Friday, February 26, 2010

School Bus Stop

Each morning, when I leave to drive the boys to preschool, the middle school kids are emerging from their houses to head to the bus stop.

Oftentimes I am late (three kids will slow you down) and the kids are already waiting at the bus stop.

I've taken to observing the species that is "Middle School Student at a Bus Stop."

The most curious thing to note--they don't communicate with one another.

One boy is always reading a fat book. He sits criss-cross-applesauce with his fat book in his lap, reading. I like him. I like people who read.

Another boy wearing socks up to his knees, carries his book bag in one hand and his lunch in the other. And he paces. Back and forth. Back and forth. It makes me sad to see him because I know he's picked on.

A girl at the pacing boy's bus stop--she simply stares at the pacing boy. She's as far away as she can be from him while still being at the actual bus stop, she wears a backpack, and always has her arms across her chest. And she stares at the pacing boy.

Another girl texts. I do not kid when I say she's been texting every.single.time that I can remember seeing her. She doesn't talk to those real live people who surround her, but she texts goodness only knows who, furiously, as if it were important state matters she was dealing with and not American Idol and who's dating who this week.

This his how the scene plays out, morning after morning. Come to my neighborhood at 8:35 on and given day and I guarantee what you see won't be far off. And so I'm sad. Because here in this microcosm of neighborhood children, I worry. Because short of the one girl texting (and really, can I really count that as a consolation?) these children do no communicate with each other. Face to face communication has been abandoned for Facebook, and talking is now replaced by texting.

I can't see how this can be a good thing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Nook

I read a lot. My friend Kathleen reads twice as much as I do. (Did I mention she has five kids?)

This is very fortunate for me. (The fact that she reads, a lot, not the fact that she has five kids. That really doesn't benefit me much that I can think of.)

Follow my math here. Kathleen reads twice as me, and then recommends to me her favorites, which as a rough estimation are about 25% of the books she reads. I, in turn, for the most read only those books recommended by her, which makes her my very own filtration system and results in me reading truly wonderful works of fiction. Darn near exclusively. It's nice to not waste time reading crappy books.

At her recommendation, few months back I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It takes place in a fictional country, Panem, which after subduing its revolting citizens several decades in the past created games where 24 of the nations' youth are put in an arena to fight to the death. You know, to remind them never to revolt again. Or else.

At first I was wondering how much I was going to like a book that a) seemed kinda depressing and b) was so sci-fi esque. I typically don't like books with so many "made up" elements, and in this one everything was straight out of the authors imagination.

So I was skeptical. But why? It came highly recommended by the great filter Kathleen!

Never doubt Kathleen, my friends.

This book was amazing.

I had to wait and wait and wait my turn for one of the three copies from the library of the sequel to The Hunger Games--Catching Fire.

Catching Fire was so superbly amazing, there aren't words. I read it in less than a day, laundry and cooking be damned!

I will warn you--the ending to Catching Fire is such a huge, looming, white-knuckler of a cliffhanger that it will hardly satiate the hunger (no pun intended) that The Hunger Games left you with.

But there is hope on the horizon--the third and final book in the series, Mockingjay, is being released in August.

I am waiting with bated breath. Practically dying from asphyxiation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Things They Come Up With: Chapter One

I typically don't stray far from home. On a regular basis, I go to three places:

1. The kids' preschool (about 1/4 mile from home)
2. The gym (about 1.5 miles from home)
3. Publix (also 1.5 miles from home)

As such, we (we being me and the kids) don't often to see the sights of town, if you will. But one thing they never seem to forget--the hospital.

Every time we drive by the hospital, which like I said is not all that great of a frequency even though it is a mere two miles from our door, one or both of the boys comment on the fact that I go there, I sleep there, and I bring home a baby.

(Or at least I did. I'm not planning on doing that again anytime soon.)

This evening, as we went on a great adventure that happen to take us that way, the inevitable conversation began. This time I got a little more than I bargained for.

It went a little something like this.

Cole: Look! It's the hos-i-pal! Look mama! The hos-i-pal where you go to get your baby!

Me: Yes, it sure it.

(This is usually the end of that, although sometimes they also comment on how Granny brings them there to visit me and they get to ride in the elevator.)

Mason: Do people also go there when they get dead?

Me: Silence.

Mason: Well do they?

