Monday, January 21, 2008

I just went and looked at my statcounter and my once hundred hits a day dwindled some time ago to thirty and more recently down to ten intrepid souls. I guess a blog is a little like a top – it’s more interesting when spinning than when sitting inert on the kitchen floor. I’m sorry that I don’t have much energy to wind up and spin the blog. The truth is that my energy is low on all fronts. I am doing more with progressively less energy.

I was watching some of the NFL pre-game coverage and a linebacker for the Patriots was waxing philosophical about how football is not a game where anyone plays healthy, he said that every player plays nearly every game with some hidden or chronic injury. Ever one to latch onto a sports metaphor, I was thinking how apt an assessment of teaching that statement is – or of many other professions. I rarely go into teaching days with my game fully on, everything old already graded and the lesson well prepared. Ah well, twas ever thus.

Baby E is doing well. While he is still not sleeping through the night, he is most generally a very happy and content baby. We would trade a fussy sleeper for our happy insomniac any day. Yesterday we were in Illinois to watch the Packer defeat (sad) at my in-laws and Jes’ stepbrother Scot offered to trade Elliot, who he was holding, to Sue for the Zippo lighter she was holding. I thought Elliot’s being traded for a Zippo at three months of age should be documented somewhere. If this is baby book fodder, I should also note that the ever popular mirror games have fallen from the limelight and Elliot’s new favorite activity is to play super baby – where we hold him level above our heads and fly him around. He also regularly says “hi” when we say hi to him. We are not counting this as intentional speech yet – it’s more accidental as when his babble occasionally produces other words like “oh!” and “no!”.

We’ve had a political few days. Last week we went to see Madeline Albright speak at the Maryville Speaker Series. We took Beth and Vanessa with us as there were extra tickets early in the season. The speaker series normally sells out, and in fact has now sold out for this year, but occasionally they have a sluggish start and offer subscribers a few additional tickets for select events. Gary, Jes’ dad, has gifted us with a yearly subscription on the condition that we go with him and talk about the events afterward, as his Illinois coterie is not really interested – except for Sue’s (Gary’s wife) father Jack, who also went with us to see Mrs. Albright. She has a new book out of memos to the president elect – things she thinks that person will need to pay attention to as they attempt to rebuild America’s international reputation. I may have time to read it this summer, I’ll keep you posted.

On Saturday we (Kat, Brad, wife and child) tried to go see the Clintons, but we got there late (only a half hour before the event was scheduled to start) and the fire marshal had already closed the auditorium. We sat in an adjacent cafeteria for awhile where we were going to be able to see everything on a closed circuit TV, but when they announced that her plane would land in twenty minutes – making her arrival a likely two hours late – we gave up and went home.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

It may be time once again to write a Sunday blog…

Elliot is three months old today. I’d have to look at a calendar to tell you how many weeks that is, as it has been a bit of a blur. We went to brunch today at the German restaurant around the corner from us with Mira and David – not exactly to celebrate – more to have good German brunch. I may actually like the brunch at The Feasting Fox better than the Bevo brunch – it’s smaller, but it is also less expensive and less crowded. Let’s hear it for marginal neighborhoods!!!

I am procrastinating, as usual, my weekend workload from school. I hope not to get behind again this term; and yet, I have been teaching on and off for over ten years now and it seems no matter the education circumstance, I am always behind on my grading. Jes went to visit the Illinois grandparents today. I stayed home to grade, clean, and generally get ready for another work week. Going back to work after sixteen days off was difficult. Last Monday I was ready to look for a new career, but I’m back in the swing of things now. I’m teaching two different books that I love, so I think I’ll be able to make it until the summer.

I’ve heard numerous clichés about becoming a parent, how it changes everything in your life. It’s true that my priorities are shifting, which I expected, I did not expect the specific alterations in viewpoint that I am experiencing. I was holding my son this morning, letting his mother sleep in a little bit, and we were watching The Third Man (Elliot liked the zither music with which the film is scored). I was thinking about how I was holding my son as my father held me, and as Elliot may someday hold his own child. Knowing who my wife and child are, knowing that each of my students has parents who have changed their diapers, fed and clothed them for years as I am just beginning to do with my son – it’s a growth in perspective that is difficult to describe. There’s something sublime in detaching from our culture’s worship of individuality, to see instead a haphazard continuity of generations – every parent a child, every child a potential parent.

My nephew Trevor, my sister V’s son, was still in town this past weekend on his Christmas vacation. I was there soon after he was born, held him many times as an infant, fed and changed him as a toddler, gave he and his brother their first rides on dirt bikes, and occasionally gave him life advice in the years from teen to college student. Friday night we played roulette at the new casino downtown and drifted our way through the bars of The Landing. As a man he has become very much like my brothers, like my father, like myself.

There is something sublime in the haphazard continuity of generations.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

And so the vacation comes to an end…

Most importantly, Beth is OK after her emergency appendectomy Friday night. She had cramps on Wednesday that she attributed to food poisoning, but as the week progressed and she wasn’t feeling any better she decided to get a doctor involved. On Friday she went from the morning with her doctor, to a CT scan in the afternoon, and then into surgery at Missouri Baptist in the evening – in recovery by ten. They removed the appendix laposcopically, leaving only three little incisions that were glued closed rather than stitched. The appendix hadn’t burst yet, but was headed in that direction.

By Saturday morning Beth was sitting up in bed and anxious to hold Elliot during our hospital visit. He folks came over from the St. Joe area and arrived in time to help her check out. She’s home now with instructions to move and do as little as possible. I don’t envy the circumstance, but I do envy those instructions.

I have procrastinated all of my prep work for this final day of vacation. This is not out of character for me. I rationalize that I am one of those people who performs better under pressure. This is not always the truth. My rabbit turtle struggles continue.

My parents have been in town and we had two parties this week to offer up distraction and require recovery from. We had a New Year’s Eve party and a Friday work party for my English department. The first party was well attended and fairly low key, the work party was the same. My college self erodes further as evidenced by my thinking that two parties in a week, much less a month, is too much. I feel like I need a vacation from the stressors of my vacation.

My parents have been visiting friends and family while using our guest room as a home base. It’s been nice having them here and today it will be good to get our house back. The best thing about the second party was that my parents helped me deep clean the whole house right before it. That I enjoy a clean house more than a party is further evidence of my eroding college self. Ah well, having cleansed my mental pallet with this blog, I must to work get.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Great Kringle Caper

The Great Kringle Caper