30 October 2007

21 Deer

Imagine that old Johnny Carson Carnac sketch:

21 deer, one skunk, one possum.

What are the potential animal ping-pong balls aiming for your new car as you drive up Hwy. 5 in Arkansas at midnight on the way to visit the grandparents for a long weekend?

Yeah, that was fun. I'm never driving that curvy, nasty stretch of road late at night ever again.

On the upside, kids had great time with grandparents, and we didn't actually hit any of the targets. Or have the targets jump into us.

14 October 2007

The Wisdom of Anne

Anne-with-an-E, Anne of Green Gables.

Whenever I get downright depressed, demoralized, and discouraged, I pull out my Anne of Green Gables novels. In this latest re-reading, I'm amazed at how true so much of what L.M. Montgomery wrote a century ago is.

When I was 12, I was the red-headed misfit who daydreamed too much. I never read the other novels at that time (and just as well, because I wasn't emotionally ready or mature enough for them). But Anne spoke to me. I was a "kindred spirit."

When I was in high school, I discovered the other novels. One of my college roommates and I read those books again and again. We sobbed when Ruby Gillis died a horrid death. We felt Anne's agony of knowing Gilbert cared too much, and then died a death with her when she learned that she really did love him.

When I lost my first child to miscarriage, I wept when I re-read the chapter where Anne and Gilbert lost their little Joyce.

Now, re-reading again (and sobbing again when Ruby Gillis died, which convinced my eldest that her mom really is nuts), I'm amazed at how well Montgomery knew human nature and how well she portrayed love and marriage. In Anne of Ingleside, the final chapters are focused on an Anne my age, who is feeling neglected, overworked, and unloved.

Everything ends up all right between Anne and Gilbert, but the overall message -- that we mustn't become so self-centered that we forget our loved ones have weighy things on their shoulders, too, and that we should care for ourselves, and not just our houses, our children, and our careers -- just brought tears to my eyes.

That passage spoke to my heart. I feel that way now. And the fact that women a century ago had those same feelings just makes me realize it is natural. We must take a break to feed our souls.

I've been doing that this weekend. Fall break is this week. Two of my grad classes are cancelled. I put things (like housework and writing) on hold, to take time for me, for my children, and for my husband.

Anne (and L.M.M.) is wise. I'm taking a century's worth of wisdom to heart.

08 October 2007


Remember last winter' when a child was kidnapped from one of the stops on my bus route?

The guy who did it pleaded guilty today. He'll be in jail for life. Good.

In a message he passed on through his lawyer, he says he feels at peace with his decision.

You know what, NO. I want him to have no peace. What he did to those two families, those two boys, was horrific. I want him to be remorseful, guilty, and agonize over what he did for the rest of his confined days.

Story is here

03 October 2007

Mr. Goodbear visits

We had a furry visitor last night. He was about three feet tall, caramel-colored fur, and very polite.

Mr. Goodbear only visits kindergarteners who are good for an entire month. "Good" is determined by keeping your popsicle stick green. If you act up after three warnings, you go to yellow. Then orange. Then red.

My little guy, suprisingly, kept his popsicle stick green an entire month. He was the first kindergartener to have Mr. Goodbear visit. So Mr. Goodbear hung out at aftercare with my little guy. He rode home in our van. He ate dinner with us, he watched SpongeBob with us, he ate a snack, brushed his teeth, and went to bed.

My little guy, who can be the rowdiest, goofiest, silliest five-year-old boy you've ever met, was just glowing the entire visit.