It’s that old je ne sais what.

Once upon a time, there was a little criancinha,
Que estava pendurada from a little janelinha.
A policeman que passou said,
Qu’est-ce que tu fais ici, oh little criancinha?*
 

As many women grow older, they fear becoming their mothers. They see it in little things they say or in mannerisms they have seemed to pick up without noticing. It sneaks up on them like a predator, waiting to deliver the fatal blow when they realize that they’ve just made the same yukky face that they used to hate on their mothers’ faces.

Whew! Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that! I know I’m saved from that fate because it’s been clear to me for a long time that I am the female incarnation of my father, right down to the way my feet twitch when I’m bored or relaxed. This realization came to me hard, like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick, one day many years ago in grad school. Continue reading

Beware of the Russians

As I look forward towards the next few homework-free months of summer, my thoughts very naturally go to my reading list. Really, it’s my reading shelf. Okay, shelves. It started out with a small section of one shelf devoted to the books that I wanted to get to sooner rather than later. I dubbed it The Green Room, and it has grown substantially since I first inaugurated it.

The problem is that I am the kind of reader who really needs to be focused on one book at a time. I become so utterly immersed in the story that trying to read another book at the same time feels like cheating. Even more than that, though, it feels unsatisfactory. Having to split my attention means I can’t fully engage the way I like to when I read, and so I end up feeling like I just ate a couple of slices of individually-wrapped cheese product when what I really wanted was one small bite of a fantastic triple cream Brie. Continue reading