29 August 2008

Why do the women have to grind the corn?

I showed signs of being a feminist very early on when in 6th grade, along with my partner in crime, Heather, demanded of our Social Studies teacher, Mr. Corica, "Why do only the women have to grind the corn? Why didn't men also grind the corn?" We were studying Native Americans (or as we called them back then, Indians). Of course the answer to that question is long and complex, but you would think he could have given us some kind of answer. Instead we got no answer which only made us both ask more insistently. I am sure it was annoying to be harangued by 2 13 year-old girls, but wasn't it also interesting that we were even asking the question? I still find it sad that instead of an answer we got into trouble. Both Heather and I ended up with notes home to our parents, but we never forgot that moment. And, for the most part, I don't think it has made us stop asking the question.

That is why I am sharing this image of women grinding corn which I came upon in a project I am currently working on at my job. I didn't need it to remind me of the "incident" from 6th grade, but it made me laugh. Hopefully it makes Heather laugh too.
Four young Hopi women grinding corn. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Edward S. Curtis Collection.

26 August 2008

American Wife

I received the book American Wife as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. It is the latest novel by Prep author Curtis Sittenfeld and draws on the life of Laura Bush for much of the formation of the main characters and events. It is a long and detailed story of how a reserved (but not conservative), intelligent woman ended up the wife of the President of the United States.

The books starts off strong with a compelling description of teenage life in the early 1960s in middle America. I was drawn in by the dramatic events of most of the first part and quite interested to see how these events would shape and drive this young woman -- as I was sure they would.

I will admit I was not a big fan of Prep. I wanted very much to like it and by the description it sounded very much like a book I would definitely like, but it had one fatal flaw -- the main character. I had no empathy or even sympathy for her. American Wife suffers from the same problem. I can't find many reasons to warm up to Alice. She's so reserved and so rigid and so downright prissy that I just couldn't care about her. I can't help thinking that Ms. Sittenfeld was so afraid of having her novel referred to as "chick lit" that she stripped out all the humor, all the passion and all the foibles of Alice -- in other words all the things that make us root for the women who star in all those "chick lit" novels. If I could have cared about Alice more, and rooted for her then this story might have been a lot more human.

Alice never really overcomes, she never really shows passion and she doesn't even stand behind her husband or her own convictions. So, for me, the book, like Alice herself, slowly stagnates after the first part. If Alice had been passionate about her husband, rather than accepting, had thrown herself into supporting him, or thrown herself into motherhood or really anything it would have been a much more interesting story. Instead we ended up with story of how a rather stilted woman came to be. For Laura Bush's sake I hope the similarities between her life and Alice's are limited to the major events only.

08/30/08 Update: As I could have predicted this book is the cover review in the NY Times book review section this week. It is reviewed by Joyce Carol Oates no less, who must be an incredibly kind reviewer because although she doesn't say she enjoyed the book she doesn't pan it either. She just talks around it. I don't know who Ms. Sittenfeld knows at the NY Times, but she sure is lucky to know them.

Throwing rocks

I am just starting to get a handle on all the cool things I can do with my digital SLR. I had some fun with it this weekend while we were in Cape Cod.

22 August 2008

Tracie will love this!

I was just catching up with Emily's blog where she had a very accurate post about the lack of activity in the blogosphere right now. Check it out for yourself. The best part about the post is the quiz at the end called "What Font are You?" I, of course, had to click right through and find out for myself ...

You Are Helvetica

Your life is ultra modern and ultra streamlined.

You don't get bogged down in details or decoration.

You like to think that you're the epitome of style and taste.

People either totally get you - or they think you're boring and generic.

I would say that sounds about right except for the details and decoration part. I am not a knick knack person, but details definitely make a difference to me. Overall, however, I must admit I am proud to be considered Helvetica.

19 August 2008

My new favorite charity

I just happened upon what I consider to be an awesome charity. I haven't checked out their financials, but they do file all the right paperwork. They are called Soles4Souls and they facilitate the donation of shoes to needy people worldwide. Individuals, organizations, shoes stores can all donate shoes or (of course) money.

