Saturday, November 30, 2002

Before the archives close on this my second week of blogging, the poem of the week:

Poetry is an Exercise in Futility


Describe for me, will you

How white with dew and dim light
The grass in the cowfields echoes the eclipse
Of the log which the fire consumed.

How awakened, the wind
Creeps under the cat-door
If I am late returning.

The persistent reappearance of certain words,
Like language, and cat, and sometimes.
As if these things could be understood.


Or treat it as a hypothetical case:

Aaron is in the car discussing his impending affair.

We are following Aaron’s girlfriend’s car
Which Aaron’s girlfriend is driving
Back from the garage in Wilmington.
We are watching carefully for signs
That it was not fixed correctly.

Smoke pours out the exhaust
At traffic lights.

We pass to tell her and change our minds
At the last second, just keep going.

Aaron’s girlfriend waves
At the back of Aaron’s head
In the rear view mirror.

Now you try writing a poem about that.


I keep thinking
The boots are the cat.
I keep thinking. The boots. The cat.

Write that.


While we are still lovers, let us continue
To shower each other with constant small gifts.

The impending moon hangs on our every world.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:15 PM | 1 comments

You've Got Pictures

Matt made a slide show of our Thanksgiving story for the family to share.

The one with the beard holding the baby is me.

[added 12/2/02 at 2:00 a.m.] Matt just sent me an e-mail warning me that some of the pictures are 3.1M, so don't try this unless you've got decent bandwidth.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:52 PM | 0 comments

Calm, Before the Storm

The kids come back in 48 hours. Sigh...I miss them, but they are what I do for a living.

And I'm not the only one here on campus who withdraws to preserve these last few empty days. The streets are dead quiet; they have been all day; they were all day yesterday. When you live at a school, no matter how much you like your neighbors, they are still your coworkers. Sometimes you need a more solid line between work and home. Home becomes a sanctuary.

And so we watch television, becoming one of a series of blue flickering windows across the two campuses of Northfield Mount Hermon School as our vacation ebbs away. Darcie curls up on the couch while Willow sleeps in our bed. Leftovers are served -- like wine, I find that gravy only gets better with age and reheating. The vintage is excellent. During the commercials for Erin Brockovich, Emeril makes A Fresh Cranberry and Semisweet Chocolate Trifle on the Food Network

Mmm...trifle. Maybe there's some pie left.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:13 PM | 1 comments

Everyone Sleeps But Me

While Darcie is asleep with Willow in the bedroom, I've been slowly personalizing the blog template. Now there's more sections o' stuff on the right, for example. I've also added a watercolor tree I found at The Online Bonsai Icon Collection to the title bar above. The tree looks funny; I think the transparency is a bit off.

This isn't news, really, but it's a good way to while away some time while waiting for Laura to call.

I can see her car in the driveway from here. Why doesn't she call me?

posted by boyhowdy | 4:28 PM | 0 comments

Alternate Blog Titles

Considered but discarded:

Obviously, some of these were already taken, and some sound too stupid to last. But when you're faced with a growing community of bloggers and livejournal-ers, almost a million strong, the race is on to call yourself something memorable...or get lost in the shuffle.

For the record, I have a bumper sticker on my van that says Not all who wander are lost. If ever I had a credo, that's it. That, or maybe the best things in life aren't things.

And why bother with the list? Well, it provides good context, if nothing else. Of course, it's also good practice, as one day I hope to write for McSweeney's. Until then, the blog will have to do.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:19 PM | 0 comments

The Return of Work

The students don't return until Monday night, but I have enough work to keep me busier than I'd like.

As chair of the school's professional development committee, I have to coordinate the faculty development day activities for Monday afternoon before the kids arrive, which involves collecting the last few descriptions of the twelve round-robin workshops and handing out the "master list" for all faculty on SWIS, the friendly First Class-based School-Wide Information System. That was supposed to happen yesterday.

Then, since I'm presenting one of the workshops ("New Nonlinear Forms of Classroom Expression"), I have thinking about what I'm actually presenting. Of course, since several presenters want to use Powerpoint in their presentations, I also have to put my Ed Tech hat on and meet with them this afternoon or tomorrow to help them think about the best way to do that...

