Monday, November 12, 2012

Today the soup had hotdogs in it!

Recently--as in a few days ago--a friend of mine started a blog.  Her first entries are wonderfully honest and revelatory about her current thoughts and feelings.  My blog, however, has long--as in since the beginning--been an exercise in self-constraint. A careful effort exerted to remain veiled.  Not to be too...bloggy.  The effort to be writerly instead of excretorious.

But that is mostly a bullshit endeavor, the whole, Only my mother is reading this.  (By the way, mostly only my mother used to read this and probably doesn't remember the url anymore.)

So, let's catch up.

It is now 2012, right?

Obama was reelected.  Romney was defeated. (What is he writing on his blog tonight?)

I am in Budapest.  I am seated at my desk facing the lighted gas lamps of Karoly Kert.  The husband is in Dubai.  (I am told that Dubai exists, but have trouble really coming to terms with that fact.)  The kids were darlings today, which should be noted as it is not every day that I can say that.

I am surprised by how much I like life in Budapest.

I still adore jasmine pearls after many, many years.  And today I learned that I have been steeping it all wrong.  As per the directions on the package from Teavana, I have steeped one teaspoon at 170 degrees F for three minutes, yielding two infusions.  Today I learned an alternate way to steep: one teaspoon at 170 degrees F for 5 - 10 seconds, yielding 10 - 12 infusions.  Former tea, a light brown color, the later produces an almost white tea which is very fragrant. I resisted the new method and almost refused to try it outright.  But I took the challenge.  I liked it here, and there, and anywhere. (Can still learn new tricks, in other words.) (May be metaphor there for youth and what comes after.)

I am confused about why General Petraeus had to resign because he had an affair.  I don't recommend extra-marital affairs.  But I don't see how his private life and indiscretions should end his career. I mean, shit.  That's hardcore and so, well, Let's all throw stones!  Not that I have been able to stomach reading anything other than the headlines.

This morning a woman got out of car and started down the sidewalk in front of us, us being myself, Iza, and Leo.  I immediately felt pity for her--in rainy weather she was dressed in high-heeled wedge boots, black tights, short black skirt, and short brown jacket.  Really, we had to go and endorse wearing high heels in winter weather?  That was a man's idea.  So, she was teetering and not strutting her stuff.  I pitied her.  Then my almost five-year-old (but still four years old) says, "That is a beautiful lady, mama."
     "What makes you say that?"
     "She has long hair, and tights."
     "I also like ladies with short hair," I fumbled.
     "You know what makes a person beautiful?  A good attitude and a happy face."
I am sure she didn't buy it for one second.

My kids go to a Hungarian nursery school.  I am a fan.  I especially love that they eat a sit-down lunch with at least two courses.  Lunch always starts with a soup.  And then a second course of either pasta or meat and potatoes.  Sometimes fish, though rarely.  I am sure it is not organic.  Sometimes they report with a near swoon that, Today the soup had hotdogs in it!  There is white bread.  But I overlook these things because I think the lessons learned from a shared table with real cutlery and decorum is essential.  I have been to one of these lunches and it was impressive how the little ones behaved. Then I learned yesterday that the girls are always served first.  Then the boys.  Really?  Is this benign, old-fashioned quaintness, merely?  Or one more ingredient in an insidious pressure cooker of gender discrimination--against girls and boys.  Why can't we just go around in a circle and serve each in his or her turn?  In my humble experience, the Hungarians are very specific and restrictive about gender roles. As a mother of a daughter and son, I find it infuriating.

Please, don't mention the Princess issue.  That is a whole thing.


T.L. Holmes Williams said...

I was so enamored by the idea of the communal lunch as you described it to me during our museum outing in Providence, but I, too, am bothered by the gender thing. Why not just go around the table? Hmmm. You are so wonderful about getting I. and L. to rethink convention (woman with heels); I must remember to do so myself when Ro is here. As far as the resignation of the general, I'm thinking perhaps it has more to do with a military code of conduct/honor that this is all going down in such a way. If hubby were here, I'd ask him. Just a thought. It seems extreme given countless former Presidents are known to have had affairs and certainly didn't resign. Finally, you make me long for Hungary! Be well...and, someone other than your mom reads you regularly!! ;)

J.K.Kelley said...

For two days in a row Iza came home and raved about lunch at school. I mentioned it to the teacher. She told me that they just changed to a new restaurant to make their food. The former restaurant was an old style Hungarian place. The new restaurant is a vegetarian place!!!!! They agreed to provide a meat dish on 2 - 3 days a week. The kids love it! I am so excited for this change.