i hate...

...pigeon forge, gatlinburg and sevierville.

i try to avoid ever going there and tonight i was reminded why, despite the very pleasant company.

i'm not a culture snob. i like lots of campy and even totally trashy spots all over the globe. but this little corner of my own world makes my head feel like it's going to explode.


I've always wondered who pays for those black billboards with messages from God like, "What part of 'Thou Shalt Not' did you not understand," and "You think it's hot here?"

Well, it turns out that it's a multistate PR campaign, featuring 10,000 of these billboards all over the country. The whole thing is funded by an anonymous donor in coordination with local outdoor ad agencies.

And a new batch of the billboards are about to launch with all new info from above. Some of the new sayings will include:

"As my apprentice, you're never fired."

"If you must curse, use your own name!"

"Life is short, eternity isn't!"

and my favorite,

The real Supreme Court meets up here!

war dead

Two years in, we are finally getting a first look at some of the images of the war dead previously embargoed by the Pentagon.

ezra's blog

Ezra's blog is definitely one to bookmark

be afraid, be very afraid

Not one single request to a judge for a wiretap was refused in 2004. In fact, wiretaps in general increased 19% last year, and this does not include ANY terrorism-related investigations.

no hairpeace

Tonight I spent $200 getting my hair made unpurple. Only now, it's orange. It's awful. It looks like that guy's from The Flaming Lips (maybe his is no longer orange, but you remember, right?) It's sort of salmony orange -- very bad.

My regular colorist guy was on vacation, so I entrusted the job to an underling. Big mistake. And I am such a pleaser that I couldn't bring myself to tell her that my hair is not RED, but ORANGE.

How I am going to get this fixed before Saturday night, when I am going to a party, I do not know. And before this party, I have work, a horse show, dinner in another city, and I am supposed to do something on TV tomorrow afternoon...


Market Square Cam

If it isn't too rainy, I'll be downtown tonight for the Sundown in the City concert with Buddy Miller. Even if you can't make it down there, though, you can now get a birdseye view of everything going on in Market Square with the new Sundown in the City Cam

pret a porter

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
After slacking on my knitting for the past 8 weeks, I am now almost finished with this project. I did it in citrine colored ribbon yarn - very easy to work with... Much easier than regular yarn, actually.

Now if the weather would warm up, I can actually wear it.
Making 80s CDs for party and stumbling on many of my old pop records I'd forgotten, including:

Scruffy the Cat

Camper Van Beethoven

The Silos

Zeitgeist (this band's first record, on dB, was really terrific. Called "Translate Slowly" -- they reincarnated as "The Reivers" but I still love the Zeitgeist songs...)

White Animals (I wasone of the dozens of underage preppy hipster girls dancing to this record at Cantrells in N'ville in '83-'85)

Jesus Chrysler (listen to the MP3 by clicking on the link and scrolling down the page)

dBs - Stands for Decibels

Taoist Cowboys

Aztec Camera

Golden Palominos

Prefab Sprout
My first grader, Elliot, has a pal, Caleb, who lives up the street from us and is the son of one of my best friends. Caleb and Elliot have launched a club, which meets about twenty feet up in a tree in our backyard. The name of the club is "The Democratic Geniuses." Last night, they had an extended meeting of the DGC that involved them repeatedly asking me to send snacks up to them in the tree via a pulley and bucket they've rigged up. Because I was so nice about it, they told me I could be the club mascot. I asked what the club mascot is and they said they were going to get me a puma costume.




Nation building isn't going so well, but Lame'a Abed Khadawi deserves recognition as a a hero.

One of my best and oldest friends just got shipped off to end up in Afghanistan or maybe Iraq. He's a fifty year old lawyer and father of five. He's been in the reserves for years, ever since he retired from the Army about fifteen years ago. And that's how desperate we are getting for troops to send to the war zone; we are now calling up fifty year old lawyers.
Ayelet Waldman's new piece in Salon about the haphazard application of statutory rape laws is spot-on. It's an issue fraught with inequities based on race, sexual orientation, gender and class.

