Month: October 2012

Pet Peeves, and How I Admit to Having Some

I have an astonishing lack of pet peeves. Or peeves in general, I think, which is what adds so solidly to my sunny disposition and general good nature.

 

I’m being serious.

 

I understand peeves, I do. Because I have a couple. But they’re small ones. And I rarely get teeth-baringly freaked out about them. However, in the spirit of “it’s a dark and cloudy day, and I unknowingly left a Kid at home with a dead car battery this morning,” here is a little sampling of my personal peeves.

 

A. Grammar issues. I’m more of a word nerd/grammar geek than a full on grammar snob, obvs. But small things irk me. I’m all in favor of split infinitives (because I’m not a native speaker of Latin and stuff), and clearly I adore beginning sentences with conjunctions. So sue me. Also fragments. Love them. But subjects and verbs should agree, don’t you agree? Why can’t we just all get along? Also, their, there, they’re/its, it’s/your, you’re business? It’s not so hard. You’re getting there. Just learn it. And then I won’t have cause to gnash my teeth. (This is way more leaning toward written word, clearly, than spoken, but mostly to things claiming to be professional – ads, speeches, brochures, books… like that. I try to breathe through the gross grammatical errors [1] of everyday interactions.)

 

B. Entitlement and the dreaded “It doesn’t apply to me” mentality. It never fails to make my eye start to twitch – the kid who thinks he can slide by around the rules because he deserves some kind of special treatment. The woman at a conference who ignores (and flagrantly flaunts) the “please turn off your cell phone” announcement, because clearly her life is more crucial than anyone else’s. The guy who puts his car diagonally in two parking spaces? Kind of makes me want to key his door. Not that I would EVER do such a thing. It’s an instinct. That doesn’t mean I act on it. I do have some self-control.

 

C. Lateness, if you can imagine. My own more than anyone else’s, really, but there are not many people who live in my house who agree with me on this one, so I find myself getting twitchy about other people’s lateness when it affects [2] my own. I hate being late. I feel like it’s disrespectful. I feel like it’s condescending. I feel like it’s unkind and rude and needlessly flaunty of the abovementioned (part B) mentality.

 

D. Empty boxes on pantry shelves. This stems back to my childhood, when my brother (hi, Omaheck!) would put empty treats boxes back on the shelf simply because it happened on accident one day (so he says [3]), and I reacted. After that, it happened All The Time. And now my kids do it. –“Who put this empty pretzel bag back in the pantry?” –“It’s not empty.” –“Oh, you’re right. There are three grains of course salt rattling around right there in the cellophane.”

 

That’s probably not all my peeves, but they probably all stem from just such things. It’s not an extensive list. But, know what? I think that having fewer peeves causes me to be the kind of person who annoys other people. Because I don’t obsess about all the ways people can be annoying, I rarely consider my own tendencies to bug people. There are times I try to care, but mostly I’m trying not to put a pen in my eye over a (part B derivative) dress code violation.

[1]At my first high school, there was a man who deserves his own post, a teacher I knew only casually, since he taught senior college prep English, and I moved away mid-junior year. He once failed a friend’s essay because she used the word “yet” instead of “but” (or maybe the other way around), calling it a “gross grammatical error” – an automatic fail. My heart still races at the thought of such a hardnose.

 

[2]After my grammar rant, I’m almost concerned enough about the effect of getting this word wrong to look this one up. Almost. But not quite.

 

[3] Really? REALLY? How can you take the last pop-tart, the one time a year when Mom bought pop-tarts, and ACCIDENTALLY leave the empty box? How, I ask you? HOW?

Brave New World and Stuff

So my Kid 2, who is fifteen and VERY good at it, asked me yesterday a question she asks on a fairly regular basis, but with more than usual desire for an answer.

K2: What did you do without the internet? I mean, when you needed to know something.

Me: Read a book.

K2: I’m serious.

Me:  Me, too.

K2: What if it’s something not in a book?

Me: For instance?

K2: Who invented the pogo stick?

Me: You’d go to the library and pick up the P encyclopedia. Big book, words and pictures, reference material. You’d look up POGO and find all your answers.

K2: What about who progressed in the bracket for some sports tournament?

Me: Newspaper.

K2, with a perfect blend of pity and contempt: Wow. That would take forever. What a pain.

(Maternal Translation: I love the internet. Thank you for not making me live without it.)

 

Annnnd, it’s been another week!

Hi, kids. I’m still here. Life is happening. And we love life when it happens.

Les Miserables opened at my Kids’ high school last night.

Look! She screams!

Remember that my Kid 1 played Eponine, the world’s best role for a teenage girl?[1] It was awesome. (Unless you didn’t wanted to hear the orchestra director counting through his microphone, or unless you minded the 7-year-old kid running full-voice commentary in the seat behind me: “IS SHE DEAD? DID HE JUST SHOOT THAT KID? IS THAT HIS REAL HAIR? DID SHE DIE, TOO?” or unless you wanted all the actors’ mics to work all the time, or unless you noticed many technical thingies which did NOT include my Kid 1’s mic being turned on for all but one of her entrances, hooray.) It was lovely and stirring and heart-touching. Kid 1’s Uncle A said, “I have never shed a tear at a high school musical before today.” And she was pleased by that. And he was not the only one teary, by a long, long shot.

