Friday, September 30, 2011

I thought he was too young for this kind of thing

Winton: "Mummy!  Look at my penis!"
[As he jams a whole carrot lewdly up the leg of his shorts]

Significant pieces of paper

1)  The UPS receipt which indicates my manuscript on third culture literature is off to McFarland&Co, its publisher.

2)  My eyeglass prescription because Sarah Bryden-Brown (a dynamo of all things e-publishing and bloggery) has arranged for a number of us bloggers to write reviews of a new prescription eyewear service.  Stay tuned.  I am excited.

Last week Sherman Alexie spoke on campus about his experiences of growing up on an Indian reservation: among other things, he got government eyeglasses with thick lenses and Buddy Holly style frames.  He pointed into the audience of student hipsters and said: "You have them, and so do you, and you too!  You think you look cool.  I think you look poor." 

So the question for me will be: adopt the trend and look like my "cool" students, or try to predict the future in eye fashions?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Clara, Winton and I watched Ponyo for the first time about a month ago, and I loved it.  The director is Hayao Miyazaki, and the version we saw was dubbed in English.

It is anime, replete with characters with freakishly large eyes, but OMG, magical seascapes.  My favorites things are the beasties: prehistoric fish, giant squid, incandescent jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, and whales.  It made me miss the sea, for though we live in Baltimore, it feels so very far from clean water here.  Standing outside my house on yet another drizzly morning, it is inconceivable to me that there is ocean anywhere near us.  And yet in Halifax, where I lived in 2003 and 2004, the parking lot outside my apartment building sounded like the sea, so prevalent was the feeling of being in the maritimes.

Anyway, I was utterly absorbed by Ponyo, and netflix just took it off its streaming service.  So, I went online and bought the Studio Ghibli box set of Hayao Miyazaki films. 

I can't wait til they arrive!

Who the hell am I? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


By Clara, at 3 AM, again (or perhaps "as usual").  It takes me a long time to fall asleep, so a "quick" Clara problem ("I need to pee and the bathroom's scary" or "Pepita is in my room" or "I have a cough, can you help me?") results in me awake for at least an hour, and usually longer.

Last night's interruption was especially irksome as she woke me out of a dream in which I (whose stomach hasn't tolerated coffee in almost three months) was having a cappuccino at a cafe in Berlin (I've never been to Berlin, but my dream version was very nice and came replete with the cool, dry weather that Baltimore is categorically not enjoying this season).  O cruel!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome to My World

Is out. I have an essay in it!  It's an e-book giving both sides of the working-as-mom Vs working-out-of-the-home debate.  By bloggers.  Contributions paid for (that never happens in academic publishing . . . so.  Y'know.  VERY exciting) by a company called Giggle, which looks like it runs a tres chic site for those with wee babies in need of good gear.
Ebook available via Amazon.  Giggle's at

Here endeth the promotion, for I need to 1) stop freaking out about trying to finish my academic book by Friday (will likely pay less and have fewer readers than Welcome to My World) and 2) go do a bit of yoga on the college basketball courts so that the pain in my lower back goes away.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This Weekend's One-Liners

Clara [referring to mustard greens, with slight but comprehensible inaccuracy]: "Mummy, we bought ketchup salad."

Winton: "This spoon's name is Just Be Quiet."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Morning

On the Agenda: Quiet focused proofread of book manuscript.
Actually happening: Student interruption every 6 minutes (just enough time to refocus between interruptions without actually making any progress: I have been on page 47 for an hour now).

BTW: my OFFICE HOURS are Mondays and Wednesdays, not Fridays.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ups and Downs, Campus life

Down: I got a parking ticket on campus because I parked Husband's car (which I was driving yesterday) in visitor parking.  Problem apparently is the expired college decal on his car.  No decal?  It would have been a genuine "visitor."  Car with decal which expired in August 2007 in the visitor parking lot?  Please pay us $25.

Up: I was at an event at the college President's house yesterday evening (which was why Husband needed my car with child seats in it to pick up the children from preschool, and why I drove his car up to campus and left it *horrors* in the visitor parking lot).  At the bar, I was carded when I asked for a glass of wine.  I am forty one and tired: the bartender must have been thrown off by my attire, or blind.  But still.  Up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lyrics: a la Winton

"The wheels on the bus say 'I don't care, I don't care, I don't care.'  The wheels on  the bus say 'I don't care' all through the town."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Advice for Cold and Flu Season: 1&2

1. Be prepared for your child to wake up congested on a day when you have absolutely unavoidable work commitments.  (Eg today Winton: congested; Me: chairing my first department meeting.)

