Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Weekend of Nothing

November 22, 2009

I had such a nice indulgent weekend.  I slept; a lot.  I made some decent attempts to clean and organize the disaster is that my bedroom.  I did loads of laundry and changed my towels and bed sheets.  I went to the farmer’s market and bought some apples, sweet potatoes, and a ton of leafy spinach.  I spent all of Saturday evening cooking this delicious, cheesy sweet potato dish (with lots of spinach!) then I baked double chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  I signed the lease on my new place for next year.  I did absolutely no homework.  I went shopping and bought some cute, functional sweaters and a sexy dress that I don’t need.  Oh, and I treated myself to a new iPod nano, since mine broke and then was lost during the move from New York to Michigan.  Because there’s no way I’m boarding that plane home without my tunes.

Speaking of home, I was browsing in Target today and bought Tori Amos’ new Christmas (“Solstice”) album, Midwinter Graces. I adore Christmas music, as does the rest of my family.  I grew up with listening to Christmas standards from Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, John Denver, and Barbra Streisand; and of course songs from church.  It upsets me when new artists try to “redo” classic Christmas songs that I associate with my childhood Christmas memories.  Like, there’s really only one version of O Come All Ye Faithful and it is by Nat King Cole.  I’ve heard that song so many times, I can even recite the verses in Latin.  Anyone else trying to sing that song is just wrong.  So I tend to hate all new Christmas music. When I noticed Tori had Christmas album, I knew it would be either really, really, bad; or really really good.

Surprisingly I like it.  I may even love it. Yes, she mashes up traditional carols with her own lyrics, which was upsetting at first but it works because the music is just so beautiful and lush.  I could learn to love her versions. And she covers some really old, lesser known carols on here, like Coventry Carol (although I’m partial to Joan Baez’s version, I admit that Tori’s version is nice) Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella, and The Holly and the Ivy on this album, which it makes it different and interesting.

But, damn; listening to Christmas music makes me miss my family in the worst way.  It almost feels wrong listening to Christmas songs alone.  My family listened to these songs while in car going to get the Christmas tree and while driving around the city visiting relatives.  We listened to them while baking cookies, while cooking dinner, while decorating the tree, while wrapping then opening presents.  We listened to them while taking down the tree and cleaning up wrapping paper and boxes.  We always listened to this music together.  And now I’m sitting here alone my in room listening to Christmas music in November all afternoon, feeling all nostalgic.  My roommates must think I’m nuts.  I am terrified of airplanes and flying, but at this point I’m just so damn excited to go home, I don’t even care about the plane.  I just want to go home.

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Family Stories – 1

November 14, 2009

Just recently I found out how my great grandparents met.  They met on the boat on the way from Ireland to Ellis Island.  They were from different parts of Ireland and did not know each other before.  But they met and fell in love on the ship.  When they got to New York they had to go their separate ways, I think they had friends in the city who they were staying with.  They wanted to get married right away but they couldn’t; it would be too scandalous.  So once they were settled in the city, they had to pretend like they just met and they “courted” each other until it was appropriate for them to marry.

They got married in St. Peter’s Church on Barclay St in downtown Manhattan.  St. Peter’s was the first Catholic church in the New York City.  My dad used to work on the same street as that church, and I worked right across the street from that church.  I would walk past it all the time and think nothing of it.  Because honestly, the church isn’t all that nice from the outside.  It’s a small grey Greek-looking building.  It looks nothing like a church, actually:

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After I learned that my great-grandparents were married here, I walked into the church one day on my lunch break.  I was surprised when I walked in, because the inside of this church is gorgeous.  I sat on a pew in the back for a while just thinking.  I’ve never seen pictures of my great grandparents, but somehow I could picture them getting married there.  I wonder what kind of dress my great-grandmother wore.  There probably weren’t many people at the wedding, since they were both immigrants with no other family members here.  I’m not really religious anymore, but I said a little prayer to my past relatives.  Just letting them know that their people are doing ok, that we’re living in the good life because of them.

One of my favorite things about living in the city is knowing that my family has a history here.  In a way it makes me feel stronger.  Maybe this is common for people from other areas or from small towns; but in a city that is constantly changing with a population that is constantly shifting, it is nice to feel grounded and to have roots in a place, and to feel like you belong.  I know I’m lucky to have that.

