Five for Friday.

January 20, 2017

This week went by fast, you guys. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so busy, or what, but it’s been nice!  Except how’m I gonna duplicate it next week if I don’t know how I made it happen??

While I’m puzzling that out, let’s see what we have going on…

1. Bee-girl is off on a crazy adventure today. The fifth-grade class (the upper-classmen at her school) traditionally go to an outdoor activity camp in the spring. I’m not sure why it was moved to January this year, but we’re rolling with it. They get to participate in archery, hiking, and all sorts of experiments and fun. It’s a gorgeous day outside – clear with a high of 73°. Baby girl is gonna have a blast!

2. And I know this because I spent last night last-minute planning with Bee-girl and with the help of my teacher friends. (Have a few in your village if you don’t already guys – they’re invaluable!) Bee made her lunch and I sat and wondered what we were going to do with her phone. Bee doesn’t get back until 5:45ish tonight. I was gonna have her call me when she was at school since I’m only a 3-minute drive away. But I don’t exactly want her losing her phone while she’s running around like a maniac. So I texted Kim G., the girls’ second mama who just happens to teach up there. I told Kim I wasn’t sure if a crossbody purse was allowed. She didn’t know either, and suggested a jacket with pockets that snap or zipper. I countered that this is BEE we’re talking about – the girl would put it down somewhere and lose it and her phone. So then Kim G. said to text Bee’s teacher, that it wasn’t too late at night (it kind of was) – and she knew because she had started texting her with my questions. NO ONE has better teachers at their school than my kids! Bee gets to take her crossbody purse. Her phone, emergency/gift shop money, and tissues have all been secured.

3. Gracie-girl, on the other hand, lost some phone time last night. We’re having a problem lately with remembering to bring our stuff home from Dad’s. Even if I remind everyone. So when Gracie had to wear her pajama bottoms to her Dad’s because her tennis pants were over there, I kinda lost it a little. Every trick I’ve tried to motivate Gracie has failed. And she’s my “responsible one” who doesn’t do this! In light of that, I’m trying to give her a break, but my patience has worn thin. So Gracie lost her phone for an hour last night. And you know what? She remembered to bring home her stuff.

4. I tried a new curl creme last night and it’s NOT working. The Pantene BB Curl Creme (or whatever it’s called) is certainly soft and touchable…but it does not tame the wild mess of “curls” (can I call them curls? in this state?) that are rioting from my head in directions that should not be followed. And the FRIZZ. Good god. A hair elastic will be making an appearance very, very soon.

5. I am ignoring the news today. I am finding my happy place and staying there. If anything happens that I straight-up NEED to know, someone text me. Don’t even call, because I’m screening those, too. Happy place is sacred. Happy place is necessary. Happy place includes a readathon that starts right after work and school. So: YAY HAPPY PLACE!!! You guys are welcome to join me, if you want. Because my Happy Place is all about inclusion.

So there you go guys. A few things rattling around my brain. Now tell me – what are YOU GUYS up to? How are you spending your day? Where is YOUR happy place?

Quote of the day.

January 19, 2017

It’s not often I get to capture these any more, and I thought we could use some levity this morning.

The setting: Bee and I were talking about food and our days, when all of a sudden her face lit up.

Bee: Oh! Mom! I had time to try something today at lunch and they were really good! The…I forget what they’re called. They’re pasta squares?
Me, thinking of cookies squares: Pasta squares?! Like…lasagna?
Bee: Nooo….
Me: Thick like a cookie square, but made of pasta mashed together?
Bee: No… You know, like the…
Me: Oh! Ravioli!
Bee: Yes! Those!

Little. pasta. squares. Oh my good gravy.

Three years.

January 19, 2017

I saw a dad on the side of a the road, blinkers on, helping his kid change a tire on their own car. I couldn’t help it; I started crying out of the blue. If that wasn’t the signiest sign.

Then I started laughing, like I was nuts – crying one minute, laughing the next – because I wasn’t sure that a bigger sign wouldn’t have been the dad standing there, patiently explaining what the kid needed to do next to change their own dang tire.

In either case: you are missed.

Teenagerhood is coming. It is coming.

January 18, 2017

<….sound of goblin drums…>

<Oooh, wait…maybe of Twister violins….>

Because it’s already here!

