Embarrassing Moments

It’s happened. I knew it would sooner or later. I just thought later.

Gasp.

I have turned into my mother and have begun to embarrass my kids.

It was a small thing really. Not like I went to the bus stop in my bathrobe. I only did that when my son was in kindergarten.

This was just an innocent little thing.

We were driving recently, admiring the foliage, watching the early leaves fall from their branches. Kids in the car, hubby at the wheel. It was nice.

Then I saw some friends of ours running up our street with their son. They were booking. Really fast. Their faces were red and they were probably racing. Wow!

There was no time to think, no time to prepare a greeting. It was as if my hand took over, pressed the button and rolled down the window.

And then, out it came.

“Slow down, you’re going too fast! Ha Ha Ha! “

I yelled out the window waving madly at this family as we drove past. As they climbed mid sprint up a hill, they turned to look, their faces contorted from determined running faces to the curious What the?

Who is this jerk yelling out the window at us? And what is she saying?

It was just me. Your sort of neighbor who for no apparent reason other than a genetic predisposition to embarrass herself screamed out the car window and nearly gave you all a heart attack.

Oh God.

I sat staring forward for a minute processing what I had just done. My poor kids.

I caught, out of the corner of my eye, the smirk on my husband’s face. Since both hands were on the wheel he couldn’t do that thumb-forefinger L thing on his forehead. But that smirk said it all. He didn’t even need to speak.

I cringed and turned back to see my kids, buckled in their seats, mouths agape. Mortified.

Even my five-year-old knew that mommy just committed a huge social faux pas. My nine-year old skipped past the eye roll and went straight to the uncomfortable laugh. The squirming in his seat. Then he looked at me and inched up his eyebrows, silently asking me why? why? why?

Oh I felt his pain.

It happened in my family, for sure. Our parents embarrassed us for one reason or another. They spoke, they kissed us in front of our friends, they wore the wrong thing, they talked to our friends! They were just being adults and we thought they were totally uncool. We spent a lot of time with our hands shielding our eyes, the universal kid code for “These people don’t belong to me!”

They didn’t understand us at all. How could they? They were not kids and they were soooo old they couldn’t possibly remember what it was like to be a kid.

In reality, they weren’t all that old. And looking back, they were pretty fun parents who did fun things. They only mortified us a little. Then we grew to be enamored by them and all their parental-isms.

For the record, I am not that old. My kids tell me all the time that I am not old. “You’re new Mom!”

And I do remember what it was like to be a kid. Sort of.

So, yes, I had a wee turning-into-my-mother moment. I embarrassed my children like she once did me. I think they’ll get over it.  Parents embarrassing their kids is a rite of passage. It’s part of growing for both. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Chuckle.

Sooner or later we are all going to mortify our kids in some way, shape or form. Sooner or later they might cringe at my presence, think my jokes are dumb, meet me at the bus stop with an eye roll, pass up a family movie night at home for a chance to go be with their friends.

Bu then again, maybe not. If it is inevitable, I hope that it will be short-lived like it was in my house growing up.

In the mean time, then, maybe I should go for the gusto.

Maybe I’ll have to rethink the pink fuzzy bathrobe at the bus stop.

Kidding. Totally kidding.

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A Bookish Posting

To Kindle or not to Kindle? That is the very big question.

I presently fall into the latter category. No e-reader for me. I wonder if I am still in a thinning minority here.

I love books and I am concerned about the possibility that books as we know them could go away. Books, with all their glorious paper and strong spine, pages that you feel and turn, their beautiful covers. These books could someday be replaced altogether by digital versions of their old selves.

That’s a scary thought to me.

I originally started writing about this subject in April but held off until I had more time to think. You see, I stumbled upon this article about a book publisher who says that paper is not the way. He decided to go completely digital and depend solely on apps for iPad and the like for those who want to read.

In fact, he now wants his newly signed authors to bring him an interactive app before or in place of the finished product of the book.

I warn you, if you want to read this, it’s pretty long. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42382278/?Gt1=43001 

He says people want an interactive reading experience, where they can read an e-book and be able to click-through it to go more in-depth on something that might interest them. So, instead of reading from cover to cover as you would with a paper-based book, he says people would rather click away on links throughout the e-book and dive deeper into the peripheral subject matter related to the story.

I told some of my friends about this and one friend tried to dissuade me and said any reasonable person would read the e-book all the way though first and then go back and click-through it. Perhaps. Maybe one who had a longer attention span than I do.

