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and never stop to ask the questions

maura @ 10:13 pm

I know it’s lame to blag about the weather, but sometimes when the weather’s weird it’s hard to think of anything else. I mean, the weather’s sort of there as background noise for everyone most of the time, but living in the city we walk a lot so I feel like there’s more of a chance for the weather to be intrusive.

Starting before Easter and continuing into last week we had a spate of much warmer than usual temperatures here. And it’s mostly good. I mean, it’s easy to enjoy the warm sunshine of early Spring, even for those of us who prefer Fall and Winter (like me). But last week was beyond warm all the way up into hot. It’s just not right for the temps to hit the mid-80s in NYC in April, not at all.

I noticed a curious thing on the hot days: I had to check the calendar constantly because my brain kept trying to convince me that it was June. I have a couple of deadlines in June, and I had to talk myself down from freaking out that I was late meeting them. And my temperature-induced date confusion skewed my perceptions in other ways, too: it made me think several times that it had been months since I’d seen some of my friends. “I haven’t seen X since it was snowy!” my brain said, but of course the last big storm hadn’t all melted until the first week of March.

No harm in that, really — the temperatures are back down to normal now, and my brain has stopped trying to confuse me. But I *am* worried about the flowers + trees. During the hot spell nature freaked out too, and now it seems like everything is blooming. It feels much too soon. I mean, the cherry blossom festival at the botanic gardens isn’t for another 4 weeks, and already the tree at the end of our block has tons of full flowers. We haven’t been to the gardens in a while and I hope we haven’t missed anything. We’re planning a visit tomorrow* so I guess we shall see.

* that is, if we can manage to drag Gus along, who has recently declared the gardens to be “SO boring” and asked us “why do we have to go there all the time?” The likelihood of ice cream bribery tomorrow is high.

les tags: , ,

i am un chien andalusian

maura @ 4:19 pm

Today is a snow day. I took Gus + a pal sledding then took a short nap but woke up all grumpy, feeling like I need to get some stuff crossed off my list but not very energetic nor sure where to start. Hmph. Maybe I need some more tea.

Then I realized I hadn’t posted my twitterstream for a while, so here are the fruits of my procrastination, just for you:

about 1 hours ago via Echofon

@divanoir oh yeah. heading to the park in a few, after I finish my coffee.
about 3 hours ago via Echofon in reply to divanoir

@lwaltzer hmm, that’s a tough choice. the ds has been a big win for us, but the accordion has some serious appeal.
about 5 hours ago via web in reply to lwaltzer

@ms_tinamarie @s_francoeur yep, we finally got a call, too. yay!
about 7 hours ago via web

Kinda disappointed–have some fun stuff planned for today, but could really use a snow day, too.
about 9 hours ago via Echofon

Lots on my plate. Timmy, my imaginary assistant, where are you when I need you to clear my schedule? SO unreliable, the imaginary.
about 18 hours ago via web

My Devo color is red: Find out your Devo color at (note: not at all happy about red. green is me!)
about 18 hours ago via web

@mikhailg glad to help out! such a great record (and film, too).
10:13 PM Feb 24th via web in reply to mikhailg

today’s assertion: there is no grumpiness that listening to the pixies cannot cure.
2:01 PM Feb 24th via web

Testify! RT @TheRepoRat: New BoT post: Librarians: down with the impact factor!
8:01 PM Feb 22nd via Echofon

Away for 4.5 days and the cats are relentlessly needy now that we’ve returned, omg!
11:54 AM Feb 22nd via web

Home from vacation, missing the snow, sniff.
9:08 PM Feb 21st via web

@zephoria not sure, but would love to hear what others suggest.
8:51 PM Feb 20th via Echofon in reply to zephoria

Blech, so tired of watching skating. Bring back skiing & snowboarding!
8:52 PM Feb 19th via Echofon

cramming a week of work into 1 day, w00t!
12:24 PM Feb 16th via web

The kid is at a playdate and I have 3.5 hrs to deal with a CFP, why are the dang cats acting so freaky?
10:37 AM Feb 15th via web

@lwaltzer Fun! We keep meaning to go but have never been (yet!).
9:34 AM Feb 14th via Echofon in reply to lwaltzer

@lwaltzer ooh, nice sharks! Where are you?
5:03 PM Feb 13th via Echofon in reply to lwaltzer

les tags: , ,

happy lincoln’s birthday!

maura @ 8:10 pm

Today is the only day during the year that CUNY is closed but the public schools are OPEN. As if I needed another reason to like our 16th president.

