Friday, January 26, 2007


Reading a biography/commentary on Michel de Montaigne by Donald Frame with a goodly dollop of M’s own words: that this life is natural, that pleasure is natural, including the delight when a pain is over (a kidney stone passes in his case). I am eager for the balance of my life to be full of the kind of pleasure Montaigne writes about-- not sitting on a beach sipping piƱa colladas, although if I could get over my airplane-o-phobia that would be a possible part of it. I want a change of attitude: I want less of the sense of standing on promontory with dark clouds around me and a sense of doom on all sides. I want to feel I’ve done good things each day, and to recognize the things I’ve not done so well, accept them, try to do better, but not to focus on my failures and my jerkiness.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Yay for snow!

January 19

We had snow! Not a lot, but enough to count! Yay! The fourth graders at Hilltop School in Mendham were thrilled to see a couple of flakes drift down. Meanwhile, I've got my first full unscheduled day at home in what seems like six weeks-- don't know if it's precisely true. Andy took off for a day in the country, because he loves to drive and have a change of scenery.

Here’s an interesting factoid–that we all use the phrase “more honored in the breach than in the observance” wrong– we use it to refer to rules that are given lip service to, but that people usuall break. But it was used by Hamlet to mean the King’s rules were so bad they were better broken! See the note here: .

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Modern Diner

January 17, 2007

Well, I’m back from taking Joel to Providence, and it’s cold at last, a clear bright day driving and here and in Rhode Island. We went up last night after I taught the fourth graders in Mendham, had some heavy traffic getting out of East Orange, more heavy traffic over around Darien or Stamford or somewhere, but nothing to speak of from then on, not even in New Haven. Joel took over driving and we got better and better at talking together, me drifting off sleepy, him talking a lot about his visits with his friend J., the newly-fundamentalist Jew now living in Jerusalem and studying in a special Yeshiva for English speaking men returning to Israel and religious studies. This had been interesting and difficult for Joel, and for me mostly interesting, the comparison between a newly fundamentalist Jew and the fundamentalist Christians I know a little better.

We got to Waterman Street and found parking across the street from his apartment, said hi to his roommates Seb and Melanie. Everything so quiet, amazing. Joel said it was like 4:30 in the morning. Then-- and this was like some big symbolic moment for me, a new stop on the Motherhood journey-- he bought me a drink at the Graduate Center bar (where I was carded! That's a story I'll keep telling-- I think they're required to card everyone, but still...) We played darts, he visited with Computer Science friends, hung out, reasonably priced drinks, a wall of random maps, Africa next to Providence next to the U.S. very small. In the main room, a wall with big original posters of the famous Providence posters in old True Love Stories Style: "The Rich Live on Power Street" and "The Rest of Us Live Off Hope," referring to street names in Providence.

Anyhow, I had a very nice time for an hour, and then we went home and I camped out in their living room in a sleeping bag from home on their futon, woke early, read my biography of Montaigne until Joel got up, and then we went out to Modern Diner for breakfast (The First Diner to be listed on the National Registry!) where I had a great eggplant sundried tomato mozzarella omelette with home fries and rye toast (dripping with butter) and Joel had French toast with custard and a huge mound of fruit and pecans. My stomach hasn’t quite recovered, but it was really good. Then we got him some groceries and I took off. Very satisfying visit.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Year Underway

A few days ago a New Jersey five star panel recommended that the state abolish the death penalty. New Jersey hasn't executed anyone for decades, but an official end to the death penalty would have a lot of moral weight with other states to do the same thing.

Except Texas. Someone there seems to like the smell of frying flesh.

January 5, 2007

Every night I hit a wall, or come to a stop. I know it's just tiredness, but it surprises me every time: I'm still thinking of all the things I want to do, and suddenly, the day's good momentum is gone, and it's like my feet are stuck in blocks of wood. Did this always happen to me? I turn a corner and that's it, I'm finished for the day. I can still read and fool around with Web pages, but I have to focus on just one thing instead of six. I'm back to teaching: my online class and fourth graders in Mendham. NYU starts next month.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year

This page is new for 2007, with 2006 blog notes available at blogarchives2006one and blogarchives2006two

Joel accepted a job by email last night for next year in San Francisco. This is the small group research and development job. At least I know now, and can begin to get adjusted. He doesn't really think he wants to be in California for the rest of his life, but he may be just being nice to me. It's Sarah's home state, of course. Each stage of parenting has been like this: I didn't think I could bear it when the baby stopped nursing. I didn't think I could bear the kid not sitting on my lap. I didn't think I could bear Joel going to college. Of course we do bear it, we live on. We live with great satisfaction, in fact. And part of the fabric of life becomes the loss.

We're very philosphical today. Resolution: to focus on the present day and to read more slowly.

This period off from teaching and Coalition work (mostly) with lots of family has been enriching, I think, perhaps make me more able to do the slow and focus. I'm very close to having a final draft of Love Palace done. I had felt that there was something wrong with the end, and I made a pretty serious rearrangement which works (as always I wonder why I didn't figure it out sooner).

We had dinner with Sciainos, Dalbeys, and McNamaras yesterday, plus Joel, Sarah, Ryan. Good stories, good food, the McNamaras are grandparents courtesy of Erin.