Sunday, November 30, 2008

Farewell, November

Ah, so much for NaBloPoMo and my grand ideas.

We are finishing up a long and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend in Ithaca. I came down with a cold that I got from Auletta that she (I suspect) got from Erik, so I spent much of the weekend in zombie mode. This morning I had the extreme pleasure of sleeping in, thanks to Justin and other available babysitters, so I feel somewhat better than I had previously. Auletta, having recovered from a sleepy cranky Monday, spent the rest of the week working on her skillz and is now a professional toddler. Another new trick to show off to the librarians at storytime, and another way to evade listening to actual stories.

Auletta was madly in love with Whitney when he visited us a few weeks ago, but now she likes exactly three people: me, Justin, and her nine-year-old uncle Harry. Nobody else can make her happy, not even her granny. Well, we'll just see who's the coolest relative at Christmas.

I have pictures but I've been too sick to edit them, so you'll just have to wait.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I am in Ithaca and haven't had much time to blog lately, what with being in transit, and then before that having a rather sick and extremely clingy baby inhibiting normal movement. But when she is not being clingy, Auletta is starting to figure out this walking thing and today walked seven steps on her own at one stretch, plus a few shorter jaunts. So I am going to call this walking at a nice even 13.5 months.

This is also, oddly and unrelatedly, the tenth anniversary of my first kiss. Do the math and that is still about ten years later than most normal people. Oh well. I once imagined writing an oblique, melancholic post about the state of my love life in 1998, but perhaps it is best forgotten. 1998 is the year I have marked in my mental almanac as The Year That Just Sucked, following 1997, The Year That Went Awry, which was not so bad as it was surreally amusing. I stopped naming years after that, although I do have June-August 2002 down as The Best Summer Ever, because Rome + true love = yay.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I've been reading Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy by Stephen Carter, slowly--not because the book isn't interesting, but because I keep pausing to think about how everything he says relates to my own life and the lives of people I encounter, especially in this recent election season, and because of the baby and all those other distractions. I think I will try to plow through and read it this weekend. Anyway, I want to quote a couple of paragraphs here.

I suspect it will be possible to treat each other with love only if we are able to conceive doing so as a moral obligation that is absolute, something we owe others because of their personhood, bearing no relation to whether we like them or nor. My wife puts it this way: every encounter with another human being should inspire in us a powerful sense of awe. Why? Because that other human being, whatever his or her strengths, weaknesses, and simple complexities, is also a part of God's creation. We should be struck with awe at the fact that we are face to face with a part of God's work. It is one of those propositions that, once stated, seems like a truth we should have seen all along--but somehow it takes someone of uncommon wisdom to point it out.

To enter into the presence of another human being, then, is to enter the presence of God in a new and different way. We are admonished in the psalm to come into His presence with thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2), not with suspicion, self-seeking, or disrespect. The great theologians Karl Barth and Martin Buber both arrived at this point along their different paths: our obligation is to see God in everyone, not merely as possibility, but as reality. So whenever we mistreat others, we are abusing our relationship with God. And awe alone does not capture what we owe. We should encounter others with a sense of gratitude, for here is a fresh and different corner of God's creation--or, for the secular-minded, a new and different human being. We should be grateful to be traveling where we have not been before.

I'll leave that without comment, except wow that gives me a lot to work on.

I also recommend Stephen Carter's Culture of Disbelief to anyone who is interested in religion and public life. It was published in 1993 (I think) but is still relevant. I think most of my blog readers would find it provocative, even if you don't agree with everything in it. By the way, Carter is a professor at YLS, but I read and appreciated Culture of Disbelief long before we knew where we'd end up (and possibly before I even met Justin, I'm not sure).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby builder

These are old, but here are some pictures of Auletta from when she and I met Madame Meow and Herr Meow at the National Building Museum a couple of weeks ago.

She didn't build this, but let's just pretend she did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Words, words, words

I read this in a parenting email I get every week:

Sometimes children with older siblings do things differently from first-borns. Instead of learning words for familiar objects and names of caregivers first and then combining words into sentences, toddlers with older siblings at home may begin their journey into the world of speech by babbling in sentences. They may sound like fluent speakers of a language no one knows. Eventually, more and more real words sprinkle their babbled sentences, until they are speaking the same language as everyone else.

