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My Thursday 13, Ed. #something: a few thoughts

June 18th, 2008

random bullets for my Thursday 13:

1) Iowa is settling down. Now it’s everyone along the Mississippi we need to worry about. Life is getting too crazy, weather-wise, with the tornadoes and flooding and fires and whatnot. (If you want to see a YouTube video of the “Book Brigade,” look here.)

2) It’s my birthday next week. I’m throwing myself a small party and I’m not telling my family who I am inviting. This is driving them insane, as you can imagine. It’s my party so there. (Really, I don’t want to tell them because then if the families with kids don’t show up, I won’t hear the end of it. This way, it will be a big ol’ happy surprise.) (We’re doing potluck.) (R is bringing me a cake. Scratch from a mix. She promised. Something about a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream stirred in, instead of the eggs, oil and milk? Ask her, I have no idea.) (And instead of saying, No presents, just your presence! I’m saying YES presents. I mean, what the hell? I love presents.) (Big or small, I’m fine with either.)

3) My mom needs to stop smoking and today I got in a huge fight with her about it. She needs to give me the birthday present of I LOVE YOU AND I QUIT SMOKING FOR YOU, YOUR SISTER AND MY GRANDKIDS. BECAUSE YOU MATTER TO ME MORE THAN CIGARETTES. What is the point? you ask. She’s been smoking for almost fifty years now. She’s not quitting. You know what got me? My little son, blocking the front door when she said she was going to take a “quick smoke break.” (As she does approximately twice an hour. At one point she was down to ten cigarettes a day — from two packs — and now? I think she’s back up to at least a pack, pack and a half. Thus her time with us is unbearable for her, because she can’t chain-smoke the entire time.)

He told her, “No, don’t, Grandma, don’t smoke. Don’t.” No, I did not coach him. I would never set up my kids that way. Because did it stop her? No, of course it didn’t. She went to smoke; he went to cry in my office. It was awful. Huge scene ensued. I try to never kvetch about my family and friends on the blawgg, but you know what? She never reads it, because why? She thinks I’m dull or something, I have no idea. So chances are slim (Virginia Slim) that she’ll read this, anyway.

Then I found out that one of our neighbors died last Tuesday. From lung cancer. Yes, Mom, she was a heavy smoker. (My mom’s first question, whenever someone dies of cancer, “Did-she-smoke?” She wants to hedge her bets. That one did smoke, that one didn’t. Hmm. What are my odds?)

4) And honestly, I am so sick of her selfish, ugly habit that I don’t care if she DOES read this. So there. My daughter has asthma. It is a chronic health problem for her. I get bronchitis and pneumonia. Please you will never smoke around us, you smokers. Thank you.

5) Can we change the subject, please? Like, right now? I ran out of room in my yard for more plants — I knew this day would come — so I’m now gardening at the schools where I work. This is fun, but schools aren’t big on having outside, working faucets, much less hoses. Something about “vandals,” leaving the “hoses running for five days,” and “no one noticing” and “ginormous water bills.” Silly, no? Anyway. No water. (Unless you’re in certain parts of the U.S., where you will please not mention the word “water.”) No good place to stash hoses and sprayer nozzle thingies, even if there was a working faucet. Then everyone complains about how desolate the school grounds look. A solution? Xeriscaping. (Yes, I too thought the term was “zero-scaping.)

6) The Nekkid Neighbors are big on xeriscaping, that’s where I learned about it. (Wacky Nekkid Mini-Neighbor, hollering over the fence today at my kids, “I remember like a couple of days ago you said you would bring me a popsicle!” So they took over two. I love that kid. And her tiny sister? So cute and so damn funny. And more verbal than all three of the older kids, which she needs to be to keep up.)

7) On gardening: I am more a lush hydrangea, fuchsia, geraniums kinda girl. Also, I love my vegetables and berries. The ferns at least will oblige with the whole xeriscaping thing, as long as they have some shade. I do love ferns. And hostas. Do you? I do not love slugs. You don’t get as many of them with xeriscaping. No dark, wet corners.

8) My kids are loving summer break. I am loving getting my school year wrapped up, but it’s taking me awhile. I will be glad when I have a full academic year behind me, so I’ll know what I’m doing. (Ha. I can hope!)

9) I will be 44 on my birthday; my grandma will be 88. She thinks this is hilarious and so do I.

10) You would think that working in a library would mean I have more time to read books and less time for television. You would be wrong. I watch way less TV now, but I am not happy with how little time I have for reading! And it’s not like I’m blogging all the time, or even reading blogs the way I used to! The kids are keeping me busy, work, my husband, our new love of tennis, all that is always priority, but I want to read more. I’m going to make a real effort with this. Especially in regards to the Young Adult fiction. I want to know which books are appealing to the kids and why.

11) Computers = evil. Know why? The kids come in the library, make a beeline for the PCs, zone out. Then they go hop, hop, zip, zip, jump from site to site to ooooooooooooh! shiny colors! Oooooooooooooooooooh, boys/girls/dates/ooooooooh! NO WONDER THEY DON’T WANT TO READ. Why would you read a book when you can skippity-dash all over the entire world in 10 seconds flat?

12) Books still matter. I’ve found myself spending a whole lot less time on the computer since I’ve been working in a library. And sometimes? I turn off all the computers, tell them “Sorry, we’re offline. Go get a book! I don’t care if you only read the first chapter and decide you don’t like it! We’re reading.” They grumble and drag their heels and guess what? Sometimes they find a book they like and read it. Weird. (Sorry, didn’t mean to go all bookier-than-thou on you. There is a place for computers, duh, but don’t turn-on, tune out, drop out and disappear from sight, ‘k?)





  1. Winter says

    Yeah, books matter. I don’t have a lot of time to read them anymore, but they are really important. You can always get them interested in ebooks too. Those are addicting. Happy TT!

    June 19th, 2008 | #

  2. Chris says

    Happy early birthday! Yes, books still matter, I read as much as I can, but it’s never enough it seems. I quit smoking 3 years ago and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done so I understand your Mom a bit. She has to “learn” how to quit just as she learned to smoke. Chantix works for a lot of people including my partner. I did it with patches… whatever works is the important part.

    Happy TT!

    June 19th, 2008 | #

  3. Zipdodah says

    * Happy almost b-day WM! I’m wrappin myself in a big red bow for ya. ;)
    * Even if the smoker smokes outside, it really is like having them smoke inside. Upon returning into the house the smell hangs onto the the smoker, and then permeates each room or person they come in contact with. Walking ashtrays. Tell her the kids don’t want to hug an ashtray. (my rant for the day)
    * Books are amazing. They can let you travel anywhere in the world while you are sitting right at home.

    June 19th, 2008 | #

  4. Chelle Y. says

    Have a Happy Birthday!

    June 19th, 2008 | #

  5. The Other Laura says

    Happy Early Birthday. You’ll love being 44 – it’s a great year!

    I sympathize with your frustration with your mom . Addictions are rough on everyone who comes in contact with them.

    Enjoy your Thursday!

    June 19th, 2008 | #

  6. BlackFriend says

    clearly, my invite is in the mail.

    June 20th, 2008 | #

  7. Vixen says

    I remember the other day you said you were going to bring me a popsicle too. And a glass of wine. What happened?

    June 20th, 2008 | #

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