While getting ready to go out on Saturday night (see previous entry for pictures) I was checking out how I looked in the mirror. Turning this way and that, somewhat irritated that the mirror I had just cleaned the day before was already smudged and covered with fingerprints. O heard me complaining, ran up to the mirror, smashed his face against it and the following conversation ensued:

Me: What are you doing?
O: Mommy! I cleaned the mirror!
O: With my TONGUE!
Me: Ewwww! That's kind of gross.
O: No it's not! It is not disgusting.
O: It's clean! Look!
M: ...

Some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without
The area O cleaned with his tongue is clearly visible at the bottom of the mirror.
See how clean it is? It sparkles.

40th Birthday Walkabout and Dinner

Follow the Yellow Brick Road
In honor of my turning 40, E and I walked all over the Independence Historic District, through Old City and north into Northern Liberties, ending up at Bar Ferdinand, a superb tapas restaurant.

We started at 4th and Chestnut Streets and walked 15 blocks north, zigzaging back and forth between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Click the link to see more of historic Philadelphia, street art, food and other interesting stuff.

Chestnut and 4th Streets - looking east

40th Birthday Walkabout and Dinner

Two links for Saturday morning

Fancy Hat
Advanced Style
Proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.

Bangable Dudes in History
History's hottest guys - proof provided by pie charts! Hilarious!

Small thoughts

Solar System
I regret the bangs. The length is too short, but that'll grow soon enough. I like the color and am happy to be rid of the blond. The bangs, however ... I really do not like them. I hate the feeling of hair on my forehead. Hate it. I feel itchy all the time now.

I hope I haven't caught O's strep throat.

My knee* is still twinge-y but getting better. I was able to really run for a short period today - not just walking or a slow jog. Still can't sit cross-legged. Ouch! That hurts.

How is it possible that I turn 40 tomorrow?

*I had a mis-step last week and twisted it rather badly trying not to fall. I fell AND wrenched it. Lose-lose.

Haircut before and after

etc., Balloons
In anticipation of turning 40 (only four more days!) I got a haircut. Fairly drastic for me since I've basically had the same "cut" for the past five years.

Almost four inches off the length, and I finally got all the old hi-lights cut off. For the first time in ages this is my true, unadulterated hair color.

You can't tell from the pictures, but I also got a very light bang. I like it and will probably go back and have it made a little more prominent. I haven't had a true bang in over 15 years.

I might even get my eyebrows waxed. A thing that I have never had done. But I only turn 40 once, right?

BeforeCollapse )

AfterCollapse )


Red Interior
On Friday, March 11 I documented my day in pictures. Due to the large quantity of pictures (200+) I am not posting them here. I have attached a link to a set on Flickr.

So if you're interested in how I spend many of my days, click the link!

DITL 3-11-2011

Wake up
The day started early.

Kids and cats and questions

Children Riding Mice
I have to bake 24 cupcakes for the kittens' first birthday party* tomorrow.

Why twenty-four? Because when I asked J and C Do you want chocolate or yellow cupcakes? J answered Yellow! and C answered Chocolate! Of course they did. What kind of idiot am I to ask the question in the first place? You'd think I'd have learned by now.

Perhaps, though, the real question is am I a bigger idiot or a bigger sucker? Because rather than disappoint one kid I offered to make BOTH kinds. And this necessitated an extra trip to the grocery store to get the bittersweet chocolate. And while at the grocery store, O (who is home "sick" for a second day) declared that we "needed" sprinkles too! And goldfish crackers!

So now I'm here, sitting at the kitchen table, watching O eat goldfish crackers and peanut butter cookies washed down with chocolate Ovaltine, contemplating the extra groceries that have to be put away.

Better get started on the cupcakes**.

*It's not even a symbolic birthday, it's the real one. They were born on the crazy cat lady's bed at her "shelter" in Frankford. We don't know when the older two cats were born except to say that they're both about five years old. C has agreed to let them participate in the kitten's festivities because, "Their feelings will be hurt otherwise." Haha.

