Category Archives: Zeitgeist

I’m Thinking of Joining This Caravan

Caravan of Love

Have you seen this wandering tribe? Since they are a caravan, I assume they are wandering and not still standing on this golf course lined with rainbow flags, but I’m not sure. Who wouldn’t follow a love-preaching guy with this protective jewelry and waistline anywhere that he asked you to go?

Like so many things from the 1980s, this is something I never knew I wanted to remember. The song and the video are awesome in completely different ways — it’s like an archeological dig that’s turned up sweatbands, day-glo fingerless gloves and the cartoonish international archetypes that early music videos embraced so shamelessly.

I’m hopeful that the Isleys have set the crowd straight by now, because the shoulder-padded huddled masses’ sense of rhythm is atrocious. If I find them, I’m bringing a set of klavés.

P.S. I’m your brother.

P.S.S. Watch the whole thing. It out-mesmerizes the Trolololo dude.

Related Posts:

I hate art scavenger hunts

We had an hour or two to visit an art museum in another city the other day. No sooner had we hung up our coats than one of the volunteers asked my son, “would you like to do a scavenger hunt in the museum today? If you finish it, you get a prize!”

Being four and generally highly motivated by reward systems, he looked at me eagerly for permission to say yes. I gave it to him. If I deprived him of that kind of offer, I might as well have kissed my chances at a fun museum visit goodbye. (This scavenger hunt basically asked you to find particular pieces of art in the different galleries, then answer a question about each one.)

For the first several rooms, I tried to balance the tasks of the scavenger hunt with more meaningful conversations about the art and history we were looking at. Every now and then, I could get him to stop and ponder something like how a particular piece of art was made, how it might be used, the story it might be telling or what it even was. But as we pushed on, the tasks of the scavenger hunt became more and more pressing, pulling us away from other things we might have been able to talk about.

We saw another dad looking completely beleaguered as his 9-year-old son ignored his requests to talk about any of the 18th-century European paintings he wanted to share with him. The kid was just too far into the throes of his primal push to finish his scavenger hunt and earn his prize.

As far as I’m concerned, scavenger hunts are the equivalent of worksheet learning in the classroom. They don’t invite any real depth of understanding, and do not create a particularly meaningful relationship with their subject. They are more cheap marketing gimmick, something that seems to be designed for children to pass time while parents are supposed to either help, or meditate on paintings in solitude or something. In this case, they actually seemed to be depriving more than one family of an organic museum experience.

On Sunday, a friend of mine and I took our kids to the local museum, which is under construction, so all that is open is an illuminated Dale Chihuly exhibit and a couple of rooms with highlights from its permanent collection. We led our four-year-olds through and asked them what they thought the abstract glass forms were.

“That looks like an upside-down turkey!” my son said about a glumpy shape slumped over in a forest of spears.

“That’s like a shoe, all opened up,” said his friend about a floppy, shell-like piece.

We ventured past the people watching a movie smack in the middle of the gallery, which seemed like an unnecessary obstacle with this inherent message: “shut up and don’t talk about the art.” We squirmed out of that room. My friend’s daughter peeked around the corner, and then ran back to grab my son’s hand and pull him in, howling – “come look! It’s SPACE!”

Their imaginations and curiosity ruled the rest of the visit. A chandelier was an erupting volcano from another planet. A sphere was a “giant Jupiter that’s all dead.” In the permanent collection galleries, my friend, who grew up in Holland, had her daughter jumping up and down with excitement over her obvious connection to Dutch paintings. We all sat on the floor in front of a George Segal sculpture and talked about what plaster is and how you might go about making a person out of one.

Of course, there was a room with the dreaded reward-based scavenger hunts, which just seem to be everywhere kids may show up now, but thankfully, no one bypassed us and offered them to ours. When my friend’s daughter asked what all the kids with clipboards were doing and if she could do it, her mother dismissed it with a smooth “you have to be able to read to do that.” We sidestepped the issue and took in the grandeur and mystery of a ride back downstairs in the giant elevator instead.

Granted, I’m the daughter of an art educator, so I was raised with a particular love and appreciation for art. But I didn’t find that love via lectures or gimmicky games. I was simply given the room to respond to and be inquisitive about it – to use my brain to make of it what I may before getting down to the facts of who made it and what they thought it meant or why it might be historically or culturally relevant.

