Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

Sweet Summer Funtimes — Week 1: Preparing for Takeoff

The first in a series of posts that are supposed to be weekly but probably won't be because it's summer break and I will probably be incapacitated by ALL THE FUN within a few days. 

In order to both record the summer fun and to be considered fun at parties that I'm not even invited to, I will share with you weekly notes about my family's dangdongdarnit summer fun. Short notes, though, because I am too busy making Sweet Summer Funtimes to have much time do anything like hide in my office and write while they knock at the door and wail plaintively. 

In fact I would assume that the Funtimes will be so time consuming that by mid-June, these entries will be but two words.

But since this last week was mostly preparation and anticipation, I have many words. Pre-fun words.

May 31 — T-2 days.  Two more days of school. There have been “countdowns to summer” going on at school since mid-March. The excitement has been ramping up with special theme days to commemorate these perfectly teachable days, and today the kids are celebrating attaining educational goals with Crazy Hair Day. I like this one because I just let them go to school without having to comb their hair or wet it down or at least run their fingers through it. They should call this day One Less Thing to Fight About In The Morning Day, Thank You. For once, bits of last night’s dinner miraculously encrusted in the kids’ coifs is thematic rather than just gross.

Still a little gross, though.

June 1 – T-1 day. Kids came home from the penultimate day of school (Clean Out Your Desk Day) full of energy. They have extra room for energy because in preparation for summer they have defragmented and largely wiped their brains of 90% of what they’ve learned this year.

The sun peaked out from behind a cloud and the kids begged to go to the pool. The fact that it was 55 degrees mattered not. “Are you sure? It’s gonna be cold,” I said over and over. We belong to a community pool which means the pool is solar-heated except in the shallow end where the toddlers hang out.

They were sure.

I quickly deforested my legs, which I had let grow wild over the winter in an effort to save on both shaving cream and leggings. We went to the pool –  the kids in swimsuits and shorts, me in a swimsuit and parka. After spending 25 minutes lotioning them up, putting up the daughter’s hair, showering per pool regs, finding a good spot in the sun, then having the kids make me watch them dive off the board, they spent exactly 42 seconds in the water before they decided they wanted to go home. I was only slightly less irritated than I would have been had they made me watch them do somersaults or jump off the diving board ten million times. I got three blue-lipped, shivering children dressed and took them home,  where they promptly asked for hot chocolate while they ground their SPF 50-greased up bodies into the couch.

D-Day. Last day of school. Kids were surprised I knew all the words to that chestnut, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks.” I helped them tote home 147 pounds of school work and old snacks that had been lovingly preserved in their desks and backpacks all year, and we all promptly collapsed, rousing only to answer the door when the pizza delivery dude brought dinner. All hail summer.


First Official Day of Summer — Kids spending the day in the deep study of magnetism, by which I mean they are all on top of each other laughing and screaming. It’s charming for about 10 minutes. Then I begin to regret not living in a community with year-round schooling.  I really want to open the windows and air out the house but don’t because the risk of neighbors hearing my yelling outside-voice-parenting is too great.

Day 2 — Sent the children outside to go play in the backyard, damn it. It was not an idea that they took to readily.

Have changed my name to Clodor. You Game of Thrones fans will understand.

Day 3 — Called in a bunch of favors and planned for a playdate for tomorrow. Kids woke at the crack of dawn (5:16 AM) and proceeded to come into my bedroom and tell me that they were bored.

World Eater: My Favorite Books (and more!) of 2015


My time is a wild animal resisting domestication. A casualty of that has been my hard-to-shake belief that reading for pleasure was a luxury during this time and place of motherhood.

To sit still and travel, to be unavailable while fully visible, to ignore the now, to bathe in someone else’s imagination felt and feels decadent, and too often the to-dos make me feel unworthy of such extravagance.

When young, I would devour fiction, consuming worlds at a pace that sometimes meant the beauty of entire swaths of words was sacrificed to gobble plot and character.

But I grew up and responsibilities and goals took over, or were thrust upon me. Read for school. Build a resume for college. Learn for work. Keep reading for work.