My head would spin with information overload. And they say Sponge Bob causes ADHD.

As it is for me right now, a Google or Wikipedia search turns into a lost hour and once it’s over and I’ve clicked 1000 times, I’ve forgotten what it was I was looking for in the first place.

The article goes further saying that kids — including early readers and preschoolers — will be relying on their parents’, or likely their own iPad or tablet for reading and interactive apps.

So I have to wonder. Where would this fall in the ongoing battle of how much screen time to let our children have?

The article also speaks to how digital books allow room for comments/alternative viewpoints within the text and that such a book would reach more people. Same goes with an interactive cookbook. People can insert their opinions into someone else’s recipe.

Hmm. I am not sure how I feel about that. Fair and balanced? Maybe. But I am not sure I want to hear about Little Red Riding Hood’s opinion on that one Little Pig’s straw house. And Sleeping Beauty may think Red’s a bit dense not recognizing the Big Bad Wolf dressed up as Grandma. And so on.

As far as the cookbook thing, I am all for recipe sharing websites. I love them! However, if I published a cookbook, one that I researched and used my own recipes in, I am not sure I would want little hyperlinks and comments stuck in here and there, even by Bobby Flay or Giada DeLaurentiss, stating that “This recipe would be a lot better if you did this.”

I watch The Next Iron Chef for that.

UGH. Sorry. I am off on a ripper here. I realize that I may sound a bit hypocritical too because as it is right now, you — and hopefully A LOT of people — are reading my words on-line.

Blogs aside, this whole doing away with paper books is a little too much for me.

But I can clearly see the writing on the wall. Pun intended. I went to Borders and took advantage of a sad but true liquidation sale for the bankrupt book seller recently. It was in the same shopping plaza that closed a Strawberries Music and Video store a few years ago. Both the victims of online monopolies that are edging out all competition.

The world is getting smaller. I am not ready. Not sure if I will ever be. A friend once said something along the lines of “If you can’t adapt, you die.” And yes, I am sure that has a lot of truth to it, but it’s still hard for me to get my hands around when it comes to a book.

I can’t imagine that maybe by time my son gets to high school (or sooner) a local library would be nothing but a shell of its former self. How would that fare for librarians? Would there even BE a library left? Would all text books would be replaced by tablets, pages with megabytes and book marks with stylus pens? What happens when there is a bug in the system? Do we exchange “the dog ate my homework” for “Sorry, I couldn’t complete my dissertation Professor because a mega virus ate my e-books?”

I can’t imagine a world without tangible books. Perhaps I am getting ahead of it and our completely digital world will not truly be the death of the paper book.

I hope we always have the choice –read the old way or Kindle.

Not e-read or bust.

Who’s Afraid?

Me. That’s who.

Horror movies. Creep fests. Supernatural thrillers. I hate them.

When I was young, my father and my two older sisters watched The Exorcist. And even though I didn’t see it — wasn’t allowed and didn’t want to — I do remember walking through the TV room to the bathroom and seeing the scariest sight ever.

The hair on my dad’s arm was standing up.

My dad, the guy who is supposed to protect his kids from scary things, was scared.

The sign of a good horror movie I suppose. But seeing my dad out of sorts was unnerving. It told me that me, faint of heart, should not see those kinds of things.

My sisters used to tease me about a trailer from a movie called “Beyond the Door” or something like that circa 1970 something. Back then, movie trailers were pretty tame compared to today. But this trailer with all its ghoulish voice and even the campiness, scared the crap out of me. So in the years when I shared a room with my sister, she would just say those three words “Beyond the Door” and I was done for. A sweating, scared mess under my covers until morning.

If she is reading this, she is most likely laughing at the memory. Thanks. She’s mean.

I remember the first time I “saw” a horror movie. I use “saw” lightly because, during the Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D movie that I was duped into going to, I sat in the theater with my hands over my ears and my hooded sweatshirt down over my eyes.

I tried not to listen to the sounds of the chainsaw, the actresses screaming, as well as those screaming around me, but it was hard. A  better 12-year-old would have run out of the theater screaming never to come back. But I was an impressionable 12-year-old who, even though her friends tricked her into going to the movie, didn’t want her friends to think she was chicken.

Even if she was.

