If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Reluctance To Blog

I'm not sure why but I really haven't been feeling it lately. In part I've been doing very well on my resolve to write more for work and spend less time reading blogs and blogging. I guess like most things with me, if I'm not doing it all the time I tend to not want to do it at all. I've been trying to at least stay somewhat up-to-date with my bloggy friends and have been reading every couple of days. However my commenting is way down and that makes me feel bad. I mean isn't that what blogging is all about--sharing, connecting, continuing the conversation?

Truth be told I go through phases IRL where I'm a reluctant participant in most conversations. I have the reputation of being "quiet" or "an introvert." Both are true but really I enjoy being inside my own head many times more than I enjoy hearing what is in others. It may sound awful but I'm rarely bored with myself. In fact I often amuse myself. Its not necessarily that others bore me--at least not my IRL or bloggy friends--it is more that its a lot more work and sometimes (oftentimes) it is easier to be by myself.

The reluctance may also be caused by a sudden loss of certain bloggy friends. Several people I've followed for well over a year now have given up the ghost. One or two have admitted as much and posted farewells and others, well weeks then months go by and...nothing. Other beloved bloggers are just posting far less frequently, like me I guess. For some of them I believe it is mostly due to a newly acquired addiction to FaceBook. I'm on FaceBook (and actually had my first experience of being "found" by someone I really wanted to find me) but I can't get into it. I don't think I can Twitter either. If I'm going to write its going to be long-winded. Minutiae in small but regular doses isn't my thing. I'd rather write my minutiae in nice long blocks such as this one.

So the recent farewells have me thinking about the purpose of blogging--what it does for me, what it does for others. If I'm going to fade in and out, will I need to find new audiences each time? That seems both sad and like a lot of work. If, as I've written about before, my primary aim here is to stretch my writing voice, will I eventually wander off to more productive pastures? As for my friends who have left blogging for FaceBook is it because the conversation there is more satisfying? Are they seeking quicker responses/gratification? more comments/interaction? Have blogs served their purpose and now we'll all move on?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brigindo's Menfolk

The guys in my life are having a rough time of it. Every summer b takes a paid vacation in Alaska where he gets to lead a sea-kayaking class for several weeks. It is something that defines him and makes him whole. This year, due to the economy, he was unable to get a contract. He is also in the middle of dental work, which is never any fun but it is particularly unfun to have all your wisdom teeth removed.

The Brute has been to the vet 3 times in the past 3 weeks. He is allergic to flea bites and had turned into quite the scabby and mangy looking cat this winter so we sucked it up and took him for the first appointment. He HATES going to the vet and is quite mean to anyone he meets there. Of course he was behind on all his shots. So the first visit he got flea medication, steroids and antibiotics. A week later he had to go back for rabies and other important vaccinations. In the midst of all this his teeth needed cleaning and he started eating on one side of his mouth (it seems this is a really bad sign in cats as well as people). So the other day he went in for a full day of anesthesia and dental work. He came home sneezing...violently...and hasn't stopped. Did I mention we have to thrust bitter antibiotics down his throat twice daily?

To top it all off Angel is not having a good semester. Turns out taking a lighter load was not a good idea (and I can't even say I told you so) as he is bored out of his mind and less likely to study hard when he has too much time on his hands. He took the lighter load because he is broke and wanted to get a job. His job search was delayed because he needed a new car first. He now has the new car but can't find a job....yeah that pesky economy again. On top of that his new car was broken into once (and his GPS taken) and then his roommate backed someone else's car into his, scratching and denting it. On other fronts, his new fraternity duties are stressful but he's not allowed to discuss them and the martial arts club he was running has been temporarily kicked out of its space with no word on when that will be resolved. Luckily no teeth problems (that we know of...child hasn't been to the dentist in quite a while) but Angel has suffered from terrible acne (we're talking 2 rounds of Accutane--most potent stuff available--and its still there) since he turned 14. He has been diligently caring for his face at college but nothing has made a difference and he hates looking at himself in the mirror.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ahhh...A Book Meme

how can I resist? As seen over at K8's:

BBC Book List

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X+
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X+
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible -
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X+
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot X+
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy X+
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky X+
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X+
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X+
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X
34 Emma - Jane Austen X+
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen X++ (my favorite Austen)
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X+
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert X
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X+
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon X
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X+
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams X+
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Total Read: 34 - Actually far more than I anticipated since the list is rather male dominated (really--no Virginia Woolf????) and I spent at least a third of my life only reading female authors. It is also interesting that I seem to have no plans to read any of the ones I missed.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Celebrating V-Day

b and I aren't big Valentine's Day people but we do love any opportunity to go on a date. Our anniversary is at the end of February, so often we ignore Valentine's Day in anticipation of our anniversary celebration. However this February seems all about celebrating. Perhaps this is what happens when the kids move out. We did a pre-anniversary celebration when we went UpNorth at the beginning of the month and we also celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday. None of this will stop us from a big anniversary date in 2 weeks (what's really amazing is that we are both still managing to lose weight in the midst of all this celebrating).

So what did we do yesterday? Well first we decided it should be a lazy, snuggle day all day long. This meant that we slept in late and watched TV in bed for most of the morning. b made us a delicious eggbake brunch and then we took Pupzilla for a long walk, since it was a lovely day here in SouthLite. We did absolutely NO chores (that's all for today unfortunately). We indulged in afternoon lattes from the local crazy coffee shop and then snuggled in bed some more.

Several weeks ago b asked if he could buy me a present this year. It was a piece of clothing and, in true b fashion, he was worried that I wouldn't like it. He asked the advice of several female co-workers and got mixed recommendations. Regardless he bought it, I loved it, and I wore it that night. Also, thanks to the weight loss, it fit perfectly and I looked hot. See dress below - but think Black:

We went out for a low-key, inexpensive dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant we had never tried before. It was good and we left quite full. Then it was on for drinks at one of our favorite bars (ok, we have several favorite bars....we like bars) but we only had a little time before the show. Back in December I saw that one of my favorite blues artists was coming to SouthLite on V-Day and bought tickets. The concert had two other artists, that I didn't know. One, Ruthie Foster, we both adored. As Ms. Prufrock knows there is little I enjoy more than discovering new music. Ruthie totally rocked and I highly recommend you see her any chance you get. I thoroughly enjoyed Jorma. When I was 13 or 14 I once traveled about 2 hours from my home town, by bus, by myself (none of my friends would go) to see him in concert. It was a little scary but sooo worth it. Now thirty years later I got to see him again, without traveling and with b by my side (unfortunately b was not as enthralled....b's not a big blues fan in general and definitely not this type of blues). The third guy was Robben Ford. I had not heard of him previously and to be honest he did nothing for me. But it was a splendid night over all.

I should mention my V-Day celebration technically started the day before. Friday night I took Pumpkin out to dinner and then we went to see the Vagina Monologues at our university. I go every year, to support my students and fellow faculty who are performing. If you've never see the Vagina Monologues, you really should. I was fortunate enough to see Eve Ensler do it in HomeCity many years ago and she was amazing. However there is something very powerful in seeing the passion that our students bring to this production every year. For many they are discovering their own power for the first time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Feminist Mothering

blue milk is one of my all-time favorite blogs. She has a standing set of questions on feminism and mothering that I have always meant to answer and it seems I finally have. Some of the questions seem strange to me, since I am on the "other side" of mothering, but I did my best. I wonder if others who are no longer actively mothering have attempted this?

1.How would you describe your feminism in one sentence? When did you become a feminist? Was it before or after you became a mother?

One sentence? That's tough. Let's see. I live life under the assumption that men and women have equal rights to the resources we all need, want and use to live and flourish. I live life under the assumption that the same rights exist for any human regardless of the category we wish to assign the individual. In my daily existence I believe that how we do gender matters and I try to voice how it matters. See I knew I couldn't do it in a sentence.

I was raised a feminist. I grew up in the 70's. My mother left my father, went back to school, found a set of like-minded although younger and more radical friends, bought me "Free To Be You and Me" and took me to teen NOW meetings. I spent my teens and early 20s reading feminist literature and feeling angry.

