30 August 2010


The late summer bounty of vegetables results in many good meals—fresh tomato soup, tzatziki, gazpacho, pickled beets—filling up the refrigerator. LIKE
The refrigerator, full and evidently unhappy about it, begins an ominous ticking at 8pm last night. DISLIKE
Roy with Sears Appliance Repair is fast, courteous, and good at his job. LIKE
Replacing the control board costs just under $500. DISLIKE (duh)
A weekend of dinners, parties, and errand-running makes for a full couple of days. LIKE
The exhaustion from said outings results in a meltdown at Target. DISLIKED by all those around me
My boyfriend is smart, funny, cute, and capable of withstanding my subtle-as-a-hurricane personality. LIKE
The boyfriend witnesses the meltdown at Target (Me, repeatedly, out loud: I want a cookie. M, thought bubble above his head, silently: You're effing crazy). DISLIKE (or SHAME if you prefer)
Speaking of the boyfriend (we'll still just call him M): the world is better when we find someone so good. LIKE
We have been called lesbians for the speed at which this has developed. DIS. LIKE.
Discovering To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time (don't ask me how I missed it the first 42 years of my life; I don't know) is an unexpected pleasure. LIKE
Realizing the stack of summer reading hasn't diminished, thanks to that controlling Stieg Larsson (and yes, I gave up halfway through book three; I just quit caring), means that I've read less this summer than any other of my life. DISLIKE
Looking back on a crazy, adventure-filled summer: LOVE

27 August 2010

Woman of Substance

As you can imagine, the Going40 stamp of approval is a coveted imprimatur, and one not easily gained. So it is with a grand sense of occasion that I commend to you a new blog, written by a dear and very smart friend (The kind of smart that actually knows stuff, not just rattles on like he does. I'm frighteningly self-aware.) Where's My Trust Fund? is a personal finance blog that will be filled with provocative ideas and concrete solutions to help all of us live well, and within our means. Its writer has the experience, compassion, and common sense to make this quite a worthwhile project. Read it, bookmark it, share it, and join the Where's My Trust Fund? movement.

23 August 2010

Helping those who can't help themselves

So I have this friend who blogs, too (but not as well, so I don't feel threatened; and yes, I had her approve this before I added that bit). Her blog is pretty, and has nice pictures. Let's say it's about shuffleboard. Every time she sees a new shuffleboard, um, complex, she posts about it. Or if she learns a new set of shuffleboard rules, she writes something about those. She's developed quite a following, and it's a great way for her to be creative and to share her narrow expertise with others. And maybe she's not a she anyway. Maybe she's a guy. I digress, but confidentiality is very important to my work here. She's now faced with a dilemma: her blog is quite subject-specific (shuffleboard, remember?) but in the meantime her life is going in a dramatically different direction. For instance, let's say she has discovered that a mutant Barbie doll has been growing out of her pelvis for some time and it is now showing, so she's going to live in Transylvania for the foreseeable future, making a living selling soap (and frankly, that's not that far off the mark). Anyhoo. Her (and really, she kind of looks like a guy) question to me this weekend: can she just keep blogging about shuffleboard, not saying anything about the Barbie/Transylvania angle, or will her readers know something's up by the tone of her posts? And if she does acknowledge this major life change, how does she do so artfully and gracefully in a blog that has only been about shuffleboard (post after relentless post)? I thought, since my readers are way smarter than her readers (who are, I assume, octogenarians and their fetishists in Naples), we could offer up some advice as she faces this new chapter. Dear Readers, droplets of wisdom from your collective sweaty brow?

20 August 2010

An ordered existence

Don't judge me. Or do, makes no nevermind. As I unpacked books on to my beautifully rebuilt shelves, I realized a couple things. First, someone has my copy of David Rhodes' Driftless, and it is driving me crazy. The best book I've read in five years can't simply be gone. Give it back. I need to make M read it. As a test. Second, I realize how many books I love I simply don't own. I have utilized the library too damn much. But my third, greatest finding is this: it makes complete sense to me to arrange books by color. Before you all go running for your copy of The Care and Feeding of Books: Rules and Regulations for an Uptight World, hear me out. I have spent a lot of time with books over my 42 years (31 years if you go by my brother's aging algorithms); I have spent years working with them professionally, designing, editing and proofreading them. And I know this: I remember books by what they look like. I know that the cover of America America (Ethan Canin) is as pastoral as its title suggests (and completely anachronistic, given the sordid story contained therein). I remember that the swirling water on Swimming in a Monsoon Sea (Shyam Selvadurai) helped me overcome my revulsion of teal, and that the crisp white volume of We Regret to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Children (Philip Gourevitch) is a devastatingly effective setup for the genocidal horrors found within its pages.

