Saturday, May 31, 2008

Goose and the Country

I have a new post about Miranda Hobbes up on the Chicago Moms Blog. Who's Miranda Hobbes? Don't ask this curmudgeon.

I missed opening night because I was up to my elbows in rainbow sherbert (that's the way I grew up saying it, although the reason for the "r" is mysterious), scooping for Mia's last day of school ice cream social. Social it was, with Mia and her gal pals bouncing around the gym, a new flavor in hand each time I turned around. "Number five!" called out Mia, brandishing a chocolate cone and grinning through the mess on her face. Nora was content to play with a gym mat, alternating kamikaze dives and rolling on it like a puppy.

I had a scoop of chocolate, since it was Homer's, who makes it dark and rich as loam. It was dinnertime and we still had to get home and pack for a weekend at Fox Lake. The chocolate revived me as only the good stuff can and we hit the road around six (after some more solid sustenance at home.)

Today the girls woke much too early, as they always do here on the edge of the water. I was hurting until lunch at Baja Benny's, with my new summer drink invention, a Shandy made with Weiss beer and lemonade, and some ancient hits on the ridiculously overpriced jukebox. "You cut me open and I keep bleeding love..." still sounds good, although I've heard it four times in the last 12 hours, and "Soulja Boy" and "Umbrella" made me feel like the shit, circa 2007.

We hiked the Volo Bog and the girls saw carnivorous pitcher plants and a fearsome goose daddy who opened his black beak and hissed with his snaky tongue when we moved too closed to his goslings. I burst into horrified laughter - it was like a morphing creature in a monster movie, but Mia was seriously scared. She was silent for a moment, then dissolved into loud tears. We hugged her and I picked her up, trying to allay her fears with "Just like Daddy and I want to protect you...." Nora provided a distraction when she lay down in the warm grass and we all joined her and for a minute turned our faces to the sun.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Laughter + Romance + Writing = 20 Happy Years

My friends Julia and Jeff are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary today. Julia says they will commemorate the day by going to work. Mazel Tov, you two!

Here is the amazing story of how they met.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

David Cook Wins American Idol

Yeah, David Cook! The seventh American Idol winter is from Blue Springs, Missouri, a suburb of my Kansas City, so I've been cheering the hometown boy since the tryouts.

Cook's choice for his last song on the night of the finals was really interesting. Instead of reprising one of his best moments from the season as ALL the other idol finalists have done (think Fantasia and her spectacular "Summertime,") he chose to play something new - but old - Collective Soul's "The World I Know" from way back in 1995. Not only was this a variation from the Idol script, he did not sing the song like the typical arrangement for a finalist's last moment in competition. There were no dramatic key changes, so glory notes held for five minutes. He only sang the chorus once and instead of building it, trailed the last phrases off without a dramatic resolution. Simon said it was a beautiful song, but understandably, also expressed disappointment and even doubt that Cook could win.

Poor sweet David Archuleta. After he sang, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," I thought he would break into nervous sobs, vomit or spontaneously combust. Jordin Sparks won at just-turned 18, but she has always had poise to burn - perhaps because her dad was a pro ball player and she was used to the spotlight. David A. has always seemed on the child side of seventeen.

I found this footage of Cook in a high school play on Youtube - if that intro isn't warning enough, I must emphasize viewing is recommended for SERIOUS FANS only - the footage is blurry and contrasty and shot so far from the stage and on such crappy equipment, it looks like an impressionist painting. But you can hear Cook's unmistakable voice and if you have the patience, you'll see him dancing in a not terrible imitation of Donald O'Connor's "Make 'Em Laugh" number from Singing in the Rain, complete with pratfalls, cartwheels and singing handstands.

I haven't been this hyped since I saw pictures of Dave Grohl in his high school marching band (before he dropped out to become The Coolest Rock Star In The Known World.) A glimpse of these guys when they were real kids (boatloads of charisma notwithstanding) is reassuring after you realize Chris Brown, seemingly sprung from his father's head fully formed and clothed in armor, is only a teenager.

