"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, April 20, 2006

School

I'll start by admitting that I miss school. Not all aspects of it, but weird stuff, like writing essays, etc. Oh, and buying school supplies in August. Unsharpened pencils. Brand new notebooks. I get so excited every year buying my kids new boxes of crayons, anticipating when I get to buy them backpacks and lunchboxes, etc.

I had four problems with school:
  • I'm crap at math.
  • I was super smart, all As up until high school, and it went downhill from there.
  • Due to the failed smartness, I started not trying hard, not studying, as an excuse for when I would inevitably fail.
  • I'm a huge procrastinator. Especially when it comes to book reading and paper writing.

How is this affecting my life today? I read voraciously, but when it comes to an assigned book, like for a book club... I can't get into it. Even if it's a good book. I have to force myself to really read it. Right now, I'm in two book clubs... both sort of started by me. I thought this would be great, I'm always looking for suggestions for books to read. My problem? Right now one book club has selected The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and the other has picked Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Both schooly type books. Both difficult reads. Things Fall Apart has actually been on my reading list for years. I even own it. I've just never gotten around to reading it... it would be too much work. The Good Earth, if any of you have anything good to say about this book, please tell me now. I read the publishers note on Amazon.com about it, and thought... I have no desire to read this book. But I have to. I started the book club. I made all these people read Candyfreak and half of them hated it.

So, not only are these two hard, schooly type books. They are both "assigned" at the same time. And all the while, I have 800+paged Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell up on my nightstand, 40 pages into it, that I have renewed as many times as I could from the library, returned it, and rechecked it out, and renewed it again. And it's good. I'm just so stinkin' intimidated by its length, and so distracted by all the other equally good books out there. It's like school again and I'm afraid I'm just going to give up on getting all this reading done. Like all the times I'm asked if I've read Frankenstein or Wuthering Heights and I have to admit that I've studied both of them twice each in college, yet I've failed to read either. (Although I believe I own the Cliff's Notes for both.) That's bad news for someone with a BS in English.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Me and Drew

I was watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle the other night (I'm a huge Charlie's Angels fan from the days of Farrah Fawcett, Cherlyl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson).

So I was watching the new movie (well, not new, it came out forever ago) thinking, poor Drew Barrymore. She's a cute girl. I really like Drew Barrymore and her movies. I've seen most of them. I own a few. But Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz are super cute, and also both size negative 2s. Drew doesn't have a chance. And she's also a little more dressed than the others. But I was just feeling sorry for Drew, her not being as cute and all.

Then the next night I was bored folding laundry and pulled out my box of VHS tapes to see what movie I hadn't watched in awhile (we don't have cable). Not even thinking about it, I pulled out Never Been Kissed, also starring Drew Barrymore. If you've seen the movie, you know that until the very end, she is very unattractively portrayed as a grown-up nerd turned nerdy high school student all over again. I was feeling bad for Drew... again. It isn't until the end of the movie when she's standing on the pitchers mound waiting for Michael Vartan that she looks absolutely like the cutie she is.

So I'm feeling sorry for Drew for the 2nd night in a row when all of the sudden I remember that there was a day... just one day, my sophomore year of high school where I had two different, completely unconnected people tell me that I looked like Drew Barrymore. It was picture day, so I'll have to hunt down that picture and add it to my post. I don't think I look a thing like Drew, then or now. But all of a sudden I was the poor, not as cute Drew that I' d been feeling sorry for. What a sad sad realization.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I heart summer storms.

I love summer storms. I never thought I'd say that. California doesn't have them. At least, they were rare. And if it rained in the summer, it got cold. So I wasn't used to them, it seemed our of the ordinary, different, and therefore, unlikable.

I showed up in Utah, exactly a week after high school graduation and on my 18th birthday. It was June and already hot and muggy. I'll never forget the last day my parents were in town. I was all settled in the dorms, everything was set. They were going to drive me to class, drop me off and leave for their drive home. It was pouring down rain and still so hot. I hated it. I hated every time it rained that summer. I probably hated every time it rained every summer I lived in Utah. I'd go to class in flip flops, shorts and a white t-shirt only to come out of the basement of the JKHB to find I was in the middle of a huge thunderstorm being pelted with giant drops of water hurtling from the sky.

I don't know when it changed. But I sort of love them now. I love that smell of wet asphalt. (I know, strange. I can remember my elementary school best friend, Vicki, she'd always say she loved the smell of wet asphalt and I'd think she was nuts. I didn't say this to her of course, she was the cool one that I clung too. But now I think I finally understand.)

It's only April in Kansas, so not unbearably hot, but still in the 70s or 80s today. It was all stormy as I came in tonight, but no rain yet, just ominous clouds. After I tucked the kids in I heard it start raining and I opened the door. It was so nice. I don't know if I can find the words to describe it. The air is so hot, but the cool raindrops are so refreshing. I wanted to just go sit out there and enjoy it. I didn't, but a part of me wanted to drag a chair out there and just sit and think. Of course, once I was out there I'd be upset about how wet I was, my water-proof mascara running, thoughts making me worry about lightning and tornadoes. But for a few seconds my heart just leapt. Maybe it reminded me of Utah, which was a great time in my life. A time I'm always a little bit homesick for.

Can you be homesick for a time? I always give my husband a hard time for looking to the future, and never the present or past. He's always looking to that next big thing that will make things better. And I give my best friend a hard time for looking back too much, wanting to go back to a time that isn't there anymore. But depending on the day and mood you catch me in, I'm looking back with longing in my heart for friends I don't hear from anymore. Or I'm looking forward to things are more settled, where I know what the path I'm on leads to. But mostly I guess I'm too busy with life to look around too much. I'm in the present. And that's not always the best either. I have to dream. I have to have memories. And summer storms bring all of that out in me.
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