Monthly Archives: February 2008

Probably Edits Bathroom Walls

Both kids show signs of being able to proofread. Reading the pre-movie countdown, daughter said, “‘One minutes till movie.’ What kind of crap grammar is that?”


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Dueling Siblings

Every stage of life has its theme song(s). A few years ago it was Thomas the Tank Engine. Those cheery little can-do rails from the Island of Sodor ran through everything. Before that it was We Sing and Skinamarink, those whacky, happy Canadians that got us through some very sleep-deprived mornings.

Now, from the shower emanates j-pop (Mom, that’s a Japanese import), if it’s daughter, or Sponge Bob, if it’s son. That Goofy Goober song is very hard to extract from the skull bone once it penetrates.

These days I’d have to peg the theme song as Hot Cross Buns, blasted out on the trombone, dominant by virtue of volume, simplicity and repetition. Tonight the dreaded simultaneous practice occurred, separated by only one wall. There is no reason why they couldn’t be separated by one or more floors. Daughter practiced singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” from Jesus Christ Superstar, and son practiced Doctor Rock and Hot Cross Buns on the trombone. Neither gave in.

We gave thanks, quietly.

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Our family just finished a full seven days of “no recreational screen use.” We had a lapse and a bribe, but generally accomplished a fairly major reduction in TV watching, videogame playing, and all the social networking and manga consuming that teenage girls do. My son and I played several games of Operation during the week. He rapidly became an unscrupulous doctor if he was also the specialist. I introduced the term “conflict of interest.” My daughter and I had more conversations than normal, even if many of them were about why she couldn’t use screens and that it really wasn’t a punishment. She is nothing if not eloquent in defense of her lifestyle.

My husband came to bed earlier and got up earlier. I focused more, possibly due to the lack of psychic static from excess electronic activity, or more likely due to not wasting an hour or two a night surfing.

This morning son and I took dog for a walk through a nearby park. It was snowing. He’s amazingly observant and tuned in to his turf, our little place-based human. He anticipated a couple of icy spots because he had enjoyed the puddles a few days earlier. He even cleared the half-inch or so of snow fluff off so that subsequent pedestrians would not go base over apex.

Dog was completely exuberant when we got to the unleashing spot. Did several high-speed victory laps. On the way back we noticed an odd low-flying cloud moving fairly rapidly from south to north, pretty much across our route. It got notably darker and more humid and the snow got sleetier. We saw some big black birds — ravens? — chase off a hawk, and we heard a woodpecker high in a hollow tree.

We saw another set of dog-walkers who recognized our dog and remembered her name. “Bassadors” are distinctive.

Retrieved daughter from sleepover after (monthly appearance at) church. I feel very lucky that my eighth grader has a well-defined group of a dozen buddies whose parents and values I like so much. They had a sleepover party at one house for New Year’s, and at our house last month for daughter’s birthday. This one was in honor of one of their members who is visiting briefly while spending a couple of years with her parents in another country.

Anyway, it feels like we’ve turned a corner from the darkest part of the year. It was actually warm enough Saturday to go running outside and that felt great.

Interesting coincidences in reading: Am reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, just past a story about weaving webs of story, and am reading Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, by Elaine Pagels, all about early Christian interpretations of the creation myth(s) and their bearing on sexual mores. Anyway, my dad sent me the first part of a book he’s writing, and it mentions webs of fate, spun to entangle us, and also includes several other creation stories. Can’t wait to read more.

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