Friday, December 19, 2008

Food Drive for Equality

Hey all, I'm a little late getting the word out, but this morning Z. was doing her tzedakah thing (she scours the top of my bureau for nickels and dimes and puts them in the pushke) and I remembered about the LGBTQ food drive. Turns out it's tomorrow. To get involved, click on through and find the drop-off point in your area. I'm going to trade in the change in the pushke for bills and this afternoon we'll fill up a bunch of bags at the Acme to take downtown. I think it's a great way for us to be visible this time of year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Family picture

I had my first-ever parent conference yesterday. I've been ignoring them for three years because I imagined they would go like this:

Year 1:

Z.'s First Teacher: Z. is great. She's your first baby and I've had three and been running this class for a million years, so let me tell you, you're doing everything wrong.
Me: (cries)

Year 2:

Z.'s First Teacher: Z. is great. I am dying of cancer and I'm here on time every day. What excuse do you have for being too depressed to get her to school on time?
Me: (cries)

Year 3:

Z.'s Third Teacher: Z. is great. We sure wish she didn't miss play time every single day.
Me: (hems and haws. Manages not to cry until returning home.)

None of these scenarios happened, you understand, *because* I imagined them, and that gave me the foresight to avoid them. I never even signed up for a conference before this year. Also, until this year, all the times were in the morning, and in the winter I don't do so well with mornings.

This year, though, I signed up. Valiantly, I persisted in signing up, time and again! I missed the first two, because they were in the morning (see winter mornings and me, above), and then I asked if I took an afternoon appointment (they were right there on the schedule) whether Z. would have coverage. Z.'s current teacher said fine, so yesterday I showed up and Z. went to after care for a bit, and everything zipped along. It helped that Current Teacher had written up a two-page, single-spaced evaluation of Z.: it was organized by category like "Social Development" and "Cognitive Development," and she gave it to me in advance and I loved it! It was like getting to spy on my kid in school, and what mom doesn't long for that chance?

The conference was parent catnip, I tell you. Z. is a knockout, an artist, a dancer, a performer, a compassionate friend, a champion of memory feats, full of Yiddishkeit. What could be better?

Well. Her teacher had put aside a picture Z. made of her family. In it, all of her grownups are color-coded. A. is blue, Uncle Donor is red, my father is yellow, etc. In it, my mother, Z., and I are all purple. And I'm vast. I take up a third of the page, and Z. has herself nestled up against me, and we are looking at each other, and everyone else looks into the center, the constellation of her family revolving around us. Z.'s a little too little to make faces that smile, but the lines that represent our mouths are clearly doting ones.

I know I will become more and more peripheral to her. I know that process will be painful to me in lots of ways. But oh, oh, oh. This week my Doodle filled my heart to overflowing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two from last night

S.: [relating a Dave Chappelle skit posted on Ta-Nehisi Coates's blog, edited on the fly because of nearby big ears. Go on, watch! Okay, now you can keep reading.]
Z.: (poking Mommy) Hey white person. White person! You look like a white person.
A.: Yes, I am a white person. I knew this was gonna happen.
S.: (laughing)
Z.: Are you a white person?
A.: Sometimes I'm kind of an off-white person.
Z.: (turns to Mama) Are you a black person?
S.: (gasping with laughter, tugs at the dark brown sweater she's wearing, nods. A looks perplexed. S. points at A.'s white shirt. Understanding dawns.)
S.: Z., are you a pink person?
Z.: (checks out color of her dress) Yes! I AM a pink person!
A.: And what is Hunter Dog?
Z.: A FUR person!

* * * * *

Z.: Why can't I sit up with my tushy off my seat?
S.: Because it's a precursor to mayhem.
Z.: Hamalama. (turns to Mommy) What she means is, what she's saying to me is "I don't like you."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A recipe for Jane Dark

Here's the chili we made in our house tonight. It's based on one that AJ from JP made with us a million years ago on a vacation in Maine, but there are variations.

One onion, chopped
Two medium carrots, cut in coins

(The rest can be gathered and prepared while these cook)
1-2 slices jalapeno, minced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 cup green olives, cut in half
two cans diced stewed tomatoes, with juice
one can chili beans--we use the kind that have black/red/kidney beans all in one can
2 tbsp. cocoa powder

a decent handful of sliced, blanched almonds
a decent handful of TVP

olive oil

Heat a tbsp or two of the olive oil in a skillet on medium. Add onion and carrots, stir to coat, then cover skillet and allow to cook until onion is translucent, stirring very occasionally. Add jalapeno, garlic, and spices. Sautee one minute. Add tomatoes, olives, cocoa, and beans, stir, and allow to simmer ten minutes: leave uncovered for thicker chili, but beware that the TVP will absorb some juice. Add almonds and TVP. Simmer 2-3 minutes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Some good news

My life is way too tied to the computer, but you knew that already.

So there was rejoicing when my new computer came yesterday, and the reason it's so much cheaper than my old computer is that it's exactly like my old computer, except white instead of black. Really. That's it, that's the only difference I can tell. I even bumped up the memory, like on my old one. But it's last year's model of MacBook, and can you spelled "planned obsolescence," boys and girls? It's sort of amazing that the new bells and whistles keeping being priced at more or less what the old bells and whistles cost us, but that's part of what makes us long to spend the money all over again for the new one, isn't it?

In other news, the data recovery people called, and they pulled all the jpegs off my hard drive. Liz has made me think I could have done this for a fraction of the cost all by myself, but Dude at the Apple store was using words like "rust" and "corrosion" and at the time I sent it off I still thought I was going to try to have the old one rebuilt and these guys would have preserved the warranty. Which only had three weeks left on it, right. Who says we make good decisions under stress?

But in the end, I was willing to pay what they charged to have those pictures, and I wound up with a new computer with a new warranty for the same as what it would have cost to get the rebuilt one, and I am deciding not to worry about the money any more. I don't use credit cards much, and pretty much never more than I can pay down the same month (we are in a long, long process of paying everything off) but this is one time when it made sense.

And, yes, another bit of unrelated news!

My shul just made a plea that everyone use this search engine so they'll get a penny a search. It adds up, folks, and you can fill in any charity that's registered. I know the non-profits in your life are hurting, too. You can add it to your F!refox search engine list so it's super easy. Why not? Mitzvahs should always be so easy to do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Here's my latest fantasy. It's a warm day, a summer day, almost hot but not in the least sweaty, and we're in a completely private place, dappled in sun and shade. We take off all our clothes. We strip all the beds. We put everything in the washing machine, we let it dry on the line in the soft summer breeze, and when everything is folded in the basket, for one brief moment, one brief, blissful moment before we relinquish our nakedness, there will be not a single piece of laundry to do anywhere in the whole damn house.

In unrelated news, there are two items on my grocery list at this time:


*link here