Monday, November 22, 2010


Thanksgiving week. My goal is making my shopping list without getting worried about it. We're staying put and potlucking with those of our neighbors who are doing the same. Should be a fab feast. I'm going to build in some extras: playing games with the kids, a walk before pie, something else physical (juggling? marital relations? paper sculpture?). That way I won't feel like I'm majoring in drudgery. Sometimes housework seems frighteningly simple and appealing. Like easier than talking with other humans. Nope, no attempt to communicate across the gulf for me, I'll just wash these dishes. Good think I don't like cleaning much, so I can work on the eternal struggle to understand and make myself understood to the other primates.

Katy turns nine tomorrow at 8:30 am Pacific time. We had a good kid party at the campus bowling alley yesterday. I feel like I should be good at kid parties by now, we must have had nine so far at least -- where's my callous? It still feels hard. Nonetheless we survived and triumphed and the kids were a great bunch who probably would have been happy shooting rubber bands for two hours, plus a cupcake break and goodie bags. Which gives me an idea, the next party can be a rubber band olympics: shoot at targets, make rubber band balls, etc. 

Katy wants more cupcakes for her class tomorrow but while contemplating another evening baking and frosting them I realized that I am done. Maybe I can talk her into oatmeal cookies with 9's frosted on them.

Am trying the application of fig newtons to all my problems.
 I find having a package of them in my desk drawer makes life seem better.

I finished the very satisfying Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Thank you to AM for the encouragement to keep on. By the end I kept thinking the book was hitting good spots to end but it kept wrapping up this and that loose end. I was glad we didn't follow Sammy to LA. His ride westward into the sunset was iconic enough. Delightfully circling, characters who create comic book plots sometimes enact them on purpose and other times accidentally. And both taking the passion and the inspiration of the stories seriously but on the other hand also undercutting the seriousness of "real life". I'm still thinking about it. I hope it was as fun to write as it seems. Chabon's defense of 'escapism' is a beautiful thing although I neglected to write it down before taking the book back to the library. To paraphrase, escapism is what comic books are accused of by their detractors. But what could be more necessary for an adolescent than escape into imagination?

I think I'm reading This Hole We're In by Gabrielle Zevin. It's funny but not broad enough to be reassuring. I'm not enjoying reading about the characters and their plausible crappy decisions leading to debt and stagnation and ongoing difficulties. But I feel drawn to the text, kind of queasily reading along. I haven't decided whether I'll finish it or not. I am there with those characters: well intentioned, wanting to get along, short sighted and plenty selfish. Makes me happy not to be living in Texas. My impression is that the TX version of keeping up with the Joneses is particularly high pressure. Memories of North Star Mall in San Antonio way back in the 80s.

To those in the American Thanksgiving part of the world: feast well and enjoy your gratitude. Get out of the steamy kitchen/dining room/tv room and walk in the cold air for a while.


The Nag said...

When my boys were little I never felt comfortable with the execution of birthday parties. In fact I felt like I was being executed. Most of my friends were so much better at that stuff and made me feel mummy deficient. I'd ask the guys if they felt hard done by in the birthday party department but I don't want to hear their answer.

Nimble said...

Nag, tomorrow I will raise a glass and think of how you never have to throw another child's party. Cheers! I'm embarrassed that it doesn't come easier to me. But easy or not some day I will have thrown my last child's party too!

Lucy said...

Oat flapjacks with cherries in and melted chocolate icing (frosting). Easier than cupcakes.

Says she whom happenstance has let off the biological imperative to do kids' birthday parties.

Hope Katy had a good birthday anyway!

Bee said...

Not sure if you can ever develop a callous about children's parties. I've done SO MANY and I still find them stressful. Frankly, the elements ARE ALL STRESSFUL; and I think we may just have to acknowledge that. Happy B'day to your big girl.

Conspicuous consumption is alive and well in Houston. Every time I visit there I notice the excessive bigness of the cars and houses.

Bee said...

btw, it was 87 degrees in Austin on the day before Thanksgiving (when I ate turkey with my parents). So much for walking in cold air! It was hot and sticky; ugh.

Nimble said...

@Bee: I'm glad to hear that like the placid swans, we are all paddling wildly under the water. Placid swans who throw children's birthday parties, that is.

Damn, 87 degrees and sweaty. That doesn't fit with my nostalgic Thankgiving ambience at all.