Monday, May 1, 2017

Winner and Stuff

Caroline is the big winner of the give away book. She was comment 4 and that was the random number generated by the random number generator.

It occurs to me that I probably should have opened it up to comments on IG because one reads or comments on blogs anymore and I am basically obsolete, but I'm just going with the original plan and will be shipping this book to Caroline or her friend, whichever she prefers.

In other news, we've been in St. Louis's Monsoon Season so my basement feels like swampy air and my cousins came up for the weekend from Nevada, MO and Millington, TN and drove in rain all the way here and most of the way home, plus the interstate was shut down so a four and a half hour trip to Nevada stretched out to be something close to seven, which is AMAZING, but I'm grateful they came even though we just mostly sat around and talked for 36 hours. We did go see the new Beauty and the Beast movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I know a lot of people took pre-K age kids, but I was glad that I didn't bring mine. I mean, it wasn't Deadpool, but it was intense in places and after watching Zuzu get pretty freaked out at the animated Lion King, I just don't think she is ready for this movie. I'm sure some (most?) kids could handle it just fine, but I guess my Zuzu is a delicate flower about suspense on television.

She also gets that cartoons are pretend, but the reality/fantasy line on real-people-actors is much thinner. She was very worried that Mufasa actually died in the play of the Lion King we saw because those people were "real" even though they were pretending to be animals... So anyway. I tell myself there is plenty of time for her to see all the shows. There's a tiny part of me that worries she'll be the left out kid who doesn't know what's going on when all the other kids are talking about Star Wars or Avengers or Beauty and the Beast, but whatever. I was also that kid and I survived by faking it, so...

Speaking of watching, David and I just started watching Thirteen Reasons Why. All my students are talking about it and I actually started reading the book back in December and then it got overdue on me and I had to return it. Anyway, it's pretty intriguing but it also makes me want to homeschool my kids on a ranch in 1904 so as to avoid the issues of modern high school.

I just finished reading a Tana French novel, Into the Woods, which is the first in the "Dublin Murder Squad" series. I liked it (no surprise) and I'm requested the next in the series from the library.

I'm in another book group through our church and I'm reading Strangers in Their Own Land. It takes the perspective of those on the far right politically, who would identify as Tea Partiers, mostly. It has been frustrating in some ways because the truth is that my impulse is to want to yell, "NO YOU'RE WRONG" even though the point of the book is to find some perspective to help avoid that unproductive kind of conflict. And it has helped me get a better understanding of how and why some people hold the beliefs that they do. Some of them really feel like impossible things to bridge--how can you ever prove who is correct in a moral disagreement when both sides really believe they are on the side of truth/righteousness? But at the same time, I do have a better sense of the feelings of injustice and shame and anger that accompany those people who live in places where jobs and industries haven't kept up in the local economy. I do understand that desire to belong to a close community. Other perspectives are harder for me to wrap my head around.

I haven't written about this yet (first, for fear of jinxing it, then so David could make sure all the important people knew before I made it public), but David got a new job. He'll still be an elementary school principal, but he'll be switching schools and districts, so his commute will be about 1/2 of the time it is now (can I get a woot woot!?). We were hoping we could have the option to send the girls there without having to move, but that is not going to be a possibility, so we are still considering public and charter schools in the city as well as the possibility of a relocation.

I don't like the idea of leaving our house and neighborhood in the city, but the location of David's new school doesn't add too much to my commute to work (a few more miles, but all highway and an easier drive). Plus, the shorter his commute, the easier/happier my life, too, you know? We're waiting to see how things unfold next year and to think about what will really be the best choice for our family. Honestly, my impulse is to freak out and say I'm NEVER MOVING, but I am always resistant to change, even good ones.

I subscribe to Kate Inglis's mailing list (and you should, too, because she is all amazing things) and last month's note was about Home and included this gem: "Nothing exciting can ever happen without an uncertain kickoff that makes you cry in a big-box store." NO TRUER WORDS, as far as I'm concerned.

Speaking of Kate Inglis, she's got a new book in the works about grief. I've mentioned this before, but she was the first bereaved mama stranger on the internet that I e-mailed in my desperate haze after Eliza died, and her response was so kind and it offered me hope without being patronizing. Honestly, my first reaction to learning of her her book was "YES! That's wonderful." And my second was, "Well, I should just stop writing. There's nothing I can say that will be better or wiser than what Kate will say and I'll just look shabby and stupid by comparison." (There's kind of a pattern of skewing negative here...) I'm trying to remember that there is room for lots of voices and no one's story takes over or away from someone else's. So my Summer Writing Project is still on and I'm trying to silence the shit-talking voices in my head.


  1. I still comment, but I have to be brief right now.

    Hillbilly Elegy, I would also read that.

    Thirteen Reasons Why - I haven't seen it, but I've heard lots of reviews and concerns over it. These kind of cult hits that center around suicide really scare me. Some schools have been addressing this, but it still freaks me out.

    I buried a very dear friend at age 18, and the topic of suicide is a serious one.

    Would love to write more about schools and houses and the like, but gotta run. May is crazy, isn't it?

    Stay dry.

  2. Thanks, Brooke - I'll get you her address.

    Moving is hard - but think of all the rooms you'd get to repaint! (I think I already made that joke with you, but it still holds true). But congrats to David on the new gig!

    Hillbilly Elegy is one we just requested from the library (echoing K's comment), but the one you are reading sounds interesting.

  3. Congrats to David! And we also opted to not take Beatrice to see Beauty and the Beast. I think she would have been so confused and terrified at the same time. Oh, and in a conversation with a friend who just got back from Disneyland, B told her friend she met the REAL Elsa and Anna at Zuzu's birthday party. I had to verify for the friend that it was, in fact, the real Elsa and Anna. So thanks for giving my kid some real pre-k street cred!

  4. So exciting for David! Congrats!

    Just put Hillbilly Elegy on hold. At any given time, I have a few books checked out on my phone for when I'm stuck at the park for 4 hours with my kids. I'm a little overwhelmed at all of the books I have on deck, but so excited. My favorite time of day is just after the kids are in bed when I can climb in bed and just read. I've missed it. God bless kids who sleep through the night and early bedtimes.

  5. Re: your writing vs. someone whose writing meant a lot to you...

    I think you've very likely been the "first stranger" many of your followers reached out to after loss as well! Your voice has been and will continue to be important too many. Keep it up!