Long time, no blog.

A has read The Catcher in the Rye and Frankenstein, and the entire Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events in the last three weeks (not that he had not read them before, but the boredom induced by lack of television assisted this re-visitation).

A has been inundated with French and ISEE prep, and is currently sitting in a biology class for the duration of the week. It is quite possible, however, that we will resume homeschooling. Round Three.

In preparation for such a possibility, I have much housekeeping to do, academically and elsewhere.


And then there was Carpe Diem

I am beyond exhausted.

Between work, cooking, bathing, cleaning house, getting A's tutors comfortable (how many do we have now? I've lost track), Napoleon's nanny's weird behavior--such as taking Nappo to her place and falling asleep, shutting off her cellphone and forgetting that our dog is with her causing us to worry beyond belief where the heck our dog might be--and entertaining my former co-worker/now new best friend for 8 days straight, it is a wonder that I am coherent, let alone awake.

I want a vacation in Bali. Now.

And what is to be said about the co-worker? Despite his hints for signals from me, I was too hesitant to express anything, say anything, or do anything beyond the friendly.

Yesterday I walked home from the train, after our last day together, and it felt as if my descent from Mt. Olympus was beginning.

Buona sera! came an elderly voice as I reached my block.
Buona sera, I replied.

My heart is lamenting.



In a few short hours, I will be having a French dinner. With a, um, friend.

Hooray for me.


it's the little things

I have a little old grandmotherly neighbor at the end of my block, who, for months has hated Napoleon sniffing around her home. "GET OUT!!! GET YOUR DOG OUT!!! No s*itting on my sidewalk!" she'd yell out of her window, even at 12:35 a.m., if she spotted us. Nevermind that I always pick up after Nappo, or that I pay taxes for her sidewalk, or that I am in shock that an old woman who could be my grandmother is yelling "s*it" to me instead of "poo-poo," or that she has a hose she can use to wash down any "stains" she claims that the dogs leave there, but in any case, for months, me and Nappo had come to regard her with fear and suspicion.

That was until A reported one day that the little old grandmotherly neighbor was Italian, and not Greek, as we had originally suspected. "I heard her speaking Italian," he told me. "Are you sure it was Italian?" I needed this confirmation. "Mom. Don't you think that I know what Greek sounds like by now?"

He was right. We don't really live in Anytown, U.S.A. -- we live near Athens Square, the park where the big Socrates statue donated by Greece sits, near the Akropolis meat market, across from Opa! Opa! restaurant and Athens Cafe. I hear there used to be Italians before the Greeks, and Irish before the Italians, but those populations have dwindled. And so was born my plan.

I walked Napoleon past Ms. Italian Grandmotherly Thing's house the week after Italy won the World Cup. She was tending to her flowers in her miniscule garden. "Buona sera," I said. She looked up. And stared at me as I walked past her home. I took a peek as I walked past. I swore I saw a smile.

The next time I saw her, the sun was setting, again she was tending to her flowers. "Buona sera," I said. She smiled. "Buona sera," she replied.

If it was morning, I'd say, "Buon giorno," and it was then, the first buon giorno, that it seems she couldn't take it anymore.
"Excusah meah?" she said.
"Yes?" I said.
"Youah arah sooah niceah. You Italian?"
"No. But I've been to Italy. Several times. I love it."
"Aaaah. Okayah. Buon giorno to yoooah!"

A is studying for the Lycée Français test this month, as well as the ISEE. Private school, here we come.


Carpe los what?

Subject header: Celebrate!

I thus typed the header of an e-mail I was about to send to my co-worker. He had just received a job offer from France, by telephone.

"Let's go out for a drink tonight? If not tonight, tomorrow. It's good to celebrate good news! : )"

I knew that A was staying in the darkroom until very late with his friends, around 9 p.m., so I could allow myself this little pleasure.

It was followed by the ding-ding sound of my Microsoft Outlook inbox. A reply.

"OK for tonight."

As we headed out, I said, "You know, we should carpe los dias."

"Carpe los what?"

"Carpe los dias. Like Carpe Diem, but um, I sort of don't know the plural..."

"Oh, hah hah. Yes, that's great. We need to Carpe los dias!"

We tried to figure out where to have a celebratory glass of wine. He doesn't "do" the pub around the corner. Or at least, with me, he hasn't.

The Pinnacle? Top of the Rock? We settled on on the Rainbow Grill for cocktails which is on the 65th floor of the NBC building. The captain showed us to a table whiched faced directly in front of the Empire State Building. It was light outside. We stayed until it became very dark, and the Empire State Building was brilliantly lit up in green and red.