Friday, April 29, 2005

Can It Be Done?

I've designated Friday as the day to send pages to the advisor/editor who lives in a land faraway. Dilemma: Number one son is ill today and home from school.
He's on the couch totally absorbed in a graphic novel and has shown no interest in me whatsoever. Still, I'm sure everyone can recognize the difficulty of working under the psychic strain of the work ritual being disrupted by #1's presence. Can I get the work done? Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Graphic Novel. For more about a new one coming out, scroll down, my friends,... Posted by Hello

Bad luck in Bookland?

Bryson's book took me months to read and left me nervous about dust mites and the volcano in Wyoming that's 30,000 years' overdue for its next huge blow. FYI: It's going to be really big.
Perrotta's book had a good ending, but the characters were so twisted and tormented. I found myself worrying about mites and lava rather than reading it when I had time. But the story did poke at me, so that's not really bad luck.
I love Satrapi's Persepolis books. She has a new one and Dorothy sent me an interview with her at Salon. She likens Bush to the mullahs in Iran. She urges Americans to protect our democracy---"Every day, wake up with this idea that you have to defend your freedom." The writer, Michelle Goldberg, describes Satrapi's book this way:

"Embroideries is less explicitly political than the Persepolis books....In Embroideries, Satrapi confines herself to the dramas that happen inside, telling the romantic (or unromantic) tales of a group of female relatives and friends. Yet in the context of a regime determined to control women's sexuality, these stories are subversive."

Sounds g.o.o.d.

Satrapi and Embroideries Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Kiddos in Dining Room. Photo Credit Peter Posted by Hello

Devils and Dust

The new Springsteen CD flips onto a DVD, with footage of Bruce introducing and singing five songs. The Star Trib’s quick review of Devils and Dust suggested that we watch the DVD before listening to the CD. Pshaw I thought, ludditely. But Bruce’s new CD came to live at our house today and Quinn wanted me to watch the DVD with him this evening. I spared him the long pompous speech about the importance of listening to the music without the influence of extraneous visual imagery because there was nothing else to watch on TV tonight. So I picked up my knitting and headed downstairs. I listened, watched and was charmed by Bruce's descriptions of how he sings his characters. I even loved reading the words on the TV screen when Bruce’s video gig was done. I kept telling Quinn to pick another one. CD. DVD. Watching first. Listening first. It’s all good. My favorite is Long Time Coming. So far.

From the Walker. So cheerful. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

New Walker.  Posted by Hello

The trees are just starting their greening.  Posted by Hello

I didn't quite get this right. But I think it's clear what I was aiming for.  Posted by Hello

Witch's Hat. Walker. Possible Field Trips?

FYI. From 5 to 8 pm, June 3, the Witch's Hat will be open for public viewing.
New Walker is open too. We walked through some galleries yesterday, but I felt I needed more time to really get the layout. A field trip for one. Maybe I'll bring a lunch in a brown paper bag and eat in the sculpture garden.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Good Friday

Good interview with a state attorney from Connecticut on the Al Franken show this week. They're suing the government because they think their testing program (every other year) is more than adequate. This testing every year mandate is ridiculous. I'm glad more states are speaking out against these rabid corporate testers. I hate them so.

Good blog about a woman walking to protest the death penalty. She walks with her sign and talks to people along the way.

Good time for my kids this afternoon who both have after school plans. Quinn will join his friend for some baseball playing. Rosalyn walks to an independent book store with some girls who want to learn more about Wicca.

Good work on the dissertation this week and I actually have stuff to send to adviser. Okay, it's only two pages, but I'm relieved to have anything.

Good find in a used book store yesterday, the out of print, Editor to Author, letters of Max Perkins. SCORE!

Good time to sign off and get to work... Happy weekend...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More exciting than a scab? I believe so. Posted by Hello

Marla Ruzicka

Marla Ruzicka, an astoundingly inspiring young woman, was killed in Iraq on Saturday. I've read several articles about her work this week. Her organization's website, CIVIC Worldwide, gives information about helping civilian victims of conflict.

I'm inspired by her and chastened at the same time. When I'm teaching, I feel like I'm doing political work. Being on leave this year, I have this sense that I'm a dawdler, a self indulgent fancy cheese eater. I feel more informed this year, reading political blogs, listening to Al, Janene and Ed every day on Air America, but I'm not doing anything. A few letters to my govt. reps, a few donations, not much more. I even asked to be taken off an upcoming panel about political teaching because I felt I had nothing to contribute.
Yesterday I decided to join the Minnesota Aids Walk, because the walk falls on my brother's birthday, May 15, and he died of Aids when he was 28 and I like to celebrate Glenn's birthday in some way each year. But I couldn't figure out the damned website to register! Rosalyn and I struggled over how to set up the webpage for collecting donations, clicking on every flipping link until we were both getting irked and decided to take a break from it. Whatever happened to get the packet in the mail and ask some friends for donations??? I'm going to try again today. Let's see if I can actually do something for change for a change.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

This is Peter's ghastly sore. It has become a big part of our lives. Frequently displayed and discussed. FYI: It's a tennis injury. His knees are also scraped. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

It's Monday. Posted by Hello

Recently seen movies. My thoughts.

Anytown, USA. Independent, film festival film about a mayoral election. Talking to the camera, one guy explained the mismatch between the results and the expected results. He claimed that people in Bogota, NJ, himself included, lied when candidates came door to door or made phone calls, happily reassuring candidates that they would vote for them when they had no intention of doing so. Real mature, Bogota.