Yes, go ahead and ask me how my day was yesterday. Oh, I’m so glad you asked! My ex-husband called last night. On the home phone, no less. We never use the home phone any more. The only peeps who use that are my parents and telemarketers, neither of whom usually call that late. (It wasn’t that late, maybe 8ish?) I don’t know what made me look at the home phone, because I never do that any more either. But I did. And it was my Ex. So I answered.

Gracie was insisting she had to bring her lunch to school the next day (today). Did I know anything about that? Uh, no. But yesterday was her first day back to school since the weekend. So maybe something popped up? Oh, but she was refusing to tell him why.

Oh, yes – you read that right. Refusing to tell him why. REFUSING.

You can see why steam was pouring out of my ears.

Anger wasn’t even my first response though. I was so happy my Ex had called! I love this whole Pull Together, Win Together thing. It bodes well for the next few years. You know, the Tough Teenagery Years that were suddenly dumped right in our laps.

After I cheered a little in my head, I moved right on to confusion. Because Gracie hasn’t once ever pulled anything like that. She’s a goody two-shoes. She might whine when she’s in A Mood. And yeah, there was the whole “lying about texting her friends” thing. But one bump in all the tween years we’ve braved so far? Not bad. So what was with the sudden obstinence? And how the heck were we going to deal with it?!

I told my Ex that I would call her (he was out with Bee), and see if she would talk to me, and get back to him. So I called Gracie-girl, who sounded as confused at a late-night call (I never call either – we’re a texting family) as I was. I explained what was going on, using my best concerned voice, and she still sounded confused. And maybe a little whiny. She had told Dad, she said. She hadn’t refused, she said. She told him she wanted to take her lunch to school, just because. Not that she needed to take it.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if she just kept saying she needed stuff from the store to take for her lunch, and when pressed for a reason she said just because, and the manner in which it was delivered came across as less than straight. Or if her version of what happened was completely different from what actually happened. I have no idea. And that’s between my Ex and Gracie.

However: I explained to Gracie that she can’t ever not answer, if that’s what happened. I patiently explained to her that her dad must have been so worried and concerned if he called me. She seemed to understand. I told her that if it’s a want, not a need (language we use frequently at home), that she can’t expect her dad to drop everything to go to the store if he doesn’t want to. That it’s selfish to even get whiny about it. She could negotiate it, ask nicely, trade chores, whatever, but it’s not something he has to do. And that she probably owed him an apology when he got home. That they needed to talk it out.

I called my Ex back and told him what I had found out. He said he would talk to that Gracie-girl of ours.

And I spent much of the night texting my bestie whose (amazing) daughter is a senior in high school. They have had a very similar relationship as Gracie and I. I knew she would have ninja mom answers for my new teenagery kiddo issues. She not only had all the answers I needed, but she immediately asked the obvious question that I had completely overlooked: was Gracie feeling left out, or was she being teased for buying her lunch? Which, dude, would explain so many things. Kathy gave me the best advice, talked me off the ledge (with a later assist from my sister Rhi), and made sure I was able to sleep instead of mulling over the problem all night long. AND Kathy did it all in the late hours of Eastern Standard Time, and I know she’s not a night-time person. Because I needed my friend. And my sister finished up our talk with the magic good-night tradition – a magical incantation she would say to everyone every night before bed when she was a teeny tiny toddler. Those magic words actually were just what I needed to hear before bed, and I didn’t even know until I heard them. My village is awesome, you guys!

So, I guess Gracie and I will be having a conversation tonight. I don’t care if she takes her lunch every day or some days or whatever – as long as I’m not making it! All that matters to me is that she eats, and not just junk food. If she’s being teased for buying her lunch because she’s the only one, then she can take it. That’s never been an issue. I just want her to be honest with us. And for sure she needs to answer when we ask questions. Or some poor pitiful penguin with be without a phone for a certain length of time. Not answering is a no-go.

The teenagery years. I thought I had more time. But at least I know I’ll have a lot of help as I muck my way through them!

Readathon, here we come!

January 17, 2017

This weekend is the next #24in48 readathon, and I can’t wait! The premise is pretty self-explanatory: you have 48 hours (Saturday and Sunday) in which you try to read for 24 hours. It’s different from, say, the 24hour Readathon because you can, you know, sleep.

