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February 2004
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April 2004

road trip

Today I had the pleasure of driving down labyrinthine country roads to go to Hamilton, New York, home to the Colgate College Bookstore (and, incidentally, Colgate college). Once there, I got to read my essay from KnitLit Too (available at your local booksellers and, of course, Amazon) to a crowd of appreciative listeners, then sign copies of the book itself. While that was a new experience and a fun one, I also got to meet Linda Roghaar and her hubby, both of whom also read. A good time was had by all, I think.

Adding to the afternoon was the drive itself. A little Foo Fighters. A lot of Old 97's. The realization that I live in the middle of nowhere and am surrounded by cows, sheep and the occasional dilapidated barn. It'll be really damn scenic once everything starts greening up. Which will be soon, one hopes. All of the snow has melted, at least.

Adding to the reading and the drive was the sandwich I had for dinner. I asked the bookstore events woman where a good place to go was and she directed me to the Curtain Call, a hole in the wall that makes yummy take-out. The sandwich, for those who care, was thick slices of turkey (real turkey, not lunchmeat), cranberry sauce and brie on homemade white bread. Mmmmm. I may have to go back to Hamilton, which is a bit too quaint for my tastes just in general, simply to have another one of those sandwiches. Yeah, I'm weird that way.

tipping points

The Amateur Gourmet has been reading, bless him, and has some interesting notes on Starbucks and the Tipping Point. I wish I had some pithy little comment to add, but it is early and my coffee has not yet kicked in. Sorry.

Oh--and for foodies, the AG is also growing his own sourdough starter and documenting the process. I admire his tenacity but fear I have too many things in the house that require my tending to want to add a smelly Tupperware container of goo to the list.

I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

which art movement are you?
this quiz was made by Caitlin

Surrealism is style from the early to mid 20th century "in which fantastic visual imagery from the subconscious mind is used with no intention of making the artwork logically comprehensible." ( It was kinda like the Symbolist movement, but weirder and more obsessed with sex. It took a lot from Freud and Jung, after all. You are a person who cheats on quizzes. Or you're just really weird.
Famous Surrealists: Dali, Magritte, Miro, and You.

friday five, on monday

Via Gord:

The other day I had a talk I had with a co-worker, Shawn, at my workplace. I was talking about an experience at the swimming pool and how I realized, through that experience, that I was actually an adult; I mean, I felt it clearly at that time. It wasn't the first time that I felt clearly the reality of my adulthood, though. Those kinds of moments come at funny moments, don't they? My baby sister, who is engaged to be married this summer, commented that she wonders when she will feel grown-up. I was only a little surprised at that; I think many of us feel not-quite-grown-up for most of our lives.

How about you? Assuming you have had such moments, what were the five experiences during which the reality of your adulthood struck you the most powerfully? At what five moments in your life have you felt most clearly that you were, indeed, an adult? And if you can't think of five moments at which the reality of your adulthood struck you full-on, you could alternately include moments where the lack of such a feeling struck you most poignantly or significantly.

I guess my most adult moments were those when I felt the least supported and had to figure out how to do things for myself. A good place to be on the general growing-up continuum, if only in hindsight.

1. Moving to Texas from PA. It wasn't so much the move, but the aftermath. See--all that came with us was what would fit into the Ford Escort that we owned at the time. No furniture. No bed. Just some clothes, some books and a tiny tv. Our first full day in Austin consisted of trying to find someplace we could purchase a cheap bed and couch. Nothing makes you feel like adult than realizing you'll be sleeping on the floor for two weeks until the dang thing can be delivered.

2. Quitting my first job, also in Austin. It was an awful, awful job. (Can I get an amen, Adam?) I quit the day my paycheck bounced and I got yelled at by the owner for bringing it up. It was a moment of freefall, since I had no other means of support and Scott was in grad school. It all worked out in the end, tho.

3. Moving to Knoxville from Texas. Did that move solo, which is a long story. Scott joined me later. That first night, sleeping in an empty apartment with just a futon, some cutlery and bowls and my cat, I wondered if I'd made a huge error. I hadn't--but I wanted some real grown-up to come assure me of that.

4. As cliche as it is, September 11, when it was erroneously reported that a plane had gone down in my hometown. (In truth, it had crashed well outside of Pittsburgh, but that detail was lost for a bit in the chaos.) It is selfish--the whole day/week/month was horrifying, granted, but there were a few extra moments of special horror when I thought a large contingent of my family and friends might be dead or running for their lives.

5. Giving birth to the Diva and the aftermath that surrounded it. Nothing makes you feel more like a grown-up than having kids of your own. Yeah, most of the time I'm navigating the whole thing by touch rather than knowledge, but the mistakes are mine to make and no one else can make them for me. The joys are mine (and, of course, Scott's) as well--so it all balances out. One hopes.