2. Remember, when cleaning the bathroom on your always-too-short weekend, to have the floors and toilet clean enough that you could rest your cheek upon them should the dreaded stomach flu arrive in your home. (So far, it has not.  But it's good to have those floors and ceramics clean enough for lying upon, just in case.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

I miss my kids

I'm at work, half an hour earlier than absolutely necessary.  This is because yesterday Winton's teacher looked at me askance when we rolled in at 9.45, having missed his 9.15-9.45 gymn session entirely (Clara's class has the same gymn teacher, but later in the morning).  I busted my arse to get them in by 9.15 this morning so that he wouldn't miss music.  BUT.  No sign of the music teacher, and indeed no evidence that there will be music at all today.  All this means is that I've missed out on half an hour of time with my children.

This summer (diligent book writing) and this September (meeting bookdeadline, being department chair, teaching extra classes in the theater department) have been exhausting, but worst of all is that I miss my children.  Really.  Terribly.  Grievously.  It can't go on like this.  It shouldn't be like this in the first place. 

It's nice that I am now nearer the end of the month than the beginning, but I am still much closer to the middle than the end.  I miss my children.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tonight's Stories

"There was a princess, and a mermaid.  They were getting married, and all the other little mermaids were sad because their friend was going to turn into a princess too.  And then there's a song."

"I have friends in my class.  And I went to the Dr [he didn't].  And Miss Kim went to the Dr, and Miss Karina went to the Dr, and Mafanio [Nathaniel] went to Dr, and Maya is not in my class, but I see her on the playground and I love her, and all my blankets went to the Dr."


I used (before children) to covet those fancy alarm clocks which have a soothing light which gradually brightens as wake-up time approaches, and a gentle "gong" sound to wake you.

Now I have a hound dog who starts shaking his head--flapping his long, drapey ears so they wrap round and slap each other loudly--exactly half an hour before the children wake up and start screaming.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bloody Children


Clara had a streak of dried blood up her back this morning when I dressed her.  Hard to say from what: no visible wounds.  Successful mosquito swipe, perhaps?

And Winton face-planted dramatically in the preschool parking lot this morning, making for a colorful entrance: "Hello!  Winton's bleeding.  Do you have band-aids?"  I can see this made his teacher feel much as she did yesterday (I'm fairly sure she was crying behind sunglasses when we saw her on the playground late afternoon).

I washed W's knee liberally, which made him cry so hard he started to shake.  And then I sat with him for a couple of minutes.  And then I left, which made him cry/shake again.



Clara has decided to protest everything and anything by dint of screaming like a malfunctioning pile-driver ("WAAAAH  WAAAAAH" at high pitch for minutes at a time).  EG at 1AM when I wouldn't let her sleep in my bed with me. Also at 7AM when her father tried to brush her hair. And at 8.30 AM when I tried to get her ready to go on a dog walk.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

I'm at work.  Mine is the ONLY car in the parking lot.  Husband is home watching football (I assume) with the friend of his who is visiting from New Mexico.  The kids, after a vigorous morning, are, hopefully, sleeping.

I can't begin to tell you how glad I will be when I can take both weekend days off again . . .

Anyway.  That wasn't the point I had in mind when I sat down to use a post here as my opening ceremony prelude to learning how to superscript numbers and then re-enter my footnotes, as per my publisher's request.

No no!  I had actually meant to ask you all about the meaning of a strange thing I saw this morning when out walking the dog and children. Our neighborhood is already pretty exciting (drug busts, murders and muggings oh my!), but today we went to look over the fence at the yard of the house which keeps chickens.  The chickens are a big thrill: brown, large and oddly silent in their small coop, the door of which is held shut by a naked Barbie.  The yard beyond the coop features the naked, upside-down lower half of a mannekin.  Today's visit/ peeping tom-ing was cut short by my desire that the children NOT see the item clothes-pinned to the wire fence: a cleanly gutted kitten, head and tail still attached.  WTF?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Claraism du Jour

After collaging a number of heart and flower fragments onto a piece of paper with most of a bottle of Elmer's glue:

C: "Mummy, I'm going to hang this picture upstairs in my office."
Me: "You have an office upstairs?"
C: "Yes.  It's the Baltimore, DC upstairs broken saxophone department."

