Saturday, July 30, 2005

"Sure, the lion is king of the jungle, but airdrop him into Antarctica, and he's just a penguin's bitch."

I’ve always been a big Dorothy Parker fan. (And disturbingly for me, it turns out she looks a lot like a my-mom-when-she-was-young.) Go read some Parker right now, you owe it to yourself. She’s witty and funny and poignant. This is one of my favorite Parker poems, “Theory”:
Into love and out again,
Thus I went, and thus I go.
Spare your voice, and hold your pen –
Well and bitterly I know
All the songs were ever sung,
All the words were ever said;
Could it be, when I was young,
Some one dropped me on my head?


Julie recommends the Moomintroll books, by Tove Janson (re: my mention of Summer Book). I think they look totally cool, and cannot wait to get my hands on them to read to Simon. I think he’ll love them. Thanks, Julie!

Speaking of books Si likes, I recently dug out my Shel Silverstein collection. I hate, hate HATE The Giving Tree, but otherwise Silverstein is ok. A bit contrived, and Raffi-ish for my taste, but ok. Simon really likes him, he thinks the poems are hilarious (and some of them are.) So he is enjoying greatly Where the Sidewalk Ends. It’s so much fun to watch him discover new books.


I took the boys to the zoo yesterday. Who designs zoos? Why are there not shortcuts to places people want to go to quickly? We have a membership so, when we go, if the boys want to hang out in the aquarium or kids’ kingdom all morning, that’s fine by me. But to get the aquarium, or the bathrooms, or the trains, or whatever, you must trudge through the entire fucking zoo! Did someone think it was like the grocery store: “If we can just get them to walk past the Siberian tigers, maybe they’ll buy one and take it home!” And yesterday the big hit of the day was not, as you might expect, any of the animals; nooo, it was the large construction vehicles digging up what is left of the snake house (I HATE the snake house and am happy to see it leveled). We stood there and watched Scoop and Muck do their thing for half an hour. We’d still be standing there if we hadn’t nearly been run down by a zoo tram. Do we live in England? Why do the zoo trams drive on the left side of the road? The aquarium was fine, except for all the adults pushing strollers and their fat kids around without any inkling that littler children might be under foot (well, that and the penguin exhibit – when was the last time those poor penguins had their water cleaned? It’s murkier than my goldfish bowl! Isn’t it bad enough they had to live in a refrigerated trailer for six weeks?) . Jude got nailed by one grown man oblivious to his surroundings; the poor kid took a flying header and banged his head on the bottom of Nemo’s tank. That was when I began my deep breathing and finally snarled at poor Simon, “MAMA HAS TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW.” Ah, an idyllic morning at the zoo. I, unusually, bought the boys something - some little sea creature toys. Jude carried his tube o’ animals all over the zoo, and when he got home, laid them all out on the end of his bed before lying down for his nap. Whereupon Simon crept silently into his room and absconded with all of Jude’s animals, to augment *his* collection, to add to the miniature golf course. It sucks being the younger brother. (In a few short months, he’ll be the middle child, which is even worse.)


I think the freakiest creation of JK Rowling’s, bar none, are the Inferi. Dementors are the scariest, but the Inferi make my skin crawl. My drive home from work takes me down a dimly-lit twisty road that is bordered by an enormous and very old cemetery. Thursday nights, when I work to ten, I drive home this way and wind up my windows while driving past the cemetery because, you know, Voldemort has it in for me and is going to set the Inferi on me. Zombies…bah! But the Inferi, with their clammy cold hands and dead eyes – creepy. Waaaaayyyy creepier than the dead people in Phillip Pullman’s Amber Spyglass.


I just walked into the ladies’ room and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror (something I try to avoid even on my best days). I look like Violet Beauregarde, only fuchsia. I *hate* this horrible bright pink shirt but it was clean AND it fits my clothing criteria right now which is/are, I want my clothes to touch the least amount of skin possible. Of course, I normally am obliged to obey this bizarre compulsion, but it’s worse when I am huge with child.



Simon and his dad were writing a song when I left for work this morning. The first line went something like this:
“In the back-ack of the gack-gack…” (Yes, they’re quite the lyricists.)
I can’t get the damn thing out of my head.

Somehow – I am not sure how – these two articles are related:
The Nude Museum and The Undie Thief.

Mmmmm-hmm. What’s he *really* doing to that penguin? I don’t care how lonely you are, leave the wildlife alone!

Now I want a digital camera. To record charming pictures of my lovely children? No. To show-and-tell my front porch, and various other blog fun.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is boring. I am not going any further with it. I did just check out of the library Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop. And I guess I’ll keep plugging away at Misfortune. Don’t know why but I feel compelled.

Dan is going to run sound for a friend’s band next Saturday night. I have been invited along. I don’t want to go. On any given night, I would much rather put my kids to bed, and then sit down and read or quilt. Am I hopelessly anti-social and bound to wind up some poor demented old lady who lives in a house stacked with books and inhabited by too many cats, who never goes anywhere because it’s just too much trouble? (Um, sorta just like my dear, departed mom?) I’m not sure there’s enough medication in the world to prevent this.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I've Defeated the Problem of My Pic!

Have a look at my profile! :-)

You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her

My husband has a crush on Brooke Burke, the very hot host of the INXS reality show. So I sent him a CNN bit about her separation from her husband. What does he notice first? “She’s given birth twice?!” Is it permissible to hate the father of your children?


More about Rona Jaffe. Her novel The Best of Everything was the one she read from on NPR; it was featured because it has recently been reissued. Despite her lack of enthusiasm, I am going to take a look anyway. Renee Montagne compared it to a fifties version of “Sex and the City” and while I am no fan of Candace Bushnell, I do find the HBO series amusing enough. It might make a good beach read for me in September.


Does anyone else know the Froggy books? I just saw one from the curriculum center laying on the reshelve stack, Froggy Sale a Cenar. “Hmmm,” I thought. “We don’t have that one.” That would be because *no one in my house speaks Spanish*. God, do you get dumber with each child or is it just me?


I am stalled on Misfortune. It’s just not that gripping. I keep waiting for something to happen. (Angela at fluidpudding is reading it, maybe I should ask her if I should keep going.) So I finished up Daughter of Time and may begin Miss Jean Brodie later. But honestly, I am really not interested in doing much other than lying in bed under the ceiling fan and panting. I have been feeling really weak, tired, and nauseated the past week. I thought I’d feel better once the heat broke, but no. I am back to being nauseated and yucky. I had an entire month of being able to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. What more could I ask for?? It’s the sort of yucky feeling that, were I further along, I would be convinced I was going to go into labor at any time.


I am oh so heartily sick of being pregnant. I can’t breathe, I have to pee every five minutes, I’ve begun to waddle, and now I just feel yucky. Some really great pregnancy quotes, found while trolling for the top “title” quote:

“I realize why women die in childbirth - it's preferable.” ~Sherry Glaser

“One of the most obvious results of having a baby around the house is to turn two good people into complete idiots who probably wouldn't have been much worse than mere imbeciles without it.” ~Georges Courteline, La Philosophie de Georges Courteline

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” ~Milton Berle
(I have long held the opinion that mothers should grow another arm with each child, that then cleanly shrivels up and falls off at around the age of ten (the child, not the mother).

And this is clichéd but it still made me laugh.

I Want This

This is brilliant!

I Am Hopeless! HOPELESS!

So I joined an on-line “dating” service. Yes, it’s sort of seedy, but it’s a great diversion. All those people, just waiting to be judged! :-) Anyway, I got an e-mail from a guy whose picture looks like a graying, blue-eyed Matthew Perry. Charming! We had some fun chatting about this and that, generally congratulating one another for our good taste, and what-not . . . I dropped what I consider to be my bomb about the gay ex-husband, which he took in stride. And then he dropped his own bomb: He’s married. (Just like every decent straight guy I meet in the non-virtual world, but I digress . . .)

Did I react with an indignant, feminist e-slap in the face? No. With vixen-like disregard? Nope. I ended up spending the evening playing marriage counselor to a lonely guy whose wife has been severely depressed since their daughter was born two years ago. Her meds keep her fairly stable, but tired all the time and not at all interested in sex, and he’s sad and scared and frustrated, and . . . well, I don’t have to tell you.

So, yeah. Did I find a date? No. Did I help a man who seems like he might be a good guy stop from making a mistake? Maybe. Is that good? I guess.

But . . . sigh.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"You could have sex relatively comfortably on a platform of books...

but not on a platform of PDA.s. Hardcover books. Paperbacks might start sliding around. Though I'd still prefer paperbacks to a pile of PDA.s."
-- William Gibson


My dear hubby is feeling put upon and overworked. He did express gratitude recently for my cooking and laundry-doing but admitted he took the bathroom-cleaning for granted. Who exactly did he think was going into the bathroom and scrubbing the mold out of the shower (hey we’ve got 90% humidity here these days, there’s even mold on the toilet lid at this point if we don’t leave them yawning wide open), scouring toothpaste out of the sink, and wiping pee off the floor? The Oompah-Loompahs? His mother? He should try being 30 weeks pregnant, then we’d see how overworked and put upon someone can REALLY feel. I am beginning to feel like the poor wife in The Good Earth – I am expected to gestate and go on about my usual manual tasks without any flagging of energy or respite. Thank God we have no potato fields or rice paddies. This is what happens when you’re pregnant with the third kid. I feel as if somehow I am being reprimanded for exceeding the population-replacement child quota.