A funny watercooler conversation.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Conversation with Mia

"Why do we die?" asks Mia.

"Because our bodies wear out. But don't worry. That's not going to happen for a long long time."

"How long?"

"You could be eighty. Or a hundred."

"How many is that?"

"Well, you're five. It's like as long as this life you've had, you could have twenty like it!"

"Like if I'm that big," she squeezes her thumb and forefinger together, "it would be this long?" And stretches her arms as far apart as they can go. "Or like this?" And bends her arms back behind her until they touch.

I laugh. "Yeah, that long!"

Help Chinese Orphanages

Here is a map of orphanages and social welfare institutions in China affected by the recent quake.

Below is a message from Half the Sky, an organization to help Chinese orphans. Half the Sky has a four star rating from Charity Navigator.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jenny Bowen"
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 10:12 AM
Subject: Half the Sky Earthquake Update - May 23

Dear Friends,

Today we were starting the process of wrapping up the major portion of our orphanage relief efforts. With your help, we have purchased and delivered or are in the process of delivering huge amounts of medicines and medical supplies, tents, cribs, cots, bedding, baby formula, diapers, kids clothing and shoes, rice, noodles, cooking oil, water, powdered milk, bowls, cups, towels, mosquito repellent and much, much more. As we inalized plans to ship, then bring in engineers to erect two giant tents to house hundreds of newly orphaned children, we got an emergency call from Aba Civil Affairs Bureau.

They are caring for approximately 1,000 orphaned and displaced children, most of whom are 7-12 years old. There are over 100 infants. They'd been placing the children in local shelters but had just received news that 70 more children are on the way. There are no more tents and no more beds for them. Further, they urgently need powdered milk and diapers. And they need foods that don't require cooking as most of their cooking stoves and supplies have been destroyed. They need so much they can't even give us an estimate.

The roads to Aba are dangerous but the need is tremendous. We have obtained the necessary road pass and organized a convoy of three trucks. Our senior preschool field supervisor, Yang Lei, will be leading the effort along with Aba drivers who are familiar with the dangers. It's a 3 day round-trip and they leave at dawn. I am so thankful our Half the Sky staff are as tough as they are!

Stop presses! -- Just as I finished writing the above, I received the following email. The situation continues to be ever-changing:

"While everyone has done an absolutely incredible job pulling this urgent shipment together, it simply cannot leave tomorrow morning as we've all been pushing for. The road between Chengdu and Aba is simply too dangerous to travel, based on all the information we are able to gather. While it hasn't registered on the news, nearly 200 people have died in the last few days along these roads due to mudslides caused by the early summer rains. Communications are, of course, sketchy, and we know Yang Lei has her permit to travel the roads, but all reports are now that it's just too dangerous and too unsure to risk take such a risk. The Director of the Aba Institution agrees and the Director of the Chengdu Institution agrees.

"The efforts you've all put in today on behalf of the babies at Aba will not be in vain. We will monitor the road situation very, very closely. Civil Affairs wants us to get in, we want to go in, and the moment we feel it is safe, we will go in. The good news is we've managed to amass everything on Aba's "needs list" in one day and it's staged at Chengdu Su and ready to load on trucks. The items that were scheduled to load on the Aba trucks will stay at Chengdu, ready to travel to Aba when conditions allow. THESE ITEMS ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE IN THE COMING DAYS, THEY ARE TO BE KEPT TOGETHER, AND SEPARATE FROM ALL OTHER INVENTORY, AND WILL TRAVEL TO ABA AS SOON AS CONDITIONS ALLOW. This is a very difficult decision for us to make, but we simply can't risk life to save life."

You can see that the relief effort is not quite over. I will keep you all posted.

Meanwhile, we have spent almost exactly the amount we have raised in donations (just over US$300,000. And we have not yet really begun the second critical phase of our operation in Sichuan: training caregivers and volunteers to care for and address the non-material needs of displaced and newly-orphaned children. There are billions being donated for rebuilding. But we need help putting young lives back together.

