It’s my party

March 12, 2015

At this point in my life I kind of like getting older. I don’t love the web of wrinkles spreading across the backs of my hands, but I have no problem admitting my age or owning it. It feels like an accomplishment.

So when I say it’s my birthday and I’m having a shitty day it’s not because I’m bummed about aging. It’s just a stressful month at work and things are slipping out of my hands like I’m carrying too many dishes to the sink and some just dropped and shattered. Silly things like getting confused about teacher workday at Oz’s preschool – I thought it was today and arranged for childcare all morning and then I got an email this morning reminding me that it’s actually tomorrow. So I guess tomorrow I’ll just take the morning off and stay home with my kid. But I’m still annoyed that he missed school today.

Anyway, these are little things, nbd, just the fact that it is my birthday makes it seem like a tragedy. And Gimli is out of town on my birthday for the 3rd year in a row which I have to admit does kind of bum me out.

Sir Terry Pratchett died today, so that clinches it – I’m gifting myself the Tiffany trilogy on my Kindle. RIP Sir Terry.


March 5, 2015

It’s my birthday month, which seems to be the point in the year when I do some serious self-reflection, evaluation, and goal-setting. In that spirit, I’ve rebooted my public real-name blog and am planning to resume more regular posting here as well.

Earlier this week Gimli and I had a state-of-the-union conversation, prompted by a critical remark he made Sunday afternoon that sent me into a tailspin of despondency. It wasn’t that major a criticism – he was unhappy that I had neglected to pack a snack for an afternoon outing with the kids, and was annoyed that this forgetfulness seemed to stem from my generalized anxiety about taking the kids to a place we’d never been to before. But it cut to the quick and as I thought and thought about it all uncovered several layers of issues in our relationship that had been simmering and suppressed for a while.

So Monday afternoon we walked home in the rain, stopping at a coffeeshop to shout over the whir of the espresso machines and juicers. It’s all the usual relationship stuff – control, communication, responsibility, roles – but since I (mostly) finished my dissertation we were due for a reboot, a renegotiation. There were plenty of tears but it was so worth it. And the adjustments we are making are minimal but hopefully will reverberate in how we each feel about how the other is doing in our joint management of the household.

I will take responsibility for getting the kids ready for bed, and Gimli will actually get them to go to bed. He will make a list of the calorie values of different food ingredients we often use and I will occasionally make food (my request – I felt like he was controlling everything I eat). On weekends, we will take turns doing things with the kids so each of us can have some time at home alone.

So things are better already.

Jiggety Jig

February 3, 2015

The kids have been out of their minds with excitement to be back “in our regular house,” as Oz put it. Illyria grabbed the butterfly wings she wears and hugged them and kissed them saying “I missed you soooo much!” Our indoor herb garden is out of control and the guinea pigs are still alive and kicking.

Two months away felt like a really long time, but went by all too quickly. I am ping-ponging between gladness to be back in our space, inhaling the sights and smells of our neighborhood, and wondering how in the world we are going to last another two years here. It’s hard to pinpoint the source of my ennui but I think it actually has a lot to do with the profusion of friends we have in the US, and the dearth here.

There is no font that can imbue that word – friends – with the full weight of meaning I want to give it.

Warm soup on a snowy night, balls of sock yarn, evening rituals of chamomile tea and carrot cake, Saranac Black Forest beer in a pub where I scratched “Dr. EEP” on the heavily graffitied bench, a herd of small children running around playing together while the adults laughed and watched TV, blankets and bread and coffee and books…

It’s really hard to leave all that behind.

Another PhD unleashed on the world

January 24, 2015

It feels so incredibly good to be done and I am so glad I never ever have to do that again. It was nerve-wracking, but my committee were very kind, asked hard questions but were generous with accepting my answers. I have to admit I cried a little bit later in the afternoon when it all hit me… nine years.

After beers, I went with some friends to the Cornell-Harvard hockey game and Cornell won in the last 40 seconds of the game – it was the perfect way to cap off the day.

I am just so glad I never, ever have to do that again.

D Day

January 23, 2015

Well folks, this is it. I’m trying to think of it as an important professional meeting at which I present a project I’ve been working on (for 9 years) and answer questions about it. I’m wearing a linen skirt I found in the basement because the pants I brought to wear won’t zip up. I bought a nice pen for the “results of examination” form to be filled out at the end. I have hockey tickets for tonight, and my grad school bestie is meeting me here at the library in a few minutes. My plan for the afternoon is to knock back beers at the place we used to go after class. I have a sock to knit.

