Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reading Harry Potter

Lane and I have finished the the new Harry Potter book. I read the first one aloud to my boys when they were quite a bit younger. For the first three books I read them a chapter or two then would send them to bed and pick up whatever book I was reading at the time. The series hooked me on the fourth book. With it after I sent them to bed I continued reading and ran two bookmarks. We never worried about reading them right when they came out, we waited and bought them in paperback. When the sixth one came out I didn't wait for the paperback, but I waited until I could get it used at Bookmans. This last time though Lane and I drove to Hastings, fifty-five miles one way, to get it as midnight. They were having a release party so we went a couple of hours early to see what all was going on. For the most part it was pretty lame. I have seen pictures of other release parties that have looked like fun, but most of them were at privately owned book stores. It's not that a chain couldn't have a fun party. It is just that there is not the same incentive for a manager who is getting paid no matter how the party goes as there is for a small business owner who relies on local customers for his income. Whatever the reason though, this one was lame because the workers looked bored. A basic rule for a party is if the hosts are having fun everyone else will have fun. If the hosts are looking at their watch trying to kill time until midnight the guests will do the same. Lane and I ended up reading comic books until the line formed. I had to be to work by seven the next morning, so we grabbed spots in the front of the line. As soon as we had our hands on two copies, one for Fria Chica, we were out the door. Of course we stopped and grabbed a few groceries on the way out of town. We don't have a grocery store in our small town so we never head home without at least milk and bread. Lane put a half a gallon of chocolate milk in the cart to drink on the way home. He read to me on the drive home and wanted to stay up and continue, but I had to get some sleep.
The next day he waited for me to get home, luckily I only worked half a day.
We spent the rest of that day and most of Sunday laying around reading to each other. It was odd that it was only the two of us this time. Lee would have joined us but he is still in Europe. Jason is thirteen and really has better ways to spend his time than reading with his family. The fun thing about just the two of us reading was that we could stop and talk about the book whenever we wanted, Lee never puts up with this kind of behavior. I would be reading and feel him jerk next to me and knew something had made him think. We would stop and talk about something that had happened earlier that this had cleared up, or what we thought this meant for the future. When Sunday night rolled around we still had 150 pages left. I told him that I wouldn't mind if he read on without me and that I would catch up. He waited for me though and we finished together on Monday night. At one point he interrupted the reading to mention that that all of the Harry Potter geeks that were dressed up Friday night were probably crying right now. We laughed at them then continued. A few pages later I had to hand him the book and let him read to me while I cried. He ducked his head in shame and said I can't believe my own mother is a Harry Potter geek. We finished that night and all I will say is 759 pages is a hell of a lot to read out loud.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our government sucks

I don't watch a ton of news just because the media pisses me off. Even with the limited amount of news I take in I have managed to come up with an amazing amount anger aimed at our government. If I watched more news I would probably be a walking fireball of hatred. I don't write on politics often because I am not versed enough to speak well on the subject, and other bloggers Wil Wheaton's blog and scroll down to Please don't be afraid if you want to know how I feel about our nifty color coded terror alerts. There is a link in the places I visit column if you need it. It was posted on July 11th so you may need to scroll awhile. On your way down you will see a post about playing chess on roller coasters. I have been planning to do this and am a bit sad that so many people have already beat me to it.

