Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Warm memories

11 years ago we spent about a month living in Vienna, beginning at Thanksgiving and going through to the new year. Math Man had a residency at the Schrodinger Institute there, which came with an apartment; I was on maternity leave after the birth of Barnacle Boy. It was an amazing experience. Every day I packed the boys into their double-stroller (kitted out with a terrific insert that let you pop a baby in and zip up, no need to mess with snowsuits!) and toured the city. I found playgrounds for Crash to run off his energy, cafes in which I could feed him french fries and nurse the Boy and when all were full and sated, I hit a museum or church while they snoozed in the stroller.

The weather was cold and damp. My overwhelming impression was of darkness, we saw the sun the day we arrived and never again. The nights in the apartment were chilly, and when I would put the Boy back into his crib after nursing him, the clammy sheets would wake him up. I finally bought a baby hot water bottle to keep his spot warmed, which worked like a charm. For Christmas that year, celebrated in a small town in the Italian Alps, Math Man produced a carefully wrapped gift: the mother of all hot water bottles. It was huge, and had a perfect seal. It still warms my feet and my heart!

Today Crash was home from school, not feeling his best. He found the bottle, and curled up on the sofa with it. I'm hoping I can get it back!!


  1. What a magical year--thank you for sharing it with us.

    Interview questions asap :-).

  2. Okay, here are your questions:

    1. We can tell from your posts as well as the front page "about you" that your commitment to Catholicism is a very important part of your life. What you do you love most about your church? (On rereading I realized this could mean the larger faith tradition or your parish. I was thinking the former when I wrote it, but either or both would be great to learn).

    2. What are the joys and challenges of combining your vocations as chemistry professor, wife, and mother?

    3. Geeky spiritual director question: you seem to have at least some affinity for Ignatian spirituality. Have you made the Spiritual Exercises via the 19th annotation or the Long Retreat, or is it something you might consider doing in the future?

    4. On a lighter note, how do you like to relax, alone and/or with your family?

    5. Did you have animal companions as a child? Any in your home now?

  3. Don't you mean, "Math Man may have had a residency at the Schrodinger Institute..."? (Just kidding.)

    I can empathize with Barnacle Boy. What, for example, is the point of a wonderful down comforter in the middle of the winter, if it takes forever for it to warm up after you've crawled into it? I understand from the Little House books that heated bricks work well, too, but I think I'd rather have the hot water bottle.

    Cats under covers are nice, too, if they're the agreeable kind.

    Mother Laura forgot your vocation to ministry in question #2.

    Love and blessings,