Category Archives: on the media

And so begins the fasting.


Not from food, are you crazy? Do you know me? No, so begins the occasional news media fast.  Perhaps fast isn’t the right word — more like a cleanse. You know like the master cleanse, where all you drink is that maple syrup, lemony, hot pepper infused water.  Except I will just be down to the newspaper, because maple syrup, lemony, hot pepper infuse water sounds like a bad idea.

The longest I have gone through one of these is three weeks. I am thinking about going a month — because I need to wean myself off of the political spin machine, the analyzing, and the constant drone of everything I heard just a minute ago.

In, Poetry Books, (I am working on more of Frank O’Hara’s Collected, also Billy Collins most recent, (though it’s over a year old),  Horoscopes for the Dead.

Out, Local, evening tv news.
In, local newspaper

Out, HuffPo
In, more writing and blogging about things that are non-political.

Out, Sunday morning news shows
In, more recipe culling. I am looking to reduce my grocery bill as much as I can over the next month – liking these two sites for new and cheap ideas

Out, Real Time with Bill Maher
In, Reading Novels, I have Vonnegut and Lamb half done on my night stand.  Oh and the new JK Rowling for book club.

Out, NPR
In, new music, as much as I can find, have I mentioned how in love I am with this guy right now? Oh, I have. Cool.


The ones that burn too bright


Writing and reading and listening — and trying to decipher meaning  in a half of day of quiet in my house.  Came upon this piece. . . again. . . that I had almost forgot about – But as another pop star burns out her candle- I was thinking about how our limitless consumption of media right now (she says whilst in the midst of limitless consumption) is constanly changing our discourse on ourselves, and our communities — and the world around us.  The revolution will be televised, and then YouTubed, and reblogged, and chopped up in to tiny bits of edible sound bites.  And like JaySmooth, I wonder what this means for the tiny people we teach, and parent, and nurture – what this fully televised world will hold for them.

West Wing called it –


So with the dust-up over Dr. Laura’s quitting her radio show last night – I was reminded how the West Wing did a send up of her almost 10 years ago after she called homosexuality a “biological mistake”.  I only wish Aaron Sorkin was still writing so he could do this last bit of bat shit crazy some justice.

In a day without TV – 4 of 5


A little honesty here. Today sort of sucked.  Day four with no tv for us, and Kai was pushing it to the limit. He was not to be amused by anything today – we made play-dough this morning, and I got a whole fifteen minutes out of that.  Look, in some fuzzy-headed picture of what my life would be like now,  I may have imagined that I’d parent without TV in my house. No TV ever.  You know, we’d sit around making whole-wheat bread, and yogurt, and tie dye socks. The reality doesn’t look even a little like that.  I’m going to admit, that TV, it gets my kid to stop moving.  This, that is the getting my kid to pause, to stay with two feet in one place, to not be in constant motion, it takes either unbelievable patience, or Wow! Wow! Wubzy. And me, I just don’t have an unlimited well of patience, nor do I even have two free hands most of the day.  And so in the tough spots, times where his brother is having a hard time getting to sleep, or when I would like to enjoy the luxury of  you know, a shower, and especially when I’m making dinner, I throw on Sprout, or PBS, or Nick Preschool.

And I’ve had my consciousness raised, I get the whole thing, I see how TV gets to him, how he tells me I need that hanger for my closets, or how I need to buy that sparkly machine for my jeans (Sprout has weird infomercials).  When we throw on WB on-demand, so he can watch Scooby, he asks immediately about their website, and its games, and “can we get those Scooby points mama?” Hell when we putz  around the store, it’s obvious that even the  channel that has no commercials, is just a day long commercial – “MOM, DORA and DIEGO, they have a new MAP! We NEEEED that”.  And I tell him, “Dora and Diego live in the tv and don’t have to live with us, thank you”. And that works just fine.

It’s just lately, TV seems to play too big a role, he finishes a show, then he hops on the computer to play a letter game, then on to my Droid to play another game.  And me, as soon as the kids are asleep, I’m grabbing a laptop, and flipping the channel to my favorite summer reality show.   And I’m locked in screen world, till I’m too tired to keep my eyes open.

So today sucked because I chose this week to not fall back on what I’ve come to know so well.  And today sucked because Kai and I had just about had it with each other, and today sucked, because I thought it was a good idea to fight with a three year old.

