Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Borscht

I'm officially on retreat.

Well, not really officially. But that's what I call it lately when my daughter goes off with her dad for the occasional visits she has with him -- a retreat. When the divorce first happened, I was torn in two directions: on the one hand, overwhelmed with having gone from being one party in a genuinely 50/50 parenting arrangement to now being a single mom with a disappearing ex-husband, and desperately wanting him to spend time with my daughter so I could catch my breath and deal with my own emotional breakdown rather than constantly trying to stave off hers. And on the other, feeling even the few hours he spent with her once a week as an amputation, a violent tearing of her away from my body.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Icarus also flew

Henri Matisse, Icarus, 1947
I've always felt slightly guilty for my inability to be moved by poetry. I've seen it not so much as an intellectual failure -- or, maybe more precisely, not *only* as an intellectual failure -- but as an emotional failure, too. A sign that part of me is closed off to the world, hardened. I'm not sure why poetry should signal this to me more than any other of the arts, but it does. Maybe it's because I remember those times when my ex would turn to me while we were both reading in bed and read that passage from Anne Carson or Anna Akhmatova that had struck him as particularly beautiful -- I remember, that is, the look of sadness on his face when he saw my blank response, or worse when he saw my effort to connect. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Soup For C.

I'm not sure there is anything more satisfying to me than when my 10-year old daughter's friends enjoy my cooking. I love that they are adventurous enough to eat the food that I make, and I love that my daughter is so proud when they praise it. One of P's friends in particular, C., is a favored guest, both because of her enthusiasm and because she actually makes requests. I have been sending C. jars and jars of dill pickles this fall, having made way more than I could ever dream of eating, and I owe her some pickled beets -- she was the only person who ate the ones I made last fall (everyone else found them too tart) and has now requested more.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Like a Dog Chasing a Car

Every few years, I find myself in the throes of a very particular sort of entirely inappropriate crush. The thing is, I know these infatuations are impossible, unsuitable, unfitting, unseemly, unbecoming, unbefitting, improper, and generally embarrassing. Luckily, for all my failures in self-control when it comes to food, Facebook, and binge TV-watching, I am the master of self-abnegation in other aspects of life, so there's never been a question of acting on these particular excessive feelings. I'm silly, but I'm not stupid.

Sophie Calle, Suite Venitienne, 1980
6:15pm. They walk in an antique shop, "Luigi 
Bottella d'Arte", 1656 piscina di frezzeria. 
They go up a stairway. There is a tiny 
blind alley in front of the shop. I decide to 
take up watch on the corner of the alley where 
it meets the piazza. When they'll come 
down the steps, I'll see their legs 
as they appear and will back up into 
the darkness.
When I was 29, it was a near-60 year old, spectacularly unattractive man I worked with whose sense of humor was self-serving and whose voice was so rumbly it would give me headaches. When I was 35, it was an ethereal young student of mine who was young enough to be my much, much, much younger brother; he would sit in my office for hours on end with his doe eyes and his eagerness to please, wanting to discuss with me the meaning of Art -- a conversation I indulged only because of the crush, because I really couldn't care less about the topic. (I like art a lot, but I really have no interest in Art, if you know what I mean.)