Return of The Dena

Dear me, no sooner did I hand this url out to several of my peers at the Dominican University GSLIS congratulatory dinner for summer graduates than I abruptly fell silent for a couple of weeks.  My absence can be explained by the concurrence of my daughter’s first week of school and a weekend trip to Peoria with my involvement in a side project that is to be unveiled shortly but is not the project I am supposed to be working on.  It has nonetheless been going well and may even be unveiled to the Web at large as soon as tomorrow, but the writing has been so all-consuming as not to leave much for blogging.

After two back-to-school seasons of struggling mightily to maintain some awareness of my daughter’s schoolwork whilst managing my own full courseload, I no longer feel torn in as many directions.  With a graduate degree under my belt, I can be that much better of a resource for her, now that I have the time and energy to spare.  In some ways the timing was ideal, as she is entering third grade and her workload has become significantly more demanding.  I believe I’ve learned enough from my own experiences to know when and how to push her, and I am delighted to see she is about 100% more self-possessed than I was at her age.  All her life I have trained her to ask what a word means if she’s never heard it and to speak up when she doesn’t understand something, carefully modeling those as smart behaviors rather than dumb ones.  Now I see all that effort paying off, in the form of a child who loves to learn and looks forward to going to school.  Mind you, I have no illusions that any of this means she’ll never again jump up and down whilst screaming that she can’t finish her homework because it’s too boring, but it is heartening nonetheless.

I’ve got a lot to look forward to, with a trip to Wisconsin coming up this weekend, Andrew Bird’s free show at Milennium Park next Wednesday (September 3), Nick Cave at the Riviera at the end of September, and then Rufus Wainwright at the Horshoe Casino in mid-October.  Oh yes, and I have a birthday in September, but it’s not the big five-oh.  Yet.  My cup runneth over, and about the only thing I have to complain about is that the swimming season is ending and new season of America’s Next Top Model will be overlapping with the current season of Project Runway.  Normally I only allow myself one TV show at a time, but please don’t ask me to choose.  In a faceoff Project Runway always wins, but America’s Next Top Model is a guilty pleasure of the highest order.

Speaking of pleasure, I was happy to see my old friend Bubs blogging again after a school-induced hiatus.  I know all too well that life and kids and jobs and other projects sometimes intervene, but the Sprawling Ramshackle Compound is a special place.  A place where we can all point our fingers and chuckle at the foibles of alligators and pervs whilst relaxing on the deck with a mint julep, admiring the fine landscaping.  I want to say that I knew he’d pop in from time to time, but it was still a relief and a nice surprise when I checked and saw he’d posted.


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