Bring me home...

Her Uncle N and Aunt C brought flowers from Grandma and Grandpa who can’t make it, and they were beautiful. So were the flowers. And Aunt C told Kid 1 she didn’t actually buy the “boy costume” bit, because Kid 1 was just too pretty. [1.5]

Considering the rival football game happening 20 minutes away, there was a pretty good crowd. And considering that I only managed to oversell about 10 premier seats [2] and anger 6 patrons, it was a glad crowd. 

I got to teach lots of days this week. Including a day in Kid 3’s sixth grade class. I love Kid 3’s sixth grade class. And here’s one tiny reason why: She has a small part in the above-mentioned show: she plays Little Eponine, who doesn’t have a line and sands on stage in a”little blue hat” for about 30 seconds. She couldn’t possibly be more thrilled. [3] As I was standing in the lobby before the show, 3 of her classmates ran over and gave hugs and said how happy they were to come and see her debut. And then I saw more of them, with parents, who came, too. Maybe there were more who I didn’t see. But Izzy and Kenadee and Wyatt and Claire and Abe, you guys are awesome.

There is more life happening. Stay tuned and stuff.

[1] Whatever. Any girl. I’d take the role in a single heartbeat. If only.

[1.5] Eponine dresses as a boy to deliver the letter written by the boy she loves to the girl he loves. Just go see it, okay?

[2] I’m Box Office Mama and the buck, as they say, stops here.

[3] I was working the box office one day this afternoon while they were rehearsing, and Kid 3 came to slide a mini Kit-Kat through the window. I asked her where she got it. “Pretty much the whole cast thinks I’m adorable, and they keep giving me candy,” she said with a shrug. Life is SO good.

Also, as a note, all these kids have had their parents sign an image release, so I’m all legal to post their photos. So here are some more.

Fantine dreamed a dream

The light. Is so good. So very, very good.

Another? Oh, all right then.

Re-Read

I read Sense and Sensibility again last week, one of the very few books that I love, but like a film version better. (The Emma Thompson / Hugh Grant / Kate Winslet / Alan Rickman version. I love it with a huge, huge piece of my heart, and the music in it makes me glad.) I prefer the film version because it streamlines things that make the plot bulky (combining characters, deleting a few, not bringing Willoughby back to make that horrible apology…) and also, Emma Thompson. Do you think she’d be willing to be my bonus aunt? I do love her so. And a girl can never have too many bonus aunts. And though I didn’t watch that lovely film lately, I did see half of the Gwyneth Paltro Emma, which (I almost hate to admit) I like better than the book, too. Only a little. But those two great books were made better by excellent screen adaptations, and that’s credit where it’s due. Years of crappy adaptations have made that clear. In fact, I can only think of one film adaptation of a kids’ book that is as good as the original book, and that’s Holes, and that’s because Sachar wrote the screenplay (and also he’s brilliant).

And I also read the introduction to the Scribner paperback version of Gatsby, because it’s an essay that I love. There’s something decadent about Gatsby, a guilty pleasure, and I CANNOT WAIT for the film this Christmas. DO NOT DISAPPOINT ME, FILMMAKERS AND EDITORS. Because if I’m disappointed, well, that would be too bad.

And this weekend, I take my little family to gather with our bigger family at a cabin in the mountains, with much hanging about and little or no cell service. And I’ll pack a book away, just in case. But something tells me that talking time will overshadow reading time. As it should. Natch. But Kid 1 has to have Frankenstein read by Monday, so I guess she won’t be talking much. It’s been a few years since I re-read Frankenstein, but I remember it being tender and sad. Perhaps I’ll read it with her. But probably not by Monday…

What are you (re)reading? Anything lovely I should put my hands on?

Truly Bad Poetry (Mine)

 

–It Kind of Rhymes–

Yesterday was a sick day.
That’s not very nice.
I lay in bed all day long
Not even eating rice.
Ice cream sounded painful,
Cookies are a crock.
I’d pay someone some money
To bash in my head with a rock.

–Sub Haiku–

Taught first grade today.
How many tears can they shed?
Can’t blame their hormones.

–It Doesn’t Rhyme, But it’s True–

Gas costs $4/gallon,
So I think I’ll just stay home
Forever and watch Jimmy Fallon
Sing TV theme songs on YouTube
.

–Grooming Haiku–

All my fingernails
Were the same length for nine days.
Then I did dishes.

–Time, She’s a’Slipping (FreeForm)–

The baby boy is only eight.
But still, he was assigned
To watch the presidential debate
And write down what color tie everyone wore.

The Homework piles up higher and higher
But not as high as the university catalogs that keep filling
Our mailbox and Kid 1’s bedroom floor.

Leaves are falling and yellowing and crunching
And I like October, okay?

–Stress–

We have some,
around here,
and it’s kind of hard
to deal with it
sometimes.