Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 eve

I already know that 2010 will be the year of A Lot of Stuff Happening, so I don't really know what else to say about that. My resolutions mainly have to do with food, and the cooking and eating of it. And so it goes. I am eagerly anticipating the coming year, not just because of the changes I know are coming, but because 365 days from now we will have a better idea of what will be coming in 2011. And now that I think of it, at the beginning of the year three years ago I had no idea I'd be a mother by the end of it, so this year could be filled with surprises too. Good ones, I hope. Happy new year to all of you and may it be filled with good surprises.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


From xkcd.

I'm very busy these days, not saying anything online. Look at me not saying anything! (By the way, if you're reading this, it's probably not about you, unless you followed me over here from the one blog where I did kind of say something but not really.)

UPDATE: Fell off the wagon. Oh well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A B C B E B B, next time what you ARE!

Or something like that. Was I worried earlier this year about how little Auletta was talking? Well, I'm over that.

When Auletta's pediatrician asked at her two-year checkup how many words she knew (vs. like three at 18 months), I said, "More than I can count." Which is about right. And every day she surprises one of us with a new word she knows. Yesterday, we were at the library and she came across a toy elephant and said "Ellphant!" Did not know she knew that.

She counts to ten, sometimes, although for a while she did not recognize the existence of five.

She knows the names of everyone in Justin's family. Thanksgiving was the first time she could name everyone. On every trip to Ithaca for the previous few months she'd pick up one or two names, not necessarily in proportion to how much she adores the person in question--e.g. she learned Soren before Harry, even though she is mad about Harry. But even in Seattle she would just spontaneously be riding along in the car and start chanting HARRY HARRY HARRY HARRY. Despite her love for Harry, she is less exclusive now and no longer spurns her Granny or Papa most of her aunts and uncles. And on my side she loves everyone as well, especially Katie and Gompa. Yes, she continued the family tradition of calling her grandfather Gompa, except on my side rather than Justin's. She also calls his Gompa Gompa. Fortunately the two sides of the family rarely meet, so there's little opportunity for confusion. What is more confusing is when she calls random men over fifty Papa or Gompa, but we're working on that.

And I finally let her watch TV, with predictable results. First BARNEY (ugh) then ELMO then CAILLOU CAILLOU CAILLOU, then PUZZY (Sponge Bob, who is on a puzzle she has), then SIMSIMS, from our DVD collection, and we're hoping she doesn't discover FAMILY GUY or SOUTH PARK. She still simultaneously loves Caillou, Puzzy, and Simsims. Oh, and VeggieTales (TALES).

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I know, I never write, I never call...

Anyhow, I updated my blogroll, which disappeared in the most recent of ever so many template changes. If I fail to entertain you, please do read blogs by my friends. The semester is winding down, so I might become interesting again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Because Rainn Wilson, my fellow Shorecrest alum, told you to. And because it's a catchy song. And because this is all one continuous shot!

Friday, October 16, 2009

NYLA 2009: My first library conference!

This week I spent about a day, or two half-days, at the 2009 New York Library Association conference in Niagara Falls. The theme of the conference was "Libraries: Peace, Love & Freedom," and many of the vendors and NYLA division booths were decked with tie-dye, lava lamps, peace signs, and other hippie paraphernalia. There were also some sessions on intellectual freedom in libraries and other relevant issues, although I only made it to two panels due to time constraints. I must poke gentle fun at the theme, having lived a bit too long in Berkeley, but it was a colorful theme and I got a neat pair and a half of socks!

I volunteered at the iSchool booth when I first arrived, chatting with prospective students and alumni. I also attended two conference sessions. One was a panel of representatives from library schools around the state, talking about what's going on in their programs. Megan Oakleaf, my professor for 605, represented Syracuse and discussed the cooperative projects between students and libraries in IST 613, Library Planning, Marketing, & Assessment, which I'll be taking next semester. I'm glad I went to that, because it got me thinking about what I might do for my project. I also went to a session on Living History Through Social Networking, which discussed the use of social networking tools to teach information literacy. See the wiki here. I learned a lot about Twitter especially that I didn't already know, and now I have a better idea of how to use it both personally and professionally.

The best part of the conference was the SU reception for students, faculty, and alumni on Thursday night. Not just because of the wine! but also because I got to meet alumni and other students. As a distance student, it's easy to feel isolated from other people, so I really enjoyed interacting with people in person, and especially meeting students who began the program this fall on campus and are in roughly the same place that I am. It's also interesting to hear perspectives on how courses are taught in person vs. online.