And my dissertation goddess:

dissertation goddess


December 12, 2014

Gimli is buying a ticket to Albania, leaving this Sunday – I’m hacking away at dissertation revisions with the goal of defending the last week in January. This is harder than I thought it would be. Unearthing contact information for our babysitter from 4 years ago, in case the grandparents get burned out next week while I’m on the final stretch.


So I did find my SS card, in the lock-box at the credit union. But spent a long afternoon at the DMV only to find I had the wrong kind of proof of address with me. Will need to try again sometime but can’t afford an afternoon away from the computer. (They’ve made it really complicated and difficult to get a new license in VA, since some of the 9/11 hijackers had obtained licenses here. But having my expired license really helps and I should be able to re-take the road and written tests the same day I go back in again).


The kids are enjoying the preschoolers paradise that is the grandparents’ house, and got to see snow for the first time in 4 years the day after they arrived! I had an ok time at the anthropology conference – saw a lot of people, didn’t get much sleep, spent most of the time holed up at the hotel doing revisions. Last year I heard around 50 papers (around 15 minutes each), I was so hungry for academic discourse. This year I think I heard maybe 10? Mostly stalking my dissertation committee members. I am so bored with this project. It just needs to be done.

Microblog Mondays: Rabbit Hole

December 1, 2014

This afternoon I submerged myself in the detritus of the last fifteen or so years, opening boxes laced with spider webs and insulation dust that held file folders and mementos from so many different phases of my life, it was dizzying. I was looking for my social security card, which I need to get a new driver’s license, which I need to drive in the US. But today, I walked everywhere – from my in-laws’ home where I’m staying a few nights, to campus to see BFF #1, to my old house where I let myself in the back door tripping over the renters’ boots and bicycles by the door. Down the narrow stairs into the dusty dark. Drawers filled with plastic tubs of old coins in various currencies; candle ends, a ceramic dish bought in South Africa in 2003. File folders from my first foray through graduate school, course work dated 1999. Reused Pampers boxes labeled “Oz baby clothes,” which I left taped shut. The palpable physicality of these things is what gets to me. Air travel makes distance and space so unreal to me. But touching the old leather and fabric of a hand-stitched wallet from Bolivia hurtles me through time in a way that is more physical and feels more real somehow than the flight from Bogota to DC. I don’t feel like I’m explaining it very well. I opened a manila envelope marked “Ob/Gyn” and found the wrist bands from the hospital stay for Illyria’s birth. I stuck my nose into the envelope and inhaled a scent so fresh and sweet, I couldn’t believe it, in the middle of all that dusk and dank.

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is?Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


November 26, 2014

I am hugging a soft and cuddly bag of yarn and knitted things… found on the chair of my writing desk…

Microblog Monday: Lost Things

November 24, 2014

I can’t find two bags of yarn and knitting. One bag has been sitting under my desk at work for months, containing a finished pair of socks and a hat for my sister. I procrastinated on mailing them to her, and now the bag is gone. I’ve asked everyone and no one knows where it went. It also contained some gorgeous ombre mohair that I had started knitting into a shawl, but I’m more sad about the socks and hat… look at how pretty they were turning out:


I started looking in serious when I realized I was also missing a plastic bag containing a nearly-finished cable-knit wrap, that I had taken to work on during our team retreat – I suspect I may have left it on the bus… but the other bag is a mystery to me.

I nearly lost 3 items on a weekend trip we just took to Boyacá, the beautiful green mountains and valleys to the north of the city. I managed to recover two of them (Illyria’s backpack, our water bottle – but not the headlamp) but the point I’m trying to make is that I can be extremely absent-minded and have a hard time keeping track of objects. A friend once told me I have my head in the clouds; the work we do here helps keep me grounded, but man. I hate losing things.

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is?Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

microblog monday: moving goalposts

November 10, 2014

Everything seems up in the air these days. My defense date (committee is re-negotiating for a January defense); our kids’ visas (denied a second time, but this morning we were able to get an extension on their safe-conduct); a few scattered personnel issues; the health of a distant friend. I didn’t sleep much last night.

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is?Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.