So Let’s Go

We are in New York again!  You might be thinking “haven’t you been there for a month already, why did this post take so long to write?” and you wouldn’t be wrong.  Every time we move I think I’m a super pro, I could host my own reality show that features my mad paper-wrapping skills and meltdowns when we run out of moving tape at 1 AM.  But when we get to the new place, it still takes me 40 years to unpack everything except the absolute most vital things.  Like the girls’ room (which is so small in this place that it makes my soul cry a little, then I think I’m being too American/suburban/obsessive, then my soul REALLY starts the waterworks).  I unpacked that mess in one day, seriously, down to every book and puzzle and robot decals on the walls.  Everything else…not so much.  Right now things are mostly good, except I have a huge corner filled with mirror packs housing all our hanging art.  It’s like half the living room.  I also can’t find my Photoshop software to install it on this new machine (Amos and I switched, I have a MacBook Air now), so no photos 😦  How do people ever do anything with Preview?  It literally should be called “You can only LOOK at photos right here.”  I mean, I guess that’s what “Preview” kind of gets at…don’t judge me, I just moved!  A month ago!  My brain’s fried…still!

Anyway, I am a rambling hot mess because the girls are upstairs, barricaded in by a baby gate, and I’m supposed to be starting Zumba again.  I got on the computer to check my school site, which started today.  What also started today is two full weeks of both girls home and Amos gone and school and exit exam reading AND THESIS PROSPECTUS (my brain is shutting down now).  I’m going to go Zumba and pretend like nailing that African dance is the MOST important thing on my should-be-doing list today.

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Mentally Moving

From “All over Albany”

Last night, talking to our neighbor friends we are going to miss like crazy, I realized that Amos and I are something of an anomaly in having moved so much.  They were asking us about packing, and we were telling them a little about where we are 8 days out from the move, and the way they reacted – like wow, you guys know how to pack! – made me think about our moving past.  Amos and I have lived together for eight years or so, and in that time we have moved 5, almost 6, times.  I know that I’m the one out of my high school friends who has strayed from our hometown the farthest, and that’s also true in my family.  Amos is different; growing up in St. Louis, having a huge graduating class, he just doesn’t talk about those people anymore.  When you have a close-knit group of 33, you tend to hold on a little more, even if you don’t see them much.

My rambling point is that I feel like a professional mover.  We know how to pack, really pack our things, so everything comes through undamaged.  We start packing weeks in advance to a system that allows us to use the necessities the longest and unpack in an orderly fashion.  Once we’re done, we break down all our boxes – all standard moving boxes, sturdy and stackable – and bundle them according to size (small, medium, large, dish pack, wardrobe).  Even as a child my family moved weirdly a lot.  We weren’t a military family, but we did have some reasons for moving on down the road.

Childhood moves:  7

Adult moves:  9

This move will be my 17th move, my 10th as an adult, my 4th with children, and my 1st that takes less than 12 hours of driving.  Those numbers feel ridiculous.  Each move has had a reason; as a child I was picked up and transplanted for some reason, although I’m not privy to them all, and our adult moves have all made sense, like this one does.  We are both weary of the nomadic life, picking up friends here and there, favorite restaurants and parks scattered all over the eastern half of the US.  That life is kind of fun, in seeing how different people are place to place (and they really are different, in subtle ways that you wouldn’t imagine would even BE changeable), but we would really love a house.  With a garden.  And a swing.

And so in moving back to NY, we are chasing that dream a little.  There we have people, we have parks and restaurants, and we are happy to revisit instead of readjust.  I know you can never step into the same stream twice, but it is at least comforting to recognize the scenery when you’re up to your knees in water.

Last Minute Visits

Grandma and grandpa are here from St. Louis!  Amos’s parents always take a vacation this time of year, sometimes to see us since we are never close to St. Louis, and this year they made it just in time to see New Jersey and NYC.  We have some fun stuff planned:  trip to Little Italy, maybe Princeton or Lambertville for antiques, swimming in the river, taking walks, watching movies.  It’s going to be a strangely relaxing week before our very last week here, during which we will be all aflutter with insane packing.  It’s really nice to have this break in the midst of packing and moving, though.  So happy they’re here!

This will probably be my last post before we get back to NY, where I hope to catch up on blogging.  Both girls will be away from home all day then, Hazel in preschool and Julia in daycare four days a week, so even though I’ll start classes again AND start hardcore working on my thesis (even though it’s not technically until spring), I will probably have more spare time in the day!  Funny how that works, right?

June in New Jersey

It has been a while since I’ve posted, most directly as a result of my new site The Two R’s.  Here you’ll find my take on reading and writing (not so much the ‘rithmetic).  This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and with Amos’s help in setting up the site, I was finally able to make it happen.

But in the meantime, we have of course still been having lots of fun here in NJ on the weekends!  Recently we visited the Central Park Zoo in NYC, walked the galleries and used book shops in Lambertville, NJ, saw the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, played sprinklers and water sensory boxes in our swimsuits in the yard, and of course visited the awesome local farmer’s market every Sunday.  The girls and I like summer life, and we especially love it when it’s not 100+ degrees every day for six months out of the year.  I can take the recent heat wave that seems to be affecting almost the entire United States as long as that mess fades before Christmas.

