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Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

I don’t know how fast you all read. Well, probably you read at varying speeds, since there are more than one of you. I took a reading speed test online, and it said I read about 450 words per minute. I don’t know how accurate this is. I tried to read carefully because I was reading for comprehension as well as speed. I don’t know if I would have had a comparable level of comprehension at a higher speed, and I don’t know if I would have gotten much farther if I hadn’t had mouse and paging-down issues. It doesn’t matter. I decided it would be more useful to look up how fast the average person reads, which is supposedly 250-300 words per minute. I think my gentle readers are above average, so let’s say you read 350-400 words per minute. Then let’s say that you don’t feel like reading very quickly today because if you only read 300 words per minute, I only have to write 1,200 words for today’s entry.

OR–you can set a timer for four minutes and see how far you get.

I was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1971. I moved around a lot as a child because my dad was in and out of school, in and out of the army (he was drafted, but served stateside), and in and out of jobs. And also, we were in and out of houses. I went to four different elementary schools, but only one middle school and one high school, although though my parents didn’t settle in one place until I was about 16. I stopped trying to make friends around age 11, which is interesting, because that’s when I finally stopped switching schools and having to leave people. I socialized with people at school and at church, but I didn’t really have actual friends–like the kind you would have over to your house–again until I was 16. It didn’t have anything to do with my parents buying a house and me feeling like it was safe to put down roots. (Actually, my new home didn’t feel very permanent, as it was a condo and there were seven of us. I got the feeling my parents were trying to squeeze us out.) It just sort of happened, like most friendships do. I’ve not had a lot of experience with friendships that were deliberately cultivated. In my observation, that sort of thing almost never works out.

As I said, there were seven of us. I was the second of five children–four girls and one baby brother. I was five years younger than my older sister and ten years older than my brother; my two younger sisters were pretty close together in age, so I was closer to them. At least we played together the most. I shared a room with each of my siblings at one point–even my brother, when he was a baby. (Not recommended, by the way, putting the baby in with a ten-year-old–he woke me up a lot, and any hope my parents had of letting him cry it out was dashed when I started crying along with him. Poor Mom.) I have fond memories of sharing a room with bythelbs–we laughed a lot. We used to get in trouble for being too loud at night, when everyone else was trying to sleep. I remember one night, Mom had already been in to warn us once or twice, and I didn’t want to get in trouble again, but bythelbs was making me laugh so hard that I couldn’t think of the words we need to be quiet or Mom will come, so I slapped her across the face. That stopped the laughter right quick. (I bet foo4luv is grateful our stint as roommates was less raucous.)

I got an inter-district transfer to finish high school where I started it. I’m not sure if I would have wanted to, had I known that the school district my new home was in only required two years of PE, whereas my high school required three. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t know this, as I did make very good friends my junior and senior years; I stayed in touch with all of them long after high school, but not much in the last ten years. I do still talk to one of them on the phone semi-annually. I used to be a great correspondent. Ironically, this went out the window when we got internet in our home. Sad, but true.

I was a good student, and I graduated somewhere in the top 20 (you know, the part that wasn’t the top 10), but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and the thought of going to school four more years depressed me, so I decided to take a year off and see what happened. I got a temporary secretarial job at a hospital in the instrumentation department. I pretty much hated it. That’s when I decided I should probably go to college after all. I wanted to establish some independence, though, so after my temp job ended, I moved several hundred miles away to live on my own in Portland. It was about 20% fun and 80% lonely and scary. I also had difficulty finding work. I finally got a job at one of those scandalous savings and loans, but after a couple months I was let go and couldn’t find anything else, so I decided to go back home until college started that fall.

I enrolled in a small Baptist college in Virginia because they gave me a scholarship. My family was still in Southern California. One of my professors told me I’d gotten it backwards; I should have grown up in this crappy Virginia town and gone to college in California. I don’t regret my decision, though. I had a great college experience. I was the only Mormon in the place, and that’s the only time in my life I’ve ever been special. I majored in English, which was dumb, but at least I did well. Initially I planned to be a teacher, but that plan didn’t survive the first semester. When it was time to graduate, I still didn’t have a plan, although I toyed with entering a library science program. I ended up going home to California and getting another crappy temp job.

Several crappy temp jobs, actually, but at some point I decided I should get my MFA in creative writing, so I applied to graduate schools, and I got into one back east (although I can’t remember which one) and two in California. I was leaning toward one in Fresno, but at this point I had made a lot of good friends through church, and I was reluctant to pick up and leave again, so I decided to attend one that was closer to home. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to get the classes I needed, so after spending one semester earning 3 credits and facing another semester when I could enroll in 0 credits, I decided it was time to change plans again. When one of my friends asked me to get an apartment with her, I said sure, decided that an MFA was impractical anyway and maybe it was time I became a teacher after all. I got into a certification program at a local college and lasted about two weeks before realizing that there was a reason I’d decided against teaching the first time. That’s when I got a temp job as an editorial assistant at the newspaper.

The temp job turned into a permanent job. My department produced the lifestyle section for three area newspapers; my job was about half administrative and half writing. This was when I finally learned how to talk on the phone, although I never learned to like it. In those days people were very impressed with my organization and efficiency. I was still young and childless then. I met my husband through friends at church, and six months after our first date, we were married. He had just finished his sophomore year of college. A couple months after the wedding, I discovered I was pregnant. In those days doctors were less clear about the effect anti-depressants had on birth control pills. I forgot to mention that I’d been on anti-depressants since my sophomore year of college. So I had Princess Zurg and quit my job, and thus my husband became Sugar Daddy. He worked two jobs while finishing his senior year. I didn’t see much of him until we moved to Oregon and he started graduate school. We lived on his stipend. (It wasn’t pretty.)

We lived in Eugene, Oregon, for nine months, and then SD got a paid internship at the Big Satan, so we moved to Portland for nine months, during which time I had Mister Bubby. The paid internship was a blessing because I didn’t want to say anything, but we were kind of starving. When it was over, we moved back to Eugene and settled in for the long haul, except a year later SD was offered another paid internship in Portland, this time for four months. After that, we came back to Eugene (again) and I had the most miserable pregnancy of my life starring Elvis. This was around the time Princess Zurg was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Shortly after Elvis was born, SD finished his dissertation, got his Ph.D. and was offered a permanent position at the Big Satan, so we moved up to Portland again.

And I’m at 1,500 words and eleven years ago. Suffice it to say, we bought a house six months later, and that’s when we got the internet and I started this blog, so if you want to know the rest of the story, you can consult the archives. Thank you, and goodnight.

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If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

This is another one of those hard questions. It’s like asking me about my regrets. I don’t like to think about my regrets because there’s nothing I can do about my regrets. Regrets make me feel guilty and/or unhappy, and I try to avoid unpleasant emotions whenever possible. Because that is the sort of weakling I am.