In honor of this day I am doing no work at all. None! And also a couple of errandy things. And reading something for fun.* And I took a very small nap. Woo hoo!

* Just because I’m reading a book about plagiarism doesn’t mean it’s not fun!

Anyway, I have a couple of partially-written things to post here (or elsewhere) but I’m too tired from my day off to finish them now. Here’s some Twitter to tide you over.

RT @notjonathan My first iPhone app is live! (iTunes DM or @ me if you’d like a free promo code #tarot
1:22 PM Feb 11th from Tweetie Retweeted by you and 1 other

A brisk snowy walk, the quiet of the office before the library opens, taking some time to write. Happy Thursday!
8:40 AM Feb 11th from web

From the parent coordinator at my kid’s school: school is OPEN tomorrow. Best. Email. Ever.
6:27 PM Feb 10th from web

@alevtina Go, City Tech! Snow can’t stop the awesomeness, oh yeah. :)
8:20 AM Feb 10th from Echofon in reply to alevtina

RT @kittenwithawhip: RT @DrinkWellDoGood Southern Foodways Alliance seeking interns for Oral History programs.
11:36 PM Feb 8th from Echofon

Dear printer, Actually, paper is *not* jammed in the transport unit. Please get a grip. Thanks, Maura
4:07 PM Feb 8th from web

One of the cats likes to nap on the shelf next to my desk. Study buddy!
10:23 AM Feb 8th from Echofon

RT @mwesch Check out “The Class” a parody of The Office on technology in the classroom from @LynnSchofClark ‘s class at DU
7:48 AM Feb 7th from web Retweeted by you and 16 others

Watching Fringe + swooning over Olivia Dunham’s awesome black wool coat, as usual. 3 buttons on the sleeves!
10:41 PM Feb 6th from web

Brooklyn, NY = NOpocalypse. Bummed.
3:11 PM Feb 6th from web

Already disappointed that we are not going to get enough snow. Bah.
7:40 PM Feb 5th from web

Gus would like me to know that he does NOT have a giga-memory, GOSH, how can he POSSIBLY remember all of the THINGS he has to DO before bed!
8:41 PM Feb 4th from web

les tags: , , ,

i forgot i needed it

maura @ 9:11 pm

So we got this new sofa, and it came in a big box. After Jonathan put the sofa together I just didn’t feel right about throwing the box away. I mean, when I was little it was the hugest deal to have a big giant box to play in. And indeed, Gus sat in the box for about an hour last weekend talking to himself and playing, which pretty much never happens. Plus the cats LOVE it (obvious, I know).

The problem is where to keep it? I don’t want an enormous box in the living room. It’s in Gus’s room right now, but it kind of blocks the door to have it sitting in the middle of the rug, so at bedtimes we’ve been tipping it up into a corner near his desk. Which is kind of a pain, and then he complained that it scared him the other night (though he hasn’t repeated it).

Wish I had a shrinkray so I could keep that box small til we need it. Wonder how long til it drives me so batty I have to haul it down to the recycling?

Also, here’s some Twitter. I keep forgetting to do this on Tuesdays, so maybe it’ll be sort of an occasional thing from now on. Keeping ’em guessing, that’s the mauraweb! way.

