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.

Four-Legged Friends and Associates

This week’s photo challenge topic is companions and for me that means the four-legs in our household.  I’ve already posted a bizilion applicable photos (tags dogs or cats).  Okay, at least half a bizillion. So now, make it a bizillion plus six.

A decade ago, Bop and Luna were kittens and my son (now 6'2) was shorter than his twin sister (now 5'10").

A decade ago, Bop and Luna were kittens and my son (now 6’2) was shorter than his twin sister (now 5’10”).

Bop grew up to disdain other four-legs, with one exception. She enjoyed our rabbit Cookie, a bold and aggressive rescue bunny. Bop loved to hang out in Cookie's cage. An extreme sport. Cookie would have killed anybody (not an exaggeration) she caught in her cage.

Bop grew up to disdain other animals, with one exception. She enjoyed our rabbit Cookie, a bold and aggressive rescue bunny. Bop loved to hang out in Cookie’s cage. An extreme sport: Cookie would have killed anybody (not an exaggeration) she caught in her cage.

Cookie liked living with cats. She learned all sorts of tricks that rabbits should never do, such as climbing fences. When we first got her she was indoors in a cage but soon had the run of the backyard. She chased the cats whenever she could. She chased the neighbors out of their backyard. Fortunately they found this charming. For all of that she was very affectionate.

Cookie liked living with cats. She learned all sorts of tricks that rabbits should never do, such as climbing fences. When we first got her she was indoors in a cage but soon had the run of the backyard. She chased the cats whenever she could. She chased the neighbors out of their backyard. (Fortunately they found this charming). For all of that she was very affectionate.

As a kitten, Luna appointed our two older cats as his parents. For the rest of her life, Boink (right) groomed and cuddled with Luna.

As a kitten, Luna (left) appointed our two older cats as his parents. For the rest of her life, Boink (right) groomed and cuddled with Luna daily.

Red, a gentle giant of a tomcat, became Luna's dad. They spent endless hours playfighting and exploring together.

Red, a gentle giant of a tomcat, became Luna’s dad. They spent endless hours playfighting and exploring together.

When Cookie the rabbit succumbed to lung cancer, we lost a special individual and my key excuse against getting a dog. Enter Shadow, who lets the kids mess with her.

When Cookie the rabbit succumbed to lung cancer, we lost a special individual and my key excuse against getting a dog. Enter Shadow, who lets the kids mess with her.

(Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting – Ghost Son

Attempted to snap this photo of my teen son during a Mom don’t take my picture phase. This phase lasted longer than most childhood phases, but in retrospect they were all quite fleeting.

For many years, whenever I aimed a camera at my daughter, her hand whipped up in front of the lens. My son recently pointed out that, had I saved all those shots, we would have a complete chronicle of the palm of her hand as it matured from elementary school to college.

Share dinner with me - okay. But don't take my picture!

Share dinner with me – okay. But don’t take my picture!

 

Typical photo of my daughter.

Typical photo of my daughter.

 

(Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge.)

Do Grown-Ups Get Bored?

Childhood was long ago but I clearly remember the pain and horror of boredom. Nothing to do, no one to play with, can’t go outside, and so forth.

I can’t remember the last time I was bored (except at certain work meetings or airports). Have I learned to embrace the moment and appreciate every day? Or have I dropped my expectations?

I no longer remember boredom but surely I must get bored. Tedious conversations and situations abound. I mean I drive in southern California, people. I must get bored but the boredom is no longer memorable.

Or maybe there’s a guilt component. I can’t be bored, I have too much to do.

Or maybe I remember childhood boredom because it was such a novelty. Maybe nowadays it is my status quo.

Maybe the boredom at work meetings is a key to understanding.  Maybe what underlies boredom are issues of choice and control. Surely I still stream boring movies, start boring books. But – ha and aha – nowadays I don’t have to finish them. And if the opening act is no good I can always go play with my phone  in the lobby.

I don’t seem to be coming to closure on this. How about for you? Are you more bored or less bored than you were 10 years ago? Than you were as a kid?