**While in the baking aisle at Shop Rite this morning a very confused looking woman asked me if I knew how to make cupcakes. I said Yes. But I was thinking, Oh shit am I going to have to recite a recipe for her or something? Fortunately all she wanted to know was what to do with the paper liners. Did they go inside the muffins tins? Yes, yes they do. That makes it easier to get cupcakes out and is much less messy. The look of relief on her face was palpable. And then she wandered off.

Summer wardrobe

Fancy Hat
I am looking for summer dresses and I'm having a difficult time finding things I like. My preference is for A-line dresses and shift dresses. Not too short, just above knee is best. I dislike flow-y fabrics, ruffles, spaghetti straps and maxi dresses. I like simple, clean lines.

I just purchased a dress at Target. It's a good cut and fit for me.

For example, I like the following dress a lot, but it's only available on-line and I like to try things on first. Plus it's a little formal/tailored for everyday wear.

Anyone know of any other sites or stores I should check out?

Eat more

Food Pyramid
You know what's harder for me, in some ways, than losing weight? Figuring out how much to eat now that the weight is off. I want to maintain, not lose more - which is what has been happening over the past two weeks. But I've gotten so used to calorie reduction that eating more makes me nervous. Like I'll gain all 22 pounds back in one day. I know this is borderline disordered thinking. So, for the first time in my life I am paying attention to calories so I can figure out what I need to eat to maintain a healthy weight.

RIP Frank Buckles

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Frank Buckles, Last World War I Doughboy, Is Dead at 110

Frank Buckles, who drove an Army ambulance in France in 1918 and came to symbolize a generation of embattled young Americans as the last of the World War I doughboys, died on Sunday at his home in Charles Town, W. Va. He was 110.

His death was announced by a family spokesman, David DeJonge, The Associated Press said.

He was only a corporal and he never got closer than 30 or so miles from the Western Front trenches, but Mr. Buckles became something of a national treasure as the last living link to the two million men who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France in “the war to end all wars.”

Read more...Collapse )

He'll hate me for this someday

Cheer Up
J makes a video postcard for E.
He attempts to cheer E up by insisting that he, J, is way more miserable than E is.
The resulting 43 seconds is emo-tastic.

Two videos behind the cutCollapse )

C'est moi

Bird Head
Earlier in the day
Photo 22

Four is the new two

Pear Man
People talk about the terrible twos but they rarely mention the fucking fours.
I have a fantasy that when O turns 5 in a few months a switch will suddenly be flipped and he will cease being whiny, shriek-y, volatile and uncooperative. It can't last forever. RIGHT?

In other news:
I feel crummy today.
Due to the street construction vacuuming has gone from a thrice weekly chore to a multiple-times-a-day chore. We are experiencing life before pavement. It is a muddy, dirty life.

Overheard in the backyard:
(E is chopping wood. C and O are playing in the snow on the hillside.)
E: Hey C and O what are you guys doing? Are you okay?
C: Yeah we're fine. O is insulting nature.
E: ??
C: Hey O, look at that bush.
O: I hate that bush!
C: See?
E: I see.

Menu planning

Food Pyramid
curried red lentils with potatoes and carrots and a little cubed tofu thrown in for good measure
steamed rice
peas with fried cumin and mustard seeds

chunky borscht (beets, potaotes, carrots, onions, homemade stock)
garnished with sauteed beet greens, dill and sour cream
fresh rye bread with butter
half-sour pickles

beef short ribs cooked with barley and mushrooms

pizza 1 - plain cheese (leftover tomato sauce from Sunday night)
pizza 2 - meatball (leftover sauce and meatballs from Sunday night)
pizza 3 - caramelized onion, fennel and hot pepper (maybe with black olives thrown on at the end)

roasted chicken with cornbread stuffing
sides TBD
291K 1:40
(no transcription available)

Borrowed from ginamariewade.

