I thought recently how I take issue with the use of the word “natural” in certain circumstances. If I’m not mistaken, natural means “derived from nature,” yes? And for many people, it implies a sort of pure-holistic feeling. But sometimes I think it is overused. I mean, do I really have to be told that a jar of applesauce with no other ingredients but apples is “all-natural?” I sure hope so! I don’t want particularly want any pretend plastic polymer-apple applesauce as a snack. (Or for that matter, do I have to be told the applesauce is made from “real fruit?” It’s kind of like the warnings on coffee cups that say, “This beverage will be hot…”)
I also am not sure if I like the term “natural” associated with childbirth. I feel it is almost a shaming word aimed at women who have medical interventions or C-sections. Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but even women who use a surrogate or IVF procedures to get pregnant or have their baby—the baby, at the end of the day, comes out of a human body. That sounds pretty natural to me. Childbirth is childbirth, no matter what interventions or medicines were utilized en route.
I had a rawther lawhfly time in Napa with Honza, which involved wine tasting at a posh winery and a laid-back Czech biodynamic vineyard and seeing lots of chickens, cows, sheep and ponies. We were fortunate with sunshine, tasty treats and friendly barn cats. Photos to come.
Sorry I haven’t updated in forever and a day. Should I start a new, specific blog?
Really cute moment of the day: I was doing a puzzle with the little three-year-old boy I work with in the mornings and when I matched two pieces together he said, “Good job Omni!” and flashed a big grin.
Sorry, I just really have to rant right now. Feel entirely free to not read this at all.
While biking home from work today, a man suddenly pulled up next to me and said “Hey, can I talk to you for a second?” Instant reaction was UM CREEPSTER but I just kind of kept biking slowly and said “okkkayyyy…” ready to start peddling furiously if that was in fact the case. But no! “It’s just that I saw you signaling on the right hand side of a car when you were making a left hand turn, and it didn’t look like you had come to a full stop at a stop sign, and you know, cyclists are obliged to stop at stop signs.”
This man, I must tell you right now, was wearing:
(1) full on reflective vest
(2) Spandex bike short
(3) Helmet with built in headlamps plus a front lamp and back lamp on the bike
(4) Athletic shoes with reflective tape
Not to mention he was driving a fancy, pricey ride.
Incidentally, I had in fact come to a stop at the stop sign, and the woman who I had signaled to had, in fact, seen me. And yes, I know bikes are supposed to stop at stop signs. So basically, this man has no life other than appointing himself bike police captain of Piedmont, and to that I must say, good sir, you are a serious LOSER.
Not to mention I came home with a ridiculous email from a parent of someone I tutor. It’s been said before, but often the worst part of working with kids are the parents.
I’ve been re-reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy again and am struck by what a, well, awesome person Larsson was. I just love his unabashedly pro-feminist approach and creation of Lisbeth Salander. For books that were not meant to be of an elitist literary bent (and don’t pretend to be) I really appreciate them. If you’ve not yet read the Millennium Trilogy, go do it! Also, check out “The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine” by Alina Bronsky, which is just superb.
Autism’s been in the news a lot lately, which is of obvious interest to me as I work with kids on the spectrum. I think the most frustrating aspect to me about debates regarding autism, treatment, etc. is people putting in their two cents who clearly have never encountered, lived with or worked with someone on the autistic spectrum. It is also extremely upsetting that many people out there still believe the theory about vaccines causing autism, even though that theory was proven to be an absolute scam by a horrible person who essentially “bought” the study. The fact that numerous parents still don’t vaccinate their kids because the kids could “end up autistic” is rather frightening. But anyways…
Honza and I listened to Beethoven’s Kreuzer Sonata yesterday and we’ll be reading the Tolstoy short story based on it in the upcoming month. Hooray for intersections in art! I saw “Hugo” the other day and enjoyed it immensely. The 3D version was gratuitous, but it is a sumptiously gorgeous visual treat and the cast was excellent, especially Sascha Baron Cohen as the Station Inspector.
Honza and I made our holiday cards today and I feel like such an adult—we even wrote a description of “what we were up to this year…”
Also, when I said “bye-bye” today to the kid who I work with in the mornings who is totes adorbs, he gave me a rather devious smile and said, “poo poo.” Explanation: as we were finishing up our activity, he pooed in his pants. (Don’t worry, he was wearing a diaper.) I feel like one cannot generally state about most jobs, “we wrapped up activity with diaper change for bowel movement.”
Is there anyone out there on this planet that actually likes radio stations who play nonstop Christmas music from Thanksgiving on? Are there people who listen to these radio stations daily and are deeply moved by a soaring rendition of “Feliz Navidad”? Please reveal yourselves. Thanks.
Also, I basically haven’t liked anything in pop music for about the last three years, with maybe the exceptions of Caro Emerald, the occasional Beyonce hit and a few other random gems. Anyone wanna help me out? I have tried without success to listen to and appreciate groups such as Florence and the Machine and other such folks and I dunno. Just not into it. Just not feeling it. Especially not feeling horrible hip hop songs of the last three years that all seem to be filled with techno and Justin Bieber samples.
It was lots of fun being in Denver and seeing all my cousins and having Thanksgiving and the bar mitzvah + party. Definitely the biggest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had—over thirty people. Plus I got to rock it out at the party. My baby cousin Avi—not so much a baby anymore at 13 years old, I suppose—did a great job and we were all so proud. We also got to go to Red Rocks and the Denver Art Museum. Both were wonderful. I’ve been to Denver so many times but not really for sight-seeing, so it was sort of nice to do something of that nature.
I’m thinking of submitting some book proposals/children’s book manuscripts. Anyone out there have experience? My book idea is about being young and cheap in expensive cities, and I have a couple of children’s books that could be submitted.