RT @tweetMETRO Do your part to protect NY libraries
about 7 hours ago from TweetDeck Retweeted by you and 2 others

.@kgs @thesheck does experience writing grant applications “count” re: budgets?
about 21 hours ago from Echofon in reply to kgs

@aegisnyc oooh, I probably don’t even know those friends, but I’m dying to know their secrets!
about 21 hours ago from Echofon in reply to aegisnyc

Great discussion in class today, yay!
2:35 PM Feb 2nd from web

So nice to get complements on my syllabus today!
4:19 PM Feb 1st from web

A bummer, tho not unexpected: jr faculty tend towards traditional scholarly publication over new ways of dissemination:
9:20 AM Feb 1st from web

I suspect that time actually speeds up in the hour between 11pm and midnight.
11:30 PM Jan 31st from Echofon

Michael Jackson skate in Prospect Park! Mamasemamasamamacusa (plus churros)
3:41 PM Jan 31st from Echofon

Already missing #Dollhouse :(
11:58 PM Jan 30th from Echofon

.@alevtina there is no limit to the spatial range of cat hair. I have a black sweater that I’m about to just give to them & admit defeat.
12:41 PM Jan 30th from Echofon in reply to alevtina

It is totally disconcerting that the renovated Duane Reade across from the GC sells sushi. Drugstore sushi! Weird.
8:14 PM Jan 29th from web

CFPs for this (totally relevant to my research!) conference keep popping up: Spain, why do you taunt me? Swoon.
9:24 PM Jan 28th from web

Coffee consumed, time for my first ref desk shift of the semester, w00t!
2:12 PM Jan 28th from web

@jrrnyc thanks! hope my 5 (!) students don’t fear the snow + ditch the class.
9:37 AM Jan 28th from web in reply to jrrnyc

Unrelated: the cats are Just Not Sure about the new sofa, and are eyeing it suspiciously.
11:16 PM Jan 27th from web

Syllabus: check. Course blog: check ( Students? Come about 10am tomorrow, we shall see.
11:15 PM Jan 27th from web

les tags: ,

i do not want what i haven’t got

maura @ 9:13 pm

Except that’s a total lie, because I can’t seem to not want more time. Time time time. Too many interesting things to read + write + research + make + watch these days, harrumph.

Off to do some of that, at least. Here’s some Twitter for your Tuesday.

Spicy tofu soup, yum.
6:02 PM Jan 17th from Echofon

Everyone in my house is at a playdate or a meeting except me. Now there’s no excuse for me to avoid those article revisions.
2:03 PM Jan 17th from web

@boonebgorges Salo writes good stuff: blogs at and tweets @TheRepoRat (librarians ftw!)
11:43 AM Jan 16th from Echofon in reply to boonebgorges

Just caught up on 24 hrs of Twitter. Where the heck was I yesterday?
9:25 AM Jan 16th from Echofon

Dear Fringe, that was lame what you did with that old Charlie episode this week. LAME.
7:53 PM Jan 14th from Echofon

spending far too much time updating the readings for my course. maybe a teeny bit of wishing there was an appropriate textbook. just a bit.
11:46 AM Jan 14th from web

RT @amandafrench Wow, this season of Firefly is the best ever! That Wash. So funny. #alternateuniversetv
7:19 PM Jan 13th from Seesmic Retweeted by you and 2 others

RT @divanoir Annoying offhand remark of the day goes to the American Morning @cnn anchor who said women don’t like videogames as much as men. ::eyeroll::
10:31 AM Jan 13th from Echofon Retweeted by you

@untold coffee encourages pushing, actually
1:14 PM Jan 13th from web in reply to untold

having a really hard time singletasking today. there are 3 fun projects i want to work on. need time travel and/or clones, stat!
1:14 PM Jan 13th from web

les tags: ,

like those PSAs i had to read on my college radio show

maura @ 8:50 am

This morning my left arm feels like someone punched me. Not because someone punched me, but because yesterday I got an H1N1 shot AND a seasonal flu shot. And I would like to use this space to make a public service announcement (similar to one in the NY Times this AM: everyone, get yr flu shots! Both are recommended, but especially the H1N1 shot.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not in a high-risk group, and no one in my household is either.” Or “my kid got one, why do I need one too?” Or even “I got a seasonal flu shot one year and got the flu anyway, which sucked.” I thought all of those things, and the last one happened to me a few years ago. But then I talked to my dad (who’s a doctor) last month and he reminded me that vaccinations only work if people get them, even the ones for supposedly mild illnesses. (Have you seen the stats for people who die of seasonal flu each year?)* And also that even though H1N1 has been light this year there could be a resurgence in a couple of months (also noted in the Times article).