I came across this charity on the Piperlime website (one of my favorite shoe-shopping websites) and I can't wait to fill up a box and ship it off. I will then have more room in my closet for new shoes and feel like I've done one small thing to help someone else in the world. What could be better? The fact that it is all about shoes, of course!

Speaking of shoes that need room in my closet, last week before I started my new hiatus I bought these gorgeous shoes and I haven't worn them yet, but I still want to show them off:
from Nine West

17 August 2008

Definitely a Happy Camper

Friday was Zoe's last day of camp for the summer. When she got off the bus she came running to me and said, "Mom, can I go to camp again next year?"

"Of course," I said.

"Can I go every year until I am 13?"


That was how I knew the 6 weeks she spent at Camp Tepee were a success.

Here's a picture of her the morning of her last day. I would say she looks tanner and bit shaggier than her first day, but just as happy.

12 August 2008

Not tired?

A brief outline of my day:

5:00 AM Get up, get dressed, head to the gym, workout
6:30 AM Shower and dress
7:00 AM Make breakfast for Zoe, pack her camp bag, start a load of laundry
7:30 AM Eat breakfast (Special K), drink coffee, read for 10 minutes
8:05 AM Wave good-bye to Zoe on the camp bus
8:25 AM CVS stop for some things I need for my upcoming trip
8:45 AM Arrive at work, turn on computer and begin reading email and other work
9:30 AM Drink large iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts, continue working
10:00 AM Meeting
10:30 AM Meeting
12:00 PM Lunch at The Burger Bar with friends-- eat too much, but don't really regret it
1:30 PM Return to office
2:11 PM Remember and go to 2pm meeting to discuss upcoming trip
3:15 PM Finalize presentation for upcoming trip
5:10 PM Leave work and go home
5:45 PM Have a long talk with Zoe about the bully at her camp. Conversation ends with a smile, hug and kiss.
6:25 PM Put washed clothes in dryer and add new load of dirty clothes to the washer
6:30 PM Head out for dinner in Milford with friends and manage to not eat too much.
9:30 PM Return home, bring out recycling, fold dry clothes and put clean clothes from washer into the dryer
9:45 PM Pack 2 lunches for Zoe, pick out 2 outfits
10:15 PM Sit down and watch Michael Phelps break the all-time gold medal record. Wow, butterfly is so hard!
10:25 PM Get clothes out of dryer, fold and put away
10:30 PM Pack for trip, clean up clutter so cleaning lady can clean tomorrow
11:45 PM Can't do the one thing I really want to do -- sleep.

OK, I haven't been trying for very long, but I would think after the day I've had, I would have been passed out by now.

10 August 2008

Dramatic fashion

I have been watching coverage of the Olympic Games and it seems to me that the commentary is so overly-dramatic. I realize this is an incredible moment of potential achievement for these athletes who have probably worked most of their lives for this moment, but even so it seems that the stakes have been raised. Some phrases I've heard tonight include:

"That's a major mistake. Definitely a half a point there."
"There is no safety net for this team."
"The race of his life."

Much more importantly, let's discuss Olympic fashion:

I think Ralph Lauren did a nice job outfitting the team this year. The athletes all looked good at the opening ceremony and I think a lot of the warm-ups and other clothing they provided are quite nice. Looks like Nike has provide most of the actual performance gear.

It was a very nice change to see the men's gymnastic teams not in white stirrup pants. The dark, flat red is a much better choice for tight pants on men. Keeps the emphasis on those nice arms and upper bodies. The Chinese men's outfits are really nice too.

I don't think red satin was the best choice for the women's gymnastics team, but at least they aren't spraying their hair with glitter this year.

The women's beach volleyball team outfits look like something that should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but the men's regular volleyball team look good.

All the women archers look awesome. Tough as nails.

That's all my comments for now, but I will be sure to keep my eye on the Olympic fashions and report back.

06 August 2008


So I know I haven't written a real post in awhile now, but things have been a little hectic and at least this meme came from the Queen herself.


