Friday, June 24, 2011

Library of the Early Mind: a fantastic documentary about children's literature

So, I am going to talk more about the conference after all, before it's too late and I forget to do it.

I saw a screening of this documentary tonight and it is just amazing. If you enjoy children's books you should definitely try to see it when it is released (I will let you know as soon as I hear, they plan to release a DVD by the end of the year and I hope it works out). Here's the trailer:

For me, just getting to know David Small was 100% worth it, but there is so, so much more there! And to think that I missed the first 20 minutes of the film and will have to wait to see it when it becomes available on DVD. A couple more things about the conference... my paper presentation went really well and our  panel was awesome.

 The bad wireless connection here just "ate up" this angsty paragraph  I'd just written about how my paper and this conference have awakened my desire to write the book I've always wanted to write (the dissertation that I never got to work on which is good because it might have " killed" the subejct for me). In any case... writing an academic book is a pretty useless endeavor if one doesn't have a "real"  (i.e. TT) academic job, but I'm stupid enough to want to try to do it. I just wish I could be less of a slacker and have the stamina to do it... I don't know how in the world I could do it, but I sure can try! I'll keep you updated... 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Did she really think I am 22?

I'm enjoying this conference experience more fully than I've experienced conference before, but it's not quite the ideal I picture just yet. Someday I want to be really involved in things and in the swing of things (e.g. up to speed with the current scholarship and publications, etc.), and, hopefully, someday I want to come to a conference knowing that I have a real job. I shouldn't complain, though, my department is amazingly generous, giving me up to 1K a year for conference travel, isn't that unbelievable?

In any case, I may, or may not, write more about this conference, but this post is mostly to record that unbelievably, I apparently still look pretty young, in spite of the fact that I turn 40 in only a few weeks. Talk about an ego booster! ;)  (but I do think that that lady's coffee hadn't quicked in yet, as she sat next to me during breakfast).

(I have to say that when I was in my 20s, even late 20s, people sometimes remarked that I looked 13-15. Motherhood took that away from me, but I consider that a privilege and a joy, truly, every single stretch mark in my belly, but I digress)

Last, but not least, my dear husband deserves a prize for attempting to work (directing 4 students working in his lab for the summer) with two boys in tow at the university. One more day only, I'll be back home tomorrow night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jose Vargas's "My Life As an Undocumented Immigrant"

I've written about immigration issues here before and it is a painful subject for me since I know so many people in his situation. When you read someone's story like Jose Vargas's, this serious problem takes on a more real and very human face. I wonder what will happen to him now. He must feel relieved after "coming out" for the second, and most important, time in his life, but now what?!

I know many children in a similar situation, some who came here when they were as young as 3 or 4 and who will be teenagers soon and will start thinking of going to college (which is becoming harder and harder now). It's so complicated! Sigh. I wish something like the "Dream Act" can be passed someday soon, but I frankly don't have much hope it will... :(

"I don't like Math anymore..."

Said my 7 year old son and all kinds of worries went through my mind in a split second, but then he continued:

"... because it's too easy!"

(sigh of relief). He takes after his older brother, his daddy and his uncles who are all mathy types. I think Math will always be easy for him and his brother, at least in grade school, but I bet daddy will be teaching the boys calculus before they get into college. I know that in a few years my 9 year old (and maybe the 7 year old too) will probably be doing research in dad's lab over the summer.

This comment came when I reminded K that we bought a school-sponsored Math summer book for the boys and that this is a good activity for this afternoon and the next two days in which daddy will have to take care of the boys in his office while mommy goes to a conference by herself (we're trying to find a sitter for the whole day tomorrow, though). I have to go finish writing my paper and packing before I leave this afternoon, but I can't wait to blog about our adventures in Montreal!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Year's Bloggy Wish Come True: Meeting Jo(e)

Last Friday we finally, after years of trying to schedule a blogger meet-up, were able to spend some time with Jo(e) at Pretty Color Lakes (meeting her was the first item in my "things that have to happen this year" post). Unfortunately we were too busy talking (and taking photos of the gorgeous lakes) that I forgot to ask to take a proper photo of the two of us (which would be awkward without faces anyway, so it's ok in the end, I guess). Here's a fuzzy photo I took of Jo(e), my sons and K:

Too bad that we didn't have much time, but we're hoping to be able to meet again on other trips up North.

I'm including a few more photos of our time there. I hope Jo(e) can email me more photos, since she took several, including of our family!
Pretty Color Lakes is really pretty!
The boys had a great time climbing up the banks of the trail/lake.
The reflex is greener than the actual trees

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In Less than 2 hours

We are supposed to be leaving for out rip up North and I hope I can be ready, in spite of the fact that tons of things remain do be done, including, but not limited to, finishing packing our clothes.

We're going to Montreal for the weekend, but stopping in upstate NY on our way there. I hope to be able to blog about our adventures by Sunday night, if not earlier.

The past week was really busy, with my in-laws' here until Sunday and I worked a lot in my course syllabus during the summer institute I participated in last week.

