Saturday, January 31, 2009


I never really was much of a Bruce fan growing up or in my earlier adult years. In recent months, thought, I've watched two recorded concerts, and I appreciate the man for what he does — write good songs and put on a killer show.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Fun

There have been a couple of illustrated videos running around my watching list. I love the aesthetic and the balance with the songs. If you have any favorite illustrated videos, drop them in the comments.

Madoff, the economy, collateral damage, absurdities, and other odds and ends

I've been remiss about updating things lately, and a little caught up in the juggling act of life. But I've been missing the chance to post, too. Things occur to me, and I make a mental note to conjure up a fully wrought post. Then life gets in the way again—the kid needs to go to school, dishes need to be done, a project crops up at work, sleep happens, the dog needs to go out, dinner needs to get made, and the list goes on.

Regardless, here's a quick addenda to jumpstart my brain at the end of the week:

  • Brandeis's decision to close the Rose Art Museum — The news that Brandeis would be closing the Rose arrived in alum's email boxes before it hit the news wires. In the email, President Reinharz explained that it was a difficult but necessary decision for the long-term future of the university, its endowment and its ability to fund student need. More than a few alumni disagreed and a the hue and cry hit newspapers and blogs. I'm still split on the matter. I understand the university's need to secure additional revenue sources, particularly given the damage done to major donors by the Madoff scandal. At the same time, I fear that they will be mortgaging a part of the museum's cultural and intellectual currency for a finite gain.

  • Madoff, Thain, and Gordon Gecko — Can we put the Gilded-Age-style greed that came of vogue in the Eighties out of our misery, please? The damage done by hedge funds and Ponzi schemes to our common good (see above) is going to have long-lasting effects on the institutions that keep our culture alive and will do long-term damage to the non-profit organizations that support all ends of our society. The exuberant greed of Thain and countless other CEOs, investment bankers, and their ilk leaves them complaining over smaller bonuses while the rest of us see the value of our investments and employers plummet because they've sucked the money out of the system to line their silk pockets.

  • The First Week — Two acts please me more than any other in the Obama administration's first week: their message to Citicorp that taking delivery of a new $50MM corporate jet would not be acceptable, and the message that banks were unethical in doling out billions in bonuses while taking billions in TARP funds.
  • Waste Management — I've decided to reduce my contribution to the waste stream. This is not to say I am recycling more, because I don't think that would actually be possible. No. I'm taking every opportunity I can to use silverware, plates, bowls and mugs at work. At home, I've begun to use reusable containers in Banana's lunch. A co-worker asked me if I was doing this because I am "Green." (The quotation marks were audible in her voice.) I said yes, but the reality is that I see this as an ethical decision rather than just a green decision. By reducing the amount that must be moved to a landfill or recycled, I've reduced the amount of energy used. By reducing the amount in landfills even by a few items a day, I've contributed a bit to leaving Banana and her children's children a cleaner, nicer earth.

  • Global Warming Is Irreversible. — A study was released this week that I can't imagine ever being released during the Bush administration. Basically, it details that global warming can't be reversed once it's begun. What makes this even more frightening is that all evidence collected in recent years points to the fact that warming is happening faster than expected. If all of this is true — and there is no compelling reason to ignore it any longer — our grandchildren's world is going to be a radically different place than the world we live in now. Unless we take stricter actions. Now.

  • Mini daffodils make the kitchen a nicer place. — In the midst of last weekend's stomach-flu-addled Trader Joe's run, Banana asked for a pot of mini daffodils. We sorted through until we found one with a couple blooms and several more on the way. It now lives on the breakfast bar, and there is something very calming and pleasant about looking at growing flowers in the morning sunlight.

So there you have it. Stay tuned for a bit of Friday Fun...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Salmonella in peanut butter. Awful, right? Mercury in high fructose corn syrup. Troubling, right? What I find more troubling is that companies and regulators may have information about these issues long before the public learns about them and long before anything is done to correct them.

It is shocking and inconceivable that the company responsible for the current Salmonella outbreak in peanut products knew about the contamination long before any actions were taken. Salmonella is deadly, yet Peanut Corp. allowed the contamination to pass unreported and unresolved until death and illness brought it to light:
Michael Rogers, director of the division of filed investigations at the F.D.A., said that the inspectional team found records showing that on at least 12 occasions between 2007 and 2008, the company’s own tests of its product “identified some type of salmonella and released a product after it was retested, in some cases by a different laboratory.”

Mr. Rogers said the positive test results should have led the company to take actions to eliminate the contamination. “It’s significant because, at the point at which salmonella was identified, it shouldn’t be there, based on the manufacturing process that’s designed to mitigate salmonella, actually eliminate it.”

