Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bell: an anecdote

The day before yesterday, I took the children to the Rubin Museum on 17th Street for a kids' art workshop. They played with blocks, listened to a story, sort of looked at a bunch of paintings of Buddha, and made pasta necklaces. At the end, the art educator (who was wearing these fab tweed sweatpants with charmeuse pockets, maybe Zara) invited each child to ring a small Tibetan bell with a mallet, as a sort of valediction. When my older son rang the bell, she pulled her head back and looked startled. "That was a lovely ring," she said to him. "That might be the best ring I have ever heard." At first I thought nothing of this, but then one of the dads standing nearby said to my son, "Whoa. How did you do that? That was an amazing sound. So clear." And when I glanced around the room, I saw that the other adults in the room had all turned their heads to look at my son, all wearing the same startled look as the art educator. Apparently, my son had produced a marvelous tone, something magical enough to stop the room in its tracks. Strangely, though, I had noticed nothing special at all. It was not until a few minutes later that I even realized quite what had happened, and by that time my older son was running full-tilt down the sidewalk, leader of a small pack of shrieking children, and it was too late to ask him about how he had rung the bell.

Monday, February 4, 2013


My dearest D,

Happy Monday! And thank you so much for the photos you sent L and me this morning.

After hearing so much about you from L, it was lovely to finally meet you and to get to know you a little bit over the past couple of weeks. I do think that our acquaintance could benefit from a few more moments of sober conversation, but that is perhaps an old-fashioned sentiment, or missing the point somehow. Anyway, I do tend to be fun when drunk, if a bit impetuous. Also, I have enjoyed my slight hangovers, as they have made me feel rather risqué and louche and pleasantly world-weary.

This morning, I dressed the children and myself for the cold weather, packed snacks, toys, and training pants, and took the children to Red Hook to visit the studio of the sculptor Tom Otterness with one of our homeschooling groups. (L drove us downtown, and we took the F into Brooklyn.) At the studio, the organizer of our group, who I like very much, seemed dissatisfied and irritated. I'm not sure if this is because her younger daughter was being especially difficult, or because the visit was so short, or for some other reason(s). In any case, I was happy: it was fun to see the artist's tools and the sculptures in various states, and the shortness of the visit meant that we had to leave before either of my children could actually damage anything.

After we left the studio, we thought we might go to a playground with some of the other children, but it was too cold, so we got on the F back to Manhattan instead. We went to the Fairway on 137th to do our grocery shopping for the week. After a couple weeks of relative flushness (which contributed to our ability to hire the sitter for extra hours so that I could go out along with L and hang out with you), we are dragging that broke line again, so shopping was a little anxious. But the children love Fairway, especially the lobster tank.

We took a taxi home, and I dragged the groceries and children upstairs, peeled away all of our outerwear, and put the groceries away. I am now making them lunch while they watch a Japanese children's show. Next, I will wash the dishes, which will be pretty awful, as we have let the task slide for a few days now. After that, I will start dinner and get dressed for teaching tonight.

The sitter will arrive at 5:30, and I will take the D down to Soho to the childbirth education studio. I will need to use the ride to do a little lesson planning; this class is a four-week series instead of a six-week series, so significant reshuffling of the outline will be required.

When L is finished with work, he will go home, and the sitter will leave, and he will finish putting the children to bed. When I get home from teaching a little after 10, I will eat my late dinner and spend some time with L. I also hope to make broth, yogurt, and some quick bread. I am hoping that S will not wake and require nursing until I have done these things, or that he wakes only once; it is the frequent waking that is truly tiresome.

That will be the end of my Monday. Later, there will be the rest of the week as well.

Much love,