Monday, May 23, 2005

Two Hot Chicks

Originally uploaded by jonimcgary.
I tried to take a photo of the exquisite (if I do modestly say so myself) Tarte Tatin I made for dessert tonight, but I didn't think that the shots I took did it justice. So, I uploaded this instead. I am taking pictures of my cookie jar collection so I had this at the ready. Ah, lucky readers!

These jars were made by American Bisque in the 1950s. My mom actually bought the one on the right shortly after she was married and handed it down to me when I got my first apartment. In my new kitchen, I have room for about twenty jars so I am busy collecting them on ebay. So far, I have eleven. Not all chicks, of course.

Am I fascinating or what? At my readers' request, I will post additional photos of my fine collection.

Chris went back to work today and I am relieved and happy to report that it went just fine. He said that his brain still functioned and that aside from a brief visual migraine, he did well. He is a little tired, but nothing too serious. I didn't realize how nervous I was about him returning to work until the first day was over. This has been a big couple of months. It brings the issue of life/death very close. I find that I think about it a lot. Not in a morbid way, really. Mostly in a wondering way. What are we all doing here? Why does everyone keep coming? Hasn't someone tipped them off about what a rough place Earth is for most people? Guess not. Or, maybe it is worse somewhere else. Geez, I hope not.

I am off to bed to read LIVING TIME & THE INTEGRATION OF THE LIFE. It is a book about time as the fourth dimension and about how we have pretty limited consciousness about the world. It sounds a little far-out but the author approaches the subject in a scientific way so I can make sense of it. I balance that book with the series of Janet Evanovich novels. I have read seven so far and LOVE them. They are great trash reads...I laugh out loud when I read them.

Nothing exciting to report. I am going to Herkimer next week to visit my folks and gain fifty pounds. Sound like fun? You bet!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

No Pictures Tonight, Just a Boring Journal Entry

Saturday evening at home. Chris is putting Jack to bed and I just finished a secret hot-fudge sundae. Well, it would have been secret had Chris not caught me. It was SO good. Probably adds 500 Weight Watchers Points to my day. Well, it was worth it. What's the point of practically starving myself most days if I can't be a pig occasionally? No point at all as far as I can see. The only problem with ice cream and other such delicious treats is that no matter how much I have, I always want more. Chips, cocktails, cookies...more more more. Does that make me bad? (No Joni, not bad...just a glutton.) I love to eat and drink but worry about weight constantly. I keep thinking that I will reach a place of maturity and self-acceptance that allows me to love my middle-aged body and relax a bit about weight. On some days, I think that I have gotten there but I am always wrong. It never lasts. The whole obsession is entirely rediculous but I and about a bazillion other women just can't seem to grasp that.

Enough of that nonsense.

On Thursday evening, Chris and I went to see the Wide Open Jazz Quintet at a local bar called "Bear's Place." They have a jazz concert every Thursday at 5:30 - 8:00. They serve bar food and drinks and the music is excellent. The piano player in the quintet we saw Thurs. is a sophomore or junior in high school and is a brilliant musician. It was cool to watch him. It made me think of Arnie Cummings. Arnie played lead sax in our high school jazz band and he was absolutely brilliant. Like the pianist we saw. Everyone thought he would become a musician but he became an eye doctor in Westchester County and plays in a weekend Jazz band. I wish I had gone to see him when we lived in CT. I also wish I had that kind of talent.

On Friday night, we went to see the first of a series of concerts in this year's Bloomington Early Music Festival. I LOVED it and Chris dozed off. I thought it was a great date anyway.

This afternoon, Jack and I went to the Y pool to swim. He is finally swimming as well as he did last summer so adjusting to this summer's swim lessons shouldn't be a problem. The pool was empty - fortunately there were no poopers there so we didn't have to flee in terror. Jack had a great time and I wasn't too grossed out by the indoor pool thing.

Okay, I am done with the boring journal entry. Tomorrow I shall endeavor to come up with something better. Off now to read. Indeed, my favorite time of the to the eating hot-fudge sundae time of the day. Only the latter happens so seldom...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

HELP! I am that kind of parent...

Originally uploaded by jonimcgary.
The kind that agonizes over what %^#!-ing preschool is right for their blessed offspring! Okay people, I have been through the college process - in Fairfield County, no less- and the preschool process. And, I am here to tell you that the latter has given me more anxiety than the former by a long run. (Yep, I am one of THOSE idiots.)