Here's a note from Ma Lang, who was at a "model" relief shelter today talking to newly-orphaned children: I talked to a junior high school girl. Here is part of our conversation:

Lang: Do you know there are psychologists and counselors there to help people?
Girl: Yes.
Lang: Would you be willing to talk to a psychologist?
Girl: Yes.
Lang: What would you like to talk about with the psychologist?
Girl: Things that make me happy. Like happy stories and movies.
Lang: What do not you want the psychologist to ask?
Girl: [pause] Do not ask me where my families are!

P.S. There is little coordination among the 10 plus counselor groups at the shelter. One main method they chose their "clients" was to look for sad faces. If a child or adult looked sad, the likelihood was that she would be "counseled" by more than one group of counselors. One concern that I had was that the children (and adults) might be traumatized again by the "counseling" process.

And then..

"I met Lei in the "inner circle" at Jiuzhou Stadium. He was a cute and curious second grader who'd lost his parents in the quake. He approached me and asked me what I was doing when I was organizing the pictures I took. We looked at the pictures together, and chatted a little bit. He told me that after the earthquake, there come aftershocks, and then comes the epidemic. He said epidemic means you die if you do not wash hands before and after meal. When I asked him what earthquake is, he said if you talk loud, earthquake happens. I lowered my voice and asked him if our voices were loud. He said, I do not know."

Half the Sky is finalizing plans to work in consultation with an important international resource for children traumatized by crisis. I want to thank all of you who have worked to help us locate Mandarin-speaking child trauma specialists. I think we are assembling an outstanding team. I will share more details in the next few days. What I hope I can communicate to you all is that our work is really just beginning. We need more help!

If you would like to donate to Half the Sky's Children's Earthquake Fund you can do so through Global Giving:

Or directly to Half the Sky. You can donate by calling Half the Sky
(+1-510-525-3377) or on our website.

Many companies have announced they will match employee gifts for earthquake relief. Please check to see if your company will double your gift!

If you would like a Canadian tax receipt, please donate at

Thank you for all you've already done for these children - and for what you will do.

with love,

Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.

Want to receive our free Half the Sky newsletter, full of stories and photos, via regular mail? Just go to our website and click on "Join our Mailing List."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kiss the Frog

This post is a continuation of my "Sex Ed, Then and Now" piece on Chicago Moms Blog.

I know I'm only a part of my girls' sexual education. They are already soaking up information about gender roles, about borders and limits, about the difference between grown-up and child behavior from the world outside our home. Even their bedtime stories are loaded.

Children internalize the underlying ideas of fairy tales and the themes resonate into their adulthood. In stories, the frightening realities of violence, of uncurbed emotions like vengeance and fury, of orphaned and abandoned children, and even of sexuality are contained into a manageable package, complete with vanquished monsters and happy endings.

"The Frog Prince" is about as close as any fairy tale gets to introducing children to the themes of sexual initiation.

The ancient story has versions in the folk tales of Korea, Sri Lanka, China, Scotland and England; I reread the German Brothers Grimm version recently. It's surprising to see it through the eyes of a parent - the sexual themes pop out like I'm wearing 3-D glasses in a Dirk Digler movie.

The princess drops her beloved toy, a golden ball, in a well and a frog offers to help her if she will be his loving companion. She agrees, but runs back home after he returns from the deep with her ball in his mouth. When the frog follows her and knocks on the door of the palace, her father the king demands that the princess keep her promises. She reluctantly allows the frog to eat from her plate and sleep on her pillow. In typical Grimm fashion, the story climaxes with an act of violence when the disgusted princess throws the frog against a wall. This breaks the spell and the frog transforms into the prince, future husband to the happy princess.

What jumps out for me in my re-reading was how young the princess is - still a girl who loves her toy, still a child who runs away from responsibility and promises. As an adult reader, it's easy to see her reactions of repulsion to the animal representing the fear and anxiety the uninitiated may feel as they become aware of the sex act and its unfamiliar strangeness. The story follows her maturing from a child who acquiesces to her father, into a young woman who has grown beyond her fear and is ready to marry.

