December 5th, 2006

books

I dunno if I've mentioned these; I'm going to assume not and apologize if I'm being repetitive.

I finally got around to reading _Dead as a Doornail_, the current Charlaine Harris (author)/Stackhouse (character) in mass market paper (I won't buy these in hardcover. Yet.). The Bards appear from Shakespeare! That was kinda cool. No big role; just shakes Sookie up a bit. I really want to know if Lily is pregnant again. :(

I'm in the middle of _A Fistful of Charms_, the latest Kim Harrison. Jenks is big (Rachel is now working demon magic with Ceri's assistance) and they're in Mackinaw tracking down Jax and Nick and some artifact. I have high hopes we'll see Rachel were (as in, change shape to an animal) some time in the course of this book.

I'm also in the middle of _The United States of Arugula_ by David Kamp, a gossipy survey of foodie culture in the US, more or less starting with Childs, Claiborne and Beard and moving along swiftly from there. He gives a bit of an overview of earlier than that, which is nice, because he includes gossipy bits about writers on that topic (Levenstein, Hess, etc.). For the first chapter or so, I kept going, I have that book, and that book, and that book. It was a little odd, even for me.

Most of my 20th century stuff comes from Shapiro (Perfection Salad, Something from the Oven), so not on the foodie end, but more what they were reacting against. Of course I know the Pike Place Market story, but I didn't know anything about how Dean & Deluca got started, or Williams-Sonoma, or The Silver Palette (I had thought the cookbook was before the shop, and boy was that wrong). I knew some of the Chez Panisse story from _Organics Inc_ and its discussion of the baby lettuces craze; Kamp seems quite comfortable going into detail about who was sleeping with whom, when (and who wound up needing legal representation when they dove into a drug-soaked hole and knifed someone). There's a good chunk on Wolfgang Puck, and tiny bits about everyone from Tassajara to Moosewood, Niman Ranch, Whole Foods, balsalmic vinegar, sundried tomatos. . .

I don't know that I would rely on this guy for comprehensive (he notes that he didn't cover regional as well as the two coasts, and he's very New York/Bay Area centric within the coasts). While he is happy telling you some sharply opinionated stuff, he's usually quoting someone _else's_ opinion, and giving you chapter and verse on how he came by that opinion. Until I hear he's unreliable, I think this is the good stuff.

And a ton of fun to read. I haven't finished it yet, so I don't know how well he covers the Food Network; it looks promising.

it's Tuesday and I remembered!

We went to the playgroup above town hall. Big, hardwood floor, windows on two walls space. Echoy. LOUD with even a few kids. There were about three mamas and one papa there before us. Teddy took 10 or so minutes of just sitting on the floor between my legs, back pressed tightly to my belly, before he'd even consider doing anything else. I thought this was because it was his first time, but as I saw more people arrive, I saw other kids (who had been there before) go through the _exact same process_. I think it's the sound profile -- it takes some adjusting to.

Two papas total for the day, and maybe a dozen mamas. I'd met most of them either at the playground or at lapsit. Some of my favorites were missing, but at least one of the women I like (the native-Italian speaker) was there with her daughter. The toys are still good -- there are batteries with charge left in them, most of the pieces of most toys are present and findable. Nothing is obviously broken in a dangerous or unusable way. I think we'll donate any unwanted toys we get to this.

I think starting out this way made for a better day. Yesterday we had a lot of conflict, mostly tantrums associated with wanting at the vacuum cleaners and then being very frustrated trying to do stuff with them that he just couldn't accomplish. And then, inevitably, me taking the vacuum cleaners away from him because he had completely lost it and couldn't settle down.

Dunno what we'll do tomorrow. It's a little too cold for the playground.

paper -> cloth

Over the years, I've been slowly reversing the cloth -> paper trend: paper napkins to cloth napkins I think was the first step. Then paper towels were eliminated in favor of cloth towels and a sponge. Much later, "sanitary" napkins got replaced with luna pads. And most recently, I've subbed cloth hankies for kleenex.

Now, I thought it was weird when I realized people thought of paper diapers as "normal" diapers, and weren't sure what to call a cloth diaper. I have suddenly noticed that _no one_ suggests a hankie for a kid's running nose. _Everyone_ said hankie when they were handing over a tissue when I was a kid. Does anyone else remember this, or is this further evidence that I grew up in a time warp?

In any event, this last cold convinced me that hankies are, in fact, easier than tissue. At least as long as we're cloth diapering. Today, however, I finally figured out why people don't like cloth diapers, and why they think paper diapers are so much easier: it really grosses people out when they have to get the poop off a cloth diaper. I thought it was pretty nasty the first two times I had to do it. By the fourth time, it was absolutely normal. The kid has to do something really outrageous (like twist in a way that smears shit all over my shirt -- which could happen just as easily with a paper diaper given these particular circumstances) to annoy me at this point.

I know I've been saying all along that this is an artifact of detachment culture, a part of our apparatus for denying our animal nature. I think I might be right. See, _this_ is why you don't use the ew-gross-don't-touch-that approach to socializing the little beasties. They internalize it, and then can't get over it. Better off setting the boundary with a hip check and a sharply verbalized No! Don't touch that! No internal revulsion to recover from later, just a healthy respect for Mama.