So I persevered only to come out of the movie that night scared out of my wits. I didn’t even see the blood and gore, but I knew it was there. I imagined how horrible it was and that image kept me up at night for years. I mean YEARS. I vowed then and there I would most certainly rather be called a chicken than have to sit through another horrible horror movie.

Looking back, perhaps if I had seen it and analyzed it for what it was — a dumb movie with a stupid theme and bad acting — it may not have bothered me. But I didn’t and don’t even care to today.

I just can’t get beyond the blood.

All I can say is that I feel lucky not to be a kid today with the caliber of the horror movies out there. The ones that are so real and creepy and with themes that you are dumbfounded that there could be a screenwriter who thought up such and insanely scary story.

Even though I haven’t and won’t see any of them, I know they are there. They are different from the Friday the 13th, Halloween and other slasher movies. Movies like Blair Witch to Saw to Paranormal Activity. Yikes. Just the names send me running.

I don’t have the stomach for the gore, the creepiness, the sinister themes. Call me Pollyanna again if you will. Scary is not for me. And those movies are scare-y!

So with that said, I just want to wish my friend Jane, who is at the Toronto Film Festival’s screening of her company’s new horror movie, Lovely Molly, a big gorey bag of good luck!

Jane, you are a dear friend and I am proud of you. But I won’t see your film, you can be darn sure of that. I am cheering you on along the way, though.

I hope it wins lots of awards! And I hope it scares the pants off of everyone.

Everyone but me.

School Daze

The house is quiet. The only thing I can hear is the tap tap of the rain on the windows and the hum of the refrigerator. (Thankfully it is on. We awoke this morning to no power. They said Post Irene power outages could happen. They were right, whoever “they” are. Sunday morning, too.)

But today is a special day. Today is the first day of school. The day when my baby girl joins her big brother in elementary school. Kindergarten!

Up early, all smiles, breakfast served, lunched packed, happy children, super mommy. It was a good dream.

But when I woke up to a gray rain and a dark room, as I fumbled for my book light, got my watch and realized we had no power, and no way of knowing if the outage was ours or townwide, it kind of threw a wrench into the morning routine.

I hadn’t heard any of the upper school buses go by, so it wasn’t until one zipped by at 7:06 am that we knew school was a go and the power outage was local.

My daughter came down, my still sleepy-eyed and bed-headed in-a-few-hours-a-kindergartener little girl, and wrapped herself up in my bathrobe. I thought I was ready to let go and send her off today, but at that very moment, when I realized those kinds of snuggles won’t be happening much after 8:15, well, what can I say. I squeezed tight.

I woke up my son who followed me down stairs, in hand his new Nike skate shoes still in the box, his clothes in a neat pile, all picked out. But he was bummed out. Not that it was the first day of school, or anything. But no power meant he couldn’t have his Toaster Struedel for breakfast. Now THAT sucks.

We made do with boiled water on the Coleman propane stove — we are now pros from Irene’s four-day power outage. A little oatmeal, some hot cocoa and my son was in better spirits.

I made the lunches quick as I could without opening the fridge for too long. They were done and we were ready to head out the door. My son looked handsome in his chosen digs and my daughter, well she was just happy to have her Skechers Twinkle Toes light up sneakers. We were happy, too. They added a little light to our dark morning.

We headed to our driveway and took some photos, and waited for the bus in the intermittent drizzle. And waited. And waited some more.

Finally, at 8:20 we kind of thought the bus might not actually come and, since school is supposed to start at 8:25, we drove them.

They were reluctant passengers.

And I was a reluctant mom. 

It’s not fair that I don’t get to see my kindergartener get on that big yellow bus as she begins her school career. We had that milestone with our son and I remember clearly what he was wearing and how he waved and his bus driver’s name and me bawling my eyes out in the driveway as I waved after him.

But now because of some bus snafu, we had to drive them today.

And when we got school at 8:24, my son jumped out and waved and then my daughter was whisked away by a staff someone who walked her into her new school. No looking back. No kiss. No tears. No nothing! It happened too fast and I was left in the drop off circle with my husband shaking my head and feeling gipped. NOT FAIR!

Tomorrow is another day. I’ll store up my tears until then when I can see her wave to me from that yellow bus. Until the moment I see her sitting next to her big handsome fourth grade brother on the bus –who we made swear that he’d protect his baby sister from any and all bad things that could be said/done/thought by other kids on that short bus ride around the corner to school.

Tomorrow I’ll cry.

Happy First Day of School.