* For the record, I found that article link on Wikipedia, after floundering around the flu section of the CDC website for a few minutes. You’d think this info would be oft-requested and linked prominently on the CDC site.

If you’re a reader from the fine borough of Brooklyn, I highly recommend the NYC Department of Health’s Fort Greene Health Center. I walk by their building at 295 Flatbush Ave Ext every day on my way to work, and it is grim + dreary on the outside (drag the little yellow man onto the map to see the entrance using google street view). But I was pleasantly surprised when I went in there yesterday. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and patient, and the building is neat + clean (w/no yucky hospital smell). There was practically no wait when I went over there at about 11:15am, too, though the waiting room did fill up as lunchtime grew nearer.

And that’s my PSA for this week. We now return you to your regularly scheduled mauraweb!

(Oh, and apparently I keep spacing out on Twitter Tuesdays, sorry! I’ve been quiet on Twitter this week anyway so I’ll catch up w/a double dose next week.)

les tags:

the city’s warmer by a couple of degrees

maura @ 4:59 pm

It’s Sunday night, the last day of the holiday break, and once again I am sort of grumpy. Though once again I have no real reason for the grumpiness: the break was good, I’m looking forward to getting back to work this week, and tomorrow’s an RT day so I don’t even have to leave the house.

Our break was kind of busy but also kind of not. We all stayed up much later than we should have most nights, but we still caught up on sleep (though tomorrow morning will probably be tough). Family visited us + we visited family. Jonathan cooked a ton of delicious food, and we all ate many more sweet things than is entirely healthy. We got (and, I hope, gave) lovely gifts: not too few, not too many. It rained and all of the snow melted, then it was warm and we went to the High Line. Then it got cold again and we went to the movies. While The Princess and The Frog wasn’t as bad as it could have been, I still wish the kids were old enough that we could have left them in the theater alone and gone to see Sherlock Holmes in the theater next door.

Seems like I can’t ever leave a span of time without some small amount of regret that I didn’t DO enough, so that’s probably the cause of today’s grumps. But I did get a lot done in addition to all of the holiday stuff. I cleared out my feedreader and kept my work inbox below 20 (as a friend said, sometimes a 1 day work week is better than a no-day work week). I almost got through my New Yorker backlog (only 2 to go!). I’m 80% done with sewing my new iphone cozy. We caught up on TV and even watched a movie last night (District 9, which was good, if disturbing). I finished the videogame that I got for xmas, though there are still puzzles that I haven’t completed so it’s not totally useless yet. Good thing, too, because my very own DS will arrive sometime in the middle of this week.

The video gaming was the most surprising thing to me about this break, actually. It’s been a while since a game has grabbed onto my brain so tightly. In many ways Professor Layton is the perfect game for me: an interesting storyline/plot that’s moved forward by solving puzzles. Of course lots of other games are like that (the Zelda series, e.g.), but the puzzles are much more overt in this game. I love puzzles but a game of just puzzles is kind of boring, you know? This is actually the second Professor Layton game so I’ll probably try to pick up the first one used on ebay.

These days many newfangled videogames keep track of the amount of time you play, which is an interesting (if sometimes alarming) feature. So it was also surprising to me that I could spend as much time playing a videogame as I did: 20 hrs over the course of one week! Now, I was only at work for 1 day during that time, and with all of the family around my childcare responsibilities were pretty light. And we finished TV right before xmas (and didn’t get a new movie until after New Year’s) so televised entertainment was low. And see above about staying up too late. But it still shocks me a bit to fire up the game and see that 20 hr figure. I always tell myself that I don’t have enough time to play games these days but of course, as with any leisure activity, it’s a matter of choosing to do that over doing something else.

