Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reading, Writing, Nuts, & Tomatoes

I have felt, since the Harry Potter party (which went until 2AM because apparently reserving a copy online guarantees you the 1200th place in line), that I should be updating this blog. But I've been busy and life has been dull.

I have, since Independence Day, read 7 full size novels. And they were all great books. So, because I highly recommend them, I will tell you what they were and then you can go right out and buy them and suck them all down in less than a month like I did.

Middlesex; Jeffrey Eugenides
Invisible Prey; John Sandford
Slaughterhouse Five; Kurt Vonnegut
Jennifer Government; Max Barry
A Dirty Job; Christopher Moore
The Stupidest Angel; Christopher Moore
You Suck, A Love Story; Christopher Moore

I bought the first two to read in the waiting room during Tom's vasectomy reversal and then I bought the next three during the FIVE HOUR Harry Potter release party. And I loved, and was inspired by, A Dirty Job so much that I went straight to the local(ish) book store and bought the only two Christopher Moore books they had, which I justify by classifying them as research, since I'm trying to write in a style similar to his.

So that was three weeks of my summer reading. I am such a nerd. But I've started writing. I knew the time was coming; I could feel the story gelling, knew the characters, and finally I began my Great American Novel.

After 3 days I have 4 pages. Which is why I needed the research books. And which is also why I haven't been writing here that much. Between the reading, the writing, Tom's nuts, and Ryan's vegetable stand, I haven't had the time.

Every spring Ryan plants a vegetable garden. And every summer she tries to sell the vegetables to family and friends to get money for the county fair in August. This year she drug a drink cart off the neighbor's curb on garbage day and declared it to be her vegetable stand. She has supplemented the produce with Kool-Aid and so far has made about $50. How am I supposed to teach her not to steal from peoples' garbage when it makes her $50? But it should save me some money at the fair so I'm fine with it.

Oh yeah, and she's declared herself gothic and asked if she could have more skulls on her school clothes this year. Damn you, Abby from NCIS!

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's Gonna Be A Long Night

Last fall, I noticed that Ryan, once an avid reader, was now a television junkie. On weekend nights, when I allowed her to stay up reading and watching TV, she would have the TV on and not a book in sight. Only the summer before, she had devoured 75 Babysitters Club books, so I knew that this was a new thing and that probably I could lure her away from the Food Network and Discovery Channel if only I found the right book. So at the very first opportunity, I went to Walmart and bought the first three Harry Potter books. That afternoon, I handed the brand new paperback copy of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone to her and watched her face fall.

"Mom, that's Harry Potter. It's a boy's book," she told me.

"Just read the back cover for me. Please."

She slumped to the couch, eyes rolling, and fell back into the cushions to read the description. Now this was a kid who watched The Princess Diaries and spent the next week wishing that Julie Andrews would come tell her she was a princess. She watched The Thirteenth Year and wanted to be a mermaid. I was pretty sure that the idea of a normal everyday picked-on kid suddenly being whisked away to an interesting and fantastical world of magic would be one that appealed to her. I was right, and in less than two months I was buying books four and five.

Now I didn't know anything about Harry Potter. I knew there was a kid with glasses who went to magic school and had a lightening bolt scar and a friend with an unpronounceable name. I think I read it as Hermy-own. The only reason I bought those books in the first place was that I was desperate and they were almost guaranteed. Harry Potter was The Book That Every Kid Will Read! I thought all of the books had been written, that I would buy them a couple at a time and she would whiz through the series to it's exciting final conclusion. And I made a deal with her from the beginning, that she could not watch any of the movies until she had finished it's corresponding book. I didn't realize that there were movies still to be made.

Why do I write about my daughter's Harry Potter obsession? Because these last two weeks have been Harry Potter Mania at my house. First the movie, which we didn't attend until the thirteenth due to Tom having surgery on the ninth, and tonight at midnight: book seven. The movie she watched half-folded in her theater seat, dressed in last Halloween's Hermione costume, completely entranced by death eaters and patronuses (patronii?) and CGI effects better (I think) than any Star Wars movie. I spent most of the film staring at her, trying to memorize her reactions. For a couple short hours in the dark she was a little kid again, and not the eye-rolling, sighing, "Whatever"-spouting adolescent she's become, which may account for why I bought her an entire new outfit to wear to the Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows release party tonight.

Hermione has brown hair, and is almost a decade older than Ryan, and until last Friday that had no effect on the pale blond child I live with. But on Friday a new character made the scene: a blond, younger, slightly off-beat and decidedly more amusing character. Luna Lovegood looked a lot more like Ryan, and acted a bit like her too. But the Hermione costume won't work for Luna, because despite Hogwarts being a boarding school with assigned uniforms, the uniform colors have to correspond to a student's house, and Luna and Hermione belong to different houses. So off we went to Kohl's and Walmart, desperately looking for navy blue and silver to replace her red, gray, and gold. I have no idea why one house has more colors than the other but having one less to match didn't help us as much as you'd think. See, Luna accessorizes. Radish earrings (and Ryan let her ears close) and a necklace featuring the cork from a fictional drink. Enter the Sculpey and a wine cork "borrowed" from my mother. Last year's Hermione costume won a costume contest but with this one, I'm just hoping it's not the worst one in the room.

Also, I'm hoping I don't get trampled by hundreds of Weasleys and Potters and Grangers tonight, although I know I probably will. But I can't in good conscience deny her the experience. Some day these midnight Harry Potter parties will turn out to be a universal memory for her generation, like getting a Cabbage Patch doll is for mine. I don't want Ryan to be that humorless bully who never had a Cabbage Patch doll. Although, how will I get her to read once she's done with this series? She's already gone through all the Narnia books just waiting for Deathly Hallows to get published.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And My Name Can Be Myrtle.

In life we grow, we mature, we evolve. And hopefully, we change. We stop being the selfish thoughtless inconsiderate little children we used to be, and we become selfish thoughtless inconsiderate teenagers. Then we turn twenty-one and become barely functioning drunks for a while. And eventually we become adults, and let's all hope we know what we're doing by then. The glory of the internet is that the stupid things we do when we are young can now be recorded and posted for all the world to see. That drunk college guy who passed out and had a dick drawn on his face by his roommates? Well instead of being dusted off to laugh about at class reunions, that horrifying moment is now fresh for millions of people on YouTube.

Luckily, I am just old enough, and technologically retarded enough, that none of my youthful mistakes have been recorded on the internet, except that time I got caught with my head down a mannequin's pants, but still the internet reminds me of the idiot I once was. Reminisce with me, won't you?

I was nineteen and in love. For the record, at nineteen I was a moron. Most people are at that age though, since they think they know everything and therefor are willing to learn nothing. Oh well, whatever the reason I was a class A nincompoop. But I was a nincompoop with a hot girlfriend. Yes I, the quasi-goth geek from high school, had the hot girlfriend. Let's call her, oh I don't know, Evelyn. Well Evelyn was hot. And, unfortunately, in the closet. I finally had the hot girlfriend and she didn't want anyone to know. You can see where this is going can't you?

Yeah, so anyway a lot of people found out about us, and just enough other personal information that it was very apparent that I was the one who had spilled the lesbian beans. And so she tried to kick my ass. And by "tried" I don't mean she landed some good punches but in the end I won. No, by "tried" I mean she was about to knock my head off my shoulders when a friend of mine called the cops. And I never saw Evelyn again. Mostly because she scared the holy fuck out of me and I avoided her, but also because really hot women and I never did run in the same circles to start with. What does all of this have to do with the internet and the mistakes which can haunt us? Well. . .

Evelyn was dating a guy. Let's call him Bruce. And at the time Bruce and Evelyn were quite the item. Except that, in another town and with an entirely different social circle, Evelyn was also dating, hmm let me think, Cosmo. Yeah well, I kinda let that whole triangle thing slip. To a stripper. An out of work stripper but still, strippers apparently aren't paragons of discretion.

Wait a second. If she was dating me, and Bruce, and Cosmo, wouldn't that have made it more of a love pyramid than a triangle, per se?

Where was I? Oh yeah. Evelyn wanted me dead, both guys dumped her (so I heard), and I never again got the hot girl. Any hot girl. Oh, I got girls I thought were hot. My last girlfriend was beautiful. But Evelyn was hot by popular consensus. If a casting director was told to find someone to play "Hot Chick Number One", he'd cast her. I still think of her, sometimes. But no one wants to hear about that. Anyway, here I am some twelve years later, older and wiser and consciously not thinking about all of the many stupid mistakes I have made in my life, when I get a message on MySpace. From Bruce. It says simply, "I know you, don't I?" And deep down, a very large part of me thinks he may kick my ass. After all, he was with Evelyn, cheering her on, when she tried to kick my ass. And again, my use of the word "tried" in no way implies that she couldn't have, easily. So I answered him. I told him that he had known me, once long ago, and then I invited him to please kick my ass from afar because I simply do not have enough time for every person I treated poorly in my youth to take their rightful turn. And then I searched his friends list and I think, based on name and age, that he may still be in touch with Evelyn.

So if I don't post here for a while, and you begin to suspect that something may have happened to me, let it be known that I might have been killed by people whose names do not, in reality, sound anything like Evelyn, Bruce, or Cosmo. Wish me luck, though.

On a lighter note, Tom and I spent a few days in Minnesota getting his nuts hacked into. Big cuts, and bruises in places a man doesn't want to see bruised. Well, bruises in one place a man doesn't want to see bruised. The main place, I would think. But really, as a woman, I don't know anything about nuts. I pretend to, but I don't. To all my male readers, should I have enough to warrant using the plural, I will tell you a secret. There is no one place on the female body comparable to the testicles. We know not to hit them and we know that it hurts really really bad if we do, but we can't empathize. All we know about balls is that they hurt a lot and that they are really fun to watch when they get cold. Have you guys ever really bent down to look at those things? They're amazing! Hold a cold pop can against them for just a second and they're off like it's the Kentucky Derby of balls. They are the only part of the human body to crawl away of their own accord, and we don't have them. I'm jealous. If I had balls I would play with them all day. I would sit at home and play with them all day every day until I starved to death, a skeleton with my balls in my hand. And yet, even knowing this, I still bitch at Tom when he watches TV with his hand in his pants. Go figure.

So, to recap: I fear the ex-boyfriend of my murderous ex-girlfriend, and balls are fun to play with. The End.