We’re heading off to K’s 30th anniversary this weekend.

Part of the whole business is a campus dance. I can’t remember how dressed up I’m supposed to be. Oh, actually I just went to the website and there’s clearly a mix of people wearing ballgowns and others looking sort of frumpily middle-aged. You can guess which camp I fall into. [Website here:

I headed off to Ross this morning in an attempt to find something that would possibly do. I found a silky black skirt with white polka dots and a stiff white linen blouse. It’s not exactly a dress but it looks slightly dressier than anything else I’ve got. I’m not entirely sure the two textures go together — maybe since the skirt is so silky it should have a silkier sort of top? The stiffer top makes me look slightly less fat, though, which is always a bonus.

But now I realize I have no shoes — wait, that’s not true. I have a pair of black pumps I wore for my job interview back in 1995. Maybe those will do? I will try them on and see.

Oh — and now I think the cat has thrown up.

Exciting times, people, exciting times.


I was away last weekend, and am going away again this weekend which meant that during this weekend in the middle I had to both recover from my strenuous trip the weekend before and prepare for the upcoming strenuous trip.

The prospect was so daunting I had to spend a considerable amount of time lounging in the back yard reading Cutting for Stone, which I think I’m not exactly loving. It’s too much “this happened and then this happened and then this happened.” You know, things happen and it all seems sort of accidental. But, the setting, which is a hospital run by Indian doctors in Addis Ababa, is interesting. So there’s that.

And I did manage to do the laundry, clean the bathrooms and vacuum the upstairs. Plus distribute a huge lump of compost which turned up in my driveway by accident on Saturday morning.

So that’s something.


Bad hat

M is still sick — she really does look ghastly.

We went out for dinner last night with my niece, who is all grown up with a baby. It is interesting — I remember her as a funny kid interested in weaving beaded bookmarks and now she’s a smart woman with a baby getting her masters in public administration. She and her husband are visiting from the state with big mountains.

Life continues to be interesting.

From a far away country

News from N.

  • She’s working graduation, so has a place to stay between when school ends and when the lease on the summer apartment begins.
  • The library job actually sounds much less boring than the one she did here. Pays less, but then it costs less to live there.
  • She can work off the rent by cleaning and painting the apartment, plus two others. (Hmm. She’s not much of a painter, actually, as far as I know.)
  • It seems that she is turning into a grown-up person. But then, I guess she nearly is one.
  • Suddenly this song has popped into my head. I remember singing it with N when she was a baby.

    Tom, he was a piper’s son,
    He learned to pipe when he was young;
    The only song that he could play
    Was over the hills and far away.
    Over the hills and a long way off
    The wind shall blow my top-knot off

More hmmm

Feeling slightly unsettled at present, which I’m sure has to do with the fact that we’re going away for a few days next weekend (for K’s college reunion), leaving M behind.

I’m sure she’ll be all right, except I’m not exactly sure she’ll be all right. And just like last weekend, when I made the plans long before I learned the prom was that weekend, it turns out that there’s a big horse show next weekend, and it’s the first one she’s actually been in. Had I known I would have tried to talk my way out of the whole thing.

I think K’s opinion is that she’s going to college next year, so she should be able to cope with this. Which I suppose has some merit. I still would not have left her, though. And since she has no license — a project for this summer — there are driving issues that I have yet to resolve.


I’m nearly done with Jane Gardam’s The Man in the Wooden Hat, which I think I like better than Old Filth, which I liked. They’re odd little books. It’s almost as if the author has seen a couple, or a man, on a ferry or a train or walking through her neighborhood and then constructed a whole life for them. That’s kind of what they feel like — here’s the story that explains the life of that woman in the hat over there. But they’re good.

And, my work bookgroup met to talk about Let the Great World Spin, which ends up being a good book for a book group, because it’s a good book to talk about. More about bookgroups, and book recommendations, here.


I’m actually really busy here at the moment, so I think I will just tell you about my delicious dinner last night.

Pork chops, cooked in the Julia Child simplified method — brown them on the stove, then add butter and bake them in the over for half an hour, or whenever. Not dry. Yum. Plus green beans, baked potatoes and applesauce. Very good.

What will we have tonight? Perhaps more green beans. They were really good.

And I’m reading The Man with the Wooden Hat, which is really good.

Yikes! Got to go — there’s a child to be transported hither and yon.


Oh, so that biography of Julia got much better. Perhaps as she got older there was less to speculate about.

And now I’m reading Let the Great World Spin. Probably you’ve heard something about it by now. Let’s just say, it’s better than I thought it was going to be. It opened with the two Irish brothers, one of whom is attracted to drunkery and god and becomes a monk and that’s just a story I don’t want to read about. Oh, and then there are prostitutes and heroin, another story in which I have zero interest. Or perhaps negative interest. But it actually gets better, and there are hopeful bits. I’m not quite finished, but I’d say it’s not the worst book in the world. And I think he actually does the voices of the fairly different characters pretty well — I guess it’s the old story of “we live and then we die and that’s life,” but it’s fairly well done.

There’s my ringing endorsement.

But I did read most of it on the plane ride home, and it did keep my attention. So, you know.

Disappearing me

Gosh. I’m back — it’s been a while.

So here’s the news — I went to Chicago.

It was my mother’s 75th birthday, and for a strange conglomeration of reasons — my brother wanted to take her to see Taliesen for his birthday and hers; we lived in Oak Park between 1964 and 1969 and it was a happy time for the family, for the most part — my two sisters and I and a good friend of my mother met up with them in Chicago to go look at Frank Lloyd Wright’s house and studio and our old house — sadly run down — (both in Oak Park) and to walk around Chicago for a day or so.

It was fun. I like Chicago a lot. I like Oak Park a lot (Harriet, I think you should move there. The schools were fine 50 years ago — don’t know what they’re like today.) We saw the art institute and millennium park and went on an architectural tour. I could have stayed a lot longer, actually. I’d like to go back with N and M.

It was kind of nostalgic, not surprisingly, and my sisters, who are quite a bit older than me, were old enough when we lived there to be able to do things like ride the el to the beach on their own. For me, the two block walk to school was an adventure, and it was amazing to see that the hill that had seemed so very steep for sledding now looks like a gentle slope, and the walk to the library, which I was not permitted to make on my own because it crossed a busy street, was only 3 blocks. But also, hearing my sisters talk, I got a better sense of the oddness of my childhood. When I was five, my mother married a man with 5 kids, all older than me. They were a pretty solid unit, having been through most of a childhood with each other and other traumatic stuff, like the death of their mother. They are good people, and they have always been close, and have always taken care of each other. They’ve never not been nice or welcoming to me, but of course they were a group with a solid history behind them, and I was only one small 5 year old whose only link to a previous life was my mother, who was busy managing everything and who was also a grownup, and not really an ally in the sense that they were allies. I’m a shy person anyway, so it’s no surprise that I spent most of my childhood holed up in my room reading. Hmmm.

I’ve known this, of course, but I just sort of experienced it again when we were back in the spot where it happened. It actually explains a lot. It would have been different, I think, had I not been the absolute youngest.

Anyway — now I’m back again. I missed M’s prom, which was traumatic. I would not have gone had I known she was going to go. I think it was pretty much the way proms always are — not nearly as much fun as they ought to be, but better to go than not to, I guess. Her dress was very sweet. I’ll post a picture when I get a copy from K.

So — I am really, really tired, despite the fact that I got back yesterday at 11 and spent the rest of the day pretty much doing nothing at all. It was grueling.

Weekend — the results

  1. I’m reading a biography of Julia Child. Someone at work had also read the Julie/Julia book and My life in France and knew I had, too, and so passed this on to me. It’s called Appetite for Life : the Biography of Julia Child, by Noel Riley Fitch. It’s informative, but the writing is hideous. I’ll have to look for some examples. Ugh. But interesting. Also, Paul sounds a little creepy and horrible – in a letter to his brother he writes of Julia when he’s getting to know her: ” She is really a good friend, and though limited in relation to my concept of la femme integrale, she is still understanding, warm, funny and darling . . . ” Ick.
  2. I was forced to try a new machine at the gym on Saturday, and now my calves are killing me. Hmm. Slightly addictive. Also, I now understand why I felt so wrecked after using it.
  3. We have roses all over the house, but I let M take the pinks up to her room. I’ll have to pick some more, because they smell delicious.