Friday, January 2, 2009


Whether or not this becomes a coherent blog remains to be seen. My original intent was to blog daily, to carve out an hour to myself and be able to write something substantive. Those free hours are rare, and I often have too many ideas or too few. I have felt a bit melancholic the past couple of days, a combination of food coma, mild new years hangover, and sleep deprivation due to sick kids. What I can come back to, however, with gratefulness and even joy, are our friends here. We are hopelessly nomadic, and when we bought our home almost 5 years ago never intended to be here this long. We thought it would be hard to meet people, having had a safety net of graduate school colleagues we instantly clicked with in our last two moves. How thrilling, then, to have this vast and diverse group of friends, unfortunately too many to fill our cluttered home on New Years Eve. We had 8 adults and 8 children to celebrate the occasion (mind you, not ring in the new year as kids had to depart for bedtime long before then). We met Jeff and Karen on the street, and Andy and Krissy at the farmers market, and Holly and Dave through Matt's work. Our first friends here, Jill and Chris, we met through Friendster (remember Friendster? that was before myspace and facebook). Our first cup of coffee with them occured 3 days before we had Amelia. We now have 3 kids between us and another on their way! On Jan 1 we babysit for Ken and Liz, Liz who I stalked through La leche league. Despite a mild eggnogg hangover I marveled at our 4 daughters on New Years morning, happy to have them in our home. Today I took the girls to the Allentown Art Museum with Karen and her 2, and ran into John and his daughter Lucia, who we met through preschool. How great to run into friends at the art museum, right!? Instead of Chuck e. Cheese or some such nonsense.

So talking with Karen at the art museum today, I mentioned my unrest with 2009. Every year we seem to have something big around the corner; a move, a new baby, a new job, something. This year there is nothing monumental, so I feel lost. Can we just settle down and create a routine? a life? So I come back to these friends, these new, unexpected, delightful friends, and realize if we ever left Allentown it would be just as achingly hard as any of our past moves. And conversations and picnics and BBQs are going to be big enough, and fulfilling enough.

The other thing, because this is a citymoms blog, was the realization, when these 16 bodies were packed into our narrow rowhome, with dusty corners and squeaky hardwood floors, that everyone here lived in a rowhome, or twin, with various levels of dust and delightfully small backyards. With squeaky floors and limited parking. Its ok to live urban!


Daniela said...

I've got to be better about posting too! It's hard to carve out the time but city living and city mommy-ing is important to me!

General Slocum said...

OK. I may just be a devil's advocate here on account of being in the Stay@Home Dad's ghetto of the New Parenting. But we live out here in distant Emmaus, PA, and I would argue that cities may not need such strenuous saving by the likes of us! In Emmaus, I can walk to hardware store, food movie house, barber, dentist, whatever. And your bikes don't get stolen so much. But the size of 20th century cities was determined by facets of the industrial revolution which have proven unhealthy in other respects. One of the first things people do when revitalizing (which is actually simply 'vitalizing') is to knock a few things down to get open and green spaces. I argue that you could just go somewhere where they didn't build so much the first time round. The Future Is Small! Love, General Slocum

KJ said...

Oh General,
Don't you think the reaction to the unhealthy urban environment - the suburbs, the strip mall, the drive through restaurant, have proven just as unhealthy as the dirty city!? Allentown has some amazing green spaces, and I'm glad that those green spaces are being nurtured and protected. AND we've had bikes stolen in the last 3 out of 4 cities we've lived in...which maybe says more about us than our neighbors. maybe.
That said, I really like Emmaus, and if our realtor in 2004 had any sense about her she would have shown us places there. Emmaus is a small town, and maybe not urban, but where you live, the houses and yards are beautiful and modest, and old. The town is walkable and the community is sustainable, so I completely count you as "one of us. one of us."

General Slocum said...

When we moved out from Center City Philly with John being just over 2, we specifically didn't want any of the things that spring up outside of cities in the automobile civilization. We wanted to raise our family either rural/small town or city, but not whatever is in between. Sadly, Emmaus is surrounded by "in between." But it is a walkable functioning community with modest aspirations to overall size. Every town since the industrial revolution seems like it would have accepted abnormal growth if the money came with it, so the "failed" cities are now the more appealing to me.
And I am totally having a reaction against several of the Mommy Mafia groups here lately! I need to start a Dad's group, except that the fact of organizing is itself onerous, and almost anathema to my weltanschauung. (Tell Matt I put that word in a blog! Spell check doesn't even have a suggestion for me.) So I'll have to get off the fence about that. Nora's got a few years yet with me, so I may as well get it in gear.