”Harvard can wait”. One of the reasons I send my kids to daycare twice a week is for the social benefits. They are generally good about sharing, they play well with other kids, and they are learning to deal with being around kids that may not be raised or disciplined the same ways they are. I think these are all good things. The other reason is, I get to go to work, pee by myself, drink my coffee hot, and engage in semi-adult conversation. Simon can read, but he won’t be going to kindergarten this year, mostly because his birthday isn’t till December so no kindergarten will take him. I am moving him into a preschool program that meets three mornings a week, to help transition him into the five-day full-day kindergarten that is pretty much the norm now. But mostly I am ok with him being home with me another year, because regardless of his intelligence and skills, he is still only four and I don’t want him to be overwhelmed or hate school because he’s the youngest in his class. Plenty of time for him to be a genius later : )


Last week we had to take a trip to the pet store because mysteriously both of my cats’ collars disappeared from their necks. They needed new flea collars pronto. While I picked out the collars, the boys wandered the store saying hi to the bunnies and sampling the dog biscuits. Yes, you read that right – I found Jude up to his elbows in the “doggie bar” dog biscuit bin. He enthusiastically licked his arms, plunged them into the bin, and the licked the biscuit dust off his arms. Si was slightly more reserved. It reminded me of the neighbor children in Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I. Betty’s Grammy would bake the most godawful, heavy, wet cookies, throwing in whatever leftovers were in the fridge – a smidge of jam, a couple green beans, the end of a ketchup bottle, the last spoonful of mashed potatoes…whatever. While the Bard children struggled manfully to choke down these cookies for their after-school snack, the neighbor children enjoyed an afternoon snack of dog biscuits from the five-gallon bucket on their back porch. One day the Bards offered one of the cookies to the neighbors and there was enthusiastic response. They thought maybe Grammy had succeeded in baking an edible cookie finally, but no…they were still the same gross things as always. Thereafter they just fed these disgusting cookies to the neighbor children.
So I don't know, how gross could doggie biscuits be?


I had dinner with a friend last night whom I haven’t seen in a while. We had a falling out when Gina and I discussed the Jennifer Anniston-Brad Pitt split on our joint blog. S. told us that having to read about those two on the blog was like “finding someone had taken a crap on her living room carpet.” Soon thereafter I came under attack for mentioning my toddlers, words were exchanged on the blog, and Gina and I decided to start our own blog. Having dinner with her was fine, but I was *so* much more guarded around her than I have ever previously been. She has been my friend through two babies, several tense work situations, and semi-separation from my husband (she was the one who picked me up sobbing at the gas station after I had a fight with Dan, took me to her apartment, and plied me with cigarettes and alcohol until I felt marginally better.) And I did not dare mention this blog, since it’s one of those “puerile blogs” that she would not stoop to read. I feel so conflicted about this relationship – I like her, I find her funny, I respect her considerable intelligence, but I don’t think I am a bad or boring person because along with reading Nabokov and the Booker prize winners, I also happen to be interested that Jude Law bonked the nanny.


Quick INXS recap –
Swiss Miss stunk. Will they please just get rid of her? I can’t stand her. Not to mention she is easily pushing forty and dresses like she’s 18.
Daphna was embarrassingly bad this week, as was the hippie dude Brandon.
JD was TERRIBLE, but since this was the first time he really sucked maybe people will be kind. I hope so. He’s a jerk but he’s talented.
Jordis was amazing as usual. She’s still got my top vote.
Ty Taylor is just too theatrical – he left me absolutely cold last night. I like that REM song and he did nothing for me.
Despite the Sgt Pepper coat, Mig did a relatively great job with a boring song (“Lola”).
Dan liked the guy who did the Nirvana song but I thought he was boring.



I am smarter than my VCR. No, really, I am.

I realized after the HP posts exactly how sexy I find Alan Rickman. The man is almost sixty and he’s still amazingly hot.

My PNP called back yesterday to tell me thanks!! She told the ref librarian on duty that she had had several librarians working on her problem and I was the only one that was any help at all. Funny, since I was one of the librarians who spent all day Saturday working on this problem. Oh well, at least she’s happy. Wonder what her crazy question this week will be? Ah, the life of a librarian – never a dull moment.

And speaking of: “Today I had to go see the gorilla master.” I overheard someone say this in the library the other day. I don’t think I want to know.

I heard a little interview with Rona Jaffe on NPR this morning. I have never heard an author read from his/her own work with less enthusiasm or inflection. She sounded positively bored. Not a ringing endorsement to check out her books.

games from Katya

Three names I go by:
1. Val
2. Mama
3. Bridget

Three screen names I've had:
1. vcs2
2. Si_moo
3. BabelBabe

Three physical things I like about myself:
1. My eyes
2. My wrists
3. My feet

Three physical things I don't like about myself:
1. My breasts
2. My hips
3. My butt

Three parts of my heritage:
1. Ukrainian
2. Lithuanian

Three things I am wearing right now:
1. a black sleeveless t-shirt
2. a green skirt
3. black Jockey underwear

Three favorite bands/musical artists :
1. Dar Williams
2. Chris Smither
3. Radiohead

Three favorite songs:
1. Iowa – Dar Williams
2. Send Me on My Way – Rusted Root
3. Corner of the Sky – from “Pippin”

Three things I want in a relationship:
1. Conversation
2. Laughter
3. Comfort

Two truths and a lie:
1. I have two brothers, one younger, one older.
2. My parents are both dead.
3. I adore my mother-in-law.

Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeal to you:
1. Big knobbly bony capable hands
2. Skinniness
3. Prominent cheekbones

Three favorite hobbies:
1. Reading
2. Quilting
3. Running

Three things I want to do badly right now :
1. Go swimming
2. Read
3. Have someone else feed, bathe, and put my kids to bed

Three things that scare me:
1. Any of my kids dying
2. Heights (me wanting to jump)
3. Knowing I am going to die (If I got hit by a bus and died instantaneously, that’d be ok, but I don’t want to die a lingering death)

Three of my everyday essentials:
1. Tea
2. Email
3. Books

Three Careers you have considered or are considering :
1. English professor
2. Forensic pathologist
3. Set designer

Three places you want to go on vacation:
1. Istanbul/Turkey
2. Alaska
3. Prague

Three kids' names you like:
1. Benjamin
2. Abigail
3. Leslie

Three things you want to do before you die:
1. Get a PhD in English lit
2. Learn to rock climb
3. Go on a months-long vacation/sabbatical by myself, maybe to the shore

Three ways I am stereotypically a boy:
1. I curse a lot
2. I do nothing with my hair other than wash it
3. I tend to sit with one leg crossed across the other knee rather than demurely at the knees.

Three ways I am stereotypically a girl:
1. I do not leave the house without moisturizer or perfume
2. I love gossip
3. I worry about my weight

Three celeb crushes :
1. John Cusack
2. Alan Rickman
3. Andrew McCarthy

Three people I am tagging:
1. Gina
2. Peg
3. Carolyn

Katya’s questions from the Interactive Internet Question Game

1.If the Slavic goddess of fate showed up on your doorstep, would she be Dolya, the kind one, or Nedolya, the annoyed one? Why?
It would definitely be Nedolya the annoyed one because that’s just the way my luck runs. My brothers and I have a long-standing family joke about the “Matus luck” and my husband swears the only reason I changed my name when I got married was to try to fool the Matus dark cloud from following me.

2. What is the weirdest reference question you've gotten? How did you find the answer?
Wow, this is a toughie. I get some very odd reference questions from our crank callers, but I have to think on this a bit. Ummm…I think the weirdest to date – and I haven’t been a ref librarian that long so that might account for the tameness of this one – was the man who called looking for a doctor’s credentials. He had a a name and a state but that was it. So I searched the AMA website, and various physician directories; I thought maybe he meant Doctor like PhD so I searched a dissertation database and some faculty directories. No dice. So then I – finally! Duh! - thought to ask him how he had heard of this woman, and where he’d found her name. Answer: on a mailing from the A---- Psychic Institute of America. I assured him that her credentials were more than likely as fake as could be but I found the phone number of the A--- Institute and told him to call them and ask.

3. If you had a whole week to yourself and knew that the kids were taken care of, what would you do during that week?
Sleep, read, take lots of baths. Stay up late and sleep in. Call off sick from work. Eat ice cream sandwiches or pie for breakfast, and sushi for dinner, and whatever I want for snacks without having to hide whatI am eating or hearing anyone say Yuck or Gimme some! Finish the baby quilt I am working on. Go out for lunch and maybe an afternoon movie (Is there anything more decadent than a matinee movie?) Go sit in my favorite coffee shop for an hour to read the newspaper in the mornings, with a pot of Earl Grey tea or an iced mocha. Go swimming. Revel in the silence.

4. When you were a kid if you had a choice between reading and playing sports, which one did you usually choose?
Always reading. My husband said just this morning, “You know, last week you said something like, ‘I’d rather read than do anything else.’ And it was like a light bulb came on – of course! Why did I never realize that?” I don’t know, Dan, you’ve been married to me for 10 years, you’d think you’d have figured that one out by now!

5. Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka?
Gene Wilder. I am even afraid to see the Depp version (although I generally love Depp) because I don’t want it to sully the Wilder version.

The Brick Testament

Ted loves Lego, as I think I’ve established, so last night we took some time on-line to have a look at something that had been tucked into the back of my mind. The guy who does this is quite possibly a genius, and quite definitely nuts. Teddy was amazed. And, believe it or not, this whole thing sparked some really good discussions.