And yet here I am writing about it instead of doing it. Ah, blog.

I'm teaching a new course this term comparing images of youth, culture, politics and satire in The Simpsons, South Park, and Beavis and Butthead that I haven't really started preparing for. The class starts Wednesday, so I have plenty of time.

Because it was late already, I also wrote yet another college rec letter for a student this morning. It's such an honor to be asked, but I hate the process of writing them. Knowing that your letter could make the difference between acceptance and rejection for some worthy student is almost too much pressure to bear, and it drags the process down into nitpickiness. Two more to write in the coming weeks and then we're done for the year, thank G-d.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:29 PM | 0 comments

Friday, November 29, 2002

Outside, The Coydogs Play Marco Polo

Virginia and I just went outside to see the snow.

It's always quiet around here when the students are gone.

But snow somehow makes everything quieter, if just for a little while. On those nights you can hear coydogs.

The coydogs are amorphous, unseen, mythical beasts hidden in the acres of New England wilderness that surrounds us here. They howl until the fog comes, and morning; all night; long after the train passes, whining, over the highway; while the dog shudders in her sleep beneath the comforter.

It is possible that they sense the quiet campus and fill the empty air with their voices in replacement. It seems equally possible that the coydogs are always there. Both possibilities seem ominous.

Last year another teacher's dog was killed by a coydog. We don't let Zellie out without a leash.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:53 PM | 0 comments

Thanksgiving on Friday

It seems very late, but it isn't. I guess Thanksgiving is a lot of work.

We were up and doing errands by ten -- wine and beer, flowers and shrimp -- then home and frantic cleaning for the guests who never saw the apartment while Darcie set everything up downstairs. Then suddenly, while my arms were still deep in the sink suds, everyone arrived at once, and the day kicked in hard right around 12:30. I was in Social Mode for most of the afternoon, and barely remember eating. What I do remember:
  • Baby up, Baby down. I think she was overstimulated. Didn't spit up on anyone, though (a Thanksgiving miracle).
  • Clay's overly alcoholic tiramisu
  • Too many pies
  • Bruno and Zellie under the table, begging for scraps
  • Bruno and Zellie growling at each other under the table and having to be separated
  • Sarah's new girlfriend Hesse, picked up from Brattleboro, reading in the corner after Sarah left.
  • Foosball. Lots and lots of Foosball. I think I won one game.

Overwhelmingness. The rest is sort of a blur already. So many people to see and talk to, one invariably watches people leave thinking did I ever talk to Darcie's Aunt Vivian today? But I had some good conversations with my father. And we finally got a chance to ask Jesse if he'd be willing to be appointed legal guardian of Willow if something were ever to happen to both Darcie and me. Talk about a conversation you could never imagine having...until you have kids.

It was the first night of Channukah, so Darcie, my parents, my siblings, Willow and I lit candles and sang the brachot. Sarah gave Darcie and I Baby Signs, a potentially fascinating book about using ASL and body language to communicate with your pre-verbal and early-verbal child.

Neil brough a slide projector and showed pictures of him growing up outside of Montreal, Darcie at 4 and Alicia a baby, Patty and Neil at his mother's house. Younger people, or aliens on vacation, sometimes in boats. I got out some slides my grandmother had given me of my parent's wedding and showed them, too.

The snow started about an hour before dark. The "adults" went home, as did my siblings, and while Darcie went upstairs to put the baby to bed, Josh and Clay, Alicia and Matt, Virginia and I hung out for a while talking about families, comparing notes and recovering our pasts for each other.

We have so much to be thankful for, really.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:37 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, November 28, 2002

A Thanksgiving Intermission

Darcie's sister Virginia and I just got back from a whirlwind tour of the downtown Greenfield service station mini marts. Darcie's not feeling well and needed meds.

She needs her strength because we're hosting an 18 person Thanksgiving tomorrow. The three of us; Darcie's parents and mine; my artist brother; my sister and her girlfriend of the moment; Darcie's brother, his girlfriend and her brother and father; Virginia; Alicia and Matt and Darcie's twice-divorced Aunt Vivian will fill ourselves to the gills in the dorm lounge downstairs.

