Monday, March 2, 2015


"Now since it is the supreme law of Nature that each thing endeavors to persist in its present being, as far as in it lies, taking account of no other thing but itself, it follows that each individual has the sovereign right to do this , that is (as I have said), to exist and to act as it is naturally determined. And here I do not acknowledge any distinction between men and other individuals of Nature, not between men endowed with reason and others to whom true reason is unknown, nor between fools, madmen, and the sane."

--Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise, Ch. 16

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Quick Notes

I think about writing blog posts often, but sadly actually writing things down is much rarer.

A couple of thoughts: Why is laundry the worst chore ever? Also, why do I always end up doing laundry during precipitation? (Today: freezing rain.)

Baby Leopard is just shy of six months and got his first food to play with today. This kid is spirited and started eating right away. He demolished some zucchini and a bit of meatball.

What I realized when I was telling my mother about it: I forgot a bib. Rookie mistake.

Also, Francisco and I went out for brunch today after church. Baby Leopard slept through most of it and we had a very sane adult conversation about our work and not about the baby. It was really refreshing.

Also, Baby Leopard has taken to rolling multiple times across the floor. It's not crawling, but the kid can move around. My mother is insisting we install the baby gate immediately.

Also, Baby Leopard has started biting. Pray for me. (This may be sacrilegious, but I'm not sure if you need Lent when you're a mother/parent: this past six months has involved more sacrificing than I ever dreamed of.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The View from My Window.6

With just a little snow. (It's like a Paul Strand photograph.)

And a bonus view from inside the house.

Previous views here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Random Assortment

~ From a recent great Bob Dylan speech:

 Now listen, I'm not ever going to disparage another songwriter. I'm not going to do that. I'm not saying it's a bad song. I'm just saying it might be a little overcooked. But, you know, it was in the top 10 anyway.
~ Two new Cezanne's discovered at our favorite museum, the Barnes. Great line from the article:

Barnes conceived of his foundation more as an educational institution than as a museum, sometimes fiercely repelling those seeking a casual visit. (His one-word response on T. S. Eliot’s application: “Nuts.”) 
(Via Ilana, with whom I just visited the Barnes!)

~ If I had time and energy to read books for fun, I would read this:
In the present, she’s mother to one-year-old Walker, whom she affectionately describes as “an awesome baby, a swell little guy. Still a baby, though, of which even the best are oppressive fascist bastard dictator narcissists.” 
(Via Francisco.)

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I don't really like giving Baby Leopard baths, but I realized that I do really like taking a bath with the baby--you get the delight of a bath, plus the prop of an adorable baby who likes to splash and splash. Pretty much perfect. Plus, baths tire him out and get him all ready for bed. 

He's getting just a tiny little bit of hair (hair only a mother would notice)--it's adorable little baby fuzz that springs up after a bath. 

Today in church a little 5-month-old girl (the same age as Baby Leopard) in front of us kept looking at Baby Leopard and smiling. So cute. He was utterly oblivious. After church, there was a little gathering during which Baby Leopard slept in his car seat. At one point I looked down at him and there were two little, little girls sitting in front of him, watching him sleep. One asked if she could give him a hug, when I told her she couldn't since he was sleeping, she kissed his foot. 

I love making him giggle. It's just about the best thing--when he's tired every silly noise you make, every peak-a-boo, every attempt to scare him makes him crack up laughing. And I can't stop trying--I want him to laugh and laugh until he's all laughed out. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


"I have written nothing that I would not willingly submit to the scrutiny and judgment of my country's government. If anything of what I say is deemed by them to contravene the laws of our country or to be injurious to the common good, I am ready to withdraw it. I realise that I am human and may have erred. But I have taken great pains to avoid error and to ensure that my writing should be in complete agreement with our country's laws, with piety, and with morality."

--Preface, Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise

(Great secularization or ironic reversal of Augustine's submission to the securus judicat orbis terrarum--the secure judgement of the whole world, which is to say, the Church.)