Other, probably less serious, Fivers on the left list....


For my upcoming birthday (it's the Rolling Rock one), I may need to buy an Everyday Cardigan kit from the Peace Fleece people. Here is my quandry--I'm not sure which color I'd like. There are just too many to choose from. And, so, I put it to you, my dozen weblog readers. Which do you prefer? Only two restrictions-- 1) I already have a half-dozen grey or black sweaters and really don't need another one in that color and 2) I look truly awful in yellow and orange.

two more data points

From a Time magazine article called "The Case for Staying Home:"

"Terri Laughlin, 38, a stay-at-home mom and former psychology professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, was alarmed a few weeks ago when her daughters Erin, 8, and Molly, 6, announced their intentions to marry men "with enough money so we can stay at home." Says Laughlin: "I want to make sure they realize that although it's wonderful staying at home, that's only one of many options. What I hope to show them is that at some point I can re-create myself and go back to work.""

(Sorry--no link since I'm not a subscriber. And I'd like to mention that if my daughter ever said that my head would explode.)

From a nerve interview (via Bookslut) with Susan Shapiro Barash, whose book The New Wife tells the modern gal how she can have babies and a career and keep her man happy and never upset the status quo.

The twenty-first-century wife is someone who finally has taken a look at the examples. There's her grandmother, who's probably still married to her grandfather. There's her mother, the baby boomer, who's disillusioned. There's her aunt who's forty and has a great job as a lawyer, but is dealing with fertility clinics. The new wife wants the self-confidence that her mother had in the workplace, the education that the '80s and '90s made a necessity, and the glamour and nourishment her grandmother had. She wants to get married younger, she wants to be available to her husband. She'll be well-educated, but doesn't feel this pull of right or wrong over missing one beat in the workplace. Her attitude is "I'll have children young, I'll go back to work and use my degree as I see fit." Women have never said that before.

I feel all woozy, yet can't quite put my finger on why.

maiden names and a Mooch

Interesting piece by Katie Roiphe on Slate yesterday about women keeping their last names when they married. While she does make some huge assumptions about the gender as a whole based on her own experiences (rather than on surveys or research or interviews that tackle the trend as it relates to women who aren't college educated yet still choose to keep their maiden names), she does raise some interesting points. The whole maiden name thing isn't the hot-button issue that it used to be.
Frankly, I find that a little disturbing, simply because my generation of women (I'm in my 30s) just don't seem to care if they vanish anymore. It's not just about names. In all honesty, I kept my maiden name because it's way cooler than my husband's last name. The only one who objected to this was my mother, who said something along the lines of "won't his family get upset?" and "how will people know you're married?" This, of course, just after she told me that the big white dress made me look a little chunky--so my take on her response to the no-last-name-change may be slightly colored. Still, my husband's family don't seem to care one way or the other--or hasn't said word one to either of us about it, which amounts to the same thing.
But coupling this with more women of my loose social class choosing to drop out of the working world to stay home with the children is troubling. We all have to make our own choices, granted.--but it feels like we're setting our daughters up for one heck of a rude awakening. The more invisible we (mothers, that is) become--and losing your last name and economic status does make you easier to overlook, no matter how unfair that may be--the harder it is going to be for our daughters to make the same choices we have been able to make, simply because their won't be as many options available. I find that troubling--but have no solutions to offer, sadly.
And, yes, having a different last name from my kid has caused some problems. It can be tricky to convince new doctors that we are related. (Once you see us both, tho, it is frighteningly obvious that we share the same genes.) The new day care still screws up crediting my checks to her account, simply because we have different last names. I shudder to think what will happen if we get her a passport in this new post-9/11 age. Still, these are small hassles that seem worthwhile, long-run-wise.

In other, remarkably unrelated, news we had the last Mooch-toss of the season this morning. At least a foot of snow fell last night--the last big dump we'll probably get until next winter--at gave him his last fling before the daffodils emerge. We'll miss you, winter.

small town quirks

Every day in The Daily Star, the local almost-daily (Sunday doesn't count as a "day") paper, a company called River Valley runs
an ad
in the classified section. The ads can best be described as barely coherent. I suspect the writer and business owner likes George W. and doesn't like the liberal commie pinkos who don't like him. Hard to say, tho. The writer and business owner could also just be a wackaloon.

But that's all beside the point. Really, I have two questions: a) have these ads helped River Valley's "Farm Equipment" sales? and b) does the DS care that its classified page is also home to political commentary?

In other news, I seem to have caught the ick that also forced Scott to receive two bags of IV fluid. This is what happens when my sulky, sullen attitude is forced to be all happy and stuff. Feh.