The firm took no steps to clean its plant after the test results alerted the company to the contamination, and the inspection team found problems with the plant’s routine cleaning procedures as well, Mr. Rogers said.

Without putting too fine a point on it, it is reasonable to say this: the people who knew this and chose not to report it have the blood of at least 8 people on their hands.

And from one processed-food issue to another, the week also brought the revelation that studies conducted since 2005 have discovered trace amounts of mercury in high fructose corn syrup:
In the first study, published in current issue of Environmental Health, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS.

And in the second study, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a non-profit watchdog group, found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

Products affected included "Coca-Cola, Yoplait strawberry yogurt, Nutri-Grain strawberry cereal bars, and Smucker's strawberry jelly. The top offender on their list was Quaker Oatmeal To Go." (source and additional links) While such findings don't surprise me given the industrialization of our food production, what worries me is the fact that the research has been showing this for more than three years.

From melamine to this, how many more instances have yet to be publicized (or found) of dangerous contamination in our food stream?

At this rate, Banana will never get to eat a school-supplied lunch again. Come to think of it... she never does.



Daddytypes does a good job of tossing water on potential hysteria over the mercury/HFCS issue. In particular, he correctly points out that a lax FDA under the Bush administration can't necessarily be faulted for not pursuing this; it simply wasn't something they were looking into. He also rightly points out that the potential contamination from tuna is much, much higher.

The sad part is that we probably have to assume a certain amount of contamination in almost anything produced in the maze of food processing and preparation. The contamination could be from chemicals included in refining processes or ingredients; carcinogenic residue from cooking utensils; corrupted ingredients; unhealthy additives; and so much more. And as long as our food production complex remains built on (first) business principles and (second) mass industrialization, and as long as these remain a thousand times more important than quality or healthfulness, we will continue to see problems like these.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday silliness

Ukuleles. Who knew?


Lifehacking Tip #7,381

Stick to schedules, especially where kids and mundane matters of life are concerned. Using your morning appointment as an excuse to stay in bed a few minutes longer and get your child to school slightly later than usual will almost always mean that you end up making up for lost time anyway.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fun — the Aimee Mann edition

The fabulous Ms. Mann came on the radio earlier as I was on my way to an aborted PT appointment. A quick survey of her work seemed like a fine way to end the week.

We begin here, far back in the 80s:

Not bad, but then we swing into a stellar run of songwriting and recording...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cynicism, Insidious Cynicism

Like millions around the globe, I watched our new president's inauguration on Tuesday, glued to the television from the moment the crowds were streaming in before the festivities began to the last moment I could keep my eyes open during coverage of the inaugural balls. There was a brief window when we turned off the TV for a bit of wine and cheese before I trucked off to a PTA meeting. Even at the PTA meeting, though, conversation veered between how cute the kids were and how much they were growing up to wonderment at the events of the day and the general sense of relief generated by two simple, wonderful events: the end of the Bush era and the arrival of President Obama.

How sweet it is to type those words.

Without question, the past eight years were marked by a torpor and a malaise. Adequate was good enough. The lack of events proved the triumph of ideological policies. The opacity and lack of respect shown by the administration for the populace as a whole and their clear contempt for the idea that the government could be a tool for good left us beaten and complacent. As I listened to a piece on NPR last week about Dick Cheney, it occurred to me that I had become so numbed by the cynicism that I had completely forgotten some of the truly egregious things that had happened during the reign of error.

The fact that President Obama's movement has been able to stand this cynicism and complacency on its head is — to my mind — just as powerful as the historical significance of his election. In fact, I'm tempted to say one could not exist without the other. It was his power to inspire millions of people and to engage the communities around the country that brought the change. And based on my conversations in the past few days, it may be that same power that truly helps to lead our country forward.

I have heard and read commentators who believed that Obama's speech did not soar, that it did not rise to the heights he had reached in past speeches. But I have to reject that. The speech we watched was quiet, determined, and powerful. Those who say it fell should watch it again, or read the following:

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.


We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.


And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.


For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.

It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.


...What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.


At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Clear, determined words with one powerful message: Together, we can do better.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just a reminder, that this...

is a small, wonderful vignette of what brought us to this moment,

a moment that has refreshed my hope in our country. I cannot think of a single moment in my thirty-eight years on this earth that feels as powerful as the moment yesterday when I watched the culmination of the remarkable movement that brought this remarkable man to this remarkable moment.

