Topic the First: being department chair
Still-43-year-old me became department chair, and 44-year-old me has been busy as a result. It's probably not too politic to discuss some of the transition here, but let me point out a few things I've discovered in my office:
- my predecessor's 1993 tax returns
- files for people who left our department sometime in the 1990s, in a drawer labeled "current staff"
- nicely organized files left by the person who moved out of this office in 2001
- big piles of documents from 2001-on
- happily, two folders full of Useful Information That Answered Questions, which I found by pure luck
Topic the Second: Where have you been lately?
I started 44 with tons of organizing at the office, and then my family arrived: first my sister and her family, and then our parents. Between the family, the boxes at the office, the forms that needed filling out (requests to add faculty lines, requests to deal with salaries, requests for help with promotion and tenure matters, just to name a few), the start of the State Fair (which deserves its own post), and the boxes at home (because our renovation project is almost done, so now we can move back into the old part of the house), I've missed blogging. And I've been working on tons of posts in my head, trying to work out the weird kind of jealousy I feel about watching one of my neices, who's close in age to Curious Girl, trying to work out the odd dynamics with my family. They don't quite get me, and I let that fact get to me. So I've got lots swirling around in my head about sameness and difference, belonging, developmental variations, school, and praise. It's been nice having so many people here, but it's left me with lots to think about.
Topic the Third: The Empty Car Seat
Curious Girl and Politica flew off to visit Politica's father today. They'll be back on Thursday. I hate it when they go away. I stayed here, thinking that I needed to be around to manage some fall preparations here in the department. Turns out I got all that finished yesterday, so I could have gone, but I'm here. Here with time to complete my syllabus and unpack my office, so that's probably good. But still, I'm here, not there, and the house is too quiet. Andrea had wonderful photos illustrating her empty feelings when Frances and Erik went away last month. I'm not so organized as to upload my photos promptly, but if I were, I'd have taken a photo of the carseat. We don't spend that much time in the car, really, but the sight of the empty car seat in my little Curious Girl-view mirror makes me want to cry. (In fact, I had to pull into the airport hotel parking lot so I could cry for a minute after I dropped them off.) CG was so very happy to be off on a trip with Politica, so very happy to be visiting her Morfar. And I'm happy about that, really. Politica's been spending a lot of time at work this spring/summer, and it's good for the two of them to have some special time. I know that. But still....I don't like being away from CG. I want to be there with her, taking care of her. Laughing with her. And I want time to chat with Politica after CG goes to sleep.
And I don't like being the only person home in the house. So I'll stay up late and sleep with lots of the lights on.
Topic the Fourth: The Real Wiggles
The last time I posted about music, lots of you turned out to share my passion for show tunes. Hurrah! So now let's talk about the Wiggles, a group which has gotten quite roundly criticized in the opening posts and comments over at Corndog's (most excellent) Flatulent Four tourney.
Corndog, for example, says:
I've got an episode of The Wiggles in the can, so to speak, and all I can say is, if there's anything worse than that out there, then I'm going to be a slobbering idiot by the time this tournament is done.Now, not everyone in this little corner of the blogosphere is down on the Australain foursome. Dani (at Postcards from the Mothership) had lots of fun seeing the Wiggles, or more to the point, seeing her sons see the Wiggles. Curious Girl has been a big fan of the Wiggles for about a year. After one of her surgeries, someone brought her a Wiggles video to watch while she convalesced, and she just took to them. While the music isn't quite as good as, say, Ralph's World or Elizabeth Mitchell/Lisa Loeb, it's way better than that of the purple dinosaur, and Politica and I have been amused at CG's emerging Wiggle habits. She likes to drag one of Politica's guitars out to play along with Murray on the song of the same name. During their version of "Maire's Wedding," she'll stop the tape to give herself time to change into a dressup dress and then dance around. So when we found out the Wiggles were coming to our city, we asked her if she wanted to go. "yes!" she said (even though it might be a little loud, and it would be dark during the show.) We were wondering whether Wiggle-enthusiasm would outweigh fear of crowds and loud noises, but decided to give it a go.
CG didn't have quite the dancing experience that Dani's sons had, but she had a ball. My parents had given her a new green-with-white polkadots dress, and she wanted to wear that to be "fancy" for the show. Then she realized her green dress would match Dorothy the Dinosaur, and she was quite happy about that. Dorothy smiled at her, CG informed me, and told her that she liked the dress. We all had a good time at the show. There were no surprises: the Wiggles or their introducer explained everything (they warned when the sidekicks were coming, they explained that the lights would go down, they explained the jokes in advance). CG doesn't like surprises at shows, so this was all great for her. The Wiggles came out into the aisles--even coming up into the cheaper seat aisles, not just on the floor near the stage--to wave at the children. They read all the signs people were holding up, and they sent Anthony (the blue-shirted one) up into the nosebleed seats to read two signs they couldn't see from the stage. They did a great job of making all the children in the pretty large arena feel included.
They make themselves laugh with their jokes, which I think is endearing (although I concede others might consider it weird). And they made CG laugh and smile, and I saw her singing along.
So it was fun. And CG is still talking about how we saw the real Wiggles, driving their big red car on the stage. "It was too funny," she told one of our friends last night. Too funny indeed.
And with that, dear readers (if indeed anyone is still reading), I'm heading up to bed. It feels nice to be posting again, so thanks for your patience with my little hiatus. I'll be trying to catch up a bit on your blogs this week, too. I've missed you.