Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gender Neutral Debate

I recently read an article about a baby in Toronto who is being raised gender-neutral. At first I thought it was a crazy thing to do, but when I kept reading the piece, the parents started to seem less and less crazy. Basically, the couple want to raise this child to figure out his or her gender preference without society pressures. Here's the article.

When I talked to Peter about this, he was all, "Uh, don't get any ideas of doing this for any future children."

I don't see that there's anything wrong with sending out a birth announcement with just a name and a picture. If people want to find out what gender, they can come over or pick up the phone. While we're going that route, we won't let them know what ethnicity the baby is either.

In theory, I think that this is a great idea and it would be great for people to get over the old-fashioned notions of what's right for girls vs. what's right for boys. I went to a Catholic school where boys and girls had their gender-specific uniforms. We had to line up with one line for girls and one line for boys. They also separated us in the classrooms--boys on even rows and girls in odd rows. I always felt that sort of gender-specific classroom placement so oppressive. That separation kind of reached its way into the playground--boys never played with girls. I had only spent a few years in a public school in NJ where all the boys and girls played together (mostly because there were 19 girls and 3 boys in the class--girls ruled that grade!) and it wasn't a big deal.

Intellectually I think it's great that the parents of this kid are trying this out, but I wouldn't feel comfortable about it because I also don't want people in my neighborhood thinking I'm a total freak. Maybe this is just something that you can get away with more in Canada.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Use for Balsa Wood

Peter and I had an errand to run super-early in the morning last week on the upper east side, and after some debate, we decided to go home for breakfast. However, it was raining so hard that we ran into what looked like a small lake that had formed at the entrance ramp to the FDR.

Just then, I remembered that there was this breakfast place I used to go to when I was in college--E.A.T.

So Peter turned the car around that's where we went for our overpriced omelette and an overpriced danish. But while we were sitting in the restaurant, Peter remembered that we had gone there before when we used to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"Hey!" I said. "Didn't you want to go to the Guitar Exhibit?"

We googled the Met's hours and it was about to open so we got our stuff and walked over.

There was a HUGE line in front of the museum, which was a pretty amazing sight. I used to spend every weekend at the Met during my high school years, but I had never been there when it opened (let's say I'm not a morning person). It was so nice to be in that dinghy, rainy, early morning hour to see a zillion tourists clamoring to see ART!

The guitar exhibit was in my favorite gallery space in the museum and the only thing I was bummed out about was that the Stradivarius violin was missing because it had been used in a performance the night before. I have never seen one in person before. That would have been fun.

Peter and I also walked through the Alexander McQueen exhibit which was Ah-MAZing!

I've never seen an exhibit like this at the Met in my life! When you walk in, it's really goth-looking with dark mirrors and mannequins with leather wrapped over their faces. The dresses were gorgeous. There were dresses made up of feathers of all kinds and a hat made up of elaborately carved cork which reminded me of the cities carved on a grain of rice in the Taiwan museum. It's definitely a sight not to be missed.

My tip is that if you want to go to the exhibit, get there as soon as it opens, because Peter and I just walked right in, but I saw a bunch of velvet covered ropes with signs that said: 30 MINUTE WAIT FROM THIS POINT

The exhibit was pretty fabulous, but it kind of made me a bit sad and I said to Peter:

"Now I hate all the crappy clothes I have at home. I want a vest made of balsa wood."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Fates Hate My Dentist

So I've had this cavity that I needed to get fixed for a while--but I was a bit nervous about finding a new dentist because my previous two have been not-so-great.

After a few months of procrastinating and getting on a better dental plan, I picked a dentist out from one of the "Best of" lists in the local magazine and he's great. I had an appointment with him yesterday which got cancelled because I had to make a last-minute trip to the city for a work emergency at the time of my appointment. The receptionist was nice enough to reschedule it for today at 2pm.

I left my house with plenty of time to get there, but that's when the road crew decided to shut down all the roads FOR HALF AN HOUR. I was so annoyed. And of course, this was after a HUGE fight I got into with Peter because we had planned on going downtown to run an errand and he didn't understand why I couldn't blow off the appointment. So we basically got into a huge fight for NOTHING because the fates have decided that my cavity WILL NEVER GET FIXED.