And when I watched this

I thought of the journeys made and travails survived by so many to bring our country to this place, and I knew that I could only understand a part of the sea of emotion of this day. But what I feel listening to these again and what I hope for our future and our children's future is unlike anything I have ever felt.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Friday Fun - the Monday edition

Considering the import of today and tomorrow, I thought it would be worth honoring history.

From yesterday:

The same song from years ago, for comparison:

More classics without annotation...

I could keep going, but that will do for now...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In the U.S., we will do anything to market anything.

Well... Our auto industry is tanking because they make cars people don't want, and they rely on outdated corporate models and development strategies. Oh, and did I mention that their advertising stinks. All you need to do is watch a football game and count the number of cookie-cutter pick-up truck ads for the latest models which were designed and produced on the assumption that the market for big trucks would never shrink. Thanks to the congressional bailout, though, the companies' marketing budgets are safe — safe to continue trying to sell us on these ever-larger vehicles. Safe enough, in fact, to make an ad as bad as this one...

H/t to Gawker for this one.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I am back in an organize-and-purge mode to continue what seems to be the neverending process of settling and resettling.In the course of it, I came across a stash of pictures that had been on my office wall in grad school and beyond.

First there was the New Yorker cartoon that I've kept in one writing space or another since the early nineties. It's yellowed and marked with old tape now, but I still couldn't quite rid myself of it.

Then, there was a picture that has followed me for even longer, from the days when I played flute and spent my summers at Interlochen. What's remarkable about this—besides my old preppy look—is the power of the black-and-white printing. Until you've put a properly developed BW print next to the crap that comes out of automatic developers in most photo labs these days, you don't realize the stark contrast—hence the second shot under here, taken from the Staten Island ferry a little over ten years ago.

Then there was the picture of Erik and me at the edge of the Grand Canyon. This one came on a whimsical trip, shortly after we'd both turned thirty and not long before we would both become fathers. Two friends on the edge of a remarkable canyon, and on the edge of remarkable journeys in life.

And last but not least is the postcard I had saved from the motel I stayed at on my first two nights in Fayetteville. I can only imagine the glory The Chief must have seen in its heyday when Fayetteville was first coming up in the world. Imagination is all that's possible because by the time I chose it as an inexpensive place to stay close to the university, it was the refuge of a few transient families and locusts, saved only by the odd addition of one of the better restaurants in Fayetteville. That good restaurants would occupy a corner of dive motels was, in fact, an odd trait of Northwest Arkansas ten years ago. Good times...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday Fun — Monday cool edition

Since I'm running late with this, I'll run cooooool with it.

And throw in a little Serge Gainsbourg, to boot...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Trader Joe's and evangelism

Anyone who's known me in the past few years knows how much I love Trader Joe's. Actually, anyone who doesn't know me but visits this blog from time to time probably knows this. I'm not sure I've ever actually spelled out the reasons why I love TJ's and why I will evangelize about them to almost anyone who will listen and who hasn't actually bought into the TJ's cult yet. Here goes...
  1. Size This may not be the first criteria most people bring up when evangelizing for TJ's, but it tops my list. At 15,000 sq. ft., the average TJ's is far more manageable and scaled to human needs than your average grocery store (50,000 sq. ft.) or superstore (a terrifying 250,000 sq. ft.). At this size, I can get in and out in a reasonable amount of time. Banana is also easier to manage in a store this size. She can help with the groceries without getting bored. Because things are closer to her scale, she can also take it all in without being as overwhelmed by hundreds of options for cereal/bread/cookies/crackers/cheese/you-name-it.

  2. Quality With occasional exceptions, the quality of TJ's products is good and consistent. They have eliminated high fructose corn syrup and unsaturated fats from most (if not all) of their product lines. To the best of their ability, they source even their non-organic products from GMO-free sources. Their non-organic milk is rBST-free, as are most other dairy items. They offer cheeses from grass-fed cows, and their meats are hormone- and antibiotic-free. As a companion pointed out, they even specify the use of animal rennet versus vegetarian rennet in the cheeses. Their frozen foods are generally very good and can be a godsend when you need to pull together a quick, healthy dinner for a tired little girl, or when you need to pull together appetizers for cocktail hour.

  3. Cost We finally get to cost, which is where most people start. I can get out of TJ's with groceries for a full week (breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two) as well as a couple six-packs of decent beer and a couple bottles of wine for a hundred dollars. Certainly some items cost the same as they might at one of the large supermarket chains, but there are many staples like pasta, yogurt, cereal, cheese, and juices that I can buy for significantly less at TJ's.

