Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Game on, Thing 2

Upon seeing a life-sized animatronic T-Rex today:

"I could take him."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Practical rapture

I’m not one of those who is expecting the end of the world tomorrow. My own tradition takes more a “No man knoweth the hour” approach to the whole question. But I do have to say that I’ve been surprised and a little disturbed by the cultural response to this little calendrical phenomenon. I’ve heard hostility, sarcasm, dismissal. I’ve heard these believers called “nut cases,” “superstitious” and “frauds.” “False prophets.” “Insane.” “Brainwashers.”

There’s a Jewish teaching that you should treat everyone you meet as if he or she might be the Messiah, because hey, you never know. I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world if large or even small numbers of people behaved as if they were hoping to welcome the divine.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A poem by Thing 2, age 6

We bees,
We buzz.

We sing,
We sting.

We fly.
Good bye!

An uncanny Gwendolyn Brooks echo here, huh?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ain't no use jiving / Ain't no use joking / Everything is broken.

Here is a list of the stuff that has gone south at my house:

1) My 4-month-old refrigerator. Had the compressor replaced Friday (yup, yesterday) and today it decided to stop freezing. Thing 1 made several trips with partly thawed food across the street to our neighbors while I mopped up a puddle of purple melt from frozen blueberries.

2) Back deck boards have started to spring up; after all these years, this year is apparently the one they have chosen to loose their screwholds on the substructure.

3) Electric lawnmower battery no longer takes a charge. Cannot mow more than 3 feet at a time before it goes dead. I can replace the battery for about $200, only slightly less than just buying a new lawnmower.

4) My bathtub is cracking. I caulked it, but reglazing is certainly in the near future, and it's possible I may need to replace it.

5) The toilet in Thing 1's bathroom won't stop running. Sometimes. Sometimes it's fine. And then it goes through phases in which it won't shut off. Yes, I've sanded the calcium deposits out of the stem. Yes, I know I need to replace the works.

6) But I'm going to have to disassemble and flush my upstairs bathroom sink first.

7) And the ballast in two of my light fixtures, which may or may not be a fire hazard..

I'm pretty self-sufficient and capable, in a handy sort of way. (Except, as we have seen, when feral beasts are concerned.) But there are times when I wish I had...not a man around the house, but another adult around the house, a partner who could, you know, at least sit on the phone with the fridge people and yell at them while I took care of one of the other crises lined up.

(And yes, I could certainly call my dad, and he'd be here in 20 minutes. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting my dad, he is MacGyver. Better: have you read James Galvin's The Meadow? [If you haven't, you should. A true modern masterpiece.] My dad = Lyle. But I really, really don't want to be the 40-year-old who has to keep calling Daddy to fix things. I do not lack skill. I do, however, lack hours in the day.) (And, at times, calm decision-making power.)

Update: dateline, 620am. Fridge part went out overnight. Must go to convenience store up the road to get ice. Thank goodness I camp and have many coolers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger is eating comments!

I leave them, they disappear. I get them, they get swallowed up by the internet.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Today: weeded, mowed lawn, bought vegetables for the things to plant, manured garden, mulched, cut back trees!

Tonight: homemade papardelle with morels and fava beans.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I admit that it was a stupid poll. I got an email from an eager-beaver summer-planner student asking that question, and I thought I'd throw it out there. But of course the only possible answer is, "It depends." Depends on what you're looking for, and to what use you'll put the info. I think that MS contains more rigorous scholarly investigations, but I read perfectly useful stuff--seemingly with a less grave prose style--in MQ. Maybe it's all a matter of aesthetics. MS looks heftier than MQ. Anyway. Just thought I'd toss it out there, but no catchers.

Yesterday I made my slightly-more-than-semi-annual running shoe update. And for the first time since I was 14 years old, I didn't buy Nikes. The shoe guy (who just came in 20th in a serious triathlon, by the way) said to me, "Whoa. Leaving the monster." I don't like the new Nikes: weird technology, awkward padding, bad colors, and they seem to be sizing wider than they used to. In any case, I got Asics Nimbus, which these two nights have lived up to their name. We'll see how many miles they go.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A poll.

For Ren folks and anyone else who has an opinion.

Out of curiosity, and because I'm moving toward assignments for my Milton class this fall. Which do you think is the better journal: Milton Studies or Milton Quarterly? Bonus question: Why?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dropping plates.

With all that plate-spinning, it was bound to happen.

First, I seem to have lost the final paper of one of my students. I graded it, recorded the grade, and remember it, but when I went to hand it back....nowhere to be found. Damn.

More grievously, I cannot find anywhere, at home or in my office, my reading copy of Paradise Lost. With 20 years worth of marginal notes. I don't think I'd have lent it to a student, but I have very blurry memory of the last hectic semester. I've turned my book-rooms over trying to find it. It's loss is, honestly, making me a little sick to my stomach, especially as I was going to spend the rest of the month writing an article on PL. Sure, I have other copies, but hells bells I simply can't lose the one with all my notes, cross-references, and ephemera slid in.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Q: What did you do today, RG?

A: Not a damn thing.

Q: Didn't you have a to-do list, as you do each and every day?

A: Yes. It had, mirabile dictu, one item on it today: call my lawnmower manufacturer to ask about a replacement part.

Q: Ah. And did you accomplish this one task?

A: Nope. Couldn't work up the energy.

Q: Did you work diligently on that article you have cooking? Fiddle with that poem you've been trying to finish since April 2010?

A: I skyped Neruda for four hours and took a nap. Later, I thawed some tomato-orange soup I'd made a few weeks back and ate it for dinner.

Q: For what time must you set your alarm tomorrow morning?

A: For the first time since January, no alarm.