novelties in the last two months!!

Besides the roller coaster of temperment, of course, the last year has brought many other changes. You ask much more complicated questions (replacing "why?" with investigations into how things work and what complicated words mean),you started treating the cats as toys (carrying them around and tucking them under blankets), you became a real reader (although you still prefer sitting next to us while we read a picture or chapter book aloud). Speck as a Christmas tree for HalloweenYou've become an avid gum chewer, taking Mom's occasional mint refreshment to depths of fruity torture. You went through a period of needing ever more arcane tucking of the blankets around your ankles, and then thankfully did away with the whole business overnight (in response to our pleas). The last of your gently mispronounced words has vanished (we don't really remember when), and I think you can now write all your letters and some approximation of all of your numbers. You can swim a few feet unsupported and like to go deep in the pool, but you're also done for a while with lessons at the Y; you climbed your first tree this summer, and have finally realized what fun a trike can be. And you're taking your first ever long trip with a grandparent (away from your parents), and seem to be viewing it as an adventure.

Where does all of this leave us? Well, we're wallowing in the enjoyment of time spent with a companionable and affectionate daughter. We love your humor and your ever more curious mind. We're excited about the school you'll be attending in the fall, and a little impatient with the many months it will take before we get there (although a new preschool teacher may help with the interim). We're looking forward to sharing some vacation fun this summer, and maybe even getting to relax a little during it. And we're clearly prepared for the notion that nothing is predictable except change, and hope we can do our best to make it all be for the better.

Speck grinning out of a blue rubber ball

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Quote of the day

Happiness is accepting and choosing life, not just submitting grudgingly to it. It comes when we choose to be who we are; to be ourselves, at this present moment of our lives; we choose life as it is, with all its joys, pain, and conflicts. Happiness is living and seeking the truth, together with others in community, and assuming responsibility for our lives and the lives of others. It is accepting the fact that we are not infinite but can enter into a personal relationship with the Infinite, discovering the universal truth and justice that transcends all cultures: each person is unique and sacred. We are not just seeking to be what others want us to be or to conform to the expectations of family, friends, or local ways of being. We have chosen to be who we are, with all that is beautiful and broken in us. We do not slip away from life and live in a world of illusions, dreams, or nightmares. We become present to reality and to life so that we are free to live according to our personal conscience, our sacred sanctuary, where love resides within us and we see others as they are in the depth of their being. We are not letting the light of life within us be crushed, and we are not crushing it in others. On the contrary, all we want is for the light of others to shine.
- Jean Vanier
Essential Writings

In a Dark Time
(via whiskey river)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sexism fatigue

Great post by Jezebel on the Acadamy Awards, the frustration with people who can't learn, and the insistence of every schmuck that feminists should spend all their time holding his precious little hand until he understands THE WAY THINGS ARE in even remedial terms.
As though they believe that if they can keep you occupied refuting their flimsy trump cards over and over forever, they can stave off any changes to the culture that keeps them on top.
Sometimes it feels like that. Often. I admire her unwillingness to throw up her hands.

(via a re-tweet by Medley)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A milestone in feminism

femsignGreat piece here by Echidne on the 50th anniversary of The Feminine Mystique. A sort of review of the book and its place in the feminist slipstream, as well as the degree to which our issues have or haven't changed in the intervening years. Good writing, worth a read.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Presented without comment

"It’s not that conservative people are more fearful, it’s that fearful people are more conservative. People who are scared of novelty, uncertainty, people they don’t know, and things they don’t understand, are more supportive of policies that provide them with a sense of surety and security," McDermott said.
Brown University press release

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cured that right quick!

Was getting sad that this winter hadn't managed a little more... wintery-ness for Speck -- I mean, I left my jacket at home for much of yesterday!! -- until I read this post from Dooce. Man! did I hate freezing rain when I lived in St. Louis (the first/only place I ever experienced it). Budget 20 min. in the morning to chip a porthole in your windshield ice, and to break the door open; plan to inch the whole way to work, avoiding other drivers as much as possible, etc. Anyway, her account is a riot, worth a visit whether you need to commiserate from a frozen land or remind yourself why maybe a little thaw isn't so bad. She can sure do magic with words!

Friday, January 18, 2013

How my tribe thinks

a handgunJosh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has posted some thoughtful personal pieces about guns in the last week, which I found very thought-provoking and useful. They were based in an attempt to explain/define how somebody could accept the notion of gun rights while still feeling personally uncomfortable -- not morally, but rationally -- with the notion of widespread presence of guns in public life. I find that I relate very much to his viewpoint, and also find in his explorations the seeds of the reason that we find differences on this topic so difficult to bridge.

His first piece is titled Speaking for My Tribe, and attempts to lay out how he views the issue and a bit on how he got there.

More than this, I come from a culture where guns are not so much feared as alien, as I said. I don’t own one. I don’t think many people I know have one. It would scare me to have one in my home for a lot of reasons. Not least of which because I have two wonderful beyond belief little boys and accidents happen and I know that firearms in the home are most likely to kill their owners or their families. People have accidents. They get depressed. They get angry.
This is one of many viewpoints that tend not to be expressed during gun debates, because it's more personal than dogmatic, but I agree that it's a not uncommon position.

The second piece follows up discussion generated by the first, and is titled Guns Kill People.

My friend Steve Clemons talks in the context of international relations of high-trust versus high-fear relations between states. ... I think something similar applies to civil society. Maybe everyone carries guns but everyone is deterred from firing them in anger because everyone else has a gun and someone will shoot back. But even if we buy that mass gun deterrence vision, that’s a high fear society, not one I want to live in. It’s also not a vision of freedom that I buy into or want to be a part of.
This seems to me to get at the heart of the divide. Nobody wants everybody getting shot up by crazy people, but some "tribes" think that the obvious solution is deterrence through widespread arming of the population, while other tribes think that it's obvious to prevent the crazies from running wild or having access to guns.

On the pay-walled PTM Prime site, I added this to Josh's analysis:

I think you've hit on a really good metaphor here -- that "everybody should be armed" is really a Mutually Assured Destruction approach to public safety, and I'm not sure that's a way that I (or society) want(s) to live. But in that regard, the divide mirrors the Cold War divide about the relative merits of a big nuclear arsenal versus disarmament -- is it more important to deter a bombing or to prevent having so many that accidental launch (via mechanical failure or a crazed actor) becomes more and more likely? I don't think that anybody on either side really ever convinced the other, and it may be that this divide mirrors the Stern Father versus Nurturant Parent frames with which different segments of our culture approach the world. Which is frustrating to think about, but maybe helpful in accepting that there are integral differences at work that can't really be reconciled but can maybe still find some common ground.
I personally find that the identification of this divide as one that's not susceptible to rational argument makes me feel a bit hopeless about progress. But perhaps those in the midst of negotiations (Biden??) can already recognize the two positions represented here and find some zone of sanity between them. Anyway, I found the discussion useful in itself either way.