Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Busy Days + Early Nights

My blog app on my phone isn't working, so these posts I want to put up with photos (Zuzu's bedroom! a new light in the dining room! something else I can't remember right now!) are all in limbo until I either figure out the phone situation or find the time to sit down at my computer and blog the old fashioned way. For now, I'm taking 15 minutes and typing everything that comes into my head.

* It's still hot here. It has been a hot and humid fall and even though I'm not one of those people who gets all worked up about pumpkin spice and scarves, I do like those things (#sobasic), and most importantly, I wouldn't mind walking outside in crisp fall air as opposed to this warm, dampness that has defined October so far. Seriously, it's so humid my hair thinks it's wavy and frizzy when it's actually straight and fine/limp.

* The girls seem so grown up to me. Coco keeps telling me, "I'm almost a kindergartner" and my heart does this funny double beat because I love her so much and I want her to be a squishy squishy baby but also? There's something amazing about their increasing independence. I mean, we still wipe an occasional butt around here, but they can play and entertain themselves for extended periods of time and it is AH-mazing. For so long, time at home felt like it was devoted to childcare, with post-bedtime carved out for everything else--blogging, writing, projects, TV, adult conversations, personal care, general maintenance, etc. Now it's almost like we can mix things up, and it's great! But also I feel a little weepy about it. Zuzu told me she's not a squishy baby any more because she grew bones in her cheeks. And SHE DID.

* Zuzu has been learning about the human body in kindergarten and asking a lot of questions so we ordered this book and this book in order to address them. We usually refer generally to "private parts" but we also use anatomically specific language, so when we were reading the book, we were talking about what things were called. I said, "And what is the place where your poop comes out?" while pointing at the book's helpful label "anus." She said in all seriousness, "BUTTHOLE!" And then David and I couldn't stop giggling, so clearly we are not really mature enough for this conversation.

* Coco has been a more challenging three-year-old than she was two-year-old. The difference is that at two, there was virtually no problem that Mama couldn't solve. At three, Mama is sometimes the problem. Coco has recently gotten pissed off at me and had a couple of full-fledge screaming fits in the car that have made me miss the binky days. That kid is LOUD and can easily scream for twenty minutes straight. Ask me how I know.

* I'm teaching a novels class in the spring, and I'm super excited about it. I'm subtitling it "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists" (that's a quote from George Eliot, who was a woman, who wanted women to write serious literature). We're starting with Frankenstein and reading Jane Eyre, The Return of the Soldier, The Wide Sargasso Sea (a sort of follow-up to Jane Eyre, told from Bertha Rochester's perspective), The Handmaid's Tale, and ending with the new Kamila Shamsie novel, Home Fire, which is  retelling of Sophocles's Antigone. It's a LOT of reading, but it's all so good.

* We are thinking about getting a cat. I'm wondering if my allergies would flare up. I'm worried it would destroy our furniture. But we are thinking about it. It would have to be the right kind of cat.

* I'm drowning in grading, which also helps explain the silence of the blog. So. Many. Papers. And exams. Blergh.

* Yesterday was the only day on my calendar for the month of October that doesn't have something scheduled or something I need to remember to do. I think October and May are our busiest months. A lot of fun stuff, but still just a lot of stuff.

* The girls have been doing gymnastics, which is really cute. They both seem to enjoy it immensely. Zuzu happens to be in the same class as a little girl who's also in her kindergarten class, and they are good buddies, so that's sweet. I'm not sure they are a great influence on each other, but they sure have fun! Coco takes gymnastics very seriously and tries to race through each of the activities like it's a speed game. She makes me laugh, but she really listens to her coaches and tries to do exactly as they say (needless to say, this is a quality not shared by all of my kids...). We go on Saturdays because weeknights feel too short as it is, and I guess we'll sign up for the next session.

* We have family photos scheduled for a couple of weeks from now. WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR? I've been contemplating this for ages and all I feel is panic and woe. I have nothing to wear! I have a closet full of clothes! Everything is stupid! I should go shopping but I don't want to buy clothes, I want to buy house stuff! We need to save money! But also I want to not hate what I'm wearing in these photos! Panic and woe.

* My book club is reading this book for October. I haven't started it yet, but I plan to dive in this weekend. I'm already terrified!

* I ordered these products for my face a few weeks ago. Some beauty blogger I read recommended them, and I like that they are simple ingredients, cruelty-free, and also not very expensive. So far my skin seems to be liking them. Has anyone else tried these? It felt weird at first, like I was doing science with my eye dropper bottles, but I've gotten used to it and the oils absorb really quickly. I follow this regimen, and I slap my moisturizer with SPF on top of it in the morning:

(1) Buffet, (2) Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
(1) Buffet, (2) Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane, (3) 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
Always avoid unprotected solar exposure.

* Last week, I took the girls to a Black Lives Matter vigil at our church. We've been talking a lot about race, equality, racism, and protests in St. Louis, but I think that seeing other people holding up Black Lives Matter signs made something click for Zuzu. She seemed to get suddenly that it's not just a thing that I say, but something that many people believe. We had a complicated conversation about why we don't say "All lives matter" (one person drove by and yelled that at us). It's a pretty hard concept for a lot of adults to understand, so I imagine it is confusing for a five-year-old. I told her that everyone's life matters, but that we have some unfair systems in place that hurt mostly black people. So the reason we're saying Black Lives Matter is because we want people to remember that black people are just as important as white people and we want to change things to make everybody feel safe and equal.

I feel like I'm fumbling through most of these conversations, but I know it's important to make the effort. This podcast about how not to accidentally raise a racist is a good place to start:


And if you want to go a bit further:


* Back to work here. These world literature exams aren't going to grade themselves... (If only.)


  1. Wait, you write your blog posts ON YOUR PHONE?? You have my undying respect. I find it impossible to tap out more than a few sentences on mine for a comment or text. Anything longer & I need to fire up the laptop. I guess maybe I'm showing my age... :p ;)

    I am with you on the warm fall temperatures... the air conditioning has been running nonstop the last few days. IT'S MID-OCTOBER. Where I grew up (further west & north), we sometimes used to have our first snowfall by now. I am still wearing capris & sandals here, for the most part, & while I do like my capris & sandals, I also have a closet full of long-sleeved T-shirts and sweaters that are feeling neglected. The leaves are behind schedule to turn colour & apparently the colours won't be as vivid this year because of the warmer temps.

    Love your Coco & Zuzu stories. :) And I want to take your course!!

    1. Haha, no, I don't usually type whole blog posts on my phone. I type them and then use the app on my phone for easy insertion of photos (because I pretty much exclusively take pictures on my phone). That's the hold up on photo posts!

  2. A cat?! Eeeeeeeeeee!!!! Talk to me! I would love to help guide you! But you know I'm #ccl so you've been warned 😂

    1. I love cats but I worry about allergies and David worries about furniture destruction and pee accidents...

  3. I hate typing on my phone. I don't know how you do it. Ugh.

    1. I don't type on my phone much, but I use it for easy insertion of photos into blog posts that I type on my computer over lunch.

  4. The best solution to your cat concerns is to get two cats! I'm serious! They will chase each other instead of scratching things and peeing in inappropriate places.