I can’t imagine how I should have been raised differently than I was. My parents did all right. They were about the right amount of strict vs. permissive. I think the circumstances under which they were working were fine, too. (I mean, there was indoor plumbing and everything.) I guess I am curious, though, about how I would have turned out if I’d been raised without television.

Actually, our parents tried (briefly) to raise us without television. I mean, my parents had a television, as most folks did by the 1970s, but at some point they were inspired to take the TV away and see what happened. I think maybe our cousins or some friends were TV-free, and my parents thought, “Hey, good idea,” so they decided to give it a whirl. Unfortunately, instead of getting rid of the TV, they just put it out in the garage. And my siblings and I found it and we would plug it in and watch it out there in the cold, huddled up in our blankets. So my parents decided to just bring the TV back inside.

I do have memories of watching TV out in the garage, but I didn’t know until I was much older that this was my parents’ experiment with the TV-free lifestyle. I would mock them for their efforts–if you were serious, why didn’t you just get rid of the TV?–but considering my own experiments with trying to direct my children’s free will, that would be ridiculous. So this is no slight against my parents, and I did turn out non-psychotic, if I do say so myself. But I do wonder occasionally if my desires and aspirations–not to mention my attention span–would have been different had I grown up without TV at all.

It’s not that I watched TV constantly as a kid. I had two siblings very close to my age, so we played together a lot, and unlike a lot of kids, I also enjoyed being by myself. But I did watch quite a bit of television, and the television was almost always on. We didn’t even have cable most of the time I was growing up. We had it for about a year, maybe, when I was 10, but we dropped it when my father lost his job, and we never had it again. We still watched a crapload of TV. I don’t know what would have happened if we’d had the internet in those days. Nothing good, surely.

When my husband and I got married, we lived in an area where we couldn’t get TV reception; you couldn’t watch any TV unless you had cable, and we couldn’t afford cable, so we didn’t watch TV. We had a TV, and a VCR as well, so we could watch movies, which we did most weekends. When Princess Zurg was a toddler, I let her watch Richard Scarry videos and Fantasia. I don’t think we had anything else that was suitable. But by the time Mister Bubby came along, we had a pretty good variety of children’s videos. Back in those days I was very optimistic about limiting the children’s TV time. I started off with a half-hour, but that proved to be too exhausting for me, so I bumped it up to a whole hour. Ninety minutes or two hours, tops, if I was having a hard day. I actually did pretty well most of the time. But it was a daily struggle. Not because the kids demanded TV, but because they demanded me. TV was my respite babysitter.

I would often wonder what caregivers did before there was television, and of course I know what they did–they put the children in play pens and let them cry a lot. I mean, before there was television, housewives had a lot of work to do; they couldn’t be taking all day to bond with their kids and provide them with stimulating activities and also supervise them. I suppose if I had grown up on a farm in another century or something, my character would have been a lot better and I in turn would have done a much better job raising my kids, but it’s too late for that, I guess.

The big problem with television is that it makes people addicted to visual stimulation. So while you’re plunking your kid down in front of the TV because you can’t handle entertaining them all day, you’re just encouraging their habit of being entertained and their need to be entertained. It’s really a horrible, horrible thing, television. If only it weren’t so darn entertaining.

Our family never has had cable, so we’ve never had a constant stream of television programming coming into our house, the way I did when I was growing up. This has given us a little more control over what our kids watch, and it does mean that they watch a little less television than their peers do, but as far as total screen time goes, they still have way too much. In my day (cue Grumpy Old Man voice) we didn’t have video games or the internet, so we just watched TV. Unless there was nothing good on, in which case we did something else. My kids, on the other hand, have way too many choices. If they want to watch a show, they’ve got Netflix and Amazon Instant Video offering hundreds of selections. There’s always something good on, or something good can always be turned on.

But Girlfriend’s the only one who really enjoys watching TV shows. The boys prefer video games and PZ prefers the internet. PZ is on the internet so much, I can hardly use it myself. On the one hand, it’s a problem. On the other hand, it’s one of the few social outlets she has, so who am I to begrudge her? Indeed, the internet is one of the few social outlets I have, so should understand. People often talk about how online life has become a substitute for real life, but what if your real life was non-existent before? I mean, I remember the days before the internet. They were a drag. I don’t blame my mother for watching soap operas. At least that was only two hours a day. (Two and a half hours, I guess, before The Doctors was canceled.)

I’ve gotten a little off track. I meant to talk about how my life would have been different without TV, but I guess I’m afraid to face that alternate universe. Too fraught with regret! That, or years of watching television as a kid and being on the internet as an adult has made it impossible for me to stick to the subject without getting distracted. I guess we’ll never know.

What would you change about the way you were raised?

Did I scare you? You thought I was dead, didn’t you?

Actually, you probably just thought I’d given up on blogging forever (finally), and you were right. Mostly. I mean, I was pretty sure a couple days ago that I would just never post anything on this blog again because, well, look at me. I mean, look at the blog. It’s just sad. It makes me sad to look at it. Why didn’t I find some way to go out with a bang? Probably because I’m not very good at big productions. I’m good at excelling in small, insignificant things. And you just never know when you’ve written your last insignificant thing. But I digress. The point is, I changed my mind. I changed my mind just now, because for some reason I am perpetually signed in to WordPress, so whenever I visit another WordPress blog, I see the header with my username and whether or not people have been commenting and/or following me. I am apparently still getting lots of followers even though I haven’t updated this thing since…well, I guess it was June. Seems like longer. Anyway, that’s not the point. I’m still getting followers, but I’m assuming most of them are spambots because that’s who most of my commenters are. I haven’t investigated this to know for sure because I’d rather maintain the illusion that there’s a possibility at least some of them are actual people. But the comments are getting to me.

It is the best time to make some plans for the future and
it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post
and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting
things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring
to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

I liked it better when I was blogging in obscurity and no one commented. This is like flies laying eggs on your decaying flesh. Gross!

You may have noticed, if you are a blogger that I have historically followed, that in addition to not blogging I am also not commenting on anyone’s blog. This is because I’m also not reading anyone’s blog. This is not because your blog no longer interests me. This is because I am intentionally not paying attention to anyone’s blog because it reminds me that I’ve left my own to die, and that makes me sad. I would be less sad about it if I had replaced blogging with writing in some other form, but I really haven’t written much of anything since the kids got out of school. For one thing, they hog all the computers. For another thing, I’m busy. For the most important thing, I’ve been lazy. How can I be both too busy and too lazy? Well, I’m not simultaneously. I’m alternately too busy and alternately too lazy. And intermittently without a computer because my kids are computer hogs. I can’t seem to convince any of them that this computer is actually mine. It belongs to me. My husband bought it for me with his own money. I’m the one who married him, not them! But they don’t get it.