What I have been doing

Six a.m. Saturday morning I watched Lee board his airplane. For weeks people had been asking me if I was nervous or scared and I really wasn't feeling either of those emotions. I was excited and jealous. At fifteen he is accomplishing one of my goals and living one of my dreams. To get to travel internationally, to see Europe and all of the places that have been a background to many of the books and movies we both love, I am very jealous. It helps that I am not a worrier so I haven't sat around and thought about everything that could go wrong. Dh has done enough of that for both of us. Whenever he brings up a possibility I counter with 'or we could drive to the store next week and have a car accident that kills us all.' I was really beginning to think I was a cold, cold, woman. Something I have often been accused of over the years. One day a dh pulled a beer out of a cooler and felt it to see if it was cold enough. It wasn't. He tossed it to me and asked me to hug it to my chest for a minute.
On the eight hour drive to the airport I was either reading, laughing, or talking, but not worrying. We arrived at the airport three hours early like they recommend for security, but the security workers hadn't got the memo. We sat there with two older ladies, who were heading to Cancun, for over two hours before the people who worked at the airport arrived. During this time we labeled his bag, talked over the problems he was expecting with changing planes in Detroit, and double checked his bag. You might notice we weren't flying to New York with him as originally planned, so he would be alone from the time he left us until he met up with his group in N.Y. The ticket counter finally opened and he was able to get his boarding passes. I suggested breakfast before he went into the gate. My scone wasn't the best I ever had, but it was edible. Lee had went with a yogurt parfait that looked much better, but he said the fruit didn't have much flavor. When he did start through gate security it hit me. He looked so young to be going out in the world alone. He put his shoes and belt into a tub. At this point we were separated. I started to cry, not a few graceful tears, outright bawling. I stood at the glass wall that separated us and watched him sit in a seat and put on his headphones. I walked away so he wouldn't look up and see me loosing it. I was wiping my eyes and trying to control myself when I heard them announce first class boarding. He had his headphones on, he probably couldn't hear. I ran back to the glass, which is frosted for the first five feet, peered over the frosted line and saw him there with his headphones lowered listening to the announcement. I was sending my baby out alone in the world, but he was ready. I continued to cry until the plane took off. Then I had a nap. I wonder if I would have cried so much if I hadn't went twenty-four hours without sleep.
I woke up an hour later when it was my turn to drive and felt much better. We stopped at Wichita and spent a couple of days with Drama Queen and the girls. She was working nights that weekend so we took the girls to the dog races. That is one of the many places I would never have went on my own but have experienced because I married a redneck. We ordered supper, which I have to say was one of the best meals I've ate out in a while. After we ate Dh let the girls pick dogs and place bets while I ordered a bottle of wine. I will go anywhere and sit through anything if I have a good book with me. Kite Runner is an excellent book and intriguing enough to keep my attention no matter what is going on around me. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet go read it. Back at the apartment I put the girls to bed and stayed up way to late finishing it. We woke up early the next morning so we could get to the zoo before it got way too hot. It is baby season at the zoo so our trip was great. I loved the baby rhinoceros, but Curly Top couldn't tear herself away from the baby giraffe long enough to look at it. At one point after we had been staring at the giraffe for fifteen minutes I drug her over to the rhino. We looked at it for a few minutes until she looked up at me and said 'I have to get back to that giraffe.' So we walked over and watched it stand on wobbly legs for several more minutes until I coaxed her away with the promise of a sno-cone.
After the zoo we took them to Chuck E. Cheese to eat and play, then home for a nap. They had been staying at our house for the two weeks before our trip. We had dropped them off with their mother on our way to the airport. In that one weekend our household size dropped from seven to four. It is very quiet here now. Lane stays the night at Miss Universe's house a lot during the summer. Two of her kids are close in age to him. Mon is only seven months older and Ed is just a year younger that Lane. The three of them have grown up together and are quite the threesome. That leaves only Jason and I here for a good part of the day and he sleeps until noon. Last night Jason and I stayed up and watched Man on Fire. This is one of those movies I have been meaning to watch, but never have. It was very good. It was over at two and I went in to brush my teeth. Jason came in as I was finishing and begged me to stay up and watch another movie with him. 'Absolutely not' I told him, but asked which movie he was going to watch, just in case. His answer? In the Army Now. Now that made me laugh. How can you follow Man on Fire with that? I asked.
I am going to jump out of chronological order a bit here and talked about the eleventh. Of course we went to the midnight showing of The Order Of The Phoenix. We had a big group, so to ensure that we could all sit together we arrived an hour early. Our group consisted of myself, Fria Chica, My brother, two of his friends, Tams, Lee, Jason, Lane, and Ed. Before when we have went to midnight showings at this same theater they have opened the doors, let people buy tickets and wait in line in the theater. At the last LOTR we took a monopoly game and sat on the carpet and played. This time they kept the doors locked and made us wait in two lines, one of people who already had tickets, and one filled with those odd creatures who were trusting enough to wait. The theater is in the back of the mall, which was closed, so hundreds of people were packed into the mall corridor with the air conditioner off. Not pleasant at all.
I didn't know what to expect from this movie. Of all of the H.P. books so far this was my least favorite. I understand that she had to pack a lot of info into the book to transition the series from the school adventure feel the first books had to the full scale war feel the next few books would have. All of that info made for a thick book that moved slowly in spots. That is not what I disliked about the book, but I could see where that could make for tricky movie making. What I disliked about the book was how whiny Harry was.
I'll try to do this without any spoilers. Watching the movie I understood Harry's moods better and the reason for the moodiness. They certainly didn't make a slow moving movie. The school year seemed to zip past at an amazing speed. That is unfortunate if you are a Sirius fan because I just didn't get to spend enough time with him in this movie. It had been a few years since I read the book, so I expected to be able to watch the movie without those annoying thoughts in my head about all of the changes. They cut out so much of the story, anything that wasn't fast enough to fit the adventure pace, that it was impossible to not start thinking about what was missing. The next day Tam's stopped by while I was cooking a meal for the Rec. board. She has only read the first three books, but has seen all of the movies. I asked her a few questions like 'Did you understand why the Centaurs were so angry with Umbridge, or why it was important for Hagrid to try and talk to the Giants, or why Umbridge measured Flitwick.' Of course her answer was no and that most Harry Potter fans would sit through a longer movie to find out. I really understand that to make a good movie some things have to be changed, but the whole feel of the book shouldn't have been altered. What they made was a good children's adventure movie that would be fine standing alone, but as part of a building series it fell far short.
Oh and by the way, I interviewed on Tuesday for the job. Yesterday I got the call saying the job was mine. So there I go, after almost five years I am considered a career employee and will get a benefits, and a seventeen mile commute. I thought I would feel some sort of emotion at this point, but I really don't. The raise, which more than doubles what I am making now, is going to be nice though.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Denied Nirvana

I think baseball season is over. Not that I haven't enjoyed it, but it can really eat up time. Two games a night, two nights a week, during season play leaves little time for much else. Then all stars came up and practices were five nights a week and seventeen hours away. That meant I had to drive Lane to practice and sit and wait. Okay that part wasn't so bad, because it was the only reading time I had. Here I am complaining and this is the first time in six years we haven't had two kids playing ball. Yesterday was the district tournament. We arrived in Liberal an hour early as required. Most of the parents were watching the game that had to play before ours could start. I took my water and apple and sat in the stands to watch the game. Two minutes of that was enough for me. Across the parking lot there was a quiet park full of trees. Suddenly I was filled with an urge to sit in the dappled shade and read my book. I jumped down and headed towards my minivan to grab a book. I was almost there when I heard a 'Hey, hey.' I looked over and there was another ball mother sitting in her car. We started talking and before I knew it I was being told to have a seat. I never know how to get out of those situations gracefully, so I sat. My back was to the park so at least I didn't have to stare at my denied nirvana.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A baby and a party

Fria Chica had her baby on the third of July, which happens to be Miss Universe's birthday. He weighed eight lbs. two oz. At one day old he is already being spoiled. On his father's side he is the first grandchild so his paternal grandmother bought him gifts every time she left the hospital. On our side he is number eleven. There is not one of the ten before him that has not been spoiled rotten, so there really is no hope for him either.
While we were in the hospital we were adding up how old Lee would be when this new little guy graduated from high school. Lee will be thirty-three, the same age as I am now. When my age was mentioned my mom was noticeably shocked. She never thinks of us as that old. To her we will always be kids. The shock goes both ways, when I realized she was about to be fifty-five I went into denial. My mom never seems old. In our minds we have as a family frozen at a certain age and will probably always stay there.
We had our annual block party on the third also. I don't know if we ever intended it to be an annual party, but we had one two years in a row so this year people in town kept asking what day we were having our party. We call it a block party because we close the street on both sides of the block and have a party that fills the whole block which starts at my yard and finishes at Anna's yard, but Anna and I are the only two on the block that actively participate in planning the party. We really don't have many families on our street, which is why we get away with the noise until three in the morning every year. Evelyn, an older lady who lived next door to me, passed away last month, so her house is empty. She never came out into the street, but she sat on the porch and watched all night. The older couple who live in a travel trailer across the street surprised us by coming out and joining the fun for the first two years, but this year they left right before we blocked the streets and came home as we were cleaning up. For years my children called the man Grouchy ass, not undeservedly, which is why we were surprised whenever he showed up with homemade ice cream. His wife is in advancing stages of Alzheimer's, so that may be why they stayed away this year. Next door to him is a trailer that changes occupants frequently. We usually invite who ever is living there but this year nobody was home. Across from Anna lives Miss Universe's mother-in-law. For the last two years they have been out of town in July. This year I have no idea why they didn't come out. Three out of four of their son's were the last people to leave. I have taken too many words to explain that while we call it a block party very few of the people who come every year are actually from our block. It is more of a community party. Every year, and this one was no exception, we end up with quite a few people from out of town here. Last year we had a group of men from South Africa show up, this year it was just a group from Elkhart. Our philosophy is the more the merrier so we always make enough food for over a hundred. With the drunks making a second pass at the table around midnight we end up with very little left overs.
My little brother is driving up from Tuscon this weekend. He is bringing his two boys, but leaving his wife at home to work. They come up so rarely it becomes quite an event when they do. Out of the six kids in our family he is the only one who lives more than four hours away. Three of us live in this same small town. I know he feels better knowing he got away, but I think life is too short to live so far from the people we love.