The American Wife


As I continue to work on my manuscript about faculty wives, I am always interested in books that appear to be about wives or more broadly women. After reading The New York Times obituary of Elaine Ford, I read her collection of stories, The American Wife.

In the story, “Changeling”, the main character, Sandy, thinks the following: “It’s as if getting married when you’re an undergraduate and then having a baby before your husband’s career is well established, together amount to sheer irresponsibility, which cannot be allowed to go unpunished.”

The story is about a young woman living in Athens with an infant while her husband is off on an archaeological dig. Sandy experiences extreme psychological distress to the extent that she believes the baby is not hers.

The story has autobiographical elements; in 1958, Ford, an undergraduate at Radcliffe married a Harvard student, Gerald Bunker. Together with their infant they pursued lengthy travels while he completed his Ph.D.  By 1964, she had three children but did completed her bachelor’s degree.

The couple continued traveling and having more children. By 1976  they five children and were living in Northern Ireland while Bunker was in medical school. Ford divorced Bunker, returned to the United States and began pursuing a writing career. She published her first novel, The Playhouse, at the age of 41 in 1980.

Ford, writing  about “Changeling”, said it “reflects my experience of living in Athens with a baby while my husband was far away on an archaeological dig. Though I’ve imagined the central plot of the story, the protagonist’s sense of isolation and disorientation certainly expresses my state of mind at the time.”

 

Molson Coors

At the end of last month, Molson Coors announced that it was restructuring and closing its offices in Denver and other places. This change could save the company up to 150 million dollars. Molson Coors is the parent company of Miller Coors. Although the company is laying off 500 workers, the restructuring will create some new white collar jobs in Milwaukee. Finance, human resources and other support services will consolidate and be based in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is the historic home of Miller beer.

Although some aspects of brewing will be in Milwaukee, the name Miller Coors will cease to exist. Instead it will become part of the North American division, headquartered in Chicago. Beside consolidating services and offices, the restructuring is part of a plan by Molson Coors Brewing to become Molson Coors Beverage company with a greater focus on products other than beer. Hard seltzer is on of the “new” company’s targets.

The loser in this plan is Denver. Coors has been a presence in Colorado for almost  150 years. The closing of the corporate offices will lead to 300 people losing their jobs. Colorado is facing this significant job loss as well as a loss of its corporate identity. The state remains second in craft brewing; California is first.

As the brewing industry seeks continued tax relief, perhaps  federal legislators will call Molson Coors to task for laying off 500 people. If you want more information on  Molson Coors, read here and here.

Beer Days

October 27,  Sunday, was National American Beer Day. I will confess that I had not idea such a day existed. I read about it here.  According to the  website, National Today American Beer Day is a day to “celebrate distinctly domestic lagers and ales brewed across the country.” The site also describes three other days that one can celebrate beer.

There is International Beer Day which occurs on the first Friday in August and is a “global celebration of beer, taking place in pubs, breweries, and backyards all over the world. It’s a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to our brewers and bartenders and rejoice in the greatness of beer!”

National Beer Day is on April 7th and commemorates the day that beer became legal again after 13 years of Repeal. Upon signing the legislation, FDR apparently remarked, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

National Today also describes National Beer Can Appreciation Day which is January 24th.  January 24, 1934, the Krueger Brewing Company produce the first beer in cans. I posted about the history of beer cans in 2011.

Krueger can. Photo courtesy of Brewery Collectibles Club of America.

Besides these days, there is also Repeal Day which is Dec. 5 and represents the day in 1933 that all alcoholic beverages became legal again.  Most, if not all, of these days seem like marketing ploys. The days that commemorate actual historical events have more legitimacy, but, in the end, all of these celebrations exist to convince you to buy and drink more beer.

Mark your calendars and let the drinking commence!

Skating Competition, Part 2

I competed for the first time, Saturday, at the 33rd Halloween Classic, Winterland Skating School, Rockland, Massachusetts. Here is a picture of me before I went on the ice.

Despite all my preparation, I was extremely nervous and did not skate the way I had planned.  My legs felt like jelly but I did go on the ice and skate, which I feel was a big accomplishment. I was the only skater in my event, so I skated against “the book”. I am not sure what the criteria for judging was, but I got second place and received a medal.

I also earned four points for the Silver Lining Club. The club came in second for the competition so I contributed to that result.

I can’t say I enjoyed myself but it was a learning experience. If I compete again, I will try to find an event where Kiara, my coach from the Skating Club of Amherst, can be the one takes me. She knows me really well and I have complete confidence in her.

I would also practice skating my program from different places on the ice so I would be comfortable no matter where the judges were and where I had to start.  Connecting certain moves to specific points in the music would also help.