Family Stories

November 10, 2009

My brother is a senior at Boston University and is studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland this semester.  He went over there partially to be able to drink all the time, and partially to research our family history.  He was able to locate some long lost members of our family in the city of Limerick, where my mother’s side of the family is from.  Their last name was Madigan.  My parents are going to Ireland next week to visit my brother and to hopefully meet these family members for the first time.

I don’t know a lot about my family’s past; it is a consequence of growing up in a repressed Irish-Catholic family where lips are kept sealed and secrets go to the grave, especially on my mother’s side.  I hardly know anything about her side of the family.  Also, people in my family tend not to live that long, so there has not been a lot of overlap between the generations, which makes it harder to learn about those who came before me.  So I cherish every thing I learn about my relatives.  I want to be able to pass on what I know about my family to my own children, should I ever have them, so that the stories don’t get lost.

The great storyteller in my family was my paternal grandmother, who passed away two years ago on the day after Thanksgiving.  She was an amazing lady.  I think about her a lot, but especially in November, when I realize that another year has passed since she’s been gone.  She had such a vivid memory and could tell stories about her childhood with incredible details.

I learned so many neat things about my family through her, but I can’t help but wonder about what she did not tell me.  I decided that for some of Nablopomo, I would write out the some of the stories she told me, just to put them out there.  Besides, I love hearing about other people’s families, so I figured someone out there wouldn’t mind hearing about mine.

Inauguration Reads

January 23, 2009

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Good thing I wrote on and on about how much I love the cold weather, because I spent this past weekend freezing my ass off.  But its okay, because I freezing my ass off in DC, watching Obama become the president.   Here is a blurry photo of my inauguration ticket and my Obama Metrocard for the DC subway:
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When I got back to work on Wednesday morning, everyone kept asking me how it was.  I said it was amazing, it was great, it was crazy, it was cold, it was crowded, it was fun.  What can you say?  It was all those things and more.  

About a year and half ago, my dad retired from the fire department in New York City and moved to Arlington Virginia to take a new job in Washington DC.  It was kind of a big deal, considering that no one in my family has ever moved away from New York (except for one aunt out in Jersey), it was hard having my dad so far away.  Now my sister is married, I moved out, my dad lives in Virginia, and my brother goes to college in Boston. Besides holidays, its rare that the five of us spend time together.

But early Saturday morning, my mom, sister, brother in law, along with my dog, stopped in Brooklyn to pick me up and together we drove down to DC.  My brother flew in from Boston that night, and together we stayed at my dad’s apartment for weekend to see this together:

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For four days we argued about whose turn it was to take the dog out, we fought over the bathroom, we made fun of each other, we joked about high school, we recited our favorite lines from Seinfeld, yelled at each other about changing the radio station in the car, basically drove each other crazy, and watched the first African-American president get sworn in on the capitol steps.  The whole weekend was a whirlwind but what mostly stands out in my mind is how happy I was to be with my family in that moment.  And the crowds of happy people.  I’ve never seen so many happy people before in my life.  Whenever the crowd got tense and I thought there might be a stampede someone would start a chant: “O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!” and the tension was gone.  Watching the ceremony was unreal.  It didn’t really hit me until we were in the car driving home on Tuesday evening.  We were listening to radio coverage of the parade, and then I realized the significance of the evident I just witnessed. President Obama.  Dude!  How awesome is that?  

But now, what to do with all of our “Bush sucks” paraphernalia?  Such as my dad’s Bush toilet paper, each sheet features an infamous quote from our former president (anyone remember “They misunderestimate me?”)  Ugh! Time to flush you down the toilet, W.  I never want to see your smug monkey face again. 

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Now, my inauguration reads.  I always get a ton of reading done when I’m with my family,  because they like to watch a lot of reality TV and football and I really hate reality TV and football.  Whenever I spend time with them I bring my books, my companions, to keep me company.  They turn on the TV, I curl up in the corner of the sofa with my books and read.  I usually like reading some light, entertaining fiction so this weekend I read The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank.  I know a lot of people love this book, but I just thought it was okay.  It was more a like a collection of short stories that tell the coming of age story of Jane, the main character.  Some stories worked, others felt completely out of place.  The story about Jane’s dad completely blew me away it was amazing.  Then I read Towelhead by Alicia Erian.  It is the coming of age story of Jasira, a 13-year old girl who is half Irish, half Lebanese.  Her parents are clueless and seem to have given up on raising her, so she forms an unhealthy relationship with her adult neighbor.  Its a sad book, a graphic book about adolescence, abuse and bigotry, but somehow still managed to be a beautiful story.  A very quick read.  