  4. Customer Service I cannot emphasize enough the importance of customer service in this list. When managers and employees show genuine enthusiasm and are consistently friendly and helpful, the whole experience improves. When they go out of their way to pay attention to children with (healthy) treats and hellos, shopping becomes more fun than a chore. And any parent who has ever taken a kid grocery shopping will probably agree that keeping a kid happy in a grocery store is priceless.

  5. Variety TJ's may not have hundreds of options for every item, but I don't necessarily want or need hundreds of options. They have the staples in enough variety that I can generally find what I need. Then there is the constant flow of new, interesting products. Whether it's cheese, prepared food, wine, ice cream, or you name it, there are inevitably moments in every shopping trip when I come across something new and worth trying. As a creature of habit who occasionally needs to be wrenched out of my habits, I appreciate this. I can say the same thing for shopping at Whole Foods, Ellwood Thompson (our local natural market), or the farmers market, but I cannot say the same thing for the standard supermarket chains.

  6. Green awareness I've found them to be very good about the use of recycled materials and about developing and using smart packaging. They are also very good about sourcing from sustainable sources. That said, I do wish that their use of packaging for fresh items would be more limited. All the smart packaging in the world can't change the fact that you're still adding waste to the trash stream.

In the end, my only quibble with TJ's is that they are consistently going into locations that can only be reached by car and are often in the exurbs. Such decisions are short-sighted at best and indicate a strategy that ignores the smaller urban areas where their core customers congregate. In Richmond, for example, a store placed in or near the Fan or near West End would perform phenomenally — and would show a nod to green economy. All one has to do is walk around the neighborhoods on recycling day to see how many TJ's bags are out. Hell, you could have done that before the Richmond store opened and seen the numbers of people who made regular treks to Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads for their TJ's fixes. I know; I was one of them.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The CPSC bows (a little bit)

Just picked this up from Consumerist. It looks like the Consumer Products Safety Commission has seen the light a little bit:

Large manufacturers and retailers say the cost of testing will not be a burden. But small businesses such as handmade-toy shops and thrift stores say the requirement would force them to spend tens of thousands of dollars to test products such as clothing, in which the threat of lead is almost nonexistent. Many thrift stores said they would be forced to stop selling children's clothing or close altogether.

The commission's two members (a third seat is vacant) voted tentatively to exempt:
  • Items with lead parts that a child cannot access;

  • Clothing, toys and other goods made of natural materials such as cotton and wood; and

  • Electronics that are impossible to make without lead.

The commission also tentatively approved a rule that clarifies how it determines exclusions from the law.

Emphasis mine.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More Corporate Madness: How "helping" our kids could hurt in the long-run

I've been hearing rumblings on DaddyTypes and from my friend Phil who makes toys (among other things) about the law that the Consumer Products Safety Commission has drafted to go into effect on February 10. Considering my usual interest in small producers and quality products versus the marketing muscle of mega-corporations, I will take a mea culpa on not paying closer attention until this post. Apparently, the law affects toys and clothes, and it may be retroactive to extant items — whether or not they contain lead.
The law, aimed at keeping lead-filled merchandise away from children, mandates that all products sold for those age 12 and younger — including clothing — be tested for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable. Those that haven’t been tested will be considered hazardous, regardless of whether they actually contain lead.

Effectively, what the government has done is to ensure that small producers — anyone from a single maker like Phil to a small company with small revenues — must go through the same costly testing requirements as the corporations whose shoddy practices caused the problem in the first place. Word on the virtual street is that many producers simply won't be able to afford to make and sell their toys or clothes anymore. And that you may not be able to find and buy all those gorgeous handmade kids sweaters, blankets, wood toys, felted animals... you name it.

Do a couple searches or head on over to the Handmade Toy Alliance for more information.

UPDATE: Here's a good post from Consumerist on it with a couple good links beyond...

H/T to Neatorama for catching my attention.

Does everything need to be redesigned?

I bought the game Sorry! for Anna for Christmas. It was a game I figured we could both enjoy, and so far my instinct proved right. One thing bothers me about the game, though: the redesign.

This was the game I remember growing up:

And this is the game as it is currently designed:

The older version certainly needed a little updating. The design showed it's age, but what Milton Bradley did was unconscionable. Whoever designed it threw every trick in the book at it.

Grunge design has been all the rage the past few years, and the trademark splatters are here. Big cartoonish design has made a comeback too; the big outlines and super-splashy "Bam," "Pow" stars speak to that. And don't forget about half-toning; some of that's thrown in for good measure. Then there's the odd turn to a retro, space-age feel with the circles and gradients and bubble effects with circle outlines thrown on top of them. The cherry on top of that particular sundae are all the extra arrows and line elements that come from the little techie elements that felt fresh ten years ago. And don't forget about the updated cool-retro typeface—the name of which escapes me now—on the cover, the requisite handwriting font to give it the fun marketing splash of a printed Post-It, and the crazy-cool type treatments on the game board. To top it all off, there are transparencies everywhere. After all, where would we be without transparencies in contemporary graphic design, right?


