Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Things I Can’t Say April 5, 2010

Filed under: Books,Family Life — leighj @ 4:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

Last week, I taught My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki to my Women and Cultural Violence class. It’s one of my favorites–funny, sad, irreverent, thought-provoking. In the novel, the front piece for each chapter is a list from The Pillow Book by Shonagon written in the eleventh century Japan. These include: Disappointing Things, Things that Give an Unclean Feeling, Delightful Things, etc. So while I’ve titled this post, “Things I Can’t Say” it might actually not be that, since I’m thinking about that book.

And since there are so many things I can’t say, so as not to appear whiny, ungrateful, and worse, I might have to talk about Seamus today. He’s funny. He loves walking around holding on to your hands. Sometimes he’s brave enough to just hold one hand. Somebody sent us some toys, stacking cups and a hammer bench (but we don’t know who this person was since there was no name on the box; if it was you, let me know), and he’s in love with the stacking cups, banging different sizes together to hear the different sounds, putting them in one cup and taking them out, strewing them around the room, and more. He’s started laying himself out on the floor on his stomach when he gets tired. He comes in fast and insistent for a hug. He crams strawberries in his mouth like there’s no tomorrow.

We met some new family this weekend. Patrick’s aunt and her new (to us anyway, but I think they’ve been married for four years) husband were visiting his folks in Las Cruces so we all met in Socorro. We hung out at the NM Technical Institute which has a beautiful shady breezy campus. We hit up the Smith’s on the way out of town for its restrooms. I was not inspired when Patrick told me that the men’s smelled like alcohol vomit. With my sensitive nose and overactive gag reflex, I was worried. I was even more worried when I walked in and the entire store smelled like rotisseire chicken. (This smell drives me crazy, and it’s why I used to drive two and a half miles farther away to shop at the Smith’s that didn’t smell this way. But just so you know, everybody I tell this to thinks I’m nuts.) Imagine my delight when the women’s smelled clean and actually was! The customer service manager even opened up a special lane for me to check out with my lemonade.

Is this post banal enough for you? I told you there were things I can’t say. So you get the things I can. Or this all may be a by-product of reading and teaching The Adventures of Don Chipote by Daniel Venegas, which is full of scatological humor. I can think of nothing else. I do hope my students appreciate that humor from the 1920s. For example on the first page, “All of nature had entered into a state of respite, except for Don Chipote, who, completely worn out from the daily grind, continued to poke at an ox’s ass. So obliged by his numerous progeny, he was forced to bring up the rear of his horny beast, occasionally sucking in the consoling little emanations from the animal’s posterior duct.” You’re welcome.

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