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July 2015

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Last night I met a friend at the Barnes & Noble Cafe and over her shoulder I spied a copy of a hunting magazine with a big lion on the cover. HOW TIMELY! I thought to myself. 

IN OTHER CONTROVERSIES
Fury over Cecil the Lion also sparks race conversation
Why Dems don't want to talk about Planned Parenthood
And Camille Paglia doesn't like Jon Stewart!

PALATE CLEANSER
I got drunk on a cruise ship with Kathie Lee Gifford    

LONG READS
This was all over Facebook so you might have seen it already, but if you haven't, it's pretty wild (and sciencey) (can something be wild AND sciencey?): The Mixed-Up Brothers of Bogota

This piece about FitBits is... well...
 

A FitBit has little tolerance for magical thinking. It says: Eating the 0% yogurt rather than 2% yogurt for lunch after sitting at your desk all morning will not make up for your past three days skipping the gym, any more than finding out why that thing Dad said still hurts you will save your new relationship.

FitBit tells us back a story of our lives that has become highly abstract. The difference between the springtime run that you take with two friends and the half hour of jumping jacks that you do in the bathroom after not managing to throw up all of a chicken burger will not register. In this life, steps are steps.

Every form of confession comes with settings that determine what kind of self we get to know, and therefore, be. It also implies a particular vision of society. A kingdom of souls under God. A nation of citizens just repressed enough to get married and carry on reproducing citizens.

In the Republic of FitBit we are fundamentally alone.

Oh my. 


PEOPLE TO WHOM I CANNOT LIVE UP
We went to see a Jim Gaffigan show a few weeks ago. Jim Gaffigan is not my favorite (that creepy "inner" voice!), but allll our friends wanted to go and it WAS more fun (and funny) than I was expecting, but now I am slightly obsessed with his wife. Jeannie Gaffigan is a Model for Modern Women. I know that I personally do not aspire to live in a two-bedroom Manhattan walkup with my creepy-voiced husband and our five children, but her perspective on work and creative fulfillment is pretty all right with me. 

IS THIS NOT WHERE YOU COME FOR FASHION TRENDS
What is a Jumpsuit? No on really knows.

Time for...

THIS WEEK IN NAZIS Lithuania tries to forget it's collaborationist pastMike Huckabee compares Obama to Hitler(this quick blip of a story is worth it for the last three sentences), Nazi tunnels under Berchtesgaden, I'd only heard of 1 of these Four Weird Things The Nazis Did (and the last two kinda blew my mind). 

THIS WEEK IN SEATTLE The Mayor backs downAnd Erica C. Barnett is pissed.  


The Great Pet Plan

Soooo I have been spending a LOT of time browsing Petfinder.com. I KNOW. I mean, maybe you don't think I know, but I KNOW. I KNOOOOOW. 

BUT YOU GUYS. 

We're not getting a pet. We aren't. The reasons are as follows:

1. Phillip only wants a cat. 

2. Maggie only wants a dog. 

3. Phillip doesn't want to pick up dog poop. 

4. Maggie is terrified of cats. 

5. Phillip is ALLERGIC TO CATS. ("I'll just take a Zyrtec!")

AND YET. 

I continue to browse Petfinder in hopes of finding a nice fluffy white living stuffed animal doggie in need of a Furrever Home (GAG!) who wants to curl up in my lap while I watch TV and follow me around the house while I do laundry and basically be a Sweet Sweet Doggie Friend. 

The closest I've come to convincing Phillip is: "Maybe when all the kids leave home and you NEED a dog." 

We had a dog when I was a teenager, but as I had already mentally removed myself from Family Life by the time he showed up, I honestly don't even remember paying attention to the dog, let alone enjoying him or taking care of him. I have no idea how to take care of a dog. I don't know what you're supposed to do. And I admit it, there are many things about owning a dog that would potentially be terrible and maybe it would be terrible. 

Then again, I've talked to several people lately who are in love with their little dogs. People who love the addition to their families and going for walks and seeing their kids interact with a pet and having a little furry companion. I THINK I COULD BE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE. 

I do not want a big giant slobbery dog, although I occasionally enjoy other people's big giant slobbery dogs. My neighbor dog is one of these dogs and if I happen to leave the garage door open she will invite herself in and make herself at home. It's okay because in addition to big giant and slobbery, she is friendly and lovable. But I want a little stuffed animal dog, preferably some sort of Poodle mix, no terriers. Today I found myself perusing the sites of people who breed mini goldendoodles. OMG SO ADORABLE.

