I hereby beg your indulgence…

March 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm (architecture, books, Family, Magazines and newspapers)

…as I emerge from a weekend of intense immersion in Baby Love:

Efforts to feed Etta mashed bananas met with only moderate success (see above). Fun was had by all parties anyway.  Rolling over practice went better, with parents and grandmother cheering her on from the sidelines. (Video to follow, at some point.)

Okay. I’m done. Except for missing her powerfully, from the moment I left for the airport on Sunday.


As a result of this delightful interlude, I have fallen behind where adding content to this blog is concerned. No, I didn’t stop reading – I never stop reading – but the experience took on a fragmentary nature.  I need to get back on track, if only to keep myself grounded until I see my granddaughter again.

I have a confession to make: until Etta was born, I was often times impatient with people whose brains seemed to get mushy as soon as they became grandparents. But when I first took Etta Lin in my arms, I was astonished at the sudden uprush of feeling. I know now, as I should have known at the outset, that as long as you live, life will keep teaching you things. The lesson this time? It is difficult, if not impossible, to know in advance how you will feel about an event you’re experiencing for the first time.

Oddly enough, I find myself reflecting on Ebenezer Scrooge in The Christmas Carol. This powerful fable shows us that grace and enlightenment can come at any time in life. In Scrooge’s case, it arrived just barely in time. He became a sentimental lover of life in general, and of Tiny Tim in particular, and he didn’t care who knew it:

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.


This is the edition that I own and recommend. Published by W.W. Norton & Co.


Blog posts on the following are in the works:

In the meantime, I’d like to recommend several articles:

From The  New Yorker of February 14: Middlemarch and Me: What George Eliot Teaches Us, by Rebecca Mead. I so enjoyed reading about George Eliot’s life and work in Phyllis Rose’s Parallel Lives. At the time, I was reminded of the riches I’ve encountered in her novels: Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Daniel Deronda – and of course, Middlemarch. Now Mead’s marvelous piece has evoked in me a desire to revisit Eliot’s masterpiece.

From the March issue of The Atlantic, a magazine whose coverage of books and the arts remains superb, I learned of the publication of this landmark work on the architecture of Dankmar Adler (1844-1900) and Louis Sullivan (1856-1924).  

I’ve become interested in the buildings of Chicago since my son Ben took up residence there in 1997. I have another reason to be interested in Louis Sullivan. He was a principal designer of the Harold C. Bradley House in Madison, Wisconsin. Built in 1909, ownership of this domicile passed to the Sigma Phi Society in 1915. While attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Ben was a member of that fraternity and enjoyed the privilege of living in that gracious abode, along with his fraternity brothers, for nearly all of his time there as an undergraduate. Devastated by a  fire in 1972, the building was completely restored and 1976 became the first National Historical Landmark in Madison (a delightful city which I miss visiting).

The Bradley House in 1975

Benjamin Schwarz, author of this review, has this to say about Louis Sullivan:

Along with his protege and one-time chief draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright, he is universally hailed as the greatest architect to emerge from Chicago, the city that has produced America’s greatest architecture.

Also in this issue is a brief but eloquent piece by Schwarz on The Hare with Amber Eyes, a book that continues to haunt me.

Finally, in “Those Things with Feathers,” writer Mark Bowden chronicles his experience trying to raise guinea fowl in accordance with advice gleaned online. How does it turn out? Here’s the article’s subtitle: “The author’s guinea fowl defy the internet and stage a comeback.” Read it. Really! And  be sure to watch the accompanying video.


  1. Barbara said,

    That baby is pure perfection! How absolutely precious her little face is and I love her name too! Oh how I long for one of own….grandbaby, that is, not name. Ha!

    • Roberta Rood said,

      Thanks, Barbara; we’re pretty besotted with her!

  2. Carol said,

    What a beautiful baby! Enjoy every age!

    from another besotted grandma

    • Roberta Rood said,

      Thanks, Carol; I intend to!

  3. kathy d. said,

    From a purely objective point of view, that baby is really special–beautiful, alert.

    Why would a grandparent not be completely besotted with her? It would be absolutely, humanly impossible.

    So, enjoy her, put the blog aside even. You won’t have her at this stage for too long. Soon she’ll be running all over the place, curious about everything, doing, learning, experiencing. Another great stage, and then another.

    We’ll all keep; there is a lot to read out there. So, we are patient, and will keep our noses in our books.

    I know the separation anxiety. I had it with my nephew when he was little. I literally had heart ache for awhile after he and his family left town.

    But soon she’ll be able to talk to you on the phone; now, that is exciting, too. And maybe you can all do Skype.

    • Roberta Rood said,

      Once again, Kathy, thanks so much for your kind and empathetic remarks.

      And yes, heartache is exactly the right word for it…

  4. Elizabeth said,

    Awwww…. your granddaughter is beautiful!

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