Monday, November 23, 2009


Yesterday we took a day trip to Hartford to attend the Lego Kidsfest:

The kids and husband got a chance to see the new sets for 2010, which include a Prince of Persia tie-in as well as a new Toy Story set. (Toy Story 2 is one of my top movies ever.)

The Kidsfest was exceedingly crowded. We'd bought our tickets online and were able to go right in, but the line to buy tickets at the box office was 3 hours long. A fire marshal was counting ins and outs to make sure the convention center didn't exceed capacity (apparently it reached capacity on Saturday).

But we found ourselves done by about 1 pm (we'd arrived at 10), so we decided to check out the Mark Twain House. As a student of 19th century American lit, I am always ready to go to the house of a famous 19th century author. I would have preferred Harriet Beecher Stowe, but I felt Twain would have more general appeal to my initially recalcitrant* kids. It helped that when we arrived a petting zoo was set up outside. The kids had fun petting the alpaca, sheep, and bunnies. The pot-bellied pig was also adorable. Inside there was a penny machine--always a big hit! And there was a display of toys and toy trains in a Christmas theme, and that was also interesting.

*Sophie just asked me what this word means. I told her she didn't want to do it at first. She says that she didn't want to do it the whole time.

The house itself is wonderful. I love old houses to begin with, but Twain was such an interesting person and his house befits him. The tour guide was good, and she told us the house will be featured on Ghost Hunters on SyFy on Dec. 2!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's A Very Dylan Christmas

The video I have been waiting for all my life. Bob Dylan. Christmas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flu Shot Moms

I can't say I'm emerging from grading hell. I spent 2 hours tonight grading. A weird series of quirks of fate gave me a fairly light schedule this term. I have one final tomorrow, 15 students, and then I'm done.

The past few weeks I've spent in frequent consultation with the Flu Shot Moms. They're a bunch of colleagues, all moms, obviously. We all have kids with respiratory issues, considered high risk if they contract H1N1. And so we've all been invested heavily in finding flu shots for our respiratorily challenged boys--and they're all boys, for some reason.

However, one of the boys of the Flu Shot Moms got H1N1 last week. He started showing symptoms about 4 days after he got the shot. He didn't have enough time to develop the antibodies. But he is fine now--has been through the first run of it and the secondary relapse. So the Flu Shot Moms are feeling a bit relieved, though I'm sure we all think to ourselves "Oh, my son's issues are worse than their sons' issues!" It's part and parcel of being a Flu Shot Mom.

My son got his shot today. A week or two ago, the school district gave a round of shots to 60 kids who were hand-picked by the school nurses as those at highest risk in the district. After several consultations with the Flu Shot Moms, I got huffy and vented on a public bulletin board for my town. Who was making these decisions? How could a child with asthma not be considered among the highest risk children in the district? How could there be 60 other kids in the district worse off than my son? I had a good rant going.

Not two hours later, the phone rang. It was the school, telling me that my son was eligible for the next round of shots. Woohoo! I became Smug Flu Shot Mom!

And then I got to the clinic today (held in the auditorium--how incredibly awkward a waiting room!) and I looked around and saw every kid that sits with mine at the nut-free/dairy-free table. :) E was uncharacteristically recognizing other kids right and left. You get to know the other highly allergic kids, I guess! They seemed to have more than 100 doses this time; we were number 94.

And in a month, we do this all over again. *sigh*

Monday, November 16, 2009


Via Ginmar:

Hassan's faith was incidental to the fact that for all intents and purposes he was just another single white loser who couldn't get a date and as he stewed in his own bitterness he got more and more mad and blamed others for it. Classic. Add to this the anti-Muslim prejudice he apparently experienced, and you got yourself another single white loser shooting, like school shootings, mall shootings, post office shootings, Amish school house shootings, etc. etc., ad nauseum, the end. Add bombs in there and you get Timothy McVeigh. I'm not saying precisely that exposure to feminism would have kicked these guys' asses out into the world and given them coping skills, but the absence of women in their lives was notable, and seems fairly typical of guys who turn violent.

My thoughts exactly.

ETA: I was just interrupted by a student who brought me a gift and told me I was one of her favorite professors here. The gift is a necklace from Tibet. Beautiful!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Lisa Belkin pegs it on what it means to be a working mother. I am sure some working dads are like this*, but I am fairly positive that the rate of working moms who are like this is much higher.

*I have always been bemused by a story that a friend told me about her post-9/11 experience. She and her family lived in Tribeca. She worked a few blocks from home and her husband worked in midtown, and the kids were home with a nanny. When the planes hit the towers, she stayed at work until the towers fell, then she headed toward home to evacuate the kids. When she got there, her husband had already left work, gotten home, and evacuated with the kids. I would have done exactly what her husband did, and my husband would have stayed at work like she did.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's On My Mind

Can't seem to get up the mental energy for a whole post, so I'll go the numbered-list route:

1. Amy, I'll do Chapter 7 of Different Minds. Eventually.

2. Google Reader: I think I am oversubscribed because I can't quite keep up. So much interesting stuff to read out there, and I blame Prof Hacker for being especially interesting, useful and prolific.

3. Sitcoms: When did they become so awesome again? I haven't been watching more than 1 or 2 a season, but now I have 7 must-see sitcoms: HIMYM, BBT, The Office, 30 Rock, relative newcomer Parks and Rec, and 2 brand new sitcoms, Community and The Middle. At least 3 of these sitcoms feature characters who probably have Asperger's: BBT, Community, and The Middle.

4. Holidays: They're really a mess this year in my family circle, and now everything is further complicated because my nephew's birthday is December 23 (his first birthday is coming up). Not to mention the additional complications that my dad can't travel very far.

5. H1N1: We're in the middle of a clusterf*** because we live in MA but our pediatrician is in RI. But the end result is that Asthma Boy was just invited to get the H1N1 vaccine on Tuesday via the school district. I am guessing he has been identified as high risk, which makes sense because he is Asthma Boy. He's also undergoing sublingual immunotherapy, and who knows what that's doing to his immune system, plus he has an awful case of molluscum that his body isn't getting around to fighting off.

6. My ankle: It is pretty much better now, and I'm left with soreness (arthritis?) in the knees. I'm going up and downstairs pretty well now, and the crutch has long been put aside.

7. Hot air balloons: As I left the house one morning (at 6:45 am!), I glanced to the right and saw one flying over the kids' school.