I had a relationship with one of my teachers when I was in high school. He was 22-23 and I was 16-17. I knew exactly what I was doing and there was nothing criminal about it in the least. If he had been a year younger and I had been a year older, we might have met at a frat party at Sewanee instead of in my classroom. But technically, it was illegal.

It was illegal in the same way that a 26 year old man involved with a 13 or 14 year old girl is illegal, although to me, there is a clear qualitative difference, yet the law makes no distinction.

And as Waldman points out, these cases are far more likely to be prosecuted when they involve homosexuality or interracial relationships.

It's a very interesting piece and leaves me wondering how we can draw a bright line that protects children and prevents adult abuse of power against adolescents, but allows for the fact that teenagers are sexual beings.
Via Ezra's blog: Students for an Orwellian Society

webb feet

Question of the day: do I or don't I take a date with me to my Webb School high school reunion this weekend? I have someone fun in mind, and the party itself should be superfly (I helped plan it and am the DJ for the evening, and the whole thing is happening at my little brother's very cool house in Bell Buckle). But maybe it would be more entertaining to go solo... Not sure. Haven't ever been to a reunion thing.

Have you been to a school reunion? Was it a good time? A terrible time? Did you take a date? Did you wish you hadn't? Did you hook up with an old flame? Did you wish you hadn't?

Post your reunion thoughts below and if you are willing, I may contact you for an article I'm writing for a magazine on best and worst reunion tales.

I'm hoping my own 80s era event doesn't resemble the similar party in Grosse Pointe Blank... (which, if you haven't seen, you should rent right away)



Huge congrats to my good friend Ann Casady on having one of her ponies, "Lee Hill Hollywood" qualify for Devon in only their first year in the smalls. Ann started her own barn only a year ago and is doing so well. I am really proud of her and her kids. Qualifying for Devon is a huge, big deal.

the divine s.v.

Sarah Vowell on writing personal essays from her interview in today:

"An essay is like a Manhattan apartment. Every piece of furniture needs to have at least two functions and everything has to fit in a certain amount of space and there's no messing around, there's no room for the snow-globe collection. It's just so compact and efficient."

Oakwood-Lincoln Park

There is a new yoga studio up the street from my house, and yesterday on my lunch break, I went and did an abbreviated Ashtanga class. It was a really good class. I think I'm going to switch there. The instructor also teaches belly dancing.

My funky neighborhood at the base of Sharp's Ridge is really happening these days. I can now walk to yoga, belly dancing classes, a good coffee shop, free concerts downtown, the food co-op, my office, several parks, and a plethora of fab junk stores. The new movie theatre on Gay will open in six months, and we even have the new Chicken City outlet store on Central. Great neighbors, sidewalks ...

Now all we need is a good used bookstore on Central.

If you are house hunting in Knoxville, you really should look over our way. The houses are still much less expensive than they are three or four blocks south inside the Old North historic overlay.



My wonderful Nanny, Laura, is leaving us at the end of this semester to finish school.


So I'm on the hunt for her replacement. Job description below. E-mail me at if you live in Knoxville and are interested. Feel free to fwd to a friend.

Nanny Needed in Knoxville

Looking for energetic, dependable, (live-out) nanny for three children, ages 13, 9 and 7. Must be a good driver with own car & insurance. Excellent references. Full time in summer. Half time during school year.

You need to be comfortable in a very relaxed, active household full of children, children's cousins and friends, dogs, and even a lizard (You don't actually have to interact with the lizard. I don't, but he does live in our house.). Some familiarity with horses would be a bonus, but at the very least, you shouldn't be allergic. Must be able to calmly juggle days full of peanut butter sandwiches, playdates, horseshows, day camp, swimming lessons and soccer practices without becoming overwhelmed. I'm a single parent and I work a lot of hours at a very demanding job; I need someone who can really handle everything at home when I am not there. We live in Old North Knoxville, near downtown.

The kids are great, pay is competitive, will work around college class schedules for the right person.

E-mail Kate at

the other moms

I dyed (sp?) my hair red yesterday, but it turned out sort of purple. I kind of like it, but I think my 9 year old daughter Jane and I have reached a new place in our mother-daughter relationship because Jane is suddenly objecting quite strenuously to the purpleness of my hair. Previously, she seemed rather enthralled with anything I did to my hair, asking if she could do it too.

Jane and I spent the afternoon together yesterday, just the two of us, doing some shopping and then riding horses together, and she repeatedly expressed her opinion that my hair is simply not acceptable.

"Mom, you are too old to have purple hair," she said. "Can't you just get blond highlights like the other moms?"

Last week, my son Henry, who is 13, also told me he wishes I were more like "the other moms," who in his milieu, are all considerably older than I am (I had H when I was 23 - they all had their kids when they were 33). "The other moms" all apparently know how to cook, never say "fuck," or lose their keys, have televisions at home, and work very few hours, allowing them to do a lot of volunteering at his school.

When pressed, however, Henry's main concern seemed to be that I should turn down Death Cab for Cutie when I pull up in the car line to drop him off at school in the morning. I can do that.



I've been listening to Let It Be while I superclean my house today. I hadn't listened to the whole album, start to finish, in a long time. For my money, it's the best concept record maybe ever. It's an opera, and it still makes me feel that sort of hard-to-shake melancholy adolescent longing every time I hear Unsatisfied.

My house is now much cleaner, and I'm off to the barn to ride...


I am a Gen-Xer, which means I am seriously excited that there is going to be a Land of the Lost MOVIE, and Will Ferrell is to star as Marshall, as in "Marshall, Will and Holly...on a routine expedition..."

I think that Gary Sinise and maybe Alan Cumming would be my first choices for the Sleestaks.



A whole new generation of 18 year old girls will now learn that not all sponges have square pants.

This is actually really good news. American women have been mourning the much-missed sponge since 1995.
Mother Nature has a dark sense of humor.

Today, on Earth Day, President Bush was due to give a speech touting his environmental record inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Unfortunately, literally at the very minute Air Force One touched down at our local airport, a major thunderstorm hit the airport, knocking out power. The winds all over the area were so high, and the hail so large, that the planned helicopter trip that was to take Bush from the airport to the Park had to be scratched.

So Bush was forced to make his big Earth Day appearance inside an airport hangar. Then he got back on the plane 15 minutes later and left for Crawford, where he plans to spend the rest of Earth Day relaxing with his family friend, Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. (Apparently his handlers didn't clue in to how bad it looks for him to meet with the crown prince of petroleum on Earth Day...)

cost per word

Every author has to fight off the urge to obsessively check her book's sales rankings, as well as the compulsion to read all the reader reviews (which I can assure you, can be quite painful. Some of the ones posted about my own book at Amazon have left me close to tears, sensitive writer-type that I am.)

Now, however, as my friend Andi points out, Amazon has added some bizarre new features to book listings.

They only seem to have added this feature to certain books, but the ones that have these new stats are broken down in weird ways like "cost per word." What this means is that they take the sale price of the book and look at how many words appear in the book and then break it down, sort of like the "price per unit" tag under the cereal bars at the grocery store.

It's quite strange. I guess it will appeal to the extremely serious bargain shoppers out there...

George W.

The president is coming to my neck of the woods tomorrow. He'll be speaking in Cades Cove inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East TN's crown jewel. His speech will be on the environment,, and believe it or not, he has the gall to appear in the national park with the absolute worst air quality in the country to talk about it.

Bush's gutting of environmental safeguards and clean energy programs is one of the great untold stories of his tenure. It's flown under the radar.

People in East Tennessee love the outdoors, and the Smokies in particular, but they also love George W. There is some sort of bizarro disconnect there.

He's speaking outdoors and it's supposed to rain, which in the Smokies, means serious acid rain. Could be interesting.


Originally uploaded by kgranju.
I'm pretty sure I want one of these. It's a type of lemur.


Over the weekend, I predicted to several people that the DeLay matter would finally tip by the drive time news cycle Tuesday. I was off by a few days, but the first brick in the wall has now officially broken loose. He is going down....

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
Speaking of horses (below), here are some pictures of Jane on her new (since December) pony "Boy WOnder" (barn name: Cinco) at an "A" show they did last weekend It was only their second show together and they did really well, winning several classes and placing in the top four in all their classes.

Jane and "Boy Wonder" - April 17, 2005


biblical literalists, take note:

From a friend today: God Hates Shrimp

random horse thoughts

I am pretty sore today, after riding a slightly nutty horse for two hours yesterday afternoon. She wants to run really, really fast, so it took me an hour to get her to canter at a nice, even speed. And the way I did that was to keep her moving in tight little circles (at the full-out gallop she wanted to do) over and over and over again until she decided that A.) she was tired and B.) she couldn't stop going in circles and down the line until she pulled herself together. I was literally dizzy by the time we stopped doing these circles.

Such is the life of a catch-rider, which is what I am. All my horse dollars go toward my children's equestrian activities, so I get to ride the green horses, the ones people need schooled, and the ones no one else WANTS to ride.

But I realized last night after I was thinking over how the ride went, that this is actually a good thing. I can ride almost any horse passably, and unlike riders who are always able to ride a "made" horse, I am adaptable. It feels good to work through a problem, or to see a green horse make progress.

When I was growing up, riding and training other people's problem animals was often how I paid for showing my own horse. I never had a real trainer and I barely even had any lessons. My daughter is a really great little rider, and has ridden many ponies, but she is having a very different equestrian childhood than I had. She has a really nice show pony and a great trainer coaching her three times a week. She's only nine, but when she gets bigger, I am going to encourage her to work at the barn schooling other people's ponies, and offering to ride the problem animals. I think that's really important.

not to be confused with the String Cheese Incident

Last Friday, I actually got caught behind a Little Debbie Snack Cake truck, overturned in front of the dirt track. My friend "Preston Moneychanger" (who has a goal of remaining the least Google-able person on the planet)has dubbed this the "snackycake incident," which amuses me so much that If I ever have another child, I may name him/her that.


This is my fifth day in a row off work -- my real job anyway (at the moment, I am working on some freelance stuff while snacking on pie at Atlanta Bread Company). It reminds me how much I liked working for myself all those years, even though I also really enjoy my job and the folks I work with.

Had a good trip to Atlanta. It's sort of weird, given that I grew up in the south and have had many, many friends from/living in Atlanta that I've never really spent any time there. Like everyone else in America, I've spent far too many hours (and one memorably awful overnight) in the airport there. Nowadays, I also go to horse shows fairly frequently in nearby Conyers and Braselton, but I've just never hung around in the city, which I did a little bit this weekend. Very fun. Good company. Amusing activities. Tasty food. Can't complain.

As for the work I did while I was there, I gave several talks to a very nice audience.I did have one Mary Katherine Gallagher moment (well, more than one, as a friend pointed out to me after I stumbled into him repeatedly this weekend -- but one very public one) when I sort of tumbled down the stairs off the stage where I had been speaking. But overall, it went well.

While at this conference, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Marian Tompson, one of the amazing, completely unassuming proto-feminists who founded La Leche League International in the 1950s. She's delightful and very interesting. She has started a new non-profit looking at the highly controversial issue of whether women in Africa are being misled when told that they absolutely should not breastfeed if they may be HIV positive.

Her group is pushing for more research (there is very, very little) into HIV transmission in human milk, as well as a deeper exploration into the risk-benefit analysis of maternal HIV transmission to third-world babies as opposed to the many hundreds of thousands of these babies who die each year from lack of breastfeeding.

In the third world, breastfeeding is critical. Not only does it provide super important immunologic benefots to babies living in a highly diseased physical environment, it's also nearly impossible for women in these areas to prepare infant formula (suboptimal in ideal prep circumstances) safely. There is no way to sterilize bottles; the water used to mix it is dirty, and women often dilute the stuff to save money, not realizing their babies can starve to death this way.

I am going to be learning more about Marian's organization -- while she was in Atlanta she met with AIDS policy experts from the CDC and Carter Center -- and hope to write something about their work in a magazine or newspaper within the next few months. Will post a link.


I finally have working phone. This is a long, boring saga but I can be contacted by phone now.

So if you actually know me (sorry random blog readers. I appreciate your patronage but won't be rewarding it with my phone #), and would like my new phone #, e-mail me and I'll give it to you.



From ATL

Favorite things about Atlanta: driving in from the north, you run across "Bert Lance Parkway." Driving in from the south, you run under "Bobby Brown Parkway." Plus, they have these cool billboards advising locals to "Party Like a Rock Star."


Even if you don't know my pal Ayun Halliday (and you should), you will enjoy her photo essay of life as a hipster, NYC parent.

Ayun's written several extremely funny books (most recently the fabulous "Job Hopper: Confessions of a Downmarket Dilettante") and she's the "Mother Superior" columnist for Bust Magazine. Her coolio husband wrote the Hit! Broadway! Play! "Urinetown."

So check out Ayun's pictures and then go buy her new book.
Off to the deep south for several days to speak at a conference (about the politics of breastfeeding and the nasty ethics of the multinationals that make and sell infant formula) and maybe even have some fun that may, I understand, involve a camaro, food, and live music...

Also hope to catch the wicked-cool klezmer-polka band I saw in Chattanooga recently --think Brave Combo-meets-Fiddler on the Roof-meets-The Pixies).

I have been spending a lot of time in Chattanooga in the past year and have grown really fond of it.


discourse with elliot

On the way to school this morning:

Elliot: Hey mom, want to hear my story?

Me: Sure, sweetie.

Elliot: There was this cat and he was getting ready for poker night at his house...

Me: The cat has poker night at his house?

Elliot: Well, yeah

Me: Okay. Proceed

Elliot: Ok, so the cat is setting things up for poker night. He's invited his friend monkey to come play.

Me: Only monkey?

Elliot: Yeah, only monkey will come to this cat's poker night because he's not a very nice cat.

Me: Okay

Elliot: So he's getting the table ready and somehow manages to spill the punch all over the poker chips. He's really upset and just then, monkey jumps in the window, ready to play poker.

Me: Why did monkey come in the window instead of the front door?

Elliot: (In exasperated voice) Mom, he's a MONKEY!

Just then we drove up to his school, so he promises to finish the story for me tonight. Can't wait.

(This reminds me somewhat of another monkey conversation I had recently with son #1.)

need naming help

I have just been assigned to start writing a new blog at a local (to me) television news site. The topic will be my thoughts on arts/culture/media -- basically it's a pop culture watch in my voice -- some local, some national.

I need a catchy title for it. That's where you come in. I need some catchy title suggestions. Got any? Post below.



Oh joy. Tonight I am going to see David Sedaris at the newly renovated Tennessee Theatre.

susie on andrea

My favorite pornographer, Susie Bright, says it best about the death of Andrea Dworkin.

This discussion
about social conventions related to dating is pretty interesting, but needs some perspective other than mine. Feel free to chime in.


Originally uploaded by kgranju.
I think this may be my favorite picture of my baby, Elliot, who is really not a baby any longer, as my friend Jay seems to take perverse pleasure in pointing out to me.

Elliot can suddenly read all by himself ("Just So Stories" being the current fave). He climbs, like, thirty feet up in a tree in our backyard. He rides a bike and skateboard and is just generally getting to be a big kid.

But he still likes to fall asleep at night lying on my back, like he has done since he was a toddler. He says it's because that's how baby sloths and koalas fall asleep. Pretty soon, though, he'll probably announce he's too old to be a baby koala at bedtme, so I'm enjoying it now.

andrea dworkin

I am stunned to hear that Andrea Dworkin has died. She was only 58.

I saw her speak twice and read all her books when I was starting to figure out my own world view as a feminist and woman and later, a mother. I was a fan. She was infuriating and incendiary and hyperbolic and brilliant.

management consulting

I just started reading this book (coincidentally, there's an article about it in Salon today. It's really funny, in addition to being very interesting. The writing is very clever. Reminds me of David Brooks. I'll post a full review when I'm done...

I've always thought that management consulting seemed like an impossibly good gig...

i heart news

"Woman sees face of Jesus in granddaughter's ultrasound.

For the record, I think I saw the face of Satan in all 3 of my own ultrasounds... Or it may have been Sasquatch. Not sure.


