Fog

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It’s an odd sort of day, foggy and cold. Muffled.

I have a thousand things to take care of today. You see how I am rushing to do them.

We’re still  deep in the Gilmore Girls. Rorie has gone off to Yale, but I don’t think she’s enjoying it much. She has to share a room with Paris, and has a lot of work and nowhere comfortable to do it. She misses her mom. Strangely, they seem focussed on her dating. If I were her, I think I would be worried about finding friends before I started dating. But maybe she’s assuming she still has her friends — her mother and Lane — and she doesn’t need others. She seems displaced — by Lindsey, who is marrying Dean, and by broccoli tarts, which her room is full of. She has no place anymore in Stars Hollow, but she doesn’t yet have a place at Yale. She’s placeless. Poor thing.

I reassured N that we would not fill her room with broccoli tarts.  She did not seem too worried.

She was worried that she might miss the sun. That it might be overcast for months at a time. “Oh, well,” she said. “I can always come home.”

All right then.

Music criticism

Yesterday I was driving N to school.

“Oh good,” she said as she sat down. She pushed in the tape as we backed out of the driveway. “Unless –”

“No,” I said. “I turned it off when I dropped you off yesterday.”

This meant that the tape was still on the Doors side.

“I shouldn’t like this, because I’ve heard it about a million times, but I still do.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I looked up the lyrics on the internet yesterday.”

“Oh, they’re terrible,” she said. “Really bad. ”

“They’re awful!”

“But the songs are good.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s because he’s insane. You can tell that when you listen to ‘LA Woman.’ The lyrics are terrible because he’s crazy, and he thinks he’s really deep. And he’s not.”

“Yeah.”

“But the songs are good.”

We were at school. I pulled over and she collected her stuff. “Don’t listen to ‘Tangie town’ without me,” she said.

“Okay.” I nearly forgot, and I’d gotten to ‘Land ho’ before I realized it and turned off the tape. Just in time.

Important news!

I’ve picked the fabric to back my quilt. It’s a toile, and it’s a huge pattern of cabbages that look like roses. M does not like it, but I’ve looked and looked and everything we liked better is no longer available, and actually, I secretly really like the cabbages. I believe I will name the quilt “My vegetable love.” Vaster than empires.

Otherwise, I’ve been in meetings all day long and am feeling surprisingly ill. Possibly because I’ve eaten peanut butter cookies in each of theose meetings, and nothing else. Recipe for ill.

In other other news, I’ve cooked dinner every night this week. I am a hero! Last night it was a pork tenderloin, and there ended up being 9 of us for dinner! M, her two friends, the mother of one of the friends who appeared right when we sat down, N, N’s friend E, I, and K. It was nice! I think I will just keep making these recipes every week from now until eternity. Should make shopping easier, too.

All right — that’s about all I’ve got.

Bye.

The wrecker of all good times.

I’m just about to go home for the day.

MT’s mother just called to tell me that M and 3 other kids are on their way over to my house. MT’s mother was taking her home — she said the other kids were giving her dirty looks. Hmmm. The thing is, N is home tutoring her friend Joanna. I imagine that she’ll put a damper on their good time.

Why don’t they all just go home and do their homework?

This is why I’m leaving, and what I’ll suggest when I get home.

I’m sure this bit of advice will be received well.

Don’t you think?

Ugh.

I have been cooking dinner lately — by which I mean last night and the night before. I feel extremely virtuous.

I think we have enough for leftovers tonight. (Assuming I’m not feeding 20.)

Also, I am really wanting to start moving shrubs around in the back yard. It is such a mess, and the weather is suddenly fine, fine, fine.

Okay. Off I go.

Not looking forward to this …

Tapes

When the radio fails us, as it does most mornings, with ads coinciding with the brief 15 minutes window of time from our house to school in time to be only slightly late for N’s first class, we must turn to the only tape we have in the car. There have been a few. In preschool and kindergarten it was a tape made of the Beatles’ Red album, which I think is a compilation album of sort of early Beatles songs. It was made by this Indian guy in K’s first year at architecture school. I think he went mad or something, or maybe he just left in a hurry at the end of the year, and K somehow ended up with this tape. The sides of the record did not fit easily on the sides of the tape, so on one side you get half of a song, which then starts up again from the beginning on the next side.  And there are a few songs you end up hearing twice. It is a hard tape to memorize, but the kids did it. K played this tape in his car when drove the kids to school. My car had no tape player. So my familiarity with this tape stems from trips up to Mount Lassen when the kids were young to go cross-country skiing. Bad food and repeating Beatles tape and mountains and mountains of cold cold snow. That’s what that tape makes me think of.

The next tape I remember is a Robyn Hitchcock tape. I don’t know where we got it, but we had it when N was born, because I remember my best friend L coming to visit when N was three months old, and we played it over and over. I told L that I never listened to music anymore, and she said, “but you’ve been playing that tape three times a day! What are you talking about?” She was kind of right, and I was kind of right, because outside of that tape I had listened to nothing at all for months. Eventually that tape was resurrected and we listened to it for years driving N and M to school. By this point, I had the car with the tape deck. The songs all sounded creepier (it’s the one with the Chinese Bones song, and the song about spiders under your skin– Globe of Frogs, I guess it’s called), but N especially likes “Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis)”, which we all know as “There’s a house burning down.” My memory of this tape is hearing that song at the corner of Milvia and University, rushing N to gym class freshman year.

The third tape I remember is a tape that has Jimmy Hendrix on one side and the Doors on the other. None of us like Jimmy Hendrix much.  Although we have really tried, we find him sort of boring. But we’ve grown to like the Doors. This is the tape that currently lives in the car, and although we’ve heard it five million times, we were forced to turn to it again this morning. It was on the Jimmy Hendrix side.