Husband is now taking all our temperatures with a meat thermometer. (We don't trust our three digital thermometers which invariably give us odd, very low readings, and would like to know what Baby Leopard's temperature is before we take him to daycare.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Future Book Idea

Rewrite "Do not go gentle into that good night" as a baby book.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


"The fourth Commandment asks children – and we are all children! – to honor their father and their mother (Cf. Exodus 20:12). This Commandment comes immediately after those that concern God Himself. In fact, it contains something sacred, something that is at the root of all other kinds of respect between men. And, added in the biblical formulation of the fourth Commandment is: “that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” The virtuous connection between the generations is guarantee of the future, and it is the guarantee of a truly human history. A society of children who do not honor their parents is a society without honor; when parents are not honoured, one loves their own honor! It is a society destined to fill itself with arid and avid young people. However, a society that is greedy with its generation, which does not like to surround itself with children, that considers them above all a worry, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society, because they do not want children, they don't have children, the birthrate never reaches one percent. Why? Each one of us must think and respond. If a family that is full of children is regarded as if it were a weight, there is something that’s not right! The generation of children must be responsible, as the Encyclical Humanae vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VIalso teaches, but to have more children cannot become automatically an irresponsible choice. To not have children is a selfish choice. Life rejuvenates and acquires energies by multiplying itself: it is enriched, not impoverished! The children learn to take charge of their family, they mature in the sharing of their sacrifices, they grow in the appreciation of their gifts. The happy experience of fraternity animates the respect and the care of parents, to whom we owe our gratitude."

--Pope Francis, On the Gift of Children

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


We went for brunch at our favorite brunch spot in Philly, Sam's Morning Glory Diner (the wait is long but/because the food is good). When our food arrived, one of the waitresses, an older lady, walked over to our table and thrust out her arms, insistently and wordlessly. She proceeded to carry the baby around for at least 15 minutes while we enjoyed out meal. So Philly. I love it.

A Random Assortment

~ On combining books in a relationship:

Reasons get thrown around, and one is common. “I told her,” a friend said, who had just completed this process, “‘That stack of doubles by the entrance, that you will not get rid of, that is your doubt about our long-term future.’” He laughed as he said this.
Doubles, inside this world of library marriages, is the seemingly easy problem of when each member of the couple has one copy of the same book. 
(Even better is the essay, "Marrying Libraries.") (Francisco and I had no trouble at all throwing away our doubles, which is to say, no doubt about our long-term future. I mean, if books are an issue, just think about a baby!)

~ I always wondered if it was acceptable to have three drinks with one meal (for me: orange juice, coffee, and water for breakfast; coffee, liqueur, and water after dinner) and here I see the answer is, at least in Paris, yes.  (Also, I'm obsessed with water, but you knew that.)

~ From Rowan Williams' review of the new biography of Eliot:

Crawford touches very briefly on one of the most illuminating passages for grasping Eliot’s poetic vision when he describes the poet reading the film-maker and critic Jean Epstein’s La Po├ęsie d’aujourd’hui in 1921. The linking of the modern poet’s sensibility with the aesthetic of film is a striking insight, anticipating some of Walter Benjamin’s ideas about film as the characteristic art form of late modernity. And if we think of Eliot’s poetic voice in practically all his early verse, it suddenly makes sense to read them as “filmic” – stills, close-ups, slow motion, fades, cross-cutting of scenes, the alternation of distant with close views, and so on. Epstein wrote of the “rush of details” in film; it is possible to see Eliot’s fragmented poetic world as one of cinematic succession, neither continuous nor simply disjointed, but challenging the reader to follow and make his or her own sense as the time of representation elapses....
it is good to have at last a fuller account of his abortive romance with Emily Hale just before his departure for England. The way in which shyness and misunderstanding derailed this relationship is worthy of Hardy; and we see how Eliot’s awareness of this road not taken was, from the beginning, an uncomfortable factor in his marriage – as it was to become a creative factor in so much later work, not least “Burnt Norton”: another “hurting into poetry”.
(I guess I will have to read it, after all.) (Via Hopkins.)

~ I think I love the idea of Free-Range Parenting (and what a great name). Also, it looks like I'm pretty ideological when it comes to parenting--there isn't a parenting philosophy or book out there that I don't have an opinion about, I guess. (Meanwhile, Francisco is less ideological than ever.)

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Baby Leopard in his new apartment-sized crib (evidently it's the size they use in Europe), which we love. It's just the right size for our little place, although I wonder how he'll fit in it after 6 months. (Now we just have to convince him to fall asleep in his new crib, which we've been working on all this week.) 

Almost 5 months old--he has lately taken up screaming at the top of his lungs--not unhappily--just trying out his vocal cords. I hope he doesn't do it at church. 

Not yet 5 months and tooth #2 is already breaking through. Heaven help us: tooth one is barely finished! I can't believe there are 20 of these! (Although #2 resulted in a lot less fussiness than tooth #1. But still--lots more wake-ups at night.)