Monday, December 31, 2012


Having spent an hour at Old Navy trying on jeans, all of which made me look like a bubble-butted, short-limbed troglodyte, I think I am going to hold off buying jeans until skinny-fit legwear goes out of fashion.

In the meantime I will continue to crankily don the pants I bought before having children, and continue asking myself if the flab on my gut is fat or simply stretched out skin about which nothing can be done.

Mood: crotchety.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winton's Birthday Party

On hosting a birthday party 17 hours after arriving home from a week at the in-laws (800 miles by car each direction, featuring some snow on the way there and much snow on the way back):

Upon arrival home there is unusual motivation to vacuum, wipe cat vomit off the floor, put clothes and Xtide gifts in sensible places and get the laundry into the wash.  The house feels righted to order more quickly than usual.  It's also nice to see people and have bits of adult conversation (peppered between running around trying to get the smalls drinks, food and entertainment).  Winton's birthday, for the first time, is not subsumed by our annual Christmas migration.

The feeling of the room swimming under you, you are that tired.  The cats being pissed off, far too literally. The fact that no matter how well prepared I think I am, and even if the main food items need only fall out of the freezer and onto a baking tray, there's always far more to do than I reckon on.  And the kids: being tired, squablous, bickersnitty, and, in Clara's case, prone to nose-bleeds, they took up a lot more of the morning than I had been planning on.  The prep was, for the last 60 minutes, a swift sprint around the house with dirty glasses and frizzling hair.

It's done.

One of Winton's gifts was a playdough dentistry set.  Make fillings fun?  Whose idea was that?  Adult scorn aside, the children are downstairs mixing the white, red (tongue) and silver (amalgam) playdoughs irretrievably and with great contentment.

Oberlin is nice, by the way.  If you need to stop in Ohio sometime, stop there.  Even under snow and ice it is a college town with good dining options.  Also,  its hotel (The Oberlin Inn) has apparently let some of its rooms to the college as piano practice rooms.  It was nice to wrestle with the over-stuffed car in the hotel's icy parking lot to the accompaniment of snatches of Rachmaninoff. . . . and whiffs of weed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Claraism du Jour

In car, passing judgement on houses and their seasonal decorations:
"Boring, Boring, Boring, OK, Boring, Boring, [pause, inhale and then, rapturously] Magnificent"

Monday, December 17, 2012


There's fog in Baltimore this morning, and against it the forced chipperness of dropping Clara (DOB Jan 3 2007) at Kindergarten at a large, public elementary school seems especially discordant. The fleeting moment of eye contact with her teacher over Clara's head: did it, as I hoped, nuance my bright "Hi!" with what I really want to say ("thank-you, and please hide my child in a cupboard if someone comes to school with a weapon")?

I teach too.  There have been massacres at Universities as well.  How surreal, over-the-top, and yet real that it is possible to be a teacher, and yet to stand in a room which becomes luridly actioned with guns, blood and death.  Recently I was required to attend a workshop on campus safety procedures, which included a harrowing video dramatizing courses of action one could take if there was a shooter in the building.

Elementary school children as the targets though.  The fact that there is nothing to answer or explain why they were the targets. It stupefies.

For all of you who left a child at a school today: courage.

For the Sandy Hook parents and survivors: I know my upset doesn't help you, but I feel it.  I wish it could help you somehow.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Worst Nightmares

Playing out in the news.

The question: what is the right action now?  There are many vehement things to say, many terrible emotions to feel, and many things to rant about.  There are many ineffective actions that might relieve one's guilty good fortune (two children, at home, alive).

What is the right action now?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Schroedinger's Corn Puff

Winton: I put a corn puff in my magic box.
Clara: Did it turn into a cat?
Winton [looking]: No.
Clara: Maybe it turns into a cat when you're not looking.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stealth Yoga, Defined

Stealth Yoga:
Yoga practiced in one's office at work, with door closed and lights off.
Necessitates: changing in one's office (ooo--risque!); modifying sun salutations so as to avoid smacking bookshelves; ignoring knocks on door; and omitting headstand for fear of falling, hurting oneself and needing to cry out for help, so revealing that stealth yoga had been practiced by one increasingly aged and infirm.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sleep Log

Monday night 
3.12 AM Clara arrives at my bedside:
"Mommmeee? I need to go to the bathroom."
Me: "Then go."
Clara [loud whine]: "Nooo.  But I want you to come."
Me [effectively manipulated by loud whine and desirous of keeping other child asleep]: "Sigh.  Ok."

3: 40 AM Winton arrives at my bedside:
"Mommmeee?" [he sounds exactly like his sister]
Me: "gnf."
Winton: "I had a bad dream.  I want to sleep with you."
Me [making space]: "gnf"

4:40 AM Mommy, still awake, Winton punches Mommy in eye (turns out this kid rolls over by throwing a punch and then following through with his whole body).

5.45 AM  Mommy, having not been able to get back to sleep, gets up to walk dog.

Tuesday night
Mommy too tired to stay up late grading
4AM Mommy gets up to try and do the grading she couldn't do the night before.

Wednesday night
3.44 AM Winton at my bedside:
" MOMMY!  I had the dream with the boy in the scary TV movie with the grass and the dark again."
Me: "Ok, but you sleep by the wall this time."