It also occurred to me that conferences are like the gateway week in the summer (or maybe it's the other way around!) - you can get away from the distractions of daily life for a few days (and I've discovered as I go on how many distractions we distance students have, especially jobs, families, and kids) and dive head first into the exciting world of librarianship. It's really invigorating; as I did after IST 511, I came home full of ideas and enthusiasm for the path I'm headed down. I also discovered that sections of NYLA such as ASLS (academic and special libraries) have their own little conferences, and the ASLS is having theirs in my husband's hometown of Ithaca next June, so I have a lot more of these to look forward to!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I poop on your holiday!

So today is Columbus Day, a.k.a. Columbus Cold Murdered All the Indigenous Peoples Day. The Ithaca paper had a front-page story about how schools are shockingly teaching all about the Dark Side of Columbus, which is not so shocking to me since my progressive schools were teaching me all about the Dark Side of Columbus and Other Europeans 25 years ago.

What did shock me was when I moved to Wooster Square and found out there were still people who considered Columbus Day a holiday, not just a day off but a festive holiday i.e. Italians, i.e. my people, or a quarter of my people. In 1892, before Columbus became un-PC, the Italian immigrants of New Haven erected a statue of Columbus in Wooster Square which stands to this day, and on this very day I can tell you (though I am not there) that it is festooned with all sorts of flowers and banners donated by the continually present Italian community of New Haven. Also the Knights of Columbus is headquartered in New Haven. So Columbus is kind of a big deelio.

Why? Well, because Columbus was, very broadly speaking, the first Italian-American, and while it might be more appropriate for our people to celebrate Mother Cabrini, this was before her canonization or even her death, so...there you go. And there is something to celebrate, after all, about being Italian in America, which is pretty cool, especially for southern Italians (such as my great-grandparents) who, like many immigrants, came here to escape poverty and provide their descendants with opportunities they didn't have in their native land. Italians are one of the American success stories, maintaining their identity, their traditions, and sometimes (to my surprise as I wander around Wooster) their language, while becoming at the same time fully acculturated Americans. Columbus Day is the day when Italian-Americans celebrate being Italian and American--which, not having grown up in a place with a critical mass of Italians, I never realized they had a day for until I moved to Wooster Square.

Which is not to negate the very real historical consequences of Columbus, the murder and often annihilation of entire native cultures by war, massacre, smallpox, and the like, and the herding of remaining peoples onto tiny reservations on land nobody else wanted. Italians have had it pretty good; we don't really need a holiday. But I wonder if this is a zero-sum game, if on this day our collective conscience must so outweigh any other consideration that there is not a sliver of space for us to celebrate what was good in what came after, which considering how good pizza is, you'd think maybe there would be, just a little. So I can pass on to my one-eighth Italian daughter with the Italian surname for a first name and the birthday that will often fall on Columbus Day weekend, or what is left of it after all the significance has been wrung out of it and we're left with guilt and no mail--sorry, that was a long sentence, but so I can pass on to her a little tiny bit of pride in being Italian-American, which whatever our ancestral sins is still a neat thing to be.

Auletta is two!

She turned two on Saturday. And I would totally have pictures, except I stayed in Ithaca and sent Justin home with the computer that has the photo editing software on it. So, no pictures for another week, unless I snag a trial version of Photoshop Elements on my new baby computer, which by the way I love because it is RED and it is MINE and it does not have dozens of vertical LINES running down its dull screen after its three-year warranty has EXPIRED.

Auletta is super duper cute, and very opinionated, and I'll write more about her maybe sometime after I write my next post.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

In Which Girl With Flat Hat is Outed, or Where Do I Live Again?

I googled "girl with flat hat" today for the first time in, oh, ever, and wow maybe I should do that more often. I am on the DC Blogs blog feed because I used to live kind of near D.C., I mean a lot closer than I do now, and they feature a few posts every day in DC Blogs Noted. I had no idea, but Guess what our baby has two of? and When two toddlers meet in the night were both featured. I think they go for the catchy titles.

Also Girl With Flat Hat is listed on the NY blogroll of Net Right Nation, Your Unique Portal to the Conservative Blogosphere. So I guess it's true what you already suspected, that my pretensions to (how do you state a negative?) moderate-ness (moderation), unaffiliation, centrism, etc. are lies, all lies! Well, actually I just scanned the blogroll and there is a blog called BOLDLY LIBERAL on there, which is, so maybe it's just really easy to fool them.

Where do I live? Not New York or D.C., at least not at the moment.

