The balance.

The Good:

  • N is coming home! Many emails and texts. Conversations with her, my sister-in-law, the college. She’s taking a bus to an undisclosed location which is not far from their house. They will pick her up, keep her overnight, entertain her for a day and then deliver her to a bus which will take her to the airport. Then she will fly home. I find transportation exciting — busses, subways, cars, airplanes, holiday visits. It all sounds like fun. I think it’s nice that she’s meeting up with extended family without us, too. (I like them a lot, too, which makes it even more fun.)
  • End of the week, thank god. It’s been a long week full of deadlines and meetings, and I’m glad it’s over
  • It’s also been a week of getting things done — appointments made, paperwork to clean up, crap like that, and most of it is done, which is good.
  • I’m leaving at noon to go home and clean the house, which is a disaster beyond measure.
  • Holiday!

The Bad

  • My head hurts. It feels like I didn’t get enough sleep, but I actually did. Perhaps it’s because for the three nights before that, I did not get enough sleep.
  • I’m slightly worried that this whole week will blow up. (Holiday!)
  • When I go home, I really do have to clean up, much as I might prefer to, oh, take a nap. (It will be good, though!)
  • A few more paperworky things to finish before I’m done. (But very few.)
  • M still has that paper hanging over her head, although it’s 80% written. This is not really my problem, but it still hangs out in the “bad” column. It contributes to the headache. I’m not sure what I think about this idea of learning to write papers by only writing what is supposed to be a middle paragraph of a paper. Rather, I do know what I think, and I think it sucks. How can you write a paragraph without knowing what the rest of the paper is? You can’t, which makes it more work, really. Plus, it doesn’t have the satisfaction of actually writing a whole paper, where you feel like you’ve learned something. Okay, it sucks.

On balance: good, I think.

Happy Friday.


I’ve got nothing for you today.

Other than the fact that it’s finally a little bit colder here. (We can wear gilets!)

And I’m stealing a hilarious Billy Collins poem from Necromancy never pays:

Introduction to Poetry:

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Which cracks me up because it describes so accurately trying to help M with her paper on The Great Gatsby. “How do I know why they all have secrets?” she moans. “They just do. I don’t know what it means!

Sadly, it not enough to just say that, although it seems that it ought to be.

Anyway. Now I have to go.

Important things, blah blah blah.


This is an interesting post. It’s the story of Mary Silverthorn and her wayward youth. To paraphrase, she was an good and anxious kid. She was doing her math homework, heard her mother and her sister arguing (as was their wont) and went out and . . . embarked on a troubled youth.

It’s interesting to me because I can see how this might have been M. I was quite worried about N, the older one, because she was a curious and headstrong kid who seemed destined to find trouble and get into it. So I put quite a lot of effort into worrying about her location at most times, keeping track of her while seeming to be not keeping track of her, and keeping her occupied. M is honestly a bit more like me in certain respects — she’s actually happy to read a book, or hang around the house. She doesn’t crave adventure. (Except she, and I, sort of do, too.) And not so much like me, she does tend to worry about things.

How shocking, then, when she started hanging around with dubious characters downtown.

I think she’s okay, now. She seems to have settled down, and to know what she wants, and I have a solid sort of feeling about her.

But I can see how my worrying about N, and even more how K’s worries about N (which tended to be expressed sort of more aloud, I think) might have made M worry to the point of wanting to escape.

It’s kind of an interesting thing to think about — how the fallout might have been not what you’d expect. How your worries about the oldest becoming a heroin addict in the park (strangely, I was convinced this would happen N’s freshman year) resulting in your youngest, who you’d never even worried about due to the sweetness of her nature, doing — something like that. And it kind of explains how she might have felt, which I confess I didn’t really see —

I sort of think she’ll be okay, though.

That is all.

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Did you hear this this weekend? It’s Susan Stamberg and Rob Kapilow talking about the song “Brother, can you spare a dime?” It’s a great analysis of a great song —

I really miss Susan Stamberg. I can’t help it — I’ve never liked Leanne Hansen. She’s too pushy or something. Susan Stamberg is just able to put together a piece like this.

Anyway. Go listen.

Things to show you

First of all, I’ve been knitting some hats:


Aren’t they pretty? One is for N (garnet) and one is for M (red and yellow). They’re sort of fun to knit.