I wish I could be more organized and more relaxed about packing for trips, but getting ready to travel is at the top of my list of anxiety and stress inducers. :(

I'm glad that the neighbor across the street is going to water my plants (I planted some shade flowers and foliage yesterday and several bulbs/ seeds in the past two weeks).

Well, I have to continue packing. I hope we have a nice trip. Oh, my brother reported that they're having a good time in Russia. I think tomorrow will be their last day by themselves in Moscow and then they will be visiting friends over the weekend.

See you again soon!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It's a Boy!!!!!

And he's going to be a gorgeous curly haired, blue or green-eyed boy.* [swoon] The first nephew to whom I'm going to be related to by blood. I love him so, so, so much already! Of course I love my four precious nephews and one niece dearly, but I know I will have a special place in my heart for my only brother's children.

My first new year's wish came true -- and because of it, the second wish will have to wait. :(  This is actually the Discrete Joy I blogged about back in March, but now I'm saying it out loud!! I ask my "real-life" friends who read the blog, (probably just Lucy, Cris, Eni, maybe Ci) to still be discrete about it (don't tell anyone else) because my brother hasn't told his friends in Brazil yet...

That's what 2 and a half years of TTC** does to you. Brother was particularly afraid that I or my mom would post about this in facebook back in March (he didn't like how his own friends shared their baby news there), but he doesn't know how much I can't stand facebook. I don't know how he'd feel about me sharing this information semi-anonymously to the whole internets, but I'm not going to ask his permission this time, sorry! Not now that we all know the baby (due in November) is a boy!!

I'm just a bit sad that unless my brother and sister-in-law come to the U.S. next year or go to Brazil between June and August (when we're going) I won't get to meet my dear nephew until he is one or maybe almost two years old. I'm hoping they can come to visit, though, or meet us in Brazil because they can afford it, but we don't (sigh #Ihatemoney).

The story of how this baby came to be is quite interesting, not to say one of "destiny's irony." You may recall that back in 2006 my brother and SIL moved to China. When they started thinking about having a child, my SIL decided they needed to move to another country and she found a job for my brother in New Zealand (I blogged about this here). After trying for 2.5 years and soon after a failed IUI*** my SIL was talking to our mutual friend in NZ who shared the success in conceiving that a friend of hers had with Chinese traditional medicine. After some inquiries SIL found a Chinese doctor (herbalist, acupuncturist) in Auckland and she and my brother started taking the herbal supplements and she had several sessions of acupuncture. One month later, they were looking at a positive test. Isn't that incredible and almost ironic? They left China, but China "came after" them. ;)

So, yeah... after we buy a car (or two) we have to start saving to go to New Zealand, probably in two or three years... I'm hoping I'll get to meet my dear nephew before then, though! (or maybe my brother will get an awesome job in Brazil and relocate there). I hope my brother and SIL have a safe trip -- they are taking a one month vacation and visiting friends in Russia, Sweden, Finland and some other northern European countries. I love my siblings or siblings-in-law's fancy vacations (one BIL & his family are just getting ready to visit four of my favorite cities in Europe: Barcelona, Florence, Venice & Rome. I'm super relieved I've already been there so I'm spared the pain of feeling jealous). ;)

Sorry for the long post, but I'm just SO excited!!

P.S. My nephew will have the nursery decorations that we used for our boys!!

*My brother is a really handsome green-eyed man and my sister-in-law is gorgeous, blue-eyed and (very) curly-haired.
** Trying to Conceive in infertility blogspeak. ;)
*** Intra Uterine Insemination or artificial insemination.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

P.S. the P.S. came true!!!

I promised myself not to blog again and get to work (or to cleaning the kitchen), but I was re-reading the "This has to happen this year" post before closing the tab & browser and I noticed that I had a tiny P.S. in that post: that all I wanted was a new house and we have it!! Awesome!

And I don't know about the grapes and raspberries, but I just spent three days planting a bunch of bulbs (summer flowering ones -- I know, it's SUPER late to plant and they might not sprout until next year if they don't die) and I can't wait to plant tons more in the fall.

Dreams come true are the best!

Have I Told You?

Have I told you...

... how we love, love, loooooove our new house?

...that the boys have been on vacation for over a week already?

... that I'm excited about the new class I'm going to teach?

.... that we love our new couch?

... that the awesome "blogger meet up" I've been looking forward to for years and was part of my "new year's wish" post may soon happen?

... that I had a minor car problem last week and ongoing major car situations?

... that I can't stand facebook much, but really liked The Social Network?

... that I'm going to a conference in two weeks and don't know how I'll find the time to write the paper?

... that we live in a place that has tons of poppies and I took hundreds of lovely photos of them last May?

... that I went to IKEA and now my dining-room is nearly complete?

No? I haven't told you? Well, I hope to soon be able to find the time to blog about all these things and more, but for now, I'm too busy designing my Fall class (and being paid to do it!) and hosting my in-laws who will be here in a couple of hours with K (he went to pick them up) and help us with the boys (a "first" in the past 9 years -- it's always my parents).

So... I hope this post will motivate me to come back and share more about each of those things. And thanks for your patience if you're still reading.