Motherhood didn't make me a feminist, rather it, and my first marriage, set my feminism back several decades.

2. What has surprised you most about motherhood?

The intensity of my feelings and being both completely adored and needed by one person. I was used to feeling needed but not adored--not loved so unconditionally and so intensely. It was a love affair like no other and it threw me. It also saved me--emotionally. I was forced to deal with issues I had previously never recognized.

What surprises me now is that the love affair is over. I've been effectively (but sweetly) dumped. I know I should have but I didn't see it coming.

3. How has your feminism changed over time? What is the impact of motherhood on your feminism?

My feminism has changed dramatically over the years. The anger has significantly abated. I have a deeper understanding of the issues, mostly due to the luxury of a job where I am paid to research and ponder questions of gender, race and class. I am both more and less optimistic about change happening: more because the longer I live the more I can see the small changes and believe they mean something; less because I no longer believe radical change and revolution are trustworthy or all that beneficial.

As I mentioned, initially motherhood set me back. I was young and I believe many young people become rigid out of fear. They hold onto the roles and identities they have just discovered with dear life so they don't lose their new and bitterly earned sense of self. In thinking I was defying traditional roles of mother and wife I ended up embracing them. However it was also motherhood that snapped me out of it. It was a desire to be true to myself in front of my son--to let him know the Brigindo that I like best--that led me to find my voice as a mother and to discover what it could mean to be a feminist mother.

4. What makes your mothering feminist? How does your approach differ from a non-feminist mother’s? How does feminism impact upon your parenting?

I find it hard to distinguish what makes my mothering feminist from what makes me feminist. Perhaps it is because I've been mothering for over 19 years now and I can no longer see where one identity ends and another begins. My mothering is feminist because I am a feminist and I bring a feminist outlook to everything I do.

In some ways I believe my mothering has always been feminist, however as I mentioned previously I also feel that when I first became a wife and a mother my feminism took several steps backwards. So how do I reconcile this? My initial clinging to the role of perfect mother and wife set-back my feminism but my approach to raising my son was always that of Rich's "outlaw to the institution of motherhood."

From the beginning I refused to alter how we interacted, how our relationship developed--its mutuality and interdependence--in spite of some fierce criticism and social pressure. I was told I was raising a mama's boy and that he would never leave (Ha! I wish). In the early years I ALWAYS felt I was doing the wrong thing I just couldn't do it any other way. In many ways I did raise a mama's boy (he actually announced it proudly at a dinner party once when he was 13...you should have seen the adults' faces as they tried not to comment or laugh) however it seems I raised a very independent one. I also appear to have raised a feminist. Go figure.

5. Do you ever feel compromised as a feminist mother? Do you ever feel you’ve failed as a feminist mother?

Generally I don't "do failure." Not that I don't make mistakes, I make plenty but I tend to reframe them in my mind. I'm more likely to see them as learning experiences or as who I had to be to get to where I am now. I try to be very generous with myself. I think everyone should be.

But perhaps explaining why I feel my feminism took a backseat when I first became a mother is a better answer to this question. When I first had Angel I was the main breadwinner in my family. We both knew I had to go back to work as soon as possible (after 2 months of paid leave) and become the sole breadwinner. My ex stayed home with the baby during the day and taught martial arts (for very little or no pay) at night. I would come home and take over the parenting at night. I also attempted to take class with my ex at the dojo, with Angel running around, but if things got too unruly Angel and I would have to go home.

Mr. Mom was a fairly unusual arrangement 20 years ago and I thought it confirmed my feminism. Instead I worked nonstop as breadwinner and mother (and still tried to be #1 student in the dojo whenever possible). In many ways I overcompensated for not being home during the day by trying to the perfect mom at nights and on weekends. Did I mentioned I did all the cooking and cleaning too? Yeah, not so feminist of an approach.

6. Has identifying as a feminist mother ever been difficult? Why?

To be honest I don't remember ever having difficulty identifying as a feminist. I can't imagine people meeting me and not recognizing me as a feminist mother. Perhaps this wasn't as strong when I was a young mother. People, especially older men, tend to assume all sorts of things about young women. My life was pretty frazzled and intense then so I don't remember if I had these difficulties. Most likely I was too tired to notice.

