Monday, November 30, 2009


Hear that? It's silence. Well, actually, it's the dog chewing on his dog bone. But otherwise. It's quiet.

After I take a breath and get a little dissertation work done, I might be able to think of something pithy or worthwhile to say about the kids, the food, or something. Short version: the family, fun, and food were fantabulous!

But right now I need to go read (after I make a plate of leftovers). I am pages away from finishing the entirety of Eliza Haywood's Female Spectator. It is a small (but cool) club I'm joining.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That's the Question

Recent questions from the Girl:

Who was the first person in the world?

How do you die? (Followed by "How long does it take?")

What is the last number?

And, while watching "Snoopy's Reunion," during which Snoopy and his litter mates are playing in a bluegrass jug band: "How do they know how to stand up?" (Taking for granted, I suppose, that they can play musical instruments.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Girl's First Invention

To reproduce the invention, you will need:

  • One baby doll
  • One (or two) pairs of small skivvies (a.k.a. underpants)
  • One small juice box with straw
  • One long ribbon
  • a little time alone in your bedroom
Put the skivvies on the baby doll. Stick the juice box upside down in the back of the skivvies with the straw sticking out the leg hole (near the butt). Secure the contraption with ribbon.

Then, go into living room, find your father, say, "Look, Daddy." Put the doll's butt up by Daddy's face, and squeeze the juice box. Listen to gurgle of juicy air, and delight at Daddy's surprise.

Voila! The farting baby doll.

P.S. I would SO love to include a photo with this post, but my camera is still MIA.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Car Talk

From the backseat of the car:

Girl: When I grow up, I'm not going to have a job.

Boy: How will you get money?

Girl: From my money box.

Boy: But what about when it runs out?

Girl: I won't spend it.

Boy: But how will you buy stuff?

Girl: I won't.

Boy (getting frustrated): But how will you buy cages for your animals?

Girl: I won't need cages.

Boy: But how will you pay for a house and food?

Girl: With the money in my money box!

Boy: But what about when it runs out??!!!!


Boy (starting to cry): That won't be enough to buy furniture!!!

Girl (after a pause, sounding hesitant and a bit panicked): I'll live with Gaga*. She already has all that stuff.

Boy: But what about your family? What about when you get married?

Girl (starting to sound teary-eyed): I won't get married. I'll be like Grandma.

Boy: But you'll get lonely!!!

Girl: (silence)

Me (looking in the review mirror and seeing her hold back the tears): Sweetie, are you okay?

Girl (shouting through full-on sobbing): I WANT TO STAY WITH YOU FOREVER, MOMMY!!!!!

Me: That's fine, sweetie. You can stay with me. [To the Boy] Do you want to stay with me, too?

Boy (with a sniffle): Yes.

Me: Great! We'll all just stay together forever.


*maternal grandmother

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dream Regression

So I guess I am paying a heavy price for the happy ending to Sunday night's teaching dream. Last night, I dreamed that I was late to the first class of the semester, and I couldn't find the room. I didn't have any of the class materials, and, at the last minute, I realized I was wearing my worn-out Guatemalan pants* and my ripped sweatshirt. And I had to pee really bad. And I was barefoot.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Teaching Dream, Director's Cut

One of the many wonderful things about sabbatical is the reduction in anxiety, which, in turn, leads to a reduction in those anxiety-induced teaching dreams that contain the following features: late on the first day, didn't know a class was on my schedule so I miss it and then can't find the room, don't have syllabus, don't have roster, students leave whenever I turn my back because I suck, and dreams (since my husband became a math lecturer) in which, suddenly, I have a calculus class on my schedule.

I have been (for the most part) spared these dreams while I've been on sabbatical. Until last night.

Yesterday evening, after the kiddie-poos went to bed, I decided to work on a syllabus for next spring while I watched the end of the Colts v. Patriots game*. Then, while sleeping last night, I had a teaching dream. It had a similar beginning to previous dreams. It was the first day of the semester. I didn't have a roster or syllabus. There was all kinds of loud noise (construction? music?) and I couldn't hear the students. The numbers kept dwindling (so I was worried about the class getting cancelled), and one student kept giving me lip. But then something unusual happened.

I had a short reading for them, and in my dream the reading was by Margaret Atwood. I started teaching through the noise and chaos, and whenver I looked up, there were more students in the chairs until, eventually, the room was packed. This never happens in my teaching dreams. The number never increases.

Then, I focused on one sentence in the text, and students started paying attention. This was the sentence: "I was on the right sight of men now."

I know that's a weird sentence for Margaret Atwood to have written, but, hey, it was a dream, and it's amazing that it was even in a decipherable language. I began to focus on the word "now" and it's implications, and the class ended on a high note.

So it's a bummer that I had a teaching dream, but it's absolutely amazing and weird that it ended on a high note**. That has never happened before.

*WOOT! Did you see the end of that game? Peyton Manning has that whole "I-got-this" Obamaesque cool vibe, and he is totally amazing (except for the fact that he contributes large amounts of money to politicians who make me cringe). But this almost makes up for his politics, and you totally need to check it out.