[n.b. we don't own a saxophone, broken or otherwise.]

Friday, September 9, 2011

Winton has a new friend

Winton's new friend is a slight blond boy with a perpetually runny nose and as much desire to run around screaming as Winton has himself.
The friend's name is, I think, "Nathaniel," though Winton said good-bye to him yesterday like this: "Bye Bye Fanny Banny!" [big kiss on snotty lips].

Professional Attire

After several days of hot, humid rain, it's hard to get excited about dressing well.  The week's precedent has been that anything below the knee gets rained on, the children want to be carried and rub wet sneakers on my thighs, and areas covered by my raincoat are sweated through by the time I get to work.

So, today I am wearing a skirt that is 6 years old and has a bite taken out of the hemline (by the washing machine?), a grey v-neck t-shirt the neck of which is losing its shape, water damaged sandals, and chipped toenail polish.  This would be fine if I could hide in my office all day, BUT I am teaching extra classes, as a favor to the theater department (wtf?  what the hell was I thinking??).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Pressing items on today's agenda:
-cubby conference for Clara.
-do class schedule for English department's Spring 2012 classes.
-prep my own classes for tomorrow.
-faculty meeting.

In the midst of these pressing concerns, I dismissed today's weather as "rainy" until driving down a six lane road reduced to 2 lanes (one each way) by a rising tide of water, passing several suv's stalled by high water, arriving at the college's parking lot to discover most of it aswirl with swift running water (I found a spot that seemed out of the direct path of flooding) and watching facilities maintenance struggle to redirect water flowing directly over the lintels of the building that houses our performance hall and gallery spaces.

To get to my building required walking through 2 ankle-deep rivers (formerly sidewalks).  Quite dramatic.  I fear our leaky roof at home is not faring well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Monday

At work.  The hall outside my office smells strongly of vomit, and that smell, oddly, is not emanating from the bathroom on this floor.  I'm opting out of further investigation.  Yay the undergraduates are back (grumble grumble).

Yesterday, to give Husband a break from his labor day parenting marathon, and to give Clara pleasure-overload, we had a playdate at Henry's house.  It was a good day to be inside: humid and hot, with grey skies through which spears of uncomfortably bright sun shot through at unexpected intervals.  And Henry's family has a nice house with lots of room for kids to play, and lots of compelling toys.  And I love a chance to catch up with Henry's mother. 

Despite my having fed Clara and Winton before we left home, they ate prodigious, embarrassing, quantities of apple.

Among the highlights: Henry gave Clara a Spiderman ring (Nonchalantly: "Here, I have tons of these.  You can have one").  He then suggested that he and Clara should go take a bath together.  So innocent and adorable . . . and, through the filthy lens of an adult mind, hilarious.  First the ring, then the bath.  What manners the boy has!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Really, how do folks fit it all in?  This month is worse than most (any, ever) for me in terms of work commitments and I'm currently wearing my hair shirt o' guilt over the following things:

-I don't have the children in swimming lessons, and am not in fact taking them swimming enough that I am actually teaching them myself, as I had planned.
-the children are also not in dance classes, or music (except the preschool's once weekly music classes).
-they don't own bikes, or balance push bikes and so don't know how to ride them.

The internet (fast source of anxiety-provoking mis-information) proliferates with information about everything being better if you teach it to your kids between the ages of 0 and 3, or 0 and 6.  Clara will be 5 in a few months, and Winton will be 3.  My god?  Is the window of opportunity skills-wise disappearing?? (Surely not, right?)

Husband has been off with the offspring for the last two days while their school is closed. I have been at work.  This is a long weekend: Monday is a holiday.  I will splurge by taking Saturday (today) and Sunday off despite the niggling niggling niggling of all the paper piled on my desk.

Here, to cheer-up an unfunny post:

Winton, seeing a lawn mower: "Look, Mummy!  A lawn-blower."

Clara: "When I grow up, I'm going to have a baby just so I can let it watch Ponyo every day."

Clara: "My favorite thing in the whole world are buffloes!"
Me: "Oh.  What do you like about them?"
Clara: "Jerky."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Winton Tells a Story

And then Mummy went to doctor,
and Daddy went to doctor,
and Hardie went to doctor,
and Pumpkin went to doctor,
and Brisss [Briseis] went to doctor,
and Pepita went to downstairs doctor.