Thursday, June 30, 2005

bonesetter's daughter

I want to like Amy Tan. I really do. Any woman who can write five phenomenally successful novels, pen nonfiction books with Maya Angelou and Dave Barry, and play diva with Steven King et al. deserves praise. But her mothers drive me crazy. The fact that the narrator is named Ruth (my own mother's name) is like a double whammy. Remind me not to try reading her again. I'm giving up on The Bonesetter's Daughter and going to the Underworld with Don DeLillo.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The more I hear and read Howard Dean, the more I like him. Yeah, I'm a little late to jump on the bandwagon. I blame it on post-traumatic-stress from Wellstone's death.

Anyway, being a mother makes me rethink a lot. Like abortion. Someone's email about an ultrasound today tickled a dusty niche in my brain about how Democrats can keep the moral high ground while supporting pro-choicers. I've always been pro-choice in practice. Fundamentally, though, I lack the conviction that life doesn't begin at conception. When I saw that little pink line appear on a home pregnancy kit, everything changed.

Dean says it well in this excerpt from the 2005 California State Democratic Convention:
The issue we need to debate is not about whether abortion is a good thing or not, but whether a woman gets to make up her own mind over what kind of health care she's going to get or whether Tom DeLay gets to make up her mind for her. That's the issue we need to debate.

When I was campaigning for this job I ran into a lot of women in the south who said they were pro-life. They would tell me "I wouldn't want an abortion and I wouldn't want my daughter to have an abortion, but I'm not sure if the lady next door got herself in a fix and had to think about what to do, I'm not sure I'd want to tell her whether she should have an abortion or not."

We call that person pro-choice, but she calls herself pro-life. The minute we start talking about choice, we're not talking to her anymore.

And earlier, but more to the point:

Because the truth is there are no red states, there are no blues states. There are only American states, and we all share the same values as Americans. Our problem is not that Americans don't share our values. Our problem is that we don't communicate what those values are very well. Our problem is not that we need to change our values. Our problem is that we need to talk to people in language that is relevant to their lives and not just ours.

That's either a) damn good rhetoric, or b) exactly what we need.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


It's supposed to be pink on the inside, but I don't think it was supposed to be translucent pink. Some day, maybe by November, I will cook a decent meal.

Monday, June 27, 2005

liquor stores

I'm not winning any points by taking my daughter to a daycare across the street from three liquor stores. Damn waiting lists. . . .

1.5 very steep, rocky miles above Joshua Tree Park

Saturday, June 25, 2005

license to drive

I'm ready for my first adventure into L.A. Last week I passed the driver's test with a score of 100%, meaning I studied too hard. My favorite lines from the booklet:
Allow a cushion for problem drivers. Persons who present dangers are: drivers who cannot see you and confused people, such as tourists.
and . . .
Don't honk at a blind person.

Helping with a literature review

Cute or crazed?

Friday, June 24, 2005


Middle school? I'm teaching middle school? Noooooooooooooooooo


There was a theater down the street from where I grew up that had thick, red velvet curtains in front of the screen. I remember watching them pull away as the lights dimmed and the beam from the projector began dancing across the screen. Trumpets sounded. The drama of those opening moments breathed new life into the dullest of movies.

Here, in California, it's the smog that pulls away and unveils the story of this sleepy little town. The mountains are my red curtains. The sun, my projector.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I've always enjoyed writing letters, the long, haphazard kind. There is a happy satisfaction in throwing it all away in the dark recesses of a post office box. The "Publish Post" button isn't doing it for me. Hello? Is anyone out there?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

the kindness of strangers

I wish it were easier to make new friends. When you're a kid, there are other kids everywhere--down the street, at school, at summer camp. Now, even when I see other people our age, it's hard to walk the fine line between privacy and friendliness. I used to think it was a Minnesota thing (the cold politeness) that no one really got to know their neighbors. Am I wrong? Does anyone know their neighbors well?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I'm tempted to use this to teach the Divine Comedy. Probably not a good idea.

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent me to the First Level of Hell - Limbo!
Here is how I matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Extreme
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Monday, June 20, 2005

my girl Posted by Hello


I continue to be amazed by how many abandoned blogs are floating around the web. It's like walking through a library scattered with the debris of ripped out and unfinished pages. I want to find which books they belong to and tuck them back neatly into place. But I guess the beauty of informality is the greatest strength and greatest weakness of blogging.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Hooking up with old friends last night was a lot of fun. Then we woke up early this morning, packed Laura in the backseat, and drove up into the mountains, where we ate sunny-side up eggs and a waffle. Life is good.

Friday, June 17, 2005

4.9 in Yucaipa

Earthquake yesterday. I thought it was a jackhammer on the floor below. Doesn't make any sense I know, but that's what went through my mind. I was also surprised how long it lasted. Then suddenly it was over, and I wondered if I'd imagined the whole thing. Except that a picture frame had fallen. I'm an atheist, but plate tectonics make me understand why people believe in god.

living with cancer

My aunt was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Just a few months ago, my uncle learned he has prostate cancer and started radiation. I've been following Alicia's story in the San Francisco Chronicle. How does any family deal with that?

Thursday, June 16, 2005


There are two types of mothers in the world: the playpen types and the obstacle-course types. I need to get better at constructing taller and stronger obstacles.

Monday, June 06, 2005


I'm blogging at the library, still waiting for everything important. The car's in Texas right now, on schedule; the computers/clothes/furniture are god-knows-where, seven days late and counting; the significant other is at his first day of work; and L is bouncing up and down in my lap, trying to help type.

,.... >vvb