Sunday, May 13, 2018

On Stay-At-Home Mothers

Some months ago the Catholic blogosphere was hopping with the mommy wars--stay-at-home moms versus working mothers. And one of the things this made me think of was how much my stay-at-home mom makes my work possible. She spent a week with us after Chester's birth--a week in which after a terrible birth I was almost entirely confined to bed. She has traveled with me to a conference, allowing me to attend with a little baby who needed a lot of care. (Francisco has traveled to many, many with me, too--and we've traveled to some with him, too.) She has cared for Chester over the summer so that I could work and he could play outside. She and my dad have helped us move many times--this most recent move the only things that have been unpacked were unpacked by her and Ilana. She took care of Chester for three weeks over Christmas when I was mostly in bed with all-day morning sickness. We're looking forward to her help with Chester this summer and even more in the fall with the transition to two kids. In fact, without such a supportive mother, I don't know if we would be having another kid.

So here's to all women and mothers and especially to mine. (Rant against Mother's Day saved for another day.)

Saturday, May 12, 2018


"When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world."

(The Bible)

So: The anguish and the daunting reference to "her hour" are familiar. No longer remembering her pain because of her joy is bs clearly written by a man. (Feel free to correct me--everyone's experience is different and maybe someone has had an experience like this! Or maybe everyone but me has! Immediately after Chester's birth, I didn't feel a thing for him--but I was happy that Francisco and my mom did.) But the last part I love: "Because of her joy that a child has been born into the world." This is actually similar to the natality stuff I do: It's not just that a child has been born to a woman or to a family, but a child has been born into the world. It's something entirely new that has the potential to change, at least in some small way, the world. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Best Husband Ever

... bought me two half gallons of chocolate ice cream before he left for his trip to be sure I didn't run out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A Random Assortment

~ A mid-century short film about running for which Auden wrote a poem.

~ On raising theybies. On this point, I think I'm more progressive--it seems ridiculous to me to raise your child to choose their own gender, especially when they're still little. Why choose one at all? Gender really shouldn't matter for toddlers. (Oh, by the way, the kid told me that tonight that purple is a girl color. Infuriating. Colors do not have genders!)

~ I've probably read and shared this before, but here it is again: Elizabeth Bishop's The Art of Losing.

~ Because we need updates: The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield, Revisited.

~ On Arguments that Harm (the author specifically treats arguments about disability).

~ Sara Hendren on openings and closures and disability.

~ Can you have too much Alan Jacobs? I would say no.

~ On Ludwig Bemelmans.

~ On volunteer faculty and the end of academia.

~ On one young member of the Bruderhof community with a disability. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Rural Indiana.2

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Rural Indiana

I don't know why, but I haven't been very inspired to photograph where I live as much as where I visit.

(Most beautiful building in town, above. Unfortunately it's been wearing a hairnet for years with no immanent hope of being rehabbed.)

But I figured I ought to do a little before the summer.

Friday, April 27, 2018

To Remember

After my last day of class of the semester, which turned out to be one of the only beautiful days of the entire semester, I picked up bread, cheese, peppers, tomatoes, spinach-artichoke dip, strawberries, and lemonade and we had a picnic at one of our favorite spots. We ate together and then Chester ran off to play, which meant that Francisco and I could, for once, actually talk to each other. Pure delight. Chester also asked if artichokes are named that because they choke you.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The recent Waffle House events have made me think, as I do more these days than ever, of PAL, who wrote glowingly (or as glowingly as he gets) of Waffle House. He writes, "The Waffle Houses rather conscientiously fulfill a neglected social need.  They're clean, well-lit, warm, and inviting places that are always open." They provide a third place where people, even those without much money, can come together. 

What a particularly anti-social crime to go to a Waffle House and kill your fellow citizens at random. I can't think of a more anti-republican act. 

We're reading Cicero these days in class and he admonishes citizens to engage in public service, to work for the civic good. Mass murder at random is Cicero's antithesis. 

James Shaw is our stoic hero, who denies (as Francisco says one always must) the title of hero, but who bravely does what is needed in trying circumstances.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Another Brief Note

My voice was pretty low to start with, but now that we generally attend a predominantly male mass, I think I've lost whatever there was of the high range of my singing voice and just sing with the boys. (I don't really know the first thing about singing and just sing along with everyone else, so there's really no way out of this pit that I can think of.)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brief notes

1. Have I mentioned here that the best thing I've done this year is play tennis with my colleagues? It's a bunch of women of various ages--sometimes my age, sometimes a bunch of 80 year olds--and I play every other week. It's so excellent to have an outlet for my aggressiveness and competitiveness. There's nothing as cathartic as hitting a ball really hard.

2. I don't think I've mentioned here that I adore my husband's grandmother, Gram. She can be an ornery lady, but has taken a liking to me, and calls me from time to time and I think she's great. I guess she's the opposite of "grandmotherly" insofar as she always says just what she thinks, but I like it and hope to be just like her someday.

3. For the duration of this pregnancy I'm not going anywhere ever again. That may be a small lie, but I sure as heck wish it were true.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chicago, Again

We had a great/exhausting weekend museum-ing in Chicago. Chester had his first dim sum and here are our fortunes--Francisco's, mine, the kid's. I cried a little and not in a very hopeful way.

First, the Art Institute. Sorry for the terrible phone pic, but this altarpiece is great, especially the upper left depiction of Jesus stepping out of the tomb, which is especially meaningful during the Easter season. (The play area was relatively not that great, but boy the little picture book library they have is amazing.)

The aquarium was pretty cool--lots of jumping dolphins, some belugas. The kid loved the play submarine and kept yelling, "It's gotta go faster!" We had to promise him sharks to pull him away.

The planetarium was ok--I was all tuckered out by that point and Francisco did all the parenting while I read an article about Elizabeth Bishop on my phone. The kid liked the play place, although Francisco complained that there were too many screens in it. I think it's all about the shows and we were there at the wrong time to see the Sesame Street planetarium show, which the kid loves, but which I didn't think I could cough up $25 for Chester and me ($38 for the whole family) to watch.

Resolution: Only domestic travel from here on out till baby. (I really really want to get in some extra travel this summer while I still can, but I need to remember this exhaustion and listen to Francisco and refrain.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Random Assortment

~ This (on chains as third places) makes me fondly remember PAL and my own IHOP days.

~ On Renoir's onions. I have gone on record as not liking Renoir, but I am not offended by his onions.

~ "'As Long as the Baby's Healthy'...But What if He's Not?" Via MMR. This captures a lot of my frustration with that phrase--and with the idea that health is something we can ensure and guarantee at any point across our and our children's lifespans.

~ "Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's Own Hand."

~ "Dear Bill Cunningham." (I'm excited about his secret memoir, although I betcha it's not a tell-all either.)

~ "An Artist's Collection of Images of Women (And Her Own Mother) Giving Birth." I hope I can make it to this this summer.

~ Ursula LeGuin, "A Left-Handed Commencement Address" (via Ilana).

~ Flannery O'Connor reads "A Good Man is Hard to Find."