Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Call for submissions

The Literary Reflections department of Literary Mama is seeking personal essays about writing as a mother, reading as a mother, or developing a career as a professional mother-writer. If any of you have such an essay in your portfolio or an idea brewing along these lines, we welcome your participation. Also, pass along this call to any other writers/mothers who may have an interest in submitting to Literary Mama.

Here’s the submission guideline link for handy reference.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Signs of Spring

Sign #1: the ratio of light to dark laundry loads has shifted, from 1:2 to 2:1.

Sign #2: hanging the light load out to dry.

Monday, April 21, 2008

On Road Trips and Picture Books

As I mentioned in my last, Mariah and I were out on the road last week, finishing up a college tour that put about 1200 miles on our car, allowed us to visit lots of old friends and a weekend with family, and got her much much closer to a decision about what she'll be doing next year. The whole thing had me thinking about picture books. Read this month's column and you'll see why...

(Cross-posted at the other blog...)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The pause that refreshes

On Tuesday afternoon, Nick has a guitar lesson. I walk him to the guitar shop, two blocks away, and then sit down on a This-End-Up style blue couch (it looks like the sort of thing we scavenged as grad school furniture) and knit. For half an hour, no one talks to me, I talk to no one--except maybe to answer a question about my knitting--and I can relax. He's probably old enough, really, to walk there on his own; it's also certainly close enough that I could walk him there and then go back and spend the time at home. But I choose to sit on the couch--which I share with other parents, kids waiting for their lessons, and a very hairy dog--and knit. It's a brief window of peace.

Yesterday we got back from our multi-state, multi-college visit about 45 minutes before Nick got home from school. Mariah and I unpacked the car and debriefed a bit with Mark, then I went to pick Nick up. When lesson time rolled around I picked up my knitting bag and joined him. The laundry isn't done, the groceries unbought, the suitcase not yet unpacked. But I had half an hour of quiet, a nice break from the road and from the pressing demands at home.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One more perk

I stopped at WEBS yesterday.

Twice, in fact. The first time I had less than an hour, and I couldn't make up my mind that quickly. I had barely made it all the way around the store by the time I had to leave.

The second time I had Mariah with me and she offered sage advice and good counsel. Don't buy anything you can buy at home (unless it's a lot cheaper). Don't worry about what you'll make with it if you love it. No, you don't want that one. No, nor that one either.

In the end I was pretty restrained. But it was well worth the trip.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I am stupid-tired tonight. Maybe I'm even espresso cookie-tired, but I'm not in my own house and I can't bake. Still, I can type. (A bit.)

Why am I so tired? Mariah and I are on the accepted-student-open-house circuit. We've covered about 700 miles and two colleges in two days, and we've got one college and many more miles left before we're done. Thank goodness she can share the driving: the 500 miles yesterday would have been impossible without her. And thank goodness that our musical tastes are close enough that sharing iPods through the car stereo is pleasure rather than penance.

Thank goodness, too, for friends and family who are opening their homes to us. Last night we were at Becca's, and we got to meet S and E for the first time, and get reacquainted with M, and talk about books and school and work and blogging. And this morning Becca handed over the ARC of Jenny Davidson's forthcoming YA novel, The Explosionist, which I can hardly wait to read. (I'll review it over on the other blog when I finish it...) A fabulous blogger meet up AND a new book to read--now those are definite perks of this trip.

Tonight I'm at a blogless relative's, in the lap of luxury, then we're off to my parents' house for the weekend: another perk of the trip is that they live in between two of the schools we're seeing.

So it's exhausting, but there are rewards. And at the moment the one I'm looking forward to is a comfortable bed.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Apparently I was an arrogant monk in a past life. Check it out.

In a Past Life...

You Were: An Arrogant Monk.

Where You Lived: France.

How You Died: Typhoid fever.

(I saw this over at Magpie Musing. She was hung for treason in her past life, so I feel as if I got off easy.)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Fifty Years

Today is my parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. What an accomplishment! They were married on a chilly Monday morning in April, the day after Easter, in 1958, and it's another chilly Monday morning this time around. Something about it must have been right, though: after one granddaughter, two countries*, three grandsons, four children**, and five homes***, they are still going strong. (Yes, those events are out of order--and I only counted the countries they've lived in together, which is actually the same as the number of states they've lived in...and far smaller than the number of states or countries they've visited or even spent significant time in.) There are big plans for a celebration this summer, but we are all scattered today, so this is the best I can do.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Edited to add:
*the USA and Japan
**living in four states: NY, NJ, VA, CA
***Dad says there were six, but I didn't count their first apartment because I didn't know about it. See, even after fifty years, there are surprises!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

not a photo post

This morning when I got up there was a lovely sliver of a crescent moon hanging low in the branches of a just-budding tree, due east of my house. I got out the camera and snapped a couple of pictures on the "night" setting, and another on the regular one. But, alas, what I got bears so little resemblance to what I saw that there's no point posting it.*

Nonetheless the moon in the morning somehow seemed appropriate to me. Things are a little topsy-turvy here, a little unsettled, but in a good way. It started with Easter--it's always unsettling, in a good way, to have company in the house. We cleaned from top to bottom (probably the most unsettling thing!), and then lived with much smaller children--and extra adults!-- than we usually do for almost a week.** It was great to have the long visit, especially when Mariah left town before Caroline et al did. Things were so busy and full here that it didn't seem quite so empty to have her gone.

But then Caroline and family went back home and Mariah was still gone--on her first nearly-solo vacation. She went to NY with a couple of friends, one of whom has a grandmother there. Mariah and the other friend stayed with dear friends of mine (and Mariah's) for the better part of a week, managing subways and taxis and late nights and botched plans all on their own. She had a great time, and the rest of us enjoyed Nick's spring break. (Mark was working, so it wasn't much of a break for him.)

Somewhere during all this excitement the college news started coming, and we now know that Mariah has college options for next year, so we're again happily unsettled. The next few weeks will be a whirlwind of college visits, comparing financial aid offers, considering whether waitlists are worth waiting for. There's also still the possibility that she'll take a gap year, deferring her admission (somewhere) for a year of work and travel. All this has to be decided in the next month.

All this energy has me craving a little peace and quiet. I'm seeking out meditative, even repetitive, work to give me a sense of order. I spent much of yesterday unraveling a thrift shop sweater for the yarn--it was an oddly satisfying experience to just sit and take something apart. But I've got all kinds of things I need to be putting together, too; I can't let this restlessness take over. So I'll breathe deeply and contemplate the moon that I can't see.

*If anyone wants to suggest a good point-and-shoot digital camera, I'm in the market for a new one...
**The house didn't really feel overfull at all, but one day there were workmen outside cutting trees, and the lead guy asked me "what kind of meeting are you having in there?" Apparently three adults with laptops open registered as something other than normal family life...