Say the following things out loud:

1. Your name and/or username.
2. Where you're from.
3. Speak the following words: aunt, roof, route, wash, oil, theater, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught, orange, coffee, direction, naturally, aluminum and herbs.
4. What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
5. What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
6. What do you call gym shoes?
7. What do you say to address a group of people?
8. What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
9. What do you call your grandparents?
10. What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
11. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
12. What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

My mother is originally from northern New Jersey, my father is originally from Detroit, MI. My paternal grandmother used to observe that my sister and I sounded like easterners. We lacked the mid-western nasal twang and the quasi-Scandinavian speech patterns. I've lived in the Philadelphia area for the past 20 years, but I do not sound like a Philadelphian. I've tried hard to avoid many of the Philly pronunciations and speech patterns, but I will occasionally catch myself saying something Philly-style. E is a natural mimic so he sounds much more local than I do, despite growing up in Brooklyn.

Assassination and political violence

Kill for Peace
"Political violence in America always has been a matter of great convenience to the people who actually own the country. They don't have to inspire it, or finance it. They can even deplore it. All they really have to do is control the reaction to it — not let it get so wild that it disturbs the stock market and, at the same time, not let the reality of political violence disrupt the anesthetic consensus that swaddles the centers of real power. Thus do we get lone gunmen, and ritualized "healing," and infinite misdirection. Earnest cud-chewing about talk-radio. David Gergen wonders about violence on TV and David Frum talks about marijuana, but nobody asks the old Latin question: Cui bono? Who profits?

There is even a reluctance in the prim and proper precincts of the elite corporate press to call what happened to Gabrielle Giffords an assassination attempt, and to call what Jared Loughner did a political act, because it is not nice to admit how thoroughly ingrained violence has become in our amnesiac American politics, because then we might ask who profits from walking on the fringe.

Loughner didn't open up on the crowd at first. He didn't climb a bell tower or crash his car into a cafeteria. He walked up to the person he most wanted to kill and he shot her in the head. That person was a member of the United States Congress. What Loughner did was an act of madness, surely, but it was a political act of madness, just as were the actions of Guiteau, and Czolgosz, and (maybe) Lee Harvey Oswald.


Who are the respectable people, the people who light the distant fuse and then walk away? Who owns the companies who produce the t-shirts? Who markets them? Who ships them? Who are the respectable politicians who go to the conventions where those shirts are sold and walk by them without even the faintest remark?

Who are the people who own the companies who own the radio stations? Who are the people who sell the ads to companies that finance the rhetoric with impotence treatments and gold-bug scams? Who are the boards of directors? Who are the respectable people?

They do it because they can make a buck and nobody ever wonders why. They do it because they can gain and maintain political power, while daintily calling for "civility" and telling us that we are good people who don't respond to tactics like this. This doesn't work? Try gun control. It has disappeared as an issue. Some dolt in Detroit tries to ignite his underpants and, as a result, we all consent to being groped and fluoroscoped by some underpaid TSA agent with a YouTube account back home. But shoot a Congressman — hell, kill a federal judge — and the discussion of why maniacs can arm themselves dies almost a'borning.

Do you think this president can even feint in that direction? The ground's already been prepared to make even a tepid attempt as controlling lethal weaponry the act of a Kenyan Nazi usurper with the black helicopters at his disposal.

They do it because it works.

There is no great lesson to be learned from what happened in Tucson, because we won't learn the greatest one — to stop being such suckers, to cease being a nation of easy marks, to acknowledge the darkness in ourselves and in our country and to recognize it so well that we are able to resist the attempts to bring it out of us so someone can get elected or turn a buck on it. We must pity the deranged, and we must goddamn all gentlemen."


It's been a food focused day

Bizzare/Eat Me
The bread is in the oven baking along side the hippie baked beans*. Sour cream coffee cake has been half consumed already. Chicken stock simmering. Garlicky mushrooms eaten with lunch's grilled cheese sandwiches.

Kids are making things with the Sculpey oven bake clay. If you have kids and don't have any of this... go out and get some. Hours of entertainment. Low mess. Cool projects.