But, today’s battle taught me that parenting isn’t about an ideal or an expectation. Parenting isn’t static. Every moment is dynamic, ever battle is about learning something new. Every struggle is about figuring out what works for you and your kids.  And with each moment, battle, and struggle, you negotiate the field of what is working right now for you and yours.  And this is the best I can do. I can make it work for this minute, and anything beyond that, is gravy.

In a day without TV – 3 of 5


“Okay Mom.”  That’s how he starts all his sentances –

“Okay Mom.”

It’s got the same cadence as a cheerleader saying, “ready? Oh-Kay!”

“Okay mom. When we get home, we’ll take the tv off of vacation for a little while. And I’ll watch a movie.  Okay mom?”

Luckily, he was distracted by the juice boxes I’ve been trading for trips to the potty.  We’re in straight up commerce mode here – and juice boxes are like toddler crack.

Me, I don’t miss the tv nearly as much as I thought I would.  Though, if I was really braved I would have unplugged the DVR – but uh yah, baby steps.

In a day without TV – 2 of 5


At this point I’m good at giving up tv.  The internet is a tough thing to bring down to one hour a day. . .

I made a summer squash casserole today and I’m making chocolate zucchini bread right now.  I couldn’t find either in my cookbooks (I didn’t go through all 87, I’ll admit).  So I resorted to the Droid for this.   I think when this week is all done, I’ll have far less screen time in my life, and I’ll be better at staying away for it for longer periods of time – but at this point in history, giving up the internet is about as tough as giving up electricity.

In a day without TV – 1 of 5


It is 8:42 and my house is silent except for the clicking of my keys.   I have thirty mins before my self imposed hour limit of computer time is up.  I have three bills to pay, and four emails to answer. I’m certain, that I can get that all done.

Today we:

Trounced off to Amherst to wrastle with town collectors.
Got a cookie and moo-cow chocolate milk at the Black Sheep.
Stopped by the Dollar store to pick up some cheap art supplies.
Played with water in bins on the kitchen floor.
Made wipes with a paper-towel roll and castille soap.
colored pasta to make macaroni art tomorrow.
went to the Y so I could take a yoga class, and the kids could play at child watch.
went to the grocery store for provisions.
checked out the neighbors new chicken coop.
had brinner made by Russ.
read the Cat in the Hat Comes Back – (turns out the Cat in the Hat is the head of a Jersey crew).

And now, the dishes are done, the babies are bathed and asleep, and the thunder storm just rolled through.
I’ve always wondered what kind of time-suck tv really is, and now, I have a pretty decent idea.

Giving up the screen



So, I read an article- and got inspired.  Handed the article to Russ, he not so much inspired, but game.




Monday, we give up TV for five days – and – and – and internet. And Droids too.  It’s just there is so much tv and computer us in this house.  It’s summer, we’re busy every weekend from here till after Labor day – so I’m thinking, why should we spend our weekdays locked in a relationship with TV and Blogs.

And I have no intention on giving up TV or my laptop or my Droid forever, I’m just looking for a little different take on life next week.

The rules-

  • No TV, No Netflix, No DVD’s for -grownups or children.
  • Russ will use the computer for work, but only during work hours.  No programing after dinner
  • I will give myself an hour a day after babies are in bed to email for work, and pay bills, and acomplish other household tasks.
  • Droids should only be used for person to person contact, no FB, no sneaking the  SCOTUS blog or KitchnTherapy.
  • If I have time left in my hour, I will blog, otherwise, all blogging will be done in pen and paper, and posted Saturday.

So yah, more intentions – we shall see.

In which pithy isn’t enough


Every sunday I listen to This American Life.  I do the dishes after dinner while Russ bathes the babies, and I get lost in the stories. It is one of my favorite hours of the week. Last night the dishes were done early, so I bounced around my kitchen, dusting and watering plants and bouncing the baby because I couldn’t stop listening.  The whole hour was compelling but the last story hit home.

I’m a teacher who has taken a year off from teaching to be a mama. This year away has given me a little perspective on my profession, and I keep having momments of clarity about this vocation.

Last night, this last piece rang truer than most of the diatribe published in the NEA’s quarterly magazine – and I found myself nodding emphatically along.

The Apocalypse and the Life Boat (begins at 42:46, but if you have a chance listen to the whole show)