In honor of landisdad’s grandmother, who passed away last night at 97:
The Lake Isle of Innisfree, by William Butler Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
This morning, while landisdad was taking a shower, I sent the Bee upstairs to get dressed while I was feeding the Potato his breakfast. After about five minutes, I heard this loud banging coming from her room, so I called up the stairs to see what she was doing. She answered, but I couldn’t hear her because the door was still closed. Now slightly exasperated, I climbed the stairs myself to discover that the Bee had locked herself in the room, and couldn’t unlock the door.
After several minutes of trying to get her to unlock the door herself, I became convinced that there was something wrong with it, and I decided to get a screwdriver and take the doorknob off. I frantically rushed around trying to find one, and figuring out what the Potato was doing (he’s been on a very destructive bent lately–too bad he can’t use a screwdriver yet!). Eventually, I got the doorknob off, and opened the door. The Bee & I talked about it for a little bit, and then I said, “okay, go ahead and get dressed now.” She replied, “okay mommy,” and SWUNG THE DOOR CLOSED. Wait, did I forget to mention that I had only removed the handle, not the inner workings of the doorknob mechanism.
Yep, you guessed it–that was the part that was broken. And now there was no way to open it, since whatever I had done when I removed the handle had set it permanently in the locked position. I ended up having to kick the door until it splintered and that part came loose, to get it to disengage from the doorjamb. What you see in the picture below is the crack that resulted from my foot. I was cursing up a storm while I did it–I’m sure the Bee learned some vocabulary that will stand her in good stead on the elementary school play yard.
And the best part? Was when she complained to me about how she couldn’t close her door now. Kids today!
I’m not sure how old I was when I first read about Nellie Bly–I must have been somewhere between 8 and 10–but I remember being really moved by her life story. Here was a woman who, in a time that few middle-class women worked outside the home, was a world-class journalist. I know that I was most impressed by the parts of the story that dealt with her going undercover on Blackwell’s Island to expose the inhumane treatment of the insane, and her work in a sweatshop. Her work led to real reforms in social and public policy, and I thought that was so cool.
I think Barbara Ehrenreich and Morgan Spurlock may be her modern-day descendents, in the kinds of work that they’re doing, but I don’t see them having the same affect in the social arena. I wonder what it is about our time that makes this muckraking so much less effective. Is it that there has been enough positive social change, so that the ‘bad’ conditions that they have to report just aren’t as compelling? I don’t really believe that.
Is it that, as a nation, we’ve become so dulled to other people’s reality (or lack of it), that all things real seem like fiction now? I wonder how much the Real World/Survivor/Big Brother types of programming have ripped the teeth out of real investigative reporting. If everyone has some kind of petty drama (as we see on those kinds of shows), how can we prioritize one person’s drama over another’s? If the (mostly) women that Ehrenreich works with in her crappy, minimum wage jobs as she researches Nickel & Dimed are having crisis after crisis, do they really deserve to be elevated over the contestants on the Amazing Race, who perservere over a new crisis every week? In some ways, Nellie is responsible for this craze, too, since she was one of the first women to engage in ‘stunt’ journalism (think around the world in 80 days).
I’m afraid that by making entertainment out of things that are really hard, that really matter–things like how does one live on the minimum wage–we risk devaluing that struggle. At one point in our history, our goal as a country was to make poor & working-class folks more like us (and by us, I mean white middle-class people). We wanted to give them stability and help them move toward being productive members of our society. We’ve changed our focus, and we’ve lost our way. Instead of figuring out how to level the playing field with social policy, we’ve decided that if we all just have a chance to win a million dollars, then it must be fair.
On Thursday afternoon, for the first day this week, I was home to pick the kids up from school. For the summer break, the Bumblebee has gone back to the daycare that the Sweet Potato goes to (they have a summer camp for elementary school kids, with swimming and field trips), which has made life a lot easier, as they’re both in the same place at the end of the day. Of course, we’re back to paying hundreds of dollars a week, so there is a downside.
The kids were both hot and sweaty–they’d obviously been playing outside a lot in the afternoon. When Bee started going to daycare, I started the tradition that Thursday is ‘snack day,’ and I would bring her some kind of special treat when I picked her up. This week, since it was so hot, I decided to stop for water ice. For those of you not from the East Coast, water ice is almost, but not quite, a snow cone. Basically compressed shaved ice that has been flavored in some way. Our kids prefer cherry.
This year, we didn’t have snack day during the school year, since landisdad mostly picked up the Bee from school, so I had to remind her about the significance of the day. When I told her we were going to stop for water ice, cries of joy emerged from the back seat.
