Bless me bloggahs for I have sinned, it has been HOW LONG...?

Well thank christ I got memed by Neva, so I could climb back on this here bloggy thing. It's been over two weeks since I posted, and this has not been a conscious decision at all. Even though I waxed lyrical about the need for distance and a break in my last post, this was not intended as my swan song. Honest! I have missed blogging, and more to the point, reading you all--I've not even been able to lurk. Here, in a nutshell, are the snivelling excuses for my absence:

Sick as a DOG.
Enjoyed a few days languishing in my snot-infested, "my body is telling me to take it easy, let me recline in my bed, drink tea, and read novels." Then moved onto a few days of "OK, why am I not getting better? I am BORED of this already, and classes start in two days, and husband is finding this newfound role as single parent and nursemaid to Camille on her deathbed a leeeetle tiresome.

Then on to: "Fuck, classes have begun. I do not have syllabus. What am I teaching again? Did I order the books. FUUUCK!" (all this punctuated by much nose-blowing, and hacking up of phlegm).

All this, along with a myriad of others things:
--About 500 deadlines at work coming to a head.

--Community volunteer work--and yes, I'm a fucking saint. We're organizing our annual neighborhood Home Tour, and yeah yeah it is very rewarding, but it takes bloody FOREVER. And I could not get out of it, having bad habit of sitting at meetings in February and saying "hey, I can do that, and that, and that, and THAT. COUNT ME IN!!!" and then resenting the shit out of it when it's time to walk-the-walk.

--New semester at preschool for son. Transition of teachers, anxiety and teeth gnashing on my part, but not, thankfully, on his....

--Trying to work on own academic writing/publications. Whoring around on the other academic blog I threatened a while back in the process, and finding that that type of blogging is far more angst-ridden and less fun than this type of blogging (go figure).

--Looking--with nauseaus pit in stomach--at upcoming Job Market list and prospects, and do soul searching about all that shit (for another post, methinks)

--Planning for son's fourth birthday party this weekend. Dear LORD! gift bags? (where did the days of a balloon and a slab of cake go???) Invitations? CAKE?? Homemade??? Balloons? Pizza? "Healthful snacks??" On this score, I think we have been very wise, and arranged an offsite party at local kid museum--complete with a slime-workshop. Nonetheless, I am stressing like only I can when I have too much spinning in my brain. Mainly about the cake, which I have apparently selected as the sublimated focus of all my anxiety. Mommyguilt--uh, I mean, my creative spirit--has me making a cake from scratch. A "construction site" cake has been requested. I originally lept on this with whole hearted enthusiasm. How hard can it be? A bit of chocolate butter icing and some matchbox diggers, and we're done, right? But now I am vexing over the aesthetics of the venture. Will it just look like a bunch of vehicles chucked on top of brown cake with holes in it? Do I include white plastic male construction workers? (cheaply available at dollar store, but not reflective of gender and racial diversity I like to brainwash my kid with). I will keep you updated and post photographs of the final accomplishment. Even if it does look like a poo-poo cake with white boys and their toys on it.

OK--so now to the meme. I am notoriously bad at having to select "one" of anything in these things. But I'll give it a stab.

1. One book you have read more than once:
First Term at Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton. This was the first in a series of frightfully British "girls boarding school" books that she wrote, and I lived vicariously through them all. And let me say, they are fucking awful, and you should never let your daughter read them. They divide girls into two types--evil ones who hate school, and are spoilt, and do not do their work, speak their minds, and are generally either fat or whorish (if especially bad, they wear a hint of rouge and brassy jewellry). The good ones who are "jolly" and rosy-cheeked and become Head Girl. I wanted to be one of the good ones...

2. One book you would want on a desert island:
25,000 Crossword Puzzles.

3. One book that made you laugh:
Straight Man by Richard Russo (recommended by Neva, devoured by me and Old Man)

4. One book that made you cry:
Ayun Halliday's Mama Langa Ding Dong (The Big Rumpus) sent to me by the sweet sweetney. This book carried me through those first days of languishing in bed. I cried, I laughed, and I got even more snot-ridden in the process. If you have not read it, go and get yourself a copy NOW.

5. One book you wish you had written:
All those Harry Potter ones. I would be fricking rolling in it.

6. One book you wish had never been written:
The Bible. (KIDDING!)

The Baby Book, by William M.F. Sears.

(cowardly disclaimer: it's not so much that I wish it had not been written, as that I had not read it. It did a complete number on me, as some of you know...)

7. One book I am currently reading:

Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood (weird-ass shit, but marvelous)

8. One book I keep meaning to read:

Ulysses, by James Joyce (my old man is a Joyce Scholar, so it would be a nice gesture on my part don't you think? But somehow I can only make it through Joyce's freshman fodder--Dubliners and all that.)

Oh, and The Devil Wears Prada. Equally challenging, methinks.

