Monday, February 25, 2008

For the Writers

Kirk's got this green, 90s-Madchester-parka-lookin' coat. Whenever Mr. b puts it on him he uses his best announcer voice to tell the kitties, "As given to him by Academy Award Nominee Diablo Cody."

Auntie Diablo

He's going to have to revise that statement to, "Academy Award Winner Diablo Cody." Congratulations!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Islands of Thought

I had a hard time figuring out how to categorize For the Time Being by Annie Dillard while I was reading it. I eventually settled on "philosophy". It was an interesting format: each chapter flowed through the same set of topics (birth defects, sand, clouds, ancient China, Jewish theology come to mind) but spent more time on one and less on another and came at each from a different angle than before. I think ultimately I enjoyed the book but it’s not something I would recommend to just any reader. It’s really well suited to someone who is a Searcher. I would have eaten it up while in college when I was actively pursuing knowledge of other religions and belief systems. I’ve since moved away from that mental stance but it still gave me much pause for thought. I liked how she used so many differing methods, from the temporality of clouds to the eternity of sand, to illustrate the infinite and just how minute we really are.

Sand was an important part of Island of the Sequined Love Nun as well but really only because it was set on a small island in the South Pacific. Like the only other Christopher Moore book I’ve read, Fluke, it’s tough to describe. I could say it’s about a fucked up pilot who ends up making good. But that’s like saying Fluke is merely about some whale researchers. Yet if I go beyond either of those summaries, hooboy, spoilers abound. And I wouldn’t want to ruin the zany fun. This guy has a wicked sense of humor and injects fantasy elements in such a way that they are not only completely believable but logical as well. Mr. b’s already read another of his books and I fully intend to as well. I predict we’ll both catch up with his entire oeuvre by year end.

I read Jane Eyre about a year ago at the behest of my aunt. I never did get around to reading The Eyre Affair, but it’s a good thing I did read the original. Book club’s February book is Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. It was really intense. Obviously I knew it wouldn’t end well since it’s the story of the mad woman inhabiting Mr. Rochester’s attic. But it was so evocative and lush. I think I was supposed to end up hating Mr. Rochester but I couldn’t. Antoinette was doomed to be a complete nutter by genetics, circumstance, upbringing, location, everything. Nature plus nuture. It was a good read but I don’t know that I need to see the movie.

My aunt is also determined to get me hooked on Terry Pratchett. She picked out Monstrous Regiment for me at the end of book club last month. I loved it. Totally unlike anything I’ve ever read. Polly cuts off her hair, dresses as a man, and "Oliver" enlists in the last batch of new recruits for a backwards country fighting a pointless and futile war. Hilarity, hijinks, wackiness, and shocking revelations ensue. It was fantastic! I always enjoy stories where having vampires and ogres around is no big deal, they’re just other citizens in that world. And by the end of this book I wanted more. I simply loved the journey, both literal and personal, that Polly went on and I wanted more. I wanted to see what she does next. I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter what order you read his Discworld books in because it’s the rare series that barely links up. That both saddens me that I won’t get a Polly sequel and also excites me that there are so many other books set in that same world. It’s a shame that he won’t be able to write many more.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Status Symposium

Daycare was a half-day on Thursday and I decided to just take the whole day off and spend it with Kirk. Mr. b had taken a random Friday off to hang out with the boy (they went to the Children's Museum) and so I was feeling a bit jealous. Well, maybe that's too strong. I just haven't done any fun Mama and Kirkie outing and I guess I was feeling like I was letting him down. But I couldn't think of anything exciting to do with him. Certainly nothing that could compare to going to the museum and driving by his favorite place in the universe: the Minnesota Capitol. But I wanted to try. I read an article once about a mom taking her son on a mini-vacation just the two of them shortly before she had another kid. And I really like that sentiment but don't think I need to wait until I'm pregnant again to start doing it.

So we took the bus downtown and checked out the new Central Library. I still hadn't been in there since it was finished! There was baby storytime earlier that morning and I knew they had some sort of free-play scheduled in the children's area for a while yet. Kirk was the oldest kid in the storytime room and probably the second oldest in the entire children's section. And the moms of the babies were obviously full-time moms that derive all of their self-worth and identity from being moms. They all hovered over their only children instead of letting them crawl around and explore. Or they held them instead of letting them play with the bin of infant toys. And the discussions were all about what early childhood development class they were taking. Where the best infant yoga offerings are. Various other baby activities offered in the swanky west and south suburbs. It was kind of gross and stereotypical and it made me uncomfortable. And I felt compelled to broadcast that I actually work for a living; seeking out status for practicing baby genius flashcards is not something I'm interested in. And never have been.

The funny thing is that just a few minutes earlier, a couple of women on the bus had been floored at Kirk's language abilities. The one woman said he sounded like her 4-year old grandson and she about keeled over when she heard him rambling on about the capitol. So I don't feel like I'm depriving my son of any education. I think he's learning more by going on outings to places that aren't necessarily part of some approved McMansion curriculum. But I definitely felt out of place and I'll have to keep that in mind next time I want to have a day with my son. And it's always nice to have a reminder that being a stay-at-home is not for me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Darndest Things

  • No Mama. You can't talk me like a person! [I know what he means. It's a proto-"you're not the boss of me" statement. a person? I don't get it!]

  • No, not dang'ous. [This applies to any warning given about anything.]

  • Green grocery store name Rainbow. Red grocery store name Target. Blue grocery store name Walmart. [These color assignments at least make sense by the colors of their names. Mr. b, being a smartass, told Kirk that Walgreens is the purple store. We'll see if that one sticks.]

  • We going to blue library? [I just don't have a clue why the book club library became blue. As far as I can remember he's only been to a different library once - for a grand re-opening party. He was totally traumatized by the giant BurBur and Anna foam headed costumes and Goldy Gopher, who actually pulled his name out for the kid's prize drawing.]

  • [A2] broke Nana's c'ock. [I'm 12. I giggle every time he talks about the broken "c'ock". Nana shouldn't have had that stupid clock sitting so precariously in the first place. But it was hilarious to watch Kirk scolding his cousin after she was already in time-out for being so spastic that she knocked the dang clock off in the first place.

  • We go Cap'tol and see horses and get horses down need ganker and bomp and ride them at Cap'tol. [Your best guess is as good as mine on the whole ganker and bomp deal. He tells this story all the time. Mr. b took him to the state capitol while killing time before my charity choir concert this winter and he became obsessed with getting the gold horse statues down from the top.