Eliot has some show to perform at in West Philly this evening. I'll probably fold laundry and watch the Doctor Who Christmas special.

More snow coming on Tuesday and Wednesday! Lasagna will be perfect.

*Canned red kidney beans, leftover cubed roasted butternut squash and onions, caramelized onions and peppers, last of the good sausage chopped fine, molasses, healthy dollop of homemade catsup, few ladlefuls of chicken stock.

Notes about food, etc.

Marx Brothers
1. Second nuisance snow event in as many days. C is outside building a snowman.

2. Enforcing only minimal standards of dress and decorum this morning. Which means that O cannot run around naked. He must at least be wearing underwear.

3. E and J are watching Ren and Stimpy on Netflix and laughing and laughing.

4. Food that I need or want to make in the next few days, so that I do not forget:
chicken stock
cream of broccoli soup
red beans and rice with caramelized onions and peppers
vegetable lasagna (but I might add sausage if I can find some that is acceptable)
sour cream coffee cake
oatmeal-flax-dark chocolate chip cookies
whole wheat oatmeal sandwich bread (with yesterday's leftover oatmeal)
kasha knishes, maybe some potato too
puree the roasted squash - maybe add it to the red beans and rice? hmmm...
applesauce cake, with streusel topping
cold sesame peanut noodles with cucumber and pickled radishes
mango salsa - with the mangoes our neighbor gave us

5. I have a chocolate pudding recipe that I'm going to share sometime later today. It's soooo good.
Cuppa tea?
January 12, 1946

If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.

Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britannia ware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners. ...

Full article here.


I feel trapped by the street construction and the mud and the noise. Trapped in a house with kids who need exercise but can't go outside because of the construction and the MUD. I could take them out somewhere, I don't want to sacrifice my parking spot. Parking is TIGHT man. The construction has easily eaten up about 15-20 spots and that's not counting the people who cannot access their off-street parking and are now forced to find on-street parking. It SUCKS.

None of my jeans fit. You'd think I'd be happy about this since it's been my goal for months to lose weight. And I am happy! But I still want jeans that don't have to be hiked up every five minutes. And I don't want to buy new ones until I've reached my goal weight. Five pounds to go.

I have a headache that caffeine and ibuprofen have not cured.

The headache might be caused in part by O singing, at the top of his lungs, "Jingle Bells Fatman* smells, Robin laid an egg, Batmobile lost its wheel, and Joker got away! Hey!" Over and over and over and over.

On the other hand I have three kinds of cheese** for New Year's Eve. I have ethical meat for the Carbonnade a la Flamande***. I just ate excellent pumpernickel bread with fresh goat cheese and pickles. C is going to help me make chocolate cream pie (16 crushed Oreos to make the crust!) for dessert tomorrow night.

Better go make the quesadillas for lunch before the natives get restless.

But all I really want to do is sit by the fire and watch Young Victoria streaming on Netflix.

*Not a typo.
**Jura Bergkase, Bleu de Basque, aged Crottin de Chavignol.
***Side dishes will be: buttered egg noodles, turnip gratin, and garlicky chard with raisins.

In Vermont for Christmas

Snowy Day
I went for a five mile run in the snow. It was beautiful and quiet and restorative. The wind picked up towards the end, but I was almost home at that point, so it wasn't too bad.

My mother tells me that the 80 year old security guard at the county courthouse is retiring. He can still pull the revolver from his holster, but he can't run. She says he will be greatly missed. He has the ability to make even the most lowdown, downtrodden people feel hopeful and good about themselves. But if someone acts up he also knows how to lay down the law and will get right in their faces, albeit very slowly. She is painting a watercolor of the courthouse for him as a retirement gift.