Um, did I have amnesia for a year of my life there around 2005 or so and give birth to an invisible, low-maintenance child whom only Auletta can hear? Or are Justin and I just really large children? Because Auletta's been babbling since, oh, eight months. I am often a little weirded out when I am around other young children by how little formation and enunciation there is to their verbal expression, but apparently they are normal and Auletta is strange.

Still, because Justin and I are both verbally-oriented people with high expectations for our daughter, we are feeling a little concerned about the fact that Auletta doesn't speak English words yet. She is probably the most social and expressive baby I've ever met (not that I've met a lot, I suppose) and is not shy about babbling whenever and wherever she is and whoever she's around. She waves her finger around while delivering orations (the comparison to Mussolini and Hitler has been made) and has the full range of cadences, structure and emotion in her speech, but she is speaking fluent Auletta-ish, or whatever you want to call it. I think I am starting to detect English words in there somewhere, but I'm not sure if I'm just imagining it. She doesn't seem very interested in imitating us. I guess she thinks her own language is sufficient. She has a lovely voice and I want to understand what she's saying.

So, those of you who have children older than Auletta, which I think is nearly everyone who reads this blog, how did your children's speech develop? Is she at a normal place for 13 months? I know it is probably ridiculous to be anxious at this point, but since talking is one of the things I'm excited about her doing (like, she doesn't walk yet but I don't really care about that so much, partly because she is obviously very close to doing it, partly because when she does it'll mean more work for me so why rush it?), I think about it a lot more than I think about where she's at in regard to eating or sleeping or moving or other things.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I don't have anything to blog about at the moment, but look at this cute picture of my kid on a swing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

At least they are still shiny

We recently unpacked our stereos (each of us has a moderately nice boombox from our respective B.J. eras), which have been in boxes since May 2007. We haven't missed them. All the music we like is on our iPod, catalogued in iTunes, copied onto our external hard drive, and played whenever we feel like it--either from our lame little computer speakers, or on a pretty decent set of portable iPod speakers, or in our car on road trips. If we want new music, we can get it online. Everything is digitized, and easy to carry around.

Remember your first CD player, the magical machine you bought in the early '90s as a teenager (if you are our age) that even in today's dollars seems ridiculously expensive now? Remember your first CD, how shiny it was, how enjoyable it was simply to play whatever song you wanted, as often as you wanted, without rewinding and fast-forwarding endlessly in order to get at the right spot? I remember having exactly 14 of these thingies when I started college.

Now we have several hundred--we haven't counted--and over the past few weeks have ripped the ones we hadn't plunked in iTunes yet, really more for nostalgia than anything else. (I haven't really listened to contemporary Christian music since Rich Mullins died in 1997, so I've got all these old CDs I haven't thought about in a decade but could probably still hum through start to finish if I tried.) What on earth does one do with these things? I assume if a couple of hoarders like us have gotten to the point that we don't want them, nobody else would either. I haven't set foot in a used CD store in years and am not sure they still exist. We managed to hand off a bunch of classical music to a friend of ours, but that still leaves us with a lot. Would Goodwill even want them? What happens to such a technology when it becomes obsolete? Is there any aesthetic advantage to playing a CD vs. playing a digital file, given similar sound systems (not that we have them, but...)?

Will Auletta think of us the way I think of people my parents' age who still play their Rolling Stones LPs on turntables to relive their college years? But an LP and an 8-track (my parents had 8-tracks!) and a cassette and a CD are all objects. Whether your music's on a record or a CD, it takes up space. Music doesn't take up space anymore, or I should say it doesn't take up volume, so it's not a choice between one physical medium and another--it's between having stuff and not having stuff. And people who move as often as we do could use less stuff.

What would you do--or what have you done--with your CDs? Is there someone out there who will love them?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Around Wooster Square, part 3

I dropped the ball on NaBloPoMo there, didn't I? Oh well. I made it for eight days, anyway.

Today's theme: buildings. Wooster Square reminds me a little of Berkeley, in a good way, with its weekly farmer's market and its interesting architecture. Like this house. I love this house on Chapel Street.

Of course there is St. Michael's. Italian Catholicism up the gazoo.

This used to be part of St. Michael's and I think is now used by a non-Catholic neighborhood school.

This house makes me sad, because it clearly used to be well maintained--it got an award from the New Haven Preservation Trust:

But you can see it's been downhill since then. I noticed it was up for auction a few months ago, so hopefully there's a new owner who will restore it to the beauty it deserves.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Around Wooster Square, part 2

Things you eat.

