Thursday, July 24, 2008

mice, playdough, thunderstorms and dissertation guilt: a stream of consciousness post

Well, we caught another mouse last night. This was a big one, and the old-fashioned spring trap killed it dead. It was in one of the bottom cabinets that we haven't been using for awhile. So--that's five total we've caught, and we don't know how the poison stuff has been working (the exterminator has some way of checking that but I think he said he'd give it a month before coming back to check them). Hopefully there's some kind of redemptive reality for mice in God's eschatological intent. Endless landscapes of peanut butter, dotted with cheese? Stickier than pavement of gold, but far more edible.

It's been raining for a couple days now, nice thunderstorms at night. I love it, especially here in this house where everything is quiet at night and the only things you hear are the rain and the thunder. Clare's gotten a little scared of thunder, though; yesterday evening when it started storming she just sat in my lap and didn't speak a word for at least 5 whole minutes. That sort of freaked me out; right as I was really starting to worry, though, Brent came home and daddy's arrival snapped her out of it and she started talking again.

Right now she's singing her favorite improvisational song, "la la la la la." She's really enjoyed the blue and pink playdough we made this morning. Yay for finding my toddler art/activity book finally!!! And for inheriting cookie cutters from Laurie (or another former resident???) and food coloring from Sarah's cleaning out of her fun kitchen items preparatory to moving to Strasbourg. These rainy days could have been a lot worse!

I also love that there's this window into Clare's room from my office, so I can sit here and amuse myself and peek in on her without moving from my desk chair. That is awesome. She's so cute when she's all absorbed in her play and doesn't know she's being watched. She's cute when she knows she's in the spotlight, too, but then she starts to perform for you and that's a different kind of cute.

The pink and blue playdoughs are now hopelessly mixed up together.

Just for fun, for any moms who read this blog and would like an awesome playdough recipe, here it is:

1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 t. cream of tartar
food coloring
2 T oil
1 cup flour

Mix the first four ingredients together in saucepan over low heat. When the mixture is warm, add the oil and then the flour and stir until it gets thick and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. To test for doneness, pinch a bit of the dough between your fingers. If it doesn't stick to your skin then it's done.

The First Art for Toddlers & Twos book is great; if you're looking for something like that, I highly recommend it.

I finally got all my office books unpacked and on the shelf--in LC order, even. This amazing accomplishment must be credited to Terri (sp? must ask her) who is going to hang out with Clare Tues and Thurs afternoons this summer so I can get a bit of writing done and hopefully finally finish this interminable posthuman chapter! I got more done than anticipated Tuesday, especially since I anticipated spending some time with orientation and getting Clare introduced and comfortable. They hit it off just fine, and I actually heard Clare shrieking with laughter downstairs at one point. I am so happy about this! Clare's been aching for some social interaction with someone other than me. And I'm only fun when I'm well-rested and unstressed, which happens just about never. But with some time to devote to my own work after quite a few weeks of hiatus, hopefully the neverending dissertation guilt will be somewhat assuaged and I can devote myself to enjoying time with Clare with an unburdened conscience. Those of you lucky enough not to have ever dissertated won't understand, but mainly writing a dissertation involves a lot of guilt. When you're working singlemindedly on it, you feel guilty about all the other more significant aspects of life you're not doing: relationships, exercise, basic personal hygiene...and when you're not working on it, you feel guilty because it's supposed to be THE priority and you're not making any progress. Plus, of course, no matter how much progress you actually make, you never feel like you're making any at all; so basically, trying to write a dissertation just means signing yourself up for a huge catch-22 load of guilt no matter where you turn. I think all PhD programs should make therapy mandatory during dissertation phase, or at least institute student self-help groups, or something.

Enough. I just tore Clare most reluctantly away from her beloved playdough because it's past naptime, and that means, make the most of this hour: shower, eat, talk to Brent, and if there's any time left, a 10 minute power nap because the thunderstorms have made Clare, and therefore me, sleep poorly the last couple nights in a row.

Thanks to all of you with the mice advice and help. I'll keep you posted. :)


Indie Pereira said...

Wow. I used to work in a library and even I don't dare put my books into LC order. The kids would surely destroy it and I would cry.

JTB said...

update: the pink and blue playdough is now, instead of a nice lavender, a disgusting weird gray color. Why?

The LC order is because our books have our own labels on them with LC numbers. This was Brent's idea, of course. But now that it's done I have to say, it's pretty cool.