Not a puppy

Guard Teen planned to spend the Thanksgiving holidays complaining to her older sister about not bringing a rescue puppy home from her Texas flood cleanup. Instead of a puppy, Unemployed Artist brought home a boyfriend. He was so charming and good natured that Guard Teen forgot to torture her sibling.

I didn’t remind her either.

Thanksgiving movie night

After we stuff our faces with Thanksgiving linner or whatever it is that you call the meal you eat at 2 in the afternoon, we go to the movies. Last year, we watched Fantastic Beasts. This year, we nattered about DC vs Marvel before choosing to go see Ragnarok. I knew to expect silliness. I’ve seen What We Do in the Shadows. I wasn’t expecting the 80s neon. I knew it had Jeff Goldblum. I’d seen the pictures of his character. I wasn’t expecting him to be hilariously perfect. The entire movie was one long giggle, but the very best joke was Korg talking about killing vampires.

I like my dark and brooding comic book movies as much as the next person, but a comedy version is just as satisfying and frankly, much appreciated in this era of gloom. Since I expect Infinity War to be terminal for a Super or two, Ragnarok is a much needed breath of fresh air.

There were THREE trailers before the movie that made me happy. Technically, two made me grin ear to ear like a loon and the third had me waving my arms in the air to go with the smile. Please don’t suck, Last Jedi. I need the General’s last movie to be worthy of her. I am seriously jazzed about Black Panther. My mother asking me why I was waving my arms about a movie with vertical trailer parks did not dampen my enthusiasm for Ready Player One.

I love movies. I love them even more in the theater.

Ed tech

At some point, we need to accept that tech companies and Internet providers marketed technology to schools like television show drug dealers. Schools were gifted one year of devices that become obsolete in four years and/or two years of Internet access. Using online textbooks and resources, multimedia assignments, online testing and online grading weren’t just encouraged, they were part of the “free” devices and limited data accounts for schools. Once teachers had begrudging moved all of their lessons to tech, that tech and the data to be online became budget items that schools and parent groups must find ways to fund.

Of course, you can move from the school with obsolete tech and spotty Internet to the data company owned charter school with shiny new everything if you just lobby your legislators to take more money from the already unfunded public school.

Try it. You’ll like it. They’ll get rich and you’ll be an even better cog in their machines.

We’re going to miss creativity and innovation.

Thanksgiving “prep”

I’m going to get up in the morning at a time when nocturnal people should be in bed. I’m going to get food started and go back to bed. Nobody, especially the husband, had better wake me with the sound of rip saws, power screwdrivers, wires being snaked in drywall, fuse boxes slamming or screams of pain. Additionally, I do not want to smell wood cutting, metal melting or wet paint. Acceptable sounds are laughter and music. Acceptable smells are coffee, food and the dryer softener on my bedding.

thank you, villagers

I joke about my disinterest in sports, but I really do feel bad that neither the husband nor I can help the youngest child with his basketball skills. Today, not one, but two different adults in two different locations witnessed his basketball play and stepped up to gently teach him. You both made my mascara smeary. Thank you. Thank you for taking time out of your day to help someone else. Thank you for being kind. Thank you for making my child happy. You make our community a better place.

Hell is other drivers

I like driving. I don’t like other drivers. It’s the main reason I disagree with the girl teen’s insistence that I be the person who gives her driving lessons. “Don’t trust any other driver on the road. They’re likely to do anything at any time.” I don’t want her to have my hangups with driving. I also know that it’s entirely possible that another car will suddenly be driving toward you, in your lane, on the Interstate or an exit ramp or a fast food drive-thru. A car might pass and cut you off while you are turning in an intersection. The car in front of you might suddenly turn 90 degrees and drive straight into a tree line. A driver might park their car in the bank drive-thru line and walk into the bank. Those are just the experiences that I remember most vividly. I’m not even counting the four way stop on Morrell that the drivers from one direction treat as always their right of way.

It doesn’t help that the five to six hours a day that I spend in the car driving children to and from their activities includes afternoon rush hour. Every day that I do that, I know my odds of being in an accident rise significantly. My stress habits of locking my jaw and grinding my teeth have been joined by smashing my tongue to the roof of my mouth until it dries out and sticks there. I’ve tried endlessly sipping a beverage to break the new habit, but it creates an additional discomfort that doesn’t lend itself to waiting several hours to relieve.

With all this driving, you would think that end of the school day pickup would be the easiest part of my schedule. Everyone there wants to safely retrieve their children and get on to their child’s next activity. Right? Wrong. High school students can do advanced level math, speak multiple languages, keep up with the requirements for half a dozen classes, coordinate schedules for multiple clubs and teams, do 24/7 tech support for all the senior citizens in their family, work part-time jobs and take a billion selfies daily, but they can not look both ways before crossing a street. School pickup is constant vigilance of a stream of high school students weaving in and out of cars and walking into the street without looking while also dealing with other drivers. Those other drivers park their car at a street sign and refuse to move forward with the other cars in line. They drive past the line and wedge themselves into the front of the line. They block the center aisle that is for school buses and moving traffic. They idle their engines with the windows rolled down so their cigarette smoke can be shared by everyone. They take over a street lane going the opposite direction and block intersections. After school pickup is completely unnecessarily chaotic because hell is other drivers.

When I happily say that I have nowhere to be, I’m not excited because I’m staying home. I’m happy not to be driving. No amount of singing or dancing can compensate for the stress of other drivers.

Ingredients for happiness

1. Sing out loud

I have a voice made for silent movies, but I sing when I’m driving. I’m quieter when the children are in the car, but I still sing. I don’t stop singing at red lights. It makes no difference to me what I look like to other drivers. If I’m singing, I’m happy. The only thing better than singing out loud is when the family joins in on the song. Those moments are golden.

2. Dance a little or a lot

Dancing in the car is a head bop or shoulder wiggle, but my happiest dancing is when I’m washing dishes. Standing at the sink is the best time to dance like nobody’s watching, even if they are.

3. Cats and dogs

Never miss a chance to pet a dog. Laugh at dog noses poking out car windows. Accept the forced relaxation of a cat in your lap. Cats and dogs are pure happiness.

Find the things that make you happy. Seek them. Embrace them, make sure to check the ap psychology review to get to know yourself a little more.