Monday, January 22, 2007


I like being married. It's cool. It's hard sometimes, but it is infinitely less depressing than the asisine game-playing of single dating life that other people seem to find exhilarating but which sickened me well before I met Justin at the age of 27.

The New York Times had a chirpy article which you probably can't read for free anymore about how 51% of women over the age of 15 (yeah, that's a bit young to count) are now unmarried, including interviews with chirpy swinging single New York females who are happy to be free of the shackles of matrimony. Which is fine, if they're happy that way.

But the Columbia Journalism Review Daily took exception:

...America is not a monolith. As much as we would like to persist in thinking that we are a classless and race-blind society, the Times, of all papers -- having run groundbreaking series on both race and class -- should realize that a phenomenon that might bode well for middle-class white women might be absolutely disastrous for poor black women.

Apparently, though, we are the only ones to see it like this. Because apart from a tossed-off paragraph that reminds us that, buried within these statistics, seventy percent of African-American women are single, there is nothing to indicate how the epidemic of single parentage in the black community contributes to this statistic. We imagine -- though aren't told -- that many of these women are raising children alone and being dragged deeper into poverty because of their unmarried status.

How un-chirpy. But true. (And not just for black women, of course, but for women of all races who don't have a swanky loft in the East Village.)

It seems like there are only two ways to talk about marriage: 1. as the bedrock of traditional mores that every adult who is not a priest or hideously unattractive should partake of, heterosexually, or 2. a somewhat antiquated institution of at best neutral moral value that is fine if it makes you happy but doesn't bear any relationship to the good of society at large. Are those the only alternatives? Isn't it possible to encourage marriage as generally beneficial to individuals, their children, and society at large without imposing gender inequality or heteronormativity?

And does the fact that 51% of women are now single have anything to do with men? Should they be glad we don't expect as much from them, or should they be concerned that society's expectations of them are lower? Should we even care what they think?

I don't mean to suggest that marriage is necessary for people to have happy relationships or healthy families (I know plenty of exceptions), but it seems like, no matter what the trend is, women get the raw end of the deal and often don't even realize it. That there are a number of educated, upper-middle-class, happily unmarried women does nothing for the many single women who barely get by and have no one else to provide for themselves and their families. Who do you think is suffering more from this trend toward singleness, men or women? Surely it's not men as much as women and their children?

(That was the first thing I've gotten worked up about in a while. I've been taking a break from blogs, mostly.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bourbon Street

I took this picture the night before the Sugar Bowl, so there were lots of LSU and Notre Dame fans about.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


This week has made me kind of cranky. No individual thing has made me feel that way, and if I had been in a better mood generally I would probably consider it a pretty good week all in all, but something about my attitude is just sour.

But Justin is sweet, even when I'm not, and this picture of him makes me smile.

Monday, January 15, 2007

When cousins attack

At our Swedish breakfast, Justin's cousin Catherine was living up to the first three letters of her name and scratching Whitney, who was being very patient.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


In New Orleans, Justin and I took a ride down the Mississippi on the steamboat Natchez. Just like the old days! Except for the audio guide and the lack of exploding boilers.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Every family has its holiday food traditions. My mom's family always has lasagna for Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with the usual turkey and everything. (You think we're weird, but really you're jealous! Wouldn't you like to have lasagna?) Justin's family, being about as much Scandinavian as I am Italian, has God Jul pudding for breakfast when they celebrate Christmas. (I know there are umlauts in there, but I'm too lazy to put them in.)

There are two things you must know about God Jul pudding:

1. Somewhere in it is an almond whose discoverer will, according to tradition, be the next to get married or have a baby. This might be why Justin's family is so large.

2. God Jul pudding is really gross, and also it must be eaten with fruit soup (pictured to the left of the pudding), which if anything is even more gross. And you actually have to eat it, not just poke through all the rice and raisins and tapioca or whatever the hell's in it so you can find the almond.

Last year Justin's brother had a girlfriend he really liked and must have eaten half the pudding, a feat of remarkable fortitude. Nevertheless, his sister has found the almond the last two years running. She's holding the rest of us up.

(Yes, I did kind of want the almond. But only two small helpings' worth.)

Friday, January 12, 2007


We returned on Sunday from our road trip through the Deep South (2.0), but I had to take a few days to recover, get things in order after our absence, and prepare for my first class at the community college where I'm teaching.

This is my favorite picture from our road trip and probably one of my favorite pictures ever. It's of a bald cypress/water tupelo swamp (I don't know which of those these trees are) on the Natchez Trace near Jackson, Mississippi. The weather didn't favor us as much as it has on past trips, but the cloudy skies were good for getting a picture without too many shadows or reflections.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Spam box haiku III

Too good to pass up!

ready made crayfish
tired looking vegetables
piles of dried Floyd

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Live from somewhere else

I haven't been blogging the past week and a half because we've been away from home, first in Chapel Hill for Christmas with Justin's family, and now on the road in the Deep South, again, because that's how we roll.

Take note, everyone: When New Year's Eve is a Sunday, and you're planning on spending the night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, you must buy your champagne before entering the state. Wait, it's technically illegal to bring in alcohol from another state, so really you're pretty much screwed . Oh, and if you're looking for a college town without a Barnes & Noble or Borders or any bookstore aside from Books-a-Million, go to Tuscaloosa. No wine and no books make Juliet and Justin very cranky.

Fortunately, we're making up for our dry New Year's in New Orleans. You can drink alcohol on the street as long as it's not in a glass container. And there are bookstores. And good coffee. And beignets. I didn't even know about beignets until last night, but now I'm not sure I want to live without them. Come spend your tourist dollars in New Orleans. The French Quarter is ready for you.