Saturday on the Hudson River

At 6:00 am, I woke myself up from an anxiety dream about missing a writing deadline and losing Ian on a New York City subway. I picked up egg sandwiches at the deli and dropped Jonah off at the high school for the cross country bus at 7. I arranged three interviews for Monday and forced Steve to look at fall jackets on the computer.

With that nonsense out of the way, the day is free for fall adventures. Jonah’s race is about 60 minutes north of here along the Hudson, so we’re going to make a day of it. We’re going to check out a new walking bridge over the river and some mountain trails. Jonah’s race is at 1:00. (I hope he doesn’t puke up that egg sandwich.) Later, we’re going to celebrate Steve’s birthday at this restaurant.

There’s a lovely crispness to the air with some hints of color in the trees. There are beer and apple festivals everywhere. It’s times like this when I swear I’ll never leave the Northeast.

Pictures will happen.

Procrastination Morning

I just made a list of about 20 dumb “mom chores” that have to happen this morning (sign up Ian for computer class, pay the YMCA, picture day forms) and “general home chores” (buy butter, find out what happened to the security deposit from the summer house rental).

At 11:00, I have to go to see the dentist, aka Dr. Hands. He likes to run his hands through my hair before checking out my teeth, as he talks about his fetish for Debra Messing. I really need to add “find a new dentist” to my to-do list.

Behind me, Jonah is printing out pictures for a poster for his English class. Why is a junior in high school making posters, instead of a Powerpoint presentation? I’m not entirely sure. Add “switch English classes” to the list.

And in the midst of all this, I’m slowly learning how to write a weekly article, instead of writing whenever the spirit moves me. The editor and I are working out a rhythm. I’m attempting to keep the work out of the weekends. Right now, I’m waiting for her to edit a piece that I finished on Monday afternoon. If she doesn’t wrestle control of this essay away from me soon, I’m going to keep inserting zombie metaphors.

I keep meaning to read this article from Anne-Marie Slaughter’s husband about he had to be the primary parent, while Anne-Marie concentrated on her job. Yes, there is such a thing as a lead parent (see the first three paragraphs of this blog post.) But it’s entirely bizarre that the Slaughter-Moravcsik family is being used to describe the tensions and dilemnas of typical American families. “Sorry, dear, I can’t make dinner for your parents on Sunday, because I have to fly to Washington to appear on ‘Face the Nation’.” And it’s really weird that this guy who works at Princeton (Princeton! Tenure!) is whining about career sacrifices. It’s like when Gwenyth Paltrow talks about the fun of shopping for bargains at Barney’s.

Well, my procrastination moment has ended. Jonah needs a ride to school with his poster, and I have to go meet Dr. Hands. Shudder.

Bernie is Up!

Bernie is polling well. Quinnipiac has him at 41%, Hillary at 40%, and Biden at 12% among likely Iowa caucus voters. Now, primary voters are always more extreme than regular voters, but those are good numbers.

Jonah is addicted to Reddit. It’s kinda funny that Reddit, which is an Internet 1.0 thing, appeals to my teenager, but it does. Last week, he used some random tidbit that he learned on Reddit in his Physics lab. The teacher had them use paper and tape to create a structure strong enough to hold their textbook a few inches off the ground. Just the week before, he had read an article about the stength of paper on Reddit, so he knew how to create IKEA-style legs for the book by cutting strips of paper and rolling them into tubes. He was the first one to finish, and came home gleefully triumphant. I had been mocking him for his Reddit reading, saying that nobody but lonely 30-years with Aspergers wrote posts on Reddit. Jonah 1; Mom 0.

And through his Reddit reading, Jonah has developed a passion for Bernie. I guess the Aspergery, Reddit dudes love Bernie, too.

There’s a lot of people who have no interest in another Clinton or another Bush. Hence, Bernie and Trump. We’ll probably still end up with Clinton and Bush in the end, but at least right now, everybody wants a little fun.

SL 667

Chobani’s founder Ulukaya donates $700 million to refugees.

Is academic publishing a huge scam?

The death of Aylan Kurdi has finally created some awareness of the refugee problem. We’ve got a huge mess on our hands. Europe can’t send the refugees away, but it’s going to create huge problems. Huge. Massive and expensive supports for these people, most of whom can’t integrate easily into the modern economy. Healthcare. Food. Housing. And the inevitable Backlash. It’s going to destabilize Europe. The middle eastern nations won’t take them. With all the normal people leaving, Syria is going to enhabited by crazy people with big guns. We’re trying to avoid a war, but we’re going to end up there anyway. Not good for this mom of a teenage son.

Death Monuments and Beers on the Water

Steve has worked in the building directly across the street from One World Trade Center for two years, but we’ve never been to his office. It’s not the place where one brings dirty children. A couple of weeks ago, we went anyway and checked out the whole area.

While I’ve been to the seaport and other downtown spots, this was the first time that I’ve been to the WTC since 9/11. Right after it happened, I couldn’t go down to help with the relief effort, because I was pregnant. Later, I had no interest in looking at the gaping hole in the ground and getting depressed. I was a little horrified at what that area has become. Two blocks of death.

The footprint of the old buildings are now water features that stretch out for two blocks. And there’s a museum that’s sloped like it’s midway through collapse. NO! Just to the side there’s the new transportation center that looks like the sunburnt bones of a mythical creature. There are vertibrae and ribs! And when you’re inside, the bones continue, so you feel like Jonah in the dead whale.

People died over there. A lot of people. Everybody else was scared shitless. And I want to forget about it.

But once you get past the two blocks of death, that area of the city is happy capitalism. Between 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, downtown wasn’t looking too pretty for a long time. Now, it’s a big amusement park. There are building cranes everywhere. Steve’s building has a fancy-pants mall in the basement with Hermes and Louboutin stores, aka gift stores for guilty stockbrokers. There’s a cafe that stretches out along the water.

People want to live right next store to their offices, so half the buildings going up are residential. There’s a mile deep Whole Foods with perfect red apples.

I showed the kids where George Washington took his first oath of office. We went into Trinty Church. We said hello to the Stock Exchange. We had beers at a cool joint with views of the Statue of Liberty.

Quick Update

Hi, guys. I’ll get a blog post up later today. Just wanted to jot a quick note first.

A year ago, I was encouraged to apply for a position. I took three weeks to pull together all the relevant paperwork and then heard nothing. I was briefly disappointed, and then promptly forgot about it. In the beginning of August, some people involved in the process randomly contacted me to let me know the whys. Basically, I was too old. This happened just as I was in the middle of a meltdown about turning 50.

The next week, the Atlantic offered me a position as a regular contributor. Again, out of the blue.

I’m going to be writing about schools, higher ed, and parenting once a week for the education channel at the Atlantic. My latest article should be up on the website later today.