Helping Kate choose the right school, supporting her in her prep for the SATs, going over and over her college essay...that was nothing compared to deciding where to put Jack for preschool next year. Should we keep him where he is and encourage a free-form, more spirited, independent development? (Or, depending on your point of view, encourage a wild west, ill-mannered, YOU CAN'T MAKE ME! development? For the record, I don't really think that.) Or, should we enroll him at the Montessori school where there are rules and effect, a different ball-game altogether. I admit that I have lost lots and lots of sleep over this decision for my FOUR YEAR OLD! and I am ashamed! It's rediculous!!!

I mean, look at this kid in the photo. He is FOUR. Does he look like an intellectual powerhouse? Does he look like he gives a shit what style of "education" he will have in his early learning years? C'mon, does he? Nope. Just a regular four year-old boy who loves to open his mouth and show you what he is chewing, fart as much as possible and crack up about it and sing songs about poop. It does beg the question, why are we so concerned about the style of his pre-school experience?

Can you remember how your own parents agonized over your pre-school education? Of course you can't...because they DIDN'T. Preschool? I don't think so. Kickball, tag, hide & seek..THOSE THINGS were preschool, right? Oh, AND don't forget lots and lots of TV, sugar-laden stuff to eat and just about no supervision. Then, when you were five, off you went to the only public school in town where you had a half-day session complete with a snack of milk and a "nap" on your "rug". Did I suffer? Did I fail to thrive? Nope. (I don't think my neurotic tendency is from a lack of pre-school.)

Speaking of snacks, I didn't go hungry having just milk. But, of course, I am actually worried that Jack might not have enough to eat in the new school we selected for him. And this is for a half-day program. They serve the snacks and, well, they just don't seem ample enough for me. Oops. I mean for Jack. See where this is going? Do you see how nuts I have become?

The bottom line is that Jack will be switching schools next year and I will spare you the details of all the pros and cons weighed and tears (mine of course) shed over this dramatic change. Suffice it to say that I have a long way to go to be a well adjusted parent.

Well, that is all I can write. I am going to apply more killer chemicals to the still huge ZIT on my chin, brush my fangs and get into bed with some sort of trashy best-selling paperback to get my mind off my illusional problems.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Found Magazine

Originally uploaded by jonimcgary.
The other night, I was watching the local cable access channel. I don't know why I was, but I was. Anyway, for about ten minutes, they broadcast this local show called "Found Magazine". It was a shot at a local bookstore called Boxcar Books and it was just a (funny) guy showing found things. They have a website of this stuff and much of it is funny, some poignant, some gross. The picture today is one of those found items. No reason at all for it, just felt like it.

Chris and I ate lunch at the country club today to use up our monthly food minimum. As many of you know, the clubhouse burned to the ground last winter so they put up what I can only describe as three double wide trailers to serve as a makeshift clubhouse, office & cafe. Ah, the luxury of the Bloomington CC. It's the life. I think we stay on as members because it is relatively cheap, we didn't have to pay an initiation fee (included as part of Chris's practice) and they do have a nice pool. I hope that Jack can "touch" in the shallow end this year so he will want to go more.

That's all to report from the home of John Mellencamp. I will try to do something more exciting tomorrow.

N.B. I hate Vegas and wouldn't want to go either!

Monday, May 09, 2005

The New Hoosier

Originally uploaded by jonimcgary.
When I make mental or paper lists of the good things about living in Indiana versus Fairfield County, I always include "cleaner air, cleaner environment". Or, perhaps I have listed it as "safer air, safer environment." I have assumed that the air must be cleaner and therefore safer here. There surely must be less pollution. After all, Fairfield county is bordered on two sides by major highways. The emissions from the traffic alone surely must make for dirtier air there versus here. We don't even have an interstate that goes through Bloomington. Plus, we have all that wholesome farmland around. So, there must be healthier here. Am I right?

Maybe not.

Two things have come to my attention lately. First, Indiana has a ton of soybean planted acreage. Most of the farmers use Round-Up on their (probably) patented "Round-Up Ready" genetically engineered soybeans. For awhile, that worked just dandy. But, nothing lasts for ever and eventually the weeds got wise and evolved to be resistant to Round-Up. So, now what we have is some kind of super weed that requires something else to kill it. Now, farmers are starting to use an older, much less safe product in addition to the Round-Up to kill this resistant weed. What will be the effect of this widespread use of this old agent, proven to be a lot less safe than Round-Up, on our air and water here? I am not feeling very positive about it.

