vendredi, décembre 28, 2007

Growing up in New York, a child of middle-class (well, perhaps upper-middle)parents, I took ballet at the Brooklyn Academy, went to the theater in Manhattan, and dragged poor mom to The Doors and Jim Hendrix concerts (or maybe they both played at the same concert- my recollection is a bit blurry). Fascinated by the famous Russian dancer Nijinsky, I researched early 20th century dance at Lincoln Center and dreamed of acting on Broadway.

I think, although I'm not certain, that it was my grandmother Sarah who took me to see the Nutracker Suite. I can't recall whether it was the American or New York City Ballet. I know she used to take me to Gilbert and Sullivan shows. Grandma had been a librarian as well as a charming and beautiful rabblerouser for humanity.

I thought about this when Sian and her "Aunt" Heidi and I went to see the "Nutcracker" at the Academy tonight. For a few years I've wanted to take her, and felt a little guilty that she hadn't been enveloped in Balanchine's, Tchaikovsky's and Petipa's fabulous and eerie world before. But then, I thought...there are hundreds of thousands of American girls who will become wonderful women-not ever having seen the Nutcracker.

I'm a staunch advocate for the classics-our kids take in so much trash already that parents need to try to broaden their perspective. But force-feeding doesn't work-you need to hope that they are enchanted.

The window opened, just a crack, tonight. Even for her jaded mom-so thank you Grandma.

mercredi, décembre 26, 2007

Coming home from the gym, the rain slapped heavily against the car windows. It glittered on the two-lane road heading towards the Creek, making it hard to see where the pavement ended and the grassy hummocks of the developments begin.

Safe at home, I hear it hitting the roof and glancing off the side of the house. On dating sites, people often, often write that they like to hide out in bed with their loved one or partner (or casual date) when it is raining. I marvel at this commonality-it must say something about human nature, as well as about our tendency to adopt cultural cliches. As children, we hid under the covers when we were frightened or needed to fell safe. As adults, we have decided we aren't safe on our own-we need someone else in there with us!

Guys also often write they want women who can look as good in jeans and a baseball hat as in a little black dress. In that respect, I fail miserably-too much hair for a baseball cap, and no little black dresses in my closet. Long black dresses? Yes. Short purple dresses? Sure. How come I never seem to give the right answers on the societal standards exam? I think it must be in part because I'm not even sure what the questions are!

lundi, décembre 24, 2007

At a party in a very nice, rather well-to-do part of Bryn Mawr on Saturday evening, waitstaff offered h'ors d'ouevres, and an pianist played Christmas songs in the living room. It seemed odd, against all of the 1920's faux-Tudor splendors, to be chatting with one of Heidi's friends about how one has to read the foreign press to stay in touch with the world.

So which ones does she read, I asked her, munching on salmon and eyeing my friend's refurbished kitchen. A teacher who had done international work with kids, she told me she reads The Times (London) and the Guardian. I like to steal a glance at The Independent when I have time.

Last night I found they have a whole set of pages on the environment-including an article on how most Britons intend to move towards a greener Christmas this year. That includes not using as much wrapping, recycling, and less waste. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our media was as proactive? I don't think we are as willing to admit that our decisions as individuals can change our environment.

Since I hate wrapping presents, that would be an easy one to give up. In fact, as I put Sian's presents in plain white boxes, I decided not to put wrapping on most of 'em. Just remember, dad and mom, where that paper ends up within about ten minutes-in a bag destined for the trash