The All-You-Can-Eat Dilemma

SushiMy family has been debating an ethical dilemma this week. 

It started when my husband sent around this article about a man who went to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. (For now, let's put aside the utter disgustingness of the concept.)

A guy came into the restaurant and ate 100 plates of sushi. The owner then banned him from returning. Evidently the customer was a triathlete who fasts for 20 hours and then pigs out. One hundred plates of sushi translates into roughly 18 lbs of sushi. 

Was banning him from the restaurant fair?

My son said he wasn't sure whose side he was on.

I'm with the restaurant owner. You might as well ask for a "doggy bag" at an all-you-can-eat buffet, to pack up what you didn't finish. There are community standards as to what constitutes a reasonable portion.

My daughter thinks my position makes no sense, arguing that restaurants can't change what they promise just because one person's meal is unprofitable.

My husband has kept his own counsel. 

Anyway, these are the deep issues I like to ponder as the nation seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. Feel free to chime in.

 

 

 


Full Circle

Sometimes role reversal can be very sweet. Images

My husband and I both spend a lot of time caring for aging parents. (Sorry, Mom, but you are 94, albeit an incredibly feisty and competent 94.) These last few weeks have been particularly difficult for my husband, whose father is very ill.

As of yesterday morning we were still on the fence about visiting our daughter, who has moved to Seattle. But we went ahead and flew across country, knowing that at any moment we might have to return. 

Last night, jet-lagged and emotionally worn out, we sat at on my daughter's couch. She'd put out snacks and was cooking us an early dinner because she knew we'd be tired. The guest room in her apartment was both immaculate and cozy. 

She sent us to bed right after dinner; she and her boyfriend cleaned the kitchen and took care of everything else, including setting up the coffee for the next morning, should we rise on east coast time. 

It's hard to describe how amazing it feels to be taken care of my our daughter. But in a word: wonderful.


Do You Ever Outgrow The "Back to School" Impulse?

Download-1It's happening again. After a long, delicious summer where I spent a lot of time outdoors, and not much time producing work - I have that back-to-school feeling. So much to do! But in September, it's not overwhelming - it's exciting.

Suddenly I'm bursting with story ideas - journalistic and memoir. I have new thoughts about articles to pitch and where to pitch them.  I'm really looking forward to a new gig in which I'll be teaching a memoir class to inmates upstate.

Oh, and I need to get new back-to-school supplies, which at this stage of my life translates to a new, electronic organizer/planning app, updating my website and ....er...some new back-to-school outfits. (Fine, I generally work in the room over my garage where no one sees me. A girl still needs new things.)

I'm even thinking about soups and stews, and (say it ain't so) getting tired of tomatoes and corn.

Here's what surprises me. Today it was 90 degrees today and humid. Not a hint of Autumn in the air. But somehow my internal clock knows when to get revved up and back to work.

 


Returning to a New Place

IMG_8394
When my husband and I make vacation plans, he tends to want to return to places he loves - particularly Glacier National Park. It's an amazing place and I love it too. But I long to see new vistas, cities, waters.

Except.

Except there is a place I return to again and again,  - a family camp in upstate New York. I'm there right now. I've been coming to this patch of Adirondack woods since I was a small child.

Yesterday we took a walk around a lake - something I've done dozens of time. We set out at the end of a sunny August day, about two hours before sunset. And it was as if I'd never been there before. The light at that hour, the particular position of the sun, the advent of late summer mushrooms and deep, pillowy moss - ever few steps there was new wonder.

So I guess my husband is on to something. Somehow, the places we love and return to are always new.

IMG_8386

 

 

 


Understanding Our Country

Why can't we understand each other? Media silos. Depending on what we read/watch/listen to, we have our own realities, which are constantly reinforced, an echo-chamber of our own beliefs. That said, there is legitimate journalism and then there's opinion masquerading as reporting. The best way to sort through all of this: consume a broad media diet.

Check out yesterday's some media homepages to get an idea of how different sites weigh the importance of unfolding events.

The New York Times:

NYT

Fox News:

Fox

Wall Street Journal:

WSJ

Make your own call on the relative importance of the lead stories, and the spin given.


Heavy Lays The Crown...

Download-1Another coronation this morning. Of the dental sort, that is. I am getting yet another crown, which by now should put me at the top tiers of royalty. I've had more than my lifetime share of dental work, and to add insult to injury, my old dental work is crumbling. Did you know that fillings only have a limited lifetime? I didn't. 

Because a couple of hours of drilling weren't enough fun today, I finally dragged myself to the doctor for an injury I got about a week ago.  I was trying to shove a stopper back into a bottle. The bottle was wet, my hand slipped, and banged into the granite counter. Okay, yes, it was a wine bottle.

