Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mid-Theory Exam

I have had no sleep and lots of coffee.
I have taken a full-hot shower.
I have a growth on my forehead that may be a pimple and may be a horn.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day NOTE TO SELF

Do not feed your dogs a giant bowl each of smoked cocktail weenies and baked sauerkraut that you were going to take to a party but decided it did not come out well so you shoved it in the freezer and left it there until you realized you were never going to eat it or feed it to anyone so it was high time to get rid of it and the dogs would eat it out of the compost anyway so you might as well just give it to them directly.

I don't think it sits well with them.

They've been drinking large quantities of water and walking a bit stiff.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crisis: I am now out of books!

I think I'll go buy myself the Garth Nix Abhorsen series in paperback.

I have chatted!

I know this shouldn't be a revelation, but I actually chatted with my old friend Kris via Facebook last night (by old, I mean that our friendship is old, that Shana/Kris is old, but Kris herself is not old). It was very entertaining. Maybe I've done it once before, but it was years ago, and I promptly forgot the action, the motive, and the technology.

So, I'm going to open Facebook while I work. If you want to talk with me - you now know where I am.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Edit request from AB

Please change "well-thumbed Thomas Mann" to "well-thumbed Herman Hesse."

T. Mann is a bit gay. It's Hesse with the real Germanic adolescent-angst-retained-into-adulthood-reframed-as-intellectual/spiritual-depth. . .


Will do, honey.
Will do.

Oh, to sleep

I haven't been sleeping much. That's not a huge surprise, right? But I've been getting about an hour less of sleep each night because I have been turning to my most comforting childhood books at night. I tend towards trilogies and series in order to reduce the angst I feel at the end of a good book.

So far:
The Dark is Rising series
The Blue Sword
The Hero and the Crown (what I'm reading now)
The Outlaws of Sherwood
The Heralds of Valdemar (before Mercedes Lackey got so prolific)
All Creatures Great and Small (okay, this was from AB's childhood, but turns out to be quite charming)

I'm thinking of re-reading Robin McKinley's fairy tale series (Beauty, Spindle's End), and maybe even sinking into the DragonSinger trilogy. You might notice that I greatly prefer stories with female leads, and I'm always on the lookout for books where the central character stays the hell home and has a great adventure on her own hearth. I'm more interested in the domestic sphere than the heroic sphere...

Oh, here's a factoid about me that might weird you out: my favorite scenes from my favorite movies (you know, the ones you watch when you're feeling sad or overwhelmed - you watch until that scene and then shut it off?) have to do with COOKING AND CLEANING. I am just in love with the Miyazaki movies (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Totoro) because he usually includes cleaning sequences, and at least a quick bit in the kitchen.

I would like to say that I read interesting, heavy, deep stuff...but all those books you see on our shelves - the well-thumbed Hesse, the reviled Thomas Mann, and the much-loved Herman Melville - they're all Alexis's. The Dragon Rider Trilogy read so many times the spine fell off? That's mine.

Things I find on my camera:

No, I'm totally not joking. You are seeing two .357 Magnum revolvers, one semi-auto 45, and a kevlar vest.

All this because someone was told they could be neither a cop nor an army guy.

I guess when one becomes a working adult, one can begin to collect the accoutrements of a wished-for life. I'm totally okay with it, especially if it means that the beloved is not actually engaged in traffic stops or burning bibles in Baghdad.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The nightmare across the street

We live right across the street from a park bordering an elementary school. Usually the kids stay on the playground in the back, and we only hear the whistles blowing in the distance.

One or two days a year, however, they set up cones in the park and MAKE THE CHILDREN RUN AROUND AND AROUND. I can't tell you what a chill this sends down my back - hopefully if you're reading this, it also brings back nightmarish memories of your childhood. I have such terrible memories of gym, and gym class, and gym teachers, and especially the Presidential Fitness Program (which I suspect this running is part of).

Newsflash: Children don't exercise like adults - they don't get on the eliptical for an hour every night to catch the re-run of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report - they play. By themselves, with each other, with pets and birds and bugs. Kids should play, not exercise.

What's ridiculous is that as much as I hated gym, I grew up into a person who runs. But I became this in spite of the horrible physical education I received at the hands of our public school system. That education taught me that I hated any form of exercise, and, moreover, I wasn't capable of it. It took me years to overcome that training - and when I did, I found that I was burdened with a weight of shame, self-doubt, and hate-talk that I learned at the hands of masters. These same types of masters I hear "cheering" on their children every Saturday morning:
Move, move, move!
It's right in front of you, get it! GET IT!
What are you doing? Wake up!
What was THAT??
Come ON!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The most beautiful little boy

Four things become clear from this photo:
1. An early commitment to dental hygiene.
2. Long, curling toesies - I have been pinched by long toes such as those!
3. A sunny morning disposition
4. Cuteness!

Having Noah be so far away is just heartbreaking. I have been so busy and self-centered this year, I have had no time for travel and haven't seen him since September. I know that when we meet next, he won't know me at all and won't be interested in letting me smell his little head, kiss his sweet cheeks, and gather his long limbs to me in a little boy bundle. I dream of a big family house where Noah runs down the stairs to curl up with the dogs, steal our toothbrushes, and demand special breakfasts from his Aunt and Ankle.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Land

Honestly, I was the most content I've been in months:

Also, we spent the evening with good, good friends. It is going to break our hearts to leave them.

