Bullets, Mid-vacation Edition.

  • There are two sleeping people in this room.
  • I have days’ worth of Universal photos to upload and post when the internet is not so shitty.
  • My shoulders instantly remembered what they’re supposed to do with sun and turned bronze in a day. My [pink] face? Not so much.
  • I hate to go to chain restaurants when we travel and I spent at least an hour searching for off-the-beaten-path places to eat. Dinner last night? Hoagies from Wawa (which has branched out — understandably — to Clearwater where the Phillies have Spring Training and — inexplicably — to Orlando.) Best laid plans…
  • I could not bring myself to spend $5 on a plastic cup of Butterbeer at The Leaky Cauldron.
  • I easily brought myself to spend $22 on one small pack of Every Flavour Beans and one Chocolate Frog.
  • Our family pool game of Monkey-in-the-Middle was so awesome that a small group of teenagers asked to join in.
  • The pool, speaking of which, is amazing. Giant and warm with fountains, a wade-in entrance, and multiple depths.
  • Momentarily, there will be three sleeping people in this room.

Two Days.

We left cold and dreary PA for cool and sunny Florida. This is the past two days in photos. (Click on the airplane window photo to see them all bigger and with explanatory captions.)

Tomorrow: Orlando!

Recharged.

Despite never intending to have an overscheduled kid, this is where we seem to have landed. It’s not as intense or insane as it could be; we don’t generally find ourselves running from one thing to another in any given day, but we do have somewhere to get to every single day, including weekends. He’s only really got 2-3 “extra” activities during the week, but that’s all it takes for us to be constantly rushing, always trying to get somewhere on time, regularly setting deadlines for getting dressed and out of the house and in the car and on the way. And while yesterday was no exception in the morning (ballet begins at 11am and is a half hour away) the whole rest of the day was a free-for-all. It was just what we both needed.

guitar

After lunch (which itself was incredibly leisurely and enjoyed over several long games of giant-grid tic-tac-toe) we stopped into the music store where he played every piano, pored over sheet music, and strummed on this for a while.

reading

With nowhere to be, we were both free to lose ourselves in our respective books at Barnes & Noble. I found a Jodi Picoult novel and read a couple of chapters while he delighted in this illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

shoppingcart

The grocery store was the only “must-do” of the day and even that was made tolerable by the new Clever Crosswords for Kids book we picked up. Clues like, “a small drink” (three letters, begins with ‘s’) made it ideal for him to work on independently as I perused the aisles.

We didn’t make our way home until close to 6pm — nearly bedtime. Eight hours in and out of stores, in and out of the car, three meals, multiple conversations, several games of “I Spy” and lots of giggling. No deadlines. No timeline. He was full of the love for me by the time he was out of the shower and snuggled in, reading stories. These days can’t be every day, but it could be yesterday.

 

books

 

[Not] Bullets.

I’ll probably watch Celebrity Apprentice even though it’s hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger because Trump is running for president. That’s the craziest sentence I’ve written today. Granted, it’s only 7:34am and I haven’t written many (any?) other sentences today, but that’s probably going to be the craziest one I’ll write for a while.

I can’t believe Trump is running for president. Is this how people felt when Reagan ran for president? Maybe not. Reagan wasn’t as absurd. He was just an actor with some very conservative economic policies. At least he was decently easy on the eyes.

Photo Jan 25, 4 54 52 PM

I’d tattoo this whole photo on my body. That’s how much I love it.

The Who picked out a grammar error in his first grade homework the other day and I can’t decide if that makes me proud or worried. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

This is a bullet post without the bullets. A deviant.

I just discovered Merriam-Webster’s Word Central. It’s a kid’s dictionary. When you look something up on the regular M-W page, it gives a linked option to see the word defined for kids. This is the best thing I’ve ever seen (as it relates to dictionaries and words. You know.) It’s not a Children’s Dictionary, which we all know has been around for ages, an illustrated resource with words that kids use. Rather, it’s a dictionary with real, difficult words, made accessible for children. I am so happy this exists. And, just like in the grown-up M-W, there is a thesaurus option, but there’s also a “rhyming” option!

Screenshot 2016-01-29 07.42.09

My favorite word. This photo alone wins the internet today.

 

Plan. 

There are seven things I need to do  tomorrow. 

  1. Teach. (I keep forgetting that I have a class to teach tomorrow morning. The ultimate purpose of this list is to remind me to go to work tomorrow!)
  2. Trader Joe’s (along with the rest of the snow-fearing population. But I need eggs. And bread. I’m not even joking; there’s something to that bread-and-eggs-in-a-storm thing.)
  3. Gas. (Fill up before the storm. So I can stay parked in the driveway for two days.) 
  4. Make Dinner. (I’m going to try one of those Tasty video things. I am wooed by simple-looking recipes shown to me in a time-lapse format.) 
  5. Charge all the devices (Because what if the power goes out and I can’t play endless games of Candy Crush?)
  6. Pre-brew some coffee that can be heated on the gas stove. (No one needs two under caffeinated parents in the house all day.)
  7. Go to bed early.  

Luck.

While he finishes up in the shower, I ready his bedroom. Gathering discarded pieces of laundry, closing dresser drawers left open in haste, smoothing the blankets over the bed. I turn on the soft light and off the harsh overhead, plump the reading pillow on the floor and he turns the water off, slips his arms into his bathrobe, and joins me to pull on clean pajamas.

