Tuesday, December 30, 2008

under the weather....

Well, it was great being with the fam in Ohio for Christmas, but unfortunately we brought a nasty flu bug with us to "share." Stella had it, then my mom, then me, then my dad. We're all finally recovering.

I'm working on a list of things I've learned and discovered this year, taking stock of everything that has happened the past twelve months. Knowing me, I'll probably get it posted around February--but I'm trying!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry merry

Here is one of my family's favorite carols, sung in the original German. It was particularly beloved by my Granddad, Floyd Lemmon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

home for the holidaze

We made it. I packed, picked up a rental car, picked up the kids at various locations, and drove us all to Ohio safely. Ohhhhh that doesn't tell the half of it. Plenty of mishegas (as opposed to Michigan).

But I made the drive in only 9 hours. Unbelievable. I love I-78!!!!

WHEEEEE!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

those winter sundays

It's the third Sunday of Advent, and the weather is definitely wintry. I'm feeling nostalgic, and it's about time the kids and I got some Christmas decorations up. I thought I would also make chicken and noodles, which was my favorite dish growing up. My mom would make it when I came home from college, or from wherever I was living (Boston, Cincinnati, etc.). Sometimes she made her own noodles; I think nowadays she uses these delicious Amish noodles from the farmer's market in Yellow Springs.

Her recipe is purist: just chicken and noodles in a thickened brothy sauce. You serve it over mashed potatoes--never mind the duplication of carbs. Makes it feel like an old-fashioned Sunday dinner here in Astoria.

Here's Robert Hayden's poem about Sundays he remembers from his childhood.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

a period of hyphenation

Erika tagged me for a meme. I think I've gotten a tag before, but I've never actually done one. Giving it a shot:

RULE ONE, I have to grab one of the books closest to me, go to page 56, type the fifth line and the next two to five lines that follow.

RULE TWO, I have to pick five people who love books and who could receive the Bookworm award with honor.

The book closest to me (right by my keyboard, actually) is the new version of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, with illustrations by Maira Kalman (it's signed, no less! and it was a gift!)

Page 56 has a funky Kalman illustration, captioned "What a wonderful show!" and depicting very colorful people doing things like sleeping, sitting (wearing a tutu), wielding a watering can, and playing the violin. So I went to page 57 for the lines:

but a dictionary is more reliable. The steady evolution of the language seems to favor union: two words eventually become one, usually after a period of hyphenation.

bed chamber bed-chamber bedchamber
Wild life wild-life wildlife
Bell boy bell-boy bellboy


(anyone else hearing "Quadrophenia" right about now?)

Tag: Carly, Vicki, Reb, MacGregor, Daniel

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

random catchup

I've been trying to be all literary/philosophical/witty/artsy/heartfelt/introspective/creative lately in my postings. And the result is that I have a bunch of fairly self-absorbed, occasionally cryptic pieces of prose that don't necessarily tell the story of what's going on in my life.

While I can't really talk about EVERYTHING, you know, I do want to give some various thoughts and updates.

How are the kids? They're pretty good. Really. Bobby had a flu this past week he caught in PA (thanks, David!)--it started on his birthday :( and he was home from school three days, which made for some scrabbling around so Mom and Dad could work. We're having a party for him and 6 or 7 of his closest friends tomorrow at the apartment (Lord help us). My baby boy is nine. Unbelievable. Stella is her strong-willed yet adorable self. Well, the strong-willed part is asserting itself quite a bit more than usual lately. Yesterday I got a call from her teacher expressing concerns that Stella has been having tantrums and crying fits, mainly around "transition" times. Everyone keeps asking, "Is something different at home?" but it really isn't--Mom and Dad each spend about the same amount of time with her, and the routine, other than the holiday, is pretty normal. I'm wondering if it connected to a cognitive growth phase--she is able to understand thing in more complex ways, but is still not able to articulate her own thoughts and wants and needs. I can't imagine how frustrating that must be. She can still be a lovey, though, despite her bursts of temper. And she has a fetching new haircut.

How's work? Oh, don't ask. It's the end of the term, and I'm facing the usual pile (physical and digital) of student work to comment on. This semester I'm teaching an extra class for some extra bread, and it's just about killed me. Fortunately, my students are great--they never cease to amaze me with their insights and energy. I really do love teaching at FIT.

How's your writing? While my participation in the actual process of writing has been limited to therapeutic journal pages and comments on student papers (and emails, text messages, and the occasion blog post), things are definitely a-brewing on the literary front. Last week I got the page proofs and cover design for Saint Nobody. Just sent in the corrections yesterday. After all the years and tears and fears, it's really, really going to be published. And thanks to Red Hen Press, it looks marvelous. And it looks as if Denise and I may have a publisher for our chapbook of collaboratively written ABBA poems--stay tuned on that. I'm hoping to get back to the memoir in January. We'll see.

How are you? Hmmm. That's a tough one. OK. Surviving. Praying a lot. Running and doing yoga when I can. Trying not to be too much of a drama queen (and you know how hard that is for me)--sometimes succeeding at that. Grateful for friends--amazing people I have leaned on this past year, listening ears and sage advisors and fun socializers and cool and smart and solid and trustworthy. I'm so lucky. I only hope I can be as good a friend to them as they have to me. And grateful for my mom, whose birthday is tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

six months in a leaky boat

This morning, as I was contemplating some "personal growth issues," I remembered one of my favorite songs from Split Enz, the precursors to Crowded House.

I have no idea what the Finn brothers had in mind when they penned this tune, but the leaky boat image struck me as a great metaphor for some things I have been going through. I've realized, after hitting some very stormy seas, that I need to patch the leaks in my own boat, rather than expecting to be carried along in someone else's--which practically ensures a capsize, especially since their boat is bound to have some leaks, too. Making my own repairs, maybe I will be better able to sail steadily alongside another seaworthy craft someday.

The imagery buoyed me, to coin a phrase. And the song worked the magic it always has, which causes me to be completely incapable of listening to it less than five times in a row. Thank goodness for YouTube! And thank goodness I had brought my headset to the office.

There's a wind / in my sails / will protect / and prevail