Windham County Courthouse, Newfane, VT
From The Smart Set, my new favorite on-line magazine:

A Blessing
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "John Inglefield's Thanksgiving"
By Morgan Meis

It takes Satan to bring out the true spirit of Thanksgiving. That's because it can be hard to give thanks unless you know why you are doing it. Plenitude is lovely. Abundance is a delight. I think of the famous painting by Norman Rockwell. A large American family sits around a comfortable table as the venerable mother carries a moose-sized turkey as the centerpiece. The painting was originally titled "Freedom from Want" and was part of Rockwell's Four Freedoms series, meant to promote the buying of war bonds during World War II. If there is an unsettling message hidden in the Rockwellian sentimentality, though, it's that these people, this nice American family, knows nothing of want. They are giving thanks for an abundance that is taken for granted.

When the devil is on your doorstep, however, thanks takes on a different timbre. The American most consistently preoccupied with thoughts of Satan was probably Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne never trusted in the good times. He saw the devil lurking in every moment of pleasure, waiting for the chance to pounce on the unsuspecting reveler when his guard was down. Hawthorne's story, "John Inglefield's Thanksgiving," is appropriately evil-obsessed. Utterly bleak, it is a difficult fit in the traditional American story of goods asked for, goods delivered, thanks given.

Read more...Collapse )

Meal planning

Food Pyramid
Menu planning is easy this week because E and J will be in California for a bar mitzvah from Thursday through Sunday and they're the only ones (and me) in this family who eat interesting food. C and O would be happy with pasta, rice, carrots and hummus forever and anon.

Monday - cream of broccoli soup, homemade rolls, local farmstead cheddar
Tuesday - Cuban black beans and rice, avocado/tomato "relish"
Wednesday - pasta with simple meat sauce, spicy sauteed broccoli rabe
Thursday - buttered noodles or rice, green veg
Friday - buttered noodles or rice, green veg
Saturday - buttered noodles or rice, green veg
Sunday - buttered noodles or rice, green veg


Two Very Different Dancers
First Wave feminists fought for suffrage. Thanks to them we women have the vote. Whoohoo!
*But - First Wave feminists should be blamed for the current War On Drugs. They they fought hard for Prohibition, being rather tired of having their husbands get drunk and beat them. Hey! Where's there's good, there's bad.

Second Wave feminists burned their bras and demanded equal pay for equal work. They're the ones to blame (if you are so inclined) for the waning of "chivalry."

Third Wave feminists mainly bicker with the Seconds and accuse them of racism and unsexiness narrow-mindedness. Even though, by some accounts, they are all part of the same movement. (Oh, and Second Wavers think the Thirds are ungrateful bitches, but they'd never use that word. No no.)

So there.

*Edited to add because I had forgotten until Canetoad reminded me.

Wants and needs

Baby in a Bowl
My cats think they deserve a can of soft food every night before bed. I usually can accommodate them, but we're all out until I go shopping tomorrow. Sorry kitties. You may want that cat food , but you don't need it!

My daughter thinks she doesn't need to brush her hair daily. Sorry honey. Since I want you to do it, it's gonna happen.

My younger son doesn't want to wear underwear and pants to the dinner table. Again, sorry honey. You need to wear pants if you want food. Hahaha.

What's next

Bizzare/Eat Me
And now it's time to make a fire, clean the kitchen (which E was supposed to do but didn't because he was too depressed and feeling sorry for himself), make breakfast (WAFFLES!), move the laundry along, stack some more wood, be good to the children, remain cheerful and upbeat, smile, and try not to allow my mood to disintegrate into bitterness and resentment.

OK then, off I go!

In defense of hipsters

Elephant Bird

"For those of you old fogies still perplexed by the term, a “hipster” is a young person (between the ages of 18-25) with an enthusiasm for contemporary alternative pop culture, primarily music and fashion. They wear over-sized glasses with brightly colored frames, tight pants, neon “ironic” T-shirts and Chuck Taylors.Their musical tastes run the gamut; so do their ethnic and social backgrounds. Oh yeah, and they read Vice magazine and Street Carnage, both of which came out of my head.

