Monday, April 26, 2010


Note to self---do not dart in front of an SUV three weeks before a conference you are organizing and before the end of the term. In effect I Iost two weeks of my life and emerging in the middle of some sort of end of semester vortex. My morning began with realizing that I had failed to take into account UVa's wine policy which is extensive and legalistic. It involved many emails with grad students, staff, the dean of students, and vice something of something. I forgot or blocked out the fact that one needs much paperwork completed a WEEK before an event if it involves wine. These crucial papers ensure the higher ups that we will not serve wine to undergrads. I always find this ironic since as far as I can tell the undergrad drink more than any of us even on our worst days can fathom.... The time I spent dealing with the vino problem robbed me of my opportunity to look at my notes which meant I basically taught Schoenberg with no prep and only later learned that the band director had been observing me. Meanwhile music 101 has become crisis central. I have three students with serious physical medical problems who are in one form of hospitalization or another. On our own medical front Thing 3 has a fever but he did not have the grace to catch strep from his siblings which would be easily cured with antibiotic. My seminar is slightly less stressful and I’ve taken to having it home in what is close to pj’s. I’m hoping that providing snacks makes up for the chaos of it and I asked my students to avert their eyes from the floor. Today Jonathan came in while a student was practicing his paper and asked “can I do some of my own research” he then wanted to know how to spell Socrates, pronounced so cra tius.

I did manage yesterday to procure a replacement lipstick which should help with some of my aesthetic concerns. One of my friends looked at my bruise and kindly said “you have a third butt.” Another suggested that perky might not be in the cards for me now and said “sweety you’re just about think enough to do tragic maybe we better just go with that….”

I finally started to feel better this weekend and various of my friends were kind
enough to "walk" me. I'm still pretty enthralled with my muscle relaxers which i think could be used recreationaly, for now they do a great job of taking the pain away. My parents were here which was a huge help. I think all five of us were headed for some sort of collapse and they gave us a nice respite and took the kids for all kinds of fun adventures.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Eli has just figured out that something happened to me. He informed my dad a few days ago that “mommy has a wittle bwuis” Today he asked why I had an owie and I told him I’d been hit by a car and that’s why he should always be very careful of the road. “did you cwoss the stweet without daddy or jomama or joyc?” he wanted to know. My reply that yes indeed at 41 I often cross streets solo prompted “that’s pwobaly not a good idea….” Other than today’s little discourse he seems relatively unbothered by the whole thing. He’s always been enough of a third child that as long as someone meets his needs he’s ok. Shortly after he learned to talk he endeared himself to our friends by screaming for them in the crib. It always started with Mommy and Daddy and when that didn’t work he tried some babysitter names and when those failed he moved through my running ladies “GWWWWACE, LAWWWWWI, WIZZZZZZ, ANNA….”

Rebecca and Jonathan seem slightly more disturbed. Their concerns don’t involved the metaphysical of the mommy could have died sort. It’s more that they always see me in motion and I’ve been very stagnant this week. Rebecca has made dozens of get well cards from elaborate clay structures to tiny illegible notes on sticky papers. She is also somewhat embarrassed about the whole thing; she often despite a diva personality does not like to call attention to herself. She did compose an alternative ending to “Fanfare” in order to commemorate my recovery. She doesn’t care for V-I cadences…. Jonathan informed me on Tuesday that he was in mourning. I told him that really I wasn’t dead so he didn’t have to go there. “I’m in mourning for your injury mommy and I’m not going to shave for a week.” From what we know about Jonathan’s various growth delays he’ll be lucky if he needs to shave before he’s 25. This somehow segued into a discussion of fate and the fates in which he explained that he didn’t believe in the fates because if thousands of children die each year from Maleria the fates would have to talk to a lot of mosquitos to make that happen. I was too drugged up on Vicodin to go into all of the problems with his belief structure drawn from books about mythology, kids national geographic, and Jewish Sunday School. (I did write it down so while much of this week remains pretty fuzzy for me he really did say this)

I’ve been touched and amazed by the support we’ve had this week and all this for a situation when I’m basically fine. But lest anyone think it’s all peaches and cream, my husband who has been waiting on my hand and foot, has taken to calling it a blind squirrel act—he thinks I dart around too much. He also put a sign on my phone saying “Turn OFF while crossing street” One of my friends said she’s spent the three years we’ve lived here trying to catch me running and is pleased to be faster. At least 8 people have asked me to share my narcotic pain killers with them. Should any remain I’ll be auctioning them off at next year’s preschool fundraiser. My best friend from grad school who I shared some low moment pictures with suggested that in fact the metaphor of looking like you’ve been hit by a truck worked for me on Tuesday. Another friend echoing Gary Snyder suggested that the chance to be in bed will put me in touch with primal forces of universe. You fell down a woman and will get back up a tree. Another said that she always knew I was an adventure seeker but is “very glad that you decided only to take a very short ride on the hood of that SUV.... PHew! (what was steph talking about anyway that was so all-absorbing!?!)”