 

If I can figure out how to post videos on WordPress, I will post a video I took of my family dancing to Garth Brooks during the Obama concert on Sunday.  It is priceless.

Dude, President Obama!

Christmas Recap

December 31, 2008

Internet has finally arrived in my little apartment in Brooklyn, with some help from Santa Claus!  Ah, feels good to be connected with the world again.  

Christmas Eve at Manny’s family was so much fun.  Once again, all my knowledge of Spanish disappeared, I could not even bring myself to say feliz navidad.  But the gift of baked goods proved to be the universal language.  My cookies and brownies were consumed with much praise and were gone in about an hour.  

But Manny’s family – seriously – the nicest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met.  I ate dinner seated next to Manny’s older brothers, who know English, and they kept translating the conversation for me so that I wouldn’t feel left out.  Then I hung out with Manny’s four nieces, who are all around the pre-teen and teenage years.  They are awesome, smart, tough kids who made me feel so old because they thought Daria and Beavis and Butthead were vintage TV classics.  I was afraid they would think I’m too much of a dork, because they’re cooler teenagers than I ever was, so to break the ice I told them about some crazy science stories (like that boy was nearly decapitated but doctors reattached his head) and soon we were all watching Nacho Libre together on Manny’s computer.  

After Manny’s house,  I went to my mom’s house up in Westchester, collapsed on my bed and slept for about 12 hours. During Christmas, I realized that my family is the exact opposite of Manny’s family in every way possible, and realized this is both good and bad.  My family is big on traditions and doing the same thing for Christmas every year.  Usually these traditions are comforting and reassuring, but this year they felt forced and I felt like I was just going through the motions.  Plus my grandmother makes it no secret that she disapproves of me and dislikes that I live on my own in the city, that I moved out by myself without getting married leaving my mom alone with an empty nest, that I don’t go to church anymore, that I voted for Obama, that I’m dating a Mexican, etc etc.  But you know, it was still good to have the family together.  

This week I am back to work and sadly, without reading material. I started reading Labyrinth of Solitude by Octovio Paz but I can’t quite finish it.  Originally published in 1950, Labyrinth of Solitude is collection of essays that explore the essence of the the Mexican identity.  I read the first few essays, which were interesting, but honestly, the book is not really a page turner and I found it hard to stay awake on the morning train ride to read it. So, back to the library it goes. But, you should read more about Labyrinth of Solitude because it is a really important book.  

On Friday I have to take the subway up the Bronx to visit a friend , which is about an hour and half train ride each way.  I cannot face this trip without suitable reading material, so I have some book exploring to do.

I Heart Unions

December 12, 2008

I’ve been following the auto bailout business via online videos of Rachel Maddow’s show while updating spreadsheets at my nice, stable, unionized job.  The Republican arguments against the auto bailout are disgusting and make me sick.

And apparently I have no clue how to post videos, so, listen to this and get mad with me:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/28184849#28184849

That republican senator needs to get slapped in face.  Look, unions aren’t perfect, there are some really bad, filthy corrupt union bosses out there, to be sure.  But why are people so disillusioned that they think unions are not necessary?  Aren’t there still unfair labor practices?  Don’t workers still get abused by their employers?  Just last week, here in NYC, which is practically a union sanctuary compared with the rest of the country, two restaurant owners were arrested and charged with 400 (!) criminal charges, including violating minimum wage laws for their employees and falsifying business records to cover it up.  Also?  Over the summer, state investigators exposed a sweatshop in Queens that was making clothes for Banana Republic, Macys and Victoria’s Secret.  The factory owners paid their employees $3.79 per hour for working six days a week for over 60 hours a week. 

But yeah, I’m sure the need for unions has come to end. 