In far more important news (TODDLER STAT ALERT!): Auletta had her two-year checkup today. She is 31 3/4" tall, 22 lb. 11 oz., and has a 49 cm head. 10/10/80 on the percentiles. Two flu shots and a clean bill of health. Feel the love.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ahead: Upstate

So I feel like writing a more reflective post, now that I am past my initial state of shock and crazy happiness. I mean I burst into happy tears when Justin got off the phone with the judge Friday morning. I complain about New Haven, which rivals Berkeley for my least favorite place I've ever lived (for different reasons, mostly), but it is an awesome thing to get into Yale Law School, and an awesome thing to clerk for an appellate judge. Everyone who gets to do these things is qualified, but not everyone who is qualified gets to do them, so it is all a mix of luck and timing and fitting someone's idea of what they want their entering class/group of clerks to look like. So we are really fortunate. I keep saying "we" when of course Justin's doing these things and I am here because he's here, while doing most of the caretaking for Auletta and my own studies, but obviously what he does affects me, and I can't tell you how glad I am that he will be clerking for a federal judge, who is really just all around a great person and a good fit for Justin professionally and personally, and in Geneseo, which is 1. not here and 2. in upstate New York, where as you've probably noticed we spend a lot of time already.

Now, I totally stole this map off the Internetz and modified it so those of you who aren't familiar with upstate NY could get an idea of where we are headed and where it is in relation to the other places we go upstate. I placed green dots over the towns of Ithaca, Geneseo, and Syracuse, and also over the approximate location of New Haven over in Connecticut.

As you can see, Ithaca is in south-central New York, on the southern end of Cayuga Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. Syracuse, where I'm doing my MSLIS and where I'm spending some time physically even though it's a distance program, is about an hour northeast of Ithaca. Geneseo's not much farther in a northwestern direction from Ithaca physically, but since there are a bunch of lakes in the way, it takes about two hours to drive there. And a little under two hours from Geneseo to Syracuse. Geneseo is a town of about 9,000 people with a SUNY school, so it's small but it's a college town, which is the kind of place we like (except it's really small, even compared to Ithaca, so maybe we don't know what we're getting into). That's about all I can tell you about it. Also it's about 45 minutes from Rochester, where I have some family and where we'll fly in and out of when we fly places. No more I-95 to get everywhere, thank goodness (the worst part of being here is getting out).

Now, going places. The Second Circuit's seat is in New York City, so the judges hear arguments there for a week each month and the clerks go along. That means I'll be alone with Auletta in Geneseo for a week each month, or we'll hang out in Ithaca, or maybe I can come along...but this all depends on what I'm doing--I might take a class each semester at Syracuse (feasible if it meets once a week), and I will probably do an internship in/near Geneseo at some point. But this, on top of the fact that a Job is much less flexible, schedule-wise, than law school, means daily life will change a lot, so it will take some getting used to.

Also it will be cold, the full import of which I have not yet realized, although winter here hasn't been a picnic either.

But I am so excited! We are really both small-town people, or at least suburb-type people. I loved Charlottesville to pieces, although it was the sort of place that drove some people crazy because it wasn't a very big city and it was a couple hours from the nearest metropolis. I think this next year will be great for us, and I'm just hoping we like wherever we're headed after that as much.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Justin will be clerking for an federal appeals judge in Geneseo, NY in 2010-2011. This job is so perfect for us in so many ways that we are ridiculously excited and thrilled and everything and just wow. Yay.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Tomorrow at 10:00 AM, federal judges can officially begin contacting 3L applicants to clerkships to schedule interviews. ACK.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

30 Years of Awesome

Happy birthday, sweetie!

I take most of the pictures, so I'm not in any of the good ones, but here are a bunch of pictures of the best daddy ever and the cutest baby ever.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Political Views: For more information regarding this space, please contact the owner

I have been trying to think of a replacement for the current description of my political views on my Facebook profile ("Philippe for America. He is five." which is a reference to Achewood), one that would be accurate, pithy, and inoffensive to potential future employers or other people who are easily offended, so good luck with that I guess. Back when you had to choose your political views from a pull-down menu, I wanted to say something like "I refuse to conform to your arbitrary categories!" Because if you see "Republican" or "Democrat" in that space, you're going to think you know what I think, right? Even if I say "moderate," it might be the case that (as Stephen Carter described himself) I have extreme positions on both the left and right ends of the spectrum.

I mean, take for example, that I'm pro-life (or anti-abortion, I guess, with a million caveats, which already makes me uncategorizable). Do you now think

1. I am pro-death penalty
2. I am anti-gay marriage


Because I'm not. You might have assumed so. But why? What do those things have to do with each other, or with other political positions on economics, foreign policy, and so on? I mean, there is the religious explanation, except that there are religious views on both sides of all those issues, and in fact there are certainly religious institutions that agree with me on the first point and at least one if not both of the latter two, like hello the one with which I and 20-25% of this country's population are affiliated (if you read the Catholic Church's position on the death penalty as opposed in most if not all circumstances, which is my understanding from my Catholic moral theology class). And gosh, it would be nice if either major party represented the whole of Catholic political theology, wouldn't it? But neither one does, which accounts for some but not all of my dilemma.

I believe political parties are necessary for people to affiliate broadly in order to elect representatives who share similar views and for those representatives to cooperate to get things done. I think their utility ends, however, when we start pigeonholing people into one of two categories, with a few outliers in third parties (none of which really represent my views, either).

The sad thing is, so many people do fall into those categories, and we get so used to being able to predict one person's entire set of views based on their position on one issue (because honestly, a lot of people regularly fail to surprise me) that our brains explode when we meet some weirdo who doesn't conform to our expectations. I am guilty of this too. But this is what it means to think for yourself, isn't it, that nobody else is going to be able to guess what you think?

(And conveniently, I'm writing this two days before the thirtieth birthday of my favorite unpredictable thinker!)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Cute shoes (well, kind of) for ugly shoe people

Let's talk about shoes. Like any other female, I love shoes, but my shoe collection is not as big as my other accessory collections--in fact, I have more scarves than shoes, even though you don't need scarves to leave the house. (Well, maybe in New England in the winter you do.) Why? I have awful feet. They're wide, if not double-wide, like little mobile homes, and they have high arches and insteps, so while I may covet cute shoes in the abstract, these are out:

These are "Something Blue" Manolo Blahniks, and they're more expensive than my wedding dress. I can live without those anyway. I also walk a lot, a couple miles a day on average, and I supinate, so the outside heel of my shoes always wears out first. Thus I need shoes with thick soles that I can comfortably walk in for a long time. So these are out too (and unlike Blahniks, I would really love to wear these--of course, they also cost about as much as my wedding dress):

Ah, Lanvins, you are lovely but your soles are about a millimeter thick. Also you cost a lot, and that's before heel taps.

So I wear ugly shoes. Here are some of my favorites:

These are a few seasons old, but I LOVE these Keen St. Barts slides. I have issues with flip-flops, too, by the way (can't stand having the thong between my toes), so these are great because they don't have the thong, they're slides, they're waterproof, and the blue is really pretty. Also, the toe guards are great for people who tend to walk into things a lot. And like all Keens, they're super comfy--just buy half a size up. Their Newport and Venice styles have ankle straps, which is nice for longer walks. I have my eye on these purple ones. (I'm obsessed with purple lately. I'm not into pink, but my love for purple proves I really am a girl.)

I have a black pair of Keen Seattles (discontinued now, I think, but how could I resist those?) that I wear in cooler weather. But they are a few years old and starting to look not so black. So for this fall I got a pair of Privo Jerries.

I was biased against Clarks for a long time (Privo is a subdivision of Clarks) because I went to a wedding in England conveniently located near a huge Clarks outlet, and when I went there I could hardly find anything that worked for me--just a pair of boots I later got rid of because they weren't really that comfortable. But Privos seem to work for me, although I wish they did extra-wide sizes. I really like these so far.

Other brands I like include Rockport, Walking Cradles, Merrell (although they don't do enough wide sizes), and Hush Puppies. Danskos are okay, but I seem to be squarely in between sizes 37 and 38, and I also find my ankles wobble in them a lot (did I mention I have weak ankles?), although gosh those are an easy way to gain an extra couple of inches of height.

And what about these guys?

I am like the only Schwab who does not regularly wear Crocs (this includes my daughter). I do have a pair, but I love my Keens best. But why all the haterade for Crocs? They are great for ugly-shoe-needing people (Justin wears them because he has problem feet too, although mostly the opposite problems of mine), and they come in all kinds of fun colors, and they're comfortable and durable and...what's wrong with that? Seriously? When I hate shoes it's because they hurt my feet (and my whole body depends on my feet!), not because they're fugly. Hating ugly shoes is a luxury for people with normal feet. Crocs make a lot of people's feet happy. Don't hate.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Now on Twitter

I'm girlwithflathat on twitter. Twitter is one of those things that everyone uses of which I'm not exactly sure what the point is yet, and maybe everyone else who uses it just uses it because they think they should. Now I am too. So if you're one of the...I mean, the one person I know who's not on Facebook (ahem, Deanna) and therefore can't see my status updates, now you can read my mindless blurts as tweets. I am bad at texting and can never fit anything I want to say into 140 characters, but maybe I need practice being concise.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Auletta's great-grandparents Auletta

I didn't post about this earlier, but a couple of weeks ago we took the ferry to Long Island to visit my mom's parents, Martha and Victor Auletta, from whose side of the family their great-granddaughter takes her name. Auletta was not all about sitting still long enough to have her picture taken with both of them.