That’s why I should probably get a job. One of many reasons, but that subject depresses me too.

Anyway, I know this makes me a fair-weather internet-friend. You should see how I’ve been letting stuff go on Facebook too. I’m sort of over feeling guilty about it, though, because really, there are so many ways I’ve failed others in real life (i.e. off the internet) that I just can’t afford to indulge any feelings of remorse over anything anymore.

I might be turning into a sociopath. I understand those are usually born, not made, but I might be the first self-made sociopath. That could be the title of a new blog. “Self-made Sociopath.” I’m considering it. Don’t steal it until I say it’s okay!

When I think about it, there are a great many things I could be blogging about right now. For one thing, I recently got back from my first camping trip in 25 years. Maybe 27 years. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s been 27 years. Maybe 29. All this counting is making me feel old. Anyway, I’m sure you’re dying to know how that went.

Okay, I’ll tell you.

The last time I can remember camping is when my family (all of us except my older sister, who was working that summer) went to the Grand Canyon. That wasn’t the only thing we did that summer. It was just the most noteworthy thing.

I kid you not, one of my kids just came up and asked for the computer. Just now. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? GET A JOB!

Anyway, that summer we went to the Grand Canyon was the summer we trekked all over the Western United States. We started in Southern California, where we lived, drove out to the Grand Canyon, went up through Utah and Idaho, where we saw relatives, across through Washington, where we had more relatives, and down through Oregon, where we had yet more relatives, and back down through California again. While in Utah we visited the Salt Lake Temple. Just the outside, just for a little while. We also might have had relatives in Utah at that time. I can’t remember for sure. What I remember most vividly is driving through Las Vegas around noontime and there were five of us crammed into a Dodge Vista wagon with no air conditioning. This is where my hatred of Las Vegas was born. (My hatred of cars without air conditioning had long been established by then.) It doesn’t seem quite right to me now that we should have been in Las Vegas at all. It’s neither on the way to or the way from the Grand Canyon. But I’m 99% certain this was the same trip because when else would we have been in Las Vegas? We don’t have relatives there. I also remember that we had lunch at an A&W and they served me a root beer in one of those glass mugs, which I reckon they don’t do anymore, but the point I was going to make was that the mug had lipstick on it. I did not wear lipstick. Now that I think on it, it could very well have been an Arctic Circle. We didn’t have either of them in California, but I’m almost certain it was an A&W because of the root beer. I used to drink root beer. I don’t anymore. Not because of the lipstick incident but because I probably drank too many of them when I was younger and now they just taste kind of gross to me, unless they have ice cream in them. But I really do digress this time. How old was I? I want to say 15. I’m 43 now, so that’s 28 years ago. (Gee, one of the few numbers I didn’t guess.) Except for when we stayed with relatives, we were camping.

Camping was what my family did instead of staying in hotels. I can’t recall ever camping in the same place two nights in a row. I don’t think we did. Why would we have? We had places to go–relatives to see, canyons to visit. Anyway, my family camped A LOT when I was growing up, always on the way to someplace else. We never really camped just for the sake of hanging out in nature. It was just that camping was cheaper than a hotel. Don’t get me wrong–my father loved camping. He was a boy scout. He loved the nature. My mother did not so much love it, but she was a good sport and she didn’t like spending money either. (More to the point, she felt guilty about spending money, but that’s another story.) The only time I can remember staying in a hotel when I was growing up was when we moved from Oregon to California and we stayed in a Holiday Inn in the Bay Area, courtesy my father’s new employer. Otherwise, it would never have happened. Let me tell you, the Holiday Inn was my idea of luxury for many years. To this day I have kind of a soft spot in my heart for it, although my last stay at a Holiday Inn Express was less than ideal.

But anyway–yes, camping. We did it every year. Every. Single. Year. The thing I remember most about it was blowing up my own air mattress. These days you have these new-fangled battery-operated pumps to blow up air mattresses. You also have much better air mattresses. Back then it was the kind of air mattresses you float in swimming pools and we had to blow them up with our own breath. You should know that I was well into my thirties before I successfully inflated my first balloon with this method, so you can imagine how much work it was for me, as a mere child (or sullen teenager) to inflate an entire freaking air mattress. Actually, by the time I was a sullen teenager, I had given up on blowing up the air mattress. Actually, it may have been on this Grand Canyon camping trip that I decided I wasn’t going to bother with them anymore BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS SPRANG A LEAK AND I’D WAKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT ON THE HARD GROUND ANYWAY SO WHAT WAS THE POINT. I was also on my period during this camping trip, so that made everything extra-delightful. (I’m sorry if you’re a dude reading this and needed a trigger warning before that sentence, but on the other hand, maybe you should just grow up. I’m the one who really suffered.)

So that is my prior camping experience, in a nutshell. Now a foundation has been laid so that I can tell you how I, a grown woman of 43, got suckered into making a camping trip–a four-day camping trip–and how that went. Stay tuned, gentle readers. Same bat time, same bat channel.*

*Same bat channel. I can’t promise the bat time. Heck, I can’t even guarantee that I’ll update in less than a month. But I will. I promise!**

**A promise is not the same as a guarantee. Promises are frequently broken. You never hear about a broken guarantee. Probably some legal thing.

I’ve had this song on my mind all morning because I’m getting my piano tuned today.

watch?v=olkt2VpUaTc

It’s a new guy tuning the piano. I had a piano tuner I’d been using for about…I dunno. Several years, let’s say. He was a good piano tuner–good work, affordable rates, nice guy–but he wasn’t very professional. Like, he wouldn’t always return phone calls. He didn’t always remember you had an appointment. He was always late, usually by at least an hour. I’ve been threatening to replace him for a long time. Not to his face or anything because I’m too passive-aggressive for that. But behind his back I’ve been threatening to replace him, because seriously, is it too much to ask that you come on time? Or that you come? Anyway. The reason I’ve never replaced him is that replacing him would mean finding a new piano tuner, and you know how I am about change. I mean, if you didn’t before, you certainly do now, don’t you?

The piano was due for a re-tuning in July. The old piano tuner was very good about sending reminder post cards about when the piano needed to be tuned. He was not good about returning my phone call so I could make an appointment, and I guess this time that was the last straw. Yeah, I was so morally affronted that I spent the next three months thinking, “Dude, I really need to find another piano tuner.” Finally, my husband brought home an ad on a little yellow piece of paper that said “PIANO TUNING & REPAIR” and a phone number, and well, it was only another two weeks after that that I actually called the number and set up the appointment. And here he is now. Not on this blog, but in my living room tuning my piano, even as I type. The appointment was 9:00, and guess when he showed up? Nine o’clock. Needless to say, I love him already.

I do feel a little guilty, though. Like I’m betraying my old piano tuner. I know! What’s the matter with me? I don’t know. I’ve just had this anxious feeling the whole time the new guy’s been here, like the old piano tuner is going to drive by my house (because he just happens to be in the neighborhood), look into my living room and see that I’m having someone else tune my piano. And he’s going to think, “Gosh, if responsiveness and promptness were so important to her, why didn’t she just tell me I should return her phone calls and get there on time? I’m not an unreasonable guy! Is it my fault she’s a lousy communicator? Am I supposed to read her mind?” Stuff like that. Intellectually, I think I’m totally justified in my behavior, from a capitalist point of view. Emotionally, I feel unreasonably responsible for the man’s livelihood. (He has six kids!)

On the other hand, I don’t know how many kids this new guy has. He hasn’t spoken much since he got here. He’s been too busy tuning my piano.

Tangentially-related and somewhat-creepy aside: Does anyone else think “tuning my piano” sounds like a euphemism? It’s not. He’s literally tuning my piano. My literal piano. Nothing weird.

Back to the subject at hand, though. Well, I suppose there’s nothing else to say. I’m just waiting for the piano to be tuned and for him to tell me what the damage is. My piano is super-old. It was my grandmother’s, and it was old when she got it, back in the 1940s, or whenever. I think it’s probably almost a hundred years old. It’s an enormous upright grand. Extremely heavy. It’s been through a lot of abuse. For one thing, it’s the piano I learned to play on, and I broke a lot of its hammers during my temperamental-artist phase. Also, about 35 years ago it fell off the back of a truck and bounced down a hill before splattering all over the street. My father had to piece it back together. I’ve told this story before, I’m sure. He pieced it back together, and it was still in tune. It was a miracle! You see why I have to hold on to it even though it’s in terrible shape. It’s like my lucky piano. I can’t connect it with any particular good luck that I’ve personally experienced, but you don’t take a piano that’s miraculously survived a bouncing-and-splattering accident and just…get rid of it. It would be like taking an old person who’d survived six wars and three kinds of cancer and smothering their face with a pillow at night just because they were getting cranky. It’s just wrong.

I do wish I’d taken better care of it over the years. Just like I wish I hadn’t broken my grandmother’s arms during my temperamental-artist phase. (I’m totally kidding. I never broke my grandmother’s arms! Or anyone’s arms. Honest.)

The new piano tuner is discovering the hopelessness of the upper register. This part is never pretty.

DRAMATIC UPDATE: The new piano tuner has finished tuning the piano, and he charged me $15 less than the old piano tuner. AND he said it shouldn’t need to be tuned again for another nine months, and he will call me then so I “don’t have to worry about remembering.” Did I mention I love this guy?

I’m feeling a little less guilty about loving him, anyway.

I’ve had this song on my mind for the last 24 hours. I heard it for the first time a couple weeks ago, on my way to my orthodontist appointment. The radio station was having one of those contests where they play a snippet of a song and if you know what the song is based on that little snippet, then you win. Anyway, I would not have won because I’d never heard this song before in my life. And I like to think I know a lot of obscure ’80s music. A humbling experience, to be sure.

“If I Had a Rocket Launcher” by Bruce Cockburn

Nor had I ever heard of Bruce Cockburn. Apparently he’s Canadian. Maybe he’s big in Canada. I don’t know. I apologize for my ignorance if he’s, like, Canada’s most beloved musical superstar. No insult to Canada intended! It’s a good song. I was almost late for my orthodontist appointment because I was just sitting in my car in the parking lot listening to it, mostly out of curiosity. Because how does a song called “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” not make you curious? But I wasn’t late. Everything turned out fine. Happy ending for me–unlike the poor folks in this song, which was inspired by Mr. Cockburn’s visits to Guatemalan refugee camps.

So, yeah, I’ve been randomly singing about having a rocket launcher since yesterday and thinking, you know, there just aren’t a lot of songs about rocket launchers, hypothetical or otherwise. It does remind me of other songs about rockets.

Like this one.

“Rocket Man” by Elton John


I’m not sure how I feel about this song. I’m not going to hear it on the radio and cry, “‘Rocket Man’! All right!” and crank it up and sing along. But it’s still a good song. Makes one reminisce about the days when Elton John’s music wasn’t crap. My favorite part has always been the second verse: Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids/In fact it’s cold as hell/And there’s no one there to raise them/If you did. Because it’s true–Mars sounds cool, but no one ever thinks about the children.

While I was in college they (of the mysterious “Them”) released an album of Elton John songs covered by other artists, and “Rocket Man” was done by Kate Bush. I thought it would be great because I’m a Kate Bush fan and this seemed like the perfect song for her, but her version was actually pretty boring, I thought. Not much pizzazz at all. Unlike this song by her, which I think is really cool. It features David Gilmour on guitar, if that’s any inducement to listen. If you don’t know who David Gilmour is, then I suppose it isn’t any inducement at all.

“Rocket’s Tail” by Kate Bush


So I was wondering what other songs I knew about rockets, and I was reminded of this song, which I guess isn’t technically about a rocket but about rocketing, since “rocket” is used as a verb.

“Rocket 2 U” by The Jets

Ever wonder what he means by “rocket” in this context? Yeah, me neither. Never been a big fan of this song, although the video is delightfully eighty-licious. Pure trivia moment: The Jets were a bunch of Mormon kids. Which is the sort of factoid that makes you go, “Huh.” Anyway, this is where my Mormon-ness pays its Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-esque dividends because back before I got married, my (Mormon) roommate’s (Mormon) boyfriend was roommates with one of those (Mormon) guys from the Jets. I don’t know which one. I wasn’t a big Jets aficionado, so I didn’t didn’t know the difference between one and another and didn’t really care. I never actually had occasion to meet him. It was just another factoid that made me go, “Huh.” For what it’s worth, I think he was supposed to be a nice guy. But they were probably all nice. I mean, they certainly seem wholesome enough (all talk of “rocketing” that they can do “all night” notwithstanding).

But thinking about the act of “rocketing” reminded me of this song by Bob Geldof, his first musical venture after Live Aid, not remotely related to Africa.

“Love Like a Rocket” by Bob Geldof

While watching this video, two things came to mind. Actually, three things.

1. Could it be any more obvious that they’re miming?
2. Bob Geldof looks uncomfortable.
3. This isn’t that great a song.

Which last thing is interesting because I remembered liking it back in the day. Maybe I just wanted to like it because I felt Bob Geldof had earned the right to some non-humanitarian success. And what has become of Bob Geldof these days? I was about to look him up, but then I thought it would probably be a better idea to find out what’s become of Ethiopia.

The comments section is open for your comments about songs about rockets.