Then I saw someone selling a mini goldendoodle on the Nextdoor site. I made Phillip look at the picture and he refused to say the puppy was cute. DOES HE HAVE A HEART OF STONE. 

(Note: I promise not to buy a dog off some random person on Nextdoor.)

I am reminded of the time I was 9 months pregnant with Jack and driving downtown. I'd just dropped off Phillip at work and as I was pulling away I saw one of those downtown apartment dwelling hipster people walking a BABY BULLDOG. And I thought I might die of cute. Seriously. At that moment I told myself, "Self? You just need to have this baby."

Well folks, pretty sure Phillip would rather have a dog than a baby. 

I'll keep working on him. Picture me tapping my fingers together Mr. Burns-like. My goal is to know for sure that I DO want a dog (because it's true, I should weigh more pros and cons than I have) and what KIND of dog and how to acquire such a dog and how to take care of a dog by, say, when Emma is in kindergarten. And then I'll just wear him down until he says yes. Because mawwiage.  


The Two A.M. Feed

How about a Reads & Recommends post in newsletter-via-email form??? Here's the text of my very first NEWSLETTER (BECAUSE I HAVE SO MUCH TIME!)

(If you want to subscribe, sign up here! I'm still figuring out the format, but I know you'll humor me... RIGHT?)

  

THE TWO A.M. FEED 

Hello Friends in the Computer!

On account of being 1) bored and dissatisfied with the blog format, 2) a delighted devourer of the Engaging Email From An Interesting Friend genre, and 3) a bookmarks folder full to bursting, I welcome you to the new home of my semi-regular-ish Reads and Recommends posts. I thought the TinyLetter newsletter format, wherein I send out a weekly Reads and Recommends-type blog post-ish email, would be a fun experiment for me and, possibly, a halfway interesting diversion for you. 

The title of my newsletter - The Two A.M. Feed - comes from memories of sitting up with nursing babies in the middle of the night wishing I had something to read. Man, those were bleak hours! Now that God has given us smartphones we can click interesting links in the middle of the night - or at the DMV, or in the school pick up line, or at swim lessons, or on the toddler's floor at night when he won't go to sleep on his own, or waiting for the dentist, or on the bus so we look busy and our chatty seat mate is deterred from conversation. All moments The Two A.M. Feed may come in handy. You are welcome. 


MUSIC I LISTENED TO IN COLLEGE 
Any Ani DiFranco fans here? I once made Phillip go to an Ani show with me. He was the only 6 foot 2 inch Asian man in attendance and afterwards he confessed to feeling terrible about blocking the view of the short and devoted lesbian couple behind him. If you ever tried to pick out 'Both Hands' on the guitar you will enjoy 32 Feelings And Then Some: An Inquiry Into The Non-Legacy of Ani DiFranco.


MUSIC I LISTEN TO NOW
Oh, TaylorTaylor Swift and the Silencing of Nicki Minaj


POLITICS 
The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet You guyssss, I love this stuff. We gave up cable after the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl, but come next year I might need to go back on my steady diet of roundtable talking head shows. I KNOW.


ENNEAGRAM STUFF
This January 2015 New Year resolutions post from Jen Hatmaker speaks to myTHREENESS big time. (Also I did not promise you timely links, just interesting ones.)

Speaking of threes, Three-ness Gone Wild! Success and Achievement as America's Top Values.


INADVISABLE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
As someone with resources who is STILL struggling with ensuring her small business is legal, I am tremendously sympathetic to the people in Baltimore's "informal" economy.


A WHITE GIRL BROADENS HER HORIZONS
What I know about Ta-Nehisi Coates I know from following him on Twitter and readingThe Case For Reparations in the Atlantic. Now he has a book out (I haven't read it) and everyone is writing about it. Here's David Brooks, here's New York Magazine, here's theWashington Post on his "radical chic"


And now for The Two A.M. Feed's only regular features:

This Week In Nazisremains of Jewish medical experiment victims found in FranceEdward VIII giving the Nazi salute in pictures, and the 94-year-old "bookkeeper of Auschwitz" appeals his sentence."

This Week In Seattle: RENT CONTROL? You WISH you could browse the conversations happening in my neighborhood listserv.