We read through all of the segments on The Law, where we of course came across homosexuality. Thankfully, we were able to posit the laws regarding homosexuality against the law forbidding, say, a woman’s defending her husband by grabbing his attacker’s testicles. Ted saw the insanity of both rules; I am doing his father such a service, I tell you!

We talked about these “rules”, and about the fact that there is a lot of crazy stuff in the bible, but a lot of valuable stuff as well. You can’t argue, for example, against “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

So, yeah. Better living through Lego. Who knew?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"I'm on the Zoloft to keep from killing y'all." - Mike Tyson

Sometimes to keep the boys occupied until we reach school, we play a game where I count one type of vehicle (I almost always get ambulances. Jude: “Mama. Ambulance. People hurt.”) , Jude counts another, and Si counts a third.
The conversation in the car this morning:
Si: I saw a school bus. I am counting school buses.
Jude: No! I count school buses!
Si: Yes.
Jude: No.
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No
Si: Yes.
Jude: No.
Ad nauseum, or at least till we get to school.
(Interspersed with epithets of pophead, stinky butt, and piece-of-toast.)
I think you get the idea. Someone pass me the Zoloft.


Speaking of Zoloft, I saw my shrink yesterday. Due to a scheduling conflict I had some interaction with one of his colleagues before I actually saw Dr. R. She checked my blood pressure (?), she interrogated me about my street-drug habits (I have none, just for the record); asked me about my antidepressant use during pregnancy and was I comfortable with this, had I informed my OB, etc. (have I not been stressing over the two heads/twelve fingers/ multiple whatevers of this child since the day of conception?); questioned the fact hat I haven’t seen my therapist in 6 months (I think after close to six years of almost monthly or at least bi-monthly therapy sessions, I can afford to be a little less neurotic) and generally made me feel panicky about whether she was going to give me a prescription for MORE DRUGS, which was pretty much the only reason I was even there. She told me that they needed to see me in four months (somewhere around a month after the baby was born – sigh) and they would “review my situation” then. Then Dr. R. saw me. Fifteen minutes of chit-chat, a prescription, and a directive to call him after the baby is born so he can call in another prescription if I need it. I don’t mean to make him sound cavalier or irresponsible; he is so not those things. But he’s been my shrink for close to five years now, tinkered with meds and dosages many times to make sure I was getting optimal results, and is confident in my ability to be aware of what my brain and the drugs are doing. I love him. And I will definitely be double-checking and confirming appointment times from now on. Because she scared me.


My PNP called again today tracking down even more phone numbers for various religious officials in a particular order. I am not even sure that half of these offices exist any longer, but since I am not Roman Catholic, what do I know? Here’s the thing: I punted. I called the international office of the order and explained what I was looking for to the very polite, helpful, and sweet priest who answered the phone. He obliged me with the phone number to the “ultimate” priest in charge of the order, the fax number, and the name of his secretary. Poor man, he didn’t realize what I had just let him in for. At least she won’t call him looking for the phone number of local pizza shops and grocery stores. I hope. This (in my opinion ingenious) solution did not please my patron however. She apparently wants my BLOOD, if not my actual brain cells. Ha!


I am a little more than a third of the way through Misfortune. There’s no doubt that Wesley Stace can write (judging from his songwriting abilities of his alter-ego John Wesley Harding, this comes as no surprise to me). The book is just this far to this side of weird to be a really engrossing read, but I think it will improve now that we have a first-person narrator as opposed to the omniscient narrator of the first chapters.


Something else that occurred to me about HP. I realized during the 6th book that I really don’t care for Harry’s father at all. He sounds like such a jerk. His mother Lily sounds sweet and smart and likeable but James just comes across as a bullying show-offy jerk. My sympathies lie with Snape every time I read one of the scenes where James and his friends are bullying or teasing Snape. I always think, “Poor Severus. Why can’t they just leave him alone?” Is it just me?

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Museum of Food Anomalies

A most excellent time waster!

We're experimenting with cryogenic techniques to simply freeze the actors until we're ready to go again...

I finished HP 6 last night. OK, I did cry. And I like the way Harry is portrayed in this one. He’s real, not some goody-goody annoying prig, which he was turning into until book 5 at which point he metamorphosed into a thoroughly and completely annoying moody and mean teenager. This book he is tempered by uncertainty but also a certain growing-into-his-skin confidence that appeals greatly. This is particularly evident in his scenes with the new Minister of Magic.

Speaking of the M of M, I was watching CSPAN last night and would you believe someone actually mentioned the scene to Tony Blair? He laughed, admitted his HP brief was slim, and made some other jokes. Once again I stand in awe of the British political system – not only do they actually talk to each other, and actually say things about politics and the country’s events that are meaningful and useful, but they also have great senses of humor. Can you imagine any of our pontificating pompous politicians acting like that? It was terrific.

Someone argued on their blog (can’t remember who, sorry) that this HP cannot stand on its own. That CS Lewis managed six standalone books in his great Narnia series, and that HP fell down here. I would argue that I see HP more as a multi-volume book rather than a series. This may be a grandiose comparison, but I think of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past – one long story told over multiple books. I really think that may be the only way to view the HP books. The first three arguably could stand on their own, and maybe the fourth if you ignore all the stuff that isn’t the competition plot, but Books 5 & 6 can’t.

I was devastated by the identity of and actions of the Half Blood Prince. I have always harbored an odd secret liking for this character, perhaps because I really like the actor who portrays him in the movies.


This article on mommy blogs was in the Post Gazette yesterday. She says a lot of important things, all of which I agree with. A sampling:

…one thing parents say they need to feel successful in child-rearing but rarely get (at least in satisfactory doses) is a support system that provides meaningful conversation and positive feedback.

In a blog, you not only get to compose your thoughts (hopefully with a glass of wine late at night), you get to do it in a stream without interruptions.

The most valuable thing, ultimately, about writing a blog… is that I am much more aware of the moments I have with them [the children], and, in turn, am more aware of who I am -- and who they are -- in those moments.

The coluumn’s author is local; I may email her just to say thanks and hi.



I will read Wesley Stace’s Misfortune next since it’s a seven-day library book.

For Gina: John Cusack.

Simon spent *hours* yesterday building a beautifully intricate and inventive miniature golf course on the third floor. He has a tall church built out of Tinkertoys on top of the bongos, a house out of blocks, with cars and a garage, several Lego high rises, a zoo complete with animals, and a tower. It’s got signs and arrows and trees and it’s really incredible. I took pictures of the course and the proud architect. He is the manager, and Dan is the assistant manager, and Jude is the worker manager (apparently Si believes in Walmart-like management structures). I am the only customer, but there are prize buckets all ready for me should I win.

I was hanging out with the boys this morning thinking about the blog and made my notes for today’s entry on one of several Magnadoodles we own. You know you’re a mother when… : )

I am finding it more and more difficult to breathe properly and I still have ten weeks to go.

This story about the incubator-mom freaks me out. I am not entirely sure how I feel otherwise. I understand the desire for the baby to survive, but it’s just a little too cold-blooded and sci-fi that the family decided to keep the mom hooked up to machines for months. It feels like messing with the natural order of things to me. I don’t know.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The more decorated the pages with edible Rorschach stains, beetroot thumbprints & general incoherent dribblings, the more you have honoured them.

The Union Project, a beautiful old church located in the heart of my neighborhood, is being renovated for use as a community center. The people running the show are innovative and exciting, and we try to support them whenever we can. We bought our Christmas tree from them (and I suppose we will this year too since I already bought a pine-scented soy candle to offset the distressing fact that the tree was lovely but it had absolutely no smell - and then what is the point of having a live tree but the smell?); I took one of the stained glass restoration classes there (there are a gazillion gorgeous windows to be restored, and they offer classes which people pay for in order to restore them all, rather than paying for them to be done. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.); we attend the little farmers’ market when we can; and last night we went to a “hard hat fundraiser,” to check out progress and mingle with the bigwigs. (I saw Gordon Loesch! (He was VERY tan and very flawless-skin-looking a la Johnny-Depp-as-Willy-Wonka.) Also Bill Peduto! Whoo hoo! And Sarah Louise sporting her new "Pink is the new black" t-shirt, which caused considerable debate among my companions as to its political meaning.) Also to eat lots of little finger-y food things like broccoli-cheddar puffs and veggie egg rolls and mini quiche Lorraines (quiches Lorraine?). I am definitely a grazer of the first order, so that was dinner for me. The Church Brew Works (speaking of renovated churches) supplied beer – they had a fantastic lager which Dan declared the best lager he’d ever had and drank three. (I, alas, stuck to ice water.) They had a cello player and then a DJ, and a Chinese auction; it was a cool little event. We got to keep our hard hats too (with the spiffy little Union Project logo), so my little Simon-the-Builder got a real hard hat to complement his carpenter jeans, tool belt, and plumber’s crack this morning. After which we walked home and hung out with our next door neighbors, discussed local politics, and drank more. I love my neighborhood.

I’ve been to several of these “Creepiest Places on Earth” locations, and I do have to admit that the cemeteries in New Orleans are creepy beyond belief. It’s not just the people buried there (Marie Laveau), or the bizarre grave decorations, but just the traditions of burial. The mausoleums are above-ground (tradition has it that this is because the water table is so high – New Orleans is below sea level); you bought one for your family. (But if you were a pauper or your family didn’t have enough status/cash to own/rent a mausoleum, there *were* (and are) below-ground burials.) When you are buried, your casket/body may not be disturbed for a year and a day (if too many people die in your family over the course of a year, you may need to rent or borrow vault space elsewhere). At the end of that time period, your decomposed body – bones and such – are removed from the casket (which is then simply discarded – makes for cheaper funeral arrangements!) and then pushed into the back of the mausoleum where they fall down a chimney-like channel, and then the space is available for the next corpse. It’s the sort of city where it’s easy to believe anything could happen, and most likely does. In the Garden District or even parts of the French Quarter (not Bourbon Street), it is easy to believe in ghosts. The cemeteries are creepy, both for their eerie mausoleums and monuments, and for the high crime incidence – you do not want to walk around them after dark, you are asking for trouble of one sort or another! I’ve never been a big Anne Rice fan – in fact, I think she’s pretty awful – but Robert Girardi’s Madeleine’s Ghost features a pretty spooky spectre from the Big Easy.

The Tower of London is another spooky place I have actually been. It is considered one of the most haunted places in Britain which considering their long and bloody history is saying a lot. Seeing and touching the chopping block where Anne Boleyn lost her head was just weird. Rumor has it that she wanders the Tower grounds with her head tucked under her arm. The Bloody Tower is where Richard’s two nephews are purported to have been imprisoned and murdered; they have been seen wandering the tower hand-in-hand. Phantom funeral processions have been seen crossing the grounds, as have phantom regiments of soldiers. The rooms are tiny and cramped and low; even if you’re not claustrophobic (but I am), you’d start feeling creeped out after a while. I remember one room with all these scratchings on the wall – days being counted off, messages to family members before prisoners were carted off to be executed…hundreds of years old. Downright unsettling.

I’ve been to Gettsyburg but the only truly disturbing thing there were the rows upon rows upon rows of graves for young men – it seemed as if the majority of graves were for teenaged boys - aged 18, 19, 20 years old. Horrifying.

And as far as Lizzie Borden goes, here’s pretty much all I know about her, save for the similarities to Margaret Atwood’s Grace Marks, in Alias Grace:
Lizzie Borden with an axe
Gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Of course, Borden was acquitted, but her name lives on in infamy.

And sadly, while in Paris several years ago, I was not aware of the Parisian catacombs so didn’t have the chance to see them. But trust me, some of the rooms at Versailles were completely creepy in their own way. Not to mention some people’s experiences in the gardens there. (My own mother among them, who was not given to hysterics or daydreams. But she SWORE she saw people in period clothes wandering the grounds. Just being aware of this was enough to make me jittery. )

Anyway, what got me off on this tangent? I forget. Sorry. Hope it was interesting at least.



  • The things children say, some of which you never thought you’d hear in a lifetime –

    • “Jude hit me with the thinking chair!”

    • “Why do you need someone looking at your butt to get you out of the house?”
      (For the record, such as it is, I *said* a “kick in the butt” but Si misheard/misunderstood me. Please do NOT look at my butt, I am self-conscious enough as it is.)

  • I spent an inane amount of time today looking up phone numbers in Italy for my Private-Number-Patron. If you’re interested, you too can check out for the Italian Pagine Bianche or Gialle.

  • There are auditions for The Apprentice on campus today. Starbucks and the Union were full - full, I tell you - of well-dressed poseurs carting laptops and cell phones and what have you. Except for the small contingent of people who think it is acceptable to attend any event in blue jeans, Tevas, or a wife-beater undershirt – also toting laptops and cell phones. Idiots. The whole lot of them.

  • This looks like an interesting little book (courtesy of The Guardian): Summer Book by Tove Jansson. Anyone ever heard of her?

  • Dove has a worthy new ad campaign that tells women to embrace their curves. Too bad they're hawking cellulite cream. - (Rebecca Traister, You know, I just don’t have a problem with this campaign. It’s no more or less disingenuous than any other advertising campaign for a beauty product. I think if you take it at face value, the message that normal, healthy (not toothpick-thin) women are beautiful too, is a worthy message. Regardless of whether they want to rid themselves of cellulite or not. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am a fan of Dove’s shampoo/hair conditioner. Fortunately I have no cellulite on my scalp…)

  • I am nine chapters into HP book 6. It’s much better than Book 5 but there are little things annoying me, like several lame typos (site instead of sight, for example).

Friday, July 22, 2005

If This Were a Cartoon, I'd Be a Lollipop

Why? Because I am a *sucker*! I went to B&N this evening, and I could not--COULD NOT--pass up the copies of Must Love Dogs that are stacked up all over the place. Why couldn't I pass up what I was sure was an unremarkable book? Simply because John Cusack is on the cover! See? Sucker!

But I just finished reading it, and it's actually rather enjoyable. I won't see the movie, but I'll probably rent it. I kind of like that Cusack is growing old along with me. Maybe seeing this movie will make me stop longing for Lloyd Dobbler? :-)

I *did* get The Historian, by the way. I might even start it tonight.

ok, I am a blog slut, I admit it

I played this with Joke's blog too, so here are Joke's five questions and my answers, 'cause I know you're all dying to know the quirky way in which my tiny mind works:

1- In order to release a beloved friend from the clutches of an evil genius, you must appear in an infomercial, one which will run for a year and is for a completely useless product. Name the product.
Cellulite cream.

2- You are engaged to the most wonderful, caring, etc., etc. human being ever. Only to discover this wonderful person was once in a band and has groupies who still stalk and pester and stop both of you on the street ALL THE TIME. (Did I mention he played the spoons in a polka band?) Do you go through with the wedding?
I did.

3- To help you out of a financial mess, would you agree to leading a life of product placement for a year?
Yes. As long as I had some choice of products (i.e. Coke instead of Pepsi)

4- An ex has become HUGELY successful writing a Broadway musical comedy about your relationship, in which you are not portrayed in a flattering way, however your character is the hit of the show, and the show is a gigantic smash. Do you out yourself?
Probably not at this point in my life. Maybe when I am death's door and all old and wrinkly, possessing the nobility of the greatly aged (like Deep Throat...ahem...)

5- You are promised eternal beauty and grace if you are willing to talk in limericks for life. Do you start rhyming?
But I already *have* eternal beauty and grace...don't I?, really, I suppose I'd stay my trolly little self. Maybe if I were going to talk in iambic pentameter or something really cool like villanelles or sonnets...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Scribes, archivists, librarians, historians - anyone who handled the past through books

I just finished Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian.
Excellent, well-written, meticulously researched, complex characters - I can't say enough good things about this book. It kept me turning pages from the beginning right to the very end.

It is about vampires, but it is not a horror novel. I managed to read it well into the night without feeling as if I needed a crucifix by my bed (unlike Stephen King's Salem's Lot : ) Completely different genre.)

If you're interested in reading it, it might be worth your while to do some background reading, to make the history easier to follow, or you can just do what I did and look it all up afterwards, although Kostova makes it pretty clear and easy to remember. This page is the most concise and helpful. There are some terrific pictures of locales visited by characters in the book that are neat to see. And don't worry, it won't give away any secrets or surprises, although it's not really that type of book anyway.

Here's the Salon review, recommending it. (Safe to read, I think.)

In many ways it is the vampiric equivalent of AS Byatt's Possession, although I don't want to wind anyone's hopes up *too* far. It *is* a first novel, and not as finely crafted or intricate as Possession but it has much the same feel.
[Side note: In an interview with Powell's Books, Kostova says: One of my favorite contemporary fiction writers is A. S. Byatt. Newcomers to her work might want to start with the bestselling novel Possession, a wonderful literary-historical detective story, and go on to her other challenging and beautifully researched novels and novellas, such as Still Life and Angels and Insects. She's a particularly good read for anyone who loves art and art history. ]

I will definitely be buying this book to add to my collection of librarian-related novels. Historians and archivists and librarians are key players in this book, and it's wonderful. It totally appeals to my superior-librarian ego. : )

Why oh why do they not make children with volume control??

If I hear one more bloodcurdling scream, one more “He hit me!,” “No, he hit me first!,” one more wail of “Mooooommmmeeeeeeeee!!!!!,” one more shriek as if they are having needles put into their eyes when in reality all that’s happened is that their brother has stolen their pillow or book or that damn Scoop; if I have to tell either of them one more goddamn time not to pull the cat’s tail, to wash their hands after peeing, to stop screaming at each other or me, to stop hitting themselves on the head, to stop throwing toys, to stop hammering on the metal radiators, that the laundry baskets are not meant to be ridden down the stairs like a bobsled, that no, we cannot watch one more movie, that the cushions belong on the furniture, that the bathroom is not a playroom; if I have to try to translate one more sentence of Jude’s that sounds like he’s saying “Abby and I are wearing naked pajamas (I am not making that up) or tell Simon one more time that his little friend Sarah has day camp and so cannot come over today; if I don’t get a nap today after having been awakened at SIX A-FREAKING-M by Simon demanding breakfast (Dan pointed out that Si was asleep by 8 last night. Yes, but I was not. Funny how that works. He probably didn’t have laundry to do, dishwashers to unload, and phone calls to return.), if one more stupidly well-meaning person tells me to just get them out of the house, if I don’t get a single damn moment of peace, I swear to God I am going to get into my car and drive off the nearest bridge. Wonderfully, blissfully alone. I realize this would be somewhat inconvenient for Dan as we are still paying off the car and it’s the only one that will fit us all in at once, and because he would then have to find a nanny or something, but I DON’T CARE. I am losing my mind. My children are making me insane. The poor kid in my belly is probably terrified to come out after listening to me yell at the other two all morning long. I’m exhausted and have a headache and cannot wait to go to work tonight.

Questions Answered

Did you ever during your childhood treat a peer badly and wish you could apologize to them now? Were you ever mistreated by a peer during your childhood and wish you had an apology from them?

Yes. I was great friends with Jamey Singer, a smart, dorky boy with enormous feet and thick glasses who was a year older than me. He asked me to dance at the "Farewell to the 8th Graders" dance, and I turned him down because I was with two bitchy girls whom I knew would laugh at me otherwise. I swear that I actually saw his heart break.

As far as being mistreated, people were generally pretty nice to me, or else they didn't know I existed and so couldn't be mean. HOWEVER: Charlie Kubasky, a boy who went to the Polish Catholic school (I went to the [much cooler] Italian one), remarked the summer before we started 9th grade that I had big arms. I was a gymnast, softball player and cheerleader. I was *strong*. But I've been ashamed of my arms ever since, and I don't think I'll ever forgive him.

What type of construction vehicle are you?

A lowboy. I'm strong, squat, and carry heavy loads like a pack mule.

What career would you pick for your child(ren)?

I'd love it if Teddy could be a Lego Master Builder. I think that this would be his equivalent of my dream of getting paid to sit around and read all day.

What three fictional characters would you most like to have dinner with?

Darcy, Rochester and the grown-up Calvin O'Keefe.

At this fictional-character dinner, what do you feed them?

Spanish fly. :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Those pics are huge, I know, but I'm at work and can't figure out how to make them smaller. I mean, yes, I think he's the cutest kid in the world, but there's no excuse for screaming it. Those big pics seem to be the blog equivalent of screaming--and I apologize.

That said, I think Val should get the digital camera. Oh, the FUN! Not to mention the immediate gratification! :-)

The Interactive Internet Question Game

This is an Interactive Internet Question Game. I got it from Blackbird.

This is how it's played:

1. If you want to play, leave a comment below saying so.
2. I'll post five unique questions to the comments section of this post.
3. You answer them in your blog.
4. In your post, you include this explanation and an offer to interview others.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here are the questions I got from Blackbird.

1. You can have a $200 gift card, Nordstroms or Starbucks?
Nordstrom’s. One word: Cashmere.

2. Did you write your own wedding vows?
No. We went strictly Protestant-traditional with the exception of the "obey" part.

3. Eight course tasting menu at a four star restaurant or picnic in a field?
Eight-course tasting menu. I had a picnic with the boys last week at the park and wound up with ants in the sandwiches, Jude getting stung by a wasp, and sour chocolate milk.

4. Ever been to the naked beach? (different than skinny dipping, one sunbathes nude at the naked beach)No. Not sure I could, I am so self-conscious about my body.

5. Ever broken any bones? How?
No broken bones. Nothing worse than a sprain, even during my preteen gymnast days. God, I’m boring.

Best Vacation Ever

So many things to catch up on! The trip was wonderful and relaxing, despite having to attend those pesky conference sessions . . . but I won’t complain, since work paid for my airfare and the hotel room. The only thing that was disappointing was the trip to Universal Studios. We had to go in the evening because of my sessions, but I figured it was no big deal since we were in L.A.--I was assuming things stay open rather late.

“Never assume,” my mother used to say, “because it makes an ass out of u and me.” Well, I spent $160 on admission for three people (Ted was full-price because of his height) and we only got to ride two rides: I certainly feel like an ass. We couldn’t even go on the Universal Studios tour, because it closed while we were in line to ride Revenge of the Mummy—at 6:30!

The only things that stayed open were the food, games and shops. That’s right--all the things that cost money over the price of admission remained open after the rides closed. I hate those Universal jerks.

And I am so dreading Disney World next month. Ugh.

The best thing about Universal was their City Walk—and only because of the Zen Zone, which has an oxygen bar. :-)

Note the ice cream on the boy’s face; there’s a Ben & Jerry’s at the City Walk, too.


Other than the trip, which also included a night in the international terminal at LAX that I won’t bother to horrify you with, I put down The Time Traveler’s Wife in order to read the new Harry Potter, which I was pleased to find that I liked much better than the fifth book. (The only thing that I found really gripping in OoP was the threat of Mr. Weasley's death.) Please finish reading and let me know when I am free to unleash the sadness and vitriol!

I’ll finish TTW soon (although maybe not as soon as I’d like, as the last week of my summer session is next week), and then I will read The Historian and The Closed Circle. Mmmmm . . . . school-free reading.


And now: Work.

Silly me, you know, I'm only God

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

(Funny thing is I actually prefer tea, but when in need of coffee, I am a latte drinker. Oh well.)


I think if the Dems are smart, they will quietly applaud Bush’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice (Roberts is conservative but well-qualified. We could do much worse.) and then continue to go after Karl Rove.

This is incredibly impressive:
But in his career as a litigator, Roberts argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court, both as a lawyer in private practice and as one working for the government under Republican administrations. He won 25 of them.
Some facts about Roberts.
(I do ask you to consider the source (even though I personally love Salon)).


My vote on Rock Star: INXS? Jordys continues to lead. We know the girl can SING. Her rendition of Nirvana’s “Heart-shaped Box” last week was stellar. Her song this week – I didn’t know it - left her to make the best of a bad situation but as usual, the crowd –and the band – were eating out of the palm of her hand. And she makes it look effortless. But if the group is smart, they’ll hire JD too. The guy has balls and talent – doing an Alanis Morrissette song the way he did it took some serious cajones. (As did his interesting version of “California Dreaming” last week). Although his jerky little comment at the end almost ruined it for me. Daphna put on a *kick-ass* performance of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” Her voice and stage presence are really well suited to Joan Jett’s style, so that helped. I can’t believe I am actually watching this, and even care. Oh and btw, I think Dave Navarro is a creepy little man.



Very cool website. Gina and I did this on our old blog, but darn it, we never thought to create a whole new website.

This article on Slate about Roald Dahl, Willy Wonka, and chocolate-factory espionage made me think of this book, which I read several years ago and found immensely entertaining: The Emperors of Chocolate. Sugar can indeed make you crazier!

This morning it was NOT a hundred degrees when we got up. It was seventy and cool and breezy. It’s getting muggy and hot now at 9, but those two hours were bliss.

Note to self - if boys get to school when food is on table, they don't cry nearly as much as when we miss breakfast. It's hard to cry when your mouth is full of pancakes. (This might be a fairly good rule of thumb for life in general, come to think of it.)

The trees in front of our house turn out to be linden trees, I think. They smell wonderful but they make a dreadful mess.

If you feel compelled to raise your voice in anger while discussing personal affairs with a friend, perhaps you could see your way clear to do it somewhere other than the neighborhood coffee shop where there are children, and people trying to read quietly.

Does anyone care what I look like? (I mean other than people who already know like Gina and David and Marisa)? Because we are toying with the idea of buying a digital camera and it might be fun to post some pics, but also, I hate to destroy the mystery : ) What if you liked the blog until you saw my pic and then were totally turned off because I look like an ex-girlfriend or your evil third-grade teacher?


Jude’s grammatical constructs crack me up:
“Me like strawberries, no.”
“Me eat chicken nugget, yes.”
“Me have diaper change, noooooooo!”
“Me color coloring book, yes.”

This morning to Simon (actually he pronounces it Dyman), in the car:
“Simon, me talk to Mama, yes. To you, no!”


Off to finish The Historian. And pick up The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Misfortune from the library.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

You never get cookies at the Mexican restaurant.

Si and Jude have taken to calling one of our cats “a piece of toast.” They explain earnestly that Emmy is just a cat, but Septimus is a piece of toast. I have no idea where this came from, or why. Sometimes my boys are unfathomable. Their favorite epithet for each other is Pophead. It started as Pockethead (equally mysterious) and has devolved into Pophead which seems to be considered appropriate for just about every occasion. The other night Dan told Jude to go wash his hands, and Jude did his usual: “No!” then stomped off to the bathroom to wash his hands, muttering “Pophead!” as he went. Dan and I could not even look at each other. Why our two-year-old behaves like a teenager is a question I will have to ponder another time.


An old friend of Dan’s has two great kids who are several years older than my boys, one of whom is a boy. They often send us these enormous boxes filled with great stuff, like hand-me-down clothes (always nice quality and well taken care of – it’s the only way my guys get to wear Ralph Lauren!), puzzles, toys, and books. Another package came today and the boys were so excited to open it. Jude was psyched because they sent some Blue’s Clues toys (he already has them but he was so thrilled that I just let him play with them anyway); Simon immediately picked up the books (there were about a dozen) and has been reading ever since. In fact, I went in a few minutes ago to turn off his bedroom light and they were both sitting on Si’s bed engrossed in books. (The other night Si was reading to Jude. He’s a good big brother.) It was so cute I just left – another few minutes not-asleep will be ok. Si is *so* my child – I know only two or three other people who would be as excited by someone sending them books as I am, and now apparently Simon is. I always used to worry, What if I have kids who don’t like to read? Apparently this is not going to be an issue with these two. Thank God, since I would pretty much rather read than just about anything else.


I had forgotten the soothing power of music. Due to my auditory overload issues, I can go for long periods of time without having to listen to any sort of music. When I am in the house by myself, I like it silent. But for some reason I brought Dar Williams’ Beauty of the Rain in the car with me this morning, and listened to the first song, "Mercy of the Fallen," about a gazillion times on the way to work and on the way home. I just get lost in her lovely, intricate lyrics, and her husky voice. I love Dar Williams. She totally made my bad day better. (Well, her and Finslippy, who made me laugh so hard I was crying at the ref desk this morning.)
Lyric-wise, Dar is my all-time favorite songwriter. (Indulge my adolescent angst for a moment here.)
The first time I heard these lyrics (“After All”, Green World), I cried. And I still do sometimes. How did she know?
And it felt like
A winter machine that you go through and then,
You catch your breath and winter starts again,
And everyone else is spring bound.
And when I chose to live, there was no joy, it's just a line I crossed,
It wasn't worth the pain my death would cost,
So I was not lost or found.

