Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Not Quite Sure: about blogging

I'm with Becca on this. Not Quite Sure

And in addition to these larger concerns (Darfur, Katrina, Badger) I also have my own: a house that's not fully renovated, a friend in a coma, school starting, a church community in crisis, kids who need things...

When I make the list like that only the friend matters, of course, and the last I heard there were some good signs (I haven't been able to blog about her until I knew there were good signs, actually). But the thing that keeps striking me is how long I can go, forgetting about one or another of these things, just thinking about whatever next thing is on my to-do list. In England this summer, after the London bombings, I kept being shocked to find myself not thinking about them, for minutes and then hours and then days on end. I guess it's how we cope--except in the moment of immediate crisis we simply live our lives, mundanely preoccupied with whether there are enough copies of the handout or what color to paint the bedroom when the renovation is finished. It's of course fine to be thinking about those things--even, in its own way, necessary, from time to time--but to blog about them seems callous or self-centered or trivial. And it is, all of the above. So, like Becca, I meta-blog.

Monday, August 29, 2005

still deciding

I've been back over a week--ten days, in fact--and am back at work and everything, and still haven't updated. One issue is that our house is in a shambles--we are having some renovations done, and of course they are taking longer than planned. (Everyone who has ever renovated a house now laughs knowingly.) We tried to have them done while we were away (another knowing laugh here) and, of course, they're not finished. The good thing, I suppose, is that we're here to make some final decisions. The bad thing is that we can't actually unpack all the way. Mark's closet doesn't have a bar for hanging things, for example, and Nick's bed and dresser are not where they belong nor ...well, never mind. Anyway, we're not really unpacked.

The other issue is that I seem to be undergoing blogger angst. Why do I blog? What do I have to say? You've heard it all before--everyone goes through it. So bear with me, or don't, as you choose, and I'll think about what to do next. In the meantime, thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

she's back!

Not me, I'm not back, I'm still here in the UK. No, the she who's back is Bridget Jones, reappearing in newspaper columns (no, you can't actually read it there unless you pay...) here as she did in her original incarnation. I think the original Bridget Jones was too late for me: I was already a Smug Married when she coined the term, and the travails of a single woman dating didn't do it for me the way it did for so many others. Yes, I got the allusions to Pride & Prejudice, and yes, some of the scenes did make me laugh out loud, but I didn't read it more than once and, while the movie made me laugh, I didn't run out to read the second installment or to see the second movie.

Until last night. Last night I stayed up far past my bedtime (and on a school night!) reading Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. It didn't make me laugh out loud, as the first one had--rather, it made me cringe. The similarities to Persuasion were just as overwhelming as the P&P ones in the first book, and since Persuasion itself is kind of cringe-making I suppose that all made sense. Though does she have to be such an idiot? I don't mind her making a fool of herself with Colin Firth--who wouldn't? But really, not to know where Germany is? Anne Elliott would be appalled. I think there's an argument to be made about Bridget as feminist heroine, someone who rolls with the punches of contemporary life and manages to rise above her fairly crappy surroundings, but she could do that and not be quite so stupid, and would it really hurt? Couldn't it still be funny?

Still, I kept reading. Like J. K. Rowling, Helen Fielding knows how to hook you with story, with that breathless anticipation of what's coming next. And so now I want to find Bridget in The Independent and see what she's up to, almost ten years on from her first incarnation. I'll let you know what I think.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

stopping by

Today was a "down" day--no teaching, no real big responsibilities. So I came in to the computer room to do a little searching (more travel coming up!) and then we all got in a pedal boat and pedalled down the River Isis. The kids and Mark tried punting a couple weeks back and decided not to submit themselves to that kind of humiliation again. So today we pedalled instead and it was glorious, simply glorious! It's our last week here and we're trying to fit in all the things we've not done way we'll get to them all, though.

Becca's post on packing spurred me to think about my own packing needs. I came here for two months with four pairs of shoes: two pairs of sandals (both are casual but can be worn with a skirt), a pair of clogs, and a pair of dress shoes (I have two black tie dinners to go to). No running shoes--I don't run. No walk/don't walk distinction between the shoes, except that I can't really walk far in the dress shoes (I did about half a mile in them--twice--and that was ok, but no further). I haven't worn socks since I've been here, despite occasional temps in the 50s: it's summer, and I don't wear socks in the summer.

I think, however, that both pairs of sandals will be toast at the end of the summer. I've walked two miles a day in them all summer and they are just not quite as nice now as they were at the start. Still, considering that at home I have a shoe rack hanging on my closet door that 1) doesn't hold all my shoes and 2) prevents the door from closing, I feel pretty good about my shoe limitations here.