samedi, février 16, 2008

I took my son on a Cub Scout ski trip yesterday. It was his first time on skis. The good news is: he survived, as did innocent bystanders (or sitters). The bad news is: he's a total maniac on skis.

Because I go rarely enough myself to need the same lesson over and over again (but the body does remember) I had the privilege/stress of watching him as the patient instructors tried to teach him the wedge and directional turns. First he seemed frustrated. Then he seemed resigned. Then he seemed eager.

The little girls listened meekly, doing what they were told. I'm still fascinated by the mix of nurture and nature, conditioning and genetics that molds some girls into good listeners, and gives some boys an inflated sense of self-confidence.

My son couldn't wait to get up on the beginner's slope (along with a few million children of similar temperament). Narrowly avoiding being brained by the chairlift upon landing, he cheerfully put his skis back on-and headed straight down the hill.

I'm glad that he doesn't mind falling. I'm happy that he enjoys the rush of skis in flight, wind in his hair. I think I'll ski on another trail next time.

And I'm looking forward to watching "Upstairs, Downstairs" with my daughter tonight- even with all of the tension between England and Germany, Asquith's England was a heck of a lot safer than Bear Creek on a President's Day weekend.

jeudi, février 14, 2008

A dynastic type of kid

I keep National Public Radio on in my car as long as the kids can stand it-or I can take the complaints. Then we switch to pop music, and I listen to my daughter moan about how she never gets to listen to "her music."

Funny, I feel like I've listened to that "apple-bottomed jeans" song about ten thousand times.

She wasn't in the car this morning as my son and I awaited the bus at the intersection of our street and the main road. Lost in thought, I wasn't paying much heed to the political news on NPR. But my son was.

"Mom, this day isn't starting off well, " he commented. "Hillary's losing, and my bus is late."

mardi, février 12, 2008

Doggone it

I am baffled by the relationship between guys and their dogs. So many of the men whose portraits I see on the dating site where I slapped up my profile have a closer relationship with their faithful fox terrier or large mutt than they do with the people in their lives-children included. They will drag their kids through hell and back in the pursuit of the perfect love affair or marriage-but heaven forbid anyone abuse a dog.

I don't have anything against most dogs. Even the mastiff who barks furiously when I run down towards the Lake is probably very sweet when one gets to know her-preferably with a suit of armor on.

It would be nice if we could learn how to be good to animals and to human beings-perhaps that's an evolutionary skill a lot of us haven't mastered yet.

I should have known a romantic meet-up would go nowhere when I suggested we meet for a third time and my potential swain said he wasn't sure he could because he had to walk his dog.

I didn't think I was that much of an egotist-but taking out a quadriped is a paw excuse.

Hmmm....can you tell I need a little perspective?

Send in the hounds-there ought to be hounds-don't bother, they're here.*

With gratitude/apologies to Stephen Sondheim

Red Ink

I'm a registered voter in our litle Victorian village, although I don't vote the party line. But I'm also a shareholder in another political party-the Episcopal Church.

A number of years ago, we held an election.

We needed a man or a woman to run the local branch of our business. Our campaign committee chose men and women as potential executives, from inside and outside the diocese.

These kinds of elections aren't supposed to be marred by politicking-but this one certainly was, from the get-go. Those who advocated for the city parishes wanted the guy who had looked out for their interests. Others pushed for someone who would bless their conservative stance towards ordaining women and gay blessings. Different congregations, and clergy were the crucible of scheming calls and covert meetings.

The person who ended up winning was a man who learned the names of diocesan clergy before he got to Philadelphia-or knew them after one meeting. He radiated amiability. Who knows what he told the conservatives-his liberal views were very well known. It wasn't long before all of the camaraderie disappeared in a flood of accusations and resentment over promises allegedly shredded or evaded.

Elected in a deluge of sentimentality, he was forbidden to exercise his ministry this past fall after decades long accusations of a sexual abuse cover up involving his brother hit the press once again.

Not good for the diocese. Not good for the Episcopal Church. Not good for business.

I like Barack Obama. I admire his oratorical skills, his enthusiasm, his crossgenerational appeal.

But whenever I see a powerful deluge of sentiment, as in the one firing up the engines of his candidacy I worry. The wishes are so profound-the subject still a relative cypher.

We don't need a tabula almost rasa. He's not an empty brain, like G.W. Bush-but he hasn't tipped his hand as to who he really is yet-and what he really cares about.

Who is this icon on whom we have projected our desires? Do we even know what it is we long for?

dimanche, février 10, 2008


This article (see link) nails the current malaise (craziness, really) in the conservative wing of the Republican party. It's an indicator of how far to the right the government has gone over the past eight years that an evangelical like James Dobson can say that John McCain isn't conservative.

These folks remind me of children at a party stamping their little sneakered feet because they got a little strawberry ice cream along with their vanilla. It might be useful for them to look at the polls now and then. Of course, purists will be purists-better be burned as a defender of the true church than uncharred as a heretic.

But I found Douthat's throwaway denominational line even more evocative-to which denomination do you think he might be referring?