Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years resolutions suck except when they are based on advice from Jonathan Adler

I know New Year's resolutions are  load of crap setting you up for disappointment and failure.  But I've never managed to get out from under their spell.  I'm a sucker for all that fresh start stuff and making resolutions is a nice symbolic break from the past and a hopeful (if doomed) way to ring in the future.  Plus, how would that extra fifteen pounds feel if I left it out of my goals for 2009?  Dissed, that's how.  So, here they are:
1. Lose fifteen pounds (I'm nothing if not consistent).
2. Stop gossiping.  I need to be clear here: I do not plan to stop talking about people.  I just plan to stop saying mean, speculative things about them.  My mantra in this endeavor: "I am not a psychologist.  I am not a psychologist."
3. Be nicer than I think the situation calls for.  I learned this from Jonathan Adler of all people. Since nice is not my usual setting (that would be gossipy and caustic), and I have no intention of becoming a big phony, this will take real skill and effort.  I'll let you know how it goes.  They should have 12 steps for this type of thing.
4. Get my career on some sort of track that might earn me, like, a total of $50,000.  It's not so much to ask, but it's more than I've ever made in a year, which is sort of embarrassing. 

A thing I like
This album from Pieta Brown. She has the sweetest voice and lyrics and her dad is Greg Brown, who is like, one of my singing, song-writing heros. We went to see them in concert together not so long ago and it was almost more sardonic,  sweet father-daughter loveliness than I could bear. 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shopping is out, but poetry is still good

Happy New Year.  
Today is the first day of my BUY NOTHING three months. For Christmas I gave The Mister this beautiful, handmade Ipod dock and the promise to buy nothing new (groceries and toiletries accepted) for three months.  The reasoning is threefold: 1. we lack the proper funds for shopping 2. we have enough shit, and 3. the cornerstone of environmentalism is using less.  Oh, and also, The Mister's nickname is "The Flinty Yankee" so this sort of austerity program is really up his alley. And actually, I am kind of looking forward to it.  I'm curious to see whether I am really the sort of Ivana Trumpesque spendthrift The Mister thinks I am.  If he's right, we should be just absolutely flush with cash come April. 
The shoe thing will be hard, but luckily I got these in bronze for Christmas so I should be OK until spring. 

A thing I like

This marvelous, lascivious and tender poem in the form of a letter to Gary Snyder by the great Richard Hugo.  I love poetry tinged with machismo.  It makes me want to weep.

Letter to Snyder from Montana

Dear Gary: As soon as you'd gone winter snapped shut again
on Missoula. Right now snow from the east and last night 
cold enough to arrest the melting of ice. My favorite 
bouncer, wind, stopped throwing clouds out of the joint for being 
too gloomy. In short, you're gone and we've gone back to being 
a small dreary city.  Some of your grace hangs on. I still 
have a date with that round pink girl. For her I have evil plans. 
I am rubbing my hands like a monster. I am planning trips 
to remote lakes in spring. I know it's not modern to think 
of seduction as evil, but damn it that makes it more fun 
and the more fun it is the more often I'll do it, I hope. 
Students still buzz about your reading. Those who had turned you 
into a god were happy to find you human. I should 
have warned them. Should have warned all western Montana, 
a warm force is coming. Snow will run off. The rivers 
will scream and crack their banks. Winter will take a breather. 
Speaking of love being fun, you never in your remarks 
mentioned those two-minute male orgasms perfected 
in India by, if I have it right, mystics. Why not? 
Nor did you bring up those ancient Chinese techniques 
for tortuous titillation.  Remember, forests and land 
(for me, especially) are not all that's worth saving. 
There's also loving.  Shit. Why tell you? You preserve that 
everyday without trying. But of course you're not here. 
Last night, 20 below. A mass of tall arctic air 
stands over us like a cruel father, though the weather now 
is really a mother and this mother may go on forever. 
What it needs, what we need, I, is another visit 
from Snyder. For that, the glaciers are waiting, and bears 
(for you especially, fish) and the green flaring pageant 
of sky mating with hills. This letter was found wadded up 
in a bum in the tundra who send his warmest regards. Dick.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sometimes Beyonce is better than Motherhood, but maybe a Backyard Shed would change all that

Well, I'm glad that's over.  Nothing left but the endless presents with no place to go, the extra five pounds, and the trails of glitter left by Maggie's fabulous new shoes. Christmas, for me, was sort of a drag.  Too much obligation and wrapping.  Too many runny noses and schlepping from here to there. I like my regular old over-scheduled life better. 
As I write this my kids are using their new Christmas scissors (favorite presents: Elmer's glue and scissors) to chop up the New York Times Style section.  Before I was ignoring them to write my blog, I was ignoring them to read said section.  Not ignoring them totally.  I would look up occasionally and comment in the saccharine-laced voice of disinterested parents everywhere on their stellar Mr. Potato heading and marvelous tea party preparations. But really, I was hidden behind an article about style makeovers for 2009.  
And here's what I wonder.  Am I the only one?  Is it possible that I am the only mother around who is sometimes just straight up bored with playing with her kids (although not to level of this woman, tut, tut!)?  There must be others like me, other grown women with little tolerance for the endless making of make-believe cookies and Playdough snakes.  
I once had a friend who sniffed with disdain at those mothers who listened to their ipods while jogging with their strollered infants. "I mean, what better music could there be than the cooing of your own baby?" she asked with great scorn.  Of course, this was back before either of us had kids.  But even then I suspected she was off, that as delightful and wonderful as they are, kids would get a little tedious.  Even their musical cooing would not always trump a great novel, or an episode of The Wire, or even the new single by Beyonce.  

A thing I like

The Mister gave me Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways for Christmas (here's the Shed Style website).  What would you do with a backyard shed of your own?  I'd like to say I'd finish my novel and learn to read music, but really I'd probably nap and stare out the window. All I know is that as lovely as a nice George Clooney fantasy can be, it doesn't hold a candle to a good shed-of-one's-own fantasy.  I want one of these from Modern Cabana.

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