I'm really interested in the concept of intentional communities and co-housing, but I am finding, having moved to a real city neighborhood this year, how nicely unintentional community springs up in an urban landscape.

Yesterday afternoon, my vaccuum cleaner broke, so I borrowed my friend Suzanne's. She lives a few short blocks (with sidewalks) away. My phone was out of order ( along story unto itself), so my next door neighbor brought me a phone message. And also related to the phone problem, I had no internet access at home, so I went up the street to my friend Jay's house with my laptop, and got online wirelessly while sitting on his front porch and visiting with him.


This is a really very interesting first hand account from an American who was at ground zero when the tsunami struck in December.


charles & camilla get hitched

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
My thoughts exactly.


Originally uploaded by kgranju.
This (copyright AFP) photo makes me happy. I'm going to show it to my daughter



I am pretty happy. I just found out that the Sunday NYTimes is buying an essay I wrote.... It will run as one of their "Modern Love" columns. I'll post a link when it's up -- in 2 or 3 weeks, I think.

cookie monster going low carb

From this article: Cookie Monster will no longer sing "C is for Cookie." Instead, he will sing a new song, "A Cookie is Sometimes Food."

I object. I like "C is for Cookie." As the daughter of 70s liberals, I watched Sesame Street religiously (In fact, as the daughter of 70s liberals, Sesame Street might have actually been our family's religion). For most of my childhood, we had no TV, but Sesame Street was allowed more than anything else....

And when is a cookie not food? That is nonsensical.

dating sucks, redux

I had another truly awful date this week. I think I am done agreeing to have dinner with friends' cousins/next door neighbors/podiatrists. I need to get comfortable saying "no thanks" when all these well meaning people try to fix me up.(I did actually have one super-entertaining date in the past week as well, so there's hope...)

The guy was doomed as far as I was concerned as soon as we got in his car, because he was listening to some horrible music like Matchbox 20 or something. Maybe it was Kenny G or Dishwalla or ...I have no idea. It put in me in a bad mood immediately.

He also had several inspirational business type books in the car -- stuff that makes me want to guffaw loudly -- stuff like "Purpose Driven Sales for Chicken Soup Lovers" or something like that.

And he wore pointy shoes.

He talked about his cat excessively.

He didn't drink alcohol.

He told me his favorite book was "The Da Vinci Code" (this particular thing is a huge pet peeve of mine...people liking that terrible book so much)

Most of what I said during the interminable two hours we were together seemed to confuse him, which was really the only fun thing about the entire experience, as far as I was concerned.

I finally told him I had a headache and needed to go home.

And now he's called me six times. I am not kidding. I don't think he knows I have a blog and I don't think he would be able to find it (I'm not cruel, after all), but that's because I gave him a fake last name. I told him that the person who hooked us up had gotten my name wrong and that it was actually *&^^%$# (can't spell the fake name out because then he might google it and find me).

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
I'm trying to convince Henry (my son) that the name of his band should be Electric Landlady, but I think they're going with The Live Reagans.


Originally uploaded by kgranju.
This picture of my little brother amuses me.
In watching the Pope's funeral today (I work in a newsroom -- no escaping it), I was struck yet again by what I believe the Catholic church's biggest problem to be: no women running the show.

And the church seems to have gotten a get-out-of-jail free pass on this. We hear a lot about whether the Episcopal church (my own denomination) will or won't accept gay priests (we will. and mostly do), but the Catholic church is still mired in the middle ages on this issue of no-girls-allowed and no one ever mentions it.

As the camera panned across row after row of priests and bishops and cardinals from all over the planet, gathered in Rome for the funeral, I realized how jarring it is to see that many men, all convened for some major world event, without a single woman among them. Yet the Square was filled to overflowing with ordinary and extraordinary women from all over the world, to whom the church belongs just as much as all those men in silk robes and hats.

There are many things I admire about the Catholic church. But no matter how much it appealed to me, I could never raise my daughter in a religious tradition in which she could never be a priest.