It all adds up to a redesign that feels like every design cliché of the past five years puked all over the package. In the end, it went from dated-but-readable to so-busy-that-you-have-to-concentrate-just-to-figure-out-what-you're-looking-for. I'm tempted to blame design-by-committee, but in the end it feels more like design driven by marketing. I can almost see the brand and sales managers agreeing that it looks new, fresh, awesome while a designer sits in the studio counting all the layers in his Illustrator files.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


is over for the time-being. I'm returning Impolitic Eye to topics other than my own therapeutic navel-lint. Consider this an addendum to the previously posted list of resolutions. That's all, thanks for playing...


One of my central goals over the past few years has been to understand why I seem compelled to sabotage myself. Anyone who's read this blog knows that I struggle to hack through and improve my attention to the details of day-to-day life and relationships.

My history of self-sabotage goes back much farther, however, to taking tests ill-prepared to partying before an important exam to not pursuing a good job opportunity until it has slipped away to any myriad of other spots in my life where I feel like could have done better; what I had in every case was an excuse. There was always a reason why I didn't do better or didn't need to do better than I had, and in this way I was protecting myself from something. Usually, I believe I was protecting myself from the need to follow up a success — it was easier to be just good enough and live down to that than to repeat excellence.

In this case, though, self-awareness has been of little use. I know I do this, and yet too often I've slipped back into the self-sabotage habit. I didn't really have an excuse until I came across an article today courtesy of Neatorama and LifeHacker that brought it all into relief. Apparently studying this tendency is a fairly new (since 1978) idea in psychology:

This is one reason that genuine excuse artisans — and there are millions of them — don’t wait until after choking to practice their craft. They hobble themselves, in earnest, before pursuing a goal or delivering a performance. Their excuses come preattached: I never went to class. I was hung over at the interview. I had no idea what the college application required.

“This is real self-sabotage, like drinking heavily before a test, skipping practice or using really poor equipment,” said Edward R. Hirt, a psychologist at Indiana University. “Some people do this a lot, and often it’s not clear whether they’re entirely conscious of doing it — or of its costs.”

This idea that those of us who intentionally stumble aren't always aware of it is dead-on, as is the reliance on excuses. There are innumerable times that I've slipped up even though I knew getting a few more hours of sleep or doing a little more advance work would ensure better results.

Like most aspects of self-growth, you can hope it's just a matter of time before you take what you know and actually uderstand it enough to put it in practice. Sometimes, that matter of time is now.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Resolutions or Intentions?

I was talking over brunch yesterday about New Years resolutions, and intentions was suggested as a better word. I agree. It seems less proscriptive. In any case, my initial thoughts were to get more sleep and take better care of myself — physically and psychologically. The more I've thought about these ideas, the more I realized that they were vaguer than I wanted them to be. So how about some specific ways I can fulfill this? Here goes:

  1. Take deep breaths often.

  2. Read more books.

  3. Do some strenuous physical activity at least once a week.

  4. Fold the laundry and put it away when it is finished.

  5. Do the dishes while cooking and after meals.

  6. Go through the mail when it comes in rather than when "I get the chance."

  7. Do something — play a game, help with a project, go to a museum, etc. — with Banana as often as possible.

  8. Challenge my habits.

  9. Create something — art, writing, music — once a month.

  10. Finish a task before going on to the next one.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Fun — Schoolhouse Rock! edition

Banana got the Schoolhouse Rock! DVD for Christmas, and we've been watching them constantly since. It's been a delicious little nostalgia trip. So delicious in fact that the question of what to do for this week's Friday Fun was dictated by a few of the songs that have been rattling through my head for several days...

Happy Newwwwww Year

By all accounts, the paella turned out well. In fact, the entire evening turned out quite nicely, from the dinner party portion with kids enjoying Shirley Temples and adults sampling champagne to the dinner itself to the black-tie cocktail party up the street. I wisely avoided the temptation of whiskey and followed my companion's lead on drinking water in between glasses of wine and champagne. And when I arrived at our friends' house to pick Banana up post-sleepover, I found her sitting in her nightgown with a Happy New Year! tiara on her head. It was an adorable image.

On the topic of images, I add this one as proof of dads in formalwear working in the kitchen: