Saturday, January 27, 2007

Damn, It Is Cold In Here!

This has been my outfit for most of today. That is the best thing in this weather about cooking an elaborate brunch for when your husband wakes, is that the kitchen gets hot and you can finally remove your hat and put your hair up: then take off your coat and scarf, and then cast aside the sweater while you fry the mashed potato cakes, saving them for last. (Are you aware of the wonder that is mashed potato cakes? For breakfast? mash some potatoes, form them into patties, dredge in salty-peppery flour, and FRY THEM IN A SKILLET! They might as well be dredged in Valium, such is the soporific bliss they produce.)

Today has been a perfect day. I have been cooking a lot lately and I love it and it relaxes me, so I decided to have brunch ready when Trey got up: the aforementioned mashed potato cakes, tempeh sausage with fennel, scrambled tofu with cumin and turmeric, lots of coffee. Cooking is finally something I do well -- something that is not what other people do. Why is this the theme of my life? stringing together the moments of I am allowed to exist! I am allowed to do what other people do! -- sing, write checks, wear lipstick, parse a map, knit a scarf, write a melody, invent a pesto.

I am back in all my layers -- reading Judith Krantz, sipping Picpoul, winding yarn, feeling good. I will be 35 this summer. That is like, kinda old, you know? And I feel, freezing in my house, that this is the best and it will only get better. I have my pinky and ring nails painted 2 different colors and I need to do the dishes and I had planned to drag the keyboard out from under the bed and work on stuff, which is probably not going to happen.

I have been thinking of when my mom turned 35. My uncle made her a funny card in rainbow magic marker -- the "3" and "5" popped out from the background, glued to makeshift folded paper springs. I packed it with her things last May. How funny that at that age she had two girls, was an army wife in an unparseable marriage .. in some ways I am having a life I think she might have wanted more. Fauxhemian, loved ... I will never know. All I can do is love her. Pretend she could call me on the phone, like we are neighbors: yes yes I know, yes yes come over. This is how I think these days. We were neighbors for a very long time: the ova that was to be me was inside her when she was just an embryo, matrilineage an infinite regress of Russian, protoplasmic dolls.

Open letter to the ladies: I am here to tell you that, despite or in fact because of, so take a deep breath:

You are going to be a lot like your mother. Resistance is futile! And resistance is a waste of time. Because all the time you spend resisting is time you could be spending just doing things. There is going to be massive Venn-diagram overlap between you and your mother, and the sooner you stop caring about that the sooner you can just be YOU, and just BE, without fearing that the deterministic police are at the door, ready to arraign you for being an embarrassment to yourself.

How tragic and embarrassing that I hated myself for being like my mother for so long. Needing to be "creative," needing to be loved, needing to be significant. We are practically the same. And look what happened! I am a failed actress working in an office job where I am a beloved eccentric: my mother was a failed visual artist fondly remembered by all her co-workers at the defense company as being "a real free spirit." Honestly, and I realize this only in this second -- I inherited my mother's shame at being talented. Raised in a violent and abusive family where she was shit upon for being special, she must have passed her fear for me on with her milk. No wonder I feel the need to vomit or self-injure whenever I try to write. Holy shit -- she didn't intend to make me feel bad for being alive: she just reflexively knew how scary it was and misjudged. She tried to protect me the best way she knew how: Don't ask for too much, don't trust, don't trust!!

Freezing in our apartment, dressed like an urchin and surrounded by dirty dishes, ersatz chotchkes, teetering stacks of books, I put my ear to the ground and hear the thundering happiness approach ...

I am the oldest, the happiest, the richest, the most in love I have ever been. The landlord grunts and thumps upstairs; the radiator expectorates; gold dust rains from the sky.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


It's all over the blah-blah-blogosphere! One of the "controversial" Sundance entries is Hounddog, a Southern gothic starring Dakota Fanning. Per Wikipedia:
Taking place in the 1960s American South (the film is being shot in North Carolina), Fanning plays Lewellen. a troubled 12-year old girl who finds solace from an abusive life through blues music. This music is delicately woven throughout the film to create a colorful tapestry of a melancholy life that finds release and healing through the music of Elvis Presley, whose character appears in the movie, albeit briefly, and the singing of the blues.
Many people are declaring the film "controversial" because Fanning's character is raped by the milkman in one scene, although
only Fanning's face, neck, shoulders, hand and foot appear onscreen. Much of the rape is depicted in darkness with flashes of lightning and the sound of Lewellen [Fanning's character] screaming "stop it, stop it." [Source:]
Some God-fearing Americans have banded together to petition that Ms. Fanning's mother and agent be prosecuted under child pornography laws. Even the president of the Catholic League, William Donahue, is calling for a federal investigation of the movie to determine if federal child pornography laws were violated during filming!