That being said, the rules are bendy! Because it’s a readathon! It’s designed to be fun and get you to read! So if you want to start on Friday night after work, like I do, go for it! You can make the rules be whatever you need them to be. If you don’t hit 24 hours? Hey, you read a lot! That’s awesome! So decide what you can do, what you want to do and have fun.

The girls are just as excited. They participated in the last one and didn’t come close to the #24in48, but they read for hours and hours and hours and it was so much fun! They like the atmosphere and the idea of participating in a “grown-up” event. Because of course my tweens do. They also love that I splurge on lunch – I order in sushi and treat ourselves because by that point we usually have been reading for at least 4-6 hours! We break up the afternoon by reading at the library, and then back home. We surge ahead, breaking up our evening with dinner, or a walk in the park. Sunday, we break up our reading by heading to our local Barnes and Noble for some cafe treats and some more luxurious reading. (The girls are scandalized by the idea of reading books at the bookstore that we don’t intend to read. They think it’s like dine-and-dash.)

The girls are usually tuckered out by that point, and I don’t push it. They can join when they like, and do other stuff when they need to. They like stacking up the books they’ve read. I post online what they’ve accomplished and that helps, too. They like the bragging rights. And I get that. I like being able to say how many hours, chapters, or books I’ve read. It keeps me going when my eyes are tired (or my ears, although audio is usually only if I have to get stuff done, or to break things up). However it happens and whatever we read, it’s a good time.

I have a shelf of books I haven’t read yet, and I’m going to get through some of them. I’m thinking Harry Potter and the Cursed Child finally, and that Freddie & Me graphic novel about Freddie Mercury? Definitely!

24in48

The Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres memoirs would make for some good, quick reading. Oh, and when we go to B&N, I am definitely checking off my poetry challenge for READ HARDER. I can probably make it through a bunch of books, if I average three hours per book.

The girls have a few choices. I know they got almost an entire shelf for Christmas, but some seem to have walked off already (which is good! It means they’re being read…)

24in48b

Bee is most of the way through The Gunslinger graphic novel adaptation (HUZZAH!), so she should finish that. Gracie is reading the 13 Birthdays book in that series. I want her to read Heartless so I can send it to Kim. I know we’ll have the Kindles charged and I’m sure I’ll be convinced to buy a few e-books. Mama’s money gets thrown around just a little this weekend. Because: BOOKS!

I can’t wait to share it all! So keep an eye open this weekend. Or, you know, mute me if it’s annoying. It will be sad to miss the Women’s March on Austin because we have obligations Saturday, but we will be reading John Lewis’ March this weekend. All three of us. Mandatory reading. (Which is funny, because when I ordered it, all three of us were arguing over who got to read it first. Subtitled: DOING IT RIGHT.) So! yes! Happy weekend ahead! Hope you join us!

 

Five for Friday.

January 13, 2017

Ohhhh, it’s been a week. I am ready for my weekend to hurry up and get here!

1. The girls came back from the funeral last night, and it was good to get a few hours worth of cuddles and alllll the stories! Now they’re back to their dad’s house for the weekend, and I have two days filled with nothing but an empty schedule. Mwa ha ha! I have so many errands and projects lined up, I’m going to blink and it’ll be Sunday night, just you wait. Although, the weatherman says it’s supposed to monsoon all weekend, so maybe we should place a bet on whether I shirk all the errands and stay cuddled up with a book or my writing all weekend.

2. I’ve started running again. One of my new friends at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed has never run before, and so I’m starting way back with the very beginning of Couch-2-5k with her. It’ll be a good way for me to actually get off my duff and get back into things. My body needs a wake-up call. Wait, or maybe it’s giving me one? All I know is I need to get moving again. The weight isn’t just going to fall off and tone itself. And I want to look as sexy on the outside again and I feel on the inside.

3. The tune-up is required, I mention, because my poor tummy has been all ulcer-y this week. It was so bad one night that I almost ended up at the hospital. Thankfully, switching to a peanut-butter sandwich and milk diet has helped a lot. You know what else has helped? A magic oil that one of my nurse friends gave me. I’m not into alternative medicine and the oils thing just isn’t for me (most of the smells kick off my asthma, so that’s a non-starter right there). But five drops of this oil in a small glass of water, and instant relief from my ulcer! After three days of taking the oil regularly (and eating a smarter ulcer-friendly diet), and I’m feeling so much better. I’m still not a believer, but I’m very thankful I was able to feel better and avoid a hospital bill.

4. It’s a big playoff weekend for football! And it’s the first time in a long time that the football team here – the Cowboys – is in the playoffs, along with our home team, the Patriots. Gracie’s junior high, one of only a few schools in her district to have a dress code, texted everyone yesterday to announce that students were allowed to wear a sports jersey today. “Cowboys gear is encouraged, but all sports jerseys are allowed.” I’m not even kidding! Because I am an awesome mom, I texted Gracie to make sure she saw the text. The junior high is pretty adamant about students signing up for alerts and such, to start teaching them how to take care of and look after themselves. (Which I love!) And Gracie has always been good about that. But since she’s been away all week and our routine has been off, I wanted to be sure she saw. I even told her that if she had Cowboys gear at her dad’s house and she wanted to wear it, to remember to bring it home for the morning. Yes, I hate that she has a small allegiance to some Texas sports teams, but I also recognize that junior high is a terrible time to feel like the odd-man-out. Gracie’s response? Uh, she wasn’t wearing no stinkin’ Cowboys gear! She was wearing her Brady jersey! I cannot tell you how my heart soared! She wasn’t afraid of being different; being true to her team was important to her. Sometimes I think I am doing okay with this parenting thing.

5. There is definitely a longer post about the Tournament of Books finalists that I want to write, but I have to spill some of it now after all the excitement yesterday. I was feeling pretty good about having read 31 of the 100+ books on the longlist. Yeah, it’s only a third of them, but it’s many more than a lot of people have read. I was proud! And then the list of finalists was published and not only are several of my favorites missing, but I’d only read 8 of the 18 finalists. Yes, I have 6 weeks to read the other 10 books (the ones I’m reading, anyway – I have already firmly decided to skip a few because NOPE, negative interest). I just wish… I don’t know. I think the group is a little flat this year. Anti-climatic, or something. Good thing I have an awesome TOB reading group who will can make anything a riot and a half!

Okay, that’s it for this senorita. Let’s get Friday going so we can get to the weekend!

Book reviews: The week with all the balance – two must-reads, two huge misses.

January 12, 2017

Rumor has it that The Morning News is releasing their Tournament of Books finalists this morning! I tried working my rooster tee into my work ensemble today, but since things are kinda shaky at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed, I decided to go a safer route. Which is to say you can imagine both my excitement (PARRRTAY!!!) at the imminent prospect of having a shorter list of books to focus on, and saaaaadpanda that the list wasn’t out when I started drafting my post. Instead of geeking out, I’ll tell you about the books I read this week.

shrillShrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, by Lindy West (2016, Hachette, 272 pages, digital copy). I had been hearing good things about this book since long before it was published. Which is why I probably had such a hard time getting my hands on a copy. I jumped when I saw it come up as a deal of the day right around Christmas. (Merry Christmas to me! I got allll the digital books!) West has all the cultural criticism acumen of Roxane Gay and the creativity of Tina Fey, plus the whip smart advantage all my favorite people have of being able to call it like she sees it in such an undeniable way. For those who are seeking to empower their best selves, or maybe just looking for a little hope, a little cultural criticism right now, this is what you need to pick up. As in, I will be buying a full-price copy to loan out to everyone. THAT kind of No kidding, I mean it. 5 of 5 stars.

ihateinternetI Hate the Internet, by Jarett Kobek (2016, We Heard You Like Books, 288 pages, e-loan). I picked this up because it was on the TOB longlist. In many ways, it’s a novelization along the same lines of Shrill – speaking out against the needless hate and bigotry swamping our culture – but it focuses on the Internet as Vehicle Supreme, the inevitability that foiling it will fail, and, well, does it all in third person. I couldn’t find my footing. The entire thing felt hopeless. I have enough hopeless in Real Life right now, Kobek, I don’t need another heaping plateful. It felt gimmicky and cheap as opposed to a sardonic wake-up call that I think it was supposed to be. 1 of 5 stars.