Pepe's, the nearest pizzeria. The line is usually long.

Our neighborhood source for cannoli, rum baba, and fudge-filled chocolate chip cookies.

Political pumpkin on Court Street.

Friday, November 07, 2008

How I voted, and why. If you care.

There will be something in here to piss off everyone, but I feel like getting this all out, and it's NaBloPoMo, so here goes.

I voted for Barack Obama. I did not make that decision, as I said earlier, until shortly before the election, and I hate to think that I fit into some sort of trend, because in the end it was all I could stand to do to analyze my own motives, layer upon layer, until I barely had any idea what I was thinking, so God help anyone else who tries to make sense of it either. I shuddered to watch the pie charts on CNN the next morning--white Catholics did this, conservatives who disapprove of Bush's job performance did this--because I voted as I did for reasons beyond being white, or Catholic, or a conservative who's tired of Bush, and they are probably pettier reasons, but there you go. I have to say, as disappointed as I was in the campaign, I fundamentally admire both McCain and Obama, and my first choice would have been to have them be consuls, with Biden and Palin as tribunes of the plebs, or something like that. But since this is the United States in the 21st century and not the Roman republic, I had to settle for voting for a president and vice president. I guess my second choice would have been to write in "McCain in 2000" for president and Joe Lieberman for vice president, but the write-in space on the ballots was kind of small and the pen was felt-tipped and...I felt this time like I had to decide. Not that it matters in Connecticut, which is discouraging but also kind of liberating. As in 2004, when I wrote in McCain (and I would think better of myself if I'd done the same in 2000), I cast my vote to please myself and not to influence the political process.

Here is why. I hope this makes sense.

1. The main thing--and this is what is petty--is, given that I felt both candidates had about an equal chance of being good or bad presidents, I thought if I had to look back after a disappointing presidency on either side and say I voted for one or the other, I'd rather be disappointed in Obama and say I voted for him than be disappointed in McCain and say I voted for him. Well, let me put that another way, because that doesn't make much sense. I assume Auletta will go through at least one period of liberal idealism in her life, perhaps for her whole life, and I wanted to tell her I voted for the first black president (because it was pretty obvious he would win), which is no insignificant thing. I think it is, as McCain said in his extremely gracious concession speech (and I was really disappointed people booed whenever he mentioned Obama--I wish both candidates' supporters had a fraction of the class they did both during and after the campaign), a historic moment for America no matter where you're coming from, and there is something really wonderful about the fact that we have become the sort of nation that can elect a black man with the middle name of Hussein president. It is not the end, but it is more than a beginning. It improves our standing in the world--not that people who aren't citizens should decide our own elections, but it determines our starting position in foreign policy, and how American citizens abroad are perceived. I don't think McCain is as bad as the rest of the world seems to think he is (I'm sure most non-Americans know less about him than we do and probably view him simply as an extension of Bush, which he's not, but then who can blame them for thinking so?), but our image does improve from this and I think that is good for us and for the rest of the world.

2. I subscribe to the Economist, which I don't always agree with but I think is the most thoughtful weekly news magazine. Also my dad pays for my subscription. If I remember correctly (I'd have to go into the archives to prove this, but I don't think I'd make it up), they endorsed McCain during the 2000 primaries, and they don't usually do primary endorsements. Well, they endorsed Obama this year, and in the weeks leading up to the election it became clear they would. They did a survey of economists on whose economic policies would be better for the country, and even given the partisan bias of the respondents, they favored Obama by a wide margin (although they favored both candidates over Bush). I think my own impulse is 1. to favor free-market principles not just for their own sake but because I think they genuinely make the majority of people better off and 2. to assume that Republicans always have the monopoly on them, but I started questioning both assumptions. Also, I'm generally more liberal on health care than most conservatives; I would not necessarily want government to facilitate health care, but a system in which health care is paid by employers when most people change jobs at least several times within their lifetimes seems unworkable to me, and I don't see a better alternative than some kind of government-run thingy. I think it also needs to be market-driven in some sense to reduce costs--this is another reason I wish McCain and Obama could have been consuls, in order to be forced to combine the best aspects of both their health care plans--but I think you have to start with the government approach and incorporate market-based approaches along the way. Or something. This is way too big for me to grasp entirely, which is why I don't see things in black and white. I can tell you, though, I changed insurance during my pregnancy with Auletta and spent approximately weeks 20 to 35 without coverage at all, and I am pretty darned glad that kid was late rather than early because if she'd been born prematurely, Justin's law school debt would look miniscule compared to our medical bills.

