Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book nerd paradise

Rob: "How was the National Book Festival?"
Erin: "It made me so happy that I wanted to twirl in circles with my umbrella outstretched!"

I'm an enormous nerd, but for a librarian like me, going to the National Book Festival is on the level of attending the premiere of the newest Brad Pitt movie, and getting twenty seconds of one-on-one conversation with an actress you admire.

I talked to Ana Menendez (her "In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd" is one of my all-time favorite short story collections) while getting my book signed. She was delightful. I'm still smiling thinking about it.

As for presentations I attended, they were wonderful. Shannon Hale was every bit as funny as I hoped she would be (the picture is of her rolling up a lamanated strip of rejection letters she received before getting published that she stretched across the stage). Lois Lowry was every bit as charming as I hoped she would be. Julia Alvarez was even more eloquent and graceful as I hoped she would be. Who thought that was possible? After his presentation, Ralph Eubanks read a fascinating essay on why he decided to give up his Mississippi accent, and what is meant for him as a writer and an individual. Azar Nafisi, while I certainly didn't always agree with her, gave me a lot to think about.

So a big thanks to Rob for staying home with Emily so I could go!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Emily Update

Emily turned 8 months old yesterday, and here is what she is up to.
She has eaten rice cereal, carrots, squash, green beans, applesauce, and peaches. Oh, and paper. Lots and lots of paper. Now that I know she wants to eat it, I have to watch her when she tears it up.
She has six teeth. If given her choice, she would use them to lovingly chew on her parents' hands.
Her favorite hobbies are watching her parents dance around, chewing on things, rolling around, tearing up magazines, hanging upside down, playing with her parents' hair, playing with unfamiliar objects, and jabbering away (she has an adorable voice).
She can army crawl for a few inches, but it is too slow going for her, so she usually rolls to get where she wants to go.
She's getting more and more independent each day, but still loves to be with her family. We thoroughly enjoy her.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coming and Going

One of the best parts of living in DC is reconnecting with friends from previous stages of your life who have also come out here for work or grad school. Consequently, one of the worst parts of living in DC is that they eventually finish grad school or get a job elsewhere, and you have to say goodbye to them all over again.
We've had several of these friends move away this summer (although hopefully Pretty Mahana will have things lined up to come back soon), and I definitely miss them. But it has been fun to see that even though a lot has happened in the years we've been apart, they still have all the characteristics I loved about them in the first place, and it immediately felt natural being with them again. Here's hoping our paths cross again!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blast from the past #3: The Belly

I've been slacking on posting. It isn't that I haven't been writing. It's just that nothing I've written has turned out right. So let's try a flashback picture, and I'll give those other posts a go when my creative mojo comes back.
I was one of those weird women who actually enjoyed my pregnant belly. Don't get me wrong. There were a large number of elements of pregnancy that I wasn't keen on - the fact I could eat nothing but nectarines, mashed potatoes, and ritz crackers for almost five months; puking in public bathrooms; being unable to watch sad movies without sobbing (no, not a gentle tear streaming down my cheek: I'm talking Rob-would-turn-off-the-movie-and-hug-me-for-an-hour tears); and chronic exhaustion. But the belly and I got along. Except for those rare occassions where I'd get stuck on the floor and Rob would have to save me, but we'll call those moments where Rob and my belly didn't get along.
I'd always thought the belly would freak me out. The idea of a being inside me that could move independently of me seemed like something out of X-Files. But I loved feeling Emily explore her world, and learning her rhythms. You learn things about a person when they live inside you. I learned Emily is a night owl. I learned that she is gentle. I learned that she's tentative about new experiences (loud noises, etc), but enthusiastic once she gets used to the idea. I found myself surprised over and over again just how right my sense of her personality was.
There were also the social elements of the belly. I loved being a part of a collective experience that women have been a part of since the dawn of time. It was easy to find common ground with people I met. This was especially useful at work. It was easy to form relationships with coworkers, and the pregnant librarian was well-known and very approachable. Great PR, let me tell you. I loved getting seats on the train and having strangers help me lift heavy objects. In the hectic pace of the city, I loved seeing people transform from stressed out businessman to cheerful neighbor.
:) I'm not going to start walking around with a fake belly, but I have fond memories of that aspect of my pregnancy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

So apparently I have a seven deadly sins thing going on...

So in my past few posts I've covered greed (Emily moments), gluttony (cheese), sloth (my normally lax housekeeping), and pride (my eyebrows). So now I just need to blog about lust, wrath, and envy, and I'll be good to go! Or sent to eternal torment, I'm not exactly sure how this seven deadly sins thing works.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


When the full-length closet mirror slid into a different position, I saw the perspective that everyone sees when I feed Emily – the back of her head. It was startling to me to realize my perspective was unique. I’ve spent countless hours taking in the little details of her face as she eats: the focused look in her eyes as she begins, the roll of her cheeks as her mouth opens and closes. I somehow thought the other family members that have been in the room with me could see these things, but I’ve realized I’m the only one that sees her eyes gradually fluttering closed, and her sudden but gentle smile as she lets go and drifts off to sleep. I’ve tried to show Rob, but when he comes over to my side of the chair, she takes a break from eating to smile at him. And there’s a little part of me that is privately glad that I don’t have to share this knowledge. It is mine, and mine alone.

There is something delicious about an experience that is entirely your own. An irony no one else caught. A moment in nature that no one else witnessed. The laugh that someone you love only uses when you do something nice for them. Your special place you go to think. A baby’s “first” that you were the only one present to see. Yes, there’s intimacy in a good secret, or camaraderie in sharing a beautiful experience with friends, but there is something magical about a pleasure you don’t have to share. It makes you feel special, and it makes you appreciate the value of what you are partaking in. It is rare, and therefore precious. It is beautiful because you own it.