But she did interact with both of them.

And she really liked playing the game of Bringing You Stuff with Grandpa.

Best of all, there was cake.

And other adventures.

A few observations on politics

And then I will shut up again, really. This is neither an endorsement nor a criticism of Obamacare. I think I've mentioned before that I don't think our current health care system is tenable and a solely employer-based system is unrealistic when people change jobs so often, so I'm in favor of reform done well. Take that as you will.

1. "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" apparently only applies when you agree with the dissent.

2. Apparently there is such a thing as illegitimate, manufactured, Astroturfy dissent. I don't know what the difference is between real dissent and fake dissent, except I guess see #1 above. Also if the other side is illegitimate, you don't have to make an argument, and it's clear a lot of people would rather prove the other side wrong than prove themselves right, because proving yourself right involves so little kvetching at the other side, not to mention if your objective is to support your own argument there's no reason to insert the obligatory (old, lame, uncreative, un-demanding of actual thought) dig at Fox News and/or Rush, which by the way, there should be a Godwin's Law for.

3. Democrats control the White House, the House, and the Senate. So if they can't pass a health care plan, isn't it their own fault? In fact, isn't it convenient that these town hall meetings are distracting from the fact that they can't agree on a plan? Yes, I know getting a diverse party to agree on a huge reform plan is hard, but that's their JOB. If you are concerned that health care isn't going to pass, maybe instead of whining about how big evil mean conservatives are pooping all over the Democrats' plan, your time would be better spent writing your representatives and telling them to stop acting like babies and govern. You don't get to play the victim anymore when you're in charge. That's the rub when you win. I don't blame you for complaining from 2001 to 2009, and it's not like Republicans did any better with immigration reform, social security, etc. when they were in charge, but CHANGE would involve doing better, wouldn't it? I am bored by partisan chatter. Want my vote next time around? Lead.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More beach pictures

Auletta finally worked up the nerve to wade a little bit yesterday, although every time a wave came too near her, she would quickly back up, point at the ocean, and yell "No no no no no!" But she was really enthusiastic about the bubbles.

Before I post the cute pics, I want to mention a few other cute things she's been saying:

  • "Gi-go" for "thank you," and also for "here you go." Sometimes if she wants to give me something she says "GI GO!" very insistently.

  • Anything she believes is hers, which is most things she gets her hands on, is MYS.

  • She also sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" all the time. Not that all the words are recognizable (I can hear "how I" and "up a"), but she definitely has the tune down, as much as any nearly two-year-old does.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On the beach

We're in Oak Island, NC, for a week, hanging out on the beach. Auletta has warmed up to the idea of sand but is still skeptical about water. Here are some pictures. I love her little bathing costume, although it's a little big, since I bought it last summer before I knew she would be a tiny toddler.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Syracuse: yay

If you want to see what I did all last week, read all about it at my library blog, Vivarium.

I had a great time. I am so, so glad I left Auletta with the Schwabs for the week, and my only regret was bringing our car, which turned out to be unnecessary, since I didn't go back to Ithaca. I thought about going back, or having Justin bring her up, during my evening break between my two classes (I had a one-credit course Saturday and Sunday and a three-credit course Monday through Friday), but I figured it would almost be worse to see her and then have to say goodbye, especially because she wouldn't be asleep when I left as she was when I left the day before classes began. So I left her for seven whole days, and she did just fine with all of Justin's family, and I got to concentrate on my classes. It was actually less work than I'd expected, or maybe about as much work but less stressful, I think because I didn't have the distractions of husband/kid/household etc. to worry about.

Auletta is finally fully weaned and sleeping through the night. I nursed her for 21 months, which surpassed my goal of a year and then however long we both felt like it, and while I miss it just a tiny bit, it makes life easier. It is a little weird, physically. I gained weight rather rapidly in the process of weaning her, so I need to do something about that. Fortunately the weather is finally great, so we are getting outside a lot.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More sentences

I am away from Auletta for a week :( :( :( (I'm at Syracuse, more than that later), but apparently she now stands outside the bathroom and says "I gotta pee." And who knows, maybe she does; she's still in diapers, obviously. "I gotta pee" and "I love fries" are both subject + verb sentences, so that is cool, but bodily functions and fatty foods, hmm.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In which my daughter tries to feng shui me

Except for a twinge of jealousy I had a few days ago when I found out one of Auletta's friends, who is not quite a year and a half old, is starting to learn the alphabet--Auletta used to think every letter was A, and now thinks every letter is whatever I told her the last letter was--I am more than happy with Auletta's language development now. She has busted out of the world of nouns and is starting to use verbs, such as "walk," "nurse" (soon to become obsolete), "throw," and "move." Auletta's favorite hobby now is demanding that I move to whatever location she has determined appropriate. At the playground, she has me go on the swing and slide while she watches. Also, in anticipation of being left for a week, she insists I carry her everywhere.

