Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lots of little cousins

J. and I have been spending a significant amount of time while Little Guy (henceforth to be known as LG) is gestating thinking about the importance of family. Some of it's the big issues, like the way both of our very different sides of the family support and care for each other or how important grandparents are to both of us. Other things are little moments of familial excitement and pride. We are delighted, for example, that his prospective birth will bring the continuation of our uniquely spelled family name for another generation (being the first male child of this generation with this name). We've been looking at genealogies on both sides trying to figure out which relatives of past generations had first names we'd like to use for LG, which has resulted in lots of sharing of family histories and memories. And, of course, we've been in frequent communication with everybody simply to keep them in the prenatal loop.

One night last week, J. and I spent a few minutes talking about cousins as we were drifting off to sleep. Both of us are blessed to have closely knit extended families, particularly compared to what seems typical in America. For each cousin, we can usually give a brief description of what they are up to (work, college, city they live in). We frequently visit with cousins when visiting their hometowns for vacation or business. J. and I are placed quite differently in the birth order; J. has first cousins both older and younger than him; my twin sister B. and I are the eldest by over ten years. While J. remembers his cousins often as playmates, B. and I remember when each other member of our generation was born, how cute they were as babies, and the follies resulting from our frequent babysitting of them. Regardless, as we get older, the joy that comes from each cousin's happy occasions is something we treasure. Keeping in touch has gotten easier with Facebook, and we have a great time seeing photos and getting updates unmediated by older generations of relatives.

We are very excited that LG is fortunate enough to be born into a family with lots of fun cousins ready to greet him and (in the proper time) with more on the way. We already anticipate trips to Israel to visit with cousin Y. and can't wait to get together with all 4 K. cousins in LA. I can't wait to sit with all our siblings in a few years and see all the little people running around and making new memories of their own.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Has it really been this long?

Since reading the delightful blog of a certain newly pregnant friend, J. has recently nudged me a couple times about the fact that I haven't been properly blogging. I did a lot for my students during the school year, then got lazy; I was shocked to discover that I haven't written anything here since October. Sheesh! Then I realized a couple things: (1) Facebook seems to have swallowed up my blogging impulse, since it gives me a lame excuse to write status messages instead of longer, more meaningful posts; (2) the amount of time I've spent blogging seems to exist in inverse proportion with how much TV, particularly MSNBC, I watch. To excuse myself somewhat, I can argue that many more friends and family members seem to keep up with me on Facebook than ever did on my blog (and I'm fairly sure that all my blog readers actually track me on Facebook, too). On the other hand, short attention-span writing isn't ever going to get me closer to the eventual goal of developing the discipline to actually write a whole book on any one of the zillions of topics I've thought of over the years.

Now that I'm well into the last (!) month of pregnancy (in case there are any of you out there who were not previously aware, BNB and J. are expecting a baby to arrive within the next 4 weeks), I am realizing more and more that I have to get out of the lazy TV habit. I may not feel as energetic as I'd like to at the moment (and J.'s recent nesting frenzy sometimes leaves me feeling like I need yet another nap), but I've decided that sitting on the couch all day sort of sucks the life out of me. Plus, we want to put little guy (once he arrives) on a good path to playing, being creative, and interacting with other people rather than sitting in front of the TV. Thus, I've been working on a new article, due next week, and have been actually listening to music (revolutionary idea) rather than keeping the TV on all the time in the background. I also started reading lately-- things of greater length than my The Week magazine and more literary value than my birthing books. And my lack of knitting productivity has stopped, and I'm well on my way to actually finishing the baby blanket I started 7 years ago for my first nephew (which will now be completed for my own progeny).

Before I finish for the evening, I'll tell you about the two rather good books I've read lately. The first, Roya Hakakian's Journey from the Land of No, is not a happy tale, but it is in important one. Kol Emet (one of the two local synagogues I more aspire to attend than actually regularly visit) chose it for the congregation to read. I missed all the book group events (since napping seems to have taken precedence over almost everything else while I've been gestating), but finally got around to the book right before the election in Iran. As a result, I really had a sense of what the commentators were saying when describing how the Iranian people saw the election and their initial protests as a continuation of the Revolution rather than a repudiation of it. (Now that the illusion that their government was anything but a sham democracy has been lifted, I hope that more real change will occur.)

The other book I heartily recommend is Fool, the latest by Christopher Moore. It is a hilarious and salacious retelling of King Lear (my favorite Shakespearean tragedy) from the perspective of Lear's Fool. It is the first book I haven't been able to put down in years. It's permeated by a foul, quasi-Shakespearean tongue that had me in stitches.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Authorities investigate Sarah Palin effigy in West Hollywood - Los Angeles Times

Authorities investigate Sarah Palin effigy in West Hollywood - Los Angeles Times

I may disagree with almost every word that comes out of Sarah Palin's mouth, but the idea that people would hang an image of ANY currently living human being in effigy is appalling. It's just another example of how people are so totally irrational that they diminish the solemn political processes that guarantee our freedom in the US.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Prairie Home Companion for October 11, 2008 from American Public Media

A Prairie Home Companion for October 11, 2008 from American Public Media

Due to J.'s lack of enthusiasm for Garrison Keillor, I don't usually listen to Prairie Home Companion anymore. However, I was leaving work on Sunday, driving the short distance to the farmer's market when I heard the News from Lake Wobegon. I ended up having to run around the market in a mad dash for produce, only getting to the market ten minutes before closing.

Garrison had me laughing so hard with his description of the Arboreal Devotees Association and the numerous dangers of autumnal leaf compulsion (and the people who experience it) that I nearly had to pull over the car at one point.

You can listen below:

Monday, September 29, 2008

John Oliver's Literature Rodeo and my friend Rob's new book

Shameless self-promotion is at its best when it involves getting your buddy from your day job (who just happens to be John Oliver) to plug your new book.

Go to the JBooks home page, and click on "John Oliver's Literature Rodeo" to learn the tiniest bit about Daily Show writer Rob Kutner's new book, Apocalypse How (available from Amazon). - Index: Home