Hey Mr. Donahue: Maybe you could call for an investigation into the thousands of children who have been raped by your fellow clergymen before attacking a film you haven't seen that purportedly depicts a young girl's triumph over a really shitty upbringing? But that's what so many Christians excel at: tearing their hair out over a symbol that affects them not one fucking bit while ignoring, enabling, and perpetrating the actual suffering of innumerable others.

In addition: Watch the video on about the CONTROVERSY! When William Donahue appears (looking like Karl Rove's twin)notice in particular how he expounds on the PORNOGRAPHIC nature of the scene he has never seen! Wow, Bill, I didn't know you found the rape of 12 year old girls so clearly AROUSING. In my universe, the rape of a 12 year old girl is a horrifying crime, not an "instruction manual" for other repressed middle age pervs to get off. No wonder you have no interest in investigating your own criminal church, because I suspect it might be a little too close to home.

All Right! You Finally Sold Me!

Awesome! Got my vote for now!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Time To Table The "Hitler Was A Vegetarian" Chestnut

Because he wasn't, you dipshit.

However, he was a Christian, and a white male. He wore pants and owned a dog. I think he slept from time to time, and spoke German, and was a published author. He got haircuts. He walked on two legs and may have even listened to a radio.

If you reference the Hitler thing, you are a colossal ass. Why don't you just make some fart noises with your armpit or something?

Why "Sales" Sucks, Vol XXXXXXXXXX

This says it all. [Trey, please don't click on this link.]

Older Post, Brought Forth for Blogging For Choice Day

This particular trope really fucking annoys me, and it's everywhere in conversations about pregnancy and abortion and women's reproductive health, which is the trope of "your experience has something to do with mine: " Babble reported on the sad case of the abandoned baby girl found in a Dumpster in Queens -- a very sad case indeed, leavened by the baby's rescue by four teenage boys.

This is what bothers me:
As somebody who went through infertility, I seethe at these kinds of stories – but this one has a twist that makes it actually kinda heartwarming. A baby thrown away like so much trash was rescued by four teenage boys Monday afternoon in Queens.
So you are seething because some clearly distressed pregnant woman didn't have the good sense to keep the baby, the circumstances of said baby's conception and the mother's life being something you clearly know jack shit about? God, the entitlement dripping from that opening sentence! No, I am not advocating ditching your newborn in a dumpster, but the morality of that action has jack shit to do with another woman's infertility. It is the height of arrogance to state that "because I struggled with X, total stranger must Y." What if you switch the story around? What if the blog is being written by a 16 year old girl who has been raped by her dad and doesn't want anyone to know she is pregnant?
As somebody who is being raped by my father three times a week, I seethe at stories of women paying $10,000 to get pregnant. I'm scared of being pregnant every day but don't know what to do. Sometimes I want to die. They are so lucky that there's no way they can get pregnant.
It's the same narcissism behind the trope of "Well, I'm really glad *I* wasn't aborted!" No shit, you are HERE. Newsflash, my narcissistic friend -- No woman's abortion is a retroactive commentary on YOUR EXISTENCE. Just like the fact that I am working in a lame day job doesn't mean I am somehow "judging" your job. Or the fact that because I married MY husband means YOUR husband (or wife) is LAME.