Despite my attempts at avoiding cute diminutives, we say "cuppy," "uppy," and "doggy." But the word acquisition continues apace, so I can't complain. Except she calls the ceiling fan "fries" for some reason. Maybe because she likes it. We were pretty convinced she was repeatedly saying "I love fries" when we were at the Greater Schwabs a week or so ago and, um, feeding her fries. She knows "apple," "cheese," and "Cheerio," too, so we're not just feeding her junk food.

But surely you are here for the pictures!

This is with my Aunt Gloria. I am posting this one just so you don't miss Auletta sticking her finger up her nose.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Five years!

I am a little late to post this, because I was celebrating my anniversary on my anniversary instead of blogging, but last Friday, July 3, was our fifth anniversary. We went to La Tourelle Resort and Spa outside of Ithaca (where our beloved John Thomas Steakhouse is also located), had various relaxing spa treatments, ate some great food, watched the fireworks at Ithaca College from our balcony, and got a night away from Auletta, who stayed with the greater Schwabs. It was a blissful 24 hours, and now that we've left Auletta overnight, I'm much less anxious about leaving her for a week later this month, and I'm thinking we should do this every year.

Then we went with the family to Lehman's baseball tournament in Perry, New York. Justin and I let Auletta ride with the rest of the family and meandered our way through the Finger Lakes, stopping for dinner at Glenora Wine Cellars.

We watched baseball over the weekend and went up to Rochester to visit my Aunt Gloria, my cousins Kim and James, and their families, and that's where this picture was taken, about as close to our fifth anniversary as you'll get.

Five years, and may there be fifty more!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And now for something completely different

So I might have mentioned back in November or December that I was busy with some other project, and you might have been wondering what project I could have besides raising my daughter. I was studying for the GRE--again; I took it back on November 1, 1997, and the reason I can tell you the exact day is that our neighbors had a freaking loud Halloween party until 3 AM the night before, so after three hours of sleep I drove half an hour to Bothell, which was not my first choice of testing site, to take one of the last regular paper administrations of the GRE, because I am old-fashioned like that. And they gave me three analytic sections, the bastards, which fried my brain. But somehow I did fine and a couple of grad schools let me go there and the rest is history.

Then ten years later I took the GRE on a computer (and found out my verbal and math scores immediately--nice!), with a writing section instead of a brain-thrashing logic section (YAY because if I cannot write an essay on a test after teaching students how to write essays on tests, then I should be shot), and I did better overall, especially on the verbal section (YAY because if I do not have an awesome vocabulary after teaching students Greek and Latin roots, then I should be shot). So, yes, that was two paragraphs of me talking about how great I am at taking standardized tests, which I realize is completely obnoxious, but I've spent so much of my life honing that one basically useless-in-real-life skill that I am going to do those two paragraphs and I've got it out of my system now, thanks.

Oh, but why on earth did I take the GRE again?

Well, back when I was in college I applied to library school, got in, and decided not to go, instead working in an office for a year and then going to grad school in religious studies. Which, all in all, I would not take back for the world because it got me 1. Virginia 2. Justin 3. Auletta, not necessarily in order of importance, plus a lot of great educational experience, travels, new friends, and who knows what all else would have been different from staying in Seattle, which I would have if I'd gone to library school. But in the last couple of years, a few things have been nudging at me: 1. if I can check a zillion books out of the library but barely write a page of my dissertation, maybe research is not what I should be doing so much as helping other people research, 2. anyone who knows me, including, well, me, knows I am the sort of person you would have expected to be a librarian since birth, and 3. having a masters in library science would be a good way to get a job, if not my dream job as an academic librarian, anywhere we end up, and probably a much more humane job for a mom of one or more children than whatever teaching job I can procure in a shaky market in some proximity to whatever Justin's doing. So I applied to library science programs, and if you don't have a PhD yet (ahem) you have to take the GRE to do that.

