Friday, March 31, 2017

have you listened to shittown yet?

shittown. the new podcast from the creators of serial and this american life was released on tuesday. i've listened to it twice, so far. it seems so much like a snapshot of today. a musing on what it means to be southern, white, gay, closeted, intelligent and living among people who are not (gay or intelligent). it is a musing on the meaning of time. and life. and suicide. it's deep. complex. disturbing. compassionate and empathetic. non-judging. and tragic.

have you listened yet? if so, what do you think? i really want to talk about this with someone!

Monday, March 27, 2017

monday musings

i have a love-hate (hate, mostly) relationship with the work of lena dunham, but her fierce, feminist lenny letter is growing on me. it's a gathering of smart, honest, courageous, strong women, writing about politics, culture, the workplace and even menopause. i highly recommend subscribing, especially if you're a woman, but also if you know any women. 

in one of the many excellent podcast newsletters i get, (this one from gimlet's reply all) i learned about the vibration cooking cookbook, by vertamae smart-grosvenor. i found it available as an eBook through my library and i was paging through. it's only part cookbook (including recipes for racoon and squirrel), but mostly memoir. and in it i came across this lovely notion on the upside of being tribal. i'll admit i didn't think tribal behavior had an upside, what with the state of the world today, but this passage made me reconsider:

"when you are tribal you don't have slots for loving--you love. you can find a different kind of love for everyone. you love cousin blanche because she was your granddaddy's sister's child; "aunt" belle, even though she ain't really your blood aunt, because you feel just like she was kin to you. what i mean is, it (being tribal) gives you a big heart."

and it strikes me that these days, we are in need of bigger hearts.

* * *

it was about time we started to openly discuss the lies.
and you know it's bad when the wsj calls him on it. 

* * *

and because we need to think about something else:

or the future of photography?
speaking of feminism, the british library is making material from spare rib available online.
maggie may is always able to write beautifully, even about the pain of life.
look what you can find if you go dumpster diving in denmark - enough to feed an army!
and how about a writing assignment from the vinyl cafe?
this animation by kristen lepore is profound and sad.
and this one is just plain weird.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

on the young side of the old people now

as of today, i embark on a new decade. it was a great day. colleagues offering congratulations all day, good wishes pouring in on facebook and instagram and via text and email, a gathering for drinks & snacks at the end of the day that ended in thoughtful gifts, some kinda crazy gifts and much laughter. a big bouquet from husband. and a trip to louisiana, that landmark of modern art, with a friend in the evening. it was a great start to this new phase. my friend mentioned a colleague who said he was super happy when he turned 50 because he was a youngster again - being on the young side of the old people now, rather than on the old side of the middle. i like that thought. another friend said, "if you haven't grown up yet, now you don't have to." i like that as well. i'm weirdly ok with it. it's the next logical step. i started a new project today as well - i'm going to do a daily video for a whole year and put them together, one second each, thereby having a video record of my 50th year. the child gave me the idea. i think it's going to be interesting to think in video. i'll continue my daily photos as well, as that's now completely ingrained in my way of being. happy birthday to me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

monday funday

i was worried all night about the middle of the night uber i'd ordered for sabs to meet her 6 a.m. flight from newark and so i slept very restlessly. i dreamed that i had put regular gas in husband's diesel quashqai. and then i dreamed that i was reaching into a cramped space to lift out what i thought would be a kitten and i found it was a none-too-happy baby possum. scout, who hadn't been around for over a week, chose to meow plaintively at the window at a little after midnight. so when the dulcet tones of husband's north korean telephone (it's a huawei, which, i realize, is chinese, not north korean, but calling it north korean is so much funnier) called out that it was time to wake up, i wasn't ready. it felt like i'd only just gotten to sleep. plus, i didn't want to be in trouble for the gas tank thing. it wasn't the best start to a monday morning, which can be sketchy in and of itself. so i ate chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and made a pot of tea. i went to sit down at my freshly-renovated desk area to get to work and found scout sleeping in my chair. i couldn't possibly disturb him, i mean, what if he never got comfortable again? so i moved the chair over and brought in another one. let sleeping cats lie, they say, right?

* * *

some moron in the white house (there are so many), did not realize this was satire.

Friday, March 17, 2017

catalog of a day :: the natural order of things

my child is in new york city. she bought me a stick of the milk holographic highlighter, it's hard to find, but she found it at urban outfitters. you can never have too much highlighter. i spent the day at a shipyard. it was full of the acrid smell of welding, containers filled with piping, miles of wires, the clang of metal on metal and beeping cranes. i loved every minute of it. it's raining. i'm watching billions on hbo nordic. and drinking a g&t, made with...wait for it...belgian...gin. it's not bad. it's nice to be home with the cats. and husband (tho' he's at a meeting, so technically, he's not home right now.) if the photo above were a loft you could live in, i'd move there. instead, it's the upper deck of a ship that will be delivered in may. they have a bit more work to do. but look at that light. and that height to the ceiling. i could deal with both of those. tho' i'd probably need glass in the windows. i can't get enough of the marvelous vinyl café. today on the way home, husband laughed so hard at the story about the carwash that he cried and could almost not see to drive. i went to yoga three times this week. the light is returning. i am in the final days of my 40s and honestly, it feels fine. like the natural order of things.