If you want a child to love art, don’t make him or her whisper about it in a gallery or do some glorified word search to earn some 3-cent superball or a sticker. I also had a total blast on Sunday… and it was the interpretations and questions of our two four-year-olds that made it so much fun for all of us, pure and simple.

At a time when there are endless books out there espousing the value of “creative” people to the richness of our lives – even our economy – why are museums, of all places, bent on such ordinary engagement with kids, who are by nature some of the most innately creative people in the world?

Related Posts:

The Great Interview Experiment

Neil of Citizen of the Month has created the ultimate mixer for bloggers. By dropping a line into the busy comment section of his blog, dozens of us made a promise to interview one person and be interviewed by another, whoever that person may be.

I got some surprising and fun questions from the completely divine Princess of the Universe, whose diaries reflective and funny and worth your time to visit.

Meanwhile, I explored the archives and links over at wenchwire in order to learn all that I could about dk, or wench. She puts out her perspectives in short missives, digestible rants and extremely cool pictures of spaghetti squash jack-o-lanterns. An inspiring woman, fellow communicator and seeker, here are the words she gave me. Enjoy.

Q: Going through your archives, I find that you started your blog in 2006 as “a real-ease from my corporate tongue in cheek,” “a work in progress” and “a rant forest,” among other things. In these 3 years, has blogging served the purpose you expected it to? How has it surprised you?

A: You know I don’t think I have ever revisited my reasons for blogging. Definitely it is a real-ease from my workaday paradigm which is quite static, formal and not creative at all. I can generally let my hair down and my fingers dance along the keys without too much worry. After going back and taking a look there doesn’t appear to be as much ranting as I thought there would be, but that is also influenced by the fact that some coworkers and family members have since happened along. I try and stick to the anonymous and the “powers that be” in those particular cases.

I’m not really happy about my recent bloglessness – a lot of chaff there. Lots of twisty turny happenings in the nondigital life have been taking up my time. It surprises me that I feel guilty about that.

Q: You talk about recasting the word “wench” in a positive light. What is the mental image that you wish people would conjure when they heard it?

A: Wench is never a single image. It is an understanding that an independent woman is and can be many things at many different times. It’s like a superfast slide show that ends with the current evocation of that woman at that time. Never less than a man, subject to her own honour code, capable of looking after herself while still enjoying the sharing of life through relationships.

Q; I gather that you make at least part of your living writing (as I do). What are some of the other ways (apart from blogging) that you’ve tried to break away from the conventions of your work?

A: I do some journaling off line with old fashioned paper and pen. It’s a different flow and a fair bit more personal than what’s available for public consumption. I’ve been working on some poetry and some character ideas for a novella perhaps. It will probably end up being a few short stories. I’ve been expanding my foundation of literature lately as well, new authours and subject matter, We are all works in progress.

Q: Is there a relationship between writing and wellness/spirituality for you?

A: Writing is a means to speak to myself, helps tap me on the shoulder when I’m slipping off my path. Often it’s when I proof what I’ve written that I realize there are things bothering me that I’m not consciously aware of – or that I am once again purposefully deluding myself about. So yes, it definitely assists in balancing my mental health at the very least;)

Q: What should people who have never been to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan know about Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan?

A: Moose Jaw: Has a wonderful mineral spa – and underground tunnels dating back from Prohibition and the days of Al Capone. A fair chunk of the proscribed hooch was shipped from Canada. Once the tunnels were found, they gussied ’em up all purty like and additions continue, and made a wonderful little tour out of it all. A nice way to spend an afternoon.

Q: What else should we know about wench?

A: As for more about me – I’m 48 yet always 8 years old with the wonder an 8 year old has for all things new and the curiosity to enjoy change. And I am ecstatic about my 1st out of country vacation ever – Jamaica in January. Whoo hoo!

Related Posts:

Wild things

There’s this strange, displaced, unsettled feeling that can creep around you when you grow up with divorced parents. Places that you are supposed to call home don’t always feel like they are yours. You’re more likely to have people closely entangled in your life that haven’t been invested in you all along… people who didn’t know you when you were tiny and squishy and so clearly emanating the glow of endless possibilities. Even if they love you, they’re as likely to fear as understand you when you act crazy or angry or pained or restless. They are less likely to know how to muster compassion for the complicated business of acting like a child.

I’m not nostalgic for this childhood feeling, but I was nonetheless grateful to see it reflected on the screen of a movie theater on a Friday afternoon. I don’t remember seeing it there before. The dissonant parts of my childhood were probably pretty different from those of Maurice Sendak, Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze, but the tone they were able to evoke was strikingly familiar to me, in a lovely yet menacing way.

