Friday, December 28, 2007

black swan green

I just finished the David Mitchell book, Black Swan Green, and my mind is still humming with dreamy pleasure. He weaves the bittersweet realities of life as a thirteen-year-old boy with childhood wonder, capturing the character so well in his first-person narrative. Matt and I read a review of the book last year in the New Yorker and our interest was piqued. I haven't read a really great book of fiction in some time so this was refreshing. Here is a quote from the book where Jason is describing how his stammering problem began:

"Miss Throckmorton'd been playing Hangman on the blackboard one afternoon with sunlight streaming in. On the blackboard was NIGH_ING__E. Any duh-brain could work that out, so I put up my hand. Miss Throckmorton said, "Yes, Jason?" and that was when my life divided itself into Before Hangman and After Hangman. The word "nightingale" kaboomed in my skull but it just wouldn't come out. The n got out okay, but the harder I forced the rest, the tighter the noose got. I remember Lucy Sneads whispering to Angela Bullock, stifling giggles. I remember Robin South staring at this bizarre sight. I'd've done the same if it hadn't been me. When a stammerer stammers their eyeballs pop out, they go trembly-red like an evenly matched arm wrestler, and their mouth guppergupperguppers like a fish in a net. It must be quite a funny sight.

It wasn't funny for me though. Miss Throckmorton was waiting. Every kid in the classroom was waiting. Every crow and every spider in Black Swan Green was waiting. Every cloud, every car on every motorway, even Mrs. Thatcher in the House of Commons'd frozon, listening, watching, thinking, What's wrong with Jason Taylor?"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

i love carbs

I just listened to The Splendid Table on NPR and heard an interview with the authors of this book. I, of course, had to order it right away here. There is nothing like good bread to round out a delicious meal. Amazingly, this bread requires no kneading but still holds up to culinary scrutiny, with perfect crust and crumb.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

baby hank

I stole this picture from my sister Liz's blog, because it captured the exact look baby Hank had on Thursday when I stopped by to kiss his sweet face. Doesn't he look like he is just about to say something very wise and profound? Maybe something like: "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." If you guessed that last quote was from Yoda, correct would you be.

Liz had an emergency C-section, four weeks early, due to the baby's worsening heart problem. Because I deliver babies at the same hospital and she has been seeing another midwife in my practice for her pregnancy, I had the priviledge of being in the OR, taking pictures as little Hank was born. He's been doing great since they were able to correct his irregular heart rhythm, and now he is home and breastfeeding like a champ. Liz says he always latches on perfectly when I'm around just so he can show off to his midwife-auntie how smart he is. I've always loved my nieces and nephews on Matt's side of the family, but there is something about my own sister having a kid . . . the love is automatic.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

To me, Perry Como IS Christmas, and until I hear his voice the Christmas season hasn't begun yet. His Christmas record was the background music to all my childhood Christmas memories.