Me and Carole:

Mir (seen here shooting with Alexis):

And Nancy, who I'm begging to finally make an appearance at Shanukah:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life is pretty good

Every morning, now, I drive to our neighborhood Panera and buy one of everything I like:
Spinach and Artichoke Souffle
Cranberry Orange Muffin
Chocolate Duet Walnut Cookie
Earl Grey Tea

And sit for hours in a lovely booth, reading/writing, and watching traffic until the lunch crowd rolls in. This is my life for the next three years or so, and I'm determined to love it. Alright, I already love it.

Last night, we painted the garage and moved the woodpile. AB put down mulch everywhere and the house and lawn look really lovely. I think it's pretty typical that your house looks its best just before you put it on the market. We sat out by our incredible fire-pit for hours - making fire-pie hamburgers (unbelievably good) and burning parts of the house (seriously, our lot is 1/8 of an acre, and we produce almost all of our wood on-site).

Tonight is the free (FREE, I TELL YOU), Zingerman's party at Pinball Pete's. Four hours of totally free video gaming - when it asks you "Do you want to continue?" after you've died for the twentieth time, you just press start and it does! Pool, pinball, fancy sword games, that police game where you have to duck to hide behind cars and stuff, the turret game where you sit in a red ball, and lots of zombie killing.

Alexis and I played air hockey for the first time a few weeks ago (at another free Pinball Pete's night - yes, we're lucky kids), and we LURVE it. Although my movements are sloth-speed normally, air hockey brings out my cat-like reflexes.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Toad Harvest

It's time for the Mid-May Toad Harvest!

Not a bad crop - some of 'em are a bit puny...but we've got some large-sized grumpers in there too.

It was a good distraction from studying - can you see how insane I look? This is not a mistake, I look this way a lot.

Also, cleavage. I know, sorry.


I am in the process of ordering PATCHES for Shanukah 2009. It's gonna be so cool.

I am also in the process of studying for a 3-day test at the end of the month. It's also gonna be cool.

Theory Exam: May 29th-31st
Shanukah 2009: June 20th

Friday, May 15, 2009


The vet gave us a look yesterday when we handed over Luckey Haskins. We swear to god, it's all fuzz (not fat).

We had a bit of a struggle there...but ultimately resolved to get along.

Some things to know about Luckey:
1. He's named after an exit sign on Rt. 75 South. On one side of the highway is Luckey, Ohio, on the other is Haskins, Ohio.
2. A few weeks ago, we discovered he owns and operates a small antique store near our Trader Joe's called: Lucky Haskin's Antiques and Oddities. We have no idea how he secured business financing in this economy, but he's not talking.
3. He is very fluffy. He has toehawks.
4. We call his tail his "majesty" because it is truly majestic.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sent to Senator George Winner - NYS Senate R-053

Hello Senator Winner,

My name is Shana Greenstein. I was born in Elmira, grew up in Watkins Glen and currently live out of state. I am writing to you because you have expressed your plan to vote no on the upcoming marriage bill, and I'm asking you with all my heart to reconsider and vote for equity.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about my partnership. I met my partner, Alexis, 15 years ago at college. I have to say it was love at first sight - after one look, I felt I had known her my whole life. We've been together through college, graduate school, and I am happy to say she is now an MD. Now, it's my turn and I'm in a doctoral program in Urban and Regional Planning, and my research is focused on making public spaces that are welcoming to all kinds of people.

My dad still owns a farm in Watkins Glen, and someday that farm may come to Alexis and I. We've talked a lot about relocating back upstate - I could teach at one of the local colleges, and she could work at one of the smaller hospitals in the area. We're talking seriously about starting a family, and we'd like to have our children grow up in the country. It's a lifestyle that would suit us just fine.

We own a small fixer-upper in Michigan, we have adopted five animals from local shelters, and we're involved in our community. We shovel our elderly neighbor's sidewalk in the winter, we help stray dogs find their way home - we're not superheroes, but we're good and caring folks. Frankly, I bet we're just the type of couple you'd want moving back to your district.

I can also tell you that we are moving soon, and we're thinking a lot about where we and our kids would be safe. There are now nearby states where we could move - states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont that would treat us as full and cherished CITIZENS. Because, honestly, without marriage equity, we are not full citizens - we pay our taxes into a system that doesn't treat us fairly or with dignity.

It's been too long, Senator Winner. Alexis, me, and thousands and thousands of other LGBT couples are tired of staying where we're not wanted. We'll go to states that treat us fairly, and we'll bring:
our tax dollars,
our energy,
our training,
our stability, and
our love and commitment.

We'd like to think we could bring that to New York State - my HOME state. I'd like to be able to come home.

Please make the right decision. Please vote for equality.

Shana Greenstein, MSW
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Monday, May 11, 2009


I am so excited about my new purchase: a locking, rolling box that contains all my materials for my upcoming theory exam. It is poorly balanced, and I drop the handle all the time, but I lurve it.

All the way from Popper's Falsifiability Assumption to Bentham's Felicific Calculus...from Benjamin's Blase Parisians to Florida's Creative Class and back again.

Gosh, theory is delicious.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What we fight about, when we fight...

Whether the agglomeration of trillions of individual social (assuming political and economic actions are social) choices constitute any sort of structured system or simply a chaotic field. If structured, one could evaluate it, theorize upon it, compare the neoliberal growth/equilibrium paradox to the Marxist crisis model. If not, then there's no use talking about it and we should just get another pitcher of Oberon.

Oberon: The official drink of Shanukah 2009
June 20th
Ann Arbor, Michigan