We took Declan, and frankly, the stark joy, disappointment, warmth and anger in Max’s home life at the beginning of the film was far more agitating to him than the land of the clomping, reckless, emotionally conflicted wild things. He laughed the most hysterically and showed the most fear in the first 15 minutes. He was worried that Max wouldn’t return to his mother, so, to him, the ending was especially happy. I imagine that his response, and who he relates to the most in the film, is likely to change as he gets older.

There’s been a ton of discussion in every form of media about whether or not this movie is really for kids. I get tired of hearing people make that judgment, because honestly, I think it depends on the kid, what he or she likes and is able to process. (Not to mention the fact that many things that are made “for kids” by adults prove to be unwatchable, so I’m not sure why critics feel so obligated to bother with that flawed measuring stick. A lot of the greatest kids’ films I’ve seen appealed to adults as well.)

I can tell you, though, that Declan and I have had several great conversations about the movie and the intense emotions presented in it all weekend. We’ve talked about what’s scary to him and what’s scary to me. We’ve even talked about how and why a book can be so different from a movie, which opens a new and fabulous vista for our discussions about stories and art.

I’ll leave the nitpicky criticism about the filmmaking and its relative artfulness up to better-equipped people.

I simply loved this movie because of what it moved me to remember and the rich moments on new emotional terrain that it has given me to explore with my kid.


If you want a clinical blow-by-blow description of the potentially upsetting parts of almost any current movie including this one, Kids-In-Mind movie ratings are extremely helpful.

For more to chew on, visit Scott Mendelson of Huffington Post’s review, which I feel is quite on-point, and Stephanie Zacherek of Salon’s review, which isn’t.

Related Posts:


This is me in all of my three-weeks-from-17, just-graduated glory, standing next to my brother on a commuter ferry that took us from central New Jersey to South Street Seaport, right in the shadow of the World Trade Center.

In the 1980s, we made most of our treks into New York with our dad. But on the occasion of my early departure from high school, we went back to visit a few childhood friends with mom.

Mom and I unearthed these pictures this summer. Andy and I look so damn serious, which probably has something to do with the fact that it’s early in the morning on an overcast day and neither of us has discovered coffee yet.

I know we’re anxious to get there because we were always anxious to get to Manhattan. At least I know that I was. I was always anxious to be in the thick of crowds and inconceivable buildings and art and celebrities walking around like ordinary people and giant fiberglass whales and taxi cabs and attitude and Fifth Avenue store windows and Broadway musicals.

It seems so much more mortal to me now. But my childhood and teenage memories of this city are the ones that I carry. I remember it this way. I remember this skyline. It was everything in the universe that I could imagine on one little island.

Related Posts:

Does Brian Williams live in our world?

Sesame Workshops 7th Annual Benefit Gala
The last few weeks of no camp and parental work scrambling and no preschool have led to far more television consumption in this house than I would like to admit. Combine that with the onset of four, which has meant a thousand questions about death and birth, and I’ve been dancing in between the real and fictional universe, trying to draw lines in the air that help make the distinction between the two a little clearer to Declan without diminishing the fun and beauty of fiction and fantasy.

Enter questions like:

“Will Santa Claus ever die?”

“Will I ever be trapped in a warp bubble?” (In a kid world where I keep meeting Star Wars kids, mine is Star Trek kid, which I’ve found to be far less common, possibly because it’s easier to describe combat and war than it is to venture into “a warp bubble is a scientific theory, sweetie.”)

We’ve spent a fair amount of time discussing the fact that cartoon characters come out of someone’s imagination, even if they do regular-people type things. Then he sees commercials for things like Dora Live! where cartoon characters seem suddenly touchable. He gets really excited and yells “MOMMY, WE NEED TO GO SEE DORA LIVE! WE NEED TO SEE THE PLACE WHERE DORA EXISTS IN OUR WORLD! DORA! IS IN! OUR! WORLD!”

Sesame Street is one of those shows that I love most of all, but can be hard to explain because of the combo of real people and puppets. Brian Williams recently guest starred on Sesame Street and reported on all of the characters coming down with a case of “Mine-itis.” A chicken kept stealing his microphone and yelling “MINE!” (As much as Dec loves science and documentaries that seem way beyond him, he also loves to get his little kid on.)