Yeah, I know it was today. We do Thanksgiving on Fridays at our house. That way there's no fighting about whose parent's house we went to last year. On Thursday -- today -- everyone else sees other relatives, and we get the day off.

As an added bonus, the drunks and the cops are off the road by Friday. But they sure were out tonight.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:04 PM | 0 comments

To Bountiful, Redux
Missing Martha at the Olive Garden

Part Four:
Aunt Lil

When my father's parents first moved down to Florida, there was already another reason to visit: Lil and Milty, Grandma Martha's sister and her husband, a pilot. I remember their cactus garden and days on the beach, playing in the sand and sea. Once I got stung by a Man O' War; I remember it hurt like a sonavabitch. Milty loved science and engineering, and we shared a love of figuring out how things ticked; I remember when he passed away I was offered some Geo magazines of his as a keepsake, although I don't know where they are anymore.

And I remember being hurt when I wasn't allowed to go to Uncle Milty's funeral. For a long time, Milty was the only relative I remembered enough to love directly who had died. Cancer. Young, relatively speaking.

My mother's parents had moved to Florida too, and we began to go down to Florida more often, almost every year when we were kids. Martha, Lil's sister, was the family matriarch, strong and strong-willed, boss of the household, a Brooklynite Jewish Grandmother who once came into my own house, opened my refrigerator, and offered me my own food. A woman of willpower and determination, who quit smoking, finally, in her late seventies.

I could write a book about Martha, but it's too soon, I think. I miss her.

Four months ago, Martha fell into a coma and passed on. Two days later, on July 15th, at 8:14 in the morning, Willow Myla Farber was born by planned C-Section: Myla for Martha, and for Mildred, Darcie's grandmother, who passed a few years after Darcie and I first started dating. I sent a eulogy, which my brother read, reportedly with aplomb and maturity. But I missed the funeral: Jewish law mandates a quick burial any day but the Sabbath day, and the baby was too close.

Lillian, her sister, lives alone in a complex of ten thousand senior citizens outside Boca Raton “for the security,” a twenty minute drive from the now-sold sister she loved and sometimes hated for weeks at a time, with no one to call on the phone just to say hello. We went to her the afternoon of the 24th, Sunday, and took her out to the Olive Garden at her request…and recreated Martha as best we could.

And were thankful together.

posted by boyhowdy | 5:06 PM | 0 comments

Bountiful, Redux
One and One-Half Wandering Jews

Part Three:
Hy and Florence

Continental breakfast in the small dining room at the Plaza Inn in Palm Beach. Silver service coffee; sticky banana cornbread muffins; passing the baby back and forth over the fruit cups.

Sunday morning, exactly 24 hours after leaving home, we headed back inland towards Cresthaven, the retirement community my father's parents have lived in for 24 years.

This meant driving through the endless sprawl of strip malls and superstores which have sprung up to serve the burgeoning suburban belt, a band of pavement, cars, and dirty canals that, on a map, cuts a wide swath just inside of the beach communities along the substantive part of the Eastern border of Florida. I seem to remember that these things were not here, that the land was pristine, back when Florence and Hy Farber first moved down to Florida in the late seventies. When we were very small, my brother and I used to dig for fossils -- powdery grey imprints of clam shells, clams being an abundant and therefore cheap filler for concrete -- in the building zones when we came to visit, and going out to eat meant going back towards town; now there are no towns, only endless suburbia.

Finding the turnoff for Cresthaven was easy, but finding the house proved more challenging. In 24 years, I've probably been to this house nine or ten times. Until a three years ago, when my Grandmother's body began to betray her, my father's parents had come up North to summer in Killington Villiage, along with half their retirement community, it seemed. There was never a need for us to trek to Florida; eventually, those who could make the migration -- and a migration it was, North in the Summer and South in the Winter -- came back each year like wild geese do.

But Florence walks with a cane now, turtle-slow, after breaking her arm falling off a curb a year or two back. She's had stomach problems, with accompanying whatever-ostomies. Cataracts have left one eye blind, swollen shut, and the other able only enough for books in large print. I remember her as solidly cynical and complaining; now that she has much to complain about, paradoxially, of course, she seems happier, or at least at ease with herself in a way I do not remember.

