Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kids these days...

Really, I should call it "Parents these days...." I am sending out warning flares right now that this will not be kind. But some of you have gotten used to that kind of post once in awhile.

I'm sure these are very nice people, but they need to nix the ipad for the kid.

The two boys are on phones and Ipad - and who knows what Dad is looking at?
This is not nice of me, I know, but I think the problem is bigger than my being nice.

Lee and I were at dinner tonight at a perfectly nice restaurant (not fancy, but great outdoor dining on this most perfect of days.) Lee points to a table next to us by tipping his head and eyes in their direction. It was a family of four with two little boys, probably aged 18 months and 3. The 3 year old sat at dinner the whole time with an IPAD on a stand. I am not kidding.

I looked around and at another adjacent table was a family of four, also with two boys, probably ages 3 and 4. BOTH of them were on machines. One on a phone and one on an IPAD.

I'm guessing this is not even what Steve Jobs would have wanted. I thought about the time we have spent in Europe. And in a million years, I can 't imagine seeing a child in Europe at a table with a piece of technology. Eating is a social ritual, not a private event.

Here's my background. Lee is a Waldorf teacher, knows a great deal about child development and is a speaker on the harmful effects of technology on the developing brain. He feels passionately about the topic. I never allowed my now 27-year old son to own a video game - (Oh, that was easy!  for a kid born in 1986.) I also sent my kids to Waldorf where a whole big bunch of us agreed technology is not a tool for children. It is a tool for adults. Including TV.

This was the single-handedly smartest thing I ever did for my kids and I say that with perspective because they are 27 and 24. Izzy doesn't own a TV today - never has. I don't think Zan does either, but maybe his roomies have one. Not sure. It's sure not the way they spend their days. Izzy is in a book club at 24, always reading something. Zan just works a lot and hangs out with friends, runs, plays b-ball and reads a bit, too. He watches the occasional Vikings game and other seminal sporting events.

So that's my approach to parenting, and here's my criticism of parents who let little children have technology. And yes, I said CRITICISM. I have FOUR arguments here.

1. They know not what they do. What parent would say, gee, let me limit my child's brain development by putting them in front of a machine? No parent would do that if they knew. But many many many many parents are lazy parents! And that drives me crazy. They don't learn about what a child needs. They are sheep and follow some inane marketing schtick, buying into the "coolness" of technology for your kid. it is NOT COOL. It is actually really harmful to a developing mind and I am very curious...why is no one talking about this? I said to Lee..."It's like cigarettes in the 1920s - who knew then? By the '70s, you couldn't pretend you didn't know. They had everyone addicted and it was too late and deadly." I honestly think that is what technology is to a child's. (ADHD, Aspergers, Autism,  blah, blah, blah...)

2. Now, here's the second problem. How does a child learn to be civilized and sit at a table and eat with others and use a napkin and silverware and learn to have a conversation if everyone has their nose in the screen. Who would want to date these people when they grow up?

3. Next, it is the end of rapport among families. No longer is Dad or Mom asking, "How was your day, honey?" Or, "let me tell you a cool thing that happened today." This is lazy, lazy parenting. And very sad when you choose to give up time talking together to spend it with a machine. Besides. it is just bad manners. And why would a parent teach their child bad manners? Really? Why? I seriously don't get this.

I am not a luddite. Lee and I sit with our laptops after morning coffee - AFTER TALKING TO EACH OTHER AS IN A CONVERSATION / DIALOGUE. We read the paper online. But no one should pull out a phone or an Ipad and use it at the dinner table unless it is an emergency and you excuse yourself. But bad manners are not illegal. Just annoying.

4. So after all the bitching, here's the sad part...I kind of think this is leading to some kind of new lower / under class. These kids are not getting a proper education - including social / cultural education and development of the imagination they need to compete in this ridiculously competitive world. The imagination is unique to human development, but not cultivated when a machine makes the pictures instead of the child's mind. They won't have that bank of cultural knowledge that everyone needs and inhales by reading - literature. These children will themselves be "a comedy of errors" - unable to participate at the highest levels of civilization, with appreciation for imagination, myth and metaphor. It is hard work to be a part of a society and feel good about your place in it. Interacting with human beings in the world is a much more challenging experience than interacting with a machine.

This hurts our children. This isn't mundane and inert. This hurts them.