And this whole song, Iowa. Does it get any more perfect than that?


Two hundred pages left in The Historian. If not for two children and my job, I’d have been done by now. It’s the kind of book I’d have stayed up all night to finish when I was childless, but at the same time hating to finish it. If it tanks now, I’d be shocked. So everyone go buy it so Elizabeth Kostova can be wealthy and write more!


And now for a public service announcement:

Starbucks Green Tea Frappucino - YUCK.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

don't eat the green ones, they're not ripe yet

I read Chicken Licken to my boys the other night, from a book I had when I was a child, the Classic Volland edition of Great Children’s Stories. (I had the Mother Goose too and the illustrations are slightly creepy. All the adults look like pedophiles or children-beaters, and all the children look anemic and bratty. The animals are the only ones even slightly resembling normal. But perhaps the illustrations match the stories.) Everyone seems to get eaten at the end of these stories (except Goldilocks, who I personally think deserves to be eaten - “This Goldilocks is juuuusssst right.” ). At the end of Chicken Licken, all the animals – Loosey Goosey, Turkey Lurky, Henny Penny et al. - get lured to the fox’s den and eaten for his dinner. At the end of The Fox’s Sack story, the fox gets eaten by the watchdog. In The Straw Ox (the most boring story ever written), the fox and bear and bunny escape death-by-flaying by promising to the farmer that they will bring him beehives, and vegetables, and flocks of sheep. Of course the poor sheep get eaten. I haven’t ventured into The Three Little Pigs yet (my boys prefer The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig right now anyway) but I am SURE the pigs get eaten. Some of the nursery rhymes are even scary (if you were a blackbird – or a two-year-old who has trouble differentiating between reality and fantasy - would you want to be baked alive into a pie?).

Everyone knows how grisly the Grimm and Andersen fairy tales are (Bruno Bettelheim’s defended said violence), and the way in which Disney has prettified many of the most popular tales – The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, etc.

Abstract from dissertation, Primary Children's Stories as a Function of Exposure to Violence and Cruelty in the Folk Fairy Tale - Barbara Shryock Koelle, University of Pennsylvania, 1981:
Like violence in the television watched by children, the effect on children of violence in the folk fairy tale is controversial. Beginning in the early 19th century critics and educators claimed that the more violent stories provoke fear and anxiety in children, just as today such reactions are connected with television violence. Folk fairy tales were also criticized for providing harmful models of behavior for a youthful audience, as is today's television. Defenders of violence and aggression in the tales have included psychoanalysts and anthropologists, who find in them cathartic and developmental benefits, and writers and artists who stress the values for children of an unexpurgated literary heritage.

There’s probably something to be said for having children learn in this fairly innocuous way that life is not fair or pretty or clean. But I just feel that there’s enough awful stuff going on in today’s world, and now that my four-year-old can read, I already have to hide the newspaper headlines some days. Is it bizarre that I am even uncomfortable reading Curious George to the boys – I mean, that man in the yellow hat kidnapped poor George and took him thousands of miles away, pretty much just to exploit him. At least Babar left the jungle of his own free will, despite the disturbing sight of an elephant in a three-piece suit and spats. And I suppose you can take it too far – my Republican brother refuses to read The Rainbow Fish, claiming that it espouses Communist values.


OK, I thought I had something to say about the INXS reality show – but I really don’t. I can’t stand Swiss Miss or Wil-with-one-L, but otherwise…it’s just that one of the contestants – Ty, the black dude with the mohawk - was a year ahead of me in college, and he was pretty amazing even then. I think he is one of the strongest contestants – Jordys is the other – but my only problem is that I think Ty’s performance betrays his theatre background. He’s got the voice and the moves, but I still see him as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. I saw the show a gazillion times because my boyfriend at the time designed the sets, so maybe it’s just me. But Ty is almost too polished, his performance just a little too studied or practiced. My vote goes to Jordys. She’s got the voice, the looks, the moves, and the audience eating out of the palm of her hand, not to mention the band.



Remember what I said about the long-gone custom of the morning room? Well, I find I also long for the days of full-time nannies and the nursery in another wing of the house.

Red gummy bears are the best. The clear ones are the worst.
And while we’re talking about trivial things: does ANYONE like peanut butter salt water taffy? I have never met anyone who does. So why do they continue to make them? Are they that desperate for fillers? Couldn’t they “fill” with one of the good flavors, like peppermint or licorice?

I am looking for an LOC classification poster like the ones we have hanging in the library. I want the blue one. That style may have been discontinued. But I want one to frame and hang in my office at home. I continue to get dorkier and dorkier.

I am approaching my 28th week of pregnancy, and my hips have begun to hurt. I can’t lie on my back without feeling like I am frozen there. And the shortness of breath – it might be the heat, or it might be the pot roast growing enormous and juicy and taking up all my lung space, or it might be a combination of the two. Remind me to never, ever be pregnant in the summer again.

I just heard Simon say, "Oh, Muck just ran over Miss Scarlet and killed her."
I accuse Muck the Bulldozer with his frontloader-thingey in the construction yard!

Gina comes home today and I am very glad. Welcome home, Gina! (And Ted, of course.)


Here's a brief taste of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian (300 pages and still amazing); the woman can WRITE:
It was early December, we were on the road again, and the lassitude of our summer trips to the Mediteranean seemed far behind us. The high Adriatic wind was combing my hair again and I liked the feel of it, its awkward roughness; it was as if a beast with heavy paws clambered over everything in the harbor, making flags snap sharply in front of the modern hotel and straining the topmost branches of the plane trees along the promenade.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Can' Historian....forget HP. I can't put this down.

I am a hundred pages into the 600-some-page book. If Kostova can maintain what she's begun, I know which book I will be giving for Christmas this year.

Historian has been likened to Da Vinci Code, which is sort of like insults along the lines of "Rush Limbaugh is a horse's ass, but we shouldn't insult the poor horse." Only backwards. If that makes any sense at all. So far the book it most reminds me of, not in beauty or scope, but in execution and compelling-ness (is that a word?) is AS Byatt's Possession. With a supernatural twist. High praise indeed. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Everybody has had one and one is enough for anybody.

God, I hate folding sheets. Especially the twin ones with all the elastic still intact. All our double and queen sized ones are so old that there’s no virtually elastic and everyone knows flat sheets are way easier to fold. Thank God my OCD does not compel me to iron them as well. I can only ask so much of my little magic pills. Oy vey.


I always love reading about the custom of the lady of the house retiring to her morning room after breakfast to deal with correspondence and planning the day’s events. (In Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, the main character feels uneasy because her morning room and all the tools of correspondence still are monogrammed or imprinted by the former mistress of the house. I’d be so happy to have such a space and such time that I would happily use stationery imprinted with Attila the Hun’s monogram if need be.) I can’t imagine why such a useful custom fell out of use. I need a morning room and an uninterrupted hour every morning to deal with my affairs -- or I can just once every few weeks have a frantic morning like yesterday when I was dealing with bills, forms, appointments, gas meter readings, packages to be mailed, and grocery lists to be written.

Speaking of, I was hauling groceries in from my car when I noticed two teenage girls walking down the street. Just meandering down the middle of the street, in the way which drives me bonkers (I mean, why do we have sidewalks?). Grumpy old me: “Hmmph, should probably close the car up…” When I came back out after dropping off several bags inside, they were standing behind my car. Crotchety old me: “What are they doing to my car?” Then one of them asked me, “Do you want some help with the groceries?” I tell you, I felt about an inch tall. I smiled and said no thanks, and that was a really nice thing to do, and they continued on their way. I guess sometimes I don’t have to be all grumpy and negative and expecting bad things. I just never seem to know when.


Last night Dan and I had a big stupid fight over really nothing, and I was in no mood to really read a book I had to concentrate on. So I picked up Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time, an old favorite I have read a gazillion times. I believe I have waxed rhapsodic about Ms. Tey before – she has only 7 books and I have read them all numerous times, but DOT is my favorite because it’s all about Richard III, who in my humble opinion had nothing to do with his nephews’ murder. I am a big Richard fan, and I think Shakespeare, Olivier, and the rest have done him dreadfully wrong. When my mom and I were in England in 97, we even went to York to check out the Richard III Museum. We are not his only fans. Tey wrote a well-researched and gripping novel about a centuries-old mystery involving people long dead. No mean feat.


My dilemma: This afternoon I stopped at the library to pick up a book I had requested, and there was Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian staring me in the face. If you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t know that this book is hyped, hyped, hyped, and it’s supposed to be excellent. And yet there was still a copy on the bestseller shelves at the library. I took it. The first page hooked me. But! But…HP comes out in roughly 36 hours, and there’s no way I will finish this in time to start HP on Saturday. Notice I am much more cavalier about ditching both Son of the Circus and Fire From Heaven for the moment to read The Historian. Ditch a book that’s as good as The Historian is supposed to be, crazy. Not start HP immediately upon purchase – even crazier. (Although this might be where I have to admit that I wasn’t all that nuts about Order of the Phoenix. I am less excited about Half-Blood Prince than I have been about any of the others.)

