Friday, November 19, 2021

Jobs, Jobs


Employment in the U.S. right now is crazy.  Every day I get emails.  To me.  The oldster. "Amazon is hiring.  Great starting salary. College tuition possible."  Or, "Be your own boss.  Sign up for Door Dash, or Uber or Lyft."

Today I was sitting in the drive through when my phone rang. "Grandma, it's me," said a quivering young male voice.  "I need your help.  I've been in an accident."  My heart sank for that instant before I knew this wasn't either of my grandsons. "Can you give me your number so I can call you back?," I said.  Click. Call over.

Later, I thought: with all of the jobs out there that are begging to be filled, why did this somewhat talented young man have to choose one so terrible?  So mean?

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Different Yet Alike


I am taking a class studying the rise and fall of Mikhail Gorbachev.  We are still at the “rise” part, but, of course, with the perspective that we know how the story ends.  It’s thus even more surprising that — while he did have power — his accomplishments were so profound.

One observation that I keep coming back to over and over is how much the power playing in Russia  is so much like what goes on here at home.  My friend Trudy, who is a classmate, says “Human nature is the same everywhere.”

Last week’s chapter contained an episode that left me laughing.  In 1988, a chemistry teacher named Nina Andreyeva, complained that the debate over the country’s Stalinist past was spreading doubt and confusion among her students leaving them upset.  She vigorously demanded that the country turn away from “repentance.”

Sound familiar?

Monday, November 1, 2021

Making it New


Maybe it was in the works for awhile but it seems like Facebook knew it was in a jam last week when they decided to change their name to "Meta."

I was definitely in a jam when I first thought of choosing a new name for myself.  I was hurt, sad and frustrated from a divorce . . .  and what I later understood was a yearning for something of my own that included creative achievement.

Did the new name help me turn in a new direction?

I like to think so.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Two at the Top


Normally I wouldn’t be interested in reading a New Yorker article about Martha Stewart, but when I saw it was written by Joan Didion, I immediately became interested.  I thought that Didion would write some unique and thoughtful takedown of Stewart.  That was lazy thinking.  Yes, she gives us something novel, something important to chew on, but it is never dismissive.

The enormity of Stewart’s empire is well described.  Didion understands that it is not just about “elevating the role of homemaker” as Stewart likes to say.   Didion does what she usually does as she explains Stewart in the annals of American capitalism. 

The other female phenomenon that came to mind, of course, is Oprah.  I don’t think she inspires as much parody or criticism, but maybe it’s out there and I don’t keep tabs.  Or, maybe I've even avoided it because I like Oprah more than Martha.

I hope I don’t find out that these two capitalists are sheltering their money, paying off politicians or sending rockets into space. If that happens, I’ll wait for Joan Didion to explain.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Still Learning


Natalie has invited me to read along with her for one of her college classes.  I ordered the book from the library.  I hope my mind hasn’t wandered too long in the mush of mysteries and relationships.  I’m just going to have to put my teeth back in my mouth so I can chew on the hard stuff.

When I told my friend Gerry about Natalie’s generosity, he mentioned his friend who had just retired as a professor at her school.  Which sent me thinking about academia.  A few years ago, another professor, my ex-husband’s daughter Laura Kipnis, wrote an article about sex wars on her campus.  It created quite a buzz.  Recently, I watched the Netflix show, The Chair. The story seems like it might be the way things are today.

Natalie is organizing a philosophy club.  I told her my favorite philosophers are the stoics.  And Camus.  That seems about right for now.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Water, Water Everywhere


After spending her first night at college evacuated from her flooded dorm, Natalie is still having water problems on campus.  Follow her search among the vending machines.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Fiction faces Life


                                                                            Elly Griffiths

A few months ago, my friend Trudy suggested I might like a series of books she called The Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths.   “They’re British mysteries,” she said.  “Ruth Galloway is a forensic archeologist.” 

Thus began my journey through fourteen books solidifying my enduring interest, admiration and love for this remarkable character and those populating her life.

Ruth is a proud, professional, competent, rational woman who is determined to acquire and retain recognition for her academic status and accomplishments in her field. Archeology makes sense of the past through relentless discovery and careful examination.  Layers of reality give us a place to stand.

She fusses over her weight, battles her skepticism about her evangelical parents, forms deep friendships with those who examine the world from many perspectives, and gloriously allows herself to become entangled in the ultimate human story —  the story of love.

The genius of Griffiths’ writing is presenting the value of history that can be unearthed and catalogued even as it stands next to what can only be lived and never fully explained.