It turned out that competing in a spotlight event meant that the rink got dark, very dark. The only light was a spotlight the followed the skater. I didn’t realize what spotlight meant until I got to the rink. Next time, I would know, be more prepared, and not get so freaked out.

The nicest part of the experience was the support I got from the audience, other skaters, Kiara, Andrea and Aaron. I appreciated that so much and I am very grateful.

Skating Competition, Part 1

On Oct. 19th I will be competing in the 33rd Annual Halloween Classic at the Winterland Skating School, Rockland, MA.  This competition is ISI endorsed; ISI stands for Ice Skating Industry and is another skating organization besides the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA).

The USFSA is better known and is the organization that sends skaters to the Olympics. My skating club, the Skating Club of Amherst (SCA) is an USFSA club. ISI is more recreationally oriented and has more opportunities for  that beginning adult skater, like me, to compete in.

To compete at the Halloween Classic, I had to become an ISI member, join a ISI club and get a ISI coach. I did all that; I now belong to both the SCA and the Silver Ling Club. My ISI coach is Andea Newsham and my SCA coach is Kiara Sonada.

When I posted Travel, Part 2, I mentioned I had gone to Bridgewater to test the pre-Alpha level for ISI. Passing enabled me to compete at that level in the Spotlight category. To pass pre-Alpha, I had to do a two foot glide, forward one foot glides, forward and backward swizzles and a backward wiggle.

The Spotlight category is supposed to be entertaining. I have a baseball program, skating to Centerfield by John Fogarty.  Here  are pictures of me in my costume.

I will post about the results next week and, hopefully, have a video.

Website Troubles, Again

Earlier today, I sat down to write a blog post. As I tried to access  my website, I got an account suspended error message. I was puzzled since I knew that I was all paid up. I got worried that  I had been hacked again.

I called BlueHost and also tried to chat with them. I eventually got through and a nice tech support person named Casey told me Blue Host had changed the server ip address. I don’t completely understand it but the upgrade or change meant that Sitelock couldn’t search or contact my website anymore. This led to my website being suspended.

Casey contacted SiteLock, which provides security for my website, and the problem got fixed.  It appears, from my Jetpack Statistics, that the website was probably down since Friday. I asked Casey why I wasn’t notified of this change. He said they has wanted to send out an email to all the customers who were affected but somehow it never got sent.

That was very disappointing and had made me think once again about changing my hosting situation. If any of you have any advice, I would love to hear it.

I am posting this today because tomorrow night is Kol Nidre and then Wednesday is Yom Kippor. L’Shanah Tovah.

 

Life Lessons

As you may have noticed, last week I didn’t post anything. On Tuesday I was getting ready to go to New York City on Wednesday for a legal matter pertaining to a relative. Once again, as has been happening all year, life intervened to prevent my blogging.

My relative is a single person and has not designated anyone to be their power of attorney. They also do not have a will. A health care proxy is in place. This legal matter has made me realize how important it is to proactively plan for your old age and eventual demise.

People in sound mind and body may be reluctant to grant authority over either their financial or health concerns to someone else. However enunciating your wishes when you can will save both time and money later. A lawyer told me that she tells clients “spend $700 now to avoid $10,000 later.”

It is also prudent to plan for your funeral and burial. Buying a plot or deciding to be cremated as well as stating where you would like your funeral to be held will make everything easier for your grieving relatives. Everyone should designate a power of attorney and execute both a health care proxy and will.

 

Barley and Beer

A recent article looked at the relationship between barley and beer and the economic implications for both Alabama farmers and brewers. Nationally barley production is down; farmers less often use it as feed. One remaining use for barley is in brewing.

Alabama has never been a major producer of barley. Despite the national downturn there has been an increase in barley production in the state. There are over forty brewers in Alabama, and this may be a factor in the increase in barley production.

However, beer requires a higher quality barley than that needed for feed. This combined with the fact that there are not really any maltsters in the state has made barley production more of an aspiration for Alabama farmers than a reality. Brewers used roasted barley or malt in beer production, requiring maltsers to undertake this part of the process. The closest maltster for Alabama brewers is in North Carolina.

Here are some excerpts from Brewing Battles about a prominent patriot who was also a maltster, Sam Adams.