But just like the revision of princess stories for the grrl power generation, the Frog Prince has been adopted and tamed by pop culture. The story becomes a punch line equivalent of He's Just Not That Into You: "You've got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince."

Peter Gabriel's musical appropriation of the tale, "Kiss That Frog," is often interpreted as a crude seduction joke. "Jump in the water, c'mon baby, get wet with me," say the lyrics. I heard an interview with Gabriel where he defended the song, citing the inspiration of Bruno Bettelheim's 1975 book, The Uses of Enchantment.

Bettelheim writes: "The story tells us that we cannot expect our first erotic contacts to be pleasant, for they are much too difficult and fraught with anxiety. But if we continue, despite temporary repugnance, to permit the other to become ever more intimate, than at some moment we will experience a happy shock of recognition when complete closeness reveals sexuality's true beauty."

To me it seems the song has such a happy vibe, that it becomes not a kind of coercion, but an invitation for the girl to feel unafraid of her own desire, as strange and unknown and new as it may seem. Not a song positioning girls as potential victims and boys as future predators, but a song about mutual joy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I have a new post on Chicago Moms Blog about driving Mia and her little friends to school. Our route takes us past Northwestern and sometimes in the fall we get the thrill of passing their marching band at practice. These days we sometimes spot a kid dressed up as a hot dog. Makes our afternoon.

Tomorrow I'll be posting about ... S-E-X. Gulp.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

In Horticultural News

1. One of my Mother's Day presents (besides a mini shopping spree at my favorite Evanston boutique to find a substitute for the still AWOL knit top AND a fabulous brunch at Cite where I got nicely toasted on two peach bellinis that I never would have ordered had I known they were $16! apiece) is a new flowering tree for the side yard. See the empty spot below. We'll put it back by the fence.

I've been "researching" (looking around the neighborhood, checking out the CBG, browsing Chalet and Google images) and here were the finalists:

(Sal sez a vertical line is the new hot bullet for graphics people. You like? Moderny!)

|Witch Hazel is one of the earliest blooms of the year in our part of the Midwest. Its muted chartreuse blossoms, as I've mentioned before, are as showy as a Mormon pompom team. I'm partial to this plant because of a scene from Todd Hayne's Far From Heaven when landscaper Dennis Haysbert gives 1950's housewife Julianne Moore a cutting. "How lovely," she sighs.

|Prairie Fire Crabapple. Can't beat this color, developed at the U of Illinois. The crab apples have been spectacular this year, especially a stand at the Ladd Arboretum on McCormick Boulevard in Evanston.

|Redbud, pussy willow, lilac and magnolia are sentimental favorites from my childhood Kansas City backyard. Uncle Phil made me smile when he called the forsythia "For-Cynthia." But for a love of the new, I think I'm going with:

|Serviceberry. Amelanchier. A four-season interest - white blossoms in spring turn into edible berries in the summer that attract birds and can be made into pies. Brilliant red in the fall and the smooth gray bark is attractive in the winter.
But what sold me on this plant, beside being native to Illinois, was the back story of the name: supposedly when its flowers bloom, it was time for the itinerant ministers to schedule their wedding, christening and such duties since they knew snows would not return. Randy's father was a Presbyterian minister for decades and with his boundless energy and love of his work, found retirement difficult. So he began to accept interim positions with congregations who were in between permanent ministers. He worked in Arizona, Virginia and at several Florida churches. I love the idea of looking out our window to see the pretty tree and thinking of him.

2. I'm so green it hurts my eyes. I didn't rehire the landscapers this year, much to dear husband's chagrin. I was tired of the peace of Tuesday afternoons, usually moments after I had laid Nora down for a nap, being shattered by the invasion of the gas-powered lawnmowers and the roaring leaf-blowers. Our village has even banned the blowers for their noise and pollution from May to November.

So I bought a push mower at the Ace Mullen Hardware (celebrity sighting! Tiki Barber! Beautiful as all get out.) And I put it all together myself! And I whacked that yard into submission. It was so much fun. The sound of the spinning blades, like little scythes, is a total satisfaction in itself. And the swath of cut lawn behind you must be what keeps hair stylists and wax technicians loving their jobs.