Separate but equal (and I'd argue that nuns aren't equal anyway) doesn't work for me: not in schools or churches or politics.


thought for the day


by Frieda Hughes

Wanting to breathe life into their own dead babies
They took her dreams, collected words from one
Who did their suffering for them.

They fingered through her mental underwear
With every piece she wrote. Wanting her naked.
Wanting to know what made her.

Then tried to feather up the bird again.

The vulture with its bloody head
Inside its own belly,
Sucking up its own juice,

Working out its own shape,
Its own reason,
Its own death.

While their mothers lay in quiet graves
Squared out by those green cut pebbles
And flowers in a jam jar, they dug mine up.

Right down to the shells I scattered on her coffin.

They turned her over like meat on coals
To find the secrets of her withered thighs
And shrunken breasts.

They scooped out her eyes to see how she saw,
And bit away her tongue in tiny mouthfuls
To speak with her voice.

But each one tasted separate flesh,
Ate a different organ,
Touched other skin.

Insisted on being the one
Who knew best,
Who had the right recipe.

When she came out of the oven
They had gutted, peeled
And garnished her.

They called her theirs.
All this time I had thought
She belonged to me most.

published November 8th, 1997 in The Guardian


Friendster is pretty darn cool. In the past week I have heard from two old, long-lost friends (one from elementary school and one from Randolph-Macon Woman's College) who found me there.


I have been following the firestorm over a freelancer's very sloppy "expose" of frats at Chico State in California. I feel bad for the guy. It is a sloppy story, but as a freelancer myself, I can imagine how terrible he must be feeling.

But anyway, he has now sent out an e-mail to friends and other reporters, apologizing for how bad the piece is, but denying he made up sources.

I think reporters used to make up sources all the time. I really do. Now, however, it's virtually impossible to do. The post-Jayson-Blair-climate makes every quote open to serious scrutiny and the Web makes it possible to fact check to a degree never before possible.

i am getting veeeeerrrryy sleepy....

I am headed back to Oak Ridge to see the hypnotist again today as part of this series I am doing (on TV). The idea is he is supposed to cure me of my lifelong habit of gnawing my fingernails.

The first session was really fascinating and I did manage to go about a week without biting them, which is sort of a record for me. But then life got hectic and I had to go out of town suddenly and, and, and.... Whatever it was that the guy did to me essentially seemed to wear off.

So now I will go back this morning and get filmed as the hypnotist does his thing on me again. I hope it works. I would like to quit biting my nails (and my pedicure guy would too. He is dying to move on to my fingernails from my toenails, but I have never let him because it seems a waste of money).

I will also feel really bad for the hypnotist if it doesn't take because he's awfully nice and he is doing it on TV. Failure probably wouldn't help his business much.


don't you wish...

that you lived in Tennessee, like I do, so you could enjoy the peace of mind that comes with this?

death cab for cutie

I think I love Chris Walla, and maybe this "Dear Bjork" letter means he's available.

(Actually, I do have a crush, but I'm just posting this link 'cause it's such a clever review he's written of Bjork's discography. For the record, I am not a Bjork fan.)


Manifest here. And here.

And some responses from me here and also here.

Really, my views on divorce are best summed up in this amazing essay by my friend and former editor Jeannie Ouellette. Like me, Jeannie married really young and had three children and ended up divorced about one year before I did. Her experience is, in many ways, eerily similar to mine.

My favorite part of her essay:

"Marriage changed me; motherhood changed me more. But divorce and its aftermath changed me the most. I no longer have the energy to be desperately deferential. I’m turning into everything I never was before. I merge fearlessly in traffic. I park in tight spots (and sometime miss). I say no. I talk about my problems. I sometimes hang up on telemarketers (though I still cringe to admit it). And now I love someone again, someone who seems to love me more than I can explain, and I’m getting married again—even though it’s hardly perfect, given our kids and our pasts and our complicated present. Now, however, I don’t give a damn about perfect. I have what I need, and mostly what I want. I’ve paid for it all, and with that I can do well enough by everybody else, most of the time."

Yeah, what she said...


seeing things

Check it out

I'm an Al Gore fan. He was my congressman when I was growing up (4th district - TN). Then he was my Senator. I headed up UT Students for Gore in '88 and also campaigned for him in the debacle of 2000.

