Saturday, April 27, 2013

Connecticut Bound!

My last post ended with a cliffhanger.  Here, without further ado, is the resolution.

Donnie has been offered an assistant professorship at the University of Connecticut.  We're Connecticut bound, Baby!
Colleen and Mark very sweetly brought us some UConn chocolate bars.  I asked Donnie to be in this photo, seeing as it's him who got the job, be he protested that his hair is too long at the moment.

During the job search, we had the comfort of knowing that if the hunt didn't pan out, we had the option of doing another postdoc.  Even with this assurance, the search involved plenty of hang-wringing and soul-searching.  (How fortunate that the job search overlapped with Lent!)  The offer from UConn arrived the Tuesday after Easter Sunday.  Donnie signed into the Skype meeting with the UConn people, not knowing what to expect.  "So let's talk salary,"  said the department head.  And thus we were put out of our uncomfortable state of suspense and launched into giddy excitement.

There are, of course, many new anxieties (the details of relocation; the challenge of starting afresh in a new community; nervousness that this will be our "for real" home) but we are so very happy about our destination!

It's an oh-so-reasonable ninety minute drive from Donnie's folks in Southern CT and about two hours from my parents in New York.  When Donnie began the application process, the possibilities were so far flung and the competition so stiff that we hardly dared to hope that we would land near family.  It's wonderful the way the chips have fallen.

We're also excited at the prospect of living in bucolic Northern Connecticut.  We've been city folk for a while, but have long cherished hopes of having backyard chicken and woods for the kids to scramble around in.  We're also  hoping that the reasonable cost of land will mean that our dream of designing and building a house will be fulfilled in the next couple of years.

So if you know anyone in the Storrs/Mansfield area, or have any advice, let us know!  We're eager to love this new home.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Easter Sunday Edition

{pretty, happy, funny, real} is hosted every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter!


This was the sight that greeted Maria and Louisa after a lovely Easter Mass in Gif.
Not a great picture, but it shows Maria's Easter outfit!

The girls had a big Easter haul.  There was all kinds of fun---markers, stickers, notebooks and chocolates sent by Meme and Grandpa and Great Nana and Popop.  I went a bit crazy with the Easter gifts.  Lately, I've been learning about Montessori (and loving it), so I tried to buy gifts that were real-life tools.  Louisa received a little ceramic espresso cup--a perfectly sized mug for her.  Maria received two small spread knives--they're the right size for her hand and they actually cut--the ones that come in the children's cutlery sets can't slice cut butter unless it's been sitting out all day.  There was also a small hair brush.  For both girls, I bought a little wooden vanity.  This was a "toy" and labeled as something for "imaginative play," but I really wanted a little child-friendly mirror that they could have at their height, and use as they learn to wipe their noses and comb their hair, etc. Then there were bubbles and sprinkles for f cup cakes, and a couple of books.  I ended up holding back the vanity and the books until the middle of the week, because the girls were already quite over the moon about the markers and chocolate.

Our Infant of Prague illustration with golden vestments.

Our Easter decorations.  This French adventure has taught me that a lot can be done with construction paper and a glue stick. 

That last paper ornament is a cutout of a winged bell.  The French don't have the Easter Bunny---there are chocolate rabbits for sale, but they rank the same as the chocolate chicks and hens as emblems of Spring.  Instead,  Easter chocolate is brought by the bells. On Holy Thursday, the bells depart on pilgrimage to Rome, thus explaining their silence through Good Friday and Saturday.  They return to proclaim the Resurrection on Easter morning, and on their way,  drop sweets into the gardens.  I love that this merry fiction ties in with the liturgical celebration. 

Our neighbors arranged a lovely Easter hunt in the garden behind our building.  The kids collected the chocolate and at the end it was pooled and divided equitably. Maria had a great time---though she stopped every once and a while to draw with her new markers on a small scrap of paper.  Chocolate is lovely, but it mustn't distract from art!  Poor Loulou was a bit too tired and snotty to get into the action.


My lovely in-laws were with us last Easter, and they brought some plastic eggs.  We held onto them, and I filled them and gave them to our neighbor for this year's hunt.  I wish I had a picture of our little neighbor is when she found the first of the plastic eggs. 

Picture a five year old wrinkling her nose in disdain, and saying in French accented English, "But what eez dis?  It eez plastique!  It eez not chocolate!"

Typically, the quarry of French Easter eggs hunts are foil-wrapped hollow chocolate eggs, so B was justified in her surprise.  She was quickly won over when shown that the egg opened to reveal...chocolate of course!


We spent Easter Sunday joyfully, but in no small degree of suspense. We were expecting news from the CS department at the University of Connecticut regarding Donnie's candidacy for an assistant professorship.   The department had offered the position to someone else, but Donnie was their runner-up.  We had hoped for definitive news on Good Friday.  It didn't come, and so we spent the weekend on pins and needles.

We did, at last, get news on Tuesday....I  hope to tell you more about it soon, but there are a few things that needs to be finalized before we make things public on Ye Grande Internete.