PLUS...and this one is very disconcerting...the (asshole)governor of Indiana just signed something that would prohibit localities from declaring their town/village/city...whatever their local jurisdiction is...from declaring it to be a genetic engineering free zone for agriculture. Why is this important? For lots of reasons but the most compelling is this: pharmaceutical companies are starting to test the use of crops as vehicles to "manufacture" drugs. For instance, one could splice a gene into a strain of corn, plant a field of such corn and harvest corn containing the desired drug. The company could isolate the drug from the crop. They are testing this because it would be a cheap method of manufacture. I know that this is not at all far fetched having worked in the biotech industry. Milk producing animals are used often for the same purpose. The drug is isolated from the milk.

Using animals doesn't bother me that much because they can be contained. But using open air crops is just plain scary. How can cross contamination be controlled? (It can't...just look at the Round-Up Ready crop lawsuits.) How would we be sure that a field of a hormone-producing corn for example would not contaminate other crops in a community or even the drinking water of a community and over time lead to lots of unexpected health problems? (I can see the headlines now...Crazy citizens claim corn crop caused sterility of their entire town. ) The companies are not required to tell anyone where they are doing field testing and what they are testing. So, a locality would have no idea what was being done in its city limits and would have NO oversight or say in the matter...UNLESS, they can legislate themselves to be a no genetic-engineered crop zone. At least until they can study the matter further and make sure it is safe. The notion that the state can take this right away from a more local government is apalling to me. Very scary when you live in farming state in which there resides a powerful pharma company or two. Ah, the power of the lobby.

In other controversial Midwest news, Jack made a potholder today and ate four GoGurts. He referred to Chris's scar as the "crack in Daddy's chest." I made killer spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, watched Bill Mahr with my beloved hubby and will now go to bed and read a book.

See? Life goes on.

Don't get me wrong, I am not for banning research...or anything like that. I don't oppose animal testing. Hell, I would even wear a fur if it looked good on me for that matter. I do oppose irresponsible testing of any sort without a community having a say in how it is conducted on it's turf. Is that so radical?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Ann !

Originally uploaded by jonimcgary.
Why am I posting this picture? Ann and I graduated Cornell together and were sorority sisters there. It isn't every day I have such a connection to the person gracing the cover of TIME magazine.

Alright already, we graduated in the same year and never knew each other, though I think I do remember her.
We were in fact both sorority sisters...but in different sororities. She was in the one that dinged me in the first round of parties. Ouch!

But, still, seeing Ann, or Ann's bestselling books, or Ann on TV...etc...always elicits an emotional response from me. Those of you who know where I stand politically - and that is probably anyone who knows me - will think that the emotion that she elicits is annoyance or anger at her views. Well, there is some of that. But the major component, I should be embarrassed to say, is sheer and utter JEALOUSY. There, I said it. In a public place. I have opened my green-eyed soul to my gentle readers. I hope that you are able to continue reading this after you recoiled in utter shock, disgust and horror. I must purge myself of this terrible scurge I suffer. I have decided to do so by writing about it in the BLOG. Here goes.

I hate her surprise here. I am not jealous of this, of course, but I wish that I could air my views on national TV.

I don't envy her personal life or that she has to have a body guard and worry about stalkers... but let's face it, she brought it on herself by being the sort of public figure that she is.

I hate her height and thin-ness and her long blond hair. Why? Because I want to be tall and thin and have long blond hair.

I hate that she is famous. Okay, one thing you might not know about me is that I have always wanted to be famous. Really. It is true.

I hate that she paid attention in school and went to law school and had high power jobs. I didn't pay attention and ended up in my first job at General Foods being a "Coconut Specialist". CNN has never asked me to be on any program to discuss that.

I hate that she gets $25 - $50 grand per lecture. NOBODY has ever paid me to hear me talk. Maybe some people might want to pay me to shut up from time to time, but that isn't the same thing and we both know it.

I hate that my biological mother urges me often to "just read Ann". "She is SO bright!" AAARRGGHH!

And so on and so get the idea. An Ann spotting is enough to ruin part of a normal day and ALL of a pre-menstral day. I just immediately feel like a big fat failure. I find myself asking, What have I done with my life? And worse, answering...NOTHING!

Now, don't worry so much...I don't really feel like I have done nothing with my life. I don't feel that way at all. Plus, it helps that my husband always responds..."But honey, she is an asshole. And, I think that she is too thin." Take that, Ann!

Phew! Glad to get this off my chest. So nice of you to listen...and not charge me a hundred fifty an hour!

Hmmm...I AM feeling better. It worked! Writing this down makes me see how silly I am. Stay tuned for all my petty problems!