Saturday, January 31, 2009


One of my flashes, I Hear the Murmur of their sentences, is up at Dogzplot. I was going to try to single out some other writers for you to read while there, but they're ALL great.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Going Home...

Looks like Mr. S and I will be making an impromptu visit to Tennessee for my father's birthday. His birthday isn't until next week, but there was a super-cheap, last minute flight from Newark to Knoxville this weekend, and my mother surprised us by purchasing a ticket. I can't wait to see grass and trees again. And mountains and farmland. And family!

We'll only be staying for a few days and probably won't be making it up to Johnson City, but if anyone is planning on being in the Knoxville area, we could possibly meet up.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Recommendation

Shoot the Devil by Buddy Don.

I'm a huge fan of Buddy Don, been reading his blog and adventures for years. And now he's published a book! Book one of the life and opinions of Buddy Don, which is written entirely in Appalachian dialect and is some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read, has just been released.

Each book is individually numbered, chopped and signed by Buddy Don himself, and if you're one of the first 49 to order a copy, the author will write a personal waka in it for you. You supply the subject and a word or two you'd like the author to use in the waka and voila...your very own waka in your very own copy of Shoot the Devil. Oh, and did I mention free shipping?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mr. S's Favorite Books of 2008

Seamus Gwyn recommends the following books. Though many of these were not published in 2008, they were read repeatedly in the Gwyn household last year. Enjoy!

The Jolly Barnyard by Annie North Bedford and Tibor Gergely

One Was Johnny by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Gallop! by Rufus Butler Seder

Oh the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss

Dinosaur Roar! by Douglas Wood and Doug Cushman

Where is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz

Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland

Miss Smith Reads Again by Michael Garland

Birds of North America (Eastern Edition) by Fred J. Alsop III

DK First Dinosaur Encyclopedia

Hand, Hand Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins and Eric Gurney

Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by H.A. Rey

Crictor by Tomi Ungerer

What Grandmas Can't Do by Douglas Wood and Doug Cushman

Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear by Eric Carle

Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth by Eric Carle

Bear About Town by Stella Blackstone and Debbie Harter

ABC: a Child's First Alphabet Book by Alison Jay

Dog by Matthre Van Fleet

Frog Went A-Courtin' by John Langstaff and Feodor Rojankovsky

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mama's Got a Brand New Hat

This Christmas I was gifted Boutique Knits (thanks Mom), which I really only wanted for the cloche hat pattern on the cover.

It was a nice surprise when the book turned out to be chalk full of other gorgeous patterns, including another pretty cloche hat and a braided and bulkled belt. I cast on for the cloche hat on the cover a couple of weeks ago, and it just now left my needles (I know, I's just a hat, but I've been busy). The finished result was a bit too big, due to my knitting the band a half inch longer than I should have. But I was too lazy to rip it out and start over, so I had T toss it in with today's laundry to felt it and voila...

a perfect fit.

Right now Mr. S is in the middle of what's going on a four hour nap. He had a horrible night's sleep last night, with our Russian neighbors stomping around above his room in what sounded like combat boots. Also, he's been a little sick with a cold. I must have gone into his room to rock him and give him water a dozen times last night. The poor guy was miserable. Finally, one of my old tricks worked. When he absolutely won't sleep I tell him about how the whole state of New Jersey is sleeping, every pigeon, every squirrell, every seagull, every Mama, Papa, boy and girl, even every dog and cat. Then Seamus will ask me if alligators are sleeping, if grizzly bears are sleeping, if Diego and Dora are sleeping. And last night he wanted to know if all the characters in The Fox and the Hound (his new favorite) were sleeping. He said, Copper sleeping? Tod sleeping? Big Mommy sleeping? (Her name is really Big Mama) Chief sleeping? Amos sleeping? Boomer sleeping? He'll go through the catalog of all the cartoon characters and all the animals he knows until finally, he will always say, Seamus sleeping. And then I can lay him down in his bed and he'll roll right over and go to sleep. That is what happened at 4:45 this morning.

Whenever he wakes up were off to the bakery for our weekend cannoli! This time Papa's home, done with Winterm, and happy to be home at least until tomorrow.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rats in a Hat

Yesterday I was offered a last-minute teaching position at Parsons, teaching one section of Freshman Comp. Today the course was cancelled. Read all about it new "writer" blog, on which I'm still putting the finishing touches.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Special Deliveries!

Thanks to Grandie and Grandpa for the new art table! We've packed it with a full supply of Play-Doh, crayons and coloring books.

And thanks to the Michael Family for the lovely, belated Christmas package, which included a handmade (by Kitty Michael, herself) partridge lovey for Mr. S.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Le Weekend

On Saturday we ventured out to the bakery in 15 degree weather for strawberry shortcake and a cannoli:

Sunday, more snow:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More snow today. Mr. S and I took an evening walk down the street. He stomped like a dinosaur all over the salted sidewalk, and I snapped pictures.

It's been a rough week at school for Mr. S...a face-first fall into the wood floor, two bites from other children--both of which left marks, and diarrhea all day yesterday. Yep, I had to leave work early on my last day to pick a sick Seamus up from day care. So I kept him home today and will probably do the same tomorrow. Even though his stomach's not back to normal, he's been his happy, playful self all day. I'd love to keep him home all the time, but I don't want to lose his spot in school. Also, I need the quiet, alone time to search for jobs. Starting next week, he'll go half-days. Despite the toddler warfare, he really loves it there. He's learning SO much from circle time and talks about his little friends all the time.

My last day at the New School was lovely. My bosses took me out for lunch at Gobo in the West Village. We ate amazing food. I had the Malaysian curried stew with pickled papaya. After we ate, they presented me with a sweet thank you card (with a Target gift card inside). I really enjoyed this job. It was never the least bit stressful; my co-workers were amazing; And I loved working at a university (especially one as nice as the New School).

