Tuesday, August 27, 2019

if you're gonna tell them everything, don't leave out the good part

Sure there's plenty to be horrified about just reading the news every day, wondering how you are the only person in your neighborhood who thinks it's bad to put children in cages and sexually assault them and sicken and starve them to death.  But, lucky us!  For the low low price of our national moral center we have gotten not only cruelty, but incompetence!  I realize this is quite simplistic.  The more I learn about our country and its founding the more I realize that our moral center has always been...wobbly, to say the least.  But on the subject of incompetence, I am currently reading "The Fifth Risk" by Michael Lewis, a book my brother-in-law sent to me because he is also disgusted and afraid for our country's future.  It is quite eye-opening about the areas where we are in terrible danger that are largely invisible to the public.    It is interesting and frustrating, and you will come away with admiration for the women and men who serve our country in low-profile and important ways, whose primary goal is the well-being of our country and its citizens.  It's a short read, too.

Will we survive this presidency?  I don't know.  Certainly not without deep wounds, and the rot that was already inside us will spread to the new wounds, and we're almost definitely going to die of sepsis.  The outlook isn't great, my friends.  But we've got to find a way to heal or remove what pockets of disease we can reach, even if it's hopeless.  Our choices matter, even the futile ones.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

even in novels written by women we cannot escape the male gaze

What's to be said, really?  Our world and specifically our nation fill me with disgust every day.  I am incredibly lucky to have a safe, comfortable life surrounded mostly by people of good character, and therefore I feel guilty all the time.  I am trying to figure out how to turn my guilt into something productive, and am looking for a path where my efforts can either help stop monsters, or help stop monsters being made. 

Things that have been bright spots in the recent past:  
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.  I made her miso-cured eggs for some ramen a couple of weeks ago and have taken to keeping them in the fridge for snacks.  
Big Dreams, Small Spaces.  I adore Monty Don and all the darling people he has helped with their garden.  This show and GBBO fill me with hope for humanity, because the people are so kind and decent, and the couples seem to genuinely care about each other, which is so often not the case with American programming.  
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  This movie is a beautiful, heartwarming masterpiece.
Thrift store shopping.  
Used books and records. 
A stunning variegated Boston fern that I first saw an example of in a gorgeous, self-regarding nursery in Nashville, and then found--the only one of its kind, hidden in a flat of regular ferns--in the local gorgeous, self-regarding nursery.  
A grapefruit tree and a variegated lemon tree, set out for sale on someone's lawn in town.  I now realize that the mystery plant owner was probably selling them because they're both infested with scale, but thankfully it has not spread to my other plants and I am gradually regaining control.  
Skiing with my family.  
Regular calls with my son on his mission in Italy.  

See what I mean?  My life is very, very good.  

I read The Stranger Beside Me and watched Conversations with a Killer, so I probably know as much about Ted Bundy as I care to.  

We have no more farm animals, just the cats now.  I miss the goats in the springtime especially, but then thankfully we'll have a cold snap and I'll remember how much I do not need an extra job of caring for animals in the winter.  It was fun while it lasted and in theory I have taught my children to appreciate rural life and respect the people who feed us.  

I am extremely excited for Endgame, and extremely excited times 10 for The Rise of Skywalker.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

crustacean from the monophyletic suborder oniscidea

My son has been gone for eight weeks, and it's been mostly fine.  The first few days were very sad and hard, and now that he's in another country I think it will get sad and hard again.  I miss him a lot.  

In the recent past I have had two different people raise the specter of the "false rape accuser," one of them in the context of the Kavanaugh hearing, and one when I was telling him about the training I am attending to learn how to be an advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.  Both of them talked about the ruined lives of the men who are falsely accused, and both times I was so frustrated and taken aback by their ignorance that I responded angrily.  I did a little better with the second one, and reminded him that false accusations are extremely rare and that the best approach is to start by believing.  And here's the thing--I don't know for sure, but I doubt either one of these people knows even one man who has had his life "ruined" by a false accusation (heck, I don't know many men whose lives have been ruined by a true accusation!), but I guarantee that both of them DO know a woman who has suffered sexual violence, probably multiple women, and I am so disappointed in both of them.  What reason could they have for spending more emotional energy on something that rarely happens than on something that happens ALL THE DAMN TIME, TO PEOPLE THEY KNOW, other than misogyny?  

