much to say

“It’s too bad this isn’t a three day weekend like last weekend. I wish every weekend was three days. You know my friend E? The one who has a pool? Well, it isn’t his pool. It’s his neighborhood pool. I like that pool. E made up a new word. It’s peenana. I bet you can’t guess what that is. How come Amy got new shoes when my feet are bigger than hers? Can you bring me new shoes so I don’t hafta go to the store? But no new pants. Pants are boring. Hey! I love this song! You need to stop talking so I can sing it.”

Everyday horrors

How to make children run away screaming while their arms swat at invisible bees:

1. Walk toward child slowly with one arm reaching toward the child.
2. Say, “I accidentally got too much lotion.”

May I have your autograph?

Starving Artist’s senior yearbook was mailed to Knoxville instead of her apartment in the Bronx.

“Want me to mail it to you?”
“Nah. I’ll get it at Christmas.”
“Can I open it?”
“Can I have fun with it?”
“Do whatever you want.”

I’m not going to look it up on Pinterest, but other than tormenting people at reunions, there’s not much you can do with a yearbook other than get it signed. I’m certain she knew I was going to get people to sign it.

Sarah's yearbookEven more yearbook

Family signed her yearbook. Knox County Schools’ staff members signed the book. Local media personalities added signatures to the yearbook. Elected officials have signatures in the book. Elected officials‘ families signed the yearbook.

More Sarah's yearbookMore yearbook

If you didn’t get to sign Starving Artist’s yearbook, join us at her Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 22nd at Lincoln Center at 4:30 pm. If you’re in a hurry to sign it, she works at 92Y. I wouldn’t be a mom if I didn’t write that you should contact her directly with job offers. She’s quite awesome.

I used to work in the non-profit world. It’s not difficult to get important people to attend events if they are running for office or looking for publicity. When you ask someone you don’t know to do something completely silly and they cheerfully do so with no expectation of anything in return, that speaks to their true nature. Underneath political categories and public persona, there are real people instead of one dimensional caricatures. Real people who do kind things for oddballs, like signing a senior yearbook for a stranger’s child.

Insomniac theater

When everyone in the house except me is asleep and I’m too exhausted to get up and do anything, but have too many mental tabs open to sleep, I seek out a movie to watch. Since I’m a movie fan instead of a movie critic, my bar for insomniac theater movie selection is pretty low. It can’t be horror or a documentary. Those infect dreams. What works best is fluff. Fluff is what I found last week in the single digit hours of the morning when I watched Divergent.

I had a pretty good idea what Divergent was when I chose it. It’s been on endcaps and tables in the bookstore for years. I troll the young adult section for books that my children might enjoy and sequels to their favorite series. I’ve mentioned before that I read the books my children are assigned to read so that we can talk about them together. It’s also a good excuse to sit around reading a book instead of folding laundry. When SuperTween was assigned to read “The Giver,” I went ahead and read the entire series because, young adult books are fun to read. You zip through them in less than a day and they’re a lot more interesting than sappy romance novels.

So, knowing how popular young adult books are with people of all ages, why do the movie versions of those books look like they are being filmed to create a new Lifetime channel for young people? I’m not saying Divergent is a bad movie. It isn’t. I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed “John Dies at the End.” That is a bad movie, but it’s hilarious. It is not, however, a good insomniac theater choice. What I’m saying is that Divergent could have been so much better.

We are cranking out comic book movies that are spectacular. Why not put that effort in YA movies? Don’t directors and actors want high quality entertainment for their own children? Some of the Divergent cast members who were supposed to be teens were clearly closer to 30 than 20. They must have families. The huge fight scenes and deaths with hardly any blood defeat the purpose of what authors are trying to convey. Except for the trains, it feels like the entire filming took place in a single warehouse. Everything is muted and dull as though it was filtered through toast to take out the energy and vibrance. Even the actors seem bored. Commit to the adult part of the young adult and make something they will want to see. They deserve better.

cold snap

In preparation for the three days of actual winter that begin this evening, I stocked up on food for the dogs, cats and snake. Everyone has new books to read and all of the blankets are clean. I shouldn’t need to leave the house until it is warm again.

What? I forgot food for people? Gah.

uncool reader

The bookstore clerk pulled my selection from the pile of books we were purchasing. He *waved it in front of RenTeen.

Clerk: “This one’s not YOURS, is it?”
RenTeen: “No way. The Pratchett is mine.”

I will be shame reading my new and embarrassing book in the bathtub where nobody can see me reading it. I will also be purchasing my next book from Amazon. They don’t mock my choices.

*The clerk could have asked me what I enjoyed reading last year and told me what would be a better choice than the book I chose based on the cover quotes.

How RenTeen saved Christmas

Because I wandered aimlessly from chore to chore yesterday, the tree takedown took the entire day. I removed the ornaments and wandered off to load the dishwasher. I pulled the light strings down and sat down to fold a few baskets of laundry. I separated the tree sections and went to organize the kitchen pantry.

Despite the slow motion de-Christmasing, not one child complained. For the first time ever, nobody said, “Awww.” It seemed as though everyone had outgrown the silliness that is a plastic tree covered in lights and homemade decorations. Perhaps it’s time to skip the tree and fill the bay window with presents. Maybe the children are all too mature for packages and would prefer travel instead.

As I pondered holiday destinations, RenTeen suddenly realized the tree was no more.

“Hey! What happened to the tree? Why did you take it down?”

Santa is for babies

Last year, it was clear that Evan was wise to the Santa game, but he didn’t say anything too obvious. Maybe he was hedging his bets just in case. All of his older siblings reached an age where they went from believing to playing along without any acknowledgement of the change. This year, Evan is making sure everyone knows he is on to this socially acceptable lie.

“Santa is for babies.”
“I’m writing Santa on this note, but giving it to you, because it’s really you.”
“Do parents keep naughty and nice lists?”
“I know that’s a man in a costume.”

I know a lot of people who claimed they would never tell the Santa fib because they believed it would make their children stop believing all adults. Evan doesn’t seem to mind the collective conspiracy to deceive children. He seems extremely proud that he is too old and wise to believe baby stories.

Of course we’ve talked about the acts of kindness and compassion that Santa represents. Evan’s not really interested in the philosophy of Santa. He wants to be big. I’m happy with his understanding of the situation.

It’s the “big” part that makes me feel a bit misty eyed.