I do not have memories of playing Scrabble Jr. But I do remember my mother playing regular Scrabble with me. We played it a lot. So often that I can viscerally remember the feeling of balancing the box as I retrieved it from the top kitchen shelf where we stored it and the smell of the yellowed pages of our paperback Scrabe dictionary.
She didn’t let me win.
Well, I mean, I’m sure she made choices sometimes that weren’t in her own very best game-winning interests, but I recall many times flipping the board or dissolving into tears as I was overpowered time and again by her word-building prowess.
But she did teach me. “See what I did there?” she’d say after laying down a crafty set of tiles. And then she explained her tactic. Sometimes I was more receptive than others. “Do you want to show me your letters?” she sometimes asked. And if I did, she would help me find a place for a word on my rack.
She beat me most of the time. But not every single time. Because I know (and so did she) that if I never won, I’d stop trying. And I didn’t. We played well into my teens and still, though it’s exceedingly rare, if we can find an hour or so, we’ll pull out the board. And sometimes I beat her. (But I don’t think she is letting me win anymore.)
This happened today. For the first time.
The Who kept score, adding both in his head and on his fingers. I didn’t play my very best game and I helped him find words a few times, but he did most of it on his own. I can tell I will be having to try my hardest sooner rather than later.
After a scant 6 hours of sleep, a hurried morning, an 8:30am parent-teacher conference, hours of grading, hours of child/baby entertaining, chauffeuring to piano lessons, picking up essentials at the grocery store, washing dishes, feeding the kid, and then slicing/breading/frying an eggplant, all I wanted was to sit and eat dinner. And then I realized that I had no sauce. So I left the eggplant parm assembly right in the middle, turned off the pasta water, and cried. I really did.
But then I watched a clip of Kevin Spacey and Jimmy Fallon doing startlingly accurate impressions of celebrities and I got a sweet text from a friend and maybe — I mean, I don’t know — but maybe I can muster the energy to run *back* to the store for sauce.
Or maybe I will order a pizza.
I would never choose an oatmeal raisin cookie over any other type (except something with white chocolate in it. Because white chocolate is complete bullshit.) but tonight, I made three dozen oatmeal raisin cookies for the teachers at The Who’s school. Our PTG makes dinner for the teachers on the first night of parent-teacher conferences and I signed up for cookies. We let The Who’s teacher choose the type because she “is the teacher of the cookie-maker.”
I’ve never made an oatmeal raisin cookie. And I think perhaps I have never had a good one. Because, yes. I think I prefer these cookies that I made tonight over any other type of cookie I have ever had. Which is saying a lot, right? Because there are a lot of tasty cookies in the world. Dunkin Donuts’ peanut butter cup cookie comes to mind, of all things. But the thing is–it’s not so much about taste as it is about overall enjoyment. And this cookie…well, it was tasty, crisp on the edges, not crazy sweet, and didn’t make me feel sick. Win, win, win.
I can’t believe I just spent two full paragraphs on oatmeal raisin cookies. Alas…
Sometimes I find it very hard to put down the phone and go to sleep. Even when I am exhausted. Even when there is nothing left for me to read. I refresh email and refresh Facebook and refresh Instagram and there’s nothing there. Not even one of those bible verses that the Duggar girls seem to love to post. Not even a clickbait Banoosh or Newslinq video. Nothing from one refresh to the next. And yet, taking off my glasses, plugging in the phone to charge, and turning off the light seems too final.
I’m seeking something. I must be, right? What are we all seeking when we mindlessly refresh? Am I looking for connection? Is the notion of being alone with my thoughts as I drift off to sleep just too much some nights? Because it’s not every night. Sometimes it’s very easy to roll over and tuck the pillow under my cheek and close my eyes. Some nights I can’t wait to climb in between the flannel and stretch out my legs. But then there are all the other nights…
I sure do hope I find what I am looking for.
Surviving a snow day is 99% impassivity and 1% irascibility.
It’s after 1pm, so the longest haul is behind us. Snow days, while completely delightful for The Who, are pretty much torture for me. I don’t enjoy staying inside all day, especially when I am forced to. There’s nothing charming about this snow (I mean, ok, it is the prettiest snowfall we have had this winter) and I don’t own any waterproof garments, so there’ll be no going outside in it. I can’t say I even know where The Who’s snowpants are, so sending him out alone into the yard to wander around like only an only child does isn’t going to happen either. He’s currently building a “bridge” out of pillows and blankets and boxed board games. I always thought that that thing about how onlies learn to occupy themselves was a load of crap; my kid needs an audience. But as it turns out, necessity is the father of invention (What? Is that a thing? Did I make that up?) and he’s actually pretty damn good at making the hours tick by. He played some piano. We made oobleck. There was lunch in there somewhere. (He still talks to us the whole time he’s playing “alone,” though. “Mommy? Pretend this is the busiest New York City bridge and, like, there are so many cars and trucks going across and pretend there is a cop on one side and pretend the bridge has a light on one side and all the people have to go across. Pretend that, Mommy, ok Mommy?” I’m glad he’s talking to Mommy and not me. I’m not gonna lie.)
Snow days make me think of being a kid. The sound of a midnight plow on a snow-muffled street. The celebratory sibling dance upon finding out that school was called off. It’s Throwback Thursday already, but every snow day is a throwback for me.Here are mine; I’m channeling spring and summer.
I believe it’s time for some bullets, yes?
- I am no longer sick and coffee is just as good as I remember it. Maybe better.
- I’m going gray. You heard it here first. (Or, in some cases, second.) It feels like a revolutionary decision — to be in my early 40s and to stop coloring my hair, which has only ever been brown, dark brown, or burgundy. Maybe I will have more to say about it as the growing-out process continues. Or maybe not. Some women are the first in their family to go to college. I, near as I can tell, am the first woman in my family to stop coloring her hair for any reason other than dementia.
- I’ve been thinking about risk-taking behavior lately. And I don’t mean, like, bungee jumping or mountain climbing. I mean small choices with potentially big implications. Going to bed without brushing. Sending a text at a red light. Skipping doctor visits. I never thought that I was a risk-taker or terribly self-destructive. I wear my seat belt. I stay within 10 mph of the speed limit. I don’t do drugs and I rarely drink more than a glass of wine. But recently, a couple of things have been pointed out to me and I’m wondering if some of my choices are fueled by a feeling of invincibility, a desire to tempt fate, or a belief that my life isn’t as precious or important as it actually is. I asked some friends to tell me their risk-taking behavior and some did, but I don’t think I got 100% honesty. Either that or everyone really is way better at caring for themselves than I am.
- The Who told me yesterday that my bed was “the coziest bed ever” and it’s funny because I had just been thinking the opposite. It’s too firm and the mattress-topper keeps shifting and annoying me. I do, however, have the coziest blankets ever. So, there’s that.
- I love rubrics.
- I never cease to be delighted by The Who in ballet attire.