So last night, as I was explaining that the president was about to give a speech that was really important to mommy, Brian Williams appeared. Declan’s brow furrowed. He grabbed my chin and turned my face to the screen.

“Mommy? Does Brian Williams live in our world?”

Related Posts:

Thumbelina, Thumbelina, don’t dream about a cow*

I ran for 30 minutes straight for the first time yesterday in yucky pre-rain humidity.

I’ve discovered that once animals realize that you’re not running after them, they find runners fascinating. A pair of deer scared the bejeezus out of me the other day on the trail, but once they had scampered about 25 feet outside the path, they stood there and stared at me. I said “hey dudes” and waved and still they stared. When last I saw them, they were still staring at me. When I run in my urban neighborhood, the squirrels do the exact same thing – they jump into a nearby tree and gawk. They fill their mouths with giant nuts and jump onto a tree and gawk. If Columbus’ squirrels are among those who tweet, at least one of those “stares” was for me today.

I’m kind of amazed that I’ve been able to stick to this Couch to 5k program. I’m not reclaiming any former glory here, or even any former glorious body. I’ve never been remotely a jock – more of a sometimes walker, late-night dancer who attended a lot of summer day camps, one Outward Bound (repelling is fun!) and used to be able to put a basketball through a hoop without hitting the rim. When I was nine, I saw a coach about running on a regional team and he put me through my paces for a day, but the post-run rubdown positively creeped me out and I quit.

For Couch to 5K, I’ve followed the schedule to the letter. This is my approach to most things I try (as long as they seem reasonable to begin with) – I suspend disbelief and put my faith into the idea that all will work out as I’ve been told. Once I’ve done it for a while, or the intended duration, I make my own modifications. In this case, I have been amazed by how well I’ve been able to feel my progress every third run or so. This is my ninth and final week – three days of running for 30 minutes (or 5K). Who knew this was possible? Seriously!

I don’t have a ton of weight loss to show for my efforts, but there has been some and most importantly, I feel entirely different. Like my determination to eat less meat and more local food, it feels like I’m making changes that I have a better shot at sustaining. I just read that sticking with running this long officially makes me a runner, but that I ought to hang here for 2-3 months so my bones and connective tissues have a chance to catch up with my new, stronger muscles. That works for me. I’m not dying to win marathons. I just want to be healthy.

Yesterday I watched Obama’s speech to kids with my son. He was kind of excited that the president would talk to kids until he heard the president mention that he was there to talk to kids in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Having a year of preschool left, and several older friends and cousins makes you painfully aware that you aren’t in Kindergarten yet. As I listened, Declan sat on the floor and flew a plastic policeman through the solar system. Sadly, this policeman died and had to be buried under the letter P. He was later resurrected, so perhaps there is a cult forming around him in an alternate dimension.

By the end of the speech Dec was meowing like a kitty (if we’re connected on Facebook you may know this already). In fact, every time I have asked him what he thought of the speech since, he has meowed like a kitty. So, while I have found the accusation that Obama is trying to brainwash children into becoming liberal automatons utterly baseless, I now must face the possibility that he might be trying to turn them into cats.

Here are some of my favorite posts on the speech subject, by the way:

The Bad Astronomer hilariously points out how crazy is being mainstreamed.

Corporate Babysitter reminds us how many marketers have unfettered access to our children.

Charlotte-Anne Lucas posted a Wordle of the top 50 words used in the speech.

Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids quells our paranoia once again, with humor.

And Emily wrote the president a note.

Peace out, kitties!

* Declan modified the lyrics Danny Kaye sang in the movie Hans Christian Anderson (which his dad was watching) because he had one of his recurring dreams in which he tries to get out of bed, but some bloviating bovine blows him back. It was a better post title than anything I could come up with, so there it is.

Related Posts:

Things I find unforgivable

A couple of years ago I was at a Fourth of July potluck outside of town. Some inebriated in-law of a cousin of a friend of the host showed up and, as I spooned tabbouleh onto my plate, began lecturing to several people around me that all people of Middle Eastern descent need to be deported from the U.S. He didn’t stop there, insisting that those of us who didn’t happen to believe that the country should bomb other parts of the world into the stone age were ignorant and sure to be slaughtered.

