used under creative commons

“Several”

Apparently I'm wrong. And I've been wrong for a while. Here's what: one is "one". Two is "a couple." Three is "a few," and somewhere around six or seven is ...

Own It

There are people who love the gym and the people who don't. I don't. I use the gym to further my plans of world domination. Meaning, if you're not planning ...

Protectionism

There is a giant Bed Bath & Beyond right next to our grocery store, and they've just added a giant drugstore section to their giant kitchen section. Everything there is ...

This week, some thoughts

Great, now they’re all in the same room: study links “climate change skepticism” to right-wing misogyny  and white nationalism. For having the lion’s share of power, white men sure seem to find a lot to be upset about. Might just be easier to sink that time and those resources into a solid therapist, but who am I to make suggestions?

Sex and Prosperity: “Women’s freedom is central to making our societies more prosperous, more equal and more environmentally sustainable.”

Related: it’s ironic that it’s the same people (conservative white men) who are against women’s access to abortion and birth control (see: global gag rule, abortion bans), and are racists paranoid about “white replacement.” Since restricting access to fertility management disproportionately affects non-white women, that means more non-white babies, no? I mean, obviously, thinking things through to their logical end point isn’t a strong suit of the reactive right, but for the sake of consistency, it really feels like they should pick misogyny OR racism. White male privilege, I guess, to support two morally repugnant, indefensible positions that also contradict each other.

Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.12.59 AMLife goals: Maid of honor wears T-Rex costume after being told she could wear ‘anything.’

I don’t know Kate Lewis at Hearst Magazines, but I am now a fan: 100% going to try her to-do list hack.

Worth a reminder every once in a while: How to Complain.

 

 

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Optimism

Me: I can’t get a handle on all this – it’s too much.

Also me: Immuna take this stack of papers and notebooks and devices to a one-hour gymnastics class for nine-year-olds where there are only straight chairs, no surfaces, and incessant noise. That’ll get it all squared away.

This Week, some thoughts

Leslie Jones is leaving SNL, much to my dismay.

This kid is defying physics on his skateboard. What just happened??

Procrastination solved. Well, defined, and that’s halfway there. (Spoiler: as with so many things – annoyingly – it’s your unresolved, displaced feelings, not a lack of discipline.)

I have always said things like, “One might…” and, “Alas…” and been looked at like a specimen for it, but now there’s reason for me to resort to authoritative, old-school third person: a couple of studies suggest that talking to yourself or describing a quarrel in the third person yields better outcomes. 

Thoughtful, brief takedown of meditation and mindfulness as a cure-all. With which I incidentally agree. (And so does Alain de Botton, although he doesn’t really come out and say it.)

And finally a reminder from Jenny Holzer’s Truisms, which I’ve just now seen at SFMOMA for the first time:

CATEGORIZING FEAR IS CALMING

 

 

 

New for My Office

Thanks, Marc Johns for the motivation on a Tuesday. marc_johns

Speed

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”  – Confucius 

NABLOPOMO Update

We’re on Day 10 here in National Blog Posting Month and I will admit I’m flagging: it’s difficult to have a regular writing practice with a small person waking you up with a night light in your face before dawn. Daylight savings has just added to the AM trouble here, but I’m optimistic Week 2 will go more smoothly as I have a few stretches when I can see the light of writing ahead. On the other hand, I’ll also be writing applications for a French preschool this week, so if I lapse off into foreign languages or extolling the virtues of a bilingual education here on the site, oh, about Wednesday, just send a note and I’ll know I’ve posted the wrong thing in the wrong place. Thanks in advance!

Mind and Media Meet

charlie_and_lolaOur three year old, requesting more videos: Other ONE!

R: Is it time for bed? Let’s see…

Three year old (waving finger at R.): No, no, no, Papa: don’t think.

The videos in question are the brilliant and not-irritating-to-parents, Charlie and Lola, a British series based on the books of the same name about a little girl and her big brother – the most patient big brother in the history of, well, probably ever. Clever and visually interesting, and, crucially, not the usual nerve-crushing fare produced for the under-four-feet crowd. Ahhhhh. Thanks, Lauren Child!

(To have a look, I Will Never, Not Ever, Eat a Tomato, the very first book.)

 

Could You Just…? (Coffee Edition)

ritualDear Blue Bottle Coffee / Stumptown / Ritual / Intelligentisa / name your artisanal-Williamsburg-wanna-be coffee of choice,

You’ve made it: you are super popular. All the kids who hated you in high school because you wore beige corduroys and couldn’t throw a football worth a damn are queuing up in front of your kiosks to get their caffeine. They wait ten-deep on  weekends to get ONE CUP OF COFFEE.

