Friday, May 7, 2010

Singing to the Mole

Manuel just left to walk the kids to school. I realized that if I walk a mile to school and then back home that I will not be able to go on the hike or rather walk in pretty place that Manuel and I have planned for the day. A few months ago we decided that we should take some Friday’s off and do a hike without the kids. We managed it exactly once. The fact that a month ago I ran ten miles in an sub 8 minute pace and now a two mile walk seems to much especially in the wake of recovering from a failed attempt at a few downward dogs two days ago is slightly depressing. But on the I am now done teaching for an entire year and in about a week I’ll be fully justified in sticking a message on my email that says “I am on sabbatical island until August 2011” The goal for the sabbatical is to finish what I’m starting to think of as “the silly castrato book.” Given that the only intellectual labor I’ve managed since being hit by the truck is writing eight pages of opening remarks about Thomas Jefferson which were largely conceived by brilliant graduate students, this seems like a tall order. But luckily I have a couple of weeks of make up work to do before I can attend to the book.

The kids meanwhile are getting back to normal as well. Rebecca and Eli had a highly moving burial for a mole. Yes really a mole. The cat brought it as a present. Rebecca dug the grave herself with a five foot shovel—she is about four feet tall. She wanted to know what prayer to say over a mole and seemed to be asking me to say kaddish for it. I have to admit to being unwilling to go down the road of saying kaddish over every animal the cat brings in so she very seriously sang a few Hebrew songs to it. This all seemed well and good until she made it a tomb stone that said “god bless you mole” somehow that made us think we’ve been in Virginia too long and it’s time for a sabbatical either in China or a north eastern city. I’m thinking the mole may already have been exhumed by the cat but….

We have a busy weekend of spring festivities beginning tonight with the mother son spring prom. Jonathan demanded a tie and asked me causally at breakfast “mommy do you have a frock to wear” I don’t exactly have my own but I do have a fabulous dress that my grandmother wore to her 25th birthday some time in the 1940’s for which I’ve never quite found the proper occasion. Both kids also have recitals. Rebecca is playing the highly dissonant fanfare which she does with all the flare of a concert pianist. She has been composing alternative endings which sound lovely when she plays them but which as she has notated them turn out to be utterly unplayable. Needless to say that when I actually try to play what she’s written I’m immediately told that I didn’t do it properly and that it doesn’t sound the way she wants. Apparently she will need some classes in notation. She also sketched little pictures of Monteverdi and Mozart so I’m not sure where she’s going with this…… Jonathan is playing Lightly Row. If you’ve ever heard a 1/8 size violin you can imagine what this sounds like. While for the most part neither kid is especially impressed with their parents I earned great respect from both when I successfully improvised a piano accompaniment to lightly row. “wow mommy you figured that out all by yourself. We should call Jomama and Joyce right now and tell them.” My statement that if I couldn’t manage a few A Major triads UVa would be justified in revoking my tenure luckily did not diminish their sense of awe at my little musical marvel.

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