9. One book that has changed your life:
Jeez. This is a tough one. Uhm... I am not one for momentous life-changes in one sitting. This might indicate a shallow personality, I realize. Books that have had a profound influence on me: Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Zadie Smith's White Teeth, Toni Morrison's Beloved.

Oh, and Delia Smith's Complete Cookery (I shit you not--and there is a whooole post brewing on Delia, let me tell you. Excited???)

Stay tuned for update on cake-making adventures.


doow said...

Malory Towers rocks. Those were the days - ginger beer, anchovy paste and lacrosse.

Marmite Breath said...

Don't call the authorities, but I am reading First Term at Malory Towers with my daughter right now!! Actually, we started it the other week, and even though I read it approx. 9 billion times before, I still laughed out loud reading about ridiculous Gwen and Sensible Darrell. Hadleigh thinks they're a scream too. And how stupid is this? When I get to the part where she says, "You'll get a lot out of your time at Malory Towers; make sure you give a lot back", I CRIED! I LOVE those books, LOVE them! And St.Clares! Actually, all Enid Blyton's. My kids love em'.
Also, I'm totally in love with Delia, and Nigella. They rule my kitchen.
I'm glad you're back. I was wondering if you were going to post anymore. I found your blog and then you didn't post! Your life sounds insanely busy.

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Mommy off the Record said...

I was wondering where you were! I was about to send out a search party. LOL

Your "to do" list has thoroughly stressed me out so I can only imagine how you must feel. I hereby prescribe you 3 glasses of wine and a footrub...for when you're feeling better of course. Which I hope will be very soon.

neva said...

reading through your "to do" list reminds me of A) how happy i am not to have small children and/or be pregnant and B) how happy i am that when our children *were* small we discouraged them from having friends JUST so i would not have to put myself through that whole "birthday party" stress. that said, our youngest finally convinced us to let him have a sleepover party when he was, like, 12, and it was a bit of a disaster (something about his lack of "people skills")

i LOVED Oryx and Crake and ADORED Alias Grace. if you have yet to read Blind Assassin, make it your next Atwood book. it. is. FABULOUS.

and, had i grown up in your part of the world, Mallory Towers sounds like something i would have devoured! (instead, it was Alice in Wonderland/Oz for fantasy, and Nancy Drew Mysteries and the Boxcar Children for "real(ish)" drama)

i'm SO glad you and your hubs enjoyed Straight Man! (so? who plays William Henry Devereax jr. in the film version, which you just *know* needs to be done? i used to think Chevy Chase might be fab, but he's not quite tall enough, is he?)

excellent meme, my dear friend! funfunfun and funny as hell, not unlike your fabulous self!! xoxo

sunshine scribe said...

oooh. I lived reading your book list.

And your to do list ... I am exhausted just reading it and then exhausted more reminded that mine looks just as long and overwhelming. Hope it all settles down soon!

Joel said...

you make me laugh! that was a great list and great post overall.

Ayun said...

I'm a sinnin' bloggah too. and thank you for the shout out on Mama Lama Ding Dong, or The Big Rumpus as she's known here in the states.

lildb said...

I want so desperately to pretend that I wasn't influenced by Zadie Smith's writing. Why? Because I'm RIDICULOUSLY jealous of her. She wrote that when she was all of twenty four years old.

Did I mention how insanely JEALOUS I am of ZS? God.

Also, Beloved - I couldn't finish it. I was too skeered.

And I keep meaning to read that Joyce book. And I will, dammit, someday. I. will. *swears softly*

Mom101 said...

I think I'd want a book on how to get off a desert island, but agree that the crossword puzzles would be a close second. Unless your pen ran out. Oh my God, it would be like that Burgess Meredith twilight zone where he is the last man on earth with all those books and his glasses break!

mothergoosemouse said...

Joy, I couldn't help but giggle at #6. Both answers.

I hope you are feeling better.

Her Bad Mother said...

Yay! Not only is our health (or lack thereof) in synch, but our to-do tomes are as well (scrambled to produce syllabus TWO DAYS before classes started, today.)


michelle/weaker vessel said...

Loved your book meme! Am considering thieving it. Hope you are feeling better!

ozma said...

Sheesh, girl. You used up all your excuses in one go. I would have saved some of those for later, because they were very good excuses.

And good luck with all the angsty stuff. Myself, I like a little angst peppered in there so if you feel like angsting here, go right ahead and I will feel your pain.

Wouldn't the crosswords drive you crazy if there were ones you couldn't finish after being on the desert island for years and years and years? With no google and no answers and no one to call. I personally couldn't handle that.

Food Mum said...

I devoured all those Mallory Towers and St Clares books too and was in for a big shock when I got to school and it wasn't like that. Midnight feasts were never as good in real life, too sleepy and not actually hungry enough. Lacrosse..loathed it. But the books were great - I'm hiding them from my daughters though in case they pester me to go to boarding school later.

Delia and Nigella coexist happily in my kitchen too.