Year: 2012 (page 1 of 14)

Right Now

Two of my Kids are reading Jane Austen (one P&P and the other Persuasion) in the sunspot in the family room. I grin in silent giddiness.

(The other two are playing Draw Something on my phone and Husband’s phone. Against each other. Heaven forbid they just get out a piece of paper and DRAW SOMETHING.)

Do you ever think?

I know you do. I meant, do you ever think you could do something amazing? Like… do you ever think you could, with your very own small life, write a memoir that someone would READ? Do you ever think that — years from now, when you’re gone — someone will think of you? Do you ever think that right this second, someone out there is thinking only about you? Do you ever think you really, really matter? Well, amigos, I hope you do. Because it’s true.

You matter. I matter. The guy over there shoveling a sidewalk (while the snow is still falling) matters, and what he’s doing — even if it looks needless and futile and ridiculous — that matters, too. The people who write internet comedy that keeps my kids up too late, falling over each others’ laps laughing? Those people matter to me. The girl who sent a fan letter this week? She matters. And so many more people. every day.

So that’s what my Big Plan is for 2013. (I resist the idea of resolutions. I’m irresolute by nature, you see. so I have to get around it all in my own way.) But my Big Plan is to say it out loud — to tell someone, every day, that what they’ve done, that who they are, matters to me. In person. Virtually. In a letter or a note or out loud. People I know, strangers, people who change me.

Want to join me? (It can only end well, you know.)

Things I Did Not Do While Substituting This Week

1. Write. Yeah, nothing.

2. Publicly mock. I threatened to, but it never happened. (As in, Dear Beginning Drama Classes, When you read your parts in these plays, don’t be lame. If you are lame, we will publicly mock you.)

3. Totally humiliate my Kid 1. Oh, wait. Yes. I did. Over and over, apparently. She survived and will continue to soldier on. It’s who she is.

4. Knock heads together. Tempting, but I managed not to do it.

5. Cry tears when the principal came in and sat through 30 minutes of my AP English lecture. (The kids were worried about me, so they stepped way up with the discussion and the commenting. They rule. Turns out he was just making sure we were all right, and our AP essay discussion was so ENGAGING he couldn’t walk away.)

6. Christmas shop in person. But I did a little online (not while I was ACTUALLY substituting) and I hereby declare my love (again and always) for buying gifts on Amazon. Te adoro, Amazon. Je t’aime. Ich liebe dich. I luuuuuurve you. And so on.

7. Very much laundry, cooking, housekeeping, or pre-Christmas deep cleaning. But nobody went actually hungry, and each of us wore clean(ish) clothes every day, so… WIN. Also, we had turkey dinner on Sunday. Win again.

8. Prepare for Kid 4’s ninth birthday, which is today. Yesterday afternoon, I asked him, “Hey, do you want a birthday cake?” and he shrugged and said, “Not if it’s inconvenient for you.” Then I kissed his face and made him Tres Leches, because it’s his favorite. And I love him. And Tres Leches cake. But mostly him. His oldest sister took him on a breakfast date this morning, because she has to work for the next 12 hours, and he’s as happy as boys get, I think.

9. Christmas cards / letters / photos / neighbor gifts. Can I beg off this year? Is that allowed?

10. Lose pounds. Some busy weeks I manage it. Not this time. Turns out standing in the same room all day and panicking doesn’t burn as many calories as I manage to eat. Alas.

What did you not do this week?

To Be Nervous, or Not To Be Nervous…

That is the question, people.

Tomorrow I begin my first long-term subbing job. Will it be awesome? It will. Why?  Wait for it: It’s teaching AP English and Drama.

Guys. *Snort* THEY’RE PAYING ME FOR THIS!

I get to direct plays. And teach Shakespeare (along with other poetry, which can be amazing or terrifying, you know). And do grades and attendance. And coach monologue delivery. And park in the teacher lot. And hang out with my Kid 1 in 3 of her 8 classes. (She hasn’t decided just how much to love this yet. Ask her in a week.)

And mostly I’m not nervous at all, because I got to choose the Shakespeare play we will read, and I chose Hamlet, natch, because it’s my favorite. (Ophelia! Show me your broken heart right here, out loud. And then break mine, just for good measure! Polonius! You’re completely full of it, and when you’re right, it was almost certainly an accident! Rosencrantz! Gildenstern! I want to marry you both so I can have your names! Yorrick! Alas! Like that.)

So I think, I choose Not To Be (Nervous) and just enjoy the ride for the next six weeks.

What kind of choosing are you doing these days?

My poor kids.

So the Boy (he’s 8 — for 3 more weeks) is the only one in this house (well, besides me, on occasion) who has had a Real Haircut in the past decade. He had a trim (with a Free Haircut coupon) at the beginning of September. So, for the past week, I may have *possibly* nagged him a little about his copious neck hair. I’m telling you what, the boy can grow neck hair. So he finally agreed to let me cut his hairs tonight. Which I did.

Into a mullet.

Classic mullet, ala Batesville High School circa 1989. Except no perm in the back. Only mousse to shaggy it up. It was lovely. Truly.

The mullet, which was achieved by using a #3 blade cover in the center section of the back of his head, lasted as long as it took him to show his sisters, who were not as amused as I was by the whole thing. Husband considered taking a photo for posterity, but in his words, “let’s not encourage this.” I think he meant *me*.