For your viewing pleasure, and since I still have a folder marked “Edit These” with about 300 photos lingering on my desktop, here is Hazel singing a Parliament song (“I know what you can do / let me lay some funk on you”) and another of my big girl Julia walking like a boss at the park.

Julia has been tentatively walking for a couple of weeks now, and I finally managed to get a little video of her taking some steps.  You’ll have to ignore the toys on the floor, the laundry on the coffee table, and the Dawson’s Creek on the television.  Side note – it’s intensely weird, watching something I LOVED and people I thought were HOT when I was 15.  They really only think about sex in the craziest of ways.

Anyway!  Baby steps!!

Short Version: Drive to Philly, Don’t Lose Your Mind

Today we took advantage of living in New Jersey and drove to Philadelphia.  Seriously, all anyone here talks about it how close we are to all this awesome stuff, but a lot of that awesome stuff is in NYC and Philly and not in New Jersey.  So, off we went, for my second visit to the city and everyone else’s first, to spend the day at the Franklin Institute.  Hands down, one of the best science centers I’ve ever been to; only a handful of exhibits were broken, and you all know the percentage is usually closer to 25% (or 100% if you’re talking about Cleveland, but that’s another story).  We pre-ordered tickets, so that meant we just sauntered up in there at 9:30 AM without waiting for a one person and started running through all the exhibits.  Seriously, it had a range of attractions that were only a little over our very precocious, mega genius almost-four-year-old’s head, so we really walked through every room of every floor, exploring everything.  After spending four hours between the three floors, we had a bit of lunch at the Foodworks (not too shabby, but very basic fare), touched everything in the gift shop, and headed home.  The drive was lovely, only partly on a highway, and the worst part of the day was  Jules throwing up in the backseat.  Luckily we were only 15 miles from home, and even more luckily she didn’t throw up again ever, so it was a calamity quickly dealt with.  You have to love a day trip with very little kids that begins with French toast bagels and coffee in the car and ends with steak and a nice cabernet sauvignon.  I mean, seriously – when is the last time you’ve been able to spend all day out with kids and still have time and nerves to grill out and pop a cork when you get home?  I usually never do!  If that is what a trip to Phila is like, then sign me up daily.

 

Bedhead

Her sweet, wispy hair wavers between blond and brown, a kind of burnished, aged gold.  She is always happy to wake up, always excited to gaze at the cars passing by when we open up the blinds to let in the morning sun.  That little curl in the back just does me in.

My semester is over, and so school work happens at a much slower pace.  During the couple of hours everyday that Julia naps, I totally embrace the summer like I’m a 20-year-old coed, which means a lot of string cheese snacks and naps on the couch.  I think the last semester was extra trying on my rusty 29-year-old brain.  Seriously, can you believe that?  I’m 29 – TWENTY NINE YEARS OLD.  I’m officially at the age that I thought was, like, superly totally OLD when I was 15.  And maybe it’s the superly total oldness, or maybe the full-time parenting with two insanely energetic kids, combined with the brain aerobics I was working all semester, but I’m just fried.  I can barely make a sentence right now.  Type hard it be.

Just for fun – McGrumpfacerton

But if I’m going to make the next 50 years of my oldness less dusty and worth living, a girl’s gotta have goals.  So I’ve been working on a paper on the Daphne du Maurier novel Rebecca (1938) and the Hitchcock adaptation of the same title (1940), and early this morning at about 1 AM I submitted the final draft to an academic journal that focuses on work with a feminist perspective.  I’m so nervous and excited – I’ve finally started that long, damning slide into rejection after rejection that is academic publishing!

So all I’ve really done since my break is rewrite that paper, chop about 800 words from it, write a biography (it felt very pretentious – have you ever had to boild yourself down into about 100 words, in 3rd person?  tres weirdo), and discover Spotify.  You can just look up anything you’ve ever heard and play it.  It’s kind of amazing, and I’ve been in a Tears for Fears and Lisa Loeb 90’s coma all day.  I have an unironic, deep-seated love of the Tears for Fears jam “Head Over Heels,” and now Hazel does too.  Raising kids is all about nurturing those seeds, y’all.

So I’ll be back regularly now, although honestly we’re being very boring.  Hazel requested full-time preschool, so she’s gone everyday, and Julia sleeps almost more than her Uncle Nick, which is just barely possible.  It’s amazing and strange.  Mostly, then, I do work when I’m not staring at the wall in a post-graduate haze, and who really wants to hear me drone on about Hamlet and Donne and Moby Dick?

Of course you do.

 

I’ve been gone for a while, but all that hard work has paid off in the form of not very ripped-up papers and some hard-earned grades.  Now I’m feeling the 80 degree heat here in Jersey, and I’m looking forward to the summer.  These three monkeys are too!

Turn the Light On

Julia has apparently learned a new trick!  I was lying on my bed, reading while she napped, and I heard these scritchy scratches on the wall.  I looked up and saw her light flickering through the crack under her door.  I was all THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED for a minute before realizing it was probably her.

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