For the final indignity when my purple bag flew off my shoulder in the impact my favorite MAC lipstick—the fix all problems one—was ruined. The good thing about this is that it prompted me to check out the epipen and inhaler I keep in my purse and both shattered. My inhaler services me, Rebecca and a number of asthmatic children in Charlottesville whose parents don’t keep extras lying around so we all need a good one! (all of those parents were kind enough to point out that those who dart in front of moving SUV’s talking on phones against a walk sign ought not to point their fingers at those who do not have back up inhalers……”)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bonnie v. SUV

I’m lying in bed with thing 1 who has acquired strep. She gets it about 10 times a year so this seems like as a good a week as any. She’s reading my girly magazine and asking questions like “what is concealer, what is cellulite, what is foundation” Jonathan has the deepest wounds in the house today and we got a nice little duet going this morning in which every time I said the word “bus” he let out a dying seal sort of scream. Going to school without Rebecca for him amounts to the twin equivalent of being hit by a truck.

And about being hit by a truck or at least an SUV I thought I’d be fine by today and had threatened to teach this week but…... As I’ve said I really am fine and am incredibly lucky. I’m bruised, battered and either high on pain killers or pain depending on my mood but no broken bones and no permanent damage. For the record this was entirely my fault. I was headed to a post bed time wine and whine emergency which I had organized for a bunch of stressed out ladies at our favorite wine bar. I was talking on the cell phone and crossed against the light at a busy intersection. I usually put the phone down when crossing streets, as anyone without depth perception or peripheral vision should do, but for some reason planning a slumber party for Rebecca and Maya just seemed too important to pause even for three seconds. I don’t remember the car or being hit. We know that the driver didn’t see me until I was on the hood of her car. So the best guess is that I bounced off the hood and onto the road. I’m not sure who was more hysterical me or the woman who hit me. Remarkably my glasses did not suffer and after I screamed hysterically “someone get my glasses they cost $800 and I don’t have a spare pair” they were recovered from the middle of the road with my shoes and sweater which I flew out of. According to the ER docs and our friend who’s an ER doc that I fun obsessively probably saved my leg—the theory being that I bounced off my muscles and they took the force of the fall rather than my pelvis or femur which by all logic ought to have shattered.

My brand new pants from the sale rack at Anthropologie did not do so well. In my delirium I was obsessed with this problem. I remember saying to the EMT’s “co ou really have to cut my pants I just got them and do you have any idea how hard it is to find pants that fit after having children” It’s always nice to have first year UVa students say “m’am you’ve been hit by a car we’re gonna have to cut your pants and it’s not your biggest problem” This caused further delirious panic for me and inspired cursing in the ambulance “fuck please tell me you’re not in music 101 and you’re not going see my butt and tell everyone else about it” They assured me that they were not taking music 101 and that they understood about confidentiality. I preferred the x-ray tech who said “m’am you look really good for 41 and being just hit by a truck” The ER doc was also kind enough to suggest that this was a warning to stressed out mothers all over cville “do not try to drink wine and talk on your cell phone” The officer who came to take my information also kindly said that he would not deliver me a citation and that he doubted the woman who hit me would ask me to pay for the damage my head did to the hood of her car. Since I was still in the neck collar when he got there he thought I was suffering enough.

I’m running out of writing steam for now but do want to say that in addition to the obvious feeling lucky to be alive I am incredibly touched by the support of friends near and far. My parents and sister who have I think been worried that I’d get hit by a car my entire lives have managed to be supportive and not furious. My home girls have fed me, changed my sheets, taken care of my kids, sent their husbands out with mine for some stress relief, replaced my beloved brand new pants, taken over reading student papers, listened to my radical mood swings and generally been amazing. The UVa graduate students are truly remarkable and have given me the best gift a teacher can hope for—to show me that in fact I’m unnecessary. Music 101 has continued to run without a hitch including lectures, section assignments, and everything else. My grad seminar met, worked through hard articles, and helped each other with papers they are presenting in two weeks. And thanks to the initiative of grad students the conference won’t fall apart. My colleagues have taken over student papers and generally been wonderful. Everyone should have a good friend who is a massage therapist/Feldenkreis practitioner in times like these. And of course retail relay deserves special mention for hearing about the accident and sending over a complementary delivery of our basic grocery needs. And my husband has taken phenomenal care of me even when I’ve been a brat and deserves a special husband medal.

