Daily Archives: February 20, 2008

Talkin’ About No Generation

“I don’t have a generation,” stated Suzanne Vale in Carrie Fisher’s autobiographical film, Postcards From the Edge. “Well then I think you’d better get one,” her agent, Marty Wiener, answered with a smile.

The generation label has a lot to do with identity. You’re given a label: The Greatest Generation, The Silent Generation, The Lost Generation, Generation Jones, The Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y. But then there are those like me, and perhaps, Suzanne Vale, caught in the middle — on the cusp of two generations.

I was born in 1981, under a new president, a new decade and a few years before MTV hit the airwaves. I can identify with most everything that falls under Generation X, but they seem to scoff at the notion of including any children of the 80s in their club. On the other hand, I can’t really relate to Generation Y, my sister’s generation (1982-1997), because I didn’t spend my ultra-formative years on a computer, watching reality tv or thinking I didn’t have to work as hard as my parents to succeed.

At our multi-generational gathering in the Meatpacking District the other evening, I talked with Jeff Gordinier, author of the upcoming book, X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking. When defining Generation X, Jeff turned to what most other Gen Xers would, Wikipedia.com and averaged it out from about 1962-1977. What happens to those in the middle? They’re just hanging out on the cusp?

Which leads me to the idea that perhaps people in these “cusp years,” are more likely to wonder about their identity and feel without focus throughout their lives. Are we a part of the generation that’s making a difference? Or are we “all about Me?” And if we are truly in the middle, how do you strike a balance between the two, giving back, but still thinking about yourself? Perhaps that’s just part of the eternal struggle in every individual and not a generational thing at all. Still, it would be nice to not always feel like I’m on the edge. I’d like it if someone handed me one of the many road maps we use to navigate in a lifetime. It might make the trip feel a little more Hollywood and a little less like a Robert Frost poem.




so, in an effort to not complete this week’s hw on time, in addition to speaking with you, replying to a handful of email requests  etc, I’ve successfully learned that three family “trips” are available for this foursome come late march. Think Vietnam, New Zealand, Sicily and Costa Rica. Any sound fab, the first and last above all. In addition to convincing the husband/physician/scientist/bread-winner, I’ll need to make a decision in the next 24 hours.

It’s no secret that the grey days of Feb truly have the best of me and no joke that last year I PROMISED myself I wouldn’t wallow in my misery but instead go somewhere this year. I haven’t and despite my threats to my family that I will leave, I won’t. I love them dearly so since I’m not going anywhere solo, I hope to figure out a way to get out and explore. As a family. a privileged one who decided some time ago that travel enriches us, much more so than any material objects (of which none, I need not add but will, are we lacking). SO:images.jpg

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

john lennon. somehow i think this applies.

xo ut


all this is to say that I often have to shake my head, smile and breathe deeply in gratitude and wonderment over the life that is mine!

Imagine, waking up early yesterday morning, leaving the house while the 10 +14 year old are still sleeping, the doctor/scientist/husband was in Denver (speaking), to head downtown to Pastis (thankful for your suggestion) to interview Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity. He spoke (non-stop) about his laudible efforts for 2+ hours before we shared a cab north. He was in NYC for a meeting with Judith Rodin, Director and Darren Walker VP Programs of the Rockefeller Fdtn (he’d met Judith Rodin in Davos late last month). I’d been at the RF last month for a leadership meeting with Foundation people and the Center for Curatorial Leadership. Darren headed the meeting… small world dept.

AND then, after finally returning home, I took the 10 yr old to his play date on w 81st street overlooking the Museum of N History. He and his friends have weekly rubber band wars. it’s funny bc the boys all come from terribly pc families and we indulge the battles mightily, goggles and all. While he was at war, the14 yr old and I went to the Met’s Costume Institute for a meeting with

Dear S,

What a treat… thank you for indulging the young mind. Honestly, despite her mild appearance, the 14 yr old thrived from your wisdom and clarity vis a vis focus and direction of her history project.

Meanwhile, we are grateful to you for the suggestion that we meander up to the second floor and wander through the keyhole to the Astor Court. Wow, what a special place and well kept secret. It was a perfect way to exit following our informative meeting (that is after a brief look through the exhibition. the 14 yr old was particular taken by the luxurious lilac silk faille dress by Vivienne Westwood and the Manolo Blahnik/Damien Hirst polka dot print boots. She recognized the polka dots as Hirst’s immediately. Guess I’ve done my job!)

I also appreciate the NYC tips – it’s not a bad place, just have to find “my” niche in which being a mother is only one part…

Again, thank you. You truly made a difference.


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Date: Feb 20, 2008 12:44 PM
Subject: I’m going to start adding these to utdt
To: Wowie. Sounds like a great session. Could’ve used it but too tired – too much hw + I didn’t even take a stab @ my own. HATE that. So, only hw for me today (betw pick up @ 3 + making fucking dinner – the kidlets started watching the foodnet work which is so ironic, considering our cupboards r bare save mushroom spreads + fancy jams, lots of wine + the requisite special k, skim milk, oj + grapefruit juice for the dr/scientist husband)Ps. Maybe we should post our emails on ut/dt? This would capture our lives, what do u thin? Wonder if there’s an app 4 the blkberry (which I recommend over the iphone – reviews I’ve read favor the bb.)

Xo ut.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

—–Original Message—–
From: Ashley Van Buren

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 23:31:45
To: Subject: Re: today’s giving life, 12 books

Wow, 4:30, I am IMPRESSED! I was asleep way before that!

Tonight was good. x speaks a mile a minute. Doesn’t take ANY breaths. I just watched her talk, in awe of her lung capacity. Rest of conversation was actually really interesting. y told us how she got started. x, q and y told us about how they met their husbands — all really great stories. Then the NY vs. LA talk (with more people in your corner than you would think). Then we talked about the things we fear the most (situational things) I couldn’t come up with anything good. After ten years of being completely claustrophobic to the point of panic attacks and avoiding airplanes, once you get over that hurdle, anything is possible because you’ve learned how to control your body’s reaction to fear. So maybe that’s why I can’t think of anything.

Next meeting is Tuesday the 18th at 7 PM, location TBD.

Hope the homework is relatively painless.

And kidlets, I LOVE that term! So cute.

Off to write my ALK intro and edit her responses.


On Feb 19, 2008, at 9:23 PM, someone wrote:

hope tonight was fun. cameron (was great, spoke a mile a minute, didn’t need questions but now I need to give the responses some shape… AFTER I do my freakin’ homework.

AFTER I put the kidlets to sleep.

and last night I stayed up til 4:30 reading about your boyfriend.

my prediction: Cameron will go into politics or policy, ie the UN. They could use him. He can’t travel the world as he does FOREVER! And he’s got a wife and daughter, Josephine.

“Advocacy, instigation and implementation.”http://www.cameronsinclair.com/index.php?q=press
Most of the world’s architects are trained in the Western world, but most of the work that needs urgent doing is located in the developing world, especially areas ravaged by wars and natural disasters. Within these wastelands, there’s a role for architects, though few dare to go there.

TED talk: http://www.cameronsinclair.com/index.php?q=TED

and as a result of his TED prize:
the Architecture challenge (aka the open source design competition) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_wQ1z9oy1Mxo sss