It reminds me of the article in the NYT a while ago about parents of children with Down's Syndrome who wanted to make themselves and their families available to pregnant women who discover that the fetus they are carrying has Down's. Some wanted to just show people that their children were happy and healthy and that having a child with Down's wasn't some death sentence. Other parents were hoping that the more parents would choose to carry Down's pregnancies to term because it would increase the demand for funding and programs for people with Down's. This second motive I totally understand, but find really self-serving. Some parents are going to make the decision to carry certain pregnancies to term -- others are not. For every woman who decides not to carry a fetus with Down's to term, there will be a woman who does. I don't see this as any different than a woman who decides to terminate a pregnancy at 12 weeks (when one has no idea if you're carrying David Fetus Wallace or not) versus one who decides to carry a pregnancy to term. The point is that given the completely unique moral position women are in with regard to pregnancy, in that their bodies are being conscripted by a developing fetus which is being grown by and feeds off an individual woman's body, each and every woman is the only person who can decide if the pregnancy is to be carried to term or not, for whatever fucking reason. To desire to control the body of another human being is the ultimate expression of howling weakness, and so, perhaps unwittingly, the woman with infertility issues sneering at a woman who "threw a perfectly healthy baby away" which is one step away from sneering at a woman who decides not to have a baby, period.

I don't know yet if I am fertile or not, having never been pregnant (although I may very well be on the way to being pregnant as I am typing this.) But I know that my body and my fertility or lack thereof are mine alone.

Don't get me started on the lamer-than-super-lame "I'm so torn up that my ex girlfriend aborted out fetus" men's movement. Seriously, fuck you people. Yes, it can be devastating to realize that your girlfriend/ lover didn't want to have a baby when you did. But the "devastation" comes from the fact that you feel rejected, or the relationship wasn't what you thought it was, or that she didn't tell you she aborted and you were lied to. All those things are horrible things to feel. But you still don't get a say in what a woman does with her body, just as if a woman breaks up with you you don't have a right to stalk her and rape her because you miss fucking her. These guys boo-hooing about women's abortions are metaphysicalstalkers. Life is hard, and people can be disappointing and dishonest and small. It doesn't follow that you have the right to control the body of the person who hurt you, or stone your daughter because she kisses a boy. All arguments against abortion are just about controlling women's bodies, and I'm not having it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Little Victories

Last weekend I decided that it would be a very good thing to do to seriously cut back on my drinking. I have always tended towards the lushly, but since my mom died I began drinking far more than usual, which was to be expected for a while, I suppose -- but it was also exacerbating my depression, and since my mother's death has also jacked my abandonment issues into overdrive, like turning the heat under a kettle to 11 until it rattles and burbles scalding water all over the place, so having one too many in this fragile state had been provoking despairs and rages that would win me a Tony in the role of Medea were our apartment actually the Brooklyn Academy of Music; wholly toxic and inappropriate otherwise. I love my husband very much, and I think it is time to table this behavior until, say, post-partum depression. We both need a break.

So from Monday until today at my mother-in-law's birthday party, I have had exactly one cocktail, and felt all as week as if I had been injected in the ass with one of those B-vitamin shots all the Factory people were getting every five minutes. And today at lunch I had perhaps 4 glasses of wine over as many hours, but -- and this is key -- the lesser Lillet was kept away from the rudder. It seems like Better Lillet is setting some rules, boundaries and limitations. My sister-in-law went off about some "nutritionist" who said that because of her blood type it would be really hard for her to give up meat, blah blah blah, and I just said, "Hmm, interesting." And twice during the afternoon I could see the opening where, had I been trashed, I would have turned an innocent remark of Trey's into bait for an argument: like your cursor triggers a pop-up window, tempting you to CLICK HERE! YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY WON THE ATAVI$TIC PAIN HOT TEEN MORTGAGE LOTTERY!

And I did not click!

We came home, I took a nap, and am finishing a baby sweater. Little victories, although a weird vertigo kept me from a party I lacked the courage to attend. Next time.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Little Of Our Earthly Trust

Trey and I watched Babe last night. It is the best. It made me really happy I don't eat animals anymore, and sad that I did for so long. (And Babe takes place on a "nice" family farm!)I re-recognized that there is no separating the love I have for him and the imperative to say "yes" to things by being kind and trying one's best to honor the particularities of things.

And this morning, synchronicity! Courtesy of the Huffington Post:
Vegetarian is the New Prius

President Herbert Hoover promised "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." With warnings about global warming reaching feverish levels, many are having second thoughts about all those cars. It seems they should instead be worrying about the chickens.

Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

That's right, global warming. You've probably heard the story: emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are changing our climate, and scientists warn of more extreme weather, coastal flooding, spreading disease, and mass extinctions. It seems that when you step outside and wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you had for dinner last night. The U.N. report says almost a fifth of global warming emissions come from livestock (i.e., those chickens Hoover was talking about, plus pigs, cattle, and others)--that's more emissions than from all of the world's transportation combined.