So, with some exceptions (knitting books are segregated and stacked together because they're mostly ugly; cookbooks have their own shelves closer to the kitchen), my books are arranged not by author, subject matter, or genre. Black gives way to grey, and white has a shelf of its own. In the corner, red begins the march down the rainbow (which totally doesn't look gay when it's books, bytheby). I'm surprised I don't have more orange books, and I'd like to suggest that cover designers use blue only as a last resort; my shelves can't handle more indigo. My little library behind the piano looks good, and it makes me happy. But even better? I can name that title in one color, and hand it over to you to read and love. Just give it back when you're finished.

16 August 2010

Making a difference

Hullo. That's how I sound when I talk right now because I have a bad cohd. I'd also like to mention that I have two legitimate blog posts in process, but like the rest of you was demoralized beyond lethargy by the weather phenomenomenom of recent days. That is, the sucky, moist, hegemony-producing humidity of colonialism (because my geography is just sketchy enough to assume that all the Belgian and Dutch plundering happened along the equator). Still, I come by to say hullo because I realized a few minutes ago how much the world needs me: an Edina mom just interrupted her pedicure at Spalon to make her husband text me and tell me to blog already. That, my friends, is affirmation far greater than a Nobel, a Pulitzer, or a Bloggie. So hullo.

I mentioned a moment ago that I am on my deathbed. And yet, did a Door County cherry crumble just come out of the oven? It did indeed. Did I apply a coat of lemon oil to the beautiful walnut credenza in my dining room? I did that, too (Though actually, said dining room is more of a group therapy room right now. I don't have a dining room table, so the blue Eames chairs just sit staring at each other in a circle, waiting for folks to stop by and express their feelings). After a day of sniveling and gasping for breath and blowing my nose, I was revived this afternoon by a delivery of steaming hot delicious homemade chicken soup. By someone. Whose name may or may not begin with M. And who may or may not be occupying, of late, a bit some a lot of time otherwise spent blogging. So, for all of you who remember those early moments in your own lives when you cheerfully abandoned friendships for a bit while more interesting things percolated along, let me assure you Going40 is just such a friend. Let me also add that if you had bothered to memorize the summer poem from a couple weeks ago, your lives would also be good. Now has come, an easy time. I let it roll . . . . Indeed.

Yours in sickness, health, and so long as there's nothing more exciting around,


09 August 2010

News not fit to print

What's been happening with me? Nothing much at all. Which is a big lie, but a personal blog is hardly the place for self-disclosure. No, today I thought we'd catch up on the news. Reading the newspaper of record on the internets this morning,* I came across this gem. For those of you unable to make the link work (Hi, mom), I'll sum up: girls getting the breastses earlier. Like, at age seven and eight. That girls are going through puberty younger has been much discussed for years, but this new, er, development is cause for alarm. Researchers fear that increased hormone exposure from early puberty could lead to higher cancer rates. More immediately, the pscyhosocial impacts are very real: young girls are not women, even if their bodies indicate otherwise. And men are pigs.***

Fine. I leave it to all of you caring, thoughtful people to discuss the issue and its many ramifications. Out of earshot of me. The real value of this article, from my perspective, is finding new material to add to my list of words banned from the Going40 lexicon:****
  1. menstruation
  2. fat deposits
  3. budding
  4. sprouting
Parsing the news so you don't have to, I remain your humble, faithful servant.
*And, by the way, I hope you're all with me that it's really no longer necessary to touch newsprint. I know you think you're cool with the blue plastic bag outside your door on Sunday mornings, and that sitting in your Eames rocker in striped pajama pants, soy cap in hand, somehow mitigates the fact that your studied casualnesss is actually pretension and we can't see it oozing out of your loft walls. But it doesn't, and we can.**

**We're trying out footnotes instead of the usual long parenthetical (because even I sometimes lose my train of thought during the meandering, and then I have to put my finger on the screen where the sentence was interrupted so that I can find my way back to the main point. If there is one.) asides. It worked for David Foster Wallace. Until he died.

***I think you'll agree, after reading the short article, that my ability to so succinctly summarize years of complicated research may be my most enduring legacy.

****A list that, when complete, is going to make a rockin' picture dictionary.

04 August 2010

In celebration of summer

Yes, I've been away. Like great world leaders of generations past, I took to my western ranch for a working vacation. By working, I mean gin. Some time in the Montana mountains was evidently just what I needed to come back feeling lazier than ever. I did, however, make a recess appointment to the Going40 cabinet. Ann W, frequent commenter and renowned teacher of lit'rature, is our new Poetry Curator-in-Residence. I asked her to begin her term by sharing a poem that we can all memorize together, one that encapsulates this particular time of year, when summer is on the wane but we're not quite ready to think of autumn. Think of it as Going40 secret code: you're at a party; you recite a line from the poem out loud, as you're loading down your plate with macaroons. From across the room, someone you've never seen before echoes the line. You both pause and smile, and then, from down the street, you hear the stanza completed by the disembodied voice of a teenager going by on her longboard. Nirvana. So here, a poem by William Stafford:

Why I am Happy

Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens

I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.

And I know where it is.

They shall be called my disciples.