I need to workshop a succinct message that I can deliver calmly and persuasively when I am in situations like this.  I got the facts and statistics out in the second instance (in the first instance I tried to warn him when the conversation starting heading that way by saying, "Are you sure you want to discuss this?  Because we cannot have this discussion and have a lovely evening," but he plowed ahead and started into the lunatic fringe talking points and I think my eyes may have gone obsidian black and I excused myself from the table and didn't speak to him for a month, and our relationship now is at best distantly polite), but I also need to make sure they understand that by focusing their concern on false accusations (rare), rather than on prevention of and treatment for actual assault (common), they have broadcast very loudly to every woman in their circle that they are unsafe confidantes, and that they cannot be trusted with her story.  Because to them, hypothetical men matter more than real women.  Same as it ever was.  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

with scarves of red tied 'round their throats

This morning I read a thread about the Joy of Cooking and was tweeting my affection for that cookbook, and as I leafed through my battered copy and thought about how the recipes in Joy have fed and nourished my family for the past twenty years I found myself welling up with nostalgia.  Part of it is my love for books, especially those that have educated me and made me a better person, part of it is the holiday season, which is centered around food and family memories, and part of it is that my oldest son, currently still in bed upstairs, sleeping off a night of bingeing "The Legend of Korra," will be leaving next Wednesday for his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (TM), and our family will be irrevocably changed.  I am a crier anyway, but it's worse now than usual.  My feelings about missions and baptisms and the church in general are complicated and beyond the scope of this particular post, but in a nutshell:  I want him to go, he needs to go, and I hate that he's leaving.  It's not just him being gone, it's also that it begins the emptying of our nest.  In two more years our second child will leave, then our third, then our fourth, and we'll be on to the next phase of our lives.  Which I am excited for!  But the last fiveish years have been the best years of my life, and I have cherished them.  We have loved and joked and argued and played and eaten most of our meals together for a long time now, and I will be sad to see these years end, even if they are being replaced by something else that is (possibly) just as good.  Parenting is a wonderful, heartbreaking endeavor.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

motherless child can you hear me

We were in Las Vegas for a couple of days last week, which was better than not going anywhere at all, but not much.  I like the Disneyesque trompe l-oeil architecture, the availability of many different kinds of food, and the time-warp neon sections of seventies you can still encounter here and there, but man, do I hate cigarette smoke.  I had a hacking cough the day after I arrived.  And the number of people who have remade their bodies to please the male's a little depressing.  It's hard to parse my opinions and figure out which ones are informed by feminism and which by prudishness, but I feel sad when I see somebody whose boobs are so big they look stretched to the bursting point, and when somebody's bodice is so tight it has made welts.  It seems exhausting and uncomfortable.  But!  People get to spend their money and live their lives the way they see fit.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

that in the spring becomes the rose

This morning I read the president's tweet about the wildfires in California being due to gross forestry mismanagement and, like, there he goes again, running his big stupid mouth about something he is a reverse-expert in.  There goes another tally mark in the column of offenses of our Dunning-Kruger president.  And it's frustrating to know that he's so impervious to maturation or growth that at no point will he gain enough knowledge to begin to realize how ignorant and incompetent he is.  And I assume he's going to whatever hell awaits us all after this life, but the thing is?  He's already in hell, right now.  In Mormon belief, being damned means you no longer progress.  Part of what makes hell so terrifying is that you live for the rest of eternity never learning or changing or growing--and that's how he's chosen to live the only mortal life he gets.  He's put himself in that prison voluntarily!  It boggles the mind.  

But I guess we are all damned by choice, it's kind of how the whole thing works--you know the difference between good and evil and you choose evil. 

Good talk, everyone.  See you all in hell.  

Friday, January 19, 2018

my wild Irish rose

Image result for a tree grows in brooklyn

This is the most beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful book I have read in a long time.  It's not sad though!  I mean, it is sad, very sad, in many places, in the ordinary everyday ways that life is sad, but it's also hopeful.  I found it at a used bookstore in town and thought I'd give it a try since I had a vague idea of it being famous.  I'm so glad I did--I cried through the last few pages because I was so sad to see it end.  Please, please read this book.