1. I had no idea the Sydney Opera House was terrible, acoustically and logistically, for opera.
2. An 82-year-old composer who worked nights as a security guard so he could have days to compose is finally having his opera performed.
3. Have we all seen the new Star Wars trailer? I don’t know what the thing is at about 1:30 but I haven’t felt this way about a film creature since I saw an Ewok. (I LOVE IT AND TAKE MY MONEY!)
I started reading The New Midlife Crisis: Why (and How) It’s Hitting Gen X Women mostly because I was curious about what sort of articles were on Oprah.com. I don’t think of myself as GenX but I’m at the tail end of it (1984 is the cutoff this article uses). I’m going to be 38 in a couple months. And the anxieties described within are, in fact, my anxieties.
Anxieties about money :
Women not only earn less than men but also invest less—and then they live longer. That, writes investment expert Sallie Krawcheck, is “the gender gap that’s really hurting us.” Meanwhile, the safety net is vanishing; in 2040, the Social Security trust fund is due to run out—right as many of us hit retirement age.
Anxieties about your career:
Midlife is when we need to take care of everyone else while we are our most tired, to trust ourselves when we’re most filled with doubt. What makes it worse is that many of our midlife fears are well founded. We may, in fact, die alone. Our marriages may never improve. We may never get the number of kids we hoped for. We may never save enough money to make the retirement calculators stop screaming. We may never do a fraction of what we thought we would do in our career.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been growing my hair out since spring. Just last week it FINALLY got long enough to pull back into the tiniest of pony tails–literally, an inch–but I felt exactly like this:
Also, when you tell your 25-year-old stylist that you’re going for a “young Robert Plant” look for your hair, you get a tight, confused smile and the confirmation that you are the Weird Old Lady.
I used a hefty French terry (from JoAnn); it didn’t have a ton of stretch so I cut a size up evenly. I also added an inch and a half to the length and, after years of the slightly-too-short Old Navy pair, the warmth of my ankles is delightful.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been wearing the woven versions of this pattern out and about, maybe it’s because they’re new and actually fit me, but these feel almost dressy. I wore them to work from home last week (when I made Doc take my picture; spot the Toby reflection in the fireplace) and I can answer the door or get the mail without feeling like I’m going outside in my pajamas.
I’m wearing my Archer shirt from last fall with them here, and I wore my Driftless cardigan with them when I was avoiding pollen Sunday. I actually never thought I’d have a whole lounge-y array of things I’d made. Yay!
Saturday was beautiful, 72 and sunny with a south wind, so I thought, “I should be outside! It’s probably my last chance to try indigo dyeing! Our hike Sunday is going to be so great!”
Turns out that south wind was carrying some of the worst fall allergies I’ve ever had–by Saturday night after two Claritins my eyes were so puffy it looked like I’d spent all day on a crying jag. So Sunday I resigned myself to doing nothing, broke out the Benadryl, and stayed inside.
Toby approved of that choice, even if I missed the fall colors. (And check out Oliver checking out the tie dye! It is a truth universally acknowledged that all cats are attracted to pieces of fabric.)
1. Not funny, actually: Things More Heavily Regulated Than Buying a Gun in the United States
2. Pretty funny: Pet Upgrades on Twitter.
— Pet Upgrades (@pet_upgrades) September 30, 2017
3. Your ten minutes of Zen: the Vangelis highlights from the Cosmos soundtrack, set to visuals with “the spaceship of the imagination.”
When things are bad, I break out the Carl Sagan. (Turns out it hasn’t even been a year since the last time I had to do it.) This has been in my head all week–“the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”
Text of the audio is below, with my own emphasis, as before.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
From The Onion, because America is best summed up in satire lately: Americans Hopeful This Will Be Last Mass Shooting Before They Stop On Their Own For No Reason
How long until another one replaces Las Vegas as the “most deadly shooting in America”? What can be done? Where do you even start?
I honestly don’t know if it will do any good, but I’m starting with my representatives–even though all of mine have taken money from the NRA. (Here’s where to find out.)
Contact them. Ask for change. Campaign and vote for people who may actually listen to you.