Yes, I take this issue personally.  To my family, a bunch of rowdy Irish people from Brooklyn, unions are life savers.  A unionized civil service job was their way out of Brooklyn and into the middle class.  One of my great grandfathers was a member of the Typographical Union and when he died my family couldn’t pay for a headstone for his grave so the union paid for it and he was buried in the union plot.  (An alternative version of this story is apparently this great grandfather was a Native American, and hated by the rest of my family so they refused to pay for his grave.  But no one wants to say yes or no he was an Indian because no one in the family wants to talk about him. One my uncles is going to do some cheek-swab DNA test to see if he has Native American genes.  Weird stuff.)  But also, my dad is a retired FDNY member and was actively involved in the fire unions when he was working here.  And now he’s involved with the international firefighters union in Washington DC.  Not to mention my uncle the cop, my other uncle the transit worker, my other uncle the HVAC worker who all have pensions and health care and were all able to send their children to college all because of unions.  And myself – my union job guarantees me paid sick leave, prescription drug coverage, tuition reimbursement for graduate school, free eye exams and eye glasses, and other nice things. So, we love unions in my family!  Maybe the era of unions paying for your grave is over, but the era of employees organizing against unfair labor practices is most definitely not over.  And maybe will never be over.

Anyway, happy Friday!  And thank goodness for Rachel Maddow.

Holy Crap

November 5, 2008

Last night was unbelievable.  For the first time in my life, I actually feel all patriotic and proud of my country and shit.  Weird.  I admit, I shed some tears during Obama’s acceptance speech.  How could I not?  Then Brian Williams at NBC held up a poster with pictures of all the past presidents and pointed out how they were all white men with white hair.  And now Obama’s face will be up there!  Its so historic!  Dammit Brian Williams, you made me cry again.  I felt a little bad for McCain, I thought his speech was very gracious.  I hated how people booed every time he mentioned Obama’s name.  I loved that I lived to see such an event take place.  I love that Obama’s family is multi-racial and reaches across continents and how this represents a changing demographic in America, because I consider Manny and his family part of my own family and I love how this is reflected in Obama’s victory.  Diversity is beautiful, people!  Embrace it.  I hope that I also get to see a woman president in my lifetime.  I think its possible, thanks to Hillary.  (Just, please gods, not Palin.  Or any republican for that matter.  Thanks.)

Over the weekend I went to see an interview with Junot Diaz and Lenoard Lopate of WNYC at the Brooklyn Library.  A young Dominican girl had just commented how his books were the only thing that she could relate too.  After reading his books, for the first time, she could say, “this is what I am.  An American and a Dominican.”  Diaz responded, saying that in folklore and mythology, people who do not have a reflection in the mirror are ghosts.  If you don’t have a reflection, you don’t exist.  He told us to think about how it was for him, and so many other immigrant children and minority children growing up and never seeing a reflection of their life and their reality through TV, movies, music, radio, newspapers, novels, everything.  Or, the only reflections they see of themselves are negative.  How lonely and discouraging that would be for these kids.  And now?  These kids are seeing their reflection, they see a positive example in Obama on what is possible in this country.  In the spirit of being all sappy and patriotic, I saw this sign on TV – “Rosa sat, so Martin could walk, so Obama could run, so our children could fly”

I am still registered to vote at my grandmother’s address.  It took me an hour to get there on the subway, but I went to vote.  There were two people in line, me and an elderly Russian lady who had to be at least 95 years old, who once she was behind the curtain of the voting machine, kept yelling and complaining how the names were too small and how was anyone supposed to see what they were doing.  I went up to sign to my name on the roll, and the name right above mine was my grandmother’s.  She passed away last November.  I signed my name under the copy of her signature, I had not seen her handwriting in so long.  She had beautiful, curvy, elegant script, a lot like mine.    Two years ago when this campaign began she announced she was voting for Hillary Clinton.  She was so excited to see a woman as a presidential front runner.  I know she would have been equally excited about Obama’s amazing victory.  Unlike most of my extended family, who actually told me that Obama couldn’t be president because of his name (!), she never judge people based on race or religion, she was loving and accepting and honest.  She is always my example on how to be a better person.