What I definitely did NOT do this break is write. 2 personal journal entries, 1 twitter blog entry, and that’s about it. Which should be obvious given the state of this post, sort of scattered and not very well composed. I kept thinking of stuff to write over the break, but it’s hard to find the time for sustained writing in the vacationspace. I don’t really have any official resolutions this year (trying not to make resolutions I can’t keep was one of last year’s resolutions and I was not entirely successful, unfortunately), but I do plan to get back on track with writing. Starting today, I guess, since I’ve managed to squeeze a post out of the grumpiness. Go me!


break, winter-style

maura @ 12:09 pm

Woah, looks like I forgot to do Twitter Tuesdays this past week. Blame the holidays: there was the frantically trying to get everything ready beforetime, which segued into the playing with new toys catching up on sleep and reading hanging with family aftertime (which we are still in right now, getting ready to head out with the kids to see the latest Disney offering [which I’m not super happy about, but what can you do]). So the interwebs have sort of fallen by the wayside. As has writing. But I’m chewing over a couple of posts and getting ready to get back on that writing horse. Here’s some Twitter to tide you over.

(P.S. Happy New Year!)

Cousin craziness, courtesy of cookies & Super Mario Bros Wii. Also Hungry Hungry Hippos, the frenzied chomping game!
about 20 hours ago from Echofon

Really need to stop staying up so late. Damn you, Prof Layton, and your puzzly goodness!
10:42 AM Dec 30th, 2009 from Echofon

@boonebgorges No char (Amorina doesn’t have a wood/coal oven), true, but the honest yeasty risen crust was pretty tasty (bad lighting, too).
5:24 PM Dec 29th, 2009 from web in reply to boonebgorges

@boonebgorges Fennel+oranges+olives=wacky but tasty. And of course normal pies too. @notjonathan says: “no dough conditioners!” #cunypie
9:19 PM Dec 28th, 2009 from web in reply to boonebgorges

The Siciliana at Amorina in Brooklyn. Suitable for a #cunypie outing?
7:33 PM Dec 28th, 2009 from Echofon

last weekend, sledding. this weekend, the high line.
2:28 PM Dec 27th, 2009 from Echofon

@mkgold ooh, sounds like a great session (eval digital work for t&p), would love to hear a recap. Have fun!
1:50 PM Dec 27th, 2009 from Echofon in reply to mkgold

Up too late last night playing Prof Layton, which rocks. Gus wants 2 play Mario Party, took his DS back. Guess I got to buy my own.
8:56 AM Dec 26th, 2009 from Echofon

Sticky toffee pudding, yum.
8:57 PM Dec 25th, 2009 from Echofon

Campari & soda, aww yeah. Trying to convince Gus to let me play Professor Layton (my xmas present) on his DS. Unsuccessfully.
7:10 PM Dec 25th, 2009 from web

We ate all the old cookies. Guess we’ll have to make new ones or else Santa won’t stop by. Unless he’d like some leftover tacos instead?
8:50 AM Dec 24th, 2009 from Echofon

OH in my house: the new baking begins tomorrow.
9:50 PM Dec 23rd, 2009 from web

@mikhailg we <3 Mario kart & super Mario galaxy. Hearing good things abt super Mario bros, which Gus will get from my mom next week.
7:04 PM Dec 23rd, 2009 from Echofon in reply to mikhailg

so quiet at work today. crossing lots off my to-do list, listening to the cocteau twins. think i’m finally starting to feel xmasy.
2:17 PM Dec 23rd, 2009 from web

proofreading the galleys of my article. so exciting to see it formatted all pretty like!
10:03 AM Dec 23rd, 2009 from web

les tags: ,

the worms go in the worms go out

maura @ 6:45 pm

Lately I’ve been feeling guilty about the compost. Our building has a courtyard which is sort of landscapey — not really a garden, but mostly plants + some brick area too. It’s pretty to look at + hang out in and a decent place for mostly little kids to play, we’ve got a sandbox and a kiddie pool and a bunch of riding toys. When a bunch of us wanted to start composting several years back we knew we needed a no-pest, no-smell solution. So we went with the compost tumbler: a big plastic barrel secured to a stand at its midpoint so it can be flipped over and rotated 360 degrees. It’s got a small, screen-covered spout at the bottom to allow air to get in but keep pests out, and since it’s mostly contained it doesn’t smell at all.

