Sunday, June 03, 2012


Stefan brought a cold from work. My immune system wasn't very impressed, but the girls went down with a fever. During the night they wake up every other hour, crying because their noses are clogged. After some of these nights, we're all cranky. I'm thinking the English word "cranky" might have the same root as the German word "krank" which means "sick." Luckily, the fever is gone now and we're on the way to recovery.

Lara and Gloria have enriched their vocabulary with the word "baby." Baby might be everything from small children over dolls and plush toys to pets. Gloria has developed an amusing body language in which she'll slap her palms to the sides of her head if she's uncertain what to do next. The other day, we were at the playground and a girl, somewhat older than ours, insisted on greeting Gloria with a series of hello's. When no reply came, the girl hugged and kissed Gloria on the cheek, which sent our blondie running away slapping her head.

We're still trying to teach them to eat with a spoon. They've understood that the spoon goes into the food first and then into the mouth, but the finer details of spoon orientation and aiming are still somewhat rough.

The girls are enjoying the summer, which means time out in the green with many things to see. For me it means recurring child-themed conversations with strangers. A common topic is the complaint of women my mother's age that their own offspring hasn't yet shown intentions of producing grandchildren. I find it a very awkward conversation to have with a stranger; I don't even know their children, so what can I possibly say? I usually settle on some vaguely sympathetic sounds and nodding.

Besides this, everything is moving forward and onward, slowly but persistently. The workshop I'm organizing is taking shape with the schedule about to be made next week. I'm preparing two talks for the Marcel Grossmann  meeting next month. I'm thinking of writing a larger grant application for the ERC later this year, which will need some preparation time. To accompany my efforts in songwriting, I bought a book on music theory, "Harmony and Voice Leading" (don't freak out over the price tag, I bought it used for $15), from which I learned words like "diminished 7th" and which gave completely new meaning to "scalar motion." I'm struggling with the dissonances though, they somehow refuse to make sense. I'm thinking I'll have to actually get some classical sheet music.


  1. When our twin granddaughters come over it is usually with some cold or something they have meet in their pre-school our by our older granddaughters school.

    Be kind to your parents and forewarn so as to do not have as well in face of the strength of the youth to such bugs.

    Since having raised my own children, to watch our grandchildren, I can't help but feel all the nice things you are feeling having known the both of you before you began to have children.

    It is good to see you are developing your careers in the face of parenthood. I always want to comment more.

    The captcha code "imaging" has to be a heck of a lot better. Sheesh!


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  3. Hi Bee,

    The girls look great and it’s good to learn everyone got over the viral assault on the BackReactors. As for Gloria’s new body language it presents to me to be a developing forehead slap, which I suspect will get more anatomically precise as time progresses; much like the self feeding I suspect. With Gloria receiving such attention this might give credence to the belief that blonds have more fun; although she may have another opinion. One thing I notice is that in the hair growth department Lara is still leading the way and gauging from the last photo perhaps more in expressing her independence. Finally I’m wondering if you giving new attention to music has to do with you thinking a lullaby or two might be just what’s needed to calm the preverbal savage beast at trying times such as you describe; sorry I better be careful here as Stefan might take it I’m referring to him :-)

    “A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.”

    -Ogden Nash, “Family Reunion”, Little Brown & Company (1986)



  4. "A common topic is the complaint of women my mother's age that their own offspring hasn't yet shown intentions of producing grandchildren."

    Typical. People before they gone they want to ensure the continuation of their blood line. It's a vanity fair:-)

  5. Yes, krank and cranky have the same root.

  6. Yes, krank and cranky have the same root.

  7. Yes, krank and cranky have the same root.


    "the girl hugged and kissed Gloria on the cheek, which sent our blondie running away slapping her head." Angela Merkel and the five little PIIGS.
    Toroidal view of the neo-Riemannian Tonnetz.
    and then... philosophy! has some nice books on chord progression.

  9. Hi Phil,

    Yes, you're right, Lara is still ahead in terms of hair grow. Same thing for the teeth. Lara is, one could say, somewhat more vigorous in expressing her wishes, which is what you see on the photo. If she doesn't like to sit on your lap, she'll kick and hit, basically till you drop her. Gloria will instead scream into your ear.

    The girls generally like us singing. They don't seem to care very much what we sing or if we get a single pitch straight. They like my vocal exercises just as fine, with makes it easier for everybody involved. Best,


  10. Hi Giotis,

    Well, that's what evolution trained us to, I guess. Though I think a big part of it isn't the actual genetic connection, but that they want to spend time with the baby. When we were looking for babysitters, most of the applicants we got were women my mother's age who either don't have grandchildren for one reason or the other, or whose grandchildren have outgrown the play and cuddle age. Best,



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