Monday, December 29, 2008

Aren't You Glad You Asked

Book Meme:
The Rules: Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.

The diagnosis of abruption may be confirmed by inspection of the placenta at delivery. The presence of a retroplacental clot with overlying placental destruction confirms the diagnosis.

- from Blueprints - Obstetrics & Gynecology, Callahan, Caughey & Heffner

What can I say - my husband keeps his review books on the desk next to the computer.

Seven Facts About Me:
The Rules:
1. Link to your blogger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people (if possible) at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

1. While in college, I belonged to the Connecticut Valley Mycological Society. We collected mushrooms; there were also, I believe, slide shows.

2. Sometimes, I still put on clothing that I wore in high school.

3. I like cats very much, but am highly allergic to them.

4. I read Jane Eyre when I was 9. I loved Jane, especially in the beginning when she mouthed off to her relatives; but my favorite character was the mad wife in the attic. I even wrote some fanfic about her. More recently, I read Wide Sargasso Sea (by Jean Rhys - Jane Eyre from the point of view of the mad wife) and was disappointed.

5. My favorite color is red.

6. I had to wear bifocals for a year when I was 8.

7. Once, an old man threatened to beat me with his prosthetic leg. He actually took it off and waved it around - it was rather a surreal sight. (Long story here.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Translation: Not Literal, But Rhymes and Mostly Scans

Wings by Nautilus Pompilius

translated from Russian

You slip off your evening gown standing with your face to the wall

I see the fresh scars on your back, and I want to fall

Asleep and forget, cry in pain, and forget it, forget it all.

Where, where are your wings, your wings that I loved so much?

We used to have time, but all we have now is things to do:

Like proving the strong eat the weak, soot is white, and lies true.

There are things that we all have lost in this insane war – now, you:

Where, where are your wings, your wings that I loved so much?

I don’t ask about your men or your money; I never ask why.

I see you fear open windows and staircases rising too high.

But if tomorrow the building goes up in flames, we’ll all die

Without these wings, oh these wings that I loved so much.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Meeting and a Literary Effort

Son's parent-teacher conference last night. Arrive to be confronted with sign-up list; upon signing, sit down and observe that all women present appear to have better sheitlach than I. Resolve not to let this observation lead to inferiority complex, as fall down resulting slippery slope likely to end in bankruptcy and/or psychiatric condition. Instead focus on completing translation of Nautilus Pompilius song begun earlier that day while waiting for court case to be called. Other parents talk about sheitlach and upcoming sheva brochos of couple unknown to me.

Finally, my turn arrives and I enter classroom. Rebbe looks up at me and smiles weakly; I take this as cue to introduce myself, whereupon he nods and remains silent. I sit down and look at him expectantly, as do not quite like to ask What Trouble has Son been Getting Into? Rebbe appears to pull self together and tells me that Reading is very Good, but can be Wild at Playtime, neither of which surprises me. Inquire as to What he thinks should be Done, more to appear Caring Parent than because I think anything can be done to significantly modify Son's Behavior. He tells me it has gotten Better (Why?) and inquires whether we are related to a Rav who used to be on the Lower East Side about fifty years ago, because our last name is not common, and Son looks a little like him.

Lack of content to this meeting should have been wholly anticipated by self, as particularly Egregious acts by child always precepitate phone calls from concerned educators - such as last year, when Son tried to practice karate moves on the other children. (Query: why, nevertheless, do I feel compelled to attend these Events? Answer: deep-seated and possible irrational conviction that it is necessary in order to be a Good Mother.)

Return on foot, with coat open due to broken zipper, and begin to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. After the first fifteen minutes give up in exasperation, as have recalled ending as well as annoying behavior of female lead, who insists on wearing skimpy white dresses in all kinds of inappropriate locations such as snake-infested pyramids and pirate ships, and screams Too Much.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Go to a Wedding

Attend wedding on Tuesday night, where run into Mrs. K, whom I see every morning at my son's bus stop. She says (in rather startled tone) that I look Very Nice; considering my usual morning appearance at bus stop, this is not saying Much.

At table, am witness to debate concerning desirability or otherwise of a broad education. Mrs. X thinks that Our Children should be sheltered from all Harmful Influences; Mrs. Y, on the other hand, while agreeing that we do not want any Harmful Influences (as, indeed, who does?), considers best way to avoid H.I. is to teach a child to Think for itself. Tear myself away from contemplation of salmon on my plate in order to interject that My parents let me read Anything - in fact, very much liked to read Balzac when I was ten - and I turned out All Right.

Mrs. X stares dubiously and says, This may not be for Everyone. Mrs. Y says, There, you see! and we proceed to agree that actual learning in school far preferable to speeches about tznius and future motherhood. Indeed, should have been very depressed to listen to such stuff at age sixteen, as did not particularly like small children and detested conversations about clothing.

Suspect that tznius craze is excuse to talk about sex and clothing, and feel quite righteous about doing so.