What I Learned from The Dumb Book

Lydia’s been requesting fairy tales for her bedtime stories for quite some time now. One that we read tonight was called “The Dumb Book,” written by Hans Christian Andersen.

Andersen’s language has been much more dreamlike than the Grimms’, even when his subject matter is more down to earth, which is certainly the case here. “The Dumb Book” is really just about the death of a man that no one knew particularly well. The man had asked to be buried with his scrapbook of botanical samples. Each leaf or flower reminded him of an event or person from his life. Thumbing through it he would be overcome with emotion. But the reasons, the memories, were buried with him and the book. That’s all there is to it, just this snapshot of a lonely old man.

I tried to help Lydia understand the title and the story a little better. It’s pretty far off the mark of what she must have in mind when she asks for another fairy tale. “‘Dumb’ means ‘silent’ here,” I said, “it’s talking about how the book can’t really tell its story anymore now that the man is dead. He’s the only one who understood it.”

Of course from there my mind segued straight to this website, especially the older, more scrapbookish parts of it. Why do I do this thing? (Or not so much these days, evidently?)

“What a strange feeling it is–and we have doubtless all experienced it–that of turning over old letters of the days of our youth! a whole life seems to come up with them, with all its hopes and sorrows.”

I recently imported all my old entries from LiveJournal over here–half to establish a backup, half out of curiosity to see if it really would be as easy as the import tool suggested. Going through them all, I was once again reminded how valuable it is to connect with my past thoughts, and of how seldom I post anymore.

Now I’m thinking of Riley and photographs. The boy will do anything to avoid posing cooperatively for a photo. But he loves looking at old photos of himself, and maybe eventually that’ll be our way in: I point out that each of those photos only exists because I did take his picture at that moment, so could he please just not make a face for two seconds. (The jury’s still out.)

Update: Revisiting this post months later, I figured I’d just add to it. I’ve been churning up big changes on the whole site, while preparing to ramp up my web development career. Part of it is finding the right way to organize and separate the personal from the professional. But I’m finally able to justify spending some time and energy on it. I’m excited.

I try to maintain an absolute minimum of phone apps in general, and LJ’s android app has more bad reviews than good, but I’m giving it a chance. I’m hardly at the computer anymore, so making it easier to post from my phone should help me update more.


I’m off to run. Doing a 5k this weekend with Riley, that’ll be interesting. I hope he doesn’t manage to lose me in the crowd.


Hello LJ. I still love you, I’ve just been going through stuff and feeling even less inclined to post than usual. I’m still reading you almost daily.

I started an account on Tumblr, but I’m not sure where it’s going to go. I’m thinking I’ll use it for some very specific topic or other. It was kind of silly to start in the middle of a big posting ebb, but in my own mind at least, I’m on the brink of becoming more active again.

For now I’m off to cook grownup dinner. It’s a new menu: chicken turkey patty pita sandwiches with a cucumber mint yogurt sauce, and sesame eggplant on the side. First time cooking both recipes, but they both sounded pretty good.

House Hunting in Limbo

Well it’s been a bit of the same ol’ same ol’ here in BryceLand. My grip on sanity is lubricated daily by the nagging suspicion that sanity is overrated. Loneliness and misanthropy bicker with each other in the back seat of my brain, but I blare the stereo to drown them out. I’ve started several long posts about having been unhappy for a while, only to delete them as something I’m not going to want to remember in the future. Nice weather will help get me out of my slump, but suffice it to say that I do need to unslump myself.

I’m still scanning for work, but not hyper-aggressively because we’re not sure where we’ll be living half a year from now. Laura has applied for a job at UNC in Chapel Hill (two, actually, but they chose an internal candidate for the first one), so there’s a chance we’ll be back in the Triangle next fall. Which would suit me fine. (Update: it’s looking less likely now, but is still a possibility. We could have an answer in less than a week, thank goodness.)

Even if we stay in the Atlanta area, we’re still looking at a move this summer, to a more central suburb. We’ve been house shopping in preparation for this outcome. I think soon we’re going to put an offer on one of the houses we saw last weekend. Laura’s in love with it, which I hope we can keep under wraps. The house would be fine for our needs right away, and is also probably the easiest to add on to among the ones we saw. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t even have to make the kids share a bedroom — although they’ve been loving that arrangement ever since we decided to try it out.

I’ve also been meaning to write something about the TMBG shows I saw two weeks ago, but this post isn’t the place. I would have done it already, but I couldn’t get past the unwritten whiny post. Funny how my LJ can get stuck like that.

Userpic meme

Baaaa. Got this from , whom I solicited to ask me about a handful of my userpics. The meme text says:
If you comment here, I’ll choose five of your icons to ask you about. (Or, if you have fewer than five icons, I’ll just choose one.) Then you do might a post explaining the significance of those icons.

But you can also comment here if you just want to ask about another of my icons but don’t want to do the meme. I’ll add it to the list below.

More than you really want to know about my icons.