It took me a few weekends, but I chopped down the towering stands of decorative grasses and the autumn clematis in the beds. Can you see the difference?

3. It's a proportion thing. I planted what felt like dozens of tiny anemone bulbs last fall. This is all that came up. One itsy plant. But the new alliums are developing into monsters. They looked like a pit of snakes when they first emerged.

4. We took the fairy furniture out in anticipation for their return from wintering in Fairyland.

5. From my uber-gardener friend Christina: Check out Budburst where you can help track global warming. Scientists are gathering bud, bloom, and seed times from people across the country, like you! And me!

Friday, May 16, 2008


The short film above is William Eliott Whitmore singing "Dry." Have you seen this?

If you live on the north side of Chicago and you have cable, you might have noticed a few strange commercials on the air. They don't actually try to sell you anything, I guess, unless you are in that particular niche of the post-production industry that uses the services of a company like my husband's... Some have the feel of a Saturday Night Live fake ad, some show dreamy experimental images without an obvious point. The one thing all the 30-second spots all have in common is a quick tag at the end with the word, "Optimus." That's my husband's company and the Opti-TV project is his baby.

Randy works in advertising and he's surrounded by insanely creative and hyper people with boatloads of talent and wry and warped ways of looking at the world so he had a little brainstorm a couple of years ago - he asked the people who work with him if they wanted to make their own 30 second commercials, and if they did, what would they look like? Well it turned out they looked pretty cool.

But Randy took it another step farther. He actually went and bought airtime on a local cable station.

The spots have already prompted complaints and at least one that aired during a Cubs game has been pulled off the air. (The offending ad - for a fake gastro-intestinal relief product called "Anucile" - in truth does beg for a Funny or Die audience rather than the families that tune in to baseball games.)

When I picture the pie chart in my husband's head breaking down the motivations for this whole project, I see thin slices of "Loves a Good Practical Joke," "Supports the Arts," "Irreverence" and "A Nice Perk for Employees," then one enormous slice of "I Heart Absurdity."

You can see all the spots here. Click on a spot title, then pick one of the options for "play movie."

Don't miss "Pikipiki" by Sarah Slevin. Other oldies but goodies include "Beware the Trappings of Leisure" from November 2005 and my dear husband's "Avian Flu" with music by Bruce Lash.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

From My Friend Virginia

Hi Everybody, Please come visit me at MANIFEST down at Columbia College all day tomorrow (Friday) I'll be in an Elizabethan dress of trash bags serving tea in a velvety teaparty-pick-up truck with a "hot boy ( according to Bunny F.) in trashy tights and hopefully those pointy shoes of the era.... I'll be amidst the parked art cars on Wabash near Harrison and there will be soooo much fun going on down there! ....check out Columbia College Manifest web sight.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Difficult Day

I can't find my brown shirt. It's knit, with a v-neck and three-quarter length sleeves and has satin ribbons that tie in the back. I wear it over this brown lace camisole and I want to wear it to brunch on Sunday.

I search the laundry room, my bedroom closet, each drawer of the bureau, each shelf of the armoire, the greener cleaner bag. My husband's closet. I mutter to myself, I know I saw it recently. I remember seeing it... I start the circuit again, lift the same piles in the laundry room, start to flip through the same hangers in the closet. I pause, lost. I stand in the middle of the room, biting the pad of my thumb and I start to cry.

Sometimes a shirt is not just a shirt and sometimes a Saturday in May is not just any day.

I was so young when my mother died, I barely know anything different than her being gone. I grew up with the indisputable fact of her absence. There was always Aunt Ruth, sweet, mild, so-unlike-me Aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth took care of me and my siblings as well as her own daughters. She was the loving figure to make the school crafts for, to buy flowers and cards for, to call with warm wishes and love.

It was only when I became a mother myself that Mother's Day began to turn into an emotional minefield. Last year the unpredictable grief knocked me for a loop. And today it turns me into a mess. Stricken. Doing laps in a fruitless search for a something I know I will not find.

"Randy," I call downstairs, sobbing. "Can you help me?"