Vacation Reads

August 28, 2008

With no internet at home its been hard for me to keep up this book blog.  I’ve been reading faster than I’ve been posting.  Here’s what I read on my vacation last week:

Desperate from some fiction novels to take with me on my vacation, I picked up While I Was Gone by Sue Miller at the Strand because it was 99 cents.  Once I started reading it I was afraid it was going to be like a middle age crisis chick lit book, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It was much more than that.  Jo, the main character, has an unconventional, tragic past that she tries to forget while she leads a normal life as a minister’s wife and mother to three daughters in her idyllic Massachusetts farm town.  But when someone from her past shows up in her town, she is forced to revisit the feelings and emotions she thought she ran away from and left far behind her.  I didn’t think Jo was all that likeable, and I think that’s why I liked this story.  She is not the perfect chick lit heroine, she’s not the perfect wife or mother.  She has flaws and she has some major issues.  I really enjoyed this story, it was not what I expected.

I finished While I Was Gone in about two days.  Up in the mountains, there’s not much else to do but read.  It’s a big crisis when I don’t have anything to read.  I get panicky.  So next up was Free Food For Millionaires by Min Jin Lee.   My Mom actually brought the book with her to read, but since she was reading something else at the time, I snagged it from her.  I found it interesting that my Mom chose to buy this book.  It is about a Korean immigrant girl from Queens named Casey who’s American ways are conflicting with her more traditional-minded parents.  She doesn’t get a finance job right after she graduations from Princeton, and this is a problem because she’s wasting away her education.  She is also dating a white guy, and this is a bigger problem. 

When I was living at home, my Mom would drop me off at the train station on her way to work.  I listened to NPR in the morning and would always have it on the car.  My mom got hooked on it, and kept the radio station on while she drove to work and back.  When she saw me reading this book, she was excited.  She told me, “Let me know how it is, it was recommend by NPR!”.  My Mom, buying books recommended by NPR!  It surprised me.  I always thought of my Mom as one of those people like that likes to appear normal, she doesn’t like politicians who are too conservative or too liberal, she has to keep up with the neighbors and doesn’t want herself or her children looking “different.”  Naturally, this led to many disagreements between us.  But now she is reading books about poor immigrants recommend by NPR.  When I realized that Casey dates a white guy in this book, I thought that maybe she brought this book because I am a white girl who is dating a Mexican.  Maybe she is taking more of an interest in cross cultural, bi-racial relationships because of me?  I don’t know, maybe.  Or maybe not.  I gave the book back to her when I was finished.  I hope she reads it.

Anyway, the first half of this book was really good.  Really insightful, great dialogue, interesting characters in complex relationships, thought provoking and truthful.  But the second half wasn’t that great.  The story was dragged on for too long, and second half of the 600+ page novel seemed forced and then ended rather abruptly.  It felt like too different stories.  But overall, a very good, satisfying novel. 

Reading these two novels made me realize how there’s probably so much more to my Mom than she what she portrays to me and siblings.  I think she’s normal and obsessed with the status quo, but maybe she just appears that way.  Jo, of While I was Gone, seems to be two different people; she has her life as wife and mother, but she has a whole other side to her – a rebellious past that she chooses not to share with her family.  They think she is normal, but actually she is anything but normal.  So its probably not fair of me to judge my Mom like that.  I’m sure being a mom is hard and who knows how her past experiences shaped who she is today.  There’s probably a lot more to her than what she chooses to show her children.

Not About Books

August 21, 2008

I have been away in the mountains in upstate New York with the family.  My aunt and uncle built a house on the lake for themselves and now the entire family spends their vacations there.  We are a bunch of shameless free loaders.   But I love when all my extended family are together under one roof.  But this vacation I felt sad, I kept wondering how many more years we have together in this way.  Since I’ve moved out I’ve been feeling more like an adult, and this forces me to realize that my parents and my aunts and uncles are getting old.  Like, they look like old people.  And me, my siblings and cousins, we’re adults.  We are getting married and having babies and buying houses.  I had a total “oh my god I’m an adult now time is flying make it stop” moment. 

My dad is one of five boys.  When my dad and my uncles get together and talk, it’s the best thing in the world.  Between these men, they know absolutely everything.  They know how to build houses, fix plumbing, install electrical wiring, install heating and cooling systems, fix and replace boilers, how to build subways, how to drive trains and boats, how to put out fires, how to fix and rebuild cars.  They know everything about the city; can tell you the entire history of the public transportation system in Brooklyn, from trolley cars to electric buses to elevated subways.  My dad and uncles talk like no one else in the family.  Their Brooklyn accents, their language and skilled use of profanity, the way they tell stories (oh the stories, they have the best stories) and the way they laugh – I never get tired of listening to them talk.