Hy takes care of her when he needs to; mostly, she sits around the house, which doesn't demand direct care. He's much more active, but in a kind of supervisory role for the community which brings him a notoriety and accessibility she can't stand and he seems to relish. He calls the bingo games at the Clubhouse twice a week, and plays old standards for them on the Organ with a rhumba beat, wiring the speakers from the organ straight out to the pool that no one uses. When we go to the clubhouse, there is a sign tacked to the top of the community bulletin board -- Bulletin Board Supervisor: Hy Farber. Effective September 1989. -- which says it all.

Years ago, he used to beat my father soundly at pool. Now, in the clubhouse, he carefully peels back and folds the thin plastic tablecloth to reveal a carefully maintained pool table; breaks; loses twice to me, even though I am using a house cue while his unlocked from a wall rack. It isn't that I've improved. He's getting old, the first real sign of strain I've seen in him in 20 years or more.

We spend Sunday morning, and then Monday morning and afternoon, at their house in Cresthaven.

I glean precious gems about my father over the two days.

Hy watches the baby on her blanket while we talk as if he might never see her again.

I hear my grandmother say Joshua seems like a very active Father; you're very lucky; men weren't so involved when Steven and Susan had him to Darcie in the other room when he and I are talking about my father.

They show us pictures of Aunt Marion, who has a huge head as a result of water on the brain. She lives only in black and white, in memory and one or two very old pictures. Marion died before my father was born, and bringing the baby to them seems to make them wistful; they talk more about family, especially about their lost daughter, than I have ever heard even from my father.

I think about my father, and his father. I learn that my paternal great grandfather, who neither my father nor I ever met, sang while he farmed, and that my grandfather, his son, played the harmonica to accompany him.

I think about my father, and myself, and my daughter.

My heart sings.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:03 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

To Bountiful, Redux
What I did on My Thanksgiving Vacation. So Far.

Part One:

After three hours of sleep and an all-nighter frantically grading student finals and writing progress reports, baby swaddled, Darcie in the back seat watching over her, trunk luggage-full, we piled into the car at ten on Saturday morning and drove off down 91, to the Merrit Parkway and then to Bridgeport, Connecticut by noon, where Darcie's younger sister, Alicia, lives with her fiancee Matt.

Growing up, Alicia was the poised one, pretty, personable, talented and popular; a Winter Carnival Queen (essentially Miss Brattleboro; she wrote a short essay, played piano and, due to a pending concern about the sexism inherent in swimsuit competitions, joined her co-contestants in tennis outfit competition to win a decent scholarship) whose boyfriends were so forgettable her family remembers them by the upscale cars they drove. She and Matt met on the management track at Ernst & Young; she left a year or so ago to write position papers for the Financial Accounting Standards Board. He drives a VW Passat. She used to drive a VW Beetle, and now drives an Altima, I think. To be fair, now that we have a baby, we drive an '02 Toyota Camry, the most stereotypical family car on the market. But for comparison's sake, I also still have an eyesore of a rusting-out conversion van in the driveway, maroon with wooden interior. And Darcie's parents drive older Saabs.

Alicia and Matt are accountants, yuppies, anomalies (Darcie and Alicia grew up surrounded by cows and goats; the family is otherwise made up of farm stock and teachers). He's very conservative, from a somehow softer version of a traditional Italian background than one imagines in the stereotype, a bit distant from the down-to-earth values the "rest of us" share...but, to be fair, I was an upper middle class suburbanite once too, and I got over it. They are the only people I know who live in a condo. They have leather couches which their bug-eyed dog Bruno isn't allowed on. They stay home on weekends to play the new X-box game together. If you can't tell, I like Matt and Alicia.

They cooed at the baby for a while (they were the first people I've met so far who weren't comfortable with breastfeeding in their presence, so Darcie did that in the other room, but Matt was fascinated by the kid) and then Matt and I picked up lunch from a great cheap burgeranddog joint around the corner, the kind that serves only six things and does them really well. The two of them are on the Atkins diet together, so they ordered multiple dogs and burgers with the works, then scraped it all off and ate only the meat.

They're planning on getting married...sometime after Matt finalizes his decision to leave his current job and spend three years in law school.