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A little late thirties mulling

I turn 36 on Saturday. This is the first birthday I've felt uneasy about. I had absolutely no problems with turning 30, having looked forward to Actual For Real Grown Upness since about age fourteen. But now that I finally feel like a grown up, am taken seriously by other grown ups, have acquired some confidence and self-assurance, and, most importantly, FINALLY LIKE MYSELF, I am not terribly pleased about turning 36. 36 is the other side of 35. The "Late Thirties" side of 35. The downward slope to Middle Age. It doesn't seem OLD old, but it feels an awful lot closer. 

We're going to Leavenworth for the weekend. Leavenworth is this cute little town in the mountains, a Fake Bavaria. I love Fake Stuff (see: Disneyland, Vegas) so I expect to be delighted. We plan to do a bit of outdoorsing, which is not my bag, but seems like something We Ought To Do.  If all else fails, the hotel has a pretty outdoor pool. The big kids have become swimming junkies this summer, so I feel good about our chances for a half decent time. 

(Even though I just found out that Harry Connick Jr. is playing at the Chateau St. Michelle winery Saturday night and that would have been the PERRRRFECT birthday outing for Phillip and me, ALAS. People who do not like Harry Connick Jr. can exit the blog quietly, I'll wait.)

Other things about 36:

Is 36 when they start saying you're of Advanced Maternal Age? NOT PREGNANT. I am just SAYING. It seems unlikely we will have another baby (a nervewracking thing to put out there when you are hovering on the outskirts of Catholic Blogdom, but there it is), but just in case I WASN'T nervous about more babies, I have Advanced Maternal Age to consider. 

(Somewhat relatedly: Have you seen 'Catastrophe' on Amazon Prime? It is not for people who are squeamish about squeamishy things and/or enthusiastic swearing, but SO FUNNY. Also Phillip likes it. Also a lot about being of Advanced Maternal Age. Heh.)

At age practically-36 I still have not figured out what I will do when I grow up. I continue to be awed and cowed by ladies with careers. 

Tonight we meet with another engaged couple to do some extremely amateur pre-marital counseling type stuff. If there is anything that makes me aware that I'm on the Late Thirties side, it's chatting with 20-something couples. 

I have started thinking about writing again, but it seems the older I get, the younger I want to write for. I keep imagining stories my 8-year-old boy would want to read. 

Practically-36-year-old me makes friends so much easier than 16- or 26-year-old me. 

Oh God, 16 was 20 years ago. I mean, I don't MISS 16, but for the amount of thinking I still do about What Stuff Messed Me Up When I Was A Teenager, it seems like I should be, you know, over it by now. 

One one hand I feel so Desperate Housewivesy - we're interviewing kitchen/bath remodel companies, my kids drive me crazy, I'm overweight, the best thing that's happened in weeks is hiring a lawn service to clean up my jungle yard. And on the other hand I spent two hours with my best friends talking about what it would be like if we created some sort of retreats/trainings/spiritual direction type place HOW COOL IS THAT. (SO COOL.)

Inactivity, crazy pills, and a lifetime devotion to baked goods have me at my possibly highest weight (I stopped checking, ha), but hey, there's always Hot By Forty. Right? Right. 

Aaaand, just like that I see it's 5:12 pm and I have yet to figure out what we're eating for dinner. Do we think 36 will be the year I learn to love cooking? I don't think so either, internet. 

 


The web we miss

I just read a piece called "Tiny Letters To The Web We Miss". It will be most fascinating to those of you who've been around blogging a while, but I think it's interesting regardless. It's useful as a super brief history of how those inclined have been exposing their insides via the World Wide Web. It also articulated something I haven't been able to pinpoint: 

 In 2003, the internet felt like it was just us.

Self-publishing online was fluid and inviting in the early years because the community was self-selecting — the sort of people who would know what Blogspot was in 2003. I didn’t worry about my boss finding my blog... We didn’t have the same worries over public personas, because the internet felt like it was just us.

Blogging before social media was like drinking with friends. If someone adjacent to your conversation said something interesting, you would pull up a chair and invite them in. 

Yeah.

I continue to mull what this place is for, now, and whether it should still exist. Same for my Twitter handle. Some women wonder whether they'll go back to work once all their kids are in school, and some of us wonder whether we'll keep our social media accounts.