So let's be honest: If you consume factory-farmed meat and dairy (which face it, is 99% of the meat or dairy Americans consume, and that includes "organic milk," and please don't tell me you "try" to eat free-range because unless that is the ONLY stuff you put in your mouth it doesn't count,)why not go all the way, strap a Hummer to each foot and roller-skate?

Here's some more:
Not just a cooler planet, also a cleaner one. Animal agriculture accounts for most of the water consumed in this country, emits two-thirds of the world's acid-rain-causing ammonia, and it the world's largest source of water pollution--killing entire river and marine ecosystems, destroying coral reefs, and of course, making people sick. Try to imagine the prodigious volumes of manure churned out by modern American farms: 5 million tons a day, more than a hundred times that of the human population, and far more than our land can possibly absorb. The acres and acres of cesspools stretching over much of our countryside, polluting the air and contaminating our water, make the Exxon Valdez oil spill look minor in comparison. All of which we can fix surprisingly easily, just by putting down our chicken wings and reaching for a veggie burger.

Last year researchers at the University of Chicago took the Prius down a peg when they turned their attention to another gas guzzling consumer purchase. They noted that feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as does a calorie of plant protein. The researchers found that, when it's all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.

Try giving up eating animals: do it for the planet, do it so you won't get cancer. Do it for Babe, and for
--the little that we get for free,
the little of our earthly trust. Not much.
About the size of our abidance
along with theirs: the munching cows,
the iris, crisp and shivering, the water
still standing from spring freshets,
the yet-to-be-dismantled elms, the geese.

--Elizabeth Bishop, "Poem"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Questions of Travel

Trey and I went to the Bay Area for a long weekend, weekend before last: a much-needed mini-vacation with NO FAMILY AROUND. I recommend taking a pleasure trip immediately post-Christmas holidays, since despite technically being time away from work that can be spent slothfully, it is never really restful, the undercurrent and intensity of even the most positive family time is just too fucking draining, compounded by the fact that it was my first Christmas since my mom died, not to mention the worst PMS of all time, PMS so pure and uncut that I wept ceaselessly through THIS, playing on the flat panel in my sister’s cozily appointed rec room. It turned out to be a very nice Christmas all the same.

But California! To be together, to sleep in a nice hotel, to see where Trey used to live, to fuck in the morning, to luxuriate in a proper bath, tasting air redolent of crushed eucalyptus and bathed in sunlight of an intensity and hue differing from Brooklyn's in a way not unlike the floodlighting Hollywood uses to indicate out-of-body experiences, astral projection, the after-life! I thought I knew from coffee, burritos, and Thai food, and I was wrong. The pigeons carry themselves differently there: banking sharply, abrupt air-braking: toy helicopters to the relaxed paper-airplane flights of New York pigeons. And I was surprised not to find San Francisco wanting as a city, not to have that experience of other cities as cities-playing-dress-up, cities-clomping-about-in-their-mother’s-high heels.

I met some of Trey’s closest friends for the first time, about whom I had only heard stories and stories, and they were the nicest, kindest people, and in the car heading back to our hotel I turned to Trey and said, “I want to live next door to them!” on two consecutive nights with two different couples.

I expected to feel, in San Francisco, the way you feel when you try to sleep on what is always your partner’s side of the bed, or when, right-handed, someone dares you to sign your name with your left. But I didn’t feel that way. And when we landed at LaGuardia, the skyline that has always been an irreducible prime, the wellspring of yes I am home now this is where I belong occasioned nothing inside: the same nothing as when you know a relationship is over, all coupling mere thinking of England, biding time until after that movie opens, after the family function, after a bottle of bourbon to make formal what you have known for far too long.

Despite being each other’s daemon familiars, each other’s hearts, Trey has been ready to leave New York for a long time. I didn’t feel quite this way until the plane touched down, just how ripe I am to clasp his hands and finally go –

So Lyra and her daemon turned away from the world they were born in, and looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Big Reason To Live

I read the His Dark Materials trilogy in less than 48 hours, the bulk being in airports and on planes en route to San Francisco last weekend.

I love Harry Potter more than anything -- except these. Trey clasped my hand hard each time I burst out sobbing on the plane. I would say more but don't want to wreck anything for anyone, just read these all yesterday!