3. I ended up being uncomfortable with McCain's choice of Sarah Palin. (BIG DISCLAIMER TO FOLLOW. If you are liberal, don't gloat because I'm not through with you.) I felt positively about her at first, but one of our friends summed up what bothered me about her, which is not just that she doesn't have foreign policy expertise, she doesn't seem to have the inquisitive nature to want to know about it, or know what kind of questions to ask. It's not really an issue of intelligence, or competence at her current job. It doesn't matter when she's vice president, and I got annoyed when people acted like McCain was on his deathbed just to be all doom and gloom about the prospect of her being president, but it was an issue that concerned me, given McCain's age. To be quite honest, if it had been McCain/Lieberman, there's no question I would have voted for him. Not that picking Lieberman would have been a strategic move--I think I know most of the people in the country who would have preferred him, ours being a very select group, because liberals hate him and conservatives wouldn't trust him to be so close to the presidency. It would, however, have been truer to McCain's own impulses and proven that he remains a maverick, to use an overused word. I think McCain's choice of Palin, aside from what it was in itself, indicated the direction his campaign was heading, and it troubled me, as much as the initial reaction to her, and a lot of the attacks leveled at things that had nothing to do with her suitability for the job, alienated me from the other side. Also, I like Joe Biden. I can't say he added gravitas to the ticket, because he is a big goofball who frequently says utterly bizarre things, but I think he's a good guy and he would be a pretty decent president if (God forbid) it came to that before Obama's term expired.

4. This does not really reflect well on liberals, and please believe I don't have anyone in particular in mind when I write it, so take it as it's meant to be read. I have liberal friends and conservative friends. In my social class--highly educated 20- and 30-somethings--it is general more acceptable to be liberal. Liberals tend to be more vocal. One gets the sense that if one is liberal, one is guaranteed to be accepted, whereas if one is conservative, one might or might not be. I also am the sort of person who really wants people to like me, and I tend to express or suppress my opinions based on how I think they'll be received. Not that this is necessarily a good character quality, but I'm shy to begin with so that's how I work. I can't say that I didn't vote for Obama partly in order to get a little more credibility with my peer group, knowing that my conservative friends and family will still talk to me at the end of the day. (And WHY anyone was ever surprised that exit polls inaccurately skew toward the Democratic candidate is beyond me. It really shouldn't be rocket science to any liberal who has at least a modicum of self-consciousness.)

Obviously I have reservations as well. Here they are.

1. Abortion. My feelings on this are really strong but also really convoluted, so this will just be a separate post.

2. Not unrelated to the previous point is my ambivalence about single-party rule. I voted for the Republican candidate for the House from our district (not that he had any hope of winning, or that I'd even heard of him before I went online to find out about him) for that very reason--unfortunately we had no Senate seats up this year (and even if we did I'm clearly a big Lieberman fan, so that's one senator out of two I wouldn't vote against). If I had my way, the Senate at least would be majority Republican, because I think it's important to have that one check on nominations, judicial and otherwise. Fortunately, this can change in two years, and Democrats don't really have anywhere to go but down at this point, so I hope this will keep them mindful and improve the truly abysmal performance of Congress and particularly their leaders. I'm not sure why an American public that so overwhelmingly disapproves of Congress voted to put even more Democrats into legislative office, except that those candidates rode the tide of Obama's popularity, but they won't share the ballot with him in 2010. Don't forget what happened in 1994, is my advice.