Sin City. Brought Quinn to this one this weekend. Had to close my eyes many times because of hideously graphic violence. Three stories one after the other. I thought the Mickey Rourke one was best and that just one would have been more than enough. So far no social service representatives have come to my door to investigate irresponsible parenting.

Melinda and Melinda. Worthwhile. Several interesting characters, some fun scenes. Rosalyn and I liked both the tragedy and the comedy. I’m tired of the “it’s not as good as his earlier films” commentary in most reviews. Can't we just live in the present?

Friday, April 15, 2005

John says he looks like a cutout in this picture. And I have to agree. Posted by Hello

My zoopals. We saw a laughing thrush in this aviary. After the zoo, we saw a movie called Anytown, USA at the film festival here. It's a documentary about a mayoral election in Bogota New Jersey. The republican won, but it was close. Democrats were scattered and an independent candidate took some of their votes away. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Scary Times

It's almost 70 degrees out and nearing time for my afternoon slog. I haven't worn shorts for many months. The whiteness of the legs may be a public health hazard, blinding vehicular operators on River Parkway. I'm concerned.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Raisin Bread?

Every week I talk to Mitzi on the phone. I prepare for this talk by buying a chi-chi cheese and some fancy pants wine. The cheeseguy usually recommends a cheese for me.

Yesterday I get the cheese home and read its label:

Papillon Bleu: Like all true roqueforts, this is 100% sheep's milk cheese, aged in caves on the Cambalou mountainside. It melts in the mouth leaving an amazing flavor of mold and salt. Great with pasta, salad or raisin bread.

Not only do I feel over-the-top pretentious, I can't get the taste of mold out of my mind as I'm eating it. Ick.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Easy Way

“Look for the easy way. Make the dissertation as easy as possible, and make your choices based on what feels the easiest.”

This bit of wisdom comes from an advice book about dissertation writing. Shaky advice considering the easy way is far away from the dissertation---the way of the reality tv show accompanied by a glass of wine. Plus, pursuing the easy way consistently results in fairly low quality products, I’ve found.

I have worried too much lately that the dissertation work lacks the hard way of the critical theorists. That’s been nagging at me and I am working now on letting go of always needing to take the hardest route possible. Maybe my easy way will let me rely on what I know and let go of what I don’t. For awhile at least.

I wish I could say I didn’t pay much for this “guide to dissertation success,” but that would be too easy. But perhaps you can benefit from my mistakes. You may want to pass up Get It Done, by Jain. If it appeals to you though, let me know and I’ll send you my copy.

A rare tapir sighting  Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

I saw this moose yesterday.  Posted by Hello

Contradictory Composers

I actually worked today. On my dissertation. Miracle of miracles. After boring Peter to death last night about what a miserable waste of paper my dissertation is, I decided I needed to lighten up and stop being a punk about this project. For today anyway. So while I worked this afternoon I opened a blank word file and every time I felt desperate to leave the chair I typed something on the new file, which I named "hassles." I averaged an entry about every 28 minutes or so, between 3 to 10 sentences in length. Entries covered a range of subjects---worried comments about a searing burning sensation in my esophagus, despair that I could never get through a muddled section of text, lists of possible blog topics---and somehow this seemed to help. Progress was made. It won't work tomorrow though. I've learned not to count on set processes.

And speaking of no set processes...Saul Bellow's editor wrote a piece about editing him for Slate this week. I especially liked one section where Saul made a change she suggested but railed against it while doing so. These are the contradictions I love in the editor/writer relationship.

Friday, April 08, 2005

In Gratitude...

Today I endured a few slight hardships---lost a few pages of dissertation revisions in cyber space, got scolded by a woman on a running path, and was nagged by a slight headache for many hours. As I tried to pull myself out of the glum, Peter offered to take all 5 young people to the baseball game birthday celebration SOLO. Without me. I love baseball and I’m crazy about my kiddos and their pals, but I am so happy to be alone. In a house silent except for the tapping of the keyboard keys.
So…I hereby declare that this blog entry is written in tribute to Peter, a man who has sacrificed so much for so many.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Ferrying back to Manhattan after a morning ride to Staten Island. Then we had lunch in Chinatown. I had tofu stuffed with cucumber and covered with peanut sauce. We split off after lunch. R and I headed to the Guggenheim and Q and P watched shows like Get Smart, South Park, Ed Sullivan and Twin Peaks at the Radio and TV Museum.  Posted by Hello

Dinner and fun with Dave and Yvonne, who helped us with the glorious accomodations. The kids remember Dave's descriptions of all the plays and movies he's seen this past year. We're trying to get them to the midwest.  Posted by Hello

We tried to convince this darling girl to come to the midwest too, but she chose to stay with her parents. She changed into quite the outfit for a dinner at a place called Fish Kitchen. Posted by Hello

Went through quite a few metro cards. Peter remembered all the trains and that impressed me.  Posted by Hello

Walked thru Central Park a few times. I love all the outcrops of rock there. Rode the carousel. Loved the aviary and the cotton top tamarins at the zoo.  Posted by Hello

We stayed in this beautiful apt. on 112th. Quinn looks sad because I told him to stop waving at the camera. He's done that his entire life, so it's probably hard not to do it.  Posted by Hello

We walked over to the Dakota and just as we came upon the spot where John Lennon was killed, a woman walked out of the courtyard with a huge poster of Lennon drawings. Then we walked over to Strawberry Fields. There were visitors there from other countries, on a Monday morning.  Posted by Hello

After a ride on the Staten Island Ferry where I hormonally cried passing the Statue of Liberty, we walked over to Ground Zero. Had to cry some more over there too.  Posted by Hello