Monday, March 13, 2017

five by five

1. Nico had his first school science fair, and it was fun doing a project with him. My mom and I never got the hang of science fairs when I was a kid, and I just love teaching kids scientific method, so this was my jam on so many levels.

His school is also doing a two-week read-a-thon fundraiser right now, which gives us an excuse to let him read lots, and it's great.

I have no idea when or how he learned, but Elliott can write all his letters now, and that is also fabulous. Yesterday he decided to write each member of the family's name on a strip of paper and then tape them up on the fireplace. As much as I sometimes pine for my babies, I adore seeing these new skills blossom in my getting-big boys.

2. One of my favorite signs from the Women's March rings very true lately.

Since February, I've been to three rallies in support of Planned Parenthood, a women's march huddle, and two meetings of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. At the second meeting of the latter, I volunteered to be a presenter of the Be SMART program. I barely even know me anymore. I only decided to offer because the instructor said that a local kids' playgroup / services organization that I've been entwined with personally and professionally since Nico's babyhood has asked for the program, but hasn't had any luck finding anyone to give it. I figure I can give it for them and see how it goes, and decide from there if I want to keep going. I've also committed myself to one year of helping the local Sierra Club chapter try to gain some momentum, and to that end I'm doing online training to become approved as an outings leader. In early May when I'm working 50 hours a week and crying in my Cheerios over my poor life choices, please feel free to remind me that I brought this on myself. Everything seems manageable in early March.

I've also volunteered to be PTA secretary at Nico's school next year. The PTA meetings typically consist of the president, the treasurer, and me, and we're at a point where if no one steps up to take over officer positions, we will have to disband at the end of this school year. I really don't want to see that happen, but I also have the sense to recognize that I have no business offering to be president.

Recently someone on Twitter asked everyone to weigh in on the question if you suddenly didn't need to work for financial reasons, would you keep working? My initial instinct was that I would because I'm really good at my job and I enjoy it and I believe it's important work. But then I started thinking about all the things I could do with my time if I didn't work - lead the PTA or volunteer more or start another troop of Navigator now I don't know. It's just an academic exercise anyway, but for the first time I don't know if I'd keep working or not if I won the Powerball.

3. I got my hair cut a few weeks ago, and it took about four days to decide, but I like the new look. The upkeep is going to be a pain in the ass, however, because my hair grows so fast.

4. My friend Jennie recently recommended the podcast Presidential and I seriously love it. I only ever had the basic bare-bones American history as required by my high school curriculum, and I have always had a bit of a crap memory for names and dates. I'm up to the Ulysses S Grant episode, and now I kind of want to read his memoir. Other podcasts I really like, after years of thinking I wouldn't like podcasts at all since I don't like listening to talk radio: 99% Invisible and Criminal.

5. I just finished Order of the Phoenix and I have Thoughts. If you haven't read it and you don't want spoilers, best stop here.

It's the first of the series that I've only read once before, and I went into it expecting not to like it very much. I recalled being really offended by the Umbridge plot and all the unfairness and Harry's teen angst, and by all the things that could've been avoided if characters just freaking talked to each other. But whether I've been tempered by age or just was in a different mood, I felt much better about it this time around. JKR's writing is pretty stellar in this one, and the deepening of the characters of Dumbledore and McGonagall is just aces. I really like that she chose to shatter the image of James as perfectly heroic. The villains are so well-written, and the heroes are pretty heartbreakingly human. I'm still a little pissed over Sirius dying, and especially the almost throwaway scene in which it happened. I don't remember much from my one read of the final two books, so I'm looking forward to rediscovering how the series is all tied up.

Reading: tomorrow I start Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Playing: Hamilton, my old friend

Sunday, March 05, 2017

I've been down a time or two.

On my 17th birthday, my dad took me to a Clint Black concert. I grew up listening to country music with my dad, so even though I had mostly moved on to rock and metal by then, I was thrilled to go. This past Friday night, we went to see Clint Black again, and I was deeply stunned to do the math and figure out it had been nearly 19 years since our first concert. This has always been my favorite Clint Black song, and I've always agreed with the basic thesis of the song:

Indeed, listening to his old songs in the week before the concert really did bring up a lot of old memory-feelings. The concert was really fantastic, and even ended with the same song as the last one. It occurs to me this is the one downside of mostly listening to really old rock music with my kids - we'll never be able to go to Zeppelin concerts together. Maybe I can start them on Clint Black...surely he'll still be touring in another ten years or so when Nico is 17.

Playing:  Clint Black mixes on youtube, of course

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix