Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the year of living biblically

a j jacobs once read the encyclopedia brittanica. he wrote a book about it. i haven't read that book.

but i have read the year of living biblically. the name might tip you off as to what, exactly, he did. yup. and, as you might think, trying to follow every biblical law and precept makes for a damned interesting book. growing a beard, helping old ladies across the street, getting a chicken slaughtered... all sorts of random stuff, just like the bible says.

it's even more interesting than that, even. if he spent a year systematically working through the bible's laws, finding ways to follow them while living in new york, that would be a good stunt and make for an interesting book. but this is more than that. it's the spiritual journey of an agnostic who is trying to stay openminded in the face of fundamentalism and figure out if there is anything to religion. he doesn't take the bible lightly or treat it irreverently. on the contrary, he earnestly tries to find what rings true to him, even in the most ridiculous of fringe faiths. if he were tom robbins he would be making his audience piss themselves laughing as he wittily tore the bible's odder sections and stranger followers to shreds, but jacobs isn't robbins. instead, he aknowledges that his subjects are indeed strange too the (secular) observer, but that amid the snakehandling and dietary laws there are deep and valuable truths.

it's a tricky dance he does, being a funny, critical-minded guy respectfully investigating western civilization's most revered book and its followers. he could so easily become sappy, preachy, cynical, mean... there are many ways he could have written a book that made me despise him. but he didn't.

i also loved all the times he mentioned his wife's reactions to the strange things he did. i really like that woman. i suspect that in the right circumstances my parter and i would be good friends with he and his wife. plus our kids are the same age and every time he mentioned his toddler i looked fondly at mine.

before reading this book i assumed that the kind of man who would write for esquire would be shallow, materialistic and mean-minded. i was wrong. i think i need to read his other book. and maybe start reading the mens' magazine he writes for.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

zen and cooking

i posted before about my meal plans. and they've been working out really well. we've been eating excellent food, our food bills are lower than they would be otherwise, and i've discovered something.

domesticity can be rewarding.

it had never occurred to me that cooking and cleaning could be anything but chores. sure, the meals are nice and things smell good and everyone is happy, but all the time spent getting to that point could be better spent playing sims or something. in my mind the ends didn't generally justify the means.

i've been trying to practice mindfulness lately. and i've been cooking & cleaning more than i ever have before. it turns out that combining the two results in something really enjoyable. tonight i was chopping tomatoes for the falafels and it was just so much fun. the smell of the tomatoes, the squish as i chopped the slightly overripe fruit with a slightly dull knife, the anticipation of tomato-ey goodness... i really deeply enjoyed making dinner.

and having a cleaner house makes it easier for me to think and be positive. clutter really is distracting. who knew? just because i've read it and been told it over and over... i'm not so good at believing the things i'm told, it seems.

overall, i feel like my spirit is being fed by domesticity. i'm still not interested in being a full-time housewife, but i see how so many people can find satisfaction doing this stuff.

as time goes by

today the baby ate his first solids. i'll likely never again have a baby young enough to exclusively breastfeed, so it was really bittersweet. he's officially not a little baby any more, he's now an older baby. i really like having a little baby. le sigh.
and the boy has been pooping in the potty with complete reliability. he's not good at peeing there, but he drops logs there like a little pro. it's nice, having fewer nasty diapers to wash. actually, it's more than nice. the first time i started whooping and hollering and dancing so much that he got scared.
when the baby starts using the potty i'll probably be sad, perversely. but having two in cloth diapers is not actually that fun. go for it, kid!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

lamb review

christopher moore is awesome, and lamb: the gospel according to biff, christ's childhood pal is his best work. witty, irreverent, slightly think-y and still surprisingly respectful. for the first third of the book or so it's a laugh or two a page. biff and josh (jesus) circumcise a statue of apollo, investigate the fairer sex, develop a taste for bacon... i really, really love the book.

right up until around the time they join a monastery, actually. around 1/3 of the way into the book it starts to lose momentum. it gets less and less funny and less and less interesting. it's still a great book, but it starts a lot better than it ends. still, even at its least inspired moment lamb is funnier and smarter than carl hiaasen's best moment, and i'm very fond of mr. hiaasen. even if his name is damned hard to spell.

don't let that last paragraph deter you, read the book. you'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 21, 2008

glumly puttering along

i've been pretty depressed lately. partly it's the sleep deprivation, partly it's the weather...
i'm trying to apply to graphic design school. but the requirements are insane. there is a whole booklet that i have to follow, with a whole pile of assignments for my portfolio. they're all very specific and very, very complicated. it would take at least 50 hours to complete all the drawing assignments, without even looking at the written ones. i have about a month to get it all done.
and even if i did get everything done in time and made it into the program, is the intensity of the list of requirements for admission similar to the daily demands of the program? i'd end up dropping out after a few weeks in that case. i'm no superwoman and i can't deprive my kids of the attention they deserve... i don't want too unbalanced a life.

so if not graphic design school, what? should i take welding? buy a little farm and grow hemp? go work for the government?

i don't want to be a stay-at-home mama, though. it's not particularly fulfilling as a long term thing.

back to figuring out my vocation...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


today my friend and her son are moving in with us and that guy i'm married to is starting a new job. so pretty much everything about my schedule will be different. no more days on end of not seeing or speaking to another adult. the new job is all night shifts, so no more bouncing around to music, too. i don't really know what my daily life will look like, yet, but i will soon.

Monday, January 14, 2008

i am evil

the boy: read the book?

me: you read it.

the boy: nooooo.

me: ok, get daddy to read it.

the boy: daddy?

me: he's in the bathroom.

(all this and i didn't even glance up from my sudoku game)

Friday, January 11, 2008

dr phil's fantastic fantasy life

i was reading about doctor phil barging in on britney spears while she was staying in a psych ward, getting evaluated. i'm not going to comment on any of that, all the tabloids and gossip blogs are doing it for me. but here's the part i find interesting:

picture it - balding, pot-bellied dr. phil, breezing down a los angeles freeway in an overpriced car, on his way to shoot a few of his one-line fix-alls, have britney realize the error in her ways and straighten up right away. he must have been thinking about which of his catchphrases would be most effective in this situation. he was probably looking forward to all the gratitude and attention he would receive for fixing such a complicated situation so quickly.

then he arrives and she tells him to piss off. so he follows her out to the car. she drives away and millions of people think he's a jerk for intruding where he isn't wanted.

i just really want a transcript of his thoughts as he drove to the hospital.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

excuses, excuses...

i haven't posted in a while. i'm having trouble forming coherent thoughts, what with the sleep deprivation and all. but i plan on posting about my hopes for the coming year and doing a book review or two. but this post is long enough and i need to return to staring blankly at my solitaire game, trying to remember where i am and what i'm doing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


in the past year:

i worked 2 full time jobs while pregnant.
i quit the jobs because the boy was too sick to stay in daycare.
i supported the 3 of us on two shifts a week while pregnant.
i threw up in the grocery store.
we figured out that the boy is a celiac and put him on a gluten free diet.
we went to the west coast to see family and friends.
we depended on the food bank.
i started working more when i was 6 months pregnant.
my partner dropped out of massage school.
my father has visited.
we have given away a car.
we have bought a car.
i went on mat leave.
my baby was born.
we planned on selling the house and moving to the west coast then changed our minds.
my mother has visited.
the baby had emergency surgery for a pyloric stenosis.
my inlaws have visited.
my partner had... (counting on fingers) at least 8 different jobs.
my boy turned 2.
i realized that i am not a christian and stopped calling myself one.
i decided what to be when i grow up.
we visited the inlaws for the holidays
i met up with a bunch of friends from online and had a blast

a busy year.