I’ve heard, briefly, from N. Mostly I get text messages, like, “Do we have a subscription to the nyt?” or “Will you call the phone company so I can switch companies over Thanksgiving?” Rarely anything like, “Hi,” or “How are you?” or “How I miss you!”

But I did find out, sort of sidewaysedly, that she’s taking the bus to Boston on Friday, and will spend the night with her aunt and uncle; that she went to Big School in NY on Saturday and Harriet’s alma mater on Sunday with the club hockey team; that she didn’t play in any games (and presumably still has all her teeth), but that hockey is really fun. So it’s not like I never hear anything —


We also got some new mugs. I found them at the discount store, and I am inordinately in love with them. Whatever possesses this fine manufacturer to make china from a book about fishing? I don’t know, but I do love them.


Gratuitous photo of a Sunday morning M.


M in a toga and backpack.


Millionaire’s shortbread (with fish mug).


In closeup.

A satisfying weekend, although no vacuuming OR cleaning was done, which puts me in a bit of a bind with both mine and Kevin’s mothers coming next week.

Oh well. I work better under pressure (not really).

Also, it’s ridiculously hot here. I didn’t sign up for 80 degrees in November. Just to be clear.



It was a lovely weekend.

It felt even longer because M had no school on Monday, so I hung around with her a little bit in the morning.

I think she had a lovely weekend — she spent the entire weekend in her pajamas. I’m not sure she left the house at all — could that be? (Actually, it could.)

And although I had planned to clean the house, I actually mostly knitted a hat.

It was just about perfect.

Full disclosure

Once upon a time, i thought I might write about books here.

So here’s one:

Number9Dream by David Mitchell.

My book group suggested it while I was away. (They were discussing Out Stealing Horses which is a really wonderful book, also sort of dreamlike. Really, you should read it if you haven’t.) So I got it, but then I was knitting a sweater, so I kept putting off reading it so I could watch James Bond movies and knit sleeves (nearly done, actually). And then I did start it, and I read the first 10 pages or so, only to find out that none of what I had just read had really happened! — in the book, I mean. I really could not brook such timewasting. I wanted a book where progress had been made, and if a person was going into an office building to meet a person, I wanted him to just do it, and not dream about it from coffee shops where he was smoking enough cigarettes to make even me feel sick.

So I put it down.

But then, feeling sort of guilty because I always finish our book group books, and then usually read another book by the same person, just because I am fast, I picked it up again — knowing I would never finish.

And I liked it.

Also, what’s interesting is that even though it’s written by an English guy, and not a translation, it really feels a lot like After dark, which I really loved, or that terrible (also great) book about the Japanese lunch factory, or also Kafka by the Shore, which are all written in Japanese. So it really gets that odd Japan feeling — which apparently is not just a translation by product, but probably the way it really is.

So there — there’s your book review. (I still haven’t finished it.)

Our next book is Then we came to the end which we are hoping will be light and uncomplicated. Holidays approach.

And furthermore

I ordered some grown-up wooly pants from L2ndz End and I really like them. They’re warm, and also they are very grown-up feeling.

I am sure they make me 27 times more efficient. As you can tell by these posts.

Isn’t it nice to think we’re going to have a president we don’t have to despair over?

I honestly don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t won, but it’s so lovely that he did. I really feel like a huge burden that I didn’t even quite realize I was carrying has been lifted.



Has no one noticed the bizarre picture three posts back?

Do you not find it odd that a man, in a hole, with a stick, is fighting a woman with a rock in a sling? Both wearing rather odd costumes?

Hmmm. Perhaps your lives are more exciting than mine is.


Everyone in my office is ecstatic.

Our furnace is still not working, but I think it’s a matter of restarting it. It’s really not that cold. The filter wasfilthy, and now I’ve cleaned it, and it’s drying.

It’s actually nice to be a little bit cold (it was 58 when I left the house this morning — this is California), but it won’t be nice forever.

That’s all the news I’ve got.

It was pajama day, so the smaller one went off in pajamas. The idea of wearing pajamas out into the world never seems all that great to me. It seems like pajamas should stay home. I guess I see clothing as a sort of armor to protect you from the outside world. Also, I guess I would not like to get into bed in pajamas that have been to school. But she’ll probably change into new pajamas when she gets home, and she did look comfy. Also, there is a Catullus test. Catullus was a big hit after Cicero.

So. Ahem. There you have it —