And I’m writing this very special blog post, just for her (in case I forget to call her later)!  Ha ha, like I could ever forget to do something as important as calling my sister on her birthday (especially after I wrote this very special blog about it)!

Actually, I’m pretty bad at remembering to call people on their birthdays.  You might have noticed, if you’re related to me, that I forget it frequently.  And don’t even send a card.  Because I’m a terrible human being.  This self-flagellation is meant as a belated birthday gift to everyone I’ve accidentally slighted.  Except Bythelbs, for whom it is meant to be a timely birthday gift.  Because today is her birthday!  This very day!

I won’t tell you how old she is, except to say that she’s younger than I am.  Also, I can’t remember.  Just kidding!  That was a joke–like, I can’t remember because I’m so old, unlike her.

Random Number of Fun Facts about Bythelbs, Which Number Has Nothing To Do with Her Age

1. She was my favorite pen pal when we were in college.  She was at BYU, I was at a small Baptist school in Virginia, and I always looked forward to getting her letters in the mail because they were so funny.  This was before e-mail killed the letter-writing tradition.  We wrote each other long letters.  I’m not sure how I managed to write so many pages about my incredibly boring life–well, actually, I do know how I do it.  It’s the same way I write this blog.  I guess I’m not sure how I managed to write so many pages longhand without getting a cramp.  I was addressing Christmas cards last night and I woke up this morning with a really sore arm.  Clearly I had not used those muscles in quite some time.  But here I am making this all about me.  Expect more of that, probably.

2.  I was really sad when she got engaged–not because she was getting married before I was (I kind of expected her to do that), but because I was afraid that everything would change and we wouldn’t be as close anymore.  Actually, what happened is that she got married, we still wrote each other letters, but when we both started having kids, we did drift apart somewhat.  Partly because I became very bad at calling people on their birthdays.  Or ever.

3.  My blog used to be a complete secret from everyone except my husband, until circumstances conspired to allow Bythelbs to discover it quite by accident.  I won’t lie to you, kids.  When she told me she’d found my blog, I was like, “Oh…[crap].”  Let’s just say it could have been ugly.  But instead it brought us close together again because once she’d read my blog–psh, what was left to hide from her?  I even convinced her to start her own blog.  (And by “convinced” I mean “said, ‘that’s a great idea!’ when she brought it up all on her own.”)  Initially I tried to direct some traffic her way–you know, to be the supportive sister–but since I didn’t have much traffic coming my way, there wasn’t much to direct anywhere else.  In the end, I think I got about ten times more readers from her than she ever did from me.  (And by that I mean I think I got about ten readers from her.  Which more than doubled my total readership.  So that was awesome.)

4.  She has always been the funniest person I know.  I don’t know how many people get to see her hilarious side in real life, but she has always been able to make me laugh.  During times of my life that were incredibly difficult and dark, she would call just to check up on me and sooner or later I would be cracking up.  (In the sense of laughing, not of having a nervous breakdown.)  She doesn’t even mean to make me do it, she just does.  (And by that I do not mean that I laugh at her…although sometimes I guess technically it is laughing at her…but fortunately she has a good sense of humor about it!)

So–happy birthday, Bythelbs!  I hope you’re celebrating in style (though how you will top this Very Special Blog Post, I do not know).

And by that I mean “I hope a cop comes to bust up your party and ends up singing and dancing (not in a creepy way, like a stripper, but just like in this video).”

I know you have all been anxiously awaiting the correct answers to my One Truth, One Outright Lie and One Half-Truth That Might As Well Be a Lie, Etc. game that I posted on Friday.  I don’t usually blog on the weekend, but I already blogged on Saturday because it was Elvis’s birthday, and I read somewhere that April is supposed to be Blog Every Day month or something–which I don’t think I can do, but since I’m already two for two, I may as well try to see how long I last.  So without further ado, since I have something to blog about, here is the Complete Truth:

Statement #1:  I have never had a speeding ticket, or any other kind of traffic ticket.

True. I have sped, I have moved in a violating manner, but I have never had the misfortune to do these things in front of police officers.  At least not any who were paying attention, I guess.  I try very hard to drive carefully, and particularly not to speed–which is difficult when I’m always late for everything–but I admit that this is one area of life in which I am mostly just lucky.

I have gotten a lot of parking tickets, but parking isn’t traffic and therefore doesn’t count.  Actually, it doesn’t count because you usually get a parking ticket when you are not in your car and the cop therefore can’t ask for your license and registration or any of that other scary cop stuff that they do.  I was once stopped by a cop because one of my rear tail lights was out, but he didn’t give me a ticket.  So that also doesn’t count.

Statement #2:  I have never seen an R-rated movie.

Outright lie. I’ve seen lots.  I just haven’t seen any in the last fifteen years, which is why you don’t see me discussing movies on the blog, because I just don’t see that many.  It’s why I don’t know who any of the movie stars are anymore, because I don’t watch movies anymore.  I used to watch a lot of movies, most of which were R-rated, because most movies made for adults are R-rated.  But now I only go to the theater if I’m taking the kids to see a movie, or if there’s a Harry Potter movie out, or if there’s a super-phenomenal PG-13-rated action movie out that my husband cannot resist.  I used to pay attention to the movies that were coming out, even if I knew I wasn’t going to see any of them, but I stopped doing that a few years ago, too, because I realized it was like reading articles about food I would never get to eat.  Not enjoyable.

The plus side about not seeing many movies is that the movies I do watch tend to be really good.  For example, in 2010 I saw Inception and Toy Story 3.  Both really good movies.  I daresay I liked them more than most other people liked them because, well, they were the only movies I saw.  Oh, wait.  There was also the Harry Potter movie.  Did I manage to see that in December, or did I wait until January?  Would it still have been in the theaters in January?  Doesn’t matter.  I saw that one, too, and I liked it, although it was not as awesome as Inception.  (Or Toy Story 3.)

At home we mostly watch TV shows on DVD or Netflix, not movies.  However, I do have a copy of The Social Network lying on my entertainment center.  I got it from Netflix before spring break, but the husband and I haven’t had opportunity to watch it yet.  First we had all this company, then we had a date night where we shopped for washers and dryers, then Girlfriend went to the ER, then it was the work week and since we can’t get all the kids in bed until 9-9:30, we can’t start watching a movie until almost 10-10:30, and that’s just too late to start.  Then there was Elvis’s birthday party, then there was some other crap and we were all tired…and this weekend my mother-in-law will be here for Elvis’s baptism, so I guess the target date for actually watching The Social Network is now April 15–unless something comes up.  See, this is why we watch TV shows, which are only 22 or 42 minutes long.  Movies are such a commitment.

And for the record, although I am a big fan of serial-killer books, I do not like slasher movies.  I saw a few in my misspent youth, but they weren’t really my thing.  It is easier for me to read about psycho killers than to watch psycho killers in action.  Having all that blood and guts up in my face is too much.  Having a picture painted in your mind is much gentler than having a picture painted on your eyeballs.