I’m off today to Colorado for Thanksgiving week/end but also for my cousin’s bar mitzvah. Fun! I’m gonna dance my pants off, obvs. Particularly to Cotton-Eyed Joe and to whatever hyphy songs we demand the DJ play at the party. Honza and I are also going to try and hike a little in the Rockies with some of my cousins.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food? I would probably have to say stuffing, with cornbread and pumpkin pie coming in a close tie for second.
I’ve been really into the Swallows and Amazons series as of late. For those of you who don’t know the glory, it was a book series written for kids in the 1930’s and 40’s by a British writer named Arthur Ransome. The books involve treasure hunts, sailing, turf wars, boats, pirates, camping, hiking, survival skills and pretty much everything awesome under the sun that them kids these days don’t do any more (that’s my I-am-pretending-to-be-an-old-and-disgruntled-person-voice).
There is even an Arthur Ransome club: www.arthur-ransome.org that gives financial grants to kids who want to do adventurous pursuits like sail a boat or go map-making in the hills.
Also I ate a tamale today, and for those of you out there who have not experienced a tamale, please do so at your earliest convenience.
I’m also pretty jazzed about my three library books about Nancy, Unity and Debo Mitford. Can we say obsessed?
Annnnddd I got clearance from work to go to Seattle in January with Honza for his conference! Super excited. I have never been to Seattle—lame, I know.
Despite contracting conjunctivitis (alas, probably won’t be the last time for a while—-the dangers of working with small children) and today’s onset of rain, it’s been a pretty busy/good week. The little boy who I work with in the mornings played successfully with shaving cream today—woohoo! Okay, that sounds a little strange, but tactile activities can be difficult for kids on the spectrum.
Tutoring is also going well. I like the three kids who I am working with a lot—they have lots of good ideas, and are willing to try new things. The group autistic program (once a week) is also great. Totally challenging, for sure, but fun. Honza went off to Minnesota today and will be back Sunday to see his former high school host family and also our mutual friend Tom, plus a couple of other people he hasn’t seen in a decade. I’m jazzed to hear how his trip goes.
Postcrossing has also been going quite excellent. For those who don’t know what it is and are into getting lots of exciting mail from around the world, google it! I’ve gotten postcard the last two weeks from Hong Kong, Sweden, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Turkey and Russia. And, jazzed for Sacred Harp this Sunday. It’s been a while and I’m ready for the awesomeness.
It sounds (and looked, to the degree that I was in the more downtown part of Oakland yesterday) that the strike was overall peaceful, but I do feel terrible for the businesses that were vandalized or otherwise hurt during the strike. I think the movement is interesting and important, but I also feel compassionate and sad for the businesses in downtown that are now basically failing—80% reduction in business for some of these owners—due to Occupy. These are small local businesses often owned by families who are trying to make a living and are clearly not wealthy or corporate, so I just wish there was some way to rectify the situation so that all these affected folks don’t get hit hard the way they are right now. Just my opinion out there.
I started working with my first individual autistic client, this adorable two-and-a-half year old boy in San Francisco. I’m shadowing him at preschool and the kids are all freaking adorable as well. Some of them are live wires, two years old going on thirty. One little girl said “oh, your shoes are so cute, where did you get them?” Two days a week I’ll be at his house. Pretty jazzed about this job.
I also have the Wednesday group of older autistic kids and they are also a lot of fun. I like dancing the most. Not gonna lie, sometimes hanging out with little kids is kind of awesome—you get to play with toys and blow bubbles as part of your job.
I’m also tutoring two other girls in writing and some organizational stuff. I haven’t started with the second girl yet but so far things are good with the first girl. I like her a lot. She’s into books—kid after my own heart.
Last night Honza and I went to a Halloween party. We were Hansel and Gretel. There were some pretty creative costumes: Karl Lagerfeld, the rainbow pot of gold, God’s gift to men, a handmade mermaid costume, Dorothy, a Frenchman, and a modern knight. We had seen Nosferatu a few days ago (the 70s remake) and were sad that none of the German students had opted for this costume.
This morning we gorged ourselves on delicious pastries at a Berkeley bakery and admired cute dogs and had an intense bike ride in the hot sun.
Books I’ve been into lately: Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series, Zadie Smith essays, Rick Riordan books, Madame Bovary, stuff about 20s Paris (thanks to seeing the Woody Allen movie a while back).
i have had some quite nice outings lately, including seeing Taming of the Shrew at CalShakes with Willemijn and Honza, spending the afternoon in SF cruising Chinatown/eating dim sum/witnessing Occupy SF/doing the Yerba Buena gallery hop full of free wine and beer and intriguing art/seeing friends, and Sunday in Monterey with a morning spent with our friend Luba, taking a boat out on Monterey Bay, seeing the aquarium and the sun set in Carmel. Most importantly, Honza saw a pelican.
In fact, more than one. But it was a really happy and exciting event.
Still grinding away at these grad school apps, being alternately uplifted/depressed by the news, and grooving to Jaheim.
Cheering crowds have greeted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as he arrived back in his northern hometown of Mitzpe Hila after five years in captivity in Gaza. Sgt Shalit was flown by helicopter from an airbase in central Israel after undergoing medical tests. Sgt Shalit, 25, was seized in 2006 by Hamas militants who tunnelled into Israel. Early on Tuesday he was taken to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, and handed over to Egyptian mediators by Hamas, in the presence of Israeli representatives. In his first interview, Sgt Shalit told Egyptian TV he missed his friends and family. Looking drawn and pale, he said he hoped the exchange would help bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians. (BBC.co.uk)