When I taught, almost all reading was career-focused: either trade publications or young adult novels that I could share with the students, or whatever the texts I had to teach that year. Even summer was awash in reading for others.

Responsible reading.

Permissible reading.


I am not proud of this literary lapse.

I suppose it was the heady, panicked sacrifice of “me time,” and then the sacrifice of not sleeping well for years due to early motherhood. I had no focus or energy. Once the kids were asleep, if I sat down, I fell asleep. I could read short pieces in spare moments, but I had no time nor ability to retain any information from a longer piece. Fiction didn’t interest me as I could barely make sense of my own reality.

It was a fallow period.

No wonder I couldn’t write. I wasn’t nourishing myself as a reader, and I decided to stop that nonsense this year. I tiptoed back into it, starting with books I could justify as helping my career or my volunteer work, then I allowed myself to completely sink into books that had no practical application whatsoever other than nudging me in all the right places.

I still struggle to find time to read, mind you. But I insist on thirty minutes a day, minimum. No maximum. No excuses.

Here are some highlights of what I enjoyed reading this year:

  • Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble: Some Things About WomenA complaint on Goodreads is that this book is dated. I think that’s part of the fascination and charm for me, the ability to see certain parts of feminism in its second wave tween years. She wrote with a voice familiar to me, educated East Coast Jew who is highly amused by the whole rotten thing.
  • Erma Bombeck’s Family – the Ties that Bind and Gag and am in the throes of Forever, Erma (which I am in the final pages of): The later more easily fits into my “sometimes I only have five minutes to read” lifestyle, but both are warm and hilarious and better than almost any “mommy blog” out there.
  • The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats: I never thought I’d be one to read poetry on purpose. It seemed the stuff of English class and academia. What I fool I’ve been.
  • Geek Love: Years after it took the world by storm, I plowed through this book with curiosity and hunger and a bit of reader’s vertigo. Katherine Dunn made me feel wonderfully woozy, a feeling I’ve so far only had when I’ve read John Irving and Chaim Potak.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: not a children’s tale, although a tale of childhood. Magical, lyrical, beautiful. I hated finishing it. I am fully on the Neil Gaiman fan-wagon.

There were other books, some better than others, all worthwhile. I long ago decided life is too short to finish reading a book for pleasure that isn’t. I fortunately had no books this year that I started and quit, although I am admittedly struggling to finish Damon Knight’s classic Creating Short Fiction.

I have more than 200 books on my to-read list. I cannot wait

Not books, but noteworthy:

  • The New Yorker: There is nothing else that murmurs “Lazy Sunday morning with perfectly balanced coffee” as this magazine does.
  • Writer’s Digest: pleasant and more often useful than not.
  • It takes a spectacular show for me not to fall asleep in front of the television. Jon Stewart kept me awake, informed, and impassioned. I mourn heavily the loss of him on my watch list. I do love the man and his team. He may be the reason we finally break down and get HBO.
  • Speaking of HBO, my husband and I are finally watching Season Five of Game of Thrones. We have to wait until it comes out on Amazon prime. It’s a rich show, but not too rich to binge upon. As the kids are enjoying two (!) nights at Grandma and Grandpa’s, we should be done with the whole season by the New Year. Then the wait begins anew.
  • I enjoy Shark Tank for the sheer Americanness of it all. The tackiness. The hopeful. The stories. The earnestness. The money. The math. The occasional “But I worked so hard!” The ingenuity.
  • I watch Walking Dead between my fingers.
  • I Doctor Who and I Star Trek and I Firefly whenever I see it on.
  • Archer makes me laugh without fail.

My movie list has films dating back over a decade.

I think I went to two movies in a theater this year, both children’s movies. Neither worth mentioning.

  • My family loved watching Inside Out and all the Harry Potter movies.
  • I loved: Unbroken, Departures, American Splendor, Imitation Game, Interstellar, The Theory of Everything, The Wolf of Wall Street, Bernie
  • I enjoyed: Wild, Guardians of the Galaxy, Cake, American Sniper, Edge of Tomorrow, Lucy, The Hundred-Foot Journey

Ultimately though, I enjoyed the act of once again being a pleasure-seeking world eater.