My dad and my uncles grew up and left Brooklyn to raise their family in the suburbs to give their children what they never had, big houses with big backyards and all that, and I know they did this with the best intentions in mind.  But I wonder sometimes if they realize what was lost in moving the family away from the city.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something was lost.  Growing up in the city gives a person a sense of openness and honestly that comes through in the way they talk and interact with people.  And once my dad and my uncles are gone that city culture that I love is gone with them.  My siblings and my cousins and I, we are suburban kids.  We are careful and selective in what we say and how we act.  I know we are supposed to represent our family’s progress and success, but at the same time I realize that something was lost in the process.  One day I’m going sneak a voice recorder in the house to get my dad and my uncle’s voices on tape.  I cannot even imagine there will be a day when they won’t be around, when I won’t hear their big booming voices echoing through every room in the house.

Maybe this is why I wanted to move to Brooklyn.  I feel like I’m returning to the motherland.  My grandmother died in November, she lived in Brooklyn her entire life.  She was born in the same house that she lived in as adult and where she raised my dad and my uncles.  I miss her all the time.  She also represented what I love about the city, that openness and acceptance of all kinds of people. She was loving but she was honest and could crack jokes along with my uncles.  I love my little corner of Brooklyn.  It is not far from my dad’s old neighborhood.  It is not chic or gentrified or whatever you call those neighborhoods nowadays.  But everything I love about Brooklyn is here. 

 

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

July 7, 2008

I took a break from reading this past week.  On Monday night, there was a fire in the apartment below Manny and his family.  It was the superintendent’s apartment.  The super and his entire family were badly burned and their apartment is completely destroyed.  On Wednesday, the super’s 14 year old grandson died from his burns.  We are hoping and praying the rest of family pulls through.  So it has been an emotional week, and instead of reading, I’ve been thinking over the fire and how fragile this crazy life really is.  The thing that kept the fire from spreading?  It was because the family wasn’t able to reach the door to get out of their apartment.  They couldn’t open the door.  Because they couldn’t open the door, the fire didn’t spread upwards into the rest of the building.  But because they weren’t able to open the door to escape, some of the kids were trapped in their bedrooms and couldn’t get out until the firefighters broke down the door and rescued them.  I know its cliche to say, but when you think about how quickly everything can change, you realize what is really important in life.  And that is the people you love.  There’s really nothing else.

Which brings me to The Reluctant Mr. Darwin.  Charles Darwin’s favorite daughter, Annie died of a mysterious illness when she was only ten years old.  Darwin referred to the time she died as the time he gave up on Christianity.  The death of his daughter, combined with Darwin’s knowledge that natural selection lead to the evolution of species rather than divine law made the concept of God impossible for him to believe.  This was what made Origin of Species so controversial.  Quammen writes:

It was a bigger issue that whether humans and monkeys share a common ancestry.  It was the issue of whether humans and monkeys, along with lobsters and dandelions and all other living creatures, share an absence of special divine appointment.  In plain language: a soul or no soul?  An afterlife or not?  Are humans spiritually immortal in a way that chickens and cow’s aren’t, or just another form of temporarily animated meat?

Darwin’s theory of natural selection depends on variation among species, and these variations are completely random.  There is no divine intervention, there is no higher purpose of life and death.  And yet despite all of Darwin’s experiences and knowledge of evolution and the origin of humans, it was not enough to make him disbelief in a higher divine power.  He believed in, according to Quammen, “a Supreme Being in the fuzziest sense, given rise to the universe and set it in motion according to the mechanics of fixed laws.” 

Can you imagine what Darwin thought of his daughter as he wrote about natural selection and how it meant that human life was nothing special.  What of the soul of his daughter?  Was there no special purpose in her life?  Was she not any more special than the barnacles he was studying at the time?  Maybe that’s what kept him from being an all out atheist. 

Anyway.  Tomorrow I resume reading.  I really want a light novel or something.  But last week I went the the Strand Annex on Fulton Street (where everything is 20% off because they’re closing that location, all NYC’ers should go) and picked up some more science books.  I don’t really want to read them.  Maybe I’ll go the library tomorrow and get me some light reading.