The most common misconception about these kids is they are trust-fund posers who buy what they’re told and shamelessly steal both black and white working-class culture. These patronizing criticisms almost always come from the previous generation who are mad at the world for letting them age and are desperate to prove that today, youth is more wasted on the young than ever before. I’ve been accused of defending hipsters because they made me rich, but the real reason I never turn down an opportunity to speak at these events is I love exposing this transparent gripe for what it is: sour grapes. The kids are all right.

“But what about their legacy?” I was recently asked by New York magazine. “What will they have left behind after it’s all said and done?” This question gets on my nerves. “Music and fashion,” I answered incredulously. Since when are young people responsible for leaving us with anything more? Have you heard their politics? I don’t want these people voting. I want them doing what they do best: Fun. The greasers were about rock ’n’ roll and making out in rumble seats. The beatniks gave us some good books, but they were mostly about shocking their parents by dancing with Negroes. The only thing the mods cared about outside of dancing and getting laid was fighting Elvis fans. Boomers, who are masters at glorifying their past, insist they stopped a war, but we all know it was Kissinger’s relentless bombing that ended it. Hippies were horny stoners. Though I was one of them, I’m happy to admit punks were more preening peacocks with guitars than anarchists smashing the state. Rap evolved from parties in the South Bronx. The list goes on, and it’s always just teenagers partying.

There are two things that make the hipster subculture unique. One: They’re better than their predecessors. Two: Everyone says they’re worse."

-Gavin McInnes

Excuses, excuses

Cuppa tea?
I feel like all I'd write about is complaints. And dissatisfaction.
Which is unpleasant to read and unpleasant to write. And it's boring as all get out. (Better to keep it all bottled up inside! Right? Right?)

And I want to complain. A lot. But if I'm complaining about people I should be willing to say it to their faces. I feel pretty strongly about that. Don't commit it to writing unless you'd say it out loud, in person. So instead I complain to E and good friends. E mostly. He bears the brunt of it, graciously for the most part. I could complain about him on LJ, he doesn't care that much and I would check with him before posting anything anyway. Plus there's always good fuel for the fire when it comes to complaining about E.

So, complaining. That's my excuse.

But, as I scanned back through "recent" entries, I realized I missed having a record of what's going on in life. Even if it's mundane and trivial. I should record it. Right? Right.

So I'll give it a shot. See how it goes.

In the meantime have a picture:

First day of school

How I look now

etc., Balloons
Sitting on my bed, checking e-mail

Photo 14

From yesterday, with unbrushed hair and shiny skinCollapse )


Fall Out of Bed
I don't know what time the youngest child woke up this morning, but by the time the rest of us fell out of bed at 6:45 he had managed to do the following:

-empty all the toy bins in his bedroom
-unroll a roll of toilet paper
-fill up the red bathroom sink with water, soap and toilet paper
-take his pajamas off
-open up a bar of bittersweet baking chocolate, eat half of it, and leave the discarded chocolate and wrapper all over the kitchen floor and counter
-pour himself a glass of water, spill a little bit, wipe it up with paper towels, and leave the sodden towels in a pile in the middle of the kitchen table
-empty the contents of his brother and sister's back-to-school supply boxes onto the dining room table (just assembled the night before!)
-scribble with pencil on the white table upstairs (using a pencil obtained from the supply boxes)
-scatter the antique chess pieces all over the dining room floor

He passed out on the playroom couch at 10:30 and slept until 12:15. It had been a busy morning!

Escaping 100+ heat and no air conditioning

Walking Parrot
Two days spent at the beach with water cold enough to cause shivering despite triple digit heat.
My mother grew up in Cape May, NJ and I still have family who live there.


Cape May Point, the southernmost tip of New Jersey, +24Collapse )

Inheritance and debt

Dirty Laundry
"I begin from a different point, from the observations that we Americans alive today are all the recipients of an extraordinary and unmerited gift, an inheritance of institutions, principles, and organizations that is without peer anywhere on the world today and that is of inestimable value. We aren't independent liberal individuals making a social contract in the rational light of Enlightenment Reason. Instead, we are heirs who have received an enormous inheritance from our predecessors. As Burke wrote, we:

claim and assert our liberties as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity--as an estate specially belonging to the people.