Now I'm on to something else.

P.S. A week ago Seamus and I planted a Chia Pet, and now look...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The snow that covered the ground Saturday night, was gone Sunday morning, replaced by freezing rain and sidewalks like ice rinks. Also, I woke up sick as a dog, unable to stomach anything other than applesauce and popsicles. So, Mr. S and I stayed inside most of the day, only venturing out to do the laundry and run to the store for eggs. And even though I was sick, we had a pleasant Sunday nonetheless. We made red lentil soup with lemon and cilantro. This was the second time we’ve made this soup and each time I think I could just live on it for weeks. However, this time I couldn’t eat it, could barely stand the smell of it. Seamus, however, had two helpings.

Then the work week started, and now it’s Tuesday and tomorrow will be my last day at the New School. My bosses are taking me out to lunch--a little organic, vegetarian place on 6th Ave and 9th. Try as they may, and boy did they try, my bosses were unable to secure any type of permanent employment for me under this little hiring freeze. I did, however, sign up for the New School’s temp pool, which might bring some income. I’ve also applied to a couple of other positions in the city this week, one with a publishing company in Midtown and one as a Circulation Manager at a University in the city. Looks like most of the adjunct positions I’ve applied for are considering me for Fall 2009 courses and not Spring. I figured this would happen, applying so close to the Spring semester. I honestly never had it in mind to be teaching adjunct courses up here, thought I’d have a stable job by this point. I know I keep saying that I’m going to have to swallow my pride, forget my master’s degree, and take a restaurant or factory or retail job, and it looks like that time is about to come. One of the other moms in Seamus’s day care works for the Tropicana factory in Jersey City. She has decent hours and a very short commute, just ten minutes by Light Rail. I’ve thought about how it must smell heavenly in there, and how it would be nice to have a job that I could leave behind at the end of the day without a second thought.

We had visitors from Johnson City (though now they live in upstate NY) last week. Good friends Aislinn and Scott came with their daughter Tully on Tuesday and left this morning. Their band, the Feral Throes, played a show in Brooklyn, and I got to have the apartment with two toddlers while they played. Their daughter is such a delight. She and Seamus got along famously. After she left Seamus kept searching the apartment for her. It was so lovely seeing familiar faces and catching up. Ace made a delicious spaghetti with sautéed orange peppers, onions, garlic and a tomato sauce with a smidge of cinnamon. It was delicious. We sat around my living room drinking wine and chatting for a good portion of the night on their last night here. It was lovely and I wish for more nights like this. Tully is three and so polite and intelligent. She made my Seamus seem much more like a baby. He always seems so big and grown up to me, until I see him with an older kid.

This week Seamus has started saying little sentences and using more pronouns. His first real official sentence was two weeks ago when he said “Hippo is splashing in the water.” And this morning when I asked him how he got the scratch on his nose he said, “Kiki did it.” I was impressed with his correct use of verb tense. And he’s gone from referring to himself in third person to saying “I.” Usually, he does this without a verb. He’s very fond of saying “I mean, “ as in I’m a mean T-Rex or I’m a mean bear. When we received a package in the mail the other day from Grandie and Grandpa, he thought there would be dinos inside. When I asked him if he would be upset if there were no dinos inside, he looked at me very seriously and said “I angry.”

T is back in school for a little intercession called Winterm. Only the toy design students have to come back to class so early. He’s been told Winterm is the most difficult part of the whole program. The students basically have to re-design, re-draw, re-ink, etc, all the boards they’ve completed the previous semester, and they have three weeks to finish it all. Next month is Toy Fare and all the big toy companies will be there. This will also be the time the toy companies look at the students’ work and decided who’s interning where. We’re hoping for Hasbro, but trying not to hope too much. As much as I love NYC, I don’t see myself living here forever. I require certain things to be happy, like trees and grass and fauna, not that pigeons aren’t fauna, but I miss seeing the occasional deer or towhee. The other day I saw a group of robins on the ledge of one of the buildings in NYC, and it took me aback. Then I realized I hadn’t seen regular old robins in months. That same day the sun set later and it was still light outside at 4:30 and then still at 5:00, and then I saw three ducks in the Hudson. I know Spring is a long way off, but those sights made me happy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Take the Cannoli

All week I've been waiting to take Mr. S to the bakery near his day care. We have a book called Bear About Town (thank you Ferenbachs) with a lovely bakery scene on the second page, and Seamus loves to point to all the different types of breads and cakes. He always tells me he would buy cookies if he were the bear in the bakery. So I figured it was about time for a field trip. When my parents came for the holidays we tried this field trip, but Mr. S fell asleep on the way there, and refused to wake up for any cookie or cake. So today I waited until the afternoon when he was good and wild and we trudged six blocks in the snow for a gingerbread man.

But when we got there, they were all out of gingerbread men, and Seamus wanted a rum cake. I took him out of his stroller, showed him the winter cookies, carrot cakes, cheesecakes and finally talked him into a cannoli and a chocolate mousse heart (which was just as rich and scrumptious as it sounded).

This was my and Seamus's first cannoli. We had fun sharing it, though Seamus ate most of it.

This is what Bayonne looked like on the way to the bakery:

But about an hour after we came home, the roads and sidewalks had completely disappeared, and my neighbors started shovelling their driveway. I'd say we've got about three inches so far and counting. Just before bedtime, I threw Seamus's snowsuit over his pajamas, and we went for a mama/son walk up and down our block. Seamus kept diving face first into the piles of snow our neighbors had shovelled. Tomorrow should be fun, especially if we get more snow. I'll take lots of pictures.
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