I get that you are above it all though. That you don’t care what they think of if you, even though you obviously do, in your slouchy knit hat, heavy glasses frames and vintage cardigan. You are painfully hip. Point taken.

But could you, just, please, for the love of God, swing by the grocery and pick up some #$(*&#$! Splenda already? I get that your body is a temple. A very skinny, fixie-riding temple. Mine is not. At least as far as artificial sweeteners are concerned. (FYI, Raw Sugar tastes like crushed up maple syrup, so don’t even start with me on that.)

And – oh – before you go back to practicing your I-hate-you half-smile: could you heat up. the. goddamn. milk? In the name of all that is holy, I do not want a room temperature latte. For $4.25, I should be able to get my coffee at the temperature of the sun.

OK. I’m done. Yes, I know I can go elsewhere and that high temperatures caramelize the delicate sugars in the milk and Splenda is probably made out of chlorine, but I live right over there and could you just…? This once? We’re all in this together. Me, you and your beard kicking off the day with your excellent coffee.

Thanks guys. Really. Thanks. See you tomorrow.

The (New) Rules of the Road

A_towerWhen A. was small and sitting facing backwards in her car seat while I drove, I began to curb my cursing at other drivers on the streets of San Francisco. Let’s be honest: the drivers here are the worst. The WORST. And I grew up in Boston and learned to drive on the BQE, so that’s saying something. I swear a lot here. Or I used to. With a passenger unaware of the rules of the road and unable to see their violators crossing my path, I had to take it down a notch: I didn’t want her thinking I was swearing at her. And right, yes, the swearing itself was probably out of order too.

“Dude,” started to permeate my ‘conversations’ with other drivers instead. As in, “Dude, what the [expletive now omitted]…?!” Or just, “Duuuuuuude#$)(#$! [expletive implied by tone and duration]”

Pretty soon, A. started asking in her new small voice, “See dude?” Short of mounting her in one of those rotating artillery nests on the roof of the car, that wasn’t going to happen. (Artillery isn’t for kids, no matter how many lanes ‘dude’ cut across to make an illegal turn.)

As her syntax evolved, her question did too: “Where’s ‘dude’?”

She’s lagging in her understanding of exactly how one should drive a car in heavy traffic (my way) and how rage can be compressed into sarcastic asides, but I applaud her curiosity and interest in the conversation at hand. She will make an excellent dinner party guest and a wonderful best friend.

At the playground the other day, it became clear that I may have to further curb my outbursts. A. was “driving” one of the play structures, spinning the wheel on the side of one of the towers and craning her neck around to the left and right and looking behind her.

“What are you doing, sweetheart?”

“Looking for ‘dude’.”

Hilarious, yes. Also:

They say that children imitate our behavior much more readily than they take the advice we so explicitly lay out for them. This is, in my experience, completely true. And it is a handy tool for revealing the hypocrisy in us all. While she is still just trying to identify this mysterious and always irritating ‘dude’ – before she realizes that ‘he’ is everywhere, not just a representative of the terrible drivers of my adopted city but of my unprocessed anxiety at the errands un-run, the laundry un-folded, the forgotten to-do, the breaths untaken, the pieces unwritten, and that international fame for as-yet-unspecified feats of selfless glory which has eluded me thus far, of all the hanging chads in the life of a full-time mother in a city that doesn’t quite suit her, before A. perceives the length of his reach with her child’s insight – the ‘dude’ has to go.

Because what I want her to see – in me and on the road ahead – is not an obstructing distraction, but a deliberate focus: for the moment, on the fun we’re having getting where we are going and how little it matters if we get there five minutes later. Five minutes is one more poorly-executed song in the car with her and me, our small team crossing a big red bridge on an adventure. I am no new age Polyanna (are there any where I come from?), but this drive – today’s and everyday’s – is so much more luminous and gratifying than anything I’d ever thought it would be that it silences me some days.

So I’m going to goddam well focus on that while I’m the one driving, and A. will come across ‘dude’ in her own time, later, well-equipped with all the joy and resilience and extra singing I can provide today.

And any stray profanity she’s picked up, which can, on occasion, be enormously, cathartically helpful too.

Quick Note to Nannies Interviewing with Me To Take Care of My Three Year Old

Do not tell me you spontaneously learned to read when you were three.

I say this for a couple reasons, neither of which is that I’m jealous.

First, you did not.

Second, that is 100% not true, and no, you did not.

And third, oh right: because I will not hire you. So there’s that.

Lord Almighty, applicants, get some game.