Thursday, November 25, 2010


Here are things I'd rather not let slip away; things to savor.

Inspired by the mid-term elections, Iris ran an election at our house between myself and Mac.  Mac won 2-1, with the girls as a voting block (gotta get a better campaign ad) - and here is what Iris produced in declaration: "Mikol [Michael]! Mikol the Prasdint. Mikol yiey [why] do you think you won. "I think doeth [both] my grols [girls] loved me the moest." Wall cogragyowglaeshins [congratulations - the coolest way to spell congratulations ever]. And we hoep [hope] you are a good prasudint like Odamu [Obama]."  It's really fun to read out loud, especially the congratulations part.  Can't wait until Iris and I can discuss this book!

 Some years ago, someone gave DePauw an abandoned limestone quarry which the University has since transformed into a Nature Park where we like to go take walks/hikes.  It's the most interesting landscape: kind of a post-apocalyptic feel what with the ravaging of the earth and all that; but also this sense of renewal (post-post-apocalypse?) in the trees and shrubs and water working together to reclaim the terrain.  I love Iris's combination of Mary Jane shoes and a walking stick.  Go forth, little pilgrim.

Speaking (sort of) of Biblical landscapes: Donna Haraway (phenomenal future science feminist, who rocked everyone's world with ideas of the post-human and the cyborg - i.e. what if technology really does change everything? a question addressed here by two gentlemen I greatly admire) has a fascinating critique of Eden and its prizing of an originary, complete self (and that self being a man, Adam).  She argues that if we continue to long for Eden, or the Edenic state of wholeness and innocence, a self unclouded by specific and political identities, we are doomed to fail in ever collapsing the dualisms that social change tries so hard to overcome (think those of the have and have nots of gender, sexuality, race, and class).  So what is the alternative? the always already hybrid identities of people who live in a world in which technology (a human invention after all) offers genuine, authentic emotional and political experiences - where your identity (fragmented between its body, its existence in the physical public sphere and its mind, or whatever part of your interacts with the internet) is fluid and unfixed and there is a common framework (the computer, the internet) approximating a common language. She talks about identity not as objects in the world (bodies) but as networks of information.  To which a student contributed: "So, Babel except it's not a bad thing?"  It's been a Babel-y semester.  I looked up Genesis 10, seeking a description of pre-catastrophe Babel, but it's not there, instead, a listing of the generations of the sons of Noah.  To ponder further: are we selves working towards a return to an innocent wholeness, or are we selves always already hybrid within complicated knowing identities? I probably ought to ask a kid. Or Adam himself (did he ever feel whole, actually, after the rib was taken? does the search for plenitude go back that far?). Or Hildegard of Bingen, or Catherine of Siena or any number of mystics who lived most of their lives virtually.

So Mac took 75 students to Chicago for the day last week-end and the kids and I drove up the night before to reunite with childhood friends of his (because to know Mac is to love him for a long long time).  Here, the kids are preparing themselves for when the CTA trains becomes a roller coaster, as promised by Uncle Sean, whom you see smiling on.  Uncle Sean is very funny and leads to much mayhem.

We tooled around downtown before meeting up with Mac and touched the Flamingo sculpture by Calder.  Oliver's just read the Calder Game (book report!) and so this was pretty terrific. I love how serious he is, how intentionally he touches the steel.  The look on Eleanor's face is pretty much the one she had when she told me the other to "outgrow yourself" as I was heading out the door to go teach.  Little kids in the big city.

I just like the strange strange expressions on the girls' faces here, at  the Brookfield Zoo.  Intrigue at the penguin house.

and so finally:
  • if you wish to rethink both Leviticus and parenting, please oh please oh please read this piece by Ian Frazer - I never did quite catch my breath I was laughing so hard; Oliver loved the cadence of the language (thereby confirming my increasing suspicion that he was an Old Testament prophet in a past life); Iris kept saying "this makes no sense" (my non-fiction child); and Eleanor said "just like at our house!" an alarming number of times.
  • also: in that marvelous time that is the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving break, when respite and recipes shimmer in their fullest potential before you, when your kids are beaming happy with plans for board games and play-doh, when your husband's going to read this awesome piece by Ian Frazer at dinner, when really just for now, but also absolutely, all is well with the world, few things are more fantastic than a sidecar at the cocktail hour and cacio e pepe for dinner. I'm just saying...

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