Now, I’m a person who, in my more adventurous reporting days, did things like take a handgun class with NRA members, and spent hours in personal conversations with Fundamentalist Christians – two groups that may as well have been Martians to me, ethically speaking. But those reporting exercises put me past knee-jerk disdain and into a place where I could sometimes locate some hard-won common ground. I’ve had mostly civil conversations with Republican relatives and friends, even if I sometimes walked away with my ears burning. I sought out extremely different opinions from my own when I began to interact with people online in 1997. I try my best to get angry with actions and policies, not people.

With a checked-shirt man advocating genocide and racism at an Independence Day picnic, standing feet away from my toddler son, I didn’t keep my cool so well. I felt this anger rising from the pit of my stomach and I simply bellowed at him:

“PLEASE GET YOUR DISGUSTING HATRED AWAY FROM MY SON. NOW!” (I did say please.) He moved away a little, though not enough for me, and I took us as far away from him at the party as I physically could. Being tolerant of political difference, in my view, does not require me to be tolerant of a person advocating violence or fear.

Earlier this year, when we went to a public venue where we could look at stars and planets through telescopes, a woman started speaking heatedly to one of the resident scientists, who maintained a remarkably calm and polite demeanor.

“This world is going to end,” she hissed at him. “Armageddon will be here soon and you’d better get yourself right with God before that happens.”

She spoke of floods and earthquakes and hurricanes and rapture while standing maybe five feet from my almost four-year-old who I think deserves to have faith in the fact that the Earth has a future, no matter how tumultuous. He deserves to have his dreams of piloting spacecrafts unimpeded by some self-righteous person who had no thought in her head that the things she was yelling could frighten the crap out of a small child. Thankfully, he was so wrapped up in a computer that takes you through the universe that he didn’t absorb it (now that he’s truly four and dealing with mortality questions, he would). Luckily, the conversation stopped just as my husband asked her to quiet down because, you know, if you want to convince your children that this world is a goner and isn’t worth participating in beyond stepping up to the next level, that’s your faith and your business and God bless. Please don’t make it mine.

This week, I took my son to the Health Care Reform Now rally because I am sick of this bizarre impasse our country has skidded into and sick of struggling with our current system. The first sign I see as we drive in is a swastika with Obama’s name inside and I turn into Aunt Mildred and I stick out one finger and I tsk tsk tsk at the crowd. Shame on them. That sign, to me, is just a subverted way of advocating violence against our president wrapped in the guise of free speech. Because of the first amendment, you can make it and parade it through the public square. And because of the first amendment, I can say “shame on you” and “I think that’s a subverted way of advocating violence against our president wrapped in the guise of free speech,” and that’s not me censoring you, that’s me countering your opinion.

I’m sick of the media giving “balanced” time to groups of thirty versus a group of over 1,000. The fourth estate should be giving more time to those who are better equipped with research, facts or true stories about actual people instead of covering every political rift with less depth than they give the average football game. Seriously. I sat there and I listened to a story about a 17-year-old girl who can’t get health care coverage because of her parents’ medical conditions. I listened to promises that the public option is not negotiable, which I hope is true because my family is counting on that. But almost all of the coverage I found gave the 30 people outside the same amount of time or column space as the much larger group inside.

What are people thinking, anyway? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had their health care insurance costs get jerked up and certain costs turned down arbitrarily for years – and unless we’re independently wealthy, it’s cost us way more than any of our taxes. Recently I had a lovely experience when a $500 bill showed up in my mailbox from a doctor’s appointment I had about a year and a half ago. In one conversation with the insurance company way back when, I was told that nearly all adult preventative care had been dropped from our policy (take heed if you have OSU student health insurance, ladies, a pap smear or illness is all you’re allowed), so a blood panel, and in fact, my whole appointment wasn’t covered, even though it resulted in a referral to a surgeon and eventually, surgery. My doctor’s office communicated that there was actually medical treatment for an illness on this visit, and suddenly, after all this time, the insurance company decided to pay an additional $15.00 (why even bother?) of the bill and pass the rest back to me. Now I have more arguing to do, or I have to pay a bill I really didn’t expect or think that I should owe, which makes me feel sick.

So, stop telling me that the fact that I want universal health care makes me anti-American. The free market has zilch for health care choices. The ranks are closed – if you are an American like myself, who has been resolutely independent for most of my career, you are basically screwed by the current system. If you are like my husband, who has a preexisting eye condition and has also always worked for himself, screw you too! When people like us are lucky, maybe our local chamber of commerce will offer a plan with premiums less than the size of our mortgage payment or we can stick to catastrophic coverage.