abundanceThe Abundance: Narrative Essays, Old and New, by Annie Dillard (2016, Ecco, 304 pages, digital). This was another Deal of the Day grab, and I was so looking forward to it. Personal essays are some of my favorite indulgences; they can go in any direction and seem so much freer than any other writing – even fiction, at times. I’d read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and thought maybe I’d enjoy Dillard’s non-fiction more. So now I’m left hoping I like Dillard’s non-fiction about writing, specifically, because I still have one of those books on my TBR at home, and nothing else seems to be working for me. Her writing is sparse, and yes that’s a stylistic choice that can work…but not here, and not for me. When I read books about nature, I want to feel connected. It’s especially frustrating for me as a reader if I know the author was there, in that actual scene, and limited themselves to these few words. I feel everything and write so much of what first comes to mind; I have a hard time understanding why people won’t use 50 words instead of 10. Nature writing…that particularly seems to me like the point is immersion itself. How are we so understand the scene if what we get is “The hill was tall and bare.” So the subject matter was interesting, in a fashion, but Dillard’s writing style was rather frustrating for me. 1 of 5 stars.

uglywonderfulthingsAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood (2016, Thomas Dunne Books, 346 pages, digital). YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK. So many feelings! It’s not going to be for everyone, I get that. (There’s a bit of a Lolita angle that could be read in places.) But for me it was one of those magical reads that I couldn’t suck down fast enough. Greenwood created characters so believable and real that I just couldn’t get enough. It read for me as less Lolita and more of a Bone Gap setting, meets Constellation of Vital Phenomena heartbreak and spectacular, detailed characterization, and the survivory feeling of Homecoming. All some of my favorite books, so you can see how this just blew my socks off. My one hang-up was the way the Wavy-and-Kellen drama stalled a bit three-quarters of the way in. There was a lot of the same-old going on, and I needed either a bit to be excised, or some movement added. Kind of like how The Office was at its best when it was a comedy that used all of its talent for a variety of sketches, before it turned into the Jim-and-Pam show, I liked the story so much better when it showed the resourcefulness of Wavy as she faced all of her challenges, before it settled into the Wavy-and-Kellen show. Not that that kept me from reading as fast as I could, delighting in the sense of foreboding that never once left. 5 of 5 stars.

Okay, have I stalled long enough? Will the TOB brackets be posted…? And whose job is it to keep me sane until they do? HALP!

Challenge(s) accepted, 2017.

January 10, 2017

Everyone who knows me knows that the amount of reading I accomplish is directly linked to how healthy and stable my sanity quotient is. Now whether a healthy emotional outlook begets more reading, or more reading time brightens my perspective – that’s a chicken or egg question if ever I heard one! But I can say for sure that they’re related.

As I think about other challenges I have going on in other spheres of my life, and as other friends very purposefully on living better, stronger, healthier lives, I’ve been thinking about how I might be able to harness my reading for good. What reading challenges do I accept for this year? Can they make a difference?

Obviously I think they can. Very simply put, I think reading adventures let us practice our empathy systems, and prepare us for facing in “real” life the same challenges, situations, and characters we meet in the pages of the stories we explore. What we choose to read matters. Because I want as broad an experience as possible so that I can have as close to limitless opportunities to learn and grow as a person, I want to read big-big. I need to be mindful of that. Which is why I’ll be focusing first and foremost on two challenges meant to help me read more diversely. BookRiot’s READ HARDER challenge I’ve talked about before. It’s my third year participating in their challenge, and I love it more and more every year. It’s helped me get my reading diversification up to 25% by people of color, and that’s with an intense mindfulness about what I read; it’s why I go bananas when people say if they’re left to their own devices, they’ll read outside their comfort zone just fine.

I’ve also decided to join the 2017 Diverse Reads Books Challenge. I like that it’s more elastic than a concrete number of challenges offered by READ HARDER, and that it can grow (or shrink) with me as I read more (or less) this year. The trade-off is that I have to define it as I go along, and sometimes I need a little more direction than that if I’m swimming outside my lanes. (For those who think the same way, the co-hosts have posted a monthly theme to help you focus your story searches.) I also like that Diverse Reads asks that you not only consume stories, but review them, as well. If you’re gonna participate, go all out. Don’t “just” read without contributing. Lend your voice to the cause. Give back. And that, for me, is raising a few more questions. What will it mean for me, a CIS-gendered white woman, to review diverse books? Sure I qualify as #ownvoices for some of the categories – chronic illness, mental health – but I can’t say I’ve felt marginalized much in my life, and that makes me very, very privileged. So how do I walk that tightrope? I believe the point is that I try, and I do so very deferentially.

