Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Neglecting the blog

I've been neglecting the blog of late not only because I'm finding facebook and/or twitter filling some similar needs, but because I've been crazy busy with travel, committee work, teaching, life--same old, same old, really, but somehow it's catching up with me more this time. My last two blog posts on the Mama, PhD blog at Inside Higher Ed will explain more:

Where I was and why I'm glad I went.

And this is the show I got to see at the Grand Ole Opry. A bunch of us went, and if we went thinking it was about the camp and the sequins, we stayed for the music and the heart. What a fabulous show!

The conference, by the way, was this one: an intimate gathering of children's lit scholars at the top of their game. I have pages and pages of notes, lists of books to read, people to follow up with--and the beginnings, I think, of my next academic article (on Twilight and intertextuality, if you must know). A weekend well-spent, despite the six-hour delay in the Atlanta airport on Thursday which made me miss three sets of papers. (You know it's a good conference when you lament the papers you didn't get to hear...)

And now if you'll excuse me I think I need to go get a new powercord for my laptop. This one travels so much it's starting to fray a bit and that makes me nervous.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


This is the earliest I've posted a picture of the cherry tree outside my window. It's not quite in full bloom, but it's pretty close. Unfortunately maintenance to my office over the fall seems to have included sealing my windows; I can't open them anymore! So I shot this through the glass--best I could do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break by the numbers, sort of

30-80: range, in Farenheit, of temperatures experienced during the week.
48: cookies baked.
47: papers I should have read and marked during the week.
24: papers I did read and mark during the week.
22: muffins baked
10: pages of my own paper drafted.
9: checked out from the library to work on my paper.
2: books I went to the library to get for my paper.
2: maintenance-type appointments accomplished during the week.
2: essays copy-edited.
2: movies seen (Slum-Dog Millionaire, Pan's Labyrinth).
2: novels read (Inkdeath, House of Many Ways)
2: hours I was in the office this morning, break over, before I noticed that the cherry tree outside my window is starting to bloom again.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Finished Object

One nice thing about the snow day was the increased knitting time it provided. Well, for a while. At a certain point my hands just got too cold. But before that happened, I managed to finish the knitting on a new bag, and then when we got power back I had the time and inclination to sew it up and line it. I am still not very good at hand-sewing, and I couldn't find the power cord for Mariah's sewing machine, so there are seams here that could be neater. Still and all, it was a very fun knit--with yarn I got from a friend who brought home a huge haul from the Goodwill, and was happy to share!--and will be a useful addition to my spring wardrobe.

Which I can apparently break out today. Nick, whose last snow day was just the day before yesterday, went to school today without a coat; it was over 40F before 7 am, and is predicted to go up to 63F today, and 79F by Sunday. Welcome to spring in Virginia!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Snow Day

Late Sunday afternoon the rain was pelting down. I looked at it and back at the weather report, which was promising 4-7 (or 7-12, depending on which weather station you checked) inches of snow. It just didn't seem possible.

Less than an hour later, we were inside a snow globe, a thin coating of snow already blanketing the lawn, the trees, the cars. Before Nick went to bed he knew he wouldn't have school.

Then the power started flickering. Mark and I were watching a movie; Nick was getting ready for bed. The power went out, came back on. Long enough to restart the movie--then out again. Repeat. Finally it went out and stayed out. We found flashlights, a booklight for Nick in bed, candles. Lightning flashed through the snow--an eerie effect.

I tried to call the doctor's office where I had an early morning appointment, but reached no one. Went to bed with the NYTimes Sunday magazine and a booklight. It was clear that the heat was dissipating, though the radiators were still lukewarm. I set my cellphone alarm.

I was up early to try to call the doctor again. Again no answer. And, clearly, no heat. The University had cancelled classes, though since I don't teach Mondays, this wasn't really relevant.

Nick was up at 6:30. He'd meant to set his alarm for 7:30 but somehow was an hour off. He had a bowl of cereal--the milk in the fridge was still mostly cold--while I had a peanut butter sandwich.
(front porch/lawn, early a.m. Statue by Mark)

I put the milk out on the back porch and wondered whether anything else in the fridge was really all that perishable. I reached someone at the doctor's office, who said she'd pass along the message that I wouldn't be there. I went back to bed, where it was warm. Nick did, too.
(backyard, also early a.m. Yes, I took it from inside the house; it was too cold to go out there in pjs, even for the blog!)

When Mark woke up we all bundled up and headed out to a relatively new neighborhood cafe for coffee/hot chocolate and treats. Lots of others had the same idea--it was nice to be somewhere warm and buzzing with activity. It looked as if everyone had walked. When we got home I borrowed a snow shovel and cleared the walks while Nick and his friends restarted the snowball war they'd begun the evening before. I took everything out of the freezer and put it into coolers, on the back porch. The milk was already slightly frozen.

By noon it was frigid in the house. I was wrapped up in layers while the kids continued to play outdoors, coming into one house or another periodically to "warm up" (hardly possible) and eat something. I called several friends; one had power, and invited us to dinner; one didn't, and we talked about lighting a fire and drinking some wine later on. Mark went out, and came back reporting that the roads were relatively clear. I decided to go to the office and recharge my computer and cellphone batteries--and get warm.

By the time I returned home the power was back on. Nick was not, however, watching TV--the snowball war had started anew, after only a brief period of computer play. We reloaded the freezer and headed out to dinner with the friend whose power had remained on all day--her house was warm, her fire was lit, and the wine had been opened. It was a lovely end to the day.

(the view from my office window this morning)

(I have a blog post up at IHE today, sort of about snow days, sort of not. I wrote it in my warm office during that little hiatus...)