We are all most free to work for big corporations that have little or no loyalty to employees in order to get insurance from corporations that have shown us their priorities – getting out of paying what you pay them to take care of is more important than anyone’s actual health. That’s…. freedom?

It seems to me to be as awful or worse than, say, taxation without representation. I have to pay corporations that I didn’t elect and that I can’t vote out of office. Corporations have more rights than me! The government won’t make it more bureaucratic. It simply can’t possibly get more bureaucratic than it already is.

Related Posts:

Things I did not know a month ago

1. When a distant star shakes and shimmies ever so slightly (visible only through a high-powered telescope), that’s a good indication that it has planets orbiting around it. The gravitational pull of big dudes like Jupiter and Saturn are most likely make their suns go a-quiver, which is why most of the exoplanets that astronomers have discovered are gas giants, not the bitty Earth-like places.

2. Even as the lone male dancer in a ballet class that wasn’t about space, my son loved to dance. He wants to stay in ballet lessons. People have told me that there are good scholarships out there for boys. I need to find out if that’s true.

3. It is possible to be winded by a sixty-second run one day, and find yourself running 20 minutes in a row without falling down dead five weeks later.

4. When your child begins to develop a real connection to visual art, it’s a beautiful thing. Especially when that connection involves imitating a piece by saying “I QUIT!” loudly and doing a faceplant on the floor in the middle of a Downtown gallery.

5. Letting your only child hang out with a couple of families that have three kids is an awesome reminder that left to their own devices, kids can and will work a lot of stuff out without your help.

Related Posts:

Practicing “less meatatarianism”

I had the world’s greatest dinner arrangement when I was in college. I lived with six other people in an on-campus apartment, where we stuck to a vegetarian food supply and participated in a food co-op that kept our groceries on the cheap. Each of us took responsibility for all of the cooking and all of the cleaning exactly one night a week, which meant we could come home to a fully cooked meal on the other six.

Some of my housemates were vegetarians with conviction, some of us, like me, were vegetarians for the sake of convenience and frugality. I respected my friends’ wishes to not use our pots and pans to cook meat, and if I did eat it, it was outside of the house. Looking back, I think this was one of the healthiest periods for me and food, who have had a rocky relationship.

This year, I made Mark Bittman’s Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating one of my first reads. Without the least bit of preaching, he puts forth a history of U.S. food and FDA politics that made me reconsider why I think certain things are nutritious that may not be, and what a healthier diet might look like. He gives a lot of sensible advice about how to shift towards better choices in a reasonable and sustainable kind of way.

Among the layers of facts that he puts out about the over-consumption that developed nations indulge in are these: over fifty percent of American crops are devoted to growing soy and corn to feed the massive amount of livestock we consume every year. If those fields were used to grow crops suitable for human consumption, they would produce enough to feed the world several times over. That says nothing of the massive amount of land and resources we devote to raising and slaughtering livestock. Bittman does a good job of laying out the environmental impact of that industry without moralizing. He convinced me that the mere act of eating more plant-based foods and fewer refined grains, sugars and animal products is both good for my body and the future of the planet. And he made unintimidating suggestions about ways to do that.

For the past few months I’ve been moving towards eating little meat or dairy during the day (except half and half for my coffee), loading up on snackable produce and generally attacking the vegetables on my plate first when I have dinner, so that if I have meat, I have much less of it than I might have before. If I end up somewhere for lunch with minimal choices (or a meat choice that I really want to try), I try and make dinner my vegetarian meal. I’m experimenting with grains like bulgur and quinoa more often and using olive oil in lieu of butter.

All in all, these changes actually aren’t that radical for me – they are just more conscious decisions than they used to be. I also don’t make myself crazy over them. I worry more about buying local and learning to cook with in-season foods than I do about buying organic (although I do try and make as much of the dairy and meat I buy — especially to feed to my kid — organic and hormone-free as I can). I really can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods and, as Bittman points out, while organic food is a sound choice, elevating the consumption of plant-based foods is no small stride toward a healthier body and planet.

These choices aren’t frying the fat off of my body. And frankly, I’m not coupling them with enough exercise or even avoiding cake during a period that is rife with family birthdays. I feel better, though. My skin is healthier. I feel more energetic and active. A couple of pounds have gone AWOL and I’m enjoying food more. It’s summer in Ohio and the choices from the vine are glorious.

Related Posts: