Monday, September 28, 2009

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."*

Some of my closest friends are people I met (and in some cases still only "know") online.

The Internet presents whole new way of interacting with friends and keeping in touch.
It keeps me sane on days when I may feel very alone at home with small kids, to be able to Facebook (it is so a verb, shut up) and read blogs and email and chat with other women who are there now, too -- or have been there and survived.

Cari is a woman whom I emailed a couple of times, usually about running; I read her blog from time to time and kept up on her life. We were by no stretch of the imagination close friends -- but she was an amazing mom to three beautiful kids, and a real ray of sunshine.

Cari passed away this past week after bravely and steadfastly fighting cancer. She lived an active and vibrant life and leaves behind a family, friends, and probably countless online connections.

My thoughts and prayers for strength and peace are with her husband, Melvin; her three children, Cameron, Max, and Ella; her mom who kindly updated Cari's blog to keep us all posted in the past few weeks; and all of her friends IRL and online.

Cari, the world is a sadder and darker place without you.

*Dylan Thomas

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"This is not the time for complacency or over-confidence."

I am skedaddling out of town.
The G-20 summit begins in Pittsburgh tomorrow.

And while I have a bizarre interest in its goings-on, apparently the city of Pittsburgh is not quite up to the challenge. My kids' schools are closed, as are most museums, cultural attractions, many libraries, and most downtown companies.

And with Yom Kippur on Monday (a Pittsburgh Public School holiday also), I was staring down the barrel of five days with my children at home, more or less by myself, since H works not-Downtown -- so he can actually get to work.

So we're getting the heck out of Dodge.

It'll actually be nice to escape the perpetual sound of these, which have been hovering over the city all day now:

There's already been some interesting activity:
(Those are Greenpeace protesters rappelling from the West End bridge this afternoon.)

Good times, yo.

P.S. What am I taking to read? Nicola Keegan's Swimming, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death.

*Gordon Brown, on G-20 cooperation

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory...a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix."*

In short:

Persepolis/Persepolis 2 – Marjane Satrapi.
The first book was wonderful. The second, not so much; she seemed like she was merely capitalizing on the success of the first.

Little Bee – Chris Cleave.
This novel will stick with me for a long time. Little Bee is an enigmatic yet strong character. The story was almost fable-like in its execution, or maybe that’s how I dealt with how disturbing it was.

Harm Done – Ruth Rendell.
The Water’s Lovely – Ruth Rendell.
Rendell is a master. Her mysteries are never about the actual mystery but about being a human.

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn.
Totally unpredictable, unlike Sharp Objects (or maybe I am just not the brightest bulb…). Her character development is much stronger, too, even if the writing is somewhat scattered at times. There ARE unexplained parts, but nothing too nagging. A very satisfying read.

And you know what makes me craziest about this: Longlist announced for Man Booker Prize 2009?
A.S. Byatt’s novel, The Children’s Book, isn’t even available in the States till October.
Bet we could get our hands on the new Dan Brown though.


*James Naughtie, chair of the Man Booker prize judges (I just wanted to use his name, I admit it.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe.

Oh for pete’s sake, people, I am BUSY. What do you want from me?

Oh. You hadn’t even noticed I was absent?
My bad.
Nothing to see here, move along.

I am no longer editing dissertations. Which also means I no longer have a babysitter two days a week. This is better for everyone, trust me. (Except, you know, people who read my blog. Because I am no longer in front of my computer all day twice a week.) Most clients pay a lot of lip service to the concept of me working only 16 hours a week, on 2 consecutive weekdays, but in reality I was emailed and called all hours of the day and night, including weekends, and I found myself snarling at my children and ignoring my family to get work done – most of which was probably underappreciated. I was stiffed by one client, and fired by another because she was not my priority, and I had had it.

My dear beloved babysitter was making a two-bus trek across town twice a week because she loves me and she loves my boys, but now, if something crops up, I can always take them to her house and she’ll watch them whenever I need her. So I can, you know, go get a massage or whatever. (Ha. Like that’s likely. In fact, H just asked if I really needed to pay her to watch Q on Terzo’s first morning of preschool. Since the other option is my MIL, who is getting elderly and doesn’t like to watch Q if he’s awake, and since it’s not likely he’ll sleep from 830 am till noon, that option is not an option.)

The two older boys started school, and Terzo starts next Monday (I will cry even if his incessant chattering makes my ears feel like they’re bleeding), and then I will be home alone with one small child for half the day and two small children the other half of the day and oh, what shall I do with all my free time? Perhaps I will blog more consistently. If you’re very very lucky.

Because now that I no longer have to spend my evenings correcting bad grammar, I actually have some time for both my WordTwist addiction and my book addiction. I have been reading. Lots of cool stuff. So brace yourself.

That is all.

Wait, no it's not:
P.S. I think my children have sucked all my funny out. Along with my snarky and my smart. I am not deluding myself when I say I used to be quite a bit more clever. Now I am all, "Insert Blog Post A into Blog Reader B..."
Someday the funny will return.

*Lawrence Kutner