I will continue, though less fervently, my Great Stephen King Re-Read Challenge. I’ve gotten more than halfway through, towards what I think of his modern career (his adult life, when I came into the pack…somewhere around Insomnia) and not quite “post-modern” (when he un-retired). These are the books I’ve usually only read once, so it will be fun to revisit them.

I’ve decided to officially halt my read-through of presidential histories. Presidential history is – for me, right at this moment – incredibly painful and supportive of our most shameful selves. I literally just can’t right now, not when I could be giving my time to causes so much more worthy that need my time and support.

I am already looking forward to repeating #NonFicNov in November, because how else would I round out a reading year that gravitates so naturally towards fiction? All year I hoard non-fiction selections to binge on that month, and it’s a fantastic change of pace.

The last challenge that I’m tossing around possibly joining in a rather half-hearted fashion is the A-Z challenge on Litsy. With everything I have going on, I don’t really need another challenge. I’m like the kid burdened with so many extra-curriculars I’m gonna topple right over! On the other hand…I do read a lot, and so why not see if I can check off one more box? So I think this one might be a “if I get it done, great; if not, meh” kinda deal.

There you go: more challenges than I can shake a stick at! Now’s where I admit to the downside to such directional reading – having all of these challenges makes me want to stack up my reading in a hurry! So many challenges that I need to have more than “just” five books read!

And so off Katie disappeared, white-rabbiting her way through her 2017 reading lists, not to be seen for many, many months…

Another glimmering upside to Life With Tween.

January 9, 2017

The nicest part of living with another grown-up – back when Jeff was living with me, and then when Kim was visiting for three weeks at Christmas – wasn’t just the peace of mind that comes (for anxious-type people) with knowing there’s another grown-up in the house that you can bounce ideas off of, whether it’s a tor:con alert, a dog barking under your window and scaring you witless at 1:30 a.m., or planning out the week. Those were all nice, but they weren’t the nicest part. The very nicest part was getting to go to bed whenever I needed to.

Those who have read the blog for any length of time know about my battle with insomnia. It pairs really well with my anxiety. (Damnit, where’s that sarcasm font?) Before Jeff, I’d hit a brick wall, finally be ready for sleep – invariably at 6:30 p.m. some random evening – and the girls would whine that they didn’t want to go to bed early that night! And, true, as the girls got older and were able to handle 9 p.m. bedtimes, it seemed silly to ask them to shutter themselves in their rooms at 8 p.m. Especially when I couldn’t really let go of my issues long enough to trust them to notice when it was bedtime and turn off their lights. So one of us always ended up mad that they couldn’t get to do what they wanted. And usually that was me, because I’m a good mama.

The first time I hit the brick wall after Jeff moved in, I told the girls I had to go to sleep and I met with the chorus of groans and pleading…and I explained that Jeff was there and they could stay up until they noticed it was bedtime or he reminded them. And cheers went up over the land! I got sleep, they got freedom. It was lovely.

Last night wasn’t exactly one of my infamous brick walls. What happened was that my tween wanted to watch the Golden Globes on the “good” TV in the living room, and my other girl-child rolled her eyes and asked if she could watch “real” TV in the front room. It worked out well. I remembered caring more about awards shows when I was in junior high and high school (at least until I met my crowd in high school that was against such blatant popularity contests) because they were all everyone talked about. I wanted to make that possible for Gracie. At first I imagined sitting in there with her, not caring but working on my cross-stitch quilt, sharing the evening with her at least. I remember my mom doing that for me. But me and live TV, man – it just doesn’t work. After I left and dragged myself back three different times, I gave up the ghost and crawled into my bed to read.

Much to my delight, Bee-girl asked if she could get one of her new books she got for Christmas and come read with me. So we got all pajamafied, grabbed our books, and crawled beneath the covers of my bed. Bee and I read for an hour…and that’s when it happened. My eyes started drifting shut. I fought it as long as I could, but that’s still an hour more reading than I’ve gotten most nights lately! Eventually I reminded Bee that she had to get up early the next day. It was 15 minutes before her “school night” bed time. She needed to brush teeth and start getting ready for bed.