So commend my restraint – I only checked out The Historian, even though the library also had the newest John Irving. (I’ve been reading a lot of Irving lately, and I don’t want to overdo it and then wind up hating his new one without just cause. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that…) Here’s a bonus: My favorite librarian checked The Historian out for three weeks for me, instead of one. Having a favorite librarian has its perks : )

OK, I actually have some real library-related work to do at work tonight, so while I have much to say on the subject of the INXS reality show, the bloodthirstiness of classic children’s literature, and the latest shark attack in Florida, I save those thoughts for another day. Who says I’m not good to you?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Insert California Reference Here

It took forever to get here, but we made it. And do you want to know the best part (aside from the Cyber Cafe at the convention)? The woman who took care of my car rental was charmed by my sweet son, so she gave us an upgrade for $50. I drove up the 405 and down Santa Monica Boulevard this afternoon in a red Mustang convertible! :-) I don't think I've been so charmed and caught up in a moment--on my own behalf, not Teddy's--for a really, really long time.

I'm wrecked, though. I didn't eat all day, because of my freak-out issues (which weren't too much of a problem this time), so I was ravenous when we finally checked in to this fancy hotel. We decided to order room service. I'm such a fool. Pizzas, pasta, water, pop, and desserts were $100! But it was worth it, I think. Between that and the car I feel like I should be off to Beverly Hills High to meet Kelly and Dylan. (I apologize to those who don't get the reference, but I watched 90210 for its entire run. We all have our guilty pleasures.)

So Teddy and Kim are enjoying the pool and I'm walking around with a new canvas bag filled with freebies and a name tag necklace. A drink, a few munchies, and I'm off to bed.

Oh! I'm about half-way through The Time Traveler's Wife. Love!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about.

My nutritious breakfast of the day – a coffee frappucino and some sun chips (hey, they’re multigrain!). See what happens when you are the third child? If I ever have another baby, I’ll probably be snorting cocaine for breakfast, chased by a rum-and-coke and beer nuts.


I wandered around the bookstore yesterday, debating buying some books. I sat down on the floor and read the first chapter of Wesley Stace’s Misfortune, restrained myself from buying it, and went home to request it from the library. Because interesting as I found the beginning, what if the rest sucks? Hardback books are very expensive these days, it’s a big risk : ) I also requested from the library The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (who knows why?) and a book that just looked like it could be either a lot of fun or really deadly simple, Cordelia Underwood, or, The Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League. Then I went home and started reading Mary Renault’s Fire From Heaven, about Alexander the Great’s boyhood. I have all of Renault’s historical novels because my mother was a big fan, but none of them ever grabbed me. But since I was too lazy to haul my pregnant self up off the floor at B&N, I just slid myself down the row, from the S’s to the R’s, and browsed among the Renaults. Fire From Heaven starts with a snake slithering into the 4-year-old Alexander’s bed, and rather than feeling threatened, he assumes it is his mother’s pet snake - I was hooked. So I am concurrently reading Fire From Heaven which is very likely going to turn out to be a good read but utter trash, and John Irving’s Son of the Circus. The phrase “dwarf blood” is just so evocative, don’t you think?

Guardian summer book reccs, both commoner and celebrity:

Books on the list that also happen to be on my to-read pile:
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth; Perfume – Patrick Susskind; HP and the Half-Blood Prince – JK Rowling.

Books I’ve read and that I can heartily second the recc:
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie; The Kite Runner – Khaled Hasseini; Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris (his essay on his French class’s take on Easter traditions makes me giggle just thinking about it. It is possibly the funniest thing I have EVER read, even funnier than the Great Dane essay in - heck, which is it? - Barrel Fever or I think, maybe, actually, Naked. For a quick summary, read this. But take the time to get the book and read the entire thing, I promise it's worth it.)

List of books I need to decide if they sufficiently pique my interest to be added to the to-read list: My Summer of Love (this is the second or third time this one has crossed my radar, time to check it out); Memoirs of Hecate County (fabulously creepy cover); Our Hidden Lives: The Everyday Diaries of a Forgotten Britain 1945-48; Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks, and this looks like it just might be too similar to The French Lieutenant’s Wife for my taste…); The Glass Palace; The Promise of Happiness (Justin Cartwright, not available in the States).

I also just requested from the library Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich, due to Jessa Crispin’s ringing endorsement coupled with my natural interest in the homeland of my maternal grandparents.


My cool, suave, cynical husband got sucked into reality TV world last night with the INXS show. He spent many minutes reassuring me that *this* reality show was different “because it’s real. These are people who really want to front INXS! All the other reality TV shows pad the cast with fake competitors.” Uh-huh, dear. Pat him on the knee. You continue to live in your little fantasy world, it harms no one. But oh, how the mighty have fallen. And oh how the not-so-mighty wife is smirking.

I also would like to thank Dan for installing a ceiling fan in the bedroom this weekend. Keeping in mind the man has degrees in both mathematics and electrical engineering, I was the one who had to kindly point out that if you were to insert the remote control base skinny end first into the fan base and *then* connect the wires, it would be much easier than connecting all the wires and then jamming the fat end of the base, tangled in wires, through the very tight space provided.

And the dear one actually said to me this weekend, “You are very pretty. Sure, you had a weight problem but after this baby…” Um. Excuse me. I admit that of the past 55 months, 15 of which has had me more than three months pregnant, and 31 of which I was mostly either nursing (read: ravenous 24-7) or newly pregnant, I have indeed mostly looked at least three months pregnant. But honestly, cut me a break! I at least have those 15 months and two children to show for my belly flab. What’s your excuse?!


My brother has left the state, on an eleven o’clock bus this morning. I don’t think I have ever felt relieved to see him go before. But as I said it was much like I imagine having a third child around will be, only the baby won’t drink all our Guinness and rum.



Steve Almond has a terrific article on Salon about the remake of Willy Wonka. I sort of want to see it but at the same time, his article makes me understand why I don’t *really* want to see it. Although, since I no longer get stoned, I could probably happily pass on the experience anyway. Best to have my memories. And this, which I cannot decide, is it funny-cool or just plain weird? (Or in the parlance of my teen years, funny-haha or funny-peculiar?)

Happy belated Birthday, Jessa! I don’t know what I’d do without you guys.


Useless snippets:

“You will get caught. We will fine you.” Yet another brain trust storing her kids in the trunk of her car for a long road trip. **NEWSFLASH** If you need to put your kids in the trunk, perhaps you need a bigger car. And do you really think you will get away with this? Or maybe you will. The stern warning at the beginning of this blurb? For seatbelts. Of course, if you had enough seatbelts, you wouldn’t have to put your kids in the trunk, now, would you?

Shakin’ the dice: Why is gambling specifically the compulsive behavior exhibited? Why not hand-washing, or sex? What is it that targets that gambling gene? Isn’t that just bizarre?

The Passion Cliché

Take a moment and think about how many stories you’ve read and movies and TV shows you’ve watched where antipathy between two characters disguises a deep passion. I’m now wondering, after reading yet another Katie Fforde book (Stately Pursuits), whether I’m so conditioned to think this way that, upon meeting some horrible, boorish, attractive man, I might register extreme dislike and then assume I’m in love.

Is this a cliché because it’s an easy story telling device, or is it based on something true? Should I start haunting Republican events or some such unlikely place and look for an offensive lout? Maybe I should seek out local Rush Limbaugh fans? Is that where real passion (because, let’s face it, my marriage to a gay man—while filled with love—was noticeably lacking in passion) lies?

Monday, July 11, 2005

This has NOTHING to do with books

Jude’s new favorite thing to do with his remaining fingers when his thumb is in his mouth? Jam them up his nostrils. Good thing he’s so damn cute otherwise.

Also, the Judeman has a shaky grasp of gender roles and male/female anatomy (understandable at two). Jude seems to be under the impression that the redoubtable Mimi is Lucy’s father! And that he has a baby in his tummy too!! “Mama, my baby…tickin’!”


Uncle Curt brought Simon Clue Junior, in which the characters eat a piece of cake at a certain time, with a certain drink, and you have to determine who, when, and with what. For example: “I accuse Professor Plum at 3 o’clock with lemonade!” or “I accuse Mrs White at 5 o’clock with the cola!” So naturally Simon wanted to know what the grown-up Clue people ate. I wasn’t quite sure how to explain the differences in the games. In the grown-up version, of course, people run around braining each other with candlesticks and wrenches. As if there isn’t enough talk of death in this household. I am sure Colonel Mustard would much prefer a nice piece of cake with some chocolate milk – but I could be wrong.


Having my brother around, while theoretically pleasant, is a bit like having a third child – or maybe a dog.


The Perfect sister-in-law is coming back here with the boys so they can attend the same venerable high school institution that their father and his brothers and their father attended (and which, yes, my boys will also attend). Can I just tell you that after years of living in McMansions in suburbia, they have decided they now want to live in the one part of town I would give my eyeteeth to buy a house in? Not that I don’t love my house or my neighborhood, but if I had a million bucks…I admit that this time my hatred is so not justified, I am merely white-hot jealous. Except that after a year and a half of house hunting, I happen to know that they will need twice the money they plan to spend to buy anything approaching what they are used to, in this particular part of town. I am a small, petty, bitchy, mean person who deserves to go to hell *after* spending her life in a trailer park, but I can’t help it. I am glad that they will not be taking up residence on Beechwood Boulevard without laying out way more cash than they intended.


