Roses. Reading. Roosevelt


I’m in the middle of Per Pettersen’s To Siberia. It’s lovely and sad. Did you read his Out Stealing Horses? Also wonderful.

Here’s a link to an article about him in the New Yorker.

Late last night, after a paper had been nearly written and many lines of latin translated, M made cookies while I read to her about yellow journalism and the Spanish American war. American history is actually interesting. The Spanish American war was only about 40 years after the end of the Civil War. Can you imagine people having lived through the Civil War wanting to go gallivanting off to another war? And yet they did, apparently. Much as people having lived through Vietnam thought Iraq was a good idea. Hmph.

I guess it seems especially interesting because I’m working on a collection of briefs written around 1906. I am not actually reading them, by I am supposing they are of a similar mindset.

I just now looked at one, which was all about water rights and types of rock and alluvial fans and water filtering down.


Things look up

I called the limo people and the man on the phone very nicely said (in a lovely Maine accent) that it had already been refunded.


Also, apparently it’s going to be 85 degrees today in Maine with a chance of thunderstorms. Meanwhile, it’s cold here.

That’s all I’ve got.

(Oh, FB conversation took a sudden strange but good turn.)

Vaguely annoying; potentially annoying; just interesting


  • I have to call the limo company (not really a limo — the van that takes you and 6 other people to the airport — you know) and complain about the fact that they switched the time they were supposed to pick N up by two hours, so they waited for her, but not long enough (i.e., 2 hours) and she missed the van and had to get a ride at the very last second with her friend S’s parents who had to then rush her to the airport (a two hour drive) so she wouldn’t miss her plane. Apparently they sent me an email, but from a different address as the receipt so when it went into my spam folder I had no idea.

    It’s not totally their fault, but it seems that they do bear a share of the blame, don’t you think?

  • Facebook. People. Your complicated relationships with people. Tales of their children. But your children are happy and good. Let’s leave it at that.
  • I have been really worried that M is going to fail the AP US history test. You may not believe this, but at LUPS there really are AP US history teachers who do not teach. M has seen a number of interesting movies, though, and apparently the guests on Oprah have been thoroughly discussed. (There is also a really good teacher. Either you are lucky or you are not. How I hate that school.) So M is sort of left with learning it all on her own, which I think would be hard for anyone, but is especially hard for M. So she really might fail. Which then, you know, college, etc. But — a sudden insight yesterday — I really do think she’s going to be okay. It’s going to be a quirky path, but she’s going to be much more successful out of high school than she was in high school. She has a learning disability. She’s dyslexic and has slow processing speed. But she’s quite bright, gifted even, and very focused (which sometimes helps and sometimes doesn’t), and once she’s able to engage her mind the way it likes to be engaged, she’s going to be just fine. It’s just a matter of not letting her get too discouraged along the way. She’s pretty confident lately, though, which is good.
  • It’s very odd. I had the kind of mind that did just fine in high school, although I’ll admit being at kind of a loss in college, which I don’t think was really the fault of my mind. But neither of my kids are like that at all, which has caused me to learn a little bit about how different minds work, and it’s actually fascinating. It’s also fascinating the way that schools really are set up for one kind of mind. I don’t think it’s the case that suddenly minds are different. I think differently minded people have been struggling with school for quite some time. I don’t know how it can be fixed. For one thing, schools are located at a sort of horrible intersection of education and politics. And then, some teachers are great and some — remember, perhaps, your 9th grade health teacher — are not very bright, and some — 8th grade math teacher — not very bright and also really mean.
  • Poor M, though. She really gets the worst of it.
  • Ooops. Back to annoying again.

While we were out


Jimmy missed me. He has not been very far from me since I’ve come back. At this moment he is sitting on the table behind the computer.


The garden went wild. I was outside all day yesterday trying to restore order, or at least to remove a small percentage of the weeds.


I think I broke the lawnmower whacking this path into the foot high grass.


Look at this monster, though!

You learn nothing by sitting in the car


It was totally amazing.


I don’t even have very good pictures, since we didn’t think to bring the real camera.


We drove east over the Sierras, and then down 395, which goes down the eastern side of the Sierras. It’s beautiful and desolate. Deserty, with enormous white mountains looming. Incredible. We spent the first night in Bishop, which is a very odd town seeming to consist only of motels. I guess for fisherman and skiiers heading from LA to Mammoth.


We passed Manzanar (one of the camps Japanese-Americans were taken to during World War II), which we drove through, and then headed on to the ancient bristlecone pine forest, where the oldest living things in the world grow. It was beautiful. With just the two of us, it was easy to just stop anytime anything struck our fancy. I’ve been wanting to see the bristlecone pines and Manzanar for ages.


They are quite beautiful. They dot the mountains — they grow only here, I think, but there are a lot of them. They have sort of fat needles, like succulents.


Then we headed into the valley, and I can’t even express how amazing and strange it is. It was very hot, so we’d get up at 6:15, be driving around by 7, intending to see a lot of stuff before it really got hot. In this picture, taken at the Artist’s Drive, it was really really hot. We stopped at most of the places you could stop at by car, and we saw lots of stuff.


Like dried up lakes.


Weird and colorful hills.


Deep volcanic craters. (We walked around this. It wasn’t so hot up there.)


Real, actual ghost towns.

It was amazing.

After two nights there, camping out in a tent, we headed toward the ocean. We wanted to see water and trees. Which we did. We camped on the ocean, and the next day headed home, pausing once at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

It was a great trip. It was great to spend a week with N. Of course, that was the best part of all. She’s grown up a lot. It was great just to spend time with her, and I am so very happy that she’s coming home for the summer.

When we got home, we baked a cake.


A surprising rainbow cake.

I spoke to her last night — my mother and sister had just picked her up at the airport. She sounded very happy.

5 weeks till summer!

Secret posting

N is here!

After many various unbelievable contortions, she actually arrived on Friday night, exactly when we were expecting here.

It’s funny how different she always seems getting off the plane. You’re standing there, waiting for someone about the shape of your expected to emerge down the long hallway, and then she slips by, looking not quite as you expected. I think she tends to look smaller and darker — not the enormous radiant ball of light I see her as in my heart.

Anyway — and now we’re waiting to take of for points South. We’ve sort of decided to be in no hurry, which I think is a good thing.

Perhaps Ill come back with pictures.