It's not a contract, or if it is a contract it is not one just between those alive today. Again, as Burke puts it, if you are to think of a social contract you have to recognize that it is not:

a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico, or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties.... It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.

But estates that are inherited come not only with assets, they also come encumbered with debts. If we are to be Americans--if we are to take up the wonderful unmerited gift, accept the marvelous entailed inheritance that is offered to us--we must take up not just the benefits and advantages, but also the debts that America owes from its past actions as well. To do otherwise--to ignore the debts while grabbing the goodies with both hands--is to show that we are not the true heirs of Benjamin Franklin and company. And chief among the debts that America owes from its past actions is the obligation to erase the marks left by slavery and Jim Crow."

-Brad DeLong, responding to Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s NYT opinion piece on slavery and reparations

Read the whole DeLong piece. You won't regret it.
J and three of his friends are convinced that they saw a ghost or an apparition or an illusion or something at school today.

They were in the music room putting their instruments away when they heard noises coming from the Pre-K annex. But the annex was pitch black so no human person could have been in there!* Then Teacher Erin appeared in the doorway and yelled at them to go away. It must have been a ghost/illusion/apparition because Teacher Erin NEVER yells and she wasn't pregnant!

J was quite insistent that nothing in science could possibly explain what they had heard. And no amount of my explaining the principal behind Occam's razor** would convince him otherwise.

*Never mind the open windows in the room and a bright sunny day.

**The simplest solution is usually the correct one: It was Teacher Erin. She spoke sternly (because you were making too much noise or weren't supposed to be where you were) and you interpreted it as yelling. She didn't look pregnant because you saw her head-on and that can give the appearance of pre-pregnant body shape.

Food for stoned people

Onions sauteed in olive oil
Diced leftover roasted turkey
Green olives stuffed with pimento
Stewed sweet potatoes and tomatoes
Dollop of mild curry paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Serve over rice

No kids, get stuff done

Fancy Lizard
The kids are in VT with my parents until Thursday. Blissful silence.
J complained a bunch about going (he's a homebody and always complains about having to leave), but he'll have fun and enjoy himself once he's there.

I've been irritable and short-tempered with them recently. They have been grumpy and complain-y and defiant recently. I hope the break allows all of us to re-set ourselves. Because, really, I do not like yelling and I do not like resenting them. I prefer to love them and enjoy them.

My mom wants me to spend my time sans children resting and spoiling myself. I will definitely do this, no problem! But - I also want to use the time to accomplish much delayed projects around the house.

1 - Spring housecleaning - there is accumulated kid and house crap that I cannot get rid of while the kids are present, but if it disappears while they're gone they'll never notice its absence.

2 - Fix the primary dining room table - not difficult to fix, just basic carpentry and woodworking, but not something I can do with kids milling about. (We've been using the second string dining room table but if we're going to have our Passover seder I need both tables functional.)

3 - Basement workbench reorganization - it's a mess and has been for a while. I'm also going to shift everything from the 256 basement to the 254 basement. That way E can set up the 256 workbench as a seed/sprout nursery.
Fall Out of Bed
This is too great not to share:


"Did you know that no two farts are exactly alike? It’s true. Farts are sort of like snowflakes in that regard. Little, invisible, smelly, snowflakes. ... The smell has to do with the amount of absorbed products like methane, which is made by fermentation of what we eat, and that’s what causes the bad smell, basically. As a baby, when you’re born, passing through the vagina, you’re infected by the bacteria in your mother’s colon, and that’s the bacteria you’re dealt for your lifetime. Also, everybody is different in how they’ll digest wheat products, milk products, whatever. And if they are not digested properly there will be a lot of methane produced and a lot of acid, and that would tend to cause a stinkier bowl movement."

Things that have happened recently

Solar System
Beautiful sunsets over the Belmont Hills
Sunset over the Belmont Hills

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This is what you shall do


Au Lait Cru

Latest Month

March 2011


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