Obviously there is a catch here, which is that we're in New Haven for the next year and who knows where after that, and the MLS is usually a two-year program. Actually another thing that planted this idea in my mind is that Southern Connecticut State University, which was even closer than Yale to our original carriage-house home in Woodbridge, has a library science program, but it's not ranked and I figured I could get into a top-ranked school. Now the best library science programs, weirdly, aren't at Ivy League schools or anything. Yale doesn't even have one, which is a shame because it has an awesome library system with two Gutenberg Bibles even, in case they need a spare. Here are the top for library science programs:

1. University of Illinois
1. (tied) University of North Carolina
3. Syracuse University
4. University of Washington

Count them: there are three schools there out of four to which I have some kind of geographical or familial connection. Of those four, all but UNC have some sort of distance-learning program. ! I decided Illinois was out because their online program requires a residency every term and what the heck am I going to do in Urbana, but the other three were possibilities: if nothing else I could depend on the kindness of Justin's extensive family in Chapel Hill to get me through the first year of their program and long-distance marriage, except in the end I decided that was crazy.

So ultimately I decided to go to Syracuse because 1. I got in 2. with a little funding 3. to a school that's an hour from Ithaca and only requires a one-week residency this summer, although I can take courses on campus whenever I want and 4. third is not that much lower than tied for first when I don't have to rearrange my life around third. Also when I visited everyone seemed really nice and happy, and one thing I've learned in my many, many years of grad school is that being a happy student among happy students is a really important consideration.

Thus, next month I am leaving Auletta with Justin and the greater Schwabs for a week while I do an intensive residency in Syracuse, and that will be the beginning of approximately two years of study (various moves, present and possibly future children, etc. permitting) leading to a master's in library science and, with any luck, a position as an academic librarian, ideally in a seminary or div school (I've talked to a couple of librarians at YDS about my prospects and I think I'll be well prepared) but we'll see where we end up.

I started a blog called Vivarium a couple of months ago because it seems like library blogging is The Thing to Do, and, not surprisingly, creating a blog is one of my first assignments. Looks like I'm on top of that. I will be using it a lot for class assignments, so those of you who read GWFH might find it excruciatingly boring, but you can follow along if you like. I am debating whether to keep it on Blogger because blogger is (pro) free but (con) has kind of lame layout options, and also I'm not sure I want my professional profile to be connected to my occasionally political-ranting, tortured-sentence-writing, mommy-blogger profile, but since I'm sure all these universes will collide on Facebook in a matter of moments there is probably no use trying to untangle all the weird strands of my life.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Auletta among the alumni

Auletta had a nice visit to the Cornell Law School alumni barbecue on Saturday. There was another occasion on Saturday, but we won't mention that. (Deanna, thanks for the card, and it should be noted that I am never too drunk to read, although I have been drunk enough to think I can read Persian.) By the way, everyone, we drank the Luckystone Red last night. It is awesome and if we were the sort of people who had a table wine, that would be it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


To lighten things up, maybe I should discuss why I wrote a post last night about why we can't all just get along and love each other and stuff--I had a lot of wine yesterday! We're visiting Justin's family in Ithaca, as you've probably noticed we often do. As an early birthday celebration, Justin and I borrowed his sister Weatherly for the day as a designated driver and toured wineries along Cayuga Lake. For future reference, since otherwise I'm sure I'll forget, here are the highlights of those we visited:

Swedish Hill Winery: Riesling! (they all have great Rieslings, but this is the only place we bought any) and I think one called Just Peachy! that Justin really liked (it wasn't one of the wines I tried) and we brought home because I thought it smelled good even though I didn't taste it. I also thought their Reserve Chardonnay was lovely, and their Svetska Red is good for a sweeter red (usually not to my taste because sweet reds remind me of communion wine).

Goose Watch Winery: My favorites were their Chambourcin (which in this case I tried but Justin didn't) and their pear wine. It's on a hill overlooking the lake and has frontage, so you can get their by boat. A group of half a dozen college-age guys and girls called from the lakefront and wanted someone to pick them up, but seeing as the only person there was the one server, they didn't get a ride, and they were complaining about it when they came up, despite their appearance of robust health and the fact that it couldn't possibly have been that bad. Or rather, the guys were complaining. Anyway, the server was underage--I think this was the case at another winery, which seems kind of weird, but then there are a ton of wineries in a sparsely populated area so it must be hard to find employees, and it was a Monday, and she was really nice--we did buy more at the wineries where the servers were old enough to drink and thus to tell us what the wines were like.

Thirsty Owl Wine Company: This was the only place that really blew us away with their reds (although of course they had a good Riesling too). We took home bottles of their Syrah and Cab/Syrah/Malbec blend, and had both of them plus their Pinot Noir shipped to Dad. I think the overall quality of the wines was highest here, at least to my unsophisticated palate.