But I am sorry to say that I don't think this new venture is gonna fly.

The plan is that "young people" will submit video to Gore's new cable channel, but the thing is, even with the problems that come with still-limited bandwidth, these "young people" are already uploading their video directly to the Web. They are not going to be interested in adding the extra step of getting it to this TV channel (even if they can submit online) or even watching this TV channel. They can already watch and share video online without dealing with TV producers or programming schedules or signed releases, etc, etc

Maybe I'm wrong. I just don't think people are watching grassroots-produced video on TV anymore.

I am also disappointed to find out that the cable TV channel Gore is finally announcing (folks have known for more than a year that he was working with partners on launching some kind of cable channel) isn't going to be explicitly progressive in its views or programming. I was hoping he really was planning a progressive counterpoint to Fox News, but in today's press release about the new cable venture, Gore says quite clearly that his new channel will be basically apolitical - another recipe for disaster, in my opinion.


The search terms people use to end up at my blog are always interesting, and in the past few days, my post below (the "bad mommy" orgy) has generated some extra interesting hits from people looking for "bored housewives" (actual search term) or "sexually frustrated suburban mothers" (also an actual search term from someone who ended up on my blog this week) or something, but I think what you guys are actually looking for is over here at the Naughty Mama blog. It's a good read, so check it out ( I used to be an editor at and love pretty much everything they publish...)

And for the record:

-I am not bored
-I am not frustrated (this week, anyway)
-I live in the 'hood, not the burbs
-I am open to the houswifery thing (especially if I get some kind of cool costume to wear and the job comes with a houseboy)

Speaking of housewives, be sure to read Adam Boyle's29 thoughts on the apparent sexiness of "Desperate Housewives.

question of the day

Would you or would you not tell a late-thirties-age male friend that he would have much better success with the ladies if he would, umm, see someone about his excessive eyebrows. They didn't used to be excessive, but they are now fairly remarkable. And he's otherwise really attractive. But the eyebrows are a serious liability. My eyebrow guy, Karl, could make them over -- in a subtle, oh-so- masculine way. But how do you even tell a guy this? Or do you?

not working

I took the day off from my real job today to work on a magazine article that was due Friday. Unfortunately, instead of getting much working done, I find myself sitting here on my porch in the unbelievable warm, spring weather, feet up, drinking a gin & tonic, eating chocolate chip cookies, and compulsively organizing all my music which has now just been returned to me in iPod form (a brave person agreed to take ALL my CDs and convert them to MP3s, which has now been accomplished, after weeks and weeks.).

I am rediscovering stuff I haven't listened to in ages (Game Theory, Mission of Burma, The Lyres, The Pogues) and enjoying some really good stuff I just started listening to in recent months. The best new thing I've stumbled onto in the past few months is The New Pornographers. Recommended by someone I had never met before, and for some reason I actually went and bought one of their CDs. Good call.

So, so, so, so good. Listening to Electric Version now. May dance down the street....

Must work.

Must, must work.

This record is so good that I may have to actually turn it OFF in order to pay attention to what I am supposed to be writing about.
You really should read this book, like, immediately.



I am incredibly creeped out by the pictures of the Pope, all dressed in puffy satin, lying in state. I think it may actually give me nightmares....



I've had a couple of folks e-mail me in the past week to ask when I am speaking in Atlanta this month. It's April 16 at some place called Peachtree City, which I had confused with the only hotel I've ever stayed in in Atlanta that also has Peachtree in its name but isn't the same.... Too confusing.

Anyway, I will be talking about the politics of breastfeeding at lunchtime, I think, and you can contact Laura Chisholm at if you wanna come hear what I have to say....


elliot's first riding lesson

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
He was three years old.

He's six years old in the horse show photo below.

elliot's first horseshow

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
Adorable boy. Adorable pony (Although she does look like she really wishes E would stop yanking on her mouth...)


Last night I heard a local TV reporter ask a Catholic priest (verbatim quote):

"So, would you say the Pope is an important symbol for the Catholic community?"