First of all if you were at the IMPACT meeting on equal access to preschool education last night that was my child who after sitting very sweetly listening to the church choir proceeded to turn my inhaler into a gun which he shot fairly randomly. It seems to me that Passover is not the ideal time for this at an interfaith gathering of predominantly very serious Christians but……. I was already in a sort of weird mood since we’d rushed there from my seminar. This week readings involved Fred Moten who in one page managed to cite Derrida, Heidegger, Lacan, and Anthony Braxton. I’m pretty sure his notion of the sonic and way that describing sound necessarily occludes it will be profoundly important to me. I just haven’t figured how yet. It's by the way a real pleasure to have grad students whom you really feel like you are working through ideas with. This is as smart, committed, and witty a bunch as I've ever had.
It’s been a week of catch up since I spent last weekend in New York City with my mom and my sister celebrating my grandmother’s birthday. This was for the most not at all uplifting. My grandparents were fabulously vibrant; my grandma wore black leather pants to my graduation, produced a cable TV show, played the guitar at my college birthday parties and flirted with my male friends all the way through graduate school. She was a knock out in all senses and loved people and parties. She knows that every x-boyfriend any of her granddaughters had must be gay. And at 83 she sat down on a blanket in the Hamptons and rolled around with my baby twins. My grandfather is certain that he is the smartest person on the planet and that anything good from his progeny comes from him. He portrays enormous sexism but is also sure of the brilliance of daughter, granddaughters, and great granddaughters. He has one of Rebecca’s pictures in his private art gallery. (ok it’s in his bathroom and that’s weird but whatever) My books have been on the table by the couch since they came out and I believe he attempted to offer Pami critique on her master’s thesis. My cousin Eliza for the record is best geologist she might as well have discovered the ice age, Stephanie has the business sense and smarts to run the world, and Maggie is the most creative entrepreneurial woman to ever live. Oh and in our spare time we could all be super models. We all get this from him of course. I’m not willing to go that far but he was a fabulous artist and a doctor who was paid in chickens when his patients couldn’t afford it and taught us all the difference between a medical inconvenience and a problem.
Those grandparents aren’t with us any more despite inhabiting the same cluttered with bizarre objects apartment at 86th and 2nd. The high/low points involved my grandmother jay walking across 86th street with her walker—the kind with a chair. Then we had to stop for a sit. It might be a bus that does her in ultimately. It took us 20 minutes to get to the Mexican restaurant across the street. My grandfather meanwhile had done two shots of Scotch on his way out the door and insisted on holding on to Pam. We spent lots of time talking about who was dead and who wasn’t. I’m not sure either of them know exactly whose kids are whose but in fairness Pami and I have 6 between the ages of two and seven between us so it’s hard to work out sometimes. (hers are blond and tall mine are less blond and short) I’m not convinced my grandmother could tell us apart but again in fairness she’s blind and neither our husbands nor parents can necessarily make the distinction on the phone. Pam was excellent at introducing them to itunes which involved my grandfather with an ear bud in one ear and the lap top up to the other. She is much more patient than I. They both seemed to like to watch me do headstands. This worked for me because since the visit consisted largely of sitting I was pacing around the apartment Jonathan style by the end of it.
Meanwhile Manuel held down the fort at home and the kids were clean, their clothes were clean, and they were happy when I got back. While I was gone they did apparently name their dragons. If you live in cville and walk by the church on 3rd street on the way to CBI you might not have noticed the dragons. Rebecca and Jonathan found them when they were four and they live in what used to vents with little levers you can pull to put food in. They were for years nameless three are now called Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Blackwell and James Madison. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman doctor—I’d never heard of her despite my certificate in women’s studies from a prestigious institution. My favorite part of the dragons this week was that the kids actually fought over how to feed them and the boys came to blows over this. How do you mediate a fight over imaginary animals? We’ve had this before. When I was pregnant with Eli Rebecca and Jonathan were fighting over who got to ride the camel. We without looking told them to set a timer and assumed they were on a rocking horse. Nope they were prancing around on an imaginary camel. I think Jonathan has had enough of having a little brother. He’s mastered the art of whacking Eli and getting out of the way before Eli can even cry and told me in no uncertain terms that “Eli wipes the smile off my face.” His days are numbered though; the collective sense is that in not much more than a year Eli will be bigger than Jonathan and then all hell will break loose.