Thursday, February 10, 2005

Slow Day

What a slow day.

Kanji was home between lunchtime and dinnertime. We tried to have a nap and the kids (literally) jumped all over us. There is no such thing as a parents-only hug - they have just got to be the ham in the sandwich.

I am reading several books at the moment, which is not unusual for me these days. This started when the girls were babies, and I had little time to read. Consequently it took me ages to read one, and I would start to get bored with it, it was like: "oh, god, am I still reading that book?" So I started to diversify, and read several at once. Of course, that means it takes longer for each book to be finished, but because I switch around I don't get bored with any one book.

I have had up to eight book and/or magazines going at once: bedtime book, toilet book, car book, purse book, couch book, kitchen table book, chapter-a-day book - let's see how many I have going at the moment:

"Memoirs of Cleopatra" by Margaret George. At about 900 pages this one should keep going for quite some time! I am reading it upstairs at bedtime. I still stay with the kids for them to go to sleep. Although I discovered during my recent NZ trip that they are quite happy to go to sleep without me there. But I LIKE it! We have a nice cuddle, and snuggle into the warm bed, and I get to read my book, which does not move from by my pillow. I leave them when they are sleeping like angels. I think I can encourage them to have good sleep habits this way, because I am there to discourage games and playing. But back to the book - it's the third of hers I've read, after her Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots. Both those were excellent, this one is a little more strained, over-long - it's taken me to page 350 to get into it!

"Kids". Gotta throw a parenting book in there somewhere. This one has an anthropoloical/evolutionary biology angle. Very interesting stuff about cultural differences in child-rearing styles, and what biological basis there is for them. This book is slipped into my handbag, and I read it here and there when I have a few moments to spare, including red lights.

"Concise Encyclopedia" In the toilet. I am not much of a toilet reader, in fact I hate the idea. So it had to be something from which I could read just one sentence and then move on. "The capital of Liberia is Monrovia". Right, ready to flush. (Now you know why I know such petty, esoteric trivia.)

"Kitchens". Pictures of NZ women in their kitchens, talking about them. I like kitchens. I like the idea of the kitchen as the centre of the home, where it's warm, where the food is. In many of the flats I lived it, no matter how comfortable the living room was, people often gravitated to the kitchen. It's just a cosy, sociable place to be. Traditional Japanese kitchens couldn't be more different - a slip of space at the side of the house, with dirt floors, about two feet down in level from the tatami rooms. Even kitchens today tend to be a narrow space tucked in the side, only big enough for one. I'll never forget when we were house-shopping, going to one place, who showed us some plans, and I asked if you could see the living room from the kitchen. It was so funny how the salesman started to reassure me that 'oh no, the kitchen can't be seen from the living room' because he assumed I was concerned that the dirty kitchen work space would be visible from the guest area. When in fact I was only concerned about myself not feeling abandoned and left out trapped in a cubby-hole kitchen while life went on eslewhere. My main criteria in choosing a house were that it had a reasonable garden, and a spacious kitchen big enough to have kitchen table. I got those two things, so I am happy.

"Ms" magazine, 30th anniversay special issue, with lots of great articles from the last 30 years of feminism. Sits on the kitchen table, and I read it while eating. I am supposed to wait until the kids have finished, so I can monitor their atrocious table manners, but I can't help sneaking a peek.

Crappy gossip magazines, slipped into my work folder and read while the kids do written work or tests.

"Sex in History" "Immaculate Decpetion II" "Heironymous Bosch" Okay, I am not actually reading them but I have started them and they sit on the shelf by the couch waiting to be read

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