3. I really could not stand a lot of what I saw from certain liberals this election cycle. Let us take Palin, since I told you I wouldn't forget her. The gossipy and hysterical reaction to her nomination was disgraceful. If liberals had been remotely thoughtful about this, they would have realized they had seven weeks to sound out her weaknesses--ones that bore some relevance to her actual qualifications--instead of writing irrational screeds about how she wasn't a real woman, or how she gave them nightmares, or how she reminded them of the evil girl in high school who acted all nice and then stabbed you in the back, but really you were jealous of her (and hated yourself for it) and the boys enjoyed every moment of the torture she inflicted on them and yadda yadda and WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ALL STILL SIXTEEN OR SOMETHING? Seriously, people, get a grip. Every word written about her from the liberal side said nothing about her, but rather exposed their own insecurities and hypocrisies. And the things other women said about her! We proved once again, we are our own worst enemies. How dare McCain pander to us, liberal women said? Like, get over yourselves, he wasn't talking to you. Obviously McCain was targeting PUMAs (I've never really understood this phenomenon, but apparently it exists) and shoring up evangelicals who have been suspicious of him since the 2000 primaries. Obviously he was not targeting women who were determined to vote for the eventual Democratic candidate, whoever he or she was. So stop being all offended. And the "feminist" attacks on Palin! How can she raise five kids and do her job? (Um, her husband? Day care? Nannies? I don't know, how do working mothers usually do it?) How can her family pass around that poor sick baby of hers at the convention? (Because politicians always bring their families to conventions, and her son is part of her family? Because babies are cute and people like to hold them? And do you even understand what Down syndrome is? No, I don't think you do.) How can she claim her family is like my family when I don't know any families with pregnant teenagers? (I actually saw someone claim they didn't, which I think means either they're in denial or all the teenagers they know who've gotten knocked up have thoughtfully gotten abortions without troubling their parents about it, which is uncharitable of me to say but I can't say I didn't think it. Apparently sex education always works and how your children behave is always a reflection of your parenting skills. I can't believe anyone who has ever raised a teenager, or been one for that matter, could possibly think this.) Most of all, how can she not tow the line on women's issues (read: abortion) and still claim to be a feminist? That was clearly where all this was headed: character assassination for the sake of an ideology. God forbid feminists acknowledge the woman for what she's accomplished thus far, regardless of her qualifications for the office she seeks. And that is why I don't really give a poop about feminism anymore, whatever it is and whatever remains of it, and why I will never register as a Democrat even if the party's interests and my own somehow align. A party that represents that kind of feminism can't represent me.

Ahem. Cough. Anyway.

There is something really heartwarming about how happy people are. I had a huge headache and found it kind of annoying at the time, but people were honking and shouting in DC until three or four in the morning. Little old black ladies who grew up under segregation stood in line for hours to cast their vote for the first black president. A lot of people feel a lot better than they have in recent years, maybe their whole lives. Now I don't think Obama can possibly live up to everyone's expectations, and with the inevitable disappointment will come a lot of bitterness, but I believe for one brief moment this country is being the best it can possibly be. And I hope the collective enthusiasm and hope, and maybe even love, is enough to carry us through the next four years. God bless Barack Obama, and God bless America, this huge and maddening and wonderful country.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Around Wooster Square, part 1

I like our neighborhood. Ever since we moved here, I've had much more positive feelings about New Haven. This is a great area to have a baby--there are parks to walk around, we're a block or two away from a couple of playgrounds, there's some of the best pizza in the world right down the street--oh, wait, that has nothing to do with the baby. Oh well. I keep thinking I should take a camera along on my walks, so I did a couple of days last week, and I'll post pictures in installments when I don't have anything else to write about.

Today: leaves.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back home

I don't know if NaBloPoMo is supposed to consist of a month's worth of short entries that exist just for the sake of fulfilling a quota. Oh well. I am tired again from driving much of the day. I met Madame Meow and young Herr Meow for this first time this morning at the Building Zone in the National Building Museum, which I think is now one of my favorite spots in DC. I told Justin I like DC, and he was surprised because I hate driving there. Which I do. But I love walking there. For a city of its size, it is eminently walkable, being fairly flat--Capitol Hill is barely a hill for a girl from Seattle--and there are all sorts of interesting places to visit, many of them free. I think it's the only major American city I would want to live in just as much as I'd want to live in a small, isolated college town. Well, almost. No, really I'd take the college town. But I can see us living and raising a family in DC much more than I can imagine us living for any length of time in San Francisco, or NYC (gack!). We just couldn't ever drive anywhere. But, yes, I met Madame Meow, which is the first time I've met someone in real life whom I first encountered in the blogosphere, and we had a lovely time, and I think we had the cutest and best-behaved children in the whole place.

Auletta is asleep and Justin specifically gave me this time to blog, but I am SO TIRED that I don't know if I can keep stringing sentences together.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It is finished.