Hosmer Winery: Somehow we managed to bust out of here just with a bottle of Estate Red, a pleasant table wine.

Finally we staggered to Sheldrake Point Vineyard, which has an enormous selection of wines. We really liked the Gewuerztraminer and the Luckystone Red, another nice blend. Then we ate dinner at the winery's restaurant, Simply Red, where Monday nights are Southern night--cornbread, beans, and ribs, yum!

Not a bad way to spend a summer day, all in all.

Monday, June 01, 2009

My only pro-life thought for the moment

I know if I shoot my mouth (fingers?) off now or ever I'll regret it, so I'm just going to say this, and I've said essentially the same thing before:

Be motivated by love.

Because a lot of people aren't. It's obviously when they have a gun in their hand. It's not as obvious when they have a keyboard. I see a lot of people on both sides of every issue who are clearly more driven by anger than they are by love. This is not in response really even to the assassination of George Tiller (though that is the catalyst), but to everything I've been observing from reading blogs and books and articles about politics lately. I think both sides of most debates are driven by anger right now--Republicans more so than they once were, and the Democrats less, but both more than I in good conscience can claim any identity with. I think party affiliation is probably necessary for some people in order for parties to exist and in order for our government to function, but I can't be a part of it. That doesn't mean I don't vote, obviously, it just means I can't be a part of the machinery that drives the system. Some people can. More power to them. But that in the end is why I feel political involvement is un-Christian--not because any particular position of either party is antithetical to my beliefs (though some of both parties are), but because I don't think I could be a member of either one and still fulfill the commandment to love. At times I am not sure if anyone else can either. I am not sure how anyone can claim any political affiliation and be active in a political party or political movement and still fulfill the qualifications of love not to keep a record of wrongs or to rejoice in evil (the evil of the other side being necessary to fuel the rhetoric of one's own, it seems). To say nothing of words like hatred, rage, and hell (specifically, that certain people should go there) that are thrown about with no regard to how arrogant and toxic those words are.

Even such extreme rhetoric aside, is there any room for the kind of love Jesus and Paul talk about in partisan politics? Is there any way around this dilemma? And understand, as always, I'm not saying I'm an exemplary person, spiritually or otherwise, and this may merely be an excuse for my political indifference at the moment, but the more I think about it, the truer it seems. When I get into political debates, I don't feel any better--in fact, I feel horrible about myself, even if I'm convinced I'm right--and it makes me a crankier person toward those in my life whom I love, let alone the people I'm debating. So I have to hold myself back. And I wonder if other people should too. Because if Jesus is right and the commandment not to kill extends to the anger we have toward others, then aren't we all left holding the gun?

Monday, May 25, 2009


Auletta is starting to use more recognizable English words. Yay! Here is what we have so far:

-Ball, cup, baby, and boo! as previously established (cup has morphed into "cuppy," maybe a conflation of cup and sippy?)
-"Bo-bo" or something like that for "belly button," to which we sometimes refer as "bee-bo" as per The Belly Button Book, which you must read
-Nose (pronounced "no," usually)
-Phone (pronounced "po")
-A fricative "ch" sound for "duck" (her version of "quack")
-In answer to "What does a lion say?": Roh!
-In answer to "What does a bee say?": Bizz
-Uh-oh! (which she learned from one of her toddler friends)
-Some approximation of "up," "down," "dog," "bird," and probably others I don't recognize yet

She also refers to every letter of the alphabet as "A!" I went to much effort to teach her to say A and eye, both of which she first pronounced as "eee," which is understandable because A and eye are both diphthongs and probably harder to pronounce. Now she pronounces both with great precision. Lacking subtlety, she also pokes us in the eye a lot.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A selection of pictures from your blog hostess, who for once has been busier taking pictures than blogging

For some reason I went for a while taking fewer pictures and being less into photography than I was for a while. Maybe it's because winter in New Haven is so nasty (especially this last one) that there really wasn't much light or opportunity. Anyway, we are having a real spring now, and I am excited because I thought I had lost my flash for a month there, but fortunately I had left it somewhere and they still had it, so I am not flash-less, not that I need a flash now so much. Anyway, here is cute kid overload for you, in several parts.

I. The beach. We went last weekend with Justin's brother Whitney and some other students from the law school. Auletta brought her BALL, a new one her granny & co. got her.

II. Hanging out at the Ithaca Farmer's Market with Kate and Dylan from Bleisenblog.

III. Selling lemonade with her uncles.

More pictures on SmugMug. By the way, some anonymous person used my referral to open an account and saved me $10 on my upcoming renewal, so whoever you are, if you're reading this, thank you!