* * *

interesting things to read: 11 non-political stories. this terrifying piece on trump's puppetmaster's plan to destroy the eu. and because you'll need to think about something light-hearted after reading that - this piece on the locations of 80s movies. and this totally amusing piece on (possibly) the world's smallest lego ship.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

things kids should do as kids

i keep seeing this piece about things that kids should do by themselves before they turn 13 circulating on facebook. and while it's all well and good that kids do their own homework and can make their own lunch (i really should have enforced that one) and set their own alarms, i feel like it's kind of a careful and tentative list and a little self-serving for the parents. and who the hell doesn't talk to the teacher when it's necessary or help with homework? that's just lazy, it seems to me.

my child is 16 now, but when i think back to the things she did before she was 13, i could add a number of things to the list:

~ fly somewhere alone. when she was 7, we sent the child to the states for the summer. of course, we paid the unaccompanied minor fee to sas, and i delivered her to the gate in copenhagen and my sister was waiting for her outside customs in chicago, but she did an 8 hour flight by herself. she had to entertain herself, excuse herself to go to the bathroom, tell the stewardesses what she wanted to drink and mess with that infernal onboard entertainment system on her own. it wasn't her first time on a plane, so she was already a routine traveler and knew how it worked, but it was still a big step. and she did it with flying colors, also flying home again on her own at the end of the summer.

~ have secrets. we all need something that's our own, that we maybe share with a friend, but not necessarily our parents. a couple of summers ago, we were walking down a creek that flows behind our property and the child and her best friend were reminiscing about a time that they ran scared from some aggressive swans at a little lake that you come to, some ways down the creek. i knew they had played down there, but not that they'd had a bit of an exciting experience, nor that they had walked as far up the creek as they had. it made them strong and brave and gave them something they had together that wasn't anyone else's.

~ eat food you planted and picked yourself in a garden. our child has grown up picking strawberries, popping a warm, sweet cherry tomato, picked directly from the greenhouse into her mouth, sifting through soil after freshly-dug potatoes. she knows where food comes from and how it tastes different and much better than what you buy in the store. she has spent time helping me pick countless little tiny violets so we could make a vivid purple cordial that we mixed with fizzy water and enjoyed on a hot summer day.

~ make the child use public transport. to get to school, to get to a movie, to get to her friends, to get to a party. buy a travel card and know how to use it. to find her way to the brandy melville at sloane square in london, leading the way for a group of her friends. to get herself around london. and copenhagen. and st. petersburg. know how to read a metro map. and figure out how to get on the metro in the right direction. these are important steps to adulting.

~ eat sushi. the child should learn to eat sushi. early and often. mine started at age two and a half. and at about 4, she woke up briefly in a restaurant in manila, ate her weight in sashimi and then fell back asleep. i'm pretty proud of that.

and if i expand the age range to 15, there are a couple more...

~ be part of a major protest for a worthy cause. i will be eternally grateful to my strong female cousins for the idea that we would head for the women's march in washington, d.c. and i am so happy to have shared the experience with my 15-year-old child. now she knows the energy of half a million women and people and her father who support women on her own body and mind and psyche. it strikes me as one of my strongest parenting moments.

~ know the difference between good makeup and drugstore makeup. yes, this is a girl thing, but it's important in today's world. and some drugstore makeup is good, but you can't know which unless you've tried it and also tried the good stuff. (and yes, maybe i am justifying buying my child chanel foundation. but that doesn't make it any less important.)

* * *

very cool, evocative photos of small town america.
and he even used flash! or maybe just lit them up at night.

* * *

what a cool story. goes off to buy a metal detector.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

paradox :: soft, cuddly guns

our annual spring exhibition is fast approaching and this year's theme is paradox. i was collecting ideas on pinterest (of course) and then i came across natalie baxter's work somehow or other and suddenly felt very inspired. 

so this weekend, i dug out the sewing machine and loads of scraps from various quilts and other projects and i got down to work. making soft, cuddly guns.

i think in these politically charged times, i was drawn to creating something political. each gun will have a stick in the top (to make them easier to hang), with a flag hanging from it - kind of like those toy guns with a flag that pops out and says "pow." the flags will have words on them that are at odds with the violence of guns. words like love and peace and happy.

i made a dozen of them, but i'm not sure that i'm finished as of yet. i was discussing it with husband and he had some good ideas. perhaps a sort of soft, plush jesus icon in the middle, since the mantra of certain subsets of the land of my birth these days is "more guns, more jesus." you don't get much more paradoxical than that. and it just might be the final title of my work.

it was very good to be making something again. i had missed it. i love that i had some scraps of gold and silver from long-ago making some pants for sabin, those shiny bits are just the right touch for my soft, cuddly guns.

* * *

norwegian state broadcaster nrk implements quiz before comment policy to ensure that those leaving comments read and understood the article.
all news sites should do this.
norway for the win.