Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rolling Interstate 94

We kept it going and are now in a place called Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We're here because this is where my darling sister and her pleasant partner go to graduate school.  Today we'll be touring the place.  I suggested purchasing souvenir t-shirts, but my three staunch Gopher fans strenuously rejected that idea.

In other news, it's Dan's birthday today.  Happy birthday, Pronto!  We plan to be nice to him for most of the day in his honor.

In a third piece of news, I'm reading a biography of Steve Jobs.  I hate to tell you this, but so far it seems pretty clear that Steve Jobs was a pretty big jerk.  He screamed at his employees, stole people's ideas without giving credit, ignored his first child and denied paternity, and had to be assigned to night shifts at Atari because he refused to shower.  I guess, however, that there's a new biography out now that makes him seem wise and team-oriented.  The Apple people like that book better than the first one by Walter Isaacson, which is a major source used by Karen Blumenthal, who wrote the YA version I'm reading.  However, there's also a documentary on the way that confirms Isaacson's findings using actual footage of Jobs being a jerk.  Anyway.  That's all I know.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Status Report

Road Trip: I had this brilliant idea to pack little amusement bags of treats and supplies for each leg of our road trip journey. Sadly, Mac doesn't like Pop Tarts, invisible ink mazes, or Car Bingo ("I'll never see a HORSE!"), so the first bag was kind of a bust. For the record, Dan and I saw a whole field of horses while Mac was busy watching Barnyard. So there.

Thrill Seeking: Exited head first from the toilet bowl water slide. Awkward.

Cultural Sensitivity: "Mom," Shef said on arrival at Kalahari Resort, looking around at faux African masks and animal print tile, "this place is not very culturally sensitive."  It's true, but the Victoria Falls family raft ride is pretty fun.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flip-Flops with Brains

We have an eleven year-old in the house.  And today, we're taking that eleven year-old (and his brother) and heading east on our first real road trip.  First stop, Wisconsin Dells.  Everyone's excited for the steep water slides, even me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


#TwinTuesday falls on Shef's 11th birthday!  That kid is ELEVEN years old!  I mean, it's spectacular.  Even more spectacular than this battery, pencil sharpener combination.  if you've been reading the blog for awhile, you might remember when he was just ONE, and looked like this:

Kid's been a dream the entire time.  Seriously sublime.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


#NovelSnip is a tiny portion of my fiction writing project.  This week I wondered whether I should write an outline of the whole story.  I googled that idea and found out that a good approach could also be, "Don't plan; just write."  I decided to go that route for now because at this juncture, I worry that writing an outline would be a form of procrastination.  Another issue is point of view.  Do I switch off?  Let the narrator be omniscient? It seems like the books I've read recently limit the point of view to one character per scene.  So maybe I should do that?  But I didn't in this scene. So, here it is:

Alice and Ethan slouched on the sofa.  Evelyn and Frank each took an armchair across the coffee table from the children.

“As you know,” Evelyn began.  Alice snuck a sideways glance at Ethan, who was staring at his bare toes.  “Your dad has been looking for a new job.”  Evelyn leaned forward, resting her elbows on her thighs and looking intently first at Alice, and then Ethan.  “The good news is,” she breathed, “he finally found one.  A good one.  One he’s excited about.”  Evelyn paused deliberately between each phrase, and Alice, embarrassingly, fought the urge to giggle.  Frank shifted, crossing his legs.  “The interesting part of the news,” Evelyn continued, “is that the job is in Atlanta, Georgia.”

“Georgia?” Alice repeated.

“Yes,” Evelyn said.  She looked over at her husband who was smiling awkwardly at the ground in front him.  Evelyn inhaled slowly through her nose.  “Your dad will be moving to Atlanta next week.”

Alice felt a swell in her chest and sat up straighter. “Are you getting divorced?” she asked, slightly louder than she meant to.  

“It’s a separation,” Evelyn said definitely.  “We’re going to do some thinking.” Frank’s breathing, Evelyn suddenly noticed, had become audible, inhales and exhales rattling through his nostrils.  His gaze remained on the floor.  Alice and Evelyn looked at him.

“Do you want to add anything, Frank?” Evelyn prompted. Frank shook his head and flicked his eyes up toward Alice for a moment.  She looked away.  “Ethan?” Evelyn continued.  “Do you have any questions?”  Ethan, shook his head and curled his toes. “Okay,” Evelyn said with some finality.  “Let’s -”

“I’m taking the dog,” Frank blurted.
And that's #NovelSnip this week.  There's more.  I've been aiming for high production over lots of editing.  So, don't even worry about it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

It's Spring Break Day 1.  We're starting out with some shirtless oatmeal eating while watching Disney Channel.  Things might get more exciting from here, but if not, I'm totally okay with that.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Status Report

Math: A month or so ago, I got stymied by one of Shef's math problems.  News Flash: Shef is in fifth grade.  So, I got on Khan Academy and re-started fifth grade math.  I'm happy to report that I'm at 60% mastery of the fifth grade math curriculum according to Salman Khan. The website has a way of making me feel accomplished even though I'm doing fifth grade math at age almost-37.  This morning I divided fractions and whole numbers in word problems.

Spring Break: Starts in 10 hours.  Praise the little baby Jesus.

Blue: Mac has decided he likes to dye his hair this color.  I purchased some spray color for him, which we've now used up.  Next, I'm thinking we should try Kool Aid.  Can you paint that stuff on?

Consumerism: Gina posted on Instagram a few weeks ago about a custom planner she purchased from Plum Paper.  A missed meeting or two later, and I was all, I need one of those planners with my name on it.  It will solve all the problems.  It's customized with boxes each day for me, Shef, Mac, my workout, and #NovelSnip.  Organization and accountability in one. It's shipped, so my mega-results should start in April.

Honey: A student brought me a gift just after Valentine's Day. It was clearly a Christmas gift with a Christmas gift bag and a little tag that said, "Happy Holidays!"  I think the kid forgot about it in her locker.  But anyway, it was honey, which I think is probably fine in one's locker for a couple of months.  I ate some this morning on an English muffin.  It's honey with crushed up vanilla beans.  Delish.