Things that make you feel old

Janis Ian is awesome, however. I can honestly say I’ve never heard of her. But after tonight, I’ve bought a couple of her songs from iTunes – including “At Seventeen” Very nice. A beautiful song I like probably even more so because I can easily play it on my guitar.
(Balloon Juice)

I remember At Seventeen and getting sick of it from all the airplay on my local AM station (before FM stations were cool). Much like I was sick of Kiss. Sigh.


At the risk of alienating all my fans...

Callimachus said:
2009 will close out the most fundamentalist Christian, right-wing, and philosophically authoritarian White House in U.S. history.

Signs are that it will be followed by the administration of a man whose political inner circle could become the most America-skeptic, left-wing, and statist kitchen cabinet in U.S. history. All built around a personality cult.

No wonder a secular, traditional, patriotic political independent like me feels this just is not my millennium.


What a difference a few hours makes

Thing One's room and the upstairs hall, Feb 2007 - noon, June 21, 2008:

Thing One's room and the upstairs hall, 5:00pm, June 21:

All-in-all, $160 well spent!


Slow down, you move too fast

Tidying up my piles of incoming catalogs I noticed one from a clothing retailer that touted an End of Summer Sale*. Better hurry - you don't want to miss this one!

*Official Timing of Summer here


Good for him!

I just learned that NYC's Mayor Bloomberg is planning to close several miles of streets on Saturdays. A few Saturdays in August, that is. Not forever, and not for a while.

I'm all for it. When I was a much younger (but still Lazy) Gal, I lived in Geneva, Switzerland. It was during 1973-74, and the oil crisis was raging worldwide (sounds familiar, doesn't it?). The Powers That Be in Bern decided to decree that all driving, except for absolute emergency driving, was verboten. Vietato. Interdit. The city was quiet on those days, with families either traveling on Saturday and staying over until Monday or hanging out around the house.

There's something to be said for being quiet, for taking time and not feeling the rush, rush, rush to get somewhere or do something. If walking around NYC for a few Saturdays can help people learn that, well, yay Mayor Bloomberg!

Half as long, twice as nice

An old colleague used to say that about many of the speeches we'd hear (at Commencement, at Convocation, on Class Day, or our school's equivalent). She's right: all too often people go on for too damn long. She wanted to edit out the fluff, cutting to the chase.

Big Pharma feels the same thing about drugs, apparently.

Remember when you had to take antibiotics for a couple of weeks? Perhaps one or two pills each day? Then came the Z-pack, which was one pill for five days.

Last week I went to the doctor for a nagging, niggling cough (following a week of feeling Pretty Sick and losing my voice for the second time in 2008). She prescribed a Tri-Pack, three pills/three days. Nice. Even I could remember that (although the "please finish your pills even though you may be feeling better" warning took me aback: were there really people who'd stop after one or two days?!)

And I've just read about the Zmax. Up next? Perhaps one pill at birth!


Letting go

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, either in person, on the phone or via e-mail/im, where you just know it's not going well? Where they are clearly taking offense where none is meant? Where they're in such a bad place mentally/emotionally that your comment about not liking a book/movie/piece of music/type of food/idea seems to be a complete negation (somehow) of them?

I just had that. And, being human, my first reaction was to say (to myself) "wow, did I really come across that harsh/unsupportive/ignorant/mean?" The answer is "no", that they're so ready to look for a slight that they found one. Fine. I can take that weight. Of course, being human, I've also spent time coming up with nasty responses, slights and general comments to prove that I wasn't to blame, it's all the other person's fault.

Now it's time to let that go.

That happens a lot, doesn't it? After you're done being stunned by the meanness/idiocy of the other person's comments or actions, the responses flood in. That's natural (there's even a fancy French term, l'esprit d'escalier, for it). What's not natural is holding on to that crap for years.

When a relationship fails, there's a flood of those internal monologues that put you in the right, them in the wrong and karmically everything's better. How often do you get the opportunity to use those mot justes? Rarely. There's a time to let it all go. Sometimes, the other person doesn't even know that they've crushed your spirit - and if you brought it up, they'd be shocked and surprised that it meant so much to you.

Nursing these slights can be a life's work - I've seen people do it. I knew a person who kept a catalog of (what I saw as) minute incidents and would continually report on how she felt and how the other person should suffer. Calling her on it was considered impolite (I was much younger than this person and was supposed to show her deference and respect). But my young self wondered if it really was that horrible that someone had not been invited to a bridge night, or had rushed out of mah-johng, or worn an outfit that Wasn't Quite Right.

This person needed to let go.

As do the people who fight long-lost battles. I'm not talking about war buffs, who try to imagine what would have happened if General Whomever moved this division there. I'm talking about the people that still argue over decisions made (like which bed they'd take in a hotel room, or a purchase that was/was not made) sometimes years before, as if repeating the argument would somehow change the outcome. It won't. Even presenting new evidence ("see, if you'd done this, that wouldn't have happened" or "I told you that was needed") doesn't change reality, or minds.

I've been working hard this year on letting go. It's been a very difficult year, what with the fire and all, and I've been under stress. It's affected my health. It's affected my personal life. And I need to let go. Not just of the physical Stuff, but of the psychic Stuff.

Except for the cookie Thing One ate. That, I'll never let go.

Memo to NBC et al.

What he said.


Links Galore


Books, Glorious Books

One of my colleagues is retiring this year. Like me, she's a voracious reader - we've had many lovely conversations about books and genres. Imagine my pleasure when she invited me to come and peruse (and take!) her "cast-offs". There were more unwanted books there than most people have in their permanent collections.


I teetered down the stairs from her apartment and carefully brought my treasured horde to my office. Slowly the books will make their way to my house and Mt. Bookpile. I'm so looking forward to finishing my Summer Reading Challenge and enjoying some Adult Reading. And thanks to her(?), I now have a new outcropping to climb!


Thing One says

I just want to say thank you for all the kind words. Lulu was one of those cats that no matter what you did (move her, mistakenly lock her in the bathroom) she would just purr, and purr, and purr.

She just seemed to be happy all of the time.

All cats have personalities but hers was one of just being happy to be around and be petted and loved.

Again, thanks for the kind words and she will be missed.



Once upon a time there was a little orange-and-white kitten. She lived with First Daddy and his roommate. While First Daddy and his girlfriend loved the little ball of fluff, the Nasty Roommate didn't and the kitten would pee on things in retaliation. After a couple of years, First Daddy decided that the only solution was to put his cat down. He had a cat sitter who had been watching this and she knew that in the right home, this purrball would be loving and loved. The sitter knew of a couple who had recently lost three cats and thought they'd be a perfect New Mommy and Daddy.

However, they resisted. They still had two cats, they argued. They'd lost two cats the year before, they noted. The sitter slipped pictures of the New Cat under their door... they fell in love with her. Soon the cat was part of their family: Mommy, Daddy, Big Guy, Little Guy and now Lulu.

For the past six years Lulu has been a shedding, floppy, purring, loving presence in our lives. When I moved North, she stayed with Thing One in Brooklyn and visited occasionally. It was always so much fun to hear her excited "Daddy's Home" when she heard us on the stairs to his apartment. Whenever we spoke on the phone her purr was constant background noise... and seeing her in person meant a lapfull of purr and hair and cuddles.

Last Saturday, Thing One noticed she was drooling a little. It got worse and Wednesday they went to the vet. She had a tumor, aggressive oral cancer. So Saturday we took her back to the vet....

Lulu, thank you for all the wonderful things you brought into our lives. Mommy, Daddy, Bogie and Mallory loved you very much and will miss you always.


Links Galore


Price of gas getting to you?

Something to think about from the Northeast Kingdom (þ: Thing One)

While I may not agree with all of it, I've always thought that it's absolutely wrong of us to assume that polluting others' environment and digging for oil elsewhere is fine, while preserving our own portion of the globe for "cosmetic" reasons (eg., Kennedy v. windfarms).

Let's drill ANWR. Let's explore sugar cane-based ethanol. Let's increase our nuclear power plants. And let's stop pretending that the US has the right to $1/gallon oil.


Notable Quotes

It is a writer's greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books. It goes back to authors being terrible people who delight in the suffering of others. Plus, we get a kickback from the caffeine industry.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, Brandon Sanderson
( þ: Jandy)


Haut culture/pop culture

The sublime...

Yesterday I headed to NYC to SAB's annual Workshop. This time I was close enough and on the side enough to see the real mechanics of the dancing and what was going on in the wings.

I don't know where the concept of ballet for boys being sissy stuff, but my god do these kids sweat. Every time a boy spun around there was a veritable shower soaking anything within 2-3 feet! The athleticism with which they jump, lift their partners and move all over that stage... trust me, it ain't sissy stuff.

One of the neat things about MFPOW was that we got an annual invitation to see SAB students taking class. Some of those were barre classes, which were pretty much as I'd remembered from my youthful attempts to dance (my parents didn't want a lazy daughter!). The more advanced classes usually had the teacher demonstrating a complicated combination to the students. It was fascinating watching them try to remember the steps: some just stared intently, some mumbled what I'm sure were the names of the steps, some followed along with very sketched out movements, and some used their hands as "feet" as they translated the aural/visual to motion.

Why the digression? Because I saw the dancers backstage doing the hands-to-feet thing while waiting in the wings for their next entrance. They would move a few inches from side-to-side or back-to-front, all the while their hands sketching more complicated moves in front of them. Truly a case of Multiple Intelligences at work!

The ridiculous

After Workshop, Thing One and I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. He'd been told that there were multiple endings, that audiences didn't know when to stand and leave or sit and watch more. This didn't surprise me, given Spielberg's problem with closure (E.T.c and AI being the most egregious examples) and with the fact that the entire Indy series is based on old-time serials, which left you with cliffhangers and unfinished plots. Watching the movie, I didn't get that "ok, it's over" sense well before it was done, but I did get the "ok, enough already" sense at around the 90 minute mark.

Harrison Ford's usual twinkle that tells us that he's not totally serious about this but is totally serious (at the same time) was lacking. The entire film seemed not just an homage to serials but to Spielberg and previous films (I *know* I've seen those aliens before!) was irritating. Every interview I've read said that there would only be a fifth film IF the script was good, IF there seemed to be a need for it, IF all the elements were in place, IF IF IF... but I got the sense that IF this makes enough money, Shia LaBoeuf will be replacing Henry Jr. and the "Mutt Jones" series will take off (and really, "Mutt"? couldn't they have left the "I'm nicknamed after a dog" thing alone?).

Overall, not the best in the series, and not the best movie I've seen recently (that'd be IronMan, and I'm so torn between wanting more of it and thinking it makes a great one-off).

Killin' time again...

I should be spring cleaning my house, reading, grading, working on Important Stuff, etc. but what am I doing? I'm spring cleaning my blog.