bread from my royal hand

We went back to the Olympic Game Farm yesterday, this time with Trent. Who insisted on getting bread and feeding the animals. It proved slightly less terrifying than I predicted, but--I am ashamed to admit--I did squeal in fear when a bison stuck his whole enormous head in my window. But that was because he was dripping muddy drool all over me. Ick. Unfortunately, I think Nugget--who was on my lap at the time--now has a serious bison phobia. Oops.

 More genuinely terrifying was when Trent let Nugget steer, while we were driving next to a sharp dropoff. 


like of each thing that in season grows

One of my sisters had a roommate in law school who was unabashed about her intention to marry one of her classmates and stay home with the dozen children she planned to have. She had no apparent intention to actually practice law, and devoted her energies to the social aspects of law school--to the near exclusion of the academic side. People joke about girls getting their "MRS degree," but it was a shock to encounter someone like that in real life. Or perhaps, I should admit, it was shocking to encounter it in my life. This girl had received her bachelor's from a highly-ranked university, and was attending a highly ranked law school that is, moreover, particularly known for the extreme seriousness of its students. I guess the academic snob in me thought MRS degrees were only granted by lesser institutions. At any rate, it is relevant that both schools are private, and very expensive. Surely there are cheaper ways to find a husband.

But now I'm in the interesting position of being married to a man I met in law school, and unemployed by choice. Hmmm. My sister's roommate aside, perhaps many of these supposed JD-gold-diggers are just misunderstood. Maybe they went to law school to practice law, happened to meet someone, and then discovered they wanted or needed to quit the law?

I've had this idea floating around my head lately. Maybe we 21st century ladies are going about this whole thing backwards. Our bodies are best suited to bearing and rearing children in our early twenties--exactly the time when women like me are entering professional schools. By the time we finish school and start building a career, we are approaching use-it-or-lose-it time for childbearing. If we are so inclined, we use it--and then we have small children with very large needs. We scale back the career or put it on hold, and devote ourselves to our children for a while. Several years down the line, the kids don't need us anymore and we're ready to go back to work. But wait! That expensive education we got? That experience we had started to accumulate? It quickly became stale and useless in today's fast-paced world. We have to start from scratch building up a career, and are stigmatized by the years of "doing nothing." That's a familiar story, right?

So wouldn't it make more sense if we had the kids first and launched the career later, skipping the wasted false start? What if that were the norm, and women in their thirties and forties were a familiar sight in the halls of higher learning? What if it were so common for young women to do this that when people met a SAH mom at a cocktail party, they asked about her career plans--like you would a college-aged kid--instead of awkwardly changing the subject from the embarrassing "and what do you do" conversation and excusing themselves to find someone more interesting to talk to?

I know, there are all kinds of problems with this. For one thing, I wasn't sure I wanted kids until I met my husband, and I didn't meet my husband until I was 27 ... and in law school. For another, raising kids generally requires that someone have a decent income, which means that ladies following this plan not only have to know at an early age that they want to have kids before launching their careers, and meet and marry the father of their children early on, but also must make sure he's making enough money to support a single-income, growing family right away. That's a tall order.

Still, for those who can meet those specifications, it would be nice if that path was perceived as more acceptable, and considered along with other options. Generally speaking, I think we rush young people into career decisions without adequate education and discussion about the various options and their consequences.


From Virginia Woolf's Night and Day:
... the old conclusion to which Ralph had come when he left college still held sway in his mind, and tinged his views with the melancholy belief that life for most people compels the exercise of the lower gifts and wastes the precious ones, until it forces us to agree that there is little virtue, as well as little profit, in what once seemed to us the noblest part of our inheritance.
... for whatever people say, I'm sure I shall come back to this wonderful world where one's been so happy and so miserable, where, even now, I seem to see myself stretching out my hands for another present from the great Fairy Tree whose boughs are still hung with enchanting toys, though they are rarer now, perhaps, and between the branches one sees no longer the blue sky, but the stars and the tops of the mountains.
One doesn't know any more, does one? One hasn't any advice to give one's children. One can only hope that they will have the same vision and the same power to believe, without which life would be so meaningless.


What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?

Now that the weather is nice, we've started walking down the street after dinner to see the sunset. This is what happens at the end of the street we live on:

It falls into the ocean.

To flaming youth let virtue be as wax

I can't remember the last time I had an impassioned debate about the definition of happiness and the impossible nature of justice. Sometimes I miss being young.

Are young people more or less interesting than old people? I've generally assumed, even when I was young, that more experience equals more interesting. That seems logical. But lately I've been wondering. There is the Hamlet effect. More experience means more dithering. More uncertainty, more doubt, more fear. Less passion, less energy, less versatility. More responsibility. Responsibility is not very interesting, I'm afraid.

When I was young (I know, I'm not exactly old, but I'm talking about real youth here. I'm no youth. Young men don't look twice before calling me ma'am.), I found it incomprehensible that people could tolerate poverty and injustice in their midst. How could people devote their lives to accumulating wealth instead of fighting the good fight? Adults seemed so complacent. Was that going to happen to me? And here I am -- I'm not voting Republican, but I'm not dedicating my life to eradicating oppression either. And I can understand why people choose to live in a gated community literally and figuratively; focused on protecting their own children from poverty and injustice, even at the expense of wealth and justice for the wider world.

I think I now find it harder to understand how people can devote themselves to a cause. How do they go on picking up the battle standard day after day, in the face of hopelessness and helplessness and doubt? When there are people on the other side of your cause who fervently believe that you are wrong, how do you go on believing that you're right? It seems to me that gets harder as you get older and have more experience with being wrong. Growing up is a lot like being in a photoshop file while someone is adjusting the contrast. Either it gets grayer and grayer until you can't see a damn thing, or you start seeing everything in black and white.