He knows there is only so much he can do. He searches his own closet, his dry cleaning bag, to please me. He gently suggests what I already know, that I can choose something else to wear. He recognizes that I'm in deep and doesn't try to reason the hurt away.

I try to analyze and plan in the hot shower. I think I feel bad right now.

But I know Mia's dance recital is at 1:00. The kids in costume could cheer me up. Last year I fell apart the day before Mother's Day but fully enjoyed the Sunday, busy with brunch and dress up and presents. The world will return me to equilibrium soon.

I think This is the kind of pain a child should not have. It is proper I have not felt this before. I should be feeling this hurt now, now that I am a mother, now that I am getting stronger with motherhood.

I remember Ann Hudson's poem "Grief."

" is anchored in me/like a bone. It is growing,/tiny wings unfurling, blue flags."

I think If the pain keeps getting worse, will the joys keep getting deeper?

As hoped, the sensory slam and sugar rush of the recital was a helpful balm. A stageful of four year olds in sequined red dresses staring grim-faced out at the darkness while they randomly pat the floor with their shoes could be your seventh circle of hell. . . or not. Waves of adoring laughter from the full house greeted the little ones who corrected each other's arm positions, got lost in front of the closing curtain or burst into spontaneous little jigs during "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I have a new post on Chicago Moms Blog, inspired by a Mother's Day brunch ad.

And this Saturday, May 10, don't forget to leave non-perishable food in a bag next to your mailbox for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and Campbell's. More info here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Gal Pal Sal

Sal and me in the '80s.

My cousin Sally came to visit from Michigan this weekend. Except for some great years when we both lived in Chicago at the same time (for a while as roommates), we've had to cross multiple state lines for our get-togethers.

On Saturday afternoon as Sally was leaving, Mia was playing with her new mermaid doll in a bubble bath so she didn't want to get out. Sally in her sweet and understanding way came into the bathroom, hugged soapy Mia and made her laugh saying "Blub, blub, blub! Now I've got bubbles on my arms, on my legs, on my face!"

Sally left the room calling, "Bye!" and Mia burst into tears. I completely understood. I always get sad when Sally has to leave, too. My cousin is such a magical and amazing person, she turns everything into fun.

"Do you want to get out and give her a dry hug, honey? You can get back in the bathtub afterwards." Still sobbing, Mia nodded yes. I helped her get her slippery self out the tub, then into the shower to rinse off all the bubbles -- there really were a lot. She's still crying, crying as she stands in the spray. I tell her Sally will wait for her. I tell her we'll see Sally again in August. Then, still crying, she asks, "Could you hand me the mermaid doll?"

This was one of many laughs over the weekend. (Nora had a similar moment last night when she commenced wailing because Daddy told her to go back into the bathroom until she has finished brushing her teeth, but skipped and hopped her way there, in tears.)

My cousin is one the most fascinating people I've ever met. Our conversations tumble with the overlapping things we want to tell each other. I almost cried with relief before she arrived, just at the thought of spending time with her and for days afterward I'm coming up with more forgotten sticks for the conversational fire we kept tending til the wee hours.

Here's Sally and me and Nancy in the 1960's.

She had news and gossip from the tiny Michigan tourist town where her husband is a volunteer fire-fighter - stories like The Bartendress's Revenge, The Tryst Gone Bad (this one resembled the opening to a CSI episode), The Sword-in-a-Cane Fight.

We talked about movies and the New York Times, about the meaning of the words "frisson" and "paen," about trying neighbors and the difference between femininity and female and about my confusion why people continue to talk about race as an important issue that is separate from ethnicity.

She confessed to a thrill (a frisson! That I shared!) when her husband Erik announced he had purchased a device that was able to measure the precise amount of energy being used by their tiny downstairs freezer. When they figured out that freezer was preserving 40 pounds of lake-caught salmon for three cents a day, I realized they are close to living the Green Dream. They heat their house most of the time with a high efficiency wood-burning stove, using wood from the neighbors' downed trees. Sally freezes the local blueberries, peaches and raspberries available from the Edenic bounty of the nearby farms. They have their own garden where Sally plant potatoes with charming names like "German Buttterball."