For the first time, the Potato got his very own water ice (as opposed to sharing with his sister and me). It was, predictably, a complete mess, and I’m sure took another couple of dollars off of the resale value of my car. But it was worth it to look back and see him, happily covered in sticky red goo from the elbows to the fingertips, with a clown-smile of water ice wrapped around his mouth. It’s going to be a good summer.
Well, I just got back from my back-to-back business trip/Father’s Day trip/business trip. And I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty happy to be home, because 7 days is a long time to be on the road, even if there’s a break with kids in the middle. The culmination of my trip was that my flight home last night consisted of 75 minutes of flying, 45 minutes of circling, being forced to land at a different airport to refuel, sitting on the tarmac at that airport for 2 hours until we could get another slot, another 45 minutes of flying, another 20 minutes of circling, finally landing, and then taking 2 hours to get from the landing spot to the gate to deplane.
Now, I am one for the hyperbole on occasion, but this isn’t one of them. We landed at 11 p.m. We deplaned at 1 a.m.
Then, we got to sit in the airport for an hour before our bags got unloaded. Eventually, I gave up and filed a claim and went home to bed–happily, my suitcase was delivered by the airline today, and seems intact. Unhappily, my contacts feel like they have sand in them, because I foolishly packed my glasses in my suitcase, and therefore have been wearing my contacts pretty much non-stop.
I thought about having my quote for yesterday be Sartre’s “hell is other people,” but I decided that was too negative. But seriously, the worst part of that whole experience wasn’t the sitting on the runway, or the endless waiting (although that wasn’t the best part, either). It was the sense of entitlement exuding from the pores (and loudly, from the mouths) of nearly every white guy on the plane, many of whom seemed to be highly put out that the pilot had chosen to return us home safely, rather than on time.
When I got up this morning, the kids were so happy to see me, it was totally worth the hell it took to get here. During breakfast, the Bee was being extra goofy, and we had the following interchange: “mommy, I wish I could be some food.” “why’s that sweetie?” “because then I would know what it’s like to be in somebody’s tummy!” (shows me the chewed up Cracklin’ Oat Bran in her mouth). Ah, five-year-old humor. Does it get any better than that?
I’ll post more later today (home at 3 a.m. as ten minutes of rain turns into a six-hour traveling delay), but here’s yesterday’s quote of the day.
“The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody cries out, ‘stop!’
When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”
So I’m in NYC with the family right now, on a brief break between my two work-related trips, and I just wanted to give a shout out to landisdad, and all the other dads out there in blog-land (oh, all right, in meat-land, too). I hope you all have a great day today, and your baseball team wins (unless they are the Giants–but landisdad made me say that).
Have a great day, and celebrate your dad-hood!
Last night, I was going through an old box of art supplies, trying to find something for my ongoing collage project with the Bee, when I stumbled across some folders that I haven’t looked at in years. In my younger days (ie, before I had kids), I did a lot of art projects, and most of those were inspired in some way by words–mostly quotes from various books, some from articles. When I was mucking about last night, I found the folders that held those quotes on 3×5 cards. I thought some of them would be worth sharing with the internet, so I’ve decided to develop a theme day–a thought for Wednesday. Here’s the first one:
“That’s the nature of being a parent, Sabine has discovered. You’ll love your children far more than you ever loved your parents, and–in the recognition that your own children cannot fathom the depth of your love–you come to understand the tragic, unrequited love of your own parents.”
-Ursula Hegi, Freitod
The Bee had Field Day at school yesterday. Last night, when we got home, I asked her about what she did there (other than turn bright red–sheesh, it’s a billion degrees here!). She regaled me with various stories about games they played (many of which seemed to involve buckets of water being poured on kids’ heads), hot dogs they ate, and the fact that she had juice THREE times (her emphasis, not mine, we usually don’t let her drink that much juice in a day).
And then she told me that, as they were leaving, the fire truck came by, and when the kids ran over to say hi to the firefighters, they turned the firehose on them (to cool them off). I have to admit that my activist’s heart gave a lurch, at the thought. Now I’m really glad that the FDNY didn’t use firehoses on the crowd at the RNC protest last year.
So I’ve been reading Umberto Eco’s new novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, a book that has definitely been influenced by the creation of hypertext. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should (I say that even though I haven’t finished the whole thing, which is very unusual for me).
Let me just suggest that for this one, they wait about thirty years to make the movie and then cast Guy Pearce.