Me: Yes, some people do Mason.

Cole: When people are getting dead, the ambulance picks them up and brings them to the hos-i-pal first.

Mason: Yep. And then they get dead.

Shortly after that delightful little conversation, Mason comes along to show me a card from a matching game he has. It's of the Earth with a caption that says, "God created the Earth in six days" (a feat, by the way, which never ceases to amaze me).

Mason: Look, Mom. It's the Earth. God lives there. (He points to the area of outer space in the picture.)

Me: Yes He does.

Mason: Yep, and so does Wall-E.

And lastly, tonight as Rey and Mason were playing a round of Mario Kart, I heard another little gem when both of them were defeated by the computer characters.

Mason: We lost. They banged us.

Rey: You mean they beat us?

Mason: Yeah. They beat us. And banged us.

It was a day of audio delights, let me tell ya. All this makes me wonder how many funny things I would hear if I paid better attention...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Days Are Here Again

I am in a really, really good mood.

It is such a monumental occasion I figured it would behoove me to document it.

I have really good reasons for my really good mood.

  1. Yesterday, I folded, hung, and put away ten loads of laundry. It was such an accomplishment.
  2. Today, even though it was time to start laundry again, I only had three loads instead of my usual four.
  3. This weekend, I'm going to a yoga training. Keri's coming along this time and we're going to dine on sushi.
  4. I'm going to be spending two nights away from home, which (as much as I love my family) means I get to have two blessed and uninterrupted nights of sleep that culminate in mornings which do no involve me waking to the sound of someone screaming that they have to go potty.
  5. I discovered the Arc Trainer at the gym. I used to think this was a pointless machine, sort of a reject elliptical or something. But alas, it is far superior! And burns like, twice the calories. I never was a fan of the elliptical, so this discovery is fantastic.
  6. I have cooked dinner three times this week. And although sometimes it's stressful and most of the time Mason won't eat it, I feel very accomplished, and happy that Rey always helps clean up. The cleaning up is the worst.
  7. Mason (I think) has finally given up napping. And while this might seem like a devastating blow, now that I have gotten used to it I'm really enjoying the fact that he and I have some time alone in a quiet house while the other kids sleep. At least I enjoy when he's contributing to that quiet house aspect.
  8. Upon the culmination of my reading the Harry Potter Books 1-7, I was lent the five books of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which is a completely delightful little collection of books.
  9. The sun is shining! You'd think this would not be a novelty in Florida, but trust me, lately the state of the sun has been iffy in the Sunshine State.
  10. I feel like I need a number 10 in order to have a nice round number, but I've got nothing else.

Soon we will be returning to our regularly scheduled negativity, including but not limited to, a nice long dissertation on why the glass is half empty.

Until then...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Doing Really Dumb Things a.k.a. Making Enchiladas with Your Kids

Tonight, in a moment of less clarity, I did several unintelligent things.

1. I, a woman with no cooking skills, decided to make dinner.

2. I, in typical me fashion, selected an intricate recipe for what can be a simple dish. (Why do in two steps what you can do in ten?)

3. I, in an attempt to get my 5 year old more adventurous about food, enlisted said 5 year old's help in preparing said intricate recipe.

4. I also enlisted the help of the 5 year old's brother. His little brother. You know, the three year old.

We were making enchiladas.

While I was in the thick of it, I was excited and having a grand ol' time. The fact that we were making a monumental mess in my kitchen was in the back of my mind, but I was too busy preventing my kids from scalding themselves or grabbing a cilantro knife that the mess couldn't consume me. At least not then.

They had a great time smuggling shredded cheese when my back was turned.

They were so excited that I really was convinced they'd at least give the enchiladas a try. I know full well that they don't eat meat that isn't chicken and they don't eat chicken that isn't in nugget form, but they were so earnest and proud about the process that I really thought they'd at the very least give it the old college try.

It wasn't pretty.

There was begging.

Please no food! Please give me a cookie!

There was pleading.

I can't eat the food! My Band-aid will get dirty! (The Band-aid is on his leg. I don't understand this one.)

Despite the fact that it was a labor intensive process, I thoroughly enjoyed my new enchilada recipe.

My kitchen? A mess.

My major mistake--I should have anticipated the screaming, crying and carrying on that would accompany it and make a margarita to cushion the blow.

Live and learn.