And note to OBL:  I actually haven’t seen There Will Be Blood.  I only know about the milkshake scene.  There are certain aspects of pop culture even I cannot escape.

Statement #3:  I went on my first date at age 20.

Half-Truth, or At Least I Have Chosen To Designate It Half Truth.  I went to my senior prom when I was 17, but my “date” was a friend who only asked me because his girlfriend’s parents didn’t like him and wouldn’t let him take her to prom, so I really didn’t feel like that counted, so far as “dates” are concerned.  I don’t think my standard for a “date” is too high.  While commiserating with other 17-year-olds who didn’t date, I learned that none of them considered prom a real “date,” either–more like a “rite of passage that formally required a companion, traditionally of the opposite sex (but hey, not necessarily).”

So if you don’t count my senior prom–which I don’t, and I’m pretty sure my “date” didn’t either, which is another argument for not counting it–my first date was with a cat who would later end up a contestant of some ignominy on the TV show Love Connection with Chuck Woolery.  (Call it his fifteen minutes of infamy.)  He was a friend of my older sister, who for reasons I have never ascertained, thought it would be okay if she gave this man I had never met my phone number.  Because he was sister’s friend and also because I am a girl who can’t say no, I agreed to go on a date with him.

I want to attempt to describe this gentleman to you, but I don’t know if I can do him justice.  He was a friendly guy, he liked to joke around, but his sense of humor was not always completely appropriate.  For example, he told me on the phone to dress casually for the occasion, but that he insisted on deodorant.  Okay, fair enough.  He took me out to dinner for Italian food, and the food was very good.  He purposely ordered a whole lot of it so he’d have leftovers for the rest of the week.  At least that is what he told me.  (He was a man of size.  Not obese, really–more like a former football player who had let himself go.)  Afterward he drove us down to the Griffith Observatory to see the laser light show or whatever it was, and we got there and walked all the way up the hill only to find out that it was closed.  So then he took me home.  I don’t think I was his type, which was fine, because he wasn’t mine, either, but it wasn’t a terrible experience or anything.  That would be my second date, with someone else,  a few months later.  That was the date that made me decide that dating was vastly, vastly overrated.  By the I was 25, I was resigned to a lifetime of celibacy, but that decision was more a journey of discovery and not really precipitated by any one event.

I like the story of my first date because of the Love Connection angle.  As I have already said, this gentleman and I did not have a love connection, and alas, he was not destined to find one on the show of that name, either.  I’m pretty sure I have a videotape of his appearance on Love Connection because my sister taped it, and I used to show it at my friends’ bridal showers to give them an idea of what they were missing out on.  (Select line:  “I’m really looking for a girl who’s willing to shave my back for me.”)  If I were the kind of person who enjoyed publicly humiliating another human being on the internet, I would dig up the video, have it converted to digital and post it right here so you can see with your own eyes what words could never adequately convey.  But since I’m the kind of person who only used to enjoy ridiculing another person at private parties among friends and that only because her bitterness over never having made a love connection of her own prevented her from seeing the full moral import of her actions, I am just going to ask you to take my word for it.  (Or alternatively, you could come visit me at my house and I’ll show you the video then.)

I always say my husband was the smartest, handsomest and most charming man I had ever dated, and there is nothing half-true about that.

This concludes our game.  Congratulations to all the winners (which was most of you)!

.

Official Winners’ List:

turningreen

ordinarybutloud (second attempt)

Cheryl

E

OBL‘s post on rejection has me strolling down Unpleasant Memory Lane this morning.  Well, really only Relatively-Unpleasant Memory Lane.  Truly-Horribly-Unpleasant Memory Lane still has blocked access, complete with police cars.  I don’t go anywhere near there because I’m scared of the police.  I could tell you why, but the reasons are located beyond the road block, and did I mention that police are scary?  So let’s talk about the thing I was going to talk about in the first place, which is tangentially related to rejection, and may in fact end up being entirely about rejection after all, for all I know.  I’m just getting started here.

When I was getting ready to graduate from college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I knew that I would very soon have a bachelor’s degree in English, which would be worth exactly nothing in the marketplace.  I knew that I did not want to teach.  I had already decided that in the first year of college.  Unfortunately, I did not also decide at that time to change my major to something useful.  Call it immaturity.  I didn’t particularly want to go to graduate school because I was pretty tired of writing papers, but I was willing to go to graduate school and write papers if it meant I could get an actual job afterward that wasn’t teaching.  Except what would that be?  I didn’t know.  I briefly considered getting a master’s degree in library science.  Because I liked libraries, I figured it wouldn’t be too odious to spend the rest of my life working in one.  My research into this option was not encouraging.  Evidence seemed to indicate that librarians were actually going the way of the dinosaur–because of computers or whatever, I don’t remember–as were library science programs.  I don’t know if that was actually the trend or not.  Here it is, seventeen years later, and it appears that there are still librarians and library science programs, but I don’t know if I would have been able to get a job as a librarian or not.  I have a friend with a master’s degree in library science who has a terrible job that she hates, but I don’t know what that indicates about the field of library science in general.  Probably nothing.  The point is that I decided not to become a librarian.  And then I was fresh out of ideas again.  So I just slouched toward graduation and figured I would deal with reality later.

That is actually a disturbing pattern in my life.  But I digress.  Or do I?  It’s hard to tell at this juncture.  Let’s continue.

So I graduated and went back home with my useless degree, and I got on with a temp service because temping was something I had experience in.  I got a job typing, which was awesome because I loved to type.  Always have, still do.  I’m good at it.  I like doing things I’m good at.  However, I still harbored ambitions to do something more than type.  My creative writing professor had suggested to me, while I was still in college, that I get a MFA in creative writing.  She seemed to think that I was talented, which I appreciated, but I considered it an impractical thing, and I had done enough impractical things by spending my parents’ hard-earned money on a private college where I majored in English with no intention to teach.  However, after a few months of living with my parents, who were kind enough not to charge me rent even though they probably should have, I had managed to save quite a bit of my own money, and I decided that as long as I was single (and had no family to support) and generally useless anyway (aside from my awesome typing abilities), I may as well go to graduate school and get a MFA in creative writing because if you can’t do that sort of thing when you’re single and not planning to ever have a family that you will need to support someday, when can you do it?  So I started applying to graduate schools.