7. Motherhood involves sacrifice, how do you reconcile that with being a feminist?

I believe being a family means being willing to make sacrifices as well as compromises. To me understanding that need is what it means to be in relationship with another person--whether that is a partner or a child. Healthy families recognize that there is a balance that needs to be achieved between individual level needs, relationship (dyadic) needs, and family system needs and they actively work at trying to achieve that balance (of course they don't always manage it). So sometimes people make personal sacrifices and sometimes there are relationship sacrifices and sometimes there are family sacrifices. For this to work, you have to be willing to let others in the family make sacrifices for you. I think the hegemony of motherhood often stops us from allowing others to sacrifice for us. So I guess the answer to the question is that it has taken me a long time to understand that "motherhood means sacrifice" does not mean mothers are solely responsible for sacrifice. I think this is an important feminist principle. In fact I would probably argue that the phrase "motherhood means sacrifice" is decidedly unfeminist.

8. If you have a partner, how does your partner feel about your feminist motherhood? What is the impact of your feminism on your partner?

My partners have always been proud of my feminism. My ex, however, only liked it when it didn't infringe upon what he felt were his rights or his pleasures. While there were instances where we would clash over my feminist mothering, they were few and far between. Mostly we didn't clash. This is because I had not learned the lesson outlined above and embraced sacrifice. Once I stopped embracing it I had to leave.

My current partner is 180 degrees different. I honestly have no idea how my feminism has impacted him. I think you'd need to ask him that question. I know he thinks our son is amazing and that it is all because of me. I know he refuses to acknowledge the importance of his own parenting and I doubt he would analyze it in terms of feminism. I know I wish he was my son's biological father and that we could have shared him from the beginning.

9. If you’re an attachment parenting mother, what challenges if any does this pose for your feminism and how have you resolved them?

Yeah, I'm not really too up on the whole attachment parenting thing. I think the term (and maybe the practice) came into vogue a little to late for me. However my son grew up by my side; he was allowed in my bed when he wanted until he stopped at around 6; I took him out of school so he could travel with me for work on numerous occasions; and I let him know at all times that I was physically and emotionally there for him. I'm not sure how closely that resembles attachment parenting but I got a lot of flak for it (see above answer about raising a dependent mama's boy). In the beginning I felt guilty but couldn't see any other way of being his mother. Eventually I realized I was right and they were wrong and stopped worrying about it. Now that he's grown I've told him about the reactions I got and he's flabbergasted that any one have doubted that it was the right approach for him. Then he laughs and tells me that we showed them.

But I'm not understanding why this would pose a challenge to my feminism? Perhaps I am misunderstanding the phrase. To me being a feminist mother is ignoring the hegemonic discourse of motherhood and following the path that you believes works for yourself and your child. If that means living a life that on the surface looks "unfeminist" (as in being a SAHM?), who cares? People who think feminism resides in actions such as paid employment or wearing sensible shoes really don't understand feminism.

10. Do you feel feminism has failed mothers and if so how? Personally, what do you think feminism has given mothers?

Again, I'd rather avoid the whole "failure" discussion. Perhaps feminism had to take the stances it took and make the mistakes it made to get to the point where it is now. For me that point is to go beyond simplistic views of feminist action and to own up to mothering as a critical feminist issue. However I also believe that if we want to deconstruct the weight and pressure of hegemonic motherhood we need to be willing to truly share the power of mothering with our partners (not just the chores or the nurturing).

Yes motherhood provides women a power--while at the same time as it exposes our powerlessness--that is normally kept from us. I believe that expecting women to give that up without providing opportunity for real power is unrealistic and foolish but I also believe that thinking womenkind can find true power by ignoring motherhood is equally as foolish and it hurts the very people you are trying to advance.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Watching The BoobTube

As seen at Sleeping in the Forest, its another meme but this one got me thinking about television viewing so I added a post at the end. Here are the instructions:

1. Bold the shows you watch/used to watch.
2. Italicize the shows you’ve seen at least one episode of.
3. Bold and italicize the shows you own* on DVD.
4. Post your answers.

