Saturday, December 19, 2009


A huge snowstorm is about to blanket the east coast, and so there's this unexpected moment of calm as we delay travel plans to D.C. for my brother's wedding. I should be grading (always) but instead, I think that I'll make my first hello out here. Hello dear family, friends, art historians, medievalists, modernists, French enthusiasts and any and all intersections thereof! Forthwith begins our family blog. We leave a week from tomorrow, and I expected that we'll live in this strange, suspended state until then. When we're all seated on the plane from Philadelphia to Paris, then perhaps the reality of it will sink in. So, who will we be and what will we bring for the flight? Oliver is seven and a half, my dreamer, the Boy with the Big Imagination, and will probably bring both his _Harry Potter_ book (the 4th, I believe) and his much dog-eared (haha) copy of _Good Old Snoopy_; Iris is almost six and will bring multiple notebooks into which she presses huge block letters of (fantastic) intuitive spelling: when asked in a prompt at school "Why are you special?" she wrote "I pluk my teeth awt, thas wiye im special" (woo-hoo!); and Eleanor, who is three and a half, gosh, I don't know what Eleanor will bring - her commentary on all things around her is most probable. They're plucky, these kids, but I still think of what's ahead with a mix of tremulousness and excitement. That first day in a French school - well, that will be its own separate blog entry. In the meantime, Mac, daddy, husband and modernist art historian extraordinaire, will bring tons of reading and otherwise lug children and suitcases in alterations; and I will bring a bag that will contain everything that anybody might need as we make our way to our small town in Brittany (right?).
I won't be long, because if you're checking in, you already know us - but it's been a while since we've seen some of you! So this living in France business is the result of a sabbatical leave - this incredible tradition in academe in which professors retreat to rethink, revamp, rediscover, re-engage with everything having to do with teaching and research and re-emerge better professors and human beings. Ta-da! Stay tuned on that one.
In the meantime, here is to your happy holidays - we'll be low-key this year, the only thing we're committed to is screening _A Christmas Story_ with the kids, and _The Lion in Winter_ for us (although Eleanor has started to identify a lot with Eleanor of Aquitaine, even proclaiming she was going on Crusade the other day). The rest of the time, we'll be daydreaming (as we have been for over a year) about this beautiful little town in Brittany where we'll be, 15 minutes away from Brocéliande, the forest that houses Merlin's tomb, and not far from the neolithic megaliths of Carnac, and stunning coastlines. Apparently, the table upon which the Edict of Nantes was signed in 1598 is in a castle nearby (maybe even the one in our town!) - how fantastic is _that_? Pont-Aven is near, too, where Paul Gauguin first sought out the primitive (discuss!) in the sound of his clogs on the cobblestone. And those are just some of the layers of the history upon which everyday modern life is based there.
Well, off to grade in earnest, now - so glad you're out here with us - many thanks to Pedar, friend snd wordsmith, for the blog title - away we go!

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