Part Two:
Leaving on a Jet Plane

Narrowing in on Laguardia took all day, really. Originally, we had thought about going down all week, gradually, on Amtrak, but the sleeping berth cost far too much money -- it would have been almost two thousand dollars (!) for the three of us round trip. We could have flown out of Hartford, but the direct flights were twice as expensive from there, and a two-leg flight is out of the question, as Darcie gets airsick, and we had nightmares about the baby screaming for four hours straight while our fellow passengers pretended it was all okay until they snapped and tried to flush us down the tin lavatory toilets.

From Matt and Alicia's at 4:00 back to the Merritt Parkway and an airport shuttle waiting in a carpark in Norwalk by 5:00; from there to Laguardia with a nice but quiet couple who didn't speak much English. I like to plan enough time for things to go horribly wrong before they resolve themselves; the problem with this approach is that when everything goes smoothly, you're looking at a three hour wait at a Starbucks in the airport, trying not to spill on the baby while people smile at the young family unit.

Too many grande vanilla lattes and diaper changes later we were on an almost empty plane with the last six rows entirely to ourselves. The baby slept through the whole flight. So did Darcie. I did all the crosswords in Sky in about 30 minutes and read an engrossing article about Paul Simon (the musician, not the politican with the bow ties), the usual decent short fiction, prim and overly metered poetry, and great cartoons in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

When you get on the plane it's boarding, not enplaning or just planing, yet when you get off, for some reason, it's deplaning. We deplaned at West Palm Beach just before 11:00 p.m., gathered in our baggage, took a shuttle bus to the car rental agency, overtipped the shuttle driver, and drove off in the rental, one of those retro-looking PT Cruisers, into the warm air of curiously quiet Saturday night in mid-coastal Florida.

Late-night impressions of the Plaza Inn of Palm Beach are hazy, mostly an ancient elevator and a purple glass chandelier throwing shadows on a room threadbare but of the highest seaside poshness and class, like an ancient society dowager in her finest 30 year old dress. The king bed was soft and fit the three of us.

Coming Soon:

Hy and Florence

Aunt Lil

posted by boyhowdy | 9:44 PM | 0 comments

A Trip To Bountiful
And On The Third Day He Rose Again

Va-ca-tion, n. The act of emptying oneself of one's place.


Three humans -- one a mere babe -- drop the dog off with the parents and leave their usual orbits for a whirlwind tour of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Our pilgrimage to Florida by way of Connecticut was hardly an act of emptying or emptyness, but it was a catharsis, a letting-it-all-out nonetheless. Like any catharsis, it presents itself to me as raw and sentenceless long after our return. It hardly feels like blog material; my mind is still whirring, processing the raw data, collating, filing the story elements.

The narrative bomb will have to wait. For now, the prosaic raison d'etre:

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Dear Family; Dear Table:

Most families see all their closer relatives on Thanksgiving. But there are always other cousins, great aunts, those who we see piecemeal, in ones and twos, throughout the week. Surely all families have their more distant and disconnected members? Their sisters of the dead who hover behind us like ghosts when we gather? Their few black sheep, their others so much farther from the center of the table that they are not really there at all?

For Aunt Marion I never knew; Martha whom I loved; nameless fathers of grandfathers. For each those who gave love and life to those of us who sit at this table.

For all these blessings, we give thanks.


posted by boyhowdy | 3:01 PM | 0 comments

Friday, November 22, 2002

Friendship is a Sheltering Tree

Up late late late last night chatting to Molly, to whom I am proud to offer a supportive ear. It's good to have a friend like Molly. We have a lot in common: music, style, literature, philosophy...and that amorphous, ill-defined thing, that spark, which makes some people connect quickly and easily, like you've known them all your life.

I used to think that sort of connection with students wasn't appropriate. Some teachers feel that way inherently. But after finding that spark with Ellen last year, and finding a great friendship there, I no longer resist such opportunities, but embrace them. I know what I would be missing, now, and refuse to miss it just because of how some insitution sees lines and delineations in my life.

