Things I am putting off until through some drastic change in life circumstances I have more time

1. Exercise
2. Budgeting
3. Charitable giving
4. Cooking nutritious meals
5. Sewing the missing buttons back on my clothes
6. Moving my books out of my parents' house
7. Unpacking my house

8. Walking my dog

9. Reading the newspaper
10. Watching the 84 hours of tv on my dvr
11. Giving myself a pedicure
12. Doing something with the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, 12 month, and 18 month clothing stashed here and there and everywhere
13. Deciding whether to have another kid
14. Writing in my "letters to Nugget" journal for the first time in a year and a half
15. Being nice to people


The world will be thy widow

I don’t usually write much about my work because I’m hyper-aware of the confidentiality issues that would arise (not to mention that I think most people would find it quite boring) but I think it is safe for me to say that I am currently working on a case for a company that manufactures a chemical used to treat water. In other words, they perform a necessary role in the process that provides all of us with safe drinking water. Which has highlighted some interesting issues for me in relation to the idea of “opting out” that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

My work often involves delving into the minutiae of other people’s working lives. I read their (work-related) (usually) emails, pore over their spreadsheets and powerpoints, and interrogate them about what they do and how and why. This can lead to what might be described as a fleeting moment of existential contemplation. The apparent futility of so much of what so many people do day in and day out is quite striking when you can catch a glimpse of it from a remove. Even if you could make the case that the labors of legions of paper-pushers are essential to the manufacture of their employer’s product, then what? Without them, for example, we wouldn’t have plastic bottles? Or missile launchers? Is that a bad thing?

But clean drinking water? You can’t argue with that. What it brings home to me is that opting out is a privilege. Where would we be if everyone decided to take a pass on the work required to make our lives possible? In a world without an affordable and convenient supply of clean drinking water.

Does that mean no one should opt out? Artists make a meaningful contribution. But can’t you make art and work? Surely stay at home moms are doing something worthwhile. But do they add any value that a working mom doesn’t have? This sort of thinking was part of what led me to leave my job in publishing to go to law school. It was not, I admit, very clearly thought out, but I did have a vague idea that I wanted to be making a more concrete contribution to the work of the world.

On an individual level, opting out seems like a perfectly valid choice to me. You forgo some things: some level of economic security and luxury (to the extent those are different), most likely. But you do it for the sake of quality of life. On a macro level though, can it be justified? Or is it, simply, selfish?


Not sure what to think about this

Nugget (my two-year-old) put a garbage can on his head and said "I'm a woman."

I am pretty sure I didn't find it as funny as my husband did, although I did laugh. And then I contemplated explaining to him that it was offensive and decided to get over it and let it go ... he is two, after all. A luttle early to be explaining the politics of sex and gender.


Random quickies, partially illustrated

The "Your toddler" e-newsletter I get from the hospital where Nuggest was born says I "should not be alarmed" that my toddler is developing an imagination. "He is not confusing a sofa cushion for a fluffy cloud--he is allowing his imagination to stretch itself out and find new ways to play!" What a relief.
One of the windows on the front of the new public library in my neighborhood looks into this little vestibule with a couple of doors. Architecturally speaking, that's weird enough. But it's a refurbished vintage building, so I guess it wasn't planned that way. Much weirder: In the corner of the room there is a giant (like, 8 feet high) mound of something that looks *exactly* like a pile of dirty snow/frozen slush with a layer of fresh snow on top. If you are from a midwestern city you know wat I'm talking about. All the snow gets pushed into these massive piles by the snowplows, and because they're so big they don't melt for pretty much the whole winter. But they get really dirty and also sort of dehydrated. The surface gets all pockmarked, which is emphasized by the greasy black grime that has stuck to it. It's really gross. But whatever this is in the library vestibule, it looks exactly like that. With, as I said, a fresh layer of snow partially covering the grimy dried out ness. Is the vestibule a walk-in freezer in which one of these snowdrifts is being preserved fo god knows what reason? Is it "art"? A recreation for a museum of weather-related novelties?
I saw the snowdrift exhibit when I went to the library to vote this morning. Nugget tagged along--his first experience of democracy. He didn't seem very excited. After we left he asked "Mommy vote?" (Which sounded more like "Mommy boat?") -- as if to say, so are you going to vote now that we're done with that boring thing at the library?
Not a minimalist:

I don't know where he gets it:

We call this pile of sh-t "the library."