Today’s excitement involves an attempt to get myself out of the house to receive a grant in a ceremony on the steps of the Rotunda. I’m counting on my co-conspirator to hold me up. There is something very UVa and Jeffersonian about a senior man literally holding up his female colleague. It’ll be a nice photo op.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preschool Flasher

Eli is prompting lots of new rules for us. In addition to “no cursing until you can say all of your consonants” we’ve added “keep your butt in your pants during services.” Yup if you were at the singing/praying part of Sunday school this morning you might have noted Eli’s little bootie. For some reason during one of the more spiritual songs he decided to yank his pants down and show mommy that “i got no diapa and no undwara nothing just pants.” And no thanks he didn’t need any help puling his pants back up but would do it himself which took an excruciating amount of time. My kid flashed every Jew in Charlottesville this morning. And he’s headed towards being potty training failure number 3 at this rate. His trick is simply holding it in all day which could have long terms medical consequences.

The kids all apparently had a great time with their grandparents. Highlights seem to have involved the Air and Space Museum, Gatsby’s tavern, and Rotisserie chicken. Jonathan has discovered civil war history and thinks we should visit a different battle ground every weekend. Rebecca came back with fabric to make us matching sundresses—the smocked kind that look really cute on little girls and pretty dumb on grown women. I’m thinking pool cover-up. She’s also making tons of pictures and models of George and Martha Washington. Manuel and I had a delightful staycation capstoned by a sunrise hike up old Rag. We were on the summit by 8. The house was really clean yesterday morning and is now back to it’s usual state of total chaos, piles of laundry and random little play mobile guys in ever crevice. I’m predicting that the next three weeks are going to be total hell. It turns out that a few more people are interested in Thomas Jefferson than in Marc Antonio Pasqualini, Antonio Barberini and Caterina Marinelli so the TJ conference is not quite the intimate affair I thought it would be. My graduate students are all working incredibly hard on their papers and I think they’ll all be really good. We will definitely need a class nap when it’s over.

Maneul gets the husband prize for being parent of the week in Sunday school today and leaving me the pleasure of trying to get Eli on the potty and working with a student on her paper. ‘My Sunday school class made three teachers quit during our ten years of religious school and my sense is that the current first grade is headed in that direction. That the class has three sets of twins and many have known each other since they were two makes them formidable. Jonathan’s main contribution seems to involve inserting bits of Roman History. When discussing the fact that breaking the Ten Commandments makes you less of a person he inserted that a roman poet said that “watching the games at the collasium made him less of a man.” He thinks it was SenEca. (long E)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Plutarch and Running

Jonathan woke me up this morning with this question which he needed to ask me in private. “Mommy have you ever read the famous author Plu-TARCH” (pronounced like archery) “ I grunted yes as I was still asleep “Well have you read the lives “ yes “hmm it seems like a pretty good book can I borrow it….” As I attempted to roll over and go back to sleep with Plutarch on the brain I thought of his marriage treatise to Euridice which then prompted one of those bolt up in bed panics as I remembered I have not sent my paper on Euridice to the person who will read it for me at the Renaissance Society meeting in Venice next weekend. I had a fleeting horrific thought that I’d missed the whole thing. For a host of complicated personal and professional reasons I had to pull out, which I’ve only done once before in my career. And I will be forever in my academic debt to Hedy Law and Shawn Keener for pulling the panel together despite my inability to get myself out of the country this spring. The young Plutarch scholar meanwhile argued that if I was having morning computer (to mail the paper) he should have it too and is not involved in some computer game where he’s shooting things and shouting.

Meanwhile Manuel and I are sort of hobbling around this house this morning. We ran the ten miler yesterday which. It’s a huge community event that goes through campus and down town including our neighborhood. My favorite part is seeing my kids just after mile 5. Rebecca stood on the corner leading a cheering squad of first graders. The second best part is coming back onto campus by the rotunda which this year involved a few music 101 students. The fist year we lived here I told Manuel that I was pretty sure I’d won my division of women over 38 nursing babies under six months old—not in cville, he said. Rebecca’s been quite worried about my training regime and informed me a few weeks ago that I should probably be running a little more and making sure I take vitamins. I have to admit that this event prompts a bit of a competitive edge in me and I spent much of the last couple of weeks whispering to Manuel “I’m going to kick your ass.” This is an unfair competition. Even if he and I are a similar speed in tooling around town I have a sort of Pavlovian response to a starting gun left over from high school cross country which puts me into some other zone. I did enjoy the fact that my 77:50 time zipped me past a group of marines and a couple of gaggles of frat boys. I had to stop the kick your ass thing when I heard Eli say it to his ducky. The big kids have learned to code switch but the little one no. He also said yesterday “mommy can you just open the dam pwaydo” Clearly I need to watch my language.