I don’t think of myself as a sci-fi fan (the same way as I don’t think of myself as an adult), but it seems I may be mistaken, because I have devoured “The Hunger Games” trilogy over the last couple of weeks. I have about forty minutes left of “Mockingjay” (on audio book - love the narrator), a slice of time I must plan carefully. No distractions, no possible interruptions. Which, when you have two small children, is damn near impossible. But I will find it.
Don’t tell me how it ends!
Do tell me though, if you read the books (as opposed to listening to them), is it 12 or Twelve, on the page? I’m not sure why, but I need to know.
While on holiday, I started two books I need to finish: darkly funny, “May We Be Forgiven” by A. M. Homes, and the cult classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, which I got for xmas. I expect I will read it more than once. I also peeked into, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” (a gift from the same witty giver), which I read years ago, and was drawn back in by the first line: “They’re out there.”
I am itching to open another xmas gift, “Aimless Love,” a poetry collection by Billy Collins, given to me by my parents. I am especially excited about this one for two reasons:
1. My parents gave it to me. They are both avid readers with excellent taste. I always love the books they give me.
2. My parents gave it to me. They - especially my dad - are not big poetry readers. So if they - especially my dad - liked a book of poetry enough to buy it for me, it must be something special.
A couple other hand me downs from them on my bedside table, as yet unread, but eagerly anticipated: “In the Garden of Beasts,” by Erik Larson, and “The Social Animal” by David Brooks.
I have two books coming this week from half.com: “Stern Men,” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” by Robert Evans.
I have two more audio books lined up ready for listening: “The Used World,” by Haven Kimmel (LOVE her), and “The Beautiful Ruins,” by Jess Walter.
I also found about fifty more books I want to read during a precious moment to myself last night in Barnes & Noble.
Where to go next??
So many books, so little time…
What are you reading?
Mila slept in our bed last night. When I crawled in next to her and looked at her peaceful sleeping face, my heart went to my heels for no real reason, except that she is growing up so fast and I want desperately so many things - to protect her, to understand her, to give her everything I can, to show her things, to keep her small, to watch her grow. To make her proud.
When she woke up this morning, the first words that came out of her mouth were, “Mummy, let’s snuggle for a minute.” I was on my way to the shower but jumped back in bed with her and snuggled as hard as I could, for as long as I could.
I dropped her off at preschool, standing at the entrance for an extra minute while I wrote a check, watching a mother with a little girl who I haven’t seen before, talking quietly to her, trying to coax her inside. I remember those days, they were so hard.
When I turned to leave, Mila was sitting at a little table by herself, waiting for oatmeal. Something about her messy hair, her pants that are a little too long, her tiny hands folded in front of her, just gutted me. My heart went to my heels again, and I crossed to give her an extra hug and a kiss.
I didn’t want to go. Some days are so hard.
What better way to start a beautiful holiday Monday, than by scraping two day old vomit out of every nook and cranny of your car? How about scraping two day old vomit out of every nook and cranny of your car (seriously, it’s like The Exorcist back there; that kid covered some serious footage) with the help of the dog…
And of course, the girls…
And even so, I’m still going to have to get it shampooed. Good lord.
New post series! I am tentatively calling (and tagging) it, “Tell me again why I had kids?” Because “motherhood” is too precious. And saintly. Most days, I don’t feel like a goddam saint.
Mila Rose is turning 5 in August, which means she’s “gladulating” preschool and heading to the Big Show: kindergarden. So I went on several school tours last week. Or the week before. I think it was the week before. (Totally on top of my shit, as usual. 2014 - off to an awesome start. For example, only took me three weeks to unpack from Oz. Killing it.)
The three schools I toured went like this.
School #1: Magnet school* for visual & performing arts, located in the foothills of Glendale. The wealthy side of Glendale. The tour was made up entirely of mothers, predominantly Armenian, several Asians, all (except me) wearing fancy Ugg boots, gold jewelry and loads of makeup. Drinking coffee in takeaway cups, because they have their shit together enough to put on makeup and stop for coffee before an early Monday morning tour. (Me? It was the day after Superbowl. Suffice to say, I was not feeling saintly.)
School #2: Technology magnet school, with a dual language Spanish immersion program, also in Glendale but close to the freeway. And the mall. Closer to my neighborhood. Tour was made up of mothers from both Spanish dominant and English dominant households, one pushy and annoying English dominant mother who lives in Silverlake (trying to muscle her way into the Glendale USD) and teaches high school English in Burbank (clearly, covering all bases), who asked way too many questions and had grey hair which I suspect she is welcoming. Tour also included three fathers, one of whom brought his kid (big mistake, huge), one of whom has a daughter who falls in the grey zone (September to December birthday - to enroll or to wait, that is the question; he is eager to enroll), and one of whom wore a diamond stud earring and did not say a word during the two hour (TWO HOUR) tour.
School #3: Exceedingly hip arts charter school. Part of LAUSD (not our D) but actually the closest to us of the three I toured. This tour was by far the largest, predominantly hipster parents. Many older. Lots of questions. Lots of excitement. Lots of tattoos. I took the tour with Robyn and Travis and Robyn pointed out, “These are all Obama babies.” Ho-lee-fook. She’s right. We got some stiff competition, if we want our kids to learn in a hangar filled with containers and do interpretive dance about their science projects. (Which, um, we totally do.)
I grew up in a small town with a great school district. There were three elementary schools - Elm, Hilltop, and Vermont - and you went to whichever one you lived closest to. For us it was Elm, which didn’t have kindergarden, so we got bussed to either Vermont (that was me - Mrs. Bunn introduced me to beanbags and taught me to read) or Hilltop for the first year, and after that we walked. I don’t believe there was any school-shopping going on in the 80s.
I consider myself a pretty laid back person, but this shit has been keeping me awake at night. We are entered into a lottery for all three schools (three separate lotteries - actually four, because we entered for both the Spanish & English programs at the technology school), any of which would be great in some way. Maybe the school that’s right across the street - the school we are zoned for - is too. I’ll find out soon enough, open house season starts next month. Who knows what will happen. It’s important, of course, where she goes. Her experience, as much as her education, will shape who she becomes. But, it’s also just what it is.
I think my friend Kara, who spent the best part of the last decade traveling around to schools, working with verbally impaired kids - summed it up best, when she told me, “Schools are schools. Good parents compensate for a shitty school. Shitty parents expect school to compensate for their shitty parenting.”
* I finally figured out the difference between magnet schools and charter schools, which I have been puzzling over for months. Possibly years. Sometimes, I forget about Google.