I'm really tired, so I'm not going to write an elaborate entry. I voted. We drove to DC and watched the election results with friends. There is a lot of exuberant honking and shouting outside. So there you go. I hope this turns out to have been good.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election eve

I had ideas of writing an elaborate post about how I arrived at the way I'm going to vote tomorrow, but when it all comes down I don't have time and I don't know if it matters because my thought processes are really the last anyone should take as an example. All I'm going to say is, I'm probably as close a person as you know to an undecided voter. What I've seen written about swing voters casts them as uninformed, single-issue voters, which may well be true in general, but I like to think I'm in the gooey middle because I see both sides of issues and I see everything in shades of gray rather than black and white. Or else I'm waffly. You decide. Well, I, and I think a lot of other people, have been stewing for weeks that in the end are not really relevant to how either of the two candidates would run the country, so I intend to set all that aside and vote for the person who I think is closest to what we need right now. May the best man win. I think it will all be okay either way.

We're headed to DC tomorrow after Justin's class (and, of course, after we vote!) to celebrate the election with other politically-obsessed friends, as we have done every election year since we've been married. I'm baking two flourless chocolate cakes this time instead of one, as I have for previous elections (don't ask what chocolate cake has to do with elections--except that no matter who wins, everyone gets to eat cake!), because we're splitting our time between Democratic and Republican parties. I mean cake-and-booze parties, not (just) political parties. Our group of friends actually has pretty diverse political views, and we keep up a lively and amicable discussion on a group email list, but for various reasons the parties are separate this year. Oh well, I guess I'll serve one cake with blueberries and one with strawberries. Or something? Yay for democracy, and cake.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Road trip: Maine, part 2 (Acadia)

I set out at sunrise to take pictures at Acadia, which was not so unpleasant with the later sunrise and our proximity to the park.

Jordan Pond:


Bubble Pond:

Later in the day, Justin and I drove the loop road around Acadia.

Sand Beach:

Thunder Hole (not the hole part, but on the same part of the shoreline--too many Germans in the way to get a good picture of Thunder Hole itself):

Then we drove along Soames Sound, the only fjord on this side of the Atlantic (! I think, at least in the US), to watch the sunset:

And I love this picture:

The next day, before going home, we returned to the park to drive up Cadillac Mountain, which I described earlier. Here are a few more pictures:

Bar Harbor from the top of the mountain:

And Auletta is tallest of all.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I decided it would be good discipline for me to do NaBloPoMo, so here I am, attempting to blog every day in November. If I were more ambitious, I'd do NaNoWriMo, but I'm not, and anyway I have another project on my plate that I'll blog about if it actually comes to fruition. Maybe next year, or sometime after. I did always want to be a novelist.

Well, speaking of. I am reminded occasionally, by glances at my high school yearbook or stacks of old notebooks or my college transcript that mentioned something about being an English major, hmmm...for a long time I wanted to be a writer. And of course, writing requires some of the aforementioned discipline (which I lack, as my dissertation bears out, if it could bear out anything by not really existing), as well as having something to write about. I caught myself in the driveway, toward the end of our first long New England winter here, thinking the tautological thought, "I'm much happier now that I'm happy," which is true in a way that goes beyond the obvious. For most of my teenage and adult life, until I met Justin, I fancied that I had a real or affected melancholy that I believed to be the hallmark and the catalyst of a true artist, the thing that made me sad but also made me a poet, or a novelist, or whatever. I was sad, but I reveled in my sadness, and it gave me a lot to blather about and analyze to death. Life (i.e. love, because that's really what this is all about) is so simple now that I've long left overanalysis behind. It is no coincidence that I kept a very detailed diary of my trip to Italy in 2002 until the moment Justin and I started dating, or that my habit of keeping a diary or some sort of computer log of my thoughts, or even writing lengthy emails to faraway friends about my life, largely evaporated after that point.

And I am happy. Life is so emotionally uncomplicated. There is nothing to analyze with Justin, because he's the most candid person I know, and Auletta doesn't give me time to brood anyway. I don't feel as though I need an outlet for stewing passions. But I don't write.

This doesn't mean I can't write, though, and I'm thinking maybe I should get myself in the habit of writing, just to see if I have something to say, and maybe I will find I am still a poet or a novelist--not to mention I take myself a lot less seriously than I did in my early 20s, so that's got to help, right? There is nothing riding on this now. If I can write, I'll write, and if I can't, there is a lot else for me to do. And hence, the first day of NaBloPoMo.