Funny how hard it is for most of us in most situations to get past the roles we play: how the line between mentor and student never fades or fuzzes with and for most students, but the same line gets so blurry with a few special kids each year...especially with digital technologies like blogs or AIM, which really create an entirely different power and position balance between people than the classroom setting does, a good platform for a student/teacher dynamic to turn into a friend/friend dynamic. Sometimes I wish more students could put aside the "fear of teacher," but I'm happy to take what I can get. Keeps me from feeling too old, anyway, to have young friends with new perspectives and fresh ideas.

The challenge, of course, is that students move on. Each one graduates after a while, while I stay here. What I hear from other teachers who embrace the "I commune with people of all ages" aspect of boarding school life as productive and celebratory is that such friendships will indeed seem to lose some of their immediacy as they move on and I...stay behind. Certainly I haven't spoken with Ellen since she started college this Fall. But some friendships are always situational, some friends are always less "there when you need them" and more "there when they're there." In my memory, I see those friendships as strong, and am glad for having had them. Maybe that's a Good Thing.

Molly needs support, as her life is about to hit a rough patch for a while, and there's not much she can do about it. But it's not my place to tell her story. See her blog for more if you want to lend your own supportive ear.

Gone Fishin'

In other news, we leave tomorrow morning for West Palm Beach to visit my father's parents, a cheerful but failing couple who are almost ninety and will likely never leave the state again, although they can still take care of themselves and each other. My mother's mother passed away two days before Willow was born this summer; it's a bit morbid to realize that we're in such a hurry for Willow to meet the "other" grandparents, even though they were never the "favorite" grandparents, because this may be their only chance. She won't remember the visit, but we'll be able to tell her about it later in life. I never knew my own great grandmother either, but seeing myself as an infant in crumbly black-and-white on her lap has become a source of strength in my adult life nonetheless.

Surely I'll have much to relate about family, feuds, fate, Florida, and flying with babies when I return on Wednesday. Might make a nice prelude to Thanksgiving, surely a rich vein for the happy blogger.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:50 PM | 0 comments

The Fog Comes In

It's foggy out there tonight, and the kids are all gone for Thanksgiving break. Made me think of a poem I wrote a few months ago.

from On The Mountain

After five years on the mountain
All of us have forgotten the way
The fog comes in off the Connecticut River,
Rolling back like the tide while we sleep.

Outside we stand submerged
Up to our necks, look out across
The white ground at eye level,
Watch the camper sink and rise.

Imagine the students smothering
In their half-buried dormitories
Like ruins, their second stories
Cut off mid-window, their pillows
Floating like clouds on the clouds.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:13 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, November 21, 2002

"It is impossible to say just what I mean!"

Am rereading a collection of T. S Eliot poems. So I've got that going for me.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:41 PM | 0 comments

Dinner At The Deerfield Inn

High culture. A 7$ glass of dry and delicious white wine; partridge; wild mushrooms; shrimp bisque. Sorbet between courses.

Cranberry sorbet.


Eating out with the baby is always a crapshoot. Sure, people come over and coo, which is very ego-serving, but there's always the possibility that the baby will start wailing for no apparent reason and never stop. It's kind of like eating supper with a time bomb whose LED readout has run out of batteries. You're always on the balls of your feet. Here, is she done with the ladybug? I have a rattle, a glowstick, and a stuffed bear...ooh, get that, it's running down your shirt. The only other place I can think of where this same conversation might take place is a rave. Maybe.

If you're not a parent, then you have no idea what a shift in social status and approachability a baby brings in the company of strangers. If you have a cute dog, like we do, then you are at least familiar with the immediate intimacy of some previously unknowns, but the-baby-as-conversation-starter phenomenon goes eons farther. I now know more about the four year old daughter (Grace) of the waitress (name unknown) than I could ever need, and enjoyed a long conversation with an elderly couple from Albany when they stopped at our table to let us know how cute our daughter is, and look, she's awake! She can hold my finger, yes, there's a smile. Nice people, but it sort of disrupts the premise of the "quiet dinner out at a nice place for once."

The mind is a funny thing. I remember Albany and Grace, yet I have already forgotten the essential details (name, vintage, winery) of a wine I rather enjoyed and would order again, although I hardly drink, and when I do I prefer a good Pale Ale. Oh well. Probably no great loss. Beer goes bad in my refrigerator; a twelve-bottle wine rack on the same fridge contains only two empty bottles of wine and a single, still-corked bottle of dusty mauve stuff probably purchased for guests who never showed.

