Thursday, July 5, 2012

Face It/ 7 Quick Takes (Vol. 1)

A friend once proposed a rival site to Facebook, called Face It. People would only post when they were having a bad day and wanted commiseration. No vacation photos or cute children's antics allowed. Face It posts are written in that spirit. They are "complaining songs" to put it in the parlance of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Beloved Readers, Please regard this as an epistle from the Land o' Jetlag. I'm also joining in on the 7 Quick Takes Friday link party over at Conversion Diary.

We're back in France after our month-long sojourn in the U.S. Actually, The girls and I are back in France. Donnie is in Scotland, hopefully buying a kilt--wait, no--I mean making friends in the Computational Topology Community and marching forward in the vanguard of Science.

June has 3o days. We realized this last Saturday, as we made our way to baggage claim after our overnight flight from the US. I had Maria riding on my back in the ergo carrier with Louisa in my arms. Donnie was lugging our formidable array of carry-ons. Maria was exhausted after sleeping only one hour during the flight, and intermittently broke forth in great, reverberating wails that carried through the terminal.

Don: So, I guess I coming back here tomorrow.

We had had it in our heads that Donnie would have two days at home before flying off to the Topology conference. We forgot that, though our flight was leaving the 29th, we'd be landing on the 30th, got it....June has only 30 days.

Our summer calendar is honeycombed with workshops and conferences, when Donnie will be away. It's important at this stage in Donnie's career that he get out there and meet people, and it's a great blessing that his work provides the travel budget for him to do this. But we do miss him. With this latest trip in particular, I'm gritting my teeth, waiting for his return.


Indepedence Day was low-key. I dressed the girls in their patriotic Osh-Kosh-B'Gosh outfits (thank you Auntie Ci-Ci!) and we visited my Aussie friend Marisa and her baby, Chloe. Chloe was also dressed in red, white, and blue, which was surprising and rather touching. Marisa fed us wonderful rhubarb cake (made from home-grown rhubarb), which in my mind, stood-in for the traditional strawberry short-cake.

In the afternoon, I googled "patriotic videos for kids" and ended up showing Maria the Peanuts Mayflower Voyagers on Youtube. Not seasonally appropriate, but once I found it, I couldn't bring myself to navigate away. We went on to watch several other Peanuts videos. Maria was enthusiastic about "Noopsy" (yes, the rearrangement of s diphthongs is still with us--but wouldn't "Noopsy" be a great name for a cartoon dog?).

Perhaps it's that Maria is now old enough to appreciate holidays; perhaps it's that being in France has me feeling tenderly about my nation's traditions, but I have a distinct feeling of having missed the boat. After reading this wonderful post on how to celebrate the 4th of July, I'm hoping for some meaty Independence Day celebrations in years to come.


Louisa reached a number of major milestones during our time in the States. She learned a proper belly-off-the-ground crawl. She also learned to pull to a stand. She's faster and stronger and grabbier than when we left.

Now that we are back in the confines of our small apartment, Maria is not so pleased with her sister's new level of mobility. A while back, we told Maria that she should keep her books away from Louisa so that Louisa wouldn't chew on them. It seems Maria took our words as a kind of mandate. She goes into alarm mode when the baby nears her books, yelling "I need some help!" (That phrase has become a great catch-all for Maria. ) Or she takes matters into her own hands, and tries to push or pull Louisa away. We've had some talks about how the baby's safety is important than that of the books.

So far, we've been incredibly lucky in how well the girls get along with one another. I don't see this lasting long (fingers crossed), but I think it's funny that Maria is so protective of her books.

As the first sentence of this post suggests, Jetlag has been a big thing this week. I didn't manage to get Maria to kindergarten even once because we've all been sleeping in so late. The girls have actually (sort-of) been going to bed at reasonable time. They're sleeping late because they've been skipping naps.

I've been staying up into the wee hours trolling blogs, reading Agatha Christie, and doing other things that fall into the category of "quasi-worthwhile." My Jetlag has been exacerbated by Donnie's absence. It's always harder to settle without the mate close by.

The thing about being up at night, is that it's easy to mistake the cause of the wakefulness. Is it jetlag that has me blogging at this time of night or some manic, unfulfilled desire? What am I doing with my life anyway? Commence existential crisis.

I'm rather good at ascribing deep emotional causes to my physiological states. Let me give you an example. Once, I was in the kitchen preparing a meal, and I suddenly began to feel all teary. I ransacked my brain. Was I sad? Was I anxious? Was this a tide of suppressed pain brimming over my subconscious, at last making itself known? I pulled all kinds grievances out of the closet of my mind, and tried them on for size. It wasn't until after I'd gotten myself into a foul mood, that I looked down and saw that I had been cutting an onion.

Even being aware of this tendency, I still fall pray to it, and the creeping neurosis of the early morning hours.

BABIES. Two of them!

That is, two of my greatest friends from childhood are each having a baby, both due in December.

I found this out is on Sunday evening, and then didn't fall asleep until 7:30 am. Joyful news to be sure--but in my tired, yet woefully awake brain, the good news underscored the how far I am from my two friends, and how long it has been since I shared in their day-to-day life. It seemed vaguely tragic that they could be a third of the way through their pregnancies already.

Blubb. Blubbbbb.

This goes to show you...If you find yourself awake with Jetlag, go ahead and watch a movie or two. Otherwise you'll take the best possible piece of news and find something to get all mopey and sad about.

But seriously----BABIES!

On that wonderful note, goodnight!


  1. Julia, I'm sorry there was a sad tinge to the happy news! *hugs* You're with us in spirit. I will try to do better about keeping in touch -- I'm going to upgrade my phone soon, perhaps that will allow me to skype or have better methods of reaching you. LOVE YOU, and meh, you've just gotten to miss me whining about pregnancy thus far. :P

    My love to everyone! I am sad that I can no longer pop in the car for a pleasant weekend in Pittsburgh with you, Don, and Maria. And I'm sad I've not met Louisa. But this will all pass! There are more blessings than grief, and the grief is minor. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

    1. There are so many more blessings than causes of grief! I am so thrilled about your baby! Hopefully, there will come a day when we live closer to one another, and if not, we're up for big, communal vacations!

  2. Love that you did 7 quick takes! Much laughter as I read them aloud to D.