Let me assure you that I understand I should not use my kids as a canvas for my own amusement.

I do understand this. But I do it anyway. Because they’re such GOOD canvasses.

So let it be done.

We have a winner…

Randomness has occurred, my friends. Things are happening. I’m telling you what. Sian, congratulations. You win REACHED for your very own (or to arm-wrestle over with your girls, apparently).

More randomness. Ready?

Thanksgiving is this week. I’m bringing mashed potatoes (with cream cheese, of course) and pie (ditto) and rolls. Bring on the white starches. What are you bringing?

Did you see the Steelers’ jerseys tonight? Because, um. Wow. They look like prisoners. Bumblebees. Something weird, I guess. My friend Matt said “Pitts-burglars” and I remembered why I’ve adored him for like 20+ years. Because he’s cleverer than I, and I love people who are cleverer than I.

What should I get my senior in HS for Christmas? She wants grown-up stuff, the kind that prepare a kid for college, and I want to go more along the lines of Little Tykes toys and board books. Know what I’m saying?

Today

This morning at 7:00 a.m. it was nine degrees warmer than yesterday at that time. That is to say, it was nine degrees. This is inspiring in the manner that hiding under covers and not coming up for air until March (or May) is an act of inspiration.

If you live somewhere where it’s still acting like fall, or summer, or spring, I want you to know that I’m not jealous. I’m FINE. And I’m warm here inside my house with my heater pad and my furnace blowing and my fireplace a switch-flip away. So don’t worry about me. Even if you don’t see me step out of my house for eight months. Or so.

Okay, only kidding. Tonight I’m leaving the house! Really! I’m going to Salt Lake City to Ally Condie’s book launch for REACHED, the book we’ve been waiting for around here for A LONG TIME (a year, people — a whole year). The party is hosted by The King’s English, but located at Rowland Hall (843 Lincoln Street, which is close to 900 south and 900 east) because Miss Ally’s parties are TOO BIG FOR THE BOOKSTORE. Because, Ally herself is a remarkable woman, and her books are fantastic (which you probably don’t need me to tell you if you’ve read them, or the NY Times, or the Wall Street Journal, or Publishers’ Weekly, or any manner of reviews that say “Yes, MATCHED and CROSSED and REACHED are wonderful, lyrical, beautiful, heart-wrenching, adventurous, intelligent, mind-bending masterpieces.” [I’m paraphrasing]).

Hey, here’s a big idea. How about you can win a copy of REACHED? I’ll buy an extra one tonight and have Ally sign it for one of you. She has lovely, legible penmanship, which is a bonus in a signed book, don’t you know. Leave me a comment here, and you’re in for the drawing of the century! (Okay, that was a little dramatic. Sorry.) But it might help you get started on that Christmas book shopping thing, which I can’t quite bring myself to get into just yet… So, in order to win a brand-spanking-new copy of REACHED, just live in the US or Canada and leave me a comment. I’ll draw on Friday, how ’bout that? And if you win, you’ll be glad. (You’ll probably want to hustle out and read MATCHED and CROSSED before I get this to you.)

Things.

1. It SNEW. White and puffery gorgeousness is all around here. Maybe I’ll take a picture or something. Or you can just imagine it. Many inches of loveliness. Here’s why I find it so lovely: I get to stay inside today.

2. Hot chocolate. On the stove. I made it myself. From INGREDIENTS. You know.

3. Story ideas. I love them. I love these lazy “I don’t have to get up” mornings, when the ideas can just mush around inside my brain. In that not-quite-awake, mushy petrie dish of mine.

4. Kid 3, reading on her Kindle by the fire this morning, said, “Well, I think I’m going to go out and shovel. See ya.” Hence the hot chocolate. Isn’t she my favorite child today? (Yes. Yes she is.)

5. Snow is still falling. I like it today. (Remind me of this in February, will you?)

6. Green Plants and How They Hate Me, Volume 1. My fabulous sister-in-law gave me the bushiest, fragrantest (yes, it is a word) [not really] rosemary plant this summer. Huge. Like 18 inches across and high. It has been making lovely chicken and perfect bread and generally bringing me daily gladness. Except I’m trying hard not to kill it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It appears to be dying from the inside — the outer [leaves?] rosemary parts are good — not totally as strong as they used to be, but still, you know, green. But from the stalks, all the inner [petals?] rosemary parts are dry and falling off. Into the pot. And onto the floor. And they STILL SMELL GOOD, but I’m so, so sad that I’m somehow killing this plant. I water it about every 10 days. Maybe once a week. And I want it to live and continue to provide me flavory breads and whatnot. Help? [Note: I have tried singing to it. Really. It shrinks away from my rosemary love songs.]

7. I have recently discovered what makes me a pretty good substitute teacher. I’ll tell you, if you want to know. It’s this: TEACHING. When I’m given a lesson, or a discussion to have, or a topic, or even freedom to say whatever, I’m pretty good at it. But when I go in to a classroom and sit there while they do their thing, I’m no better than anyone else who is qualified to press play. Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily. Just a thing. If I go in and Preside, nobody will come out of that class thinking I’m awesome. But if I can actually TEACH, I pretty much rock it. Usually.