Dearest Blog, I Once Was Cool!

Dearest Blog,

I have neglected you of recent. Although I miss you, I cannot say why I’ve gone silent nor when it will end.

It was no fun to contemplate life without this big doofus.

Certainly, I have my reasons. First, I went away for a week of family reunions. By the time I got home, my special buddy, the enormous former kitten Leo, had gone missing, and the next 2.5 days I was in a terrible funk until I found him.

Next, I came down with a cold. It’s on the wane, thanks for asking. I’ve also found myself low on energy vis a vis the government shutdown. My day job paycheck is on furlough as I am a “non-essential” employee; and although it looks like eventually the lost pay will return to me, I don’t know when or how much. The cold and my furlough ennui are probably related. (My very personal response to this week’s Writing Challenge.)

Besides which, I found a tick! On me! Eeeewwww. Which led to hours with medicos, and an antiviral shot.

Meanwhile, I’ve been immersed in my first sit-down re-read of my newly completed fantasy-mystery novel FRAMES. At this stage, I don’t allow myself to make changes, I try to keep a more global perspective and  make notes in margins about what needs to change. The goal is to read the whole book in as few sittings as possible.

Also meanwhile, I confess I’ve been struggling to limit the amount of time I spend reading Pete Townshend’s memoir: it’s kept me hooked through 400 pages so far.

More for the Strange World files. Now the visionary rebel Fela has become a Broadway musical.

More for the Strange World files. Now the visionary rebel Fela has become a Broadway musical.

Then, yesterday, when I thought I would finish my re-reading and reading, instead I got sucked into my son’s impromptu project to organize my record collection. He has recently laid long-term claim to my albums, but sought help organizing them. Alphabetical has never worked for me when it comes to browsing. So we spent many hours sorting into initial piles like R-&-B-rock-intersection or New-York-junkie-music. Some of the sorting stymied me. I mean where do you put Ike & Tina Turner? Sun Ra? Richard Thompson? Should the Blasters LPs stand alongside X because of historical context and abiding friendship, or next to David Lindley, another lover of roots guitar? Guess that’s how alphabetical listings got started…

It was great fun to give my son a few albums immediately. Turns out the 20 y.o.s are getting back into Joy Division, and I still don’t like ’em, so now my son is the proud owner of their first LP. (Mint condition, unlike the LPs I did like.) At one point I was rewarded when he said with bemusement, “Mom, it’s hard to say this but you used to be really cool.” Which reminded me of how I came to write SCAR JEWELRY.

Creepy-Sweet

A few millennia ago, by internet time – that is, earlier this year – there was social media hoopla about a great Reddit poll which collected the creepiest sayings of kids. I suppose every parent has contributions to that list. I know I do!

When my son was oh, I dunno, maybe 4, he went through a phase of making ridiculous demands early Saturday morning.  Sure enough, early one weekend morning as I tried to catch up on maybe 4 years of sleep, he wanted something. I don’t remember what, exactly. Perhaps that was the week he wanted to climb out his window and sit on the second story roof. Anyway, I said no, as I did each time, and he threw a tantrum, as he did each time. He went back to his room to fuss.

Laying there, pretending I would fall asleep again, I realized the house had grown quiet. This was so unusual I had to worry. I called softly to my son. Maybe he had fallen asleep?!? Nope.

“What, Mom?” he replied. The mystery deepened. He sounded downright cheerful.

“Everything okay in there?”

“Yeah.”

“Huh. Good. Whatcha’ doin’?”

“Oh, I was just thinking about a bear eating you.”

Discipline is always more difficult when they make you laugh.

**************

When my twins were young, I would occasionally suggest that when they went off to college I would come with them so we could stay together. They thought this was a great idea until they hit about 10. After that, there were a couple years when they reacted guardedly, unsure whether I was kidding. After that, they reacted like teenagers.

Back when they wanted us to stay together, my son developed a long-term plan that he shared with gusto. When he was grown, he would build a house behind his own house, and that would be the house where I lived. Then, after I died, he would bury me in the walls so that I could stay there forever.

He has always been a thoughtful person.

**************

Surprised to say, I can’t recall any creepy sayings from my daughter.  However, I will never forget – and am eternally uplifted – by one thing she said to me. She was 3 or 4 at the time: “If ever you fall low I will raise you up.”

And that has proved true ever since.

My Birthday Week (I’m Milking It!)

If I must acknowledge getting older, then I prefer to have my birthday celebration spread out over days. This year I’ve got a birthday week – and if I count the concert with a friend in November, I’ve got a birthday season!

Hiking at dawn! It has been too long.

Hiking at dawn. It has been too long.

Highlights this year are two dawn hikes (my first hikes with my new hip), a trip to the beach, and dinner at a favorite restaurant. My kids also gave me a book of dustbowl-era political and social photographs:

My kids got me this book.

Looks like an interesting book and its photos are unforgettable.

It’s an awesome book but what really makes it special is the thoughtfulness with which they chose it. (They figured it fit with my love of Woody Guthrie and my recent interest in traditional bluegrass.)

At last, hiking again!

Most Tactful 4-Year-Old. In the World.

On my evening walk, I passed a mom and her young daughter headed the opposite way.

“Mom, it’s oKAY!” The girl waves her arms and bounces as they walk.

“No, it was not okay that you did that.” The mom hunches forward, pushing an infant in a stroller.

“It was okay.” With no uncertainty.

“No, I really didn’t like it when you – did that.” Mom edits for my benefit. Her lips press together. She is not pleased.

“I wish,” the girl begins. By now they are past me and her voice carries back to where I have stopped walking, the better to eavesdrop.  She continues slowly, as though choosing her words, “that I had a mom like you except somebody who didn’t care that I did that.”

I decided against openly stalking them, so missed the mom’s reply.

Why Go To College?

I’ve always loved school, as I recently posted. My college days were a fantastic, ne’er-dupulicated experience: I got exposed to new ideas, unimagined worlds; I had tons of fun and many of my college friendships have persisted for decades. I ended up with a double major and two minors but I remember so few of my classes.  What mattered was Everything Else.

I wanted my kids to have a similar experience. But their generation has a different mindset. To them, college is an early bullet point in your career plan. You narrow your career choices and then choose a major accordingly. You get in, you get out, you move on.

Gak.

Ironic, isn’t it. They’ve got a parent who wouldn’t freak if they kept switching majors, waffling and wandering their way through college. (Might have to pull the plug financially, but that’s a separate issue.)  They’ll apparently never enjoy that asset.

This post responds to today’s Daily Prompt.

Mom. Seriously. Are You *Crying*?

This week my twins turned 20! Here they are in the last few hours of their teen years. They actually let me take a picture. Best 20 years of my life, even during the worst moments of my life, because these two have been in them!

Last known photo as teenagers.

Last known photo as teenagers.

Here they are on their first birthday. The chicken wing thing was common when they first learned to walk.

Age 1 year. It was 100 degrees that day.

Age 1 year. It was 100 degrees that day.

Age 1 year.

Age 1 year.

(This Daily Prompt wanted to hear about the last time that beauty brought me to tears…)

My Fresh Son

This week’s Photo Challenge wants to see fresh, which it defines as a state (new, recent, previously unknown) and a taste or sensation (cool, sweet, invigorating, refreshing). There is an additional state of fresh and when the dictionarists adds it, they are welcome to illustrate the concept with a photo of my son.

New guitar picks have many applications.

New guitar picks have many applications.

Events-378

Exerting self-control during a visit to Grandma and Grandpa.