JPA Extended Bridge “Crosswalk”

March 30, 2008

I was driving from JPA Extended toward Fontaine/Jefferson Park Avenue over the little bridge right before the Wayside chicken place – something I do all the time, as I live in the area – and a woman with two toddlers glared at me from the side of the road because I didn’t stop to let her and her kids cross.

I was thinking how dangerous it was for her to be crossing the bridge with two walking children – it’s very pedestrian unfriendly right there, with no real sidewalk on the other side and zooming drivers…

Only after my husband said that a new crosswalk had been put there did I know why she was giving me the evil eye.

You can’t see the crosswalk, as a driver. And being new, it’s not something you’re going to try and see.  And it’s at such an odd place.

Obviously, someone thought this would be a helpful addition for those walking on this road.

I think it’s a set up for disaster.

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Daily Progress website

March 30, 2008

I love how the other morning I was trying to read about the shootings on the freeway and a giant ad kept blocking the ENTIRE STORY with no visible cue as to how to remove it.

GREAT.

I like the cleaner look of the new design, but I still feel like I can’t find up to the minute information very easily at all.

Meanwhile, what did working parents do with schools so abruptly closed???


Mom Cliques

March 29, 2008

I am inherently antisocial.

But here I am, trying to socialize my children.

So we go to these free for alls at parks and play places, and I’m miserable, because all the mothers know each other and are all smirky and smarky and snarky and snurky in their little cliques, cold and distant and critical-looking, and I just want my kid to have someone sweet to play with. But instead, I’m remembering how much I hated junior high, because I was always the new kid and never the cool kid and it didn’t matter how nice I tried to be, I was always an outsider.

But now it’s worse, because I don’t care if I’m the outsider, but I don’t want my kid to be an outsider. I don’t care if the other moms are snarky to me – but could they and their children include my child?

This is why, another mom told me, she’s antisocial.

I get it. I totally get it.


The Masked Blogger: Me at Age 8 (this explains a lot)

March 29, 2008

Teeth


Mary Poppins

March 27, 2008

You know you’re losing your mind when it’s 4 am and you’re nursing your newborn and what’s running through your mind is a lame attempt to recall the analytical diagrams you learned to use in your college senior critical theory class to deconstruct texts so that you can apply them to Mary Poppins.

 

I can’t stop thinking about Mary Poppins.

 

I’ve been watching it way too much and I want to keep watching it. For one thing, Julie Andrews is amazing. I find myself watching her closely to see when the Mary Poppins veneer will drop, but the mask seems completely nonporous. (And yes, she won an Oscar for it – can you believe it? An Oscar for a kid’s movie? And yet, she completely deserves it.)

 

But as I’ve been thinking about motherhood and work, the storyline of Mary Poppins has popped in, and I’ve noticed a few things about it that are kind of interesting that I’d never thought about before.

 

Take a look:

marypoppins_diagram.gif

 

Okay, so Mary Poppins is essentially a story about a nanny whose presence magically transforms a father from being a stuffy, distant, order-freak to being a jolly, engaged dad. Their relationship is at the crux of the story (hence the highlighted line above). It’s not about the kids so much as it is about the father, MP as the catalyst.

The diagram above shows how the four main adult characters are contrasted, opposed, and compared to each other to create the conflicts, both major and minor, that run through the story.

 

And how does she do it? Of what exactly does her magic consist? Well, she brings to the female/domestic sphere the element of Art – music, dance, singing, paintings – and causes it, through the children, to infect the male/business sphere. In this case, Art reveals to those it touches a truth about life that allows them to live freely and happily, a truth innate to children that adults tend to forget: That the structures of culture and rules are essentially absurd, random, silly; they do not make up reality; the seriousness with which we treat money and power and banking damages our connections to the heart of life, which is our connections to others and to our imagination. All the things Mr. Banks stakes his identity and security upon are just as imagined / invented as the adventures the children experience with MP. He discovers that “supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” – utter babble – is the only response to getting fired from his job, that indeed, his job is ephemeral, fragile, not as sturdy as he had believed, and he discovers the essential inherent impermanent and absurdity of life.