50. Quantum Leap

49. Prison Break

48. Veronica Mars

47. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

46. Sex & The City

45. Farscape

44. Cracker

43. Star Trek

42. Only Fools and Horses

41. Band of Brothers

40. Life on Mars

39. Monty Python

38. Curb Your Enthusiasm

37. Star Trek: The Next Generation

36. Father Ted

35. Alias

34. Frasier

33. CSI Las Vegas

32. Babylon 5

31. Deadwood

30. Dexter

29. ER

28. Fawlty Towers

27. Six Feet Under

26. Red Dwarf

25. Futurama (w/ Angel)

24. Twin Peaks (saw one show for the first time a few months ago)

23. The Office

22. The Shield

21. Angel

20. Blackadder

19. Scrubs (with Angel)

18. Arrested Development

17. South Park (with Angel)

16. Dr Who

15. Heroes

14. Firefly

13. Battlestar Galactica

12. Family Guy (Yeah, Angel forced this one)

11. Seinfeld

10. Spaced

09. The X-Files

08. The Wire

07. Friends

06. 24

05. Lost

04. The West Wing

03. The Sopranos

02. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

01. The Simpsons (mostly with Angel)

Growing up we had a small black and white TV with the classic wire hanger antenna and pliers to change the channel. My mother had left my father, taken the four of us and went to graduate school. We were living on her teaching assistant stipend and loans.

My mother also has always hated TV. My sisters and I would gather around "the boob tube" (as my mother called it) to watch such classics as Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, and All In the Family (ok, we also watched Eight is Enough and Fantasy Island). Periodically my mother would emerge from her room, stand behind us, and start a critical analysis of whatever show we were watching. It did not add to my viewing pleasure.

I write all this as an explanation of why I think I've never been all that into TV (although my son and both my husbands feel quite differently). There are shows I definitely love (West Wing was probably the best written show ever) but I'm a reader and will almost always choose a book over a TV show. Even so, over the years I have managed to watch and follow a great many shows--with few of them represented on this list. What about M.A.S.H.? Where's Cheers? or NYPD Blue? How about Homicide: Life on the Streets? Let's not forget Good Times, Maude or Sanford & Son. Honestly I haven't heard of about a third of the shows on this list and it is making me feel very old.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Where Were You?

As seen over at Profgrrrl (who by the way has what I believe may be the world's most adorable and well-behaved baby) and Seeking Solace:

1.) Challenger space shuttle exploded (1986):

I was working my first "real" office job (previously I had worked in an office the size of a closet in the back of a gourmet food store and the "back office" of a phone store--remember when they used to have stores for regular phones and not cell phones?) and my desk was in the open area but right outside my boss' office. I had been standing in her office, yaking away, when my phone rang. I reached over to answer it--half in and half out of the doorway--only to hear my ex-husband say the Challenger had exploded.

2.) Berlin Wall falls down (1989):

I vaguely remember this happening but have no idea where I was when I heard it. I was pregnant pretty much that entire year so many events are foggy.

3.) Oklahoma City federal building bombing (1995):

Hmmm. Not a clue and no good pregnancy excuse. However I'm fairly sure my ex told me. I notoriously shun all news sources and have always relied on husbands to tell me the important stuff.

4.) OJ Verdict (1995):

Don't recall the verdict but recall the car chase very clearly. Almost every night after working out at the dojo we went up to my ex-'s partner/best friend's apartment to hang out. Often there was a sporting event, such as boxing or basketball. Instead that night we watched OJ's Bronco.

5.) Princess Diana dies (1997):

Every summer my family would all spend the last few weeks of the summer at a family resort on the beach. Each sister would rent a separate cottage with her husband and their child(ren)--if they had them. The kids were all close in age and got along wonderfully. It was a fun time, with a lot of shared childcare. That day my sister, Meg, and I were on a bike ride and as we rode through town I saw the headlines on the newspaper. It was shocking.

Another clear Princess Di memory was her wedding. My BFF at the time and I were crashing at her father's empty apartment. The night before we let some older neighbor gets us drunk on beer and well lets just say there were a few regrets the next day.

6.) Columbine massacre (1999):

Not a clue.