Saturday was kind of a challenging day because Sally and I had stayed up all hours the night before and the girls were so excited that she was here that they bounced out of bed before 7:00. But most of the time we were having fun, being silly, being cousins who know each other really really well but still have so much to learn.

We tried to gather the energy and organization to go to the Volo Bog, but we were also making a lasagna and it was sporadically raining so we eventually just spent the whole day at home. Wimpy, I know, but these days I get very confused when I'm tired and just assembling lunch had me standing in the middle of the kitchen, not sure which end was up, longing for bed, but also wishing for more hours in the day to spend with my friend.

Topical Yuk-Yuks

The entire Democratic presidential candidate campaign in seven minutes.

A Barbie recap of Tom Cruise on Oprah.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Partners in Health on 60 Minutes

Update: Did you watch the show tonight? Searching for more info about Paul Farmer's work? See this post.

From: Partners In Health
> Date: May 2, 2008 2:52:29 PM CDT
> To: Christine Hamann
> Subject: Partners In Health on 60 Minutes - this Sunday (May 4)
> Dear Friends,
> The long-awaited 60 Minutes feature on Partners In Health and Zanmi Lasante in Haiti is just days away.
> We just learned that the broadcast date has been moved up to this Sunday, May 4. The show will be broadcast at 7 pm EDT/PDT on CBS. It will also be available to view online after the broadcast at
> We are very excited about being featured on such a successful > broadcast – please pass the word along on to anyone you may think > would be interested!
> Warmly,
> Christine
> Christine Hamann
> Development Assistant
> Partners In Health
> 641 Huntington Avenue, 1st Floor
> Boston, MA 02115
> 617.432.7100

Hall and Oates "She's Gone"

Possibly the greatest video ever made.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Six Random Things About Me

My friend Julia, who writes mystery novels and is so funny she could star in her own sit-com, has tagged me to play Six Random Things About Me.

ONE: My dream house is the 1970's split level that Dirk Digler bought in "Boogie Nights." Or this.

TWO: I've always imagined someday I'd be a torch singer in a tight dress in front of a velvet curtain crooning "Something Cool."

THREE: My husband and I watched Gnarls Barkley tear through a ferocious "Run" on SNL last week and we had such a moment of communal "wow" that it felt like a honeymoon. Happy May Day, my dear comrade!

FOUR: The cosmetic counter saleslady said "Your bangs are perfect," and I'm embarrassed to admit how much this meant to me.

FIVE: Brace yourself, this one is really gross. I've been a vegetarian since 1985, technically an ovo-lacto-pescatarian, but lately I've been moving toward going vegan. However, the one meat (I hesitate to even call it that) I do occasionally nibble is, get this, McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. Yes, I know. I saw Supersize Me, I read Fast Food Nation, I know the original bird corpses are processed beyond all recognition, then pumped full of artificial flavors to make them resemble "chicken" again, then fried in carcinogenic trans fats. I know. But I'll still eat one on that desperate snowy day when I have no good ideas for lunch and the girls are pleading for Happy Meal toys and the indoor playplace.

SIX: The phrase "pair of pants" can break me down into uncontrollable spasms of giggles. There's a long complicated back story involving the Oklahoma City bombings -- not funny in any way, I know, but my little corner of the tragedy that became ridiculous over time was the TV interview of a man with an awful overbite who said of Timothy McVeigh, "I met him at a flea market. I shold him a pair of pants." After this, anytime I heard someone use the word "pants," I started howling to Randy, "I SHOOOOOOLD HIM a PARAPANTS!" and it's gone down in our marriage lore. Even the girls, who don't know the whole story agree that "underpants" is one of the silliest words ever invented.

I am returning the favor to some on-line friends, old and new:


Sophia Leto at Moodymommy




Susan Bearman at Two Kinds of People

The Rules:
Link to the person that tagged you - i.e., me.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself in a blog post.
Tag six people.
Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their post.
Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

Happy May Day!