 

This is a very postmodern, buddhist kind of realization – how funny to find it in this staple of Disney creations.

 

The other two more minor characters provide counterpoints to Mr. Banks and MP.

 

Contrasted to the strict Mr. Banks is Bert the chimney sweep, whose job changes to that of kite seller or music maker or artist depending on his whims or the needs of the moment. He lives a flexible life in relationship with the world and people around him. He doesn’t have the house/family stability of Mr. Banks (we’re never really sure where he lives), but he can therefore survive and lives a fuller life – he is the reed that bends in the wind, while Mr. Banks is the rigid stick that snaps, to borrow an image from the Tao te Ching.

 

Then there’s Mrs. Banks, whose character’s actions / treatment puzzles me. She’s constantly seen escaping the house in a flurry to go fight for women’s rights – ostensibly, she could be at home with the children, but apparently she doesn’t want to be nor does the film hold her responsible for doing so.

 

She is in the process of fleeing the domestic sphere, abandoning her ‘place’ with the female servants and the nanny, but her duty is not called into question in the same way as Mr. Banks.

 

From this I can only conclude that the film is saying that the health of the family requires Mr. Banks to come home/go fly a kite, not for Mrs. Banks to stay put, which is amazing, given the year this film was produced and the Victorian era of its setting.

My general conclusion: The film underscores something I firmly believe: if women are going to achieve equality in this culture, it’s not just women who need to be enlightened and fighting for their rights – it’s the men who need to give up their ideals of patriarchy and paternalism, indeed it’s the whole system that needs to be revolutionized (thus, all the male bankers are out flying kites at the end of the movie).

This is essentially a movie about an anarchist revolution (anarchy in the true definition of the term).

Interesting, eh?


Maternity Leave Crock

March 26, 2008

Turns out the way my company figures out maternity leave, they “gave” it to me (gee, thanks – you mean you didn’t want me to deliver in my cubicle?) by taking away all my future earned vacation time, which means that returning to work I would have only FIVE days for the rest of the year to cover illness. With two kids.

Not to mention that if I wanted to take FMLA I would go unpaid and still owe them for my medical insurance during that time.

What a crock of crap.

My neighbor across the street told me she had to return to work three weeks after having her daughter, and I’ve heard of worse.

Do employers not realize that treating people like this sucks?

What am I doing about it? Nothing. I subscribe to Moms Rising, an activist organization for these kinds of issues, but I never read it. I get angry about these kinds of things, but then I get bored with the actual issue. Isn’t that awful? I am just not the activist type of person.

I guess when faced with Issues, people fall into categories:

1) activist leaders

2) activist followers

3) journalists/reporters

4) quiet supporters who read/watch the events from afar on comfy couch

5) people who roll their eyes

6) people who look away and go back to reading/playing nintendo

7) people who are #4 but wish they were # 1 or 2 but really don’t want to be just wish they were cuz they think they’d be better people if they were.

I am SO #7.


Netflix Has Great Customer Service

March 26, 2008

They e-mailed me an apology – before I even knew that a problem had occurred.  Way to win my loyalty!! See what they sent:

We’re Sorry Your DVD Was Delayed
Dear Amy S.,

As you may have heard, our shipping system was unexpectedly down for most of Monday. We should have shipped you a DVD but were unable to. Your DVD was shipped today, Tuesday, March 25th, instead.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. We will issue a 5% credit to your account in the next few days. You don’t need to do anything. The credit will be automatically applied to your next billing statement.

Again, we apologize for the delay and thank you for your understanding. If you need further assistance, please call us at 1 (888) 638-3549.

-The Netflix Team


By the way, this is parenting-related because I have been using breastfeeding time as an excuse to catch up on old movies and tv shows via Netflix – Hulu also great – as well as reacquainting myself with Gertrude Stein, of all people!