els arrives! and our adventures

els arrives!
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

I don’t know why but I had pictured Elswhere being sort of serene, wise, and calm. Instead she’s cute and bouncy, hyper and giggly, shy and librarianly and geekgirlish. What’s with the serene wisdom? I’m so disillusioned! And so silly! Possibly all the diet cokes she quaffed on the airplane to stay awake.

She dealt with a lot of trains, lunch with Ms. Jane, more trains. I hauled her off to the Hole and then the park. She trod those hallowed byways of park and parking lot where literary giants daily tread and felt the textual ghosts swirl about her reality, and it was good!

Moomin had a friend over, and the park trip didn’t quite work out in some crucial way but it was still sunny and pleasant, everyone together… for a little while. Back home again to lie down and kind of recharge the batteries… then off to the pseudo-fancy restaurant where they disgustingly pander to suburban yupsters with children so that you are KIND OF in a fancy restaurant… but there are vile coloringbook menus and gourmet corn dogs. The one thing held over from when it used to be a real fancy and good restaurant that was also nice to children… is the ice cream sundae with a little pitcher to pour the sauce, and dishes with sprinkly things, very fancy looking.

I felt a vicarious thrill of excitement when Eliz. and Sophie ordered Shirley Temples. They said it with such considered wisdom as if choosing from a vast array of other sophisticated possibilities, much as I would have ordered a screwdriver when I was 18 and sneaking into bars – not because i liked it but because it was the only drink whose name I could think of. The shirley temples were terribly disappointing for me tonight because they did not look like grownup drinks, which is the WHOLE POINT… but came in hermetically sealed sippy cups with cartoon characters printed on them. Hello. Where is the goddamned martini glass with a goddamned maraschino cherry ? How very humiliating! Eliz did not mind, or pretended not to. I will train her next time to ask for a virgin lemon drop.

Els and I were completely wiped out… I’m pretty much brain dead. And fretting continually about every misplaced comma in my working draft of the thesis.

I taught Eliz about angles when you have a line crossing parallel lines and made her work out what all the angles would be if she knew only one angle. I think I learned that in 9th grade… not that I couldn’t have earlier but no one ever bothered to mention it before then. It was totally pleasing to watch her work it out. She can do math in her head really well, which I never could and still can’t.

Squid told her that if your body was the solar system, and your head was the Sun and your feet were Pluto, then Uranus would be just where you’d expect. Eliz cracked up and I felt proud that my friends are cool enough to explain that crucial fact of life to an almost-10 year old.

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