7.) JFK Jr. Plane crash (1999):

I was in the very early stages of my relationship with b. Angel was spending half the week at his dad's house and I would pack a bag and head over to b's apartment as soon as I dropped him off. I remember walking in the door and b telling me the news (see I said I rely on husbands).

8.) Bush/Gore crazy election (2000):

Two of my favorite friends were in town for a work function. We were having a sleepover at my place instead of them paying for a hotel. Angel was just old enough to be interested in an election and we all stayed up way too late watching and hoping. I believe Angel's extreme political cynicism started that evening. Thankfully it has ever-so-slightly abated after our last election.

9.) September 11, (2001):

Wow, this could be an entire post unto itself. At the time I was writing my dissertation and being very cavalier about work. I rarely showed up before 11 am. Angel was at his father's the night before and b, who was close to moving in but not quite there yet, had just left for work. I was taking my time getting ready and went to pick up some dry cleaning around the corner. The owner told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and I assumed it was a stunt gone wrong. I believe I did not act sufficiently shocked for him. I went back up to my apt, turned on the TV in time to see the other plane hit and the the towers fall.

At the time I lived a block away from the island in which the attack happened. My son went to school about 2 miles away from Ground Zero. I realized my ex would have just dropped him off at school (luckily he was too young for us to let him go by himself--which we did a year later). I tried to cross the footbridge onto the island only to be stopped by barricades and guards. Trains were not running. Cellphones were not working. Two days before b and I had adopted Pupzilla and were planning on surprising Angel when he got back from his father's the next day. I went back up to my apartment, hugged my new dog, and watched the news. b eventually managed to call. His job was in a nearby state and he had just driven through a tunnel when he saw the plane hit.

It was a nerve-wracking day and it took several hours for my ex to call and let me know that he and Angel were safely home. While I was upset I wasn't panicked. At the time I still felt a great deal of anger and resentment towards my ex but even at our darkest I knew there was nothing that would stop him from getting our son out of a dangerous environment. He was not that far from Angel's school when he heard and was able to get him pretty quickly. However no trains were running and the streets were chaotic. They ended up taking a very long and surreal walk up to my sister's house before they could make it all the way to the other end of the island to my ex's house.

10.) Space ship Columbia disintegrates (2003):

Again, not a clue...but that last one was a doozy, wasn't it?

11.) Hurricane Katrina hits (2005):

We were living in our little house in the woods at the time and we were all home. b must have had the TV on and I remember spending the day glued to it, feeling angry and deeply ashamed to live in a country that would treat its own citizens that way. To be honest this is the one I haven't gotten over.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

RBOC: This Semester

  • The semester is in full swing now. It is only 3 weeks in and I'm already counting the days until summer.
  • Although I'm counting the days down, I am really enjoying my classes. My elective class, which I've taught twice before, is going beautifully. I have what feels like the right number of students and they are all interested and engaged. They have lots to say and class time flies by.
  • I am teaching a required class for the first time. So far the prep hasn't been a killer but that may change. This is a methods course and 2/3 of the students can't relate to the methods. I'm actually having fun trying to engage them.
  • There has been a lot of administrative work to do in the department. This is neither good nor bad, just a fact of life right now.
  • I have many exciting research projects going. I think I'm counting the days to summer because I want to spend all my time on them.
  • I was managing to stay ahead of all work before I went away this weekend, but between the trip and the local conference, I am now swamped. It is likely the beginning of the end.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Going Home

b and I went UpNorth this weekend to visit our HomeCity. It was a whirlwind weekend and we both had a good time. I spent two days walking in a way I can only do there. I walked through many of my old neighborhoods and passed by my old haunts. I spent a little time with friends that feel like family and one family member that feels like a friend. b and I had drinks at one of our old date spots and we got to eat food that doesn't really exist anywhere else. I traced the changes that happen in a city that moves at lightening speed and I remain more amazed by what doesn't change that what does. I passed by favorite restaurants, old homes and old schools. I even passed by the church where I first got married. Sometimes I wish I could see it as others do--exciting and invigorating, a city like no other--but mostly it drains me.

We drove home yesterday through snow and ice for over 10 hours--happy to be going home.