It really hurt. I put ice on it, was able to (painfully) move all my fingers and Download-2called it a night. My hand has turned some lovely colors - dark purple, sickly yellow, but I figured it was on the mend. But yesterday I couldn't squeeze shampoo out of a bottle. And today I couldn't hold my coffee cup.

Sigh. It's fractured. My teeth are cracked, my hand is cracked, and my head doesn't feel far behind.

 I know I should count my blessings that I have health insurance. Not dental insurance, but let's not get greedy.

 

 

 

 


My Vet's Office

Vet

Please note: bull dog sitting on floor behind the desk, small beige cat next to laptop near the window, and cat with one eye sitting on the charts. These guys aren't even patients - they seem to live there. It may not be state-of-the-art, but I love my vet.


Missing You

Images-1I miss everyone I lost last year.

Yesterday, I was longing to tell my friend Missy about a dream I had. She'd have listened, snorted, and then come up with some completely irreverent interpretation that would make me laugh. There are so many things I need to tell her. 

I also really need to talk to my Dad. I have some questions about the Adirondacks that only he can answer. Mostly I want to look into his brown eyes, pat his leg and tell him how much I love him. 

Also,  I keep coming across pictures of my little brother and me. We are often touching - holding hands, or he is hanging off of my arm. With Bill, I want to warn him and protect him from the life he would lead. I want to go back in time, not just to before his death, but back to when we were 12 and 6 respectively, when he was a pale, tow-headed, chubby kid with no shadow of the terrible things to come and I was his alternately annoyed and affectionate big sister.


Dept. of Stupidity


ImagesI back up all the work from my MacBook Pro to an external hard drive. Like all things in my house, it stopped working - the backup that is.  Every day an ominous warning appears on my desk top. You haven't backed up your data in 63 days! 64 days! 65 days....

I called Apple Care for help.  The woman listened, asked me to again explain the problem, and then said she needed to reach out to a supervisor. About 10 minutes later she was back. 

This was her troubleshooting suggestion: wipe out the computer hard drive and try again.

"I'm sorry, can you repeat that?"

"Let's just start you with a clean hard drive."

"You want me to wipe out my computer's hard drive?

"Yes."

"Why would I want to do that? Years of work! I just told you, I can't back up anything."

"That's all we can suggest from here."

Maybe I'll try the Genius Bar next.

 

 


Quack Job

DuckMy new washing machine sounds like there is a duck dying in it. 

This has been the month of failing appliances. My oven gave up the ghost on broiling about two years ago, followed by the entire panel refusing to operate in any way that makes sense. At least until last week, I could still bake in it. My freezer's temperature has been wildly fluctuating, resulting in melted and refrozen ice cream, suspicious smelling chicken (thrown out now) and a near-constant puddle of water under the unit.

The old washer was banging so much that it jumped out of its laundry closet and onto the hallway floor during a rinsing cycle.

So first things first - I replaced the washer. The new one had nice capacity, basic features and the price was right. It didn't occur to me to consider the kind of noise it would make. Which turned out to be like a duck is fighting for his life in there. Images-1

Clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way, because GE has devoted a webpage to "Top Load Washer Normal Sounds" complete with sound clips. Scroll down to the agitation cycles, hit "play" and then and imagine that noise amplified so that you can easily hear it two rooms away. 

At least now I know that the sound of dying water fowl as I wash the clothes is perfectly normal. 

 

 


Supporting the Media

CNN baby haterI'm regretting my last post, though not to the point of deletion. 

Today I interviewed a CNN journalist for a magazine profile I'm writing. I asked her describe her day.

Her alarm went off at 3 am. She worked out for half an hour, dealt with some summer camp stuff for her kids, took a quick shower and was in the studio by 4:45 am. After a 5:15 am production meeting, she was in makeup at 6 am, then reviewing stories with producers until she went on air from 9 - 11 am as a substitute anchor. I'm writing this post after 5 pm, when she is again on air, filling in for another anchor. The time in between was just as action packed for her, checking and rechecking stories, reading feeds and updates, meeting again with producers and more. Images

So what's it like, I asked, being a journalist at a time when the media is portrayed as "the enemy of the people" and the President of the United States personally attacks your work? (If you can't make it out, the button on the baby pictured above left says, "CNN sucks.")


Rope tree journalistShe told me she was proud to be a journalist, and tries to do the job the way she says she's always done it - "focused on fact and getting it right." Media people are well trained to deal with other media people.

But it is clear to me that dealing with intense hostility, hateful internet trolls, and even threats to physical safety have all become part of the job description. 

Freedom of the press is a critical part of our democracy. So instead of whining about how difficult it is to consume the news these days, I'm changing my tune. Pay attention to the work that is being done. And thank a journalist for the important job they're doing.