**Although it did cause me to wake up at 5:30am, which is a big fat drag when you know that your kids will wake up in 30-45 minutes, so you can't go back to sleep. And, BTW, the whole daylight savings oh-you-get-an-extra-hour-of-sleep-when-you-"fall back" is a bunch of hooey when, for the next month, your kids will not be on daylight savings time and they will get up at 6:00am every day, thereby causing you to lose at about 30 hours of sleep, all told.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Now that's REALLY scary


Season Two.

John Ritter.


Friday, November 13, 2009


My son (who is in first grade) is often praised for his artistic skills and for his engineering-like sensibilities. But today he received an award for his "understanding of the mechanics of writing." This award was triggered by his recently improved writing skills and his pronouncement in class that "a sentence in not a sentence without a period."

Tears of joy, people. Tears of joy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

In the car tonight, I was trying to distract the children from the inoculations they had just received, so I asked what they wanted for Christmas:

Boy: I want a dome habitat that I saw in a catalog.

Girl: All I want is peacefulness. That's all I want.

Me: Oh, Roo . . .

Girl: Wait. The one thing I want more than peacefulness is that Snow White dress.

Me: And then peacefulness?

Girl: Yeah.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dog Tired

I love a tired dog. A tired dog is so good. I love the way a tired dog lays so flat on the ground, or curled up on a pillow (or on a bed, as the case may be). I love the way a tired dog doesn't come bother me when he hears me in the kitchen making a sandwich. I love that I feel so good about myself after I have facilitated a dog's happy tiredness. When a dog is really tired, I almost wish that I didn't have a not-on-the-couch rule, so that he could jump up and lay (lie?) next to me while I read. Like a cat.

edit-to-add:// That would be the dog lying like a cat--not me reading like a cat.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Out of the Bloggice

Since my mother-in-law (who is lovely) is visiting, and since I've been cleaning house in preparation, and since I've been grocery shopping in preparation, and since I've been birthday shopping in preparation for her birthday (which is today), and since she's going to be here for a few days, and since we're going to be celebrating her visit and birthday all week, and since I'm only left with an hour to work on my dissertation today, I'm just putting up a post to say, "Hey, y'all. I won't be around much at my place or yours for a few days, so I hope you have a good week!

I will be here in GEWland, enjoying family but twisting my hair in true dissertation panic.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Kind of Consistency

In the spirit of my tendency to quit things, I think I'm going to give up on NaNoWriMo. Yes, yes. Already. But my mother-in-law came to town, and, well, I should be working on my dissertation for goodness sake! What was I thinking? It's just that NaNo is SOOOO shiny. I'm not going to totally abandon the novel that I started*, but if I write 50,000 words (or, shall we say, 5,000 words) this month, those words should be about Eliza Haywood.

See? I'm totally consistent at quitting things.

Gobble, gobble. Dabble, dabble.

*Please excuse that split infinitive.

Friday, November 6, 2009


So, some of you may have wondered what happened to that whole homesteading/simplicity business that I brought up in June. Some of you found this blog during those posts and probably thought you'd see a lot more of that thread. Well, it's still on my mind, but here's the problem.

I'm a dabbler. I live in fits and starts. It's hard for me to see things through. I have started and then quit (and then sometimes restarted) a lot of things in my life: guitar, piano, violin, french horn, cello, cheerleading, ballet, rifle squad, jobs, careers, aikido, voice lessons, running, crafts, etc. And I am irregular when it comes to many other things: yoga, writing, surfing, gardening, cooking, etc. I get really into something, and then I get busy, and it all falls apart. My commitment cannot hold. Or I find something new. Look, shiny!

In fact, it is this tendency to dabble, to start and stop, that leads me to rely on the whole goodenoughwoman philosophy. But it's clear to me that sometimes my "goodenough" is actually not really good enough at all and that I'm just limping along, which is especially problematic when it comes to the things at the top of the list: family, dissertation, work.

So this is an apology of sorts. If you come to the GEW blog looking for focus and commitment, you will be disappointed. In fact, I've been told that blogs should have a focus, a niche. In that regard, this blog is barely limping along.

That said, I have gotten over 20 tomatoes this week (some cherry, some regular), and I would give you a picture of those tomatoes, but I can't find my new camera. Just one more symptom of the entropy* that is my life.

*[E]ntropy represents the "potential for disorder" in a system. When a system has more degrees of freedom and more constituents, there are more possible states for it to occupy. While some of these states may exhibit patterns that are very ordered, most of these states would be considered disordered (a quite apt excerpt from Wikipedia's entropy page).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yesterday morning, when my son was home sick (well, not totally sick anymore, but we were following the 24-hour-without-fever rule), we hung out on the couch all morning while he drew and I read. We chatted and laughed and then later danced together to Lyle Lovett.

Yesterday evening, my daughter put her hands on my face, stroked my hair, and said, "You're beautiful."

Thank God I have these moments to throw perspective on the so-called challenges of life.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nano, Nano

Dissertation procrastinator by day.

Novel procrastinator by night.

Housework procrastinator 24/7.

Whew. I'm busy.