The perfect segue...I'm nagging Lee like crazy to do a talk on this in the fall.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Got a new piece of art from Foundry Home Goods

Got a beautiful new piece of art this weekend from Anna Hillegass's shop - The Foundry Home Goods in the North Loop. She's repping artist Siri Knutson, who does these beautiful pieces in gilt on paper. Just gorgeous elemental forms. Signed and framed. Instant gratification.

Here's mine. Lucky me.

Art by Siri Knutson, avail at Foundry Home Goods, Minneapolis.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What the Heck...

...have I been doing for 2 weeks? I feel like a noodle in this heat - love it - but feel like doing pretty much nothing. On Sunday, I was in my pjs until 4 in the afternoon. Took a shower then, did a little cookin' in - and never, ever left the apartment. That means I never left the confluence of 72-degree rooms forming our apartment. I didn't go to the car, to the bar, to the entry, nothing. Stayed put in my cotton pajamas and t-shirt. Bliss out.

I don't even know what I did. Got up at 10, sat in front of the fan with my cappuccino, read the Times, read some of the books on my bedside table - so confusing because I am literally reading five right now - I want one for every mood!

For the heck of it...I am reading:

Virginia Woolf  - Moments of Being

Elizabeth Gilbert - Eat, Pray, Love (for the 3rd time and studying it for writing lessons.)

Mary Karr - Lit (for the second time, ditto. Think this is brilliant.)

Mark Doty - Heaven's Coast - (for an example of a heavy duty memoir with lots of exposition.Also brilliant but a bit too "oh, look what a smart writer I am" for me. Makes me scream for Hemmingway.)

Forget the author - Let's Pretend this Never Happened. (funny memoir, but not that funny yet.)

What are you reading this summer! Please tell me. i will be done with all these in a week and I seriously panic when I don't have a book. In fact, let's start a new program. KEEP ALECIA'S NIGHTSTAND FILLED WITH BOOKS. Just send your ideas!

I"m not a huge reader of novels, though always open - love Ann Patchett and Hemingway!

All I want to do this summer is check out and read and write. 

Just cooking simple food like this Juevos Rancheros, reading ...and playin' a little croquet.

Lee's fave...juevos....

full of cilantro
510 Groveland Mallet Club

Sorry, team - not regulation uniform!

Sadly, I have to report that Lee's mom is not well so we are on high alert for a quick trip to Boulder for her passing (yeh, I know some people thing that is a sorrowful word for death, but I happen to think it is beautiful because I think it IS a passing from one world to another - not to Heaven, exactly, but to something beyond this physical world) Bags are packed, ipad charged. But, isn't that what summer should be? Fluid.

All for now.


Monday, July 8, 2013

The Queen of Chill

Okay, admitting it. I have been chillin'. I am seriously excited about Stay-cations. They are just bomb as my kids would say. I spent the last week on vacation - but here in Minneapolis.

First you get to sleep as late as you want - hello! in your own bed! With real live Egyptian cotton sheets, a cotton blanket and a cotton spread. With a fan. Not a hotel behemouth bed with questionable pillows, not grandma's twin beds, not on your son's futon, nope...your own bed.

Next, when you get up, you don't have to forage for coffee that suits you. Personally, I stay in bed until Lee says, "Cafe, mi amore." (Because he has made it with amazing French Roast Espresso in the little Italian espresso pot on the stove.) Then I know it is ready for me, sitting on the coffee table in the Living Room.

Next, you get to shower in your own shower, not in a place where you have to figure out how hot and how cold and the pressure of the showerhead. You also have your own delicious towels and robe nearby and your Hauschka Lemon Oil to slather all over your body.

Next, you never have to worry that you didn't bring the right clothing. Because you are at home, you have access to your entire closet. So, just in case you get invited to the croquet game at the last minute, you can scour your closet for white linen and come up with something. Easy breezy. But, not necessarily if you were traveling with a small suitcase.

You can go to your own massage therapist, accupuncturist, manucurist and pedicurist without having any worries that they may not be good.

You can spend time with family and friends and stil feel like there is plenty of time for you.

You can eat in or out and not worry that it is going to be a waste of money or  bad meal because you will go where you love to go (Lucia's, the Wedge) and it will be comfortably familiar and without stress.

I'm all about this.

Happy Summer.


Monday, July 1, 2013

cool things i've seen in the last week

IF I was going to smoke (to stay thin?) starting at around 60 seems a good idea. 

I love Prada.  Brava! Brava!

 Looking for inspiration for clothes for Paris trip in the fall  - for both Lee and me.
We could use a little updating!

very Richard Gere-esque.

Guess who? I got this from a friend last week. 1971.