The other day a good friend suggested to me that my public persona of late has been largely focused on coffee, clothes, exercise and the beach. I’m sure they didn’t mean it as a criticism - or at most, it was a very gentle and lovingly meant one --  but frankly I was a bit horrified. I mean, I know that I talk about all of those things a lot, but they are only shiny diversions and not the substance of my inner life. So I thought I’d stop and write about what else is going on beneath the social media surface lately.
Mostly, for anyone who didn’t know, I’ve been applying for jobs here in San Diego, and dealing with the ongoing emotional challenge of not yet having one. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten to the start of a school year when I was job-hunting without receiving an offer. It’s been pretty hard to take. I suppose I’ve led a charmed life in this regard until now, and I expected this time to be the same. And yes -- I’ve also applied to teach at both UCSD’s undergraduate pr…

Dollhouse continued

The last few days of work... frankly not very much to show for it! 
Interior wall partitions. Evie did the painting of these herself. 

And the exterior door and window trim, sanded and ready to paint:

Then I had to figure out how to paint them, preferably without making a huge mess. This was my solution: blue taped down on a spare two-pocket folder.

Dollhouse Project, days 1-2

Okay, so literally the last thing I blogged about here was giving birth to Evie and a few weeks ago she turned 6. Whatever. My folks got her a dollhouse (kit) for her birthday. I'm putting it together now. Seemed like a good process to record via blog.

Day 1, "before": Exterior walls sanded and ready to paint.
Day 1, "after": Exterior walls painted. It's slightly darker than it appears in the photo but not by much. Well, this is her dollhouse, not mine, and she chose the colors.

Day 2: Interior walls painted. I thought to tape around the edges and windows this time, after realizing too late yesterday that I was getting turquoise paint drips on the reverse side of the walls. The top floor is going to be cream; for the bottom floor, I just did one coat of the cream color as a base. 
No work today due to rainstorms. Next up will be another coat on the top floor, and figuring out where exactly the border lines are between the two bottom rooms and between the tw…

Evie's birth story

I: Slow Start“One thing I learned from the first time around,” I told Eric as we headed out of Carnoustie towards Dundee, “this time I’m not going to try to be a hero. I’m going to ask for the epidural when I get to the Substantial Discomfort phase instead of waiting until I get to the Agony phase.”It was around seven p.m., dark and rainy, on March 13. After waiting around at home all afternoon, we had the go-ahead from the hospital to come in for my induction. I wasn’t overdue – in fact, I was at 39 weeks – but a diagnosis of gestational diabetes four weeks earlier had altered the birth plans. So once again we had escaped the speeding-through-town-with-woman-in-labor movie trope. We dropped Owen off with our friends Jason and Melpi in Tayport, got dinner near the university, and arrived at Ninewells around nine. The induction process would begin slowly. The midwife in the antenatal ward inserted a pessary behind my cervix that would release prostaglandins for 24 hours. This was not t…


Please welcome Evelyn Aurora, born at 6:34 pm on March 14, 19 1/2", 8 lbs 3 oz. She made her entrance to the world in an astonishing 39 minutes. Now one week old, she is doing beautifully!

The Extremely Abbreviated Adventures of the Griffis Family in China: November 10-18, 2010

If I don't get this done now, I never will. So, here goes the rest of the trip in a much more abridged form:The Extremely Abbreviated Adventures of the Griffis Family in China (Days 6-10)Day 6: We visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Both are extraordinarily vast and impressive and hard to describe or get good pictures of because of their vast impressiveness. The former is magnificently austere, the latter magnificently ornate. We also get to see “new” Beijing in the form of a vast urban mall for lunch (San Francisco readers, imagine the Westfield, with all Chinese food and only a slightly more skewed ratio of Chinese to Anglo diners.) That night Guangsho takes us out for Peking duck, yum yum.Day 7: Eric spends the morning talking to people at Peking University. Owen and I spend the morning wandering the university grounds with our guide for the day, whose English is, alas, extremely limited, to the point that conversation is pretty much nonexistent. We meet a Canadian w…

The Adventures of the Griffis Family in China: November 10-18, 2010

Day 5, Saturday. One of my American-style indulgences last night was a vanilla Coke. In retrospect, this was a Bad Idea. Eric and Owen both slept all night for the first time since our arrival, as I can testify because, well, I didn’t.I had thought that Owen might get less attention in Beijing, but so far that seems not to be the case. Yesterday a young woman checking in at the same time as us asked for a picture with him, and this morning at breakfast the waitresses are cooing over him like mad. He is not at all ready to deal with the attention so early in the day, and sits very stiffly with his eyes averted until they leave him alone. Eric’s brother Kevin had warned us that on his trip to China, the “Western breakfast” at his hotel seemed to have been created by people who knew of some American foods but had no clue which ones were eaten at breakfast, so we are pleasantly surprised by the non-random nature of the hotel buffet, which has both Chinese and Western options. Owen is over…