When I called the receptionist again, it's a new one who I've never met and she doesn't like me already because of all the cancellations. Begrudgingly, she scheduled me in for Monday at noon. I hope that there's no crazy tornado or anything. I'm going to leave two hours early to make sure that I make it on time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Everything About Everything

The other day I was teaching creative writing and the kids had a zillion questions.

"What does a gun case look like?" (for a murder/mystery she was working on)

Well, I've only seen one gun case--my friend John's father mailed him a gun (which is against the law, by the way) the week John got engaged. It was aluminum and padded with yellow foam on the inside.

"What does a divan look like?"

It's basically a sofa.

"What's that sort of chair that looks like a bed?"

A fainting couch.

"What's another word for off-white?"


After answering all of their questions, the little boy in the class looks up at me in wonder and says:

"You know what I like about you? You know everything about EVERYTHING."

Kids are so easy to please.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Own Your Notes

Last week it was raining and when I got to my car, which was parked on a PUBLIC street, I found this note on my wet windshield:

It says:

If possible please leave this spot open, for I come home late from work and its very hard to find a parking space considering I have no driveway and you do.

Thank you for your consideration

Besides the fact that this person isn't very literate--I mean, c'mon neighbor! (its=possessive it's=it is)--this is about the fourth or fifth note we've gotten from a neighbor about parking. It's so ridiculous.

When I moved back into town, a guy I know who has lived here his whole life was so happy to see me and asked if I was glad to be back. I said yes, but I was getting stupid notes from my neighbors whenever I parked on the street. He got so mad that he offered to get his police officer friend to send letters out to my neighbors. I was all, uh, no, I think my neighbors hate me enough already.

You know, I also come home late from work and it isn't very hard to find a parking spot. Honestly, most of the homes are single-family so you just have to walk about three houses down on a very safe block. I get really annoyed when people are SO LAZY that they find it a complete hardship to walk a few extra feet.

I'm so thankful that I have legs and feet and that I can walk. Whenever someone is being ungrateful for something in their lives, I always say to them, "But hey, look on the bright side--you've got legs and feet! Some people would do ANYTHING to be able to walk." My friend Andrew is always, "Urgh...you're STILL talking about the feet thing?" And I always answer him by saying, "Well, if YOU had an aunt who was in a wheelchair because she contracted polio, you would be thankful every single day you could walk also."

I mean, if you have the energy to go home, write a note, and put it on my car, then you certainly have the energy to walk a couple of steps to your house. And if you don't have feet, let me know! I would have total sympathy for you...but I've seen you guys and you all look like you have feet. And what's it to you, stupid neighbor, if I have a driveway or not? That's like saying, I would appreciate it if you could give me ten dollars because you have a driveway.

I find this note extremely cowardly because it is unsigned. I mean, own your notes, dude. Leave a phone number. If my neighbor actually wanted to open up the lines of communication, then I could tell her that we can't park in our driveway because the ramp needs to be fixed and it's just not at the top of our priorities budget-wise.

I also find this note totally infuriating because it is the same handwriting as the note I got on my car last year when it was parked on another spot in the street. Okay crazy neighbor! Even if you want to "claim" a public parking spot, don't try to "claim" two. I mean, that's just plain greedy.

I think the neighbors are getting upset because we've started to park our two cars in front of our house. Usually there are three cars parked there and now we're taking up two prime spots that our neighbors have gotten used to parking on. I asked Peter if he thinks that the neighbors are upset that we're parking our cars in front of our own houses and he said:

"Yeah. I bet they WISH they could write us a note about that."

Hmmm. Maybe I should park my car in front of my house and put a huge note on it saying:

"Don't you WISH you could write me a note telling me not to park here?"

Monday, May 02, 2011


Our magnolia tree blossomed this week!

Last year we were in Denver the week our magnolia tree bloomed--basically we came home to the pink petals all over our yard. The thing only blooms once a year for less than a week. The year before that, we got a crazy thunderstorm right before the tree bloomed and all the flowers got dashed to the floor before its glory could be realized.

This year we're really lucky! Here's to the end of the longest winter in forever!