He leans deeply into the flannel-covered reading pillow, takes a long drag from his full, cold water bottle, and starts to read. From my spot up on the bed, I am close enough to smell the citrus and mint from his freshly washed hair, slicked back and tucked behind his ears. The sweet shimmer in his blue eyes, the fullness of his lips, the smooth curve of his cheeks almost takes my breath away.

I don’t know how to write about this without sounding like I am romanticizing our life. The truth is, of course, that the days are stressful, fraught with deadlines and arguments and struggles. Often, the evenings are, too. A shout from him that I’m shampooing too roughly. Or a nag from me that he’s taking too long to get his clothes off and his teeth flossed. But then there are the nights, pale light barely reaching the farthest corners of the room and I close my eyes, listening to him sound out words, make up voices for characters, giggle at lines meant for a seven-year-old’s sense of humor.

We are so fucking lucky. We did nothing to deserve this perfect moment and yet, here it is.

10931555_10204163776914904_6587453557841602732_n

This photo showed up on my feed this afternoon, reminding me that I have been thinking about this for years, always yearning to capture it in some way – to recognize the grace we’ve been given, hoping that marking it will sustain me through the moments when the light is harsh, the wind is fierce, and it’s all just trying to make it from one day to the next.

Survey.

I’ve been doing this one for 13 years, in its various incarnations. It’s stayed mostly the same, but it’s a little like a virtual game of telephone — changing in small, subtle ways. This year, I actually went back (in both Facebook and Livejournal) and found all the surveys I’d done since the first one in 2002. I linked them here mostly for my own benefit — in the name of preservation — but feel free to take a look if you’re curious.

Dropbox Files of Past Surveys

And now for this year’s:

2015

  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
    Kissed a dolphin.
  1. How did you spend New Year’s Eve, did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
    With great friends, really relaxed, having fun. It was the first year in a long time that I have been with a group of people at the strike of midnight; it’s not overrated. Last year, I resolved to be as kind to myself as I am to others. And to be kinder to others. I think I mostly succeeded. But I want to keep working on that. This week, we plan to make some personal and family goals for the year.
  2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    Not this year.
  3. Did anyone close to you die?
    Not this year.
  4. What countries did you visit?
    The Bahamas.
  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
    A job I really love with a decent salary.
  1. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    June 26th, the day gay marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court.
  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Renaming my business, launching the illustration arm of it, and opening an Etsy shop. It’s not a moneymaker, but it does give me a lot of joy and self-satisfaction.
  1. What was your biggest failure?
    I failed at finding a way for me to do meaningful and satisfying work while getting paid what my education, experience, and talent should be able to pull in.
  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    I didn’t, but The Who had his little bellybutton tucked in, which is really neither illness nor injury, but it was surgery.
  1. What was the best thing you bought?
    The piano.
  1. Whose behavior merited celebration?
    M*’s. I have said this on other years’ surveys (and not said it on still others.) But this year, there’s been a marked difference in the balance of good days vs. hard days and while I give credit to both The Who and to me also, it’s worth giving a special mention to m*.
  1. What situations appalled and depressed you?
    The more than 100 unarmed black people killed by police. And the fact that so many people in this country actually believe that a racist, misogynistic, dimwitted asshat would make a decent president.
  1. Where did most of your money go?
    Travel, basement renovation, new HVAC.
  1. What events did you get really excited about?
    July in Boston and the Spring Break cruise.
  1. What song will always remind you of 2015?
    “Hello” by Adele.
  1. Compared to this time last year, you are…
    — richer or poorer? Individually richer, thanks to the illustrating work. As a family, probably poorer as we pay off the home stuff. Non-monetarily, definitely richer.
    — happier or sadder? Happier for sure.
  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?
    Reading.
  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    Facebook and Candy Crush.
  1. How did you spend Christmas?
    We all spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning wondering what kind of virus The Who was suffering from debating a visit to urgent care. Ultimately, whatever it was seemed to miraculously disappear around the 24-hour mark and The Who and I spent Christmas day driving to Boston – the best driving trip so far for the two of us. Made it under 7 hours without incident.
  1. Did you fall in love in 2015?
    I kind of fell in love with our new synagogue.
  1. What were your favorite TV programs?
    Madame Secretary, Project Runway, Nashville, and my regular run of “trashy” reality: 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives, 90-Day Fiancée, Couples Therapy
  1. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    Every year I say that I don’t hate anyone, but this year, I hate Trump.
  1. What was the best book you read?
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  1. What was your greatest musical discovery or rediscovery?
    This year, I introduced The Who to the full “Thriller” video, which I hadn’t seen or heard in years.
  1. What did you want and get?
    A dedicated art space in an aesthetically pleasing basement. Also, a gel manicure set up, complete with the LCD light.
  1. What did you want and not get?
    Not to beat a dead horse, but again with the job.
  1. What were your favorite films of this year?
    Inside Out, Black Mass, and Trainwreck
  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    I turned 41 and I spent it leisurely hanging out at Bittersweet Kitchen in the morning and then going to see The Who and his classmates recite poetry at the kindergarten “Poetry Café.”
  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    A more comfortable couch.
  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
    No socks.
  1. What kept you sane?
    My writing group, my therapist, and my friends.
  1. What political issue stirred you the most?
    Gun control.
  1. Whom did you miss?
    I missed my grandmother a lot this year for some reason.
  1. Who was the best new person you met?
    Izzy and his family – even if they are Jets fans.
  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
    It gets better.