Category Archives: travel and exploring

To France, Part I

Whenever I return to France, I am overwhelmed by a rush of both joyful nostalgia and irritation.  Living in the states, as we have for many years now, I miss the bread, croissants, supermarket brioche, cheese, yogurt, and real homemade pate.  I miss the explosion of flowers in spring, and the coffee my father-in-law makes (used to make).  I miss the softness of the air in the Vallée de la Course, in the north where my husband grew up, and the frigid rushing-ness of creek-water under bridges.  I miss the smell of my mother-in-law’s laundry detergent, and the seemingly innate sophistication of dress and education of even the most provincial of villagers.

But there are things I cannot stand as well: the used and dirty feeling of public spaces, the near-constant aura of cigarette smoke, the weird modern design elements of almost any construction–from residential floors of antique houses, to public signposts–that pervade even the most charming of small towns.  It’s as if the innate beauty of history is too much for Europe, that it needs to be tempered with a bit of modern grunge, just to make it palatable to the residents.  We have no such hang-ups in New England, I’ll tell you. Continue reading To France, Part I

Weekend Adventures

We had a crazy-busy weekend, and I’m only just now getting around to importing some of the photos I took of all our fun.  Here’s a bit of a taste:

We went to the farmers' market and met this guy.
We started Saturday morning early at the farmers’ market, where we met this guy.
Cutie G found the world's largest dragonfly and saved it from certain death.
Later on, cutie G found the world’s largest dragonfly and saved it from certain death.
We attended the art show of a friend in a spectacular garden by the sea.
We attended the art show of a friend in a spectacular garden by the sea.
Charlie explores the tent.
Charlie explores.
The artist used wood blocks to print yards of fabric, and then wove them into this structure.
The artist, Nicole Simpkins, uses wood blocks printed on yards of fabric, and  wove them into this gorgeous asymmetric structure.
The view from inside
The view from inside.  For better photos see here.
Tent of Art
More tent.
It looked beautiful at night, but when we revisited in the morning it was spectacular with the sun shining through the walls.
It looked beautiful at night, but when we revisited in the morning it was even more spectacular with the sun shining through the walls.
Vestiges of the night before.
Vestiges of the night before.
A fabulous baby-free brunch at Market in Annisquam, courtesy of G and some gal friends.
Sunday morning featured a fabulous baby-free brunch at The Market in Annisquam, courtesy of G (babysitting) and some gal friends.
The view from our table out onto the Annisquam canal.
The view from our table out onto the Annisquam canal.
A garden party here topped the weekend.
A garden party at one of my all-time favorite houses topped off the weekend.
The gardens
The gardens.
The party.
The party.
Charlie in the sun at the end of a perfect day.
Charlie in the sun at the end of a perfect day.IMG_2588
IMG_2581
the end.

Her Bad Mother: finding new blogs

In an effort to learn more about blogging I’ve been scoping out top blogs everywhere.  A time-consuming venture, certainly, but what better way to get inspiration and learn about a craft?

My absolute favorite thus far is Her Bad Mother .  Catherine Conners’ personal web-space (as opposed to her professional space as Editor in Chief of Babble) is inspiringly sparse and text-driven–something I aspire to do successfully in Onward, Curiosity.  She writes eloquently and movingly about motherhood, parenthood, social and cultural issues, and making the world a better place.  I love her working-mom slant and her academic roots.  It helps that she quotes my all-time favorite quote-book on her front page.

Here is her latest.  So satisfying.

Happy Talk

We’ve known for a while that gabbing to your kids was good for their cognitive development.  Now here’s some new research that shows just how much of a difference talking could make in erasing socio-economic barriers.  Bring on the conversations!

“By age 3, a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words in his home environment than a child from a professional family. And the disparity mattered: the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school. TV talk not only didn’t help, it was detrimental.”  Tina Rosenberg, NYT

 

Classics for Babies: on reading Wuthering Heights to your 3-month-old

I reread Gatsby while Charlie was in utero and was pleasantly surprised by the results: I must not have been paying very much attention the first time around, and I enjoyed myself more than I was expecting to.  While traversing the cool and foggy Welsh countryside last month I was inspired to pull up a new classic on my kindle.  This time, as my daughter is out in the world, she got to hear the better part of Wuthering Heights.   Continue reading Classics for Babies: on reading Wuthering Heights to your 3-month-old