I can’t remember all of the schools I applied to–it was fewer than six, more than three–but most of them were east of the Mississippi because those were the schools my former professor was familiar with and recommended to me.  I got into all of the schools I applied to.  This is where the memories get jumbled up.  I don’t remember the timeline very well, but I will tell you what ended up happening:  I decided it would be cheaper and therefore more practical (ha!) if I went to a school close to home, so I ended up choosing an inferior writing program at a nearby Cal State school.  The Cal State system is fine for a lot of things, but there are certain schools within the system that are designed for people who don’t mind taking seventeen years to graduate because that is how long it takes to get all of the classes that are required for your degree.  My first semester, I was able to get one class.  My second semester, I was unable to get any classes.  This was when I said, “Screw it, this is the opposite of practical,” and decided I would need to apply to another program, farther away from home.

I got into that program.  It was my plan to go there.  Then my mother got diagnosed with cancer, and I had made all these really good friends that I didn’t particularly want to leave–in short, I was happy where I was, from a personal standpoint.  I decided that the personal was what really mattered, after all, and how practical was it to get a MFA in creative writing, anyway?  Yes, I was back to that again.  I started thinking that I should probably aim to be more useful.  I was starting to get grandiose ideas about my potential for usefulness–probably because I had recently become much more religious, and this was an effect that my religiosity had on me:  a sincere desire to be useful to others.  So I did the thing I had previously sworn I would not do:  I decided I should become a teacher.  Because say what you will about teachers, but when they’re doing their jobs correctly, they are certainly useful.  Even if they are teaching English.

This is where the story becomes laughably hilarious to me in retrospect.  I’m sorry if it isn’t as entertaining for you.  But whatever.  I moved out of my parents’ house, got an apartment with one of my friends, and entered a teacher credentialing program at a very nearby university, one that was not Cal State and would let me take more than one class per calendar year.  That part was awesome.  The problem was that, regardless of my new-found religiosity, a desire to be useful could only take me so far.  To successfully complete a teaching credential and become a teacher, I would have to actually have some aptitude for teaching–which, it didn’t take me long to discover, was simply not the case with me.  I liked the idea of teaching, but it only took me three weeks of education classes to discover that loving something in the abstract would not be enough.  I hated doing lesson plans.  I hated everything.  I was reasonably certain I would hate the students, too, once I got into the classroom, but fortunately I had enough sense to withdraw from the program before it came to that.  To give you an idea of how bad a teacher I would have been, my adviser completely supported my decision and helped me get a partial refund on my tuition.  So that was awesome.

Unfortunately, that left me unemployed and without a plan, which was the very situation I was trying to avoid.  So I continued temping, only now I was depressed, and not just because my mother was dying.  I still held out hope for my mother; I didn’t have much hope for myself.

So what did I do?  I decided to apply to yet another graduate program in creative writing, because that was really what I wanted to do, even if it wasn’t useful, and I applied to a program that was close to home and also not in the Cal State system and also happened to have some measure of prestige–I believe it was “up and coming,” at least at the time.  This meant that it would be competitive, but I had never been rejected by a college or university before, so I believed my chances were at least pretty good.

Shortly after dropping out of the teaching program, I got a job at a newspaper.  That would have been October, probably.  In November I went on my first date with Sugar Daddy.  In January my mother died and I got engaged, in that order.  Sometime before I got married in May, I got the rejection letter from the creative writing program.  I did not appreciate that.  My husband said it was probably just as well, since he didn’t think it would have worked out anyway, me going to school and working and being married and crap.  I did not appreciate that either.  But to comment further would require busting through the metaphorical road block with police cars that I mentioned earlier, and I’m already at 1,563 words and counting.  I don’t think we can go there today.

What I was going to get at with this long and only-interesting-to-me story is that I have often wondered how my life would have turned out if I cared a little less about being practical and had pursued the MFA straight out of college, or if I had not cared so much about staying close to home and saving money or whatever and had attended one of the other schools.  Assuming I did not end up dropping out–which is not an outlandish assumption, given that I managed to complete four years of college without ever dropping out, so it’s not like I’m congenitally predisposed to quitting school or anything, jeez–what would I have gained?  Everything would have been different.  I would never have met my husband.  I may not have met anybody.  I might still be single and useless today–only with a master’s degree.  I would not be the person that I am now.  But who would I have been?  Would I have been better?  Would I have been happy, not knowing what I was missing?

It’s impossible to know.  So technically, there’s no point in wondering.  But I still sometimes do.

My younger sisters used to say that. Or one of them did. Apparently at their (her?) elementary school, Tuesday was the day you stepped on people’s toes or something. That’s all I remember. I know you’re reading, younger sisters, so you can tell me all about this, if you remember–which I’m sure you do, because if it’s in my consciousness after all these years because of you, surely it must be something significant for you as well–oh, wait…

Anyway, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Tuesday. That it’s Toes Day, even though no one ever stepped on my toes just because it was a Tuesday. This is because I’ve never told my husband or my children about Tuesday being Toes Day. You realize that my life is about to change now, because of this blog–because I have chosen to share this heretofore-private stroll down Memory Lane. I did it for you, gentle readers. Yeah, I know you didn’t ask me to, and maybe if you had known beforehand, you would have stopped me, but I’m a loose cannon, kids. I can’t be controlled.

The other thing I think when I think of Tuesday is that we’re gonna have a special guest.

Did any of you watch the Mickey Mouse Club when you were kids? Old-school Mickey Mouse Club rocked. The new Mickey Mouse club was for posers. I really admired Annette Funicello, back in the day. I kind of wanted to be her, but not really because deep inside I knew I’d never be that high-class.

Anyway, I sing this song on a regular basis. Practically every Tuesday. My kids have never understood it, but they don’t understand most of what I do, especially the singing parts.  Occasionally they say, “What the heck are you talking/singing about?” but most of the time they try to ignore me.

All of this is to say that today is Tuesday, I have nothing much to blog about, and it’s probably a good thing because I don’t really have time to blog, being that we have several special guests in the house–namely, my husband’s family.  Like, all of them.  Well, actually the Chicago branch has left, but we still have the Los Angeles and Hiroshima branches here, so I’m kind of pre-occupied with relative-related things.  I even canceled the housekeepers; that’s how pre-occupied I am.  Of course, I cleaned the house myself before they came.  I may even have done a better job of it than the housekeepers would have (except I didn’t really mop the kitchen floor, just spot-cleaned it, and I didn’t actually clean the shower or bathtub, only the toilets and counters, so okay, I didn’t actually do a better job than they would have, but I did clean my kitchen table, kitchen chairs, and kitchen walls, which they never do–and I never do–so it seemed impressive at the time), but of course that’s all undone now, but whatever.  The kids are all off school this week because it’s spring break, and there’s no good time for the housekeepers to come, no, not even at 8:30 in the morning, so I canceled them.  And now I’ve used up all my blogging time to tell you that, and there isn’t time for me to tell you about all the other stuff I don’t have time for.  I’m just going to quit before you stop believing that my relatives are really here.

I’ll talk to you gentle readers later.  Ciao.