1. My uncle once yelled at me for touching the window of his car. He is compulsively clean and neat and especially about his cars.

2. Never in my life have I eaten lobster. I don't think I ever will either.

3. When I was five I loved Snoopy. I carried my Snoopy doll with me everywhere, I wanted to own anything with Snoopy on it and I lived for the Snoopy holiday specials -- especially "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

4. High School was too long. Those were the 4 longest years of my life.

5. I will never forget 9/11.

6. I once met Tom Brokaw at a restaurant in NYC called the West Bank Cafe where some friends were doing a show. I had had several drinks and was sitting with my back to his table so I didn't know he was there. For some reason I decided it was good time to show my friends the different kinds of hats one can make with a dinner napkin. At one point my friend across the table said, "Tom Brokaw is laughing at you right now." I turned around to see him laughing right at me. He then came over to our table introduced himself and bought us all a round of drinks.

7. There's this girl I know who is coming to visit me (and her family) tomorrow and I can't wait to see her.

8. Once, at a bar I met Joe Torre's son Michael. He was a nice guy and I would have given him my number if he'd asked, but he didn't. And not just for the potential Yankees tickets.

9. By noon, I'm usually hungry on weekdays and feeling like the day is slipping away from me if it is a weekend.

10. Last night I had dinner with Becky. We went to Acqua in Westport and it was half-price wine night yet somehow we restrained ourselves and only had one bottle.

11. If I only had more time in a day.

12. Next time I go to church someone will be getting married, baptized or buried.

13. Terry Shiavo makes me think how insane the world can be and how much I need a living will. Just in case -- tell Rob to pull the plug and get on with it.

14. What worries me most is different on any given day.

15. When I turn my head left, I see my mother sitting next to me on the couch.

16. When I turn my head right, I see my deck, the table and umbrella on it, and part of my pool.

17. You know I'm lying when I...wait -- why would I give away my own "tell"? Actually, I try not to lie because I used to do it terribly often as a kid and it always got me in trouble and I don't know what my "tell" is, but I am sure I have one.

18. What I miss most about the eighties is the music.

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I'd be one of the women in a comedy who dress as a man like Rosalind in "As You Like It." That's just the kind of thing I would think is a good idea.

20. By this time next year Zoe will be 7 and getting ready to enter 2nd grade.

21. A better name for me would be Jill. I was supposed to be Jill and then my great-grandmother Mary died just a couple of weeks before I was born. In the Jewish tradition babies are often named after a relative who died recently. I've never been in love with my name, but I do like Jill which is my middle name. Of course, as a kid I looked just like Marcie from the Peanuts gang so it did seem like I was meant to be a Marcy.

22. I have a hard time understanding boys.

23. If I ever go back to school, I'll go for that semester at the London Centre. What was I thinking??!!

24. You know I like you if I want to go shopping with you.

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I'd thank would be hmmm...my mother or Rob depending on the award.

26. Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro walk into a bar...

27. Take my advice, never drop a full bottle of wine on your foot -- especially while wearing flip-flops

28. My ideal breakfast is a really fresh everything bagel (not toasted) with butter on one half and cream cheese on the other half, an extra hot latte and a vanilla creme-filled donut for dessert.

29. A song I love, but do not have is "Lean on Me" because I love it for the memory it evokes much more than I love the song itself.

30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest driving right through -- unless you're hungry then go to Country Pizza followed by Dr. Mike's ice cream and then drive right out of town.

31. Tulips, character flaws, microchips & track stars walk into a bar with Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro

32. Why won't people stop talking on their cell phones while they drive?

33. If you spend the night at my house you'd better hope Rob is home if you want a home cooked meal otherwise we'll probably go out for dinner.

34. I'd stop my wedding for any number of emergencies.

35. The world could do without George Bush.

36. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than go skydiving.

37. My favorite blond is my niece Sophia. But I know several other very nice blonds who do nothing to propagate the stereotype.

38. Paper clips are more useful than decorative soaps.

39. If I do anything well, it's: shop

40. And by the way: Zoe can now do a front flip off the diving board. It is hysterical to watch.