I started Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. I am really interested in the story and I like his characters, but I can’t stand the way Roth writes. I’ve read Portnoy’s Complaint and Goodbye Columbus, and tried to read The Plot Against America, about which I felt very similarly. Cool idea, but I just HATE Roth’s writing style. What I hate about it exactly, I can’t quite pinpoint, but I just can’t bear to read him. So that’s just the way it goes, I guess. It’s probably the same ineffable reason I hate Richard Dreyfuss.

So I don’t know what to read next. I think I may try Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger. It DID win the Booker, after all. Or maybe I’ll take advantage of my brother being here and run to B&N for something new. Because I really don’t have enough books…


I finished The Rotter's Club Saturday, and I think Coe did a great job writing a story that is concerned about issues both big and small. The protagonists are high school boys in 1970s Birmingham, and their lives are necessarily small and selfish, but they begin to see that the world is bigger than their heads or their homes or their school.

There's tragedy and sadness, maudlin teen angst, and some scenes that made me laugh out loud.

It's a good read, and I can't wait for the sequel, The Closed Circle, to come in at B&N.

I also read Judith Moore's memoir, Fat Girl. Christ, what a downer. This is reviewed on the June issue of Bookslut, and I was curious to see if maybe the reviewer disliked the book because she couldn't identify. I can tell you that I identified with much of Moore's thoughts and feelings, and even some of her history. I can tell you that Moore is a very talented writer. And I can tell you that I wish I hadn't read the book. It's depressing and ugly and lacking much in the way of happiness or hope. I acknowledge Moore's right to tell her story and work out her past and her feelings, but this is one memoir I could have lived without.

Next up, Nekropolis. This is the author of that short story you gave me, Val, about the chips that monitor peoples' whereabouts . . .


I overheard a discussion at the library this weekend between a young clerk and a teen-aged looking patron:

"What are those Left Behind books? Are they any good?"

"Um . . . they're . . . um . . . they're religious. They're about . . . like . . . the Rapture?"



I wanted to hug them both.

My Turn!

This is so much fun, Val! I have to confess, though, that this reminds me of Mad-Libs for grownups. I'd love to get my sister to fill in the blanks, for example, and then let her in on the poem. :-)

Here's mine:

I am from the blue hair brush, from Merit Light 100s and RC Cola and 7Up.

I am from the dirt pile in the field where backhoes dug the foundation, from a red-brick-split-level, from the sharp concrete hearth of a fireplace that Dad still never lets Mom light.

I am from the jagger bushes, clover and powdery driveway dirt, the twiggy baby trees, dandelions and the deep, coffee bean tan and chlorine-red eyes from hours and hours and hours in the cold, blue backyard pool.

I am from shooting a rifle off the back porch at midnight on New Year’s Eve and oily, oily skin; from Grandma Nannie and Pap and two Aunt Barbs, two Aunt Lindas and three Uncle Ricks.

I am from the nurses who never take care of themselves and dancers who love the sight of a camera.

From “You’ll be better before you’re married,” and “Gina-I-Can’t.”

I am from Catholic school, where a nun told us that one day a bomb would release a gas that would kill all the people and animals in the world, but leave all the cars and buildings unharmed; where the ancient church the Italian families went to was razed and replaced with a monstrosity of 80s architecture and orange industrial carpeting.

I'm from Czechoslovakia and It’ly, kolatch and ravioli, from scrambled eggs with peas and wafers dipped in honey and pastine and polenta and ambrosia.

From the time Jamie toddled around the back yard chewing on a robin’s egg she’d found, the way Ricky sucked down packets of ketchup, and Gram’s journey from four heart attacks to kick boxer.

I am from black and white photos crammed in a sagging box, faded color prints jammed alongside them—nothing in any kind of order. I am from poses on stairs, peeking through curtains, and snaps of kids jumping and flipping and diving. I am from family photos taken in front of a rhododendron, on back porches, front porches, porch swings and pool decks. We almost never go anywhere—our photos are home.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I am from

The blog path leading me to this exercise: Pea soup > Simple things> Anything of interest?> Fragments from Floyd.

The template is here.

Then, write your own version-- where you're from...
You might be surprised what you find as you rummage around in those dusty old trunks--your personality, your family history and traits, and the places you've called home--as you complete the poem with your own memories and facts.

I think it would be a joy to read this personalized poem from a group of bloggers who "sort of" know each other. This could extend the depth of bond between strangers.


I am from the brown leatherette cigarette case, the backyard swimming pool, and mashed potatoes from a box, from Dell’s Iced Tea and little white Keds and a carton of Kool Filter Kings.

I am from the brightest green house, the “good” turquoise carpet, the purple car parked out front because the garage is full of bikes and lawn mowers and empty baby food jars. After my father’s death, I am from piles of papers and corridors of boxes, and way too many cats.

I am from the locust tree that threatened to fall every storm, the crocuses that bloom in early spring under the front-porch evergreens, the maples in the backyard sheltering the never-finished patio. I am from the matched apple trees and tiger lilies growing out of the compost heap.

I am from freezing Christmas Eve afternoons finding the Perfect Tree with my impossible-to-please mother, from swimming at the Y on Friday nights and driving to Whale Beach on summer Saturdays, and stubbornness and quick-fire temper, from Sofrun and Sam-and-Elsie and Lala and Dustball.

I am from shouting and hollering and then, just as quickly, hugs and kisses; from never knowing quite how to express affection. I am from hours-long walks on Sunday afternoons and early morning talk radio on the religious station.

From After laughter comes tears, and I’ll never have anything nice, from I’m nervous, and Nucleus-1,2,3,4,5.

I am from church three times a week, and vacation bible school in the summer, punch and cheap cookies softening in the humidity, dressing up for Sunday school and playing tag in the parking lot.

I'm from Kiev, from running away to the army at sixteen, from half-a-block-from-Mount-Ephraim, from homemade birthday cakes and meatloaf and cups of hot sweet tea and rubber eggs and ice cream sundaes at Green Valley.

From Mom dumping ice cream on Daddy’s head, from Dad scrabbling through the gravel driveway to find the lost engagement ring, and from the way Uncle Johnny lost his hair to a bullet in the War.

I am from the boxes in my attic, the stuck-together Polaroids ruined in a basement flood, from the Ellis Island rubbing and the only family photo taken, before I was even thought of.


By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.

Circumcision. Even just the word makes me cringe anymore. Not being religiously obliged to do so, we chose not to circumcise our boys. My husband was a staunch advocate of this position but for some reason lately has been expressing worry that they will be teased in school due to the natural, um, beauty of their apparatus. Now there’s part of me that realizes that some of this is just him worrying, because he needs something to obsess about and the airplanes are no longer flying over our house every 45 seconds. There’s another part of me that angrily defies him to circumcise two toddlers (he is NOT suggesting this, I am just extraordinarily defensive). And then the Wall Street Journal published this blurb about a study conducted in South Africa apparently proving that circumcision helps prevent contraction of AIDS. I imagine they vetted the participants pretty strictly but I still can’t help but wonder about 1) the participants’ health conditions before the year-long study, and 2) how sexual behavior due to cultural differences (i.e., versus the sexual behavior of American or European men ) would skew the results. Maybe I am just trying to not feel guilty about one more thing. Since, you know, Jude practically had heatstroke yesterday and I am still feeling way guilty about that.


Tom/Katie just get freakier and freakier.
Can I get a Scientology chaperone for my boys? I’ll bet it would be cheaper than a babysitter.


This is such a cool idea, science classes based on Harry Potter. Parents should be thrilled to death that such an innovative and enthusiastic teacher is taking a special interest in their kids. If she gets slammed by the conservatives and/or parents out to ban HP, then all I can say is that I will be heartily disappointed.


Apparently the ref desk is now also Directory Assistance. This morning I have looked up the phone numbers for: two county bar associations, a city-based pro bono organization, an out-of-state pro bono organization, the county’s family appeals court, and the new Shop ‘n’ Save in the East End. All for my Private Number patron. Is AT&T charging for 411 service now? Well, it’s still simpler than delving into the Latin roots of the Hail Mary, or finding out a Supreme Court Justice’s personal stance on reproductive-rights law, which is normally the sort of thing PNP wants. That is, when she’s not trying to find out biographical information on the judges of Dancing with the Stars.


I’m sitting at the ref desk smelling this yummy, lightly citrus scent and wondering where it’s coming from. Thursday we had a patron who smelt of orange Pez (this is a good thing) and I had to ask her what her perfume was (Giorgio Wings). So I was prepared to do so again when I realized it’s ME. I am the yummy smell. I put on my French perfume this morning. It’s probably the Parisian equivalent of Charlie, you can buy it in any pharmacy in Paris, but I love it. It’s Molinard’s Les Senteurs Orange-Cannelle. I have a good friend who is always jetting off to exotic places and whenever she’s in Paris, she buys me some more for my birthday. As long as she can keep me supplied, I will happily wear it for the rest of my natural life. It comes in these beautiful blue bottles of which I have quite the collection growing on my bathroom window sill. They’re empty but they’re so pretty I can’t bear to just toss them. I occasionally alternate it with this stuff I picked up in Stone Harbor last year, specially formulated “for the Aries.” It’s peppermint and honeysuckle, so nice, but I do adore the citrus. This is my next fragrance purchase: Bath & Body Works verbena body splash Yum. Because smelling like a lemon is a good thing.


I am working on a post about sharks. I happen to totally dig sharks, love reading about them, and mostly sympathize with the poor man-eating creatures. I actually have favorite shark books. And I shall share them with you. Soon. Along with this cool poem idea I found out about on another blog.