Henry Adams, the great-great grandfather of both John Adams, the second president, and Samuel Adams, noted patriot, emigrated from Somerset County, England with his wife Edith to Mount Wollaston, now Braintree, in the Puritan colony of Massachusetts, around 1636. Henry’s arrival in the New World was twenty-seven years after the Mayflower and seven years after the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Company. He was a farmer.[1]

Henry Adams immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his wife, eight sons, and a daughter. The youngest son, Joseph, was born in 1626. As an adult, Joseph pursued his economic livelihood by farming and malting, preparing barley for its use in fermentation and brewing.[2]

Joseph Adams’ malting operations seem to have passed down to Deacon Samuel Adams, father of his namesake, the patriot Sam Adams who was born in 1722. At the time of his birth, settlement in the New World was over one hundred years old and the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages, including beer, was thriving. His father’s malt house generated enough income to provide the family with a house, orchard, garden, and a few slaves.[3]

The Sugar Act brought Sam Adams to prominence as he wrote eloquently in opposition to the tax. Adams was concerned that the Sugar Act represented the first shot in a battle for a widespread taxation system. He argued for individual control over economic activity against the grasp of the British government. “If our trade may be taxed, why not our lands? Why not the produce of our lands and everything we possess or make use of?”[4]

Sam had inherited the malt house on Purchase Street in Boston from his father when he died in 1748. He had not shown any previous aptitude for business and had always been more interested in politics. By the 1760s Sam worked more often as a town tax collector than at the malt house. This position increased his political connections.[5]

The beer ration for revolutionary war soldiers reflected, in part, General George Washington’s fondness for beer. As hostilities heated up between the colonies and Britain prior to the Revolution, patriots such as Sam Adams and others encouraged Americans to “buy American.” Washington, who loved porter and often imported it from England, agreed wholeheartedly. In the 1790s Washington got his porter from Benjamin Morris, a member of the Morris and Perot brewing family.[6]

 

[1] “John Adams,” Dictionary of American Biography Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center, Farmington Hills, Michigan: Thomson Gale, 2006, http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC (accessed March 3, 2006); Benjamin H. Irwin, Samuel Adams, Son of Liberty, Father of Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2002), 6­­-9, 15.

[2] James Grant, John Adams, Party of One (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2005), 18.

[3] Irwin, Samuel Adams, 17.

[4] Quoted in Irvin, Samuel Adams, 47, 44-45; Baron, Brewed in America, 74-75.

[5] Irvin, Samuel Adams, 47, 44-45; Baron, Brewed in America, 74-75.

[6] Baron, Brewed in America, 113-117.

September 11, 18 years later

This is a post from ten years ago. That fall we were spending a month in New York City. This fall I am at home. In the past ten years, a lot has happened to both me and the country.

What is very surprising to me is that we are still involved in both Afghanistan and Iraq. We also have a president who has no clue how to run foreign policy. I fervently hope Trump will be a one-term President and then we can try to undo all the harm he has done.

My sympathy goes out to all who suffered a loss on that terrible day. May all of their memories be for a blessing.

September 11, 8 Years Later

Today is the eighth anniversary of the terrible events of September 11 2001. This is a particularly poignant day because we are in New York. Eight years ago, I had been in New York the day before, September 10, and woke up, at home. on the morning of the 11th to hear my husband’s voice on the answering machine, ” I don’t know if you have heard what happened in New York but my parents are okay.” As everyone knows, September 11 2001 was a picture perfect New York fall day and the 10th was as well. I felt very steeped in my New York roots because I had spent the evening of the 9th reading about the  pending city elections while I waited for my friend who I was visiting to come home.

Today, September 11, 2009, is not a beautiful day. The weather is  very bad, with high winds and heavy downpours. Because of these bad conditions, we have been unable to attend any commemorative event. Many of them were outdoors.

Despite that, since 2001, I have felt that this day should not be like every other day.  Apparently President  Obama and Congress agree with me. In March the federal government designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.  I really hope that this takes root and becomes how  people commemorate September 11th in future years.

My thoughts are with all the people who suffered a loss on that fateful day and it is my sincerest wish that nothing like that will ever happen to any person or country again.

2/3 of the Year Gone

I wrote the following last week but then I completely forgot to actually publish. This debacle accurately proves that it has become very hard for me to maintain a once a week schedule for posting. The result is that you get two posts this week. Here is this one today and there will be another one tomorrow, as scheduled.

It is September so I thought this would be a good time to look back and see, if, so far, I have been meeting my goals for the year. As I have said many times, this year it has been hard for me to post every day. When I came back from my twenty-three day break, (I know you all missed me) I came up with ideas for the first six weeks back. That has been a big help. The strategy of pre-planning so you don’t have to spend time thinking of what topic to write about, is a good one that I will try to use more in the future.

Tweeting, as always, has been easier. Politics gives me most of my material as well as tweeting picture of my travels. Of course, I still can’t tweet my URL. I have given up trying to get it fixed. Recently Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account was hacked. At least he felt some pain also.

My actual writing is going the least well. I haven’t really worked on my book since June. I got stuck in what is probably a diversion from the main project and then life intervened. I am hoping that I will get back to my writing next week. I will keep you up-to-date on my progress.