Gracie, on the other hand…that’s where this glimmering upside sort of snuck in. I could have made her shut off the TV. But she rarely asks to stay up, and I really do remember how important staying in touch with such things was for me at that age. I don’t want my kiddos to be odd-man-out at school. So I dangled the carrot of opportunity: I would let Gracie stay up and watch another 30 minutes of the awards, if she promised to put herself to bed at 9:30 p.m. and shut off all the lights.

You would have thought I offered baby girl the moon.

Bee went to bed without complaining (it helped that she really didn’t care about the stupid awards)(and I suspect because she’d just had heaps of one-on-one time with Mama), Gracie swore she’d do what she needed to do, I set the alarm and reminded the Gracie-girl not to let the dog out again…and then I put myself to bed, too. I read for maybe 20 more minutes, but then I was out like a light! When I woke up an hour later, I sat up in bed to see if I could see the lights from the living room peeking under the door – but all was pitch black. I got up to check, just in case. The lights were off, the TV was off (all 37 buttons worth, good gravy is that system complicated) and the thermostat was where it was supposed to be.

All was well.

Gracie-girl keeps growing up; every time I turn around there’s another milestone. I don’t remember when my bed time outpaced my mom’s for the first time, but I certainly remember many nights in high school when she’d wish me a good night and go off to bed, leaving me to shut down the house. Seems like those days are just about here at Casa de Katie, too.

Good god, they grow up fast.

Five for Friday.

January 6, 2017

So today is really Friday, not Thursday. Which I knew, it’s just that I started writing my book review post last night and never finished it. Something is wrong with my Accio energy! spell. Huh. So I pretended for a few minutes that today was Thursday, wrote the rest of my post, published it, and NOW it can be Friday again. Or still. Or, um, whatever.

FRIDAY!

So let’s get back to our previously scheduled programming. Five things!

1 We did not get enough snow or ice or wintry precip of other means to close schools or work or even the roads. Womp wahhhh. (Yes, Rhi, we wore our pajamas backwards and inside out and everything!) There is, however, an overturned tractor trailer that used to be filled with onions that has shut down a major freeway. So I expect attendance to be down a wee bit at work, regardless of the lack of snow.

2 I remain optimistic for snow later on! Even if we don’t get sent home early, it would be nice to get pajamafied and lounge in front of both the TV and the fire. Otherwise I have to listen to my 12-year-old whine about how I wouldn’t let her plan a group date with her boyfriend and her besties for tonight because I thought the roads might be less than optimal. And watching The Shallows just goes better with fire and some popcorn, right? (I’d wonder who would scream more – me or the girls, but we ALL KNOW it will be me!)

3 Bee-girl and I have a nice date set up for ourselves tomorrow. After I drop off my portion of the tween crowd at the mall, she and I are going to have an adventure at the antique mall, and then – if she’s good – stop at DSW for some shoe shopping. I said if she was good, we could fit the shoe shopping in. She countered that if I was good while she shoe shopped, she’d buy me coffee. Clever girl. I expect my excitement at having some one-on-one time with my Bee-girl will evaporate around Hour 4 of shoes. (Happy place:happy place:happy place…)

4 I am reading three very different books right now that are hitting so many different, thrilling, gleeful buttons! Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands – a post-apocalyptic thriller that is intriguing, but hasn’t grabbed me and suck it down (yet), although I’m told it will. Lindy West’s Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman – a series of essays about growing up and into the body and person you’ve always been, in the face of a society that tells you to be ashamed and disgusted by what and who you are. And  Full of Grace, a wicked little romance by Gina Ferris. They’re fun in so many different ways and I love startling my brain between the three when I put one book down and pick another up. Talk about dissonance! Gives me the giggles every time I think about the mash-up possibilities!

5 It’s important to note that from the time I started writing my post until the time it took me to get an entire five bullets in, I have lost all my eye makeup. Or, I’m assuming I’ve lost all my eye makeup. Or soon will. Because holy streaming eyes, Batman! If this means my sinuses are finally draining, I could live with it. The sinus headaches every evening are not my jam. But the constantly streaming eyes and blotting of said eyes with tissues is going to rub my skin raw. It’s a tough, life; I know.

Don’t all be jealous at once – no snow, no eye make-up, no end to the list of reasons I’m a hott mess right now! But it’s Friday and there’s a glorious weekend in my future, and so I shall REJOICE!