I thought about calling this the “slough of despond,” but if I were the reader, I would wonder for the thousandth time how to pronounce slough. My phonics training tells me it could be any of these: slow, sloo, sluff, sloff, slaw, or slou. I’ll save you looking it up: It can be either slou or sloo. Take your pick.
However you choose to say it, that’s where I was yesterday from morning until night. It’s been a long time since I felt inwardly focused in such a bad way. I partly blame chocolate. We had friends over for outdoor wine and conversation on Friday, so I bought a way-too-big bag of dark-chocolate-covered acai berries. I didn’t really even pretend to myself that I was going to ration them. Portion control simply is not part of how my brain works, and I know it. So I ate them by the handful before and during our social time, afterwards asking Richard to hide them from me before I came downstairs on Saturday. I could have probably found them with some effort, but Duke also keeps some quite delicious protein bars around — chocolate, of course — and I ate four or five of them. In the evening, he took the the original chocolates from their hiding place, and while we were watching something I ate a few more handfuls.
Yes, I deserve breaks. I DID work a lot during the week, and Saturday IS my putative day off, but that was crazy, and I knew I had to make a U-turn. I got up early to shop and make a “crunchy salad” for the week. Some kale, but mostly carrots, cabbage, celery, radishes, jicama with chopped cilantro thrown in at the end. Add protein of some kind, and I can eat it at least once a day guilt-free. I also bought two different flavors of “detox tea.” Along with my weakness in portion control, I am very susceptible to the placebo effect. Call it detox tea, and I’ll drink it by the gallon and feel its salubrious effect. It’s working. Much better day today.
[NOTE: The following paragraph was added when I was on the point of publishing the post.]
Self-blame comes so easily to me that it didn’t occur to me until now that there was a reason for my being unsettled yesterday. My beloved older brother Andrew was hit by a car while riding his bike in Brooklyn on Wednesday. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital, X-rayed, CT-scanned, told that he had no fractures, and sent home. Even with help, he barely made it up the steps to his 2nd floor apartment. The next morning, he was still in enormous pain and could not put any weight on his right leg. We encouraged him to call the ambulance again. He did, and this time, at a much better hospital, they diagnosed a broken hip. They scheduled him for surgery Friday, but his EKG was iffy. He finally had surgery yesterday, which seems to have gone well. But the days since his accident have been full of quiet, emotional churning in my heart. OK, self. I forgive you. But next time, don’t buy the chocolates at Costco. That was ridiculous.
Enough. I’ve been self-obsessing for the last two blogs. Here are a few recommendations that you can take or leave.
I found a link to the article Coronavirus, Charity and the Trolley Problem in an email newsletter I get. It was well worth the 10-15 minutes or so that it took to read it. The intro in the newsletter was better than I could have come up with, and I wrote depressing things above, too, so here it is:
|Sarah Lazarus wrote this deeply humane, funny, moving article for us about matching with a recipient for a bone-marrow donation at the height of the pandemic, and the unexpected moral dilemmas the experience confronted her with. It’s a great read and discussion piece and, frankly, the perfect antidote to the many depressing things I wrote above.|
The word chimera is used late in the article. I didn’t know it had a genetic meaning in addition to the one that means “illusion, fantasy, delusion, dream.” (Yes, I looked it up to be sure I remembered its first meaning correctly — it’s not a word I use or see often. And BTW, it’s pronounced ky-MEAR-a.) The genetic definition is here.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Duke and I saw The Notorious RBG in a theater a couple of years ago (remember theaters?). I had not heard about another movie about her, but there’s one called On the Basis of Sex. A Slate article called “The Class of RBG” starts like this: “There’s a scene in a recent movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg that stuck in my head after I saw it. It’s in the biopic, when the future justice and some of her Harvard Law classmates are gathered at Dean Erwin Griswold’s house for dinner. The year is 1956, just six years after the law school started admitting women. In that scene, the dean asks each of the women in the class—nine of them, including Ginsburg—to stand up and explain why she’s at Harvard, taking the place of a man.” RBG’s answer is diplomatic given the times, though tongue-in-cheek. Good article, but if you want more, Dahlia Lithwick’s podcast Amicus has two episodes on The Class of RBG, Part 1 and Part 2. TRANSCRIPTS are on the links, too. RBG has a prodigious memory, and it’s a pleasure hearing her voice.
100 years ago, the 19th Amendment was ratified. But American women’s battle for the ballot began long before that day in August—and continues, even to this day. Wonder Media Network presents She Votes!—a podcast that digs into the complex history of the women’s suffrage movement and its enduring significance, hosted by award-winning journalists Ellen Goodman and Lynn Sherr. There are seven episodes, each about 30 minutes. Having lived through—and covered—feminism’s second-wave, Goodman and Sherr tell the definitive story of suffrage, from the first demands to speak on public matters by antislavery activists in 1837, through the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention for women’s rights, to the drama of the final passage in 1920 and beyond. For me, part of the pleasure of listening was due to the sound of mature women’s voices!
Sonia Sotomayor (with Sonia Manzano from Sesame Street)
It’s Sunday, and for some reason, I didn’t have a bunch of podcasts lined up to listen to. So many of the ones I follow have to do with politics and other serious subjects, but today I chose something different. I worked on my current puzzle (see below) while listening to this episode of Death, Sex and Money. It’s from 2016 when Sonia Manzano (Maria on Sesame Street, for those who get/got to watch it with kids) was a guest host. She chose to interview Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whom she had met before and with whom she shares much in common. Both are Puerto Rican, both born and raised in the Bronx. It was a joy to hear them share stories, and to simply enjoy each other’s company.
My kid story this time is quite recent. I have a weekly Zoom session to read a book to a brother and sister, one chapter each week. We were reading The Cuckoo Child, which I highly recommend as a read-aloud. The main character is Jack, a boy from a farm family whose favorite book is Birds of the World. He has an affinity for birds for all kinds and his parents give him a pair of a new variety for each birthday. His class visits a Wildlife Park where he sees ostriches for the first time. He manages to “kidnap” an ostrich egg and trick a goose on his farm into sitting on it until it hatches. Hilarity ensues — I won’t spoil the ending.