But (there’s always a but), it’s not exactly the easiest thing to use. Most food waste can go into the barrel (no fats or meats, but that’s true of other composters too), but it should be chopped into small pieces for best results. Food waste is “greens” and we need an equal amount of “browns” in the barrel, too, in order to make real dirt and not just slimy decayed food. Because we don’t have big trees (= dead leaves) in our courtyard, most of our browns are cardboard and newspaper, which also need to be torn into smallish pieces. So it’s kind of a pain to make a deposit in the barrel: first you dump your compostables in, then rip up + add the browns, then close it up and flip it a few times to mix everything together.

Once the barrel’s full the compost needs to “cook” down to become actual dirt. Depending on how attentive you are during this process it can take as little as two weeks, though we’ve never really gotten it down to less than a a month. And this is the bigger pain in the ass. Basically the barrel needs to be flipped at least 2x/day during cooking, which sounds easy but never really turns out that way. It’s heavy and a little dirty, so I never want to flip it on the way out in the mornings. We’ve tried making a schedule in which the compost contributors each take a different day, but inevitably we forget or leave town for a few days or get sick or… And it’s frustrating because we can’t put in anything new during the cooking, and it always seems to stretch on forever.

Last summer I had to bow out of composting because I was just too busy to deal with it. But I’ve felt guilty ever since, and moreso recently when we had to get rid of our Halloween jack o’ lantern. Yeah, we have a disposal, but we can’t put everything down there, and I know that composting is better. I guess the thing that is most annoying to me is that compost just happens. It’s ecomological! And if we had a yard* then I’d just have a plain compost bin and dump stuff in, cover w/a thin layer of dirt, and leave it. Easy peasy.

* I should point out that, all things considered, we are very happy non-houseowners. For all of the niceness of a yard I think the maintenance would kill us. It’s nice to have a super!

Really what I want is for the city to do it. I’m sure there’s lots of research on this that I’m too lazy to google right now that presents all of the complicated reasons why it’s too hard to do, but it seems kind of easy when I think of it. The DSNY could collect food waste 2-3 times/week. They could take it to sites within the city to compost it up, using all of the leaves they (used to) collect in the fall for browns. There are industrial composting solutions that make it happen even faster than Mother Nature, if speed is an issue. Then they could SELL it back to stores or even to gardeners directly. Compost in, money out, w00t!

You’d think they could at least break even, right? I’m sure there are many reasons why this isn’t happening, but don’t tell me and burst my happy compost bubble.

les tags: ,

natural consequences

maura @ 9:30 pm

Today we got up, got ready, and got in the car to drive back from my sister’s place in Delaware. My sister, brother in law and 2 nieces followed in their car. Along the way Gus slept for 2 hrs.

When we got back to Brooklyn we said hi to the cats, changed into fancy clothes, and hopped on the subway into the city to go see The Nutcracker. It was a great time, though Gus’s attention did fade in parts. But everyone loves champagne and gummy bears at intermission, and Lincoln Center is so fabulously retro.

After the show we headed to a fancyish restaurant in a nearby fancyish mall. Just inside there’s a big (like 10 feet tall) metal statue of a naked man, and of course the kids ran right over so they could get all Finding Nemo: “he touched the butt.”

The restaurant was lovely. We had a great seat by the window and the kids watched the city go by. All of the kids got complementary cotton candy for dessert, and Gus had ice cream too. Probably not the best idea.

We went to some sort of weird electronics showroom in the mall afterwards where nothing was for sale. When we were looking at the netbooks Gus accidentally on purpose pried up the security tag, which immediately started beeping. We hustled him out of there quick.

Once we got home the kids played Super Smash Bros Brawl for ages. Feels like we’ve only just now gotten them to bed, and I’m pooped.

Moral of the story: extra sleep + no physical activity + loads of refined sugar = crazy kid. Hope he sleeps it off.

les tags: , ,