Random thought: The odd thing about starting a blog at two months shy of 30 is that the substance of my adolescence may be forever lost to history. Likely it will be read between the lines, in fits and starts across this stage.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:17 PM | 0 comments

My First Recipro-Blog

I had an article here somewhere about blogging which I clipped from Newsweek, but it's buried under piles of stuff-in-a-box. When you live in a dorm apartment, you don't have space to think, let alone keep lots of good juicy piles around you all the time like smart ADHD people are supposed to use to organize their stuff, so I've taken to keeping a few very deep boxes around. This particular box is actually an old file cabinet drawer that lives in a corner of the living room, next to the laptop, on top of an especially short bookshelf. Its current contents include a print-out of the Iron Horse schedule for the rest of the year, a Fuji Finepix 601z digital camera with lots of pix of Willow ready to download, a broken dog leash, a free sample of Advil Liqui-Gels, a copy of Games Magazine, some pens and scraps of paper with phone numbers, CDs and Silly Putty -- the usual suspects. Surely other people keep digital cameras and Silly Putty in the same box, right?

I was looking for the article because it had something in it about people providing links between blogs, creating a networked community of blogs and bloggers, which is relevant because Molly and I just did that. Maybe there was a word for bloglinking, or reciproblogging, whatever the phenomenon is called, in the article. But I can't find it without making a mess, and I don't have time to make a mess right now, as Darcie wants me to go out to dinner "somewhere nice," which means anywhere with candles and a tablecloth on each table that requires a tie.

Can you iron a tie? I guess we're about to find out...

posted by boyhowdy | 6:11 PM | 0 comments

We Are Two Trees

Willow was born on the morning of July 15th. Since then, about half of the things that come out my mouth are about her. I have had more conversations about poop in the past four months than in my entire lifetime BB (Before Baby). Who knew?

Meanwhile, about half the things that come out of her mouth are white and smell like sour milk. The rest runs the proverbial, preverbal gamut from wailing to giggling.

We're trying to teach her to say "hi" as her first word -- the first step in what promises to be a long process of guiltily trying to make her into someone we want her to be while pretending that it's the best way for her to develop into a healthy, independent adult. So far, the only sound she repeats even a bit regularly sounds something like "erla." We've decided to name her stuffed zebra "Erla" so it can be a real word.

Of course, all the experts say that babies don't talk for another few months. But surely all parents think their own kids can beat the curve, right?

Oh G-d, her life is already messed up and it really is my fault. So much for free choice and new age parenting. I suck.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:09 PM | 0 comments


Today everything I say will begin with "I." Except that sentence. And these last two. Bleargh.

I've been playing with templates. I like the one Molly and Collin used in their blogproject, but because Molly's blog already uses it, it feels like copying to use it, too. I know this is silly, as with less than 20 blog designs to choose from on Blogger, there's gonna necessarily be lots of folks using the same ones. I feel like I have to choose a different one anyway, so I chose this one (you're soaking in it now) instead. I am annoyed that the site seems to lose the CSS piece of the code (and thus all the good lookin' formatting) when I publish, but maybe this will go away.

I need a nap but it's the baby's turn. I don't hit consciousness fast enough to be able to sleep next to her in the bed so we have to take turns. I know this will eventually lead to disaster, but for now, it's worth it to watch her sleep.

I don't know if this "I" thing is working too well. Too artificial. Maybe tomorrow all sentences should begin with a different vowel. Or maybe I should just shut up.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:31 PM | 0 comments

Maybe in a couple of days when I finish all this grading things will start looking up.

I seem to have reached a new low in procrastination. Creating an entirely new universe just to avoid student papers is just...humiliatingly dumb. Tune in soon for more adventures of Captain Stupid.

At least in cyberspace, no one can hear you beating yourself up.

(Did that sentence end in a preposition? Oh, we're really rolling now...)

posted by boyhowdy | 2:19 AM | 0 comments

Um. I seem to have started a Blog.

And I can see we're off to a rollicking good time, too.

posted by boyhowdy | 2:14 AM | 0 comments
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