“But it’s the end of Jimmy Hendrix, unless you’ve been listening to the tape without telling me,” said N.

“No, I haven’t.”

And shortly Hendrix came to an end, and “Roadhouse Blues” came on.

“We’ve heard this so many times,” said N.

“Yes,” I said, “and for the rest of your life you’re going to hear this album and think of this corner (school campus, edge of football field).” And this part of your life, I thought but did not say.

“Yes,” said N.

And I remembered, but did not say, that K had made this tape when I was 19, and we were planning to drive across the country  to harvest peas for the summer, and we wanted music for the drive. I’m sure that K made this tape, since he was much more careful about matching artists on both sides of the tape, and also, I don’t really like Hendrix. I don’t think I really liked the Doors much, either. I’m sure I never imagined, when making those tapes, that one day I would be listening to them in the car with my kid, who would be nearly as old as I was, and that this tape would be part of her formative memories.

“It’s Monday,” I said.

N sighed. “And a five day week.”

“Yes.”

“The first in a long string of them.”

“Yes.” But, I thought, but did not say, it’s almost easier when there’s a long string of five day weeks, because then you just get used to them and get through them. It’s almost easier than when you have vacations popping up here and there to remind you of what life is like when you don’t have school or work. Best not to think about it.

And for the first time in a long time we were not late to school or work.

Dinner

Ugh.

An insane sort of day — meetings from 10 until 3. No time at all for lunch.

Soon I’ll go home and think about dinner.

Actually, I can hardly wait.

Hey — M and I have been watching Bertie and Wooster on DVD. They are funny. Quite funny, and it’s even funnier because Bertie is House (Hugh Laurie). You do miss the narrative, though. Maddy remembers most of it, and can fill you in, but it is missed.

That’s all I’ve got.

Also, it’s raining.

I am on a lonely road

So.

It’s raining, which is nice. The plum looks very pretty against the grey sky when viewed through the garden gate. I suppose it will lose some blossoms, but I’m sure the possibility of rain must have been factored in. You know, into the design of the plum.

They’re blooming all over town. Most are pink, and smaller than ours, but actually I like that ours is enormous and white, like a cloud.

I could so easily have stayed home today. As it was, I did slip a number of errands in. N missed 2nd period to finish up the first three pages of her mystery story. It’s quite good, I think. It seems to be about a murder in a retirement community, and the sleuths are a gardener and the girl he loves/plays backgammon with. But after I dropped her off, I picked up her jacket (with zipper repaired) and dropped off her new glasses (new prescription) before I went to work. The afternoon was consumed with a meeting, which was actually fairly interesting, but then I slipped out before 5 to drop off the disks at the computer repair place, to try and figure out some number we were supposed to have been given when we bought N’s computer, and to look at new frames for my glasses. I think I found a pair I like at the place on campus, so now I have to get my prescription and bring it up there.

Fascinating, I know.

These glasses places, though — you think you find one you like, but then you go back the next years and the people are weird and they want to give you ugly glasses. Hmph. Or they accuse you of looking like a librarian.

I am a librarian!

Anyway, now I am home.

The house is so very clean downstairs now that I can hardly stand it. I’m luxuriating in it.

In contrast, K’s and my room seems to have become an envelope repository. I’m going to have to try to do something about that, but it’s not going to be easy. (If left to his own devices, I think K would eventually fill our entire house with scraps of no doubt useful paper.) It does make me not want to go up there, though.

Poor M collapsed last night. She was tired, and she had to study for a latin test, and it turned out that she’s completely mortified about diving (she was trying on a new bathing suit, too — always difficult), but also about latin, because she got a C on her final, and other people got A’s, and I think it’s actually really horrifying and embarrassing, too. The latin teacher, although much beloved, is not completely without fault, here. She doesn’t let them keep their tests (which would be really helpful to them) because she doesn’t want to have to make them up year after year. And she’s put together these workbooks which are great, but which have no index or dictionary, so if you’ve forgotten a word you’re out of luck (unless you have real dictionary), and there’s no list of constructions, which you need to be able to identify. M has actually made her own index to one of them. Anyway, she’s figured out a way of teaching that works well for her, and for some kids, but is I think a little harder than needs be for other kids.

Anyway, we solved the diving crisis, ordered some new bathing suits which may work, and read over the stories that M needed to know for her test. It turned out that she actually was able to translate them, and that she did know a lot of constructions and she liked that I kept calling them confections. So she felt better.

I guess I’m feeling a little reflective because of M’s birthday, and because N is finally moving into her room just before she moves out, and because it looks like a dorm room. But I remember when N was studying these same stories, and how I was a little bit angry at her for not working harder (when she was probably working at least a little bit hard). It’s actually nice the way she’s taking control of all her stuff. She does her homework, and she’s getting her life and her room and her work organized. She’s figured out what she cares about, and how to skate around what she doesn’t care so much about. She’s a lot easier around us — she was joking with K this weekend, which has not happened for a long time. And seeing her like this makes me realize that it won’t be long before M is like this, too, and even M is so much more grown up than she used to be. I was able to convince her that there are probably bathing suits in the world that will fit her.

It’s reassuring to no longer be completely responsible for my kids. When they’re growing up, you worry so much about not ruining them, and about providing them with all the stuff they’ll need to go out into the world and make successes of themselves, and by that I mean live a life that will be meaningful and fulfilling and happy. It is such a relief to no longer be the one responsible for that. I’ve moved into an advisory role, and N (and soon M, I imagine) is taking charge of things herself.

It hasn’t happened yet, and I’m sure there will be disasters and I will need to step in and yell at people, or rather offer my considered opinion, a few more times. But I can imagine a time when it’s not really my business any more, and I think what I’ll mostly be is relieved.