Sunday, November 23, 2008


Howard and I graduated from the first section of our Chinese class on Saturday. I'm in the middle, Howard is on the left, and Ma LaoShi is on the right. I'm so proud of us! It's really hard and embarrassing to try to learn a new language at this point in life. There's just no getting around looking and sounding stupid as you try to twist your tongue around unfamiliar sounds.

Our final involved trying to introduce ourselves to native Chinese speakers, and introducing each other and our imaginary friends, a teacher and a doctor. We also had to introduce our imaginary grandmothers, and indicate if she was our mother's mother or our father's mother--they are different words in Chinese.

There was a delicate moment when Howard introduced his wife as his older brother, but we rallied and moved on. I'm sure we were pathetic, but everyone was very gracious and encouraging. I'm so glad I'm doing this!

Friday, November 21, 2008

CNN--"someone needs to speak up"

CNN has a headline story today, titled "Some one has to speak up on the economy." They note the the President and the President-elect are both keeping radio silence on the topic of the economy.

Careful readers of this blog (that means me and my dog) will note that I have been calling for Clinton-Bush I leadership on this issue for some time. I can understand why it would have been difficult during the campaign, but this is getting serious. The markets are approaching free-fall, and there is some serious panicking going on. The lame-duck President is silent, for obvious reasons--it's too late and he doesn't have anything to say anyway. Our President-Elect is silent because he's not the President yet, and he doesn't have time to be making serious economic policy addresses.

Who has time, political capital, respect, and the guaranteed attention of the press and foreign leaders? Former Presidents Clinton and Bush I, that's who. If they would speak jointly and without the filter of politicization about the continued efficiency of the American workforce, about the need to continue to invest in our infrastructure, and about our American "can-do" attitude that we can work ourselves out of any temporary setbacks, I think people would listen. We desperately need leadership on this issue.

C'mon Bill. Get over here, George. What are you waiting for?

Mini me

I'm the last blogger to break down and get a manga. I put it off because I knew what would happen, and it did. There isn't a manga option that puts in wrinkles, stress lines, and a saggy neck. My manga is WAY cuter than I am, but it's the closest I could get.

My hair looks like that because I need a haircut. It doesn't look that cute in real life; in real life it's just hanging in my face.

Oh well, she can be my web-face . . . as the misquoted saying goes, on the internet nobody knows who you really are.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The feminine touch . . .

A son of friends of mine has made a scientific discovery that is making the rounds of the scientific journals, and travelling through the web. You may have heard about it--women's hands are dirtier and have much more bacteria than men. This is despite the fact that women wash their hands significantly more often than men. Here's a link to one of the many articles:

Noah Fierer, who is the lead researcher on this, is predictably brilliant and insightful, given his genetic heritage. His parents are justifiably beaming (while looking at their own hands in a new light.)
Nice work, Noah!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

getting my groove back . . .

I"m stepping up my walking efforts, and now get 5-8K steps in every day without too much extra effort, so that's good news.

I'm finding a rhythm of sorts around creating a home life while mon mari est parti. It's not the same dance as when he's home, but we're making it work. We eat leftovers while watching the news, we take turns walking the dog (me in the morning, my son in the afternoon) we focus heavily on homework and are both in bed by ten. The house is a wreck, and laundry is piling up, but we're OK with that . . . .

Now the next trick is figuring out how to move back and forth between the two modes of living. When mon mari est a la maison, we have to move back to the old dance, and sometimes that's turning out to be hard. Clearly there is still work to be done on this front. He wants us to come to him this weekend (dog and all) to go to an opening in DC. While it would be fun, I would miss Chinese class, we would miss our laundry and grocery shopping day, and my son would miss his ACT prep day at school.

And yet, we just might do it anyway. It would be fun.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

speaking of tsunamis . . .

I think I'm drowning. Since mon mari (we're ALL learning French at my house) took on considerably more responsibility at his job, and I did as well, suddenly our time-tested dance of shared responsibilities is not so smooth. In the past (it seems so long ago) he did everything related to food---the shopping, the planning, the preparing, the picking up of the CSA box weekly---and my son and I did the cleanup. My husband also did the lion's share of the laundry and paid all the bills.

In return, I did the outside work--the weeding, the raking etc. I also did the homework support, the school meetings, the basic housework---enough to keep us from living in squalor---and the general house-related stuff. It seemed to work.

No more. Most days my job demands all my attention from 7:30-6:00. then I go home and try to feed myself and my son. Then we begin the homework effort--(last night was chemistry--egad) then he goes to bed and it's time to cleanup, do laundry, and then begin my own homework to be ready for 7:30 the next day. Then, I'm up at 5:00 in the morning to take the dog for his required one mile walk.

I called in sick to my last Chinese class. Something had to give. glug glug . . . .