What shall I regale you with today, mes amis?  Do you know that I took two whole weeks of French in college?  That would be four whole classes, I believe.  Wait.  Maybe it was only a week and a half of French, which would make it three whole classes.  Well, whatever.  Do you know what I remember from French class?  “Enchantee.”  “Enchantee.” And spelling my name, which has a lot of E’s in it.  I could never say “E” right in French.  That was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.  If only I could have spelled someone else’s name, perhaps I would be reading Zola in his original language today, n’est-ce pas? But that is water under the bridge.

Yesterday, quite suddenly and out of nowhere, I noticed that my teeth were not hurting.  This morning I ate shredded wheat for breakfast.  It was all right.  I think that later today I may try biting into something with my front teeth.  Not like a steak or anything crazy like that, but maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I am feeling that confident.

I also seem to be building up callouses on the inside of my mouth, which is another sign of progress.

I talked to my father on the phone last night.  It was his birthday, and I like to talk on the phone with him for his birthday because I never remember to send a card, let alone a gift.  My father is hard to shop for, anyway.  He’s at that stage of life where everything he wants he’s already bought for himself.  That means that if I want to give him something he doesn’t already have, I have to a) spend more money than I have, or b) put more thought, time and effort into his gift than I can afford.  Fortunately, my father isn’t one of those people who makes a point of remembering whether or not you gave him a gift for his birthday.  At least he’s never acted like he cared.  Maybe that’s the problem.  He should have pretended to care, if only so I would have been trained to acknowledge his birthday in a more meaningful way.  Do you like the way I turned this into his problem instead of mine?  Clever. Anyway, I talked with him on the phone.  He said he had a good birthday.  So he didn’t need a dumb gift from me after all!  I think I will hang my Daughter Of The Year plaque in the bathroom.

Also last night, I dropped Princess Zurg off at the roller rink for a church activity.  She had been undecided about whether or not to go, since she hasn’t historically enjoyed skating and doesn’t enjoy falling down and, in her words, is “sort of clumsy.”  But she decided to give it a go, anyway, because maybe she might have fun this time.  I was proud of her for being open to new versions of old experiences.  Anyway, it was a weird experience going to the roller rink.  I’m pretty sure this was the same roller rink I skated at when I was a kid, and I don’t believe they’ve redecorated at all in the intervening thirty years.  It is really like stepping into a time machine.  There is something vaguely seedy about most roller rinks, I think.  They’re not something that anyone builds new ones of, you know?  And this one was just out in the middle of nowhere, in a dark alley.  I reckon that it was a slightly more bustling commercial district in its day, but I don’t really remember.  I think I only ever went there during the day.  That would have made it a little less creepy.  Anyway, back to PZ–when she came home, I asked her how it went, and she said it sucked and it was two hours of her life that she wanted back.  So now we know for sure she’s not a skater, and that’s good.

I was a skater, once upon a time.  A roller skater, that is.  I had my own roller skates and skated around the neighborhood all the time.  I am so old that I once owned roller skates with metal wheels.  Can you believe they ever made those?  Anyway, I loved to roller skate, as a kid.  What I did not love about roller rinks is that they always had you do the hokey-pokey at some point.  Was this anyone else’s experience?  I have never been a fan of the hokey-pokey.  Even as a child, I think I found it too undignified to enjoy.  Unworthy of us serious roller skaters.  Well, whatever.  At some point I stopped roller skating–probably when I grew out of my skates and I stopped getting invited to roller skating parties (because who roller skated anymore?)–maybe around age twelve.  I didn’t go again until I was an adult, and let me tell you, that was an entirely different experience.  (Except for the hokey-pokey part.  Seriously, what’s the deal with the hokey-pokey?)  I spent the whole time being terrified that I was going to run into or get knocked over by some four-year-old on roller blades.  Excuse me, that’s incorrect.  Some four-year-old on inline skates that were probably not Rollerblades (TM).  I haven’t been skating since before PZ was born, but last night had me feeling a bit nostalgic.  Maybe I just need my own private roller rink.

I never did learn how to skate on inline skates.  They were after my time.  But not after my father’s.  My father enjoys trying new things.  (That was how he broke his hip a couple years ago, riding to work on his razor scooter–or as my sister put it at the time, “extreme commuting.”)  When I was in high school, he decided to take up inline skating.  He bought himself a pair of inline skates–Rollerblades (TM), I believe–and he would drive me to my early-morning seminary class, which started at 6 a.m., and while I was in class, he would practice skating in the parking lot of the church.  And all the time people would ask me, “Was that your dad Rollerblading [“Incorrect!”–Ed.] in the church parking lot?”  And I would say, “Yes.  Yes, that was my dad.  He enjoys trying new things.”  At some point he got pretty good at it, or at least competent, and I don’t remember if he just lost interest or didn’t have time for it anymore.  I should ask him the next time I talk to him–which should be before his next birthday, or I’m not Daughter Of The Year.

Tonight PZ has a slumber party at her BFF’s house.  I am going to drop her and her other BFF off at the Birthday BFF’s place (that would be the BBFF’s place, but I didn’t want to confuse you) and then probably take the younger kids out for hamburgers.  I might even eat a hamburger myself.  We’ll see how the peanut butter and jelly thing goes.  Maybe we’ll go to McDonald’s so I can get McNuggets, which can be bitten into quite easily with one’s back teeth.  Except that Mister Bubby hates McDonald’s, and I hate chicken nuggets that are not of the Mc-variety.  I don’t know what it is that makes McNuggets so much tastier than other varieties of chicken nuggets (not to be confused with chicken strips, or chicken tenders, which are completely different animals), but I find myself thinking how much more awesome they probably tasted before they felt compelled to use all-white meat.

I’m sorry, but after two weeks of shunning most foods as not worth the dental pain they would cause, I am feeling a tad hungry.

I really am going to stop typing soon, but I wanted to tell you that I finished reading that Joy Fielding book, The Wild Zone.  It really was unlike any other Joy Fielding book, although it did end up having some obligatory Joy Fielding elements.  The men were all jerks or wusses, and there were a couple of dream sequences.  And not long after that first fifty pages, the obligatory Character Who’s A Grammar Nazi appeared.  At least this time it was the villain who was obsessed with grammar and not the heroine.  I don’t know if that was some kind of self-parody or if Joy Fielding is just evolving as a writer and/or human being, but whatever–I approve.  It was a pretty good book, complete with a Scooby Doo ending, which I appreciated.  This ends our mini-installment of Mad’s Book Club, and thus endeth today’s blog, for it is 1,400-plus words and, you know, that’s just too many.

Gentle readers, adieu.  Or as they say in the francais, “Lecteurs doux, au revoir.”  (At least that’s what the free online translator said.  French-speaking readers, please correct as necessary.)

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